People infected with Covid-19 had a roughly 25 per cent increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder in the four months following their infection, compared with those who had other types of respiratory tract infections, finds a study.
Researchers at Oregon State University in the US found that Covid patients had a 3.8 per cent rate of developing a psychiatric disorder compared with 3.0 per cent for other respiratory tract infections. The 0.8 per cent difference amounts to about a 25 per cent increased relative risk.
The team looked specifically at anxiety disorders and mood disorders and found a minor but significant increase in risk for anxiety disorders and no change in risk for mood disorders.
The results speak to the need for both patients and health care providers to be more proactive when it comes to addressing mental health concerns following Covid infection, said Lauren Chan, doctoral student in nutrition in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
"For people that have had Covid, if you're feeling anxiety, if you're seeing some changes in how you're going through life from a psychiatric standpoint, it's totally appropriate for you to seek some help," Chan said.
For the study, published in the journal World Psychiatry, researchers included data of 46,610 Covid-19 positive individuals and control patients who were diagnosed with a different respiratory tract infection so they could compare how Covid specifically affected patients' mental health.
They looked at the rate of psychiatric diagnoses for two time periods: from 21 to 120 days after patients' Covid diagnosis, and from 120 to 365 days after diagnosis, limited to patients with no previous mental illness.
When patients leave a doctor's office, sometimes care stops there, but Chan recommended that providers consider calling in two weeks for a check-in.
"I don't want to say that every single person who gets Covid is going to have this type of problem, but if you start to have concern for yourself or a family member, it's not unheard of. You should definitely seek care for yourself or others around you," Chan said.
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London: Older adults who start to experience bad dreams or nightmares could be exhibiting the earliest signs of Parkinson's disease, according to a study.
The study, published in eClinicalMedicine, showed that in a cohort of older men, individuals experiencing frequent bad dreams were twice as likely to be later diagnosed with Parkinson's as those who did not.
Previous studies have shown that people with Parkinson's disease experience nightmares and bad dreams more frequently than adults in the general population, but using nightmares as a risk indicator for Parkinson's has not previously been considered.
"Although it can be really beneficial to diagnose Parkinson's disease early, there are very few risk indicators and many of these require expensive hospital tests or are very common and non-specific, such as diabetes," said lead author Dr. Abidemi Otaiku from the University of Birmingham, UK.
"While we need to carry out further research in this area, identifying the significance of bad dreams and nightmares could indicate that individuals who experience changes to their dreams in older age without any obvious trigger should seek medical advice," Otaiku added.
The team used data from a large cohort study from the US, which contained data over a period of 12 years from 3,818 older men living independently. Participants reporting bad dreams at least once per week were followed up at the end of the study to see whether they were more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
During the follow-up period, 91 cases of Parkinson's were diagnosed. Most of the diagnoses happened in the first five years of the study. Participants with frequent bad dreams during this period were more than three times as likely to go on to develop Parkinson's.
The results suggest that older adults who will one day be diagnosed with Parkinson's are likely to begin experiencing bad dreams and nightmares a few years before developing the characteristic features of Parkinson's, including tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement.
The study also shows that our dreams can reveal important information about our brain structure and function and may prove to be an important target for neuroscience research.
The researchers plan to use electroencephalography (EEG) to look at the biological reasons for dream changes. They will also look at replicating the findings in larger and more diverse cohorts and explore possible links between dreams and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. (Agency)
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London: Increased air pollution has been linked with rise in risk of autoimmune diseases, according to a twin study.
Two abstracts presented by Dr Giovanni Adami at the 2022 EULAR Congress looked at the issue of environmental exposures and their role in disease development.
Particulate matter (PM) is defined as everything in the air that is not a gas, and includes a variety of chemicals and materials, some of which can be toxic.
Data from over 80,000 people in a retrospective observational study in Italy found a positive association between PM levels measured at local air-quality stations and the risk of autoimmune diseases.
In fact, every 10 micrograms per cubic metre increase in PM10 concentration was associated with an incremental 7 per cent risk of having autoimmune disease.
Exposure to PM10 above 30 micrograms per cubic metre and PM2.5 above 20 micrograms per cubic metre was associated with 12 per cent and 13 per cent higher risks of autoimmune disease, respectively.
When broken down by individual diseases, exposure to PM10 was associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) but no other autoimmune diseases, whereas exposure to high levels of PM2.5 was associated with an increased risk of RA and inflammatory bowel disease.
Overall, chronic exposure to particulate air pollution above the threshold for human protection was associated with a 10 per cent higher risk of developing immune-mediated diseases.
In a separate study, the same team looked at the association between long-term exposure to PM and osteoporosis in almost 60,000 women at high risk of fracture.
The results showed that exposure to PM2.5 was negatively associated with low bone mass at the top of the thigh bone and lumbar spine.
Chronic exposure above 25 micrograms per cubic metre for PM2.5 and 30 micrograms per cubic metre for PM10 was associated with a 16 per cent and 15 per cent higher risk of having osteoporotic bone mass scores at any site.
The researchers concluded that long-term exposure to air pollution was associated with higher risk of osteoporosis.
Further, among the RA patients, high silica exposure was independently associated with lung abnormalities such as interstitial lung disease and mediastinal lymphadenopathy. (Agency)
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Tokyo: Daily vitamin D supplements do not seem to prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes in people already at high risk of the condition, finds a study.
