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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1601
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cut diabetes risk with 2 spoonfuls of yogurt a day

    TON: A daily tablespoon of yogurt can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly a fifth, according to a new Harvard study. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells develop resistance to insulin.

    Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health pooled the results of three prospective cohort studies that followed the medical history and lifestyle habits of health professionals. These studies included the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study (HFPS), which followed 51,529 US male , pharmacists, vets, osteopathic physicians and podiatrists, aged from 40 to 75 years.

    They also included Nurses' Study (NHS), which began in 1976, and followed 1,21,700 female US nurses aged from 30 to 55 years and Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II), which followed 1,16,671 female US nurses aged 25 to 42 years beginning in 1989.

    "Our study benefited from having such a large sample size, high rates of follow up and repeated assessment of dietary and lifestyle factors," said Mu Chen, the study's lead author from Harvard School of Public Health.

    Within the three cohorts 15,156 of type 2 diabetes were identified during the follow-up period. The researchers found that the total dairy consumption had no association with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They then looked at consumption of individual dairy products, such as skimmed , cheese, whole milk and yogurt. It was found that high consumption of yogurt was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The authors found that consumption of one 28g yogurt per day was associated with an 18% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
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  2. #1602
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Obesity causes almost 500,000 new cancer cases worldwide yearly

    In a new study, scientists have discovered that obesity leads to around 481 000 new cancer cases every year in adults, or 3.6 percent of cancers worldwide.

    The burden is far higher in more developed countries, with almost two-thirds (64 percent) of these obesity-related cancers occurring in North America and Europe.

    Based on the results, the researchers led by Dr Melina Arnold from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), estimate that a quarter of all obesity-related cancers in 2012 (118 000 cases) were attributable to the rising average body mass index (BMI) in the population since 1982, and were therefore "realistically avoidable".

    Using data from a number of sources including the GLOBOCAN database of cancer incidence and mortality for 184 countries, Arnold and colleagues created a model to estimate the fraction of cancers associated with excess bodyweight in countries and regions worldwide in 2012, and the proportion that could be attributed to increasing BMI since 1982.

    The findings reveal that obesity-related cancer creates greater problem for women than men, largely due to endometrial (womb/uterus) and post-menopausal breast cancers. In men, excess weight was responsible for 1.9 percent or 136 000 new cancers in 2012, and in women it was 5.4 percent or 345 000 new cases.

    Post-menopausal breast, endometrial, and colon cancers were responsible for almost three-quarters of the obesity-related cancer burden in women (almost 250 000 cases), while in men colon and kidney cancers accounted for over two-thirds of all obesity-related cancers (nearly 90 000 cases).

    In developed countries, around 8 percent of cancers in women and 3 percent in men were associated with excess bodyweight, compared with just 1.5 percent of cancers in women and about 0.3 percent of cancers in men in developing countries (low HDI).

    Dr Arnold said that their findings add support for a global effort to address the rising trends in obesity. The global prevalence of obesity in adults has doubled since 1980. If the trend continued, it would boost the future burden of cancer, particularly in South America and North Africa.

    The findings are published in The Lancet Oncology.

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  3. #1603
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    First time in India, Kerala hospital performs rare treatment for acute blood cancer

    Nineteen-year-old Neena (name changed) was suffering from acute blood cancer or acute myeloid leukaemia. Her disease slipped into a life-threatening stage even after two cycles of chemotherapy. She did not have a human leukocyte antigen, or HLA matched related or unrelated donor for a stem cell transplant, the standard procedure for such medical situations.

    It was then a team of specialists led by Dr. Neeraj Sidharth, Head of Bone and Marrow Transplant programme at the Kochi-based Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences decided to try, a relatively new treatment protocol, for the first time in India, to save Neena's life called 'Microtransplant', which involves normal chemotherapy followed by infusion of intentionally mismatched cells.

    This unique procedure is based on immunological killing of leukemic cells. The result was a success and Neena can possibly spring back to her normal life, though long-term data on a larger number of patients are required to validate the medical procedure.

