Plaing In Nature Boosts Children's Immune Systems Says New Study

Plaing In Nature Boosts Children’s Immune Systems Says New Study

  • October 23, 2020
Kids Microbiome Study

Photo: Stock Photos from PURINO/Shutterstock

Playing outside is an important and healthy part of childhood. Away from screens, children need time to breathe fresh air and get dirty as they explore the world around them. Many parents and teachers believe that getting a bit messy in nature is beneficial to children’s immune systems. A recent study by the University of Helsinki has proved this parental folk wisdom to be true. Focused on pre-school aged children, the study found that playing on a forest floor drastically boosted children’s immune systems and microbiomes—both critical for overall health.

Published in the journal Science Advances, the study focused on daycare centers serving children ages three to five in the Finnish cities of Lahti and Tampere. Three of the daycare centers had playgrounds with natural, forest earth. Three had gravel yards, which they maintained as a control throughout the study. The experimental cohorts of children attended another four centers which had previously had gravel playgrounds but were converted to forest earth for research. Scientists collected biological samples from each child before the study, then again after 28 days of sustained play in their respective environments.

The researchers were shocked by the results seen in their post-study biological samples. The children with the newly forested playgrounds showed results close to those of children who had played on forest floor before the study. Their gut and skin microbiomes were improved, and their blood showed more anti-inflammatory proteins—suggesting a stronger immune system. These results offer a hopeful path for children and adults in city environments—which suffer from pollutants and a lack of (helpful) bacterial diversity in the environment—to improve their microbiomes. Urban children with less outdoor access may especially benefit from changes in schoolyards such as those used in the study.

You can visit Science Advances to learn more about the study and its findings. And if you’re interested in why microbiomes are so important to your and your children’s health, The Guardian has a thoroughly fascinating article all about the human microbiome.

A recent study of young children in Finland found that changing a playground from gravel to forest earth distinctly improved the immune systems and microbiomes of the preschool subjects.

Immun System Benefits of Nature

Photo: Stock Photos from RAWPIXEL.COM/Shutterstock

Researchers found that after 28 days, children who had just began playing in their newly forested yards had greatly improved biological samples, closer to those of children who had long had natural space.

Children Play Outside In Forest

Photo: Stock Photos from VAGENGEIM/Shutterstock

These findings spur hope that more forested recreational space can help boost the (often weaker) microbiomes, immune systems, and general health of urban children, perhaps even to the level of their more rural peers.

Kids Playing Outside in the Dirt

Photo: Stock Photos from ESB PROFESSIONAL/Shutterstock

h/t: [IFL Science]

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Playing In A Natural Environment Boosts A Kid's Immune System Within A Month

Playing In A Natural Environment Boosts A Kid’s Immune System Within A Month

  • October 16, 2020

Switching a child’s playground from gravel to natural forest floor could give them a better immune system within just one month by exposing them to a greater variety of skin and gut bacteria. Just as old wisdom says, the new research suggests that city kids could become healthier if they spend more time playing outside in the dirt.

These findings were recently gathered from a trial carried out in Finland by the University of Helsinki. As reported in the journal Science Advances, researchers studied 75 children between 3 and 5 years old at 10 daycare centers in two Finnish cities, Lahti and Tampere, and looked to see how a change in their playing environment altered their skin and gut microbiota as well as the immune markers in their blood.

Four of the daycare centers were given a revamp that turned their gravel playgrounds into a field of forest floor, soil, and grasses. As controls, three daycare centers already had this setting and three others kept their old gravel playground. One month after the change, scientists collected samples of skin, blood, and poop from all of the kids. 

Despite just a few weeks passing, the researchers noted a dramatic difference. The microbiota of the children at the renovated daycare centers had quickly shifted to become more like the microbiomes of children who attended the nature-oriented daycare centers. This change was also reflected in their immune system, with the children at the renovated daycare centers developing a higher ratio of the anti-inflammatory proteins to pro-inflammatory proteins in their blood, indicating their immune system was in beaming shape. 

“We were surprised that the findings were so clear even though we did not get as many participants as we had hoped,” Aki Sinkkonen, study author and a research scientist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland in Turku, said in a statement

There are many links between the trillions of microorganisms that live alongside your body and your wider health. It may influence everything from your risk of certain disease and food cravings to your mental health and perhaps even your personality. Researchers are only just learning how bacteria holds this influence over our bodies, with many recent studies looking to understand the interface between human cells and the microbiome.

Whatever the finer mechanism, it’s clear that our surroundings and lifestyles can dramatically affect the richness and diversity of bacteria in our microbiome. Previously, scientists have found that the gut microbiome of traditional hunter-gatherers in the Amazon is richer than that of urban-industrialized people in the US. In turn, this could explain why many people in fully industrialized parts of the world are born with certain autoimmune disorders like asthma and allergies.

As this new playground study shows, however, a little work can go a long way in a very short space of time.

New Formula that Boosts Immunity Endorsed by the Ministry of AYUSH and the Prime Minister

New Formula that Boosts Immunity Endorsed by the Ministry of AYUSH and the Prime Minister

  • October 16, 2020

The Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) wants all Indian states to promote the commercial manufacture of a formula to boost immunity. The move comes amid the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. The formula, which is based on a recipe of a herbal doctor, has already been passed onto the states and union territories as the first line of defense against viruses. The Ministry has also said that the special recipe has been endorsed by the Prime Minister.  

