22nd Sep 2014, 02:22 PM #1421
Re: Health Bulletin
"பிறவி இருதயக் கோளாறுகளை கருவுற்ற 4-ஆவது மாதத்திலேயே கண்டுபிடிக்கலாம்'
பிறவி இருதயக் கோளாறுகளை நவீன கருவிகள் மூலம் குழந்தை கருவுற்ற 4-ஆவது மாதத்திலேயே கண்டுபிடிக்கலாம் என்று சென்னை ஃபோர்டிஸ் மலர் மருத்துவமனையின் இருதய நோய்த் துறை இயக்குநர் டாக்டர் கே.ஆர்.பாலகிருஷ்ணன் தெரிவித்தார்.
சென்னை ஃபோர்டிஸ் மலர் மருத்துவமனையில் பிறக்கும்போதே இருதய குறைபாடுள்ள 700 குழந்தைகளுக்கு அறுவை சிகிச்சை செய்ததை கொண்டாடும் நிகழ்ச்சி சென்னையில் சனிக்கிழமை நடைபெற்றது.
இந்த நிகழ்ச்சியை ஃபோர்டிஸ் மலர் மருத்துவமனையின் ஒத்துழைப்போடு ஐஸ்வர்யா அறக்கட்டளை கொண்டாடியது. இதில் அறுவை சிகிச்சை செய்து கொண்ட சுமார் 50-க்கும் மேற்பட்ட குழந்தைகள் கலந்து கொண்டனர். இந்த நிகழ்ச்சியில் டாக்டர் கே.ஆர்.பாலகிருஷ்ணன் பேசியது:
பிறவி இருதயக் கோளாறுகளை ஆரம்ப நிலையிலேயே கண்டறியப்படுமானால் முழுமையாக சரிசெய்ய முடியும். "எகோ கார்டியோகிராபி' போன்ற நவீன முறைகளின் மூலம் கருப்பையில் உள்ள குழந்தையின் இருதயத்திலுள்ள குறைபாடுகளை கருவுற்ற 4-ஆவது, 5-ஆவது மாதத்தில் கண்டுபிடித்து விட முடியும். குழந்தை பிறந்த 4,5 நாள்களிலும் இந்தக் குறைபாடுகளை கண்டறியலாம். இந்தக் குறைபாடுகளில் பலவற்றை மிகக் கவனமாக அணுகி சிகிச்சை அளிக்க வேண்டியது அவசியமாகும் என்றார்.
இதில் புதுச்சேரி மாநில மருத்துவ சேவைகள் துறை இயக்குநர் டாக்டர் கே.வி.ராமன், தமிழ் திரைப்பட நடிகர் ஜெய், "காக்னிசன்ட்' அறக்கட்டளையின் இயக்குநர் என்.ஆர்.கிருஷ்ணன், ஐஸ்வர்யா அறக்கட்டளையின் அறங்காவலர் சித்ரா விஸ்வநாதன் உள்ளிட்டோர் கலந்து கொண்டனர்.
22nd Sep 2014, 02:42 PM #1422
Re: Health Bulletin
Docs warn about need of flu vaccine for pregnant women
Doctors have warned that getting a flu shot should be a routine part of prenatal care and a new report has revealed that among those pregnant women whose health care provider offered them a flu shot had the highest vaccination rates.
Edward McCabe, MD, March of Dimes chief medical officer said that health care providers should offer their pregnant patients a flu shot each year and if they don't, then women should ask for it.
According to the report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant should receive a flu shot because the normal changes to a pregnant woman's immune system, heart and lungs put moms-to-be at increased risk of the harmful effects of flu infection.
The report also said that babies born to mothers who got their flu shot while pregnant were protected from serious illness from influenza during their first six months of life. They also had a lower risk of flu-related hospitalizations for chronic asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and other health-related problems.
The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age or older, including pregnant women, be vaccinated annually against the influenza virus.
22nd Sep 2014, 02:42 PM #1423
Re: Health Bulletin
Can menopause be erased in 20 years?
A pioneering scientist has claimed that menopause could be eliminated within 20 years.
Aubrey de Grey, a stem cell scientist, has claimed rapid progress in stem cell and regenerative therapies may mean the current limits on when women are able to conceive and give birth could vanish.
Arguing in The Times, Dr de Grey claimed there was no reason why anti-ageing treatments could not be extended to the female reproductive organs, meaning the menopause could be "turned on and off ".
Dr de Grey, co-founder and chief science officer of the SENS (Strate gies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Research Foundation, said of the time estimate for elimi nating the menopause: "We can definitely think in terms of 20 years from now.
