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Saturday, 15 June 2013

AIDS drugs halve HIV risk for intravenous drug users in study

A daily dose of powerful anti-HIV medicine helped cut the risk of infection with the AIDS virus by 49 percent in intravenous drug users in a Bangkok study that showed for the first time such a preventive step can work in this high-risk population.
"This is a significant step forward for HIV prevention," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which helped conduct the clinical trial along with the Thailand Ministry of Health.
The study, published on Wednesday in the journal Lancet, looked at the treatment approach known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, in which HIV treatments are given to uninfected people who are at high-risk for HIV infection.
The drug used in the study was Gilead's older and relatively cheap generic HIV drug tenofovir. The study was launched in 2005.
Prior studies of this approach showed it cut infection rates by 44 percent in men who have sex with men, by 62 percent in heterosexual men and women and by 75 percent in couples in which one partner is infected with HIV and the other is not. The new results showed that it also protects intravenous drug users.
"We now know that PrEP can work for all populations at increased risk for HIV," Mermin said in a statement.
Based on the results, the CDC plans to recommend that U.S. doctors who wish to prescribe this treatment for their patients follow the same interim guidelines issued last year to prevent sexual transmission among other high-risk individuals.
Intravenous use of drugs like heroin accounts for about 8 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States and about 10 percent of new HIV infections worldwide. In some regions, such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia, injection drug abuse accounts for about 80 percent of all new infections.
A Kenyan woman prepares ribbons ahead of World Aids Day at Beacon of Hope centre, a non-government organization formed to address women's problem of HIV/AIDS in Nairobi, November 25, 2004. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna/FilesThe new findings involved more than 2,400 intravenous drug users in Bangkok who were not infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, and were being treated at the city's drug treatment clinics.
Half took tenofovir and half took a placebo. All participants were given HIV prevention counseling, risk-reduction strategies such as condoms and methadone treatment, and monthly HIV testing.
At the end of the study, there were 17 HIV infections among people taking the HIV medication, compared with 33 infections among those not taking the drugs, the researchers found.
The researchers also looked to see what factors influenced infection rates among those taking the HIV medication. They found that people who took their medication at least 71 percent of the time had a 74 percent lower risk of becoming infected with HIV.
Although it was not clear how the preventive drug treatment worked - by stopping infections caused by sharing dirty needles or by unprotected sex among drug users - the study produced a reduction in infection rates, said Dr. Salim Abdook Karim of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa and of Columbia University in New York.
"The introduction of PrEP for HIV prevention in injecting drug users should be considered as an additional component to accompany other proven prevention strategies like needle exchange programs, methadone programs, promotion of safer sex and injecting practices, condoms, and HIV counseling and testing," Karim, who was not involved in the study, wrote in a commentary accompanying the study in the Lancet.
"PrEP as part of combination prevention in injecting drug users could make a useful contribution to the quest for an AIDS-free generation," Karim added.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Will Dunham)
Reuters inadvertently published the attached story on Wednesday June 12 at 12.04 pm ahead of the embargo time of 11pm.
Source:Reuter's Health

Memory-boosting chemical is identified in mice

Memory improved in mice injected with a small, drug-like molecule discovered by UCSF San Francisco researchers studying how cells respond to biological stress.
The same biochemical pathway the molecule acts on might one day be targeted in humans to improve memory, according to the senior author of the study, Peter Walter, PhD, UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics and a Howard Hughes Investigator.
The discovery of the molecule and the results of the subsequent memory tests in mice were published in eLife, an online scientific open-access journal, on May 28, 2013.
In one memory test included in the study, normal mice were able to relocate a submerged platform about three times faster after receiving injections of the potent chemical than mice that received sham injections.
The mice that received the chemical also better remembered cues associated with unpleasant stimuli – the sort of fear conditioning that could help a mouse avoid being preyed upon.
Notably, the findings suggest that despite what would seem to be the importance of having the best biochemical mechanisms to maximize the power of memory, evolution does not seem to have provided them, Walter said.
"It appears that the process of evolution has not optimized memory consolidation; otherwise I don't think we could have improved upon it the way we did in our study with normal, healthy mice," Walter said.
The memory-boosting chemical was singled out from among 100,000 chemicals screened at the Small Molecule Discovery Center at UCSF for their potential to perturb a protective biochemical pathway within cells that is activated when cells are unable to keep up with the need to fold proteins into their working forms.
However, UCSF postdoctoral fellow Carmela Sidrauski, PhD, discovered that the chemical acts within the cell beyond the biochemical pathway that activates this unfolded protein response, to more broadly impact what's known as the integrated stress response. In this response, several biochemical pathways converge on a single molecular lynchpin, a protein called eIF2 alpha.
Scientists have known that in organisms ranging in complexity from yeast to humans different kinds of cellular stress — a backlog of unfolded proteins, DNA-damaging UV light, a shortage of the amino acid building blocks needed to make protein, viral infection, iron deficiency — trigger different enzymes to act downstream to switch off eIF2 alpha.
"Among other things, the inactivation of eIF2 alpha is a brake on memory consolidation," Walter said, perhaps an evolutionary consequence of a cell or organism becoming better able to adapt in other ways.
Turning off eIF2 alpha dials down production of most proteins, some of which may be needed for memory formation, Walter said. But eIF2 alpha inactivation also ramps up production of a few key proteins that help cells cope with stress.
Study co-author Nahum Sonenberg, PhD, of McGill University previously linked memory and eIF2 alpha in genetic studies of mice, and his lab group also conducted the memory tests for the current study.
The chemical identified by the UCSF researchers is called ISRIB, which stands for integrated stress response inhibitor. ISRIB counters the effects of eIF2 alpha inactivation inside cells, the researchers found.
"ISRIB shows good pharmacokinetic properties [how a drug is absorbed, distributed and eliminated], readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, and exhibits no overt toxicity in mice, which makes it very useful for studies in mice," Walter said. These properties also indicate that ISRIB might serve as a good starting point for human drug development, according to Walter.
Walter said he is looking for scientists to collaborate with in new studies of cognition and memory in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases and aging, using ISRIB or related molecules.
In addition, chemicals such as ISRIB could play a role in fighting cancers, which take advantage of stress responses to fuel their own growth, Walter said. Walter already is exploring ways to manipulate the unfolded protein response to inhibit tumor growth, based on his earlier discoveries.
At a more basic level, Walter said, he and other scientists can now use ISRIB to learn more about the role of the unfolded protein response and the integrated stress response in disease and normal physiology.

