Older individuals who regularly sleep for five hours or less could be putting themselves at risk of developing multiple chronic conditions, new research suggests. According to the research, the findings of which are published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine, people aged 50 and over who sleep for five hours or less per night are at greater risk of developing more than one chronic disease compared with their peers who sleep seven hours. In fact, at age 50, those who slept five hours or less had a 30 percent greater risk of multimorbidity compared with those who slept seven hours. “Our study showed that sleep five hours or less is associated with 30 to 40 percent increased risk of onset of multimorbidity,” says lead author Severine Sabia, PhD, of Université Paris Cité, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), and University College London. The association remained in each decade of life, whether sleep was measured at 50, 60, or 70 years old, says Dr. Sabia. When considered alongside previous research into the importance of sleep, the present study highlights why older individuals should prioritise this aspect of their lives. “Sleep is important for the regulation of several body function such as metabolic, endocrine, and inflammatory regulation over the day, that in turn when dysregulated may contribute to increase risk of several chronic conditions and ultimately death,” Sabia said. *Image by เดชาธร อมาตยกุล from Pixabay
How much good quality sleep you get each night could impact your ability to not only lose weight but also maintain it, new research suggests. Studies have previously shown that a lack of quality sleep can increase people's desire for high calorie foods, including those that are loaded with carbohydrates. Now, new research reveals how a lack of quality sleep can also undermine people's attempts to maintain a healthy weight after dieting. For the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen studied the quality and duration of sleep among 195 obese adults. They found that a low calorie diet can help aid better sleep, with sleep quality increasing by 0.8 global PSQI score points and sleep duration by 17 minutes per night after the initial 8-week period. Moreover, the researchers found that those who slept less than 6 hours a night, or had poor sleep quality, increased their BMI by 1.1 kg/m2. In comparison, obese adults who achieved over 6 hours of quality sleep each night reduced their BMI by 0.16 kg/m2. Dr. Signe Torekov, study lead author and a professor of clinical translation metabolism, said: “Adults who aren’t sleeping enough or getting poor quality sleep after weight loss appear less successful at maintaining weight loss than those with sufficient sleep.”
Initially, when the COVID-19 outbreak first happened, many thought the SARS-CoV-2 virus caused mainly respiratory problems. And while that assumption still holds true, new research shows that the disease can actually impact multiple organs in a person's body. The new study, the results of which appear in the BMJ, sought to discover whether adults develop other health conditions after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. For the research, a team led by Dr. Ken Cohen, executive director of translational research at Optum Labs, studied the health insurance records of 133,366 adults aged 65+ in the United States who had received a COVID-19 diagnosis before April 1, 2020. The researchers compared the records to individuals who did not have COVID-19 in 2019 or 2020 and individuals who had a lower respiratory tract infection but not COVID-19. The team then identified new conditions occurring 3 weeks or more after each participant’s COVID-19 diagnosis. Of those individuals who had a SARS-CoV-2 infection in 2020, 32% sought medical attention for a new or persistent condition. This was 11% higher than the comparison group from 2020. Among the new or persistent conditions were respiratory failure, fatigue, high blood pressure, memory issues, kidney injury, mental health-related diagnoses, hypercoagulability and cardiac rhythm disorders. Dr. Alicia Arbaje, director of Transitional Care Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine and a clinician at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, said: “I think this work is significant. First, because it focuses on older adults, and this is the population that’s most likely to demonstrate long-term effects from this infection, and so I think it’s important and timely given the phase of the pandemic that we’re in.” [Related reading: Long Covid may hinder women's response, recovery from exercise] *Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay
Sharks could potentially help in the fight against COVID-19, new research suggests. According to the study by researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota and biomedical company Elasmogen, a biomedical company in Scotland, antibody-like proteins derived from sharks' immune systems can prevent SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, its variants, and related coronaviruses from infecting human cells. The small, unique shark cells, known as VNARs, are around one-tenth the size of human antibodies, which allows them to reach even the tiniest of areas. The researchers found the VNARs can bind to infectious proteins in unique ways that bolster their ability to halt infection. Intriguingly, they were not just effective against SARS-CoV-2 , but also SARS-CoV-1, which caused the first SARS outbreak in 2003. While the researchers say their findings will not help in the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as treatments using shark VNARs simply aren't yet available, they could hold some promise in the face of future coronavirus outbreaks. "The big issue is there are a number of coronaviruses that are poised for emergence in humans," says Aaron LeBeau, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of pathology who helped lead the study. "What we're doing is preparing an arsenal of shark VNAR therapeutics that could be used down the road for future SARS outbreaks. It's a kind of insurance against the future." The team published its findings in Nature Communications. *image courtesy of Andrea Bohl from Pixabay
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in South Korea and the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a collaborative relationship. Both organizations are dedicated to advancing innovations in health and science. IVI and JEDI will explore many cooperation routes, in particular around innovative approaches to zoonoses, infectious diseases and in addressing the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Additionally, the MOU invites Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI; Francois Belin, Chief Operating Officer of IVI; and Dr Anh Wartel, Deputy Director General of IVI’s Clinical, Assessment, Regulatory, and Evaluation Unit; to participate in JEDI’s International Partners Advisory Board. The signing ceremony took place at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, France with Dr Jerome Kim and André Loesekrug-Pietri, Chairman of JEDI. Dr Kim said “With JEDI’s common interest in combatting existing and future zoonoses as well as global AMR, we look forward to collaborating on solutions to this threat to humanity.” Loesekrug-Pietri said “As we did for the JEDI GrandChallenge against Covid-19, we want to introduce disruptive approaches to other fields of healthcare, with boldness and a total focus on excellence. As a first concrete step, we are excited to work with IVI to tackle antimicrobial resistance, including new capabilities in computational biology.” *Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay
A new deal between a medtech start-up and a 3D printing technology firm will see the latter’s innovative solutions made available across French hospitals. The agreement between French medtech start-up Bone 3D and Stratasys, a polymer 3D printing solutions provider, will afford hospitals direct access to an immediate, localised way of 3D printing essential medical equipment, medical devices and patient-specific anatomical models. Healthcare providers can sub-contract 3D printing hardware and services from Bone 3D, granting them the direct means to fulfil their own production needs on-site, as well as receive dedicated ongoing support from Bone 3D technicians. Jérémy Adam, CEO and founder, Bone 3D said: “Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the world witnessed the importance of 3D printing first-hand as it provided a swift and direct means of producing vital PPE to equip frontline healthcare workers, ventilator parts and other critical medical equipment. “However, beyond that, the versatility of 3D printing has seen huge demand from hospitals and medical institutions for a means to create maintenance parts, rehabilitation parts and medical devices. Our Hospifactory initiative will ensure that some of the market’s most advanced 3D printing technologies are made accessible exactly where and when they are needed by surgeons and clinicians across the French hospital network.” The latest partnership between Stratasys and Bone 3D follows last year’s deployment by Bone 3D of 60 Stratasys FDM 3D printers in the AP-HP in Paris, to support the frontline fight against COVID-19. *Image by krzysztof-m from Pixabay
