Tag Archives: study

EU countries lose almost 6 MILLION jobs due to Covid-19 pandemic, study finds

The coronavirus crisis has had an unprecedented impact on the EU economy, as well as the labor market and society, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) said in a new report.

According to the agency, “There were 5.7 million fewer people in employment in the EU by spring 2020 than at the end of 2019,” with the jobless rate across the 27-nation bloc increasing from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent over the same period.

In the 12 months leading up to spring 2020, EU employment declined by 2.4 percent, the weekly hours of those still working dropped by nearly one hour, and the share of workers employed but not working more than doubled to 17 percent. “By July 2020, nearly 50 percent of EU workers had moved to exclusive or partial telework, opening up new labor market gulfs as the more highly educated and those in urban areas were better placed to work from home.”

Young people experienced the sharpest decline in employment, while prime-aged workers (25-54 years old) and older male workers were most likely to see their work hours cut.

There were also significant differences in terms of working conditions between the member states, with France, Poland, Italy, and Greece hit hardest by the pandemic, according to the report.

“The 2008–2010 crisis saw the greatest losses in the middle of the wage distribution whereas, up to Q2 2020, the Covid-19 crisis had impacted mainly on the lowest paid workers.”

READ MORE: Covid-19 pandemic pushed French economy into worst recession since World War II – report

Eurofound has projected unemployment rates to grow to 8.6 percent in 2021 and to remain at eight percent in 2022.“Despite the broader impacts of the pandemic on living and working conditions and different sectors of the economy, these rates remain below the peaks experienced during the global financial and economic crisis of 2008–2010.”

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How to live longer: Greater optimism can help you live beyond 85, study says

The Boston University School of Medicine noted how a positive mental attitude is linked to “exceptional longevity” – defined as living beyond 85 years of age. Here are the research details. Dr Lewina Lee said that their research study suggests that optimism “has the potential to extend the human lifespan”. There were 69,744 women and 1,429 men involved in the investigation, who completed surveys to assess their levels of optimism, overall health and habits.
Women were followed for 10 years, while the men were followed for 30 years.

Based on their initial levels of optimism, the follow-up study found that the most happiest people demonstrated, on average, a 15 percent longer lifespan.

Those who felt most optimistic had up to a 70 percent greater chance of reaching 85 years old compared to the least optimistic group.

The results were maintained after taking into account the following factors:

  • Age
  • Educational attainment
  • Chronic diseases
  • Depression
  • Alcohol use
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Primary care visits

READ MORE: How to live longer: Walking every day promotes longevity – the amount you need to do

Moreover, those with a sunnier disposition are able to “bounce back from stressors and difficulties more effectively” than gloomier counterparts.

Those with a happier outlook on life have also been linked to healthier habits, such as exercising more and are less likely to smoke.

A professor of epidemiology, Fran Grodstein, added: “Research on the reason why optimism matters so much remains to be done, but the link between optimism and health is becoming more evident.”

Dr Lee concluded: “Our study contributes to scientific knowledge on health assets that may protect against mortality risk and promote resilient ageing.

Additional techniques include breathing exercises and learning time management strategies.

Enjoy yourself

“Doing things that you enjoy is good for your emotional wellbeing,” said the national health body – as long as it’s not a detriment to your health.

This could be meeting with a friend, having a soak in the bath, or watching sports.

Boost self-esteem

This can be achieved by positive self talk and taking care of yourself.

Other keys to happiness include: having a healthy lifestyle; sharing your feelings; and building resilience.

Study: Lack of diversity in Hollywood costs industry $10B

Despite regularly outperforming other films, Black-led projects have been “consistently underfunded and undervalued,” concluded the McKinsey study.

NEW YORK — For years, researchers have said a lack of diversity in Hollywood films doesn’t just poorly reflect demographics, it’s bad business. A new study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates just how much Hollywood is leaving on the table: $ 10 billion.

