Govt bans popular diabetes drug and analgin



MUMBAI: The government has banned three popular medicines—the widely prescribed anti-diabetes drug pioglitazone, painkiller analgin and anti-depressant deanxit—in the wake of health risks associated with them. While it's believed that pioglitazone can cause heart failure and increases the risk of bladder cancer, analgin has been discarded the world over on grounds of patient safety. Deanxit, on the other hand is a harmful combination, which has been long banned even in Denmark, its country of origin.
Source - times of india

Finally, a national survey on mental health disorders in India


It was in Class X that Ria* began to suspect that she suffered from a mental health disorder. She spent hours reading, only to find later that her mind hadn't absorbed any of it. “I cried all the time and wished I was dead,” says the 20-year-old psychology student.

Alarmed, her mother made an appointment with a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with a severe anxiety disorder. She was found to be deficient in serotonin — a hormone that helps regulate one’s mood.

Help was not readily available elsewhere. When Ria confided in two trusted college friends, they spread the news after learning that the principal had made some allowances to help her complete her assignments. “Students thought I was faking illness to avoid work,” she says. “Even my relatives said, ‘It’s all in your head’.”

Nothing to crunch
According to a study conducted by the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health in 2005, nearly 5% of India's population suffers from common mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. But mental health experts say apart from several multi-centre surveys and studies, India is yet to have a comprehensive survey of all the states.
Raghu Appasani of US-based MINDS Foundation, says, “There are NGOs and research institutions which collect data. But, there is no national survey or data collection programme related to mental health.”

Experts say HIV manageable


Guwahati, June 15: All the noise being generated over the Mangaldoi incident notwithstanding, HIV is, with the availability of modern treatment procedures, now categorised as a “clinically manageable disease”, says H.C. Barman, former joint director of the Assam State AIDS Control Society.

“That means a person with HIV can live for a minimum of another 20 years if he or she adheres to the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART),” says S.I. Ahmed, a physician and leading AIDS activist of the region.

“It’s like blood pressure,” says Barman. “If you are on drugs you’re safe. If not, you may suffer a stroke.”

Ahmed, though, is skeptical of figures available abroad that people have gained up to 36 additional years with ART. “That’s because we have more secondary infections here,” says Ahmed.

Assam now requires about 1,000 units (of 350ml each) of blood on a daily basis.

The availability figures, though, are dismal and stand at about 650 units, which makes it easier for professional blood donors such as Anowar (name changed) to operate.

Anowar, allegedly in cahoots with people operating at the Mangaldoi civil hospital who new about his HIV status, is believed to have spread the virus to at least four people at Mangaldoi over the past months.

D.P. Bajaj, chairman of the blood bank of Marwari Hospital and Research Centre in the city, blames the government and “some private hospitals” for the state of affairs.

“The shortfall in the blood supply is a result of lack of awareness among people but let’s not forget that some people in government hospitals promote professional donors because they get a cut of the money such donors make,” he says.

Assam has 62 licensed blood banks of which the state health department runs 25, central government agencies run 11 and private organisations run 26.

It is in such a scenario that chief minister Tarun Gogoi today announced that the state would “closely monitor all blood banks, both government and private, to make the system foolproof”.

“We welcome the decision but I hope the government doesn’t end up harassing private hospitals while turning a blind eye to government set-ups,” says Bajaj.

The situation, meanwhile, seems grim. While most in the health department have gone into silent mode since the Mangaldoi incident hit the headlines, sources said the licences of at least five private blood banks in the state were not being renewed “for not adhering to national blood bank policy guidelines”.

“Let’s also talk about the government-owned blood banks here,” says Bajaj. “We have reservations about the operating procedures of many of them. Not maybe the one at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) but many others. There is no accountability in government-run blood banks. It’s been 48 hours at least since the Mangaldoi story broke and not one person has been brought to book.”

Establishments such as the Mangaldoi civil hospital are believed to be conducting blood transfusions based on “spot tests”, when the minimum time required to thoroughly test a unit of blood would take about six hours. Mandatory tests would include not just tests for HIV but also Hepatitis B and C, malaria and sexually transmitted diseases.

Hafiz Ali (name changed), whose wife was a recipient of Anowar’s blood, for example, yesterday told The Telegraph that the transfusion took place almost immediately “after Anowar was put through a test”. “If this is what happened it would be absolutely wrong,” said U.C. Dutta, head of the blood bank at GMCH, who was a member of the eight-member team that visited Mangaldoi today.

It is, of course, an entirely different matter that the hospital authorities allegedly knew of Anowar’s status but allowed him to donate blood to various patients.
Source - telegraph india

Older people urged to walk more for better physical, mental health


The HinduMen who averaged the greatest number of steps per day reported more optimal quality of life profiles, according to a recent research. File photo: N. Sridharan

A new study has found that the more an older man walks, the better his physical and mental health and his quality of life are likely to be.

Although walking ranks among the favourite forms of physical activity for older adults, few studies have considered the specific impact of walking as opposed to overall physical activity, on health in older people.

"Men’s health is becoming an increasing concern given their high rates of chronic diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In particular, health behaviours of older men have not been studied very much,” study’s lead author Jeff Vallance, Ph.D., associate professor in the faculty of health disciplines at Athabasca University in Canada, said.

He said that his team’s study was among the first to look carefully at objective measures of walking and of health and quality of life among older men.

The researchers surveyed 385 men above age 55 living in Alberta, Canada. The majority (69 per cent) were overweight, with 19 per cent being obese. The men wore step pedometers for three consecutive days, including one weekend day, to measure walking activity.

The researchers divided the men into four groups based on the number of steps taken daily, ranging from lowest to highest. The men averaged 8,539 steps per day. Men who averaged the greatest number of steps per day reported more optimal quality of life profiles, in terms of both physical and mental health, than those averaging fewer steps per day.

The study is published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Source - the hindu

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Cold truth



Hypothermia occurs due to exposure to cold weather or in illnesses where the body is not able to retain heat.
Easy-to-follow tips that help one tackle hypothermia. The fifth part in the series on handling common medical emergencies.

Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below normal. This affects normal functioning. In severe cases it can lead to death. It occurs due to exposure to cold weather or in illnesses where the body is not able to retain heat.

Risk factors

Exposure to cold

Age (elderly people and infants are at higher risk)

Chronic illness and fatigue

Drugs and alcohol

Brain tumors and head injuries that affect the temperature control centre in the brain

Shock (excessive bleeding or dehydration)

Signs to look for

Mild

Chills, numbness and shivering

Slight loss of muscle power

Reduced coordination

Moderate -

Person becomes slow, confused

Generalised weakness

Shivering

Movement becomes slow

Severe

Person becomes stiff, rigid, and unable to move

Very poor co-ordination

Shivering stops

Irrational behaviour

Weak pulse

Very drowsy

May lose consciousness.

Do’s

Move the person to a warm area.

Activate emergency medical response.

Remove wet clothing and replace with dry warm clothing.

Quickly warm the patient using blankets or heat packs. Don’t place the heat packs directly on the skin.

If the person is conscious and alert, give warm liquids eg. milk, soup

Check responsiveness, breathing and temperature

Don’ts
Do not give alcohol, caffeine, or any drink that is too hot.

Do not warm too rapidly.

Do not place any heat source next to victim in case it causes burns.

Do not shake victim of extreme hypothermia vigorously, as this may cause cardiac arrest.
Source - the hindu
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