Here you can find a selection of the latest research news stories and medical breakthroughs. Take a look below to learn more!
Western Diet Linked to Changes in Gut Fungi and Metabolism
A study in mice has found that eating a highly processed diet rich in purified carbohydrates changed the community of fungi living in the animals’ guts.
The microbes that live in our guts, or microbiota, play important roles in how our bodies metabolize the food we eat and many other aspects of our health.
The study discovered that when the animals ate a processed diet, it reduced the diversity of fungi living in their jejunum, compared with the normal diet. The processed food correlated with unhealthy changes in the metabolisms of male mice.
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COVID-19 Reinfections Likely Within One or Two Years
People who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 can expect to become reinfected within one or two years, unless they take precautions such as getting vaccinated and wearing masks.
“Immunity is relatively short-lived,” says study co-author Jeffrey Townsend, a bioinformatician at the Yale School of Public Health. “You should still get vaccinated even if you got infected.”
Estimates based on viral evolution forecast a 50% risk, 17 months after a first infection, compared to a 5% risk after 4 months.
However, many unknowns remain, including the probable severity of disease when someone is reinfected.
To find out more about COVID-19, reinfections, follow the link below:
Depression in Early Childhood May Increase Risk of Cognitive Decline
A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease states that depression in young adulthood is associated with a 59% higher risk of developing dementia.
Whilst suffering from depression, the brain exhibits hyperactivity and more of the stress hormone, cortisol is released. High cortisol levels can damage the hippocampus, which has an important role in cognitive function and memory. Damage to the hippocampus can therefore increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
It’s estimated that 20% of people will experience an episode of clinical depression in their lifetime. Building healthy habits in adulthood will therefore impact physical and mental health in the future.
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How Can You Manage Your COPD Symptoms?
COPD is a progressive disease that causes breathing problems. There is currently no cure, but treatments can reduce symptoms and slow progression.
Research suggests that smoking accounts for 85-90% of all COPD cases.
According to NYU Langone Health, the best ways to manage your COPD include:
- Stopping smoking
- Getting vaccinated for infections such as the flu and COVID-19
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing exposure to environment pollutants
- Maintaining a healthy weight
To read more about COPD and how to manage it, click the link below:
Research Reveals How Tea May Lower Blood Pressure
Drinking tea is associated with a range of health benefits, including reductions in blood pressure.
A new research study shows that two antioxidants in tea known as catechins, open a protein channel in the membranes of the smooth muscle cells that line blood vessels. This may lead to lower blood pressure.
Controlling or lowering blood pressure can help prevent chronic kidney disease, heart attacks and heart failure.
This finding could lead to the development of better treatments for hypertension, which is estimated to affect 1 billion people worldwide.
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Links Between Smoking and Breast Cancer
Smoking increases the risk of cancer, as chemicals in tobacco can lead to uncontrolled cell growth.
A 2017 study found that smoking significantly increased the risk of breast cancer in women who started smoking in adolescence, women who had smoked for more than 10 years and women who smoked more than 5 cigarettes a day.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. In 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths worldwide.
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The Link Between Eczema and Depression
Eczema and mental health conditions often feed off each other.
Stressful emotions may elevate hormones such as cortisol, causing flare-ups of eczema symptoms. On the other hand, eczema can affect a person’s mental health and well-being, leading to stress, anxiety or depression.
Eczema is an autoimmune condition, which occurs when a person has an overactive immune system. It causes skin irritation, itchiness and swelling.
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Link Between Mental Stimulation at Work and Dementia
Researchers find that people with cognitively stimulating jobs had a 23% lower risk of dementia than other people.
In addition to this, the study showed that the incidence rate of dementia was 4.8 per 100,000 people in the group with highly mentally stimulating jobs and 7.3 per 100,000 in the group of low mentally stimulating jobs.
It is estimated that 50 million people are living with dementia across the globe and it is expected that this number will be three times as high in 30 years.
To learn more about risk factors of dementia and what can be done to reduce this risk, click the link below:
Cholesterol Lowering Jab Could Save Over 30,000 Lives
A new heart disease drug hailed as “life changing” has been approved for use in areas of the UK.
A global trial provided positive evidence with the drug ‘Inclisiran’, safely cutting cholesterol by 50%.
If 300,000 people are to receive the drug, an estimated 30,000 could avoid premature death due to heart attacks and strokes.
With half of the UK’s current population having cholesterol levels over national guidelines, this drug could provide benefits for many people’s lives.
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The Benefits of Yoga for Anxiety and How to Practice It
A systematic review from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that yoga can help with the symptoms of OCD, anxiety, neurosis and GAD.
Experts believe that yoga helps with anxiety by reducing stress hormones in the body.
Slowing down and concentrating on the breath can reduce the fast heartbeat and rapid breathing that people with anxiety often experience.
To learn more about the benefits and see some poses that you can try, click the link below!
Can Vaccine Boosters Stop the Spread of the Delta Variant?
According to Pfizer’s 2021 second-quarter earnings report, receiving an additional booster dose after having had the initial two doses, increases the amount of Delta variant antibodies fivefold in 18-to-55-year-olds and 11-fold in 65–85-year-olds.
The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is more transmissible than pre-existing variants, and has rapidly become the dominant variant in several countries, including the UK.
The UK has yet to authorise booster shots, however unofficial reports indicate millions of extra doses have been ordered for a COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign in fall 2022.
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Global Eradication of COVID-19 Remains Possible
A new paper argues that global eradication of COVID-19 is still possible.
The paper assessed eradicability by comparing COVID-19 to other diseases such as smallpox and polio. The paper considered 17 variables and assigned scores to the diseases, with higher values indicating a greater chance of eradication.
Smallpox was most eradicable with a score of 2.7. In comparison, COVID-19 scored 1.6, and polio scored 1.5.
It is likely that the international disruption caused by COVID-19 may drive the world’s governments towards a global solution.
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Type 2 Diabetes and Alcohol
Alcohol does not cause diabetes. However, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), heavy consumption and zero consumption increase the risk.
A 2015 study found that moderate alcohol consumption appeared to offer some protection against diabetes in women and Asian populations, while heavy consumption raised the risk in almost all groups.
Some detrimental effects of alcohol on diabetes include: promoting weight gain, making blood sugar levels less predictable and increases risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
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