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DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: How a shot you had as a child saved you from monkey pox?

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Forget landing on the moon or inventing the computer, I think the smallpox vaccination campaign, which eradicated a horrible disease that cost more than 300 million people in the 20th century alone, is one of humanity’s greatest achievements.

And it’s a gift that you keep giving because it can protect you from monkey pox, even if you were vaccinated decades ago.

There have been nearly 200 cases of monkeypox in the UK since the outbreak started four weeks ago.

Although rarely fatal, it can cause a nasty rash that first appears on the palms and soles of the feet, then the rest of the body.

How concerned should we be about monkey pox? The World Health Organization says ‘at the moment we are not concerned about a pandemic’ but is monitoring events.

What’s particularly impressive is that decades later, when people who were vaccinated as babies are retested, they still show a strong protective antibody response against smallpox (the record so far is someone vaccinated more than 90 years ago)

One concern is that if monkeypox spreads, it could mutate into something much more contagious, as Covid did.

One bit of good news, at least if you’re over the age of 51, is that you may already be protected from monkeypox by the smallpox vaccine, which was routinely given to young children until 1971 (the vaccines were stopped when smallpox was no longer considered a risk in the UK).

Smallpox is related to monkeypox, and studies suggest that the smallpox vaccines also provide 85 percent protection against monkeypox.

What’s particularly impressive is that decades later, when people who were vaccinated as babies are retested, they still show a strong protective antibody response against smallpox (the record so far is someone vaccinated more than 90 years ago).

This could help explain why most cases of monkeypox were in people under the age of 50. So a big thank you to my parents for getting me vaccinated.

But the smallpox vaccine isn’t the only thing that offers some unexpected benefits.

Flu shots protect against dementia

It may seem unlikely, but a vaccination against the flu — or pneumonia — not only protects you from these diseases, but it also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

That was the conclusion of a study by the University of Texas Health Science Center, based on the health records of more than 9,000 people — those who had an annual flu shot were 13 percent less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. than those who didn’t. it; with the pneumonia shot, they were up to 40 percent less likely to develop the condition.

One theory is that the vaccines prevent inflammation that can spread to your brain.

It may seem unlikely, but a vaccination against the flu - or pneumonia - not only protects you against these diseases, but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer's disease.

It may seem unlikely, but a vaccination against the flu – or pneumonia – not only protects you against these diseases, but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Yellow fever and breast cancer

Yellow fever is a more exotic vaccine, which you usually get when you travel to some parts of Africa and South America.

It is quite surprising that the vaccine can also protect women against breast cancer.

In a 10-year study by the University of Padua in Italy, researchers followed more than 12,000 women who had been vaccinated against yellow fever and found that those between the ages of 40 and 54 had almost half the odds of developing yellow fever. breast cancer in the two years after vaccination compared to women who had not been vaccinated.

Curiously, the jab didn’t offer the same protection to women who received it before 40 or after 54.

The yellow fever vaccine contains a live but attenuated virus (also found in chickenpox and polio vaccines) – the live virus is thought to boost the immune system, which then also destroys breast cancer cells very early in life. the disease, before they become aggressive, which they do more often in younger women.

Shingles and Stroke Risk

Having a vaccine to prevent shingles may also reduce your risk of stroke.

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus that lies dormant in the nerves after the original infection and can cause a rash with persistent nerve pain. It is common in people over 50, although you must be over 70 to get a free vaccine on the NHS.

In addition to preventing shingles, the vaccine may reduce the risk of stroke by nearly 20 percent, according to research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on the medical records of one 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 first-line treatments to help prevent it from spreading or coming back is an injection of BCG, a vaccine made up of weakened bacteria that you receive as a child to protect you against tuberculosis (TB).

As with the yellow fever vaccine, it seems to encourage your immune system to get active and kill cancer cells that may regrow or be left behind.

It’s part of an exciting approach to cancer prevention and treatment, known as immunotherapy, that holds great promise for the future.

There you go. At a time when the anti-vax movement is stronger than ever, here are some more reasons to celebrate the remarkable things vaccines can protect us from — and a reminder of why you really want to keep up with your shots.

Dance to boost your brain

I recently did a podcast about the health benefits of dancing, part of a series I host called Just One Thing.

As I discovered when I interviewed the dancer turned neuroscientist, Dr Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only boosts your muscles and balance, it can actually increase the size of your brain.

But is it just because dancing is a great form of exercise?

In a recent study from Japan, brain scans in people before and after listening to the kind of music that makes you want to rummage around with your stuff showed that it has a beneficial effect on our brains, particularly on ‘executive function’ – ie skills such as concentration and planning.

While the researchers didn’t suggest why, one theory is that this is because music has a complex neurological and multisensory 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 personal development” — and quote me.

As I discovered when I interviewed the dancer turned neuroscientist, Dr Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only boosts your muscles and balance, it can actually increase the size of your brain.  But is it just because dancing is a great form of exercise?

As I discovered when I interviewed the dancer turned neuroscientist, Dr Julia Christensen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, dancing not only boosts your muscles and balance, it can actually increase the size of your brain. But is it just because dancing is a great form of exercise?

Get to work with an egg – the queen does!

I don’t have much in common with the Queen, but like her, I enjoy scrambled eggs for breakfast. They are a great source of protein and nutrients.

My knowledge of Her Majesty’s eating habits is not based on the time I spent in the palace, but on a cook and tell book published years ago by one of her former chefs.

I was delighted to see that the Queen is a fan of eggs (apparently she prefers brown ones) as they have been demonized until recently over concerns that as they are quite high in cholesterol they must be bad for you . But study after study, including one in 2018, looking at nearly half a million adults in China, has shown that people who eat eggs have significantly less heart disease and stroke than those who don’t.

Now a new study, from Peking University in China, has revealed why.

Based on blood samples from nearly 5,000 people — some of whom had heart disease and some not — the researchers found that those who ate an egg a day, on average, not only had fewer heart disease, but also higher levels of cardiovascular disease. HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

HDL helps remove ‘bad’ cholesterol from arteries and protects against the blockages that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

In addition to eggs or kippers for breakfast, the queen apparently likes fairly simple foods, such as meat or fish with vegetables, and avoids starchy potatoes and rice.

But like me, she also has a sweet tooth and a passion for chocolate. Whatever she does, it certainly works.

I don't have much in common with the Queen, but like her, I enjoy scrambled eggs for breakfast.  They are a great source of protein and nutrients

I don’t have much in common with the Queen, but like her, I enjoy scrambled eggs for breakfast. They are a great source of protein and nutrients

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