27th Aug 2015, 12:13 PM #2081
Re: Health Bulletin
Quitting smoking boosts mental health
Quitting smoking after a heart attack has immediate benefits, including less chest pain, better quality of daily life and improved mental health, scientists have found.
Many of these improvements became apparent as little as one month after quitting and are more pronounced after one year, according to the research.
"Even in people who smoked and had a heart attack, we see fairly rapid improvements in important measures of health and quality of life when they quit smoking after their heart attacks, compared with people who continue smoking," said senior author Sharon Cresci, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.
Quitting smoking after a heart attack has been known to reduce risk of a second attack and risk of death in general.
But little was known about other health benefits that might have a more immediate impact on people's day-to-day lives and provide additional motivation to kick the habit.
The researchers analysed data from about 4,000 patients participating in several trials that studied heart attacks.
At the time of their heart attacks, patients were classified as never smokers, former smokers who quit before their heart attacks or active smokers.
Of the active smokers, 46 per cent quit in the first year following their heart attacks.
"Obviously those patients who had never smoked did the best after their heart attacks," Cresci said.
"But those who had quit prior to their heart attacks looked remarkably similar to the never smokers," Cresci said.
"The patients who quit after the heart attacks had an intermediate level of recovery but were markedly better than the active smokers, who fared the worst in the amount of chest pain they experienced and in their responses to questionnaires measuring mental health and quality of life," Cresci said.
The health improvements remained significant even when the researchers controlled for other factors that play a role in measures of mental health and general quality of life, such as pre-existing depression, other medical conditions and socioeconomic factors.
One of the most important indicators of how a patient is doing after a heart attack is the frequency and degree of angina - pain or heaviness in the chest that can radiate into the left arm and neck. It sometimes includes nausea and shortness of breath.
When sustained over a period of time, angina can indicate that a person is having a heart attack.
But even intermittent, brief episodes while taking a walk or climbing stairs can be alarming, reducing quality of life and affecting mental health.
"Episodes of angina are scary, especially when patients have just had a heart attack. The symptoms are a signal that the heart is not getting enough oxygen, which affects the quality of people's daily lives," said Cresci.
The study was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
27th Aug 2015, 12:30 PM #2082
Re: Health Bulletin
Cancers associated with diabetes are preventable: Expert
There is a strong bond between cancer, blindness and diabetes. The incidence of liver, pancreas and endometrium cancers is two times higher in people with diabetes, said diabetologist Dr Vijay Viswanathan.
During the Founder's Day celebrations at M V Hospital for Diabetes on Wednesday, he said, "Breast cancer and bladder cancer are also 1.5 to two times more common in people with diabetes. A holistic approach by doctors, a healthy diet and physical exercise can reduce the risk of cancers where diabetes and cancer are associated."
Dr V Shanta of Cancer Institute, who released a booklet on cancer, blindness and diabetes, said the goal in healthcare should be increasing accessibility, affordability and equitability. "In the case of cancer, treatment costs have become very high as the knowledge for curability has increased. So the focus should be on prevention rather than cure," she said. The oncology expert said cancers associated with diabetes and eye care were mostly preventable.
Pointing out that cancer was growing by 1% annually; Dr Shanta said early diagnosis was imperative. "With the current trend being focus on molecular biology and diagnosis, very soon we will be looking at a genomic era where treatment for cancer will become more personalised," she said. Apart from making treatment affordable, the focus should be on improving the quality of life of people with cancer as survival was not the end point.
Health secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan, who presided over the function, said the state government's focus was on creating a society free of disease. "The government is working on making healthcare accessible to all," he said.
Dr P Namperumal of Arvind Eye Hospitals in Madurai was honoured with the Prof M Viswanathan 'Selfless Service Award' on the occasion. The award for outstanding social service was given to N Paul Sunder Singh, the founder director of Karunalaya.
29th Aug 2015, 12:50 AM #2083
Re: Health Bulletin
Early detection can cure sarcoma, says experts
Is your child suffering from pain in the knee joints at night? Does it not subside even after taking analgesics? It is time for a check up to rule out sarcoma.
