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Reducing air pollution key to fight new diabetes cases in India: Doctors

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New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Reducing air pollution levels in India can be the key to curb the rising burden of diabetes in the country, health experts said on Thursday.

With a tenth of all Indians having diabetes, the country is already known as the diabetes capital of the world. Data shows India is home to 101 million diabetics and 136 million pre-diabetic people. The prevalence of chronic disease is expected to soar further, especially among young adults.

Earlier known to affect the lungs, research now confirms that air pollution can be a significant contributor to the onset of diabetes in India.

The latest Lancet study showed that 20 per cent of global Type 2 diabetes cases are related to chronic exposure to particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of 2·5 micrometres or less (PM2·5).

About 13.4 per cent was derived from ambient PM2.5 and 6.5 per cent from household air pollution.

Dr Ambrish Mithal, Chairman, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Max HealthCare, told IANS that there is now data to suggest that PM 2.5, which is 30 times thinner than the human hair increases the risk of type two diabetes.

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“Even one month of exposure can increase the risk of insulin resistance and developing diabetes. And prolonged exposure will increase the risk of diabetes by up to 20 per cent,” he said.

The air pollution levels in India are among the highest in the world. In 2023, the country was ranked the third-most polluted country globally, after Bangladesh and Pakistan, as per the 2023: World Air Quality Report.

So, while the WHO recommends five micrograms per cubic metre of PM 2.5 is acceptable, in India, the average is 50, and in some cities, it goes up even higher, the doctor said.

“The effect of air pollution on the lungs has been well documented. Recent evidence shows that air pollution can also act as an endocrine disruptor leading to type 2 diabetes,” Dr V. Mohan, Chairman, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre told IANS.

Citing a recent study from India which followed 12,064 adults residing in Delhi and Chennai for 7 years, he said: “A 10 milligrams per cubic metre of air, increase in monthly average exposure to PM2.5 was associated with 0.04 milligrams per deciliter increase in fasting sugar and a 0.021 unit increase in HbA1c.”

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The HbA1c test is used to evaluate a person’s level of glucose control.

“An increase in average annual PM2.5 exposure by 10 milligrams per cubic metre of air, was associated with a 22 per cent increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes. This shows the importance of avoiding air pollution to improve the health of people in general and in the prevention of type 2 diabetes in particular,” the noted diabetologist said.

Experts noted that curbing air pollution levels is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for preventing new onset of diabetes cases.

How is air pollution linked to diabetes?

PM 2.5 is a tiny particle that enters the bloodstream and attaches to the cells to produce insulin resistance.

“It can possibly attack the pancreas and cause inflammation there and possibly reduce insulin secretion,” Dr Mithal said.

“While the exact mechanism is not clearly worked out, it seems to be both at the level of insulin resistance and insulin secretion. But, there is no doubt that there is a link between air pollution and diabetes and it is one of the significant contributing factors in the increase of diabetes in India,” he added.

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The doctor noted that poor air quality is also emerging as a major factor behind the rising cardiovascular problems in the country.

“Amid the growing link between diabetes, heart risk, and air pollution we need cleaner energy and rules on pollution,” Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman & Director, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Fortis C-Doc Hospital, told IANS.

“More green spaces in cities can also help. Masks and air purifiers might help a bit, but not everyone can afford purifiers. Public education is key. We need everyone — government, businesses, and communities — to work together,” he said.

–IANS

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86 pc of firms globally experimenting with GenAI for innovation: Report

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) About 86 per cent of organisations globally are experimenting with GenAI for innovation, R&D, or product development, while 8 per cent are currently applying GenAI at scale, a new report showed on Wednesday.

In the GenAI race, ‘ready’ innovators are already moving out ahead.

They’re applying GenAI more frequently in a single use case and are five times more likely to have applied it at scale, according to the global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“GenAI can boost efficiency and bring a fresh perspective to an organisation, empowering its innovation function to invent faster and better,” said Michael Ringel, a BCG managing director and senior partner and a co-author of the report.

The report surveyed over 1,000 senior innovation executives around the world.

Moreover, the report mentioned that this year, a record 83 per cent of senior executives ranked innovation among their organisations’ top three priorities.

When business leaders were asked to rank the challenges facing their innovation teams, strategy concerns topped the list, with 52 per cent citing an unclear or overly broad strategy as one of their top three challenges.

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Rising interest rates and talent constraints were cited among the top three concerns of 47 per cent and 44 per cent of innovation executives, respectively.

–IANS

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EU slaps extra tariffs of up to 38 per cent on Chinese EVs

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The European Commission on Wednesday announced to impose provisional duties of up to 38.1 per cent on the import of Chinese electric vehicles (EVs).

An investigation by the Commission concluded that the battery electric vehicles (BEVs) value chain in China benefits from “unfair subsidization”, which is causing a threat of “economic injury” to EU BEV producers.

The individual duties on three Chinese EV producers would be 17.4 per cent for BYD, 20 per cent for Geely and 38.1 per cent for SAIC.

