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Skin care tips for summer

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Skin care tips for summer

Skin care tips for summer


  • It’s most important to keep your skin clean in the summer. Shower twice a day, making sure you keep the folds and creases of your skin clean.
  • A cool water shower cools the body and skin temperature and retains oils and moisture in the skin.
  • Treat your skin gently in summer. Use a gentle face wash suited to your skin type to cleanse your face twice daily.
  • Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm as sun’s rays are most powerful during 10am and 4pm.
  • Always use a good sunscreen regardless of whether you are in or out of the sun. For Indian skin use a broad spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and at least SPF 15.
  • Being Indians, our lips are prone to darkening and pigmentation. Do use a lip balm with sunscreen to prevent darkening.
  • Seek shade when you’re outdoors.
  • Wear a hat, preferably with a 4-inch brim all around, to effectively cover your face, neck and ears. Use protective gear like sunglasses with UV-blocking filters are very important, goggles, caps and umbrellas as much as possible, especially between 10 am and 5 pm.
  • Wear loose cotton clothes with long sleeves and long pants, making sure they’re made of tightly woven fabrics so your hands and legs are protected from the sun.
  • Persons who perspire more can dust some anti fungal powder such as in all the skin folds and on the feet and soles to prevent fungal infections and smelly feet.
  • Splash cold water on all sun exposed areas, when you come indoors.
  • Avoid make-up during summers less make-up is best. Under the intolerant sun natural looks are best.
  • We must all remember to do is to drink plenty of water or fluids during the summer so that the body remains hydrated and healthy.
  • At least 8 glasses of water are needed. If possible, carry a water bottle with you and remember to drink at least once every 30 min.
  • Drink cucumber juice, coconut-water, carrot juice or green tea as these also protects skin from the harmful effects of sun rays. Fresh fruit juices such as lime or lemon juice, water melon juice etc. also keeps you well hydrated.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those which are rich in vitamin C, which plays a major role in keeping the skin looking healthy. Eat more oranges, melon, broccoli, tomatoes and blueberries.
  • Have plenty of coloured fruits and vegetables as they are powerful anti-oxidants and fight the free radicles caused due to the sun and heat damage like carrots, papaya, pomegranate, beetroots and watermelon.


  • Eat vitamin E-rich foods, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and avocado. Vitamin E helps keep the skin moist and prevents its dehydration.


  • Zinc is an important mineral that is involved in the production of collagen and helps to repair skin damage. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, liver, lamb and baked beans.


  • Avoid highly salted foods, and avoid adding extra salt to your food; high salt intake leads to water retention and bloating.

What is Diabetes?

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

What is Diabetes?

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Medically known as ‘diabetes mellitus’, this disease is characterised by excessive thirst and urination with the urine being concentrated with high levels of glucose. In normal healthy persons, insulin, a hormone produced by pancreas mobilises glucose into body cells. However, in persons suffering from diabetes, either the insulin is not produced or even when it is being so, the body cells develop a resistance towards its action.
As such, the glucose keeps on building up in the body leading to a condition called hyperglycemia. The causes are multiple varying from genetic, infections and unhealthy diet to sedentary lifestyle. However, by religiously adhering to the medication, controlling weight and diet and modifying the lifestyle, diabetes can be managed.

Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas are unable to produce the much required insulin for controlling the blood sugar levels. This type of diabetes affects about 5-10 per cent of the people diagnosed with diabetes and there is no age bar for the same. Symptoms develop rather quickly.


  • Increased thirst and dry mouth
  • Fruity odour in the breath
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Unexplained weight loss despite an increased appetite
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Skin ailments including bacterial and fungal infections and dry, itchy skin
  • Fungal infections in genital areas of women

Amongst the complications and other severe symptoms are:

  • Blurring of vision
  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet
  • Dangerously low blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia
  • Loss of consciousness and ultimately diabetic coma


Even though a family history of diabetes increases the risk factor for Type 1 diabetes, it has the features of an auto-immune disease wherein the body’s own immune system kills the beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes often follows viral infections. The other risk factors include obesity or over weight, sedentary lifestyle, gestational diabetes during pregnancy, delivery of an overweight baby and certain medications including diuretics. It usually becomes visible in older persons.

Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or Type 2 diabetes

More than 90 per cent of persons suffering from diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. What happens in this type is that even though the insulin is being produced in the body, the cells become ‘insulin resistant’, i.e., they don’t respond to its action and thus do not take up the glucose from the blood for metabolism to get energy. As such, the glucose keeps on piling up in the blood. Weight loss, physical activity and oral medication for glucose control, can help in an integrated diabetes management. Pre-diabetes is often a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.


Symptoms which develop gradually include:

  • Cuts or sores which take a long time to heal
  • Skin infections
  • Excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • Fatigue and pain in legs
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurring of vision

Other risk factors

ther risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include increasing age, family history, a sedentary lifestyle without indulging in enough physical exercise, stress, over-weight, unhealthy eating like a diet rich in fats and carbohydrates and devoid of fibre, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and incidence of gestational diabetes.

Secondary diabetes

The most common cause for secondary diabetes is intake of certain diabetogenic drugs like steroids, some antipsychotics and drugs which are used after transplantation. People who have diseases which affect the pancreas, certain infections like mumps or rubella and hormone imbalance diseases like acromegaly, cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma and hyperaldosteronism have increased risk of developing diabetes irrespective of the risk factors mentioned above. There are some genetic syndromes with which if you are diagnosed, you may be at an increased risk for diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Even though gestational diabetes recedes away on its own after the delivery of the baby, studies show that a significant percentage of women with gestational diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes subsequently. Tests for gestational diabetes should be conducted between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. Hormones produced during pregnancy interfere with the action of insulin.

Treatment of diabetes

Even though no cure has been found as of yet for diabetes and the person has to be on medication forever after the initial diagnosis, but here is a different approach. Consider your daily medicine or insulin dose like a vitamin that helps you stay fit and be religiously regular about your medication for diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes appearing at 30 or beyond or even the more serious kind of diabetes can be reversed by making lifestyle changes and regular glucose monitoring in addition to regular insulin dose.

Treatment for Type 1 diabetes: 
Type 1 diabetes is treated by the recommended daily dose of insulin by injection as well as a diet meant to control diabetes. Exercise and walking in addition to yoga and a stress free living are extremely beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels. Do not skip meals and be regular with tests for checking the extent of diabetes control.

Treatment for Type 2 diabetes: 
In fact, just a change in the diet can control this form of diabetes like restricting the carbohydrate and sugar intake and losing weight. You have to monitor your calorie intake with respect to your weight. You should not starve yourself and should eat fibre rich diet at regular short intervals. Cutting down on sugar rich food will show improvement in the condition.

Other types of diabetes

Other than Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there are other varieties of diabetes emanating from certain genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, unhealthy food, infections, and other disease.

Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY)

MODY has a strong genetic factor attached to it and shares symptoms with Type 2 and usually affects the young, quite often below 25 years of age. MODY’s incidence amounts upto one or two per cent of the total number of diabetes patients. Early stages are often not accompanied with any symptoms and do not invariably require insulin administration.


MODY is caused by change in just one gene. The probability of children born to a MODY parent, getting or inheriting this kind of diabetes is 50 per cent. So far, six types of MODY have been identified.

Different types of MODY

HNF1 alpha is the most common MODY type accounting for approximately 70 percent of MODY cases. In this kind, the amount of insulin produced by pancreas starts decreasing over a period of time as the person grows older. In yet another kind of MODY, the gene that helps the body in recognising blood glucose levels stops functioning properly. Amongst the other forms of MODY, HNF4 – alpha is a rare form while HNF1 – beta is associated with renal cysts. PDX1 and IPF1 are even rarer.

Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA)

Persons suffering from LADA though have some of the Type 2 kind of symptoms (also share features with Type 1 diabetes) but do not fulfill all of those including age, obesity or the overweight and the difficulty in obtaining glycaemic control using oral medications for diabetes or controlling glucose levels. In its early stages, insulin is not required but the progression to a stage requiring insulin is quite fast. Incidence of LADA is more amongst the young persons and the same is diagnosed with the presence of increased level of pancreatic autoantibodies. Such persons despite having been diagnosed with diabetes do not require insulin administration.

LADA is also characterized by the absence of metabolic syndrome symptoms, elevated blood glucose levels or hyperglycaemia despite the medications to treat the same. At times LADA is accompanied with another autoimmune disease. Persons who are diagnosed with LADA and also possess metabolic syndrome features are also called as Type 1.5 diabetics.

Diabetes Insipidus

It is a rare form of diabetes which though not related to diabetes mellitus, shares its signs and symptoms like frequent urination, abnormal thirst, and dehydration. Children when affected show the symptoms of irritability, lethargy and fever.


Diabetes Insipidus (DI) occurs when the body’s mechanism to maintain the fluid balance goes out of gear. Result is the abnormal thirst and abnormally low levels of ADH or the Antidiuretic Hormone.

Diagnosis and differentiation from diabetes mellitus can be made by urinalysis, fluid deprivation, and MRI scans. At times the symptoms in children and adolescents develop rather rapidly over a period of just one week or so.

Types of Diabetes Insipidus

  • Central DI in which the pituitary gland is damaged resulting in ADH deficiency.
  • Dipsogenic DI in which the thirst mechanism goes haywire.
  • Gestational DI which occurs during pregnancy when an enzyme produced by the placenta destroys the ADH in the mother.
  • Nephrogenic DI in which either a chronic ailment like polycystic kidney disease or kidney failure or a drug induction causes impairment of ADH.

Headache and its Causes

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Headache and its Causes

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A headache or cephalgia is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. The brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. Rather, the pain is caused by disturbance of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain.

There has been an increase in the number of children suffering from headaches in the recent years. The 20-50 years age group suffers the most – possibly also because of the fact that using a cell phone for longer duration can cause headache.

Fifteen types and causes of headaches

  • Migraine: A common type of headache that may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. In many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of the head.
  • Tension headache: Pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck, usually associated with muscle tightness in these areas.
  • Cluster headache: One-sided head pain that may involve watering of the eyes and a stuffy nose. Attacks occur regularly for one week to one year, separated by long pain-free periods that last at least one month, possibly longer.
  • Head injury: Goes without saying – an impact on the head does produce considerable headache.
  • Stroke: A sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to lack of oxygen in the brain.
  • Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH): Bleeding in the subarachnoid space – the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain.
  • Tumour: Whether it is benign or malignant, tumours are a certified cause of headaches.
  • Meningitis: Inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges.
  • Encephalitis: An inflammation of the brain.
  • Hypertension: Blood pressure remaining abnormally high (a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or greater).
  • Sinusitis: Your sinuses are hollow air spaces within the bones surrounding the nose. They produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen, this can block the sinuses and cause pain and infection.
  • Glaucoma: An eye disease that damages the optic nerve and impairs vision (sometimes progressing to blindness).
  • Chronic analgesic use and abuse: Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH), also known as rebound headaches, usually occur when analgesics are taken frequently to relieve headaches. They typically occur in patients with an underlying headache disorder such as migraine or tension headaches that “transforms” over time from an episodic condition to chronic daily headache due to excessive intake of acute headache medications.

