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HealthNews RoundUp - 1st Week of March 2020


Your Printer Could Mutate You



The nanoparticle dust released from your laser printer’s ink cartridge can modify your genetic material and trigger cardiovascular, neurologic, and metabolic disorders.  This according to a collasborative Chinese and American study just published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.


The tissue and blood changes found in rats after their exposures to toner dust suggest a ticking time bomb.  Humans working in close proximity to a laser printer 5 days a week for as little as 4 years could suffer significant genetic damage. 


This study is a wake up call for businesses to properly isolate and ventilate printer stations.  Pregnant women should be particularly careful to avoid exposures.


Nancy Lan Guo, Tuang Yeow Poh, Sandra Pirela, Mariana T. Farcas, Sanjay H. Chotirmall, Wai Kin Tham, Sunil S. Adav, Qing Ye, Yongyue Wei, Sipeng Shen, David C. Christiani, Kee Woei Ng, Treye Thomas, Yong Qian, Philip Demokritou. Integrated Transcriptomics, Metabolomics, and Lipidomics Profiling in Rat Lung, Blood, and Serum for Assessment of Laser Printer-Emitted Nanoparticle Inhalation Exposure-Induced Disease Risks. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2019; 20 (24): 6348 DOI: 10.3390/ijms20246348


#laserprinter #toner #mutations #cardiovascular #neurologic #metabolic #pregnancy

laserprinter, toner, mutations, cardiovascular, neurologic, metabolic, pregnancy



How Remdesivir Could Save You From Coronavirus



Remdesivir, Gilead Pharmaceutical’s experimental drug coded GS-5734, is an antiviral nucleotide analog that currently shows the most promise for treating our current novel coronavirus disease.  A just published study from from Canada’s University of Alberta explains how this pharmaceutical, originally developed to treat Ebola, actually works.


Remdesivir is metabolized to remdesivir-triphosphate that vigorously blocks the participation of adenosine triphosphate, better known as ATP, in the synthesis of new viral RNA.  No new viral RNA, no viral replication and the disease fades.


Remdesivir, affectionately called RDV, has shown significant clinical effects on CoVid19 victims in China.  More extensive testing is underway but so far, it’s all good news. 


Calvin J Gordon, Egor P Tchesnokov, Joy Y. Feng, Danielle P Porter, Matthias Gotte. The antiviral compound remdesivir potently inhibits RNA-dependent RNA polymerase from Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2020; jbc.AC120.013056 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.AC120.013056


#covid19 #coronavirus #remdesivir #RNA

covid19, coronavirus, remdesivir, RNA




Post-Game Treats Fatten Up Kid Athletes



Third and fourth graders playing sports wolf down 25% more calories after their game than they burn during the game.  Utah’s Brigham Young University studied kids playing 189 games of soccer, flag football, baseball, and softball.


The children burned 170 calories during the game but gorged on 213 calories afterwards.  The calorie count surged due to sugary drinks like Capri Sun and Kool-Aid as well as cookies and cakes.


Sports participation is wonderful for growing children’s’ bodies, but it won’t stem the obesity crisis unless kids consume fewer calories than they burn.  Substitute iced water or real fruit juices for the sugar drinks and offer fruit in place of pastries. 


Natalie Bennion, Lori Andersen Spruance, Jay E. Maddock. Do Youth Consume More Calories than they Expended in Youth Sports Leagues? An Observational Study of Physical Activity, Snacks, and Beverages. American Journal of Health Behavior, 2020; 44 (2): 180 DOI: 10.5993/AJHB.44.2.6


#youthsports #obesity #treats #sugarydrinks #cookies #cakes

youthsports, obesity, treats, sugarydrinks, cookies, cakes




A Virologist’s Advice For Dodging CoVid19 Infection




Dr. James Robb, former molecular virologist at UC-San Diego and the first molecular virologist to characterize the coronavirus genum, is sharing the precautions he is personally taking to avoid the CoVid19 virus.


