How To Sleep: Try Japan’s Kaizen Method To Cure Insomnia and Sleep Anxiety



Photo by Getty, Unsplash / Lead image design: Alessia Armenise

Having trouble falling asleep? The Japanese word ‘Kaizen’, which means ‘change’, could transform your bedtime routine and help tackle insomnia. Getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential for our mental and physical health.

Rather than being a time when the body completely shuts down, as is sometimes said, it is actually an active time when your body repairs cells, processes information and strengthens itself. Many of the exact ways in which this happens are still a mystery to scientists, but they all resolutely emphasise its importance for good health and wellbeing.

The National Sleep Foundation lists a number of reasons for why we need sleep, including:

  • Helping us to solidify recent memories
  • Storing and processing long-term memories
  • Growing muscle
  • Repairing tissue
  • Producing hormones
  • Restoring and rejuvenation

It is easy to acknowledge all of these benefits but if, like me, you suffer from bouts of insomnia, actually going about having a good night’s sleep is another matter. The amount of sleep you need each night is different for every person, and very dependent upon your age and how much activity you have undertaken during the day. Most people will need between seven and nine hours every night.

Almost everybody will have intermittent bouts of insomnia but if you are finding that you still feel really tired even after several nights of proper sleep or are regularly sleeping for less than six hours per night then do, of course, contact your doctor or a sleep specialist.

For people who think they could benefit from even slightly improved sleep, then Kaizen techniques are a great way to alter your existing sleeping habits and adopt a new, healthier bedtime routine. Not getting enough sleep or waking up in the night for long periods can be caused by external sources of stress: worries about work, friends, family or big life changes, such as getting married or moving house.

Kaizen can be used to reduce these sources of stress and better cope with them when they do arise – but there is also lots that can be done to improve your bedtime routine and environment itself in order to promote a good night’s sleep.

How to sleep: Write a sleep diary

Before making any changes to your routine, a good place to start is with a sleep diary. Keeping a diary for a week will give you a general overview of how you sleep and will identify any issues or particular triggers for bad sleep.

How to make a sleep diary

Each morning for one week, make a note of the hours you fall asleep and wake up, how many hours of sleep you have each night in total, and whether you were awake for any period. It is also a good idea to rate the quality of your sleep out of 10. Our phones now have functionality that can help to track sleep too, the benefits of removing technology from the bedroom may outweigh the insight gained.

Once you have the information about your sleep patterns, have a think and note down any factors which could have influenced the quality of your sleep in a good or bad way. For example:

  • Did you have any stimulants (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine) within two hours of going to bed?
  • What was the temperature of your room?
  • How light/dark was it?
  • How noisy was it?
  • How messy is your room?
  • Did you look at any screens before going to bed?
  • Is there anything you were/are stressed or worried about?

You can either make a diary on paper, create a spreadsheet or use sleep-tracker app on your phone to fill in the details. Although this will initially take a little bit of time, having a week’s worth of information about your sleep patterns in front of you will mean that it is much easier to see where you might be going wrong and what external factors you can adjust to promote better sleep.

Also note whether there are any differences between days when you are working/studying and your days off. Sleep specialists recommend trying to keep to a regular daily sleep routine that doesn’t fluctuate too much between weekdays and weekends. They advise that you try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day, whether that it Monday or Saturday.

And this is where Kaizen can be really helpful. It might seem daunting to try to change your whole sleep routine in one go, but making one small step at a time will encourage you to adopt better bedtime habits – and hopefully once one change starts to make a difference, then you will be motivated to make more.

Read on for some ideas for small changes that you could make to your sleep routine, both in terms of the environment in which you sleep and the actions you take before bedtime to promote sleep.

How to sleep: Improve your sleep environment

Having your bedroom as a calm, clean environment free from clutter and external interruptions is key to good sleep. If you are really busy or tired then the thought of having to entirely transform your bedroom into a minimalist, serene paradise might seem too big an ask, but there are some small things you can do to make a difference. And once you have adopted one change, then try another to see if it makes even more of a difference.

Declutter your room

Your room should be as calming as you are able to make it. Designating it as a decluttered space which you use exclusively for either sleeping or sex, and not for watching TV or Netflix on your laptop, will help to promote good sleep.

