Africas COVID-19 infections top 664,000 – CGTN

FILE PHOTO: Kenyan ministry of health medical workers prepare to take swabs from truck drivers during a testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Namanga one stop border crossing point between Kenya and Tanzania, in Namanga, Kenya May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya – RC21NG9KOYNL/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Kenyan ministry of health medical workers prepare to take swabs from truck drivers during a testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Namanga one stop border crossing point between Kenya and Tanzania, in Namanga, Kenya May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya – RC21NG9KOYNL/File Photo

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa surpassed 664,000 by Friday afternoon, figures from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) showed.

The data also showed that the number of deaths in the continent went beyond the 14,300 mark, as it continues to see a steady increase in infections.

South Africa remains the worst hit country on the continent, having reported the most infections and fatalities, standing at 324,221 and 4,669 respectively.

The figures represent 48.3 percent of Africa’s total cases and 32.2 percent of its deaths.

Only South Africa and Egypt have reported more than 4,000 deaths each on the continent.

Other than the two, Algeria – 1,057 – is the only other country that had registered more than 1,000 deaths.

The latest figures come as the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic was only worsening other crises, especially in Africa and the Middle East.

“Many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, are still reeling from years of conflict and other humanitarian crises. COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate many of these crises,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said in a media briefing on Friday.

How to stop snacking: 3 ways to cut back on kitchen grazing – Insider – INSIDER

  • You can stop snacking by taking steps like eating protein and fiber with every meal, keeping a food diary, and getting enough sleep.
  • Eating high-protein foods at meals —like lean meat, eggs, fish, and tofu — can help you feel more full and may stop you from reaching for the snack cabinet. 
  • You should also make sure you are consistently getting 7-9 hours of sleep, since your body has a harder time regulating hormones that control hunger if you don’t sleep enough.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Snacking has become a big part of the way we eat. In fact, 97% of Americans say they have a snack at some point each week and a majority snack every day.

But even if you stay away from the soda and junk food, some experts say that snacking may be hurting your health and leading to weight gain.

Here’s what you need to know about snacking and how you can cut down your snack habit if it’s causing issues.

Why you should stop snacking 

Experts don’t always agree about whether snacking is good or bad for you because the research is often conflicted. This may be because when participants are asked about what they eat, they tend to report eating less. 

A 2011 review in the Journal of Nutrition found that when studies take under-reporting into account, results show that people who eat more often during the day consume more overall calories, which may lead to weight gain.

For people over 65, who often struggle to get enough calories, snacking on whole foods like nut butter and fruit can be good for health. But for people under 60 who may be snacking more than necessary, it may be adding extra, unnecessary calories and contributing to conditions like obesity.

Even if you’re eating healthy snacks and keeping your calories in check, snacking may still have a negative effect on your health. This is because every time you eat, your immune system triggers an inflammatory response. This short-term response helps to fight off any bacteria you take in along with your food.

  A brief inflammatory response can be good for your health because it can help you heal and fight off infection, but if you are snacking often in between meals, choosing less healthful snacks, or if you have an underlying condition you may be throwing your body into a chronic inflammatory state. This can cause health problems over time, as chronic inflammation is linked to dangerous conditions including diabetes and cancer.

How to stop snacking and be healthier 

To avoid chronic inflammation, it’s important to give your body a break in between meals, and this means avoiding snacking when possible. Here are a few ways you can break the snack habit:

Eat protein and fiber with every meal

Protein and fiber are important parts of your diet and they have the added benefit of making you feel more full, says Stacey Lockyer, PhD, a registered nutritionist and nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation.

Eating a diet heavy in carbohydrates, with less protein and fiber, may cause spikes and then dips in your blood sugar, which can lead to feeling hungry sooner.

Some protein-containing foods you can add to daily meals include: 

  • Lean meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Nuts

Lockyer adds that some fiber-rich foods include:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Use a food diary app

Food diary apps can help you to keep track of how much you are really eating. “Often we don’t realize when we are mindlessly snacking,” says Rebecca Leech, PhD, a registered nutritionist and researcher at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition in Australia.

Leech says that using a food diary or tracker can also help you look for patterns in your snacking, like if you eat more when you’re feeling stressed or sad. This can help you stay aware of your snack habits and help you make more intentional decisions about when and what you eat.

