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Mar 31
Doctors to separate conjoined twins
Doctors all set to separate conjoined twins: Doctors are all set to separate conjoined twins Sita and Gita. Sita and Gita, over a year old are conjoined twins.

Residing at Bihar, these two sisters are joined at the hip. They have common urinary tract, genital/reproductive system as well as lower intestinal opening.

Having arrived at Delhi's Batra hospital, the twin sisters had to undergo numerous tests - electrolyte, kidney and liver function, and X-ray.

Dr Bagai stated that "The lower part of the twins' spines is joined externally. Neurosurgeons will have to ensure that when separating the two; neither suffers from any neurological deficits in their lower limbs post-surgery."

"We will have to separate the gut. In such children, there is a common passage for stool and a common urinary tract causing infection."

The surgery will take around 12-15 hours. Conjoined twins are rare but they are genetically identical.

Mar 31
Flaxseed lowers high cholesterol in men
t may now become easier to lower down cholesterol levels in men with the consumption of flaxseeds, suggests a study.

A recent study conducted by the researchers of Iowa State University on the effects of flaxseed lignin in 90 people. These people were diagnosed with high cholesterol. The study results showed that consumption of at least 150 milligrams of flaxseed lignans every day helped in decreasing bad cholesterols in men only by 10 percent over the three months that they were given the flaxseeds. This was not seen in case of women.

Suzanne Hendrich, professor in food science and human nutrition from Iowa State University admitted that the decreased level of cholesterol is less than expected in comparison to the usual cholesterol lowering drugs (approximately 10 to 20 percent for three months, depending on the individual). However, flaxseeds can still become a natural option for lowering cholesterol for some men.

A rich of fiber, flaxseeds help in lowering down cholesterol levels. Flaxseeds are rich in B vitamins, magnesium and manganese. These seeds also contain alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega 3 which protects against inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation can cause many chronic disorders like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and some forms of cancer.

Many people may prefer having flaxseeds instead of drugs to maintain their cholesterol level and health.

Mar 30
Diabetics Face Higher Death Risk After Cancer Surgery
Type 2 diabetics newly diagnosed with cancer have an increased risk of dying in the month following their cancer surgery, compared to people who are battling cancer alone.

This was particularly true for diabetics with colorectal or esophageal cancers, Johns Hopkins researchers found.

"Diabetes care should be part of cancer care," said Hsin-Chieh "Jessica" Yeh, co-author of a study appearing in the April issue of Diabetes Care. "All the attention was on the cancer treatment and cancer care, and sometimes we overlook or forget about diabetes. This study suggests that diabetes is important for mortality, so it should be taken care of on top of the cancer care."

But Dr. Martin S. Karpeh Jr., chairman of surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center and director of surgical oncology at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, both in New York City, pointed out that elevated blood sugar levels -- the prime characteristic of diabetes -- is dangerous for people undergoing any type of surgery.

"The findings are completely consistent with other postoperative studies that have been published in recent years. We've known that an elevated blood sugar and diabetes increase the risk of mortality and complications from surgery," he said. "They focused their analysis on cancer, but the same was found in non-cancer so I think the link is more with diabetes and surgery, regardless of what the reason for the surgery is."

The bottom line for people with type 2 diabetes?

"Maintaining good health going into surgery is extremely important," Karpeh said. "We need to emphasize the importance of good overall health. If you are a diabetic, maintaining a good blood sugar will help lower your risks of a bad outcome following any major surgery."

People with diabetes have a higher risk of several other health conditions, including cancer, particularly of the breast, colorectal, endometrium, liver and pancreas.

Meanwhile, certain lifestyle factors, such as being overweight and sedentary, are risk factors for both type 2 diabetes and cancer.

These authors did a meta-analysis of 15 previous trials that had looked at cancer in diabetic patients.

Individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes before their cancer surgery had a 50 percent higher chance of dying in the month after their operation compared with non-diabetic patients. This was after accounting for other factors.

There were no studies in the mix that looked at breast or endometrial cancer, so it could not be determined if there might be a link between these two as well.

It was unclear why this might be the case, but the authors had some hypotheses.

"Diabetes increases the risk of infection from surgery. High blood sugar and diabetes [increase] infections, period, with or without cancer," said Yeh, who is an assistant professor of general internal medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Also, she said, diabetes is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and surgery increases the risk of blood clots, making diabetics doubly at risk for heart problems during surgery.

