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  1. A potential help for preserving eyesight. Morning exposure to deep red light improves declining eyesight Just three minutes of exposure to deep red light once a week, when delivered in the morning, can significantly improve declining eyesight [previous work] showed daily three-minute exposure to longwave deep red light 'switched on' energy producing mitochondria cells in the human retina, helping boost naturally declining vision. In summary, researchers found there was, on average, a 17% improvement in participants' color contrast vision when exposed to three minutes of 670 nanometre (long wavelength) deep red light in the morning and the effects of this single exposure lasted for at least a week. In humans around 40 years old, cells in the eye's retina begin to age, and the pace of this aging is caused, in part, when the cell's mitochondria, whose role is to produce energy (known as ATP) and boost cell function, also start to decline. Mitochondrial density is greatest in the retina's photoreceptor cells, which have high energy demands. As a result, the retina ages faster than other organs, with a 70% ATP reduction over life, causing a significant decline in photoreceptor function as they lack the energy to perform their normal role. Despite the clarity of the results, researchers say some of the data are "noisy". While positive effects are clear for individuals following 670nm exposure, the magnitude of improvements can vary markedly between those of similar ages. Therefore, some caution is needed in interpretating the data. It is possible that there are other variables between individuals that influence the degree of improvement that the researchers have not identified so far and would require a larger sample size.
  2. MedicalXpress has an article looking at how information may be “massaged”. COVID death data can be shared to make it look like vaccines don't work, or worse – but that's not the whole picture Some vaccines are single-dose, others are double-dose regimens. Most jurisdictions define "fully vaccinated" as two weeks after the last required dose, but some social media posts like this one lump together anyone who has had any dose. Let's say 95% of NSW's entire population of approximately 8,000,000 was fully vaccinated. That's 7.6 million people. Imagine 0.05% of fully vaccinated people needed to be hospitalised with COVID. That's just shy of 4,000 people. Let's also say 1% of the remaining 400,000 unvaccinated people were hospitalised with COVID. That's 4,000 people. So the absolute number of hospitalised vaccinated people would be similar to the hospitalised unvaccinated people. But, less than 0.05% of fully vaccinated people are in hospital, compared to 1% of unvaccinated people—that's 20 times higher! Another way to explain this relates to what's known as Simpon's paradox: when a very large proportion of the population is vaccinated, it is quite likely that a larger absolute number of cases will be vaccinated rather than unvaccinated. To compare effects, one must instead focus on the rates of cases and death from COVID. And almost all countries vaccinated the most at-risk populations first. Some, like the elderly, already displayed higher death rates. Given the most likely to die are the first vaccinated, then we may see more deaths in the group vaccinated first. The vaccine will have lessened the deaths, but at-risk people were always more likely to die. To truly discern the effect of the vaccine, then, one has to compare rates across matched levels of risk, especially age. A very good analysis matches different levels of age risk on the Israeli data and shows that even though the absolute number of vaccinated hospitalised cases was more than the unvaccinated hospitalisations, the Pfizer vaccine still showed good effectiveness against severe disease. [From the referenced analysis: CB] To adjust for vaccination rates, one should normalize the counts, of severe cases in our setting, for example by computing number "per 100,000" After this adjustment, we see that the rate of severe cases is 16.4/5.3=3.1x higher in unvaccinated individuals than fully vaccinated individuals.
