Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Glass of Beer Makes People More Sociable

Glass of Beer

Socializing over Beer

Most of us are already aware that drinking just a single glass of beer can make us sociable than what we are and is now confirmed by researchers in Switzerland. In Basel, a team established from University Hospital tested sixty people who were healthy, having an equal number of women and men who consumed alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer. They took part in a series of tasks, which included an empathy test, face recognition and sexual arousal test. The researcher that led the test said that there had been very little researches done previously in this certain area.

It was explained by Prof Matthias Liechti that even though many people consume beer and are aware of its effects through their personal experiences there is remarkably less scientific data on its effects on the handling of social information related to emotions. The yearning to be with others, in a talkative, happy and an open surrounding amplified in the group which consumed alcoholic beer and was recorded more in women and in those who possessed greater initial inhibitions.

Especially in the participants with lower intensities of initial empathy, they are able to recognise happy faces at a quicker rate as well as emotional empathy is enhanced in the participants by the beer. After the consumption of beer which is non-alcoholic, the participants graded them as not so pleasant as pictures that are neutral – however those who consumed alcoholic beer regarded them as more pleasant.

This was more striking in female participants than men, but scientists found that it did not specifically add to sexual arousal. The government previously this year went through the guidelines of UK on consumption of alcohol. The word spread around is that both women and men should consume an amount no greater than fourteen units of alcohol in a week – which is an equivalent of 7 glasses of wine or 6 pints of a beer which possesses average strength. In arrears to the robust proof available that greater the consumption of alcohol, more is the risk of breast cancer they were revised.

Conventional wisdom

Past chairman of the ECNP scientific programme committee Prof Wim van den Brink commented on the research stating that this study was interesting as it confirms unoriginal wisdom that the adequate amount of alcohol can make people happy, like a social grease, making less inhibited and more social in regards to sexual engagements.

The sex metamorphoses in the results can be either brought to light by the dissimilarities in the concentration of blood alcohol between both females and males having the same intake of alcohol, by factors of culture and society or by changes in forbearance caused due to modifications in prior levels of intake of alcohol.

It was also put forth by him that emotions and perceptions related to alcohol which have been studied can sometimes be inconsistent with real conducts. The study will be circulated in the journal which is called Psychopharmacology and will be offered in Vienna at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress Conference.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Statins Benefits Underestimated

Credit:The Atlantic

Less pain more gain

A major review indicates that the drug statins which is a cholesterol reducing drug has benefits which are underestimated and exaggerated harmful effects. As published in the Lancet and supported by many other health organizations, it suggests that with the help of statins the risk of stroke and heart attacks are lowered. The tests also indicate side effects such as muscle pain in a few people. However critics believe that unnecessary medication is taken by people who are healthy.

Dummy drug effect

The accumulation of fatty plaques which are responsible for the blockages in the blood vessels can be reduced by statins. According to the researchers:

  • In the UK nearly 6 million patients at present are using statins. 
  • Out of those recorded, around 2 million are using them since they have had a heart attack already, stroke or other cardiovascular incident. 
  • The 4 million left behind are taking them due to risky reasons like diabetes, age and blood pressure. 
  • An estimate 2 million more should be taking statins.
The research was led at the University of Oxford by Professor Rory Collins from the Clinical Trial Service. He led the lancet review which looked at the ready made proof for the effects of taking an average dose of 40mg daily of statins over five years in ten thousand patients. It showed that the levels of cholesterol could be reduced well enough to avoid thousand major cardiovascular incidents like strokes, heart attacks and coronary artery bypass to name a few in patients who had existing vascular disease- and five hundred in patients who were in jeopardy because of factors like age or other illness such as diabetes or increase blood pressure.

'It's better than the risk of a heart attack'

Stephen Sangster who is 34 years of age, lives with his wife and two children in Orpington. He explains why he uses the drug. He mentions that he has been taking the statins for approximately 3 months. With the help of a work health assessment he picked up that his cholesterol was high and changes in diet made no effect.