Mar 30
Alcohol linked to poor nutrition
People who drink more are also likely to eat less fruit and consume more calories from a combination of alcoholic beverages and foods high in unhealthy fats and added sugars.

Heavy drinking and dietary factors have independently been associated with cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and other chronic health problems. To examine the relationship between alcoholic beverage consumption, nutrient intakes, and diet quality, researchers analysed data on 8,155 men and 7,715 women in USA, aged = 20 years who reported their past-year alcoholic beverage consumption and 24-hour dietary intake. Alcoholic beverage consumption was defined by drinking status (never, former, current drinker) and, among current drinkers, by drinking level (number of drinks per day, on average: men <1 to =5; women <1 to =3).

Among men, there was no association between drinking status and dietary intake of energy as well as most nutrients. Among women, former and current (compared to never) drinkers had significantly higher intakes of energy and several nutrients, and current drinkers had significantly lower total healthy eating index scores (current drinkers 59; never drinkers 63). Among current drinkers of both genders, as drinking level increased, intakes of energy and several nutrients significantly increased, whereas total healthy eating index scores significantly decreased (from 56 to 41 in men, and from 60 to 52 in women).

Higher alcohol consumption was associated with poor diet quality, but these findings raise questions about whether the combination of alcohol misuse and poor diet might interact to further increase health risks. This could be explained by the higher energy intake from alcohol as well as other differences in food choices.

Mar 29
Chronic job stress leads to obesity
Stressful working conditions and lack of exercise have been strongly associated with being overweight or obese in a study.

Researchers at University of Rochester Medical Center found that 72 to 75 percent of the employees studied were overweight or obese.

Lead author Diana Fernandez, an epidemiologist at the URMC Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, said her research like many others linked high job pressure with cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, exhaustion, anxiety and weight gain.

She explained: "In a poor economy, companies should take care of the people who survive layoffs and end up staying in stressful jobs. It is important to focus on strengthening wellness programs to provide good nutrition, ways to deal with job demands, and more opportunities for physical activity that are built into the regular workday without penalty."

Surprisingly, boffins also discovered that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables had little effect in offseting the effect of chronic job stress on weight gain among the employees, who were mostly sedentary.

Exercise, on the other hand, appeared to be significant in dealing with stress and keeping a healthy weight.

Fernandez said. "Other studies have shown that adults tend to eat more fatty foods while watching TV. But this requires more investigation."

Mar 27
Healthy diet helps cut breast cancer risk
A woman can't change her family history of breast cancer but she may be able to trim her chances of getting the disease by eating more vegetables and whole grains and drinking less alcohol, says a new study.

An analysis of 18 published studies involving 400,000 people conducted by Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland found there was an 11 % lower risk of breast cancer among women in the highest versus lower categories of a prudent diet.

Those consuming larger amounts of wine, beer and spirits had a 21 % increased risk of breast cancer.

"As the incidence of breast cancer continues to rise, with many of the risk factors for the disease non-modifiable, potentially modifiable risk factors such as diet are of interest," researcher Dr. Sarah Brennan told Reuters Health.

The studies used in the analysis each aimed to associate breast cancer risks with at least one common dietary pattern: the "unhealthy" Western diet (high in red meats and refined grains), a more prudent "healthy" diet (high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains), or varying levels of alcohol drinking.

Brennan added that these findings had to be interpreted cautiously as there are inherent statistical problems in combining the results of multiple studies.

Mar 26
India has a fifth of world TB cases: WHO
Tuberculosis is a disease of the poor as it is widely found in developing countries like India, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, revealing that India alone contributes 20 per cent of the disease burden across the globe.

"India contributes one fifth of the world TB cases. It has high morbidity and mortality rates due to tuberculosis," South-East Asia regional director of WHO, Samlee Plianbangchang, said here on World Tuberculosis Day.

Plianbangchang said, "Though TB prevalence has been halved and mortality rate reduced by a third in South East Asia by the end of 2009, a social and economic protocol is necessary to curb the disease."

"National TB programmes in the region face several challenges, like language and cultural diversities compiled with poverty, rapid urbanisation, huge population displacements and expanding the scope of services for a population of 1.74 billion'," he added.

The WHO authorities also said that among the TB patients, over four percent have HIV infection too.

The WHO also released a regional report on TB control which estimates that South-East Asia registered 2.2 million TB patients in 2009. Almost 15 million patients have been cured in ten years, the global health watchdog's report revealed.

