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Saturday, 27 April 2013

A Gene That Causes Three Diseases

A international research has now discovered a gene that is responsible for three starkly different diseases, depending on how the gene is altered.The researchers, using next-generation massive ultrasequencing techniques, have sequenced the over 20,000 genes of a Fanconi anaemia patient's genome. By adopting this strategy they have succeeded in identifying pathogenic mutations responsible for this disease in the ERCC4 gene, which had already been linked to two other rare diseases: xeroderma pigmentosum and a type of progeria. The latter are characterised by heightened sensitivity to sunlight, susceptibility to skin cancer and, in the case of progeria, premature aging. Fanconi anaemia, on the other hand, is characterised by progressive anaemia, congenital malformations and a high risk of developing leukaemia and mouth tumours. The ERCC4 gene can therefore be responsible for three different diseases. 
The researchers have shown that this gene is involved in two DNA repair mechanisms by which cells maintain the stability of the genome, in such a way that the balance between these two repair systems will determine which of the three diseases the patient will contract. "This is a rather exceptional case, since there are few precedents of a single gene being involved in two independent physiological mechanisms and causing three clinically different diseases", points out UAB professor Dr Jordi Surrallés. 
These findings, published today in the "American Journal of Human Genetics", as well as improving the diagnosis and genetic characterisation of rare diseases, will allow new therapeutic strategies to be applied, like gene therapy or the selection of healthy, compatible embryos to cure siblings through umbilical cord transplants. The findings add to our knowledge of the two DNA repair mechanisms, which are so important for maintaining the stability of our genes and preventing cancer in the general population. In fact, the researchers point to the importance of going on to study this gene's possible role in breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Source:American Journal of Human Genetics


Adding More Fiber to Diet Boosts Health, Say Studies

 Adding More Fiber to Diet Boosts Health, Say StudiesStudies conducted by scientists have contributed to the growing body of evidence for the benefits of added fibres in the diet.Many diets continue to lack recommended servings of foods naturally high in fibre like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains resulting in low fibre intake. These types of fibre can be added to a wide range of foods and contribute similar health benefits as "intact" fibres, providing a viable option to help people increase their fibre intake to achieve daily recommendations. 
Each of the studies was supported by Tate and Lyle, a global leader in health and wellness innovation and provider of specialty food ingredients. 
Recently published in the Journal of Nutrition, Timm et al. reported that 36 healthy adults consuming 20 grams of added fibre, either STA-LITE Polydextrose or PROMITOR Soluble Corn Fibre per day, in addition to their usual lower fibre diet, which was approximately 13-14 g/day compared to the recommended 25 g/day for women and 38 g/day for men, experienced improved laxation with minimal gastrointestinal tolerance issues. 
These results indicate that both types of fibre tested in this study are well tolerated and can be successfully added to the diet to help meet dietary recommendations. 
"Since people aren't meeting their fibre goals with the foods they currently eat, adding fibres to foods is a realistic and simple way to address this global public health concern," said Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD of the University of Minnesota, an expert in fibre research and lead investigator of this study. 
Another study which was presented this week at the American Society for Nutrition Experimental Biology conference in Boston, using a double blind, randomized cross-over design found that an emerging fibre, soluble fibre dextrin (SFD) from Tate and Lyle, may help promote satiety, or the feeling of fullness, from 3 to 8.5 hours after consumption. 
Tate and Lyle's soluble fibre dextrin is a resistant dextrin that can be isolated from tapioca or corn. 
Researchers from Iowa State University provided 41 healthy adults with lunch including a test beverage containing 10 or 20 g of fibre from tapioca SFD versus a maltodextrin control beverage followed by a snack two and a half hours later. 
The study participants reported feeling fuller, less feeling of hunger and less desire to eat compared to the control beverage from 3 to 8.5 hours after consumption of the beverage that contained 20 g of fibre as SFD, while the SFD had no impact on appetite or overall food intake during the first 2.5 hours post consumption. 
These results indicate that the SFD may be slowly digested leading to delayed effects on appetite. 
"This newly developed soluble fibre dextrin can increase fibre intake, helping consumers meet fibre recommendations, while simultaneously controlling their appetite which may lead to reduced energy intake," stated James Hollis, PhD, a lead researcher on the study. 
A third study, also presented at the American Society for Nutrition Experimental Biology conference in Boston, assessed the effect of PROMITOR Soluble Corn Fibre (SCF) on fecal microbiota (bacterial environment of the gut) in relation to calcium absorption in 24 racially diverse, male and female adolescents-a population in need of adequate calcium intake for bone growth and development. 
Researchers from Purdue University found that when the adolescents consumed 12 g/day of SCF versus a control, they experienced a 12 percent increase in calcium absorption. This increase in calcium absorption was correlated with significant increases in specific strains of beneficial bacteria, namely Bacteroides, Alistipes, Butyricicoccus, Oscillibacter, and Dialister in the gut suggesting that SCF may increase calcium absorption through changes in gut microbiota (6). 
"Emerging research on soluble corn fibre indicates that added fibres provide health benefits such as increased calcium absorption via their effect on beneficial bacteria," said Connie Weaver, PhD, a lead researcher on this study. 
This is the first study to show that increases in these specific bacteria were significantly correlated with the observed increase in calcium absorption.



Exercise may Help Beat Liver Cancer

 Exercise may Help Beat Liver CancerAccording to a recent study, regular exercise may reduce the risk of liver cancer. 
The research involved two groups of mice that were fed a control diet and a high fat diet, which were then divided into separate exercise and sedentary groups.
 The exercise groups were made to run on a motorised treadmill for 60 minutes per day, five days a week. 

After 32 weeks of regular exercise, 71 percent of mice on the controlled diet developed tumours larger than 10mm versus 100 percent in the sedentary group. 
The mean number and volume of HCC tumours per liver was also reduced in the exercise group compared to the sedentary group. 
EASL's Educational Councillor Prof. Jean-Francois Dufour said that the data showed significant benefit of regular exercise on the development of HCC and exercise reduced the level of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice receiving a high-fat diet. 
Dufour said "The results could eventually lead to some very tangible benefits for people staring down the barrel of liver cancer and I look forward to seeing human studies in this important area in the future. 
"The prognosis for liver cancer patients is often bleak as only a proportion of patients are suitable for potentially curative treatments so any kind of positive news in this arena is warmly welcomed," he added.



