New York: Because of their small and relatively collapsible airways, young children with Omicron are more vulnerable to upper airway infection such as croup, which if severe can lead to cardiac arrest, finds a study.
Croup is a type of respiratory illness, known medically as laryngotracheitis, in babies and young children. It is characterised by barking cough, and noisy breathing. In severe cases, it can dangerously constrict breathing.
A team of researchers from Universities of Colorado and Northwestern in the US, examined 18,849 children hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2.
Their results published in the JAMA Pediatrics showed that upper airways infection increased during the Omicron surge. More than one-fifth of children hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2 and upper airways infection in the US developed severe disease.
About 384 had upper airway infection. Severe disease, defined as requiring invasive ventilation, vasopressors, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or death, occurred in 81 children.
The study also found that children with upper airways infection during the Omicron period were more likely to be younger and less likely to receive dexamethasone or develop severe disease compared with those in the pre-Omicron period.
"Children with severe upper airway infection are at risk of cardiac arrest from rapid-onset upper airway obstruction. They may require therapies typically provided in intensive care units, including frequent administration of nebulized racemic epinephrine, helium-oxygen mixtures, and intubation," said the researchers including Blake Martin, from Department of Pediatrics at University of Colorado's School of Medicine.
"While the rate of SARS-CoV-2 paediatric upper airway infection is not overwhelmingly high, understanding this new clinical phenotype and the potential for acute upper airway obstruction may help guide therapeutic decision-making," they added.
After being detected from African countries in November last year, Omicron soon gained presence worldwide and became the dominant strain, replacing Delta. It became dominant in the US the week ending December 25.
"Omicron is known to cause lower severity disease than the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant. This may be because Omicron replicates less efficiently in lung parenchyma and more efficiently in the conducting airways," the researchers said.
The team explained that SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe paediatric disease, including acute Covid-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Published reports associating SARS-CoV-2 with upper airway infection, such as laryngotracheobronchitis (croup), have been limited to small case series.
Although non coronaviruses, including parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus, most frequently cause upper airway infection, coronaviruses (eg, type NL63) are also commonly implicated.
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Not just lungs but also every cells of human body and the hard organs like bones and teeth get adversely affected by smoking, said Professor Uma Kumar, Head of Rheumatology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
Kumar said that the first hand smoke and second hand smoke both are equally harmful for health.
Expressing concerns on rising smoking habits among women, she said that it may result into infertility, cases of which is also rising these days. Also, smoking may lead to premature birth.
People generally think that smoking affects lungs only, but the case is different, it affects every parts and is one of the important risk factors for growing numbers cases related to autoimmune diseases, Kumar said while speaking on the prevention of deaths caused by tobacco on the occasion of World Health Day.
The event was organised by Tobacco Free India. Dr Vishal Rao of HCG, Bangalore said that the reason for the rapidly increasing cases of oral cancer in India is tobacco products.
To save the lives of 13 lakh Indians annually, it is need of the hour that the strictness on tobacco products should be increased, said eminent economist and BJP's national spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal.
