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India recorded highest malaria cases, deaths in SE Asia Region in 2022: WHO

India topped countries in the South-East Asia Region for the most number of malaria cases and deaths in 2022, according to the 2023 World malaria report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday. The report showed that in 2022, nine countries in the South-East Asia Region contributed to about 2 per cent of the burden of malaria globally (5.2 million cases). Most malaria cases in the region were concentrated in India (66 per cent) and about 94 per cent of deaths were in India and Indonesia. Globally, there were estimated 249 million malaria cases in 2022, exceeding the pre-pandemic level of 233 million in 2019 by 16 million cases. There were also an additional five million malaria cases in 2022 over the previous year and five countries bore the brunt of these increases, the report said. Pakistan saw the largest increase, with about 2.6 million cases in 2022 compared to 500,000 in 2021. Significant increases were also observed in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Uganda. Meanwhile, in the 11 countries that carry the highest burden of malaria, rates of new infections and deaths have levelled off following an initial upsurge during the first year of the pandemic. These countries, supported through the WHO “High burden to high impact” approach, saw an estimated 167 million malaria cases and 426,000 deaths in 2022. The report emphasised on the growing threat of climate change in increasing malaria cases. It showed that changes in temperature, humidity and rainfall can influence the behaviour and survival of the malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquito. Extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and flooding, can also directly impact transmission and disease burden. Catastrophic flooding in Pakistan in 2022, for example, led to a five-fold increase in malaria cases in the country. “The changing climate poses a substantial risk to progress against malaria, particularly in vulnerable regions. Sustainable and resilient malaria responses are needed now more than ever, coupled with urgent actions to slow the pace of global warming and reduce its effects,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a statement. Climate variability is expected to have indirect effects on malaria trends through, for example, reduced access to essential malaria services and disruptions to the supply chain of insecticide-treated nets, medicines and vaccines. Population displacement due to climate-induced factors may also lead to increased malaria as individuals without immunity migrate to endemic areas. There has also been progress toward malaria elimination in many countries with a low burden of the disease. In 2022, 34 countries reported fewer than 1000 cases of malaria compared to just 13 countries in 2000. This year alone, three more countries were certified by WHO as malaria-free -- Azerbaijan, Belize and Tajikistan -- and several others are on track to eliminate the disease in the coming year. The report also cites achievements such as the phased roll-out of the first WHO-recommended malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS01, in three African countries. In October 2023, WHO recommended a second safe and effective malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix-M. The availability of two malaria vaccines is expected to increase supply and make broad-scale deployment across Africa possible. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 December,2023 08:25 AM IST | Geneva | IANS
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Mid-Day Premium Feeling sleepy at work? Doctors suggest hacks to fix it

