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Canadian doctors transplant hepatitis C organs



WASHINGTON: A long-running shortage in donor organs has pushed doctors to find ways to use those with hepatitis C, an infection that is increasingly common in the United States due to the opioid crisis, and which can be cured with medicine.

Some US hospitals, particularly in Boston, have already transplanted infected donor organs into people without hepatitis C. These patients are swiftly treated with drugs to eliminate the virus. In Toronto, Canada, another team of doctors on Thursday announced early results from a trial using a different technique, involving 10 people who received lung transplants from donors with hepatitis C.

Infected donor lungs were placed in a sterile dome for six hours, and treated with medication to reduce the level of virus. Then, they were transplanted into the patients. Doctors were not able to fully eliminate hepatitis C from the donor’s lungs this way, as they’d hoped. But they cut it by 85 percent.

Patients who received the lungs were subsequently diagnosed with hepatitis C, then treated for 12 weeks with a drug combination — sofosbuvir-velpatasvir, known by the brand name Epclusa – to cure it. The patients tested negative for hepatitis within three weeks of treatment, on average.

Surgeon Marcelo Cypel, who led the trial and presented the results at the Global Hepatitis Summit in Toronto, said the results are encouraging because they enlarge the donor pool.

According to a study conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Hepatitis C patients are at a greater risk of mouth, head and neck tumors.

The researchers have revealed that people suffering from hepatitis C are two to five times more prone to mouth, throat and larynx cancers than normal people. The researchers have reported the study in National Cancer Institute after observing 34,545 patients.

The term Hepatitis tells us about a group of infectious diseases Hepatitis A, B, C, D & E.

Hepatitis is a grave disease affecting liver and World Hepatitis Day celebrated annually is meant to encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Annually some 1.4 million people get infected by this deadly disease.

Condition can aggravate and progress to scarring, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Specially types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and are the most common cause of liver cancer.  

WHO provides the following information about deadly disease:

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is present in the faeces of infected persons and is most often transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food.

Certain sex practices can also spread HAV. Infections are in many cases mild, with most people making a full recovery and remaining immune from further HAV infections.

However, HAV infections can also be severe and life threatening. Most people in areas of the world with poor sanitation have been infected with this virus.

Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HAV.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids.

HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood.

Transmission may also occur through transfusions of HBV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use.

HBV also poses a risk to healthcare workers who sustain accidental needle stick injuries while caring for infected-HBV patients.

Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HBV.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is mostly transmitted through exposure to infected blood.

This may happen through transfusions of HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use.

Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common. There is no vaccine for HCV.

Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV.

The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in a more serious disease and worse outcome.

Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from HDV infection.

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is mostly transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food.

HEV is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in developing parts of the world and is increasingly recognized as an important cause of disease in developed countries.

Safe and effective vaccines to prevent HEV infection have been developed but are not widely available.



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Eating dark chocolate cuts stress boosts memory



Eating dark chocolate

ISLAMABAD: Consuming dark chocolate can reduce stress and inflammation, as well as improve memory, immunity, and mood, a new study said.

This is due to the high concentration of cacao a major source of flavonoids. The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health, the researchers said, reported health news.

“For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content the more sugar, the happier we are,” said lead investigator Lee S. Berk, from Loma Linda University in California, US.

“This is the first time that we have looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time, and are encouraged by the findings,” Berk added. Further, dark chocolate was also found to affect human gene expression.

It regulates cellular immune response, neural signaling, and sensory perception. Cacao consumption up-regulates multiple intracellular signaling pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception – the latter potentially associated with the phenomena of brain hyperplasticity.

“These studies show us that higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects,” Berk noted.

For the trial, the team for the first time examined the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time.

A relevant piece published earlier: Be it on ice creams or sweet dishes, dark chocolates are hard to resist. From kids to grown-ups, everyone can live on the chocolates no matter what. And now pundits give us another reason to imbibe those! Good news for chocolate buffs! Consuming dark chocolates could potentially shield our brains from age-related pressure and swelling, revealed a study. Oxidative stress and inflammation boost as we age. And both are the origins of mounting neurodegenerative disarray like Alzheimer’s disease. They located a flavanol known as epicatechin (Epi) in dark chocolate that has the potential to diminish detrimental oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. The research and outcomes: Scholars from the University of California San Diego in the US conducted this experiment on mouse model. They assessed male mice for two weeks. The samples of their heads have been assembled for the evaluation of pertinent endpoints. The review of the OS markers protein carbonyls and malondialdehyde levels demonstrate major boosts with aging that are restrained by Epi. Apart from reducing the levels of oxidative stress and neuro-inflammation among old mouse, Epi also perked-up reminiscence and anxiety levels. It is pertinent to point out here that one should always choose dark chocolate sans added sugars or flavors and consume it in moderate quantities. (Published on 25th April 2017) 

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Drinking water may boost mental skills in exercising elderly



ISLAMABAD: Older people who indulge in physical activity should increase their amount of water intake, to reap the full cognitive benefits of exercise, a study said.

“Middle-aged and older adults often display a blunted thirst perception, which places them at risk for dehydration and subsequently may reduce the cognitive health-related benefits of exercise,” said researchers including Brandon Yates, of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, US, reported private news channel. The study, presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2018 in San Diego, explored the association between hydration status before exercising and exercise-enhanced cognition in older adults.

The team recruited recreational cyclists (average age 55) who participated in a large cycling event on a warm day (78-86 degrees F). The cyclists performed a “trail-making” executive function test quickly and accurately connecting numbered dots using paper and pencil before and after the event. The team tested the volunteers’ urine before they exercised and divided them into two groups normal hydration and dehydrated based on their hydration status.

The normal hydration group showed noticeable improvement in the completion time of the trail-making test after cycling when compared to their pre-cycling test. The dehydration group also completed their post-cycling test more quickly, but the time reduction was not significant. 

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China’s progress on HIV/AIDS prevention hailed!



BEIJING: With its strong leadership, innovation, and partnership, China has made huge progress in fighting AIDS, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe said during his visit to China

As an advocate of the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths, Sidibe hailed China’s efforts in boosting the accessibility of anti-AIDS drugs and medical treatment in recent years at his meeting with China’s UNAIDS branch and partners Wednesday.

China recorded a total of 747,000 people with HIV by September 2017 and around 542,000 HIV-positive people had received medical treatment by the end of June, according to the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention. “China’s effort in fighting AIDS is exceptional, given its huge population base,” UNAIDS country director and representative to China Amakobe Sande said.

“What impresses me most is that when China commits, it delivers.” To build a “healthy China,” China has launched national AIDS campaigns in recent years. By the end of 2017, China had almost stopped HIV spread through blood transfusion and effectively controlled infection through hypodermic needles and from mother to child during pregnancy.

UNAIDS pledges to work toward the goal of ending the AIDS epidemics by 2030 as well as the widely-adopted 90-90-90 target – by 2020: 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of people who know their status receive treatment, and 90 percent of people on treatment have a suppressed viral load.





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