  • No handshaking: fist bump, elbow bump, bow ok.

  • Use your knuckles to push buttons.

  • Operate public devices like gasoline pumps with a disposable glove or paper towel.

  • Open doors with your closed fist, hip, or a glove. Especially store and postoffice doors.

  • Have disinfectant wipes and use them to wipe grocery store cart handles and seats for kids.

  • Handwashing: 20 seconds with soap/water or, second best, >60% alcohol hand sanitizer that you keep at very door, in your auto, and in your coat.

  • Sneeze into a disposable tissue rather than elbow.  The clothing will contain infectious virus for more than a week.

  • A disposable surgical mask won’t protect you from a direct cough/sneeze.  It’s a reminder to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth that we all tend to do 90X a day.

  • Feel a cold coming on? Allow a zinc lozenge like Cold-Eeze to dissolve in your mouth while you lie down 3 times a day.  Zinc can kill these viruses.


I have posted Dr. Robb’s entire letter on  my website.


#covid19 #epidemic #prevention #containment

covid19, epidemic, prevention, containment




Telecommuting Can Catapult You To The Executive Suite



Those who work from home are just as likely to win promotions as those who toil daily at the office.  A new study from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute focused on survey responses from 405 full-time employees analyzing percentage of work time telecommuting, promotions, salary growth, and company telecommuting attitude.


The most important variable is a company’s acceptance of telecommuting.   Given that,  telecommuters enjoyed promotions as often as onsite workers.   To earn equal pay bumps, however, telecommuters must enthusiastically demonstrate their commitment to organizational success.  In this regard, face time with managers is a must.


Telecommuting offers better work-life balance and less time inhaling inhaling traffic and mass transit pollutants. 


Timothy D. Golden, Kimberly A. Eddleston. Is there a price telecommuters pay? Examining the relationship between telecommuting and objective career success. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 2020; 116: 103348 DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2019.103348


#telecommuting #promotions #raises #worklifebalance

telecommuting, promotions, raises, worklifebalance




Early-Loading Your Eating Helps Weight Control



Downing more food earlier in the day can help your weight control efforts.  Researchers at Vanderbilt University draw this conclusion from their small but detailed metabolic study of middle aged subjects eating 3 meals a day.


When the participants eat their third meal of the day later in the evening, they burned less fat and stored rather than expended calories.  Over time, this eating pattern and its metabolic consequences will trigger weight gain.


This study is bad news for those who love dining late into the evening.  One way to counterbalance this effect of your body’s biologic clock is to consume fewer total calories: particularly those in fried foods and desserts. 


Kevin Parsons Kelly, Owen P. McGuinness, Maciej Buchowski, Jacob J. Hughey, Heidi Chen, James Powers, Terry Page, Carl Hirschie Johnson. Eating breakfast and avoiding late-evening snacking sustains lipid oxidation. PLOS Biology, 2020; 18 (2): e3000622 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000622


#circadianrhythem #biologicclock #latedining #snacks

circadianrhythem, biologicclock, latedining, snacks




A Caddy Is More Likely Than a Chevy To Run You Over



Drivers of luxury vehicles are significantly less likely to yield for pedestrians.  This is the conclusion of a new study from the University of Nevada..  The researchers studied the behavior of 461 autos as they negotiated several Las Vegas crosswalks.


Overall, only an abysmal 28% of cars yielded to crossing pedestrians.  The odds of a car yielding diminished some 3% for every $1000 escalation in its dollar value.


It gets worse. All cars yielded less often for men than women, only 24 versus 31%, and less often for non-whites than whites 25%, versus 31%.


Bottom line: get your head out of your phone when crossing. 


CourtneyCoughenourPhDaJamesAbelarBSaJenniferPharrPhDaLung-ChangChienPhDaAshokSinghPhDb.  Estimated car cost as a predictor of driver yielding behaviors for pedestrians.  J. Transport & Health.


