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Health Bulletin


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  1. #441
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New technology for cancer care, first time in in Asia, claims HCG

    Here is a novel mode of treating the cancer patients with cutting edge technology. The Intra Operative 3D Radioguided Surgery System (SurgicEye), has been now introduced HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd in Bangalore.
    Announcing the new service here on Thursday, Dr Joerg Traub, Inventor & Founder, SurgicEye GmbH, said that it leads to a bigger leap in cancer treatment. "I am convinced that HCG is the best location for the first declipseSPECT installation in Asia. The declipseSPECT will add one more innovation to HCG's high quality service, providing 3D imaging and guidance support for least invasive surgery and quality assurance in the operating room to document the complete removal," said Dr Joerg Traub.
    Speaking to reporters Dr Mahesh Bandemegal, Consultant, Surgical Oncologist, HCG said that the new technology helps surgeons in identifying the accurate localization of lymph node. "Its is mainly used for Breast Cancer, Skin Cancer, Oral Cancer, Gynecological. It is the most accurate way of detecting and avoiding false negativity," said Dr Bandemegal.
    "The declipseSPECT, makes the surgery easier, as it not only gives a 3D location of the lymph node, but also tells the surgeon of the accurate depth at which the lymph node can be found," said Dr Krithika Murugan, Consultant, Surgical Oncologist, HCG.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Protein behind age-related memory loss found

    Scientists have discovered that a brain protein deficiency significantly contributes to age-related memory loss.

    A team of researchers, led by Nobel laureate Eric R Kandel, has found that deficiency of RbAp48 in the hippocampus is a significant contributor to age-related memory loss and that this form of memory loss is reversible.
    The study conducted in postmortem human brain cells and in mice, also offers the strongest causal evidence that age-related memory loss and Alzheimer's disease are distinct conditions.

    "Our study provides compelling evidence that age-related memory loss is a syndrome in its own right, apart from Alzheimer's. In addition to the implications for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of memory disorders, these results have public health consequences," said Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researcher Kandel.

    The hippocampus, a brain region that consists of several interconnected subregions, each with a distinct neuron population, plays a vital role in memory.

    Studies have shown that Alzheimer's disease hampers memory by first acting on the entorhinal cortex (EC), a brain region that provides the major input pathways to the hippocampus, researchers said.

    It was initially thought that age-related memory loss is an early manifestation of Alzheimer's, but mounting evidence suggests that it is a distinct process that affects the dentate gyrus (DG), a subregion of the hippocampus that receives direct input from the EC.

    "Until now, however, no one has been able to identify specific molecular defects involved in age-related memory loss in humans," said co-senior author Scott A Small, director of the Alzheimer's Research Center at CUMC.
    Researchers began by performing microarray (gene expression) analyses of postmortem brain cells from the DG of eight people, aged 33 to 88, all of whom were free of brain disease.

    The analyses identified 17 candidate genes that might be related to ageing in the DG. The most significant changes occurred in a gene called RbAp48, whose expression declined steadily with ageing across the study subjects.
    To determine whether RbAp48plays an active role in age-related memory loss, the researchers turned to mouse studies.

    "The first question was whether RbAp48is downregulated in aged mice," said lead author Elias Pavlopoulos, associate research scientist in neuroscience at CUMC.

    "And indeed, that turned out to be the case - there was a reduction of RbAp48 protein in the DG," said Pavlopoulos.
    When the researchers genetically inhibited RbAp48in the brains of healthy young mice, they found the same memory loss as in aged mice, as measured by novel object recognition and water maze memory tests. When RbAp48inhibition was turned off, the mice's memory returned to normal.
    The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. SAR AKJ SAR


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soon, forget about forgetting

    A team of neuroscientists have found a key to reducing the forgetfulness of people.

    The study was conducted at New York University by Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU's Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, and Kaia Vilberg, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas' Center for Vital Longevity and School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences in Dallas.

    Davachi said that when memories are supported by greater coordination between different parts of the brain, it's a sign that they are going to last longer.

    It is commonly understood that the key to memory consolidation-the cementing of an experience or information in our brain-is signaling from the brain's hippocampus across different cortical areas. Moreover, it has been hypothesized, but never proven, that the greater the distribution of signaling, the stronger the memory takes hold in our brain.

    To determine if there was scientific support for this theory, they examined how memories are formed at their earliest stages through a series of experiments over a three-day period.

    On day one of the study, they aimed to encode, or create, new memories among the study's subjects. Here, they showed participants a series of images-objects and outdoor scenes, both of which were paired with words.
    On day two, the subjects returned to the lab and completed another round of encoding tasks using new sets of visuals and words.