With his father passing away at a young age last year due to a heart attack, statins gave him comfort that they would possibly give him a life much longer. So he could live with a less chance of side effects. To this point he has only experienced little dizziness and he is not aware if it could be related to the drug, but it is better than being at a risk of having a heart attack. Before taking statins his cholesterol was 9.3 and after a month it went back down to less than four.

Cholesterol is an unseen threat. It is not a complex test. Many people should be motivated to take it. He is curious of how many people from the younger generation would benefit from statins, but are not aware that they have a condition.

The review also stated that there were indiscriminate controlled trials- where in neither doctor nor did the patient know who was administered with the dummy and who was on the real drug- indicated the normal amount of dose led to a comparatively low amount of side effects. In the unchanged ten thousand population, it said that there would be some side effects, together with between fifty and a hundred cases of severe effects like muscle pain to name a few. Observational tests had higher rates where people are aware that they would be taking the drug and are also told of the known side effects like muscle pain.

Question marks

Professor Collins says that the review depicts that the number of people are much larger who dodge heart attacks and strokes by using statins than the actual number of people who have side effects due to it. Besides, whereas maximum of the side effects can be retreated with no remaining effects by inhibiting the statin, the effect of a stroke or a heart attack not being avoided are not reversible and can be distressing. Subsequently, there is a sombre cost to public health from stating misleading titles about high rates of side effects that incongruously discourage people from opting for statin therapy regardless of the benefits which are now proven.

The British Heart Foundation and the Royal College of GPs (also known as RCGP) are a few of the major organizations that support the report. Chairperson of RCGP, Dr Maureen Baker said that they hope this study gives assurance to the patients that in most of the cases statins are harmless and an operational drug. However, in most cases seen where the side effects are severe, these can be reversed by inhibiting the use of statins.

From the medicines and healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Dr June Raine says that the advantages of statins are well recognized and are ought to prevail over the risk of causing side effects in most of the patients. Any latest important information on the effectiveness or security that use of statins will be cautiously reviewed and if need arises action will be taken. On the other hand, critics believe that the review was not the last word regarding statins.

Editor of the British Medical Journal, Fiona Godlee said that this as of yet does not state the calls for a complete, autonomous review of the proof confirmation of statins. This in particular is important in the understanding of the assistance which vouch for large numbers of health people should take one dose of the tablet on a daily basis.

Dr Assem Malhotra, a cardiologist from London mentions that there are stern question marks based on the dependability of studies sponsored by industries on the side effects of the drug, and for all its intents and purposes that is exactly what the review is.

There are a lot of researchers and scientist who have taken part in the original studies and were also a part of the review. As a result it is known that the review alone is not an independent one. The pros and cons lie for the drug and yet further tests can be made. Soon there would be no side effects if possible.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Prostate Cancer Treatment 'Not Always Needed'


Prolonged existence

A new study suggests that by only keeping an eye out on cancer of the prostate gland can result in the very same 10 year rate of continued existence as treating it. Researchers from the UK cautioned too many men were going through procedures that caused harm in a way to their copulatory life and also caused incontinence.

A trial was conducted with around 1,643 men having a small amount of prostate cancer which resulted in the similar 99% rate of survival after ten years for those who had undergone surgery, radiotherapy, or had simply just monitored the growth of the tumour.

Experts declared that the results they found for men were completely reassuring. From the University of Oxford, Prof Freddie Hamdy told BBC that the problem persists globally that patients are always over treated. If a man aged 55 is told he is a victim of cancer and has a family, it is totally understandable they he would not want to take any sort of risks.

Price to surveillance

Inorder to kill the tumour in men where prostate cancer had been found by testing for a chemical prostate antigen specific or PSA in their blood in the trial and then were either were kept on observation or had to undergo surgery or radiotherapy. Supported by the research wing of the National Institute for Health Research (NHS) the study then followed the men for a decade. Although the rate of survival was the same, there was a greater risk of side effects along with the treatment. The risk of incontinence and complications with copulation in those who had the surgery were double.

