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Walking after meals may help manage diabetes and hypertension, says expert

Walking after meals is safe and may be key to managing diabetes, hypertension, and sleep issues, said an expert. Taking to social media X, Dr Sudhir Kumar, from Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, said walking, whether in the mornings or evenings, before breakfast or dinner, is a healthy habit. "Walking after meals is safe, and short walks after meals are associated with multiple health-related benefits," he said. Dr Sudhir stated that walking may particularly help people with diabetes as it improves glycemic control -- the maintenance of blood glucose levels. "Walking is associated with a mean reduction in HbA1C of 0.5 per cent in people with type 2 diabetes," the top neurologist said. The HbA1c test is used to evaluate a person's level of glucose control. It can also help lower the levels of postprandial blood glucose -- the level of sugar in the blood after eating and drinking. "There is a dose-response noted- faster walking speed results in a greater reduction in postprandial blood glucose levels," the doctor said. He suggested that "30 minutes of walking, 15 minutes after meals" can help reduce blood glucose peak even in healthy individuals. Further, walking after meals may also aid in weight reduction. "Walking is associated with a significant reduction in BMI by 0.91 kg/m2," Dr Sudhir said. Walking post meals also helps regulate blood pressure levels. It is associated with a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic BP, the doctor said. "Benefits of walking on BP lowering are seen whether the walking is done in 1 long session (of 30-60 minutes) or split into 3 shorter sessions (of 10 minutes each). 10 minutes of walking can be conveniently incorporated after meals," he added. Walking after meals also improves digestion and helps reduce bloating as it "stimulates the stomach and intestines, making the food move through the digestive system more rapidly." A short walk after dinner can also "potentially elevate mood as well as improve sleep quality," said the doctor. While walking is one of many lifestyle interventions impacting health, "a healthy diet, good quality sleep, and strength training" are also significant for good health. Also Read: Physical inactivity on the rise: Experts share ways to incorporate exercise amid sedentary lifestyle and hectic schedules 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

15 July,2024 12:14 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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14.5 million missed on vital DTP vaccine globally in 2023: UN sounds alarm

Global childhood immunisation levels stalled in 2023, with a whopping 14.5 million kids missing out on the essential three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccine, according to a new report by the UN organisations on Monday.  The report by the WHO and UNICEF provides estimates of national immunisation coverage (WUENIC) for vaccinations against 14 diseases. It showed that 84 per cent (108 million) children received three doses of the vaccine against DTP in 2023. However, 14.5 million did not receive a single dose of the vaccine -- an increase from 13.9 million in 2022. In addition, 6.5 million children did not complete their third dose of the DTP vaccine, the key to achieving disease protection in infancy and early childhood. “The latest trends demonstrate that many countries continue to miss far too many children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, in the report. Further, the report showed that vaccination rates against the deadly measles disease stalled. About 35 million children did not receive the vaccine or only had partial protection. Only 83 per cent of children worldwide received their first dose of the measles vaccine through routine health services in 2023. However, the number of children receiving their second dose modestly increased from 2022, reaching 74 per cent of children. The report also blamed the low vaccination rate against measles for driving outbreaks -- in about 103 countries in the last 5 years. On the other hand, 91 countries with strong measles vaccine coverage did not experience outbreaks, it noted. “Measles outbreaks are the canary in the coal mine, exposing and exploiting gaps in immunisation and hitting the most vulnerable first,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. He added that it “is a solvable problem”. The report also highlighted improved immunisation coverage for human papillomavirus (HPV), meningitis, pneumococcal, polio, and rotavirus disease in the 57 countries supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. It noted that the share of adolescent girls globally who received at least 1 dose of the HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, increased from 20 per cent in 2022 to 27 per cent in 2023. At the same time, the HPV vaccine coverage reached only 56 per cent of adolescent girls in high-income countries and 23 per cent in low-and middle-income countries. The target was 90 per cent to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem. The report calls for the need to accelerate efforts to meet the Immunisation Agenda 2030 (IA2030) targets of 90 per cent coverage, and no more than 6.5 million ‘zero-dose’ children globally by 2030. Also Read: Naegleria fowleri: What is this brain-eating amoeba threatening Kerala and its potential risks in Mumbai 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

15 July,2024 11:44 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Heart diseases increasing at alarming rate among young: Cardiologists

