[Vol 20] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update

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MediScene Magazine Vol 20

1. Coronavirus update: India sees one of the highest spike of 8,392 cases as cases cross 1.9L

On June 1st, India witnessed it’s highest single-day spike with 8,392 fresh cases and took the country’s COVID-19 count to 1,90,535, according to the data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The recovery rate has been on a rise and has jumped to almost 48% compared to 11.4% in April. Total of 91,819 people have been cured so far, while 93,322 cases are still active. Karnataka had recorded 187 fresh cases of COVID-19 on the same day, taking the total number of positive cases in the State to 3,408 including 2,026 active cases. The toll stands at 52, as per the state’s Health Department. In Maharashtra, the total confirmed cases reached 67,655 on Monday while there are 36,040 active cases in the State. 29,329 people have been cured or discharged while 2,286 patients have died in the State so far. In Delhi, the total number of COVID-19 cases reached 19,844 today. There are 10,893 active cases in the national capital. 8,478 people have been cured or discharged while 473 people have died in the country’s capital. The testing capability in India has increased through 472 government and 204 private laboratories. Cumulatively, 38,37,207 samples have been tested so far for COVID-19, whereas 1,00,180 samples were tested on Sunday.

2. ICMR says India is afar from COVID-19 peak

India has been following lockdown for weeks now in order to curb the curve and recent findings suggest that it has successfully managed to stay away from the COVID-19 peak as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Last week the recovery rate jumped to almost 48% from 11.4% in April. ICMR scientist Nivedita Gupta in an interview said, “India has been very good at reducing mortality. You will get to see the data in a week. Instead of using the word community transmission, it is important to understand the extent of spread of the disease and where we stand in comparison with other countries.” She also further states that ICMR is conducting a sero-survey of almost 34,000 people to analyse the extent of spread of Covid-19.

3. Mental health experts switch to teleconsultation mode

Since the lockdown, various different studies have shown that mental health issues have been on a rise. People not being able to go to therapy have now resorted to teleconsultation, while it has been helpful in bridging the distance, there are still questions on its efficacy. Dr Suresh Bada Math, head of telemedicine centre and forensic psychiatry services, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) said, “There is a very large number of patients who need follow-up consultations and will benefit greatly from teleconsultation. Each doctor will perhaps have around 30-40% of patients from distant places for follow-ups and refill of medication.” Dr Rajendra HM, assistant professor, department of child and adolescent psychiatry in an interview said,“Nimhans launched a system wherein those seeking a consultation can book an appointment by furnishing their name and patient number. For in-patients, we call parents of kids to get their consent and then speak to children over the phone.” Dr Suresh Bada Math, head of forensic psychiatry sciences, Nimhans said, “Physical examination is very important while we prescribe medication. Teleconsultation can be a boon for followup patients. Often, patients with mental illnesses are required to take medicines for periods lasting months, and sometimes, years. Around 40-50% of patients can have follow-up sessions through teleconsultation.”

4. Dairy may not improve bone strength in middle-age women

Dairy is known to be a rich source of calcium and also helps in absorbing vitamin D better in the body. A new study done by Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) published in Menopause concluded that middle-aged women who consume dairy everyday does not reduce the risk of osteoporic fracture or improve the BMD (Bone Mineral Density). Taylor Wallace, PhD, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, in an interview with an online journal said that, “Our previous work indicated a potential premenopausal critical window in regard to the effectiveness of calcium supplements.” On the other hand, Clifford Rosen, MD, professor of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts believes that dairy intake in women 45-55 years of age does not affect the rate of bone loss or fractures, “The SWAN study is longitudinal and with sufficient numbers to support their conclusion.” The SWAN study was done to interpret  the consumption of this food type with long-term bone health using the SWAN data. The SWAN study involved 3302 pre- or early perimenopausal women between 42 and 53 years of age. The sample size for the annualized rate of BMD loss and fracture analysis involved 1955 women.

5. Harmful metals in e-cigarettes linked to DNA damage

A new study has found that those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to be exposed to high concentrations of harmful levels of metal that are responsible for oxidative damage of the DNA. The study was published in the BMJ Open Respiratory Research, journal where researchers found that the biomarkers, which reflect exposure, effect and harm, are both increased in e-cigarette users compared to the other groups and linked to metal exposure and oxidative DNA damage. Prue Talbot, the lead researcher from University of California in the US said, “Our study found e-cigarette users are exposed to increased concentrations of potentially harmful levels of metals – especially zinc, that are correlated to elevated oxidative DNA damage.” Zinc, is an important dietary nutrient that plays key roles in growth, immune function, and wound healing. Too little of this essential trace element can cause death; too much of it can cause disease. Too much or too little can cause oxidative stress, which, if not checked in time can lead to serious diseases like atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, pulmonary fibrosis, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and lung cancer. Researchers examined urinary biomarkers of effect and potential harm in relation to metals in e-cigarette users for the study to be quantified. The three main biomarkers studied were, biomarker of DNA damage due to oxidative stress – 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG); 8-isoprostane, an indicator of the oxidative degradation of lipids; and a protein that responses to metal – metallothionein. All these biomarkers were significantly high in numbers in e-cigarette users compared to the concentrations in cigarette smokers, according to the study published.

Reference link:

  1. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/india-witnesses-highest-ever-spike-of-8392-covid-19-cases-total-mounts-to-190535/76146340
  2. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/india-far-away-from-covid-19-peak-icmr/76166276
  3. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/mental-health-experts-switch-to-teleconsultation-mode/76146808
  4. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/931559
  5. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/harmful-metals-in-e-cigarettes-linked-to-dna-damage/74282334

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