The risk of bowel problems was increased for those who had radiotherapy. However there was a price to the observatory option- only in one out of five cases the prostate cancer progressed. It was possible to treat these men; however in a long term survival it may still affect them beyond the study of a decade. From the University of Bristol, Prof Jenny Donovan said that for the first time ever have these three techniques of surgery, radiotherapy and monitoring for this form of cancer are being directly compared. The effects and impacts of each technique are different, and longer follow up is needed to see how these work out over a decade.


In the New England Journal of Medicine, the findings only apply for those who have the early stages of prostate cancer. A more aggressive treatment is required for those at a more advanced stage. From the charity Prostrate Cancer UK, Dr Matthew Hobbs said that at present, there are many men with the illness who will not choose the observatory step due to the uncertainty of the influence of that choice may hold and the anxiety caused because of it. It is absolutely reassuring to it be said that, when the procedure is conducted a standard which is high, active observation proposes men to have the same amount and chance of survival as the other have.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Sleep 'Prioritises Memories We Care About'

Benefitted by sleeping

Sleep plays a vital role in a daily human routine whether a necessity or a hobby. It not only helps you replenish yourself biologically but also aids in promoting good health and cleanses your body. It is already known that lack of sleep or sleep deprivation has a harmful effect on memory and learning.

A recent study has discovered that while sleeping, the experiences that matter to you a lot are more expected to enter your memory for long term. Apparently, during sleep all thoughts and experiences are not treated quite equally.

Language testing

A test was conducted where around 80 participants who did not speak Welsh were taught words in that language right before they sleep or while awake. Those who slept showed an improved knack to learn the words, and the effect was seen the most in those who placed their own value on the language.

This indicated that memories supposed as important go through favoured treatment during sleep by the brain. While it has been long that they established the fact that sleep aids the merging of memories, this has been the first test to show that the effect is subjective by how much the memory matters to you.

The results were talked over at the British Science Festival on Friday and are shortly to be put out in the Journal of Sleep Research. Prof Mark Blagrove who conducted the research with his colleague Elaine van Rijn from Swansea University said that the simple fact that your views about something seem to affect the processing of the brain of things during the night is truly way beyond belief. The study was conducted on university students who spoke native English, and had arrived in Wales with no previous record of living in the country.

These foreign students were all presented with 28 Breton and Welsh translations of words in English, with the help of a tablet computer app. Either after a minimum of 6 hours’ sleep or no sleep, the app verified instant recall of words and then the number of words memorized 12 hours later. The people were also requested to rate the level at which the Welsh language was valued by them. There was a noteworthy correlation between the number of recalled Welsh words and the value that was placed on the Welsh language, but for only the sleep group.

The findings 

According to Prof Blagrove and his colleague Ms van Rijn, this indicates that anything we come across is more expected to be merged in our sleep, especially if it is something we personally value. This test was held in the Swansea sleep lab. It was also here that the group also ran tests based on the happenings and the effects on dreams.Hence in order to be able to memorize things for a long term we must get enough sleep and care about those things. It indeed is mind boggling that a particular memory that we care about so much ensures its importance inside our minds and the prolonged period for which we can recollect it.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Brain Radiotherapy 'No Benefit' for Lung Cancer Spread

Brain Radiotherapy
Science Photo Library

Whole Brain Radiotherapy – Not Beneficial to Lung Cancer Spread to Brain

Research in the Lancet has stated that whole brain radiotherapy- WBRT seems to be of no benefit to individuals having lung cancer that has spread to the brain. The authors state that though whole brain radiotherapy could be beneficial in patients who tend to be younger than 60 years old, it would not be considered as a standard treatment for the majority of patients having non-small cell lung cancer – NSCLC which has spread to the brain.

