September 26, 2023

In a study by Everson et al. originally published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology in 1997, it was shown that “hopelessness contributes to accelerated progression of carotid atherosclerosis, particularly among men with early evidence of atherosclerosis and that chronically high levels of hopelessness may be especially detrimental.”
A study by Whipple et al. published in 2009 showed similar results in women: “Among middle aged women, higher levels of hopelessness are associated with greater subclinical atherosclerosis independent of age, race, income, cardiovascular risk factors, and depressive symptoms.”
While additional studies try to analyze the role of other factors, these studies show it is important for us to know that our mental or psychological status can affect our body, our physical status.
Atherosclerosis is the thickening or hardening of arteries, the blood vessels through which oxygenated blood passes through to deliver oxygen and nutrients to our body organs.
The so-called vital organs – the brain and the heart are often discussed – low or no blood flow to the brain can cause stroke. No or low blood flow to the heart can cause heart attack. But we also have to remember that even other parts of the body can be affected, like the lower extremities.
When blood flow to our limbs is decreased or cut off, we develop leg pains, cramps, or gangrene, and a worse scenario is leg amputation especially among persons with risk factors like diabetes mellitus and smoking.
Atherosclerosis is due to the buildup of plaque in the intima, the inner lining of arteries. This lining is thin and very delicate and fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, fibrin, and calcium can form deposits on it. These deposits build up the wall of the artery thickens.
Lockdowns are being eased up and anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness can in part be solved by increasing our social interactions, going out to enjoy nature, and to have much-needed break. We do this while observing basic social distancing and masking. And while the role or usefulness of face shields is being studied and we await official guidelines, use one when you are in crowded areas and in enclosed spaces.

The United Kingdom has already authorized and approved the use of the antiviral pill Molnupiravir for high-risk Covid-19 patients and is the first country to do so. The capsule can be taken by persons who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, have mild to moderate disease, and have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness – obesity, age over 60 years old, or heart disease. Authorization in the United States is expected in December. It has been shown that the drug significantly lowers the risk of hospitalization and death from the viral infection by as much as 50 percent.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of another cocktail of monoclonal antibodies – bamlaminivimab plus etesivimab for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 also in persons at risk for developing severe disease. This is in addition to two monoclonal antibodies already authorized for use – the combination of casirivimab plus imdevimab, and the mono therapy sotrovimab.

A study which purportedly showed that the drug Ivermectin could treat patients with Covid-19 has been retracted from a journal where it was published. The medical paper, “Effects of a Single Dose of Ivermectin on Viral and Clinical Outcomes in Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infected Subjects: A Pilot Clinical Trial in Lebanon,” was published in the journal Viruses in May 2021 and the American Journals of Therapeutics in June 2021 and was cited and tweeted several times and with high rank among papers on the topic. The lead author Ali Samaha of the Lebanese University of Beirut stated after he and his team revised the raw data, they “realized that a file that was used to train a research assistant was sent by mistake for analysis.”

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