Public Health

Danish and Chinese tongues taste broccoli and chocolate differently - مزه ها ممکن است در نژادهای مختلف متفاوت احساس شود

Two studies from the University of Copenhagen show that Danes aren’t quite as good as Chinese at discerning bitter tastes. The research suggests that this is related to anatomical differences upon the tongues of Danish and Chinese people.

For several years, researchers have known that women are generally better than men at tasting bitter flavours. Now, research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that ethnicity may also play a role in how sensitive a person is to the bitter taste found in for example broccoli, Brussels sprouts and dark chocolate. By letting test subjects taste the bitter substance PROP, two studies demonstrate that Danish and Chinese people experience this basic taste differently. The reason seems to be related to an anatomical difference upon the tongue surfaces of these two groups.

“Our studies show that the vast majority of Chinese test subjects are more sensitive to bitter tastes than the Danish subjects. We also see a link between the prominence of bitter taste and the number of small bumps, known as papillae, on a person’s tongue,” says Professor Wender Bredie of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science (UCPH FOOD).

Food Quality and Preference

Release date: 05 January 2021
Source: Faculty of Science – University of Copenhagen

Smoking associated with increased risk of COVID19 symptoms - سیگار کشیدن علایم ابتلا به کرونا را تشدید می کند

The study published today in Thorax, by researchers from King’s , investigates the association between smoking and the severity of the COVID-19.

Researchers analysed data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study App. Of the participants of the app, 11% were smokers. This is a lower proportion than the overall UK population of 14.7%, however, it reflects the demographics of the self-selected sample of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study.

While more than a third of users reported not feeling physically well during the period of study (24th March and April 2020), current smokers were 14% more likely to develop the classic triad of symptoms suggesting diagnosis of COVID-19: fever, persistent cough and shortness of breath – compared to non-smokers.

Current smokers were also more likely to have a higher symptom burden than non-smokers. Smokers were 29% more likely to report more than five symptoms associated with COVID-19 and 50% more likely to report more than ten, including loss of smell, skipping meals, diarrhoea, fatigue, confusion or muscle pain. A greater number of symptoms suggested more severe COVID-19.

Additionally, current smokers who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were more than twice as likely as non-smokers to attend hospital.

The researchers recommended that a smoking cessation strategy be included as an element to address COVID-19, as smoking increased both the likelihood of symptomatic disease and disease severity. Reduction in smoking rates could also reduce the health system burden from other smoking-related conditions that require hospitalisation.

Release date: 06 January 2021
Source: King’s College London

In fiction we remember the deaths that make us sad - مرگ شخصیت های مثبت قصه ها خیلی بیشتر در حافظه ها می ماند

People may cheer the demise of evil villains in fiction, but the deaths we most remember are the meaningful and sad endings of the characters we loved, research suggests.

In a new study, researchers found that when people were asked to recall the death of a fictional character, they were more likely to mention deaths perceived as “meaningful” than those seen as “pleasurable.” We remember the deaths that made us cry and think more than those that made us cheer.

“It seems that when we recall death, even in the relatively consequence-free spaces of media entertainment, we experience it as a meaningful, reflective experience.”

Grizzard conducted the research with Kaitlin Fitzgerald, a doctoral student at the University at Buffalo, and C. Joseph Francemone, a doctoral student at Ohio State, both in communication.

The study was published recently in OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying.

Release date: 17 December 2020
Source: Ohio State University

COVID 19 severity affected by proportion of antibodies targeting crucial viral protein - سیستم ایمنی در موارد شدید کرونا به بخش دیگری از ویروس واکنش می دهد

A comprehensive study of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 associates mild disease with comparatively high levels of antibodies that target the viral spike protein. But all antibodies wane within months.

COVID-19 antibodies preferentially target a different part of the virus in mild cases of COVID-19 than they do in severe cases, and wane significantly within several months of infection, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford Medicine.

The findings identify new links between the course of the disease and a patient’s immune response. They also raise concerns about whether people can be re-infected, whether antibody tests to detect prior infection may underestimate the breadth of the pandemic and whether vaccinations may need to be repeated at regular intervals to maintain a protective immune response.

Boyd is a senior author of the study, which was published Dec. 7 in Science Immunology.

Release date: 23 December 2020
Source: Stanford Medicine

Traditional model for disease spread may not work in COVID19 - مدل های مرسوم انتشار بیماریها درباره کرونا صادق نیست

A mathematical model that can help project the contagiousness and spread of infectious diseases like the seasonal flu may not be the best way to predict the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus, especially during lockdowns that alter the normal mix of the population, researchers report.

Called the R-naught, or basic reproductive number, the model predicts the average number of susceptible people who will be infected by one infectious person. It’s calculated using three main factors — the infectious period of the disease, how the disease spreads and how many people an infected individual will likely come into contact with.

Historically, if the R-naught is larger than one, infections can become rampant and an epidemic or more widespread pandemic is likely. The COVID-19 pandemic had an early R-naught between two and three.

