New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows balance training using video games changed the brain structure of adolescents with autism and helped improve balance, posture and the severity of autism symptoms.
Brittany Travers, a UW-Madison occupational therapy professor and Waisman Center lead researcher, said she and her colleagues are interested in finding ways to better interventions that improve the motor skills of individuals with autism. She said prior research has shown balance control appears to plateau earlier in kids with autism than those without. As people age balance becomes more of a challenge for everyone, Travers said.
“But the speculation is that autistic individuals may be more at risk for falls and later in life if these balance challenges are not addressed,” Travers said.
Quoted: “We’re likely to see more infections, and those breakthrough infections can be quite serious,” said 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. “I think any place where outbreaks are likely to happen – and certainly long-term care facilities are places where that can happen – we should be concerned.”
UW Health nurses were sounding the alarm on working conditions before COVID-19 strained the health care system to the brink.
The three largest University of Wisconsin System campuses are reporting spikes in positive cases of COVID-19 weeks before the start of spring semester classes. While some of the state’s smaller, private colleges push start dates back, UW campuses say they’re starting on time and in-person.
COVID-19 testing remains in high demand as cases continue to rise. Over 12,000 Wisconsinites tested positive in one day last week, a new record.
“It’s disheartening to be in this place where so many people are sick and there aren’t enough tests to keep up, but we can’t just pretend we aren’t sick, infect others, and carry on with our lives,” said UW Health chief quality officer Dr. Jeff Pothof.
Fiber is the material in plant-based foods that our body’s can’t digest. For a long time, scientists thought of it as junk, says Beth Olson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Today, we know that it’s essential. Fiber feeds the bacteria in our guts, which could have an indirect effect on everything from our mood to our immune systems, Olson says.
A local news report in Wisconsin quoting the lead doctor on the University of Wisconsin Health’s Moderna vaccine trial for children 6 months to 4 years old caused a stir on Covid and science Twitter over the weekend. That’s because he said FDA had again asked vaccine manufacturers to add a few hundred more kids to their trials. (Pros may recall this first happened over the summer.)
UW Hospital has had 65 to 80 COVID-19 patients the past two weeks, about 15% of total volume, spokesperson Emily Kumlien said.
Health officials in Dane Co. have already been sounding the alarm about running out of beds. UW Health’s Dr. Jeffery Pothof said last week the hospital is at 100% capacity, “trading patient for patient,” as it tries to help everyone coming to its doors.
In a study published Tuesday, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of sociology Jenna Nobles found those with irregular periods in states with restrictions may be less likely to access legal abortion.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says in its latest report that COVID-19 cases among children have reached the highest case count ever reported since the start of the pandemic — and hospitalizations are rising across the country.
In Wisconsin, 13 pediatric patients on average are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 every day, according to federal data for the week ending Jan. 5. That’s a 71 percent increase from the previous week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That number is concerning to UW Health pediatrician Dr. James Conway.
“You know we’re certainly seeing more hospitalizations in adults. But kids, we’re still worried that we’re actually on the front end of the curve,” Conway said.
Quoted: Ajay Sethi, associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explained that “viruses like SARS-CoV-2 evolve as they replicate in a person with infection and as they spread from one person to the next. When that evolutionary process yields a strain that has a genetic make-up which is very different from the original virus, it is considered a ‘variant.’ ”
He added that “a virus is a ‘variant of concern’ if it has the potential to threaten the pandemic response in some way. It may be more infectious than other variants, cause more severe illness, not be detectable by current tests, less affected by current treatments, partially escape immunity provided by current vaccines, or a combination of these.”
Some private colleges and universities in Wisconsin are delaying the start of spring semester classes, requiring negative COVID-19 tests or vaccinations and boosters for students and employees amid a rapid surge of new COVID-19 infections. At the same time, the University of Wisconsin System says students “will return on-time and as normal” for classes starting this month.
Quoted: “This current increase is being fueled by the new omicron variant, which is more infectious than delta” — until recently, the predominant variant of the virus in Wisconsin, said Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist and faculty director of the master’s degree in public health program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
According to a news release from UW Health spokesperson Emily Kumlien, UW has supplies of the two new oral antiviral pills, Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir, to treat a total of 40 people. UW Health hospitalist Dr. Bartho Caponi said the short supply will keep new treatments restricted to people in the most need.
