People who regularly fast are less likely to experience severe complications from Covid-19, suggests a study.
Intermittent fasting has previously shown to have a host of health benefits, including lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The findings, published week in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, showed that Covid patients who practised regular water-only intermittent fasting had lower risk of hospitalisation or dying due to the virus than patients who did not.
"Intermittent fasting has already shown to lower inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. In this study, we're finding additional benefits when it comes to battling an infection of Covid-19 in patients who have been fasting for decades," said Benjamin Horne, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at Intermountain Healthcare in the US.
In the study, researchers identified 205 patients who had tested positive for the virus between March 2020 and February 2021 -- before vaccines were widely available.
Of these, 73 said they regularly fasted at least once a month. Researchers found that those who practised regular fasting had a lower rate of hospitalisation or death due to coronavirus.
"Intermittent fasting was not associated with whether or not someone tested positive Covid-19, but it was associated with lower severity once patients had tested positive for it," Horne said.
While Horne said that more research is needed to understand why intermittent fasting is associated with better Covid outcomes, he said it's most likely due to a host of ways that it affects the body.
For example, fasting reduces inflammation, especially since hyperinflammation is associated with poor Covid-19 outcomes. In addition, after 12 to 14 hours of fasting, the body switches from using glucose in the blood to ketones, including linoleic acid.
"There's a pocket on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 that linoleic acid fits into -- and can make the virus less able to attach to other cells," he said.
Another potential benefit is that intermittent fasting promotes autophagy, which is "the body's recycling system that helps your body destroy and recycle damaged and infected cells", Horne added.
Horne stressed that these results are from people who have been practising intermittent fasting for decades -- not weeks -- and that anyone who wants to consider the practice should consult their doctors first, especially if they are elderly, pregnant, or have conditions like diabetes, heart, or kidney disease.
Researchers also stressed intermittent fasting shouldn't be seen as a substitute for Covid vaccination. (Agency)
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A combination of high-dose Vitamin D, Omega-3s, and simple home strength exercises can help reduce cancer risk in healthy adults aged 70 or older by 61 per cent, claims a study.
Published in Frontiers in Aging, it is the first study to test the combined benefit of three affordable public health interventions for the prevention of invasive cancers that has grown past the original tissue or cells where it developed, and spread to otherwise healthy surrounding tissue.
Apart from preventative recommendations such as not smoking and sun protection, public health efforts that focus on cancer prevention are limited, according to Dr Heike Bischoff-Ferrari of the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland.
"Preventive efforts in middle-aged and older adults today are largely limited to screening and vaccination efforts," Bischoff-Ferrari noted.
Studies have shown that Vitamin D inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Similarly, Omega-3 may inhibit the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells, and exercise has been shown to improve immune function and decrease inflammation, which may help in the prevention of cancer.
However, there was a lack of robust clinical studies proving the effectiveness of these three simple interventions, alone or combined.
Bischoff-Ferrari and her colleagues tested the effect of daily high-dose Vitamin D3 (one form of Vitamin D supplements), daily supplemental Omega-3s, and a simple home strength exercise, alone and in combination, on the risk of invasive cancer among adults aged 70 or older.
The three-year trial, held in Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, and Portugal, involved 2,157 participants.
The results show that all three treatments (Vitamin D3, Omega-3s, and exercise) had cumulative benefits on the risk of invasive cancers, Bischoff-Ferrari said.
Each of the treatments had a small individual benefit but when all three treatments were combined, the benefits became statistically significant, and the researchers saw an overall reduction in cancer risk by 61 per cent.
"Our results, although based on multiple comparisons and requiring replication, may prove to be beneficial for reducing the burden of cancer," Bischoff-Ferrari said, adding the need for further studies. (agency)
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London: Using drugs widely used to relieve nausea and vomiting are three times more likely to increase the risk of stroke, finds a study.