Some food tracker apps can be pricey, like Noom and Rise. But others can be found for free, likeHealthyOut and MyFitnessPal.

Get enough sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body has a harder time regulating the hormones that cause feelings of hunger or fullness, and this can make it harder to resist a snack, says Leech.

Even a single late night may increase your snack cravings. For example, a small study, published in 2008 in the Journal of Sleep Research, found that when people went one night with only 4 hours of sleep, they felt significantly hungrier the next day.

Experts recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night to avoid throwing off your body’s natural hunger signals. If you think you’re not getting enough sleep, check out Insider’s guide on 25 tips to get better sleep.

The Bottom Line

Eating an occasional snack isn’t likely to hurt your health. But if you find yourself constantly reaching for snacks between meals, it may make you gain weight and over time, which can cause more serious health problems. 

When you’re going a long stretch between meals and need a snack, swap out sugary drinks and baked goods for healthier options like fruit with yogurt, a handful of nuts, a banana, or carrots with hummus, Leech says.

“Changing ingrained patterns of behavior can be really hard,” Leech says. If the methods mentioned here aren’t working, you can always seek out professional support from a therapist or registered dietitian nutritionist to help you make a change.

Obesity, Hyperglycemia, Thyroid Levels & COVID-19; Cardiac CT for Osteoporosis Screening? – MedPage Today

Obesity was a risk factor for more severe COVID-19, as well as a higher chance of mortality. The study in European Journal of Endocrinology “suggests that people with mild obesity should also be identified as a population at risk,” said lead author Matteo Rottoli, MD, PhD, of the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, in a statement.

And even in those without a previous diagnosis of diabetes, high glucose levels were tied to a two-fold greater mortality and four-fold higher complication rate in COVID-19. (Diabetologia)

Lower thyroid hormone and thyrotropin, as well as lower serum total triiodothyronine (TT3) levels were tied to more severe cases of COVID-19, although levels normalized after recovery. (Thyroid)

The North American Menopause Society praised the National Academies’ new recommendations on compounded bioidentical hormone therapy (cBHT), which concluded “there is insufficient evidence to support the overall clinical utility of cBHT as treatment for menopause symptoms.”

People with public health insurance may be paying more for bariatric surgery versus those with private insurance plans. (Clinical Obesity)

A routine cardiac CT could double as an osteoporosis screening test too, by measuring thoracic bone mineral density. (Cardiac Imaging)

Abdominal weight gain during menopause may be — at least in part — due to medications including antidepressants, beta-blockers, and insulin. (Menopause)

Even minor stress can throw a wrench in managing blood sugar levels. (Psychoneuroendocrinology)

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    Kristen Monaco is a staff writer, focusing on endocrinology, psychiatry, and dermatology news. Based out of the New York City office, she’s worked at the company for nearly five years.

COVID-19 Kidney Biopsy Research Shows Mostly Tubular Damage With No Presence of Virus in the Tissue – Business Wire

MANHASSET, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Researchers and doctors from Northwell Health and the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research have shown that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) leads to acute kidney injury (AKI) in approximately 37 percent of hospitalized patients. Now, in a large series of living kidney biopsies, new results from Northwell Health’s Nephrology Division and Department of Pathology reveal that one of the major reasons for AKI in COVID-19 is acute tubular necrosis (ATN), a disorder involving damage to the tubule cells, which can lead to kidney failure. In addition, other diseases in the kidney can be triggered or worsened by the COVID-19 infection. The biopsies showed no presence of the virus within the kidney tissue.

Researchers published their findings July 13 in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology, describing biopsied kidney samples from 10 patients treated at Northwell Health – New York State’s largest health system and responsible for treating more hospitalized COVID-19 patients than any health system in the nation between March and May – who tested positive for COVID-19 and exhibited clinical features of AKI. The kidney biopsy samples revealed the presence of ATN, some with other pathological findings, but no evidence of the virus in the kidney tissue itself.

“Kidney injury occurs in more than one-third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and various catalysts have been postulated,” said Purva Sharma, MD, lead author on the paper, member of the Feinstein Institutes and Assistant Professor at Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. “What these biopsies show us is that the kidney injury from COVID-19 happens due to complications of the disease and is not because of direct viral infection of the kidney.”

