6 Ways To Strengthen Your Relationships In 2023

Hyosun Hwang

Relationships are an essential component of a healthy, fulfilling life, but they can take a heck of a lot of work. As 2022 winds down, Well is looking back at some of the relationship-building strategies we covered over the past year to help you deepen your friendships or romantic partnerships going forward.

Making friends in adulthood takes initiative, and it can be daunting to put yourself out there. Remind yourself that the people you meet are more apt to like you than you presume, said Marisa Franco, a psychologist who studies friendship and who wrote the 2022 book “Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make — and Keep — Friends.”

“That is based on research into the ‘liking gap,’” Dr. Franco explained, or the idea that we tend to underestimate how well-liked we are. There is also a separate but related theory known as the “acceptance prophecy,” which says that when people assume others like them, they tend to be friendlier and more open. If you’re looking to make friends, your mind-set really matters, Dr. Franco said.

A study that tasked participants with doing kind things for others found that the participants underestimated how appreciated those gestures were. That held true whether they did something for someone they knew (like baking cookies for a friend or giving a classmate a ride home) or for a stranger (like giving someone a free cup of hot chocolate on a frigid day).

“People tend to think that what they are giving is kind of little, maybe it’s relatively inconsequential,” said Amit Kumar, an assistant professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, and an author of the study, published in August. “But recipients are less likely to think along those lines. They consider the gesture to be significantly more meaningful because they are also thinking about the fact that someone did something nice for them.”

If you’re not one for baking, or you just cannot see yourself buying hot drinks for strangers, don’t force it. Instead, consider your skills and talents, and ask yourself: How can I turn those into offerings for others?

Calling, texting or emailing a friend just to say “hello” tends to mean more than we realize, according to a 2022 study that included 13 small experiments. In some, participants contacted someone they considered a friend; in others, they got in touch with someone they were friendly with but considered a weak tie. Across the board, those reaching out underestimated how much doing so meant to the person on the receiving end.

To demonstrate how little it takes to lift someone’s spirits, the researchers intentionally kept the bar low for what constituted “getting in touch.” “Even sending a brief message reaching out to check in on someone — just to say ‘Hi,’ that you are thinking of them, and to ask how they’re doing — can be appreciated more than people think,” said Peggy Liu, Ben L. Fryrear Chair in Marketing, an associate professor of business administration at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business and an author of that study.

John and Julie Gottman, who are married psychologists, have spent decades studying what makes marriage tick, and in their 2022 book, “The Love Prescription: 7 Days to More Intimacy, Connection and Joy,” they argue that much of it boils down to “turning toward” your spouse.

As the Gottmans, who co-founded the Gottman Institute, point out, partners make repeated bids for each others’ attention throughout the day. In response, the other partner can react in several different ways: ignore the outreach (turning away); respond negatively (turning against); or acknowledge the bid positively with something as simple as a nod or touch (turning toward).

“Let’s say I say to John, ‘Wow, look at that beautiful bird out the window!’” Julie explained. “John can totally ignore me. He can say, ‘Would you stop trying to interrupt me? I’m reading.’ Or he can say, ‘Wow, yeah!’” In one of the Gottmans’ best-known experiments, they watched couples over the course of a day and found that those who stayed married for years “turned toward” each other more than 80 percent of the time. Those who went on to divorce did so only about 30 percent of the time.

Terrence Real, a family therapist and author of the 2022 book “Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship,” believes that in most partnerships, there are three phases of love: harmony, disharmony and repair. Yet our culture does not equip people to talk about — or deal with — that expected second stage of disharmony or disillusionment. Simply acknowledging it to yourself and your partner can help.

“I’ve run around the country for 20 years, talking about what I call ‘normal marital hatred,’ and not one person has ever come backstage to ask what I meant by that,” Mr. Real said.

Unlike schadenfreude, when we take pleasure in others’ misfortunes, “freudenfreude” describes the bliss we feel when someone else succeeds — even if it doesn’t involve us. There are benefits to sharing in someone else’s joy. It can foster resilience and improve life satisfaction.

