After Years Of Being Blamed For Everything, The World Turns To Video Games To Escape During Coronavirus Shut-In
High Blood Pressure of Pregnancy Tied to Developmental Problems in Children
Pre-eclampsia — the high blood pressure of pregnancy — can be harmful and even fatal to the mother. Now a new study suggests that children exposed to pre-eclampsia may be at increased risk for a number of developmental problems.
Researchers used a Norwegian health database to study 980,560 children, of whom 28,068 were exposed to pre-eclampsia in full-term pregnancies. The study, in JAMA Psychiatry, followed the children for an average of five years, some as long as 14 years.
After adjusting for birth weight, sex, the mother’s age, parental educational level and immigration status, they found that exposure to pre-eclampsia was associated with a 50 percent increase in the relative risk for epilepsy, a 50 percent increased risk for intellectual disability and a 21 percent increased risk for vision or hearing loss.
Pre-eclampsia also increased the risk for cerebral palsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder.
The senior author, Dr. Allen J. Wilcox, an investigator emeritus at the National Institutes of Health, emphasized that these numbers represent an increase in relative risks, and that the absolute risk of these developmental disorders in full-term babies is very small. So any potential increase in the number of cases would be very small. The study also showed only an association, so could not prove cause and effect.
The reason for the association is unknown, he said, and “women with pre-eclampsia shouldn’t add this to their list of things to worry about. But we were surprised to see in this large database evidence that pre-eclampsia was increasing the risk for a wide spectrum of neurodevelopmental problems.”
Ex-Wife Sick. Daughter Sick. 3 Friends Dead. Everyone Knows Someone.
A New York City Housing Authority retiree ticked off his running tally: an ex-wife sick, a daughter sick, and three old friends dead. In Queens, a young poet learned a friend’s parents are in the hospital, one on a ventilator.
And Qtina Parson of Parkchester, the Bronx, gave a grim reversal of the cheerful family updates one expects from the proud mother, sister and aunt that she used to sound like just a couple of weeks — a lifetime — ago.
“My nephew — sick, he’s 28,” she said. “Him and his girlfriend. My sister-in-law, she’s 46, she had it.” Her son, Marcus, 18, is with relatives in South Carolina, where he has developed a fever and a cough. “But he’s out there cutting grass,” she added, as if saying this aloud would make it true: “I’m telling him it’s his allergies.”
New Yorkers have watched in helpless fear as the coronavirus, with dizzying speed and ferocity, truly took hold of the city in recent days. With more than 1,500 dead, many have already lost someone in their circle — a co-worker, an old friend from high school, the parent of a child’s classmate. The parish priest, the elderly neighbor upstairs. A mother, a father.
Almost everyone now knows someone who is sick.
The story is told in the numbers: There were nearly 52,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in New York City as of Thursday. But the reality of its reach is far worse — one study of cases in China suggested that up to 10 times the people who have tested positive may be infected, which could make the true number in the city close to half a million. And the apex is believed to still be weeks away.
The rising numbers have conversely shrunk the private worlds of some eight million individual people. It is as if the microscopic enemy, once an abstract nuisance to many, something happening someplace else, seemed to be closing in, its arrival announced with the now-constant peal of the ambulance siren.
If the pandemic can be thought of as playing out in weeks — the week the restaurants closed, the week schools closed, stores closed — this has been the week its true grip was felt throughout the city.
“It is the great equalizer,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday at a briefing. “I don’t care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are. I don’t care how young, how old.”
To many, the rules of engagement suddenly changed this week.
“They were saying, ‘just if you’re immuno-compromised,’” said M. Marbella, 27, a poet and writer who recently learned that a friend’s parents were both in the hospital. “Now everyone’s dropping like flies.”
The speed could make it feel unreal. A person who enjoyed dinner in Manhattan before attending a Broadway show exactly one month ago could today be sick, mourning a family member, out of a job or all of the above. There was next to nothing to compare it to; thousands lost a loved one on Sept. 11, but those losses arrived in a single terrible day, in an instant. Some reached further back to find a comparison, to World War II or the Spanish flu of 1918, or beyond.
“It’s like the plague from England from the 14th century,” said Max Debarros, 67, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
It is a plague playing out not only on the streets, but also on the screens, racing through people’s Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds as old friends and friends of friends announced personal losses. The threat seems to be everywhere.
“Every day on social media, we see someone new,” said Audrey Cardwell, 30, of Sunnyside, Queens. At first skeptical of the outbreak’s potential — “it felt like fearmongering” — she now seeks ways to address the anxiety she feels, through meditation and walks with her dog. “I have to monitor how much I’m reading and scrolling,” she said.
Likewise, Leora Fuller, 33, of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, who said two of her students at Rutgers University-Newark had been hospitalized, is focusing more on friendships and her own well-being. “Real care,” she said, “like not, ‘Oh, I’m going to buy something for myself.’”
Other means of coping play out across the city. Aurelio Aguilar, 36, at work in a bodega on the Lower East Side, drinks a concoction of ginger, lemon and mashed garlic, his grandmother’s recipe to boost the immune system. In Fort Greene, Aidan Sleeper, 36, carries a homemade mix of 30-to-1 water and bleach and sprays every doorknob he’s about to touch.