Sugar overload can damage heart according to UTHealth research

Heinrich Taegtmeyer, M.D., D.Phil.Too much sugar can set people down a pathway to heart failure, according to a study led by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
A single small molecule, the glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P), causes stress to the heart that changes the muscle proteins and induces poor pump function leading to heart failure, according to the study, which was published in the May 21 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association. G6P can accumulate from eating too much starch and/or sugar.
Heart failure kills 5 million Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The one-year survival rate after diagnosis is 50 percent and there are 550,000 new patients in the United States diagnosed with heart failure each year.
“Treatment is difficult. Physicians can give diuretics to control the fluid, and beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors to lower the stress on the heart and allow it to pump more economically,” said Heinrich Taegtmeyer, M.D., D.Phil., principal investigator and professor of cardiology at the UTHealth Medical School. “But we still have these terrible statistics and no new treatment for the past 20 years.”
Taegtmeyer performed preclinical trials in animal models, as well as tests on tissue taken from patients at the Texas Heart Institute who had a piece of the heart muscle removed in order to implant a left ventricle assist device by O.H. “Bud” Frazier, M.D., and his team. Both led to the discovery of the damage caused by G6P. 
“When the heart muscle is already stressed from high blood pressure or other diseases, and then takes in too much glucose, it adds insult to injury,” Taegtmeyer said.
The study has opened doors to possible new treatments. Two drugs, rapamycin (an immunosuppressant) and metformin (a diabetes medication) disrupt signaling of G6P and improved cardiac power in small animal studies.
“These drugs have a potential for treatment and this has now cleared a path to future studies with patients,” Taegtmeyer said.
Source:Journal of the American Heart Association

Technology in clinical research creates both challenges & opportunities: Expert

The pharma industry covering contract manufacturing services and specifically the research services and clinical trials segment need to adopt technology and this is seen as the only way to simplify operations, carry out processes efficiently and save time.
The key benefits of ‘Technology in Research’ are that it helps to compress timelines, narrow the pipeline of extensive drug development period that spans anywhere between seven and 15 years. There is also the economies-of-scale in terms of cost and time which provide overall efficiency, said Bindhya Cariappa, executive vice president, Global Clinical Research, ClinTec International.
There would also be reduced resource requirements, higher quality, compliance and access to real time information, said Cariappa at the recently concluded Golden Jubilee event of the Government College of Pharmacy.
Clinical research technology provides process management with clinical research companies accessing trial management systems and safety management. There is the combined scientific and regulatory expertise with innovative technology to deliver reliable consulting services and practical electronic solutions that ensure the patient’s voice is heard during new medical product development via the  Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) combined with ubiquitous phone and fax services, or an Interactive Web Response System (IWRS).
With the FDA issuing the final Guidance on Patient Reported Outcome Measures in 2009, it endorsed the use of patient reported data is complied into the electronic diaries and PRO or patient reported outcome assessment. Data management which is a critical component in clinical trials calls for use of case report forms (CRFs) and electronic data capture (EDC) besides use of analytics such as SAS (Statistical Analysis System) and SPSS (Superior Performing Statistical Software). There is also the need to access the e-library like the MedDRA, WHO Drug, ICD, said Cariappa.
There is also need for research technologies like the Clinical Trial Management which helps to plan trial processes, timelines, resources, budgets and track preparation and performance. Some of these process management solutions are IMPACT & Trialworks (Perceptive), ClinTrial & Sieble (Oracle), Study Manager and Office Smart (BioClinical).
The companies also need to have systems of Safety Management in place to help capture, detect, assess, understand and prevent adverse reactions of investigational product. Some of these products are Argus (Oracle), Total Safety & ARISg (ArisGlobal).
Further, the Interactive Response technologies like the voice based (IVRS), and web based (IWRS) are implemented to allocate randomized treatment to clinical trial patients. It also helps flexible and efficient medication allocation. All these are efficient patient targeted technologies utilized to ensure transparency in the clinical trial protocols, said Cariappa.
Therefore investment in technology allows a constant tab on patient reported outcomes and compliance. Further, it helps to plan, capture, verify, control and organize data. Besides it also assists in data sorting which is utilized for organising and reporting medical events during trials and the maintain records of medications administered. While there would be a number of challenges in the technology adoption, the benefits are much more for a segment like clinical research, she stated.


Does Salty Foods Taste Good

While baking, as anyone who's ever mixed up the sugar and salt knows, too much of a good thing can be inedible.What hasn't been clear, though, is how our tongues and brains can tell when the saltiness of our food has crossed the line from yummy to yucky - or, worse, something dangerous. 
Now researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of California, Santa Barbara report that in fruit flies, at least, that process is controlled by competing input from two different types of taste-sensing cells: one that attracts flies to salty foods, and one that repels them. Results of their research are described in the June 14 issue of Science
"The body needs sodium for crucial tasks like putting our muscles into action and letting brain cells communicate with each other, but too much sodium will cause heart problems and other health concerns," explains Yali Zhang, Ph.D., who led the recent study as part of his graduate work at Johns Hopkins. To maintain health, Zhang says, humans and other animals perceive foods with relatively low salt concentrations as tasty, but avoid eating things with very high salt content. 
To find out how the body pulls off this balancing act, Zhang worked with his adviser, Craig Montell, Ph.D., a leading scientist in the field of sensory biology and now a professor at UC Santa Barbara, and graduate student Jinfei Ni to get an up-close view of the fly equivalent of a tongue: its long, curly proboscis. They zoomed in on the proboscis' so-called sensilla, hair-like structures that serve as the fly's taste buds. 
Previous research had identified several distinct types of sensilla, one of which attracts flies to a taste, while another repels them. Zhang loaded an electrode with a mixture of water and different concentrations of salt, and touched it to each type of sensilla, using the same electrode to detect the electrical signals fired by the sensilla in response to the salt. He found that up to a point, increasing salt concentrations would produce increasingly strong electrical signals in the attractive sensilla, but after that point, the electrical signals dropped off as the concentration continued to rise. In contrast, the repellant sensilla gave off stronger and stronger electrical signals as the salt concentration rose. 
Zhang said the team realized that the taste receptor cells in the attractive and repellant sensilla were likely locked in a tug-of-war over whether the fly would continue eating or go off in search of better food. At lower concentrations, the attractive signal would dominate the repellant signal, sending a cumulative message of "yum!" But at high concentrations, the repellant signal would overwhelm the attractive signal, sending the signal "yuck!" 
To further test this conclusion, the team mutated a gene called Ir76b that codes for a protein they suspected was involved in the action of the attractive sensilla. To their great surprise, Zhang found that loss of Ir76b function caused flies to avoid the otherwise attractive low-salt food. The reason for this, he found, was that mutating Ir76b only impaired the responses of the attractive sensilla, leaving the repellant sensilla to win the day. Looking further into the action of the protein produced by Ir76b, the team found that it is a channel with a pore that lets sodium pass into the taste cells of the sensilla. Unlike most pores of this type, which have gates that must be opened by certain key chemical or voltage changes in their environment, this gate is always open, meaning that at any time, sodium can flood into the cell and spark an electrical signal. "It's an unusual setup, but it makes sense because the local sodium concentration outside taste receptor cells appears to be a lot lower than that surrounding most cells. The taste receptor cells don't need to keep the gate closed to protect themselves from that excess sodium," Zhang says. 
Long before we humans started worrying about regulating our sodium intake, it was a problem all animals had to deal with, Zhang says, and thus his research has implications for other animals, including humans. Although animal taste buds and insect sensilla have different makeups, he suspects that the tug-of-war principle may apply to salt-tasting throughout the animal kingdom, given that different species behave similarly when it comes to salty foods. Identifying the low-salt sensor in humans could be particularly useful, he says, as it could lead to the development of better salt substitutes to help people control their sodium intake.

