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No amount of drinking alcohol is safe: Study debunks previous research

The conventional wisdom that a daily glass of wine is beneficial for health is based on years of flawed scientific research, revealed a study on Thursday. "There is simply no completely 'safe' level of drinking," said lead researcher Tim Stockwell from the University of Victoria in Canada. The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, debunks the previous studies, which stated that moderate drinkers live longer and have lower risks of heart disease than abstainers. The main issue is that these studies often include older adults without accounting for their lifetime drinking habits, Consequently, moderate drinkers are compared to "abstainer" groups, which may include individuals who quit drinking due to health issues, making the moderate drinkers appear healthier by comparison. Stockwell and his team reviewed 107 studies that examined the relationship between drinking habits and longevity. Initially, the data suggested that light to moderate drinkers had a 14 per cent lower risk of dying during the study period compared to abstainers. However, this changed upon closer inspection. Higher quality studies, which involved younger participants (under 55) and excluded former and occasional drinkers from the abstainer category, found no link between moderate drinking and longer life. It was the lower-quality studies that showed a positive correlation between moderate drinking and longevity. Stockwell highlighted the long-standing belief in the health benefits of moderate drinking, exemplified by the "French paradox" theory from the 1990s, which credited red wine for the low heart disease rates in France despite a high-fat diet. This perception remains popular, though the reality is that moderate drinking likely does not extend life and may increase the risk of certain cancers. No major health organisation endorses a risk-free level of alcohol consumption. Also Read: Mumbai hospital completes rare complex aortic valve replacement surgery on Mumbaikar; only third such case in the world 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

25 July,2024 05:01 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Complex 5-hour-long spine surgery gives Manipur boy a new lease of life

In a highly challenging and life-changing medical feat, a team of doctors successfully corrected severe scoliosis in a 14-year-old boy from Manipur.   The boy had been living with scoliosis -- a condition characterised by an abnormal curvature of the spine. In a challenging five-hour procedure, surgeons successfully removed a hemivertebra, a half-formed vertebra in the spine. This intricate surgery required precise correction to align the spine properly while carefully protecting the surrounding nerves. Several major hospitals had considered the operation too risky, citing the high potential for paralysis. The surgical team's expertise was crucial in navigating the complexities of the spine and ensuring a safe outcome for the patient. "This surgery was particularly challenging due to the complexity of removing a half-formed vertebra while protecting the spinal nerves," said Himanshu Tyagi, Additional Director of Orthopedics and Spine, at Fortis Hospital Greater Noida. "Days after the surgery, the boy is walking around, climbing stairs, and showing no signs of neurological complications," said the doctor. The patient's family expressed profound gratitude to the medical team, praising their expertise and commitment. "This surgery has given our son a new lease of life," said the boy's father.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.

25 July,2024 04:26 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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World Drowning Prevention Day: Every hour 26 lives lost to drowning worldwide

About 236,000 lives every year, which can be 350 per day or 26 every hour, are lost due to drowning worldwide, said Saima Wazed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for South East Asia on Thursday.  July 25 is observed as World Drowning Prevention Day to bring awareness about the leading cause of injury-related death and disability worldwide. The theme this year is ‘Anyone can drown, no one should’. “In 2019, drowning claimed 70,034 lives in the South-East Asia Region, making it the second-highest contributor to drowning deaths worldwide,” said the Regional Director. “Drowning is a sudden and silent killer, often catching victims and those around them unawares until it is too late. A few seconds may not be enough time to respond. The power is in prevention,” she added. Wazed noted that the majority of the incidents took place near homes due to lack of supervision, exposure to hazardous water bodies, insufficient awareness, and poverty. There are preventive measures that exist and are crucial to address this issue, Wazed said, adding that the global health body has outlined evidence-based, cost-effective, and scalable strategies to prevent drowning. It also comes with guidance that is tailored to different contexts. “We all have a role to play in preventing drowning. Whether by raising awareness, promoting knowledge of effective solutions, collaborating on prevention plans and policies with local or national governments, volunteering with relevant organisations, or ensuring personal and family safety around water, each of us can make a difference,” Wazed said. 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.

