Category Archives: Heath & Fitness

“We adapt to survive” strategy to mitigate Delta variant: Dr. Azhar Perwaiz

By GYAN BHADRA

Doctor NEW DELHI: Chameleon changes its colour. So does coronavirus? No prizes for guessing! The latter adapts “mutation” to survive and infect us. Public memory is not painfully short that it will forget the way coronavirus coming out from China and spreading out its wing across the world in 2019 was called Covid – 19. Later, the mutation of Covid-19 took place in January 2020 and December 2020 in both

England and India respectively. The metamorphosed viruses in England and India were nicknamed as “Alpha”(B.1.1.7) and “Delta” (B.1.617.2) respectively. As of now, Delta virus is the major prevailing strain worldwide infecting and taking in its fold 104 countries and counts for 97 percent of new coronavirus cases in England.
“As a matter of fact, Delta variant is considered as 50 percent more contagious than its predecessor. In quick succession, it can infect three to four other people as compared to one or two done by the original strain in the past. And it is highly likely to escape protection from currently available vaccine and conventional Covid-19 treatments,” says Dr. Azhar Perwaiz, Associate Director, Head Esophagogastric Surgery, Deptt. of GI Surgery, GI Oncology & Bariatric Surgery, Institute of Digestive and Hepatobiliary Sciences at Gurgaon – based Medanta The Medicity.

Dr. Perwaiz goes on to say that when on one hand scientists had engaged themselves in gathering information’s to counter or contain this new variant; on the other reports of emergence of a subvariant known as Delta Plus (B.1.617.2.1 or AY. 1) have surfaced on public domain.

As is wont of Delta Plus variant, it is more prone to attack lungs thereby causing serious pneumonia. And potentially it can escape from conventional vaccines as well. Analysing the important facet of this virus, Dr Perwaiz explains that it poses problems to differentiate this strain clinically owing to its symptoms which have uncanny resemblance with those of older strains. However, some exceptions of cough and loss of smell seem to be less; while headache, sore throat and fever are more pronounced. Fear and apprehensions relating to hospitalization of more people and deaths—-especially among unvaccinated people—- are writ large among healthcare providers. This is all too evident  from a preliminary report published in “The Lancet” journal.

It has been obseved that higher reported incidence in demographic zones with less vaccinated population indirectly underscores the fact that unvaccinated people are most likely to be affected by the variant. As is well known that in most part of the world, kids and adolescents (age being less than 18 years) are still unvaccinated ; so their susceptibility to infection and, to make matters worse, turning them most vulnerable segment of the society will be a healthcare challenge to healthcare professionals in near future; in case a third wave is imminent.

Expressing his opinions on currently available vaccines, he says that these vaccines have registered moderate success against this strain. As per the report of UK-based Public health England agency, moderna vaccine’s two doses are posssibly 88 percent effective against the disease and 96 percent effective against hospitalization. As regards Astrazeneca vaccine, it is about 60 percent effective against the disease and 93 percent effective against hospitalization. And more or less same report emanates from Johnson & Johnson’s one shot vaccine. However, what takes the cake is the question: Will booster doses to those who has already been vaccinated could help in containing this variant?

This is a moot question on which the scientists are having brainstorming sessions. As Dr. Perwaiz avers, the situation is not holding up here; since there have been reports of further subvariants such as Epsilon variant (B.1.427/B.1.429) emanating from Southern California and isolated in more than 30 countries.And the Lambda variant(C.37) emerging from Peru accounts for less than one percent of cases in United States.

As a suggestive measure, he advises that if the virus can adapt to survive, then it is all the more necessary for “us” to adapt to survive and eradicate this demon once and for all. As there are not much to choose, so strict adherence to vaccination, masks, social distancing and hand hygiene remains the “Mantras for Survival”.

Interaction with my daughter “a halt after I lost custody battle.”: Donald Harris

