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What We're Reading: Stress Aged Teenage Brains; WA Flu Deaths; Physicians File Brief in ACA Case


Teenage brains prematurely aged by 3 years during pandemic lockdowns; Washington state health officials report high flu activity and 7 deaths; medical groups ask a Texas judge to refrain from issuing a nationwide injunction against the preventive health screenings covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

MRI Scans Show Premature Aging of Teenage Brains Due to Pandemic Stress

MRI scans of adolescent brains before and after pandemic lockdowns show stress prematurely aged their brains by at least 3 years, and in ways previously seen in children affected by adverse childhood experiences, The Washington Post reported. By comparing MRI scans performed before and after lockdowns, the researchers found growth in the hippocampus and amygdala, which respectively control access to some memories and help regulate fear, stress, and other emotions, and also discovered thinning of the tissues in the cortex, which is involved in executive functioning. The study was published in Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science.

Washington State Officials Report High Flu Activity, 7 Deaths

Seven people in Washington state, including 1 child, have died so far this season from influenza, according to the Associated Press. Health officials reported over 1200 new flu cases from November 13 to 19, more than double the case count of previous weeks. There was a peak of 296 flu deaths during the 2017-2018 season, and 26 in last year’s season.

Medical Groups Ask Texas Judge to Preserve Access to No-Cost Preventive Care, Screenings

Medical groups this week filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Braidwood Management v Becerra, asking Texas Judge Reed O’Connor to refrain from issuing a nationwide injunction that would invalidate US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. In September, he ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s process for determining what kinds of preventive care must be fully covered by private health insurance is unconstitutional, noted The Hill.

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