Severe Covid-19 Doubles Risk Of Death In The Year After Illness

Survivors of severe Covid-19 are more than twice as likely to die over the following year than those who experienced milder symptoms or remained uninfected, according to new research published in Frontiers in Medicine, suggesting serious infections may cause significant damage to long-term health and underscoring the protection offered by vaccines. The risk following severe infection was particularly noteworthy in patients under 65, who had a 233% increased chance of dying compared to the uninfected, the researchers found. The increased risk of death for under 65s with severe Covid-19 was greater than that for those over the age of 65, the researchers found.

The research, by academics at the University of Florida, was based on an analysis of the electronic health records of 13,638 patients who underwent a PCR test for coronavirus within the University of Florida health system and recovered from the disease. The vast majority of patients—80%did not die from complications typically associated with Covid-19 like blood clotting or respiratory failure and died long after the initial infection had passed, the researchers said, meaning their deaths may never have been linked to Covid-19 by families or doctors. The findings suggest severe infection damages overall health and leaves patients vulnerable to other health issues, the researchers wrote, highlighting the importance of preventing serious illness through vaccination.

Patients with severe Covid-19 who recoveredwere at significantly greater risk of being hospitalized in the subsequent six months” said Arch Mainous, a professor at the University of Florida and the study’s lead author. “We must be especially vigilant in decreasing severe episodes of Covid-19” now we know it comes with a “substantial risk of dying from what would likely be considered to be an unrecognized complication… Taking your chances and hoping for successful treatment in the hospital doesn’t convey the full picture of the impact of Covid-19.”

While not able to prevent all infections, Covid-19 vaccines drastically cut the odds of severe illness and hospitalization in breakthrough cases. The vast majority of deaths from Covid-19 have been among the unvaccinated and hospitals in parts of the country have been pushed to their limits with a deluge of unvaccinated Covid-19 patients. Nearly a year after vaccines became freely and widely available in wealthy countries, leaders still lament the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” amid poor uptake and a resurgence of cases. Placing the immediate risk of Covid-19, this research supports a growing body of evidence outlining the persistent and sometimes new symptoms some coronavirus patients experience for weeks or months after their initial infection. The list of potentially debilitating symptoms for long Covid is long—one study identifies over 200—and covers the entire body, ranging from memory loss and hallucinations to tremors, fatigue and digestive issues. Research suggests that one in five Covid-19 patients will go on to be diagnosed with a mental illness within three months of recovery and conditions affecting the brain and thinking arecommon. Vaccines also appear to slash the risks of developing long Covidstudies suggest, though the precise mechanism of this is not yet understood, aside from preventing infection in the first place.

Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/
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Gene-editing Tools Will Alter Foods Precisely And Cheaply

The next generation of biotech food is headed for the grocery aisles, and first up may be salad dressings or granola bars made with soybean oil genetically tweaked to be good for your heart. By early next year, the first foods from plants or animals that had their DNAedited” are expected to begin selling. It’s a different technology than today’s controversial “genetically modifiedfoods, more like faster breeding that promises to boost nutrition, spur crop growth, and make farm animals hardier and fruits and vegetables last longer.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has declared gene editing one of the breakthroughs needed to improve food production so the world can feed billions more people amid a changing climate. Yet governments are wrestling with how to regulate this powerful new tool. And after years of confusion and rancor, will shoppers accept gene-edited foods or view them as GMOs in disguise?

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plants or animals that were mixed with another species’ DNA to introduce a specific trait — meaning they’re “transgenic.” Best known are corn and soybeans mixed with bacterial genes for built-in resistance to pests or weed killers.

If the consumer sees the benefit, I think they’ll embrace the products and worry less about the technology,” said Dan Voytas, a University of Minnesota professor and chief science officer for Calyxt Inc., which edited soybeans to make the oil heart-healthy.

Researchers are pursuing more ambitious changes: Wheat with triple the usual fiber, or that’s low in gluten. Mushrooms that don’t brown, and better-producing tomatoes. Drought-tolerant corn, and rice that no longer absorbs soil pollution as it grows. Dairy cows that don’t need to undergo painful de-horning, and pigs immune to a dangerous virus that can sweep through herds.

Scientists even hope gene editing eventually could save species from being wiped out by devastating diseases like citrus greening, a so far unstoppable infection that’s destroying Florida’s famed oranges. First they must find genes that could make a new generation of trees immune.

If we can go in and edit the gene, change the DNA sequence ever so slightly by one or two letters, potentially we’d have a way to defeat this disease,” said Fred Gmitter, a geneticist at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, as he examined diseased trees in a grove near Fort Meade.

Source: https://whyy.org/

Brain Metals Drive Alzheimer’s Progression

Alzheimer’s disease could be better treated, thanks to a breakthrough discovery of the properties of the metals in the brain involved in the progression of the neurodegenerative condition, by an international research collaboration including the University of Warwick.

Iron is an essential element in the brain, so it is critical to understand how its management is affected in Alzheimer’s disease. The advanced X-ray techniques that we used in this study have delivered a step-change in the level of information that we can obtain about iron chemistry in the amyloid plaques. We are excited to have these new insights into how amyloid plaque formation influences iron chemistry in the human brain, as our findings coincide with efforts by others to treat Alzheimer’s disease with iron-modifying drugs,” commented Dr Joanna Collingwood, from Warwick’s School of Engineering, who was part of a research team which characterised iron species associated with the formation of amyloid protein plaques in the human brainabnormal clusters of proteins in the brain. The formation of these plaques is associated with toxicity which causes cell and tissue death, leading to mental deterioration in Alzheimer’s patients.

They found that in brains affected by Alzheimer’s, several chemically-reduced iron species including a proliferation of a magnetic iron oxide called magnetite – which is not commonly found in the human brainoccur in the amyloid protein plaques. The team had previously shown that these minerals can form when iron and the amyloid protein interact with each other. Thanks to advanced measurement capabilities at synchrotron X-ray facilities in the UK and USA, including the Diamond Light Source I08 beamline in Oxfordshire, the team has now shown detailed evidence that these processes took place in the brains of individuals who had Alzheimer’s disease. They also made unique observations about the forms of calcium minerals present in the amyloid plaques.

The team, led by an EPSRC-funded collaboration between University of Warwick and Keele University – and which includes researchers from University of Florida and The University of Texas at San Antonio – made their discovery by extracting amyloid plaque cores from two deceased patients who had a formal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The researchers scanned the plaque cores using state-of-the-art X-ray microscopy at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, USA and at beamline I08 at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron in Oxfordshire, to determine the chemical properties of the minerals within them.

Source: https://warwick.ac.uk/