kamala Harris
WASHINGTON: Donald Harris, the father of Indian-origin Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, has said that close contact with his daughters “came to an abrupt halt” after a contentious custody battle, according to a media report.
The New York Times report said that the Jamaican-born economics professor expressed regret that the custody battle brought an end to the contact with his daughters.
Kamala Harris’ mother Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer biologist came from India to the US at the age of 19 to pursue her dream of curing cancer.
In her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Kamala Harris spoke fondly and profusely about her mother but had limited words for her father. She said her mother met her father, who had come from Jamaica to study economics, at the University of California Berkeley, and “the two fell in love in that most American way-while marching together for justice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s”.
“My mother instilled in my sister, Maya, and me the values that would chart the course of our lives. She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage,” Kamala Harris, 55, said in her acceptance speech on Wednesday.
“When I was 5, my parents split and my mother raised us mostly on her own. Like so many mothers, she worked around the clock to make it work-packing lunches before we woke up- and paying bills after we went to bed.” said the Indian-American Senator from California.
“She made it look easy, though I know it never was. She taught us to put family first-the the family you’re born into and the family you choose,” Kamala Harris said.
The New York Times article said that her father Donald Harris 81, is long retired from teaching and has remained mostly silent even as his daughter “has stepped into the national spotlight.”
The report cited a 2018 essay by Donald, in which he says his early, close contact with his daughters “came to an abrupt halt” after a contentious custody battle.
“This early phase of interaction with my children came to an abrupt halt in 1972 when, after a hard-fought custody battle in the family court of Oakland, California, the context of the relationship was placed within arbitrary limits imposed by a court-ordered divorce settlement based on the false assumption by the State of California that fathers cannot handle parenting…Nevertheless, I persisted, never giving up on my love for my children or reneging on my responsibilities as their father,” he wrote.
The report said that his only recent comments about her, published on a Jamaican website run by an acquaintance, “express a combination of pride in his daughter and bitterness over their estrangement”.
The divorce between Kamala Harris’ parents was bitter. Harris recalls inviting both her parents to her high school graduation, “even though I knew they wouldn’t speak to each other,” and initially fearing that her mother would not show up, it said.

Donald met Shyamala Gopalan in the early 1960s while both were students at UC Berkley. The pair met outside of the classroom at a group created to discuss “Black writers overlooked by the university curriculum and debate about politics, decolonization and activism,” according to The Mercury News. The pair were also active in the Civil Rights Movement, which Kamala Harris names as integral to her story.
“My parents marched and shouted in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It’s because of them and the folks who also took to the streets to fight for justice that I am where I am,” Harris wrote on Instagram on June 10. “They laid the path for me, as only the second Black woman ever elected to the United States Senate.”
Donald and Shyamala married while still in school, and remained active in racial justice activism, particularly her mother. They reportedly used to push Kamala in a stroller at protests for racial justice and Black freedom.
Shymala filed for divorce from Donald in 1971, when Kamala was seven years old. The divorce was finalized in 1973. During divorce proceedings, Shymala was granted custody of Kamala and her sister, Maya. In an a report in Jamaica Global Online, which is now removed from the web, Donald said his interactions with his daughters “came to an abrupt halt in 1972” after he lost “hard-fought custody battle.”
Regardless, he never gave up on “my love for my children or reneging on my responsibilities as their father.”Shymala Gopalan died in 2009 of colon cancer.
She often talks about her progressive immigrant parents in broad terms to reinforce her views on public policy and social issues. While she often talks about her mother’s influence on her life, the vice presidential nominee is a little more mum when it comes to dedicating campaign time specifically to her father, Donald Harris.
(With Inputs from Media Reports).

India has the second highest number of early deaths: CSE

imagesNEW DELHI : The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Tuesday released details of 2017 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report which says that India has the second highest number of early deaths due to PM2.5 in the world — nearly equals China’s.

According to a statement issued by the CSE the new estimates of the global burden of disease (GBD) released today by the US-based Health Effect Institute (HEI) paint a grim picture for India. Globally, air pollution is estimated to cause more than 4.2 million early deaths — of these, 1.1 million deaths occur in India alone.

This is more than a quarter of the global deaths. India now nearly equals China which scores the highest number of early deaths due to PM2.5. Worse, India now tops the dubious list of highest number of early deaths due to ozone pollution.
The rate of increase in early deaths in India is quite scary. While early deaths related to PM2.5 in China have increased by 17.22 per cent since 1990, in India these have increased by 48 per cent. Similarly, while early deaths due to ozone in China have stabilised since 1990, in India these have jumped by 148 per cent. This demands urgent intervention.
Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death worldwide; as many as 92 per cent of the world’s population lives in areas with unhealthy air. The 2017 report presents a deeper analysis than the earlier GBD report (2015) and examines the long term trends from 1990 through 2015.
The HEI has built on the GBD project of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), involving more than 2,000 researchers. These researchers enumerate and track death and disability and the influence of behavioral, dietary, and environmental risk factors for more than 300 diseases and injuries, by age and sex, from 1990 to the present, in 195 different countries and territories.

