London, Aug 15 (IANS) Researchers at University College London conducted a study of people with cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following Covid-19 vaccination, to provide a clearer guide for clinicians trying to diagnose and treat such patients.The research, published in The Lancet, is the most detailed account of the characteristics of CVT, when it is caused by the novel condition vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).VITT is a condition characterised by a blockage of the veins and a marked reduction of platelets, blood components which are an important part of the blood clotting system. The commonest and severest manifestation of VITT is CVT, in which veins draining blood from the brain become blocked.The study looks in detail at 70 patients with VITT-associated CVT following vaccination, who were then compared to 25 patients with CVT but without the evidence of VITT.The study provides support for the three principles of treatment established so far by the Expert Hematology Panel, based on early work at UCL and two other European sites.The use of non-heparin-based anticoagulation; give treatments to try to reduce the level of the abnormal antibody that is implicated in this condition; and avoid the strategy of trying to bring the platelet count back up to normal levels by giving platelet transfusions."We found that those patients who were given intravenous immunoglobulin -- the treatment in which the body is flooded with normal antibodies to try to reduce the effects of the abnormal one -- were more likely to leave hospital alive and able to live an independent life rather than depending on carers or family to look after them," Dr Alastair Webb, consultant neurologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford said.On the other hand, platelet transfusions were associated with a worse outcome in patients with VITT-associated CVT. Although observational data cannot prove harm from this treatment approach, the study provides support for the concern that has already been raised about the potential harm of platelet transfusions.However, the researchers also suggest that some treatments such as intravenous immunoglobulin seem to be associated with better outcomes but caution against reading too much into the findings of the observational study, saying that reliable evidence about treatments can only be obtained in a randomised clinical trial.--IANSrvt/skp/
New York, Aug 10 (IANS) A team of US physicians has presented the first known case of a young, healthy adult who after being infected with Covid-19 developed brain inflammation, offering new insights into potential neurological effects post the infectious disease.Although Covid-19 is primarily treated as a respiratory disease, patients often experience neurological problems, such as headaches, anxiety, depression and cognitive issues, which can persist long after other symptoms have resolved.Some research has shown blood vessel damage and inflammation referred to as vasculitis in Covid-19 patients' brains and central nervous system (CNS). Most cases of CNS vasculitis have been associated with elderly patients with severe Covid-19.In the journal Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation, a multidisciplinary team of physicians at University of California San Diego School of Medicine reported the case of a 26-year-old woman who was diagnosed with Covid-19 four days after an airplane flight in mid-March 2020.Her symptoms were mild, but progressed two to three weeks later to difficulty moving her left foot and weakness on the left side of her body. She had no headaches and had experienced no change in her mental status or cognition.Magnetic resonance imaging, however, revealed multiple lesions in the right frontoparietal region of the brain, which is involved in motor control and sensation of the left side of the body. A biopsy revealed CNS lymphocytic vasculitis -- inflammation or swelling of blood vessels in the brain and spine."This patient was the first confirmed case of Covid-19 CNS vasculitis, confirmed by biopsy, in a young healthy patient with otherwise mild Covid-19 infection," said Jennifer Graves, a neurologist at UC San Diego Health."Her case tells researchers and clinicians to consider these serious potential brain complications even in young patients and those with minor initial Covid-19 infections," she added.The woman underwent a series of corticosteroid-based treatments, began a long-term immunosuppressive medication, and, after six months, the lesions had substantially decreased and no new lesions had formed. She is still under treatment with immunosuppressive medications, the researchers said.--IANSrvt/dpb
