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The weed that causes cancer may well kill it

SYDNEY: Tobacco has been associated with and much maligned for causing cancers. Researchers have now found that the tobacco plant’s defence mechanism could well work in humans to destroy invading cancer cells.

Nicotiana sylvestrisA molecule called NaD1 is found in the flower of the tobacco plant that fights off fungi and bacteria. This compound also has the ability to identify and destroy cancer, the team discovered.

“This is a welcome discovery whatever the origin,” Mark Hulett from La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science in Melbourne was quoted as saying.

The molecule, found in nicotiana sylvestris (flowering tobacco) plant, forms a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells.

It then effectively rips them open, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode.

According to researchers, this universal defence process could also potentially be harnessed for the development of antibiotic treatment for microbial infections.

The pre-clinical work is being conducted by the Melbourne biotechnology company Hexima. “The preliminary trials have looked promising,” said Hulett.

The study was published in the journal eLife.


Diseases can be cured if diagnosed early 600 million people worldwide have some kind of kidney ailment and chronic kidney diseases are predicted to increase by 17 per cent over the next decade if not detected early, said a nephrologist in Mumbai on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion of World Kidney Day, Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director, George Institute for Global Health, India said chronic kidney diseases are considered to be a global health problem but many cases go undiagnosed as people ignore the symptoms of the disease in the early stages.
“In kidney diseases if detected early and treated properly, the deterioration in kidney functioning can be slowed or even stopped,” Jha said.
“Though it is an undeniable fact that chronic kidney disease prevalence rises with age and exceeds 40-50 per cent amongst elders, people should visit doctors at least twice a month for a check up,” said Jha, who is also the secretary of the Indian Society of Nephrology.
“Early detection and prevention will lead not only to improved outcomes, better quality of life, but huge cost-savings on treatment,” said Jha.
Early stage kidney disease is not being identified and diagnosed as early and often as is necessary. Patients are frequently told not to worry until kidney damage has progressed to near failure. Furthermore, patients do not have the necessary education or resources to manage their own risk factors and lifestyle to prevent initial kidney damage and progression of the disease.
Primary care practitioners will know which tests to order and how to recognise early-stage kidney disease, which will increase the total number of diagnoses of kidney disease. In addition, primary care practitioners have the knowledge and tools to treat early-stage kidney disease in order to slow its progression, and refer their patients to nephrologists when they need more specialised care.

How not drinking enough water can lead to urinary bladder infections the winters it is common for people not to feel too thirsty, which leads to a lessened urge to drink water. But for those of you who think that this is not a big problem, here is some news for you. Drinking less water can lead to painful and sometimes serious conditions like urinary tract infection and cystitis – especially in women. Recognized by burning sensation while urinating, feeling a frequent need to urinate but passing only small amounts or no urine, pain in the lower back, dark smelly urine, sometimes blood in the urine and fever, cystitis has potential to cause major damage.

According to Dr Malvika Sabharwal, head of department of gynaecology and obstetrics, Nova Speciality Hospitals, ‘Women are prone to cystitis because they have a shorter urinary tract (tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside) as compared to men.’ According to the statistics about 15% women suffer from cystitis every year, and the risk of suffering from the condition is almost eight times higher in women than in men. Dr Malvika adds, ‘Women of all ages can acquire such infections but it is more with women who have just been married and women approaching menopause.’ .

What is cystitis?

Cystitis is a condition where the urinary bladder gets inflamed, usually due to some kind of infection.

Are you at risk?

Dr Sabharwal stresses that women who are suffering from tuberculosis, diabetes mellitus, those who are pregnant and those who are sexually active are most prone to the condition.

Diagnosis is simple

According to Dr Amita Shah, consultant gyanecologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon, if you experience these symptoms the diagnosis usually involves a physical examination where the doctor will ask you about the symptoms and their severity.

In case he/she would like to know about the seriousness of the infection he/she may advice a urine culture (where the infectious organisms in the urine are detected in the lab). Also, to look for the presence of blood in your urine your doctor may advice a microscopic examination as well.

