Dengue claims fifth victim in Kolkata
KOLKATA, October 28, 2008: Dengue claimed its fifth victim in the city today with a nine-year-old-girl, Priya Adhikari, succumbing to the disease this evening.
As many as 10 people in the city have died of vector-borne diseases, while two others have succumbed to unknown fever. Malaria
(falciparum type) has afflicted 1,500 people and 80 others are down with
Chikungunya cases in Delhi
NEW DELHI, October 21, 2008: After dengue, Delhi is now staring at an "explosive outbreak'' of another vector borne disease -
chikungunya. The viral disease - characterized by high fever lasting between
seven and 10 days, painful joints, headache, vomiting, fatigue and nausea - has till now infected six people in Delhi.
While three samples from Lodhi Road and Kidwai Nagar confirmed positive in September, three other samples collected by National Institute of Communicable Diseases
(NICD) from Uttam Nagar and
Mahavir Vihar were found to contain the virus on October 13.
This confirms fears that an indigenous virus is already in circulation in the city. As India has been hit by the African strain of the virus with high transmissibility, scientists from NICD and
National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme fear that it's just a matter of time before the number of chikungunya cases in the Capital starts to swell.
"Chikungunya has no known treatment. So the only fool-proof method to combat the disease is
prevention. Vector breeding has to be eliminated,'' said an NICD official. "Also, the strain in circulation infects humans at a faster pace,
thus capable of causing really large outbreaks. Those bitten by an infected mosquito will show symptoms within two days to a week,''
the official added.
In 2006, Delhi had 560 suspected chikungunya cases and 67 confirmed
cases. In 2007, Delhi reported 2,003 suspected samples of which 22 were confirmed chikungunya cases.
Across all states till October 2007, there were 38,000 chikungunya cases. In comparison, till October this year, the country recorded
nearly 71,000 cases. Source: The Times of India
Experts sound dengue warning
KOLKATA, October 16, 2008: Experts have sounded a warning for Kolkata following three
dengue deaths in the city. In the absence of proper surveillance and preventive measures, the
city is facing an epidemic threat, they said. Nothing has been done yet to speed up vector control measures or to verify if the mystery fever that has struck South 24-Parganas is Japanese encephalitis.
Last week, a resident of Behala succumbed to it at the School of Tropical Medicine. More than 3,500 people have been affected by a mysterious fever in South 24-Parganas. Most patients are from Budge
Budge II and Bishnupur II blocks. Four new cases of chikungunya were confirmed in the district on Wednesday.
"Going by the symptoms, it seems the fever is either dengue or chikungunya. But the local civic authorities should have arranged
for the collection of blood samples and got the result by now as the disease is spreading fast. This post-monsoon period, when temperatures are high but intermittent rains continue, is ideal for
Japanese encephalitis. Since the area has paddy fields, which are the breeding grounds of Culex vishnui mosquito, there is reason to be scared," said virologist Tomonash Bhattacharya.
Source: The Times of India
A single pill 'to tackle all heart problems soon'
London, October 5, 2008 (PTI): Here's some hearty news! Yes, if researchers are to be
believed, you could simply pop a single pill to tackle all your cardiac problems. An international team, funded by the Wellcome
Trust in London and the British Heart Foundation, is developing what they claim is the
"polypill" -- a cheap drug that can protect against heart disease and stroke. In fact, the researchers have already begun recruiting around 700 volunteers across six countries for a pilot 'trial' of the
"polypill" manufactured by Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's, the 'New Scientist' reported. According to them, the red heart pill to be priced at USD one for a month's supply, blends
blood- thinning aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering statin, an ACE inhibitor and a thiazide to lower blood
Turmeric reduces size of haemorrhagic stroke: Study
New Delhi, September 23, 2008 (PTI): Turmeric, the ubiquitous spice found in Indian kitchens, not only lowers your chances of getting cancer and
Alzheimer's disease, but may reduce the size of a haemorrhagic stroke, US researchers have discovered. Scientists at the US-based Medical College of Georgia are using
animal models to study effects of turmeric or curcumin on intracerebral haemorrhages. Patients with this type of stroke are often treated for symptoms such as headache and nausea with medications, but not the stroke itself.
Invasive surgery to remove the clot is usually needed, but some patients may not be good
candidates, said Jay McCracken, who along with Krishnan Dhandapani, neuroscientist in the MCG School of Medicine, are leading the research.
"We found that curcumin significantly decreases the size of a blood clot, but we're not sure why it happens," McCracken said adding that it may be because curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Virus to wipe out malaria mosquitoes
NEW YORK, August 26, 2008: In what could be deemed as a remarkable medical breakthrough, American researchers have discovered a virus which
they claim is infectious to the Anopheles gambiae mosquito that is responsible for transmitting malaria. According to them, the virus could someday be used to pass on new genetic
information to the Anopheles mosquitoes as part of a strategy to control malaria, which kills over one million people worldwide each year.
