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Fatty liver may increase the risk of personality disorders by 3 times

People with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are around three times more likely to have a personality disorder than those without the disease, a new study has revealed. NAFLD is a global health problem and multi-faceted disease, with the main risk factors being obesity and insulin resistance.  Whilst in its early stages there may be few symptoms, the disease can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure in at risk individuals such as diabetics.  Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the UK call for NAFLD patients to be screened for personality disorders.  If identified, these mental health disorders should be treated before the patients begin trying to control their diet and exercise more, they said.  "Finding an increased prevalence of personality disorders in NAFLD patients is particularly striking -- signifying that it's not an issue associated with all liver disease, but just those with NAFLD," said Jonathan Catling, co-author of the study.  "Importantly, it appears not to be a general mental health issue, as neither anxiety nor depression were found to be significantly different between the groups - despite both psychiatric disorders often being associated with chronic liver disease," Catling added.  The study, published in the journal BMC Gastroenterology, also notes that, although simple measures such as changes in diet and increased exercise are proven to prevent disease progression in NAFLD, it is often difficult to persuade patients to follow dietary and exercise programmes.  "Our findings suggest an urgent need to examine attitudes towards diet and exercise so that we can better understand how to motivate NAFLD patients and deliver more effective treatment - preventing disease recurrence after liver transplantation," said Catling.  Researchers suggest necessary changes to diet and exercise regime that prevent disease progression into the more serious, irreversible stages of the disease.  This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

04 October,2023 04:10 PM IST | London | IANS
Coffee-infused skincare products have great anti-ageing properties. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Including coffee in your skincare routine can yield great results: Experts

