• World Suicide Prevention Day is on September 10

    World Suicide Prevention Day is on September 10

    A CNN article points out that world suicide prevention day is on September 10. Some statistics regarding suicides According to the WHO more than 700,000 People die from suicide every year. In the US suicide rates have risen between 1999 and 2018. President Joe Biden stated: "In 2019, suicide was the 10th … [Read More...]

  • Effects of a Plant-centered Diet on Cardiovascular Disease in Midlife

    Effects of a Plant-centered Diet on Cardiovascular Disease in Midlife

    A study followed younger patients for 32 years looking for the effects of a plant-centered diet on cardiovascular disease in midlife. The researchers determined the heart attack and stroke rates when the participants were in their 50’s to 60’s. When on a plant-based diet cardiovascular disease rates fell by 52% … [Read More...]

  • When Stress Becomes Abnormal

    When Stress Becomes Abnormal

    Recently CNN published an article that dealt about when stress becomes abnormal. We all have experienced stress. It makes our heart beat faster and our breathing speeds up as well. But when the stressful situation is over, stress usually subsides also. Some people though have so much stress in their lives that … [Read More...]

  • A New Disease, Long Covid

    A New Disease, Long Covid

    Some of the Covid cases do not resolve; this created a new disease, long Covid. The German news magazine “Der Stern” described this in detail. I summarized this in  English here. The English literature also mentions long Covid. Certainly, physicians learnt from observing the course of many Covid-19 cases. It is … [Read More...]

  • Extreme Heat and Heat-Related Deaths

    Extreme Heat and Heat Related Deaths

    Extreme heat and heat related deaths are closely linked. A record heat wave hit the North West of the US and British Columbia in late June/early July. Many people died from heat stroke and from cardiovascular problems. Here I like to review the medical literature regarding extreme heat and heat related deaths. Also, … [Read More...]

  • Being A Morning Person Can Prevent Depression

    Being A Morning Person Can Prevent Depression

    A British study concluded that being a morning person can prevent depression. It was reviewed also in CNN. The study used sleep data from 85,000 UK participants in the Great Britain Biobank Study. They wore wrist activity monitors that provided sleep data. Researchers compared the sleep data with the self-reported … [Read More...]

    Apr
    03
    2021

    Pollen Allergies Make Covid-19 Infection Rates Worse

    A recent study showed that pollen allergies make Covid-19 infection rates worse. This was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in March 2021.

    The study determined that airborne pollen exposure enhances susceptibility to respiratory viral infections. Specifically, this includes SARS-CoV-2 infections as well. There were 130 test sites in 31 countries across 5 continents where measurements were made. Pollen concentration, air humidity and temperature, population density and lockdown effects on Covid-19 figures were measured. In countries with high pollen counts, high humidity and higher temperatures the Covid-19 rates were up to 44% higher than in countries with low pollen counts and colder climates.

    PNAS study in more detail

    In the following I am discussing the PNAS study in more detail. The SARS-CoV virus from the SARS epidemic in 2002 and the present SARS-CoV-2 virus are both capable to suppress the body’s interferon response to either virus. Additionally, there are intracellular proteins with the name “inflammasomes”, which the SARS-CoV-2 virus activates. With excessive activation this causes a cytokine storm, where inflammation spreads through the whole body. In the blood this leads to disseminated coagulopathy with multi organ failures. In the lungs severe acute respiratory syndrome occurs with severe viral pneumonia. On average mortality is 3.4%.

    Tree and weed pollen can weaken the immune response

    A study from South Korea examined what happens with exposure in asthmatic and allergic school-aged children to tree and weed pollen. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674919311856.

    Allergic reactions make allergic children more prone to rhinovirus infections by reducing interferon in the blood. In addition, allergic reactions stimulate inflammasomes. When the SARS-CoV-2 virus affects an allergic child, both interferon depletion and excessive inflammasome activation make Covid-19 much more severe than in a child without allergies.

    Warm spell in the Northern Hemisphere

    On March 12, 2020 the WHO announced the Covid-19 pandemic when over 33% of the world’s countries were affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, at the same time there was a large-scale warm spell across the Northern Hemisphere with tree pollens being distributed across the same regions. This resulted in an exponential increase of Covid-19 cases. The researchers determined that the rates of Covid-19 infections were highest in areas where there was a high tree pollen count, crowding of people and high humidity/temperatures. The researchers used data from 248 airborne pollen monitoring sites in 31 countries. The highest exponential growth rates of Covid-19 occurred in the countries with the highest pollen counts. 6 out of 8 countries studied with regard to high pollen counts showed a significant correlation with regard to Covid-19 infections in excess to just person-to person virus transmission.

    Population density and lockdown affecting daily SARS-CoV-2 virus rate

    Some countries had a complete lockdown when rates of infection were high. This reduced transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by 50%. Those countries with only a partial lockdown still experienced a significant reduction of infection rates. Rural areas had significantly less daily SARS-CoV-2 virus rates compared to very densely populated cities.

    The researchers observed the following:

    • There was a lag effect of 4 days between the increase of pollen concentration in the air and infection increase with the SARS-CoV-2 virus
    • Pollens in the air caused infection rates of SARS-CoV-2 to rise by 10 to 30%, but in some high pollen areas even up to 44%.
    • Lockdowns reduced infection rates of SARS-CoV-2 by 50%
    • Higher environmental temperatures and higher humidity of the air also increased infection rates of SARS-CoV-2, although this may have occurred indirectly by increasing the pollen count in the air

    Discussion

    1. The authors added a thorough discussion of the multiple factors regarding the increase of the infection rate of Covid-19 in 2020. They pointed out that climatic factors, air pollutants, or pollen, often exert their effects at the same time. They quantitated the contribution of the pollen count in the air easily. In contrast, pollution and climatic factors were not predictable in their effects.
    2. The infection rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus always lagged behind the increase in pollen count by 4 days. The researchers observed this in all those countries where increasing pollen counts were a significant factor.
    3. The epithelial lining of the nasal cavity is the target of inhaled pollen. The researchers cited several publications regarding reduced interferon production as a result of exposure to pollens in the nasal mucous membranes. This leaves the immune system with a weakness, which the SARS-CoV-2 virus exploits. Recently specialists discussed the use of intravenous interferon to interrupt the cytokine storm caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
    Pollen Allergies Make Covid-19 Infection Rates Worse

