22nd Nov 2015, 09:32 PM #2241
Re: Health Bulletin
Every third child born in India is premature, say Mumbai doctors
Every third child born in India is premature, said city's neonatologists while stressing on the need to check this trend by improving the nutrition of young women.
Neonatology Forum (NNF) Mumbai's president Dr Kishore Sanghvi said, "It is estimated that 3.6 million premature births took place in India in 2010. India is the biggest contributor to the world's prematurity burden.'' He was speaking at a function held on Saturday to observe World Prematurity Day and highlight the need for better care for premature babies.
He said it is important for pregnant women to have regular health check-up to avoid preterm delivery. "Women should take adequate rest, avoid bumpy rides, prevent for local infections and keep healthy during pregnancy," he added. Doctors also stressed on the need for neonatology training among pediatricians.
Statistics provided by NNF and the Indian Foundation of Premature Babies show that 25% of all neonatal deaths in the world occur in India. Neonatologist Dr Nandkishore Kabra said, "If we can control three factors, including infection among neonates, the death rate will come down drastically by 90%."
Doctors said a social overhaul is needed to change the statistics. "One way to break this cycle would be to start focusing on the girl child," said head of the neonatalogy department of BMC-run Sion Hospital, Dr Jayashree Mondkar. If women are taught well and focus on their nutrition, the mortality associated with premature births would decrease. Today's women lead a stressed life and many work until late. Their nutrition is often neglected. These factors play an important role when it comes to preterm babies. Moreover, today women have their first kid after 30, which also is one of the reasons for preterm babies," said Dr Mondkar.
BMC-run KEM Hospital's head of neonatology department Dr Ruchi Nanavati pointed out that nearly 60 to 70% of the Indian women are anaemic and need ``better nutrition to prevent them from having preterm babies."
24th Nov 2015, 05:06 PM #2242
Re: Health Bulletin
New compound heals diabetic wound faster
Researchers have discovered a compound that accelerates diabetic wound healing, which may open the door to new treatment strategies.
Non-healing chronic wounds are a major complication of diabetes, but the reasons why diabetic wounds are resistant to healing are not fully understood, and there are limited therapeutic agents that could accelerate or facilitate their repair.
A team of researchers from University of Notre Dame in Indiana, US previously identified two enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), MMP-8 and MMP-9, in the wounds of diabetic mice.
The researchers used the MMP-9 inhibitor referred to as ND-322, which accelerated wound healing in diabetic mice.
In this new study, the researchers report the discovery of a better MMP-9 inhibitor referred to as ND-336.
"ND-336 is a six-fold more potent inhibitor than ND-322 and has 50-fold selectivity towards inhibition of MMP-9 than MMP-8," said lead researcher Mayland Chang.
"The compound ND-336 has potential as a therapeutic to accelerate or facilitate wound healing in diabetic patients," Chang pointed out.
The researchers said they are currently recruiting diabetic patients to ascertain the levels of MMP-8 and MMP-9 in their wounds.
The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
25th Nov 2015, 02:03 PM #2243
Re: Health Bulletin
Childhood cancer survivors may face physical, mental health issues
Childhood cancer survivors may face a higher than average risk of hospitalizations and cognitive challenges later in life, two recent studies in JAMA Oncology suggest. One study in Denmark tracked more than 33,000 people who’d had cancer as adolescents or young adults, following more than half of them for at least 14 years. During the study, these survivors were 38 percent more likely to be hospitalized than 228,000 similar people who didn’t have a history of cancer.
A much smaller study in the U.S. followed 80 survivors of the most common type of childhood bone cancer for about 25 years and found they had worse reading skills, attention spans, memory and other cognitive abilities than 39 similar people without any prior malignancies.
Taken together, the findings suggest that as advances in cancer therapy increase survival odds and transform the disease from a death sentence to a chronic illness for many people, doctors need to focus more on the long-term side effects of treatment, Dr. Karen Effinger and Dr. Michael Link of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California argue in an editorial accompanying the studies.
“I hope these studies will inform patients and physicians about some of the potential problems survivors face and will help to encourage better surveillance,” Effinger said by email. “In adolescent and young adult patients, we need to continue to research the spectrum of late effects.”