Prompt treatment of cystitis is the key

Dr Shah says, ‘The treatment for cystitis includes addressing each episode promptly with a short course of antibiotics and sometimes, a regular dose of antibiotics for the long-term. Another great way to help relieve the symptoms of cystitis is to have daily doses of cranberry juices. However, if left untreated, the infection can go from the bladder to the kidney.’ Read Tips to deal with urinary tract infections.

Prevention is better than cure

Preventing the onset of this infection is paramount, especially in pregnant women. Here are some precautions they should take:

  • Doctors stress that pregnant women should take special care not to keep their bladder empty as it can create an environment for the bacteria to multiply.
  • Avoid acidic drinks like coffee. According to Archana Dhawan Bajaj, gynaecologist and obstetrician at Nurture Clinic, ‘Pregnant women should try not to drink too much caffeine or acidic drinks such as orange juice as these can irritate the bladder.’ Read about the 10 foods that can help deal with women’s health problems.

Everyday precautions include:

  • Doctors advise drinking at least 12 glasses of water a day to help flush out infection and dilute urine.
  • Women who are more prone to the condition should get a microscopic urine examination once every three to six months.
  • Maintain adequate hygiene. Dr Shah says, ‘Self-hygiene is important and more important is that the washroom should also be cleaned and sanitised.’ Read about some effective hygiene tips.

Researchers develop a robot capable of removing blood clots with steerable needles

Robotic ArmResearchers have designed a novel robot-arm system that reaches deep into the brain to remove fatal clots using steerable needles.

The new image-guided surgical system being developed by Vanderbilt University employs steerable needles about the size of those used for biopsies to penetrate the brain with minimal damage and suction away the blood clot that has formed.

The odds of a person getting an intracerebral hemorrhage are one in 50 over his or her lifetime. When it does occur, 40 percent of the individuals die within a month. Many of the survivors have serious brain damage, researchers said.

Researcher Robert J Webster’s design, which he calls an active cannula, consists of a series of thin, nested tubes. Each tube has a different intrinsic curvature.

By precisely rotating, extending and retracting these tubes, an operator can steer the tip in different directions, allowing it to follow a curving path through the body.

“I think this can save a lot of lives. There are a tremendous number of intracerebral hemorrhages and the number is certain to increase as the population ages”, one of the researchers said.

The brain-clot system only needs two tubes: a straight outer tube and a curved inner tube. Both are less than one twentieth of an inch in diameter. When a CT scan has determined the location of the blood clot, the surgeon determines the best point on the skull and the proper insertion angle for the probe.

The angle is dialed into a fixture, called a trajectory stem, which is attached to the skull immediately above a small hole that has been drilled to enable the needle to pass into the patient’s brain.

The surgeon positions the robot so it can insert the straight outer tube through the trajectory stem and into the brain.

He also selects the small inner tube with the curvature that best matches the size and shape of the clot, attaches a suction pump to its external end and places it in the outer tube, researchers said.

Guided by the CT scan, the robot inserts the outer tube into the brain until it reaches the outer surface of the clot. Then it extends the curved, inner tube into the clot’s interior, they said.

The pump is turned on and the tube begins acting like a tiny vacuum cleaner, sucking out the material. The robot moves the tip around the interior of the clot, controlling its motion by rotating, extending and retracting the tubes.

According to the feasibility studies the researchers have performed, the robot can remove up to 92 per cent of simulated blood clots.

Pepsil gel: Instant Relief Gel

Pepsil gel

Pepsil gel

Oxeta: The daily health protector

Oxeta Capsules

Oxeta Capsules

Astrorab DSR: Take Control

Astrorab DSR

Astrorab DSR

Astofer: Haemoglobin Booster

Astofer Suspension

Haemoglobin Booster

Pepsil gel – Instant relief gel

Pepsil gel

Instant Relief Gel

Oxeta: The daily health protector



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