Source: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of California,


Staying on Mountains Causes People to Speak Differently

 Staying on Mountains Causes People to Speak DifferentlyCan staying on mountains make a difference to the way we speak? It is true that when we stay on mountains, the way certain words sound is different.
Languages with guttural bursts of sound that have "ejective" consonants are found to be spoken in communities which live on mountains. Experts reason that the effort to produce ejectives in thinner mountain air is much less, which is why language is spoken in such a manner.
Researchers discovered that close to 80% of languages with ejectives were spoken in areas within 500 kilometres of a region of high elevation, an altitude higher than 1500 meters above sea level. This was found to be true across all continents. 
"This is really strong evidence that geography does influence phonology - the sound system of languages," said lead scientist Dr Caleb Everett, from the University of Miami. 
"Ejectives are produced by creating a pocket of air in the pharynx then compressing it. Since air pressure decreases with altitude and it takes less effort to compress less dense air, I speculate that it's easier to produce these sounds at high altitude."

Source:Univ.of Miami



Friday, 14 June 2013

Scientists Develop New Mouse Model to Study Crohn's Disease

Researchers at Canada's McMaster University have taken an alternative path in trying to uncover more information about Crohn's disease. They have developed a new mouse model to study the digestive disorder.Mice have often been used to study this illness. Researchers frequently studied genetically modified mice. These mice died about a week after being injected with inflammation-causing chemicals in an attempt to figure out the relationship between inflammation and the presence of the bacteria E. coli .Many bacteria reside in the gut. Some are beneficial to digestion. The Mc Master researchers elected to study an E. coli variant dubbed adherent-invasive E. coli, or AIEC. This variant has been linked to Crohn's disease in humans.The scientists developed a new mouse model that showed that E. coli linked to Crohn's had the potential to cause long-term infection in the gut of a mouse. The mice they studied did not die quickly, but developed a chronic gut inflammation similar to that in human Crohn's patients.The new model allows researchers to study the effects of long-term infection. It provides an opportunity to determine the effects of chronic E. coli colonization on the immune system and how that might affect the development of disease. The team successfully developed a model of chronic colonization in five lines of non-modified mice.Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the two primary types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn's can occur anywhere in the digestive tract between mouth and anus, but most often develops in the intestines, where the ulceration it causes can affect all layers of tissue. According to the Mayo Clinic, since experts have found no cure for Crohn's, treatment focuses on managing its symptoms and trying to create a remission.The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America says that around 700,000 Americans suffer from this chronic disorder, which typically appears between ages 15 and 35. It affects roughly equal numbers of males and females. Although experts haven't pinpointed a cause, they suspect a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and a faulty immune system.The presence of IBD in other family members of Crohn's patients is one reason scientists suspect a genetic basis. However, many patients with the disorder report no other incidence of IBD in their families.This knowledge has led scientists to dig deeper into a known microbiological link to the illness. They already know that both human and animal studies have suggested that certain bacteria are necessary for the signs of Crohn's disease to appear.The Manchester team hopes to eventually understand the human host's response to bacteria linked to Crohn's. This will initially involve more work with the new mice model. The researchers hope to determine which genes are present in the bacteria to make it invasive, how it colonizes for extended periods, and why it has a pro-inflammatory nature.
Vonda J. Sines has published thousands of print and online health and medical articles. She specializes in diseases and other conditions that affect the quality of life.
Source: Medical News Today

Experts Warn Eyeball Licking Trend Can Injure the Eye, Damage Sight

A new trend among Japanese teenagers called oculolinctus, also known as "eyeball licking," or "worming," is currently sweeping across the internet in videos and photos.
gty close up eyeball thg 130614 wblog Experts Warn Eyeball Licking Trend Can Injure the Eye, Damage Sight The bizarre trend has started popping up on Youtube, Tumblr and Twitter. The practice, in which teens show affection by licking their partner's eyeballs, may have started with a scene in a music video released last year from the Japanese band Born, which features a dramatic slow-motion scene of oculolinctus.
But experts are concerned that even if oculolinctius is done sparingly or on a dare, it could have very real consequences. Dr. Robert Cykiert, an associate professor in the department of ophthalmology at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said the surface of a healthy eye is normal mostly sterile, while the mouth is filled with bacteria and food particles.
"When you get licked on the eye, you're transferring dangerous bacteria to the eye," said Cykiert. "It's a very dangerous trend, to say the least."
Cykiert said transferring bacteria to the eye leaves people with a higher risk of contracting conjunctivitis or, more seriously, a corneal ulcer.
"[People] may have scarring of the cornea that can be permanent depending on the bacteria in germs … it may cause a perforation or hole to develop," said Cykiert, who has had to give some patients with corneal ulcers a cornea transplant.
While Cykiert said he hasn't seen evidence of "eyeball licking" in the U.S., he warns that teens should be wary of trying out the trend to prove their adoration as they can permanently damage their sight.
Instead, Cykiert suggests, "sticking with hand holding and kissing, stuff that's been around for millions of years."
Source: abc News

