Three for you this week, our common theme is something surprising, but which you just might want to know.
Scary variant Before we all relax and say “the vaccines have got it all solved”, like drunks on their second pint of beer, don’t forget that Sars-Cov-2 has some nasty tricks to play. Like mutating into dangerous new forms. Here’s Nature:
Scientists have released the data behind UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s warning last week that the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 is linked to more deaths. The chance of dying is around 35% higher for people who are confirmed to be infected with the new variant. The risk is most pronounced for older men. The chance of death for an 85-year-old man increases from about 17% to nearly 22% for those confirmed to be infected with the variant. Researchers caution that the data are preliminary, and it is not clear whether the variant is deadlier than previous strains or is spreading to more people who are vulnerable to severe disease.Nature | 4 min read
Reference: medRxiv paper
Trump trumped It was always obvious that Trump and his supporters were going to try to play fast and loose with the 2020 election results. Just how close they came, and how democracy was saved, is outlined in this piece by Molly Ball in Time. Slowly a coalition of business, unions, Democrats, democrats, and moderate Republicans was assembled with just enough critical mass to ensure a fair result. We knew nothing about this, but it is one of the most exciting pieces that we have read for a long time-we think you’ll like it too.
We thank Mr Peter Seymour of Hertfordshire for this story
Hiding in plain sight? Despite the efforts of many intelligent people, the deep causes of mental and neurological disorders are still hazy. And they are terrible afflictions, ruining the lives of sufferers and their families. Now the intriguing possibility exists that the balance of your gut biome– all those little creepy things that line your gut- may have profound consequences for your nervous system as a whole. It’s early days yet, but interest is growing fast. We love it when a people suddenly discover something that was there all along. Birds are dinosaurs. Continents drift. And maybe, just maybe, the cause of ASDs lies in something that happened to the mother before birth. Very clickable.
Evidence is building that the trillions of bacteria in the gut could have profound effects on the brain, and might be tied to a whole host of disorders. What was once a fringe theory — the gut–brain axis — is seeing an explosion of interest. Now, researchers are working to separate hope from hype to develop better and easier treatments for brain diseases.Nature | 12 min read
#2020election #donaldtrump #democracy #joebiden #covid-19 #sars-cov-2 #gutbiome #autism #neurologicaldisorder #bacteria #microorganism