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Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar visits Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad's Genome Valley

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Hyderabad, April 26 (IANS) Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday visited Bharat Biotech, which is focused on innovation, research & development, and large-scale manufacturing facilities for vaccines.

Accompanied by Telangana Governor C.P. Radhakrishnan, the Vice President went around the company’s premises at Genome Valley.

Dr. Krishna Ella, Executive Chairman of Bharat Biotech and Suchitra Ella, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, welcomed the Vice President.

V-P Dhankhar was briefed in detail about the manufacturing facility, the intricate processes involved in vaccine production, and the company’s initiatives to develop new molecules and vaccine candidates to fight neglected diseases that affect the developing world, specifically focused on malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, and chikungunya.

The Vice President, who began his tour by planting a medicinal sapling, admired Bharat Biotech’s dedication and resilience during unprecedented challenges.

“I am at a place where people are driven with a passion for research, development, and concern for society. Bharat Biotech has not only helped the nation fight the pandemic by developing indigenous vaccines but also contributed immensely in digital penetration,” he said and called for greater collaboration between industry, academia and support to back more research in all sectors.

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Dr. Krishna Ella thanked the Vice President for recognising Bharat Biotech’s dedication and reaffirmed the company’s continued commitment to developing novel vaccines, contributing to national self-reliance goals, and shaping a healthier future.

The Vice President was also taken on a virtual tour, offering a glimpse into the inner workings of the production facility.

From the state-of-the-art equipment to precise quality control measures, the virtual tour provided a fascinating insight into the meticulous process involved in researching and developing each vaccine dose rolled out from the facility, such as the Rotavirus Vaccine, Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine and Hepatitis Vaccine.

–IANS

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Health/medicine

Celine Dion says she went from 2 mg to fatal 90 mg of Valium during health struggles

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Los Angeles, June 12 (IANS) Singer-songwriter Celine Dion looked back at her health journey through a lens of gratitude after managing undiagnosed stiff-person syndrome symptoms for 17 years.

The music superstar opened up about the symptoms that began manifesting in the mid-2000s, including muscle spasms, difficulty breathing and singing, reports People magazine.

She spoke about her “crisis” episodes during which her entire body locked up which caused pain. The first time she felt a spasm nearly 20 years ago, she was in Germany on tour.

She told People: “I had breakfast, and I suddenly started to feel a spasm. My vocal exercise made it worse.”

The singer is set to give fans an in-depth look at her fight against stiff-person syndrome in an emotional new documentary, ‘I Am: Celine Dion’.

As per People, the singer tried remedies ranging from steam showers to over-the-counter medications and made appointments with ear, nose and throat physicians and ophthalmologists, all of which were unfruitful.

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As her symptoms intensified, the ‘My Heart Will Go On’ singer, beloved for her vocal precision and inimitable stage presence, was advised to take prescription medications, including muscle relaxants like Valium.

“We started with two milligrams to see if it would help, and then 2.5, and then three, and 15 and 50,” she said noting the medication began wearing off so quickly that at one point she took 90 milligrams of Valium to power through a performance.

“It could have been fatal. I did not question the level because I don’t know medicine. I thought it was going to be okay. It worked for a few days, for a few weeks, and then it doesn’t work anymore,” she said.

“I did not understand that I could have gone to bed and stopped breathing. And you learn — you learn through your mistakes.”

Currently, the singer is “very, very happy and fortunate” that she’s able to share her learnings with others.

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–IANS

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Weight loss surgery can stop prediabetes in its tracks: Study

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New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) People with prediabetes and severe obesity who underwent metabolic and bariatric surgery were 20 times less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, claimed a new study on Tuesday.

The study showed that only 1.8 per cent of patients progressed to diabetes in five years after weight loss surgeries like Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.

The numbers rose to 3.3 per cent in 10 years and 6.7 per cent after 15 years, according to researchers from the Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania, US.

The team found that the protective effect against diabetes is higher among gastric bypass patients. On the other hand, nearly a third (31.1 per cent) of patients with no prior metabolic surgery saw their prediabetes develop into diabetes within five years, which increased to 51.5 per cent and 68.7 per cent at 10 and 15 years, respectively.

“This is the first study to analyse the long-term impact of metabolic and bariatric surgery on the potential progression of prediabetes and the impact is significant and durable,” said David Parker, co-author and a bariatric surgeon at Geisinger.

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“It demonstrates that metabolic surgery is as much a treatment as it is a prevention for diabetes.”

Prediabetes is a serious condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. For the retrospective, 1,326 patients with prediabetes before undergoing either Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy between 2001 and 2022, were matched with non-surgical controls from a primary care cohort.

The study was presented at the ongoing American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 2024 Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego.