Yawning or even feeling sleepy at work is considered unprofessional in most work cultures across the world. Yet, when drowsiness hits you at work, there is not much you can do to stop it. While feeling sleepy at work once in a while can be understandable if you have slept late the previous night, a regular occurrence of this indicates a lifestyle issue.  Sadly, drooping eyelids and constant yawning are common occurrences among most office-goers. Feeling sleepy at work each day can lead to irritation and disappointment. From wondering what makes us feel so sleepy during the day to battling drowsiness each day, this is a spiral we just can’t seem to get out of. Feeling sleepy at work can severely impact one’s productivity and performance.  To help you prevent this from happening, Mid-day Online only spoke to sleep experts who share hacks and lifestyle modifications necessary to tackle drowsiness at work.   “One major cause of feeling sleepy at work is hampered sleep quality and poor sleep hygiene. This coupled with an unhealthy diet high in sugar, consumption of processed food, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of physical activity can result in decreased energy levels and increased feelings of fatigue during working hours. These factors combined can cause one to feel drowsy,” says Dr Harish Chafle, pulmonology and critical care, Global Hospitals Parel Mumbai.  Dr Lancelot Mark Pinto, consultant pulmonologist and epidemiologist, P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, further adds, “Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is considered the bare minimum to feel adequately rested and refreshed. Most individuals fail to get a good eight hours of sound sleep. As a result, the restorative function of sleep is not served, and people feel sleepy during the day.” Chronic stress and anxiety arising from both work-related pressures and personal life challenges can significantly impact one's energy levels. Prolonged exposure to high levels of stress hormones like cortisol can disrupt the body's natural rhythm, affecting overall alertness. Poor air quality and inadequate lighting in the workplace too, can contribute to drowsiness, as they affect the body's circadian rhythms and overall well-being.   Additionally, one of the sleep-related diseases called Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome(OSAHS) is another major reason why people feel sleepy at work. This condition is often triggered due to obesity and high body mass index. Sleep apnea causes obstruction to breathing due to excessive fat deposited around the neck. This disturbs one sleep and leads to people feeling drowsy the next day. Such individuals tend to doze off very easily in meetings or at their work desks. How does feeling sleepy at work affect one’s health and performance?  Chafle: Sleep deprivation causes heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Furthermore, chronic lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illness and infections. It also takes a toll on cognitive function and mental health. Insufficient sleep can impair decision-making abilities, memory retention, and emotional regulation. This can lead to decreased productivity and heightened feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.  Further, drowsiness impairs cognitive function, making it difficult to focus, concentrate, and make sound decisions. This can lead to errors, inefficiency, and rework, ultimately affecting the quality of work produced. Drowsiness often results in slower reaction times and decreased attention to detail, increasing the risk of accidents and workplace injuries.  Pinto: Besides other common health risks associated with sleep deprivation, the incidence of cancers has also been linked to chronic sleep deprivation. Sleep also has a role in the regulation of immunity. With regards to productivity at work, there is a growing realisation that productivity can vary based on factors such as attention span, reaction times, ability to perform deep work and other cognitive factors that are all adversely impacted by the lack of sleep. This is especially of serious concern in fields in which public safety is at stake like the airline industry, teaching profession, medical industry, etc.  What are some healthy ways to avoid feeling sleepy at work? Chafle: One healthy way to avoid feeling sleepy at work is to prioritise getting a good night's sleep. Creating a consistent bedtime routine, reducing screen time before sleeping, and setting up a comfortable sleep environment can all contribute to better quality sleep. Staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water is a good idea. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and a lack of focus, so keeping a water bottle at your desk as a reminder to sip regularly can help combat this.  Eating fruits and nuts, can provide sustained energy levels and prevent the mid-afternoon slump that often leads to drowsiness. Pinto:  Nothing can serve as a substitute for a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene entails a few common measures:  1. Having a fixed sleep/wake time.2. Limiting exposure to devices before bedtime 3. Avoid caffeinated beverages six to eight hours before bedtime, this includes tea, coffee and sodas. 4. Avoid vigorous exercise in the evening.5. Having a light dinner and limiting the consumption of alcohol. While alcohol may help people fall asleep more easily, it interferes with the quality of sleep and leaves people feeling lethargic in the morning. Those who smoke cigarettes also tend to have a poorer quality of sleep.  If one starts to feel sleepy or drowsy at work, what can they do to fight it?  As quick fixes, both Chafle and Pinto suggest doing the following:  1. Take a brisk walk outside or even around the office. This can help to get your blood flowing and increase alertness. 2. Incorporate short bursts of physical activity, such as stretching exercises or quick desk yoga sessions. This can re-energise both your body and mind. 3. Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day as dehydration can contribute to feelings of fatigue.  4. Consider increasing natural light exposure or using a daylight lamp, as this is believed to improve mood and productivity. 5. It's also important to practice good posture while seated at your desk to prevent slouching-induced fatigue. Consider using an ergonomic chair if possible. 6. In case you are someone who feels sleepy post-lunch, try to do small bursts of activity such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing some desk exercises, which can also combat drowsiness. Taking a few minutes to meditate, focus on deep breathing, or simply relax and clear the mind can rejuvenate energy levels and improve mental clarity. What role does workplace ergonomics play in helping fight drowsiness?  Chafle: Poorly designed workstations, uncomfortable chairs, and improper lighting can contribute to feelings of drowsiness and fatigue. A poorly positioned computer screen can strain the eyes and lead to headaches, while an uncomfortable chair can cause discomfort and decrease productivity. To improve workplace ergonomics and combat drowsiness, consider implementing adjustable desks and chairs to support proper posture and reduce physical discomfort. Incorporating natural lighting or installing lighting that mimics natural daylight can help regulate employees' circadian rhythms. Pinto: Encouraging the use of stairs, using devices such as pedometers or smart watches that encourage people to have more steps a day, having flexible workstations, considering the use of standing desks, and having gyms at work can all encourage individuals to fight sleepiness at the workplace. Is the consumption of sugar and caffeine the right way to fight off drowsiness? Chafle: Having sugar or excess caffeine to combat drowsiness is a common strategy for many people, but it may not be the most effective approach. While sugar and caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, they often lead to a subsequent crash, leaving individuals feeling even more tired than before. Relying on these substances as a solution for drowsiness can contribute to long-term health issues such as weight gain, insulin resistance, and disrupted sleep patterns.  High sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It can also lead to tooth decay, inflammation, and impaired immune function. Caffeine, when consumed in large quantities, can cause anxiety, insomnia, and high blood pressure. It may contribute to digestive issues such as acid reflux and stomach ulcers. Both substances can also disrupt hormone balance and contribute to mood swings and irritability.  An infusion of fresh mint leaves and ginger steeped in hot water can provide a revitalising boost without the caffeine jitters. Herbal teas like Tulsi (holy basil) release stress and have cognitive enhancement properties that help to rejuvenate the mind. A cup of golden milk made with turmeric, warm milk, and honey not only provides calming effects but also contributes to overall brain health. Have protein-rich snacks like nuts, Greek yoghurt, or hummus with vegetables to avoid energy crashes. Incorporating small amounts of caffeine strategically, like a cup of green tea or black coffee mid-morning, can also help stay awake without leading to a post-caffeine crash.  Making mindful food choices at work can have a significant impact on productivity and overall well-being throughout the day. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and chia seeds, can provide sustained energy and improve cognitive function. Pinto: Caffeine in moderate quantities is not harmful. Caution needs to be exercised if one suffers from hypertension or cardiac disease. Consuming sugar is not advisable as it has consistent and long-term adverse effects that cannot be justified. Caffeine when taken in excessive amounts can cause tremulousness, and irritability and can cause an increase in the heart rate and blood pressure. It can interfere with sleep, perpetuating the cycle of sleepiness leading to more consumption. One also tends to get resistant to the effects of caffeine, making individuals consume more over time, leading to more adverse effects.  Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.

