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Kasturba Hospital doctors to go on strike over unpaid salaries

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Chennai: Doctors of government hospitals in Tamil Nadu go on indefinite strike demanding pay parity, in Chennai on Oct 25, 2019. Around 17,000 doctors went on strike affecting thousands of patients in both out- and in- patients department in government hospitals across the state. Besides pay parity with their counterparts in the central government, the doctors are also demanding non-reduction of the number of doctors and time-bound promotion to be implemented. (Photo: IANS)
Chennai: Doctors of government hospitals in Tamil Nadu go on indefinite strike demanding pay parity, in Chennai on Oct 25, 2019. Around 17,000 doctors went on strike affecting thousands of patients in both out- and in- patients department in government hospitals across the state. Besides pay parity with their counterparts in the central government, the doctors are also demanding non-reduction of the number of doctors and time-bound promotion to be implemented. (Photo: IANS)

The Resident Doctors Association of North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Kasturba Hospital has decided to go on strike from Wednesday for a week over non-payment of salaries and threatened to resign if salaries are not disbursed.

In a letter to the Medical Superintendent, RDA President Sunil Kumar Prasad wrote, “This is for the information that all the resident doctors are going on a total strike for tomorrow onwards due to non-payment of resident doctors’ salaries since July 2020.”

The association added, “We would like to inform you that we will be on strike for the next 7 days or till our all the salaries will be credited. After 20.02.2020, all residents will give mass resignation. Kindly take this letter under consideration since tomorrow onwards all the emergency services will be stopped.”

This came after another civic body-run Hindu Rao Hospital withdrew from work on Sunday after the administration failed to meet the deadline for releasing their salaries. More than 200 resident doctors and 300 nursing staff are on an indefinite strike since October 5.

Both hospitals fall under the jurisdiction of the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

A political slugfest is currently on between Mayor of North MCD, Jai Prakash, and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government over the delay in payment of salaries.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had recently hit out at the BJP for its failure in paying salaries to hospital staff, urging them to hand over the health units to the Delhi government if it is not able to meet the demands. The Mayor, on the other hand, called them out for playing politics on the sensitive issue while keeping the public in the dark.

Speaking to IANS, Kasturba Hospital’s RDA President said that they have been getting irregular salaries from the last four years, but the situation became serious during the Coronavirus pandemic. “The matter has now become a mere political football,” said Dr. Sunil Kumar Prasad.

He added, “If MCD does not have money, they must arrange it from the Centre or Delhi government. Besides this, the hospital should be handed-over to the Delhi government if MCD is not able to pay off the salaries.”

Dr. Prasad rued that crores which were spent to give respect to the corona warriors should have been utilized to pay off their salaries. “We work and salary is our basic right. I also request the government to bring in the salary protection act,” he further said.

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Health

Even mild fatty liver disease may up death risk: Study

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Liver
Liver

In a major study, researchers have found an increased risk of death in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis.

The study, published in the journal Gut, show that mortality increases with disease severity, but even mild fatty liver disease is linked to higher mortality.

Small clinical studies have demonstrated that among patients with NAFLD, advanced liver fibrosis is the most important histological predictor of mortality, but until now, population-level data have been missing from cohorts with liver histology.

“This is the first nationwide cohort study with detailed liver histology data to confirm that NAFLD contributes to an increased risk of all-cause mortality,” said study first author Tracey G Simon from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is often caused by obesity and affects nearly 25 per cent of the US and European adults. It represents the most common cause of chronic liver disease in Western countries.

For the current results, the research team matched 10,568 individuals with biopsy-confirmed NAFLD to general population controls through Sweden’s comprehensive, nationwide registers.

They found that all stages of NAFLD were associated with excess mortality risk, even early stages of disease.

This risk was driven primarily by deaths from extra-hepatic cancer and cirrhosis, while the risks of cardiovascular mortality or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mortality were relatively modest.

