2nd Jan 2016, 01:11 PM #2301
Re: Health Bulletin
Gene editing tool to help treat muscular dystrophy
Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have successfully used a gene editing tool to treat a genetic disease in a fully developed living mammal for the first time, an advance that may be translated in humans. Researchers from Duke University used CRISPR to treat an adult mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
They had previously used CRISPR to correct genetic mutations in cultured cells from Duchenne patients, and other labs had corrected genes in single-cell embryos in a laboratory environment. But the latter approach is currently unethical to attempt in humans, and the former faces many obstacles in delivering treated cells back to muscle tissues.
Another approach, which involves taking CRISPR directly to the affected tissues through gene therapy techniques, also faces challenges, particularly with delivery.
Researchers including Aravind Asokan of University of North Carolina, overcame several of these obstacles by using a non-pathogenic carrier called adeno-associated virus, or AAV, to deliver the gene-editing system.
2nd Jan 2016, 01:15 PM #2302
Re: Health Bulletin
Men stay off contraceptives, forcing women into sterilisation
India has been attracting severe criticism from the international community for its poor mix of contraceptive methods. This despite India registering the highest contraceptive prevalence rate for sterilisation at 36.9% as compared to other countries with similar demographics. The US trails India recording a 36.3% rate, China follows at 33.2% and Brazil at 34.2%.
The huge share of female sterilisation coupled with slow pace in adoption of other modern contraceptive methods have raised concerns among international agencies about women's rights as well as health risks.
Latest data presented by a global partnership - Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) - showed female sterilisation accounts for 74.4% of the modern contraceptive methods used in India. An additional 3.7% of the same is IUD. As against this, male sterilisation is merely 2.3%, while use of condoms account for 11.4%. Use of pills constitute just 7.5% of modern methods, whereas injectables and implants are almost absent.
Compare this with 32.1% of female sterilisation, 28.5% injectables, 15% of pills and 10.4% of condoms used as a share of modern contraceptive mix in Sri Lanka. The country has 52.5% modern contraceptive prevalence rate( mCPR). Bhutan, which has 50% mCPR, also accounts for 44.2% of injectables, 10.9% of female sterilization and 19.3% of male sterilization as part of the modern method mix.
This also assumes significance in the wake of concerns related to India's rising population and the government's continuous efforts to contain the decadal growth rate. Various international agencies, including the United Nations, have projected that India will be the most populous nation by 2022.
The government has recently taken steps to improve the coverage and create more awareness about family planning, mainly in rural areas. To ensure a greater thrust on spacing methods, the health ministry has also created specific schemes for Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to ensure spacing in births. Under the schemes, ASHAs provide counselling to newly married couples to ensure delay of two years before having their first child after marriage and couples who already have a child are encouraged to have a spacing of three years after the birth of the first child. The ministry is currently implementing such schemes in 18 states.
Besides sterilisation, the government is also trying to increase the basket of contraceptives and making them available under the national family planning programme. India has recently introduced injectable contraceptive as part of national family planning programme.
"India must increase the number of users of modern methods of contraception so that a greater proportion of all women and girls of reproductive age are served. Offering more types of modern methods in family planning programs will result in higher percentages of contraceptive use," says Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India.
India's population growth rate has declined significantly from 21.54% in 1991-2000 to 17.64% in 2001-11. According to the government data, India's total fertility rate has also declined from 2.6 in 2008 to 2.3 in 2013 and India is now just 0.2 points away from reaching the replacement level.
So far, 24 states have already achieved replacement level fertility. Nearly 60% of the population resides in states where either replacement fertility is already reached or will soon meet the target. These include the southern states, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab.
5th Jan 2016, 03:19 PM #2303
Re: Health Bulletin
'Eating fish cuts risks of mental diseases, diabetes'
Fish and fishery products may benefit not only cognitive functions but can also lower risk of mental disorders, heart diseases and improve insulin action in some cases.
Research at China's Zhejiang University School of Medicine showed polyunsaturated fatty acids - which is present substantially in fish - is associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment and can even prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. The research is based on 21 different cohort studies involving 1,81,580 participants.
