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Feeling Awe, increases the healing process

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Zelda Breath Wild Decade

Doctors say that patients with positive moods are already half cured. Based on this presumption researchers from University of California, Berkeley, decided to make a scientific base that proves this well known theory. Considering that negative emotions don’t only slow down the healing process but also are trigger factors for depression, anxiety, paranoia and other psychiatric diseases, seeing chronic diseases with an optimistic view could change the evolution of the disease. Surprisingly, researchers have found out that the strongest positive emotion that could make a change in the course of the disease is AWE.

This study wasn’t made on sick people because researchers wanted to focus on mood swings so they chose moody subjects like college freshmen. Researchers recruited 119 students and made them complete questionnaires about how they felt the past month, when they felt positive or negative emotions also when they felt hostility or inspiration. After completing the questionnaires they supplied saliva samples that were analyzed for interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is an inflammatory messenger secreted by lymphocytes or macrophages, to promote inflammation in poor health. As expected students whom were happier throughout the month had lower IL-6 levels while those who were more depressed or negative had a higher amount of IL-6 in their saliva. “There seems to be something about awe,” said Dacher Keltner, when he compared IL-6 levels in people who felt AWE often with people while laughing or blushing.

Keep in mind that when the study referred to awe it tried to explain a powerful emotion that gives people goose-bumps. This feeling is different in each case, we cannot give it a certain definition but how I see it it represents what actually makes you happy. Next time you feel sick try to keep a positive attitude and don’t focus on the negative aspects of the disease.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story. Personally I love reading about the people who inspire me and what it took for them to achieve their success. As I am a bit of a self confessed tech geek I think there is no better way to discover these stories than by reading every day some articles or the newspaper . My bookcases are filled with good tech biographies, they remind me that anyone can be a success. So even if you come from an underprivileged part of society or you aren’t the smartest person in the room we all have a chance to reach the top. The same message shines in my beliefs. All it takes to succeed is a good idea, a little risk and a lot of hard work and any geek can become a success. VENI VIDI VICI .

Medicine and Health

A common anesthetic might work by making the brain go crazy

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In what ways do anesthetics keep us from seeing what’s going on around us? A new study that looks at the drug propofol suggests that some may knock us out by making the brain temporarily less stable.

The Greek words “an” (without) and “aesthesis” (sensation) are where the word “anesthesia” comes from. In medicine, anesthesia is a mix of paralysis (not being able to move), analgesia (not feeling pain), amnesia (losing your memory), and being unconscious. Chemicals have been used to put people in this state of mind, which has been very useful in medicine and has made many surgeries possible.

Sometimes, like when we’re awake or asleep, our brains go through different states. One way that these states are different is in how they handle sensory stimuli, which are changes in our brain state. For example, the sound of a phone notification sets off a chain reaction in your brain, where cells become more active and send signals to other cells. Depending on how you’re feeling, that same sound will have very different effects on your brain and how you feel. If you’re asleep, you might not hear it at all. Or while under anesthesia.

How does our brain react to sensory stimuli when we are asleep, and why can’t we be aware of them? A study released today looked at the differences between a brain that is awake and one that is asleep by looking at how stable the brain’s activity is.

To find out how stable something was, they used ideas from a branch of math called dynamical systems theory. Stability is the ability of a system to get back to a normal state after something goes wrong. A stable system is like a pendulum with friction: you can move it from one place to another when you drop it, but it will always land in the same place.

A weather system is an example of an unstable system because small changes can have big effects over time. This is often compared to a butterfly flapping its wings, which can cause a tornado.

“The brain has to handle being on the edge of chaos and excitability.” If it gets too excited, its neurons stop talking to each other, but if it gets just the right amount of excited, it goes into chaos,” Professor Earl Miller, one of the study’s senior authors, said in a press release. He was talking about how stability can be used to measure the brain’s state.

Researchers in the study took recordings from the brains of two macaques while they were given propofol, which is an injectable anesthetic that is often used in surgery. When the primates were more deeply asleep, the activity in their brains became less stable.

For the awake brain to stay stable, there needs to be a balance between stimulating and slowing down. There are two main types of neurons in the brain: those that make other neurons more active (called “excitatory”) and those that make them less active (called “inhibitory”). Propofol works on the inhibitory system to make it stronger and throw the system out of balance.

When the macaques were asleep, the researchers played sounds for them and found that the brain responses were slower and longer. The sensory stimulation caused the system’s state to change for a long time. This shaky activity could mean that the brain can’t handle information as well as it used to. This could be why, when we’re asleep, we can’t see or feel our surroundings or feel pain.

Doctor Ila Fiete, who was also a senior author on the study, said that this new way of describing brain states by looking at how stable they are could be used to study “different brain states, different types of anesthetics, and also other neuropsychiatric conditions like depression and schizophrenia.”

This piece appears in the journal Neuron.

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As COVID spreads, could you spot these less common signs?

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We don’t like telling you this, and neither do you, but COVID-19 is still around. A lot of us know people who have been coughing and sneezing lately. You may have even asked yourself, “Do I have hay fever or COVID?” But what about signs that don’t look like other breathing problems? This could be a good time to remember some of the strange ways that COVID can show up.

What’s going on with COVID right now?
The number of COVID-19 cases in the US was slowly going up as of the week ending July 6, 2024, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was 11% of tests that week that came back positive for the virus, up from 9.1% the week before. In the same way, the number of visits to the emergency room and hospital stays went up slightly, but the number of deaths from the virus stayed the same.

