29th Sep 2014, 01:54 PM #1441
Re: Health Bulletin
One in 10 school children overweight in NCR
One in every 10 school children in the National Capital Region (NCR) between 13 and 16 years of age is overweight and therefore at a risk of developing heart diseases, a survey said Sunday.
Conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), ahead of the World Heart Day Sep 29, the survey covered 3,000 children in 25 private and public schools.
"One in 10 school children is either overweight or obese which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by over 35 percent," it said.
"Such children are more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or suffer a heart attack," it said.
The survey blamed "drastic change in lifestyle and eating habits" behind the rise in lifestyle diseases especially among the children.
"The number of patients under the age of 40 have increased from 10 percent a decade ago to 35-40 percent today. Risk of developing heart diseases is highest (38 percent) in obese adults," said the survey.
It said children get around 30 percent of their daily calorie requirement in schools. So, parents need to check on what their kids eat while not at home.
"About 35 percent of the parents give Rs.40-100 to their children to buy food from school canteens and around 51 percent of the children spend Rs.30-50 on pastas and noodles," it said.
According to B.K. Rao, chairman of the Assocham health committee, children should be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
"Getting rid of packaged food is a good thing to do healthwise and environmentally. The unhealthy lifestyle can increase the risk of developing heart disease in children," Rao said.
29th Sep 2014, 01:54 PM #1442
Re: Health Bulletin
'Mantis shrimp-inspired' camera to detect cancer
Scientists have developed a new camera which can detect cancer and monitor the activity of exposed nerve cells.
According to scientists of University of Queensland in Australia, the blueprint is inspired by the biology and anatomy of the eyes of a mantis shrimp that uses light polarisation to detect and discriminate between objects.
Using miniscule polarizer's instead of the usual color filter arrays, these sophisticated digital cameras that can visualize brain activity see the polarisation of light rather than the color, making it possible for it to see previously unnoticeable things such as cancer tissue.
Professor Justin Marshall, of the University's Queensland Brain Institute, said that cancerous tissue reflects polarized light differently to healthy tissue and it is this difference that the mantis shrimp can identify.
The project is carried out in collaboration with scientists in the US and the UK, and has been funded by The Australian Research Council, US Air force Office of Scientific Research and the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development.
Marshall said this camera will shoot videos and provide immediate feedback on cancer detection. He says that we have sun-glasses that commonly use the light polarizing technology and this has long existed in the eyes of a mantis Shrimp.
This research could also be useful if adopted, in redesigning of Smartphone cameras that would allow people to inspect themselves for cancer and lighten the load for health systems like the NHS and it also is hoped that the camera will reduce the need for invasive health procedures like biopsies.
30th Sep 2014, 12:56 PM #1443
Re: Health Bulletin
Heart disease is affecting Indians early, US study says
In the Indian pool of heart patients, almost every second patient has high blood pressure, every fourth has diabetes and every fifth had plaque deposits in his/her arteries.
This scientific picture of Indian heart diseases, at a time when prime minister Narendra Modi tours the US, comes from the American College of Cardiology's newly set up study centres across India. ACC is a not-for-profit medical association that works out guidelines for cardiac treatment that are invariably followed across the world.
The ongoing study provided data of 85,295 patients who clocked 2.11 lakh visits to out-patient departments of 15 hospitals from Mumbai to Patna over the last 26 months. Of these patients — including patients from urban centres as well as rural areas - 60,836 were found to have heart disease.
"It is the most scientific capturing of all-India data," said Dr Prafulla Kerkar, the head of Parel's KEM Hospital's cardiology department. He is also the chairperson of ACC's Pinnacle registry's India Quality Improvement Programme.
In the backdrop of World Heart Day on Monday, the ACC data underlines that the average age of a heart patient in India is 52 years. "If one looks at ACC's American registry, the average age is much higher in the seventies. Clearly, Indians get hit earlier with the heart disease," said Dr Ganesh Kumar, cardiologist at Hiranandani Hospital in Powai and vice-chairperson of the study.
The ACC study, for the first time, shows how badly diabetes affects the Indian heart. It provides the breakup of the 13,077 patients with diabetes who visited the 15 centres a total of 35,441 times. "Here, we found a doubling of the diseases. For instance, 32% of the diabetic patients had narrowed arteries or coronary artery disease. Almost 10% of them had heart failure and 70% had hypertension. The corresponding numbers for non-diabetic patients are half," said Dr Kumar.
