May 15, 2024
“Long colds” do exist and share characteristics with long covid

“Long colds” do exist and share characteristics with long covid

Jan Willem Elte, The Netherlands For many years we  know that patients may continue to have complaints long after an acute infection (mostly viral) has vanished. New research now sheds light on some of the problems associated with the post viral syndrome. Until now no good explanation for these lasting complaints has been found and also no cure. Well-known viral infection diseases such as influenza, Q-fever, Epstein-Barr virus and mononucleosis infectiosa (M.Pfeiffer) have resulted in long-lasting periods of complaints, described as post-viral disease. Nowadays these complaints have been taken together and called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). ME/MFS is a complex, chronic condition influenced by multiple factors and it received its name because despite extensive research no definitive cause or tools with which to diagnose it are available. The condition results in debilitating symptoms with extreme fatigue, unfreshing sleep, difficulty in recovering from exertion, cognitive dysfunction and immune system abnormalities. It may last for years with little or no improvement. Moreover, these complaints are quite frequent and are non-specific. Infections may just be one of the causes and indeed after certain infections some persons experience durable symptoms.  Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, infection with SARS-CoV-2 […]
March 22, 2024

FDIME activities during ECIM 2024, 5 – 9 March in Istanbul

FDIME activities during ECIM 2024, 5 -9 March in Istanbul All session participants togetherThe booth with two congress participantsThe session participants with some of the colleagues from the audience Previous slide Next slide During the EUROPEAN CONGRESS of INTERNAL MEDICINE (ECIM) in Istanbul the Foundation for the Development of Internal Medicine in Europe (FDIME) was involved in a variety of activities. All FDIME Board members present (Daniel Sereni, Ramon Pujol, Jan Willem Elte, Runolfur Palsson, Lorenzo Dagna, Chris Davidson) gave presentations and/or acted as chairpersons of sessions or members of a jury. During the opening ceremony of the congress Jan Willem Elte presented a tribute to Werner Bauer, past EFIM President and FDIME Board member, who passed away at the end of January 2024. For the third time there was a combined FDIME/EFIM patient session on Wednesday March 6, mainly organized by members of the FDIME Management Team and chaired by Daniel Sereni and Ricardo Gomez Huelgas. After a short introduction about the recent activities of FDIME entitled “Internists, health communications and FDIME”and presented by Jan Willem Elte, two Turkish patients gave their view after being introduced by Akif Bayyagit, an internists from Istanbul, who also took care of the […]
February 15, 2024

Metabolically healthy obesity (MHO)

Jan Willem Elte, The Netherlands Obesity is one of the most devastating disorders of the present time and its preavalence is rapidly rising. Obesity is a heterogenous condition with multiple different phenotypes. Metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUO) carries a large number of adverse metabolic changes , but metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) is considered to display a relatively favorable metabolic profile. A recent comprehensive review article in the European Journal of Internal Medicine (Tanriover et al Eur J Int Med 111 (2023), 5-20) provides a good overview of the problem and will be summarized in this newsletter. The format of the article will be followed. Although MHO is considered to display a relatively favorable metabolic profile, it is still associated with a number of chronic diseases and has the potential risk of progression into the unhealthy phenotype. Therefore, it should not be considered as an entirely benign or “healthy” condition. Definition A first problem is the definition, as there are more than 30 different definitions of  MHO available. The most commonly used definitions of MHO define it as the absence of any metabolic as well as cardiovascular (cv) disorder in an obese individual (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m²), including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, […]
December 20, 2023

Sepsis

From: Salud (About Health) PABLO PÉREZ MARTÍNEZ, JOSÉ MANUEL RAMOS RINCÓN, ANA MAESTRE PEIRÓ Sepsis is a reaction of the body to an infection caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and even fungi. When our defenses are not able to eliminate the infection by microorganisms or their toxins, we react by producing substances such as interleukins, which spread through the bloodstream, causing a generalized inflammatory reaction in the body to the infection. Sepsis is a medical emergency and if not diagnosed and treated early, it can be life-threatening, leading to irreversible tissue damage, septic shock, and multiple organ failure. This extreme reaction of the body to an infection especially affects vital organs such as the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, etc., which are damaged; this is what we know as sepsis. Therefore, sepsis is not a disease in itself, but arises when there is a poorly regulated response of the body to an infection that damages the person’s own tissues and organs and threatens the person’s life. If there is no timely intervention and there is significant damage to multiple organs so that they stop functioning, the patient’s life is in danger. We call this critical phase septic shock. The […]
November 29, 2023
Nurse injects patient with Covid-19 vaccine

Should we take a covid-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine and if so can we take them together? Yes!