First Kaizen step: you might not always have huge amounts of time to tidy your entire room before bed, so set a timer on your phone for five minutes and just tidy up the area around your bed, so at least that area is free of clutter.

Change your sheets regularly

Changing your bedsheets once a week or at least every fortnight can help to promote good sleep.

First Kaizen step: if you are really tired and the idea of changing your entire bed linen feels too much, then just change your pillow cases and/or bedsheet. The rest can be done another day!

Block out noise altogether

If your street or building is noisy then try sleeping with ear plugs and see if it makes a difference.

Play relaxing noises while going to sleep

If you have trouble getting to sleep then try playing a relaxing sleep playlist or white noise (lots of sleep apps have these, along with YouTube and Spotify).

Shut out the light

Your room should be as dark and cool as possible. If you can’t afford black-out blinds or thick curtains and find the room too bright, then try sleeping with an eye mask and note any differences to the quality of your sleep.

Sort out your mattress

If you think that your mattress could be what is causing issues, start to save a small amount (say, the price of a sleep-depriving coffee) each day towards a new one. Or if you are renting, then try asking your landlord to provide a new one. If a new mattress is out of your price range, then consider investing in a mattress topper, which are much cheaper and can make a big difference.

Surround yourself in some nice smells

Scents like lavender and bergamot have a calming effect. Find a scented candle, pillow spray or aroma diffuser and see if making your room smell nice makes you have a better night of sleep.

How to sleep: Transform your bedtime rituals to promote good sleep

As well as making sure you create the optimum sleep environment, there are certain changes you can make to your actions in the period between returning home and going to bed in order to promote better sleep. As babies and children, we are coaxed (and occasionally strongarmed!) into a set bedtime routine, but as adults we often forget to perform such rituals, in favour of scrolling through Instagram or binge-watching the latest boxset.

Read on for some ideas for ways in which you can improve your pre-bedtime routine.

Get out the loungewear

When you get home, immediately change into comfortable clothes to relax you and encourage your body to start to shut down.

Have a soak

Try having a warm bath or shower before bedtime – perhaps with added lavender oil – and see if it makes a difference to your sleep quality.

Take off your makeup

If you don’t have time or the inclination to have a full bath, then try taking your makeup off as soon as you get through the door and apply a soothing face mask.

Hide your phone

Having phones and laptops in your bedroom can be a huge distraction. Try sleeping with your phone in another room and see if it makes a difference — or if the thought of that is too terrifying (!), then at least put it on airplane mode for when you are asleep.

Have a communication blackout

In the same vein, try to avoid social media or work emails for at least 2–3 hours before going to bed so that you don’t have any interactions whirring around your head.

First Kaizen step: have a few nights of a complete social media and communication ‘blackout’ and register if it has an impact upon the quality of your sleep.

Be organised

Organising yourself for the next day can be hugely beneficial for sleep in that it declutters your brain and gives you less to worry about the coming day. Try packing your bag, sorting out your breakfast items and/or packed lunch, and hanging up your outfit for the next day and see if that makes any difference to your sleep.

Be a bedtime yogi

Try doing some gentle bedtime yoga or meditation exercises before bed to help to promote sleep. There are lots of tutorials online or you can use a meditation app. Remember to keep it to very light exercises so that you don’t overstimulate your mind and body too much before bedtime.

First Kaizen step: for one week, try meditating for five minutes before bed.

Do a ‘brain dump’

If your brain is still whirring, another idea is to get a piece of paper and write out a ‘brain dump’ of everything that is on your mind from that day. It doesn’t have to be anything coherent or fully-formed – just write out everything that is troubling you. This can also be a really useful exercise if you wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to go back to sleep.

Read a good book

Just six minutes of reading before bed has been shown to reduce stress levels by two-thirds and promote good sleep. Choose a couple of nights of the week where you read before bed rather than look at a screen and see if it makes a difference.

Remember: you can do absolutely everything right and there may still be a way that your body decides to rebel against you and give you a bad night’s sleep. So don’t beat yourself up if you have any setbacks when trying to improve your sleep routine. Be kind to yourself and just focus on one small thing you can do to improve your sleep the next night.