Ayush Dept to revise scheme for quality control of Indian drugs, to spend Rs.80 crore

The Department of Ayush will revise the existing centrally sponsored scheme of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic (ASU and H) drugs and will spend Rs.80 crore during the remaining period of the current Five Year Plan.
An outlay of Rs.80 crore had been approved in the 12th Plan for the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Quality Control of ASU&H drugs. It is intended to revise the scheme based on its evaluation report and suggestions from stakeholders and add new components, sources informed.
The allocation is envisaged to be spent for focused outcomes in terms of effective quality control of ASU&H drugs including strengthening of regulatory infrastructure, mechanism and capacity in the states; improving drug manufacturing, storage and testing facilities in public sector; implementation of regulatory capacity building initiatives; and development of regulatory and quality control materials.
So far, one State Drug Testing Laboratory (DLT) and one State Ayurvedic Pharmacy have been assisted with grant-in-aid of Rs.21.31 lakhs andRs.43.46 lakhs respectively. Two GMP compliant private drugs manufacturing units have availed subsidy in 2012-13. The proposals of three more State DTLs and one pharmacy for balance grant-in-aid have been approved by the Project Screening Committee and are in pipeline for release of funds.
With the available funds and existing funding pattern of the scheme, it is intended to support five DTLs, five Pharmacies, five Licensing Authorities and six manufacturing units during the current year. However, revision of the scheme with inclusion of new components may revise these targets.
There is a separate chapter IV A in the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act 1940 which regulates the manufacture and sale of ASU drugs. Since the enforcement of provisions of D&C Act and Rules made thereunder is under the purview of State Drug Licensing and Drug Control Authorities, the state drugs regulatory framework has a crucial role to play in ensuring safety and quality of ASU&H drugs. The strengthening of testing laboratories, which are facing infrastructure constraints, and shortage of manpower, is hence one of the key elements of the scheme.


Diabetes Drug 'Could Double' Pancreatic Cancer Risk: Researchers

 Diabetes Drug 'Could Double' Pancreatic Cancer Risk: ResearchersMedication known as incretin mimetics could double the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to researchers. 
The drug, which is more commonly known as GLP-1, regulates blood sugar and is used by doctors to treat people suffering from Type 2 diabetes.But the drug also holds back appetite, the Daily Express reported. 

Now, health insurance data revealed that people taking the medication is twice as likely to be admitted to hospital with pancreatic cancer as patients taking other types of diabetic drugs. 
The investigation has been backed by findings from the US suggesting an increase in reports of pancreatic cancer in people taking the drug. 
The research from the University of California found harmful changes to the digestive system of animals given GLP-1. 
Eight organ donors who took the drugs were found to have small amounts of pre-cancerous lesions, while other donors given alternative medication had none. 
The European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration have launched a review of GLP-1 drugs and have said that more research needs to be done before regulators can declare them safe. 
The findings have been published in the British Medical Journal.


Researchers Reveal 9 Hallmarks of Aging

 Researchers Reveal 9 Hallmarks of AgingNine molecular indicators of ageing in mammals that could serve as a framework for future studies were described by Spanish researchers.Writing in the prestigious journal Cell, the researchers contend that by understanding and combating aging we can also fight cancer and other diseases of most incidence in the developed world. 
The team includes Maria Blasco (Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, CNIO), Carlos Lo'pez-Otiin (University of Oviedo), and Manuel Serrano (CNIO), along with Linda Partridge (Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing) and Guido Kroemer (Paris Descartes University). 
Their inspiration came from a classic 2000 paper, The Hallmarks of Cancer, also published in Cell, which marked a watershed in cancer research. 
Blasco, Serrano and Partridge contacted Cell proposing a similar effort to systematically review and organize the state of knowledge on aging; Lo'pez-Otiin and Kroemer had also come to the conclusion that this kind of analysis was much needed, and decided to share their ideas and efforts to get the project off the ground. 
"The current situation of aging research exhibits many parallels with that of cancer research in previous decades," reads the opening paragraph of the resulting paper, titled The Hallmarks of Aging. 
"The aging field has been notoriously more abundant in theories than experimental evidence," says Blasco; "this review doesn't discuss theories, but molecular and genetic evidence." For Lo'pez-Oti'n "the time had come to set out in organized, understandable fashion the molecular keys to what is still a little known process, despite the thousands of scientific papers published on the subject every year." 
The paper's connection with cancer goes beyond formal parallelisms. Because one of the main conclusions of The Hallmarks of Aging is that by understanding and combating aging we can also fight against cancer and the other diseases of most incidence in the developed world. 
The relationship is clear: aging is the result of the lifelong accumulation of DNA damage, and it is this same process that causes cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's. 
Another milestone of the paper is that it not only defines the nine molecular hallmarks of aging but also orders them into primary hallmarks - the triggers; those that make up the organism's response to these triggers; and the functional defects resulting. 
This hierarchy is important, because different effects can be achieved by acting on one or other of these processes. By acting on just one mechanism, if it numbers among the primaries, we can delay the aging of many organs and tissues.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Nourishing Foods You Must Eat Before and After Blood Donation

Nourishing Foods You Must Eat Before and After Blood DonationCheck out this list of nourishing food items that you must eat before you step out of your house to donate blood on World Blood Donor Day Friday. Once you are done with the good deed, consume food items rich in vitamins and more, says Annapurna Agrawal, nutritionist at Snap Fitness India.Before donating blood, here are some must-eat food items: 
- Iron rich foods: Whole grains, spinach, rice flakes, watermelon are some of the foods that are rich in iron. 
- Vitamin C rich foods: Eat citrus fruits and juices to increase levels of vitamin C. This will help to increase iron absorption. 
- Fluids: Drink plenty of water and fruit juices in the night and morning before you donate blood. Avoid carbonated drinks. 
- No fatty foods: Don't consume fatty foods 24 hours before you go for blood donation as these can affect blood tests. Due to excess fat in blood, it can't be tested for infectious diseases and so the blood will not be used for transfusion. 
After donating blood continue to have liquids to prevent low blood pressure. 
Also, include the following in your diet: 
- Foods rich in folic acid: Your body uses B-9 also known as folate, folic acid, to manufacture new red blood cells. This helps to replace the ones that you lost during donation. Food rich in this acid include liver, dried beans, spinach and many more. 
- Foods rich in Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin or vitamin B-2 is another vitamin required to produce red blood cells. It helps your body turn carbohydrates into energy for the body, which will help to strengthen you. Again, consume green leafy vegetables, eggs, peas, nuts and dairy products. 
- Foods rich in Vitamin B-6: Your body needs it to build healthy blood cells and it helps the body break down proteins. Because proteins contain several nutrients, eating vitamin B-6 foods can be helpful. Potatoes, bananas, seeds, nuts, red meat, fish, eggs and spinach are rich in this vitamin.

