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Health Bulletin


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  1. #431
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Key to Fertility: Raspberries

    A new study has claimed that eating raspberries could potentially enhance fertility in both men and women.

    The berries are believed to have high levels of Vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient in male fertility , and magnesium that helps in the production of testosterone, the Daily Express reported.

    Raspberries also contain 10 times additional antioxidants than tomatoes, and are potent in protecting sperm.

    Even after a woman has conceived, the antioxidants continue to protect the embryo and decrease the risk of miscarriage.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hyderabad pharma company unveils new typhoid vaccine

    City-based vaccine major Bharat Biotech on Monday launched what it claimed was the world's first clinically proven typhoid conjugate vaccine, Typbar - TCV, for infants above six-months as well as adults.

    The company that already manufactures and markets typhoid vaccines, said the newly launched typhoid conjugate vaccine would help make the vaccinated immune to the disease for a longer period of time as against the existing vaccines in the market that provide protection only for two to three years.

    However, the company did not announce the pricing of the new vaccine that is slated to hit the markets in two weeks time.

    According to Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Krishna M Ella, the typhoid conjugate vaccine would be priced higher than its existing typhoid vaccine that costs Rs 180 per dose. However, the company would follow the dual pricing model, wherein the vaccine for public usage would be pegged lower than for the product being sold in the private market.

    "It took us almost eight years to come up with the world's first clinically proven typhoid conjugate vaccine. We have invested around Rs 65 crore for its development. We expect a business of Rs 100 crore from this new vaccine while our existing typhoid vaccine has earned us around Rs 40 - 50 crore business," he said. "The company has commenced commercial production of Typbar-TCV in pre-filled syringes at its vaccine production facility in Genome Valley here. The plant has a capacity to produce 10 million doses each year, which is expandable to 50 million doses per year in the future," he said.

    Typhoid is a common disease in the Indian subcontinent that is transmitted through food or drink contaminated by the faeces or urine of infected people. According to a World Health Organization report, 90% of the typhoid deaths occur in Asia and the disease persists mainly in children under five years.


  3. #433
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    80% liver cancer cases avoidable

    Here's a piece of information that can take the sting out of liver cancer — the third most frequent cause of cancer death in India. Health profiling of patients who reported to a tertiary care hospital in Delhi between 2000 and 2012 has revealed that most cases could be prevented with simple lifestyle changes such as avoiding excess alcohol, having protected sex and getting vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus.

    According to the study, which involved 140 patients, hepatitis B was the most common cause of liver cancer affecting as many as 56 (39%) patients, followed by alcohol which affected 31 (22%) patients. Other causes included cryptogenic or unknown causes—but characterized by high incidence of diabetes—and hepatitis C.

    "The prevalence of diabetes was found to be 25% in liver cancer patients. When we analyzed the frequency of diabetes in different liver cancer patients, we found that the prevalence of diabetes was higher in patients cryptogenic (58%) when compared to other etiologies. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of diabetes in alcohol group (19%) compared to the viral group (17%)," said Dr Anil Arora, lead author of the study and chairperson, department of gastroenterology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

    The study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, also states that liver cancer caused by hepatitis B infection spreads faster. "Hepatitis B-related cases have extremely poor prognosis with median survival less than 16 months—36% to 67% after one year and 15% to 26% after five years of diagnosis," it states.

    "Intravenous drug abuse, body piercing and use of contaminated or used syringes cause hepatitis C infection—leading to liver cancer," added Dr Arora.

    Dr A S Puri, head of the department of gastroenterology at G B Pant Hospital, said hepatitis viruses are 30 times more prevalent than HIV in Southeast Asia. "Due to the asymptomatic nature of these infections, about 60% of infected individuals remain unaware until they show symptoms of cirrhosis or liver cancer which may take over 20 years. Both cirrhosis and liver cancer are irreversible and cause death," he added.


  4. #434
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Micro-needle patch to replace TB skin test

    Scientists have developed a novel patch with tiny, biodegradable needles that can penetrate the skin and accurately diagnose tuberculosis . The standard diagnostic test for tuberculosis is difficult to give, because a hypodermic needle must be inserted at a precise angle and depth in the arm to successfully check for tuberculosis, researchers said.

    Now, a team led by University of Washington engineers has created a patch with tiny, biodegradable needles that can penetrate the skin and precisely deliver a tuberculosis test. "With a micro-needle test there's little room for user error, because the depth of delivery is determined by the micro-needle length rather than the needle-insertion angle ," said senior author Marco Rolandi. "This test is painless and easier to administer than the traditional skin test with a hypodermic needle," he said.

    A tuberculosis test is a common precautionary measure . The bacterial infection usually attacks the lungs and can live in an inactive state for years in the body.