25 July,2024 04:11 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
From L-R: Dr Upendra Bhalerao, Dr Rajashree Agaskar, Khushboo Gala, Kapil Gala (patient), Dr Nihar Mehta and Dr Manish Kothari. Photo Courtesy: Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre

Mumbai hospital completes rare surgery on Mumbaikar; only 3rd case in the world

Mumbaikar Kapil Gala is a relieved man after the successful completion of a complex aortic valve replacement surgery earlier this month. Gala, a 39-year-old had achondroplasia, was treated Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre by a team of doctors who came together to address only the third such case in the world, according to the city hospital.  Born with achondroplasia, commonly referred to as dwarfism, Gala had multiple leg deformities and underwent eight surgeries on his feet to enable independent walking. Employed in the financial industry and managing a family independently, he faced a sudden onset of paraplegia a year ago, threatening his mobility and independence. The Mumbaikar was then admitted under the care of spine surgeons Dr Raghvendra Ramdasi and Dr Manish Kothari, Dr. Nihar Mehta, associate director of the Structural Heart Department at the hospital.  Gala was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis during the pre-operative workup for spinal surgery. His bicuspid aortic valve, a congenital defect, necessitated urgent intervention before any spinal surgery could be considered. Speaking to, Gala said, "I have faced many challenges due to my health conditions since childhood. However, this aortic stenosis would give me dizziness, blackouts which unbalanced my regular routines as well. At Jaslok Hospital, Dr Nihar and Dr Upendra along with Heart team gave me the right option of open heart valve surgery ensuring me a good quality life." A multidisciplinary team, including Dr Mehta, Dr Anand Bhabhor (additional director- Critical Care), Dr Upendra Bhalerao (consultant-Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery), Dr. Rajashri Agaskar (consultant- Cardiac Anaesthesiology), Dr Kothari (consultant - Spine Surgery & Endoscopic Spine Surgeon), and Dr. Purnima Shah (Consultant- Neurology & Neuromuscular Specialist), came together to discuss the best course of action after Gala came in for a spine surgery.  However, in a press conference with the media, Dr Kothari said as they do a health checkup before the surgery, they found that Kapil had a weak heart. After a thorough review of echocardiograms, blood tests, CT scans, and MRI reports, the team identified several key concerns during the consultation. Kapil's bicuspid valve lacked the necessary calcium for a minimally invasive TAVI procedure. Additionally, contractures and small arteries in his feet made TAVI  a less suitable option. His lung function, however, was deemed capable of handling surgery with pre-surgery exercises. Anaesthesia posed significant risks; extending his neck for intubation could lead to spinal compression and quadriplegia. Furthermore, the surgical team faced the challenge of operating without affecting his spine or legs, necessitating continuous monitoring of muscle and nerve signals throughout the procedure. The team concluded that an open-heart surgery to implant a mechanical (metal) valve, which could last approximately 15-20 years, was the safest and most effective option. Dr Mehta performed a coronary angiography to ensure no blockages were present. With careful planning and the use of a flexible video laryngoscope and conscious sedation Patient was anaesthetised. The Aortic valve replacement surgery was successfully conducted by Dr Bhalerao. Commenting on this case, Dr. Nihar Mehta said, "Our primary concern was the patient's safety and long-term health. We knew that TAVI was not the best option due to the anatomical challenges. It was crucial to provide a solution that ensured his survival and quality of life. We are delighted that Kapil trusted us and chose to proceed with the open-heart surgery." Dr. Upendra Bhalerao added, "Performing open-heart surgery on a patient with such unique challenges required meticulous planning and execution. This was high risk surgery and posed considerable technical challenges due to anatomical variations and neuromuscular deformities.  The successful outcome is a testament to our team's dedication and expertise." Dr. Manish Kothari remarked, "It was a complex case, but seeing Kapil recover and regain his mobility is incredibly rewarding. His journey exemplifies the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in medicine.” Jaslok Hospital is honoured to have played a part in enhancing Mr. Kapil’s quality of life. This case exemplifies the dedication and compassion of our medical team and reaffirms our commitment to delivering exceptional patient care." Elated with his progres, Gala said, “Dr Nihar was like a brother to me who gave me the correct advice of not getting a TAVI done despite being a TAVI specialist to ensure my safety and long-term quality life. Dr Upendra Bhalerao, Dr Manish Kothari, nurses and entire team of Jaslok Hospital treated me as a family. I am standing so comfortably today because of their hardwork.”  The doctors have said Kapil's surgery was a success. He was off life support within 12 hours, walking with crutches by the second day, and discharged on the seventh day. The doctors said it further helped because Gala had a positive attitude and trust in the medical team were pivotal to his recovery. He continues to support his family and live a fulfilling life. The new valve will not hinder any future surgeries, including potential spinal surgery to further improve his mobility. While Gala's surgery has been successful, does every person suffering from dwarfism and suffering from achondroplasia need such a surgery or is this a special case? Speaking to this writer, Dr Mehta explained, "Achrondroplasia is not associated with Bicuspid aortic valve stenosis. The combination is exceptionally rare Bicuspid aortic valve itself implies that our aortic valve has two leaflets from birth instead of the naturally occurring three leaflets.  This exposes the valve to stressors of flow throughout the life and leads to leakages or choking of the valve between ages of 50-60 (or even older). For our patient to have achrondroplegia with cervical myelopathy with aortic stenosis was exceptionally rare which is why it needed a combination of specialists , a team based decision , out of the box planning and meticulous execution for a successful outcome." This is a very very rare case where a person suffering from dwarfism and achondroplasia with cervical myelopathy has developed aortic stenosis. Only two cases are reported in scientific literature so far. The couple faced two major challenges. Firstly, the life threatening problem where aortic stenosis was causing him fainting attacks and chest pain so that he can't do his daily activities. But now, after heart valve replacement, he is doing everything without any symptoms. Secondly, the risk of being bedridden and losing power in all four limbs causing loss of earning and becoming dependent on someone if he develops any issues in surgery, . However, we could avoid all complications because of meticulous planning and team work," Dr Bhalerao concluded.

