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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1171
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    UK to sequence 100,000 human genomes by 2017

    In one of the world's most ambitious scientific endeavour, Britain will sequence 100,000 whole genomes in the human body by 2017.

    It is estimated that one in 17 people are born with or develop a rare disease during their lifetime.

    At least 80% of rare diseases have an identified genetic component with 50% of new cases of rare diseases being identified in children.

    Genomics England, a company owned by the department of health will deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project.

    Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England said, "personalization of medicine is critical in the 21st century."

    "A decade and a half on from the Human Genome Project we're still in the early days of the clinical payoff. But as biology becomes an information science we're going to see the wholesale reclassification of disease aetiologies. As we're discovering with cancer what we once thought of as a single condition may be dozens of distinct conditions. So common diseases maybe extended families of rare diseases. That'll require much greater stratification in individualized diagnosis and treatment. From carpet-bombing to precision targeting. From one-size-fits many, to one-size-fits-one," he said.

    Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies said the new project "will let us make ground-breaking discoveries about how diseases work".


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  2. #1172
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Beat the heat: 6 ways to stay cool

    The heatwave sweeping the capital has led to a spurt in summer illnesses. City hospitals are flooded with patients seeking treatment for heat exhaustion, severe dehydration, unexplained fever and skin ailments such as boils and dermatitis. Doctors advise the general public to remain indoors during daytime and drink plenty of fluids.

    "We have not received any patient suffering from heat stroke yet but there has been a spurt in cases of heat exhaustion and cramps. Most of them are treated on OPD basis," Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine at Apollo Hospital, said. He said one should avoid strenuous work, including exercises, during the warmest part of the day. "Many heat emergencies are experienced by people exercising or working during the day such as sales executives," said another senior doctor. He said drinking plenty of water can help ward off many heat-related illnesses.

    One should also avoid sudden change in temperature. Doctors say the tendency of people walking straight out of airconditioned rooms and cars into the hot sunshine or gulping cold drinks to beat the heat is harmful.

    6 ways to beat the heat
    Avoid the sun, especially from 11am to 5pm.
    Drink 2.5 to 3.5 litres of water daily.
    Wear light and loose clothes that cover the body and a hat or cap to screen the sun's glare.
    Avoid a sudden change in temperature.
    Your daily diet should include, carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and cereals. Also include proteins like eggs, fish and dairy products and fatty foods such as green meat and beans.
    Avoid fried, fatty, sugary and baked foods, check the expiry date of food items and beverages and maintain hygiene and avoid streetfood.

    "The best way to identity the symptoms of the sun being harsh to you is looking out for weakness, a dry tongue or cramps in your legs. One should opt for the shade and have a lot of liquids," a doctor advised.



    Dr Anoop Misra, chairman, Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology (Fortis-C-DOC) at Fortis Hospital, said hot weather leads to decrease in blood pressure and change of medication is required in patients suffering from hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

    Sweltering heat can affect the skin, too, if precautions such as wearing of appropriate clothing and application of sunscreen are not taken. "Fungal allergies are also common during summer because of excessive sweating," said Dr Kabir Sardana, dermatologist at Lok Nayak Hospital. Cross-infection from swimming pools is another major problem. Doctors suggest that one should have a good bath after swimming to avoid them.

    Eating healthy is important to keep away water and food borne illnesses such as diarrhoea, typhoid and jaundice. "Drinks prepared by roadside vendors are often unhygienic. The ice used in them is made of unclean water. It is a serious health hazard and the main cause behind increasing numbers of typhoid and jaundice cases," Dr M P Sharma, head of the medicine and gastroenterology division at Rockland Hospital, said.


  3. #1173
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    80% Indians have skewed lipid level, 72% low good cholesterol

    Here is a reason why heart attacks kill every fifth Indian: More than three-quarters (79%) of Indians have skewed lipid levels. Any abnormality in the level of lipids — fatty acids that are essential for the working of every cell — can lead to thickening of arteries, and thereby lead to heart problems.

    This is a finding of the first phase of a 28-state study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on diabetes, dyslipidemia (abnormal lipid level), hypertension. Data from four regions — Maharashtra (West), Chandigarh (North), Jharkhand (East) and Tamil Nadu (South) — was analyzed to detect the incidence of dyslipidemia among Indians.

    Another finding is the low levels of the good cholesterol or HDL among Indians. Dr Shashank Joshi, lead author of the study published in PLOS One medical journal last week, said low HDL level was the most common lipid abnormality among Indians. "Almost 72% of Indians have low levels of HDL."

    The finding of the ICMR study that 72% Indians have low levels of the good cholesterol or HDL holds true across the country, be it in Mumbai, Chandigarh or Chennai.

