Why does HIV progress slowly in some people, even without therapy? [Hindu SciTech,Health]
Even in the absence of HIV therapy, some HIV-infected people may not suffer from AIDS for many years due to enhanced cholesterol metabolism in certain immune cells, shows research. And this, is an inherited trait.
The findings may lead to potential development of new approaches to control HIV infection by regulating cellular cholesterol metabolism. “We have known for two decades that some people do not have the dramatic loss in their T-cells and progression to AIDS that you would expect without drug therapy,” said lead author Giovanna Rappocciolo, assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh in the US.
T-cells are a type of white blood cells that play a very important role in human immunity by scanning for cellular infections. “Instead, the disease progresses more slowly and we believe altered cholesterol metabolism in certain immune cells may be a reason,” Mr. Rappocciolo said.
These people are known as “nonprogressors.” This discovery was made possible by using 30 years of data and biologic specimens. Mr. Rappocciolo and her colleagues searched for patterns in gene expression, or the degree to which specific genes are turned on or off.
“These results improve understanding of how nonprogressors control HIV without drug therapy and potentially may contribute to new approaches to manage HIV infection,” Mr. Rappocciolo added. The findings were presented at the eighth International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada.
Keywords: HIV, T-Cells, AIDS, Cholesterol metabolism
Colour-changing condom can help detect sexually transmitted infection(DTE,Health)
Exposure to toxic parts of PM2.5 during pregnancy harmful for newborn health (DTE ,Pollution,Health ,GS paper 3 )
Inhaling sulphur, sulphate, copper, iron, nickel and zinc through
PM2.5 can trigger maternal oxidative stress and affect the growth of
Photo: Sayantoni Palchoudhuri
A new study conducted in Europe has found that maternal exposure to
particulate matter (PM) constituents such as sulphur and secondary
combustion particles may adversely affect birth weight and head
circumference of newborns. LBW (birth weight less than 2.5 kg) is a
predictor of infant morbidity and mortality.
A mere 200 nanogramme per cubic metre-increase in sulphur in PM2.5 is
found to be associated with an increased risk of low birth weight
(LBW). Nickel and zinc in PM2.5 concentrations were also associated with
The study—Elemental Constituents of Particulate Matter and Newborn’s Size in Eight European Cohorts—published
in Environmental Health Perspective examined the associations of eight
elemental constituents in PM2.5 and PM10. It assessed data of 34,923
births during 1994 to 2008 in Europe and estimated the annual average
concentrations of eight constituents of PM2.5 and PM10 including copper,
iron, potassium, nickel, sulphur, silicon, vanadium and zinc at
maternal homes in different parts of Europe during pregnancy.
It was found that exposure to specific constituents of PM2.5,
especially traffic-related particles, sulphur constituents, and metals
was associated with decreased birth weight. Inhalation of PM can trigger
maternal oxidative stress, damage cells, cause inflammation and changes
in the blood system, decrease placental blood flow, disrupt
transplacental oxygenation, leading to poor growth of the foetus.
The study also found that all the elemental components, with the
exception of potassium, were significantly associated with smaller head
circumference in newborns. Head circumference is associated with
cognitive ability and child intellectual quotient.
The study was led by scientists from Centre for Research in
Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain, and jointly carried out by
several research institutions.
In India, it is often stated that PM from crustal sources (such as
dust) is largely responsible for poor air quality in cities like Delhi.
But emerging evidence, such as the findings of this study, makes it
imperative for regulators to also look into the effects of tinier toxic
constituents of combustion sources in PM
Cleaner air could save 1.4 million lives in India, China( Pollution, GS paper 3,Health,The Hindu)
At the present rate, deaths per capita from air pollution would increase 20 to 30 per cent during the next 15 years in the two countries.
Improving air quality could prevent up to 1.4 million premature deaths per year in polluted countries such as China and India, a new study has found.
The study also warned that with no changes in air pollution, deaths per capita from air pollution would increase 20 to 30 per cent during the next 15 years in India and China. If also accounting for population growth, the increase in deaths would be even greater if those countries experience no change in air pollution, researchers said.
The researchers found that meeting the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) particulate air quality guidelines could prevent 2.1 million deaths per year related to outdoor air pollution worldwide.
Joshua S. Apte of the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas Austin and his team looked at outdoor air pollution from particulate matter (PM) smaller than 2.5 microns.
Those particles can enter deep into the lungs. Breathing PM is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease; respiratory illnesses such as emphysema; and cancer.
“We wanted to determine how much cleaner different parts of the world would need to be in order to substantially reduce death from particulate matter,” said Apte, lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The study used the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease 2010 database, estimates of PM concentrations derived from ground-based measurements, satellite observations and air pollution models, and WHO’s air quality guidelines.
Worldwide, most people live in areas with PM concentrations far above WHO’s air quality guideline of 10 microgrammes per cubic metre, with some parts of India and China experiencing levels that exceed 100.
The study demonstrated major potential to reduce mortality from PM in the world’s most polluted regions.
One of the study’s unexpected findings was that cleaning air in less polluted parts of the world, including in North America and Western Europe, can have as much health benefit as similar measures taken in the most polluted areas.
The study determined that meeting WHO’s air quality guidelines could prevent up to 1.4 million premature deaths per year in polluted areas such as China and India.
Meeting WHO guidelines in clean regions could reduce premature deaths from outdoor pollution by more than half a million deaths per year.
Another important finding is that because of ageing populations, health risks in many countries will increase even if pollution levels are constant.