Since kidney injury has been observed in COVID-19 patients, the question of direct viral infection of the kidney has been debated by the medical research community. Through this research, there was no ultrastructural or immunohistochemistry evidence to show viral infection, and instead, the investigators hypothesize that the main mechanism of kidney injury is through ischemic/hypoxic (the lack of oxygen being delivered to the kidneys), or sepsis-related injury.

“This is an important step in understanding the pathology findings seen in the kidney in COVID-19,” said Vanesa Bijol, MD, chief of renal pathology at Northwell Health, and senior author on this study. “This will add to the ongoing literature on how COVID-19 affects various organs.”

The paper outlines the care protocol and biopsy results on the 10 patients (five males, five females) case series. The mean age of the patients was 65 years old; five were Black, three Hispanic, and two white. All patients had proteinuria and some had hematuria. All 10 biopsies showed tubular injury of varying degrees. Eight of the patients required dialysis during their hospital stay.

“Dr. Sharma’s work provides an important insight into how COVID-19 damages kidney function,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes. “It now appears treating the body’s reaction to the virus, and not the virus itself is the key to preventing serious kidney complications.”

About the Feinstein Institutes

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we produce knowledge to cure disease, visit and follow us on LinkedIn.

5 of the best home remedies for acid reflux – Insider – INSIDER

  • Home remedies for acid reflux include taking deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), eating smaller meals, and avoiding drinking coffee.
  • You should also avoid trigger foods that slow down digestion, like cheese, fried foods, processed snacks, and fatty meats.
  • Eating smaller meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals, may also help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Atif Iqbal, MD, FACS, FASMBS, board-certified general surgeon and medical director of the Digestive Care Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows upward into your esophagus, the pipe that connects your mouth to your stomach, causing pain in your chest and throat. It is a common condition – 1 in 5 people in the US experience acid reflux.

Acid reflux can be uncomfortable, but lifestyle changes and home remedies can help ease your symptoms without medication. Here are a few steps you can take to treat acid reflux at home.

What is acid reflux?

Normally, when you eat or drink, food travels down your esophagus to a muscle known as the esophageal sphincter, which opens to let food into your stomach.

Acid reflux happens when this sphincter becomes weak or relaxes at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to splash back up into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms like:

  • Pain or burning feeling in your chest
  • Pain or discomfort in your throat
  • Regurgitation of acidic liquid into your mouth or throat

Though you may be more likely to experience acid reflux if you are pregnant or obese, there are many reasons it could occur. Some of the most common causes of acid reflux include:

  • Eating an especially large meal
  • Eating late at night
  • Certain foods or drinks like spicy food, fried food, alcohol, or coffee
  • Smoking cigarettes 

“Lifestyle changes are the first treatment if the acid reflux is bothersome,” says Jacqueline Wolf, MD, a gastroenterologist and professor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. This may involve avoiding some of the causes listed above, but there are also several proven at-home treatments to help control acid reflux.

1. Elevate your upper body while sleeping

Acid reflux often gets worse at night, because when you lie down, it is easier for stomach acid to flow into your esophagus. You can improve nighttime symptoms by changing the angle of your body during sleep.

Specifically, it is helpful to raise your head and shoulders above your stomach and keep your esophagus tilted downward. For example, you can elevate the head of your bed or prop yourself up on a slanted pillow. “This lets gravity help clear anything that comes into the esophagus at night,” says Wolf.

A small study of 20 people published in 2011 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that people who elevated the head of their beds with an 8-inch block for one week saw significant improvements in their heartburn symptoms and had less disturbed sleep.

And a 2016 review of four studies found that even for people already taking acid reflux medications, adding an elevated sleeping position helped symptoms more than just taking medication alone.

To elevate your bed, you can use bed risers under the top two feet of your bed frame, or if this isn’t possible, you can buy a sloped pillow to help angle your head and shoulders upward while sleeping.

2. Try taking Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)

Licorice is an herb that has long been used to help soothe stomach ailments. DGL is an altered type of licorice that has had its glycyrrhizin compound removed, as this can raise blood pressure.

DGL works to treat acid reflux because it helps to reduce inflammation in your esophagus. Inflammation, a reaction caused by your immune system, can be helpful when you need to heal a wound or fight an infection, but it can also worsen health problems like acid reflux for some people. This is because your immune system releases inflammatory cells called cytokines that can damage the lining of your esophagus.

Although DGL has been proven to work when combined with other acid reflux treatments, more research is needed to see how it works on its own.

DGL generally comes as a chewable tablet and can come in multiple flavors for people who don’t like the taste of licorice. To use DGL for acid reflux, you should take one 400 mg tablet 20 minutes before you eat a meal or 20 minutes before going to bed if you have nighttime symptoms.

Other herbal remedies that may also help with acid reflux are as follows:

3. Eat smaller meals

Eating large meals puts greater pressure on the sphincter that separates your esophagus from your stomach. This makes the sphincter more likely to open and allow acid to flow upward into your esophagus. Swapping out big meals for more frequent smaller meals can help ease your symptoms. 

For example, instead of eating three large meals, try spreading out those portions into five smaller meals.

4. Limit coffee intake

If you are a coffee drinker, cutting down or cutting out your daily cups could help reduce acid reflux. This is because when you drink coffee, your stomach is triggered into creating more stomach acid, which can become backed up and flow into your esophagus. The caffeine in coffee also causes your esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach contents to travel upward.

5. Avoid trigger foods

Certain foods may intensify your acid reflux. You want to avoid foods that slow down digestion and sit in your stomach for longer — because the longer they sit, the more likely they are to increase stomach pressure and force open your esophageal sphincter. 

Some foods that are likely to trigger acid reflux are:

  • Cheese
  • Fried food
  • Processed snacks like potato chips
  • Fatty meats like bacon
  • Chocolate
  • Chili powder
  • Pizza

When to see a doctor

If home remedies aren’t enough to control your acid reflux symptoms, you should see a doctor for medical treatment. Over time, untreated acid reflux can lead to more serious illnesses like Barrett’s esophagus, in which esophagus damage makes it harder for you to swallow food. In rare cases, you can even develop esophageal cancer. 

The bottom line

 Acid reflux is a common problem that can cause daily discomfort, particularly at nighttime.

There are many over-the-counter remedies and lifestyle changes you can use to improve your acid reflux symptoms. “However, if the symptoms persist or cause trouble swallowing or are associated with other symptoms you should call your doctor,” Wolf says.

COVID-19 virus isnt transmitted by mosquitoes, scientists find – CNET

The coronavirus mosquito study took place at the  Kansas State University Biosecurity Research Institute.

Kansas State University

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the
WHO website.

A lot of coronavirus health myths are spreading through a worried and weary world. One concern is that mosquitos could feed on an infected person and then transmit the virus to another person. According to a new study from researchers at Kansas State University, we don’t have to be concerned about that.

The World Health Organization had already declared that mosquito bites couldn’t spread the virus. WHO even included that information as part of a “mythbusters” page on COVID-19, saying, “To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.”

“While the World Health Organization has definitively stated that mosquitoes cannot transmit the virus, our study is the first to provide conclusive data supporting the theory,” said Kansas State’s Stephen Higgs, co-author of a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports on Friday.

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The researchers investigated three common mosquito species with wide ranges. “We demonstrate that even under extreme conditions, SARS-CoV-2 virus is unable to replicate in these mosquitoes and therefore cannot be transmitted to people even in the unlikely event that a mosquito fed upon a viremic host,” the study said.

The study took place at Kansas State’s Biosecurity Research Institute, a highly secure laboratory facility where infectious disease research takes place.

Mosquitoes might not be culprits in the spread of coronavirus, but people are. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our guide on hygiene, social distancing and face masks.

11 foods that can help lower your cholesterol – Harvard Health

Focus on fiber-rich foods and avoid saturated fats.

If your cholesterol level has crept up over the years, you may wonder whether changing your diet can help. Ideally, your total cholesterol value should be 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or lower. But it’s the harmful LDL cholesterol value that experts worry about the most. Excess LDL builds up on artery walls and triggers a release of inflammatory substances that boost heart attack risk.

“To prevent heart disease, your LDL should be 100 mg/dL or lower,” says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of preventive cardiology at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But many Americans have LDL values that are less than optimal (100 to 129 mg/dL) or borderline high (130 to 159 mg/dL).

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