FORECAST: loss of a sense of smell reliable indicator of Covid-19

Researchers at the University College London and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), London, UK, have found that the vast majority of participants with new onset loss of smell were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and this acute loss of sense of smell needs to be considered globally as a criterion for self-isolation, testing and contact tracing in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Indeed, the authors noted that the loss of a sense of smell may be a more reliable indicator of Covid-19 than cough or fever.

Obesity medicine specialists are using evidence-based care

In a survey of physicians, certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM), by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, has found that these practitioners commonly offer key services supported by scientific research and clinical trials. This suggests that primary care clinicians can be increasingly confident that their patients will receive this ‘evidence-based care’ when referred to an obesity specialist.

EASO and ECPO urge patients to continue treatment

The European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) and the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO) are urging patients to continue their treatment for obesity and not to let it lapse because of fears about COVID-19. The organisations are very concerned that people seeking treatment for overweight and obesity have either postponed or stopped seeking medical advice because of fears they may be putting themselves at risk.

Genetic variants, obesity and brain processes

Some people are at higher risk of developing obesity because they possess genetic variants that affect how the brain processes sensory information and regulates feeding and behaviour, according to findings from scientists at the University of Copenhagen. The outcomes support a growing body of evidence that obesity is a disease whose roots are in the brain.

People with obesity may have reduced brain plasticity

People who are severely overweight are less likely to be able to re-wire their brains and find new neural pathways, a discovery that has significant implications for people recovering from a stroke or brain injury. In the paper, ‘Obesity is Associated with Reduced Plasticity of the Human Motor Cortex’, published in Brain Sciences, researchers from UniSA and Deakin University report0 that brain plasticity is impaired in people with obesity, making it less likely that they can learn new tasks or remember things.

Excess abdomen associated with higher risk of early death

Excess fat stored around the abdomen (central fatness) is associated with a higher risk of early death from any cause, regardless of overall body fat, whereas larger hips and thighs are associated with a lower risk, according to researchers from Iran and Canada. The results suggest that measuring central fatness may be a more reliable indicator of risk of death from excess weight and could be used alongside body mass index to help determine the risk of premature death.

Weight-loss threshold for improved cardiac health

Five to 10 percent of surgically induced weight loss is associated with improved life expectancy and cardiovascular health compared with about 20 percent weight loss is necessary to observe similar benefits with a non-surgical treatment, according to researchers from Cleveland Clinic. In comparison. The findings also show that metabolic surgery may contribute health benefits that are independent of weight loss.

CDC: US obesity rates increase, worsens outcomes from COVID-19

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that adult obesity prevalence is increasing and adults with obesity are at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. The ‘2019 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps’ show that twelve states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia) now have an adult obesity prevalence at or above 35%, an increase from nine states in 2018 and six states in 2017.