Medicines causing headaches

  • Heart and blood pressure medicines (vasodilators)
  • Birth control pill (oral contraceptives)
  • Indomethacin
  • Cold medicines such as antihistamines and decongestants

Tests and diagnosis

  • CT scan: For head injury and SAH.
  • MRI Scan: Useful for stroke, encephalitis, tumour, etc.
  • Fundoscopy: Also known as ophthalmoscopy, this procedure with a fundoscope examines the back portion of the eye. This part of the eye, known as the fundus, includes the blood vessels that feed the eye, the retina, the optic disk, and the choroid.
  • Lumbar Puncture: Lumbar puncture is required for suspected cases of meningitis and clinical suspicion of SAH with negative CT scan report.
  • X-Ray

Treatment options

  • Abortive treatment addresses a headache in progress. Numerous medications are available to treat and prevent headaches, though some of them can cause gastric trouble, liver and renal damage on longer usage. Any one of these tablets – Acetaminophen, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen – could help stop a headache.
  • Prophylactic treatment which looks at preventing the occurrence of headache, calls mainly for lifestyle changes, like:
  1. Eating at regular times.
  2. Not skipping meals.
  3. Reducing the use of caffeine and pain- relievers.
  4. Restricting physical exertion, especially on hot days.
  5. Keeping regular sleep hours, but not oversleeping.
  6. Managing time effectively to avoid stress at work and home.

When to see the doctor

Is your headache unbearable? Do you have these associated symptoms?

  • Neck pain
  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Visual disturbance
  • Seizure

Changes in speech or behaviour

If you have had a recent head trauma or a fall, or if the ache is not responding to over-the –counter (OTC) medicines, it would be better to seek a doctor – a General Physician or a Neurologist – at the earliest.

Antibiotic resistance now ‘global threat’, WHO warns

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Antibiotic resistance now ‘global threat’, WHO warns

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WHO called for more preventative measures against infection

Resistance to antibiotics poses a “major global threat” to public health, says a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It analysed data from 114 countries and said resistance was happening now “in every region of the world”.

It described a “post-antibiotic era”, where people die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades.

There were likely to be “devastating” implications unless “significant” action was taken urgently, it added.

The report focused on seven different bacteria responsible for common serious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and blood infections.

It suggested two key antibiotics no longer work in more than half of people being treated in some countries.

One of them – carbapenem – is a so-called “last-resort” drug used to treat people with life-threatening infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and infections in newborns, caused by the bacteria K.pneumoniae.

Bacteria naturally mutate to eventually become immune to antibiotics, but the misuse of these drugs – such as doctors over-prescribing them and patients failing to finish courses – means it is happening much faster than expected.

The WHO says more new antibiotics need to be developed, while governments and individuals should take steps to slow the process of growing resistance.

In its report, it said resistance to antibiotics for E.coli urinary tract infections had increased from “virtually zero” in the 1980s to being ineffective in more than half of cases today.

In some countries, it said, resistance to antibiotics used to treat the bacteria “would not work in more than half of people treated”.

Gonorrhoea treatment ‘failure’

Dr Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general at WHO, said: “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.”

E.coli bacteria
Urinary tract infections caused by E.coli bacteria are becoming harder to treat

He said effective antibiotics had been one of the “pillars” to help people live longer, healthier lives, and benefit from modern medicine.

“Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating,” Dr Fukuda added.

The report also found last-resort treatment for gonorrhoea, a sexually-transmitted infection which can cause infertility, had “failed” in the UK.

It was the same in Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Slovenia and Sweden, it said.

More than a million people are infected with gonorrhoea across the world every day, the organisation said.

‘Wake-up call’

The report called for better hygiene, access to clean water, infection control in healthcare facilities, and vaccination to reduce the need for antibiotics.

Last year, the chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said the rise in drug-resistant infections was comparable to the threat of global warming.

Dr Jennifer Cohn, medical director of Medecins sans Frontiers’ Access Campaign, said: “We see horrendous rates of antibiotic resistance wherever we look in our field operations, including children admitted to nutritional centres in Niger, and people in our surgical and trauma units in Syria.

“Ultimately, WHO’s report should be a wake-up call to governments to introduce incentives for industry to develop new, affordable antibiotics that do not rely patents and high prices and are adapted to the needs of developing countries.”

She added: “What we urgently need is a solid global plan of action which provides for the rational use of antibiotics so quality-assured antibiotics reach those who need them, but are not overused or priced beyond reach.”

Professor Nigel Brown, president of the UK Society for General Microbiology, said it was vital microbiologists and other researchers worked together to develop new approaches to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

“These approaches will include new antibiotics, but should also include studies to develop new rapid-diagnostic devices, fundamental research to understand how microbes become resistant to drugs, and how human behaviour influences the spread of resistance.”

Protein could bring hope to brittle bone disease

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Protein could bring hope to brittle bone disease

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Scientists hope their findings could help to treat common forms of osteoporosis

In an American study, mice were bred with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and the activity of a protein which shapes and reshapes bones was monitored.

Scientists said intense activity of the protein in the mice was linked to OI.

They said the finding could lead to a new target for treatment, but experts warn the study is in mice and might not apply to humans.

Human trials?

One in 15,000 people in the UK are estimated to have osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). It is an inherited condition, where abnormalities in the genes controlling collagen affect the bone’s strength.

In severe cases, people with OI can have between 200 and 300 fractures by the time they reach age 18, the Brittle Bone Society said. Current treatment is lacking.

Scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas, looked at a protein in mice bred with the condition and compared them to “normal” mice.

They said the activity of transforming growth factor beta (TGF), which co-ordinates the shaping and reshaping of bone, was excessive in mice with OI.

When TGF was blocked with an antibody, the mice’s bones withstood “higher maximum load and ultimate strength” and showed “improved whole bone and tissue strength”, suggesting “resistance to fracture”, the study said.

Research was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Dr Brendan Lee, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, said the study could “move quite quickly” into humans, and be at a clinical trial stage later this year, or early next year.

‘Open doors’

A pharmaceutical company in the US was looking at the pathway of TGF in other diseases, such as kidney disease, which could accelerate the trials, he said.

One mechanism behind the findings could be that the disruption of TGF meant the bone was absorbed in the body more quickly than it was made.

Dr Lee added: “We now have a deeper understanding for how genetic mutations that affect collagen and collagen processing enzymes cause weak bones.”

He said the treatment appeared “even more effective” than other existing approaches.

Prof Nick Bishop, is professor at the University of Sheffield and chairman of the Brittle Bone Society’s medical advisory board. He said the study was a “paradigm shifter” as it exposed a possible new target for treatment.

But Prof Bishop said: “This is another mouse study with potential to transfer to humans, we hope, but remember mice are not human.”

He added: “Other treatments that have worked really well in mice with brittle bones, like bone marrow transplantation, haven’t worked as well in humans and are not standard practice as of now.”

Dr Claire Bowring, medical policy manager at the National Osteoporosis Society, said the study was “basic science” in mouse models to understand the “basics of bone biology”.

She said: “It could, in the future, help develop knowledge about bone conditions more fully. As we understand more about bone turnover and communication between bone cells, work could open doors for future research that could affect osteoporosis.”

Dr Bowring said it could take 10 to 15 years for such mouse studies to reach the stage of clinical trials in people.

New blood ‘recharges old brain’, mouse study suggests

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

New blood ‘recharges old brain’, mouse study suggests

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Could the elixir of youth be a substance found in blood?

Continue reading the main stor

Researchers in the US say they might have discovered how to combat and even reverse some processes of ageing, at least in mice.

Injecting the blood of young mice into older rodents boosted their brainpower, a study found.

Scientists at Stanford University plan to carry out trials in people in the hope that new treatments for dementia can be developed.

A UK dementia research charity said the human significance was unknown.

In the study, published in Nature Medicine, mice aged 18 months were given injections of the fluid part of blood (plasma) taken from mice aged three months.

The injected mice performed better on memory tests than mice of the same age that had not been given blood plasma.

