New research reveals that a low-calorie ketogenic diet can help testosterone levels in overweight men

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A very low-calorie ketogenic diet can help testosterone and sex hormone (SHBG) levels in overweight men, according to a study being presented at the 23rd European Congress of Endocrinology (e-ECE 2021), on Monday 24 May 2021. The study found that after following a recommended low-calorie ketogenic diet for four weeks, body weight, fat mass and body mass index (BMI) significantly decreased and a substantial increase of total testosterone and SHBG levels were also found. Testosterone is responsible for sexual and reproductive functions. However, it plays a significant role in calorie utilisation and metabolism as well.

This study was the first of its kind to examine the effect of a very low-calorie ketogenic diet on testosterone and SHBG levels and therefore highlighted the tight relation between insulin action, energy balance, and testicular function. As men who are overweight or obese can also suffer from low levels of testosterone and SHBG levels, the data suggests that further research into a low-calorie ketogenic diet and its effect on male testosterone and SHBG levels may be a promising area for additional research.

The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008. According to country estimates for 2008, over 50% of men in the WHO European Region were overweight, and roughly 20% were obese. Obesity can lead to diabetes and heart disease, as well as psychological problems.

To tackle this, various lifestyle changes, activities and treatments are widely recommended, and a ketogenic diet is becoming increasingly recognised as one of them. The diet consists of little protein and very little carbohydrates, and when done as very-low calorie a daily intake of less than 800 calories is advised. A very low-calorie ketogenic diet has previously been found to reduce body weight, glycaemia and insulinemia, but its effects on total testosterone and SHBG levels were less clear, until now.

Dr. Angelo Cignarelli and a team of colleagues from the University of Bari in Italy investigated whether this controlled diet would have the same, positive effect that it does on overall bodyweight on total testosterone and SHBG levels. The 17 male subjects in the study underwent a low-calorie ketogenic diet for four weeks, and various tests were carried out before and after one (1) and four (4) weeks.

“We aimed to evaluate the response of total testosterone and sex hormone levels to a very low-calorie ketogenic diet in a cohort of overweight or obese non-diabetic male subjects and what we found was that there is a noticeable relation between a specific, controlled diet and insulin action, energy balance, and testicular function,” says Dr. Cignarelli.

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New study reveals where memories of familiar places are stored in the brain

New study reveals where memories of familiar places are stored in the brain

As we move through the world, what we see is seamlessly integrated with our memory of the broader spatial environment. How does the brain accomplish this feat? A new study from Dartmouth College reveals that three regions of the brain in the posterior cerebral cortex, which the researchers call “place-memory areas,” form a link between the brain’s perceptual and memory systems. The findings are published in Nature Communications.

“As we navigate our surroundings, information enters the visual cortex and somehow ends up as knowledge of where we are—the question is where this transformation into spatial knowledge occurs. We think that the place-memory areas might be where this happens,” explains lead author Adam Steel, a Neukom Fellow with the department of psychology and brain sciences in the Robertson Lab at Dartmouth. “When you look at the location of the brain areas that process visual scenes and those that process spatial memories, these place-memory areas literally form a bridge between the two systems. Each of the brain areas involved in visual processing are paired with a place-memory counterpart.”

For the study, an innovative methodology was employed. Participants were asked to perceive and recall places that they had been to in the real world during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which produced high-resolution, subject specific maps of brain activity. Past studies on scene perception and memory have often used stimuli that participants knew of but had never visited, like famous landmarks, and have pooled data across many subjects. By mapping the brain activity of individual participants using real-world places that they had been to, researchers were able to untangle the brain’s fine-grained organization.

In one experiment, 14 participants provided a list of people that they knew personally and places that they have visited in real-life (e.g., their father or their childhood home). Then, while in the fMRI scanner, the participants imagined that they were seeing those people or visiting those places. Comparing the brain activity between people and places revealed the place-memory areas. Importantly, when the researchers compared these newly identified regions to the brain areas that process visual scenes, the new regions were overlapping but distinct.

“We were surprised,” says Steel, “because the classic understanding is that the brain areas that perceive should be the same areas that are engaged during memory recall.”

In another experiment, the team investigated whether the place-memory areas were involved in recognition of familiar places. During fMRI scanning, participants were presented with panning images of familiar and unfamiliar real-world locations downloaded from Google Street View. When the researchers looked at the neural activity, they found that the place-memory areas were more active when images of familiar places were shown. The scene-perception areas did not show the same enhancement when viewing familiar places. This suggests that the place-memory areas play an important role in recognizing familiar locations.

