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Breastfeeding may reduce mother’s risk of diabetes: Study

LONDON, July 23: Breastfeeding has the potential to reduce the long-term risk of developing Type 2 diabetes among women with gestational diabetes, and is a cost-effective intervention, says a study.

The findings revealed that breastfeeding can alter the maternal metabolism to protect against diabetes.

The metabolites in women who breastfed for more than three months differed significantly from those who had shorter lactation periods.

“Longer periods of lactation are linked to a change in the production of phospholipids and to lower concentrations of branched-chain amino acids in the mothers’ blood plasma,” lead-author Daniela Much from Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen — a German recearch institute.

The metabolites involved were linked in earlier studies with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.

“The findings of our study provide new insights into disease-related metabolic pathways that are influenced by lactation and could thus be the underlying reason for the protective effect,” added Sandra Hummel from Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen.

Previous studies have showed that breastfeeding for more than three months postpartum has a protective effect, which lasts for up to 15 years after gestational diabetes.

For their analyses, the scientists examined almost 200 patients who had developed gestational diabetes.

The participants in the study received a standardised glucose solution and gave a fasting blood sample beforehand, and during the test.

The scientists then compared the samples on the basis of 156 different known metabolites.
“On average, women with gestational diabetes breastfeed less often and for shorter duration than non-diabetic mothers,” Hummel said adding, “the aim is now to develop strategies that will improve the breastfeeding behaviours of mothers with gestational diabetes.”

Drink enough water, it is your secret weapon to achieve perfect weight

WASHINGTON, July 12: If you’ve not made drinking enough water through the day a habit, here’s why you should start it soon. A new study suggests that it could be the potential secret weapon to achieving a healthier weight. People who are obese and have a higher body mass index (BMI) are more likely to be inadequately hydrated and vice versa, researchers said.

“The link between hydration and weight is not clear. Our study further explains this relationship on a population level using an objective measure of hydration,” said Tammy Chang from University of Michigan in the US.

Although the correlation requires further probing, Chang said that hydration has lately been considered a cornerstone of a weight-loss diet.

“We often hear recommendations that drinking water is a way to avoid overeating because you may be thirsty rather than hungry,” she said.

Researchers looked at a nationally representative sample of 9,528 adults from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Roughly a third of the adults, between ages 18 to 64, were inadequately hydrated.

The study suggests that people with higher BMIs -- who are expected to have higher water needs -- might also demonstrate behaviours that lead to inadequate hydration, researchers said.

Chang said eating healthy foods high in water content, such as fruits and vegetables, can improve hydration status though more studies are needed to know whether hydration status can influence weight. “Hydration may be overlooked in adult weight management strategies. Our findings suggest that hydration may deserve more attention when thinking about addressing obesity on a population level,” she said.

“Staying hydrated is good for you no matter what, and our study suggests it may also be linked to maintaining a healthy weight,” Chang added. The findings were published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

Breads you eat every day contain cancer-causing chemicals: Study

NEW DELHI, May 23: The bread you eat everyday could be pushing you closer to cancer.
More than 80% of 38 popular brands of breads, buns and ready-to-eat burger and pizza tested positive for potassium bromate and iodate, a study by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment says.

The first of the two chemicals is a category 2B carcinogen – that can possibly cause cancer – and the second is known to trigger thyroid disorder.

Indian manufacturers use potassium bromate and potassium iodate for treating flour while making bread, the study said.

“The use of these chemicals in the bread-making sector is banned in many countries because they are listed as hazardous for public health. India does not ban their use,” a statement released by the Centre for Science and Environment said.

The CSE recommended the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ban the use of potassium bromate in making bread with immediate effect. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) should also amend relevant available standards, CSE said.

“We found 84% samples positive with potassium bromate/iodate. We re-confirmed the presence of potassium bromate/iodate in a few samples through an external third-party laboratory. We checked labels and talked to industry and scientists,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE and head of CSE lab.

“Our study confirms the widespread use of potassium bromate/iodate as well as presence of bromate/iodate residues in the final product.”

The study was conducted by the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) of CSE.
This is the second major food scandal in the country. The country’s food regulator banned the popular instant noodle snack Maggi last year after several state laboratories found excess levels of lead. The ban was lifted by the Bombay high court last November.

Hypertension patients maximum among South Asians

May 18: South Asians number the highest among patients suffering from hypertension, doctors said on Tuesday. hypertension leads to conditions like brain stroke and heart attacks, among others, and regular medication and check-ups are needed to control it.

According to the doctors, the factors triggering hypertension among the South Asians include stress and the poor habits of taking 'gutka', 'kimam', 'paan' or 'naswar'.

"Studies show that stroke-related deaths are higher among the South Asian people than Caucasians, all because of hypertension. We South Asians develop high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol much more easily in comparison to the people of the West," said Vipul Gupta, head of Neurovascular Intervention Centre at Medanta.

Noting that hypertension is the prime reason behind heart and brain strokes, Gupta said because of ignorance, the condition reaches a stage when blood vessels are strained, including the ones leading to the heart, making it much tougher to circulate blood in the body.

