Tag Archives: study

Covid reinfection rates: New study shows how long antibodies last

Critically reviewed by other scientists, the research paper – published in the Lancet Healthy Longevity journal – adds to the depth of knowledge now known about the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Dr Maria Krutikov and her team discovered that Covid antibodies can last for up to 10 months following an initial infection. This means that the likelihood of being re-infected in that time frame is particularly slim.

Dr Krutikov commented on the findings: “It’s really good news that natural infection protects against reinfection in this time period. The risk of being infected twice appears to be very low.”

The research team observed more than 2,000 care home residents and staff between October 2020 and February 2021.

Their investigation involved comparing those who had antibody evidence of a previous coronavirus infection up to 10 months prior, and those who had not been previously infected.

In fact, the research proposed that residents with a previous infection were 85 percent less likely to be infected within that four-month trial period compared to those who hadn’t had coronavirus beforehand.

READ MORE: Arthritis: Best type of diet to ease inflammation in the body

Meanwhile, staff who had a previous Covid infection were 60 percent less likely to fall ill again compared to those who hadn’t had the infection in the first place.

One limitation to the study is that the Covid re-infection rates can’t be compared between the care home residents and the staff.

This is because the staff might have accessed testing outside of the care home, leading to positive results not being included in the study.

Also, the residents who tested positive for Covid antibodies “likely represented a particularly robust group”, having survived the first wave of the pandemic.

Dr Krutikov feels reassured that a “prior Covid infection gives a high level of protection to care home residents”.

“These findings are particularly important as this vulnerable group has not been the focus of much research,” she added.

The study’s finer details

Antibody blood tests were performed on 682 residents, whose average age were 86 years old, in June and July last year.

Residents who took part in the investigation came from 100 care homes across England.

There were 1,429 care home staff who also had their blood tested for Covid antibodies.

Around a third of participants tested positive for antibodies, suggesting they had previously been infected by Covid.

Ninety days after the blood samples were analysed, the researchers conducted PCR tests on the subjects.

The 90-day window was purposefully put in place to make sure the PCR test didn’t pick up an initial Covid infection.

PCR tests were then taken once a week for staff and once a month for residents.

Positive Covid test results were only included in the study if they were more than 90 days apart to make sure the same infection wasn’t included more than once in the study.

Based on the antibody results, out of the 634 people who had previously been infected with Covid, only four residents and 10 members of staff had been reinfected.

Among the 1,477 participants who had never been infected, positive PCR results occurred in 93 residents and 111 members of staff.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Pfizer vaccine side effects: Probable link to heart inflammation discovered – new study

Adverse events are thoroughly reviewed and Pfizer meets regularly with the Vaccine Safety Department of the Israeli Ministry of Health to review data, it said.

Israel had held off making its 12 to 15-year-old population eligible for the vaccines, pending the Health Ministry report.

In parallel to publishing those findings, a ministry committee approved vaccinating the adolescents, a senior official said.

“The committee gave the green light for vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds, and this will be possible as of next week,” Nachman Ash, Israel’s pandemic-response coordinator, told Radio 103 FM. “The efficacy of the vaccine outweighs the risk.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Possible link between Tylenol during pregnancy and autism

Possible link between Tylenol during pregnancy and autism

(KXAN) — A new study out of Spain has uncovered what it calls a potential link between pregnant women using the drug acetaminophen — which many people know by the brand name Tylenol — and then their child developing autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Acetaminophen is also commonly known by the name paracetamol. It’s one of the most commonly used pain relievers in the world.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona studied health data from more than 73,000 mother-child pairs across Europe. They found that unborn children exposed to acetaminophen were 19% more likely to be on the autism spectrum and 21% more likely to show signs of ADHD.

“The most consistent pattern of results was observed for the association between prenatal acetaminophen exposure and ADHD symptoms,” the researchers wrote. They said the link was there in both boys and girls but was slightly stronger in boys.

The researchers did warn that this study is just a possible link. Readers should not take their findings as definitive proof.