    Pollen Allergies Make Covid-19 Infection Rates Worse

    Conclusion

    In a recent publication researchers showed that pollen allergies make Covid-19 infection rates worse. The investigators had 130 test sites in 31 countries across 5 continents where they took measurements. They measured pollen concentration, air humidity, temperature, population density and lockdown effects on Covid-19 figures. In March of 2020 there was a warming trend in the Northern Hemisphere. This caused pollen counts to significantly rise in many countries. The result was that the mucous membranes in the nasal cavity weakened. This made it easier for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to multiply and invade. A lag period of 4 days occurred between the rise of the pollen count and the start of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The authors recommend that those who react to pollens in the air should wear pollen filtering masks in the spring season. This minimizes the danger of getting viral infections including SARS-CoV-2 infections following pollen exposure.

    Mar
    06
    2021

    Plastics are Harmful to Babies’ Brains

    Over the years research showed that plastics are harmful to babies’ brains. Companies that make plastic products use a chemical family of compounds, the phthalates. The reason is that they soften the plastic materials and in other instances harden them. February 18, 2021 a study appeared online by a commission that suggests to eliminate phthalates altogether.

    CNN summarized the evidence of what phthalates do to the brain of the unborn late in pregnancy and in early childhood.

    Exposure to phthalates

    Phthalates are also called the “everywhere chemical”.  Researchers found them in food and personal care items, in the car and in the home. You find them in food packaging, older vinyl flooring, in detergents, clothing and shower curtains.  Phthalates are in rain and stain-resistant products, but also in hair spray, shampoos, soap and nail polish. They make fragrances last longer. Phthalates must be listed as part of the ingredient list except when they are in use for fragrances. In that instance the FDA allows up to 20% of the product content to consist of phthalates and the manufacturer can label them only as “fragrances”. This is still a big loophole.

    Effects of phthalates on the young brain

    The recent review of phthalates as neurotoxins has taken into consideration more than 30 studies on prenatal exposure. Different tests assessed cognitive development in young children. The strongest association between phthalate exposure and a decline in cognitive function was found with hyperactivity, emotional problems, delinquent behaviors, other signs of attention deficit disorders (ADHD), defiance and aggression. One study examined children from mothers who had high phthalate levels in their blood in the last trimester. The researchers compared these children to children from mothers whose phthalate levels were normal at the end of their pregnancy. The risk was 3-fold higher to develop ADHD in the children of mothers with high phthalate levels.

    Another study showed that when women in the latter part of their pregnancy had higher phthalate levels, the children at the age of 7 were subsequently found to have an average IQ level 7 points less than controls.

    Elimination of phthalates from the body

    Unlike heavy metals that tend to accumulate in the body, the kidneys and the liver eliminate phthalates fast through urine and bile. Phthalates have much shorter biological half-lives compared to heavy metals that stay in the body for decades. David Bellinger is a professor of neurology and psychology at Boston Children’s Hospital. He said that once there is phthalate exposure to the baby’s brain in the womb, permanent damage sets in. The authors of the review paper call for a total ban of phthalates. This they say prevents high-risk people from getting exposure to products that harmed them in the past. The high-risk people are women of reproductive age, pregnant women, infants and children.

    Manufacturer’s behavioral change

    Lead author Stephanie Engel is a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. She is teaching at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. She said: “We’re exposed to multiple phthalates, and that mixture can come within a single product, but also across multiple products that people are exposed to in a day. The reality is that we need to think of phthalates as a class because that’s how people are exposed to them.” She added that it is possible to remove an entire class of phthalates. She went on to say that the industry is showing us already that it is possible to do that.

    Products are appearing on the market that are phthalate-free

    For instance, Apple has removed phthalates as a class from almost all products. CVS and Home Depot have removed phthalates from personal care and beauty products, household products and vinyl flooring.  Another success story was the removal of BPA (Bisphenol A) from baby bottles and sippy cups. The organization “angry moms” was responsible for this action. Professor Engel suggested that the public at large needs to show what they believe in by only buying products that do not contain phthalates. This economic engine will shift the balance and make manufacturers produce phthalate-free products.

    Chemicals allowed in food and food packaging

    There are over 10,000 chemicals that the FDA has allowed to be in food and food packaging. Now there is a petition in front of the FDA, that asks them to re-review interactions of various chemicals in food and food packaging. Plastics, phthalates, perfluoroalkyl substances and many other substances we need to consider to eliminate. A tablecloth or new carpet do not have to be totally stain repellent. And if you eat out and have leftover food you can bring along a clean glass container where your leftover food food goes in. This gets rid of another Styrofoam container or coated paper container. I mentioned toxins in the bathroom in this blog before.

    Plastics are Harmful to Babies’ Brains

    Plastics are Harmful to Babies’ Brains

    Conclusion

    Industries use phthalates a lot. It is a chemical group of substances that coat food containers, make plastic soft, are in use with vinyl flooring and many other applications. They are even present in personal care, beauty products and household products. The problem is that adults can eliminate these substances very quickly in urine and bile (in the stool). But the fetus and newborns are very sensitive with regard to their brain development. Young kidneys and young livers are slower to eliminate phthalates from the body.

    Damage to the brain of the fetus late in pregnancy

    A publication in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) has published an article on phthalates and other chemicals in our food chain and the environment. They pointed out that with exposure to phthalates in the late pregnancy leads to damage of the brain in the fetus. This leads to a permanent IQ loss, which a research group measured at the age of 7. A normal control group without exposure to phthalates in comparison to a group with exposure to phthalates showed a loss of 7 points on the IQ scale.

    Some companies are starting to produce phthalate-free products

    Fortunately, several manufacturers like Apple, CVS and Home Depot have started to produce items without phthalates. The consumer needs to show with their wallets that we will only buy phthalate-free products. This likely will turn the tide at the manufacturing level.

    Feb
    20
    2021

    Two Articles Showed that Fish Oil Reduces Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality

    Recently two articles showed that fish oil reduces cardiovascular disease and mortality.

