14th Dec 2015, 03:57 PM #2271
Re: Health Bulletin
Healthism leading to ‘Jolie syndrome’
Highly commercialised standards of health and beauty can lead to the 'Angelina Jolie' syndrome — taking preventive action, such as surgery on a healthy body, for a hypothetical disease, researchers claimed.
The politicisation and commercialisation of health issues in today's Western culture have led to growing healthism — a peremptory idea of self-preserving behaviour.
This approach criticises everything that fails to fit into the glamorous standards of a beautifuland slim body, researchers said.
In extreme forms, healthism is close to eugenics, which selects a 'correct' heredity.
However, even simple concerns about the 'standards' of physical condition may provoke hypercorrection, such as surgery on a healthy body, said Evgenia Golman, from the National Research University Higher School of Economics.
Angelina Jolie syndrome has been frequently mentioned in the media recently, implying increased attention to the probability of dangerous diseases, researchers said.
Jolie, who underwent a preventive mastectomy, is symptomatic of this obsession and fits into the healthism concept.
However, Jolie's story is an extreme manifestation of the 'new understanding of health'.
More widespread displays of healthism include the boom in diets, fitness, plastic surgery and organic food, as well as the popularity of apps for health monitoring.
Popular healthcare policy today often shifts the responsibility for health from healthcare institutions to individuals themselves, and shifts the focus from treatment to prevention, including prevention of even purely hypothetical pathologies, Golman said.
Preventive medicine undoubtedly helps prevent many diseases and saves resources for families.
However, if 'calculation' of sicknesses and idealisation of beauty and health standards are understood improperly, in a purely commercial way, they can lead to mass neurosis and a social obsession with complying to healthist fashion.
The most dangerous thing is that such an approach stigmatises everything that does not fit in with the model of a healthy lifestyle.
14th Dec 2015, 04:00 PM #2272
Re: Health Bulletin
Vaginal orgasms are a 'myth', researchers claim
There is no such thing as a vaginal orgasm, a clitoral orgasm or even a G-spot, a new study claims.
Instead, a paper published in the journal Clinical Anatomy says, the correct term should be "female orgasm".
According to the report, the descriptions of female sexual organs are wrong. It claims the "internal clitoris does not exist" because the entire clitoris is, in fact, an external organ.
The study says that the majority of women do not orgasm during penetrative sex and the 'vaginal' orgasm reported by some women is in fact caused by the surrounding erectile organs - or stimulation of the clitoris.
Although it is impossible to have a clitoral orgasm, women cannot orgasm without stimulation of the clitoris.
Writing in the study, published earlier this week, the researchers say: "female orgasm is possible in all women, always with effective stimulation of the female erect organs".
Previously, it was believed that G-spot, vaginal or clitoral orgasm were all different types of climax.
The study attacks much of what has previously been written about female erogenous zones, claiming: "G-spot/vaginal/clitoral orgasm, vaginally activated orgasm, and clitorally activated orgasm, are incorrect terms".
Describing female ejaculation, premature ejaculation, and G-spot amplification, the study also claims these are "terms without scientific basis."
15th Dec 2015, 02:34 PM #2273
Re: Health Bulletin
Free plastic surgery camp screens 800 patients
More than 800 patients were screened on the first day of the 5-day free plastic surgery camp inaugurated on Sunday in memory of late plastic surgeon Sharadkumar Dicksheet, at Lions Eye Hospital, N-1, Cidco, with a target of performing 500 surgeries.
The camp was inaugurated early morning on Sunday, at Lions Eye Hospital, N-1, Cidco. Plastic surgeons from New Jersey, USA Raj Lalla and Vijay Moradia along with other local volunteers selected nearly 500 patients for surgery. They said the surgeries would start daily at MGM Hospital.
Indian-born US plastic surgeon Dicksheet had provided his services for the camp for 35 years and this year, it would be the 40th camp.
"Before his demise in 2011, Indian-born American plastic surgeon Dicksheet had conducted over 2.5 lakh surgeries around the world. So far 12,00 operations have been performed through this annual camp in Aurangabad," said an organizer.
The camp will conduct surgeries on patients with cleft lips, dermabration, scars revision, cleft palate, ptosis, saddled nose, squint and nasal and other facial deformities.
A 22-year-old youth from Paithan, who had undergone surgery to correct his eye deformity, visited the camp on Sunday to thank the doctors.