From face masks, scrubs, under-eye patches and face serums to body lotions, coffee-infused products have become dominant in the world of skincare. Beauty influencers, celebrities and dermatologists alike swear by coffee for healthy skin. Yet, some have their doubts regarding the same.  Mid-day Online sat down with skincare pundits to delve into the benefits of coffee for skin and explore the appropriate ways to incorporate it into one’s basic skincare routine.  Dr Rinky Kapoor, consultant dermatologist, cosmetic dermatologist and dermato-surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, Mumbai says, “Coffee, which has long been a beloved beverage for its energy-boosting properties, can also work wonders for your skin.”  Speaking on the possible reasons behind coffee’s recent popularity in skincare, Kapoor says, “Coffee-infused skincare products have great anti-ageing properties. Coffee grounds are rich in antioxidants, which help to combat free radicals and reduce signs of ageing such as wrinkles and fine lines.”  Adding to this, Dr Palak Deshmukh, consultant dermatologist, trichologist and venereologist, Jehangir Hospital, Pune says, “Coffee also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin and reduce redness and swelling. Additionally, caffeine found in coffee can constrict blood vessels, reducing puffiness and redness.”  Coffee offers a range of unknown benefits that further promote healthy skin. Coffee ground’s coarse texture is exceptionally beneficial as it acts as a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells, leaving the skin smoother and brighter. This exfoliation process also stimulates collagen production, leading to firmer and more supple skin over time. When used in scrubs or masks, coffee can also stimulate blood flow, promoting healthier, more radiant skin. Further, some coffee-infused products can temporarily tighten and smooth the skin's appearance, reducing the appearance of cellulite. Ways to incorporate coffee into your skincare routineIf you are planning to include coffee in your skincare regime, both Kapoor and Deshmukh suggest investing in a few products.  Coffee scrubs: These are excellent for the body. They exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and leaving it smoother and brighter. Coffee eye creams: Specifically designed for the delicate skin around the eyes, these creams can reduce puffiness and dark circles due to caffeine's vasoconstrictive properties, meaning it constricts blood vessels and helps reduce swelling around the eyes.  Coffee masks: These are versatile as they benefit various parts of the face and body. They can enhance blood circulation, improve complexion and reduce redness and irritation. Coffee-infused body lotions: These provide hydration and a subtle coffee scent for the entire body ensuring your skin stays fresh for a long time.  Coffee-infused face serums: These can be used to address specific facial concerns, such as anti-ageing or brightening. Each type of product has its unique advantages, and the choice depends on your skincare goals and preferences. To get you started, Kapoor lists down five products that you can use  1. mCaffeine 2. WOW Skin Science 3. Dot & Key 4. Mamaearth  5. Biotique Natural coffee-infused packs to make at homeIf you wish to give coffee a try first before spending huge amounts on skincare products, you can try out these natural packs as recommended by both Kapoor and Deshmukh. By combining coffee grounds with a few simple ingredients, you can create these luxurious face masks that will rejuvenate and revive your complexion.  1.Coffee honey yoghurt mask: Ingredients:Ground coffee - 1 tbspHoney or yoghurt - 1 tbspCoconut oil - 1 tsp (Quantity is subject to one’s own preference) Method:To make your own coffee-infused face mask, start by mixing one tablespoon of ground coffee with one tablespoon of honey or yoghurt. Honey is known for its soothing properties and helps to moisturise the skin, while yoghurt contains lactic acid that exfoliates dead skin cells. You can also add a teaspoon of coconut oil to make the mask more hydrating. Apply the mixture onto clean, dry skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. The result is a glowing complexion that feels soft and smooth to the touch. 2. Coffee and lemon mask:Ingredients:Ground coffee - 1 tbspLemon juice - 1 tbsp (Quantity is subject to one’s own preference) Method:Mix the ingredients well and apply the mixture lightly on your face. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it off with water. This one is a brightening and energising coffee mask that can give your tired-looking complexion a much-needed lift. The addition of lemon juice can help fade dark spots and even out skin tone. Caffeine in the coffee stimulates blood flow to your face when applied topically, giving you a healthy glow from within. 3. Coffee and moisturiser mask:There are no specific ingredients for this one and it is easy to make and apply. Simply mix a small amount of coffee grounds with your favourite cleanser or moisturiser and gently massage it onto your face in circular motions. Rinse off thoroughly and enjoy the rejuvenating effects of this DIY exfoliant. 4. Simple coffee:Another interesting way to include coffee in your skincare regime is by using it to reduce under-eye puffiness. To experience this benefit, brew a strong cup of black coffee (without sugar or milk) and allow it to cool down completely. Soak cotton pads in the cooled liquid and place them over closed eyelids for 10-15 minutes while you relax. The caffeine will do its magic by shrinking the blood vessels around your eyes, reducing puffiness considerably. All these packs can be applied once a week for the best results. Results may vary from person to person, so be patient and consistent with your chosen mask. Always do a patch test before applying any homemade mask to your face to ensure you don't have an adverse reaction.  Negative effects of coffee on skin Direct application of coffee on the skin has become increasingly popular in recent years, with claims ranging from reducing cellulite to brightening the complexion. However, before you reach for your morning cup of coffee as a skincare treatment, it is also important to consider the risks.  One of the main reasons coffee is thought to have positive effects on the skin is due to its high caffeine content. “However,” Kapoor says, “applying coffee directly onto the skin is not recommended as it can cause damage due to its harshness and dryness. It is better to consult an expert before opting for any home remedies when it comes to skincare.”  Deshmukh too adds, “Coffee grounds, in their coarse form, can be abrasive and may potentially irritate sensitive skin.” Coffee can be quite harsh and may cause irritation or dryness, particularly for those with sensitive or reactive skin. The coarse texture of coffee grounds, when applied too vigorously, can also cause microtears in the skin. Additionally, overuse of coffee-based products can disrupt the skin's protective barrier, resulting in increased sensitivity. The acidity of coffee could also disrupt the natural pH balance of your skin if used excessively or without proper dilution.  It's important to approach this trend with caution and consider patch testing first before applying coffee directly onto your face or body. Do not just follow any trend or videos blindly. If coffee is suitable for one, that doesn’t mean it will suit your skin as well.  Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.Also Read: Why some people are obsessed with wearing black clothes

04 October,2023 08:41 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Joint injections, creams ineffective for treating hand arthritis: Study