    "The reason could well be genetic, but we cannot rule out environmental reasons," said one of the authors of the study, Chennai-based Dr V Mohan. The study's lead author is Dr Shashank Joshi, endocrinologist from Lilavati Hospital, Bandra.

    Indian diet is traditionally high on carbohydrates, which have been associated with high levels of fat or triglycerides. "When a person has high levels of triglycerides, he or she will have low levels of HDL. There is an inverse relationship between triglycerides and good cholesterol," added Dr Mohan. Almost 30% of Indians have high levels of triglycerides, according to the study.



    While the study found that living in an urban area was a risk factor for dyslipidemia, Maharashtra was a surprise. Dr Joshi said there was little or no difference in lipid levels between urban and rural populations in Maharashtra. In other words, the rural population that was supposed to be more physically active and therefore healthier, is no longer so.

    Dr Mohan said Maharashtra's "urban" results are an indicator of things to come for India. "India is rapidly urbanizing. The number of people with dyslipidemia is going to increase. While the trend of low good cholesterol levels and high bad cholesterol levels was known to doctors, we are now finding more people with high levels of total cholesterol. This was thought to be a Western phenomenon that wasn't seen in India," he added.


    There is no magic pill to increase the level of good cholesterol. While drug statins can control the level of bad cholesterol, exercise and diet control are the only hope to boost good cholesterol.

    Dr Nalini Shah, who heads the endocrinology department of KEM Hospital in Parel, said there is a need for better awareness about the ill-effects of the "extra dense calories we are tucking in" and the "complete sedentary lifestyle we need where all we move is a few buttons''.

    "We are seeing 12-year-olds with obesity, dyslipidemia and diabetes because we are not careful about the quantum or kind of food we lay on our tables,'' she added.


  4. #1174
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    Re: Health Bulletin




  5. #1175
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    Re: Health Bulletin




  6. #1176
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Probiotics prevent deadly complications of liver disease: Study

    Probiotics are effective in preventing hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis of the liver, according to a study by the Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, New Delhi.

    Hepatic encephalopathy is the deterioration of brain function — a serious complication of liver disease.

    The research shows that probiotics modify the gut microbiota to prevent hepatic encephalopathy.

    According to experts, the results offer a safe, well tolerated and a cheaper alternative to current treatments.

    The researchers at GB Pant conducted a single-centre, randomised trial with cirrhosis patients who showed risk factors for hepatic encephalopathy, but had yet to experience an obvious episode.

    When comparing treatment with probiotics versus placebo, the researchers found that the incidence of hepatic encephalopathy was lower in patients treated with probiotics.

    Probiotic supplementation was not associated with any side effects and none of the patients required discontinuation of therapy.

    "These results suggest that probiotics are similar in effectiveness to the current standard of care, lactulose, in the prevention of hepatic encephalopathy, yet they appear to be much better tolerated," researchers added.

    Up to 45 percent of patients with cirrhosis develop hepatic encephalopathy, a loss of brain function that occurs when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood.

    Prognosis is poor, with a 58 percent mortality rate at one year, and a 77 percent mortality rate at three years.

    "These results offer a safe, well tolerated and perhaps cheaper alternative to current treatments," said David W Victor III, who contributed an editorial in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology on this research.


  7. #1177
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Adults grow a taste for malt. And it ain’t single

    Remember a young Shahid Kapoor proclaiming 'I am a Complan boy' in advertisements in the 90s? Now, the Bollywood star could do a grown-up version of the same ad if the rising adult consumption of milk-based malt drinks is anything to go by. Research has shown that a substantial percentage of adults are guzzling health food drinks (HFD), typically meant for children up to 14 years of age, because of perceived health benefits. For some brands, adult consumption is as high as 50%.

    During interactions with consumers, Heinz India was surprised to find that close to half of the health drink consuming families do not have children in their homes. GSK Consumer Healthcare's executive vice president (marketing) Jayant Singh confirmed the trend, saying that adult consumption of Horlicks stood at 40%.

    Marketers are tweaking their strategies in keeping with these consumer insights. GSK Consumer Healthcare recently positioned a variant of Horlicks on the stress management platform, given that it is a major health problem affecting adults. Heinz India also decided to rebrand Complan in such a way that it appeals to both children and adults. "Our earlier positioning was on height which was relevant primarily for children," said V Mohan, director, corporate and legal affairs, Heinz India.

    Historically, milk and HFD consumption declined around 15-18 years of age when consumers entered college with coffee and tea emerging as strong substitutes to milk. "In the past, we have seen that at this stage only about 20%-30% adults continued to consume milk and malted food drinks. But recently, we noticed a big upswing among adults," said Prashant Peres, director, beverages, Mondelez India Foods, which makes Bournvita.