“There are factors present in blood from young mice that can recharge an old mouse’s brain so that it functions more like a younger one,” said Dr Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford University School of Medicine.

“We’re working intensively to find out what those factors might be and from exactly which tissues they originate.”

He said it was not known whether the same was true in humans, but a clinical trial was planned.

Alzheimer’s Research UK said the treatment rejuvenated certain aspects of learning and memory in mice, but was “of unknown significance to humans”.

“This research, while very interesting, does not investigate the type of cognitive impairment that is seen in Alzheimer’s disease, which is not an inevitable consequence of ageing,” said Dr Eric Karran, director of research at the charity.

Muscle boost

Meanwhile, two studies by a separate team have shed more light on how young blood may benefit the old, in mice at least.

Old and youngA small clinical trial in humans could take place in the future
The blood vessels of old mice were rejuvenated (Image: Lida Katsimpardi)The blood vessels of old mice were rejuvenated (Image: Lida Katsimpardi)

A substance in the blood of mice previously shown to have an anti-aging effect on heart muscle, also boosted brain cells, according to a Harvard team.

The research, published in Science, found the blood factor encouraged the growth of brain cells in old mice, and restored their sense of smell.

The same chemical also boosted muscle power in aged mice, the researchers found.

Maternal deaths falling worldwide, says WHO

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Maternal deaths falling worldwide, says WHO

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Thirty-three maternal maternal deaths per hour is too many, say experts

Maternal deaths have fallen worldwide, dropping by 45% since 1990, according to new figures.

The statistics, released by the World Health Organization, also provide new evidence on the causes of women dying in pregnancy or childbirth.

The WHO says most are preventable, highlighting the need for more investment in pregnancy care.

In 1990, more than half a million women died in pregnancy or childbirth – by 2013 the figure was 289,000.

But the WHO say the figure it still too high – with 33 maternal deaths around the world every hour.

The gap between rich and poor countries is wide. In sub-Saharan Africa, a 15-year-old girl has a one in 40 risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth. In Europe, that risk is one in 3,300.

The WHO says the study highlights the need for poorer countries to invest more in health care.

But there is also evidence that in some rich countries such as the United States, maternal mortality is rising, say health experts.

More than one in four maternal deaths is caused by pre-existing conditions which complicate pregnancy, such as diabetes, HIV, malaria and obesity.

Poor Sleep Can Weaken Your Bones

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Poor Sleep Can Weaken Your Bones

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Osteoporosis rates rose among people with breathing disorder, study found.

People with sleep apnea were 2.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis, the study found.

People with sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, may be at increased risk for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, especially women and older people, a new study suggests.

Sleep apnea causes repeated, brief interruptions in breathing during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can increase a person’s risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

“Ongoing sleep disruptions caused by obstructive sleep apnea can harm many of the body’s systems, including the skeletal system,” said study co-author Dr. Kai-Jen Tien, of Chi Mei Medical Center in Tainan, Taiwan.

“When sleep apnea periodically deprives the body of oxygen, it can weaken bones and raise the risk of osteoporosis,” Tien said. “The progressive condition can lead to bone fractures, increased medical costs, reduced quality of life and even death.”

 Is Sleep the Fountain of Youth?

For the study, published April 15 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 1,400 people in Taiwan diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea between 2000 and 2008. They compared them with more than 20,600 people who did not have the sleep disorder.


Over six years of follow-up, people with sleep apnea were 2.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. The risk for the bone-thinning disease was highest among women and older people with sleep apnea, according to the study.

“As more and more people are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea worldwide, both patients and health care providers need to be aware of the heightened risk of developing other conditions,” Tien said in a journal news release. “We need to pay more attention to the relationship between sleep apnea and bone health so we can identify strategies to prevent osteoporosis.”

However, the study only noted an association between sleep apnea and osteoporosis. It does not prove that one causes the other.

