A team of US researchers are conducting studies to understand whether botanical therapies like medicinal mushrooms and Chinese herbs provide therapeutic benefit in treating acute Covid-19 cases.
According to principal investigator Gordon Saxe, director of research at the Center for Integrative Health in University of California-San Diego, mushrooms were chosen because of their long history of use and recent evidence of immune-enhancing and antiviral effects.
MACH-19 (Mushrooms and Chinese Herbs for Covid-19) is a multi-centre study led by UC San Diego's School of Medicine and UC-Los Angeles, in collaboration with the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.
In a preclinical study published in 2019, mushroom agarikon was found to inhibit viruses, including influenza (H1N1), influenza A (H5N1) and herpes. Saxe said he believes medicinal mushrooms inhibit the viruses' replication, a theory he plans to test against SARS-CoV-2 in a Phase II trial.
"Mushrooms have the advantage that they co-evolved with us. So bacteria, viruses and other fungi prey on mushrooms just like they prey on humans. And mushrooms have developed exquisite defenses against those pests, and we believe they can confer those to us when we eat them," Saxe said.
MACH-19's third ongoing trial measures whether the same medicinal mushrooms, given in capsules at the time of initial Covid vaccination, can increase antibodies and other measures of immune response.
A fourth trial, yet to be launched, will look at whether medicinal mushrooms could provide a similar lift to Covid-19 booster shots as an adjuvant, a substance which enhances immune response.
"Vaccines lead to the production of antibodies that can destroy the virus in the blood," Saxe said.
"Mushrooms may not only increase the number of these antibodies, but also enhance T-cell immunity against virally infected cells. Further, because mushrooms bind to receptors on human immune cells, they can modulate our immunity -- boosting it in some ways and calming it down in others. And this property of mushrooms may also reduce vaccine-related side effects.
Natural therapeutics have been used for centuries to treat infectious diseases, according to Saxe, who noted that herbs helped Chinese doctors manage 300 recorded epidemics, while the Greek pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides prescribed agarikon to treat pulmonary infections 2,300 years ago.
The three trials, under MACH-19 of which two are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved, are currently recruiting for between 66 and 80 patients who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and who are quarantined at home with mild to moderate symptoms.AInitial safety data from the trials are expected by the end of this year, with efficacy data ready within a year.
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About 60 per cent of people suffering stroke in India face various degrees of disability, some lifelong, said experts here.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients.
As brain cells begin to die in minutes, prompt treatment is crucial and early action can reduce brain damage, other complications and death.
"While the numbers of stroke patients continue to rise exponentially, like many other brain diseases, there is still a remarkable lack of awareness regarding this condition. Timely treatment in stroke will go a long way in improving a patient's quality of life, and reducing lifelong morbidity and mortality," said Pankaj Agarwal, Senior Consultant -Neurology, Head, Movement Disorders Clinic & In-Charge, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Programme, Global Hospital Mumbai.
"Stroke patients who get help from paramedics are more likely to reach hospital for care -- in India, that number is only 1.8 per cent. We need uniform emergency medical services (EMS) system and certification of stroke ready hospitals across the country so that people know where to go when they recognise the signs of stroke," added Dr P.N Sylaja, Professor and HoD, Neurology, In-Charge, Comprehensive Stroke Care Programme, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST).
While traditionally stroke affects older age groups, a large number of ischemic strokes are now known to also affect young people - in their 30s or 40s. Sometimes even adolescents in their teenagers or early 20s are affected.
"Stroke affects as many as 18 lakh Indians every year, which means one Indian suffers stroke every 40 seconds. One-fourth of these people are aged less than 50 and increasingly, a large proportion of stroke patients are found in the age group of 19 to 30 years. The burden of stroke on the most productive sections of society not only affects the person and their family but leaves a cascading effect on the countrya¿s socio-economic condition," said Kamal Narayan, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council.
Covid has also increased the risk of stroke, particularly among the young patients between 20 and 30,as the virus triggers abnormal and severe clotting in blood. While the risk is around 1 per cent (higher if other risk factors for stroke are present), it is still life-threatening or leads to severe disability.
"In India, about 30 per cent of people suffering stroke die and a whopping 60-70 per cent people suffer various degrees of disability. The number of disabled people is more as we move into the interiors where hospitals do not even have a CT scan machine. We need to ensure they get treatment," said Prof M.V. Padma Srivastava, Head, Neurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
Eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks, limiting salt, alcohol, smoking, and exercising daily can lower the risk of stroke, the doctors said.
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Until a few years ago heart diseases were common among older people in India. However, in recent years, heart ailments have become more common among the younger population in India. Heart diseases are killing approximately 17 million people in the world, and in India, there million people die each year due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) which include heart attack and stroke.