“Considering the importance of immunity-boosting measures in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, Ministry of AYUSH intends to promote the use of following ready-made Ayush formulation in the interest of health promotion of the masses, which has been endorsed by the Prime Minister during his address to the nation on the Constitution Day.”

“States/UT governments are hereby requested to direct the AYUSH licensing authorities to consider granting license/approval for manufacturing of above-mentioned formulation to the interested licensed Ayurveda/Siddha/Unani drug manufacturers in accordance with the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945,” the AYUSH letter to the states, union territories and ASU drug manufacturers continued. 

The concoction, which will have the generic name of Ayush Kwath, Ayush Kudineer or Ayush Joshanda, is composed of four main ingredients. These include dalchini (cinnamon bark), herbs tulsi (basil leaves), Krishna Marich (black pepper), and sushi (dry ginger powder).

“Various reports have shown that coronavirus has been found to be fatal for people with weak immune systems. There are many herbs in the Indian traditional system that can boost immunity and keep many diseases away,” KK Sharma, Managing Director of the firm, AIMIL Pharma, said.

At least one version of Ayush Kwath is already on the market. Manufactured by AIMIL Pharma, a company that manufactures herbal products, the immunity booster comes in a variety of forms including tablets and powder that can be dissolved in water. According to its label, Ayush Kwath is said to “protect from all types of virus, viral and flu.” 

“Health experts across the globe agree that COVID-19 negatively affects the immune response of patients. The virus also targets people with weaker immune systems, including individuals with pre-existing conditions and the elderly,” said Curtis Rosen from SupplementNation.co.uk, reiterating that a good diet and supplements can also be great immunity boosters.

Those unable to purchase the formula will be pleased to know that it can be easily prepared at home with four parts tulsi leaves, two parts dalchini stem bark, two parts sunthi, and one part Krishna marich. Simply blend the ingredients into a powder and add to 150 milliliters of boiling water. You can also add some lemon juice to the concoction for taste and as a vitamin C boost. For best results, AYUSH recommends that the formula be drunk once or twice per day.

Dating back over 5,000 years, Ayurveda has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. For years, ancient medicine has been used to naturally boost the immune system. In particular, it is the immunomodulators contained in herbs, superfoods and other natural Ayurvedic ingredients that contribute to strengthening immunity and increasing natural resistance to diseases. Aside from Ayush Kwath, here are just a few plant-based superfoods that can give your immune system a helping hand. 

Gooseberries, or amla, feature prominently in Ayurvedic medicines to boost immunity. This is mainly because the grape-sized fruit contains huge amounts of vitamin C—20 times more than in lemon juice. Gooseberries are one of the main ingredients in chyawanprash, which is a staple in many Indian homes and is eaten not just to boost immunity, but also to strengthen the respiratory system and improve digestion. The fruit is also jam-packed with magnesium and iron—all nutrients that help to prevent viral and bacterial infections. 

Many Ayurvedic recipes contain the bark, leaves, and flowers of neem, with the plant being well-known for its beneficial effects on the body. Incorporating it into your diet is said to boost immunity, cool down the body, and purify the blood. Neem also has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can keep your skin healthy and radiant. Some other benefits of the plant include alleviating nosebleeds, Flem, gum disease, and even diabetes, as the plant can help to control blood sugar levels. 

Broccoli sprouts are very different from Brussels sprouts and broccoli heads. Big with nutritionists and health bloggers, they look very much like alfalfa sprouts and are in fact three to four-day-old broccoli plants. According to research, broccoli sprouts have even more nutrients than mature broccoli. They not only boost the immune system, but increase longevity, lower LDL cholesterol, and are even said to reduce the risk of cancer. 

Indigenous to parts of India, giloy is used in Ayurvedic medicine to help manage digestion problems and cure recurrent fevers. Also called Tinospora cordifolia, it is said to be an effective treatment for skin conditions and asthma. In addition, it is full of antioxidants, which can strengthen the immune system, purify the blood, and remove toxins. Giloy has also been credited with fighting disease-causing bacteria and alleviating urinary tract infections and liver disease. With so many benefits, it is little wonder that the herb is called amrita, or “the root of immortality,” in Sanskrit.

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Bacteria-fighting cells in the airways boosts infection risk from viruses

Bacteria-fighting cells in the airways boosts infection risk from viruses

  • October 9, 2020
RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)
Transmission electron micrograph of RSV. Credit: CDC/ Dr. Erskine Palmer / Public Domain

Having more bacteria-fighting immune cells in the nose and throat may explain why some people are more likely to be infected by respiratory viruses.

In a study, led by a team from Imperial College London and published today in Science, researchers found that volunteers who succumbed to from (RSV) had more specialized called neutrophils in their airways before exposure to the virus, compared to those who staved off infection.

According to the researchers, this type of neutrophil-driven inflammation in the nose and throat—typically associated with fighting off bacterial infections—may compromise our ability to fight off invading viruses and make us more susceptible to viral infections.

The findings could help researchers to understand why people respond differently to the same viral threat, predict who is more at risk of infection, and even lead to preventative treatments to protect against RSV and potentially other respiratory viruses, including influenza and coronaviruses.

