[Vol 4] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update

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Medi Scene Health Magazine

1. Nonalcoholic Liver Disease: Why is it a growing concern?

More than 5.8% of fat in the liver is considered as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Dr. Mantzoros, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, said that, “If inflammation develops to remove the fat, we call it NASH. If this progresses to decompensated reaction and fibrosis and cirrhosis, then we call it nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with fibrosis. That can lead to liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver failure.” One of the main reasons for developing a liver disease is obesity. For 75%-80% of people with obesity, the storage space in their adipose tissue is exceeded because of which fat is deposited into muscle, causing insulin resistance, and then into the liver, causing further complications. Most diabetic patients have NAFLD but is not diagnosed easily because of lack of tools or easy treatment. Currently, there are currently no drugs approved for the treatment of NASH or NAFLD. The recommended first-line of treatment is weight loss through diet & exercise. Dr. Mantzoros, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Metabolism says, “Obesity, NAFLD, and insulin resistance are each independently associated with a twofold risk for diabetes. If all three are present, there is a 14-fold risk for diabetes. Insulin resistance promotes an increase in free fatty acid traffic to the liver, which can trigger hepatic lipotoxicity.”

2. Medlife launches #ICanWeCan Campaign on World Cancer Day

Medlife, India’s largest e-health company announced a campaign called #ICanWeCan marking World Cancer Day. As a part of this, a web conference was held with three eminent oncologists as a step towards addressing the stigma surrounding the ailment. In line with this year’s theme – ‘I Can. I Will’, a cancer survivor, who battled the disease and overcame social taboos, also shared her experience to inspire many others with the condition. India’s cancer incidence is estimated at 1.15 million new patients in 2018 and is predicted to almost double as a result of demographic changes alone by 2040. There is a need to create awareness around the condition, the risk factors and how it can be prevented and managed. Medlife’s campaign aimed at this and clearing the air around the myths associated with the condition. Speaking about this, Dr Prashant Dash, Director Medical Services, Medlife, said, “Although there have been several advances in medical technologies, cancer is still considered as a death sentence by many. The structural barriers to care add to the negative psychosocial perceptions and many people only come for treatment when the condition has advanced. Prevention is key to avoiding cancer and awareness is imperative to dispel myths.” Adding further, Dr Baswantrao Malipatil, Columbia Asia Hospital, Bengaluru; Dr Shashidhar Karpumath, Vydehi Cancer Centre; and Dr Suraj Manjunath, Vikram Hospital, said, “There has been a tremendous increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases in India, particularly cancer. What exacerbates this situation more is the social stigma and negative perceptions around the condition. This initiative by Medlife aims to raise this pertinent issue and dispel some of the common notions that people associate with cancer.” Medlife also ran a campaign on different social media platforms. They also talk about a diet that can prevent cancer and demystify common cancer-related myths. Medlife continually conducts such campaigns to raise awareness among the masses.

3. Smart insulin patches to help manage diabetes better

Diabetes is an epidemic which is on a rise all across the globe. There are 2 main types of diabetes, in type 1 diabetes, a person’s body does not naturally produce insulin, while in type 2 diabetes it does not efficiently use the insulin from pancreas, and together both types affect more than 400 million people worldwide. Recently, researchers have come up with a coin-sized insulin-delivery patch. This advancement may help people with diabetes monitor and manage their blood glucose levels and deliver the necessary medical dose of insulin they need. The adhesive patch is about the size of a small coin, is simple to manufacture, and intended for once-a-day use, according to a study published in the Journal Nature Biomedical Engineering. Zhen Gu, study co-author and a former professor at UNC says, “This smart patch takes away the need to constantly check one’s blood sugar and then inject insulin if and when it’s needed. It mimics the regulatory function of the pancreas but in a way that’s easy to use.” This smart patch can prevent overdosing of insulin by slowing down insulin delivery when blood sugar levels are normal. This will help prevent low glucose levels, seizures, coma, or even death. According to the study, the microneedles used in the patch are made with a glucose-sensing polymer which is encapsulated with insulin, which once applied on the skin, will penetrate under the skin, and can sense blood sugar levels.Whenever glucose levels go up, the polymer is triggered to release the insulin.

4. Indian scientist helps bring world closer to a coronavirus vaccine

The recent coronavirus outbreak has gripped the world by fear as the treatment for virus is still under research. In a major achievement for global preclinical response to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak, a team led by an overseas citizen of India has grown the first batch of the virus outside China in sufficient stocks to cater to forthcoming studies in the high security lab of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. The  Doherty Institute in Australia had managed to isolate the virus from a human sample last week. Confirming the development, Professor SS Vasan, who leads the CSIRO Dangerous Pathogens Team, in an interview said, “We thank our Doherty Institute colleagues who shared their isolate with us promptly. It is quicker to work with the real virus to expedite preclinical studies on the relative efficacy of vaccine candidates under development.”