People with migraine, or undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, are likely to suffer from nausea and vomiting and are known to use antidopaminergic antiemetics (ADAs) drugs.
According to the study, published by The BMJ, the potential action of ADAs on blood flow to the brain could explain the higher risk.
"The higher risk found for drugs crossing the blood-brain barrier suggests a potential central effect, possibly through an action on cerebral blood flow," the researchers said.
A team of researchers in France from Inserm and Bordeaux University (Bordeaux Population Health Centre) and Bordeaux CHU studied three ADAs - domperidone, metopimazine, and metoclopramide. All three were associated with an increased risk, especially in the first days of use, but the highest increase was found for metopimazine and metoclopramide.
Like antipsychotics, ADAs are antidopaminergic drugs - they work by blocking dopamine activity in the brain. Antipsychotics have been associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, but whether this risk could extend to other antidopaminergics including ADAs is not known.
In the study, the team included 2,612 patients with a first ischaemic stroke between 2012 and 2016 and compared by age, sex, and stroke risk factors to a healthy control group of 21,859 randomly selected people who also received an ADA in the same time period.
Among patients with stroke, 1,250 received an ADA at least once in the risk period and 1,060 in the reference periods. Among the control group, 5,128 and 13,165 received an ADA at least once in the risk and reference periods, respectively.
After taking account of potentially influential factors, the researchers found that new users of ADA could be at a 3-fold increased risk of stroke shortly after treatment started.
Further analyses by age, sex, and history of dementia showed similar results, with men at highest (a 3.59-fold increased) risk.
However, the team said "this is an observational study, and as such, can't establish cause". Nevertheless, they say their results show that the risk of ischaemic stroke appears to be associated with ADA use. (agency)
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स्कूल के वेंटिलेशन सिस्टम में सुधार से छात्रों में कोविड-19 मामलों को कम करने में मदद मिल सकती है। एक इतालवी अध्ययन से इसकी जानकारी मिली है।
अध्ययन एक इतालवी थिंक टैंक ह्यूम फाउंडेशन द्वारा आयोजित किया गया था और मंगलवार को जारी किया गया। इसमें मध्य इटली में मार्चे में 10,441 कक्षाएं शामिल थीं, जिनमें से 316 कक्षाएं यांत्रिक वेंटिलेशन सिस्टम से सुसज्जित थीं, जबकि अन्य 10,125 सामान्य थीं।
समाचार एजेंसी सिन्हुआ की रिपोर्ट के अनुसार, मैकेनिकल वेंटिलेशन सिस्टम वाले 316 कक्षाओं में, कोविड के बहुत कम मामले थे और स्कूल के वेंटिलेशन सिस्टम की गुणवत्ता के साथ संक्रमण की संख्या में कमी आई।
बिना वेंटिलेशन सिस्टम वाली कक्षाओं के स्तर की तुलना में, जब कक्षा की हवा को हर 25 मिनट में पूरी तरह से बदल दिया गया तो कोविड के मामलों में 40 प्रतिशत की कमी आई।
जब हवा को हर 15 मिनट में पूरी तरह से बदल दिया गया, तो मामले कम थे और ऐसे मामलों में जहां हवा को हर 10 मिनट में बदल दिया गया था, रिपोर्ट की गई थी कि कोविड के मामले बहुत कम थे, जैसा कि अध्ययन से पता चला है।
स्थानीय रिपोर्टों के अनुसार, इटली के अधिकांश स्कूलों में यांत्रिक वेंटिलेशन सिस्टम की कमी है। इटली के कोविड सुरक्षा नियमों में शिक्षकों को संभव होने पर कक्षा की खिड़कियां खोलने की आवश्यकता होती है।
सितंबर 2021 और जनवरी 2022 के बीच किए गए अध्ययन में कहा गया है कि कुशल वेंटिलेशन सिस्टम स्थापित करने से स्कूलों में मामले 250 प्रति 100,000 छात्रों से घटकर 50 प्रति 100,000 छात्र हो सकते हैं।
यह खबर तब आई जब फरवरी की शुरूआत से मार्च की शुरूआत तक इटली में कोविड संक्रमण बढ़ने लगा। इटली ने मंगलवार को 96,365 नए मामले दर्ज किए, जो 8 फरवरी के बाद से सबसे अधिक दैनिक नए मामले हैं। (एजेंसी)
यह भी पढ़े► सीवेज के नमूनों में पोलियो वायरस !
