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Health Bulletin


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  1. #2041
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    NASH: Liver disorder in teetotallers too


    Manisha, 42, was diagnosed with high cholesterol level four years ago. She was advised modifications in her lifestyle but she did not pay heed to the warning signs. Then a severe bout of stomach pain landed her in the hospital, where she was diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a condition in which the liver gets inflamed.

    "She had no clue that the disease had progressed rapidly and it came as a shock. It is similar with many patients who come in with NASH as the condition is silent and displays no symptoms," said consultant hepatologist Dr N Murugan of Apollo Hospitals. He said the condition is a progression of fatty-liver diseases and women above 45 years of age are at a higher risk. "Liver diseases have four stages -fatty liver, NASH, fibrosis and cirrhosis, which result in liver failure. NASH is easily triggered in patients with diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol levels," said Dr Murugan.

    Many people think that fatty liver is just another common ailment that doesn't need much intervention, the doctor said. "Unfortunately, that is not the case. In this state, up to 25% of those with fatty liver end up having a progression to NASH, which can end up in irreversible liver damage. In fact, around a quarter of all liver transplant patients are those who suffer from this condition," he warned.

    Generally, people refer to fatty liver as an alcoholic liver disease, making them assume that it only strikes very heavy drinkers, says Dr Vijay Viswanathan, chief diabetologist at the M V Diabetes Research Foundation."Twenty years ago, of all the diabetes cases we have seen, only 10% of them had fatty liver. Now it has risen to at least 60% and many of them are teetotallers," added the doctor.

    NASH is a silent disease. Around 40% of NASH patients do not have any symptoms and are detected late, while the ones who experience warning signs like fatigue, rapid weight loss and severe pain in the right side of the abdomen.

    "One of the biggest drawbacks of having fatty liver or NASH is that the patient does not qualify for liver donation. We lose out on a large number of liver donors this way," said Dr Vijay.






    Assuring that simple lifestyle modifications like cutting down on sugar and fatty foods coupled with reducing central obesity (weight concentrated on the belly) through physical exercise can help in reversing NASH, said Dr Murugan.

    "Just 30 minutes of aerobics or resistance training can do wonders," he added.


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  2. #2042
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    Re: Health Bulletin




  3. #2043
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Coca-Cola funding study to shift blame for obesity from bad diet?

    Coca-Cola, the world's largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new "science-based" solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.

    The beverage giant has teamed up with scientists who are advancing this message in medical journals, at conferences and through social media. To help the scientists get the word out, Coke has provided financial and logistical support to a new nonprofit organization called the Global Energy Balance Network, which promotes the argument that weight-conscious Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink while not paying enough attention to exercise.

    "Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is, 'Oh they're eating too much, eating too much, eating too much' — blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on," the group's vice president, Steven N Blair, an exercise scientist, says in a recent video announcing the new organization. "And there's really virtually no compelling evidence that is the cause."

    Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They contend that the company is using the new group to convince the public that physical activity can offset a bad diet despite evidence that exercise has only minimal impact on weight compared with what people consume.

    This clash over the science of obesity comes in a period of rising efforts to tax sugary drinks, remove them from schools and stop companies from marketing them to children. In the last two decades, consumption of full-calorie sodas by the average American has dropped by 25%.

    Coke has made a substantial investment in the new nonprofit. In response to requests based on state open-records laws, two universities that employ leaders of the Global Energy Balance Network disclosed that Coke had donated $1.5 million last year to start the organization.

    Coca-Cola's public relations department repeatedly declined requests for an interview with its chief scientific officer, Rhona Applebaum, who has called attention to the new group on Twitter. In a statement, the company said it had a long history of supporting scientific research related to its beverages and topics such as energy balance. "We partner with some of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and physical activity," the statement said, "It's important to us that the researchers we work with share their own views and scientific findings, regardless of the outcome, and are transparent and open about our funding." Dr Blair and other scientists affiliated with the group said that Coke had no control over its work or message and that they saw no problem with the company's support because they had been transparent about it.

    Coke's involvement in the new organization is not the only example of corporate-funded research and advocacy to come under fire lately. The American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have been criticized by public health advocates for forming partnerships with companies such as Kraft Foods, McDonald's, PepsiCo and Hershey's.


  4. #2044
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists discover secret to live beyond 100


    Scientists have cracked the secret of why some people live a healthy and physically independent life over the age of 100: long telemores and low inflammation.

    For the first time, a team of experts from Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing and Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, explored which biological and pathological processes may be the most important for successful ageing after 100 years of age.

    They identified that to live past the age of 100 you must keep inflammation down in the body and telomeres long — which are part of human cells that affect how our cells age. Severe inflammation is part of many diseases in the old, such as diabetes or diseases attacking the bones or the body's joints, and chronic inflammation can develop from any of them.

    "Centenarians and supercentenarians are different — put simply, they age slower. They can ward off diseases for much longer than the general population," said professor Thomas von Zglinicki, from Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing.


  5. #2045
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Music may help treat people with epilepsy: study


    The brains of people with epilepsy appear to react to music differently from the brains of those who do not have the disorder, a finding that could lead to new therapies to prevent seizures, according to new research.

