Premature babies at greater risk of osteoporosis in adulthood

Premature births come along with their own set of problems for the babies. Physical, cognitive and their overall health also sometimes take the toll. Health risks become more prominent as they age and a new research has revealed another health issue that might be of concern for those born prematurely. The study has found that babies born prematurely are at an increased risk of having brittle bones in adulthood, while also adding that adding that low birth weight may also raise the risk of osteoporosis. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, the mother’s body transfers calcium to the growing foetus to boost its bone development. But, when a baby is born premature, this transfer gets interrupted resulting in weaker bones in later life. The findings showed that adults those who were born prematurely have lower peak bone mass — a major determinant of future osteoporosis — compared to those who were born in full term.\ However, adults who were born small for their gestational age at term also had lower bone mass than adults who were born with normal weight at term. “Our study shows that both those born prematurely with a very low birth weight and those who were born full term, but small for their gestational age, had lower bone mass than the control group, who were born full term with normal weights,” said lead author Chandima Balasuriya, doctoral candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

2. The first incompatible blood group kidney transplant performed

New Delhi: For the first time in Pune, an incompatible blood group kidney transplant was performed on 9-year-old Girish Thorat, a padiatric patient. The kidney was donated by his maternal grandmother. According to a report in The Indian Express, it was the first incompatible blood group paediatric kidney transplant without plasma exchange in the country.

Girish Thorat was detected with nephrotic syndrome at the age of six. Since then he was put on medicines and underwent biopsy twice, but it took three years for him to be put on peritoneal dialysis-a treatment for severe chronic kidney disease, as reported.

Sexual transmission of Ebola may reignite outbreaks

Sexual transmission of the Ebola virus may have a major impact on the dynamics of the deadly disease, potentially reigniting an outbreak that has been contained by public health interventions, a new study has found.The potential for sexual transmission is high for three to four months after the virus has been cleared from the bloodstream, and possible for an average of seven months. Previous research showed that viable Ebola virus remained in the semen of disease survivors for months after it was no longer detectable in their blood, and at least one instance of sexual transmission of Ebola was reported. “We wanted to find out what role sexual transmission might play in the dynamics of an outbreak,” said Andrew Park, associate professor at the University of Georgia (UGA).

The researchers developed a mathematical model to test various outbreak scenarios. They created a model population of 1,000 individuals and introduced Ebola virus to track its spread via regular transmission. They assumed that many actions would be taken, from individual behaviour changes to public health interventions, to control the outbreak. In the parameterised model, this resulted in one in four individuals infected throughout the population.Next, they set out to determine the impact that sexual transmission could have. “We wanted to know what it would mean in terms of the size of an outbreak, how long an outbreak lasts, how likely an outbreak is to occur and the reproductive ratio of the parasite, a measure of how effectively the parasite transmits in populations,” John Vinson, a doctoral student at UGA. There were two components of sexual transmission about which very little are known. The first is what proportion of people who survive Ebola are actually able to transmit the virus through sexual contact; the second is how the rate of sexual transmission compares to that of regular transmission. To overcome this lack of data, they ran the model using values that varied widely for both questions but within plausible limits. Their results showed a clear impact from sexual transmission. When the values of both parameters – the number of sexually infectious individuals and the rate of transmission – were low, outbreaks were smaller and ended more quickly, but as the values increased, so did the size and duration of outbreaks. “Whenever we had die-outs of the directly transmitted infectious individuals, which would otherwise have spelled the end of the outbreak, we had reignition from the sexually infectious individuals transmitting the virus to the susceptible people left in the population, who then served as a source of direct transmission,” said Vinson. The study was published in the journal Biology Letters.

Thailand becomes first Asian country to eliminate mother-child HIV transmission!

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday hailed Thailand as the first country in Asia and the Pacific region to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. The Minister of Health of Thailand was presented with the certificate of validation during a ceremony, which took place in New York on the eve of the United Nations General-Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS. “This is a remarkable achievement for a country where thousands of people live with HIV. Thailand’s unwavering commitment to core public health principles has made elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis a reality, a critical step for rolling back the HIV epidemic. Thailand has demonstrated to the world that HIV can be defeated,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, said presenting the certificate of validation to Thailand in New York. “Thailand has turned around its epidemic and transformed the lives of thousands of women and children affected by HIV,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, adding “Thailand’s progress shows how much can be achieved when science and medicine are underpinned by sustained political commitment.”

Walnuts may reduce risk of colon cancer, says study

A new study has found that daily consumption of 28 grams of walnuts may change gut bacteria in a way that reduces the risk of developing colon cancer and also improves the blood cholesterol levels.  One of the researchers, Daniel Rosenberg of University of Connecticut Health Centre in the US says,’Our results show for the first time that walnut consumption may reduce colon tumour development.’ Researchers found out those mice that ate seven-ten per cent of their total calories as walnuts developed fewer colon cancers. The effect was most pronounced in male mice, which had 2.3 times fewer tumours when fed walnuts as part of a western diet. That is equivalent to a human eating about an ounce of walnuts (28.3 grams) a day, the study said.

Genetic mutation can cause multiple sclerosis, say scientists

Scientists have for the first time found a gene that can be linked directly to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis is known to run in certain families, but attempts to find genes linked to the disease have been elusive.  About 10% to 15% of MS cases appear to have a hereditary component, until now researchers conducting genetic studies have found only weak associations between the risk of developing MS and particular gene variants.

In the current study, researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) studied the DNA of hundreds of families affected by the disease. The researchers found the mutation in two Canadian families that had several members diagnosed with a rapidly progressive type of MS.

They found that people who carry the newly discovered mutation have a 70% chance of developing the disease.”The mutation we found, in a gene called NR1H3, is a missense mutation that causes loss of function of its gene product, LXRA protein,” says neuroscientist Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease at UBC and the study’s other senior author.

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