Scientists found an experimental blood test highly accurate at distinguishing people with Alzheimer’s disease from those without it in several studies.
It is boosting hopes that there soon may be a simple way to help diagnose this most common form of dementia.
Developing such a test has been a long-sought goal, and scientists warn that the new approach still needs more validation and is not yet ready for wide use. But Tuesday’s results suggest they’re on the right track.
The testing identified people with Alzheimer’s vs. no dementia or other types of it with accuracy ranging from 89% to 98%.
“That’s pretty good. We’ve never seen that” much precision in previous efforts, said Maria Carrillo, the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief science officer.
Dr. Eliezer Masliah, neuroscience chief at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, agreed.
“The data looks very encouraging,” he said. The new testing “appears to be even more sensitive and more reliable” than earlier methods, but it needs to be tried in larger, more diverse populations, he said.
The institute had no role in these studies but financed earlier, basic research toward blood test development.
Results were discussed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference taking place online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some results also were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
More than 5 million people in the United States and many more worldwide have Alzheimer’s. Current drugs only temporarily ease symptoms and do not slow mental decline.
The disease is usually diagnosed through tests of memory and thinking skills, but that’s very imprecise and usually involves a referral to a neurologist. More reliable methods such as spinal fluid tests and brain scans are invasive or expensive, so a simple blood test that could be done in a family doctor's office would be a big advance.
Last year, scientists reported encouraging results from experimental blood tests that measure abnormal versions of amyloid, one of two proteins that build up and damage Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. The new work focuses on the other protein — tau — and finds that one form of it called p-tau217 is a more reliable indicator. Several companies and universities have developed experimental p-tau217 tests.
Dr. Oskar Hansson of Lund University in Sweden led a study of Eli Lilly’s test on more than 1,400 people already enrolled in dementia studies in Sweden, Arizona and Colombia. They included people with no impairment, mild impairment, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, found it helped distinguish people with Alzheimer’s from those with another neurological disease — frontotemporal lobar degeneration — with 96% accuracy in a study of 617 people.
Dr. Suzanne Schindler of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, also found p-tau217 better than some other indicators for revealing which patients had plaques in the brain — the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
“When patients come to me with changes in their memory and thinking, one of the major questions is, what’s the cause? Is it Alzheimer’s disease or is it something else?” she said. If tau testing bears out, “it would help us diagnose people earlier and more accurately.”
Schindler has already launched a larger study in a diverse population in St. Louis. Researchers have done the same in Sweden.
If benefits are confirmed, Masliah, Carrillo and others say they hope a commercial test would be ready for wide use in about two years.
Scientists don’t know for sure yet whether there is any chance of getting infected with COVID-19 twice.
But they believe it is unlikely.
Health experts think people who had COVID-19 will have some immunity against a repeat infection, reports AP.
But they don’t know how much protection or how long it would last.
There have been reports of people testing positive for the virus weeks after they were believed to have recovered, leading some to think they may have been reinfected
More likely, experts say people were suffering from the same illness or the tests detected remnants of the original infection.
There’s also the chance tests could have been false positives.
Scientists say there has been no documented instance of a patient spreading the virus to others after retesting positive.
With similar viruses, studies have shown that people could fall sick again three months to a year after their first infections.
It’s still too early to know whether that’s also possible with the coronavirus.
“It’s very much emerging science,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the global public health program at Boston College.
A small US study published last week also found the antibodies that fight the coronavirus may only last a few months in people with mild illness, suggesting people could become susceptible again.
But antibodies aren’t the only defense against a virus, and the other parts of the immune system could also help provide protection.
Settling the question of whether reinfection is possible is important. If it can occur, that could undermine the idea of “immunity passports” for returning back to workplaces.
And it would not bode well for hopes of getting a long-lasting vaccine.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to tackle what is being dubbed a ‘obesity time bomb’ that can increase the risk of coronavirus disease and related deaths, reports Xinhua.
The announcement was made on Monday banning adverts for junk food by 9pm, the cancellation of "buy one get one free" deals on such foods and a decision to put calories on menus.
In addition to the ban, the government will arrange a consultation about displaying calories on alcohol.
Boris Johnson, who has lost weight since he was in COVID-19 intensive care, wants to tackle obesity as studies show that it can increase the risk of coronavirus disease and related deaths.
The British are far fatter than any other nation in Europe except the Maltese, he said last month.
His government described "tackling the obesity time bomb" as a priority.
"Losing weight is hard but with some small changes we can all feel fitter and healthier," Johnson said in a statement.
"If we all do our bit, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus -- as well as taking pressure off the NHS (National Health Service)," he added.
Hand Sanitizer is our savior against germs, while vaccines are out of reach. The significance of sanitizer is widely understood during the COVID19 pandemic. Health experts are advising people to apply alcohol-based hand sanitizers after touching things to avoid the contraction of coronavirus and other kinds of germs. The mass people are being cautious about the pandemic; as a result, personal use of hand sanitizer has been increased extensively. However, due to the flammable nature of hand sanitizer, fire danger should not be ignored. Simple act of negligence can cost lives. Read this article to know how to use and handle sanitizers safely during pandemic minimizing the risk of fire hazard.
