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Health Bulletin


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  1. #531
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Too much sugar not sweet for health

    Watch out before you add that extra cube of sugar in your coffee as excessive consumption of sugar can open the doors to a variety of diet-related health problems such as heart problems, obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, metabolic disorders, nutritional deficiencies and even cancer.


    Diabetologists point out that sugar is one of the most worrisome carbohydrates that we have begun to consume more than we should. Dr Vijay Viswanathan, MD of M V Hospital for Diabetes, says, "Sugar is cheap, addictive and tastes great. It is available in everything, from fruit juices and yogurt to breakfast cereals, soups, snack foods, soft drinks, confectionery, sweets and alcoholic drinks. Most people tend to consume more sugar than they realise because it is so well disguised in processed foods and end up harming their health over the long term."

    Recent studies show that over the last five decades, sugar consumption in India has risen from 5% of the global production to 13% now. India has become the world's biggest sugar consumer today, consuming one-third more sugar than European countries and 60% more than China.

    According to Dr Vijay, "As Western food habits become popular; the proportion of processed and non-essential food items containing added sugar is going up in our diet. The traditional Indian sweets have been replaced by chocolates and the quintessential sherbets by soft drinks. This is one of the main reasons driving the rise in our daily sugar intake."

    The white sugar we consume everyday consists of merely empty calories with no vitamins or minerals. As a result, sugar addicts begin to suffer from hidden hunger. Though they eat food in enough quantity, their bodies become deficient in essential nutrients, which can over time lead to serious health disorders.

    Indians are highly prone to develop diabetes and so it is important to stick to no more than five teaspoons of added sugar per day, warns the doctor. Research papers in journal Nature argue that sugar is actually as toxic to liver as alcohol and the increasing use of sugar is posing a serious threat to public health.

    Sugar is responsible for many diseases associated with the "metabolic syndrome" such as high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, excessive body fat and high cholesterol levels and may also speed up the ageing process. The extra calories provided by refined carbohydrates such as sugar and starchy food like rice and potatoes that the body doesn't immediately need are converted into fat cells. This is a significant contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. Experts say while it is inadvisable to avoid sugar totally, its consumption should be kept below the threshold where it turns toxic for our bodies.


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  2. #532
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists induce egg growth in infertile women

    Researchers have developed a new revolutionary technique to induce the ovaries of some infertile women to produce eggs.

    One woman has already given birth to a healthy baby, and another is pregnant with the help of the technique developed by scientists at Stanford University and in Japan.

    The technique, which the researchers refer to as "in vitro activation," or IVA, requires an ovary (or a portion of an ovary) to be removed from the woman, treated outside the body and then re-implanted near her fallopian tubes.

    The woman is then treated with hormones to stimulate the growth of specialised structures in the ovaries called follicles in which eggs develop.

    Using the technique, clinicians at the St Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan, collected viable eggs from five women with a condition called primary ovarian insufficiency, which may cause them to hit menopause before they turn 40.

    Twenty-seven women in Japan took part in the experimental study. The researchers were able to collect mature eggs for in vitro fertilization from five of them.

    The new study builds on earlier work demonstrating that a signalling pathway consisting of several proteins, including one called PTEN, controls follicle growth in the ovary.

    In 2010, Aaron Hsueh, senior author of the current study, showed that blocking the PTEN activity in ovaries could stir dormant follicles into growing and producing mature eggs.

    Researchers used minimally invasive procedures to remove both ovaries from each of 27 women with primary ovarian insufficiency.

    The women's average age was 37, and they had stopped menstruating an average of 6.8 years prior to the procedure.

    The researchers found that ovaries from 13 of the women contained residual follicles. The ovaries were mechanically fragmented and treated with drugs to block the PTEN pathway.

    Small pieces were then transplanted laparoscopically near the fallopian tubes of the women from whom they were derived, and the women were monitored with weekly or biweekly ultrasounds and hormone-level tests to detect follicle growth.

    Follicle growth was observed in eight of the women, all of whom had exhibited signs of residual follicles prior to transplantation.

    These eight were treated with hormones to stimulate ovulation; five women developed mature eggs that were collected for in vitro fertilization.