Heart diseases are increasing at an alarming rate, with many young patients in their 20s and 30s succumbing to heart attacks in India. This trend is a huge concern for cardiologists, renowned interventional cardiologist H.K. Bali said in Chandigarh on Sunday. HEART Foundation organised a day-long academic program, CIIST360, to highlight the latest advances in the field of cardiology. Around 250 cardiologists and physicians from northern India attended the conference. Speakers delivered lectures on cardiac diseases, including coronary artery diseases, structural heart diseases, and heart failure. Delegates had the opportunity to interact with distinguished speakers and discuss specific patient cases, enhancing the collaborative spirit of the event. Bali, the founder patron of HEART Foundation, highlighted advances in the medical field that are now saving the lives of heart patients, especially those with poor heart function, considered untreatable, or those in which traditional methods could not be performed. The notable advancements include protected angioplasty in which a miniature pump ‘Impella’ is inserted for better results and faster recovery. He emphasised the importance of image-guided angioplasty using IVUS or OCT, which provides better short-term and long-term results. In addressing the needs of elderly patients at high surgical risk, Bali discussed the non-surgical treatment of aortic valve stenosis through the percutaneous technique called TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation). This procedure can even be performed safely in elderly patients with surgical risks. M.K. Das from Kolkata emphasised that artificial intelligence is going to play an increasingly important role in the diagnosis and management of patients with heart failure. He said already in many hospitals, artificial intelligence is being used to better manage heart failure patients to reduce recurrent admissions in hospitals. T.S. Kler from Delhi explained that irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) is becoming a very common clinical problem and it can be an important cause of strokes. 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.

15 July,2024 11:43 AM IST | Chandigarh | IANS
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Maintain hygiene, urges doctor amid rising cholera cases

Hygiene is crucial to curb the cholera outbreak, currently seen in Kerala and Gujarat, said a medical expert on Sunday.   Cholera is a waterborne bacterial infection due to the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that is transmitted from one infected person to another due to contaminated water or food, especially seafood. "Once ingested, the bacteria multiply within the small intestine and produce the cholera toxins that are responsible for the symptoms of severe watery diarrhoea also called 'rice water loose stools' and severe dehydration,” Dr Sujatha Thyagarajan, senior consultant – Paediatrics & Paediatric Intensive care, Aster RV Hospital in Bengaluru, said. Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram has seen a severe outbreak of cholera with reportedly one suspected death and 12 confirmed cases and 17 suspected cases are undergoing treatment. Several cases of cholera have also been reported from Gujarat and an area in a 2-kilometer radius has reportedly been declared as a cholera-affected area, under the Epidemic Diseases Act. "The rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes, if not replaced quickly, can cause death. The spread can be rapid especially when there is limited clean water supply and unsanitary conditions reaching epidemic proportions very quickly," Dr Thyagarajan said. She noted that cholera prevention is of utmost importance and requires a multi-pronged approach, adding that children and the elderly are highly vulnerable to severe dehydration, complications, and even death, and hence warrant prompt recognition and treatment. "The focus must be on improving personal hygiene and ensuring access to clean potable water. It is important to ensure there are adequate sanitation practices to avoid contamination of sewage and safe water is provided at all times," she said. She also recommended "proper cooking and safe handling of seafood". "In general, adequate personal hygiene must be maintained at all times -- hand washing with soap after the toilet and before eating food." Further, Dr Thyagarajan said once an outbreak is identified, the rapid spread must be contained aggressively through regular surveillance and prevention methods. "The main treatment of Cholera is timely rehydration through ORS (oral rehydration solution) or intravenous rehydration to replace the rapid fluid and electrolyte loss," she said, adding that antibiotics can help in severe cases. 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.

15 July,2024 11:22 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Monsoon likely to trigger foot ulcers in diabetic patients: Experts

