Week in Health (6 – 12 Feb 2021)

Health News related to Second Wave of the 1918 Pandemic, The Cost of Happiness, Mental Images Bouncing Between Right and Left Brain, Sophisticated Lung-On-Chip, AI Predicting Death Risk, Coffee Association with Decreased Heart Failure Risk, Cyclical Regeneration of Bioengineered Hair, Fewer Older People Having Strokes, Death from Heart Attack and Exercising, Harmless Gut Bacteria “Turning Bad”

Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned 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. 1918 Pandemic Second Wave Had Fatal Consequences

Source: University of Zurich 8 Feb 2021

In the event of a pandemic, delayed reactions and a decentralized approach by the authorities at the start of a follow-up wave can lead to longer-lasting, more severe and more fatal consequences, researchers have found. The interdisciplinary team compared the Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919 in the Canton of Bern with the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

2. Happiness Really Does Come for Free

Source: McGill University 8 Feb 2021

Economic growth is often prescribed as a sure way of increasing the well-being of people in low-income countries, but a study suggests that there may be good reason to question this assumption. People in societies where money plays a minimal role can have very high levels of happiness.

3. As You Look Around, Mental Images Bounce Between Right and Left Brain

Source: Picower Institute at MIT 8 Feb 2021

We depend on our brain to hold what we see in mind, even as we shift our gaze around and even temporarily look away. This capability of “visual working memory” feels effortless, but a new study shows that the brain works hard to keep up. Whenever a key object shifts across our field of view—either because it moved or our eyes did—the brain immediately transfers a memory of it by re-encoding it among neurons in the opposite brain hemisphere.

4. Researchers Create Sophisticated Lung-On-Chip

Source: University of Bern 8 Feb 2021

Researchers have developed a second-generation lung-on-chip model with life-size dimension alveoli in a stretchable membrane, made of purely biological material. The new model reproduces key aspects of the lung tissue architecture not found in previous lungs-on-chip. This opens up new possibilities for basic pneumological research, understanding lung pathologies, drug screening and precision medicine.

5. AI Can Predict Death Risk

Source: Geisinger Health System 8 Feb 2021

An algorithm using echocardiogram videos of the heart outperforms other predictors of mortality. Researchers have found that a computer algorithm developed using echocardiogram videos of the heart can predict mortality within a year. The algorithm—an example of what is known as machine learning, or artificial intelligence (AI)—outperformed other clinically used predictors, including pooled cohort equations and the Seattle Heart Failure score.

6. Drinking More Coffee Associated with Decreased Heart Failure Risk

Source: American Heart Association 9 Feb 2021

Analysis of three large, well-known heart disease studies found drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee was associated with decreased heart failure risk. Drinking decaffeinated coffee did not have the same benefit and may be associated with an increased risk for heart failure.

7. A Recipe for Cyclical Regeneration of Bioengineered Hair

Source: RIKEN 10 Feb 2021

Scientists have been making waves in recent years by developing ways to grow a variety of useful items in laboratories, from meat and diamonds to retinas and other organoids. A team has been working on ways to regenerate lost hair from stem cells. In an important step, a new study identifies a critical population of hair follicle stem cells in the skin and a recipe for normal cyclical hair regeneration in the lab.

8. Fewer Older People Are Having Strokes

Source: American Academy of Neurology 10 Feb 2021

A new study has found that people age 70 and older are having fewer strokes, and fewer people of all ages are dying from the disease. In older people, researchers found declines in both ischemic stroke, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain, and intracerebral hemorrhage, when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain.

9. Instant Death from Heart Attack More Common in People Who Do Not Exercise

Source: European Society of Cardiology 12 Feb 2021

An active lifestyle is linked with a lower chance of dying immediately from a heart attack, according to a study. The study focused on the effect of an active versus sedentary lifestyle on the immediate course of a heart attack – an area with little information.

10. Scientists Identify How Harmless Gut Bacteria “Turn Bad”

Source: University of Bath 12 Feb 2021

An international team of scientists has determined how harmless E. coli gut bacteria in chickens can easily pick up the genes required to evolve to cause a life-threatening infection. Their study warns that such infections not only affect the poultry industry but could also potentially cross over to infect humans.

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