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Category: Health

Will eliminating quantitative popularity on Instagram actually make it safe for kids?


Megan Moreno, a principal investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Mashable that there’s space to try out what we can to make social media safer. While she thinks the idea of fully eliminating quantitative popularity is “an interesting idea,” she is “not hugely optimistic that it will make a gigantic difference.” That’s because the idea of likes is so engrained in our society already, that the concept will be there if it’s turned off or not. And, she adds, popularity isn’t completely numerical.

Recalibrating COVID Risk Mid-Pandemic


Now nineteen months into pandemic life, many Americans are struggling to recalibrate their COVID risk. How do we balance needed COVID precautions with considerations of mental health and meaningful social interactions? What will it take to reach the “new normal”—and will we even know when we get there?

To help us break this down, Dominique Brossard, professor of life sciences communication, and population health scientist Ajay Sethi join us for a discussion of risk assessment in the post-vaccination stage, how to negotiate a wide range of feelings about the pandemic, and why it’s still okay to not feel okay.

Dominique Brossard is professor and chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where her teaching and research focus on science and risk communication.

Ajay Sethi is an epidemiologist and associate professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he specializes in the study of infectious diseases.

Why Wisconsin’s Covid Breakthrough Numbers Show the Power of Vaccination

PBS Wisconsin

Quoted: Adjusting disease rates for age is a common practice in epidemiology. The practice is crucial for understanding the impacts that a disease like COVID-19 has on a large and varied population.

“We adjust for factors like age because we identify factors like age as being confounders,” said Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Delta ‘opened the door’: Rural deaths from COVID-19 now higher than in urban areas

Wisconsin Public Radio

Noted: COVID-19 vaccination rates tend to be lower in rural communities, and the same goes for rural areas in Wisconsin. The difference between the most and least vaccinated counties in Wisconsin is as much as 40 percent said Dr. Jonathan Temte, an associate dean with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health who studies vaccine and immunization policy.


Researchers, UW educators see a bright future for AI in healthcare

The Capital Times

Iya Khalil, head of the global AI innovation center Novartis, and Anthony Gitter, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of biostatistics and medical informatics, joined Friedel for a discussion on the use of AI in medicine at this year’s Wisconsin Biohealth Summit. The three speakers shared how companies, including Wisconsin’s postsecondary institutions, are using technology to improve human health.

Noon Wednesday: COVID-19’s Present and Future

Deaths caused by COVID-19 in Wisconsin surpassed 8,000 a year-and-a-half after the pandemic reached the state. As vaccination levels remain plateued, new medical developments to combat the virus and its deadly disease progress. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Nasia Safdar with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health explains.

Facebook’s whistleblower report confirms what researchers have known for years

The Verge

Quoted: Megan Moreno, principal investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says Haugen’s interpretation of the internal research squares perfectly with other work done on social media, especially Instagram.

“For a certain population of youth, exposure to this content can be associated with diminished body image, or body image concerns,” Moreno says. “I didn’t feel like it was tremendously surprising.”

Could COVID-19 infection immunity substitute for vaccine? Don’t count on it, says expert

Wisconsin Examiner

Quoted: “Natural infection does produce an immune response, but not all immune responses will be durable enough and heightened enough to ward off reinfection at some point,” said Ajay Sethi, faculty director for the  Master of Public Health program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health. “So the question becomes, which source of immunity will provide more reliable protection — and vaccines afford that.”

Can you get COVID twice? What we know about coronavirus reinfection


In an earlier conversation with CNET about long COVID, Dr. Nasia Safdar, director of infection control at the University of Wisconsin, said, “Vaccination serves two purposes One, of course you want to get it before you have COVID so it protects you from it, but even in the people who have had the infection, anecdotally, it seems that vaccination helps with the symptoms of long COVID.”

Flu shot side effect: Are reactions worse this year?


Nasia Safdar, the medical director for infection prevention at the University of Wisconsin Hospital: It really shouldn’t. Quadrivalent vaccines have been available and most of us have been getting those for years. There is a high dose flu vaccine that is recommended for people who are older, and the arm tenderness might be a little bit more and it takes a little bit longer to recover.

Alcohol Is the Breast Cancer Risk No One Wants to Talk About


University of Wisconsin oncologist Noelle LoConte has long felt that the link doesn’t get enough attention—even among oncologists. She is the lead author of a 2017 statement on alcohol and cancer from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which calls on these specialists to take the lead in addressing “excessive exposure to alcohol” through education, advocating for policy changes, and research.

Highly contagious delta variant means more hospitalizations for Wisconsin kids, stress on health system

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Still, kids’ risk of severe disease is much lower than that of adults, and doesn’t seem to be any higher with delta than it was with earlier iterations of the virus, said Dr. Greg DeMuri, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“It’s just that there are more cases, so a small percentage of a large number is still a significant number,” he said.

Rebecca Kleefisch won’t mandate vaccines or masks but has yet to release plan to navigate COVID-19 as governor

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Patrick Remington, a former epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s preventive medicine residency program, said leaning on the Wisconsin Emergency Response Plan is important to coordinate different entities but ideally, state officials would adopt an additional statewide plan that focuses on preventing and controlling the spread of the virus to combat the outbreak.

