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Women, Individuals With High BMI May Face Greater Risk Of Long COVID: Study

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Research Dispels Myth That COVID-19 Vaccines Cause Infertility, But Misinformation Persists


OVID-19 continues to haunt some patients, with many suffering from so-called long COVID. Women and those with high body mass index (BMI) may be at higher risk for the condition, a new study has found.

For their study, published Wednesday on PLOS Global Public Health, a team of researchers conducted a survey to “characterize the burden and predictors” for long COVID.

Long COVID, also known as post-COVID syndrome, is the condition wherein the symptoms patients develop during or after a COVID-19 infection persist for over 12 weeks after being diagnosed with it. Symptoms may range from coughing, fatigue and breathlessness to brain fog, tinnitus and chest pain.

“Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 or post-COVID-19 syndrome is estimated to be adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of 836,000 people in the United Kingdom according to the ONS (Office for National Statistics, UK) report, with 244,000 saying their ability to undertake day-to-day activities had been ‘limited a lot,'” the researchers wrote.

To shed further light on the condition and potentially inform healthcare services, the researchers surveyed people in Norfolk, East England U.K. who were diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020. In total, some 1,487 people participated in the survey, wherein they answered queries about pre- and post-COVID conditions such as breathlessness, loss of taste or smell, and their use of healthcare services related to long COVID.

“We wanted to find out what factors might make people more or less susceptible to developing long COVID,” one of the study authors, Vassilios Vassiliou of the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Norwich Medical School, said in the university’s news release.

Of all the participants, 774, or 52.1% experienced long COVID. What’s interesting, however, is that more women had the symptoms compared to men, with the male sex appearing to be “protective of post-COVID symptoms” compared to the female sex.

Having a higher BMI was also associated with higher risks of developing long COVID.

“It was found that female sex and high BMI are associated with higher likelihood of developing post-COVID19 syndrome,” the researchers wrote. “Those two factors have a significant predictive value in the use of further health services among those diagnosed with post-COVID19 syndrome.”

The results, they say, are in line with another previous research in England, wherein females were also found to have higher long COVID rates than males.

This sheds further light on the condition that many continue to suffer from. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for instance, long COVID has also been more often observed in some people such as those who had severe COVID-19, while those who weren’t vaccinated for COVID-19 may also face higher risks for it.

The impact of long COVID may go beyond just the patients, too, as an expert pointed out that it may also have a $3.7 trillion impact on the U.S. economy. Hence, the results of this study provide valuable information about long COVID and the people who are most likely to suffer from it.

“We hope that our work will help policymakers plan local services and also inform the wider public of the scale of the long COVID pandemic,” Vassiliou said, as per UEA.

“Our academic colleagues at the University of East Anglia have really helped local health and care organizations to identify local patients at risk of long COVID, helping us to do all we can to support them on their recovery journey,” another study author, Mark Lim, added.





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Low Sex Drive Can Be Treated By Hormone Injections, Study Shows

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Low Sex Drive Can Be Treated By Hormone Injections, Study Shows


A hormone that is naturally produced in the body has been shown to treat low sex drive by increasing activity in brain regions associated with arousal and attraction in men and women.

In two studies, published in the journal Jama Network Open, lead investigators Prof Waljit Dhillo and Dr. Alexander Comninos, consultant endocrinologists at Imperial College London, analyzed the effects of the hormone kisspeptin in people with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). 

Kisspeptin is a hormone that stimulates the release of other reproductive hormones in the body. In fact, previous studies have shown that shots of kisspeptin can enhance the reaction of people with healthy libidos to sexual stimuli and increase brain activity in parts involved in sexual attraction.

Apart from increasing sex-related brain activity, some women enrolled in the current study said that they felt “more sexy,”  while men had increased “happiness about sex” as well as increased “penile tumescence” while watching an erotic film in the study, according to The Guardian.

The study was particularly effective for a 44-year-old male participant who said that he faced difficulty maintaining relationships due to his low sexual appetite. Incredibly, the man later had a son, which his partner had conceived in the same week he received the hormone injection. “I had the best possible outcome as a result of the trial,” he said.

For the study, researchers enrolled 32 women and 32 men with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). A distressing condition defined by low sexual desire, HSSD affects about 10% of women and 8% of men, as per the outlet.

The hormone treatment reduced hyperactivity in regions linked to HSDD and increased activity in noted sexual regions of the brain, the study found. Moreover, the males scored better at penile rigidity, which was measured while they watched an erotic video as part of the study. The results showed increased penile rigidity of up to 56% as opposed to a placebo.

“The predominant theory in HSDD suggests that there is excess self-monitoring and introspection, for example, how am I performing, how do I look, what does my partner think, which blunts downstream sexual desire and arousal,” Comninos explained.

“In these studies, we have shown that kisspeptin may be able to address this imbalance and promote sexual pathways in both women and men distressed by low sexual desire,” Comninos further said.

Due to the fact that kisspeptin has no reported side effects and worked exceptionally well in the study, the researchers believe that kisspeptin can be used as a treatment for HSDD. “Collectively, the results suggest that kisspeptin may offer a safe and much-needed treatment for HSDD that affects millions of people around the world,” Dhillo said.

