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Stroke experts on why seeking help within the Golden Hour is important

Currently, there has been a rise in the number of younger individuals affected by strokes who are able to receive timely treatment within four hours after onset. This is attributed to an increased understanding and recognition of this potentially fatal condition. Stress, smoking and alcohol, obesity, and blockages in major blood vessels are among the possible factors contributing to strokes. It is imperative that we acknowledge stroke symptoms using BEFAST (Balance, Eyes, Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, and Time to call emergency services) and work towards improving patients' quality of life. Patient Sachin aged 30 (name changed) weighing 120 kg, an investment banking professional, and his wife, were filled with joy as they awaited the arrival of their first child. In September, the patient decided to join a gym to lose some weight. Unfortunately, this led to neck pain, dizziness, and vomiting, prompting him to seek medical advice from a local doctor.  The patient's decision to suddenly lift heavy weights and twist his neck resulted in a vertebral artery dissection - a potentially life-threatening condition where the artery wall tears and blood clots form. He was recommended Mechanical Thrombectomy for Vertebrobasilar Junction artery occlusion. Fortunately, his condition improved and he was discharged after one week. During a follow-up appointment with me, the patient arrived with some assistance while walking. It is crucial to understand that there are numerous younger patients like him who are battling strokes and fighting for their lives. Recognising the significance of the golden period - when immediate medical attention can make all the difference - is essential in ensuring positive outcomes for these patients. A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when there is a disruption in blood flow to the brain. This interruption can be caused by either a blockage or the rupture of a blood vessel, cutting off oxygen and nutrients to brain cells. The consequences can be devastating, with immediate symptoms such as sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, and confusion.  There are various factors that can contribute to strokes in young people. One significant factor is having an underlying medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes, which puts stress on the blood vessels and increases the risk of clot formation. Additionally, lifestyle choices play a crucial role; stress, excessive smoking, drug use, and alcohol abuse can lead to a stroke. “Those patients seeking treatment within the window period of four hours can receive thrombolysis and up to 6-12 hours of Mechanical Thrombectomy in a meticulous manner. There is a surge in the number of patients with stroke and large vessel occlusion who receive Mechanical Thrombectomy. At a given hospital there are in-house MRI facilities, and the availability of thrombolytic agents in the emergency room, and the treatment is initiated within 1 hour of arrival to the hospital. It is possible for the patient to recover under four hours. Within the past year, there has been a consistent influx of about 100 stroke patients under the age of 40 and even 30 who experience sudden paralysis due to stroke, resulting in complete one-sided weakness. Each month, approximately 20-25 stroke patients seek medical attention, with 5-7 undergoing thrombolysis and 2-3 undergoing mechanical thrombectomy. In September, there was a notable increase in mechanical thrombectomies performed, reaching approximately seven procedures including three on a single day on September 3. Stroke can lead to disability, and dependency on family members as one will not be able to do the daily activities with ease. Door-to-needle time((DTN)) is less than an hour as treatment initiation occurs,” says Dr Pavan Pai, consultant neurologist and stroke specialist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road “The golden hour holds immense significance for patients suffering from strokes since each minute plays a crucial role in determining their long-term prognosis. It is life-saving and this critical period necessitates immediate medical intervention to prevent additional harm to the brain and enhance prospects of recovery. It helps with timely administration of clot-dissolving medications like tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). By averting delays in diagnosis and treatment, stroke patients significantly amplify their chances of recovering lost functionality and averting further complications associated with strokes. Only 10 to 20 per cent of people reach the hospital in golden hour. Mechanical thrombectomy is needed in almost 10-20 per cent of cases,” says Dr Girish Soni, neurologist, Lilavati Hospital. Pai adds, “Mechanical thrombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove blood clots that are blocking large blood vessels in the brain. It involves inserting a catheter into the affected artery and using a device called a stent retriever to physically remove the clot. This procedure has revolutionised the treatment of certain types of strokes, such as ischemic strokes, by restoring blood flow to the brain and preventing further damage. One of the major benefits of mechanical thrombectomy is its ability to significantly improve patient outcomes as the patient has the chance of recovering fully. Additionally, mechanical thrombectomy reduces the risk of complications associated with other treatments for stroke, such as intravenous clot-busting medications. It also reduces the burden on caregivers and improves overall quality of life for individuals who would otherwise be left with severe disabilities after having a stroke.” Soni adds, “Mechanical thrombectomy has revolutionised the treatment options available for stroke patients. One key advantage is its effectiveness in rapidly restoring blood flow to the brain. By directly removing the clot causing the stroke, mechanical thrombectomy significantly reduces the time it takes to reestablish circulation and minimizes potential damage to brain tissue. This results in improved functional outcomes and a higher chance of survival for patients.  Another advantage of mechanical thrombectomy is its potential for use within an extended time window. While traditional treatments like intravenous thrombolysis must be administered within a specific time frame after symptom onset, mechanical thrombectomy can be performed up to 24 hours later in selected cases. This opens up treatment options for patients who may have initially been ineligible due to delays in reaching the golden period after stroke. “ The aftermath of a stroke can be immensely challenging, both physically and emotionally, and it is crucial for these individuals to receive the necessary support and treatment. This includes comprehensive rehabilitation programs that address the physical impairments caused by the stroke, such as difficulties with movement, balance, and coordination.

