Dr. MICHAEL MOSLEY: How a sting you had as a child could save you from monkeypox

Forget landing on the moon or inventing the computer, I think the smallpox vaccination campaign that eliminated a nasty disease that killed more than 300 million people in the 20th century alone is one of the biggest achievements of the humanity.

And it’s a gift that continues to give because it could protect you from smallpox monkeyeven if you were vaccinated decades ago.

There have been almost 200 cases of smallpox in the UK since the outbreak began four weeks ago.

Although it is rarely fatal, it can cause a nasty rash that appears first on the palms and soles of the feet, and then on the rest of the body.

How worried about monkeypox? The World Health Organization says “at the moment, we don’t care about a pandemic,” but it monitors events.

What’s particularly impressive is that decades later, when people who were inoculated as babies are re-tested, they still show a strong protective antibody response to smallpox (the record so far is someone who was inoculated more than 90 years ago)

One concern is that as monkeypox spreads, it can mutate into something much more contagious, as Covid did.

One good news, at least if you’re over 51, is that you may already be protected against monkeypox by the smallpox vaccine, which, until 1971, was routinely given to young children (the vaccines were discontinued when there was no smallpox. considered a risk in the UK).

Smallpox is related to monkeypox and studies suggest that smallpox vaccines also offer 85 percent protection against monkeypox.

What’s particularly impressive is that decades later, when people who were inoculated as babies are re-tested, they still show a strong protective antibody response to smallpox (the record so far is someone who was inoculated more than 90 years ago).

This could help explain why the majority of cases of monkeypox were in people under 50 years of age. So a big thank you to my parents for inoculating me.

But the smallpox vaccine is not the only one that provides some unexpected benefits.

Flu shots protect against dementia

It may seem unlikely, but vaccination against the flu – or pneumonia – not only protects you from these diseases but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s.

That was the conclusion of a study by the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in the United States, based on the health records of more than 9,000 people – those who had an annual flu bridge were 13 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who did not. had. ‘t; with the pneumonia, they were up to 40 percent less likely to develop the condition.

One theory is that vaccines prevent inflammation that can spread to your brain.

It may seem unlikely, but vaccination against the flu - or pneumonia - not only protects you from these diseases but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer's.

It may seem unlikely, but vaccination against the flu – or pneumonia – not only protects you from these diseases but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Yellow fever and breast cancer

Yellow fever is a much more exotic vaccine that you tend to have to travel to parts of Africa and South America.

Surprisingly enough, the vaccine can also protect women from breast cancer.

In a ten-year study by the University of Padua in Italy, researchers tracked more than 12,000 women who were immunized against yellow fever and found that those who had the sting between the ages of 40 and 54 had nearly half the chance. of developing breast cancer in the two years after vaccination compared to women who were not vaccinated.

Strangely, the sting did not offer the same protection to women who received it before 40 or after 54.

The yellow fever vaccine contains a live, but weakened, virus (also found in the vaccines against chickenpox and polio) – the living virus is thought to stimulate the immune system, which also destroys breast cancer cells at a very early stage. the disease before they become aggressive, which they are more likely to do in younger women.

Probe and risk of impact

Having a vaccine to prevent shingles can also reduce your risk of a stroke.

Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus that lies dormant in the nerves after the original infection, and can cause a rash with persistent nerve pain. It is common in people over 50, although you must be over 70 to get a free vaccine at the NHS.

In addition to preventing shingles, the vaccine can reduce your risk of a stroke by nearly 20 percent, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, based on medical records of one million people age 66 or older. Like the flu vaccines and pneumonia, the benefit may be due to reduced inflammation.

Tuberculosis and bladder cancer

In the UK more than 10,300 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year.

Surprisingly, one of the front-line treatments that helps prevent it from spreading or returning is an injection of BCG, a vaccine made up of weakened bacteria that you get as a child to protect yourself from tuberculosis (TB).

As with the yellow fever vaccine, it seems to encourage your immune system to become active and kill cancer cells that could grow back or be left behind.

It is part of an exciting approach to preventing and treating cancer, known as immunotherapy, which holds great promise for the future.

So here you go. At a time when the anti-vax movement is stronger than ever, these are additional reasons to celebrate the remarkable things against which vaccines can protect us – and a reminder of why you really want to continue your stings.

Dance to strengthen your brain

Recently I did a podcast on the health benefits of dancing, part of a series I present called Just One Thing.

As I discovered while interviewing a dancer who became a neuroscientist Dr. Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only strengthens your muscles and balance, it can even increase the size of your brain.

But is it just because dancing is a great exercise?

In a recent study from Japan, brain scans of people before and after listening to the kind of music that makes you want to pave your stuff have shown that it has a beneficial effect on our brains, especially “administrative function” – skills such as concentration. and planning.

While the researchers have not suggested why, one theory is that music has a complex neurological and sensory effect on us.

So the next time your boss catches you dancing by the water fountain, you can always say ‘I’m working on my personal development’ – and quote me.

As I discovered while interviewing a dancer who became a neuroscientist Dr. Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only strengthens your muscles and balance, it can even increase the size of your brain.  But is it just because dancing is a great exercise?

As I discovered while interviewing a dancer who became a neuroscientist Dr. Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only strengthens your muscles and balance, it can even increase the size of your brain. But is it just because dancing is a great exercise?

Go work on an egg – the Queen does!

I don’t have much in common with the Queen but like her, I enjoy mixed eggs for breakfast. They are an excellent source of protein and nutrients.

My knowledge of Her Majesty’s eating habits is not based on time spent in the Palace but on a book “Cooking and Telling” published years ago by one of her former cooks.

I was glad to see that the Queen is a fan of eggs (apparently she prefers brown ones), because until recently they were demonized for worries that because they contain quite high cholesterol, they must be bad for you. However, study after study, including one in 2018 that looked at nearly half a million adults in China, showed that people who eat eggs have significantly lower rates of heart disease and stroke than those who don’t.

Now a new study, from Peking University in China, has revealed why.

Based on blood samples from nearly 5,000 people – some of whom had heart disease and some of whom did not – the researchers found that those who ate an egg a day on average not only had lower rates of heart disease but also had higher levels of heart disease. HDL (‘good’) cholesterol.

HDL helps remove “bad” cholesterol from blood vessels and protects against blockages that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Like eggs or kippers for breakfast, the Queen seems to like fairly simple foods, such as meat or fish with vegetables, and tends to avoid starchy potatoes and rice.

But like me, she also has a sweet tooth and a passion for chocolate. Whatever she does, it certainly works.

I don’t have much in common with the Queen but like her, I enjoy mixed eggs for breakfast.  They are an excellent source of protein and nutrients

I don’t have much in common with the Queen but like her, I enjoy mixed eggs for breakfast. They are an excellent source of protein and nutrients

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