“Our findings need to be interpreted with caution given the limitations of our study,” the researchers wrote.

Author: Wes Wilson
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Study: Little Impact of Private Equity on Dermatology Practices

A new study suggests that private investor ownership of dermatology practices has little impact on spending, but does result in a small increase in the number of patients seen per dermatologist, and slightly higher reimbursement per clinician.

The authors reported that — with an average of five quarters postacquisition — there was no statistically significant differential between investor-owned and non–investor-owned practices “in total spending, overall use of dermatology procedures per patient, or specific high-volume and profitable procedures.”

Dr Robert Tyler Braun

Essentially, the study findings were equivocal, reported Robert Tyler Braun, PhD and his colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York. “The results provide mixed support for both proponents and opponents of private equity acquisitions,” they wrote in the study, which was published in Health Affairs.

But two dermatologists not involved with the study said the analysis has significant limitations, including a lack of pathology data, a lack of Medicare data, and a lack of insight into how advanced practice clinicians, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, were used by the private equity (PE)–owned practices. The study was not able to track “incident to billing.”

Leaving out Medicare data is a “huge oversight,” Joseph K. Francis, MD, a Mohs surgeon at the University of Florida, Gainesville, said in an interview. “The study is fundamentally flawed.”

“With all of these limitations, it’s difficult to draw meaningful conclusions,” agreed Clifford Perlis, MD, Mbe, of Keystone Dermatology in King of Prussia, Pa.

Both Francis and Perlis also questioned the influence of one of the study’s primary sponsors, the Physicians Foundation, formed out of the settlement of a class action lawsuit against third-party payers.

In addition, Francis and Perlis said they thought the study did not follow the PE-owned practices for a long enough period of time after acquisition to detect any differences, and that the dataset — looking at practice acquisitions from 2012 to 2017 — was too old to paint a reliable picture of the current state of PE-owned practices. Acquisitions have accelerated since 2017.

In March 2021, Harvard researchers reported in JAMA Health Forum that PE purchases in health care peaked in the first quarter of 2018 and surged to almost as high a level in the fourth quarter of 2020, with 153 deals announced in the second half of the year. Of the 153 acquisitions, 98, or 64%, were for physician practices or other health care services.

Braun said his study focused on 2012-2017 because it was an available data set. And, he defended the snapshot, saying that he and his colleagues had as much as 4 years of postacquisition data for the practices that were purchased in 2013. He acknowledged there were less data on practices purchased from 2014 to 2016.

“It is possible that our results would change with a longer postacquisition period,” Braun said in an interview. But, he said there was no way to predict whether that change “would look better or worse for private equity.”

Modest Price Increases

The authors analyzed data from the Health Care Cost Institute, which aggregates claims for some 50 million individuals insured by Aetna, Humana, and United Healthcare. The data do not include Medicare claims.

They examined dermatologists in practices bought between 2013 and 2016 and compared them to dermatologists who were in practices not owned by private equity. Each dermatologist had to have at least 2 years of data, and the authors compared preacquisition with postacquisition data for those in PE-owned practices.

They identified 64 practices – with 246 dermatologists – bought by private investors. Preacquisition, PE practices were larger than non-PE practices, with 4.2 clinicians (including advanced practitioners) per practice, compared with 1.7 in non–investor-owned practices.

The authors looked at volume and prices for routine office visits (CPT code 99213), biopsies (11101), excisions (11602), destruction of first lesion (cryotherapy; 17000), and Mohs micrographic surgery (17311).

Prices for a routine office visit rose nominally in the first quarter after acquisition (under $ 1), stayed at 0 in the second quarter, decreased in the third quarter, and was 0 again in the fourth quarter. It was not until the fifth quarter post acquisition that prices rose, increasing by 3% ($ 2.26), and then rising 5% ($ 3.20) in the ninth quarter.

