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Health Bulletin


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  1. #671
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sugar-sweetened drinks may up uterine cancer risk

    Postmenopausal women who consume sugar- sweetened drinks are at a higher risk of developing cancer of the endometrium - the lining of the uterus - a new study has warned.

    Researchers found that postmenopausal women who reported the highest intake of sugar- sweetened beverages had a 78% increased risk for estrogen-dependent type I endosssmetrial cancer.


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  2. #672
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Sleeping sickness parasite's pores act as efficient drug uptake mechanism

    Scientists have discovered how drugs that have been used for 60 years to kill the parasite that causes sleeping sickness actually work.

    Research has revealed that the drugs used to attack Trypanosoma bruceienter through pores in the parasite's cells known as aquaporins which function as water channels.

    According to a press statement, it is the first time that drugs have been shown to enter cells through aquaporins and this may have major implications for drug delivery in other diseases.

    Dr Harry de Koning, a reader of Biochemical Parasitology at the University of Glasgow who has been studying drug resistance mechanisms in pathogenic protozoan parasites, said: "This research is a breakthrough in understanding how the drugs used to attack the sleeping sickness parasite get inside their target: like spies into an enemy castle they enter through a water channel.

    "The discovery heralds a new paradigm for drug uptake by cells, as this is the first time that drugs have been shown to enter cells through aquaporins. Although there have been some reports of these channels being permeable to inorganic ions or small molecules, this is the first detailed report of an aquaporin acting as a genuine transport protein rather than a passive channel for mainly water."

    The Glasgow researchers, in collaboration with Professor David Horn of the University of Dundee, identified a genetic link between a single parasite gene and its susceptibility to the drugs pentamidine and melarsoprol, which were first introduced in the 1930s and 1940, respectively. The gene in question coded for one of the trypanosome's channels for water and glycerol, aquaporin 2 (TbAQP2).

    Aquaporins are found in virtually all organisms, from bacteria to humans, selectively mediating the uptake or release of water and/or glycerol, thus maintaining osmotic equilibrium.

    At least 13 different aquaporins are expressed in various human tissues, and hundreds of others have been identified in other species, comprising a large and highly conserved gene family. Their vital importance to life was recognised with a Nobel Prize, in 2003, to the discoverer of the first aquaporin gene.

    The genome of Trypanosoma brucei, the protozoan parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, contains three such aquaporin genes, all of which appeared to be conventional water/glycerol channels. The team at the University of Glasgow has now established that one of these channels, TbAQP2, uniquely, acts as a conduit for two drugs that are still essential for the treatment of sleeping sickness today. They found mutations, rearrangements or loss of the TbAQP2 gene in every drug resistant strain that was examined, and were able to reverse this by introducing the original TbAQP2 gene back into these parasites.

    Painstaking investigations into drug transport in parasites expressing original or mutant TbAQP2 channels showed that this protein actually also functions as a highly efficient transporter for pentamidine, used for the early stage of the disease, and melarsoprol, which is used for the late, cerebral stage. Finally they showed that the introduction of TbAQP2 into a different parasite species, Leishmania mexicana, made those parasites more than 1000-fold more sensitive to melarsoprol.

    Koning said: "Although the phenomenon of melarsoprol/pentamidine cross-resistance was first described in 1951 it had never been satisfactorily explained. The current study, published in theJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, by identifying and characterising the melarsoprol/pentamidine transporter, finally resolves this vital issue.

    "As virtually all living cells express aquaporins, this discovery has potentially far-reaching implications for cellular transport and permeation mechanisms, potentially impacting on our understanding of drug distribution in many different diseases." The research was funded by the Medical Research Council and The Wellcome Trust.


  3. #673
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Drug overdose among elderly keep doctors busy

    When 67-year-old Vanaja was brought to the Government General Hospital with dizziness and difficulty in breathing, doctors thought it was a spell of low blood pressure. Only after talking to her did they realise she had accidentally ingested more than the prescribed dose of blood sugar pills and was experiencing the side-effects.

    This is not a stray case of elderly people coming in with side-effects caused by self medication, wrong medication and drug overdose, says Dr B Krishnaswamy, head of geriatrics, GH. "In our clinic, almost 25% of hospitalisations are due to consumption of wrong drugs and self-medication.The most important factor is lack of proper caretakers," he said. He pointed out that memory loss, and inability to remember correct instructions or even whether they have taken the drug and deterioration of vision contributed to the elderly suffering from adverse drug reactions.

