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Neuroscientist Lisa Genova, author of the beautiful novel Still Alice, releases non-fiction book on Memory

A Neuroscientist’s Poignant Study of How We Forget Most Things in Life (The New Yorker):

Any study of memory is, in the main, a study of its frailty. In “Remember,” an engrossing survey of the latest research, Lisa Genova explains that a healthy brain quickly forgets most of what passes into conscious awareness. The fragments of experience that do get encoded into long-term memory are then subject to “creative editing.” To remember an event is to reimagine it; in the reimagining, we inadvertently introduce new information, often colored by our current emotional state. A dream, a suggestion, and even the mere passage of time can warp a memory. It is sobering to realize that three out of four prisoners who are later exonerated through DNA evidence were initially convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. “You can be 100 percent confident in your vivid memory,” Genova writes, “and still be

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What Covid Means for the Athlete’s Heart

For sports fans across the country, the resumption of the regular sports calendar has signaled another step toward post-pandemic normality. But for the athletes participating in professional, collegiate, high school or even recreational sports, significant unanswered questions remain about the aftereffects of a covid infection.


This story also ran on ESPN. It can be republished for free.

Chief among those is whether the coronavirus can damage their hearts, putting them at risk for lifelong complications and death. Preliminary data from early in the pandemic suggested that as many as 1 in 5 people with covid-19 could end up with heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, which has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden cardiac death.

Screening studies conducted by college athletic programs over the past year have generally found lower numbers. But these studies have been too small to provide an accurate measure of how likely athletes are to … Read the rest

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Despite Covid, Many Wealthy Hospitals Had a Banner Year With Federal Bailout

Last May, Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, laid off 1,200 employees and furloughed others as it braced for the then-novel coronavirus to spread. The cancellation of lucrative elective procedures as the hospital pivoted to treat a new and less profitable infectious disease presaged financial distress, if not ruin. The federal government rushed $454 million in relief funds to help shore up its operations.


This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free.

But Baylor not only weathered the crisis, it thrived. By the end of 2020, Baylor had accumulated an $815 million surplus, $20 million more than it had in 2019, creating a 7.5% operating margin that would be the envy of most other hospitals in the flushest of eras, a KHN examination of financial statements shows.

Like Baylor, some of the nation’s richest hospitals and health systems … Read the rest

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Backed by Millions in Public and Private Cash, Rapid Covid Tests Are Coming to Stores Near You

Scientists and lawmakers agree that over-the-counter covid tests could allow desk workers to settle back into their cubicles and make it easier to reopen schools and travel.


This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free.

But even as entrepreneurs race their products to market, armed with millions of dollars in venture capital and government investment, the demand for covid testing has waned. Manufacturing and bureaucratic delays have also kept rapid tests from hitting store shelves in large numbers, though the industry was energized by the Food and Drug Administration’s greenlighting of two more over-the-counter tests Wednesday.

Corporate giants and startups alike plan to offer a dizzying array of test options, most costing between $10 and $110. Their screening accuracy varies, as does the way consumers get results: collection kits mailed back to a lab, devices synced with artificial intelligence-enabled apps on a smartphone that spit out … Read the rest

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Beating the Pavement to Vaccinate the Underrepresented — And Protect Everyone

Leonor Garcia held her clipboard close to her chest and rapped on the car window with her knuckles. The driver was in one of dozens of cars lined up on a quiet stretch of road in Adelanto, California, a small city near the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert. He was waiting for the food bank line to start moving and lowered the passenger window just enough to hear what Garcia wanted. Then she launched into her pitch.


This story also ran on Black Voice News. It can be republished for free.

“Good morning! We’re here to talk about covid-19 today! Do you have a minute?” she said in Spanish.

After a brief conversation, Garcia learned the man had no internet connection or phone of his own but was 66 years old and wanted to get the covid vaccine. He had tried to visit a pharmacy in person, but the … Read the rest

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Battle Brews Over Neutral Zone Where Border-Crossing Parties Rendezvous, Risking Infection

BLAINE, Wash. — In the shadows of covid travel restrictions, a 42-acre park on the far western edge of the U.S.-Canadian dividing line has become a popular opening in an otherwise closed border, a place where Americans and Canadians can gather without needing permission to go through an official border crossing.