“Our findings help explain how a generic image of a clock tower becomes one that we recognize, such as Baker-Berry Library’s tower here on Dartmouth’s campus,” says Steel.

“It’s thrilling to discover a new set of brain areas,” says senior author Caroline Robertson, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth. “Learning how the mind is organized is at the heart of the quest of understanding what makes us human.”

“The place-memory network provides a new framework for understanding the neural processes that drive memory-guided visual behaviors, including navigation,” explains Robertson.

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Expert Reveals Why Rich People Are Acquiring Race Horses

Millionaires who currently do not have the billions that can help them purchase their personal sports team have begun to spend millions on alternatively buying racehorses. According to Keeneland Racing’s racing and sales’ Vice president, Bob Ellison, a lot of excitement comes with being the owner of Thoroughbred horses.

Ellison mentioned that the millionaires are so enthusiastic about getting a good deal and that has willingly made them spend so much on high-quality horses. According to him, twenty-seven horses at the sale were sold for one million dollars or above. 14 of the buyers were international buyers while 13 of them were from the US. Three other horses were sold for over $2 million while there was a yearling that sold for $2.4 million. In summary, the buyers spent about $377 million on the purchase of about 3,000 yearlings.

Expensive Hobby

Ellison mentioned that this activity is a form of investment but added that acquiring race horses didn’t just become a hobby for the richest people all around the world. It can sometimes cost several thousands of dollars to acquire prized horses.

Polo, considered to be the sport for kings, is most times regarded as a hobby for members of the upper class. It is one where the elite gather to have cocktails and also socialize as they watch the sport. Yearly, socialites, designers, and Hollywood stars attend the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic. In fact, Chinese billionaires are reportedly beginning to see Polo as the new elite sport.

It is at the Kentucky Derby that some horses purchased at the Keeneland Sale compete. Ellison noted that the famous guests here  include Peter Brand ruling houses from the Middle East, Bobby Flay, George Strawbridge and Charlotte Webber,

The Vice president of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, reportedly purchased 27 yearlings for about twenty million dollars at this year’s sale. The total purchases included seven yearlings he bought for over a million dollars. The Vice President is considered one of the biggest owners of such horses in the world. He also owns a huge stable and different racing operations. Sheikh Hamdan, his brother, also bought 19 horses spending over $12 million.

Investment Opportunity

It is important to examine if these horse purchases have the potentials and can eventually become money makers for their buyers. Ellison noted that the possibility of that is dependent on the extent to which the horses race after they are sold. For instance, Justify was purchased for $500,000 and after it won the Triple Crown for this year, the horse is now worth a whopping $75 million.

Generally, breeders put in much effort into grooming horses for top sales as well as promising returns, be it through natural practices or commercial practices. According to Ellison, some breeders treat horses as is if they were tomatoes as they polish and feed them in an environment that is highly controlled, while some other breeders prefer to raise horses in the field. He added that irrespective of the method that the breeders used for raising the horses this year, the horses appeared to have more mass and are more athletically built.

Ellison added that while some buyers are particular about the size of the horse, how it looks racing, how its coat looks and how muscular it is, other buyers are particular about a horse that can run on grass and so want to know how fast the horses can finally transition to a race track.

Ellison, however, stated that there are some things buyers ought to consider to increase their chances of getting a better return. One of such is that colts, i.e. male horses, are generally worth more than fillies or mares (female horses).

Also, purchasing more than a yearling at each sale increases the chances of winning. Also the pedigree of the yearling matters.

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Scheana Shay Reveals HELLP Syndrome Diagnosis After Giving Birth

Scheana Shay just gave birth, and she’s already opening up about the details of her labor, including a serious medical condition.

Pregnant Scheana Shay Shows Bare Baby Bump Before Going Into Labor

“Almost 24 hours after being induced, my blood pressure was extremely elevated,” Shay, 35, explained on Tuesday, April 27, via Instagram.

She was first diagnosed with preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication where high blood pressure can affect the liver and kidneys. However, the issue progressed and she explained it “turned into HELLP syndrome,” which is a severe form of preeclampsia, according to Mayo Clinic.

HELLP stands for hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count. HELLP syndrome can be a life-threatening complication for both mom and baby, and it typically requires the immediate delivery of the infant.