For the Danish study, researchers followed five-year survivors of adolescent or young adult cancer who were diagnosed from 1943 through 2004 to see how often they were hospitalized compared to similar people who never had tumors. Cancer survivors had double the odds of hospitalizations for diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs. They were also 69 percent more likely to be hospitalized for infectious and parasitic diseases and had 63 percent higher odds of hospitalizations for malignant growths.
Risks varied based on the original tumor type. Survivors of leukemia were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as people without a cancer history, while the odds were 93 percent greater after brain cancer and 87 percent higher after Hodgkin lymphoma. “This information is highly valuable in the future planning of initiatives aiming to minimize or prevent adverse late effects in survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer,” said Katherine Rugbjerg of the Danish Cancer Society Research Center, who co-authored the study with colleague Dr. Jorgen Olsen.
“Based on our study, doctors following this particular group of cancer survivors now know more accurately what to be aware of or look for in order to offer treatment for late effects caused by the cancer treatment as early as possible,” Rugbjerg added by email.
The U.S. study examined cognitive skills in survivors of childhood osteosarcoma and found they lagged their peers without a history of cancer in a variety of cognitive skills. Researchers reviewed medical records from the original cancer treatment and found the cognitive impairment linked to current chronic health conditions rather than to previous use of high-dose methotrexate to attack tumors.
These results are surprising because methotrexate has been linked to long-term cognitive problems in other cancer diagnoses, said senior study author Kevin Krull of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
“We found that they indeed were having cognitive problems but the problems were related to cardiopulmonary health and not the methotrexate exposure,” Krull said by email. “It tells us that if we can maintain good cardiac health in these survivors as they age into middle adulthood, they may be less at risk for cognitive problems.”
26th Nov 2015, 05:32 PM #2244
Re: Health Bulletin
Promising new melanoma drug in the offing
Scientists have discovered a new compound that shows promise for treating deadly skin cancers like melanoma that are resistant or unresponsive to leading therapies today.
The new compound, named SBI-756, targets a specific molecular machine known as the translation initiation complex.
These structures are in every cell and play the critical role of translating mRNA into proteins.
In cancer cells the complex is impaired, producing extra protein and providing a growth advantage to tumours.
SBI-756 causes the translation complex to dissociate, and was shown to inhibit melanoma cell growth, said scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP).
"The unique target of SBI-756 makes it especially promising for use in combination therapy," said Ze'ev Ronai, senior author and scientific director of SBP's La Jolla campus in California.
A major issue limiting the effectiveness of current melanoma therapies is that tumours become resistant to treatment.
"Combining drugs that come at a melanoma from different angles may help overcome the problem of drug resistance," Ronai added.
About 50 percent of melanomas are caused by mutations in a specific gene called BRAF.
The team found that if SBI-756 is co-administered with vemurafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, the tumours disappeared and most importantly, they did not reoccur.
Even in mice with advanced/late stage skin cancer, the reappearance of resistant tumours was slowed by including SBI-756.
These data suggests that SBI-756 provides a significant advantage in overcoming tumour resistance.
"The ability of this compound to delay or eliminate the formation of resistant melanomas is very exciting," Ronai added.
The team is now testing whether combining SBI-756 with existing drugs used for treating these types of melanomas can make the tumours disappear.
The paper was published in the journal Cancer Research.
26th Nov 2015, 05:38 PM #2245
Re: Health Bulletin
Double mastectomies on the rise
Researchers in UK have observed an increased uptake of preventative double mastectomies since May 2013 when Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie announced that she had undergone the breast removal procedure.
The number of preventative double mastectomies more than doubled from January 2014 to June 2015, with 83 procedures performed during this period, compared to 29 between January 2011 and June 2012. Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy after discovering she carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Researchers point out it takes between 9 and 12 months from initial enquiries to surgery taking place, which is why they hypothesise that they only started to observe increasing numbers of procedures in early 2014.
27th Nov 2015, 04:20 PM #2246
Re: Health Bulletin
Heart patient? Cut down on sitting time
If you are suffering from ailments related to the heart, make it a point to get up and move every half an hour as researchers have found that patients with heart disease who sit a lot have worse health even if they exercise.