25 July,2024 02:08 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
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Mid-Day Premium World IVF Day: How does IVF help men in overcoming infertility?

Infertility is a growing concern worldwide, affecting roughly 1 in 6 couples according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with male factors contributing to around 50% of these cases. While the focus often falls on women's health, a significant portion of infertility cases involve male factors. Beyond celebrating the incredible strides in assisted reproduction, World IVF Day, marked annually on July 25th, serves as a vital reminder that male fertility is just as crucial for conception as female fertility. Often, the conversation surrounding infertility focuses on women's health. However, this day brings the spotlight to the significant role men play in family planning. On World IVF Day, Dr. Kshitiz Murdia, CEO and co-founder of Indira IVF and Dr Priyank Kothari, consultant andrologist and assistant professor at B.Y.L Nair Ch Hospital, Mumbai delve into fertility challenges faced by men, and the benefits of assisted reproductive technology. Prevalence and causes of male infertility in India“We are facing a pandemic of non-communicable diseases in India, with a manifold rise in diabetes, hypertension dyslipidemia and other environmental and lifestyle-related illnesses. Infertility is among these and it is estimated that 15 to 20 per cent of couples in India suffer from infertility. Infertility in a couple can be due to either male factors, female factors or both. Male infertility contributes to 40 to 50 per cent of all cases. Exposure to environmental toxins such as lead and mercury, age, lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse and lifestyle stresses are the main causes of decline in male fertility over the past decade,” explains Dr Priyank Kothari.Comprehensive diagnosis and understanding of male infertilityUnfortunately, despite the high prevalence of male infertility in India, there is still a lack of awareness about the condition and its causes. “The 1st step in evaluating a couple for infertility should be a Semen Analysis and any couple unable to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse can be labelled infertile and needs to consult an expert for evaluation,” poses Kothari.He elaborated, “The diagnosis of the male factor contributing to infertility is confirmed by a semen analysis done after 2 to 3 days of abstinence. At least 2 semen samples a month apart are usually required for an accurate estimation as there is considerable physiological variation in the semen parameters of a normal male. There can be a decrease in count, Concentration (Oligozoospermia), motility (Asthenozoospermia), quality of sperms (Teratozoospermia), or a combination of factors. The cause can be due to hormonal deficiency, testicular dysfunction, or external factors. Varicocele can be a very common cause of poor counts and motility (dilated veins above the testis signifying poor blood flow) and is a surgically correctable cause of male infertility.  In 10 % of men with sub fertility there can be a complete absence of sperms in the ejaculate (Azoospermia).”Murdia adds, “ART employs a range of diagnostic tools, including semen analysis, DNA fragmentation testing, hormonal evaluations, and genetic screening. These tests provide comprehensive insights into sperm quality, quantity, and genetic integrity, as well as potential structural or hormonal issues. This thorough approach enables fertility specialists to develop tailored treatment plans and select the most appropriate ART techniques for each case, maximising the chances of successful outcomes.” Targeted and effective treatment optionsThe advent of assisted reproductive techniques like IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) in the past two decades has revolutionised the treatment of male infertility. Murdia tells us about the range of targeted treatments tailored to address specific male fertility issues identified during the diagnostic phase. He shares, “Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a notable procedure that assists men with low sperm count or poor sperm motility. ICSI involves the direct injection of a single sperm into an egg, significantly increasing the likelihood of successful fertilisation. Studies have shown that ICSI results in fertilisation rates of 80-85 per cent demonstrating its efficacy in overcoming many barriers to natural fertilisation.”.How can we know the parameter of being fertile? Kothari answers, “Fertile men usually have counts in the range from 15 – 100 mill/ml and motility of 40 per cent or more(forward movement of sperms under the microscope). In men with borderline decrease in count ( > 10 million) with good motility IUI(Intrauterine Insemination) is an option. In IUI the semen sample is purified and concentrated using various laboratory techniques and a high-quality aliquot is  injected at the time of ovulation(egg rupture) into the uterus as a simple side room procedure.”He goes on to stress how the motility of sperm is important for the success of Intrauterine Insemination(IUI). “IUI is also beneficial for female factor infertility or when women have PCOS and irregular menstrual cycles. Men with very poor counts of less than 5 million/ ml sometimes even less than one million(occasionally a very few live sperm) in the ejaculate, where natural conception hasn’t taken place after years of attempting unprotected intercourse need advanced techniques like IVF or ICSI to be able to father a biological child.”Kothari briefly explains the most well-known ART, “IVF entails harvesting oocytes from the ovary under ultrasound guidance at the appropriate time in the women’s cycle and adding the sperms to the media containing the egg. The media resembles the physiological fluid present in the uterus facilitating the formation of an embryo (1st few cells of a newborn) which is then incubated (at optimal temperatures) till it reaches a stable form and is transferred back into the uterus (womb) at an appropriate time in the cycle. The embryo then implants into the uterus and further grows as a fetus in the women achieving successful pregnancy which then continues as usual process of 8-9 months followed by childbirth. Thus, even 15- 20 sperm can be used for IVF and a successful pregnancy is achieved. Men with low counts who haven’t benefitted from other conservative measures are advised for IVF after appropriate evaluation of the female partner.  Benefits of assisted reproductive technology for menART has significantly advanced fertility treatment for men, leading to numerous successful pregnancies through its combination of cutting-edge techniques and personalised care. The benefits of Assisted Reproductive Technology for men are extensive and impactful. From accurate diagnosis and targeted treatments to advanced retrieval techniques and fertility preservation, ART offers comprehensive solutions to address male infertility. As technology and medical expertise continue to advance, theprospects for men facing fertility challenges will only improve, offering them greater opportunities to achieve their dreams of fatherhood.Advanced sperm retrieval techniques“For men with conditions such as non-obstructive azoospermia, where no sperm is present in the ejaculate, advanced sperm retrieval techniques like Micro TESE (Microdissection Testicular Sperm Extraction) offer a viable pathway to fatherhood. This surgical procedure involves extracting sperm directly from the testicular tissue, enabling men with severe fertility issues to produce viable sperm for fertilisation. Data indicates that Micro TESE can successfully retrieve sperm in approximately 50 per cent of cases, providing hope for men previously deemed infertile,” says Murdia.Fertility preservation strategiesART also plays a crucial role in fertility preservation for men, highlights Murdia. He elaborates, “Sperm cryopreservation, or the freezing of sperm, is an invaluable option for men who may undergo treatments or face conditions that could compromise their fertility in the future. The success rate of sperm cryopreservation and subsequent use in ART procedures is well-documented, with live birth rates comparable to those using fresh sperm. By preserving their sperm, men can ensure the possibility of fathering biological children at a later date, offering peace of mind and strategic family planning options.”Psychological and emotional benefitsThe psychological and emotional impact of infertility on men can be profound, affecting self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being. ART provides not only medical solutions but also emotional support and hope, as per Murdia. “The advancements in ART offer men concrete options and a sense of control over their reproductive futures, alleviating some of the stress and uncertainty associated with infertility. Studies have shown that successful ART treatments can significantly improve psychological well-being and relationship satisfaction among couples facing infertility,” concludes the expert. Also Read: The monsoonal blues: Navigating mental health in the season of rain

