OMH Health Bulletin: Omicron Less Likely To Cause Long COVID, Can Ketamine Treat Depression?

24 Jun, 2022

Let's take a look at how air pollution contributes to brain disorders in the this episode of OMH capsule. What exactly is ketamine? How does it aid in the treatment of major depression? Why is Omicron less likely than Delta to cause long COVID? Why do women have a higher risk of getting long COVID than men? And, does the ability to stand on one leg predict your likelihood of dying soon?

Can Ketamine Help Treat Depression?

Ketamine is frequently used in clubs and rave parties to enhance the experience of music, lights, and atmosphere.

However, according to a recent study published in Nature Communications, a single dose of ketamine can reduce depressive symptoms within hours, as opposed to more common antidepressants, which can take weeks. Its effects on the brain can last up to three weeks.

Previous research has shown that even patients who are resistant to antidepressants can benefit from a single dose of ketamine.

However, because ketamine can cause severe side effects such as blurred vision, nausea, insomnia, drowsiness, and addiction, it should only be used for a short period of time.

While the beneficial effects of ketamine do not appear to last as long as those of some psychedelics, new research has provided a better understanding of how these drugs can be used to treat depression.

Polluted air contributes to brain disorders

Many toxic ingredients in air pollution can cause severe diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer.

According to a new study, polluted air may also cause neurological disorders and brain damage.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), while breathing polluted air, a cocktail of many toxic components could be transported from the lungs to the brain via the bloodstream, potentially contributing to brain disorders and neurological damage.

Once in the brain, the particles were difficult to remove and stayed for longer than in other organs.

The study found a strong link between high levels of air pollution, Alzheimer's-like changes, and cognitive problems in the elderly and even children.

The findings provide new evidence for the dangers of particulate pollution to the central nervous system.

Omicron Less Likely to Cause Long COVID Than Delta

According to a recent Lancet study, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is less likely than the Delta strain to cause long COVID.

Long COVID is defined as having new or continuing symptoms four weeks or more after the disease's onset. Fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of concentration, and joint pain are all symptoms that can interfere with daily activities.

Depending on age and time since vaccination, the researchers discovered that the odds of experiencing long COVID were 20-50 percent lower during the Omicron period versus the Delta period. Nonetheless, 1 in every 23 people who contract COVID-19 will experience symptoms for more than four weeks.

However, the absolute number of people suffering from long COVID was higher during the Omicron period. This was due to the large number of people who were infected with Omicron.

Women More Susceptible Than Men to Long COVID

Moving on from one long covid topic to another. According to a study published in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, females are 22 percent more likely than males to develop long Covid syndrome.

It is unknown why women are more susceptible to long COVID than men, but researchers believe it may be due to differences in how women's immune systems respond to infection compared to men's.

According to Johnson & Johnson OCMO researchers, "Females have more rapid and robust innate and adaptive immune responses, which can protect them from the severity of the initial infection. This same difference, however, can make females more susceptible to long-term autoimmune-related diseases."

Notably, women may be more vulnerable to the virus in certain occupations, such as nursing and education.

Stand on One Leg and Predict Mortality

Everyone understands the value of balance in life. But did you know it can also predict your demise? The ability to stand on one leg for at least 10 seconds is strongly linked to a lower risk of death over the next 7 years, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

People in their forties and fifties who couldn't perform the 10-second standing test were nearly four times more likely to die from diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and others.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 700,000 people die as a result of a fall each year, so researchers have known that balance and mortality are linked.

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