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Want to live longer? Eat less

For the findings, the research team compared rats who ate 30 per cent fewer calories with rats on normal diets.

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New York, Feb 28 : If you want to live longer, reduce levels of inflammation throughout your body and delay the onset of age-related diseases — eat less food, say researchers.

According to a study, published in the journal Cell, researchers from the US and China provided the most detailed report of the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rats.

While the benefits of caloric restriction have long been known, the new results show how this restriction can protect against aging in cellular pathways.

“We already knew that calorie restriction increases life span, but now we’ve shown all the changes that occur at a single-cell level to cause that,” said study senior author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte from the Salk Institute in the US

“This gives us targets that we may eventually be able to act on with drugs to treat aging in humans,” Belmonte added.

For the findings, the research team compared rats who ate 30 per cent fewer calories with rats on normal diets.

The diet of animals in the age group of 18-27 months was controlled. (In humans, this would be roughly equivalent to someone following a calorie-restricted diet from the age of 50 to 70.)

The research team isolated and analysed a total of 168,703 cells from 40 cell types in the 56 rats from starting as well as during the conclusion of the diet. The cells came from fat tissues, liver, kidney, aorta, skin, bone marrow, brain and muscle.

In each isolated cell, the researchers used single-cell genetic-sequencing technology to measure the activity levels of genes.

They also looked at the overall composition of cell types within any given tissue. Then, they compared old and young mice on each diet.

Many of the changes that occurred as rats on the normal diet grew older didn’t occur in rats on a restricted diet; even in old age, many of the tissues and cells of animals on the diet closely resembled those of young rats.

Overall, 57 per cent of the age-related changes in cell composition seen in the tissues of rats on a normal diet were not present in the rats on the calorie restricted diet, the study said.

“This approach not only told us the effect of calorie restriction on these cell types, but also provided the most complete and detailed study of what happens at a single-cell level during aging,” said study researcher Guang-Hui Liu from Chinese Academy of Sciences in China.

According to the study, some of the cells and genes most affected by the diet related to immunity, inflammation and lipid metabolism.

The number of immune cells in nearly every tissue studied dramatically increased as control rats aged but was not affected by age in rats with restricted calories.

In brown adipose tissue–one type of fat tissue–a calorie-restricted diet reverted the expression levels of many anti-inflammatory genes to those seen in young animals, the research said.

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Air pollution linked to increased dementia risk

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New Delhi : People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, warn researchers.

According to the study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, patients with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) who live in polluted environments may require additional support from care providers to prevent dementia.

“Interestingly, we were able to establish harmful effects on human health at levels below current air pollution standards,” said study first author Giulia Grande from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

“The findings suggest air pollution does play a role in the development of dementia, and mainly through the intermediate step of cardiovascular disease and especially stroke,” Grande added.

According to the study, the number of people living with dementia is projected to triple in the next 30 years globally. No curative treatment has been identified and the search for modifiable risk and protective factors remains a public health priority.

Recent studies have linked both cardiovascular disease and air pollution to the development of dementia, but findings on the air pollution-link have been scarce and inconsistent.

To reach the conclusion, the researchers examined the link between long-term exposure to air pollution and dementia and what role cardiovascular diseases play in that association.

Almost 3,000 adults with an average age of 74 and living in the Kungsholmen district in central Stockholm were followed for up to 11 years. Of those, 364 people developed dementia.

The annual average level of particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in width (PM2.5) are considered low compared to international standards.

For the last five years of exposure, the risk of dementia increased by more than 50 per cent per interquartile range (IQR) difference in mean PM2.5 levels and by 14 per cent per IQR in nitrogen oxide, the researchers said.

Earlier exposures seemed less important. Heart failure and ischemic heart disease both enhanced the dementia risk and stroke explained almost 50 per cent of air pollution-related dementia cases.

Air pollution is an established risk factor for cardiovascular health and because CVD accelerates cognitive decline.

“We believe exposure to air pollution might negatively affect cognition indirectly,” said Grande. “In the study, virtually all of the association of air pollution with dementia seemed to be through the presence or the development of CVD, adding more reason to reduce emissions and optimize treatment of concurrent CVD and related risk factors, particularly for people living in the most polluted areas of our cities,” she added.