The results is said to be presented at the European Respiratory Society meeting in London on September 5th. A sample of over 500 patients showed that it did not prolong or improve their quality of life any more than the other types of treatment.

Every year over 45,000 people have been diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK and in a third of cases, the cancer tends to spread to the brain. Secondary brain tumours tend to be usually treated with whole brain radiotherapy together with steroids as well as other treatments to ease the side-effects of the therapies for cancer. However, there can be serious side effect like nausea and extreme tiredness and could cause damage to the nervous system.

Radiosurgery – Precise Type of Radiotherapy

The research, comprising of doctors, researchers and patients from hospitals from across the UK, have discovered that there seems to be no improvement in the quality of life of those patients after a week of whole brain radiotherapy.

These patients seem to already have a poor forecast. The consultant clinical oncologist with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Paula Mulvenna, has informed that the whole brain radiotherapy had been utilised since it was believed to control tumours. However, in the lung cancer clinics, the expected improvements were not found in the patients.

Survival times seem to be poor which has hardly changed since the 1980s. Moreover, the toxicity of technique could be extensive and could damage reasoning function. As per Prof Ruth Langley, from the Medical Research Council clinical trials unit at University College London, states that radiosurgery is a very precise type of radiotherapy and is preferred as analternate technique that tends to have the least side effects. Nonetheless, some of the scientists state that there could still be a place for whole brain radiotherapy.

Result/Classical Prognostics Factor/Molecular status

Dr Cecile le Pechoux from Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus in France, while writing in a linked comment in the Lancet,had mentioned that they believe that optimised whole brain radiotherapy given at the appropriate time to the right patients could lead to more personalised strategies.

 They have stated that all treatments need to be discussed with the patients considering the result of the trial, classical prognostics factors as well as the molecular status. Whole brain radiotherapy had been adopted in clinical practices built on the assumption that it tends to improve tumour control in the patients suffering from brain metastases.

However in the lung cancer clinics, no improvement was seen in the patients with the survival times being poor.In spite of its extensive use, till now there does not seem to be any strong evidence in defining whether whole brain radiotherapy that tends to have considerable side effect is better than the best reassuring care with regards to prolonging life or improving the quality of life of a patient.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Alzheimer's Drug Study Gives 'Tantalising' Results

A study in nature

Scientists say that a treatment that puts an end to the specific protein plagues that gradually accumulate or increase in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease has managed to show some tantalising ability. Experts continue to remain vigilant as the drug Aducanumab, is yet in the primary stages of process. However, a study in Nature has revealed that it is completely safe and implies that it puts memory decline to a standstill. Greater studies are now being conducted to completely assess the effects of the drug. For many years, the amyloid accumulation in the brain has been the target of the treatment.

Dropped out

This test was intended to check whether Aducanumab was harmless to be used with 165 patients. After a period of one year since the treatment started, it was observed that more the dose, stronger is the effect on the amyloid plagues in the brain. It was after this that researchers carried out certain tests with regards to their memory and could see positive effects. On the other hand, 40 people left the study, half of them because of experiencing side effects like headaches.

This was common along with high dosages. The next part of the research had three phases which had two separate tests. These are enlisting 2,700 people in an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease around Europe, North America and Asia, so as to completely check the drug’s effectiveness on cerebral deterioration. Dr Alfred Sandrock from Biogen, which is a biotech company also worked on the research with the University of Zurich said that the third phase genuinely needs to get done with and he hopes that it will give assurance of what they have seen in the test. One day he can imagine curing people who don’t show the symptoms because if one has amyloid within the brain it is possible to develop the disease in one day.

Significant step

Nevertheless, the drug development has also caused some disappointments and it has been more than 10 years since the drug was licensed for those with the condition. This latest test is welcomed by other researchers but with care. Chief Scientist Officer Dr David Reynolds at the Alzheimer’s Research UK mentioned that the resulted gave tantalising proof that a new set of drug to cure the disease may be made available.

