Epstein Barr virus may be leading cause of multiple sclerosis - ویروس اپشتین بار و ام اس

Multiple sclerosis (MS), a progressive disease that affects 2.8 million people worldwide and for which there is no definitive cure, is likely caused by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), according to a study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers.

Their findings were published online in Science.

“The hypothesis that EBV causes MS has been investigated by our group and others for several years, but this is the first study providing compelling evidence of causality,” said Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “This is a big step because it suggests that most MS cases could be prevented by stopping EBV infection, and that targeting EBV could lead to the discovery of a cure for MS.”

MS is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that attacks the myelin sheaths protecting neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Its cause is not known, yet one of the top suspects is EBV, a herpes virus that can cause infectious mononucleosis and establishes a latent, lifelong infection of the host. Establishing a causal relationship between the virus and the disease has been difficult because EBV infects approximately 95% of adults, MS is a relatively rare disease, and the onset of MS symptoms begins about 10 years after EBV infection. To determine the connection between EBV and MS, the researchers conducted a study among more than 10 million young adults on active duty in the U.S. military and identified 955 who were diagnosed with MS during their period of service.

Release date: 13 January 2022
Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The artificial pancreas can help protect very young children with Type 1 Diabetes - تحولی جدید در درمان دیابت کودکان

Members of the Hovorka Group teamed with an international team of researchers have compared the performance, in children, of the artificial pancreas against ‘sensor-augmented pump therapy’. The artificial pancreas uses an algorithm run by a mobile phone app (CamAPS FX) to automate delivery of insulin according to need. They found that it is both safe to use and more effective at managing their blood sugar levels than current technology. The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CamAPS FX has been shown to work in older children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Today’s study is the first time that it has been shown to be effective over several months in very young children. Management of type 1 diabetes is challenging in very young children for several reasons including high variability in levels of insulin required and unpredictable eating and activity patterns. Children are particularly at risk of dangerously low and high blood sugar levels, which can lead to adverse outcomes.

Current technology – sensor-augmented pump therapy – requires parents to review their child’s glucose levels using a monitor and then manually adjust the amount of insulin administered by the pump. These devices have proved successful to an extent in older children, but not in very young children.

On average, children spent around three-quarters of their day (71.6%) in the target range for their glucose levels when using CamAPS FX – an additional 125 minutes per day in the target range compared to those using the currently available approach.

 

Release date: 20 January  2021
Source: University of Cambridge 

Breastfeeding reduces mothers’ cardiovascular disease risk - کاهش بیماری های قلبی عروقی از آثار مفید شیردهی
  • Women who breastfed at some time in their lives were less likely to develop heart disease or stroke, compared to women who did not breastfeed, according to a meta-analysis of previous studies.
  • Breastfeeding was also associated with a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease for the women.
  • Previous research has also noted that the maternal health benefits of breastfeeding are associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Women who breastfed were less likely to develop heart disease or a stroke, or die from cardiovascular disease than women who did not breastfeed, according to a meta-analysis published today in a pregnancy spotlight issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), an open access, peer-reviewed Journal of the American Heart Association.

The health benefits of breastfeeding for children are well known. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is linked with fewer respiratory infections and lower risk of death from infectious diseases among the children who were breastfed. Breastfeeding also has been linked to maternal health benefits, including lower risk for Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.

Release date: 11 January  2021
Source: American Heart Association

Remembering faces and names can be improved during sleep - جایگاه خواب در تقویت حافظه

For those who rarely forget a face, but struggle with names, the remedy for boosting learning may as near as your pillow.

New research by Northwestern University is the first to document the effect reactivating memory during sleep has on face-name learning.

The researchers found that people’s name recall improved significantly when memories of newly learned face-name associations were reactivated while they were napping. Key to this improvement was uninterrupted deep sleep.

The research team found that for study participants with EEG measures (a recording of electrical activity of the brain picked up by electrodes on the scalp) that indicated disrupted sleep, the memory reactivation didn’t help and may even be detrimental. But in those with uninterrupted sleep during the specific times of sound presentations, the reactivation led to a relative improvement averaging just over 1.5 more names recalled.