Same virus, different response

Dr. Ryan Thwaites, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial and study author, said: “If we think of a group of 10 people all exposed to the same strain of RSV under identical conditions, we’d expect around six of them to become infected and show symptoms, but the rest may be unaffected. To date, we have been unable to fully explain exactly why this is and why, under the same conditions, some people are more likely to succumb to respiratory . But this study offers tantalizing insights into how we might improve defenses against respiratory viruses, and potentially even COVID-19.”

RSV is a common respiratory virus which typically causes the symptoms of a common cold in healthy adults. But for infants and the elderly it can lead to thousands of hospitalisations each year and can be fatal.

Unlike other respiratory viruses, such as influenza or rhinovirus, people can be infected by the same strain of RSV more than once. People can also react differently when exposed to the virus under the same conditions—some may get a mild infection while others get full-blown symptoms, and some may avoid infection altogether.

In the latest study, the team aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of why people succumb to RSV infection and the factors for the varied immune responses.

Healthy adults were enrolled to the study and exposed to RSV in a safe, controlled clinical setting where they were closely monitored. After receiving nasal drops containing the virus, 57% of volunteers became infected. Analysis of blood samples showed that the presence of protective antibodies and B and T cells could only partially explain who became infected.

Slipping through the net

However, when they analyzed samples from participants’ airways taken before they were exposed to the virus, the team found evidence of neutrophil activation in the nasal mucosa—the cells lining the inside of the nose—in those who became infected with the virus.

These are known to release proteins which help create an antibacterial environment in response to a threat. But the researchers believe this antibacterial immune response may come at a cost, making a host more susceptible to viruses by effectively switching off the early warning system, letting them slip through the net to cause infection.

Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial and co-senior author on the study, said: “The variable transmission we see with respiratory viruses partly depends on the dose and duration of exposure, but also the person’s own inbuilt immune defenses. You might assume that it’s down to the presence of specific protective antibodies, but despite an immense effort over many years we have never really understood what makes one person vulnerable to RSV and another person resistant. Our finding that the state of the mucous membrane before the arrival of the virus is the major deciding factor is a real breakthrough. It seems as if the presence of activated neutrophils in the lining of the airways causes the mucous lining to fail to respond to the virus and to nip infection in the bud. Perhaps what’s happening is that being ready to fight bacteria makes it more likely that viruses can gain a foothold. Once the virus does get in, our studies go on to show that there still is a chance that the infection will be terminated but only if the mucosa mounts an early defensive response. People who went on to get colds showed no evidence of an initial response; those who rejected the infection showed an immediate response before symptoms developed. These are the sort of findings that can only come from experimental studies in volunteers. We could never have discovered this by waiting for people with natural infections to present to us for investigation.”

Human challenge studies

Dr. Christopher Chiu, Clinical Reader in Infectious Diseases at Imperial and co-senior author, said: “Our data highlight the complexity of the immune system, which has different arms providing layers of protection separated by anatomical location (such as the nose, lung or circulation) and timing. These different mechanisms may be directed to focus on a particular type of infection but this may come at the cost of protection against other pathogens. Controlled human infection challenge studies have a unique ability to tease out these complicated interactions and point out potential targets for prevention or treatment that cannot be seen in patients who have infections caused by diverse virus strains, in different amounts, on top of a wide range of other conditions that might affect their immunity.”

To confirm the idea, they used animal models to test the impact of the neutrophilic pathway on RSV infection. In mice without neutrophilic inflammation, the immune system recognized the virus as a threat, releasing immune-mediating factors which cleared the infection with few symptoms.

However, in mice with a nasal mucosa rich in neutrophils this early detection of the virus was dampened. Under these antibacterial conditions, the virus was better able to invade the mucosal cells causing infection, worsened symptoms and shedding of the virus—to further transmit the virus.

The researchers say that if they can demonstrate the same mechanism is occurring in patient groups who are most at risk from RSV (babies under 12 months of age and adults over 65 with chronic conditions, such as COPD or asthma) it could help to identify subsets of patients most at risk.

Extending to other viruses

The team is set to explore the mechanism in larger patient groups as well as investigating whether the same immune mechanisms influence other viral respiratory infections, from influenza and coronaviruses.

Dr. Thwaites added: “Our initial studies show that in healthy people, neutrophilic inflammation in the airways is linked to RSV infection. If we can show this same mechanism is at play in those most at risk from the virus, it could provide opportunities to reduce the harms caused by RSV and other respiratory viruses. Severe bacterial respiratory infections tend to be quite rare in so, in theory, it may be more beneficial to nudge the towards fighting viruses during seasonal winter peaks. It might be possible to design therapies to temporarily inhibit some aspect of neutrophilic inflammation, such as through a simple nasal spray, to enhance protection against circulating viruses. This could be used in high risk settings, like hospitals, to enhance protection against respiratory viruses, prevent their spread and reduce the impacts of infection on vulnerable groups.”

Dr. Cecilia Johansson, from Imperial’s NHLI and study author, added: “Understanding the underlying mechanisms of susceptibility and protection against is key for the development of treatments and therapies. By studying RSV infection in both human volunteer and in mice we are now one step closer in determining the delicate balance of resistance to infections and the lung disease these viruses can cause.”


