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  1. A couple of articles discussing some of the new variants. In particular, the observed mutation rate of 2/month may be on the low end. A Troubling New Pattern Among the Coronavirus Variants three distinct versions of the virus seem to have independently converged on some of the same mutations, despite being thousands of miles apart in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. What is unusual about these three variants is that they also have an additional constellation of other mutations in other parts of the virus. the South Africa and Brazil variants might have an additional advantage. … viruses with the E484K mutation might be better at evading antibodies from the blood plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients. the United States is sequencing only a tiny percentage of its COVID-19 cases. (Standard COVID-19 diagnostic tests probe a few regions of the virus genome, but they don’t sequence the whole thing.) “San Diego is one of the places in the country we’re doing well, and we’re sequencing 2 percent of cases. It’s laughable compared to the U.K. and Denmark,” Phylogenetic relationship of SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Amazonas with emerging Brazilian variants harboring mutations E484K and N501Y in the Spike protein B.1.1.28(E484K), was subsequently detected in other Brazilian states and was further associated with two cases of reinfection in patients originally infected by the B.1.1.33 lineage I realize that it’s only two cases but one of the stories on the radio this morning was that this is the anniversary of the first documented case in the US. It’s certainly too soon for me to stop wearing a mask, social distancing, etc.
  2. Nature article on asymptomatic spread What the data say about asymptomatic COVID infections Now, evidence suggests that about one in five infected people will experience no symptoms, and they will transmit the virus to significantly fewer people than someone with symptoms. But researchers are divided about whether asymptomatic infections are acting as a ‘silent driver’ of the pandemic. The issue with putting a reliable figure on the rate of asymptomatic COVID-19 is distinguishing between people who are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic Although there is a growing understanding of asymptomatic infections, researchers say that people should continue to use measures to reduce viral spread, including social distancing and wearing masks, regardless of whether they have symptoms. The issue with putting a reliable figure on the rate of asymptomatic COVID-19 is distinguishing between people who are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic Research early in the pandemic suggested that the rate of asymptomatic infections could be as high as 81%. But a meta-analysis published last month1, which included 13 studies involving 21,708 people, calculated the rate of asymptomatic presentation to be 17%. Evidence suggests that most people develop symptoms in 7–13 days Byambasuren’s review also found that asymptomatic individuals were 42% less likely to transmit the virus than symptomatic people. researchers modelled viral spread among people living together. In a manuscript posted on medRxiv this month, they report that the risk of an asymptomatic person passing the virus to others in their home is about one-quarter of the risk of transmission from a symptomatic person. Although there is a lower risk of transmission from asymptomatic people, they might still present a significant public-health risk because they are more likely to be out in the community than isolated at home … a sizeable portion of transmission events are from asymptomatic transmissions But other researchers disagree about the extent to which asymptomatic infections are contributing to community transmission. Some studies showed that those without symptoms had similar initial viral loads — the number of viral particles present in a throat swab — when compared with people with symptoms. But asymptomatic people seem to clear the virus faster and are infectious for a shorter period. there is evidence that people with severe COVID-19 have a more substantial and long-lasting neutralizing antibody response asymptomatic people should continue to use measures that reduce viral spread, such as social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing a mask.
  3. This study of 5,000 65+ year old adults between 1993 and 2012 examined the association between Mediterranean diet scores and changes in participants' global cognitive function, episodic memory and perceptual speed. I interpret the results to mean that there are benefits to making good food choices and more benefits to making more good choices. Including unhealthy foods may diminish positive effects of an otherwise healthy diet researchers at Rush University Medical Center have reported diminished benefits of a Mediterranean diet among those with high [emphasis added] frequency of eating unhealthy foods Eating a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruit, fish and whole grains may positively affects a person's health But when it is combined with fried food, sweets, refined grains, red meat and processed meat, we observed that the benefits of eating the Mediterranean part of the diet seems to be diminished. Every three years, the study participants completed a cognitive assessment questionnaire … and they filled out a questionnaire about the frequency with which they consumed 144 food items. Participants with slower cognitive decline over the years of follow-up were those who adhered closest to the Mediterranean diet, along with limiting foods that are part of Western diet, whereas participants who ate more of the Western diet had no beneficial effect of healthy food components in slowing cognitive decline. "Western diets may adversely affect cognitive health," Agarwal said. "Individuals who had a high Mediterranean diet score compared to those who had the lowest score were equivalent to being 5.8 years younger in age cognitively." Agarwal said. "To benefit from diets such as the Mediterranean diet, or MIND diet, we would have to limit our consumption of processed foods and other unhealthy foods such as fried foods and sweets."
  4. corybroo

    Lost your marbles yet??

