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Salary cut early in life may harm your brain health

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New York, Oct 8 : Researchers have warned that young adults who experience annual income drops of 25 per cent or more may be more at risk of having thinking problems and reduced brain health in middle age.

There may be several explanations as to why an unstable income may have an influence on brain health.

People with a lower or unstable income may have reduced access to high-quality health care which may result in worse management of diseases like diabetes, or management of unhealthy behaviours such as smoking and drinking.

“Income volatility is at a record level since the early 1980s and there is growing evidence that it may have pervasive effects on health,” said study senior author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

“Our results provide evidence that higher income volatility during peak earning years are associated with worse brain aging in middle age,” Hazzouri added.

The study involved 3,287 people who were 23 to 35 years old at the start of the study. Participants reported their annual pre-tax household income every three to five years for 20 years, from 1990 to 2010.

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

Based on the number of income drops, participants fell into three groups: 1,780 people who did not have an income drop; 1,108 who had one drop of 25 per cent or more from the previous reported income; and 399 people who had two or more such drops.

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

Researchers found that people with two or more income drops had worse performances in completing tasks than people with no income drops. On average, they scored worse by 3.74 points or 2.8 per cent.

“For reference, this poor performance is greater than what is normally seen due to one year in ageing, which is equivalent to scoring worse by only 0.71 points on average or 0.53 per cent,” said first author Leslie Grasset of the Inserm Research Center in Bordeaux, France.

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

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.

“While the study does not prove that drops in income cause reduced brain health, it does reinforce the need for additional studies examining the role that social and financial factors play in brain ageing,” said researchers in a paper published in the journal Neurology.

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Novel predicted coronavirus 40 years ago, Internet stumped

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

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New Delhi, Feb 17: An excerpt of the Novel “The Eyes of Darkness”, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense author Dean Koontz is revolving around the social media which tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus as part of its biological weapons programme.

In chapter 39 of his book, Koontz writes that the lab is located in Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400.

Congress leader Manish Tewari has also tweeted excerpts from a book that went viral on the Internet that the coronavirus involved in the outbreak in China’s Wuhan appears to be man-made.

“Is Coranavirus a biological Weapon developed by the Chinese called Wuhan -400? This book was published in 1981. Do read the excerpt,” Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted.

Tewari highlighted a paragraph that read: “They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four hundredth viable strain of man-made micro-organisms created at that centre.”

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

A user wrote, “Haha Infinite monkey theorem. Pick any event and chances are that some book written at some would have a similar plot . Conspiracy theory has no end.”

Another wrote, “Sensational … No doubt China had replaced Russia and USSR as rogue country in Hollywood films and later James Bond movies.”

A post read, “Intriguing for sure, hope the truth comes out.”

A user remarked, “Okay if it is then it surely backfired on them!”

By the end of Sunday, a total of 1,770 people had died of the disease and 70,548 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in China.

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WHO underestimates coronavirus’ ability to spread: Study

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

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Coronavirus

London, Feb 15 : The novel coronavirus may have greater ability to spread than the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated so far, according to a review of previous studies of the virus’ transmissibility.

“Our review shows that the coronavirus is at least as transmissible as the SARS virus. And that says a great deal about the seriousness of the situation,” said Joacim Rocklov, Professor of Sustainable Health at Umea University in Sweden and one of the authors of the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

A reproduction number is a measurement of how many people a contaminated person transmits the virus to in a previously healthy population.

The higher the number, the more transferable the virus is and the higher the risk of its rapid spread.

When the reproduction number falls below 1.0, the epidemic is likely to die out.

Researchers in Umea in Sweden, Heidelberg in Germany and Zhangzhou in China have carried out a review of several scientific studies of the novel coronavirus.

In total, the researchers found twelve studies of sufficiently high quality.

The studies consisted of estimations of the growth rate based upon the cases observed in the Chinese population, and based upon statistical and mathematical methods.

The earliest studies of the coronavirus indicated a relatively low transmissibility. Thereafter, the transmissibility rose rapidly to stabilise between 2-3 in the most recent studies.

The reproduction number in the studies summed up to a mean of 3.28, and a median of 2.79, which is significantly higher than the World Health Organization’s estimation of 1.4-2.5.

“When looking at the development of the corona epidemic, reality seems to correspond well to or even exceed the highest epidemic growth in our calculations. Despite all intervention and control activities, the coronavirus has already spread to a significantly higher extent than SARS did,” said Rocklov.

The overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus on Saturday increased to 1,523, with a total of 66,492 confirmed cases, authorities said.

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Novel coronavirus to be called COVID-19: WHO

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COVID 19

New Delhi, Feb 12 : The deadly novel coronavirus has now got its official name. From now on, the virus will be known as ‘COVID-19’.

In a statement released by the World Health Organisation, its Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “we now have a name for the disease: COVID-19. I’ll spell it: C-O-V-I-D hyphen one nine – COVID-19.” He termed the virus as “a common enemy.”

The statement was released on Tuesday by the World Health Organisation.

The WHO chief also said that, “under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease. Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

According to the World Health Organisation there were 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China, and tragically the death toll surpassed 1000 deaths as on Tuesday. “1017 people in China have lost their lives due to this virus. Most of the cases and most of the deaths are in Hubei province. Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, and 1 death,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.

The world health body also said that it had activated a UN Crisis Management Team, to be led by Dr Mike Ryan that will help the organisation focus on the health response while the other agencies could bring their expertise to bear on the wider social, economic and developmental implications of the outbreak so we are all working to our strengths. Dr Mike Ryan will coordinate the whole UN response.

WHO is also hosting a two-day meeting of more than 400 scientists from around the world, both in person and virtually called Global research and innovation forum on February 11 and 12.

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