New York, Aug 16 (IANS) Regular exercise, even performed in areas with air pollution, can reduce the risk of death from natural causes, a new study suggests.The study, published in the journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), indicates that a higher level of regular exercise compared with inactivity was beneficial, even in polluted areas, although less exposure to pollution was better."Habitual exercise reduces the risk of death regardless of exposure to air pollution, and air pollution generally increases the risk of death regardless of habitual exercise," said researcher Xiang Qian Lao from the Chinese University of Hong Kong."Thus, habitual exercise should be promoted as a health improvement strategy, even for people residing in relatively polluted areas," Lao added.For the study, the team conducted a large study, over 15 years from 2001 to 2016, with 384,130 adults in Taiwan, seeking to understand the effects of regular exercise and long-term exposure to fine particle matter on the risk of death from natural causes. "We found that a high level of habitual exercise and a low level of exposure to air pollution was associated with lower risk of death from natural causes, whereas a low level of habitual exercise and a high level of exposure was associated with a higher risk of death," the researcher said.This study adds to several other smaller studies conducted in the US, Denmark and Hong Kong that found that regular exercise, even in polluted areas, is beneficial.The authors said that "further studies in areas with more severe air pollution are required to examine the applicability of our findings". "Our study reinforces the importance of air pollution mitigation, such as to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution and maximize the beneficial effects of regular exercise," the team said.--IANSvc/rs
New York, Aug 12 (IANS) Researchers have found an important clue to a rare but serious after-effect of Covid-19 among those broadly below 12, known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C.MIS-C is characterised by fever, pain, and inflammation of multiple organs including the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal tract. The researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, US, reported that RNA sequencing of blood samples led to the discovery that specific infection-fighting cells of the immune system are downregulated in children with MIS-C, and that this is associated with a sustained inflammatory response -- a hallmark of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The study was published in Nature Communications.The team analysed pediatric cases of MIS-C and Covid-19 and found new exploratory pathways involving complex networks and subnetworks of genes.One of the more significant of these gene networks involved the suppression of two types of immune cells: natural killer (NK) cells and CD8+ T cells. Previous research has shown that when CD8+ T cells are persistently exposed to pathogens, they enter a state of "exhaustion," resulting in a loss of their effectiveness and ability to proliferate. The researchers in the new study specifically pointed to the CD8+ T cells being in this exhausted state, thus potentially weakening the inflammatory immune response. An increase in NK cells is also associated with exhausted CD8+ T cells."Our study implicated T cell exhaustion in MIS-C patients as one of the potential drivers of this disease, suggesting that an increase in both NK cells and circulating exhausted CD8+ T cells may improve inflammatory disease symptoms," said Noam Beckmann, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "Additionally, we found nine key regulators of this network known to have associations with NK cell and exhausted CD8+ T cell functionality," Beckmann said.Beckmann added that one of those regulators, TBX21, is a promising therapeutic target because it serves as a master coordinator of the transition of CD8+ T cells from effective to exhausted. --IANSrvt/in
Ramallah, Aug 8 (IANS) A senior Palestinian official announced that 95 per cent of the recent Covid-19 infections in the West Bank are of the Delta variant.Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila told reporters here that the Delta variant is spreading in all West Bank towns, reports Xinhua news agency.She clarified that until now, "the epidemiological situation in the West Bank does not need to go for a lockdown", adding that the Health Ministry needs assistance to limit the spread of the deadly virus, and then take all the needed measures later.Al-Kaila said that keeping cities and economic institutions opened and resuming education at schools and universities "requires a societal responsibility through citizens' awareness to prevent the virus from spreading on a large scale"."The recorded cases in Palestine are witnessing a slight increase, and the curve is rising from what it was a few days ago," she said, adding she is deeply concerned that "this is an indication of the entry of the fourth wave of the pandemic".Meanwhile, al-Kaila called on every Palestinian aged over 18 years old to immediately go to the vaccination centres in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and abide by the precautionary measures of wearing face masks and social distancing.On Saturday, the Health Mministry recorded 136 new Covid-19 cases and 33 recoveries in the Palestinian territories.It also said 608,155 people were vaccinated in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip so far, including 423,340 who received the second dose of vaccine.--IANSksk/
Gurugram, July 23 (IANS) After the first fatal bird flu case was reported from Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences that came from Gurugram's Chakkarpur village, the Health and the Animal Husbandry departments here have swung into action and launched a survey as a precautionary measure.Nearly 28 teams have been constituted in the district to check all poultry farms.The survey is being conducted in a 10-km radius around Chakkarpur village. People are being made aware of the symptoms of bird flu.Punita Gehlawat, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, said the 11-year-old child who died at AIIMS was a resident of Chakkarpur village in Gurugram. After AIIMS Delhi confirmed the child suffered from bird flu the surveys in Chakkarpur village and the surrounding areas was launched immediately."The poultry farms in the district are also being continuously checked by the Animal Husbandry department. At present, there are about 20 poultry farms in the district. Teams have been formed for checking them. Seventeen teams are working separately for the survey in Chakkarpur village and the surrounding 10-km radius. Apart from this, 28 teams have been constituted to check all poultry farms in the district," she added."H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. The recent death of the 11-year-old kid has people panicking. Deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. Currently, the virus is not known to spread from humans through human contact, but H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans. Please monitor your symptoms if you have been in close contact with birds or a flock of birds are dying in your area," said Manjeeta Nath Das, Consultant -- Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurugram.Appealing to the general public, Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg said the information about sick or dead birds should be given to the Animal Husbandry department immediately."There is no harm in eating well-cooked chicken or eggs as according to experts the virus gets destroyed at 70-degree temperature. The administration has also issued an advisory for poultry farmers and people associated with poultry business," Garg added.--IANSstr/khz/in
London, July 18 (IANS) UK researchers have received a 20 million pound fund to investigate 'long Covid", its causes, and potential treatments, the media reported.The funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will help researchers launch 15 new studies of the condition that will investigate everything from brain fog to ongoing breathlessness, using a new technique to detect hidden lung damage, the BBC reported on Sunday.Patients with post-Covid conditions are variously referred to as having long-haul Covid, long Covid or post-acute sequelae of Covid-19 (PASC). At present, there are no tests to diagnose long Covid and the condition is still not yet fully understood.The condition can cover a range of conditions, across all ages, such as fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, brain fog and breathlessness, which are not seen to the same extent with other viruses.One study led by the University College London will test whether everyday medicines such as aspirin and anti-histamines can help people recover. It will recruit more than 4,500 people with long Covid who will be tracked over three months of treatment, the report said.Another study will investigate the common long-lasting problem of brain fog, which many people say affects their daily activities and their ability to work. Using detailed brain scans of those affected, researchers hope to learn more about this cognitive impairment and how it can be treated.Further, researchers at the University of Oxford will focus on the causes of ongoing breathlessness, while an University of Glasgow team will assess whether a weight management programme can reduce symptoms of long Covid in people who are overweight or obese, the report added.At Cardiff University, researchers will look at whether an overactive or impaired immune response could be driving long Covid.The new research was "absolutely essential to improve diagnosis and treatments" and would be life-changing for those battling long-term symptoms of the virus", Health Secretary Sajid Javid was quoted as saying. He said it would build on the 80 long Covid assessment centres open in the UK, the report said.--IANSrvt/khz/vd
New York, July 18 (IANS) The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and foetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies foetal growth was severely restricted.
"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a foetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the foetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge, since the foetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added.