"Limiting the amount of time we spend sitting may be as important as the amount we exercise," said study lead author Stephanie Prince from University of Ottawa in Canada.
"Sitting, watching TV, working at a computer and driving in a car are all sedentary behaviours and we need to take breaks from them," Prince explained.
Previous research has shown that being sedentary increases the risk of cardiovascular disease but until now its effect on patients with established heart disease was unknown.
The current study investigated levels of sedentary behaviour and the effect on health in 278 patients with coronary artery disease.
The patients had been through a cardiac rehabilitation programme which taught them how to improve their levels of exercise in the long term.
Patients wore an activity monitor during their waking hours for nine days. The monitors allowed the researchers to measure how long patients spent being sedentary, or doing light, moderate or vigorous levels of physical activity.
The researchers also assessed various markers of health including body mass index (BMI) and cardio-respiratory fitness. Next they looked at whether the amount of time a person spent being sedentary (which was mainly sitting) was related to these markers of health.
The results showed that patients who sat more had a higher BMI. They also had lower cardio-respiratory fitness.
The study was published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.
28th Nov 2015, 05:00 PM #2247
Re: Health Bulletin
'Lifestyle, obesity, late hours leading to breast cancer'
While cervical cancer is on decline, breast cancer cases are on rise due to obesity and lifestyle-related factors, said Dr Neeraja Bhatia, president, Association of Gynaecologic Oncologists of India, here.
These two types of cancers are the most common among the women, but they can be prevented, she said, addressing a press conference about inauguration of 23rd annual conference of the association.
Dr Shashikant Lele, a New York-based gynaecologic oncologist, said cancers affect 1,25,000 women in India every year.
Dr Rama Joshi, another expert, said vaccine can prevent the cervical cancer, but all the women above the age of 30 should undergo screening for its detection, while the breast cancer can be detected through self-examination.
The vaccine is absolutely safe, she stressed.
Increasing obesity is resulting in increased number of breast cancer cases, Dr Joshi said.
The number of cases of cervical cancer was coming down because of the improved sanitation, education about use of sanitary pads, people seeking better health care, she said.
At the same time urbanisation was leading to increase in the cases of breast cancer, and the women who have children after 30 years of age are more at risk.
Factors such as late-night working and high exposure to bright lights can also lead to breast cancer, she added.
29th Nov 2015, 07:11 PM #2248
Re: Health Bulletin
Hepatitis C cure may cost as low as Rs 67k
In a move that comes as a huge relief to patients of chronic Hepatitis C, the apex committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has granted a waiver of local trials for crucial new direct-acting antiviral drugs treating the disease.
The waiver for sofosbuvir and ledipasvir co-formulation and for daclatasvir is expected to bring the generic version of these drugs, which cost a fraction of the branded versions, into the Indian market within weeks. Some patients facing a threat to life currently import these drugs at a huge cost.
According to the World Health Organisation, about 12 million people are infected with Hepatitis C in India. India is now one of the few countries where generics are available for interferon-free treatment. Pegylated interferon is an old, expensive, injectable chemotherapy drug with serious side effects used to treat Hep C in combination with sofosbuvir and ribavirin.
The interferon-free treatment, which costs over $90,000 in the US and over 50,000 euros in the EU will be available to Indian patients for about Rs 55,000 or about $1,000 or even less thanks to competition between generic manufacturers.
Indian generics are expected to revolutionise Hep C treatment in the region and all across the world as they did in the case of HIV/AIDS. People from countries where treatment is being rationed by the governments, such as in Australia, many European countries, the US, and Canada, already come to India to get treated and this trend is only likely to continue.
Several patient groups, including International Treatment Preparedness Coalition - South Asia, the Delhi Network of Positive People, thalassemic patients' groups and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders have been petitioning the health ministry and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking a clinical trial waiver for these drugs. Over a dozen patient groups and access-to-medicine activists from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal and Vietnam too had sent similar appeals. "The requirement for a local clinical trial in India will delay the introduction of the new HCV drug daclatasvir in the country, and also in other high-burden countries in the region," stated the appeals.
