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How almonds can help boost post-exercise muscle recovery and performance

A new study found that eating almonds reduces feeling of muscle soreness during exercise recovery which translates to improved muscle performance during a vertical jump challenge. These results expand on prior research which looked at how almonds affect muscle recovery after exercise. In the new research study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition and funded by the Almond Board of California, 25 mildly overweight middle-aged men and women performed a 30-minute downhill treadmill run test after eight weeks of consuming 57g (two ounces) of whole raw almonds daily. The control group ate a calorie-matched (86 g/three ounces) snack of unsalted pretzels. The treadmill test was designed to cause muscle damage to see how almonds affected muscle recovery. Also Read: ‘Lazy Girl Job’: How Gen-Z is changing the way we perceive jobs today  Researchers measured participants’ muscle function; blood markers of muscle damage and inflammation; and perceived muscle soreness using a visual scale, before, during, and at three time points after the treadmill test. They also measured markers of cardiometabolic health, body composition, and psycho-social assessments of mood, appetite, and well-being at baseline and after eight weeks of almond snacking. Participants who ate almonds experienced an almost 25 per cent reduction in muscle soreness when performing an explosive power exercise (a vertical jump challenge) over the cumulative 72-hour exercise recovery period. The perceived reduction in soreness translated to better muscle performance during the vertical jump challenge in the almond group versus the control. No significant differences were observed in measures of cardiometabolic health, muscle damage/inflammation, mood state, or appetite for the almond group or the control group. Also Read: Have you acquired the bookshelf wealth? The study included non-smoking participants who were mildly overweight and occasionally physically active but were not trained athletes. A limitation of this study is that the results are not generalisable to populations with other demographic and health characteristics. “Our study suggests that snacking on almonds can be recommended to occasional exercisers as a go-to food to help fitness recovery after strenuous exercise,” said Dr. Oliver C. Witard, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Metabolism and Nutrition at Kings College London. “Almonds are naturally nutritious with protein, good fats and the antioxidant vitamin E. They can be considered an ideal food for fitness.” One serving of almonds (28 g) has 4 g of plant protein, 13 g of good unsaturated fat and only 1 g of saturated fat. Also Read: Dangal actor Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise spurs efforts to raise awareness about autoimmune diseases: Doctors 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

27 February,2024 02:10 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Mid-Day Premium National Protein Day: An expert guide to picking your protein

National Protein Day is observed across India on February 27 every year. The main aim is to raise awareness about the health benefits of protein in our diets. “It’s crucial to understand the significance of protein in our diets and the diverse options available to meet our protein needs,” says Dr Archana Batra dietician, and a certified diabetes educator. With a plethora of protein supplements flooding the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is best suited to your lifestyle, dietary preferences, and fitness goals. On National Protein Day, we asked the nutrition expert to outline the pros and cons associated with popular protein alternatives and help us make an informed decision by offering in-depth comparative information. 1. Whey protein Whey protein is one of the most popular and widely consumed protein supplements. It is derived from milk during the cheese-making process and is rich in essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for muscle building and recovery. Whey protein is rapidly absorbed by the body, making it ideal for post-workout consumption when fast delivery of amino acids to the muscles is crucial for recovery and growth. Pros Fast absorption: Whey protein is quickly digested and absorbed by the body, making it ideal for post-workout recovery.                                                          High in essential amino acids: Whey protein contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair. Versatile: Whey protein can be easily incorporated into shakes, smoothies, and recipes to increase protein intake. Cons Dairy-derived: Individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies may experience digestive discomfort when consuming whey protein. Price: Whey protein supplements can be relatively expensive compared to other protein options. Also Read: World Cancer Day: Examining the impact of physical activity on preventing breast cancer 2. Casein protein Casein protein is another dairy-derived protein sourced from milk. Unlike whey protein, casein is digested and absorbed slowly by the body, providing a sustained release of amino acids over a longer period. This slow-release property makes casein protein an excellent choice for providing a steady supply of amino acids to the muscles, particularly during periods of fasting or overnight. Pros Slow digestionCasein protein forms a gel-like substance in the stomach, resulting in slow digestion and prolonged amino acid release. SatietyThe slow digestion of casein protein can help promote feelings of fullness and satiety, making it a suitable option for weight management. Muscle preservationCasein protein may help prevent muscle breakdown during periods of fasting or between meals. Cons Dairy-basedSimilar to whey protein, casein protein may not be suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. TextureCasein protein tends to have a thicker and creamier texture compared to whey protein, which may not be preferred by some individuals. Also Read: Do unmarried women in India feel judged and ashamed when visiting gynaecologists? 3. Plant-based protein Plant-based protein supplements have gained popularity in recent years, particularly among vegetarians, vegans, and individuals with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance. These protein powders are derived from sources such as peas, rice, hemp, soy, and quinoa, and they offer a complete amino acid profile comparable to animal-based proteins. Below, are the various types of plant-based protein sources commonly available: Pea Protein Pea protein is derived from yellow peas and is rich in essential amino acids, particularly lysine, which is often limited in plant-based proteins. It's easily digestible and suitable for individuals with soy or gluten allergies.   Hemp Protein Hemp protein is extracted from hemp seeds and contains all nine essential amino acids. It's also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, making it beneficial for heart health and digestion.   Soy ProteinSoy protein is derived from soybeans and is a complete protein, meaning it provides all essential amino acids. It's commonly used in plant-based protein powders and offers various health benefits, including supporting bone health and reducing cholesterol levels.  Rice Protein Rice protein is made from brown rice and is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for individuals with food sensitivities or allergies. While it's not a complete protein on its own, it can be combined with other plant-based protein sources to enhance its amino acid profile. Quinoa Protein Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Quinoa protein powder is gluten-free and offers a range of nutrients, including fibre, magnesium, and iron.  Pros Vegan-friendlyPlant-based protein supplements are free from animal products, making them suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Allergen-friendlyPlant-based protein powders are free from common allergens like dairy and lactose, making them suitable for individuals with food sensitivities. SustainableProducing plant-based protein requires fewer resources and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to animal-based protein production. Cons DigestibilitySome plant-based protein sources may be less digestible or bioavailable than animal-based proteins, leading to potential digestive discomfort for some individuals. FlavourPlant-based protein powders may have a stronger, earthier taste compared to whey or casein protein, which may not be appealing to everyone. Also Read: Chef Ranveer Brar set to trace Indian culinary secrets with new cooking show ‘The Family Table’ 4. Blended Protein Blended protein supplements combine multiple protein sources, such as whey, casein, and plant-based proteins, to provide a balanced amino acid profile and a combination of fast and slow-digesting proteins. These supplements aim to offer the benefits of both rapid and sustained amino acid release for optimal muscle growth, recovery, and satiety. Pros Balanced amino acid profileBlended protein supplements combine different protein sources to provide a complete spectrum of amino acids for optimal muscle building and recovery. VersatilityBlended protein powders can be used at any time of day, whether post-workout, between meals, or as a meal replacement. DigestibilityBlended protein supplements may be easier on the digestive system compared to pure whey or casein protein for some individuals. Cons CostBlended protein supplements may be more expensive than single-source protein powders due to the inclusion of multiple protein sources. Flavour and textureBlended protein powders may have a different taste and texture compared to single-source protein supplements, which may appeal to only some. Five things to consider while choosing the right protein for you By considering these factors and exploring the diverse range of protein options available, you can select the protein supplement that best aligns with your dietary preferences, supports your fitness goals, and enhances your overall health and well-being. By making informed choices and incorporating quality protein sources into your diet, you can nourish your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive.  1. Assess your dietary preferences and restrictionsConsider whether you follow a specific dietary pattern, such as vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous. Determine if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, such as lactose intolerance or sensitivity to certain plant-based proteins like soy.  2. Identify your fitness goals Determine your primary fitness objectives, whether they involve muscle building, weight management, or overall health and well-being. Tailor your protein choice to support your specific fitness goals. For example, if you're aiming to build muscle, prioritise protein sources that are high in essential amino acids and easily digestible. 3. Consider timing and usageEvaluate when you plan to consume protein supplements. For instance, do you need a fast-digesting protein for post-workout recovery, or are you seeking a slower-digesting protein for sustained energy and satiety? Determine how you intend to incorporate protein supplements into your daily routine. Will you use them as post-workout shakes, meal replacements, or snacks between meals? 4. Review protein quality and composition Assess the amino acid profile of different protein sources. Look for complete protein sources that provide all nine essential amino acids in adequate proportions. Consider the bioavailability and digestibility of different protein types. Some proteins may be more easily absorbed and utilised by the body than others. 5. Evaluate taste and texture preferencesTake into account your taste preferences and sensory preferences when selecting protein supplements. Some individuals may prefer the taste and texture of certain proteins over others.  Experiment with different flavours and formulations to find a protein supplement that you enjoy and can consistently incorporate into your diet.  Also Read: Open peri peri paneer dosa, hibiscus dosa and other innovative recipes to add a twist to your dosa

