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More women from rural India thinking of IVF, costs a concern: Experts

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More women from rural India thinking of IVF, costs a concern: Experts

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Breaking societal norms, age barriers and taboos, women in rural India are increasingly stepping forward to embrace motherhood via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), according to doctors on International Women’s Day on Friday.

Late Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala’s mother Charan Kaur is the best example. Kaur, 58, is expecting through IVF. She is due to deliver the baby in March.

IVF is a medical process which combines the egg of the female and the sperm of the male outside the body in a lab dish to form an embryo. The embryo is later placed in the uterus of the biological mother or surrogate to grow into a baby.

“Rural patients are increasingly seeking fertility treatment, often at later stages of their reproductive lifespan, typically beyond 35 to 40, or even 45 years of age,” Pallavi Prasad, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Basaveshwara Nagar, Bangalore, told IANS.

“These patients often arrive in urban centres after exhausting local options, with markedly reduced ovarian reserves or nearly depleted reserves,” she added.

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Advanced maternal age often leads to a diminished ovarian reserve, complicating treatment outcomes, the doctor said.

According to experts, while women are stepping forwards, costs are involved in the treatment and logistics to each IVF session, which can take between four to six weeks, is acting as a major barrier.

“Depending on affordability, we see few cases of women from rural India coming in for consultations. We mostly see cases of women in the age group of 27 to 49 years. However, the conversion rate is not that high with only one-two patients coming in to take the procedure forward,” said Priyanka Reddy, Consultant – Infertility Specialist, Obstetrician & Gynecologist & Minimal Access Surgeon, at Motherhood Hospitals.

“The low conversion can also be linked to time-consuming procedures (15 days approximate) as the conveyance becomes challenging for women settled in rural areas,” Priyanka told IANS.

–IANS

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Medical professors in S.Korea warn of boycotting junior doctors' training amid standoff

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Medical professors in S.Korea warn of boycotting junior doctors'
 training amid standoff

Medical professors in S.Korea warn of boycotting junior doctors'
 training amid standoff

Seoul, July 20 (IANS) Some medical professors in South Korea on Saturday warned to boycott training programmes for junior doctors in protest of the government’s push for accepting the resignations of striking trainees and the medical school admission quota hikes.

Professors of the radiology department at Catholic University said in a statement that they would not take part in education and training programmes for trainee doctors set to join the course in the second half of this year as long as the government goes ahead with “wrongful policy measures”, Yonhap news agency reported.

More than 90 per cent of around 13,000 junior doctors walked off their jobs in February in the form of resignations against the government’s plan to sharply raise medical school admissions, and hospitals accepted resignations from 7,648 trainees upon the government’s request this week.

The government is recruiting new trainees to minimise the impact of the mass resignations, and hospitals have sought 7,707 training doctors combined for the training programme set to be launched in September, according to the health ministry.

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“We’ve made it clear that we will never replace training doctors who are fighting against wrongful state policy with other trainees,” the professors said. “If the government and the hospital push ahead with the recruitment plan, normal training will never be possible.”

Catholic University professors serve as senior doctors at St. Mary’s Hospital in Seoul, one of the five major general hospitals in the capital city, as well as seven training hospitals.

More professors are expected to follow suit as the school’s emergency response committee for professors said it will announce an official stance next week.

Amid deepening medical service disruptions, the government had presented a set of measures to convince the striking doctors to return to work but a majority of them refused to return to work.

Doctors have urged the government to revisit the quota hike decision, claiming that medical schools cannot handle the increased enrollment, which will compromise the quality of medical education and ultimately the country’s medical services.

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Despite strong opposition from doctors, the government has already finalised an admissions quota hike of some 1,500 students for medical schools for next year to address problems stemming from the shortage of doctors.