The McKinsey report, released Thursday, analyzes how inequality shapes the industry and how much it ultimately costs its bottom line. The consulting firm deduced that the $ 148 billion film and TV industry loses $ 10 billion, or 7%, every year by undervaluing Black films, filmmakers and executives.
“Fewer Black-led stories get told, and when they are, these projects have been consistently underfunded and undervalued, despite often earning higher relative returns than other properties,” wrote the study’s authors: Jonathan Dunn, Sheldon Lyn, Nony Onyeador and Ammanuel Zegeye.
The study, spanning the years 2015-2019, was conducted over the last six months and drew on earlier research by the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Southern California and Nielsen. The BlackLight Collective, a coalition of Black executives and talent in the industry, collaborate with McKinsey researchers. The company also interviewed more than 50 executives, producers, agents, actors, directors and writers anonymously.
McKinsey attributed at least some of Hollywood’s slow progress to its complex and multi-layered business — an ecosystem of production companies, networks, distributors, talent agencies and other separate but intertwined realms.
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But the lack of Black representation in top positions of power plays a prominent role. The study found that 92% of film executives are white and 87% are in television. Agents and executives at the top three talent agencies are approximately 90% white — and a striking 97% among partners.
Researchers found that films with a Black lead or co-lead are budgeted 24% less than movies that don’t — a disparity that nearly doubles when there are two or more Black people working as director, producer or writer.
Among other measures, McKinsey recommends that a “well-funded, third-party organization” be created for a more comprehensive approach to racial equality. The film business, it said, is less diverse than industries such as energy, finance and transport.
Following the Black Lives Matter protests last year, McKinsey said it would dedicate $ 200 million to pro-bono work to advance racial equality.
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Bowel cancer symptoms: Study pinpoints most common ‘alarm’ symptom – what to look for

Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. The advice for bowel cancer is the same as other forms of cancer – act on the warning signs as soon as they appear.
Research published in the journal Family Practice sought to establish the prevalence of different symptoms associated with bowel cancer.

To gather their findings, a nationwide study of 100000 adults, aged 20 years and older, were randomly selected in the general population and invited to participate in an internet-based survey.

Mentions of specific and non-specific alarm symptoms of bowel cancer within the preceding four weeks were recorded.

The researchers found abdominal pain to be the most common specific alarm symptom and tiredness was the most common non-specific symptom.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Raspberries may hold anti-cancer properties to boost longevity

Other possible warning signs are associated with a persistent change in bowel habit.

According to the NHS, this could mean pooing more often, with looser and runnier poos.

“Constipation, where you pass harder stools less often, is rarely caused by serious bowel conditions,” explains the heath body.

It adds: “See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for three weeks or more.”

Bowel cancer treatment

Treatment for bowel cancer will depend on which part of your bowel is affected and how far the cancer has spread.

“The main treatments are chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy,” explains Cancer Research UK.

Am I at risk?

Your risk of developing bowel cancer depends on many things including age, genetics and lifestyle factors.

Having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that you will definitely get bowel cancer.

Many studies have shown that eating lots of red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.

“It is estimated that around 13 out of 100 bowel cancer cases (around 13 percent) in the UK are linked to eating these meats,” reports Cancer Research UK.

Processed meat is any meat that has been treated to preserve it and/or add flavour – for example, bacon, salami, sausages, canned meat, or chicken nuggets.

Other risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity.

High blood pressure: Social isolation could trigger a rise in readings, study confirms

Social isolation could play a part in blood pressure readings shooting north, researchers discovered. Here are the details on a recent report published in the European Society of Cardiology. Dr Matías Fosco said: “The mandatory social isolation period [due to Covid restrictions] was linked with a 37 percent increase in the odds of having high blood pressure.” This link remained irregardless of age, sex, season, and time of consultation.
“After social isolation began, we observed that more patients coming to emergency had high blood pressure,” said Dr Fosco.

The practitioner added: “We conducted this study to confirm or reject this impression.”

The doctor and his research fellows at Favaloro Foundation University Hospital, in Buenos Aires, collated data during March 20 to June 25, 2020.