Keeping track of your sleep and the impact of any changes to your routine is key to identifying the ways in which your body is responding to the slight tweaks in your behaviour before bed and in your sleep environment.

By: Sarah Harvey, Stylist

Source: How to Sleep: Try Japan’s Kaizen Method to Cure Insomnia and Sleep Anxiety

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Cancer Rules Rewritten By Air Pollution Discovery

Image source, Getty Images

The team at the Francis Crick Institute in London showed that rather than causing damage, air pollution was waking up old damaged cells. One of the world’s leading experts, Prof Charles Swanton, said the breakthrough marked a “new era”. And it may now be possible to develop drugs that stop cancers forming. The findings could explain how hundreds of cancer-causing substances act on the body.

The classical view of cancer starts with a healthy cell. It acquires more and more mutations in its genetic code, or DNA, until it reaches a tipping point. Then it becomes a cancer and grows uncontrollably. But there are problems with this idea: cancerous mutations are found in seemingly healthy tissue, and many substances known to cause cancer – including air pollution – don’t seem to damage people’s DNA.

So what is going on?

The researchers who also work at University College London, have produced evidence of a different idea. The damage is already there in our cell’s DNA, picked up as we grow and age, but something needs to pull the trigger that actually makes it cancerous.

The discovery came from exploring why non-smokers get lung cancer. The overwhelming majority of lung cancers are caused by smoking but still, one in 10 cases in the UK is down to air pollution. The Crick scientists focused on a form of pollution called particulate matter 2.5 (known as PM2.5), which is far smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

Through a series of detailed human and animal experiments they showed:

  • Places with higher levels of air pollution had more lung cancers not caused by smoking
  • Breathing in PM2.5 leads to the release of a chemical alarm – interleukin-1-beta – in the lungs
  • This causes inflammation and activates cells in the lungs to help repair any damage
  • But around one in every 600,000 cells in the lungs of a 50-year-old already contains potentially cancerous mutations
  • These are acquired as we age but appear completely healthy until they are activated by the chemical alarm and become cancerous

Crucially, the researchers were able to stop cancers forming in mice exposed to air pollution by using a drug that blocks the alarm signal. The results are a double breakthrough, both for understanding the impact of air pollution and the fundamentals of how we get cancer.

Dr Emilia Lim, one of the researchers who is based at the Crick and UCL, said people who had never smoked but developed lung cancer often had no idea why. “To give them some clues about how this might work is really, really important,” she said. “It’s super-important – 99% of people in the world live in places where air pollution exceeds the WHO guidelines so it really impacts all of us.”

Rethinking cancer

But the results also showed mutations alone are not always enough to cause cancer. It can need an extra element. Prof Swanton said this was the most exciting finding his lab had come across, as it “actually rethinks our understanding of how tumours are initiated”. He said it would lead to a “new era” of molecular cancer prevention.

The idea of taking a cancer-blocking pill if you live in a heavily polluted area is not completely fanciful. Doctors have already trialled an interleukin-1-beta drug in cardiovascular disease and found, by complete accident, they cut the risk of lung cancer. The latest findings are being presented to scientists at a conference of the European Society for Medical Oncology.

Speaking to the BBC from the conference, Prof Swanton said: “Pollution is a lovely example, but there are going to be 200 other examples of this over the next 10 years.”

And he said we needed to rethink how even smoking causes cancer – is it just the known DNA damage caused by the chemicals in tobacco or is the smoke causing inflammation, too? Curiously, the idea that mutated DNA is not enough and cancers need another trigger to grow was first proposed by scientist Isaac Berenblum in 1947.

“Philosophically, it’s fascinating. These incredible biologists have done this work 75 years ago and it’s largely been ignored,” said Dr Lim. Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, stressed that “smoking remains the biggest cause of lung cancer”.

But she added: “Science, which takes years of painstaking work, is changing our thinking around how cancer develops. We now have a much better understanding of the driving forces behind lung cancer.”

