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What We’re Reading: Extreme Heat; Alzheimer Drug Shows Promise; Flood of Mental Health Care Seekers


Extreme heat prompts doctors to use body bags as cooling devices for heat stroke; a study of the effect of donanemab on the early stages of Alzheimer disease looks promising; UnitedHealth Group is seeing an influx of people seeking mental health care services, causing accessibility issues because of the provider shortage.

Extreme Heat Calls for Extreme Measures

Extreme heat is now a public health emergency, at least according to emergency department doctors in Phoenix, who have created protocols to treat victims of heat stroke with immersive cooling in a body bag filled with ice zipped to shoulder level, according to STAT News. The bags provide an ideal way to treat these patients because they are waterproof, cool the person twice as fast as traditional methods, contain the cooling person and melting ice, and can allow room for intravenous tubing, temperature probes, and intubation if needed. Since the 1960s, heat waves have become more intense, frequent, and prolonged, putting those vulnerable to heat-related illness in danger.

Study of Alzheimer Disease Treatment Yields Encouraging Results

Phase 3 trial results indicate that the earlier the treatment with the experimental drug donanemab, the better for patients with Alzheimer disease, especially when symptoms and brain pathology are mildest, giving a better chance of slowing cognitive decline, reported The New York Times. The study illustrated that donanemab, manufactured by Eli Lilly, can moderately slow the progression of memory and thinking issues in the early stages of Alzheimer disease, with the most progress seen in patients in the early stages when they possessed less of the tau protein that creates tangles in the brain.

UnitedHealth Sees Influx of Mental Health Care Seekers

UnitedHealth Group reported that the percentage of enrollees getting psychological care was up by double digits since last year, with the shift believed to symbolize long-term change, according to The Wall Street Journal. The payer suggested that people feel more comfortable looking for help for behavioral health issues, but it observes a continuing shortage of mental health care providers that is creating accessibility issues. The increased use of behavioral health care was 1 motivator of higher health care costs highlighted by the company during a call talking about its second-quarter financial results.

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