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No Proof COVID Vaccines Can Trigger Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Two people in the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trial developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, but it's highly doubtful the vaccine is to blame, according to a just-published case study.

Although both people were in the same trial, one was given the vaccine and the other was given a placebo of saline solution.

"That strengthens the possibility that the case in our report may have be...

Lupus More Deadly for Asian and Hispanic Americans: Study

More Asian and Hispanic people with lupus die prematurely than white patients, a new study reveals.

Death rates in San Francisco were nearly six times higher than expected among Hispanic patients with lupus and four times higher than expected among Asian women with lupus, the researchers found.

The higher death rate among racial and ethnic minority groups might result from more seve...

Gene Study Probes Origins of Addison's Disease

Gene variants associated with a rare autoimmune disorder called Addison's disease have been pinpointed, according to researchers.

"By studying the single largest collection of samples from patients with Addison's disease, we've been able to carry out the first genetic study of the disease that spans the entire human genome," said study co-leader Daniel Eriksson, a researcher in the experi...

COVID Vaccines Safe for Organ Transplant Recipients: Study

Here's some good news for people who've had solid organ transplants and have weakened immune systems: mRNA coronavirus vaccines are safe for these vulnerable folks, new research shows.

The study included 187 transplant recipients who received an initial dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines between Dec. 16, 2020 and Jan. 16, 2021.

The participants, median age 48, were r...

Could Stem Cell Therapy Be a Breakthrough Against MS?

Stem cell transplants may have long-lasting benefits for some people with aggressive cases of multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

Italian researchers found that among 210 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who received a stem cell transplant -- with cells from their own blood -- two-thirds saw no worsening in their disability 10 years out.

That included 71% of patients with rela...

More Than 200,000 Americans Have Lupus

Just over 200,000 Americans have the autoimmune disorder lupus, and minority women are at highest risk, according to a new study.

It's the first estimate of how widespread the disease is in the United States. The number comes close to reclassifying lupus as a rare disease, defined as an illness affecting 200,000 Americans or fewer, the researchers said.

"Our study potentially redefi...

Scans Reveal How COVID-19 Can Harm the Brain

Blood vessel damage and inflammation in the brains of deceased COVID-19 patients suggest the damage is not caused by the virus, but the body's immune response to it.

Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) consistently found signs of damage caused by thinning and leaky brain blood vessels in tissue samples from patients who died shortly after getting COVID-19.

...

Treatment Reverses Young Man's Type 1 Diabetes. Will It Last?

After starting a drug that's officially approved to treat a type of blood cancer, a young man with type 1 diabetes was able to stop using insulin.

He's been off insulin since August 2018 -- more than two years.

Dr. Lisa Forbes -- his doctor and co-author of a letter describing his case in the Oct. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine -- stopped short of calling ...

Body Temperature Higher in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis patients who are in remission have significantly higher body temperatures than people without the joint disease, new research shows.

The study included 32 rheumatoid arthritis patients who were in remission and a healthy "control" group of 51 people without rheumatoid arthritis, who all had thermal scans of different areas of their feet.

"These tests demonstrate...

Scientists Report First Case of Recurring Guillain-Barre Tied to COVID

The first known case of COVID-19 triggering a recurrence of Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported by researchers.

Guillain-Barré syndrome -- which can be sparked by viral and bacterial infections -- is a rare disorder where the body's immune system attacks nerves. It can result in respiratory failure and death.

There have been several reports of COVID-19 patients developing Gu...

Dangerous COVID-19 Syndrome First Seen in Kids Also Strikes Adults

When the new coronavirus pandemic first began, respiratory distress immediately became the hallmark of severe COVID-19 illness. News reports focused on the inability to breathe, low oxygen saturation levels and the alarming need for ventilators.

But six months later, experts are becoming increasingly concerned about a very different COVID-19 phenomenon, one that spares the lungs only ...

Pancreas Cells That Drive Type 1 Diabetes Appear in Healthy People, Too

Scientists knew that dangerous T-cells lived in the pancreases of people with type 1 diabetes, but a new study shows they also take up residence in the pancreases of healthy individuals.

Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California used a new staining technique to show where these cells had gathered in human tissue samples. They were surprised that even tissue ...

Newer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug May Help Ease Tough-to-Treat Cases

A recently approved rheumatoid arthritis medication appears to be an effective second-line therapy when biologic treatments start to fail, a new clinical trial reports.

