San Francisco, Sep 5 (IANS) Google is all set to collaborate with researchers to develop new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to improve brain stimulation devices to treat people with psychiatric illness and direct brain injuries, such as stroke.The tech giant has tied up with researchers at Mayo Clinic to develop a set of paradigms, or viewpoints, that simplify comparisons between effects of electrical stimulation on the brain.They developed a new type of algorithm called "basis profile curve identification"."Our findings show that this new type of algorithm may help us understand which brain regions directly interact with one another, which in turn may help guide placement of electrodes for stimulating devices to treat network brain diseases," said Kai Miller, a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon."As new technology emerges, this type of algorithm may help us to better treat patients with epilepsy, movement disorders like Parkinson's disease, and psychiatric illnesses like obsessive compulsive disorder and depression," he added.The new technique was demonstrated for an array of implanted brain surface electrodes in a human patient. A patient with a brain tumour underwent placement of an electrocorticographic electrode array to locate seizures and map brain function before a tumour was removed.Every electrode interaction resulted in hundreds to thousands of time points to be studied using the new algorithm.The framework enables straightforward interpretation of single-pulse brain stimulation data, and can be applied generically to explore the diverse milieu of interactions that comprise the connectome, the researchers explained in the study published in PLOS Computational Biology."Neurologic data to date is perhaps the most challenging and exciting data to model for AI researchers," said Klaus-Robert Mueller, member of the Google Research Brain Team.--IANSrvt/vd
Hyderabad, Aug 18 (IANS) The consumption of millets can reduce total cholesterol, triacylglycerols (commonly known as triglycerides), and BMI, according to a new study analysing the data of 19 studies with nearly 900 people.
The study was undertaken by five organisations and led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
The results, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, brings critically needed scientific backing to the efforts to popularise and return millets to diets, especially as staples, to combat the growing prevalence of obesity and being overweight in children, adolescents, and adults.
The study showed that consuming millets reduced total cholesterol by 8 per cent, lowering it from high to normal levels in the people studied. There was nearly a 10 per cent decrease in low and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (commonly viewed as 'bad cholesterol') and triacylglycerol levels in blood. Through these reductions, the levels went from above normal to normal range. In addition, consuming millets decreased blood pressure with the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in the BP reading) decreasing by 5 per cent.
"We were very surprised how many studies on humans had already been undertaken on the impact of millets on elements that impact cardiovascular diseases,and this is the very first time anyone has collated all these studies and analysed their data to test the significance of the impact. We used a meta-analysis, and results came out very strongly to show significant positive impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease," study's lead author and senior nutritionist at the ICRISAT, Dr S. Anitha said.
The study also showed that consuming millets reduced BMI by 7 per cent in people who were overweight and obese, (from 28.5 (+/-2.4) to 26.7 (+/-1.8) kg/m2), showing the possibility of returning to a normal BMI (less that 25 kg/m2). All results are based on consumption of 50 to 200 g of millets per day for a duration ranging from 21 days to four months.
These findings are influenced by comparisons that show that millets are much higher in unsaturated fatty acids, with 2 to 10 times higher levels than refined wheat and milled rice as well as being much higher than whole grain wheat.
"Unhealthy diet is a major contributor to the rising incidence of diseases, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The results of this study along with our recent study that showed that the consumption of millets reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helped manage type 2 diabetes, highlights a critical need to look carefully at how to most appropriately bring millets back into the diets in India and ensure this reaches the majority," National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) Director, Dr Hemalatha, said.
"Obesity and being overweight are increasing globally in both wealthy and poorer countries, so the need for solutions based on healthier diets is critical. This new information on the health benefits of millets further supports the need to invest more in the grain, including its whole value chain from better varieties for farmers through to agribusiness developments," ICRISAT Director General, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, said.
The study identified a number of priority future research areas including the need to study all different types of millets, understand any differences by variety alongside the different types of cooking and processing of millets and their impact on cardiovascular health.
Given the positive indicators to date, more detailed analysis on the impact of millets on weight management is also recommended. All relevant parameters are also recommended to be assessed to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts millets consumption on hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease.
