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  1. #2121
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Popular antidepressant found to be unsafe for adolescents


    Under a new initiative to publish corrections to misreported trials, the prestigious medical journal The BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) has published a study showing that the popular antidepressant paroxetine is neither safe nor effective for adolescents with depression.

    The original, influential study was published in 2001. It was funded by major pharamecutical maker SmithKline Beecham, now GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Known as Study 329, it compared the effectiveness and safety of the antidepressant drugs paroxetine and imipramine with placebo for adolescents with major depression. It reported that paroxetine was safe and effective for adolescents and was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) in 2001.

    The new results, published by The BMJ on 16 September, contradict the original research. Using previously confidential trial documents, the researchers led by Adelaide University professor Jon Jureidini, reanalysed the original data and found that neither paroxetine nor high dose imipramine was more effective than placebo in the treatment of major depression in adolescents. The authors considered the increase in harms with both drugs to be clinically significant. They conclude that "paroxetine was ineffective and unsafe in this study."

    Paroxetine is sold in the US under the brand name Paxil. Its patent expired in 2003 and since then it is a commonly prescribed generic, including in India. It belongs to a class of chemicals known as SSRI's - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Serotonin is a neurochemical that is thought to induce a feeling of wellbeing and happiness. The drug encourages reabsorption of serotonin produced by the body.

    In an accompanying article, Peter Doshi, Associate Editor for The BMJ says the new paper "has reignited calls for retraction of the original study and put additional pressure on academic and professional institutions to publicly address the many allegations of wrongdoing."

    He points out that the original manuscript was not written by any of the 22 named authors but by an outside medical writer hired by GSK. And that the paper's lead author - Brown University's chief of psychiatry, Martin Keller - had been the focus of a front page investigation in the Boston Globe in 1999 that documented his under-reporting of financial ties to drug companies.

    The study was criticised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. Yet, that year, over two million prescriptions were written for children and adolescents in the United States. In 2012 GSK was fined a record $3bn in part for fraudulently promoting paroxetine.

    Doshi also details the refusal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to intervene and retract the paper, and Brown University's silence over its faculty's involvement in Study 329.

    Dr Fiona Godlee, The BMJ Editor-in-Chief says publication of the reanalysed data from Study 329 "sets the record straight" and "shows the extent to which drug regulation is failing us." It also shows that the public and clinicians do not have the unbiased information they need to make informed decisions.

    She calls for independent clinical trials rather than trials funded and managed by industry, as well as legislation "to ensure that the results of all clinical trials are made fully available and the individual patient data are available for legitimate independent third party scrutiny."


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Initiating breastfeeding within an hour of delivery reduces neo-natal mortality


    Feeding mother's milk or colostrum in the first hour gives baby a healthy start to fight against malnutrition and common infections later in life. Experts are of the opinion that initiating breastfeeding within an hour of delivery could reduce neo-natal mortality as it protects the babies from various kind of infections.

    "Breast milk is the best nutrition for a baby's optimal growth and development. Exercising exclusive breastfeeding for first six months result in stronger immunity for life and even leads to sound physical, mental and emotional development," said Anita Sharma, childbirth educator and a lactation counsellor with Fortis Healthcare Ltd.

    Numerous studies from around the world have shown that stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis occur less often in breastfed babies. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid food, formula or water) for at least six months seems to offer the most protection.

    Exclusive breast feeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life. Despite its well-known benefits, the facts reported on breastfeeding practice in India are not very encouraging.

    According to an online survey conducted by Medela, a research-based company that provides breastfeeding solutions to mothers around the world, only 33 per cent mothers initiate breastfeeding in the first hour - which is regarded as the most crucial time to breastfeed a child


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New chocolate may help beat Alzheimer's

    A novel chocolate containing dietary cocoa extracts may possibly prevent age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's and promote healthy brain aging, researchers have claimed. Cocoa extracts contain polyphenols, which are micronutrients that have many health benefits, Giulio Maria Pasinetti from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, US, lead author of the study, said.

    "There is strong scientific evidence supporting the growing interest in developing cocoa extract, and potentially certain dietary chocolate preparations, as a natural source to maintain and promote brain health, and in particular to prevent age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's," the researchers said.