    The eggs were fertilized with sperm from the partners of the women, and the resulting four-cell embryos were frozen and then transferred into the uterus.

    One woman received one embryo but failed to become pregnant. Another received one embryo and is pregnant. The third received two embryos and established a successful pregnancy that resulted in a single, healthy baby boy.

    The other two women are preparing for embryo transfer or undergoing additional rounds of egg collection.

    The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


  3. #533
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why diabetics should avoid travelling to high altitudes

    Insulin needs could go up or down in diabetics when they travel to high altitudes, a new study has suggested.

    Individuals with poorly controlled diabetes are also at risk for hypothermia, frostbite, and dehydration.

    Paul Richards, Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environmental Medicine, University College (London, U.K.) and David Hillebrandt, President, International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation Medical Commission (Bern, Switzerland), discuss the harmful effects that altitude, temperature extremes, reduced oxygen levels, and physical exertion may have on people with diabetes when they travel to destinations at high altitude for business or pleasure.

    In their article, the authors explore issues related to diabetes management, such as the risk that insulin may become less effective when exposed to heat or cold and how to store it properly.

    They also caution that blood glucose measuring devices may be less accurate at high altitude.

    The study has been published in the journal High Altitude Medicine and Biology.


  4. #534
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Fertility problems? Don't skip breakfast!

    Eating a good breakfast can help women overcome problems of infertility, a new study has found.

    Eating more calories in the morning, rather than evening, can assist in tackling reproductive difficulties, researchers said.

    The study by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University found that a big breakfast increases fertility among women who suffer from menstrual irregularities.

    The study examined whether meal times have an impact on the health of woman with menstrual irregularities due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

    PCOS affects approximately 6-10 per cent of women of reproductive age, disrupting their reproductive abilities.

    This syndrome creates a resistance to insulin, leading to an increase in male sex hormones (androgens), and can also cause menstrual irregularities, hair loss on the scalp though increase in body hair, acne, fertility problems and future diabetes.

    The experiment was carried out at Wolfson Medical Center on 60 women over a 12-week period. The women, from the ages of 25 to 39, were thin with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 23 and suffered from PCOS.
    The women were divided into two groups and were allowed to consume about 1,800 calories a day. The difference between the groups was the timing of their largest meal.

    One group consumed their largest meal, approximately 980 calories, at breakfast, while the other at dinner. Researchers wanted to examine whether the schedule of calorie intake affects insulin resistance and the increase in androgens among woman suffering from PCOS.

    The findings showed improved results for the group that consumed a big breakfast. Glucose levels and insulin resistance decreased by 8 per cent, while the second group ("dinner") showed no changes.

    Another finding showed that among the "breakfast" group, testosterone (one of the androgens) levels decreased by nearly 50 per cent, while the "dinner" group level stayed neutral.

    In addition, there was a much higher rate of ovulating woman within the "breakfast group" compared to the "dinner" group, showing that eating a hearty breakfast leads to an increase in the level of fertility among woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

    The study was published in the journal Clinical Science.


  5. #535
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Depression common among parents of kids with cerebral palsy, finds study

    Studies have shown that around 30-70% of mothers with children having cerebral palsy suffer from major depression, 20-40% show anxiety disorders while more than 15% have more than one psychiatric disorder, said experts at an event organised to mark World Cerebral Palsy Day on Wednesday.

    Mumbai-based psychiatrist and psychotherapist Avinash Desousa said, "Parents of cerebral palsy patients are known to exhibit greater psychopathology than the normal population. There is often a denial of symptomatology in this group and depression and anxiety may be hard to detect."

    He was speaking at an awareness talk on the topic of 'Children with disabilities and education' organised by Omkar Balwadi and Child Education Research Centre started by Savitribai Phule Mahila Ekatma Samaj Mandal, a registered charitable trust at MGM Masipon hall on Wednesday.

    He said, "The presence of a child with cerebral palsy in a family often evokes complex feelings in both parents. Denial, shock, aggression, anger, depression and anxiety along with lack of acceptance are common. The detection of cerebral palsy in a child has been shown to disrupt the family equilibrium and arrests the developmental cycle of a family."