    Old people generally suffer from multiple medical conditions at the same time and take different drugs for different disorders. "Sometimes they end up taking the same medicine twice if two drugs are packaged in a similar fashion. Drug manufacturers should make sure the print is legible on the cover," said the doctor. Added to the problems, when a person becomes old, his metabolic activity and excretion undergoes a change and it is the responsibility of the physician to analyse all this before prescribing a drug.

    Senior geriatrician Dr V S Natarajan said the rapidly diminishing 'family physician' concept was a major reason for such adverse reactions. "Patients these days bypass the family physician and approach specialists based on symptoms. When a patient approaches more than one specialist, the intake of drugs increases. The doctor-patient interaction has become minimal so many doctors prescribe medicines even without analysing the patient's medical history leading to complications," he said. Many elderly patients don't inform their doctor when they take other herbal remedies, which when mixed with allopathic medicines can cause adverse reactions, he said.


  4. #674
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Marijuana can treat arthritis, diabetes?

    Marijuana could potentially help treat autoimmune disorders including arthritis and diabetes, a new study, including Indian-origin scientists, has claimed.

    The findings by researchers at the University of South Carolina provides evidence that THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), a principal ingredient in marijuana, may be beneficial in treating those with autoimmune disorders.

    The finding is the first to explore how tiny , yet powerful molecules called microRNAs are influenced by THC. MicroRNAs are a recently discovered class of non-coding RNAs that play a pivotal role in the regulation of gene expression. The ability to alter microRNA expression could hold the key to successful treatments for a host of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.


  5. #675
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Moose alternative to cow milk?

    Milk from a variety of animals including camels, llamas and moose should be more widely used to counteract high cow milk prices due to growing demand for dairy in the developing world, the UN food agency said on Tuesday. "There is huge scope for developing other dairy species," Anthony Bennett, livestock industry officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, was quoted as saying in a statement.

    In a report co-authored by Bennett released on Tuesday, the FAO said that alpaca, donkeys, moose, reindeer and yak could also be milked, alongside other species that are already used for milk like buffalo, goat and sheep.

    It said reindeer and moose milk was high in fat and protein and also contained half the lactose found in cow milk, making it a possible alternative source of dairy for people with lactose intolerance. The report forecast that dairy consumption in developing countries will grow by 25% by 2025 as a result of population growth and rising incomes.

    But it said that milk — a crucial source of dietary energy, protein and fat —" will likely still be out of reach for the most vulnerable households". "Governments need to address the issue by making nutrition a specific objective in dairy sector development and by investing in programmes that help poor families keep small dairy livestock," it said. Alpaca and llama and alpaca breeding could provide "a valuable nutritional and economic resource" for people in mountainous areas of South America, the statement said. The FAO also pointed out that camel milk is already prized in Ethiopia, Mali and Somalia and mare's milk is consumed by 30 million people in Russia and Central Asia.


  6. #676
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Moose alternative to cow milk?

    Milk from a variety of animals including camels, llamas and moose should be more widely used to counteract high cow milk prices due to growing demand for dairy in the developing world, the UN food agency said on Tuesday. "There is huge scope for developing other dairy species," Anthony Bennett, livestock industry officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome, was quoted as saying in a statement.

    In a report co-authored by Bennett released on Tuesday, the FAO said that alpaca, donkeys, moose, reindeer and yak could also be milked, alongside other species that are already used for milk like buffalo, goat and sheep.

    It said reindeer and moose milk was high in fat and protein and also contained half the lactose found in cow milk, making it a possible alternative source of dairy for people with lactose intolerance. The report forecast that dairy consumption in developing countries will grow by 25% by 2025 as a result of population growth and rising incomes.

    But it said that milk a crucial source of dietary energy, protein and fat " will likely still be out of reach for the most vulnerable households". "Governments need to address the issue by making nutrition a specific objective in dairy sector development and by investing in programmes that help poor families keep small dairy livestock," it said. Alpaca and llama and alpaca breeding could provide "a valuable nutritional and economic resource" for people in mountainous areas of South America, the statement said. The FAO also pointed out that camel milk is already prized in Ethiopia, Mali and Somalia and mare's milk is consumed by 30 million people in Russia and Central Asia.


  7. #677
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    [COLOR=#0000FF !important]Colonel Durai Selva Kumar[/COLOR] is adventurous. But [COLOR=#0000FF !important]adventure sports[/COLOR] like paragliding and scuba diving were always things he could only dream about because of his weight.

    "At 137kg there are only so many things one can do," he says, recounting [COLOR=#0000FF !important]the health complications[/COLOR] he had when he was obese, at a programme conducted by a leading hospital in the city to mark [COLOR=#0000FF !important]World Anti-Obesity[/COLOR] Day on Tuesday. "After I underwent [COLOR=#0000FF !important]bariatric surgery[/COLOR] and lost more than 50kg my quality of life improved remarkably."