“That’s appropriate in the middle of an emergency, you need to have command and control and have top-down response. … It’s only part of the approach. You need to have a prevention and control plan that accompanies an emergency response plan,” Remington said.

Nurses turning to traveling jobs to make more money, while local hospitals have to recruit


A recent survey by the Wisconsin Center for Nursing and the School of Nursing at UW Madison shows an impending nursing shortage.

Anywhere from 10-20,000 nurses plan to retire in the next 10 years, and that could cause a crisis for the state. Right now many healthcare companies are finding it hard to staff nurses, so many are offering bonuses and high salaries to professionals from out of town.

UW-Madison to offer third COVID-19 Pfizer shot

The Daily Cardinal

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s University Health Services will now offer a third “booster” shot of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to students and employees. UHS is offering the third dose of Moderna or Pfizer to eligible students and employees who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and may have not received adequate production from the first two doses.


Few Influenza Cases Last Year Could Have Implications For This Season

Wisconsin Public Radio

Public safety precautions put in place last year to help stem the spread of COVID-19 also caused influenza cases to nosedive.

But that could backfire during this year’s flu season, said Dr. James Conway, associate director for health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Global Health Institute.

“Obviously, we don’t have a lot to go on because the social lockdown and mitigation programs on both sides of the globe have really shut down influenza across the board,” Conway said. “And so, it’s really been sort of an educated guess.”

Despite guidance from health officials, Ron Johnson says vaccinating people during a pandemic ‘could be dangerous’

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Patrick Remington, a former epidemiologist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s preventive medicine residency program, said the opposite is true.

“This has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated, worsened by people taking risks, such as gathering together indoors, without masks,” Remington said. “The vaccine has been very effective in preventing serious illness, and death. The fact that the delta variant is so much more contagious, means that we cannot rely on the vaccine alone, but need to reduce the risks of getting infected and infecting others.”

Group Health partners with UW and Meriter clinics, adds mental health program

Wisconsin State Journal

Group Health has six of its own clinics in the greater Madison area and already lets patients go to 13 other clinics, including seven at UW Health and three at Access Community Health Centers. Under a new partnership with UW Health and UnityPoint Health-Meriter, members will be able to go to 12 more UW clinics and seven at Meriter.

UW Health rebrands pediatric care to UW Health Kids


UW Health’s pediatric services now have a new name: “UW Health Kids.”According to a press release, UW Health Kids is care from “infancy to adulthood.” That means everything from basic care, like checkups or vaccinations, to specialty care for complex diseases and preventative care.

STEM Major Spotlight: Health Promotion and Health Equity

Daily Cardinal

Interested in the medical field but not sure about med school, or not enthusiastic about taking lots of physics and math? You should consider majoring in Health Promotion and Health Equity. HPHE student Jordan Gao gave us the details of this fascinating field of study.

‘It’s Criminal’: Milwaukeeans Call for Speedier Lead Pipeline Removal to Cut Childhood Poisoning

PBS Wisconsin

Quoted: Henry Anderson, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of population health and expert on environmental and occupational diseases, said prioritizing paint hazards made sense — particularly for protecting toddlers who can cruise around a house.

“There’s so much more lead in a paint chip than there is in a glass of water,” said Anderson, Wisconsin’s former state chief medical officer. “When there’s an old house, it has paint chipping off the walls, they are crawling around, putting their hands in their mouth — and hands are sticky. And so ingestion of paint chips remains important.”

Report: COVID-19 Pandemic Driving Wisconsin’s Alcohol Sales

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: National studies show people have been consuming more alcohol, especially women with young children, during the pandemic, said Julia Sherman, coordinator for the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. She said other research has found that people who increased alcohol consumption to cope with natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, didn’t slow their drinking afterward.

“And that is the big question,” said Sherman. “Will the drinking subside as this crisis fades? As we are able to get back to normal or the new normal? Will we all go back to the previous level of alcohol consumption? And based on this other reporting, it’s not as likely as we might hope.”

One year later: An update on the UW Health AstraZeneca trial


On September 2, 2020, participants in Dane County became some of the very first to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Jeff Pothof, the Chief Quality Officer for UW Health, was one of them.“It was impossible to predict all the twists and turns that would happen in the next 365 days,” said Pothof.

From HBO/Showtime production to UW Health doctor; how witnessing 9/11 changed her life


Dr. Lisa Arkin, the Director of Pediatric Dermatology at UW School of Medicine, says working with children and their families is what she was put on this earth to do. A career she only discovered after the terrorist attacks in NYC on September 11, 2001.At the time of the attacks, Arkin was working as a story editor for HBO and Showtime. But on 9/11, she was called in for jury duty.

UW-Madison reports 90% of campus fully vaccinated even without vaccine mandate

Wisconsin State Journal

UW-Madison reported on Thursday that nine out of every 10 members of the campus community are fully vaccinated — even without mandating students and employees to get the shot.  “I’m proud of our students and employees for taking this important step to protect themselves and others,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in an announcement. “And I’m grateful to our staff, who worked tirelessly to achieve these results.”