Depression in postmenopausal women may increase diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk

Postmenopausal women who use antidepressant medication or suffer from depression might be more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI), larger waist circumference and inflammation—all associated with increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a study led by University of Massachusetts Medical School investigator Yunsheng Ma, PhD, MD, MPH, and published in the June 13 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
The UMass Medical School study investigated whether elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use are associated with biomarkers for glucose dysregulation and inflammation, BMI and waist circumference. The three main findings indicate that both elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use are each significantly associated with higher BMI and waist circumference; elevated depressive symptoms are associated with increased levels of insulin and insulin resistance; and antidepressant use is associated with increased C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a marker of inflammation, which increases the risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"It may be prudent to monitor post-menopausal women who have elevated depression symptoms or are taking antidepressant medication to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Ma, associate professor of medicine, who with UMMS colleagues analyzed data from the landmark Women's Health Initiative (WHI).
Postmenopausal women were recruited into the WHI from 1993 to 1998, and data for this analysis were collected at regular intervals through 2005. Using data from 1,953 women who completed all relevant WHI assessments, the study found that elevated depressive symptoms were found to be significantly associated with increased insulin levels and measures of insulin resistance. Significantly, throughout the entire 7.6 years on average that women were enrolled in the WHI, those who had elevated depressive symptoms or were using antidepressants had higher average BMI and waist circumference than did women not using antidepressants or without depressive symptoms among 71,809 women. However, the associations were stronger for waist circumference.
Analysis of data from 2,242 women showed that both elevated depressive symptoms and antidepressant use was associated with higher CRP levels, a marker of inflammation.
"Identifying these markers in women is important for diabetes prevention because they can be monitored for possible action before progression to full-blown diabetes," said Ma.
Few studies have examined the association of BMI, waist circumference and biomarkers of glucose dysregulation and inflammation with depression, antidepressant medication use, or both. The UMMS study included a large, racially and ethnically diverse sample of post-menopausal women. Because the analysis was epidemiological, it could not determine a causal relationship, so further study is needed to confirm the results through clinical trials.
"Given that diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be effectively prevented or delayed in high-risk individuals with lifestyle modifications or pharmacological interventions, our findings indicate the prudence of monitoring BMI, waist circumference, along with established biomarkers for diabetes and cardiovascular risk including serum glucose, insulin resistance, and CRP among women with elevated depression symptoms, or who are taking antidepressant medication, to prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease," adds Simin Liu, MD, MS, MPH, ScD, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Brown University, a WHI investigator and study coauthor. "Further intervention trial is needed to confirm our findings and identify the specific patterns of change associated with diabetic and cardiovascular disease risk markers and individual antidepressants and depression."
Source:American Journal of Public Health

Health ministry yet to take any concrete step on banning Analgin

The drug regulatory authorities are yet to take a final decision on banning Analgin, as in the case of several other recommendations made by the Parliamentary Panel that examined the functioning of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
Though the standing committee on health, in its report submitted on April 26 this year, gave just 15 days deadline to decide conclusively on the fate of Analgin which is discarded by many countries, a final decision is yet to be made even after 45 days now.
According to sources in the CDSCO, the matter has been in fact referred to the New Drug Advisory Committee which has to take a final call based on the inputs generated from the pharmacovigilance programme.
However, the standing committee did not support the action of placing it under the pharmacovigilance, instead asked for concrete action. “The indications are approved by CDSCO, not State Drug Authorities. Hence CDSCO should itself take immediate action for violations. Given the near non-existence pharmacovigilance in the country putting Analgin under so called “focussed pharmacovigilance” is nothing but a dilatory and diversionary move to let the drug be sold in the country to benefit the manufacturer,” the report said.
“The Committee, therefore, desires that a decision be taken on this open and shut case without taking refuge behind committees after committees within one month of presentation of this Report. The Committee has noted that there are a very large number of alternative analgesics, antipyretics in the Indian market. With so many countries banning Analgin, not to mention unlawful over-promotion by manufacturers, the CDSCO should be directed to re-examine the rationality of continued marketing of Analgin,” the panel said.
“It is a well-known fact that drug manufacturers simply do not submit applications for the approval of new drugs to robust regulators to avoid rejection by other agencies/ countries. It is precisely for this reason that several manufacturers, in spite of the huge potential of marketing drugs in the US, avoid entering the US market. As once a drug is rejected in the US, it becomes highly impossible to get approval even in countries with poor drug regulation. The Committee is also confident that now when the Ministry has adopted, albeit, belatedly this global best practice in drug regulation, it would immediately apply it on two burning cases viz Analgin and Buclizine,” it said.