"This strain can damage the blood vessels, causing them to become harder and narrower, a condition called atherosclerosis. This makes a blockage more likely, which can cause a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA, sometimes called a mini stroke)," said Satnam Singh Chhabra, Head Neuro and Spine Surgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Anant Ambani sheds 108 kilos

Anant AmbaniMUMBAI, April 10: Anant Ambani, who was spotted last night left everybody stunned with his transformation. His grandfather, the legendary Dhirubhai Ambani, would have been proud of him for living up to his belief that nothing is impossible if one focuses on it.

The youngest son of Nita and Mukesh Ambani had made a self-commitment one-and-a-half years ago — to fight a medicine-induced obesity and come out victorious. He has lost a staggering 108 kilos in less than 18 months. As he was determined to lose weight in the most natural and safest way possible, he followed a strict diet and exercised for five-six hours every day.

His daily exercise regimen included a 21-km walk, followed by yoga, weight training, functional training and high-intensity cardio exercises. He stuck to a zero-sugar, low-carb diet along with adequate fat and protein.

Nita M Ambani, his mother is most pleased about her son's accomplishment. Having had seen him through this journey, working hard and sweating it out daily for more than 500 days, she is floored by her son's dedication to his own health. The determination and will power that he has shown in fighting and conquering the most daunting challenge is an inspiration for all, including herself, said the proud mother.

As a child, he suffered from chronic asthma and the strong medication led to his weight gain. Doctors had warned that losing weight by natural means would be an uphill task. But he was determined to get fit by his 21st birthday.

An animal lover and wildlife enthusiast, the journey of Anant, who is currently a junior at Brown University in the US, is nothing short of inspirational. It is a reminder that with hard work, dedication and focus, anything is possible.

WHO declares global emergency over explosive Zika virus spread

GENEVA, Feb 2: The World Health Organization declared an international emergency on Monday over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects in the Americas, saying it is an “extraordinary event.”

The UN health agency convened an emergency meeting of independent experts in Geneva to assess the outbreak after noting a suspicious link between Zika’s arrival in Brazil last year and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads.

“After a review of the evidence, the committee advised that the clusters of microcephaly and other neurological complications constitute an extraordinary event and public health threat to other parts of the world,” WHO director general Margaret Chan said.

WHO estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in the Americas in the next year, but no recommendations were made to restrict travel or trade.

“It is important to understand, there are several measures pregnant women can take,” Chan said. “If you can delay travel and it does not affect your other family commitments, it is something they can consider.

“If they need to travel, they can get advice from their physician and take personal protective measures, like wearing long sleeves and shirts and pants and use mosquito repellent.”

The last such public health emergency was declared for the devastating 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which killed more than 11,000 people. A similar declaration was made for polio the year before.

Indian researchers find cure for cancer in turmeric molecules

BHOPAL, Dec 8: Researchers from the Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya (RGPV), Bhopal, have claimed the discovery of two anticancer molecules from turmeric, which they say will be able to kill cancer cells without causing side-effects.

RGPV vice-chancellor Piyush Trivedi and his doctoral student Dr C Karthikeyan claimed that the discovery of the anti-cancer molecules, code-named CTR-17 and CTR-20, could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of several types of cancers for which currently available clinical drugs have proven ineffective. This discovery comes after working on the antiseptic and healing properties of turmeric for 12 years, they said.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Trivedi, who is also a pharmacist, said, “At a time when studies are suggesting a rapid increase in the incidence of cancer in India, this discovery could bring a revolution in cancer treatment. RGPV is the first university with a world-class laboratory where this discovery has taken place. We have also filed for a US patent of the discovery of the new anti-cancer molecules.”

“My team at RGPV, in collaboration with Dr Hoyun Lee’s team at Advanced Medical Research Institute in Canada, worked on the discovery. A US provisional patent application has been officially filed to protect the intellectual property rights and also aid the successful translation of the discovered molecules to clinical trials because in the findings of pre-clinical trials, we have noticed excellent effects,” he added.

The molecules elicit anti-cancer activity that obstructing cancer cell division as they inhibit a protein which is necessary for several cellular functions, Dr Karthikeyan explained. Unlike other drugs with inhibitors that also cause severe adverse effects and are prone to resistance development in the patients, CTR-17 and CTR-20 are effective against multi-drug resistant cancer cells, he said, adding that studies have also shown that the molecules increase the life-span of lab animals affected with the tumours.

Dengue breaches 19-year record in Delhi

NEW DELHI, Oct 13: With 1,245 dengue cases reported in just two days and the total number of affected people reaching 10,683, the outbreak this year has become the worst in the last 19 years.

According to data made available till October 10 by the municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD), the total number of cases reported till October 8 was 9,438.

This is the worst outbreak in 19 years, crossing the 1996 figure of 10,252 cases. And the numbers are still increasing.

