Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Unveiling Top 10 Medical Innovations in 2020

Image result for medical technologyA dual-acting osteoporosis drug. Minimally invasive mitral valve surgery. New treatment for peanut allergies. These are some of the innovations that will enhance healing and change healthcare in this year, according to a distinguished panel of doctors and researchers.

Here, in order of anticipated importance, are the Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2020:
1. Dual-Acting Osteoporosis Drug
Image result for Dual-Acting Osteoporosis DrugOsteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle, effectively increasing their risk of breaking. With osteoporosis, the loss of bone occurs silently and progressively – often without symptoms until the first fracture. Providing more bone-strengthening power, the recent FDA approval of a new dual-acting drug (romosozumab) is giving patients with osteoporosis more control in preventing additional fractures.
2. Expanded Use of Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery
The mitral valve allows blood flow from the heart’s left atrium to the left ventricle. But in about 1 in 10 individuals over the age of 75, the mitral valve is defective causing the action of regurgitation. Expanding the approval of a minimally invasive valve repair device to a population of patients who have failed to get symptom relief from other therapies provides an important new treatment option.
3. Inaugural Treatment for Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy
A disheartening cardiovascular disorder, ATTR-CM is a progressive, underdiagnosed, potentially fatal disease in which amyloid protein fibrils deposit in, and stiffen, the walls of the heart’s left ventricle. But a new agent to prevent misfolding of the deposited protein is showing a significantly reduced risk of death. Following Fast-Track and Breakthrough designations in 2017 and 2018, 2019 marked the FDA approval of tafamidis, the first-ever medication for treatment of this increasingly recognized condition.
4. Therapy for Peanut Allergies
It’s a terrifying reality for 2.5 percent of parents – the possibility that at any moment, their child might be unable to breathe due to an allergic reaction. Though emergency epinephrine has reduced the severity and risk of accidental exposure, these innovations are not enough to quell the ever-present anxiety. But development of a new oral immunotherapy medication to gradually build tolerance to peanut exposure holds the opportunity to lend protection against attack.
5. Closed-Loop Spinal Cord Stimulation
Chronic pain is a terribly frustrating condition, and a large reason for prescription of opioid medication. Spinal cord stimulation is a popular treatment for chronic pain through which an implantable device provides electrical stimulus to the spinal cord. But unsatisfactory outcomes due to subtherapeutic or overstimulation events are common. Closed-loop stimulation is allowing for better communication between the device and the spinal cord providing more optimal stimulation and relief of pain.
6. Biologics in Orthopaedic Repair
After orthopaedic surgery, the body can take anywhere from months to years to recover. But biologics – cells, blood components, growth factors, and other natural substances – have the power to replace or harness the body’s own power and promote healing. These elements are finding their way into orthopaedic care, allowing for the possibility of expedited improved outcomes.
7. Antibiotic Envelope for Cardiac Implantable Device Infection Prevention
Worldwide, roughly 1.5 million patients receive an implantable cardiac electronic device every year. In these patients, infection remains a major, potentially life-threatening complication. Antibiotic-embedded envelopes are now made to encase these cardiac devices, effectively preventing infection.

8. Bempedoic Acid for Cholesterol Lowering in Statin Intolerant Patients
High cholesterol is a major concern for nearly 40 percent of adults in the U.S. Left untreated, the condition could lead to serious health problems like heart attack and stroke. Though typically managed with statins, some individuals experience unacceptable muscle pain with statins. Bempedoic acid provides an alternative approach to lowering of LDL-cholesterol while avoiding these side effects.
9. PARP Inhibitors for Maintenance Therapy in Ovarian Cancer
PARP, or poly-ADP ribose polymerase, inhibitors block repair of damaged DNA in tumor cells which increases cell death, especially in tumors with deficient repair mechanisms.  One of the most recent important advances ovarian cancer treatment, PARP inhibitors have improved progression-free survival and are now being approved for first-line maintenance therapy in advanced stage disease. Several additional large-scale trials are underway with PARP inhibitors set to make great strides in improving outcomes in cancer therapy.
10. Drugs for Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) – also known as diastolic heart failure – is the condition in which the ventricular heart muscles contract normally, but do not relax as they should. With preserved ejection fraction, the heart is unable to properly fill with blood – leaving less available to be pumped out to the body. Currently, recommendations for this treatment are directed at accompanying conditions and mere symptom relief. But SGLT2 inhibitors, a class of medications used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, is now being explored in HFpEF – alluding to a potential new treatment option.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Important things to note about fever during pregnancy

Although a fever is not typically dangerous, when it occurs during pregnancy, it may affect a developing fetus.
fever occurs when a person's body reaches a higher temperature than the expected normal range.
In this article, learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for a fever, as well as the effects a fever can have during pregnancy.

