Category Archives: News

Now, cheap and effective medical facilities right at your doorstep

All the HCAH healthcare providers carry hi-tech tablet devices loaded with an in-house technology platform that ensures that all the details are provided to the treating doctor so that precise and appropriate treatment could be done. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Want homely, cheap and efficient care for your elderly parents or a terminally-ill relative without the hassle of visiting hospitals every now and then? Welcome to the world of new-age healthcare providers right at your doorstep.

At a time when increasing hospital costs are set to burn a deeper hole in your pocket if a seriously ill patient in your family needs 24-hour attention, healthcare service providers are now offering services ranging from routine medical procedures to chemotherapy and even intensive care unit (ICU) set-ups right in the comfort of your home. “The home is the best place for recovery, provided certain post-hospital discharge protocols are followed. This is because the patient is surrounded by loved ones and familiar faces. This infuses a positive attitude towards health and helps in quicker recovery,” said Gaurav Thukral, vice-president of the Health Care At Home (HCAH) India.

Currently providing its services to 30,000 patients in cities such as Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Ajmer, Amritsar and Ludhiana, HCAH plans to reach every nook and corner of the country in the next two years. “Our way of working is very simple yet highly specialised. From suggesting doctors to the patients to implementing the treatment suggested by their doctor, we do it all, Thukral added. “Patients approach us directly or their doctors send them to us. We execute treatment on the basis of their doctors’ prescription. The home visit report is then shared with the doctors,” he said.

Asked about the number of doctors in his network, Thukral said the company had “tie-ups with doctors across hospitals”. He, however, could not estimate the exact number of doctors. “We are working hard to expand our services to tier-2 and tier-3 cities soon,” Thukral said.

Randeep Wadhawan, director (minimal access surgery) at Fortis Healthcare, said: “When I referred my first patient to Health Care at Home, the post-operative care provided was fantastic. I have referred more patients to them and I am extremely happy with the kind of services being provided by HCAH.”

HCAH is a joint venture between the Burman family — the promoters of natural healthcare products maker Dabur Ltd — and Gareth Jones and Charles Walsh, the founders of Britain-based HCAH. With respect to if the services providded by HCAH are better than visiting a doctor in the hospital, Thukral said, “Being treated at home saves time, is cost-efficient and convenient too. HCAH service providers keep a constant tab on the patient’s condition and the developments are communicated to the treating doctors in real time.”

All the HCAH healthcare providers carry hi-tech tablet devices loaded with an in-house technology platform that ensures that all the details are provided to the treating doctor so that precise and appropriate treatment could be done. “The backbone of the company is its experienced and trained staff — nurses, nutritionists, dietitians, counsellors, physiotherapists and healthcare associates — who, after joining HCAH, embark on a rigorous six-week training,” Thukral said.

The HCAH services are cost -effective too. HCAH cuts down expenditures by reducing cost of travel and stay cost to the hospital as well as costs incurred on staying at hospitals for the patient’s attendants. “As compared to the hospital cost of Rs 25,000-50,000 per day, we provide an ICU set-up at the comfort of your home at just Rs 7,000-10,000,” Thukral said.

HCAH provides all the necessary treatment, equipment and infrastructure required for a patient’s well-being. “Moreover, when the patient is in a friendly environment, it reduces the need for re-admission which further helps in cutting down the costs,” he concluded.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/now-cheap-and-effective-medical-facilities-right-at-your-doorstep/

Diet diary: Ditch that low-fat diet, it may not help much in the long run

The search for the ideal weight-loss diet continues — from low-calorie to low-fat and high-protein to high-fat and low-carb etc. Since one size does not fit all, obviously, each one works differently. There is no formula which succeeds for all. Each approach has its strengths and limitations. The most important criteria, however, goes beyond weight loss. It is what follows weight loss, that is sustainability.

A recent meta-analysis, published in 2015 in the prestigious scientific journal ‘Lancet’, reviewed 53 published weight loss studies which studied nearly 68,000 adults and showed there was no significant long-term weight loss among people who were on low-fat diets compared to those who were on higher-fat diets, like the Mediterranean. In fact, high-fat diets are more effective with respect to compliance and sustainability when compared to low-fat diets.

The issue to be addressed is the quality of fat. Fats of inferior quality like hydrogenated fats, margarines, trans fat laden fried foods can be counter-productive and harmful. Good fats present in nuts, seeds, fatty fish, cold pressed oils and dairy are desirable and favour weight-loss, along with providing satiety and taste.

The Mediterranean, the French and the Spanish diets symbolise the benefits of good quality and high-fat diets. Mediterranean diets have been extensively reported to be associated with favorable health outcomes, better quality of life and longevity. Studies on Mediterranean diets have reported a reduced risk of major chronic degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, obesity and heart disease.