One easy way to experience more freudenfreude is to check in with your friends and loved ones about their small victories or the bright spots in their day. Doing so turns you into a “joy spectator” — and gives you an opportunity to see the people around you at their best.

Catherine Pearson

Source: 6 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationships in 2023 – The New York Times

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Female CMOs are Building Some of Fintech’s Fastest-Growing Brands

The global nature of the fintech market makes it challenging to personalize messaging. Michelle Faul, vice president of global marketing at B2B payment processor TreviPay, said that makes it even more important. Though TreviPay is headquartered in Kansas City — not a place most think of when they think about fintech, but a place Faul says has a healthy tech startup presence — the company counts customers nationwide and in 32 countries.

“Making sure you’re leading with empathy and ensuring to personalize your message based on the geography [is important],” Faul said. “Even with the way they talk about the challenges, making sure you understand their challenges in their words — it’s one of the pillars of our marketing to make sure they feel heard, and we’re positioning it in a way that they understand.”

That perspective is paying off: TreviPay processes $6 billion in transaction volume in 19 currencies, and the company has experienced recent growth. Even in a challenging macroeconomy, fintech marketers are eager storytellers. While they’re passionate about the technology, they’re perhaps even more so about who and what will be benefiting from it.

“The one thing I’m very excited about is really telling the technology story,” said Priya Rajan, DataVisor’s vice president of marketing. “In terms of providing education and bringing credibility, I think telling the story of these experts in a way that’s simple and valuable [matters].”

“In my current role … I try to uncover the story of how DataVisor really transforms the way we manage risk today in a way that’s real-time but also cost-effective. Fraud management should not exceed the cost of fraud itself,” Rajan added. “You need [return on investment]. … Aligning these business objectives and being able to connect the dots is something I’m super excited about and super proud of,” she said.

Representation of women in fintech leadership is steadily improving, mostly at newer firms, the International Monetary Fund found. The business case is there: Citing a McKinsey study, the IMF reported that gender diversity on the boards of nonfinancial and financial firms is correlated with positive financial performance. Citing a Credit Suisse study on gender diversity and corporate performance, the IMF said higher share prices are, too.

Harvard Business Review, too, found that female-led finance and investment firms were more likely to “reinvest, create jobs and have higher levels of innovation than their male counterparts.”

“The way that women approach and think about [things] … I think it’s really important to have that equal representation at all levels,” Hay said. “Organizations will benefit from different ways of thinking about things.”

Source: Female CMOs are building some of fintech’s fastest-growing brands | Marketing Dive

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Can Processed Meat Ever Be Healthy And How Much Is OK To Eat?

We know that cigarettes cause cancer, and as a result, they are becoming increasing difficult and expensive to buy. We know that alcohol consumption is too associated with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, and as such there are clear guidelines on the maximum amount of alcohol the average adult should consume each week.

So, given that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified processed meat including ham as a group 1 (known to cause cancer) carcinogen, why are processed meats including ham, salami and bacon still sold freely in supermarkets (minus any public health warning)?

Processed meat including salami and bacon are foods that have been enjoyed in many cultures for thousands of years, and are meats that have been treated via processing techniques such as curing, fermenting, smoking or salting to extend the shelf life and add taste and texture.

Delve into the science

The key health concern relating to processed meat is that it can contain compounds called N-nitroso chemicals that can damage cells in the wall of the bowel, which can cause bowel cancer. In addition, the nitrate-based preservatives used to make processed meat also produce these same N-nitroso chemicals

It is important to remember that the amount of processed meat we eat can add up across the week.  Clare Hughes

While this science has been known for some time, and the public health position to limit the consumption of processed meat endorsed by a number of key public health organisations including Cancer Council Australia, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the Harvard School of Public Health, the question remains, if this food is so potentially dangerous for us, why does it remain freely available for human consumption?

Indeed, this is a question raised indirectly recently when a group of health researchers published a paper in the Journal of Internal Medicine, which concluded that based on a summary of current data available, there was no need for adults to reduce their current consumption of processed meat.

The review of 61 scientific studies, and over 4 million people led the investigators to conclude that the “strong anti-meat” dietary recommendations are not justified.