01 December,2023 08:19 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Mid-Day Premium Mumbai doctors share why you need to take stomach cancer seriously

Cancer has become a part and parcel of our lives. Every other day we hear somebody being diagnosed with cancer of the lungs, liver or pancreas. While the incidence of stomach cancer is low, Mumbai experts believe people shouldn’t take it lightly especially because it can be lurking in common stomach problems, and you may not even know.  Every year, people around the world observe November as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month. This year, the theme is ‘Building Your Community’ as it emphasises the collective strength and support for those suffering from the form of cancer by creating more awareness about it. While smoking and drinking alcohol excessively have been linked to disease, there are many other factors.  To know more, spoke to Dr Tirathram Kaushik, consultant Onco-surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road to understand more about the cancer. They not only share causes that are known to lead to cancer but also highlight signs and symptoms. At the same time, he stresses the need to adopt a healthy lifestyle and pay attention to any discomfort.  1. What is stomach cancer and how does one get it? Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, starts in the cells lining the stomach and might progress unnoticed until it reaches an advanced stage. You have most likely heard about H.Pylori bacteria; it resides comfortably in our digestive tract causing peptic ulcers which over time can grow cancerous. On the other hand, consuming processed foods rich in nitrates/nitrites transforms healthy cells into malignant ones.  2. What are the causes of stomach cancer? Certain behaviours such as smoking and excessive alcohol intake have been closely linked to this malignant disease. Additionally, diet plays an equally pivotal role. A diet high in smoked, pickled, and salted foods and low in fresh fruit and vegetables can lead to this type of cancer. It’s the need of the hour to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Even a previously undiagnosed Helicobacter pylori infection could trigger a mutation in your stomach cells over time leading to gastric carcinoma.  3. What are the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer? Unexplained weight loss can also mark the onset of stomach cancer. Other warning signs that warrant immediate medical attention include severe anemia caused by bleeding in the stomach and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Remember, early detection significantly enhances survival chances. Do not ignore the symptoms at all.  4.  When should one go to an expert for a diagnosis? Having repeated stomach discomfort, which may include symptoms like unexplained weight loss, persistent abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting can wear you mentally and physically. It's not just about dismissing these as common gastric problems or stress. These could be your body's cry for help signaling something major such as stomach cancer. When over-the-counter medications or lifestyle changes do no good to ease these recurring symptoms, the only sensible step is to consult an expert. Furthermore, if there is a history of stomach cancer in your family, being proactive on regular check-ups should be a priority.  5. Which age group and gender is most affected by stomach cancer? People above 55 years are at risk of suffering from stomach cancer. All genders, including males and females, can suffer from this type of cancer.  6. What are the effects of stomach cancer? The noticeable symptoms like loss of appetite, and sudden weight loss might appear harmless initially but are often warnings. In extreme cases, vomiting, indigestion, and discomfort in swallowing might act as alarming signs of this cancer.  7. What are the treatments available for stomach cancer? While traditional treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy remain as frontline options to manage it. With the help of robotics, some surgeons execute highly technical and precise surgical interventions using robotic-assisted platforms offering minimal invasiveness compared to conventional surgeries. Remember that your doctor will decide on an appropriate line of treatment for you.  8. Do you think there is enough awareness of stomach cancer in India? How many people are known to suffer from it in the country? A large number of people are battling with this cancer in the country. Despite India's notable strides in the arena of healthcare, awareness about stomach cancer or gastric cancer fails to meet optimal levels. There remains an unfortunate deficit in widespread knowledge about its causes, symptoms, prevention strategies, and treatment options. In India where diverse food habits intersect with lifestyle factors and genetic predispositions resulting in complex health impacts, understanding stomach cancer becomes crucial. Bringing this silent menace into more conversations will help dissipate the stigma associated with this disease while information dissemination can empower people with potentially life-saving information.  9. Does a change in diet help keep the stomach in check and prevent cancer? Several studies indicate a strong link between diet changes and improved gut health, potentially helping to reduce cancer risks. A high-fibre, plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can significantly bolster gut health by improving digestion and fostering a healthy microbiome - the millions of microorganisms that inhabit our digestive tract. These microscopic allies aid in breaking down food compounds, some of which may have anti-cancer properties. Limiting intake of processed and sugar-laden foods might lower one's susceptibility to cancers associated with the stomach or digestive system.  10. Why should people take stomach cancer seriously? Stomach cancer is often overlooked because of its relatively low incidence rate in comparison to other types of cancer. Despite advances in medical technology and treatment options, detecting this elusive disease remains a challenge due to its asymptomatic nature in its early stages. This contributes greatly to delayed diagnosis making stomach cancer difficult to treat effectively. It’s high time we bring about awareness of stomach cancer and stress upon regular medical screenings for high-risk people to improve their quality of life.  