Joint injections may be “ineffective” and not improve symptoms of people suffering from arthritis in the hands, according to a study. The study, published in RMD Open, also found the effectiveness of some topical creams to be “uncertain”. However, painkillers and steroid pills are effective. The hands are the most common area to be affected by arthritis. Treatments to ease the symptoms can include anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, ointments or injections straight into the joint. “Many pharmacological treatments for hand osteoarthritis pain are available, of which most have no proven efficacy,” said Anna Dossing from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Hand osteoarthritis is a common disease affecting 15.9 per cent of women and 8.2 per cent of men aged between 40-84 years. The incidence increases with age, and thus the burden will grow with the ageing population. The condition causes pain and impairs grip and motor function, affecting people’s abilities with activities of daily living and work. People also experience dull or burning joint pain, morning stiffness, and swollen joints. The study explored research databases, finding 72 trials involving a total of 7,609 patients with 29 treatments provided over an average period of three months. Of the total, 60 trials, comprising 5,246 patients, looked specifically at pain and were included by researchers in a pooled data analysis. The results showed that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and steroid tablets performed better than placebos. However, the effectiveness of topical creams and gels was not clear. Joint injections such as hyaluronate or steroids, as well as hydroxychloroquine tablets, were “no better than placebo”, researchers said. “For hand osteoarthritis, oral NSAIDs and oral glucocorticoids appear effective, whereas the efficacy of topical NSAIDs remains questionable,” Dossing said. Researchers said their findings “echo those of previous pooled data analyses” but “contradict the recommendations of existing clinical guidelines”, the report said. “These findings raise questions about the evidence supporting the current treatment recommendation for intra-articular therapies and emphasise the need for future large-scale trials with a rigorous methodology to establish the efficacy of promising interventions such as topical NSAIDs,” the team said in the paper. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

03 October,2023 03:39 PM IST | London | IANS
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Early introduction of fizzy drinks in babies may raise early obesity risk: Study

Infant formula and the early introduction of fizzy drinks raise the risk of higher levels of body fat early in childhood, according to a research. On the contrary, babies who were breastfed for at least six months or longer had a lower percentage of body fat by age nine compared to those who did not receive breast milk for six months (a group that includes children who were never breastfed or received breast milk for less than six months). Children who were not given soda before 18 months also had a lower fat mass at the age of nine, revealed the study led by a team from the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, in the US. The finding, presented at the ongoing Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg, Germany, supports the theory that the way a child is fed in infancy may be linked to their susceptibility to obesity later in life. "Infant feeding patterns, especially shorter breastfeeding duration, early soda introduction and their joint effect, may influence body fat levels later in childhood,” said lead researcher Catherine Cohen, from the varsity. The study also supports the potential importance of delaying a child's introduction to soda -- an energy-dense beverage with no nutritional value during this vulnerable life stage”, she said. The team analysed data on over 700 mother-child pairs. The mothers had an average age of 29 years at recruitment, 51 per cent of the infants were boys. The researchers then grouped the infants according to the duration of breastfeeding (six months or more vs. less than six months); age at which their baby was introduced to complementary foods (at or before four months or five months and over); age at which they were introduced to soda (18 months or more vs. less than 18 months). They found that infants who were breastfed for less than six months had 3.5 per cent more body fat, on average, at age nine, than those who were breastfed for six months or more. The analysis also found that infants who were introduced to soda before age 18 months had about 7.8 per cent more body fat, on average, at age nine, than those who first tried soda at 18 months or older. "While this study cannot elucidate the potential mechanisms at play, previous research suggests that the link between breastfeeding and obesity risk may be related to differences in the nutrient composition of human milk versus infant formula,” Cohen said. “Differences in appetite regulation and the impact of the human milk on the infant's microbiome are also being investigated as potential biological effects," she added. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

03 October,2023 02:25 PM IST | New York | IANS
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Daylight exposure can help improve blood sugar levels for in diabetics: Study

Improving blood sugar control may be as easy as increasing daytime exposure to natural light, according to a new research that can help millions of people with Type 2 diabetes (T2D). The study showed that natural daylight can boost metabolism and help treat and prevent diabetes. It can also help curb other metabolic conditions, such as obesity. "The misalignment of our internal circadian clock with the demands of a 24/7 society is associated with an increased incidence of metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes," said Ivo Habets, of Maastricht University, in the Netherlands. "Natural daylight is the strongest zeitgeber, or environmental cue, of the circadian clock but most people are indoors during the day and so under constant artificial lighting. "Our research shows that the type of light you are exposed to matters for your metabolism. If you work in an office with almost no exposure to natural light, it will have an impact on your metabolism and your risk or control of Type 2 diabetes, so try to get as much daylight as possible, and ideally, get outdoors when you can,” Habets said. The findings were presented at the ongoing annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg, Germany from October 2-6. The team carried out a range of metabolic tests on 13 people with T2D when they were exposed to natural light and when they were exposed to artificial light and compared the results. They were exposed to two lighting conditions during office hours (8am to 5pm) in a randomised cross-over fashion: natural daylight from windows and artificial LED lighting. There was a gap of at least four weeks between the two interventions, each of which lasted 4.5 days. During the natural daylight intervention, the light intensity was usually highest at 12:30pm, with an average reading of 2,453 lux. The artificial light was a constant 300 lux. Evenings were spent in dim light (less than 5 lux) and the sleeping period (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) in darkness. The results showed that blood glucose levels were within the normal range for longer during the natural daylight intervention than in the artificial light intervention (59 per cent of the 4.5 days vs. 51 per cent ). The respiratory exchange ratio (this provides an indication of whether fat or carbohydrates are being used as the source of energy) was lower during the daylight intervention than during the artificial light intervention, indicating that the participants found it easier to switch from using carbohydrate to fat as an energy source when exposed to natural light. Per1 and Cry1 -- genes that help control circadian rhythms, were more active in natural light than in artificial light. Resting energy expenditure and core body temperature followed similar 24-hour patterns in both light conditions. Serum insulin levels were similar in both light conditions but the pattern of serum glucose and plasma free acids was significantly different between conditions. "Further research is still needed to determine the extent to which artificial light affects metabolism and the amount of time that needs to be spent in natural light or outdoors to compensate for this," Habets said.Also Read: Diabetes on rise among youngsters in India: Expert speaks about the reasons behind the chronic disease and ways to manage it