Common cold combats influenza


More information:
Neutrophilic inflammation in the respiratory mucosa predisposes to RSV infection. Science, science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aba9301

Citation:
Bacteria-fighting cells in the airways boosts infection risk from viruses (2020, October 9)
retrieved 9 October 2020
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-bacteria-fighting-cells-airways-boosts-infection.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

A woman with a cold

Bacteria-fighting cells in the airways boosts infection risk from viruses | Imperial News

  • October 8, 2020
A woman with a cold




Having more bacteria-fighting immune cells in the nose and throat may explain why some people are more likely to be infected by respiratory viruses.

In a study, led by a team from Imperial College London and published today in Science, researchers found that volunteers who succumbed to infection from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) had more specialised white blood cells called neutrophils in their airways before exposure to the virus, compared to those who staved off infection.

According to the researchers, this type of neutrophil-driven inflammation in the nose and throat – typically associated with fighting off bacterial infections – may compromise our ability to fight off invading viruses and make us more susceptible to viral infections.

The findings could help researchers to understand why people respond differently to the same viral threat, predict who is more at risk of infection, and even lead to preventative treatments to protect against RSV and potentially other respiratory viruses, including influenza and coronaviruses.

Same virus, different response

Dr Ryan Thwaites, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial and study author, said: “If we think of a group of 10 people all exposed to the same strain of RSV under identical conditions, we’d expect around six of them to become infected and show symptoms, but the rest may be unaffected.

“To date, we have been unable to fully explain exactly why this is and why, under the same conditions, some people are more likely to succumb to respiratory viral infections. But this study offers tantalising insights into how we might improve defences against respiratory viruses, and potentially even COVID-19.”

RSV is a common respiratory virus which typically causes the symptoms of a common cold in healthy adults. But for infants and the elderly it can lead to thousands of hospitalisations each year and can be fatal.

This study offers tantalising insights into how we might improve defences against respiratory viruses, and potentially even COVID-19. Dr Ryan Thwaites NHLI, Imperial College London

Unlike other respiratory viruses, such as influenza or rhinovirus, people can be infected by the same strain of RSV more than once. People can also react differently when exposed to the virus under the same conditions – some may get a mild infection while others get full-blown symptoms, and some may avoid infection altogether.

In the latest study, the team aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of why people succumb to RSV infection and the factors for the varied immune responses.

Healthy adults* were enrolled to the study and exposed to RSV in a safe, controlled clinical setting where they were closely monitored. After receiving nasal drops containing the virus, 57% of volunteers became infected. Analysis of blood samples showed that the presence of protective antibodies and B and T cells could only partially explain who became infected.

Slipping through the net

However, when they analysed samples from participants’ airways taken before they were exposed to the virus, the team found evidence of neutrophil activation in the nasal mucosa – the cells lining the inside of the nose – in those who became infected with the virus.

These immune cells are known to release proteins which help create an antibacterial environment in response to a threat. But the researchers believe this antibacterial immune response may come at a cost, making a host more susceptible to viruses by effectively switching off the early warning system, letting them slip through the net to cause infection.

Our finding that the state of the mucous membrane before the arrival of the virus is the major deciding factor is a real breakthrough Professor Peter Openshaw NHLI, Imperial College London

Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial and co-senior author on the study, said: “The variable transmission we see with respiratory viruses partly depends on the dose and duration of exposure, but also the person’s own inbuilt immune defences.

“You might assume that it’s down to the presence of specific protective antibodies, but despite an immense effort over many years we have never really understood what makes one person vulnerable to RSV and another person resistant.

“Our finding that the state of the mucous membrane before the arrival of the virus is the major deciding factor is a real breakthrough. It seems as if the presence of activated neutrophils in the lining of the airways causes the mucous lining to fail to respond to the virus and to nip infection in the bud. Perhaps what’s happening is that being ready to fight bacteria makes it more likely that viruses can gain a foothold

“Once the virus does get in, our studies go on to show that there still is a chance that the infection will be terminated but only if the mucosa mounts an early defensive response. People who went on to get colds showed no evidence of an initial response; those who rejected the infection showed an immediate response before symptoms developed.

“These are the sort of findings that can only come from experimental studies in volunteers. We could never have discovered this by waiting for people with natural infections to present to us for investigation.”

Human challenge studies

Dr Christopher Chiu, Clinical Reader in Infectious Diseases at Imperial and co-senior author, said: “Our data highlight the complexity of the immune system, which has different arms providing layers of protection separated by anatomical location (such as the nose, lung or circulation) and timing. These different mechanisms may be directed to focus on a particular type of infection but this may come at the cost of protection against other pathogens.

“Controlled human infection challenge studies have a unique ability to tease out these complicated interactions and point out potential targets for prevention or treatment that cannot be seen in patients who have infections caused by diverse virus strains, in different amounts, on top of a wide range of other conditions that might affect their immunity.”

Neutrophil on a blood smear
Activated neutrophils are typically associated with fighting off bacterial infections. But their presence in the airways may make us more susceptible to viral infections. (Image: Flickr / Magdalena Wiklund)

To confirm the idea, they used animal models to test the impact of the neutrophilic pathway on RSV infection. In mice without neutrophilic inflammation, the immune system recognised the virus as a threat, releasing immune-mediating factors which cleared the infection with few symptoms.