    Previous studies suggest that certain cocoa extract preparations may prevent or possibly delay Alzheimer's disease in animal experimental models of the disease, in part by inhibiting the generation and promoting the clearance of toxic proteins.

    The role of cocoa polyphenols in preventing abnormal accumulation of toxic protein aggregates in the brain would play a pivotal role in preventing the loss of synapses that are critical for functional connection among neurons. Recent clinical studies appe ar to confirm the potential beneficial role of certain cocoa extracts in delaying cognitive ageing. Evidence suggests that certain procedures used in cocoa processing can significantly influence its polyphenol content, influencing its biological activity . Two of the most common processing techniques for the chocolate we consume have been reported to result in the loss of as much as 90% of the polyphenols in cocoa, researchers said.

    Exposure to pesticides raises diabetes risk

    Exposure to pesticides increases the risk of developing diabetes by 61%, with different types of pesticides showing varying levels of risk, an analysis of 21 studies has found. Emerging evidence suggests that environmental contaminants -including pesticides -may play an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes, researchers said.Researchers from the University of Ioannina, Greece and Imperial College London, UK and colleagues performed a systematic review of observational studies that assessed the association between exposure to pesticides and diabetes.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New Delhi superbug spreads to 70 countries across the world

    The drug resistant superbug, which is immune to almost all known antibiotics and was first discovered in New Delhi have now spread to more than 70 countries in all regions of the world.

    The first State of the World's Antibiotics report 2015, to be revealed by Washington-based Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) has confirmed that the superbug - New Delhi metallo-betalactamase (NDM 1) has also been identified in environmental samples from water sources in Vietnam.

    British scientists had first found it in New Delhi's public water supply used for drinking, washing and cooking.

    NDM-1 was originally identified in a Swedish patient returning from New Delhi in 2008. It is highly resistant to most antibiotics.

    Bacterias like E coli and Klebsiella carrying NDM-1 now account for the majority of Carbapenem resistance in some countries

    Carbapenem are considered the latest generation of antibiotics used as the last resource.

    "Initially, much of the global spread was attributed to travellers exposed through medical treatment or hospital stays in the Indian subcontinent and potentially the Balkans, but now, NDM-1-carrying organisms are being increasingly detected worldwide in cases unrelated to travel, suggesting local transmission. NDM-1 has also been identified in environmental samples from water sources in India and Vietnam, indicating that the gene is present in both community and hospital settings," the report said.

    Joint research by scientists from Rice, Nankai and Tianjin universities had recently found superbugs carrying NDM1 in wastewater disinfected by chlorination.

    Tests at two wastewater treatment plants in northern China had revealed antibiotic-resistant bacteria NDM1 were not only escaping purification but also breeding and spreading their dangerous cargo.

    In a worrying finding, scientists had confirmed that "in one waste water treatment plant, we had four to five of these superbugs coming out for every one that came in."

    The study was led by Rice University environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez.

    In Delhi, Cardiff University scientists had found that the NDM1 gene had already spread to the bacteria that cause cholera and dysentery in India.

    This means when people carrying the superbug, especially children, suffer from a bout of cholera and dysentery, it would be nearly impossible to treat them with available antibiotics.

    The rate at which the NDM-1 gene is copied and transferred between different bacteria was highest at 30C — a temperature common in Delhi for almost seven months in a year, from April to October.

    The holy Ganges too has been found teeming with NDM-1.

    Samples taken from India's holiest river have shown that in May and June, when millions of pilgrims travel to Rishikesh and Haridwar to visit sacred sites, levels of resistance genes that lead to "superbugs" rocket.

    Experts from Newcastle University, UK, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi (IIT-Delhi), sampled water and sediments at seven sites along the Upper Ganges river, in the foothills of the Himalayas. By comparing water quality of the Upper Ganges in February and again in June, the team showed that levels of NDM-1 were 20 times higher per capita during the pilgrimage season than at other times.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New protein patch could regenerate heart muscle

    An international team of researchers has identified a protein that helps heart muscle cells regenerate after a heart attack.

    Researchers also showed that a patch loaded with the protein and placed inside the heart improved cardiac function and survival rates after a heart attack in mice and pigs.

    Animal hearts regained close to normal function within four to eight weeks after treatment with the protein patch.