27 February,2024 10:30 AM IST | New Delhi | Maitrai Agarwal
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Mid-Day Premium Do this to reverse premature greying of hair

Spotting a lone grey hair can be a stark reminder of ageing. While a greater number of Gen Z and young Indians are sporting grey locks as a fashion statement – there lies an undeniable signpost that the hands of time are at work. To break down the lifecycle of one hair strand – it undergoes a repeated process of renewal and an eventual demise. As the ageing process unfolds, the once-vibrant hair follicles weaken, leading to reduced production of the pigment – melanin. Consequently, the inevitable growth of grey hair becomes apparent – reveals Mridul Munet, CMO, Vasmol (HRIPL). “Melanin is a crucial pigment residing in the hair follicle which determines the hair colour. Its gradual depletion marks a transformative shift in the colour range of your hair,” he adds emphasising that it is one of the primary factors behind the premature greying of hair. To unravel ways to improve hair health, spoke to experts who shed light on home-based remedies to reverse grey hair. Boosting melanin production Reversal of greying hair is fairly simple if you can narrow down the factors causing the greyness. For example, you could be developing grey hair due to vitamin deficiency which can be corrected with the consumption of the right nutritients – shares Radhika Iyer Talati, the founder of Anahata Organic. To counter such deficiencies – a balanced diet, laden with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, emerges as the primal method to attain optimal hair health. When it comes to promoting melanin production – Vitamins B12, folate and copper stand out as crucial players in melanin synthesis, stresses the hair and skin expert - Mansi Gulati. “Incorporating these vitamins into your daily meals can foster a natural radiance that extends from within,” remarks Gulati. One can consume vitamin B12 with an array of options, including eggs, dairy products and lean meats. Equally important is the inclusion of folate-rich foods such as leafy greens, legumes and whole grains. By incorporating these nutrient-dense choices, you not only support overall well-being but also provide the building blocks necessary for robust melanin synthesis. Further enrich your diet with copper from sources like nuts, seeds and seafood to nourish hair locks.  One could go by the mantra – grey hair, no care; but that might mean living in denial. The condition of one's hair also serves as an indicator of mental well-being and lifestyle choices. If it's apparent that stress is leading to grey hair, then meditating and including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet can restore your original hair colour faster than you think. Research also shows that cutting down on smoking and drinking also reduces anxiety and oxidative stress. Avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or blow-drying your hair too often will also help reverse grey hair. Even though grey hair due to genetics cannot be reversed, there are ways to reduce that effect to a large extent. Home-based beetroot hair mask to reverse grey hair For ages, pure and natural dyes have been used to reverse the greying of hair. “Today, the market is flooded with diverse varieties of hair colour products. These products contain a host of chemicals and questionable ingredients which the consumer is left to use with incomplete knowledge,” reveals Talati. This leaves the consumer puzzled about what works and what does not. In a quest to find natural and home-based remedies, Gulati shares an easy hair mask recipe that can be whipped up in the comfort of one’s home. 1. Brew a strong cup of coffee and let it cool.2. Combine the coffee with the oil from a vitamin E capsule and a generous amount of beetroot juice to form a smooth paste.3. Apply this mixture evenly to your hair and let it sit for about 30 minutes.4. Post 30 minutes, rinse your hair with normal water The coffee adds depth and darkness, vitamin E nourishes your hair and beetroot juice imparts a beautiful reddish tint. Repeat this process bi-monthly to maintain and enhance the richness of your naturally dyed locks. Rubbing onion juice onto the scalp Our grandmothers would always use onion juice on their scalps to maintain hair health, reminisces Talati. Red onions have proven to be a timeless, effective way to control grey hair and boost hair growth. The juice of an onion raises catalase, an enzyme that is responsible for darkening hair. Not only that, onion juice is a great source of hydration for the scalp and is known to add shine and glow to the hair. Here’s how you can make this paste: 1. Mix 3 tablespoons of onion juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a bowl.2. Massage your scalp with this combination.3. Wash after 30 minutes with a natural shampoo. Talati affirms that you will notice visible results within a month. Using curry leaves for hydration Curry leaves contain precious Vitamin B that restores the pigment melanin in the hair follicles. Using curry leaves in many forms is known to reverse and prevent further greying. Beta-keratin present in curry leaves prevents hair fall and helps keep the scalp hydrated. 1. Prepare a paste by grinding 20 grams of fresh curry leaves with some water.2. Mix this with 2 tablespoons of curd and apply this all over your head and hair. Leave it on for 25 minutes or more and wash off with a natural shampoo.3. Boil 20 grams of curry leaves, 1/2 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds and 1 tablespoon of nigella seeds in about 5 tablespoons of coconut oil until the leaves turn black. Strain and use this oil on your hair.4. Boil a cupful of curry leaves in a cup of oil till they turn black.5. Cool, strain and store.6. Massage into hair 2-3 times a week. Leave overnight and repeat at least 3 times a week. Identifying the factors behind premature greying of hair The colour and style of hair play a pivotal role in augmenting an individual's physical appearance, thereby influencing their body image, opines Munet. The greying of hair, often perceived as a tell-tale sign of advancing age, can significantly impact an individual's self-esteem. He lays down the primary causes responsible for grey hair: 1. Various lifestyle choices can lead to early greying, such as prolonged use of digital screens and electronic devices, pollution, stress and inadequate sleep. These elements elevate the generation of free radicals, which can harm melanocytes and hasten the process of hair turning grey. 3. Extended exposure to sunlight's UV radiation can result in oxidative stress within hair follicles, harming melanocytes and leading to premature greying. It's recommended to shield your hair from excessive sun exposure and consider using products with UV protection. 3. Premature greying can be influenced by pollution and exposure to specific chemicals, which elevate oxidative stress on melanocytes. Safeguarding your hair from environmental pollutants and utilising hair care products containing antioxidants can assist in reducing this impact. 4. The impact of hair dyes and chemical treatments on premature greying depends on the ingredients used. Conventional hair dyes may have harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, potentially harming melanocytes. 5. Lack of essential nutrients like vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, copper, calcium and ferritin can contribute to premature greying.  