New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) An Indian scientist has developed human-based models to study neuron development and neuro-developmental disorders such as autism which can help design treatment strategies for such brain disorders.Yogita K. Adlakha, a recipient of INSPIRE Faculty fellowship instituted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has achieved this feat, the DST said on Wednesday.INSPIRE -- that stands for Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research Programme -- is a scheme by the DST for attracting talent towards science.Since decades, animal models have been used to understand brain-related disorders, and the drugs which function in animal models have failed in clinical trials, therefore Adlakha filled this gap by generating human-based stem cell model to understand brain development and dysfunction at the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, Haryana.At present, she works as a scientist at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, NCR Bio-cluster, Faridabad."The dearth of human models has led to a lack of knowledge of the pathophysiology of such disorders, an essential requirement for designing their treatment strategies," the DST said.Yogita filled this gap and developed a human-based model that could help study how brain develops, particularly the neurons, and what goes awry during brain development leading to cognitive decline, impairment in language, and social interaction.Along with her group, she derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from human peripheral blood and differentiated them into neural stem cells (NSCs).Since levels of microRNA-137 are less in neuro-developmental disorders such as ASD and ID, her study demonstrates crucial roles of this miRNA during human NSC fate determination with an elaboration of underlying molecular mechanisms. This study was published in the journal "STEM CELLS" recently."My research using DST INSPIRE fund has definitely contributed to expanding the knowledge of neuron development and neuro-developmental disorders such as autism and the role of small non-coding miRNA in brain-specific stem cells fate," Adlakha added.Along with her research group, she established a protocol from India for the first time by generating and producing iPSCs from human peripheral blood. They have further refined the protocol of differentiation of iPSCs into brain-specific stem cells that is, NSCs.Her group has contributed immensely towards understanding the role of microRNA in the neural stem cell fate, which revealed how certain small non-coding RNAs called microRNA, which do not form protein but regulate expression of other genes, can enhance differentiation of neural stem cells into neurons.Her research has contributed to expanding the knowledge of neuron development and the role of small non-coding miRNA in brain-specific stem cells fate, thereby changing the face of neuroscience and stem cells.--IANSniv/khz
Beijing, Aug 3 (IANS) Scientists in China have devloped the world's first high-resolution, 3D image of a monkey brain, which can one day lead to treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's.A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, created a detailed map of a complete macaque monkey brain using fluorescent imaging techniques, the Daily Mail reported. The team created a new technique, known as Volumetric Imaging with Synchronous on-the-fly-scan and Readout (VISoR).Using VISoR, they tested the brains of three 10-year-old macaque monkeys. The findings are published in the journal Nature Biotechnology. The images turned out massive, taking up more than a petabyte of data -- 1,000 terabytes or about 30 million high-definition movies. As it captured billions of neurons in unprecedented detail, the team turned to artificial intelligence to study the results, the report said. VISoR helped the team to show how nerve cells are organised and connected within the monkey brain at a 'micron resolution'. The human brain comprises nearly a hundred billion nerve cells with delicate and complex connections, and while up to 17 times larger than that of a macaque, it is similar enough for comparisons to be made between the two, researchers claim.Until now, a mouse brain was the largest to be mapped, taking days to create a complete 3D image, but VISoR made it possible to move up to a macaque brain, which is about 200 times larger in volume than that of a mouse, the report said.According to the researchers, VISoR may also help in imaging other tissues and organs, including samples from clinical pathology. The technique may help to understand the fine 3D structure of the brain and body as well as how they change in various disease conditions, they noted."Hopefully, this technology will be further improved for broader and larger scale applications, to make important contributions to the mapping and understanding of primate and eventually the human brain," Duan Shumin, from Zhejiang University in China.--IANSrvt/ksk/