"Early detection and advanced treatments, especially for Sarcomas, is the right approach especially in children, says Dr. Pramod Chinder, consultant, Ortho Oncology, HCG Cancer Care.
The specialist was in the city to share awareness on early detection and advanced treatments for cancer.
Chinder stresses on the need of multimodal approach for cancer treatments, adding it includes appropriate usage of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Dr.Radheshyam Naik, Head, Bone Marrow Transplant, HCG Cancer Centre says it is important people should go for regular check-ups for detection of cancer cells. ``Periodic check-ups pick up early signs of disease and dysfunction, hence can be treated early," he adds.
Chinder says of the 700 sarcoma cases he has seen; most of them were at advanced stage due to failure to diagnose it early. ``Early intervention cuts down medical costs and also cure sarcoma,'' he adds.
A sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops from certain tissues, like bone or muscle. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop from soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. They can be found in any part of the body as most of them develop in the arms or legs. They can also be found in the trunk, head and neck area, internal organs and the area in back of the abdominal cavity. Sarcomas are not common tumors, and most cancers are the type of tumors called carcinomas. Sarcomas most often start in bones, such as osteosarcomas.
Pointing out the first computer assisted tumour surgery in India was done at HCG for a bone tumour, Chinder stressed that early detection is the only way to cure. ``As most bone tumors occur in children, it is important for the doctors to know their responsibility in saving a life,'' he noted.
29th Aug 2015, 12:50 AM #2084
Re: Health Bulletin
Researchers turn to seaweeds to develop new antibiotics
British researchers are trying to use the antimicrobial properties of seaweeds from the country's coastline to develop a new generation of antibiotics in a bid to fight the growing threat of resistant superbugs, according to a report released on Thursday by the University of Exeter.
As the number of multidrug-resistant bacteria, also known as superbug, rises, there is an urgent need for new drugs that can be used to treat infections when others fail. Natural environments can be a rich source of antibiotics.
A research team from the University of Exeter are trying to uncover properties that could form the basis for a new generation of antibiotics that can curb infections caused by superbugs, such as MRSA, Xinhua reported.
"Our early experiments have confirmed that seaweeds hold a diverse array of antimicrobial properties. Excitingly, some of these extracts are most effective against some of the more resistant and problematic bacteria and we're hoping our work will help to make the discovery of new drugs quicker and cheaper," said Michiel Vos, who led the study.
With its rich abundance of coastline and seaweed species, Cornwall, a coastal area in southwest Britain, is the perfect place for this kind of research.
To take these ideas further, Vos said the team would create a dedicated research project that can really shed light on the potential they were seeing.
Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing global problem. A previous World Health Organization (WHO) report stated that it is "now a major threat to public health".
31st Aug 2015, 02:30 PM #2085
Re: Health Bulletin
'Kids lacking sleep tempted more by food'
Children who don't get enough sleep might be more tempted by food, a new study suggests.
Five-year-olds who slept less than 11 hours a night were more eager to eat at the sight or reminder of a favorite snack, compared to those who slept longer, researchers reported in the International Journal of Obesity.
The same children also had a higher body mass index - a measure of weight in relation to height - than those who slept 11 hours or more.
"There is now accumulating evidence in both children and adults to suggest that short or insufficient sleep increases reward-driven ('hedonic') eating," said Laura McDonald, the study's lead author and a researcher at University College London.
Previous studies have shown that too little sleep significantly increases the chances that a child will be overweight or obese, McDonald and her team point out.
But less was known about how sleep affects daily calorie intake.
31st Aug 2015, 02:30 PM #2086
Re: Health Bulletin
Binge TV viewing can be fatal, researchers warn
People who spend hours bingeing on television shows run the risk of suffering a fatal pulmonary embolism, according to a major new study of more than 86,000 people tracked over 18 years.
Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs, and is usually caused by a blood clot formed in a vein in the leg. Up to 60,000 people die as a result of pulmonary embolism each year in Britain. Those who indulge in marathon TV sessions should take the same precautions against developing deadly blood clots as they would on a long-distance flight, warns the research, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in London.
