Physical stress on the job linked with brain, memory decline in older age: Study

Agencies
July 24, 2020

Colorado, Jul 24: A new study has found that physical stress in one's job may be associated with faster brain ageing and poorer memory.

Aga Burzynska, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and her research team connected occupational survey responses with brain-imaging data from 99 cognitively normal older adults, age 60 to 79. They found that those who reported high levels of physical stress in their most recent job had smaller volumes in the hippocampus and performed poorer on memory tasks. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is critical for memory and is affected in both normal ageing and in dementia.

Their findings were published this summer in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience under the research topic 'Work and Brain Health Across the Lifespan.'

"We know that stress can accelerate physical ageing and is the risk factor for many chronic illnesses," Burzynska said. "But this is the first evidence that occupational stress can accelerate brain and cognitive ageing."

She added that it is important to understand how occupational exposures affect the ageing of our brains.

"An average American worker spends more than eight hours at work per weekday, and most people remain in the workforce for over 40 years," Burzynska said. "By pure volume, occupational exposures outweigh the time we spend on leisure social, cognitive and physical activities, which protect our ageing minds and brains."

Physical demands at work

Burzynska explained that the association between "physical stress" and brain/memory were driven by physical demands at work. These included excessive reaching, or lifting boxes onto shelves, not necessarily aerobic activity. This is important because earlier work by Burzynska and her colleagues showed that leisure aerobic exercise is beneficial for brain health and cognition, from children to very old adults. Therefore, the researchers controlled for the effects of leisure physical activity and exercise.

As expected, leisure physical activity was associated with greater hippocampal volume, but the negative association with physical demands at work persisted.

"This finding suggests that physical demands at work may have parallel yet opposing associations with brain health," Burzynska explained. "Most interventions for postponing cognitive decline focus on leisure, not on your job. It's kind of unknown territory, but maybe future research can help us make some tweaks to our work environment for long-term cognitive health."

She added that the results could have important implications for society.

"Caring for people with cognitive impairment is so costly, on economic, emotional and societal levels," Burzynska said. "If we can support brain health earlier, in middle-aged workers, it could have an enormous impact."

The researchers considered and corrected for several other factors that could be related to work environment, memory and hippocampus, such as age, gender, brain size, educational level, job title, years in the occupation and general psychological stress.

One piece of the puzzle

"The research on this topic is so fragmented," Burzynska said. "One previous study linked mid-life managerial experience with greater hippocampus volume in older age. Another showed that taxi drivers had larger hippocampi than a city's bus drivers, presumably due to the need to navigate. In our study, job complexity and psychological stress at work were not related to hippocampal volume and cognition. Clearly, our study is just one piece of the puzzle, and further research is needed."

The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data used for the study was collected at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign between 2011 and 2014.

CSU researchers now can collect MRI data with the new 3T scanner at the University's Translational Medicine Institute.

With this new capability, Burzynska, along with Michael Thomas and Lorann Stallones of CSU's Department of Psychology, is launching a new project, "Impact of Occupational Exposures and Hazards on Brain and Cognitive Health Among Aging Agricultural Workers," which will involve collecting MRI brain scans and identifying risk and protective factors that could help the agricultural community age successfully. The project recently obtained funding as an Emerging Issues Short-Term Project from the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety.

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of CSU's College of Health and Human Sciences.

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Agencies
September 29,2020

Pune, Sept 29: A further collaboration among the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, Gavi and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for India and low-and middle income countries.

This brings the total number of vaccine doses to be covered by the partnership between SII, Gavi, and the Gates Foundation to an aggregate of up to 200 million doses, following the initial agreement for up to 100 million doses announced in August.

The arrangement again provides an option to secure additional doses if the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator sees a need for it. The collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help it increase manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO Prequalification, doses can be distributed at scale to LMICs as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021.

"The collaboration further bolsters our fight against COVID-19. Through the avid support of Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we will now manufacture and deliver up to an additional 100 million doses of immunogenic and safe-proven future Covid-19 vaccines to India and low- and middle-income countries in 2021," said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India.

He added, "At this stage, it is important for governments, global health and financial institutions in the public and private sector to come together in ensuring that no one is left behind in the road to recovery. This association is in line with our efforts to see that the future vaccines reach the remotest part of the world providing full immunization coverage in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic."

The funding will help accelerate the manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines licensed from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO Prequalification.

The vaccines will have a ceiling price of US$3 per dose, a price enabled by investments made by partners such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and SII. "This is vaccine manufacturing for the Global South, by the Global South, helping us to ensure no country is left behind when it comes to access to a Covid-19 vaccine," said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

"The momentum behind our effort to ensure global, equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines is really building. Last week, we were able to announce the historic number of countries that are now signed up to the COVAX Facility, today we can announce further doses of safe, effective vaccines that will be reserved specifically for low- and middle-income countries. No country, rich or poor, should be left at the back of the queue when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines; this collaboration brings us another step closer to achieving this goal."

