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Older people with severe mental disorders are at significantly increased risk of dying from Covid-19, a new study suggests. The findings indicate that among the elderly, the proportion of deaths due to Covid-19 was almost fourfold for those with severe mental disorders compared to non-mentally ill people of the same age.
“We see a high excess mortality due to Covid-19 among the elderly with severe mental disorders, which gives us reason to consider whether this group should be given priority for vaccines,” said researcher Martin Maripuu, Associate Professor at Umea University in Sweden.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, the team studied data covering the entire Swedish population over the age of 20 during the period. Among citizens with a severe mental disorder, 130 people died from Covid-19 during this period, which corresponded to 0.1 percent of the group. Among people who had not been diagnosed with a severe mental disorder, the mortality rate was almost halved, 0.06 percent.
Above all, after the age of 60, people with severe mental disorders had higher excess mortality compared with the general population of the same age. In the age group 60-79 years, death from Covid-19 was almost four times as common among people with a severe mental disorder. In the study, the severe mental disorder was referred to as psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The study did not include depression or anxiety in the term, although these conditions can also be severe, the team said.
“It might be that severe mental disorders can lead to premature biological aging, that the disease impairs health and the immune system in general or that this group has other risk factors such as obesity,” Maripuu said. “It is always important to address both, mental and physical health problems of people with these disorders,” Maripuu added. (IANS)
Death rates from prostate cancer — the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men — have stabilized or declined in dozens of countries since the turn of the century, the American Cancer Society reported Tuesday.
In 33 of 44 countries surveyed, the incidence of prostate cancer had stabilized in the last five years for which data was available — and in seven countries, it was down, the report found.
Only four of the countries surveyed, including Bulgaria, saw an increased incidence of prostate cancer, it said.
“In the most recent five years of data examined, prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are decreasing or stabilizing in most parts of the world,” the study’s author MaryBeth Freeman said.
Prostate cancer deaths were down in 14 countries surveyed and stable in 54 others. Only three countries experienced a rise in prostate cancer deaths, according to the study findings, which were presented Tuesday at a conference in Atlanta.
The United States had the biggest drop in prostate cancers, which Freeman attributed to a decline in the use of a controversial diagnostic test that identified too many non-dangerous tumors.
The incidence of prostate cancers rose in the U.S. during the 1980s and early 1990s when the PSA, or Prostate-Specific Antigen, blood test became widely available.
The test is imprecise, however, and yields too many false positives. It identifies higher than normal levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, which could be a sign of cancer but is more often a symptom of other diseases.
Moreover, some prostate cancers are not aggressive and do not grow enough to pose a risk.
A false positive, on the other hand, can have harmful consequences for the patient: anxiety, complications linked to biopsies, or anti-cancer treatments.
In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an expert panel that reviews the effectiveness of preventive clinical services, advised against use of the PSA test.
In 2018, it revised the recommendation to say that taking the test should be an “individual” decision for men 55 to 69. At 70 and after, it advised against its use. (VOA)
London, Sep 16, 2017: Viral hepatitis with 1.34 million deaths globally has surpassed all chronic infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to a study by Global Burden of Disease.
The study reveals that in 2016, the total deaths caused by viral hepatitis, including liver cancer, acute cases, cirrhosis, hepatitis A, E, B, C and D account for 1.34 million globally, exceeding tuberculosis (1.2 million), HIV/AIDS (1 million) and malaria (719,000).
These staggering death rates occurred despite recent advances in hepatitis C medications that can cure most infections within three months and the availability of highly-effective vaccinations for hepatitis B.
“It’s outrageous, but not surprising, that the Global Burden of Disease Report found that deaths related to viral hepatitis have surpassed HIV, TB and malaria” said Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance — a not-for profit organisation based in London.
“This is largely due to a historic lack of political prioritisation coupled with an absent global funding mechanism,” Gore added, in the paper published in the journal the Lancet.
Further, viral hepatitis was found to be amongst the top ten leading global killers which include heart disease, road accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, amongst others.
If this trend has to be reversed, immediate action must be taken at both a regional and national level, said the report, while suggesting measures such as scaling up testing and diagnosis.
Viral hepatitis is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus and only 5 per cent of people living with the disease are aware of their conditions there are only few noticeable symptoms.
As a result, many people are either misdiagnosed or do not come forward for testing, increasing the chance of infecting others and missing the opportunity to access life-saving treatment.
Reducing hepatitis related deaths by 65 per cent by 2030 is a key component of the World Health Organization’s Global Hepatitis Strategy.
The strategy, which was adopted by 194 governments, sets out a list of key targets, which, if achieved, will eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. (IANS)