A sudden seasonal flu outbreak and an increase in Covid-19 cases have surprised many just as we were beginning to get used to the normalcy of a life without many constraints before the Covid virus.
An unavoidable flu wave generally coincides with a change in season. However, this season has witnessed an unanticipated increase in such cases-nearly doubling from last year in some areas-as well as harsher, Covid-like symptoms.
The spike of Covid-19 cases, the upcoming holiday season, and all of this together create a situation that specialists warn calls for ongoing precautions.
"Masks are the first line of defence against Covid-19 as well as other respiratory infections. With a spike in the number of infections, we must adhere to wearing masks when we step out in public areas. With the festive season right here and large gatherings inevitable, wearing masks are highly effective at reducing your risk of getting Covid as well as seasonal flu. Wearing the right kind of mask, the right way, is also extremely important," says Dr SC Ajmani, General Physician.
Your masks' kind and fit have a significant impact on how effective they are. According to research conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self Organization in Germany, FFP2 masks that fit snugly offer 75 times more protection than surgical masks. By selecting these masks over common surgical or fabric masks, you greatly boost your protection and can leave the house more confidently, especially in crowded areas.
Protection from viruses, bacteria, dust, pollutants, allergens, and pollen (>= 0.3 micron) is offered by a BIS-approved FFP2 S mask like Savlon. These masks offer 95% protection from aerosols with particles larger than 0.3 micron. In comparison to standard masks, these masks include melt blown filters that are electro statically charged to provide enhanced filtering. The comfort and suitability of these masks for different skin types are also tested. Masks made with Savlon FFP2 S are BIS Certified.
According to BIS guidelines, each batch is put through rigorous testing for quality performance and efficacy. The effects of viruses, bacteria, dust, pollution, pollen, and allergies can be significantly minimised and the wearer's general health can be improved by donning a high-quality, properly fitted mask.
The correct masks are adjusted to perfectly fit on the bridge of your nose and to properly enclose your mouth and nose. We are aware that when an infected individual sneezes or coughs in a crowded environment, the Covid-19 virus as well as the seasonal influenza can spread quickly. First-level protection is unquestionably provided by donning a N95 or FFP2 S mask, especially for those with allergies, co-morbidities, impaired immune systems, or a higher propensity for experiencing severe symptoms.
The use of masks should become a way of life. We must continue using tried-and-true health strategies, like using masks in public. Keep your hygiene and health in mind.
Read More► Intermittent Fasting May Reduce Complications From Covid-19: Study
People who regularly fast are less likely to experience severe complications from Covid-19, suggests a study.
Intermittent fasting has previously shown to have a host of health benefits, including lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The findings, published week in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, showed that Covid patients who practised regular water-only intermittent fasting had lower risk of hospitalisation or dying due to the virus than patients who did not.
"Intermittent fasting has already shown to lower inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. In this study, we're finding additional benefits when it comes to battling an infection of Covid-19 in patients who have been fasting for decades," said Benjamin Horne, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Healthcare in the US.
In the study, researchers identified 205 patients who had tested positive for the virus between March 2020 and February 2021 -- before vaccines were widely available.
Of these, 73 said they regularly fasted at least once a month. Researchers found that those who practised regular fasting had a lower rate of hospitalisation or death due to coronavirus.
"Intermittent fasting was not associated with whether or not someone tested positive Covid-19, but it was associated with lower severity once patients had tested positive for it," Horne said.
While Horne said that more research is needed to understand why intermittent fasting is associated with better Covid outcomes, he said it's most likely due to a host of ways that it affects the body.
For example, fasting reduces inflammation, especially since hyperinflammation is associated with poor Covid-19 outcomes. In addition, after 12 to 14 hours of fasting, the body switches from using glucose in the blood to ketones, including linoleic acid.
"There's a pocket on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 that linoleic acid fits into -- and can make the virus less able to attach to other cells," he said.
Another potential benefit is that intermittent fasting promotes autophagy, which is "the body's recycling system that helps your body destroy and recycle damaged and infected cells", Horne added.
Horne stressed that these results are from people who have been practising intermittent fasting for decades -- not weeks -- and that anyone who wants to consider the practice should consult their doctors first, especially if they are elderly, pregnant, or have conditions like diabetes, heart, or kidney disease.
Researchers also stressed intermittent fasting shouldn't be seen as a substitute for Covid vaccination. (Agency)
Read More► Reducing Air Pollution May Improve Brain Development in Children
Having a portable air cleaner in the home can reduce the negative impacts of air pollution on brain development in children, says a new study.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that the children born to mothers who had used the air cleaners had an average full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ) that was 2.8-points higher than the group that did not use an air cleaner during pregnancy.
"These results, combined with evidence from previous studies, strongly implicate air pollution as a threat to brain development," said researcher Ryan Allen from Simon Fraser University, in Canada. The team recruited 540 pregnant women in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to participate in the study.
Ulaanbaatar has some of the worst air quality in the world, well-exceeding guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The women were less than 18 weeks into their pregnancies and non-smokers who had not previously used air filtering devices in their homes. They were randomly assigned to either the control or intervention group.
The intervention group was provided with one or two HEPA filter air cleaners and encouraged to run the air cleaners continuously for the duration of their pregnancies. The air cleaners were removed from the home once the child was born.
The researchers later measured the children's FSIQ at four years of age. Children in the intervention group also had significantly greater average verbal comprehension index scores, which is consistent with results from previous observational studies.
The research suggests that a child's verbal skills may be particularly sensitive to air pollution exposure. (Agency)
Read More► Diabetes, Heart Disease Increase Dementia Risk: Study
People with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke have double the risk of developing dementia, finds a study.
Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases (ischemic heart disease, heart failure or atrial fibrillation) and stroke, so-called cardiometabolic diseases, are some of the main risk factors for dementia.
The presence of more than one cardiometabolic disease accelerated the speed of cognitive decline and doubled the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, expediting their development by two years. The magnitude of the risk was increased with a greater number of diseases, revealed the study published in the journal, Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.
Prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease could therefore be a strategy for reducing dementia risk, suggest researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
"In our study, the combinations of diabetes/heart disease and diabetes/heart disease/stroke were the most damaging to cognitive function," said Abigail Dove, doctoral student at the Aging Research Centre, at the Institute.
However, individuals who had just one cardiometabolic disease did not display a significantly higher risk of dementia.
"This is good news. The study shows that the risk only increases once someone has at least two of the diseases, so it's possible that dementia can be averted by preventing the development of a second disease," he added.
Dementia develops slowly over decades. It first manifests as gradual cognitive decline that only shows up in cognitive tests. It then degenerates into cognitive impairment in which the individual notices their failing memory but can still look after themselves, and finally into full-blown dementia.
The researchers extracted data on a total of 2,500 healthy, dementia-free individuals over the age of 60 living on Kungsholmen in Stockholm. The participants were then followed for 12 years with medical examinations and cognitive tests in order to monitor changes in cognitive ability and the development of dementia.
The correlation between cardiometabolic diseases and the risk for dementia was stronger in the participants who were under 78 years old.
"We should therefore focus on cardiometabolic disease prevention already in middle age, since the risk of cognitive failure and dementia appears higher among those who develop a cardiometabolic disease earlier in life," Dove said. (agency)
Read More► Poor Sleep May Worsen Lung Disease More Than Smoking: Study
Insufficient or interrupted sleep may have more of an impact than smoking history in patients with a progressive lung disease, according to a study.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that for patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), inadequate sleep may boost their risk of a flare-up by up to 95 per cent compared to those with good sleep.
Over time, these flare-ups, which manifest with worsening shortness of breath and cough, may cause irreversible lung damage, and accelerate disease progression and mortality.
The findings appeared in the journal 'SLEEP'.
The research shows sleep deprivation is associated with a drop in infection-fighting antibodies and protective cytokines, said Aaron Baugh, a clinical fellow at the UCSF Division of Pulmonary Research Institute.
The researchers followed 1,647 patients with confirmed COPD. They recorded flare-ups, defined as short-term worsening of symptoms requiring treatment, and compared their incidence with self-reported data on sleep quality.
Pulmonologist Neeta Thakur from the UCSF School of Medicine said that questions about sleep are often overlooked by physicians evaluating patients with COPD.
"Sleep hygiene and sleep aids may significantly improve their health," she said, adding: "Sleep should be considered both in the clinic and at the wider community/neighbourhood level, where the structural factors that contribute to worse sleep can be addressed." (Agency)
Read More► Human Brains are Hotter Than Thought, Particularly Women's: Study
Average human brain temperature is 38.5 degrees Celsius, with deeper brain regions often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, particularly in women during the daytime, finds a study.
Normal human brain temperature varies much more than previously thought, and this could be a sign of healthy brain function, said researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory for Molecular Biology, in the UK who produced the first 4D map of healthy human brain temperature.
The map overturns several previous assumptions and shows the remarkable extent to which brain temperature varies by brain region, age, sex, and time of day. Importantly, these findings also challenge a widely held belief that human brain and body temperature are the same.
The research, published in the journal Brain, also included analysis of data from patients with traumatic brain injury, showing that the presence of daily brain temperature cycles strongly correlates with survival. These findings could be used to improve understanding, prognosis, and treatment of brain injury.
"To me, the most surprising finding from our study is that the healthy human brain can reach temperatures that would be diagnosed as fever anywhere else in the body. Such high temperatures have been measured in people with brain injuries in the past, but had been assumed to result from the injury," said Dr. John O'Neill, Group Leader at the MRC Lab.
To study the healthy brain, the researchers recruited 40 volunteers, aged 20-40 years, to be scanned in the morning, afternoon, and late evening over one day.
In healthy participants, the average brain temperature was 38.5 degrees Celsius, more than two degrees warmer than that measured under the tongue. The study also found that brain temperature varied depending on: time of day, brain region, sex and menstrual cycle, and age.
While the brain surface was generally cooler, deeper brain structures were frequently warmer than 40 degrees Celsius; with the highest observed brain temperature being 40.9 degrees Celsius.
Across all individuals, brain temperature showed consistent time-of-day variation by nearly 1 degrees Celsius, with highest brain temperatures observed in the afternoon, and the lowest at night.
"We found that brain temperature drops at night before you go to sleep and rises during the day. There is good reason to believe this daily variation is associated with long-term brain health a" something we hope to investigate next," O'Neill said.
On average, female brains were around 0.4 degrees Celsius warmer than male brains. This sex difference was most likely driven by the menstrual cycle, since most females were scanned in the post-ovulation phase of their cycle, and their brain temperature was around 0.4 degrees Celsius warmer than that of females scanned in their pre-ovulation phase.
The results also showed that brain temperature increased with age over the 20-year range of the participants, most notably in deep brain regions, where the average increase was 0.6 degrees Celsius.
The researchers propose that the brain's capacity to cool down may deteriorate with age and further work is needed to investigate whether it is linked with the development of age-related brain disorders. (Agency)
Read More► Bad Dreams in Older Adults Could Signal Onset of Parkinson's: Study
Dear Patron, Please provide additional information to validate your profile and continue to participate in engagement activities and purchase medicine.