Shay, however, was actually diagnosed after she gave birth to daughter Summer Moon Honey Davies on Monday, April 26.

“My doctor said I was lucky, and we caught this just in time to treat as it’s very unusual to be caught so late, in postpartum,” she explained.

The reality star, who shares her newborn with boyfriend Brock Davies, recalled being “on a magnesium drip that made me extremely lethargic and flu-like, shivering uncontrollably to the point where I felt like I was seizing.”

Stassi Schroeder and Lala Kent’s Daughters Have 1st Playdate: Photos

Symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia include high blood pressure, severe headaches, changes in vision, upper abdominal pain and decreased urination. The causes of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome are unknown, but those dealing with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and having multiples (twins, triplets etc.) are at greater risk.

“I am still being monitored closely for elevated liver enzymes and low blood platelets and not sure how much longer we will be here,” Shay revealed.

Summer is the first child for Shay and the third for Davies, 30, who has two children from a prior relationship.

Despite the health issues, Shay and Davies were in good spirits heading into the delivery room. “Scheana is so excited to meet her baby girl,” the source told Us Weekly on Sunday, April 25, after they arrived at the hospital. “Brock is by her side and can’t wait to meet their daughter.”

The Next Generation! See ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Stars’ Babies

It isn’t clear how long Shay will be on maternity leave. The Vanderpump Rules cast is expected to start filming season 9 of the Bravo reality series in early May, Us confirmed.

Shay won’t be the only new mom on Pump Rules. Lala Kent welcomed her daughter, Ocean, in March.

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Master Of Flip’s Kortney Wilson Reveals Her Top Tip For Sprucing Up A Rented Apartment

If you’re renting a place and want your deposit back, it can feel like you’re just stuck staring at blank white or beige walls all day, every day. But don’t despair — there is a way to help make a rented apartment reflect your own style without having to resort to paint. And it comes recommended by the one and only Kortney Wilson of HGTV’s Masters of Flip

In an interview with 29secrets.com, Wilson revealed her recommendation for a budget-friendly and temporary way to upgrade your space: “Right now I’m really into DIY accent walls. I always say that wallpaper’s back — not our grandmother’s wallpaper, but peel-and-stick products are back with a vengeance. I’m also really into peel-and-stick barn wood — things you can actually do yourself, so you know you don’t need to hire a big company to install it where it’s thousands of dollars.” For an idea of what Wilson’s talking about, check out creative sites like Etsy, which has lots of temporary wallpaper options.

Collect second-hand frames to create a gallery wall

Making an accent wall of your own isn’t just about wallpaper treatments. You can also set up your own gallery wall with a collection of beloved images. Don’t just stick photos to the wall with blue tack like it’s a college dorm though. And don’t worry about the high cost of brand new matching frames. “I love gallery walls and I think one easy tip for people is to just get a bunch of inexpensive frames,” said Wilson, “you can go to a second-hand store, sometimes people even leave them in their trash — and you can paint them all one color.” By painting them all the same color, even if they’re wildly different styles, they will seem like they go together.

Wilson’s got another idea for how to bring things together in an accent wall once you’ve got your frames collected: “Go to the fabric store and buy some pieces of fabric, and just frame fabric.” If you’re thinking about framing fabric, Tara Reed, merchandising and marketplace manager at Spoonflower, explained what to look for in order to display fabric as art: “Think big when it comes to design scale. The larger the repeat on a pattern, the more natural it looks as art” (via Spoonflower).

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Pregnant Brittany Cartwright Reveals Her and Jax Taylor's Son's Due Date

Not long now! Pregnant Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor are five weeks away from their baby boy’s arrival.

Date Night! See Pregnant Brittany Cartwright’s Baby Bump Pics at 32 Weeks

“Since so many people are asking, @littlebabycauchi’s due date is April 13, and I cannot wait!” the Kentucky native, 32, wrote on her Wednesday, March 3, Instagram Story. “Doctors are saying he is measuring a little bit early so fingers crossed LOL, but he will come when he is ready! He is perfectly healthy and a big boy! So in love already!”

The mom-to-be went on to give a glimpse of her baby bump, showing her dog, Kingsley, sitting on her stomach. “It’s so cute how she climbs up on my belly,” Cartwright gushed.

