Is omicron infection inevitable?

Omicron, the latest SARS-CoV-2 variant, is spreading like wildfire across the country. Some experts say it is so transmissible that many people, including those who are vaccinated and boosted, are likely to get it. That is worrisome news, especially to parents of children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

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Northerners' hearing likely to be worse than Southerners in England

Northerners over 50 have a 13.5% higher prevalence of hearing loss than Southerners in England, reveal University of Manchester researchers.

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Czech virus hospitalizations rise amid record omicron surge

The number of COVID-19 patients in the Czech Republic has begun to grow amid a record surge of infections driven by the highly contagious omicron coronavirus variant.

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Pfizer opens study of COVID shots updated to match omicron

Pfizer has begun a study comparing its original COVID-19 vaccine with doses specially tweaked to match the hugely contagious omicron variant.

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An effectiveness study to guide the treatment of depression in adolescents

A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports that, combinatorial pharmacogenetics-guided treatment did not demonstrate improved outcomes for adolescents with depression compared to those who received treatment as usual. Further research however is needed to determine how single medication-gene pairs may affect clinical outcomes for youth struggling with depression.

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Use of polygenic risk scores in pre-implantation genetic testing is unproven and unethical, says ESHG

Some private fertility clinics have begun to sell polygenic risk scores (PRSs) analyses on embryos to prospective parents. This practice raises many concerns, representatives from the European Society of Human Genetics told a media briefing in London today (Tuesday 25 January). In a paper published in the European Journal of Human Genetics, they say that there is no evidence that PRSs can predict the likelihood of as-yet unborn children being liable to a specific disease in the future.

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People are more likely to see males when they see faces in everyday objects

Seeing faces in everyday objects is a common experience, but research from The University of Queensland has found people are more likely to see male faces when they see an image on the trunk of a tree or in burnt toast over breakfast.

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High-tech eye drop research targets corneal damage

New research has laid the groundwork for a long-lasting eye drop to treat corneal neovascularisation (CoNV), a condition which affects more than a million people globally each year.

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Why some people with COVID symptoms don't get tested

Testing people with COVID symptoms has been a pillar of the UK's pandemic response, reducing transmission by identifying and isolating those with the virus. But to be effective, it relies on people with symptoms getting tested, which raises an obvious question: what proportion of symptomatic people actually take a test?

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New research suggests newly bereaved parents need extended time with their children

New research has found that allowing newly bereaved parents to have extended time with their baby or child is highly valued and has lasting impacts.

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Novel therapeutic approach to tackle obesity shows promise in lab trials

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a new therapeutic approach to obesity and related metabolic disorders that in laboratory experiments demonstrated a significant reduction in body fat, body weight, and improvement in the blood markers that accompany these disorders.

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Transcranial ultrasound used in mice with Alzheimer's disease features

In December 2021 scientists from South Korea used a technology called transcranial ultrasound stimulation to excite specific areas of mice brain. They found mice with features of Alzheimer's had reduced levels of the hallmark Alzheimer's protein, amyloid after receiving treatment.

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New software may help neurology patients capture clinical data with their own smartphones

New pose estimation software has the potential to help neurologists and their patients capture important clinical data using simple tools such as smartphones and tablets, according to a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the University of Maryland. Human pose estimation is a form of artificial intelligence that automatically detects and labels specific landmarks on the human body, such as elbows and fingers, from simple images or videos.

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Prioritise children's wellbeing amid a COVID return to school

As a split return to school remains on the cards for South Australian families, early childhood experts are encouraging parents to focus on their child's wellbeing, especially in the face of another potentially difficult year.

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Experts emphasise the role of wellbeing in human health

The importance of wellbeing and its role in health has been highlighted in a new paper by Swansea University academics.

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Better management of long-term heart disease risk needed following complicated pregnancies

Researchers at Boston Medical Center have created a new resource for managing long-term heart disease risk after specific pregnancy complications. Heart disease risk is revealed by several common pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and preterm delivery. The year following pregnancy is an important time to identify individuals at increased risk for future heart disease, provide counseling, and begin preventive care. However, clinicians lack a single source of comprehensive guidance for managing these risks.