Health recommendations

Current recommendations are for Australians to consume no more than 455 grams of cooked lean meat each week and avoid processed meats such as ham entirely.

There are no specific recommendations for children, which leaves parents in no man’s land, with many families relying on budget-friendly processed meats such as ham as cost-effective sandwich fillings.

It also fails to take into account leaner varieties of processed meat, and the newer varieties that do not contain added nitrates, and whether these are “safer” options that can be enjoyed more freely.

Clare Hughes, the nutrition unit manager from the Cancer Council, is aware that this is complicated area.

“Nitrate-free varieties of processed meat are relatively new and as such the evidence available does not distinguish between processed meat that is nitrate-free or not, so we recommend people limit their intake regardless,” she says.

“It is important to remember that the amount of processed meat we eat can add up across the week. It could be a bacon and egg breakfast on weekends, then ham sandwiches for lunch as well as salami on a pizza weekly, in addition to mixed meats on weekend grazing platters. Here processed meat is being consumed on more days than not.

“Once a week on a pizza or in a cooked breakfast at the weekend is probably fine but if it’s something that you’re finding you are eating every day or most days during the week, it is a good idea to look for ways you can cut back and include other alternatives such as unprocessed meats, seafood, eggs, legumes and vegetables, especially if there is a family history of bowel cancer,” Hughes says.

Balance is key

The other key point to consider is what other nutrient-rich foods are being consumed by the family.Individual foods do not cause cancer in isolation, but rather dietary patterns over time. In other words, the overall nutrient balance is the most important thing when it comes to health and disease risk.

This means that a diet full of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables with only the occasional processed meat (once or twice each week), is much better than a diet that includes little fresh food, and a ham sandwich on white bread each day for lunch.

This may partially explain while some cultures, such as in Greece or Italy, may consume processed meats more liberally, yet do not have a greater incidence of bowel cancer that presents here in Australia.

Perhaps most importantly is an understanding of how the risk of eating processed meat regularly compares to other carcinogens such as cigarettes. It has been shown that individuals who eat 50 grams of processed meat per day have 1.18 times higher risk of developing bowel cancer than those who don’t eat processed meat at all.

By comparison, the worst-case increase in risk of bowel cancer linked to eating processed meat is less than two times the risk compared to lifetime smoking, which increases the risk of developing lung cancer by 50.

This means it may simply come down to choosing the leanest processed meats you can find (free of added nitrates where possible), and enjoying it at most once or twice each week as a special breakfast addition, or on your favourite pizza, rather than your daily sandwich filler.

By: Susie Burrell

Susie Burrell is an accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist and holds a master in coaching psychology.

Source: Can processed meat ever be healthy – and how much is OK to eat?

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Critics by Jillian Kubala

Nearly all foods are processed, at least to some extent. For example, manufacturers process dried beans to make them shelf-stable. This does not make them less healthy. So, before we get into what makes a food highly processed, it’s important to understand that foods aren’t “unhealthy” just because they’re processed in some way.

To make it easier to understand food processing, researchers have separated foods into four categories based on the extent of processing. To do this, they used NOVA, a food classification system developed by researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (1, 2Trusted Source, 3):

  • NOVA Group 1. Minimally processed and unprocessed foods. Vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, and nuts fall into this category. These foods may have gone through roasting, boiling, or pasteurization to increase shelf life or make them safe to eat.
  • NOVA Group 2. Processed culinary ingredients obtained directly from group 1 foods or from nature. This can include foods such as olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Group 2 foods are mainly used in preparation and cooking of group 1 foods.
  • NOVA Group 3. Processed foods, including items made by adding ingredients like salt, sugar, or other substances from group 2 to group 1 foods. Examples include fresh bread, fruits in syrup, and cheese.
  • NOVA Group 4. Ultra-processed foods. These contain little, if any, of the foods or ingredients from group 1. These items are meant to be convenient, hyper-palatable, and low cost and are typically high in sugars, refined grains, fats, preservatives, and salt.