29 November,2023 08:18 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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New ChatGPT-like AI tool to accurately generate doctors' notes: Study

A new artificial intelligence (AI) computer programme can generate doctors' notes so well that two physicians couldn't tell the difference, according to a study, that may soon open the door for AI to support health care workers with groundbreaking efficiencies. In this proof-of-concept study, physicians reviewed patient notes -- some written by actual medical doctors while others were created by the new AI programme -- and the physicians identified the correct author only 49 per cent of the time. A team of 19 researchers from NVIDIA and the University of Florida trained supercomputers to generate medical records based on a new model, GatorTronGPT, that functions similarly to ChatGPT. The free versions of GatorTron models have more than 430,000 downloads from Hugging Face, an open-source AI website. GatorTron models are the site's only models available for clinical research, according to lead author Yonghui Wu,, from the University of Florida’s department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics. "In health care, everyone is talking about these models. GatorTron and GatorTronGPT are unique AI models that can power many aspects of medical research and health care. Yet, they require massive data and extensive computing power to build. We are grateful to have this supercomputer, HiPerGator, from NVIDIA to explore the potential of AI in healthcare," Wu said. For this research, published in the journal npj Digital Medicine, the team developed a large language model that allows computers to mimic natural human language. These models work well with standard writing or conversations, but medical records bring additional hurdles, such as needing to protect patients' privacy and being highly technical. Digital medical records cannot be Googled or shared on Wikipedia. To overcome these obstacles, the researchers used health medical records of two million patients while keeping 82 billion useful medical words. Combining this set with another dataset of 195 billion words, they trained the GatorTronGPT model to analyse the medical data with GPT-3 architecture, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a form of neural network architecture. That allowed GatorTronGPT to write clinical text similar to medical doctors' notes. Of the many possible uses for a medical GPT, one idea involves replacing the tedium of documentation with notes recorded and transcribed by AI. For an AI tool to reach such parity with human writing, programmers spend weeks programming supercomputers with clinical vocabulary and language usage based on billions upon billions of words. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

28 November,2023 08:18 AM IST | New York | IANS
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Study finds common microbe that causes persistent itching

Scientists have for the first time identified a common skin bacterium --Staphylococcus aureus -- that activates nerve cells in the skin, making people with skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis itch and scratch themselves persistently. In such conditions, the equilibrium of microorganisms that keep our skin healthy is often thrown off balance, allowing S. aureus to flourish, said the researchers from Harvard Medical School Up until now, the itch that occurs with eczema and atopic dermatitis was believed to arise from the accompanying inflammation of the skin. But the new findings, based on research in mice and in human cells and published in the journal Cell, showed that S. aureus single-handedly causes itch by instigating a molecular chain reaction that culminates in the urge to scratch. “We’ve identified an entirely novel mechanism behind itch -- the bacterium Staph aureus, which is found on almost every patient with the chronic condition atopic dermatitis. We show that itch can be caused by the microbe itself,” said Isaac Chiu, Associate Professor of immunology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS. In the study, mice exposed to S. aureus developed intensifying itch over several days, and the repeated scratching caused worsening skin damage that spread beyond the original site of exposure. To determine how the bacterium triggered itch, the researchers tested multiple modified versions of the S. aureus microbe that were engineered to lack specific pieces of the bug’s molecular makeup. The team also found a bacterial enzyme called protease V8 which was single-handedly responsible for initiating itch in mice. Human skin samples from patients with atopic dermatitis also had more S. aureus and higher V8 levels than healthy skin samples. The analyses showed that V8 triggers itch by activating a protein called PAR1, which is found on skin neurons that originate in the spinal cord and carry various signals -- touch, heat, pain, itch -- from the skin to the brain. Normally, PAR1 lies dormant but upon contact with certain enzymes, including V8, it gets activated. The research showed that V8 snips one end of the PAR1 protein and awakens it. Experiments in mice showed that once activated, PAR1 initiates a signal that the brain eventually perceives as itch. When researchers repeated the experiments in lab dishes containing human neurons, they also responded to V8. Treating animals with an FDA-approved anti-clotting medicine successfully blocked the activation of the protein to interrupt this key step in the itch-scratch cycle. The treatment relieved symptoms and minimised skin damage. The findings can inform the design of oral medicines and topical creams to treat persistent itch that occurs with various conditions linked to an imbalance in the skin microbiome, such as atopic dermatitis, prurigo nodularis, and psoriasis. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