30 November,2023 10:30 AM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
Having a winter skincare regime in place well in advance can go a long way in avoiding skin issues born out of harsh weather. Photo Courtesy: iStock  

Mid-Day Premium Winter is coming: Experts dish out skincare tips

Itchy skin, dry nose and chapped lips indicate the onset of winter season in the city. While we all look forward to some relief from the blazing heat, it must be known that the pleasant weather in Mumbai comes with its own set of woes, dry skin being the most common.   Further, persistent poor air quality and pollution from Diwali are most likely to worsen the skin issues for many city residents. To address this concern and aid Mumbaikars, especially those with sensitive skin, Mid-day Online knocked on the doors of dermatologists to get some key winter skincare tips.   Although dry skin is the most common skin condition in dry weather, other issues like dry eczemas, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, prurigo, xerotic eczemas, frizzy hair, and brittle nails are known to exacerbate during the winter season. Experts say, having a winter skincare regime in place well in advance can go a long way in avoiding skin issues born out of harsh weather.   “In Mumbai, the weather is not so cold. Hence, one may not change the skincare much unless the skin dries up. However, one must make some key changes keeping in mind the change in weather,” says Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, consultant dermatologist, Dr Trasi Clinic and La Piel Skin Clinic.   Adding to this, Dr Reshma Vishnani, consultant dermatologist, trichologist and aesthetic dermatologist, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, says, “For us Mumbaikars though the drop in temperature and decrease in humidity in these months will give us a relief from the excessive sweating, it becomes difficult for the skin to retain the natural moisture making it more sensitive and prone to dryness along with flaky skin and hair. This makes it necessary to have a winter-appropriate skincare routine in place.”    The winter skincare mantra  When it comes to using the correct products, you must always use hydrating skincare items during winter. Include gentle non-soapy and fragrance-free cleansers to wash the face and the body. One can use micellar cleansers that are gentle on the skin. Depending on your skin type, use lightweight, water-based moisturisers containing ceramides that help lock in moisture. Those who have extremely dry skin can opt for a thick moisturiser or body butter. At night, you can make use of hyaluronic acid serum.    For anti-ageing products, use products containing peptides, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. Use a moisturising shampoo and conditioner to also keep the hair hydrated.    A daily winter skincare regime  1. Have a bath with lukewarm water.   2. Followed by this, pat dry your body and lather a generous amount of moisturiser.   3. After applying moisturiser, apply sunscreen during the day. At night, you can apply hyaluronic acid serum, followed by a round of moisturising.    4. You can also indulge yourself in a 30-minute oil massage prior to the bath followed by a mild cleanser for wash and then a moisturiser. Using hand and foot cream containing four to 10 per cent urea can prevent rough and cracked hands and feet. Before applying the creams, one can dip the feet in warm water and then cover them with socks.   5. Oil the hair regularly to hydrate and prevent it from breakage. Apply nail oil or moisturiser to hydrate the nail cuticles. 6. Make sure to lather lip balms generously and reapply them from time to time. Regular use of lip balm is compulsory to prevent dry chapped lips. Opt for a lip balm containing SPF to ensure maximum lip hydration.   7.  Use a good eye contour cream containing ceramides and growth factors to hydrate the skin and prevent fine lines and wrinkles around the eye.  Both Trasi and Vishnani strongly warn against skipping moisturising.    Common skincare mistakes to avoidAccording to Trasi, “Most of us follow the same skincare routine throughout the year. However, cold weather can dry the skin and some skin products like retinol can lead to increased skin dryness.” This makes it necessary for us to understand which products and skincare habits should be avoided.   1. Avoid hot water baths. It can rob your skin of moisture making it prone to dermatitis. Avoid toners as they can also dehydrate the skin.   2. Avoid using glycerine-based soaps. Rather use shower gels or neutral pH skin-friendly soaps called syndets. Further, any skincare products containing retinol, salicylic acids, or benzoyl peroxides should be replaced with other products.  3. Never exfoliate your face or body with scrubs or natural face packs in dry cold weather. Doing this can cause redness and exacerbate itching. Discontinue tomato or lemon application on the face which can worsen the skin issues more. Use masks containing hyaluronic acid, vitamin C or vitamin E. These hydrate the skin and give a good glow.4. Avoid wearing harsh clothing, especially woollens as they can scratch the dry skin even more. Opt for soft woollens that are smooth on the skin.5. Avoid contact with wet hair with cold winds as it can cause hair breakage and hair fall. Also, do not use curling machines and tongs as they damage the hair cuticle.  The crucial role of sunscreenAccording to Vishnani, “Sunscreen should be applied and reapplied every three hours in an adequate quantity whether you are inside the house, car, office or outside on the road. Sunscreen has to be applied even if it’s raining outside or gloomy.”    Adding to this, Trasi says, “One must never forget to use sunscreen even during winter season. Though the sun rays are less harsh, one can get tanned in winter. Nowadays, everyone works on devices containing visible light like laptops and computers. Hence, the facial tan is from those rays rather than the sun itself, making sunscreen an all-time necessity.”    Pre and post-makeup skincare  During dry weather, opting for organic and liquid-based makeup helps the skin to stay hydrated. Avoid powder-based makeup in this climate as it can make your face look cakey. Further, avoid alcohol or spirit-based cosmetics as they have a tendency to irritate the skin in this climate. Use good amounts of moisturisers before applying makeup to prevent drying of the skin. Also, avoid over-layering of foundation creams. Excess layering of skin with moisturisers, concealers, and foundations can lead to acne breakouts.  With regards to make-up for lips, avoid using non-transfer, matte lipsticks or long-lasting lipsticks on an everyday basis as they will dry out your lips further. Instead use moisturising or glossy lipsticks, even though they don’t stay for long.    Tips for healthy skin during air quality concerns “A bad air quality definitely creates havoc on the skin,” says Trasi. Indoor and outdoor pollution may activate inflammatory pathways and lower the levels of antioxidants in the skin. Oxidation damages the skin’s DNA, collagen breakdown and the barrier function of the skin. Skin problems like acne, eczemas, psoriasis, premature greying of hair, and early wrinkling have been exacerbated in spite of good treatment. Skin allergies or urticaria cases have increased with the current pollution level. Hence take extra care of the skin and visit the dermatologist as required. To counter the evil of winter pollution, Vishnani suggests washing your face at least twice or thrice a day, following up with a moisturiser. Have a clean diet with adequate hydration and exercise to flush out those toxins. Most importantly, visit a dermatologist who can set up a skin care regimen as per your skin and daily routine.   The importance of diet in skincare  Both Trasi and Vishnani stress that hydration for the skin, internal as well as topical, is non-negotiable. Along with this, consume a lot of seasonal fruits and veggies. Berries are exceptional sources of vitamins and antioxidants your skin needs to stay healthy during the cold weather. Avoid smoking and drinking excessively as it dehydrates the skin and hair. Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.