Arthritis sufferers treated with upadacitinib had a significantly greater reduction in their symptoms and disease activity than people treated with a standard disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), said co-resea...

Treatment Reverses Young Man's Type 1 Diabetes. Will It Last?

After starting a drug that's officially approved to treat a type of blood cancer, a young man with type 1 diabetes was able to stop using insulin.

He's been off insulin since August 2018 -- more than two years.

Dr. Lisa Forbes -- his doctor and co-author of a letter describing his case in the Oct. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine -- stopped short of cal...

Mental Health Issues Double the Odds of Dying With COVID-19, Study Finds

People suffering from a psychiatric disorder could be more than twice as likely to die if they become infected with COVID-19, a new study suggests.

Folks diagnosed with any type of psychiatric problem -- anxiety or depression, dementia, psychosis -- were up to 2.3 times more likely to die in the hospital from COVID-19, researchers found.

"Those who had COVID who had a prior ...

Study Sheds Light on Why COVID-19 Hits Elderly Hardest

Elderly people who get COVID-19 have lower levels of important immune cells, which may explain why they are more likely than younger patients to have severe symptoms or die, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers analyzed blood samples from 30 people with mild COVID-19, ranging in age from the mid-20s to late-90s. Compared with healthy people, all of the COVID-19 patien...

Kids Who Need Steroids Face Risk of Diabetes, Other Ills

Children who need to take oral steroids for chronic or life-threatening conditions can experience serious side effects, according to new research.

Children with autoimmune disorders such as juvenile arthritis, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease are often prescribed a steroid to keep the illness under control.

But the odds that a child might develop diabetes was nearly s...

Companion Drug Might Help Prevent Kidney Complications of Lupus

Adding a newer drug to standard therapy might help control kidney complications caused by the autoimmune disease lupus, a new clinical trial suggests.

The researchers found that adding the drug, called belimumab, improved patients' likelihood of responding to treatment. That meant a reduction in protein in the urine -- a tell-tale sign of kidney inflammation -- and no significant loss...

Alyssa Milano Is Losing Her Hair to COVID-19

When actress Alyssa Milano was first struck by the new coronavirus back in March, her symptoms mirrored the classic signs of COVID-19: fever, headache, loss of smell, chest heaviness, extreme breathing difficulties and a bad stomach.

"It felt like I was dying," Milano, 47, posted on Twitter.

Those symptoms have persisted, and even expanded to include vertigo, heart palpitati...

Steroids Other Than Dexamethasone May Also Help Battle COVID-19

The steroid medication dexamethasone has been proven to help people severely ill with COVID-19. Now a new study hints that other drugs in the same class may also work -- in the right patients.

The findings are from a review of one hospital's experience, not a clinical trial. So researchers said the results should be interpreted with some caution.

But the study suggests that ...

Infusion of Certain Immune Cells May Help in Severe Coronavirus Cases

An infusion of cells that dampen the body's immune response might help people with severe cases of the new coronavirus recover more quickly, a new report suggests.

Two patients so sick with COVID-19 that they'd been put on a ventilator improved quickly when given an infusion of regulatory T-cells, which are cells that check the immune system and prevent it from overreacting to an infe...

COVID-19 Blood Test Might Predict Who Will Need a Ventilator

A blood test may predict which COVID-19 patients are likely to need a ventilator.

This finding could lead to a scoring system that would flag at-risk patients for closer monitoring and to personalized treatments. It may also help explain how diabetes makes outcomes worse, according to researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

The study focused on 57 C...

In Early Trial, an Ancient Drug Shows Promise Against Severe COVID-19

There's new evidence that a 2,000-year-old medicine might offer hope against a modern scourge: COVID-19.

The medication, called colchicine, is an anti-inflammatory taken as a pill. It's long been prescribed for gout, a form of arthritis, and its history goes back centuries. The drug was first sourced from the autumn crocus flower.

Doctors also sometimes use colchicine to tre...

Despite Medical Advances, People With HIV Still Live Shorter, Sicker Lives

HIV may not be the death sentence it was 20 or 30 years ago, but people who are HIV-positive still face much shorter lives than other adults -- even if they're treated with medications that make the virus undetectable.

A new study reports that people who were HIV-positive at age 21 had an average life expectancy of 56 years -- nine years fewer than their virus-free peers.

Th...

HIV Can Travel From the Brain, Animal Study Suggests

HIV can reside in brain cells and spread the AIDS-causing virus to the body, a new study in mice indicates.

