Imaging an estrogen related enzyme may help to predict obesity, self-control issues – EurekAlert

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by


IMAGE: Anat Biegon, Ph.D. is lead researcher
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Credit: Stony Brook University

STONY BROOK, NY, August 31, 2020 – Findings from a positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging study of the amygdala reveals that low levels of the enzyme aromatase, which catalyzes estrogen biosynthesis, are associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) and lower self-control, as measured by a standard personality test. Published in PNAS, the study is led by Anat Biegon, PhD, Professor of Radiology and Director of the Center on Gender, Hormones and Health at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. The results suggest that brain aromatase imaging offers a novel method for characterizing the role of estrogen produced in the brain in obesity and other conditions involving impairments in self-regulation.

Obesity is a public health problem affecting a growing proportion of children and adults. Because estrogen influences body weight and behavioral responses to appetitive stimuli, the researchers used an aromatase-specific radiotracer with PET to measure aromatase in the brains of 43 men and women (average age: 40 years) of healthy to obese weight ranges.

“This is the first study to show a direct correlation between aromatase availability in the amygdala and BMI,” said Dr. Biegon. “It is also the first to show an inverse correlation between amygdala aromatase and self-control in the same individuals.”

She explained that this particular finding raises the potential for amygdala aromatase to be a sex neutral contributor to BMI and therefore a possible marker to measure for both men and women with obesity and self-regulation problems.

Dr. Biegon said a possible extension of this work is to examine other brain regions where estrogen was shown to regulate appetite and energy utilization. Such studies could determine the value of aromatase measures within the brain to discriminate between binge eating and healthy populations, as well as help predict weight maintenance versus regain following bariatric surgery in adults.


The imaging part of the study was completed at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) under a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy with support from its Office of Biological and Environmental Research. Additional funding included grants from the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and BNL.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

FSU researchers develop new X-ray detection technology – EurekAlert

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by


IMAGE: A researcher holds a flexible X-ray scintillator developed by Professor Biwu Ma and his research team. The team has developed a new material that could be used to make flexible…
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Credit: Photo courtesy of Biwu Ma / Florida State University

Florida State University researchers have developed a new material that could be used to make flexible X-ray detectors that are less harmful to the environment and cost less than existing technologies.

The team led by Biwu Ma, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, created X-ray scintillators that use an environmentally friendly material. Their research was published in the journal Nature Communications .

“Developing low-cost scintillation materials that can be easily manufactured and that perform well remains a great challenge,” Ma said. “This work paves the way for exploring new approaches to create these important devices.”

Biwu Ma, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
X-ray scintillators convert the radiation of an X-ray into visible light, and they are a common type of X-ray detector. When you visit the dentist or the airport, scintillators are used to take images of your teeth or scan your luggage.

Various materials have been used to make X-ray scintillators, but they can be difficult or expensive to manufacture. Some recent developments use compounds that include lead, but the toxicity of lead could be a concern.

Ma’s team found a different solution. They used the compound organic manganese halide to create scintillators that don’t use lead or heavy metals. The compound can be used to make a powder that performs very well for imaging and can be combined with a polymer to create a flexible composite that can be used as a scintillator. That flexibility broadens the potential use of this technology.

“Researchers have made scintillators with a variety of compounds, but this technology offers something that combines low cost with high performance and environmentally friendly materials,” Ma said. “When you also consider the ability to make flexible scintillators, it’s a promising avenue to explore.”

Ma recently received a GAP Commercialization Investment Program grant from the FSU Office of the Vice President for Research to develop this technology. The grants help faculty members turn their research into possible commercial products.


Other Florida State researchers who contributed to this paper include first author Liang-jin Xu, X-ray crystallography facility manager Xinsong Lin, postdoctoral researcher Qingquan He and doctoral researcher Michael Worku.

This work was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research as well as the National Science Foundation and the FSU Office of Research.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Fear of being without phone tied to poor sleep in young adults – Healio

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by

August 31, 2020

1 min read


Peszka, A, et al. Abstract 0180. Presented at: SLEEP 2020; August 27-30, 2020; Virtual.

The authors report receiving support from the Hendrix College Charles Brewer Fund for Psychology.