It is the first study into the links between prolonged television watching and fatal pulmonary embolism. A boom in online television services in recent years has allowed people to download and watch entire series of shows such as Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black in one sitting.
But people who sit in front of the television for five hours or more a day have more than twice the risk of suffering a deadly blood clot as those watching less than two and a half hours per day, the research says. And The danger of having a fatal pulmonary embolism is even higher among those between 40 and 59 who watch more than five hours daily. They are at more than six times greater risk than those watching less than 2.5 hours a day. And in this age group, those watching 2.5 to 4.9 hours of television daily are more than three times more likely to develop a fatal blood clot than those watching less.
The research, funded by the Japanese government, looked at 36,007 men and 50,017 women aged between 40 and 79. Participants reported how much television they watched each day. D and were then followed for 18 years as part of the Japanese Collaborative Cohort Study. During the course of the study, there were 59 deaths from pulmonary embolism. The risks of watching television were calculated after adjusting for other factors such as a history of hypertension or diabetes, smoking, drinking, and body mass index. THE INDEPENDENT"We have known about the relationship between prolonged sitting and pulmonary embolism for some time, but this is the first time a direct link between prolonged television watching and fatal pulmonary embolism has been shown," said Dr Toru Shirakawa, public health research fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at Osaka University in Japan, who led the research.
A long-haul flight in an economy-class seat is a well-known cause of pulmonary embolism, according to Dr Shirakawa, "But the public health concern is that in general people are more likely to watch many hours of television than taking long-haul flights." He added: "To prevent the occurrence of pulmonary embolism, we recommend the same preventive behaviour used against economy-class syndrome. That is, take a break, stand up, and walk around during the television viewing. Drinking water for preventing dehydration is also important."
The findings mean that the average British pensioner is at risk. People aged over 65 watch more television than any other age group, at five hours and 40 minutes a day, according to Ofcom. And it's not just pensioners who would fall into the risk category, for the average Briton watches three hours and 40 minutes a day.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "While we wouldn't advocate a public health warning for watching television, people who spend many hours in front of the TV should consider how this might be impacting their heart health." He added: "In addition to these findings, sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity both increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, so it's important to take breaks and keep active in bursts of at least 10 minutes or more."
And Professor Stephen Spiro, honorary medical adviser at the British Lung Foundation, said: "Staying seated for hours without moving in front of a television or a computer can be potentially dangerous - the same goes for long car journeys and flights. The message people should take from this is that if you are sitting still for more than two hours, get up and walk about for 10 minutes and get your circulation moving again."
31st Aug 2015, 02:39 PM #2087
Re: Health Bulletin
People could use breath to 'speak'
A first of its kind device that transforms paralysis victims' breath into words has been developed by researchers, including one of Indian origin.
The prototype developed by researchers from Loughborough University analyses changes in breathing patterns and converts 'breath signals' into words using pattern recognition software and an analogue-to-digital converter. A speech synthesizer then reads the words aloud. The device learns from its user, building up its knowledge as it goes.
It allows the user to control how he or she wishes to communicate - effectively enabling them to create their own language by varying the speed of their breathing.
31st Aug 2015, 02:41 PM #2088
Re: Health Bulletin
Now, a wireless pacemaker sans surgery
A tiny, wireless pacemaker could offer some heart patients a surgery-free alternative to the traditional devices, a new study says. Some doctors, however, say there are lingering safety questions and warned patients not to rush to get the new technology.
Unlike traditional pacemakers - which need a generator and wires and are implanted via surgery - the new pacemaker is a wireless tiny tube that can be attached to the right side of the heart using a catheter inserted through the leg.
"This is another landmark in the development of pacemakers," said Dr Christopher Granger of the American Heart Association, who was not part of the new study. Still, and added that doctors need time to learn how to use any new technology to avoid potential problems.
"I would tell patients to be careful of being one of the first to get this unless there's a compelling reason," he said. In the new research, doctors in Australia, Canada and the US implanted the mini-pacemaker into more than 500 people. After six months, nearly 7% of patients reported side effects including the device poking holes in their heart. In comparison, about 10% of patients who get regular pacemakers suffer complications.