"We could rejuvenate the ovary by stimulating or replenishing stem cells, we could create a whole new ovary through tissue engineering like an artificial heart, there are all manner of possibilities."
However, de Grey's optimism is not shared by some of his fellow scientists.
Robin Lovell-Badge from the National Institute for Medical Research in London, said to The Times that de Grey's ideas were "wildly over-ambitious".
Lovell-Badge said progress - in that area - had been "very slow" and that there has been no demon stration "with any robustness" that stem cells can be used to generate egg cells.
Despite this, de Grey's work has attracted significant funding from figures such as Facebook backer Peter Thiel.
The SEN Research Foundation, based in California, was launched in 2009 to research programmes for the application of regenerative medicine to aging. Its stated goal is to "transform the way the world researches and treats age-related disease", the paper said.
The doctor said that anti-ageing treatments can extend to the female reproductive life-span because the ovaries were `just another organ'.
23rd Sep 2014, 02:28 PM #1424
Re: Health Bulletin
Dry-roasted peanuts more likely trigger for allergy
Dry roasted peanuts are more likely to trigger an allergy to peanuts than raw peanuts, suggests an Oxford University study involving mice.
Specific chemical changes caused by the high temperatures of the dry roasting process are recognised by the body's immune system, "priming" the body to set off an allergic immune response the next time it sees any peanuts. In the latest study, researchers purified proteins from dry roasted peanuts and from raw peanuts.
They introduced the peanut proteins to mice in three different ways - injected under the skin, applied to broken skin and introduced directly into the stomach. The immune responses of the mice to further peanut extracts given later were measured.
The mice that had been initially exposed to dry roasted peanuts generated greatly increased immune responses to peanuts, compared to mice that had been exposed to raw peanut proteins. The types of immune responses seen are characteristic of allergic reactions.
Professor Quentin Sattentau, who led the research at the Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford, says "This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a potential trigger for peanut allergy has been directly shown.
Previous studies have shown that roasting modifies peanut proteins leading to altered recognition by the immune system, but they did not show that roasted peanuts can trigger an allergic immune response."
The results might explain the difference in the number of people with peanut allergies in the Western world compared to populations in East Asia, the researchers say. In the West, where roasted and dry-roasted peanuts are common, there are far more people with peanut allergies than in the East, where peanuts are more often eaten raw, boiled or fried.
Numbers of people with other food allergies show no such difference.
First author Dr Amin Moghaddam of Oxford University says "Our results in mice suggest that dry roasted peanuts may be more likely to lead to peanut allergy than raw peanuts: the dry roasting causes a chemical modification of peanut proteins that appears to activate the immune system against future exposure to peanuts. Allergies in people are driven by multiple factors including family genetic background and exposure to environmental triggers. In the case of peanut allergy, we think we may have discovered an environmental trigger in the way that peanuts are processed by high-temperature roasting."
Professor Sattentau says "We know that children in families with other allergies are more likely to develop peanut allergy. However our research is at an early stage and we think that it would be premature to avoid roasted peanuts and their products until further work has been carried out to confirm this result."
He adds "We think we have identified the chemical modifications involved in triggering an allergic response to peanuts, and are currently exploring methods that are food industry-friendly to eliminate these groups."
23rd Sep 2014, 02:28 PM #1425
Re: Health Bulletin
‘Gene editing’ to help kill superbugs
MIT engineers have developed a new gene-editing system that can selectively kill bacteria carrying harmful genes that confer antibiotic resistance or cause disease. "We've been interested in finding new ways to combat antibiotic resistance, and these papers offer two different strategies for doing that," said Timothy Lu, an associate professor at the MIT.
Most antibiotics work by interfering with crucial functions such as cell division or protein synthesis. However, some bacteria, including the formidable MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) organisms, have evolved to become virtually untreatable with existing drugs.
In the study, students Robert Citorik and Mark Mimee worked with Lu to target specific genes that allow bacteria to survive antibiotic treatment. The CRISPR genome-editing system presented the perfect strategy to go after those genes. CRISPR involves a set of proteins that bacteria use to defend themselves against bacteriophages.
23rd Sep 2014, 02:29 PM #1426
Re: Health Bulletin
Decoding the mystery of love molecules
Love is complicated and so are the chemicals behind it. Research has found that oxytocin, the so-called molecule of monogamy, can also be behind adultery.
Our body is a bewildering soup of chemicals, all doing different jobs. But it is in the brain that one finds some of the most remarkable chemicals. As our knowledge of the intricate structure and functioning of the brain has grown, the dramatic role of these neurochemicals in shaping our life has come to light.
