It’s Tough to Change the Minds of ‘Vaccine-Hesitant’ Parents, Study Finds | Health News

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) — When parents have concerns about the safety of childhood vaccinations, it can be tough to change their minds, as a new study shows.

The study involved “vaccine-hesitant” parents — a group distinct from the staunch “anti-vaxxer” crowd. They have worries about one or more routine vaccines, and question whether the benefits for their child are worthwhile.

Even though those parents are not “adamantly” opposed to vaccinations, it can still be hard for pediatricians to allay their concerns, said Jason Glanz, lead researcher on the study.

So Glanz and his colleagues looked at whether giving parents more information — online material “tailored” to their specific concerns — might help.

It didn’t. Parents who received the information were no more likely to have their babies up to date on vaccinations than other parents were, the study found.

The news was not all bad. Overall, more than 90% of babies in the study were all caught up on vaccinations.

So it may have been difficult to improve upon those numbers, according to Glanz, who is based at Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s Institute for Health Research in Aurora.

But, he said, it’s also possible the customized information reinforced some parents’ worries.

“It might have done more harm than good,” Glanz said.

That’s because among vaccine-hesitant parents, those who were directed to general information that was not tailored, had the highest vaccination rates — at 88%.

The findings were published online Oct. 12 in Pediatrics.

Childhood vaccination rates in the United States are generally high. But studies show that about 10% of parents either delay or refuse vaccinations for their kids — generally over safety worries.

Routine childhood vaccines have a long history of safe use, Glanz said, but some parents have questions. They may have heard that certain ingredients in vaccines are not safe, or worry that their baby is being given “too many” immunizations in a short time.

And during a busy pediatrician visit, Glanz said, it can be hard to address all those questions.

So his team tested a web-based tactic to augment routine checkups. They randomly assigned 824 pregnant women and new parents to one of three groups: One received standard vaccine information from their pediatrician; another was directed to the study website for additional, but general, information on immunizations; and the third received tailored information from the website.

That tailoring was done with the help of a survey that asked parents about their vaccine beliefs and concerns.

In the end, however, the targeted messaging flopped. It made no difference among parents overall: Across the three groups, between 91% and 93% of babies were up to date on vaccinations at 15 months of age.

And among the 98 parents who were deemed vaccine-hesitant, the tactic seemed to backfire: Only 67% of those babies were up to date compared to 88% of those whose parents received general vaccine information. The rate was 75% in the standard-care group.

Dr. Edgar Marcuse,

Study: Less restrictive reproductive rights reduce birth complications risk by 7%

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Women living in states with less restrictive reproductive rights policies are 7% less likely have low birth weight babies than those living in states with more stringent laws, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The risk was 8% lower for Black women living in less-restrictive states, the data showed.

“Our study provides evidence that reproductive rights policies play a critical role in advancing maternal and child health equity,” study co-author May Sudhinaraset, of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, which effectively legalized abortion, states have had “substantial discretion” in creating policies governing whether Medicaid covers the costs of contraception or reproductive health care.

Some states have taken steps that effectively limit access to abortion services and other reproductive care, Sudhinaraset and her colleagues said.

Black women are more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than any other race group, experience more maternal health complications than White women and generally have lower quality maternity care, they said.

In addition, women of color are more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes.

Compared to infants of normal weight, low-birth-weight babies face many potential health complications, including infections early in life and long-term problems, such as delayed motor and social development or learning disabilities.

Sudhinaraset and her colleagues analyzed birth record data for the nearly 4 million births that occurred in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in 2016, comparing reproductive rights policies and adverse birth outcomes in each state.

They also evaluated if the associations were different for women of color and immigrants.

The findings indicate that expanding reproductive rights may reduce the risk of low-birth weight, particularly for U.S.-born Black women, the researchers said.

“Important policy levers can and should be implemented to improve women’s reproductive health overall, including increasing abortion access and mandatory sex education in schools,” Sudhinaraset said.

