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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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Common painkiller tied to increased risk of heart problems



ISLAMABAD: The commonly used painkiller diclofenac may be linked with an increased risk of heart problems, a large Danish study suggests.
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that are often used to treat arthritis and other painful joint conditions. In many countries, it is available without a prescription, a private news channel reported.
Researchers found that the rate of first-time cardiovascular events was 20 to 30 percent higher among people who started taking diclofenac than among people who started taking ibuprofen or naproxen, which are also NSAIDs, or paracetamol (acetaminophen). These events included heart attacks, development of an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, or death from heart problems.
The rate of new heart problems was 50 percent higher for diclofenac users than for people who weren’t taking any painkillers.
The researchers analyzed data from the Danish national patient registry. Altogether, they had information on nearly 1.4 million diclofenac users, 3.9 million ibuprofen users, 292,000 naproxen users, 765,00 paracetamol users, and 1.3 million people not on any of these painkillers.
“It is important to note that the absolute risk for the individual patient is low,” Morten Schmidt, lead author of the study, told Reuters Health in an email.


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Anti-polio campaign to start in Karachi from today



KARACHI: Mass immunization campaigns, known as National Immunization Days (NIDs), would be started from today to administer anti-polio drops along with the supplement of Vitamin A to over 2.3 million children up to five years of age in all 188 union councils in the metropolis during seven days.
More than 9000 polio teams will perform their duties in the campaign, it was decided in a meeting chaired by Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Sualeh Farooqui, at his office, said a statement on Sunday. Briefing about security arrangements it was told the meeting that foolproof security arrangements have been made to ensure the security of polio teams. The meeting was attended among others by Municipal Commissioner KMC Dr. Saifur Rehman, all Deputy commissioners, all district and town health officers, officials of Police, Pakistan Rangers, Health
Department, Emergency Operation Centres (EOC). The Commissioner stressed the need to work with the focus based strategies addressing issues specifically in all areas.  He said that there is a great need to work for the improvement of micro plan and communication strategy. He asked the Deputy Commissioners to make all-out efforts to make the campaign result oriented. He urged the parents to cooperate with the polio teams to ensure their children are safe as a vaccine, given to them multiple times, can protect them for life. The Commissioner also stressed the need that efforts should also be made to administer polio drops to school going children of up to five years of age.
It was informed to the meeting that the Education department’s private school secretariat has instructed the concerned private schools to help the administration and cooperate with the polio teams in carrying out their duties for providing children the protection from the crippling decease. It was decided in a meeting that awareness campaign of teachers, as well as parents, would be initiated with the support of school administrations in coordination with the Directorate of the Private Schools. He said that polio eradication was a national cause and it would be the top priority of city administration to carry out its efforts for the elimination of poliovirus.

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Insulin can also treat bowel inflammation



ISLAMABAD: Insulin, which plays a key role in managing blood sugar, also has potential to act against colitis a chronic bowel inflammation, said a study.
The study, conducted on mice, showed that chronic bowel inflammation can be treated effectively by injecting insulin into the rectum, health news reported. Insulin works because it activates a gene inside the bowel cells, which has an antioxidant effect and thus may be able to protect the bowel cells from inflammation.
“Existing treatments attack the bowel’s immune system, dampening it, instead our method strengthens the bowel cells’ own defense. It appears to work equally well, and it can probably be used in combination with existing treatments,” said Jorgen Olsen, Professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
For the study, published in the scientific Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, the team examined the effect of the treatment in a series of tests on mice with chronic colitis of the type Colitis Ulcerosa. The cause of these bowel disorders is unknown but they cause patients great discomfort and can involve bloody diarrhea, anemia, stomach ache, and weight loss.
The researchers have studied the effect of the insulin treatment in various ways.  The team found that treatment with insulin led to a 50 percent drop in the amount of inflammation, compared to the saltwater control treatment. Further, the mice also lost 15-20 percent less weight than the control group and importantly, they gained weight 50 percent faster, following the treatment. Based on the positive results, the researchers will now test the treatment in clinical trials on humans.

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