Based on the pathophysiology of this insidious coronavirus, the research team behind a new report suggest the disease could:
Target male reproductive organs due to the high expression of ACE2 receptors in the testis and cause temporary or permanent tissue damage. ACE2 receptors are the main “entry-point” by which Covid-19 invades the body’s cells.
Interfere with sex hormone and sperm production.
Cause inflammation and contribute to erectile dysfunction (a possible signal of poor cardiovascular and pulmonary health).
Lead to stress that jeopardizes reproductive and sexual health as well as fertility.
Taken together, the disease could, per the report, pose a “global threat to male fertility potential.” A growing number of studies suggest men are more likely to be severely affected by Covid-19 than women.
COVID-19 AND MEN’S SEXUAL HEALTH
Since Covid-19 emerged, scientists have primarily focused on keeping patients alive by preventing the diseases’ most deadly symptoms. However, some interest has shifted toward the novel coronavirus’s less obvious effects — including those on sexual and reproductive systems.
In a review of Covid-19 studies published Wednesday in the journal Open Biology, researchers outline how the disease may influence men’s reproductive health.
“Emerging evidence indicates toward the possibility of testicular damage due to Covid-19, which in turn may compromise the fertility potential of such men along with the disruption of the normal production of sex hormones,” study co-author Shubhadeep Roychoudhury tells Inverse.
Roychoudhury is a biotechnologist at Assam University in India.
Roychoudhury and his colleagues are quick to preface the article by stating that the evidence is “preliminary in nature.”
There’s simply not the long-term, large-scale data needed to make firm predictions. Despite this, the researchers argue there is cause for concern based on how Covid-19 invades the body.
- TARGETED INVASION
Overall, the study team lists four ways Covid-19 may threaten male fertility.
The research team suggests the high expression of ACE2 receptors — the virus’s favorite entry-point — in the testis is a concern. The presence of the ACE2 receptor on germ cells, Leydig cells, and Sertoli cells in the male genital system makes it a potential target of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the scientists say.
Furthermore, some researchers report Covid-19 causes a reduction of Leydig cells, while Sertoli cells can become inflamed and detached. These cells are critical for reproductive health and sperm production.
There’s also worry Covid-19’s effects and resulting inflammation could cause temporary or permanent damage to reproductive tissue. Hyperinflammation around the heart and surrounding muscles may also block or narrow blood supply to the penis, causing erectile dysfunction.
Research published in July suggests Covid-19 can exacerbate cardiovascular conditions, increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction and the chance of developing “sexual and reproductive health issues.”
Total inflammation of the testicles, a condition called orchitis, doesn’t appear to be common. However, the report authors explain immune system overreactions called cytokine storms, along with high fevers, may lead to orchitis. It can cause permanent reproductive function damage.
Covid-19’s resulting system-wide inflammation can also send the endocrine system out of whack. In turn, men’s testosterone and other sex hormone levels can be disrupted, compromising fertility.
“The most pressing downstream effect that needs to be investigated is whether the inflammatory effects resulting from the viral infection in the testicular tissues and epididymis has the potential to disrupt the process of spermatogenesis and further compromise the viability of sperm cells,” Roychoudhury says. (Spermatogenesis is the origin and development of sperm cells.)
Pandemic-related stress, anxiety, and depression can also cause a change in mood. Studies suggest this can also affect sexual health.
Studies suggest between 25 and 60 percent of infertile individuals significantly higher anxiety and depression than fertile men. Scientists don’t know for sure which came first — the stress or infertility.
However, the research team still suggests mental health protections as an avenue for protecting fertility.
“SARS-CoV-2-infected men should be provided with psychological consultation in time to avoid irrational fear and excessive stress, as these may indirectly affect their reproductive health and well-being,” Roychoudhury says.
Covid-19 can also cause an uptick in oxidative stress — an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body that can threaten sperm health. Elevated levels of oxidative stress can affect sperm’s structural and functional integrity, including how it swims, its shape and count, and it’s viability.
THE IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY
Tissue damage, hormonal imbalances, cellular interference, inflammation, and stress could all work (individually or in tandem) to disrupt men’s sperm production as well as reproductive and sexual health.
But so far, data remains “insignificant” in regards to the long-term effects of Covid-19 on male fertility, Roychoudhury says. Researchers don’t know if or how long any potential effects might last.
“Further clinical trials involving male Covid-19 patients of reproductive age as well as longitudinal studies in pediatric patients will help understand the long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on testicular functions and spermatogenesis,” Roychoudhury adds.
It will be pivotal to look to see if Covid-19 infected men who had previously conceived a baby are able to conceive again, he says. Until we get those answers, the scope of understanding Covid-19 and sexual health, as well as the potential solutions, are limited.
In the meantime, it is known men are more likely to die from Covid-19. Studies suggest these deaths are influenced by viral load and immune system response, but they may also link back to genetics or sex hormones. As studies continue, it’s best to wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance.
Note: this Article was first published on inverse
J&K grapples with doubling of Heart attacks in past 5 years
Heart attacks and strokes in Jammu & Kashmir have been rising, much like the rest of the world, and experts have identified pollution, insufficient exercise, and excessive consumption of fast foods as the primary factors contributing to this trend.
Cardiologists at several tertiary healthcare facilities in the Union Territory, revealed that the number of heart attacks in Jammu & Kashmir has nearly doubled over the past five years. They said the hospitals here have witnessed an almost twofold increase in the number of stent procedures performed in the last two years alone.