#automobiles #crosswalks #luxury

automobiles, crosswalks, luxury



Aspirin May Strengthen Your Bones



Regular aspirin use lowers your risk of fractures and osteoporosis.  A just published Australian meta-analysis of 12 studies reviewed data from more than half million persons.


The analysis revealed a 17% lower risk of fracture at any site, long bones and spine, for those taking aspirin.  Aspirin users enjoyed higher bone mineral densities in their hips as well as in their lumbar spines.  The effect seemed independent of aspirin dosage though most were likely on low dose regimens.


Aspirin works this magic through its anti-inflammatory powers.  The investigators stop short of recommending a low dose regimen for osteoporosis prophylaxis, but, if your doctor agrees you can take it, it can’t hurt. 


Barker AL, Soh S, Sanders KM, et al Aspirin and fracture risk: a systematic review and exploratory meta-analysis of observational studies BMJ Open 2020;10:e026876. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026876


#aspirin #osteoporosis #fracture

aspirin, osteoporosis, fracture



A Diabetes Drug Improves Steroid Effect



Metformin, an oral drug for type 2 diabetes, enhances the therapeutic benefits of steroids while reducing their side effects.  A randomized, double blind British study just published in The Lancet looked at 53 participants taking 10-20 mg of prednisone over a 4 month period.


Those also receiving an escalating dose of metformin up to 850 mg 3 times a day, enjoyed improved anti-inflammatory steroid effects and reduced  metabolic side effects as well as fewer bouts of infection and a lower rate of hospitalization for complications.


Chronic steroid therapy is a godsend for those with arthritis, asthma, and cancer.  Adding metformin may just make it more effective and tolerable. 


The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (2020). DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30021-8 ,


#steroids #metformin #arthritis #copd #asthma

steroids, metformin, arthritis, copd, asthma




Forget About Those Tetanus Booster Shots



If you completed your childhood tetanus shot series, the old DPT and the more recent DTap, you are protected for life against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough.  Infectious disease researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University just published their analysis of World Health Organization data comparing illness in countries that do or do not recommend adult booster vaccinations.


The crunched numbers covering more than 11 billion person-years failed to show any reduction in tetanus or diphtheria in those populations that received vaccine boosters every 5 to 20 years.  It appears that childhood vaccinations, if completed, stimulate sufficient immune memory for a lifetime of protection. 


Ariel M Slifka, Byung Park, Lina Gao, Mark K Slifka, Incidence of Tetanus and Diphtheria in Relation to Adult Vaccination Schedules, Clinical Infectious Diseases, , ciaa017,


#tetanus #diphtheria #dpt #dtap #boosters

tetanus, diphtheria, dpt, dtap, boosters



How Long Will The CoVid19 Epidemics Last?



Chinese mathematicians studying the CoVid19 disease dynamics predict that the hardest hit area, Wuhan, will see new cases trail off in April.  That’s a full 4 months after the beginning of disease transmission.  Their online, as yet unpublished data predicts, that for less hard hit Beijing and Shanghai, cases will cease about now in early March.  That’s about 3 months from the onset.  CoVid19 will decline in remainder of China by mid-March, that’s about 2 months from the beginning.  


So once CoVid19 arrives in a region, it will be a 4 month threat.  To be on the safe side, double that for elective travel plans if you are in a CoVid19-vulnerable group due to age or health.


Length of epidemic:


#covid19 #coronavirus #epidemic #pandemic

covid19, coronavirus, epidemic, pandemic



How Contagious Is CoVid19?



The CoVid19 virus is moderately contagious. The CoVid19 reproductive number, number of vulnerable  persons expected to be infected from a single infected person, is 2 -3.  This number may be as high as nearly 7.  In comparison, the number for measles is 12-18, diphtheria  6-7, HIV 2-5, the flu 2-3 and Ebola 1.5-2.5.  


