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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1561
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    A new drug to treat a common liver disease

    An experimental drug aimed at treating a common liver disease came up with promising results at a clinical trial in the US.

    People with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) who took obeticholic acid (OCA) had improved liver health during that period, including decreased inflammation and fat in the liver and decreased body weight versus people receiving a placebo, the findings of FLINT, or the Farnesoid X Receptor Ligand Obeticholic Acid in NASH treatment trial, showed.

    "The FLINT trial represents an important advance in the search for treatments for NASH. The causes of NASH are not fully understood, and causes and treatments may be different among patients," said Brent Neuschwander-Tetri, professor at the St. Louis University in the US.

    The major feature of NASH is fat in the liver, along with inflammation and damage.

    Over time, these may lead to loss of liver function, the need for liver transplant and death.

    "Although obeticholic acid did not eliminate liver disease in FLINT participants, it demonstrated a promising effect. Larger studies will be required to determine the drug's safety and efficacy," said Averell Sherker from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

    For the study, 283 people were enrolled at eight centres across the country.

    At the start of the study, participants were 18 and older and had been diagnosed with definite or borderline NASH.

    They were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one took 25 milligrams of OCA daily and one received a placebo that resembled the OCA pill.

    However, OCA was also associated with increases in itching and total cholesterol.

    The findings were published online in The Lancet.


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  2. #1562
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    AIIMS decides to let patients book bed online

    In a few months from now, you can book online a bed in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), just like you make reservations for a train or buy your movie ticket on the internet. While the institute has already gone online for fixing appointments for its out patient department (OPD), AIIMS is now working on a final module to allow bed allotment through the system.

    The idea is to bring in transparency as bed allotment in AIIMS continues to be a lottery with 1,766 beds and over 40 lakh patients per year.

    While beds will still be allotted on doctor's advice, the online system will help patients track the status when on waiting list. The information technology department at AIIMS is also trying to streamline mechanisms in order to identify patients who would need urgent medical attention. In such cases, the system may automatically expedite the process following the doctor's consent.

    "It will be a very bold step, which requires involvement from all stakeholders, departments and a strong political will. We have already given final touches to the software module and plan to kick start pilot projects in around next three months," said Dr Deepak Aggarwal, chairman- computerization, AIIMS.



    According to Dr Aggarwal, pilot projects will be conducted for neurosurgery and cardiac, where the waiting lists are very long. Gradually, all departments will be included. AIIMS has already started issuing unique health identification (UHID) number that enables individuals to seek an appointment with their doctor through the institute's patient portal. At present, a patient is required to visit the hospital for the first time to get registered and obtain the UHID. However, the department plans to make the complete system online by December which will enable a patient with PAN or Aadhar card to log into the system and get a UHID directly. The move is also aimed at reducing the crowd at AIIMS and streamlining other processes through online intervention. The online system has been made mandatory from September 1 for patients willing to see a doctor in OPD.

    AIIMS has also roped in Helpage India to assist elderly and children get a priority for OPD appointments online as well as for beds if required.

    While the online system for OPD is currently functional for AIIMS Delhi, it may also be replicated for six other AIIMS in different states by middle of 2015, Dr Aggarwal said.


  3. #1563
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Your ancestry is built into your skull: Study

    If an unidentified skull has a long upper face, large eye sockets, broad nose and a narrow foramen magnum- a hole at the base of the skull through which nerves connect to the brain -the skull is very likely that of a Gujarati.

    This is one of the conclusions of several ongoing research projects at Gujarat University on which a team of young researchers is working. The researchers, who are working in the highly specialized field of 'forensic anthropology', are building a database of facial and skull characteristics that distinguish a Gujarati from the rest of the population. As most Gujaratis are cremated after death, the research team is using CT scan images of patients faces to prepare the database. The researchers have already published two papers on the subject and others are in the pipeline.

