World's first medical networking and resource portal

News & Highlights
Please make use of the search function to browse preferred content
Medical News & Updates
Aug 31
89 swine flu deaths in India this week
Swine flu continued its grip on India with 89 deaths reported from across the country in the week ending August 29.

Maharashtra reported the maximum number of 50 deaths, followed by 14 from Orissa and six each from Gujarat and Delhi.

Five deaths were reported from Madhya Pradesh while four were reported from Andhra Pradesh.

A total of 1,247 cases reported during the week. All are indigenous cases.

Till date, samples from 1,67,846 people have been tested for swine flu in government laboratories and a few private laboratories across the country and 39,977 (23.8%) of them have been found positive.

The World Health Organisation has officially declared that the swine flu pandemic was over.

Aug 31
DNA test may predict your child's talent
What if you knew your child has genes [basic, functional units of heredity, each occupying a specific place on a chromosome.] to be the next Einstein and you could very well bring out the best in him?

An increasing no. of parents in the United States and Europe are getting their kids undergo a DNA or gene test that might give them an insight into the child's future prospects.

While some claim that knowing the results could help parents make decisions about where their kids might excel; others wonder if such a test is really a good idea.

Early gene mapping for future

The DNA test offers parents a glimpse of their kids future. It is a technology that promises to revolutionize the way we groom our children.

It is possible to determine a child's genetic makeup or genetic map well before he or she first kicks a ball, learns to swim or even before takes his or her first step.

"A child can be tested directly right after they're born," Mike Weinstein of Atlas Sports Genetics said. "Because of this in-depth gene mapping knowledge we can determine the inborn or natural talents of your child. "

Even, India has started using "sports genetics" to ascertain what sport their children will do best in when they grow up.

Doctors use information contained in the so-called "sports gene ACTN3" to predict what kind of game the child would excel in as an adult.

"Analysis of the ACTN3 gene can be used to predict the kind of muscle fibre the child will develop as he/she grows up. Based on this we can figure out the body's capacity to adapt to different sports," says a leading orthopedic surgeon in Chennai.

Till date, at least 100 parents across India have got their children's special genes [basic, functional units of heredity, each occupying a specific place on a chromosome.] tested.

How is it done?
The DNA talent test is done with a simple saliva [mixture of water, protein, and salts that makes food easy to swallow; begins digestion] swab costing Rs. 2,000. The ideal age to take the test is from 4 to 10 years.

The sample can collect as many as 10,000 cells that enable scientists to isolate up to 40 different genes.

By studying the genetic code, scientists can extract specialized DNA information about a child's IQ, athletic ability, artistic ability, emotional control, focus and other talents and even health and disease related factors.

China leads in DNA testing: CNN
Though the technology is fast getting popular all over the world, but in China, most parents are using this specialized DNA Talent Testing so they can steer their child along an athletic and scholastic path to which they are genetically suited, reported CNN.

In fact, the Chinese government has special programs for talented children as young as 2 years. Under the program, lucky parents are given scholarships and may even be paid a government salary, if needed.

If some are labeling the test as an attempt by performance-obsessed parents to overburden children already under pressure, many have welcomed the futuristic approach with both the hands.

Aug 30
Hernia surgery on infant
A two-and-a-half days old baby underwent laparoscopic surgery for congenital diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) at The Cradle hospital on recently.

Also, the baby was discharged after ten days, a rarity since most are kept for around four weeks. However, since it was a laparoscopic surgery, the recovery was faster, said Paediatric Surgeon Dr S Ramesh.

The baby was diagnosed with CDH during the pre-natal test done in London, where the doctors said that the baby's survival may be only 50 per cent. So Jasna Ramakrishna, the baby's mother, flew to Bangalore and consulted at The Cradle.

Dr Kishore Kumar, neonatologist, said CDH was a birth defect which causes an abnormal opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that helps a person breathe. The opening allows part of the organs from the belly (stomach, spleen, liver, and intestines) to go up into the chest cavity near the lungs. The prevalence of CDH in new born babies is one in every 2,000-4,000 live births in India. Family history increases the chances of a baby developing CDH.

Aug 30
Hernia surgery on infant
A two-and-a-half days old baby underwent laparoscopic surgery for congenital diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) at The Cradle hospital on recently.