By: James Gallagher

Source: Cancer rules rewritten by air-pollution discovery – BBC News

Critics by ESMO

A new mechanism has been identified through which very small pollutant particles in the air may trigger lung cancer in people who have never smoked, paving the way to new prevention approaches and development of therapies, according to late-breaking data [to be] reported at the ESMO Congress 2022 by scientists of the Francis Crick Institute and University College London, funded by Cancer Research UK.

The particles, which are typically found in vehicle exhaust and smoke from fossil fuels, are associated with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) risk, accounting for over 250,000 lung cancer deaths globally per year. “The same particles in the air that derive from the combustion of fossil fuels, exacerbating climate change, are directly impacting human health via an important and previously overlooked cancer-causing mechanism in lung cells.

The risk of lung cancer from air pollution is lower than from smoking, but we have no control over what we all breathe. Globally, more people are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution than to toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, and these new data link the importance of addressing climate health to improving human health,” said Charles Swanton, the Francis Crick Institute and Cancer Research UK Chief Clinician, London, UK, who will present the research results at the ESMO 2022 Presidential Symposium on Saturday, 10 September.

The new findings are based on human and laboratory research on mutations in a gene called EGFR which are seen in about half of people with lung cancer who have never smoked. In a study of nearly half a million people living in England, South Korea and Taiwan, exposure to increasing concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM) 2.5 micrometres (μm) in diameter was linked to increased risk of NSCLC with EGFR mutations.

In the laboratory studies, the  Francis Crick Institute scientists showed that the same pollutant particles (PM2.5) promoted rapid changes in airway cells which had mutations in EGFR and in another gene linked to lung cancer called KRAS, driving them towards a cancer stem cell like state. They also found that air pollution drives the influx of macrophages which release the inflammatory mediator, interleukin-1β, driving the expansion of cells with the EGFR mutations in response to exposure to PM2.5, and that blockade of interleukin-1β inhibited lung cancer initiation.

These findings were consistent with data from a previous large clinical trial showing a dose dependent reduction in lung cancer incidence when people were treated with the anti-IL1β antibody, canakinumab. In a final series of experiments, the Francis Crick team used state-of-the-art, ultradeep mutational profiling of small samples of normal lung tissue and found EGFR and KRAS driver mutations in 18% and 33% of normal lung samples, respectively.

“We found that driver mutations in EGFR and KRAS genes, commonly found in lung cancers, are actually present in normal lung tissue and are a likely consequence of ageing. In our research, these mutations alone only weakly potentiated cancer in laboratory models. However, when lung cells with these mutations were exposed to air pollutants, we saw more cancers and these occurred more quickly than when lung cells with these mutations were not exposed to pollutants, suggesting that air pollution promotes the initiation of lung cancer in cells harbouring driver gene mutations.

The next step is to discover why some lung cells with mutations become cancerous when exposed to pollutants while others don’t,” said Swanton. Commenting on the results, Tony Mok, Chinese University of Hong Kong, not involved in the study, said: “This research is intriguing and exciting as it means that we can ask whether, in the future, it will be possible to use lung scans to look for pre-cancerous lesions in the lungs and try to reverse them with medicines such as interleukin-1β inhibitors.

We don’t yet know whether it will be possible to use highly sensitive EGFR profiling on blood or other samples to find non-smokers who are predisposed to lung cancer and may benefit from lung scanning, so discussions are still very speculative.” Like Swanton, he stresses the importance of reducing air pollution to lower the risk of lung diseases, including cancer.

“We have known about the link between pollution and lung cancer for a long time, and we now have a possible explanation for it. As consumption of fossil fuels goes hand in hand with pollution and carbon emissions, we have a strong mandate for tackling these issues – for both environmental and health reasons,” Mok concluded.

Related contents:

Legal Agreement Spurs EPA to Take Stronger Steps to Reduce Smog Pollution in Areas of Five States With Some of Nation’s … Center for Biological Diversity (Press Release)Air pollution worsen in Metro Manila The Manila Times

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How To Avoid The Most Common Workout Injuries, According To Experts

A good rule of thumb: Don’t increase your workout volume more than 10% per week. And every four to eight weeks, give your body a rest by significantly reducing the volume and intensity of your workouts. “This ‘three steps forward, one step back’ approach requires discipline and isn’t always fun,” Matthews said, “but it’s the best way to make your body more resilient and durable.”Cross-training is another good idea, which the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons endorses. Since your body’s soft tissues are working in different ways or even resting when you bike versus swim or play tennis, it’s an easy preventive measure.

