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Health Bulletin


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  1. #661
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Unemployed men age faster: study

    Men who are unemployed for more than two years show signs of faster ageing in their DNA, a new study has found.

    Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Oulu, Finland studied DNA samples from 5,620 men and women born in Finland in 1966.
    They measured structures called telomeres, which lie at the ends of chromosomes and protect the genetic code from being degraded.

    Telomeres become shorter over a person's lifetime, and their length is considered a marker for biological ageing. Short telomeres are linked to higher risk of age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

    The researchers looked at telomere length in blood cells from samples collected in 1997, when the participants were all 31 years old.

    The study found that men who had been unemployed for more than two of the preceding three years were more than twice as likely to have short telomeres compared to men who were continuously employed.

    The analysis accounted for other social, biological and behavioural factors that could have affected the result, helping to rule out the possibility that short telomeres were linked to medical conditions that prevented participants from working.

    This trend was not seen in women, which may be because fewer women than men in the study were unemployed for long periods in their 30s, researchers said.

    Whether long-term unemployment is more harmful for men than women later in life needs to be addressed in future studies, they said.

    "Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risk of various age-related diseases and earlier death," said Dr Jessica Buxton, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London.

    "Stressful life experiences in childhood and adulthood have previously been linked to accelerated telomere shortening. We have now shown that long-term unemployment may cause premature ageing too," Buxton said.


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  2. #662
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Tingling sensation and numbness can herald a problem

    When was the last you experienced pins and needles in your hands or feet?

    It's not about the time when you sat in an armchair without moving your hands for a while, nor is it when you sat on a stool, crossed your legs and then got engrossed in a conversation and suddenly decided to stand. Such occasions and many more, like squatting on a hard floor in an unaccustomed posture, are a result of physiological causes— weight of the limb temporarily compresses the artery supplying blood to the nerve bundle, both of which are relatively superficial.

    This persistent pressure occludes the circulation, the area becomes momentarily 'dead' and when suddenly the pressure is relieved, the nerve impulses fire in rapid succession in consonance with the restoration of trickling blood supply. In minutes, symptoms vanish and recovery is complete. This is normal. Rarely, prolonged pressure exerted through the muscle and bone on the neurovascular bundle, like during deep slumber in an intoxicated state (alcohol ) which doesn't allow movement, can cause anatomical and functional damage and a resulting paralysis of the muscles that are supplied by the nerve.

    Classically seen in the forearm—colloquially called Saturday night Sunday morning paralysis (binge), this condition needs physiotherapy, drugs and time to repair.

    Peripheral neuropathy is the pins and needles in the hands and feet that is caused by the toxic action of diseases, drugs, intoxicants etc on the long nerves in the body. The longest nerve fibres—those supplying the glove and stocking area are the ones that get compromised. Diabetes, nicotine and alcohol abuse, heavy metal poisoning and other metabolic conditions can cause irreversible damage, producing this burning hands and feet syndrome. Now this symptom can be tormenting, chronic and would certainly need medication.

    Unfortunately, complete alleviation of this is difficult and one also needs to address the primary cause.

    It is when tingling and numbness is focal or limited to a limb or wrist or back of the thigh that one has to look for pathology in and around the spinal cord. The nerve root, as it emerges from the spinal column, can get impinged (pressed ) by a slipped disc (sciatica), compressed by an abnormal bony spicule (spondylosis) or even get entrapped in an infection or growth. This kind of unilateral (one-sided) symptom needs prompt attention. Treatment is then directed towards the pinched nerve and relief is directly proportional to the success in treatment of the root cause.

    However, don't let me "needle" you with fear or "pin" you down to a diagnosis. It is only when such complaints becomes persistent and inexplicable that it demands attention. Neuronal sensations can be pleasurable or painful, but pins and needles can be irritating and then worrisome.

    For in the "Ram Leela" of the nervous system, everything is so well wired that this short circuit of impulses can be tougher than 'onions' and 'Campa Cola' to resolve.


  3. #663
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    vijigermany is offline Supreme Ruler's of Penmai
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Tingling sensation and numbness can herald a problem

    When was the last you experienced pins and needles in your hands or feet?

