One Health for all

Local leaders unitedly push for the One Health approach. Will G20 leaders tango?

Local leaders like Mayors, Members of Parliament (including Ministers of Health) and other experts call for a One Health approach as a large number of diseases affecting humans have origins in animals, including COVID-19 and Monkeypox. To avert such pandemics, we need a One Health approach to care for human health, animal health and the environment. 6-7 June 2022 is the next (second) meeting of the G20 leaders’ health working group in Indonesia. Hope G20 leaders will listen to these voices? Before G20 leaders and experts meet next week for the second health working group meeting under the Indonesian G20 presidency, local leaders from several cities across the Asia Pacific region have unitedly called for implementing the One Health approach. “A #OneHealth approach recognizes that the health of humans is closely connected (and inter-dependent) to the health of animals and our shared environment. Successful public health interventions that comprise the human-animal-environment interface require the broad, committed collaboration of individuals, politicians, and technical and policy organizations from all levels of society,” said Dr Tara Singh Bam, Asia Pacific Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union). Zoonotic diseases that spread between animals and humans are a threat to SDGs Human populations are growing and expanding into new geographic areas, including those that have hitherto been the primary domains of animals. With more and more people coming in closer contact with wild and domestic animals- both livestock and pets- this has increased opportunities for the spread of existing or known (endemic) and new or emerging zoonotic diseases, which include COVID-19, rabies, tuberculosis (TB), and Ebola, among others. Just recently towards the end of April 2022, China had reported the first-ever human case of H3N8 new strain of bird flu influenza. Such localized disease outbreaks can spread globally if we do not avert or address them quickly and effectively enough. This warrants agencies, working on human health, animal health, and the environment, to collaborate, coordinate and respond properly. The role of national leaders, especially sub-national leaders, becomes vital in this regard, said Dr H Mohamad Subuh, Chairperson of the…

Health News

Qatar supports shipment of WHO life-saving medical supplies to Kabul

New Delhi/Geneva, 14th September 2021. An aircraft carrying around 23 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines and supplies from WHO landed in Kabul. The shipment, which is among the first humanitarian aid to arrive at Kabul airport since operations were disrupted on 15 August, was flown by a Qatar Airways flight donated by the Government of the State of Qatar. “As health needs increase in Afghanistan, we must move quickly to address the shortages in medical supplies to keep life-saving health services running. I thank the Government of the State of Qatar for its generous and timely support, which has allowed WHO to replenish depleted stocks and meet the needs of the most vulnerable Afghans,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. A second flight donated by the State of Qatar is expected to arrive later this week, carrying more WHO medical supplies. Together, the 2 shipments which contain essential medicines such as insulin, medical consumables, trauma and surgery kits, and COVID-19 testing kits, will address the urgent health needs of 1.45 million people and provide for 5400 major and minor surgeries. They will be distributed to 280 health facilities and 31 public COVID-19 laboratories across Afghanistan. The supplies have been shipped from WHO suppliers’ facilities in Europe to Qatar and onward to Kabul, Afghanistan, in collaboration with the operations and logistic teams of Qatar Airways and the Government of the State of Qatar. WHO is exploring options to expedite further shipments of health supplies to Afghanistan. The establishment of a reliable humanitarian airbridge continues to be a pressing need to ensure timely movement of humanitarian aid and personnel to respond to the evolving situation. WHO is committed to staying and delivering. The 2 flights from Qatar will mean that WHO will have airlifted 131 metric tonnes of supplies since 30 August, which are enough to cover the urgent health needs of 2.43 million people and provide for around 19 000 major and minor surgeries.