In fact, a low-fat diet works out to be high on carbohydrates which is unsuitable, specially for the Indian population, which is genetically predisposed to obesity, diabetes and belly fat. Switching from high carbohydrates and toxic fats in bakery products and oily namkeens to good fats through nuts and seeds can be a valuable part of a weight-loss diet. Many people believe that nuts are high in cholesterol and are bad for the heart, while others believe that they are bad for weight-loss as they are high in calories. Both these beliefs are untrue.

Nuts and seeds have a very low glycemic index and play a vital role in weight management. Their high satiety value makes them an ideal snack for weight watchers. They offer the easiest way to relieve hunger pangs and help prevent food cravings by regulating blood sugar levels and providing vital nutrients.

Sustainable dietary approach to weight management

Cut down on total calories.

* Follow the half-plate rule: reduce your grains and cereals in favour of vegetables.
* Include adequate protein through fatty fish, lean meats, eggs, dairy, pulses, lentils, sprouts, nuts and seeds.
* Reduce free sugars and salt.
* Switch to healthy fats. Say no to trans fats.
* Moderate alcohol, if you drink.
* Manage stress.
* Maintain an active lifestyle.

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of http://www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/diet-diary-ditch-that-low-fat-diet-it-may-not-help-much-in-the-long-run/

Now, ward off diabetes risk with Viagra

Viagra has a lot of benefits. It also helps eliminate malaria. Although Viagra does have risks associated with it, the drug also has many benefits. It helps eliminate malaria too.

A first-of-its-kind study has revealed that the sex-enhancing drug Viagra may help people at risk for diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity in them.

The erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil, sold as Viagra and other brand names, inhibits an enzyme resulting in relaxation of smooth muscle and increased blood flow.

Sildenafil is used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

In animal studies, researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in the US have found that sildenafil also can improve insulin sensitivity, the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream by muscle.

This action can lower the level of circulating glucose, and potentially reduce the risk of diabetes.

While further studies are needed to determine whether long-term treatment can prevent the onset of diabetes in high-risk patients, “sildenafil and related drugs could offer a potential avenue for addressing the rising number of diabetes diagnoses”, said Nancy J Brown, chair of the department of medicine at Vanderbilt.

For the study, overweight individuals with prediabetes were randomly assigned to receive sildenafil or placebo (inactive drug) for three months.

Of the 42 participants, those treated with sildenafil were significantly more sensitive to insulin, the researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Sildenafil and related drugs prevent the specific enzyme from breaking down a chemical in the body called “cyclic GMP” which relaxes blood vessels and increases insulin sensitivity.

“But unlike some other methods of raising cyclic GMP, sildenafil did not decrease an anti-clotting chemical in the body,” the Vanderbilt researchers reported.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/now-ward-off-diabetes-risk-with-viagra/

Charlie Sheen is HIV+, but he doesn’t have AIDS: This is the difference

Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen HIV Charlie Sheen may have freed himself from blackmail by publicly disclosing he is HIV positive, but the hard-partying actor may have opened the door to even more legal troubles. (Source: AP)

Actor Charlie Sheen’s announcement about his HIV positive status may have evoked mixed reactions for its delay, but for many, the line that separates a person living with HIV and one with full blown AIDS is still blurred.

(Also read: Charlie Sheen expects lawsuits over HIV status, but crime hard to prove)

HIV positive status means a person has the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in his/her bloodstream but the person’s immunity has not been compromised enough to make him/her a full blown case. However, the person is capable of transmitting the virus either through sexual contact, transfer of blood and blood products and sharing needles.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is said to have occurred when the person becomes a victim of opportunistic infections like TB and diarrhoea, cold infections etc., and it becomes almost a daily occurrence. It is in a sense the last stage of the disease.

(Also read: Charlie Sheen’s major controversies)

The extent to which the immune system is compromised is measured by what is called CD4 count. CD4 cells, also known as T-helper cells are a kind of white blood cell that is a crucial part of the immune system of the body. They move through the blood stream identifying and destroying invading pathogens. Normally, every cubic mm of blood contains anything between 800-1300 CD4 cells, a higher count signifying better immunity.

Based on a person’s CD4 count a cocktail of anti-virals called anti-retroviral treatment (ART) is started on people like Sheen who are living with HIV. Recent developments in medicine have been such that it is now possible for a person who is HIV+ to stave off the disease for a very long time — or even for life by following a strict regimen and disciplined lifestyle.

It is for this reason that India has recently decided to make people living with HIV who have a CD4 count of 500 eligible for ART. Earlier the norm was 300.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/charlie-sheen-is-hiv-positive-but-he-doesnt-have-aids-the-difference-between-them/

Reading self-help books may lead to more stress: Study

The results showed that consumers of problem-focused self-help books consumers presented greater depressive symptoms and that growth oriented self-help books consumers presented increased stress reactivity compared to non-consumers.