    British study recording the effects of fish oil over 10 years

    For one thing, the British Medical Journal published an article comparing people who supplemented with fish oil with people who did not. In this case, the ones who supplemented had a lower risk of mortality and had lower cardiovascular disease than the control group. In brief, 427,678 subjects were enrolled in this British study between 2006 and 2010. Questionnaires at the beginning of the study revealed how many capsules of fish oil the subjects consumed. Hospital records and death certificates provided information about cardiovascular disease mortality at the end of 2018. Altogether, 31% of the subjects said that they were taking fish oil supplements regularly.

    In short, here are the results of the study showing what fish oil did.

    • 7% lower cardiovascular events
    • 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality
    • 20% lower mortality risk from heart attacks
    • 13% lower risk of death from any cause (when compared to people who did not use fish oil)

    Discussion

    Given these points, the authors stated that it was the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil that caused all the beneficial effects. This included lowering of blood pressure, triglycerides and reducing the heart rate. Fish oil was also responsible for improvement of endothelial function, inflammation and blood clotting. In addition, fish oil protects against cardiac arrhythmias. They stated: “Fish oil supplementation could be an inexpensive, quick, safe way of increasing an individual’s omega-3 fatty acid intake”.

    Mayo Clinic study of taking higher doses of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

    A study dated Sept. 17, 2020 showed the cardiovascular benefits of higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids. This was the second of two articles that showed that fish oil reduces cardiovascular disease and mortality. It was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. This metaanalysis involved 40 interventional studies and 135,000 patients. Two types of omega-3 fatty acids, namely EPA and DHA were studied with regard to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. EPA and DHA supplementation had the following effects.

    • 35% reduction of risk of a fatal heart attack
    • 13% reduction of heart attacks in general
    • 10% reduced risk of coronary heart disease occurrence
    • 9% reduction of mortality from coronary heart disease

    The researchers described that the higher the dose of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, the greater the protection.

    An extra dose of 1000 mg per day of EPA and DHA reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease as follows. There was a reduction of cardiovascular disease by 5.8% and of heart attacks by 9%. I take 1800 mg of EPA/DHA twice a day, a total of 3600 mg per day.

    Two Articles Showed that Fish Oil Reduces Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality

    Two Articles Showed that Fish Oil Reduces Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality

    Conclusion

    Two independent studies of fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids came to similar conclusions.  Heart attacks and strokes are significantly reduced. And mortality in the group that used fish oil supplementation was also significantly reduced. An extra dose of 1000 mg per day of EPA and DHA reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease as follows. There was a reduction of cardiovascular disease by 5.8% and of a heart attack by 9%. Based on these findings the researchers recommended that patients should use EPA/DHA supplementation to reduce cardiovascular risk. EPA/DHA supplementation lowers blood pressure, triglycerides and the heart rate. Fish oil was also responsible for improvement of endothelial function, also for the prevention of inflammation and blood clotting. In addition, fish oil protects against cardiac arrhythmias. The end result is that you live a healthier life.

    Feb
    06
    2021

    Researchers Developed a New Antibiotic to Solve Antibiotic Resistance

    In Philadelphia, PA Wistar Institute researchers developed a new antibiotic to solve antibiotic resistance. In the past 10 to 15 years antibiotic resistance has caused difficulties to cure infectious diseases. But Wistar Institute researchers were able to develop a new class of antibiotics that does not only kill bacteria, but also stimulates the immune system to fight the bacteria. The WHO has published a statement in July 2020 about the topic of antibiotic resistance.

    This report points out that pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and foodborne diseases are becoming harder to treat because of multiple antibiotic resistant bacterial strains. Sometimes physicians find it impossible to successfully treat these conditions. The Wistar Institute research hopefully will have the solution to overcoming resistance to antibiotics. An overall description of what the Wistar Institute researchers did is summarized here.

    Development of antimicrobials named dual-acting immuno-antibiotics

    The researchers developed a new class of antibiotics that have a dual action of being immunostimulants and antibiotics (DAIA antibiotics). This makes it much more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance. Conventional antibiotics usually target functions of the bacteria that are essential. This involves the synthesis of nucleic acid and proteins. It also targets the building up of cell membranes and metabolic pathways in the bacterium. But bacteria can fight back by becoming drug resistant and mutating the bacterial target of the antibiotic. This renders the antibiotic powerless against the bacteria that researchers originally designed to eliminate.

    The researchers argued that attacking bacteria on two different fronts makes it hard for them to develop resistant strains.

    Interruption of essential metabolic pathway in most bacteria

    The first the researchers focused on was a metabolic pathway that is essential for most bacteria, however it is absent in humans. This makes it an ideal target when you want to develop an antibiotic. The researchers chose to block an essential pathway in the pathogenic bacteria. More about this pathway is explained in this link. Isoprenoids are lipid compounds common in membranes of bacteria and vital for their survival. There is a key enzyme that is necessary to build up isoprenoids. It has the name IspH enzyme. The Wistar researchers concentrated on finding compounds that were able to inhibit the IspH enzyme. Most compounds they found were not able to penetrate the bacterial cell wall. However, they found compounds that penetrated the bacterial wall and inhibited the IspH enzyme. The researchers tested the new antibiotics against resistant gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. They were superior to conventional antibiotics.

    Immune activation of the novel antibiotics

    The Wistar Institute researchers showed that the antibiotics that inhibit the IspH enzyme are also creating powerful antigens against which the immune system mounts a strong immune response. With the dual action of being immunostimulants and antibiotics the antimicrobial agents are much more powerful than any existing conventional broad-spectrum antibiotic. The researchers tested a number of new DAIA antibiotics and could demonstrate that they were non-toxic to human cells. They also tested them against a wide range of pathogenic gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria and found that they were very potent.

    Farokh Dotiwala, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center and coauthor of the study said: “We believe this innovative DAIA strategy may represent a potential landmark in the world’s fight against AMR, creating a synergy between the direct killing ability of antibiotics and the natural power of the immune system.” AMR stands for antimicrobial resistance.

