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Union Budget 2024: 'Advanced treatments are still expensive'

The Union Budget 2024 was announced earlier today and saw quite a few advancements that will shape the future of India. While experts dissect the many different areas that will see a significant impact, its impact on healthcare is promising, especially for cancer treatment, believe healthcare experts.  With a boost to healthcare, India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, announced that three cancer medicines Trastuzumab deruxtecan, Osimertinib and Durvalumab have been fully exempted from custom duty for cancer patients. Further, there will also be changes in basic customs duty on X-Ray tubes and flat panel detectors for domestic X-ray machines's production.  With such important changes, mid-day.com spoke to India's healthcare experts to get their reactions. Reny Varghese, CAO, Zynova Shalby Hospital Mumbai Exempting three additional medicines from customs duties is set to ease the financial burden on cancer patients and their families opening doors to accessible treatment options and successful prognosis of the disease. Many patients are already facing financial crisis due to repeated hospital admissions, and long-term treatment, so exempting custom duties on these life-saving drugs will save lives, reach the patient faster, and will be affordable for them.  This is a great decision taken by the government to improve patient care and highlights its commitment to prioritize the health of the nation.  In parallel to this, adjusting the Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on x-ray tubes and flat panel detectors will be a game-changer move and will revolutionize diagnostic capabilities within medical facilities. This step will make these components affordable and will motivate local manufacturers to innovate and produce high-quality imaging equipment akin to international standards. The ripple effect of these initiatives in the budget will play a pivotal role in enhanced patient outcomes through timely diagnoses, and reducing the burden from the healthcare system. Anish Bafna, CEO and MD, Healthium Medtech The exemption of custom duties on the three additional cancer formulations is an industry-welcoming move towards patient centricity, easing the financial and socio-economic burden of the disease on patients. Additionally, the detailed changes in basic custom duties on medical equipments like X-rays and flat panel detectors under the government’s phased manufacturing programme will go a long way to bolster the domestic production capacity for local players. Such interventions from the government will propel conducive policymaking and enhance affordability and accessibility in healthcare, while supporting manufacturing and innovation in the medical sector. Tailored initiatives like Anusandhan National Research Fund for powering innovation, research and prototype development will encourage the spirit of self-reliance, promote talent and generate indigenous solutions in healthcare. Gautam Khanna, CEO P. D. Hinduja Hospital & President, Association of Hospitals, Mumbai and past Chair, FICCI Health Services While the finance minister’s union budget speech had comprehensive proposals on issues like job creation, manufacturing, power and infrastructure development, there were relatively fewer announcements for healthcare. The exemption of customs duty on three additional cancer medicines showcases a commitment to improving affordability and access to critical treatments, potentially alleviating the financial burden on patients battling this challenging illness. Concurrently, the synchronisation of Basic Customs Duty on X-ray equipment components with domestic manufacturing capacity demonstrates a nuanced approach to supporting local production while ensuring healthcare providers can access cutting-edge diagnostic tools. The initiatives to boost start-ups like angel tax abolition with help the development of new-age health-tech ventures, which have the potential to provide innovative healthcare delivery solutions.  Additionally, the announcement of setting up a medical college in Bihar is a welcome move, however, we would like to see faster implementation of this and similar proposals to set up medical colleges and nursing colleges announced in the previous budgets. There were however no big measures to boost the healthcare sector as a whole like GST, incentives for infrastructure development, health insurance, and faster implementation of national digital health mission." Dr Prasad Kasbekar, Onco Surgeon at Wockhardt Hospitals Mumbai Central The decision by the finance ministry to exclude certain cancer medications from customs duty is a very welcome step. Cancer is a major health problem in our country, with a significant number of patients succumbing to the disease due to the prohibitive costs of continuous treatments. By removing customs duty on specific cancer medications, the government is taking a crucial step toward making these life-saving drugs more affordable and accessible. This policy change has the potential to significantly reduce the financial burden on patients and their families, providing them with a better chance at survival and an improved quality of life. Cancer treatments are notoriously expensive, often requiring patients to undergo multiple cycles of chemotherapy, radiation, and other therapies over an extended period. The costs associated with these treatments can be overwhelming, leading many patients to forego or discontinue necessary care. The exclusion of customs duty on certain medications will help lower the overall cost of treatment, enabling more patients to access the medications they need. Furthermore, we hope that this initiative is just the beginning and that the government will continue to expand the list of exempted items to include more drugs, medicines, surgical instruments, and other essential items used in cancer treatments. This comprehensive approach would further alleviate the financial strain on patients and ensure that they receive the best possible care.  Particularly, advanced treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy, which can cost patients lakhs per month or year, would become more affordable in the long term. These innovative treatments have shown great promise in improving outcomes for cancer patients, but their high cost remains a significant barrier to widespread use. By extending customs duty exemptions to these high-cost therapies, the government can help make them more accessible to a broader population, ultimately improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients across the country. ​Dr Vivek Talaulikar, COO Gleneagles Healthcare India The exemptions for essential cancer medicines and the rationalisation of customs duty rates are commendable, providing much-needed relief to patients and supporting domestic X-ray machine production. We appreciate the government's commitment to accessible and affordable healthcare for all. Overall, Budget 2024 reflects a comprehensive approach to healthcare, addressing both immediate needs and long-term goals. As a healthcare provider, we are optim​istic about the positive impact these initiatives will have on our patients and the broader community. Dr Aditi Agrawal,  Breast Onco surgeon and general surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road India is home to millions of cancer patients who are struggling to get treatment due to the financial crisis. Patients refrain from seeking treatment as it may seem unaffordable for many.  Exempting certain cancer treatment drugs from basic customs duties will transform the healthcare industry and increase affordability by ensuring timely treatment. By offering exemption, these drugs can be available for patient and their families and will help to reduce the burden of the disease. This budget has given that much-needed respite for cancer patients and is dedicated to improving the quality of life of patients. This budget will play a crucial role in revolutionizing cancer treatment and will be a boon for patients.  The budget is geared towards enhancing access to healthcare services and infrastructure in India. We support the allocations given in this budget that are aimed at improving the healthcare scenario in India.