However, in mice with a nasal mucosa rich in neutrophils this early detection of the virus was dampened. Under these antibacterial conditions, the virus was better able to invade the mucosal cells causing infection, worsened symptoms and shedding of the virus – to further transmit the virus.

The researchers say that if they can demonstrate the same mechanism is occurring in patient groups who are most at risk from RSV (babies under 12 months of age and adults over 65 with chronic conditions, such as COPD or asthma) it could help to identify subsets of patients most at risk.

Extending to other viruses

The team is set to explore the mechanism in larger patient groups as well as investigating whether the same immune mechanisms influence other viral respiratory infections, from influenza and coronaviruses.

Dr Thwaites added: “Our initial studies show that in healthy people, neutrophilic inflammation in the airways is linked to RSV infection. If we can show this same mechanism is at play in those most at risk from the virus, it could provide opportunities to reduce the harms caused by RSV and other respiratory viruses.

“Severe bacterial respiratory infections tend to be quite rare in healthy adults so, in theory, it may be more beneficial to nudge the immune response towards fighting viruses during seasonal winter peaks.

“It might be possible to design therapies to temporarily inhibit some aspect of neutrophilic inflammation, such as through a simple nasal spray, to enhance protection against circulating viruses. This could be used in high risk settings, like hospitals, to enhance protection against respiratory viruses, prevent their spread and reduce the impacts of infection on vulnerable groups.”

Dr Cecilia Johansson, from Imperial’s NHLI and study author, added: “Understanding the underlying mechanisms of susceptibility and protection against respiratory viruses is key for the development of treatments and therapies. By studying RSV infection in both human volunteer and in mice we are now one step closer in determining the delicate balance of resistance to virus infections and the lung disease these viruses can cause”

The research was supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council and the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre. 

– 

Neutrophilic inflammation in the respiratory mucosa predisposes to RSV infection’ by Maximillian S. Habibi et al. is published in Science. DOI:10.1126/science.aba9301

Olive Boosts the Immunity of Trout, Says a Biologist from RUDN University

  • October 8, 2020
Olive Boosts the Immunity of Trout, Says a Biologist from RUDN University
Olive Boosts the Immunity of Trout, Says a Biologist from RUDN University Credit: RUDN University

According to a biologist from RUDN University, olive waste added to the feed of rainbow trout helps increase the speed of its growth and boost its immunity. This natural supplement can help reduce the costs of fish farms. An article about the work was published in the Fish and Shellfish Immunology journal.

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is one of the most popular species in fish farms that accounts for 2% of the total fish industry volume in the world. To meet the growing demand, fish farmers have to increase the production volume and speed. However, this has a negative effect on the health of the fish. Infections are quick to occur and spread in overpopulated aquafarms, and after some time of treatment, antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains emerge and suppress the immunity of the fish. The fish dies and the costs of the farms go up. A biologist from RUDN University suggested replacing medicinal drugs with plant supplements that don’t have these negative side effects.

“There is a tendency to replace chemical drugs with green alternatives such as plant and algae extracts that can improve fish health without causing any harm. Natural immunity boosters can increase the capacity of fish farms, make the fish healthier, and reduce the risks of financial losses. That is why we decided to study the potential influence of olive waste on the growth of fish and its immune system,” said Morteza Yousefi, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, RUDN University.

Dr. Yousefi added olive waste to the feed of rainbow trout to test its ability to improve the immunity of the fish, as well as their antioxidant system (i.e. a body’s function of preventing excessive cell oxidation). In the course of a six-day-long experiment, the fish were divided into three groups. The first group received 5 grams of olive waste per 1 kg of feed, the second one got 2.5 grams, and the third was a control group and was fed without any supplements.

A week into the experiment, Dr. Yousefi found some positive developments in groups 1 and 2: the levels of an antibacterial enzyme in their blood serum and mucous membranes went up, and the concentration of immunoglobulin in their skin mucus increased. Moreover, the fish from groups 1 and 2 ingested their feed better and grew faster. The activity of antioxidant enzymes was the highest in the group that received 2.5 grams of olive waste per 1 kg of feed.

“One can conclude that adding 2.5 grams of olive waste per 1 kg of feed facilitates the growth of rainbow trout and improves its antioxidant and immune response, as well as the response of its skin mucus. We recommend considering olive waste as a feed supplement for rainbow trout. In the future, we plan to continue our studies and analyze the effect of the olive waste supplement on infectious, bacterial, and viral diseases,” added Dr. Yousefi.

More information:
Seyed Hossein Hoseinifar et al. Humoral and skin mucosal immune parameters, intestinal immune related genes expression and antioxidant defense in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) fed olive (Olea europea L.) waste, Fish & Shellfish Immunology (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.fsi.2020.02.067

Provided by RUDN University

Citation:
Olive Boosts the Immunity of Trout, Says a Biologist from RUDN University (2020, October 8)
retrieved 8 October 2020
from https://sciencex.com/wire-news/363593210/olive-boosts-the-immunity-of-trout-says-a-biologist-from-rudn-un.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Health Professionals Talk New Virus Testing, Boosts To Immune System

Health Professionals Talk New Virus Testing, Boosts To Immune System

  • October 3, 2020

By Brian Indre

THE EPIC WAITS to get tested for the novel coronavirus are no more — well, at least for now. After the latest surge died down following the Fourth of July, health practitioners don’t believe it will return unless there’s another spike. (Photo: J. Michael Whalen)

Autumn is here, and as the temperature drops and the risk for Covid-19 spikes increases, doctors emphasize how important accurate testing is as well as the possibility of an effective vaccine, while healthcare professionals offer advice on how to boost your immune system.