In fact, the virus, AgDNV, is a densonucleosis virus or "densovirus", which are very common to mosquitoes and other insects, but do not infect vertebrate animals such as humans.
Camel milk beneficial to check impotency
Jaipur, August 06, 2008: Rajasthan Milk Federation
(RMF) recently launched sale of camel milk in tetra packs, which are presently available at the Saras Milk parlours in
Jaipur, Bikaner and New Delhi.
Customers, who are aware of the medicinal values of camel milk but
had no access to it in urban areas, can be noticed rushing for camel milk at RMF's Saras outlets. The reason being apart from providing
nutrition and countering impotency, camel milk can also benefit the diabetics, if taken regularly. Apart from its other health benefits, camel milk can also be beneficial to check impotency.
According to the Rajasthan Milk Federation officials, the product is gaining popularity in the national capital, Delhi, with each passing day.
Mineral-rich diet cut the risk of coronary heart diseases
July 10, 2008: A diet rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium may cut the risk of developing coronary heart diseases and stroke,
suggests a new study. The findings suggest that an increased consumption of these minerals through fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products might reduce
high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension, which is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease.
According to the paper, Americans consume double the sodium and about half the potassium that is recommended by current guidelines. If they are able to increase their potassium intake, the number of
adults with blood pressure levels higher than 140/90 mm Hg might decrease by more than 10 per cent and increase life expectancy.
Some studies have also shown that diets high in magnesium at least 500 to 1,000 mg/d and calcium more than 800 mg/d may lead to both
a decrease in blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension. Data regarding these minerals, however, are not definitive. These findings are published in a supplement appearing with the July issue of The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
High BP in middle-age 'ups dementia risk six-fold'
London, July 8, 2008 (PTI): It's better that you control your blood pressure in the 40s, for researchers have found evidence that people suffering from hypertension in
middle- age are six times more likely to develop dementia.
Previous studies have claimed that high blood pressure can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney damage.
Now, two studies -- one by the Alzheimer's Society and another by an Imperial College London team -- have found a link between high blood pressure in the middle-age and memory problems in old age.
In the first one which is a actually an evaluation of other research papers, the researchers have found that high blood pressure
increases the risk of vascular dementia by 600 per cent, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of the disease after Alzheimer's and occurs when blood vessels in the brain become
damaged and brain cells begin to die. "People fear dementia more than any other condition in later life;
it is a devastating disease that robs people of their lives. Everyone should get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly and receive effective treatment if they are at risk," its
Chief Executive Neil Hunt said. According to the society, a combination of a low-salt diet,
exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and medicines can lower blood pressure effectively.
Govt warns about ill-effects of mobile phone radiation
New Delhi, Jun 16 (PTI) Warning people about harmful effects of radiation from mobile phones, the government has asked service providers and makers to avoid promotional
advertisements showing vulnerable segments like children and pregnant women using cell phones. The electromagnetic waves emitted from mobile phones can
seriously damage the tissues of the users' brain, according to draft rpt (draft) guidelines of Ministry of Telecommunication. The draft guidelines suggested measures like limited usage of mobile phones by children, pregnant women and people suffering
from heart ailments. In India, the growth of mobile phones is very high and may cross 500 million by 2010-end, and a large chunk of the users are children.
Many parents provide mobile phones to their children for safety reasons, and to keep connected with them all the time. The guidelines say that mobile phones/radio terminals radiate
Radio Frequency energy that heats up the tissues which may be possibly harmful to human health.
During use, mobile phones are usually kept closer to the ear which is very near to the brain giving rise to fears that
continuous use of mobile phone for longer duration may damage some brain tissues. The report advises people to use hands-free, if longer use is
unavoidable and recommends that children below 16 should be discouraged from using cell phones as the tissues of children are tender and are likely to be more affected.
42 million Indians suffer from thyroid disease
NEW DELHI: Nearly 42 million Indians are suffering from thyroid disease, doctors said on the
International Day of Thyroid. According to the Indian Thyroid Society (ITS), thyroid disorders are among the most common and yet most under-diagnosed of all health
problems, making it a hidden disease. Experts said women are eight times more prone than men to the disease.
"With growth, the demand for thyroid increases in the body and women are more prone to the disease especially after they reach puberty,"
said Unnikrishnan A.G., a professor at the Amrita Institute of
Medical Science at Cochin. "If thyroid patients are not monitored and the disease not controlled, they may suffer from more serious health problems like higher cholesterol levels, heart disease,
osteoporosis, infertility and depression," Unnikrishnan said. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism in every organ, tissue and cell in the body. It contributes to the
growth of children's physical attributes, mental power and even the IQ level. Doctors said that with iodized salt reaching almost every parts of the country the problem has gone
down in a major way.- IANS
Cut sugar to curb diseases: Study
Sydney, June 8, 2008: Around 40 million and still counting, a whopping statistic that has made India the diabetes capital of the world. And in most cases, diabetes
brings about other complications such as heart disease and kidney problems, often leading to death.