Symptoms

a woman experiencing a Fever during pregnancyShare on Pinterest
A person with a fever may experience fatigue, dizziness, and nausea.
Although the average body temperature is usually around 98.6oF (37oC), it does fluctuate throughout the day. Minor increases in temperature do not necessarily mean that a person has a fever.
There are five areas of the body that a person can take a temperature measurement from:
  • Armpit or forehead: Doctors consider 99.3oF (37.4oC) and above a fever.
  • Mouth: Doctors consider 100.4oF (38oC) and above a fever.
  • Rectum or ear: Doctors consider 101oF (38.3oC) and above a fever.
Other symptoms of a fever include:
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • feeling very cold
  • alternating between feeling cold and feeling hot
  • sweating

Effects of a fever on the fetus

Some studies have suggested that fevers during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of congenital irregularities and autism. However, the research so far is inconclusive.
The sections below look at the research into the possible effects of a fever on a developing fetus.

Congenital irregularities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), congenital irregularities affect around 1 in every 33 babies in the United States.
A 2014 review of 46 previous studies found that experiencing a fever during the first trimester of pregnancy may increase the chance of the baby being born with oral clefts, congenital heart defects, and neural tube defects by around 1.5 to 3 times.
However, the results of several of the studies that the researchers reviewed had insufficient evidence to confirm any association between fever and congenital irregularities.
According to the CDC, women who reported experiencing a fever during pregnancy were at least twice as likely to give birth to a baby with neural tube defects. However, there is evidence to suggest that consuming the recommended dosage of folic acid may reduce this likelihood.
According to a 2017 study, however, there is very little evidence to support the idea that maternal fever contributes to the likelihood of congenital irregularities.
Although there appears to be some evidence to suggest that experiencing a fever during pregnancy can increase the chance of congenital irregularities, more recent research appears to contradict this.
Pregnant women or those who wish to become pregnant can talk to a doctor to discuss their individual risk factors if concerned.

Autism

2018 analysis found a link between maternal fevers and autism, particularly when the fever occurred during the second trimester.
The same study also found that more frequent fevers further elevated the likelihood. However, the chance of autism in fetuses exposed to fever was lower if the woman took antifever medication during pregnancy.

Can fever cause pregnancy loss?

Pregnancy loss, or miscarriage, occurs in roughly 20% of pregnancies. Fever does not necessarily cause pregnancy loss, but it can be a sign of an infection. Infections are more likely to cause pregnancy loss.
2015 study suggests that infections can cause 15% of early and up to 66% of late pregnancy losses.
These figures suggest that even when a woman experiences a fever during pregnancy, it is fairly unlikely that a pregnancy loss will occur

Causes

A fever is the body's way of fighting off an infection.
Some potential causes of a fever include:
  • colds
  • the flu
  • ear or respiratory infections
  • kidney infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • genital infections

Treatments

To treat a fever, it is important for a doctor to diagnose the underlying cause. A doctor will prescribe different medications depending on what is causing the fever.

Antibiotics

If the cause of the fever is a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Generally, health professionals consider the majority of antibiotics to be safe during pregnancy.
However, only 10% of antibiotic medications "have sufficient data related to safe and effective use" during pregnancy. A doctor should therefore perform a risk assessment and monitor their use.

Antiviral medications

If a pregnant woman notices any symptoms of the flu, they should see a doctor as soon as possible.
They may prescribe antiviral medications, which are most effective when a person takes them within 48 hours of noticing the symptoms.

Over-the-counter medication

Women should not take ibuprofen during pregnancy. According to a 2013 cohort study, ibuprofen use during the second trimester was associated with low birth weight. The use of ibuprofen during the second and third trimester was also associated with asthma.
However, it is possible to take acetaminophen if necessary. This appears to be the safest pain and fever relief medication to use during pregnancy.
That said, pregnant women should only use acetaminophen for as long as it is necessary to reduce the fever.

Home remedies

Home remedies such as resting and drinking lots of fluids may help with the symptoms of a fever and shorten the length of many illnesses.
Folic acid is an important prenatal supplement, as it may decrease the chance of neural tube defects.
A 2017 study of women who had fevers right before pregnancy or very early in pregnancy found that those who consumed under 400 micrograms of folic acid per day had the highest chance of giving birth to a baby with a neural tube defect.
However, because illness in pregnancy can endanger the developing fetus, it is vital to see a healthcare professional before trying any form of home treatment.