Head of research at the Alzheimer’s society Dr James Pickett added that the most compelling thing is that greater amount of amyloid was cleared when the patients took a greater dose of the medicine. No current treatment for the disease directly hinders its process and hence a medicine that actually decelerates the growth of the disease by cleaning up the amyloid would be an important step.

Conversely, Dr Tara Spires-Jones at the University of Edinburgh of the Centre for neural and cognitive systems said that she is vigilantly hopeful about the treatment, but is trying to not get over thrilled as many drugs can only make it through the early stage of trial and then prove to be a failure in bigger tests.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Singapore Confirms 41 Locally Transmitted Zika Virus Cases


The outbreak

About 41 cases of Zika virus were confirmed at Singapore which was likely transmitted locally. The health ministry stated that majority of those that were infected were not native workers, and all resided or laboured within the same area of the country. None of them had travelled to areas which were affected by Zika recently. While seven are still admitted in hospitals, thirty four patients have completely recovered from the disease.

Generally, Zika has moderate effects but has been related to many birth defects which can be severe. It is alleged of bringing about a condition known as microcephaly, which is condition where deformation is persistent and babies are born with smaller heads than usual. Zika is usually spread by vectors like mosquitoes, but under certain circumstances can be sexually transmitted as well. It was declared by the World Health Organization, commonly called as WHO as a universal public health emergency in the month of February.

The symptoms of Zika

  • The disease could rarely prove to be fatal. Usually out of five only one patient infected by the same may develop and show the symptoms 
  • The symptoms could be anything ranging from headaches, Pain in the joints, rashes, sore eyes or reddening of the eyes also sore eyes or simply a mild fever. 
  • Another rare symptom that is also linked to the infection is Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is an uncommon nervous system disorder, can cause short term paralysis 
  • As of now there has been no form of vaccination or drug developed against the infection by researchers, because of which the affected are instructed to get rest and to consume a great amount of fluids.
In May, Singapore announced it’s very first imported case of Zika. It was a local of 48 years of age who had recently made a trip to Brazil, the place where the outbreak began. As on Saturday, they declared that another Malaysian woman who was 37 years of age had been infected by the virus locally.

So far she is the only female case confirmed. Singapore stands as a home for a hug number of construction workers who are not native to the country, most of them originating from the Southern parts of Asia. Out of the 41 cased that were declared on Sunday, thirty six cases were of overseas workers who worked in the same construction area.

The work at that particular site had come to a halt after they found that the housekeeping was not acceptable with probable breeding habitats complementing to the breeding of mosquitoes. In a statement the ministry said that they could not eliminate or exclude further community spread, since many of those that have been tested positive also reside or work in various other parts of Singapore.

At the end it also added that they expect to recognize more such cases which are positive. All those providing medical services in Singapore have been forewarned to be more vigilant then needed and to instantly report to the health ministry if they find any symptoms associated with Zika.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Epipen Maker to Sell Cheaper Generic Version


Generic alternative to EpiPens 

The manufacturer of the injectors EpiPen will begin to sell a standard version of it as a consequence of criticism about sharp increase in pricing. According to Mylan, it predicted to start sale of the cheaper standardized merchandise in a few weeks to come at an approximate price of $300 (£230).

This would be nearly half of the list price of the currently sold product, which is utilized in situation like emergencies against severe insect and food allergies. In the US, within less than even a decade, the charge of these EpiPens has increased by five hundred per cent. The standard version would be like a duplicate to the branded one, which is priced at $600 for two doses.

People suffering from allergies often have more than one pen, one to keep at home, and others to keep at school or place of work or in vehicles like cars. They are best when used within 12 months from manufacture date and expire after that.

The chief executive Heather Bresch of Mylan said that the company had shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars trying to improve the produce since purchasing the product in 2007 from Merck. She said that their decision of launching a standardized alternate form of EpiPens was an unexpected marketable response and they resolve that avoiding the system of the brand in this case and presenting a supplementary option was the best alternative.