A large French study involving 22 million people has shown that COVID vaccines dramatically reduce a person’s risk of being severely impacted by the disease. While being vaccinated doesn’t guarantee you won’t catch COVID or indeed become ill, it does, however, reduce your risk of being hospitalised or dying by as much as 90 per cent. The study, published Monday, also found two-dose vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca, protect against the worst effects of the so-called Delta variant. For people aged 75 and older, such vaccines offered 84 per cent protection. This figure rose to 92 per cent for people 50 to 75. The results were the same for each vaccine manufacturer. “The vaccine was never really intended to stop the disease,” says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist. “It was a very nice side effect that we were preventing disease, but it’s main purpose is to prevent the morbidity and mortality should we get the disease. It was really to take a deadly disease and turn it into the common cold.” The study was conducted by a scientific group set up by France’s health system (Epi-Share), its national insurance fund (l’Assurance Maladie) and its medicine agency (ANSM). N.B. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine (Janssen) was not included in the research due to an insufficient number of patients for comparison. * Image by Surprising_Shots from Pixabay
A new home kit that can be used to restart someone’s heart following a heart attack could reduce the number of deaths in France from cardiac arrest by 50,000 each year. Paris-based Lifeaz has seen demand for its defibrillators for the home and office soar in the first seven months since its launch. The firm hopes its machines, which deliver electric shocks to the heart, will help prevent heart attack deaths in France by enabling people to restart a heart in the crucial first four minutes of an attack. Célia Rich, the firm’s chief training adviser, said: “In places like Seattle in the United States, where there are lots of defibrillators, the chances of surviving a big heart attack are 60% to 70%, while in France they are just 5%." Lifeaz’s founder, Johann Kalchman, previously worked for a business specialising in pacemakers. This is where he became enlightened about the need to improve heart attack victims’ chances in France. It’s estimated that 80% of heart attacks occur at home, but a lack of first aid training and fear of intervening mean people often wait the 10 to 15 minutes it takes for emergency services to arrive without helping. “Our machines are designed to make things as easy as possible,” said Ms Rich. “Once they are opened, you push a button to choose between French or English and then just follow the voice instructions and pictures. “After the shock treatment, it guides people on how to give cardiac massage until the victim recovers consciousness.” The defibrillators are designed and made in France and individuals can buy them for €990, or rent them for €29.90 per month. The price is slightly higher for businesses, but includes staff training. *Image by Pexels from Pixabay
New Covid-19 treatments should be widely available in France before the end of the year, the head of the country's Scientific Council has predicted. According to a report in Le Parisien newspaper, Jean-François Delfraissy, an immunologist and president of the Conseil scientifique, which advises the government on medical matters, said monoclonal and polyclonal antibody treatments would be made more widely available in the coming months. Monoclonal antibody treatments are made using Covid-19 survivors’ own antibodies and are designed to fight infection just as the natural immune system would. Former US President Donald Trump received monoclonal antibody drugs when he was hospitalised with Covid-19 in 2020. At the beginning of August, French health authorities authorised the use of monoclonal antibody treatments for immuno-compromised patients who cannot be vaccinated against the virus because of their conditions. The treatments are set to be rolled out for use as required by doctors among the wider population before the end of the year. A number of pharmaceutical companies are in the process of applying for medical authorisation. They would be “effective for high-risk patients, and should reduce the number of hospitalisations”, Le Parisien reported, but would only be available under medical supervision. The drugs are intended for use in patients who are already severely ill with Covid. They do not prevent people developing the illness in the first place. *Image by Klaus Hausmann from Pixabay
Since Monday, anyone wanting to visit a restaurant, bar or other attraction/venue in France has to use a QR code-based digital health pass. The passes are designed to prove a person has either been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or tested negative for the coronavirus in the previous 72 hours. Now, vaccinated travelers to France from outside the European Union have a way to obtain the digital health passes and visit popular tourist sites, including iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, travel across the country by train, or enjoy a coffee and croissant at a Paris cafe. US travelers already in France or planning to arrive by Sunday can apply for a French health pass by submitting a copy of their CDC vaccine card, valid passport, and airline tickets to French officials via email. Visitors from the US, Canada and the rest of the world have bespoke email addresses. Visitors to France will need to have been fully vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca vaccines. The French government is currently accepting applications from travelers who are 18 and older, and are already in Europe or plan to arrive by August 15. Right now, it is unclear how the process may change for visitors planning trips further ahead. *Image by Phil Riley from Pixabay
The southern French city of Nice has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s list of world heritage sites. UNESCO announced its decision in a tweet, calling Nice -- famous for its mild climate -- the "Winter resort town of the Riviera". Nice joins more than 40 other world heritage sites in France, which include the banks of the river Seine in Paris, the Amiens cathedral, the Mont Saint Michel and stretches of the Loire Valley. "The history of Nice, which is at the same time deeply rooted and open, Mediterranean and Alpine, European and cosmopolitan, has produced an architecture and a landscape that are unique, a model for many other cities in the world," Nice's mayor, Christian Estrosi, said in reaction to the announcement. With close to one million inhabitants, greater Nice is the second-biggest city on the French Mediterranean coast after Marseille, and the fifth-biggest in France. Nice is a tourist hotspot, attracting several million visitors per year, and its airport is one of France’s busiest. The World Heritage Committee added a total of 13 cultural sites to UNESCO’s World Heritage List and one extension to an existing cultural site in Mexico. For more information about the 13 new world heritage sites, visit the UNESCO website here: https://en.unesco.org/news/cultural-sites-africa-arab-region-asia-europe-and-latin-america-inscribed-unescos-world *Image of Nice by Prosag-Media from Pixabay
Bastille Day is France’s national day and it is celebrated every year on July 14. But how did it get its name and why is it celebrated? One of the most important national holidays for people in France, Bastille Day is celebrated in remembrance of the storming of Paris’ Bastille Prison in 1789. It was on this day when revolutionists and mutinous troops stormed and captured the military fortress and prison. The event was significant as the Bastille had become a symbol of the French king, Louis XVI’s, harsh rule and tyranny. Its fall sparked the beginning of the French Revolution, which would last for a decade and see both King Louis and his wife, Marie Antoinette, executed by guillotine in 1793. The end of the French Revolution led to the formation of the French Consulate, the top-level government of France until Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804. Bastille Day 2021 Yesterday, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, people all across France recognised Bastille Day. In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron led the national day parade, which started at the Arc de Triomphe monument and ended with a ceremony on the Concorde square. Thousands of military and public security personnel paraded by foot, on vehicles and aboard jets over Paris' Champs Elysees Avenue yesterday. You can see some coverage of the military parade in this video: https://youtu.be/hgeLhCkFBwI *Image: “Taking of the Bastille” by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr
France is sending America a miniature Statue of Liberty as a gift to commemorate the latter’s Independence Day this July. The bronze statue, nicknamed the "little sister," stands just under 10 feet tall, one-sixteenth the size of the original that stands on Liberty Island. It was loaded into a special container at the National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) in central Paris on Monday during a special ceremony. The miniature replica of the world-famous statue has been installed since 2011 in the museum's garden. It will be erected on Ellis Island, just across the water from the original, from July 1 to July 5. "The statue symbolizes freedom and the light around all the world," said Olivier Faron, general administrator of the CNAM. "We want to send a very simple message: Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment. We have to conserve and defend our friendship." The replica bears the same neoclassic design as the original in New York, which represents the Roman goddess Libertas and stands 151 feet tall atop a giant pedestal. She is imbued with symbolism: the crown with seven spikes, representing sun rays extending out to the world; a tablet inscribed with America's date of independence in Roman numerals; and broken chains and shackles lying at its left foot, signifying the abolition of slavery in the United States. The original Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States back in 1886. *Image: The original Statue of Liberty, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last year, makeshift terraces sprang up on many cafes across Paris, allowing COVID-wary patrons to be served outdoors. Now, city hall has announced these ‘Covid terraces’ will become a permanent fixture in the French capital this summer. In response to the impact of the pandemic on beleaguered restaurant and café owners who were no longer allowed to serve indoors, the city of Paris turned over thousands of parking spaces to enable establishments to continue serving drinks and food outdoors. Many establishment owners invested in high-quality structures in the spaces, which are still usable today. Terraces will have to remain without closed walls and plants and other greenery will be encouraged. "Roofs, tarps, reception tents, wooden pallets and advertising will be prohibited," the deputy mayor in charge of commerce, Olivia Polski, told AFP. There will also be a requirement for them to shut down by 10:00pm, so that local residents won’t be disturbed by any noise. The city will hold an annual contest for the most attractive designs, a move clearly aimed at encouraging aesthetically pleasing structures. Outdoor seating can also be extended on adjacent squares and sidewalks, and also in front of neighbouring businesses, providing they give approval. No heating or music systems will be allowed, and Polski said the city would step up deployments of specially developed "Meduse" microphones for pinpointing the sources of noise pollution across the city. Outdoor drinking and dining resumed across France last month as France emerged from its third wave of coronavirus cases, a huge relief for restaurants and bars closed since last October. On Wednesday, restaurants and cafés will be allowed to start serving indoors and the nationwide curfew will be pushed back to 11:00 pm, which is expected to further swell the summer sidewalk crowds. *Image: Lucas BARIOULET AFP/File
Nearly three years after it was cancelled, the night train service from Paris to Nice has returned, part of a broader push by the French Government to promote more environmentally friendly means of transportation. First introduced in the late 1800s, the Paris-Nice night train, colloquially known as ‘Le Train Bleu’, was a luxury sleeper service, internationally famed for its list of wealthy and famous passengers. However, during the 1980s, when high-speed TGV trains proliferated and cut the travel time from Paris to Nice from 20 hours down to just five, the era of luxury night trains to the French Riviera was effectively ended. While Le Train Bleu would continue its service for a few more decades, it ceased to exist under than name in 2003. Then, in Dece3mber 2017, it was discontinued completely due to the French Government withdrawing its funding. But now it’s back. Under the French Government’s pandemic plans to encourage more eco-friendly transport as part of its broader economic relaunch packages, the sleeper service from Paris to Nice is back. The first Paris-Nice night train departed Paris Austerlitz station at 20:52 on May 20 and arrived in Nice at 09:11 on May 21. To highlight just how much attention the sleeper service re-launch attracted, French Prime Minister Jean Castex was among the passengers, At a time when France is striving hard to bring down its carbon emissions, night trains are also more "virtuous" than cars or planes, as Castex's office told AFP. The night train will run daily between Paris and Nice in both directions. And while it takes twice as long as the TGV to complete the nearly 1,088-kilometre (675-mile) voyage, it’s a lot more affordable. Paris-Nice TGV tickets usually cost well over 100 euros one-way. Night train prices start from just 29 euros. *Image: Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon, Paris, courtesy of Gryffindor and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
One of Paris’ overlooked treasures, Musée Carnavalet, is ready to welcome visitors once more after being closed for five years. Dedicated to the history of the French capital, Musée Carnavalet first opened in 1888 and is the oldest city of Paris museum. But its collection grew so large that curators were struggling to display everything in a coherent fashion. That’s why the decision was taken to close the museum in 2016 and undertake a €55 million renovation project. From May 29, 2021, visitors will once again be able to frequent this hidden gem, which occupies two grand buildings dating back to the Renaissance in Paris’ Marais district. Inside, visitors will find an eclectic mix of Paris-related artefacts and curiosities, including Marie Antoinette's belongings, Marcel Proust's furniture, Renoir paintings, and Gallo-Roman ruins. There’s even more than 30 period rooms from stately homes across Paris that have been reconstructed in all their finery. Lifts and ramps have been installed throughout the building as part of the renovations to improve accessibility, while digital displays are designed to help bring the museum into the 21st-century. Discover more on the official Musée Carnavalet website. *Image: Musée Carnavalet, Paris 2008, courtesy of Francisco Anzola and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Parisian catwalks will reopen from July as the French government looks to wind down Covid-19 restrictions, paving the way for live fashions show to resume, the country's fashion industry body announced on Tuesday (May 11). The annual Haute Couture Week — which sees a select club of designers display one-of-a-kind, handmade outfits — will take place from July 5 to July 8 and fashion houses will be allowed to organise live shows and presentations, according to a statement from the French fashion industry body Federation De La Haute Couture Et De La Mode Depending on how the pandemic progresses, physical fashion shows with live guests would be allowed, in line with government guidance on public events. No major live fashion shows have been held in Paris since September 2020. Back then, some brands, including Dior and Chanel, organised a few shows with live audiences, but with a strictly limited number of guests. In the past months, fashion brands have presented their new lines in online-only shows and have experimented with other ways to showcase their designs such as short films and one-on-one presentations. The federation said its Haute Couture online platform https://hautecouture.fhcm.paris/fr would remain available for digital-only shows going forward and would also retransmit the physical shows. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Paris’ multiple fashion weeks generated some 1.2 billion euros for the local economy every year, the federation grouping couture houses estimates. *Image courtesy of Pexels from Pixabay
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth/telemedicine services were more of a convenience than a necessity for most patients. They offered (and still do offer) a way for a patient to consult with their clinician without having to make a trip to the doctor’s office. But it was when the Covid-19 pandemic struck that telehealth really came into its own, with more patients than ever taking advantage of such services to receive non-emergency healthcare from the safety of their own homes. Now, new research from Sykes reveals that most consumers – having experienced telehealth services during the pandemic -- want them to remain post-Covid. According to the Sykes survey, which polled 2,000 Americans in March on how their opinions on virtual care have changed within the past year, more than 61% had undergone a telehealth visit come March this year. In comparison, less than 20% had utilized telehealth by March 2020. Furthermore, in March 2020, around 65% of Americans felt hesitant or doubtful about the quality of telehealth services, while 56% did not believe they could afford the same level of care compared to in-person appointments. However, now, almost 88% want to continue using telehealth for non-urgent consultations after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Moreover, almost 80% agree it's possible to receive quality care via telehealth services. *Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
