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Health Bulletin


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  1. #321
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    India’s first transplant-only hospital in West Bengal

    Come 2015, India will boast of its first transplant-only hospital in West Bengal, thereby getting to be at par with global healthcare.

    Providing facilities for liver, bone marrow, pancreas and kidney transplants, the state-of-the-art establishment slated to be built at Andal in Bardhman district of the state, will employ surgeons from Britain and the US as part of their full-time staff, a hospital official said.

    "Initially there will be facilities for liver, bone marrow, pancreas and kidney transplants. This will be the first transplant-only hospital in the whole country. We have shortlisted doctors from the US and Britain who will be there full time," said Satyajit Bose, chairman of the Mission Hospital.

    The initiative has been strategically planned at Andal, where a 650-acre airport will come up by the year-end. The project will take off in sync with the completion of the airport.

    "Any transplant hospital needs to be located next to an airport. Keeping that in mind, we are building it at Andal which will soon have an airport. As soon as the first flight takes off, we will start our construction. The finance is ready and so is the design," said Bose.

    However, cadaveric transplants (like heart transplants) which require donors to be brain-dead, will have to wait until it becomes permissible by the state legislature.

    "West Bengal doesn't have legislation for cadaveric procedures yet. As soon as it is a yes, we will go ahead with heart transplants and related organ transplants," said Bose.

    Backed by an investment of Rs.200 crore, the 150-bed speciality hospital will be equipped with two air-ambulances and digital operating theatres.

    The Mission Hospital, as part of its expansion plans, will introduce digital OTs in its Durgapur campus, the first in eastern India.


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  2. #322
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Difficulty breathing? You could try singing

    In a third-floor room of a London hospital with orange and white walls draped with Tibetan prayer flags, roughly a dozen people gathered recently to perform vocal exercises and sing songs.

    The participants had an ulterior motive for singing: to cope better with lung disease. The weekly group is led by a professional musician and is offered to people with respiratory problems including asthma, emphysema , and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, or COPD.

    Doctors at London's Royal Brompton Hospital started the program after reasoning that the kind of breathing used by singers might also help lung patients.

    "Since many people enjoy singing, we thought it would help them associate controlling their breathing with something pleasant and positive rather than a standard physiotherapy technique,'' said Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, the hospital's top chest physician. "It's almost accidental that they learn something about their breathing through singing,'' he said.

    People with COPD have damaged lungs, which limits how much air they can breathe in and out. "Some people start to breathe very rapidly, which aggravates the problem,'' Hopkinson said. "They take many rapid , shallow breaths and that makes it even harder for them,'' he said. Hopkinson said learning to sing gives patients better posture and teaches them to breathe at a more manageable rate.

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  3. #323
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Insulin helps new mothers with breastfeeding problems lactate

    A new study has looked into insulin's role in lactation success among mothers have difficulty in making enough milk to breastfeed their babies.


    The study is the first to describe how the human mammary gland becomes highly sensitive to insulin during lactation.

    It is also the first study to get an accurate picture of how specific genes are switched on in the human mammary gland during lactation.

    The researchers used next generation sequencing technology, RNA sequencing, to reveal "in exquisite detail" the blueprint for making milk in the human mammary gland, according to Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, a scientist at Cincinnati Children's and corresponding author of the study.

    Nommsen-Rivers' previous research had shown that for mothers with markers of sub-optimal glucose metabolism, such as being overweight, being at an advanced maternal age, or having a large birth-weight baby, it takes longer for their milk to come in, suggesting a role for insulin in the mammary gland.

    The new research shows how the mammary gland becomes sensitive to insulin during lactation.

    For a long time, insulin was not thought to play a direct role in regulating the milk-making cells of the human breast, because insulin is not needed for these cells to take in sugars, such as glucose.

    Scientists now, however, appreciate that insulin does more than facilitate uptake of sugars.

    The study is published online in PLOS ONE, a journal of the Public Library of Science.

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  4. #324
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, Erectile Dysfunction afflicts more men below 30 years

    Men not being able to rise to the occasion are getting younger. Nearly 25 out of every 100 patients with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) are below 30 years. A decade ago, this number was only five to seven.

    An internal survey on the prevalence of ED in young men carried out by a city-based sexologist has revealed that of 400 men who complained of either failure to get a penile erection or sustain an erection, an alarming 100 were in their 20s.