28 November,2023 08:15 AM IST | New York | IANS
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Decoded: How Covid virus makes itself more infectious

Scientists have uncovered a cunning strategy that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, uses to increase its infectivity. The team at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland focused on the virus's notorious spike protein, which allows it to enter and infect human cells. Upon infecting a host, SARS-CoV-2 manipulates its cellular machinery to modify an enzyme that then turbocharges spike's ability to invade other cells. The enzyme, abbreviated as ZDHHC20, normally tags proteins with a little fat molecule that changes the way they work. But upon infection, the virus takes over the ZDHHC20 enzyme, revealed the research published in the journal Nature Communications. "In our previous work, we discovered the enzyme that modifies the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein -- it adds lipids to it -- and this is essential for the virus to fuse with target cells," said Gisou van der Goot at EPFL's School of Life Sciences. "What we now show is that the virus actually triggers an optimisation of the enzyme by inducing a change in the transcription of its gene," van der Goot added. Analysing the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the gene (zdhhc20), the researchers found that the virus triggers a change in its transcriptional start site -- the part of a gene where the process of "reading" it into a protein begins. Studying both cells in the lab and live organisms, they confirmed that this "transcriptional change" produces an enzyme with 67 additional amino acids. This is enough to increase its lipid-adding activity on spike 37 times, leading to a heavily enhanced viral infectivity. The team also used metabolic labelling, Western blotting, and immunofluorescence to visualise and quantify proteins, and get a comprehensive view of the virus's manipulative tactics. Digging deeper, the researchers found that this change in the transcriptional start of genes seems to be something cells normally do in response to stresses or challenges -- in the case of the study, chemically induced colitis. What this means is that SARS-CoV-2 hijacks a pre-existing cell damage response pathway to generate more infectious viruses. The discovery highlights SARS-CoV-2's tactics to boost its infectivity, offering a blueprint for ,potential treatments, and suggests that other viruses might use similar strategies of co-opting host defences. Additionally, the findings indicate that the cellular response the virus leverages could be a general reaction to various stresses, which expands the study's findings beyond viral infection. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

28 November,2023 08:12 AM IST | London | IANS
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Exposure to air pollution in utero may affect reproductive health in men: Study

While pollution has been known to cause infertility among women and even impact the unborn foetus, a new study showed that prenatal exposure to bad air may hurt men’s reproductive health too. Cross-sectional studies in adult men and women have shown that alterations in anogenital distance -- the length between genitals and the anus -- may be related to hormone levels as well as semen quality, fertility and reproductive disorders. In animal studies, anogenital distance is used to determine developmental toxicity of pollutants. One measurable impact is on the reproductive system. When anogenital distance is reduced in male offspring, it's a sign that a toxic exposure is interfering with foetal testosterone production, said lead author Emily Barrett, Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health. In the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers speculated that a similar relationship may exist in humans. They used data from an ongoing study involving 700 pregnant women and their children that tracked anogenital distance at birth in children, and at one year for boys. These data were then compared with levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter particle pollution (PM) 2.5 micrometres or smaller released during the burning of gasoline, oil, diesel and wood. By comparing these two measures, the researchers identified a link between exposure to air pollution during key developmental windows and anogenital distance. For instance, higher PM2.5 exposure during the so-called male programming window at the end of the first trimester, when the male foetus typically receives a surge of hormones, was associated with shorter anogenital length at birth. The researchers also observed that higher PM2.5 during mini puberty (a period in early infancy when hormone production is high) was associated with shorter anogenital distance in males at age one. These findings suggest there may be multiple points during early development that the reproductive system may be vulnerable to the impacts of air pollutants. "PM2.5 is like a trojan horse," said Barrett, adding that particulate matter can carry metals such as cadmium and lead, known endocrine disruptors. "When these disruptors interfere with the body's hormones, the result could be lifelong impacts on our health, from cancer risks to impaired ability to conceive a child. "These findings suggest air pollution may interfere with normal hormone activity during critical periods of prenatal and early infant development, and we suspect that disruption may have long-term consequences for reproductive health," Barrett 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