French schools have closed for at least three weeks under a third national lockdown to fight rising Covid-19 cases. French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that schools would switch to remote learning from the beginning of this week. Other lockdown measures, introduced in some parts of France earlier this month, including Paris, have also been extended to other areas. From last Saturday, all non-essential shops closed and there is now a ban on travelling more than 10km (6 miles) from home without good reason. Last Wednesday, the country's health ministry reported 59,038 new cases. France has so far reported more than 4.6 million cases of coronavirus and 95,495 Covid-related deaths. In a live televised address, Mr Macron described the situation in France as "delicate". He added that April would be a “crucial” month in the battle against Covid-19. "We will lose control if we do not move now," he said. Mr Macron outlined that the race to vaccinate would continue alongside attempting to control the spread of the virus. He said that while schools would be closing from this week, classes would remain open for the children of key workers. Image: French President Emmanuel Macron, courtesy of Foundations World Economic Forum, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
In an effort to ramp up its vaccination drive, France has confirmed it will open at least 35 giant ‘megacentre vaccinodromes’ across the country by April. Health Minister Olivier Véran this week confirmed: “The health service and the army will work to develop a certain number of giant vaccination centres - we might call them ‘vaccinodromes’ or ‘megacentres’, whatever name you want to use.” Mr Véran stated his goal of having “10 million people vaccinated with at least one dose by mid-April”, with the campaign rollout set to speed up next month “because supplies of the vaccine will rise”. France’s total population is c. 67 million. From Marseille to Toulon to Lyon and Paris, work is ongoing to turn some of the nation’s largest sporting arenas, including Paris’s Stade de France, into mass Covid-19 vaccination centres. However, the health minister has said that his long-term goal is to have “one or two megacenters per department”, which equates to “100 to 200” across the entire country. Once opened, the vaccinodromes will aim to give 1,000 to 2,000 vaccines per day. At present, the average number of doses given at vaccination centres is around 500 per week. Image: Stade de France, courtesy of Zakarie Faibis, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
France is gearing up for a possible easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions from mid-April, as vaccines, to date, are proving effective at lowering infection rates. French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that while the nation is still facing hard times, “For the first time in months, the return to more normal living conditions is in sight.” Attal said vaccinated groups (mainly the elderly) are witnessing falling infection rates, which, he said, is a sign that the country’s vaccination program is working and should be sped up. "It is neither a distant nor uncertain horizon - it is an horizon that is getting closer and closer. We hope maybe from mid-April, and we are preparing for it. "The president (Emmanuel Macron) asked us to submit proposals that could allow for a cautious re-opening of the country soon,” he said. Attal added that the goal of vaccinating the most fragile was to reduce hospitalizations and safeguard the nation’s health care system, which is key to easing restrictions. Earlier this week, Health Minister Olivier Veran said France will retain its current measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, including a nighttime curfew, as a bare minimum for the next four to six weeks. Other measures now in force include the closure of bars, restaurants, museums, sports and music venues. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.
A baby has been born in France following a uterus transplant for the first time, the hospital treating the mother and baby announced on Wednesday. While such births are not unprecedented, they are extremely rare, happening after a woman whose own uterus is damaged or missing has had a cutting-edge procedure to have a healthy one transplanted. The baby, a girl weighing 1.845kg, was born last Friday, according to the team at the Foch Hospital outside Paris. "Mother and baby are doing well," said Dr Jean-Marc Ayoubi, head of gynaecology, obstetrics and reproductive medicine at the hospital. The 36-year-old mother, who reports are naming only as ‘Deborah’, was born without a uterus because of a rare condition known as Rokitansky Syndrome, which affects about one in 4,500 women. Deborah received a uterus transplant in March 2019 from her own mother, then aged 57. The transplant was performed by the same team at the Foch Hospital that delivered the new baby. The first ever birth after a uterus transplant was in Sweden in 2014 and there have been other such births in the United States and Brazil to date. However, they remain rare. Nevertheless, this new birth, as well as those before it, will give hope to women who suffer similar reproductive problems that they maybe have alternatives to adoption or surrogacy.
Europe's oldest living person has survived COVID-19 after testing positive just weeks before her 117th birthday. Sister André, a French nun who was born in 1904, tested positive in the retirement home where she lives in Toulon, southern France, on January 16, according to the home’s communications director, David Tavella. André, who was born Lucille Randon, showed no symptoms from the virus and didn’t even know she was infected until she received her positive test. Despite no visitors being allowed because of strict COVID protocols, André is preparing to celebrate her 117th birthday today, Thursday 11th February. She will reportedly receive video messages from her family and the local mayor, as well as taking part in a video Mass, Tavella said. André's birthday meal will feature her favorites: foie gras, baked Alaska and a glass of red wine, Tavella added. Remarkably, André has lived through two world wars, as well as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that infected around 500 million people. While Andre is the oldest living person in France today, she’s not the oldest in the world. That crown is held by Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who was born in 1903, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). * Image credit Gérard Julien/AFP/Getty Images
Despite Covid-19-related lockdowns continuing in many countries across the world, the Michelin Guide has awarded its coveted stars for 2021 — and France (including Monaco) now has more three-star establishments than any other country. Originally due to be announced at a lavish gala ceremony in Cognac, southwest France, the Michelin awards were broadcast via Facebook on Monday from the Jules Vernes restaurant (one star) on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Social distancing rules forced Michelin to call off the event in Cognac, which would have been the first time the awards were held outside Paris. Ahead of this year’s awards, Michelin had promised that no three-star restaurants would be demoted as the global pandemic continues, causing many establishments to remain closed or switch to take-aways and deliveries. One of the main talking points of this year’s awards was ONA, which stands for Origine Non Animale or Non-Animal Origin. The vegan restaurant in Ares near Bordeaux, which serves only plant-based foods, became the first of its kind in the country to be awarded a Michelin star. Vegan restaurants in the US, Germany and Spain have already received Michelin stars in recent years. ONA was also awarded a green star for its strong ethical and sustainable practices.
We recently wrote about how being overweight or obese increases COVID-19 risks. Now, a new study has revealed how Latinx individuals are significantly more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 —, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — than any other ethnic or racial group. The researchers who conducted the study believe crowded living conditions, plus an economic necessity to continue working outdoors throughout the pandemic have contributed to the higher infection rates among Latinx communities. Furthermore, the researchers say that members of these communities are disproportionately less likely to have health insurance than their peers from other ethnic and racial groups. This reality, the researchers say, has contributed to the disparities we see today. For the study, the researchers analyzed over 35,000 COVID-19 test results from hospitals and outpatient clinics in the Baltimore-Washington area. They found that 16.3% of the tests were positive. Of those positive results, Latinx individuals accounted for 42.6% of the total, followed by black people (17.6%), “others” (17.2%), and white people (8.8%). Another uncovered discrepancy was that Latinx patients who tested positive and were subsequently hospitalized were significantly less likely to have been previously diagnosed with a health condition, something, the researchers suggest, could be due to them having poorer access to healthcare. The research, which is published in JAMA, involved a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the university’s Center for Data Science in Emergency Medicine.
