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.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
Agencies
September 13,2020

New Delhi, Sept 13: A group of scientists in India is working on genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 around the World, including India, to identify genetic variability and potential molecular targets in virus and human to find the best possible answer to combat the COVID-19 virus.

As per the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the study is sponsored by Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the study has been published in the Journal called Infection, Genetics, and Evolution.

Breaking down the novel coronavirus challenge into many pieces to get to its root and see it from multiple directions, Dr. Indrajit Saha, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of National Institute of Technical Teachers' Training and Research, Kolkata, and his team have developed a web-based COVID- Predictor to predict the sequence of viruses online on the basis of machine learning and analysed 566 Indian SARS-CoV-2 genomes to find the genetic variability in terms of point mutation and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP).

"They have mainly found that 57 out of 64 SNPs are present in 6 coding regions of Indian SARS-CoV-2 genomes, and all are nonsynonymous in nature. They have extended this research for more than 10 thousand sequences around the globe, including India and found 20260, 18997, and 3514 unique mutation points globally, including India, excluding India and only for India, respectively," the ministry said.

The scientists are on the track to identify the genetic variability in SARS-CoV-2 genomes around the globe including India, find the number of virus strains using Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP), spot the potential target proteins of the virus and human host based on Protein-Protein Interactions. They also carried out integrating the knowledge of genetic variability, recognize candidates of synthetic vaccine based on conserved genomic regions that are highly immunogenic and antigenic, and detect the virus miRNAs that are also involved in regulating human mRNA.

"They have computed the mutation similarity in sequences of different countries. The results show that the USA, England, and India are the top three countries having the geometric mean, 3.27 per cent, 3.59 per cent, and 5.39 per cent, respectively, of mutation similarity score with other 72 countries," the ministry said.

The scientists have also developed a web application for searching the mutation points in SARS-CoV-2 genomes globally and country wise. Besides, they are now working more towards protein-protein interactions, epitopes discovery, and virus miRNA prediction, it said.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
Agencies
September 17,2020

covid.jpg

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.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
Agencies
September 15,2020

covid.jpg

Beirut, Sept 15: Once herd immunity is attained, the novel coronavirus may follow suit and become a seasonal virus in countries with temperate climates, but until that time, COVID-19 will continue to spread across the seasons, a new study says.

According to the review research, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, when a significant section of the population becomes immune to the novel coronavirus and achieves herd immunity, the effective transmission of the virus may drop substantially making it more prone to seasonal fluctuations.

"COVID-19 is here to stay and it will continue to cause outbreaks year-round until herd immunity is achieved," warned study senior author Hassan Zaraket from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

"Therefore, the public will need to learn to live with it, and continue practising the best prevention measures, including wearing of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoidance of gatherings," Zaraket added.

According to the scientists, there could be multiple waves of COVID-19 before herd immunity is achieved.

Citing earlier research, they said other respiratory viruses similar to the novel coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2 -- follow seasonal patterns, especially in temperate regions.

They said influenza and several types of coronaviruses that cause common cold are known to peak in winter in temperate regions but circulate year-round in tropical regions.

In the research, the scientists reviewed these seasonal viruses, examining the viral and host factors that control their seasonality as well as the latest knowledge on the stability and transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

They explained that virus survival in the air and on surfaces, people's susceptibility to infections, and human behaviours, such as indoor crowding, differ across the seasons due to changes in temperature and humidity.

These factors influence transmission of respiratory viruses at different times of the year, the study noted.

However, in comparison to other respiratory viruses such as the flu, the scientists said COVID-19 has a higher rate of transmission -- at least partly due to circulation in a largely immunologically naive population.

So unlike the flu and other respiratory viruses, they said the factors governing seasonality of viruses cannot yet halt the spread of COVID-19 in the summer months.

However, once herd immunity is attained through natural infections and vaccinations, they believe the transmission rate of COVID-19 should drop substantially, making the virus more susceptible to seasonal factors.

The researchers said such seasonality has been reported for other coronaviruses, including those that emerged more recently such as NL63 and HKU1, which follow the same circulation pattern like influenza.

"This remains a novel virus and despite the fast-growing body of science about it there are still things that are unknown," Zaraket said.

"Whether our predictions hold true or not remains to be seen in the future. But we think it's highly likely, given what we know so far, COVID-19 will eventually become seasonal, like other coronaviruses," he added.

The scientists noted that the highest global COVID-19 infection rate per capita was recorded in the Gulf states, regardless of the hot summer season.

"Although this is majorly attributed to the rapid virus spread in closed communities, it affirms the need for rigorous control measures to limit virus spread, until herd immunity is achieved," Yassine said.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.