27 February,2024 08:45 AM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Mid-Day Premium Do some gynaecologists judge unmarried women for having premarital sex?

“I have had a 24-year-old patient who was judged by her previous gynaecologist for having premarital sex and was asked to call her mother into the room and describe her concerns. This patient was also refused contraceptives as she was told it was unnecessary before marriage. Incidents like these only make me realise how being judgmental comes so easily to even experts in our society,” reveals Dr Divya Vora, obstetrician and gynaecologist.  Similarly, when asked if he too has come across a patient who was judged by a gynaecologist for being sexually active, Dr Rohan Palshetkar, head of unit Bloom IVF, professor at Dept of OBGY, D.Y. Patil School of Medicine says, “Unfortunately I have.” The doctor chose not to share any more details for privacy reasons.   This is not to say that all the gynaecologists in the country have an orthodox mindset. To dive deep into this subject, Mid-day Online conversed with Vora and Palshetkar who shared relevant details and provided solutions to unmarried women for proper guidance and treatment.  Do unmarried women, especially those sexually active, fear visiting gynaecologists?  Vora: Absolutely. Our society is still very unaccepting of women being sexually active before marriage. Unfortunately, a lot of gynaecologists tend to have that mindset too. It is something that needs to be part of our medical curriculum – to be non-judgmental and be able to have open, progressive, and appropriate conversations about sex.  Palshetkar: To be honest it varies from area to area. When we are looking at the metro cities, it isn’t a major issue. The majority of women residing in metro cities won’t be concerned about their sexual status. Few might get worried and may even withhold the information if they are going to their gynaecologist for a regular check-up. However, if you do have any problems, it is important to be clear. We are there to help you and there will not be a judgement from our end. Sexual health and reproductive rights should be upheld and treated without judgement.  Does being judged negatively impact patients’ overall well-being?  Vora: One bad experience with a gynaecologist can lead to fear in the patient to visit any gynaecologist even in the future. It can make them feel like all doctors are judgmental and insensitive. The experience can also make them feel like they did something morally incorrect. This not only leads to their inability to trust their doctor but also prevents them from seeking timely medical care when needed.  Palshetkar: Firstly, coming across a gynaecologist who is judgmental regarding the sexual health of an individual is rare. However, for those who do experience this, it can lead to breaking the trust of the patient towards the doctor. Such a patient won’t divulge all the information leading to improper treatment due to lack of information.  Is there a viable solution?  Vora: Unfortunately, not even 1 per cent of our society can be called progressive considering the density of our population, especially rural. Having said that, there is a drastic improvement in this generation of doctors in terms of being able to have open, judgement-free conversations and the future looks better.  For women looking for a gynaecologist, do not go ahead with a doctor who asks your parent to be in the room, judges/scowls at you for being sexually active, makes you feel uncomfortable with their statements/expressions, denies treatment based on their cultural beliefs, and makes you feel guilty/impure. Don’t go to your mother’s/aunt’s gynaecologist if it makes you uncomfortable. Ask around, do your research, and then pick a gynaecologist you can trust and be open with.  For me, the question I directly ask is ‘Are you sexually active?’ When the marital status is not addressed, it makes my patient believe that it does not matter, and very honestly, it does not. It's very important to make the patient feel like they can share anything and everything with you without having to lie/hesitate. We need to understand that we deal with the most intimate concerns, and the only way to approach them is by being understanding, judgment-free, empathetic, and most importantly, confidential. Palshetkar: I think times are changing where we can even talk about sex before marriage. I think the time will come when there probably won’t be any judgement. We must accept everyone’s individual decisions even if they don’t match our line of thinking. Whether patients come for a regular check-up or they seek an abortion, it isn’t our place to judge their actions. It is important to be objective and ensure they get the best line of treatment. We can advise them of options but not enforce them.  In my opinion, there isn’t a right or wrong way to pick the doctor. Maybe you can consider going to their Google page or website, understand their speciality and then figure it out. Sometimes even after doing that you may meet doctors who may not suit your needs but they will refer you to someone who will help treat your conditions.  What societal changes are necessary to ensure women have easy access to sexual health-related medical assistance? Vora: It's simple. By not talking about marriage at all! Why should someone’s sexual activity be associated with being married? By implementing comprehensive sex education in the curriculum, having safe spaces for people to be able to talk about their bodies and concerns openly, having public awareness campaigns, providing healthcare workers training regarding these matters, conducting community workshops, and providing legal protections that ensure privacy and confidentiality for anyone seeking reproductive health advice can go a long way in bringing about a positive change.  Palshetkar: I think it’s important to bring about awareness about sexually transmitted infections, the right to abortions, and sexual and reproductive health rights so that society is sensitised to all situations. This will help women approach gynaecologists to get their treatment in time and ensure that they do not have any long-term effects of their ailments.  Are there any benefits of being sexually active before marriage? Vora: Engaging in consensual sexual activity before marriage can have potential benefits. Some of them include: Emotional connect: Sexual intimacy can deepen bonds and foster better communication between partners. Compatibility: Exploring sexual compatibility before marriage allows couples to understand each other's needs, preferences, and desires. Reduced anxiety: Addressing sexual concerns before marriage can alleviate anxiety and promote a healthier relationship.Understanding one’s own body: Learning about one's own and each other’s bodies and sexual needs can be empowering and contribute to overall well-being. Open communication, mutual consent, and respect are extremely important for a positive and healthy sexual relationship, regardless of marital status. Palshetkar: There are no benefits to being sexually active before marriage, however, it isn’t a liability either if you are careful about your reproductive and sexual health.  How can women advocate for themselves? Vora: It is always best to tell a gynaecologist who becomes your moral police about how uncomfortable they made you feel. It is also completely okay to change your doctor multiple times if need be. I don’t believe in public humiliation, there are more positive ways of handling a situation. Palshetkar: I think you should not get affected and consider changing your gynaecologist to ensure you get the right treatment without any judgement. 