“India cannot afford to remain complacent or on denial any more. With so many people dying early and falling ill and losing productive years due to particulate and ozone pollution, it is a state of health emergency. This demands nation-wide intervention to ensure stringent mitigation and a roadmap to meet clean air standards,” says Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE.
The number of premature deaths due to PM2.5 in India is the second highest in the world — it has nearly equaled China’s dubious record. While China has recorded 1,108,100 premature deaths, India records 1,090,400 deaths. Even though India had started off with a much lower number of people dying early deaths in 1990, it has quickly caught up with China.
Not only the absolute numbers of early deaths are high in India, the rate of increase is higher than China’s. While early deaths related to PM2.5 in China has increased by 17.22 per cent since 1990, in India it has increased by 48 per cent.
Early deaths in India are also the highest among the South Asian countries – it is 9 times higher than neighbouring Bangladesh and 8 times higher than Pakistan. This is an extremely serious issue – in the past, the GBD estimates had indicated that air pollution was the fifth largest killer in India.
Without anyone noticing it ozone, a very reactive gas, has become a serious health problem in India. Even though the absolute number of early deaths due to ozone is far less than those caused by PM2.5 – 107,800 compared to 1,090,400 due to PM2.5 — India records the highest number of ozone-related deaths in the world. Ozone aggravates respiratory problems, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It may be noted that India has now included COPD in its non-communicable disease programme.

Deaths due to ozone are showing a much higher rate of increase than deaths related to particulate matter. It is this rate of increase in India that is scary: ozone-related early deaths in India have recorded an increase by as much as 148 per cent since 1990. During the same period, health risk from particulate pollution has increased by 48 per cent.

Ozone-related early deaths in India are 33 per cent higher than those recorded for China. India has also recorded a much faster increase in ozone-related deaths since 1990 than China – on an average, the increase ranges at 20 per cent in India as opposed to 0.50 per cent in China. In 1990, ozone deaths in India were far less than in China. But now India has surpassed China, where ozone-related deaths have remained more or less stable.

In South Asia, ozone deaths in India are 13 times higher than in Bangladesh and 21 higher than in Pakistan.
CSE has followed up to understand the reason for the high number of ozone-related deaths. The HEI scientists explain that ozone in GBD estimates is from the chemical transport model, but the evidence of increasing ozone levels in India, especially in north India, is seen from the available measurements.

For ozone, the increase in exposure is so large that it overwhelms the improvements in underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality – in other words, exposure matters and combines with aging and population growth to lead to increasing deaths. For particulate matter, there is an increase in exposure but the overall improvement in mortality rates is large enough to lead to a decrease in the death rates.
Ozone is not directly emitted but is formed by reaction of a variety of gases like nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds under the influence of sunlight and temperature. According to scientists, formation of ozone is expected to be higher in countries in tropics and sub-tropics and near the equator.

To some extent, rising temperature is also aggravating this trend. India will be well advised to take early and stringent steps to control ozone precursors which are very difficult to control. This means stringent control of gaseous emissions from combustion sources including vehicles. The air pollution problem cannot be dismissed as dust. Ozone precursors like nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides and volatile organic compounds also have serious local public health impacts.
This new analysis shows that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter has contributed to 4.2 million premature deaths and to a loss of 103 million healthy years of life globally in 2015.  This is the fifth highest risk factor for deaths from heart disease and stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and respiratory infections. This report has looked at 79 health risk factors.

An additional 254,000 deaths occur due to exposure to ozone and its impact on chronic lung disease. PM2.5 was responsible for a substantially larger number of deaths than other well-known risk factors.
The European Union is the third highest in terms of health risks from particulate and ozone. The US stands sixth in health risk from particulate pollution and fourth in ozone pollution.

It is important to note that the developed world that has witnessed early action on air pollution, has seen some improvement but the risk remains. In the US, there has been about 27 per cent reduction in average annual population exposures to fine particulate matter. The reduction in Europe is comparatively smaller. Yet some 88,000 Americans and 258,000 Europeans still face increased risks of dying early due to particulate levels today.
It maintained that the new scary results leave no room for diffidence and denial of the problem anymore. As the GBD analysis now becomes an annual tracker of change, it is possible for the world and India to know the trend in emerging health risk from air pollution.  This has to inform policies and action to protect public health.

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change needs to implement nation-wide strategy to control both particulate and gaseous pollutants to meet clean air standards, it quoted Roychowdhury as saying.

