April 2020 News Briefs

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Mega Doctor NEWS

Dance with your grandma (not during COVID-19 of course)

Physical fitness and social connection can be difficult to maintain in old age. But new research published in Frontiers in Psychology shows that Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) may promote exercise, improve quality of life and deepen familial ties between grandparents and grandchildren. In a study at the Kibbutzim College and University of Haifa in Israel, sixteen dance movement therapists met with their grandmothers for three free-form dance sessions. The goal was to determine how these sessions would affect each group, and whether intergenerational bonds might strengthen as a result. The study also wanted to examine a potential low-cost method to treat issues commonly faced by an aging population, such as depressed mood and limited mobility. Source: Newswise

Getting In Your Daily Steps Can Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

More than 100 million people in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes. It’s also estimated that more than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure. Those numbers have been rising, but researchers say there is a free and relatively easy way to reduce your risk of developing one of these diseases. It’s the simple act of walking. The standard recommendation for physical fitness is 10,000 steps a day. But even a fraction of that can work, according to two new studies unveiled this month. In a study published this week, researchers stated that people who walk between 4,000 and 8,000 steps a day can reduce their risk of death from cancer or heart disease by two-thirds. They added that people who walk more than 12,000 steps per day can lower those risks by nearly 90 percent. In another study, researchers state that middle-aged study participants who walked the most steps per day over an average of 9 years had a 43 percent lower risk of diabetes and a 31 percent lower risk of high blood pressure. Source: Healthline

New study pinpoints loss of smell and taste as COVID-19 symptoms

A new study looking at the data of people who tested positive for COVID-19 backs up recent claims that the loss of the senses of smell and taste can be a symptom of the disease. Earlier this month, preliminary findings in a preprint started making headlines because they suggested that the list of possible COVID-19 symptoms should include the loss of smell and taste. That study assessed symptoms in 579 people who reported having tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,123 who reported having tested negative. It found that 59% of those with COVID-19 said that they experienced the loss of smell and taste. However, experts commenting on the study noted that more work was necessary to confirm that these sensory impairments could be a sign of COVID-19. Source: Medical News Today

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COVID19: Why Are Children Less Affected?

One of the mysteries of COVID-19 is why children are much less likely than adults to be harmed by the disease. To answer this question, Cedars-Sinai ‘s Newsroom spoke to Priya Soni, MD, Cedars-Sinai Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist. One theory is that because children have young immune systems, and they do not develop the very aggressive immune response known as a cytokine storm that adults form when they get the virus. Some children already in daycare and school are exposed to many novel respiratory infections. This may cause them to have a higher baseline level of antibodies against other respiratory viruses and could be offering some protective effect. One worrisome note is that children can be infected but not show any symptoms or have such mild symptoms that it can be perceived as a common childhood virus. In fact, Soni says children can unknowingly pass on the virus to adults. Source: Newswise 

Blood Test May Help Doctors Catch Pancreatic Cancer Early

A blood test may be able to detect the most common form of pancreatic cancer while it is still in its early stages while also helping doctors accurately stage a patient’s disease and guide them to the appropriate treatment. A multidisciplinary study from the University of Pennsylvania found the test – known as a liquid biopsy – was more accurate at detecting disease in a blinded study than any other known biomarker alone and was also more accurate at staging disease than imaging is capable of alone. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common form of pancreatic cancer, is the third leading cause of cancer deaths. The overall five-year survival rate is just nine percent, and most patients live less than one year following their diagnosis. One of the biggest challenges is catching the disease before it has progressed or spread. For patients whose disease has spread, there are currently no curative treatment options. Source: Newswise

New reusable respirator will trap, kill coronavirus

A mask with a reusable respirator that captures and kills the novel coronavirus—that’s the vision of South Dakota State University assistant mechanical engineering professor Saikat Basu. He is part of a multi-institutional team of researchers who will be designing and developing the new respirator. “This pandemic is not going away any time soon—the idea is to have better technologies to reduce virus transmission in hospital settings and to protect uninfected populations,” said Basu, who is the first SDSU faculty member to receive National Science Foundation funding for COVID-19 research. To develop the new respirator, Basu will be collaborating with associate professor Sunghwan “Sunny” Jung of Cornell University and associate professor Leonardo Chamorro of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The project, which is expected to begin in May, will be supported by a one-year, $200,000 grant obtained through the NSF Rapid Response Research funding mechanism. Source: Newswise

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