Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare restated commitment of the Government to healthy ageing today on the occasion of International Day for Older Persons. Every year 1st October is celebrated as the International Day of Older Persons, as declared by United Nations, to recognize, enable and expand the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies at large and to raise awareness towards issues of ageing.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan spoke of the National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE) which is aimed to deliver comprehensive, affordable and quality geriatric care services at primary and secondary levels; “outpatient services from district hospital to health & wellness centres, minimum 10 bedded geriatric wards at all district hospitals, rehabilitation services down to CHC and HWC level and developing mechanisms for providing home based care to needy elderly.” He elaborated how this would feed into secondary and tertiary institutions through a continuum of care approach. He stated that “19 Regional Geriatric Centres in medical colleges and two National Centres for Ageing are envisioned to render specialized geriatric care through strong cross referrals, developing a strong workforce of geriatricians and geriatric care providers, both medical and paramedical, impart caregiving skills to family members and professionals and carry out need based operational research.”
The Union Health Minister also stated that as 1st October, 2020 is the launch year of Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030), many activities will be undertaken throughout the year, aimed at mainstreaming issues related to elderly and to deliberate upon ways to ensure better and effective delivery of services, making full use of convergence mechanisms. “This initiative is an opportunity to bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media, and the private sector for concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live,” he added.
The Minister affirmed that the broad aims of the Decade of Healthy Ageing will include evolving convergence within various national health programs and also promoting inter-sectoral coordination with other line Departments/Ministries. Community based organisations, NGOs and multinational agencies will also be involved for developing an implementation framework for multi-sectoral engagement on healthy aging. “Discussions/workshops/webinars with experts/academic bodies/professionals will be organised to bring out policy and programmatic responses to LASI data, highlighting the best practices for elder care and exploring effective means of promoting and strengthening the participation of older persons in various aspects of social, cultural, economic and civic and political life.”
Highlighting the importance of the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI), he said, “With well-designed and judicious investments, ageing population can help build-up human, social, economic and environmental capital. However, this would call for investing in all the phases of life, fostering enabling societies, and creating flexible but vibrant for building a society for all ages. For this to happen, formulation of policies and programmes of the Government, or any modifications therein to improve their reach and delivery, need to be evidence based. In order to generate comprehensive data on social, economic and health conditions of the elderly, the Government undertook Longitudinal Aging Study of India, the first nationwide study and world’s largest study on older adults which will provide evidence base for national and state level programs and policies for elderly population.” Findings of LASI are being finalised by the Ministry and will be released shortly.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also spoke on the emergence of COVID-19 as a public health challenge which has caused an upheaval across the country and the world. The UN theme of the International Day of Older Persons 2020 is “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”. Considering the higher risks faced by elderly during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, Government has responded to address their concerns by recognising them as vulnerable population category for COVID efforts, issuing advisories, raising awareness of their special needs, encouraging State Governments to develop need-based models for delivery of medications and home-based care to the elderly.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the spotlight on the health-promotive and disease-preventive solutions of Ayush disciplines. What has not come into the limelight is the emerging nation-wide trend in the Ayush disciplines, of taking up evidence-based studies.
A study made a thorough search of the Clinical Trial Registry of India for the registered trials of COVID-19 involving Ayurveda Intervention from March 01, 2020 to June 25, 2020, without language restrictions. The number of new trials registered in Ayurveda during this period was seen to be 58.
News reports in August 2020 had revealed that out of the 203 trials registered in Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI), 61.5% were from Ayush disciplines. A recent study published in the ‘Journal of Research in Ayurvedic Sciences’ titled “Ayurveda Research Studies on COVID-19 Registered in CTRI: A critical appraisal” throws more light on this growing “research-culture” in Ayush disciplines.
Here is some additional insight into these CTRI registered trials involving Ayurveda and COVID-19. Of the total trial registered, approximately 70% of the trials were sponsored by the Government and various stakeholders of Ayurveda associated with the Ministry of AYUSH. These trials will provide useful information to the researchers which will help them to strategize the next course of action and also help the general public for understanding the contribution of Ayurveda in COVID-19.