    Mitalee Mehta, a doctoral student, has published a paper titled, 'CT scan images to determine the origin from craniofacial indices for Gujarati population', in the 'Journal of Forensic Radiology and Imaging'. The study has used the CT scan images of VS Hospital patients aged between 21 and 40 years, to arrive at the defining characteristics of the Gujarati population.

    "Out of the subjects under study for craniofacial indices, 64% show long faces, 53% long upper faces, 78% have larger orbit (eye sockets), 38% show broad nose and 44% have narrow foramen magnum," said Mehta.

    The researchers said that 'craniofacial morphology' - structure of face and skull - is considered the most reliable indicator of ancestry. They further said that this is the first time that a CT scan database has been prepared in Gujarat and that this can also work as a reference point for further studies.

    Mehta said that the images studies show significant variation compared to studies conducted (on similar parameters) on populations of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and several states of South India. "Hence, the said characteristics can surely help in establishing the ancestry of an unidentified person. We have ensured that the persons being studied have Gujarati ancestry. These craniofacial features have developed over centuries because of environment, eating habits, living conditions and cultural phenomena," she said.

    The problems faced in establishing the identity of people who have been dead for some time became apparent during the havoc caused by flash floods in Uttarakhand last year. There were many Gujarati pilgrims among the dead. It was a major challenge for investigators to establish the identity of unclaimed bodies.

    Methods such as DNA analysis are available for establishing the identity of the deceased but they require time and money, said the researchers. In such a situation, forensic anthropology, which determines the physical features characteristic of a particular population, is very useful in establishing the ancestry of the deceased.

    BOX

    Climate shapes the nose

    The researchers working on the forensic anthropology projects in GU said that the nose is a very distinct part of the human body. Anthropological studies suggest that climatically-influenced selection acts to increase the efficiency of the nose in both warming and moistening of inhaled air. Hence, in colder and drier climates, the length of the nasal passage is greater while its base is narrower. This increases the surface area and the period of time over which inhaled air is warmed and moistened. In the warmer regions of India e.g. South Indian, people have very broad noses. In North India, on the other hand, where the temperature is moderate to high, people have medium to broad shaped noses. People of Gujarat are Mesorhinae (having broad nose), the researchers said.

    BOX

    Useful database

    Another study at the department of forensic sciences by Twisha Shah focuses on the skeletal structure of the patients at various hospitals in the state. The study has tried to determine various physiological traits of the state's population. Prof Shobhana K Menon, head of the department of forensic sciences, said that their attempt is to create a definitive forensic anthropology database of the Gujarati population. "We have undertaken several studies that strive to connect the research with real-life problems and also provide a theoretical base that can help future students. Given the rapidly changing lifestyle and genetic fingerprint, we believe that these studies would serve as a reference point," Prof Menon said.


  4. #1564
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sex will be just for fun by 2050 as we all switch to IVF, Pill inventor claims

    One of the developers of the contraceptive pill has predicted his own invention will become redundant as more people choose to be sterilized, making sex purely recreational by 2050.

    In an interview with the Telegraph, Professor Carl Djerassi said increasing numbers of babies being born through IVF in the West will lead to men and women choosing to have their eggs and sperm frozen at a young age.

    Djerassi, 91, told the paper that people would then be sterilized out of convenience because there would be no need to have sex to produce children.

    "Over the next few decades, say by the year 2050, more IVF fertilizations will occur among fertile women than the current five million fertility-impaired ones," he said.

    "For them the separation between sex and reproduction will be 100 per cent."

    The scientist, who is an author and an emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University in the US, predicted that women in their twenties will increasingly opt for IVF to delay pregnancy without the worry of "the biological clock".

    Artificial insemination will eventually become a "normal non-coital method of having children", he added.

    Prof Djerassi made the prediction initially in his first play, An Immaculate Misconception, where two reproductive scientists discuss contraception becoming "superfluous" as people get sterilised after banking their sperm and eggs.

