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Ayush Ministry, WHO to organise key meet on traditional medicine on Monday

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Ayush Ministry, WHO to organise key meet on traditional medicine on Monday

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) under the Ayush Ministry will organise a national consultative meet on traditional medicine in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday.

To be organised in the national capital, the meet titled ‘Research Priority Settings in Traditional Medicine’ will be held in collaboration with the WHO-SEARO (World Health Organization-South-East Asia Regional Office) and WHO-GTMC (Global Traditional Medicine Centre).

This marks a pioneering effort in aligning traditional medicine research with global standards and priorities, the Ayush Ministry said.

Key topics to be addressed include medicinal plant research, quality, safety, and efficacy studies, pre-clinical validations, rational use of traditional medicines, clinical trial monitoring, medical anthropology, and the digitalisation of ancient medical literature.

Approximately 100 stakeholders and experts from the Ayush sector are likely to participate in the event, which aims to identify and prioritise key research areas across various traditional medicine systems such as ayurveda, siddha, unani, and homeopathy.

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This initiative is in accordance with the WHO mandate in traditional medicine, according to Vaidya Rabinarayan Acharya, Director General, CCRAS.

The meet aims to lay the groundwork for a decade-long research strategy in traditional medicine, fostering the exchange of ideas among the stakeholders and aligning the efforts with WHO guidelines.

Recently, the National Institute of Indian Medical Heritage (NIIMH), a peripheral institute of CCRAS in Hyderabad, was designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre for ‘Fundamental and Literary Research in Traditional Medicine’.

–IANS

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Daily statin use may lower heart risk in HIV patients by 35 pc: Study

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Daily statin use may lower heart risk in HIV patients by 35 pc: Study

Daily statin use may lower heart risk in HIV patients by 35 pc: Study

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Daily use of statins, or cholesterol-lowering drugs, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, and strokes in people with HIV by 35 per cent, according to a study.

People living with HIV can have a 50-100 per cent increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that daily statin use could prevent one in five major cardiovascular events or premature deaths in this population.

“This research suggests that statins may provide an accessible, cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health and quality of life for people living with HIV,” said Gary H. Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the US National Institute of Health.

The study involved 7,769 adults aged 40-75, who were randomised to receive either pitavastatin or a placebo. Participants who took pitavastatin experienced 35 per cent fewer major cardiovascular events and a 21 per cent reduction in deaths compared to the placebo group.

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Additionally, those taking the statin saw a 30 per cent decrease in Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or bad cholesterol levels.

Steven K. Grinspoon, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, noted that while lowering LDL cholesterol reduces risks for heart attacks and strokes, the findings suggest additional benefits of statin therapy for people living with HIV.

The study highlights the need to address comorbidities like cardiovascular disease in successful HIV management, a disease that plagues more than 38 million people worldwide, with a new 1.5 million diagnosed in 2021, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO).

–IANS

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New antibiotic may make bacterial resistance nearly impossible

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New antibiotic may make bacterial resistance nearly impossible

New antibiotic may make bacterial resistance nearly impossible

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) A newly discovered antibiotic that disrupts two distinct biological targets will make it 100 million times harder for bacteria to evolve resistance, according to a study.

The study from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), in the US, reveals that this antibiotic disrupts two different cellular targets, significantly complicating bacteria’s ability to evolve resistance, a dangerous, unwanted side effect.

The study, published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, focuses on a class of synthetic drugs known as macrolones. These drugs combat bacterial infections by either interfering with protein production or corrupting DNA structure, making it challenging for bacteria to develop resistance to both mechanisms simultaneously.

“The beauty of this antibiotic is that it kills through two different targets in bacteria,” said Alexander Mankin, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

“If the antibiotic hits both targets at the same concentration, then the bacteria lose their ability to become resistant via the acquisition of random mutations in any of the two targets,” he added.

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Macrolones combine features of macrolides, like erythromycin, which block protein synthesis, and fluoroquinolones, such as ciprofloxacin, which target the bacterial enzyme DNA gyrase.

Researchers Yury Polikanov and Nora Vazquez-Laslop at UIC demonstrated that these drugs bind more tightly to ribosomes than traditional antibiotics and are effective even against macrolide-resistant bacterial strains. “By basically hitting two targets at the same concentration, the advantage is that you make it almost impossible for the bacteria to easily come up with a simple genetic defence,” Polikanov said.

This discovery underscores the importance of the integration across various scientific fields that fosters significant advancements like this one.