Jan Willem Elte The Netherlands and Daniel Sereni France Covid 19 new vaccine is indicated for all people at risk of getting severely ill from a covid infection. The vaccines proposed this fall are active against currently circulating variants of covid.  Vaccination is important for you and others. Side effects may occur but are mild in vast majority of people as shown by reports from tens of millions of doses given so far. European national health agencies (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control = ECDC and Eropean Medicines Agency = EMA) as well as NHS in the UK advice to take both vaccinations for covid-19 and flu well before the winter. The current covid-19 vaccine is the one directed to the new BA.286. There are generally three vaccines available: from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax. The flu vaccine is one of those developed  this year based on the flu viruses of last year. It appears that both vaccines indeed can be taken at the same time without problems. Coadministration was not associated with substantially inferior immune response or to more frequent adverse events compared with covid-19  vaccine administration alone. It is recommanded to have each vaccine injected in a different […]
August 28, 2023
Plastic in ocean

The success story of plastic – but what is the price?

Verena Briner, Switzerland Plastics are synthetic products that consist of organic polymers and additives such as bisphenol, ophthalates and flame retardants. Plastic is produced from coal, crude oil and natural gas, and it’s most useful properties are: it is easy to produce, hydrophobic, light, cheap and indestructible. Plastic has been widely used in toys, kitchenware, packaging, construction, electrical industry, machinery and other industries. Due to its properties, the annual production of plastic has increased exponentially worldwide since the 1950s, and reached ca. 400 million tons per year worldwide in 2020. The 7 most used plastics are: polyethylene tetraphthalate (PET), high density polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and bisphenol (BP). This durability is -on the other hand- the biggest disadvantage of plastic. Littering of single use- plastic products such as PET bottles, coffee cups, plates, bags, etc. results in enormous pollution. Worldwide only 9% of the plastic waste is recycled. Every year more than 2 million tons of plastic reach the sea and the world oceans. Up to 2020 more than 30 million tons of plastic accumulated in the oceans and up to 110 million tons in rivers. The major part of plastic […]
June 30, 2023
Vitamins supplementation in healthy people

Vitamins supplementation in healthy people

Daniel Sereni, France A large proportion of adults in western countries regularly take vitamins supplements. This represents a huge market. But is it useful? It is well established that vitamins are essential for our health. Vitamin deficiencies provoke diseases and foetal and developmental abnormalities. Children are receiving vitamin D supplements for Ricketts prevention and some elderly people need vitamin D because of proven deficiency. There are indications for folic acid (a group B vitamin) supplementation during pregnancy in defined situations. Vitamin deficiency may result from insufficient intake or absorption, and this can lead to serious complications. Deficiency has also to be prevented or corrected in some diseases (for example intestinal or liver disease) or when people are given certain treatments that interfere with the absorption or the metabolism of vitamins. But millions of people without any recognised or suspected deficiency take vitamins every day (usually “multivitamins“). They do so because some medical publications have suggested that vitamin supplements can prevent major and frequent illnesses like cardio-vascular disease and cancer. Most of these assumptions were based on observational studies. There have been also a few randomised clinical trials comparing the outcome of people receiving a vitamin supplement compared to a group receiving […]
May 19, 2023
Anemia is a major but treatable global health problem

Anemia is a major but treatable global health problem

Stefan Lindgren, Sweden and Maria Cappellini, Italy Anemia is the result of a decrease in the level of hemoglobin and too few circulating red blood cells, resulting in poor oxygen delivery to tissues and organs in the body. Anemia may therefore lead to lack of physical and mental capacity, tiredness, loss of breath during physical effort and several other symptoms. In addition, the reason behind anemia may cause additional symptoms from various organ systems. Anemia is a major global health problem with severe consequences for millions of people, particularly young and pregnant women. Moreover, anemia in the elderly though often mild, is quite common and independently associated with important clinical outcomes including decreased quality of life, risk of falls and fractures, cognitive decline, increased length of hospital stay and even mortality. It is often difficult to dissect the cause(s) of anemia in the elderly which is typically multifactorial and a limited diagnostic approach often leads to categorization of the anemia as “unexplained”. The principal mechanisms behind anemia are failure to produce red blood cells due to diseases in the bone marrow, lack of essential components of hemoglobin such as iron, folic acid and vitamin B 12, shorter survival of red […]
April 19, 2023
What are endocrine disruptors and why you should know

What are endocrine disruptors and why you should know

Aart Jan van der Lely, The Netherlands Endocrine disruptors are chemical substances that can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones that regulate various body functions. These chemicals can mimic or block the action of hormones, leading to an imbalance in the body’s hormonal system. There are many sources of endocrine disruptors, including pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals. They can also be found in certain plastics, personal care products, and food packaging. The most well-known endocrine disruptor is probably bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in many plastics and has been linked to a number of health problems, including fertility issues and cancer. Endocrine disruptors can have a range of harmful effects on human health, depending on the specific chemical and the amount of exposure. Some of the potential health impacts include: Reproductive problems: Endocrine disruptors can affect the normal functioning of the reproductive system, leading to infertility, birth defects, and other reproductive problems. Cancer: Some endocrine disruptors have been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Developmental problems: Exposure to endocrine disruptors during fetal development and early childhood can lead to […]