Prevention

Although people cannot always prevent a fever, they may be able to reduce the risk of getting sick in the first place.
Some methods of prevention include:
  • getting the flu shot
  • frequently washing the hands
  • staying away from sick people when possible

When to see a doctor

Fevers are not usually a sign of a serious illness, but during pregnancy, they may cause complications.
If any of the following symptoms occur during pregnancy, seek medical help:
  • severe thirst
  • low urine output
  • dark urine
  • lightheadedness
  • severe cramps
  • difficulty breathing
  • decreased movement of the fetus
It is also important to seek help if the fever does not go down.
If a person is concerned for any other reason, they should contact a doctor.

Summary

Fevers are not usually a sign of anything serious, but it is crucial to seek help to identify the underlying cause.
Some research has shown fever during pregnancy as associated with a higher chance of pregnancy loss, autism, or congenital irregularities. However, having a fever does not make these outcomes inevitable.
In fact, research is inconclusive regarding the effects of a fever on pregnancy and the developing fetus. A person can talk to a doctor if they are concerned.
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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Why vaccine for Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) failed?

Image result for staphylococcus aureus (mrsa)Staph bacteria, the leading cause of potentially dangerous skin infections, are most feared for the drug-resistant strains that have become a serious threat to public health. Attempts to develop a vaccine against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have failed to outsmart the superbug's ubiquity and adaptability to antibiotics.
Now, a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis may help explain why previous attempts to develop a  vaccine have failed, while also suggesting a new approach to vaccine design. This approach focuses on activating an untapped set of immune cells, as well as immunizing against staph in utero or within the first few days after birth.
The research, in mice, found that T cells—one of the body's major types of highly specific immune cells—play a critical role in protecting against . Most vaccines rely solely on stimulating the other main type of immune cells, the B cells, which produce antibodies to attack disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria.
The findings are published online Dec. 24 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
"Across the globe, staph infections have become a pervasive health threat because of increasing antibiotic resistance," said senior author Juliane Bubeck Wardenburg, MD, Ph.D., director of the university's Division of Pediatric Critical Care. "Despite the 's best efforts, the superbug has shown a consistent ability to elude treatment. Our findings indicate that a robust T cell  is absolutely essential for protection against staph infections."
Highly contagious, staph survives and thrives on  and can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or exposure via contaminated surfaces. Generally, the bacteria live harmlessly and invisibly in about one-third of the population. From their residence on the skin, the bacteria can cause red, pus-filled sores. Ever persistent, the superbug will deliver recurrent infections in about half of its victims.
Staph strains can enter the bloodstream, bones or organs and lead to pneumonia, severe organ damage and other serious complications in hundreds of thousands of people each year. More than 10,000 people die in the U.S. from drug-resistant staph infections annually.
"The focus in the vaccine field for Staphylococcus aureus during the past 20 years has been on generating antibody responses, not on specific T cell responses," Bubeck Wardenburg said. "This new approach shows promise."
For nearly 15 years, Bubeck Wardenburg has studied a single toxin—called —made by staph. This toxin plays a role in tissue damage in multiple forms of infection. "An important thing about the alpha-toxin is that it is found in all staph strains, meaning those that are and are not antibiotic-resistant," she said. "Understanding this allowed us to devise studies in mice that examined the effect of alpha-toxin on the immune response in minor skin infections as well as in more serious infections that spread in the bloodstream."
The researchers found that the immune cells did not protect mice that had minor staph infections on their skin. However, mice that were exposed to life-threatening  in the bloodstream did develop protection. "We discovered a robust T cell response targeting staph in the bloodstream," Bubeck Wardenburg said. "By contrast, T  were diminished in skin infections as a result of the toxin. Because skin  is very common, we think that staph uses alpha-toxin to prevent the body from activating a T cell response that affords protection against the bacteria."
In terms of the big picture, Bubeck Wardenburg said blocking the toxin in skin infections may yield a healthy T cell response.
Further, protecting the T cell response from the time of birth may reprogram the bacteria's overall effect on the immune system. "This bug is deliberate and acts in a sinister way early on," she said. "The bug appears to be using the toxin to shape the T cell response in a way that's favorable for the bug but not for humans."
Previous vaccine development efforts have focused on adults. However, Bubeck Wardenburg said, a vaccine may be more likely to succeed if administered before infants first encounter staph. Therefore, immunization should happen before initial exposure to staph, to block the toxin and generate a vigorous T cell response.
"We envision two strategies," Bubeck Wardenburg said. "One is immunizing pregnant women so they can transfer antibodies that protect infants against the toxin at birth. The second involves immunizing infants within a day or two after birth. Neither of these strategies has been considered for staph vaccines to date."