If the predicted upcoming surge in coronavirus cases creates a need for testing similar to the most recent one — which stretched from Memorial Day through a couple weeks after the Fourth of July — Dr. Gordon Theisz, the head of Family Medicine in Falls Church, explained that the testing capability will be overwhelmed and it will take longer.

It would be similar to the initial outbreak of the virus in Northern Virginia. During the peak of the pandemic in the spring, trying to get tested and knowing where to go was confusing, and oftentimes the test results took weeks to get back, which at that point wasn’t helpful. So Theisz, being one of the few private practices not tied to INOVA in the area, found a way to make his own tests.

“Coordinating with test labs we were able to make our own test kits, since getting them has been a challenge throughout the pandemic,” Theisz said. “If you couldn’t get test kits or get the materials to make them, or your staff was afraid of getting Covid; you did what a lot of doctors did, and closed the office and did televisits only for months.”

Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp sent instructions for how private practices could make their own test kits, and with the materials on hand to do it. As a result, Family Medicine said they never stopped testing.

“It would have been a challenge if we only had ten test kits in the office, and then having to decide who to use them on,” Theisz continued. “You should use them on everyone because Covid has symptoms that lead from nothing to terrible.”

The polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test is the most common way of checking for virus symptoms. It’s performed by using a large nasal swab and inserting into someone’s nose to gather a DNA sample. Theisz said that the relatively low number of positives, which he mentioned was about two to three per week, have made its three-day turnaround not much of a problem.

However, with some schools and workplaces reopening, more people are being required to get tested, and some people want to get tested because they will be traveling or believe they were exposed and want to be sure they aren’t a silent carrier.

Family Medicine has accommodated more on-the-go testing options, such as drive-up testing done by appointment only, and the staff can help determine if you need to be tested.

“We try to keep people that are sick out of the office until we are confident that whatever they are coming in for is not Covid,” said Theisz. “In addition to office visits, about 10 percent of appointments are televisits, which has gone down from around 50 percent during the height of the pandemic.”

Even quicker tests are being used in certain markets. The FDA has issued an EUA (emergency use authorization) for a couple different saliva-based tests for Covid, one developed at Rutgers University and the other at Yale University.

The Yale test called SalivaDirect is funded by the NBA, and will be the much cheaper option for patients because it doesn’t extract RNA (ribonucleic acid), which is what is needed for results for the Rutgers test and the nasal swab tests.

“It’s probably a promising test, but I’d have to review the statistics on it,” Theisz said. “When a test has an EUA, data has to be provided to the FDA on how accurate it is, and these tests are not fully studied like that of most tests that have years of evaluation.”

LESS INVASIVE saliva tests may eventually replace the nasal swab PCR tests. (Photo: J. Michael Whalen)

Those who were sick in the spring may be curious about antibody testing to see if they may have had Covid previously. Unfortunately antibody testing isn’t always accurate and can even produce a false-positive result. For those who do have a positive antibody test, it is unknown if it will protect you from getting infected again and it doesn’t indicate if you can infect others.

“We have no idea what having antibodies to Covid really means, so if you have a positive antibody test, we can’t say for sure that you are immune. It would be nice if you were, but we tell those patients to go with the social norm, which is everybody should wear a mask in public,” said Theisz.

“Within two weeks of March 13, chances are that someone feeling ill had had the flu, but after about April 1 there was no more flu, so that is where we will see the positives for Covid,” Theisz said. “And most of the positive antibody tests tend to be people who knew that they were exposed to it.”

When a vaccination becomes available to the public with adequate published data which includes reported side effects, efficacy, and everything else that medical professionals will want to see, then Theisz says he would recommend it and get it himself.

“The problem is that the timeline of the vaccine has become political. If a politician is saying that we are going to have a vaccine before the election, a lot of people would suspect that there is a problem with it, and I would be a bit skeptical of a vaccine that gets EUA from the FDA, if there seems that there were pressure from the administration to get it out,” said Theisz.

And when a vaccine is available, should the public trust it right away?

“I would want my doctor to tell me why they think this is a good vaccine,” said Theisz. “We are going to rely on the government and the FDA to tell us the vaccine is okay, and the moment they find out that it is not okay, we are going to rely on them to pull it and say no more,” he said. “If you see that kind of stuff happening then you know that the research has been done right.”

But before even getting to the point that someone may feel sick enough to need a test, it’s important to know what they could do to improve their body’s condition so warding off the virus is all the easier.

Megan Pennington is an integrative health practitioner who specializes in chronic illness and immune system health and overall nutrition. Although she resides in Canada, she has many patients who live in the U.S. She told the News-Press to offer some expert advice on how Vitamin D can play a role in your immune system response to Covid and other viruses.

Pennington explained that her approach to helping the immune system to work optimally is to decrease inflammation, because inflammation is the underlying mechanism by which the immune system deals with infection and pathogens.