    "ED is afflicting young men. Chief factors here are increased addiction to smoking and alcohol and high stress levels which account of 50% of the cases. Smoking constricts blood vessels. Alcohol may increase sexual desire but destroys the central nervous system, which affects performance," said consultant sexologist and infertility specialist Dr Paras Shah, who has conducted the study.

    The rest of the cases are due to obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and psychological reasons. "More young patients are getting heart attacks. Few know that ED is the first sign that a person might be predisposed to heart disease as the mechanism of blockage of arteries is the same," said Dr Shah.

    Experts say that over-the-counter availability of Viagra, desi Viagras, and other brands of sildenafil citrate has led to major abuse of the drug. Many youngsters attempt to cure their erectile dysfunction by themselves.

    "Nearly 60 per cent of men with ED who come to me have taken sildenafil citrate on their own. This is serious because the drug has side effects. The problem is that no prescription is required in our country for prescription drugs," said Dr Shah.

    "A 28-year-old came to me this week in extreme panic, saying he was feeling suicidal as even Viagra had failed to cure his ED. But there are dos and don't's with Viagra, such as taking the pill four hours before sex and on an empty stomach," said psychiatrist Dr Hansal Bhachech

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  5. #325
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists chance upon protein that can kill E coli

    Scientists at a British university have chanced up a protein that can kill the E coli bacterium, known to cause serious food poisoning in humans.

    The protein Colicin N is found inside the Escherichia coli itself, and kills competing bacterium in a very efficient way.

    As part of their investigations, researchers at Newcastle University divided the protein into three parts: a receptor, which helps the protein lock-on to the bacterium; a toxic part that punches holes in the membrane of the bacterium to kill it; and a "tail-like" part.

    The "tail" was thought to help the protein sneak into the cell but assumed to be harmless to the bacterium itself.

    According to the researchers, they wanted to see what effect each part of the protein would have on E coli bacteria. Amazingly when they introduced the translocation tail into the environment of the bacteria, it killed them.

    Chris Johnson, a researcher who made the key discovery, said: "When I saw what had happened I didn't believe it. So we repeated it several times and the same thing happened, the bacteria died. This was certainly a result that we weren't expecting. We don't really know how this is all working so we will be looking at this in much more detail but it looks promising."

    The research team at Newcastle described their findings in a paper published in the journal Molecular Microbiology this week.

    Professor of structural biochemistry at Newcastle University's Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Jeremy Lakey, who led the research team, said: "It will be relatively easy to make new antibiotics out of it."

    He, however, added that the research was still in its early stages.

    "It's an early stage basic discovery. It kills bacteria by a new and as yet unknown mechanism, so we need to do a lot more work to discover exactly what is happening here and whether it could be used for new drugs. But it is unlike anything I have seen before and one of the most exciting things I have seen in 30 years of research on antibacterials," he said.

    The finding means a whole new class of antibiotics to help fight Escherichia coli.

    Antibiotics have saved millions of lives across the world, but recently several experts have warned that over use has resulted into the bacteria developing immunity and the drugs becoming ineffective.

    The discovery shows promise in combating an increasingly important class of antibiotic resistant infections caused by E coli.

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  6. #326
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    How to perform Testicular Self Examination

    The number of cases of testicular cancer in India are on the rise, and in the fight against testicular cancer, as against most other forms of cancer, one of the most potent tools is early detection. In order to be able to get help at an early stage, it is important for men to know their testicles well and be able to identify any abnormalities. Most doctors recommend a regular testicular self examination.

    “Regualr self examination of the testicles can go a long way in early detection and can help treat any problems that may arise. It is very important to try and do this examination every month so that one becomes familiar with the normal size and shape of one’s testicles. This will make it much easier to tell if something feels different or abnormal in the future. Many testicular cancers are first discovered by self-examination as a painless lump or an enlarged testicle."

    A testicular self examination is best performed after a bath or shower, when the scrotal muscles are warm and relaxed. Examine one testicle at a time. Remember that is quite normal for one testicle to hang slightly lower than the other or for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.

    Using both hands, gently roll each testicle (with slight pressure) between your fingers. Try to locate and feel the epididymis (the sperm-carrying tube), which feels soft, rope-like, and slightly tender to pressure, and is located at the top of the back part of each testicle. This is a normal lump. While examining each testicle, feel for any lumps or bumps along the front or sides. If you notice any swelling, lumps, or changes in the size or colour of a testicle, or if you have any pain, it is important to immediately consult your doctor.