The study was conducted on 24 participants, aged 18-31 years old, who were asked to memorize the faces and names of 40 pupils from a hypothetical Latin American history class and another 40 from a Japanese history class. When each face was shown again, they were asked to produce the name that went with it. After the learning exercise, participants took a nap while the researchers carefully monitored brain activity using EEG measurements. When participants reached the N3 “deep sleep” state, some of the names were softly played on a speaker with music that was associated with one of the classes.

When participants woke up, they were retested on recognizing the faces and recalling the name that went with each face.

The paper, “Targeted memory reactivation of face-name learning depends on ample and undisturbed slow-wave sleep,” will publish Jan. 12 in the Nature partner journal “NPJ: Science of Learning.”

Release date: 12 January 2022
Source: Northwestern University

Higher Olive Oil Intake May Be Associated With Lower Risk of CVD Mortality - نقش محافظتی روغن زیتون در برابر بیماری های قلبی عروقی

Consuming more than 7 grams (>1/2 tablespoon) of olive oil per day may be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer mortality, neurodegenerative disease mortality and respiratory disease mortality, according to a study published Jan. 10 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study found that replacing about 10 grams/day of margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat with the equivalent amount of olive oil is associated with lower risk of mortality as well.

Marta Guasch-Ferré, PhD, et al., analyzed 60,582 women and 31,801 men from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at the study baseline in 1990. During 28 years of follow-up, diet was assessed by a questionnaire every four years.

Olive oil consumption was calculated from the sum of three items in the questionnaire: olive oil used for salad dressings, olive oil added to food or bread, and olive oil used for baking and frying at home. One tablespoon was equivalent to 13.5 grams of olive oil. Olive oil consumption was categorized as follows: Never or <1 time per month; >0 to ≤4.5 grams/day (>0 to ≤1 teaspoon); >4.5 to ≤7 grams/day (>1 teaspoon to ≤1/2 tablespoon); and >7 grams/day (>1/2 tablespoon).

The consumption of other vegetable oils was calculated based on the participants reported oil brand and type of fat used for cooking at home. Margarine and butter consumption was based on the reported frequency of stick, tub or soft margarine consumption, and the amount of margarine or butter added from baking and frying at home. Intakes of dairy and other fats and nutrients were also calculated.

The researchers found olive oil consumption increased from 1.6 grams/day in 1990 to about 4 grams/day in 2010, while margarine consumption decreased from about 12 grams/day in 1990 to about 4 grams/day in 2010. The intake of other fats remained stable.

Release date: 10 January 2022
Source: American College of Cardiology

Vaccinated women pass COVID 19 antibodies to breastfeeding babies - انتقال ایمنی کرونایی از مادران شیرده به فرزندان

Women vaccinated against COVID-19 transfer SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to their breastfed infants, potentially giving their babies passive immunity against the coronavirus, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst research.

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, measured the immune response to the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in both breast milk and the stools of breastfed infants.

Thirty lactating women from across the U.S. – most of them healthcare workers – were enrolled in the study. They received the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine between January and April 2021. The women provided breast milk samples before they were vaccinated, across two to three weeks after their first vaccine dose and across three weeks after the second dose. They also gave samples of their blood, spotted on cards, 19 days after the first dose and 21 days after the second dose. Infant stool samples were collected 21 days after the mothers’ second vaccination. Pre-pandemic samples of breast milk, dried blood spots and infant stools were used as controls for the study.

The samples were tested for receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)A and IgG antibodies. In the breast milk samples, anti-RBD IgG antibodies were found to neutralize the protein spike of SARS-CoV-2, as well as four variants. A significant increase in cytokine levels also revealed the immune response in breast milk samples.

Anti-RBD IgG and anti-RBD IgA antibodies were detected in 33% and 30% of infant stool samples, respectively. The levels of antibodies correlated with the vaccine side effects the mother experienced.

Release date: 07 January 2022
Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Teens not getting enough sleep may consume extra sugar - ارتباط کم خوابی و پرخوری در نوجوانان

Sleep is vital for all people but is particularly important for teenagers as their bodies undergo significant development during their formative years. Unfortunately, most teens aren’t getting enough sleep. Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 73% of high school students are getting less than the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep each night.

Prior research has linked lack of sleep to increased risk for poor mental health, poor academic performance, and behavioral problems. But new research from BYU conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center says insufficient sleep also increases the risk of weight gain and other cardiometabolic diseases among teenagers because teens have worse dietary habits when they sleep less.