Asian Cinema the Next Major Battleground for Anti-Smoking and Anti-Cancer Groups

 Asian Cinema the Next Major Battleground for Anti-Smoking and Anti-Cancer GroupsAnti-smoking and anti-cancer groups will now have to turn their focus towards Asian cinema with the war against smoking in Hollywood movies all but won, a new study conducted by University of Adelaide researchers reveals.
Dr Peter Pugsley, Senior Lecturer in Media at the University of Adelaide, says that as smoking rates have been rising in Asia, so too has the depiction of smoking in Asian cinema. 
Dr Pugsley is the author of a new book on contemporary Asian cinema being published this month. He is also the author of a paper published recently in Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies that focuses on a Malaysian film's portrayal of smoking among young women. 
"While much has been written on the glamorization of smoking in Hollywood films, surprisingly little research exists on the portrayal of smoking in Asian cinema," Dr Pugsley says. 
"In the light of an alarming rise in the number of young Asian women becoming smokers, it's important for us to understand what role Asian cinema plays in glamorizing smoking, and in showing female characters who smoke." 
Dr Pugsley found that in the Malaysian film Spinning Gasing, the main female character, a Malay Muslim woman called Yati, lights up her first cigarette within the opening minutes of the film and constantly smokes throughout. 
"Yati is a rebellious and often sexualized character. Her smoking is part of an idealized image of individual, non-traditional lifestyle behaviors that are increasingly being adopted by young Asian women," Dr Pugsley says. 
"In that film, the deliberate framing of shots that involve smoking and the frequent use of backlighting to exaggerate the whiteness of the exhaled smoke helps to reinforce a style of 'tobacco imagery' that the anti-smoking lobby in the United States has fought hard against. 
"Part of the problem with depicting cigarette smoking in this way is that it normalizes the behavior and makes it seem appealing, especially to young people. At the same time, the increase in health issues and spiraling costs associated with treatment put a huge drain on medical services," he says. 
Dr Pugsley says there are other examples of extreme tobacco imagery in cinema from China and Hong Kong, including a romantic comedy, Love In A Puff, about a young smoking couple falling in love. 
"This is a film in which the main characters meet while smoking, set during a time when health authorities are banning indoor smoking, and it celebrates smoking culture in a way that is meant to directly appeal to a young adult audience," he says. 
Dr Pugsley says Bollywood movie theaters have taken to showing long disclaimers about smoking in films, both in Hindi and in English. "However, the disclaimers at the start of a film are not likely to compete with the kind of glamorization of smoking that can occur during the film itself." 

Source:Journal of Media & Cultural Studies


Grilled Foods may Increase Cancer Risk, Says Study

Consuming grilled meats may be linked to an increased risk of breast, stomach, prostate, and colon cancer, finds research.
But Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, a Dana-Farber nutritionist, said that doesn't mean giving up those tasty summer time treats like burgers, steaks, and ribs. 
"It's really about planning ahead and making wise choices," he stated. 
There are two risk factors to keep in mind. First, research has shown that high-heat grilling can convert proteins in red meat, pork, poultry, and fish into heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These chemicals have been linked to a number of cancers. 
"What happens is that the high temperature can change the shape of the protein structure in the meat so it becomes irritating in the body and is considered a carcinogenic chemical," explained Kennedy. 
Another cancer-causing agent, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), is found in the smoke. PAHs form when fat and juices from meat products drip on the heat source. As the smoke rises it can stick to the surface of the meat. 
"That's where the main cancer causing compound occurs in grilling. So you want to reduce the exposure to that smoke," said Kennedy. 
Here are some tips to lower the risk: 
Prep the Meat 
Choose lean cuts of meat, instead of high-fat varieties such as ribs and sausage. 
Trim all excess fat and remove skin. 
When using marinades - thinner is better. Thicker marinades have a tendency to "char," possibly increasing exposure to carcinogenic compounds. 
Look for marinades that contain vinegar and/or lemon. They actually create a protective barrier around the meat. 
Limit time - limit exposure 
Always thaw meat first. This also reduces the cooking time. 
Partially cook meat and fish in a microwave for 60 to 90 seconds on high before grilling and then discard the juices. This will lower cooking time and reduce risk of cause smoke flare-ups. 
Grilling techniques 
Flip burgers often - once every minute for meat burgers - to help prevent burning or charring. 
Place food at least six inches from heat source. 
Create a barrier to prevent juices from spilling and producing harmful smoke. Try lining the grill with aluminum foil and poking holes, and cooking on cedar planks. 
Plan ahead and choose wisely 
Lean meats create less dripping and less smoke. 
Choose smaller cuts of meat, like kabobs, as they take less time to cook. 
Try grilling your favorite vegetables. They do not contain the protein that forms harmful HCAs. 
"If you're grilling and following the proper safety tips, the risk of getting cancer from grilling food is very low," said Kennedy.

Himalayan Yew will boost the economy of Himalaya region

Himalayan Yew which is known as "Thuner " in local language will be a good source to boost Himalayan economy if there is a proper policy to conserve,cultivate and research based  medicinal uses should be promoted in this region.
As in latin it is known as Taxus baccata is somewhat similar to pine tree found in a altitude between 2500-3500 meter.Slow growing plant medium sized of 1.5 to 8 meter height.Stem is fluted and crown spreading,greenish soft and  Bark is of cork like .Flowers are usually deciduous.Seeds are compressed wingles, olive green, enveloped by a soft-fleshy coloured arillus, testa, woody, cotyledons. The  Chemical used in Chemotherapy is  "Taxol" which is  isolated from the bark and leaf of the tree  very effective against certain forms of cancers, particularly breast, ovarian and lung cancer. The plant though poisonous, is of great medicinal value. A medicinal tincture made from young shoots has long been in use for the treatment of headache, giddiness, feeble and falling pulse along with diarrhoea .In Ayurveda the plant is mentioned as "Taalishpatra".
This Plant is used in Ayurvedic and Tibbetan Medicine and specially the  tribal community in Kumaoun and Grahwal Himalaya prepare a medicinal Tea from this.  Taxus  baccata  is also a source of the chemical precursors to the anticancer drug paclitaxel. Himalayan Yew is used in traditional medicine which has its roots in prehistoric times and which uses soil, herbs and the roots and bark as well as other parts of trees to cure illnesses, along with ‘magic’ rites.In Ayurvedic texts it is also proved as a good medicine for various ailments.In approx. one acre of land the aprrox half Kg of Taxol should be extracted from its leaves which costs approximately three to four crore rupees  in interntional market.Peoples of this region still uses the leaves of thuner for local application in breast cancer.The need is to make a proper policy at govt.level which includes systemetic and legal  export and promotion and preservation of this plant  which will be  a source of good revenue in Himalyan region.
Dr Navin Joshi

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Music device doesn't drop diabetics' blood pressure