The Gavi COVAX AMC, which is currently seeking at least US$2 billion in initial seed funding, will meet at least part of the cost of procurement for the vaccine doses. The Gavi Board has agreed upon the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC. Under the new collaboration, AstraZeneca's candidate vaccine, if successful, will be available to 61 Gavi-eligible countries.

Novavax's candidate, if successful, will be available to all 92 countries supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC. These countries align with SII's licensing agreements with the two partners. The collaboration between Gavi, SII, and the Gates Foundation supports the efforts of the ACT Accelerator's vaccines pillar, also known as COVAX, co-led by Gavi, CEPI and the World Health Organization (WHO), to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure rapid, global access to them.

Decisions around investment in manufacturing are taken in close collaboration between these three lead organisations of the COVAX pillar. Under the COVAX umbrella, Gavi is coordinating the COVAX Facility, which provides governments with the opportunity to benefit from a large portfolio of Covid-19 candidate vaccines using a range of technology platforms, produced by more manufacturers across the world, with a bigger market to provide security of demand.

So far 73 higher-income economies have formally committed to join the Facility, in addition to the 92 low- and middle-income economies that are eligible for support from the Gavi COVAX AMC. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of a further US$150 million to Gavi, bringing the total funding provided through this collaboration to US$300 million.

This will be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for India and low- and middle-income countries via Gavi's COVAX AMC.

The deal is additional to a Memorandum of Understanding between AstraZeneca and Gavi, announced in June, which will commit an additional 300 million doses of AstraZeneca's candidate vaccine to the wider COVAX Facility, to be supplied upon licensure or prequalification. These two deals can help assure access to early doses for the most vulnerable on a truly global scale.

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Agencies
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said that the coronavirus vaccine will be made available in the country by the start of next year. The remarks come at a time when India is recording more than 50 lakh cases and people are awaiting the vaccine with bated breath.

"Just like other countries, India is also making efforts. Three vaccines candidates are in different phases. Under Prime Minister's guidance, an expert group is looking at it and there is advanced planning in place. We are hopeful that by the start of next year a vaccine will be available in India," Harsh Vardhan said in Rajya Sabha.

Two indigenous vaccines by Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech have completed phase 1. Serum Institute of India (SII) has again commenced the trials after getting clearance from the Drug Controller General of India.

India is the manufacturing partner of the vaccine candidate named Covishield, developed jointly by the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute's and AstraZeneca. The Pune-based firm, SII, is looking after the trials at 17 trial sites across India.

Besides this, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Limited, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered out of India, have agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India.

Sputnik V, an adenovirus vector-based vaccine, was developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, along with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and registered on August 11.

"On regulatory approval in India, RDIF shall supply to Dr. Reddy's 100 million doses of the vaccine. The Sputnik V vaccine, which is based on well-studied human adenoviral vector platform with proven safety, is undergoing clinical trials for the coronavirus pandemic," said a statement from the fund.

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News Network
September 18,2020

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Ludhiana, Sept 18: DMCH Cancer Care Centre in collaboration with American Oncology Institute recently started a new diagnostic service (PSMA-PET Scan) in treating various prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and one of the leading causes of cancer death. Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA ) is highly expressed in prostate cancer and its expression increases with tumour aggressiveness, metastatic disease and disease recurrence.

Secretary of DMCH Managing Society, Sh. Prem Kumar Gupta said, “Very few facilities in the region have this state-of-art facility and will be of great benefit for the patients.” He further added, “DMCH Cancer Care Centre is always in the process of acquiring new techniques and facilities for diagnosing and treating various cancer diseases. The availability of this facility will go a long way to help both patients and clinicians in knowing about the proper stage of prostate cancer, thereby helping patients with better outcome.”

Dr. Puneet Bhutani from the Department of Nuclear Medicine, American Oncology Institute stated, “This is a major milestone in diagnosis of prostate cancer. The procedure of diagnosing prostate cancer through PSMA-PET Scan is more accurate method for early detection of recurrent disease. It allows the oncologists to treat patients at an early stage and provide them a better treatment outcome.”

About American Oncology Institute:

American Oncology Institute is the leading cancer care provider across South Asia operating a chain of cancer hospitals in multiple cities across South Asia. AOI today is a wholly owned subsidiary of Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR).

The team of clinical, paraclinical and healthcare operations experts pride themselves with the aim of closing the gap between standards of cancer care in South Asia and the developed cancer hospitals in the West. AOI provides comprehensive cancer management that is powered by clinical excellence, world class technology as well as best in class clinical pathways and protocols for treatment planning and execution, providing best in-class quality in cancer care across South Asia.

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