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Mobile phone radiation linked to cancers: Study

Monitoring Desk

NEW YORK: A long-running US study on the effects of radio wave radiation, the sort emitted by mobile phones, has found “clear evidence” of high levels of exposure and heart cancers in male rats.

Some evidence of links to brain and adrenal gland tumours was also found in male rats, but in female rodents and male mice signs of cancer weren’t clear, the National Toxicology Programme (NTP) concluded in its final report.

The programme is run by the US Department of Health and Human Services and was tasked with reviewing the toxicity of mobile phone radiation in response to the devices’ near ubiquity in modern life.

The radiation exposure in the trial was well above the levels most humans would experience, but researchers said the findings show the link between radio frequencies and tumours – at least for rats – “is real”.

“The exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone,” said Dr John Bucher, a senior scientist at the NTP. “In our studies, rats and mice received radio frequency radiation across their whole bodies. By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone.

“In addition, the exposure levels and durations in our studies were greater than what people experience.” But he added: “We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumours in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed.”

The studies took a decade to complete and cost more than $30m (£23m) to run. The animals’ tissues were combed over for signs of tumours after experiencing nine hours a day of radiation for most of their natural lives, beginning in the womb in the case of the rats.

This is the most controlled study on exposure to date, and it raises many questions about the conclusions for humans – particularly as the lowest exposure levels were at the maximum levels allowed for mobile phones.

The group found male rats have a higher incidence of heart tumours, compared to the control rats not exposed to radiation, but radiated male rats also lived longer – apparently due to fewer kidney problems. In female rats and both sets of mice, the evidence of any cancers formed is described as “equivocal”, meaning there are measurable increases in molecules sometimes linked to cancer but no actual evidence.

The study also focussed on 2G and 3G wireless signals, the most widely used types when the study began, but the researchers say their findings are still relevant today as most mobile phones still use these bands alongside wifi and 4G.

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Affected patients being provided with artificial limbs

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Patients affected by landmines, terror incidents, firearm, accidents and other incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and erstwhile-Fata have termed Pakistan prosthetic institute of orthotic sciences (PIPOS) as a ray of hope for them to enter into a new era of life after rehabilitation.

One of the affected patients, Haroon Khan 18, of Ghandao Tehsil of Mohmand tribal district  who gets treatment in PIPOS center in Peshawar said that i was en-route to a nearest bazaar with my father in Mohmand district back in 2008, 09, when blast took place, leaving my father dead and depriving me of my left leg”.

Few months after the incident, I visited Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) for treatment and getting first leg there and then visited PIPOS after one year as i have been coming to PIPOS center since last eight-years for treatment and changing leg once after two years. Though, in last few years, I have received 13  artificial legs free of cost, he added.

“I have left with no option but to drive rickshaw in Mohmand district to feed my family members and earn Rs 500 to Rs 600 daily” said young Khan who is survived by five sisters and two brothers.

Another 23-year old Ijaz Ahmed of provincial metropolitan of KP elaborated that I was injured in road accident on 16th April 2016. After accident, I came to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) in Peshawar for treatment where owing to negligence of specialist doctor, I lost my leg when the alleged doctor did not operate me on time.

Being a student of Agriculture University, and enrolled in 8th semester in Plant Protection, he said it takes more time when a person comes to normal life with prosthetic limb but even though, patients get proper treatment at the center and return happily after being cured. He unveiled that disability takes a person towards inferiority complex and it enhances dependency.

“I lost my right leg in an explosion that took place on 17th December, 2012 at Fauzi Market, a center of historical Jamrud bazaar, leaving 17 people dead and 37 injured after I came out of my Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS) No 1 Jamrud” said Zahidullah of Khyber Agency, a bearded young man, wearing white cape who waits for his turn at PIPOS center.

Two of my classmates also lost their legs in that incident while another lost his life. I have changed four legs in last few years in PIPOS, he stated. I lost all my hopes after the blast but the treatment in this center brought me towards normalization and entered into a new era of life, he remarked. Felling confident, he claims I take part in sports related activities to let people know that I am a normal person.

The Pakistan Prosthetic Institute of Orthotic Sciences (PIPOS) is an autonomous body of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department which has been established in 1987 aimed at providing prosthetic and orthotic limbs to patients being suffered in war on terror, landmines, firearm injuries, roadside accidents, polio affected patients, injection neuritis, beside Golan Bari disease which affects human body, and others.

The statistics provided by PIPOS center, explained that a total of 220 to 240 patients are being treated on monthly basis and provided them with devices and limbs. It further informed that more than 25 per cent patients out of 100 per cent come from tribal agencies and a great number of people also come from Afghanistan.

As per available data, the PIPOS has various branches across the country including one each in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Gilgit Baltistan while it also has 13 sub-branches in multiple districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Swabi, Mardan and others.

It further said that 60 per cent patients out of 100, include bomb blasts, mine victims and weapon wounded while 40 per cent among them are cases relating to polio, accidents, firearm injuries and others.

Managing Director (MD) of PIPOS Dr Umar Ayub Khan said that the mandate of this institute is to provide artificial limbs and related facilities in the field of prosthetics and orthotics to patients suffered on one way or other.

He claimed that PIPOS has been providing multiple services to patients free of cost and it also gives orthotic devices to polio affected patients across the country which gives support to weak muscles.

We are providing prosthetic devices means artificial limbs free of cost to patients with support of international donor, he informed and saying after examining patients, the preparation of limbs for those persons take from one week to a month time and thus the patients need to wait till its preparation. As the PIPOS also provide services in academia including B.SC (Hons) in prosthetics and orthotics from Khyber Medical University (KMU). Though, it also offers two-year diploma course in lower limb prosthetic and orthotics, he explained.

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E-therapy could be helpful to ease insomnia

WASHINGTON (Reuters): People with insomnia who receive a digitized version of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as part of their treatment may find more symptom relief than those who only receive tips to improve their sleep routines, a recent experiment suggests.

Researchers randomly assigned 1,700 insomnia patients to receive either digital CBT or so-called sleep hygiene education designed to improve bedtime routines and encourage avoidance of substances like caffeine and alcohol that can interfere with sleep.

The CBT group used the online Sleepio program (https://bit.ly/1CIZS9u) and an associated iOS app, which offered a series of 20-minute therapy sessions people could access for up to 12 weeks.

Patients reported more improvement in their insomnia symptoms after 4, 8 and 24 weeks with digital CBT than they did with sleep hygiene education, the study team reports in JAMA Psychiatry.

“This new study indicates that digital CBT can help insomnia sufferers achieve not just better sleep, but better overall health and quality of life,” said lead study author Colin Espie, a co-founder of Sleepio developer Big Health.

“It also underscores previous findings that better sleep contributes to better mental health,” Espie said by email.

CBT can train people to use techniques that address the mental (or cognitive) factors associated with insomnia, such as the “racing mind,” and to overcome the worry and other negative emotions that often accompany inability to sleep. CBT can also help people with poor sleep establish a healthy bedtime routine and improve sleep patterns, previous research has found.

“While a fully automated digital solution like Sleepio cannot fully replicate the power of a trusted, face-to-face relationship between a patient and clinician, there are several advantages to the digital format,” Espie said.

One key advantage is that the app can be available in the middle of the night when people need help, and not require patients to wait for a therapist to offer them an appointment, Espie said. Amid a shortage of providers trained to offer CBT for insomnia, the app may also help expand access to care for patients who might otherwise be unable to receive treatment.

Patients in the current study were 48 years old on average and most were female and white.

Roughly half of them consumed caffeine at least twice daily and on average, this group of patients was slightly overweight – both things that can get in the way of a good nights’ sleep.

To assess the effectiveness of digital CBT, researchers asked patients to assess the magnitude of improvements in their own physical health, psychological wellbeing, insomnia and sleep-related quality of life. On all of these measures, digital CBT appeared to make a bigger impact than sleep hygiene education, the study found.

Even though the study was a controlled experiment, it wasn’t designed to assess whether or how digital CBT might perform relative to in-person CBT. It’s also possible that results would be different in more diverse patient populations.

Even so, the results offer fresh evidence of the potential for mobile and web-based therapy to be one effective option for treating insomnia, said Ricardo F. Munoz, director of the Institute for International Internet Interventions for Health (i4Health) and a professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco

“Treating insomnia with CBT has longer lasting effects than, for example, treating insomnia with medication,” Munoz, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Because CBT involves learning how to sleep well, what the person learns can be used indefinitely; medications only work while you are using them and can have harmful side effects.”

 

 

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Eye scan could identify Alzheimers disease in seconds

ISLAMABAD (Agencies): Two new studies now suggest that a noninvasive eye scan could soon be used to catch Alzheimer’s disease early. The world s population is aging rapidly and the prevalence of Alzheimer is on the rise. For this reason the need for efficient dementia screening methods that can be applied to millions of people is dire. Current diagnostic practices are either invasive or ineffective.

For instance brain scans are costly and spinal taps or lumbar punctures are invasive and potentially harmful. Specialists currently diagnose Alzheimer’s disease using memory tests and by tracking behavioral changes. However by the time that the symptoms appear the disease has already progressed.

For these reasons researchers are hard at work trying to devise newer and better diagnostic tools for Alzheimer’s. For instance some scientists are trying to use a sniff test as a way of assessing whether someone has dementia.

Now researchers at Duke University in Durham NC say that Alzheimer’s could be diagnosed in seconds just by looking at a person s eyes and scientists at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel concur.

Two new studies presented at AAO 2018 the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology held in Chicago IL show that Alzheimer s alters the fine blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye.

Using an innovative and noninvasive eye imaging technique the scientists maintain that they can distinguish between signs of Alzheimer’s and signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is a condition that raises the risk of Alzheimer s but is not harmful in itself. Dr Sharon Fekrat, a professor of ophthalmology at Duke University, co-led the first study together with colleague Dr. Dilraj Grewal, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Duke University.

The second study was conducted by researchers at the Sheba Medical Center and it was led by Dr. Ygal Rotenstreich. Drs Fekrat Grewal and colleagues explain that they used a technique called optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) to examine the link between the eyes retinas and Alzheimer s disease.

 

 

 

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Polio campaign to start from 12th in Swat

Shafi Ullah

MINGORA: The district administration has completed arrangements to launch a four-day anti-polio drive for vaccinating around 485,591 children upto five years of age from Nov 12 to 15 across the district.

Presiding over a meeting to review arrangements in this regard, Deputy Commissioner Saqib Raza Aslmam said the arrangements had been finalized for the drive to administer anti-polio drops to children in each house. He said that 1,596 teams had been constituted under the supervision of medical officers in 74 union councils in addition to 343 area in-charge personnel to visit door to door and vaccinate the target population of children.

He urged parents to come forward and get their children administered anti-polio drops to wipe out the deadly virus of polio from the area for evolving a healthy society’s development. He said that anti-measles campaign was successfully conducted in all parts of the district and instructed assistant commissioners to ensure that anti-polio drive achieve its target either.

 

 

 

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Two new polio cases surface in Bajaur district

F.P. Report

KHAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department on Thursday has confirmed that two new cases of polio have surfaced in the Bajaur district.

According to official of Health Department, a five-year-old girl from Kut Kot fell victim to the virus while a seven-year-old boy has also been diagnosed with polio.

The officials said both the children had been administered the polio vaccine seven times.

The latest cases in Bajaur take the number of polio cases in the region to three for this year, and eight in Pakistan overall.

Pakistan has been battling polio for the past several years and is close to completely eradicating the disease. The number of cases declined from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and eight in 2017. In 2018, eight polio cases have so far been reported.

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People using E-Cigarettes to vape their vitamins

Monitoring Desk

WASHINGTON: Forget smoking nicotine, cannabis, and even Viagra. The latest fad is to vape vitamins. That’s right – the tobacco industry is now rebranding itself with a new, “healthy” image to appeal to a wellness-orientated generation.

When e-cigs first hit the market, they were sold as a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes with one study in 2015 claiming they were “around 95 percent less harmful”. The jury’s still out on exactly how much healthier they are and more recent studies have also linked vaping to lung inflammation, cancer, immune system repression, and windpipe damage.

And so, while the consensus is that they probably are better for you than regular cigarettes, the vaping industry is changing tack. Several companies are now selling e-juice concoctions made from vitamins and essential oils, and skipping the nicotine.

So, what’s the medical verdict?

“To me, [using vitamins and nutrients] is a marketing ploy to sell this product and make it look healthier. Consumers associate vitamins with health,” Regan Bailey, a nutritional epidemiologist at Purdue University, told Scientific American. “These products might be completely safe, but they might not be. We know literally nothing about the safety or efficacy of inhaling vitamins.”

Even the vape companies themselves debate the relative merits (and safety) of inhaling different vitamins, picking and choosing scientific studies like they are at a pick n’ mix stand at your local cineplex.

Take George Michalopoulos, who started his vitamin vaping business to provide vitamin B supplements to vegans like himself. He told Scientific American he specifically chose not to include vitamin D in his products because “inhalation of vitamin D might be toxic”.

Avi Kwitel, who is co-founder and CEO of Sparq, thinks differently. Vitamin D is incorporated into his products because of research he says shows that “inhaling vitamin D is a potentially promising and safe strategy”. That was one study – and it was on neonatal rats.

The moral of the story? There isn’t enough evidence to either prove or disprove the health benefits (and dangers) of inhaling various vitamins but until there is, it just isn’t worth the risk. The language used by these companies mirror the language used by many in the supplement and cosmetic industries – vague, misleading, and sometimes downright false statements dressed up as scientifically credible facts.

For example, Michalopoulos’ companies, Breathe and VitaminVape, even include a “science” page, that makes various unsubstantiated claims like “vitamin B12 is NOT sensitive to the heat associated with vaporizing” and “[B12 inhalation] is many times more efficient than pill absorption, and comparable only to injections.”

As always, the best way to make sure you are getting the recommended daily doses of vitamins is to eat them or, as in the case of vitamin d, get some sunlight, unless you are specifically told to take them by your medical practitioner (ie you have a deficiency or are pregnant). Most healthy adults should be able to get the nutrients they need through their diet, not through pills, not through IV drip, and definitely not through vaping. Let’s just say, it’s incredibly telling when even Dr Oz – known for his endorsement of certain questionable “health” practices – is telling readers “Don’t be fooled!”

 

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New Zika cases reported in Florida

ORLANDO (FOX 35 WOFL): More Zika cases have been confirmed in Florida.

State officials report that there have been three more cases statewide, bringing the total to nearly 90 this year. There are 11 cases in Orange County and three in Osceola.

In most cases, officials say the infection was brought to Florida from out of state.

 

 

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Three fresh polio cases reported in Afghanistan

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Three new polio cases were detected in southern and eastern Afghanistan, the health ministry announced on Tuesday.

According to a press release issued by the public health ministry, the first fresh polio case was confirmed in a five-month girl in Paroon district, capital of Nuristan province. The second case was confirmed in a two-year girl while the third fresh polio victim was a 14-year girl in Maiwand district in Kandahar. It raised the number of fresh polio cases to 13 in the southern zone and six in the eastern zone.

A total of 19 cases were registered in the entire country.

According to health ministry, nine cases were confirmed in Kandahar, three in Helmand, one in Uruzgan, three in Kunar, two in Nangarhar and one was registered in Nuristan.

Health Minister Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz expressed concern over the rising cases of polio in the country this year.

Currently, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are facing the challenge of polio in the world.

 

 

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90% of world’s children are breathing toxic air: WHO

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Poisonous air is having a devastating impact on billions of children around the world, damaging their intelligence and leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths, according to a report from the World Health Organization.

The study found that more than 90% of the world’s young people – 1.8 billion children – are breathing toxic air, storing up a public health time bomb for the next generation.

The WHO said medical experts in almost every field of children’s health are uncovering new evidence of the scale of the crisis in both rich and poor countries – from low birth weight to poor neurodevelopment, asthma to heart disease.

Dr Tedros Adhanom, WHO director general, said: “Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives. This is inexcusable – every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfill their potential.”

The findings coincide with the start of the first global conference on air pollution and health in Geneva, including a high-level action day at which nations and cities are expected to make new commitments to cut air pollution.

The WHO study found that children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because pollutants are often more concentrated nearer to ground level. It added that their developing organs and nervous system are also more susceptible to long-term damage than those of adults.

“Air pollution is stunting our children’s brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO director of public health and the environment.

The study found that 600,000 children die from acute lower respiratory infections caused by dirty air and 93% are exposed to one of the most damaging pollutants – PM2.5. In poorer countries, 98% of all children under five are exposed to PM2.5 above WHO guidelines.

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, with dirty air linked to premature and underweight children. Air pollution also increases the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease later in life.

Tedros, writing in the Guardian on Saturday, described air pollution as the “new tobacco”, saying the simple act of breathing is killing 7 million people a year and harming billions more.

In the UK, most urban areas have illegal levels of air pollution and ministers have lost three times in the high court after challenges over the inadequacy of their action. The latest government action plan, called “pitiful” by environmental lawyers, revealed air pollution was actually much worse than previously feared.

Globally, with smoking on the decline, air pollution now causes more deaths annually than tobacco. However, researchers think the harm known to be caused by air pollution, such as heart attacks and lung disease, is only “the tip of the iceberg”.

Today’s report found that both indoor and outdoor air pollution was causing significant health problems. It said burning fuel such as wood or paraffin for heating, cooking and light in poorer countries was having a drastic impact on children’s health and called on governments to promote the clean alternatives as a matter of urgency.

Neira said there were “many straightforward ways to reduce emissions of dangerous pollutants ”, including “accelerating the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies, [and] promoting the use of cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing and urban planning. We are preparing the ground for low-emission power generation, cleaner, safer industrial technologies and better municipal waste management.”

Mark Watts, executive director of the C40 Cities group, which represents cities around the world working to tackle the climate crisis and air pollution, said the report was an urgent call to action.

“The moral and practical case for urgent, bold and far-reaching action to reduce emissions, including calling an end to the fossil fuel era, is now utterly irrefutable,” he said.

“Citizens are demanding action to protect their children, mayors of the world’s big cities are regulating to take dirty vehicles off the streets and slash emissions from buildings and waste. Now is the moment for governments, car manufacturers and other big polluters to step up.”

Neira said the air pollution crisis and the climate emergency could only be tackled together.

“The solutions are a basic public health agenda that will have plenty of benefits for public health and the environment,” she said. “No matter what else, we know that we need to decarbonise our society sooner rather than later and the benefits of that for our health and our economy are indisputable.” (The Guardians)