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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Study Sees Link Between Psoriasis, Obesity in Kids

The prevalence of psoriasis -- a chronic, inflammatory disease of the skin -- is significantly higher among overweight and obese kids, researchers have found.The Kaiser Permanente study, published online in the Journal of Pediatrics, also found that teens with psoriasis (regardless of their body weight) have higher cholesterol levels, putting them at greater risk for heart disease."This study suggests a link between obesity and psoriasis in children," the study's lead author Corinna Koebnick, research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research & Evaluation, said in a Kaiser Permanente news release."But our study findings also suggest that the higher heart disease risk for patients with psoriasis starts in childhood in the form of higher cholesterol levels. We may need to monitor youth with psoriasis more closely for cardiovascular risk factors, especially if they are obese," Koebnick added.Using electronic health records to study 710,949 racially and ethnically diverse children, the investigators found obese children were almost 40 percent more likely to have psoriasis than normal weight children. At even greater risk, extremely obese children were nearly 80 percent more likely to have psoriasis than normal weight children. Moreover, it was four times more likely for psoriasis to be severe or more widespread in obese youth than in normal weight children.The study also revealed that, compared with kids without psoriasis, teens with the skin condition had 4 to 16 percent higher cholesterol levels and liver enzymes, regardless of their weight.Psoriasis, often viewed merely as a burdensome skin condition, may put children at risk for metabolic disease (such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease), as seen in adults, the study authors pointed out."It has been well described that adults with psoriasis have increased cardiovascular risk factors, but we have now examined these issues in children," the study's senior author, Dr. Jashin J. Wu, director of clinical research and the associate residency program, and director for the department of dermatology at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, said in the news release."As we follow these patients over 30 to 40 years, we will be able to determine if these increased cardiovascular risk factors in turn increase the risk for major adverse cardiac events," said Wu.The researchers acknowledged that the study had limitations due to its cross-sectional design, where both body weight and information on psoriasis were assessed at the same time, and stated that these issues would be addressed in future studies.

Yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture cuts chronic pain

A research has indicated that meditative exercise forms such as yoga, Tai Chi, and ancient health practices such as acupuncture helps in reducing chronic pain. Other complementary and alternative health practices including meditation and relaxation techniques, manual therapies such as massage and spinal manipulation also show promise for contributing to the management of pain.
"Much of health care involves helping people find solutions for tough problems like pain. I think all physicians are well aware of how difficult it is to manage chronic pain patients," said Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.
"For example, with back pain we see that large numbers of patients are turning to these approaches with the hope of decreasing discomfort, improving function and quality-of-life, and minimizing side effects of pharmacologic treatments," added Briggs.
The research was presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Pain Society.


Medical Food, Mediterranean Diet Combo Reduces Cardiovascular Risk

 Medical Food, Mediterranean Diet Combo Reduces Cardiovascular RiskA medical food combined with a low-glycemics Mediterranean-style diet has been found almost twice as effective as taking the best diets alone for lowering risk factors for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.
In addition, researchers at the University of Florida and Metagenics Inc. found the medical food UltraMeal(r) PLUS 360 degree is 40 percent more likely to resolve metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes  in adults.They believe that patients who incorporate the medical food into their diets as well as make necessary life style changes can improve their health faster than by using a 
Mediterranean   alone. 
To come to the conclusion they conducted clinical trial at three universities including the University of Connecticut-Storrs, the University of Florida-Jacksonville, and the University of California-Irvine. 

Canadians warming up to idea of 'medical tourism'

More than 60 per cent of Canadians would be willing to leave the country for medical procedures if they were covered by healthcare, according to a new report by an international consulting firm.Medical tourism is a growing industry, said Mark Fam, a senior manager with Deloitte's National Health Services. The industry is divided into two sectors: inbound, the number of patients travelling into a country to receive treatment; and outbound, those travelling outside the country.In terms of outbound, "over two per cent of Canadians right now are already travelling outside the country to receive services," Fam told CTV News Channel.According to the report, this presents insurance companies an opportunity to provide additional coverage that includes medical tourism; and also offers Canadian hospitals a chance to free up bed space.Procedures sought outside Canada include cosmetic operations, fertility treatments and cardiac care.The issue made headlines last year when former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams travelled to a Florida hospital for heart surgery -- proof, according to critics of public health care, that a private system is better."Provincial governments have the opportunity to encourage citizens to seek out procedures abroad to alleviate their health systems' wait times, improve access to care and also position Canada as a medical tourism destination…" the report says. "But before doing this, governments should determine if the cost of medical tourism services be less than the delivery of services locally."In addition to speedier care, the benefits of travelling abroad to receive treatment can include the prospect of receiving cutting-edge treatment and a chance to relax.Many patients treat it as a vacation, said Farm. Still, patients need to be diligent and ask questions about the facility they are visiting, post-op recover time and treatment options, he said.In addition to individual benefits, there are also broad economic advantages.According to a 2009 Deloitte report, the outbound medical tourism industry could reach up to 1.6 million patients by 2012. Many patients travel to countries such as India, Thailand and Costa Rica where governments are aggressively vying for a bigger share of the estimated $40 billion industry.Last year, India's government backed a three-day conference at the Toronto's Metro Convention Centre. Sponsors included Indian private health care companies and firms that specialize in medical tourism, hoping to attract more Canadian medical tourism dollars.Currently, medical tourism is unregulated in Canada.If Canadian hospitals were allowed to sell services for "inbound" medical tourism, Farm said it could be a win-win situation. "It's an opportunity to bring in foreign travelers and receive additional funds in the system which actually can be used to provide more services to Canadians here."Opponents of medical tourism are concerned the industry promotes a two-tiered system that favours the wealthy.Farm said however, that it's not just the rich who are seeking outside services. "Regardless of income level, we see a range of 15 to 25 per cent of Canadians willing to travel."Deloitte will soon publish its latest report: "Evolving medical tourism in Canada -- Exploring a new frontier."