Doctors say the study is significant in the Indian context because of the large vegetarian population which does not consume fish. According to Dr Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis CDOC hospital for diabetes and allied specialities, intake of fish as part of diet is useful in different ways. "Fish oil helps in nervous system construction, keeps the heart healthy and is also useful in construction of blood cells," he said, adding a portion or two of fish as part of at least one meal can help keep multiple organs healthy.
Earlier studies, some of which were conducted in India, have shown that people living in coastal areas are healthier with lesser heart problems.
While sea fish is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids or fish oil, fresh water fish also contain some amount of such fatty acids. However, doctors say very few vegetarian food like kidney beans (rajma) contain such oil or fatty acids. Among vegetarian foods, flax seeds (Alasee), which is rarely taken as part of daily meal, are considered the closest to fish oil in terms of its nutritive qualities. Olive oil and canola oil are also believed to be containing some fatty acids and are often recommended by doctors to avoid heart diseases.
Clinical studies conducted on Indians have also shown use of olive pomace or canola oil, instead of commonly used refined cooking oils, can significantly decrease chances of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
However, doctors say fish oil is far richer in its nutritive qualities. The latest study suggests fish and fishery products are useful in preventive care, treatment of diseases as well as in some of the therapies mainly related to central nervous system or brain as well as heart.
6th Jan 2016, 03:57 PM #2304
Re: Health Bulletin
Movement Disorders Society of India to create registry on Parkinson’s cases
The Movement Disorders Society of India is planning to create a registry to record the number of Parkinson's and movement disorder cases in India so that they can study the pattern of the disorders and treat them in a better fashion.
Parkinson's, an incurable progressive condition of the brain that affects movement, speech and balance and causes incessant shivering of the face and limbs affects roughly one lakh people in India with most of them being over the age of 50. However, awareness about the disease is on shaky grounds, say experts.
"The disease is caused by genetic and environmental factors which contribute to the degeneration of brain cells that maintain bodily movement. Awareness about the disease is a must in our country as the numbers of Parkinson's cases affecting those over the age of 60 are increasing sharply and we also see young people getting affected by it," said Prof U Meenakahisundaram HoD of neurology at Sri Ramachandra University.
Until now, doctors have been using deep brain stimulation, a surgical procedure used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, to treat patients with Parkinson's.
"The patients show symptoms like tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement, and walking problems. The deep brain stimulation procedure is used only for patients whose symptoms cannot be adequately controlled with medications," said the doctor.
The movement disorder society of India will conduct a conference in Chennai on January 8 to discuss novel treatment for movement disorder diseases.
"Extraordinary work is being done worldwide to understand the genetic basis of Parkinson's diseases and these cutting edge techniques are gradually picking up in Chennai too. The objective behind this conference is to get neurologists interested in these new techniques," said Prof C U Velmurugendran, director of neurology at SRMC.
A short film on the disease will be screened at the conference in which several international specialists will talk about treatment of movement disorders.
9th Jan 2016, 05:01 PM #2305
Re: Health Bulletin
Red wine not good for you after all, doctors to reveal
Red wine's supposed health benefits are set to be rubbished by Government experts, according to reports.
A landmark report by Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies published on Friday will destroy the long-held belief that red wine can cut the risk of cancer, heart disease and memory loss when drunk in moderation, according to the Sun.
Instead, the first alcohol guideline shake-up since 1995 will reportedly say that even a glass of red wine a day could increase the risk of breast cancer by 13 per cent.
Previous studies have lauded the number of antioxidants in red wine, saying the drink cuts the risk of a heart attack and prevents memory loss.
The new guidelines will say the negatives of drinking outweigh any positives - and similar results that come from drinking a glass of red wine a day can be achieved simply by eating less and exercising more.
The guidelines could recommend avoiding alcohol for a few days a week and drinking water and eating while drinking.
The Department of Health has confirmed that new guidelines are under embargo until Friday, when the report will be published. Rates of alcohol consumption have dropped by almost a third in recent years, with a greater number of teetotalers than ever before, with one in five adults claming not to drink according to an ONS study.
