Adults

health

Census Bureau: Young adults make up the largest share of those without health insurance

Young adults ages 19 to 34 have the highest uninsured health care rates in the country, according to census data — and Nicholas Williams hopes not to enter into that category.

He’s anxious, though. That’s because Williams will turn 26 next month, making him ineligible to remain on his parents’ health insurance plan under Affordable Care Act regulations.

“Twenty-six is the end of the road for me,” Williams said, referring to his current ACA plan. “I’m definitely nervous. … You’re cut off. I’ll be on my own.”

Before implementation of the ACA in 2010, health insurers set the age limit, which varied.

Williams, who lives with his family in East Islip, is frantically job hunting, with multiple interviews lined up, he said. Williams said he has a degree in social studies from St. Francis College and is interested in a job in customer service.

His health insurance needs are not far from his mind, he added, noting he is a Type 1 diabetic, something he said he’s been since he was 15.

“I’m on an insulin pump, and I also have a blood glucose monitoring system that tracks my blood sugar every five minutes. These devices make my life easier. It helps me manage my diabetes,” said Williams, who has worked part time and in temporary jobs that didn’t offer insurance. The cost “is manageable with insurance. I can’t imagine how much that would cost without insurance.”

According to the 2019 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau released Oct. 26, people ages 19 to 34 were the largest share of uninsured of any age group in the United States, at 15.6%, 0.4 percentage points higher than in 2018. That compares with 5.7% for those under 19, 11.3% for adults ages 35 to 64, and 0.8% for individuals 65 and older in 2019.

And the uninsured share of 26-year-olds was the highest among any single-year age, at 18.3%, which was 3.6 percentage points higher than the uninsured rate for 25-year-olds, the bureau said. Twenty-seven-year-olds had the next-highest uninsured rate, at 17.5%, in 2019.

The census bureau report said, “All adults may receive coverage through their employer, through public coverage or through purchase on the health care marketplace. However, young adults may be less likely to purchase health insurance coverage, and therefore more likely to be uninsured than other age groups.”

Daniel Lloyd, 34, founder and president of Minority Millennials, a grassroots nonprofit that works to represent minorities and millennials in policies, said health insurance coverage is on the minds of many in his group.

“A lot of members are focused on entrepreneurship, and many stay with jobs only because of health insurance,” Lloyd said. “So that impedes their desire to establish their own businesses.”

Lloyd, who also works for the Babylon Industrial Development Agency, recalled how a similar

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health

Media Multitasking Disrupts Memory, Even in Young Adults

The bulky, modern human brain evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago and, for the most part, has remained largely unchanged. That is, it is innately tuned to analog information—to focus on the hunt at hand or perhaps the forage for wild plants. Yet we now pummel our ancient thinking organ with a daily deluge of digital information that many scientists believe may have enduring and worrisome effects.

A new study published today in Nature supports the concern. The research suggests that “media multitasking”—or engaging with multiple forms of digital or screen-based media simultaneously, whether they are television, texting or Instagram—may impair attention in young adults, worsening their ability to later recall specific situations or experiences.

The authors of the new paper used electroencephalography—a technique that measures brain activity—and eye tracking to assess attention in 80 young adults between the ages of 18 and 26. The study participants were first presented with images of objects on a computer screen and asked to classify the pleasantness or size of each one. After a 10-minute break, the subjects were then shown additional objects and asked whether they were already classified or new. By analyzing these individuals’ brain and eye responses as they were tasked with remembering, the researchers could identify the number of lapses in their attention. These findings were then compared to the results of a questionnaire the participants were asked to fill out that quantified everyday attention, mind wandering and media multitasking.

Higher reported media multitasking correlated with a tendency toward attentional lapses and decreased pupil diameter, a known marker of reduced attention. And attention gaps just prior to remembering were linked with forgetting the earlier images and reduced brain-signal patterns known to be associated with episodic memory—the recall of particular events.

Previous work had shown a connection between media multitasking and poorer episodic memory. The new findings offer clues as to why this might be the case. “We found evidence that one’s ability to sustain attention helps to explain the relationship between heavier media multitasking and worse memory,” says the paper’s lead author Kevin Madore, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychology at Stanford University. “Individuals who are heavier media multitaskers may also show worse memory because they have lower sustained attention ability.”

“This is an impressive study,” comments Daphne Bavelier, a professor of psychology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who was not involved in the new research. “The work is important as it identifies a source of interindividual variability when one is cued to remember information”—the differences in attention among the study participants. “These findings are novel and tell us something important about the relationship between attention and memory, and their link to everyday behavior …, [something] we did not know before,” adds Harvard University psychologist Daniel L. Schacter, who was also not involved in the study.

