London- After some reports linked Covid-19 with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) -- a rare disorder where the body's immune system attacks nerves and can lead to respiratory failure and death, a new study found no association between them.
The study, published in the journal Brain, have found no significant association between Covid-19 and the potentially paralysing and sometimes fatal neurological condition Guillain-Barre syndrome.
"In this epidemiological and cohort study, we sought to investigate any causative association between Covid-19 infection and GBS," said study authors from the University College London (UCL) in the UK.
The team assessed the number of GBS treatments reported to the NHS England National Immunoglobulin Database between 2016 and 2019.
This was compared to the number of cases reported during the Covid-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020.
The annual incidence of GBS treated in UK hospitals between 2016 and 2019 was 1.65-1.88 per 100,000 individuals. Incidences of GBS fell 40-50 per cent between March and May 2020 when compared to the same months of 2016-2019.
This new finding contradicts that of other smaller and less extensive international studies.
"Our study shows there was no increased incidence in GBS during the first wave of Covid-19; rather, there was a decrease and therefore no causal link of Covid-19 to GBS can be made," said study first author Stephen Keddie.
Separately in this study the research team also tried to establish if there was any genetic or protein structure in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, which could trigger an immune response causing GBS.
Unlike Camplylobacter, which contains human-like antigens causing an autoimmune response, no credible link was found with SARS-CoV-2.
"Most Covid-19 vaccinations are based on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which drives a complex immune response creating antibodies to fight infection," the study authors wrote.
"Our analysis shows SARS-CoV-2 contains no additional immunogenic material known or proven to drive GBS. Concerns that Covid vaccination might cause GBS in any significant numbers are therefore almost certainly unfounded," they noted. (IANS)
New York- Researchers have reported the first instance of Covid-19 triggering a recurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome - a rare disorder where the body's immune system attacks nerves and can lead to respiratory failure and death.
While there have been several reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome following Covid-19, this is the first in which Covid-19 actually triggered a recurrence of the condition.
According to a case report, published in the journal Pathogens, a 54-year-old man who had suffered with Guillain-Barre Syndrome twice and had a third occurrence after testing positive for Covid-19.
"The patient came to the emergency room with complaints of progressive difficulty swallowing, then had a fever for three days, followed by weakness in the arms, legs and face," said study researcher Erin McDonnell from the Rutgers University in the US.
"His symptoms were worse this time than in previous episodes. He has since recovered," McDonnell added.
The research tram looked at about 1,200 hospital patients diagnosed with Covid-19 who were admitted and discharged between March and May of 2020 and this was the only instance where Covid-19 triggered the recurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome can follow acute viral and bacterial infections, causing symptoms including weakness and tingling in the extremities.
As the condition worsens, the weakness quickly spreads, eventually sometimes paralysing the whole body.
According to the researchers, while most people recover from the condition, about five per cent of people experience a recurrence.
The findings will improve the understanding of the spectrum of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which may be triggered by acute viral or bacterial infection, and help create treatments for Covid-19 patients. (IANS)
London - Researchers have found that down syndrome is associated with a 10-fold increased risk for Covid-19-related death.
Down syndrome (sometimes called Down's syndrome) is a condition in which a child is born with an extra copy of their 21st chromosome - hence its other name, trisomy 21.
This causes physical and mental developmental delays and disabilities.
"Although the down syndrome was not specifically mentioned on official lists of conditions that put people at increased risk, the condition is associated with immune dysfunction, congenital heart disease, and pulmonary pathology," said study author from the UK.
Therefore, it may be an unconfirmed risk factor for severe Covid-19, the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reported.
For the findings, researchers from the University of Oxford, the University of Nottingham and the University College London studied a cohort of 8.26 million adults through a 'QResearch' database to evaluate if the down syndrome is a risk factor for death from Covid-19.
The authors found an estimated a 4-fold increased risk for Covid-19-related hospitalisation and a 10-fold increased risk for Covid-19-related death in persons with Down syndrome.
"We are unaware of the effects of down syndrome on Covid-19 outcomes being reported elsewhere yet during this pandemic," the study authors wrote.
They stressed this novel evidence should be used by public health organisations, policymakers, and health care workers to strategically protect vulnerable individuals. (IANS)
Online gadgets have become an integral part of most of people's activities throughout the day, whether for work, entertainment, or staying connected with friends and peers.
This dependence on gadgets has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic and led to increased incidents of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain, experts warned during a webinar conducted on 'Eye health care and online practices during COVID-19'.
Dr Saurabh Choudhry, CEO and HOD, ICARE Eye Hospital and PG Institute, explained how CVS impacts those working on screens for long hours. "It is a new type of disease that has started to take shape as more and more people started working in front of computer screens and felt symptoms like redness, irritation, difficulty in focusing and others," he said while addressing a panel discussion during the webinar.
The webinar was organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) as part of their ongoing series on health - 'Illness to Wellness'.
Dr G.V. Divakar, Managing Director, Divakar's Speciality Hospital, and Asian Research & Training Institute for Skill Transfer, stated that use of online devices such as phones and laptops has significantly gone up during the pandemic by almost 75 per cent. He also said that the increase of screen time is occurring in both children and adults due to online classes and work from home, respectively, leading to CVS.
"Prolonged exposure to screens can lead to developing symptoms of CVS where patient gets headaches, redness etc. When you look at the screen for too long, the blinking rate reduces and can lead to symptoms of dry eyes. To avoid that, we should reduce the duration of screen time, resolution of the screen and can also use supplements like eye drops," he said.
