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Antibiotic resistance: Your kitchen sponge could be the new weapon against it

Training and Health The Health Site

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem that is assuming alarming proportions.Here is a low-down on the condition and ways to fight it plus a new research that brings a ray of hope.
'The humble kitchen sponge has always been viewed as the breeding ground for germs. In fact, in a study published in Nature Scientific Reports , German researchers found the presence of more than 54 billion bacteria across 118 genera in kitchen sponges. They also found that cleaning the sponge thoroughly did not help much. But now, thanks to a new study, this very kitchen sponge could provide the key to fighting antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to researchers from the New York Institute of Technology, bacteriophages or viruses that infect bacteria, thrive in kitchen sponges. As the threat of antibiotic resistance increases, these bacteriophages can be used to kill the bacteria that antibiotics alone can’t kill. ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, presented the research recently. What is antibiotic resistance? Bacteria and fungi are constantly mutating. Antibiotic resistance happens when they mutate to defeat the antibiotic created to kill them. This is a global problem. It is posing a serious health risk to patients with conditions that require the administration of antibiotics. Their conditions become difficult to treat and involves more expenses on hospital stay and post hospitalisation check-ups. At times, it becomes downright impossible to treat such patients. There is a common misconception that antibiotic resistance means that a person’s body is resistant to the medication. But what it actually means is that the bacteria has become immune to the  medicine designed to kill it. Sometimes, the terms ‘antimicrobial resistance’ or ‘drug resistance’ are also used to refer to this problem. Severity of the problem According to media reports, around 7.5 lakh people in the country lose their lives to antibiotic resistance. This number is likely to increase and reach 10 lakh by 2050 as incidences of common infections and and minor injuries increasingly claiming lives are coming to light. According to the estimates of the World Health Organisation (WHO), multi-drug resistant bacteria are the most critical group of resistance species posing a threat in hospitals, nursing homes and patients and care for this condition requires devices like ventilators and blood catheters. This problem could soon become the most urgent public health concern if the solution takes time to emerge. And, victims will not be just humans. It has the potential to spread to veterinary treatments and also to the agricultural industries. In a recent report on antimicrobial resistant pathogens, the World Health Organisation put several gram-negative bacteria at the top of its list, stating that new treatments for these bacteria were “Priority 1 Critical”. This is because they cause infections with high death rates and are rapidly becoming resistant to all present treatments. One picks up these bacteria mostly in hospitals. Who are at high risk? This problem does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any age anywhere. People with chronic illnesses will suffer the most if antibiotics they require lose their effectiveness. It will affect the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, asthma and cancer. Moreover, procedures like joint replacements and organ transplants will also suffer because of this. People should try and not fall victim to infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis because the antibiotics used to treat them have become resistant. Keeping antibiotic resistance at bay Misuse of antibiotics is the culprit behind the acceleration of antibiotic resistance. It is important to use only those antibiotics that your doctor prescribes. It is also equally important to stick to the prescribed format. Never, ever, self-medicate. Take precautions to avoid infections. Wash hands regularly , practise safe sex, avoid contact with sick people and get your vaccinations in order. Switch to food that is produced without the use of antibiotics. Doctors point out that general public should be made more aware of the fact that for certain ailments like common cold and cough do not require antibiotics to be treated and can be tackled with simple medicines. WHO’s action plan In response to this problem, the World Health Organisation endorsed a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, at the World Health Assembly in May 2015. The 5 strategic objectives of this global action plan are: Improving awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance. Strengthening surveillance and research. Reducing the incidence of infection. Optimising the use of antimicrobial medicines. Ensuring sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance Hope for the future Experts point out that there has been no discovery of new antibiotic molecule despite research in the area in the last three decades. But recently, these have been some good news. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered how antibiotic resistance spreads through a hospital or community. It found that the preservation of the effectiveness of the current antibiotics is possible to a certain extent by curtailing the spread of antibiotic-resistance genes.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  published the findings . Researchers have also discovered a new drug compound which kills antibiotic resistant gram-negative bacteria that can cause infections including pneumonia, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections. The research, published in the journal ACS Nano , describes the new compound which kills gram-negative E. coli, including a multi-drug resistant pathogen said to be responsible for millions of antibiotic resistant infections worldwide annually. In a recent report on antimicrobial resistant pathogens, the World Health Organisation put several gram-negative bacteria at the top of its list. The report stated that new treatments for these bacteria were “Priority 1 Critical” .   (With inputs from IANS)'

Preventive health checkup is the most effective way of promoting healthy living. Here’s why!