23 July,2024 09:15 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
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Rajasthan issues Nipah Virus alert after 14-year-old succumbs to virus in Kerala

Days after a 14-year-old boy succumbed to Nipah virus in Kerala, an alert for the deadly disease has been issued in Rajasthan, the officials said on Monday. Director of Health Directorate Dr. Ravi Prakash Mathur issued an order alerting all the medical college principals, CMHO and PMOs and instructing them to detect the suspected patients coming to the hospital and to share their information. Doctors have said that patients complain of severe headaches and fever. “Its symptoms can become severe over time. The risk of brain infection or encephalitis can increase due to this virus attack,” the doctors said. Instructions have also been passed to keep an eye on the passengers travelling from Kerala. The administration has also alerted the hotel operators to monitor the tourists coming from Kerala. The 14-year-old boy who died from the virus in Mallapuram district of Kerala exhibited Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) symptoms and was admitted to a local healthcare facility before being transferred to a bigger health facility in Kozhikode. The Centre advised the state governments for active case searches in the family of the confirmed case, the neighbourhood, and areas with similar topography. The Central government also advised them for active contact tracing (for any contacts) during the past 12 days, strict quarantine of the contacts of the case and isolation of any suspects and collection and transportation of samples for lab testing. The outbreaks of Nipah Virus Disease (NiVD) have been reported in Kerala in the past, with the most recent one occurring in 2023 in the Kozhikode district. Fruit bats are the usual reservoir of the virus. (With inputs from IANS) Also Read: Vector control, hygiene & awareness key to combat Chandipura virus: Experts

23 July,2024 04:13 PM IST | Jaipur | mid-day online correspondent
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Union Budget: Experts urge govt to remove 18 pc GST on mental health services