Heightened pressure

The change is rare because the registered version is still under patent and the other competing treatments have not succeeded to get controlling clearance. The product releases a yearly sale of one billion dollars for Mylan. Ronny Gal analyst at Bernstein said that they suspected that Mylan would still receive a lot of criticism due to its increased price and there will be a tremendous increase of pressure on the regulator of Food and Drug Administration also known as the FDA to bring rivalry to the market.

Heather also held the complex US health care system responsible for the price hick and stated that Mylan had taken just $274 of the $600 list price, while pharmacies, guarantors and other such investors shared among them the rest. It depends on the insurance coverage of the individual for how much they would need to pay for a prescription of EpiPen. Not only parents, but also politicians have defied the price rise, with Hillary Clinton a candidate for Democratic presidency, calling them offensive and inexcusable.

The turmoil over EpiPen price hikes resulted in Mylan shares taking a toll of about 12% last week. As in New York in the afternoon the stock was flat as $43.04. Famous Actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who had declared her support of EpiPens, said that she was putting an end to her relationship with Mylan last week. Previously, she had spoken about how important the treatment was for her family, since her son was allergic to peanuts. Turing, Pfizer, Valent and other such drug manufacturers have come under pressure due to the sudden price hike in the recent months.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Parkinson's Could Potentially Be Detected by an Eye Test


Eye spotting to help Parkinson’s patients

Scientists have found out a new way of spotting changes in the eye which could detect Parkinson’s disease before its symptoms actually show. Scientists from University College London also called UCL state that their initial animal study could direct to a low cost and methods which do not involve the introduction of instrument in the body to detect the disease. 1 out of every 500 people is affected by Parkinson’s and stands second among the most neurodegenerative disease in the world.

The research was welcomed by the charity Parkinson’s UK and was looked upon as a significant step. The scientists ran tests on rats and examined them. What they found was that there were some alterations visible to them at the back of their eye prior to the occurrence of the visible symptoms. The research was led by Professor Francesca Cordeiro who is a professor of Retinal and Glaucoma Neurodegeneration Studies.

She said that the study was a theoretically innovative leap forward in the primary diagnosis and dealing of one of the most incapacitating diseases in the world. These tests suggest that the researchers can be able to intercede way in advance and treat people more effectively suffering from this overwhelming disease. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are stiff muscles, slow motor movements, a condensed quality of living and tremors.

It is only after the brain cells of the person having Parkinson’s are damaged, that one could see these symptoms. However so far there has not been any sort of blood tests or scanning of brain that could ultimately diagnose the disease. Parkinson’s does not straight away lead to the death of the person, but over time there is chance that the symptoms could worsen.

Well known sufferers

  • Famous boxer Mohammad Ali passed away at the age of 74, more than ten years after the brain disease evolved. Though the condition he suffered from did not take away his life, Ali died subsequent complications related to a chest infection. It was only of most the debatable challenge he had to face. 
  • Famous actor Michael J Fox was another victim of the disease. In 1998 he revealed that he found in 1981 that he had Parkinson’s. In order to battle with it he decided to take a step back from his career in acting. 
  • In 2013 Billy Connolly had developed the initial symptoms of Parkinson’s for which he is getting suitable treatment. 
  • The first man to complete a mile run in four minutes, Sir Roger Bannister, detected with Parkinson’s disease in 2011 at the age of 82. He being a neurologist said he realised he had troubles with walking.

'Urgent need'

The director of research Dr Arthur Roach, at the charity Parkinson’s UK stated that there was critical need for not too complicated and a precise way of finding the condition, especially when the person is in its early stages. He added that even though the study is in its early stages and is yet waited for human trial, a simple test like on the eyes can prove to be a leap ahead for finding of cures that could help confront the fundamental causes of the disease rather than hiding its symptoms.