Braun said the price increases make sense because practices get “rolled up” into larger platforms, theoretically giving them more negotiating leverage with insurers. And he said the paper’s results “are consistent with physician practice consolidation research — mainly hospitals acquiring practices — that prices increase after acquisition.” He acknowledged that the dermatology paper found “more modest effects,” than other studies.

Francis, however, said the increases are basically “pocket change,” and that they reflect a failed promise from private investors that clinicians in PE-owned practices will be paid more. The small differences in pay may also mean that insurers are likely not acquiescing to the theoretical leverage of larger dermatology entities.

PE-owned dermatologists saw about 5% more patients per quarter initially, rising to 17% more per quarter by eight quarters after purchase, according to the study.

The study reported a significant increase in Mohs surgery and cryotherapy in the first quarter post purchase, and a significant increase in biopsies after eight quarters. But Braun and colleagues concluded that total spending per patient did not change significantly after acquisition. “That says that maybe physicians aren’t changing their behaviors that much,” Braun said in an interview.

Perlis disagreed, noting that practices rarely change quickly. “Anecdotally, most groups that are taken over, nothing changes initially,” while the new owners are getting a feel for the practice.

He also said the paper erred in not addressing quality of and access to care. “Quality and patient satisfaction and access are also other important factors that need to be examined.”

Not Benign Players

Both Perlis and Francis said the study may have been improved by having a dermatologist as a coauthor. Braun countered that he and his colleagues consulted several dermatologists during the course of the study, and that they also conducted 30 interviews with proponents and opponents of PE ownership.

The authors warned of what they viewed as some disturbing trends in PE-owned practices, including what Braun called “stealth” consolidation – investors making small purchases that fall outside of federal regulation, and then amassing them into large entities.

He also commented that it was “alarming” that PE-owned practices were hiring a larger number of advanced practitioners. The authors also expressed concern about leveraged buyouts, in which investors require a practice to carry high debt loads that can eventually drive it into bankruptcy.

“These are not benign players,” said Francis. He noted that it took “an act of Congress to stop surprise billing,” a tactic employed by PE-owned health care entities. “Policy makers should be looking at what’s best for patients, especially Medicare and vulnerable patients.”

Perlis also has qualms about PE-owned practices. “The money to support returns to investors has to come from somewhere and that creates an inherent tension between patient care and optimizing revenue for investors,” he said. “It’s a pretty head-on conflict.”

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

35 Republicans Buck Trump Back Study of Jan 6 Capitol Riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thirty-five House Republicans joined Democrats Wednesday in voting to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, risking the wrath of former President Donald Trump and flouting GOP leaders who condemned the proposal as unfairly partisan and unneeded.

The Republican mavericks were led by New York Rep. John Katko, who wrote the measure with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. Katko, that panel’s top Republican, was battling two tides that have overwhelmed Congress in recent years: the nearly overwhelming potency Trump still has among Republicans and a jagged-edged partisanship that often confounds even mundane legislation.

“I encourage all members, Republicans and Democrats alike, to put down their swords for once, just for once, and support this bill,” said Katko.

Most of the 35 GOP defectors were moderates. All 10 Republicans who voted in January to impeach Trump for encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol supported the commission.

The 10 included Katko and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Trump’s most prominent House GOP critic, though she did not speak during Wednesday’s debate. The vote came a week after her colleagues dumped her from a Republican leadership position for repeatedly criticizing Trump for his role in the attack and his false claims that he lost the election because of widespread voting fraud.

Also voting for the commission were nine of the nearly two dozen Republicans whom Democrats consider prime targets to oust in next year’s elections. Their numbers included a pair of freshmen from South Florida and Katko, a fourth-term Syracuse-area lawmaker who has survived close races before.

A moderate and a former prosecutor, Katko defended the proposed commission as a fair and needed step toward understanding the riot, how it happened and what security improvements the Capitol needs to prevent a future assault.

“This is about fact. It is not partisan politics,” he said pointedly.