Researchers develop modified cotton fabric against harmful air pollutants

Researchers develop modified cotton fabric against harmful air pollutants

New Delhi, Aug. 23: Air pollution resulting from the rising levels of particulate matter, nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon oxides, and other toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a major concern. Long-term exposure to even a few parts per million of these chemicals takes a toll on health and can cause asthma, eye, and throat irritations, etc. With this challenge in mind, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi have developed a modified cotton fabric that is found to be capable of adsorbing harmful pollutants from the air. [email protected] Cotton and [email protected] Cotton, as they are called, are Zeolite Imidazolate Framework (ZIF)-modified functionalized fabrics, which adsorb high levels of organic air pollutants like benzene, aniline, and styrene from the ambient air, IIT Delhi statement said. The research team led by Prof. Ashwini K. Agrawal and Prof. Manjeet Jassal at the SMITA Research Lab in the Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering, and Prof. Saswata Bhattacharya at the Department of Physics, IIT Delhi, has developed this modified cotton fabric after an extensive study. Speaking of the modified cotton fabric, Prof. Ashwini Agrawal, Textile and Fibre Engineering Department, IIT Delhi said, “In this study, we have shown the functionalization of cotton fabric by ZIF MOFs (ZIF-8 and ZIF-67) using a rapid, facile, eco-friendly, and scalable approach. The ZIF functionalized textiles possess a huge potential for applications as protective garments and in controlling indoor air pollution. These fabrics may be used as upholstery for controlling gaseous pollutants that cannot be filtered out using filter media. In particular, these can be used within closed spaces, such as homes, offices, theatres, aeroplanes, and other transport vehicles.” Using a technique known as in-situ growth of ZIF-8 and ZIF-67 nanocrystals on the carboxymethylated cotton fabric using a rapid water-based textile finishing approach, the researchers at IIT Delhi have successfully developed a low-cost cotton fabric capable of adsorbing 400-600% more VOCs than ordinary cotton fabrics. Furthermore, these fabrics are robust and can withstand even the harsh conditions of washing. They can be used repeatedly and in designing functional filters and pollution controlling upholstery fabrics among others….

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Consuming a diet with more fish fats, less vegetable oils can reduce migraine headaches: study

National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study finds frequency, the intensity of monthly migraines declined among those on a higher fish oil diet. A diet higher in fatty fish helped frequent migraine sufferers reduce their monthly number of headaches and intensity of pain compared to participants on a diet higher in vegetable-based fats and oils, according to a new study. The findings by a team of researchers from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), parts of the National Institutes of Health (USA); and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, were published in the July 3 issue of The BMJ. Method This study of 182 adults with frequent migraines expanded on the team’s previous work on the impact of linoleic acid and chronic pain. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid commonly derived in the American diet from corn, soybean, and other similar oils, as well as some nuts and seeds. The team’s previous smaller studies explored if linoleic acid inflamed migraine-related pain processing tissues and pathways in the trigeminal nerve, the largest and most complex of the body’s 12 cranial nerves. They found that a diet lower in linoleic acid and higher in levels of omega-3 fatty acids (like those found in fish and shellfish) could soothe this pain pathway inflammation. In a 16-week dietary intervention, participants were randomly assigned to one of three healthy diet plans. Participants all received meal kits that included fish, vegetables, hummus, salads, and breakfast items. One group received meals that had high levels of fatty fish or oils from fatty fish and lowered linoleic acid. A second group received meals that had high levels of fatty fish and higher linoleic acid. The third group received meals with high linoleic acid and lower levels of fatty fish to mimic average U.S. intakes. During the intervention period, participants monitored their number of migraine days, duration, and intensity, along with how their headaches affected their abilities to function at work, school, and in their social lives, and how often they needed to take pain…

Schematic showing the mechanism by which SIRT6 regulates fatty acid uptake through PPARγ transcription factor in the heart (Khan et al., 2021/Cell Reports)