The study was published on Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine and is being presented at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in London. The research was paid for by the pacemaker's manufacturer, St Jude Medical.
The miniature pacemaker is already approved in Europe and the new study will likely be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration. A study of the device in Europe, however, was twice stopped last year and in May when a worrying number of complications were reported, including one case where the device got dislodged and stuck in the artery leading to the patient's lungs. A similar pacemaker made by Medtronic is also licensed in Europe.
While most pacemakers have wires connecting the device to the right and left sides of the heart, the new device sits in the right ventricle and doesn't coordinate the two sides. Experts estimated the tiny new pacemaker might work for up to 30%of patients.
Many doctors in Europe are still wary of the new device, which is at least double the price of a regular one. Dr Jose Ramon, president of the Spanish Society of Cardiology, said his hospital only implanted the new pacemaker in about a dozen patients last year, compared to approximately 500 patients who got a traditional device.
The tiny pacemaker also lacks some functions that are standard for normal devices, like tracking irregular heart rhythms. "It can't monitor patients remotely, so they have to go to the hospital for checks," said Dr Jagmeet Singh, a spokesman for the American College of Cardiology.
1st Sep 2015, 02:08 AM #2089
Re: Health Bulletin
Stomach-ache meds can cause Parkinson's: Study
Some commonly prescribed drugs for gastroenterological disorders, apparently innocuous medicines used to treat indigestion or stomach pain, could be leading to serious neurological ailments like Parkinson's disease.
A study conducted by the Institute of Neurosciences Kolkata (INK) claimed that a growing number of patients suffering from Parkinson's or oral dyskinesia (movement disorder) in the city have these drugs to blame for their condition. These drugs have been causing irreversible damage to the body's dopamine generator - a neuro-transmitter in the brain that regulates movement and emotional responses. - leading to these neurological ailments.
Till a few years ago, drugs of the pantoprozile group would be prescribed to treat stomach ailments. In the recent past, they have been replaced by the levosulpiride group - drugs that have the suffix L. "They are a shade more effective, but have a harmful side-effect. They are anti-dopamine and block the dopamine receptor in the brain, thereby depleting its reserve, seriously affecting movements. It leads to Parkinson's that makes limbs tremor. It also causes oral dyskinesia or excess movement of the mouth and tongue. The latter results in speech difficulty and both the diseases are incurable," said Hrishikesh Kumar, head of the department of neurology, INK, who led the study.
Dyskinesia could also affect eyelid and stomach muscle movement, Kumar added. "It is worrying that a huge number of patients suffering from Parkinson's and dyskinesia in Kolkata have been on levosulpiride drugs. They have been consuming it, often without prescription. Many had been prescribed the drugs even though they didn't quite need them. This is a dangerous trend," said Kumar.
Gastro-intestinal surgeon Supriyo Ghatak said that there was indeed a tendency to prescribe the drugs rampantly. "It could be partly due to the fact that levosulpiride is a new group. There's always a tendency to prescribe new drugs. This is dangerous in a city like Kolkata where self-medication is rampant and over-the-counter sale happens without restriction," said Ghatak.
Levosulpiride drugs should be taken under strict medical supervision, felt critical medicine specialist Subrata Maitra.
"These drugs are useful and can't be rejected. But since they have an effect on dopamine, they have to be prescribed carefully. If consumed for weeks, they could indeed have serious long-term neurological consequences. Over-the-counter sale should be stopped immediately. But doctors and patients seem to be very casual about it," said Maitra.
Patients aged between 40 and 70 have been found to be affected by levosulpiride drugs. And unlike natural causes, drug-induced Parkinson's or dyskinesia is more virulent. "These medicines cause damage, which can't be repaired. So, an ordinary stomach ailment results in serious neurological damage. Sadly, even doctors are not aware of the danger," said Kumar.
3rd Sep 2015, 11:42 PM #2090
Re: Health Bulletin
How to use contact lens--Take Care, See Clear
Initiation for use of contact lenses among Indians has reduced significantly from 15-16 years to 12-13 years driven by peer pressure and the perception of cosmetic needs.
However, many of these children do not use them properly, leading to infections. Here's how to use contact lens :