28 November,2023 08:10 AM IST | New York | IANS
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Study finds common skin bacterium that causes persistent itching

Scientists have for the first time identified a common skin bacterium --Staphylococcus aureus -- that activates nerve cells in the skin, making people with skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis itch and scratch themselves persistently. In such conditions, the equilibrium of microorganisms that keep our skin healthy is often thrown off balance, allowing S. aureus to flourish, said the researchers from Harvard Medical School Up until now, the itch that occurs with eczema and atopic dermatitis was believed to arise from the accompanying inflammation of the skin. But the new findings, based on research in mice and in human cells and published in the journal Cell, showed that S. aureus single-handedly causes itch by instigating a molecular chain reaction that culminates in the urge to scratch. “We’ve identified an entirely novel mechanism behind itch -- the bacterium Staph aureus, which is found on almost every patient with the chronic condition atopic dermatitis. We show that itch can be caused by the microbe itself,” said Isaac Chiu, Associate Professor of immunology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS. In the study, mice exposed to S. aureus developed intensifying itch over several days, and the repeated scratching caused worsening skin damage that spread beyond the original site of exposure. To determine how the bacterium triggered itch, the researchers tested multiple modified versions of the S. aureus microbe that were engineered to lack specific pieces of the bug’s molecular makeup. The team also found a bacterial enzyme called protease V8 which was single-handedly responsible for initiating itch in mice. Human skin samples from patients with atopic dermatitis also had more S. aureus and higher V8 levels than healthy skin samples. The analyses showed that V8 triggers itch by activating a protein called PAR1, which is found on skin neurons that originate in the spinal cord and carry various signals -- touch, heat, pain, itch -- from the skin to the brain. Normally, PAR1 lies dormant but upon contact with certain enzymes, including V8, it gets activated. The research showed that V8 snips one end of the PAR1 protein and awakens it. Experiments in mice showed that once activated, PAR1 initiates a signal that the brain eventually perceives as itch. When researchers repeated the experiments in lab dishes containing human neurons, they also responded to V8. Treating animals with an FDA-approved anti-clotting medicine successfully blocked the activation of the protein to interrupt this key step in the itch-scratch cycle. The treatment relieved symptoms and minimised skin damage. The findings can inform the design of oral medicines and topical creams to treat persistent itch that occurs with various conditions linked to an imbalance in the skin microbiome, such as atopic dermatitis, prurigo nodularis, and psoriasis. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

27 November,2023 11:42 PM IST | New York | IANS
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Exploring the link between lifestyle choices and Type 2 Diabetes in young adults

In an alarming revelation, recent studies highlight that one in four young adults is grappling with Type 2 Diabetes, shedding light on the profound impact of lifestyle choices on our health. The choices we make today can significantly escalate the risk of this chronic condition, further leading to severe complications that demand our attention. The journey towards Type 2 Diabetes often begins with seemingly innocuous decisions – a diet rich in processed foods, sedentary habits, and a lack of physical activity. These choices trigger a domino effect, that leads to weight gain and insulin resistance. Fast-paced lives, coupled with excessive screen time and poor sleep patterns, further exacerbate the problem. The consequence they face is a higher susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes says Dr Shyam Sundar C M, consultant - endocrinology and diabetology, SPARSH Hospital, Bangalore. The moment one is exposed to Type 2 diabetes, it brings a lot of complications along with it.  1. As blood sugar levels elevate cardiovascular issues loom large; and contribute to the hardening of arteries.  2. Kidney problems become a pressing concern, with diabetes emerging as a leading cause of renal failure.  3. Nerve damage, vision impairment, and an increased risk of infections also add to the intricate web of complications. It's never too late to make productive changes. It is important to adopt certain healthy lifestyle choices like:  1. Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet, infused with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can be a game-changer.  2. Regular physical activity helps in weight management and improves insulin sensitivity.  3. Cutting off unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption contributes to overall well-being. For people who are on the edge of Type 2 Diabetes, it is crucial to keep a few things in mind:  1. Constant monitoring of blood sugar levels becomes of utmost importance.  2. Regular check-ups with healthcare professionals enable early detection and intervention.  3. Engaging in stress-reducing activities, such as mindfulness and meditation, aids in maintaining optimal mental and physical health. The rise in Type 2 Diabetes among young adults is a wake-up call to reassess our lifestyles. Small, consistent changes in our daily habits can be the bulwark against this silent epidemic. By making informed choices today, we pave the way for a healthier tomorrow, free from the shackles of Type 2 Diabetes and its complications says Dr Shyam. 