Now in a new study researchers have said that bringing down the blood sugar levels of a diabetic patient aggressively can actually save him from other health complications like heart attacks and kidney disease. Bringing down blood sugar levels to 6.5 per cent reduces severe complications. The kidney diseases can be cut by 21 per cent while it can
cut heart diseases by 30 per cent. The overall complications of diabetes are cut by 10 per cent. In India, only 20 per cent diabetics have managed to keep their blood sugar levels close to this optimum mark.
100 million Indians smoke unfiltered cigarettes
NEW DELHI, May 29, 2008 (AFP): More than 100 million people in India smoke unfiltered
hand-rolled cigarettes, reducing their life span by about two decades, a study
released Thursday said. More Indians die from smoking "bidis" than from all other forms of tobacco
combined, said the study by the Healis-Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health,
dedicated to improving public health in India and other developing countries. "Indians smoke eight times as many bidis as cigarettes" thanks to their
affordability, said the study, released by the Mumbai- based group ahead of World-Tobacco Day on Saturday."Bidis are as harmful as cigarettes if not more... bidi smoke delivers
many toxic chemicals at higher levels than those from western-style cigarettes," it
said adding that some 800 billion bidis were sold in India annually. Packed with "proven carcinogens, poison, toxic chemicals and nicotine" bidi
smoke raises "the risk of oral cancer, cancer of the lung, stomach and esophagus, heart disease, chronic lung disease, asthma and tuberculosis," the study said.
Lifestyle diseases to cost India $237 bn by 2015
NEW DELHI, May 20, 2008: Smoking, consuming high-calorie fast food and being a couch potato will not only cut short your lifespan but will
also cost the country dear. A report, jointly prepared by the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum, says India will incur an accumulated loss of $236.6 billion by 2015 on account of unhealthy lifestyles and faulty diet.
The resultant chronic diseases - heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and respiratory infections - which are ailments of long duration and slow progression, will severely
affect people's earnings. The income loss to Indians because of these diseases, which was $8.7 billion in 2005, is projected to rise to $54 billion in 2015.
According to the report, which was released at the World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday, 60% of all deaths
worldwide in 2005 - 35 million - resulted from noncommunicable diseases and accounted for 44% of premature deaths. The study cited scientific evidence
that healthy diet and adequate physical activity - at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days a week - helped prevent
NCDs. "In India, 10% of adults suffer from hypertension while the country is home to 25-30 million diabetics. Three out of every
1,000 people suffer a stroke. The number of deaths due to heart attack is projected to increase from 1.2 million to 2 million in 2010," he said. Source: The Times of India
Smoking beedi caused 200,000 TB deaths in India
Delhi, May 14, 2008: An Indian health ministry report was released on Monday, listing the prevalence of beedi
smoking and its consequences. The report highlighted that an estimated 100 million people - mostly from the poor and illiterate section of the Indian population- smoke beedi or hand-rolled cigarettes in India. Smoking beedi caused
200,000 tuberculosis deaths, says the report.The study led by Prakash C. Gupta, director of Research at Healis, Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health in Mumbai that supported the
study, and Samira Asma observes that though beedi smoking causes the same diseases as cigarette smoking does - lung cancer, oral cancer,
heart diseases, lung disease and addiction, it is more harmful than cigarette
Beedi is the cheaper Asian version of cigarette wherein tobacco is
hand-rolled in ‘tendu’ leaves. Smoking beedi is considered more harmful than cigarette smoking because it contains more tar,
nicotine, carbon monoxide, carcinogenic hydrocarbons and other toxic and class A carcinogenic substances such as nitro amines (NNN and
NNK). However, beedi has less tobacco than cigarettes.
Apollo Hospitals to start medical college in West Bengal
KOLKATA, April 26, 2008: The Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals is to set up a medical college with a 350-bed hospital on the outskirts of the West Bengal capital.
Apollo Hospitals managing director Preetha Reddy told reporters: "We discussed the plan for the medical college at a meeting with Chief
Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya Friday evening. He has promised to extend all possible help, including arranging for a 25-acre plot if we fail to arrange for it ourselves."
The hospital authorities are eyeing the outskirts of Kolkata to set up the medical college. "This
Rs.700- million project will be operational by 2011," Reddy added. There will be a 350-bed hospital
on the campus of the medical college."We are also planning to set up 100-bed hospitals in West Bengal
towns. We will start with Siliguri, Burdwan and Kharagpur towns," said Reddy.