Kolkata: Extract from the bark of the neem tree, indigenous to India, may help treat and reduce the spread of coronavirus, a team of international researchers found.
Neem, used for over thousands of years, is known for its pesticidal, insecticidal, and medicinal properties.
The bark extract has helped treat malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases and many other diseases. People also use it in hair and dental products.
The study, led by a team from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, shows that components of neem bark may target a wide range of viral proteins, suggesting its potential as an antiviral agent against emerging variants of coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2.
The Indian researchers tested it in animal models and showed that it had antiviral properties against coronavirus.
Using computer modeling, the researchers predicted that Neem bark extract will bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at various locations, preventing virus entry to host cells.
Further, a team at University of Colorado, US, tested the Neem bark extract in SARS-CoV-2 human lung cells. It proved as effective as a preventive drug for infection and also decreased virus replication and spread after infection. The findings are reported in the journal Virology.
"The goal of this research is to develop a Neem-based medication that can reduce the risk of serious illness when someone is infected with coronaviruses," said study co-author Maria Nagel, research professor in the department of neurology and ophthalmology at the varsity's School of Medicine.
"We hope that scientists won't have to continuously develop new therapies every time a new SARS-CoV-2 variant emerges.
"Just like how we take penicillin for strep throat, we envision taking the Neem-based drug for Covid, allowing us to resume our normal lives without fear of hospitalisation and death," Nagel said.
The scientists believe this research could guide new antiviral therapeutic efforts to combat the ongoing pandemic, while holding out the promise for treating new coronavirus strains. (agency)
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New York: In view of several studies claiming efficacy of vitamins against Covid-19, a new research proves that taking immune-boosting supplements such as vitamin C, D and zinc do not lessen your chance of dying from the virus.
While these supplements have also been dubbed as an alternative against proven vaccines, researchers at The University of Toledo in Ohio, the US, said there's been little evidence.
"A lot of people have this misconception that if you load up on zinc, vitamin D or C, it can help the clinical outcome of Covid-19," said Dr. Azizullah Beran, an internal medicine resident at the University's College of Medicine and Life Sciences.
"That hasn't been shown to be true," Beran added. In the study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, the team reviewed 26 peer-reviewed studies from around the globe that included more than 5,600 hospitalised Covid patients.
The analysis found no reduction in mortality for those being treated with vitamin D, C or zinc compared to patients who did not receive one of these three supplements.
While treatment with vitamin D may be associated with lower rates of intubation and shorter hospital stays, the researchers stated that more rigorous study is needed to validate that finding.
Vitamin C and zinc were not associated with shorter hospital stays or lowering the chance of a patient being put on a ventilator.
The researchers also analysed a smaller subset of individuals who had been taking vitamin D prior to contracting the virus and found no significant difference in the mortality rate.
However, thy cautioned that the study should not be interpreted as saying vitamin and mineral supplements are bad or should be avoided, but rather made it clear that they are not effective at preventing deaths due to Covid.
At the same time, they also noted that it's possible that some Covid patients who are malnourished or otherwise deficient in micronutrients may benefit from taking supplements, but that's because their bodies already lack essential nutrients - not because vitamin D or vitamin C are effective against the virus.
"What we're saying is this: If you don't medically need these supplements, don't take them thinking they're protective against Covid," Beran said. "They're not going to prevent you from getting it and they're not going to prevent you from dying." (Agency)
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