Tag Archives: balance

Delta variant may cause hearing and balance issues while irritating tinnitus says study

The Delta variant is now accounting for more than 90 percent of new cases in the UK. While the country’s vaccination programme continues to roll out, people should continue to spot if they have symptoms of the virus and to self isolate upon a positive Covid test to stop further spread.

The main symptoms of Covid are still stated as a high temperature, a new continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

But new and different symptoms are beginning to emerge in recent research.

A study led by Professor Colleen Le Prell’s study suggests Covid can cause hearing and balance issues while irritating tinnitus – the term given for hearing noises not caused by sounds coming from the outside world.

Professor Le Prell, of the University of Texas in the USA, said symptoms are most commonly witnessed in patients who already have tinnitus.

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The virus has been shown to cause inflammation which can damage hearing and balance “pathways” in the central nervous system in a similar way to how it impacts smell and taste.

These effects can then be magnified by things such as lockdown-related stress and can impact people who had tinnitus before the pandemic the most.

She said: “Increases in tinnitus bothersomeness were associated with reports of pandemic-related loneliness, sleep troubles, anxiety, depression, irritability and financial worries.

“In other words, participants who experienced general increases in stress reported their tinnitus to be more bothersome than before the pandemic.”

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The findings of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

Professor Le Prell also said some early experimental treatments, such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, can also have auditory side effects, particularly in patients with kidney problems.

She continued: “When the kidneys are not functioning properly, the drug may not be metabolised and eliminated from the body as quickly, which can increase physiological drug concentrations and risk of side effects.

“Old age is often accompanied by decreased renal function, and COVID-19 can cause renal dysfunction.”

According to data from the ZOE Covid study at King’s College London, Delta variant cases aren’t presenting with the classic triad of Covid symptoms.

Symptoms of the Delta variant have been described by study lead Professor Tim Spector as more like a bad cold.

Fever and cough have been shown to be less common than with previous variants, and loss of smell isn’t even in the top ten.

Professor Spector said most cases appeared to be in young people who had not yet been vaccinated and the variant appeared to be far more transmissible with every person infected passing it on to six others.

Professor Spector warned cases were rising exponentially and people who have only had one vaccine dose should not be complacent.

He said: “The UK really does now have a problem and we’ll probably be seeing, in a week, 20,000 cases and by 21st June well in excess of that number.

“Most of these infections are occurring in unvaccinated people. We’re only seeing slight increases in the vaccinated group and most of those in the single vaccinated group.

“Covid is also acting differently now. It’s more like a bad cold in this younger population and people don’t realise that and it hasn’t come across in any of the government information.

“This means that people might think they’ve got some sort of seasonal cold and they still go out to parties and might spread it around to six other people and we think this is fuelling a lot of the problem.”

The number one symptom of the Delta variant was found to be headache, followed by runny nose, sore throat and fever.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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How to live longer: Dr Mosley on how good balance can add years to your life expectancy

Featuring in Dr Mosley’s podcast Just One Thing, Professor Dawn Skelton pointed out that “people who have poorer balance don’t live as long” as those who do. The Professor in ageing and health – from Glasgow Caledonian University – explained that the brain plays a vital part in balance. “To have good balance, our brains have to be able to integrate lots of information from across the body,” Professor Skelton said.

The brain – the most complex organ in the human body – pays attention to what we see, what we feel, and our inner ear balance.

If there’s a problem with any of our senses, it’ll show up in bad balance.

Professor Skelton added that if our brain isn’t working well to have good balance, then it’s not going to do well with hormones or the cardiovascular system.

Bad balance is a “marker of decline for other things”, said Professor Skelton.

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Dr Mosley then queried if improving your balance could lead to better health.

“We certainly know that if you can improve your balance, so that you stop falling as much, that can make a big difference in terms of hip fractures and the poorer outcomes that results because of that,” replied Professor Skelton.

“We also know that lots of activities that improve balance involve dual tasking, so [they] make the brain work a bit harder.”

The professor said that there’s “some suggestion” that improving your balance can help with cognition and “potentially prevent” dementia.

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Professor Skelton also said that there is “evidence that balancing exercises are better than standing up and walking around”.

Advising against prolonged sitting – an example of sedentary behaviour – Professor Skelton suggests balancing exercises every hour of sitting down.

“Perhaps do a 30-second stand on one leg,” she said, or to do a “tandem stand”.

A tandem stand is when you place the tip of the heel against the toe of another foot, as if you’re “walking along a tightrope”.

“That’s really challenging your balance, because it’s really reducing your base of support,” she noted.

“Walking backwards is also a really good balance challenge, [but] do be careful,” Professor Skelton added.

To help extend longevity, she recommends incorporating balance exercises into your daily life.

“So while you’re waiting for the kettle [to boil], stand on one leg,” said Professor Skelton.

Eventually, with practise, Professor Skelton says you can improve your balance.

“Your brain will integrate that information better,” she explained, but she advised people to practise near a “fixed support”.

What’s a fixed support?

“Ideally a good solid sink, a solid kitchen surface [not a chair], those sorts of things,” she explained.