03 October,2023 01:57 PM IST | London | IANS
While the benefits of body butter are promising, understanding how it helps one boost their skin health is essential. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Nourishing body butters are effective to treat dry skin: Skincare experts

Packed in aesthetic boxes and marketed as premium products that promise to help moisturise and protect the skin, body butters are appealing to those who love taking care of their skin. Moreover, skin care experts are endorsing it too.  While the benefits of body butter are promising, understanding how it helps one boost their skin health is essential. We spoke to Dr Batul Patel, celebrity dermatologist, founder and medical director, The Bombay Skin Clinic and Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, MBBS, MD dermatology, consultant dermatologist, Dr Trasi Clinic and La Piel Skin Clinic, who delve into the application and benefits of body butters.  Firstly, what is body butter? “Body butter is a thick and creamy skin moisturiser made from natural oils and butters, such as shea butter, cocoa butter, and mango butter. It often contains essential oils or other natural fragrances for added benefits,” says Patel.  In addition to this, Nerurkar says body butters are of two kinds. “They are either made from natural ingredients like extracts of nuts, seeds and plant oils, or are formulated chemically.”  They are different from body lotionsThe key difference is in their texture. Body butter is always thicker than creams and lotions. It contains very little water content. Besides, these products have a higher concentration of natural butter and oils.  Due to its high oil content it often provides long-lasting moisture.  Further, unlike creams and lotions that get absorbed into the skin faster due to their water content, body butter takes more time. Benefits of body butter1. Body butter is an excellent skin moisturiser for extremely dry skin. Its thick texture and natural formulation contain the essential vitamins that make the skin soft and supple. 2. Body butter also contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants to help increase collagen formation. Further, they protect your skin from free radicals that are responsible for premature ageing of the skin. This skincare product is also great for cracked hands and feet. It seals the cracks and hydrates the skin. This said body butter can largely benefit those suffering from skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis although professional guidance is recommended.  Body butters can also also help fight lip dryness as they as excellent lubricants and will help restore their natural softness. Though body butters have their own set of advantages for the skin, those who have naturally oily skin and are prone to developing acne must refrain from using body butters. Further, any person with an active skin infection should avoid using the butter temporarily till the infection subsides. Also Read: Ultimate bridal skincare guide: Say ‘I do’ to radiant skin on your big day Best time of applicationSince body butter is thick and creamy, it is best to apply it after having baths.  After the bath, pat the skin dry. Then apply the body butter on the slightly wet skin, which helps in the easy spreadability. Further, since the skin’s pores are open after showers, applying body butter will seal the pores and prevent any water loss from the skin. It will also help in locking the skin’s moisture.  For the complete benefits of the product, experts suggest purchasing natural body butters as they contain good antioxidants and nutrients for the skin as well as the hair.  There are many body butters available in the market that you can try. These include: 1. Shea ButterIt is derived from the nut of the shea tree native to Africa. It consists of essential fatty acids like oleic acid, linolenic acid and palmitic acid that ensure deep moisturising for dry skin. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties which aid in decreasing irritation, swelling and redness in the skin. 2. Almond ButterDerived from almond nuts, it contains vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids. It has intense emollient properties to repair dry and damaged skin. It also helps in maintaining skin elasticity to significantly fade the visibility of stretch marks, cellulite and dented folds and tissues. 3. Cocoa ButterObtained from the seeds of the cacao plant, this thick creamy concoction is a boon for dry skin. Additionally, it is also great for dry scalp and dandruff. It helps stimulate hair follicles for a strong and silky hair texture. While these three are the most common ones, you can also try palm butter, mango butter, kokum butter, soy butter, avocado butter and aloe vera butter. Always opt for reputable brands whose products are free of chemicals. Check the ingredients before making a purchase. Be cautious if you have allergies, especially to tree nuts or fragrances. Patel suggests the following products:  1. The Body Shop: It is known for its wide range of options and natural ingredients. 2. Josie Maran: It offers high-quality, organic argan oil-based body butter. 3. Alba Botanica: These offer vegetarian and cruelty-free options and is good for sensitive skin.Also Read: Acne scars: Skincare experts share effective home remedies to get rid of them

