New York, Supplementing testosterone significantly reduces heart attacks and strokes in men with unnaturally low levels of the hormone, a new study suggests.
The study, presented at the European Association of Urology Congress, indicated that the health of the men on testosterone therapy also improved by other measures.
They lost weight, had more lean muscle mass, their cholesterol level and liver function improved, their diabetes was better controlled and their blood pressure dropped.
"While men need testosterone for certain psychological and biological functions, only those with low levels who display other symptoms are likely to benefit from testosterone therapy.
"For those at high risk of heart attack and stroke, who are deficient in testosterone, it's likely that bringing the hormone back to normal levels helps them to maximise the benefits of other steps necessary to improve their overall health," the study said.
For the study, the team included over 800 men with testosterone deficiency, whose family history, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes or weight put them at high risk of heart attack or stroke.
Only men with testosterone levels below normal, who also displayed symptoms of low testosterone, such as low mood, decreased appetite, depression, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or weight gain, were included in the research.
Just over half of the men opted for long-term testosterone replacement therapy, enabling the researchers to compare this group to those whose condition was left untreated.
All the men were encouraged to make lifestyle changes, in terms of diet, alcohol, smoking and exercise, to improve their cardiovascular health.
Of 412 men on testosterone therapy, 16 died and none suffered a heart attack or stroke, the study said.
Of the 393 men who chose not to take testosterone supplements, 74 died, 70 had a heart attack and 59 suffered a stroke.(IANS)
New York, June 30 (IANS) US researchers have identified how multiple mutations on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein independently create variants that are more transmissible and potentially resistant to antibodies.By acquiring mutations on the spike protein, one such variant gained the ability to leap from humans to minks and back to humans. Other variants -- including Alpha, which first appeared in the UK; Beta, which was first identified in South Africa; and Gamma, first identified in Brazil -- independently developed spike mutations that enhanced their ability to spread rapidly in human populations and resist some antibodies.The researchers have published their findings in Science."The spike on the surface of the virus helps SARS-CoV-2 enter into host cells," said senior author Priyamvada Acharya, from Duke University's Human Vaccine Institute."Changes on the spike protein determine transmissibility of the virus -- how far and quickly it spreads. Some variations of the SARS-CoV-2 spike are occurring at different times and different places throughout the world, but have similar results, and it's important to understand the mechanics of these spike mutations as we work to fight this pandemic," Acharya said.The team developed structural models to identify changes in the virus's spike protein. Cryo-electron microscopy allowed atomic level visualisation, while binding assays enabled the team to create mimics of the live virus that directly correlated with its function in host cells. From there, the team used computational analysis to build models that showed the structural mechanisms at work."By building a skeleton of the spike, we could see how the spike is moving, and how this movement changes with mutations," said Rory Henderson from the varsity."The different variant spikes are not moving the same way, but they accomplish the same task. The variants first appearing in South Africa and Brazil use one mechanism, while the UK and the mink variants use another mechanism," he added.All the variants showed increased ability to bind to the host, notably via the ACE2 receptor. The changes also created viruses that were less susceptible to antibodies, raising concerns that continued accumulation of spike mutations may reduce the efficiency of current vaccines.--IANSrvt/vd
Moscow, June 23 (IANS) Russia has developed a test system for identifying Covid-19 virus' antibodies in animal blood serum, according to the country's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control, media reports said on Wednesday."Only specific antibodies generated in the animal body against SARS-CoV-2 virus are trapped in the course of blood serum testing," the regulator was quoted as saying by TASS news agency."The Federal Centre for Animal Health subordinate to the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control developed a test system for identification of SARS-CoV-2 virus antibodies on the basis of the widespread enzyme-linked immune-electrodiffusion assay (ELISA) technology," the regulator added.The procedure was tested during the research of biological materials of pets (cats and dogs), agricultural (pigs) and fur animals (ferrets, foxes, and minks). The test system is intended to analyse blood serum for all these animal species, the report said.Last month, Russia also started vaccinating animals against coronavirus -- with the Carnivak-Cov vaccine, Russia's veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor told local media.A Carnivak-Cov jab provides immunity for an estimated six months. The vaccine was earlier tested on dogs, cats, mink, foxes, and other animals and was proven to be effective, Rosselkhoznadzor had said.Russia started mass production of Carnivac-Cov in early May and the first batch of 17,000 doses was produced at Rosselkhoznadzor's subordinate institution, the Federal Centre for Animal Health.Russia is also negotiating for the fast registration of the vaccine abroad, particularly in the European Union.While currently there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the disease to humans, infections have been confirmed in various species worldwide on -- dogs, cats, apes, and minks.Covid-19 has been a serious problem for minks -- semi-aquatic mammals farmed for their fur. Multiple countries have reported infections in farmed mink which, in some cases, have fallen severely ill or died.The US veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis is also developing a vaccine for animals.--IANSrvt/vd
Hong Kong, June 20 (IANS) People who got Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine showed "substantially higher" levels of antibodies compared to those who received China's Sinovac shots, according to a new study.
The study, led by University of Hong Kong (HKU), aims to estimate the incidence of natural infections over time and level of population immunity due to infections and vaccinations, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday.