New York, Aug 11 (IANS) Asthmatics who have their illness well under control have less severe Covid-19 outcomes than those with uncontrolled asthma, according to a large study.The findings, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, suggest that asthma patients -- especially those who require clinical care -- should continue taking their asthma medications during the Covid-19 pandemic."Anyone with asthma should continue to work with their health care provider to ensure they are getting the best treatment for their asthma, which leads to better asthma control and decreases the likelihood of severe Covid-19 outcomes," said Zhanghua Chen, Assistant Professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.Researchers collected data on 61,338 Covid-19 patients using electronic medical records from Kaiser Permanente Southern California from March 1 to August 31, 2020. Medical codes were used to determine if these patients had asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prior to their Covid-19 diagnosis. Researchers also separated the data further, with the "active" group accounting for any patients who had a clinical visit for asthma within the last 12 months and the "inactive" group accounting for those who had not.Patients in the active asthma group had significantly higher odds of hospitalization, a need for intensive respiratory support and ICU admission within 30 days of Covid-19 diagnosis compared to those with no history of asthma or COPD.Notably, researchers did not see a higher likelihood of mortality within 60 days for the active asthma group."This study went beyond examining asthma's impact on Covid-19 outcomes and instead focused on how Covid-19 outcomes might change for asthma patients depending on their level of asthma control," said Anny H Xiang of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation."We also saw that even in patients with active asthma, if they were using asthma medications their odds of worsened Covid-19 outcomes decreased, which demonstrates just how important these medications are," Xiang said.--IANSrvt/bg
London, July 28 (IANS) Researchers have found that strokes were a common complication experienced by hospitalised adults with severe Covid-19, with higher rates than expected amongst younger people.The study, led by a team at the University of Southampton in the UK, showed that risk factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure, contributed to the risk of stroke, including in younger people.The study, published in the journal Brain Communications, looked into 267 cases of Covid-19 related neurological and psychiatric problems in the UK.Of the 267 cases, strokes were the most frequently reported conditions, affecting nearly half of the patients. Over a quarter of strokes occurred in patients under 60 years old, many of whom had modifiable risk factors that meant they were already at risk of stroke.Other common conditions included delirium, psychiatric events and other evidence of damage to the brain (encephalopathy). More than 10 per cent of patients experienced more than one neurological condition, and these patients were more likely to require intensive care and ventilation."It was striking not only how many different neurological and psychiatric events we observed in this study, but also that some of these conditions occurred together within the same patients. This suggests Covid can affect multiple parts of the nervous system in the same patient," said Dr Amy Ross-Russell, research fellow at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust."Patients with strokes also had blood vessel blockages or thrombosis elsewhere in the body so this is important for understanding why some strokes occur during Covid-19," Ross-Russell added.The finding suggests that Covid-19 amplifies the risk of stroke, including in younger people. Public health measures could reduce this, including lifestyle measures to avoid developing diabetes and high blood pressure, good control of blood sugar and blood pressure, and avoiding the risk of severe Covid-19 through vaccination and other public health measures.--IANSrvt/dpb
New York, July 22 (IANS) Adults and children with Covid-19 who have a history of malnutrition may have an increased likelihood of death and the need for mechanical ventilation, according to a study.
Malnutrition hampers the proper functioning of the immune system and is known to increase the risk of severe infections for other viruses, but the potential long-term effects of malnutrition on Covid-19 outcomes are less clear, said Louis Ehwerhemuepha from Children's Hospital of Orange County in California, US.
Children older than five and adults aged 18 to 78 years with previous diagnoses of malnutrition were found to have higher odds of severe Covid-19 than those with no history of malnutrition in the same age groups.
Children younger than five and adults aged 79 or above were found to have higher odds of severe Covid-19 if they were not malnourished compared to those of the same age who were malnourished. In children, this may be due to having less medical data for those under five, according to the researchers.
The risk of severe Covid-19 in adults with and without malnutrition continued to rise with age above 79 years. The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Malnutrition, as a global health problem for both the pediatric and adult population, will continue to overlap with the Covid-19 pandemic that has already affected millions worldwide, Ehwerhemuepha said.
The researchers suggest that public health interventions for those at highest risk of malnutrition may help mitigate the higher likelihood of severe Covid-19 in this group.
For the study, the team investigated associations between malnutrition diagnoses and subsequent Covid-19 severity, using medical records for 8,604 children and 94,495 adults (older than 18 years) who were hospitalised with Covid-19 in the US between March and June 2020. Patients with a diagnosis of malnutrition between 2015 and 2019 were compared to patients without.
Of 520 (6 per cent) children with severe Covid-19, 39 (7.5 per cent) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared to 125 (1.5 per cent) of 7,959 (98.45 per cent) children with mild Covid-19. Of 11,423 (11 per cent) adults with severe Covid-19, 453 (4 per cent) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared to 1,557 (1.8 per cent) of 81,515 (98.13 per cent) adults with mild Covid-19.
Lucknow, July 15 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh plans to reduce by half, the infant mortality rate over the next 10 years.
Provisions have been made for ensuring health services for all, with special attention to pregnant women, infants, sick newborns and children who are severely malnourished.
According to the government spokesman, the new policy has set a target of reducing the neonatal mortality rate of infants that takes place within 28 days of their birth from 32 to 22 by 2026 and to 12 by 2030.
Along with this, a target has also been set to bring down the under-five mortality from 47 to 35 by the year 2026 and to 25 by the year 2030.
According to the 2015-2016 report of National Family Health Survey-4, out of every thousand children born in the state, 52 newborns died in urban areas and 67 in rural areas, whereas, 62 children died in urban areas and 82 in rural areas per thousand children under the age of five years.
In last four years, the state government made significant efforts in reducing the birth rate, maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate, however, it is still less than the national average.
In 2016, the fertility rate in UP was 3.3, while the national average was 2.6. As a result of the sustained efforts of the Uttar Pradesh government, today the fertility rate in the state stands at 2.7, while the national average is 2.3.
Maternal mortality rate is 197 today compared to 258 in 2016, whereas the national average is 113.
Ved Prakash, General Manager, National Health Mission, UP, informed that the situation in the year 2018 has improved a lot as compared to back in 2008.
In the year 2008, where 45 deaths per thousand newborns took place, it has come down to 32 in the year 2018, while in the below five years age group, it has come down by three times in the year 2018 as compared to 2008.
He further said that continuous and determined efforts have been made to reduce the infant mortality rate and Special New-born Care Units and Nutrition Rehabilitation Center (NRC) Units have been established state-wide.
Through the new population policy, the health services especially for women, children and adolescents will further be improved and expanded extensively across the state.
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