Faculties and research students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) are doing vital research on diabetes. The central university will carry out research on cost-effective anti-diabetic drugs through new routes for which the Central government and the Union Education Ministry have sanctioned Rs 40 lakh.
Nazar Hussain, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of Ayurveda, Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, has bagged the much-coveted project by Science and Engineering Research Board, a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, on C-glycosides synthesis.
Hussain said C-glycosides are the derivatives of carbohydrates that are widely used in the treatment of diabetes.
He will be receiving a grant of more than Rs 40 lakh for his research in this project. Under this project, he will be carrying out research on anti-diabetic drugs through new routes in a cost-effective manner.
Along with the synthesis of anti-diabetic drugs, the project also aims at synthesising some polyphenolic C-glycosides. Polyphenolic compounds are known for the treatment of various viral infections.
This study will also explore the possibility of combining polyphenols with carbohydrates to test their anti-viral activities against different viral infections, including Covid-19. This will be one of the major studies of its kind in the country.
For BHU, it is a matter of great pride as the Department of Medicinal Chemistry has been given a project of such vital importance and significance.
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About 9 in 10 people have lost some degree of vision during the last two years of Covid pandemic, health experts said on Monday. It is because most of them skipped their regular eye check-ups and follow-ups due to pandemic-induced lockdowns, fear among others.
Retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration have few or minor symptoms at first and are only detected by eye examination or a screening. These conditions have the tendency to create severe damage to the eyes if not timely intervened with.
"Unfortunately, 90 per cent of patients lost some degree of vision due poor follow ups, during the first and the second wave of Covid, especially the ones suffering from wet AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration).
These patients mostly missed taking their Intravitreal injection, owing to which the diseases progressed rapidly," Dr Ajay Dudani, CEO Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Mumbai Retina Centre, told IANS.
"Owing to the fear of Covid, we have witnessed a decline in patients coming for a regular eye check-up in the past 3-4 months. This has resulted in delays in diagnosis and treatment, which can compromise vision in the long run," added Dr Chaitra Jayadev, Senior Vitreo-retinal Consultant, Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute, Bengaluru.
Doctors said that early detection and treatment is key to control the disease and prevent any loss in vision. The longer one puts off visiting the clinic, the worse the eye health will get.
"While we should take precautions during this Covid wave, patients should not delay visits for macular degeneration or diabetic macular edema, unless the patient has Covid symptoms," Dr Raja Narayan, the General Secretary, Vitreoretinal Society of India, told IANS.
"With the third wave, we are seeing a similar pattern from the past, as patient visits, especially amongst elders, have dropped by nearly 50 per cent. Since the retina cannot be replaced, missing an injection, or treatment follow ups, can magnify the eye disease," Dudani said. Doctors also encouraged patients to take up teleconsultations.
There are vision tests that one can undertake sitting at home, whose reports can be sent to the doctor for examination and further intervention.
"If patients experience symptoms such as blurred vision, sudden loss of vision or black spots in the visual field, they need to go for an immediate eye check-up, as these could be signs of diabetic retinopathy. To prevent worsening of such complications, diabetics must ensure that their sugar levels are under control," Jayadev said.
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With a whopping 77 million people in India living with diabetes, a simultaneous and sharp rise has been observed in the prevalence of diabetes-related preventable vision loss, particularly among the young people, say experts.
Diabetic retinopathy is a chronic, progressive retinal disease that is a leading cause of vision impairment in today's young adults, working population. It's of major concern among children suffering from juvenile diabetes (Type-1 diabetes) and especially if they have had diabetes for over 10 years.
It is estimated that approximately 1.1-crore people are suffering from retinal disorders in India and more alarmingly, about one in every three people living with diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes complication that affects eyes.
"With the growing incidence of diabetes, it has been estimated that diabetic retinopathy affects one in three people with diabetes and remains the leading cause of blindness in young working-aged adults," Dr Mahipal Sachdev, Medical Director and Chairman, Centre for Sight Group of Eye Hospital, told IANS.
"Approximately 7-10 per cent of young diabetics will go on to develop diabetic retinopathy, of which 2-4 per cent will have vision threatening sequelae if not taken proper treatment." added Dr. Aditya Sudhalkar, M.S. Ophthalmology, Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeon.