  5. #435
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Heart disease is a bigger threat for women than cancer: Prathap C Reddy

    Healthcare major Apollo Hospitals founder chairman Prathap C Reddy on Tuesday said it is a misconception that the incidence heart attack is less in women.


    "It is widely perceived that women have a lower risk of suffering from heart attack when compared to men. But that is a myth. Women have natural protection till a certain age but after menopause the risk of heart attack in women is higher than that of men. Heart disease is a bigger threat for women than cancer," Reddy said on the sidelines of the silver jubilee celebrations of Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad.

    Stressing on the of importance of regular check ups for women, he pointed out that unlike men who usually have chest pain during heart attack, there are usually no symptoms of heart attack for women.

    From today, Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad will be opening its doors for women to go for health checkup from 6pm to 7pm every day.

    Reddy also warned that the incidence of heart attack has been rising among the youth with the number of cases increasing every year.

    A cardiologist himself, Reddy had warned earlier that heart disease was going to be the biggest challenge for the healthcare industry in India. "In two decades from now there will not be enough doctors, nurses or hospitals to treat heart patients. We need to bring awareness about the disease so that people can prevent it," Reddy said.


  6. #436
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Idli, sambhar most nutritious breakfast'

    Three idlis, a bowl of sambhar and a tumbler of filter kaapi -- Chennai's traditional breakfast is not just a gastronomical delight for many but also the most nutritious morning meal compared to those in other metros.

    'India Breakfast Habits Study', a survey conducted in four metros, found that Chennai has the best breakfast 'nutrient profile' in the country.

    The study covered other metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata on a sample size of 3,600 subjects, split across 8 to 40 years age group, and described 'alarming' figures of nutritional inadequacy in our country.

    "Although people in India are increasingly becoming health conscious, this doesn't reflect in their eating behaviour. Changing lifestyles and behavioural patterns result in meal skipping or inadequate food intakes particularly at breakfast time," said Malathi Sivaramkrishnan, research director, college of home science, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, who conducted the study funded by multinational food manufacturing company Kellogg's.

    The nutrition scale was assessed based on the adequacy of carbohydrates, energy, proteins, fats and calcium. "While there have been many studies on the number of people skipping breakfast, very little has been done on the content of the meal and its nutritional value," said Malathi.

    The study found that 79% of those surveyed in Mumbai had nutritionally inadequate breakfasts, followed by Delhi and Kolkata at 76% and 75%. In Chennai only 60% reported that their breakfast was nutritionally inadequate.

    "Kolkata's traditional breakfast has excess maida which has a lot of carbohydrates, very little protein and no fibre at all. Delhi's parathas are too oily and Mumbai doesn't have a typical breakfast as such. People eat bread mostly, which just has carbohydrates," said Malathi.

    Nutritionists say the nutrient value in rural areas down south is even greater as many of them consume ragi. "Ragi is rich in Vitamin B, fibres, protein, calcium, iron and phosphorus," said Meenakshi Bajaj, dietitian and coordinator at Academy of Clinical Nutrition, Madras Medical College.

    She described the more popular idli and sambhar as a "complete meal".

    "The rice and urad dal in idlis complement each other, making it a complete protein. The vegetables and dal in the sambhar are good supplements," she said.

    The study found that one in four Indians skip breakfast. Although the number of those skipping meals were fewer in Chennai, 'skimping' (eating inadequately) was more prevalent.

    Nutritionists say the effect of skipping and skimping meals is more or less the same. "Only the intensity will be lesser in the latter," said Bhuvaneshwari Shankar, chief dietitian of Apollo Hospitals.

    It was also found that in Chennai nearly 50% of the housewives, 30% of the elderly and 20% working adults have only a beverage for breakfast.


  7. #437
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Broccoli can be useful for preventing osteoarthritis

    Researchers at University of East Anglia have found a compound in broccoli, which can be useful in preventing or slowing the progress of the most common arthritis form.

    Their research has found that Sulforaphane slows down the destruction of cartilage in joints associated with painful and often debilitating osteoarthritis.

    The researchers found that mice fed a diet rich in the compound had significantly less cartilage damage and osteoarthritis.

    The study also examined human cartilage cells and cow cartilage tissue.

    Research has found that Sulforaphane is released when eating cruciferous vegetables such as sprouts and cabbage, but particularly broccoli.

    Previous research has suggested that Sulforaphane has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, but this is the first major study into its effects on joint health.

    The researchers discovered that Sulforaphane blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation. They wanted to find out if the compound got into joints in sufficient amounts to be effective.


  8. #438
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists grow human brain tissue from stem cells

    Scientists said on Wednesday they had used stem cells to grow primitive human brain tissue for use in studying disorders and early development of this most complex of organs.

    They used the cells to grow what they dubbed "cerebral organoids" -- pea-sized blobs of 3D brain tissue in a Petri dish, with characteristics of early embryonic brain tissue.

