London: Researchers have identified a link suggesting that lithium could decrease the risk of developing dementia, affecting nearly 10 million people every year.
With more than 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, suggested that patients who received lithium were less likely to develop dementia than those who did not, although the overall number of patients who received lithium in the study was small.
The team conducted a retrospective analysis of the health records of nearly 30,000 patients, all over the age of 50.
Their findings, reported in the journal PLoS Medicine, support the possibility that lithium could be a preventative treatment for dementia, and could be progressed to large randomised controlled trials.
"The number of people with dementia continues to grow, which puts huge pressure on healthcare systems," said first author Dr Shanquan Chen from Cambridge's Department of Psychiatry.
"It's been estimated that delaying the onset of dementia by just five years could reduce its prevalence and economic impact by as much as 40 per cent," Chen added.
Previous studies have proposed lithium as a potential treatment for those who have already been diagnosed with dementia or early cognitive impairment, but it is unclear whether it can delay or even prevent the development of dementia altogether, as these studies have been limited in size.
Lithium is a mood stabiliser usually prescribed for conditions such as bipolar affective disorder and depression. "Bipolar disorder and depression are considered to put people at increased risk of dementia, so we had to make sure to account for this in our analysis," said Chen.
Further, the researchers said they expected to find that patients with bipolar disorder were more likely to develop dementia, since that is the most common reason to be prescribed lithium, "but our analysis suggested the opposite," said Chen.
"It's far too early to say for sure, but it's possible that lithium might reduce the risk of dementia in people with bipolar disorder," Chen noted, adding further experimental medicine and clinical studies are needed to see if lithium really is helpful in these conditions. (agency)
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London: People bedridden for seven days or more with Covid-19 showed a higher rate of depression and anxiety, compared to those who were infected but never bedridden, according to a new study published in The Lancet Public Health.
The findings suggest that, on the whole, non-hospitalised patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection were more likely to experience depressive symptoms up to 16 months after diagnosis compared to those never infected.
While symptoms of depression and anxiety mostly subsided within two months for non-hospitalised patients, those bedridden for seven days or more continued to be 50-60 per cent more likely to experience depression and anxiety upto 16-months.
The quicker recovery of physical Covid-19 symptoms may explain in part why mental health symptoms decline at a similar rate for those with a mild infection. However, patients with severe Covid-19 often experience inflammation which has previously been linked to chronic mental health effects, particularly depression.
"The higher occurrence of depression and anxiety among patients with Covid-19 who spent seven days or longer bedridden could be due to a combination of worrying about long-term health effects as well as the persistence of physical long Covid symptoms well beyond the illness that limit social contact and may result in a sense of helplessness," said Ingibjorg Magnusdottir, from the University of Iceland.
To capture long-term mental health impacts, the researchers looked at symptom-prevalence of depression, anxiety, Covid-19 related distress, and poor sleep quality among people with and without a diagnosis of Covid-19 from 0-16 months (mean follow-up 5.65 months).
The analysis drew upon data from 247,249 people in seven cohorts across Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.
Overall, participants diagnosed with Covid-19 had a higher prevalence of depression and poorer sleep quality compared to individuals who were never diagnosed.
"Our research is among the first to explore mental health symptoms after a serious Covid-19 illness in the general population up to 16 months after diagnosis. It suggests that mental health effects aren't equal for all Covid-19 patients and that time spent bedridden is a key factor in determining the severity of the impacts on mental health," said Professor Unnur Anna Valdimarsdottir, from the varsity.
"As we enter the third year of the pandemic, increased clinical vigilance of adverse mental health among the proportion of patients with a severe acute disease of Covid-19 and follow-up studies beyond the first year after infections are critical to ensure timely access to care." (agency)
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While more common in adults, glaucoma - a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness - can also affect infants and children, experts said on Friday.
Although very rare in children, it can effectively damage nerves in the back of the eye called the optic nerve, leading to gradual loss of vision.
Glaucoma is more common in the elderly but can develop at any age. Congenital glaucoma happens at birth while infantile glaucoma occurs in the first three years of life. Another form of glaucoma called juvenile glaucoma can happen to children up to ten years of age.