–IANS

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Prataprao Ganpatrao Jadhav takes charge as MoS for Health, Ayush Ministry

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New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Prataprao Ganpatrao Jadhav on Tuesday took charge as Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, the ministry announced.

He will also work as the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Ayush.

Before taking charge, “Jadhav planted a sapling at his residence. After assuming charge, he also took a pledge to donate his organs,” the ministry said.

Jadhav had previously represented the people of Maharashtra in various capacities, including as a Member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for three terms and as a State Minister for Sports, Youth Welfare and Irrigation.

He was elected to the Lok Sabha from the constituency of Buldhana in 2009, 2014, 2019, and again in 2024. He was also the State Minister for Sports, Youth Welfare & Irrigation, Government of Maharashtra from 1997 to 1999.

In Lok Sabha, he has held key positions such as Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology.

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–IANS

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Insomnia loss can raise risk of ovarian cancer, impact survival: Experts

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New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Women with sleep loss condition insomnia may be at significant risk of developing ovarian cancer, said experts on Tuesday.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it difficult for a person to fall asleep or stay asleep.

People with the condition are also likely to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. They may continue to feel tired after waking up.

“Insomnia, commonly linked to stress and anxiety, may also play a role in the risk and survival rates of ovarian cancer patients. Research suggests that disturbed sleep patterns could heighten inflammation and weaken the immune system, potentially fostering cancer growth,” Dr. Kinjal Kothari, Associate Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynecology, Manipal Hospital, Goa, told IANS.

A recent study published in the Lancet shows that treating insomnia in high-grade ovarian cancers can improve survival. The study also proposed that treating insomnia may be able to prevent ovarian cancer.

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Cancer incidence and prevalence are on a rising trend. With the trend, there is a blazing need to study the patterns of the disease and ways to improve the survival and quality of life of the patient.

“Sleep disorders are common among cancer patients. It may be a sleepless or abnormal sleep-wake cycle; probably more than half of the patients are affected. The patient’s quality of life is negatively impacted,” Dr. Karthik K S, Consultant Surgical Oncology, KMC Hospital, Mangalore, told IANS.

Sleep symptoms may also be due to the psychological impact (like anxiety and depression) of the disease on the patient and the family, the doctor said.

“Patients may have sleep loss because of pain and pressure symptoms of the cancer. Side effects and complications of treatment like nausea and vomiting can also affect sleep,” Dr. Karthik said.

Dr. M.A. Raja, Director & Senior Consultant – Medical Oncology, MGM Cancer Institute, Chennai told IANS that sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers and negatively affect their prognosis.

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“Sleep is essential for the human body, intricately involved in endocrine, metabolic, and immunoregulatory pathways, which are also implicated in various cancers. These shared pathways may account for the increased risk of sleep disturbances among cancer patients, with insomnia being the most prevalent,” the doctor said.

Moreover, insomnia often leads to poorer mental health, which can indirectly affect treatment adherence and overall well-being during cancer therapy. Understanding this connection underscores the importance of addressing sleep disturbances in cancer care.

“Developing tailored interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, could potentially improve outcomes for ovarian cancer patients by promoting better sleep and bolstering resilience against the disease,” Dr. Kinjal said.

–IANS

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Study decodes how pathogens infect human lung tissue

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New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) A new study on Monday showed novel insights into how pathogens invade the lungs using lab-grown lung microtissues generated from human stem cells.

The team from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel in Switzerland focussed on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, part of WHO’s list of 12 of the world’s most dangerous bacterial pathogens.

The bacterium targets specific lung cells and has developed a sophisticated strategy to break through the lungs’ line of defence. It is especially threatening to immunocompromised patients and those on mechanical ventilation, with mortality rates up to 50 per cent.

In the journal Nature Microbiology, the team describes how Pseudomonas breaches the top layer of lung tissue and invades deeper areas by using lab-grown human lung microtissues that realistically mimic the infection process inside a patient’s body. “These lung models enabled us to uncover the pathogen’s infection strategy. It uses the mucus-producing goblet cells as Trojan horses to invade and cross the barrier tissue. By targeting the goblet cells, which make up only a small part of the lung mucosa, the bacteria can breach the defence line and open the gate,” said Prof Urs Jenal at the Biozentrum.

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Pseudomonas attacks and invades the goblet cells via secretion systems. It then replicates inside the cells and ultimately kills them. The burst of the dead cells leads to ruptures in the tissue layer, affecting the protective barrier. With this, the pathogens rapidly colonise and spread into deeper tissue regions.

Jenal’s team also developed a biosensor to measure and track a small signalling molecule called c-di-GMP in individual bacteria in real-time.

–IANS

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