03 October,2023 09:20 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Opting for in vitro fertilisation? Here are some helpful tips to follow

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) involves combining eggs and sperm outside of the body in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred back into the uterus to achieve a successful pregnancy. It can be used to overcome various infertility issues, including blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm count or motility, hormonal disorders and unexplained infertility. However, when it comes to undergoing IVF, there are a few dos and don'ts that can help you maximise your success rates.  Here are some of the essential guidelines by Dr Ritu Hinduja, fertility consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai, that one must follow before opting for IVF treatment. Visit the dentist before opting for IVF treatment When going through the process of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), dental problems may not be at the forefront of your mind. However, it's important to remember that oral health can have a significant impact on your overall well-being, including your fertility journey. Periodontal disease and infertility can be interlinked. Inflammation caused by any gum disease can spread throughout the body, affecting reproductive organs and potentially hindering conception. Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during IVF. Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups are essential, as well as diligently following proper brushing and flossing techniques.  Don’t colour your hair with ammonia Prior to embarking on your initial IVF cycle, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with relevant details concerning IVF as well as hair dye usage. The chemicals found in hair dye can potentially be harmful, as they may contain harsh ingredients that could be absorbed through the scalp and enter the bloodstream. This could affect hormone levels and potentially interfere with the delicate balance needed for a successful IVF cycle. Furthermore, some of these substances are capable of traversing the placental barrier and introducing toxic compounds into your uterine environment. It is better not to opt for the hair dye to avoid any further problems. While there are organic and non-toxic options available, they may still contain some chemicals. Even hair straightening is not recommended. Don’t use retinol If you are undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with using retinol. While retinol are widely known for its anti-ageing benefits and the ability to improve skin texture, using them before IVF can have adverse effects on fertility. Retinol, also known as vitamin A derivatives, are powerful exfoliants that work by increasing cellular turnover and promoting collagen production. However, they can also thin the uterine lining and potentially hinder embryo implantation during IVF.  It is important to prioritise your reproductive goals over cosmetic benefits during this delicate period.  Discontinue Isotretinoin tablets Isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane, is a powerful medication used to treat severe acne. However, for women who are planning to undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF), discontinuing isotretinoin tablets is highly recommended. This is because isotretinoin has been shown to have harmful effects on developing foetuses and can lead to severe birth defects. It's advised to speak with your fertility specialist before undergoing IVF treatment and clear all your doubts.

02 October,2023 02:05 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Researchers use E-tongue, an AI model, to predict bitterness of medicines

