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Drops in income can harm your brain: Study

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New York, Oct 4 : Young adults who experienced annual income drops of 25 per cent or more might be more at risk of having thinking problems and reduced brain health in middle age, a study said.

“Our exploratory study followed participants in the US through the recession in the late 2000s when many people experienced economic instability,” said the study’s lead author Leslie Grasset from the Inserm Research Centre in France.

“Our results provide evidence that higher income volatility and more income drops during peak earning years are linked to unhealthy brain ageing in middle age,” Grasset said.

The study published in the journal Neurology, involved 3,287 people who were 23-35 years old at the start of the study and were enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which includes a racially diverse population.

Participants reported their annual pre-tax household income every three to five years from 1990-2010.

Researchers have examined how often income dropped as well as the percentage of change in income between 1990-2010 for each participant.

Participants were given thinking and memory tests that measured how well they completed tasks and how much time it took to complete them.

The study found that people with two or more income drops had worse performances in completing tasks than people with no income drops.

Participants with more income drops also scored worse on how much time it took to complete some tasks.

The results were the same after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect thinking skills, such as high blood pressure, education level, physical activity and smoking.

There was no difference between the groups on tests that measured verbal memory.

Of the study group, 707 participants also had brain scans with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the beginning of the study and 20 years later to measure their total brain volume as well as the volumes of various areas of the brain.

Researchers found when compared to people with no income drops, people with two or more income drops had smaller total brain volume.

People with one or more income drops also had reduced connectivity in the brain, meaning there were fewer connections between different areas of the brain.

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Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context

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World Health Organisation

Countries around the world are facing the challenge of increased demand for care of people with COVID-19, compounded by fear, misinformation and limitations on movement that disrupt the delivery of health care for all conditions.

Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context recommends practical actions that countries can take at national, subregional and local levels to reorganize and safely maintain access to high-quality, essential health services in the pandemic context. It also outlines sample indicators for monitoring essential health services, and describes considerations on when to stop and restart services as COVID-19 transmission recedes and surges.

This document expands on the content of pillar 9 of the COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response plan, supersedes the earlier Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak, and complements the recently-released Community-based health care, including outreach and campaigns, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended for decision-makers and managers at the national and subnational levels.

This is an update to COVID-19: Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak: Interim guidance, 25 March 2020 

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Moderna Covid-19 vax shows promise in mouse studies

Recently, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine has shown successful results in monkeys as well.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

New York, Aug 6 : Pharmaceutical company Moderna’s investigational vaccine mRNA-1273 currently in clinical stage has protected mice from the SARS-CoV-2 infection that causes Covid-19.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, show that the investigational vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies in mice when given as two intramuscular injections of a 1-microgram (mcg) dose three weeks apart.

Additional experiments found that mice were given two injections of the 1-mcg dose and later challenged with SARS-CoV-2 virus either five or 13 weeks after the second injection was protected from viral replication in the lungs and nose.

Importantly, mice challenged seven weeks after only a single dose of 1 mcg or 10 mcg of mRNA-1273 were also protected against viral replication in the lungs.

According to the researchers, the investigational vaccine also induced robust CD8 T-cell responses in the mice.

It did not induce the type of cellular immune response that has been linked to vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease (VAERD), they said.

This rare, allergic-type inflammation was seen in individuals vaccinated with a whole-inactivated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine in the 1960s.

VAERD can occur when a vaccine induces an immune response that is not strong enough to protect against infection.

The investigators vaccinated mice with sub-protective doses of mRNA-1273 and then challenged the mice with SARS-CoV-2.

The mice showed no evidence of enhanced lung pathology or excessive mucus production, indicating the vaccine did not cause enhanced disease, the authors write.

The authors noted that the data from these studies, combined with data from studies in nonhuman primates and Phase 1 clinical testing, support the evaluation of mRNA-1273 in clinical efficacy trials.

They also explained how their prior research on a candidate MERS-CoV vaccine paved the way for a rapid response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“This is a demonstration of how the power of new technology-driven concepts like synthetic vaccinology facilitates a vaccine development program that can be initiated with pathogen sequences alone,” the authors wrote.

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, along with collaborators from the University of North Carolina, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Texas at Austin conducted the preclinical research.

NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) scientists worked with investigators from the University of Texas at Austin to identify the atomic structure of the spike protein on the surface of the novel coronavirus. This structure was used by VRC and Moderna in the development of the vaccine candidate.

Recently, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine has shown successful results in monkeys as well.

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With 56k new Covid cases, India’s tally mounts to 19.6L

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coronavirus india

New Delhi, Aug 6 : With 56,282 new coronavirus cases and 904 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total tally in India rose to 19,64,537 and 40,699 deaths, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed on Thursday.

Currently, 5,95,501 cases are active and 1,328,336 people have recovered from the disease. The recovery rate has reached a new high of 67.19 per cent. In the last 24 hours, 6,64,949 samples have been tested.

Six major states in India have recorded more than one lakh cases in the last six months since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Maharashtra has the highest number of cases, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state with 4,68,265 cases and 16,476 deaths. Tamil Nadu comes in second with 2,73,460 cases and 4,461 deaths.

On the other hand, with the deadly virus spreading rapidly all over the country, there are eight states and union territories – Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Mizoram, Arunanchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands where there are less than 1,000 active cases.

In a press briefing earlier this week, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said that 82 per cent of the total cases are limited to ten states and union territories and that fifty districts account for 66 per cent of the total caseload.

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