In that time period, those in the hospital’s emergency department had their blood pressure recorded.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Walking every day promotes longevity – the amount you need to do

This means almost every patient admitted in those time periods were included in the study.

There were 12,241 records of blood pressure readings for patients who, on average, were around 57 years old.

The most common reasons why people were in the emergency department consisted of:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Hypertension

During the three-month isolation period, 1,643 patients were admitted to the emergency ward.

This was 56.9 percent less than the patients admitted to the same ward, in the same time period the year before, which consisted of 3,810 patients.

The number of patients in the hospital’s emergency department was also 53.9 percent less than the three months prior to social isolation restrictions.

Before Covid restrictions were implemented, there were 3,563 patients who had been admitted to the emergency department in three months.

During the social isolation period, 23.8 percent admitted to emergency had high blood pressure.

This was significantly higher than the same period in 2019, which was 17.5 percent of people in the emergency department with high blood pressure.

It was also much higher than the time period just before the social restrictions were enforced, when it was 15.4 percent.

Dr Fosco commented on the findings: “There are several possible reasons for the connection between social isolation and high blood pressure.”

He mentioned increased levels of stress, limited social contact, financial difficulties and behaviour changes, such as higher intake of food and alcohol, and a more sedentary lifestyle.

Can aspirin reduce your risk of catching coronavirus? Study shows surprising results

Aspirin is an everyday painkiller for aches and pains, and is also known as acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin is often available combined with other ingredients in some cold and flu remedies, and you can buy most types of aspirin off the shelf in pharmacies, shops and supermarkets. Aspirin is best taken alongside food, as this way you’ll be less likely to get an upset stomach or ache. It isn’t recommended for children under 16, according to the NHS, as it can make children more likely to develop a very rare but serious illness called Reye’s Syndrome. Apart from that, most people aged 16 and over can safely take aspirin – but if you’re unsure, contact your doctor or GP first.

Can aspirin reduce your risk of catching coronavirus?

According to a recent study, taking aspirin pills may help protect against coronavirus infection.

Data from more than 10,000 people who were tested for the virus between February and June 2020 revealed one aspirin tablet (75mg) per day led to a 29 percent lower risk of catching Covid.

The study was conducted by Israeli researchers at Leumit Health Services, Bar-Ilan University and Barzilai Medical Centre, were published last month in the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) Journal.

READ MORE: Can the Oxford vaccine cause blood clots? MHRA issues statement

Study leader Eli Magen said: “This observation of the possible beneficial effect of low doses of aspirin on COVID-19 infection is preliminary, but seems very promising.”

Data of patients from a database was analysed and the proportion of people on aspirin was lower among people who had the virus than those who didn’t.

73 people who tested positive were taking aspirin, accounting for one in nine of all positive cases.

However, 16 percent of people – equating to about one in six – who tested negative were taking aspirin.

One thing still unknown is exactly how aspirin works to prevent infection, but the authors believe its antiviral properties come from the ability to change the immune system’s response to the virus.

Another study looking at different pharmaceuticals that could help with Covid is the RECOVERY trial.

RECOVERY is a world-leading project headed by Britain’s University of Oxford, and is the largest and most comprehensive study investigating which rugs are beneficial to hospitalised patients with the virus.

The study has so far revealed the steroid dexamethasone and the arthritis medications tocilizumab and sarilumab are effective at helping to treat the virus.

Dexamethasone costs just £5 and reduces the risk of dying from the coronavirus up to 35 percent.

However, further research into the drug found people who had only received dexamethasone still had a death rate of 35.8 percent.

But this dropped to just 25.3 percent when they were also given a single dose of either tocilizumab or sarilumab, which comes in at about £1,000 per treatment.

All three pharmaceutical products have now been approved for use within the NHS.

Other drugs and treatments have been investigated and subsequently let go by RECOVERY, including anti-gout drug colchicine and arthritis helper azithromycin.

Indian economy to grow 11% in fiscal 2022, study shows

A new report by ratings firm CRISIL said India’s GDP growth is expected to rebound to 11 percent next fiscal year, as the rollout of Covid vaccinations and “investment-focused government spending converge.”

