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Health Bulletin


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  1. #171
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Unlike Angelina Jolie, Indian women wary of mastectomy, say doctors

    Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie's decision to go public about her double mastectomy to reduce the risk of breast cancer has been hailed as a brave move, but in India, doctors say there is very little awareness about it and many women are wary of taking the step due to societal pressure and apprehensions.

    Many doctors said they have rarely seen a case in India.

    Amit Bhargava, a senior cancer specialist at Batra Hospital, said in his 17-year-long career, he has seen only two women undergo voluntary mastectomy.

    Jolie on Tuesday came out in public in a bid to encourage other women for a mastectomy as a preventive measure. She underwent the procedure as her mother died of breast cancer aged 56.

    Jolie carried a "faulty" gene, BRCA1, which sharply increased her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

    Bhargava said Jolie's public statement will encourage other women to come forward.

    "Jolie is an international celebrity and that makes a difference. She was bold enough to talk about it. Women in India feel scared even taking the test, forget about undergoing the procedure," Bhargava told an Agency.

    Shyam Agrawal, chairperson oncology department of Sir Ganga Ram hospital, said many women are deterred by the cost of the test.

    "The test for detecting the gene in women with a family history of breast cancer is pretty costly at Rs.40,000 per test. This prevents most women from undergoing it," he said.

    Agrawal said another major problem is the attitude of people.

    "Most women feel they do not need to know their status for if they test positive, they would always be under stress that they might develop cancer at a later stage. People want to live in ignorance," he said.

    Unlike the US, where breast removal is not an issue due to advanced cosmetic surgery available, in India, women are unwilling to undergo it thinking they may encounter social and marital problems.

    "They need to be counselled about inheriting the faulty gene," Agarwal said.

    Doctors said many women fear that if they go for breast removal surgery their husbands might leave them or they would be "less of a woman".

    Jolie said "I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."

    In India, around 20-30 women per 100,000 population develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Of them, 5-10 percent contracts it due to a defective gene. Breast cancer is the most prevalent in India, followed by cervical cancer among women. However, it is not necessarily fatal if detected in the first or second stage. Fatalities occur if it goes into the third stage as the cancer then spreads of other parts of the body.

    "If a woman is a carrier of a faulty gene then she has 60 percent chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime," P.K. Julka, head of the oncology department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, told an Agency.

    Doctors said that besides mastectomy, there are other options available to prevent breast cancer.

    One of the most effective methods is removal of ovaries in women who have completed their families, Julka said.

    "Ovaries produce the female reproductive hormone estrogen which helps trigger this cancer. If the ovaries are removed then the secretion stops," Agrawal said.

    Another option, according to him, is taking Tamoxifin tablets which prevent occurrence of breast cancer in women who are at high risk.


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  2. #172
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Middle-aged men more shy about revealing their age

    Twice as many men as women are likely to experience a midlife crisis when they hit 40, a new study has found.

    The panic attack comes despite 69 percent of Australians in the age group claiming that they don't look their age.

    Another 57 percent, who were surveyed nationwide by Newspoll for the DVD launch of the comedy 'This Is 40', said they did not feel any difference from their 30s, reported a website.

    Psychologist Meredith Fuller believes career stress, retrenchments and having younger colleagues promoted ahead of them are reasons some men fret about turning 40. "They can get very twitchy about their rising age," she said.

    The survey found more men (69 percent) than women lied about their age.
    But Fuller said, “Majority accepts “40 is the new 30”. About 80 percent of people turning 40 really believe it is not a big deal any more. We are starting to recognise 40 as a fabulous age, you don't have to lie about your age."


  3. #173
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    10% of tobacco-related deaths caused by passive smoking

    An estimated 10% of tobacco-related deaths is caused by passive smoking.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 6 lakh out of 60 lakh deaths every year due to tobacco are due to second-hand smoke.

