This Week At PRICE

Article on COVID-19 Testing Published


In an article recently published in PLOS, Javier Tamargo worked alongside researchers to study how the COVID-19 pandemic affected people who use drugs.

The study, titled, “Drug use and COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and infection among underserved, minority communities in Miami, Florida,” examined individuals who used cannabis, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, hallucinogens, or misused prescription drugs over the course of the year and a half in Miami Florida and collected information about their COVID-19 testing, vaccination and infection status.

During the study, it was found that these individuals were less likely to say they had COVID-19 compared to non-users, highlighting a need to build trust and provide education to improve access to COVID-19 services.

Access the article here!

New Publication on Vitamin D Levels


A new article titled, “Clinical vitamin D levels are associated with insular volume and inferior temporal gyrus white matter surface area in community-dwelling individuals with knee pain” has recently been published in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

View the full pdf here

In the study, members of the Cruz-Almeida lab at UF, including Larissa Strath, Pedro Valdes Hernandez, Roger Fillingim and Alisa Johnson, amongst others, sought to understand the relationship between vitamin D levels and brain structure in people who have knee pain and live independently.

They found that higher levels of vitamin D were linked to larger insular volume (a part of the brain related to pain processing) and greater surface area of white matter in the inferior temporal gyrus (a brain region involved in sensory perception), suggesting that vitamin D may play a role in how individuals experience pain, though more research is still needed to understand the relationship more clearly.

What is almost certain is that optimal vitamin D levels may have benefits for the brain health of individuals with knee pain as well as play a vital role in overall health! Here’s some tips to help maintain optimal vitamin D levels!

Get Adequate Sun Exposure: Your skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Aim for around 10-30 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week, particularly during the midday when the sun is strongest. However, be mindful of skin protection to prevent sunburn and skin damage.

Eat Vitamin D-Rich Foods: Include foods high in vitamin D in your diet, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), egg yolks, fortified dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), fortified cereals, and mushrooms.

Consider Supplements: If you have limited sun exposure or have difficulty getting enough vitamin D from your diet, consider taking vitamin D supplements. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your needs, as it can vary based on factors like age, health status, and sun exposure.

Monitor Your Levels: Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels through blood tests, especially if you have risk factors for deficiency such as older age, limited sun exposure, darker skin pigmentation, obesity, or certain medical conditions.

Maintain a Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients can support overall health, including vitamin D levels. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your meals.

Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity can help improve vitamin D levels by promoting sun exposure and supporting overall well-being.

Be Mindful of Factors That Affect Absorption: Certain factors can affect vitamin D absorption, such as age, skin pigmentation, obesity, and certain medical conditions (e.g., malabsorption disorders, kidney disease). Be mindful of these factors and consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your vitamin D status.