‘Vanderpump Rules’ Baby Fever! Bravo Stars’ Best Quotes About Having Kids

The Vanderpump Rules alums announced their pregnancy news in September 2020. “Mom and Dad,” Cartwright captioned an Instagram slideshow of herself and Taylor, 41, holding ultrasound photos.

The Michigan native added at the time: “Sooooo I am gonna be Dad.”

The following month, the former Bravo personalities shared the sex of their baby-to-be with the help of blue confetti cannons. The pregnant star posted for a group shot at the party with fellow moms-to-be Lala Kent and Stassi Schroeder. (The Next Level Basic author, 32, gave birth to daughter Hartford, 1 month, in January.)

As Cartwright continued to document her baby bump progress, she found herself defending her stomach’s size. “Some of y’all are just sad and I wish you happiness someday,” she wrote on her Instagram Story in November 2020. “I am happy and healthy and I’m going to enjoy my pregnancy no matter what the trolls say.”

Cartwright also shared a screenshot describing the 16th week of pregnancy, reading, “All baby bumps at 16 weeks are different. … Believe it or not, some women don’t really show at 16 weeks pregnant, while others have pronounced bumps. The wide variety of baby bumps can be attributed to everything from a woman’s size and shape to whether this is her first pregnancy or her second, third or fourth. Whatever you do, don’t compare your 16 weeks pregnant belly to anyone else’s.”

That same month, Taylor told Kent, 30, and Randall Emmett during a podcast episode that his wife was “very insecure” about her budding belly.

Pregnant Brittany Cartwright, Jax Taylor’s Quotes About Starting a Family

“What I think is extremely important and what I’m going through now with Brittany is just reassuring Brittany how beautiful she is,” the former bartender said during “Give Them Lala … With Randall.”

He added, “She’s already beautiful, she’s already gorgeous, but I always see Brittany looking at herself and I know in her head she’s just thinking sometimes I think that she’s not pretty. … I have to reassure her a lot and I love doing it. I do it anyway, but it’s super important for new dads, I think, just to make sure to let your wife know how beautiful she is at all times.”

Emmett, 49, was surprised by the comment, calling Cartwright “stunning.”

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That Face! DWTS’ Witney Carson Reveals 1st Photo of Son Kevin Leo

Meaningful moniker! Witney Carson shared her newborn son’s name, Kevin Leo McAllister, three days after she welcomed him into the world with husband Carson McAllister.

‘Dancing With the Stars’ Pros’ Baby Bumps

The Dancing With the Stars pro, 27, posted the first photo of her baby’s face on Wednesday, January 6, and revealed that he is named Kevin Leo to honor her late father-in-law, Kevin McCallister.

“Named after his grandpa who sent him down to us,” she captioned an Instagram snap of the newborn with a wooden name plaque with his middle name written on it. “Born on Jan. 3rd 2021 ✨ 7lbs. 2oz. 21” long!”

The So You Think You Can Dance alum added: “My little Leo, I love you more than words can express. You are the most precious gift. My life will forever be changed by your sweet spirit. Welcome to the world Leo 🦁.”

Carson’s father died in March 2018 after battling cancer for two years. Following his passing, the dancer paid tribute to her late father-in-law, noting how hard it would be to one day have children who would not know their grandfather.

DWTS’ Pregnant Witney Carson’s Baby Bump Photos

“Although it will be excruciatingly painful at times to live without him, we know he lives on around us being our guardian angel wherever we go,” she captioned a black-and-white photo of the couple with her late father-in-law at the time. “It’s hard not to think, why does my husband have to live without his dad? Why do my kids not ever get to know their Poppy? & then I remember the Plan of Salvation, to know we will see him again … and that gives me peace.”

The Utah native continued: “I know Kevin is getting our kids ready to come down to meet us — he’s probably spinning them around on the floor right now, over and over again until they cry of laughter! We know you’ll be there when we can’t see you or hold you — lift us up when we have moments of trouble and heartache. Our guardian angel. We love you Kev.”

The new mom announced the arrival of Kevin Leo on Monday, January 4, after having an “unexpected C-section” and 24-hour labor.

“We are all healthy and well,” she wrote alongside a photo of her and Carson’s hands holding their son’s fingers. “We are so grateful & we’ve been soaking up every moment with our perfect angel boy. Thank you for all the prayers!”

The professional dancer shared a video from the first 24 hours with the couple’s baby, including footage from the hospital and Carson holding Kevin Leo shortly after his birth.