Dr Divakar suggested that gaps in between the sessions are mandatory for children to avoid developing CVS. "The normal screen time should be maximum 30-35 minutes at a stretch. It is advisable that teachers take classes for 30-35 minutes and then give a gap of 15 minutes before resuming classes," he advised.
Meanwhile, experts advised a 20-20-20 rule to avoid CVS consequences for professionals who are working from home.
"For professionals, we suggest that you take a break every 20 minutes for about 20 seconds and look at something 20 feet away. This will relax the muscles and then they can start working again. You can also opt for automated methods where the screen goes dark every 20 minutes and you are forced to take a little break. This will enhance blood circulation to the eyes, neck and back so everything is taken care of by following the 20-20-20 rule. Other factors like the lighting of the room, position of the body, quality of the computer screen also need to be taken care of," Dr Choudhry said.
Besides, other panelists also highlighted the need for more awareness among the public to acknowledge the eye conditions. Dr Mahipal Singh Sachdev, Chairman & Medical Director, Centre for Sight and President of All India Ophthalmological Society, said that parents should let their children undergo eye tests as early as one year after birth.
"It should be well established that after a child is born, after it is one year old and for every year it is in school, it should undergo eye checkups and wear glasses if needed. If you need glasses for refractive error correction and do not wear it then it can affect your performance in school and college. Awareness needs to be increased as it is only in India that the largest cause of blindness is cataract, a completely reversible disease," he said.
Meanwhile, Anil Rajput, Chairman, ASSOCHAM CSR Council, added to the discussion by speaking on best practices to keep our eyes protected. "It is extremely important that we avoid touching the mucous membrane of our mouth, nose and eyes as any contamination on the surface of any object can easily pass on the virus through this mode. It has also been suggested that glasses provide a shield by protecting the eyes from any droplets that can enter through the eye," he said.
The experts also stated that COVID-19 should not be a reason for patients to postpone their checkups and eye surgeries as eye hospitals are taking all precautions to keep patients and caregivers safe. (IANS)
Sydney, The venom from one of the largest spiders in the world may bring the hope to ease the gut pain suffered by millions of people with the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Australian researchers revealed on Monday.
IBS is an intestinal disorder causing pain in the stomach which affects the internal organs. The causes of IBS remain unknown.
The lead researcher, Professor Richard Lewis from the University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience said current treatment targeting gut pain had some drawbacks.
"All pains are complex but gut pain is particularly challenging to treat and affects around 20 percent of the world's population," Lewis said.
"Current drugs are failing to produce effective pain relief in many patients before side effects limit the dose that can be administered."
There were hundreds of mini proteins known as peptides contained in spider's venom which has the capability of blocking the pain. However, not all of them were able to specifically block the chronic visceral pain caused by IBS, according to Lewis.
"Our goal was to find more specialized pain blockers that are potent and target pain sodium channels for chronic visceral pain, but not those that are active in the heart and other channels," he said.
Researchers screened venom from 28 spiders and identified two peptides from the venom of the Venezuelan Pinkfoot Goliath tarantula - which has a leg-span of up to 30 centimeters were most promising, with one nearly stopping chronic visceral pain in a model of IBS, reports Xinhua.
"The highly selective ones have potential as treatments for pain, while others are useful as new research tools to allow us to understand the underlying drivers of pain in different diseases," Lewis said.
New York, Sep 6 (IANS) Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), believed to be linked to Covid-19, damages the heart to such an extent that some children will need lifelong monitoring and interventions, warn researchers.According to the review, published in EClinicalMedicine, a journal of The Lancet, case studies also show MIS-C can strike seemingly healthy children without warning three or four weeks after asymptomatic infections."Children did not need to exhibit the classic upper respiratory symptoms of Covid-19 to develop MIS-C, which is frightening," said study author Alvaro Moreira from The University of Texas in the US."Children might have no symptoms, no one knew they had the disease, and a few weeks later, they may develop this exaggerated inflammation in the body," Moreira added.For the findings, the research team reviewed 662 MIS-C cases reported worldwide between January 1 and July 25. The researchers found that 71 per cent of the children were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and at least 60 per cent presented with shock.According to the study, the average length of stay in the hospital was 7.9 days and 100 per cent had a fever, 73.7 per cent had abdominal pain or diarrhoea, and 68.3 per cent suffered from vomiting.The findings also showed that 22.2 per cent of the children required mechanical ventilation and 4.4 per cent required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Also, 11 children died."This is a new childhood disease that is believed to be associated with SARS-CoV-2," Moreira said."It can be lethal because it affects multiple organ systems. Whether it be the heart and the lungs, the gastrointestinal system or the neurologic system, it has so many different faces that initially it was challenging for clinicians to understand," Moreira added.The amount of inflammation in MIS-C surpasses two similar pediatric conditions, Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome."The saving grace is that treating these patients with therapies commonly used for Kawasaki - immunoglobulin and glucocorticosteroids - has been effective," D Moreira said.Most of the 662 children suffered cardiac involvement as indicated by markers such as troponin, which is used with great accuracy in adults to diagnose heart attacks."Almost 90 per cent of the children (581) underwent an echocardiogram because they had such a significant cardiac manifestation of the disease," the researchers said.The damage included dilation of coronary blood vessels, a phenomenon also seen in Kawasaki disease. Almost 10 per cent of children had an aneurysm of a coronary vessel.Children with an aneurysm are at the most risk of a future event."Evidence suggests that children with MIS-C have immense inflammation and potential tissue injury to the heart, and we will need to follow these children closely to understand what implications they may have in the long term," the team noted.--IANSbu/sdr/
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