Toronto, Aug 3 (IANS) Canadian researchers have found no increase in preterm births or stillbirths during the first year of the pandemic, alleviating concerns about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on pregnancy.During the pandemic the UK, Italy, India and others reported increases in stillbirths and some variability in preterm birth rates. However, most studies were small.A team led by researchers in the University of Toronto, conducted a large study of more than 2.4 million births in Ontario over an 18-year period and compared trends in the pre pandemic period (2002-2019) with the pandemic period (January to December 2020)."We found no unusual changes in rates of preterm birth or stillbirth during the pandemic, which is reassuring," said Dr. Prakesh Shah, a pediatrician-in-chief at Sinai Health and professor at University of Toronto. The results are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.Pandemic-related measures and compliance with them could affect preterm birth rates in different settings. Thus, the researchers looked at birth outcomes in the public health units where positivity rates for SARS-CoV-2 were higher (Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Ottawa) as well as comparing urban and rural births and those in neighbourhoods with different average income levels."In some areas and in certain people, the restrictions could be beneficial, and in other settings or individuals, restrictions could have the opposite effect," Shah said.International studies are now underway to help understand the impact of Covid-19 on pregnancy and childbirth around the globe.Infection, inflammation, stress, medical or pregnancy-induced disorders, genetic predisposition, and environmental factors can contribute to stillbirth and preterm birth, although in many instances the cause remains unknown.--IANSrvt/dpb
New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) While the pandemic has made people conscious about remaining active for health, fitness and immunity, there has been a significant rise in the number of people, particularly the middle-aged, experiencing 'stress fracture', doctors said on Thursday.The term stress fracture refers to a very small crack in the bone that can happen from repetitive trauma and is commonly found in the shin bone, foot, heel, hip, and lower back. Jumping up and down repeatedly, running long distances, or wearing wrong or worn-out footwear can cause a stress fracture. If left unattended, the pain at the site of stress fracture and around it may increase and increase the risk of suffering a complete fracture in the affected bone.Middle-aged people, who have not indulged in outdoor activities ever but started after lockdown was lifted, comprise 10 per cent of such patients in the past one year, said doctors at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC). "Most of the patients belong to the age group of 30-40 years, followed by 40-50 years. Upon investigation, most of these people were found to have never done rigorous exercises such as running, skipping, sports or jumping. However, with the discussion around health, immunity and fitness raging due to the pandemic, they chose to become active, which was a shock for their body that is both unaccustomed and unconditioned for such activities," said Maninder Shah Singh, Senior Consultant Orthopedics and Chief of Foot and Ankle Service, at ISIC. The injury begins with repetitive and excessive stress on the bone which can result in acceleration of normal bone remodeling, the production of micro fractures (caused by insufficient time for the bone to repair), the creation of a bone stress injury (that is, stress reaction), and, eventually, a stress fracture, Singh said.With the Covid-19 pandemic creating a havoc around the world, exercise was emphasised as a key pillar to maintain physical and mental health. Many people, thus, took up running, aerobics, and other exercises to keep themselves fit and healthy. But being unaccustomed to physical training and the sudden change in lifestyle, reduced exposure to sunlight which affected bone health due to low Vitamin D levels also increased the risk for stress fractures, said Dr Aashish Chaudhry, Managing Director and Head - Orthopedics and Joint Replacement dept, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka."Stress fractures can result from increasing the intensity of an activity too quickly. When the bones are weak and subjected to unaccustomed force without enough time for recovery, it makes them susceptible to stress fractures," he added.Another reason is that people are working at home without proper guidance, the experts noted. "The primary reason for such a fracture is people are doing an activity which earlier they were not used to and they are not using proper equipment or care to do the activity. Beside this we are also seeing sports injuries and they have definitely doubled. And the reason is people want to do more activities, people are working out at home more without proper equipment and guidance, which leads to injuries in their joints and ligaments," said Dr Subhash Jangid, Director and Unit Head, Bone and Joint Institute, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.The doctors advise RICE treatment -- Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation -- as first-aid. They also recommend complete rest for six weeks.--IANSrvt/in