  3. Both Germany and Austria have a slightly higher vaccination rate the the US. https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations
  4. After years of recommendations to avoid or at least reduce palm oil consumption for environmental and societal reasons, this article caught my eye because it studied palmitic acid. However, palm oid is not the only source of palmitic acid SAD (standard American diet). Palmitic Acid is a saturated long-chain fatty acid with a 16-carbon backbone. Palmitic acid is found naturally in palm oil and palm kernel oil, as well as in butter, cheese, milk and meat. Researchers discover link between dietary fat and the spread of cancer The study … uncovers how palmitic acid alters the cancer genome, increasing the likelihood the cancer will spread. Metastasis—or the spread—of cancer remains the main cause of death in cancer patients and the vast majority of people with metastatic cancer can only be treated, but not cured. … Metastasis is promoted by fatty acids in our diet, but it has been unclear how this works and whether all fatty acids contribute to metastasis. one such fatty acid commonly found in palm oil, called palmitic acid, promotes metastasis in oral carcinomas and melanoma skin cancer in mice. Other fatty acids called oleic acid and linoleic acid—omega-9 and omega-6 fats found in foods such as olive oil and flaxseeds—did not show the same effect. Neither of the fatty acids tested increased the risk of developing cancer in the first place. The research found that when palmitic acid was supplemented into the diet of mice, it not only contributed to metastasis, but also exerts long-term effects on the genome. Cancer cells that had only been exposed to palmitic acid in the diet for a short period of time remained highly metastatic even when the palmitic acid had been removed from the diet. The researchers discovered that this "memory" is caused by epigenetic changes—changes to how our genes function. senior author of the paper, said: "I think it is too early to determine which type of diet could be consumed by patients with metastatic cancer that would slow down the metastatic process. That said, based on our results one would think that a diet poor in palmitic acid could be effective in slowing down the metastatic process, but much more work is needed to determine this.”
  5. Perhaps it was a real reaction to a real injection of an alternative virus. I read that for the covid tests they were providing innoculations for other viruses so that subjects would not be able to determine if they'd received the control. I could not find the original aritcle I read, but I found this https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/covid-19-health/placebos-used-vaccine-trials-do-not-please-everyone A team in the United Kingdom is conducting a trial of a new COVID-19 vaccine (charmingly called ChAdOx1 nCOV-19) and they are comparing it not to a saline injection but to a vaccine against meningitis. So, I think the simplest explanation was a reaction to the immunization received which as it turned out was not Sars-CoV-2.
  6. Just found this graphical display of the differences
  7. Study identifies Sars-CoV-2 variant with a deletion in its genome Automated gene analyses of SARS-CoV-2 samples consistently miss gene segments in the virus genome that have undergone deletion due to mutations. The research team was able to show that a large part of the ORF8 gene segment was missing in the samples it analyzed. This gene region is thought to contribute to delaying defensive reactions in the human body. If it is missing, there is a chance that the virus will become less pathogenic, meaning that it will cause less serious disease. "Because only a few gene segments are required to identify a common viral variant, laboratories usually simply accept that they cannot identify other gene segments," says Kalinowski. "We found that the commonly used standard software enters placeholders in the gene sequence even when an entire gene segment is not present at all." Then the letter N is written in rows in the gene sequence. As the virus replicates, these properties are no longer passed on. "In addition, mutations that make the virus more dangerous for humans can no longer develop within such deletions in the genome." According to Kalinowski, such missing gene segments can be one of the reasons why SARS-CoV-2 adapts to humans as its hosts. This would then make the virus more infectious, but, at the same time, less dangerous. "The virus would then become endemic.” The scientists were able to detect the missing nucleotides because—in contrast to the standard PCR testing—they also applied nanopore sequencing. Compared to the usual sequencing machines, these special instruments make it possible to determine longer gene segments. The researchers also added a further function to freely available gene analysis software that correctly detects and labels missing nucleotides in gene sequences. "This was the only way we could determine that part of the ORF8 gene region had disappeared," says Kalinowski.
  8. Marginal Revolution Long soccer Covid summarizes a paper, The Long Shadow of an Infection: Covid-19 and Performance at Work, that tries to estimate workplace productivity effects of Covid-19 by studying soccer players after an infection. [The researchers look at] all traceable infections in the elite leagues of Germany and Italy. Relying on a staggered difference-in-differences design, we identify negative short- and longer-run performance effects. Relative to their preinfection outcomes, infected players’ performance temporarily drops by more than 6%. Over half a year later, it is still around 5% lower.
