Weekend News: Elevators, Maskne, Fraudulent Mask Exemptions, Vaccine Optimism, and Taking Healthcare from Millions

Weekend News:

:NY Times: Maskne Is the New Acne, and Here’s What Is Causing It

Maskne — the most common kind of which is acne mechanica, a.k.a. the type of acne a football player may get where the helmet rubs — is also enough of a thing that the Covid-19 task force of the American Academy of Dermatology (A.A.D.) felt compelled to release advice on the subject.

The article describes how mask can trigger acne and ways to prevent/treat this.

Related: American Academy of Dermatology: 9 WAYS TO PREVENT FACE-MASK SKIN PROBLEMS

NY Times: Don’t Whistle on the Elevator. Don’t Even Talk. (print version article title)

“The good news is: If you don’t like small talk in the elevator, those days are over,”…“Imagine if you have a 30-story office building in New York City and you’re trying to get 5,000 people in between 7 and 9 in the morning,”

From NPR:

This administration should present its ‘plan’ and pass it before taking healthcare insurance from millions.


Ionizing Radiation Exposure in Adults with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

From The Onion:

In the largest reported cohort to date, GC Nguyen et al (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2020; 26: 898-906) describe the ionization radiation exposure (IRE) in individuals (≥18 years) with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Methods: N=72,933 with IBD,1994-2016. During 1st 5 yrs after diagnosis, IRE was estimated in a retrospective matched cohort in Ontario.

Key findings:

  • IBD patients were exposed to nearly 6-fold IRE due to abdominal imaging compared to controls: 18.6 mSv vs 2.9 mSv
  • Patients with CD had higher IRE than UC: 26 mSv vs 12 mSv (P<0.001).  CD patients were more likely to have >50 mSv exposure (15.6% vs 6.2%) and >100 mSv 5.0% vs 2.1%
  • Women were less likely to have high IRE compared to males
  • Residents in the poorest neighborhoods were 27% more likely to have IRE >100 mSv.  Socioeconomic status was an independent factor after accounting for comorbidities. The authors speculate that this could be related to increased use of emergency rooms where they may be more likely to receive a CT.
  • The use of CT scan began to decline after 2007…likely explained by the rise of MRE studies.

While strict guidelines on IRE are lacking, the International Commission on Radiological Protection has suggested that occupational exposure (eg. nuclear workers) should be limited to <100 mSv over 5 years and not more than 50 mSv in a single year.

My take: We need to continue efforts to reduce IRE due to concerns about subsequent secondary malignancies. This likely means avoiding CT for non-emergencies and working with our ED colleagues to think carefully about lifetime IRE in IBD patients.

Related blog posts:

Additional references:

  • -AJR 2001; 176: 289-96. Estimated risks of radiation-induced fatal cancer from pediatric CT
  • -Br J Radiol 2012; 85: 523-28.  Justification of CTs -some not needed
  • -AJR 2010; 194: 868-73.  Lower CT radiation doses in pediatric patients.  ‘Image gently’
  • -Arch Intern Med 2009; 169: 2078-86.

From LA Times:


Eight States with Increasing COVID-19 Problems

States with unfavorable trends: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.  From Eric Topol Twitter feed:

Also recent modeling indicates that face masks lower transmission rate –from Reuters: Widespread mask-wearing could prevent COVID-19 second waves: study

Related blog posts:

NY Times: Japan’s Secret Success with Coronavirus

NY Times: Is the Secret to Japan’s Virus Success Right in Front of Its Face?

An excerpt:

In America, masks have become a weapon in the culture wars. In Japan, wearing one is no big deal, and deaths have stayed low…

Face coverings are nothing new here….
Yet a feared spike in cases and deaths has not materialized. Japan has reported more than 17,000 infections and just over 900 deaths, while the United States, with a population roughly two and a half times as large, is approaching 1.9 million cases and 110,000 deaths.

“Japan, I think a lot of people agree, kind of did everything wrong, with poor social distancing, karaoke bars still open and public transit packed near the zone where the worst outbreaks were happening,” Jeremy Howard, a researcher at the University of San Francisco who has studied the use of masks, said of the country’s early response. “But the one thing that Japan did right was masks.”…

The scientific evidence on whether a mask protects the wearer from infection is mixed. But experiments show that masks can be effective in blocking the emission of respiratory droplets that may contain the virus, even when someone has no symptoms of illness. And there is some evidence that infected people with no symptoms can still transmit the coronavirus.

Related blog posts:

Huntingdon Lake, Sandy Springs (no image filters used)

Is A Gluten-Free Diet Possible? DOGGIE BAG Study. And Face Mask Use in U.S.

A recent study (JA Silvester et al. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 1497-99)  examined the diet of 18 participants with celiac disease who endorsed no intentional gluten ingestion.


There are two ways you could interpret the name of the new Doggie Bag study, which investigates how much gluten people with celiac disease are getting in their diets. And each would be correct.

Participants in the study provided portions of all the food they ate over 10 days – what you could think of as the doggie bag you bring home from a restaurant. They also provided stool samples, which might bring to mind the bags dog owners use to clean up after their pets.

Either way, the name reflects the commitment made by 18 celiac disease patients on the gluten-free diet who took part in the 10-day review of all the gluten going in and coming out of their bodies. Urine samples were also collected.

Celiac disease researchers tested all the samples for the presence of gluten immunogenic peptides (GIP) and concluded that 66 percent of the patients trying to follow a strict gluten-free diet showed evidence, by one measure or another, of being exposed to gluten. The amount of gluten varied from .23 milligrams (mg) to more that 40 mg with each exposure. Up to 10 mg of gluten per day is generally considered a safe level of gluten consumption for most people with celiac disease, according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

Key findings:

  • 25 of 313 (8%) of food samples from 9 participants had detectable gluten with a median of 11 parts per million
  • 12 of 18 with good or excellent GFD adherence based on standardized self-report were exposed to gluten within the 10-day study period
  • Among the 12 with gluten detected in their diet, 5 (42%) had abnormal TTG IgA antibody levels and 8 (66%) had Marsh 3A histology; in the 6 with no gluten detected, 2 (33%) had abnormal TTG IgA antibody levels and 2 (33%) had Marsh 3A histology

My take: For many patients with celiac disease, a “GFD may be more aspirational than achievable, even by highly committed and knowledgeable individuals.”

Related blog posts:


From YouGov survey: The states that are more and less likely to adopt face masks

  • Methodology: The survey is based on the interviews of 89,347 US adults aged 18 and over between March 26-April 29, 2020. All interviews were conducted online and the results have been weighed to be nationally representative.
  • During the course of April, the share of Americans who wore face masks while out in public surged from 17 percent at the start of the month to 63 percent by month’s end
  • A state-by-state analysis reveals some states are significantly more likely to adopt face masks than others. Georgia was ahead of nationwide average during study period (45% compared to 43% nationwide)


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