HCV Patients with advanced liver disease, thalassemics, those with HIV co-infection or those with kidney disease undergoing dialysis who have hepatitis C need daclatasvir in combination with sofosbuvir for effective treatment. They cannot tolerate interferon and/or ribavirin and treatment with sofosbuvir alone was not possible for them. Hence they were left with no treatment option when the manufacturer of daclatasvir, Bristol Myers Squibbs (BMS), was not willing to bring the drug to India or other developing countries.
Sofosbuvir was registered in India in January 2015 and daclatasvir was registered this month. The combo is seen as a very potent cure with about 90% cure rate and for no other disease has such a short-time cure become available, that too in a generic version.
According to the recommendations of a high level committee, waiver of clinical trials in India for approval of a new drug that has already been approved outside India can be considered only in cases of national emergency, extreme urgency, and epidemic and for orphan drugs for rare diseases and drugs indicated for conditions/diseases for which there is no therapy. This was hampering the waiver that millions of Hep C patients were petitioning for.
However, the technical committee, after examining the case of sofosbuvir, said that it was the only drug which could be safely used in several categories of Hepatitis C patients. In the case of daclatasvir, the committee said that the drug in combination with other medicinal products became imperative to expedite the treatment of all types (genotypes) of Hepatitis C and hence recommended the waiver.
"We welcome the availability of a pan-genotypic directly acting anti-viral (DAA) combination in India, which is a big step towards interferon free treatment for chronic HCV patients, many of whom urgently need treatment as they have advanced liver disease," said Leena Menghaney, head of MSF's South Asia Access Campaign.
30th Nov 2015, 01:57 PM #2249
Re: Health Bulletin
முதுமையில் நடை பயிற்சி நினைவாற்றலை வளர்க்கும்!
நடை பயிற்சியால் இளைஞர்களைவிட முதியவர்களுக்கு நினைவாற்றலும், அறிவாற்றலும் அதிகரிப்பதாக அமெரிக்காவில் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்ட ஒரு ஆய்வில் தெரிய வந்துள்ளது.
அமெரிக்காவின் பாஸ்டன் பல்கலைக்கழக ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள் நடை பயிற்சிக்கும், நினைவு மற்றும் அறிவாற்றலுக்கும் உள்ள தொடர்பு குறித்த ஆய்வை மேற்கொண்டனர்.
18 முதல் 31 வயது வரை கொண்ட 29 பேரும், 55 முதல் 82 வயது வரை கொண்ட 31 பேரும் இந்த ஆராய்ச்சியில் ஈடுபடுத்தப்பட்டனர்.
ஒவ்வொருவரும் தினமும் எவ்வளது தொலைவு நடக்கிறார், எவ்வளவு நேரம் நடக்கிறார் என்ற விவரம் பதிவு செய்யப்பட்டது.
மேலும், ஒவ்வொருவரின் நினைவுத் திறன், பிரச்னைகளுக்குத் தீர்வு காண்பது உள்ளிட்ட அறிவுத் திறன் ஆகியவையும் பரிசோதிக்கப்பட்டன.
அதன் மூலம், தினமும் அதிக நேரம் நடை பயிற்சி மேற்கொண்ட முதியவர்களுக்கு நினைவாற்றலும், அறிவாற்றலும் அதிகரிப்பது கண்டறியப்பட்டது.
அதே நேரம், வயதில் இளையவர்கள் அதிக தொலைவு நடை பயிற்சி மேற்கொண்டாலும் அவர்களது நினைவுத் திறன் மற்றும் அறிவாற்றலில் மாற்றம் இல்லை.
இதன்மூலம், வயோதிகத்தால் ஏற்படும் மறதியோடு தொடர்புடைய பல்வேறு நோய்களை, நடை பயிற்சி மூலம் தவிர்க்கலாம் என்று தெரிவதாக இந்த ஆராய்ச்சியில் ஈடுபட்டவர்கள் தெரிவித்தனர்.
"இன்டர்நேஷனல் நியூரோசைக்கலாஜிகல் சொசைட்டி' அறிவியல் இதழில் இந்தத் தகவல் வெளியாகியுள்ளது.
1st Dec 2015, 01:15 PM #2250
Re: Health Bulletin