27 November,2023 10:45 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Mumbai-based lung expert shares myths related to lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world, and it is also one of the most deadly. It is estimated that lung cancer is responsible for around 1.8 million deaths each year, making it the leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. The good news is that with increased awareness and early detection, lung cancer can be treated more effectively, improving the chances of survival.One of the most important ways to combat lung cancer is through increased awareness and education. Many people are unaware of the risk factors for lung cancer, which include smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, radon gas, and certain types of air pollution.  When lung cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, it is much more likely to be treatable. This is why it is crucial for people to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer, such as a persistent cough, chest pain, and unexplained weight loss, and seek medical attention if they experience any of these symptoms.Despite the swift increase in lung cancer cases in India, many misconceptions persist. These myths contribute to a markedly low level of understanding and awareness about the disease. Here, we debunk myths surrounding lung cancer.Myth #1: Only smokers suffer from lung cancerFact: The assertion that only smokers are at risk of lung cancer is inaccurate. The risk factors extend beyond smoking to include a family history of lung cancer, exposure to pollution, and second-hand smoke. Therefore, it's crucial to dispel the misconception that this disease solely affects smokers; anyone can contract lung cancer at any given time.Myth #2: The risk of lung cancer cannot be minimizedFact:  By abstaining from smoking, avoiding exposure to pollution, and using a mask, the likelihood of developing lung cancer can be decreased. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and keeping a healthy weight are also crucial steps towards reducing this risk.Myth #3: Lung cancer is exclusive to the elderlyFact: This assertion is inaccurate. Lung cancer can affect individuals of all ages, from young children to adults, and it does not discriminate based on gender. Both men and women are equally susceptible to this disease and no one and no gender is immune.Myth #4: Lung cancer equals deathFact: The prognosis for lung cancer can significantly improve with prompt diagnosis and treatment, thereby proving that early detection has the potential to be life-saving.  So, don't delay in seeking treatment once you notice the signs and symptoms. Myth #5: Opting for lung cancer surgery can be dangerous as it can spread cancer furtherFact: It's a known fact that lung cancer can metastasize through the bloodstream and lymphatic system. However, it's crucial to understand that surgical procedures for lung cancer do not contribute to this spread. Contrarily, surgery serves as a beneficial method to extract the harmful tumor from the lung.By raising awareness about lung cancer, we can help people take the necessary steps to reduce their risk and detect the disease early, ultimately saving lives. (Dr Shahid Patel, Consultant Pulmonologist, Medicover Hospitals, Navi Mumbai)

27 November,2023 06:14 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Urinary tract infection is a rising and common concern in females: Experts

Lack of awareness and stigma are the major reasons behind rising urinary tract infection among Indian women, according to experts. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a painful condition that affects millions of people, especially women. It occurs when bacteria enter the urinary system and cause inflammation and irritation. About 40 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men experience at least one symptom of UTI during their lifetime while as many as 40 per cent of affected women suffer with recurrent UTI. It is also known to be one of the most common medical complications during pregnancies. According to a recent research, published in SSRG International Journal of Medical Sciences, around 35 per cent women in India get affected by female urinary incontinence. Led by Anya Chaudhary, lead author and a social awareness campaigner on UTI in women, the research highlighted the trends of awareness and stigma surrounding female urinary incontinence, and effective methods to improve societal perception of women’s health issues. "In India women are hesitant to seek well available treatment for UTI which hampers their daily life, their social capacity, and their confidence and this hesitance is caused by lack of awareness and stigma," Chaudhury told IANS. Other experts also called the need for raising awareness on UTI. "UTI or urinary tract infection is quite common in females. This problem is seen more in postmenopausal women and those with diabetes. To avoid getting UTI, it is advisable to drink at least two litres of water daily, keep sugars well controlled, and maintain good personal hygiene," Dr. Anita Gupta, Associate Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis La Femme, New Delhi, told IANS. "In case of symptoms like burning and pain while urinating along with fever, seeking expert advice and apt antimicrobial choice is imperative for both clinical efficacy and avoiding development of resistance. Considering female population, genital and menstrual hygiene also contribute to recurrence of urine infection," added Dr. Neha Rastogi Panda, Senior Infectious Diseases Specialist at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