This research, which was recently published in the medical journal Sleep, analyzed the sleeping and eating patterns of 93 teenagers during two sleep conditions: spending six and a half hours each night in bed for one week (short sleep) and spending nine and a half hours each night in bed for another week (healthy sleep). Researchers measured the caloric intake, macronutrient content, food types, and the glycemic load of foods eaten by teens.

The results found that teenagers undergoing short sleep consumed more foods that were likely to spike blood sugar fast – things like foods high in carbs and added sugar, or sugary drinks, compared to when they were in healthy sleep. These changes largely occurred in the late evening (after 9:00 pm). Teens getting short sleep also ate fewer fruits and vegetables across the entire day, compared to healthy sleep.

Release date: 27 December 2021
Source: Brigham Young University

Booster dose of mRNA COVID 19 vaccine is required for immune protection against Omicron - واکسن کرونا و امیکرون

An additional “booster” dose of Moderna or Pfizer mRNA-based vaccine is needed to provide immunity against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study by researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. The results of this study, reported in the journal Cell, indicate that traditional dosing regimens of COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States do not produce antibodies capable of recognizing and neutralizing the Omicron variant.

In late November, health officials in South Africa reported that a previously unknown variant of SARS-CoV-2 was rapidly spreading throughout the country. The variant, given the name Omicron by the World Health Organization, would soon prove to be far more transmissible than Delta, the variant that previously had caused the majority of COVID-19 infections. “People desperately wanted to know whether current vaccines protect against Omicron,” says the senior author of the Cell paper.

To find answers, Balazs collaborated with a team that included the lead author of the Cell paper, Wilfredo F. Garcia-Beltran, MD, a clinical pathology resident at MGH and a clinician-scientist fellow at the Ragon Institute. The first step was to construct a harmless version of Omicron known as a “pseudovirus” that could be used in the laboratory to evaluate the effectiveness of the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States, which include the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna injections and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The pseudovirus that Balazs and colleagues created mimicked the behavior of Omicron, which has 34 mutations on its “spike” protein that are not found on the original strain of SARS-Cov-2 first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Scientists believe that these mutations may be partially responsible for Omicron’s rapid spread throughout the world.

Next, Garcia-Beltran worked with colleagues at MGH, including hematology-oncology fellow Vivek Naranbhai, MD, PhD, to acquire blood samples from 239 individuals who had been fully vaccinated with one of the three COVID-19 vaccines. The study subjects included employees within the Massachusetts General Brigham healthcare system and residents of Chelsea, Massachusetts, a community with a high rate of COVID-19 infections. “It was important to us to have a diverse population represented in the study,” says Garcia-Beltran. Included in this group were 70 men and women who had received a third booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Release date: 06 January 2022
Source: Massachusetts General Hospital

Babies Born During Pandemic First Year Score Slightly Lower on a Developmental Screening Test - کاهش رشد شیرخواران در زمان پاندمی

Columbia researchers found that babies born during the pandemic’s first year scored slightly lower on a developmental screening test of social and motor skills at 6 months—regardless of whether their mothers had COVID during pregnancy—compared to babies born just before the pandemic.

The study, which included 255 babies born at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Allen Hospital between March and December 2020, was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Release date: 04 January 2022
Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center

COVID 19 Can Trigger Self-Attacking Antibodies - کرونا و اتوآنتی بادی ها

Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 can trigger an immune response that lasts well beyond the initial infection and recovery—even among people who had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to Cedars-Sinai investigators. The findings are published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

When people are infected with a virus or other pathogen, their bodies unleash proteins called antibodies that detect foreign substances and keep them from invading cells. In some cases, however, people produce autoantibodies that can attack the body’s own organs and tissues over time.

The Cedars-Sinai investigators found that people with prior infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have a wide variety of autoantibodies up to six months after they have fully recovered. Prior to this study, researchers knew that severe cases of COVID-19 can stress the immune system so much that autoantibodies are produced. This study is the first to report not only the presence of elevated autoantibodies after mild or asymptomatic infection, but their persistence over time.

Some of the autoantibodies have been linked to autoimmune diseases that typically affect women more often than men. In this study, however, men had a higher number of elevated autoantibodies than women.

Release date: 03 January 2022
Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center