London, July 29 (IANS) The incidence of rare blood clot is higher following a Covid-19 infection than two doses of AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, according to a new study.The rates of venous thromboembolism (VTE) -- a combination of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism -- after first-dose of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines is 1.3 fold. However, the risk increases 8-fold after diagnosis of Covid-19, revealed the study led and funded by the British-Swedish drugmaker. It is published as a pre-print on The Lancet server.The study assessed the incidence rates of blood clotting disorders of thromboembolism and thrombocytopenia, including the very rare thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) following vaccination with an Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine or AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria jab, known as Covishield in India, in over one million individuals.Thromboembolism is the obstruction of a blood vessel by a blood clot that has become dislodged from another site in the circulation, while thrombocytopenia is a low number of platelets in the blood.The results were then compared with expected rates in a general population and in people with Covid-19.The findings showed that "safety profiles of AstraZeneca, and the mRNA-based vaccine were similar and overall favourable".Very rare clotting disorders (TTS) were observed with both vaccines but these were in line with what would be expected in the general population and lower than in those diagnosed with Covid-19, the study showed."This real-world study offers further evidence of the favourable benefit:risk profile of Vaxzeria and demonstrates the critical role all Covid-19 vaccines are playing in combating the pandemic," said Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, in a statement.The analysis included 945,941 mRNA participants (778,534 with two doses), 426,272 AstraZeneca participants, conducted between December 27, 2020 and May 19, 2021. It also included 222,710 Covid-19 participants identified between September 1, 2020 and March 1 2021, and 4,570,149 background participants as of January 1, 2017 from a public health database held in Spain's Catalonia."No specific risk factors or definitive cause for TTS following Covid-19 vaccination have been identified and AstraZeneca continues to perform and support ongoing investigations of potential mechanisms," the study noted.Further, these very rare events can be managed when symptoms are identified and treated appropriately, it added.AstraZeneca Covid jab uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein.After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.The vaccine has been granted a conditional marketing authorisation or emergency use in more than 80 countries across six continents, the company said.More than 800 million doses of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca have been supplied to more than 170 countries worldwide, including more than 100 countries through the Covax Facility.--IANSrvt/vd
A new study has shown that eating millets reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps manage blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
The study indicates the potential to design appropriate meals with millets for diabetic and pre-diabetic people as well as for non-diabetic people as a preventive approach.
Drawing on research from 11 countries, the study published in Frontiers in Nutrition shows that diabetic people who consumed millets as part of their daily diet saw their blood glucose levels drop 12-15% (fasting and post-meal), and blood glucose levels went from diabetic to pre-diabetes levels.
The HbA1c (blood glucose bound to hemoglobin) levels lowered on average 17% for pre-diabetic individuals, and the levels went from prediabetic to normal status. These findings affirm that eating millets can lead to a better glycemic response.
The authors reviewed 80 published studies of which 65 were eligible for a meta-analysis involving about 1,000 human subjects, making this analysis the largest systematic review on the topic till date, said International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
"No one knew there were so many scientific studies undertaken on millets' effect on diabetes. These benefits were often contested, and this systematic review of the studies published in scientific journals has proven that millets keep blood glucose levels in check, reducing the risk of diabetes, and has shown just how well these smart foods do it," said Dr. S Anitha, the study's lead author and a senior nutrition scientist at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
"Diabetes contributed to very high disease burden from 1990-2016 in India. Diabetes-related health expenditure was over $7 million. There is no easy solution, and it requires a lifestyle change, and diet is a very important part of this. This study provides one part of the solution useful for individuals and governments. How we use this and implement it into programs needs careful planning," said Hemalatha, Director, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).
Raj Bhandari, one of the study's authors and a representative on the Indian National Technical Board of Nutrition, noted that additional attention to our health has been accelerated due to Covid-19 and diabetics are even more vulnerable to the virus. "Our diets play a critical role and if we could bring millets back as a major part of our diet, we would not only help in controlling diabetes, but we would also be adding important nutrients to our plate."
According to the International Diabetes Association, diabetes is increasing in all regions of the world. India, China and the US have the highest numbers of people with diabetes. Africa has the largest forecasted increase of 143% from 2019 to 2045, the Middle East and North Africa 96% and South East Asia 74%. The authors urge the diversification of staples with millets to keep diabetes in check, especially across Asia and Africa.
