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)
Read More► Double-Masking Does Not Improve Protection Against Covid: Study
Infection from the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is not mild as generally touted, rather is as deadly as Delta, Alpha and other strains that claimed thousands of lives globally, finds a study.
Omicron was first detected by South African scientists in November last year. It has previously been reported as more transmissible by a number of studies conducted in the UK, South Africa, Canada, and others, but less severe than other SARS-CoV-2 variants.
It was also reported to cause less hospitalisation and death. The highly contagious variant was found to affect the upper airways more than lungs, unlike Delta, causing common cold-like symptoms. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned several times that it should not be taken lightly.
But, the study led by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that the risks of hospitalisation and mortality were "nearly identical between previous waves of Covid-19".
"Our analysis suggests that the intrinsic severity of the Omicron variant may be as severe as previous variants," the researchers claimed in the pre-print study, meaning not yet peer-reviewed.
Although there were reports noting Omicron's vaccine evading properties, the new study provided evidence that vaccines helped spare people from the worst impacts of Omicron.
In the study, the team linked state-level vaccination data with quality-controlled electronic health records from a large healthcare system, including 13 hospitals, in Massachusetts.
They then performed a weighted case-control study to compare risks of hospital admission and mortality across the SARS-CoV-2 waves in over 130,000 Covid patients.
The unadjusted rates of hospital admission and mortality appeared to be higher in previous waves compared to the Omicron period.
But, our findings suggest that after accounting for confounders, including various demographics, and vaccination status, "the Omicron variant was as deadly as the previous SARS-CoV-2 waves", wrote the researchers, including Zachary H. Strasse from MGH, in the study.
The team also acknowledged limitations in their report, including the possibility that the analysis underestimated the number of vaccinated patients in more recent Covid waves, and the total number of infections, because it excluded patients who performed at-home rapid tests. (Agency)
Read More► Double-Masking Does Not Improve Protection Against Covid: Study
Double-masking might not protect against Covid-19, but rather raises the risk of infection as well as transmission, US researchers have claimed, in a study.
The study published in Physics of Fluids, suggests double masking with improperly fitted masks may "not significantly improve mask efficiency and produces a false sense of security".
"More layers mean a less porous face covering, leading to more flow forced out of the perimeter gaps (sides, top, and bottom) in masks with a less secure fit," argued researchers at Florida State University and Johns Hopkins University.
Double layers increase filtering efficiency only with good mask fit but could also lead to breathing difficulties.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, loosely woven cloth masks offer the least protection against Covid, and N95 and KN95 masks offer the most.
Still, after more than two years since the pandemic began, there is not a full understanding of mask characteristics for the most optimal protection.
In the study, the team used principal component analysis (PCA) along with fluid dynamics simulation models to show the crucial importance of proper fit for all types of masks and how face shape influences the most ideal fit.
The researchers modelled a moderate cough jet from the mouth of an adult male wearing a cloth mask over the nose and mouth with elastic bands wrapped around the ears.
They calculated the maximum volume flow rates through the front of the mask and peripheral gaps at different material porosity levels.
For a more realistic 3D face shape and size, the researchers used PCA that integrated 100 adult male and 100 adult female heads retrieved from head scan data at Basel University in Switzerland. PCA condenses large sets of variables while retaining most of the information.
Their model showed how the slight asymmetry typical in all facial structures can affect proper mask fitting. For example, a mask can have a tighter fit on the left side of the face than on the right side.
"Facial asymmetry is almost imperceivable to the eye but is made obvious by the cough flow through the mask," said co-author Tomas Solano, from Florida State University.
"For this particular case, the only unfiltered leakage observed is through the top. However, for different face shapes, leakage through the bottom and sides of the mask is also possible," he added.
Creating "designer masks" customised to each person's face is not practical at scale. Still, PCA-based simulations can be used to design better masks for different populations by revealing general differences between male and female or child versus elderly facial structures and the associated air flow through masks, the researchers said. (Agency)
Read More► Covid-19 Pandemic Raised Antibiotic-Resistant Infections: Study
Asthma in children is likely to get worse after a Covid-19 infection, finds a large-scale nationwide study in the US.
Six months after a Covid infection, asthmatic children showed significant increases in emergency department visits, hospitalisations, emergency inhaler use, and steroid treatments, compared to children without Covid, researchers reported in a pre-print of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
A team from Children's Hospital of Orange County in California examined 61,916 asthmatic children aged 2-17.9 years who were infected with Covid between March 2020 and February 2021.