Once completed, the results of these promising studies will expectedly be published at the earliest so that it will be useful for the policymakers from the Ayush systems of medicines to strategize effective solutions to benefit public health initiatives.
Further, in these challenging times, they will provide information for the global scientific community to know about the outcomes of Ayurveda clinical trials being conducted on COVID-19 in India. They will form potential source of information for further collaborative studies at the national and global levels.
Out of the said 58 registered trials, 52 (89.66%) are interventional trials and 6 (10.34%) are observational trials. The majority of the trials included adult participants of both the gender as the target population. A total of 53 (91.38%) trials intend to recruit participants aged 18 years or more, and only 05 (8.62%) trials intended to recruit participants younger than 18 years.
The instant paper which is authored by researchers of the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, provides detailed information about Ayurveda based COVID-19 clinical trials with respect to administrative information on trial registry number and sponsorship, descriptive information on study type and length of study and study design.
Further, it tracks information related to the registration date and actual study start date and information related to recruitment, and all these have been collated, presented, and analysed based on the trails’ information registered from March 01, 2020 to June 25, 2020, in the CTRI.
With an increasing number of registered trials in this field, the body of knowledge in Ayush disciplines will increasingly reflect more contemporary information. This trend of evidence-based studies in the Ayush sector holds considerable promise for the public health activities in the country-out of the studies may emerge cost-effective solutions that could be deployed on a nation-wide scale.
(Source - PIB)
London - Parents and children are spending more time on various screens at home which is seriously affecting their health and now a new study reveals that students are making excessive use of their mobile phones during lockdown.
The study, published in the journal Sustainability, relates the number of hours that young people spend sitting down, their level of physical activity and state of mind when using a mobile phone.
"Students with lower levels of physical activity used their mobile phones almost three times more than others. Those reporting poorer sleep quality also used these devices more," said study authors from the University of Seville in Spain.
For the findings, data was collected in a sample of 20 young adults over seven days pre-and during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The research team showed that young people (university students aged 20-36) used their mobile phone 6h/day (hours per day) on average before lockdown, increasing to over 8h/day on average during lockdown.
"These data are very worrying if we consider that scientific evidence shows that a high number of hours sitting (more than 8 h/day) or an excessive use of screen devices (3-4 h/day) is linked with a higher risk of mortality," the authors wrote.
The conclusions of the research show that the containment measures adopted during Covid-19 had a major impact on the habits of this demographic group.
Especially on their levels of physical activity which decreased significantly, but also on their sedentary lifestyle, increasing the time they remained seated (approximately 6h/day on average before the lockdown and about 10h/day during).
These bad habits had a negative impact on the health of these young people and significantly worsened their sleep quality.
Studies such as these highlight the need to take measures that encourage people to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to increasing physical activity levels and reducing the use of mobile phones.
Star couple Gurmeet Choudhary and Debina Bonnerjee have contracted the Coronavirus. On Wednesday, Gurmeet took to Twitter and announced that he along with his wife tested Covid positive. The couple is currently in home isolation.
"My wife Debina and I have tested positive for COVID-19 today. We are touch wood, doing fine and are taking all the necessary precautions, in isolation at home," Gurmeet tweeted.
The actor also requested that those who had in the proximity of either him or his wife in recent times should take proper care of themselves.
"We request all those who have been in contact with us to take care. Thank you all for your love and support," he added.
Gurmeet recently visited Jaipur to complete the shoot of his film, "The Wife".
We are going through a difficult, unique and a challenging time because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has changed our lives remarkably, has affected practically every person, every individual, every professional, every industry. Affected governments across the globe and their functioning in ways more than we could have ever imagined.
Until an effective vaccine is created, Covid is here to stay and the sooner we accept it and change or adapt the way we live, we will be able to cope up with the same in a much efficient manner. The whole world moved to Digital mode of communication across all sectors to keep up with the new normal. And similarly, we all witnessed a major shift in the healthcare industry replacing face to face patient visits with Tele-consultation, which have proven to be a boon for doctors and patients, ensuring safety for all.
