Hundreds of new links have been found between people’s DNA and the heart’s electrical activity, according to a study of almost 300,000 people led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
The results could one day lead to advanced screening methods to discern who is at greatest risk of developing disease, and could help reveal new genetic targets for research and drug development. Over the past 10 years, researchers have identified many genetic factors that contribute to—or protect against—the onset of specific heart diseases. However, it has been difficult to find genetic factors associated with arrhythmias - one of the most common forms of heart disease where the heart beats abnormally.
The team of scientists from more than 140 institutions looked at data from 293,051 people across the world, studying their individual genomes and their measurements on an electrocardiogram - one of the oldest and most widely used heart diagnostic tests.
A new review discusses the findings from over 40 studies on coronavirus immunity and what they could mean for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Written by top UK virologists, the article discusses the existing knowledge about immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, and how this could be used to inform virus control strategies. The review, which is free to read in the Journal of General Virology (JGV), collates the available scientific evidence in a number of key areas, including how long immunity to coronaviruses lasts and the prospect of antibody testing.
In the review, Professors Paul Kellam and Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London examine what is so far known about immunity to coronaviruses including SARS, MERS and the four strains of seasonal coronaviruses that circulate in humans every winter. The article goes on to suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could become the fifth seasonal coronavirus with epidemics of the virus occurring over the next several years.
Scientists from the UK, Europe and the USA, including experts from the University of Birmingham, have published a vitamin D consensus paper warning against high doses of vitamin D supplementation.
According to the study, there is currently insufficient scientific evidence to show vitamin D can be beneficial in preventing or treating Covid-19. Its authors advise that the population adhere to Public Health England guidance on supplementation.
Following unverified reports that high doses of vitamin D (higher than 4000IU/d) could reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 and be used to successfully treat the virus, the new report published in the journal BMJ, Nutrition, Prevention and Health, investigated the current scientific evidence base on the vitamin and its use in treating infections. Vitamin D is a hormone, produced in the skin during exposure to sunlight, and helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Scientists have collected plenty of evidence linking exercise to brain health, with some research suggesting fitness may even improve memory. But what happens during exercise to trigger these benefits?
New UT Southwestern research that mapped brain changes after one year of aerobic workouts has uncovered a potentially critical process: Exercise boosts blood flow into two key regions of the brain associated with memory. Notably, the study showed this blood flow can help even older people with memory issues improve cognition, a finding that scientists say could guide future Alzheimer’s disease research.
“Perhaps we can one day develop a drug or procedure that safely targets blood flow into these brain regions,” says Binu Thomas, Ph.D., a UT Southwestern senior research scientist in neuroimaging. “But we’re just getting started with exploring the right combination of strategies to help prevent or delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. There’s much more to understand about the brain and aging.”