    In an interview with The Independent earlier this year, he said the change could also end unplanned pregnancies and therefore terminations.

    "Abortion won't exist anymore because you'll have a desired child; a desired child is a loved child; and a loved child is the greatest cement for a relationship between a man and a woman, so people who say these are test-tube babies who destroy the nuclear family - this is hogwash," he said.

    "It will be exactly the other way round."

    In 1951, Prof Djerassi led work to produce the world's first synthetic version of progesterone - a steroid hormone pumped out by the body to maintain pregnancy - that could be taken orally.

    The final product, norethisterone, was used in the first successful combined contraceptive pill released in 1961, credited with starting a global wave of sexual liberation.

    In his Independent interview, Prof Djerassi, claimed that the science to create a male equivalent existed but "not a single pharmaceutical company" in the world would touch it for economic reasons and social politics.

    "Male contraception is nothing compared with an anti-obesity drug," he said.

    "Plus, men are preoccupied with the side-effects. Men who start taking it at 18 will ask, 'Will I still be able to have a child 30 years later?' How do you answer?

    "To prove that is monstrously difficult and expensive. No one would spend that amount of m


  5. #1565
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Spirituality can speed up patients' recovery

    When there is little hope, meaning and purpose in a patient's life, spirituality plays a key role in the patient's recovery from illness, finds a fascinating study.

    "Spirituality and the practitioners' approach to their patients play a huge part in recovery from illness," said Melanie Rogers, senior lecturer and advanced nurse practitioner at the University of Huddersfield.

    However, spirituality is intensely practical.

    "It helps sustain health care workers and patients by recognising and supporting a sense of meaning and purpose in life. It can improve resilience in patients and practitioners alike, in addition to improving the experience of illness and crisis in patients," she added.

    She acknowledges that for some people, spirituality derives from religious beliefs.

    "But for many others it stems from factors such as their relationships, community connections and special interests," Rogers added.

    Patients can lose optimism but the doctor needs to try and facilitate it.

    "One way is to spend time listening to the patient - being fully present and engaged in the relationship. Spirituality is about the patient being the focus," Rogers maintained.

    Although spirituality is gaining increasing recognition, it is still not spread evenly across the spectrum of health care.

    "Occupational therapy has taken a lead and there is growing amount of evidence in the fields of mental health and palliative care but many of the other disciplines struggle to know how to integrate it into their care," Rogers added.

    Her recent article titled "Health care lecturers’ perceptions of spirituality in education” appeared in the leading journal Nursing Standard.


  6. #1566
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Moderate drinking has health benefits for only some people

    A new study has observed that moderate alcohol consumption can protect against coronary heart disease, but only for the 15 percent of the population that have a particular genotype.

    The study conducted at Sahlgrenska Academy studied 618 Swedes with coronary heart disease and a control group of 3,000 healthy subjects. The subjects were assigned to various categories based on the amount of alcohol they consumed (ethanol intake). Meanwhile, they were tested in order to identify a particular genotype (CETP TaqIB) that previous studies had found to play a role in the health benefits of alcohol consumption.

    Professor Dag Thelle, Professor Emeritus at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, said that moderate drinking had a protective effect among only 15 percent of the general population.

    Professor Lauren Lissner, said that moderate drinking alone did not have a strong protective effect, nor does this particular genotype but the combination of the two appeared to significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

    Professor Thelle said that their study represented a step in the right direction, but a lot more research was needed.

    The study was published online in journal Alcohol.


  7. #1567
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    சென்னையில் 25 சதவீதம் பேருக்கு சர்க்கரை நோய்: ஆய்வில் தகவல்

    சென்னையில் 20 வயதுக்கு மேற்பட்டவர்களில் 24.7 சதவீதம் பேருக்கு சர்க்கரை நோய் இருப்பது ஆய்வில் கண்டறியப்பட்டுள்ளது என்று, டாக்டர் மோகன்ஸ் சர்க்கரை நோய் சிறப்பு மருத்துவமனையின் தலைவர் டாக்டர் வி.மோகன் கூறினார்.