5. Mindfulness: Alternate therapy to lose weight

Mindfulness is a psychological technique that uses meditation to increase personal awareness. Mindfulness has helped reduce the stress associated with diseases, such as cancer and anorexia nervosa. A recent study has revealed that mindfulness can be beneficial in combating obesity in young adults and children by reducing stress, appetite and body weight. By designing a right diet and mindfulness treatment, it may lead to bettering weight loss results in obese children, than a restricted diet alone. A study published in Endocrine Connections reported that obese children on a calorie-restricted diet with mindfulness therapy lost more weight, are less stressed and less hungry compared to children who are on a calorie-restricted diet alone. Childhood obesity can lead to increased risk of many medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stress and anxiety. Most treatments don’t factor in the psychological factors and focus strictly only on diet and exercise. In this study, a group of 33 children were taught mindfulness skills in 2-hour guided sessions, once a week, for eight weeks, alongside a typical calorie-restricted diet. Another group of 12 children completed an eight-week calorie-restricted diet only. The combined therapy led to significantly greater reductions in weight, anxiety, stress and in the levels of hormones related to appetite. In another group, an increase in anxiety and a smaller weight reduction was observed in the group on a calorie-restricted diet alone. Dr. Lopez-Alarcon said, “Our results suggest that restricted diets may in fact increase anxiety in obese children. However, practicing mindfulness, as well as dieting, may counteract this and promote more efficient weight loss.”

6. Consumption of red meat & poultry may put you at higher risk for CVD events

A new analysis on red meat supports that greater consumption of processed meat, unprocessed red meat, and, poultry, is significantly associated with a small increased risk of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), which included cardiovascular deaths.This analysis was published by JAMA Internal Medicine. The study suggests that red & processed meat increased relative risks for these associations ranging from approximately 3% to 7% and increased absolute risks of less than 2% during a follow-up period that lasted up to 30 years. Victor W. Zhong, PhD, an assistant professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York said, “The findings of this study appear to have critical public health implications given that dietary behaviors are modifiable and most people consume these four food types [processed or unprocessed red meat, poultry, and fish] on a daily or weekly basis.”

7. One dose of HPV vaccine can protect from cervical cancer

Human papillomavirus or HPV is one of the most common viruses that is transmitted sexually and can cause cervical cancer in women. A recent study suggests that a single dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is as effective as multiple doses for preventing preinvasive cervical disease, which can later develop into cervical cancer. This research took place between January 2006 to June 2015, where Ana M. Rodriguez, MD, MPH, of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and her colleagues examined information on females aged 9 to 26 years who were unvaccinated or who received one or more HPV vaccine doses. The analysis included 133,082 females. For females ages, 15 to 19 years, those who received one, two, or three doses of the HPV vaccine had lower rates of preinvasive cervical disease than adolescents who were unvaccinated. Within five years, 2.65% of teens aged 15 to 19 years, who were not vaccinated developed the preinvasive cervical disease.The risk of preinvasive cervical disease was 36% lower for adolescents who received one dose compared with adolescents who were unvaccinated. Dr Rodriguez said, “This study shows the impact of vaccinating at younger ages and its lasting long-term protection against cervical cancer. It is important to educate parents about the need to vaccinate their children.”

8. Alcohol: One of the leading cause of diseases globally

A recent study published in The Lancet Journal was conducted based on alcohol use globally using comparative risk assessment study. Consumption of alcohol has increased with varying trends in different parts of the world. This study investigated gender, age, and geographical differences in the alcohol-attributable burden of disease from 2000 to 2016. The research found that globally, there were 3 million alcohol-attributable deaths and 131·4 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in 2016. Alcohol use was a major risk factor for communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases, injury and deaths. The alcohol-attributable burden of disease was higher among men than among women. Alcohol use has increased in several countries, most notably in India and Vietnam, albeit from substantially lower levels of use than in Europe. Increase in adult per capita consumption of alcohol and heavy episodic drinking was identified in east Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia (eg, China, India, and Vietnam), and has been linked to economic development. As a leading risk factor for the burden of disease, alcohol use disproportionately affects people in low HDI countries and young people. This research was conducted with the help of WHO who provided the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH) and Global Health Estimates data.

Reference links:

  1. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(19)30231-2/fulltext
  2.  https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/924702
  3. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/924928
  4. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/924818
  5. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/mindfulness-based-therapy-helps-obese-children-lose-body-weight/74027456
  6. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/pharma/indian-scientist-in-australia-brings-world-closer-to-a-coronavirus-vaccine/73997683
  7. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/smart-insulin-patch-may-help-monitor-manage-glucose-levels-in-diabetes-patients/74057024
  8. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/single-dose-of-hpv-vaccine-can-protect-from-cervical-cancer/74077464

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