Dr A G Ahanger, a renowned Cardiologist, informed KNO that heart disease is responsible for approximately 27-31% of all deaths worldwide. However, about 85% of these deaths can be preventable if treated promptly, he said.
The doctor emphasised that any symptoms associated with heart disease should not be disregarded, and a proper investigation should be done to diagnose and treat the condition and save lives.
He suggested that people must adopt the 5S policy to minimize the risk of heart disease, which includes reducing SALT and SUGAR intake, avoiding SEDENTARY lifestyle, managing STRESS, and quitting SMOKING. Following these guidelines could help save lives and promote a healthy heart, he said.
Dr. Irfan, a cardiologist at GMC Srinagar, told KNO that the rate of heart attacks at SKIMS or SMHS has doubled over the last five years. “There has been a change in the pattern of heart attacks. In the past, there would be 70% fewer cases in the summers than in the winters. However, this is not the case anymore. We are now admitting more young patients with heart-related issues, and performing stent procedures and pacemaker implantations frequently,” he said.
According to Dr Irfan, air pollution, rapid urbanisation, drug abuse, sedentary lifestyle, physical inactivity, fast food intake, stress, and smoking are all reasons behind the increased prevalence of hypertension and diabetes, which in turn lead to heart attacks. He also noted that young patients with heart problems were rare some years ago, but now it has become a daily routine.
Dr Irfan commented on the current situation in Kashmir, stating that many people have become reliant on others and are not taking responsibility for their own actions. He identified a trend towards seeking out only comfortable and easy work, which has been further enabled by the rise of online delivery systems and the work-from-home culture.
“Unfortunately, this sedentary lifestyle has contributed to a rise in drug abuse and associated health problems, including Endocarditis disease, which had previously been uncommon in the region. Even college-going females have been reported to be struggling with heart-related issues due to drug abuse,” he said.
The doctor lamented that while Kashmir has made strides in terms of technological advancements, the population’s overall health has suffered due to a lack of physical activity.
He advised that managing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol, as well as avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, quitting smoking, reducing stress, eating a vegetable-rich diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and regularly exercising can significantly lower the risk of heart attacks.
According to cardiologists, common symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain that feels like pressure, tightness, squeezing, or aching. The pain or discomfort may also radiate to the shoulder, arm, back, neck, jaw, teeth, or upper belly. Other symptoms can include cold sweat, fatigue, heartburn or indigestion, lightheadedness or sudden dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. KNO
Schools shut, curbs imposed after two die of Nipah virus in Kerela
Some schools shut and curbs imposed on public gathering in Kerala after two people died of Nipah, a virus from bats or pigs that causes deadly fever.
The virus has no vaccine and a fatality rate ranging from 40 to 75 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
Symptoms include intense fever, vomiting and a respiratory infection, but severe cases can involve seizures and encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, and result in a coma.
The Nipah virus strain seen in the state was the Bangladesh variant that spreads from human to human and has a high mortality rate, though it is less infectious, the government said. “People living in forest areas have to take the highest precautions,” George had said, adding that the latest case of the Nipah virus originated within five kilometres of a jungle area.
In the wake of the rising Nipah virus cases, neighbouring Tamil Nadu state announced that travellers coming from Kerala would be subjected to medical tests and those with flu symptoms would be isolated.
700 people including 153 health workers who came in contact with those infected are under observation, health officials said.
Doctors remove 13 hairpins, 5 safety pins, 5 razor blades from man’s stomach
A group of talented medical professionals from a private hospital in Puducherry saved a 20-year-old man’s life by successfully removing 13 hairpins, 5 safety pins, and 5 razor blades from his stomach via an endoscopic technique.
The young man was hospitalised with disturbing symptoms, including intense abdominal pain, blood vomiting, and strange bowel motions, according to the experts at the Gastroenterology and Medical Centre (GEM) Hospital. After further inspection, it was discovered that he had 13 hairpins, 5 safety pins, and 5 razor blades in his stomach.
“He has been dealing with psychiatric issues since childhood. Initially, he denied swallowing any foreign objects. However, during the endoscopic procedure, we discovered a hardened mass in his stomach. This collection of objects is referred to as a ‘foreign body bezoar,’ which could potentially lead to intestinal blockages and perforations,” explained Dr. K Sasikumar, a surgical gastroenterologist who led the medical team, as pee local media reports.
Facing this intricate situation, the team decided to opt for an endoscopic procedure instead of open surgery. Dr. K Sugumaran, another member of the team, stated, “The patient’s parents were also inclined towards avoiding open surgery. We proposed inserting a tube through the mouth to reach the stomach and safely remove these sharp objects. It was a challenging procedure given the nature of the objects.”
The patient was admitted to the hospital on August 7, and the procedure, lasting approximately two hours, took place on August 8. Fortunately, the patient responded positively to the treatment, and he was discharged the following day, on August 9. He even resumed a regular oral diet on the very same evening, as confirmed by Dr. K Sasikumar.
The dedicated medical team responsible for this extraordinary accomplishment included medical gastroenterologist Dr. G Rajesh and anesthesiologist Dr. Ranjith. Dr. C Palanivelu, Chairman of GEM Hospitals, praised the team for their outstanding efforts in saving the young man’s life.
Doctors suspect that the patient consumed these sharp objects after mixing them with food. The condition of the patient is stable and he has been discharged from hospital.
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