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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New method developed to detect drug efficiency

    Swedish scientists have developed a new method that detects the efficiency of drug molecules in reaching their targets, says a study.

    The method, which is described in the scientific journal Science, could make a significant contribution to the development of new, improved drug substances, reports a science daily.

    Most drugs operate by binding to one or more proteins and affecting their function, which creates two common bottlenecks in the development of drugs -- identifying the right target proteins and designing drug molecules able to efficiently seek out and bind to them.

    Until now, no method was available for directly measuring the efficiency of the drug molecules to locate and bind to their target protein.

    Researchers from Karolinska Institutet have developed a new tool called CETSA (Cellular Thermal Shift Assay), which utilizes the concept that target proteins usually get stabilized when drug molecules bind.

    "We have shown that the method works on a wide variety of target proteins and allows us to directly measure whether the drug molecules reach their targets in cells and animal models," says lead investigator Professor Par Nordlund of the department of medical biochemistry and biophysics at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

    "We believe that CETSA will eventually help to improve the efficiency of many drugs and contribute to better drug molecules and more successful treatments," Nordlund said

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  8. #328
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Estrogen helps women cope better with stress: Study

    Women are better at coping with stress than men due to the protective effect of female hormone estrogen, a new study has claimed.

    Researchers from the University at Buffalo in US found that the enzyme aromatase, which produces estradiol, an estrogen hormone, in the brain, is responsible for female stress resilience.

    "We have examined the molecular mechanism underlying gender-specific effects of stress," said senior author Zhen Yan, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in the university.

    "Previous studies have found that females are more resilient to chronic stress and now our research has found the reason why," Yan said.
    The research showed that in rats exposed to repeated episodes of stress, females respond better than males because of the protective effect of estrogen.

    In the UB study, young female rats exposed to one week of periodic physical restraint stress showed no impairment in their ability to remember and recognise objects they had previously been shown.

    In contrast, young males exposed to the same stress were impaired in their short-term memory.

    An impairment in the ability to correctly remember a familiar object signifies some disturbance in the signalling ability of the glutamate receptor in the prefrontal cortex, the brain region that controls working memory, attention, decision-making, emotion and other high-level "executive" processes.
    Last year, Yan and colleagues published in journal Neuron a paper showing that repeated stress results in loss of the glutamate receptor in the prefrontal cortex of young males.

    The new study shows that the glutamate receptor in the prefrontal cortex of stressed females is intact.

    The findings provide more support for a growing body of research demonstrating that the glutamate receptor is the molecular target of stress, which mediates the stress response, according to the study in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

    The stressors used in the experiments mimic challenging and stressful, but not dangerous, experiences that humans face, such as those causing frustration and feelings of being under pressure, Yan said.

    By manipulating the amount of estrogen produced in the brain, the UB researchers were able to make the males respond to stress more like females and the females respond more like males.

    "When estrogen signalling in the brains of females was blocked, stress exhibited detrimental effects on them. When estrogen signalling was activated in males, the detrimental effects of stress were blocked," Yan said.

    "We still found the protective effect of estrogen in female rats whose ovaries were removed. It suggests that it might be estrogen produced in the brain that protects against the detrimental effects of stress," Yan said.

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  9. #329
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Gadget sniffs out bladder cancer in just 30 minutes

    Scientists have developed a new device that can 'smell' bladder cancer from certain odours in the urine and give an accurate diagnosis within 30 minutes.

    Researchers from the University of Liverpool and University of the West of England, (UWE Bristol), built the device, called ODOREADER that contains a sensor which responds to chemicals in gas emitted from urine.

    The device, constructed in the laboratories at UWE Bristol's Institute of Biosensor Technology, analyses this gas and produces a 'profile' of the chemicals in urine that can be read by scientists to diagnose the presence of cancer cells in the bladder. There are currently no reliable biomarkers to screen patients for bladder cancer in the same way that there are for breast and cervical cancers.

    Previous research has suggested that a particular odour in the urine could be detected by dogs trained to recognize the scent, indicating that methods of diagnoses could be based on the smell of certain gases. The device works by inserting a bottle containing the urine sample into the device. About 30 minutes later the ODOREADER is capable of showing the diagnosis.

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  10. #330
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Study finds benefits in delaying severing of umbilical cord

    In most hospital delivery rooms, doctors routinely clamp and sever the umbilical cord less than a minute after an infant's birth, a practice thought to reduce the risk of maternal hemorrhaging.


