Health Life

Computer model makes strides in search for COVID-19 treatments

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID

A new deep-learning model that can predict how human genes and medicines will interact has identified at least 10 compounds that may hold promise as treatments for COVID-19.

All but two of the drugs are still considered investigational and are being tested for effectiveness against hepatitis C, , cancer and . The list also includes the approved drugs cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant that prevents transplant organ rejection, and anidulafungin, an antifungal agent.

The discovery was made by computer scientists, meaning much more work needs to be done before any of these medications would be confirmed as safe and effective treatments for people infected with SARS-CoV-2. But by using artificial intelligence to arrive at these options, the scientists have saved pharmaceutical and clinical researchers the time and money it would take to search for potential COVID-19 drugs on a piecemeal basis.

“When no one has any information on a new disease, this model shows how can help solve the problem of how to consider a potential treatment,” said senior author Ping Zhang, assistant professor of computer science and engineering and biomedical informatics at The Ohio State University.

The researchers noted in the paper that a few of the repurposing candidates the model generated have already been studied for their potential use in COVID-19 patients.

“Great minds think alike—some lead compounds identified by machine intelligence coincide with later discoveries by human intelligence,” Zhang said.

The research is published today (Feb. 1) in Nature Machine Intelligence.

Zhang and colleagues had completed the model’s design in May 2020, just as the first papers detailing how COVID-19 patients’ responded to

Health article

Financial Problems Can Be Sign of Dementia

February 2021

Print this issue

A new study found that financial problems can be an early sign of dementia. Some older adults had such problems years before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related condition.

Dementia causes changes to the brain that can interfere with daily life. These includes the ability to manage bills and other finances. Researchers looked at when these problems begin.

The team examined medical and credit information from about 80,000 adults. The people were 65 and older, lived alone, and received healthcare through Medicare. The research team recorded late bill payments and drops in credit scores.

People who developed dementia were more likely to have had late bill payments. This began six years before being diagnosed.

They were also more likely to have their credit scores drop below 620 (called “subprime”). This started two and a half years before getting their diagnosis.

“Our study is the first to provide large-scale quantitative evidence of the medical adage that the first place to look for dementia is in the checkbook,” says Dr. Lauren Nicholas of Johns Hopkins University. “Earlier screening and detection, combined with financial education, are important to protect the financial well-being of the patient and their families.”

Source link