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College-aged adults who experience nomophobia are at a greater risk for increased sleepiness, avolition and poor sleep hygiene, according to research presented at SLEEP 2020.

“Previously, active phone use at bedtime has been implicated in disrupted sleep and related complaints, so to improve sleep, a good recommendation following such findings is limiting phone use before and during bedtime,” Jennifer Peszka, PhD, psychology professor at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, said during the presentation. “However, for those with the characteristic of nomophobia — or the fear of not having one’s mobile phone — the recommendation could exacerbate anxiety at and around bedtime and disrupt, rather than improve, sleep.”

Rate of nomophobia in college-aged adults
Refernce: Peszka, A, et al. Abstract 0180. Presented at: SLEEP 2020; August 27-30, 2020; Virtual.

The findings were initially published in Sleep, the journal of the Sleep Research Society, in May.

Peszka and colleagues recruited 327 adults aged 18 to 24 years through introductory psychology courses and campus newsletters that offered participants a chance to earn extra credit or win gift cards. These participants provided demographic information and completed the Nomophobia Questionnaire, the Epworth Sleepiness Scales, and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index as well as questions from the Sleep Hygiene Index on related features of improper sleep hygiene. They also answered questions regarding technology use at bedtime.

Researchers determined that 89.4% of participants had moderate to severe nomophobia, which they noted was significantly higher than a 2012 study that found 77% of adults in this age bracket were nomophobic.

They found that having greater nomophobia was significantly related to higher daytime sleepiness, poor sleep and avolition. They also found that greater nomophobia was associated with more maladaptive sleep behaviors, including technology use at sleep time, long naps during the day, inconsistent wake and sleep times, the use of a bed for purposes other than sleep, and cognitive rumination during bedtime.

During the presentation, Peszka said the results suggest that nomophobia is increasing, so physicians may want to consider recommendations other than having these patients remove their phones from their bedroom.

“For those with nomophobia, interventions may instead focus on curtailing active phone use in and around sleep time through the use of timers, caller gates and reminder applications,” she said.

What is the COVID bubble concept, and could it work in Australia? – The Conversation AU

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by

The concept of a COVID-19 “germ bubble” refers to close contacts with whom we don’t practise mask use or keep physical distancing. In strict lockdown, this generally means just the members of your own household. But several countries, such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom, have experimented with bubbles larger than a single household.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews will unveil a roadmap out of restrictions on Sunday. Many will be keen to see if a bubble strategy is part of this, after Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed the concept is under “active consideration”.

Extended bubbles mean your household can nominate other people or households with whom you could have close contact. These would need to be exclusive, so the infection risk is contained, and your nominated households would be required to live in the same town or city.

It’s a way of balancing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 with our need for social interaction, allowing vulnerable and isolated people to have social connections to help cope with the stress of a pandemic.

While the idea undoubtedly comes with risks, it’s crucial for governments to implement restrictions with compassion. A pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and if people feel that policies are crafted with compassion they may be more likely to adhere to restrictions in the long run.

Bubbles across the Tasman

In the current lockdown in Victoria, the germ bubble is restricted to people in our immediate household. Only those in an “intimate relationship” are allowed to visit each other.

This increases loneliness and has a large impact on mental health. And, understandably, it has left many single people and people from differing family structures frustrated.

The bubble idea tries to overcome this by allowing people to have close contact with a very defined and exclusive group. It’s a relatively new concept, and was not used in the management of the SARS epidemic in 2003.

New Zealand was the first country to implement an extended bubble during COVID-19, allowing people to have close contact with family members outside their household, under its “alert level 3” restrictions. Its bubble extension was a compassionate solution to the mental health effects of strict lockdowns.

New Zealand’s approach was not just compassionate, but realistic about the modern social structure.

Read more:
The loneliness of social isolation can affect your brain and raise dementia risk in older adults

Socially, our important connections are complex and culturally diverse. Our understanding of who is family includes blended families, step-family members, partners, lovers and close friends — all of whom may not share our dwelling.

Nominating members into a compassionate germ bubble may benefit the community in the long run as we move in and out of lockdown.

A bubble approach was also used in the UK when easing restrictions in June, allowing single-person households to form a bubble with one multi-person household.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Under New Zealand’s extended bubble, in alert level 3, you could connect with close family members outside your household.
Nick Perry/AP/AAP

What about the risks?