Yoga Changes Gene Expression

 Yoga Changes Gene ExpressionYoga has a positive impact on the genetic level, claims study.
The researchers have written that the data suggests that previously reported effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately during practice, and may form the basis for the long-term stable effects, Discovery News reported. 
In other words, the yoga glow that people feel after they roll up their mat may be the 111 genes that changed expression while they were deep in their practice. 
The research team did the experiment with 10 participants who gathered at a yoga retreat for a week. 
The study participants practiced yoga for the first two days, spending two hours moving through postures, breathing exercises and meditation; then shifted to spending time in nature walks and listening to music for the next two days. 
When the scientists analyzed blood drawn from the participants before and after each session, they found that yoga changed the expression of almost triple the number of genes in immune cells that the nature walk did, 111 vs 38. 
The study has been published in Pacific Standard. 



AIDS Vaccine Trial Ends in Failure: US Authorities

 AIDS Vaccine Trial Ends in Failure: US AuthoritiesUS authorities halted clinical trials of an experimental vaccine designed to halt the virus that leads to AIDS after discovering it did not stop infection.The program, which began in 2009, is the latest in a series of unsuccessful studies of candidate vaccines aimed at tackling HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. 
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said volunteers in 19 US cities -- either gay men or transgender people who had sex with men -- took part in the study, with the HVTN 505 vaccine given to 1,250 and 1,244 receiving a placebo. 
A panel analyzed the results of the study on April 22 and recommended halting the program after findings indicated 41 infections among those who had received the vaccine versus 30 in the placebo group. 
The NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health that funded the clinical trial, said it planned to continue to follow the participants to further analyze the results of the study. 
An estimated 34 million people are infected with HIV worldwide, including 3.4 million children. 
AIDS has killed 30 million people since the beginning of the epidemic 30 years ago and an estimated 1.8 million people die from the disease each year.


Imagine A World Without Antibiotics?

 Can You Imagine A World Without Antibiotics?Antibiotic resistance is a global problem. Every year the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that for tuberculosis alone multi-drug resistance accounts for more than 150,000 deaths.WHO warns of "a doomsday scenario of a world without antibiotics," in which antibiotic resistance will turn common infections into incurable killers and make routine surgeries a high-risk gamble. Certain types of bacteria are a scourge of the hospital environment because they are extremely resistant to antibiotics and consequently difficult, if not impossible, to treat. This group of bacteria is classified as 'gram-negative' because their cells have a double membrane or outer layer, compared with gram-positive bacteria, which just have one outer layer. 
Not only are these cells difficult to penetrate in the first instance, due to their double membrane, but they have effective 'pumps' which quickly reject anything that interferes with the activity of protein-building within the cell and the development of the protective cell wall. This research, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust, gives for the first time a clear insight into how these protein components of the pump work together to transport an antibiotic from the cell.Examples of gram-negative bacteria include those which cause food poisoning, meningitis, gonorrhoea and respiratory problems. 
Since the antibiotic is an interfering agent, many of these pathogenic bacteria use the membrane pumps to transport the medication out of the cell.The pumps are made up of three different proteins within the cell that work together to bring about the movement. Research lead, Professor Adrian Walmsley from Durham University's School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences explained:"Patients with bacterial infections are often treated with antibiotics, but since many strains are resistant to one or more of these drugs, clinicians often try to bring such infections under control by prescribing a combination of different types of antibiotics in the hope that they will override the resistance mechanisms. This sometimes works, but other times it does not. 
Pumps exacerbate this situation by reducing the effective concentration of the drug inside the cell. ""By investigating how these pumps function, we have been able to identify the molecular events that are involved in binding and transporting an antibiotic from the cell. This advance in our understanding will ultimately aid the development of 'pump blockers'. This is important because these pumps often confer resistance to multiple, structurally unrelated, drugs; which means that they could also be resistant to new drugs which have never been used before"Dr Vassiliy Bavro from the the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham said:"This study greatly expands our understanding of the mechanistic aspects of the pump function, and in particular challenges our previous concepts of energy requirements for pump assembly and cycling. 
By elucidating the intricate details of how these essential nanomachines come together, it also provides a new working model of their functional cycle in general, paving the way to development of novel approaches to disrupting their function."Dr Ted Bianco, Acting Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "A world without antibiotics is a world where simple surgery becomes a life-threatening procedure, where a scratch from a rose might prove fatal, and where diseases like tuberculosis return with a ferocity not seen in Britain since the Victorian era. 
This is why fundamental research to understand the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance is so important. Only when we know what we're up against can researchers begin to design new antibacterial agents to help us win the war against bacterial infections." 

Source:Durham University

Friday, 26 April 2013

Protein shaped like a spider

 The immune protein C4BP is potentially suitable as a transporter for drug
The protein C4BP is similar to a spider in its spatial form with eight “arms”. The structure of the “spider body” has recently been described in detail by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and the Technische Universität Darmstadt. This leads the scientists to unconventional ideas – the protein is possibly suitable as a scaffold for the transport of active pharmaceutical substances, particularly biomolecules. The researchers are publishing their results in the current edition of the international journal Journal of Molecular BiologyThe so-called complement system is a part of the innate immune defence within the human body: more than sixty different proteins form one of the first countermeasures against invading pathogens. One of them is the C4b binding protein known as C4BP. It is involved in the immune defence against bacteria in the blood. How precisely such protein substance carries out its function or how it interacts with other molecules – this can only be predicted by scientists once they have identified the spatial structure of the molecule. Structural biologists therefore examine the substance in its purest form with x-ray machines and are able to reconstruct the spatial design in a computer. Regarding the case of the recently-described C4BP, they found out that it has eight “arms” and thus resembles a spider to a certain degree. Seven of the “arms” are identical as “alpha chains”, while the eighth, a “beta chain” is different from the others. The spider body that holds these side chains together is called the oligomerisation domain. Its structure was of special interest to researchers, since it determines the spatial alignment of the “arms”. The newly-described structure allows two possible variants. “However, there is one of these two possibilities that is more feasible because it is much more stable”, says Thomas Hofmeyer, PhD student at the Institute for Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of TU Darmstadt and first author for the publication. And the C4BP is quite stable, as explained by the other first author Dr. Stefan Schmelz from the Department of Molecular Structural Biology of HZI: “Even boiling is not able to break down its form.” Usually, human proteins remain stable up to about 40°C. Higher temperatures are of course not found in the body, but the stability of C4BP has a completely different purpose: “As is the case with all components of the complement system, the C4b binding protein is present in blood plasma. The proteins are exposed to enormous shear forces in the blood stream”, explains Dr. Andrea Scrima, head of the junior research group “Structural Biology of Autophagy“ at HZI. Therefore, the protein needs a high stability in order to be able to withstand these forces. The researchers now would like to make use of the spatial structure. Their discoveries have facilitated biochemical synthesis of the molecule. In the context of replication within a test tube, the researchers can undertake alterations in a targeted way: “Instead of the seven alpha chains, we could implement other biomolecules”, claims Prof. Harald Kolmar, director of the work group Applied Biochemistry at the Institute for Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Technische Universität Darmstadt. “We can use the oligomerisation domain as a framework, in order to decorate it with drug molecules.” These could be vaccines, for example. Seven with one stroke, by means of the seven-fold binding capability. Bundled in this manner, more active ingredient could make its way to its target. The dosage could be reduced but the immune system would still be considerably stimulated. “It is thereby possible in the future that bottlenecks, limiting the supply of vaccine, could be avoided and side effects reduced”, says Kolmar. 
Source: Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)