    "It is seen that in Aurangabad more preference is given to special schools and vocational training but it is very important for a child with disability to have functional literacy. Inclusive education is very important for a child's growth. It also helps parents in accepting their children without any depression," he said, adding that children with disabilities should be able to live a normal life with a pride.

    "The first Wednesday of October is observed as 'World Cerebral Palsy Day' to acknowledge all those who are living with this disability and to salute those who are associated with a person who has this disability," said Aditi Shardul, project head, Vihang, a multi-disciplinary group in Omkar Balwadi, which assists differently abled children to study and develop.

    "Vihang took this initiative further and acknowledged all the associated disabilities with cerebral palsy and decided to celebrate the day with a three-fold programme. The programme included poster competition for parents of children with and without disabilities, a cultural programme, a rally and an awareness talk show," she said, adding that both normal and special children spent some time together and students from various schools participated in the event.


  6. #536
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sleeping too little or too much linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity

    A new study has associated too little sleep (6 hours or less) and too much sleep (ten or more hours) with chronic diseases - including coronary heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and obesity - in adults age 45 and older.

    Dr. M Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine ( AASM), said that it's critical that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to receive the health benefits of sleep, but this is especially true for those battling a chronic condition.

    He said that common sleep illnesses - including sleep apnea and insomnia - occur frequently in people with a chronic disease and can hinder a person's ability to sleep soundly.

    Study co-author Janet B Croft, PhD, senior chronic disease epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Population Health, said that some of the relationships between unhealthy sleep durations and chronic diseases were partially explained by frequent mental distress and obesity.

    She said that this suggests that physicians should consider monitoring mental health and body weight in addition to sleep health for patients with chronic diseases.

    In the study, short sleepers reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes, in addition to obesity and frequent mental distress, compared with optimal sleepers who reported sleeping seven to nine hours on average in a 24-hour period.

    The same was true for long sleepers, and the associations with coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes were even more pronounced with more sleep.

    The study involved more than 54,000 participants age 45 or older in 14 states.

    The study has been published in the Journal SLEEP.


  7. #537
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Some fats increase metabolism: Study

    A diet high in a certain type of fat may actually increase metabolism, according to a study.

    After studying genetically-modified mice, a team of nutrition scientists at the Texas Tech University have found that the discovery could lead to supplements and a diet regime that will increase metabolism and decrease muscle fatigue in humans.

    Chad Paton, an assistant professor of nutritional biochemistry in the Department of Nutrition, Hospitality and Retailing, said he and his colleagues were curious as to why skeletal muscles of obese people contained a certain type of enzyme that breaks down saturated fats.
    To test what that enzyme did, Paton's colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison genetically modified mice so that their muscles would constantly produce the enzyme.

    We used a transgenic mouse model, and we took the gene that makes the enzyme that is not normally expressed and took away it's regulation to make it active all the time, Paton said.

    What we found in those animals is they had a hypermetabolic rate compared to the wild mice, increased energy consumption and greatly increased these animals exercise capacity, he said.

    The enzyme, called SCD1, converts saturated fat into monounsaturated fat, which is easier to metabolize. The liver will produce this enzyme depending on the fat content of the food consumed, he said.

    Fatty adipose tissue produces it all the time as a way of regulating itself. Only in heavily-exercised muscle tissue or in case of obesity, does skeletal muscle produce the enzyme, he added.

    After looking at skeletal muscles of the genetically modified mice compared to that of the wild mice, Paton and his team discovered higher levels of polyunsaturated fats, particularly linoleic acid, gotten only through diet.
    Higher levels of linoleic acid could only mean one thing the modified mice were eating more food.

    But Paton's team found that the modified mice weighed less than the wild mice. On top of that, their ability to exercise increased.

    We found in the genetically-modified animals that they had a hypermetabolic rate, he said.


  8. #538
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    A diabetes drug which does not hurt your heart

    Mankind's fight with diabetes and its associated medical complications goes back over 3,500 years ago. In fact, the earliest record of diabetes, written on a third dynasty Egyptian papyrus by physician Hesy-Ra , describes it as a "great emptying of the urine" .

    Medical advances since then have progressed from treating diabetes with "wheat grains, fruit and sweet bee" to a host of integrated drugs, apart from a regimen of diet and exercise.