Ultra-processed, or highly processed, foods typically contain substances you wouldn’t use in food preparation at home, such as (4Trusted Source):

  • hydrolyzed proteins
  • modified starches
  • hydrogenated oils
  • colorants
  • flavorings
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • artificial sweeteners
  • bulking agents

These definitions aren’t perfect or 100% accurate for classifying foods, and experts admit that there’s considerable variability when it comes to listing foods as “highly processed” in research studies (4Trusted Source). For example, breakfast cereals are considered highly processed in many studies. However, healthcare experts do not consider some cereals highly processed if they contain no added sugar and have undergone minimal processing.

That said, this classification system is simply meant to provide a general idea of what makes a food highly processed based on its manufacturing and ingredients.

Examples of highly processed foods

Now that you have a general idea of what makes a food highly processed, you’re probably wondering which foods and beverages fall into this category.

Here are some common examples of ultra-processed foods (2Trusted Source):

  • sugary beverages such as carbonated soft drinks, sugary coffee drinks, energy drinks, and fruit punch
  • sweet or savory packaged snacks such as chips and cookies
  • sweetened breakfast cereals such as Froot Loops, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and sweetened oatmeals
  • baking mixes such as stuffing, cake, brownie, and cookie mixes
  • reconstituted meat products such as hot dogs and fish sticks
  • frozen meals such as pizza and TV dinners
  • powdered and packaged instant soups
  • candies and other confectionery
  • packaged breads and buns
  • energy and protein bars and shakes
  • meal replacement shakes and powders meant for weight loss
  • boxed pasta products
  • ice cream, sweetened yogurt, and cocoa mixes
  • margarine and other ultra-processed spreads such as sweetened cream cheese

Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. Many other foods and ingredients are also considered ultra-processed. It’s not always immediately clear whether a food is highly processed, which could make it difficult for consumers to minimize these products in their diet.

The most reliable way to identify highly processed foods is to read the ingredient labels. Ultra-processed foods have ingredients like (2Trusted Source):

  • artificial colorings and flavorings
  • thickeners and preservatives
  • hydrolyzed proteins
  • sweeteners such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, and maltodextrin
  • hydrogenated or interesterified oils
  • bulking, foaming, and gelling agents
  • flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG)

The world of food additives can be overwhelming and confusing, and you might find it difficult to identify everything on ingredient lists. If you’re interested in learning more about food additives and which additives manufacturers commonly include in ultra-processed foods, check out the United Nations Codex Alimentarius, which keeps an updated list of food additives.

Related contents:

Liver King and Dr. Saladino Discuss Dangers of Processed Food and Seed Oils: ‘Stop Feeding Your Children Garbage’ FitnessVolt

08:55 Thu, 15 Sep
20:55 Tue, 13 Sep
15:44 Tue, 13 Sep
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Mayo Clinic Minute: What is ultra-processed food? Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky
13:02 Tue, 13 Sep
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Planning on Going Back To The Office, Hitting The Gym or Attending a Wedding? A Guide To Staying COVID Safe

Dr. Anthony Fauci declared last month that the U.S. is transitioning “out of the pandemic phase,” following mask mandates lifting across the country. However, that doesn’t mean COVID-19 is behind us. Surges continue in different parts of the U.S., while an estimated 300 people die every day because of the virus.

So it’s understandable that some people — at least the ones who have been trying to protect themselves and others from the highly-contagious virus for the past two years — are feeling a bit confused about what exactly they should be doing at this stage of the pandemic to stay healthy and safe.

Dr. Joseph Khabbaza, a critical care medicine specialist and pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells Yahoo Life, “A lot of people have been given a sense that this is probably over for most of us. The answer isn’t going to be the same for every two people.”

Khabbaza says that’s because every person has to assess their own individual risk factors when it comes to getting COVID. Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, an assistant professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, agrees, telling Yahoo Life: “Safety precautions at this stage in the pandemic are related to one’s personal risk of having a bad outcome from COVID-19, vaccination status and one’s personal risk tolerance. All situations are slightly unique and require an individual and situational risk assessment.”