A team of UK researchers used an “electric tongue” and an artificial intelligence (AI) model to predict the bitterness of drugs. Taste is key to making sure people regularly take their medications and is an important part of drug development. For example, taste has been identified as the biggest barrier in compliance for children taking medicine, but taste is also an issue for adults, especially adults taking long-term medication, such as for HIV. The team from University College London (UCL) used an e-tongue -- a device made of sensors responding to taste -- to assign bitterness scores to medicines, and in turn estimate the aversiveness expected from the clinical dose planned. The e-tongue measures how much the bitter molecules stick on a plastic sensor that acts like the human tongue, and then it compares it with a clear sample. The difference between the two measurements represents a theoretical bitterness level of a medicine. Using an e-tongue means drugs can be tested more quickly and effectively compared to the alternative option of conducting a human trial. But the team collaborated with machine learning experts to speed up drug development further using an AI model. Using data from the e-tongue, the AI model breaks down a drug into a series of molecular descriptors (e.g., number of atoms, total surface area of the molecule) that determine taste in order to predict levels of bitterness. The model being developed will be an open access tool, meaning that pharmaceutical development around the world can benefit from the data on palatability of medicines, said the researchers. “We run a machine learning algorithm to basically see what’s the chemical structure, what’s the molecular structure, what are the other chemical physical parameters that make it bitter, and try to see if there’s a relationship,” Dr Hend Abdelhakim from UCL Global Business School for Health was quoted as saying to the Telegraph. Dr Abdelhakim explained that taste in medicines was especially a problem for children who have a “heightened sense of taste”. “It’s a problem for longer-term diseases, so for example, HIV,” explained Dr Abdelhakim. “Antiretroviral medicines don’t taste very well. So, if the patient has to take those pills every day for life, it’s a much bigger problem, especially if they start them very, very young. “Even if it’s a wonder drug, if the patient doesn’t take it, it won’t work.” Treatment adherence is also particularly important with antibiotics as an interrupted course of treatment will contribute to antimicrobial resistance. “With antibiotics, if the patient doesn’t take it, yes, they won’t get better. But also you’re going to contribute to antimicrobial resistance,” said Dr Abdelhakim. “It’s actually a bigger problem for the rest of us.” This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

02 October,2023 08:44 AM IST | London | IANS
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New vaccine offers hope to reverse diseases like arthritis, Type-1 diabetes

A new type of vaccine that does not shut down the immune system has shown promise in the lab to completely reverse autoimmune diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Type-1 diabetes, and Crohn's disease. A typical vaccine teaches the human immune system to recognise a virus or bacteria as an enemy that should be attacked. Currently autoimmune diseases are generally treated with drugs that broadly shut down the immune system.  The new "inverse vaccine", developed by researchers at the University of Chicago, does just the opposite: it removes the immune system's memory of one molecule.  While such immune memory erasure would be unwanted for infectious diseases, it can stop autoimmune reactions like those seen in multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, in which the immune system attacks a person's healthy tissues.  The inverse vaccine, described in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, takes advantage of how the liver naturally marks molecules from broken-down cells with "do not attack" flags to prevent autoimmune reactions to cells that die by natural processes.  "In the past, we showed that we could use this approach to prevent autoimmunity," said lead author Jeffrey Hubbell, Professor in Tissue Engineering from the varsity’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME).  "But what is so exciting about this work is that we have shown that we can treat diseases like multiple sclerosis after there is already ongoing inflammation, which is more useful in a real-world context," he added.  The human body has a mechanism for ensuring that immune reactions don't occur in response to every damaged cell in the body -- a phenomenon known as peripheral immune tolerance and carried out in the liver. The team discovered in recent years that tagging molecules with a sugar known as N-acetylgalactosamine (pGal) could mimic this process, sending the molecules to the liver where tolerance to them develops.  "The idea is that we can attach any molecule we want to pGal and it will teach the immune system to tolerate it," explained Hubbell.  "Rather than rev up immunity as with a vaccine, we can tamp it down in a very specific way with an inverse vaccine."  In the new study, the researchers focused on a multiple-sclerosis-like disease in which the immune system attacks myelin, leading to weakness and numbness, loss of vision and, eventually, mobility problems and paralysis.  The team linked myelin proteins to pGal and tested the effect of the new inverse vaccine. The immune system, they found, stopped attacking myelin, allowing nerves to function correctly again and reversing symptoms of disease in animals.  In a series of other experiments, the scientists showed that the same approach worked to minimise other ongoing immune reactions.  "These treatments can be very effective, but you're also blocking the immune responses necessary to fight off infections and so there are a lot of side effects," said Hubbell.  "If we could treat patients with an inverse vaccine instead, it could be much more specific and lead to fewer side effects."  This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

02 October,2023 08:28 AM IST | New York | IANS
Many smokers have turned to e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, in hopes of reducing their tobacco consumption or quitting altogether. Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Mid-Day Premium Are vapes really a safer alternative to cigarettes?