The second half of FY22 is projected to see a more broad-based pick-up in economic activity, due to a commodity price lift, large-scale vaccinations, and likely stronger global growth, said the ratings firm. 

“Policymakers and regulators have primarily facilitated the revival. India’s medium-term growth now hinges on a kickstart of the investment cycle,” said CRISIL’s managing director and CEO Ashu Suyash.

“There are early positive signs, powered by government spending, such as through the National Infrastructure Pipeline, demand-driven capex, and the Centre’s Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.” 

According to the report, trade has normalized faster than the rest of the economy, with both exports and imports scaling pre-pandemic levels.

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

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High blood pressure: Warmer homes can decrease hypertension, study shows

For those in the warmest homes, the average blood pressure reading was 121/70mmHg.

“Our research has helped to explain the higher rates of hypertension, as well as potential increases in deaths from stroke and heart disease, in the winter months,” said Dr Jivraj.

He put forth the notion that “indoor temperatures should be taken more seriously in diagnosis and treatment decisions”.

Dr Jivraj concluded: “Among other diet and lifestyle changes people can make to reduce high blood pressure, our findings suggest that keeping homes a bit warmer could also be beneficial.”

US major sports organizations team up for COVID-19 cardiology study

The study included nearly 800 professional athletes who had infections before October and underwent guideline-recommended heart tests.

WASHINGTON — Heart inflammation is uncommon in pro athletes who’ve had mostly mild COVID-19 and most don’t need to be sidelined, a study conducted by major professional sports leagues suggests.

The results are not definitive, outside experts say, and more independent research is needed. But the study published Thursday in JAMA Cardiology is the largest to examine the potential problem. The coronavirus can cause inflammation in many organs, including the heart.
The research involved professional athletes who play football, hockey, soccer, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball. All tested positive for COVID-19 before October and were given guideline-recommended heart tests, nearly 800 total. None had severe COVID-19 and 40% had few or no symptoms — what might be expected from a group of healthy elite athletes with an average age of 25. Severe COVID-19 is more common in older people and those with chronic health conditions.
Almost 4% had abnormal results on heart tests done after they recovered but subsequent MRI exams found heart inflammation in less than 1% of the athletes. These five athletes all had COVID-19 symptoms. Whether their heart problems were caused by the virus is unknown although the researchers think that is likely.
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They were sidelined for about three months and returned to play without any problems, said Dr. Mathew Martinez of Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. He’s the study’s lead author and team cardiologist for football’s New York Jets.
Two previous smaller studies in college athletes recovering from the virus suggested heart inflammation might be more common. The question is of key interest to athletes, who put extra stress on their hearts during play, and undetected heart inflammation has been linked with sudden death.
Whether mild COVID-19 can cause heart damage ‘’is the million-dollar question,’’ said Dr. Richard Kovacs, co-founder of the American College of Cardiology’s Sports & Exercise Council. And whether severe COVID-19 symptoms increase the chances of having fleeting or long-lasting heart damage ‘’is part of the puzzle,’’ he said.
Kovacs said the study has several weaknesses. Testing was done at centers affiliated or selected by each team, and results were interpreted by team-affiliated cardiologists, increasing the chances of bias. More rigorous research would have had standardized testing done at a central location and more objective specialists interpret the results, he said.
Also, many of the athletes had no previous imaging exams to compare the results with, so there is no way to know for certain if abnormalities found during the study were related to the virus.
’’There is clearly more work to do but I think it is very helpful additional evidence,” said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, president-elect of the American Heart Association.
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Dr. Dial Hewlett, a member of a COVID-19 task force at the National Medical Association, which represents Black physicians, said the study ‘’is extremely timely.’’ Hewlett is a deputy health commissioner for New York’s Westchester County and advises high schools and colleges on when to allow young athletes to return to play after COVID-19 infections.
‘’I’m grateful that we are starting to get some data to help guide us in some of our decisions,’’ Hewlett said.