Strengthening the case for returning millets as staples, the study found that millets have a low average glycemic index (GI) of 52.7, about 30% lower glycemic index (GI) than milled rice and refined wheat, and about 14-37 GI points lower compared to maize. All 11 types of millets studied were either low (<55) or medium gi (55-69), gi being an indicator of how much and how soon a food increases blood sugar level. the review concluded that even after boiling, baking and steaming (most common ways of cooking grains) millets had lower gi than rice, wheat and maize.
"Millets are traditional foods consumed in India. Use of locally available millets as dietary diversification coupled with good lifestyle modifications would help reduce not only Type II diabetes but also gestational diabetes.," said study co-author Professor Kowsalya Subramaniam, (Food and Science Nutrition), Registrar at Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women (deemed to be university) in Tamil Nadu.
"The global health crisis of undernutrition and over-nutrition coexisting is a sign that our food systems need fixing. Greater diversity both on-farm and on-plate is the key to transforming food systems. On-farm diversity is a risk mitigating strategy for farmers in the face of climate change while on-plate diversity helps counter lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Millets are part of the solution to mitigate the challenges associated with malnutrition, human health, natural resource degradation, and climate change. Trans-disciplinary research involving multiple stakeholders is required to create resilient, sustainable and nutritious food systems," said Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, Director General ICRISAT.
This study is first in a series of studies that has been worked on for the last four years as a part of the Smart Food initiative led by ICRISAT that will be progressively released in 2021. Included are systematic reviews with meta-analyses of the impacts of millets on: diabetes, anaemia and iron requirements, cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases and calcium deficiencies as well as a review on zinc levels.
As part of this, ICRISAT and the Institute for Food Nutrition and Health at the University of Reading have formed a strategic partnership to research and promote the Smart Food vision of making our diets healthier, more sustainable on the environment and good for those who produce it," explained Joanna Kane-Potaka, a co-author from ICRISAT and Executive Director of the Smart Food initiative. (agency)
Read More ► From Weight Loss to Strong Bones, Health Benefits of Millets
London, July 28 (IASN) Inflammation and blood clotting seen in very severe cases of Covid-19 may be caused by the antibodies sent to fight the infectious disease activating unnecessary platelet activity in the lungs, according to researchers.Platelets are small cells found in blood which form clots to stop or prevent bleeding, but when they don't function properly, it can lead to serious health concerns such as strokes and heart attacks.The study, published in the journal Blood, took antibodies produced to fight the coronavirus's spike protein, from people with severe Covid-19 infections, and cloned them in a lab to study them.The team, led by researchers from the Imperial College London, found that the small sugars found on the surface of these antibodies were different to antibodies from healthy individuals, and when those cloned antibodies were introduced in a lab to blood cells taken from healthy donors, there was an observed increase in platelet activity.The team also found that it was possible to reduce or stop platelets from responding in this way in the laboratory by treating blood with active ingredients from different medications which is known to either inhibit platelet function or immune responses.The findings suggest that it may be possible for drugs that are currently used to treat immune system problems to reduce or stop the cells from producing an exaggerated platelet response.--IANSrvt/vd
Thiruvananthapuram, July 23 (IANS) With the daily test positivity rate crossing 13 per cent on Friday as 17,518 people turning Covid positive from 1,28,489 samples tested in the past 24 hours, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said lockdown norms will have to be strengthened."The average TPR in the past three days has been 12.1 per cent and in 11 out of the 14 districts in the state, the TPR is above 10 per cent. Hence those local bodies (408) in A and B category (TPR up to 10 per cent), offices will have to work with 50 per cent capacity and those in C category (355 local bodies with TPR between 10 to 15 per cent), will have 25 per cent staff, and in D category places (271 local bodies with TPR above 15 per cent), only essential services will be operational," he said.He said all those government staff in these local bodies who are not working will be redeployed for Covid work.There were 1,35,198 active cases on Friday as 11,067 people turned negative, taking the total cured in the state to 30,83,962.A total of 132 Covid fresh deaths were reported, taking the death toll to 15,871.Vijayan said with the third wave predicted, Kerala is on high alert and more emphasis will be given to contact tracing and vaccination."So far 1.24 crore people have been given one dose while 0.52 crore have got both the doses. We are sure that if there is adequate proper supply of vaccines by the Centre, then in a matter of three months we will be able to vaccinate 60 per cent of our people," he said.--IANSsg/vd
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