With the exception of people who are immunocompromised or elderly, though, “if you’re fully vaccinated and up-to-date on boosters, your personal odds of getting severe illness are very low, even if you come across the virus,” says Khabbaza. “Whereas for people who have not been vaccinated they may not factor in that they are at high risk for severe illness. But that’s something some people have chosen.”

How can you protect yourself in general?

In a nutshell, getting vaccinated and boosted if eligible is still the right call — especially if you’re more vulnerable to severe illness from COVID — and offers “the best protection,” says Kulkarni.

He adds: “Folks who are at higher risk for a worse outcome from COVID-19 may wish to enhance their protection from contracting COVID-19. The best way to do this is with a well-fitting mask. N95 respirator-type masks afford the greatest individual protection.”

Kulkarni says that “the folks who are potentially at the highest risk at this point in the pandemic include unvaccinated individuals, especially older persons, folks who are at higher risk but have not yet been boosted such as older persons or people living in nursing homes and people with significant immunocompromising conditions.”

Both Kulkarni and Khabbaza say it’s also important to know what the COVID rates are in your area or where you’re traveling to. “Following CDC’s tracker of COVID activity around the country can also be helpful to get a gauge for how things are going in a particular geographic area,” says Kulkarni.

Planning on going back to the office, hitting the gym or attending a wedding? Keep these precautions in mind to stay COVID safe and healthy.

Flying on a plane

With multiple U.S. domestic airlines including Delta, American and United dropping mask requirements on flights, you may be wondering how to stay safe while traveling on packed planes. The CDC states that it continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time. But depending on your own personal risk factors and risk tolerance, while at the airport, “if you’re able to space apart from people and avoid close sustained contact, then a mask is not going to be needed,” says Khabbaza. But when you’re in prolonged close proximity to others, it’s a good idea to mask up.

For example, Khabbaza shares that he doesn’t wear a mask while walking around the airport because he’s in motion and able to distance himself from others. However, he puts on a mask while in the security line “because of close contact.” He then takes it off walking to the gate and while sitting at the gate “because I’m away from other people.” Once on the plane, Khabbaza puts his mask back on. “Ventilation in airplanes seems to be good, but to me, it’s easy enough to minimize my risk in a setting with others by wearing a mask,” he says. “That’s where you’ll get more value for masking.”

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, told CNN that wearing a mask in the highest-risk settings while traveling is key. “That includes during boarding and deplaning when the ventilation systems on airplanes are often not running,” she says. “Don’t drink or eat at those times.”

Although airlines often hand out sanitizing wipes as you board, Khabbaza explains that, from a COVID transmission standpoint, “I don’t think that would have much of a barrier.” That’s because “contact with surfaces is not as big of a mode of transmission as initially thought, if at all,” he says. That said, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down the seat and tray table for hygiene’s sake.

Kulkarni agrees, saying, “In general, wiping down surfaces via routine cleaning can be generally helpful for avoidance of transmission of several different infectious organisms.”

Eating at a restaurant

In general, it’s safer to dine outdoors when feasible. “Similar to the initial stages of the pandemic, outdoor transmission of COVID is very limited compared to indoor transmission,” points out Kulkarni.

Khabbaza says to keep in mind that “if you are choosing to dine in a restaurant, most of your risk is when you’re sitting down and eating, which is much of the time.” Putting on a mask while walking for “a few seconds to your seat” or wearing one on the way to the restroom may not change the fact that there’s a “slightly higher risk of indoor dining right now,” he says. “Theoretically, it could lower it a little bit, but you’re drinking, eating, talking and laughing when seated and not moving around — that’s where the risks are.”

Khabbaza says the safest way to dine indoors is by choosing restaurants with big open windows to further lower the risk of transmission or going to restaurants during off-hours “when they’re not full.”

Working in an office

If you’re alone in your own office or in a private cubicle, a mask likely isn’t needed. “It will be hard to transmit if far away from others and there’s a barrier with cubicles,” Khabbaza says.

But he stresses that it’s important to know your company’s policy on vaccinations and whether employees need to show proof of vaccination to better assess the risk. “If vaccination is mandatory that certainly makes things a lot safer,” Khabbaza says. “But if you’re in close sustained contact all day at work, masking is probably not a bad idea, especially in times of high cases.”

