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Showing posts from December, 2020

Sustained cellular immune dysregulation in individuals recovering from COVID-19

  Sustained cellular immune dysregulation in individuals recovering from COVID-19 COVID-19, which has killed 1.7 million people worldwide, does not follow a uniform path. Many infected patients remain asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Others, especially those with comorbidities, can develop severe clinical disease with atypical pneumonia and multiple system organ failures. Since the first cases were reported in December 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has surged into a pandemic, with cases and deaths still mounting. Ongoing observational clinical research has become a priority to better understand how this previously unknown virus acts, and findings from this research can better inform treatment and vaccine design. The University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers, led by first-author Jacob "Jake" Files and co-senior authors Nathan Erdmann, M.D., Ph.D., and Paul Goepfert, M.D., have now reported their observational study, "Sustained cellular immune dy

Three pillars of mental health: Good sleep, exercise, raw fruits, and veggies

  Three pillars of mental health: Good sleep, exercise, raw fruits, and veggies Getting good quality sleep, exercising, and eating more raw fruits and vegetables predicts better mental health and well-being in young adults, a University of Otago study has found. The study, published in  Frontiers in Psychology , surveyed more than 1100 young adults from New Zealand and the United States about their sleep, physical activity, diet, and mental health. Lead author Shay-Ruby Wickham, who completed the study as part of her Master of Science, says the research team found sleep quality, rather than sleep quantity, was the strongest predictor of mental health and well-being. "This is surprising because sleep recommendations predominantly focus on quantity rather than quality. While we did see that both too little sleep -- less than eight hours -- and too much sleep -- more than 12 hours -- were associated with higher depressive symptoms and lower well-being, sleep quality significantly out

With COVID exacerbating superbug threat, researchers ID new weapon

  With COVID exacerbating superbug threat, researchers ID new weapon The study identifies a novel compound in the fight against antibiotic resistance As scientists around the globe wage war against a novel, a deadly virus, one University of Colorado Boulder lab is working on new weapons to battle a different microbial threat: a rising tide of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which, if left unchecked, could kill an estimated 10 million people annually by 2050. "The COVID-19 situation is definitely putting us at risk for increasing resistance to antibiotics, so it's more important now than ever that we come up with alternative treatments," said Corrie Detweiler, a professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology who has spent her career seeking those alternatives. In a paper published Friday in the journal  PLOS Pathogens , Detweiler and her research team unveil their latest discovery -- a chemical compound that works with a host's innate immune response to push

In shaky times, focus on past successes, if overly anxious, depressed.

  In shaky times, focus on past successes, if overly anxious, depressed. Emotionally resilient people are better at exercising sound judgment when things get chaotic. The more chaotic things get, the harder it is for people with clinical anxiety and/or depression to make sound decisions and learn from their mistakes. On a positive note, overly anxious and depressed people's judgment can improve if they focus on what they get right, instead of what they get wrong, suggests a new UC Berkeley study. The findings, published today, Dec. 22, in the journal  eLife , are particularly salient in the face of a COVID-19 surge that demands tactical and agile thinking to avoid illness and even death. UC Berkeley researchers tested the probabilistic decision-making skills of more than 300 adults, including people with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. In probabilistic decision making, people, often without being aware of it, use the positive or negative results of their

Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of having another heart attack, study shows.

  Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of having another heart attack, study shows. Heart disease is the main cause of death in developed countries. There is evidence that shows that factors related to lifestyle, such as diet, have an influence on developing these kinds of diseases. But, do they have any effect on patients who are already ill? A team from the University of C√≥rdoba, Queen Sofia University Hospital, and the Maimonides Biomedical Research Institute of Cordoba (IMIBIC) have published a study in  PLOS Medicine . This study compares the effects of two different healthy diets on the endothelium, the walls that cover the arteries. 1002 patients who had previously had an acute myocardial infarction took part in the study and were monitored over the course of a year. The research group had previously worked on a similar study with healthy patients. However, this is the first time it has been done with ill patients, who are more likely to have other heart attacks. "The degree

COVID-19 severity affected by the proportion of antibodies targeting crucial viral protein

  COVID-19 severity affected by the proportion of antibodies targeting crucial viral protein COVID-19 antibodies preferentially target a different part of the virus in mild cases of COVID-19 than they do in severe cases and wane significantly within several months of infection, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford Medicine. The findings identify new links between the course of the disease and a patient's immune response. They also raise concerns about whether people can be re-infected, whether antibody tests to detect prior infection may underestimate the pandemic's breadth, and whether vaccinations may need to be repeated at regular intervals to maintain a protective immune response. "This is one of the most comprehensive studies to date of the antibody immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in people across the entire spectrum of disease severity, from asymptomatic to fatal," said Scott Boyd, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology. "We assessed multi

COVID-19 virus enters the brain, research strongly suggests

  COVID-19 virus enters the brain, research strongly suggests A new study shows how to spike protein crosses the blood-brain barrier More and more evidence shows that people with COVID-19 are suffering from cognitive effects, such as brain fog and fatigue. And researchers are discovering why. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, like many viruses before it, is bad news for the brain. In a new study published in  Nature Neuroscience , researchers found that the spike protein, often depicted as the virus's red arms, can cross the blood-brain barrier in mice. This strongly suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, can enter the brain. The spike protein often called the S1 protein, dictates which cells the virus can enter. Usually, the virus does the same thing as its binding protein, said corresponding author William A. Banks, a medicine professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Healthcare System physician and researcher. Banks said bindin

Neuroscientists isolate promising mini antibodies against COVID-19 from a llama.

  Neuroscientists isolate promising mini antibodies against COVID-19 from a llama. Preliminary results suggest anti-COVID19 nanobodies may be effective at preventing and diagnosing infections. National Institutes of Health researchers have isolated a set of promising, tiny antibodies, or "nanobodies," against SARS-CoV-2 produced by a llama named Cormac. Preliminary results published in  Scientific Reports  suggest that at least one of these nanobodies, called NIH-CoVnb-112, could prevent infections and detect virus particles by grabbing hold of SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins. Besides, the nanobody appeared to work equally well in either liquid or aerosol form, suggesting it could remain effective after inhalation. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that causes COVID-19. The study was led by a pair of neuroscientists, Thomas J. "T.J." Esparza, B.S., and David L. Brody, M.D., Ph.D., who work in a brain imaging lab at the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Lab results don't explain the 'obesity paradox,' but bias may

  Lab results don't explain the 'obesity paradox,' but bias may Results of standard laboratory tests performed on adult outpatients to provide an overall picture of their health are fairly consistent between those with obesity and their leaner counterparts, investigators report. The finding negates one rationale behind what's called the "obesity paradox," which is that people with obesity are known to be at increased risk for a host of health problems like diabetes and hypertension but tend to do better with these conditions than their leaner peers, including when they get admitted to critical care for reasons like a heart attack or stroke. One thought was that patients with obesity end up in intensive care sooner because their laboratory results were already out of line with their thinner peers. These acute health events push them higher, they report in  The Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine . "People who have obesity also have more hypertension, th