[Vol 3] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update

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Medi Scene Vol-3

1. What’s in Store for the Healthcare Sector with Budget 2020?

On February 1st 2020, Finance minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman announced that Rs 69,000 crore would be assigned to the healthcare sector, out of which Rs 6,400 crore will be for Ayushman Bharat. Referring to healthcare, she said, “Viability gap funding window to be set up to cover hospitals, with priority given to aspirational districts that don’t have hospitals empanelled under Ayushman Bharat. The government will open hospitals in tier II and tier III cities covered under aspirational districts scheme, which still do not have a Ayushman-empanelled hospital.” During the budget, Nirmala Sitharaman also indicated that profits from taxes on medical devices will be used for this crucial health infrastructure in these regions. While presenting the union budget 2020 & talking about the achievements of the government, Sitharaman said,”Sanitation and water as provision of basic needs. Ayushman Bharat being one of the achievements of the government.”

2. This Century Might Witness Eradication of Cervical Cancer: Studies

Recent studies have forecasted that cervical cancer could terminate to be a public health risk, given that women get diligent HPV vaccination, screening, and treatment. Researchers working on this study are optimistic about North America, stating that cervical cancer could be completely eliminated by 2040. This is the deduction of two studies issued in The Lancet and the CHU de Quebec-Universite Laval Research Centre. The study was based off of the cervical screening targets and HPV vaccination that were explained in the WHO draft strategy of cervical cancer elimination. The analyses manifests that with vaccination alone, the cervical cancer cases will reduce by 89% within a century in the 78 countries severely influenced by this cancer. By adding screening tests and the treatment of precancerous cervical lesions, cancer cases will drop by 97% and 72 million cervical cancer cases will be averted over the next century. “If the strategy is adopted and applied by member states, cervical cancer could be eliminated in high-income countries by 2040 and across the globe within the next century, which would be a phenomenal victory for women’s health,” says Professor Brisson.

3. Consumption of Coconut Oil can Lead to Increased LDL

Many studies have concluded that use of coconut oil was associated with increases in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Adding 3 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil in daily diet was related to an estimated 10-mg/dL increase, which is about a 9% jump in LDL levels. The main type of fat that is responsible for clogging the arteries are polyunsaturated and long chain fats, and coconut oil happens to have both these properties. Compared to nontropical olive, soybean, or canola oil, high consumption of coconut oil substantially increased LDL cholesterol.

4. New Triple-Combo Pill for Type 2 Diabetes Approved by FDA

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a triple-combo pill for treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. This tablet, known as Trijardy XR is a combination of empagliflozin (Jardiance), linagliptin (Tradjenta), and extended-release metformin hydrochloride. This new pill Trijardy XR will be accessible in 4 distinct dosages and is demonstrated as a once-daily treatment, together with diet and exercise, for adults who are already on treatment for type 2 diabetes. “Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease that often requires the use of multiple antidiabetic medications to improve glycemic control. Having three different diabetes medications in a single tablet is an important advance in diabetes treatment,” Ralph DeFronzo, MD, professor and diabetes division chief at the University of Texas Health San Antonio, said in the release. All three drugs are individually well-established treatments for type 2 diabetes. Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for type 2 diabetes. Empagliflozin is a sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitor, and linagliptin is a single-dose dipeptidyl peptidase–4 inhibitor. 

5. Ayurvedic Care for Your Pets

The age-old wisdom is now being spread to furry friends by a petcare company – Petveda. With the pet grooming industry growing, ayurveda care for pets has found its own niche. Dhruv Kumar, who is a pet lover says, “We have so thoroughly brought a healthy shift in our lives, but then, why do we keep our pets away from the benefits of organic infused goodness?” He further added that this was his father’s vision and he himself is a big believer in the healing properties of ayurveda. He says, “We have developed each formulation and product using ayurvedic extracts and essential oils, based on studies of properties of plants, herbs and other natural ingredients as laid out in the ancient scriptures of Ayurveda.”