Wearing a mask can also help put co-workers and employers who are more vulnerable at ease. “If you’re working with people you know are immunocompromised or elderly, it’s OK to try to protect them with masking,” he says.

Along with distancing and good ventilation, Wen told CNN that “testing that’s done at least once a week can help catch early, asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and serve as an additional layer of protection.”

Visiting a public pool

The good news is that the virus doesn’t transmit through water, per the World Health Organization. There’s also the protective benefit of being outdoors while at a public pool. However, Khabbaza points out that “close sustained contact with someone in a pool might have some of that risk.”

If the pool isn’t crowded, it’s easy to avoid people and space apart. “But if it’s a crowded pool party, there’s a risk and masks aren’t feasible,” he says.

When going indoors, such as to the locker room, it’s a good idea to put on a mask if there are several people close by. The CDC recommends bringing extra masks and storing them in a plastic bag in case one gets wet.

Going to the supermarket

In general, supermarkets are “lower risk from a COVID standpoint because you’re not really in close sustained contact — a lot of it is walking by people,” says Khabbaza, “and you can space out in a line at the cashier.”

But if you’re concerned or immunocompromised, he says, “just wear the mask, and then you have a barrier over your nose and mouth.”

Working out at the gym

The size, crowd and ventilation matter when it comes to gyms. Small boutique gyms that rely on fans to circulate the air are going to be “a little [riskier] if crowded because there’s not much ventilation,” says Khabbaza. “In the really big gyms, spacing can be done” so you can distance yourself from others. Large gyms are also more likely to have an HVAC system for better air filtration.

“If you can space out, it’s going to be relatively safer compared to smaller gyms where spacing isn’t much of an option,” says Khabbaza.

While wiping down gym equipment isn’t essential from a COVID transmission standpoint — “it would be very hard to get it, especially if you’re not touching your face,” Khabbaza says — it’s a standard recommendation to do so before and after using gym equipment in general.

Attending an indoor party or wedding

If you’re at a high risk of severe illness, “it might be reasonable to avoid weddings at times of [COVID] surges,” says Khabbaza, who recommends wearing a well-fitting N95 mask at group events, particularly if you’re more vulnerable. “If you’re anxious about the possibility of getting it, weddings may not be best for you during times of surges.”

That said, most weddings take place at “big venues where you can space out a bit,” he says. “If you’re spaced out and in a mask, you should be very good about minimizing your risk.” But Khabbaza says that the best protection is being up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, which makes the odds of severe illness “extremely low, assuming you have a normal immune system,” he says.

You can also go one step further to assess the risk of attending a larger social gathering: Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Michigan, told NPR that before a big event, “ask if people must be vaccinated and/or tested to attend and if they have to show proof or are on the honor system.”

Staying at a hotel

While you don’t need to wear a mask when you’re in your own hotel room, you might want to put one on while riding the elevator if it’s crowded or if you’re staying at a big hotel with longer elevator rides that stop at multiple floors. “A short elevator ride will be on the lower end [of the risk spectrum], but not impossible,” says Khabbaza. “But transmissibility becomes higher when in close contact.”

A 2021 study found that in elevators without proper ventilation, an infected person coughing can transmit viral particles “all across the elevator enclosure.”

Another option to stay safe: If you don’t want to mask, wait for the next empty — or mostly empty — elevator if it’s feasible, or take the stairs, suggests Khabbaza.

By:

Source: Planning on going back to the office, hitting the gym or attending a wedding? A guide to staying COVID safe now.