“If inflammation gets to a point where it’s chronic, then it starts to damage our tissues, and recent research shows that happening with Covid,” said Pennington. “An unregulated immune response or a heightened or hyperactive immune response is creating too much inflammation which is called a Cytokine Storm, and that is what is causing the damage in the very symptomatic and severe cases.”

In order to modulate the immune system or help it do its job properly without over responding with inflammation is to give it the resources that it needs to dampen that inflammatory response, and Vitamin D is one of those resources.

“Vitamin D is a key player in the inflammatory response, and studies show that low levels will allow inflammation to run rampant, whereas adequate levels will have an inhibitory effect on the inflammatory cascade,” said Pennington.

Studies have shown that an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of Vitamin D in their blood.

“For anyone concerned about their vitamin D levels should get a test done to show their doctor. It can be a safe way of giving your body an extra boost to help respond appropriately to an infection,” said Pennington.



Immunotherapy Drug Boosts Survival for Lung Cancer Patients | Health News

Immunotherapy Drug Boosts Survival for Lung Cancer Patients | Health News

  • October 1, 2020

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A newly approved drug for the leading form of the number one cancer killer, lung cancer, does improve patient survival, a new study confirms.

The immunotherapy drug Tecentriq (atezolizumab) was approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), which comprise up to 85% of all lung tumors.

Tecentriq targets a protein known as PD-L1 that lies on the surface of tumor cells. Normally, this protein signals the body’s immune system T cells not to attack. However, by targeting PD-L1, Tecentriq unleashes the body’s natural T cells to target and destroy these cancer cells, researchers at Yale Cancer Center explained.

Tecentriq “has already shown excellent activity in patients who progress on frontline chemotherapy, but this study confirmed that the drug is active in selected patients who have not yet received any treatment for lung cancer,” said medical oncologist Dr. Nagashree Seetharamu, who treats lung cancer patients but wasn’t involved in the new study. She practices at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Lake Success, N.Y.

The new study was funded by Tecentriq’s maker, Genentech, and the results were published Sept. 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study included 554 patients with stage 4 metastatic NSCLC tumors. All patients had tumors lacking mutations in the EGFR or ALK genes: As the researchers explained in a Yale news release, tumors with those mutations are better treated with other drugs.

Among 205 patients whose tumors had high cellular expression of PD-L1, the median overall survival was 20 months for those who received Tecentriq versus 13 months for those who received standard platinum-based chemotherapy.

Median progression-free survival — the time from treatment to the disease beginning to worsen — was eight months for patients who received Tecentriq versus five months for those on standard chemotherapy, the researchers found.

“These are exciting results that could be life-changing for many patients,” said study lead author Dr. Roy Herbst. He is chief of medical oncology at the Yale Cancer Center as well as the Smilow Cancer Hospital.

“Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, with more than 1.5 million patients diagnosed each year. Half of patients are diagnosed with metastatic disease, and they could be a candidate for this drug,” Herbst said in the news release.

“Also encouraging is that [Tecentriq] was generally well tolerated,” said Herbst, who is also associate cancer center director for translational research at the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Conn. “Side effects for patients were similar to those seen in other trials of the drug, which has been approved for treatments of several types of cancer.”

The trial also assessed how Tecentriq performed among patients with a “high tumor mutational burden,” which means that they had high levels of genetic mutations in scraps of cancer DNA detected in blood tests. In some types of cancers, high mutational burden is tied to better responses to immunotherapy drugs like Tecentriq.

“Among these patients with NSCLC, those with high tumor mutational burden who received [Tecentriq] showed improved progression-free survival of seven months versus four months for those given chemotherapy,” Herbst said. “This finding suggests that the [blood] biomarker should be explored further.”

For her part, Seetharamu noted that “there are many commercially available and experimental drugs that target PD-L1.” And she noted that the study did have one flaw.

Tecentriq “was compared to platinum-based chemotherapy alone, which is now not the most common standard treatment,” Seetharamu pointed out. Instead, oncologists are increasingly using standard chemotherapy plus another type of immunotherapy drug, Keytruda. The new study didn’t present a head-to-head comparison of Tecentriq against chemotherapy-plus-Keytruda, however.

“That is understandable,” Seetharamu said, “since the study started before these new treatments made it into common clinical practice.”

Regardless, she said, “the overall survival of 20 months in selected patients with high PD-L1 expression treated with Tecentriq alone is impressive and may provide yet another non-chemotherapy treatment option for patients diagnosed with PD-L1-high lung cancer.”

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Why Doing Good Boosts Health And Well-Being

Why Doing Good Boosts Health And Well-Being

  • September 30, 2020

Previous studies have suggested that people who engage in helping others are happier and have better mental and physical health than those who don’t spend as much time helping others. During hard times such as the pandemic, a body of research suggests that helping gestures assuage worry and concern. Often during emergencies and crises, people start performing acts of kindness at random. Helping others through a crisis by performing good deeds can make you feel in control—even give you bursts of euphoria called “the helper’s high.”

The obvious benefit when you reach out to help someone else is that you get a break from your own worries for a while. Contributing, giving, volunteering, donating and performing kind acts, no matter how small or brief, connect you to other people (and animals) in a deeply meaningful, humane way. But that’s just for starters.

