Consulo Indicium - 8/1/22
Information for your Consideration…
The Webb Factor: Seeing Farther Than We’ve Ever Seen Before – I have many, many thoughts on the Webb Telescope project but the limitation of time has not allowed me to distill those thoughts. So, I will pass on sharing those thoughts for this edition of the FickFiles. However, count on further discussion related to the findings of the Webb Telescope. I believe the findings are going to alter – in VERY SIGNIFICANT ways – our entire perspective on what it means to be human, what our perspective on the universe is, how it was created and who is in charge. For example, in the Milky Way there are a billion stars AND there are now >200 billion galaxies like the Milky Way that can be identified and studied. These numbers are mind boggling… or, as a “rough order of magnitude” there are about 2 quintillion (= 2 with 18 zeros after it, if my math is correct) opportunities for solar systems like ours by my calculation (Correct me if I’m wrong). So, where does that place the human race in the hierarchy of intelligence around the universe, let alone the neighborhood? It’s a game changer. I encourage you to start here or here on the findings of the Webb Telescope so you can participate in the upcoming dialogue... More later…
Amazon Acquires One Medical – There have been any number of attempts by the business types to move into the health care space. The most prominent that seemingly never quite made it was Walmart! I was actually hopeful that Sears was going to make an effort when I gave a speech back in 1987-88 that I had resigned my position in rural health to take on the role as the Chief Medical Officer for Sears Health (I made it up!) but it got lots of attention and even stock buys. I proposed ripping out the carpet section and installing medical clinics instead. (Don’t worry, at the end of the speech I fessed up that I was pulling their leg.) But, it did portend the future of health care…
But now, a bigger company with even more resources has stepped into the medical abyss. Amazon – which has been toying with micro steps into the medical field for the last couple of years. The company recently announced plans for acquiring the technology-focused primary care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion (…a mere dent in the Amazon portfolio). The move augments other recent forays into health care like their virtual Amazon Care initiative, a support system offered as a medical management program, and PillPack – among other possibilities (no doubt) down the road. One Medical is actually an umbrella company with two operating components: 1) “1Life” for management services; and, 2) “One Medical” as the professional services corporation. In announcing the purchase, Amazon indicated that the intent is to foster efficiency in the primary care field by removing all of the obstacles that are created for access to quality medical care. We’ll be watching!!
All Things Covid: An Update – It feels like we are uncovering the potential problems associated with Covid infections layer by layer as additional research is brought to bear on questions emanating from patients around the word. Here are some of the important findings:
- Brain Fog and Other Associated Symptoms (Sx) – In a recent small study completed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) it was discovered that the immune response to a viral infection – in some cases – causes damage to the brain’s blood vessels. The study was published in Brainand was derived from post-mortem examinations of brain tissue from a small number of patients who died suddenly after contracting COVID-19. It appears that the antibodies are involved in an attack on the cells lining the brain’s blood vessels which serve as the front line on the “blood-brain barrier” leading to inflammation and damage. The end result is damage to the barrier and leakage of proteins from the blood into the brain. Then come the clots and the associated symptoms of headache, fatigue, loss of taste and/or smell, sleep problems, and brain fog. All of these – in some patients – culminate a higher incidence of stroke.
- Omicron Increases – Driven by the diffusion of Omicron across the globe, the WHO recently announced a 30% increase in Covid infections across 110 countries in the first two weeks of June. So…it’s not going away. As I’ve noted several times previously – Covid is becoming endemic! Meanwhile, the USA is in a steady state of ~100,000 reported cases per day or about 1M “true” cases per day according to researchers. The steady state is reflected in national wastewater with plateauing trends across every region.
- Multi-Infection Experiences – More and more people appear to be contracting the virus (including new, evolving Covid variants) in successive experiences. Why? It is most likely that subvariants – we think? It could be that the “boosters” only partially cover viral changes? In fact, there could be a lot of “could be’s”. But, it is also clear that those who are vaccinated are the clear winners in the Covid survival debate. The issue of multi-Covid infections is discussed here. Check it out AND in the meantime, GET BOOSTED!!
- Tracking Covid – If you’re into tracking the Covid infections check out these two sites!! They provide a plethora of information on the current state of Covid: 1) USA Covid Incidence Tracking by State; and, 2) Covid Incidence & Deaths.
Kiddie Vax Update: Less Than Needed – The states are experiencing less than desirable uptake in vaccinations for Covid among the children less than 5 years of age. It is far slower than anticipated! How do we know? Because the states are ordering less vaccine than originally predicted based on population sizes (SEE CDC Chart).
Why? – is the big question. Kawsar Talaat, Ph.D., a Johns Hopkins School of Public Health pediatric vaccine expert attributes the problem to distrust. In a recent interview, she said: “The distrust in government, the distrust in public health and the distrust in science is growing and is very, very worrisome.” The Biden Administration is struggling with attempts to encourage parents to vaccinate their kids. I must say – we’ve never had a vaccine come out with this much prior experience that has been almost exclusively positive in terms of value. We all need to step forward and encourage Moms and Dads to get their kids vaccinated!! BTW – the even more alarming new is that childhood vaccinations are at their lowest in 30 years, according to a new report from the WHO…
My Covid Observation – In my less than expert scientific mind, the Covid experience points us in the direction of sequelae of all kinds associated with “viral” infections – be they Covid, Epstein-Barr or other associated viral causes. For example, the high incidence of Parkinson’s Disease among the Great Flu epidemic survivors points in this direction as well. It deserves further NIH funding and support!!! Scientists and researchers are eager to understand how COVID-19 impacts the brain, as it could help develop the future treatments for those impacted by lingering COVID-19 symptoms.
Rural Health Equity! – Approximately 60 million Americans reside in rural areas and require access to health care services. In a new report from the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research nearly 80 hospitals have closed and stopped providing services since 2011 AND the closure rate is increasing!! In 2020, there were a record-breaking 20 hospital closures across the USA. Commentary: My early career was spent in rural health as the Founding Director of the North Dakota Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota. We have an obligation, in my mind, to provide equitable services for those residing in rural areas, on reservations, in prisons, in inner cities or any other place that is underserved. That has been a premise of our national health policy for at least 50 years in my experience. We are failing and need to resolve the problem. Providing services in these underserved areas requires focus, attention, problem-solving and funds.
 Cecil Sheps, MD was one of my mentors when I set up the UND Center for Rural Health. He was an extraordinary health care professional who had a major impact on rural health care policy through his work with mentees and others in the early days of the 1980s rural health movement.