The 35 defectors represented a relatively modest but still significant proportion of House Republicans, of whom 175 opposed the legislation. Their defiance underscored the party’s rift as some lawmakers supported an investigation of the shocking and violent Capitol attack while leaders tried to avoid enraging the former president, whose support they believe they’ll need to win House control in the 2022 elections.

The Democratic-run House approved the measure 252-175 and sent it to the Senate, where Democrats face an uphill fight to garner at least 10 Republican “yes” votes they will need to prevail.

Three Republicans spoke in favor of the legislation: Katko and Fred Upton and Peter Meijer of Michigan. The two Michigan lawmakers had also voted to impeach Trump.

If not for resistance by the Capitol Police, “Who knows how many of our heads would have been swinging on those gallows” that members of the mob erected outside the building, Upton said.

Meijer, a freshman, took what seemed veiled shots at Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and some of his GOP colleagues.

Without mentioning names, Meijer said the attack occurred “with the encouragement of prominent elected officials.” He said some who initially criticized the attack “have walked back their words or softened their speech.”

Meijer added, “More troubling, there has been an active effort to whitewash and rewrite the shameful events of that day to avoid accountability.”

Days after the Capitol attack, McCarthy said Trump “bears responsibility” for the rioters’ assault. But he opposed impeachment, eased his criticisms of Trump and opposed creation of the commission. Other Republicans have downplayed the attack, with one comparing the rioters to tourists.

McCarthy did not speak during debate on the bill.

The measure would create a 10-member commission — with five members appointed by each party — to investigate the Capitol riot.

The Associated Press

Author: AP News
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com

Covid vaccine booster study: How to sign up for clinical trial

How can you volunteer for the vaccine trial?

The new study will be led by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. 

The trial is being taxpayer-funded with £19.3 million from the Government, with studies taking place across 18 sites in the UK.

The 18 sites include Southampton, London, Leicester, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Wrexham, Bradford, Oxford, Glasgow, Leeds, Cambridge, Birmingham, Brighton, Stockport, Liverpool and Exeter.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed
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Banking system & gold industry consume much more energy than bitcoin – study

New research by crypto firm Galaxy Digital (founded by former hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz) has shown that both the traditional banking system and the gold industry consume much more energy than the bitcoin network.

According to the report, compiled by Galaxy’s mining arm, bitcoin’s annual electricity consumption stands at 113.89 TWh (terawatt-hours). That includes energy for miner demand, miner power consumption, pool power consumption, and node power consumption. The amount is at least two times lower than the total energy consumed by the banking system, which is estimated to reach 263.72 TWh per year globally. 

Galaxy Digital Mining said that bitcoin’s energy consumption is transparent and easy to track in real time using tools like the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, while the evaluation of energy usage of the traditional financial system and the gold industry is not that straightforward. The firm estimated the banking sector’s power usage by compiling statistics from banking data centers, bank branches, ATMs, and card networks’ data centers.

“The banking industry does not directly report electricity consumption data,” it said, adding that the retail and commercial banking system requires multiple settlement layers, while bitcoin offers final settlement.
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Galaxy has also calculated the energy consumption of the gold industry, using estimates for the industry’s total greenhouse gases emissions provided in the World Gold Council’s report. According to the research, the gold industry utilizes roughly 240.61 TWh per year.

“These estimates may exclude key sources of energy use and emissions that are second order effects of the gold industry like the energy and carbon intensity of the tires used in gold mines,” Galaxy said.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

AstraZeneca vaccine 97 percent effective against Indian Covid variant says new study

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said the Indian variant can “spread even faster” than the Kent variant and is “becoming the dominant strain in some parts of the country” such as Bolton and Blackburn.

But in Bolton, where a number of people have ended up in hospitals with the Indian variant, the “vast majority” of those patients have been eligible for a Covid vaccine but had not yet had one, Mr Hancock added.

Sir Mark Walport, a member of Sage, said while vaccines still seemed to be protecting people from severe Covid cases they appeared less effective at stopping transmission of the Indian variant.

The deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Professor Anthony Harnden, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The vaccines may be less effective against mild disease but we don’t think they’re less effective against severe disease.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Sixth sense! Study claims humans could develop 'bat-like' echolocation sensing abilities

A study, which appeared in Plos One earlier this month, claims humans have a very basic form of echolocation, a trait seen in other species such as bats and dolphins, that helps identify the shape and movement of objects through sound. Speaking to Pop Mech, Miwa Sumiya, Ph.D, a researcher affiliated with the Center for Information and Neural Networks and one of the study’s authors, said the finding may lead to greater understanding of the human brain.
Mr Miwa said: “Examining how humans can acquire new sensing abilities to recognize environments using sounds [i.e., echolocation] may lead to the understanding of the flexibility of human brains.

“We may also be able to gain insights into sensing strategies of other species [like bats] by comparing with knowledge gained in studies on human echolocation.”

Humans actually possess more than the five basic senses of touch, sight, sound, taste and smell.

In fact, humans have a variety of additional minor senses such as spatial orientation, proprioception (body position) and pain reception while other animals have even more advanced senses such as being able to detect electrical and magnetic signals.

In a complex experiment, 15 participants used a device to generate an echolocation signal that bounced off two oddly shaped cylinders which were either rotating or stationary and then listened back to the echoed sound through headphones.

The echoed sound was rendered binaurally to create a surround sound experience similar to that of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).

Mr Sumiya added: “The synthetic echolocation signal used in this study included high-frequency signals up to 41 kHz that humans cannot listen to.”

Participants in the study were able to identify the existence of the rotating cylinders using only the echoed sound through timbre and pitch of the echo even though they could not directly see the objects.

READ MORE: BAT to the future: Bats’ echolocation can predict prey’s position

Speaking to the Smithsonian Magazine in 2017, he said: “You could fill libraries with what we know about the human visual system, but what we know about human echolocation could barely fill a bookshelf.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Weird Feed

Covid vaccine side effects: Mixing jabs increases adverse reactions warns new study

Vaccine distribution has been a hot-button issue the world over and for evidence of this look no further than India. The country, which was responsible for exporting much of the world’s supply of coronavirus vaccines, has had to focus on jabbing its own while it battles a rampant third wave. Vaccine scarcity and a need to enhance immunity has ignited interest in the viability and efficacy of combining coronavirus vaccines. These factors lead to the launch of the Com-Cov study in February, which set out to examine what would happen if recipients received a different vaccine for their second dose.
“It’s a really intriguing finding and not something we were necessarily expecting,” Prof Matthew Snape, from the Oxford Vaccine Group said.

The study, led by the University of Oxford, has recruited 830 volunteers aged over 50.

Drilling down into the data

One in 10 volunteers given two AstraZeneca jabs four weeks apart reported feverishness – but if they received one AstraZeneca jab and one Pfizer, in any order, the proportion rose to about 34 percent.

“The same real differences applied for other symptoms such as chills, fatigue, headache, malaise and muscle ache,” Prof Snape, the trial’s chief investigator, said.

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“One thing it’s telling us is that you wouldn’t want to vaccinate a ward full of nurses on same day [with mixed doses of different vaccines], because you might have more absenteeism the next day.”

In April, the study was expanded, adding another 1,050 volunteers to test combinations of the Moderna and Novavax Covid vaccines alongside the AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

What are the typical side effects of the coronavirus vaccines?

Typical side effects reported include:

  • A sore arm where the needle went in
  • Feeling tired
  • A headache
  • Feeling achy
  • Feeling or being sick.

Most people report that side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week.

According to the NHS, you may get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery one or two days after having your vaccination.

“But if you have a high temperature that lasts longer than two days, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste you may have COVID-19,” notes the health body.

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you are advised to get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.

If you get symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) again, you must self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab).

You should also self-isolate again if:

  • Someone you live with gets symptoms
  • Someone in your childcare or support bubble gets symptoms and you were in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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