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Study: Many older Americans with heart failure take 10 or more meds

When older people hospitalized for heart failure are sent home, they are often given a whopping 10 medications to take for a variety of conditions.

But is this “polypharmacy” practice necessary, or does it just place a bigger burden on already frail patients?

It’s not a question so much of the quantity of the medications, but whether the medications patients are taking are the right ones for them, said senior study author Dr. Parag Goyal, a geriatric cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City.

“It’s not just that we’re not starting the right medications, there may be situations where we’re not stopping the wrong medications as well,” Goyal said. “I think we need to look at the medication that older adults with heart failure take in a more holistic fashion.”

For the study, Goyal’s team examined the medical charts of 558 adults aged 65 and older who were hospitalized in the United States between 2003 and 2014.

When admitted, 84% of the patients were taking five or more medications and 42% were taking 10 or more. When discharged, those numbers had risen to 95% of patients prescribed five or more medications and 55% taking 10 or more.

Most of the prescribed medicines were not for the patients’ heart failure or heart conditions, the researchers said.

A larger medication burden increases the risk of adverse drug reactions, which could lead to patients ending up in the hospital, Goyal explained. It can also require more work for the patient, which can have an impact on quality of life.

“It’s a big challenge,” Goyal said. “How exactly do you reconcile the fact that a lot of these medications are meant to prevent events and to help patients feel better with the concept that as the number of medications rise, you might be negatively affecting these parameters?”

The study found that about 90% of older adults with heart failure have at least three other medical conditions. More than 60% have at least five other conditions.

The findings were published online Oct. 13 in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

The researchers concluded that there is a need to develop strategies that can alleviate the negative effects of polypharmacy. Among the drugs that may be overused are proton-pump inhibitors, which reduce stomach acid.

There are a host of medications patients may have been taking for years that could be reviewed, Goyal noted.

However, the study suggested that the benefits of medication may outweigh the risks of polypharmacy for people with certain conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD and diabetes.

Some medications already are multipurpose, including one that treats diabetes and heart failure, said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, chief of the University of California, Los Angeles, division of cardiology.

“That doesn’t mean there are not some medications that are not necessary and could be either reduced or consolidated, but that for patients with heart failure that have a number of other comorbid conditions there are a number of medications that are proven in randomized trials, proven in

Hurricane Irma caused over 400 senior deaths in Florida, study says

The aftereffects of 2017’s Hurricane Irma appear to have killed more than 400 senior residents of Florida nursing homes, a new university study shows.

Researchers at the University of South Florida and Brown University concluded that 433 additional patients died within 90 days of the September 2017 storm, compared to the same period in 2015, when there were no hurricanes.

Their study examined health data for 62,000 patients at 640 Florida nursing homes obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The study was recently released.

HURRICANE DELTA’S DEATH TOLL AT 4 AS LOUISIANA OFFICIALS STRESS GENERATOR SAFETY AFTER DEADLY FIRE

The study was prompted by the heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home. Authorities said those deaths were caused when the storm disabled the central air conditioning and the staff failed to move patients to a nearby hospital.

The study was prompted by the heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home.

The study was prompted by the heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home.
(John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

An administrator and three nurses who worked at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills have been charged with failing to prevent the deaths.

The researchers found that long-term nursing home residents suffered not only increased mortality rates after Irma, but more hospitalizations.

‘BUBBLE CURTAIN’ IS THE NEWEST CRAZY HURRICANE-KILLING IDEA

“Nursing homes need to really pay attention to these people when they’re in the process of reacting to a hurricane,” said co-author Lindsay Peterson, a research assistant professor of aging studies at USF.

In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16  and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane, moves westward, Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, 2017, in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Leeward Islands.

In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16  and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane, moves westward, Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, 2017, in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Leeward Islands.
(NOAA via AP)

Brian Lee, director of Families for Better Care, a nonprofit that advocates for better services at long-term care facilities, said the study shows that nursing homes need to do a better job preparing for hurricanes.

