Welcome to the 2 Minute Medicine Podcast, summarizing the latest medical studies, curated and written by practicing physicians. On this podcast, twice a month, we cover the latest in healthcare news and research evidence.
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We begin this episode by discussing our article of the week from Pediatrics, entitled “COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Parents: A Qualitative Study”.
In the second half of our episode, we start off by discussing the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in sport following the news of a banned substance scandal in the men’s marathon. Next, we will dive into the NHL’s Pride Tape ban and their decision to reverse the ban following public push-back. Finally, we end with conversations about the bedbug outbreak in Paris, and new studies highlighting the value of wearable technology in diagnosing and monitoring Parkinson’s disease.
We are excited to share that the highly anticipated 2nd edition of our Classics in Medicine book is now available in stores and on Amazon! Buy your copy today at: https://bit.ly/2zZnJt9
[Deepti] Welcome to the 2 Minute Medicine Podcast, summarizing the latest medical studies, curated and written by practicing physicians.
For our full suite of daily medical study summaries and updates written by practicing doctors, please visit our website at 2minutemedicine.com to start reading new daily content right now, for free. On this podcast, twice a month, we cover the latest in health care news and research evidence. We are your hosts Deepti and Andrew. On today’s episode, we’ll start off by discussing our two articles of the week. In the second half of the episode, we will look at health issues that have arisen in popular media.
[Andrew] Our article of the week comes from Pediatrics and is entitled “COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Parents: A Qualitative Study”.
In the United States, surveys among caregivers have found Black persons, Hispanic persons, and rural residents to have the highest rates of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy for their children. Given these disparities, this study had two aims: 1) to explore attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccination among Black, Spanish-speaking, and rural non-Hispanic White (NHW) caregivers, and 2) to identify strategies to address caregivers’ confidence in COVID-19 vaccine for these high priority groups.
This study evaluated the opinions and beliefs around COVID-19 vaccination of 36 Black, Spanish-speaking, or rural NHW caregivers from Delaware, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. All participants had at least one child between 2 and 17 years of age who was not vaccinated against COVID-19. Four caregivers were vaccine refusers, four were vaccine acceptors, and the remaining 28 were vaccine-hesitant. KIIs were conducted with vaccine acceptors and refusers while vaccine-hesitant caregivers participated in focus groups. Transcripts from the interviews and focus groups underwent discourse analysis, summative qualitative content analysis, and thematic analysis. Across all three demographic groups, caregivers generally viewed doctors as trusted sources of information and social media as untrustworthy; however, they were conflicted on the trustworthiness of public health resources. Nearly all caregivers considered the following when making decisions around COVID-19 vaccination for their children: potential benefits and harms, the vaccine’s impact on pre-existing medical conditions, and the availability of reliable information. Caregivers almost universally preferred to decide themselves for their children to be vaccinated, rather than comply with public mandates. All refusers were concerned about perceived vaccine ineffectiveness and side effects. Rumors about the COVID-19 vaccine were most prevalent among NHW rural caregivers and included vaccine side effects, impacts on child development, low efficacy, and fear of governmental interference or religious consequences.
This study contributes to our understanding of what caregivers value most when considering COVID-19 vaccination. Moreover, this study’s findings informed the content design of the Mobile Vaccine Uptake (MoVeUP) Application (app), which aims to provide caregivers with personalized information about the COVID-19 vaccine. Next steps should include the evaluation of the effectiveness of the MoVeUP app on addressing vaccine hesitancy among caregivers in the highest priority groups for vaccination.
[Andrew] Now for The Scan.
The Story: Just weeks after Kelvin Kiptum set a new men’s marathon world record at the 2023 Chicago Marathon, Titus Ekiru—the runner boasting the sixth fastest marathon of all time—was given a ten-year ban after testing positive for banned substances. The news is shining light on the issue of performance enhancement in sports and the struggles that professional athletes face in managing their medical conditions. Ekiru tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide, a corticosteroid banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for its weight loss effects—a trait that is often desirable in long-distance events, like the marathon.
[Deepti]: That’s right. And, this isn’t the first time that the medication, usually used to alleviate the symptoms of skin conditions, has been implicated in a sporting scandal: in 2016, Team Sky of the Tour de France faced controversy for using the drug. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only recent story of performance enhancement in running: New Zealand runner Zane Robertson received an eight-year ban for testing positive for erythropoietin (EPO) earlier this year. EPO is a hormone produced by the kidneys that stimulates the production of red blood cells. When taken exogenously, the increase in red blood cell production helps transport more oxygen throughout the body, providing an aerobic benefit for endurance sports. That’s why the substance has been implicated in several doping scandals, including the infamous story of Lance Armstrong. While certain medications come with performance-enhancing benefits, they also pose risks: due to the increase in red blood cells following EPO administration, a person is at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and embolism.
