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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1011
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Anti-diabetes efforts lead to cut in health risks

    Federal researchers on Wednesday reported the first broad national picture of progress against some of the most devastating complications of diabetes, which affects millions of Americans, finding that rates of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations fell sharply over the past two decades. The biggest declines were in the rates of heart attacks and deaths from high blood sugar, which dropped by more than 60% from 1990 to 2010, the period studied.

    While researchers had had patchy indications that outcomes were improving for diabetic patients in recent years, the study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, documents startling gains.

    "This is the first really credible, reliable data that demonstrates that all of the efforts at reducing risk have paid off," said Dr David M Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was not involved in the study. "Given that diabetes is the chronic epidemic of this millennium, this is a very important finding."

    The number of Americans with diabetes more than tripled over the period of the study and is now nearly 26 million. Nearly all the increase came from Type 2 diabetes, which is often related to obesity and is the more common form of the disease. An additional 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes, which means they are at high risk of developing the disease.

    Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who wrote the study, estimate that diabetes and its complications account for about $176 billion in medical costs every year. The study measured outcomes for both Type 1 and Type 2.

    Experts said the declines were the fruit of years of efforts to improve the health of patients with Type 2 diabetes. Doctors are much better now at controlling the risk factors that can lead to complications — for example, using medications to control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure — health experts said. What is more, a widespread push to educate patients has improved how they look after themselves. And a major effort among health care providers to track the progress of diabetes patients and help steer the ones who are getting off track has started to have an effect.


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  2. #1012
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Bullying affects health and wealth even after 40 years

    The negative impact of childhood bullying has now been found to impact people well beyond their teens. It is even evident nearly 40 years later, according to a new King's College London research.

    The study published on Friday tracked 7,771 children whose parents provided information on their exposure to bullying when they were aged 7 and 11. The children were then followed up until the age of 50. "Our study shows that the effects of bullying are still visible nearly four decades later. The impact is persistent and pervasive , with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood,'' said Ryu Takizawa, lead author of the study.

    Just over a quarter of children in the study (28%) had been bullied occasionally , and 15% bullied frequently — similar to rates in the UK today. Louise Arseneault from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College said, "We need to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing-up . We must be aware that what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions for children.''

    At 50, individuals bullied as children were at an increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. They were likely to have lower educational levels and also more likely to be unemployed and earning less.


  3. #1013
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    How the elderly benefit from the Internet

    A new research that followed the lives of thousands of retired older Americans for six years, found that Internet use among the elderly can reduce the chances of depression by more than 30 per cent.

    "That's a very strong effect. And it all has to do with older persons being able to communicate, to stay in contact with their social networks, and just not feel lonely," Shelia Cotten, a Michigan State University professor of telecommunication, information studies and media who led the project said.

    Cotten and her colleagues analyzed the data collected by the Health and Retirement Survey, a survey collecting information from more than 22,000 older Americans every two years. This particular sample included more than 3,000 respondents.

    "This is one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of its kind," Cotten said.

    Other smaller studies have been inconclusive about the role Internet use and technology, in general, play in helping people overcome depression.

    One way in which this study was different is it took into consideration the subjects' depression levels before they began using the Internet. The researchers wanted to know if past depression affected current depression.

    What they found is yes, some people did remain depressed despite Internet use, although it wasn't substantial.

    "Internet use continues to reduce depression, even when controlling for that prior depressive state," Cotten said.

    The researchers also confirmed what was found in other studies that for older people who live alone, Internet use had a greater impact on their levels of depression.

    "This study makes significant contributions to the study of Internet use and depression in the older, retired population," Cotten said.

    She said it all comes down to how you choose to use your technology. As with most things in life, moderation is best.

    This research is published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

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  4. #1014
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hi Viji
    It is very true.
    Internet makes you feel you are active in one or the other way.
    So no time to feel sobre or worry about loneliness.
    Prema barani

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    Prema Barani

  5. #1015
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hi prema,
    good morning.
    Thanks for the feed back
    wonderful sunday time for you and your family


  6. #1016
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    More talktime cuts sperm count

    Prolonged use of mobile phones can lead to low sperm count, according to World Health Organization (WHO) expert Daniel Franken. Daniel's research points out that mobile phone radiation may diminish male fertility but effects of this radiation on human spermatozoa are largely unknown.