 

 

 

 





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Simple Salt Water Nasal Spray Reduces Snoring And Other Breathing Difficulties In Kids: Study

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Long, Regular Sleep Leads To Kindergarten Success


A trailblazing study has found that simple salt water-containing nasal spray works at par with a steroidal nasal solution, and can alleviate snoring and other breathing difficulties in children.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, showed that a saline (salt water) nasal spray was as effective as an anti-inflammatory steroid nasal spray in managing sleep-disordered breathing in children, following six weeks of treatment.

Also, the saline nasal spray successfully reduced the number of children needing tonsil removal by half.

“Nasal sprays work by cleaning the nose and/or reducing inflammation not just in the nose but all the way down the back of the throat to the adenoids and tonsillar tissue to alleviate the symptoms,” Murdoch Children’s Dr. Alice Baker said, SciTechDaily reported.

In the study led by Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, intranasal mometasone furoate was compared to intranasal saline for the treatment of symptoms of obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children.

“Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children is characterized by snoring and difficulty breathing during sleep. SDB affects at least 12% of otherwise healthy children and is associated with significant morbidity,” researchers wrote in their paper.

The trial included 276 children of ages between three and 12 years, and was carried out at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital.

Both the nasal sprays resolved the symptoms in approximately 40% of participants, the study found.

“A large proportion of children who snore and have breathing difficulties could be managed successfully by their primary care physician, using six weeks of an intranasal saline spray as a first-line treatment,” Murdoch Children’s Associate Professor Kirsten Perrett noted. “Using this cheaper and readily available treatment would increase the quality of life of these children, reduce the burden on specialist services, decrease surgery waiting times, and reduce hospital costs.” 

Tonsillectomy or the removal of tonsils is commonly performed to treat children’s snoring. The procedure is expensive, painful, and places a huge burden on hospital resources.  

In particular, one of the kids in the trial, Thomas, aged 7, greatly benefited from the trial. The kid’s parents, Stephen Graham and Emily Tuner-Graham, said their son stopped snoring and no longer needed tonsil removal ever since he took part in the trial.

“From three years of age Thomas started snoring and we were concerned that he would eventually need surgery,” they said, as per the outlet. “Prior to joining the trial, a specialist recommended having his tonsils out. It’s a huge relief that by just using a nasal spray his breathing difficulties have cleared.”

In other news, children in California no longer need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school.





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White, Brown, Pink, Green Noise: What They Mean And How They Affect Sleep

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White, Brown, Pink, Green Noise: What They Mean And How They Affect Sleep


White, brown, pink, and green–the colorful noises being touted to help one sleep better. But what do these noises actually mean and what effect do they have on sleep? Read on to find out.

The fanfare around these different noises begs the question–why is sleep getting so much attention? The answer may lie in the data from the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS)from last year that showed that around 64% of young people of ages between 17 and 23 struggled to sleep, according to Sky News. The disparity between the genders was stark–76% of young women had trouble sleeping, compared to 53% of young men.

Let’s tackle these noises one by one.

White noise

According to Merriam-Webster, white noise is defined as “a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range.”

Examples of white noise include sounds that originate from fans, air conditioners, and radio static.

The white noise drowns out outside noises by giving off consistent noise. This, in turn, helps one to stay asleep undisturbed by sudden noises.

“Some people find white noise helpful as the brain has something relaxing to focus on instead of the surrounding environmental noises. White noise can not only help some people to fall asleep, it can help them to stay asleep,” Dr. Hana Patel, a GP in London, told Sky News.

Pink noise

Pink noise is similar to white noise, except it has a lower pitch. So, it may be more soothing to some people when compared to white noise. This noise is also said to aid in sleeping better.

Brown noise

WebMD defines brown noise, also called red noise, as one that “produces a rumbling sound that’s deeper with a bass-like tone than pink or white noise.” It is a deeper, stronger tone.

“Brown noise can trigger relaxation through low frequencies and is said to produce a sound that many people find soothing,” Steve Adams, a sleep expert at Mattress Online, told Sky News.

Moreover, Adams added brown noise can also alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

Green noise

The TikTok-famous sound has got a newfound popularity.

A more natural tone, green noise “is similar to brown or pink noise, but is generally more pleasant and relaxing to listen to,” Dr. Lindsay Browning, a psychologist, neuroscientist, and sleep expert, said.

Not a recognized term yet, green noise “is a recording of an actual sound in nature – such as a gentle waterfall or rain,” Browning added.

In summary, there are many noises out there projected to improve sleep. But which one works for an individual is a personal preference and can be found out only by trying the rainbow of noises the world has to offer.

In related news, a different group of researchers looked at the changes in people’s sleep duration throughout their lives, and how they might differ across countries, by assessing the data from 730,187 participants from 63 countries. While the youngest participants with the minimum age of 19 slept the most, sleep quality began declining as they progressed into early adulthood until 33 years of age, the study found. The decrease then slows down and plateaus, only for the sleep to increase again around the time they hit 53.





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