27 February,2024 07:05 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Can dehydration lead to stroke, as mentioned by Zerodha's Nithin Kamath?

Dehydration, a dangerous loss of body fluid, can be a significant contributing factor for suffering a stroke, said doctors on Tuesday, after Zerodha co-founder and CEO Nithin Kamath cited it as a possible reason behind his recent stroke. In a post on X, Kamath on Monday revealed he suffered a mild stroke around six weeks ago. Besides poor sleep and exhaustion, he said dehydration could be a reason. "Around six weeks ago, I had a mild stroke out of the blue. Dad passing away, poor sleep, exhaustion, dehydration, and overworking out - any of these could be possible reasons,” he posted. Kamath said that he is on the path to recovery. "While dehydration isn't the direct cause of stroke, it can be a contributing factor mainly in cerebral venous strokes rather than arterial strokes," Guruprasad Hosurkar, Additional Director - Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, told IANS. "Dehydration involves losing more fluids from our bodies than what is gained thereby causing an electrolyte imbalance in the body hence affecting various body functions. One of the least known effects of severe dehydration is that it possibly increases chances for stroke development," said Koulsoum Houssein, full time consultant, Holy Family Hospital, Bandra. Also Read: Dangal actor Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise spurs efforts to raise awareness about autoimmune diseases: Doctors The health experts explained that dehydration leads to thickening of blood, which slows blood flow to the organs including brain which in turn, can increase the risk of blood clot formation and cause stroke. "During episodes of dehydration, blood thickens making it difficult for the heart to effectively pump blood through the arteries. This in turn may lead to low blood pressure as well as low supply of blood to the brain (insufficient cerebral perfusion), thus increasing risks for developing strokes," Houssein told IANS. "Dehydration can also make vessels in the brain narrow so much which then reduces flow of blood together with oxygen needed by vital tissues in brain areas. Additionally, inadequate hydration affects temperature regulation which might result in heat related illnesses stressing out the cardiac system further," he noted. A large study published in the Lancet journal eBioMedicine, last year, showed that people who aren't hydrated enough may age faster and even have a higher risk for chronic diseases that could result in early death. Not consuming enough water can increase the risk of death by 20 per cent, it showed. Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health, including reducing stroke risk, said the experts. "Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, particularly during hot weather or physical activity," they said. Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Longer the life of a food product, the sooner your expiry date: Revant Himatsingka aka Food Pharmer Kamath is also known for his fitness advice on social media. While he reiterated the need to keep oneself fit, the stroke, he acknowledged, left him questioning why a person who's fit and takes care of himself could be affected. "Stroke is usually associated with old age and pre-existing conditions like hypertension and diabetes; however, it is essential to note that young people who seem healthy can become stroke victims. In this age group, apart from dehydration, unappreciated cardiovascular conditions as congenital heart diseases, or abnormalities in blood supplying vessels to the brain, often go unrecognised," Houssein explained. Drug abuse, trauma or brain injury, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases are other reasons that result in strokes among young and fit persons. Also Read: Are vapes really a safer alternative to cigarettes? The doctors stressed the need for regular medical check-ups and screenings particularly among those whose family history has incidences of strokes or heart diseases; eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. 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

27 February,2024 01:40 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Mitchell Kenneth

'Star Trek' actor Kenneth Mitchell succumbs to fatal motor neuron disease

Canadian actor Kenneth Mitchell, known for roles in 'Star Trek' and 'Captain Marvel', on Monday passed away aged 49 due to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- a fatal motor neuron disease. The disease, a slow degeneration of nerves of the brain, starts in mid-middle age, around 50s. Ken battled the fatal disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, for five and a half years, his family posted in a statement on Instagram. “With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Kenneth Alexander Mitchell, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, son and dear friend,” the post read. “Ken was widely known as an actor in many films and television shows. He portrayed an Olympic hopeful, an apocalypse survivor, an astronaut, a superhero’s dad, and four unique Star Trekkers,” it added. Dr Ishu Goyal, Associate Consultant Neurologist, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, says that no particular reason behind the disease is known yet, which makes it difficult to predict who can get the disease. “While sometimes it is genetic, it does not run in families. So we cannot really predict who is going to get ALS,” Ishu said. Muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventually respiratory failure are the main outcomes of ALS, which predominantly affects the motor neurons that regulate voluntary muscles -- used for chewing, talking and moving arms and legs. Symptoms of ALS include muscle weakness, muscle cramps and twitches (fasciculations), impaired motor function, dysphagia, or slurred speech, increased muscular tone and stiffness and breathing issues. “People with ALS may eventually lose their abilities to move, breathe, eat, and talk as the disease worsens,” Dr Vipul Gupta, chief of Neurointervention and co-chief of stroke unit, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, told IANS. “Insufficient oxygen delivery to the bloodstream by the lungs is the primary cause of death for most ALS patients. Breathing may become difficult or impossible with ALS. This is due to the fact that it affects the muscles in our lungs and chest. The diaphragm, which divides your chest from your abdomen, is one of these muscles. Other breathing muscles affected include those between your ribs,” he added. A common clinical feature of the disease is its slow-growing process. “It usually starts with weakness in one part of the body. It may start from the hand or leg. And gradually the weakness keeps on increasing, and it keeps on stepwise involving the other parts of the body. So the part of the body that gets affected loses its function,” Ishu said. Over the years, the weakness keeps on increasing, making the patient wheelchair-bound. However, the patient remains mentally normal. They can think, communicate normally. Gradually it also affects speaking function, and ultimately turns fatal as it starts affecting respiration, as well as causes swallowing dysfunction. Unfortunately, there is no particular cure for this disorder, but there are a few drugs which slow down the process of ALS to a certain extent, the doctors said. It may prolong the life of the patient by a few months. The two drugs that are currently used are the Tarragon injections, which are given monthly, and Dialysol tablets, which have to be taken twice daily.

26 February,2024 04:42 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
Parents, Divyam Patel and Dr Lalit verma. Image credits: Global Hospital, Mumbai

Mother donates part of liver to 12-year-old son in lifesaving transplant

Mumbai: A mother from Surat, selflessly donated a portion of her liver to her 12-year-old son who was suffering from severe acute liver failure. Dr Lalit Verma, Dr Gaurav Chaubal and the liver transplant team successfully conducted an intricate 12-hour transplant surgery to save the child's life. The child has now been discharged from the hospital and is gearing up to return to school as he did before. Divyam Patel was doing well until he developed a high fever and began vomiting. He received outpatient care with supportive treatment and oral antibiotics in Surat. However, after 5 days, he had altered consciousness and was admitted to a tertiary care hospital on 27/12/ 23 in altered consciousness. Due to liver failure indicated by abnormal liver function tests, he required an urgent transplant. Subsequently, he was transferred to Global Hospitals in Parel Mumbai for further treatment. Dr Lalit Verma, Sr Consultant, Pediatric Liver Transplant Program said, “With continuous higher requirement of ventilator support and risk of internal bleeding decision was made to perform a liver transplant on super urgent basis. He was having severe acute liver failure secondary to the Hepatitis A virus. Approximately 99 percent of patients who contract Hepatitis A infection recover without hospitalisation. However, 0.5 to 1 percent of patients may require ICU care and some may need to undergo liver transplant with worsening of liver function (jaundice, bleeding, multi-organ failure). His mother with the same blood group came forward to donate a part of her liver.  The required test was performed in a record time. Dr Gaurav Chaubal, Director of Liver, Pancreas, Intestine Transplant and HPB Surgery led a team to perform a 12-hour surgery and was discharged 12 days after surgery. Divyam miraculously responded to the treatment and recovered in 12 days post-surgery “After the successful transplant, Divyam has shown remarkable progress and a strong desire to return to normalcy. His appetite and overall activity have significantly improved. His eagerness to resume school reflects not only his determination but his innate resilience,” said Dr Chaubal. “As a mother, witnessing my son's struggle with liver failure was heartbreaking. The fear of losing him consumed me until the doctors stepped in and gave us hope through a life-saving liver transplant. Their team of dedicated medical professionals worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the procedure. I am forever grateful for their expertise and commitment. Witnessing the transformation in my son post-transplant has been nothing short of miraculous. He can now eat well and has resumed his daily routine. He will soon be meeting his friends as he intends to join the school in some days.  We have realized the importance of organ donation and will advocate for raising awareness about this critical issue,” concluded Mrunalini Patel. 

26 February,2024 04:11 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Mid-Day Premium Donor gametes are allowed for single women, divorcees but here is the catch

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has modified the surrogacy rules (2022) to let married couples avail an egg or sperm of a donor in case one of the partners has a medical condition. As per the new law, the District Medical Board has to certify that either the husband or wife is suffering from a medical condition necessitating the use of donor gamete. The surrogacy using donor gamete is allowed subject to the condition that the child to be born through surrogacy must have at least one gamete from the intending couple, it stated. Before the passing of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021, restrictions on the definition, process and rights of the intending couple, intending mother, surrogate and child were not established, informs Mr Nitiz Murdia, the co-founder and managing director at Indira IVF. In light of the mushrooming of IVF and surrogacy clinics in India – the regulations to govern the space remained grey. With the upgraded Act now, the following factors have been established:  What is the eligibility criteria?  For couples 1. The couple must be of Indian origin. 2. The couple must be legally married. 3. The female partner must be between the ages of 23 and 50, while the male partner must be between the ages of 26 and 55 on the day of registration. 4. The couple must not have any surviving child either biologically, through adoption, or via surrogacy. Additionally, they must not have a child who is mentally or physically challenged, or suffering from a life-threatening disorder without a permanent cure. The amendment came after the Supreme Court last year received petitions from women across the country  For single women 1. The woman must be of Indian origin. 2. She must be either a widow or a divorcee. 3. She must be between the ages of 35 and 45 years. 4. The woman must not have any surviving child either biologically, through adoption, or via surrogacy. Additionally, she must not have a child who is mentally or physically challenged, or suffering from a life-threatening disorder without a permanent cure.  Also Read: Do unmarried women in India feel judged and ashamed when visiting gynaecologists?  Eligibility to be a surrogate mother: 1. Must willingly agree to become a surrogate mother without any form of force or coercion. 2. Must be willing to engage in altruistic surrogacy, where no financial compensation, fees or remuneration, except for necessary medical expenses and prescribed costs, are provided to the surrogate mother or her dependents. 3. Must have been previously married. 4. Must have at least one child of her own. 5. Must be between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of implantation. 6. Must not have previously served as a surrogate mother and must not have had three unsuccessful attempts at surrogacy. 7. Must not provide her own gametes for the surrogacy process. 8. Must provide consent as required by the relevant laws and regulations.  Medical requirements for the intending couple or woman Murdia stresses that the intending couple or woman must have one of the following medical indications necessitating gestational surrogacy: 1. Absence of uterus, congenital absence, or abnormality of the uterus (such as hypoplastic uterus, intrauterine adhesions, thin endometrium or small uni-cornuate uterus) or surgical removal of the uterus due to medical conditions like gynaecological cancer. 2. Intended parent or woman experiencing recurrent failure to conceive after multiple attempts of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), also known as recurrent implantation failure. 3. Multiple pregnancy losses without an identifiable medical cause or unexplained graft rejection attributed to an exaggerated immune response. 4. Any medical condition rendering it impossible for the woman to carry a pregnancy to viability or posing life-threatening risks during pregnancy.   In the presence of these conditions, the Act first presented had allowed the use of gametes only from the biological parents to be fertilised and to be used for the purpose of surrogacy. However, there can be other medical indications due to which a female might be unable to produce eggs at all and may also have a dysfunctional uterus. This includes the following:   1. She has Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is a disorder that mainly affects the female reproductive system. This condition causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent, although external genitalia are normal 2. She has pre-mature ovarian failure wherein a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs before the age of 40 and transition to menopause What previous surrogacy law stated The Centre had in March 2023 issued a notification banning donor gametes for couples intending to undergo surrogacy. The amendment came after the Supreme Court last year received petitions from women across the country after it allowed a woman with a rare congenital disorder to avail surrogacy with a donor egg. Thus, keeping this in mind, the amendment to allow the use of one donor gamete has been introduced. However, the modified act now eases the constraints faced by couples and single mothers trying to conceive. This can be performed when the District Medical Board certifies that either partner in the intending couple has a medical condition that necessitates the use of a donor gamete. Thus, one of the gametes, either the egg or the sperm, has to be of the couple and the other can be from a donor, upon the vetting of the District Medical Board. However, the amendment does not introduce changes for single women who are widowed or divorced; should they opt for surrogacy, the egg must be their own and they may opt for a donor sperm.  Also Read: World Cancer Day: Examining the impact of physical activity on preventing breast cancerSingle men do not qualify The law does not allow single men to opt for surrogacy. In India, it is prohibited to determine the sex of a child before it is born and hence, the sex of a child born through assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy is also unknown. The Act’s exclusion of single men may be inspired by the regulations surrounding adoption in India which states that single men may not adopt a girl child. Legal implications The process may be slightly longer and tedious for an intending couple or woman, state experts. Four documents which include a certificate of essentiality, certificate of eligibility of surrogate mother, certificate of eligibility of intending couple or woman, and approval for availing surrogacy from the state ART board have to be produced. Following this, and on a unique case basis only, intending couples would be allowed to use either a sperm or egg donor for surrogacy. Such patients may require assistance from a lawyer to get the documents to apply for surrogacy. Thus, an additional legal cost may be implied for the patient, thereby, increasing the overall cost of treatment. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, adopts a stringent approach to prevent malpractices through measures like prohibiting commercial surrogacy, imposing strict eligibility criteria, and regulating ART clinics. The surrogate mother is entitled to medical expenses during the gestation period and insurance coverage for 36 months. Moreover, the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 has prioritised the safety of donors and especially egg donors, wherein donors have to be between ages 25-35 years, and they can donate eggs only once in their lifetime. It has specified medical insurance for the donors as well. Ultimately, the Acts’ effectiveness in curbing malpractices depends on robust enforcement. Continuous evaluation basis of the ever-evolving healthcare scenario and unique patient cases further helps in creating more stringent and inclusive legislation. Thus, the latest amendment is a testament to the same that protects the fundamental rights of patients.   Also Read: Does Ozempic help in sustainable weight loss? 

26 February,2024 10:32 AM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Autoimmune diseases can affect any part of the body, from the skin to the joints to internal organs. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise sparks dialogue on autoimmune disorders

The news of Dangal’s child actress Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise at 19 left the world shocked and baffled. While we are yet to adjust to the news of young individuals succumbing to cardiac arrests, the unfortunate loss of this young actress has brought to light yet another health concern that requires our attention.   As per the details issued to the media, Suhani suffered from dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease. When reading about the condition that led to this tragic incident, two terms were used quite often – autoimmune disease and inflammatory disease. We asked the concerned health experts what these terms mean, who all are at risk of such diseases, their health implications and the necessary treatments.    What are autoimmune diseases?  Dr Puneet Mashru, consultant-rheumatologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital elucidates, “Your immune system typically protects you from diseases and infections by creating specific cells to target foreign pathogens (organism that causes disease) when it detects their presence. Normally, your immune system can distinguish between foreign cells and your body's cells. However, in the case of autoimmune diseases, this process goes awry. Your immune system mistakenly identifies parts of your body, such as your joints or skin, as foreign invaders. Consequently, it releases proteins called auto-antibodies, which attack and damage healthy cells instead of protecting them.”    Expanding on the same, Dr Rohini Samant, consultant rheumatologist, P. D Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mahim states, “This means that the body’s immune system which is meant to counter external elements like microorganisms /allergens has gone overboard and is attacking oneself. If untreated, this may lead to damage to vital organs like lungs, kidneys, heart or liver, eventually leading to death.”   Also Read: Do unmarried women in India feel judged and ashamed when visiting gynaecologists?What are inflammatory diseases? Dr Preeti Nagnur, consultant rheumatologist, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road, comments, “Inflammatory diseases are a group of conditions characterised by the body's immune response causing inflammation in various parts of the body. In cases of chronic inflammatory diseases, this response becomes dysregulated and can cause damage to healthy tissues. One key feature of inflammatory diseases is the presence of certain proteins called cytokines that play a significant role in regulating inflammation. Imbalance in these cytokines can lead to chronic inflammation and contribute to the development of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma.”    How are autoimmune diseases different from inflammatory diseases?  According to Nagnur autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases are often confused as they share common symptoms but differ from each other.   Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its tissues, leading to chronic inflammation and tissue damage.    Inflammatory diseases are caused by a response to an external threat like infection or injury, resulting in acute inflammation as a defence mechanism.    One way to differentiate between autoimmune and inflammatory diseases is through diagnostic tests that identify specific antibodies in autoimmune conditions. These tests are crucial in determining whether the immune system is attacking self-tissues or responding to an external threat.    Understanding the distinction between autoimmune and inflammatory diseases is vital for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment decisions.   Rheumatologists or immunologists are trained to treat such diseases.    Also Read: Donor gametes are allowed for single women, divorcees but here is a catch  What are the common types of autoimmune diseases?  Autoimmune diseases can affect any part of the body, from the skin to the joints to internal organs.    Though almost any organ can be affected, Dr Pradeep Hasija, consultant, cardiology, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, spells out two major patterns of autoimmune diseases.    1. Organ-specific autoimmune disease - In this the expression of autoimmunity is restricted to specific organs of the body, such as the thyroid (graves’ disease), pancreas (type 1 diabetes mellitus), intestine (coeliac disease), colon (crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), nerve fibres (multiple sclerosis), lacrimal and salivary glands (sjogren syndrome),  joints (rheumatoid arthritis).    2. Systemic autoimmune diseases - Many body tissues are affected, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) affecting multiple organs involving joints, skin, kidneys, and nervous system. Likewise, dermatomyositis affects predominantly skin and muscles.    Hasija goes on to clarify, “The unfortunate demise of the ‘Dangal’ actress at the young age of 19 has brought autoimmune diseases into focus in recent times. Though complete medical details have not been shared in the media, such rapid progression of disease requiring ventilatory support suggests severe affection of lungs or weakness of respiratory muscles and probably heart (myocarditis) in the inflammatory process.”    Mashru adds, “Anyone can develop this condition, but it most commonly occurs in children aged five to 15 and adults aged 40 to 60. Dermatomyositis tends to affect women more often than men.”       Key symptoms of dermatomyositis may include 1. Muscle weakness, stiffness, or soreness, leading to difficulty climbing stairs, sitting and getting up from chairs, and raising arms overhead. Over time, weakness can progress to involve the oesophagus, causing swallowing difficulties. 2. Rashes may occur on sun-exposed areas, upper eyelids, knuckles, and fingers. In some cases, the lungs may be affected, leading to lung fibrosis and shortness of breath. 3. Associated symptoms can include inflammation in the joints, fever, and unexplained weight loss. If someone experiences persistent rashes accompanied by weakness, it is important to consult a doctor for evaluation of dermatomyositis. Diagnosis of dermatomyositis typically involves blood tests such as CPK (creatine phosphokinase), SGOT and SGPT as well as imaging studies like MRI of muscles, electromyography (EMG), and sometimes muscle biopsy. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing the symptoms and preventing complications associated with dermatomyositis   The most common type of autoimmune disease is rheumatoid arthritis. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and stiffness in affected joints, causing significant discomfort and limiting mobility for individuals with this condition. Rheumatoid arthritis is commonly associated with older adults, but it can also affect individuals in younger age groups.   Another prevalent autoimmune disease is multiple sclerosis (MS), characterised by the immune system attacking the protective covering of nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord. This causes symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and problems with coordination. Multiple sclerosis can affect individuals across a wide age range, but it most commonly manifests in young adults between the ages of 20 and 40.   Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly targets and damages its own tissues, leading to inflammation and harm in various organs such as joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. Fatigue, skin rashes, fevers, and joint pain or swelling are common symptoms. SLE is seen in the age group of 15-45.   “The less common but more serious ones, often with multisystem involvement, are systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory myositis (like dermatomyositis), primary Sjogren’s syndrome, vasculitis, and scleroderma,” states Samant of P. D Hinduja Hospital.    Further, speaking about inflammatory diseases, Nagnur of Wockhardt Hospitals states, “Inflammatory diseases can manifest in various forms, with some of the most common types including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and asthma. IBD encompasses conditions like crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, characterised by chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Asthma involves inflammation of the airways, resulting in breathing difficulties and wheezing. The causes of inflammatory diseases involve a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and immune system dysfunction.”    The terms autoimmune and inflammatory disease are often used interchangeably.    What are the common causes of autoimmune and inflammatory disease? “It’s unknown what specifically causes autoimmune disorders. People who have certain genes may be more likely to have autoimmune disorders. Although genes contribute, they alone are insufficient to trigger an autoimmune disease. Environmental triggers, including infections, certain medications, smoking, and UV light exposure, are also believed to contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases,” says Mashru of Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital.    Why diagnosis of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases is difficult?  “Diagnosing autoimmune and inflammatory diseases can be a complex and challenging process due to the wide range of symptoms that can mimic other conditions,” says Nagnur.    A persistent constellation of symptoms in different combinations should arouse suspicion of an autoimmune disease. Common medical conditions which can also cause these symptoms should be first excluded.    When in doubt, early referral to a rheumatologist by the treating physician will enable early diagnosis and treatment.   Expanding on the same, Samant opines, “Early diagnosis of these rare diseases is still a far cry. The reason for this is the general lack of awareness of these conditions in the community and also sometimes the nonspecific nature of the symptoms in the initial phase of the disease.”   She goes on to state that many people are unaware of who a rheumatologist is and what they treat. “Even among general practitioners, there is only a superficial understanding of these diseases. This is due to a lack /deficiency of rheumatology training in the undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula since rheumatology is still a relatively new branch. There is therefore a skewed ratio of trained rheumatologists to the general population. All this is changing slowly with many institutes now offering super speciality programmes in rheumatology/immunology in our country.”    What are the common symptoms of autoimmune/inflammatory diseases?Mashru lists down some common symptoms:   1. Joint pains accompanied by early morning stiffness and swelling. 2. Raynaud's phenomenon, is characterised by the fingertips turning blue or white upon exposure to cold temperatures or stress. 3. Muscle weakness, resulting in difficulty sitting, standing up, and raising arms overhead. 4. Unexplained fever and weight loss, which can be indicative of systemic inflammation. 5. Persistent rashes, often sensitive to sunlight (photosensitive), may present in various forms depending on the specific autoimmune disease.  These symptoms can vary in severity and may overlap among different autoimmune rheumatic diseases   Can such diseases be treated for a complete cure?  Nagnur says that while a complete cure may not yet be available for all autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, various treatments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. From medication therapies targeting specific immune responses to lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise can help patients. Patients must work closely with the doctor to determine the most suitable treatment plan.   When struck with inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, patients often make the mistake of self-diagnosing or ignoring early symptoms. This lack of medical advice can lead to delayed treatment and worsen the condition.  Another common mistake patients make is non-compliance with prescribed medications or treatment regimens. Inflammatory and autoimmune conditions require consistent management to control symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Patients must actively engage in their treatment plan, communicate any concerns with their doctors, and adhere to recommended lifestyle changes.   Can these diseases be prevented?  According to Samant, there is no medicine at present to prevent these diseases. A well-balanced diet including fresh green leafy vegetables, fruits, proteins (pulses, lentils and meat), nuts and fish for omega 3 fatty acids, adequate rest, physical exercise, quitting smoking/tobacco, better-coping strategies for stress, avoidance of UV radiation by use of sunscreen (for systemic lupus erythematosus) are measures that will help prevent flares of autoimmune disease.    Since these diseases need long-term care, continuation of medicines, and watching out for red flags (as discussed by doctors), periodic checkups will go a long way in ensuring disease control.  Reaching the rheumatologist early rather than late is key to effective treatment and damage prevention. Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.  