    "Worldwide cellular therapy has been done in a more sophisticated and costly manner in select centres at North America. Natural Killer Cell or NK cell therapy and CAR T-cell therapy - engineering patient's immune cells to treat their cancers, however, is limited by its availability in only a handful of centres. What we attempted was similar to what has been already tried in Israel and China and published in reputed scientific journals," said Dr. Sidharth, who was guided by experts in the field from John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, United States and from China.

    Unlike normal treatment for acute blood cancer, this procedure does not require heavy dose of chemotherapy, followed by infusion of matched stem cells to replace the patient's stem cells. Microtransplant is cost effective - one fifth of the cost of standard treatment available and the patient needs to be hospitalised for just three weeks.

    This therapy probably works best when the disease gets reduced immediately after chemotherapy and before normal cells recover. Mostly, it has been tried in some acute leukaemia and melodysplastic syndromes where standard treatment options like a stem cell transplant is either unavailable or considered too toxic. Chances of disease relapsing seem to be significantly lesser compared to standard chemotherapy extrapolating from the long term published data available from China.

    The success of the treatment is a major breakthrough and opens up a window of opportunity for those select patients with relapsed and refractory leukemia and standard stem cell transplant is not considered and option for various reasons, said Dr. Sidharth.

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  4. #1604
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee may reduce Alzheimer's risk by 20 percent

    A new study has demonstrated that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee might help in lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease by up to 20 percent.

    The study showed that the number of people in Europe aged over 65 was predicted to rise from 15.4 percent of the population to 22.4 percent by 20251 and, with an ageing population, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease were of increasing concern.

    Epidemiological studies have found that regular, life-long moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease with the body of evidence suggesting that coffee drinkers can reduce their risk of developing the disease by up to 20 percent.

    According to the study, caffeine helps prevent the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrulary tangles in the brain - two hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease. In addition to this, both caffeine and polyphenols reduce inflammation and decrease the deterioration of brain cells especially in the hippocampus and cortex, areas of the brain involved in memory.

    Dr. Arfram Ikram, an assistant professor in neuroepidemiology at Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam,said that the majority of human epidemiological studies suggested that regular coffee consumption over a lifetime was associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease, with an optimum protective effect occurring with three to five cups of coffee per day.

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  5. #1605
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    சாதாரண சிகரெட்டுகளை விட இ–சிகரெட்டால் 10 மடங்கு புற்றுநோய் ஆபத்து: விஞ்ஞானிகள் எச்சரிக்கை

    சிகரெட் பிடிப்பது உடல் நலத்துக்கு கேடு. இதனால் புற்றுநோய் ஏற்படும் என்பது அனைவரும் அறிந்ததே. எனவே, சிகரெட் பழக்கத்துக்கு அடிமையானவர்கள் அதில் இருந்து படிப்படியாக விடுபட இ–சிகரெட் உருவாக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

    இது ‘எலெக்ட்ரானிக் சிகரெட்’ ஆகும். இதில் இருந்து புகை வராது. ஆனால் உண்மையான சிகரெட்டில் இருந்து வெளிப்படும் புகை போன்று எலெக்ட்ரானிக் நிகோடின் புகை வெளிப்படும். இந்த சிகரெட் பேட்டரியின் சக்தியால் இயங்கக்கூடியது.

    இந்த சிகரெட் பிடிப்பதால் உடல் நலத்துக்கு கேடு எதுவும் இல்லை என்ற கருத்து நிலவுகிறது. ஆனால் இ–சிகரெட் புகையிலையால் தயாரிக்கப்படும் சாதாரண சிகரெட்டை விட 10 மடங்கு புற்றுநோயை உருவாக்கக்கூடியது.

    இத்தகவலை ஜப்பான் விஞ்ஞானிகள் கண்டுபிடித்துள்ளனர். ஜப்பான் சுகாதாரத்துறை அமைச்சகம் இதுகுறித்து ஆய்வு மேற்கொள்ள விஞ்ஞானிகள் குழுவை அமைத்தது.