Indian Herbs Explored as Source of New Antibiotics

1037163.jpgNew research published by BioMed Central's open access journal Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials investigates the potency of Indian wild plants against bacterial and fungal infections in the mouths of oral cancer patients.
Researchers from Rohtak, India, tested extracts from several plants used in traditional or folk medicine against microbials found in the mouths of oral cancer patients. Of the 40 patients involved in the study, 35 had compromised immune systems with severely reduced neutrophil counts. Eight of the plants tested were able to significantly affect the growth of organisms collected by oral swab, and pure cultures of bacteria and fungi grown in the lab. This included wild asparagus, desert date, false daisy, curry tree, caster oil plant and fenugreek.


Drugs Stop AIDS. Take Your Medicine.

 THERE is now, for the first time, hard clinical evidence of an effect that AIDS doctors have suspected for years: If you are H.I.V.-positive, being on antiretroviral drugs will probably save not only your life, but also the lives of your sexual partners.This month, a randomized clinical trial — the gold standard in medical research — showed that the drugs lowered the chances of infecting a partner by 96 percent.This is good news for the infected and their lovers. But it is a moral dilemma for doctors whose infected patients do not want to start taking drugs immediately, usually because they do not yet feel sick and have heard exaggerated rumors about side effects.What does a responsible doctor do with a patient who is sexually active and teeming with a fatal and incurable virus? Advise him to use condoms and trust him to act decently? Beg?Behind each doctor — whose primary duty is to one patient — there is a government public health bureaucracy, whose duty is to protect the whole country. The epidemic has been killing Americans for 30 years now.Whose rights should be paramount? Those of the patient? Or those of his healthy spouse — or boyfriend, or date, or hookup, or client, or rape victim, or incest target?This debate has been going on since AIDS began, and has always been inextricably mixed with the circumstances of its birth: it was a sexually transmitted disease that emerged among gay men in the middle of the sexual revolution and the new gay rights movement. AIDS still carries a huge stigma and provokes hatred wildly out of proportion with the fact that it is simply a new virus. (Neither SARS nor H1N1 were called “God’s wrath.”)But the fact that there is a new form of prophylaxis reopens old questions.Several AIDS clinicians interviewed for this article said the idea of forcing treatment onto a patient was repulsive to them.“It was unthinkable when we had this debate in the early 1980s, and it’s unthinkable in 2011,” said Dr. Myron S. Cohen of the University of North Carolina, who led the study that found the 96 percent protection rate. During a long discussion, he called the idea “medieval” and “a violation of civil rights.”Recalcitrant patients “ultimately do come around,” argued Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, who has treated AIDS patients in Harlem and Africa for decades. “You talk to them, you talk to them, you talk to them. Forcing them would make them run away.”Ronald Bayer, who teaches ethics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, agreed, even as he reflected that he is “rarely in the position where I’m the one urging restraint — they used to call me ‘Dr. Coercion’ because I’m often on the side of public health trumping individual rights.”Hypothetically, he said, if there were a single pill that could render a patient noninfectious for a year, forced treatment might be imaginable.But there is not, and the practical barriers to forcing someone onto daily pills for life are enormous. Dr. Bayer compared it to Jeremy Bentham’s notion of a Panopticon — a late 18th century jail where every prisoner knows he can be watched at all times.Furthermore, several doctors said, it would be unethical to expend effort on forcing a tiny minority of selfish and self-destructive patients into treatment when so many others lack it, when 8,000 Americans are on waiting lists for the drugs, and millions of others, mostly in Africa, have little hope of getting them.And yet in many legal circumstances, people can be forced into treatment to protect others. In New York’s outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the 1990s, uncooperative patients were locked into Bellevue Hospital. Mental patients can be involuntarily medicated if a judge or medical panel rules them dangerous; “Kendra’s Law” permitting just that in New York State was named for a young woman killed by one.Women with hepatitis B can be forced to immunize their babies within 12 hours of birth. Children must have shots before they enter school not just for their own sake but also to protect their classmates who are allergic to vaccines or have compromised immune systems.And most of the quarantine laws written a century ago, when cholera, typhus and plague were around, are still on the books. “Typhoid Mary” was not imprisoned for 25 years for treatment. She was never sick, didn’t believe in germs although she carried them, and attacked a public health official with a fork when he demanded a stool sample. She was imprisoned because she kept taking jobs as a cook, sometimes under false names, infecting 51 people.Dr. Thomas R. Frieden has been on both sides of the dilemma. As head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he is a leader in the national response to AIDS. As health commissioner of New York City during the tuberculosis outbreak, he had to imprison some patients.“I see a bright line between tuberculosis, which can be passed standing next to someone in an elevator, and H.I.V., which usually requires consensual sexual activity,” he said in an interview.But, it was argued to him, even consensual sex isn’t truly consensual when someone is lied to, or drunk, or in a dozen other situations that would negate the ideal of “informed consent” if, say, a contract were being signed.“I know,” he said, describing interviews he had done with infected men early in the epidemic. “The stories were heartbreaking — young men, moving to New York to finally come out as gay, and they’d say, ‘I know who did it. I just can’t believe they’d have lied to me about something like this.’ ”Nonetheless, he said, he still would never force a patient into treatment.“It’s a small subset of people who pass on the virus by lying,” he said, “and people have a right to refuse treatment.”Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, said that, even after 30 years, there is still a sense of what he called “AIDS exceptionalism” — the belief that this illness is like no other, despite historical precedents. (The obvious one is syphilis, which until antibiotics became widespread in the 1940s was the exemplar of a slow-progressing fatal disease. To stop it, mandatory testing was adopted; many states would not issue a marriage license without a negative result. AIDS tests are not only not mandatory, but also it is often legally difficult to add them to routine blood work.)“Is it time for AIDS exceptionalism to become a historical relic?” Dr. Markel asked. “That’s an interesting question. It may be time for it to just blend in with the others. But that might not happen until some other attention-getting disease comes along.
Source:NewYork Times