"Childhood glaucoma is relatively rare. Primary congenital/infantile glaucoma occurs in the general population at a rate of approximately 1 in 10,000 births. In India, the prevalence of primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) is one in 3,300 live births and it accounts for 4.2 per cent of all childhood blindness," Dr Nusrat Bukhari (Mistry), Consultant Eye Surgeon, Masina Hospital, Mumbai, told IANS.
"Childhood glaucoma, also known as primary congenital glaucoma, is a fairly rare disease. It exists largely due to a congenital defect that leads to increase in pressure of the eye at birth," added Dr Sandeep Buttan, Global Technical Lead - Eye Health ASIA at Sightsavers.
Infants and children with glaucoma typically also have different signs and symptoms than adults.
There are few symptoms so that people may not notice for a long time that they are losing their sight. So, the best way to look out for glaucoma in adults is via screening.
"But in children, common signs of glaucoma are cloudy cornea, excessive watering of eyes, aversion to light and sometimes also the inability to open eyes," Buttan said.
"All these three symptoms are good indicators of a child having glaucoma. In such cases, the child must be taken to a hospital and treatment should begin as early as possible," he added.
Many cases of paediatric glaucoma have no specific identifiable cause and are considered primary glaucoma. When glaucoma is caused by or associated with a specific condition or disease, it is called secondary glaucoma.
Examples of conditions which can be associated with childhood glaucoma include Axenfeld-Reiger Syndrome - an eye disorder characterised by abnormalities of the front part of the eye, aniridia - an eye disorder characterised by a complete or partial absence of the iris, Sturge-Weber Syndrome - a neurological condition; neurofibromatosis - genetic disorders that cause tumours to form on nerve tissue, chronic steroid use, trauma, or previous eye surgery such as childhood cataract removal, Bukhari said.
"Not all patients with these conditions will develop glaucoma, but their incidence of glaucoma is much higher than average, and they should be monitored regularly," Bukhari noted.
While many children and adults are prescribed medicines in the initial stages of glaucoma, it is largely a surgical treatment.
Bukhari said that paediatric glaucoma is treated by lowering the intraocular pressure (IOP) with medicine and/or surgery. Most cases of primary paediatric glaucoma are treated with surgery.
Trabeculotomy and goniotomy, which open the drainage canals, are the most common surgical interventions. Other procedures create a bypass route for the aqueous (fluid made by the eye) to drain out of the eye, Bukhari said. Besides, laser procedures can also be beneficial in some cases.
Eye pressure lowering drops and oral medications are the primary treatments for secondary and juvenile glaucoma and are often used as additional therapy after surgery in primary paediatric glaucoma.
Early treatment is key and delays caused by the ongoing pandemic and lockdown has been a very big factor in the progression of glaucoma cases in the country, which could have been prevented if treated earlier, the experts said.
Read More► Greater Risks of Kidney Disease If You Have Diabetes and High BP
Finding it hard to regulate your hypertension? Eating a balanced diet, including protein from a variety of sources, may help adults lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, according to new research.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the leading contributors to cardiovascular disease. When left untreated, high blood pressure damages the circulatory system and is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke and other health conditions.
The study, published in the journal Hypertension, showed that those people who ate four or more protein foods which include whole grains, refined grains, processed red meat, unprocessed red meat, poultry, fish, egg and legumes, had a 66 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure compared to those who ate less than two.
"The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure," said Xianhui Qin, from the National Clinical Research Centre for Kidney Disease at Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University in China.
"Nutrition may be an easily accessible and effective measure to fight against hypertension. Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three basic macronutrients," Qin added.
There is a strong association between poor diet quality and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease. In its 2021 dietary guidance to improve cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association advises people eat healthy sources of protein, mostly from plants and may include seafood and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and, if desired, lean cuts and unprocessed forms of meat or poultry.
The American Heart Association also recommends eating one to two servings, or 5.5 ounces, of protein daily.