“We cannot say that the crisis is over because we are still getting many dengue cases in our out patient department (OPD) and dengue wards even now. The numbers are just not going down,” said Dr SP Byotra, chairman of the department of medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

“I noticed that in the past five to seven days the numbers had gone down, but they have started going up again,” said Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

“Environmental factors have a role to play. Usually, we have seen that when a large number of people are affected, the numbers start going down only by Diwali.

However, this year the numbers spiked earlier than usual, so, it could go down early too. But there will be fluctuations in the statistics in the coming weeks,” he said, explaining the cycle.

Although the number of incidents is higher than those reported in 1996, the number of deaths reported has gone down drastically. The MCD report states that 30 people have died of dengue this season and an unofficial count by HT pegs it at 46. Still, the numbers are much less than the 1996 figure, when 423 people out of 10,252 dengue positive cases died.

“Awareness is the key factor which resulted in the number of deaths going down. The numbers are the same, the strains are the same, yet we were able to revive people who had even gone to shock. At the slightest symptom, people got tested. They also ensured that they kept themselves hydrated,” said Dr Byotra.

The hospitals were also better equipped to deal with the crisis, with separate dengue wards and fever clinics which could take care of dengue patients at the earliest, he said.

Young diabetic women 6 times more likely to get heart attack

LONDON, Sept 1: Diabetes can be especially hard on women. New research has warned that young women suffering from diabetes have a six-fold risk of heart attack. In fact, the study added that young women who had suffered a heart attack were also more likely to be smokers.

The study in 7,386 women assessed the effect of risk factors on heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI) incidence in young women and assessed differences related to age.

The average age among young MI patients in the study was 42 years (range 21-45 years).

Multivariate analysis showed that four out of five classic risk factors were independent predictors of MI in young women.

“The strongest was diabetes which increased MI risk by six-fold. Arterial hypertension increased risk by four times while hypercholesterolemia tripled risk and current smoking increased risk by 1.6 times,” said researchers from Institute of Cardiology in Warsaw, Poland.

However, there was no statistical significance for obesity expressed by body mass index (BMI).

“The lack of a correlation with obesity could be because of the overwhelming influence of diabetes in this population. We also found that the risk of MI in young women increased with the number of coexisting factors,” said professor Hanna Szwed, head of the coronary artery disease at the Institute of Cardiology.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) affect mainly the elderly, but for many years, an increase in incidence has been observed in young people as well, regardless of gender.

The World Health Organisation estimates that CVDs cause more than 52 percent of all deaths in women and the number continues to rise.

“Up to one percent of all heart attacks are in young women,” Szwed added.

“We found that the risk factor profile in young women with MI was similar to the older population apart from the greater occurrence of tobacco smoking in young women,” Szwed noted.

The finding correlates with other research which shows that smoking is a growing problem in young women. This is clearly an area where prevention efforts are needed, the authors concluded.

The findings were presented at the ESC Congress - the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) - in London on August 31.

World's first malaria vaccine gets go-ahead from EU regulators

LONDON, July 24: The world's first malaria vaccine got a green light on Friday from European drugs regulators who recommended it should be licensed for use in babies in Africa at risk of the mosquito-borne disease.

The shot, called RTS,S or Mosquirix and developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, would be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease and could help prevent millions of cases of malaria in countries that use it.

Recommendations for a drug licence made by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are normally endorsed by the European Commission within a couple of months.

Mosquirix, also part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will also now be assessed by the World Health Organisation, which has promised to give its guidance on when and where it should be used before the end of this year.

Malaria killed an estimated 584,000 people in 2013, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 80 per cent of malaria deaths are in children under the age of five.

Andrew Witty, GSK's chief executive, said EMA's positive recommendation was a further important step towards making the world's first malaria vaccine available for young children.

"While RTS,S on its own is not the complete answer to malaria, its use alongside those interventions currently available such as bed nets and insecticides would provide a very meaningful contribution to controlling the impact of malaria on children in those African communities that need it the most," he said in a statement.

Global health experts have long hoped scientists would be able to develop an effective malaria vaccine, and researchers at GSK have been working on RTS,S for 30 years.

Hopes that this shot would be the final answer to wiping out malaria were dampened when trial data released in 2011 and 2012 showed it only reduced episodes of malaria in babies aged 6-12 weeks by 27 percent, and by around 46 percent in children aged 5-17 months.

EMA's recommendation is that the shot should nevertheless be licensed for use in babies in the full age range covered in the trials -- from 6 weeks to 17 months.

Some malaria specialists have expressed concern that the complexities and potential costs of deploying this first vaccine when it only provides partial protection make it less attractive and more risky.

However Joe Cohen, a GSK scientist who has led the development of Mosquirix since 1987, said on Friday he has no doubt the vaccine could significantly reduce the toll of sickness and death caused by the malaria among African children.

"I have absolutely no reservations in terms of rolling this vaccine out," he told Reuters. "Why? Because the efficacy, when translated into cases averted and deaths averted, is just tremendous. It will have an enormously significant public health impact."


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