Celebrity Couples Who Are High School Sweethearts

“Everyone tells you how special bringing life into this world is but you never know exactly what they mean until it happens to you. 😭,” she captioned the Instagram video on Tuesday, January 5. “This is my whole entire world.”

The new parents announced in July 2020 that they were expecting their first child together. The high school sweethearts, who started dating their senior year, tied the knot in January 2016, after a three-month engagement.

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Catelynn Lowell Reveals She Was Pregnant, But Lost the Baby in November

Heartbreaking news. Catelynn Lowell revealed that she found out was pregnant with her fourth child last month, but days later suffered a miscarriage.

Stars Who Are Honest About Their Fertility Struggles

The Teen Mom OG star, 28, announced the pregnancy and subsequent loss on Tuesday, December 8, via Instagram, sharing a photo of her pregnancy test and pics of her and husband Tyler Baltierra.

“I WAS Pregnant and excited to share it with all of you and I am heartbroken to reveal that I lost the baby,” she wrote. “I am sharing this to let you know you are not alone. We are all in this together and everyone experiences pain, loss, and the recovery from it.”

The MTV star noted that she is “still in the thick of dealing with this loss as it was recent and all the emotional trauma that follows such a loss in an already horrifically hard year.”

Lowell thanked her fans in advance for their “prayers, love, and support,” adding that she is also here for anyone going through a similar situation.

“I opened up about this only to help those who are experiencing the same thing to know that there’s someone else every day experiencing this,” she added. “This was painful to share… but again, you’re not alone. 🙏💔.”

Every Time Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra Clapped Back on Social Media

The 16 and Pregnant alum shares daughters Novalee, 5, and Vaeda, 21 months, with Baltierra, 28. The couple are also parents to daughter Carly, 11, whom they gave up for adoption in 2009.

Lowell revealed that she found out three days before Thanksgiving that the couple were expecting another child. “We were so excited,” she told Champion Daily on Tuesday, before explaining that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving day.

“I started bleeding,” the TV personality said, which is when she lost the baby. “I was overwhelmed by sadness and felt my emotions.”

The Conquering Chaos author added: “No matter what, I believe that when a woman sees a positive test you automatically start getting excited. All of that came crashing down.”

Lowell, who previously suffered a miscarriage in 2017, explained that she is in a better headspace this time around to deal with the pain. (The reality TV star previously went to in-patient treatment in November 2017 after having suicidal thoughts).

“I can tell that the mental health work I’ve done has had a huge impact because I wasn’t overcome by anxiety, but I was just sad,” she said. “It was super early but, like I said before, it still hurts and all the excitement goes out the window.”

Rainbow Babies: Stars Who Had Children After Miscarriages

The Couples Therapy alum concluded: “I know that when the time is right it will happen and everything in life has a plan and a destiny. Now we have two beautiful angels watching over us and our children.”

The reality star previously spoke to Us Weekly in October 2019 about her plans to expand her family.

“When we do decide to have another child, we are hoping for a boy,” she exclusively said at the time. “If we are meant to have all girls, then that’s just fine too!”

She shared her ideal timeline for another little one, saying “we are thinking of having another when Vaeda is about 1 or 2 years old.”

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Study reveals surprising benefit of clonal hematopoiesis in allogeneic transplants

Clonal hematopoiesis (CH) is a recently identified condition in which mutations associated with blood cancers are detected in the blood of some healthy, usually older, individuals who don’t have cancer. People with CH, while asymptomatic, have an elevated risk of developing blood cancers and other negative health outcomes, including heart attacks and strokes.

In a surprising twist, a study by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists has revealed for the first time that CH can—in the right context—confer a health benefit. That context is in the setting of allogeneic stem cell or bone marrow transplants. The researchers report today at the virtual 62nd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting that patients who received transplants from older donors with CH had a lower risk of relapse and longer survival compared with patients who got transplants from donors without CH.

“Because clonal hematopoiesis in the non-transplant setting is associated with adverse outcomes, we initially expected to see something similar in recipients of transplants from donors with CH,” said Dana-Farber’s Christopher Gibson, MD, who co-led the study with R. Coleman Lindsley, MD, Ph.D.. “However, we largely found the opposite: donor CH is actually associated with better survival in most transplant recipients due to a reduced risk of relapse from their underlying cancer.”