    But a new analysis has found that delaying clamping for at least a minute after birth, which allows more time for blood to move from the placenta, significantly improves iron stores and hemoglobin levels in newborns and does not increase the risks to mothers.

    Doctors usually clamp the umbilical cord in two locations, near the infant's navel and then farther along the cord, then cut it between the clamps. The timing of the procedure has been controversial for years, and the new analysis adds to a substantial body of evidence suggesting that clamping often occurs too quickly after delivery.

    The new paper, published on Wednesday in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, may change minds, though perhaps not immediately. "I suspect we'll have more and more delayed cord clamping," said Dr Jeffrey Ecker, the chair of committee on obstetrics practice for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

    Newborns with later clamping had higher hemoglobin levels 24 to 48 hours postpartum and were less likely to be iron-deficient three to six months after birth, compared with term babies who had early cord clamping, the analysis found. Birth weight also was significantly higher on average in the late clamping group, in part because babies received more blood from their mothers.

    Delayed clamping did not increase the risk of severe postpartum hemorrhage, blood loss or reduced hemoglobin levels in mothers, the analysis found.

    "It's a persuasive finding," said Dr Ecker. "It's tough not to think that delayed cord clamping, including better iron stores and more hemoglobin, is a good thing."

    The World Health Organization recommends clamping of the cord after one to three minutes because it "improves the iron status of the infant." Occasionally delayed clamping can lead to jaundice in infants, caused by liver trouble or an excessive loss of red blood cells, and so the W.H.O. advises that access to therapy for jaundice be taken into consideration.

    By contrast, in December a committee opinion by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviewed much of the same evidence as the new analysis but found it "insufficient to confirm or refute the potential for benefits from delayed umbilical cord clamping in term infants, especially in settings with rich resources."

    The committee cited the risks of jaundice and the relative infrequency of iron deficiency in the United States as reasons for not changing longstanding practice.

    But Dr Tonse Raju, a neonatologist and an author of the guidelines, said he personally favored delayed cord clamping, even more so after this "very strong paper."

    The new report assessed data from 15 randomized trials involving 3,911 women and infant pairs. Eileen Hutton, a midwife who teaches obstetrics at McMaster University in Ontario and published a systematic review on cord clamping, called the report "comprehensive and well done" but said she felt the conclusion was "weakly worded," considering the sum of evidence on the benefits of delayed cord clamping for neonates.

    "The implications are huge," Dr Hutton said. "We are talking about depriving babies of 30 to 40% of their blood at birth - and just because we've learned a practice that's bad."

    Said Dr Raju, a medical officer at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: "It's a good chunk of blood the baby is going to get, if you wait a minute and a half or two minutes. They need that extra amount of blood to fill the lungs." Healthy babies manage to compensate if they do not get the blood from the cord, he said, but researchers do not know how.

    American doctors hesitate to recommend delaying cord clamping universally, Dr Raju said, because there can be situations in which early clamping is required - if an infant requires resuscitation, for example, or aspirates meconium, or infant stool.

    The new analysis also found a 2% increase in jaundice among babies who got delayed cord clamping, compared with those who did not. Dr Raju noted that the risk, although slight, increases the need for follow-up testing three to five days postpartum.

    Susan McDonald, the lead author of the Cochrane review and a professor of midwifery at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, said, "In terms of a healthy start for a baby, one thing we can do by delaying cord clamping is boost their iron stores for a little bit longer."

    The new analysis did not include many women who had Caesarean sections, some experts noted.

    "We don't have enough information on the effects of delayed cord clamping for someone undergoing a Caesarean delivery in terms of postpartum hemorrhage," said Dr Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, medical director of the perinatal clinic at Columbia University. "Waiting 30 or 60 seconds in a vaginal delivery in a low-risk patient is probably something we could do and wouldn't have maternal consequences, but in a caesarean delivery, you're cutting into a pregnant uterus that has a huge amount of blood." In some scenarios, "there's an increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage."

    Dr McDonald acknowledged that the review did not include data on the long-term neurological outcomes for babies.

    "What will sway ACOG are a couple of studies in progress showing a potential long-term neurological benefit," Dr Raju said. Improved iron stores in theory could help reduce the risk of learning deficiencies and cognitive delay in children, which have been linked to iron-deficiency anemia in school-age children.


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