Body

MINNEAPOLIS- December 3, 2020 - University of Minnesota Medical School and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) researchers found that metformin was associated with significantly reduced COVID-19 death risks in women in one of the world's largest observational studies of COVID-19 patients.

Metformin is an established, generic medication for managing blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. It also reduces inflammation proteins like TNF-alpha that appear to make COVID-19 worse.

"Super-spreader" events and extensive person-to-person contact propelled an outbreak of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in a small village in Argentina from 2018-2019, according to research published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

For heavy (ex-)smokers, lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (low-dose CT, LDCT) offers more benefit than harm: The procedure can save a number of people from dying of lung cancer; for some of them, it might also prolong overall survival. This is the conclusion drawn by IQWiG in its final report commissioned by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA).

Black and Hispanic populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to a systematic review published this week.

The disparities were likely related to minority populations being at higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus as opposed to underlying health conditions or other factors, according to the review led by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and the VA Portland Health Care System.

The review confirms health disparities that have been widely reported in a series of observational studies nationwide.

Using a new variant to repair DNA will improve both safety and effectiveness of the much-touted CRISPR-Cas9 tool in genetic research, Michigan Medicine researchers say.

Those two key problems - safety and efficacy - are what continue to hold CRISPR-Cas9 gene targeting back from its full clinical potential, explains co-senior author Y. Eugene Chen, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of internal medicine, cardiac surgery, physiology, pharmacology and medicinal chemistry, from the Michigan Medicine Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

Dec. 4, 2020-- A new study published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society discusses a steep drop off from prior years in asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits at Boston Children's Hospital during the spring 2020 COVID-19 surge and lockdown.

SPOKANE, Wash. - Scientists used human white blood cell membranes to carry two drugs, an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, directly to infected lungs in mice.

The nano-sized drug delivery method developed at Washington State University successfully treated both the bacterial growth and inflammation in the mice's lungs. The study, recently published in Communications Biology, shows a potential new strategy for treating infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) have identified a mitochondrial protein as a potential marker for the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and as a possible target for future treatments. The study is published today in the journal Nature.

At-a-glance:

Proof-of-concept study represents first successful attempt to reverse the aging clock in animals through epigenetic reprogramming.

Scientists turned on embryonic genes to reprogram cells of mouse retinas.

Approach reversed glaucoma-induced eye damage in animals.

Approach also restored age-related vision loss in elderly mice.

Work spells promise for using same approach in other tissues, organs beyond the eyes.

Success sets stage for treatment of various age-related diseases in humans.

Stress hormones and immune cells called neutrophils may contribute to the recurrence of tumors years after treatment by awakening dormant cancer cells, suggests a study of mice and data from 80 patients with lung cancer. The experiments help answer the enduring question of why cancers can return long after seemingly being cured with chemotherapy or surgery; the results also hint that targeting stress hormones with approved drugs known as beta-blockers could potentially help prevent tumors from returning.

People born with major birth defects face a higher risk of cancer throughout life, although the relative risk is greatest in childhood and then declines, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

The researchers found a continued increased risk of cancer in people who had been born with both non-chromosomal and chromosomal anomalies, suggesting that birth defects may share a common cause with some forms of cancer, be that genetic, environmental, or a combination of the two.

Replacing red meat with high quality plant foods such as beans, nuts, or soy may be associated with a modestly reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Substituting whole grains and dairy products for total red meat, and eggs for processed red meat, might also reduce this risk.

A 2-month-old infant diagnosed with COVID-19 experienced reversible myocardial injury and heart failure, similar to COVID-19 related heart issues seen in adults, according to a case published in JACC: Case Reports. The infant recovered with normal heart function and was discharged with no heart failure medications.

New parents often expect their baby to start sleeping through the night around the time they reach six months of age. But according to a new study led by McGill Professor Marie-Helene Pennestri, parents should view sleep consolidation as a process, instead of a milestone to be achieved at a specific age. Tracking 44 infants over a period of two weeks, she found that sleeping patterns vary greatly - not only for different babies, but also night to night for the same baby.

Race is not biology. As a social construct, race is an unreliable predictor of physiologic variation and a notoriously unreliable marker for biologic differences across populations.

To reflect this growing realization, hospital systems and professional medical organizations have started reconsidering the use of race in clinical calculators that estimate how well a person's kidneys work. Indeed, some hospital systems have already removed race from these commonly used clinical tools.

But what this move might mean for patients remains unclear.