[Vol 17] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update

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MediScene Vol 17

1. Coronavirus update: Number of cases cross 75,000-mark, making India 12th worst hit country

As on Wednesday, the total number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 75,000 mark and became the 12th worst-affected country in the world. As many as 3,543 new cases were reported by the states, lower than the numbers in the past two days (3,613 and 4,308). On Tuesday, the number of new cases recorded fell to a three-day low,but on the other hand, the death toll recorded was second-highest in a single day, raising the total number by 121. Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in the country and for a week has been adding more than 1000 new cases. The state reported 1026 cases on Tuesday, making the total number of cases to 24,427. Mumbai alone has recorded over 5000 cases in the past week. The total number of cases in Mumbai on Tuesday was 14521. As coronavirus cases keep surging in Tamil Nadu, the public health authorities on Tuesday sat down to revise their urban containment plan. This happened because TN reported 716 cases out of which 500 cases were from Chennai. The total COVID-19 cases of the state rose to 8,718 and death toll at 61. 

2. Home isolation can end in 17 days for COVID-19 patients: Guidelines

A new guideline was released by the health ministry that stated that patients who are pre-symptomatic or have mild symptoms have an option of home isolation if they have required facilities at their home to avoid contact with other family members. They will be given permission to end home isolation without undergoing an RT-PCR confirmatory test after 17 days of onset of symptoms. The health ministry revised the standard operating procedures on Monday. The amended guidelines say that the patient/person will be allowed to end home isolation after 17 days of onset of symptoms and if he/she has had no fever for 10 days. The 17 days will be calculated from the date he had given his first throat sample. Previously, a patient could end home isolation if symptoms were clinically resolved and the district surveillance medical officer certified him as Covid-19 free after a test. An undertaking has to be taken by the person that if his condition deteriorates or if any family member develops symptoms, he will report to the district surveillance team or get in touch with the call centre at 1075. Joint secretary Lav Agarwal said the policy had been changed learning from experiences of other countries.

3. You can lower the risk of developing breast cancer with early mammography screening

A recent research published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the ACS (American Cancer Society) studied more than half a million women in Sweden and the study incurred that early mammography screening showed reduced rates of fatal or advanced stages of breast cancer. For the analysis, Laszlo Tabar, MD, of Falun Central Hospital, Sweden, Stephen Duffy, MSc, of Queen Mary University of London, and their colleagues examined data on 549,091 women. They calculated the rates of advanced breast cancers and cancers that were fatal within 10 years of diagnosis, comparing the findings in women who participated in recommended mammography screening and those who did not. Dr Duffy in an interview said, “This study shows that participation in breast cancer screening substantially reduces the risk of having a fatal breast cancer because the comparison of participating with non-participating persons was contemporaneous with mammography screening and breast cancer treatment belonging to the same time period, it is not affected by potential changes in treatment of breast cancer over time.” Dr. Tabar, another lead researcher stressed that participating in breast cancer screening and said, “Some may believe that recent improvements in breast cancer treatment makes early detection less important. Our study shows that nothing can replace finding breast cancer early.”

4. Men who are obese in adolescence have higher thrombus risk: Study

A blood clot that occurs in the circulatory system and hinders the blood flow is known as a  thrombus. A thrombus that occurs in the legs or the lungs is known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) and is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases. VTE affects over 5-10% of the population and can be fatal. In a recent study, investigators found that men who have been obese in teen years are more likely to develop thrombus in leg or lung. The risk rises successively and is highest in those who were severely obese in adolescence. The first researcher of the study, Katarina Glise Sandblad from University of Gothenburg in Sweden in an interview said, “Up to now, the association between VTE and obesity has been studied mainly in populations where body mass index (BMI) is measured relatively late in life.” The study is published in the Journal of Internal Medicine and is based on the data collected from 1,639,838 men who enlisted for Sweden military services. During the follow-up period, with a median duration of 28 years, a blood clot in the leg or lung was registered among just over 1% of the study participants.A clear association was found between body mass index (BMI) at the time of enlistment and subsequent thrombus risk. In the group with obesity (BMI 30-35), the relative risk was 2.93 compared with the reference group in the study, over twice as high. Katarina Glise Sandblad  commented on the findings of the research and said, “The study participants may have developed obesity-related diseases, such as certain forms of cancer, that also affect their thrombus risk. Consequently, there’s a danger of underestimating the risk from obesity,as obesity and severe obesity become more prevalent among children and adolescents, it’s increasingly important to study the long-term risks involved.” 