Dr Roach also brought to light that the same charity was financially backing similar studies which are trying to figure out the bio markers for Parkinson’s, which are weighed changes observed in the people having this condition. He described that having the bio marker for the disease would be of great help as it could help us diagnose Parkinson’s in an earlier stage, when patients are liable to benefit from the new found treatments directed at slowing down the progression.

The team at UCL made use of medical instruments that the doctors have already used and mention that this new latent method could also be used to observe how the people react to the given treatment. The researchers treated their testing animals with a freshly formulated form of an anti-diabetic medicine for which they found that surprisingly, the drug led to less damage of cells.

They also mention that, that was one more area they would be very interested to work around on in case of human trials. Acta Neuropathologica Communications has published this study of the researchers. Dr Eduardo Normando who is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Western Eye Hospital and UCL said that the discoveries made have the capacity to lay boundaries and also get rid of the suffering for many patients if the condition could be diagnosed in early stages and is treated with the new creation.

The proof they have strong implies that they have a chance to mediate well in advance and successfully treat the patients with the help of reasonably priced imaging system. This new technology founded by the team is patented by the research commercialisation company UCL Business at UCL

Friday, 2 September 2016

HIV effort let down by test shortages, says WHO


Neglected HIV

Experts from the World Health Organization warn that a scarcity of HIV testing could destabilize efforts globally to detect and cure people who are fallen prey to the infection. They went through the replies of the yearly surveys which the World Health Organization has delivered to 127 countries in the middle of 2012 and 2014 enquiring about the volume and practice of blood tests that can keep HIV status and health in check.

They found gaps of concern setting up. They cautioned the United Nations that as a result of this that target for HIV could be overlooked. The targets states that by the year 2020, about 90% of all those living with HIV, should be aware of their HIV status, 90% of those in which the infection has been detected should be given anti retroviral therapy and about 90% of those among these patients that are treated should have an amount of treatment which is effective or in their terms, ‘durable viral suppression.’ Laboratory testing is of utmost importance so as to meet and observe these aims.

But in the journal PLoS Medicine, Vincent Habiyambere and his team say that those countries where the people have low or moderate income, counting African countries where the infection strain is high, are not yet set up for the task. The reviews were sent to:

  • The top 7 high stricken HIV countries in the WHO belonging to the Western Pacific Region 
  • All 47 countries in the WHO belonging to African Region 
  • 33 countries of the Region of the Americas in the WHO 
  • All of 21 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region in the WHO 
  • 8 countries in the European Region who very high driven by HIV 
  • South-East Asia Region in the WHO comprising of all 11 countries.
Over the three years that the survey was conducted, a total of 55 countries answered back to all the three surveys (43%), 35 countries responded to two out of the three (28%), 25 countries replied back to only one survey (20%) and 9 countries reverted back to not a single survey. Over the years, testing facilities did improve, but what remained in few parts of the world were under performances and deficits.

Worrying gaps

The reasons that caused gaps in providing the facilities comprise of deficiency of reagents, installation and maintenance of tools not done properly and insufficient or lacking training of staff. In some labs, the machines were not sent for servicing regularly.

In the remaining, machines stopped functioning and could not be covered by warranty to be repaired or serviced. Dr Habiyambere and his colleagues say that a national lab tactical plan to reinforce services must be established, executed and examined by not only governments but also their international and nation partners. The goal of community internationally is to make sure that the prime use of technologies of laboratory should be for those countries where involvements for an increasing access to HIV investigative technology is of great need.

They do confess that they did not take a look at testing for private sectors and that some of the countries may depend a lot on this as compared to others. HIV specialists Raiva Simbi and Kilmarx say in an associated editorial that the results portray that some platforms could have possibly been focused at more than required on purchasing apparatus without planning for how to use it and maintain the devices.

