The Role of Metabolic Health in Better COVID-19 Outcomes

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Your metabolic health has a significant impact on COVID-19 severity, and at least 9 in 10 Americans are metabolically unhealthy
  • One of the classic changes associated with insulin resistance, obesity and metabolic syndrome is overactivation of the innate immune system, with decreasing activity in the adaptive immune system
  • When it comes to healthy aging, it’s not your biological age that matters but, rather, your immune and metabolic age, both of which are malleable and can be improved through simple lifestyle changes
  • Research shows that when blood sugar is well-controlled and there’s less glycemic variability, people do better when contracting COVID-19. When they have high levels of glycemic variability, which is indicative of insulin resistance, they fare much worse

Continue reading

The Role of Metabolic Health in Better COVID-19 Outcomes

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Your metabolic health has a significant impact on COVID-19 severity, and at least 9 in 10 Americans are metabolically unhealthy
  • One of the classic changes associated with insulin resistance, obesity and metabolic syndrome is overactivation of the innate immune system, with decreasing activity in the adaptive immune system
  • When it comes to healthy aging, it’s not your biological age that matters but, rather, your immune and metabolic age, both of which are malleable and can be improved through simple lifestyle changes
  • Research shows that when blood sugar is well-controlled and there’s less glycemic variability, people do better when contracting COVID-19. When they have high levels of glycemic variability, which is indicative of insulin resistance, they fare much worse

Continue reading

Buttered Popcorn Flavoring Linked to Alzheimer’s

Story at-a-glance

  • Diacetyl is an artificial butter flavoring added to microwave popcorn and other snack foods; many microwave popcorn factories have already stopped using the synthetic diacetyl because it’s been linked to lung damage in people who work in the factories
  • New research shows diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease
  • Not only can diacetyl pass through the blood-brain barrier, which is intended to help keep toxins out of your brain, but it can also Continue reading

Scavenger Cells Accomplices to Viruses

Mucosal epithelia are well-protected against pathogenic germs. However, individual viruses, such as the HI virus, still manage to enter the body via the mucous membrane somehow. Cell biologists from the University of Zurich have now identified a new infection mechanism, demonstrating that the viruses use the body’s own scavenger cells for the infection. The new findings are important for cancer-gene therapy and the development of anti-viral medication.

Mucosal epithelia do not have any receptors on the outer membrane for the absorption of viruses like hepatitis C, herpes, the adenovirus or polio, and are thus well-protected against pathogenic germs. However, certain viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus HIV, still manage to enter the body via the mucous membrane. Just how this infiltration occurs on a molecular level has been a mystery. Continue reading

Here’s How Exposure to Diesel Fumes Causes Cancer

WASHINGTON – American scientists have for the first time shown how exposure to diesel fumes causes cancer.

Qinghua Sun, an assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Ohio State University, says that diesel exhaust has the ability to induce the growth of new blood vessels that serve as a food supply for solid tumors.

The researchers found that in both healthy and diseased animals.

According to them, more new blood vessels sprouted in mice exposed to diesel exhaust than did in mice exposed to clean, filtered air.

They say that this finding indicates that previous illness is not required to make humans susceptible to the damaging effects of the diesel exhaust.

The researchers say that inhaled diesel particles are very tiny in size, which is why they can penetrate the human circulatory system, organs, and tissues.

This suggests that diesel fumes can cause damage just about anywhere in the body, they add.

Diesel exhaust exposure levels in the study were designed to mimic the exposure people might experience while living in urban areas and commuting in heavy traffic.

The levels were lower than or similar to those typically experienced by workers who use diesel-powered equipment, who tend to work in mines, on bridges and tunnels, along railroads, at loading docks, on farms and in vehicle maintenance garages, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The message from our study is that exposure to diesel exhaust for just a short time period of two months could give even normal tissue the potential to develop a tumor,” said Qinghua Sun, senior author of the study.

“We need to raise public awareness so people give more thought to how they drive and how they live so they can pursue ways to protect themselves and improve their health. And we still have a lot of work to do to improve diesel engines so they generate fewer particles and exhaust that can be released into the ambient air,” Sun added.

A research article on the study, supported by Health Effects Institute awards and grants from the National Institutes of Health, has been published in the online edition of the journal Toxicology Letters.

Binge Drinking Weakens Body’s Ability to Fight Infections

WASHINGTON – Binge drinking can weaken body’s ability to fight off infections for at least 24 hours afterwards, finds a new study.

Stephen Pruett, currently at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, USA and Ruping Fan of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Centre, USA, focused their study on the effect of heavy drinking on toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), a protein that has an important role in immune system activation.

Previous research has shown that too much alcohol inhibits the body’s production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are signalling molecules that launch the inflammatory response to infection.

The new study conducted over mouse model has confirm that acute alcohol exposure prevents the body from producing certain key pro-inflammatory cytokines.

The researchers found that ethanol molecules suppress TLR4’s usual ability to send signals that would normally trigger the production of inflammatory cytokines.

Alcohol’s effects continue long after the party is over: some cytokines were still not on full duty guarding against infection 24 hours after the binge.

“The time frame during which the risk of infection is increased might be at least 24 hours,” said Pruett.

“A persistent effect of ethanol on cells is indicated, such that inhibition of the response of some cytokines occurs even after the ethanol is cleared,” he added.

The study is published in the open access journal BMC Immunology.