Despite the social benefits, there are indeed risks with a virus as infectious as SARS-CoV-2. The advantages of a compassionate approach to mental well-being must be weighed against any infection transmission disadvantages.

If a bubble system was to be implemented anywhere in Australia, a formalised process for joining a germ bubble would be needed. The maximum number of people allowed in any single bubble would also have to be limited.

The bubble would need to be exclusive. If you were “bubbling” with one household, you could not just decide to change to a different one whenever you please. If you did need to alter your bubble, there would have to be a 14-day gap between one set of people leaving and another group joining, to reduce the risk of transmission between bubbles.

Read more:
COVIDSafe tracking app reviewed: the government delivers on data security, but other issues remain

A bubble tracker app could facilitate the nomination process. The app would need to include consent to join by both, or all, parties. A bubble system would also need to consider what to do with different areas of varying degrees of transmission.

For example, if one member of a multi-household bubble lives in an area of very high community transmission, this brings a greater risk to the whole bubble, even if other members of the bubble are in areas of low transmission. It means the virus could enter areas of low transmission via these bubbles. People can also pose a greater degree of risk to their bubble if they work in a risky zone or occupation.

In epidemiology, our aim is to reduce risk as much as possible, but in a long pandemic we have to leave room for compassion (without increasing the risk for the wider community).

Police officers walking past an empty Flinders Street Station
Many Victorians are hoping the state government will consider bubbles as a way of balancing infection risk with the need for social connection.
Erik Anderson/AAP

Compassionate policies breed compliance

Isolation causes stress and may reduce cooperation. But a compassionate germ bubble may foster resilience by reducing a sense of isolation for people living alone and friends, extended family and partners distressed by the separation.

Developing a compassionate bubble for our future lockdown plans may also help us endure a lengthy pandemic that features multiple lockdowns and ringfencing of hotspots when required. Compassion may improve the community’s willingness to adhere to restrictions rather than merely being forced to comply.

Authorities who respond scientifically may be viewed by their community as competent and reliable. But there cannot be a ration on compassion. A safe and compassionate plan will ensure there is little incentive for some to game the system by joining multiple germ bubbles. A compassionate approach, coupled with the appropriate checks and balances, could lead people to view authorities as trustworthy and capable of leading us safely out of COVID-19.

Read more:
As ‘lockdown fatigue’ sets in, the toll on mental health will require an urgent response

Why early rhythm control therapy is so important for atrial fibrillation patients – Cardiovascular Business

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by

Rhythm control therapy benefits patients with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation (AFib), according to results of the EAST-AFNET 4 trial. The impact was consistent across the board, with even asymptomatic patients and those without heart failure seeing improved outcomes.   

The study, presented at ESC Congress 2020 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined how early rhythm control therapy impacted more than 2,700 AFib patients who had been diagnosed within the last year.

“The risk of severe cardiovascular complications and death in patients with AFib is highest in the first year after diagnosis, suggesting that early therapy could be most beneficial,” lead author Paulus Kirchhof, MD, of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, said in a statement. “Furthermore, AFib causes atrial damage within a few weeks of disease onset. Early rhythm control therapy could reduce or prevent this damage, making it more effective.”

Patients were recruited for the trial from eleven different countries from 2011 to 2016, and each one either underwent early rhythm control therapy or usual care. While patients in the early rhythm control group were given antiarrhythmic medications or catheter ablation, patients in the usual care group were managed with rate control.

Access Asia – The women fighting Covid-19 in rural India – FRANCE 24

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by

Issued on: 31/08/2020 – 18:44

This week we begin in India, which has registered a total of more than 3.6 million Covid-19 infections. We see how women volunteers, healthcare professionals and social workers are on the frontlines of the country’s battle against the virus, particularly in rural areas. Next, we head to Wuhan in China, the ground zero of the Covid-19 pandemic. Authorities say they have defeated the virus there thanks to strict measures.

Finally, we dive into Japan’s idol industry, which grooms aspiring singers, often young and female, and turns them into megastars. For many Japanese fans, idols have become an all-consuming passion. They buy hundreds of CDs, attend every concert and fan meet, and send extravagant gifts to the starlets. But what’s really going on behind the glittering concerts?