A device that plays a melody in an attempt to slow people's breathing didn't lower the blood pressure of people with diabetes, according to a new study.
"Given the results and the studies available, you can conclude that there is not enough evidence to use this device," said Dr. Gijs Landman, the study's lead author from the Isala Clinics in The Netherlands.
In theory, the device works by measuring the wearer's breathing and playing a melody to reduce the number of breaths they take per minute, which relaxes blood vessels and - in turn - lowers blood pressure.
Past research on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved RESPeRATE device, however, has produced mixed results.
Last year, a review of eight studies that evaluated the device found it lowered the participants' blood pressure, but that benefit disappeared when the researchers excluded studies sponsored by RESPeRATE's maker - InterCure Ltd.
For the new study, Landman and his colleagues recruited 24 adults with diabetes and high blood pressure to use the device for 15 minutes per day over eight weeks.
Another 24 people with diabetes and high blood pressure were also recruited to act as a comparison group by using an identical device without the therapeutic melody.
At the start of the study, all the participants had systolic blood pressure (the top number) of about 151 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) was about 82 mm Hg.
The American Heart Association recommends that a person's systolic blood pressure should be less than 120 mm Hg, and their diastolic blood pressure should be less than 80 mm Hg.
At the end of the study, the researchers found no significant differences in the participants' blood pressure in either the intervention or comparison group.
What's more, three participants using RESPeRATE didn't complete the study. Two dropped out because of side effects that could have been related to their use of the device, according to the researchers in JAMA Internal Medicine.
InterCure did not respond to a request for comment before deadline. Landman told Reuters Health the company did supply his team with the devices, which cost between $300 and $420.
Dr. Kamal R. Mahtani, who was not involved with the new study but led last year's analysis, said the new findings back up their earlier findings.
"There is no clear evidence for clinical benefit and this new paper is interesting because it's highlighting a potential harm," said Mahtani, from the Center for Evidence Based Medicine at The University of Oxford in the UK.
He added that he would not recommend the device to his patients and encourages people considering using this device to speak with their doctor first.
Mahtani said the treatment of high blood pressure often depends on a person's risk of heart disease, but could include lifestyle changes or medication.
Landman also told Reuters Health that he would not recommend the device, because - on top of not providing a benefit - it's time-consuming to use.
"You have to listen to the music for 15 minutes every day… I don't think it's feasible," he said.
SOURCE: JAMA Internal Medicine, online June 10, 2013.

Research shows male guppies reproduce even after death

Performing experiments in a river in Trinidad, a team of evolutionary biologists has found that male guppies continue to reproduce for at least ten months after they die, living on as stored sperm in females, who have much longer lifespans (two years) than males (three-four months).
"Populations that are too small can go extinct because close relatives end up breeding with each other and offspring suffer from inbreeding," said David Reznick, a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside and the principal investigator of the research project. "If there are stored sperm, then the real population size is bigger than the number of animals you see. Also, stored sperm can increase genetic variation in other ways."
Reznick explained that male guppies are brightly colored and very variable in coloration. Females prefer males with rare color patterns. A dead male with a long-lost color pattern can later give birth to a son who can now be preferred by females because he is different from all other males in the population. Because some females live so long, those sons can appear more than two generations after the father's death.
"Adult female guppies are the strongest swimmers and now we know they are the best able to colonize new habitats," Reznick said. "Long term sperm storage means that a single female can colonize a new site and establish a new population that has a fair measure of genetic diversity since we have found that the older, larger females can carry the sperm of several males. Plants do the same sort of thing differently. They produce seeds that can lay dormant in the soil for decades so each year new offspring can appear that represent many prior generations of parents. Water fleas also lay eggs that can lie dormant for long intervals of time. But this is the first time we see such a phenomenon in a vertebrate."
Study results appeared online June 5 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
While it is well known that guppies store sperm, Reznick and his team had never before thought of the extent of the storage.
"In addition to learning about sperm storage, this is the first time we are learning about the huge differences in lifespan between males and females," Reznick said. "If we were to use males to estimate generation time, then these differences mean that lucky females live for three generations. A human equivalent would be for us to have women around who were 90 years old and still very fertile."
The experiments Reznick and colleagues conducted in Trinidad are part of a large-scale, interdisciplinary research program that is characterizing the interaction between ecological and evolutionary processes.
"We are collecting these data for other reasons," Reznick said. "What we are learning is that such detailed data yield unexpected rewards. Very few studies have the kind of information that we are collecting — long-term mark recapture with genetics — so there is rarely the chance to make a discovery like this. What we are seeing seems rare because it has never before been reported, but it may only seem rare because almost no one has looked for it. It could be common and could play an important role in sustaining genetic diversity in natural populations."
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Walking or Cycling to Work Tied to Health Benefits in India

Walking or Cycling to Work Tied to Health Benefits in IndiaPeople in India who walk or cycle to work are less likely to be overweight or obese, have diabetes or high blood pressure, a study has found, reinforcing the fact that physically active people are most healthy.These findings suggest that encouraging more people to use physically active modes of transport could reduce rates of important risk factors for many chronic diseases, say the researchers from Imperial College London and the Public Health Foundation of India. Rates of diabetes and heart disease are projected to increase dramatically in India and other low and middle income countries over the next two decades. 
The study, published in PLOS Medicine, analysed physical activity and health information collected from almost 4,000 participants in the Indian Migration Study. 
It found that 68.3 per cent of people in rural areas bicycled and 11.9 per cent walked to work, compared with 15.9 per cent cycling and 12.5 per cent walking in towns and cities. 
Half of people who travelled to work by private transport and 38 per cent who took public transport were overweight, compared with only a quarter of people who walked or cycled to work. The study found similar patterns for rates of high blood pressure and diabetes. 
"This study highlights that walking and cycling to work is not only good for the environment but also good for personal health," said Dr Christopher Millett, of the School of Public Health at Imperial and the Public Health Foundation of India, who led the study. "People can get the exercise they need by building physical activity into their travel to work, so they don't need to make extra time for the gym. 
"Getting more people to use active modes of travel should be integral to strategies to maintain healthy weight and prevent diabetes and heart disease in India. This should include improving the safety and convenience of walking and bicycling in Indian towns and cities, and also greater investment in public transport, since this travel generally involves walking to bus or train stops." 

Source:PLOS Medicine

Improve Your Concentration With Yoga

Practising yoga also plays an important role in improving people's concentration and accuracy in addition to improve ones physical stamina.Researchers in the US discovered that a single session of Hatha yoga significantly improved a person's speed and accuracy when tested on their working memory and concentration, reports 
"Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that includes not only physical movements and postures but also regulated breathing and meditation," said Neha Gothe, professor Kinesiology (human movement), health and sport studies, Wayne State University, Detroit, and lead author of the study. 
"The practice involves an active attention or mindfulness component but its potential benefits have not been thoroughly explored," she added.