    After a short break, participants were placed in an MRI machine-in order to monitor neural activity-and viewed the same visual-word pairings they saw on days one and two as well as a new round of visuals paired with words. They then completed a memory test of approximately half of the visual-word pairings they'd seen thus far. On day three, they returned to the lab for a memory test on the remaining visuals.

    By testing over multiple days, the researchers were able to isolate memories that declined or were preserved over time and, with it, better understand the neurological factors that contribute to memory preservation.
    Their results showed that memories that were not forgotten were associated with greater coordination between the hippocampus and left perirhinal cortex (LPRC)-two parts of the brain previously linked with memory formation.

    Their findings have been published in the journal Neuron.


  4. #444
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Study to evolve combo treatment for diabetes and tuberculosis

    A group of doctors from MV Diabetes Research Centre and the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) have joined hands to take up a study on the impact of diabetes on TB patients and find a better treatment regimen.

    In the absence of a protocol for a combined treatment for the two conditions, questions remain on the best methods of diagnosis and treatment. "We are not sure if we should advice DOTS (directly observed treatment short course) or daily therapy. We hope the study would give us a clear picture," said diabetologist Dr Vijay Viswanathan who heads the research team.

    The 'effect of diabetes on TB severity' (EDOTS) study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the department of biotechnology would largely benefit TB-diabetes patients. The team decided to take up such a study after they saw that at least 50% of TB patients in the government's revised national TB control programme in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram were diabetics or pre-diabetics. The study would have 300 patients, of which 150 would be TB patients with diabetes and the rest TB patients without diabetes.


  5. #445
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Old cancer drug may help transplant patients

    Scientists have discovered that an old cancer drug can be used to prevent rejection of transplanted tissue.

    Researchers at Lund University believe their discovery could lead to new treatments for both transplant patients and those with autoimmune diseases.

    "Our group was studying the effects of the old tumour drug Zebularine, developed in the US in the 1960s, and by chance we discovered that it had completely unexpected effects on the immune system," said Leif Salford, senior professor of neurosurgery at the Rausing Laboratory, Lund University.

    "It turned out that Zebularine has the ability to subdue the reaction of the body's immune system. This could be important in situations where tissue or organs are transplanted.

    "We also think it could be used to curb the body's attacks on its own tissue in autoimmune diseases, for instance type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis," said researcher Dr Henrietta Nittby.

    In studies on animals, the researchers used rats that were made diabetic. The researchers transplanted the islets of Langerhans — cell groups in the pancreas producing insulin — from healthy rats from another kind of rat into those with diabetes.

    The diabetic rats were divided into two groups; one group were treated with Zebularine and the other, the control group, did not receive any treatment. The diabetic rats that were treated with Zebularine survived for a significantly longer period than the untreated rats.

    "It is very interesting that we only treated them with Zebularine for two weeks, but the effects of the treatment could be observed throughout the 90-day follow-up period," Nittby said.

    "The findings are very exciting and are a sign that the immune system was not just generally suppressed, but that the treatment was more targeted. Neither did we see any signs of side-effects," Nittby added.

    The researchers are now working intensively to further refine the treatment. The next step is to teach certain cells in the immune system — the dendritic cells — to accept certain specific proteins using the Zebularine treatment. This would mean that the treatment could be targeted even more.

    The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.


  6. #446
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Old cancer drug may help transplant patients

    Scientists have discovered that an old cancer drug can be used to prevent rejection of transplanted tissue.

    Researchers at Lund University believe their discovery could lead to new treatments for both transplant patients and those with autoimmune diseases.

    "Our group was studying the effects of the old tumour drug Zebularine, developed in the US in the 1960s, and by chance we discovered that it had completely unexpected effects on the immune system," said Leif Salford, senior professor of neurosurgery at the Rausing Laboratory, Lund University.

    "It turned out that Zebularine has the ability to subdue the reaction of the body's immune system. This could be important in situations where tissue or organs are transplanted.

    "We also think it could be used to curb the body's attacks on its own tissue in autoimmune diseases, for instance type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis," said researcher Dr Henrietta Nittby.

    In studies on animals, the researchers used rats that were made diabetic. The researchers transplanted the islets of Langerhans cell groups in the pancreas producing insulin from healthy rats from another kind of rat into those with diabetes.

    The diabetic rats were divided into two groups; one group were treated with Zebularine and the other, the control group, did not receive any treatment. The diabetic rats that were treated with Zebularine survived for a significantly longer period than the untreated rats.

    "It is very interesting that we only treated them with Zebularine for two weeks, but the effects of the treatment could be observed throughout the 90-day follow-up period," Nittby said.

