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Health Bulletin


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  1. #211
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New Middle East virus is a threat to entire world: WHO

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a new virus, similar to the dreaded Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, and has termed it as a "threat to the entire world" .


    The SARS-like virus termed as MERS has killed 23 people so far, with more than half of 44 people diagnosed with the disease, the New York Daily News reports.

    The new virus was last week renamed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS, reflecting the fact that the bulk of cases are in that region.

    Terming the virus as a threat, WHO director-general , Dr Margaret Chan, said that her greatest and immediate concern is that the new coronavirus is emerging faster than people's understanding of its magnitude, adding that the virus cannot be managed or kept to itself by any single affected country.

    Stating that WHO does not have necessary information about the virus like its origin and its mode of infection , Chan said that until the organization is capable of answering these questions, they cannot prevent the everspreading virus. The report said that while the coronavirus causes the common cold, the new coronavirus, or MERS, has killed more than half of those who have been diagnosed with it.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    thank you Vijigermany for the health updates from around the world.


  3. #213
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hi Sumitra,
    Most welcome !


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cola as bad as crack cocaine for your teeth

    Gulping down cola is as damaging for your teeth as crack cocaine and meth.

    The British Dental Association has found that women who drank two litres of fizzy drinks daily for three to five years experienced tooth decay remarkably similar to that suffered by old methamphetamine addicts and habitual crack cocaine users.

    Methamphetamine, crack cocaine and fizzy drinks - both diet and regular - can cause similar dental problems, the most common of which is dental erosion.

    Methamphetamine and crack are known to severely affect the mouths of users, while frequent consumption of sugary drinks increases the risk of tooth decay.

    Besides exposing teeth to damaging acid, these illegal drugs reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, providing less opportunity for the acids to wash away.

    Previous studies have linked "meth mouth" with a number of diseases that are increasingly associated with poor oral health.

    The scientists say every time we eat or drink anything sugary, teeth are under attack for up to one hour. Saliva plays a major role in neutralising acid in the mouth, and it takes up to an hour for that to happen.

    If sugary items are constantly being consumed, the mouth is constantly under attack and does not get the chance to recover.

    Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter said "It is a key finding which shows the damage caused by frequent consumption of fizzy drinks. Cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks is one of our key messages, and this research highlights the possible damage not following this rule can cause".

    The Foundation recommends that "if you do wish to graze during the day, choose foods and drinks that are going to benefit your oral health, including cheese, nuts, water or diluted juice drinks. Chewing on sugar-free gum can help to speed up the time that is takes for the saliva to neutralisz plaque acids and lessen the damage that these can cause if you choose not to indulge in healthy snacking.

    Dr Carter added, "The increase in consumption of sugary drinks is one of the key reasons for dental decay, particularly in children. The tendency to sip on sugary drinks and constantly graze throughout the day is one reason why improvements in oral health in the UK have slowed down."


  5. #215
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Women wear red, pink when most fertile

    A new study has found that women wearing red or pink were about three times more likely to be at peak fertility than women donning other colours.


    In the study, researchers from the University of British Columbia asked 124 women ages 18 to 47 what colour shirt they were wearing, and when they had had their last period.

    After calculating peak fertile days for each woman, the researchers found an association with red and pink shirts and fertility, the New York Daily News reported.

    According to the report, the researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study to further ask women why they selected a particular color on the day of the survey.

    Possibilities include that women feel sexier at peak fertility and want to grab more attention, consciously or unconsciously, the researchers said.

    The study is set to be published in the journal Psychological Science.


  6. #216
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Medicines that promote erectile dysfunction, impotence

    Tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines and certain older antidepressants are linked with a greater chance of having erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence, according to a new survey.

    "Definitely it confirms the tricyclics (antidepressants)" are tied to ED, said Dr. Richard Balon, a psychiatry professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

    Contrary to some other studies, however, the research did not find any increased risk of ED among men taking blood-pressure medications.
    "I don't know what to make of this," said Balon, who was not part of the study.

    Certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, are risk factors for impotence.

    Previous research has suggested that medications themselves, especially when a man is taking several different prescription drugs, are tied to a greater risk for erectile dysfunction.

    To see how that relationship shakes out with individual medication types, a research team led by Varant Kupelian at New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, surveyed 2,301 men about their prescription drug use and their sexual function.

    Erectile dysfunction was defined as scoring 17 or below on the 25-point scale of a self-assessment of erection firmness, reliability and satisfaction.
    The researchers found that about one in five of the men surveyed had ED.
    Among 60 men who had taken a tricyclic antidepressant in the last month, nearly half also qualified as having ED.

