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Health Bulletin


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  1. #2101
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    Re: Health Bulletin




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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Exercise benefits from vitamin C supplements?


    Taking vitamin C supplements daily may have similar cardiovascular benefits as regular exercise in overweight and obese adults, a new study has claimed.

    Overweight and obese adults are advised to exercise to improve their health, but more than 50% do not do so, researchers said.

    Research conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has suggested that taking vitamin C supplements daily can have simi ar cardiovascular benefits as regular exercise in these adults. The blood vessels of overweight and obese adults have elevated activity of the small vessel-constricting protein endothelin (ET)-1. Because of the high ET-1 activity, these vessels are more prone to constricting, becoming less responsive to blood flow demand and increasing risk of developing vascular disease.

    Exercise has been shown to reduce ET-1 activity , but incorporating an exercise regimen into a daily routine can be challenging.

    The study examined whether vitamin C supplements, which have been reported to improve vessel function, can also lower ET-1 activity. Experts found daily supplementation of vitamin C (500 mgday) reduced ET-1related vessel constriction as much as walking for exercise did. Vitamin C supplementation represents an effective strategy for reducing ET-1mediated vessel constriction in overweight and obese adults, the experts said.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    How poop can heal you
    -- Faecal transplant

    Almost everyone knows about a kidney or a liver transplant. But do you know there is another transplant where doctors put a donor's stool deep into the intestine of a patient suffering from severe gut infection? Faecal transplant, the procedure which has been experimented with successfully abroad, is gaining ground in India, too.

    A 44-year-old man suffering from ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, recently underwent the life-saving procedure at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon. Dr Avnish Seth, director, gastroenterology and hepatobiliary sciences at the hospital, said six more patients have undergone the transplant, while another one is in waiting.

    "Suresh Sharma (name changed) was suffering from ulcerative colitis for the past 11 years. He was passing stools mixed with blood on most days. No amount of steroids and other medications could help him. That's why we thought of attempting the transplant procedure on him. The donor was a healthy family member. There was marked relief in his symptoms nine months later. He is off all medication," Dr Seth added. He said more such case results have to be vetted before declaring it a success and advising the procedure. for patients suffering from severe infection of the gut medicines fail to help.

    Dr Anupam Sibal, medical director of Apollo hospitals, said they have also conducted faecal transplant successfully on one patient. "We have good and bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and there is a balance between them. When it gets disturbed, gastrointestinal symptoms occur. There is a lot of interest in the concept of putting in healthy bacteria to get this balance right. Initial results are encouraging to say the least," he said.

    Faecal transplant is carried out in the western countries at an exorbitant cost. Dr Seth of Fortis hospital said it has worked out a "do it at home" model where a close family member donates the stool and the processing is carried out at home to reduce the cost. "Also, our technique of putting a donor's stool deep into the colon with colonoscope and not just a rectal enema has not been reported earlier," he said.

    Doctors said faecal transplant has been used for centuries to treat equine diarrhoea. "In World War II, German soldiers learnt that ingestion of camel stool helped in recovering from bacillary dysentery. In 1958, the first faecal transplant for pseudomembranous colitis was reported when the condition of three of four critical patients improved following FMT enema," said a doctor.


  4. #2104
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists find how body keeps balance while jogging

    Ever wondered why do you feel dizzy during a roller coaster ride but not while jogging? The answer may lie in your ears!

    Scientists have found that an organ located in the inner ear helps our body maintain balance while jogging.

    The active movements of a jogger's arms and legs are accompanied by involuntary changes in the position of the head relative to the rest of the body. However, a jogger does not experience dizziness like those induced in the passive riders of a roller coaster.

    The answer for the difference lies in the vestibular organ (VO) located in the inner ear, which controls balance and posture, the researchers said.

    The VO senses ongoing self-motion and ensures that, while running, a jogger unconsciously compensates for the accompanying changes in the orientation of the head.

    The capacity to adapt and respond appropriately to both slight and substantial displacements of the head in turn implies that the sensory hair cells in the inner ear can react to widely varying stimulus intensities.



    In collaboration with Dr John Simmers at the Centre national de la recherche scientifiqu (CNRS) at the University of Bordeaux, neurobiologists Dr Boris Chagnaud, Roberto Banchi and Professor Hans Straka at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen's Department of Biology II, have now shown, for the first time, how this feat is achieved.

