Forget the moon landing or the invention of the computer, I think the smallpox vaccination campaign, which in the twentieth century alone wiped out a terrible disease that killed more than 300 million people, is one of humanity’s greatest achievements.
And it’s a gift that keeps on giving because it can protect you from monkeypox, even if you were vaccinated decades ago.
There have been nearly 200 cases of monkeypox 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 of the hands and soles of the feet, and then on the rest of the body.
How concerned are we about monkeypox? “At the moment, we are not concerned with the epidemic,” says the World Health Organization, but is monitoring events.
What is particularly impressive is that decades later, when people who were vaccinated as children are retested, they still show a strong antibody response to protect against smallpox (the record to date is someone vaccinated over 90 years ago)
One concern is that as monkeypox spreads, it may turn into something more contagious, as Covid did.
One good news, at least if you’re over 51, is that you may actually be protected from monkeypox by the smallpox vaccine, which was routinely given to young children until 1971 (vaccines were discontinued when smallpox wasn’t. It is dangerous in United kingdom).
Smallpox is associated with monkeypox and studies show that smallpox vaccines also provide 85 percent protection against monkeypox.
What is particularly impressive is that decades later, when people who were vaccinated as children are retested, they still show a strong antibody response to smallpox (the record to date is someone vaccinated over 90 years ago).
This could help explain why the majority of monkeypox cases occur in people under the age of 50. So I thank my parents very much for vaccinating me.
But the smallpox vaccine isn’t the only one that offers some unexpected benefits.
Flu vaccines protect against dementia
It may seem unlikely, but getting vaccinated against the flu – or pneumonia – not only protects you from these diseases, but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
That was the conclusion of a study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in the US, based on the health records of more than 9,000 people – those who received the annual flu shot were 13 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who did not. R. With the pneumonia vaccine, they had up to a 40 percent lower risk of developing the condition.
One theory is that vaccines prevent inflammation that can spread to your brain.
It may seem unlikely, but getting vaccinated against influenza – or pneumonia – not only protects you from these diseases, but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Yellow fever and breast cancer
One of the more exotic vaccines is yellow fever, which you tend to take when traveling to some parts of Africa and South America.
Surprisingly, the vaccine may also protect women from breast cancer.
In a ten-year study conducted by the University of Padua in Italy, researchers tracked more than 12,000 women who had been vaccinated against yellow fever and found that those who received the vaccine between the ages of 40 to 54 had about a half chance. of breast cancer in the two years following vaccination compared to women who were not vaccinated.
Oddly enough, the stab did not offer the same protection for women before the age of 40 or after the age of 54.
The yellow fever vaccine contains a live but weakened virus (which you also find in the chickenpox and polio vaccines) — the live virus is thought to trigger the immune system, which in turn also kills breast cancer cells very early in the disease. disease, before they become aggressive, which is more likely to occur in younger women.
Shingles and stroke risk
Getting a shingles vaccine may also reduce the risk of a stroke.
Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus that is latent in the nerves after the original infection, and can cause a rash with persistent nerve pain. It’s common in people over 50, although you must be over 70 to receive the free NHS vaccine.
In addition to preventing shingles, a vaccine may reduce the risk of stroke by about 20%, according to research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on the medical records of 1 million people age 66 or older. Like the flu and pneumonia vaccines, 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 or recur in spreading is the BCG shot, a weakened bacteria vaccine given as a child to protect you from tuberculosis (TB).
As with the yellow fever vaccine, it appears to encourage your immune system to become active and kill cancer cells that may grow again, or that are left behind.
It’s part of an exciting approach to preventing and treating cancer, known as immunotherapy, that holds great promise for the future.
So there you are. At a time when the anti-vaccination movement is stronger than ever, here are some more reasons to celebrate the wonderful things that vaccines can protect us from — and a reminder of why you really want to keep up with your beat.
Dance to strengthen your mind
I recently did a podcast about the health benefits of dancing, which is part of a series I’m presenting called Just One Thing.
As I discovered when interviewing dancer-turned neuroscientist Dr. Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only enhances your muscles and balance, but can also increase the size of your brain.
But is it just because dancing is such a great form of exercise?
In a recent study from Japan, brain scans of people before and after listening to the type of music that makes you want to strut your stuff showed that it has a beneficial effect on our brains, particularly on “executive function” — skills like focus and planning.
While researchers haven’t suggested why, one theory is that music has a complex, multisensory neural 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 character” — and quote me.
As I discovered when interviewing dancer-turned neuroscientist Dr. Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only enhances your muscles and balance, but can also increase the size of your brain. But is it just because dancing is such a great form of exercise?
Go to work on an egg – the queen does it!
I don’t have much in common with the Queen but like her, I enjoy scrambled eggs for breakfast. It’s a great source of protein and nutrients.
My knowledge of Her Majesty’s eating habits is not based on the time she spent in the palace, but on a book “Cook and Tell” published years ago by one of her former chefs.
Glad to see the Queen is a fan of eggs (apparently she prefers brown eggs), because until recently they were demonized for concerns that they contain too high levels of cholesterol, they must be bad for you. However, study after study, including one in 2018, which looked at nearly half a million adults in China, has shown that people who eat eggs have significantly lower rates of heart disease and stroke than those who don’t.
A new study, from Peking University in China, reveals why.
Based on blood samples from nearly 5,000 people – some with heart disease, some not – the researchers found that those who ate an egg a day not only had lower rates of heart disease but also higher levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. .
HDL helps remove “bad” cholesterol from the blood vessels and protects against blockages that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
In addition to eggs or hemp fish for breakfast, the Queen seems to like quite plain food, such as meat or fish with vegetables, and tends to avoid starchy potatoes and rice.
But like me, she also has a passion for sweets and a passion for chocolate. Whatever you do, it definitely works.
I don’t have much in common with the Queen but like her, I enjoy scrambled eggs for breakfast. It is a great source of protein and nutrients