Diet, stress, sleep may increase risk, too

Avoiding soft tissue injuries isn’t necessarily all about training, however. Research suggests major changes in your environment may affect your risk of injury, too, Cheatham said, such as poor nutrition, stress and lack of sleep. Cheatham is also a member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine Scientific Advisory Board. If you get less than seven hours of sleep at night for more than two weeks, your risk of musculoskeletal injury rises 1.7 times, found a 2021 study published in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports. So eat well, get plenty of sleep and perhaps skip tough workouts when your stress levels are high.

And what about stretching? Stretching, warm-ups, a post-workout meal and other practices have long been touted to help avoid injury, yet there is no evidence to support these moves, Matthews said. Still, developing a strong core is always helpful, said physical therapist Aime Maranan, owner of Skillz Physical Therapy in Evanston, Illinois.”If the muscles in your core aren’t strong enough to withstand hours of training, their strength will go down, then the stability of the spine will go down, and then your nerves and soft tissues will be irritated,” she said. “It’s a domino effect.”

Core exercises such as the plank are good, she said, or holding the tabletop position, where you lie on your back with your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle. The quadruped is valuable, too. This exercise involves getting onto your hands and knees, contracting your core, then alternating an extension of your right arm and left leg with an extension of your left arm and right leg. Yet these exercises have to be performed properly, or ironically, they could cause a soft issue injury. So consult with a professional before doing them on your own to ensure proper form. This could be your physical therapist, chiropractor, personal trainer or fitness instructor.

Take any injuries seriously

If you do get injured despite your best precautions, take it seriously. “Even when people realize they have a soft tissue injury, they often carry on with their program and whistle past the graveyard, hoping it gets better with time,” Matthews said. “More often than not, it just gets worse and worse until it hurts badly enough that the person simply can’t train due to the pain.”Instead of ignoring that muscle or ligament strain, see a qualified health care provider and expect to spend a few weeks to a month or more recovering, depending on the severity of the injury, your age and other factors. Most importantly, complete your entire rehabilitation process so another injury doesn’t occur, Cheatham said. No stopping the minute you start feeling a little better.

A positive mindset is also key to a speedy recovery. “If you think you will not get any better, you will not get any better. If you think you will get injured again, you will get injured again,” Maranan said. “It starts with your mindset, then religiously doing your home exercises and your post-exercise recovery routine.” And remember, stay mindful to stay true to form.

By: Melanie Radzicki McManus

Source: How to avoid the most common workout injuries, according to experts – CNN

Critics:

Nearly two million people every year suffer sports-related injuries and receive treatment in emergency departments. Fatigue is a large contributing factor that results in many sport injuries. There are times where an athlete may participate on low energy leading to the deterioration in technique or form, resulting in a slower reaction time, loss in stability of muscle joints, and allowing an injury to occur.

For both sexes the most common areas injured are the knee and ankle, with sprains/strains being the most common areas for injury. Injuries involving the patellofemoral articulation are significantly more frequent among females. The sport with the highest injury rate in the United States is American football, with greater than 12 times the number of injuries seen in the next most common sport.

Soft tissue injuries

When soft tissue experiences trauma the dead and damaged cells release chemicals, which initiate an inflammatory response. The small blood vessels that are damaged become dilated which produce bleeding within the tissue. The body’s normal response includes forming a small blood clot in order to stop the bleeding and allows a clot of special cells, called fibroblasts, to form. This begins the healing process by laying down scar tissue.

Therefore, the inflammatory stage is the first phase of healing. However, too much of an inflammatory response in the early stage can indicate that the healing process takes longer and a return to activity is delayed. Sports injury treatments are intended to minimize the inflammatory phase of an injury, so that the overall healing process is accelerated. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors are determinant for the healing process.

Soft tissue injuries can be generally grouped into three categories: contusions, abrasions and lacerations. Contusions or bruises are the simplest and most common soft tissue injury and is usually a result of blunt force trauma. Severe contusions may involve deeper structures and can include nerve or vascular injury. Abrasions are superficial injuries to the skin no deeper than the epidermis tissue layer, and bleeding, if present, is minimal.