Training and Health Emit Post

Preventive health checkup is a thorough medical investigation that is carried out to review the complete physical and mental well-being of an individual. It includes a series of medical tests that are made affordable in a single package. It has a
'Preventive health checkup is a thorough medical investigation that is carried out to review the complete physical and mental well-being of an individual. It includes a series of medical tests that are made affordable in a single package. It has a few basic objectives, none bigger than promoting healthy living in the community and ensuring the well-being of each and every individual. Preventive health checkup is the first point of contact to improve the quality of life of both healthy people, as well as the ones suffering from various diseases. The main purpose of preventive health checkups is disease prevention and disease reversal. PHC’s detect diseases in the early stages, even before they are clinically evident. Many lifestyles diseases are also reversed by regular checkups through a scientific approach. A preventive health checkup provider offers comprehensive healthcare services for the medical needs of patients suffering from various health conditions. One of the best Multi Super Specialty hospitals in India , Nayati Healthcare offers valuable preventive health checkup packages to serve society. The preventive health checkup package offered by Nayati Hospital includes blood tests for diabetes (FBS, PPBS, and HBA1C), cholesterol (lipid profile), liver (LFT), kidney (KFT) etc. The package also includes ECG, 2D echo, TMT, CT coronary angiography for heart, BMD (Dexa scan) for bones, mammography and Pap Smear for cancer,  audiometry for ear and PFT for lung, to name a few. Preventive health checkups also ensure health maintenance, and control conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Early detection of severe health conditions through preventive health checkups helps in initiating the treatment before the disease turns fatal. The ultimate goal is to ensure better health for all. “Preventive health checkups provide increased accessibility to advanced health care system for the community in a cost-effective manner, resulting in excellent health outcomes and prevention of dangerous diseases,” says a health practitioner at Nayati Hospital . Many healthcare providers like Nayati Healthcare specialize in diagnosing, treating and preventing a variety of medical conditions in the community through preventive health checkups. It is responsible for screening all major health-related conditions to benefit the people while handling complex and chronic conditions for a healthy living.'

Surprising weight loss tricks you can try

Training and Health The Health Site

It is possible to lose weight without a draining routine or tough-to-follow diet programme.Here are some smart and unusual ways to shed those extra kilos that you didn’t know about.
'Sticking to a diet plan can be extremely difficult and people frequently opt out of these for numerous reasons. But there are a few smart, unusual and easy-to-follow eating tricks you can resort to. These will bring about significant changes in your weighing scale. Sniff your food Sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking that you’re actually eating. Neutral sweet smells can also bring down your hunger levels. Some food smells that can work as appetite suppressants are garlic, fennel and grapefruit. Eat in a blue plate Scientists say that the colour blue functions as an appetite suppressant. They have found that people eat 33 per cent less in a blue room. The reason behind this can be traced back to the ancient times when this colour indicated poison. Ditch diet soda Diet soda can make you gain weight as it makes you feel hungry. It can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabeties. Switching to water is a much healthier alternative and also helps to suppress hunger. Eat in small plates The size of your plate and the portion of food you end up gulping down is directly related. If you eat in a big plate, you tend to take bigger servings, which eventually make you overeat. One of the best ways to control your portions is to eat in small plates, Look at the mirror while eating If you look at yourself while eating anything unhealthy, you will find it less tasteful. This will have you reduce the consumption of that particular food and promote healthy eating habits.  However, looking into a mirror doesn’t change your perception of a healthy food. Eat spicy food Spicy foods help in burning fat by increasing your metabolism. This is because foods like hot peppers have capsaicin which helps in raising your body temperature. This results in burning a few calories and decreasing your appetite. Chew slowly Your brain might take some time to register that you have eaten enough. Chewing slowly increases your satiation levels helping you take in fewer calories. Slow eating also stimulates the production of leptin, the hormone that signals that you are full. Eat eggs for breakfast Replacing a grain based breakfast with eggs or any source of quality protein is a good idea. It makes you feel full and eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours. This could be great for losing more weight and body fat. Use vanilla scented candles If you have a sweet tooth , simply light a vanilla scented candle after the main course is over. Vanilla scented candles suppress your appetite and you will not feel like having dessert anymore. It is especially helpful in curbing your craving for sweets. Turn the lights up Dim lights are known to reduce your inhibitions about food and make you order more. Be sure to make your dining area is well-lit when you eat at home. You can also play a soft for music at the backdrop as it relaxes you'

