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Womens Midlife Health ; 8(1): 5, 2022 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775356


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges that disproportionately impacted women. Household roles typically performed by women (such as resource acquisition and caretaking) became more difficult due to financial strain, fear of infection, and limited childcare options among other concerns. This research draws from an on-going study of hot flashes and brown adipose tissue to examine the health-related effects of the COVID-19 pandemic among 162 women aged 45-55 living in western Massachusetts. METHODS: We compared women who participated in the study pre- and early pandemic with women who participated mid-pandemic and later-pandemic (when vaccines became widely available). We collected self-reported symptom frequencies (e.g., aches/stiffness in joints, irritability), and assessments of stress, depression, and physical activity through questionnaires as well as measures of adiposity (BMI and percent body fat). Additionally, we asked open-ended questions about how the pandemic influenced women's health and experience of menopause. Comparisons across pre-/early, mid-, and later pandemic categories were carried out using ANOVA and Chi-square analyses as appropriate. The Levene test for homogeneity of variances was examined prior to each ANOVA. Open-ended questions were analyzed for yes/no responses and general themes. RESULTS: Contrary to our hypothesis that women would suffer negative health-related consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic, we found no significant differences in women's health-related measures or physical activity across the pandemic. However, our analysis of open-ended responses revealed a bi-modal distribution of answers that sheds light on our unexpected findings. While some women reported higher levels of stress and anxiety and lower levels of physical activity, other women reported benefitting from the remote life that the pandemic imposed and described having more time to spend on physical activity or in quality time with their families. CONCLUSIONS: In this cross-sectional comparison of women during the pre-/early, mid-, and later-pandemic, we found no significant differences across means in multiple health-related variables. However, open-ended questions revealed that while some women suffered health-related effects during the pandemic, others experienced conditions that improved their health and well-being. The differential results of this study highlight a need for more nuanced and intersectional research on risk, vulnerabilities, and coping among mid-life women.

Water Res X ; 12: 100111, 2021 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331293


Wastewater surveillance for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA can be integrated with COVID-19 case data to inform timely pandemic response. However, more research is needed to apply and develop systematic methods to interpret the true SARS-CoV-2 signal from noise introduced in wastewater samples (e.g., from sewer conditions, sampling and extraction methods, etc.). In this study, raw wastewater was collected weekly from five sewersheds and one residential facility. The concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples were compared to geocoded COVID-19 clinical testing data. SARS-CoV-2 was reliably detected (95% positivity) in frozen wastewater samples when reported daily new COVID-19 cases were 2.4 or more per 100,000 people. To adjust for variation in sample fecal content, four normalization biomarkers were evaluated: crAssphage, pepper mild mottle virus, Bacteroides ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and human 18S rRNA. Of these, crAssphage displayed the least spatial and temporal variability. Both unnormalized SARS-CoV-2 RNA signal and signal normalized to crAssphage had positive and significant correlation with clinical testing data (Kendall's Tau-b (τ)=0.43 and 0.38, respectively), but no normalization biomarker strengthened the correlation with clinical testing data. Locational dependencies and the date associated with testing data impacted the lead time of wastewater for clinical trends, and no lead time was observed when the sample collection date (versus the result date) was used for both wastewater and clinical testing data. This study supports that trends in wastewater surveillance data reflect trends in COVID-19 disease occurrence and presents tools that could be applied to make wastewater signal more interpretable and comparable across studies.

Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(6)2021 03 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1145614


Early in the coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) containment strategy, people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) were identified as extremely clinically vulnerable and subsequently asked to 'shield' at home where possible. The aim of this study was to investigate how these restrictions and the transition to an increased reliance on telemedicine within clinical care of people living with kidney disease impacted the physical activity (PA), wellbeing and quality of life (QoL) of adults dialysing at home (HHD) or receiving in-centre haemodialysis (ICHD) in the UK. Individual semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with adults receiving HHD (n = 10) or ICHD (n = 10), were transcribed verbatim and, subsequently, thematically analysed. As result of the COVID-19 restrictions, PA, wellbeing and QoL of people with ESRD were found to have been hindered. However, widespread support for the continued use of telemedicine was strongly advocated and promoted independence and satisfaction in patient care. These findings highlight the need for more proactive care of people with ESRD if asked to shield again, as well as increased awareness of safe and appropriate PA resources to help with home-based PA and emotional wellbeing.

COVID-19 , Coronavirus , Kidney Failure, Chronic , Telemedicine , Adult , Exercise , Humans , Kidney Failure, Chronic/therapy , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom