Showing posts with label Health News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health News. Show all posts

China Flu Virus Outbreak : Symptoms, Danger and Precautions

Recent outbreak of coronavirus "2019-nCoV" in China  has killed 26 people and infected around 830 people till 24 Jan 2020. Very first case of the flu caused by this new strain of coronavirus was reported during December end in a seafood market in Wuhan. On 23rd Jan all types of travel in and out of Wuhan have been stopped, to prevent the further spread. This preventive measure taken by China has made people of other countries, a bit fearful and eager to know more about this virus and what they can do prevent themselves.

Good thing is that  WHO is keenly looking into this matter and described the travel ban as "very strong" measure to prevent the outbreak.

What is Coronavirus ?

Coronavirus is a flu-virus that causes common cold, but this new strain named "2019-nCoV" is latest one which is never observed before. Prior to this outbreak in 2000s, another coronavirus named "SARS" (severe acute respiratory syndrome) killed around 800 people around the globe. Thats why China want to end this epidemic with least mortality.
Cold virus can't survive more than 24 hours outside human body, so if you have got a package arriving from China then you may rest assured that it won't infect you.

Origin of Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

As told earlier, this virus outbreak strarted from a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Current research suggest that 2019-nCoV came from an animal, possibly snakes. Previous coronavirus SARS also originated in China from bats and civet cats.
UK's National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) says  "You should also avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)". Apart from other precautionary measures this advice should also be followed. 

Symptoms of Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

This virus infects lungs and infection usually starts with fever and cough. It can cause breathing difficulties and shortness of breath. CDC believes that symptoms of infection may become visible within 2 to 14 days of exposure to this coronavirus. Once a person has successfully recovered from
these symptoms, he/she should not be considered as a possible threat to infect others.

Treatment of Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Infection

There is no vaccine to prevent you from this virus. Just like any other viral infection, treating the symptoms is common in treating any viral infection. Researchers across the globe are already researching this new strain, but it may take some time to make a preventive vaccine.

Precautions to stay safe

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • cover mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing
  • Use thoroughly cooked meat and eggs
  • Close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness should be avoided

Wearing a face mask may save you from direct hit of sneeze, but it doesn't secure your eyes from possible exposure. Similarly a normal surgical mask don't protect you fully from the air coming inwards from sides of mask. 
We hope that this coronavirus won't spread further and strong steps taken by China will help other people around the globe in staying safe.

Is Homeopathy a Medical Fraud !

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine system developed in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann. Today a number people consider it as a fraud. But if it really didn't work, then why is it still in practice after more than 200 years. Is homeopathy really a medical fraud or is it just a trick of medical community to defame it. Here we will try to find the truth by analyzing some facts about homeopathy.

A majority of people don't know that homeopathy is not a medically approved medicinal system. It is an alternative medicine system, just same as we use home remedies for some diseases. Homeopathy is pseudoscience, but presented as an actual science in front of general public.

What is the science behind Homeopathy ?
"A substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people".  Yes you read it right, it is the basic principle of homeopathy. Preparation of a homeopathic medicine uses an actual medicine ( or substances extracted from plants, animals or minerals) which is diluted in alcohol or distilled water to a level where actual medicine does not exist any more.

Why does Homeopathy treat some people successfully ?
Yes, it is true that homeopathy treated some people successfully and some clinical trials also suggested the same. But that successful treatment can only be attributed to placebo effect of homeopathic medicines. Usually a homeopathic practitioner asks several questions before prescribing a medicine such as symptoms, disease history, lifestyle, personal traits, psychological state and life history. When a patient is asked all these question, he/she believes that there is something in the medicine which will definitely cure him/her. It initiates a better placebo effect, where a person's own body treats the disease, not any medicine.

Why Homeopathy is a fraud ?
Some people may say that if homeopathy treats some people, even without giving actual medicine, then how is it a fraud. Such people should know that even general medical practitioners use placebos to treat some diseases, but they don't use them in all cases. Some diseases can't be cured using placebos. The worst thing about homeopathy is that it discourages the use of actual medicines, which can sometimes be very unhealthy for a patient.

Some Facts related to medical fraud of homeopathy

  • Homeopathy is very popular in developing countries as people of these countries are less aware about medical science. Even advanced countries are not far behind as $3 billion a year are spent by Americans alone on homeopathic medicines, which has got no scientific evidence behind it.
  • WHO has warned against using Homeopathy for treatment of serious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhea and flu. [1]
  • Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Advisor in UK from 2013 to 2017, once said in a conference that homoeopathy is nonsense, it is non-science. [2]
  • According to ingredients like crushed bees, stinging nettles and even arsenic are used in homeopathic medicines. [3]
  • Most of the homeopathic medicines are just sugar pills as the original medicine is diluted to such an extent the there is not even a single molecule of medicine in it.
  • Most homeopathic medicines lack sufficient clinical trials and any scientific study behind it.

Following international bodies has considered homeopathic treatment as ineffective and decided not to fund homeopathic practices. [4]

  • Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
  • United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
  • European Academies' Science Advisory Council
  • Swiss Federal Health Office
According to , those who are cured by homeopathy will never believe the above facts. The definition of science differs for different people. Even if placebo can improve your body to treat a disease itself, then there is nothing better than that. But believing homeopathy to an extent that it can treat serious life-threatening disease is not correct.


Nanorobots will be new Terminators to Defend your Body

Most of us have seen robots like Terminator in Hollywood movies, which are unrealistic and will take hundreds of years in development. But very soon nanotechnology will deliver nano-robots, which will be future of medicine. Development and testing of nano-robots is going on and very soon it will be released in market to cure some fatal diseases. Nano-robots are sometimes also called as nano-medicine or nano-particles. It will revolutionize the way we detect and treat diseases, as it will do detection and treatment at cellular level.

There are one millon nanometer (nm) is one millimeter (mm). Nanotechnology deals with objects in size range of 0.1 nm to 100 nm. Such small size gives nanotechnology the ability to enter into human body and travel through blood vessels to reach a target site easily. Size of RBC (Red Blood Cells) vary from 6200 nm to 8200 nm, which is far more than size of objects made through nanotechnology. Very small size of nano-robots will provide it freedom to penetrate anywhere in body, just like blood can go anywhere in body. It will work at cellular level to treat diseases.

Nanotechnology will revolutionize Medical Science

  • Nanoparticles are being developed at Georgia State University, which will target influenza viruses and will be an effective treatment of the disease. Usually medical science don't have any effective treatment against viral disease (they just treat symptoms) , but if this nano-medicine succeeds then it will be a major breakthrough. 
  • Some labs are designing and testing nanoparticles that can deliver drugs, heat and light to specific cells in human body. This technology can be used for chemotherapy of cancer cell without disturbing other healthy cells. It will greatly reduce side effects of cancer treatment and will be effective to fight against cancer. 
  • Researchers at the Wyss Institue are testing nano particles that can act according to pressure inside a blood vessel. At the site of blockage inside blood vessel, the pressure is increased, which can make a nanoparticle release the medicine at the site and dissolve the blockage / clot.
  • Researchers at the University of Illinois are using gelatin nanoparticles to target brain injuries and deliver drug directly to damages brain tissues. It will be most effective treatment for brain injuries.
  • Houston Methodist Research Institute is conducting a research using silicon nanoparticles to target cancerous tumors and deliver drugs directly inside them.
  • Good news for those who are fearful of injections. Such nanoparticles are being tested on mice which can be taken orally and then they will pass through lining of intestine into the blood stream and then deliver the medicine there. Successful testing of this technique will help you in taking vaccinations orally.
  • Nano-capsules are being designed to carry insulin and then release it only when blood sugar level rises.

Why Nanomedicines are better than traditional medicine ?
The good thing about nono-medicine is that it is actually nano-particles that carry traditional medicines. Old traditional medicine approach targets a wide part of body with the medicine, while it is necessary to target only a specific area suffering with disease. In nano-medicine approach, the nano particles first find the target area inside the body and then release the medicine at that particular place, which treats the medical condition effectively. It also saves our body from side effects that traditional medicine causes by approaching healthy cells of body.

Thus nano robots will not only treat diseases easily, but will also reduce side effect. Medical science is going to revolutionize is a few decades and a number of fatal diseases will be cured soon.

Fitbit Data to be used for Health Insurance

Fitbit is one of the most popular gadgets among the fitness freaks and it might help them in saving some dollars from their health insurance premium. But the tension is for those who are not fit and may need to pay extra premium for being unfit. More than 60% of American population is either overweight or obese and they will need to pay extra amount in their health insurance premium for being unfit. Obesity is already declared a disease in America a few years ago and usage of fitbit data by health insurance companies is next opportunity for these companies by utilizing obesity and earning money out of that. But the good thing is that it will motivate people to be fit and their fitness will let them save some money.

A few years ago technology was used in the same way for auto-insurance. Automobile Insurance Companies provided a dongle that can be attached to diagnostic port of your car, and if that keeps conforming that you are driving well then you can save some amount in your auto-insurance premium. Now similar thing is going to be done by Health Insurance Companies.

How Fitbit will be used by Health Insurance Companies

Insurance Companies will ask fitbit users to share the live fitbit data with them through internet. Insurance Companies will analyse the fitbit data on regular basis to check your health and activity level. If they find that you have good activity level and good health then they will give you certain discount on your premium amount. Apart from that, Insurance Company will keep tracking your data of insured users on regular basis and if the data points towards occurrence of some medical condition then it will SMS you about it and ask you to get it checked by a doctor. This thing will not only save your life in some cases, but can also save some money spent by insurance companies in claims towards medical bills. Timely diagnosis of some medical conditions is beneficial for both parties.

Some people agree with this step while some don't . Those who don't agree with the policy of sharing fitbit data with insurance companies argue on the following points.

Why usage of Fitbit by Health Insurance is Wrong ?

  • Health Insurance is basically meant for Unfit people. Usage of Fitbit will increase insurance premium for those who need it the most.
  • Watching others Fitbit data is intruding into private life of somebody. Some people don't want to share their fitbit data irrespective of their fitness level, just because they don't want others to sneak into their lives.
  • It will increase pressure on Overweight and Obese people of US, which is more than 65% of american population.

In spite of the above points there are a number of people who think the other way. They take this thing as an opportunity, which will inspire them for being fit and keeping their activity level high enough to save money and make their lifestyle better. If people take this thing in a positive way then the percentage of overweight and obese people of US can come down at an unexpected rate.

Smartphone Blindness: Using Phone during night ?

If you are one of those who use their smartphone during night after turning off the lights, then here is something you must read. A new disease of modern world is discovered recently "Smartphone Blindness", where the patient uses smartphone during night after turning off the lights of the room and when he/she wakes up in the morning the eyesight was gone. However mostly it happened as a temporary problem, but nobody would like to experience it. Being blinded without a blindfold is something very scary. If you want to save yourself from this condition then you must read this article.

How eyes adapt between darkness and light

Before we tell you more about this recently discovered Smartphone Blindness, you must have some basic knowledge about how our eye helps us in watching things during day and night time. There are two types of cells in our eye. One is Rod Cells and second are Cone Cells. Cone Cells are responsible for viewing colors and bright things (thats day time vision), while Rod Cells can view better in dark (thats night time). If you are in a completely dark room from sometime and someone turns on the lights suddenly then it takes our eye 5 to 7 minutes to adjust to it, as cone cell in the eye activate themselves for it. But when the opposite thing happens and we go from a well illuminated room to a dark one then it takes 30 to 40 minutes for our eyes to completely adjust and activate Rod cells.