New generation of nurses brings holistic approach to care for aging population

Lacy Birdseye will enter the next phase of her health care career when she graduates this month from Fairfield University's master's program in nursing. For three years, this Fairfield, Conn., resident has worked to become a family nurse practitioner.
Birdseye, 33, hopes to work in a community health center, a place that likely will serve people of all ages, from babies to senior citizens. "It is all about taking care of a person as a whole," she said.
When it comes to serving patients in the next 20 years, that holistic approach -- looking at all components of a person's social, emotional and physical well-being -- will increasingly serve an aging population, a shift that has not gone unnoticed by Birdseye and those who are preparing the next generation of health care providers.
By 2030, the number of people in the United States who will be 65 and older is expected to be 72 million, up from 35 million in 2000, according to the government report "Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being." That surge is being driven by the baby boomers, who represent those born from 1946 to 1964. Boomers begin turning 65 this year.
For those 85 and older, a century has made all the difference. That population, which numbered just over 100,000 in 1900 grew to 5.7 million by 2008.
"When I started in gerontology, it was in its infancy," said Joan Dacher, an associate professor in the nursing department at the School of Health Sciences at The Sage Colleges, with campuses in Troy and Albany, N.Y. "In the 1980s, it was really coming into its own as a sub-speciality in health care."
Dacher said gerontology focuses on the science of growing older -- the social, financial, psychological, physical aspects -- rather than solely concentrating on diseases and conditions that may affect an aging population.
"That old ... rocking-chair existence has gone out the window," said Dacher, who is a boomer herself. "More adults do need to return to the workforce to keep themselves afloat. And, boomers see aging as a completely active time."
Cultural changes and medical innovations have helped to create this shift, said many of those interviewed. They include the 1965 passage of the government health insurance program Medicare, advancements in technology, increased use of pharmaceuticals, greater attention to healthier lifestyles and a greater expectation that their retirement years will be active ones.
This is the world Birdseye and the graduates after her will enter. Given that reality, nursing schools have made efforts to make sure curriculum has followed suit.
For instance, Fairfield University's School of Nursing recently acquired some new simulation dummies and other devices for its PRACTICE Geriatric Nursing Simulated Clinic, with a $233,153 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. The dummies can be programmed to evidence signs and symptoms of conditions associated with aging, such as Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson's disease and others. On a recent day, students came in to "find" a 90-year-old woman with pneumonia and flu symptoms, said Suzanne Campbell, School of Nursing associate dean for academics programs.
"We can make them breathe. We can adjust their heart rates. We can even make them sweat," Campbell said. "And the students know nothing until they walk in the classroom, just as it would be in real life."
Birdseye agreed. "It was a great learning experience," she said. "It brings in the idea of a real-life situation. It's a good way to see what you are capable of and what you may have missed."
And, in the elderly, there can be many conditions present said Glenda Kelman, the chair of Sage's nursing department. "In addition to diabetes, they have had bypass and open-heart surgery not once, but maybe twice. And they have had their hip replaced and may be on many medications," she said.
Clinical outreach programs, during which students work with aging and elderly patients, help to change perspectives, Kelman said. "I think it does open the students' eyes to individually assessing an individual's quality of life and functional ability," she said.
She offered as an example a student who goes to a hospital to check up on an 85-year-old woman whose medical history includes hip surgery, a heart attack and diabetes.
"They will come back and say, 'I asked her how she was and she said she was feeling pretty good. She said she plans to go on vacation when she gets out of hospital,' " Kelman said.
Many of those interviewed said the New York City-based John A. Hartford Foundation, which last year celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity initiative, had a significant impact on shifting the focus toward geriatric care. That effort, which included the support of millions of foundation dollars, worked to identify strategies that would improve geriatric nursing care, such as integrating geriatrics into the curriculum and establishing academic centers.
"There has been recognition on the part of schools for many, many years that the population is aging. And, there needs to be more people who understand the needs of an aging population," said M. Brownell Anderson, senior director for educational affairs at the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Medical Colleges. "Students coming in are recognizing that they are going to be practicing a new kind of medicine."
It may be a large-scale issue, but caring for an aging population still remains a one-on-one experience between patient and provider, Birdseye said. It can involve talking about care that can be afforded, explaining prescriptions and instructions, looking for signs of depression or anxiety or compensating for reduced mobility. It is about keeping a person as healthy and mobile as he or she can be, Birdseye said.
"I want to empower people ... so they can best enjoy their life."
Source:Daily Reporter

Biomagnetics Develops First Urine-Based Test to Diagnose Tuberculosis

Testing for tuberculosis is long drawn and the results usually take two to three days.
On the contrary PCR tests can provide the result in a matter of hours, but these tests are quite expensive.Orangevale, CA-based Biomagnetics Diagnostics Corporation has revealed that they have developed a new urine-based test which will give out the result in approximately 20 minutes. This test is also pocket-friendly

Friday, 20 May 2011

Yoga meet in China to discuss fitness

 What do a 93-year-old yoga guru and a 117-year-old Shaolin master have in common? The fact that they practise their art for hours even at this age. And that after a lifetime exploring the links between body, mind and spirit, they are sharp and agile enough to teach youngsters one-third their age lessons on how to stay not just fit but also equipoised.
Next month, yogacharya BKS Iyengar and the oldest Chinese martial artiste alive, Master Lu Zijian, will come together at an ambitious China-India yoga summit to be held in Guangzhou. The agenda: a dialogue on the traditional fitness regimens of the two countries.
Not just that, Iyengar will also lead a three-day programme to guide around 1,000 yoga enthusiasts from China and abroad on the many interconnecting layers of the system. "I will go from the scratch to the ultimate," says Iyengar who is generously allowing raw beginners and veterans to take his classes.
Yoga reached China around 40 years ago and caught on like wildfire despite the fact that the country has its own indigenous systems of mind-body regimens. There are about 15 million yoga followers in China today. This summit will see the entire yoga industry spread across neighbouringTaiwan, Hong Kong and Macau converge at Guangzhao.
"Tai Chi is now not as popular as yoga in China. Yoga is definitely more popular among the educated youth, especially the women - 95 per cent of the learners are women,'' says Zhiyong Chen, who is directing the event which has the backing of the Indian consulate and the Ayush (alternate health) department of the ministry of health.
Lu Zijian, who has lived across three centuries and is fondly referred to as the Yangtze River's Great Chivalrous Man, lives in Chongqin and practises the evolved Tao-based martial art and healing system, bagua zhang. He has lived through China's historical decades and is today celebrated as China's most healthy centenarian.
With some help from interpreters the two masters will "compare Tai Chi and yoga, their principles and similarities, how they look at the human body, mind and spirit, and how they work to improve them," says Chen.
Senior Iyengar teacher Birju Mehta, who will be among the team of six from India, says the Indian and Chinese systems perhaps have parallel end goals though they follow different processes.
Iyengar has held large scale yoga summits across the world, the last in Russia two years ago. But this one is generating a lot of buzz because it sees the coming together of people who have inherited similar systems. And also because Iyengar has declared that this will be his last foreign yoga tour.
The yogacharya remains a staunch classicist in a world where yoga has acquired some really outlandish forms. But he is also open to dialogues with other traditions and had a public interaction with the Dalai Lama last year over Indian and Tibetan traditions. 

Health Monitoring Technology in Cars Being Developed by Ford

Ford is in the process of developing voice-controlled wireless technology which connects drivers to various health monitoring technology and services such as asthma managment  tools, diabetes control and web-based allergen alerts. Ford has teamed up with medical device manufacturer Medtronic, mobile health vendor WellDoc, and health analytics provider SDI Health to enable health services for drivers.
Using its in-car voice-operated SYNC technology to the fullest, a blood glucose monitoring capability, location-based allergy-pollen alerts and voice-controlled cloud-based health management services will be provided for drivers. 


Health Min rules out inclusion of physiotherapists in medical category

After toying with the idea for long and drawing flaks from the medical fraternity, the Centre has made it clear that the physiotherapists cannot be included in medical category on par with the medical graduates.

The Health Ministry hence will introduce a new Paramedical and Physiotherapy Central Council Bill instead of the earlier one introduced in the Parliament in 2007 and sought to rework the very definition of physiotherapists. The bill triggered the debate with physiotherapists demanding equality with the medical practitioners who strongly opposed the move.

“Physiotherapists can’t be included in medical category as they are not the first contact person in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of various diseases and disorders which in fact is being done by physicians (doctors) registered with Medical Council of India,” a senior official of the Health Ministry said.

“Further, their demand for parity is merely on the basis of duration of course and the courses of study of physiotherapy have not any similarity with that of physicians and dental surgeons. In addition duties performed by various categories of employees i.e. doctors, dental surgeons or physiotherapists are different and no equation can be drawn on this basis,” he said, putting at rest all debates so far.

Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, had in its consultancy Report for the Fifth Central Pay Commission had recommended to include physiotherapists in the medical category like dental surgeons were included by Fourth Pay Commission in the Medical category, triggering a debate. However, the 5th pay commission did not take into account this recommendation.

The Paramedical Council Bill, introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2007, aimed to set up central councils for lab technicians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists with a view to regulate the sector as number of institutions to train these personnel were on the increase in the recent years.

But the bill caused some ripples in the medical circle following reports that the government may back by the claim of physiotherapists to provide diagnosis and prognosis for medical problems and make it an independent system of medicine.

Though the government cleared a bill to set up an omnibus apex body for all allied paramedical professionals in September 2004, later it was redrafted to set up three separate councils after the physiotherapists' lobby mounted pressure against being clubbed with others. It also gave up the idea of allowing medical specialities to have a say in the regulation of their paramedical disciplines.

How Safe is HCG, the Pregnancy Hormone for Weight loss ?

Many people have been rushing to get injections of the pregnanacy hormone, hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin, produced by the placenta during pregnancy, which allegedly suppresses hunger and promotes quick weight loss. Apparently, people taking these injections daily, can do with a consumption of 500 calories each day.Though HCG has been approved by the FDA to treat fertility problem  in men and women, medical researchers have cautioned against its indiscriminate use which can elevate the risk of headaches, depression and lethal blood clots. 
The FDA has said that the packaging must display clear information that there is no proof that hCG accelerates weight loss by decreasing hunger. The public needs to be aware that this method is unscientific and could leave people undernourished on just 500 calories per day. 



Think yourself better

Alternative medical treatments rarely work. But the placebo effect they induce sometimes does

Edzard Ernst, the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, will step down after 18 years in his post at the Peninsula Medical School, in south-west England. Despite his job title (and the initial hopes of some purveyors of non-mainstream treatments), Dr Ernst is no breathless promoter of snake oil. Instead, he and his research group have pioneered the rigorous study of everything from acupuncture and crystal healing to Reiki channelling and herbal remedies.
Alternative medicine is big business. Since it is largely unregulated, reliable statistics are hard to come by. The market in Britain alone, however, is believed to be worth around £210m ($340m), with one in five adults thought to be consumers, and some treatments (particularly homeopathy) available from the National Health Service. Around the world, according to an estimate made in 2008, the industry’s value is about $60 billion.
Over the years Dr Ernst and his group have run clinical trials and published over 160 meta-analyses of other studies. (Meta-analysis is a statistical technique for extracting information from lots of small trials that are not, by themselves, statistically reliable.) His findings are stark. According to his “Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine”, around 95% of the treatments he and his colleagues examined—in fields as diverse as acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy and reflexology—are statistically indistinguishable from placebo treatments. In only 5% of cases was there either a clear benefit above and beyond a placebo (there is, for instance, evidence suggesting that St John’s Wort, a herbal remedy, can help with mild depression), or even just a hint that something interesting was happening to suggest that further research might be warranted.
Source:The Economist.

Dr Batra's to open 300 clinics in next 3 years

Homeopathic healthcare corporate Dr Batra's Positive Health Clinic Private Ltd (DBPHCPL) is targetting to open about 300 clinics worldwide in the next three years and touch 100 clinics by the end of this fiscal.
"Homeopathy is slated to grow at around 200% and we want to open 30-40 clinics every year to touch about 300 clinics in three years time," Dr Batra's CEO and deputy managing director Akshay Batra told reporters here today.Foraying into Kerala, Dr Batra's opened clinic here, its 70th clinic. The new clinic showcases the corporate's vision of reaching out to the length and breadth of the country and bringing branded homeopathic healthcare solutions to the consumer, he said.
Last year it opened 10 clinics and this fiscal 30 more would be opened to touch 100 clinics by this financial year.
Presently, there are 66 Dr Batra's clinics in India, besides four abroad, including Muscat, Dubai and London.
The areas of treatment will cover chronic diseases like respiratory ailments, hair loss, psoriasis, allergies, white patches, weight management, chronic fatigue syndrome, women and children's ailments, lifestyle and stress-related disorders among others.
As part of its expansion plans, DBPHCPL will be opening new clinics this year in Mysore, Kodagu, Jammu, Jodhpur, Nasik, Puducherry, Bubaneshwar besides in metro and major cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Dr Batra's also manufactures hair and skin care products. Presently, already 25 products are available in the market and at least 3-4 products would be added every month, he said.

Courtesy:Business Standard

Baba Ramdev’s cure for hair loss blocks woman’s food pipe

39-yr-old Bhayandar resident had to undergo a three-hour surgery after docs at KEM realised the ‘medicine’ had started solidifying in her throat
In an attempt to get out of the frying pan, she jumped right into the fire. A 39-year-old Bhayandar resident, who consumed ayurvedic powder to prevent loss of hair promoted by and sold at Baba Ramdev's yoga institute had to undergo surgery lasting three hours to clear out the block from her food pipe to the abdomen. Normally, such surgeries take about 15 minutes. Jashmi Shankar Narapula, who could neither swallow nor speak, underwent surgery at KEM Hospital, Parel on Friday.
A medico-legal case has been registered at the Bhoiwada Police Station, while the powder, prescribed by yoga guru Baba Ramdev's Patanajli Yogpeeth, has been sent for analysis.
The institute has refuted the allegation, saying that they had received no other complaints of the kind.
Narapula said that she had been losing hair for the last few years and was tempted to try the quick fix after seeing an advert of the yog patanajali medicine on Baba Ramdev's show on television.
Narapula purchased the powder from the Yog Patanjali shop located in Shanti Nagar in Bhayandar on Wednesday. “An ayurveda consultant at the store prescribed two types of powders which I was advised to take in the morning on an empty stomach,” she said. “I took the powder once a day for two days. Suddenly, I realised I could not speak or swallow. When I tried to speak, I experienced a sharp pain.”
That’s when her husband took her to a general physician. “The doctor said she would have to undergo an endoscopy surgery for which she would have to be hospitalised,” said her husband Shankar.
At the hospital, an x-ray showed a foreign body lodged in her food pipe. “We advised her to eat bananas for an entire day, as we generally advise patients with a blocked food pipe,” said head of KEM Hospital’s Ear Nose Throat Department, Dr Neelam Sathe, terming it a rare case. “I was surprised she could not eat anything, not even sip liquids.”

“We decided to put her through endoscopic surgery. Her food pipe was clogged with some black, sticky material. Being hard, we were unable to pull it out using forceps.

We tried to suction it (using vacuum pressure) but it did not help,” said Dr Sathe. “A vigorous saline flush with a repeat suction helped pull out the material.”

Dr Sathe said that the patient had, in her medical history, said that she had consumed powder given by “Baba Ramdev’s ayurvedic store”. “It appears that the powder had not dissolved 24 hours after she swallowed it.

This is very strange and we have alerted the police. The material pulled out from her food pipe has been sent for analysis. Narapula’s food pipe has been damaged but she is out of danger now. A little delay could have proved fatal,” said Dr Sathe.

‘Products tested in lab’

Owner of Yog Patanjali store where Narapula bought the powder, Punnalal Gupta, said, “I have been running Baba’s Yog Patanjali shop since a month and half, but nobody has come with any such complaint.  “For hair loss, we usually recommend oil, not powder.”
Yog Patanjali’s Mumbai spokesperson, Sudhir Naik, said, It is the first complaint we have received in the last five years since we set up our stores in Mumbai. Our product has already been tested in laboratories at our main centre in Hyderabad. We will conduct a proper inquiry of this particular sample.”

Source:Mumbai Mirror

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Planning Commission for hiking health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by end of next Five Year Plan

With health getting less share in the original allocation for the11th Five Year Plan period and the utilisation again falling way below the target, the Planning Commission now wants to increase the allocation for health during next Plan period.
The expenditure on health by Centre and the States should increase from the current 1.3 per cent of the GDP to at least 2 per cent and perhaps 2.5 per cent by the end of the 12th Plan period, according to the initial notes prepared by the Planning Commission about the tones and quantum of the next Plan.
There is a desperate shortage of medical personnel and there is need for targeted approach to nursing colleges and other licensed increase seats in medical colleges. The quality of National Rural Health Mission should be improved according to the NRHM infrastructure. The role of public-private partnership in secondary and tertiary healthcare must be expanded. Health insurance cover should be expanded to all disadvantaged groups. Focus must be on women and children and the ICDS needs to be revamped, according to the initial assessment of the Panel.
The Panel has found that the current utilisation during the ongoing period was also below the target. Out of the total allocation of Rs.123,901 crore for the 11th Plan, only 61 per cent was used so far. At the start of the current FYP the expenditure on health was below 1 per cent of the GDP, but it has picked up to 1.1 per cent during 2009-10, as per the mid-term appraisal. As per the latest estimates, it is at 1.3 per cent of the GDP, but still much lower to the target of 2 per cent by the end of 2012, sources said.
The public discussions initiated by the Panel also attracted suggestions from the public that the quality of public healthcare systems was below the desired levels. Panel has prepared the concept note and taking inputs from the public through different platforms including social networking sites before finalising the directions of the next Plan.


Preschoolers Already Think Thin is Beautiful

Kids as young as 4 think thin is beautiful, suggesting that media associations of thinness with beauty sink in early.
The findings, published in March in the journal Body Image, aren't the first to show that kids develop opinions on body weight early. One study, published in 2010 in the journal Sex Roles, found that kids between the ages of 3 and 5 favor thinness. Young kids also consume lots of media: A 2010 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that 70 percent of preschoolers watch more TV and play more video and computer games than recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In the new study, Australian researchers asked 160 children and young adults to rank the attractiveness of female bodies. The participants were shown six images of the same black-clad woman of normal body weight according to Body Mass Index (BMI), a weight-height ratio used to indicate a person's fatness. In five of the images, the image had been altered the make the woman look thinner or fatter (her face was blotted out with a dark square).Even the youngest 4-year-olds in the study ranked the "most beautiful" body as significantly thinner than the normal-weight original. On average, participants thought the prettiest body was the one that shaved about 5 percent off the width of the original. Meanwhile, the body ranked "most normal" was the original normal-BMI image.
Given findings that media exposure is linked to body-image issues in adults, one might expect kids to become progressively more enamored with thinness as they grow up and watch more TV and movies, wrote study author Felicity Brown, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Queensland. Instead, young kids were as likely as adults to prefer thinner women. Children may have already gotten the media message about thinness before they even enter school, Brown wrote.
The findings raise concerns for children's own body images, given that 62 percent of adults in Australia end up overweight or obese according to a 2007-2008 national health survey. There are also implications for discrimination against the overweight, Brown wrote, especially considering earlier research finding that kids as young as 7 see obese people as "contagious" and best avoided. The psychological toll of a fat stigma can worsen an overweight person's health even further, past research shows.
And while losing weight may have a health benefit for those who are overweight or obese, a fixation on thinness also comes with a price tag — distorted body image has been linked with anorexa nervosa and other eating disorders, which are on the rise in kids.

FBI investigates Unabomber in 1982 Tylenol (Paracetamol ) deaths

Could the Unabomber and Chicago's Tylenol poisoner be one and the same? FBI agents investigating the Tylenol killings, unsolved for nearly 30 years, want Ted Kaczynski's DNA, but they aren't saying whether there's any reason to believe he might be a match.Chicago FBI spokeswoman Cynthia Yates said the bureau wants DNA from "numerous individuals" including Kaczynski, although she wouldn't provide details about any of the others. The FBI's efforts to get Kaczynski's DNA became publicly known because of a court motion he filed seeking to keep materials he claims would exonerate him in the Tylenol case: items from his Montana cabin that the U.S. Marshals Service is auctioning off.Kaczynski lived in the tiny cabin as he sent off mail bombs that killed three people and wounded several others in attacks that began in the late 1970s. The FBI dubbed the man the Unabomber because the bombs originally targeted university professors and airline executives.Kaczynski, who grew up in the Chicago area, was captured in 1996, pleaded guilty two years later and is serving a life sentence in federal prison in Colorado.He has declined to voluntarily provide a DNA sample to agents investigating the Tylenol poisonings, which left seven people dead in the space of three days beginning Sept. 29, 1982. The victims took cyanide-laced Tylenol from packages that had been tampered with.The deaths triggered a national scare and a huge recall, and eventually led to the widespread adoption of tamperproof packaging for over-the-counter drugs.Kaczynski's attorney, John Balasz, said he's "completely convinced" that Kaczynski had no involvement in Tylenol case, and added that he thinks the FBI wants his DNA not because they have evidence linking him, but because they want to definitively rule him out as a suspect."You've got to ask the FBI how serious they are. I think it's probably more that they want to exclude him," Balasz said.Yates declined to say whether the FBI would try to compel Kaczynski to give a sample. In the motion he filed over his belongings, Kaczynski said the officials who notified him of the FBI's request told him the agency was prepared to go to court to get the DNA.Kaczynski said, without elaborating, that he would provide a sample "if the FBI would satisfy a certain condition that is not relevant here," but Balasz said the government will need to go to court to get one.Kaczynski filed the court motion May 9 in California, where he was tried. The Sacramento Bee first reported on the filing in Thursday's paper. Kaczynski wants to keep certain items taken from his cabin in 1996, including journals he says could prove his whereabouts in 1982 and other evidence that could clear him in the Tylenol case.The government auction of Kaczynski's materials began Wednesday and runs through June 2.Among the items available is his manifesto, which helped lead to his arrest after newspapers published it and Kaczynski's brother recognized his writing style and anti-technology beliefs. His books, clothing, typewriters and sneakers are also up for auction. The cabin itself is on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.Last year, the U.S. Marshals netted about $580 million for state and local law enforcement agencies and $345 million for victims by holding auctions of items seized in asset-forfeiture cases.In a response to Kaczynski's motion filed Monday, federal prosecutors said the courts lack the jurisdiction to bar the government from auctioning the items. They also said Kaczynski hasn't been indicted in connection with the Tylenol investigation and that "no such federal prosecution is currently planned."The FBI collected DNA samples from Kaczynski after his arrest, but that material "might have degraded to the point that it is not usable," said Ross Rice with the FBI in Chicago. "It's always best to have a current sample."Officials are barred from taking a DNA sample from Kaczynski without either his consent or a court order. Rice said it will be up to prosecutors to decide whether to go to court to get the genetic material."Even though he's a prisoner, he still has rights," Rice said. The Tylenol poisonings case has stymied investigators for nearly 30 years, and no charges have ever been filed in the deaths.In 2009, federal agents searched the Boston home of James W. Lewis, who served more than 12 years in prison for sending an extortion note to Tylenol maker Johnson & Johnson demanding $1 million to "stop the killing." Lewis has denied involvement in the poisonings.A friend of Lewis, Roger Nicholson, told The Associated Press early last year that Lewis and his wife had given DNA samples and fingerprints to investigators.Kaczynski, for his part, said in his motion that he has "never even possessed any potassium cyanide" — the poison used in the Tylenol killings.Helen Jensen, a former nurse who accompanied investigators to the home of one of the victims, said she hopes this latest news isn't a dead end like so many before. She said she still occasionally talks to the grandmother of a 12-year-old girl who died and that "her whole family was destroyed by it.""It sure would be nice to finally get some end to the whole thing, for the people that are survivors," Jensen said.
Source:Associated Press