The camp is jointly organised by MGM Research Centre, Aurangabad Chemists and Druggists Association (AC&DA) and Lions Club of Aurangabad Chikalthana. Doctors from MGM will assist the American doctors, provide operation theatres and other equipment while the AC&DA would provide medicines and other required machines during the camp.
Camp organisers Rajesh Bharuka, Deepak Agrawal, Kalyan Waghmare and all the office-bearers have appealed to citizens to take advantage of the world-class expertise and resources offered at the free camp.
16th Dec 2015, 01:55 AM #2274
Re: Health Bulletin
After floods in Chennai, it's Madras eye
Contamination of water by sewage and a rise in emperature post rain have given rise to eye infections, doctors have reported. Eye clinics in the city are seeing a spurt in acute infective con unctivitis caused by bacteria and virus.
"People's proximity to one another at relief camps, lack of hygiene and overcrowded houses in flood-affected areas are causing fast transmission of these pathogens," said Dr Dhivya Ashok Kumar of Agarwal Eye Hospitals. The symp oms are red or pink eye, excessive watering, stickiness, lid swelling, discomfort and yel owish or white discharge.
Lack of personal hygiene can increase the risk of transmission of chlamydia con unctivitis, she warned. "This s caused by contamination of eyes with secretions contain ng chlamydia organism. Fol owing SAFE (surgery , antibiotics, facial cleanliness, environmental improvement) strategy one can reduce the complication of this disease," she added. Ophthalmologist Dr S Krishna Kumar said the change in weather must have riggered conjunctivitis, commonly called `Madras eye'. "Conjunctiva, the white area of the eye, turns red due to viral infection causing pain and irritation. If not treated on time, it would escalate to secondary bacterial infection," he said. The doctor said he has been seeing more than three cases a day since a month.
Doctors said they are seeing several school children and family members flocking to their clinics with the infection. "The virus is contagious.The best thing is to stay indoors," Dr Krishna Kumar added. Precautions include wearing goggles while walking, using helmets while riding two-wheelers and shut the car windows to prevent water splashing into eyes.
16th Dec 2015, 02:35 PM #2275
Re: Health Bulletin
Indian-American's 'Super Condom' can help combat AIDS
Aiming to increase global use of condoms as a way to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, researchers including an Indian-American professor have developed a new non-latex condom which contains antioxidants and can kill the deadly virus even after breaking.
Mahua Choudhery and her team of researchers at Texas A&M University have come up with the hydrogel condom which could help in the global fight against HIV.
The condom is made of an elastic polymer called hydrogel, and includes plant-based antioxidants that have anti-HIV properties.
Choudhury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center's Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, is t.
"We are not only making a novel material for condoms to prevent the HIV infection, but we are also aiming to eradicate this infection if possible," Choudhury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center's Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, said .
"Supercondom could help fight against HIV infection and may as well prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases and If we succeed, it will revolutionize the HIV prevention initiative," said Choudhury, the lead researcher.
Choudhury, who studied Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Genetics in India before getting her PhD in the US, has been researching diabetes and the obesity epidemic.
She was one of 54 people awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's "Grand Challenge in Global Health" grant.
This year's initiative asked winning recipients to create an affordable, latex-free condom to help battle the HIV epidemic, which is currently affecting 35 million people in the world.
"If you can make it really affordable, and really appealing, it could be a life-saving thing," Choudhury said.
The condom material already exists as a water-based hydrogel for medical purposes such as contact lenses, researchers said.
In addition to protecting against STDs and pregnancy, researchers enmeshed in the hydrogel design the antioxidant quercetin, which can prevent the replication of HIV and if the condom breaks, the quercetin would be released for additional protection.
Researchers hope the condom will enjoy greater use and have a stronger effect at preventing the spread of HIV as the new design is more comfortable and also heightens sexual pleasure.
The condom has already been created and now the only thing keeping it from going to market is an approval on its patent application.
The researchers hope to test the condom within the next six months.
Once released, the new condom will eventually be made available to everyone, including those in rural areas, where these types of resources are limited, Choudhury said.
Since its outbreak in 1981, HIV virus has killed 39 million people.
17th Dec 2015, 11:12 AM #2276
Re: Health Bulletin
Newborns in Telangana overdosing on antibiotics: Study
The special newborn care units (SNCUs) attached to government hospitals in the state have been found to be administering high does of antibiotics to newborns - sometimes in as much as 98% cases they treated. This alarming revelation was made in the latest report by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
Titled 'Antibiotics usage rate across SNCUs in Telangana', the data compiled by Unicef showed that care givers in as many as 13 out of 19 SNCUs in Telangana administered antibiotics on newborns in 55% to 98% of the cases between January 1, 2014 and December 14, 2015.