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What is known as Peace Arch Park has lush green lawns, gardens and a 67-foot-tall white concrete arch erected in 1921 that spans the border. It’s an often muddy, sometimes idyllic place. But the pandemic has transformed this patch of historically neutral ground into a playing field for some fundamental public health questions.

Should people from Canada, which has a lower incidence of covid-19, risk mingling with people from the U.S.? Should families who’ve masked and distanced be able to reunite for a day without quarantining? Who decides?

On a … Read the rest

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‘It Didn’t Really Stick With Me’: Understanding the Rural Shrug Over Covid and Vaccines

At 70, Linda Findley has long been active in her small town of Fort Scott, Kansas, which sits more than an hour away from any major city.

Findley, whose husband died in an accident just after the local hospital closed, helps with the Elks and fundraising, and — like many people in this part of the country — doesn’t think covid-19 is that dangerous.


This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free.

“I don’t even know what I think about it,” Findley said recently. “I don’t know if I trust the testing because it’s so messed up or … I’ve had nieces and nephews, that’ve had it. I’ve lost good friends to it, or supposedly it’s to that.”

Findley said she just isn’t sure that every case reported as the coronavirus really is the virus: “Everything seems to be coronavirus. I mean, it’s just … no … Read the rest

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On Awe, Wonder, Biofeedback, CBSM, Virtual Reality, Privacy, Being Wrong, and more

Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, this time featuring eleven timely resources and research findings for lifelong brain health and mental well-being.

#1. “Awe is the feeling we experience when encountering vast things that we don’t understand. Around the world and in culturally varying ways, studies show, we experience awe in response to others’ kindness and courage, nature, music, religious or spiritual practice, the visual and dramatic arts, and epiphany … It leads us to share, collaborate, and wonder. In experiences of awe, people often speak as if they have found their soul.”

Sometimes it IS awesome to learn how the sausage was made: How Pixar’s “Soul” met the Science of Awe

#2. Here are six suggestions to incorporate awe into daily routines and improve mental well-being, based on the new book Awestruck: Linger, Slow down, Appreciate your senses, Unplug, Awe walks, Awe journaling.

#3. Speaking … Read the rest

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Dramática baja de enfermedades por virus comunes, ¿significa máscaras para siempre?

Las máscaras y el distanciamiento físico están demostrando tener importantes beneficios extra, evitando que las personas contraigan todo tipo de enfermedades, no solo covid-19.

Pero no está claro si los protocolos valdrán la pena a largo plazo.

Maestros de la Academia New Hope en Franklin, Tennessee, estaban charlando sobre el tema. La escuela cristiana privada ha permanecido presencial durante gran parte de la pandemia, requiriendo máscaras y tratando de mantener a los alumnos separados, en la medida en que es posible con niños pequeños.

Nicole Grayson, quien enseña en cuarto grado, dijo que se dieron cuenta de algo peculiar.

“No conocemos a nadie que se haya engripado”, dijo. “A ningún estudiante que haya contraído faringitis estreptocócica”.

Y no se trata solo de algo anecdótico.

Un estudio publicado este marzo en el Journal of Hospital Medicine, dirigido por investigadores del Centro Médico de la Universidad de Vanderbilt, encontró que en 44 … Read the rest

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Growing research supports Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback training to lower stress and anxiety, increase sports performance

What’s HRV? An important health metric every golfer should pay attention to (Golf.com):

As amateur golfers, we’d love to play like the pros. There’s no doubt that you would trade your banana slice for Dustin Johnson’s penetrating 300-yard drive down the middle of the fairway or Collin Morikawa’s impeccable ball striking in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, we have limiting factors — be they physical ability, money, time or something else. But that doesn’t mean we can’t adopt a few things the Tour pros do to stay in shape in our own lives.

For one, Tour players, and other professional athletes, are now tracking their Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to help them measure their recovery and peak at the right times on the course … If you’re unfamiliar with HRV, it’s the variance in time between the beats of your heart.

For example, if your heart rate is 60 beats per minute,

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