The most common form of diabetic retinopathy is Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) which arises when the damaged blood vessels swell and flow into the macula of the retina causing visibility issues in the normal vision.
According to Dr. Chaitra Jayadev, senior vitreo-retinal consultant, Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute Karnataka, studies have shown that the prevalence of DME and diabetic retinopathy is higher and more severe in young diabetics with a longer duration of diabetes.
"Diabetes in the younger is a distinct pathological entity characterised by a more aggressive presentation and manifestation. An earlier onset of diabetes leads to a longer exposure to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. This gives rise to a greater propensity for developing long-term microvascular and macrovascular complications," Dr. Jayadev said.
Thus, screening for diabetes is of utmost importance, even if one is "young" and has no symptoms. It becomes more crucial if one has risk factors such as family history, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, or on long term steroid medications.
Dr. Sudhalkar said that in India, there is a general reluctance towards attending clinics and nearly 25 per cent of young patients with DME come late for diagnosis.
"It's important to know, only 11 per cent of diabetic retinopathy patients can actually reverse vision threatening sequelae once they set in. The rest continue to progress even with strict glycemic control," he noted.
"Retinopathy, unfortunately, is the most neglected complication of diabetes. We see so many patients come to OPD where eyes have not been checked for. So the screening, also known as Funduscopy, should be done at the time of diagnosis of Type-2 diabetes, in adults, and in children, five years after the onset of diabetes, and thereafter annually," Dr Dheeraj Kapoor, HOD, Endocrinology at Artemis, Gurugram, told IANS.
If diabetes occurs near puberty, then funduscopy should be checked for potential retinopathy.
"It is important because the condition poses no symptoms in the initial days. And once symptoms set in, such as bleeding in the eye, red vision, sudden loss of vision, it's too late," Kapoor said.
The doctors advised to adhere to the treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle to effectively manage diabetes and to prevent the onset or progression of eye diseases.
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One in 12 adults or more than 74 million people living in India are diabetes patients, according to a new report from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), ahead of the World Diabetes Day on Saturday.
The figure is the second highest in the world after China, which has 141 million people living with diabetes.
The findings are from the 10th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas to be published on December 6.
The report added that another 40 million adults in India have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), placing them at high risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, while more than half (53.1 per cent) of people living with diabetes in India are also undiagnosed.
"The increasing number of people living with diabetes and at risk of developing the condition in India confirms diabetes as a significant challenge to the health and well-being of individuals and families in the country," said Professor Shashank Joshi, Chair, IDF South-East Asia Region, in a statement.
Moreover, the report showed that worldwide, 537 million adults are now living with diabetes, a rise of 16 per cent (74 million) since the previous IDF estimates in 2019. Globally, 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type-2 diabetes.
The total number of diabetics is predicted to rise to 643 million (11.3 per cent) by 2030 and to 783 million (12.2 per cent) by 2045. Currently, one in ten (10.5 per cent) adults around the world are living with diabetes.
Diabetes was also responsible for an estimated $966 billion in global health expenditure in 2021. This represents a 316 per cent increase over 15 years.
Excluding the mortality risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 6.7 million adults are estimated to have died as a result of diabetes, or its complications, in 2021.
This is more than one in ten (12.2 per cent) of global deaths from all causes. The South-East Asia Region accounts for 11 per cent (747,000) of total diabetes-related deaths, according to the report.
The rise in the number of people with Type-2 diabetes is driven by a complex interplay of socio-economic, demographic, environmental and genetic factors. Key contributors include urbanisation, an ageing population, decreasing levels of physical activity and increasing levels of people being overweight and developing obesity.
"We must do more to provide affordable and uninterrupted access to diabetes care for all in India, and around the world. Policy makers and health decision-makers must turn words into action to improve the lives of people with diabetes and prevent the condition in those at high risk of developing it," Joshi said.
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The festive season is around the corner and with sugar-laden sweets, snacks and luncheons, festive eating tends to tip towards an indulgence. The pandemic alongside the festive season gives us double the reason to take care of our health, especially if you are living with a chronic health condition like diabetes. People with diabetes need to find ways to manage their health smartly and effectively to mitigate risks that come with the disease such as kidney problems, heart diseases, nerve issues, foot problems, and so on. Controlling glucose levels, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular medical consultations are key to managing this disease effectively.