    "In India, 10 lakh people die every year due to tobacco," said professor (Dr) Rama Kant, WHO Director-General's Awardee and a senior surgeon.

    As per the global trend, about a lakh people in India might be dying from breathing second-hand smoke.

    Prof Kant was the key faculty for the inaugural session on Tobacco or Health at Rights and Responsibilities Summer Training Camp organized by Vote For Health campaign, Asha Parivar, CNS and Government's UP State Tobacco Control Cell.

    Prof Rama Kant added: "Second-hand smoke is the smoke that fills restaurants, offices or other enclosed spaces when people burn tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, 'bidis' and water pipes. There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer."

    Prof Rama Kant underlined: "There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke." So all forms of tobacco are deadly and cause diseases and disabilities. "In adults, second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. In infants, it causes sudden death. In pregnant women, it causes low birth weight. Almost half of children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke in public places. Over 40% of children have at least one smoking parent. In 2004 WHO data, children accounted for 28% of the deaths attributable to second-hand smoke."

    "Government of India had declared entire country smoke-free on 2nd October 2008 as per the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003. But implementation of smoke-free laws is very poor in UP state. Very low amounts of fines have been collected in very few districts, proper signage is not everywhere, and law-enforcement agencies are not vigilant to implement smoke-free laws. Every person should be able to breathe smoke-free air. Smoke-free laws protect the health of non-smokers, are popular, do not harm business and encourage smokers to quit," he added.


  4. #174
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Brain tells which ear to be used for cell phone: Study

    If you're a left-brain thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cell phone up to your right ear, a new study has found.

    The study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit shows a strong correlation between brain dominance and the ear used to listen to a cell phone.

    More than 70% of participants held their cell phone up to the ear on the same side as their dominant hand, the study found.

    Left-brain dominant people - who account for about 95 percent of the population and have their speech and language center located on the left side of the brain - are more likely to use their right hand for writing and other everyday tasks.

    Likewise, the Henry Ford study reveals most left-brain dominant people also use the phone in their right ear, despite there being no perceived difference in their hearing in the left or right ear.

    And, right-brain dominant people are more likely to use their left hand to hold the phone in their left ear.

    "Our findings have several implications, especially for mapping the language center of the brain," Michael Seidman, M.D., FACS, director of the division of otologic and neurotologic surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford said.

    "By establishing a correlation between cerebral dominance and sidedness of cell phone use, it may be possible to develop a less-invasive, lower-cost option to establish the side of the brain where speech and language occurs rather than the Wada test, a procedure that injects an anesthetic into the carotid artery to put part of the brain to sleep in order to map activity," he said.

    He notes that the study also may offer additional evidence that cell phone use and tumors of the brain, head and neck may not necessarily be linked.

    Since nearly 80 percent of people use the cell phone in their right ear, he said if there were a strong connection there would be far more people diagnosed with cancer on the right side of their brain, head and neck, the dominant side for cell phone use.

    It's likely, he said, that the development of tumors is more "dose-dependent" based on cell phone usage.

    The study is set to be published online in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.


  5. #175
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Surgeries not always solution to backache

    Back pain has become anonymous with a fast paced urban life. So much so that some experts say that around 40% of the population could be a victim of excruciating backache that compromises their quality of life.
    However, it is only a small fraction of these people who should ideally qualify for a surgery. But, statistics show quite the opposite and project a rather worrying trend. Many such cases were reported at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, which managed to cure many patients with advanced and comprehensive physiotherapy.
    Advanced Physiotherapy helped avert slipped disc surgery in the case of banker Arjun Shah, who suffered from chronic low back pain for more than four years. He believed it was a result of his sedentary lifestyle. The pain gradually increased over the years hampering his day-to-day activities. Eventually the pain travelled from his lower back to his hip joint and gradually to his legs.
    Finally, Arjun consulted an orthopaedic surgeon, who performed an MRI and found that a protruding disc was pinching his nerve root and causing the pain. He was advised surgery to remove the protrusion and relieve the nerve.
    But when he approached the Kokilaben Hospital, doctors advised him to undergo physiotherapy at the hospital's Centre for Sports Medicine. Heath Matthews, head physiotherapist put Arjun onto a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation program. "In just 12 sessions, Arjun's pain had disappeared. Arjun avoided surgery and return to his routine activities," said Matthews.
    "A detailed study of over 2300 cases that were managed at our centre in the last 3 years has revealed that approximately 480 patients had lower back pain and that only 35 cases were true discogenic pain. The rest had a significant portion of their pain coming from a biomechanical disorder of the muskoskeletal system. This meant that most of their pain was actually coming from muscles and joints in the lower back region and not from a pinched nerve," said Mathews hinting that many unnecessary surgeries are performed.