    சென்னை சர்க்கரை நோய் மருத்துவ ஆராய்ச்சி அறக்கட்டளை-அமெரிக்க எமொரி பல்கலைக்கழகம்-இந்திய பொது சுகாதார அமைப்பு-அகில இந்திய மருத்துவ மையம் ("எய்மஸ்')-பாகிஸ்தானில் உள்ள "ஆஹா அறக்கட்டளை' ஆகியவை இணைந்து நடத்திய சர்க்கரை நோய் மருத்துவ ஆய்வில் இந்தத் தகவல் தெரியவந்துள்ளது என்று அவர் தெரிவித்தார்.

    இது குறித்து செய்தியாளர்களிடம் திங்கள்கிழமை மேலும் அவர் கூறியதாவது:

    உலக அளவில் வளர்ச்சி அடைந்த, வளர்ந்து வரும் நாடுகளில் சர்க்கரை நோயால் பாதிக்கப்படுவோரின் எண்ணிக்கை அதிகரித்துக் கொண்டே வருகிறது.

    1970-ஆம் ஆண்டு முதல் 1980-ஆம் ஆண்டு வரையிலான காலகட்டத்தில் இந்திய நகரங்களில் சர்க்கரை நோய் பரவல் தன்மை 2 சதவீதம் முதல் 3 சதவீதம் வரையிலும், கிராமப்புறங்களில் 1 சதவீதம் மூலம் 1.5 சதவீதம் வரையிலும் காணப்பட்டது.

    இந்தப் பரவல்தன்மை இப்போது இந்தியாவிலிருந்து இங்கிலாந்து, அமெரிக்கா ஆகிய நாடுகளுக்குக் குடியேறும் இந்தியர்களைக் காட்டிலும் இந்தியாவில் வசிக்கும் இந்தியர்களிடையே அதிகமாகக் காணப்படுகிறது.

    சென்னையிலிருந்து சான் பிரான்ஸிஸ்கோவுக்கு குடிபெயர்ந்த 40 வயதுக்கும் மேற்பட்ட இந்தியர்களுடன் சென்னையில் வசிக்கும் 40 வயதுக்கும் மேற்பட்ட இந்தியர்களை ஒப்பிடுகையில், சர்க்கரை நோய் பரவல் தன்மை சென்னையில் உள்ளவர்களுக்கு 38 சதவீதமும் அமெரிக்காவுக்கு குடிபெயர்ந்த இந்தியர்களுக்கு 24 சதவீதமும் உள்ளது தெரியவந்துள்ளது என்றார் டாக்டர் வி.மோகன்.
    ஆய்வு முடிவுகளை வெளியிட்டபோது, மருத்துவமனையின் நிர்வாக இயக்குநர் டாக்டர் ஆர்.எம். அஞ்சனா உடனிருந்தார்.


  8. #1568
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    80% of diabetic Indians at high risk of heart disease: Study

    Around 80% of patients with diabetes have a higher risk of developing heart problems, found a pan-India study conducted by a chain of diabetes care clinics ahead of World Diabetes Day.

    The US FDA-approved RISC (Report on Insulin Sensitivity and Control) test conducted on 8,269 patients also showed that 63% of them were at a high risk of developing complications such as retinopathy in their micro blood vessels. Retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness, is caused by damage to blood vessels of the eye's retina.

    The survey's significance, though, lay in the fact that it underlines shocking lack of awareness about the diabetes-related complications, despite India being home to the second largest chunk of patients with diabetes. It is estimated that India is home to more than 10 crore patients with diabetes and 20 crore others with prediabetes.

    Most shockingly, the Lifespan D-MYTH 2014 study found that no less than 50% were ignorant about the fact that diabetes could lead to heart disease.



