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U.K. Variant Won't Trigger More Severe COVID, Studies Find

Two new studies out of Britain find that although the now-dominant "U.K. variant" of the new coronavirus does spread more quickly, it does not appear to lead to more severe disease in those made ill.

The findings should help allay fears that more patients will die after infection with the variant, officially labeled B.1.1.7.

Scientists published the findings online April 12 in two<...

Bright Side: Sunnier Areas Have Lower COVID-19 Death Rates

COVID-19 might have a tough new foe: The sun.

New research shows that sunnier regions of the United States have lower COVID-19 death rates than cloudier areas, suggesting that the sun's UV rays might somehow provide some protection against the disease.

The effect is not due to better uptake of the healthy "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D, noted the Scottish research team led by Richard...

Pandemic Has Put Many Clinical Trials on Hold

Fewer clinical trials are being completed during the pandemic, which experts say could affect medical research for decades to come.

Previously, it was reported that more than 80% of clinical trials were suspended between March 1 and April 26, 2020, with the pandemic cited as the main reason.

In this study, researchers at Penn State College of Medicine examined more than 117,000 tria...

The Future of Cancer for Americans

At first glance, it appears that little will change between now and 2040 when it comes to the types of cancers that people develop and that kill them, a new forecast shows.

Breast, melanoma, lung and colon cancers are expected to be the most common types of cancers in the United States, and patients die most often from lung, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers, according to the lates...

Moderna COVID Vaccine Offers Protection for at Least 6 Months: Study

There's good news for the millions of Americans who've already received a dose or two of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine: New research shows the vaccine should protect against illness for at least six months.

The new study tracked 33 participants in the trials that led to the vaccine's approval. Six months after having received their second vaccine dose, "antibody activity remained high in al...

Low Risk That Scientists Can Pass Coronavirus to North American Bats

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists thought twice about studying North American bats in their winter habitats. But they've now determined that the risk of humans passing the coronavirus to bats under these conditions was low.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) led the study. It found the risk to be one in 1,000 with no protective measures and one in 3,333 with proper use of per...

If You've Had COVID, One Vaccine Jab Will Do: Study

A new U.S. study offers more evidence that a single dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine may provide enough protection to people who've previously been infected with the coronavirus.

"Our findings extend those from smaller studies reported elsewhere and support a potential strategy of providing a single dose of vaccine to persons with a confirmed prior history of coronavirus infection, al...

Can Vaccinations Stop COVID Transmission? College Study Aims to Find Out

It's the question everyone wants answered because reopening the world depends on it: Can coronavirus vaccines stop transmission of the virus?

Now, 21 universities across the United States are teaming up to find out.

The project, called Prevent COVID U, was started by the COVID-19 Prevention Network housed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The study inc...

'Zombie Genes' Spur Some Brain Cells to Grow Even After Death

When people die some cells in their brains go on for hours, even getting more active and growing to gargantuan proportions, new research shows.

Awareness of this activity, spurred on by "zombie genes," could affect research into diseases that affect the brain.

For the study, researchers analyzed gene expression using fresh brain tissue collected during routine surgery and found that...

A Noninvasive Alternative for Painful Arthritic Knees

For those who suffer painful arthritis in their aging knees, new research suggests a noninvasive treatment might deliver lasting relief.

Called genicular artery embolization, the roughly two-hour catheter treatment involves a once-and-done injection of tiny hydrogel particles into arterial pathways in the knee joint. The goal: To decrease overall blood flow in the joint, and thereby marke...

Coming Soon: Once-a-Week Insulin Injections?

Daily insulin jabs can be the bane of existence for people who live with type 2 diabetes, but an investigational once-weekly insulin shot may be a game changer for these folks.

While the research is still in its early stages, the new drug called basal insulin Fc (BIF) is given once a week and appears to be just as effective at controlling blood sugar (glucose) as insulin degludec, the gol...

Disappointment and Hope From Two HIV Prevention Trials

An antibody infusion being tested for preventing HIV does not seem to thwart most infections -- but its success against certain strains of the virus suggests researchers are on the right track.

That's the takeaway from a clinical trial that put the antibody, called VRC01, to the test in 2,700 people at high risk of contracting HIV.

Researchers found that infusions of the antibody ev...

Scientists Create First Lab Model of Human 'Pre-Embryo' for Research Purposes

Research into miscarriages, infertility and birth defects is now primed to undergo revolutionary advances, thanks to the creation in the lab of an early stage of human embryos by two separate international teams of scientists.