The new guidelines may also suggest that there shouldn't be a difference between amounts consumed by men and women. Currently, men are permitted 3-4 units a day, or one and a half beers, and women just 2-3 units, or a single glass of wine.
9th Jan 2016, 05:03 PM #2306
Re: Health Bulletin
‘High sugar intake tied to cancer’
Higher sugar intake not only increases the risks of diabetes and obesity but can also cause breast and lung cancer, according to a new study.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers found that a sugary diet is more likely to lead to breast cancer development with inflammation of the mammary gland as the cause.
According to a study, high amounts of dietary sugar in the typical Western diet may increase the risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs. The University of Texas study investigated the impact of sugar on mammary gland tumour on mice. Researchers conducted four different studies in which mice were randomised to different groups and fed one of four diets.
According to the study, at six months old, 30%of mice on a starchcontrol diet had measurable tumours, whereas 50 to 58% of the mice on sucrose-enriched diets had developed mammary tumours.
Researchers say that numbers of lung metastases were significantly higher in mice on the sucrose — or a fructose-enriched diet, versus mice on the starch-control diet.
"Moderate sugar consumption is critical, given that the per capita consumption of sugar in the US has surged... and an increase in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been identified as a significant contributor to an epidemic of obesity, heart disease and cancer worldwide," researchers said.
10th Jan 2016, 02:41 PM #2307
Re: Health Bulletin
Heart put on hold for 40 minutes in rare surgery at BHU hospital
Doctors at the department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University conducted a rare surgery for the first time during which heart was stopped for around 40 minutes. A team of 20 medical and paramedical personnel was involved in this four-hour-long surgery.
The surgeon, Dr. Siddharth Lakhotia, said that such surgeries require stopping a patient's heart and lungs. During this time, the patient is put on a heart and lung machine - an artificial heart and lung. Financial help for the patient came from Prime Minister and Chief Minister Relief Fund.
According to Lakhotia, an 18-year old boy with complaints of breathlessness and tiredness came in the OPD recently. He was diagnosed with a case of Sub-Aortic Membrane. In this disease, there is a thin membranous structure, present just beneath the aortic valve of heart. This may be congenital or acquired. Aortic valve is the valve present between heart's left side and main blood vessel of body called aorta. Such cases are very rare.
Dr. Lakhotia said that in IMS, this operation was done for the first time. In this case due to membrane, patient's aorta and left lower chamber of heart were grossly damaged. After removing the membrane, they will slowly become normal and the pressure over heart will be slowly normalized.
He said that the surgery lasted for four hours, during which heart was stopped for around 40 minutes. Patient has now recovered and will be discharged on Sunday. He said that that CTVS Department at IMS, BHU, is now performing a wide range of open heart surgical procedures. This is the only government centre between Lucknow and Kolkata doing these procedures.
10th Jan 2016, 02:44 PM #2308
Re: Health Bulletin
Curbing brain swelling could halt Alzheimer’s
The memory loss and progressive dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease can be halted by drugs that curb inflammation in the brain, according to a new approach to treating the most common form of dementia.
A study found that inflammation seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients is not merely the result of the disease — it also drives its progression. Blocking the brain's immune cells with drugs to prevent inflammation could stop the dementia getting worse. Studies on the brains of deceased patients and on mice reveal the role played by a certain kind of immune cell, known as microglia, in causing the inflammation associated with Alzheimer's.
The scientists showed that blocking a protein 'receptor' that regulates the activity of the microglia can prevent the progression of the incurable condition in mice with a form of Alzheimer's. "These findings are as close to evidence as we can get to show that this particular pathway is active in the development of Alzheimer's. The next step is to work with our partners to find a suitable drug that can be tested to see if it works in humans," said Diego Gomez-Nicola, lead author of the study at the University of Southampton.
11th Jan 2016, 05:36 PM #2309
Re: Health Bulletin
Found: A healthy way to make coffee
Scientists have developed a new method of roasting green coffee beans that could enhance the health benefits of the brew.
Dan Perlman from Brandeis University in US is developing the flour milled from parbaked coffee beans both as a food ingredient and a nutritional supplement. It is a world of difference from the traditional coffee bean, Perlman said.