Further reading:

Monkeypox: Doctors warn of ‘massive impact’ on sexual health services as staff self-isolate (Yahoo) | https://uk.news.yahoo.com/monkeypox-d…

Monkeypox outbreak linked to superspreader event at adult sauna (Yahoo) | https://news.yahoo.com/monkeypox-outb…

MISCExplainer: What to Know About Monkeypox (Visual Capitalist) | https://www.visualcapitalist.com/expl…

Human monkeypox: an emerging zoonosis (Lancet) | https://www.thelancet.com/journals/la…

First monkeypox genome from latest outbreak shows links to 2018 strain (NewScientist) | https://www.newscientist.com/article/…

Monkeypox virus evades antiviral CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses by suppressing cognate T cell activation (PNAS) | https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas…

FDA approves first live, non-replicating vaccine to prevent smallpox and monkeypox (FDA) | https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press… Nov 3, 2021

ACIP Meeting – Orthopoxviruses Vaccines (CDC) | https://youtu.be/4SCUOppgtxE Israel reports first case of monkeypox, suspects others (ABC) | https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireSto…

New York officials investigate case of suspected monkeypox (Miami Herald) | https://www.miamiherald.com/latest-ne…

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Trial Finds Vitamin D Supplements May Reduce Risk of Autoimmune Disease

New data from a large placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the effect of daily vitamin D and omega-3 use indicates the supplements may reduce the risk of developing autoimmune disease. At the five-year follow-up, the trial found those taking vitamin D alone, or in conjunction with omega-3, showed lower rates of autoimmune disease compared to those taking placebo.

Called VITAL, the ongoing trial has enrolled more than 25,000 participants who were randomly assigned to one of four groups: vitamin D and omega 3 (2,000 IU plus 1 gram of fish oil per day), vitamin D plus placebo, omega-3 plus placebo, or double placebo. At the time of recruitment the participants were aged over 50 and generally healthy.

The trial has been running for over five years now and several studies have already been published looking at the effect of these supplementations on cancer risk, cardiovascular risk and depression. For the most part, the trial has found little benefit to vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation in otherwise healthy subjects.

This latest analysis of the trial data looked at the emergence of newly diagnosed autoimmune diseases during the five-year trial. Autoimmune diseases in the trial included rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, autoimmune thyroid disease, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Overall, after five years, those taking either vitamin D alone or vitamin D alongside omega-3 displayed significantly lower rates of autoimmune disease compared to those in the placebo group. Little difference was seen in rates of autoimmune disease between the placebo group and those taking omega-3 alone, suggesting the benefits detected were primarily due to vitamin D supplementation.

Another important finding was the longer the trial went on, the lower the risk for autoimmune disease in the vitamin D group. Looking at the data from just the last three years of the trial saw 39 percent fewer cases of autoimmune disease in the vitamin D group compared to placebo. This suggests the greatest benefits of vitamin D supplementation in terms of autoimmune disease comes from a cumulative effect over several years.

“This is the first direct evidence we have that daily supplementation may reduce AD [autoimmune disease] incidence, and what looks like more pronounced effect after two years of supplementation for vitamin D,” said senior author Karen Costenbader.

“We look forward to honing and expanding our findings and encourage professional societies to consider these results and emerging data when developing future guidelines for the prevention of autoimmune diseases in midlife and older adults.”

This study is, of course, not without limitations. Despite the large number of trial participants and the robust protocol there was a relatively small volume of autoimmune disease diagnoses. Due to the slow onset of many autoimmune diseases a longer follow-up will be necessary to better understand the efficacy of these supplements as preventative tools.

The trial also solely focused on older healthy adults so there is no indication the results are transferable to younger populations or those already diagnosed with autoimmune disease. However, Costenbader is relatively comfortable recommending the vitamin D/omega-3 combination to those over the age of 50 looking for ways to reduce their risk of autoimmune disease.

“Now, when my patients, colleagues, or friends ask me which vitamins or supplements I’d recommend they take to reduce risk of autoimmune disease, I have new evidence-based recommendations for women age 55 years and older and men 50 years and older,” noted Costenbader. “I suggest vitamin D 2,000 IU a day and marine omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), 1,000 mg a day – the doses used in VITAL.”

Another recently published study looking at vitamin D and overall mortality tracked more than 20,000 people taking either vitamin D or a placebo for several years. It found no difference in all-cause mortality or from cancer and cardiovascular disease when comparing the vitamin D group and placebo.

Source: Trial finds vitamin D supplements may reduce risk of autoimmune disease

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