Toronto, Aug 10 (IANS) Depression and anxiety symptoms have doubled in children and adolescents when compared to pre-pandemic times, according to an alarming study.Researchers at the University of Calgary conducted a meta-analysis, pooling together data from 29 separate studies from around the world, including 80,879 youth globally.The findings, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, showed that an alarming percentage of children and adolescents are experiencing a global-wide mental crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic."Estimates show that one in four youth globally are experiencing clinically elevated depression symptoms while one in five have clinically elevated anxiety symptoms," said lead author Dr Nicole Racine, a postdoctoral associate, and clinical psychologist at the varsity. More alarmingly, these symptoms are compounding over time.The study -- which incorporates 16 studies from East Asia, four from Europe, six from North America, two from Central and South America and one from the Middle East -- also shows that older adolescents and girls are experiencing the highest levels of depression and anxiety."We know from other studies that rates of depression and anxiety in youth tend to ebb and flow with restrictions. When more restrictions are imposed, rates go up. Being socially isolated, kept away from their friends, their school routines, and social interactions has proven to be really hard on kids," said Dr Sheri Madigan, a Calgary varsity clinical psychologist.Older teens in particular have missed out on significant life events such as graduations, sporting events, and various coming of age activities."These kids didn't imagine that when they graduated, they'd never get to say goodbye to their school, their teachers or their friends, and now they're moving on to something new, with zero closure," Racine said. "There's a grieving process associated with that."While mental health symptoms in youth are rising, more mental health support should be put in place to help children and adolescents in this time of need."If we want to mitigate the sustained mental health effects of Covid-19, because of the chronic stressors our youth experienced, we have to prioritise recovery planning now. Not when the pandemic is over, but immediately. Because kids are in crisis right now," Madigan said.--IANSrvt/vd
New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) A vaccine, used to treat tuberculosis since the last 100 years, may help prevent the risk of Covid-19 infections in older adults, according to a study by the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR).Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is considered to be one of the most broadly used vaccines in the world, with around 130 million infants receiving this vaccine every year. There is improved interest in BCG vaccination of elderly population, especially in countries with a high number of reported Covid-19 cases.Previous studies have reported that BCG vaccination may confer protection against respiratory tract infections, involving viral infections.The new study, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that BCG could potentially act to inhibit the biomarkers of inflammation by the immune cells in the blood.However, "this remains to be proven. In addition, it is still unknown as to how long this inhibitory effect can persist", said a team of researchers from the ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis and the ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology.Further, the study also reports that the recent BCG vaccination was not associated with hyperinflammation but was, in turn, associated with down-modulated basal inflammatory status, which might play a protective role in elderly population against inflammatory diseases.In addition, it is quite possible that pathogen-specific immune responses are not affected by BCG vaccination or, in contrast, actually enhanced, the researchers said.Apart from a variety of proinflammatory cytokines, which could possibly play a detrimental role in Covid-19, anti-inflammatory responses including IL-10 and IL-33 -- implicated in Covid-19 disease severity -- were also decreased in vaccinated individuals."In conclusion, the current study emphasizes that the effect of BCG vaccination is safe and does not lead to increased inflammation in elderly individuals. The results from this study not only corroborate the immunomodulatory properties of BCG vaccination but also reveal a clear effect of (non) specific immunogenicity of BCG vaccination on systemic inflammation," the researchers noted.The study also acknowledged certain limitations such as the lack of a placebo control group (only unvaccinated controls at baseline).Further understanding of the results may support the vaccine efficacy and explore innovative applications of BCG vaccination, the team said.--IANSrvt/skp/
Tel Aviv, July 29 (IANS) Israel is expected to start vaccinating the country's elderly citizens against Covid-19 with a third dose of the Pfizer jab, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Thursday.A vast majority of its Management Team of Epidemics recommended vaccinating the elderly, but opinions in the group were divided over the minimum age to be vaccinated, which ranges from 60 to 70, the Mnistry said.The recommendation was passed to the Director General of the Ministry, Nachman Ash, who would decide within days when the third vaccination jabs would begin and at what ages, reports Xinhua news agency.The vaccination campaign in Israel began on December 20, 2020, and was intended in the first phase for medical staff, people aged over 65, and chronic patients.Since then, the vaccine eligibility age has gradually decreased, and currently all people aged 12 and over are eligible to get vaccinated with the first and second doses.On July 12, Israel started offering the third dose for adults with weak immune systems.--IANSksk/