25 July,2024 12:25 PM IST | Mumbai | Maitrai Agarwal
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Mid-Day Premium The monsoonal blues: Navigating mental health in the season of rain

The arrival of the monsoon season brings a welcome respite from the scorching summer heat. However, for a significant portion of the population, this climatic shift coincides with a decline in mental well-being.  “Research and anecdotal evidence suggest a significant correlation between the onset of the monsoon season and mental well-being, often referred to as 'monsoon blues.' Fluctuating weather conditions, including heavy downpours, lightning, thunder, and flooding, contribute to feelings of uneasiness. The varying humidity levels during monsoons can disrupt body temperature regulation, leading to feelings of heat, reduced energy, and fatigue. Higher humidity levels can also affect mood, causing lethargy, lack of motivation, and irritability due to physical discomfort like excessive sweating and sticky skin,” explains Janvi Rathore, therapist at The Mood Space. She goes on to list the varied challenges that come along. “The moisture in the air may exacerbate breathing difficulties, asthma symptoms, and allergies. The rapid temperature shifts common in monsoon can trigger headaches or migraines, further impacting mood and energy levels. Challenges such as excessive flooding, prolonged commute times, and traffic congestion make navigating the outdoors daunting.” Recent research indicates a rise in the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during these months. The mental health expert delves into the reasons, “Reduced sunlight exposure during rainy periods can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Overall, rain limits outdoor activities, dampens spirits, disrupts routines, and fosters feelings of boredom or restlessness due to decreased social interactions and outdoor enjoyment.” This disruption, coupled with the limitations on outdoor activities and potential changes in routine, can negatively impact mood, energy levels, and social interaction. However, by practising self-care practices, exploring mindful activities, and understanding when to seek professional support, we can take control of our mental health. The therapist delves into the impact of monsoon on mental health, seasonal affective disorder, and lists practical tips for individuals to navigate the monsoon season with resilience.    Demystifying Seasonal Affective Disorder “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a subtype of major depressive disorder characterised by recurrent depressive episodes linked to specific seasons, such as winter or monsoon periods. Symptoms include persistent low mood, loss of interest, fatigue, and disrupted sleep patterns lasting for at least two consecutive years and impairing daily functioning,” explains Rathore. Norman Rosenthal, a physician who noticed his productivity decline during winters, pioneered research on SAD alongside Al Lewy and Tom Wehr, highlighting the effectiveness of bright light therapy in managing seasonal mood changes.   Rathore tells us that SAD arises from reduced sunlight exposure during certain seasons, disrupting the body's circadian rhythm and serotonin production, which regulates mood. She adds, “Geographically, it is more prevalent in regions with distinct seasonal variations and fewer daylight hours, especially at higher latitudes. Women are more commonly affected than men, with young adults, particularly those aged 18 to 30, at higher risk.”   Enhancing well-being in seasonal transitions: Holistic treatments for seasonal affective disorder Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms often improve with seasonal changes, but effective treatment strategies can help manage its severity. “Light therapy, involving exposure to bright light mimicking sunlight for 20-30 minutes daily, helps regulate hormones and alleviate depressive symptoms associated with SAD. Regular physical activity for 30 minutes daily can also mitigate symptoms by boosting mood. Maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels through supplementation or sunlight exposure positively impacts mental health overall,” says Rathore.   Regulating sleep patterns is beneficial, as disrupted sleep is common in SAD. She also bats for Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other psychotherapeutic approaches, “They assist in developing coping strategies and challenging negative thought patterns associated with SAD. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and deep breathing reduce stress and enhance emotional resilience, complementing other treatments effectively.”   In summary, combining light therapy, regular exercise, Vitamin D maintenance, sleep regulation, and psychotherapy significantly aids in coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder, promoting better mental health during affected seasons.   Navigating mental health during monsoon: Risks and resilience While monsoon showers bring relief there are also many ways it can be detrimental to one’s mental health. “Weather conditions and uncertainties associated with heavy rains and storms during the monsoon season can worsen anxiety and can result in Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAS). For individuals experiencing Social Anxiety Disorder, the changes in daily routines and outdoor activities due to heavy rains may increase their tendency to isolate themselves and avoid social interactions, potentially exacerbating their symptoms,” shares Rathore.   She poses that monsoon-related disasters such as floods, landslides, or property damage can amplify symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in individuals who have previously encountered traumatic events. “The upheavals in daily routines, shifts in lifestyle, and challenges brought about by the monsoon season can precipitate Adjustment Disorders, marked by emotional and behavioural symptoms that significantly impact the well-being,” says Rathore.   Weathering the storm: Practical tips for boosting well-being The seasonal shift brought by the monsoon, while refreshing, can present challenges for mental well-being. This period calls for prioritising positivity and emotional resilience. The expert shares some practical tips to navigate the season with a sunny disposition: Embrace the power of nature •    Nature walks: Take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you. A walk in the gentle drizzle or simply sitting by the window to enjoy the calming sound and sight of raindrops can significantly uplift your spirits. •    Indoor greenery: Enhance your living space with indoor plants or create a small herb garden. Bringing elements of nature indoors can improve your mood and create a more nurturing environment. Stay active and connected •    Indoor workouts: Combat feelings of isolation and boost your mood with indoor activities. Consider yoga, home workouts, dance routines, or following fitness videos. Exercise helps release endorphins, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being. •    Virtual connections: Limited outdoor activities during the monsoon shouldn't mean isolation. Stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues through video calls, messaging apps, and social media. These virtual connections alleviate loneliness and maintain strong relationships. Fuel your body and mind •    Nutrient-rich diet: Prioritise foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients play a vital role in supporting mental well-being and emotional resilience. Embrace indoor activities and hobbies •    Creative pursuits: Engage in activities that bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment. You can also explore hobbies like reading, cooking, painting, playing music, or learning new online skills. These activities are not only mentally stimulating but also provide a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Structure and mindfulness for peace •    Daily routine: Establish a daily routine. This provides structure and purpose, helping maintain stability and reduce feelings of loneliness. A routine also ensures you prioritise activities that are important for your well-being. •    Mindfulness practices: Integrate mindfulness techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation into your daily routine. These practices significantly reduce stress, enhance emotional resilience, and promote a sense of calm and well-being. By incorporating these tips into your monsoon season routine, you can effectively combat the "monsoon blues," prioritise mental health, and embrace the season with a positive outlook. Remember, practising self-care and self-compassion is crucial. Taking proactive steps to nurture your mental and emotional health is key to managing isolation effectively. Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.  

