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Online food delivery menus missing key nutritional information: Study

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Online food delivery menus missing key nutritional information: Study

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) As more and more young people increasingly use apps to make food purchases, a new study warned on Sunday that most advertised items are missing nutritional information in online food delivery menus that would otherwise help consumers make healthy choices.

Researchers from the University of Sydney investigated menu items on major online food delivery outlets and apps.

They found that less than 6 per cent of menus of food outlets on online food delivery apps like UberEats, Menulog and Deliveroo had complete nutritional labelling.

A total of 482 menus from UberEats, Menulog and Deliveroo were reviewed by the researchers in the study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

“There are multiple studies that show menu labelling having real-world impact that consumers who were provided with nutritional information selected meals with significantly lower energy content,” said lead study author Sisi Jia.

“Although there is increasing demand for food delivery services, it is unknown how well menu labelling is implemented by online platforms,” added Jia from the Charles Perkins Centre and Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sydney.

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The use of online food delivery services has grown rapidly, including during the pandemic.

Online food delivery is also making it easier for people to buy food of low nutritional quality, according to the researchers.

–IANS

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Study shows how cancer cells evade drug treatments

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Study shows how cancer cells evade drug treatments

Study shows how cancer cells evade drug treatments

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) US researchers have found during a study how cancer cells manage to evade despite treatment. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study delves into the cellular processes that allow cancer cells to proliferate even when targeted by anticancer drugs.

Cancer cells exploit cell cycles to multiply rapidly, a process known as proliferation. Cancer drugs aim to halt this growth by initiating a complex sequence of genetic and cellular events. However, these treatments often yield mixed results.

The team led by Jean Cook of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, identified a crucial enzyme that plays a key role in stopping cancer cell proliferation, particularly during treatment with anti-cancer drugs.

This enzyme’s function varies among individuals. The researchers also discovered mechanisms through which cancer cells evade therapies designed to inhibit them.

Cells regulate protein expression by turning genes “on” and “off”.

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Some proteins ensure precise and effective cell division, akin to musicians in an orchestra guided by a conductor.

Cells can deactivate these regulatory proteins, allowing uncontrolled division and DNA replication.

To explore protein degradation’s role in halting cell growth, Cook and graduate student Brandon Mouery treated cultured human cells with palbociclib, a metastatic breast cancer drug.

Using microscopy, flow cytometry, and proteomics, they found that the enzyme APC/C, which targets proteins for degradation to regulate the cell cycle, enhances the effectiveness of palbociclib.

This finding suggests that APC/C levels in tumours could help predict patient responses to palbociclib and similar drugs.

Reduced APC/C activity might indicate poor treatment response or a higher relapse risk.

The researchers also observed that both cancerous and non-cancerous cells can bypass drug-induced proliferation arrest.

These escapee cells struggle to replicate DNA independently, likely delegating DNA replication to proteins that initiate cell division later in the cell cycle.

This indicates that cells can use alternate pathways for uncontrolled growth.

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“Cell proliferation has been intensively studied for decades, yet we can still be surprised,” Cook noted. “Sometimes our textbook understanding is still quite incomplete, so we need to keep an open mind and continually challenge paradigms.”

These findings could lead to new interventions that induce long-lasting proliferation arrest by exploiting this escape mechanism and cancer-associated DNA replication errors, potentially forcing cancer cells into a “self-destructive” growth mode.

–IANS

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Experts stress need for boosting preventive health as lifespan is set to increase

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Experts stress need for boosting preventive health as lifespan is set
 to increase

Experts stress need for boosting preventive health as lifespan is set
 to increase

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) There’s an urgent need to boost preventive health to prevent a large burden of diseases, even as a recent study showed an increase in lifespan by 2050, said experts on Saturday.

According to the latest findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2021, published recently in The Lancet journal, global life expectancy is expected to increase by 4.9 years in men and 4.2 years in women by 2050. This is despite the geopolitical, metabolic, and environmental threats.

However, people are expected to spend more years in poor health with cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes.

“Unless we take preventive health more seriously, our health systems will not be able to cope with the huge burden of the disease,” said Lancelot Pinto, Consultant Pulmonologist and Epidemiologist, P. D. Hinduja Hospital and MRC, Mahim.

“Historically, as countries prosper, nutrition gets better and vaccination programmes get robust, infectious diseases tend to decline. However, with prosperity comes the dietary and lifestyle changes that can harm,” Pinto said.

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The study predicted that like today, ischemic heart disease will continue to be the number one cause of mortality globally. Strokes will continue to be the number two cause of mortality, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will be the third most common cause of mortality worldwide even in 2050.

As far as the Indian population is concerned, the study predicted an increased burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a common lung disease.

“India is one of the leading producers and consumers of tobacco in the world, and COPD, often associated with smoking, is likely to manifest strongly as the population gets older,” Pinto said, while adding air pollution, use of indoor biomass fuels and poor lung development in childhood as added risk factors.

