Statin Use May Slightly Lower Risk of Death from COVID-19

A new study, published in PLOS Medicine, finds that statin use is associated with a slightly lower risk of death from COVID-19 in all patients, regardless of their age, sex, and COVID-19 risk factors.Statin Use May Slightly Lower Risk of Death from COVID-19

For the study, a team of researchers from Sweden and Australia analyzed data of almost 1 million people in the Stockholm area of Sweden which were taken from various public registries, such as the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register and the Swedish Cause of Death Registry among others.

However, co-author of the study Rita Bergqvist, a medical student at the Karolinska Institutet, in Solna, Sweden, notes: “It’s important to remember that our study shows there’s a possibility that there is a moderate protective effect of statins against COVID-19. But to be sure of a protective effect, we would need a randomized, controlled trial. There is always a possibility that the results of an observational study like ours are due to unknown factors that we haven’t been able to adjust for in our models.”

Study: E-cigarettes Don’t Help Smokers Avoid Cigarettes

According to a new study from the University of California – San Diego, vaping e-cigarettes don’t help smokers quit and may make smokers more likely to relapse.E-cigarettes Don’t Help Smokers Avoid Cigarettes

For their study, the scientists analyzed data from the nationally representative Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) longitudinal study. They picked out 13,604 smokers between 2013 and 2015 who were followed for two years to identify changes in the use of 12 tobacco products.

The first follow-up showed that 9.4% of the smokers had quit. Of these “former smokers,” 62.9% stayed tobacco-free, while 37.1% just had switched to another tobacco product. Of these recent smokers who switched to another product, 22.8% smoked e-cigarettes, with 17.6% of switchers using e-cigarettes on a daily basis.

First author John P. Pierce, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, comments on the results of the study: “Our findings suggest that individuals who quit smoking and switched to e-cigarettes or other tobacco products actually increased their risk of a relapse back to smoking over the next year by 8.5 percentage points compared to those who quit using all tobacco products.”

Extreme Temperatures during Pregnancy Connected to Reduced Birth Weight

In a new nationwide study from Bar-Ilan University, Israel, an international team of researchers finds the link between extreme high and low temperatures during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and reduced fetal birth weight.Extreme Temperatures during Pregnancy Connected to Reduced Birth Weight

For the study, the team of scientists analyzed data on 624,940 singleton term births in Israel that took place between 2010 and 2014. These data included such information as the time of birth and outdoor temperatures during pregnancy.

Lead researcher Dr. Keren Agay-Shay, Director of the HER Lab at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University, says: “Our study demonstrated the significant associations between exposure to high and low outdoor temperature and birthweight in all term births born in Israel during five years. Lower birth weight may indicate abnormalities in intrauterine growth and is a risk factor for morbidity during early childhood and over the entire life course.”

Common Infection Can Be a Trigger for Multiple Sclerosis

According to a new study, published in JAMA Network Open, common infection such as glandular fever (also called infectious mononucleosis) during the teenage years is associated with multiple sclerosis after age 20.Common Infection Can Be a Trigger for Multiple Sclerosis

To confirm that infections could be a risk factor for MS, triggering the MS disease process, the current study compared siblings in the same family. Siblings have similar genetic make-up and have mostly the same family lives.

Researchers studied glandular fever at different ages, as the teenage years may be a time when exposures are most likely to increase the risk of the condition. The study included 2.5 million people residing in Sweden. Just under 6,000 had a diagnosis of MS after age 20.

Having analyzed the collected data, the researchers found that individuals suffering from glandular fever between 11 and 19 had a significantly higher risk to develop MS after age 20 years.

Link between Allergies and Mental Health Conditions Confirmed

Recent research, conducted by a team of researchers from Bristol Medical School, confirms that having allergies is associated with mental health conditions. But the researchers note that correlation does not imply causation, and allergies don’t cause mental health issues or vice versa.Link between Allergies and Mental Health Conditions Confirmed

For their study, the scientists used data from the UK Biobank provided by individuals aged 37 to 73 years to confirm the correlation between allergies and mental health issues. Also, they used the Mendelian randomization method to examine possible relationships between allergies and mental health diseases.

Lead study author Dr. Ahley Budu-Aggrey, a senior research associate at Bristol Medical School, comments: “Our research does not rule out a potential causal effect upon the progression of the disease, which is yet to be investigated and could help uncover novel treatment strategies for allergic disease or mental health traits.”

Eating Mushrooms May Reduce the Risk of Depression

According to a new study, led by Penn State College of Medicine, eating mushrooms, in addition to such benefits as decreasing the risk of cancer and premature death, may also reduce the risk of developing depression.Eating Mushrooms May Reduce the Risk of Depression

For their study, a team of researchers analyzed data on diet and mental health collected from more than 24,000 U.S. adults between 2005 and 2016. The analysis showed that people who ate mushrooms had lower chances to develop depression.

Scientists believe that mushrooms provide this advantage due to the ergothioneine, an antioxidant able to protect against cell and tissue damage in the body.

Lead researcher Djibril Ba, who recently graduated from the epidemiology doctoral program at the College of Medicine, says: “Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of the amino acid ergothioneine – an anti-inflammatory which cannot be synthesized by humans. Having high levels of this may lower the risk of oxidative stress, which could also reduce the symptoms of depression.”

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