Up until July 3, the number of positive COVID cases in the UK was actually going down, by 16.6 percent from one week to the next. But in the seven days before June 28, there were more deaths and hospital admissions.

The CDC data show that KP.3 is the most common circulating variant in the US right now. It is one of the FLiRT variants that has been getting more attention this year, likely because of changes that make them more difficult for the human immune system to recognize.

The COVID of 2024 is very different from the COVID of early 2020. This is because vaccines are now available, and people have learned that non-drug methods like masking can help stop the virus in its tracks. Despite this, it continues to show that it can mess up our lives, as we saw when mask rules were brought back to the Tour de France after riders quit.

What are the most common signs of the newest types of COVID?
The last time the CDC updated its list of the most common COVID symptoms was in March 2024. Many of the symptoms are ones we would expect from a respiratory illness, like a cough, fever, and tiredness. A lot of people still say they lose their taste and/or smell, though it’s usually only for a short time. They also often get sore throats and headaches. The CDC says that COVID symptoms can be very different, and there are some other strange signs that you may want to be aware of.

What are some strange COVID symptoms?
Having problems with your gut
Based on what people have said on social media, a lot of people were shocked to learn that COVID can show itself by making you sick.

If you have a COVID infection, you might feel sick, throw up, or have diarrhea. These symptoms may happen with or without other, more common ones. Drugs used to treat COVID can also make stomach and bowel problems worse, and people who have had COVID for a long time may still have these problems.

Because of all of this, some people think that a COVID infection is food poisoning or another virus like norovirus. But remember that just because you don’t have a cough doesn’t mean it’s not COVID.

Illness expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong told the New York Times, “If everyone in your house has COVID and you have diarrhea, then you have to connect the dots.”

COVID tongue
“COVID tongue” is a sign that has been known about since the beginning of the pandemic. People with COVID have sometimes reported ulcers and strange white spots on their tongues or inside their mouths. If you notice any of these symptoms out of the blue, it’s possible that you have COVID. Changes in your mouth should always be discussed with your dentist if they worry you.

There are some bad side effects that can happen when you treat COVID. For example, some people who take the drug Paxlovid report dysgeusia, which is a bad taste in the mouth that is either bitter, metallic, or sour.

COVID toes
In the same way, COVID can also give you a condition on your feet and toes that looks like chilblains. The skin will turn red or dark, hurt, itch, and sometimes form blisters.

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What to remember
Unfortunately, you should still think that it could be COVID-19 if you get a cough or cold in the next few weeks. Tests are the only way to be sure about the never-ending cold, hay fever, or COVID debate.

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you should probably also add flu to your list of possible diagnoses, since the season is now in full swing. However, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, flu levels are still very low even though it’s almost the middle of summer.

People with COVID can have more than just coughs and sniffles, though. We hope that we’ve reminded you to also look out for symptoms that you might not expect.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a trained professional. If you have questions about a medical condition, you should always talk to a qualified health professional.

 

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There are signs of the COVID virus in the body years after the first infection

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COVID-19 used to mean coughing for two weeks and not being able to smell your new candle. Then we learned about Long COVID, which is a vague grouping of more than 200 symptoms that can be very bad months or even years after the main illness seems to have gone away.

We’re still not sure what’s causing the long-lasting condition four years after the pandemic began, but a new study that tracked 24 Covid patients for up to 900 days found a possible cause that hadn’t been seen before: your T cells.

This isn’t the first study to find a link between COVID-19 and these immune cells. Just last month, a study from Imperial College London suggested that targeted T cell therapies might be able to help fight the disease. But it has been going on for a long time—it was started in 2020, long before most people thought COVID-19 might stay in the body.

But that’s not the only thing that makes it unique. The people who worked on the study got ideas from studying HIV, a disease that is basically defined by its ability to kill T cells. Since they couldn’t keep an eye on antibodies so early in the pandemic, they used PET scans to look at how T cells behaved inside the body after infection.

A professor of immunology at Imperial College London and co-author of the Penguin Handbook of Long Covid and lead investigator of the NIHR WILCO LONG COVID Study, Danny Altmann, said, “It’s a new approach that lets them map activated T cells in the body.” Altmann was not involved in the study.

He said, “They find patterns of long-term T cell activation that may help to explain patterns of long-term Covid symptoms.” “For instance, people with breathing problems had activated T cells that stayed in the lungs for a long time.”

Activated T cells were seen flocking to the gut wall in other scans, which led the team to look at gut biopsies. As before, they found COVID-19 RNA, which Altmann called a “long-term virus reservoir.”

Six control samples were used to make the result even more clear. These were scans from before the pandemic, “before anyone on the planet could’ve possibly had this virus,” Michael Peluso, lead author of the paper and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told Stat. In these scans, T cells were activated, and they were mostly found in places that are known to help get rid of inflammation, like the liver and kidneys. People with Long Covid had them all over.

It’s very interesting, Peluso said. “This is happening in someone’s spinal cord, GI tract, heart wall, or lungs, my goodness!”

Unfortunately, the study isn’t a sure thing—the researchers aren’t sure what the T cells are reacting to and whether the scans are showing old infections or live virus particles—but it’s still interesting. “A lot of inferential data supports the idea that one of the main reasons for long-term Covid may be that some people don’t get rid of the virus properly and have SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in their tissues,” Altmann said. “But it’s been hard to prove.”

“This study should be seen as a big step toward better understanding how this disease works,” he said. “This brings us closer to treatments that could give hope to the tens of millions of patients.”

It is very important to have new clinical trials right now, and studies like this help show the way.

The study is written up in the Science Translational Medicine journal.

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