Lady Allergic to Electricity

A lady from Britain has become allergic to electricity after she underwent chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer three years ago.
This rare condition called electro sensitivity has left her unable to operate an electric kettle or stay in a neighborhood with wireless internet.  Due to this condition, Janice Tunnicliffe, 55, has to be completely away from electromagnetic fields of any kind and therefore she has stopped watching Television , using the mobile and listening to radio.
"Different things give me different feelings but it's mostly headaches and nausea. iPhones make feel really sick within about 20 minutes of being near one so even though I might not realize someone has one straightaway, I soon find out.Wifi makes me feel like I have a clamp at the back of my head which is squeezing the life  out of me. It's completely draining and a home hub can totally immobilize me - I'm left unable to move my arms and legs ," Janice said. 



Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Launches One-rupee Sanitary Napkin Scheme

Despite economic progress, it might come as a surprise that 70% of women in the nation cannot afford sanitary napkins. Use of other alternatives like cloth can trigger infection of the reproductive tract.
To inculcate menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls, The ministry of health and family welfare has launched the ‘one-rupee sanitary napkin’ scheme.Under the brand name of ‘freedays’ promoted by the National Rural Health Mission, girls between the age of 10-19 years will be provided a pack of six sanitary napkins.  In the villages, a pack of six sanitary napkins will be available for Rs 6.
Certainly a good move by the government as it seeks to benefit nearly 1.5 crore girls in 152 districts of 20 states during the first phase of the scheme.   



Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Yoga helps breast cancer patients: study

 Breast cancer patients who practice yoga experience lower stress and improved quality of life compared to counterparts who do stretching exercises, a US study indicated Wednesday.Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center studied 163 women with an average age of 52 who were undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, ranging from early onset to stage three.The women were randomly assigned to one of three groups -- yoga, simple stretching and no instruction in either.Those assigned to yoga or stretching practiced in one-hour sessions three times a week for the duration of the six-week radiation therapy.At the end of their radiation treatment, they were asked to report on their own health and well-being at one, three and six months after treatment, and they also underwent tests to measure heart function and stress hormone levels.Women in the yoga and stretching groups each reported less fatigue than the non-exercise group.But women who did yoga reported "greater benefits to physical functioning and general health... (and) were more likely to perceive positive life changes from their cancer experience than either other group."The yoga group also saw the "steepest decline in their cortisol across the day, indicating that yoga had the ability to regulate this stress hormone," the study said."This is particularly important because higher stress hormone levels throughout the day, known as a blunted circadian cortisol rhythm, have been linked to worse outcomes in breast cancer."The study was carried out at US sites, and the yoga practice techniques and instructors were provided by India's largest yoga research institution, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore.Lead author Lorenzo Cohen said yoga likely helped patients deal with the transition from cancer treatment back to regular life."The transition from active therapy back to everyday life can be very stressful as patients no longer receive the same level of medical care and attention," Cohen said."Teaching patients a mind-body technique like yoga as a coping skill can make the transition less difficult."The researchers are working on a phase III clinical trial to further study how yoga may lead to better physical functioning in breast cancer patients.A separate study released last month suggested that regular yoga practice by cardiac patients was able to cut irregular heartbeat episodes in half.

Earlier PSA Test Best Predicts Risk of Dying From Prostate Cancer: Study

The results of a first prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for males between the ages of 44 and 50 can predict the risk of dying of prostate cancer within the next 25 to 30 years, according to a new study.Researchers analyzed blood samples collected from 12,090 Swedish men between 1974 and 1986 when they were ages 44 to 50, samples from nearly 5,000 of the men six years later when they were ages 51 to 55, and samples from 1,167 men who were 60.Men who had PSA levels below the median when they were 44 to 50 had a very low risk of prostate cancer death or metastases within 15 years. By age 60, for those men with PSA levels below the median, the risk of prostate cancer had decreased significantly to 0.5 percent.Although current American Cancer Society guidelines suggest all but high-risk men should discuss screening with their doctor at age 50, the study authors say their results indicate earlier testing could reduce unnecessary screening later on.The findings suggest that more than half of men could forego regular PSA testing after that time and have just three PSA tests in their lifetime, with the first one between the ages of 44 and 50, the second between ages 51 and 55, and -- if their PSA levels are still low -- the third and last at age 60, said the researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.However, men with higher PSA levels between the ages of 44 and 50 are at high risk for aggressive prostate cancer and should continue to undergo PSA tests and screening as necessary, the researchers added.The study was slated to be presented to journalists today May 18 as part of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology."This research helps us distinguish between those men who may benefit from regular PSA screening for prostate cancer and those men who may not need to be screened so frequently," lead author Dr. Hans Lilja, a clinical chemist with joint appointments in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Surgery, and Medicine, said in a Memorial Sloan-Kettering news release."Instead of testing all men each year or every two years, screening and surveillance efforts can be focused on early detection of prostate cancer in those men who are found to be at high risk of death from the disease."PSA testing is recommended for early detection of prostate cancer but is associated with a high rate of overdiagnosis and overtreatment, which is a concern because prostate cancer treatment can lead to debilitating erectile and urinary problems.Because the study is being presented at a medical meeting, its results should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Source:Health Day

FDA panel backs infant doses for kids' Tylenol ( Paracetamol)