    It's not about the time when you sat in an armchair without moving your hands for a while, nor is it when you sat on a stool, crossed your legs and then got engrossed in a conversation and suddenly decided to stand. Such occasions and many more, like squatting on a hard floor in an unaccustomed posture, are a result of physiological causes— weight of the limb temporarily compresses the artery supplying blood to the nerve bundle, both of which are relatively superficial.

    This persistent pressure occludes the circulation, the area becomes momentarily 'dead' and when suddenly the pressure is relieved, the nerve impulses fire in rapid succession in consonance with the restoration of trickling blood supply. In minutes, symptoms vanish and recovery is complete. This is normal. Rarely, prolonged pressure exerted through the muscle and bone on the neurovascular bundle, like during deep slumber in an intoxicated state (alcohol ) which doesn't allow movement, can cause anatomical and functional damage and a resulting paralysis of the muscles that are supplied by the nerve.

    Classically seen in the forearm—colloquially called Saturday night Sunday morning paralysis (binge), this condition needs physiotherapy, drugs and time to repair.

    Peripheral neuropathy is the pins and needles in the hands and feet that is caused by the toxic action of diseases, drugs, intoxicants etc on the long nerves in the body. The longest nerve fibres—those supplying the glove and stocking area are the ones that get compromised. Diabetes, nicotine and alcohol abuse, heavy metal poisoning and other metabolic conditions can cause irreversible damage, producing this burning hands and feet syndrome. Now this symptom can be tormenting, chronic and would certainly need medication.

    Unfortunately, complete alleviation of this is difficult and one also needs to address the primary cause.

    It is when tingling and numbness is focal or limited to a limb or wrist or back of the thigh that one has to look for pathology in and around the spinal cord. The nerve root, as it emerges from the spinal column, can get impinged (pressed ) by a slipped disc (sciatica), compressed by an abnormal bony spicule (spondylosis) or even get entrapped in an infection or growth. This kind of unilateral (one-sided) symptom needs prompt attention. Treatment is then directed towards the pinched nerve and relief is directly proportional to the success in treatment of the root cause.

    However, don't let me "needle" you with fear or "pin" you down to a diagnosis. It is only when such complaints becomes persistent and inexplicable that it demands attention. Neuronal sensations can be pleasurable or painful, but pins and needles can be irritating and then worrisome.

    For in the "Ram Leela" of the nervous system, everything is so well wired that this short circuit of impulses can be tougher than 'onions' and 'Campa Cola' to resolve.


  4. #664
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, a simple test can tell if men can become dads through IVF

    A simple new test can predict whether men with zero sperm counts are capable of fathering children through in-vitro fertilization ( IVF), scientists say.

    Current methods rely on surgery to find out if a man has viable sperm that can be retrieved for fertility treatment. The new non-invasive test has identified two biomarkers in sperm, which can be used to predict whether sperm retrieval will be successful, 'BBC News' reported. Male infertility is responsible for about half of cases of infertility in the world.

    Fertility treatment can sometimes help men who produce no sperm to father a biological child if they have normal sperm that can be extracted surgically.

    Others are unable to father a child naturally and need to use donor sperm. Using current technology, the only way to find out if a man has viable sperm is to carry out surgery to look for sperm in the testes. The study suggests two biomarkers can identify who will benefit from surgery, the report said.

    The holy grail of the new research was to find a way to help men avoid unnecessary testicular biopsies, said Dr Keith Jarvi of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

    (The research study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.)


  5. #665
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Oats have health benefits'

    Eating three servings (48g) of whole grains each day can reduce chances of developing several chronic diseases, such as heart disease and might help in maintaining a healthy weight. This is the substance of a scientific review presented on the 'Health benefit of oats' at the 45 thnational conference of the Nutrition Society of India (NSI) at the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) here.

    Renu Kohli, head, nutrition and health, with a multinational company, said oats are whole grains wherein each layer of the oat grain - that is the bran, germ and endosperm - provide valuable nutrients. "Unlike refined grains, all of the natural goodness is retained," she explained. She said oats provided more protein, fibre, iron and zinc than other whole grains. "Protein and zinc help support growth, fibre helps support the digestive and heart health, and iron is essential for formation of red blood cells," she explained.

