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Health Bulletin


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  1. #2021
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Finally, a viable vaccine for Malaria, but can only fight one strain

    First the good news — after 30 years of research, the world finally has a viable vaccine ready for use to fight malaria.

    The bad news however is that the shot is primarily to fight the strain most prevalent in Africa and not India.

    British pharma company GlaxoSmithKline announced on Friday that their vaccine Mosquirix — the world's first vaccine against the most dreaded vector borne disease in the world which has taken 360 million to develop, has been recommended to be licensed for use in babies in Africa.

    The European Medicines Agency has endorsed the drug and will now need the approval of health officials in sub-Saharan Africa where the disease affected 198 million people in 2013.

    The World Health Organization will also examine the vaccine, which could cost as little as $5.

    Speaking to TOI, GSK officials here said "The vaccine targets a particular type of malaria (plasmodium falciparum) which is found almost exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa. It has not been shown to be efficacious against the plasmodium vivax malaria parasite, which is predominant in Asia. It will not be a vaccine for India. However, we do have a treatment in development for malaria vivax (tafenoquine which is in phase 3 development)".



    GSK announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has adopted a positive scientific opinion for its malaria candidate vaccine also known as RTS,S, in children aged 6 weeks to 17 months.

    Following this decision, the World Health Organization (WHO) will now formulate a policy recommendation on use of the vaccine in national immunization programmes once approved by national regulatory authorities.

    The final results had showed that vaccination with RTS,S, followed by a booster dose administered 18 months after the primary schedule, reduced the number of cases of clinical malaria in children (aged 5-17 months at first vaccination) by 36% over an average follow-up of four years. This however was a fall in efficacy from the 50% protection against malaria which was seen in the first year after the vaccine was administered.

    In infants (aged 6-12 weeks at first vaccination) it reduced malaria cases by only 26% to the end of the study (an average follow-up of 38 months). Efficacy decreased over time in both age groups.



    Without the booster dose, the three-dose vaccine only reduced clinical malaria cases by 28% in children and 18% in infants to the study end.

    In an exclusive interview to TOI from Ghana, Dr Kwaku Poku Asante, the chair of the Clinical Trial Partnership Committee, which managed the RTSS Phase 3 trial in Africa had said "The good news is that this a first generation malaria vaccine candidate and actually the first human parasite vaccine that has been developed to this level. This trial was conducted at 11 African research centres in seven countries. The RTSS malaria vaccine has now been shown to prevent 1,700 cases of clinical malaria per 1000 children vaccinated on average and more than 6,000 cases averted in an area of high malaria transmission".

    He added "It is true that the efficacy fell off over the four year period. But what we learned from the trial is that the booster dose enhanced efficacy over the longer term for both age groups. It will be up to the regulatory authorities to determine what efficacy is sufficient for recommendation, but it is likely that they will also look at the public health impact and the large number of cases averted through the use of the vaccine".

    GSK hopes that WHO would recommend the use of RTS,S as early as October this year.

    Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: "Today's scientific opinion represents a further important step towards making available for young children the world's first malaria vaccine. While RTS,S on its own is not the complete answer to malaria, its use alongside those interventions currently available such as bed nets and insecticides, would provide a very meaningful contribution to controlling the impact of malaria on children in those African communities that need it the most".

    Following the CHMP positive scientific opinion, two of the WHO's independent advisory groups, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) will now jointly review the evidence base for RTS,S and make a joint policy recommendation for how it might be used alongside other tools to prevent malaria in the event the vaccine candidate is approved by national regulatory authorities in SSA.

    Following the WHO policy recommendation, GSK will also submit an application to the WHO for pre-qualification of RTS,S.

    Once a WHO pre-qualification is granted, GSK would then apply for marketing authorization in countries in sub-Saharan Africa on a country-by-country basis. These regulatory and policy decisions would, if positive, enable countries to begin implementation of RTS,S through their universal immunization programmes.


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  2. #2022
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Man loses memory after visiting dentist!

    Medical researchers stumbled upon a 'one of its kind' memory loss case, in which a
    38-year-old otherwise fit and healthy man lost his memory after a local anesthetic and root-canal treatment at a dental clinic.

    It has been a decade since he last made his visit to that dental clinic but he still wakes up each day thinking it is the day of his dental appointment. He can only remember up to 90 minutes each day. His symptoms are similar to those depicted in movies, such as 'Memento' and 'Groundhog Day'.

    As of now, there is no evidence that the treatment at the dentist can be blamed for his condition, but University of Leicester psychologists have described this as a unique case to science.

    Researcher Gerald Burgess said that one of their reasons for writing up this individual's case was that they had never seen anything like this before in their assessment clinics
    .
    He is now appealing for people who know of someone who might have suffered similar symptoms of memory loss, or medical or allied health professionals working with someone like this, to contact him in order to build up knowledge and evidence in this field of study.

