[Vol 1] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update

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Medi Scene

1. New Drug May Reverse Obesity: Study

A receptor found in all cells known as AHR plays an important role in the body’s metabolism. According to the scientists, the AHR controls key genes required in fat metabolism. These genes are also responsible for fat storage and synthesis in liver and fat cells. Study shows that when drug NF, known to obstruct AHR, was given to mice with a high-fat diet, mice did not become any fatter than mice on a low-fat control diet. Mice on the high-fat diet with no NF became very obese within the same time span. Later on, half of the mice who became obese were then switched to a high-fat diet containing the AHR blocker NF. After a few weeks, they dropped to the same body weight as the mice on the low-fat diet without any side effects. Based on this discovery, the researchers deduced that the prevention and turn-around of obesity from hindering the activity of the AHR is due to key genes controlled by the AHR which are involved in fat metabolism.

2. Lack of Sleep can Cause Lack of Memory

Disrupted sleep or lack of sleep have been a cause for many diseases, but a recent report in medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology says that the interrupted sleep cycle, even for one night, rises the level of something known as tau protein in a young male’s body hence increasing the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Tau is an important type of protein found in the body that is responsible for stabilizing the internal anatomy of the brain’s nerve cells. An unusual build-up of tau protein can end up in causing interior cells to fall apart and in due course developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. When you get the right amount of good quality sleep or deep sleep, also known as REM sleep, it improves clearance of abnormal proteins, hence reducing risks of developing any cognitive issues. 

3. Angioplasty to Get Easier, Safer

A new technology recently introduced in India promises to make angioplasty much safer and easier. It involves ablating the calcium deposition in the artery using sonic waves prior to inserting a stent for better the blood flow. This technology is going to benefit heart patients whose arteries have been blocked due to heavily calcified blood vessels. According to doctors, this condition is seen in about 10% to 15% of patients, mainly those who are elderly and diabetic. According to Dr Ashok Seth, chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, “Intravascular Lithotripsy generates sonic pressure waves to break up problematic calcium so that artery can be opened with ease and blood flow restored with the placement of a stent. The therapy leverages a minimally invasive approach that has been embraced by physicians for decades to treat kidney stones.” 

4. Your Fitbits can Help Predict Flu Outbreaks

Fitbits or fitness bands have recently gained its popularity among people who are constantly working towards building a healthier lifestyle. These wearable technology helps track the number of steps taken, hours of sleep, heart rate and much more. A recent study used data from more than 47,000 Fitbit users in five U.S. states and concluded that it can also help detect if you’re going to come down with a flu and warn health authorities to get ready to help. The data from fitness trackers are said to predict a flu-outbreak more accurately than current surveillance methods.Users’ resting heart rate and sleep duration were observed and was indicated as abnormal if the average weekly heart rate was notably above their overall average and their weekly average sleep was not below their overall average. Rosalind Eggo, a public health expert at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said, “The study suggests fitness trackers hold some promise as a disease surveillance tool.” She also added saying, “more work is needed to gauge how reliable these data are over time, how specific these measurements are for flu, and how representative Fitbit users are of the whole population.”

5. Type 2 Diabetes can be Reversed Just by Losing Some Weight

Type 2 diabetes affects more than 400 million people worldwide and has many health consequences related to it. While Type 1 is genetic, type 2 is majorly because of lifestyle and could be genetic as well. A recent study has shown that people who can reduce their weight by 10% or more and maintain it within the first five years of diagnosis with type 2 diabetes have the greatest chance of going into remission. The researchers believe that while type 2 diabetes can be controlled through a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and medication, it was also possible for the patients’ high blood glucose levels to return to normal if they went through significant calorie restriction and weight loss. They also added that people who lost their weight by 10% or more, within the first five years after diagnosis were twice as likely to go into remission compared to those who maintained the same weight.

6. Medlife Partners with Finserv MARKETS

Medlife, India’s largest e-health platform has set foot into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Finserv MARKETS. Under the partnership, registered customers of Medlife will get an accident insurance worth INR 1 lakh when they buy services on their app or website. The insurance will be valid for a period of one month from the date of purchase. Speaking about the partnership, Meera Iyer, CMO, Medlife said, “Our prime focus is not just on consumer experience but also on making healthcare more accessible, affordable, simple and personal through technology. Medlife is growing at a rapid rate month-on-month and the partnership is an important move in our efforts to build a connected healthcare platform.”

7. Key to Long Life? Preventive Health Care

300 doctors recently participated in a conference held in New Delhi to sensitise people on the importance of preventive health care and long life. Preventive health care and check ups have been proven beneficial in early detection and prevention of deadly diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and many more. Speaking at the event, Dr. B K Modi,Founder-Chairman, Smart Group said, “There is an uncanny similarity between ancient Indian science fundamentals of Anti Aging, it is my earnest wish that India leads this global anti-aging era. I am very glad that doctors in India are taking a keen interest in preventive health. I wish more people discover the benefits of preventive health, and can lead happy & healthy lives, beyond 100.”  

8. Hyderabad Sees 40% Rise in Stomach Ailments

In over 3 years, Hyderabad has seen a sharp jump in numbers when it comes to stomach ailments like stomach ulcers, liver infections, diarrhoeal diseases and rectal diseases. There has been a 40% rise in stomach ailments due to eating habits and frequent consumption of unhygienic foods. The rise in stomach ailments can lead to further complications like liver failure and stomach cancer. Dr Kona S Lakshmi, gastrointestinal consultant, Geneagles Global Hospital says, ““After eating out on weekends, many patients come with an acute bout of vomiting and diarrhoea. Many are seen to have repeated episodes of these problems. Moreover, these diseases could be cured within a short period of time earlier but now they require prolonged treatment.” Some experts also believe that stomach diseases could also be due to medical misuse of drugs.

9. New Blood Test to Help Prevent Glaucoma-Related Blindness

Glaucoma, is a group of diseases that is identified by progressive damage and degeneration of the optic nerve which also leads to restrained loss of vision. It is one of the leading causes of irreparable blindness worldwide. It is predicted that 76 million people will be affected by 2020. There is still no proven cure for the disease, but treatment can reliably slow or halt deterioration in most cases. New research conducted in Australia have come up with a genetic test to detect those at risk of going blind from glaucoma or eye disease.This test is likely to be helpful in identifying those who would benefit from a more aggressive intervention such as surgery rather than simple eye drops. The team of scientists are looking forward to 20,000 people’s participation in their Genetics of Glaucoma Study in order to help them find more genes involved in the disease.

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