    It might be possible to test the patch in human clinical trials as early as 2017, researchers said.

    Researchers identified the protein called Follistatin-like 1 (FSTL1), which can stimulate cultured heart muscle cells to divide.

    They embedded the protein in a patch and applied it to the surface of mouse and pig hearts that had undergone an experimental form of myocardial infarction or heart attack.

    Remarkably, FSTL1 caused heart muscle cells already present within the heart to multiply and re-build the damaged heart and reduce scarring.

    Heart muscle regeneration and scarring are two major issues that current treatments for heart attacks do not address, said Professor Pilar Ruiz-Lozano from Stanford University.

    "Treatments don't deal with this fundamental problem - and consequently many patients progressively lose heart function, leading to long-term disability and eventually death," Ruiz-Lozano said.

    Most patients survive a heart attack immediately after it happens. But the organ is damaged and scarred, making it harder to pump blood. Sustained pressure causes scarring to spread and ultimately leads to heart failure.

    The team initially looked to other species for inspiration. Lower vertebrates, such as fish, can regenerate heart muscle, and prior studies in fish suggested that the epicardium, the heart's outside layer, might produce regenerative compounds.

    The team started with the epicardial cells themselves, and showed that they stimulated existing heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, to replicate.

    Researchers used mass spectrometry and high throughput assays to find whether a single compound might be responsible. They found that FSTL1 did the job.

    The researchers then developed a therapeutic patch made out of collagen, which was cast with FSTL1 at its core.

    Testing the patch loaded with FSTL1 in a heart attack model in mice and pigs showed that it stimulated tissue regeneration even if implanted after the injury.

    In pigs that had suffered a heart attack, the fraction of blood pumped out of the left ventricle dropped from the normal 50 per cent to 30 per cent.

    But function was restored to 40 per cent after the patch was surgically placed onto the heart a week after injury and remained stable.

    The study was published in the journal Nature.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soon, kin may witness surgeries in hospitals

    Soon, relatives of patients will be able to watch surgeries from inside operation theatres in all hospitals — both government and private ones — if the state government's latest proposal passes muster.

    Health minister UT Khader on Friday said the government is mooting the proposal to check attacks on doctors on allegations of medical negligence.

    "We are thinking of either video recording the entire medical procedure or allowing relatives to watch procedures from inside operation theatres, if permitted by doctors, to dispense any doubts of medical negligence," Khader told reporters here.

    The minister said the proposal for videography can be implemented at a reasonable cost.

    "We are thinking of permitting videography, on demand from relatives. Video recording of medical procedures is done in many hospitals across the globe," he said, adding that the proposal is still in its nascent stage, and will be discussed before a final call is taken.

    No postmortems?

    Besides, the state government has sent a letter to the Centre seeking to amend certain medical and criminal laws to avoid postmortems when a person's family members are eye witnesses to the death. "We want to avoid postmortem of people who die in front of their close relatives. This is being suggested to protect sentiments of family members," Khader said.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Flying plane easier than driving bus in Bengaluru'

    "When I'm at the wheel, I can't let my attention waver even for a second. Our buses are huge and roads are narrow, and there are vehicles which just cannot wait to overtake you." Driving in Bengaluru is no mean feat, if one goes by the words of Prema Ramappa Nadabatti, 39, the lone woman driver of BMTC.

    "I think piloting a Metro train or a plane is easier than driving a bus on Bengaluru roads," says Prema, who's been with the transport corporation for six and a half years. Though she described her profession as nothing less than challenging, she said more women should take it up. Prema was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of an empowerment programme to train women as drivers.

    Fondly reminiscing her childhood days in a village near Gokak, Belgaum district, Prema said it is there that she learnt to drive and dreamt of working in a big city like Bengaluru. Though she is happy with her job, the fact that women hesitate to take up such professions disappoints her.

    "I know women who are comfortable being bus conductors but not drivers. Every single day when I sit behind the steering wheel, I feel proud of what I have achieved. Both men and women look at me with respect and I want other women to come forward and do this job," she said.

    Cabbie Hamsaveni Murthy agreed. "When I was learning to drive, my instructor was quite discouraging. But I proved him wrong. I think it is important for more women to drive for the safety of children," she said. Hamsaveni got married at the age of 21. She used to cook for families living in what she likes to call 'big bungalows of Bengaluru'. Today, she picks and drops five kids to their school in Koramangala and cooks for families in the evenings.

