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: Dogs are more effective at detecting Covid-19 infections through human sweat samples than the existing rapid antigen tests, according to a study.
The study, published in the PLOS ONE, showed that dogs were 97 per cent effective at detecting Covid infection compared to PCR tests - the most accurate Covid test. On the other hand, the nasal antigen tests detected 84 per cent of positive Covid infections.
The findings suggest a potentially less invasive and quicker Covid testing alternative.
For the study, researchers at the Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris included PCR and sweat samples from 335 people and antigen tests from 234 people recruited in Paris from March 16 and April 9, 2021.
The researchers examined five dogs trained to sniff out Covid-19 by examining both positive and negative tests to see if they could tell.
They found canines were 100 per cent accurate in detecting positive Covid cases in asymptomatic individuals compared to PCR test results.
The canines were slightly less effective at identifying negative coronavirus infections, detecting 90 per cent of negative cases compared to antigen tests that were 97 per cent accurate.
"Non-invasive detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection by canine olfaction could be one alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs RT-PCR when it is necessary to obtain a result very quickly according to the same indications as antigenic tests in the context of mass screening," the researchers wrote in the paper.
Previous studies have shown dogs to detect malaria, prostate cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and also breast cancer. (Agency)
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New York: Aerobic exercise, which includes brisk walking, swimming, running, or cycling, can help reprogramme the immune system to reduce tumour growth and amplify the effects of immunotherapy, finds a new study.
Published online in Cancer Cell, the study, which focussed on pancreatic cancer, provides new insight into how the mammalian immune system, designed to attack foreign invaders like bacteria, can also recognise cancer cells as abnormal.
Exercise-induced increases in levels of the hormone adrenaline cause changes to the immune system, according to researchers at New York University.
It includes the activity of cells that respond to signalling protein interleukin-15 (IL-15).
The study found that exercise promotes the survival of CD8 T cells sensitive to IL-15, and doubles the number of them homing to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tumours in mice.
Such "effector" T cells have been shown by other studies to be capable of killing cancer cells. Other tests found that aerobic exercise for 30 minutes five times a week reduced the rate of cancer formation by 50 per cent in one mouse model of PDAC, and reduced tumour weight by 25 per cent in another model, in which mice ran on treadmills for three weeks.
In collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the study authors then found that human patients who exercised before surgery to remove their pancreatic tumours had more CD8 effector T cells that expressed a protein called granzyme B, which confers tumour-cell killing ability.
Patients who exercised and had more of these cell types, had 50 per cent higher overall survival over five years than patients with fewer of them.
"Our findings show, for the first time, how aerobic exercise affects the immune microenvironment within pancreatic tumours," said first author Emma Kurz, a graduate student at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
"The work helped to reveal that activation of IL-15 signalling in pancreatic cancer might be an important treatment approach in the future." (Agency)
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It has been traditionally said that exercising is more beneficial during morning hours. Turns out, the effectiveness of exercise depends on sex, according to a study.
The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, showed that for women doing exercise during the morning hours is more beneficial for health and for men the optimal time is evening.
While exercise during any time helped females to reduce their total body fat, abdominal and hip fat, and blood pressure, these improvements were greater in morning-exercising women.
On the contrary, only evening-exercising in men showed a decrease in their ratio of total to HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio, and carbohydrate oxidation, as fat became the preferred fuel source, the study revealed.
"Here we show for the first time that for women, exercise during the morning reduces belly fat and blood pressure, whereas evening exercise in women increases upper body muscular strength, power, and endurance, and improves overall mood and nutritional satiety," said Dr Paul J Arciero, Professor at the Health and Human Physiological Sciences Department of Skidmore College in New York.
"We also show that for men, evening exercise lowers blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and feelings of fatigue, and burns more fat, compared to morning exercise," he added.
For the study, the team recruited 30 women and 26 men to participate. All were between 25 and 55 years old, healthy, highly active, nonsmokers, and with normal weight, who were trained over 12 weeks at different times of the day.
The researchers show that all participants improved in overall health and performance over the course of the trial, irrespective of their allocation to morning or evening exercise.
"Our study clearly demonstrates the benefits of both morning and evening multimodal exercise to improve cardiometabolic and mood health, as well as physical performance outcomes in women and men," said Arciero.
But crucially, they also showed that exercise time of day determines the strength of improvements in physical performance, body composition, cardiometabolic health, and mood.
"Based on our findings, women interested in reducing belly fat and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing leg muscle power should consider exercising in the morning. However, women interested in gaining upper body muscle strength, power and endurance, as well as improving overall mood state and food intake, evening exercise is the preferred choice," said Arciero.
"Conversely, evening exercise is ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health, as well as emotional wellbeing." (Agency)
Read More► Vitamin D Supplements Do Not Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study
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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