"Our data demonstrates that while asthma outcomes were improved for those who tested negative for SARS-COV-2, asthmatic children who were definitively diagnosed with Covid-19 have worse asthma control in the first six months after infection," said Dr. Christine C. Chou from the Hospital's Department of Paediatrics.
On the other hand, children who tested negative for Covid virus had improved asthma control for the next six months, meaning fewer emergency department visits and hospitalisations for asthma, and less asthma treatment, the study showed.
Previous studies hypothesised that there was an overall improvement in asthma control during the last two years of pandemic. Respiratory viral infections are major triggers of asthma exacerbations, including coronaviruses. It was therefore unexpected that asthmatic children have not experienced increased exacerbations during the Covid-19 pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Chou said that it was due to hygiene and public health measures, and/or decreased exposures to particulate matter and viral triggers.
"In fact, we previously found a dramatic reduction in asthma morbidity after mid-March 2020 compared to previous years, plausibly associated with fewer respiratory viral illnesses during stay-at-home measures," Chou said.
"The asthma-triggering effect of SARS-CoV-2 was likely masked by the overall decrease in asthma exacerbations during the stay-at-home measures when other asthma triggers were less present in the community," she noted. (agency)
Read More► New Variant of Corona Detected in Patna
London: Vitamin B12 deficiency in infants leads to poor motor development and anaemia, according to a study which stated that its deficiency is an enormous yet overlooked problem.
For many years, there has been a focus on vitamin A, zinc and iron deficiencies when it comes to malnutrition across the globe, whereas there is a paucity of research on B12 deficiency.
A lack of vitamin B12 doesn't just potentially lead to anaemia, it can damage the nervous system. And for young children, B12 is crucial for brain development.
"B12 deficiency is one of the most overlooked problems out there when it comes to malnutrition. And unfortunately, we can see that the food relief we provide today is not up to the task," said Henrik Friis, first author of the study and a professor at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.
A team from University of Copenhagen and Doctors Without Borders conducted a study among 1,000 children with acute malnutrition aged 6-23 months in Africa's Burkina Faso.
The results, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, showed a strong correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and poor motor development and anaemia.
The children's B12 levels were measured both before and after three months of daily food relief rations containing the recommended B12 content. During the period when children were provided with food relief, their B12 levels increased, before decreasing considerably once the programme was stopped.
Even after three months of food relief, one-third of the children continued to have low or marginal levels of B12 stored. The unfortunate explanation is that there is a cap on how much B12 can be absorbed.
"A child's gut can only absorb 1 microgram of B12 per meal. So, if a child is lacking 500 micrograms, it will take much longer than the few weeks that they have access to emergency food relief," explained Vibeke Brix Christensen, paediatrician and medical advisor with Doctors Without Borders.
She points out that it might make a difference to divide the necessary amount of vitamin B12 across several meals, which would probably allow children to absorb the same amount of B12 each time. (Agency)
Read More► Study Reveals Why 7 Hours of Sleep is Optimal in Middle Age
London: Seven hours is the ideal amount of sleep for people in their middle age and upwards as a new study has found that both insufficient or excessive sleep is associated with poorer cognitive performance and mental health, including dementia.
The study, published in the journal Nature Aging, indicates that one possible reason for the association between insufficient sleep and cognitive decline may be due to the disruption of slow-wave 'deep' sleep. Disruption to this type of sleep has been shown to have a close link with memory consolidation as well as the build-up of amyloid a key protein which, when it misfolds, can cause 'tangles' in the brain characteristic of some forms of dementia.
Additionally, lack of sleep may hamper the brain's ability to rid itself of toxins, said researchers from the University of Cambridge and Fudan University. For the study, the team examined data from nearly 500,000 adults aged 38-73 years from the UK Biobank.
Participants were asked about their sleeping patterns, mental health and well-being, and took part in a series of cognitive tests. Brain imaging and genetic data were available for almost 40,000 of the study participants.
By analysing these data, the team found that both insufficient and excessive sleep duration was associated with impaired cognitive performance, such as processing speed, visual attention, memory, and problem-solving skills.
Seven hours of sleep per night was the optimal amount of sleep for cognitive performance, but also for good mental health, with people experiencing more symptoms of anxiety and depression and worse overall wellbeing if they reported sleeping for longer or shorter durations, the researchers said. (Agency)
Read More► Women More Likely to Have Asthma Attacks, Deaths Than Men: Report
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