New Study could help unravel the mystery of fatty acid accumulation in the heart

How are Fatty acids formed? New Delhi, June 30th: Fatty acids are formed when the fat in our diet breaks down during digestion. While many of the body’s organs use glucose as their primary energy source, the heart derives most of its required energy (over 70%) from the oxidation of fatty acids. These are crucial for sustaining cardiomyocytes – cardiac muscle cells that control the rhythmic beating of the heart. However, the accumulation of excess fatty acids in cardiomyocytes triggers harmful responses, often leading to severe cardiac diseases.   A recent study published in Cell Reports by a team of researchers from India and the US, led by scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), provides important insights into how fatty acid uptake is regulated in cardiomyocytes.   “We identified a mechanism by which fatty acid transport (to cardiomyocytes) is critically regulated by a protein called SIRT6,” says team lead Ravi Sundaresan, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, IISc. The study shows that SIRT6 could be a potential therapeutic target for treating several metabolic diseases affecting the heart.  Cardiomyocytes have several fatty acid transporters – specific proteins enhancing the uptake of fatty acids from the blood into the cells – to ensure sufficient supply. The authors say that this is the first study to show that SIRT6 regulates the genes responsible for the formation of these transporter proteins in cardiomyocytes, IISc statement said.  The team observed that cardiomyocytes devoid of the SIRT6 protein had higher levels of fatty acid transporters, resulting in higher uptake and accumulation of fatty acids. They also showed that increasing the level of SIRT6 in cardiomyocytes lowered the levels of these transporters, thereby reducing fatty acid uptake and accumulation. The researchers carried out most of the studies in experimental mice models.   SIRT6 belongs to a family of proteins called sirtuins, which are important biological enzymes that require specific molecules, called cofactors, to function. Surprisingly, the researchers found that SIRT6 neither functions as an enzyme nor does it require any co-factor to regulate fatty acid uptake in cardiomyocytes. Rather, it does so by binding with a specific protein…

Anchor to ending AIDS or Covid-19 is a human right to health

World AIDS Day special article While we have made significant progress since the late 1990s in our fight to end AIDS, but it still remains a major global public health issue. Even today, globally more than 12 million people living with HIV are not on treatment and 1.7 million people became infected with the virus in 2019 because they could not access essential prevention services. The good news is that India has shown a remarkable decline of 66% in new HIV infections over the last decade, which is the highest in the whole of Asia Pacific region, said Dr Ishwar Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India, who also represents the Asia Pacific region in the Governing Council of International AIDS Society. “But we still have a long way to go. Despite the promise of governments, including that of India, to meet the 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and end AIDS by 2030, we had 1,700,000 newly infected people with HIV and 690,000 AIDS deaths worldwide. The Covid-19 pandemic has further increased our challenges by overshadowing HIV control measures”, he added. India is home to 2.35 million (23.5 lakhs) people living with HIV. 79% of these are aware of their status and 55% of all PLHIV are on anti-retroviral treatment (ART). In other words, that is 1.35 million are receiving ART, which means that one million (10 lakh) people living with HIV are yet to access treatment. We have to ensure that everyone who tests positive for HIV should be put on lifesaving ART and become virally suppressed. Also, equal emphasis is to be given to prevention as well. We cannot prioritise treatment over preventing new infections– such an approach will neither work for ending AIDS nor for ending Covid-19, emphasized Dr Gilada. World aids day theme 2020 The 2020 World AIDS Day theme of ‘Global solidarity, resilient services’ underlines that communities are a unique force to reckon with, even during the times of pandemics, like Covid-19. UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima has rightly remarked that it is the strength within communities, inspired by a shared responsibility to each other, that…

Health news

New Study Provides New Insights Into Changes in Brain Function in Fibromyalgia

Pain at the time of testing, rather than the presence of a chronic pain condition, is primarily responsible for changes in the functioning of the brain’s default mode network in patients with fibromyalgia, according to the results of a study recently published in the journal NeuroImage. The study, conducted at the National Institutes of Health and McGill University. Fibromyalgia: a disorder that involves widespread pain Some aspects of brain function in patients with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia (a disorder that involves widespread pain, tenderness, fatigue, and other symptoms) differ from those in healthy people. One part of the brain that’s affected is the default mode network, which includes different brain regions that are highly connected to each other at specific times. This network is active when a person is at rest (awake but not engaged in an attention-demanding or goal-oriented task). It becomes inactive when the person starts to perform a task. Previous research has shown that the connectivity of this network within itself and with other brain regions is altered in people with chronic pain conditions. It’s unclear, however, whether these alterations are a result of changes in brain organization due to living with chronic pain or whether they reflect the presence of their clinical pain at the time when measurements are made. In this study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess functional connectivity (interactions between distinct brain regions) of the default mode network is a group of 16 fibromyalgia patients who were experiencing clinical pain at the time of scanning and in a group of 27 fibromyalgia patients who were not. The same numbers of healthy control subjects were also tested. As has been seen in previous studies, fibromyalgia patients who had pain at the time of scanning had significantly increased default mode network connectivity to a brain region called the bilateral anterior insula. However, fibromyalgia patients who did not have pain during scanning did not show this pattern; their default mode network connectivity was not significantly different from that of healthy control subjects. Among the patients who had pain at the time…