    The findings show that cells in the spinal cord which generate the rhythmic patterns of neural and muscle activity required for locomotion also adaptively alter the sensitivity of the hair cells in the VO, enabling them to respond to the broad range of incoming signal amplitudes.

    "We are not really aware of what movement actually involves because our balance organs react immediately to alterations in posture and head position," said Chagnaud.

    "The hair cells, which detect the resulting changes in fluid flow in the semicircular canals in the inner ear, enable us to keep our balance without any conscious effort," said Chagnaud.



    Using tadpoles as an experimental model system, the researchers investigated how the hair cells manage to sense both low- and high-amplitude movements and produce the signals that control the appropriate compensatory response.

    The tadpole's balance organs operate on the same principle as the bilateral VOs in humans, and the nerve circuits responsible for communication between the hair cells and the motor neurons in the spinal cord are organised in essentially identical ways, the researchers said.

    When a tadpole initiates a voluntary movement, nerve cells in the spinal cord send copies of the motor commands to efferent neurons in the brainstem that project to the hair cells in the inner ear.



    By dampening the intrinsic sensitivity of the hair cells, the input from the spinal cord effectively adapts the VO's dynamic range. This process enables the balance organ to maintain responsiveness to high-amplitude "afferent" stimuli from the periphery, and thus to modulate the head movements.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists decode humble tulsi


    Be it common cold or fever, the humble tulsi can cure many an ailment. But despite its extensive use in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, not much is known about the bioactive compounds produced by the plant.

    A recent breakthrough by city scientists has got them one step closer to understanding the herb's medicinal values.

    A team of researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, has produced the first draft genome of the plant, which can help them identify the genes responsible for production of compounds with potential medicinal properties. The medicinal properties of tulsi are attributed to specialized compounds produced as a part of its defence mechanism, said Sowdhamini Ramanathan of NCBS, the lead researcher.

    The team included researchers from NCBS, inStem and CCAMP, all members of the Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster.

    "The sequence reveals the interesting pathways used by tulsi to make Ursolic acid, a medically important compound. If one could use modern synthetic biology techniques to synthesize Urosolic acid, it would be of great benefit," said S Ramaswamy from inStem.

    The team used five varieties of tulsi to collect the genomic data. It then compared the results with well-studied species like Arabidopsis thaliana (a flowering plant). This helped them identify the unique compounds found in tulsi Krishna subtype.

    Queen of herbs

    Tulsi is rather commonplace in every household for its medicinal it importance. In ancient Indian texts, was referred to as the `queen of herbs', comprising many aromatic compounds. Tulsi or ocimum tenuiflorum is assumed to be of Indian origin and has been under cultivation for almost 3,000 years now. It has myriad medicinal properties -anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-pyretic and anti-cancer, to name a few.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Blood pressure, diabetes, smoking among biggest killers in India: Study


    High blood pressure, high blood sugar, smoking and pollution are causing more deaths in India than under nutrition and other tropical diseases, according to a latest study by Lancet. It observed a significant increase in deaths over the past decade due to diseases associated with these health risk factors.

    Between 1990 and 2013, deaths due to high blood pressure and cholesterol in India have more than doubled, whereas that from outdoor pollution have increased by more than 60% during the period. Deaths from alcohol have also increased by 97%, data collected through analysis of 79 risk factors showed.

    The study, assessing the global disease burden, was conducted by an international consortium of researchers led by the University of Washington and included representatives from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

    In 1990, childhood under nutrition was the topmost health risk causing around nearly 8.97 lakh deaths in India. However, the study shows it is no longer among the top ten health risk factors in the country. On the contrary, high blood pressure, which caused over 76 lakh deaths in 1990, was the most serious threat to the health of people with deaths increasing by 106% in 2013.



    According to the study, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and indoor pollution together contributed to 3.3 million premature deaths in India in 2013.

    The other major contributors to health loss in India are unsafe water sources and tobacco consumption.

    Though the contribution of child and maternal under nutrition to health loss have dropped significantly since 1990, these are still substantial contributors to health loss in India, the study said.

    "It is remarkable that the contribution of metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and that of poor diet and alcohol use, to health loss has doubled in India over the past quarter of a century," said study co-author Lalit Dandona, who is also a professor at PHFI.