    "We believe that music could potentially be used as an intervention to help people with epilepsy," said Christine Charyton, from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre.

    Approximately 80 per cent of epilepsy cases are what is known as temporal lobe epilepsy, in which the seizures appear to originate in the temporal lobe of the brain, researchers said.

    Music is processed in the auditory cortex in this same region of the brain, which was why Charyton wanted to study the effect of music on the brains of people with epilepsy.

    Charyton and her colleagues compared the musical processing abilities of the brains of people with and without epilepsy using an electroencephalogram, where electrodes are attached to the scalp to detect and record brainwave patterns.

    They collected data from 21 patients who were in the epilepsy monitoring unit at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre between September 2012 and May 2014.

    The researchers recorded brainwave patterns while patients listened to 10 minutes of silence, followed by either Mozart's Sonata in D Major, Andante Movement II (K448) or John Coltrane's rendition of My Favorite Things, a second 10-minute period of silence, the other of the two musical pieces and finally a third 10-minute period of silence.

    The order of the music was randomised, meaning some participants listened to Mozart first and other participants listened to Coltrane first.

    Researchers found significantly higher levels of brainwave activity in participants when they were listening to music.

    More important, said Charyton, brainwave activity in people with epilepsy tended to synchronise more with the music, especially in the temporal lobe, than in people without epilepsy.

    "We were surprised by the findings," said Charyton.

    "We hypothesised that music would be processed in the brain differently than silence. We did not know if this would be the same or different for people with epilepsy," she said.

    Charyton said this research suggests music might be a novel intervention used in conjunction with traditional treatment to help prevent seizures in people with epilepsy.


  6. #2046
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    They freeze eggs to beat deadly disease

    She was just 17and-a-half when her cancer afflicted uterus was removed, and she knew that was the end of her motherhood dreams. Until doctors suggested that she could preserve her oocytes for the future. That was back in 2006, when egg preservation was yet to gain popularity in this part of the world.

    Declared cancer-free four years ago, the aerospace professional had moved to the US. Three months ago, the woman and her American husband knocked on the doors of Dr SP Somashekar, chairman and HoD, surgical oncologist, Manipal Comprehensive Cancer Centre, say ing they use her frozen eggs to have a child.

    Now, her eggs will be thawed and fertilized with her husband's sperms and the embryo transferred to the womb of a surrogate mother. "The law forbids sending the oocyte abroad. She has to bring her surrogate to Bengaluru. She is complying with the legal formalities," Dr Somashekar told TOI.

    City doctors say that unlike about three years ago, they are seeing more young women cancer patients preserving their oocytes before undergoing chemotherapy , though the success rate is not more than 25-30%.

    In another case, a 20-yearold girl suffering from thalassemia moved to Bengaluru from the Maldives to preserve her eggs, before undergoing a bone marrow transplant. "I see a growing confidence among women to preserve their ovaries," said Dr Kamini Rao, medical director, Milann, a fertility centre.

    Dr Nalini Kilara, HoD, medical oncology , MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, said a 17-year-old girl from Ballari wanted to preserve her ovaries. She was suffering from a primitive neuroectodermal tumour, a cancer afflicting the brain of children and young adults.

    "Most patients come for treatment at advanced stages, when we have no time to suggest egg freezing as cancer treatment is the priority .This girl, though, was brought when cancer was still in the initial stages. But we really don't know how successful it will be," Dr Kilara said.

    Cryopreserving eggs

    Human oocyte cryopreservation is a process by which a woman's eggs are extracted, frozen, stored. When she is ready to become pregnant, the eggs are thawed, fertilized and shifted to the uterus as an embryo.

    Facts about freezing oocytes:

    *Human oocyte cryo preservation or egg freezing is a process in which a woman's eggs or oocytes are extracted, frozen and stored. Later when she is ready to become pregnant the eggs are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus as embryo. * It takes over 4-5 weeks to complete the egg freezing as it includes administering hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and ripen multiple eggs. *It's maintained in subnormal temperature in liquid nitrogen. *Freezing eggs costs around Rs 1-1.5 lakhs apart from the annual storage charges of Rs 25,000-30,000.


  7. #2047
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Your morning tea may turn you anaemic

    Tea does have various health attributes but it isn't entirely the magic potion it is thought to be. Drinking copious quantities of the beverage with the breakfast or immediately after a meal does more harm than good. Doctors are beginning to correlate the high incidence of anaemia in eastern India with the population's tea drinking habit.

    Analysis of pathology tests done at global diagnostic chain SRL over three years (2012-14) has revealed that a significant number of Indian urban men have abnormal haemoglobin levels usually associated with women. The incidence of low haemoglobin level was highest in the east at 52.4%, followed by 48.6% in north, 39.3% in west and 27% in south. Coffee is more popular beverage in west and south India.

    "Studies show that tea limits the absorption of iron in the diet, also known as non-haem iron. This leads to reduced haemoglobin concentration. Hence, the practice of having tea with breakfast or after major meals like lunch or dinner is not a good idea. Tea is best had between meals," said Leena Chatterjee, director, Fortis SRL Labs & SRL Strategic Initiatives.