    In a bariatric procedure, the surgeon reduces the size of the stomach so the patient feels fuller without binging on too much food. Another method is operate on a patient so food bypasses the small intestine and less is absorbed.

    Surgeon Dr Rajkumar Palaniappan says not all bariatric surgeries are cosmetic. "When bariatric surgeries first came to India in 2004, almost 80% was for cosmetic reasons," he says. "But a decade on, only 20% are cosmetic. Most surgeries are to correct metabolic disorders."

    By international standards, Asians are predisposed to obesity and generally have a fat mass higher than muscle mass, he says. "People should stop viewing obesity as a result of overeating and try to acknowledge it as a medical condition," Dr Palaniappan says.

    Dr V Mohan of Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre, which has an exclusive bariatric unit, says these surgeries can help stabilise a patient's sugar levels by controlling unnecessary hormones.

    "Obesity and type-2 diabetes are twin epidemics and there is a strong association between them," he says. "Bariatric surgery is the answer for morbidly obese people who cannot tackle obesity."

    Dr Mohan says the treatment works only if the patient meets certain conditions, including being of the right age and possessing insulin reserves.

    But, like most medical procedures, bariatric surgery too has a flip side. "When people opt for unnatural methods like surgery, they become prone to liver problems. Bariatric surgery may be suitable for people with morbid obesity but not for people who are just overweight. There is nothing like losing weight naturally, by dieting and exercising," says senior surgical gastroenterologist R Surendran.


  8. #678
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    thanks for the article

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  9. #679
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    hi sumitha ,
    most welcome


  10. #680
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New test can warn patients at high risk of heart attack


    Lives of patients at the risk of a heart attack can now be saved with a non-invasive test that can identify high-risk unstable blockages that may rupture to cause a heart attack or other serious coronary event.

    Unlike the traditional diagnostic techniques that have so far revolved around finding the tightest narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the heart, the new test identifies narrowing that does not cause severe blockage, but can rupture and cause a heart attack. The test is a combination of a radioactive tracer and scanning technique, and will take at least five to 10 years to come in the public domain.

    British medical journal Lancet published the new study on November 11, 2013 on the use of radioactive tracer 18 f-sodium fluoride (18F-Naf), a known tracer in bone imaging, to accurately identify the blockages that may cause a heart attack.

    The research was conducted by a team led by Ahmednagar-born cardiologist Nikhil Joshi at the British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science in Edinburgh, UK, which found that the use of the radioactive tracer with a scanning technique known as positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) could identify the risk of a heart attack and how this would eventually help in initiating early treatment to prevent it.

    The test technique is simple: inject the tracer into the patient's veins, followed by a special PET-CT scan, which is commonly used in cancer diagnosis. The fatty plaques in the arteries pumping blood into the heart 'light up' if the plaque (a fatty deposit inside an arterial wall) is at the risk of rupturing. Experts call it detecting the 'ticking time bomb' inside the body.

    The new test will mark a paradigm shift in cardiac diagnostics. "Until now, there were no non-invasive imaging techniques available that can identify high-risk and ruptured coronary plaques in patients of heart disease. For the first time, we have shown this is possible and this new technique that can identify high-risk or ruptured coronary plaques, has the potential to transform how we identify, manage and treat patients with stable and unstable heart disease. The next step will be to conduct larger-scale trials of 18F-NaF imaging to assess whether increased coronary 18F-NaF activity is ultimately predictive of future adverse effects," Joshi told TOI in an interview on email.

    Elaborating, Joshi said, "The technique is primarily aimed at targeting unstable plaques irrespective of the degree of obstruction. Hence it is possible to diagnose even smaller levels of obstruction, like say 20- 30%, that can rupture if unstable, even in younger patients leading to severe heart attack."

    While the technique can be used anywhere in the world, Joshi says it is more relevant in India because of high prevalence of diabetes and coronary disease owing to changing lifestyles.

    "However, this is not a screening test for the general population. Its utility is for patients at risk of coronary disease, and patients with angina and previous heart attacks. Moreover, this is an evolving area of research and future studies will determine which patient population will benefit from this type of a scan," Joshi said.

    Peer appreciation for the research is pouring in. "It is commendable to have an Indian do such a brilliant research and that too as a principal investigator. The diagnostic method will help identify vulnerable patients," said cardiac surgeon Chandrashekhar Kulkarni of Jehangir Hospital


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