Plianbangchang also said that due to greater participation of people other than just doctors in the TB control programmes, the detection rate has gone up in the region.

"Where such measures are in place, the number of cases notified has increased by up to 25 per cent, with treatment success rates over 90 per cent. The value of these social support programmes for TB, which is a disease of poverty, is clear." he said.

Mar 26
Anaesthesia Can Increase Alzheimers Risks
The repetitive anaesthesia with isoflurane, given by inhalation, can increase the risk of developing alzheimer's Disease (AD) in the patients with the genetic risk factors for the disease, says the study.

The studies conducted in the mice proved that anaesthesia is safe for the normal ones, but potentially harmful for the mice with the mutations of the amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). This finding suggests a possible mechanism of developing Alzheimer.

Some epidemiological studies have shown an increased prevalence of AD, in patients undergoing anaesthesia and surgery. So it will be ideal to know the genetic background of the patients, as the pattern of the drugs can be used accordingly, says the experts.

The repetitive anaesthesia can also increase the mortality risks in the patients who have the genetical risks. There is a chance for the patients to show less reactivity, when the dose of anaesthesia is over. The time for recovery after anaesthesia, also can be increased.

The repetitive anaesthesia can also produce persistent disorders in such people, which affect their behaviour later, says the scientists.

Mar 25
TB: first new drug in 50 years
Researchers at Sydney's Centenary Institute announced they have made an exciting discovery that could lead to the first new drug for Tuberculosis (TB) in almost fifty years. The discovery comes on the World TB Day.

Dr Nick West, Associate Faculty of the Mycobacterial group at Centenary, is looking at the genetics of TB in the hope they will reveal a way to reduce the impact of one of the deadliest diseases in the world.

Dr West, explains, "When someone is infected with TB they either become sick immediately or the disease stays inactive, latent."

"Unfortunately, the antibiotics we use to fight TB aren't effective against latent TB and can only be used when the disease becomes active. This is a major problem as 1 out of 10 people who have latent TB will develop the active disease, becoming sick and contagious."

Dr West and his team have made a vital discovery in the development of a new drug that could cure TB in the latent stage. If the project succeeds, it will be the first new treatment for TB since 1962.

TB kills almost 2 million people each year. One third of the world's population, or two billion people, are infected with TB.

Dr West explains, "We have investigated a protein that is essential for TB to survive and we have had some success in developing a drug that will inhibit this protein. Our goal over the coming months is to find out the full extent of this drug's potential."

"If we can figure out a way to treat TB when it's in a latent stage, then we could save millions of lives throughout the world."

Mar 24
Indians trust doctors more than chemists
We may crib about doctors' fee, but keep going back to them for even minor ailments. A global study conducted among 27,000 internet users in 54 countries by The Nielsen Company found that Indians rely more on doctors than pharmacists (chemists).

The survey asked the users how they typically deal with 17 common minor ailments, such as cold, cough and headaches, all of which can be treated with non-prescription medicines. A majority of Indians said they would rather seek a doctor's advice than rely on the neighbourhood pharmacist's opinion. But they would do this only if the symptoms are severe.

"Consumer response on their consideration to seek advice from a doctor or a pharmacist varied across ailments, but one thing was established: for any ailment Indians would seek advice from the doctor more than their neighbourhood pharmacist," said Seetha Sethuraman, director (client solution), Nielsen.

Most Indians seek doctors' advice for hay fever, 33%, followed by sinus congestion, 23%, and flu, 21%. They rarely consider visiting a doctor for menstrual pain, 54%, hangover, 47%, and sleeping problems, 34%. But for such problems, they don't consider asking the pharmacist either.

The survey said that Indians do not see as a point of care pharmacists, who are perceived as retailers of products rather than consultants for minor ailments.

The survey said Americans, like Indians, are most likely to turn to a doctor, while the Europeans would visit a pharmacist. In case of a headache, for example,

Americans will nearly always make a quick trip to the pharmacy for ibuprofen or aspirin, but Europeans are more likely to visit the pharmacy to speak to a pharmacist for advice.

"This finding indicates that majority of consumers (particularly European) suffering from minor ailments are willing to work through the ailment without professional advice, either through non-prescription medicines or other traditional remedies, or by letting the body self-correct," said Robert Buckeldee, service model director, Nielsen.

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