    In contrast, one quarter of the men who had not taken a tricyclic had ED.
    Popular tricyclic antidepressants include amitryptyline, and the brand name drugs Anafranil, Tofranil and Vivactil.

    After taking into account risk factors for ED, such as age and heart disease, the researchers determined that men on these drugs had a more than three-fold greater risk of experiencing ED.

    Men taking benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and Ativan, often used to treat anxiety, were also more than two times as likely to have ED.

    Similar to men on tricyclics, nearly half of men who had taken a benzodiazepine in the last month had ED, compared to about a quarter of men who had not taken the drug.

    The study can't say whether the drugs are causing the sexual disorder, the erectile dysfunction is contributing to the psychiatric condition, or if perhaps the two problems share an underlying cause.

    "We really cannot say anything about causation here and we don't know what are the pathways that might be acting on erection function or not," Kupelian told Reuters Health.

    Men taking hypertension medication did not have a higher risk of ED, Kupelian's team reports in the medical journal BJU International.
    "This was a little unexpected, because we thought we would see something," said Kupelian.

    He said his study made sure to account for the hypertension itself as well as other health factors that might explain why his group didn't see more cases of ED among the men taking hypertension medication.
    Men taking anti-inflammatory drugs were also no more likely to have ED than men who didn't take them.

    Balon advised caution in interpreting the results, particularly with regard to benzodiazepines, because there were a relatively small number of men - 90 - who had used those medications.

    Kupelian agreed that more research is needed. "These are exploratory analyses," he said.

    Kupelian said the results are not to be used for making treatment recommendations, and if men are concerned about their medications they should talk to their doctors.


  7. #217
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Inflatable device cuts blood clot risk after stroke: UK study

    Stroke patients in India at risk of blood clots and death could be helped by a compression device that wraps around the legs, a study by the University of Edinburgh suggests.

    Researchers have shown for the first time that by gently squeezing the legs, the risk of dying after stroke is reduced.

    It is thought that the compression reduces the risk of clots in the veins of the legs by increasing blood flow.

    Around 1.3 million people living in India die each year due to stroke. Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide.

    Around 15 million people have a stroke each year around the world, one-third of whom will die. Another third will become permanently disabled.
    The results of the trial, published in The Lancet journal, reveal that thigh-length intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which commonly affects stroke patients.

    DVT can lead to pulmonary embolism, which blocks patients' blood vessels in their lungs and can cause heart failure, killing thousands of people each year.

    The IPC sleeves, which cost hospitals in the UK as little as 25 pounds per pair, can be worn for several days or weeks after the stroke.

    They are inflated for a few seconds, one leg at a time, to compress the veins in the legs every minute or so.

    Until now, no treatment has been available that safely reduces the risk of the blood clots in the legs and the risk of dying.

    Current treatments include blood thinning injections, which have been shown to reduce the risk of DVT.

    However, these carry an increased risk of bleeding a serious drawback for stroke patients because of the threat of bleeding into the brain.

    Experts also add that blood thinning injections have not been conclusively shown to reduce the risk of dying after stroke.

    More than 2,800 stroke patients across the UK were involved in the randomised trial.

    The patients volunteered to take part in the study between 2008 and 2012. Hundreds of researchers from more than 100 hospitals took part.
    Stroke patients most at risk of DVT include those with weakness of their arms and legs, who are unable to walk on admission to hospital.
    Some 20 per cent of these people will go on to develop a blood clot in the veins of their legs.

    Professor Martin Dennis, of the University of Edinburgh's Division of Clinical Neurosciences, will present the results at the European Stroke Conference in London.

    Dennis said, "This study is a major breakthrough showing how a simple and safe treatment can save lives. It is one of the most important research studies to emerge from the field of stroke in recent years. At last we have a simple, safe and affordable treatment that reduces the risk of DVT and even appears to reduce the risk of dying after a stroke."


  8. #218
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Inhaling' alcohol dangerous new trend among calorie-conscious

    Some young drinkers in the US are fast catching up on a 'highly dangerous' trend which involves inhaling liquor, instead of drinking it, to avoid excess calories.

    Inhaling liquor involves either pouring it over dry ice or 'freebasing' it and sucking up the vapours. However, doctors have warned the practice is "incredibly risky", the New York Daily News reported.

    "Inhaling alcohol is an insidious trend, particularly among college students who may be looking for more extreme ways to get high, said Dr Harris Stratyner, regional clinical vice president of Caron Treatment Centers in New York.

    He has also seen it gain popularity among college-age men and women who may restrict calories before a night of partying popularly known as "drunkorexia."

    Whether it's "smoked" using dry ice or inhaled as a vapour, consuming alcohol in this way is "unbelievably dangerous," Stratyner said.