Hyderabad, July 30 (IANS) Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday urged the scientific fraternity to focus on expediting the development of Covid vaccine for children and for according priority to protection of children from the virus.Naidu emphasized that the vaccination drive against Covid-19 should become a pan-India 'Jan Andolan' and appealed to the people to immunise themselves by taking the required doses of the vaccine.Addressing scientists and staff of the Bharat Biotech International Ltd after a visit to its plant at Genome Valley in Hyderabad, he said that there is no room for vaccine hesitancy. He urged everyone to get vaccinated saying there is no other more powerful way to protect "ourselves and people around us".Commending the development of a nasal Covid vaccine as an important initiative, he said this can reduce vaccine hesitancy and improve the ease of administering.Asserting that advantages of vaccination far outweigh the perceived drawbacks, Naidu said that this message should be driven home loud and clear to every nook and corner of the country. "It is now clear that vaccination is preventing hospitalisation and severe disease when infected," he added.Cautioning people against becoming complacent by the temporary decline in Covid-19 cases, he said: "Let us be responsible citizens and not behave in a careless manner by violating Covid protocols". He appealed to the people to continue with masking, physical distancing and personal hygiene.The Vice President also urged the leaders of various political parties and their followers to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. "It is the duty of each one of us to act responsibly. We cannot afford to invite the third wave," he warned.Observing that the constantly mutating virus poses unforeseen challenges and forces us to find solutions that will save lives and protect livelihoods, Naidu said that vaccine supplies must be stepped up rapidly and vaccines must be administered to all as quickly as possible.He, however, expressed confidence that the immunization drive would pick up pace in the months ahead and said the government intends to vaccinate all eligible adults by the year-end.Lauding the scientists at Bharat Biotech for developing an effective vaccine in a very short time frame, he said he appreciate the optimism and dynamism that Dr Krishna Ella and Dr Suchitra Ella have brought to this organisation.Naidu said that a few other Indian companies have also raced against time to produce Covid-19 vaccines, while some more are in the pipeline.Saying India has earned global appreciation as the "pharmacy of the world", he said that it supplying over 50 per cent of vaccines and is the largest producer of generic drugs. Indian pharma firms are also supplying over 80 percent of the anti-retroviral drugs globally to combat AIDS.He noted that India's domestic pharmaceutical market, estimated at $42 billion in 2021, is likely to reach the $120-130 billion by 2030.Expressing his happiness that Hyderabad has emerged as the hub for vaccines and bulk drugs, he said that he was pleased to note that it has also turned into a biotechnology hub with the Genome Valley driving growth in this sector.He said that it was heartening that one of the recently-sanctioned Central Drug Laboratories has been located in Hyderabad.The Vice President, who went around the facilities, complimented the company for contributing significantly towards immunisation programmes in India and abroad.Telangana Home Minister, Mohammed Mahmood Ali, BBIL Chairman & Managing Director Krishna Ella, Joint Managing Director, Suchitra Ella, Director, Dr V. Krishna Mohan and the heads of various divisions of Bharat Biotech attended the event.--IANSms/vd
London, July 28 (IANS) Researchers have found that strokes were a common complication experienced by hospitalised adults with severe Covid-19, with higher rates than expected amongst younger people.The study, led by a team at the University of Southampton in the UK, showed that risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure, contributed to the risk of stroke, including in younger people.The study, published in the journal Brain Communications, looked into 267 cases of Covid-19 related neurological and psychiatric problems in the UK.Of the 267 cases, strokes were the most frequently reported conditions, affecting nearly half of the patients. Over a quarter of strokes occurred in patients under 60 years old, many of whom had modifiable risk factors that meant they were already at risk of stroke.Other common conditions included delirium, psychiatric events and other evidence of damage to the brain (encephalopathy). More than 10 per cent of patients experienced more than one neurological condition, and these patients were more likely to require intensive care and ventilation."It was striking not only how many different neurological and psychiatric events we observed in this study, but also that some of these conditions occurred together within the same patients. This suggests Covid can affect multiple parts of the nervous system in the same patient," said Dr Amy Ross-Russell, research fellow at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust."Patients with strokes also had blood vessel blockages or thrombosis elsewhere in the body so this is important for understanding why some strokes occur during Covid-19," Ross-Russell added.The finding suggests that Covid-19 amplifies the risk of stroke, including in younger people. Public health measures could reduce this, including lifestyle measures to avoid developing diabetes and high blood pressure, good control of blood sugar and blood pressure, and avoiding the risk of severe Covid-19 through vaccination and other public health measures.--IANSrvt/dpb
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