25 July,2024 11:23 AM IST | Mumbai | Maitrai Agarwal
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Your kneecap shape can signal osteoarthritis risk: Study

The shape of a person's kneecap may indicate their risk of developing osteoarthritis - a common and debilitating joint disease, suggested a study.  Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) in Australia focussed on potential differences in kneecap shape between men and women, given that women with knee osteoarthritis often experience more severe symptoms. The team made use of CT scans to analyse the kneecaps of healthy individuals and patients awaiting knee replacement surgery. They employed advanced image analysis techniques to create 3D models of the kneecaps and measured the surfaces’ shapes. While the study “did not find distinct differences in kneecap shapes between sexes, it revealed that individuals with osteoarthritis exhibited more pronounced variations in kneecap surface shapes.” These differences became more significant with increasing disease severity, said the team led by Associate Professor Laura Wilson from ANU. She noted the unexpected nature of the findings, highlighting that the “changes in kneecap shape varied across different joint surfaces as osteoarthritis progressed.” The study is published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. The researchers now plan to investigate whether these shape differences appear early in the disease's development. If the early onset of these changes can be confirmed, kneecap shape could potentially be integrated into disease prevention models, aiding in the early identification of individuals at higher risk for knee osteoarthritis. This could lead to targeted early interventions for those at risk, the researchers said. 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

24 July,2024 03:13 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
Every year, International Nurses Day is observed on May 12 around the world. Photo Courtesy: Special Arrangement

Mid-Day Premium International Nurses Day 2024: ‘In India, nursing is deemed as a low-level job’