Tiny microphones could provide invaluable insights into a person’s knee health, a new study suggests. According to researchers, arthritic knees are ‘noisy’ and emit telltale sounds - but sounds that can only be heard by microphones. The waveforms emitted by the noisy knees can then be analysed by computers to provide insights into the health of the knee. The researchers say the technology – similar to the kind used by engineers to listen for faults in bridges - can be used to better diagnose conditions like osteoarthritis and help develop better treatments as a result. For the study - conducted by a team from Lancaster University, the University of Central Lancashire and Manchester University – patients with osteoarthritis were asked to stand up and down five times, while acoustic signals from their knees were captured by the microphones. The theory behind the trial is that knees which are functioning normally should act like smooth and well-lubricated engineering structures, emitting very little in the way of noise. In comparison, rough and poorly-lubricated surfaces (arthritic knees) would generate acoustic signals. The trial found that the microphone technique could distinguish between the two different types of knee, thus offering a solution that did not involve an X-ray. Publishing its findings in the journal PLOS ONE, the research team said the more noisy the knee, the more severe the osteoarthritis. However, they did admit that more research and larger-scale trials are needed so the technique can be developed further.
We recently wrote about how just one rasher of bacon a day can increase bowel cancer risk. Now, new research has revealed that replacing red meat with plant protein can reduce heart disease risk. For the study, researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, conducted a meta-analysis of trials comparing the effects of meat vs. other diets on our health. The results are published in the journal Circulation. It was an approach that allowed the researchers to not only examine the health effects of red meat, but also see whether substituting red meat for other protein sources brought benefits. Analyzing data from 36 randomized controlled trials, the researchers looked at the blood pressure and blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins of the participants. They then compared these levels with those of people who ate less red meat and more chicken, fish, legumes, soy, nuts, or carbohydrates. They found that while there wasn’t much difference in lipoproteins, blood pressure, or total cholesterol, diets high in red meat did cause an increase in triglyceride concentrations. In addition, diets rich in high-quality plant protein led to lower levels of bad cholesterol. Speaking about the findings of the research, Marta Guasch-Ferré, lead author of the study and research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said: “Previous findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors have been inconsistent. “But, our new study, which makes specific comparisons between diets high in red meat versus diets high in other types of foods, shows that substituting red meat with high-quality protein sources lead to more favorable changes in cardiovascular risk factors.”
Following a low-calorie diet – even for just a few months – can arrest type-2 diabetes for at least two years, new research suggests. The findings of the study highlight that type-2 diabetes might not necessarily be the life sentence we previously thought. Nearly 300 people with type-2 diabetes in Scotland and Tyneside (in the UK) participated in the study. Half were given standard diabetes care, while the other half were put on a structured weight management programme. After 12 months, 46% of those on the low-calorie programme had successfully reversed their type-2 diabetes. In comparison, just 4% of the study participants given the standard treatment had gone into remission. Two years later, 36% of the study participants on the structured weight management programme were still in remission. “People with type 2 diabetes and healthcare professionals have told us their top research priority is: ‘Can the condition be reversed or cured?’ We can now say, with respect to reversal, that yes it can. Now we must focus on helping people maintain their weight loss and stay in remission for life,” said Prof Mike Lean from Glasgow University, who led the study with Taylor. Type-2 diabetes causes blood sugar levels to rise and can lead to serious complications such as amputations, visual problems and heart disease. It is thought that one in 16 adults in the UK is currently living with type-2 diabetes, a condition that is fuelled by obesity. [Related reading: Why being overweight increases your risk of cancer]
Christmas Day is less than two weeks away and that means many of us will soon be gorging ourselves on all sorts of culinary delights. It’s a reality that will see a lot of people piling on the pounds this month ahead of the inevitable January fitness drive. But what if there was a simple way to limit the impact of Christmas feasting on our waistlines? A new study by the Universities of Birmingham and Loughborough in the UK suggests there is. According to the study involving 272 volunteers, regular home weigh-ins coupled with simple weight-loss tips can prevent people from putting on weight over the festive period. For the study, the volunteers were divided into two groups. One group weighed themselves regularly and were given dietary advice, including information on how many calories they needed to burn to negate Christmas food. The other group didn’t weight themselves and were only given a small amount of healthy lifestyle advice. The group that weighed themselves and had access to the additional information weighed 0.49kg less than the "comparison" group come the end of the study. Study lead author, Frances Mason, of the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research, said “People gain a kilo of weight on average annually. Often this weight gain happens at Christmas, and is never fully lost. This could possibly be a factor driving the obesity epidemic.” In other words, by simply keeping track of your weight and understanding the impact the foods you are eating are having on your waistline, you stand a better chance of avoiding weight gain at a time of year that’s traditionally associated with piling on the pounds. [Related reading: Why being overweight increases your risk of cancer]
People who have a heart attack sometimes experience heart muscle damage. As a result, many live with heart failure and may require a heart transplant in the future. But what if there was a way for human hearts to heal themselves? Scientists say an exotic fish could perhaps hold clues to making such an occurrence a reality. The Mexican tetra fish, which lives in freshwater, can, quite amazingly, repair its own heart. Popular with aquarium owners because of its unique coloring, the tetra fish has many different species, most of which can heal their own hearts following damage. To understand how the tetra fish do this, a team of researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK travelled to the Pachón cave in Mexico to study a tetra subspecies, the “blind cave tetra”. This remarkable fish has not only lost its ability to see, but also its color. Moreover, it can no longer regenerate heart tissue. By studying the blind cave tetra alongside other species of tetra, the team of researchers was able to create genetic profiles for both, allowing them to better understand what gives the tetra its amazing heart regeneration abilities. The team, led by Dr. Mathilda Mommersteeg, an associate professor at the University of Oxford, identified three separate genomes relevant to the tetra’s self-healing. Further analysis revealed two genes, lrrc10 and caveolin, were far more active in the river tetras. “A real challenge until now was comparing heart damage and repair in fish with what we see in humans. But, by looking at river fish and cave fish side by side, we've been able to pick apart the genes responsible for heart regeneration,” said Dr. Mommersteeg. Going forward, the research team hopes it may be possible to develop a way for heart attack patients to repair their own heart tissue.
A significant proportion of meat-free burgers, sausages and mince contain unacceptable levels of salt, a campaign group has found. According to Action on Salt, 28% of the 157 meat substitute products studied by them did not meet Public Health England (PHE) voluntary salt targets. In some cases, products were found to be saltier than Atlantic seawater, the report says. Action on Salt is calling on PHE to take “urgent action” to make food manufacturers adhere to maximum recommended salt levels. Out of all the meat-free products investigated by Action on Salt, only three were found to be low in salt. Tofurky's Deli Slices Hickory Smoked and Tesco's Meat Free Bacon Style Rashers were the saltiest meat substitutes studied, containing, 3.5g and 3.2g of salt per 100g respectively. PHE's salt target for meat-free bacon is 1.88g of salt per 100g. For comparison, seawater has around 2.5g of salt per 100g. While their meat-free bacon was found to be extremely high in salt, Tesco’s Meat-Free Mince had one of the lowest salt levels of all the products analysed – just 0.2g of salt per 100g. Speaking about the findings of the study, Mhairi Brown, nutritionist at Action on Salt, said: “The food industry has ensured greater availability of meat-free alternatives, but now they must do more to ensure that meat-free alternatives contain far less salt - at the very least lower than their meat equivalents. “This survey drives home the urgent need for Public Health England to reinvigorate the UK's salt reduction strategy.”