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Most dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the past five years

Five of the scariest antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the past five years
An increasing number of infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics. From shutterstock.com
Nearly one million people die every year from bacterial infections that cannot be treated with common antibiotics. This is frightening because right now we don't have any alternatives to these antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when  change in a way that prevents the antibiotic from working. Changes in bacteria, known as resistance mechanisms, come in different forms and can be shared between different bacteria, spreading the problem.
Antibiotic resistance risks returning us to an age where even simple cuts and scrapes can become deadly. For a glimpse of what could be commonplace in our future, here are five of the scariest  from the last five years.
1. Extensively drug-resistant Salmonella typhi
This highly contagious bacterium causes typhoid fever, a life-threatening  that affects about 21 million people around the world every year. About 1% of those affected, or 223,000 people, will die.
In November 2016, a strain of Salmonella typhi emerged in Pakistan. It was resistant to five antibiotics, leaving only one oral antibiotic (azithromycin) able to treat it. Since then there have been 858 reported cases of this infection, resulting in four deaths in just one Pakistani province.
Worryingly, this strain of Salmonella typhi had changed from being multidrug-resistant (resistant to at least three classes of antibiotic) to extensively drug-resistant (resistant to all but two classes of antibiotic) in a single step. It achieved this by acquiring a piece of DNA, called a plasmid, which already contained all the new resistance genes it needed.
Even more concerning is that this strain is now only one step away from being untreatable with all available antibiotics by finding another plasmid with the resistance genes for the last two classes of antibiotic that can kill it.
2. Extensively drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the world's leading infectious killer, causing more than 1.7 million deaths every year. One of the reasons this bacteria is so deadly is its ability to hide inside our cells. This means that to treat tuberculosis infection, people are required to take four different antibiotics continuously for six months.
It's estimated up to 13% of all new tuberculosis cases are multidrug-resistant, with Europe, including Russia, seeing the highest number of these cases. This is alarming, as multidrug-resistant infections require treatment courses that are much longer (generally 18 to 24 months) and use antibiotics that are expensive and can be bad for the kidneys and other organs.
It's now been found that 6% of these cases are actually extensively drug-resistant (resistant to all but two classes of antibiotic). With a treatment success rate of only 30%, the global spread of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis to more than 123 countries is extremely concerning.
3. Pandrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a common bacterium found in the skin, intestines and soil. It causes a range of potentially deadly infections in people with compromised immune systems. As this bacterium is particularly prevalent in hospitals, it's one of the most critical drug-resistant threats to public health.
In 2013 there were 8,000 reports of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae in the United States alone, with a death rate of 50% for people with bloodstream infections.
In 2016 a strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae was identified in the United States that was resistant to all 26 commonly available antibiotics (known as pandrug-resistant). The patient infected by this bacteria died due to a lack of alternative treatments.
This is not an isolated case; other bacteria are also becoming pandrug-resistant.
4. Pandrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Like Klebsiella pneumoniaePseudomonas aeruginosa is a commonly found bacterium that causes infections in people with compromised immune systems. Like Klebsiella pneumoniae, it's particularly prevalent in hospitals.
In the United States, there are an estimated 51,000 health care-associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections each year, with around 400 causing death. In the past five years, 29 cases of pandrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection have been reported in hospitals in England.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is also the leading cause of death for people with cystic fibrosis. In 2013, more than 42% of cystic fibrosis patients with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection were treated with colistin, the "last line of defence" antibiotic. This is because most of these infections were resistant to every other antibiotic available.
5. Extensively drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae
There are an estimated 78 million global cases of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhoea, a sexually transmitted infection affecting men and women. Although usually not deadly, serious and permanent health problems including infertility can result if the disease goes untreated.
Around one-third of all Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic. More worryingly, a new extensively drug-resistant "super gonorrhoeae", resistant to all but one antibiotic, has been discovered.
Two of the first reported cases of this superbug were in Australia. This is cause for concern, as extensively drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae can spread quickly through a population if people have multiple partners. In rare cases, untreated gonorrhoea can enter the bloodstream, causing septic shock and death.
Could future outbreaks be worse?
Yes. Bacteria have the ability to pass  genes to other bacteria and can develop the resistance themselves. So it's likely a bacteria resistant to all but one antibiotic will develop resistance to that final one over time.
The good news is we can reduce the likelihood of this happening if we use antibiotics appropriately and invest in the research and development of new , vaccines and diagnostic tools

Friday, December 20, 2019

Did you know that essential oil can reduce stress?