    He said that their experience was that none of their colleagues in neurology, psychiatry and clinical neuropsychology could explain this case or had seen anything like it themselves before.

    The patient is fully aware of his identity and his personality did not change, but every day the man thinks it is the day of his dental appointment. He has to manage his life through an electronic diary and access to prompts.

    The article was published in journal Neurocase.


  3. #2023
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Dr Suniti Solomon, who detected India’s first HIV case, dies at 76


    : Dr Suniti Solomon, who was part of the team that detected the first strains of HIV in India in 1986, passed away at her residence here on Tuesday.

    Dr Solomon was 76 years old and had been under treatment for two months for liver cancer, family sources said. She is survived by her son Dr Sunil Solomon.

    While working as a microbiologist at Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital, Dr Suniti Solomon and her colleagues documented the first case of HIV infection in India in 1986 after blood samples of six commercial sex workers were found to be positive.

    The samples were first sent to Christian Medical College in Vellore and later to a facility in the USA, where they tested HIV positive.

    She then set up the first voluntary testing and counselling centre and an AIDS Research Group in Chennai,

    Her pioneering HIV research studies includes the US National Institute of Mental Health's multi-country HIV/STD Prevention Trial.

    An MD in Microbiology from Madras University, she was a household name in Tamil Nadu in the area of HIV prevention and care and among people living with HIV/AIDS.

    Trained in pathology in the UK and USA, her experience covers a wide range of aspects linked to HIV infection, biomedical parameters to socio-economics.

    She had actively participated in the last three decades on HIV programme to save lives.

    She had also published papers extensively on HIV epidemiology, prevention, care, support and related gender issues.

    In 2012, Dr Suniti Solomon was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for Service on HIV/AIDS by the state-run Dr MGR Medical University here.

    She had served on several boards, including National Technical Team on Women and AIDS, Advisory Board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative-India, the Scientific Committee of the National AIDS Research Institute Pune and the Microbicide Committee of Indian Council of Medical Research.



  4. #2024
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    ‘Fat’ toon characters may make kids eat more


    Fat cartoon characters may lead children to eat more junk food, new research suggests, but also lists there are ways to counter this effect.

    The findings underscore how cartoon characters, ubiquitous in children's books, movies, television, video games, fast-food menus and graphic novels, may influence children's behaviour in unforeseen ways, especially when it comes to eating.

    Researchers first randomly showed 60 eighth graders a svelte jelly-bean-like cartoon character or a similar rotund character and asked for their them to commentson the images. Then they thanked them and gestured toward bowls of Starburst candies and Hershey's Kisses, saying, "You can take some candy." Children who had seen the rotund cartoon character helped themselves to more than double the number of candies as children shown the lean character, taking 3.8 candies on average, compared with 1.7 taken by children shown the lean bean character. (Children in a comparison group shown an image of a coffee mug took 1.5 candies on average.

    But activating children's existing health knowledge can counter these effects, the researchers discovered. In a separate experiment, they showed 167 elementary school children two red Gumby-like cartoon characters, one fat and one thin, and then asked them to "taste test" some cookies. But they also asked the children to "think about things that make you healthy," such as getting enough sleep versus watching TV, or drinking soda versus milk.

    Some children were asked the health questions before being given the cookie taste test, while others were asked the questions after the taste test.

    Remarkably, the children who were asked about healthy habits before doing the taste test ate fewer cookies, even if they had first been exposed to the rotund cartoon character, eating three cookies on average. Meanwhile, those Those who were shown the rotund figure ate 4.2 cookies on average if they were asked about healthy habits after the test ate 4.2 cookies on an average. ,compared to three cookies if they were asked about healthy habits before doing the taste test. Children who saw the normal weight character and who were asked about healthy habits after the taste test also ate about three cookies.

    All of us respond to environmental cues that may prod us to over eat, but parents can help children draw on their health knowledge by giving reminding them from time to time regarding their them reminders as they are making food choices, said Margaret C Campbell, a professor of marketing at Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the lead author of the study, which was published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology.

    "This is one reason you don't want the television on when your kids are eating," she said, adding that entertainment and food should be separated. "There are things on television that are influencing children's choices and they should be made aware at the earliest regarding the do's and don'ts," Campbell said.


  5. #2025
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Diabetic? Don't skip breakfast


    Diabetics who skip breakfast may have elevated blood sugar levels throughout the day, warns new research.

    Fasting until noon triggers major blood sugar spikes and impairs the insulin responses of Type-2 diabetics throughout the rest of the day, the researchers said.