 Federal health experts said Wednesday that dosing instructions for children younger than 2 years old should be added to Children's Tylenol and similar products containing acetaminophen, the popular pain reliever and fever reducer.A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers voted 21-0 in favor of adding doses for children 6 months to 2 years old to over-the-counter acetaminophen formulas. The FDA convened a two-day meeting to consider changes that will make the formulas safer and easier to use.The liquid formulas have never contained dosing information for children under 2 to avoid an overdose and to encourage parents to seek medical attention for sick infants. Fever in children younger than 6 months can be associated with dangerous infections like meningitis and pneumonia.The FDA's panelists said the lack of information contributes to confusion and can lead parents to incorrectly dose children. Acetaminophen-related overdoses are most common among children younger than 2, and have increased over the past decade, according to FDA data.Acetaminophen is among the mostly widely used drugs in the U.S., sold in hundreds of formulations and combinations with other ingredients. Wednesday's meeting dealt with a small group of single-ingredient products, including J&J's Children and Infants' Tylenol, Novartis' Triaminic, Prestige Brands' Little Fevers and various drugstore brandsWhile safe when used as directed, acetaminophen has long been subject to warning labels because it can cause liver damage when overused. Dosing errors with children's acetaminophen products accounted for 2.8 percent, or 7,500, of the 270,165 emergencies reported to poison centers last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.Overdoses can be caused by parents not reading the label, misinterpreting the dosing instructions or using a spoon or other container instead of the cup included with the product.Panelists supported the FDA and manufacturer's efforts to improve labeling for the products, but some pointed out that the proposed changes have been discussed at FDA meetings since the mid-1990s."It's 16 years later, and we still don't have a clear and effective label for this product," said Amy Celento, the panel's patient representative. "This is taking far too long — we can't go the way of offshore drilling and wait until a disaster before we make necessary changes."FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisory panels, though it often does. The FDA will use this week's discussion to write binding guidelines for drugmakers.In a separate vote Wednesday, the panel voted unanimously that medicines should include dosing information based on children's weight, which is considered the most accurate dosing measure. Nearly all over-the-counter manufacturers already include a dosing table with both weight and age. But panelists said instructions must emphasize that weight is the preferred approach.Other changes recommended by the panel include limiting cup measurements to milliliters. Many cups now contain both teaspoon and milliliter markings, which panelists said can cause confusion.The Consumer Healthcare Products Association said in a statement following the panel that it supported the recommendations to "give parents and caregivers more accurate and detailed dosing information where it is needed - directly on the drug facts label."A day earlier the group presented voluntary steps it has taken to make children's medicines safer and easier to use. Member companies include J&J, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline PLC and makers of generic acetaminophen medicines like Perrigo Co.Earlier this month the group announced it would voluntarily eliminate infant drops of acetaminophen drugs. For decades the industry marketed high-dose infant formula, usually delivered with a dropper, so that parents could give babies a smaller amount of liquid. But starting later this year manufacturers will switch all infant formulas to the same dosage used in children's acetaminophen products.In its final vote, the panel recommended 17-3, with one abstention, that the FDA should consider mandating a single dosage for children's solid acetaminophen tablets.
Source:Associated Press

A section of medical doctors launches campaign against starting Pharm D course in India

The validity, necessity and promotion of the pharmacy course, Pharm D is being questioned by a section of the Kerala branch of QPMPA, the national  level organisation of private medical practitioners.
The association plans to set out a national level agitation against the promotion of the course by arguing that the advancement of the course will reduce the medical importance of the doctors.
The move against the promotion of Pharm D was already kick-started in Kerala by one Dr Sushama Anil, doctor –cum-owner of a Kozhikode based hospital. The doctor is now engaged in the task of mobilizing doctors from other states to escalate the agitation into the level of a national struggle against Pharmacy Council of India.
Dr Sushama Anil, a member of QPMPA has written an article in the monthly journal of the association in which she says that if the Pharm D is recognized and established by the government, and appointed those graduates in the hospitals as intermediaries between doctors and patients, the doctors community will lose the entire control of the medicines. Making a remark on the Pharm D graduates as ‘pharma doctors’, she says the total control of the drugs will be vested up on these ‘compounders’. According to her, the pharmacists, whether B Pharm, M Pharm or Pharm D, are mere compounders.
The article says that with the introduction of Pharm D, the Pharmacy Council of India is trying to bring back the extinct ‘medical practice compounders into force.' This move of the PCI will pave the way for a tussle between doctors and ‘pharma doctors’ (pharmacists) for power, position and importance in the health sector, the doctor maintains through the article. Her argument is that the doctors should be the backbone of the healthcare system, nobody should be allowed to try to be at par with the doctors.
According to her, the pharmacists (‘pharma doctors’) are vested with the roles of conducting patient’s medication history review, medication order review, patient counselling, adverse drug reaction monitoring, therapeutic drug monitoring, ward rounds and providing drug information to the drug information centre, these are nothing to do with the pharmacists, but are the duties of the doctors.  In such a situation, no medical representatives will approach the doctors and their knowledge about the new drugs cannot be updated. This will adversely affect in such a way that the doctors need only to diagnose or carry out the clinical procedures. “MBBS should be renamed as DBBS—Bachelor of Diagnosis and Bachelor of Surgery,” the doctor said.
Since there is the term ‘Doctor’ in the expansion of Pharm D, the person having the Pharm D qualification can use ‘Dr’ as prefix to his name. This is against the dignity of the doctors and the medical profession. Pharm D course is like the ‘old wine in new bottle’ as in olden days for want of doctors in rural areas, the compounders used to treat the patients, Dr Sushama wrote in the article.
While speaking to Pharmabiz at the QPMPA national seminar in Thiruvananthapuram, Dr Sushma Anil said a pharmacist or a compounder cannot become a doctor, then why should he put the term ‘Doctor’ as prefix to his name. The doctor prefers to call the Pharm D graduates as ‘compounders’ rather than calling them as pharmacists. To support her argument, she asks whether a conductor can do the job of a driver. She is of opinion that even the doctors are old in age, they update their knowledge, but the compounders are not. Further she said the doctors are service oriented, but the pharmacists are business oriented.
While arguing for the dignity of the doctors community, she said the Pharmacy Council of India has started the course on ego basis. “They (pharmacists) want to become above the doctors.”
Another allegation levelled against PCI, according to the article, is that the PCI’s intention is to phase out gradually the three year B Pharm course by giving opportunity for the ongoing Pharmacy graduates to attain Pharm D.
The article also exhorts the doctors’ community to organize and fight together against the launching of the 3.5 year Rural Medical Services (BRMS)


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