Smartphone Blindness

What we see is a joint output of our eyes and brain. Sometimes our brain works in a strange way, where the researches were not done yet. One such thing is Smartphone Blindness. Using your Smartphone in a dark room for longer duration is perfect condition for this medical condition to happen. Two such cases were reported in "New England Journal of Medicine". Two ladies of age 22 and 40 reported that they suffered from temporary blindness. Doctors tried to find the reason behind that. But to the surprise of doctors the reason was surprising. Both ladies used to work on their phone till late night after turning off the room lights and sometimes their one eye use to remain close due to pillow. Both of them used just one eye to operate their smartphone in a dark room. After finding these facts, scientists tried to find the reason.

The result they found is something new. When we use a smartphone with one eye closed (either by pillow or some other hindrance), then our one eye get adapted to brightness while the other adapt to darkness. Sometimes this thing can mess something in our brain and we can loose our sight for sometime either during night or for few minutes after waking up.

If you want to save yourself from this Smartphone Blindness, then never ever use your phone in a dark room with one eye. Using your phone till late night is itself something unhealthy. It not only disturbs your sleep but also disturbs your biological clock. Now a days mobile phone manufactures are increasing brightness of screens, so that you can use it during a sunny day, but its making extra stress on our eyes. Especially if you don't know how to set the brightness level to low, you are harming your eyes. Even some people who know about the brightness level, don't set it to low as they want to see everything crisp and clear. What such people don't know is that brightness can permanently damage their eyes.

Please use your smartphone with less brightness and use it less during night. Even if you have to use it during night, use both eyes to look at screen, not just one.

Lack of New Antibiotics in Global Market

Antibiotics are the class of medicines that doesn't existed before 1930s. The very first antibiotic was Penicillin, which was known to cure a wide range of diseases. After that a wide range of Antibiotics were discovered till 1970. But now Antibiotic discovery has reached a point where they are not getting attention of either governments or pharma companies. In this article we will try to put some light on this issue and try to find the reason behind lack of new antibiotics in global market.

Why No New Antibiotics ?

No new antibiotics are coming into market due to various reasons. Some of the major reasons are:

  • Market Failure: Antibiotics are not as profitable as other drugs, such as drugs to treat hair loss, diabetes and asthma. Most pharmaceutical companies are private and they go for profitable business. Antibiotics research takes a lot of time and money.
  • Doctors don't prescribe new Antibiotics: Even if the new antibiotic is effective, doctors don't start prescribing it. They save it for those cases where other antibiotics don't work. Doctors are well aware of resistant bacteria and they want to keep some surprise element for them. But this thing makes pharmaceutical companies keep themselves away from new antibiotic production.
  • Lack of Rules and Regulation: Most of the governments don't have proper rules, regulations and guidelines for research, development and clinical trials of new antibiotics.

Classes of Antibiotics: The following table shows the year of introduction of some Antibiotic Class. Here you can see that most of the antibiotics were discovered between 1930 to 1970.

According to a news published in The Telegraph on 7th Jan 2016, a new antibiotic named Teixobactin is discovered that can fight against a wide range of bacteria. Good thing is that bacteria can't become resistant to it for at least 30 years. But the bad thing is that this antibiotic is still to go for human testing and it will take at least 5 years to be available in market for general public. Discovery of this new antibiotic has created a new class of antibiotic and made a way to create antibiotic through genetic engineering.

Apart from the above discovery, governments of different countries should also provide some fund for Scientific research on new antibiotics. Private pharma companies will only go for profit, but government can either ask them to invest certain percentage of their profit on Antibiotic research or just make it mandatory for them.

We hope that new and better antibiotics will be available in market soon.

Facts about Antibiotics and Bacteria

In the modern world where resistant bacteria is emerging as a threat to humans, its necessary to understand the infections, bacteria and antibiotics. Here we will provide some facts which will not only increase your knowledge but also help is treating infections with correct medicines. Here are the facts.