    Renu Kohli said unlike most other grains, oats contain a special type of soluble fibre called beta glucan. As per USDA, 3g of beta glucan when consumed daily with a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease. According to a study by Ripsin et al, it was concluded from a meta-analysis of 12 trials that soluble fibre from oat products had a significant effect on total cholesterol concentrations. It was estimated that a daily consumption of 3 g soluble fibre lowered total cholesterol by 0.13 mmol/L in normocholesterolemic persons and by 0.41 mmol/L in hypercholesterolemic persons.
    In her presentation, Renu Kohli said in recent years, researchers have determined that whole grains may be associated with a range of health benefits ranging from reducing risk of CVD, overweight and obesity, diabetes, and cancer to promoting gastrointestinal health. She said beyond the benefits fromtheir whole grain content, research focused specifically on oats shows that they be be associated with reduced risk of CVD, lowered blood sugar levels, improvements in satiety, and oats may exhibit a prebiotic effect.


  6. #666
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soon, digital lollipop to simulate any taste

    Ever wanted to taste those mouth-watering dishes on your favourite cookery show?

    Researchers have developed a digital lollipop that could allow cooking show viewers to sample the dishes on screen — and the device can simulate any taste.

    The electrode developed by a team led by a Sri Lankan-origin scientist Nimesha Ranasinghe can produce the taste of salty, sweet, bitter and sour food.

    The electronic device is placed on the tongue and works by stimulating taste buds with electric currents.

    "We have found non-invasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tip of the tongue successfully generates the primary taste sensations," Ranasinghe, from the National University of Singapore, told New Scientist.

    Signals that reproduce the four well-known major taste components — salt, sweet, sour, bitter — are transmitted through a silver electrode touching the tip of the tongue.

    "The system is capable of manipulating the properties of electric currents (magnitude, frequency, and polarity: inverse current) to formulate different stimuli. Currently, we are conducting experiments to analyse regional differences of the human tongue for electrical stimulation," Ranasinghe said while explaining the device on his online portfolio.

    Digital Lollipop (Electric lollipop) utilizes electrical stimulation on the human tongue to simulate different taste sensations.

    The taste receptors are fooled by a varying alternating current and slight changes in temperature controlled by semiconductor elements that heat and cool very rapidly.

    Ranasinghe believes that the technology could also find medical use.

    "People with diabetes might be able to use the taste synthesiser to simulate sweet sensations without harming their actual blood sugar levels. Cancer patients could use it to improve or regenerate a diminished sense of taste during chemotherapy," he said.


  7. #667
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soon, digital lollipop to simulate any taste

    Ever wanted to taste those mouth-watering dishes on your favourite cookery show?

    Researchers have developed a digital lollipop that could allow cooking show viewers to sample the dishes on screen — and the device can simulate any taste.

    The electrode developed by a team led by a Sri Lankan-origin scientist Nimesha Ranasinghe can produce the taste of salty, sweet, bitter and sour food.

    The electronic device is placed on the tongue and works by stimulating taste buds with electric currents.

    "We have found non-invasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tip of the tongue successfully generates the primary taste sensations," Ranasinghe, from the National University of Singapore, told New Scientist.

    Signals that reproduce the four well-known major taste components — salt, sweet, sour, bitter — are transmitted through a silver electrode touching the tip of the tongue.

    "The system is capable of manipulating the properties of electric currents (magnitude, frequency, and polarity: inverse current) to formulate different stimuli. Currently, we are conducting experiments to analyse regional differences of the human tongue for electrical stimulation," Ranasinghe said while explaining the device on his online portfolio.

    Digital Lollipop (Electric lollipop) utilizes electrical stimulation on the human tongue to simulate different taste sensations.

    The taste receptors are fooled by a varying alternating current and slight changes in temperature controlled by semiconductor elements that heat and cool very rapidly.

    Ranasinghe believes that the technology could also find medical use.

    "People with diabetes might be able to use the taste synthesiser to simulate sweet sensations without harming their actual blood sugar levels. Cancer patients could use it to improve or regenerate a diminished sense of taste during chemotherapy," he said.