    "When you inhale alcohol, it goes directly into the lungs and circumnavigates the liver," he told the Daily News.

    "The liver is what metabolises alcohol, but when you inhale it, it goes directly from the lungs to the brain," Stratyner said.

    The lungs and mucous membranes are extremely sensitive to alcohol, Stratyner said, and inhaling alcoholic vapour may dry out the nasal passages and mouth, leaving users more vulnerable to infection.

    Additionally, inhaling alcohol can lead to deadly alcohol poisoning more readily than sipping your drink.

    "One of the things that prevents alcohol poisoning is that you usually vomit," Stratyner said.

    "When you circumvent the stomach and go straight to the lungs, you don't have that ability," he said.

    Stratyner first saw the trend pop up in 2004 and said it has escalated in the past year and a half.

    "This is a stupid, highly dangerous thing to do. The fact that youngsters in particular can purchase the equipment for a relatively cheap price...this has to be made illegal," he said.


  9. #219
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists engineer potent weapon against cancer

    Scientists have synthesized a molecule that targets and destroys a key protein responsible for development of cervical and other cancers, says a study.

    The E7 protein is produced early in the life cycle of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and blocks the body's natural defences against uncontrolled division of cells that can lead to cancer.

    Researchers at the University of Leeds' School of Molecular and Cellular Biology have synthesized a molecule, RNA aptamer, which latches onto the carcinogenic protein and targets it for destruction.

    There are many types of human papillomavirus. Some are transmitted by sexual contact and associated not only with cervical cancer but also head and neck cancer, reports Science Daily.

    "We, therefore, need to maintain screening and to develop novel therapeutic strategies," said Nicola Stonehouse, lead author of the study.

    "Currently, if you have advanced cervical cancer or head and neck cancer -- both of which are associated with human papillomavirus -- you really have little choice but surgery. If we can use this aptamer to target the carcinogenic protein, we might be talking about much less radical surgery in the future," Stonehouse added.


  10. #220
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists come up with definition of brain death

    Scientists on Monday will try to reach a consensus on the minimum standard for clinical declaration of death.

    They have come to the conclusion that the possibility of brain death being irreversible can be eliminated by the continuous observation of the patient for a minimum of 5 minutes to confirm absence of the circulation before declaring death.

    This, scientists will argue should become the minimum standard for clinical declaration of death by circulatory criteria and will maintain professional and public confidence in the diagnosis of death, both after terminating CPR and in the context of organ donation after the circulatory determination of death.

    A few cases have been reported of people having suffered a cardiac arrest before being declared dead but in whom the circulation was spontaneously restored several minutes later and some went on to recover.

    This is why Indian families don't accept brain death as the end of human life. Doctors say most Indian families think their near and dear ones have a chance to recover till their hearts beat.

    This slow acceptance of brain death—patients who have suffered complete and irreversible loss of all brain functions and are clinically and legally dead—is seriously affecting the country's organ retrieval programme.

    Once a patient is declared brain dead, almost 37 different organs and tissues can be harvested, including the most important ones like heart, kidneys, liver, lungs and pancreas. Donation of an entire body can help over 40 needy patients. On the other hand, once the heart stops, stalling blood circulation, only tissues like cornea, skin, bone and heart walls can be used.

    On Monday the world's top anaesthesiologists will meet in Barcelona to agree on a globally acceptable definition of brain death.

    Experts will call for international consensus at the annual congress of the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA).

    "Before the technological advances of the last century, death was diagnosed by presence of coma, apnoea and lack of a pulse. The failure of the cardiovascular or respiratory systems inevitably led to a person dying," said Ricard Valero from the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona.

    However, the establishment of the criteria determining neurological (brain) death during the 20th century represented a significant change regarding the traditional method to define death. It is still, however, a challenge from the ethical and scientific point of view.

    "For this diagnosis, it is essential to demonstrate irreversible coma, absence of response to stimuli and absence of brainstem reflexes (including the capacity to breathe), once the situations that could interfere with the diagnosis have been discarded," says Valero.

    Dr Alex Manara from Frenchay Hospital, Bristol will discuss the circulatory criteria to confirm death and argue that with 600,000 deaths in the UK each year and 56 million deaths worldwide, "we should know all there is to know about death."

    Dr Manara will say "there needs to be consensus around a practical and concrete definition of death that describes the state of human death based on measurable and observable biomedical standards." Biological death is not an event, but a process," concludes Valero. "Anaesthesiologists participate in the decision-making around this process, and we have to establish clear and unequivocal criteria for the diagnosis of death, knowing the emerging ethical implications."


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