    Glad it's coming together for you. Hearing it makes everyone's New Year a little brighter.
  5. On the question of how to exercise, the NYT has an article recommending HIIT The Secret to Longevity? 4-Minute Bursts of Intense Exercise May Help While almost any exercise reduces the risk of premature death, “if some of that exercise is intense, the study also finds, the risk of early mortality declines even more, and the quality of people’s lives climbs.” Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway began a study 10 years ago in which all septuagenarians in Trondheim were invited to participate. No surprise. the more than 1,500 volunteers were healthier than average. These were divided into three groups: 1) follow standard activity guidelines, 2) exercise longer (50 min 2x/wk), and 3) high-intensity interval training, or H.I.I.T., 2x/wk of cycling or jogging at a strenuous pace for four minutes, followed by four minutes of rest, with that sequence repeated four times. While there seemed to be good compliance, the control group dabbled with interval-training on their own initiative for fun. Checking death registries after five years, the researchers found the HIIT group 2% less likely to die than the first group and 3% less likely than the second group. The also reported greater gains in their quality of life than the other groups.
  6. BBC has several articles about the new variant in Britain. New coronavirus variant: What do we know? From the article Why is this variant causing concern? It is rapidly replacing together other versions of the virus It has mutations that affect part of the virus likely to be important Some of those mutations have already been shown in the lab to increase the ability of the virus to infect cells [N.B.] It has not yet been conclusively shown to be spread more easily. CB The virus that was first detected in Wuhan, China, is not the same one you will find in most corners of the world. The D614G mutation emerged in Europe in February and became the globally dominant form of the virus. Another, called A222V, spread across Europe and was linked to people's summer holidays in Spain. There have been changes to the spike protein - this is the key the virus uses to unlock the doorway to our body's cells. One mutation called N501Y alters the most important part of the spike, known as the "receptor-binding domain". This is where the spike makes first contact with the surface of our body's cells. Any changes that make it easier for the virus to get inside are likely to give it an edge. The other mutation - a H69/V70 deletion, in which a small part of the spike is removed - has emerged several times before, including famously in infected mink. Work by Prof Ravi Gupta at the University of Cambridge has suggested this mutation increases infectivity two-fold in lab experiments. Studies by the same group suggest the deletion makes antibodies from the blood of survivors less effective at attacking the virus. All three leading vaccines develop an immune response against the existing spike, which is why the question [will the vaccines work?] comes up. Vaccines train the immune system to attack several different parts of the virus, so even though part of the spike has mutated, the vaccines should still work. Question: Does the replacement shown in the graph above imply both that it’s more infective and that there is cross strain immunity? If there is not cross strain immunity, then I think the graph above would show the blue share being additive to the orange instead of being replaced by it.
  7. No wonder there is so much confusion about covid-19, Politifact has announced its Lie of the Year: Coronavirus downplay and denial It does seem to have been an international effort. How Russia, China, and other governments use coronavirus disinformation to reshape geopolitics
  8. Study suggests sugary diet endangers waste-eating protein crucial to cellular repair A protein that functions like the vintage video game Pac-Man, eating toxic cellular waste caused by high sugar intake, is itself compromised by a sugary diet The protein alleviates age-related cellular damage stemming from too much sugar consumption A high-sugar diet, typical in the United States, causes damaging byproducts to build up in cells. The byproducts, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), accumulate and are linked with age-related diseases. [I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks he/she is not on a low sugar, healthy diet.] p62's (the Pac-Man-like protein) self-cleaning ability plays a role in clearance of AGEs. Augmenting p62 accelerates cell cleaning. Loss of p62 leads to cell toxicity from sugar and accumulation of AGEs. p62's targeting of cells for clean-up is compromised by glycative stress, a reaction from sugar. Autophagy (the body's cell-cleaning process), when chemically enhanced, protects against glycative damage.
  9. It sounds like Alphabet’s Calico has an interest in ISRIB. Calico’s memory-enhancing drug reverses age-related mental decline Longevity.Technology: ISRIB is licensed by Calico, the well-funded, but enigmatic arm of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, which researches the biology of aging. This new research indicates that ISRIB reverses the integrated stress response in the brain and mitigates age-related cognitive decline, albeit only in mice so far. If this indication can also be shown in humans, Calico would have a licence that dovetails with their mission to “discover and develop interventions that enable people to live longer and healthier lives”. Saul, what is a "sall study"?
  10. corybroo

    What's Wrong with Eggs Now?!

