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Another study shows marathons increase heart stress, but elite runners needn’t stress out

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A new “Research Letter” published Dec. 3 in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation raises the old fear that running long distances — particularly the 42.2-km marathon — could be bad for amateur runners. But according to several experts, including the paper’s author, would-be marathoners should not worry that they are on the road to a heart attack or heart disease, though it is smart not to attempt the marathon distance until you have trained sufficiently.

A group of Spanish physiologists reported that “the strain imposed on the myocardium by competing a full marathon is much greater compared with other distances such as the half-marathon or 10-km races.” They came to that conclusion by measuring the same proteins in runners’ blood that doctors look at to diagnose heart attacks. The biomarkers — cardiac troponins — were elevated in all 63 runners (39 women and 24 men, with an average age of 37) after completing their races, but particularly so among the marathon runners.

Marathoners should not worry that they are on the road to a heart attack or heart disease, though it is smart not to attempt the marathon distance until you have trained sufficiently.
Marathoners should not worry that they are on the road to a heart attack or heart disease, though it is smart not to attempt the marathon distance until you have trained sufficiently.  (KARSTEN MORAN / NYT)

But the Spanish team made no claims about heart attack or heart disease risks among the marathon runners. Indeed, the Letter notes that “the release of cardiac troponins after exercise may not be indicative of any cardiovascular dysfunction.”

This is precisely the finding of other studies published over the last decade, including a handful in Circulation, a scientific journal published for the American Heart Association. “I don’t see anything new here, and the increased likelihood of a troponin bump with marathon vs. shorter distances has been well described before,” Malissa Wood, of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, said by email.

Wood was a co-author of the first major paper on the subject, which appeared in Circulation in 2006. That investigation followed 60 nonelite participants in the 2004 and 2005 Boston Marathons. All had unmeasurable troponin before the marathon, but more than 60 per cent had levels greater than 99 per cent of normal post marathon. Still, the paper concluded: “There are no data to suggest that there are long-term sequelae to the increase in biomarkers.” In other words, no subsequent heart damage.

Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, has been researching the exercise-heart connection for 40 years, including work with Wood and others on cardiac troponins. “We’ve long known that troponins increase after exercise,” he said in an email. “The new Research Letter’s small contribution is to suggest that long-term effects should be studied. We all agree with this, and lots of groups, including ours in Hartford, are already doing this.”

In 2010, a team of internationally known exercise cardiologists, including Wood and Thompson, collaborated on a “State-of-the-Art Paper” for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The authors noted the explosion in exercise-and-troponin papers “due to the development of highly specific cardiac troponin assays coupled with theoretical concern about the cardiovascular safety of prolonged exercise.” Yet they concluded: “Because most of these data involve healthy individuals with no underlying cardiovascular disease, it seems likely that exercise-induced cardiac troponin release is a benign process.”

In 2014, a systematic review of “High-sensitivity troponin after running” reached a similar finding. The authors could locate no “pathological studies” linking post-exercise troponins to clinical heart illness. A 2012 paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology had demonstrated that 14-year-old cross-country runners also developed high troponin readings after a 90-minute treadmill workout. But the teens had no adverse clinical symptoms, continued racing for their youth teams, and clearly represented a group with little to no coronary risk.

The Spanish team has been studying marathoners since 2011, according to lead researcher Juan Del Coso, from Madrid’s Universidad Camilo José Cela. When they noticed many runners walking in the final miles, they wondered about the runner’s training programs for the event. The researchers first studied skeletal muscle strain among runners and found that those who trained less produced more markers of muscle damage. This led them to wonder about heart muscle damage, which produced the Research Letter results.

“I do not think the increased cardiac strain is going to produce a heart problem per se,” Del Coso wrote in an email. “If you’ve prepared correctly, which includes training, nutrition, and hydration strategies, then there is no reason to stop running marathons.”

However, Del Coso believes less-well-prepared amateurs should be more cautious when picking a race distance. “If you began training only a few months back, of if your busy life impeded your training, you should choose shorter races.”

Average marathon times have slowed dramatically in recent decades compared with the 1970s and 1980s, as slower — and presumably less-well-trained — runners have flocked to the marathon. However, there appears to have been no associated increase in marathon death rates, according to Bill Roberts, a physician who compiles such rates for the Twin Cities and Marine Corps marathons. (Amazing marathon stat: November’s New York City Marathon, with more than 50,000 starters from around the world, had a 99.8 per cent finish rate.)

Meanwhile, support for the benefits of regular, even intense, aerobic exercise remains as strong as ever. A month-old Cleveland Clinic paper tracked the mortality rates of 122,000 patients for a median 8.4 years after they had undergone treadmill stress testing. Subjects at the highest level of fitness, termed “elites,” had an 80 per cent lower risk of death than the lowest, most sedentary subjects. The elites, with aerobic capacities roughly equivalent to a 21-minute 5K race (or 3:20 marathon) even fared 23 per cent better than the next-highest group.

“Current endurance athletes should not be worried,” said Hartford’s Paul Thompson. “They always live longer than their sedentary peers, and there remains no conclusive evidence that their exercise is dangerous.”

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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