    The company conducted a survey among 5,065 Indians, including 1,386 Mumbaikars, in 16 cities. The data was then correlated with RISC test results of 10,074 patients. "Our RISC study showed that while 60% of people with diabetes suffer from autonomic nervous system dysfunction, but 69% of those surveyed were clueless that diabetes can affect their sexual life," said Ashok Jain of the Lifespan chain of clinics. RISC stands for 'Report on Insulin Sensitivity and Control Test', a non-invasive test that takes around seven minutes to measures 30 vital health parameters. There are 26 Lifespan clinics offering the RISC test.

    Jain added that several patients who walked into his clinics across the country confessed that they only had karela or methi to treat their diabetes. "It would have helped them to take karela or methi with medication, but these people hadn't considered medication at all," Jain added.



    The survey found that 54% of the patients were not aware that diabetes is a disease of the pancreas. "Around 60% refused to accept a familial link to diabetes and one in three think it is a disease of the old," said the survey. In truth, 16% of the patients are aged under 40.

    One in every four patients believed that diabetes skips a generation and an equal number said diabetes is not a serious condition.

    Doctors concurred that the shocking lack of awareness about diabetes and its complications are responsible for poor adherence to treatment in several pockets of the country. "Lack of awareness regarding a direct link between diabetes and heart disease precludes the institution of preventive steps. These include not only a more intensive diet and exercise but also early institution of statins and aspirin therapy. These are extremely important in Indians in whom both diabetes and heart disease are in an epidemic form," said Delhi-based endocrinologist Dr Anoop Misra.


  9. #1569
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    Re: Health Bulletin




  10. #1570
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Kissing bug' disease: Should you be worried about chagas?

    Researchers at the annual gathering of tropical medicine experts have warned of a deadly disease from abroad that is threatening world health. They weren't talking about Ebola, but chagas, the "kissing bug" disease.

    Called a silent killer because it's often hard to diagnose in the early stages, chagas is a parasitic infection that can lead to serious cardiac and intestinal complications and even death. It typically spreads through blood-sucking "kissing" bugs that bite on people's faces during the night and is estimated to affect seven to eight million people worldwide.

    The disease can also be spread from blood transfusions, organ transplants and congenital transfer from mother to child, according to the CDC. Until recently it was considered a problem only in Mexico, Central America and South America. Over the past few years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has seen cases across half the United States, but in most cases the victims were believed to have been infected abroad.

    As recently as 2012, scientists expressed worry about the "globalization" of chagas.

    Now a team of researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston is challenging that assumption. During a presentation at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in New Orleans, epidemiologist Melissa Nolan Garcia said her team had been following 17 Houston-area residents who had been infected.

    At least six of them appeared to have been infected locally as they had had insignificant travel outside the United States. Most of the patients spent a lot of time outdoors or lived in rural areas where the bugs are thought to live. The Baylor group also collected 40 kissing bugs near homes in 11 central-southern Texas counties and found that half had fed on human blood as well as that of a dozen kinds of animals ranging from dogs to raccoons.

    The researchers analyzed blood donors in Texas between 2008 and 2012 and found that one in every 6,500 donors tested positive for exposure to the parasite - a figure that is 50 times higher than the Centers for Disease Control estimate.

    "We were astonished to not only find such a high rate of individuals testing positive for chagas in their blood, but also high rates of heart disease that appear to be chagas-related," Nolan Garcia said in a statement released by the tropical medicine society.

    The researchers said that while the number of cases is growing, physicians' awareness of the disease is lagging. When caught in the early stages, the disease can be treated with two drugs, nifurtimox and benznidazole, but if asymptomatic infections are allowed to progress they can lead to serious complications. Many of those who are now recognized as having the disease were flagged after they donated blood and had never been treated for the disease before that.

    Virginia was identified by the Baylor researchers as one of the states having a higher number of cases but health officials in the state this summer cautioned that news reports of the disease being prevalent in the area are overstated.


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