Mumbai-based nurse Rashmi Sawant has been a nurse for 18 years now and has grown immensely in this time. However, she has seen that people still have misconceptions about the job. “In India, people think nursing is deemed as a low-level job,” she expresses, continuing, “I think people don’t understand the job hierarchy for nurses in India. People only think that we are a nurse, they don’t know we are registered nurses that also have different administrative positions.” If only they knew better, Sawant says, they would know it is a huge misconception because if you are consistent and credible, then there is a huge growth in the job. Every year, International Nurses Day is observed on May 12 around the world to mark the contributions that nurses make to society. While doctors are hailed for their medical genius, the contribution of nurses may often be relegated to the shadows of the hospital corridors. However, times are changing and one of the biggest examples in the recent past has been that of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though all nurses dealt with patients, their families who were coming to terms with their death or sickness on a daily basis took out their frustration on them. At such times, nurses put on a brave front and do their best to give them hope and continue to do so even today and Sawant is only one of them. Need for more awarenessIncidentally, Sawant’s sister inspired her to become a nurse. She explains, “When I saw her studying and working, I instantly thought I could fit into this profession. She had no ideals and was the first one in the family. The main thing about being a nurse is growth. I joined as a staff nurse, and today I am a deputy chief nursing officer after 10 years.” It hasn’t always been smooth sailing because the 44-year-old says every position had its own challenges but that helped her build her professional efficacy over the years. “It is refreshing to have a profession that is female dominated,” she says while adding that there is a confidence among patients that female nurses are more efficient. “How people treat nurses depends on how you are,” Sawant adds. Even as she has reached a leadership role today, the Mumbaikar says there are many challenges that nurses face daily but not many people know about it. She explains, “The challenges are the emotional burden that we get while dealing with the patients, relatives, senior doctors and our seniors. It takes a lot to be calm and patient and go on. We have to always maintain a smile and show the confidence that everything is fine.” It came out most during the pandemic and it got really stressful too. “People were really scared to talk to each other. We nurses had to move the fear aside to help the people and make them recover from serious conditions. We have played a role in that and been by their bedside 24x7 because people didn’t want to come to the hospital,” adds the deputy chief at Gleneagles Hospital Mumbai, where she has been working for the last eight years.As more and more films and web series depict nurses as a part of the story, Sawant says she has seen them but is unhappy with the way they are depicted. “Nursing is a very advanced profession. We are into continuous training, education, audits, research – so many things. We have only been shown bedside, listening to the doctors and relatives. There needs to be more research in depicting them,” says the Mumbaikar. With several protests happening in the city and country from time to time, she believes nurses should be paid well monetarily, treated well and their talents need to be recognised.Also Read: Raj Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Ravi Shankar: Mumbai's Gaylord reopens but carries a legacy with old-world charm and foodMaking a difference in people’s livesElsewhere in Mumbai, Dr Elizabeth Joseph, chief of nursing at Wockhardt Hospitals Mumbai Central, says even though dealing with patients is their daily job and may often be challenging, it is important for nurses to empathise with their patients, understand their needs, and provide comfort in times of vulnerability. “While the journey may be challenging, the rewards of touching lives and making a difference every day make it all worthwhile,” shares Joseph, who has been a nurse for three decades now.  