“This is an extremely vulnerable population, and nursing homes and other facilities need to do a better job of hardening their facilities to protect our loved ones,” Lee said.

After Irma, Florida required nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to install generators to keep residents cool in case of a storm. But the laws need to be tougher, Lee said.

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Nursing homes need generators that can allow cooling of residents in their rooms, not spot coolers that were used at Hollywood Hills. That required moving residents into large spaces to keep them cool. Fewer than 100 of the state’s long-term care facilities had temporary generators during Irma, the Times reported.

“We need to make sure that facilities can withstand these storms and not worry about transferring residents around and exposing them to potential transfer trauma,” Lee said.

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Cancer takes heavy toll on women’s work, finances, study shows

Young women with cancer are at a high risk for employment and financial consequences, a new study finds.

“Our study addresses the burden of employment disruption and financial hardship among young women with cancer — a group who may be at particular risk for poor financial outcomes after cancer given their age and gender,” said researcher Clare Meernik, a fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,300 women in North Carolina and California a median of seven years after diagnosis. Their cancer was diagnosed when they were 15 to 39 years of age and working.

Following their diagnosis, 32% of the women had to stop working or cut back on their hours. Twenty-seven percent said they had to borrow money, go into debt or file for bankruptcy because of cancer treatment.

Women with disrupted employment were more likely — by 17 percentage points — to have these problems than women who were able to keep working.

Half of the women said they were stressed about their big medical bills, and women with disrupted employment were more likely to suffer psychological distress by 8 percentage points than women who were able to keep working.

The findings were published online Oct. 12 in the journal Cancer.

“Our findings highlight the need for effective interventions to promote job maintenance and transition back to the workforce after cancer treatment, as well as increased workplace accommodations and benefits, to improve cancer outcomes for young women,” Meernik said in a journal news release.

More information

To learn more about work and financial effects of cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

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Pfizer to Enroll Kids as Young as 12 in COVID-19 Vaccine Study | Top News

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc will enroll participants as young as 12 in its large, late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial to understand how it works in a wider age group.

While severe COVID-19 symptoms are extremely rare in infected children, they can pass on the virus to high-risk groups such as the elderly.

That makes determining the effectiveness of a potential vaccine in children crucial, as vaccines work differently in kids and adults, the FDA said in its guidelines https://www.fda.gov/media/139638/download in June.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted permission to the drugmaker and German partner BioNTech SE to enroll younger participants this month, according to an update on the U.S. company’s website https://www.pfizer.com/science/coronavirus/vaccine on Monday.

Last month, Pfizer scaled up its trial to about 44,000 participants, from up to 30,000, to enroll people as young as 16 and those with chronic, stable HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B.

The company said on Tuesday it would enroll children in its study based on satisfactory safety data in older adolescents and young adults, but did not specify a timeline.

Pfizer is racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine for the new coronavirus with rivals such as Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson.

Late-stage vaccine trials initiated by Moderna, J&J and Novavax Inc are testing their respective candidates only in adults.

AstraZeneca’s U.K. vaccine trial, targeting more than 12,000 volunteers, will have one out of 11 subgroups with children 5 to 12 years of age. Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said last month that tests on children had not yet started.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shinjini Ganguli)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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2016 Presidential Election Led To More Heart Attacks, Strokes, Study Says

KEY POINTS

  • Data shows more heart attacks and stroke hospitalizations in the two days right after the 2016 presidential election
  • Sociopolitical stress may have triggered the cardiovascular events, researchers say
  • According to a recent survey, many people see the political climate of the country as a “significant source of stress”

Can political events trigger heart ailments? A new study found that more people were hospitalized with acute cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the days immediately following the 2016 presidential election than before it.

For the new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanente, researchers looked at acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke diagnoses, as well as emergency diagnoses of chest pains and unstable angina among adults in the Kaiser Permanente data, which includes 4.6 million people.