    Preventive medicine specialist Debashish Basu agreed. "Tannins in tea bind with iron molecules and prevent their absorption. So, it is better to have tea without milk and with a few drops of lemon. It neutralizes the tannins to an extent. But a majority of tea-drinkers in the east prefer to have it with milk and don't care to refrain from drinking tea before or after meals," said Basu.

    Apart from the correlation of tea and anaemia, the other major factor that causes high anaemic levels in the east is the high incidence of abnormal haemoglobin in the region. A significant section of the population in the east has haemoglobin E or haemoglobinopathy that causes chronic anaemia, according to some studies.

    But some senior doctors believe there are other reasons as well. "More women suffer from anaemia than men due to menstrual blood loss and malnutrition. In our social structure, women tend to eat last and are often deprived of nutritious food. But with economic progress, things have changed. More women now eat better food, which has narrowed the gap between men and women in terms of the number of anaemia patients," said PK Nemani, senior consultant at CMRI Hospital and an executive committee member of West Bengal Medical Council.

    A reason why eastern region has more suffering from anaemia could also be due to lack of iron in the diet, felt Nemani. "Our region consumes more meat and less vegetables, which is not the case in other parts of the country. Also, the eastern region has always been lagging behind the other regions economically which gets reflected in the diet," Nemani said.

    Of 30 lakh men screened in the study, 43.5% samples returned low haemoglobin levels. The elder population was found at higher risks than the young. According to a study by World Health Organization, the prevalence of anaemia in all groups in India is higher than other developing countries.

    "There is a need to make people aware of the causes, symptoms, treatment and importance of testing for anaemia. Most of the cases of anaemia are observed in infants and pregnant women. But this new analysis has shown that men are also equally at risk," said Chatterjee.


  8. #2048
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Desks with pedals to keep workers fit

    Desks that allow employees to pedal while working can make them healthier and more productive by fighting the ill-effects of a sedentary lifestyle, a new study has claimed.

    By providing workers with a portable pedalling device under their desks, Lucas Carr, from the University of Iowa in the US, discovered that people who once sat all day at work now moved without getting up.

    The study also found that workers who pedalled more were likelier to report weight loss, improved concentration at work, and fewer sick days than co-workers who pedalled less.

    Carr said the key to the findings was providing workers with a pedalling device that was not only comfortable and easy to use, but was theirs alone to pedal. "We wanted to see if workers would use these devices over a long period of time, and we found the design of the device is critically important," Carr said. Another essential component was privacy. Place a high-end exercise bike or treadmill desk in the hall as a shared device, and very few employees will use them, Carr said. "It's a great idea in theory, but it doesn't work over the long haul for most people," he said.

    Carr's 16-week pilot study was the third and longest in a series of studies he has conducted testing portable pedal machines among workers with sedentary jobs. His interest stems from growing evidence that people who sit all day — even if they're active outside of work — are at increased risk for serious health conditions such as multiple chronic diseases, poorer cognitive function, and mental distress. The study appeared in the 'American Journal of Preventive Medicine'.


  9. #2049
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    25% of Indians may die of lifestyle diseases before they are 70: Study


    With increasing prevalence of life-style diseases in India, one out of four Indians is at risk of dying from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardio-vascular ailments or cancer before the age of 70, according to estimates of various global and domestic organizations.

    The findings are part of a white paper released by the Confederation of Indian Industry and academia on Wednesday.

    "Every year, roughly 5.8 million Indians die from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. In other words, 1 in 4 Indians risks dying from an NCD before they reach the age of 70," the white paper said.



    Experts say the government needs to urgently build awareness programmes for NCDs in line with that for HIV and tuberculosis.

    "Prevalence of NCDs is a result of lifestyle patterns which have changed significantly over the last decade. The government's programmes so far have been focused around HIV and tropical diseases. But with the increasing NCD burden, awareness needs to be created and ramped up from community level to across the country," said Kevin L. Walker, Executive Director, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, a global organization working towards raising awareness about how to counter diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disabilities.

    Many other global organisations including World Health Organisation and other agencies of the United Nations have now carved out specific strategies to tackle the rising disease burden due to changing lifestyle and eating habits.

    The government said it is set to roll out a preventive and promotive programme in six districts to spread awareness about the disease.



    "We have chosen six districts. Around 200 doctors will be posted in each district. They are currently undergoing training and the programme is expected to be launched by the end of this month," Dr Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services, said at the National NCD summit organised by CII.



    According to the NCD country profiles of 2014 released by WHO, diseases like cancer, chronic respiratory problems and cardiovascular diseases are the biggest global killers accounting for 38 million deaths every year with a whopping 28 million in low and middle - income countries, including India. As per WHO estimates, NCDs account for almost 60% of the total mortality reported annually in India.

    Heart and vascular diseases, common cancers, chronic lung disease, diabetes and mental illness are the major NCDs prevalent in India. Apart from unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, use of tobacco and alcohol, as well as psycho-social stress are considered key reasons for the increasing disease burden.


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    Re: Health Bulletin




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