Madore points out that the new findings are, for now, correlational. They do not indicate if media multitasking leads to impaired attention or if people with worse attention

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health

COVID-19 heart changes raise death risk; virus may be lead killer of young adults during surges



a close up of a flower: A 3D-printed coronavirus model is seen in front of a world map and the words "CoronaVirus Disease (Covid-19)" on display in this illustration


© Reuters/DADO RUVIC
A 3D-printed coronavirus model is seen in front of a world map and the words “CoronaVirus Disease (Covid-19)” on display in this illustration

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Higher death risk found if COVID-19 causes changes to heart

A new study may help identify which COVID-19 patients with signs of heart injury are at higher risk for death. Doctors looked at 305 hospitalized patients with elevated levels of troponin, a protein released when the heart has been injured. They reported on Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that among these patients, the increased risk for death was statistically significant only when changes in the heart’s size, shape, structure, and function were seen during an echocardiogram. Death rates were 5.2% in patients without troponin in their blood, 18.6% when troponin was high but hearts looked normal, and 31.7% in those with high troponin plus so-called heart remodeling. When other risk factors were considered, high troponin was only tied to death in patients who also had cardiac remodeling. COVID-19 patients with high troponin should undergo echocardiography “to guide further diagnostic testing and treatment strategies,” coauthor Dr. Gennaro Giustino of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City told Reuters. “Patients with a bad echo need much closer follow-up and more aggressive treatments,” said Dr. Carl Lavie of Ochsner Health in New Orleans, who coauthored an editorial on the study. (https://bit.ly/34swrQb; https://bit.ly/3dVHch2)

COVID-19 may be top cause of death among young adults in some U.S. regions

In some areas of the United States during COVID-19 outbreaks, the new coronavirus likely became the leading cause of death among adults aged 25-44, researchers say. Using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they analyzed deaths from any cause in that age group from March through July, along with drug overdose deaths during the same period in 2018, the most recent year for which data are available. In three of 10 regions of the country, as identified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, deaths exceeded 2018 unintentional opioid overdose deaths during at least one month of the pandemic, researchers reported on Sunday on medRxiv, ahead of peer review. They were Region 2 (New York, New Jersey), Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas), and Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada). It is not clear which states account for the most deaths in each region, coauthor Dr. Jeremy Faust of Harvard Medical School in Boston told Reuters. But data not included in the paper suggests that in New York, New Jersey, and Louisiana more people aged 20 to 39 “were dying of COVID-19 than opioids usually kills during the same time frame there,” he said. “Usually, opioids are the leading cause of death in these demographics all over

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health

AstraZeneca says its vaccine produces immune response in older adults

AstraZeneca said Monday that its potential coronavirus vaccine provokes an immune response in older adults, which it touted as a positive development as clinical trials proceed.

The immune response in older adults was similar to that in younger people, the company said, and adverse responses to the vaccine, known as reactogenicity, was lower in older people.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson said. “The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of [the vaccine].”

AstraZeneca, partnered with Oxford University, is developing one of the leading potential coronavirus vaccines, which is now in the third phase of clinical trials, along with other potential vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

AstraZeneca faced a setback in early September when its vaccine trial was halted to review potential safety concerns from a participant developing neurological symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration allowed the trial to resume on Friday.

“The restart of clinical trials across the world is great news as it allows us to continue our efforts to develop this vaccine to help defeat this terrible pandemic,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement Friday. “We should be reassured by the care taken by independent regulators to protect the public and ensure the vaccine is safe before it is approved for use.”

The complete picture of the potential vaccine’s safety and efficacy will not be known until the full data from the phase three trial is published.

Reacting to Monday’s announcement about the immune response, Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, tweeted: “AZ says the vaccine is immunogenic in older individuals. This has been shown for other COVID-19 vaccines too. Good, but no breakthrough.”

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health

Fading Sense of Smell Could Signal Higher Death Risk in Older Adults | Health News

By Cara Roberts Murez
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

MONDAY, Oct. 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) — If you’re a senior who can’t smell onions, smoke, chocolate or natural gas, it’s time to see your doctor.

Seniors who lose their sense of smell — which doctors call olfactory dysfunction — have higher odds of dying from all causes within five years, new research shows. Scientists had previously found a link between olfactory dysfunction and impaired thinking and memory.

