Comments on Rahmati et al., The global impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence of pediatric new-onset type 1 diabetes and ketoacidosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Med Virol. 2022; 1-16 (doi: 10.1002/jmv.27996).
Journal of medical virology. 2023;(1):e28272
COVID-19: Reducing the risk via diet and lifestyle.
Journal of integrative medicine. 2023;(1):1-16
This review shows that relatively simple changes to diet and lifestyle can significantly, and rapidly, reduce the risks associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in terms of infection risk, severity of disease, and even disease-related mortality. A wide range of interventions including regular exercise, adequate sleep, plant-based diets, maintenance of healthy weight, dietary supplementation, and time in nature have each been shown to have beneficial effects for supporting more positive health outcomes with COVID-19, in addition to promoting better overall health. This paper brings together literature from these areas and presents the argument that non-pharmaceutical approaches should not be overlooked in our response to COVID-19. It is noted that, in several cases, interventions discussed result in risk reductions equivalent to, or even greater than, those associated with currently available vaccines. Where the balance of evidence suggests benefits, and the risk is minimal to none, it is suggested that communicating the power of individual actions to the public becomes morally imperative. Further, many lives could be saved, and many harms from the vaccine mandates avoided, if we were willing to embrace this lifestyle-centred approach in our efforts to deal with COVID-19.
Electrolyte imbalances as poor prognostic markers in COVID-19: a systemic review and meta-analysis.
Journal of endocrinological investigation. 2023;(2):235-259
PURPOSE Serum electrolyte imbalances are highly prevalent in COVID-19 patients. However, their associations with COVID-19 outcomes are inconsistent, and of unknown prognostic value. We aim to systematically clarify the associations and prognostic accuracy of electrolyte imbalances (sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride and phosphate) in predicting poor COVID-19 clinical outcome. METHODS PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library were searched. Odds of poor clinical outcome (a composite of mortality, intensive-care unit (ICU) admission, need for respiratory support and acute respiratory distress syndrome) were pooled using mixed-effects models. The associated prognostic sensitivity, positive and negative likelihood ratios (LR + , LR-) and predictive values (PPV, NPV; assuming 25% pre-test probability), and area under the curve (AUC) were computed. RESULTS We included 28 observational studies from 953 records with low to moderate risk-of-bias. Hyponatremia (OR = 2.08, 95% CI = 1.48-2.94, I2 = 93%, N = 8), hypernatremia (OR = 4.32, 95% CI = 3.17-5.88, I2 = 45%, N = 7) and hypocalcemia (OR = 3.31, 95% CI = 2.24-4.88, I2 = 25%, N = 6) were associated with poor COVID-19 outcome. These associations remained significant on adjustment for covariates such as demographics and comorbidities. Hypernatremia was 97% specific in predicting poor outcome (LR + 4.0, PPV = 55%, AUC = 0.80) despite no differences in CRP and IL-6 levels between hypernatremic and normonatremic patients. Hypocalcemia was 76% sensitive in predicting poor outcome (LR- 0.44, NPV = 87%, AUC = 0.71). Overall quality of evidence ranged from very low to moderate. CONCLUSION Hyponatremia, hypernatremia and hypocalcemia are associated with poor COVID-19 clinical outcome. Hypernatremia is 97% specific for a poor outcome, and the association is independent of inflammatory marker levels. Further studies should evaluate if correcting these imbalances help improve clinical outcome.
Efficacy and safety of Reyanning mixture in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant: A prospective, open-label, randomized controlled trial.
Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology. 2023;:154514
BACKGROUND A wave of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron variant rapidly resulted in a steep increase in the infected population and an overloaded healthcare system. Effective medications for Omicron are currently limited. The previous observational study supports the efficacy and safety of Reyanning (RYN) mixture in the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). PURPOSE To evaluate the efficacy of RYN in asymptomatic and mildly infected patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS This study was a prospective, open-label, randomized controlled trial. We consecutively recruited 2830 patients from Shanghai New International Expo Center mobile cabin hospital and randomized them in a 1:1 ratio to receive RYN plus standard care or receive standard care alone. The primary outcomes were the negative conversion of nucleic acid. Secondary outcomes included the hospital duration, new-onset symptoms, proportion of disease progression, and the viral load measured by the cycle threshold (Ct) value. RESULTS A total of 1393 patients in the intervention group and 1407 patients in the control group completed the study. The negative conversion time of nucleic acid was significantly shortened in the intervention group (median: 6 d vs. 7 d, Hazard ratio: 0.768, 95CI %: 0.713-0.828, p < 0.0001). The negative conversion rate of nucleic acid was significantly higher in the intervention group (Day 3: 32.4% vs. 18.3%; Day7: 65.3% vs. 55.2%, p < 0.001). The hospitalization duration was significantly shortened in the intervention group (median: 8 d vs. 9 d, Hazard ratio: 0.759, 95% CI: 0.704-0.818, p < 0.0001). The proportion of new-onset fever (2.4% vs. 4.1%, p = 0.012), coughing (12.2% vs. 14.8%, p = 0.046), and expectoration (6.0% vs. 8.0%, p = 0.032) in the intervention group was significantly lower. RYN treatment increased Ct values and reduced the viral load. No disease progression and serious adverse events were reported during the study. CONCLUSION RYN is a safe and effective treatment that can accelerate virus clearance and promote disease recovery in asymptomatic and mild Omicron infections.