World’s Heaviest Woman, In Mumbai For Treatment

eman-ahmed-abd-el-aty_650x400_81481231073MUMBAI:  Eman Ahmed, termed the heaviest women in the world, today landed in Mumbai for weight reduction treatment at a local facility. Ms Ahmed, 36, landed at Mumbai international airport around 4 am.
Ms Ahmed, who has not moved out of her house for 25 years, would be under observation for about a month before she undergoes surgery, doctors said.She is currently under the care of a city-based bariatric surgeon Muffazal Lakdawala, and his team of doctors.

The doctors have been treating Eman for almost three months and took all the necessary precautions needed for the transportation of bed-bound Eman from Egypt’s Alexandria city.

“Even though transporting Eman to Mumbai was a challenging task keeping in mind the complexities of her case as she is a high risk patient who has not been able to move or leave the house for the past 25 years,” doctors said.eman ahmed worlds heaviest woman mumbai

Eman Ahmed, 36, landed at Mumbai international airport around 4 am.Eman was accompanied by Aparna Govil Bhasker, an Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon at Centre of Obesity and Digestive Surgery and Head of Department of Bariatric surgery at Saifee hospital, and Kamlesh Bohra, Senior Intensivist, Department of Critical and Intensive Care at Saifee Hospital in Mumbai.

“She, along with her sister Shaimaa Ahmed, arrived here early today. To prepare her for the flight, the team of doctors have been in Egypt for the last 10 days to optimise the conditions for her travel; given the fact that she is so heavy and not moved for the last 25 years she is at a high risk for a pulmonary embolism and hence has been put on blood thinners to try and minimise the chances of such an eventuality during her transfer,” doctors said.

According to News Agency a special bed was created to transport Ms Ahmed. As a precautionary measure, the flight was furnished with all the equipment required in case of an emergency such as portable ventilator, portable defibrillator, oxygen cylinders, intubating laryngoscopes and other safety drugs.
Ms Ahmed is being transported by a fully equipped truck, which will be followed by an ambulance and a police escort to Saifee Hospital where a special room has been created for her.
(with inputs from PTI)

Delhi HC sets aside Centre’s decision to ban FDC medicines

51366886NEW DELHI : The Delhi High Court today set aside the Centre’s decision to ban 344 fixed dose combination (FDC) medicines. The court, while allowing 454 pleas of pharma majors, said, the Centre went about in haphazard manner while banning 344 FDCs.

It said, the government took the decision without following procedure prescribed under the statute.The government had, in March, banned 344 FDC drugs, which extended to about 6,000 brands.
The petitions had questioned the validity of the ban. During the hearings, the Centre had said the ban was in public interest as the combination drugs were not safe and have been banned in several countries.
The court had reserved its verdict in the case on the 2nd of June.

Top five superfoods for your heart health!

502269-heart-healthy-dietA healthy diet and lifestyle can help protect your cardiovascular health. It is said that a heart-friendly diet can lower one’s risk of heart disease or stroke by 80%.
When we talk about eating for a healthy heart, it means you’re filling your plate with foods that are considered healthiest for your heart such as fruits, vegetables, good fats, etc.Here are five foods that may help lower your risk for heart disease:

 

Prices of 500 drugs reduced in last two years: Ananth Kumar

indexNEW DELHI: Centre has reduced the prices of 500 drugs, surgical supplies and other medical consumables in the last two years.
This was informed by Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar while sharing the achievements of his Ministry during the period in New Delhi yesterday.
He said that Jan Aushadhi stores are being increased to around 3,000 in the current year from just around 100 in 2014.
Mr Kumar said that country has an unhealthy dependence on China for 80 bulk drugs or APIs, which are active raw materials used to make drugs. He said, therefore to boost domestic
production, bulk drugs parks are also being established.The Minister said the country has witnessed a record production of 245 lakh tonnes of urea in the 2015-16 fiscal on back of the policy initiatives taken by the government.

How blueberries could help fight Alzheimer’s disease

Blueberries-in-a-bowlEating blueberries, the well-known ‘super fruit’, may not only lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, but also provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has claimed.