UW Health’s chief quality officer Dr. Jeff Pothof said the health system is “extremely short staffed right now.” “We’re doing our best to care for as many patients as we can, but the need is outpacing our capacity,” said Pothof. “With COVID cases rising and staff out because they’re awaiting test results or have tested positive, we’re hitting our limits.”
Ellen Samuels has spent a lot of hours in loud, cramped MRI machines.
She said medical personnel would give her these “little headphones” to play music, but the sound of banging metal coils and vibrating electrical pulses all but muted that music.
So to pass the time, she would craft poems in her head. Without the ability to jot them down, she imagined haiku because the five-seven-five-syllable format was easier to remember.
‘Dry January’ is a New Year’s resolution where participants go alcohol-free for the first month of the year, and UW Health has tips to help you keep that resolution.
UW Health’s Dr. Jeffery Pothof says the hospital is at 100% capacity, “trading patient for patient,” as it tries to help everyone coming to its doors.
Children’s hospitals, including one in Madison, are strained with children fighting coronavirus, and a mix of factors explains why kids are the latest targets of the pandemic. “We’ve had more kids with COVID in the last couple of months, and certainly in the last month, that I can recall at any point in the pandemic,” said Dr. James Conway, a pediatric infectious disease physician and medical director of UW Health’s immunization program.
Pediatric vaccinations against COVID-19 are lagging, and UW Health reports it could be a cause for rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“With our hospitals as full as they are, we have needed to turn down the majority of the many daily transfer requests we’ve received recently,” said a spokesperson for UW Health.
UW Health, a spokesperson said, is forced to decline most transfer requests every day right now as they battle a COVID-19 surge amid a lack of beds and staff.
Despite a federal effort to expand lung cancer screenings to more individuals, research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows Black and Hispanic individuals were still less likely to be eligible for screenings than white counterparts.
Quoted: Dr. Nasia Safdar, Medical Director of Infection Control at UW Health, and Dr. Jeff Pothof, an emergency physician and chief quality officer with the UW Health system.
One of the largest health systems in southern Wisconsin said Tuesday it is on the brink of having more patients than it can treat.
Rooms are running out and medical staff are stretched thin at UW Health facilities as the Omicron variant drives a new surge of COVID-19 cases, the health system is warning. On Tuesday, UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof cautioned that if this trend continues, they may not have space or staff needed to care for the number of patients they are getting.
Nurse sharks (Ginglymostomatidae) are slow-moving, bottom-dwelling predators that stalk prey in warm shallow waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In a new study published in Nature Communications, scientists suggest the sharks could lend a fin in a new, more effective treatment for Covid-19.
Quoted: “If you’re a virus and you turn off the innate immune system, it’s like a thief cutting off the alarms in a bank in order to sneak in,” said Thomas Friedrich, a professor in the department of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.
The latest COVID-19 wave has hit the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program.
UW officials announced that the Badgers’ game set for Thursday night against George Mason has been canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests in the UW program.
University of Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not travel to Las Vegas for UW’s bowl game.
McIntosh must quarantine for 10 days.
“I would encourage everyone to follow the advice of medical professionals and get vaccinated, boosted, tested and wear a mask,” McIntosh said. “Those mitigation measures may not keep us from contracting COVID, but there’s a good chance they will keep us from having a severe outcome.”
The latest COVID-19 wave that is sweeping across the University of Wisconsin campus has affected the UW football team.
Multiple sources close to the program told the Journal Sentinel Saturday both players and staffers tested positive in recent days and that the Badgers would be short-handed when they face Arizona State Thursday in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Although some may fear sharks when swimming in open waters, these often misunderstood creatures may hold a way to help protect us from the coronavirus, new research suggests. As one of the ocean’s top predators, sharks have antibody-like proteins that can stop the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study published Dec. 16.
UW Health is using virtual meeting technology to expand the use of eICU programs amidst a new wave of COVID-19, UW Health said Friday. According to UW Health, rural hospitals throughout Wisconsin are facing difficulties as emergency rooms continue to reach capacity.