Image result for essential oils

Essential oils are a great, natural way to help reduce stress over the hectic period.With a host of different types, essential oils have been around for thousands of years, but have recently gained popularity due to their incredible health benefits.the commonly used one are listed below.

Lavender

Lavender oil is touted for its calming benefits and has been frequently used for insomnia, anxiety and natural stress relief. One study found that lavender oil calmed the nervous system – lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
“It’s well-researched that scent can influence the way we feel and is capable of shifting moods, especially during the holiday season when expectation and emotions are running high,” Princi-Jones explains.

Cedarwood

Cedarwood oil has been used for centuries due to its restorative properties. According to Princi-Jones, it can be used to ease tension, reduce stress and clear the mind.
“This grounding oil is calming to the central nervous system and a few deep breaths of this warm, woody base note will quieten the mind chatter and release persistent anxiety.it can be applied by massaging  your chest and back with cedarwood oil or put a few drops into a warm bath.

Sweet orange

This powerful essential oil carries a lot of benefits for the mind and body, like reducing feelings of anxiety and stress and boosting mood, Princi-Jones says. It can also improve skin complexion, relieve inflammation, promote better digestion and lower blood pressure.
For quick action, sprinkle a few drops on a tissue and gently breathe in, holding the tissue near the face.

Orange blossom

Perhaps one of the most notable oils for stress relief is orange blossom,Orange blossom oil is said to ease tension, cure headaches, alleviate stress and enhance mood. In a 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, orange blossom – or neroli essential oil as it’s also known – was found to reduce anxiety and alleviate sleep problems in patients.
When combined with a base oil, such as almond, avocado or coconut, orange blossom oil can be applied directly to the skin.

"Simply inhaling a few drops of certain essential oils can influence neurotransmitters in the brain, hence altering the way we feel," Princi-Jones says. 

Most Obese Countries 2019

Image result for overweight people

A person is obese when their Body Mass Index is higher than 30. The BMI measures a person’s weight in relation to their height, giving them a score. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9.
The number of obese people in the world total is approximately 2.1 billion, which makes up about 30% of the total population. This number continues to rise. Over 3 million people each year die from obesity. The worldwide obesity rate has tripled since 1975.
Obesity Rate
< 10.00%
> 10.00%
> 15.00%
> 20.00%
> 25.00%
> 30.00%
> 35.00%
In addition to dramatically decreasing a person’s lifespan, the quality of life of an obese person is affected. There are numerous health risks, including higher risks of diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer. Pregnant women that are obese may suffer from complications that can lead to health problems for the mother or child. Other health risks from diabetes include osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, kidney disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.
Obesity isn’t just limited to one part of the world. Nations everywhere have obese citizens. Some, however, have a far high proportion than others. These nations are categorized as the Most Obese Nations in the World. While some think that the richest and the most developed countries in the world are the most obese, this isn’t always the case. In fact, the United States and the United Kingdom are two of the most economically rich and developed countries in the world. However, they are only ranked 12th and 36th, respectively, when compared to other nations.
There have been multiple nations with small economies that have been classified as the most obese, and the World Health Organization says that the rising costs of healthy food and food scarcity in underdeveloped nations is a contributing factor to obesity.
The least obese countries in world have obesity rates lower than 2%. The five least obese countries in the world are EthiopiaBangladeshNepalEritreaMadagascar.
The country of Nauru is the most obese country, with 61% of its population having a BMI higher than 30. The Nauru obesity problem, like many other South Pacific countries, is possibly attributed to Western settlers who taught them to fry their food and import less healthy food, abandoning their tradition cultivation, preparation and preserving skills.
Kuwait is the fourth most obese country, with an average BMI of 30. Kuwait's obesity is blamed on the arrival of American fast food restaurants, which have taken over and replaced local food. As a result, diabetes has also been on the rise in Kuwait.
Behind Nauru, Cook Islands and Palau are the second and third most obese nations, with obese people making up 55.9% and 55.3%, respectively. The top 10 most obese nations are as follows:
  1. Nauru (Average BMI: 32.5)
  2. Tonga (Average BMI: 31.9)
  3. Samoa (Average BMI: 31.7)
  4. Kuwait (Average BMI: 30)
  5. Saint Kitts and Nevis (Average BMI: 29.7)
  6. Saint Lucia (Average BMI: 29.6)
  7. Kiribati (Average BMI: 29.6)
  8. Palau (Average BMI: 29.4)
  9. Micronesia (Average BMI: 29.4)
  10. Tuvalu (Average BMI: 29.3)