Both teams were able to use human cells to create artificial blastocysts, an early stage of conception that occurs a few days after egg fertilization but prior...

Drink Up! Humans Are the 'Water-Saving Apes'

Humans sweat more and move more than chimpanzees and other apes, but new research shows people are actually more water-efficient than their primate cousins.

For the first time, scientists say they measured precisely how much water humans lose and replace each day compared with their closest living animal relatives.

The investigators found that the human body uses 30% to 50% less wat...

Why Cotton Masks Are Safer Masks

Cotton masks provide better protection against the new coronavirus than those made with synthetic fabrics, researchers say.

In a new study, investigators tested different mask fabrics under conditions that mimic the humidity of a person's breath in order to assess how the fabrics perform in actual use.

Under humid conditions, filtration efficiency (a measure of how well a material c...

Science Reveals Why Tea Is Good for Your Heart

If a nice hot cup of tea sounds good to you, there's even more reason to enjoy one now. Scientists have gained new insight into how tea helps lower blood pressure, perhaps pointing the way to new types of blood pressure medications.

The researchers found that certain compounds in both black and green tea help relax blood vessels by activating ion channel proteins in the walls of blood ves...

Could a Drug Prevent Type 1 Diabetes in Those at Risk?

Just two weeks of treatment with an experimental drug can delay the onset of type 1 diabetes by several years, researchers report.

The drug, called teplizumab, is already under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based on earlier evidence of its effectiveness.

If it gets the green light, it would become the first drug approved for delaying type 1 diabetes in high-risk pe...

New First Look at the Tiniest Babies' Lungs

Researchers who recorded the most detailed images ever made of newborns' lungs as they took their first breaths say the breakthrough could improve treatment of breathing problems in babies.

"Respiratory problems are the most common reason we need to treat babies in intensive care," said researcher David Tingay of Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

"This n...

A Vaccine Against UTIs? New Mouse Study Brings Shot Closer

Many women suffer through countless urinary tract infections (UTIs), but a new study in mice offers hope that a vaccine could one day bring their nightmares to an end.

"Although several vaccines against UTIs have been investigated in clinical trials, they have so far had limited success," said senior study author Soman Abraham, a professor of pathology, immunology and molecular genetics &...

New Coronavirus Variant Out of Brazil Now in 5 U.S. States

The first U.S. case of a Brazilian COVID-19 variant that doctors fear can re-infect the previously sick surfaced in Minnesota in early January 2021, and the more infectious variant has since been found in four other states, a new government report says.

Known as the P.1 variant, it first appeared in a Minnesotan who'd recently traveled to southeastern Brazil, according to Melanie Fireston...

Scientists Gain Insight Into Genetics of Glaucoma

Researchers have identified 44 new genetic variants associated with glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness. They say their findings could provide new targets to treat the common eye disease.

In their study, the international team compared the genes of more than 34,000 people with glaucoma and more than 349,000 people without the incurable eye condition.

In addition to pinpointing th...

Stem Cell Injections Show Early Promise Against Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating to the more than 17,000 Americans who suffer them each year. But many patients may have new reason for hope: Early research suggests infusions of stem cells could help them regain lost sensation and movement.

These improvements may occur within days or weeks of receiving the stem cell therapy, and can last at least six months, according to the small...

More Than 87,000 Scientific Papers Already Published on COVID-19

The world's researchers have worked at a breakneck pace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through October, more than 87,000 papers about the new coronavirus were published worldwide. That's a remarkable number even given the significance of the pandemic, according to the researchers who tallied them all up.

"It is an astonishing number of publications -- it may be unprecedented in the h...

Coronavirus Antibodies Appear to Stop Reinfection for Months

Protective immune system antibodies that develop after being infected with COVID-19 last for at least a few months, a new study suggests. And reinfection does seem to be relatively rare.

That could have big implications for public health and societies, including allowing people to return to physical workplaces and go to school, the researchers said.

"The data from this study suggest...

You've Got Tens of Thousands of Virus Species Living in Your Gut

Researchers have identified more than 140,000 viruses that live in the human gut, including half that were previously unknown.

The number and variety of viruses found in more than 28,000 gut microbiome samples gathered from different parts of the world are surprisingly high, according to the study authors.

The researchers added that their findings will lead to new research to learn ...

