Sugar not so sweet in COVID.
May 4, 2021 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Sugar in COVID-19 (YT) from the Blue Brain Project at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Referenced in Elevated Blood Glucose Levels as a Primary Risk Factor for the Severity of COVID-19

We developed machine learning models to mine 240,000 scientific papers openly accessible in the CORD-19 database, and constructed knowledge graphs to synthesize the extracted information and navigate the collective knowledge in an attempt to search for a potential common underlying reason for disease severity.



Excerpts:

The evidence that patients with elevated blood glucose or IGT are more prone to severe primary infection and COVID-19 complications and death in the literature is overwhelming. Elevated glucose can not only explain much of the variance in COVID-19 severity as a correlative biomarker, but because virtually every action of glucose in biochemical, metabolic and homeostatic pathways seems to serve only to facilitate the infection, it could also be a primary determining factor in the severity of the disease. Controlling glucose levels could therefore reduce the severity of the disease and consequently also the mortality rate.

The model suggests that the viral replication rate for low viral loads in the hyperglycemic case is equivalent to the rate of replication induced by high viral loads in the normoglycemic condition. It also suggests that the hyperglycemic condition can further amplify the replication rates induced by any viral load by three to four times compare to normal condition.

Even at a late stage of the pandemic, approaches to detect and manage abnormal glucose metabolism and administer appropriate glucose-lowering drugs or diets, are indicated to help weaken the infection. Metformin, an old, safe and FDA approved drug, is an interesting glucose management drug that also has multiple other effects that could be beneficial in the management of COVID-19. Metformin not only reduces blood glucose levels and clearance following a bolus of glucose, but also has anti-inflammatory properties as well as cardio-vascular protective effects (i.e. anti-thrombotic).
posted by daksya (23 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is fascinating, and it would be doubly fascinating to see a public policy correlation run against national agricultural policies and subsidies, diets and COVID severity. Certainly North America subsidizes the hell out of cheap sugar...
posted by mhoye at 5:53 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


That's some very beautiful visualization. Nice find!
posted by flabdablet at 6:00 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Loved the music in this presentation, as well. Haunting....
posted by msbrauer at 6:08 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Thanks for another dose of death, Western industrial diet. Sad as f**k.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:19 AM on May 4


The assumption that glucose consumption correlates with glucose concentration in fluid in the lungs is not one on which I'd wager money.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:25 AM on May 4 [21 favorites]


I guess I'm an outlier. I am diabetic and I eat eff-all I want, and my COVID symptoms were mild, and I had no reaction to the Moderna vaccine.
posted by Billiken at 6:35 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


The marker is fasting blood glucose levels and impaired glucose metabolism as evidenced by postprandial glucose levels, not the presence of diabetes per se.
posted by daksya at 6:37 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


Kid Charlemange:

Do you mean you'd not wager because you disbelieve that, or because it's unfalsifiable?
posted by pompomtom at 6:37 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Mostly because we're really really good at homeostasis and glucose is pretty much the fundamental unit of our not dying. This reads remarkably similar to the people drink in baking soda water (or God knows what else) because they've read that the pH of blood in tumors is acidic (which is easily explained by FUBAR vascularization) and never mind cause and effect or extant disease states and just run with the idea.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:09 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


North America subsidizes the hell out of cheap sugar...

True, but that has little if anything to do with nutritional outcomes. "The idea that wholesome foods are expensive and junk foods are cheap because of the system of subsidies in the farm bill pervades the conversation about food policy. But that idea has one very big problem. It's false. ... Yes, junky food ingredients get much more subsidy money than fruits and vegetables. [But] Produce is inherently much more expensive to grow than grains, and that difference dwarfs the difference in subsidy levels."

That doesn't mean that our agricultural policies aren't awful, just that fixing them isn't sufficient to significantly improve nutrition and health.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:19 AM on May 4 [7 favorites]


> The assumption that glucose consumption correlates with glucose concentration in fluid in the lungs is not one on which I'd wager money.