Comparing Asthma Complications in COVID-19 With Flu –

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by

A research letter published in
Annals of the American Thoracic Society has challenged US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assumptions that those with asthma are at higher risk for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Research was led by Fernando Holguin, MD, MPH, of the Pulmonary Division at University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus.

People living with asthma often make up more than 20 percent of those hospitalized in the United States during the annual influenza season.

For SARS-CoV-2, several noteworthy risk factors for hospitalization such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and obesity have been demonstrated.

Amid the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), there was sparse evidence asthma patients may be at higher risk.

But the underwhelming proportion of people with asthma among patients across several international studies raises questions about asthma as a particular risk factor when it comes to being hospitalized for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The study team examined asthma prevalence among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 reported in 15 studies with population asthma prevalence and a 4-year average of asthma prevalence in influenza hospitalizations across the United States.

The team further validated results with a cross sectional analysis of 436 COVID-19 patients admitted to the University of Colorado Hospital to assess the likelihood of intubation among people with asthma compared to non-asthmatics.

“The proportion of asthmatics among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is relatively similar to that each study site’s population asthma prevalence. This finding is in stark contrast to influenza,” authors wrote.

“Seasonal coronaviruses typically do not contribute significantly to hospitalizations due to asthma exacerbations since they primarily cause upper respiratory infections. In the case of SARS-CoV (not COVID-19), asthmatics did not seem to be disproportionately affected, although minimal data is available to make this comparison,” the authors added.

In the 2019-2020 flu season, about 24% of people hospitalized with influenza had asthma. This is a far larger burden than the pooled prevalence estimate across the 15 COVID-19 studies (6.8% (95% confidence interval: [3.7, 10.7]).

“Despite early concern about disproportionately high morbidity and mortality for those with asthma, data presented here and elsewhere show minimal evidence of a clinically significant relationship,” the authors explain.

Why, though, might this be the case?

The authors offer a speculative answer as to why COVID-19 is not associated with greater hospitalization rates among people with asthma: it may depend on the distribution of the ACE2 receptor in the respiratory airway epithelium.

ACE2 is the human receptor that SARS-CoV-2 binds to.

Diabetes and hypertension are thought to potentially increase ACE2 expression.

On the other hand, authors theorize, inhaler-mediated corticosteroid administration may decrease ACE2 expression. Asthma patients with a predominantly allergic phenotype may have significantly lower expression of ACE2 regardless.

Authors cautioned that there is a need for further data derived from a larger sample size, and that patients with asthma can still get severe COVID-19. They simply may not acquire it much or any more than the rest of us.

To stay informed on the latest in infectious disease news and developments, please sign up for our weekly newsletter.

People who won’t wear face masks are more likely to be sociopaths, study claims – The Streetjournal

Last Updated on August 31, 2020 by

People who refuse to wear a face mask or comply with social distancing are more likely to have sociopath tendencies, a study has found.

Callousness, deceitfulness and manipulativeness – possible signs of a sociopath – were traits commonly found among people who broke Covid-19 safety rules.  

The findings come from a survey of around 1,600 people in Brazil, which has the second highest number of reported Covid-19 cases in the world (3.8million).

The researchers said these people in society pose a risk to others, considering they still do not obey rules despite cases and deaths climbing. 

It adds to research done by experts in Poland who made similar findings and said people with psychopathic or narcissistic traits may be more likely to disobey rules to stop the spread of the disease and to hoard essential items like toilet paper. 

People who refuse to wear a face mask or comply with social distancing are more likely to have sociopath tendencies, a study has found. Pictured: A woman holds a sign and wears a mask as she protests in Hyde Park in central London on July 19

People who refuse to wear a face mask or comply with social distancing are more likely to have sociopath tendencies, a study has found. Pictured: A woman holds a sign and wears a mask as she protests in Hyde Park in central London on July 19

People who refuse to wear a face mask or comply with social distancing are more likely to have sociopath tendencies, a study has found. Pictured: A woman holds a sign and wears a mask as she protests in Hyde Park in central London on July 19


A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can’t understand others’ feelings. 