Exercise can Help Combat Arthritis: Doctors

 Exercise can Help Combat Arthritis: DoctorsAccording to doctors, millions of people suffering from arthritis can improve their health by committing themselves to do regular work-outs.Earlier, patients were asked to rest their joints if they became too painful or swollen but now doctors say that the simplest way to beat the painful problem is to do regular and gentle exercise, the Daily Express reported. 
Professor Mark Batt, a consultant in sport and exercise medicine at Nottingham University Hospitals, said that doing regular exercise is important to keep joints healthy and the long-term benefits of exercise far outweigh the risk of injury. 
Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said that exercise has become increasingly relevant in the treatment of arthritis, as research has shown that the joints, bones and cartilage rely on stimulation of physical activity to repair themselves.



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Homeopathy, Ayurveda are Gaining Global Acceptance:UHM

 Azad Stresses That Homeopathy, Ayurveda are Gaining Global AcceptanceHealth Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said traditional forms of Indian medicine like homeopathy and ayurveda have gained acceptance worldwide"The acceptance of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha, sowa rigpa and homoeopathy (AYUSH)... homeopathy in particular... they are ccepted in over 100 countries," Azad said while launching the book 'The Banerji Protocols: A New Method of Treatment with Homeopathic Medicines' here. 
"Traditional medicines from India like ayurveda are not confined to the boundaries of India," he added. 
Compiled by homeopathy experts Prasanta Banerji and Pratip Banerji, the 'The Banerji Protocols...' is a new system of medicine in which specific homeopathic medicines are prescribed for specific diseases. 
"The protocol can be used safely. Medicines are eco-friendly and the treatment is comparatively cost-effective with regard to other medical treatments. 'The Banerji Protocols...' has been forwarded to the Indian Council of Medical Research for further action," said Azad. 
Azad added out that the "most important" step taken by the government was to fuse allopathy and homeopathy streams, which have "different protocols". 
"Among the most important things is a coalition of allopathy and homeopathic systems. Almost 40 to 50 percent hospitals in the districts have this coalition." 
"During the last four years, Rs.553 crore has been provided for mainstreaming of AYUSH," he said. 
Shedding light on the new initiatives under the 12th plan, Azad said quality control centres and drug control centres will be set up to standardise AYUSH. 
"Central drug control for AYUSH for standardisation and five hi-tech quality control centres at the regional level are also being planned. Homeopathic medicines pharmaceutical corporations for providing and manufacturing drugs are also being planned," said Azad.

Health ministry plans effective drug alert system, including placing newspaper ads

After launching the drug alert system to make the public aware of the drugs declared substandard after the tests in the regional labs, the Union health ministry is planning to make the mechanism more effective by asking all the States to follow the suit and even going for advertisements in the newspapers.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) had launched the system of publicizing through its website the brands and batches of drugs which were found to be substandard in the tests by the regional drug testing laboratories since last November.
It is learnt that the Central authorities have now asked the State drug control units also to follow the same so that the public can come to know of the batches. Maharashtra and Kerala have already similar system in force and the Centre wants other States also to be pro-active in this manner.
Another suggestion under consideration is to place advertisements in the newspapers about such cases regularly so that wider attention could be ensured. Because, by the time some cases were found to be substandard, the damage would have already done and it would take time for the public to be aware about the particular batches.
However, sources said placing advertisements would be an expensive option and needs to get clearance and separate budget. Sources in the Ministry said the feasibility of the option was being studied.
The Parliamentary panel which went into the functioning of the CDSCO had last year raised the issue. Based on its recommendations, the CDSCO had started the system of uploading the information on its website every month. The panel had also urged the CDSCO to advise the retail chemists to stop selling the unsold stocks and return the same to local drug inspectors as per rules.
“The Committee is convinced that this is a herculean task, which can be achieved only when the efforts of the Centre and State Governments are fully synergized. Drug alerts of evaluations by central drug laboratories though welcome would not take care of this acute problem in entirety as the state drug laboratories handle major volumes of such evaluations. The Committee, therefore, desires the Ministry to take up this matter with State Governments on a highly proactive basis to ensure its early fructification. It also desires early decision by the Ministry on utilizing newspapers in this task,” the Standing Committee on Health has noted in its recent report also.
Meanwhile, the CDSCO had so far declared 53 samples as substandard in the last six months after testing in the regional laboratories. On an average, the drug labs have been reporting around 10 cases as substandard every month out of hundreds of samples collected and sent by various zonal offices of CDSCO.  During the last four months from January this year, the drug testing laboratories reported a total of 43 cases. In January, the number of cases reported as substandard were 12 while it went down to 10 in February and 11 in March. In April, the CDSCO labs reported 10 cases, mostly from the Eastern region.

Novel Technique to Develop Protein Drugs from Bacteria

 Novel Technique to Develop Protein Drugs from BacteriaA cheaper, more efficient technique for developing complex protein drugs from bacteria has been developed at the University of Sheffield.
Using the bacterium E. coli, researchers from the University's Faculty of Engineering showed it was possible to vastly increase the efficiency of the cells producing specifically modified proteins, as well as improve its performance and stability. The modification is present in over two-thirds of human therapeutic drugs on the market and involves the addition of specific sugar groups to the protein backbone, a process termed glycosylation. 
Drugs based on proteins are increasingly important in modern medicine to tackle health problems including diabetes, cancer and arthritis. 
Although simple proteins are traditionally made in microbial cells, these types of complex drugs are made using animal cells because they can make human-type glycosylations that will control its efficacy and stability in the body, and avoid immunogenic reactions in patients. 
Using bacteria to make proteins for use as medicines could be a more cost effective alternative, since using animal cells is expensive. However, the efficiency of glycoprotein production in bacterial cells is still very poor, with yields often several thousand times lower than in animal cells. 
Now, researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield, with collaboration from the University of Colorado, are using a technique called inverse metabolic engineering, that allows them to screen cells to identify strains that are likely to be the most efficient glycoprotein producers. Using this method, the team were able to produce seven times as much of the protein in laboratory tests. 
The team then used mass spectrometry to characterise and accurately quantify the proteins being produced by the bacteria. This allowed them to pinpoint modifications that will enable them, ultimately, to improve the performance of the drug. 
Professor Phil Wright, who led the research, said: "We believe that this technique will pave the way for pharmacologists to get the same protein yield from bacteria cells as they could from animal cells and also enable them to produce drugs from bacteria that have vastly improved focus and accuracy." 

The team also tested the technique on antibody fragments with positive results, showing that their approach could work in different proteins.
 University of Sheffield.

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