Health Highlights: July 24, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Doctors Should Discuss Opioid OD Antidote With Patients: FDA

Doctors should tell patients and caregivers about the overdose antidote naloxone when they prescribe opioid painkillers such as Percocet and OxyContin and medicines to treat opioid addiction, including buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

This should be done both when beginning or renewing prescriptions for the medicines.

The recommendation will now be required on the prescribing information for the medicines, the agency announced Thursday.

Naloxone can be given by people with or without medical training to treat opioid overdose. If administered quickly, naloxone can reverse the overdose, usually within minutes.


Newly Identified Cell Could Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

A type of cell that could point the way to improved treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has been identified by researchers.

These pre-inflammatory mesenchymal (PRIME) cells appear in patients’ bloodstreams before they have painful flare-ups that are difficult to predict, CBS News reported.

The tiny study included four patients with the autoimmune disorder and was published July 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This study is really exciting to us,” Dr. M. Elaine Husni, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Center, told CBS News. “It’s likely going to change the paradigm of how we treat rheumatoid arthritis.”

People with rheumatoid arthritis have painful inflammation affecting the joints and other symptoms. There are treatments to ease the pain, but there is no cure.


Pandemic Leads to Quieter World

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a much quieter world, researchers say.

They analyzed readings from earthquake detection equipment and found that as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns, human-generated noise has fallen by up to 50%, The New York Times reported.

“The length and quiescence of this period represents the longest and most coherent global seismic noise reduction in recorded history,” the team of 76 scientists from more than two dozen countries wrote in the journal Science.

They said the decrease in din, which was far more than what typically occurs on weekends and holidays, is due to social distancing, industrial closures, and declines in travel and tourism, the Times reported.


3 in 4 Americans Favor Face Coverings: Survey

Face coverings should be worn by people when they leave home, three-quarters of Americans say in a new poll.

It also found that two out of three people disapprove of how President Donald Trump is handling the pandemic.

While support for wearing face coverings was highest among Democrats (89%), there was also strong support among Republicans (58%), according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey.

About 95% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans said they’re wearing face coverings when leaving home. Overall, 86% of Americans said they’re doing so, compared with 73% in May.

About half the survey respondents said they’re extremely or very worried about themselves or someone in their families being infected with the new coronavirus, a sharp rise since June when only 32% expressed concern, the AP reported.

Support for limiting the size of gatherings was 66%, compared with a low of 59% in June, and 85% of respondents said they’re avoiding large groups.

Only 24% of respondents said they approved of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, while 55% disapproved, which was 7 percentage points higher than in May, the AP reported.


U.S. Nursing Homes Get Another $5 Billion to Fight Coronavirus

U.S. nursing homes will receive another $5 billion to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration announced Wednesday.

Nursing homes in coronavirus hotspots will be first in line to receive the new money, the Associated Press reported.

The nursing home industry and advocates have been pushing the Trump administration and Congress to provide more financial assistance for nursing homes.

The $5 billion is part of a package that includes efforts to offer more training and support for nursing homes and facilitate ongoing testing of nursing home staff, the AP reported.

Previously, nursing homes received $4.9 billion from pandemic relief funds approved by Congress.