In the third week of November, Industry Watch brings you news on the role played by gut microbiota in conditions such as Parkinson’s, MS, and dementia. We’re also covering the latest in COVID-19 research, with studies into the use of DNA nanoswitches for diagnosis; telehealth recommendations for pregnant patients; the effects of the virus on the digestive system; and a novel AI tool which can recognize a COVID-19 cough. In addition there’s the long-awaited news on the use of psilocybin to treat major depression; and positive study results on an injectable antiretroviral drug to prevent HIV in women.
Your Gut Microbiome may be Linked to Dementia, Parkinson's Disease and MS
Within our body and on our skin, trillions of bacteria and viruses exist as part of complex ecosystems called microbiomes. Microbiomes play an important role in human health and disease – and even help us maintain a healthy metabolism and immune system. One of the most important microbiomes in our body is our gut microbiome. It helps us maintain overall wellbeing by helping us to absorb all the vitamins and minerals from the food we eat.
Trial Results Reveal Injectable Cabotegravir is Effective in Preventing HIV in Women
The HIV Prevention Trials Network study on the safety and efficacy of the long-acting injectable antiretroviral drug cabotegravir, for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in HIV-uninfected women, was stopped early by the trial Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as results showed it was highly effective in preventing HIV acquisition.
MIT Researchers' AI Model Detects COVID-19 by Listening to Coughs
MIT researchers have developed an artificial intelligence tool that listens to a person's coughing to determine whether or not they may have COVID-19, regardless if they are or are not symptomatic, according to research published recently. To build it, the researchers solicited audio recordings of individuals coughing and accompanying information about their condition through an opening online website. This effort yielded a dataset of more than 70,000 recordings containing an average of three coughs per subject – and an estimated 2,660 subjects with a positive case, to date.
How Virtual Care Can Keep Pregnant Patients Safer from COVID-19
Recently the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a trove of data suggesting that pregnant patients might be at increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19. In light of the statistics, the CDC advised that measures to prevent coronavirus infection should be emphasized for pregnant people and their families. Telehealth and virtual care, with its natural distancing, could be one such measure.
New Virus, New Test
Researchers exploring DNA nanoswitches for diagnosing COVID-19 have reported preliminary results which suggested they only detect the presence of COVID-19 antibodies but also can provide more information about those antibodies. The technology has also shown promise in research studies for other diseases, including detection of prostate specific antigen, a marker of prostate health.
Rigorous Study Backs A Psilocybin as Treatment for Major Depression
Results of the study of psilocybin to treat major depression have shown significant reduction of symptoms in a trial noted for its scientific rigor. The study of 27 people found that the treatment worked four times better than the usual antidepressant medications. The study comes after earlier research offered hints that psilocybin might work against depression and after a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins found that it could ease depression and anxiety in patients who had life-threatening cancer.
Gastrointestinal Effects of COVID-19 Highlighted in New Study
In a new study, researchers have synthesized evidence from 36 scientific articles to highlight the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in people with COVID-19. The study also identifies some of the signs abdominal radiologists should look out for when imaging people.