Physicists, biologists unite to expose how cancer spreads

Cancer cells that can break out of a tumor and invade other organs are more aggressive and nimble than nonmalignant cells, according to a new multi-institutional nationwide study. These cells exert greater force on their environment and can more easily maneuver small spaces.The researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports that a systematic comparison of metastatic breast-cancer cells to healthy breast cells revealed dramatic differences between the two cell lines in their mechanics, migration, oxygen response, protein production and ability to stick to surfaces. The researchers discovered new insights into how cells make the transition from nonmalignant to metastatic, a process that is not well understood.The resulting catalogue of differences could someday help researchers detect cancerous cells earlier and someday prevent or treat metastatic cancer, which is responsible for 90 percent of all cancer deaths, according to the study. It was conducted by a network of 12 federally funded Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. PS-OC is a collaboration of researchers in the physical and biological sciences seeking a better understanding of the physical and chemical forces that shape the emergence and behavior of cancer."By bringing together different types of experimental expertise to systematically compare metastatic and nonmetastatic cells, we have advanced our knowledge of how metastasis occurs," said Robert Austin, professor of physics and leader of the Princeton PS-OC, along with senior co-investigator Thea Tlsty of the University of California-San Francisco.Researchers with the Princeton PS-OC, for instance, determined that metastatic cells, in spite of moving more slowly than nonmalignant cells, move farther and in a straighter line, Austin said. The investigators studied the cells' behavior in tiny cell-sized chambers and channels etched out of silicon and designed to mimic the natural environment of the body's interior."The mobility of these metastatic cells is an essential feature of their ability to break through the tough membrane [the extracellular matrix] that the body uses to wall off the tumor from the rest of the body," Austin said. "These cells are essentially jail-breakers."The tiny silicon chambers were built using Princeton's expertise in microfabrication technology — typically used to create small technologies such as integrated circuits and solar cells — and are an example of the type of expertise that physicists and engineers can bring to cancer research, Austin said. For the current study, the Princeton team included physics graduate students David Liao and Guillaume Lambert, and postdoctoral researchers Liyu Liu and Saurabh Vyawahare. They worked closely with a research group led by James Sturm, Princeton's William and Edna Macaleer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM)where the microfabrication was done.The Princeton PS-OC also includes collaborators at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California-Santa Cruz.The nationwide PS-OC program aims to crack the difficulty of understanding and treating cancer by bringing in researchers from physics, engineering, computer science and chemistry, said Nastaran Zahir Kuhn, program manager for the PS-OC at the National Cancer Institute.Other notable findings from the paper include that metastatic cells recover more rapidly from the stress of a low-oxygen environment than nonmetastatic cells, which is consistent with previous studies. Although the low-oxygen environment did kill many of the metastatic cells, the survivors rebounded vigorously, underscoring the likely role of individual cells in the spread of cancer. The study also looked at total protein production and detected proteins in the metastatic cells that are consistent with the physical properties such as mobility that malignant cells need to invade the extracellular matrix."The PS-OC program aims to bring physical sciences tools and perspectives into cancer research," Kuhn said. "The results of this study demonstrate the utility of such an approach, particularly when studies are conducted in a standardized manner from the beginning."For the nationwide project, nearly 100 investigators from 20 institutions and laboratories conducted their experiments using the same two cell lines, reagents and protocols to assure that results could be compared. The experimental methods ranged from physical measurements of how the cells push on surrounding cells to measurements of gene and protein expression."Roughly 20 techniques were used to study the cell lines, enabling identification of a number of unique relationships between observations," Kuhn said.For example, a technique known as atomic force microscopy indicated that metastatic cells are softer than nonmalignant cells whereas a different technique, traction force microscopy, suggested that metastatic cells exert more force on their surroundings, Kuhn said. Together these two findings may indicate that metastatic cells can exert force to stick to, migrate on and remodel the tough extracellular matrix that surrounds the tumor, while remaining flexible enough to squeeze through small spaces in that membrane.
Source:Princeton University

Health ministry's whistle-blower scheme to trace spurious drugs fails as no case reported in 4 years

The much-trumpeted whistle blower scheme to trace spurious drugs in the country has failed to make a mark even after four years, though the sterner steps by the government in the recent years did help arrest the spread of spurious drugs in the country.
According to the figures available with the Health Ministry, there was a decrease in the number of both spurious drug cases and the substandard drugs during the last financial year. Against 113 cases of spurious or adulterated drugs during 2011-12, only 25 such cases were reported till December 31 during the last fiscal.
However, sources said no case was found eligible for any reward so far under the whistle blower scheme which was initiated by the government to encourage vigilant public participation in the detection of movement of spurious drugs in the country. Under this scheme, the informers would be suitably rewarded for providing concrete information to the regulatory authorities in respect of movement of spurious drugs.
Out of the total 35006 samples collected by the authorities during the last fiscal, 1199 were found to be of not of quality while 25 were declared spurious or adulterated. The Government initiated prosecution against 113 people in connection with these cases.
During 2011-12, the Government officials took 48082 samples from the chemist shops and sent for tests. As many as 2188 samples were found substandard while 133 were tested spurious or adulterated and 211 prosecution cases were initiated. Going by the percentage, 4.54 per cent were substandard while only 0..27 per cent were tested spurious.
During 2010-11, out of the total samples of 49682, as many as 2372 were found substandard, constituting 4.77 per cent of the total samples. However, the number of spurious drugs were 95, which accounted just 0.19 per cent of the total samples.
Government sources also clarified that there was no adverse report by the World Health Organisation about the spread of spurious drugs in the country. WHO  clarified in August 2012 that it has not conducted any study regarding fake drugs in the past several years.
As per the information made available by the State Drugs Controllers in respect of the drugs samples tested during last three years, the percentage of substandard drugs varied from 5.70 per cent in 2008-09 to 4.54 per cent in 2011-12.
The Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 2008, enabled setting up of specially designated courts for trial of offences covered under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940. 16 States /UTs have already set up such courts.

Research: Your Body's Microbiome Has a Unique 'Fingerprint'

 Research: Your Body's Microbiome Has a Unique 'Fingerprint'The microbiome is your body's set of microbial communities. Microbial cells outnumber human cells roughly ten to one. Scientists are learning more the relationship between these microbes and human health and disease through studying microbiome. In looking at the effect of diet on the composition of the gut microbiome, Dr. Nanette Steinle of the University of Maryland's School of Medicine and Dr. Emmanuel Mongodin of the University of Maryland Institute of Genome Sciences wanted to determine if the Mediterranean diet would cause changes in an individual's microbiome. This diet was selected because it has already been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.In this small study, 8 women and 1 man ages 50-65 were provided with foods that fit the Mediterranean diet profile: high fiber, whole grains, dry beans/lentils, olive oil, and 5 servings of fruits/vegetables a day. After 2 weeks, they provided blood for the analysis of fasting lipids and stool samples to determine the microbes present. 
The results indicated a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, there was clustering of individuals' microbial profiles. 
"What we expected to find was that a particular microbe species increased, but we haven't observed that," said Steinle. "Instead, each individual appears to have a unique microbiome signature, like a fingerprint. A sample from 5 people would result in 5 unique profiles. It's the first time we've observed that this signature remained true, even after manipulation of diet," Steinle added. 
This study adds another clue to the complicated nature of the gut microbiome. Dr. Steinle will present the data for the American Society for Nutrition's poster sessions on Tuesday, April 23. Prior to the poster session on the microbiome on April 23, there is a symposium "Managing the Microbiome in Human Gastrointestinal Disease" on Saturday, April 20, 8-10 am.

Source:University of Maryland  

Special Courses on Family Medicine Being Promoted By Health Ministry

 Special Courses on Family Medicine Being Promoted By Health MinistryAn official said that in an effort to bridge the gap between the need and availability of doctors, the health ministry is promoting courses in family medicine for medical practitioners.
"There is a gap between the need and availability of doctors," T. Sundaraman, executive director of the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), told reporters at a two-day National Rural Health Mission-sponsored conference that began here Saturday. 
The conference will give information about a two-year diploma and a three-year degree course in family medicine for medical practitioners, he added. 
Delegates from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are participating in the conference. 
"While there are very few doctors available in rural areas, in urban areas it is mostly specialists. There are very few practitioners of good old family health care," Sundaraman said. 
"The hospitals are for people who are rich and can afford it. People in small cities and rural areas go to quacks." 
Raman Kumar, president of Academy of Family Physicians of India, said: "India is moving towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and National Health Mission (NHM). Multi-skilled and competent primary care providers and their knowledge figure prominently in the evolving schemes, themes and initiatives of our health care systems". 
"Current health care scenario in India is staring at a crisis, as patients face increasing health care expenses due to the skewed emphasis on hospitals and super-speciality care," said Santanu Chattopadhyay, founder and CEO of NationWide Primary Healthcare Services Pvt Ltd. 
"Much of this expense can be avoided if the primary care provision is strengthened, which can only happen when we have a robust system for training and producing more family physicians," he added.



Healthy Lifestyle may Help Stave Off Dementia

Good diet and exercise may not only protect against heart disease and stroke, but also helps keep Alzheimer's disease at bay, says research. 
Swedish scientists have found that the risk of dementia has declined over the past 20 years, in contrast to what had been assumed.And they put it down to lower rates of heart disease, which results from people living more healthily and keeping fit and active. 
A balanced diet, being careful about weight, stopping smoking and keeping blood pressure normal have been shown to bolster the brain. 
Studies have found risk factors for heart disease in middle age speed up decline of brain function in older adults. They also showed medicines such as statins and aspirin taken for heart conditions could be key to slashing dementia rates. 
The latest research from Sweden - published in the journal Neurology - offers hope that drugs with a proven safety record could be used to stave off and treat the brain disease. 
Patients could routinely be given them to protect long-term against Alzheimer's. 
Chengxuan Qiu of the Ageing Research Centre, established by the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University, said that health check-ups and cardiovascular disease prevention have improved significantly, and they now see results of this improvement reflected in the risk of developing dementia. 
But the centre's director Laura Fratiglioni warned that the reduction of dementia risk is a positive phenomenon, but it is important to remember that the number of people with dementia will continue to rise along with the increase in life expectancy.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Ayush dept issues essential drugs list of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy medicines

To overcome the problem of availability of Ayush medicines in the public health system and facilitate the state and central authorities for smooth procurement of medicines, the department of Ayush has issued essential drugs list (EDL) of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy medicines.
There are 277 essential medicines in EDL of Ayurveda, 257 medicines in Homoeo, 302 medicines in Siddha and 288 essential medicines in Unani system of medicine.
The EDL will act as a guiding tool for the procurement agencies to fulfill the supply of ayurvedic medicines in dispensaries, hospitals and co-located Ayurveda facilities in PHCs, CHCs and district hospitals. It is expected to ease the accessibility of medicines in health facilities and streamline the management of medicinal supplies with meaningful use of resources in the central and state organizations.
The concept of essential medicines is forward-looking and important from the perspective of universal health coverage in meeting health needs of the people. Therefore, updating of EDL at regular intervals is essentially required to reflect various therapeutic options in accordance with the therapeutic needs of the populations due to varied prevalence of diseases and changing health seeking behaviour.
Earlier, the Ayush department had undertaken a year-long exercise to review the lists of essential Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic (ASU&H) drugs published in the year 2000 and in the process interacted with various stakeholders, including representatives from the fraternity of in-service practitioners, Ayush Officers and procurement authorities from central and state government organisations. Comprehensive Essential ASU&H drug lists presently drawn with cross sectional consultation take in to account pharmacopoeias, formularies and regional preferences for certain medicines and offer wide choice for need-based selection of generic medicines.
Ayush Essential Drug Lists were last formulated in the year 2000 and their updating was overdue considering the developments that took place in the last six to seven years with the mainstreaming of Ayush under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and provision of central government’s support to the states for strengthening Ayush health services. The exercise for updating the EDLs was therefore taken up with a view to formulate practitioners’ preference based lists of such Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy medicines as are documented in the authoritative books and pharmacopoeias and formularies.
Relying on EDL-based procurement of medicines has the benefit of objective, transparent and need-based selection of medicines and optimal use of financial resources for health coverage. Inconsistencies in drug procurement can be easily curbed with reliance on EDLs leading to proper management of supplies and increased public confidence in health services.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Fat-forming Cell Helps Repair Muscles After Injury: Researchers