London, July 26 (IANS) Staying in touch with friends and family via technology made many older people feel more lonelier and more depressed than no contact at all, researchers have research.The study, led by researchers from the UK's Lancaster University, showed that many older people experienced a greater increase in loneliness and long-term mental health disorders as a result of the switch to online socialising than those who spent the pandemic on their own, the Guardian reported."We were surprised by the finding that an older person who had only virtual contact during lockdown experienced greater loneliness and negative mental health impacts than an older person who had no contact with other people at all," said Dr Yang Hu of Lancaster University."We were expecting that a virtual contact was better than total isolation but that doesn't seem to have been the case for older people," he added. The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Sociology.The problem was that older people unfamiliar with technology found it stressful to learn how to use it. But even those who were familiar with technology often found the extensive use of the medium over lockdown so stressful that it was more damaging to their mental health than simply coping with isolation and loneliness, the report quoted Yang as saying."Extensive exposure to digital means of communication can also cause burnout. The results are very consistent," he said.The team collected data from 5,148 people aged 60 or over in the UK and 1,391 in the US -- both before and during the pandemic."It's not only loneliness that was made worse by virtual contact, but general mental health: these people were more depressed, more isolated and felt more unhappy as a direct result of their use of virtual contact," he said.Yang said more emphasis needed to be placed on safe ways to have face-to-face contact in future emergencies. There must also, he added, be a drive to bolster the digital capacity of the older age groups.The findings outlined the limitations of a digital-only future and the promise of a digitally enhanced future in response to population ageing in the longer term, he noted.--IANSrvt/vd
Beijing, July 24 (IANS) China's Sinopharm Covid jab, which is approved in more than 50 countries, produces less protective antibodies against coronavirus in elderly people, a study revealed.The study, led by researchers from the Obuda University, and ELKH Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, was posted pre-print on Medrxiv this week and is yet to be peer-reviewed.The team measured neutralising antibody titres after two doses of the Sinopharm Covid jab -- known as BBIBP-CorV -- in 450 people.Gender and time since the second dose had little association with the antibody titres. The team detected antibody levels in about 90 per cent of individuals below the age of 50, but antibody production after BBIBP-CorV vaccination was strongly reduced with increasing age."A large number of elderly subjects, reaching 25 per cent at 60 years, and up to 50 per cent at ages over 80, were found not to produce any protective antibody," said Tamas Ferenci from the Physiological Controls Research Centre at Obuda."The real-world effectiveness of the BBIBP-CorV vaccine should be carefully monitored. Elderly subjects are especially prone to produce no protective antibody after vaccination. This should be monitored, and proper measures should be undertaken to prevent a potential outbreak of Covid-19 in BBIBP-CorV vaccinated but eventually unprotected elderly individuals," added Balazs Sarkadi from the Institute of Enzymology at ELKH.While the BBIBP-CorV vaccine was found to be effective, the Phase-III trial included few women, almost no elderly persons and none with pre-existing medical conditions, the researchers said. This is of crucial importance as the vaccine is approved in more than 50 countries, and hundreds of millions have already been vaccinated with many planned to be vaccinated in the near future with this vaccine, they noted.Meanwhile, the vaccine has been found highly efficient against the Delta variant which has become the dominant variant across the world, said researchers from Sri Jayewardenepura University in Sri Lanka.According to the study, 95 per cent of the individuals who received two doses of Sinopharm vaccine have developed antibodies similar to a naturally infected Covid-19 person, the Xinhua news agency reported.--IANSrvt/arm
London, July 20 (IANS) A 61-year-old Caucasian man in the UK experienced facial palsy after each dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine, suggesting a strong link between the jab and Bell's palsy, according to the doctors at the National Health Service.
Bell's palsy -- a facial nerve palsy of unknown cause, where muscles on one side of the face become weak or paralysed.
In the journal BMJ Case Reports, the doctors describe the first such case to be reported in the medical literature of two separate unilateral facial nerve palsies, occurring shortly after each dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
The man had no previous history of facial nerve palsy, but had a high Body Mass Index, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type-2 diabetes. Both doses of the vaccine were administered to the left arm, reported the doctors.
The first episode of facial nerve palsy developed five hours after administration of the first dose and the second two days after administration of the second dose administered six weeks later.
Investigations at initial presentation to the emergency department were unremarkable, and the patient was diagnosed with Bell's palsy on both occasions, the doctors said.
The patient attended the emergency department after the first episode, unable to close his left eye properly or move the left side of his forehead and was diagnosed with Bell's palsy. Routine bloods and a CT head scan showed nothing of concern and he was discharged with a course of steroids, and the facial nerve palsy completely resolved.
The second episode was a more severe left-sided facial nerve palsy. The symptoms included dribbling, difficulty swallowing and inability to fully close his left eye. He went to the emergency department, where he was again prescribed a course of steroids. He was also referred to the emergency ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) clinic, which continued the steroids and referred him to ophthalmology, the doctors reported.
"We describe the first case of Bell's palsy occurring after each dose of any UK-approved Covid-19 vaccine. Single episodes of unilateral facial nerve palsies have been reported in clinical trials and in subsequent case reports. There has been no evidence, however, of an episode after each dose," said Dr Abigail Burrows, ENT, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guildford, UK.
"We also describe the earliest onset of symptoms from the timing of administration of the vaccine, further suggesting Bell's palsy was associated with the vaccine," she added. However the doctors noted that a causal relationship cannot be established.
The doctors report that his symptoms have greatly improved and the patient is almost back to normal.
Single episodes of unilateral facial nerve palsies were reported in the initial clinical trials of the three major Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK -- Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca -- and there have been subsequent case reports.
In Phase-III trials, four cases of Bell's palsy were reported in volunteers who received the Pfizer vaccine compared with none in those who received the placebo vaccine, and three cases were reported in volunteers who received the Moderna vaccine compared with one in the placebo group.
Three cases of facial nerve palsy were also reported in volunteers who received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine during clinical trials, and there were three cases in volunteers who received the placebo vaccine.
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