    "For Type-2 diabetic individuals, the omission of breakfast is associated with a significant increase in all-day blood sugar spikes and of HbA1C, which represents average blood glucose levels over the preceding three months," said researcher Daniela Jakubowicz, a professor at the Tel Aviv University in Israel.

    The study was conducted on 22 Type-2 diabetics who averaged 56.9 years old, with a mean body mass index of 28.2 kg/m2.

    Over the course of two days, the participants consumed precisely the same number of calories and the same balanced meal for lunch and dinner.

    The only difference was that one day they ate breakfast and the second day they fasted until lunch.

    The researchers found that participants experienced extraordinary glucose peaks of 268 mg/dl (milligram per decilitre) after lunch and 298 mg/dl after dinner on days they skipped breakfast versus only 192 mg/dl and 215 mg/dl after eating an identical lunch and dinner when they ate breakfast.

    "This means that reducing the amount of starch and sugars in lunch and dinner will have no effect on reducing elevated glucose levels if diabetic individuals also skip breakfast," said Jakubowicz.

    According to the researchers, pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin lose their "memory" due to the prolonged period between one evening`s dinner and the next day`s lunch.

    In other words, they "forget" their vital role.

    Another factor is that fasting until lunch increases the fatty acids in our blood, which renders insulin ineffective in reducing blood glucose levels, the researchers explained.

    The findings were detailed in the journal Diabetes Care.


  6. #2026
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Men are more prone to mouth cancer, women breast cancer'


    A study has found that men are more prone to mouth cancer and women are more prone to breast cancer, the government today informed Rajya Sabha.

    "As per the data provided by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), men are more prone to mouth cancer and women are more prone to breast cancer," minister of state for health Shripad Yesso Naik said in a written reply.

    As per the ICMR data, deaths due to lung cancer account for 14.7 per cent of all cancer deaths in males and are the top cause of cancer deaths for men in the country.

    The deaths due to cervical cancer account for 24.1 per cent and breast cancer account for 16.3 per cent of all female cancer deaths. "Hence, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women," the minister said.

    He said the estimated deaths due to stomach cancer (in both men and women combined) for the year 2014 and accounts for 4.3 per cent of deaths due to all anatomical sites of cancer. Stomach cancer is the sixth leading cause of death in both men and women, he said.

    "The estimated new (fresh) mouth cancer cases in India for the year 1990 were 45,191 and for 2013, the number was 1,08,076. Mouth cancer has high Age Adjusted Rate (AAR) in Indian cancer registries for both males and females and was among the highest in the world," Naik said.

    He said that the government supplements the efforts of the state government for improving health care including prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

    At present, the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) being implemented under National Health Mission (NHM) for interventions up to the district level and includes awareness generation for cancer prevention, screening, early detection and others.

    "The focus is on three areas namely breast, cervical and oral cancer. Screening guidelines have been provided to state governments for implementation. Suspected cases are to be referred for confirmatory diagnosis by various tests including histo-pathological biopsy," he said.

    He said that setting up of National Cancer Institute at Jhajjar (Haryana) and second campus of Chittranjan National Cancer Institute, Kolkata has also been approved.


  7. #2027
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Psychotropic drugs have utility as lifesaving medicines, say psychiatrists

    : Anti-anxiety and other psychotropic drugs do not have a good reputation in India. However, psychiatrists from the city defend these medicines, even calling them as lifesaving drugs.

    Psychiatric Society Nagpur is conducting a CME on 'Managing adverse effects of psychotropic drugs' this weekend. In the sidelines of a press conference about the CME, a discussion about suicide and anti-anxiety, anti-depressant drugs started.

    "We all know that suicidal tendencies in a person can be detected much before the final step is taken. Suicide is almost always preceded by feelings like depression, sadness, indifference and fear among others. At this stage, if a person is administered drug to supress these feelings, the medicines can help save a life. Doesn't such a medicine become a lifesaving drug?," said Dr Praveer Waradkar, former president of the society and head of the psychiatry department at Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH). He admitted though that these medicines can have side effects like anaemia, osteoporosis, obesity, etc on long term exposure.

    President of the society Dr Rajiv Palsodkar liked these side effects to thorns that someone wishing to smell roses must endure. "Most of the side effects happen only through long time exposure which will only happen with patients who have severe episodes of some problem. Saving their life in such a situation gets a priority," he said.


  8. #2028
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mental stress can raise physical fatigue: study


    Worried about something at work? You may find yourself more exhausted at the end of the day, according to a new study by Indian-origin researchers who have found that mental stress can increase physical fatigue.

    This phenomenon is a result of the activation of a specific area of the brain when we attempt to participate in both physical and mental tasks simultaneously, researchers said.

    Ranjana Mehta, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Centre School of Public Health, evaluated the interaction between physical and mental fatigue and brain behaviour.