  • The Word Antibiotic originated from "Antibiotique",which was first used during 19th Century. At that time it meant "destructive to microorganisms". Still most of the dictionaries use the same meaning. In 1942 Selman Waksman started to use the term Antibiotic only for those compounds that kills bacteria.
  • All infections can't be treated by Antibiotics. Antibiotics can fight with only bacterial infections or some pathogen infections, not viral infections.
  • Due to lack of knowledge or knowledge of wrong definition of Antibiotic, one-third of US Adults think that Antibiotic can treat viral infection.
  • Over or under usage of antibiotics and using antibiotics for viral infections can help bacteria in becoming resistant to antibiotics.
  • Most of the antibiotics are made using bacteria itself. Bacteria produce antibiotic as a defensive measure to compete against other competitors.
  • 20th part of our total body weight is due to bacteria.
  • All bacteria are not harmful to us. In fact some are necessary for our body to work normally. But Antibiotics can't distinguish between these good and bad bacteria, and kill both which eventually lead to side effects.
  • HAI (Hospital Acquired Infections) are those infection that a person gets after a surgery or during a hospital stay. It might be due to lack of hygiene or from other infected patients.
  • 1.7 million Americans are infected by HAI infections every year. Around 99,000 of them die due to it.
  • In 2008 Medicare refused to pay bills for HAI (Hospital Acquired Infections).
  • Day-by-day Antibiotics are becoming less effective either due to over-prescription or inappropriate use.
  • Biggest consumers of Antibiotics are Farm Animals. Antibiotics are mostly used in Pig and chicken farms. 
  • 2nd biggest consumer of Antibiotics are children who are usually sick due to viral infection.
  • Antibiotics can combat against multiplying bacteria. They are less effective against non-replicating (latent) bacteria.
  • According to a study, those doctors who see more than 34 patients per day are 20-27% more likely to prescribe antibiotics where they are not appropriate.
  • Some researchers believe that Antibiotics have cased increased height and obesity in human race.
  • Green tea can act as a booster for Antibiotics. The effect of antibiotic increases if the patient drinks green tea.
  • Antibiotics may have negative effect on our immune system. Those kids who are prescribed lots of antibiotics before 2 years of age are 3 times more prone to asthma that other kids.

Latest Gadgets for High Tech Dieting

If you are health conscious and control your diet in a precise manner and also use latest technology to help you in it. Then here are some latest gadgets for you.

DietSensor: This Gadget scans the food and tell its nutritional value. It able to predict the details by using a infrared light wave which is projected into food item and the molecules of food item start to vibrate. Every food item have a different optical signature and thus the DietSensor predicts the nutritional value. This gadget can be connected with a app on your smartphone to help you in your dieting goals.

Diet Sensor is available for $249 by a company named ConsumerPhysics.

There only one drawback of this device. It can only scan single layer food items. It means it can't scan a burger, but it can scan a piece of bread and slices of potato.

I am not sure how many people people will by it but a number of dietitians will definitely buy it. It can also help the patients of Diabetes and High Blood Pressure.

HidrateSpark: If you use to forget drinking water there then here is a smart bottle for you which will remind you after certain time limit to drink the water. This bottle works in coordination with an app on your smartphone and take care of your age, weight and health condition in deciding the correct water drinking goal. This app also access data from fitness tracker or pedometer (if you wear any) and tells you to drink water accordingly. There is a tube inside this water bottle and it starts glowing which its time to drink water.

HydrateSpark comes at a price of $60. This is an economical solution for those who frequently suffer from UTI. If you are hydrated then chances of such infection decreases.

Smart Diet Scale: Its another gadget for dieting freaks. This is a weighing scale and it can measure weight of 4 different food items at once and helps you in measuring the nutritional value of your diet. It contains nutrition information of 400,000 different food items. It can also scan the food using the bar code present on its packing. This Smart Diet Scale is available in $150.
Apart from the above information its also a good looking gadget for your dining table.

