Saturday Health (10 - 16 Oct 2020)

News related to COVID-19 Risks to Newborns, Roles of Neurochemicals, Alcohol Abstinence, COVID-19’s Survivability, Robotic Assistance in Colonoscopy, COVID-19 and Permanent Hearing Loss, Alternative to Animal Testing, Pandemic-Induced Stress, Youth – Early Stages of Psychosis, COVID-19 Becoming Endemic, Pan-Coronavirus Treatment, Machine Learning Finds TB Drugs

Note: None of the news bits given here are written by Newanced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. Very Low Risk to Newborns from Moms with COVID-19

Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center 12 Oct 2020

Mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection rarely transmit the virus to their newborns when basic infection-control practices are followed, according to a new study by researchers. The findings—the most detailed data available on the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission between moms and their newborns—suggest that more extensive measures like separating SARS-CoV-2-positive mothers from their newborns and avoiding direct breastfeeding may not be warranted.

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2. Scientists Find Dopamine, Serotonin Have Unexpectedly Profound Roles in The Human Brain

Source: Virginia Tech 12 Oct 2020

In first-of-their-kind observations in the human brain, an international team of researchers has revealed two well-known neurochemicals — dopamine and serotonin — are at work at sub-second speeds to shape how people perceive the world and take action based on their perception. The discovery shows researchers can continually and simultaneously measure the activity of both dopamine and serotonin.

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3. More Young Adults Are Abstaining from Alcohol

Source: University of Michigan 12 Oct 2020

Fewer college-age Americans drink alcohol, compared to nearly 20 years ago, according to a new study. Between 2002 and 2018, the number of adults aged 18-22 in the U.S. who abstained from alcohol increased from 20% to 28% for those in college and from about 24% to 30% for those not in school, say researchers. And alcohol abuse among both groups decreased by roughly half. However, the study found that the number of young adults using marijuana, as well as co-using alcohol and marijuana, has increased.

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4. New Research on SARS-COV-2 Virus ‘Survivability’

Source: CSIRO Australia 12 Oct 2020

COVID-19 causing virus lasts for 10 days longer than Influenza on some surfaces. Lower temps, glass, stainless steel and paper banknotes give virus longer life. Researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, can survive for up to 28 days on common surfaces including banknotes, glass – such as that found on mobile phone screens - and stainless steel.

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5. Using Robotic Assistance to Make Colonoscopy Kinder and Easier

Source: University of Leeds. 12 Oct 2020

Scientists have made a breakthrough in their work to develop semi-autonomous colonoscopy, using a robot to guide a medical device into the body. The milestone brings closer the prospect of an intelligent robotic system being able to guide instruments to precise locations in the body to take biopsies or allow internal tissues to be examined.

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6. First Reported UK Case of Sudden Permanent Hearing Loss Linked To COVID-19

Source: BMJ 13 Oct 2020

Although uncommon, sudden permanent hearing loss seems to be linked to COVID-19 infection in some people, warn doctors, reporting the first UK case in the journal BMJ Case Reports. Awareness of this possible side effect is important, because a prompt course of steroid treatment can reverse this disabling condition, they emphasise.

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7. An Alternative to Animal Experiments

Source: Technical University of Munich (TUM) 13 Oct 2020

Researchers have cultured so-called intestinal organoids from human intestinal tissue, which is a common byproduct when performing bowel surgery. These small “miniature intestines” can be used for molecular biological examinations and allow for a direct application of research results to humans, thereby making animal experiments redundant.

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8. Stay in Touch with Your Emotions to Reduce Pandemic-Induced Stress

Source: University of Iowa 14 Oct 2020

Everybody, it seems, is stressed out to some degree by the coronavirus pandemic. It may be anguish over the sickness or death of a friend or family member. It may be anxiety over a job that has been altered or eliminated. It may be disquiet over the competing demands of work and family while working from home. Psychologists say people can reduce stress by identifying their emotions and taking mindful action to address them. The findings come from a national survey gauging how Americans are faring during the pandemic.

Original written by: Richard C. Lewis

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9. Research Identifies Gaps When It Comes to Helping Youth Diagnosed with Early Stages of Psychosis

Source: University of British Columbia Okanagan campus 14 Oct 2020

New UBC research is highlighting the need for improved training when it comes to helping young people living with psychosis determine their sense of identity. “Identity development is a normal part of growing up and generally happens when someone is in their late adolescence or early adult years,” explains Shelly Ben-David, assistant professor at UBC Okanagan’s School of Social Work and study lead author.

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10. Will the COVID-19 Virus Become Endemic?

Source: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health 14 Oct 2020

A new article explores the potential for the COVID-19 virus to become endemic, a regular feature producing recurring outbreaks in humans. They identify crucial contributing factors, including the risk for reinfection, vaccine availability and efficacy, as well as potential seasonality and interactions with other viral infections that may modulate the transmission of the virus.

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11. Repurposing Drugs for A Pan-Coronavirus Treatment

Source: European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute 14 Oct 2020

SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and MERS-CoV are all pathogenic coronaviruses that cause human respiratory syndromes. The study identifies drug targets common to all three coronaviruses and potential drugs that could be repurposed as COVID-19 treatments. Repurposed pan-coronavirus therapeutics may offer a rapid treatment response against future emerging coronavirus strains.

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12. Machine Learning Uncovers Potential New TB Drugs

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 15 Oct 2020

Machine learning is a computational tool used by many biologists to analyze huge amounts of data, helping them to identify potential new drugs. Researchers have now incorporated a new feature into these types of machine-learning algorithms, improving their prediction-making ability. Using this new approach, which allows computer models to account for uncertainty in the data they’re analyzing, the team identified several promising compounds that target a protein required by the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

Original written by: Anne Trafton

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