The IndUS Network e-magazine

2010 Top stories in Healthcare ... Continued

Looking back - part 2

Image credit: University of Calgary

Here is our continuation of the top story picks from this year in Healthcare.
6. Music therapy - acknowledged!
The benefits of listening to music for patients on mechanical ventilation were reviewed by a team of Cochrane researchers led by Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions’ associate professor Dr. Joke Bradt. The review found that listening to music may relax patients and potentially result in fewer complications.

Dr, Bradt says “mechanical ventilation is a highly stressful experience. It is exciting that music may provide a way to reduce anxiety in these patients without costly side effects."

In trials, the patients listened both to pre-recorded music and live music by trained music therapist providing a tempo matching to the respiratory rate of the patient. In general, music reduced anxiety, heart and breathing rates, but did not affect the blood pressure.

Also, music therapy has been found to reduce depression and increase movements in stroke patients, but it is still a debate whether music therapy can aid in dyslexia.

Did you know? Music therapy is practiced in India for a long time. To name a few Indian ragas of remedy: Anandabairavi/Hindolam/Kalyani (hypertension), Bageshri (sleep disorder), Bilahari (depression).

7. 3T-MRI clinical trial-A breakthrough in imaging!
MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create cross-sectional images of anatomy; the stronger the magnet, the more clear the image. The latest breakthrough 3T-MRI uses 3 Tesla magnetic strength. A magnet with 1.5 T (what was the previous) can lift a junk car and 3T magnetic strength is 60,000 times the earth's magnetic field. or gravitation pull of the earth.

This is a boon to the medical fraternity. Now cardiologists and surgeons can get a high-resolution image of the scar tissue (damaged muscle) and so their treatment can target blood vessels that lead to healthy muscles rather than irreversibly diseased ones. Also, these faster, high-contrast scans help to get sub-millimeter resolution of abdomen in 15 seconds, Contrast-enhanced studies give better differentiation between the brain and a tumor. They can better characterize the liver/pelvic masses now and locate multifocal tumors of breast and their response to chemotherapy. They can detect much smaller abnormalities such as multiple sclerosis plaques, brain tumors and strokes that cannot be seen on a conventional 1.5T scanner. This improved detection capability can lead to earlier diagnosis and can identify the cause of a disease when the conventional 1.5T MRI fails to find an abnormality.

An important safety issue in imaging with 3T is an increase in SAR (specific absorption rate) that could result in increased tissue heating due to increased magnetic field strength. This may necessitate longer scan time and “cooling” delays between acquisitions.

Did you know?
Closed MRI study is the one when the study is conducted within a confined space of a closed cylinder.
Open MRI study is the one when conducted in a bit more space-liberal setting that is quieter and more comfortable for the individual. This is more suitable for big-sized individuals who cannot fit into the closed MRI cylinder and for individuals who are claustrophobic (fear of being in narrow or enclosed spaces) and of course to children.

8. Stem cells cure for Type 1 diabetic - the lucky men!

Men with type 1 diabetes may be able to grow their own insulin-producing cells from their testicular tissue, say Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researchers who presented their findings at the American Society of Cell Biology 50th annual meeting in Philadelphia.

The study suggests that human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) extracted from testicular tissue can morph into insulin-secreting beta islet cells of the pancreas.

So far, no stem cells, adult or embryonic, have been induced to secrete enough insulin to cure diabetes in humans, but SSCs have the potential to do that and ways to improve their yield are also known

Did you know? If the body is not producing insulin, it is diabetes Type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes or Childhood Diabetes). If the cells do not respond correctly to the insulin, it is diabetes Type 2.
9.Good Cholesterol and brain health - Are they linked?

Results of a study published in the December 2010 issue of Archives of Neurology suggest that higher levels of "good" cholesterol (called high-density lipoprotein or "HDL") are associated with lower risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease. There are already studies indicating a strong link between heart health risk factors (including blood pressure level, cholesterol level, diabetes and weight) and late-life risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, the relationship between cholesterol levels and Alzheimer's needs further investigation and long-term observational studies.

Did you know? One should aim for an HDL above 60 mg/dL. This can be done by exercising and with foods that can raise HDL like avocado, legumes, niacin-containing foods and omega 3 fatty acids.
10. Testosterone - More is bad!

The latest finding presented at the ENDO 2010 says “"Increased levels of testosterone (male hormone) were associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease." This completely contradicts the earlier belief. The latest finding is based on the fact that though testosterone can dilate blood vessels and keep good flow of blood, it can increase the number of blood platelet cells that can cause blood to clot more easily and thus increase the risk of stroke. Also, testosterone affects fat metabolism.

Did you know? Men produce 6-8 mg of testosterone (male hormone) per day, compared to most women who produce 0.5 mg daily. There are many reasons for abnormal testosterone secretion in women, which can result in serious health problems in women; even excess steroid use can become a cause.

Watch the Video: FrankenFish - Genetically engineered Salmon !

Looking back at 2010: FDA approves to sell genetically engineered fish!

First time this year FDA approved a genetically modified animal (fish) to be sold to the public. What does this mean?

This mean that scientists can grow salmon in a lab controlled environment using growth hormones. This will help to grow the salmon faster than it can grow by itself in a wild.

Is this a beginning of genetically modified animals? Very soon you have to look for organic animals as you are looking for organic vegetables :-(

Disclaimer: The above content is provided for information and awareness purpose only. It is not prescriptive or suggestive or meant to replaces your qualified physician's advice or consultation.