According to the NHS, people with ASPD may:  

  • exploit, manipulate or violate the rights of others
  • lack concern, regret or remorse about other people’s distress 
  • behave irresponsibly and show disregard for normal social behaviour 
  • have difficulty sustaining long-term relationships 
  • be unable to control their anger lack guilt, or not learn from their mistakes 
  • blame others for problems in their lives 
  • repeatedly break the law 

There’s no clinical difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. These terms are both used to refer to people with ASPD and are often used interchangeably. 

However, there are some key differences; sociopaths are prone to impulsive behavior and often seen as disturbed or unhinged, while a psychopath is cold and calculating, sometimes even charming and charismatic. 

Professor Fabiano Koich Miguel and colleagues at Universidade Estadual de Londrina, in a city in the south of Brazil, conducted the research.

They quizzed 1,578 Brazilian adults about their compliance with Covid-19 measures.

This included asking them, ‘Do you think it is necessary to use a facemask/socially distance/wash your hands more frequently?’. 

Each individual then took several personality tests online, between March and June, which saw them categorised into two groups.

The ’empathy group’ comprised of about 1,200 people, who had displayed an interest in understanding other people’s feelings and motivations. 

These people also tended to be interested in ‘developing positive social interactions’ with others, The Times reported.

The second group, with about 400 people, had shown signs of antisocial personality disorder, otherwise known as being a sociopath or psychopath, with the two terms often used interchangeably. 

These people tended to look for ways in which their interactions with others could benefit them personally. They were more likely to feel ‘socially detached’ and to engage in hostile behaviour. 

It was these people who, the researchers said, were more likely to refuse to wear a mask or follow social distancing rules. 

The difference between the groups was that those in the antisocial group had higher scores in callousness, deceitfulness, hostility, impulsivity, irresponsibility, manipulativeness and risk taking than people in the empathy group.

But those in the latter group scored higher in empathy and resonate with other people.

The researchers also divided participants into four groups according to adherence to containment measures, based on whether the person reported whether it was important.

The results showed those in the antisocial group were less likely to see Covid-19 rules as necessary, and therefore are likely less compliant.

A protester wears a protective face mask which reads 'No to sanitary dictatorship'

A protester wears a protective face mask which reads 'No to sanitary dictatorship'

A protester wears a protective face mask which reads 'Muzzle'

A protester wears a protective face mask which reads 'Muzzle'

Protests against mask wearing have drawn thousands of activists globally who refuse to wear a face mask believing they have no effect, remove freedom of choice or that Covid-19 is a conspiracy. Pictured: Protestors during a demonstration against the coronavirus disease restrictions, in Paris, France, August 29

Two women hold up stickers that read: 'From here on please without a mask!' as they march with coronavirus skeptics on August 29, in Berlin, Germany

Two women hold up stickers that read: 'From here on please without a mask!' as they march with coronavirus skeptics on August 29, in Berlin, Germany

Two women hold up stickers that read: ‘From here on please without a mask!’ as they march with coronavirus skeptics on August 29, in Berlin, Germany

Do face coverings help reduce coronavirus transmission?

So, has the science evolved on face coverings?

A report by the Royal Society suggests basic homemade face coverings can reduce transmission if enough people wear them.

Dr Julian Tang, who is an associate professor of respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester, said wearing face coverings in public places could keep the R value below 1 by creating an ‘artificial herd immunity’.

But Dr Simon Clarke, an associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said that while face coverings may reduce the spread of cough droplets, robust epidemiological evidence on their benefits is still lacking. 

Are there any benefits to wearing them?

Experts say the risk of coronavirus transmission appears to be higher in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and wearing face coverings in small shops or enclosed shopping centres could help reduce the spread.

In addition, there is also increased evidence which suggests that many people with the virus who do not have symptoms can still be contagious.

What does this mean for those looking to go back to the office?

Experts say wearing face coverings could provide an added line of defence amid growing evidence of airborne transmission of coronavirus.

Dr Tang said: ‘If half the people in the office wear a mask, it would increase artificial herd immunity to around 25 per cent, which can reduce transmission overall within the office, just by reducing the number of people who are susceptible.’

Are there downsides to face coverings?

There are many indoor spaces, such as pubs and restaurants, where the use of face coverings cannot be possible while eating and drinking.