–IANS

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New protein to help fight ageing-related diseases, prolong human lifespan

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New protein to help fight ageing-related diseases, prolong human lifespan

New protein to help fight ageing-related diseases, prolong human lifespan

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) An international team of researchers conducted a mice study that showed that targeting the production of a key inflammatory protein can extend lifespan, and reduce old age-related diseases.

The team from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Medical Science (MRC LMS), Imperial College London in the UK, and Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore investigated the effects of inflammatory proteins IL-11 by generating mice with the IL-11 (interleukin 11) gene removed.

This increased the mice’s lifespan by more than 20 per cent on average, revealed the study, published in the journal Nature.

They also gave 75-week-old mice, equivalent to around 55 years in humans, an injection of an anti-IL-11 antibody, a medicine that inhibits the effects of IL-11 in the body.

Mice treated with an anti-IL-11 drug from 75 weeks of age had their median lifespan extended by 22.4 per cent in males and 25 per cent in females, with an average lifespan of 155 weeks compared to 120 weeks in untreated mice.

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The treatment reduced cancer deaths, fibrosis, chronic inflammation, and poor metabolism, with minimal side effects.

Professor Stuart Cook highlighted the potential for similar effects in humans, stating, “The treated mice had fewer cancers and were free from the usual signs of ageing and frailty.”

This research, though conducted in mice, opens possibilities for extending healthy ageing in humans.

–IANS

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Low Vitamin D levels remain a pressing concern among women: Experts

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Low Vitamin D levels remain a pressing concern among women: Experts

Low Vitamin D levels remain a pressing concern among women: Experts

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Low Vitamin D levels, also known as the sunshine vitamin, are vital for bone health and remain a pressing concern among women, who are more prone to osteoporosis, arthritis, or other bone-related issues, said experts on Saturday.

Vitamin D is essential to help prevent thinning of the bones. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory effects and can protect against arthritis in women.

Osteoporosis, characterised by weakened and brittle bones, often finds its roots in insufficient levels of Vitamin D. It is not uncommon for individuals to solely rely on calcium supplements to support bone health, overlooking the crucial role of vitamin D in calcium absorption.

“We are frequently seeing women who have problems with their bones that are related to low vitamin D levels. This essential nutrient is necessary for the absorption of calcium, which keeps bones strong. Sadly, a lot of women do not get enough vitamin D, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures,” Akhilesh Yadav, Associate Director – Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Max Hospital, Vaishali, told IANS.

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Bone development, bone repair, and muscular function all depend on vitamin D. Women’s vitamin D deficiency is caused by several reasons, including age, which decreases the skin’s capacity to synthesise Vitamin D and inadequate sun exposure.

“Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D is paramount for optimal bone health, yet it remains a pressing concern, particularly among women. This deficiency can lead to serious health implications, with osteoporosis emerging as a significant concern, especially among women post-menopause due to hormonal changes,” Sagar Hingrajiya, Consultant Orthopaedic, Bhailal Amin General Hospital, Vadodara, told IANS.

Vitamin D acts as a carrier, facilitating the transportation of calcium from the gut to the bones. Without adequate vitamin D levels, calcium absorption is hindered, rendering calcium supplementation ineffective in combating osteoporosis.

“Regular monitoring of vitamin D levels is crucial, particularly for women over 40 who are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Persistent low levels of vitamin D necessitate intervention, often in the form of prescribed supplements tailored to individual needs. However, indiscriminate supplementation without medical guidance can lead to adverse effects, underscoring the importance of seeking professional advice,” Hingrajiya said.

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To ensure adequate vitamin D, the experts advised spending 10-30 minutes in midday sunlight several times a week, with activities such as a brisk walk or gardening, balancing sun exposure with skin protection.

Hingrajiya said contrary to common belief, the best source of vitamin D is not the gentle morning or evening sunlight but “rather the midday sun between 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m”.

“However, due to lifestyle factors and misconceptions, many people fail to capitalise on this prime time for vitamin D synthesis,” he noted.

Eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, fortified dairy products, mushrooms, and eggs may also help.

