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Health News

Irregular heartbeat risk linked to frequent alcohol use in people under 40

Moderate to heavy drinking over an extended period may increase the risk of a dangerous type of irregular heartbeat in adults under 40, according to a new study from South Korea.

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, occurs when the ‘s upper chambers beat irregularly and can increase stroke fivefold if left untreated. The condition is estimated to affect 12.1 million people in the U.S. by 2030, according to American Heart Association statistics.

Previous studies have linked higher consumption to increased risk of AFib, but there was little research in younger adults, said the study’s co-lead researcher Dr. Minju Han, a third-year resident in internal medicine at Seoul National University Hospital.

“We are overconfident about our health, and we think that we will never get sick because we’re young,” said Han, who is 29. “But when is diagnosed at an early age, the duration of

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Intermetatarsal bursitis identified in clinically suspect arthralgia

(HealthDay)—About one-quarter of patients with clinically suspect arthralgia (CSA) have intermetatarsal bursitis (IMB), which is often accompanied by subclinical synovitis and tenosynovitis, according to a study published online Nov. 13 in Rheumatology.

Bastiaan T. van Dijk, from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues performed a large magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study to assess the occurrence and prognostic value of IMB in 577 CSA patients. Participants underwent contrast-enhanced MRI of the forefoot, metacarpophalangeal joints, and wrist; MRIs were assessed for subclinical synovitis/tenosynovitis/osteitis and for IMB. The association between IMB and other MRI-detected subclinical inflammation was assessed.

The researchers found that 23 percent of participants had IMB at presentation with CSA. In anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA)-positive versus ACPA-negative CSA, IMB was more frequent (47 versus 19 percent). The likelihood of subclinical synovitis and tenosynovitis was increased for patients with IMB (odds ratios, 3.4 and 5.9, respectively). The

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UK to enforce new COVID rules from Tuesday

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Britain’s government on Sunday defended the pace and scale of its response to the new Omicron strain of COVID-19 against criticism that it was again falling behind the curve.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said mandatory mask-wearing will return to shops and public transport in England on Tuesday, and told families to plan for Christmas “as normal”, despite new rules to combat the Omicron variant.

Also from Tuesday, all passengers arriving in Britain are being instructed to take a PCR test for COVID-19, and self-isolate until they register negative.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced the tougher measures at a hastily arranged news conference on Saturday, but did not specify when they would take effect.

Johnson and other senior conservatives were widely criticised for his travel and quarantine policy earlier in the pandemic, when he kept borders open to foreign travellers even as infection rates spiralled, yielding

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US, Canada restrict travel from southern Africa as new variant sparks concern

Germany used a military plane to transfer intensive-care Covid-19 patients to less afflicted regions.

The United States, Brazil, Canada, and Saudi Arabia became the latest countries Friday to restrict travel from southern Africa, where a new COVID strain labelled a “variant of concern” has been discovered in a potentially heavy blow to the world’s efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Health Organization said the new is more infectious than the dominant, highly transmissible Delta strain, and renamed this B.1.1.529 strain of COVID-19 as Omicron.

It has reached Europe with one confirmed case in Belgium after being found in South Africa, Botswana and then in Hong Kong.

Anxious tourists in Johannesburg rushed to the airport to catch a last flight out as nations across the globe started shutting their doors, while many worried the new variant could be more resistant to vaccines.

Markets around the world plunged as

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COVID death data can be shared to make it look like vaccines don’t work, or worse – but that’s not the whole picture

Social media posts commenting on data from the UK, Israel and South Africa, among others, claim deaths from COVID (or all deaths) are now higher in vaccinated than unvaccinated citizens. Others make the more moderate claim vaccines do nothing to prevent death from COVID.

These reports appear intimidating, because they usually utilise real data or statistics. Many of the raw numbers presented are indeed correct, though not complete.

But people—including Clive Palmer who said this week vaccines don’t work and Craig Kelly who spread vaccine misinformation via text message—should ask whether they have understood the context, analysed the data properly and interpreted the results accurately.

What counts as ‘vaccinated’?

When comparing studies or statistics, a lot hinges on how data providers define “vaccinated”.

Some vaccines are single-dose, others are double-dose regimens. Most jurisdictions define “fully vaccinated” as two weeks after the last required dose, but some

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Neural stem cells may hold key to combatting newborn brain injury

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Neural stem cells have strong potential to be effective in reducing brain injury in newborn babies, in the most extensive review of research on the topic.

Injury to the brain during pregnancy, or around the time of birth, can have life-long impact on the offspring including and epilepsy, but there are no treatments to regenerate the injured newborn brain.

Neural stem cells (NSCs) are the building blocks of the brain and research is under way to determine how they might be used to boost recovery in injured parts of the brain.

In a review published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, Hudson Institute researchers led by Madeleine Smith analyzed all published pre- and found that NSCs can reduce brain injury and improve physical function following brain injury.

New consensus on neural stem cells

“Neural stem cells are specific to the brain and

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