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A 23-year-old woman who was mistakenly given six doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has been discharged from the hospital where she was being monitored for any adverse reaction.The woman was administered the vaccine at the Noa hospital in Tuscany, central Italy, on Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Daniella Gianelli told CNN on Monday.The patient, who is in “good health” with no underlying conditions, was kept in the hospital under strict observation for 24 hours and discharged Monday, Gianelli said.A health worker accidentally filled a syringe with an entire bottle of the vaccine, containing a total of six doses, and only realized her mistake shortly after the shot was administered.”She saw five empty syringes and realized her mistake,” Gianelli said.

Doctors will continue to monitor the patient’s immune response to the “massive dose of vaccine,” the spokeswoman said.The patient was entitled to get the vaccine before other people in her age group because she is an intern in the hospital’s psychology department, she added.An internal investigation has been opened, said Gianelli, who added that it was “maybe just human error, definitively not on purpose.”At the beginning of April, the Italian government passed a decree making vaccination mandatory for all healthcare and pharmacy workers, with the aim of protecting medical staff, patients and vulnerable people.Healthcare workers who refuse the vaccine will be reassigned where possible to roles where they are not in contact with patients. Where that is not an option they now face being suspended without pay.It remains unclear whether the decree is constitutional, and many believe future legal cases on the vaccines are likely.After months of recording some of the highest infection rates in Europe, Italy is seeing a reduction of Covid-19 figures.


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Research we’re watching

Urban legends have linked full moons to everything from werewolves to erratic behavior, but a new study connects them to something else — sleep loss. A Jan. 27, 2021, study in Science Advances found that people fell asleep later and slept for less time over all in the three to five days leading up to a full moon. The effect was even more pronounced in areas where people had less access to artificial light.

To come to their conclusions, researchers studied people in three communities in Argentina: one on the outskirts of a city, a small rural settlement with limited access to electricity, and a group of people in a remote area who had no access to electric light. The study authors also analyzed the sleep of 464 University of Washington students who took part in a sleep study. All participants wore sleep-tracking devices for at least one week and in some cases up to two months. The researchers compared their sleep patterns to the moon phases. Individuals took from 30 to 80 minutes longer to fall asleep during the lead-up to the full moon, and people lost anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes of total sleep on those nights. The researchers said it’s possible that the full moon made people more active at night, which is why sleep differences were more pronounced in communities with less access to electricity. Artificial light, they said, might produce a similar effect.


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Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease, but they may also signal low vitamin C in your diet, suggests a study published online Feb. 1, 2021, by Nutrition Reviews. Researchers examined 15 published studies involving 1,140 healthy people as well as data on 8,210 people from the CDC’s Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that low vitamin C levels in the bloodstream were associated with an increased risk for gum bleeding with gentle probing. The researchers also observed that increasing vitamin C intake may help resolve the problem.

Increased bleeding in general is one of the symptoms of scurvy, a disease caused by severe vitamin C deficiency. Scurvy, which often affected 18th-century sailors without access to fruits and vegetables, is rare today. Still, this new study sheds light on a potential cause of gum bleeding related to vitamin C levels that are only slightly low — not enough to cause scurvy.

Recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adult men is 90 milligrams (mg). You should see your dentist if you have recurring bleeding gums when you brush or floss. But the experts also suggest increasing your vitamin C for good measure, by eating more foods like kale, oranges, peppers, and kiwis, or from a daily 100-mg to 200-mg vitamin C supplement.


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