latest news on cancer research

#Healh: Breast cancer treatment takes a big leap forward

Cancer news India | Cancer care in India | Health news New Delhi, Sep 01 (India Science Wire): Breast-cancer is the most common cancer in women in India. An estimated one in twenty-eight women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. In urban areas, one in twenty-two women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime as compared to rural areas where one in sixty women develops breast cancer in her lifetime. Earlier research had demonstrated that breast cancer patients had reduced production of a protein in the body called Estrogen-related receptor beta (ERRβ), that resulted in proliferation or rapid division of breast cancer cells and their migration to other parts of the body, and that if the protein can be overexpressed in breast cancer patients, it can result in an improved prognosis and prolonged relapse-free survival. However, it was so far not known as to how and why the production of ERRβ protein was reduced in breast cancer patients. A new study by the cancer research group at the Department of Biotechnology’s Institute of Life Sciences (DBT-ILS) has resolved the mystery and promises to pave the way for developing better drugs for breast cancer. The researchers have unravelled the molecular mechanism for the phenomenon. It is found that the ERRβ protein is a key substrate of the SCF complex and deregulated activation of the SCF complex due to the NEDDylation of Cullin subunits of the SCF complex, targets ERRβ for degradation in breast cancer. Consequently, the team led by Dr. Sandip K Mishra has demonstrated that a molecule called MLN4924 can restore the expression of the ERRβ protein and help reduce cell proliferation and migration of breast cancer cells. The study has also demonstrated that restoration of ERRβ expression in breast cancer with the help of MLN4924, promotes the production of two important tumour suppressors p21 and E-cadherin, involved in the arrest of cell proliferation and migration. Breast cancer is the predominant cause of cancer deaths in underdeveloped countries, representing 14.3% of all cancer deaths. In 2018, 1,62,468 new cases and 87,090 deaths were reported for…


Scientists use genomics to discover an ancient dog species that may teach us about human vocalization

The finding marks a new effort in conserving an ancient dog breed, with potential to inform human vocalization processes Bethesda, (Maryland) Monday, August 31, 2020. In a study published in PNAS, researchers used conservation biology and genomics to discover that the New Guinea singing dog, thought to be extinct for 50 years, still thrives. Scientists found that the ancestral dog population still stealthily wanders in the Highlands of New Guinea. This finding opens new doors for protecting a remarkable creature that can teach biologists about human vocal learning. The New Guinea singing dog can also be utilized as a valuable and unique animal model for studying how human vocal disorders arise and finding potential treatment opportunities. The study was performed by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, Cenderawasih University in Indonesia, and other academic centres. The New Guinea singing dog was first studied in 1897 and became known for their unique and characteristic vocalization, able to make pleasing and harmonic sounds with tonal quality. Only 200–300 captive New Guinea singing dogs exist in conservation centres, with none seen in the wild since the 1970s. “The New Guinea singing dog that we know of today is a breed that was basically created by people,” said Elaine Ostrander, Ph.D., NIH Distinguished Investigator and senior author of the paper. “Eight were brought to the United States from the Highlands of New Guinea and bred with each other to create this group.” According to Dr. Ostrander, a large amount of inbreeding within captive New Guinea singing dogs changed their genomic makeup by reducing the variation in the group’s DNA. Such inbreeding is why the captive New Guinea singing dogs have most likely lost a large number of genomic variants that existed in their wild counterparts. This lack of genomic variation threatens the survival of captive New Guinea singing dogs. Their origins, until recently, had remained a mystery. Another New Guinea dog breed found in the wild, called the Highland Wild Dog, has a strikingly similar physical appearance to the New Guinea singing dogs. Considered…