Dr Jothydev Kesavadev, Diabetologist and MD of Jothydev's Diabetes Research Centres said, "It is imperative for one to always make sure diabetes is being well-managed, but, during the festive season, it is important than usual. Uncontrolled diabetes can heighten the risk of developing severe diseases or complications. Regularly monitoring glucose levels helps you catch spikes or trends that suggest your diabetes may be getting out of control. This also helps you to take timely measures," he explains.
Here are a few tips for better diabetes management during the pandemic:
Scheduling is Key
Diabetic patients need to continue medications without interruption. Apart from continuous monitoring of glucose levels, do plan regular consultations with the doctor. It is also imperative that patients do not ignore high blood glucose levels, HbA1C >10%, or positive urine ketone status.
No Pain, No Gain!
Diet & exercise play a major role in preventing and managing diabetes. Attention to nutrition and adequate protein intake along with exercise helps control weight and lower blood pressure. It also lowers harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raises healthy HDL cholesterol, strengthens muscles and bones, reduces anxiety, and improves general well-being. Patients with diabetes are encouraged to take up 45 minutes of moderate activity every day.
Wearable Devices for The Win!
Technology advances have led wearable devices, to allow patients to keep a close tab on glucose levels. One such wearable is the Freestyle Libre that go a long way in helping people with diabetes (both type 1 and 2) manage the disease well. Continuous glucose monitoring, through these devices, offers the highest levels of accuracy and performance standards.
Say No to Stress
Stress can be a major barrier to effective glucose control. This has become worse during the pandemic, as health anxieties and long lockdowns have given rise to emotional responses like anxiety, frustration and disappointment. One can opt for healthier life choices such as exercise, yoga and meditation to avoid stress.
The pandemic is still with us. Patients with diabetes need to practice utmost caution to reduce the risk of catching an infection. Along with vaccinations, patients with diabetes need to ensure safe choices such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand washing.
This festive season, even those with diabetes can enjoy life to the fullest, provided these simple measures are followed to keep the glucose levels under check. (Agency)
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Beijing, Aug 15 (IANS) Researchers have identified that low microRNA (miRNA) immunity increases the risk of Covid-19 infection in older adults and people with diabetes.MicroRNAs are a key class of gene expression regulators which play an important role in inflammation and immune response.The study led by researchers from Nanjing University in China identified four circulating miRNAs -- miR-7-5p, miR-24-3p, miR-145-5p and miR-223-3p -- which are high in healthy people and much lower in older people and diabetic patients.These miRNAs could effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication by directly targeting the S protein, said Chen-Yu Zhang from the varsity's School of Life Sciences.Serum exosomes containing these miRNAs from young people could strongly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication, but this inhibitory effect was low in older people and diabetic patients, the researchers said.Long-term exercise was found to increase the level of these miRNAs in the blood offering better protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.The team found that three out of the four circulating miRNAs are significantly increased in the serum of healthy volunteers after 8-weeks' continuous physical exercise. Serum exosomes isolated from these volunteers also showed stronger inhibitory effects on S protein expression and SARS-CoV-2 replication.The study also provides an interesting observation that continuous physical exercise could boost miRNA immunity against SARS-CoV-2, which gives you another reason to hit the gym after work. Working out every day would therefore help all of us, old or young, to stay out of Covid-19's way.Further, the findings, detailed in the journal Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy, also demonstrates for the first time that our own endogenous miRNAs could directly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 virus.Previous studies led by the tema have shown that approximately 89 per cent of viruses that infect humans could be targeted by human miRNAs. The new study provides strong and direct evidence supporting the theory that miRNAs, particularly extracellular miRNAs, could function as "RNA defense" and protect cells against foreign nucleic acids, Zhang said.The study indicates that miRNAs are an important component of the endogenous RNA-based immune system to fight virus infection. This new understanding of miRNA function may provide new perspectives for prevention, surveillance and treatment of Covid-19, Zhang added.--IANSrvt/dpb
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