    Researchers Developed a New Antibiotic to Solve Antibiotic Resistance

    Researchers Developed a New Antibiotic to Solve Antibiotic Resistance

    Conclusion

    The emergence of more and more resistant bacterial strains makes it difficult and expensive to treat bacterial infections. But the Wistar Institute published a research paper that introduces us to a new class of antibiotics. They have a dual action of being immunostimulants and antibiotics (DAIA antibiotics). The antibiotic action is a novel approach in that a DAIA antibiotic blocks an essential pathway in the pathogenic bacteria. This coupled with a strong immune response from the body against the bacteria ensures that no resistance against the DAIA antibiotics can develop. Studies with human cell cultures showed that the DAIA antibiotics are well tolerated. Human studies about various diseases due to antibiotic resistance will follow. This new antibiotic class has great potential to treat resistant bacteria, which will mean much better survival rates for persons with serious infections.

    Jan
    23
    2021

    Review about Human Oncolytic Virus Research in 2020

    The British Medical Journal published a review about human oncolytic virus research in 2020. That is to say, the BMJ published this report in July 2020. On the negative side, the report is rather complex with many technical terms. With this in mind, I will keep it as simple as possible for this summary. Notably, oncolytic viruses are a new way of treating cancer. Adenovirus was the most common oncolytic virus in use by cancer research in the past 20 years. It must be remembered, researchers applied this to mainly melanoma and gastrointestinal cancers. In the past I discussed the use of oncolytic viruses in a related post.

    History of licencing of oncolytic viruses

    1. The first oncolytic virus was licenced in 2004 in Latvia. This was an RNA virus derived from the native ECHO-7 strain of a picornavirus, called Rigvir. This oncolytic virus was approved for treating melanomas.
    2. Shortly after, in 2005, China approved a genetically modified adenovirus, H101 as an oncolytic virus. The approval was for the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma combined with chemotherapy.
    3. In 2015, the U.S. the FDA approved T-VEC (Talimogene laherparepvec), an attenuated herpes simplex virus, type 1. This new oncovirus encodes granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). This is effective for the local treatment of inoperable, recurrent melanoma. It works for cutaneous, subcutaneous and nodal lesions in patients with recurrent melanoma after initial surgery.

    Review of 20 years of human oncolytic virus research

    The investigators reported about 97 clinical trials with oncolytic viruses performed between 2000 and 2020. That is to say, this involved 3233 patients with cancer. Most of these trials were phase I (50.5%) trials. There were an additional 6.2% studies, which were phase I/II. 11.3% were phase II clinical trials and only 2.1% were phase III clinical trials. 29.9 % of the literature did not specify what type of trial the investigations were about. However, they likely belonged into the phase I category as they reported on first trials of a therapy on man.

    Oncolytic viruses derive from various types of viruses 

    The number of studies that used a certain virus-derivative are included in brackets. It must be remembered that most of the studies dealt with six viruses: adenoviruses (30), herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) (23), reovirus (19), poxvirus (12), Newcastle disease virus (NDV) (5) and measles virus (3).

    Stimulation of the immune system through GM-CSF

    In 24 studies the researchers introduced GM-CSF transgene into an oncolytic virus. GM-CSF is a glycoprotein that is normally produced by granulocytes, a type of white blood cell. In this case, it stimulates dendritic cells, the precursors of T cells to produce killer T cells. Notably, this stimulates the immune system to better fight cancer.

    Types of cancer targeted with oncolytic viruses

    It is important to realize that the majority of the studies treated melanoma cases and gastrointestinal cancers. Namely, gastrointestinal cancers included esophageal cancer, gastric (stomach) cancer, colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer. There were 30 studies involving melanomas with 1000 patients. There were 76 clinical trials regarding gastrointestinal cancers with 577 patients.

    Moreover, other cancers where oncolytic viruses were studied were head and neck cancer (15 studies) breast and gynecological cancers (31 studies), genitourinary cancers (26 studies), and sarcomas (16 studies).

    Other drugs given along with oncolytic viruses

    It must be remembered that of the 97 total studies 62.9% were clinical trials where oncolytic viruses were the only therapy. In 37.1% of the studies physicians gave the oncolytic viruses along with cytotoxic chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiotherapy.

    Side effects of treatment with oncolytic viruses

    The safety profile for treatment with oncolytic viruses appears to be tolerable. Fever was common, as were chills. Some patients reported nausea and vomiting, flu-like symptoms, fatigue and pain. But these symptoms disappeared within a few days.

    Suppression of the bone marrow for a period of time was common, but more so when there was a combination of  oncolytic viruses with chemotherapy. None of the patients transmitted viruses to household contacts or the healthcare team.

    Antitumor activity in clinical trials with involvement of oncolytic viruses

    An analysis of clinical responses to oncolytic virus therapy showed the following:

    • 1% had disease control, which broke down as follows (items 2,3 and 4)
    • 4% complete control (=cure)
    • 7% partial control
    • 12% stable disease
    • 9% No response to treatment with oncolytic viruses

    HSV-1 derived oncolytic viruses had the best response. The responses were not as good with adenovirus, reoviruses and with vaccinia viruses.

    Discussion

    Researchers of the BMJ publication analysed 97 clinical trials regarding oncolytic viruses over the past 20 years. This showed a number of points worth mentioning.

    1. The goal of oncolytic virus therapy is to induce tumor cell death. Physicians could achieve this indirectly by stimulating the immune system. Oncolytic viruses can stimulate both the innate immune system and the tumor-specific adaptive immune response.
    2. In the earlier years a lot of clinical trials investigated the safety of oncolytic viruses. But it became clear that oncolytic viruses were safe and fairly well tolerated.
    3. Many clinical trials involved oncogenic viruses with GM-CSF recombinant genes. This gene makes the oncolytic virus produce the GM-CSF protein, which stimulates dendritic cells. The end result is that the immune system produces more killer T cells that attack cancer cells, which results in higher cure rates.