26 February,2024 09:30 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Can chronic stress boost cancer spread?

In a breakthrough study, a team of researchers have shown how chronic stress can aid in cancer spread. Chronic stress can increase our risk for heart disease and strokes. While it is also known to help cancer spread, how this works has remained a mystery. The team from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in the US discovered that stress causes certain white blood cells called neutrophils to form sticky web-like structures that make body tissues more susceptible to metastasis. The finding, published in the journal Cancer Cell, could point to new treatment strategies that stop cancer’s spread before it starts. “Stress is something we cannot really avoid in cancer patients. You can imagine if you are diagnosed, you cannot stop thinking about the disease or insurance or family. So it is very important to understand how stress works on us,” said Xue-Yan He, a former postdoc in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). The team arrived at their discovery by mimicking chronic stress in mice with cancer. They first removed tumours that had been growing in mice’s breasts and spreading cancer cells to their lungs. Next, they exposed the mice to stress. “Saw this scary increase in metastatic lesions in these animals. It was up to a fourfold increase in metastasis,” said Mikala Egeblad, Adjunct Professor at CSHL. The team found that stress hormones called glucocorticoids acted on the neutrophils. These “stressed” neutrophils formed spider-web-like structures called NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps). NETs form when neutrophils expel DNA. Normally, they can defend us against invading microorganisms. However, in cancer, NETs create a metastasis-friendly environment. To confirm that stress triggers NET formation, leading to increased metastasis, she performed three tests. First, she removed neutrophils from the mice using antibodies. Next, she injected a NET-destroying drug into the animals. Lastly, she used mice whose neutrophils couldn’t respond to glucocorticoids. Each test achieved similar results. “The stressed mice no longer developed more metastasis,” she said. Notably, the team found that chronic stress caused NET formation to modify lung tissue even in mice without cancer. “It’s almost preparing your tissue for getting cancer,” Egeblad explained. “Reducing stress should be a component of cancer treatment and prevention,” said CSHL Professor Linda Van Aelst. The team also speculates that future drugs preventing NET formation could benefit patients whose cancer hasn’t yet metastasised. Such new treatments could slow or stop cancer’s spread, offering much-needed relief. 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

26 February,2024 08:34 AM IST | New York | IANS
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New blood test may quickly diagnose this fatal inflammatory disease

US scientists have developed a new and simple blood test to rapidly and inexpensively diagnose sarcoidosis -- a chronic inflammatory disease marked by the growth of tiny lumps called granulomas in the lungs and other organs in the body. The blood test could allow for selective use of more invasive diagnostic tests often used to identify the disease, revealed the team in the paper, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. "Currently, diagnosing sarcoidosis is not a straightforward process, and requires tissue removal and testing with additional screenings to rule out other diseases, such as tuberculosis or lung cancer," said James Kiley, Director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of US National Institutes of Health (NIH). "Using a blood test will help diagnose faster, particularly in those organs that are more challenging to biopsy and with less harm to the patient." Though the exact cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, researchers suspect it is an immune disorder triggered by a group of specific antigens, which are generally foreign substances that incite an immune response in the body. To identify antigens and determine which might be linked to sarcoidosis, scientists collected lung fluid samples and blood cells from patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis, then extracted the genetic material. Using a combination of molecular techniques, the researchers homed in on two newly described disease-specific antigen biomarkers that only bind to the antibodies of sarcoidosis positive patients. They next designed a highly specific blood test, which only requires a small amount of blood, to determine if they could accurately detect sarcoidosis. To verify the test, researchers compared blood samples from 386 people, which included patients with sarcoidosis, patients with tuberculosis, patients with lung cancer, and healthy individuals. The researchers confirmed that their test was able to differentiate patients who had sarcoidosis from those with other respiratory diseases. "More testing needs to be completed before this screening method is ready for clinical use but it is possible that could be a reality within a few years," said Lobelia Samavati, of Wayne State University. 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

26 February,2024 08:28 AM IST | New York | IANS
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