The bursts of euphoria—known as “the helper’s high”—come from dopamine and endorphin squirts released in the brain. Medical studies show that the saliva of compassionate people contains more immunoglobulin A, which is an antibody that fights off infection. In addition to boosting the immune system, brain scans of benevolent people show that generosity gave them a calmer disposition, less stress, better emotional health and higher self-worth.

According to a new study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin, performing acts of kindness and helping other people can be good for your health and well-being. But not all goodhearted behavior is equally beneficial to the giver. The strength of the link depends on many factors, including the type of kindness, the definition of well-being and the giver’s age, gender and other demographic factors.

“Prosocial behavior — altruism, cooperation, trust and compassion — are all necessary ingredients of a harmonious and well-functioning society,” said lead author Bryant P.H. Hui, PhD, a research assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong. “It is part of the shared culture of humankind, and our analysis shows that it also contributes to mental and physical health.”

To better understand what drives that variation, Hui and his colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 201 independent studies, comprising 198,213 total participants, that looked at the connection between prosocial behavior and well-being. Overall, they found that there was a modest link between the two. Although the effect size was small, it is still meaningful, according to Hui, given how many people perform acts of kindness every day.

Digging deeper into the research, Hui and his colleagues found that random acts of kindness, such as helping an older neighbor carry groceries, were more strongly associated with overall well-being than formal prosocial behavior, such as scheduled volunteering for a charity. That may be because informal helping is more casual and spontaneous and may more easily lead to forming social connections, according to Hui. Informal giving is also more varied and less likely to become stale or monotonous, he said.

The effects varied by age, according to Hui, who began this research at the University of Cambridge. Younger givers reported higher levels of overall well-being and psychological functioning, while older givers reported higher levels of physical health. Also, women showed stronger relationships between prosociality and several measures of well-being compared with men — perhaps because women are stereotypically expected to be more caring and giving, and thus derive a stronger sense of good feelings for acting in accordance with those social norms, according to the study.

Conclusion

Other studies show that a priority of what American workers want and need is more compassion and empathy from businesses. Now that research shows increases in well-being and psychological functioning which can only foster job satisfaction and enhance engagement, performance and the company’s bottom line.

Reference

Bryant P. H. et al. (2020). Rewards of kindness? A meta-analysis of the link between prosociality and well-being.. Psychological Bulletin. DOI: 10.1037/bul0000298

Moderna says coronavirus vaccine boosts immune system response in older adults

Moderna says coronavirus vaccine boosts immune system response in older adults

  • September 30, 2020

Biotech company Moderna announced on Tuesday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate elicited immune responses in older adults from a Phase 1 study in levels comparable to those seen in younger adults. The findings were published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The vaccine candidate, dubbed mRNA-1273, “induced consistently high levels” of neutralizing antibody levels in 40 healthy participants across two age cohorts – 56-70 and 71 and over – per the company announcement.

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Biotech company Moderna announced on Tuesday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate elicited immune responses in older adults from a Phase 1 study in levels comparable to those seen in younger adults. (iStock)

Biotech company Moderna announced on Tuesday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate elicited immune responses in older adults from a Phase 1 study in levels comparable to those seen in younger adults. (iStock)

“These interim Phase 1 data suggests that mRNA-1273, our vaccine candidate for the prevention of COVID-19, can generate neutralizing antibodies in older and elderly adults at levels comparable to those in younger adults,” Dr. Tal Zaks, chief medical officer of Moderna, said in the announcement. “Given the increased morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 in older and elderly adults, these data give us optimism in demonstrating mRNA-1273’s protection in this population, which is being evaluated in the Phase 3 COVE study.”

MODERNA SEES ‘POSITIVE’ PHASE I DATA FOR POTENTIAL CORONAVIRUS VACCINE

The data stemmed from a second interim analysis which assessed a two-dose vaccination administered 28 days apart in two dose levels, 25 micrograms (µg) and 100 micrograms, reporting findings one month after the second dose.

“This analysis found that both the 25 µg and 100 µg dose levels were generally well-tolerated in both age cohorts,” per the announcement.

The 100 microgram dose elicited higher antibody levels, “supporting the selection of the 100 µg dose for further study in the Phase 3 trial.” Moderna previously announced plans to use the 100 microgram dose in its late-stage trial, which will enroll up to 30,000 volunteers in the U.S. As of Sept. 25, there were 27,232 participants enrolled, 30% of which were from diverse communities.

CORONAVIRUS WAS EVEN MORE CONTAGIOUS AT BEGINNING OF PANDEMIC THAN EXPERTS THOUGHT, STUDY FINDS

Company officials said the majority of adverse events were mild to moderate, like headache, fatigue and chills, among others.

After the second vaccination, one patient in the 56-70 cohort with the 25 microgram dose experienced a fever, and a second patient in the older cohort and higher dose had fatigue, but officials said “clinical laboratory values of Grade 2 or higher revealed no pattern of concern” and that the patients would be followed through 13 months for a longer assessment.

The findings were said to be confirmed through three live virus assays, and “robust neutralizing activity was observed in all participants 14 days after the second vaccination.”

The U.S. government already struck a deal with Moderna for 100 million doses of the vaccine, with an option to buy an additional 400 million doses.

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