30 November,2023 08:13 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Health experts share key reasons why stomach cancer cases are rising in India

Eating junk food, stress, unhealthy lifestyle and genes explain the major reason behind increase in stomach cancer cases in India, said experts here on Wednesday. Stomach cancer, also known as Gastric cancer, is the fifth most common cancer among males and seventh most common cancer among females in India. It is also the second most common cause of cancer death globally. Over the past decade, the incidence of stomach cancer in India has exhibited a gradual increase. Compared to many Western countries, stomach cancer rates in India are relatively high. It is due to unique dietary practices, notably a preference for spicy and preserved foods, and alcohol intake, according to doctors. “Stomach cancer predominantly affects individuals after the age of 50 years, with the average age at diagnosis being around 60. There's a slightly higher prevalence among men compared to women, with men exhibiting a higher risk due to lifestyle factors like higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption,” said Dr Puneet Dhar, HoD, Gastrointestinal Surgery, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad. “Geographically, higher incidence rates are noted in regions where dietary patterns include more spicy, salty, or preserved foods. Hormonal differences and genetic factors might also play a role, although further research is needed for conclusive evidence,” he added. Symptoms of stomach cancer include persistent abdominal pain or discomfort, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, and blood in the stool. While early-stage stomach cancer may not exhibit noticeable symptoms, the doctors emphasised the importance of regular screenings for high-risk individuals. Stomach cancer prognosis varies widely depending on the stage at diagnosis. Types of stomach cancer include adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs). Unfortunately, stomach cancer is often diagnosed in later stages, contributing to higher mortality rates. “The epidemiology of gastric cancer suggests that it is not a single disease or caused by a single factor, but a combination of genetic, socio-cultural, and environmental factors in a given region dictates its presentation. Various etiological factors including smoking, alcohol, nitrates, and Helicobacter pylori infection have been proposed as causative factors for gastric cancer,” Dr Harish Verma, Senior Consultant - Surgical Oncology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Gurugram, told IANS. The high incidence of local and distant recurrence even in patients with completely resectable gastric cancer indicates the systemic spread of cancer very early in the disease, thus emphasising the need for multimodality treatment including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy for treating the disease. “Worldwide and more so in the developed world, there has been a decline in the incidence of gastric cancer and this has been attributed to improved food hygiene, sanitation, and food preservation techniques. However, this declining trend has not been seen in certain parts of India. Differences in some dietary patterns and use of tobacco and alcohol have been considered as potential risk factors,” Verma said. The health experts called for improving the dietary habits along with avoidance of preserved food and healthy lifestyle change to curb the incidence of stomach cancer. They also stressed the need for eating a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, minimising processed and preserved foods, quitting smoking, moderating alcohol intake, and scheduling regular medical check-ups, particularly for those with a family history or concerning symptoms. 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

30 November,2023 07:55 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Why India lags in organ donation

Societal reservations, lack of awareness and infrastructure are the major roadblocks for active organ donations in India, according to health experts on Wednesday. India faces the lowest organ donation rate worldwide, with a mere 0.1 per cent of the population donating their organs after death in stark contrast to 70-80 per cent in Western countries. "Currently there is a huge gap between patients who need organs and the actual organs available for transplantation. The waiting list for kidneys and liver can go up to several years. The heart and lung recipients are completely dependent on cadaveric organ donation programme, hence it is imperative that we as a country pledge for this cause," Rahul Pandit, Chair, Critical Care, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, told IANS. Traditionally two concepts have been practiced in India, live related donation and cadaveric organ donation, he explained. Live related donation involves removing a healthy organ usually from recipients near relatives as described in the organ donation Act and transplanting it in the recipient. However, this practice is only limited to kidney and liver in solid organ transplantation. Cadaveric organ donation is organ donation after brain stem death. This is possible in patients who have an irreversible neurological condition, who are on a ventilator in ICU with no brain function. This process, if the family consents then almost 8-9 organs -- cornea, heart, lungs, 2 kidneys, liver, pancreatic islets cells, uterus, both hands, skin, bone and muscle tendons -- can be donated, the doctor said. "While there has been a slight improvement in harvesting organs from deceased donors, with an increase in the average number of transplants per donor, it remains insufficient. For example, out of 12,387 harvested organs in 2021, only slightly over 14 per cent were from deceased donors," Yasir Rizvi, Associate Director & Senior Consultant - Nephrology at Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, told IANS. Rajesh Aggarwal, Chief and Sr. Consultant - Kidney Transplant & Dialysis Department at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, explained that "myths surrounding brain death contribute to considerable organ wastage, with India losing around 2 lakh kidneys and other vital organs annually". Properly harvesting even 5-10 per cent of all brain deaths for organ donation could render the need for living donors obsolete. The issue is particularly pronounced in heart transplants, with challenges like cost and expertise availability in different cities exacerbating the problem. "India faces a critical challenge with a dismal organ donation rate of 0.86 per million people, necessitating a drastic improvement. Despite a notable post-Covid resurgence in transplant activities, achieving over 15,000 transplants in 2022 with a 27 per cent annual increase, societal reservations remain a significant obstacle. The country grapples with a demand-supply gap in organ donation and transplants due to a lack of awareness and deep-rooted superstitions," Aggarwal told IANS. Rizvi also noted limited awareness and infrastructure as a significant challenge in organ donation in India. Despite some progress, there exists a substantial gap between organ demand and supply, with only 0.1 per cent of the population donating their organs after death, he said. "The situation demands urgent action, given the organ shortage crisis in the country. Public awareness campaigns are crucial to enhance organ donation rates, and collaboration between the medical fraternity and policymakers is necessary to streamline donation processes. "Establishing transparent organ registries and strengthening deceased organ donation infrastructure are pivotal steps for India to advance in organ donation and transplantation," he said. To boost organ donation practices, the health experts called for a comprehensive approach. Education campaigns can debunk myths and emphasise the impact of donations on saving lives, they 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