Also, the baby was discharged after ten days, a rarity since most are kept for around four weeks. However, since it was a laparoscopic surgery, the recovery was faster, said Paediatric Surgeon Dr S Ramesh.

The baby was diagnosed with CDH during the pre-natal test done in London, where the doctors said that the baby's survival may be only 50 per cent. So Jasna Ramakrishna, the baby's mother, flew to Bangalore and consulted at The Cradle.

Dr Kishore Kumar, neonatologist, said CDH was a birth defect which causes an abnormal opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that helps a person breathe. The opening allows part of the organs from the belly (stomach, spleen, liver, and intestines) to go up into the chest cavity near the lungs. The prevalence of CDH in new born babies is one in every 2,000-4,000 live births in India. Family history increases the chances of a baby developing CDH.

Aug 30
Hernia surgery on infant
A two-and-a-half days old baby underwent laparoscopic surgery for congenital diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) at The Cradle hospital on recently.

Also, the baby was discharged after ten days, a rarity since most are kept for around four weeks. However, since it was a laparoscopic surgery, the recovery was faster, said Paediatric Surgeon Dr S Ramesh.

The baby was diagnosed with CDH during the pre-natal test done in London, where the doctors said that the baby's survival may be only 50 per cent. So Jasna Ramakrishna, the baby's mother, flew to Bangalore and consulted at The Cradle.

Dr Kishore Kumar, neonatologist, said CDH was a birth defect which causes an abnormal opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that helps a person breathe. The opening allows part of the organs from the belly (stomach, spleen, liver, and intestines) to go up into the chest cavity near the lungs. The prevalence of CDH in new born babies is one in every 2,000-4,000 live births in India. Family history increases the chances of a baby developing CDH.

Aug 30
As dengue cases rise, civic body faces strike
A month before the Commonwealth Games begin, Delhi seems to be losing its fight against dengue. On Sunday, 59 new cases were reported. In 2009, only four cases had been confirmed till August 29. In 2010, the figure has hit 800. What's worse, the domestic breeding checkers (DBCs) - who go door-to-door to check mosquito breeding - have decided to skip work from Monday.

There are 3,200 DBCs who work on a contractual basis for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). They have threatened to stop work until they are made permanent employees.

The reasons to worry are many. "We have been admitting 15 to 20 dengue patients every day. Seventy-five per cent of more than 50 suspected dengue cases are turning positive on a daily basis," said Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, director, Internal Medicine, Max hospital, Saket.

The anti-malaria employees' body is firm on its demand. "They (MCD) have been making false promises for years. We will stop work from tomorrow," said the general secretary of the body, Ashok Chaudhary. The civic agency has said the demand cannot be fulfilled since it is facing a fund crunch.

Aug 28
Top eight cancer signs pinpointed
he eight unexplained symptoms most closely linked to cancer have been highlighted by researchers.

The Keele University team also points to the age at which patients should be most concerned by the symptoms, which include blood in urine and anaemia.

The other symptoms are: rectal blood, coughing up blood, breast lump or mass, difficulty swallowing, post-menopausal bleeding and abnormal prostate tests.

Cancer Research UK said unusual changes in a person's health should be checked.


The researchers were looking for symptoms which gave a one in 20 or higher chance of turning out to be cancer.

Although this still represents a relatively low chance of anyone with the symptom having the disease, any suspicion of cancer can mean that the patient is sent for tests more quickly, in order to catch the disease as early as possible.

The figure for each symptom was calculated by combining the results of 25 previous studies.

They found that, if the patient was below the age of 55, there were only two signs which reached the 'one-in-20' threshold.

These were a rectal prostate examination which gave abnormal results, and a breast lump.

After 55, but only in men, there was evidence that difficulty swallowing could be a sign of oesophageal cancer, while blood in the urine was highlighted as a particular concern for men and women aged over 60.
'Not the only signs'

Dr Mark Shapley, who led the research, said: "GPs should audit their management and reflect upon these cases as part of their appraisal to improve quality of care.

"There should be more open public debate on the level of risk that triggers a recommendation for referral by a GP."