Modern Engineering is helping in maintaining our health and keeping track of our medical condition. Dieting is never given so much importance until now. Now engineers and healthcare industry has taken dieting to one step further. Today's dieting is not abstaining from eating but having a balanced diet and these gadgets can definitely help you in achieving you dieting goal.

What is Stem Cell Banking (Future of Medical Science)

Recently I have seen a stem cell banking advertisement on TV and decided to find whats that as i have never seen an advertisement like that. As i researched about stem cell banking, it comes out as a story of a high-tech Hollywood movie where every thing is made possible by medical science. But overall its good to know that medical science has gone one step ahead.

What is Stem Cell ?

Stem cells are cells present in our body. But these cells have a special capability. They can divide themselves to make new stem cells and those cells can further multiply. They can take shape of any cell present in our body. Our body use these cells to heal itself. Muscles and neurons are also a type of cells and stem cells have the capability to transform themselves into any of these and many more types of cells. According to Wikipedia, "Because a person’s own (autologous) amniotic stem cells can be safely infused back into that individual without being rejected by the body’s immune system".
Important : When stem cells are injected into a certain area of our body then it starts to transform themselves into the cells in its neighborhood.

What is Stem Cell Banking ?

Every body have a different stem cell as every DNA is different. These stem cells are mainly present in the bone marrow. But its present in the maximum amount in the Umbilical cord that connects baby and the mother inside the womb. The cells can be collected from Umbilical cord at the time of child birth. Then these stem cells are preserved by the stem cell banking company for any future use by the child or first degree blood relative of the child.

Who has the ownership of those stem cells ?

As it can be understood from the above description that these stem cells belong to the new born baby but its ownership goes to mother and she is responsible to pay the cost of preservation to the bank. When the child
reaches the legal age, then ownership can be transferred to him / her.

How Stem Cells are collected from Umbilical Cord ?

Stem cells are collected from Umbilical cord at the child birth. After the Umbilical cord is cut from the baby, blood sample is taken from Umbilical cord as it rich in stem cells. In this process the mother don't need to bear any extra pain.

How Stem Cells can be used ?

  • Stem Cells can be used to treat hematopoietic and genetic disorders.
  • Stem Cells are used to treat leukemia and joint repairs.
  • Stem cells have the ability to repair the liver.
  • Stem Cells are a good resource for transplant therapies.

Future of medical Treatment by using Stem Cells

Various researches are going on to know more about stem cells and how they can be used to treat various diseases which don't have any permanent cure till now. So of these treatments are mentioned below.

  • Diabetes: Stem Cell can be used to generate beta cells which produces insulin to reduce sugar in blood.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Stem Cells can be used to make dopamine releasing cells, which will cure Parkinson's Disease.
  • Liver Damage: Stem cells can be used to generate lever cells to recover liver damage.

Brain Health Research | Brain Image Processing | Brain Visual Memory

Brain is one of the most complex structures of our body and scientists are researching continuously to understand its structure and working pattern. Researchers at University of California, Berkeley (UCB) found some interesting facts about brain’s working on images.

Visual Memory covers a large part of brain. 20% of our brain contains images and it store images in a well mannered manner. These images are stored in an overlapping pattern, which help us in face recognition and other day-to-day work. Their research is about the storage pattern of these images and how we can extract that information. All this study might be useful in making fast image processors in future computers. Image processing is a very fast process of brain that no computer can match.

Our brain can store thousands of faces and their names and we rarely forget those faces. Sometimes it take time remember the name but it has 99% accuracy. And this is count of faces only. We also remember places, roads, objects and a lot more things. According to a research our brain can store more than 3 times of information stored in Britannica Encyclopaedia. It’s just an average; some people with higher IQ have much more capability.

A healthy body needs a healthy brain. And researches are going on around the globe to find an answer to complexity of brain and its functions. We should hope that these researches will lead to a more healthy life.