A recent Harvard study found that people who drank three to five cups a day had a 15% lower chance of prematurely dying than non-drinkers. Nobody knows for certain what causes coffee to be salutary , but one leading explanation involves a natural chemical compound called chlorogenic acid (CGA).
An antioxidant, CGA is thought to be beneficial in modulating sugar metabo lism, controlling blood pres sure and possibly treating heart disease and cancer.
However, when coffee is ro asted the traditional way -ty pically above 204.4° Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes -the CGA content drops dramatically .One study found the decrease ranged from 50 to nearly 100%.
Perlman wondered what would happen if the coffee bean was baked for less time and at a lower temperature. This took some trial and error until he got it right. In the end, he determined that parbaking the beans at 148°Celsius at approximately ten minutes worked best. The concentration of CGA in the bean, around 10%of the bean's weight, barely dropped, researchers said.
The parbaked coffee bean cannot be used to make coffee. It is not roasted long enough to develop flavour. Instead Perlman cryogenically mills the bean in an ultracold and chemically inert liquid nitrogen atmosphere to protect the bean's beneficial constituents from oxidation.
At the end of the process, you get a wheat-coloured flour. Its taste is nutty, pleasant and mild, researchers said.Perlman sees his coffee flour being blended with regular flours for baking, used in breakfast cereals and snack bars and added to soups, juices and nutritional drinks.
There are green coffee bean extract-based nutritional supplements already on the market. They have been touted as a way to lose weight and fight obesity , but there is scant research to support these claims.
13th Jan 2016, 02:00 PM #2310
Re: Health Bulletin
பாலினத்தை மாற்றும் ரசாயன பீட்சா
பீட்சா வைக்கப்படும் அட்டைப்பெட்டிகள், ஈரமாகாமல் இருப்பதற்காக பீட்சாவில் பயன்படுத்தப்படும் வேதிப்பொருட்கள், புற்றுநோய் ஏற்படுத்தும் என எச்சரிக்கை விடப்பட்டுள்ள நிலையில், இந்த வேதிப்பொருட்கள், மனிதர்களின் பாலினத்தை மாற்றும் என டாக்டர்கள் எச்சரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளனர். பீட்சா அட்டைபெட்டிகள் பல, அமெரிக்காவில் தடை செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது.
இது குறித்து ஸ்காட்லாந்து டாக்டர் கூறுகையில், பீட்சா அட்டைப்பெட்டியில் பயன்படுத்தப்படும் பெர்புளூரோல்க்கில்ஸ் என்ற வேதிப்பொருள், பெண் நத்தைகளின் பாலினத்தை மாற்றக்கூடியது. இந்த அபாயம் மனிதர்களிடமும் ஏற்படும் அச்சம் உள்ளது. பாலினமாக மாற்றும் என்சைம்களை அதிகளவில் சுரக்க இது காரணமாக உள்ளதாக கூறினார். மேலும் அவர், இந்த வேதிப்பொருள் காரணமாக நத்தைகளில் உள்ள டெஸ்டோஸ்டெரோன் என்ற ரசாயனம், பெண் நத்தைகளின் பாலினத்திற்கு காரணமாக உள்ளது எனவும், இதனால், பெண் நத்தைகளுக்கு ஆண் நத்தைகளின் உறுப்புகள் வளர்கிறது எனவும் கூறினார்.
வேதியியல் ஆராய்ச்சியாளர் கூறுகையில், பீட்சா வைக்கப்படும் அட்டைப்பெட்டிகளில் இருந்து வேதிப்பொருள் எப்படி நீக்கப்படுகிறது என்ற கேள்வி உள்ளது. அட்டைப்பெட்டியில் இருந்து பீட்சாவுக்கும் நுகர்வோருக்கும் ரசாயனம் செல்கிறது என்ற கேள்வி உள்ளது. அதிகளவில் உட்கொள்ளும்போது, அவர்களின் உடல்களில் ரசாயனம் தங்கிவிடும் அபாயம் உள்ளது. என கூறினார்.