Childhood Diabetes

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog, General Health | Comments Off

Childhood Diabetes

After you eat a meal, your body breaks down the foods you eat into glucose and other nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream from the gastrointestinal tract. The glucose level in the blood rises after a meal and triggers the pancreas to make the hormone insulin and release it into the bloodstream. But in people with diabetes, the body either can’t make or can’t respond to insulin properly.

Signs and Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

A person can have diabetes without knowing it because the symptoms aren’t always obvious and they can take a long time to develop. Parents of a child with typical symptoms of type 1 diabetes may notice that their child:

  • Urinates frequently and in larger volumes as the kidneys respond to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream by flushing out the extra glucose in urine.
  • Is abnormally thirsty and drinks a lot of water in an attempt to keep the level of body water normal, considering that he or she has lost a lot of fluid by urinating.
  • Loses weight (or fails to gain weight as he or she grows) in spite of a good appetite. This is because the body breaks down muscle and stored fat in an attempt to provide fuel to the hungry cells.
  • Feels tired often because the body cannot use glucose for energy properly.

Living with diabetes is a challenge, no matter what a child’s age, but young children and teens often have special issues to deal with. Young children may not understand why the blood samples and insulin injections are necessary. They may be scared, angry, and uncooperative.

Insulin works like a key that opens the doors to cells and allows the glucose in. Without insulin, glucose can’t get into the cells (the doors are “locked” and there is no key) and so it stays in the bloodstream. As a result, the level of sugar in the blood remains higher than normal. High blood sugar levels are a problem because they can cause a number of health problems.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause
blood sugar levels to become higher than normal. However, they cause it in different ways. Type 1 diabetes (formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes) results when the pancreas loses its ability to make the hormone insulin.

Here, the person’s own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Once those cells are destroyed, they won’t ever make insulin again. Although no

one knows for certain why this happens, scientists think it has something to do with genes, though not entirely that. A person probably would then have to be exposed to something else – like a virus – to get type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, and there is no practical way to predict who will get it. There is nothing that either a parent or the child did to cause the disease. Once a person has type 1 diabetes, it does not go away and requires lifelong treatment. Children and teens with type 1 diabetes depend on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to control their blood glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes (formerly called noninsulin-dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes) is different from type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s inability to respond to insulin normally. Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, most people with type 2 diabetes can still produce insulin, but not enough to meet their body’s needs.

But in some cases, other symptoms may be the signal that something is wrong. Sometimes the first sign of diabetes is bedwetting in a child who has been dry at night. The possibility of diabetes should also be suspected if a vaginal yeast infection (also called a candida infection) occurs in a girl who hasn’t started puberty yet. If these early symptoms of diabetes are not recognized and treatment is not started, chemicals called ketones can build up in the child’s blood and cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fruity-smelling breath, breathing problems, and even loss of consciousness. Sometimes these symptoms are mistaken for the flu or appendicitis. Doctors call this serious condition diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.

A1C Test
Checking your blood sugar at home tells what your blood sugar level is at any one time. But if you want to know how you have done overall, the A1C (also known as glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c) test that gives you a picture of your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months. The results give you a good idea of how well your diabetes treatment plan is working. The A1C test is like a cricket player’s season batting average. Both A1C and the batting average tell you about a person’s overall success. Neither a single day’s blood test results nor a single game’s batting record gives the same big picture.

You should have had your A1C level measured when your diabetes was diagnosed or when treatment for diabetes was started. To watch your overall glucose control, your doctor should measure your A1C level at least twice a year. This is the minimum. There are times when you need to have your A1C level tested about every 3 months. If you change diabetes treatment, such as start a new medicine, or if you are not meeting your blood glucose goals, you and your doctor
will want to keep a closer eye on your control.

Living With Type 1 Diabetes Living with diabetes is a challenge, no matter what a child’s age, but young children and teens often have special issues to deal with. Young children may not understand why the blood samples and insulin injections are necessary. They may be scared, angry, and uncooperative. Even when they faithfully follow their treatment schedule, teens with diabetes may feel frustrated when the natural adolescent body changes during puberty may make their diabetes somewhat harder to control.