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न्यूयॉर्क: ओमिक्रॉन वेरिएंट से संक्रमित 5 वर्ष से कम उम्र के बच्चों में डेल्टा वेरिएंट से संक्रमित लोगों की तुलना में गंभीर स्वास्थ्य परिणामों का जोखिम कम होता है। एक नए शोध में यह बात सामने आई है। पत्रिका 'जामा पीडियाट्रिक्स' में प्रकाशित शोध निष्कर्ष से यह भी पता चला है कि ओमिक्रॉन वेरिएंट डेल्टा की तुलना में 6 से 8 गुना अधिक संक्रामक है।
केस वेस्टर्न रिजर्व यूनिवर्सिटी स्कूल ऑफ मेडिसिन, क्लीवलैंड, ओहियो के शोधकर्ता रोंग जू ने कहा, "ओमिक्रॉन डेल्टा की तुलना में कम गंभीर है, हालांकि नैदानिक परिणामों में गंभीरता की सीमा में कमी केवल 16 से 85 प्रतिशत है।"
जू ने कहा, "इसके अलावा, चूंकि इतने सारे असंक्रमित बच्चे संक्रमित थे, मस्तिष्क, हृदय, प्रतिरक्षा प्रणाली और बच्चों के अन्य अंगों पर कोविड-19 संक्रमण के दीर्घकालिक प्रभाव अज्ञात और चिंताजनक बने हुए हैं।"
शोध टीम ने पाया कि डेल्टा से संक्रमित 3.3 प्रतिशत की तुलना में ओमिक्रॉन से संक्रमित लगभग 1.8 प्रतिशत बच्चे अस्पताल में भर्ती थे।
टीम ने अध्ययन के लिए अमेरिका में 651,640 से अधिक बच्चों के इलेक्ट्रॉनिक स्वास्थ्य रिकॉर्ड का विश्लेषण किया, जिनका 9/2021 और 1/2022 के बीच स्वास्थ्य संगठनों के साथ चिकित्सा जांच हुई थी, जिसमें दिसंबर के अंत और जनवरी के अंत में ओमिक्रॉन से 22,772 से अधिक बच्चे संक्रमित थे, जबकि डेल्टा से 66,000 से अधिक बच्चे संक्रमित हुए थे।
शोध टीम ने अमेरिका में ओमिक्रॉन का पता लगाने से ठीक पहले डेल्टा से संक्रमित 10,000 से अधिक बच्चों के रिकॉर्ड की तुलना की थी।
5 वर्ष से कम उम्र के बच्चे अभी तक कोविड-19 टीकों के लिए पात्र नहीं हैं। उनमें पिछले सार्स-कोव-2 संक्रमणों की दर कम है। संक्रमण उनके शरीर में पहले से मौजूद प्रतिरक्षा तत्वों को भी सीमित कर देता है।
टीम ने सार्स-कोव-2 संक्रमण के बाद 14 दिनों की अवधि के दौरान बाल रोगियों के स्वास्थ्य परिणामों की जांच की। उन्होंने जिन कारकों की समीक्षा की, वे थे : आपातकालीन कक्ष का दौरा, अस्पताल में भर्ती, आईसीयू में प्रवेश और यांत्रिक वेंटिलेशन का उपयोग।
आगे जनसांख्यिकीय डेटा विश्लेषण में पाया गया कि ओमिक्रॉन से संक्रमित बच्चे औसतन छोटे थे - 1.5 वर्ष की आयु बनाम 1.7 वर्ष और उनमें दूसरे रोग कम थे।
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London: Genetic variants that damage the genome are associated with reduced reproductive success and an increased likelihood of not having children, suggests research.
According to researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK, one mechanism of natural selection that is removing damaging genetic variation from the population is increased childlessness.
It is likely linked to genetic influences on cognitive and behavioural traits, which may mean that men and women with these genetic variants are less likely to form reproductive partnerships.
However, the study, published in the journal Nature, also showed that this genetic link may play a very minor role in the overall likelihood of being childless. It accounts for less than one per cent when compared to more influential factors such as sociodemographic factors and choice.
In the study, the team included more than 340,000 participants, and investigated whether damaging genetic variants were associated with lower reproductive success by calculating for each person, how much damaging genetic variation they carry across their entire genome, known as their 'genetic burden'.
They tested whether genetic burden was associated with the number of children that the participants had, and found it was associated with men with the highest genetic burden having an average 0.26 fewer children - but this was not seen in women.
The team also found that increasing genetic burden was associated with a higher chance of being childless in both men and women, but much more so in men.
"It's important to emphasise that we have not found a 'gene for childlessness', as that implies a strong, causal effect of genetic variation on whether or not someone will have children. Instead we have shown that people with damaged genomes, particularly men, are slightly more likely to be childless," said Eugene Gardner at the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.
"This is probably due to the effect of damaging genetic variants on cognitive and behavioural traits, which make these men less likely to find a partner to have children with," said Gardner, who was at the Wellcome Sanger Institute while doing the research.