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  6. #176
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Advanced breast cancer detecting machine comes to India

    An advanced digital breast cancer detecting machine with the capability to see the lesions in breasts with much more clarity than ever before was unveiled in the national capital Sunday.


    The mammography machine 'Amulet' by Fuji films is claimed to be India's first low dose resolution system.

    Speaking at the launch, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj said: "Every woman should be aware about ever growing breast cancer and need to get done mammography to detect the cancer and fight against it."

    This machine would prove to be helpful in the fight against the disease as it uses artificial intelligence algorithms to assist the radiologist in detecting abnormalities that would not normally be seen by the naked eyes.

    "With the help of 50 micron resolution system, we have the capability to see the lesions in breasts with much more clarity than ever before," said Harsh Mahajan of Mahajan Imaging.

    "The Computer Aided Diagnostics (CAD) system installed with the machine helps the radiologist in detecting abnormalities that would not normally be seen by the naked eyes," he said.

    There is not much difference in the cost of mammography using Amulet and it will continue to cost around Rs.3,000 per person.

    In India, around 20-30 women per 100,000 population develop breast cancer at some point in their lives.


  7. #177
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Victorians were smarter than today’s people: Study

    The average intelligence level of Victorianera people was higher than that of their modern-day counterparts, a new study released recently suggests.

    European researchers base their assertion on reaction times (RT) to visual stimuli given as tests to people from the late 1800s to modern times — the faster the reaction time, they say, the smarter the person.

    The Victorian era has been highly touted by historians as one of the most productive in human history — inventions, observations and highly acclaimed art and music from that time still resonate today. The era was defined by Queen Victoria's reign in England from 1837 until 1901.

    Researchers over the years have said RT is a way of measuring the "true" intelligence of a person — an intelligence measure not impacted by education level, illness , background, etc.

    Using such claims as a basis , the team looked at RT tests conducted by various researchers between 1884 to 2004, and found that RT rates slowly increased over the entire time period.

    For men, the increase was found to be 183 milliseconds (ms) to 253ms; for women the increase was from 188ms to 261ms.

    The researchers claim this proves that people have grown "less clever" over time. They back up their claim by suggesting they know the reason for the decline in intelligence — smarter people having fewer children, while the less smart, have more.

    These claims will undoubtedly be viewed as controversial . After all, no one has proved that RT is truly an accurate measure of human intelligence.


  8. #178
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Like us, dogs too get a ‘runner’s high’

    This may be the reason why dogs love to 'fetch' ! Dogs experience a 'high' from running, similar to the 'runner's high' felt by people who run or jog frequently, a new study has found.

    The study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology, says that researchers measured neurotransmitter levels in humans, dogs and ferrets as they moved on a treadmill to determine neurobiological reward levels. They found that sensations of a 'runner's high' are due to the release of neurotransmitters into the bloodstream.

    One of these neurotransmitter groups, known as endocannabinoids (eCBs), have the same chemical structure as THC, the chemical responsible for the high people get from marijuana.

    The team enlisted some human volunteers, several dogs and some ferrets. Each was put on a treadmill set at a pace fast enough to simulate running. Later, blood samples were taken. The results showed elevated levels of eCBs for both the humans and dogs, but not in the ferrets.