Muscle repair requires the action of two types of cells better known for causing inflammation and forming fat discovers researchers at UC San Francisco.The finding in mice showed that a well-known immune cell called the eosinophil [ee-oh-SIN-oh-fil] carries out the beneficial role in two ways - by clearing out cellular debris from damaged tissue and teaming up with a type of cell that can make fat to instead trigger muscle regrowth. 
The study, led by Ajay Chawla, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute, showed that after eosinophils move to the site of injury, they collaborate with a kind of progenitor cell - immature cells similar to stem cells - to drive the formation of new muscle fibers. The progenitors, called the fibro/adipogenic cells (FAP), do not spin off muscle cells directly. 
"Without eosinophils you cannot regenerate muscle," Chawla said. 
FAP cells have been known for their role in making fat, which occurs as the body ages or experiences prolonged immobility. They also have been known to make cells that form connective tissue. 
But the UCSF study showed that FAP cells also team up with eosinophils to make injured muscles get stronger rather than fatter, at least in mice. 
In a kind of cellular chain reaction, Chawla's team found that when eosinophils at the site of muscle injury secrete a molecule called IL-4, FAP cells respond by expanding their numbers. 
And instead of becoming fat cells, they act on the true muscle stem cells to trigger the regrowth of muscle fibers. 
"They wake up the cells in muscle that divide and form muscle fibers," he said. 
Eosinophils help fight bacteria and parasites, as do other immune cells, but eosinophils are more often thought of for their maladaptive roles in allergies and other inflammatory reactions. Eosinophils comprise only a few percent of immune cells. 
Chawla's team found that, even before active muscle repair, the chain reaction initiated by eosinophils performs another necessary task - taking out the garbage. 
"Eosinophils, acting via FAPs, are needed for the rapid clearance of necrotic debris, a process that is necessary for timely and complete regeneration of tissues," Chawla said. 
Bigger and more abundant immune cells called macrophages - with large appetites and a propensity to gobble up debris in other destructive scenarios - had often, but erroneously, been credited with cleaning up messes within distressed muscle tissue. 
The study is published in the journal Cell.


Fruit, Mediterranean diet tied to fewer hot flashes

 Women who eat diets high in fruit, certain vegetables, pasta and red wine are less likely to have hot flashes and night sweats during menopause, a new study from Australia suggests.Researchers found that of about 6,000 women followed over nine years, those who ate a lot of strawberries, pineapple and melon and most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet were about 20 percent less likely to report those common symptoms.At the same time, menopausal women who ate high-sugar, high-fat diets were 23 percent more likely to experience hot flashes and night sweats during the study.The study can't prove certain foods prevent or trigger hot flashes, researchers said. And it's one of the first yet to tie general dietary patterns - not just certain supplements - to menopause-related symptoms."The study is well done, but I wouldn't get so excited about it, especially because we don't know why," said Teresa Fung, a nutrition researcher at Simmons College in Boston. "We don't know the biologic mechanisms behind it."Researchers surveyed 6,040 women, age 50 to 55, about what foods they ate and how often as well as if they smoked, drank or exercised. All of those women went through natural menopause - meaning not brought on by uterus-removing surgery, for example.At the start of the study, 58 percent of participants reported having hot flashes, night sweats or both. At that point and over the next nine years, women who ate fruit and the components of aMediterranean diet - in this case garlic, salad greens, pasta and red wine - reported fewer hot flashes, after accounting for their other lifestyle habits.However, vegetables in general, as well as meat and dairy, were not associated with either a higher or lower chance of having menopausal symptoms, Gerrie-Cor Herber-Gast and Gita Mishra from the University of Queensland wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.Hormone therapy is the only known effective treatment for hot flashes. But since the drugs were linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer in the Women's Health Initiative study, researchers and affected women alike have been searching for alternatives.It's possible that low-fat, high-fiber diets may help stabilize estrogen levels and ease hot flashes and night sweats, Herber-Gast and Mishra speculated. Or, eating a Mediterranean-style diet may keep blood sugar within the optimum range, which could also lower a woman's chance of bothersome symptoms, they said."We don't really have enough studies to make a blanket recommendation yet," Fung, who wasn't involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.However, she added, "We don't necessarily need to know why (this may work) before we do it, especially for something that's healthy to begin with."Fung said because of all the changes - both physical and psychological - that happen during menopause, it may already be a natural time for women to think about improving their diet and general health.
Source:Reuters Health

Genetics defines a distinct liver disease

Large-scale genetic study defines relationship between primary sclerosing cholangitis and other autoimmune diseases

Researchers have newly associated nine genetic regions with a rare autoimmune disease of the liver known as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). This brings the total number of genetic regions associated with the disease to 16.
Approximately 70 per cent of people who suffer from PSC also suffer from IBD. The team showed that only half of the newly associated genetic regions were shared with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). For the first time, this definitively proves that PSC, although genetically related to IBD, is a distinct disease.
PSC is a chronic, progressive disease of the bile ducts that channels bile from the liver into the intestines. It can cause inflammation of the bile ducts (cholangitis) and liver scarring that leads to liver cirrhosis and liver failure. There are no effective treatments available. Although PSC affects only one in 10,000 people, it is a leading cause of liver transplant surgery.
"Before our study, it was never quite clear whether PSC was a complication of IBD or a distinct disease in its own right," says Dr Carl Anderson, lead author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "We have proven it to be a unique disease, and hope that our results will inform the development of more effective treatments, designed to target the biological pathways involved in causing the disease".
The work involved an international group of scientists from the International PSC study group recruiting patients from 13 countries within Europe and North America. Without this large collaborative effort it would not have been possible to obtain the large number of patient DNA samples necessary for the study.
The team used DNA genotyping technology to survey more thoroughly regions of the genome known to underlie other immune-related diseases to discover if they also play a role in PSC susceptibility.
In addition to the nine genetic regions newly associated, they also saw strong signals at three regions of the genome previously associated with the disease. Of these twelve genetic regions, six are also associated with IBD, while the six other regions showed little to no association in a recent large study of IBD.
"Using the Immunochip genotyping chip, we can pull apart the genetic relationships between these autoimmune diseases and begin to see not only their genetic similarities, but also the differences," says Jimmy Liu, PhD student and first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "As PSC is a rare disorder, sample collection is more difficult than for other, more common, autoimmune diseases. We hope that with more samples from patients, we'll be able to link more genetic regions to the disease, and it will become easier to identify underlying pathways that could act as therapeutic targets."
Three of the genetic regions associated with PSC fall within a single biological system that underlies variation in T cells, cells important to our immune response. One gene that controls this pathway, HDAC7, is known to be a key factor in immune tolerance and the new data strongly suggests exploring the possibility that drugs affecting HDAC7 function may serve as future therapeutics in PSC.
In an extended analysis, the team identified an additional 33 genetic regions that are also involved in several common immune-mediated conditions (celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and psoriasis). This analysis shows that PSC shares many genetic risk loci with other immune-mediated diseases and opens up the possibility for testing drugs known to be effective in genetically similar diseases for efficacy in PSC.
The next step for the team is to do a high-powered search throughout the entire genomes of PSC patients to find specific regions associated with PSC outside of the regions included on the Immunochip genotyping chip.
"This study has uncovered more about the genetics underlying PSC than any before it, but this is only the first step" says Dr Tom Hemming Karlsen, lead author from Oslo University Hospital, Norway. "We hope the ongoing scientific and clinical research being conducted through the International PSC study group will help improve the outlook for those currently suffering at the hands of this disease"
"Our study, which is the largest of its type for PSC, would not have been possible without the help of the patients with this rare disorder," adds Dr Hemming Karlsen.
Source:Nature Genetics

Facebook interests could help predict, track and map obesity

The higher the percentage of people in a city, town or neighborhood with Facebook interests suggesting a healthy, active lifestyle, the lower that area's obesity rate. At the same time, areas with a large percentage of Facebook users with television-related interests tend to have higher rates of obesity. Such are the conclusions of a study by Boston Children's Hospital researchers comparing geotagged Facebook user data with data from national and New York City-focused health surveys.
Together, the conclusions suggest that knowledge of people's online interests within geographic areas may help public health researchers predict, track and map obesity rates down to the neighborhood level, while offering an opportunity to design geotargeted online interventions aimed at reducing obesity rates.
The study team, led by Rumi Chunara, PhD, and John Brownstein, PhD, of Boston Children's Hospital's Informatics Program (CHIP), published their findings on April 24 in PLOS ONE.
The amount of data available from social networks like Facebook makes it possible to efficiently carry out research in cohorts of a size that has until now been impractical. It also allows for deeper research into the impact of the societal environment on conditions like obesity, research that can be challenging because of cost, difficulties in gathering sufficient sample sizes and the slow pace of data analysis and reporting using traditional reporting and surveillance systems.
"Online social networks like Facebook represent a new high-value, low-cost data stream for looking at health at a population level," according to Brownstein, who runs the Computational Epidemiology Group within CHIP. "The tight correlation between Facebook users' interests and obesity data suggest that this kind of social network analysis could help generate real-time estimates of obesity levels in an area, help target public health campaigns that would promote healthy behavior change, and assess the success of those campaigns."
To connect the dots between Facebook interests and obesity, Chunara, Brownstein and their colleagues obtained aggregated Facebook user interest data—what users post to their timeline, "like" and share with others on Facebook—from users nationally and just within New York City. They then compared the percentages of users interested in healthy activities or television with data from two telephone-based health surveys: the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System-Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends (BRFSS-SMART), and New York City's EpiQuery Community Health Survey (CHS). Both surveys record geotagged data on body mass index, a reliable measure of obesity.
The comparison revealed close geographic relationships between Facebook interests and obesity rates. For instance, the BRFSS-SMART obesity rates were 12 percent lower in the location in the United States where the highest percentage of Facebook users expressing activity-related interests (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) compared that in the location with the lowest percentage (Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.). Similarly, the obesity rate in the location with the highest percentage of users with television-related interests nationally (Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, S.C.) was 3.9 percent higher than the location with the lowest percentage (Eugene-Springfield, Ore.).
The same correlation was reflected in the New York City neighborhood data as well, showing that the approach can scale from national- to local-level data. The CHS-reported obesity rate on Coney Island, which had the highest percentage of activity-related interests in the city, was 7.2 percent lower than Southwest Queens, the neighborhood with the lowest percentage. At the same time, the obesity rate in Northeast Bronx, the neighborhood with the highest percentage of television-related interests, was 27.5 percent higher than that in the neighborhood with the lowest percentage (Greenpoint).
"The data show that in places where Facebook users have more activity-related interests, there is a lower prevalence of obesity and overweight," said Chunara, an instructor in Brownstein's group. "They reveal how social media data can augment public health surveillance by giving public health researchers access to population-level information that they can't otherwise get."
The study also bolsters the case for using social media as a means of delivering targeted interventions aimed at reducing rates of obesity and other chronic diseases, as applicable.
Source:PLOS One