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome: Are litchis really the culprit?

Training and Health The Health Site

Doctors have blamed the litchi fruit for the spread of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.But is the fruit really the villain here as everybody seems to think?Dr.
'Acute encephalitis syndrome is a serious health problem in India and it has assumed epidemic proportions in Bihar. This disease causes inflammation of the brain . Symptoms range from high fever, confusion, disorientation and delirium. It can induce coma if left untreated. Most of the victims are children. The recent outbreak of the disease in Bihar has so far claimed 110 lives. This has spread fear among many patients. Everybody wants to know if it is safe to eat litchis. Encephalitis is spreading in litchi growing areas of Bihar, including Muzaffarpur district, besides making an appearance in other parts of the country. Many experts have also confirmed that eating the fruit can spread the disease. But it was seen, that in Muzaffarpur, many of the victims also had very low sugar levels. They were also from the poorer section of society. So, maybe litchi is not the only contributing factor and there are other reasons behind this epidemic. Causes of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) affects the central nervous system, mostly in children and young adults. It is a viral disease. Symptoms include high fever, convulsions and headache. AES is complex and can be caused by either a virus or bacteria or fungi or a range of other agents. Scrub typhus, dengue, mumps, measles, Nipah and Zika virus can also cause this disease. Thus, many cases of AES remain clinically unidentified. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Neusrosciences in 2016, apart from viral encephalitis, a severe form of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis can also cause AES. The causative agent of AES varies with season and geographical location. It predominantly affects children below 15 years of age. Litchis do not cause Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Sleeping on an empty stomach at night, dehydration due to humidity and eating litchi on an empty stomach can cause AES. Blood sugar goes down in the early mornings after several hours of fasting. Undernourished children who sleep without eating a meal at night develop hypoglycemia (a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose level drops too low). The brain needs normal levels of glucose in the blood. The liver is unable to supply the need. The body then turns on the alternate pathway of glucose synthesis for fatty acid oxidation. Methyl Carboxy Phenyl Glycine (MCPG), found in litchis, blocks this pathway. Thus, litchi does not cause any harm in well-nourished children, but only in undernourished children who had consumed the fruit on an empty stomach. Effects of the toxin on undernourished children The liver of a well-nourished child stores glycogen (glucose polysaccharide). When the glucose level goes down, this glycogen breaks down into glucose and circulates in the blood to regularise blood sugar. But undernourished children (who belong to poor families) don’t have an adequate glycogen reserve to convert into glucose. Hence, the natural mechanism in undernourished children cannot correct the low glucose level in their blood and this causes hypoglycemia.Generally, when the glycogen reserve in liver is exhausted or is insufficient, the body tends to convert the fatty acid (non-carbohydrate energy source) into glucose. Unripe litchis contain high levels of a naturally occurring amino acid derivative called hypoglycin. This inhibits the body’s ability to produce glucose, causing hypoglycemia. But the litchi toxin blocks the the conversion process midway. Therefore, the body is unable to generate glucose and, as a result, does not correct the low blood glucose level. Don’t say no to litchi Litchi is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), potassium and copper. It contains antioxidants and has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Furthermore, it keeps blood sugar in check, reduces weight, protects the liver and boosts the immune system . It is a rich source of polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants) and proanthocyanidins. This prevents cardiovascular problems and even cancer.'

Health challenges of obese fathers and their kids

Training and Health The Health Site

While a new study reveals that having those extra kilos as a father can impact your child’s health, here we tell you about health consequences that obesity can bring to you.
'It is a well-known fact that a mother’s health affects her child’s well-being. However, do you know that a father’s health condition can also have significant effects on his kids? Yes, you read it right. According to a recent study published in the journal BMC Medicine, father’s lifestyle could be passed onto their kids by an epigenetic mechanism. This means that if you are obese, your child can also have those extra kilos. Moreover, there are other health challenges that kids of overweight dads face, suggests research. Several studies have shown that kids with obese fathers exhibit developmental delay. However, your obesity doesn’t only put your child’s health at stake. It can do much more harm to your body than you can think of. Obesity can take a toll on your physical functionality and increase your vulnerability towards life-threatening conditions in the long run. Notably, obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year due to this condition, says WHO. According to the definition of this world body, a person with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 is obese. BMI is a measurement derived from your weight and height. It estimates your body composition and tells you whether you are underweight, overweight or have an ideal weight. Certain risk factors including genetics, age, and medical problems can also increase your risk of being obese. Here, we tell you about some of the health conditions that you may fall prey to if you are obese. Cardiovascular disease Obesity is a major risk factor behind the onset of cardiovascular diseases, says WHO. Being overweight puts you at the risk of developing atherosclerosis, observes a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research . Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol builds up in your blood, vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients from heart to the rest of the body. This blocks the blood flow to your organs and tissues forcing your heart to put pressure on the vessels to pump blood. This results in hypertension. Also, the plaque accumulated in the arteries can burst and cause blood clot, putting you at the risk of having heart attack. In case the clot is in the brain, you may experience a stroke. Symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on the location of the arteries affected. In case of cholesterol accumulation in heart arteries, you will experience chest pain. If it has affected arteries in the brain, you may feel weakness in your arms or legs, slurred speech, loss of vision, etc. Respiratory disorders According to a study published in the International Journal of General Medicine, “ Obesity decreases lung volumes, which are reflected by a more restrictive ventilatory pattern.” It can lead to ineffectiveness of the respiratory muscles and strength, causing respiratory overload. If you are obese, cholesterol or fats may get deposited on the walls of the lungs restricting oxygen flow. Also, it may cause inflammation that can result into asthma. People who are overweight are at higher risk for respiratory infections . Asthma is three to four times more common among people with obesity than those without the condition. Sleep apnea It is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops (briefly) and starts again. Fat deposits around the upper airway can obstruct breathing and reduce oxygen flow in the brain and the rest of the body, causing obstructive sleep apnea. There are basically two types of sleep apnea namely obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The former occurs due to the blockage of airways whereas the latter happens when your brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to reduced respiratory control centre. Sleep apnoea is characterized by loud snoring, sore throat, morning headache, irritability, insomnia, etc. It may cause daytime sleepiness and make heart disease and stroke more likely. Apart from obesity, certain other risk factors of this condition are sex (male), old age, having large tonsils, family history, nasal obstruction, etc. If not treated on time, it may also cause metabolic syndrome, liver problem, high blood pressure, etc. Diabetes There are various hypotheses about how obesity leads to diabetes. One of them states that accumulation of fats in the body stresses the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) present in cells. It is a type of organelle that is responsible for the synthesis of proteins and lipids. When ER has a lot of lipids to process, it sends signals to the cells to stop responding to insulin. This leads to insulin resistance that causes concentration of sugar in the blood, a sign of diabetes.  According to a study published in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, accumulation of adipose tissue affects metabolism by secreting hormones, glycerol, and other substances like NEFAs, a known factor to cause insulin resistance . In obese individuals, the secretion of these substances will be increased. Osteoarthritis Fat does more than just hanging around inconvenient places, making it tough for you to pull on your favourite clothes. Obesity can destroy your joints too. Excess fat causes destruction of cartilage and joints in a non-mechanical way. It keeps on gradually releasing inflammation-causing proteins and other biochemicals like tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1. These proteins lead to joint inflammation, making them vulnerable to developing osteoarthritis. It is a type of arthritis characterized by symptoms like pain, tenderness, stiffness in joints , loss of flexibility, swelling in bones, grating sensation, etc. Osteoarthritis can potentially worsen with time and result in chronic pain and difficulty in performing daily tasks. Apart from obesity, factors like older age, genetics, joint injuries, bone deformities, metabolic disease, etc. can also increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis.'