Is there a connection between weather and arthritis? Plus, weed can hinder female athletes, and more health news

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Is there really a connection between weather and arthritis?

It’s long been conventional wisdom that weather makes arthritis pain worse.

The issue has been studied through the years, with conflicting findings. But three recent studies found weather does have some impact, said Dr. Robert Shmerling, writing for the Harvard Health Blog.

In one study with 222 participants who had arthritis of the hip, researchers from The Netherlands found that patients reported slightly worse pain and stiffness as barometric pressure and humidity rose, but the weather effect was small.

Another study looked at weather-related symptoms among 800 European adults with arthritis of the hip, knee or hands.

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Paintball guns are being used to harm and blind victims

When a paintball bursts out of a CO2-powered gun, it can travel nearly 300 feet per second.

Pointed in the direction of a face, that paintball — meant to be used in certain jobs or for entertainment while wearing protective gear — can cause devastating injury to the eye, including ruptures and permanent blindness.

So, when a string of paintball drive-by shootings unfolded in Chicago in 2020, researchers from University of Chicago decided to look more closely at what happens to patients who are injured this way.

“In one weekend, we had eight drive-by paintball attacks and a lot of these patients ended up losing vision permanently. Some required multiple surgeries,” said study author Dr. Shivam Amin, a second-year resident in the department of ophthalmology and visual science at the University of Chicago.

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Using marijuana may impede female athletes’ performance

Medical and recreational marijuana use has surged across the United States as more states legalize the drug, but young female athletes may want to think twice before taking a toke.

A new study from the University of Northern Colorado connects regular cannabis use in fit young women to decreased anaerobic power, a component of physical activity involving short, intense bursts of exercise.

The study also found that people who consumed cannabis products containing THC — the chemical behind pot’s psychological effects — had a moderate increased risk of heart disease compared to nonusers. The consumption method didn’t matter, the researchers said.

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Blood thickness may play a role in risk of COVID death

The thickness of a person’s blood can be a matter of life or death if they contract COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who have higher blood viscosity are at greater risk of dying from COVID-related complications, the researchers found.

“This study demonstrates the importance of checking for blood viscosity in COVID-19 patients early in hospital admission, which is easily obtained through routine lab work. Results can help determine the best treatment course for at-risk patients and help improve outcomes,” said study author Dr. Robert Rosenson, director of cardiometabolic disorders for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

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Your marriage may be in trouble if your spouse is getting weight loss surgery

People who have weight loss surgery often see improvements in type 2 diabetes and other diseases, but these surgeries and the lifestyle changes they require can also have spillover effects on other aspects of life, including relationships.

Compared to the general U.S. population, folks who have weight loss surgery are more than twice as likely to get married or divorced within five years, a new study found.

“This is a pretty big effect and something that can be important to people,” said study author Wendy King, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. “Weight loss surgery patients should be made aware that marital status changes are more likely after surgery.”

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