This pandemic led to a sudden nation-wide lockdown, the hospitals were turned into Covid centres, leaving other patients in need of care and treatment high and dry. Statistics show that Indians are already into self- medication which can be very dangerous in case of critical conditions. During the early days of Covid, patients had little or no access to the hospitals and they continued to take treatment according to their will and whatever was prescribed to them in their earlier visits to the doctors. To ensure continuity of quality treatment and care for patients with heart disease, it became important to differentiate between deferrable and non-deferrable activity.
In such a scenario, despite being in its early days in terms of acceptance and patient adoption, tele-cardiology has played a pivotal role. While has made sure that patients with cardiovascular diseases get the much needed diagnosis, second opinion and relevant treatment, it moreover helped in limiting clinical visits, unless there was an emergency case which could not otherwise be controlled.
The use of telemedicine within cardiac care primarily seeks to achieve remote, real-time diagnosis and treatment of heart disease - including cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmia.
During this pandemic situation, tele-medicine emerged as a key solution providing all sorts of necessary healthcare related support required by all stakeholders, including - doctor consultation, urgent medicine delivery, home testing and home care. Not only were the existing players seen expanding and stretching their limits but there were many new players and start-ups who entered the market to serve the country in times of such distress. Telemedicine helps in bridging the gap between patients and doctors from overseas by making it possible for medical practitioners or hospitals to consult with different specialists, regardless of their location. However, when it comes to complex medical conditions requiring expert opinion, it's not easy to find and connect with seasoned specialists.
Hypothetically, let's say a patient can identify a trusted doctor abroad; getting an appointment for an office visit with associated travel arrangements could easily take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. With SeekMed, however, a patient can get through a video consultation with a doctor of repute in less than a week. Patients also have a choice to consult with multiple doctors on the platform before deciding on the doctor they best respond to.
Telemedicine holds the potential to easily meet the needs of today's cardiologists and has the capacity to completely revolutionize the delivery of cardiac care.
(DR TS KLER : The author, Dr TS Kler, is a Padma Bhushan recipient, Chairman - Cardiology, PSRI Hospital and a patron of SeekMed)
Sydney - Researchers have found that even low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have an impact on a child's brain development.
The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, said that it is also associated with greater psychological and behavioural problems in youth including anxiety, depression and poor attention.
"Our research found that even small amounts of alcohol consumed while pregnant can have a significant impact on a child's brain development," said study lead author Briana Lees from the University of Sydney in Australia.
For the findings, the researchers investigated whether any alcohol consumption in pregnancy was related to psychological, behavioural, neural and cognitive differences in children aged nine to ten years.
With a sample of 9,719 youth, this is the largest study to investigate the impact of low-level alcohol use during pregnancy.
Low levels of drinking were considered one to two drinks per occasion with a maximum of six drinks per week.
In the study, 25 per cent of children had been exposed to alcohol in utero (in the womb), 60 per cent of these children had been exposed to low-level alcohol use, and 40 per cent had been exposed to heavier levels.
Heavier exposure being three or more drinks per occasion or seven or more drinks per week.
Children who were exposed to low levels of alcohol in-utero at any time during pregnancy experienced more psychological/emotional problems (including anxiety, depression and being withdrawn) and behavioural problems (including poor attention and being impulsive) than unexposed children.
There was a 25 per cent increased likelihood of an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis in children who were exposed to slightly heavier levels of alcohol (approximately 36 drinks) in the first 6-7 weeks of pregnancy.
Heavier alcohol use during early pregnancy was also associated with rule-breaking behaviour and aggression, with a 30 per cent higher risk of the child being diagnosed with the oppositional defiant disorder than unexposed youth.
"Generally, the more a child was exposed to alcohol in utero the more severe the outcomes were," Lees said.
"This research highlights the importance for women to be aware of the effects that even low levels of drinking can have on the brain development of babies," she said.