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Health News 2015

 Delhi Faces Worst Dengue Outbreak Since 1996. Over 12,000 Cases Reported

       Dengue mosquito

New Delhi, October 16, 2015: With over 1,300 fresh dengue cases reported in the past five days, the total number of people down with the vector-borne fever in the city this year has mounted to a threatening 12,020.

The civic administration updated the official number of deaths to 32, according to a municipal report on the vector-borne disease released today. However, unofficially the number of dengue victims has crossed 40.

September alone has seen 6,775 cases, also the highest in the last six years. Incidentally, no cases had been reported in the first three days of this month.

Out of the total cases, south Delhi recorded the highest at 2,578, north  Delhi at 2,561 while east Delhi posted the lowest with 1502 cases. Of all civic zones in the city, Najafgarh Zone of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has recorded the highest number with 832 cases.

And,1,829 people diagnosed positive for the disease came from outside of Delhi. Standing at over 12,000, dengue outbreak this year has become the worst outbreak since 1996. That year, 10,252 cases and 423 deaths were reported.

The figure for the total number of cases had crossed the 1996-mark on October 10 only with 10,683 people down with the deadly virus. In 2010, as many as 6,259 total cases were recorded and only eight deaths were officials reported throughout the year. 995 cases were registered in entire 2014 while in 2013 it stood at 5574. Over 2,000 cases were recorded in 2012 and 1,131 cases in 2011. Source: ndtv.com

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Purple potatoes may prevent colon cancer: scientists

      Purple potatoes

Washington, August 29, 2015: Compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer, Indian-origin scientists have found.

Baked purple-fleshed potatoes suppressed the growth of colon cancer tumours in petri dishes and in mice by targeting the cancer’s stem cells, researchers have found. Attacking stem cells is an effective way to counter cancer, according to Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences at the Pennsylvania State University.

In the initial laboratory study, researchers found that the baked potato extract suppressed the spread of colon cancer stem cells while increasing their deaths.

Researchers then tested the effect of whole baked purple potatoes on mice with colon cancer and found similar results.  The researchers used baked purple potato because they wanted to make sure the vegetables maintained their anti-cancer properties even after cooking.

According to the researchers, there may be several substances in purple potatoes that work simultaneously on multiple pathways to help kill the colon cancer stem cells, including anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid, and resistant starch. “The butyric acid regulates immune function in the gut, suppresses chronic inflammation and may also help to cause cancer cells to self- destruct,” Vanamala said.

In addition to resistant starch, the same colour compounds that give potatoes, as well as other fruits and vegetables, a rainbow of vibrant colours may be effective in suppressing cancer growth, he added. The study was published in the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry". -PTI

Sugary drinks kill around 2 lakh people a year globally

   Sugary drinks

Washington, June 30, 2015: Consumption of sugary drinks may lead to diabetes, heart disease, and cancers and an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, shows a study by a team of researchers led by an Indian American.

In the first detailed global report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, researchers estimated deaths and disabilities caused by diabetes, heart disease, and cancers in 2010.

"Among the 20 countries with the highest estimated sugar-sweetened beverage- related deaths, at least eight were in Latin America and the Caribbean, reflecting the high intakes in that region of the world," said lead author Gitanjali Singh, an Indian-American assistant professor at Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Tufts University.

Of the 20 most populous countries, Mexico had the highest death rate attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages with an estimated 405 deaths per million adults (24,000 total deaths) and the US ranked second with an estimated 125 deaths per million adults (25,000 total deaths).

In the study, sugar sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving.

The estimates of consumption were made from 62 dietary surveys including 611,971 individuals conducted between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries.

 The impact of sugar-sweetened beverages varied greatly between populations. The estimated percentage of deaths was less than one percent in Japanese over 65 years old, but 30 percent in Mexican adults younger than 45.

About 76 percent of the estimated sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths occurred in low- or middle-income countries. The study was outlined in the journal Circulation. Source: IANS 

Embrace spirituality to fight cancer


August 12, 2015: Being spiritual can help cancer patients improve their physical, mental and social well being, finds new research. The three-part analysis found a strong association between spirituality and cancer patients' health.

In the first part, a team of US researchers focused on physical health. Patients reporting greater overall religiousness and spirituality also reported better physical health, greater ability to perform daily tasks and fewer physical symptoms of cancer and treatment.

"These relationships were particularly strong in patients who experienced greater emotional aspects of religion and spirituality, including a sense of meaning and purpose in life as well as a connection to a source larger than oneself," explained lead study author Heather Jim from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

In the second analysis, the researchers examined patients' mental health. The team discovered that the emotional aspects of religion and spirituality were more strongly associated with positive mental health than behavioural or cognitive aspects of religion and spirituality.

"Spiritual well being was associated with less anxiety, depression or distress," noted lead study author John Salsman from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago in the paper published in a peer-reviewed journal CANCER.

The third analysis pertained to social health, or patients' capacity to retain social roles and relationships in the face of illness. "We found that patients with stronger spiritual well being reported better social health," said another lead author Allen Sherman from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. "In contrast, those who struggled with their faith fared more poorly," he noted.

The research provides invaluable insight into the rapidly growing area of psychosocial oncology - the role of religion and spirituality for patients and survivors managing the experience of cancer, the authors concluded. -IANS


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