He said the actual number of diabetic patients with heart complications would run into millions. "The amount of time and money lost due to treatment would not only be high for a particular family, but it would translate into a huge economic burden for the country as well. In fact, this is what the US is going through today with the increasing number of heart failure patients." he added.
Heart failure and atrial fibrillations are two relatively new heart conditions that Indian doctors have begun tracking. "The ACC data provides an insight into the type of patients walking into our heart clinics," said Dr Kerkar. "If more centres across India are roped in to maintain data of heart disease, then we can understand the complete nature of our heart burden. We will be able to designed better heart policies," he added.
1st Oct 2014, 01:19 PM #1444
Re: Health Bulletin
An apple a day may keep obesity away
An apple a day could help to keep the doctor away, at least as far as obesity is concerned, according to a new study.
Scientists at Washington State University have found that non-digestible compounds in apples — specifically, Granny Smith apples — may help prevent disorders associated with obesity.
The study is thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest. "We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties," said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study's lead researcher.
"Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity," said Noratto. The tart green Granny Smith apples benefit the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon due to their high content of non-digestible compounds, including dietary fibre and polyphenols, and low content of available carbohydrates.
The discovery could help prevent disorders associated with obesity like low-grade, chronic inflammation that lead to diabetes.
1st Oct 2014, 01:33 PM #1445
Re: Health Bulletin
Cancer detection made simpler with 'virtual breast'
To help clinicians better interpret the results of a cancer detection test - ultrasound elastography, researchers have developed what they call a "virtual breast".
Like a simulator used to train fledgling surgeons, the virtual breast - a 3D, computer generated phantom - could let medical professionals practice ultrasound elastography in the safety of the laboratory.
As only a minority of suspicious mammograms actually lead to a cancer diagnosis, the researchers said ultrasound elastography can be used to pinpoint possible tumours throughout the body, including the breast.
"Ultrasound elastography could be an excellent screening tool for women who have suspicious mammograms, but only if the results are properly interpreted," the study said.
"It uses imaging to measure the stiffness of tissue and cancer tissues are stiff," said Jingfeng Jiang, a biomedical engineer at the Michigan Technological University, US.
While some of those images can be breathtakingly clear, others are not that precise.
"Depending on who does the reading, the accuracy can vary from 95 percent to 40 percent," Jiang added.
As practice could improve better interpretation the results, the researchers developed the virtual breast using data from the Visible Human Project, which gathered thousands of cross-sectional photos from a female cadaver.
It mimics the intricacy of the real thing, incorporating a variety of tissue types and anatomical structures, such as ligaments and milk ducts.
Clinicians can practice looking for cancer by applying virtual ultrasound elastography to the virtual breast and then evaluating the resulting images, the researchers stressed.
1st Oct 2014, 01:37 PM #1446
Re: Health Bulletin
Vitamin D does not prevent development of type 2 diabetes
A new study has revealed that there is no substantial proof that vitamin D helps in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes in people.
The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge, challenge evidence from earlier observational studies which suggested that higher concentrations of circulating vitamin D might prevent type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found no association between different gene variants that control vitamin D levels and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, the study also examined the link between vitamin D status and several physiological characteristics of type 2 diabetes, such as glucose and glycated haemoglobin, and also found no evidence of a causative link.
Dr Nita Forouhi, at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, said that observational studies that show a strong and consistent higher risk of type 2 diabetes with lower levels of vitamin D might do so because they have thus far not been able to adequately control for distorting or confounding factors, such as physical activity levels, that may be related both to vitamin D levels and to the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Further research are yet needed with both better clinical trials and better observational studies with more precise measurement of important factors that might affect vitamin D and disease relationships, she further added.
The study is published today in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.
2nd Oct 2014, 12:17 PM #1447
Re: Health Bulletin
Olive oil could reverse heart failure immediately: Scientists
Scientists have claimed that Olive oil could help reverse a patient's heart failure immediately.
Oleate - the fat found in the golden liquid - could help a diseased heart pump blood more effectively and use body fat as fuel, revealed researchers at the University of Illinois.