What’s the fittest country in the world? Would you have any idea if you were asked? Even hazard a guess? Hint: It’s a country in Africa. According to a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Uganda is the world’s most physically active country. Published in the medical journal The Lancet, the study findings are from a compilation of surveys completed in 168 countries. Just 5.5% of Ugandans do not do enough physical activity. People living in Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania and Togo are also getting plenty of exercise, too. In comparison, people living in Kuwait (the least active nation) have far more sedentary lifestyles, with 67% of the population not active enough. The report highlights a distinct divide between the levels of physical activity in poorer countries vs. wealthier countries. People in poorer nations are more likely to walk to work and/or have jobs that see them being physically active throughout the day. Recommended exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds Here’s what the UK’s NHS recommends: At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as cycling or brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (such as running or a game of tennis) every week Strength exercises that work all the major muscles at least two days per week Long periods of sitting should be broken up with light activity Are you getting enough physical activity? Could a small lifestyle change enable you to? [Related reading: Open-plan offices could improve health, reduce stress]
Par Martine Lochouarn Publié le 17/06/2018 à 06:00 INFOGRAPHIE - Un diagnostic précoce de ce cancer permettrait d’améliorer la prise en charge. Au cinquième rang mondial par sa fréquence, le cancer de l’estomac figure en troisième place par le nombre de morts, près de 9 % de tous les décès par cancer. Son incidence varie selon les régions du globe, les ethnies et le niveau de développement. L’Asie de l’Est, Japon, Corée et Chine surtout, est fortement touchée, mais aussi l’Amérique du Sud. «Intermédiaire en Europe de l’Est, son incidence est plus faible en Europe de l’Ouest, à l’exception du Portugal, fortement touché», explique le Pr Tamara Matysiak-Budnik, gastro-entérologue et cancérologue (CHU Nantes). En France, de 6000 à 7000 nouveaux cas sont diagnostiqués chaque année, pour 4500 décès. C’est un cancer du sujet âgé, de pronostic médiocre. En quelques décennies, les progrès de l’hygiène alimentaire ont beaucoup réduit son incidence, qui est aujourd’hui assez stable. «L’association démontrée entre infection par H.pylori et cancer gastrique est aussi forte que celle entre tabac et cancer du poumon.» Pr Tamara Matysiak-Budnik, gastro-entérologue et cancérologue (CHU Nantes) La forme la plus fréquente, qui touche le corps et la partie basse de l’estomac, diminue encore peu à peu, mais les cancers de la jonction estomac-oesophage (cardia) plus rares, augmentent avec l’épidémie d’obésité qui favorise le reflux gastro-œsophagien. Moins de 5 % des cancers sont d’origine génétique. Il s’agit souvent de cancers «diffus», infiltrant l’estomac, de très mauvais pronostic, qui touchent des sujets jeunes. Mais le premier facteur de risque de cancer de l’estomac, c’est l’infection par Helicobacter pylori, responsable de près de 90 % des cas. Cette bactérie acquise dans l’enfance colonise la muqueuse gastrique, le plus souvent sans symptôme. «L’association démontrée entre infection par H. pylori et cancer gastrique est aussi forte que celle entre tabac et cancer du poumon», explique la gastro-entérologue. En France, de 20 à 30 % des individus sont infectés, mais 80 % le sont en Afrique et 10 % dans les pays nordiques. Parmi les personnes infectées, de 2 à 20 % auront un ulcère, et parmi elles 1 % aura un cancer gastrique. «Ce processus complexe de carcinogenèse s’étend sur des décennies et passe par une cascade d’étapes, dont la première, la gastrite superficielle, ne survient pas sans infection par H. pylori, ce qui ne signifie pas que cette infection est suffisante», explique le Pr Matysiak-Budnik. L’excès de sel, de viande rouge, d’aliments fumés, le tabac favorisent aussi ce processus, les fruits et légumes ayant un effet protecteur. Les antibiotiques pour éradiquer la bactérie «L’éradication par antibiotiques de l’infection à H. pylori guérit et fait régresser les gastrites superficielles et la plupart des gastrites atrophiques, prévenant ainsi le cancer de l’estomac.» Comme l’incidence de ce cancer est faible en France, un dépistage sur toute la population ne paraît pas adapté. Mais il existe au Japon, et la Slovénie l’envisage. En revanche, la recherche de H. pylori et son éradication sont indispensables dans les formes héréditaires, chez les parents au premier degré de personnes ayant un cancer gastrique, chez les personnes ayant un ulcère, une gastrique atrophique, précancéreuse, ou ayant subi une ablation partielle de l’estomac pour cancer, et chez celles traitées au long cours par certains médicaments anti-acide, les IPP (inhibiteurs de la pompe à protons). La lésion peut être retirée par endoscopie Si le cancer gastrique a un pronostic médiocre, c’est d’abord à cause de son diagnostic tardif, les cancers précoces ne donnant pas de symptômes. Parfois, une lésion précoce est découverte par des signes très généraux comme une anémie. «Mais le plus souvent ils sont détectés à un stade évolué, parce que surviennent une hémorragie digestive, des douleurs qui ressemblent à un ulcère, un amaigrissement, des difficultés d’alimentation… C’est l’examen endoscopique et la biopsie des lésions qui confirment ce diagnostic, explique le Pr Thomas Aparicio, gastro-entérologue et cancérologue (hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris). Si la lésion est petite et superficielle, elle est parfois enlevée par endoscopie dans des centres très expérimentés. Mais la laparoscopie est moins utilisée que dans le cancer du côlon, et l’ablation chirurgicale se fait le plus souvent en ouvrant l’abdomen.» Le principal progrès de ces quinze dernières années dans l’amélioration de la survie, c’est la chimiothérapie périopératoire, avec en général deux mois de chimiothérapie préopératoire pour réduire la tumeur et éliminer les micrométastases, et deux mois de chimiothérapie postopératoire. Les 30 % de cancers métastatiques d’emblée ne sont pas opérés. Comme pour d’autres tumeurs, ces formes métastatiques commencent à bénéficier des avancées des thérapies ciblées et de l’immunothérapie. Mais, globalement, les progrès sont modestes et les essais souvent décevants. «Notre arme principale reste la détection, le plus précoce possible, qui a un peu progressé puisqu’on identifie 10 % de cancers superficiels précoces, contre 4 % il y a dix ans», insiste le Pr Matysiak-Budnik. De nouveaux tests en cours d’évaluation pourraient aider à améliorer ce dépistage…