It's known that HIV enters the brain within eight days of infection, but less is known about whether HIV-infected brain cells can release HIV that can then infect other tissues.

This new work from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that certain types of ...

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Celiac Are Linked: Review

There's an association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease, according to a new research review.

Researchers analyzed dozens of studies published between 1978 and 2019 that included tens of millions of people in Europe, North America and Asia.

They found that people with a previous diagnosis of celiac disease had a ninefold increased risk of IBD, and ...

Mindfulness May Ease the Emotional Burden of MS

Mindfulness training may help counter the thinking and emotional difficulties caused by multiple sclerosis.

In a small test study, people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who had four weeks of mindfulness training emerged with better emotional control and faster thinking.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves....

Dirty City Air Might Raise MS Risk

Air pollution might increase the risk for multiple sclerosis (MS), Italian researchers report.

They found that in places with low levels of tiny particles of air pollution called particulate matter, the risk for MS was lower than in areas where those levels were high. In urban areas, the risk was 29% higher than in rural areas.

"Our findings show that the prevalence of...

Blood Count May Offer Clues to Treatment of COVID-19: Study

The severity of COVID-19 illness may be influenced by what researchers call "cytokine storms."

In a new study, investigators assessed 522 COVID-19 patients, aged 5 days to 97 years, who were admitted to two hospitals in Wuhan, China, in December and January. The study also included a "control group" of 40 healthy people.

Compared to the control group, 76% of COVID-19 pat...

Nanotechnology Might Help Fight Deadly 'Cytokine Storm' of COVID-19

For many COVID-19 patients battling for their lives in the ICU, a runaway immune system response -- known as a "cytokine storm" -- is their primary foe.

Doctors have few tools to help tame this hyperinflammatory condition, but early research is suggesting that nanotechnology might safely deliver drugs to affected tissues, quieting the storm.

It's so far only been tested in m...

After Trump Hypes Use of a Lupus Med Against COVID-19, Lupus Patients Face Shortages

Hydroxychloroquine is a key therapy for the autoimmune disease lupus, but interest in it as a potential COVID-19 treatment could make it hard for lupus patients to obtain, experts warn.

Hydroxychloroquine is the only medication known to increase survival in patients with systemic lupus. That's the most common form of lupus, a disease in which the immune system attacks different parts ...

Could an Ancient Drug Help Fight Severe COVID-19?

As researchers hunt for ways to treat severe COVID-19 infections, a new trial will ask whether an old arthritis drug can prevent serious complications in the first place.

The medication, called colchicine, is an oral anti-inflammatory that has long been prescribed for gout, a form of arthritis. Its history goes back thousands of years, and the drug was first sourced from the autumn cr...

Are Immune-Compromised Kids at Greater Risk From COVID-19?

One of the few bright spots in the COVID-19 pandemic has been the perception that children are mostly spared from its worst effects. But what about kids already at risk of contracting serious infections due to a compromised immune system? Do they have the same protection?

"One group we always worry about when it comes to viral illnesses is immunocompromised children," said Dr. Reggie...

Don't Believe the Hype: Bogus Products, Coronavirus Scams Abound

Can zinc help shorten a COVID-19 infection? Will vitamin C or other supplements prevent it?

These claims and plenty more can be found on social media and internet sites, but be advised: There is no pill or treatment that can prevent or cure COVID right now.

"We want to think that there is a quick way to get rid of this. But there is not a product out there that will keep y...

Asthma, COPD Raise Odds for Severe COVID-19, Lung Experts Warn

People with asthma and other lung diseases are at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, caution experts from the American Lung Association.

"Everyone's health is at risk from COVID-19, and those living with a lung disease or who are immunocompromised may be more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus," said Dr. Albert Rizzo, the association's chief medical officer.

Certain Health Conditions Up Risks for Severe COVID-19

New research suggests that having an underlying health condition might be one of the most significant risk factors for developing a severe case of COVID-19.

Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a look at a group of U.S. adult COVID-19 patients and found roughly three-quarters of those who wound up in the hospital had at least one underlying health iss...

COVID-19 Infection Likely Worse for Vapers, Smokers

Smokers and vapers who get COVID-19 can probably expect a more severe infection, health experts warn.

Many advisories have focused on the risk facing older people, those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, and people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients. But doctors also caution that users of electronic cigarettes and tobacco are more in danger from the new ...

