[Vol 27] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update


MediScene Magazine Vol 27

1. Early prediabetes diagnosis could help prevent heart diseases

By 2030 an estimated 470 million people will have prediabetes. And an expert panel of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates up to 70% of people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. In a new large meta-analysis, people who have been diagnosed with prediabetes are at a higher risk of contracting cardiovascular disease in the next coming decade compared to those who have normal glucose level. Senior author of the study, Yuli Huang, MD, PhD, The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, said, “Some argue that describing people as having prediabetes creates more problems than benefits in terms of prevention and treatment and would put an unsustainable burden on health care systems. Considering the high prevalence of prediabetes, and the robust and significant association between prediabetes and health risk shown in our study, successful intervention in this large population could have a major effect on public health. Screening and proper management of prediabetes might contribute to primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. What is especially concerning, is the many millions of people who are unaware they have either condition [prediabetes or diabetes] and don’t act early enough. Early detection and proper treatment can have enormous benefits, but left unaddressed, the life-long complications and health impacts can be devastating.”

2. Exercise may prevent high BP in polluted areas

In a crosswise study done in Taiwan, it showed that consistent physical activity helps decrease the risk for high blood pressure, especially in areas with significant air pollution. Xiang Qian Lao, PhD, Chinese University of Hong Kong told a medical journal that, “”The research findings of our study indicate that regular physical activity is a safe approach for people living in relatively polluted regions to reduce the risk of hypertension and should be promoted even in polluted areas. Physical activity increases the rate of ventilation and it may also increase the intake of air pollutants, which may exacerbate the harmful health effects caused by air pollutants.” The scientists inspected the joint associations between regular physical activity and long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) with the development of hypertension in 140,072 normotensive adults in Taiwan, where the annual PM2.5 concentrations exceed the limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). After adjustment for a wide range of covariates, including PM2.5, a higher level of physical activity was associated with lower risk for hypertension (moderate activity vs inactivity hazard ratio [HR], 0.93 [95% CI, 0.89 – 0.97]; high activity vs inactivity HR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.88 – 0.96]).

3. Migraine can be cut down by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

Mindfulness is an attention regulation technique that involves a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. Previous studies have shown that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can increase tolerability to pain as well as engagement in meaningful activities despite symptoms. A new research shows that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy  improves migraine-associated disability but may not help decrease the frequency of headache or pain intensity.  lead author Elizabeth Seng, PhD, research associate professor of neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and assistant professor of psychology, Yeshiva University, New York City, told delegates attending the American Headache Society (AHS) Annual Meeting 2019 that, “The fact that people can improve the way they live in their daily life even with the same headache days and the same pain intensity is remarkable.” Patients completed a 30-day baseline diary before group assignment and had experienced six or more headache days per month. Gretchen Tietjen, MD, professor and chair of neurology and director of the Headache Treatment and Research Program at the University of Toledo in Ohio said, “As a headache neurologist and researcher, I’ve been interested in people with early-life stress, which can lead to migraine, fibromyalgia, and other pain syndromes later in life. These people are also at higher risk for vascular problems, including stroke and heart attacks. The study helps explain what mindfulness can do to alter the stress response associated with migraine. Because there is little evidence of the benefits of mindfulness on migraine, it has been difficult to get funding for such research.”

4. Covid-19 fatality rate in India is now below 2.5%

The health ministry on Sunday said, “India’s Covid-19 fatality rate is progressively falling and is now below 2.5% for the first time. Well-organized clinical management of hospitalised patients and contact tracing helped keep the death rate at one of the lowest in the world. The ministry said, “With effective containment strategy, aggressive testing and standardised clinical management protocols based on holistic standard of care approach, the case fatality rate has dipped significantly. The case fatality rate is progressively falling.” According to ministry’s data, India once again witnessed a record single-day jump of 38,902 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, pushing its tally to 10,77,618. The death toll rose to 26,816 with 543 new deaths reported in a day. However, recoveries too have increased alongside cases and deaths, helping bring down the death rate to 2.49%. 

5. Covaxin critical trials to start in Bhubaneswar

Covaxin is one of the first indigenous vaccines developed against COVID-19 and is derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. The Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech are jointly working for the preclinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine. It has already received approval for phase-I and phase- II human trials by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI). Professor G Sahoo, Dean, IMS and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneswar said, “Recruitment and screening of volunteers have already started. After screening, we will select healthy individuals between the age of 18-55 for the first phase of trials. We will start the first phase of human clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine from Wednesday, after that volunteer will be in contact with us for two to three months. We will monitor those candidates and they will be in constant touch with us. We will also call them here to test the antibody level in their blood after taking the vaccination if it is found adequate, then we will go for the second and then for the third phase.” Further, Dr E Venkat Rao, principal investigator in the COVID-19 vaccine trials said, “We are committed to the maintenance of quality, ethics, patient safety and confidentiality of the highest level. We conduct clinical trials involving investigational drugs/molecules approved by the DCGI and the Central Drug Standardisation Control Organisation (CDSCO).”

 6. Health experts warn that N-95 masks with valves can spread coronavirus

The director general of health services in a letter to states has made it clear that the utilization of valved respirator N-95 masks is dangerous to the measures embraced for curbing the spread of coronavirus, as it does not stop the virus from escaping out of the mask.Rajesh Bhushan, Health Ministry Officer restated on Tuesday that, “If an asymptomatic person is wearing a valved N-95 mask, then the propensity of that person infecting others exists. This is an evolving situation and if we’re introduced to new facts that may require us to change the current advisory, then we’ll do so.” DGHS Dr Rajiv Garg said in a letter to the national health mission and to all principal secretaries (health) in states that, “It has been observed that there is an inappropriate use of the N-95 mask (particularly with valved respirator) by the public other than designated health workers.” His letter also states the use of home-made protective cover for face and mouth. He has asked the state authorities to instruct all concerned to follow guidelines on use of face and mouth coverings and prevent inappropriate use of N-95 masks.

Reference link:

  1. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/934290
  2. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/934304
  3. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/915594
  4. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/falling-progressively-fatality-rate-in-india-now-below-2-5/77057622
  5. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/pharma/clinical-trials-of-covid-19-vaccine-covaxin-to-start-at-bhubaneswar-from-tomorrow/77080783
  6. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/valved-n-95-masks-dont-cut-covid-spread/77098496



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