It has changed a lot from the time she first started out thirty years ago. “My journey in nursing began with a subtle nudge from a friend who had already embarked on this path. Back then, career choices might not have been as clear-cut as they are today. However, fate led me to pursue nursing, and I found myself enrolled at SNDT, one of the most esteemed universities for aspiring nurses. While I didn't initially feel a profound calling towards this profession, stepping into it ignited a flame of passion within me.” Once she got into the thick of things during her days as a nursing student, she couldn’t tell night and day. She reminisces, “My days were spent in the halls of the bustling municipal and general hospitals (in Mumbai), where the shortage of nurses was palpable. The workload was staggering, leaving little time for doctors and nurses to connect with patients on a personal level. Yet, it was during these clinical postings that I discovered the essence of nursing — the ability to make a difference in someone's life every single day. Whether it was through small gestures of kindness or attentive care, I realised the profound impact nurses have on their patients' well-being.”  Even though nursing faces many different kinds of challenges that go beyond dealing with patients like attrition, which Joseph says has become a prominent issue, there is work to be done. One of the most important issues is ensuring patient safety amidst staffing shortages, which requires coordination and dedication behind the scenes. “From obtaining doctor's orders to coordinating medication delivery, every aspect of patient care demands meticulous attention to detail. It's crucial for people to recognise that while nurses are the primary caregivers directly interacting with patients, they also play a vital role in coordinating with various departments behind the scenes.” With nurses emerging as the frontline heroes during the pandemic, showcasing their crucial role in healthcare, the 58-year-old says there has been a heightened visibility that has led to a growing appreciation for their dedication and expertise. “As societal norms evolve towards greater equality, the nursing profession is rightfully gaining respect and recognition. However, there are still areas where progress is needed to ensure equitable opportunities and support for nurses,” she adds. Also Read: Why this Mumbaikar turned into a human indicator at Dadar stationChanging role of nurses todayOne of the easiest ways to do this, believes Lissymol Saji, nursing head at Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road, is by raising awareness about the vital role of nurses in healthcare. In fact, it was what made her want to become a nurse. “I wanted to help people and make a difference in their lives. The best thing about being a nurse is the opportunity to provide compassionate care, and support to patients during challenging times,” she shares. Over the years, she has seen many different kinds of misconceptions play out in the hospital and outside of it. She explains, “One common misconception about nursing is that it’s all about following a doctor’s order.  However, the reality is that nurses play a crucial role in patient care, often making independent decisions and advocating for their patients.”  Even as they deal with these misconceptions, Saji agrees with Sawant as she says apart from emotional strain, nurses also face psychological strain as they regularly witness suffering,trauma and death, which disturb their mental state too like anybody else. “Nurses often work long shifts and sometimes without adequate breaks which can lead to physical exhaustion,” she adds. This may often escalate when dealing with family and friends of people in the hospital but her experience and training kicks in. “When dealing with stressed or angry family members, it’s important to remain calm, and empathetic, communicate effectively and listen to their concerns, provide information, and involve them in the care process by eliminating tension and building trust,” she explains.  Just like Saji even Dr Sneha Vaidya, regional director-nursing services, Western Region Apollo Hospitals, believes that people think nurses are just assistants to doctors but they are so much more than that as they don't just do basic tasks anymore and in fact are from a growing pool of specialised nurses who provide advanced care to patients. With Vaidya, who has over 26 years of experience, saying the challenging part of being a nurse is also maintaining a work-life balance. “We need to work in shifts and manage family at the same time and that becomes stressful sometimes,” she explains. Interestingly, the nurse has a big role model in her life. “My mother inspired me to be a nurse who was one of the pioneering nurses in her times enduring compassion and care,which eventually developed the confidence in me to take up this arduous role. The best thing about being a nurse is you can touch millions of lives,” she explains. In all this time, Vaidya says things have changed a lot and nurses have gained a lot of respect among the other medical professionals. However, there is still more room for improvement. “The fact that a nurse is more than an assistant to the doctor needs to be furthermore accepted in some of the pockets in the country especially out of tier 1 and 2 cities,” she concludes.