The government must remove or limit the 18 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on mental health services, and allocate resources strategically to help India become a mentally resilient society, experts said on the eve of Union Budget presentation on Monday.  Mental health is a key area of concern that can have a significant impact on the productivity and economy of the country. “Mental health issues are highly prevalent, yet are poorly managed and are affecting a significant number of our population. In the upcoming Budget, we urge the government to remove or reduce the 18 per cent GST on mental health services,” Jyoti Kapoor, founder & director of Manasthali Wellness, said. According to experts, with declining mental health, there has been an increase in the need for health insurance policies that cover both physical and mental health. Unfortunately, people are not reporting these conditions as the cost of the available medications and therapies often proves challenging. Divya Mohindroo, counselling psychologist, highlighted the need for comprehensive policies to handle India's mental health crisis and the need to increase the workforce in the sector. “Out of an estimated 150 million people needing mental health services, only fewer than 30 million seek help,” Mohindroo told IANS. “Lack of mental health professionals is crippling in India, with merely 0.3 psychiatrists, 0.07 psychologists, and 0.07 social workers available per 100,000 people,” she added. “There should be specific measures for mental health, and we are hopeful the Budget will prioritise this urgent issue. There is an immediate need to strengthen India's mental health workforce, with just one psychiatrist per two lakh people,” Mohindroo said. She also suggested “scholarships to train professionals to help reduce this gap”. The experts also suggested incorporating mental health services into healthcare insurance coverage. “While government centres receive some relief, private practitioners are left burdened. Extending tax benefits to private practitioners is crucial, given the high operational costs for the average therapist. In addition to acknowledging the financial difficulties experienced by private practitioners, this change would help lower the cost and increase public accessibility to mental health care,” Kapoor said. “This will help our citizens access mental healthcare without burdening them financially,” added Mohindroo. 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

23 July,2024 11:05 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Sodium deficiency is seen in 70 per cent of older people above 60 years

Similar to how elevated sodium levels in the body can lead to high blood pressure, low sodium levels are also a cause for worry. Many individuals over 60 often experience sodium deficiency, known as hyponatremia, which poses significant health risks. Despite being a prevalent issue, there is a lack of awareness surrounding this condition, resulting in many cases remaining unnoticed. Increasing awareness and prompt intervention are crucial in addressing sodium deficiency and enhancing the well-being of elderly individuals. Sodium helps to maintain consistent blood pressure. It helps to balance the fluids in the body and also assists in activating muscles and nerves. Hyponatremia means low sodium levels in the body. The risk factors for it are kidney failure, congestive heart failure, low sodium in the diet, conditions of the lungs, liver, and brain, hormonal imbalance and endocrine system, past surgery, and certain medications.   “In adults, a normal blood sodium level is between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per litre. The incidence of heart disease has increased since post-Covid-era. And the use of diuretics is also high for heart disease.   When there is a sodium deficiency in the blood, the body's water content increases, resulting in swelling in the body. One can exhibit symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, forgetfulness, drowsiness, muscle weakness, coma, and seizures due to the low sodium levels in the body.  Due to severe sodium deficiency, an individual may even lapse into a coma. This has the most effect on the brain because when the brain swells due to excess water, it can cause memory loss," said Dr Samrat Shah, Internal Medicine Expert, Apollo Spectra, Pune. Dr Shah added, “An 80-year-old man facing issues such as shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, dizziness, and collapsed suddenly, and was admitted to Apollo Spectra Hospital in Pune for treatment. After examining the patient, he advised some blood tests. It was found that the patient's blood sodium level had dropped to as low as 101 mEq/L. Consequently, an attempt was made to increase the sodium level by utilising glucose. However, the patient's symptoms didn't subside,  there was a problem with his speech. Further tests were recommended. It was found that the patient's prostate gland was swollen and it was assumed that he was facing urinary issues. Due to low sodium levels, fits would occur. Prompt medical treatment was initiated on this patient, and the doctors were successful in keeping his blood sodium level balanced. Just like this patient, in the past 2 months, I have seen 10 patients with confusion 3 with seizures, and 2 with repetition of speech. Sodium deficiency is seen in 70% of older people above 60. For signs and symptoms such as confusion, speech problems, disorientation,  seizures, or coma, seek advice without any delay." "To treat sodium deficiency, it is important to limit the water intake as per the expert’s advice, treat underlying conditions promptly that are causing sodium deficiency, and adjust medication, diuretics, and salt intake. One will have to be alert and ensure to take care without compromising on health," highlighted Dr Shah. “Sodium deficiency cases are alarmingly rising in old age due to factors such as dehydration, reduced dietary intake of salt, taking diuretics, heart problems, chronic kidney disease and hypothyroidism. About 10 percent of the elderly are found to be sodium deficient. The complications associated with it are brain swelling, osteoporosis, bone fractures, coma, seizures, and death.  A blood and urine test can help to detect low sodium levels. After the confirmed diagnosis, the patient’s fluid intake will be monitored, the dosage of ongoing medication for managing any condition will be reviewed and hyponatremia is treatable with medications” Concluded Dr Aditya Sondankar, internal medician expert, Medicover Hospital, Pune. Dr Urvi Maheshwari, internal medicine expert, Zynova Shalby Hospital Said, ‘‘For the past few months, 25 to 30 patients had come for treatment with complaints of nausea, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, fatigue, lethargy. After medical examination these patients are found to be deficient in sodium. hyponatremia is more seen in elderly patients in those who have more water retention in body, due to long term medications, due to chronic heart, liver and kidney conditions. Symptoms usually seen are Nausea, vomiting, Headache, Confusion, Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue, Restlessness and irritability, Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, Seizures and Coma. Treatment is reducing water retention from body, change of certain medicines which reduces sodium from body, giving more salt to patient, giving intravenous or oral sodium.’

23 July,2024 11:05 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Economic Survey: Mental health disorders lead to 'significant productivity loss'

In a first, the economic impact of mental health was discussed in the Economic Survey 2023-24 tabled by the Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Monday.  The Survey talks extensively about mental health, its significance, and implications on policy recommendations. It also associated mental health disorders with "significant productivity losses". It is because the condition leads to "absenteeism, decreased productivity, disability, increased healthcare costs, among others". Citing the National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) 2015-16, the Survey noted that 10.6 per cent of adults in the country suffered from mental disorders. However, the treatment gap for mental disorders ranged between 70 per cent and 92 per cent for different disorders. It also showed a higher prevalence of mental morbidity in urban metro regions (13.5 per cent) as compared to rural areas (6.9 per cent) and urban non-metro areas (4.3 per cent). The Survey also pointed out poverty as a reason for increasing mental health issues among people. It showed that "stressful living conditions, financial instability, and a lack of opportunities for upward mobility contribute to heightened psychological distress". It also highlighted an increasing prevalence of poor mental health among adolescents exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Citing the NCERT’s Mental Health and Well-being of School Students Survey, it showed that 11 per cent of students reported feeling anxious, 14 per cent as feeling extreme emotion, and 43 per cent experiencing mood swings. The Survey noted key initiatives and policies such as the National Mental Health Programme and National Tele Mental Health Programme by the government to tackle the rising burden of cases. It also informed of increasing mental health professionals by sanctioning 25 Centres of Excellence to increase the intake of PG students. The government also provisioned mental health services for 22 AIIMS, also provided online training courses via digital academies to general healthcare medical and paramedical professionals. The Survey stresses important policy recommendations including redoubling efforts to increase the number of psychiatrists, and sensitising mental health at the preschool, and at the Anganwadi level to provide precious early identification of disorders. 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

23 July,2024 10:35 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Mumbai doctors revive premature baby born at 25 weeks

Heena Mishra (name changed), a 34-year-old homemaker from Mumbai, had been trying to conceive for ten years before successfully achieving pregnancy through IVF. However, her pregnancy was complicated by diabetes mellitus and anemia, and at 25 weeks, she experienced premature rupture of membranes, necessitating an emergency delivery. The baby, born weighing just 800 grams, cried immediately after birth but required immediate ventilation due to severe respiratory distress. Dr. Nitu Mundhra, Consultant Neonatologist & Pediatrician at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, led a team to retrieve the baby from the referring hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, the baby received comprehensive care including medication for lung maturation and protection against infections and intraventricular hemorrhage. Despite developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) at four weeks, a serious gastrointestinal condition common in premature infants, the team managed the condition with total parenteral nutrition, antibiotics, and supportive treatment. After 80 days in the NICU, the baby was discharged, weighing 1.8 kg, with normal neurological development and all tests within normal limits. The baby, now five months old, continues to achieve developmental milestones appropriate for his age. Dr. Mundhra expressed her satisfaction, stating, "Treating a 25-week baby is extremely challenging, with new complications arising daily. I am grateful to our entire team, including neonatal fellows (Dr. Sagar and Dr. Shishir), Pediatric Registrars, Nurses, respiratory therapists, and physiotherapists, for their dedication. The smile on the parents' faces when we handed over their healthy baby is the greatest reward for our efforts." “The arrival of our first child brought us immense joy, but it was short-lived due to complications faced by our premature baby. Fortunately, our little one is now thriving and reaching developmental milestones appropriate for his age. We thank the team of expert doctors who saved our baby’s life,” concluded Heena Mishra (name changed), mother of the baby. Also Read: Children’s health during monsoon: Experts share ways to ensure wellness

22 July,2024 06:16 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Vector control, hygiene & awareness key to combat Chandipura virus: Experts

Experts have said that vector control, hygiene and awareness are the key measures against the Chandipura virus and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) cases in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In Gujarat, symptoms of Chandipura virus were found in kids which has caused some scare. Professor Atul Goel, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Union Health Ministry, and Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), along with experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) , Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital, and National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS) reviewed the Chandipura virus and AES cases. They concluded that infectious agents contribute to only a small proportion of AES cases across the country, said the Ministry of Health. They emphasised the need for comprehensive epidemiological, environmental, and entomological studies of the AES cases reported in Gujarat. "A multidisciplinary central team from NCDC, Indian Council of Medical Research, and Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) is being deployed to assist Gujarat with these investigations," said the Ministry. Chandipura Virus (CHPV) is a member of Rhabdoviridae family known to cause sporadic cases and outbreaks in western, central, and southern parts of the Country, especially during the monsoon season. It is transmitted by vectors such as sand flies and ticks. The disease affects mostly children under 15 years of age and can be present with a febrile illness that may in some cases result in death. AES is a group of clinically similar neurologic manifestations caused by several different viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, spirochetes and chemicals/toxins. The known viral causes of AES include JE, Dengue, HSV, CHPV, West Nile, etc. Also Read: Children’s health during monsoon: Experts share ways to ensure wellness 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

22 July,2024 04:54 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Jasmine Bhasin corneal damage: All you need to know about the eye condition

Actor Jasmine Bhasin recently revealed suffering from corneal damage caused by her contact lenses. She complained about experiencing pain after wearing the contact lens at an event in Delhi, which escalated and ended up damaging her vision temporarily. She later took to her Instagram to share that she was gradually recovering from the health scare. As contact lenses have come to occupy an important role for both cosmetic and vision correction purposes, it is important to study their impact and take steps to ensure proper use. Contact lens, if not used properly, can cause various eye problems. In view of the recent incident, experts share advice and suggest ways to avoid eye problems related to lenses. Common symptoms of corneal damage Common symptoms of corneal damage include sharp, stabbing pain worsened by blinking or light exposure, redness, blurred or cloudy vision, light sensitivity, excessive tearing or dryness, and mucus-like discharge. “Visual distortions such as halos around lights may occur. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult an eye care professional immediately,” Dr Neeraj Shah, Chief Medical Officer and Consultant, Sankara Eye Hospital, Jaipur suggested. Maintaining proper hygiene and regular eye checks is key Dr. Bhavya Reddy from Aster Whitefield Hospital stressed the need to maintain hygiene, use lenses appropriately, and avoid contaminants. “The key pointers include washing hands before lens handling, fresh cleaning solution usage, and disposing of any irritating contacts immediately. Take off the lens immediately and get a quick checkup with an ophthalmologist if you suspect redness, irritation, and pain soon after when wearing contact lenses. Always keep a pair of backup spectacles,” Dr. Reddy said. The experts advised following proper guidelines on lenses. Buy contact lenses of the correct size and fit. Maintain hygiene by washing hands before handling the lenses. Adhere to the recommended wear schedule; lenses are made of materials that determine their safe wear time. Avoid sleeping in lenses unless prescribed. Schedule regular eye check-ups to monitor eye health and lens fit. (With inputs from IANS) Also Read: Cold facts about skin icing: Just a fad or here to stay?

22 July,2024 04:27 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Proper sleep essential to improve brain function, say experts

People must never ignore sleep to meet deadlines, and it's never appropriate to waste time on the Internet over a proper good night's sleep, advise healthcare professionals on World Brain Day. Recommending a seven-hour sleep to help the brain function better, they warned that lack of proper sleep could lead to brain-related problems. Commenting on the importance of sleep and the adverse effect on the brain due to lack of it, Dr. S Ramesh, Consulting Neurosurgery, Kamineni Hospitals said, "Sleep is one of the most important components in the daily routine of an individual. Sleep is important for a number of brain-related functions, like the communication between neurons/nerve cells. “People must be made aware that without proper sleep, the required pathways in the brain to create new memories and new response systems, will get adversely affected." "It is a known fact that the brain controls the human body and functions and emotions. It is important to know that sleep affects every aspect and every organ in the human body, especially the brain. “While a good sleep will have a positive impact, irregular sleeping habits could affect almost every type of tissue and system like the brain, the heart, and even the lungs. Many people complain about mood swings, and this has a direct connection with the quality of sleep and its impact on the brain," observed Dr. Ch Vijay, Consultant Neurologist, KIMS ICON Hospital, Vizag. On the occasion of World Brain Day, the focus is on promotion of brain health. Dr. A Rampapa Rao, Chairman, Ucchvas Transitional Care, stated “I understand the biggest risk for a healthy brain is ‘Hypertension’ apart from other etiological factors and in itself is a manifestation of altered lifestyle mainly being deprivation of optimum number of daily sleep hours in young and middle years of life. “I appeal to everyone to take measures and focus on getting at least seven hours of qualitative sleep on a daily basis irrespective of the occupation they are engaged in. “We strongly believe that a healthy sleeping habit is the single most significant factor in maintaining healthy brain and its optimum functioning.” Though the World Federation of Neurology was founded on July 22, 1957, it was only in 2013 that the Public Awareness & Advocacy Committee of the Federation proposed its founding day be designated as the World Brain Day. This year, the theme for the day is ‘Brain Health & Prevention’, which encompasses the mission to proactively assess and address neurological diseases. The day also emphasises the importance of early detection and effective management of brain related ailments. Also Read: Here's how insulin resistance affects brain 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