    The feat may reduce scientists' reliance on the mouse brain, which is a poor model for research into human diseases and treatment, the team wrote in the journal Nature.

    "Development of the human brain is very different from development, for example, of the mouse brain," study coordinator Juergen Knoblich of the Austrian Academy of Sciences told a telephone press conference.

    The technology should help biologists study "human-specific" features of human brain development and disease, he said.

    It was also hoped the method would allow researchers to "test drugs directly in a human setting and thereby avoid animal experiments and get more informed results that are more easily transferrable to human patients," said Knoblich.

    Stem cell researchers have made progress to create 3D tissue of other human organs, including the heart and liver, but the brain has remained elusive.

    Knoblich's team used pluripotent stem cells, which can be prompted to develop into any kind of cell of the body, to create neural cells that "self-organized" into organoids up to four millimetres (0.15 inches) big. They survived for several months in a spinning bioreactor.

    "The 3D culture system... develops a variety of brain regions that are capable of influencing one another," said a summary of the study.

    "The tissues form in layers and display an organisation similar to the developing human brain at early stages."

    The neural cells were "active", according to Knoblich. "These structures are not just peculiar lab artefacts," said Oliver Bruestle of the University of Bonn's Life and Brain Centre in a comment on the study.

    "The organoids recreate early steps in the formation of the human brain's cerebral cortex, and so lend themselves to studies of brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders."

    But despite the fascinating potential, he said the scientific dream of creating a "brain in a dish" remained out of reach.

    The organoids mimicking different brain regions were randomly distributed and lacked the shape and overall spatial organisation of the human brain.

    As they had no circulatory system, the supply of nutrients and oxygen was restricted, meaning the organoids could grow to only a few millimetres in size.

    "Even then, their core represents a dead zone of cells starved of oxygen and nutrients," said Bruestle.

    Knoblich said the method was never meant to be used to grow replacement parts for a damaged human brain, and expressed doubt it could ever be used as such, given the organ's structural complexity.


  9. #439
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Being always late diagnosed as a disease

    A man who has been late for everything in his life has had his chronic tardiness diagnosed as a medical condition.

    Jim Dunbar has been late for work, holidays, meals with friends, left women waiting on first dates and even had to sneak into funerals long after they’ve begun.

    The 57-year-old said that his poor timekeeping is down to a medical condition that was diagnosed as chronic lateness.

    It is thought that the condition is caused by the same part of the brain affected by those who suffer from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and means Dunbar cannot properly gauge how long things take to complete.

    Dunbar said, “The reason I want it out in the open is that there has got to be other folk out there with it and they don’t realise that it’s not their fault. “I blamed it on myself and thought why can’t I be on time? I lost a lot of jobs. I can understand people’s reaction and why they don’t believe me. It’s depressing sometimes. I can’t overstate how much it helped to say it was a condition.”

    Dunbar has tackled this problem his entire life and always blamed himself.


  10. #440
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    For crying out loud! Parents, teachers now get voice care

    Professional singers have to protect their vocal cords and keep them in top shape. A healthy voice is the source of their livelihood. But ENT specialists now report that teachers and mothers with young children are queuing up for treatment of voice problems these days.

    The main objective of a voice clinic is to ensure that people who use their voice on the job do not suffer from vocal disorders, says Dr Prakash from the department of speech sciences at Sri Ramachandra University.

    "We earlier mostly treated singers whose vocal cords were damaged or frayed, but now at least 20 teachers come to us with damaged vocal cords every month," Dr Prakash says. "Even mothers who have to control young children are turning up at the clinic with voice problems," he says.

    He says some patients are news readers, radio jockeys, BPO employees, lawyers and actors, all of whom use their vocal cords extensively. The number of singers who show up at voice clinics peaks during the music season between October and January, but there is a stream of teachers throughout the year, says Dr A Ravikumar, HoD, ENT and neck surgery department at SRU. "While singers come with subtle problems like voice cracking, pitch problems and age-related issues, teachers usually have stretched or infected vocal cords," he said.

    Straining the vocal cords could lead to abnormal growths or lesions that can develop into nodules, polyps and cysts which can be removed only through surgery. "Lesions are caused by intensive use of the voice, including voice misuse such as speaking at a strange pitch, speaking too much, screaming or using the voice excessively when ill," says Dr Prakash.

    Generally, people whose professions involve excessive use of the vocal cords need periodic assessment, says KKR ENT Hospital and Research Institute managing director Ravi Ramalingam. "We treat more than 250 people and perform a minimum of 40 phonosurgeries each month," Dr Ramalingam says. The city's voice clinics together get around 450 patients and perform around 80 surgeries in a month.

    "Of the 250 patients, around three-fourths are teachers who make great demands of their vocal cords," he says. "They have to speak all day in the classroom and have to project their voices far enough so all the students can hear them clearly. This stress on the vocal cords often causes problems."


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