India to produce clotting protein
NEW DELHI, April 22, 2008: India will soon produce and provide the blood clotting proteins F8 and F9 free of cost to patients suffering from the world's oldest known hereditary bleeding disorder -
haemophilia. The health ministry is finalising plans to set up the country's first Plasma Fractionation Unit (PFU) that will
manufacture these life-saving proteins within the country. At present, F8 and F9 transfusions are very expensive as the
proteins are either available only in the private sector or have to be imported from the US. Costing Rs 9 per unit, a
severe haemophiliac has to be infused with seven units of F8 per kg of body weight three times a day for a week before even a minor surgery. Those who need monthly transfusion easily spend over Rs 10,000 per month. For those who need
transfusion before a surgery, costs go up to Rs 1 lakh. To cost nearly Rs 250 crore, the PFU, which will tremendously
benefit the country's 1.5 lakh haemophilia patients, is being set up by the National AIDS Control Programme (Naco) and is
expected to start production of plasma derivatives.
Black Tea Components
helps to replace Insulin In Type-2 Diabetes
March 22, 2008: Certain components like
theaflavins and thearubigins present in black tea have the potential to replace insulin in type 2 diabetes and help avert the condition,
according to a new study by researchers at Dundee University. Type 2 diabetes is the most common of the so-called lifestyle
diseases that affect modern man. It is linked to obesity and is caused when the body does not produce enough insulin or when the cells are unable to utilize it.
Bird flu resurfaces in West Bengal
NEW DELHI, March 9, 2008 (Reuters): A fresh outbreak of bird flu in poultry has been reported
from West Bengal, officials said on Sunday, a month after authorities there said
they had contained the virus. The outbreak, the fifth in India since 2006, has been reported from two villages
of Murshidabad district, officials said. "We are worried that bird flu has returned to West Bengal because the outbreak
seemed to be under control," Anisur Rahaman, the state’s animal resources minister told Reuters on Sunday.
In January, the H5N1 virus affected 13 of the state's 19 districts, including
Murshidabad. The strain of the latest virus was still being tested, but Rahaman
said preliminary checks have indicated the H5N1 strain. More than 3.4 million birds were culled during the last outbreak, which the
World Health Organization (WHO) described as the worst-ever in India.
India world's biggest polio worry
NEW DELHI, March 07,2008: According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative data,
India has recorded 82 polio cases till February 27. In comparison, three other countries where polio is still endemic-
Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan — have together recorded just 23 cases in the same period. However, as on March 6, India has 106 confirmed polio cases of which 105 are P3 strains and one case of P1 infection.
This has now made Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss virtually admit that the country's polio programme is failing to achieve its purpose. Unhappy with the failure to stop polio from crippling children across the country,
Ramadoss has decided to review the National Polio Control Programme.
Dr. Ramadoss said "We spent Rs 1,300 crore last year and this year intend to spend Rs 1,050 crore on polio eradication. Yet cases continue to rise."
He added: "Polio, especially the outbreaks in Bihar, are a matter of grave concern."
Frog skin diabetes treatment hope
The paradoxical frog is native to South America Skin secretions from a South American "shrinking" frog could be used to treat type 2 diabetes, researchers say.
A compound isolated from the frog, which grows to 27cm as a tadpole before shrinking to 4cm in
adulthood, stimulates insulin release. A synthetic version of the compound - pseudin-2 - could be used to produce new drugs, delegates at the Diabetes UK annual conference heard.
Around two million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes. The condition, which is often associated with being overweight, develops because the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work
properly.It means people cannot regulate their blood glucose levels properly.
Scientists from the University of Ulster and United Arab Emirates University have tested a synthetic version of pseudin-2, a compound which protects the
paradoxical frog from infection.
Dr Yasser Abdel-Wahab found it stimulated the secretion of insulin in pancreatic cells in the
laboratory and there were no toxic effects on the cells. The synthetic version was better at stimulating insulin than the natural compound, opening the way for it potential
development as a drug for treating diabetes.
Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said although type 2 diabetes could be managed with diet and physical activity, the condition was progressive and may require medication to
control it effectively. "Good diabetes control reduces the risk of
complications including blindness, heart disease, kidney problems and amputation so new treatments are vital." Source: BBC NEWS
Turmeric to fight infertility
January 04, 2007: Turmeric,
known for its anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties is also an effective
cancer-fighting agent. Now, research shows that it may even help fight infertility. A team of researchers at Gujarat University has found that
curcumin, the principal constituent of turmeric, is capable of ameliorating infertility caused by aflatoxins, a family of plant toxins. Many aflatoxins are known to affect sperm count
and its motility. The scientists, led by Ramtej Jayram Verma of the department of
zoology and biomedical technology, orally fed olive oil spiked with aflatoxin to two groups of male albino mice, one with curcumin and the other without. While the animals whose diet included curcumin had sperm with improved morphological
characteristics, the other group showed a marked reduction in sperm quality. The findings are reported in the December 2007 issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility.