Friday, 29 November 2013

India, the first developing country to produce a new vaccine

Diarrhea is a condition that involves the frequent passing of loose or watery stools. Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children. Almost 100,000 children in India die every year of painful viral diarrhoea caused by this virus. The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), published in the latest issue of Lancet, shows diarrhoeal disease, which is responsible for one in every ten child deaths during the first five years of life worldwide, has the highest rate of incidence in India compared to other sites.

But now there is a good news. Indian scientists from Bharat Biotech Ltd in Hyderabad have developed a new oral vaccine against the Rota virus. If given in three doses, it can prevent children from a type of diarrhoea where both vomiting and loose motion can severely dehydrate children very quickly. This vaccine reduced severe Rota virus diarrhoea by more than 56 per cent during first year of life, with protection continuing into the second year of life. Moreover, the vaccine also showed impact against severe diarrhoea of any cause.

The vaccine was first identified by researchers at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi way back in 1985. Since then, with over $100 million in funding including that from the Indian government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is now ready for use in children as soon as the regulatory approvals come through.

This is the first new vaccine developed in India. Also, India is the first developing country to do it. Experts have estimated that India spends almost Rs. 400 million every year in hospitalizations due to the Rota virus infection. Bharat Biotech says it can sell it for under Rs. 50 a dose for children. It does seem like affordable health care at its best.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Why fasting before some blood test is important?

If you've ever visited your doctor and required blood test, he or she may have told you to return on another day to have the blood drawn when you haven't eaten overnight. There are some real medical reasons for doing these blood tests after fasting.

There are two main groups of blood tests that are significantly affected by fasting: blood sugar tests and lipid profile. More specifically, these tests are for LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting blood sugar. On a daily basis, the normal range for blood sugar and lipids undergoes changes hour to hour depending on recent ingestion of food and drink. By fasting, one is getting a baseline sugar and lipid value that is not influenced by a recent meal.

In addition, the guidelines for the definition of diabetic and pre-diabetic are based on looking at standardized situations. A fasting state is one of those situations. For example, a fasting blood sugar greater than 125 mg/dl would define a patient as diabetic. However, if that patient eats something just one hour before the blood draw, it might signal to their doctor that they are diabetic as the blood sugar would be high. If that patient didn't admit of the food he had before the test, their physician would believe that they are likely diabetic.

Lipids follow the same guidelines. All of the normal values, and the values used to determine high risk and need for treatment are based on FASTING values for LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. If a patient is not in the fasting state the cholesterol values could be elevated by as much as 20 points. This could make one falsely fit into criteria for more aggressive treatment.

A fasting for 8 hours will be ideal in tests like this. But an important point to remember is to stay well hydrated with plain water even in the fasting state. Many blood draws can be difficult on patients who are dehydrated and plain water effectively counteracts this condition. Other usual tests which require fasting include Iron blood tests and Gamma Glutamyl Transferase test (GGT). If you have further questions or concerns about these blood tests and what you need to do to make them as accurate as possible, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Microchips to revolutionise blood test procedures

In conjunction with Phillips Research, a team from the University of Southampton developed a miniaturized cell analysis device with the goal of delivering a low cost, high speed, and inexpensive system to perform the count of white blood cells in point-of-care settings.

This team recently developed a microchip cytometer with the ability to analyze white blood cells (WBC) differential count. This cytometer uses micro-fluidics to assess various cells in the blood. The electrical properties of the blood cells are assessed while the blood actually flows through the chip. The measurements are used to determine and count the different types of WBCs. At present, this device can identify three types of white blood cells (T-lymphocytes, Monocytes and Neutrophils) quicker and more inexpensively than current systems. This team is hoping that they will be able to include the technology for RBC count and platelet count into the chip soon.

At the moment—if an individual goes to the doctor complaining of feeling unwell—a blood sample is taken which will sent to the lab while the patient awaits the results. This new prototype device aids doctor in diagnosing acute diseases while the patient is with him, so a treatment strategy may be devised immediately. 

Ongoing advances in nanotechnology and micro fluidics are contributing to many different efforts to create point-of-care testing devices for assays that currently must be performed in central laboratories. The blood testing chip under development at the University of Southampton is just one example. Pathologists and lab managers should expect to see a regular flow of Point of Care Testing systems (POCT) reach the clinical marketplace in coming years.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness

'The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in 70 or 80 years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all.' (Doris Les)

You cannot escape the advancing years. The best things are the oldest, things that have endured and stood the test of time. Life is made up of good, bad and indifferent experiences. Learn to esteem life and you will reach the pinnacle of wisdom. A blessed old age ends happily. With the coming of old age is the acquisition of true wisdom. The later years of life are wonderful. Gray hairs are revered and length of years is honored.

We should learn how to age gracefully. The old myth was somehow after age 60, 65, there is just nothing you can do. There are lots of things you can do to improve your function and your health. Even if you suffer from limited mobility there are books to read, watch TV or listen to music. You can teach your grandkids how to cook, sew, knit or crochet. Keep a vegetable garden. There are so many things older people can do. Focus on what you can do and not so much, what you can not do.

If you have friends you have known for years contact them and get together once in a while. If you don't have any friends, make some new friends.

Check your attitude. You do not have to complain always. People like to be around happy people. Put a smile on your face and stop complaining. Celebrate life. Don't just hold on to your memories; share them with friends and especially with your family.

Exercise can improve your health and help you to keep away from chronic diseases. Exercise helps control your weight, lower your blood pressure, and strengthen your muscles, which in turn make you less likely to fall .Physical activity has also been linked to a decreased risk of dementia.

If you can keep your weight down, you will decrease your risk of Diabetes .But older adults need not go to a gym, or do rigorous workouts. Instead, mild activities, such as walking, gardening, or anything to keep moving would be sufficient. You have to exercise enough so that you're not obese, but not too thin, so that you have reserve. Your muscles tend to shorten and stiffen if you are not active. Stretching activities such as yoga will help improve your flexibility.

Preventive measures, such as getting vaccinations, medical checkups, screening for breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancers are also important for growing old gracefully. Keeping an eye on other diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes can also make a difference. Decreased stress levels, by engaging in spiritual activities such as meditation, may be beneficial. Studies suggest that happily married couples and optimistic people live longer. They are less likely to develop certain chronic conditions, such as cardio vascular diseases.

Old age is the golden harvest of life opening us to the light, life and love-giving forces of the Heavens. So, enjoy ageing gracefully.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

November 14: World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated every year on November 14. World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses.

WDD is celebrated on November 14, to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922. Diabetes Education and Prevention is the World Diabetes Day theme for the period 2009-2013.

Each year World Diabetes Day is centered on a theme related to diabetes. Topics covered in the past have included diabetes and human rights, diabetes and lifestyle, and the costs of diabetes. Diabetes Education and Prevention is the World Diabetes Day theme for the period 2009-2013.

നിങ്ങള്‍ക്കു പ്രമേഹ സാധ്യതയുണ്ടോ എന്നറിയാന്‍ ചോദ്യാവലി

പെട്ടെന്നൊരു ദിവസം നിങ്ങളുടെ ഡോക്ടര്‍ മുന്നറിയിപ്പു നല്‍കുന്നതു വരെ നമ്മളില്‍ പലരും പ്രമേഹ രോഗ സാധ്യതയെക്കുറിച്ച് ആലോചിക്കാറു പോലുമില്ല. എന്നാല്‍ രോഗ സാധ്യത വിലയിരുത്തി ജീവിതം കാലേകൂട്ടി ക്രമീകരിച്ചാലോ? പ്രമേഹം നിങ്ങളെ കീഴ്പ്പെടുത്താതെ സൂക്ഷിക്കുകയുമാവാം.

നിങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് പ്രമേഹ രോഗ സാധ്യതയുണ്ടോ എന്നറിയാന്‍ ഇതാ ഒരു എളുപ്പവഴി. ചുവടെ കൊടുത്തിരിക്കുന്ന ഏതാനും ചോദ്യങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് ഉത്തരം നല്‍കുക, ഒടുവില്‍ ചുവടെയുള്ള ഉത്തര സൂചിക നോക്കുക, നിങ്ങളുടെ പ്രമേഹ സാധ്യത നിങ്ങള്‍ക്കു തന്നെ വിലയിരുത്താം.

പ്രമേഹ പരിശോധന (ടൈപ് 2)

ഓരോ ചോദ്യത്തിനും നിങ്ങളുടെ ഉത്തരം അടയാളപ്പെടുത്തിയശേഷം ഒടുവില്‍, പോയിന്‍റ് കൂട്ടിനോക്കുക.

നിങ്ങളുടെ പ്രായം:
0   45ൽ താഴെ
2   45-54
3   55-64
4   64ൽ കൂടുതൽ

ശരീര-പിണ്ഡ സൂചിക (ബോഡി മാസ് ഇന്‍ഡെക്സ്):
0   25 kg/m2-ൽ താഴെ
1   25-30 kg/m2.
3   30 kg/m2-ൽ കൂടുതൽ  

അരക്കെട്ടിന്‍റെ അളവ് (പൊക്കിൾ ഭാഗത്ത്)
പുരുഷന്മാർ                      സ്ത്രീകൾ
0  94 cm-ൽ താഴെ                80 cm-ൽ താഴെ
3  94-102 cm                                  80-88 cm
4  102-ൽ കൂടുതൽ            88-ൽ കൂടുതൽ

ദിവസവും അര മണിക്കൂറെങ്കിലും വ്യായാമം പതിവുണ്ടോ?
0  ഉണ്ട്
2  ഇല്ല

പച്ചക്കറികളും പഴങ്ങളും എത്ര പതിവായി കഴിക്കാറുണ്ട്?
എല്ലാ ദിവസവും
1  എല്ലാ ദിവസവുമില്ല

ഉയർന്ന രക്തസമ്മർദ്ദത്തിന് പതിവായി മരുന്നു കഴിക്കുന്നുണ്ടോ?
0  ഇല്ല
2  ഉണ്ട്

രക്തത്തിൽ എപ്പോഴെങ്കിലും പഞ്ചസാരയുടെ നില അധികമായി കണ്ടിട്ടുണ്ടോ?
0  ഇല്ല
5  ഉണ്ട്

കുടുംബത്തിൽ ആർക്കെങ്കിലും പ്രമേഹം ഉണ്ടായിട്ടുണ്ടോ?
0  ഇല്ല
3  ഉണ്ട് (മുത്തശ്ശൻ/ശ്ശി), അമ്മാവൻ/അമ്മായി, കസിൻ)
5   ഉണ്ട് (അമ്മ/അച്ഛൻ, സഹോദരി/സഹോദരൻ, മക്കൾ)

പ്രമേഹസാധ്യതാ സൂചിക:
പത്തുകൊല്ലത്തിനുള്ളിൽ നിങ്ങൾക്ക് പ്രമേഹം വരാനുള്ള സാധ്യത-
പോയിന്‍റ് 7 ൽ കുറവാണെങ്കിൽ   
വളരെ കുറഞ്ഞ സാധ്യത
ഈ പോയിന്‍റ് നിലയുള്ള  100-ല്‍ ഒരാള്‍ക്കു മാത്രം പ്രമേഹ സാധ്യത
പോയിന്‍റ് 7-11
ചെറിയ സാധ്യത
ഈ പോയിന്‍റ് നിലയുള്ള 25-ല്‍ ഒരാള്‍ക്കു പ്രമേഹ സാധ്യത
പോയിന്‍റ് 12-14
മിതമായ സാധ്യത
ഈ പോയിന്‍റ് നിലയുള്ള 6-ല്‍ ഒരാള്‍ക്കു പ്രമേഹ സാധ്യത
പോയിന്‍റ് 15-20
ഉയര്‍ന്ന സാധ്യത
ഈ പോയിന്‍റ് നിലയുള്ള 3-ല്‍ ഒരാള്‍ക്കു പ്രമേഹ സാധ്യത
20 പോയിന്‍റിനു മുകളില്‍
വളരെ ഉയര്‍ന്ന സാധ്യത
ഈ പോയിന്‍റ് നിലയുള്ള 2-ല്‍ ഒരാള്‍ക്കു പ്രമേഹ സാധ്യത

ശരീര-പിണ്ഡസൂചിക (ബോഡി മാസ് ഇന്‍ഡെക്സ്- BMI)

തൂക്കം കൂടുതലാണോ കുറവാണോ എന്നു കണക്കാനുള്ളതാണ് ശരീര-പിണ്ഡസൂചിക എന്ന ബോഡി മാസ് ഇന്‍ഡെക്സ്. കിലോഗ്രാമിൽ ഉള്ള തൂക്കത്തെ മീറ്ററിലുള്ള ഉയരത്തിന്‍റെ സ്ക്വയർ കൊണ്ട് ഹരിക്കുക. തൂക്കം 70 കിലോയും ഉയരം 165 സെന്റിമീറ്ററും ആണെങ്കിൽ, ശരീരപിണ്ഡം 70(1.65x1.65),എന്നു വെച്ചാൽ, 25.7.

ശരീര-പിണ്ഡസൂചിക 25-30 ആണെങ്കിൽ, തൂക്കം കുറയ്ക്കണം, അഥവാ കൂടാതെ നോക്കുകയെങ്കിലും വേണംസൂചിക 30 കവിഞ്ഞാൽ, ദോഷഫലങ്ങൾ കാണാൻ തുടങ്ങുംപിന്നെ തൂക്കം കുറച്ചേ പറ്റൂ.

തുടക്കത്തിൽ പ്രമേഹത്തിന്‍റെ ലക്ഷണം കാണുകയേ ഇല്ല. സാധ്യതാപരിശോധനയിൽ 12-14 പോയന്‍റില്‍ എത്തുമ്പോള്‍, രോഗം വരാതിരിക്കാനുള്ള വഴികൾ കാര്യമായി ആരായണം. തൂക്കം ശ്രദ്ധിക്കണം, ഭക്ഷണശീലം മാറ്റണം, വ്യായാമം നിഷ്കര്‍ഷയോടെ ചെയ്യണം. ഡോക്ടറെ കാണണം.

പരിശോധനയിൽ 15 പോയന്‍റിൽ കൂടുതൽ കണ്ടെത്തിയാൽ, വെറും വയറ്റിലും ഭക്ഷണം കഴിച്ചും പഞ്ചസാര തിട്ടപ്പെടുത്തണം. അങ്ങനെ ലക്ഷണമൊന്നുമില്ലാതെ പ്രമേഹമുണ്ടോ എന്നു മനസ്സിലാക്കാം..