Autopsy Study May Explain Why Some COVID Survivors Have 'Brain Fog'

One of the least understood effects of COVID-19 infection is "brain fog," a kind of mental confusion that can take hold among seriously ill patients, sometimes lingering long after recovery.

Now, a new study has spotted a possible neurological clue in the form of highly unusual cell clusters in the brains of people who had COVID-19.

"What we're talking about is a situation where pat...

Prior Exposure to Common Cold Won't Shield You From COVID: Study

It would be nice if it were true, but a bout of the common cold won't protect you against the new coronavirus infection, researchers report.

Colds are caused by seasonal coronaviruses (CoVs) and previous studies have suggested that exposure to cold coronaviruses may safeguard against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

To find out if that was true, researchers analyzed...

Injected Drug Delivers Up to 20% Weight Loss in Trial

A new weight-loss drug is almost twice as effective as current medications, clinical trial results show, and experts say it could revolutionize the treatment of obesity.

Overweight and obese people lost an average 15% of their body weight using a weekly injectable 2.4 milligram dose of semaglutide (Ozempic), a new report reveals.

What's more, one-third of all participants lost 20% o...

Did the New Coronavirus Come From Pangolins? New Study Says It's Possible

Could it be that a strange-looking creature known as a pangolin was the conduit by which the new coronavirus jumped to humans and prompted an international pandemic?

New research suggests the theory is a plausible one.

Pangolins are sold for food in live-animal "wet markets" in China -- facilities that have long been suspected of being ground zero for the spread of viruses originati...

Interferon Shot Might Keep COVID-19 Patients Out of the Hospital

An experimental antiviral drug known as peginterferon lambda can speed up COVID-19 patients' ability to shed the virus and recover, scientists report.

"One of the important things about this treatment that's different from the other things that have been studied for COVID-19 is that this is working on the person, not on the virus. So it doesn't depend at all on the strain or the sequence ...

Cancer Plagues California Sea Lions, With Implications for Humans

A virus-linked cancer killing California sea lions is sounding a chilling alarm for mankind.

Exposure to environmental toxins significantly boosts risk for the herpes-like cancer, which was discovered in sea lions in 1979.

Since then, between 18% and 23% of adult sea lions admitted to a California animal rescue-and-research center have died of the disease. That's the highest rate f...

Advances in Treatments Against Severe COVID-19 May Have Stalled

The death rate among COVID-19 patients in intensive care has fallen since the start of the pandemic, largely because of better treatments. But a new study review suggests that those advances in care may have plateaued.

The new analysis looked at data from 52 studies in North America, Europe, China and elsewhere, conducted up to October 2020 and including more than 43,000 patients.

T...

Researchers Use Computers and 'Exoskeletons' to Help Stroke Survivors

Stroke survivor Ken Allsford focused intensely on how he wanted to bend his elbow.

And then the robot exoskeleton attached to his left arm obeyed his unspoken command, moving his crippled limb.

"It was a combination of exciting and trepidation, because sometimes nothing would happen," Allsford, 61, of Katy, Texas, recalled. "But when you actually see it move without actually making ...

Like Flu, COVID-19 May Turn Out to Be Seasonal

Like influenza, could COVID-19 evolve to wax and wane with the seasons? New research suggests it might.

Early in the pandemic, some experts suggested that SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- may behave like many other coronaviruses that circulate more widely in fall and winter.

To find out if that could be true, researchers analyzed COVID-19 data -- including cases, deat...

Prior Exposure to SARS Virus Provides Little Protection Against New Coronavirus

Previous exposure to other coronaviruses may enhance a person's immune response to COVID-19 infection, but new research suggests that antibodies triggered by the SARS outbreak of 2003 provide only limited protection against the new coronavirus.

Antibodies are blood proteins made by the immune system to protect against infection, the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) researchers ex...

New COVID Variants May Weaken Vaccines, But Shots Will Still Protect You: Experts

The new coronavirus is mutating in an attempt to elude vaccines and treatments, putting a greater onus on Americans to get vaccinated and use social distancing measures to avoid infection, U.S. health officials said Friday.

New COVID-19 variants out of South Africa and Brazil -- B.1.351 and P1, respectively -- contain a mutation called E484K, "which results in changes in the shape of the ...

Early Promise for Therapy Against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

An experimental gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy shows promise, a small study suggests.

The severe form of muscular dystrophy -- which affects about one in 3,500 males born each year in the United States -- causes muscles to progressively weaken and lose the ability to regenerate after an injury.