–IANS

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Doctors successfully remove cricket-ball sized rare vulvar tumour weighing 30 grams

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Doctors successfully remove cricket-ball sized rare vulvar tumour weighing 30 grams

Doctors successfully remove cricket-ball sized rare vulvar tumour weighing 30 grams

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) A 35-year-old woman has been given a new lease of life after doctors successfully removed a cricket-ball-sized rare non-cancerous tumour from the outer part of her genitalia.

The tumour, known as vulvar leiomyoma, weighed 30 grams and measured 10×8 cm.

The patient had noticed a painless, slow-growing mass in the outer part of her vulva over the past 15 years.

Initially misdiagnosed as ovarian cancer at another facility, she sought a second opinion at Fortis Escorts Faridabad. Upon admission, she reported heaviness and swelling in her private parts, but there were no associated symptoms like bleeding or discharge.

Her medical history included hypothyroidism, for which she was under regular medication, and no family history of similar gynecological conditions.

A thorough physical examination revealed a firm mass near the urethra. Pelvic examination and routine laboratory tests confirmed the non-cancerous nature of the mass, and MRI findings suggested a vulvar tumour.

Due to the involvement of blood vessels, the surgery posed risks of excessive blood loss and clot formation. However, surgical removal was deemed the best treatment option given the circumstances.

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“The procedure was challenging due to the tumour’s proximity to the urethra, raising the risk of urethral injury. Additionally, the involvement of blood vessels increases the risk of excessive bleeding. If left untreated, the tumour could have grown further, causing urethral pressure and urinary symptoms,” said Dr. Niti Kautish, Director of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the hospital.

The procedure lasted an hour, and the patient was discharged in stable condition within two days, said the doctor.

The patient was discharged with a urinary catheter, which was removed during a follow-up consultation.

–IANS

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More lung cell types infected by SARS-CoV-2 than previously thought: Study

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More lung cell types infected by SARS-CoV-2 than previously thought: Study

More lung cell types infected by SARS-CoV-2 than previously thought: Study

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) A lot more lung cell types can be infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic, and the number is higher than what was previously speculated, according to a study.

Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys and the University of California-San Diego in the US have discovered that the lungs can independently mount an antiviral response without immune system aid when exposed to the virus.

The team used induced pluripotent stem cells to create “mini lungs,” discovering that SARS-CoV-2 can infect cells without traditional receptors.

“While many people experience mild or moderate symptoms, Covid-19 still kills,” said Sandra Leibel, Associate Professor of Paediatrics at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine.

“This virus is here to stay, and we need to learn everything we can about it so we can improve treatment and prevention,” she added.

In the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that different strains of the virus prefer different lung cells, potentially explaining variations in disease severity. For instance, the Delta variant caused more severe pneumonia, while Omicron led to milder symptoms. The study also showed that the drug apilimod could block SARS-CoV-2’s entry into cells lacking traditional receptors.

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Additionally, the team discovered that the lung’s surfactant protein B (SP-B) plays a crucial role in the antiviral response.

“These findings suggest not just one but two potential novel drug applications with the possible clinical use of surfactant early in Covid-19 cases,” said Evan Snyder, a professor in the Human Genetics Programme at Sanford Burnham Prebys. This research could lead to better treatment strategies and risk assessment tools for Covid.

–IANS

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Study links kneecap shape to osteoarthritis risk

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Study links kneecap shape to osteoarthritis risk

Study links kneecap shape to osteoarthritis risk

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The shape of a person’s kneecap may indicate their risk of developing osteoarthritis – a common and debilitating joint disease, suggested a study.

Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) in Australia focussed on potential differences in kneecap shape between men and women, given that women with knee osteoarthritis often experience more severe symptoms.

The team made use of CT scans to analyse the kneecaps of healthy individuals and patients awaiting knee replacement surgery.

They employed advanced image analysis techniques to create 3D models of the kneecaps and measured the surfaces’ shapes.

While the study “did not find distinct differences in kneecap shapes between sexes, it revealed that individuals with osteoarthritis exhibited more pronounced variations in kneecap surface shapes.”

These differences became more significant with increasing disease severity, said the team led by Associate Professor Laura Wilson from ANU.

She noted the unexpected nature of the findings, highlighting that the “changes in kneecap shape varied across different joint surfaces as osteoarthritis progressed.”

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The study is published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

The researchers now plan to investigate whether these shape differences appear early in the disease’s development.

If the early onset of these changes can be confirmed, kneecap shape could potentially be integrated into disease prevention models, aiding in the early identification of individuals at higher risk for knee osteoarthritis.

This could lead to targeted early interventions for those at risk, the researchers said.

–IANS

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