Coping With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Everyone is learning to deal with the threat of the new coronavirus, but for people with cancer, the virus is even more concerning.

Cancer can increase people's risk of catching the coronavirus. It increases the odds of complications from the infection, too.

"Patients with cancer are at a higher risk, especially if treatment is active or recent. It's hard to give a one-siz...

Vaping's Popularity Soars as New Data Points to Heart Risks

E-cigarette use is rising, putting more Americans at risk of blood vessel damage and heart disease, according to three new studies.

In the first study, researchers found that nearly 1 in 20 adults use e-cigarettes.

"Our study may have important public health implications and ramifications for educational strategies aimed at targeting various population segments to inform t...

Who's Most at Risk From Coronavirus?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues its relentless spread around the world, the greatest worry has been for older people. But experts stress that age is not the sole determinant of risk for severe illness or death.

"The elderly and people with chronic diseases have the highest risk. If you're not sure if you're at a higher risk, talk to your doctor," said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, a spo...

Preemies' Impaired Immune Systems Quickly Catch Up: Study

Premature infants' immune systems develop at a rate similar to full-term infants, a new study finds.

British researchers tracked immune system development in babies born before 32 weeks, including identifying different immune cell populations and the types of bacteria present in stool samples.

All of the preemies' immune systems progressed similarly as they got older, regard...

Coronavirus Strikes Men, Older People the Hardest

The coronavirus is on the cusp of becoming a global pandemic and experts say that, if it does, older people and men could be most at risk for serious illness and death.

Men have died from coronavirus at nearly twice the rate as women, and the virus has been shown to sicken and kill older folks at a greater rate than young people, according to data from China.

The coronavirus...

Measles Complications Can Affect Every Organ: Study

Hepatitis, appendicitis and viral meningitis are among the serious complications that can occur when you get the measles, doctors warn in a new report.

The study -- which outlines cases involving three adults who developed major complications -- is also a reminder of the importance of vaccination against the illness.

Measles is highly contagious, but it's also easily prevent...

Scientists Spot Antibody That Might Help Diagnose, Treat Autoimmune Disorders

Researchers who have pinpointed an antibody linked to life-threatening autoimmune disorders in children say their discovery could lead to faster diagnosis and treatment of these patients.

The investigators identified the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody in their study of 535 children with central nervous system demyelinating disorders and encephalitis.

MOG ...

Lab Discovery Offers Promise for Treating Multiple Sclerosis

A new discovery could lead to better treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, researchers report.

MS occurs when immune cells get into the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing nerve damage that results in neurological problems. However, the cause is unclear.

Studies in a mouse mo...

Faulty Immune System May Lead to Lung Cancer

An immune system that's not functioning normally may lead to lung cancer in patients who don't smoke, a new study suggests.

"A strong immune system helps to keep inflammation under control and chronic inflammation is known to promote cancer," said co-author Rayjean Hung.

"Our research suggests that it's underlying dysfunction of immune regulation that can lead to lung cance...

Sepsis Causes Far More Deaths Worldwide Than Thought

Sepsis kills more than twice as many people worldwide as once believed, and children in poor regions account for an excessive number of such deaths, researchers say.

Sepsis is an out-of-control immune response to infection that harms organs. People who survive sepsis can have lifelong disabilities.

In 2017, there were 48.9 million cases of sepsis and 11 million sepsis deaths...

HIV Triggers Immune System 'Amnesia' to Smallpox: Study

HIV infection causes a loss of immunity to smallpox, even in people who were vaccinated as kids and are taking antiretroviral drugs to restore their immune system, a new study finds.

Such "HIV-associated immune amnesia" could explain why people with HIV who are on antiretroviral therapy still have shorter lives on average than people without HIV, according to the researchers.

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Could MS Have Links to the Herpes Virus?

A variant of a common herpes virus may play a role in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), Swedish researchers say.

They analyzed the blood of about 8,700 MS patients and a control group of more than 7,200 people without MS. They were looking for antibodies against proteins of two variants (A and B) of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), which has been linked with MS.

MS pat...

Next-Gen Artificial Pancreas Boosts Blood Sugar Control

The latest version of the so-called artificial pancreas system helped people with type 1 diabetes gain even better control of their blood sugar levels than current technology does, a new study reports.

The device combines an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor and a computer algorithm. The system measures blood sugar levels and delivers insulin automatically when levels rise. ...