  8. #668
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Grapes, gold may help fight cancer

    Red grapes and gold may sound like an exotic pairing of the kind spas advertise, but the combination could just hold hope for cancer patients. A compound found in red grapes helps gold nanoparticles destroy tumour cells in the laboratory, say scientists at Chennai-based eye hospital Sankara Nethralaya.

    In the last few decades, studies have shown that nanotechnology combined with chemotherapy reduces side-effects because it targets only cancer cells, not healthy tissues. In addition, it was found that a naturally occurring compound could reduce side-effects. In 2012, a team of scientists from the University of Missouri, US, found that green tea and gold nanoparticles destroyed tumour cells in prostate cancer after reducing the dosage of chemotherapy medication.

    Inspired by this finding, the Sankara Nethralaya research team started its study earlier this year with funding from the department of science and technology's Nano Mission. "Our lab experiments showed the red grape combination is as efficient as green tea. They targeted cancer cells. Another advantage we found in red grape was that it had the potential to produce sharper images in scans. Doctors will have a better picture of what is happening to the cells before and during treatment," said Dr S Krishnakumar, who heads the vision research centre at Sankara Nethralaya. The study was published in International Journal of Nanomedicine last week.

    The red grape (Vitis vinifera) compound used in the study has several medical uses. It is administered to patients with a range of symptoms such as nausea and diseases such as cholera and liver problems. The team used an extract of red grapes and other chemical compounds to synthesise gold nanoparticles at a specific temperature in the lab, said Sushma Kalmodia, a researcher with department of nanotechnology, Sankara Nethralaya. "The process of combining red grapes with gold chloride to form gold nanoparticles was simple yet rapid," she said.

    The gold nanoparticles were exposed to breast cancer cells in a petri dish and scientists saw them efficiently enter cancer cells. "This combination will help us deliver targeted therapy. It can also be used in diagnosis and treatment of all cancers," said associate professor Sailaja V Elchuri, the corresponding author of the study. They need to do more research before the method can be used in treatment.

    Studies by Indian Council of Medical Research show that the incidence of cancer is likely to go up from 9.8 lakh cases in 2010 to 11 lakh in 2020. While some cancers can be cured if detected early, treatment of others remain a challenge.

    "We must ensure the safety and efficacy of this combination before we use it in patients. We have identified a path, but it takes a long time to establish a road. What we can say at present is there is a big hope," Krishnakumar said.

    PERFECT PAIRING: A compound in red grapes could help gold nanoparticles destroy tumour cells

    WHAT IS NANOTECHNOLOGY?

    Nanotechnology is the manipulation of extremely small atoms and molecules (one billionth of a metre)

    WHAT IS NANOMEDICINE?

    Scientists use nanotechnology in medicine to help improve drug delivery, therapy and diagnosis. It is being used in research, development and clinical application

    HOW IS IT USED IN CANCER CARE?

    Nanomedicine can help treat cancer effectively. Nanoparticles target cancer cells and destroy them. The neighbouring healthy cells are not affected

    WHAT ARE THE NEW STUDY FINDINGS?

    Scientists at Sankara Nethralaya combined an extract from red grapes with gold nanoparticles in the lab and found that the combination helped deliver chemotherapy more effectively. The combination killed tumour cells efficiently.

    Since red grape is a natural product, it isn't toxic and sideeffects are less. Another advantage is that the presence of nanoparticles resulted in better images in scans.


  9. #669
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cheese made using bugs from our bodies

    Scientists have given the good old cheese a new twist by creating 11 new types using bacteria from the feet, mouths and belly buttons of humans.

    The 11 funky cheeses are part of the "Self-made" project undertaken by American biologist Christina Agapakis and Norwegian scent expert Sissel Tolaas.

    "We are presenting a set of cheeses made using bacteria from the human body," Agapakis told Dezeen magazine. "Everybody has a unique and diverse set of bacteria living on their skin that can be amplified using techniques from microbiology and grown directly in milk to form and flavour each cheese."