While the genetic burden is not associated with infertility, both men and women with a higher genetic burden were more likely to have mental health disorders. (agency)
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London: Love to consume soft drinks with no added sugars, table-top sweeteners, and yogurt/cottage cheese containing artificial sweeteners? Beware, you may be at increased risk of cancer, warned a study.
Artificial sweeteners in food or beverages reduce added sugar content and corresponding calories while maintaining sweetness.
But the study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, showed that people who consumed larger quantities of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame and acesulfame-K, had higher risk of overall cancer compared to non-consumers. Higher risks were observed for breast cancer and obesity-related cancers.
"Our findings do not support the use of artificial sweeteners as safe alternatives for sugar in foods or beverages and provide important and novel information to address the controversies about their potential adverse health effects," Charlotte Debras from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm).
Debras added that the results are in line with several experimental in vivo/in vitro studies that have also claimed the link between cancer and artificial sweeteners.
Researchers from Inserm and Sorbonne Paris Nord University in France analysed data from 102,865 French adults.
Participants enrolled voluntarily and self-reported medical history, sociodemographic, diet, lifestyle, and health data. Researchers gathered data concerning artificial sweetener intake from 24-hour dietary records.
After collecting cancer diagnosis information during follow-up, the researchers conducted statistical analyses to investigate the associations between artificial sweetener intakes and cancer risk.
The results suggest that artificial sweeteners, used in many food and beverage brands worldwide, may represent a modifiable risk factor for cancer prevention.
These findings also provide novel information in the context of the ongoing re-evaluation of food additive sweeteners by the European Food Safety Authority and other health agencies globally. (agency)
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London: Though SARS-CoV-2, virus causing Covid-19, majorly causes infections of the respiratory tract, it also affects other organs of the human body such as the eyes and brain.
While there is growing evidence to show that coronaviruses can enter the retina of the eye, German researchers have now shown that the virus can also replicate in human eyes.
According to the study, published in the Stem Cell Reports, SARS-CoV-2 actually infects retinal cells, especially retinal ganglion cells, but also light-sensitive cells.
Furthermore, the researchers show that coronaviruses can also replicate in these cell types. This finding is new and underlines the need to monitor retinal pathologies as a possible consequence of 'Long Covid'.
A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine and the Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitat Munster utilised organoids, an organ-like model system, of the retina from human reprogrammed stem cells to study SARS-CoV-2 infection of the retina.
The retinal organoids were incubated with SARS-CoV-2 viruses and then using quantitative PCR analysis, the researchers succeeded in detecting Covid mRNA in the organoids, indicating that cells in the organoids were indeed infected by the virus.
To measure the active virus concentrations produced by the infected organoids after different incubation times, the researchers used an assay called a "viral plaque assay". Indeed, the assay showed that new viral progeny has been formed in the retinal organoids.
"This is the first demonstration that SARS-CoV-2 replicates in human retinal cells," said Thomas Rauen from Max Planck.
To find out which cells in the retinal organoids are affected, the researchers analysed the organoids under a fluorescence microscope. With the help of different immune markers for the different cell types of the retina and with a fluorescent antibody against the nucleoprotein (N-protein) of SARS-CoV-2, they found that mainly two cell layers - inner and outer - of the retinal organoids were infected.
The outer nuclear layer of the organoids contains the cell bodies of the photoreceptors -- the cones and rods that convert incoming light into nerve impulses.
"However, the cell type in which we most frequently detected the N-protein of Sars-CoV-2 is retinal ganglion cells," Yotam Menuchin-Lasowski from the Institute.
These cells are located in the innermost cell layer of the retina and transmit all signals from the retina to the brain via the optic nerve.
Interestingly, many of the retinal symptoms associated with Covid-19 are related to retinal ganglion cells, but these have previously been associated predominantly with secondary effects of other Covid-induced disease symptoms, such as damage to blood vessels or an increase in eye pressure.
"However, our current retina-organoid study shows that infection with SARS-CoV-2 can have direct pathological consequences for retinal ganglion cells, even though visual impairment is not common in patients with Covid-19," Rauen said.
"But our data give us reason to believe that so-called long-Covid symptoms may include degenerative retinal disease." (agency)
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