Parents can help their children lead happier, healthier lives by giving constant encouragement.

Monitoring and controlling glucose levels is something they need to get used to. They should:

  1. Check blood sugar levels a few times a day by testing a small blood sample.
  2. Give themselves insulin injections, or have an adult give them injections, or use an insulin pump.
  3. Eat a balanced, healthy diet and pay special attention to the amounts of sugars and starches in the food they eat and the timing of their meals.
  4. Get regular exercise to help control blood sugar levels and help avoid some of the long-term health problems that diabetes can cause, like heart disease.
  5. Work closely with their doctor and diabetes health care team to help achieve the best possible control of their diabetes and be monitored for signs of diabetes complications and other health problems that occur more frequently in children with type 1 diabetes.

Until scientists have perfected ways to  better treat and possibly even prevent or cure diabetes, parents can help their children lead happier, healthier lives by giving constant encouragement, arming themselves with diabetes information, and making sure their children eat properly, exercise, and stay on top of blood sugar control every day. Doing so will enable kids to do all the things that other children do while helping them grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted, productive adults.

Stem cell ‘breakthrough data inappropriately handled’

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Stem cell ‘breakthrough data inappropriately handled’

As Reported On

An investigation into a supposedly groundbreaking stem cell study in Japan has discovered “inappropriate handling” of the data.

It was reported in January that dipping cells in acid could cheaply and quickly convert them into stem cells.

Questions were raised about the images used in the scientific report and other research groups have failed to reproduce the results.

The interim report has not found any evidence of research misconduct.

Stem cells can become any other type of tissue and are already being investigated to heal the damage caused by a heart attack and to restore sight to the blind.

The original study, published in the journal Nature, became a huge story globally and was described as “remarkable” and a “major scientific discovery”.

It offered a cheap and ethical source of stem cells that could have helped make them a practical treatment rather than a researcher’s dream.

Similar images

But significant doubts have emerged.

One centres on the use of images in the scientific report by the team at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology.

They were similar to images from previous research by one of the scientists involved, Dr Haruko Obokata, which did not use the acid-bath technique.


Petri dishes filled with stem cells

Meanwhile, teams around the world have failed to produce stem cells using the reported technique.

A review by Prof Kenneth Ka-Ho Lee, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, published on ResearchGate, concluded: “The ease and simplicity of their method for generating STAP cells [the name given to stem cells produced by this method] from various stressors and cell types have left the readers in doubt.

“We have tried our very best to generate STAP cells using their protocol and it appears that it is not as simple and reproducible as we expected.

“So whether the techniques really works still remains an open question.”

‘No malice’ intended

Riken launched an investigation and the first findings are now being reported.

It has found that some images had been “inadvertently” left in the report and there was “no malice” intended.

However, a conclusion has not yet been reached on allegations that part of the methodology had been copied from another scientific paper or that images in the paper resemble those from Dr Obokata’s previous research.

In a statement, the president of Riken, Prof Ryoji Noyori, said: “I would like, first and foremost, to express my deepest regrets that articles published in Nature by Riken scientists are bringing into question the credibility of the scientific community.

“It is extremely regrettable that significant discrepancies have been found to have been generated in the process of preparing the Nature articles for publication.

“We are investigating these discrepancies, with the understanding that it may become necessary to demand the withdrawal of the articles.”

This week, a member of the research group called for the findings to be withdrawn as it was no longer clear what was right.

Prof Teruhiko Wakayama, of the University of Yamanashi, told Japanese TV: “When conducting the experiment, I believed it was absolutely right.

“But now that many mistakes have emerged, I think it is best to withdraw the research paper once and, using correct data and correct pictures, to prove once again the paper is right.

“If it turns out to be wrong, we would need to make it clear why a thing like this happened.”