27 November,2023 08:03 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Autistic people experience a reduced life expectancy: Study

A new study led by University College London (UCL) researchers confirms that autistic people experience a reduced life expectancy, however the number of years of life lost may not be as high as previously claimed. The research, published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe, is the first to estimate the life expectancy and years of life lost by autistic people living in the UK. The team used anonymised data from GP practices throughout the UK to study people who received an autism diagnosis between 1989 to 2019. The researchers found that autistic men without a learning disability had an average estimated life expectancy of 74.6 years, and autistic women without a learning disability, around 76.8 years. Meanwhile, the estimated life expectancy for people diagnosed with autism and learning disability was around 71.7 years for men and 69.6 years for women. These figures compare to the usual life expectancy of around 80 years for men and around 83 years for women living in the UK. “Autism itself does not, to our knowledge, directly reduce life expectancy, but we know that autistic people experience health inequalities, meaning that they often don’t get the support and help that they need when they need it,” said lead investigator of the study, Professor Josh Stott. The findings provide the first evidence that diagnosed autistic people were more likely to die prematurely in the UK across the time period studied, indicating an urgent need to address inequalities that disproportionately affect autistic people. However, the new estimates also suggest that the widely reported statistic that autistic people live 16 years less on average is likely to be incorrect. “Our findings show that some autistic people were dying prematurely, which impacted the overall life expectancy. However, we know that when they have the right support, many autistic people live long, healthy and happy lives,” said Stott. “We do need to find out why some autistic people are dying prematurely so that we can identify ways to prevent this from happening.” Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, and can find it hard to explain to others when they are experiencing pain or discomfort. This can mean that health problems go undetected. “We believe that the findings of this study reflect inequalities that disproportionately affect autistic people,” said joint-lead author Dr Elizabeth O’Nions. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

27 November,2023 07:52 AM IST | London | IANS
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E. coli bacteria more capable of antibiotic resistance than previously thought

E. coli bacteria may be far more capable at evolving antibiotic resistance than scientists previously thought, according to a new study. Led by the Santa Fe Institute’s external professor Andreas Wagner, the researchers experimentally mapped more than 260,000 possible mutations of an E. coli protein that is essential for the bacteria’s survival when exposed to the antibiotic trimethoprim. Over the course of thousands of highly realistic digital simulations, the researchers then found that 75 per cent of all possible evolutionary paths of the E. coli protein ultimately endowed the bacteria with such a high level of antibiotic resistance that a clinician would no longer give the antibiotic trimethoprim to a patient. “In essence, this study suggests that bacteria like E. coli may be more adept at evolving resistance to antibiotics than we initially thought, and this has broader implications for understanding how various systems in evolutionary biology, chemistry, and other fields adapt and evolve,” said Wagner, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Besides uncovering new and potentially worrisome findings about antibiotic resistance, the researchers’ work also casts doubt on a longstanding theory about fitness landscapes. These genetic maps represent how well an organism — or a part of it, like a protein — adapts to its environment, said the study published in Science. Wagner and colleagues used CRISPR gene editing technology to create one of the most combinatorially complete fitness landscapes to date for the E. coli dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) protein. What they found was surprising. The fitness landscape had many peaks, but most were of low fitness, making them less interesting for adaptation. However, even in this rugged landscape, about 75 per cent of the populations they simulated reached high fitness peaks, which would grant E. coli high antibiotic resistance. The real-world implications are significant. If rugged landscapes like this are common in biological systems, it could mean that many adaptive processes, such as antibiotic resistance, may be more accessible than previously thought. “This has profound implications not only in biology but beyond, prompting us to reevaluate our understanding of landscape evolution across various fields,” Wagner 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

27 November,2023 07:47 AM IST | New York | IANS
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