Medical Bulletin 18/April/2023

Here are the top medical news for the day:

Long COVID incidence and severity no worse than post viral influenza syndrome: Study

Long Covid is a complex, multi-system condition that develops during or after having COVID-19, and is used to describe symptoms that continue for 4-12 weeks and longer-term sequelae beyond 12 weeks known as post-COVID syndrome.

Long COVID has the potential for a substantial impact on society, from increased health care costs to economic and productivity losses.

In the highly vaccinated population of Queensland exposed to the Omicron variant, long COVID appears to manifest as a post-viral syndrome of no greater incidence or severity than seasonal influenza, according to new research being presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Copenhagen, Denmark (15-18 April).



Brain connections involved in epileptic seizures identified

There are 500,000 people in the UK with epilepsy and 50 million people have the condition worldwide. But one in three cannot control their epilepsy with medication. Researchers at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology have discovered a network of connections in the brain linked to seizures in people with epilepsy.

The team believe that their findings, published in Brain, will help redesign neurological operations for patients whose epilepsy can’t be controlled by medication. By disconnecting certain pathways in the frontal lobe, patients may be able to enjoy long-lasting freedom from seizures.


Thalamostriatal disconnection underpins long-term seizure freedom in frontal lobe epilepsy surgery,Brain,doi 10.1093/brain/awad085

Income rank linked to experience of physical pain: Study

Income rank is the position of an individual’s absolute personal income amount in a list of those amounts ordered from lowest to highest. The higher the position in the list, the higher the income rank. A new study of worldwide polling data suggests that a person’s income rank relative to their peers is linked to their experience of physical pain, with a lower income rank linked to a higher likelihood of experiencing pain. It is the first time such a relationship has been shown.

The study found the link to persist, to the same degree, irrespective of whether the person lives in a rich country or a poor country.

The study, authored by Dr Lucía Macchia, Lecturer in Psychology at City, University of London, also suggests that people in poor countries fare no better than those living in rich countries when it comes to the effect of the absolute amount of personal income they earn on the likelihood of them experiencing pain. This was an unexpected finding and requires further investigation, as the prediction was that those in poorer countries would be more strongly affected, assuming that an increase in absolute income would allow them to obtain more resources to support their wellbeing that are more readily available in rich countries.


‘Having less than others is physically painful: Income rank and pain around the world’ in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science,DOI 10.1177/19485506231167928

Depression negatively affects breast cancer patients’ survival: Study

Having depression before or after a breast cancer diagnosis was associated with a lower likelihood of survival, in a recent study. The findings are published by Wiley online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

For the study, Bin Huang, DrPH, of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, and his colleagues analyzed data from the Kentucky Cancer Registry to identify adult women diagnosed with primary invasive breast cancer in 2007-2011. Utilizing the health claims–linked cancer registry data, the team classified patients as having no depression diagnosis, depression diagnosis only before cancer diagnosis, depression diagnosis only after cancer diagnosis, or persistent depression defined as depression before and after cancer diagnosis. The team also assessed patients’ receipt of first course guideline-recommended treatment as indicated by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network breast cancer treatment guidelines.


“Influence of depression on breast cancer treatment and survival: A Kentucky population-based study.” Feitong Lei, Robin C. Vanderpool, Laurie E. McLouth, Edward H. Romond, Quan Chen, Eric B. Durbin, Thomas T. Tucker, Eric Tai, and Bin Huang. CANCER; Published Online: April 17, 2023 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.34676).

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