30 November,2023 07:52 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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5 ways to stay true to your weight loss journey

In today’s fast-paced world, where the demands of modern life take precedence over physical and mental health needs, it is crucial to emphasise the significance of prioritising a healthy lifestyle. However, the journey towards a healthier life poses a challenge for millions of individuals worldwide, largely due to concerns related to weight and obesity. The issue of obesity is undoubtedly multifaceted, with genetic and lifestyle factors contributing to its complexity. The key to effectively addressing this challenge lies in adopting a positive, resolute approach and embracing a determined mindset. In the pursuit of a healthier life, it's crucial to shift focus from short-term solutions and instead concentrate on achieving and sustaining long-term weight loss and improved fitness. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that obesity rates have been steadily increasing, leading to various health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. With one of the world’s fastest-rising obesity rates, India is fighting a constant health crisis. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the vulnerability of individuals with obesity to severe outcomes. According to estimates, India has 135 million obese people. A report published by the World Obesity Federation earlier this year highlights that the obesity risk in Indian women will rise to 13 percent, and in men to 8 percent by 2035. These statistics underscore the importance of addressing obesity as a public health issue and the need for individuals to take control of their weight and health. A few ways which can help you to stay fit and lose weight are as below: Creating sustainable habits is the foundation for long-term success in weight management. Instead of chasing quick fixes, it is important that you prioritise health-conscious routines. Begin by adopting a balanced diet, incorporating regular physical activity, and mastering stress management. Keep in mind, that consistency is the secret to maintaining a healthy weight. Gradual lifestyle changes pave the way for lasting results. Incorporating a healthy diet is crucial for managing weight effectively. Incorporating a well-balanced diet while avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks is vital for weight maintenance. Essential minerals such as Zinc and Iron are crucial for antibody production and a strong immune system. For those struggling to maintain a nutritious diet due to a busy lifestyle, convenient on-the-go supplements like Vestige Veslim Shake can be a practical solution. Veslim Shakes are designed to aid weight management by keeping individuals feeling full and reducing junk food cravings. They come in flavours like mango and vanilla, ensuring taste without compromising on nutrition. Prioritising adequate sleep is another crucial aspect of a successful weight-loss journey. Quality sleep plays a significant role in regulating hormones that control appetite and metabolism. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night to support your weight management efforts. Poor sleep can lead to increased cravings for unhealthy foods and hinder your ability to make healthy choices during the day. Maintaining an active lifestyle is essential for successful weight management. Incorporating enjoyable activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing to burn calories, where consistency in routine takes precedence over intensity is always helpful. To stay motivated, reach out to friends, family, or professionals. One might also want to explore joining a weight loss group or consulting with a nutritionist or personal trainer. Keeping a journal can be a powerful tool for tracking progress and staying accountable. One can use a variety of health monitoring apps to track daily food intake, exercise habits, and physical and mental wellness. This can help identify patterns, triggers for overeating, and areas where adjustments are needed. Parallelly, it also serves as a source of motivation when you can see the positive changes you've made over time. Attaining your weight loss goals is more akin to a marathon, not a sprint, marked by steady and gradual advancement. Patience, consistency, and maintaining a positive mindset are the essential factors to achieving sustained success on this journey towards enhanced health. 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

30 November,2023 07:49 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Awareness campaign urging India’s youth to donate blood using a unique approach

