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/
Sydney, Aug 1 (IANS) Covid-19 cannot enter a person's DNA, say Australian researchers refuting claims of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the infectious disease, integrating its genetic material into the human genome.The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, showed there was no evidence of Covid-19 -- or the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines -- entering DNA.The claims have led to "scaremongering" and people should not hesitate to be vaccinated, said researchers from University of Queensland.The research confirmed there was no unusual viral activity and the Covid-19 behaviour was in line with what was expected from a coronavirus."The evidence refutes this concept being used to fuel vaccine hesitancy," said Geoff Faulkner, Professor at the varsity's Queensland Brain Institute."We find no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 integration suggests such events are, at most, extremely rare in vivo, and therefore are unlikely to drive oncogenesis or explain post-recovery detection of the virus."From a public health point of view, we would say that there are no concerns that the virus or vaccines can be incorporated into human DNA," Faulkner said.In his previous research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Faulkner suggested that positive Covid-19 tests long after recovery are due to the virus being incorporated into DNA."We looked into their claims that the human cells and machinery turned Covid-19 RNA into DNA, causing permanent mutations."We assessed the claims in cells grown in the laboratory, conducted DNA sequencing and found no evidence of Covid-19 in DNA," he added.In May, researchers from the Purdue University in Indiana, US, showed that although throughout human history there have been viruses capable of integrating their genetic material into human genes, the Covid virus lacks the molecular machinery to integrate its RNA into human DNA.--IANSrvt/vd
Sao Paulo, July 30 (IANS) Brazilian researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2 viral particles may reach the various layers of the human retina and also could be associated with this infection's ocular clinical manifestations.
In the study, published in the JAMA Network, they presented the case of three patients -- 2 men and a woman -- who died of Covid-19. All patients were in the intensive care unit, received mechanical ventilation, and had severe pulmonary involvement by Covid-19. The age at death ranged from 69 to 78 years.
To detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the retina, the team conducted real-time reverse polymerase chain reaction and immunological methods.
In the three individuals, S and N Covid-19 proteins were seen by immunofluorescence microscopy within endothelial cells close to the capillary flame and cells of the inner and the outer nuclear layers.
At the perinuclear region of these cells, it was possible to observe by transmission electron microscopy double-membrane vacuoles that were consistent with the virus, presumably containing Covid-19 viral particles.
"The eye has shown abnormalities associated with Covid-19 infection, and retinal changes were presumed to be associated with secondary microvascular and immunological changes," said Carlla A. Araujo-Silva, from INBEB in Rio de Janeiro.
"It is now clear that after the initial infection in the respiratory system, the virus can spread throughout the whole body, reaching different tissues and organs. The study shows that the eye may be involved in Covid-19 infection, and many retinal changes have been reported," Araujo-Silva added.
However, it is unknown if these changes could be secondary to the virus' presence in the retina or microvascular and immunological secondary changes or coincident to an infection that has affected hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the researchers said.