Monsoon raises the risk of foot ulcers in people with diabetes due to increased moisture and humidity, said experts on Sunday, stating the urgent need for specialised care and awareness.  Diabetic foot is a severe complication of diabetes that takes a toll on the feet due to prolonged high blood sugar levels. It raises the risk of nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor blood circulation, foot ulcers, infections, and amputation in severe cases. An estimated 15 per cent of diabetics are likely to experience the foot problem. While the risk runs all year, increased humidity during monsoons worsens the condition, said experts. "Diabetic foot cases are seen more often especially in hot and humid weather, though we see them across the year. More than 50 per cent of people with diabetes experience foot infections during monsoon. People in the age group 50-65 with uncontrolled diabetes tend to commonly suffer from foot infections," Shashank Joshi, Endocrinologist, Lilavati Hospital Mumbai, told us. Diabetic foot ulcer patients with severe infection may even require amputation. It also accounts for a significant proportion of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, stressing the need for preventive care and timely intervention. "Diabetic foot ulcers lead to serious infections, amputations, and decreased quality of life. With monsoon season raising the risk due to increased moisture and humidity, diabetic patients need to maintain foot hygiene, opt for regular check-ups and wear appropriate footwear to prevent ulcers," said Jaisom Chopra, Vascular Surgeon at Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Delhi. According to a recent study by the Christian Medical College, Vellore, in India, more people with diabetes are having their toes or even feet removed due to sores than the former estimates. It also found that after one amputation, the chance of having another in the future is three times higher. "The reason for this is lack of nerve sensation and blood supply, so awareness and regular foot care is crucial. This is preventable," Shashank said. The key to good foot care is good sugar control, and care of nerves and vessels as well as regular feet check. Specialist diabetic footwear is also available and people living with diabetes should seek expert care. He advised diabetics to "quit smoking to enhance circulation, dry your feet, not walk barefoot, trim nails regularly, choose good quality socks if you are wearing shoes, and to consult an expert in case of wounds, redness, blisters, or ulcers." Also read: Five essential tips to stay disease-free this monsoon 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

15 July,2024 10:55 AM IST | Mumbai | IANS
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Four children die in Gujarat from suspected Chandipura virus infection

Four children have succumbed to suspected Chandipura virus infection in Gujarat's Sabarkantha district, while two others are receiving treatment at the Himmatnagar civil hospital, an official statement said on Saturday.  In the wake of the outbreak, district authorities have initiated preventive measures, including dusting to eliminate sandflies in the affected areas to curb the spread of the infection. The deaths occurred on July 10 and one of the deceased was from Sabarkantha, two were from the neighbouring Aravalli district, and the fourth was from Rajasthan. The two children undergoing treatment also hail from Rajasthan. Rajasthan authorities have been notified about the death due to the suspected viral infection. The Chandipura virus, a member of the Rhabdoviridae family, leads to symptoms akin to flu and can cause acute encephalitis, a severe inflammation of the brain. It was first identified in 1965 in Maharashtra and has been linked to various outbreaks of encephalitic illness in the country. A significant outbreak occurred in 2003 in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, resulting in 183 deaths among 329 affected children. Sporadic cases and fatalities were also noted in Gujarat in 2004. Transmission of the virus occurs through vectors like mosquitoes, ticks, and sandflies. Sabarkantha chief district health officer, Raj Sutariya, said that blood samples from the six affected children have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for confirmation. "Paediatricians at the Himmatnagar Civil Hospital suspected the Chandipura virus following the deaths of four children on July 10. The two other children currently hospitalised are displaying similar symptoms, indicating a likely infection by the same virus," an official 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.

14 July,2024 01:19 PM IST | Sabarkantha (Gujarat) | IANS
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Doctors in Lucknow perform world's first robotic surgery to treat a rare case

Doctors at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) here have performed the world's first robotic surgery to treat a rare case of pelvic lipomatosis, an official said. The official spokesperson said, "The case related to a 24-year-old man who was diagnosed with a rare disease." Given the complexity of the case, the surgical team at SGPGI decided to perform an augmentation cystoplasty with bilateral ureteric reimplantation. This procedure involved enlarging the bladder using a section of the patient's intestine and repositioning the ureters to ensure proper drainage and function. The surgery was performed for more than seven hours. Such a complex procedure where the surgical correction of both the bladder and ureter is done in one setting with a surgical robot has not been reported anywhere in the world, the official added. Uday Pratap Singh, who led the surgery, said this operation offers numerous advantages over traditional open or laparoscopic surgery. "The use of the da Vinci Xi robotic system allowed us to perform this complex surgery with unparalleled precision. This milestone is a testament to the capabilities of robotic surgery in treating rare and challenging conditions," he said. The patient's post-operative recovery has been remarkable, with significant improvement in bladder and kidney function. "This achievement underscores SGPGI's commitment to advancing medical science and providing cutting-edge care to patients with complex urological conditions," said SGPGIMS Director R.K. Dhiman. 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.