Anandamide sounds like a complicated chemical name till you break it down: ananda (Sanskrit for happiness, bliss) and amide (a common chemical suffix). Made in certain brain cells, it reduces stress and induces a sense of calmness. This trippy chemical belongs to a group called endocannabinoids which act in the same way as cannabis (marijuana).
Scientists have identified a clutch of such chemicals made in the body for inducing positive feelings like pleasure, happiness, appetite, good sleep, social trust, romantic feelings and sexual arousal. Many of them evolved in simple organisms millions of years ago but in the complex hierarchy of the human body they now occupy premium slots. They all play a variety of roles, some crucial, and some mundane. All of them come into play in spurts, and then fade away, to be released again when needed.
The most basic of emotions are triggered by combinations of these chemicals, says Jak Panksepp, professor at George Washington University and one of the world's leading researchers on such chemicals.
"There are at least seven evolutionarily dedicated emotional systems in the brain, with complex anatomies and neurochemistries." he told TOI.
These are Seeking, Rage, Fear, Lust, Care, PanicGrief and Play. Other 'higher' emotions are based on these, influenced by individual life trajectories and learning, Panksepp said.
One important molecule is oxytocin, which was known for over a century as a trigger for child birth and lactation. Only in the mid-1990s was it found to induce the maternal feeling of caring. In fact, it induces a general "tend and befriend" feeling, a social emotion. It increases generosity, sharing, cooperation and trust. Hugging, cuddling or even shaking hands can induce a surge in oxytocin.
Serotonin is produced in the brain as well as in the intestines. In the brain, it helps in uplifting mood, increases appetite and induces sleep.
Studies show that it also has a role in learning and memory. In the intestines, it helps in keeping the food moving along the system and taking defensive action like vomiting if infections or poisons are encountered.
Dopamine, often called the reward molecule, encourages us to seek gratification. We know that food or sex gives pleasure, and so, on a cue, dopamine triggers off the desire as well as the action towards seeking them. There is some dispute about this: some studies show that it can be cause of pain too.
So, some believe that it is a motivator rather than reward getter.
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is one of the most important inhibitory neurochemicals in the body. Its role is to calm down, relieve stress and anxiety and induce a feeling of well-being.
All these important chemicals often work in an interconnected way. For example, endorphins are known to reduce pain. They do so by inhibiting the release of GABA, resulting in excess production of dopamine, which in turn induces the sense of pleasure.
Research on these neurochemicals is a work in progress and new, sometimes bizarre findings are emerging. For example, Andrew Kemp of Sydney University found that oxytocin also induces envy and gloating. Oxytocin, according to Kemp, encourages 'approach' or "I want" feeling, which would lead to envy ("I want what you have").
What would happen if for some reason oxytocin levels remain low in a person? The person would not bond with other people, perhaps, not even with family or friends. This could take a socially unacceptable turn producing a sexually promiscuous man. Dopamine and testosterone would drive him to seek relationships, but deficiency of oxytocin would result in an inability to bond. Thus, the man would become a 'philanderer' - a socially unacceptable category. He would seek repeated sexual adventures without responsibility or commitment.
Paradoxically, low oxytocin can also result in detachment from other people and worldly things. Nurtured by a spiritual or philosophical background, this detachment can give rise to a state of unencumbered bliss. Feeling free of the relationships to family, relatives, society and the material world, the person would see all this as illusory or transient. He would seek truth beyond this world, like a philosopher-sage.
While Western researchers have been celebrating and popularizing the contribution of these neurochemicals to pleasure and well-being, there is little research on effects that are not based on material reality. For instance, what about the ecstasy or love felt by some people for divinity or 'truth'? There is no touch, no vision, and no sense-organ is involved. Yet somebody might feel like Mirabai did for Krishna. Remember this line from one of her bhakti poems: "Unbreakable, O Lord, Is the love, that binds me to YouLike a diamond, It breaks the hammer that strikes it." Perhaps, higher cognitive functions of the brain can redefine 'pleasure' and 'well-being' and then these ancient messengers would be serving these new goals.
23rd Sep 2014, 02:29 PM #1427
Re: Health Bulletin
Emotion? Confidence can actually be measured
Confidence may actually be a measurable activity in the brain, not just an emotion or a feeling, scientists have found in experiments with rats.
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in the US have identified a brain region in rats whose function is required for the animals to express confidence in their decisions.
The team, led by CSHL associate professor Adam Kepecs, devised a method to study decision making in rats.
The rats were offered an odour that they were trained to associate with one of two doors. When they chose the correct door, they were rewarded. This part was easy for the animals: their selections were almost always correct.