"There is always the fear that newborns will develop resistance towards antibiotics when they grow up or they may even stop responding to treatment. Hence, it is always advisable that antibiotics usage on newborns must not cross more than 50% cases," Dr Gagan Gupta, health specialist, Unicef, New Delhi, told TOI on the sidelines of the launch of Telangana Newborn Action Plan.
For the record, 37,394 newborns were treated in SNCUs in Telangana between January 2014 and December 14, 2015. Out of these, 27,580 babies were discharged (73.8%), 3,267 died during treatment (8.7%), 3,561 were referred to higher centres (9.5%) and 2,986 newborns left the hospital against medical advise (7.9%).
But what the future holds for the 27,580 newborns discharged is anybody's guess as a majority of them were administered high doses of antibiotics by the doctors, making them prone to several complications, aver experts.
"When these newborns turn one-year-old, there are chances that even minor infections leading to cough and cold can flare up into serious problems, making it life-threatening, as they would stop responding to antibiotics," said Dr C Madhavi, consultant paediatrician, Care Hospitals, Banjara Hills.
Advising the judicious use of antibiotics on babies, Dr Madhavi said they should be administered only when there is clinical evidence to show that the child needs it. "One way to cut down on antibiotics is to ensure that healthcare handlers and equipment in SNCUs are sterilised to prevent the spread of infection, which usually prompts the hospital to administer antibiotics," she said.
When contacted, Dr Srikrishna RSV, state child health consultant, Unicef, said they are not just educating government doctors to minimise the use of antibiotics but also monitoring its usage rate across SNCUs in Telangana.
"Actually, the sepsis (infection) rate in SNCUs in Telangana is just 10.8% as compared to the national average of 30%. Our protocol says that antibiotics usage should always be on par with the sepsis rate. Any use more than that may lead to what is known as antibiotic resistance, which is now a global problem," he said.
The few SNCUs that may actually be following this protocol are Niloufer Hospital and Government Maternity Hospital in Koti, where the antibiotics usage rate was found to be 30% and 13% respectively.
17th Dec 2015, 11:20 AM #2277
Re: Health Bulletin
Here's how human brain can handle so much data
Researchers led by an Indian-origin scientist from Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered how humans can categorise data using less than percent percent of the original information.
They validated an algorithm to explain human learning -- a method that also can be used for machine learning, data analysis and computer vision.
"How do we make sense of so much data around us, of so many different types, so quickly and robustly?" said Santosh Vempala, distinguished professor of computer science.
"At a fundamental level, how do humans begin to do that? It's a computational problem," he asked.
Vempala and colleagues presented test subjects with original, abstract images and then asked whether they could correctly identify that same image when randomly shown just a small portion of it.
"We hypothesised that random projection could be one way humans learn," said Rosa Arriaga, senior research scientist and developmental psychologist
"The prediction was right. Just 0.15 percent of the total data is enough for humans," she added.
Next, researchers tested a computational algorithm to allow machines to complete the same tests.
Machines performed as well as humans, which provides a new understanding of how humans learn.
"We found evidence that, in fact, the human and the machine's neural network behave very similarly," Arriaga noted.
It is believed to be the first study of "random projection," the core component of the researchers' theory, with human subjects.
"We were surprised by how close the performance was between extremely simple neural networks and humans," Vempala said.
"This fascinating paper introduces a localised random projection that compresses images while still making it possible for humans and machines to distinguish broad categories," explained Sanjoy Dasgupta, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California-San Diego.
The results were published in the journal Neural Computation (MIT press).
18th Dec 2015, 12:32 PM #2278
Re: Health Bulletin
Environment, not 'bad luck', mainly to blame for cancer: Study
Environmental factors such as sunshine and tobacco smoke cause more cancers than random DNA mutations, researchers have affirmed — contesting another team's conclusions that "bad luck" was mainly to blame.
The study, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, was conducted to challenge a controversy-stirring paper carried by US-based Science in January, which said unavoidable errors in gene coding was the main cancer cause.
The latest work — based on several mathematical analyses of cancer data — found "strong evidence" that random errors that occur during DNA replication contributed "only modestly" to the development of many common cancers.