14 July,2024 12:50 PM IST | Lucknow | IANS
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Nearly 6,500 adolescent girls die in childbirth in South Asia every year: UN

Nearly 6,500 adolescent girls die in childbirth in South Asia every year, said UN agencies on Friday, calling for prioritisation of the health of girls and adolescents in South Asia.  Experts from the agencies discussed this at a two-day regional dialogue on adolescent pregnancy jointly organised by the SAARC, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (UNICEF ROSA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Kathmandu, Nepal. At the event, officials and civil society representatives from India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka reaffirmed their commitment to prioritise health for over 2.2 million adolescent girls that give birth yearly in South Asia; and to provide better opportunities to learn, set up their businesses, and earn a living. The experts noted that most of these girls were child brides who have limited power over their reproductive health or lives. The South Asia region “has a long way to go. I call upon everyone to resolutely address the root causes including child marriage, access to adolescent health education, and removing social stigma in managing the teenage population of SAARC region,” said Ambassador Golam Sarwar, the Secretary General of SAARC. South Asia accounts for 290 million child brides -- nearly half of the world’s burden. These girls are forced to drop out of school and face stigma, rejection, violence, unemployment as well as lifelong social challenges. About 49 per cent of young girls in South Asia are not in education, employment, or training – the highest in the world, the experts noted. With poorer health coverage adolescent mothers are also at increased risk of early deaths, and the babies born also face a significantly higher risk of death. “It is high time that we reverse this trend,” said Saima Wazed, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia. She stressed adolescents’ “unique physical, cognitive, social, emotional and sexual development” needs to be given “special attention in national and international policies”. She also called for “cross-sectoral collaboration and equitable access to a variety of services”, and an increase in “investments” to tackle adolescent pregnancy and promote their healthy socio-economic development. “This supports the well-being of the youth of today - who are the human capital of tomorrow,” the Regional Director said. Also read: Deaf women cricketers break silence over systemic challenges and social biases 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

13 July,2024 03:35 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
Mital Viratia and Sanjay Viratia

Daughter-in-law saves the life of father-in-law with robotic liver transplant

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Sanjay Viratia, a 58-year-old Surat resident, underwent a health check-up that revealed significant swelling in his liver. Following this diagnosis, he began experiencing blood in his vomit and developed stomach ulcers. Over the next six months, his health declined further, marked by frequent drowsiness and symptoms that severely disrupted his daily life. Tired, he arrived in Mumbai to seek consultation from doctors at Gleneagles Hospitals. Post consultation with Dr Gaurav Chaubal, director of liver, pancreas, and intestine transplant program, and Dr Uday Sanglodkar, senior consultant hepatologist and clinical lead liver and transplant ICU, he was advised to undergo a robotic liver transplant. Sanglodkar informs, “Upon arrival, a thorough assessment, including a liver function test and MRI scan of the liver, confirmed that Sanjay had been dealing with chronic liver disease for the past three years. He had recently been admitted multiple times in Surat due to episodes of drowsiness, liver failure and kidney damage.” The decision was made to proceed with an early liver transplant as delaying the procedure could have resulted in severe consequences like liver failure and death. Despite all family members willing to donate their part of liver none were a suitable match except for his daughter-in-law. She selflessly volunteered to donate a portion of her liver to save her father-in-law's life. A living donor liver transplant was then performed where the donor's liver completely regenerates within three months after the surgery. In the operation theatre, a robotic surgery was performed on the patient which reduced recovery time and minimised surgical trauma. Chaubal, highlights, “A liver transplant is a complex procedure wherein a damaged liver is replaced with a healthy one from either a deceased donor or a living donor who donates a portion of their liver.” He continues, “Robotic liver transplant offers safety and accuracy by reducing the risk of complications with successful outcomes for patients. This revolutionary technique reduces post-operative pain and discomfort, enabling patients to resume their daily activities with ease when compared to the traditional surgeries.” Post his recovery, Sanjay reflects, “My daughter-in-law has shown care and love by stepping up to save my life. I feel blessed to have such a responsible and caring family memeber who stands strong during challenging times like this medical crisis.” His daughter-in-law, Mital Viratia, added, “The advanced technology of robotics ensured that I did not have a large abdominal scar and recovery time was also quick. With our blood types matching, I remained firm in my decision to save the life of my father-in-law.” Also read: Five essential tips to stay disease-free this monsoon

13 July,2024 03:35 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Mid-Day Premium ‘Brain-eating amoeba infection is misdiagnosed, leading to under-reporting'

Since May, Kerala has reported as many as five cases of people affected by Naegleria fowleri, popularly known as the brain-eating amoeba. With the latest case being that of a 12-year-old in Thrissur, the fear around the infection is rising in the state. Mumbai experts believe the city doesn’t have to fear just yet even though it is the monsoon, but say people should be concerned about it.  Usually found in warm fresh water, the amoeba dangerously enters the body through the nose and makes its way towards the brain. Dr Sheetal Goyal, neurologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central, says, “It usually breeds in contaminated waters or warm freshwater bodies. Once it enters the human body it can cause severe complications and deadly infection. The brain-eating amoeba can negatively destroy brain tissues, resulting in brain inflammation. Experts often call this disease primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This severe yet rare infection can affect organs like the brain and spinal cord causing discomfort and pain.”  With more cases being reported, spoke to Dr Sheetal Goyal, neurologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central, and Dr Vishwanath Iyer, neurosurgeon, Zynova Shalby, to highlight more about the causes and effects of the diseases. While Mumbaikar needn't particularly worry about it, difficulty in diagnosing it should have people worried. The experts share easy precautions that one must undertake especially around water and even food that can be eaten to improve immunity. What is the brain-eating amoeba and how does it affect people?Goyal: The brain-eating amoeba, scientifically known as Naegleria fowleri, is a free-living amoeba commonly found in warm fresh water and soil. It typically infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose, usually during activities like swimming or diving in warm freshwater bodies. Once in the nasal passages, the amoeba travels to the brain, where it causes a rare but severe and often fatal infection known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This condition involves destructive inflammation of the brain and its surrounding membranes. Iyer: Naegleria fowleri also known as a brain-eating amoeba is a single-celled organism, belonging to the species genus Naegleria. It usually breeds in contaminated waters or warm freshwater bodies. Once it enters the human body it can cause severe complications and deadly infection. The brain-eating amoeba can negatively destroy brain tissues, resulting in brain inflammation. Experts often call this disease primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This severe yet rare infection can affect organs like the brain and spinal cord causing discomfort and pain. What are the possible reasons for the increasing number of cases in Kerala? How does this amoeba thrive and enter the body? What are the known incidences of this infection in India or Mumbai?Goyal: The recent rise in cases in Kerala is likely due to unhygienic and stagnant water sources combined with high temperatures. The amoeba thrives in warm freshwater environments such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and hot springs. It enters the body through the nose during activities like swimming, diving, or using contaminated water for nasal irrigation. In India, only 17 cases of PAM have been reported so far, indicating that the infection is under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed, leading to under-reporting. Iyer: The brain-eating amoeba enters the human body through the nose. You are at higher risk of getting infected with this amoeba if you come in close contact with warm or fresh water that potentially contains brain-eating amoeba. This can often happen in places like a swimming pool with poor sanitation and improperly maintained, lakes, or hot springs. Once entered through the nose it later travels through the olfactory nerve, which is responsible for regulating the sense of smell in the body. It invades your brain tissues resulting in severe damage to the brain tissues and disrupting the functions of the brain. What are the symptoms of being infected by this amoeba and when should people consult a doctor?Goyal: Initial symptoms of PAM include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck. As the infection progresses, it can cause confusion, loss of balance, seizures, hallucinations, and coma. People experiencing these symptoms after recent exposure to warm freshwater should seek immediate medical attention. Iyer: The symptoms of brain-eating amoeba can initially start as severe and worsen over time if left untreated. One can experience symptoms like high fever, persistent headache, episodes of vomiting, nausea, increased sensitivity to light, stiffness in the neck, and mental confusion. It becomes essential to immediately consult experts or doctors for prompt diagnosis for positive outcomes. Early detection can be helpful in effectively managing the condition and minimizing the damage caused. Also read: AI can only assist not replace us in treating heart diseases: Cardiologists What are the effects after being infected by the amoeba?Goyal: Infection with Naegleria fowleri leads to serious brain damage and swelling. Despite its common name, the amoeba does not consume brain tissue but causes severe inflammation and destruction of brain cells, often resulting in death. Iyer: Symptoms associated with brain-eating amoeba typically start to develop after 1 to 9 days after being infected. As the infection begins to progress, symptoms worsen causing discomfort and hindrance in performing daily activities. The brain-eating amoeba rapidly starts to multiply in larger quantities while invading brain cells. The central nervous system breaks down destroying brain cells and disrupting the daily functions of the brain. This can sometimes lead to experiencing neurological defects like brain injuries, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, disability in learning, epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy, brain tumours, and stroke. Which age group is vulnerable to the infection?Goyal: PAM primarily affects children and young adults, with about 83 per cent of cases occurring in individuals under the age of 18. The median age of those affected is 12 years, and the majority of infections occur in the 5-14 age group. Males are more commonly affected than females, with a ratio of 3:1. Iyer: Children and young adults are more likely to develop an onset of brain-eating amoeba. Children are at higher risk as they are more likely to actively participate in water activities like swimming or diving in lakes, and rivers that might be contaminated with this amoeba. This rare yet severe infection mostly occurs in occurs in summer. It can also happen after using tap water to wash your face or nose, allowing them to enter through your nose. What is the known treatment for this infection, and does it differ according to the age group?Goyal: There is no established treatment for PAM, but some success has been observed with a combination of medications including amphotericin B (administered intravenously and intrathecally), azithromycin, miltefosine, and dexamethasone. The efficacy of these treatments remains uncertain, and the approach does not significantly differ by age group. Iyer: To effectively manage and treat primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), an infection caused by brain-eating amoeba with the combination of medications and drugs. Your doctor might prescribe certain drugs like antifungal or anti-parasitic medication to reduce the intensity of the symptoms. These drugs can significantly help kill the brain-eating amoeba to treat the onset of infection. Can the infection be prevented? If yes, how can it be done?Goyal: Yes, the infection can be prevented by taking certain precautions:1. Avoid swimming in warm freshwater bodies such as lakes, ponds, and poorly-maintained pools.2. Use nose clips or hold your nose shut when swimming or diving in warm freshwater.3. Keep your head above water in hot springs.4. Avoid disturbing the sediment in shallow warm water areas.5. Use distilled or boiled tap water for nasal irrigation or cleansing. Iyer: Yes, with necessary precautions one can significantly lower their chances of getting infected with brain-eating amoeba. Avoid swimming or engaging in water activities in fresh waters like hot springs, lakes, and chlorinated pools without nose plugs for better protection. Be aware of the cases of brain-eating amoeba and refrain from visiting those places to ensure your safety. Boiling water can help kill any pathogens like germs, viruses, and bacteria present in the water. What are the foods that people can eat as a part of the treatment for the infection or for its prevention?Goyal: There are no specific foods that can treat or prevent the infection directly. However, maintaining a balanced diet to support overall health and immune function is beneficial. During treatment, patients should follow their healthcare provider's dietary recommendations to support their recovery. Iyer: There is no specific food or diet for effectively treating an infection caused by brain-eating amoeba. However, maintaining healthy eating habits can help strengthen your immune system, lowering the chances of developing brain-eating amoeba. Fruits and vegetables like oranges, berries, leafy green vegetables, bell peppers, whole grains, probiotics, and lean proteins can potentially improve your immunity. They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants which are known to boost your immune system. What are the chances of people being affected by the disease in Mumbai with the monsoon underway?Goyal: The risk of infection in Mumbai during the monsoon is relatively low as Naegleria fowleri typically thrives in warm freshwater environments rather than in the cooler, often less stagnant water associated with heavy rains and monsoon conditions. However, caution should still be exercised when engaging in water-related activities in freshwater bodies. Iyer: It is impossible to reveal the exact percentage of people being affected by brain-eating amoebae in Mumbai during monsoon. What are the common misconceptions that people have about water-borne diseases, and should they be more careful during the monsoon season?Goyal: Common misconceptions include the belief that all water-borne diseases are highly contagious or that all freshwater bodies are unsafe. During the monsoon season, people should be more careful due to increased chances of water contamination and the spread of water-borne diseases. Ensuring clean drinking water, avoiding swimming in stagnant or polluted water, and practicing good hygiene are essential precautions. Iyer: The chances of developing water-borne diseases significantly rise during monsoon. The increased humidity and frequent changes in atmospheric pressure can weaken your immune system. This creates a perfect atmosphere for pathogens like germs, viruses, bacteria, and pollutants to breed. They are available everywhere, in the water, and the air. The common misconception is that waterborne diseases only occur in adults. However, it can occur to anyone irrespective of their age. Children are at higher risk as their immune systems are yet to be developed which is essential in combating viruses and infections like brain-eating amoeba. Lastly, why should people be worried about this infection?Goyal: People should be concerned about PAM because it is a rare but often fatal disease with a high mortality rate. Early symptoms can be easily mistaken for more common illnesses, delaying diagnosis and treatment. Awareness and preventive measures are crucial to reduce the risk of infection. Iyer: Worrying about brain-eating amoeba becomes crucial as it is a rare but severe infection. This can significantly affect your overall well-being. The symptoms of this infection develop quickly and can be even fatal if left untreated. What makes it more concerning is the effective treatments for managing brain-eating amoeba are limited. This is why early detection can be lifesaving and increase the chances of positive outcomes. It can cause severe complications like brain damage, intense headaches, seizures, and even coma in some cases. Also read: Respiratory Infections, swine flu, dengue, malaria on the rise in children as monsoon begins