Vaping is better than smoking, rather, it helps one quit smoking. This is a common notion among many smokers as well as non-smokers. How true is it? No one really knows. “Many smokers have turned to e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, in hopes of reducing their tobacco consumption or quitting altogether. However, the effectiveness of switching to vapes to quit smoking is yet to be proven,” says Dr Atul Narayankar, consultant medical oncologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road.  Adding to this, Dr Pankaj Jain, consultant chest physician and pulmonologist, Jehangir Hospital says, “Although many people assume vaping helps quit smoking, it is important to understand that it is still a relatively new product, and there is not enough research to say for sure whether it is a safe or effective means to give up on the addiction of smoking.”  Rising popularity among the youngOver the past few years, there has been an exponential rise in the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking. Vaping has especially become more common among the youth. For the young, vaping is seen as an edgy, fashionable activity.  Responding to the cool quotient attached to these products, manufacturers are coming up with stylish and colourful designs making them more attractive for the young. Further, vapes come in various nicotine strengths and flavours, making them more tempting to the younger generation. Another factor that can be a possible cause of the rise of their popularity is the ease of access to these devices. They can be purchased either online or in many local stores, so they're much more convenient than traditional cigarettes. Vape kits are relatively affordable and come with clear instructions, enabling young users to start vaping with minimal effort. E-cigarettes vs cigarettesCigarettes and vapes are two popular ways to consume nicotine, but they differ greatly in their composition, usage and potential health risks.  Vapes are electronic devices that aim to mimic the act of smoking by delivering nicotine through a vaporised solution. Unlike conventional cigarettes that burn tobacco, e-cigarettes operate by heating a liquid comprising nicotine, flavourings and other chemical components. Cigarettes are made from tobacco leaves that undergo combustion when lit, releasing harmful chemicals like tar, carbon monoxide and other carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) into the air and the smoker's lungs.  Additionally, cigarettes are cheaper than vapes. A pack of cigarettes typically costs around Rs 12, while the minimum price of an e-cigarette stands somewhere around Rs 1200. However, the long-term cost of smoking is much higher than the cost of vaping.  Health impacts of vapingThere is no doubt that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and tuberculosis (TB), but vaping too has its own health risks that must not be ignored.  “Although vapes are marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, research suggests that vaping is just as harmful to your health,” says Jain. Studies have shown that vaping can lead to respiratory problems like bronchitis and pneumonia.  “Those who vape may experience coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Vaping also raises the risk of lung cancer, asthma and bronchitis and is harmful to reproductive health,” adds Narayankar. E-cigarettes also contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical and a known carcinogen. Additionally, many vapes also contain diacetyl, a chemical associated with lung disease. Propylene glycol, a chemical commonly found in e-cigarette liquids, also has a negative effect on the respiratory system over time. Inhaling these chemicals can cause many short-term negative side effects like changes in breathing rate, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and increased temperature.  Electronic cigarettes can also weaken the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to colds and flu. Vaping can also have negative long-term health effects, including changes in blood vessel elasticity and increased risk of stroke and heart attack. It can also lead to cancer, as well as an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Effectiveness of vaping to help quit smokingVapers argue that vaping can be an effective tool for quitting smoking due to its ability to deliver nicotine in a less harmful manner compared to traditional cigarettes. By inhaling vapour instead of smoke, individuals may decrease their exposure to harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.  Vaping offers users a greater degree of control over their nicotine consumption in comparison to conventional smoking. E-cigarettes are available with varying levels of nicotine concentration in their e-liquids, ranging from high amounts resembling regular cigarettes to zero-nicotine alternatives. This enables users to gradually reduce their nicotine intake over time. Nevertheless, health experts say that whether it is cigarettes or vapes, both pose equal health risks. If you are a smoker looking to quit, switching to vapes may not be the best option for you. Instead, talk to a specialist about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) options best suited for you.  They might also suggest some exercises to reduce stress and give you more energy to help break the habit and involve you in social groups that are working towards the goal of quitting smoking.  While switching to vapes may offer some short-term relief to smokers, the potential dangers far outweigh the benefits. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult a specialist who can offer more healthy solutions.  Vaping is an addiction tooBoth cigarettes and vapes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug. However, nicotine is more addictive in cigarettes than in vapes. This is because the smoke from cigarettes contains other chemicals that promote easy absorption of nicotine into the bloodstream. This triggers the release of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and reward.  This is not to say that vaping is less addictive. Upon inhalation through vaping, nicotine swiftly enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain. This flood of dopamine generates a feeling of contentment that strengthens the urge to vape again, resulting in gradual dependence. It thus has the same effect on the brain as cigarettes. In fact, experts say that certain e-cigarette liquids offer an array of enticing flavours that attract young users, making them more vulnerable to addiction. Flavoured vapes contain a flavoured e-liquid, rather than the standard unflavoured nicotine e-liquids that are commonly found in traditional e-cigarettes and similar vaporiser devices. The flavouring is usually derived from popular food or drinks, such as chocolate, caramel, coffee, cola and more. The reason flavoured vapes exist is that many people find the taste of traditional e-cigarettes to be unpleasant. The flavoured versions are meant to provide a more enjoyable vaping experience.  Legality of vaping in IndiaThe sale, manufacture, import, export, transport, distribution and running of advertisements of e-cigarettes, or vapes are prohibited in India. India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare brought this into effect in September 2019. The ban was imposed due to concerns about the health risks of vaping. Despite a complete ban on vapes, young people are still able to access e-cigarettes in India illegally.  We asked experts, ‘Why is it that cigarettes, being more harmful to health, continue to be sold but vapes are banned?’  In response to this question, Narayankar says, “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India's massive population makes it the largest tobacco market in the world. India is one of the only countries that has completely banned the sale of e-cigarettes. Yet 23 per cent of the Indian population reported using e-cigarettes, 70 per cent reported using tobacco, and 8 per cent were dual users of both e-cigarettes and tobacco.” Adding to this, Jain says, “Although many would be of the opinion that both vapes and cigarettes should be banned, given the dangerous health risks both pose, that is not the case. When it comes to cigarettes, they are heavily taxed by both state and federal governments, providing a substantial amount of revenue to fund public health initiatives and other government programs. If tobacco sales were to be banned, this revenue would be lost, which could create major fiscal issues for governments and public health efforts. Thus, it makes more sense to keep cigarettes legal, while enacting stricter regulations and policies to reduce consumption, such as a higher age limit for purchasing, increased taxes, etc. Vapes, on the other hand, have been identified as a potential gateway to traditional cigarettes for youth, and in order to protect public health, it is more beneficial to have a complete ban on their sale.” 