24 July,2024 03:04 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
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Navi Mumbai gets new clinic focusing on health services for working women

Women and children are prone to many health issues. Working women, especially, have been facing pressing health concerns in recent times due to fast-paced lifestyles and poor dietary habits. These issues include stress, gynecological problems, etc. In response to these concerns, Medicover Hospitals in Navi Mumbai has introduced ‘SHE CLINICS’ exclusively for corporate working women. The clinic, along with the Women and Child Wing, will focus on the diverse healthcare needs of working women such as managing high-risk deliveries, painless labor, high and normal delivery, advanced laparoscopic surgeries for fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, hysteroscopy for polyps and latest treatment for fertility issues.  Chief guest Honorable Dr Kavita Kishore Choutmol, Mayor of Panvel Municipal Corporation, inaugurated both facilities. An expert team including gynecologists, obstetricians, laparoscopic surgeons, pediatricians, fertility specialists, etc., will manage both the facilities.  "Diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, uterine fibroids, urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginal infections, menopause, ovarian and cervical cancer are commonly seen in women aged 25-45 and demand timely intervention. SHE CLINICS will empower working women to lead healthier lives and successfully navigate their professional endeavors. This clinic will help working women improve their quality of life with tailor-made treatment plans,” highlighted Dr Kalpana Gupta, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Medicover Hospitals, Navi Mumbai. She added, “From prenatal care to pediatric services, the dedicated team ensures that every woman and child receives personalised attention and treatment through the newly established Women and Child Wing. Emotional support will also be provided to women battling pregnancy-related complications or children dealing with chronic illnesses.” Also Read: Monsoon health tips: The ultimate guide to ensure children’s physical and mental wellness in rainy season

23 July,2024 11:17 PM IST | Navi Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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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, 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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