13 July,2024 03:34 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
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This AI tool may outperform clinical tests at detecting Alzheimer's

Scientists at the Cambridge University in the UK have developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-based tool that can help detect patients with early dementia whether they will remain stable or develop Alzheimer's.  Dementia is a global healthcare challenge, affecting over 55 million people at an estimated annual cost of $820 billion. The cases are expected to almost triple over the next 50 years. To develop the new AI model, the researchers used routinely gathered, non-invasive and low-cost patient data - cognitive tests and structural MRI scans revealing grey matter shrinkage - from over 400 participants in a research cohort in the US. They next evaluated the model with real-world patient data from an additional 600 participants in the US cohort, as well as longitudinal data from 900 persons in memory clinics in the United Kingdom and Singapore. The algorithm was able to identify between persons with stable mild cognitive impairment and those who developed Alzheimer's disease within three years, according to the story published in the journal EClinicalMedicine. It successfully identified those who developed Alzheimer's in 82 per cent of cases and those who did not in 81 per cent of cases using only cognitive tests and an MRI scan which provides hope that this model may well be accurate. Professor Zoe Kourtzi from the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge said this tool would be good at predicting whether or not someone will progress to Alzheimer’s, and that since it has been tested in real life too, generalisations can be made. Ben Underwood from the University of Cambridge said this would help alleviate many existing concerns for the patients and their families. Earlier, we also published: Obesity, smoking key triggers for Alzheimer's Disease, say experts Obesity and smoking are key triggers for Alzheimer's Disease, said health experts on Monday, stressing the need to control both, especially in young adults.  The experts explained that obesity and smoking are the major risk factors for vascular dementia and can trigger Alzheimer's owing to the inflammation caused due to smoking. “Smoking damages blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the brain, which can harm brain cells. Obesity is linked to inflammation and insulin resistance, both detrimental to brain health,” Dr. Vikas Mittal, pulmonologist at the CK Birla Hospital, Delhi, said. Alia Bhatt: I avoid giving parenting advice as everyone’s journey is different Curbing the major risk factors are important as a recent study published in the journal The Lancet showed that global dementia cases are set to triple, with 153 million living with dementia by 2050. Alzheimer's, the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 per cent of cases, is also expected to soar. “Obesity also causes conditions like diabetes and cardiac disease which are known risk factors for Alzheimer’s. The presence of these conditions worsens brain health while promoting inflammation, oxidative stress, and vascular damage, which leads to memory decline and increase in Alzheimer’s Disease,” Dr. Anurag Saxena, HOD and Cluster Head Neurosurgery, Manipal Hospital Dwarka, said. Additionally, obesity impairs metabolic functions and insulin signalling which increases the risk of neurodegeneration. On the other hand, “smoking worsens oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain which increases the development of Alzheimer’s. “The harmful chemicals in cigarettes like nicotine and tar damage blood vessels and interfere with blood flow. Smoking can not only accelerate Alzheimer’s Disease but also other forms of dementia,” Dr. Anurag said. Moreover, people with a family history of Alzheimer’s are more prone to the condition if they smoke. The combination and genetic factors and the effects of smoking increases the progress of Alzheimer’s symptoms, the doctor noted. Dr. Shailesh Rohatgi, HOD, Department of Neurology, DPU Super Speciality Hospital at Pune, said that he advised maintaining a balanced lifestyle and eating habits and keeping a constant check, as vascular dementia can even develop at an early age due to various lifestyle habits. He also stressed on “daily activities which are not just limited to physical movement but also engaging the brain. It is important to engage your brain in mental activities like board games.” Also read: Mental health experts share effective programs to foster inclusivity for LGBTQ+ students in school

13 July,2024 03:34 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
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