[Andrew] Interestestingly, not only did Ekiru test positive for banned substances, but he was also found guilty of faking hospital records. The runner submitted evidence to suggest that the medication he tested positive for was for a legitimate medical condition, but it was later discovered that the records were forged. WADA prohibits many common substances because of their potential performance-enhancing effects. When an athlete needs these medications for a legitimate medical condition, they must apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). However, abusing these TUEs makes it harder for athletes to receive the treatment they need. Last year, US Olympic silver medalist in the women’s marathon, Molly Seidel, shared her long delay in getting a TUE, resulting in her dropping out of a race. Seidel was taking Adderall, a banned substance, to help control her recently diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Clean sport will lead to fairer competition and improve the ease with which athletes can compete alongside their medical treatment. Next, let’s talk about Pride tape bans.
[Deepti] After experiencing significant backlash for banning rainbow-colored hockey tape, used to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, the NHL has rescinded its ban. The ban came months after the organization put an end to “theme nights,” where teams wear special jerseys to support various causes after several players refused to participate in Pride Night celebrations. Several organizations and fans spoke out against the rainbow tape ban, including Arizona Coyotes player Travis Dermott, who defied the rule and used Pride Tape anyway just days before the ban was lifted.
Homophobia and transphobia remain significant issues in sport—one study found that 80% of all sports participants and 82% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual participants have witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport. The study also found that only 1% of participants believed that lesbian, gay, and bisexual athletes are completely accepted in sports. As such, it is unsurprising that LGBTQ+ youth are less likely to participate in formal and informal sports than their peers, meaning that these individuals are less likely to experience the mental and physical health benefits of sport.
[Andrew] Absolutely. Also, many LGBTQ+ athletes have been paving the way for more inclusive sport, from soccer star Megan Rapinoe to Nikki Hiltz, who became the first openly non-binary athlete to win a USA national title in track and field this summer. However, there are far fewer members of the LGBTQ+ community in men’s professional sports: Luke Prokop was the first and only player under NHL contract to come out as openly gay back in 2021. The lack of representation in men’s sports makes things like Pride Tape all the more important in creating safe and welcoming spaces for LGBTQ+ athletes. Now, a discussion on how Paris is making headlines, not because of the recent Paris Fashion Week, but because the city is infested with bedbugs.
[Deepti] Videos of the pesky pests have been going viral as they’re being found everywhere in the French capital—even on the subway. The city is trying to deal with the public health emergency before hosting the 2024 Olympic Games in any way possible, including using dogs to sniff out the insects on trains. Bedbug bites are itchy, leading to sleep loss, irritation, and even secondary skin infections from excessive scratching. Although the pests are seen as dirty and gross, no findings to date have suggested that they can transmit diseases. Still, allergic reactions to bedbug bites can be severe, and the presence of the insects can lead to mental health problems, including anxiety. Some ways to reduce your risk of bed bugs if traveling are: check any beds and upholstered furniture for bugs or excrement with a flashlight, wash and dry your clothes immediately upon return, and use hard-cased luggage. Last but not least, let’s talk about how a recent study out of the University of Oxford found that wearable technology provides superior tracking of Parkinson’s disease progression compared to clinical observation.
[Andrew] The study used wearable sensors and machine learning algorithms on Parkinson’s patients to monitor motor symptom progression over time. The technology was found to be more effective than standard clinical rating scales in measuring the progression of these symptoms. The findings come just months after another study found that the combination of smartwatch data and artificial intelligence could be used to help detect Parkinson’s earlier in patients. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive central nervous system disorder that around 90,000 Americans are diagnosed with every year. Being able to detect and monitor the condition using wearable devices could be revolutionary in treating the disease.
We’d like to acknowledge the following members of our team for their contributions to this week’s episode
- Ashley Jackson
- Ellen Song
- Christopher Prendergast
Thank you for joining us today for this episode of the 2 Minute Medicine Podcast. New episodes come out every other week and all of our content has been curated and written by practicing physicians.
Please head to our website at 2minutemedicine.com to learn more and to access all of our content including medical study summaries, visual abstracts, excerpts from our Classics book series which is available on Amazon, and The Scan, which is our medical newsletter.
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