Kepecs and his team then offered a mixture of the two scents, with one dominating over the other by only a very small percentage. The rats now needed to choose the door representing the dominant odour in order to get their reward — a choice that reflects their best guess.
Researchers said confidence can be measured simply by challenging a rat to wait for the reward to be revealed behind the door. The time they are willing to wait serves as a measure of the confidence in their original decision. "We found that the rats are willing to 'gamble' with their time," Kepecs said, sometimes waiting as much as 15 seconds, which is an eternity for these animals.
"This is something that we can measure and create mathematical models to explain. The time rats are willing to wait predicts the likelihood of correct decisions and provides an objective measure to track the feeling of confidence," said Kepecs. The researchers hypothesised that a distinct region of the brain might control confidence.
24th Sep 2014, 02:02 PM #1428
Re: Health Bulletin
Sports drinks sponsorships mislead public into health effects
Scientists have revealed that sporting events should ditch nutritional supplements and sports drinks sponsorship, as such sponsorship could mislead the public into thinking these products work well and/or are good for health.
According to study by Simon Outram and Bob Stewart of the Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Active Living, in Melbourne, Australia, nutritional supplements and rehydration drinks don't compare with the unhealthiness of fast food, tobacco, or alcohol, all of which have been associated with major sporting events.
The study states that the very fact that these products are marketed as beneficial or essential for sporting prowess and/or general health, when the evidence has so far failed to substantiate these claims or justify their cost, is likely to make it harder for the public to judge the value of these products objectively.
The researchers said that the successful sponsorship campaigns remove or minimise any scepticism about the product (a common reaction to advertising) and a form of seamless or hidden product association is created whereby such products come to be seen as integral to sport-the sports supplement or sports drink.
The study found that it is for good reason that nutritional supplement and sports drinks companies invest heavily in sports sponsorship and such sponsorship -together with associated product endorsements and advertising-conveys the message that their products are integral to sporting engagement and achievement.
24th Sep 2014, 02:19 PM #1429
Re: Health Bulletin
A blood test to detect psychosis
Offering a ray of hope for people who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis, a blood test may help identify if they are at the risk of developing serious brain disorders later in life.
Psychosis includes hallucinations or delusions that lead to the development of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
The blood test when used in psychiatric patients experiencing symptoms, which were considered to be indicators of psychosis, identified those who later went on to develop psychosis, the findings showed.
"The blood test included a selection of 15 measures of immune and hormonal system imbalances as well as evidence of oxidative stress," said corresponding author of the study Diana Perkins, professor of psychiatry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"These results provide evidence regarding the fundamental nature of schizophrenia, and point towards novel pathways that could be targets for preventative interventions," Perkins added.
Schizophrenia emerges in late adolescence and early adulthood and affects about one in every 100 people.
In severe cases, the impact on a young person can be devastating, and the burden on family members can be almost as severe.
"Modern, computer-based methods can readily discover seemingly clear patterns from nonsensical data," co-author of the study Clark Jeffries from Renaissance Computing Institute in the US said.
"Scientific results from studies of complex disorders like schizophrenia can be confounded by many hidden dependencies. Thus, stringent testing is necessary to build a useful classifier. We did that," Jeffries emphasised.
The multiplex blood assay, if independently replicated and if integrated with studies of other classes of biomarkers, has the potential to be of high value in the clinical setting, the study concluded.
The findings were published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin
25th Sep 2014, 04:33 PM #1430
Re: Health Bulletin
India's healthcare in dismal condition: Report
India ranks the lowest in the world on several health indicators and a large part of the country's population has little or no access to good quality healthcare, according to a report released here Wednesday.
The health crisis is aggravated by a rising incidence of chronic and non-infectious diseases, the India Infrastructure Report 2013-14: The Road to Universal Health Coverage, released here said.
The report was released by Rajiv Lall, executive chairman, IDFC, a leading finance company.
The report said that the public health system is in jeopardy, due to decades of appallingly low public investments, inadequate and antiquated infrastructure, severe shortage of human resources and inadequacies in government policies.
"Failed public health systems have forced people to turn to the private sector, which is costly and unregulated, with services often being provided by unqualified medical practitioners," it said.
It goes on to say that preventive and primary healthcare have been marginalized with the focus having shifted to curative tertiary care, higher importance of clinical medicine, and extremely high dependence on clinical investigations.
"Health expenditures can be prohibitively high with the rural population and the urban poor being the worst sufferers," the report by IDFC said.
The report draws the readers' attention to some of the emerging issues in the health sector such as rising burden of non-communicable diseases and mental health, human resource crisis in health sector and health concerns of informal sector workers, and steps required to attend to them within the Universal Healthcare Framework.