    More problems with oncolytic viruses

    1. There are still many questions about how oncolytic viruses stimulate the immune system. More basic research is necessary in this field. Despite 20 years of research the cure rate of 3.4% and achieving partial control and stable disease in another 17.7% is not acceptable. Perhaps combinations with other cancer treatment methods may improve the cancer cure rates. The reviewers suggested one such combination, namely immune checkpoint blockade with oncolytic virus therapy.
    2. There is no resolution about which route of administering oncolytic viruses is best. Intratumor application in melanoma cases seems the be optimal. But other solid tumors are difficult to reach. In these cases, intravenous applications were a choice. In this case oncolytic viruses experience dilution in the blood and do not have a high enough concentration when they arrive at the cancer.
    Review about Human Oncolytic Virus Research in 2020

    Review about Human Oncolytic Virus Research in 2020

    Conclusion

    In a review researchers discussed the use of oncolytic viruses in cancer therapy over 20 years . Oncolytic viruses are derivatives mostly from adenoviruses, herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), reovirus, poxvirus, Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and the measles virus. In various clinical trials researchers found that disease control was achieve in only 21.1% of treated cases. There was a cure rate of 3.4%, but another 17.7% had partial control of the cancer or stable disease. But 78.9% of treated patients showed no response to treatment with oncolytic viruses. Obviously more research is necessary to improve the cure rates in cancer patients treated with oncolytic viruses. Clinical trials with combinations of immune checkpoint blockade and oncolytic virus therapy would also be helpful. All in all, oncolytic therapy is at this point not yet an effective form of treatment for cancer.

    Jan
    09
    2021

    Melatonin Is More Than a Sleeping Aid

    Notably, the January 2021 issue of the Life Extension magazine informs you that melatonin is more than a sleeping aid. It contains an interview between Dr. Roman Rozencwaig and a Life Extension (LE) magazine reporter. It must be remembered that Dr. Rozencwaig dedicated much of his career to the healing effects of melatonin. Another keypoint is that in 1987 Dr. Rozencwaig published a paper together with two other researchers. Specifically, it showed that melatonin production by the pineal gland declines in older age. Markedly, they stated that this is the reason why people age and why diseases of aging develop. Another key point is that Dr. Rozencwaig also stated that taking oral melatonin can promote a healthier life.

    Melatonin deficiency causing aging and various illnesses

    With the aging process the pineal gland calcifies and melatonin production is steadily declining. Surely, along with this is a deterioration of the circadian hormone rhythm. Meanwhile, the neuroendocrine system in the brain gets disorganized. Accordingly, this causes various diseases to occur. To emphasize, Dr. Rozencwaig says that a proper balance between melatonin and neurotransmitters is what we need to maintain health and longevity. As a result, a daily intake of melatonin supports healthy aging and longevity.

    The many clinical effects of melatonin

    Oral melatonin tablets help you to fall asleep easier, particularly the population that is older than 60 years.

    But besides that, melatonin has many other clinical effects.

    • Melatonin improves immunity, which improves resistance against infections. It helps also in cancer prevention
    • Melatonin maintains the circadian hormone rhythm by synchronizing pituitary and hypothalamic hormone production
    • It protects the brain and may prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, and others
    • Melatonin modulates anti-inflammatory cytokinins in different diseases

    Dr. Rozencwaig mentioned that melatonin slows down the aging process. There are multiple intertwining reasons for this. 

    Melatonin’s actions against the aging process 

    • Melatonin regulates gene expression. This means that some signs and symptoms of aging can be reversed through genetic switches
    • Because melatonin regulates the immune response, the body is more protected against viral, bacterial and parasitic infections
    • Melatonin helps to overcome chronic inflammation that produces cytokines
    • Melatonin is also liver-protective through stimulation of an enzyme (AMPK). This enzyme regulates cellular metabolism.
    • There are other processes that melatonin is involved in: energy metabolism by protection and restoration of mitochondria.
    • Melatonin protects against osteoporosis by balancing and regulating bone formation versus bone loss.

    More actions of melatonin

    • An important function of melatonin is the stimulation of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD)
    • Melatonin regulates sirtuins, which are proteins that maintain cellular health. They protect you from obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart attacks and strokes, dementia and more
    • As already mentioned, melatonin is a neuroprotective agent and may prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia
    • Melatonin stimulates apoptosis of cancer cells.
    • Oral health and melatonin are related. Melatonin suppresses herpes infections and periodontal disease. Melatonin prevents oral cancers to a certain degree. In addition, dental implants survive better when melatonin is present in saliva.

    Prevention of cognitive decline

    Dr. Rozencwaig mentioned that melatonin stops much of the cognitive decline of aging. To achieve this the following processes take place.

    1. Melatonin improves the sleeping pattern and increases the amount of REM sleep.
    2. During sleep melatonin removes toxic amyloid and tau proteins. We know that with Alzheimer’s disease these are the proteins that accumulate in the brain.
    3. Melatonin improves myelination of white matter in the brain. This prevents brain atrophy of old age.
    4. The brain is metabolically very active and produces toxic free radicals. But melatonin is a strong antioxidant dealing with free radicals. Melatonin can cross the blood brain barrier and stimulates enzyme production to eliminate toxic reactive oxygen species.
    5. Chronic inflammation also increases with age, but melatonin deals with this condition in the brain.
    6. Here are 3 subtypes of melatonin receptors. The body integrates the multitude of actions of melatonin with the help of these receptors.
    Melatonin Is More Than a Sleeping Aid

    Melatonin Is More Than a Sleeping Aid

    Conclusion

    Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that has many other useful protective qualities as explained. The body integrates various functions like anti-aging, anti-free radical activity, neuroprotection in the brain and more. Melatonin even synchronizes pituitary and hypothalamic hormone production. This helps to integrate the effect of melatonin, which benefits the body in many ways. Melatonin prevents Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, strokes and dementia. Melatonin production deteriorates from the age of about 60 onwards. It is important to supplement with melatonin at nighttime from that age on. Usually, you only need small amounts of melatonin, between 1mg and 3 mg at bedtime. This prevents most of the serious diseases of old age, stimulates your immune system and lets you age gracefully.

    Dec
    26
    2020

    Hormones Play an Important Role in Survival from Covid-19

    I am describing here that hormones play an important role in survival from Covid-19. There are two publications that illustrate that point.

    Estrogens protect women against Covid-19

    A study from Dec. 4, 2020 covering 17 countries and involving nearly 70,000 women discovered these principal findings.