The presence of antibodies is a sign that the vaccine is working to protect an individual, although the quantity of the proteins generated by the body's immune system to identify and neutralise the coronavirus does not directly correlate to the level of immunity, the report said.
Some who received the Sinovac vaccine might need a third booster shot as well, lead researcher Professor Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist with HKU was quoted as saying by the TRTWorld.
The study involved tracking the antibody responses of 1,000 people who received either vaccine.
On June 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) authorised the Sinovac-CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use.
The two-dose Sinovac-CoronaVac product is an inactivated vaccine. Its easy storage requirements make it very manageable and particularly suitable for low-resource settings.
Based on available evidence, the WHO recommended the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks.
Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51 per cent of those vaccinated and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospitalisation in 100 per cent of the studied population.
On the other hand, the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine is based on mRNA technology and has been authorised for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Studies have shown that the two-dose shot is effective against Covid-19, as well as its variants - Delta, Gamma and Beta.
While it may sound weird to tell people with depression to go outside and garden, there is a considerable amount of clinical evidence which suggests that spending time with plants improves our mental health, particularly depression. Even spending time with indoor plants works wonders to alleviate both mental and physical stress in people of all ages.
Vinayak Garg, Founder, Lazy Gardener says: "Many researchers have found that gardening or ï¿½green care' stimulates our bodies' natural development of happy chemicals, which may help keep depression and anxiety at bay, with unexpectedly amazing results. Even during this pandemic, each nation is battling a war where the enemy is not visible nor are the weapons. In these times, along with other safety measures, why not turn to the potential benefits of gardening as a way to help in the mental and physical war against coronavirus."
Also, Read► How To Incorporate Exercise In Your Inactive WFH Day
Here are some interesting and the creative way to fight depression and anxiety, suggested by Garg.
Getting Your Hands Dirty!
Getting your hands dirty in the garden boosts your serotonin levels, according to studies. Serotonin is a happy chemical that also serves as a natural antidepressant and immune system booster, lack of which is responsible for depression. When you come in contact with soil, a particular soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, causes serotonin to be released in our brain, making us feel better and happier from within. At the very least, now we understand why people prefer to garden without gloves and always enjoy the sensation of getting their hands into the dirt and compost heap.
De-Stress Therapy at Your Doorstep
Gardening is an awesome diversion from our increasingly technologically driven lives. Spending time gardening and enjoying nature can help us mentally de-stress by keeping us involved. When you directly contribute to the nurturing of the buds and witness the plants grow gradually, believe me, your happiness and contentment will know no boundaries and you'll keep coming back to it. This is a small yet a very powerful exercise to even boost your self-esteem, leaving no space for stress at all.
Building Your Creativity
How about simply finding out how to keep those garden pests away and improving soil quality to keep the garden healthy? How about deciding what kind and colour of a pot will suit your favourite plant the best? Get yourself into it once and this green care will take care of your positivity, creativity, mood upliftment, skill building, and ultimately help you fight depression naturally and gradually.
Building Your Strength
Working in the garden improves dexterity and strength. Digging, raking, and mowing are especially calorie-dense activities and the aerobic exercise involved will easily burn the same amount of calories as a gym workout. During gardening, physical exercise is combined with social contact. You get exposed to nature and sunlight. Sunlight works two way on your body: reduces blood pressure while also increasing vitamin D levels, and the fruits and vegetables grown have a positive effect on the diet. Sounds healthier right?
Read More► Can Lack of Nutrients Cause Behavioural Changes?
New York, June 18 (IANS) Administering convalescent plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients can dramatically improve likelihood of survival among blood cancer patients hospitalised with the deadly virus, according to a study.
The study led by researchers from the Washington University in the US indicates a 48 per cent reduced risk of death for Covid patients who had blood cancer and had received convalescent plasma compared to similar patients who did not receive this treatment.
The survival benefit with convalescent plasma was even greater in patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit (60 per cent reduced risk of death) and those who needed mechanical ventilation (68 per cent reduced mortality).
"These results suggest that convalescent plasma may not only help Covid-19 patients with blood cancers whose immune systems are compromised, it may also help patients with other illnesses who have weakened antibody responses to this virus or to the vaccines," said Jeffrey P. Henderson, Associate Professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology at the University's School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"The study also emphasises the value of an antibody therapy such as convalescent plasma as a virus-directed treatment option for hospitalised Covid-19 patients," Henderson added. The findings are published in the journal JAMA Oncology.
The therapy involves transfusing plasma -- the pale yellow liquid in blood that is rich in antibodies -- from people who have recovered from Covid-19 into patients who have leukemia, lymphoma or other blood cancers and are hospitalised with the viral infection. The goal is to accelerate their disease-fighting response. Cancer patients may be at a higher risk of death related to Covid-19 because of their weakened immune systems.
The team studied 143 patients who received convalescent plasma, and 823 who did not. Of the 338 patients admitted to ICUs because of severe Covid-19 symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or cardiac distress, those who received the treatment were more than twice as likely to survive.
In March 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration approved convalescent plasma therapy to Covid patients if requested by their physicians.
Last month the Indian Council of Medical Research dropped the plasma therapy as Covid-19 treatment, citing no significant benefit.
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