National Urban Health Mission may get Cabinet approval soon

The National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), under an overarching National Health Mission (NHM) is likely to be considered by the Cabinet for approval soon, but it is unlikely to be launched during the next financial year.
The proposal of NUHM was discussed in the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) under the Chairmanship of the Finance Secretary and Secretary (Expenditure) on October 9, 2012. The EFC meeting recommended the proposal for approval of the Cabinet with recommendation ofRs.22,507.21 crore during the 12th Five Year Plan with central share of Rs.16,955 crore.
“Cabinet note on NUHM was sent to Cabinet Secretariat on 24th January, 2013 for placing the same before the Cabinet for consideration and approval. Cabinet considered the proposal relating to NUHM in its meeting held on February 21, 2013. However, the agenda item was postponed,” according to the official sources.
For the 12th Five Year Plan 2012-17, an amount of Rs.15,143 crore has been approved by the Planning Commission whereas the Ministry proposedRs.16,955 crore for NUHM during 12th FYP. However for the year 2013-14 approved outlay for NUHM is Rs.1.00 crore only, putting a serious question mark on the launch of the long-pending proposal.
The NUHM was a listed scheme under 11th Five Year Plan with an approved outlay of Rs.4500 crore and Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) also approved the scheme in its meeting held on September 12, 2008. However the scheme could not be launched.
The proposed NUHM aims to improve the health status of the urban population particularly slum dwellers and other vulnerable sections by facilitating equitable access to quality healthcare with the active involvement of the urban local bodies (ULBs). It proposes to cover 779 cities and towns including seven metros with population of 50,000 and above.
The Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech last year, had announced to launch the NHM and the President also reiterated it in his address to the Parliament this year. The present budget has also made provision under the National Health Mission, instead of the NRHM. The allocation stands at Rs.18,880.35 crore against Rs.18,515.30 crore in the last year.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Alternative approaches of treatment may Help in controlling Hypertension, Says Study

 Alternative Therapies may Help Treat Hypertension, Says StudyAerobic exercise, resistance or strength training can reduce blood pressure and can be considered as an adjunctive treatment for those who can't tolerate or don't respond well to standard medications, says study.In a new scientific statement, the association said alternative approaches could also help people with blood pressure levels higher than 120/80 mm Hg. 
However, alternative therapies shouldn't replace proven methods to lower blood pressure - including physical activity, managing weight, not smoking or drinking excess alcohol, eating a low sodium balanced diet and taking medications when prescribed, the association said. 
High blood pressure - a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke - affects more than 26 percent of the population worldwide and contributes to more than 13 percent of premature deaths. 
An expert panel assessed three alternative remedy categories: exercise regimens; behavioral therapies such as meditation; and non-invasive procedures or devices including acupuncture and device-guided slow breathing. The panel did not review dietary and herbal treatments. 
"There aren't many large well-designed studies lasting longer than a few weeks looking at alternative therapies, yet patients have a lot of questions about their value," said Robert D. Brook, M.D., Chair of the panel and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "A common request from patients is, 'I don't like to take medications, what can I do to lower my blood pressure?' We wanted to provide some direction." 
The alternative therapies rarely caused serious side effects and posed few health risks, but the analysis revealed some approaches were more beneficial than others and could be part of a comprehensive blood pressure-lowering treatment plan. 
Brook and colleagues reviewed data published in 2006-11, including 1,000 studies on behavioral therapies, non-invasive procedures and devices, and three types of exercise (aerobic, resistance or weight training and isometric exercises, most commonly handgrip devices). 
The studies also examined the effects of yoga, different styles of meditation, biofeedback methods, acupuncture, device-guided breathing, relaxation and stress reduction techniques. 
The panel found that all three types of exercise reduced blood pressure. Walking programs provided modest benefit while, somewhat surprisingly, four weeks of isometric hand grip exercises resulted in some of the most impressive improvements - a 10 percent drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, isometric exercise should be avoided among people with severely-uncontrolled high blood pressure (180/110 mm Hg or higher). 
Behavioral therapies such as biofeedback and transcendental meditation may help lower blood pressure by a small amount, the report said. However, there's not sufficient data to support using other types of meditation. 
"Most alternative approaches reduce systolic blood pressure by only 2-10 mm Hg; whereas standard doses of a blood pressure-lowering drug reduce systolic blood pressure by about 10-15 mm Hg," Brook said. "So, alternative approaches can be added to a treatment regimen after patients discuss their goals with their doctors." 
Given the global public health burden of high blood pressure more research is needed to look at the long-term cardiovascular health impact of alternative therapies and the effects of combining them together or adding them to other proven lifestyle measures, Brook said. 
The study has been published in the journal Hypertension.


Simple Vegetable Smoothie Packs in Required Amount of Greens

An easy and simple vegetable smoothie could be an answer to get the daily greens fix into your system for maintaining perfect health.This new smoothie is the creation of a scientist from Georgia and is named SaVse. It is a mix of spinach, broccoli and Kale created to give the body its daily requirements of greens. Those who created this smoothie were motivated by a desire to ensure people consume vegetables in an easy manner.
This cocktail enables people to consume the super healthy vegetables in a natural and easy way. Guka Tavberidze, who invented this cocktail, owes it to his mother who perhaps wanted to create a drink that is as nutritious as possible as well as easy to consume without much coaxing. 
Available in three flavors, SaVse is truly super in Super Green, Super Red and Super purple. 
"Super Green (broccoli, pear, spinach, kale, kiwi, lemon and banana); Super Red (strawberry, broccoli, celery, kale,

Study Finds Bacteria Shows Promise Against Pancreatic Cancer

 Study Finds Bacteria Shows Promise Against Pancreatic CancerResearchers have said that an experimental therapy that uses Listeria bacteria to infect pancreatic cancer cells and deliver tumor-killing drugs has shown promise in lab animal research.While it remains unknown whether the method might work in people, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York said they are encouraged by its ability to halt cancer's spread, known as metastasis. 
"At this point, we can say that we have a therapy that is very effective for reducing metastasis in mice," said co-senior author Claudia Gravekamp, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Einstein. 
The experimental technique described in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science works by using a weakened form of Listeria, which in its wild form can cause foodborne illness. 
Ninety percent of mice with pancreatic cancer treated with the technique showed no evidence of cancer spread after three weeks. 
Researchers halted the experiment at 21 days because that is when the control mice, who had pancreatic cancer but were not treated, began to die. 
Pancreatic cancer tends to spread quickly through the body and is particularly lethal, since it is often discovered only once it has progressed beyond the pancreas. 
Untreated patients usually die within three to six months, and the five-year survival rate is just four percent. 
Researchers attached radioisotopes, commonly used in cancer therapy, to the bacteria. The radioactive bacteria then infected cancer cells but not normal cells. 
The treatment stopped the cancer's spread in most cases, and appeared to have no ill effects on the mice, but more work needs to be done to see if it may extend survival time. 
"With further improvements, our approach has the potential to start a new era in the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer," said Gravekamp. 
Gravekamp's team is the first to test the concept in an animal model.