While India has progressed considerably, there is still a gap in the country’s requirement of blood supply. As per current statistics, India requires an annual average of 14.6 million blood units, but there is a consistent shortfall of roughly one million units annually . Addressing this, global healthcare leader Abbott has extended its worldwide donor recruitment campaign, ‘BETHE1,’ and launched the first-ever donor campaign song, ‘Give Blood. Get Good Vibes.’ This song aims to inspire Indian youth to donate blood, making blood donation a contemporary, compelling approach to building a healthier India. The vocals are by Tamojit Chatterjee, aka MC Headshot, an Indian hip-hop artist, rapper, lyricist, and stage performer.  Talking about this initiative, MC Headshot said, “I am proud to be a part of this campaign as it aims to help address a very real-life challenge. I hope that all the young people out there will become aware that they can make a difference. If you are healthy and able to donate, I urge you to do so and help save lives”.  The campaign supplements prior on-ground efforts to promote blood donation. The company launched the campaign in major cities across India, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi, Nagpur, Vizag, Guwahati, Nagpur, and Nashik, with digital and physical assets, mobile donation vans, and more. These sites record approximately 300,000 annual donations, with an encouraging rise in donations by over 20 per cent this year. India's demand-supply gap: A blood donation deficit India has an eligible donor population of 402 million, yet it falls short of meeting the WHO’s minimum recommendation of 1 per cent of the population donating blood.  The country’s blood supply in 2022 was estimated at 33.8 per thousand donations, against the demand of 36.3 per thousand.  Dr Rajesh B Sawant, Consultant - Transfusion Medicine, Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute, Mumbai, said, “One donation can save up to three lives, and the process to donate blood typically only takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Addressing India’s blood deficit is essential to help avoid delays in critical blood transfusions for people in need. This can be done by raising awareness and tackling myths around blood donation, especially as there is a constant need for blood supply, not just for emergencies, but also for planned surgeries and long-term medical treatments.” Voluntary blood donations are especially low in certain groups. While India has one of the youngest populations in the world, 85.5 per cent of Indian youth (aged 18-25 years) reported that they had never donated blood. Further, only 10 to 12 per cent of women are blood donors. The reasons include low awareness, misconception that blood donation could endanger their health, lack of clarity about the process, and inaccessibility to blood donation sites. Blood donation – a powerful, life-saving activity – is key to treating women with complications during pregnancy and childbirth (like postpartum haemorrhage), and children with severe anaemia, and supporting accident victims and surgical and cancer patients. In addition to this, regular blood donation also plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy iron levels in the body and stimulating the production of new blood cells. This selfless act not only saves lives but also offers advantages for the donor, including a reduced risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, improved mental state, a healthy liver, and improved plasma lipid profiles. It is a simple way to make a difference in someone’s life and receive gratitude in return. Addressing the blood shortage Abbott’s global program BETHE1™ and ‘Give Blood. Get Back’ campaign has made a significant impact around the world in countries such as the United States, and Ethiopia. In Europe, the campaign has reached potential donors in more than a half dozen countries including Germany, Italy and Greece. In India, Abbott aims to reach people under-represented in blood donor numbers, like the youth, through creative formats to drive positive behaviour change.  Dr Sonu Bhatnagar, Area Medical Director for Abbott’s transfusion medicine division said, “We believe that donating blood puts the power of saving lives and better health into the hands of everyone. Aligned with the government’s goals to raise awareness about the benefits of voluntary donation, our ‘Give Blood. Get Good Vibes’ song aims to inspire youth by making blood donation cool and putting it on top-of-their mind.” The song can be heard on YouTube at Give Blood Get Good Vibes. You can learn more about blood donation and become a donor by finding a center near you. 

29 November,2023 06:16 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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New stem cell therapy may help delay progression of multiple sclerosis: Study

An injection of a type of stem cell into the brains of patients living with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is safe, well-tolerated, and has a long-lasting effect that appears to protect the brain from further damage, show initial results of clinical trial. The study led by an international team is a first-in-human, early-stage clinical trial that involved injecting neural stem cells directly into the brains of 15 patients with secondary MS, and is a step towards developing an advanced cell therapy treatment for progressive MS. Their findings were published in the journal Cell Stem Cell. "We desperately need to develop new treatments for secondary progressive MS, and I am cautiously very excited about our findings, which are a step towards developing a cell therapy for treating MS," said Professor Stefano Pluchino from the University of Cambridge, who co-led the study with researchers at Milan Bicocca and Hospital Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza in Italy. Over 2 million people live with MS worldwide, and while treatments exist that can reduce the severity and frequency of relapses, two-thirds of MS patients still transition into a debilitating secondary progressive phase of disease within 25-30 years of diagnosis, where disability grows steadily worse. In MS, the body’s own immune system attacks and damages myelin, the protective sheath around nerve fibres, causing disruption to messages sent around the brain and spinal cord. The injected stem cells were derived from cells taken from brain tissue from a single, miscarried foetal donor. The team followed the patients over 12 months, during which time they observed no treatment-related deaths or serious adverse events. While some side-effects were observed, all were either temporary or reversible. All the patients showed high levels of disability at the start of the trial -- most required a wheelchair, for example -- but during the 12 month follow up period, none showed any increase in disability or a worsening of symptoms. None of the patients reported symptoms that suggested a relapse and nor did their cognitive function worsen significantly during the study. Overall, the researchers said, this points to a substantial stability of the disease, without signs of progression, though the high levels of disability at the start of the trial make this difficult to confirm. "We recognise that our study has limitations -- it was only a small study and there may have been confounding effects from the immunosuppressant drugs, for example -- but the fact that our treatment was safe and that its effects lasted over the 12 months of the trial means that we can proceed to the next stage of clinical trials," Pluchino said. The researchers also assessed a subgroup of patients for changes in the volume of brain tissue associated with disease progression. They found that the larger the dose of injected stem cells, the smaller the reduction in this brain volume over time. They speculate that this may be because the stem cell transplant dampened inflammation. 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