Type 2 diabetes affects around 480 million people worldwide, and is predicted to increase to 700 million by 2045. Another half a billion people have impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes, or higher than normal blood sugar levels that, if left untreated, can develop into Type 2 diabetes.
Some studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of future diabetes, but trials of Vitamin D supplements for preventing the condition have shown inconsistent results.
The new study, published by The BMJ, shows that supplements had no clinically meaningful effect in high risk adults, but suggest there may be a benefit for people with insufficient insulin secretion, although this finding remains unclear.
In the study, the team assessed whether eldecalcitol - an active form of vitamin D used to treat osteoporosis in Japan - could reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes among people with impaired glucose tolerance.
They analysed 1,256 Japanese adults with impaired glucose tolerance recruited from three hospitals in Japan and were divided into two groups: a standard daily dose of eldecalcitol (630 participants) or placebo (626 participants). They were assessed for diabetes every three months over a three-year follow-up period.
During this period, the researchers found no meaningful differences between groups in those who developed diabetes (12.5 per cent in the eldecalcitol group and 14 per cent in the placebo group) or whose blood sugar levels returned to normal (23 per cent in the eldecalcitol group and 20 per cent in the placebo group).
The team did, however, find a significant increase in both lower back and hip bone mineral densities among those taking eldecalcitol compared with placebo.
"Although treatment with eldecalcitol did not significantly reduce the incidence of diabetes among people with pre-diabetes, the results suggested the potential for a beneficial effect of eldecalcitol on people with insufficient insulin secretion," said researchers, calling for further study to determine whether vitamin D is beneficial to people with pre-diabetes. (Agency)
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London: People with diabetes were almost twice as likely to die with Covid and almost three times as likely to be critically or severely ill compared to those without diabetes, finds a study.
The study conducted by researchers from the University of Aberdeen, UK found patients with diabetes had a significantly higher risk of requiring an intensive care admission and supplementary oxygen or being admitted in a critical condition in comparison to patients without diabetes.
However, good control of blood sugar in these patients can significantly reduce this risk.
"We found that following a Covid-19 infection, the risk of death for patients with diabetes was significantly increased in comparison to patients without diabetes," said Stavroula Kastora from the varsity.
"We also show that good glycaemic control may be a protective factor in view of Covid-19 related deaths," she added, in the paper published in the journal Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
The team reviewed findings from 158 studies that included more than 270,000 participants from all over the world to determine how Covid affects people living with diabetes.
The pooled results showed that people with diabetes were 1.87 times more likely to die with Covid, 1.59 times more likely to be admitted to ICU, 1.44 times more likely to require ventilation, and 2.88 times more likely to be classed as severe or critical, when compared to patients without diabetes.AA
Further, the researchers found that patients in China, Korea and the Middle East were at higher risk of death than those from EU countries or the US. They suggest this may be due to differences in healthcare systems and affordability of healthcare.
Diabetes is a serious medical condition where blood sugar levels are too high.
In 2021, approximately 537 million adults between the 20-79 years were living with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
The total number of people living with diabetes is projected to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045.
While diabetes increased severity of Covid, a recent study published in the journal Diabetologia, also showed people who have had Covid-19 infection are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
"In light of the ongoing pandemic, strengthening outpatient diabetes clinics, ensuring consistent follow up of patients with diabetes and optimising their glycaemic control could significantly increase the chances of survival following a Covid infection," Kastora noted. (Agency)
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London: Regular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises such as squats, sprints, and pedalling can improve the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by impacting on several metabolic pathways in the body, finds a new study.
A team from the University of Eastern Finland found that regular HIIT exercise over a period of 12 weeks significantly decreased the study participants' fasting glucose and waist circumference, and improved their maximum oxygen consumption rate and maximum achieved workload.
These positive effects were associated with alterations in the abundance of a number of metabolites. In particular, exercise altered amino acid metabolism in adipose tissue, according to the study published in Scientific Reports.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease, affecting approximately 25 per cent of the world's population. Being largely asymptomatic, the disease may progress from the accumulation of fat in liver cells to liver inflammation and liver cirrhosis.
NAFLD is associated with obesity and other characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, such as Type 2 diabetes and abnormal blood lipid concentrations. The accumulation of fat in the liver can be reduced by weight loss and a health-promoting diet.
Exercise is an integral part of the treatment of NAFLD. The benefits of exercise may relate not only to weight management, but also to alterations in the metabolites produced by the body and gut microbes, whose role in fatty liver disease remains poorly understood.
The study involved 46 subjects diagnosed with NAFLD, who were divided into an exercise intervention group that had a HIIT session twice a week, plus an independent training session once a week for 12 weeks, and into a control group that did not increase exercise during the study.
The most significant alterations were observed in amino acids and their derivatives, lipids, and bile acids.
The levels of various gut microbial metabolites were also altered as a result of exercise, which is suggestive of changes in the composition of gut microbes, or in their function.
Among these metabolites, an increased amount of indolelactic acid, for example, can strengthen the intestinal mucosa, immune defence, and glucose balance.
Based on the findings, exercise can have a beneficial effect on many factors contributing to disease in patients with NAFLD, even without weight loss and dietary changes, the researchers said. Adipose tissue seems to play a key role in these effects. (Agency)
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