Top 10 most read in February: adverse childhood experiences and COVID-19, caffeinated energy drinks and children, and ‘brain fog’ after COVID-19

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It is unsurprising that COVID-19 still dominates our top 10 list. In February, we saw a large number of new articles enter our top 10 most read list; three of which have been highlighted below.

Associations between adverse childhood experiences, attitudes towards COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine hesitancy

Bellis et al. conducted a cross-sectional telephone survey in Wales to explore associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trust in health information on COVID-19, attitudes towards and compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, and vaccine hesitancy. They found that increasing ACE counts were independently related to low trust in NHS COVID-19 information, feeling unfairly restricted by the government and ending mandatory face coverings. Furthermore, they found that vaccine hesitancy was threefold higher with 4+ ACEs (versus 0 ACEs) and higher in younger age groups. However, the authors acknowledge that ACEs were self-reported and measured retrospectively; therefore, these may have been misremembered or misreported.

Consumption and effects of caffeinated energy drinks in young people

In their overview of systematic reviews and secondary analysis of UK data, Khouja et al. looked at children’s consumption of caffeinated energy drinks and their effects on health and behaviour. They found weak evidence to suggest that up to a third of children in the UK consume caffeinated energy drinks weekly, while drinking caffeinated energy drinks five or more days per week was associated with some health and behaviour problems. However, most of the evidence came from surveys, so the authors were unable to distinguish cause from effect. Furthermore, they were unable to combine the survey data due to differences between survey design and the measures reported.

The lived experience of ‘brain fog’ after COVID-19

Callan et al. conducted a qualitative study to explore the lived experience of ‘brain fog’ in people with long COVID-19 in the UK. They held five focus groups via Zoom in October and November 2020, finding that participants had mixed views on the appropriateness of the term ‘brain fog’, and that subjective impairments in executive function, attention, memory and language were common. They also found that participants’ experience of illness was greatly compounded by the challenges in navigating the healthcare system when subjectively cognitively impaired. While the authors oversampled from men and non-white ethnic groups to correct skew, they acknowledge that they may not have fully captured the perspectives of some minority ethnic groups, occupational classes or those less digitally connected.

Below is the full list of papers that were the most read in BMJ Open during February 2022. Other new entries can be found at numbers one, three, five and ten.

*Most read figures are based on pdf downloads and full text views. Abstract views are excluded.
Rank* Author(s) Title
1 Ioannidis Citation impact and social media visibility of Great Barrington and John Snow signatories for COVID-19 strategy
2 Bellis et al. Associations between adverse childhood experiences, attitudes towards COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine hesitancy: a cross-sectional study
3 Sund et al. Association between pharmaceutical modulation of oestrogen in postmenopausal women in Sweden and death due to COVID-19: a cohort study
4 Zemedikun et al. Burden of chronic diseases associated with periodontal diseases: a retrospective cohort study using UK primary care data
5 Lehtinen et al. Human papillomavirus vaccine efficacy against invasive, HPV-positive cancers: population-based follow-up of a cluster-randomised trial
6 Moynihan et al. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on utilisation of healthcare services: a systematic review
7 Khouja et al. Consumption and effects of caffeinated energy drinks in young people: an overview of systematic reviews and secondary analysis of UK data to inform policy
8 Callan et al. ‘I cant cope with multiple inputs’: a qualitative study of the lived experience of ‘brain fog’ after COVID-19
9 Hunter et al. Zinc for the prevention or treatment of acute viral respiratory tract infections in adults: a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
10 Clinckemaillie et al. Sunshine on KOLs: assessment of the nature, extent and evolution of financial ties between the leaders of professional medical associations and the pharmaceutical industry in France from 2014 to 2019: a retrospective study

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