In Long Island City, Queens, Glenn Harris, 54, celebrated a birthday last week with 20 friends on the videoconferencing platform Zoom — “people from all over the country,” he said. At the same time, Andy Arroyo, 35, planned for the worst and spoke of the gun he’s owned since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.
“It may seem like an overreaction, but you really can’t predict how people will act during desperate times,” said Mr. Arroyo, who lives in Port Chester, in Westchester County, and was on the way to a potential job in the Bronx. “I need to make sure myself and my loved ones are safe.”
Americans over all, not just in large cities, are feeling the arrival of the coronavirus in their own lives. A Civiqs/Daily Kos poll this past week asking 1,505 adults in the United States about the pandemic found that 13 percent had been infected or knew someone who had, and that 60 percent worried they would become sick.
The coronavirus was an abstract concept to Cat Harper, 59, in the Bronx, until word arrived that members of her family’s church in Long Island City were becoming ill. Then, her sister began coughing, and it wouldn’t go away.
Her sister tested positive and was admitted to Montefiore Medical Center several days ago. “I was starting to get scared that I might not get to see her ever again,” Ms. Harper said. She called, but many days her sister’s throat was so sore she could barely speak.
“She was seeing all the other people around her, a lot of them way sicker than she was,” Ms. Harper said. “She was probably thinking that would happen to her.”
Instead, she recovered and was released to quarantine at home. Other families have had much worse outcomes.
“There are people that are close to me, that I know, who are sick,” said Angelo Alston, 60, a retired employee of the New York City Housing Authority. “My ex-wife. My daughter. A friend of mine in Georgia that I grew up with passed away. Two other friends that I grew up with also passed.”
He moved to Pennsylvania years ago, but was back in the city after the death of a stepson from a nonviral medical condition — a terrible loss at any time, but now, also a threat, bringing family back to the city to claim his remains.
“I’m trying to get out of here,” he said.
In Fort Greene, Blair Smith, 35, was already dealing with a sick relative when she ran into a neighbor with bad news about a handyman, Jorge, whom they both knew. He had just died.
“Oh, my God,” she said. “It’s like watching a storm and you’re just watching for that moment when it really hits.”
Dion Faria, 44, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, was more annoyed than afraid when he was forced to keep his club on Pacific Street closed. Now, with Facebook friends of friends getting sick and a viral video of bodies being loaded into a refrigerated truck outside a city hospital, he finds himself imagining a time after this one.
“Hopefully, the gates open,” he said on his stoop, “and we all go back to living.”
Jo Corona, Matthew Sedacca, Jeffrey E. Singer, Alex Traub and Rebecca Liebson contributed reporting.
Selena Gomez Told Miley Cyrus She Has Bipolar Disorder
During a chat with Miley Cyrus on Instagram Live, Selena Gomez said she has bipolar disorder.
Selena joined Miley for an installment of Bright Minded: Live With Miley Instagram, where they talked about mental health, treatment, and coping mechanisms. During the chat, Selena opened up about having bipolar disorder, and her recent stay in a psychiatric hospital.
“Recently I went to one of the best mental hospitals in the world, or definitely in America, McLean Hospital. I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar,” Selena said.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition “characterized by dramatic shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels that affect a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” Around 4.4% of adults experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.
For Selena, this realization wasn’t scary or upsetting — it was a tool.
“When I … know more information it actually helps me, it doesn’t scare me once I know it. I think people get scared of that, and I’ve seen it, I’ve seen some of it in my own family where I’m like, what’s going on?” Selena said. “I just feel like, when I finally said what I was gonna say, I wanted to know everything about it and it took the fear away.”
Knowledge is certainly power, and the more we understand our mental health, the better we are able to treat it. Selena compared the benefit of knowledge to a memory from her childhood. “When I was younger, I was scared of thunderstorms and my mom bought me all these books on thunderstorms,” she said. “She was like, the more you know, the more you educate yourself on this, the more you’re not gonna be afraid. And it completely worked. That’s something that helps me big time.”
Miley agreed that understanding your mental health can help you cope. She shared her own experience with obsessive compulsive disorder, and how learning about that helped her understand herself better.
“I have OCD, I’m pretty obsessive,” Miley said. “When I was younger, it used to really make me feel like I was too different. I couldn’t understand it. I used to alphabetize things, like I would go into these little fits when I couldn’t alphabetize things. But now it’s been able to help me to learn about it and use it for good, for things like [Bright Minded] and staying organized. Doing research is a really good tool.”
Selena also shared that some of the coping mechanisms she learned from her mental health treatment have helped her through this period of self isolation. Particularly, Selena said her habit of checking in with people has been helpful.
“I’ve been writing a lot, that’s been helping me process what’s been going on,” Selena said. “I had gone to treatment a few times for anxiety and for depression and for other stuff I’ve been struggling with, and when I do meetings, a lot of it is connecting with people you haven’t been the greatest to or you may not have thought about. There’s a lot of people I’ve gotten to do that with, not necessarily saying it was bad, but just to say ‘hey, I hope you’re safe, hope you’re doing OK, and on my side I’m only sending love.’ I just want them to know I see them.”
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