A haemochromatosis-causing HFE mutation is associated with SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility in the Czech population.
Clinica chimica acta; international journal of clinical chemistry. 2023;:211-215
BACKGROUND Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has become a global pandemic. While susceptibility to COVID-19 is subject to several external factors, including hypertension, BMI, and the presence of diabetes, it is also genetically determined to a significant extent. Infectious agents require iron (Fe) for proper functioning. Carriers of mutations resulting in increased iron concentrations are understood to be at increased risk of COVID-19. METHODS We examined HFE genotypes associated with hereditary haemochromatosis (rs1800562 and rs1799945 SNPs) in 617 COVID-19 patients (166 asymptomatic, 246 symptomatic and 205 hospitalised survivors) and 2 559 population-based controls. RESULTS We found a higher frequency of the minor allele (Tyr282) of the rs1800562 polymorphism (P < 0.002) in patients compared to controls (8.5 % vs 5.5 %). Non-carriers of the minor allele were protected against SARS-Cov-2 infection (OR, 95 %CI; 0.59, 0.42-0.82). The frequency of minor allele carriers was almost identical across asymptomatic, symptomatic, and hospitalised survivors. The rs1799945 variant did not affect disease severity and its occurrence was almost identical in patients and controls (P between 0.58 and 0.84). CONCLUSIONS In conclusion, our results indicate that presence of the rs1800562 minor allele, which is associated with hereditary haemochromatosis (thus increased levels of plasma Fe), increases susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2.
Development and evaluation of a fluidic facemask for airborne transmission mitigation.
Experimental thermal and fluid science. 2023;:110777
Recently, a fluidic facemask concept was proposed to mitigate the transmission of virus-laden aerosol and droplet infections, such as SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). This paper describes an experimental investigation of the first practical fluidic facemask prototype, or "Air-Screen". It employs a small, high-aspect-ratio, crossflow fan mounted on the visor of a filter-covered cap to produce a rectangular air jet, or screen, in front of the wearer's face. The entire assembly weighs less than 200 g. Qualitative flow visualization experiments using a mannequin clearly illustrated the Air-Screen's ability to effectively block airborne droplets (∼100 µm) from the wearer's face. Quantitative experiments to simulate droplets produced during sneezing or a wet cough (∼102 µm) were propelled (via a transmitter) at an average velocity of 50 m/s at 1 m from the mannequin or a target. The Air-Screen blocked 62% of all droplets with a diameter of less than 150 µm. With an Air-Screen active on the transmitter, 99% of all droplets were blocked. When both mannequin and transmitter Air-Screens were active, 99.8% of all droplets were blocked. A mathematical model, based on a weakly-advected jet in a crossflow, was employed to gain greater insight into the experimental results. This investigation highlighted the remarkable blocking effect of the Air-Screen and serves as a basis for a more detailed and comprehensive experimental evaluation.
Acute Muscle Mass Loss Predicts Long-Term Fatigue, Myalgia, and Health Care Costs in COVID-19 Survivors.
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2023;(1):10-16
OBJECTIVE We examined the impact of loss of skeletal muscle mass in post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospital readmission rate, self-perception of health, and health care costs in a cohort of COVID-19 survivors. DESIGN Prospective observational study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS Tertiary Clinical Hospital. Eighty COVID-19 survivors age 59 ± 14 years were prospectively assessed. METHODS Handgrip strength and vastus lateralis muscle cross-sectional area were evaluated at hospital admission, discharge, and 6 months after discharge. Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 were evaluated 6 months after discharge (main outcome). Also, health care costs, hospital readmission rate, and self-perception of health were evaluated 2 and 6 months after hospital discharge. To examine whether the magnitude of muscle mass loss impacts the outcomes, we ranked patients according to relative vastus lateralis muscle cross-sectional area reduction during hospital stay into either "high muscle loss" (-18 ± 11%) or "low muscle loss" (-4 ± 2%) group, based on median values. RESULTS High muscle loss group showed greater prevalence of fatigue (76% vs 46%, P = .0337) and myalgia (66% vs 36%, P = .0388), and lower muscle mass (-8% vs 3%, P < .0001) than low muscle loss group 6 months after discharge. No between-group difference was observed for hospital readmission and self-perceived health (P > .05). High muscle loss group demonstrated greater total COVID-19-related health care costs 2 ($77,283.87 vs. $3057.14, P = .0223, respectively) and 6 months ($90,001.35 vs $12, 913.27, P = .0210, respectively) after discharge vs low muscle loss group. Muscle mass loss was shown to be a predictor of total COVID-19-related health care costs at 2 (adjusted β = $10, 070.81, P < .0001) and 6 months after discharge (adjusted β = $9885.63, P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS COVID-19 survivors experiencing high muscle mass loss during hospital stay fail to fully recover muscle health. In addition, greater muscle loss was associated with a higher frequency of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 and greater total COVID-19-related health care costs 2 and 6 months after discharge. Altogether, these data suggest that the loss of muscle mass resulting from COVID-19 hospitalization may incur in an economical burden to health care systems.