22 July,2024 02:51 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Here's how insulin resistance affects brain

Insulin resistance, a significant health concern, is increasingly recognised for its profound effects on brain function, potentially contributing to vulnerability to neurodegenerative diseases, experts say.  Insulin resistance is a phenomenon in which cells ignore the hormone insulin, causing high blood sugar. The condition causes metabolic changes in glucose and lipids, which contribute to illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. In addition, this also gives rise to fatty liver and hormonal abnormalities. Dr Parth Lalcheta, MCh (Neurosurgery) at HCG Hospitals, Rajkot, emphasised the need for targeted strategies to protect brain health. "Insulin resistance affects brain function, contributing to cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. This highlights the importance of developing strategies to safeguard brain health and enhance overall well-being," he said Experts say that brain insulin resistance hampers the capacity of the brain to function effectively, leading to a decline visible in the form of behavioural issues. Dr Darshan Doshi, consultant neurology at P. D. Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, explains how the recognition of insulin resistance’s implications on the brain is important. "Brain insulin resistance causes neurodegeneration, leading to cognitive decline and behavioural issues. Understanding this response is essential for developing effective strategies,” he said. The prevalence of insulin resistance, often linked to conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity, is rising globally. This disorder hampers the body's ability to use insulin effectively, leading to various health complications, a common symptom among them headaches, which are common in many neuro conditions. Dr Shailesh Rohatgi, HOD of Neurology at DPU Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, explained that insulin resistance can also be associated with headaches. "Headaches are common in many diseases. They can be primary, like migraines, or secondary, indicating underlying brain pathology. Timely consultation with a neurologist is crucial for diagnosis and treatment," he said. Experts stress the need for awareness about insulin resistance's impact on brain health and the importance of preventive measures. Healthy lifestyle choices, like weight management, and good blood sugar control can help mitigate adverse effects and promote well-being. 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

22 July,2024 12:35 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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'Concerning rise in brain strokes among the young population in India'

A healthy lifestyle, with proper diet and exercise along with increased awareness, is crucial to tackle the rising cases of brain strokes and other related diseases in the country, said experts on World Brain Day on Monday.   World Brain Day is observed every year on July 22 to amplify awareness and shed light on crucial aspects of brain health. The theme this year is ‘Brain Health and Prevention’. Neurological disorders include stroke, headache disorders, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias, brain and central nervous system cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron diseases, and other neurological disorders. "There’s a concerning rise in brain strokes among the young population in India, with a 25 per cent increase in cases over the past five years. This surge is predominantly seen in people aged 25-40. The factors that contribute to the rise are majorly sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary habits, smoking, and high-stress levels associated with urban living,” Dr Vikram Huded, HOD and director & clinical lead, Interventional Neurology, Narayana Health. The doctor also pointed at the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes in increasing the risks. In addition, genetic predispositions, even sleep disorders, or undiagnosed heart conditions, high stress levels, and environmental factors like pollution also significantly contribute to this alarming rise. “It's imperative for youngsters to adopt healthier lifestyles, engage in regular physical activity, and manage stress effectively to avoid these risks. Early intervention and lifestyle modifications are crucial in combating this alarming trend and safeguarding the health of our younger population," Dr Huded said. As per the estimates of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), neurological disorders contribute 10 per cent of the total disease burden in India. The growing burden in the country is mainly attributable to the ageing population. “With advancing age, especially after 50 years, neurodegenerative changes occur in brain areas due to less dopamine secretion in the brain,” Dr AK Sahani, Director and Chief of Neurology, at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi told IANS. He noted that “chronic anxiety may lead to persistent neuroinflammation, linked to Parkinson’s pathogenesis. Dr Arindam Ghosh, Consultant- Neurologist, Narayana Hospital, Kolkata called for increasing “measures such as avoiding head trauma, eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants, avoidance of smoking, measures to relieve stress like meditation, exercises or walking and taking adequate care of comorbidities including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia”. These simple measures may go a long way in preventing or delaying the progress of several debilitating neurological illnesses, the doctor told IANS. In India, approximately 185,000 strokes occur annually, translating to one stroke every 40 seconds and one stroke-related death every 4 minutes. Despite these alarming figures, many Indian hospitals lack the necessary infrastructure for effective stroke treatment or there is a lack of stroke-ready hospitals in the country. Neurologists emphasise the importance of people adopting healthier lifestyles to prevent strokes and other brain disorders. “There is a need to strengthen neurology services and experts call for effective curative actions. Neurological treatments are highly individualised, depending on the patient's condition. Common therapeutic approaches include rehabilitation, assistive devices, and self-care strategies,” Dr Rajul Aggarwal, Director Neurology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, Delhi, told IANS. "Recent technological breakthroughs, such as advanced imaging techniques, brain-machine interfaces, and deep brain stimulation, are transforming diagnostics and treatments, offering new hope for those affected by complex neurological disorders," he 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

22 July,2024 12:01 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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