Other BEV producers in China, which cooperated in the investigation but have not been sampled, would be subject to the average duty of 21 per cent.

According to the Commission, all other BEV producers in China who did not cooperate in the investigation would be subject to the residual duty of 38.1 per cent.

On October 4, 2023, the Commission formally initiated a probe on imports of battery electric vehicles originating in China.

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“Following a substantiated request, one BEV producer in China – Tesla – may receive an individually calculated duty rate at the definitive stage,” the Commission said.

Last month, US President Joe Biden announced plans to quadruple tariffs on Chinese EVs and hike duties for solar cells, semiconductors and other “strategic” sectors.

The Biden administration plans to hike tariffs this year on Chinese EVs from 25 per cent to 100 per cent.

–IANS

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Google, Apple fined for allegedly violating location data law in South Korea

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Seoul, June 12 (IANS) The South Korean units of Google and Apple were among firms fined for allegedly violating a law on location data collection, the telecom regulator here said on Wednesday.

Google’s Korean unit was ordered to pay a fine of 3 million won (US$2,180) for allegedly violating a clause on disclosing its policy on location data, according to the Korean Communications Commission (KCC), reports Yonhap news agency.

Apple’s Korean unit was also ordered to pay a fine of 210 million won for allegedly collecting location data without consent, violating the clause on disclosing its policy on location data and others, the commission said.

The commission imposed fines on 188 firms, including the Korean units of Google and Apple, for violating the Act on the Protection and Use of Location Information.

The administrative measures came as a result of a regular inspection of companies handling location information conducted under the revised location information protection act in 2022.

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“Location information is a key resource to improve users’ convenience and a foundation for the growth of innovative industries, but we need to consider the protection of individuals’ privacy and social security in using the information,” KCC Chairman Kim Hong-il said.

–IANS

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Bill Gates to feature on Nikhil Kamath’s podcast, discuss tech, global health, philanthropy

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Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, who co-founded the IT giant with Paul Allen, is set to appear on the popular podcast series ‘WTF is with Nikhil Kamath’ in the new segment, ‘People By WTF’.

Bill Gates will be the first guest on the segment.

The special segment delves into Gates’ extensive experience in technology, his visionary insights on the future of global health, and his ongoing commitment to humanitarian causes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Most recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the largest philanthropies in the world, bolstered the dissemination of Covid-19 vaccines across the world along with Gavi, the Wellcome Trust and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Both Bill Gates and Nikhil Kamath share a philanthropic association with Nikhil having pledged to donate 50 per cent of his wealth to ‘The Giving Pledge,’ founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

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Their collaboration extends to the educational initiative in Karnataka, Young India Philanthropic Pledge (YIPP).

The YIPP represents a commitment by India’s young change-makers to dedicate a minimum of 25 per cent of their wealth to drive global change, beginning with India.

This joint endeavour underscores their shared commitment to improving educational outcomes and empowering the youth of India for a brighter future.

‘People by WTF’ featuring Bill Gates is set to stream on all major platforms on June 14, 2024.

–IANS

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COAI shares key priorities for telecom sector's robust growth

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) on Wednesday shared key priorities for the telecom industry that it wishes the government to address and help the sector achieve its goals.

According to the industry body, the availability of 6 GHz mid-band spectrum is crucial to expand the 5G networks, especially the IMT (mobility services) in the country.

“Unfortunately in the last spectrum auction, we could get only 800 MHz, so to fulfil the requirement, we need to get 1200 MHz from the 6GHz range. A recent report by GSMA says that India can save as much as $10 billion annually in 5G network deployment through the use of 6 GHz spectrum,” said Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI.

With the anticipated spectrum auction for 5G by June end, the industry body requested the government to address the industry’s longstanding issues about spectrum pricing and related revenue concerns.

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It also urged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to revisit the spectrum pricing recommendation, in line with global norms.

“We also request TRAI to do away with the minimum rollout obligations, giving telecom service providers (TSPs) the freedom to decide the rollout strategy upon acquiring the spectrum,” said the industry body.

The (TSPs) in India have been requesting the regulatory authorities to implement a fair share data network usage policy, wherein the large traffic generators (LTGs) pay a share of their revenue with TSPs who provide the complete infrastructure for their data requirements.

The ICT manufacturing landscape in India has undergone a dramatic shift over the past decade, owing to the initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The PLI scheme for telecom and networking products worth Rs 12,195 crore and its amendment in June 2022 to introduce a Design-led manufacturing scheme with additional incentives of more than $533.33 million are clear mandates indicating the government’s progressive approach to core manufacturing.

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“However, there are challenges which need prior attention. In telecom manufacturing, the challenges associated with testing and certification of the equipment are crucial to ensure the safety and security of 5G infrastructure in the country,” said the COAI.

The industry body also requested the government to increase the number of test labs to support the testing of a massive volume of products and provide exemption on Customs duties for products that enter India for testing and certification temporarily.

–IANS

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