People who read self-help books may be more sensitive to stress and show higher depressive symptoms, according to a new study.

The study by researchers, including those from the University of Montreal in Canada, raises doubts about the effectiveness of self-help books. “The sale of self-help books generated over $10 billion in profits in 2009 in the US, which is a good reason to find out if they have a real impact on readers,” said Sonia Lupien, Director of the Centre of Studies on Human Stress (CSHS).

“Initially, we thought we had observed a difference in participants in terms of personality, sense of control, and self-esteem based on their self-help reading habits,” said first author Catherine Raymond, a doctoral student at the Institut universitaire en sante mentale de Montreal.

“In reality, there seems to be no difference between those who read and those who do not read these types of books,” said Raymond.

“However, our results show that while consumers of certain types of self-help books secrete higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) when confronted with stressful situations, consumers of another type of self-help books show higher depressive symptomatology compared to non-consumers,” she said. The researchers recruited 30 participants, half of whom were consumers of self-help books. The team measured several elements of the participants, including stress reactivity (salivary cortisol levels), openness, self-discipline, extraversion, compassion, emotional stability, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms.

The group of self-help book consumers was itself divided into two types of readers – those who preferred problem-focused books (for example, Why Is It Always About You? or How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To) and those who preferred growth-oriented books (for example, You’re Stronger Than You Think or How to Stop Worrying and Start Living).

The results showed that consumers of problem-focused self-help books consumers presented greater depressive symptoms and that growth oriented self-help books consumers presented increased stress reactivity compared to non-consumers. “It seems that these books do not produce the desired effects. When we observe that the best predictor of purchasing a self-help book is having bought one in the past year, it raises doubts about their effectiveness,” Lupien said.

“Logically, if such books were truly effective, reading just one would be enough to solve our problems,” she said. The study was published in the journal Neural Plasticity.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/reading-self-help-books-may-lead-to-more-stress-study/

Quick tips: Here’s what you need to eat to cut down your diabetes risk

Eating homemade meals is associated with less weight gain over eight years in middle-aged and older health professionals. Overweight and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. Being overweight and obese can lead to cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes. Eating regularly at home can help keep these health problems at bay. (Source: Thinkstock)

Did you know that eating meals prepared at home may reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes?

“The trend for eating commercially prepared meals in restaurants or as take-out in the US has increased significantly over the last 50 years,” said Geng Zong from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

People who ate two homemade meals each day, or about 11-14 meals a week, had 13% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to people who ate less than six homemade meals a week, a recent study reveals.

The study included nearly 58,000 women and more than 41,000 men up to 36 years from 1986-2012. None of the participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the study.

The researchers demonstrated that eating homemade meals was associated with less weight gain over eight years in these middle-aged and older health professionals. Overweight and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.

The research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions recently in 2015.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/quick-tips-heres-how-you-can-cut-your-diabetes-risk/

Feeling sad and angry? The reason might be Facebook, says study

The experiment’s results were largely down to people’s tendency to compare themselves to others. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

People on Facebook are more likely to be unhappy and have low life satisfaction than those who do not use the social networking site, according to a new study.

The Happiness Research Institute conducted an experiment on 1,095 people in Denmark. Half of the participants were asked to refrain from using Facebook for one week, while the control group continued their social media activities as usual. At the end of the week, the participants were asked to evaluate their life satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 both before and after the one-week experiment.

The researchers found a significantly higher level of life satisfaction among those who did not visit Facebook. The control group gave an average 7.67 ranking to their life satisfaction before the experiment. By the end of the week, that had barely changed to 7.75. However, the other group saw life satisfaction shoot up from 7.56 to 8.12 after their Facebook-free week, the ‘Local’ reported.

People on Facebook were 39 per cent more likely to feel less happy than their friends. They were also 55 per cent more likely to feel stressed. The control group also reported feeling angrier and lonelier than those who did not use Facebook, researchers said.

Meik Wiking, CEO Happiness Research Institute said that the experiment’s results were largely down to people’s tendency to compare themselves to others.

In the study, 61 per cent of the participants said they prefer to post their “good sides” on Facebook and 69 per cent prefer to post photos of the “great things” in their lives on the site. “If we are constantly exposed to great news, we risk evaluating our own lives as less good,” Wiking said.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/feeling-sad-and-angry-the-reason-might-be-facebook-says-study/

World Pneumonia Day: Pediatrics call for pediatric pneumococcal surveillance in India

World Pneumonia Day, 12 nov World Pneumonia Day, child Pneumonia, Pneumonia in children, Pneumonia symptoms, Pneumonia care, health news, latest news In the absence of a national pneumococcal surveillance study, the statistical burden of severe pneumonia in terms of morbidity and mortality is unknown especially at the state level.