Minor abrasions generally do not scar, but deeper abrasions generally bleed and may scar. Lastly, sports-related lacerations are caused by blunt trauma and result in burst-type open wounds, often with jagged irregular edges. Facial lacerations are the most variable of the soft tissue injuries that athletes can sustain. They can occur intraorally and extraorally, vary from a superficial skin nick to a through and through lip laceration, or involve significant vascular disruption or injury to collateral vital structures.

Hard tissue injuries

Types of hard tissue injuries can include dental and bone injuries and are less frequent than soft tissue injuries in sport, but are often more serious.Hard tissue injuries to teeth and bones can occur with contusions, such as Battle sign, which indicates basilar skull fracture, and so-called raccoon eyes, which indicate mid-face fractures. However, tooth fractures are the most common type of tooth injury, and can be categorized as crown infractions, enamel-only fracture, enamel-dentin fractures, and fractures that extend through the enamel and dentin into the pulp which are defined below.

  • Crown infractions are characterized by a disruption of the enamel prisms from a traumatic force, these injuries typically present as small cracks that affect only the enamel.
  • Enamel-only fractures are mild and often appear as roughness along the edge of the tooth crown. These injuries typically can go unnoticed by the athlete as they are usually not sensitive to the touch or to temperature changes. Enamel-only fractures are not considered dental emergencies and immediate care is not needed.
  • Enamel-Dentin crown fractures typically present as a tooth fracture confined to enamel and dentin with loss of tooth structure, but not exposing the pulp. The athlete often will report sensitivity to air, cold or touch, but the athlete can return to play as tolerated and referral can be delayed up to 24 hours.
  • Enamel-Dentin-Pulp fractures extend through the enamel and dentin and into the pulp. If the pulp is vital, a focal spot of hemorrhage will be noticeable within the yellow dentin layer and the athlete may report acute pain. Referral to a trauma-ready dentist should occur as soon as possible.

In addition to tooth fractures, there are several types of bone fractures as well. These types being closed or simple, open or compound, greenstick, hairline, complicated, comminuted, avulsion, and compression. A complicated fracture is when the structures surrounding the fracture are injured, such as blood vessels, organs, nerves, etc.

Overuse injuries

Overuse injuries can be defined as injuries that result from a mechanism of repetitive and cumulative micro-trauma, without a specific onset incident.Rapid changes in physical growth can make children vulnerable to overuse injuries, and these types of injuries are increasing among youth populations. Overuse injuries can usually be classified into 4 types/stages, these include:

  • Pain in the affected area during activity (which does not affect performance)
  • Pain in the affected area during activity (which does restrict performance)
  • Pain in the affected area after activity
  • Chronic pain in the affected area, even after resting

Predictive Indicators of Overuse Injuries in Adolescent Endurance Athletes, runners seem to account for the majority of injuries (up to 80 percent) with the majority of these injuries (more than two-thirds), occurring in the lower extremity and being of an overuse nature.Although incidence rates in senior athletics has been reported as 3.9 injuries/1000 hours of practice, specific injury incidence in youth track and field varies among disciplines; whereas an overall incidence of 0.89 injuries/1000 hours has been reported for high school track and field athletes. In addition, long-distance runners have showed a 19 times higher incidence (17 injuries/1000 hours) than other disciplines.

Head and neck injuries

Head and neck injuries can include a variety of pathologies from sprains, strains and fractures to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Sprains and strains can occur from an abrupt rotation or whipping motion, such as whiplash.Stress injuries (stress fractures and stress reactions) of the lumbosacral region are one of the causes of sports-related lower back pain in young individuals. The onset of the observed cervical fractures in sports injury were likely due to continued momentum that transferred loads superiorly through the neck, which likely exacerbated the injuries to the occipital condyles and the upper cervical vertebrae.

Researchers have reported that 3-25% of cervical spine injuries actually occur after the initial traumatic event and are caused or exacerbated by improper handling during early stages of management or patient transport.One of the more common head or neck injuries that occurs in sports is a concussion. A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury resulting in a chemical change in the brain and has potential to cause damage to brain tissue.