Therefore, it is important to understand what causes heart attacks in younger Indians. Following are a few reasons that cause a heart attack in Indians:
Over Exercising: A recent study that too much exercise may be bad for the heart. While inactivity is also linked to increase in heart diseases by giving rise to obesity and other chronic diseases, the study that was conducted displayed that the people who engage in physical activity that exceeds a recommended amount for them are more at risk of having a heart attack.
Dietary Supplements: There has been no research that shows a clear benefit of supplements. However, it has been said that consuming too many supplements can be harmful. Excessive amounts of calcium and vitamin D are said to be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Although there are studies that are ongoing around this, there has been little evidence that any amount of vitamin D supplement will protect the heart.
Stress and Heart Attack: In today’s fast-paced lives an individual faces a lot of stress due to their personal and professional relationships. Professionally, a lot of work takes place on a desk and the working hours are long. Therefore, this leads to young professionals having less sleep and high stress, which increases their risk of having heart diseases.
Hypertension: With our current dynamic lifestyles, food habits tend to change leading to increased salt consumption. Furthermore, there is increase in the amount of stress and our lifestyles are sedentary. All the factors together have led to an increase in hypertension among younger people. People with high blood pressure are likely to develop coronary diseases because high BP adds pressure on the artery walls and over time this can destroy the arteries.
Unhealthy Eating Habits: A lot of young professionals and students often go to food joints that serve unhealthy food items such as junk food. These foods have a high amount of cholesterol and trans fat which may lead to heart disease among people
Hence, to reduce the number of individuals with heart attacks, drastic steps need to be taken collectively and as individuals. Organisations and healthcare professionals need to spread awareness around the growing burden of heart attacks among younger Indians and individuals need to adapt to a more holistic and healthy approach to life. Even at the slightest indication of heart disease, one must reach out to their primary care consultant to stay safe and healthy.
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Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts.
Why is this happening? How can we prevent it? Are we just focused on post-heart attack action? Or should we be focused more on prevention?
Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine shares an input that could prevent heart attacks at a young age:
Cholesterol is not the culprit, inflammation is: Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. The main reasons behind most heart attacks are inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, and more. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important, we cannot blame heart attacks on cholesterol levels alone.
What then can you do to keep inflammation in check and your heart strong? Adopt simple lifestyle changes.
Switch From Ordinary Substandard Cooking Oils to Cold-Pressed Oils: Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. Choose the right quality and quantity of oil to boost your heart health. It might cost you a few extra bucks, but remember, your health is not a cost but an investment.
Switch From A Sedentary Lifestyle to An Active One: Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. Choose fun workouts that you enjoy -- dancing, aerobics, Zumba, swimming, whatever it is, but keep that body moving. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are at high risk of heart attacks. Having said that, over-working out with little or no rest or recovery period is equally harmful. So, figure out the adequate level of activity your body needs and stick to it.
Don't Take Matters to Your Heart: Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. While stress is inevitable, what sets a happy person apart from a stressed person is their capacity to diffuse and navigate stress and see things in a positive light. You can continue attending stress management classes and workshops, and while all of them can help you feel better for some time, the real change happens when you start changing your perspective towards life and how you relate to stress.
Learn to accept and let go. Build your self-worth, create a beautiful inner world, reflect inwards, and allow these teachings to slip into your daily living.
Fix Your Sleep Routine: There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. Your body only cares about survival. Remember, your sleep is your heart's free drug. The chronic deprivation of it can increase your risk of a heart attack. Your heart is a muscle that needs recovery. Lack of sleep increases your insulin resistance and makes you more prone to type-2 diabetes and a gamut of metabolic conditions. So, adopt a fixed sleeping schedule and sleep deep.
We cannot wait for more misfortunate incidents to realize the importance of lifestyle and start prioritizing it. We must wake up and work towards prevention. Many of us may go through heart disease later in life, no matter how well we exercise or eat clean. So, identify risk factors and work towards tackling them. Even if one of your risk factors is genetic predisposition and there is nothing you can do about it, you can still alter your lifestyle. Our intelligent human body was designed to fix and heal itself. The least we can do is invest in it and help it do its job effectively. Lifestyle can help you bridge this gap.