    • Women aged 20 to 50 have moderately higher Covid-19 infection rates than men
    • In all of the age groups men have higher mortality rates than women
    • Beyond the age of 50 the fatality rate from Covid-19 is 50% higher in men than that of women
    • Postmenopausal women above the age of 50 and on estradiol supplementation had 50% less mortality from Covid-19 than women without estradiol supplementation

    The researchers said about the study: “In a nutshell, it’s likely that the apparently protective effects of 17β-estradiol, a naturally occurring, abundant female hormone, relate to a key property of this molecule: it attenuates the so-called “cytokine storm” that’s thought to underlie much of the cellular-scale and organ/tissue-level damage wrought by a SARS-CoV-2 infection, via dysregulation of a patient’s immune response.”

    Men need enough testosterone to fight Covid-19

    Another study from September 17, 2020 pointed out that males have much worse outcomes with Covid-19 than females. Men are affected by Covid-19 twice as often as females and they experience a much more severe course with a higher mortality. The authors also point out that there is a direct correlation between lower serum testosterone levels in men and inflammation severity by cytokines and poor clinical outcomes. The decline in total and free testosterone in aging men leads to serious pulmonary complications and the need to treat the patient in the ICU. The Covid-19 coronavirus utilizes Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme II (ACE2) for entry into the host cell. A male requires testosterone for ACE2 expression. Lower testosterone causes higher mortality in men. In contrast, if testosterone in a male is too high, blood clots can form in the circulatory system, which often lead to complications and deaths in patients with Covid-19.

    Vitamin D levels and course of Covid-19

    There are three major effects that vitamin D has.

    1. A strengthening of the epithelial barrier not allowing the coronavirus to penetrate into the lung tissue as easily.
    2. Release of defensins and cathelicidin, two crucial antiviral polypeptides, that eradicate the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the system.
    3. Interruption of the “cytokine storm”, an overwhelming inflammation which is responsible for viral pneumonia to develop. Without the cytokine storm there is no damage to the lungs, and people do not need treatment in the ICU. This is particularly important for people above the age of 60 and for people with pre-existing diseases.

    Similarly, with the stabilizing effect of vitamin D regarding the immune function more severe forms of Covid-19 can turn into less severe forms with a better outcome.

    Discussion

    Research showed that in women estrogen has a modifying effect on the course of Covid-19. In males it is testosterone that leads to an improved course of Covid-19. Both sexes require adequate doses of vitamin D, which helps to strengthen the epithelial barrier. In addition, enough vitamin D releases defensins and cathelicidin, two crucial antiviral polypeptides that eradicate any virus in the system. Vitamin D also interrupts the “cytokine storm”, an overwhelming inflammation, which is responsible for viral pneumonia to develop. All of these factors together modify the course of Covid-19 and improve the probability of survival from this otherwise serious viral illness.

    Hormones Play an Important Role in Survival from Covid-19

    Hormones Play an Important Role in Survival from Covid-19

    Conclusion

    Two lines of research showed that both women and men do better with Covid-19 when their hormone levels are either adequate or are substituted to normal levels. Women in menopause taking estradiol for postmenopausal symptoms had 50% less mortality from Covid-19. Men who were testosterone deficient and were put on testosterone supplementation do better with respect to Covid-19. In aging men total and free testosterone decline and serious pulmonary complications occur with a need to treat the patient in the ICU. On top of hormones both men and women benefit from high doses of vitamin D, which strengthens the epithelial barrier. Vitamin D also releases defensins and cathelicidin, two crucial antiviral polypeptides that fights the SARS-CoV-2 virus directly. In addition, vitamin D interrupts the “cytokine storm”, an overwhelming inflammation which causes the viral pneumonia. Taken together the hormones and vitamin D can improve the outcome of Covid-19 significantly.

    This text includes part of this blog.

    Dec
    19
    2020

    The Use of Biologics for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

    Notably, the use of biologics for treatment of autoimmune diseases is one of the newer achievements of medicine. In particular, a recent review summarized the use of biologics. For instance, chronic inflammatory conditions like skin eczema and asthma are some of the diseases where physicians use biologics.

    Dupilumab (Dupixent)

    It is important to realize that biologics are newer medications. They are mostly monoclonal antibodies developed in the lab and directed against various receptors. In particular, one of these is an interleukin-4 receptor. Specifically, this blocks inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-4 and interleukin-13. Dupilumab (Dupixent) is a monoclonal antibody. It must be remembered that it is a useful tool to treat atopic dermatitis (eczema), asthma and nasal polyps from chronic allergic rhinitis. For one thing, the common denominator for all these conditions is chronic inflammation. Here is more background information about Dupilumab. Specifically, this drug blocks certain proteins from attacking your own body. Besides, side effects of the drug are pink eye like inflammation of the eyes. Another side effect were mild skin rashes at the injection site.

    Omalizumab (Xolair)

    This drug is a monoclonal antibody also. It is given by injection into the skin every 2 to 4 weeks by a doctor or nurse. Originally it was developed for control of moderate to severe asthma. However, subsequently physicians treated moderate to severe atopic dermatitis cases also. Biologics are very expensive. It depends on your insurance carrier whether or not it is affordable for you.

    Rheumatoid arthritis

    Another disease that is autoimmune is rheumatoid arthritis. This can lead to crippling deformities in the hands and feet. Two of the earlier biologics for RA were etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira). But there are a host of other biologics that are effective as well.  Generally speaking, the physician will start with conventional medicine, like Methotrexate. If Methotrexate does not sufficiently control the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, the physician usually adds biologics. Often patients need a combination of Methotrexate and biologics.

    Different biologics affect different aspects of the autoimmune response. The first biologic for RA was a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-antagonist, etanercept (Enbrel). Other TNF antagonists are infliximab (Remicade) and adalimumab (Humira). A different approach is an interleukin (IL)-1 inhibitor, called anakinra (Kineret). This biologic interrupts the inflammatory pathway of RA. Another biologic interrupts the T-cells or killer cells; it is called a T cell co-stimulation blocker, abatacept (Orencia). A different mechanism of action is the B-cell depleting agent, rituximab (Rituxan and Mabthera). This suppresses the formation of RA-autoantibodies from B cells.