However, the study also found that animal fats, found in butter may make heart disease worse.
Scientists made their findings based on previous studies which show that a healthy heart absorbs fat to keep pumping, but if damaged the muscle can no longer process or store far - starving it of energy.
This means the heart is unable to work hard enough, and toxic fat deposits are left to clog up arteries.
Scientists believe that oleate helps the body produce enzymes which break down fat so the heart is once again able to absorb it.
Douglas Lewandowski of the University of Illinois in Chicago said : “These genes are often suppressed in failing hearts, so the fact that they can restore beneficial gene expression, as well as more balanced fat metabolism, plus reduce toxic fat, is just by supplying hearts with oleate is a very exciting finding.”
Sadly, there is no way or method to reverse heart disease at the moment, except a combination of medication and lifestyle changes that help patients manage their symptoms and keep their condition stable.
The study was published in the journal 'Circulation'.
2nd Oct 2014, 12:18 PM #1448
Re: Health Bulletin
Soon, peanut that won't cause allergic reaction
Scientists have successfully used pulses of ultraviolet light to remove 80 per cent of allergens from peanuts.
Researchers hope the technique can be used to eventually eliminate 99.9 per cent of peanut allergens.
Peanut allergens must be eliminated below a certain threshold for patients to be safe, said Wade Yang, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and member of University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
If Yang can cut the allergens from 150 milligrams of protein per peanut to below 1.5 milligrams, 95 per cent of those with peanut allergies would be safe.
It's challenging to eliminate all peanut allergens, Yang said, because doing so may risk destroying peanuts' texture, colour, flavour and nutrition.
But Yang said he is using novel methods like pulsed light to reach an allergen level that will protect most people.
Yang, however, cautioned that he has done peanut allergen experiments only in a laboratory setting so far.
He hopes to eventually conduct clinical trials on animals and humans.
In the study, Yang and his colleagues applied the pulsed ultraviolet light technology to whole peanuts.
That makes the findings more useful, because peanut processing usually starts from whole-peanut roasting, and roasted peanuts are then packaged to sell as whole peanuts or made into peanut butter, Yang said.
The researchers used a pulsating light system ? two lamps filled with xenon, two cooling blowers, one treatment chamber with a conveyor belt and a control module - to direct concentrated bursts of light to modify the peanut allergenic proteins.
That way, human antibodies can't recognise them as allergens and begin to release histamines.
Histamines create allergy symptoms such as itching, rashes and wheezing.
The pulsing light reduced the allergenic potential of the major peanut proteins Ara h1-h3, researchers said.
The study is published in the journal Food and Bioprocess Technology.
3rd Oct 2014, 02:19 PM #1449
Re: Health Bulletin
After over 30 years, exact location of HIV’s first appearance pinpointed by scientists
Over 30 years after it first emerged and has since infected over 75 million people, scientists have finally pinpointed from where exactly HIV emerged.
A genetic analysis of thousands of individual viruses has confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that HIV first emerged in Kinshasa, the capital of the Belgian Congo, in about 1920 from where it spread thanks to the colonial railway network to other parts of central Africa.
Scientists have nailed the origin of the Aids pandemic to a colonial-era city — then called Leopoldville which was then the biggest urban centre in Central Africa including a market in wild "bush meat" captured from the nearby forests.
A "perfect storm" of factors then led to the virus' spread in the human population.
UNAIDS estimates that 35 million people were living with HIV in the world at the end of 2013.
Scientists from University of Oxford said, "Thirty years after the discovery of HIV-1, the early transmission, dissemination and establishment of the virus in human populations remain unclear. Using statistical approaches applied to HIV-1 sequence data from central Africa, we show that from the 1920s Kinshasa (in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo) was the focus of early transmission and the source of pre-1960 pandemic viruses elsewhere. Location and dating estimates were validated using the earliest HIV-1 archival sample, also from Kinshasa. Our results reconstruct the early dynamics of HIV-1 and emphasize the role of social changes and transport networks in the establishment of this virus in human populations."
The breakthrough was possible due to a new, sophisticated analysis of hundreds of genetic sequences of HIV from different time points and locations.