02 October,2023 07:21 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Neck lumps, infectious and non-infectious, can be dangerous if avoided: Doctors

Ignoring neck lumps, which can be both of infectious and non-infectious origin, can prove to be dangerous, said experts on Sunday stressing the need for early diagnosis. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes that helps fight infection and disease. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped lumps of tissue found throughout the body.  When the body is fighting an infection, like in the case of fever, lymph nodes can swell. However, if the lymph nodes are swollen and painless, it could also be a sign of cancer. “If one is having a swollen lymph node which is gradually getting bigger with or without pain, fever, it mandates immediate medical attention and expert advice,” Neha Rastogi Panda, Senior Infectious Diseases Specialist at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, told IANS.  Panda said that in Indian settings, one of most common causes of lymph node enlargement/ swelling is tuberculosis (TB). Other infections -- viral, fungal should also be sought on a case to case basis. Furthermore, nodes can also be a sign of an inflammatory process and also cancerous origin called lymphoma.  “There is overlap and always a dilemma owing to huge similarity between symptoms of lymphoma and infections particularly tuberculosis which leads to delay in appropriate treatment. We have seen one has been started on anti-tubercular therapy without diagnosis and it doesn't improve leading to further delay and complications,” the doctor said. “Lymphoma can be misdiagnosed as TB, so it becomes important to diagnose it correctly, the only way these two can be separated is by biopsy and blood works,” Rahul Bhargava, a lymphoma expert and Principal director of haematology and bone marrow transplant, at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told IANS.  Lymphoma is cancer that begins in infection-fighting cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes. These cells are in the lymph nodes. Bhargava said, “for Lymphoma, with newer treatment methods, the cure rate has become higher but what is required is early diagnosis”.  “First thing when we see an enlarged lymph node or a prolonged fever or weight loss we should do lymph’s node biopsy to characterise and differentiate between Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for which we need a special test called immunhistochemistry”.  Bhargava said that bone marrow transplants have helped improve the clinical outcomes in a big way.  “Many patients recovered successfully after being declared terminal just because we considered innovative modules as an important and effective treatment option,” he told IANS. Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy rays (or particles) to destroy cancer cells may also help.   “Radiation therapy is part of the treatment for most people with Hodgkin lymphoma. It is essential in patients with bulky disease and also in patients where chemotherapy does not achieve complete remission. It is also used to ease (palliate) symptoms caused by lymphoma that has spread to internal organs, such as the brain or spinal cord, or when a tumour is causing pain because it's pressing on nerves,” Vineet Nakra, Radiation Oncologist at Max Super Speciality. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 October,2023 01:57 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
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