Worry Relief for Kids During COVID-19

Black and white illustration of child in white baseball cap transposed over vaccine syringe, both on grass green background.

Stress, sadness and COVID-related worry in children decreased significantly after the rollout of vaccinations in adults in December 2020, according to research published in JAMA Psychiatry. “Children who are living in states with higher vaccination rates may be less worried about the future of this pandemic,” said lead author Dr. Yunyu Xiao, assistant professor of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Getting vaccinated may also affect the mental health of parents and the home environment that kids are living in."

In their research, which assessed data from 8,493 children in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, the investigators also found that social determinants of health — including food insecurity, unemployment, disrupted access to health care, and having parents who were essential workers — played an important role in children’s mental health during the pandemic. “Many of these structural and social issues existed before the pandemic but were further exacerbated by it,” Dr. Xiao said. 


Reduction in the incidence of atrial fibrillation, with no added risks or side effects, associated with a simple surgical technique during cardiac surgery, according to a study by Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian investigators that appeared in The Lancet. The findings suggest that the method, called posterior left pericardiotomy, has significant potential for preventing prolonged hospital stays and the need for additional interventions and drugs to reduce the risk of strokes and heart failure associated with atrial fibrillation.

“Previous studies were small with major limitations in study design, so there was no clear direction on whether posterior left pericardiotomy is beneficial for preventing atrial fibrillation,” said lead investigator Dr. Mario Gaudino, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Professor in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine and a cardiothoracic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Our study is the first to provide rigorous evidence of the benefits of the technique in a large group of patients at a single institution.”

“I cannot even find the words to share what that means to all our patients [living with HIV], but especially those with limited or no treatment options, or whose unique circumstances make it difficult to engage in care. Lenacapavir has the potential to be used as either a long-acting pill or a subcutaneous injection every six months, which anyone can be taught to do.”

Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer
Illustration of black and white pill with shadows giving the illusion of a door opening.

Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, director of the Dr. James J. Rahal Jr. Division of Infectious Diseases at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, describing a new therapy from Gilead Sciences that, if approved, promises to be a game-changer in the treatment of people with multidrug-resistant HIV. Dr. Segal-Maurer, a professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine who led an international study of the drug that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine, stressed that patients still need to be highly adherent to the rest of their antiretroviral medications that make up their complete regimen. Dr. Segal-Maurer is a paid consultant for Gilead Sciences.

Favorable Trade-offs for PSA Screening

Prostate cancer screening with the prostate specific antigen blood test has remarkably favorable trade-offs, particularly for Black men, who disproportionately bear the burden of prostate cancer mortality and morbidity and who are underrepresented in clinical trials. That’s according to a recent study led by investigators from Weill Cornell Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, University Hospitals Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University, which was published in NEJM Evidence.

For their calculations, lead author Dr. Spyridon Basourakos, a resident in urology at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and colleagues improved on previous estimates of overdiagnoses and overtreatment, including 11 more years of data than prior estimates; calculating estimates for men of all races, and Black men; and using complementary approaches to estimating overdiagnosis.

Under conservative assumptions about screening’s benefits, the investigators estimated that for men of all races, one death was prevented for every 11 to 14 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and every 7 to 11 men treated for the disease. For Black men, screening resulted in one death prevented for every 8 to 12 men diagnosed, and every 5 to 9 men treated. For more optimistic assumptions about screening, these trade-offs were even more favorable, with numbers needed to treat in the low single digits for Black men.

The new analysis supports PSA screening, particularly for Black men and others at high risk, and highlights the need to revise clinical guidelines to accurately reflect the value of screening, the authors wrote.

“The fact that only 10 percent of radical prostatectomy specimens demonstrate low-grade prostate cancer indicates that even when low- grade cancer is diagnosed, it is being treated much less frequently. This demonstrates that there has been acceptance of active surveillance, also known as monitoring with curative intent, among doctors and patients nationally.”

Dr. Jim Hu

Dr. Jim Hu, the Ronald P. Lynch Professor of Urologic Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine and director of the LeFrak Center for Robotic Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, describing results of a study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which found that low-grade prostate cancer is no longer the most commonly diagnosed type of prostate cancer. However, the researchers also found that the incidence of higher-grade disease and metastasis at diagnosis has risen. They said that public health authorities should consider implementing risk-stratified screening to minimize overdiagnosis and avoid biopsy in men with low-risk prostate cancer while addressing the rising trends of high-grade and metastatic prostate cancer.


The number of people injured in road traffic incidents in low- and middle-income countries whose lives could be saved annually if complete trauma care programs were established and made accessible to 100 percent of injury victims. That’s according to a study led by Dr. Junaid Razzak, who was recruited as professor of emergency medicine and vice chair of research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. In the study, published in The Lancet, Dr. Razzak and colleagues also identified clinical interventions that had the most potential to save lives. Early resuscitation with bleeding control was the most effective measure, with the potential to save an estimated 35,452 lives annually.

“It’s like an accelerator pressed to the floor, driving growth so strongly that it overpowers any brake put forth by the immune system.”

Dr. Taha Merghoub
Black and white illustration on grass green background of patient preparing to undergo an MRI in a machine that also appears to be an accelerator.

Dr. Taha Merghoub, deputy director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, describing mutations in the TP53 gene that are advantageous to cancer growth. In a study published in Nature, Dr. Merghoub, Dr. Jed Wolchok, recruited as the Meyer Director of the Meyer Cancer Center, and colleagues showed that these same mutations that promote tumors also can make a cancer cell more noticeable to the immune system, leaving it open to attack. The study, which they published while at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, sheds light on the relationship between these two forces, and how tension between them can create hotspots. The insights gained by the study have implications for possibly making cancer therapies — especially immunotherapies — work better.

Illustrations: Giulio Bonasera

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