The team analysed health information for nearly 12,200 adults living in China. A trained interviewer collected 24-hour dietary information over three days in the same week during each round of the survey.
The analysis found more than 35 per cent of the nearly 12,200 participants developed new-onset high hypertension during follow-up.
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Under its Illness to Wellness Campaign, ASSOCHAM, an apex body, organized 'Kidney Care: Preventive and Curative Actions' on the eve of World Kidney Day with the objective of spreading awareness about kidney diseases.
Kidney diseases are silent killers, which can largely affect your quality of life. There are several ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease.
"Kidney disease is mostly silent and thus neglected and not handled properly", said Dr Manju Aggarwal, Director and Head, Department of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation, Artemis Health Institute.
She went on to say that kidney disease is avoidable and that high-risk populations, such as those with diabetes and hypertension, should be educated and screened. Early detection and medical treatment can help postpone the onset of severe renal failure.
She addressed the audience by saying "Diagnosing renal illness can be a difficult experience for both the sufferer and those around them.
It limits their capacity to engage in daily activities such as employment, travel, and socialising. Patients with kidney disease, including those who require dialysis or transplantation, require additional assistance from society, patient groups, networks, government agencies and health insurance providers in the long run", she added.
Kidneys are very important organs that remove waste, control blood pressure, make haemoglobin, and maintain bone health, according to Dr Rishit K. Harbada, Consultant Nephrologist, BSES MG Hospital, Andheri, S.R.V Hospital, Goregaon, Associate Consultant, Sir H.N Reliance, Foundation Hospital, Mumbai.
He said, "Symptoms or indicators of renal disease may not appear until 80 per cent of your kidneys have been damaged". As a result, early detection is critical.
Controlling blood pressure, diabetes, eating properly, limiting alcohol intake, being active, avoiding over-the-counter drugs, painkillers, and regular follow-up are all critical for kidney health sharing precautionary measures in the session.
Dr Siddharth Vinod Lakhani, Consultant Nephrologist & Transplant Physician, Lakhani Kidney Clinic, Fortis Raheja Hospital, Global Hospital, Somaiya Hospital, Kohinoor Hospital, SRV Hospital, Zynova or Shalby Group of Hospitals, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to ASSOCHAM for organising this enlightening and interactive session.
"Prevention is better than cure." Dr Lakhani stated emphatically. "Let us work together to avoid and battle chronic renal disease", he said.
Dr Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, Delhi–NCR, outlined his concern of the rising cases of kidney diseases in the nation and said, "Kidney disease has long been regarded as the most neglected chronic disorder."
A variety of communicable and noncommunicable diseases can cause kidney problems, and many patients with kidney disease do not have access to treatment.
Renal disorders' causes, consequences, and costs have implications for public health policy in all countries, as well as the problems that lie ahead.
Read More► Kidney Disease May Be A Silent Killer: Experts
New York: People with congenital heart defect hospitalised with Covid-19 infection could be at higher risk for severe illness or death than those without a heart defect, according to new research.
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, and more than a dozen types result when the heart, or blood vessels near the heart don't develop normally before birth.
Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)found that people with a congenital heart defect who contracted Covid were also more likely to require treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) or need a ventilator.
The analysis found that the patients with a heart defect had at least one other health condition. The risk was highest among men above 50, revealed the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Circulation.
Ace Data comparing Covid-19 outcomes among individuals with and without congenital heart defects has been limited," said lead author Karrie Downing, epidemiologist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the Covid-19 Response Team at the US CDC.
The team examined data on 235,638 people, aged 1 to 64 years old, hospitalised with Covid patients from March 2020 to January 2021. Of the hospitalised patients, 421 had a congenital heart defect.
About 54 per cent of patients with a congenital heart defect were admitted to the ICU; 24 per cent required a ventilator to breathe and 11 per cent died during hospitalisation.
Ace people with heart defects should be encouraged to receive the Covid-19 vaccines and boosters," Downing said.
She recommended them to continue practicing additional preventive measures, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing.
According to the American Heart Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2022 Update, congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect worldwide, with a global prevalence of 157 per 100,000 in 2017.
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