The term clonal hematopoiesis refers to a genetically distinct subpopulation, or clone, of blood cells that share a unique mutation. Its prevalence is low in younger people but is estimated to occur in 10-20% of the population over age 70.

The Dana-Farber scientists had previously shown that CH could be unknowingly passed from donor to recipient during transplantation. “The only way to detect CH is to perform genetic sequencing of blood, which is not a routine part of the workup for prospective transplant donors,” said Gibson. “We were the first to show that passing CH from donor to recipient can occur without causing a new leukemia to arise in donor cells, but our study was not powered to assess the impact on other outcomes. We’ve been working on the follow-up study ever since.”

They evaluated the impact of CH in donors aged 40 years or older on recipient clinical outcomes in 1,727 donor-recipient pairs. The investigators identified CH in 388 of the 1,727 donor samples. The most common mutations found in the donor samples were in the gene DNMT3A. Those mutations were specifically associated with the improved overall survival and reduced risk of relapse in transplant recipients. Other gene mutations found in the samples were not associated with the survival benefit.

“We are not yet sure why donor DNMT3A mutations reduce the risk of relapse, but our data suggest that they improve the immune activity of donor T cells, which are one of the most critical determinants of transplant efficacy,” said Gibson. This theory fits with data from the trial showing that transplant recipients who received the drug cyclophosphamide to prevent graft-versus-host disease did not benefit from transplants from CH donors. That was likely because cyclophosphamide eliminates donor T cells from the graft as a means of preventing chronic graft-versus-host disease. In all other patients, on balance, despite the higher risk of chronic graft-versus-host disease, the reduction in relapse outweighed that negative outcome and yielded better survival with the CH donors.

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Massive dataset reveals which governments have best responded to COVID-19 pandemic

Are our political institutions up for the task of managing the COVID-19 pandemic and any possible future similar threats? A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has compiled an extensive dataset tracking public health government responses to COVID-19 at national and subnational levels of government throughout the world.

The coronavirus pandemic provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the response of different types of government to a global crisis, according to Binghamton University Professor of Political Science Olga Shvetsova. Other types of catastrophic events, such as war and national disasters, affect select countries or regions and do not allow one to draw global comparisons.

“We are motivated by events to figure out what happened and is happening, and develop new understandings of how government works and politicians function and respond to crises,” Shvetsova said of the collaborative lab.

As the pandemic unfolded over the spring and summer, Shvetsova’s lab compiled a massive database comparing pandemic-related governmental policies in 64 countries on both the national and subnational levels, as part of the COVID-19 Protective Policy Index (PPI) project. The data runs from January through May 2020, and is publically available for researchers’ use, while data collection is underway for the period between May and November.

The lab began collecting data on March 12. Policies tracked by the database fall into multiple categories, including: international and domestic border closures, school closures, social gathering and social distance restrictions, lockdowns and curfews, medical isolation and quarantine, the restriction of nonessential businesses and services, states of emergency, and mandates requiring personal protective equipment.

In addition to political science professors and doctoral students with the department, the project has drawn colleagues from around the country and even around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Russia. Undergraduate students joined the effort, too, as research assistants. The lab is collaborative, with members pitching in on data collection, brainstorming, writing and responding to requests during the peer review process.

“Pandemic policy-making is a truly global experiment in how different types of government work. It is a check on how resilient we are, and what the constitutional sources of that resilience are,” Shvetsova said of the ongoing pandemic research.

The data has already sparked two papers, with more in the pipeline. “Institutional Origins of Protective COVID-19 Public Health Policy Responses” will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, and takes a global look at the advent of pandemic-related policies. Published in September by Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiques, “COVID-19 Policy Response and the Rise of the Sub-National Governments” compares the advent of policies in Canada and the United States, on both the federal and state/province levels.

The lab will continue to collect data on the pandemic for as long as it remains feasible. The team hopes to make another round of data, from May through July, available by the end of the year. Additional variables as well as more countries will also be added to the database.

Currently, the lab is writing and publishing work on incentives and disincentives for pandemic response in democracies, looking at the impact of governmental structure, political parties and the way governments are held accountable for the health of their populations. Other projects will likely emerge as data continues to accumulate.

Long-term, the coronavirus may offer a metric with which to judge the efficacy of different styles of government in responding to crisis. That would require reliable statistics that other disciplines are gathering: of the number of cases and deaths, along with strong mathematical epidemiological models of factors determining spread and mortality.

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