    Experts said findings from the study provide useful pointers for where policy emphasis is needed to improve health in India.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Born at 23 weeks, India’s ‘miracle preemie’ goes home healthy


    After suffering through five miscarriages, Dahisar couple Trupti and Santosh Mhabrey believe they have a miracle at hand. Their daughter, Baby Sakshi, is possibly the most premature baby to survive in the country, say doctors who nursed the child for four-and-a-half months in a neonate intensive care unit.

    Born at 23 weeks of gestation on May 5, Baby Sakshi, at barely 460gm, weighed much less than an iPad. "As she was about 30cm from head to toe, we were worried about transferring her from the delivery room to the NICU in the usual incubator,'' said neonatologist, Dr Haribalkrishna Balasubramanian, from Surya Hospital, Santa Cruz. Newborns are usually over 50cm in length.

    Baby Sakshi belongs to a new group of babies dubbed "micro-preemies'' as they weigh less than 900gm. "After talking to our peers and checking medical literature, we believe Baby Sakshi is the most premature baby to survive in India,'' said Surya Hospital's Dr Bhupendra Avasthi.

    Worldwide, the survival of a preterm infant born at 23 weeks is considered an achievement of sorts. "Even developed countries would not revive babies premature than this, since the chances of survival and normal development are bleak,'' said his colleague, Dr Nandkishore Kabra.

    Around 22-24 weeks of pregnancy is considered the earliest that a foetus can survive outside the mother's womb. But given the battle between pro-life and anti-abortion factions, many countries do not allow abortions beyond 14 weeks of pregnancy.

    Dr Ruchi Nanavati, who heads the neonatology department of KEM Hospital, said, "I cannot say if this is indeed the first 23-weeker to survive in India, but it is admirable that a 460gm baby survived.'' Dr Jayshree Mondkar, who heads the neonatology department at Sion Hospital, said, "She is likely to be among the few born under 25 weeks to look forward to a discharge from the NICU.''

    For the 37-year-old parents, their child's survival is the testimony of "our faith, our doctors' skills and God's blessings''. Said Santosh, "We call her Sakshi as she is the testimony of God's will.''

    The couple was married for 12 years and Trupti suffered five miscarriages. "I left my job two years back as I underwent IVF treatment,'' said Trupti. Yet on the day after their 12th wedding anniversary on May 1, she suffered bleeding. Her gynecologist conducted tests that indicated that the baby could be born any moment. "We were advised to go to Surya Hospital as it has a maternity ward as well as an NICU,'' said Santosh.

    Baby Sakshi was born on the night of May 5. "The concept of Golden Hour in cardiac care is reduced to Golden 10 minutes in neonatal care,'' said Dr Hari. The newborn was given a special medicine to clear her lungs in the delivery room, transferred to the NICU and hooked to a ventilator within 10 minutes.

    In the following months, she survived immature lungs, infection, bleeding in the brain, poor growth, drops in hemoglobin and fragile bones. "We could not touch her as her skin would tear instantly,'' said Dr Hari. "It has taken over 85,000 person hours of hard work to see Sakshi get to 1.9kg and take feeds orally without oxygen,'' said Dr Kabra.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New lab-on-chip device to cut health test costs


    Scientists have developed a breakthrough lab-on-chip device that can substantially reduce the cost of sophisticated lab tests for medical disorders and diseases such as HIV, Lyme disease and syphilis.

    The new device uses miniaturised channels and valves to replace "benchtop" assays - tests that require large samples of blood or other fluids and expensive chemicals that lab technicians manually mix in trays of tubes or plastic plates with cup-like depressions.

    "The main advantage is cost - these assays are done in labs and clinics everywhere," said Mehdi Ghodbane, who earned his doctorate in biomedical engineering at Rutgers University.

    The lab-on-chip device, which employs microfluidics technology, along with making tests more affordable for patients and researchers, opens doors for new research because of its capability to perform complex analyses using 90 per cent less sample fluid than needed in conventional tests.

    "A great deal of research has been hindered because in many cases one is not able to extract enough fluid," said Ghodbane, who now works in biopharmaceutical research and development at GlaxoSmithKline.

    The breakthrough also requires one-tenth of the chemicals used in a conventional multiplex immunoassay, which can cost as much as USD 1500.

    Additionally, the device automates much of the skilled labour involved in performing tests.

    "The results are as sensitive and accurate as the standard bench-top assay," said Martin Yarmush, professor of biomedical engineering at Rutgers University.