    The rheumatologist has a wide range of biologics from which to choose. The key is that the specialist individualizes the treatment protocol according to the response of each patient.

    Crohn’s disease

    Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis belong to the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). They are also autoimmune diseases where biologics can be useful.

    There are three categories of treatment that are worth mentioning.

    • Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Agents

    Adalimumab (Humira) was one of the first anti-tumor necrosis factor agents. The physician uses Humira in moderate to severe cases of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It will calm down the symptoms of Crohn’s/ulcerative colitis and will maintain the disease in this symptom-free state. There are 8 other anti-tumor necrosis factor agents on the market.

    • Integrin Receptor Antagonists

    These medications block a protein that coats the inflammatory cells. This arrests the cells, so they don’t move out into blood vessels and to tissues where they could cause tissue destruction. Examples are vedolizumab (Entyvio) and natalizumab (Tysabri). Unfortunately, natalizumab can have a serious side effect, a brain condition called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), This is caused by John Cunningham (JC) virus, which is a virus that 60% of the population carry. Natalizumab suppresses the immune system, which allows the JC virus to flare up and cause PML in the brain. Vedolizumab (Entyvio) is an alternative drug among the integrin receptor antagonists. Contrary to natalizumab it does not enter the brain. In a large clinical trial, it did not cause PML. This drug is infused over 30 minutes initially, then after 2 weeks, 6 weeks and every 8 weeks for maintenance.

    • Interleukin-12 and -23 Antagonist

    Two inflammatory kinins, interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 are involved in causing inflammation in Crohn’s disease. They are proteins and the interleukin-12 and -23 antagonist helps to suppress the inflammation. The FDA approved ustekinumab (Stelara) for moderately or severe Crohn’s disease cases where conventional treatment did not show adequate responses. The physician administers the first treatment intravenously. The follow-up treatment occurs subcutaneously every 8 weeks by a nurse. Alternatively, the patient trains to self-inject the drug subcutaneously and administers the drug every 8 weeks.

    The Use of Biologics for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

    The Use of Biologics for Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

    Conclusion

    Biologics have entered the treatment world of autoimmune diseases. Biologics can be monoclonal antibodies that inactivate part of an inflammatory cause, such as interleukins. Others may counter certain hyperactive immune cells. One of the side effects can be that the immune system is weakened. This allows latent viruses such as the John Cunningham (JC) virus to suddenly flare up. This is the case with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) following natalizumab (Tysabri) treatment for Crohn’s disease. Due to the development of new medications, this treatment is no longer the best option. Vedolizumab (Entyvio) is an alternative drug among the integrin receptor antagonists where PML does not develop.

    Such varied conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis respond to biologics. In addition, nasal polyps from chronic allergic rhinitis and asthma also respond to these drugs. The physician has to carefully match the treatment option to the condition of the patient. The more specific the targets of biologics are the less immunosuppressive side effects they have.

    Dec
    05
    2020

    Mother’s Lifestyle Predicts Heart Attack Risk for Offsprings

    A European Society of Cardiology study found that mother’s lifestyle predicts heart attack risk for offsprings. This study was published in the Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology. It was also summarized in Science Daily. The study author Dr. James Muchira of Vanderbilt University, Nashville said: “This maternal influence persists into the adulthood of their offspring.” What he meant is that the study found that lifestyles of mothers influence the choices of lifestyles of the offsprings, and with poor choices even determine when the next generation gets their heart attack or stroke.

    In previous research the team established that both genetic factors as well as environmental and lifestyle factors are responsible for cardiovascular disease. Now the researchers wanted to determine the influence of each parent on the risk of cardiovascular disease of the offspring.

    Set-up of the study

    The study was done with offspring and the parents of the Framingham Heart Study. 1989 children from 1989 mothers and 1989 fathers were enrolled 1971 and followed for 46 years. The average age of the offspring at enrolment was 32 years. The study ended 2017. Dr. Muchira said: ”Crucially, the study followed children into most of their adult life when heart attacks and strokes actually occur.”

    Risk factors for cardiovascular disease

    The researchers rated the risks of fathers and mothers in the study according to 7 factors.

    • Smoking status (non-smoker preferred)
    • Diet (healthy or not)
    • Physical activity
    • Body mass index (normal or not)
    • If blood pressure is too high
    • Level of blood cholesterol
    • Blood sugar values

    The researchers established three categories of cardiovascular health: poor (fulfilment of 0 to 2 factors); intermediate (fulfilment of 3 to 4 factors) and ideal (fulfilment of 5 to 7 factors). The researchers wanted to know how long the offspring were able to live without symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

    Findings of the study

    Here are the findings of the study.

    • Children of mothers with ideal cardiovascular health lived free of cardiovascular symptoms for 27 years; they were on average 32+27= 59 years when symptoms started.
    • Children of mothers with poor cardiovascular health lived free of cardiovascular symptoms for 18 years; they were 32+18= 50 years old when symptoms started; this is 9 years earlier than children from mothers with ideal cardiovascular health.
    • Father’s cardiovascular health did not influence the children’s onset of cardiovascular symptoms.

    Cardiovascular risks of the children are due to a combination of things

    A combination of the health status during the pregnancy and the environment in early life influenced the children.

    Dr. Muchira said: “If mothers have diabetes or hypertension during pregnancy, those risk factors get imprinted in their children at a very early age. In addition, women are often the primary caregivers and the main role model for behaviors.” Sons were much more affected by their mother’s cardiovascular health status. Dr. Muchira explained: “This was because sons had more unfavourable lifestyle habits than daughters, making the situation even worse. It shows that individuals can take charge of their own health. People who inherit a high risk from their mother can reduce that risk by exercising and eating well. If they don’t, the risk will be multiplied.”

    Discussion

    We remember that the Framingham Heart Study long time ago established the above-mentioned risk factors for heart disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4159698/ It is also important for the offspring to quit smoking as this is a high-risk factor for heart disease. Next eat a balanced diet, like the Mediterranean diet. With this you eat more vegetables, less meat, more fish and add olive oil. Engage in regular exercise, which will raise the protective HDL cholesterol. Keep your body mass index low (in the 21.0 to 22.0 range, but definitely below 25.0). Keep your blood pressure in the normal range (120/80 or less). Make sure that your blood cholesterol and blood sugar values are normal. This will give you the lowest risk to develop a heart attack or a stroke.