    அக்குழு நடத்திய ஆய்வில் சிகரெட்டில் புகையை ஏற்படுத்த நிகோடினுக்கு பதிலாக பார்மஸ்டிகைட் அசிட்டால் டிகைட் போன்ற பல விதமான ரசாயன திரவங்கள் பயன்படுத்தப்படுகின்றன. அவை சாதாரண சிகரெட்டின் நிகோடினை விட 10 மடங்கு புற்றுநோயை உருவாக்கும் திறன் படைத்தது.

    எனவே இ–சிகரெட் பிடிப்பது உடல் நலத்துக்கு கேடு என எச்சரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளனர்.

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  6. #1606
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Ebola test results now in 15 minutes!

    A 15-minute blood and saliva test for Ebola is to be tried in Guinea.

    The project, led by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, uses a "mobile suitcase laboratory", BBC reported.

    It is portable, solar-powered and can be used at room temperature.

    The project is being funded by the Wellcome Trust medical charity and the Britain's Department for International Development.

    "A reliable, 15-minute test that can confirm cases of Ebola would be a key tool for effective management of the Ebola outbreak - allowing patients to be identified, isolated and cared for as soon as possible," an official from Wellcome Trust said.

    "It not only gives patients a better chance of survival, but it prevents transmission of the virus to other people."

    "This pilot study is particularly promising because researchers have considered how to make the test suitable for use in remote field hospitals, where resources - such as electricity and cold storage are often in short supply," the official added.

    Ebola is currently diagnosed by hunting for the virus's genetic material in the blood of a patient.

    But it requires dedicated laboratories that can keep the components of the test at very low temperatures.

    Patients in Conakry will still have the proven test, but the new faster method will be trialed at the same time so the results can be compared.

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  7. #1607
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    1.1 million HIV infections in children prevented: UNICEF

    An estimated 1.1 million human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among children under the age of 15 have been prevented between 2005 and 2013.

    According to data released by the UN Children`s Fund (UNICEF) Friday ahead of World AIDS Day, new HIV infections among children has declined by about 40 percent between 2009 and 2013, Xinhua reported.

    However, the global goal of reducing the figure by 90 percent is still out of reach, the data said.

    The progress has been made through providing more pregnant women living with HIV with services for the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), such as lifelong HIV treatment which can reduce the transmission of virus to babies and keep their mothers alive.

    The sharpest declines took place in eight African countries, including Malawi, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, among others.

    However, only 67 percent of pregnant women living with HIV in all low- and middle-income countries received the most effective treatment for PMTCT in 2013

    An estimated 190,000 children under the age of 15 died of AIDS-related causes in 2013 due to lack of treatment

    "If we can avert 1.1 million new HIV infections in children, we can protect every child from HIV but only if we reach every child," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said

    "We must close the gap, and invest more in reaching every mother, every newborn, every child and every adolescent with HIV prevention and treatment programmes that can save and improve their lives," Lake added.

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  8. #1608
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mindfulness treatment as effective as CBT for depression

    Group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in patients with depression and anxiety, according to a new study.

    Researchers from Lund University in Sweden and Region Skane conducted the first randomised study that compared group mindfulness treatment and individual cognitive behavioural therapy in patients with depression and anxiety in primary health care.

    The researchers, led by Professor Jan Sundquist, ran the study at 16 primary health care centres in Skane, a county in southern Sweden.

    They trained two mindfulness instructors, from different occupational groups, at each primary health care centre during a 6-day training course.

    In spring 2012, patients with depression, anxiety or reactions to severe stress were randomised to either structured group mindfulness treatment with approximately 10 patients per group, or regular treatment (mainly individual CBT).

    Patients also received a private training programme and were asked to record their exercises in a diary. The treatment lasted 8 weeks.

    General practitioner and mindfulness instructor Ola Schenstrom designed the mindfulness training programme and model for training instructors.

    A total of 215 patients were included in the study. Before and after treatment, the patients in the mindfulness and regular treatment groups answered questionnaires that estimated the severity of their depression and anxiety.