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First-in-human trial with CAR macrophages shows promise targeting solid tumors

Preliminary findings from Penn Medicine in an ongoing first-in-human clinical trial examining the safety, tolerability and feasibility of chimeric antigen receptor macrophage (CAR-M) has helped to establish the viability of this innovative immunotherapy, which advances the trailblazing scientific discovery of CAR T cell therapy—also pioneered at Penn—for solid cancer tumors and offers a promising new strategy in the fight against cancer. Preliminary data from the Phase 1 multi-center clinical trial, which uses a novel, gene-based cancer therapy with CAR-engineered macrophages to target recurrent or metastatic HER2-positive solid tumors, was presented during the recent Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) annual meeting.

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Researchers identify immunological markers for SARS-CoV-2 reinfection

Many experts now predict that COVID-19, which so far has killed more than 5.5 million people worldwide, will remain endemic as new, infectious variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge. These new variants could pose a greater risk of reinfection—infecting people who have already had COVID19—than previous ones. The rapid identification of reinfection cases and surges could improve public health responses and reveal variants that escape the protection offered by vaccination.

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Study identifies new way to attack herpesviruses

A new study published this week in mBio, an open access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, has opened the door to a new approach to attacking herpesviruses. The study demonstrated that targeting 2 metal ion-dependent enzymes of human herpesviruses with 2 compounds, AK-157 and AK-166, can inhibit the replication of the virus. The finding provides new opportunities to developing agents against herpesviruses.

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Discrimination is associated with health disparities among racialized older Canadians

Although Canada receives thousands of refugees each year, there has been little research on their health as they age. A new study published recently in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development found that the vast majority of older refugees living in Canada report being in good physical health (82%). These results are comparable to both their immigrant peers and those who were born in Canada.

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Lockdowns hit Pacific islands as COVID-19 defences falter

Lockdowns in Samoa and the Solomon Islands were extended Tuesday as COVID-19 outbreaks worsened in remote Pacific island nations that have previously held the pandemic at bay.

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Israeli expert panel advises 4th vaccine dose for adults

An expert panel on Tuesday advised the Israeli government to begin offering a fourth vaccine dose to everyone over the age of 18, citing research showing it helps prevent COVID-19 infection and severe illness.

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Hong Kong virus cluster in housing prompts partial lockdown

Hong Kong expanded a partial lockdown and tightened pandemic restrictions Tuesday after more than 200 cases of COVID-19 were discovered at a public housing estate.

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S. Korea sets high of 8,000 new virus cases ahead of holiday

South Korea recorded more than 8,000 new coronavirus infections for the first time Tuesday as health authorities reshape the country's pandemic response to address a surge driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.

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FDA halts use of antibody drugs that don't work vs. omicron

COVID-19 antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly should no longer be used because they don't work against the omicron variant that now accounts for nearly all U.S. infections, U.S. health regulators said Monday.

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Study finds that patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis have worse outcomes in recovering from critical illness

Patients with alcohol-associated cirrhosis have poorer outcomes after ICU discharge, compared to patients with cirrhosis linked to other causes, according to new Mayo Clinic research.

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Police and law enforcement 'back-office' staff dealing with traumatic material need extra support when working from home

Analytical and intelligence professionals in back-office as supportive staff working with traumatic material during the pandemic have reported feeling anxious, sad, lonely and exhausted. Additional support is needed to help them manage working from home or commuting into work, according to new research.

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Performance enhancing substances linked to eating disorder symptoms

With increasing value and emphasis being placed on muscularity and leanness as today's body ideal, the use of appearance- and performance- enhancing drugs and substances (APEDS), such as whey protein and steroids, has become increasingly prevalent among college-age men and women. Few studies have been completed to explore associations between certain APEDS use and eating disorder symptoms, however a new study published in the Eating and Weight Disorders—Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity journal aimed to fill this research gap by exploring this relationship.

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Contrary to the common view, cerebral palsy can be genetic

Cerebral palsy, a non-progressing motor impairment that begins in early childhood, has widely been viewed as the result of oxygen deprivation during birth or other birth-related factors such as prematurity. While this is true for many children, new research from Boston Children's Hospital finds that as many as 1 in 4 have an underlying genetic condition with potential to change the overall approach to their care. The study appears in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

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Seeing the same GP improves treatment for people with dementia, study finds

People with dementia who see the same GP each time have lower rates of health complications and fewer emergency hospital admissions, according to a new study.

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