Professor Amanda Howe, honorary secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: "It's useful to see these well-known 'red flag' symptoms and signs validated in primary care research, and reinforces the importance of encouraging patients to discuss worrying symptoms early with their GP."

However, a spokesman for Cancer Research UK said that these were by no means the only potential warning signs for cancer.

"The particular symptoms this study has highlighted are already thought of as important potential signs of cancer, but there are more than 200 different types of cancer, which cause many different symptoms.

"So if you notice an unusual or persistent change in your body it's important to get it checked out. When cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is often more likely to be successful."

Aug 28
Government denies HPV vaccine role in reported deaths
The government Friday denied that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines were responsible for the reported deaths from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

'In Andhra Pradesh among 14,091 vaccinated girls, five deaths have been reported whereas in Gujarat two deaths were reported among 10,686 girls,' Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

'The cause of deaths in Andhra Pradesh were determined as suicide, viral fever, drowning and heat stroke and in Gujarat deaths were suspected due to snake bite and severe anaemia with malaria,' he said.

The HPV vaccination was carried out by an international NGO programme for Appropriate Technology in Health as a post licensure (operational research) study of HPV vaccination in three blocks each of Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh and Vadodara district of Gujarat.

Azad said the HPV vaccination aimed at reducing the risk of cervix cancer, gaining experience in HPV vaccination and to build evidence based vaccine delivery strategy for future introduction of HPV in the universal immunisation programme.

The minister however added that state governments have been instructed not to carry out any further vaccinations.

Aug 27
Govt on red alert as dengue count touches 550
With 54 people testing positive for dengue, the city witnessed the emergence of the highest number of fresh cases of the disease on Wednesday.

So far, 550 persons have been affected by dengue while one has succumbed to it. And with the threat of an epidemic looming large over the city and the Commonwealth Games slated to happen in October, the month when dengue would be at its peak, the civic agencies are finally starting to take some concrete steps towards preventing the situation from getting out of hand.

For one, the authorities are emphasising on public participation and exhorting the public to learn more about the disease. "This is the only way to protect oneself from the disease. People have to proactively engage in the campaign and learn about precautions that will keep their families safe," said Dr VK Monga, chairperson of the Health Committee, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).


Meanwhile, the government has constituted a Special Task Force, to be headed by Dr Monga. "In a high-level meeting, we decided to intensify our campaign, increase manpower and conduct day-to-day monitoring of the situation on the ground," he added.

According to statistics released by the MCD, only three cases were reported in the corresponding period of 2009. On the other hand, the number of cases had stood at 60 and 17 in 2008 and 2007 respectively. "An average of 30 persons are testing positive everyday. While dengue cases are expected at this time of the year, the incidence is more than that of previous years," said Dr NK Yadav, Municipal Health Officer, MCD.

Most of the cases are being reported from Civil Lines, Shahdra (north) and Central Zone, he added.

Dr Bir Singh, Professor of Community Medicine, AIIMS, said: "There is an urgent need for the public to learn how to prevent dengue and protect themselves."

DENGUE WATCH
Number of Deaths on today - None

Total no. of deaths so far
1 confirmed
3 suspected

Number of dengue cases
550, 54 Fresh cases reported on Monday

Precautions
* Use mosquito repellant cream on exposed parts of the body.
* Dengue-causing mosquitos bite during the day. So, wear full-sleeve shirts and trousers.
* Keep water covered to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Symptoms
Fever, bad headaches, muscle and joint pain, skin rash, pain behind eyes and overall weakness. While doctors recommend Paracetamol for reducing fever, they say that aspirin should be avoided to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Aug 27
Amended Medical council bill cleared in Parliament
Parliament cleared the amended Indian Medical Council Act bill on Thursday, Aug 26.

The bill proposed to reconstitute the Medical Council of India (MCI) within one year and establish a board of governors, which will the incharge of the MCI's functions.


Registering medical practitioners, monitors and gives recognition to medical colleges, and degrees to doctors were among the functions, done by MCI.

The health minister said that there was shortage of 5.5 lakh doctors and the government had drawn up innovative plans to meet the requirement of medical staff in rural areas.

The population to doctor ratio in urban areas was 2,000:1 while it was 9,500:1 for rural areas, informed the health ministry.