29 November,2023 08:44 AM IST | London | IANS
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Pancreatic Cancer: Causes, symptoms, and risk factors

The pancreas, a small organ situated deep within the abdomen, often goes unnoticed until it becomes a source of health concern. Responsible for producing digestive enzymes and regulating blood sugar, the pancreas plays a pivotal role in maintaining overall health. When malignant cells take root in this organ, this causes pancreatic cancer. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer is crucial for early detection and improved outcomes in the fight against this deadly disease. Causes of pancreatic cancerThe exact causes of pancreatic cancer remain a subject of ongoing research, but several risk factors have been identified: Age: Pancreatic cancer is more common in older individuals, with the majority of cases diagnosed in people over the age of 45. The risk increases significantly after the age of 65. Tobacco use: Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Smokers are two to three times more likely to develop the disease than non-smokers. Family history: A family history of pancreatic cancer or certain genetic syndromes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, can increase the risk of developing the disease. Chronic pancreatitis: Individuals with chronic inflammation of the pancreas have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer over time. Obesity: Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, possibly due to the associated chronic inflammation and metabolic changes. Diabetes: New-onset diabetes or long-standing, poorly controlled diabetes may be associated with an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer. Common symptoms Pancreatic cancer is notorious for its subtle onset and late diagnosis, making it one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Symptoms can be vague and non-specific, leading to delayed diagnosis. Common symptoms include: Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes is often an early sign of pancreatic cancer. It occurs when the tumor obstructs the bile duct, preventing the flow of bile. Abdominal pain: Dull, aching pain in the upper abdomen or back may be an indicator of pancreatic cancer. This pain can become more severe as the disease progresses. Unexplained weight loss: Sudden and unexplained weight loss is a red flag for many health conditions, including pancreatic cancer. Appetite loss: A loss of appetite and feeling full quickly after eating small amounts of food can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer. Changes in stool: Light-coloured, greasy, or foul-smelling stools may indicate a problem with the pancreas, affecting the digestion of fats. Early detection and diagnosisEarly detection is crucial in the fight against pancreatic cancer, but it is often diagnosed in its advanced stages due to the lack of early, specific symptoms. Diagnostic tools for pancreatic cancer include imaging tests like CT scans, MRIs, and endoscopic ultrasounds. Additionally, blood tests for tumor markers can help in the diagnosis. Prevention and awarenessWhile not all risk factors can be eliminated, there are steps individuals can take to reduce their risk of pancreatic cancer: Quit smoking: If you smoke, quitting is one of the most effective ways to lower your risk. Maintain a healthy weight: Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise can help reduce the risk of many cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Manage diabetes: If you have diabetes, work with your healthcare provider to manage it effectively. Genetic counselling: Individuals with a family history of pancreatic cancer or genetic predisposition may benefit from genetic counselling and testing. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors associated with this disease is crucial for timely diagnosis and improved outcomes. Anyone experiencing persistent symptoms or falling into the high-risk category should seek medical evaluation and guidance to ensure the best chances of early detection and successful treatment. As research into pancreatic cancer continues, there is hope for better diagnostics and treatments in the future. (Dr Nandish Jeevangi, senior consultant medical oncology, HCG Kalaburagi) 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

29 November,2023 08:43 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Rush-hour traffic pollution can spike your BP, up heart risk up to 24 hrs: Study

Breathing unfiltered air from rush-hour traffic can significantly increase passengers’ blood pressure up to 24 hours later, revealed an alarming study, even as New Delhi and the nearby regions of Gurugram, Ghaziabad have been gripped with bad air quality for about a month. Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution -- a complex mixture of exhaust from tailpipes, brake and tire wear, and road dust -- has been linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, asthma, lung cancer and death. The new study, detailed in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that the inhalation of traffic-related air pollution while in a car with unfiltered air was associated with a 4.5 mm Hg increase in blood pressure -- comparable to the effect of a high-sodium diet. This change in blood pressure occurred rapidly, peaked within 60 minutes of exposure, and persisted over 24 hours. “We know that modest increases in blood pressure like this, on a population level, are associated with a significant increase in cardiovascular disease,” said Joel Kaufman, a physician and professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at University of Washington, US. “There is a growing understanding that air pollution contributes to heart problems. The idea that roadway air pollution at relatively low levels can affect blood pressure this much is an important piece of the puzzle we’re trying to solve,” he added. But using high-quality HEPA filters in cars blocked out 86 per cent of particulate pollution, revealed the study. However, the findings raise questions about ultrafine particles, an unregulated and little-understood pollutant that has become a source of growing concern among public health experts. Traffic-related air pollution contains high concentrations of ultrafine particles -- less than 100 nanometers in diameter, much too small to be seen. In the study, unfiltered air contained high levels of ultrafine particles, though the overall level of pollution as measured by fine particle concentration (PM 2.5) was relatively low, equivalent to an AQI of 36. "Ultrafine particles are the pollutant that were most effectively filtered in our experiment -- in other words, where the levels are most dramatically high on the road and low in the filtered environment,” Kaufman said. “So, the hint is that ultrafines may be especially important (for blood pressure). To actually prove that requires further research, but this study provides a very strong clue as to what’s going on," Kaufman 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.

29 November,2023 08:41 AM IST | New York | IANS
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