The researchers compared data from the two days right after the election with the same two days in the week prior to it. They found that cardiovascular hospitalizations in the two days immediately after the elections was 1.6 times higher than the previous week. The rate of cardiovascular hospitalizations was 353.75 per 100,000 people in the two days prior to the election and it rose to 573.14 per 100,000 in the next two days.

“Results were similar across sex, age, and race/ethnicity groups,” the researchers wrote in the study report. They said the results could be a result of the sociopolitical stress people experienced at the time.

The risk for cardiovascular events is high after a stressor or trigger event, the researchers said. 

“The risk of onset of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke is increased within hours to days after psychological triggers, including anger, depression, anxiety, and stress,” the researchers wrote.

This includes major events such as earthquakes and terror attacks. For instance, there was 70% more evaluations of angina and myocardial infarction on the day of the Sept. 11 attacks. In this case, it appears that the “trigger” event may be the presidential election.

In a report published by the American Psychological Association (APA) in July, 77% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans said the political climate in the country is a “significant source of stress.”

In another nationwide survey by the APA, 68% of the adult respondents noted that the 2020 presidential election is a big source of stress. By comparison, the number was lower during the 2016 presidential election with 52%.

“This is a wake-up call for every health professional that we need to pay greater attention to the ways in which stress linked to political campaigns, rhetoric and election outcomes can directly harm health,” corresponding author David Williams, of Harvard T.H. Chan School, said in a news release.

Although the researchers noted that further studies were needed to understand the relationship between cardiovascular events and sociopolitical stress, the results could be a reminder for people to be more aware of their stress levels and take the necessary precautions to care for their cardiovascular health.

The study is published in the Proceedings of

High-intensity exercise has no effect on mortality rate in older populations, study suggests

High-intensity exercise does not appear to add to risk of mortality among older adults, a new study has found.

INTERMITTENT FASTING MAY CAUSE MUSCLE LOSS MORE THAN WEIGHT LOSS, STUDY SAYS

The research, which was published in The BMJ medical journal on Wednesday, found that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and MICT (moderate-intensity continuous training) for those aged 70-77 showed no increase in the risk of mortality compared to recommended daily activity.

FITNESS INFLUENCER SHOWS HOW ‘BEFORE AND AFTER’ PHOTOS ARE MANIPULATED

”This study suggests that combined MICT and HIIT has no effect on all-cause mortality compared with recommended physical activity levels,” the study authors from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway, Newsgram reported.

Participants were splits into a control group, HIIT group and MICT group.

Participants were splits into a control group, HIIT group and MICT group.
(iStock)

GYM-GOER IN TENNESSEE OPENS UP AFTER EMPLOYEE THREATENED TO KICK HER OUT FOR WEARING A SPORTS BRA

The research followed a group of 1,567 men and women – 790 women and 777 men – in Norway over the course of five years.

The participants were put into a control group of 780 that followed Norwegian guidelines for physical activity, which state 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week, MICT group of 387 and a HIIT group of 400. The HIIT group did two weekly high-intensity workout sessions, while the MICT did two moderate-intensity 50 minute workout sessions a week.

At the end of the five year study, the mortality rate for the combined HIIT and MICT group was 4.5%, nearly half the expected outcome of 10%, which is based on the 2% yearly mortality rate for people aged 70-75 according to Norway’s statistics. This supports the researchers expectations from “observational studies [that] have shown that older adults who are physically active have a higher health related quality of life than those who are less physically active,” the report read.

The mortality rate for the two groups compared to the control group, which was 4.7%, suggested no large difference in mortality rate among the exercise styles.

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Though researchers noted before the study 87.5% of participants reported “overall good health,” thus suggesting a possible selection bias that could have influenced results.

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Covid-19 reinfection casts doubt on virus immunity: study

Covid-19 patients may experience more severe symptoms the second time they are infected, according to research released Tuesday confirming it is possible to catch the potentially deadly disease more than once.

A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal charts the first confirmed case of Covid-19 reinfection in the United States — the country worst hit by the pandemic — and indicates that exposure to the virus may not guarantee future immunity.