Scientists Find New Reasons for Cause of Diabetes and Growth Hormone Deficiency

Scientists Find New Reasons for Cause of Diabetes and Growth Hormone DeficiencyResearchers from the University of Copenhagen have taken a significant step towards understanding the reasons that cause diabetes and growth hormone deficiency. Their new discoveries centre on the body's ability to regulate certain hormones, and their findings have just been published in the respected scientific journal PLOS Biology.Some people suffering from diabetes or affected by poor growth most likely have problems with the so-called PICK1 protein,a protein that plays a decisive role in the formation of both growth hormone and insulin in the human body. 
"We have studied the role played by PICK1 when growth hormone is released by the brain and insulin by the pancreas. Our experiments show that PICK1 deficiency leads to growth hormone and insulin deficiency in both fruit flies and mice. In mice, we can clearly see that the animals become small and fat and less tolerant to sugar when deficient in PICK1. We have reason to believe that the same is true for humans," says Professor Ulrik Gether from the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, who has made the new discoveries together with his research colleagues Ole Kjærulff, Birgitte Holst and Kenneth Madsen. 
"Different cells produce different kinds of hormones, and store the hormones for secretion into the bloodstream when required. Up until now, this has been a poorly understood mechanism which, among other things, plays a key role in the development of diabetes and poor growth. However, given what we now know about the PICK1 protein, we are in a position to say far more about what might have gone wrong when someone is suffering from the two diseases," says Professor Birgitte Holst, explaining that the group wishes to continue looking at whether changes in the PICK1 protein can lead to some people being short, overweight, and diabetic. 
Advanced transport system 
Hormones are chemicals that regulate the body's functions via the blood in an ingenious transport system. In the so-called Golgi complex - an organelle made up of four to eight flat discs or cisternae arranged in a stack - traffic is bustling with proteins and hormones being modified, sorted and packaged so they can be sent out to destinations both within and outside the cells. These proteins and hormones include insulin and growth hormone. The proteins and hormones are packed into small transport particles called vesicles, and they remain there until the cells receive a signal to send the hormones off. The molecular dynamics that has been mapped through identifying PICK1 has shown itself to be a critical component in relation to diabetes and poor growth. 
"The process is comparable to a factory where Lego bricks are packed. If the boxes are not packed properly and cannot be sent out at the right time to the right recipient, it causes problems. In this case with growth hormone and insulin," says Birgitte Holst. 
From fruit flies to humans 
Ole Kjærulff and his employees started by looking at PICK1 in fruit flies' brains, and then brought in Birgitte Holst, Ulrik Gether and Kenneth Madsen, who all possess expertise within this field of research. Birgitte Holst has looked at how PICK1 deficiency in mice affects their body weight and metabolism, while Ulrik Gether and Kenneth Madsen have been responsible for aspects to do with cell biology. 
"PICK1 is part of the basic cellular process which is vital for fruit flies, mice and probably also humans being able to form and store important hormones such as insulin and growth hormone. We don't yet know exactly what our discoveries mean for the development of diabetes and poor growth in humans, but hopefully our new knowledge will lead to better prevention and treatment in the future," says Ulrik Gether. 

Source: journal PLOS Biology

Monday, 22 April 2013

Technology transforms health care

The current special issue of Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors  devoted to studies on medical technology and health care delivery, focuses on a wide range of topics, from new technologies to reduce the cost of health care to understanding the human microbiome. 
“This special issue of Technology and Innovation on transformative health care technologies truly explores new frontiers where technology and health care cross,” said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for Research & Innovation at the University of South Florida and president of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). “The pioneering researchers who contributed to this issue are leading us into a new era in health that promises to be more efficacious, less expensive and as personal as an individual’s health data, microbes and brain cells.”
Automated Educational Intervention reduces prescription and hospital costs
A study into the effectiveness of a program to analyze prescription data launched in Missouri in 2003 by Care Management Technologies (CMT), found that physicians who received educational intervention about their patients’ prescriptions ultimately helped reduce the costs of care for their Medicaid patients with schizophrenia.
“Pharmacy costs were growing 15 percent annually, and the greatest growth was in psychotropic drugs,” says study lead author John P. Docherty of Care Management Technologies, Inc., Weill Cornell Medical College. The study analyzed the CMT program’s ability to determine, from prescription data from 2002 to 2005, the deviations from best practices that could increase pharmacy and service costs for a Medicaid subset of patients (173,609) with schizophrenia. According to Docherty and his co-authors, by one year later the intervention program resulted in cost reductions for an estimated 6,310 patients with schizophrenia.


Ayush dept issues procedural Guidelines for inspection of ASU drug testing labs

The department of Ayush has issued the procedural Guidelines for inspection of ayurveda, siddha and unani (ASU) drug testing laboratories. It is an inspection manual for the inspectors for approval of drug testing laboratory under Rule 160 A-J of Drugs & Cosmetics (D&C) Rules-1945.
This inspection manual covering various aspects about the qualifications, duties and responsibilities of inspectors will be a much needed and helpful guide for orientation of ASU inspectors for proper discharge of their duties under D&C Act and Rules thereunder. The inspection manual of drug testing laboratory is especially explained in detail for development of insight of the inspectors regarding interpretation and implementation of the Rules.
Role of state licensing authority in facilitating such inspection is explained keeping in view of essential points to be focused while forwarding the application for joint inspection to the central government. It also includes the list of recommended equipment required for carrying out analysis of ASU drugs and raw materials. The manual also touches upon various essential books that may be required for testing of ASU drugs. This inspection manual is not a substitute of the D&C Act 1940 and Rules thereunder but this manual is expected to help state licensing authorities to augment the regulatory capacities of inspectors and in developing master trainers as well.
This manual will prove to be useful and handy for regulatory inspectors assigned with the duty of assessing the infrastructure and functionality of drug testing laboratories and for imparting necessary training to the officials engaged with quality control responsibilities. It will also help in bringing objectivity and transparency in inspections and preventing arbitrary inspection reports.
Earlier, a provision in the D&C Rules, 1945 was made on January 31, 2003 for approval of laboratories for carrying out tests on ASU drugs and raw materials used in their manufacture. The inspectors designated by the central and state government jointly inspect such laboratories to verify that requisite regulations are complied, before recommending for approval.
This manual will facilitate better understanding amongst the inspectors and licensing authorities about the provisions of D&C Rules, 1945 relating to the procedure for approval of drug testing laboratories of ASU drugs and thereby its proper implementation. It will bring uniformity, objectivity, transparency and harmonization in the procedure of inspection and approval of laboratories as per legal provisions. The manual also brings out the provisions of D&C Rules, relating to inspectors of ASU system in a lucid way.


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