Seventy to 90 per cent, in fact, were caused by environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation, the team found.
Other experts not involved in the study cautioned against reading too much into the results.
"Their analysis supports conventional thinking around cancer formation and development, and casts doubt on the idea that some cancers are relatively independent of how you live and what you're exposed to," Andrew Maynard of Arizona State University wrote in a comment.
But the findings were not definitive, he said, and were based on a number of assumptions that may have influenced the conclusions.
Giles Hooker from Cornell University in New York, said the findings were based on a "very simplified model of cancer mutation" and the numbers "should at best be regarded as ballpark estimates."
"By using only the lowest risk cancers and assuming that mutation rates are the same for all tissues, the study maximizes the risk attributed to environmental factors," he wrote.
"However, we don't know how tissues differ in their intrinsic mutation rates."
Paul Pharaoh, a cancer epidemiology professor at Cambridge University, pointed out there were different levels of internal and external risk for different cancer types.
The results, he said, "do not tell us anything about the absolute risks of any given cancer."
"These findings do not have any implications for cancer treatment, but they do tell us that most cancers would be preventable if we knew all of the extrinsic risk factors that cause disease."
The Science study had caused much debate for suggesting that "bad-luck" DNA mutations could explain about 75 per cent of cases for many types of cancer — meaning they could not be prevented by a healthy lifestyle.
The World Health Organization's cancer agency at the time "strongly disagreed" with the study's findings, which it said could have "serious negative consequences" for cancer research and healthy behaviour.
21st Dec 2015, 12:28 PM #2279
Re: Health Bulletin
New medicine for Hepatitis C treatment launched
Two new drugs for fighting Hepatitis C at an affordable price were launched as experts from across the globe gathered here to discuss progress in finding treatment to the dreaded Hepatitis B and C liver diseases.
During a three-day conference organized by Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and Asia Pacific Association for Study of Liver (APASL), the experts resolved to find treatment for Hepatitis-B, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has termed as a "major global health problem".
According to WHO, an estimated 240 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B and more than 7,80,000 people die every year due to complications of Hepatitis B which includes cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Speaking about the alarming rise in cases of Hepatitis B and C over the years, Dr Shiv Sarin, country's noted liver specialist, noted that ILBS alone has over 7,500 patients registered with either of these diseases on regular follow up.
These numbers are only expected to go up with time, he said and added that the institute has observed a sharp increase in the number of patients reporting with Hepatocellular carcinoma, a cancer of the liver which is strongly correlated with Hepatitis C.
Dr Sarin informed that although both Hepatitis B and C are susceptible to control with access to right treatment, "more needs to be done to ensure increase in public awareness regarding them".
During the conference, two new drugs were launched for treatment of Hepatitis C disease at affordable price.
"Hepatitis C virus is a silent killer as people get to know about the disease suddenly after 20 or 25 years. With the launch of these two new drugs, India can cure all types of Hepatitis C that too at an affordable rate as these drugs are up to 300 per cent cheaper as compared to foreign countries," Dr Sarin said.
The doctors claimed that the two drugs have almost negligible side effects and high cure rate of 90 per cent.
The two new drugs, along with oral antiviral drug, have brought fresh hope to Hepatitis C infected patients whose treatment heavily depends upon weekly injections with "notorious side effects", doctors said.
21st Dec 2015, 12:29 PM #2280
Re: Health Bulletin
Sing them a song: Doctors study potential of music on foetuses
Every time one-year-old Rohan John heard someone humming the song 'Rock of Ages', he would stop whatever he was doing and tilt his head. His mother had sung it every time she felt him restless inside her as a foetus. "The song calmed him and he still seems to recognise the tune when someone croons it," said his mother Sarah.
Most mothers talk and sing to their unborn babies and swear they can feel a response. With ultrasound studies proving that foetus in the womb indeed respond to music, a group of specialists in the city are now exploring the scope of music in enhancing radiology and imaging technology. Doctors say babies respond to sound, especially during the last four months of pregnancy.
"Foetuses start responding to external stimuli by the 18th week and reach auditory maturity by the 24th. Using this as basis, we decided to introduce music to stimulate foetuses and study their movement," said Dr S Suresh, director, Mediscans, Chennai. He was addressing a gathering of scientists, doctors, radiologists, musicians, engineers and music lovers who came together to promote innovative ideas in the application of music and sounds in radiology and imaging.