“Those things that aren’t going to move,” she clarified, encouraging anybody of any age to start improving their balance today.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Arsenal face 'rescue mission' against Villarreal with Mikel Arteta's future in the balance

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has suggested that Mikel Arteta could be destined for the sack if the Gunners fail to reach the UEFA Europa League final. Arsenal head into tonight’s second leg with Villarreal trailing 2-1 after the first leg in Spain.
Goals from Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol secured victory for Unai Emery’s troops last week despite Nicolas Pepe pulling a goal back.

There is certainly work to do then for Arteta’s men if they hold any aspirations of progressing to the final in Gdansk at the end of the month.

The second leg is set to take place at the Emirates this evening – Arsenal simply having to win in order to overcome their first-leg deficit.

Should they fail to do that, Keown has suggested that former Gunners midfielder Arteta could pay with his job at the Emirates.

Asked by talkSPORT if Arteta’s position could be on the line with defeat, Keown replied: “I think it always is at a big club.

JUST IN: Tottenham have complied a five-man shortlist for potential Jose Mourinho replacements

In all, the Spaniard has so far overseen 81 matches in north London in all competitions and has won 43 of those.

There have been numerous names talked up as Arteta’s replacement in recent weeks.

Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is thought to be among the contenders.

Paulo Fonseca, who is leaving AS Roma at the end of the season to be replaced by Jose Mourinho, has also been linked.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Watch: Texas small business owners balance service and safety after end of mask mandate

Author Jackson Barton and Justin Dehn
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Texas small business owners balance service

The future of US liquefied natural gas hangs in the balance

US liquefied natural gas has the potential to be vital geopolitical tool for the US, and a key part of its energy future, but the emissions associated with the fuel may become a problem.

Soaring American exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) could become a powerful tool of the Biden Administration to help other countries reduce their carbon footprint from more emission-intensive fossil fuels such as coal, US shale gas producers say.   

Moreover, “American natural gas is the sharpest diplomatic tool the Biden administration can wield in energy-related foreign policy and international trade negotiations,” David Callahan, president of the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, wrote in InsideSources.com this week. 
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However, the Biden Administration doesn’t yet have a precise position on natural gas, especially with regards to the domestic energy mix in light of the climate agenda and the ambitions to have 100-percent clean electricity by 2035. 

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said last week, “We need to get to 100% clean electricity by 2035,” acknowledging this is a very ambitious goal. 

Just for reference, natural gas accounted for the largest share of US utility-scale electricity generation in 2020, at 40.3%, with fossil fuels at 60.3-percent share, also due to coal’s 19.3-percent share of the power mix. 

Despite the growing global backlash against natural gas and despite its clean energy agenda, the Administration may have to forgo a tough stance on gas, at least in the short and medium-term, with the narrative that American LNG is helping major coal-dependent energy consumers such as China and India to burn a fossil fuel that is cleaner than coal.   

In energy-related foreign policy, the Biden Administration is following the Trump Administration’s tough stance toward the Russia-led Nord Stream 2. It has reiterated threats of US sanctions on companies helping Russian giant Gazprom to complete the controversial natural gas pipeline in Europe. 
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American LNG is gaining ground in Eastern European countries like Poland and Lithuania. Those countries are eager to shake off Russia’s dominance over their natural gas supply – and the political clout that comes with it.  But Western Europe has started to have second thoughts about imports of US LNG due to the emissions associated with shale gas production. This could potentially undermine the LNG-related diplomacy in western European countries. 

In Asia, the world’s main gas demand growth driver, US exports of LNG have been soaring, according to EIA data, and could contribute to the coal-to-gas switch in China and India.  

Secretary Granholm said during a confirmation hearing at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:

“I believe U.S. LNG exports can have an important role to play in reducing international consumption of fuels that have greater contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.” 
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She also noted that “If confirmed as Secretary, I also look forward to working with U.S. industry in ways to reduce emissions associated with this commodity.” 

The emissions associated with LNG exports have started to become an issue for some buyers, such as France’s utility Engie, which at the end of last year backed out of talks surrounding a long-term US LNG supply deal due to the emissions problem. 

Gas demand in China and India is set to continue to increase and offer a growing export market for US LNG exports. Still, in Europe, the green agendas are complicating the role of the fuel in the future. 

“Clean energy cannot yet be deployed on the scale needed, fossil gas may still play a role in the transition from coal to zero emission electricity. But I want to be crystal clear with you – fossil fuels have no viable future. That also goes for fossil gas, in the longer run,” Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, said last week.

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The global outlook for gas demand is more robust than that for oil, primarily due to Asian demand. 

But in view of the climate agendas and energy transition in developed economies, “Gas players will have to show commitments to decarbonize natural gas, including through carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and blue hydrogen,” Wood Mackenzie vice president Massimo Di Odoardo said.  

US shale gas has a high carbon footprint, and that’s the Achilles heel of American LNG supply, according to WoodMac’s Director of LNG, Giles Farrer.
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“We’re starting to see US producers change behavior, stopping routine flaring and setting targets to reduce methane leakage. But it’ll take years of tighter control – regulation or industry-led – before US upstream gas competes on carbon intensity with global basins,” Farrer said. 

America is one of the top three LNG exporters in the world, after Qatar and Australia, but the future of US LNG sales could now depend not only on surging Asian demand but also on buyers’ demand for low-emission cargoes. 

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

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