“Consider vitamin D supplements if you have limited sun exposure or dietary intake, and consult your doctor for the appropriate dosage. Regularly test your vitamin D levels, especially if you’re at risk for deficiency,” Yadav said.

–IANS

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Poliovirus detected in Gaza, but no paralytic cases reported so far: UN

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Poliovirus detected in Gaza, but no paralytic cases reported so far: UN

Poliovirus detected in Gaza, but no paralytic cases reported so far: UN

United Nations, July 20 (IANS) Discovering the poliovirus in Gaza environmental samples is deeply concerning but it’s a relief that no cases of the paralysing disease have been reported, UN humanitarians have said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is also “deeply concerned over the spread of infectious diseases due to severe overcrowding of shelter spaces, dire shortages of clean water and abysmal sanitation and hygiene conditions in Gaza”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“In a particularly worrying development, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that six environmental samples of variant poliovirus type 2 have been detected in Khan Younis and Deir al Balah,” OCHA said on Friday. “No paralytic cases have been detected.”

The office said polio can cause paralysis and death, especially among unvaccinated children.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said his agency, UNICEF, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Gaza Health Ministry are conducting risk assessments to understand the scope of the poliovirus spread and the necessary response, including through prompt vaccination campaigns.

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He warned that the decimation of Gaza’s health system, shortages of medical supplies, constant displacement of the population, weakened sanitation services, poor water quality, ongoing access obstructions and a lack of security are increasing the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, including polio.

WHO reported that other infectious diseases in Gaza are surging and that as of July 7, nearly 1 million cases of acute respiratory infections were recorded since the start of the conflict on October 7. Nearly 575,000 cases of acute watery diarrhoea and more than 100,000 cases of jaundice were also documented. However, WHO says the actual number of infections is likely far higher.

“About 90 per cent of Gaza’s population has been displaced at least once since October of last year, with many living in appalling conditions,” OCHA said.

Last week, OCHA and humanitarian partners assessed two informal displacement sites and a UNRWA school, and found that most toilets were not working.

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“This means sewage is spilling into the streets at some sites,” the office said. “The toilets that are available often have doors missing or cannot flush because there is no water to do so. Clean water is extremely scarce, leaving many families to drink highly saline water, which causes stomach pain.”

OCHA said that over the past week, aid organizations have seen a surge in displacement from northern to southern Gaza. As of Thursday, humanitarian partners reported more than 2,500 people displaced from northern Gaza to areas farther south in a single week.

The office said humanitarians distribute food, drinking water, hygiene supplies, and some shelter materials to the displaced with efforts for additional assistance to vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, older people, and those with disabilities.

However, OCHA says hostilities continue to pose significant risks to displaced people and humanitarian workers.

–IANS

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NDTV, Hyundai provide wheelchairs at 4 airports under 'Samarth' Initiative

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NDTV, Hyundai provide wheelchairs at 4 airports under 'Samarth' Initiative

NDTV, Hyundai provide wheelchairs at 4 airports under 'Samarth' Initiative

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) Leading television news channel NDTV on Friday announced its latest contribution under the ‘Samarth by Hyundai’ initiative, providing 29 wheelchairs and two buggies across four major airports – Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Guwahati, further enhancing accessibility.

The initiative seeks to furnish essential support by introducing wheelchairs and buggies, ensuring that every traveller can navigate airport environments with dignity and ease, according to the company.

This is just one of the several planned activities under ‘Samarth by Hyundai,’ focusing on creating an equitable experience for all travellers, regardless of their physical abilities.

The initiative is designed to promote inclusivity, shift perceptions and improve the quality of life for specially-abled marking the beginning of several activities across the country. By uniting governments, corporations, and citizens, the initiative is not just about providing physical aid, but also about advocating for a society where every individual can thrive. It is also aimed at making public spaces more accessible, and as a commitment to fostering a more aware and inclusive society.

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–IANS

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