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Why People Lie About COVID; Don’t Mess With Dopamine; and Older Patients Mixing Meds

Why People Lie About COVID

Almost half of people lie about their COVID-19 status, vaccinations, or behavior. And those are just the people who admit it, according to a survey in JAMA Network Open.

Some 41.6% of survey respondents admitted that they lied about COVID-19 or didn’t adhere to guidelines; about 20% of people who were infected failed to mention it when meeting someone, and a similar percentage said that they kept it secret when entering a public place. About 20% failed to report a positive status when seeing a healthcare provider.

Vaccination status: About 10% of nonvaccinated respondents said that they lied about their status. Surprisingly, 15% of vaccinated respondents said that they told someone that they weren’t.

Who lied most: People aged 18-29 years were most likely to lie about their COVID-19 status; older people were more honest about theirs.

Why? The reasons people lied included wanting life to feel normal (50%), freedom (45%), it’s no one’s business (40%) and COVID-19 isn’t real (30%).

We Shouldn’t Mess With Dopamine

Dopamine is now widely considered to be a “happy hormone” and is viewed as an important factor in the treatment of everything from Parkinson’s disease to schizophrenia to addiction.

Recent science suggests that dopamine is linked to reward prediction; response to stress, memory, and learning; and immune system function. But since its first synthesis in the early 20th century, dopamine has frequently been misunderstood and oversimplified, which persists today. Some warn clinicians to be cautious when prescribing drugs that have an inhibitory action on the neurotransmitter.

Misunderstood: Scientists routinely misunderstood the importance of dopamine, its precursor levodopa, and its antecedent noradrenaline.

Oversimplified: It was hailed as a potential treatment for schizophrenia and addiction by a flood of poor research in the 2010s.

The Complicated Landscape of Seniors and Medications

Older people who take multiple medications and the people who care for them face a daunting challenge keeping them all straight. To deal with potential problems, the American Medical Association issued a new policy, “Reducing Polypharmacy as a Significant Contributor to Senior Morbidity.”

The new policy aims to create a network of caretakers to educate patients about the significant effects of all medications and supplements. It encourages pharmacists, doctors, and caregivers to teach patients to bring updated lists of all medications and supplements to each point of care.

“There’s an inverse relationship between the number of prescriptions a patient takes and their longevity,” said Tom James III, MD, a Kentucky-based physician who championed the new policy.

Multiple issues: Drugs are tested for side effects but not in combination, and doctors receive training for adding medications but not for subtracting them.

Communication breakdown: A person may have multiple physicians who prescribe medications, and the doctors may not be on the same page about them.

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