“We suspected there would be an association with olfactory dysfunction and mortality as well, considering that this is an early marker for a lot of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and dementia,” said study author Dr. Janet Choi, a resident in otolaryngology at the University of Southern California.

Her team reviewed nationwide survey and death data from about 3,500 people age 40 and over. The surveys included self-reported loss of smell as well an objective smell test.

Over the five-year study, researchers found no increased risk of death based on self-reported loss of smell.

But the risk of death rose 18% for every 1-point decrease in scores on a “pocket smell test.” On the test, participants were asked to identify eight scents: onion, soap, leather, smoke, grape, strawberry, chocolate and natural gas. They needed to identify at least six to be considered having a normal sense of smell.

The mortality link was significant for adults 65 and older, but not among those between 40 and 64, researchers reported.

Sense of smell is mostly controlled by a nerve from the brain called the olfactory nerve. Olfactory dysfunction leads to more than 200,000 doctor visits a year, according to the study.

A diminished or lost sense of smell can lead to malnutrition, because people may lose their appetite or enjoyment of food, according to the researchers. It’s also linked to depression and a poorer quality of life.

The findings were published Oct. 22 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

“We do know that, speaking to patients, they do lose their ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, like smelling flowers or enjoying a nice meal out with family or friends,” said Dr. Aria Jafari, an assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“Those things can severely impact their quality of life and that can result in depression and associated conditions that could result in a medical condition or death,” said Jafari, who wasn’t part of the study.

Loss of smell may also prevent someone from noticing the smell from a gas leak or a fire, which can be life-threatening. It can also be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. New loss of smell and taste can be a symptom of COVID-19.

Jafari said he screens patients for loss of smell and advises patients with olfactory dysfunction that they could be at a higher risk of injury.

Treatment varies depending on the reasons for the loss of smell, Jafari said. In some cases, treating chronic sinus issues could fix the

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health

Vaccine hopes rise as Oxford jab prompts immune response among old as well as young adults

LONDON (Reuters) – One of the world’s leading COVID-19 experimental vaccines produces a immune response in both young and old adults, raising hopes of a path out of the gloom and economic destruction wrought by the novel coronavirus.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, also triggers lower adverse responses among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc, which is helping manufacture the vaccine, said on Monday.

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, shuttered swathes of the global economy and turned normal life upside down for billions of people.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman said.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, as the world tries to plot a path out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news that older people get an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are those most at risk of dying from the virus.

If it works, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality after the tumult of the pandemic.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready but he was preparing logistics for a possible roll out mostly in the first half of 2021.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo/File Photo

Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year he told the BBC: “I don’t rule that out but that is not my central expectation.”

“The programme is progressing well, (but) we’re not there yet,” Hancock said.

COMMON COLD VIRUS

Work began on the Oxford vaccine in January. Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the viral vector vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees.

The chimpanzee cold virus has been genetically changed to include the genetic sequence of the so-called spike protein which the coronavirus uses to gain entry to human cells. The hope is that the human body will then attack the novel coronavirus if it sees it again.

Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July which showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, the Financial Times reported earlier.

Details of the finding are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, the FT said. It did not name the publication.

People

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health

Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response among adults

A test tube labelled vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

LONDON — British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Monday said its potential Covid-19 vaccine had produced a similar immune response in both older and younger adults.

Adverse responses to the vaccine among the elderly — the age group at highest risk from the coronavirus — were also found to be lower, AstraZeneca said. The drugmaker’s potential Covid-19 vaccine is being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford.

The announcement is likely to boost hopes of a Covid vaccine being developed before the end of the year.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told CNBC via email.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Shares of the company rose around 0.8% on the news.

Drugmakers and research centers are scrambling to deliver a safe and effective vaccine in an attempt to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.15 million lives.

Dozens of candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organization, with some already conducting late-stage tests before seeking formal approval.

The vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is thought to be one of the frontrunners to secure regulatory approval.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soirot has previously said the drugmaker’s vaccine would likely provide protection against contracting the coronavirus for about a year.

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health

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine prompts immune response among adults old and young, AstraZeneca says

LONDON (Reuters) – The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford produces a similar immune response in both older and younger adults, and adverse responses were lower among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, hammered the global economy and shuttered normal life across the world.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told Reuters.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.

The news that older people get an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are those most at risk of dying from the virus.

The Financial Times reported earlier that the vaccine, being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups – among those most at risk from the virus.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer PFE.N and BioNTech’s 22UAy.F candidate.

If it works, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality after the tumult of the pandemic.

Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July which showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, the Financial Times reported.