Muscle tissue is eventually replaced by fat and collagen. Many children wit...

Pandemic Has Greatly Slowed Pace of Cancer Research

To the ever-growing list of COVID-19's collateral damage, add one more casualty: cancer research.

A new study indicates that during the first wave of the pandemic last spring, the number of newly launched cancer treatment studies cratered by 60%.

"In short, the first wave of COVID slowed scientific progress in a health-related area distant from the disease itself," said study author...

Immune System May 'Remember' Infections From Previous Coronaviruses

Previous coronavirus infections might prime the immune system to fight the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a new study suggests.

There are numerous types of coronaviruses, including many harmless ones that cause mild upper respiratory infections similar to the common cold.

Besides SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- other deadly coronaviruses include MERS-CoV, whic...

Promising Steps Toward Retinal Cell Transplants to Fight Blindness

A promising step toward using retinal cell transplants to treat blindness is reported in a new study.

Adult retinal stem cells from deceased human donors survived when they were transplanted into the eyes of non-human primates, according to the researchers.

The cells were taken from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). It is a layer of cells that supports and nourishes the retina, ...

A Promising New Therapy Against OCD?

Noninvasive electrical stimulation of the brain, fine-tuned to specific "circuitry" gone awry, might help ease obsessive-compulsive behaviors, an early study hints.

Researchers found that the brain stimulation, delivered over five days, reduced obsessive-compulsive tendencies for three months, though in people who did not have full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

It's too...

Sperm Samples May Help Predict Autism Risk in Offspring

Biomarkers in sperm may help identify men at risk of fathering children with autism, researchers say.

For the study, investigators examined sperm epigenetics -- the molecular processes that affect gene expression -- in 13 men who fathered sons with autism and 13 who had children without the disorder.

The American and Spanish researchers focused specifically on DNA methylation, a che...

First Computer Model of Entire COVID Virus Will Aid Research

Scientists have created the first computer model of the entire virus that causes COVID-19 and will share it with other researchers trying to find ways to fight the pandemic.

"If you can understand how a virus works, that's the first step towards stopping it," Gregory Voth, a chemistry professor at the University of Chicago, said in a school news release. "Each thing you know about the vir...

New Insights Into How COVID-19 Damages the Brain

New research offers a novel explanation for the long-term brain problems many COVID-19 patients experience.

Many coronavirus patients report headaches and "brain fog" for weeks or months after they recover from respiratory symptoms. It's been believed that these lingering neurological issues are the result of nerve cell damage, but the new study suggests that the virus may instead be stri...

Research Reveals Why COVID Pneumonia Is More Deadly

Unlike regular pneumonia, COVID-19 pneumonia spreads like many "wildfires" throughout the lungs, researchers say.

This may explain why COVID-19 pneumonia lasts longer and causes more harm than typical pneumonia, according to the researchers at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.

The research team said that their aim is to make COVID-19 more like a bad cold.

For the study, the te...

Almost 47 Million Americans Already Infected With Coronavirus by Nov. 15: Study

By Nov. 15 of last year, roughly 47 million Americans -- about 14.5% of the U.S. population -- had already been infected with the new coronavirus, a new study finds.

That's much higher than the close to 11 million known U.S. cases of infection that were recorded by that date, the researchers said, because reported cases "do not represent the full SARS-CoV-2 disease burd...

Brain May Age Faster After Spinal Cord Injury

A new study supports the theory that people who suffer a spinal cord injury may also have accelerated brain aging that affects how fast they process information.

Those "cognitive deficits" are similar to those in older adults, according to research from the nonprofit Kessler Foundation in New Jersey.

Individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) have an increased risk for cognit...

COVID-19 Immunity Might Last at Least 8 Months: Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 31, 2020 -- Folks who contract COVID-19 can expect to gain some durable immunity against future infection, according to a new study of memory cells within the immune systems of coronavirus patients.

Previous studies have raised concern that COVID-19 patients might lose their immunity quickly once they recover, because the first wave of coronavirus antibodies tends to wane a...

Precautions Even More Important With New Coronavirus Variant: Experts

THURSDAY, Dec. 31, 2020 -- A new and more infectious variant of the COVID-19 virus has shown up in separate cases in Colorado and California, weeks after it first emerged in the United Kingdom.

Doctors on the pandemic's front line say people shouldn't panic, but should definitely adhere even more closely to proven infection control measures, like mask wearing and social distancing.

...

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.

...