In a letter published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Release date: 21 December 2020
Source: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

In shaky times focus on past successes - حین تصمیم گیری در شرایط بحرانی، به موفقیت های گذشته فکر کنید

The more chaotic things get, the harder it is for people with clinical anxiety and/or depression to make sound decisions and to learn from their mistakes. On a positive note, overly anxious and depressed people’s judgment can improve if they focus on what they get right, instead of what they get wrong, suggests a new UC Berkeley study.

The researchers found that the study participants whose symptoms intersect with both anxiety and depression — such as worrying a lot, feeling unmotivated or not feeling good about themselves or about the future — had the most trouble adjusting to changes when performing a computerized task that simulated a volatile or rapidly changing environment.

The findings, published today, Dec. 22, in the journal eLife , are particularly salient in the face of a COVID-19 surge that demands tactical and agile thinking to avoid illness and even death.

Release date: 22 December 2020
Source: University of California – Berkeley

Sustained cellular immune dysregulation in individuals recovering from COVID 19 - بی نظمی ایمنی سلولی در بهبودیافتگان کرونا تا مدت ها باقی می ماند

COVID-19, which has killed 1.7 million people worldwide, does not follow a uniform path.

Many infected patients remain asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Others, especially those with comorbidities, can develop severe clinical disease with atypical pneumonia and multiple system organ failure.

Since the first cases were reported in December 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has surged into a pandemic, with cases and deaths still mounting. Ongoing observational clinical research has become a priority to better understand how this previously unknown virus acts, and findings from this research can better inform treatment and vaccine design.

From the blood samples, researchers were able to separate specific immune cell subsets and analyze cell surface markers. From this complex information, immunologists can analyze how each individual’s immune system is responding during infection and during convalescence. Some of these results can reveal whether immune cells have become activated and exhausted by the infection. Exhausted immune cells may increase susceptibility to a secondary infection or hamper development of protective immunity to COVID-19.

In addition, the researchers were able to analyze changes over time, in two ways. The first was observing changes in surface markers over time, defined as days since the onset of symptoms for non-hospitalized samples. The second was directly comparing the frequencies of these markers between the first and second clinic visits for non-hospitalized patients who had blood samples collected at two sequential timepoints.

“Sustained cellular immune dysregulation in individuals recovering from COVID-19 infection,” published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Release date: 29 December 2020
Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Disposable surgical masks best for being heard clearly when speaking - با ماسک های معمولی جراحی بهتر شنیده خواهید شد

The study found that disposable surgical masks offer the best acoustic performance among all tested, Corey said. Loosely woven 100% cotton masks also perform well but, as shown in a study by other Illinois researchers, they may not be as effective as surgical masks at blocking respiratory droplets. That study showed that tightly woven cotton and blended fabrics may block more droplets, but Corey’s team found that they also block more sound. Based on the droplet study, Corey suggested that multilayer masks made of loosely woven cotton may offer a reasonable compromise between droplet-blocking efficiency and acoustic performance.

The good news is that most masks do not completely block sound, they simply deflect it away from the mouth. This detail means that simple amplification devices can make masked speech more accessible to everyone. In particular, the lapel microphones that are already used in many classrooms and lecture halls are only mildly affected by face masks. Many hearing aids support remote microphone accessories that are also worn near the lapel.

The results of the team’s new study evaluating the acoustic effects of face masks on speech are published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Release date: 23 December 2020
Source: University of Illinois

Concern about loved ones might motivate people to mask up, get vaccine - نگرانی نسبت به عزیزان باعث ایجاد انگیزه در زدن ماسک و انجام واکسیناسیون می شود

While many people have listened to messaging about wearing a mask and following social distancing guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19, resistance remains.

A new study finds that appealing to people’s concerns for their loved ones could overcome this resistance. And it may have implications for encouraging people to mask up and get the new vaccine.

In a recent survey, people who said social distancing and COVID-safety guidelines violated their personal freedoms responded more positively to these ideas when they felt a loved one might be at risk of severe illness for COVID-19.

An and colleagues surveyed 1,074 people across the United States about their attitudes toward the coronavirus. They discovered two distinct sets of attitudes toward social distancing:

  • Positive beliefs that largely mirror public health messaging
  • Negative beliefs, including the idea that social distancing violates individual rights and freedoms

Concern about a loved one’s risk of severe COVID-19 infection was tied to both higher positive attitudes and lower negative attitudes toward social distancing. When people considered their own personal risk, they had higher positive attitudes but it did not impact their negative attitudes.

Release date: 18 December 2020
Source: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan

Covering faces around kids wont mask emotions - کودکان از پشت ماسک هم می توانند احساسات دیگران را تشخیص دهند

The researchers showed more than 80 children, ages 7 to 13, photos of faces displaying sadness, anger or fear that were unobstructed, covered by a surgical mask, or wearing sunglasses. The kids were asked to assign an emotion to each face from a list of six labels. The faces were revealed slowly, with scrambled pixels of the original image falling into their proper place over 14 stages to better simulate the way real-world interactions may require piecing things together from odd angles or fleeting glimpses.

The kids were correct about the uncovered faces as often as 66 percent of the time, well above the odds (about 17 percent) of guessing one correct emotion from the six options. With a mask in the way, they correctly identified sadness about 28 percent of the time, anger 27 percent of the time, and fear 18 percent of the time.

Published results in the journal PLOS ONE.

Release date: 23 December 2020
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison