Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee                                                                                    Dated: 27th July,2019

Being overweight or obese in 60s may accelerate aging in the brain by a decade
Having a bigger waistline and a high body mass index (BMI) in your 60s may be linked with greater signs of brain aging years later, according to a study published in the July 24, 2019, online issue of Neurology, which suggests that these factors may accelerate brain aging by at least a decade.

Participants’ BMI and waist circumference were measured at the beginning of the study. An average of six years later, participants had MRI brain scans to measure the thickness of the cortex area of the brain, overall brain volume and other factors. For waist circumference, which can be different for men and women, the normal weight group (BMI < 25), which was 54% women, had an average of 33 inches. The overweight group (BMI 25-30), which was 56% women, had an average of 36 inches, and the obese group (BMI =30), which was 73% women, had an average of 41 inches.

   Having a higher BMI was associated with having a thinner cortex, even    after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect the cortex,     such as high BP, alcohol use and smoking.

   In overweight people, every unit increase in BMI was associated with a 0.098 mm thinner cortex and in obese people with a       0.207 mm thinner cortex.

   Having a thinner cortex has been tied to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

   Having a bigger waist was also associated with a thinner cortex after adjusting for other factors.

Supplements for children
Routine supplementation of vitamins and minerals is not necessary for healthy growing children who consume a varied diet and have adequate exposure to sunlight. Children who drink non-cow milk (eg, goat milk or plant-based milks such as soy, rice, almond, coconut, etc) may require supplemental vitamin D.

Powassan virus disease: An emerging tick-borne illness
Cases of a tick-borne disease “Powassan virus disease” are being reported from the United States. Two cases were reported in New Jersey in June and now another case has been reported this month in Maine, following which the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory to physicians that more cases could be possible and suggested that doctors consider testing for the disease in patients with unexplained encephalitis, meningitis or high fever during the summer and early fall, as reported by CNN. Powassan virus disease is a notifiable disease in the US.....read more

Nasal glucagon, first treatment for severe hypoglycemia that can be administered without an injection
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first glucagon therapy that can be administered without an injection for the emergency treatment of severe hypoglycemiain patients with diabetes; it is approved for patients with diabetes aged 4 years and older.

Administered as a nasal powder, it does away with the need of the multiple steps of mixing powder and liquid involved with the injection, thus simplifying the treatment. This is particularly useful in critical situations when the patient may have lost consciousness or may be having a seizure......read more

Spiritual Prescription: Yoga Nidra
Many people in the East and the West are attracted to yogic practices, for they think they can find a solution to every problem therein, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Hence, much importance is attached to relaxation techniques that one thinks might help a person in easing the tension caused due to chronic stressful lifestyle. Yoga Nidra is one such wonderful technique, not only for physical or mental relaxation but also to prepare the mind for spiritual discipline. It concerns mainly with pratyahara (withdrawing senses from sense-objects) and dharana (concentration)......read more

Healthcare News Monitor

‘Artificial Intelligence is changing medicine’: Israel’s Director of Digital Health, Esti Shelly
Hindustan Times

Israel’s Director of Digital Health, Esti Shelly, is in India for the launch of the Global Innovation Index (GII 2019), in which her country is expected to be ranked among the top 10. Israel was ranked 11th in 2018, and 17th in 2017, while India rose to 57th in GII in 2018 from 60th the year before. The ranking judges countries on at least 80 indicators of innovation, including political environment, research, infrastructure and business. GII 2019 focus this year is on health innovation, which is integral to Ayushman Bharat, India’s health protection scheme that offers cashless hospitalisation cover of up to ~5 lakh to at least 10 million families. Shelly, who met her counterparts at National Health Authority and Niti Aayog to share Israel’s innovations in health technology, medicine and research, spoke to Sanchita Sharma on how transformative innovations in healthcare can fuel economic and social growth. What role does digital health play in Israel? The ministry of health has set up HUBriut (health hub in Hebrew) to promote digital transformation in healthcare by building partnerships between industry, health sector and academia. We are also helping industry meet regulations, and take knowledge and innovation from university to industry. Last year, the Cabinet approved digital health as a growth engine project. Under the project, the government funds companies to do pilots in hospitals. Israel has 1,000 start-ups on medical devices and digital health... We have approved 43 pilots in more than 20 hospitals.

Doctors, students protest against NMC Bill
ET Healthworld- PTI

Students and doctors from various medical colleges and hospitals in the city staged protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill by burning copies of it outside the AIIMS here. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest body of doctors and students in the country with around three lakh members, has given a call to all students across medical colleges to observe a 24-hour hunger strike on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the bill. The Emergency Action Committee of the IMA opposed the NMC Bill 2019, which was introduced in Parliament on Monday, saying it has only undergone cosmetic changes and the core concerns raised by the doctor's body are still unaddressed. Though the deleterious clauses have been retained in the bill, the addition of Section 32 that legalises quackery by empowering community health providers to practice medicine will only endanger the lives of people. This is the single largest threat to the health of the nation, the IMA said in a statement.

Delhi: Rotavirus vaccination to start in August
Times of India

New Delhi: Delhi is likely to introduce rotavirus vaccine in its universal immunisation programme from August 7. It is crucial to reduce diarrhoeal deaths in children, officials said. Eleven states across the country have already introduced the vaccine in their routine immunisation programmes. Sources said that the central government has directed all states and union territories to put policy and infrastructure in place to ensure 100% availability of the vaccine nationally by September.

Why India lacks quality in its demographic and health data?
LiveMint-Neetu Chandra Sharma

New Delhi: Data on health and demographics in India is plagued by incomplete information, overestimation, and under- and over-reporting that lead to hindrance in policy planning, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has pointed out. To fetch quality data in upcoming health studies and surveys such as National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the National Data Quality Forum (NDQF), formulated by ICMR’s National Institute for Medical Statistics (ICMR - NIMS), in partnership with Population Council has identified gaps in data compilation and offered data quality solutions.
The NDQF attempted to identify issues in data quality. It found lack of comparability and poor usability of national level data sources, discordance between system and survey level estimates, increased questionnaire length and questions on socially restricted conversation topics that translate to poor data quality. The NDQF also identified age-reporting errors or non-response and intentional skipping of questions, underreporting due to subjective question interpretation and incompleteness and paucity of data to generate reliable estimates on mortality as major barriers to quality data.

Ailing healthcare system needs more healing hands
Financial Express- K Srinath Reddy

The Supreme Court has averred that health is a human right, while expressing its anguish at the spate of child deaths in Muzaffarpur. The tragedy in Bihar comes at a time when doctors and patients are locked in an aggressively adversarial relationship across the country. These are searing reminders that we need to urgently repair the fault lines in our health system. One of those fault lines lies in the state of our health workforce, which is woefully short in numbers and skill to meet the mounting demands on sagging health services. There are far less healthcare providers than needed and those available are severely maldistributed across states, and between rural and urban areas. How many health workers do we need? The World Health Organisation (WHO) had previously estimated that 23 health workers (doctors, nurses and midwives) would be required per 1,000 population to deliver health services related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Those services covered maternal and child health as well as major infectious diseases. India’s National Health Mission too pursued the restricted MDG agenda, in which nearly 80% of population health needs were unaddressed. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015 expanded the health agenda to include non-communicable diseases, mental health and other conditions that did not feature in the MDGs. Recognising that this full plate of services needed more health workers, WHO in 2016 raised the minimum number of health workers needed per 1,000 population to 44.5.