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Study finds 80 pc microplastics in blood clots behind heart attack, stroke

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New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) A team of scientists in China detected a whopping 80 per cent of microplastics from blood clots that may have contributed to stroke, heart attack, and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Microplastics — any type of plastic less than 5 mm long — have long been known as a significant environmental and health concern worldwide.

The new study, published in the journal eBioMedicine, showed that the blood clot samples were found in the cerebral arteries in the brain, coronary arteries in the heart, and deep veins in the lower extremities of 30 patients.

“Microplastics found in 80 per cent of clots retrieved from blood vessels after heart attack, stroke, or deep venous thrombosis. This is really bad news. Plastics are everywhere in modern life,” Tatiana Prowell, Associate Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University in the US, wrote in a post on X.com.

The study stressed the need to accurately investigate the impact of microplastics on human health. It showed that the presence of microplastics may increase the severity of heart attack, stroke, or deep venous thrombosis.

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“Our findings suggest that microplastics of different concentrations, polymer types, and physical properties are present in human thrombi (blood clots) and that higher levels of microplastics may be associated with disease severity,” said the researchers from the First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, China.

“Future research with a larger sample size is urgently needed to identify the sources of exposure and validate the observed trends in the study,” they added.

–IANS

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SGPGI doctors in Lucknow perform world's first robotic surgery

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Lucknow, July 14 (IANS) Doctors at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) here have performed the world’s first robotic surgery to treat a rare case of pelvic lipomatosis, an official said.

The official spokesperson said, “The case related to a 24-year-old man who was diagnosed with a rare disease.”

Given the complexity of the case, the surgical team at SGPGI decided to perform an augmentation cystoplasty with bilateral ureteric reimplantation. This procedure involved enlarging the bladder using a section of the patient’s intestine and repositioning the ureters to ensure proper drainage and function.

The surgery was performed for more than seven hours. Such a complex procedure where the surgical correction of both the bladder and ureter is done in one setting with a surgical robot has not been reported anywhere in the world, the official added.

Uday Pratap Singh, who led the surgery, said this operation offers numerous advantages over traditional open or laparoscopic surgery.

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“The use of the da Vinci Xi robotic system allowed us to perform this complex surgery with unparalleled precision. This milestone is a testament to the capabilities of robotic surgery in treating rare and challenging conditions,” he said.

The patient’s post-operative recovery has been remarkable, with significant improvement in bladder and kidney function.

“This achievement underscores SGPGI’s commitment to advancing medical science and providing cutting-edge care to patients with complex urological conditions,” said SGPGIMS Director R.K. Dhiman.

–IANS

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Indian-American scientist discovers new biomarker for obsessive compulsive disorder

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New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) A team of researchers led by an Indian-American scientist Dr Sameer Sheth has identified a specific neural activity pattern for patients who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and have undergone deep brain stimulation (DBS) for its treatment.

The team’s goal was to determine how low-frequency brain oscillations in the theta (4-8 Hertz) to alpha (8-12 Hertz) range, which have been shown in a substantial body of scientific literature to play an important role in cognitive processes, were altered in people with severe, treatment-resistant OCD.

To accomplish this, the team from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in the US used a novel feature of contemporary DBS devices: the ability to record brain activity in addition to providing stimulation.

Unlike most studies, which are done in lab conditions, this one was done in real-life situations.

Before DBS, predictable and periodic neural activity was seen and after its activation, symptomatic reactions were seen, because DBS helps the patients let go of their phobias and embedded responses, allowing them to behave more normally, the researchers noted in the study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

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“This neuro-psychological biomarker can serve as a better litmus test to check on the improvements in the lives of people having OCD and could be used for other debilitating conditions as well for they stem from similar neural patterns,” said Dr Sheth at Baylor College of Medicine.

OCD is a prevalent and debilitating mental health illness that affects approximately 2-3 per cent of the global population. In severe circumstances, patients spend a significant amount of time engaging in repetitive compulsions and dwell on intrusive ideas.

OCD has a significant impact on the health and quality of life of patients and careers. Approximately 20-40 per cent of people with severe OCD are resistant to traditional therapies.

Since the early 2000s, DBS therapy has been utilised to control neural activity in specific areas of the brain associated with OCD symptoms.

–IANS

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New biomarkers reveal if glaucoma patients are at high risk of losing eyesight

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New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) A team of researchers has discovered blood markers that may predict whether glaucoma patients are at a higher risk of continuing to lose eyesight after normal therapy.

Glaucoma (known as kala motia in India), affects nearly 11.2 million people aged 40 and above in India. It’s the third common cause of blindness in our country, according to experts.

The main factors for glaucoma are old age and high blood pressure. Treatments to lower the intraocular pressure in the eye are available but they are not foolproof.

Researchers from University College London (UCL) and Moorfields Eye Hospital in the UK investigated whether mitochondrial function, as evaluated in white blood cells, is lower in people with glaucoma and if there is any connection at all.

The subjects were studied on the efficiency of their blood cells using oxygen, the amount of eyesight lost over time, and the levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD).

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NAD is a chemical in the body that helps cells produce energy and is derived from vitamin B3 in the food.

Firstly, the researchers observed that particular cells in the blood, known as peripheral blood mononuclear cells, use oxygen differently in persons with glaucoma.

Secondly, people with glaucoma have lower amounts of NAD in their blood cells, which means lower oxygen consumption in their body cells, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

“White blood cell mitochondrial function and NAD levels, if introduced as a clinical test, would enable clinicians to predict which patients are at higher risk of continued vision loss, allowing them to be prioritised for more intensive monitoring and treatment,” said Senior author Professor David (Ted) Garway-Heath from UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

If research proves that low mitochondrial function or NAD is a factor, then new treatments can be introduced, said authors.

The researchers are now running a major clinical research to see if high-dose vitamin B3 can improve mitochondrial function and minimize vision loss, opening up new avenues.

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–IANS

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WHO donates medical supplies worth $9 million to Malawi

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Lilongwe, July 13 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated assorted medical supplies, including drugs worth $9 million , to the government of Malawi to support the country’s public hospitals.

When presenting the donation on Friday in Lilongwe, Neema Kimambo, the WHO country representative, expressed her organisation’s desire to see public hospitals in Malawi well-stocked and people have better access to healthcare services, reported Xinhua news agency.

Kimambo added that the WHO will continue to support the Malawian government by providing various resources to meet the needs of Malawi’s health system.

Malawian Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda hailed the donation, saying that the supplies will help address the shortage of medical supplies in the country’s public hospitals.

The WHO has been providing vital medicine and medical supplies to the Malawian government since 2022 through the country’s COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.

–IANS

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Deaths from West Nile fever in Israel surge to 31

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Jerusalem, July 13 (IANS) With 12 new fatalities confirmed, Israel has recorded 31 deaths from West Nile fever since an outbreak in the country in early May, health authorities said.

The Health Ministry on Friday, in a statement, reported 49 new infection cases, bringing the country’s total to 405, close to the annual record high of 425 cases in the year 2000, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Ministry attributed the high morbidity to warmer and more humid weather in the region, which is favourable to mosquitoes, a host that transmits the virus from birds through bites to humans.

The Israeli news website Ynet reported that most of the infected are elderly, aged 70 years and above, while children were also diagnosed with the virus.

Most human infections show no to mild cold symptoms, but occasionally, some people develop severe illnesses affecting the central nervous system.

Earlier this week, Israel’s chief veterinary officer, Tamir Goshen, told the news website that 159 birds were found infected with the virus in the last two months, compared to only three infections among birds in 2023.

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–IANS

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