The experiment in Effect of hyperglycaemia on glucose concentration of human nasal secretions shows otherwise.

"Our OGTT results show that even people with normal glucose tolerance briefly achieve blood glucose concentrations above the airways glucose threshold and have glucose transiently in their nasal secretions after a glucose load. People with diabetes mellitus are, therefore,likely to exceed the airways glucose threshold and have glucose in airways secretions for a considerable proportion of the day"
posted by daksya at 7:27 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, there's a new study out indicating metformin doesn't help with COVID mortality:
https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/covid19-and-metformin-what-diabetes-patients-need-to-know
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 7:27 AM on May 4


> Unfortunately, there's a new study out indicating metformin doesn't help with COVID mortality

"Adults with type 2 diabetes patients and a current prescription for metformin and other glucose lowering agents (MF+) were compared to those with a current prescription for glucose-lowering agents that did not include metformin (MF-)."

This is comparing metformin against other glucose controlling interventions. If the non-MF group also had comparable control over glucose, then a lack of significant difference is not a surprise.
posted by daksya at 7:32 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


This is comparing metformin against other glucose controlling interventions.

So basically, it's the glucose... Get it down somehow, right?
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 8:27 AM on May 4


So, a youtube link, their own webpage, and a non-peer-reviewed medrxiv for something this complex and multifactorial, mixed with MACHINE LEARNING?

Jolly good.
posted by lalochezia at 11:20 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


So, a youtube link, their own webpage, and a non-peer-reviewed medrxiv for something this complex and multifactorial, mixed with MACHINE LEARNING?

I think that means take their conclusions with a grain of salt...
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 12:30 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


lalochezia, I am definitely wondering what folks who do medicine and epidemiology think of this. Not gonna lie, that video looks GORGEOUS, and comes across as making a good deal of sense. Thank you for the reminder to keep the salt handy.

From the impeccable Ed Yong, an article about the Blue Brain Project’s founder and goals (published 2019):
The Human Brain Project Hasn’t Lived Up to Its Promise
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:56 PM on May 4


Flight hardware, do not touch, I did not register that you already brought the salt! Please consider mine a sincere form of flattery.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:58 PM on May 4


Also timely because a documentary film about the Blue Brain Project just came out last Friday. At TED 10 years ago, Henry Markram said he'd be simulating a whole human mind by now--and to prove it he would come back to present at TED as a holographic avatar this year. Instead, he's simulating COVID? I mean I guess 2020 reduced my productivity too, so maybe I should cut him some slack.
posted by thechameleon at 10:13 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


At TED 10 years ago, Henry Markram said he'd be simulating a whole human mind by now

To be fair, strong AI is one of those things that's permanently going to arrive ten years from now, like commercial fusion power and the paperless office.

Jolly good.

Needs more blockchain.

Even so, this really is some spectacularly beautiful visualization, even if it is much crisper and tidier than what it purports to visualize.
posted by flabdablet at 10:41 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


The snowstorm of glucose is extremely effective in the video!

I think all they needed to do was to add "which appears to" or "which may" to the beginning of every sentence, and it would be much better. Nevertheless, what a great visualisation of cellular interactions at a protein level. Does anyone have sources for more like that, ideally with less controversy?
posted by fizban at 1:12 AM on May 5


a documentary film about the Blue Brain Project just came out last Friday

and is already up on YouTube.
posted by flabdablet at 5:41 AM on May 5


The "they" are trying to prescribe metformin for people with out AODM. for a host of
other conditions. It is not a great drug. The diagnosis pre-diabetes is bunk and one of big pharma's biggest money makers. Coming under attack from bacteria or viruses, infection, raises blood sugar levels, it is some part of our body's defense strategy. Covid is clever, a sublime predator. Metformin is a highly overprescrobed drug. Thank you. I will put away my soapbox for now. This piece is just one piece of Covid's effectiveness.
posted by Oyéah at 6:29 PM on May 5


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