9 research outputs found

    Nrf2-interacting nutrients and COVID-19 : time for research to develop adaptation strategies

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    There are large between- and within-country variations in COVID-19 death rates. Some very low death rate settings such as Eastern Asia, Central Europe, the Balkans and Africa have a common feature of eating large quantities of fermented foods whose intake is associated with the activation of the Nrf2 (Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2) anti-oxidant transcription factor. There are many Nrf2-interacting nutrients (berberine, curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate, genistein, quercetin, resveratrol, sulforaphane) that all act similarly to reduce insulin resistance, endothelial damage, lung injury and cytokine storm. They also act on the same mechanisms (mTOR: Mammalian target of rapamycin, PPAR gamma:Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, NF kappa B: Nuclear factor kappa B, ERK: Extracellular signal-regulated kinases and eIF2 alpha:Elongation initiation factor 2 alpha). They may as a result be important in mitigating the severity of COVID-19, acting through the endoplasmic reticulum stress or ACE-Angiotensin-II-AT(1)R axis (AT(1)R) pathway. Many Nrf2-interacting nutrients are also interacting with TRPA1 and/or TRPV1. Interestingly, geographical areas with very low COVID-19 mortality are those with the lowest prevalence of obesity (Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia). It is tempting to propose that Nrf2-interacting foods and nutrients can re-balance insulin resistance and have a significant effect on COVID-19 severity. It is therefore possible that the intake of these foods may restore an optimal natural balance for the Nrf2 pathway and may be of interest in the mitigation of COVID-19 severity

    Is diet partly responsible for differences in COVID-19 death rates between and within countries?

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    Cabbage and fermented vegetables : From death rate heterogeneity in countries to candidates for mitigation strategies of severe COVID-19

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    Large differences in COVID-19 death rates exist between countries and between regions of the same country. Some very low death rate countries such as Eastern Asia, Central Europe, or the Balkans have a common feature of eating large quantities of fermented foods. Although biases exist when examining ecological studies, fermented vegetables or cabbage have been associated with low death rates in European countries. SARS-CoV-2 binds to its receptor, the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). As a result of SARS-CoV-2 binding, ACE2 downregulation enhances the angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT(1)R) axis associated with oxidative stress. This leads to insulin resistance as well as lung and endothelial damage, two severe outcomes of COVID-19. The nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) is the most potent antioxidant in humans and can block in particular the AT(1)R axis. Cabbage contains precursors of sulforaphane, the most active natural activator of Nrf2. Fermented vegetables contain many lactobacilli, which are also potent Nrf2 activators. Three examples are: kimchi in Korea, westernized foods, and the slum paradox. It is proposed that fermented cabbage is a proof-of-concept of dietary manipulations that may enhance Nrf2-associated antioxidant effects, helpful in mitigating COVID-19 severity.Peer reviewe

    Waving goodbye? The determinants of autonomism and secessionism in Western Europe

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    <p>Waving goodbye? The determinants of autonomism and secessionism in Western Europe. <i>Regional Studies</i>. This paper sheds light on the main aggregate-level determinants of electoral support for regionalist parties across 10 Western European countries. A region being relatively richer than the country to which it belongs is associated with higher electoral support for regionalist parties only to the extent that the region is culturally differentiated. This hypothesis is substantiated theoretically, tested empirically and found to hold in the form of a strong and significant interaction effect between cultural and economic variables. This result, omitted in previous studies, implies a profound change in the interpretation of the role of income and cultural differences in explaining support for regionalism, for both autonomist and separatist parties.</p

    Essays on financial stability

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    Defence date: 31 May 2017Examining Board: Prof. Elena Carletti, EUI & Bocconi University (Supervisor); Prof. David K. Levine, EUI; Prof. Bruno Maria Parigi, University of Padua; Prof. Hans Degryse, University of LeuvenThis thesis consists of two essays concerning how banking regulations may promote financial stability. The first chapter investigates the competition-concentration-stability nexus from a novel perspective, by considering how concentration and, inter alia competition, affect the likelihood of an individual bank failing, and the likelihood of the bank failure spreading contagiously to the rest of the banking system. Competition is shown to reduce individual bank and systemic stability by reducing banks' profit buffers to absorb liquidity shocks. The impact of concentration on stability is more nuanced however, as increased concentration increases banks' profit buffers but also increases the concentration risk in the interbank market, widening the channel of contagion by which a liquidity shock can spread throughout the network. The second chapter concerns optimal ex-ante prudential regulation and ex-post resolution policy of globally systemically important banks. It characterises the conditions under which weakly capitalised, limitedly liable banks have incentives to 'gamble for resurrection' by investing in risky asset portfolios, in the knowledge that the downside risk is shifted onto the deposit insurance fund. In this context it is shown that a bank resolution by `bailing in' unsecured debt holders can restore the incentive for banks to act prudently, and that the bail-in should occur above the point of insolvency to ensure the bank has sufficient skin in the game. The interplay of three ex-ante prudential regulatory instruments is analysed: the minimum capital and total loss absorbing capacity requirements and the minimum capital buffer. The minimum capital and TLAC requirements are set to ensure that the bank has sufficient skin in the game to invest prudently and tradeoff the ex-post costs of bailing in unsecured debt holders, the cost of bailing out depositors and the cost of equity issuance, and minimum equity buffer is set to ensure an appropriate trigger for resolution.--1. Competition, concentration and contagion; --2. Debt, equity and moral hazard: the optimal structure of banks' loss absorbing capacit

    Interactions of the histamine and hypocretin systems in CNS disorders

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