6. Delhi’s First Lung Transplant Offered by AIIMS

All India Institute of Medical Sciences AIIMS, which introduced heart transplants in India, has now adjudicated to conduct lung transplants too, which will make it the first hospital in the capital and the second public institution in the country to provide the transplant after PGIMER, Chandigarh. AIIMS had newly put in an application for a licence to pilot the life-saving surgery, which the health ministry granted. The institute is now screening potential patients with chronic, end-stage lung disease for whom no effective medical therapy exists. Professor and head of pulmonary medicine at AIIMS said that one patient had been selected for the surgery a few weeks ago but he died before the transplant could be carried out. Lung transplant, like a heart transplant, can only be carried out with organ donated by a deceased donor. Till date, only about 4,000 such transplants have been done globally, including about 200 in India.

7. 14% of India’s Under-Five Deaths Due to Pneumonia: Reports

A study conducted by Institute of Health Metrics & Evaluation deducted that outdoor air pollution is responsible for 17.5% or almost 1 in 5 deaths among kids under the age of 5 due to pneumonia worldwide. 14% of under-five deaths in India, which is approximately 1,27,000 deaths annually occurs due to pneumonia. In 2013, this figure was around 1,78,000. Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, said: “If we are serious about saving the lives of children, we have to get serious about fighting pneumonia. As the current coronavirus outbreak shows, this means improving timely detection and prevention. It means making the right diagnosis and prescribing the right treatment. It also means addressing the major causes of pneumonia deaths like malnutrition, lack of access to vaccines and antibiotics, and tackling the more difficult challenge of air pollution.” 

8. More Heat-related Illnesses & New Diseases with Warming Temperatures: Experts Warn

Climate change not only impacts the environment around us, but has an adverse effect on our body and health. It could give rise to heat-related illnesses and pave way for new diseases which we are unaware of. A new paper issued in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, says that with climate change, we can expect more cases of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and potentially fatal heat strokes. Our bodies have the capacity to regulate within a few degrees of the perfect core body temperature of 37°Celcius. Temperature of the body is affected by the environment, homeostasis (internal mechanisms that maintain our bodies stability in order to survive), and the things we do to adapt to the external or outside temperature, like putting on a jacket when we feel cold or turning on the air conditioner when we feel warm. Higher temperatures could also lead to a new leg of infectious diseases, according to a new paper by Arturo Casadevall, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.That’s because microbes have the capacity to adapt to warmer temperatures. They live in water, soil, air, and in the human body too and some microbes could make us sick. Some common types of microbes are bacteria, viruses, and fungi. One of the body’s natural defence systems is known as endothermy which regulates the body’s temperature and fights harmful microbes, if this is affected by higher temperatures, chances are that the immunity system will fall weak, giving rise to new diseases.

9. Traffic Pollution May Affect Your Child’s Brain Development

According to a new study, high levels of subjection to traffic-related air pollution at a very young age may lead to structural changes in the brain. According to a report conducted by PLoS ONE, the MRI scans of 12-year-olds significantly showed decrease in gray matter and thinning of cortex in those who stayed less than 400 meters from major highway at younger age. Lead author Travis Beckwith from Imaging Research Center at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio said, “The take-home message is that the quality of air we breathe matters, especially to our children.” Having a thinner cortex and less gray matter may suggest there are fewer brain cells and fewer connections in the brain, which in turn can alter or impair brain function.

Reference Links:

  1. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/policy/budget-2020-healthcare-gets-rs-69000-crore-rs-6400-crore-for-ayushman-bharat/73833215
  2. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/this-century-might-witness-elimination-of-cervical-cancer-suggest-studies/73792421
  3. https://www.emedinexus.com/post_detail.php?wid=16059
  4. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/now-ayurvedic-care-for-your-pets/73737231
  5. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/924369
  6. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/hospitals/aiims-offers-delhis-first-lung-transplant/73649244
  7. https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/14-per-cent-of-indias-under-five-deaths-due-to-pneumonia-report-6241777/
  8. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/29/health/climate-change-temperatures-health/index.html

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