    The study showed that when we attempt mental tasks and physical tasks at the same time, we activate specific areas, called prefrontal cortex (PFC), in our brain.

    This can cause our bodies to become fatigued much sooner than if we were solely participating in a physical task.

    "Existing examinations of physical and mental fatigue has been limited to evaluating cardiovascular, muscular and biomechanical changes," said Mehta.

    "The purpose of this study was to use simultaneous monitoring of brain and muscle function to examine the impact on the PFC while comparing the changes in brain behaviour with traditional measures of fatigue," he said.

    According to Mehta, the findings show that there were lower blood oxygen levels in the PFC following combined physical and mental fatigue compared to that of just physical fatigue conditions.

    Through simultaneous examination of the brain and muscle function it is apparent that when participating in highly cognitive tasks, brain resources are divided which may accelerate the development of physical fatigue.

    It is critical that researchers consider the brain as well as the body when examining fatigue development and its impact on the body, said researchers, including co-author of the study Raja Parasuraman, professor of psychology at George Mason University in Virginia.

    The study was published in the journal Human Factors.


  9. #2029
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Two green corridors, 3 organs, 2 lives, 1 hour


    Zipping through city roads, two ambulances transport ed the organs of a brain dead donor to two hospitals and saved two precious lives -in one hour, 20 minutes flat.

    In a first, Bengaluru created two green corridors on Friday to facilitate unhindered transfer of the organs -heart, kidney and pancreas. While the heart is now beating in a 44-yearold patient from Tamil Nadu, the kidney and pancreas went to a 29-yearold Bengalurean suffering from renal failure.

    The heart's journey began from Columbia Asia Hospital, Yeshwantpur, and culminated at Narayana Health City, Bommasandra, near Electronics City. The other two organs were transported to BGS Global Hospitals in Kengeri.

    The donor, a 17-year-old boy from Byataranyapura, was brought to Columbia Asia on Thursday night, after he met with an accident. The Zonal Coordination Committee of transplantation in Karnataka (ZCCK) decided on multi-organ transplantation. His second kidney was transported to Apollo Hospitals in Mysuru whereas the liver was transplanted into a patient at the same hospital (Columbia Asia). His corneas went to Narayana Nethralaya, Rajajinagar.

    "He was declared brain dead and according to ZCCK protocol, his heart was donated to a patient suffering from severe coronary artery disease," said Dr Kanchan Sanyal, chief of medical services, Columbia Asia Hospital. "His liver was transplanted into a patient at our hospital," she added.

    The 29-year-old kidney recipient at BGS Global Hospitals has been suffering from juvenile diabetes since childhood, which led to a dysfunctional pancreas. "Because of diabetes, his kidney also failed. He has been in hospital for one year. Getting both the kidney and pancreas from one donor was a double gain for him," said Dr Venkataramanna N K, vice-chairman and chief neurosurgeon, BGS.

    Joseph Pasangha, facility director, Narayana Health City, said: "We are grateful to Bengaluru police for creating a green corridor. The ambulance carrying the heart covered a distance of about 55km in mere 39 minutes, which usually takes 1.5 hours." Dr Bhagirath Raghuraman, transplant coordinator at Narayana Health City . He led the operation that lasted over three hours.

    All other transplants were also successful.


  10. #2030
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    cauliflower rice: New superfood or just a fad?


    If you take even the faintest interest in healthy eating, then you'll already know about the rise of cauliflower rice, mash, couscous, pizza bases, and flour (cauliflour, if you will). Its versatility is quite a wonder; it seems there's nothing that can't be substituted with cauliflower.

    There are a number of reasons behind its vast popularity: whatever format the cauliflower comes in, be it rice or mash, it will be lower in calories than its original manifestation (25 calories per 100g compared with about 140 calories per 100g of cooked white rice); it will have fewer carbs; and it helps you reach your five a day . Nor will you feel like you're missing out on bulk.Maybe the health nuts are on to something.

    Jamie Oliver is a convert. He's been a fan of cauliflower rice since adopting a grain-free, Paleo diet in 2001 to deal with myriad health issues. He recommends simply grating the cauliflower's head to achieve the mock rice.

    But, for those who are time poor and don't fancy cleaning up specks of cauliflower from the kitchen for days afterwards, then Cauli-Rice launches in the UK next month. It's the brainchild of former marketing executive Gem Misa, who was a fan of homemade cauliflower rice but found it tricky to make with kids running around the house. "And it tastes just like rice; the taste is important," says Misa. Unlike Tesco's cauliflower couscous (about the only other ready made alternative on the market), which has a two-day shelf life, CauliRice maintains its freshness for 12 months. You simply need to microwave or stir fry it before it's ready.


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