    Franken was in the city on Saturday to promote short-term training on the latest guidelines about minimum sperm count required for reproduction and the scales of measurement for the quality of male reproductive cells. Daylong session, a part of the national seminar on In-vitro fertilization (IVF), was held at Bansal Hospital.

    Franken said his research was on older generation 900 MHz mobile devices and sperm motility was determined by computer assisted sperm analysis (CASA). "Ability of sperm to move properly towards an egg is reduced owing to prolonged use of mobile, say about six hours a day or more," said Franken.

    Franken, a member of WHO task force on semen analysis procedures, however, said that new analysis shows that even males with a sperm count as low as just 4% become a parent. Most hospital lab reports continue to follow impression-based analysis, which is subjective and not accurate. WHO's latest guideline on semen analysis is more evidence-based and reflects the fertility potential of males more accurately.

    "It states that minimum sperm concentration required for reproduction is 15 million sperm per ml," said reproductive medicine specialist and HoD Reproductive Medicine Unit, Dr Priya Chittawar.

    She said that various studies have indicated that prolonged use of phones, laptop, smoking, stress can lead to drop in fertility.

    "Testes work best at temperatures slightly less than core body temperature. These devices affect fertility by increase in scrotum temperature," said Dr Chittawar.


  7. #1017
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Does a brain workout work?

    Do brain training apps really sharpen those grey cells? Yes, say avid gamers but neuroscientists are not so sure.
    Every evening, once he is back from college and his part-time job, Harit Rathi, 20, can be found bent over his iPhone. He keenly identifies a quick succession of numbers and bird images that flash past on the screen for a millisecond, matches increasingly complex tile patterns, hooting at every hit.

    His latest obsession is Lumosity, one of the hottest brain training apps that have taken the world by storm. It promises to improve memory, attention span and problem-solving skills through a series of games.

    Often rated the No. 1 Apple education app, Lumosity which is promoted with the slogan 'Your brain, just brighter' has drawn over 60 million users and seen 25 million downloads worldwide. "I am usually hooked to a different game every week but Lumosity has been a constant favourite for eight months now," says Rathi, a BBA student at Christ University, Bangalore, whose game score has been steadily rising. But does this mean his brain is indeed becoming sharper - that he will never lose his car keys or do better in his next exam?

    Science isn't sure. A series of recent studies has thrown up conflicting results . Researchers at University of Michigan saw improvements in the memory of participants who played as little as four hours of a brain game. A large randomized, controlled trial with healthy older adults found that the gains in reasoning and speed in processing information that come from brain training lasted for 10 years. But a meta- analysis of 23 of the best studies on brain training has found that the apps have little utility. Led by the University of Oslo, the research has concluded that brain games help one get better - but only at the games, not in the real world. Aficionados like Rathi disagree. "My attention span has improved drastically. I used to doze off 10 minutes into a lecture. But I can now stay focused for even 40 minutes," he says.

    Bangalore-based author and columnist Shoba Narayan, an admittedly "forgetful sort" , finds an "80%" improvement in her memory. "Now I don't have to hunt for my cellphone or keys before leaving home. I can easily remember where they are," says Narayan, who has downloaded up to 23 brain training apps on her i-devices including Lumosity, Fit Brains and Clockwork Brain.

    Brain training is based on the emerging science of neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain's life-long ability to restructure itself and reshape neural connections. These games were initially devised to stave off mental decline among the ageing. Researchers have discovered that one can train the brain by challenging it and stimulating its various areas - the hippocampus, for example, is targeted to improve memory.

    Narayan finds IQ Boost, based on the Dual N Back system, particularly useful for memory enhancement. "I played the game for 15 minutes daily over three months and it worked. I could easily retrace my steps and find things I had misplaced," she says. Neuroscientists however point out that one can achieve similar results by performing any challenging task - learning a new language, reading a fast-paced book or even playing video games. Emory University recently conducted MRI scans on students who read the page-turner Pompeii, about 30 pages a day for nine days, and found their brains had heightened neural connectivity. A 2013 study by the University of Western Ontario found that those who were regularly brain-trained fared no better than others in any kind of intelligence test. In fact, the group that regularly played video games did better in short-term memory and reasoning.