Patients with NAFLD had a 93 per cent increased risk of all-cause mortality, but the numbers varied with disease severity.

The risk increased progressively from the mildest form of NAFLD (simple steatosis), to non-fibrotic steatohepatitis (NASH), to non-cirrhotic fibrosis and to severe NAFLD with liver cirrhosis.

These findings should be used to develop more targeted interventions designed to reduce mortality, in patients with NAFLD,” Simon said.

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Herd immunity is dangerous and flawed approach: Lancet

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The Truth Behind Herd Immunity. (Photo Courtesy: Pixabay)
The Truth Behind Herd Immunity. (Photo Courtesy: Pixabay)

The idea of using herd immunity approach to manage Covid-19 — by allowing immunity to develop in low-risk populations while protecting the most vulnerable — is “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by the scientific evidence”, say a new letter signed by 80 international researchers.

According to the open letter published in the journal The Lancet, the experts stated that it is critical to act decisively and urgently.

The authors acknowledge that ongoing restrictions have understandably led to widespread demoralisation and diminishing trust among the public and that in the face of the second wave of infection there is renewed interest in so-called natural herd immunity approaches.

They stressed that any pandemic management strategy relying upon immunity from natural infections for Covid-19 is flawed.

They explained that uncontrolled transmission in younger people risks significant ill-health and death across the whole population – with real-world evidence from many countries showing that it is not possible to restrict uncontrolled outbreaks to certain sections of society, and it is practically impossible to isolate large swathes of the population.

Instead, they said that special efforts to protect the most vulnerable are essential, but must go hand-in-hand with multi-pronged population-level strategies.

They also stated that there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after natural infection, and warned that this waning immunity as a result of natural infection would not end the Covid-19 but instead result in repeated waves of transmission over several years.

They said that this could place vulnerable populations at risk for the indefinite future, as natural infection-based herd immunity strategies would result in recurrent epidemics, as seen with many infectious diseases before mass vaccination.

Instead, the authors call for the suppression of the virus until the population can be vaccinated.

The authors also warn that natural infection-based herd immunity approaches risk impacting the workforce as a whole and overwhelming the ability of healthcare systems to provide acute and routine care.

They noted that “we still do not understand who might suffer from ‘long Covid’, and that herd immunity approaches place an unacceptable burden on healthcare workers, many of whom have died from Covid-19.

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Eating disorders may lead to body dysmorphia: Study

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Overeating
Overeating

Researchers have found that people with eating disorders are 12 times more likely to be preoccupied with perceived flaws in their physical appearance than those without.

According to the researchers, body dysmorphia can result in anxiety, stress and reduced quality of life.

“While sufferers of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, share similar traits to those with body dysmorphia, research into any correlation between the two is sparse,” said study author Mike Trott from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK.

“Healthcare professionals working with people with body dysmorphia should screen them for eating disorders regularly, as this research shows a strong correlation between the two,” Trott added.

For the study, published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorders, the research team surveyed more than 1,600 health club members recruited via social media.

They found the number of people with body dysmorphic disorder – a mental condition marked by obsession with perceived flaws in appearance which are not noticed by others – was 12 times higher among people with suspected eating disorders.

Around 30 per cent of participants had indicated eating disorders, and the researchers noted that 76 per cent of those people also suffered from body dysmorphia.

The paper also found no significant associations between body dysmorphia, sexuality and social media use, although there was association with gender, with women being more likely to show symptoms of body dysmorphia.

“This study provides more evidence of the complex relationship that exists between body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorders,” the researchers wrote.

“Furthermore, it is recommended that people working with body dysmorphia should screen for eating disorders due to the high morbidity associated with eating disorders,” they noted.

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Health

Hookah bars banned in Chandigarh

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Hookah
Hookah

The Chandigarh administration on Tuesday imposed a ban on hookah bars, saying they lead to transmission of coronavirus.

An order issued by District Magistrate Mandip Singh Brar said that it has been made to appear that hookah bars are operational in Chandigarh in a clandestine way and they are serving flavoured hookahs, including tobacco molasses containing nicotine, which is highly injurious to health.