5. Fifatrol, an Ayurvedic drug may help tackle coronavirus

Experts on health have suggested that building body’s immunity can help fight this deadly virus that has gripped the world. Fifatrol, an ayurvedic drug has found a mention in almost 200 technologies and research activities assessed by experts in a recently released compendium for combating coronavirus. The state-run National Research Development Corporation, the ‘Compendium of Indian Technologies for Combating COVID-19 (Tracing, Testing & Treating)’ provides the status of 200 indigenously developed technologies and ongoing research activities and efforts taken by the government to combat the deadly viral infection. The anthology states that, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, recently highlighted the benefits of ayurveda and urged people to have a look at AYUSH Ministry’s protocol to stay fit, saying good health is the harbinger of happiness.Fifatrol acts as an immunity enhancer which is a multi-drug combination of ayurvedic classical medicines and herbs. Researchers have suggested that Fifatrol acts as a natural antibiotic and fights infection, flu and ache. It is enriched with scientifically validated botanical extracts and micro-nutrients. It is a rational combination of vital phytoconstituents, immunomodulators and antioxidants which justifies its beneficial effect for the treatment of viral upper respiratory infections.” Made and produced by the AIMIL Pharma, the formulation of Fifatrol consists of well-known immunity enhancer herbs like ‘Guduchi’, ‘Sanjeevini Ghanvati’, ‘Daruharidra’, ‘Apamarga’, ‘Chirayata’, ‘Karanja’, ‘Kutaki’, Tulsi, ‘Godanti’ (Bhasam), ‘Mrityunjaya Rasa’, ‘Tribhuvana Kriti Rasa’ and ‘Sanjivani Vati’. 

6. As focus shifts to coronavirus, TB, Malaria and AIDS toll may rise

Coronavirus, a global pandemic has taken a priority over other health issues across the world and the consequences are reflecting. As per arithmetic calculation, each month of lockdown in India could cause an additional 40,685 deaths between 2020 and 2025 due to tuberculosis. India will be one of the countries to bear the maximum brunt, followed by Kenya with an additional 1,157 deaths and Ukraine with 137 deaths over this period. Another modelling study showed Covid-19 could potentially double the number of malaria deaths. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organisation South East Asia regional director in an interview said, “As we battle Covid-19, we must ensure that essential health services continue to function. Previous disease outbreaks have demonstrated that when health systems are overwhelmed, mortality from vaccine-preventable and other treatable conditions can increase dramatically.” A report based on a study stated that, “Globally, we could see an additional 6.3 million cases of TB between 2020 and 2025 and an additional 1.4 million TB deaths during that same period.” Madhu Pai, the director of McGill International TB Centre, McGill University-Canada commented on the same concern and commented saying, “For people living with HIV, the biggest concern is missing doses of antiretrovirals. And in malaria-endemic areas of India, the critical issue is that children with high fever might not get tested and treated for malaria. This could increase the risk of malaria deaths.” 

7. Depression can lead to Neuro Dysfunction, Brain Lesions in Multiple Sclerosis

In a study conducted on more than 2500 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (multiple sclerosis), participants with self-reported depression were more likely to have worse scores on neuroperformance measures, such as processing speed tests, than their peers without depression. The investigators note says, “Our results suggest that depression is not merely a reactive symptom but indicates increased risk of future MS disease activity.” Lead author Jenny Feng, MD, clinical associate at Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research in an interview said, “Every single patient that comes through the door with newly diagnosed MS we refer to neuropsychology to screen for depression; and if there is depression, then we actively manage it because it does have an effect. Depression isn’t just a neuropsychiatric disease, it may have effects on MS, especially with regards to performance in neurological function testing.” 

Reference link

  1. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/coronavirus-india-12th-worst-hit-nation-as-cases-set-to-cross-75000-mark/75707304
  2. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/policy/covid-19-patients-can-end-home-isolation-after-17-days-revised-guidelines/75686836
  3. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/early-mammography-screening-lowers-risk-of-developing-fatal-breast-cancer/75691549
  4. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/higher-thrombus-risk-in-men-with-obesity-in-adolescence-study/75534334
  5. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/pharma/ayurvedic-drug-fifatrol-finds-mention-in-compendium-to-tackle-coronavirus/75690183
  6. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/tb-malaria-aids-toll-may-rise-as-focus-shifts-to-covid-19/75707826
  7. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/930410

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