For instance, in Zimbabwe, in 2015 only 5.6% of the patients that were infected by HIV that were on drug treatment received consistent blood checks to keep in check their viral burden – way far then their actual aim of 21%. They believe that this was greatly down to difficulties with the mobilisation of resources and the transportation of specimen as well as the procurement of the devices.

They concluded by saying that in order to up scale the laboratory services they will need strong leadership qualities, proper planning and management as well as resources. The testing should be carried on frequently or as required depending upon the amount of specimen test that need to be run and the availability of resources. Proper planning techniques should be implemented for which firstly staff need to be trained regarding the same.

No proper planning would not only cause a problem but would also lead to wastage of labour, resources and money. The procedures could be allotted and one task could be taken up so that it prompts maximum accuracy with minimized trial and errors.

The goal could be achieved if the procedures are conducted faithfully and with awareness. Machines and equipment should be handled delicately and be maintained from time to time to obtain longevity. Lastly, patients should receive time to time blood check-ups to observe the viral load or bulk within their system. This could help in speeding up tests.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

No. 1 killer-Cancer is catching up to heart disease


Cancer Considered as No 1 Killer

Though several Americans tend to die from heart disease, cancer has been considered as the No.1 killer. More people have died from cancer in 22 states during 2014 when compared to heart disease according to the new data from the National Vital Statistics System.

 This seems to be a considerable rise from 2002, when two states only – Alaska and Minnesota had recorded more cancer deaths than heart disease deaths.

This is be the cause of obesity that is said to be risk factor for heart disease as well as cancer according to Dr Paolo Boffetta, professor of environmental medicine and public health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who does not seem to be involved in the research.

Obesity is said to be more likely to cause heart deaths than deaths caused by cancer. Dr Boffetta had informed that cancer deaths gaining on deaths related to heart disease could be explained by the fact that `treatment for cancer tends to be more complex and they are unable to treat cancer as effectively as cardiovascular disease.

Boffetta further added that it is like two trucks travelling down the street where one tend to run slightly faster than the other. Similar trends seem to take place in Northern Europe, where cardiovascular disease deaths have gone down and cancer deaths have also declined though much slower’.

Asian-Americans & Hispanics Have Lower Cardiovascular Mortality

From the two groups of Americans, cancer tends to lead to more death than the heart disease. In Asians or Pacific Islanders, the leading cause of death in 2000 was cancer and within this population cancer deaths had increased by 79.6% between 2000 and 2014 and heart disease deaths had increased by 45.5%.

 Cancer had replaced heart disease in 2009 as the leading cause of death for Hispanics. The number of cancer deaths had increased by 72.2% within this group, from 2000 to 2014 in comparison to 31.8% increase in the number of heart disease deaths.

Boffetta mentioned that `Asian-Americans and Hispanics traditionally tend to have lower cardiovascular mortality. Bob Anderson, co-author of the study from the Mortality Statistic Branch Division of Vital Statistics at the National Centre for Health Statistics had stated that `heart disease has been the leading cause of death since 1910 except for one year, 1918’. Spanish flu had taken the nation and the world by storm in 1918.

Death Certificates Written Before Autopsy

Infectious diseases inclusive of flu had been the probable major cause of death before 1910 when `epidemiological transition had taken place, moving away from infectious diseases and towards chronic diseases. Anderson clarifies that it picked up in 1959 when there was widespread access to antibiotics.

The research of the leading causes of death has been gathered each year since 1900. The researchers had scrutinized death by state recording data on the race. ethnicity as well as the cause of the death. In order to create the present report, Anderson together with his co-author had accumulated data from death certificates.

As per Halaharvi, this is said to be a limitation of the research – death certificates are written before an autopsy, when the most accurate information is collected. She adds that `you are writing a death certificate before all the information is out and that an autopsy is not requested for everyone.

Someone with cancer could suffer from other medical issue including heart disease and could have died from one or another, though it is difficult to make the distinction without an autopsy or further tests. She further adds that it is difficult to know and so the death certificate is `more or less a guess’.