    When she is not playing brain games, Narayan sits in a lotus position and chants. "Chanting is a memory plus plus app," says Narayan. "It improves memory and also de-stresses."


  8. #1018
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    3D mirror shows what lies under your skin

    Researchers have developed a "digital mirror" that recreates what your body might look like on the inside.

    For the mirror to work, an individual undergoes a PET scan, X-ray and MRI scan to capture high-resolution images of their bones and organs.

    When the person steps in front of the mirror, a Microsoft Kinect's motion-capture camera tracks the movement of two dozen different joints, including the knees, elbows and wrists.

    The medical images can be animated with the help of graphical processing units so users can see their body inside out in real time, 'New Scientist' reported.

    Researcher Xavier Maitre, a medical imaging researcher at the University of Paris-South, and colleagues built the digital mirror to explore philosophical questions about how we relate to our body.

    In an experiment, they left 30 participants alone with the mirror for several minutes to gauge their reactions.

    In this instance, people were shown pre-recorded data of other individuals of the same sex. The team found that about one-third of people were uncomfortable in front of the mirror and reluctant to let others see.

    In the future, researchers said doctors could use a similar system to help people explore a particular part of their body or prepare for an upcoming operation.

    Other researchers are already exploring how augmented reality can help medicine.

    Mirracle, another kind of "mirror" developed at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, projects slices of medical imagery directly onto a person's body.

    Another project — recently featured at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago — can animate MRI data on the computer screen, pinpointing parts of the body that might cause trouble in the future.

    Maitre and his collaborators want to make the illusion created by the mirror even more life-like by programming the heart to beat and the lungs to move.


  9. #1019
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Over 5 lakh cases of heart failure recorded every year: Cardiologists

    Over half a million cases of heart failure are being diagnosed ever year and it is expected to increase, leading cardiologists said at a two-day conference on advances in treatment for heart patients.

    About 500 doctors from India and abroad attended the meet, organised jointly by Yashoda hospital and the Heart Failure Society of India. Doctors said 75% of heart failure patients show signs of hypertension or coronary artery disease and in 60-70% of cases, the patients are dead within 5 years as they don't take adequate precautions.

    "Some simple but essential tips can help. Restriction of salt and fluids, adequate exercises, healthy diet, good sleep and controlling one's weight are some ways," said Dr T Sashikanth, senior


  10. #1020
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Bitten by dog? Go to a doctor right away,say experts

    Statistics from the corporation that show 26 people have died of rabies in Chennai since 2011 does not surprise doctors unduly. They know that the civic body has been underreporting cases of the disease and say they hope officials will finally take corrective action, now that the facts have been made public.

    But health experts say more awareness can reduce cases of rabies. In stead of taking a dog bite lightly, people should ensure they consult a doctor and receive treatment.

    "Most rabies victims die because they seek treatment only after the infection has spread in the body," a doctor says. "Others opt for traditional remedies or faith-healing, which in most instances do not work."

    Most recently, in February, a Madras Christian College postgraduate student died of rabies after he was bitten by a rabid pup on the college campus.

    Experts say most victims ignore the consequences of stray dog bites. Former director of public health Dr S Elango says there are several myths about dog bites, vaccines and homemade remedies are still commonly used.

    "Many people hesitate to ask for treatment and rely on unscientific methods to heal after a dog bite," he says. "A majority ignores pet dog bites because they think only a stray dog can be rabid, which is not the case."

    Elango says government hospitals offer free vaccines for dog bites, but patients often fail to complete the full five-course vaccination treatment.

    The period from infection to the onset of symptoms - the rabies incubation period - can vary widely, from a few days to several years. Early symptoms include fever, headache, general tiredness and pain at the site of the bite. As the disease progresses, neurological symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, confusion, hyper salivation, difficulty in swallowing and hydrophobia set in.

    Elango says that normal incubation period is from one to three months. "During incubation period, the rabies virus multiplies in the body. It sometimes takes in between two and six months for the symptoms to manifest if the bite is not on the face," he says, adding that people should consult a doctor within 24 hours of being bitten by a dog.

    Health experts say children often hide dog bites from their parents, making them vulnerable to the disease because they are not treated.

    "A person should immediately wash the wound area, scratches and adjoining areas with soap and water to reduce the chances of developing rabies," Elango says.


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