    Self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety decreased in both groups during the 8-week treatment period. There was no statistical difference between the two treatments.

    "The study's results indicate that group mindfulness treatment, conducted by certified instructors in primary health care, is as effective a treatment method as individual CBT for treating depression and anxiety," said Sundquist.

    "This means that group mindfulness treatment should be considered as an alternative to individual psychotherapy, especially at primary health care centres that can't offer everyone individual therapy," said Sundquist.

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  9. #1609
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    100 deaths daily, pneumonia emerges as killer disease in Bihar

    With 100 plus deaths daily, pneumonia has emerged as a leading cause of deaths among children under 5 years in Bihar, a survey report said and recommended the government to launch a special drive like the one for polio.

    The research study funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in five districts of Bihar along with nine in Uttar Pradesh came out with this startling data.

    Shally Awasthi, Professor, Department of Pediatrics in King George's Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow, who headed the survey, told a seminar at AIIMS Patna that 40,480 pneumonia deaths have been reported annually in Bihar.

    "If we further break it the statistics would be 100 plus deaths daily and 5 per hour", she said.

    Annually there are approximately 1.84 million deaths in children under 5 years due to pneumonia in the country out of which Bihar's share is 22 per cent, she said.

    The five districts of Bihar where survey was conducted in between July 2013 to May 2014 included Gaya, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Nalanda and Chappra.

    In UP, the study was done in Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Mahoba, Agra, Meerut, Unnao, Mathura, Moradabad and Banda.

    She said pneumonia is mainly caused due to malnutrition, lack of breast feeding, no vaccination and excessive use of bio mass fuel by mother particularly in rural areas.

    The seminar was attended by representatives from UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation of microsoft giant Bill Gates, WHO and health officials of Bihar at AIIMS at Patna.

    Drawing attention towards the magnitude of the problem, Awasthi and others emphasised on launching a specil drive against pneumonia like the one done successfully for polio.

    The participants stressed on spreading awareness and dedicated facilities in Community Health Centre against pneumonia.

    Monika Agarwal of Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, KGMU, Lucknow said in Uttar Pradesh, there are 30 bed Community Health Centre in every block which is a great help in fighting the menace of pneumonia.

    "Bihar shall also have CHCs and other necessary infrastructure to deal with the problem," she added.

    Anis of Bill and Melinda Gates foundation said that its technical partner in Bihar "Save the Children" organisation would join in launching awareness drive against pneumonia in districts.

    Surendra Chaudhary, who heads a Primary Health Centre in Gaya, promised to make people aware of the killer disease and teach them preventive measure.

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  10. #1610
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Omega-3 can help curb smoking addiction

    A new study has revealed that Omega-3, an economical and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, can help reduce smoking.

    According to the study conducted at the University of Haifa, taking omega-3 supplements reduces craving for nicotine and even reduces the number of cigarettes that people smoke a day.

    Cigarette smoking is connected not only to cardiovascular dysfunction, immune system dysfunction and cancer, it also reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain, especially that of omega-3. A deficiency in omega-3 damages the cellular structure of nerve cells and interrupts neurotransmission in areas of the brain involved with feeling pleasure and satisfaction.

    These areas are essential in reward and decision-making, and are very important in the process of the development, maintenance and relapse of the addiction and to the inability to stop smoking.

    The findings show that while no difference was found between the groups at the beginning of the study, after thirty days the smokers who had taken omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an eleven-percent decrease), even though they were not asked to change their smoking habits in any way.

    No less important, they showed a significant decrease in nicotine craving. After another thirty days of not taking anything, cigarette cravings increased slightly but still remained significantly lower than their initial level. In other words, the craving to smoke cigarettes did not return to the baseline level even a month after stopping to take the supplement.

    In the meantime, the group receiving the placebo did not show any significant changes in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes they smoked a day during the sixty days.

    According to Dr. Rabinovitz Shenkar, the finding that people who were not interested in stopping to smoke showed such a significant change reinforces the assumption that taking omega-3 can help smokers to regulate their addiction and reduce their smoking.


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