The fruit is loaded with healthful antioxidants, and these substances could help prevent the devastating effects of this increasingly common form of dementia, researchers said.
“Our new findings corroborate those of previous animal studies and preliminary human studies, adding further support to the notion that blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults,” said Robert Krikorian from University of Cincinnati in the US.
Blueberries’ beneficial effects could be due to flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve animals’ cognition, he said. Researchers conducted two human studies to follow up on earlier clinical trials.
One study involved 47 adults aged 68 and older, who had mild cognitive impairment, a risk condition for Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists gave them either freeze-dried blueberry powder, which is equivalent to a cup of berries, or a placebo powder once a day for 16 weeks.
“There was improvement in cognitive performance and brain function in those who had the blueberry powder compared with those who took the placebo. The blueberry group demonstrated improved memory and improved access to words and concepts,” said Krikorian.
Researchers also conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which showed increased brain activity in those who ingested the blueberry powder. The second study included 94 people aged 62 to 80, who were divided into four groups.
The participants did not have objectively measured cognitive issues, but they subjectively felt their memories were declining. The groups received blueberry powder, fish oil, fish oil and powder or placebo. “The results were not as robust as with the first study.

Cognition was somewhat better for those with powder or fish oil separately, but there was little improvement with memory,” said Krikorian. Also, fMRI results were not as striking for those receiving blueberry powder.
The effect may have been smaller in this case because these participants had less severe issues when they entered the study, researchers said.

Higher ‘resting’ heart rate linked to premature death, reveals new study

397960-388793-363777-heart-attackWashington: A new study has reveals that a higher resting heart rate is linked to increased risk of death from all causes, even for those people who are not suffering from heart diseases.
Dongfeng Zhang of the Medical College of Qingdao University said that the association of resting heart rate with risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality was independent of traditional risk factors of cardiovascular disease and suggested that resting heart rate was a predictor of mortality in the general population. In the study, researchers assessed 46 studies involving 1, 246, 203 patients and 78, 349 deaths from all causes, and 848, 320 patients and 25, 800 deaths from heart disease.
The authors said that results from this meta-analysis suggested the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality increased by 9% and 8% for every 10 beats/min increment of resting heart rate. They found that people with a resting heart rate of more than 80 beats/min had a 45% higher risk of death from any cause than those with a resting heart rate of 60-80 beats/min, who had a 21% increased risk.
However, the absolute risk is still small. Findings were similar for people with cardiovascular risk factors. Zhang said that their results highlighted that people should pay more attention to their resting heart rate for their health, and also indicate the potential importance of physical activity to lower resting heart rate.

The authors concluded that the magnitude of association between resting heart rate and all-cause mortality was stronger than that with cardiovascular mortality, and this discrepancy could be expected because resting heart rate had been also found to be associated with non cardiovascular mortality.

Health, medication should not be linked to religion Says Amitabh Bachchan

indexGURGAON: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Friday said that though India is a country with various beliefs, religion should not be a hurdle in health and medication.
The 73-year-old actor, who is the brand ambassador of India in the fight against tuberculosis (TB), said during the polio eradication campaign he found that there were few communities who stayed from the medication in name of their belief.
“The huge problem which we face during health campaigns is, how one should reach out to the people? India is a diverse country with various beliefs which keep people away from taking a specific kind of medication. We had problems with polio.
There were several communities, who thought taking polio drops was something against their caste or religion. Health and medication should not be linked to religion,” said Bachchan while launching the campaign ‘Call to Action: A TB Free Haryana.’

The Piku star also opened up about why eradicating TB was close to his heart.”… I was diagnosed with TB in 2000 and I felt that I need to talk about it because I have a personal interest in the cause. It makes a point to share the issue with others and encourage them to perhaps fight with the problem face to face,” he said.

The actor along with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was present at the launch of two mobile vans to support in the campaign and he took the occasion as a platform to break myths attached with the disease.
“Normally TB is associated with people, who live in poor conditions, … but what I want to convey is that irrespective of the environment you live in there is a possibility that you can attach TB to your body,” he said.
“I also want to say, even though I got infected by tuberculosis I was able to cure it by medication. If I am standing in front of you today I can say confidently I am absolutely free of TB,” he added.
Bachchan, who has been appointed as the ambassador for girl child by UN, also expressed his desire to work for Haryana’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign.
“There are many things that all of us do with a heart. Most of us are involved in several campaigns and activities which are done voluntarily, but have a far reaching effort.
United Nations and UNICEF have appointed me as the ambassador for girl child and if Chief Minister of Haryana Mr Khattar wants any support from me in ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign I will willingly do it,” he said.
Bachchan said the success of the polio campaign inspired him to take up the cause of TB eradication.”The inspiration behind getting attached to this cause was the polio eradication campaign which I was a part of. And almost eight years later, I am proud to say today we are free of polio. One day I wish to see our country free from TB as well.”
The initiative, undertaken by Medanta – The Medicity hospital, has been launched in collaboration with the government of Haryana, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and the Central TB Division of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.