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Weekly Health Digest: Seasonal Flu Shot, Wearable For Alzheimer’s, Cholesterol-lowering Drug, COVID-19 Quarantine, Exercise Nutrition

This season’s flu shot 45 percent effective, an improvement over last season’s vaccine

By: Erika Edwards

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that the overall effectiveness of the influenza vaccine this season is 45%. Experts say, however, that this number may change as we are still currently in the middle of our flu season this year. This percentage is a large increase from the 2018-2019 flu vaccine, which yielded a 29% efficacy due to its poor match with the circulating viruses. The two main strains circulating this year are the A/H1N1 and the B/Victoria. So far, there have been more than 26 million flu cases. 

Wearable to spot Alzheimer’s being developed

By: Jane Wakefield

Approximately 152 million people will have dementia in 2050. A project has been launched by the UK government to help develop a device that can detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The project, called The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases (EDoN) will work with existing data from studies about Alzheimer’s disease and use artificial intelligence to create a prototype wearable device. Once the wearables are created, they are expected to collect information about people’s gait, heart rate and sleep patterns. Through this data, researchers hope to “begin to map signs of the disease years before symptoms develop.” 

FDA approves drug that lowers cholesterol in a new way

By: Associated Press

Last Friday, the U.S. FDA approved a new form of cholesterol-lowering drug designed for people who are genetically predisposed for dangerously high cholesterol. The new drug Nexletol blocks cholesterol production in the liver and works in conjunction with generic statin medication for greater LDL reduction. Nexletol was made by Esperion Therapeutics Inc. and is estimated to reach markets by late March 2020.

Healthy Wuhan residents say they were forced into mass coronavirus quarantine, risking infection

By: Nectar Gan, Lily Lee and David Culver

Wuhan has been under lockdown since January 23rd, and quarantine measures are becoming increasingly strict. Last week, China (particularly Wuhan) launched an ambitious effort to “round up everyone who should be rounded up.” As of Tuesday morning, an additional 8,500 patients with mild symptoms were quarantined in makeshift hospitals. This move comes after a public outcry that hospitals did not have enough space to treat people, causing many patients to return home and infect family members. The quarantine effort is designed to keep patients with mild symptoms segregated from general society. However, some recovered patients and healthy individuals who were exposed to the virus have also been caught in the roundup, and are being kept in overcrowded conditions with people still sick from the virus.

What to eat before, during and after a workout

By: Jacqueline Howard

What you eat before your workout can affect your fitness results. Nancy Cohen, a professor in the department of nutrition at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, says we should consume quality carbohydrates about an hour to four hours before working out. A research paper published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2011 suggests that consuming carbohydrates can enhance endurance exercise performance in adults. Cohen says by eating carbohydrate-rich foods, you can make sure you have enough muscle glycogen as fuel for your physical activity. Exercising should not be done on an empty stomach. Normally, our body uses glucose for fuel. However, in a fasted state, our body will turn to “breaking down fats for the energy it needs”. Overtime, this can damage our kidneys and lead to fatigue and dizziness.