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Showing posts from November, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility.

  SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility. According to a study led by UCL researchers, none of the mutations currently documented in the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to increase its transmissibility in humans. The analysis of virus genomes from over 46,000 people with COVID-19 from 99 countries is published today in  Nature Communications. First and corresponding author Dr. Lucy van Dorp (UCL Genetics Institute), said: "The number of SARS-CoV-2 genomes being generated for scientific research is staggering. Early on in the pandemic, we realized that we needed new approaches to analyze enormous amounts of data close to real-time to flag new mutations in the virus that could affect its transmission or symptom severity. "Fortunately, we found that none of these mutations are making COVID-19 spread more rapidly, but we need to remain vigilant and continue monitoring new mutations, particularly as vaccines get rolled out." Coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 are

Everyday activities enhance personal well-being.

  Everyday activities enhance personal well-being. Physical activity makes happy and is important to maintain psychic health. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim studied the brain regions which play a central role in this process. Their findings reveal that even everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, significantly enhance well-being, particularly for persons susceptible to psychiatric disorders. The study is published in  Science Advances . Exercise enhances physical well-being and mental health. However, the impacts of everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, walking, or going to the tram station instead of driving, on a person's mental health have hardly been studied so far. For example, it is not yet clear which brain structures are involved. A team of the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim, KIT's Institute of Sports and Sports Science, and the GIScience / Geoinfor

Aim to exceed weekly recommended physical activity level to offset health harms of prolonged sitting

  Aim to exceed weekly recommended physical activity level to offset health harms of prolonged sitting The first recommendation of its kind in new global guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior. New additional research shows that increasing physical activity can counter early death risk linked to long periods of sedentary time. The health harms associated with prolonged sitting can be offset by exceeding weekly recommended physical activity levels, says the World Health Organization (WHO) in new global guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior, published in a special dedicated issue of the  British Journal of Sports Medicine . But all physical activity counts and is good for long term health, say the new guidelines. It's the first time that a recommendation of this kind has been made. It reflects a large and growing body of evidence linking extensive sedentary time to serious ill health and a heightened risk of early death. New data also released today,

Age is no barrier to successful weight loss.

  Age is no barrier to successful weight loss. Obese patients over the age of 60 can lose an equivalent amount of weight as younger people using only lifestyle changes, according to a new study from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust that demonstrates that age is no barrier to losing weight. The researchers hope that their findings will help correct prevailing societal misconceptions about the effectiveness of weight loss programs in older people and dispel myths about the potential benefits of older people trying to reduce their weight. The findings are based on an analysis of patient records from a hospital-based obesity service reported in the journal  Clinical Endocrinology . This retrospective study was conducted at the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism (WISDEM) at UHCW. The researchers randomly selected 242 patients who attended the WISDEM-based obesity service between 2005 an

Therapeutic PD-1 cancer vaccine shown to be safe and effective in an animal study

  Therapeutic PD-1 cancer vaccine shown to be safe and effective in an animal study The first-in-human clinical trial will test the vaccine in select cancer patients. A study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC -- James) described a potential therapeutic anticancer vaccine that frees suppressed cancer-killing immune cells, enabling them to attack and destroy a tumor. Published in the journal  Oncoimmunology  on October 1, 2020, the findings showed that the peptide called PD1-Vaxx, a first checkpoint inhibitor vaccine, was safe and effective in a colon cancer syngeneic animal model. The vaccine produced polyclonal antibodies that inhibit the programmed cell death receptor, PD-1, on cancer cells. The vaccine mimics the action of the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (pronounced nih-VOL-yoo-mab, marketed as Opdivo). Still, it avoids triggering the innate and acquired resistan

COVID-19 false-negative test results if used too early

  COVID-19 false-negative test results if used too early In a new study, Johns Hopkins researchers found that testing people for SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- too early in the course of infection is likely to result in a false negative test, even though they may eventually test positive for the virus. "A negative test, whether or not a person has symptoms, doesn't guarantee that they aren't infected by the virus," says Lauren Kucirka, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc., obstetrics and gynecology resident at Johns Hopkins Medicine. "How we respond to and interpret a negative test is critical because we place others at risk when we assume the test is perfect. However, those infected with the virus are still able to potentially spread the virus." Kucirka says patients who have a high-risk exposure should be treated as if they are infected, particularly if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. This means communicating with patients about the tests'

Folding of SARS-CoV2 genome reveals drug targets -- and preparation for 'SARS-CoV3.'

  Folding of SARS-CoV2 genome reveals drug targets -- and preparation for 'SARS-CoV3.' For the first time, an international research alliance has observed the RNA folding structures of the SARS-CoV2 genome with which the virus controls the infection process. Since these structures are very similar among various beta coronaviruses, the scientists laid the foundation for the targeted development of novel drugs for treating COVID-19 and future occurrences of infection with new coronaviruses that may develop in the future. The genetic code of the SARS-CoV2 virus is exactly 29,902 characters long, strung through a long RNA molecule. It contains information for the production of 27 proteins. This is not much compared to the possible 40,000 kinds of protein that a human cell can produce. Viruses, however, use the metabolic processes of their host cells to multiply. Crucial to this strategy is that viruses can precisely control the synthesis of their own proteins. SARS-CoV2 uses the sp

Frequent, rapid testing could cripple COVID-19 within weeks; study shows.

  Frequent, rapid testing could cripple COVID-19 within weeks; study shows. Testing half the population weekly with inexpensive, rapid-turnaround COVID-19 tests would drive the virus toward elimination within weeks -- even if those tests are significantly less sensitive than gold-standard clinical tests, according to a new study published today by the University of Colorado Boulder and Harvard University researchers. Such a strategy could lead to "personalized stay-at-home orders" without shutting down restaurants, bars, retail stores, and schools, the authors said. "Our big picture finding is that, when it comes to public health, it's better to have a less sensitive test with results today than a more sensitive one with results tomorrow," said lead author Daniel Larremore, an assistant professor of computer science at CU Boulder. "Rather than telling everyone to stay home so you can be sure that one person who is sick doesn't spread it, we could give o

Are high-protein total diet replacements the key to maintaining a healthy weight?

  Are high-protein total diet replacements the key to maintaining a healthy weight? According to the World Health Organization, obesity has nearly tripled worldwide since 1975. In 2016, for example, more than 1.9 billion adults were categorized as overweight. Of these, more than 650 million had obesity. Because obesity is associated with a higher incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers, the rise in its incidence has led to a global public health emergency. Total diet replacements, nutritionally complete formula foods designed to replace the whole diet for a set period of time, have become increasingly popular strategies to combat obesity. Another popular weight management strategy is high-protein diets, which have been shown to promote weight loss and weight maintenance by increasing our sense of fullness, energy expenditure, and ability to maintain or increase fat-free mass. Taken together, the combination of a total diet replacement with a high-protein diet ma