    Until now, animal research on central nervous system disorders, such as spinal cord injury and Parkinson's disease, has been limited because researchers could not extract sufficient cerebrospinal fluid to perform conventional assays.

    "With our technology, researchers will be able to perform large-scale controlled studies with comparable accuracy to conventional assays," Yarmush said.

    The discovery could also lead to more comprehensive research on autoimmune joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis through animal studies.

    As with spinal fluid, the amount of joint fluid, or synovial fluid, researchers are able to collect from lab animals is minuscule.

    The researchers combined several capabilities for the first time in the device they have dubbed "ELISA-on-a-chip" (for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).

    A single device analyses 32 samples at once and can measure widely varying concentrations of as many as six proteins in a sample.

    The research was published in the journal Lab on a Chip.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Experts to do research on lifestyle, health of sadhus

    Even as the sadhus are a revered lot, very few know how and why they chose the path of spirituality. Besides, factors such as whether the 'bhasma' on the sadhus' body has some scientific base, their lifestyle and its effects on their health still remain a mystery.

    Seeing the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Nashik and Trimabakeshwar as an opportunity, a team of about 70 doctors, interns and other medical experts of Dr Vasant Pawar Medical College has decided to take up an extensive research of the sadhus.

    Pradeep Barde, in-charge of the Central Research Lab at Dr Vasant Pawar Medical College in Adgaon, said, "The aim of the research is to get information about as many facts of the sadhus as possible. They have an altogether different lifestyle. Their time of waking up in the morning, religious rituals, attire, diet, sleeping habits, celibacy and many other factors must be having different effects on their health. We are collecting the data accordingly."

    The surveyors said their aim was to collect data for some 35 researches. The research work will cover issues right from the skin of the sadhus to their teeth. They said while some sadhus may be extremely pleasant to speak, others are the opposite. Taking such facts into consideration, the surveyors have set up medical camps in different Akhadas so that the sadhus turning up for medical check-up or complaining about some ailments can be requested if they can spend some time and give information about their lifestyle.

    The doctors said they are trying tried to collect data on the effect of smoking "chillum" on the sadhus, their eye morbidity, ear diseases, peripheral vascular diseases, spondylosis and orthopaedic morbidity, prevalence of substance abuse, lung disease, respiratory diseases, mental health, etc.

    Balaji Almale, professor and head of the department of community medicine at Dr Vasant Pawar Medical College, said while they have checked over 2,000 sadhus for different diseases, they have taken information from 700 of them for collecting data for research. The officials said Mrunal Patil, dean of the college, and secretary Nilima Pawar were enthusiastic to provide medical help to the sadhus and also conduct research on their lifestyle and health.

    The data collection work will continue till September 25 or may be extended further. The surveyors said they could easily see huge different between the health of the sadhus of Vaishnav Akhadas and those of Shaiva Akhadas.

    Most of the sadhus suffer from hypertension and diabetes and are not aware that they suffer from these diseases. Their other medical complaints include respiratory illnesses, joint pains and stomach-related problems.


  10. #2110
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mouth cancer eats up tobacco addict's face

    Imagine having to live without a cheek, upper and lower jaws, parts of eyes, nose, sinus and the base of the skull. That's the story of Adil (name changed), a mouth cancer patient from Shivamogga who lost a portion of his face due to tobacco addiction.

    Today, a piece of bone taken from his leg serves as his lower jaw, muscle from the chest forms a part of his palate and his thigh muscle serves as his tongue. The 33-year-old recently underwent a re-constructive surgery during which a tumour as big as a cricket ball was removed from his mouth.

    "I have not seen a patient undergo such extensive surgery earlier. He was addicted to zarda for over five years and had tried alternative medicine. When he came to me six months ago, he was in the fourth stage of cancer; chemotherapy and radio therapy didn't help," said Dr Vishal Rao, head and neck surgeon from HCG Cancer Centre who operated upon him. Adil will soon be shifted to the ICU.

    Adil underwent a nine-hour plastic surgery to get rid of the tumour a week ago and was operated upon by Dr Prashanth Puranik, a plastic surgeon, and a team of oncologists. Next, he'll undergo speech therapy. The man who used to run a small business in Shivamogga is the father of five kids.

    "The children would be scared to see him; he'd be stinking, bleeding, with worms coming out his mouth," said his wife. Doctors removed over 15 maggots from his mouth.


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