    "The findings are very exciting and are a sign that the immune system was not just generally suppressed, but that the treatment was more targeted. Neither did we see any signs of side-effects," Nittby added.

    The researchers are now working intensively to further refine the treatment. The next step is to teach certain cells in the immune system the dendritic cells to accept certain specific proteins using the Zebularine treatment. This would mean that the treatment could be targeted even more.

    The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.


  7. #447
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Yoga tied to better sleep after cancer

    Practicing yoga may help people who have had cancer sleep better and reduce their use of sleep aids, according to a new study.

    Researchers found study participants, mostly women with a history of breast cancer, reported significant improvements in sleep quality and sleep duration when they attended yoga sessions twice per week.
    The study's lead author called it "the kind of study that doctors typically look to when changing the standard of care with patients."

    "One of the biggest messages from the trial is yoga worked," Karen Mustian, from the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said.

    "Regardless of whether people had mild sleep disruption or a clinical diagnosis of insomnia, people who participated in yoga experienced the same amount of sleep improvement," she told Reuters Health.

    Mustian said between 30 and 90 percent of cancer survivors report some form of sleep disturbance.

    That can be due to anxiety about a cancer diagnosis, related health problems or side effects of treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy.

    Studies suggest yoga can lower blood pressure and improve anxiety, depression and insomnia. The program used in this study included Gentle Hatha yoga, which focuses on physical postures, and Restorative yoga, with an emphasis on relaxation, breathing and meditation.

    The study included 410 people with a history of cancer who were recruited from 12 U.S. cities. Participants were 54 years old, on average. Almost all were white and female, and three quarters had had breast cancer.

    Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Half of them attended a standardized yoga program for cancer survivors that met for 75 minutes twice a week, in addition to receiving standard care. The other half received only standard care.

    The researchers assessed participants' sleep quality before and after the four-week study period on a questionnaire and using actigraphy, a sensor that detects movement and is worn like a wristwatch at night.

    People in both groups improved on measures of overall sleep quality and several other sleep-related variables. Relative to the control group, however, those who did yoga saw greater improvements in sleep quality, daytime sleepiness and the amount of time actually spent sleeping while in bed.

    On a scale of general sleep quality - measured from 0 to 21, where lower scores indicate fewer problems - yoga participants improved from a 9.2 to a 7.2 during the study. Those in the comparison group improved from a 9.0 to a 7.9, on average, according to results published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

    What's more, yoga participants reduced their use of sleep medication by 21 percent per week, on average, and those not assigned to yoga increased use of sleep aids by five percent per week.

    "What's exciting about this study is that it brought yoga out to people where they're receiving care and still showed that there's benefits to yoga participation," Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, told Reuters Health.

    Abrams, who was not involved in the new study, said it's not clear why people in the comparison group improved on sleep measures, albeit to a smaller extent than those who did yoga. He also wondered whether the results would apply to other groups of patients.

    "The data from other studies is quite clear that yoga improves quality of life for breast cancer patients, and this study confirms that," he said. "We still don't know how it works in men with colon or prostate cancer, for example, because those patients are never really involved in these trials."

    Still, he said he often recommends yoga to his patients with cancer.
    "People can do it at home, or they can take a class," Abrams said. "The cost is not enormous, and it's definitely better than taking sleeping pills."


  8. #448
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sip a glass of wine to beat the blues

    A news study has found that enjoying several glasses of wine each week may not only protect your heart, but it may also help protect your mental health.

    Researchers in Spain have found that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol especially wine was linked with a lower risk of depression, Fox News reported.

    Older men and women who consumed two to seven small glasses of wine weekly were 32 percent less likely to suffer from depression compared with people who never drank alcohol, the study revealed.

    These results appear to contradict previous studies, which have often linked drinking alcohol with an increased risk of depression.

    Two reasons researchers have suggested for this increased risk are that people might drink more to mask depressive symptoms and people might also turn to alcohol to cope with a personal problem, such as job loss, family issues or financial troubles all factors that mayalso trigger a depressive episode.

    As for why these findings seem to conflict with other studies on alcohol, lead author Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, a cardiologist and professor of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, said it could be because the new study did not include people who previously had depression, or people known to have drinking problems.
    "In our study population, the average intake of alcohol was low, and the pattern of consumption was typically Mediterranean, with alcohol coming preferentially from wine, consumed during meals and without episodes of binge drinking," he said.

    The study looked at more than 5,500 men and women ages 55 to 80 in Spain, who were involved in a research trial evaluating the effects of the Mediterranean diet on heart disease risk. None of them had depression at the study's start.

    During a follow-up period of up to seven years, 443 people reported that they were diagnosed with depression.