As a run-up to World Pneumonia Day (November 12), several doctors from the Pune Chapter of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) highlighted the need for pediatric pneumococcal surveillance in India and called for appropriate measures to reduce the disease.

Though India has made significant progress in reaching the Millennium Development Goal of reducing infant mortality rate from 66 per 1000 live births in 2000 to 42 by 2015, it continues to have high number of child deaths in the world, with an estimated 1.2 million deaths in 2015 – 20 per cent of the 5.9 million global deaths.

Increasing antibiotic resistance and inadequate vaccine coverage are some reasons for high child mortality rate in India despite consistent efforts and initiatives by the medical community and the government, says Dr Anand Deshpande, President, IAP, Pune.

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According to World Health Organisation (WHO), pneumococcal disease is the world’s number one vaccine-preventable cause of death among children younger than five years. WHO recommends the inclusion of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) in childhood immunisation programmes worldwide especially in developing countries like India where the mortality rate of children under five years is 52.7 per 1,000 live births.

In the absence of a national pneumococcal surveillance study, the statistical burden of severe pneumonia in terms of morbidity and mortality is unknown especially at the state level. World Pneumonia Day-2015 highlights the importance of effective immunisation against pneumonia and the need for disease surveillance in India to fill the missing gaps in our endeavour to reduce pneumonia burden, Deshpande said.

There are simple steps to prevent pneumonia , adds Dr Amita Sapru, a consultant pediatrician and associate research consultant at KEM Hospital Research Centre in Pune. Pneumonia is a disease where germs infect the lungs, making breathing difficult and painful. Common pneumonia-causing germs are streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae (Type-B), respiratory syncytial virus and influenza virus.

 

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/world-pneumonia-day-pediatrics-call-for-pediatric-pneumococcal-surveillance-in-india/

Decoded: Grilled, barbecued meat might actually harm your health

A meat-rich diet may increase the risk of developing kidney cancer through mechanisms related to particular cooking compounds. (Source: Thinkstock)

Love pan-fried, grilled or barbecued meat? Read this very carefully, as meat that is cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame may impact kidney cancer risk, researchers warn.

The risk is high in individuals with certain genetic variants who are more susceptible to the harmful effects of cancer-causing chemicals that are produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame.

“A meat-rich diet may increase the risk of developing kidney cancer through mechanisms related to particular cooking compounds,’ the team from University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Centre noted.

To reach this conclusion, a team led by Dr Xifeng Wu studied the dietary intake and genetic risk factors of 659 patients newly diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) – the most common form of kidney cancer in adults — and 699 healthy controls.

The researchers found that kidney cancer patients consumed more red and white meat compared with cancer-free individuals.

Also, cancer patients consumed more cancer-causing chemicals that are produced when meat is pan-fried, grilled or barbecued.

“Our study provides additional evidence for the role of red meat and white meat in RCC etiology. It is the first to evaluate the impact of RCC susceptibility variants, identified via genome-wide association studies, on the association between intake of mutagenic compounds and RCC risk,” Dr Wu explained.

Investigators suspect that factors related to a western lifestyle — such as a diet high in meats, processed foods and starches — may play an important role in this trend.

“Reducing consumption of meat, especially when cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame, might serve as a public health intervention to reduce the risk of developing RCC,” the authors cautioned.

The incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer in adults, has been increasing in the US and other developed nations, said the study that appeared online in the journal CANCER.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/decoded-grilled-barbecued-meat-might-actually-harm-your-health/

Know what effortlessly slim people eat every day

While dieters might be tempted to skip breakfast, it seemed slim people hardly ever missed a meal. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

People who are effortlessly slim eat fruit, dairy, cereal and granola for breakfast, says a new study.

Researchers from the Cornell University wanted to find out what people who are naturally thin, and have never struggled with weight problems eat. The study found that more than a third ate salad for lunch every day. For the majority, chicken was their favourite meat and they always included vegetables in their dinner, the Daily Mail reported.

Almost a 10th of the respondents were vegetarian and nearly a fifth said they did not take alcohol. But despite their healthy habits, almost half said they did not diet. While dieters might be tempted to skip breakfast, it seemed slim people hardly ever missed a meal. Only 4 per cent of people said they did not eat breakfast. “One important take-away from this study is that a very high rate of slim people actually eat breakfast instead of skipping, which is consistent with previous research on the importance of breakfast,” said lead author Anna-Leena Vuorinen. “But what stands out is that they not only ate breakfast, but ate healthy food like fruits and vegetables,” Vuorinen added.

The study found the most common breakfast items consumed by slim people were fruits (51 per cent), dairy (41 per cent) and cold cereal /granola (33 per cent). They also ate bread (32 per cent), eggs (31 per cent), hot cereal (29 percent), and coffee (26 per cent). When it came to snacks, fruit and nuts came out top.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/know-what-effortlessly-slim-people-eat-every-day/