Some experts have also shared concerns that wearing face coverings may give the wearer a false sense of security, although Prof Neal said there is ‘no evidence to suggest that is the case’.

Waterways charity Thames21 has also warned single-use masks and gloves could clog up our oceans and rivers.

Although they keep out pathogens effectively, single-use masks have a long afterlife after they are discarded, ending up in landfill or oceans. 

Research shared by University College London earlier this month estimates that if every person in the UK used one single-use mask each day for a year, we would create 66,000 tons of contaminated plastic waste. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam said in April: ‘There is no evidence that general wearing of face masks by the public who are well, effects the spread of the disease in our society.’ 

At around the same time, Dr Jenny Harries, a Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said masks could ‘actually trap the virus’, and cause the person wearing it to breathe it in. She explained: ‘For the average member of the public walking down a street, it is not a good idea.’

Are some face coverings better than others?

The WHO advises a three-layer face covering in the community – the outer layer should be water resistant, the inner should be water absorbent and the mid-layer acts as a filter.

The Government said coverings can be made from scarves, bandanas or other fabric items, as long as they cover the mouth and nose.

But scientists at the Leverhulme Centre say some coverings are not as effective as others, with woven fabrics, such as scarves, shown to be least effective.

They also tended to minimise the seriousness of the pandemic, according to the findings published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The researchers said overall, their findings suggest ‘adherence to containment measures is more challenging’ for people with sociopathic traits. 

‘Our findings indicated that antisocial traits, especially lower levels of empathy and higher levels of callousness, deceitfulness and risk-taking, are directly associated with lower compliance with containment measures,’ the researchers wrote.

‘These traits explain, at least partially, the reason why people continue not adhering to the containment measures even with increasing numbers of cases and deaths.’ 

The team also concluded that those with antisocial tendencies may pose a risk to themselves and others during the pandemic.

But lead researcher Professor Miguel said that the findings had to be approached with some caution, The Times reported.

‘We cannot state that if a person chooses not to wear a facemask, the only reason is because they are a sociopath,’ he said. ‘Although this is possible, there are likely other factors involved.’ 

Some people do not wear masks for health and disability reasons and may carry an exemption card.

However, Professor Miguel suggested cases in Brazil are not declining because people are following the lead of President Bolsonaro, who has been sceptical about the value of wearing masks and of the coronavirus generally. 

Protests against mask wearing have drawn thousands of activists globally who refuse to wear a face mask believing they have no effect, remove freedom of choice or that Covid-19 is a conspiracy. 

Demonstrators descended on Hyde Park in central London on July 19 to protest the wearing of face coverings before they became compulsory in shops and supermarkets on July 24.

They raised signs reading ‘I will not be masked, tested, tracked’ and ‘no mask’ as they gathered for the Keep Britain Free march.

Psychotherapist and organiser Leah Butler-Smith told Sky News it did not make ‘any sense’ that masks were being mandated and that the Government were trying to ‘make people scared’. 

The findings of the Brazilian study support two others previously published in the same journal which quizzed a collective 1,000 people from Poland.

Researchers from the University of Warsaw surveyed 755 people online between March 15 and 29, during the first month of the national lockdown.

And SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poznan surveyed 263 people between April 14 and April 30, at the height of the crisis in Europe. 

They found people with psychopathic and narcissistic personality traits are more likely to ignore coronavirus restrictions and flout mask-wearing, hand-washing, social distancing and stay-at-home measures at the height of the pandemic.

The researchers believe this is because they either don’t believe the measures work or they don’t care about what effects ignoring them might have on others.

The studies also found psychopathic and narcissistic people were far more likely to hoard essentials during lockdown.

This was because they are typically more greedy and competitive than others and have an inflated sense of entitlement, the researchers say. 

Those with narcissistic personalities tend to be greedy and self-centred, and their lack of empathy means they are more likely to exploit other people.

People with psychopathic tendencies, on the other hand, may be more cruel, deceitful and manipulative while coming across superficially charming. 

Most, if not all, people demonstrate some of these tendencies from time to time – but the vast majority show remorse or regret their actions. 

One in 100 people display patterns of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, which is diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). There are thought to be a similar number of people who are psychopathic.