This can occur when a person sustains a hit or blow that cause the head and brain to move quickly, causing the brain to bounce in the skull. According to an epidemiological study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, the incidence of concussions from 27 high school sports was 3.89 sports-related concussions per 10,000 athlete exposures.

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09:51
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How to avoid the most common workout injuries, according to experts CNN

16:03 Wed, 10 Aug
“Overuse Injuries – Treatment and Prevention”. SportNova UK. 2017-01-14. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
“Predictive Indicators of Overuse Injuries in Adolescent Endurance Athletes”. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 12 (Suppl 2): S2-153–S2-156. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2016-0316. ISSN 1555-0265. PMID 27918673.

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Covid Science: Virus Leaves Antibodies That May Attack Healthy Tissues

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review.

Coronavirus leaves survivors with self-attacking antibodies

Months after recovering from SARS-CoV-2 infection, survivors have elevated levels of antibodies that can mistakenly attack their own organs and tissues, even if they had not been severely ill, according to new findings.

Among 177 healthcare workers who had recovered from confirmed coronavirus infections contracted before the availability of vaccines, all had persistent autoantibodies, including ones that can cause chronic inflammation and injury of the joints, skin and nervous system.

“We would not normally expect to see such a diverse array of autoantibodies elevated in these individuals or stay elevated for as long six months after full clinical recovery,” said Susan Cheng of the Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute in Los Angeles.

Patterns of elevated autoantibodies varied between men and women, the researchers reported on Thursday in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

“We don’t yet know how much longer, beyond six months, the antibodies will stay elevated and/or lead to any important clinical symptoms,” Cheng said. “It will be essential to monitor individuals moving forward.”

Her team is investigating whether autoantibody elevations are linked with persistent symptoms in people with long COVID and planning to study autoantibody levels after infections with newer variants of the virus.

B cells’ effects weakened but not defeated by Omicron. The effects of antibodies produced by the immune system’s “memory B cells” against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, while weakened, could still be significant, researchers believe.

Once the body learns to recognize SARS-CoV-2, either after infection or vaccination, B cells generate fresh antibodies against the virus if there are not already enough antibodies circulating in the blood that can neutralize it.

In a study reported on bioRxiv ahead of peer review, researchers analyzed the strength of more than 300 antibodies produced by memory B cells obtained from vaccinated volunteers, including some who had a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“Omicron seemed to evade a very large share of the memory B cells pool,” researchers said, adding that it “seems to still be efficiently recognized by 30% of total antibodies and close to 10% of all potent neutralizing antibodies,” said Matthieu Mahevas and Pascal Chappert of Universite de Paris in a joint email. Memory B cells’ robust ability to proliferate and produce antibodies might compensate “in less than two days” for those antibodies’ reduced effectiveness, they speculate.

In combination with other immune system components, particularly T cells, the effects of B cells likely help to explain why most vaccinated individuals who become infected do not become sick enough to require hospitalization, they said.

Virus variants’ activity in cells makes them more effective. Along with spike mutations that help the coronavirus break into cells, mutations that change how the virus behaves inside the cells are a big factor in why some variants have been more transmissible, researchers have discovered.

The findings, published in Nature, show that scientists “have to start looking at mutations outside the spike,” which has so far been the main focus of vaccines and antibody drugs, said Nevan Krogan of the University of California, San Francisco.

Studying the Alpha variant, his team found a mutation at a non-spike site that causes infected cells to ramp up their production of a protein called Orf9B. Orf9b in turn disables a protein called TOM70 that cells use to send signals to the immune system.

With higher levels of Orf9B disabling TOM70, the immune system does not respond as well and the virus can better evade detection, the researchers said.

Referring to the increase in Orf9B, Krogan said, “It’s rare that mutations ‘turn up’ a protein. It’s a very sneaky thing for this virus to do.” The same mutation was identified on Delta, “and sure enough, almost the same mutation is on Omicron,” he said, which suggests they may have similar effects on the immune system. The new information could spur development of drugs that target the interaction of Orf9b and TOM70.

Click for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

By

Source: Covid Science: Virus leaves antibodies that may attack healthy tissues | Reuters

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