The patient, a 25-year-old Nevada man, was infected with two distinct variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, within a 48-day time frame. 

The second infection was more severe than the first, resulting in the patient being hospitalised with oxygen support.

The paper noted four other cases of reinfection confirmed globally, with one patient each in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Ecuador. 

Experts said the prospect of reinfection could have a profound impact on how the world battles through the pandemic.

In particular, it could influence the hunt for a vaccine — the currently Holy Grail of pharmaceutical research. 

“The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine,” said Mark Pandori, for the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and lead study author. 

“We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe.”

– Waning immunity? –

Vaccines work by triggering the body’s natural immune response to a certain pathogen, arming it with antibodies it to fight off future waves of infection.

But it is not at all clear how long Covid-19 antibodies last. 

For some diseases, such as measles, infection confers lifelong immunity. For other pathogens, immunity may be fleeting at best. 

The authors said the US patient could have been exposed to a very high dose of the virus the second time around, triggering a more acute reaction. 

Alternatively, it may have been a more virulent strain of the virus. 

Another hypothesis is a mechanism known as antibody dependent enhancement — that is, when antibodies actually make subsequent infections worse, such as with dengue fever.

The researchers pointed out that reinfection of any kind remains rare, with only a handful of confirmed cases out of tens of millions of Covid-19 infections globally.

However, since many cases are asymptomatic and therefore unlikely to have tested positive initially, it may be impossible to know if a given Covid-19 case is the first or second infection.

In a linked comment to The Lancet paper, Akiko Iwasaka, a professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, said the findings could impact public health measures.

“As more cases of reinfection surface, the scientific community will have the opportunity to understand better the correlates of protection and how frequently natural infections with SARS-CoV-2 induce that level of immunity,” she said.

“This information is key to understanding which vaccines are capable of

Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine study paused due to unexplained illness in participant

Budrul Chukrut | LightRocket | Getty Images

The study of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

A document sent to outside researchers running the 60,000-patient clinical trial states that a “pausing rule” has been met, that the online system used to enroll patients in the study has been closed, and that the data and safety monitoring board — an independent committee that watches over the safety of patients in the clinical trial — would be convened. The document was obtained by STAT.

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Contacted by STAT, J&J confirmed the study pause, saying it was due to “an unexplained illness in a study participant.” The company declined to provide further details.

“We must respect this participant’s privacy. We’re also learning more about this participant’s illness, and it’s important to have all the facts before we share additional information,” the company said in a statement.

J&J emphasized that so-called adverse events — illnesses, accidents, and other bad medical outcomes — are an expected part of a clinical study, and also emphasized the difference between a study pause and a clinical hold, which is a formal regulatory action that can last much longer. The vaccine study is not currently under a clinical hold. J&J said that while it normally communicates clinical holds to the public, it does not usually inform the public of study pauses.

The data and safety monitoring board, or DSMB, convened late Monday to review the case. J&J said that in cases like this “it is not always immediately apparent” whether the participant who experienced an adverse event received a study treatment or a placebo.

Though clinical trial pauses are not uncommon — and in some cases last only a few days — they are generating outsized attention in the race to test vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Given the size of Johnson & Johnson’s trial, it’s not surprising that study pauses could occur, and another could happen if this one resolves, a source familiar with the study said.

“If we do a study of 60,000 people, that is a small village,” the source said. “In a small village there are a lot of medical events that happen.”

On Sept. 8, a large study of another Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University was put on hold because of a suspected adverse reaction in a patient in the United Kingdom. It’s believed that the patient had transverse myelitis, a spinal cord problem. Studies of the vaccine resumed roughly a week after it was paused in the United Kingdom, and have since been restarted in other countries as well. It remains on hold, however, in the United States. 

Johnson and Johnson began enrolling volunteers in its Phase 3 study on Sept. 23. Researchers planned to enroll 60,000 participants in the United States and other countries.

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