Une approche innovante a permis d’identifier des molécules produites par des micro-organismes présents dans l’eau de mer. Voici une découverte rassurante: une équipe de chercheurs du collège de médecine de l’université du Wisconsin, à Madison, a découvert un nouvel antibiotique au mode d’action inédit. Une molécule baptisée «keyicine». C’est en cultivant des protéobactéries du genre Rhodococcus - qui vivent en symbiose avec des invertébrés marins - avec des bactéries Micromonospora qu’ils ont pu faire apparaître cette nouvelle molécule. Cultivées dans des conditions «traditionnelles», les Rhodococcus seules ne fabriquent pas cette keyicine: les gènes qui commandent sa fabrication sont silencieux. Les chercheurs ont réussi à réveiller ces gènes et estiment que d’autres molécules intéressantes sont sans doute encore à découvrir (travaux publiés dans la revue ACS Chemical Biology ). «Nous pensons que les produits naturels restent l’une des plus grandes sources de molécules diverses destinées à traiter les maladies humaines» Navid Adnani, premier signataire des travaux Parmi les défis qui attendent la médecine et la pharmacie, l’apparition de germes devenus insensibles aux médicaments est un obstacle majeur. Les chercheurs de l’école de pharmacie de l’université du Wisconsin ont fait le constat que, entre les années 1970 et le début des années 2000, la recherche, tant publique que privée, a délaissé les produits «naturels» provenant des bactéries pour s’appuyer essentiellement sur la chimie de synthèse. En effet, on a cru que l’homme avait fait le tour des produits naturels, et que la chimie, via des batteries de tests de dépistage, serait beaucoup plus efficace. «Grâce aux progrès technologiques, à celui de la génétique, de la protéomique, de la métabolomique, etc., nous pensons que les produits naturels restent l’une des plus grandes sources de molécules diverses destinées à traiter les maladies humaines», écrivent Navid Adnani, premier signataire des travaux, et ses collègues. «Une urgence de santé publique» Pour réussir à relever ce défi, les scientifiques se sont dit que la méthode traditionnelle de culture des bactéries - dans une boîte avec un milieu nutritif donné et une analyse de tous les produits issus de cette culture - ne convenait pas. D’ailleurs, on sait que d’innombrables bactéries ne poussent pas dans ces conditions: on estime d’ailleurs qu’on a réussi à cultiver en laboratoire moins de 1 % des bactéries présentes sur Terre! D’où leur idée à double détente. Un, aller chercher dans des réservoirs peu connus, comme les bactéries sous-marines. Un litre d’eau de mer contiendrait 100 millions à 1 milliard de bactéries de 20.000 espèces différentes. Deux, faire des co-cultures d’espèces bactériennes différentes et regarder ce que cela donne. Et bingo, cela a fonctionné. «Cela a l’air d’un joli travail. Et on ne découvre pas tant que cela de nouveaux antibiotiques», reconnaît Élodie Psender, pharmacienne au CHU de Limoges, impliquée dans le grand programme européen Combacte, un partenariat public-privé qui a pour objectif de générer des essais innovants pour faciliter l’enregistrement des nouveaux agents antibactériens. En Europe, la résistance aux antibiotiques est responsable de plus de 25.000 décès chaque année «Les recherches sur de nouveaux antibiotiques continuent mais, au vu des antibiorésistances, la recherche s’oriente vers de nouvelles thérapies innovantes, avec par exemple des anticorps. On travaille aussi à développer des tests précoces d’identification d’infections, ce qui permettra de mieux traiter et de faire de la prévention.» Selon l’Organisation mondiale de la santé, «la résistance aux antibiotiques est en train de devenir une urgence de santé publique en des proportions encore inconnues». En Europe, la résistance aux antibiotiques est responsable de plus de 25.000 décès chaque année. Les chercheurs pharmaciens du Wisconsin ont établi la structure chimique de la keyicine. Elle appartient à une famille d’antibiotiques, également efficaces contre certains cancers, les anthracyclines. Mais son mode d’action est différent. Tandis que les autres anthracyclines tuent les cellules en s’attaquant à leur ADN, la keyicine ne le fait pas. Ce qui pourrait donc rendre l’acquisition d’une résistance bactérienne beaucoup moins facile.
C H E N G D U H E A L T H S E R V I C E C H A M B E R O F C O M M E R C E & S A N Y I M E D I C A L C E N T R E & C H I N A I N T E R N A T I O N A L M E D I C A L T O U R I S M F A I R O U R D E L E G A T I O N The French Medical & Health Delegation, comprised of Dr. Marc Giraud, co-founder of France Surgery and Dr. Jean-Patrick Lajonchère, the President of Hôpital Saint Joseph in Paris, travelled to Chengu, China earlier this month. They were welcomed by Mr. SHI JUN, President of the Chengdu Health Service Industry Chamber of Commerce, together with representatives of JustGood Health Industry Group, Sichuan Southwest International Medical equipment city and Chengdu Yukang hospital. This was a good opportunity to bound the Franco-Chinese partnership related to the medical and health industry, that was signed last November in Paris, when France Surgery, together with Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy and the Hôpital Saint Joseph welcomed the Chinese delegation. The Chinese tour also comprised a visit at the China International Medical Tourism (Chengdu) Fair and to the Sanyi Medical Center, where we've met esteemed professionals and future collaborators!
France is still woozy with World Cup fever and rightly so (Allez Les Bleus), which makes today’s blog post particularly topical. That’s because a new study has set out to discover whether repeatedly heading a football can cause damage to the brain and lead to long-term health problems. Involving 300 former professional footballers, the study plans to put the ex-players through a series of tests that are designed to assess their physical and cognitive capabilities. Clinical examinations will be performed on the players, all aged between 50 and 85, while additional data relating to their playing careers and lifestyle choices will also be sourced. This is so the study researchers can differentiate between the players’ former positions and draw more accurate comparisons. The footballers’ results will then be compared to available population data relating to individuals born in 1954 who have had their ageing processes monitored since birth. The researchers hope this will allow them to discover if mild concussions in football that often occur when a player heads the ball can have long-term effects. The study will be carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of Occupational Medicine. Lead researcher Prof Neil Pearce, from LSHTM, said: “This study will provide, for the first time, persuasive evidence of the long-term effects on cognitive function from professional football.”
