• Laura Johnson

The Pulse: January 2020 Edition


Keep your finger on The Pulse of what's happening in health care. We deliver monthly hig

hlights of the developments shaping our exciting field. From the origin of the mysterious coronavirus to the latest provider salary data for 2020, this is what you need to know. Click here to sign up for our email newsletter!

New Study Unveils Mysterious Origin of the Coronavirus


The World Health Organization just declared the deadly coronavirus a global health emergency, but the rest of the world had already sprung into action way before the declaration, with several countries scrambling to evacuate their citizens from central China. Even major companies like Google, Apple and Starbucks have closed their doors in thousands of their Chinese locations, and even more airlines have suspended flights to and from the country.


So far, 171 fatalities and over 8,000 cases have been reported across the globe. The U.S. has confirmed six cases of the virus: two in California, one in Washington, one in Arizona and the first American person-to person transmission in Illinois.


Though the coronavirus isn’t nearly as threatening as this year’s flu season, the panic surrounding it is due mostly to its mysterious origin. One thing’s for sure though—it definitely has nothing to do with Corona beer, contrary to popular belief.


A study published January 29th discovered a new lead on where the virus may have come from. Researchers analyzed 10 genome sequences from samples found in nine patients carrying the coronavirus. They found that these sequences were all nearly identical, with less than 0.02% variation in genetic composition. This discovery suggests that the virus came from a single source that only recently transferred to humans.


Now the question is: what was the vector? Most of the initial cases of the virus were traced back to a Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China, where various species of wild animals were sold. The researchers compared their genetic sequences to a database of viral sequences and found that the ones most similar, sharing 88% of genetic composition, were two coronaviruses that originated in bats.


Yet another piece of the puzzle is missing though. The researchers note that because bats were not among the animals sold at the Hua seafood market, there must be an intermediate vector that transferred the virus from bats to humans. One possible suspect is snakes, which were sold at the market.


Prenatal Exposure to Tobacco and Alcohol Linked to SIDS


The causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have evaded scientists since the discovery of the disease, hence its name. Yet the disease is still the leading cause of death among infants under the age of one in the U.S. Thankfully, however, the rates of SIDS have declined significantly over the last three decades since 1990, but until now scientists had no clue as to why.


A recent study showed that infants born to mothers who both drank and smoked beyond their first trimester were 12 times more likely to die from SIDS. This research suggests that the decline in SIDS may be linked to declining smoking rates, which in the U.S. dropped from 25.5% in 1990 to 13.7% in 2018.


While this is an important first step in understanding the mysterious SIDS, researchers acknowledge that subsequent studies should further investigate how these prenatal toxins from tobacco and alcohol interact with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (NAchRs) and other neurotransmitters that affect cardiorespiratory control and sleep patterns in infants.


Get the Latest Provider Salary Data for 2020


Want to know what you should be paying your medical staff or what you yourself should be making? We have the latest salary and pay rate data updated every quarter for all locations and specialties. The best part is we’ll pull your custom report for free!


Just email us at hello@iconsn.com with the specialty you need, the city in which the facility is located and whether the job is locum tenens or permanent, and we’ll send you a detailed report of the latest salary and/or pay rate data.

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