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US scientists refute Wuhan as origin of novel coronavirus

“Our analyses, and others too, point to an earlier origin than that,” Garry said, “There were definitely cases there, but that wasn’t the origin of the virus.”

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Wuhan of Hubei seafood Market

The novel coronavirus did not originate from a seafood market in central China’s Wuhan City, according to American health experts.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the origin of the novel coronavirus has been widely discussed online, and conspiracy theories around it have also emerged endlessly.

Previous scientific studies have already suggested that virus which causes COVID-19 originated through natural processes.

In a recent interview with ABC news, Dr. Robert Garry, a professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine, once again pointed out that it’s a misconception to believe the virus originated at a seafood market in Wuhan, China.

“Our analyses, and others too, point to an earlier origin than that,” Garry said, “There were definitely cases there, but that wasn’t the origin of the virus.”

According to Garry, the pandemic may be triggered by the mutation in surface proteins of the virus. But it’s also possible that a less severe version of the illness was circulating through the population for years, perhaps even decades, before escalating to this point.

“This is a good explanation as to why this virus is so transmittable and has caused this pandemic,” he said.

Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. In a study published on Nature Medicine, a group of scientists, including Dr. Robert Garry, analyzed two specific features of spike proteins of the virus, which are responsible for griping and entering into the host cells.

The results show that the virus’ spike protein is optimized for binding to a molecular on the outside of human cells, so efficient that scientists concluded it was the result of natural selection and not a purposefully manipulated virus.

Besides, if someone were trying to make a new virus, they have to engineer it from the backbone — molecular structure of a virus which is known to cause diseases in human, scientists said.

But what they found is that the novel coronavirus backbone is not derived from any previously used virus backbone. The most closely resembled backbones were discovered in bats and pangolins.

These two features of the virus, the mutations in the RBD portion of the spike protein and its distinct backbone, rules out laboratory manipulation as a potential origin for this novel coronavirus , according to Kristian Andersen, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author of the paper.

What is exactly the natural origin blamed for COVID-19 has yet been worked out by global scientists. But they do propose two possible scenarios that can plausibly explain the origin of the virus, that is natural selection in an animal host before zoonotic transfer, and natural selection in humans following zoonotic transfer.

According to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health, in the first scenario, as the new coronavirus evolved in its natural hosts, possibly bats or pangolins, its spike proteins mutated to bind to molecules similar in structure to the human protein, thereby enabling it to infect human cells. Both the SARS and MERS outbreak followed this way.

The second scenario is that the novel coronavirus crossed from animals into humans before it became capable of causing human disease.

Then, as a result of natural evolution, the virus eventually gained the ability to spread human-to-human and cause diseases.

(Source: Reuters)

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1,000 people put on quarantine in Samba

The inmates alleged that there is a constant fear of stray dogs which roam around during the nights while they are sleeping.

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Jammu, March 30 : Close to a 1,000 people, mostly Kashmiris, have been brought to the Radha Swami Satsang centre in Samba, which has been converted into a quarantine centre in the wake of the corona virus outbreak in Jammu region.

Most of the inmates put in this facility, mainly labourers, were on their way to Kashmir from Delhi and other north Indian states. Some of them have walked long distances after the outbreak of the disease to reach their hometowns when they were brought here.

The inmates alleged that they are facing many hardships and the facilities at the center are inadequate.

“We are not getting proper bedding and are forced to sleep under the open sky,” said Muzammil, one of the inmates.

Another inmate, who didn’t wish to be named, alleged that people are gathering together in groups and there is no concept of social distancing.

“Social distancing is a myth as far as this quarantine facility is concerned. Large groups of people move together to collect their meals. God forbid if even one person is corona positive here, it will have grave consequences,” he said.

The inmates alleged that there is a constant fear of stray dogs which roam around during the nights while they are sleeping.

Meanwhile, speaking to IANS, Samba DC Rohit Khajuria said that close to 3,000 people have been put in nine quarantine centres across Samba district.

He said the administration is doing its best to make their stay comfortable.

“The only problem is that the people band together in groups without bothering about social distancing,” Khajuria said.

He said that most of the inmates demand that they be sent to their homes.

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