    Currently, diabetes (both Type 1 and 2) affects an estimated 371 million people and kills over 4 million annually worldwide. Worryingly, over 63 million of these patients are found to be in India alone. Even more alarming is the correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular (CV) disease. Studies have shown that approximately 50% of diabetics die of a cardiovascular event.

    As Dr Mark Kearney, professor of cardiovascular and diabetes research at the British Heart Foundation, University of Leeds, said: "If you are a South Asian, you are not only more susceptible to Type 2 diabetes but also to cardiac failure." In fact, the cardiovascular age of a diabetic is pegged at 15 years more than the patient's biological age. In simple terms, people with diabetes are four times more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke as compared to those who don't have diabetes.

    The main outlook in treatment of such patients is not to increase the risk of CV events even further. This is where data from Phase 3 trials in linagliptin, a DPP-4 inhibitor, holds out some sweet news. Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company recently announced at the annual European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting that treatment with linagliptin is not associated with increased risk of CV events in the treatment of T2D. Linagliptin (a 5mg tablet, once daily), is the only DPP-4 inhibitor that does not require dose adjustments in adults with T2D.

    It is marketed as Trajenta in Europe and Tradjenta in the US. The results from the Phase 3 clinical trials of linagliptin, that covered 6,000 people with T2D in various countries, are even more heartwarming when its efficacy, safety and tolerability levels, especially among elderly patients, are considered.


  9. #539
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    India launches indigenous vaccine for Japanese encephalitis

    India on Friday launched an indigenous vaccine against Japanese encephalitis as part of a national programme to fight the virus.

    Nineteen states, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are hit by the disease each year as malnourished children succumb to the virus which is transmitted by mosquitoes from pigs to humans.

    "Beginning with the first report in 1955 in Tamil Nadu state, JE virus has now spread to over 171 districts in 19 states," Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said at the launch of the vaccine called Jenvac in New Delhi.
    The two-shot vaccine was developed by government agencies and the private Bharat Biotec pharmaceutical firm in a joint venture launched in 2008.

    The minister said Jenvac, which offers immunity for three years, would initially cost the government 70 rupees ($1.13) but would be supplied free of charge to the people.

    He said India so far had been dependent on China for the vaccine and added that the cost of the locally-developed Jenvac would slide with the scale of production.

    "We will eventually need about 10 million doses of the vaccine for comprehensive coverage," the minister said.

    The virus, which normally affects children aged below 15, infected adults earlier this year in the northeastern state of Assam, Azad said.

    He said the cabinet has approved a 40-billion rupee national programme to combat the virus, which causes brain inflammation and can result in brain damage.

    Symptoms include headaches, seizures and fever and health experts say 70 million children nationwide are at risk.


  10. #540
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Green tea, papaya can ward off diabetes

    Researchers at the Center of Excellence for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research at the Mauritius University asked 77 pre-diabetic participants to drink three cups of green tea before meals for 14 weeks. Another group of 78 people took three cups of hot water everyday for the same period of time, followed by a two-week weaning period. Both the groups were then tested for the following bio-markers: the rate of glycemia and lipid, the immune system, the functioning of the liver and kidneys, inflammation and the ferrous toxicity.

    "We discovered that green tea reinforced the antioxidant defenses of those who had reached the pre-diabetic stage. And most importantly, the tea did not have any negative impact," said Professor Theeshan Bahorun. Another group of 128 people participated in the study on the impact of fermented papaya on diabetes. About 50 consumed two sachets of fermented papaya per day for a period of 14 weeks and 78 others took two glasses of hot water each day for the same period, followed by a two-week weaning period, 'Xinhua' news agency reported.

    They were then tested for glycemia, cholesterol, urea, creatinine and uric acid. Researchers found that those who consumed two sachets of fermented papaya showed several positive changes vis-a-vis the diabetes risk factors. "The Mauritius green tea prevents an increase of sugar levels in blood while the fermented pawpaw (papaya) helps to positively reduce the level of the reactive protein C and the uric acid," Bahorun said. Bahorun said the results are very significant because they show a reduction of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases without medical intervention.


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