    Mother’s Lifestyle Predicts Heart Attack Risk for Offsprings

    Mother’s Lifestyle Predicts Heart Attack Risk for Offsprings

    Conclusion

    We are normally concerned about our own cardiovascular health. But in a new study researchers examined children of participants in the Framingham Heart Study and their parents. This showed that the cardiovascular health status of the mother had a significant influence on the children’s  cardiovascular health. The offspring had an average age of 32 years when the researchers started to follow them for 46 years. When the mother was in poor cardiovascular health, the offspring developed cardiovascular symptoms at age 50. But when the mother’s cardiovascular health was ideal, the children got symptoms of cardiovascular disease only at age 59. This delay of 9 years of disease onset was purely due to the mother’s cardiovascular health status.

    Risk management of cardiovascular risks

    The authors of the study say that the children can do a lot to minimize the cardiovascular risk. They need to work to reduce the known risk factors and also start a regular exercise program. The authors of the study mentioned that even people who inherited a risk for cardiovascular disease benefit significantly from cutting out risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

    Nov
    28
    2020

    Mental Illness and Covid-19

    A topic less discussed is mental illness and Covid-19. Covid-19 has been noticeably around us since March of 2020. With the various social distancing and quarantining methods people become more or less isolated emotionally. Social gatherings are outlawed depending on where you live. This helps to interrupt the spread of the virus, but it makes people feel more stressed as their relationships get interrupted.

    Symptoms of stress

    The CDC sums up that stress during a pandemic can cause the following:

    • Fear of your own health and the health of your loved ones
    • Loss of your job or financial support
    • Changes in eating habits
    • Changes in sleep pattern with lack in concentration
    • Increase in use of tobacco, alcohol or other substance consumption
    • Chronic health problems may deteriorate
    • Worsening of Mental health conditions

    The more isolated we are, the more stress we feel. This undermines our stress coping mechanisms, makes us more anxious and more depressed.

    Develop coping skills

    Taking care of your family and friends may relieve your stress, but it needs to be balanced by taking care of yourself. Although you are physically isolated from others when you are in quarantine, you can stay in contact with others by phone or video chats. This makes you less lonely and isolated.

    Take care of yourself. This includes eating well balanced meals, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Avoid the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Share with a family member or friend how you feel. Maintain friendships through the phone, emails, social media and computer chats. This builds a strong support system for you.

    Avoid too much exposure to news stories. Seeing negative stories about Covid-19 over and over again can be undermining, so take a break from the news media. Go for a walk. Take a nap.

    Suicide

    Sometimes depression can get out of control to the point of driving a person to the brink of suicide. In the US major depression is the leading cause of disability for ages 15-44.  At any given year 16.1 million American adults (about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older) suffer from major depression. 10.3% of Americans have thought about suicide. If you feel that way, do not act on this impulse. Call 1-800-799-4889. That is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline & Chat.

    Medical literature about the psychological impact of Covid-19

    In a July 2020 publication the authors pointed out that Covid-19 infection is a significant psychological stressor. There is the fear of getting the virus and uncertainty about the future. Pre-existing anxiety and depression disorders get accelerated from the stress. In addition, mental disorders like schizophrenia with psychosis may worsen. This may require more antipsychotic medication to control it.

    A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found in March 2020 that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a major impact on US citizens. 45% of respondents said that the pandemic has affected their mental wellbeing significantly. If you are scared, depressed or anxious, you are tense and you have problems falling asleep, you are not alone. You can seek and receive help!

    Prevention of mental disease from Covid-19

    Here is some practical advice from the World Health Organization.

    • Stay informed.
    • Have a daily routine. Get up and go to sleep at regular times. Eat healthy balanced meals. Exercise regularly. Have your work routine and also find time to rest. Do things that you enjoy.
    • Watch the news only to be informed, but limit news watching to a minimum. This will keep anxiety and depression in check.
    • Stay in contact with close friends by phone and computer technology.
    • Keep your alcohol consumption low. If you did not drink before at all, don’t start drinking in an attempt to deal with boredom, fear, anxiety or social isolation.
    • Take breaks from screen time. This reduces tension.
    • Video games: doing this may relax you for a short time. But longer video game activities can make you tense; you should balance this with the rest of your daily activities.
    • Social media. Use this for honest communication. Keep it brief. If you see misinformation, point out the truth.
    • Helping others: if you can, help others in the community with shopping or other chores.

    Treatment for Mental disease from Covid-19

    When you notice anxiety, depression or a flare-up of psychotic symptoms from schizophrenia, it is important to see your health professional right away. You may need some counselling. Others may need an antidepressant (for depression) or an adjustment to your antipsychotic medication. Some patients with milder depression or anxiety may benefit from cognitive/behavioral therapy. Most importantly, know that help is available! More info about cognitive therapy for suicide prevention.

    Mental Illness and Covid-19

    Mental Illness and Covid-19

    Conclusion

    Mental illness and Covid-19 is a huge topic. People definitely have experienced more anxiety and depression since the Covid-19 epidemic. This is because our lifestyle is suddenly restricted. We may have to go through a 14-day quarantine. But we also cannot participate in large gatherings with more than 50 people. Often, we have to wear masks in stores. In areas with high cases of Covid-19 there is also a severe restriction regarding with whom you can visit, leading to feelings of isolation. All of this can lead to mental illness. Essentially there are two ways of coping with this. First, we need to get a routine that makes us more resistant to mental illness. Secondly, if this fails, seek the advice of a health professional right away.

    Seek mental illness treatment right away

    When you catch mental illness early, it is much easier to treat. Milder cases of depression or anxiety may benefit from cognitive/behavioral therapy. More severe cases often require medication. In this outline I have discussed mental illness during the Covid-19 epidemic. I have not discussed the cases where people came down with Covid-19 coronavirus and got affected in their brain function from the virus. These cases need treatment by a neurologist and psychiatrist, and they are much more complicated.