  9. Interesting question. You're right that the risk of death from flu is greater than from covid for those under 14. I could not find a comparison of long term consequences by age. https://freopp.org/comparing-the-risk-of-death-from-covid-19-vs-influenza-by-age-d33a1c76c198 Since I expect the majority of those young children will have older care givers at home where they almost certainly would not wear a mask, protecting the children, protects the adult and elderly (if grandparents visit). Several years ago, I read that Japan found the best way to protect the elderly from flu was to vaccinate the school kids. Back to answering your question, yes, humans have been afflicted with many terrible contagious diseases for centuries. Polio, smallpox, malaria are three examples that immediately come to mind. Could we have dealt with those better? Yes if we'd known more at the time and had the technology to implement the better approaches. I think the important thing is to measure results and decide on future action.
  10. Michigan is reporting K-12 schools without mask mandates in Michigan saw 62% more coronavirus spread They found The rate of infection reached an average of about 45 cases per 100,000 students by late September in school districts with mask mandates. Virus spread was 62% higher in school districts with no mask rules, where the infection rate averaged 73 cases per 100,000 by late September.
  11. U of Wisconsin-Madison reports a new study Fasting is required to see the full benefit of calorie restriction in mice Some highlights: The researchers discovered that, combined with eating less, fasting reduces frailty in old age and extends the lifespan of mice. And fasting alone can improve blood sugar and liver metabolism. Surprisingly, mice that ate fewer calories but never fasted died younger than mice that ate as much as they wanted, suggesting that calorie restriction alone may be harmful. … previous studies had unintentionally combined calorie restrictions with long fasts by providing animals with food just once a day. It was difficult, then, to distinguish the effects of one from the other. To untangle these factors, Lamming's group designed four different diets for mice to follow. One group ate as much as they wanted whenever they wanted. Another group ate a full amount, but in a short period of time—this gave them a long daily fast without reducing calories. The other two groups were given about 30% fewer calories either once a day or dispersed over the entire day. It turned out that many of the benefits originally ascribed to calorie restriction alone—better blood sugar control, healthier use of fat for energy, protection from frailty in old age and longer lifespans—all required fasting as well. Mice who ate fewer calories without fasting didn't see these positive changes. Fasting on its own, without reducing the amount of food eaten, was just as powerful as calorie restriction with fasting. Fasting alone was enough to improve insulin sensitivity and to reprogram metabolism to focus more on using fats as a source of energy. The livers of fasting mice also showed the hallmarks of healthier metabolism. The researchers did not study the effect of fasting alone on lifespan or frailty as mice aged, but other studies have suggested that fasting can provide these benefits as well. "We need to know whether this fasting is required for people to see benefits," Lamming says. "If fasting is the main driver of health, we should be studying drugs or diet interventions that mimic fasting rather than those that mimic fewer calories."
  12. Should a new category be added to the questionnaire?  Specifically,  "boosted".   Or plans for a booster? 

    I am eligible for a booster and plan on getting one but at the moment do not feel an immediate need.  So I want to see what comes out about boosting with a different vaccine than the one I was originally innoculated with in the hope of getting broader protection.

  13. The Economist reports their attempt to determine The pandemic’s true death toll The summary is Although the official number of deaths caused by covid-19 is now 4.9m, our single best estimate is that the actual toll is 16.3m people. We find that there is a 95% chance that the true value lies between 10.1m and 19.1m additional deaths. The article provides links to their methodology, code, data, and models, if anyone wants to question their results. The estimate vs official is actually pretty good for the US compared with other countries.
  14. Yahoo!news reports Study saying COVID-19 vaccines cause heart inflammation that was hyped by anti-vaxxers, withdrawn due to miscalculation · A preprint study stated that 1 in 1,000 recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine could get myocarditis. · The study has been withdrawn after a miscalculation overestimated the risk of the heart condition. · The COVID-19 is safe to get, and there is more risk of getting myocarditis from COVID-19 than the jab.