Health news

Indian Leaders Call for Improvement in Rural Healthcare via Solarization of Clinics

New Delhi, 1st May 2020 : Nearly 20 leaders from think tanks, research groups, renewable energy companies, sustainable development organizations, industry associations, and health care services have come together to publish an open letter calling for action, making the case for solarizing all unelectrified sub-centres in rural India, clearly outlining steps needed to get us to that goal. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has highlighted several existing systemic gaps in services, especially to the rural poor. Inadequate healthcare infrastructure is one of them. Over 39,000 sub-centres (the first point of contact between primary health care system and the community) serving 230 million people in rural India lack electricity. This severely impacts their capacity to offer optimal health care to patients. Decentralized renewable energy (DRE) can play a significant role in solving this problem quickly and affordably, for less than INR 30 per person in initial capital expenditure. The letter outlines 4 key interventions that the government can undertake in order to help alleviate the situation: Expanding the programme to solarize clinics, drawing from the example of Chhattisgarh state which has successfully done this; Allocating dedicated funding towards this initiative, which would amount to just 0.6% of the current 2020-21 energy and healthcare budget; Ensuring long-term operations and sustainability by working through existing structures; and Promoting innovation in order to develop more financially viable and energy-efficient medical equipment. The letter is being sent to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the National Centre for Disease Control, the National Health Systems Resource Centre, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Power, and Niti Aayog. In addition, the letter is being sent to media houses, international development banks, private foundations and other donors, as well as global renewable energy and healthcare agencies. Read the full text of the letter here. Quotes from signatories: Dr. Poornima Prabhakaran, Deputy Director, Centre for Environmental Health, PHFI said, “Sustainable health infrastructure that leverages innovative , decentralised and energy efficient solutions  will bring huge dividends for health in rural India. Transitioning to renewable energies across healthcare operations will ensure efficient service delivery and improved health…

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Top 10 headlines this morning : Supreme Court fines 7 states for not filing responses on Human Rights Courts

Our decision on Jammu & Kashmir is driven by national interest, not politics : Modi One of the biggest decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the first 75 days of his government is undoubtedly the unshackling of Jammu and Kashmir so that there is better integration and mobility and the faux concept of dual citizenship is scrapped once and for all. In what was not just a political but a diplomatic masterstroke as well, the PM, who has been obsessed with resolving the Kashmir imbroglio, hit his straps very early on in his second avatar using the heft of his mandate to prise through the contentious issue. Ladakh UT involves Chinese territory, Wang told Jaishankar China, whose forces regularly intrude into Ladakh, stuck to its opposition to the creation of Ladakh Union Territory, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi telling his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar that the move “involves Chinese territory”. UNGA president expresses solidarity with flood-affected people in India General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa has expressed her solidarity with those affected by floods in India, according to her Spokesperson Monica Grayley. ‘Bombay Rose’ to head to Toronto after Venice Gitanjali Rao’s debut directorial feature film “Bombay Rose” will open Venice International Film Critics’ Week on August 29, before its North American premiere in Toronto on September 7. SC orders Assam govt to publish NRC exclusion list by Aug 31 The Supreme Court today ordered that the list of those excluded from the final Assam NRC be published only online on 31st of this month. Don’t live in fool’s paradise, not easy to get USNC support on Kashmir: Pak FM tells his countrymen Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has told his countrymen not to live in a fool’s paradise saying that it will not be easy for Islamabad to get the support of the UN Security Council. Supreme Court fines 7 states for not filing responses on Human Rights Courts The Supreme Court yesterday slapped cost of up to one lakh rupees on seven states for failing to file responses regarding setting up of Human Rights…