“Overall chest disease burden in India will be much higher than what the West because we continue to struggle with the earlier problems of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, and we have started seeing a massive increase in the new age diseases like lung cancer,” said Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Institute of Chest Surgery, Chest Onco Surgery and Lung Transplantation, Medanta Hospital, Gurugram.

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He said, “COPD burden overall may be much higher than what this report has predicted”.

The report also predicted the increased risk of ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease.

This leads to “obstructive blockages in the artery due to deposition of atherosclerotic plaques. The reduced blood supply to the heart muscle results in angina as a warning signal. A sudden blood clot formation on top of these blockages can result in a heart attack”, said Atul Mathur, Executive Director, Interventional Cardiology & Chief of Cath Lab, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla Road, New Delhi.

He said that a sudden blood clot formation on top of these blockages can result in a heart attack.

The experts thus stressed the need for increasing preventive measures including healthy eating, regular exercise, and good control of hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol.

–IANS

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High stress in pregnancy may raise depression, obesity risk in kids later

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High stress in pregnancy may raise depression, obesity risk in kids later

High stress in pregnancy may raise depression, obesity risk in kids later

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) High stress among women in pregnancy may get passed on to the foetus and raise the risk of depression and obesity among children later, finds a study.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Dartmouth College conducted a small study of 46 mothers and 40 toddlers and discovered a link between toddler hair cortisol levels — a long-term stress biomarker — and maternal prenatal depression.

Published in the American Journal of Human Biology, the study suggests that a child’s long-term stress physiology may be influenced by conditions experienced in utero.

Co-author Theresa Gildner highlighted that hair cortisol, which is less invasive than blood tests and more useful than saliva tests, can assess cumulative cortisol exposure over extended periods.

“By understanding the long-term effects of maternal stress on her offspring and when these effects are especially pronounced during pregnancy, we can better determine when interventions to support parents and reduce stress are most needed,” Gildner explained.

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The body’s stress management system, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, releases cortisol in response to stress.

Chronic stress can disrupt HPA-axis activity, leading to elevated cortisol levels and serious health problems. During pregnancy, high maternal cortisol can harm the foetus and affect development.

“Changes in offspring cortisol levels could potentially be beneficial, possibly leading toward accelerated growth and development in response to early adversity” Gildner said, adding that it may also have negative costs for the child.

This includes “lower birth weight and issues later in life, such as increased behavioural problems and elevated risk of developing cortisol-associated health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, digestive problems and weight gain.”

–IANS

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Centre refutes Oxford University study on excess mortality during Covid pandemic

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Centre refutes Oxford University study on excess mortality during Covid pandemic

Centre refutes Oxford University study on excess mortality during Covid pandemic

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Calling it a “gross and misleading overestimate”, the Union government on Saturday refuted claims of excess mortality during the Covid-19 pandemic in India, as stated in a study led by Indian-origin researchers from Oxford University and published in the US-based academic journal Science Advances.

The study showed that India experienced 17 per cent higher or 1.19 million more deaths in 2020 than the previous year — eight times higher than the official number of Covid deaths in India, and 1.5 times higher than the World Health Organization’s estimates.

The findings “are based on untenable and unacceptable estimates. The paper published today is methodologically flawed and shows results that are untenable and unacceptable,” the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said.

Deaths in India “increased by 4.74 lakh in the year 2020 compared to 2019,” said the ministry, sharing data based on the “highly robust” Civil Registration System (CRS) — a national portal for registering birth and death events.

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“There was a similar increase of 4.86 lakh and 6.90 lakh in death registration in the year 2018 and 2019 over the respective previous years,” it added.

It noted that all excess deaths are not attributable to the pandemic and may include mortality due to all causes.

The increase is also due to “an increasing trend of death registration in CRS (it was 92 per cent in 2019) and a larger population base in the succeeding year,” the MoHFW said, adding that India recorded “about 5.3 lakh deaths due to Covid-19.”

Further, the ministry slammed the authors’ claim to follow the standard methodology of analysing the National Family Health Survey-5 NFHS-5).

“There are critical flaws in methodology,” as the study is based only on 23 per cent of households from part of 14 states from the NFHS survey between January and April 2021.

“It cannot be considered representative of the country”, it said that the “nature of the estimates is erroneous.”

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Citing the data from India’s Sample Registration System (SRS) which covers around 84 lakh population in 24 lakh households in 8,842 sample units spread across 36 States/UTs in the country, the ministry noted that India had “very little, if any, excess mortality in 2020 compared with 2019 data (crude death rate 6.0/1000 in 2020, crude death rate 6.0/1000 in 2019) and no reduction in life expectancy.”

Moreover, the MoHFW said that contrary to the study claims of higher female mortality, “research data from cohorts and registries consistently shows higher mortality due to Covid-19 in males than females (2:1) and in older age groups (several-fold higher in > 60 years olds than in 0-15-year-old children).”

–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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