    Experts say this is because consumers are becoming more aware of nutritional benefits in products. Modelez India Foods, the erstwhile Cadbury India, observed that adults were re-adopting Bournvita because of claimed vitamin D benefits.

    Given the fact that approximately 70% of all office-goers today are potentially vitamin D deficient, Peres said Bournvita's positioning has found takers in this group. "The brand is seeing increased traction in the 20-30 age segment,'' said Peres.

    Marketers expect adult consumption to continue to rise even though overall growth in the Rs 5,000-crore HFD category has slowed down. "The fact that the demand for milk outstrips the supply bears out this trend,'' said Mohan.

    Horlicks, first introduced to India by returning Indian soldiers who had fought with the British Army in World War I, is the leader in the category with a value share of about 58%, followed by Bournvita and Complan which are both under 20%.


  8. #1178
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Deadly diseases overlooked for too long, scientists say

    Decades of neglect have allowed infectious diseases to devastate the lives of thousands of people in the developing world, a study reveals.

    Researchers say three diseases in particular - anthrax, brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis - have failed to receive the official recognition and funding needed to combat them effectively.

    All three impact greatly on human and animal health in developing nations, posing a major threat to safe and plentiful food supplies.

    The disorders - known as zoonotic diseases - are spread between animals and humans. They are common in societies where poverty is widespread, and where people rely on animals for their livelihood.

    Researchers at the University of Edinburgh reviewed every meeting of the World Health Organization's decision-making body since its formation in 1948.

    Their findings reveal that the diseases have been neglected because they mostly arise in developing countries. Scientists say the diseases have been eliminated or brought under control in more developed countries, as simple and effective controls are available.

    Poor healthcare infrastructure in affected countries can often mean that thousands of sufferers are left un-diagnosed. This presents huge challenges to health professionals, policy makers and researchers in their efforts to combat the diseases.

    Scientists say the adoption of a multidisciplinary 'One Health' approach - involving experts from a range of disciplines - could improve human and animal health and help to control the diseases.

    Findings from the study, funded by the European Commission, are published in the journal "PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases."

    Professor Sue Welburn, director of the University of Edinburgh's Global Health Academy, who led the study, said: "It is extraordinary that in the 21st century we are failing to manage brucellosis and the other neglected zoonotic diseases that impact so severely on rural communities in developing economies when, for many of these diseases, the tools to manage them are well developed."


  9. #1179
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    To rebuild your immune system, fast 8 days an year

    Here's news for those who hate fasting. Starving for just eight days a year can bolster your immune system like never before.

    Fasting encourages body to replace old and damaged cells - especially if the immune system has been damaged by aging or cancer treatment, researchers said.

    "When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged," explained Valter Longo, a longevity expert from the University of Southern California.

    During the study, the researchers found fasting for two to four days every six months forced the body into survival mode - using up stores of fat and sugar and breaking down old cells.

    The body sends a signal telling stem cells to regenerate and rebuild the entire system. "With a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate a new immune system," Longo noted. iansIn lab settings, fasting also reduced ill effects and death in mice exposed to chemotherapy drugs and boosted immunity in aging mice.

    "The results suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy," added Tanya Dorff, a co-author of the research published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.


  10. #1180
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Doctor who heals kids' burns get Avvaiyar award

    Dr K Mathangi Ramakrishnan, chairperson of Childs Trust Medical Research Foundation, was presented the Avvaiyar award by CM J Jayalalithaa on Monday.

    The award was conferred on Ramakrishnan for her outstanding contributions in the field of pediatric burn care and plastic and reconstruction surgery, said a government release.

    Three years ago, Dr Mathangi Ramakrishnan published 'Total management of the burned child,' a book that addresses the issue of coping with and caring for pediatric burns. The book has been a great resource for pediatricians in dealing with children who are victims of burns. She also played a key role in developing the burns unit at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital three decades ago.

    "Dr Mathangi is a pioneer in the field of burns treatment. Burns is a challenging field which very few people willingly undertake and she has specialized in it for 40 years.

    This award is a fitting tribute to her work," said Dr Bala Ramachandran, head of the department of intensive care and emergency medicine at Childs Trust Hospital.

    The annual award, constituted in 2012, honours a woman who has made extensive contributions in social reforms, women development, religious harmony, language, arts, science, culture, media and administration.

    Dr V Shantha, chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute, was the recipient of the award last year. The award carries a citation, a medallion and a cheque of 1 lakh.Chief secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkanth, state government advisor Sheela Balakrishnan, social welfare and nutritious meal programme secretary B M Basheer Ahmed participated.


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