    In another test, the researchers slowed the pace of the treadmill to just a walk for the dogs and humans and found no change in eCB levels.

    The researchers noted that both humans and dogs are part of a group known as cursorial animals — animals that have long legs meant for running. Ferrets, on the other hand, are not cursorial, thus they don't gain any pleasure from running long distances.

    The researchers believe that neurobiological rewards are a part of the evolutionary history of animals with long legs meant for running and strong lungs — they helped keep them fit. Running, particularly when not necessary, they suggest, kept such animals in good shape, allowing them to escape predators and to hunt efficiently.


  9. #179
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Like us, dogs too get a ‘runner’s high’

    This may be the reason why dogs love to 'fetch' ! Dogs experience a 'high' from running, similar to the 'runner's high' felt by people who run or jog frequently, a new study has found.

    The study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology, says that researchers measured neurotransmitter levels in humans, dogs and ferrets as they moved on a treadmill to determine neurobiological reward levels. They found that sensations of a 'runner's high' are due to the release of neurotransmitters into the bloodstream.

    One of these neurotransmitter groups, known as endocannabinoids (eCBs), have the same chemical structure as THC, the chemical responsible for the high people get from marijuana.

    The team enlisted some human volunteers, several dogs and some ferrets. Each was put on a treadmill set at a pace fast enough to simulate running. Later, blood samples were taken. The results showed elevated levels of eCBs for both the humans and dogs, but not in the ferrets.

    In another test, the researchers slowed the pace of the treadmill to just a walk for the dogs and humans and found no change in eCB levels.

    The researchers noted that both humans and dogs are part of a group known as cursorial animals — animals that have long legs meant for running. Ferrets, on the other hand, are not cursorial, thus they don't gain any pleasure from running long distances.

    The researchers believe that neurobiological rewards are a part of the evolutionary history of animals with long legs meant for running and strong lungs — they helped keep them fit. Running, particularly when not necessary, they suggest, kept such animals in good shape, allowing them to escape predators and to hunt efficiently.


  10. #180
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Good news for 13 million Indian asthmatics - Ginger abundantly found, shown to ease asthma attack

    Ginger tea can be magical for a bad throat. But the humble vegetable has now been found to be highly effective in treating asthma symptoms.

    Foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to their gormet dishes.

    Now, a a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the spicy root also may have properties that help asthma patients breathe more easily.

    Asthma is characterized by bronchoconstriction, a tightening of the bronchial tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs.

    Bronchodilating medications called beta-agonists are among the most common types of asthma medications and work by relaxing the airway smooth muscle (ASM) tissues.

    This study looked at whether specific components of ginger could help enhance the relaxing effects of bronchodilators.

    "Asthma has become more prevalent in recent years, but despite an improved understanding of what causes asthma and how it develops, during the past 40 years few new treatment agents have been approved for targeting asthma symptoms," said lead author Elizabeth Townsend.

    "In our study, we demonstrated that purified components of ginger can work synergistically o relax ASM."

    India is reeling under a severe burden of chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs). According to the health ministry's latest report, released by the Indian Council of Medical Research recently, 13 million people aged 15 years and above suffer from asthma.

    Around 69.18 lakh men suffered from asthma compared to 60.18 lakh women above the age of 15.

    To conduct their study, the researchers took human ASM tissue samples and caused the samples to contract by exposing them to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitting compound that causes bronchoconstriction.

    At the conclusion of their study, the researchers found that tissues treated with the combination of purified ginger components and isoproterenol exhibited significantly greater relaxation.

    The researchers wanted to determine if the ginger components might work by affecting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase4D (PDE4D).

    Previous studies have shown that PDE4D, which is found in the lungs, inhibits processes that otherwise help relax ASM and lessen inflammation. Using a technique called fluorescent polarization, they found that all three components significantly inhibited PDE4D.


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