Though washing hands with soap and water is the best way to kill harmful virus, bacteria and germs, the hand sanitizers are very useful in outdoor environments where you have no access to water. Non-alcohol sanitizers can impede the growth of germs, but fail to kill the germs outright. The Alcohol-based Hand sanitizer was originally developed as a hygiene product for using in healthcare environments. Later it has been widely accepted in many other settings, counting personal use.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products usually contain certain types of alcohol, including ethanol (ethyl alcohol), isopropyl alcohol, or n-propanol. The combination of alcohol properties may vary; but the most effective hand sanitizers contain about 60% to 95% alcohol concentration.
Due to containing alcohol properties in high volume, hand sanitizers are not free from the risk fire hazard. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been classified as ‘Class I’ Flammable Liquid substances. It indicates that these substances have a flash point of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
More specifically, the flash points of isopropyl alcohol 75% (v/v) and ethyl alcohol 80% (v/v) are 19°C and 17.5°C, respectively. The ‘flash point’ of any volatile substance refers to its lowest temperature at which its vapors can ignite when come in contact with any ignition source or flame.
The vapors of Hand sanitizer tend to be flammable. When the alcohol properties contained in a hand sanitizer starts to combust, it forms gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
Alcohol-based Hand sanitizers are flammable by nature and tend to release flammable vapors. After applying hand sanitizers, it is recommended to rub both hands together properly until you feel them completely dry.
The Hand Sanitizer bottle must be kept away from any source of heat, ignition or open flame. For home use, beware of using a gas stove or lighting candles, immediately after using hand sanitizer. While you are pouring sanitizer from one container to another, be cautious about keeping distance from all kinds of ignition source.
Especially, the smokers must not attempt to smoke, during or right after applying or handling the alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Adding to these, you must not store hand sanitizer container near any kind of electrical outlet, switch or equipment in your apartment or workplace.
If your alcohol-based hand sanitizer is spilled on a surface or the vapor is somehow released, immediately remove every potential ignition source from that place to mitigate the risk of fire hazard. Clean up the Spilled hand sanitizer remains with a clean dry cloth as soon as possible.
If you have stored other chemical products besides hand sanitizers, in your home or workplace, more cautions are required. To minimize the fire danger, Hand sanitizer containers or handling procedures should be prohibited to come in contact with any kind of reducing agents or oxidizing agents, like acetyl chloride.
Is it safe to keep a hand sanitizer bottle inside a hot car/vehicle? Hand sanitizers may not impulsively combust if left inside a vehicle with hot inner environment. But to avoid leakage and minimize the risk of explosion, it would be wise to keep the container in an upright position. And the bottle must be properly sealed.
Another thing to remember is that you must not leave the hand sanitizer bottle under direct sunlight, as the scorching heat of sun can create extremely high temperature leading to spillage or leakage from pressurization of the container.
If you want to store Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containers for home use, choose a secure place in your home where the temperature remains cool. To avoid fire danger, it is recommended not to store Alcohol-based hand sanitizer in a location, where the temperature is above 73 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius.
Moreover, it would be sensible not to store hand sanitizer containers in large quantities. The warnings printed on Product label should be cautiously read and followed.
Beware of locating Hand sanitizer dispensers in corridors, or open spaces where the temperature is too high. While you are placing Hand rub dispensers in a common place, try not to place it close to any potential source of ignition, like candles, gas stove, light switches, electrical outlets, oxygen or other medical gas outlets, etc.
To avoid the risk of vapors igniting, Hand rub dispensers should not be placed in a fire exit corridor. What is more? Fire Safety Advisors must be consulted, before placing dispensers near medical ward or hospital beds where oxygen supply equipments may have been stored at nearby places.
The children, especially toddlers, tend to get attracted by bright color or the pleasant smell of sanitizer. If a child mistakenly drinks a small portion of hand sanitizer, it can cause alcohol poisoning. However, if the baby licks its dry hands after using hand sanitizer, then it may not harm.
To prevent accidental ingestion of alcohol based hand sanitizers, parents or adults should monitor young children while using hand sanitizer products. Furthermore, do not allow your pet to swallow the spills of hand sanitizer.
The used containers, dispensers and bottles of hand sanitizers may contain flammable vapors or gel like residues. If those elements come in contact with any ignition source, the fire hazard can occur. Therefore, the best practice is rinsing out those used dispensers with enough amount of cold water. After washing properly, those containers can be safely disposed or recycled.
The risk of being caught by diseases like cancer is relatively lower among those who spend two hours or less time keeping eyes on screens.
Researchers of the University of Glasgow of Scotland found it in a prolonged study with participation of around 500,000 people, reports BBC.
They followed the participants aged from 37 to 73 from 2006 to 2018.
According to the findings, less time consumption with electric screens prevents or delays poor health. It even minimizes the risk of premature death.
If all participants limited television time to two hours a day, potentially 5.62 percent of all deaths and 7.97 percent of deaths due to cardiovascular disease could have been prevented or delayed.
It was not just the traditional television screen that was included in the study, watching videos on a mobile phone counted too.
Dr Hamish Foster from the University of Glasgow's Institute of Health and Wellbeing led the study.
He said that the latest research backed the current evidence that watching too much TV - and living a sedentary lifestyle more generally - could lead to poor heath.
"Our study suggests limiting TV time could delay or prevent a lot of adverse health", Dr Foster said.