INFOGRAPHIE - Un essai clinique a permis de soigner 22 personnes souffrant de bêta-thalassémie, une anémie d’origine génétique. Une collaboration majoritairement franco-américaine a obtenu un beau succès thérapeutique contre une pathologie sanguine, la bêta-thalassémie. Cette maladie génétique est rare en France, avec environ 600 malades, mais elle est bien plus fréquente au sein de certaines populations dans le pourtour méditerranéen, en Asie ou encore en Afrique noire. Elle est provoquée par un défaut dans un gène qui perturbe la production de l’hémoglobine, et qui se traduit par des globules rouges qui ne font plus assez bien leur travail et provoquent des anémies plus ou moins sévères, qu’il faut compenser par des transfusions. Les premiers résultats d’un essai clinique publiés le jeudi 19 avril dans la revue New England Journal of Medicine prouvent l’efficacité d’un traitement de thérapie génique, où les mutations qui provoquent la maladie ont été corrigées dans les cellules des malades. En 2010, un premier malade avait été soigné avec cette technique, et l’essai clinique qui vient de se dérouler sur 22 malades prouve que ce succès n’était pas un cas isolé. Douze d’entre eux n’ont plus du tout besoin de transfusion sanguine, et trois autres ont pu réduire la fréquence de ces injections de globules rouges. Gène correcteur dans les cellules souches L’idée de la thérapie génique, insérer un gène «réparé» dans l’organisme du patient pour soigner sa maladie, a été très largement mise en avant depuis des années, notamment par le Téléthon, mais les vrais succès sont encore rares. «Pour la bêta-thalassémie, j’ai eu l’idée de ce traitement il y a déjà une vingtaine d’années, mais la mise au point a été très longue, très difficile», reconnaît le Pr Philippe Leboulch, haut conseiller pour l’innovation médicale de la direction de la recherche fondamentale du CEA. Les premiers tests réussis sur des souris avaient été publiés il y a dix-sept ans dans la revue Nature, et le passage à une technique efficace chez l’homme a été long. La bêta-thalassémie était dès le départ une cible intéressante, car elle est provoquée par la mutation d’un seul gène. Mais la grande difficulté a été de réussir à corriger ce gène dans le corps du malade, et plus précisément dans les cellules souches dites hématopoïétiques, les «usines» qui produisent en continu les cellules sanguines de l’organisme. Traitement moins lourd pour le malade C’est ce scénario idéal qui s’est produit pour 12 des 22 patients traités, dont certains dans le service du Pr Marina Cavazzana à l’hôpital Necker-Enfants malades à Paris, en collaboration avec l’institut Imagine (AP-HP/Inserm/Université Paris-Descartes). Les cellules génétiquement corrigées qu’ils ont reçues se sont bien implantées, et ont permis de produire suffisamment d’hémoglobine saine pour qu’ils n’aient plus besoin de recevoir des transfusions sanguines régulières. « J’ai bientôt 24 ans et j’ai bénéficié d’une autogreffe il y a quatre ans, témoigne une patiente du Pr Marina Cavazzana. Grâce à ça, aujourd’hui, je n’ai plus de transfusion mais surtout plus de Desféral, qui était mon traitement afin de descendre ma ferritine.» Le Desféral est un traitement contre l’effet délétère des dépôts de fer causés par ces transfusions. Dernier avantage, ce traitement est moins lourd pour le malade que les greffes de moelle osseuse, qui ne sont d’ailleurs possibles que dans 25 % des cas.
Une étude coréenne montre que la pollution atmosphérique est néfaste pour la flore cutanée. Depuis quelques années, les études sur la flore intestinale (ou microbiote intestinal) se multiplient. Côlon irritable, maladie de Crohn, diabète, obésité... Un bouleversement de ces «bons» microbes est bien souvent corrélé à des problèmes de santé. Moins connus en revanche est le microbiote cutané, composé de millions de bactéries, virus et champignons recouvrant notre peau. Pourtant, eux aussi préservent notre organisme des infections, de l’acné, de l’eczéma, voire du mélanome (cancer de la peau). La ville, un environnement mauvais pour la peau Notre peau et son microbiote sont en première ligne face aux agressions de l’environnement, comme la pollution atmosphérique. Une récente étude coréenne a même montré que plus la ville dans laquelle on vit est grande et urbanisée, moins le microbiote cutané est de qualité. Ces travaux, publiés le 7 mars dans le journal Sciences Advances ont consisté à analyser la diversité du microbiote prélevé sur la joue de plus de 200 Chinoises en fonction de leur lieu de résidence. «Si le microbiote cutané asiatique n’est pas comparable au microbiote caucasien (européen), souligne le Pr Patrice Debré, immunologiste à l’hôpital de la Pitié Salpêtrière (AP-HP) et auteur du livre L’Homme microbiotique , l’étude coréenne a l’avantage de pointer du doigt l’effet de l’environnement souvent ignoré». Le médecin appel toutefois à la prudence: «la pollution en Chine n’est pas la même qu’en France. S’il est loin d’être absurde de penser que l’air des villes françaises peut aussi affaiblir notre microbiote, il reste à le démontrer». Un microbiote cutané au service de nos défenses immunitaires Une chose est sûre en revanche, si la diversité du microbiote est altérée (réduite ou trop élevée), l’équilibre est rompu et la peau devient plus fragile face aux infections et aux allergies. «C’est un peu comme pour les chaises musicales, commente le Pr Debré, si de «bonnes» bactéries occupent la place sur notre peau, les «mauvaises» ne peuvent pas s’y installer». En outre, les bactéries du microbiote (bactéries commensales) sont capables de tuer les autres bactéries pathogènes soit par la production de bactéricides, soit par la stimulation de notre propre système immunitaire. Ainsi, un dérèglement du microbiote - appelé dysbiose — peut donc engendrer de multiples problèmes de peau. On sait par exemple, que l’acné est due à une prolifération de certaines variétés de bactéries P. acnes qui engendrent l’apparition de boutons. Pour la dermatite atopique, caractérisée par des poussées d’eczéma, c’est la prolifération de staphylocoques dorés qui est en cause. Or cette bactérie ne prolifère que si le microbiote est appauvri, entraînant de multiples réactions inflammatoires à l’origine des éruptions cutanées. «On pense même aujourd’hui, qu’un microbiote en bonne santé pourrait réduire le risque de développer un mélanome», explique le Pr Brigitte Dréno, dermatologue au CHU de Nantes.
By the time they reach middle age, seven in 10 UK millennials (people born between the early 1980s and mid-90s) will be too fat, health experts say. In fact, millennials are on course to be the fattest generation ever since records began. In comparison, only about half of the so-called “baby boomer” generation (those born just after the Second World War) were fat at middle age. It’s a worrying revelation, especially as being fat as an adult is linked to an increased risk of developing 13 different types of cancer, according to Cancer Research UK who conducted the research. The charity said only 15% of the UK population are aware that being fat puts them at increased risk of breast, bowel and kidney cancer. Even more sobering is the fact Britain is now the most obese country in Western Europe and its obesity rates are rising faster than any other developed nation. In 1993, obesity prevalence was 15%, but that figure had almost doubled risen to 27% in 2015. Professor Linda Bauld from Cancer Research UK said: "Extra body fat doesn't just sit there; it sends messages around the body that can cause damage to cells. "This damage can build up over time and increase the risk of cancer in the same way that damage from smoking causes cancer.”
Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by progressive memory loss and the deterioration of other cognitive functions. It is thought to affect around 5.4 million adults worldwide and, at present, there is no cure. As a result, treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and helping sufferers lead better lives. However, a new brain implant could help people affected by Alzheimer's to live independently for longer. A recent clinical trial at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre in Columbus investigated how deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy can help Alzheimer's patients. It involves implanting very thin electrical wires into the brain's frontal lobes and sending electrical signals, which are regulated by a device in the person’s chest, to stimulate the relevant brain networks. Following the treatment, one long-term dementia patient, LaVonne, 85, can cook meals, dress herself and organise outings. Speaking about the study, Dr Douglas Scharre, from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre, said: "By stimulating this region of the brain, the Alzheimer's subjects' cognitive and daily functional abilities as a whole declined more slowly than Alzheimer's patients' in a matched comparison group not being treated with [deep brain stimulation]." Further research will now be conducted to see whether the DBS therapy can be used in less invasive, non-surgical ways.