Details of the finding are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, the FT said. It did not name the publication.

OXFORD VACCINE

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready though he was preparing logistics for a possible roll out.

“I would expect the bulk of the roll out to be in the first half of next year,” Hancock told the BBC.

Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year he told the BBC: “I don’t rule that out but that is not my central expectation.”

“We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly but it’s not my central expectation that we’ll be doing that this year, but the programme is progressing well, we’re not there yet,” Hancock said.

Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the vaccine was developed by Oxford University scientists and licensed to AstraZeneca in April, which took on the task of scaling trials and production.

The vaccine is likely to provide protection for about a year, CEO Pascal Soriot said in June.

The British drugmaker has signed several supply and manufacturing deals

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fitness

Fitness: Exercise is a golden opportunity for older adults

Article content continued

Another unexpected finding is that peak oxygen uptake, a measure of cardiovascular fitness, showed no age-related decline over the course of the study. This is good news for older exercisers, as a decline in peak oxygen uptake is typical in this age group and is associated with an increased risk of premature death and coronary heart disease.

The bottom line is that there are a number of options for older adults who want to reap all the health benefits physical activity has to offer. It’s also clear that for active older adults, judging the effectiveness of a workout by its length or intensity isn’t a good practice.

“The central implication is that either shorter-duration vigorous physical activity or longer-duration moderate physical activity or a combination of the two, that amount to the same amount of work each week, will have the same favourable health outcomes, with vigorous physical activity being the time-efficient alternative,” stated the researchers.

So go ahead and pick the workout of your choice — or better yet, mix it up between all three routines featured in this study. For older adults, not only does exercise have the potential to mitigate several of the negative health conditions associated with aging, it can truly make the latter decades of life golden.

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health

Washington Offering Free Flu Shots To Uninsured Adults

WASHINGTON — This year’s flu season has been very mild, and state health officials would like to keep it that way.

The Washington State Department of Health has announced a new program, offering free flu shots to uninsured adults at 23 participating Albertsons and Safeway pharmacies across the state.

To qualify for a free shot, patients must be over 18 and uninsured. No proof of residency or immigration status will be required. Flu vaccines are already being offered and the program will run through June of 2021.

Participating Pharmacies in Western Washington

Location

Address

Phone Number

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1546)

221 West Heron Street
Aberdeen, WA 98520

(360) 532-8743

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #0531)

101 Auburn Way S
Auburn, WA 98002

(253) 735-4404

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #3285)

1275 E Sunset Drive
Bellingham, WA 98226

(360) 650-1537

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1467)

900 N Callow
Bremerton, WA 98312

(360) 792-9262

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #0474)

1715 Broadway
Everett, WA 98201

(425) 339-9448

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1484)

4128 Rucker Ave
Everett, WA 98203

(425) 258-3552

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1294)

210 Washington Ave S
Kent, WA 98032

(253) 852-5115

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1464)

3215 Harrison Avenue NW
Olympia, WA 98502

(360) 956-3827

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1492)

110 East 3rd Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362

(360) 457-0599

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1563)

200 S 3rd Street
Renton, WA 98057

(425) 226-0325

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1508)

3820 Rainier Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98118

(206) 725-9887

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #3213)

15332 Aurora Ave N
Shoreline, WA 98133

(206) 539-5500

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #0329)

1112 South M Street
Tacoma, WA 98405

(253) 627-8840

Safeway Pharmacy (Store #1437)

1302 E 38th Street
Tacoma, WA 98418

(253) 471-1630

Learn more about the program from the Washington State Department of Health’s website.

Washington’s top health officials say, in the middle of a pandemic, the last thing our medical system needs is an influx of flu patients.

“The potential for a severe influenza season, or even an average influenza season, compounding the COVID outbreak is very, very disturbing and worrisome,” said King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin.

Read more: Health Experts: Now ‘More Important Than Ever’ To Get Flu Vaccine

The flu shot is recommended for everyone six months old or older. Patients over 65 should consult with their doctor first.

The Washington State Department of Health says there are several changes patients should be aware of for the 2020-2021 flu season:

  • All children under 19 can now receive flu vaccines and other recommended vaccines for free.

  • Most insurance plan cover the cost of the flu vaccine for adults.

  • Adults without insurance may qualify to recieve the vaccine at no cost. Find more information on free vaccination from your local health department.

Guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the best time to get vaccinated is between September and October, though if the flu season persists past October it’s never too late to get the vaccine. Receiving a vaccine too early, like in August or July, can leave it

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