Know What you are eating .(Science and Tech,Business Line)
Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on a packet of processed food? It seems like an interminable list – yeast extract, emulsifiers, stabilisers, class II preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, acidity regulator, anti-caking agents, so on and so forth. What are these and what do they mean? The recent controversy over Maggi noodles must have piqued your curiosity. Here’s what some of them are, and what they are meant to do to the food we consume.
MSG (monsodium glutamate): This is a flavour enhancer, whose popularity has been on the wane for quite a while now.
The US FDA says it is “generally recognised as safe” but it gets a bad rap for causing headaches, stomach upsets and allergies and symptoms known as the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. Depending on the laws in various countries, processed food companies can declare that their food contains no added MSG, but it is present in other additives such as hydrolysed groundnut protein, maltodextrin and autolysed yeast.
Yeast extract: This is considered a condiment rather than a flavour enhancer but it contains glutamate as well. It is used to give a savoury taste to soups, sauces and savoury snacks. It can sometimes be included in the label ‘natural flavour’. Marmite and Vegemite are well-know spreads made from yeast extract.
Emulsifiers: These food additives help contrary elements like oil and water mix together, and are crucial to the consistency and texture of processed food including ice-cream, chocolate, bread, creamy sauces, confectionery and bakery products.
Some of the well known emulsifiers are egg yolk, soy lecithin, monoglycerides and diglycerides, polysorbates, and sorbitan monostearate. They too are generally regarded as safe but research published by Nature in February 2015 stated that in a study done on mice, they were found to have affected their metabolism and made them prone to inflammatory bowel disease.
Stabilisers: These are additives used to maintain the consistency and prevent the separation of ingredients bound by emulsifiers. They are used in ice-cream, margarine, low-fat spreads and dairy products.
Popular stabilisers are alginic acid, guar gum, xanthan gum, gelatine, carrageenan, pectin or calcium chloride.
Acidity regulator: This is an element that controls the pH level of a food, which determines the extent of its acidity or alkalinity, which affect taste and food safety. Not regulating these elements might lead to bacterial growth, which is a health hazard. Citric, lactic, fumaric, tartaric and malic acids are some well known acidity regulators.
Class II preservatives: Chemical food preservatives are added to processed food to extend its shelf life. (Natural preservatives such as salt and vinegar are Class I.) They retard the activity of germs and insects or kill them, keeping foods from going rancid or getting contaminated. The use of benzoates, butylates and butylated hydroxyanisole above the prescribed limits is reputed to cause a host of ailments including allergies, asthma, brain, kidney and liver damage, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Says Dharini Krishnan, Chennai-based dietitian and chairperson of the Registered Dietitian Board, “Additives can be had in permissible quantities, but if you eat only out of packets, sodium and potassium levels go up. A 200 ml bowl of fresh soup will contain 2 mg of sodium but soup reconstituted from a packet will contain 20 mg.” She explains that in Japan, where commercial MSG was developed in 1908, it is recommended as a flavouring agent in place of salt but that elsewhere, as in India, users tend to use them together, which raises sodium in consumers to unhealthy levels.
(Sources: www.fda.gov, eufic.org, faia.org, foodadditivesworld.com and yeastextract.info)
Vitamin C is a weekly dose of consumer empowerment
Why people die of heat stroke? All you need to know about the illness(Health, IndianExpress, In News)
Expert bodies suggest measures to fight killer heat waves(DownToEarth , Health, GS Paper 2)
More than 2,000 people have died in India’s current heat wave, the second deadliest in the country’s history. Amid fears of more lives being lost, two international expert bodies have issued a set of recommendations to battle the heat. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are the worst hit states in the country.
- Encourage workers to drink plenty of water – about one cup of cool water every 15 to 20 minutes, even if they are not thirsty – and to avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks that dehydrate the body
- Help workers adjust to the heat by assigning a lighter workload and longer rest periods for the first five to seven days of intense heat. This process needs to start all over again when a worker returns from vacation or other absence
- Encourage workers to wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Workers should change their clothes if they get completely saturated
- Use general ventilation and spot cooling at points of high heat production. Good airflow increases evaporation and cooling of the skin
- Train first-aid workers to recognise and treat the signs of heat stress and ensure that all workers know who have been trained to provide such aid. Train supervisors to detect early signs of heat-related illness and permit workers to interrupt their work if they become extremely uncomfortable
- Consider a worker’s physical condition when determining fitness to work in hot environments. Obesity, lack of conditioning, pregnancy and inadequate rest can increase susceptibility to heat stress
- Alternate work and rest periods, with rest periods in a cooler area. Shorter, more frequent work-rest cycles are best. Schedule heavy work for cooler times of the day and use appropriate protective clothing
- Monitor temperatures, humidity, and workers’ responses to heat, at least hourly.
Coping with the heat (Hindu , India heatwave, health)
The question remains whether humankind is preparing for eventualities such as this. For those in denial of climate change, there are clear pointers that cannot be ignored. Also, from the point of view of disaster mitigation, the rising number of heatwave related deaths should serve as an urgent signal to develop innovative methods to control summer-time losses. It is somewhat ironical that while the long, hot summer takes such a toll, in this subcontinent it is also a necessary condition for the monsoon to set in and provide adequate rainfall. In a sense, the unendurable heat and the rains that follow are tied together in a delicate balance. While it is important to preserve this balance by focussing on factors to mitigate climate change, it is also necessary to develop methods to cope with the impact of each of these when they go beyond normal.
Keywords: India heatwave, heatwave, extreme weather conditions