Prevalence of Food Insecurity Among Cancer Survivors in the United States: A Scoping Review.
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2023;(2):330-346
BACKGROUND Medical financial hardship is an increasingly common consequence of cancer treatment and can lead to food insecurity. However, food security status is not routinely assessed in the health care setting, and the prevalence of food insecurity among cancer survivors is unknown. OBJECTIVE This scoping review aimed to identify the prevalence of food insecurity among cancer survivors in the United States before the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS Five databases (PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL [Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature], Web of Science, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses) were systematically searched for articles that reported on food security status among US patients receiving active cancer treatment or longer-term cancer survivors and were published between January 2015 and December 2020. RESULTS Among the 15 articles meeting the inclusion criteria, overall food insecurity prevalence ranged from 4.0% among women presenting to a gynecologic oncology clinic to 83.6% among patients at Federally Qualified Health Centers. Excluding studies focused specifically on Federally Qualified Health Center patients, prevalence of food insecurity ranged from 4.0% to 26.2%, which overlaps the food insecurity prevalence in the general US population during the same time period (range, 10.5% to 14.9%). Women were more likely than men to report being food insecure, and the prevalence of food insecurity was higher among Hispanic and Black patients compared with non-Hispanic White patients. CONCLUSIONS Given significant heterogeneity in study populations and sample sizes, it was not possible to estimate an overall food insecurity prevalence among cancer survivors in the United States. Routine surveillance of food security status and other social determinants of health is needed to better detect and address these issues.
Compromised skin barrier induced by prolonged face mask usage during the COVID-19 pandemic and its remedy with proper moisturization.
Skin research and technology : official journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI). 2023;(1):e13214
BACKGROUND Prolonged face mask usage, a daily practice for the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creates high levels of humidity underneath the mask, which may cause unexpected skin concerns. OBJECTIVE To investigate the impact of repeated mask usage on the face by comparing skin properties inside and outside of the mask-covered areas. METHODS A double-blinded, randomized, split-face clinical study was conducted with 21 healthy female participants who wore face masks at least 6 h every day for 1 week, with one side of their face treated with a moisturizer three times daily. On day 8, after 5 h of wearing the mask, skin properties (sebum, hydration, and trans-epidermal water loss [TEWL]) were evaluated at 15, 60, and 120 min post-mask removal, followed by barrier disruption and recovery assessment. RESULTS Mask usage weakened stratum corneum (SC) on facial skin compared to uncovered areas, including reduced SC hydration (p < 0.02 at 15 min) and increased TEWL in response to tape stripping challenge (p < 0.03 after stripping). In addition, sebum production also increased after mask removal (p < 0.01 at 15 min). Notably, a daily moisturizer mitigated these effects by increasing SC hydration (p < 0.001) and improving SC resilience against barrier disruption. CONCLUSION Daily prolonged usage of a facial mask, essential due to the COVID-19 situation, generated a high-humidity microenvironment and led to compromised SC, which was revealed by a barrier challenge technique. Moreover, proper facial moisturization may help to maintain skin homeostasis and prevent the barrier impairment caused by repeated mask usage.
Vitamin D in patients with COVID-19: is there a room for it?
Acta clinica Belgica. 2023;(1):71-77
Vitamin-D receptors are found in a variety of cells with the potential to regulate many cellular functions. Higher COVID-19 severity has been reported in individuals, which are known to have lower vitamin-D levels. The relation between vitamin-D and COVID-19 has been analysed with a number of studies but only few met high standards. Studies revealed discordant findings. There is no data from interventional trials clearly indicating that vitamin-D supplementation may prevent against COVID-19. An increasing number of observational studies put forward the preventive feature of adequate vitamin-D status for COVID-19 mortality. Yet, there are again conflicting findings. This narrative review summarizes the current evidence and provides a practical advice to lessen the impact of COVID-19 by ensuring recommended vitamin-D intakes. This approach would not be harmful, but potentially useful. Vitamin-D is safe especially if it does not exceed the upper-tolerable-limit. Daily doses are recommended over the weekly or monthly higher doses. Mega-doses are not recommended because of its potential to lead adverse events. The target level of vitamin-D is proposed above 30 ng/mL in majority of the studies. Nonetheless, one should consider that the benefit is foreseen to be small, and some time (months) may be needed for such effect.