    The cheeses, which are part of an exhibition about synthetic biology in Dublin, Ireland, are made from bacterial cultures harvested from the skin of artists, scientists, anthropologists, and cheese makers using sterile cotton swabs that were sent to the donors.

    Each cheese is crafted from starter cultures sampled from the skin of a different person. Isolated microbial strains were identified and characterized using microbiological techniques and 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, the duo said.

    "Like the human body, each cheese has a unique set of microbes that metabolically shape a unique odour," the project's website says. Cheese odours were sampled and characterized using headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis, a technique used to identify and/or quantify volatile organic compounds present in a sample.

    The project is described as "a series of 'microbial sketches', portraits reflecting an individual's microbial landscape in a unique cheese," the team said. "This project explores possibilities for a relational synthetic biology through the practices of cheese-making," the website said. "It's no surprise that sometimes cheese odours and body odours are similar," Agapakis said.

    "But when we started working together, we were surprised by how not only do cheese and smelly body parts like feet share similar odour molecules but also have similar microbial populations," Agapakis said. "Nobody will eat these cheeses, but we hope that the cheese can inspire new conversations about our relationship to the body and to our bacteria," Agapakis said.


  10. #670
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    13-year-old is youngest to undergo rare eight-hour surgery for cancerous cyst

    Life was the same as that of every other adolescent for Jigneshwari Jain (13). The Std VII student did not even realize that she had a cancerous cyst in her abdomen till her mother found out and she has probably become the youngest person to undergo a rare eight-hour surgery.

    Jigneshwari's mother, while giving her a bath, noticed a cyst in her stomach about two months back. A visit to the doctor revealed that the cyst was cancerous. The residents of Falna, Rajasthan, were told by doctors in Jodhpur to come to Mumbai.

    "We were surprised that our girl had such a grave problem and we did not even know of it," said Bharat, her father. "We brought her to Mumbai and we were told to take her to Vertex Hospital, Mulund," said Bharat, who works in a priv-ate firm.

    When doctors conducted tests, they found the situation to be complicated. Dr Amit Gandhi, oncologist and chief surgeon, said, "There was a knot at the head of her pancreas, which touched about two millimetres of her bile duct and part of her small intestine and a kidney."

    Jigneshwari was found to be suffering from solid pseudopapillary epithelial neoplasms (SPENs) of the pancreas, a rare condition, in which tumours that have a low-grade malignant potential and occur almost exclusively in young women.

    "It forms about 1% of pancreatic cancers," said Dr Gandhi. He explained that the only way to cure the cancer was to remove the tumour but it had to be done carefully as other organs it was touching could get affected.

    "The tumour weighed four kg. Whipple surgery had to be conducted. We removed the tumour and parts of organs affected and then reconstructed the organs," said Dr Gandhi.

    "She has recovered completely. Doctors say my daughter will lead a normal life," said Bharat, who has returned to work but has left Jigneshwari with relatives for follow-ups.

    Rare but curable tumours

    * Solid pseudopapillary epithelial neoplasms (SPENs) of the pancreas are rare but curable tumours that have a low-grade malignant potential and occur almost exclusively in women in the second or third decades of life

    * Depending on tumour position (head, body or tail of pancreas), differential diagnosis includes adrenal mass, pancreatic endocrine tumour, liver cyst or tumour, or a pseudocyst

    * It forms 1% of pancreatic cancers. Among common cancers, pancreatic cancer has one of the poorest prognoses. As pancreatic cancer often grows and spreads long before it causes symptoms, only 5% patients are alive five years after diagnosis

    WHIPPLE SURGERY

    * The classic Whipple procedure is named after Allen Whipple, a Columbia University surgeon, who was the first American to perform the operation in 1935

    * The procedure involves removal of the 'head' (wide part) of pancreas next to first part of small intestine (duodenum)

    * Doctors then remove duodenum, a portion of common bile duct, gallbladder, and sometimes part of stomach

    * Afterwards, surgeons reconnect remaining intestine, bile duct and pancreas

    * Only 20% pancreatic cancer patients are eligible for this procedure and other surgeries

    * These are usually patients whose tumors are confined to head of pancreas and haven't spread into nearby major blood vessels, liver, lungs or abdominal cavity


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