The UW Carbone Cancer Center reflected on some of the lifesaving innovations and research done since that day, including a procedure called Mohs Surgery to treat patients with skin cancer and one of the most widely-used chemotherapy drugs in the world known as 5-FU.
Quoted: In Wisconsin, there were more deaths than births for the first time since the state began keeping vital records, said demographer David Egan-Robertson of the Applied Population Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“It’s just been a complete sea change in terms of how we view the population,” Egan-Robertson said.
About 1,000 University of Wisconsin students working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible for a new tuition incentive.
The University of Wisconsin system will offer healthcare students new incentives for working on COVID-19 front lines.
President Tommy Thompson announced Wednesday that a thousand students will be eligible for a $500 tuition incentive for working in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
According to a new research, peptides could be more effective to treat diabetes if they were more flexible and could move back and forth between different shapes.
The study has been published in the ‘Nature Chemical Biology Journal’.
The findings could help improve drug design for these diabetes drugs and possibly other therapeutic peptides.
After a fall semester that appears free from the major COVID-19 outbreaks and testing problems associated with last school year, complaints are dropping in the final days before winter break begins. Students find themselves frustrated, scrambling to secure an elusive COVID-19 test during an already stressful time and amid a rise in campus cases.
“It’s going to be harder to attract people and to pay them,” said David Kreling, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy. “If there’s not a generational thing where someone can sit down with their son or daughter and say that they could take the store over, there’s a good chance that pharmacy will evaporate.”
Dr. Bill Hartman, who runs the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine trial
for kids 6 months to 5 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, thinks a vaccine for this age group could be available as early as the “first month or two” of 2022.
Even that isn’t fast enough for some parents, but having worked on several trials during the pandemic, Hartman has been impressed with how quickly things can move when there are dedicated volunteers.
“I feel lucky to live in a city that has a population of people that really want to help us get answers so we can end this pandemic,” he said. “I tell the volunteers all the time that someday in the future, they will be able to tell a story about how they helped save the world.”
As a surge of COVID-19 cases put further stress on rural hospitals, UW Health is helping out.The hospital’s eICU program gives UW Health experts a chance to help other hospitals that may not have enough intensive care units or expertise on site.
Rural hospitals throughout Wisconsin are facing a daunting task caused by a new wave of COVID-19 cases in their emergency rooms corresponding with already full hospitals.
Noted: Abrams said his organization also is working with the University of Wisconsin System to provide a $500 tuition credit to UW students who work in a health care facility over winter break, which is typically a month in length.
The state Legislative Audit Bureau released its annual financial audit of the University of Wisconsin System Tuesday.
While the precautions taken last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also resulted in an astounding drop in typical flu cases too, health officials at UW Health warn not to expect a similar reprieve this winter.
According to UW Health medical director Dr. Jim Conway, flu cases are already increasing in Wisconsin, further straining the state’s hospitals.
Cases surge in Dane County with nearly 150 confirmed cases.
This holiday weekend, AAA expects over 100 million Americans to travel. But state health leaders urge unvaccinated people to reconsider.
“If they’re not [vaccinated], really, it’s important that folks do not try to gather,” Dr. Jeff Pothof said.
According to the UW Health Chief Quality Officer, only a group of people who are fully vaccinated with a booster shot should get together during Christmas time.
Quoted: “If you’re vaccinated and boosted, holiday celebrations for the most part pose really low risk,” UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof said.
For unvaccinated people, that’s not the case. If someone gets vaccinated or boosted now, they won’t be fully protected by Christmas Day, but Pothof said some protection is better than none.
“The best day to get your booster shot, if you haven’t gotten it, is today, as soon as possible,” Pothof said.
Quoted: “We’ve entered a convergence of timing here of cases are rising,” said. Dr. Dan Shirley, an infectious disease physician with UW Health. “There’s this kind of variant question, and obviously the holiday season is an important time to get together.”
Noted: Zuckerman dedicates nine pages to Jon Wolff, an mRNA pioneer at the University of Wisconsin at Madison School of Medicine. In 1990, Wolff and several colleagues published an article about “the first successful use of mrna” that could be used as a vaccine, as it ultimately was for Pfizer and Moderna.