Any person violating the order shall be punished under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

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Health

Maternal blood test may predict birth complications: Study

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How to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
How to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy

A blood test commonly used to detect foetal genetic abnormalities may help predict complications associated with pregnancy before symptoms develop, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

The study, published in the journal Epigenetics, links certain cell-free DNA signatures to adverse outcomes in pregnancy, including ischemic placental disease and gestational diabetes.

The findings are the first to show that genetic material shed from the placenta into the mother’s blood (circulating cell-free nucleic acids) during the first trimester of pregnancy could potentially be used to predict these potentially serious complications.

Although the analysis of genetic material in the mother’s blood has been used to screen for genetic abnormalities in a pregnancy, this is the first time these specific methods have been used as a way of a more accurate prediction.

“Our research points to a promising approach that could improve outcomes for mothers and their babies using existing technologies,” said study lead author Sherin Devaskar from the University of California, Los Angeles in the US.

“If confirmed in larger studies, cell-free DNA blood tests may help identify issues in the placenta as an indicator of a healthy mother and foetus,” Devaskar added.

For the study, the researchers followed a diverse group of pregnant women between February 2017 and January 2019, testing their blood periodically throughout gestation.

By the end of the study, 160 participants had given birth, with 102 maternal and 25 cord plasma samples were taken along the way.

They found that during the first-to-early second trimester, placenta-specific DNA increased among those women who went on to develop gestational diabetes.

They also identified several differentially expressed genes and were able to create a model with a predictive value for adverse pregnancy outcomes.

“The novelty of this research is being able to break down a mother’s DNA and be able to hone in on the health of the placenta – something that researchers have never been able to do before,” said Devaskar.

“This research warrants application of automated methodologies in multi-centre trials to improve future testing and screening for all women,” she noted.

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Mothers’ anxiety during pregnancy linked to asthma in kids

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Asthma
Asthma

Researchers have found that depression and anxiety in moms-to-be is linked to a heightened risk of asthma and poorer lung function in their 10-year-old children.

The findings, published in the journal Thorax, suggest that the risk of later life respiratory disease is likely programmed in the womb, rather than necessarily influenced by as yet unmeasured genetic, social or environmental factors.

Psychological distress, to include anxiety and depression, during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of respiratory disease in preschoolers, but whether this association persists into later childhood isn’t known.

To find out, the researchers from Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, drew on participants in the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort study, which has been tracking life from early pregnancy onwards in Rotterdam.

The degree of overall psychological distress, depression and anxiety experienced by each parent in the second term of pregnancy and three years after the birth, was assessed, using a validated 53-item questionnaire.

Depression and anxiety were assessed only in the mothers, at two and six months after birth.

In all, 362 (nearly nine per cent) of the mothers and 167 (just under four per cent) of the fathers were clinically depressed and/or anxious during the pregnancy.

The lung function of 3,757 of the offspring was measured when they were 10 years old, and information on asthma obtained in 3,640 of them. Almost six per cent had asthma.

Mothers’ overall psychological distress and symptoms of anxiety and depression during pregnancy were all associated with a 45-92 per cent increased risk of current asthma in their children, after adjusting for potentially influential factors, such as age, ethnicity, smoking during pregnancy, and pet keeping.

Factoring in fathers’ psychological distress during pregnancy didn’t change this association.

Further analysis of the patterns of psychological distress showed that mostly depressive or anxiety symptoms both during and after pregnancy were associated with a heightened risk of asthma in the children.

But separating out the potentially influential factors into three different groups, including lifestyle and health-related, socioeconomic, and birth and early childhood factors, made no difference to the associations found.

“Our results may indicate an intrauterine effect of maternal psychological distress during pregnancy on foetal lung development and respiratory morbidity, rather than an effect of unmeasured genetic, social, behavioural or environmental factors,” the authors wrote.

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