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अगर आप हरे-भरे इलाकों में रहते हैं तो आपको हृदय का रोग विकसित होने की संभावनाएं कम होती हैं। एक नए अध्ययन में यह बात सामने आई है। ईएससी कांग्रेस 2021 में प्रस्तुत किए गए निष्कर्षों से संकेत मिलता है कि पूरे अध्ययन के दौरान उच्च हरे भरे वाले ब्लॉकों के निवासियों में कम हरे भरे वाले ब्लॉकों की तुलना में किसी भी नई कार्डियोवैस्कुलर स्थितियों को विकसित करने की 16 प्रतिशत कम संभावनाएं थीं।
यूनिवर्सिटी ऑफ मियामी, अमेरिका के विलियम ऐटकेन ने कहा, "जब कोई क्षेत्र उच्च हरापन बनाए रखता है और जब हरापन बढ़ता है, तो समय के साथ हरेपन के उच्च स्तर हृदय की स्थिति और स्ट्रोक की कम दरों से जुड़े होते हैं।"
एटकेन ने कहा, "यह उल्लेखनीय था कि ये संबंध केवल पांच वर्षों में दिखाई दिए, पॉजिटिव पर्यावरणीय प्रभाव के लिए अपेक्षाकृत कम समय में।"
अध्ययन के लिए, टीम में 65 वर्ष और उससे अधिक आयु के 2,43,558 यूएस मेडिकेयर लाभार्थी शामिल थे जो 2011 से 2016 तक मियामी के एक ही क्षेत्र में रहते थे।
पांच साल के अध्ययन के दौरान दिल का दौरा, आलिंद फिब्रिलेशन, दिल की विफलता, इस्केमिक हृदय रोग, उच्च रक्तचाप और स्ट्रोक / क्षणिक इस्केमिक हमले सहित नई हृदय स्थितियों की घटनाओं को प्राप्त करने के लिए मेडिकेयर रिकॉर्ड का उपयोग किया गया था।
पृथ्वी की सतह से परावर्तित दृश्य और निकट-अवरक्त (अदृश्य) सूर्य के प्रकाश की मात्रा का आकलन करने के लिए उपग्रह छवियों का उपयोग किया गया था। पौधों से क्लोरोफिल आमतौर पर ²श्य प्रकाश को अवशोषित करता है और निकट-अवरक्त प्रकाश को दर्शाता है, इसलिए दोनों को मापने से वनस्पति की मात्रा का संकेत मिलता है।
शहर के ब्लॉकों की हरियाली को तब निम्न, मध्यम या उच्च के रूप में वर्गीकृत किया गया था।
प्रतिभागियों को इस आधार पर वर्गीकृत किया गया था कि वे 2011 में निम्न, मध्यम या उच्च हरियाली वाले ब्लॉकों में रहते थे। 2016 में उन्हीं निवासियों और उनके ब्लॉक की हरियाली के लिए प्रक्रिया को दोहराया गया था।
टीम ने ब्लॉक-स्तरीय हरेपन के आधार पर किसी भी नए हृदय रोग के विकास की बाधाओं और नई हृदय स्थितियों की संख्या का विश्लेषण किया।
फॉलो-अप के दौरान कार्डियोवैस्कुलर स्थिति विकसित करने वाले प्रतिभागियों में, उच्च हरियाली वाले क्षेत्रों में कम हरेपन वाले ब्लॉकों की तुलना में 4 प्रतिशत कम नई बीमारियां विकसित हुईं। (एजेंसी)
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Beijing, Aug 2 (IANS) Cooking with wood or coal can increase the risk of major eye diseases that can lead to blindness, according to a study involving nearly half a million people in China.The study led by a team of international researchers from the University of Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking University, Beijing, showed that long-term use of solid fuels for cooking was associated with conjunctiva (32 per cent), cataracts (17 per cent), and disorders of the sclera, cornea, iris and ciliary body (DSCIC - 35 per cent), compared with those who cooked using clean fuels.Individuals who switched from using solid to clean fuels for cooking had smaller elevated risks (over those who had always used clean fuels) compared to those who did not switch. People who switched had 21 per cent, 5 per cent and 21 per cent higher risk for conjunctiva, cataracts, and DSCIC, respectively, according to the results published in the journal PLOS Medicine."The increased risks may be caused by exposure to high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide, which can damage the eye surface and cause inflammation," said lead author Dr. Peter Ka Hung Chan, research fellow in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford.Burning wood also increases the risk of eye injury from sparks or wood dust.Further, there was no association found between solid fuel use and risk of glaucoma, because this disorder affects internal eye structures, which are less exposed to pollutants in the air, the researchers said."Among Chinese adults, long-term solid fuel use for cooking was associated with higher risks of not only conjunctiva disorders but also cataracts and other more severe eye diseases. Switching to clean fuels appeared to mitigate the risks, underscoring the global health importance of promoting universal access to clean fuels," Zhengming Chen, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of China Programmes at the Nuffield.--IANSrvt/pgh