The incubation period is 2-14 days with a 5-6 day average.  The cases in each affected area double every 2 days.  The institution of travel and mass gathering restrictions has had a profound positive impact on the reproductive number and viral spread according to unpublished data on the MedRxiv site.


You can track the spread of CoVid19 around the world and through the US on the excellent Johns Hopkins CVid19 web page:


Johns Hopkins Live Coronavirus Stats:

Reproductive rate of CoVid19:

Incubation period:


#covid19 #coronavirus #epidemic #pandemic

covid19, coronavirus, epidemic, pandemic



Therapy for CoVid19



According to pre-published data online, as of late February there are 75 registered studies of CoVid19 disease underway.  97% are headed by Chinese organizations.  Only 11 trials have begun patient recruitment.  Trials include those testing Western medicine, Eastern medicine, and combinations.  


Two already initiated studies focus on the anti-viral nucleotide analog remdesivir: one involving those with mild/moderate disease and the other on those with severe disease.  In each 60 patients were treated with active agent and 60 were control receiving conventional supportive therapy only.  Studies are expected to end on 4/27/2020.  The expectation that this drug will help is based on test tube results that show it has a marked anti-viral effect.  


Other studies employing Western medicine are testing various other anti-viral agents alone and in combination.  Once more information about them is available, I will bring it to you.


Clinical trials:


#covid19 #coronavirus #epidemic #pandemic

covid19, coronavirus, epidemic, pandemic



What Works To Stop CoVid19 Spread



Efforts to stem the spread of CoVid19 have been successful in China.  The measures include: entertainment venues closed; public gatherings canceled; intra-city transit, mass and personal, halted; travel to and from the city prohibited;  and entire city shutdown and lockdown.  


Chinese cities that proactively employed similar measures before a first case report, enjoyed 37% fewer cases in the first week after that case report.  The most effective measures were stopping intra-city transit and closure of public entertainment and gathering.


Transmission Control Efforts:


#covid19 #epidemic #pandemic #coronavirus

covid19, epidemic, pandemic, coronavirus



How Stopping CoVid19 Will Affect You



Preventing CoVid19 from harming you and your family will involve personal and community efforts.  Personally, you must guard against contracting the virus and passing it on to others.  That involves keeping your fingers and hands from your face, repeated soap and water handwashing or use of alcohol hand sanitizers, avoid touching surfaces likely to harbor contaminated secretions like door handles and your phone, cough and sneeze into tissues, and stay home from work if you feel sick.


Stay away from crowded places if you can, and take special precautions in subway and rail stations as well as airports.  If you can, shop at odd hours.  Walk any walkable distances, and use your automobile for longer travel where feasible.


The Chinese instituted an early warning system for personal infection: a mandatory daily temperature check.  This is easy enough for all of us to do.  There are even electronic thermometers that link to your phone for as little as $11. 


At the first sign of a temperature elevation, get checked and, if necessary, tested.  This is one community effort that can help us all stay healthy


Now that we are seeing community spread throughout the US, expect to see tough city and town measures that combat exponential disease spread for as long as 2 to 4 months.  These may include public transit shutdowns, closure of public venues, and shopping restrictions to meter access and avoid crowds.  Plan ahead!


#covid19 #coronavirus #epidemic #pandemic

covid19, coronavirus, epidemic, pandemic



CoVid Travel Restrictions



Here are the latest CDC travels warnings.  None but essential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.  None but essential travel for older persons or those with chronic disease to Japan.  


Considering the Chinese epidemic experience, you can predict that these destinations will likely not be suitable recreational travel destinations for another 4-6 months or more.  Should you recover from a verifiable case of CoVid19, you will likely be immune to further infection.  That is, if the virus fails to mutate into other forms capable of reinfecting you, you could then safely travel to these zones earlier.  Stay tuned for information about CoVid19 mutations.


#covid19 #coronavirus #epidemic #pandemic

covid19, coronavirus, epidemic, pandemic



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