Association

fitness

Large study finds clear association between fitness and mental health

New research from a large study demonstrates that low cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength have a significant association with worse mental health.

Researchers have reported a clear link between low physical fitness and the risk of experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or both.

The study, which included more than 150,000 participants, found that cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength independently contribute to a greater risk of worse mental health.

However, the researchers saw the most significant association when they looked at cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength in combination.

The research, which appears in the journal BMC Medicine, may help inform clinical guidance on mental health and physical fitness.

Problems with mental health, just like physical health issues, can have a significant negative effect on a person’s life. Two of the more common mental health conditions are anxiety and depression.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1% of adults in the United States have experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year. In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health note that 7.1% of U.S. adults have had a major depressive episode.

There is growing evidence that being physically active may help prevent or treat mental health conditions. However, many questions still need answering.

For example, what measures should researchers use to quantify physical activity? In what ways can it prevent mental health issues or improve a person’s mental health? And is it possible to demonstrate a causal link between physical activity and better mental health?

It is important to have detailed evidence of the relationship between physical activity and mental health, as well as the mechanisms that might underlie it. With this information, clinicians can offer more targeted guidance to people with mental health conditions.

To begin to answer some of these questions, a team of researchers analyzed an existing large dataset that allowed them to build on their understanding of the association between physical fitness and mental health.

In the present study, the researchers drew on data from the U.K. Biobank — a data repository comprising information from more than 500,000 volunteers aged 40–69 years from England, Wales, and Scotland.

Between August 2009 and December 2010, a subset of the U.K. Biobank participants — amounting to 152,978 participants — underwent tests to measure their fitness.

Investigators assessed the participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness by monitoring their heart rate before, during, and after a 6-minute submaximal exercise test on a stationary bicycle.

They also measured the volunteers’ grip strength, which the researchers of the present study used as a proxy for muscle strength.

Alongside these physical fitness tests, the participants completed two standard clinical questionnaires relating to anxiety and depression to give the researchers an overview of their mental health.

After 7 years, the researchers assessed each person’s anxiety and depression again using the same two clinical questionnaires.

In their analysis, the researchers accounted for potential confounding factors, such as age, natal sex, previous mental health issues, smoking status, income level, physical activity, educational experience, parental depression, and diet.

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medicine

Promising new data for Ionis’ antisense medicine targeting PCSK9 presented at American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2020

CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IONS) announced today that new data for ION449, an investigational antisense medicine designed to reduce plasma levels of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9, or PCSK9, were presented today at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions. PCSK9 is integrally involved in the regulation of LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C). Genetic studies have shown that individuals with life-long reduction of LDL-C due to reduced function of PCSK9 have substantially reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

(PRNewsfoto/Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)

ION449, also known as AZD8233 for subcutaneous administration and AZD6615 for oral administration, is being developed as part of a collaboration between Ionis and the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. ION449 incorporates Ionis’ advanced Generation 2.5 and LIgand Conjugated Antisense, or LICA, technology. In a Phase 1 study, single subcutaneous doses of ION449 demonstrated dose-dependent reductions in circulating plasma PCSK9 protein and LDL-C levels of up to >90 percent and up to ~70 percent, respectively, in humans with a baseline LDL-C between 100 and 190 mg/dL.Doses of 4, 12, 20, 30, 60, 90 and 120 mg were evaluated. The single 90 mg dose was the minimum dose required to achieve maximum reduction in PCSK9 and LDL-C. ION449 was observed to be safe and well tolerated at all dose levels.

In addition, the feasibility of oral administration of ION449 was established in three in vivo studies:

  • A study in rats demonstrated liver bioavailability of 5 percent with ION449 following intrajejunal administration, mimicking oral administration of tablets not feasible in rodents.
  • A study in dogs demonstrated liver bioavailability of 7 percent following ION449 oral tablet administration for 28 days.
  • A study in healthy monkeys found repeated oral administration of ION449 tablets for 14 days resulted in LDL-cholesterol reductions of 45–50 percent.

An oral formulation of ION449 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 study in healthy volunteers.

“Even with existing treatments, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, affecting tens of millions of people. Additional treatments are clearly needed for patients still at risk. The data from these studies are very encouraging and demonstrate the best-in-class potential of ION449 for lowering LDL-C via PCSK9 reduction for the treatment of patients with high cholesterol who are at risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Brett P. Monia, Ph.D., chief executive officer at Ionis.

The full poster presentations, “Single Dose Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of a Potent PCSK9 Synthesis Inhibitor, AZD8233, in Subjects With Elevated LDL Cholesterol” (Poster #MP515) and “An Oral Antisense Oligonucleotide for PCSK9 Inhibition in Humans” (Poster #P244) are available to view on the AHA Scientific Sessions website.

Ionis’ collaboration with AstraZeneca focuses on leveraging Ionis’ pioneering antisense technology to discover and develop antisense therapies and AstraZeneca’s expertise in drug development and commercialization. In addition to cardiovascular programs, the companies are also collaborating to discover and develop antisense drugs to treat cancer, metabolic and other diseases.

About Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
As the leader in RNA-targeted drug discovery and development, Ionis has created an

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health

American Diabetes Association Unveils Scientific Review on Social Determinants of Health and Diabetes

American Diabetes Association Unveils Scientific Review on Social Determinants of Health and Diabetes

PR Newswire

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 2, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the American Diabetes Association® (ADA), the nation’s leading organization for all people living with diabetes, published a scientific review addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) and diabetes. Toward the goal of understanding and improving the health of people with diabetes through addressing SDOH, a writing committee—convened by the ADA—reviewed past evidence and research on diabetes risk and outcomes, as well as the impacts of interventions in these determinants.

“People living with diabetes face many challenges. Some of these relate to the disease itself, but increasingly we recognize the importance of many social determinants,” said Robert A. Gabbay, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for the ADA. “The scientific review not only defines these issues but shines a bright light on the resulting health disparities and articulates an important research agenda to address these issues. The release of this important scientific review underlines the American Diabetes Association’s commitment for #HealthEquityNow.”

As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at global, national, and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities—the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed unequal vulnerabilities that impact racial and ethnic minority groups and disadvantaged communities. Understanding and mitigating the impact of SDOH for people with diabetes are priorities due to disease prevalence, economic costs, and disproportionate population burden. 

The ADA committee summarized the following recommendations from international and U.S. national committees that have convened to provide guidance on SDOH intervention approaches: 

  • establish consensus core SDOH definitions and metrics,

  • examine specificities in SDOH pathways and impacts among different populations with diabetes,

  • prioritize a next generation of research that targets SDOH as the root cause of diabetes inequities,

  • use dissemination and implementation science to ensure SDOH considerations are embedded within diabetes research and evaluation studies, and

  • train researchers in methodological and experimental techniques for multisector and next generation SDOH intervention studies.

“This is a critical time in our nation’s history. As researchers and providers, we have the opportunity to advance solutions to the longstanding inequities that impact diabetes and other health conditions,” said Dr. Felicia Hill-Briggs, past ADA President of Health Care and Education and Chair of the SDOH writing committee. “Through this SDOH review, the American Diabetes Association is taking an important step toward acknowledging and setting the stage for the important research, policy, and implementation work that must be done in order to change the trajectory of inequity.”

The paper begins with a general outline of key definitions and SDOH frameworks and includes a literature review that focuses primarily on U.S.-based studies of adults with diabetes and on five

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health

American Brain Tumor Association Awards 11 Research Grants to Advance Brain Tumor Research

American Brain Tumor Association Awards 11 Research Grants to Advance Brain Tumor Research

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Oct. 30, 2020

CHICAGO, Oct. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As the nation’s first nonprofit organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing education and information across all tumor types, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) persists in its mission, announcing today the investment of $368,000 towards 11 new research grants to foster innovation in diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors in adults and children.

American Brain Tumor Association
American Brain Tumor Association

The ABTA’s grant program plays an integral role in advancing the understanding and treatment of brain tumors. Dedicated to investing in early-stage investigators who have unique perspectives to drive the future of brain tumor science and treatment, the ABTA provides research grants to medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and early-career faculty. This investment is even more critical with the COVID-19 pandemic shifting research priorities and impacting government funding for brain tumor research.

“We are excited to continue our legacy of supporting innovative research and early-career researchers, especially during this challenging time. With almost $33 million invested to date, the ABTA is committed to funding the research that will one day lead to cures,” said Nicole Willmarth, Ph.D., chief mission officer, ABTA.

With the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation (SBTF) investing more than $100,000 to support three research projects, the ongoing partnership between the ABTA and SBTF exemplifies the strengths of the ABTA’s rigorous grant selection process and accelerates the research investments of both organizations.

“The vast potential of the new projects we fund and the incredible efforts by the researchers, renews my optimism that better treatments are on the horizon. Our collaborations with organizations, like SBTF, amplify our ability to achieve our common goal of improving outcomes for brain tumor patients,” said Nicole Willmarth.

This year’s slate of research investigates critical areas in neuro-oncology research including experimental therapeutics, the role of the immune system and immunotherapies, as well as factors that modify gene function in brain tumor cells.

The ABTA congratulates the 2020 grant recipients listed below. To learn more about the grant recipients and their research projects, visit https://www.abta.org/research/research-funding-impact/.

Basic Research Fellowships are two-year, $100,000 grants awarded to post-doctoral fellows who are mentored by established and nationally-recognized experts in the neuro-oncology field.

  • Emily Darrow, Ph.D., St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

  • Tyler Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital

Discovery Grants are one-year, $50,000 grants supporting cutting-edge, innovative approaches that have the potential to change current diagnostic or treatment standards of care for either adult or pediatric brain tumors.

  • Munjal Acharya, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

  • Lan Hoang-Minh, Ph.D., University of Florida

  • Gary Kohanbash, Ph.D., Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Medical Student Summer Fellowships are $3,000 grants awarded to medical students to conduct brain tumor research projects under the guidance of neuro-oncology experts. Through these grants, the ABTA seeks to encourage physician-scientists to enter and remain in the brain tumor field.

  • Hasan Alrefai, B.S., University of Alabama at

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