The researchers also note that 13 documented cases exist of different simian viruses jumping from chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys into humans, but only one — known has HIV-1 group M — sparked a global epidemic. They show that group M and another strain, group O, expanded at the same rate until about 1960, but then group M nearly tripled its rate of spread. Possible reasons include public health campaigns that had contaminated needles and an increase in the number of clients of sex workers.
"For the first time we have analysed all the available evidence using the latest phylogeographic techniques, which enable us to statistically estimate where a virus comes from," said Professor Oliver Pybus of Oxford University. "This means we can say with a high degree of certainty where and when the HIV pandemic originated."
"Kinshasa at that time was growing fast, it was the biggest city in central Africa at that time and was very well connected to the rest of the Congo," said Nuno Faria of Oxford.
"Data from colonial archives tells us that by the end of the 1940s over one million people were travelling through Kinshasa on the railways each year. Our genetic data tells us that HIV very quickly spread across Congo, a country the size of Western Europe," Dr Faria said.
"Our research suggests that following the original animal-to-human transmission of the virus, probably through the hunting or handling of bush meat, there was only a small window during the Belgian colonial era for this particular strain of HIV to emerge and spread into a pandemic," Professor Pybus said.
"By the 1960s, transport systems such as the railways that enabled the virus to spread vast distances were less active, but by that time the seeds of the pandemic were already sown across Africa and beyond," he said.
3rd Oct 2014, 06:15 PM #1450
Re: Health Bulletin
Scientists create smart bandage that emits phosphorescent glow for healing
Scientists have created the first ever smart bandage that emits phosphorescent glow for healing below.
Inspired by wounded warriors, new paint-on, see-through bandage not only protects wounds and severe burns but enables direct measurement of tissue oxygenation.
Scientists from Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have created the world's first bandage that glows to indicate a wound's tissue oxygenation concentration.
Because oxygen plays a critical role in healing, mapping these levels in severe wounds and burns can help to significantly improve the success of surgeries to restore limbs and physical functions.
The bandage is applied by painting it onto the skin's surface as a viscous liquid, which dries to a solid thin film within a minute. Once the first layer has dried, a transparent barrier layer is then applied atop it to protect the film and slow the rate of oxygen exchange between the bandage and room air — making the bandage sensitive to the oxygen within tissue.
The final piece involves a camera-based readout device, which performs two functions: it provides a burst of excitation light that triggers the emission of the phosphors inside the bandage, and then it records the phosphors' emission.
"Information about tissue oxygenation is clinically relevant but is often inaccessible due to a lack of accurate or non-invasive measurements," explained lead author Zongxi Li, an HMS fellow.
Now, the smart bandage provides direct, non-invasive measurement of tissue oxygenation by combining three simple, compact and inexpensive components: a bright sensor molecule with a long phosphorescence lifetime and appropriate dynamic range; a bandage material compatible with the sensor molecule that conforms to the skin's surface to form an airtight seal and an imaging device capable of capturing the oxygen-dependent signals from the bandage with high signal-to-noise ratio.
How exactly does a smart bandage work?
The bandage's key ingredient is phosphors — molecules that absorb light and then emit it via a process known as phosphorescence. Phosphorescence is encountered by many on a daily basis—ranging from glow-in-the-dark dials on watches to t-shirt lettering. "How brightly our phosphorescent molecules emit light depends on how much oxygen is present," said Li. "As the concentration of oxygen is reduced, the phosphors glow both longer and more brightly". To make the bandage simple to interpret, the team also incorporated a green oxygen-insensitive reference dye, so that changes in tissue oxygenation are displayed as a green-to-red colour map.
Immediate applications for the oxygen-sensing bandage include monitoring patients with a risk of developing ischemic (restricted blood supply) conditions, post-operative monitoring of skin grafts or flaps, and burn-depth determination as a guide for surgical debridement — the removal of dead or damaged tissue from the body.
What's the next step for the bandage?
"We're developing brighter sensor molecules to improve the bandage's oxygen sensing efficiency," said Emmanuel Roussakis who is leading the sensor development effort. The team's laboratory research will also focus on expanding the sensing capability of the bandage to other treatment-related parameters — such as pH, bacterial load, oxidative states and specific disease markers — and incorporating an on-demand drug release capacity.