    Ammu, as she is lovingly called, was recruited by a self-help group from TAXSHE, a startup and a dedicated women driver-on-call service.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    ரசகுல்லா யாருக்கு சொந்தம்: 3 குழுக்களை அமைத்தது ஒடிசா அரசு

    ரசகுல்லா என்ற இனிப்புப் பண்டம் எந்த மாநிலத்துக்குச் சொந்தமானது என்பது குறித்து விசாரணை நடத்த மூன்று குழுக்களை ஒடிசா மாநில அரசு அமைத்துள்ளது.

    ரசகுல்லா என்ற இனிப்புப் பண்டம் மேற்கு வங்க மாநிலத்தில் தான் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டது என்றும், அந்த இனிப்பு தங்களுக்கு சொந்தமானது என்று அம்மாநிலம் கூறியுள்ளது.

    இந்த நிலையில், அறிவியல், தொழில்நுட்பம் மற்றும் உயர் கல்வித் துறையைச் சேர்ந்த 3 குழுக்களை அமைத்துள்ளது. முதல் குழு ரசகுல்லா ஒடிசாவைச் சேர்ந்தது என்பதை ஆதாரங்களுடன் நிரூபிக்கும் பணியிலும், மேற்கு வங்கம், எந்த அடிப்படையில் ரசகுல்லாவை சொந்தம் கொண்டாடுகிறது என்பதை கண்டுபிடிக்கும் பொறுப்பையும், ஒடிசாவுக்குத்தான் ரசகுல்லா சொந்தம் என்பதை நிரூபிக்கும் ஆதாரங்களையும், ஆவணங்களையும் சேகரிக்கும் பணியையும் செய்யும் என்று தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Want to lead a happy life? Get successful by the age of 27

    New research has suggested that men in particular report less satisfaction later in life if they struggle to make progress in their careers before the age of 27. But for women expectations are a little different. For many getting a degree and achieving some upward social mobility is more likely to lead to contentedness.

    Caroline Brett, the research associate said: "In men, unstable early careers or lack of goal attainment or social mobility appears to be negatively related to their subsequent outlook on life and the degree to which life makes sense in old age." For women who did work, were reported being happier the more progress they had made in their career. Brett said, "In women, for whom educational and occupational opportunities were often lacking, attaining higher education and a higher status occupation appears to be related to a more optimistic outlook in old age."


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Global fat demand set to soar

    Consumers are increasingly eschewing bread in favour of butter and red meat as carbohydrates take a back seat to fat and protein, a worldwide shift underpinned by a changing medical consensus that promises to transform the food industry.

    Global demand for fat will rise 43% by 2030 with per-capita consumption jumping almost a quarter, according to a report released Thursday by the Credit Suisse Research Institute. Demand is seen gaining 23% for red meat and falling 8.3% for carbohydrates.

    "Natural unprocessed fats are healthy and are integral to transforming our society into one that focuses on developing and maintaining healthy individuals," said Stefano Natella, global head of equity research at Credit Suisse and one of the report's authors. "Consumers are at a turning point, and this has distinct implications for investors."

    Fat has been at the center of a medical debate for at least three decades, with traditional advice in the US linking it to obesity and heart disease. But more recent re search has thrown doubt on that connection and has supported consumers as they buy more of the things once considered harmful. Cholesterol isn't likely to be a cause of heart disease and the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular risk has never been proven, according to the Credit Suisse report, for which the authors say they evaluated more than 400 medical research papers and books from academics and industry experts.In the US, the leading culprits for obesity are now thought probably to be vegetable oils and carbs.



    Fat consumption will eventu ally account for 31% calorie intake by 2030, from 26% now, according to the report.

    The trend, epitomized by Protein-rich Paleo diets, can also be seen in the global intake of butter, which is growing as much as 4% each year. US whole-milk sales are 11% higher while skimmed milk is down 14%, the report shows.

    Even eggs, laden with cholesterol, are back in fashion — consumption of the organic variety is up 21% from last year. Each person in the world will eat the equivalent of five eggs a week by 2030, according to the report.


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