    Researchers found that light to moderate drinkers, who drank 5 to 15 grams of alcohol daily on average, had a lower risk of depression compared with people who abstained from imbibing. (A small glass of wine contains about 9 grams of pure alcohol).

    The lowest rates of depression were observed in people who consumed moderate amounts of wine.

    The study found that men and women who drank two to seven small glasses of wine each week were 30 percent less likely to develop depression, compared with those who drank none.

    The study is published online in the journal BMC Medicine.


  9. #449
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Quitting smoking does not completely cut cardiovascular disease risk

    A new study suggests that smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack, than people who have never smoked.

    According to Dr Dohi, quitting smoking is the most important thing people can do to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

    But until now, studies have not examined whether the increased risk caused by smoking is completely reversed after smoking cessation, he said.

    The current study investigated how the vascular system is altered by smoking and whether the changes can be normalised by smoking cessation.
    The researchers focused on the effects of smoking and smoking cessation on arterial endothelial function and circulating serotonin concentration.

    Both endothelial dysfunction and serotonin contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. Serotonin released from platelets induces platelet

    aggregation, which initiates blood coagulation and contractions in arteries especially those with damaged endothelium.

    Smoke from cigarettes contains toxic molecules including nicotine, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide which may cause and promote atherosclerosis via endothelial dysfunction and increased activity of blood coagulation.

    The study included 27 apparently healthy male smokers aged 40 (plus/minus 8 years) and 21 age-adjusted non- smokers (40 plus/minus 7 years).

    Endothelial function was assessed by flow mediated dilation and peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT). Both methods assess endothelial function as the ability to dilate arteries through the release of endothelium-derived relaxing factors.

    "As expected, smoking damaged arterial endothelial function and increased plasma serotonin levels," Dr Dohi said.

    Only 21 subjects agreed to stop smoking for 8 weeks. Smoking cessation was confirmed in 11 out of the 21 subjects by measuring serum levels of cotinine, the principal metabolite of nicotine.

    Smokers who completely attained smoking cessation had a significantly increased PAT ratio but serotonin levels were not significantly changed


    "This indicates that endothelial function had improved after 8 weeks of smoking cessation but serotonin levels remained at dangerously high levels," Dr Dohi said.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Indians have 30% weaker lungs than Europeans: Study

    In another proof that worsening air quality in Indian cities is affecting people's health, a study has found that Indians have 30% lower lung function as compared to Europeans. Things could get worse if immediate steps are not taken to curb vehicular emission, doctors warned.

    The study was conducted on 10,000 healthy, non-smoking individuals in Jaipur, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kashmir. "We measured the Peak Expiratory Flow Rate ( PEFR), the rate at which a person exhales, to assess lung function. North Indians fared slightly better than South Indians but overall the results were appalling - we found that lung function in Indians was 30% lower than Europeans," said Dr Sundeep Salvi, director of Pune-based Chest Research Foundation, who led the study.

    Similar results were seen in an international study on lung function in 17 countries, including India, by Canadian researchers. Indians were found to have the worst lungs in the study which measured the volume of air exhaled one second after a forceful exhalation. The test is called forced expiratory volume (FEV).

    Salvi said the main reason for worsening lung health of India was air pollution. "The number of motor vehicles, a major contributor to air pollution, in India has gone up from 37.2 million in 1997 to 100 million in 2012. In 1951, there were just 0.3 million motor vehicles," he said.


    "Even cars and buses running on CNG, which is touted as a green fuel, release ultra fine particles (less than 10 microns in diameter). These can enter directly into the lungs and other organs and probably causes more harm," Salvi said.



    Dr Randeep Guleria of AIIMS' department of pulmonary medicine said lung health in metros has deteriorated sharply. "We are seeing a sharp increase in cases of chronic bronchitis, allergies, persistent cough and inflammation of airways in the last few years."

    Dr Guleria said when pollution levels peak, such as on Diwali, the number of emergency admissions for respiratory problems and heart attack increases sharply. "People who smoke are at double risk for compromised lung function. Many smokers - aged between 25 to 30 years - who come to us with respiratory diseases have lung function equal to that of a 70-year-old," he added.

    As per the 2010 global burden of disease report, outdoor air pollution caused more than 6,20,000 premature deaths in India and nearly 18 million healthy years of life were lost that year.

    Gaurav Bansal, a researcher at International Council on Clean Transportation's (ICCT) India team said apart from improving public transport, policy instruments to reduce carbon content in fuels were required to improve air quality. "New vehicle emission standards (Euro V/VI and/or US Tier II/III) must be adopted in India too," he said.


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