    Different strokes (yolks?) for different folks? The above study Todd referenced looked at “egg and cholesterol consumption in relation to mortality in a nationwide Chinese cohort” JAMA reports in a study of US adults Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality Findings Among 29 615 adults pooled from 6 prospective cohort studies in the United States with a median follow-up of 17.5 years, each additional 300 mg of dietary cholesterol consumed per day was significantly associated with higher risk of incident CVD (adjusted hazard ratio , 1.17; adjusted absolute risk difference [ARD], 3.24%) and all-cause mortality (adjusted HR, 1.18; adjusted ARD, 4.43%), and each additional half an egg consumed per day was significantly associated with higher risk of incident CVD (adjusted HR, 1.06; adjusted ARD, 1.11%) and all-cause mortality (adjusted HR, 1.08; adjusted ARD, 1.93%). Meaning Among US adults, higher consumption of dietary cholesterol or eggs was significantly associated with higher risk of incident CVD and all-cause mortality in a dose-response manner. It is very interesting that while both studies report an association of cholesterol and mortality, they report the association in opposite directions.
  11. Drug reverses age-related cognitive decline within days Just a few doses of an experimental drug can reverse age-related declines in memory and mental flexibility in mice The drug, called ISRIB, has already been shown in laboratory studies to restore memory function months after traumatic brain injury (TBI), reverse cognitive impairments in Down Syndrome , prevent noise-related hearing loss, fight certain types of prostate cancer , and even enhance cognition in healthy animals. researchers showed rapid restoration of youthful cognitive abilities in aged mice, accompanied by a rejuvenation of brain and immune cells that could help explain improvements in brain function. The data suggest that the aged brain has not permanently lost essential cognitive capacities, as was commonly assumed, but rather that these cognitive resources are still there but have been somehow blocked, trapped by a vicious cycle of cellular stress ISRIB, discovered in 2013 in Walter's lab, works by rebooting cells' protein production machinery after it gets throttled by one of these stress responses—a cellular quality control mechanism called the integrated stress response (ISR; ISRIB stands for ISR InhiBitor). recent animal studies … have implicated chronic ISR activation in the persistent cognitive and behavioral deficits seen in patients after TBI, by showing that, in mice, brief ISRIB treatment can reboot the ISR and restore normal brain function almost overnight. The cognitive deficits in TBI patients are often likened to premature aging, which led Rosi and Walter to wonder if the ISR could also underlie purely age-related cognitive decline. Several weeks after the initial ISRIB treatment, they trained the same mice to find their way out of a maze whose exit changed daily—a test of mental flexibility for aged mice who, like humans, tend to get increasingly stuck in their ways. The mice who had received brief ISRIB treatment three weeks before still performed at youthful levels, while untreated mice continued to struggle. the researchers studied the activity and anatomy of cells in the hippocampus, a brain region with a key role in learning and memory, just one day after giving animals a single dose of ISRIB. They found that common signatures of neuronal aging disappeared literally overnight: neurons' electrical activity became more sprightly and responsive to stimulation, and cells showed more robust connectivity with cells around them while also showing an ability to form stable connections with one another usually only seen in younger mice.
  12. While we all know that the plural of anecdote is not data, here’s an article saying what the plural is The Plural of Anecdote Is Misinformation
  13. Graphic comparisons of restrictions and outcomes. States That Imposed Few Restrictions Now Have the Worst Outbreaks
  14. corybroo

    macro nutrient ratios

    Global associations between macronutrient supply and age-specific mortality From the abstract, a seemingly very high calorie recommendation. Energy supplied at around 3,500 kcal/cap/d minimized mortality across ages. However, we show that the macronutrient composition of energy supply that minimizes mortality varies with age. The recommendations for young and old: In early life, 40 to 45% energy from each of fat and carbohydrate and 16% from protein minimizes mortality. In later life, replacing fat with carbohydrates to around 65% of total energy and reducing protein to 11% is associated with the lowest level of mortality. The authors comment on the Okinawan diet: He does note that a traditional Okinawan diet is low in protein — at around 9 percent — but is higher in carbs — 85 percent — and much lower in fat — 6 percent. There’s also an Okinawan elder’s diet that “gets a bit closer in the carb and fat dimensions” — hitting a respective 58 and 26 percent — but it's higher in protein at 16 percent. I think I'd like to see this article confirmed by other studies.
  15. Kids mount a COVID-19 immune response without detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus despite close contact with symptomatic infected parents, including one child sharing the parents' bed, the children repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19 and displayed no or minor symptoms. the parents attended an interstate wedding without their children. After returning, they developed a cough, congested nose, fever and headache Samples including blood, saliva, nose and throat swabs, stools and urine were collected from the family every 2-3 days. The researchers found SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies in saliva of all family members and in detailed serology testing compared to healthy controls. The youngest child, who showed no symptoms at all, had the strongest antibody response … Despite the active immune cell response in all children, levels of cytokines, molecular messengers in the blood that can trigger an inflammatory reaction, remained low. This was consistent with their mild or no symptoms. Personal note: My grandson came home from school last Tu with cough and elevated temperature. My daughter took him in for a testing on Wed and on Th we learned he is covid-19 positive. Fortunately, he’s had a very mild case. So the article above was encouraging about him developing antibodies. So, I see two views on the disease: his mild case and my daughter’s experience as a nurse which is not unlike this one reported over the weekend. South Dakota Nurse: Dying COVID Patients Think It’s Fake This disease is like Russian Roulette in that most people walk away afterwards but a few suffer catastrophically.