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Health dept to engage female teachers in anti-polio drive

Ghulam Mursalin Marwat

LAKKI MARWAT: The District Health Department has decided to engage female schoolteachers in the upcoming anti polio drive to achieve the immunization of targeted population against crippling disease successfully.

The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held at the district headquarters complex Tajazai on Saturday. Local deputy commissioner Muhammad Shahid Sohail presided over the meeting where DHO Dr Essa Khan, EPI coordinator Dr Umar Faisal, LHW coordinator Dr Tariq Salim Marwat, DHIS coordinator Dr Kifayat Bettanni, DSP Afsar Khan, district khateeb Maulana Abdul Wahab, ADEO Abdul Rehman Rashid and officials of line department were in attendance.

“There is a dearth of lady health workers in several union councils where female teachers will be hired to run polio eradication campaign”, said a health official. He said the teachers provide by female education department would be made part of polio teams in Tajazai, Sulemankhel, Bakhmal Ahmadzai, Paharkhel, Samandi and Shakh Quli Khan union councils.

The official said that the health department had formed 782 teams to administer anti polio vaccine to around 185775 kids during the coming drive commencing from May 7. The deputy commissioner stressed the need for launching concerted efforts to wipe out the epidemic from district completely.

“Children are our future asset and to keep them safe from fatal polio disease is our national and moral duty”, he maintained, assuring that the district administration and line departments will extend all out support to the health authorities to make the campaign a success. He also assured that district administration and police officials would assist health authorities and polio teams to ensure coverage of refusal cases. Mr. Sohail said that effective monitoring of polio teams during anti polio drive and catch up activity would be ensured and that negligent staffers would face stern action.


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EU warns green tea supplements can cause liver damage

BRUSSELS: Taking high doses of supplements containing green tea extracts may be associated with liver damage, according to new research from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Tea infusions, as used for brewed tea, are still considered safe. Instant tea drinks are also fine as they contain lower levels of the antioxidants naturally present in green tea, Parma-based EFSA said.

Consuming too many of these antioxidants can be harmful, which is why the amount contained in supplements can have a harmful effect on the liver.

Most supplements provide an intake of 5-1000 mg, while tea infusions typically only contain 90-300 mg, EFSA, which oversees food safety in the European Union, said.

Researchers determined that consuming over 800 mg per day led to higher health risks, but the EFSA said experts could not yet determine a supplement dosage that would be entirely safe.

However, high consumption of green tea infusions did not indicate liver damage due to the drinks having a lower concentration of antioxidants. Reuters


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Experts develop surgical glue to seals wounds in one minute

Monitoring Desk

An international team of researchers developed surgical glue that can seal up even the largest wounds in a short amount of time. The glue is designed to expand and contract even with internal tissue like heart and lung.

Forget stitches or staples. A new type of surgical glue can do what those cannot — create a truly complete seal. This innovative tool comes from collaboration between researchers from the United States and Australia who ultimately want to use the glue in emergency situations.

The glue is called MeTro and it s tailored to be used on wounds that risk reopening due to constantly expanding and contraction. The researchers noted that it would even work on internal tissues including heart and lung.

The material also works on internal wounds that are often in hard-to-reach areas and have typically required staples or sutures due to surrounding body fluid hampering the effectiveness of other sealants.

The researchers tested MeTro to seal cuts in the arteries and lungs of rodents. They also used the glue in the lungs of pigs. The glue worked without the need for additional closures in all cases.


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Khawaja Imran Nazir inaugurates HIV/AIDS center

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Health, Khawaja Imran Nazir has said that PML-N led Punjab government is trying to provide best health services to masses.

This he said while inaugurating the upgraded emergency department of Tehsil Headquarter Hospital (THQ) at Kot Momin.

Khawaja Imran Nazir also inaugurated HIV/AIDS Control Centre at the hospital. The centre was established after a number of HIV/AIDS cases were reported from the area. The health facility will provide diagnosis, registration and treatment facilities to the patients.

The minister added that the information/data of HIV/AIDS patients would be kept in secret and the Punjab AIDS Control Program would provide free treatment facilities to them.


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Pakistan breathe harmful air: report

Monitoring Desk

A report published by the Health Effects Institute, says that 95 per cent of the world’s population breathes dangerous air.

According to the study, China’s air pollution exposures have stabilized and have even begun to decline slightly; however, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, in contrast, have experienced the steepest increases in air pollution levels since 2010.

The particulate matter (PM) standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) has continued to exceed the PM2.5 Air quality guideline established by WHO.

Based on the data and knowledge of the populations in each country for 2016, 95 per cent of the world’s population lives in areas that exceeded the WHO Guideline for PM2.5. 58 per cent of the global population resided in areas with PM2.5.

On top of the list are countries in North Africa, West Africa and the Middle East who have the highest grossing concentration of dangerous air.

The next-highest concentrations appeared in South Asia where combustion emissions from multiple sources, including household solid fuel use, coal-fired power plants, agricultural and another open burning, and industrial and transportation-related sources, are the main contributors, the report states.

The population-weighted annual average PM2.5 concentrations were recorded 101 µg/m3 in Bangladesh, 78 µg/m3 in Nepal, and 76 µg/m3 in both India and Pakistan. The population-weighted annual average concentration in China was 56 µg/ m3.

Estimates for population-weighted annual average PM2.5 concentrations were found to be lowest in Australia, Brunei, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, and several Pacific island nations.

Vice president of the institute, Bob O’Keefe, said the gap between the most polluted air on the planet and the least polluted was striking. While developed countries have made moves to clean up, many developing countries have fallen further behind while seeking economic growth.

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Lack of sleep increase risk of Alzheimer Disease

Losing just one night of sleep led to an immediate increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a small, new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid proteins clump together to form amyloid plaques, a hallmark of the disease.

While acute sleep deprivation is known to elevate brain beta-amyloid levels in mice, less is known about the impact of sleep deprivation on beta-amyloid accumulation in the human brain. The study demonstrates that sleep may play an important role in human beta-amyloid clearance.

“This research provides new insight about the potentially harmful effects of a lack of sleep on the brain and has implications for better characterizing the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease,” says George F. Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in a release. NIAAA is part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study.

Beta-amyloid is a metabolic waste product present in the fluid between brain cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid clumps together to form amyloid plaques, negatively impacting communication between neurons.

Led by Ehsan Shokri-Kojori, PhD, and Nora D. Volkow, MD, of the NIAAA Laboratory of Neuroimaging, the study is now in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Volkow is also the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at NIH.

To understand the possible link between beta-amyloid accumulation and sleep, the researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) to scan the brains of 20 healthy subjects, ranging in age from 22 to 72, after a night of rested sleep and after sleep deprivation (being awake for about 31 hours). They found beta-amyloid increases of about 5% after losing a night of sleep in brain regions including the thalamus and hippocampus, regions especially vulnerable to damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid is estimated to increase about 43% in affected individuals relative to healthy older adults. It is unknown whether the increase in beta-amyloid in the study participants would subside after a night of rest.

The researchers also found that study participants with larger increases in beta-amyloid reported worse mood after sleep deprivation.

“Even though our sample was small, this study demonstrated the negative effect of sleep deprivation on beta-amyloid burden in the human brain. Future studies are needed to assess the generalizability to a larger and more diverse population,” says Shokri-Kojori.

It is also important to note that the link between sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s risk is considered by many scientists to be “bidirectional,” since elevated beta-amyloid may also lead to sleep disturbances.

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KP govt to initiate vaccination against Hepatitis-B in government school

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: In order to control Hepatitis-B, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to start vaccination in government school of the province.

Spokesman of provincial health department told media that a proposal has been sent to education department for provision of free vaccines to protect the students from Hepatitis-B.

He added that government also wants to start awareness sessions in the schools, where the students would be informed about the causes of the disease and importance of vaccination.


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Beware! smartphones addiction can cause health issues

Monitoring Desk

Do you find it hard to ignore new emails, texts and images even while spending time with family and friends? If so, it is time to mend your manners as a new study says that overuse of smartphones is just like any other type of substance abuse. The findings published in the journal NeuroRegulation also showed that those who used their phones the most reported higher levels of feeling isolated, lonely, depressed and anxious.

“The behavioural addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief — gradually,” explained study co-author Erik Peper, Professor at San Francisco State University in the US.

The study involving 135 participants showed that addiction to social media technology may actually have a negative effect on social connection.

The researchers believe the loneliness is partly a consequence of replacing face-to-face interaction with a form of communication where body language and other signals cannot be interpreted.

They also found that the heaviest smartphone users almost constantly multitasked while studying, watching other media, eating or attending class.

This constant activity allows little time for bodies and minds to relax and regenerate, and also results in “semi-tasking,” where people do two or more tasks at the same time — but half as well as they would have if focused on one task at a time, Peper said.

Push notifications, vibrations and other alerts on our phones and computers make us feel compelled to look at them by triggering the same neural pathways in our brains that once alerted us to imminent danger, such as an attack by a tiger or other large predator, the researchers said.

“But now we are hijacked by those same mechanisms that once protected us and allowed us to survive for the most trivial pieces of information,” said Peper.




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Tobacco smoking: Pakistan ranked 54 among 84 countries

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar on Wednesday informed the Senate that Pakistan was ranked 54th amongst 84 countries with high prevalence of tobacco smoking.

The minister said almost 24 million (19.1 per cent) adults currently used tobacco in any form in Pakistan.

That accounted for 15.6 million (12.4 per cent) adults, who currently smoked tobacco and another 9.6 million (7.7 per cent) adults, who used smokeless tobacco (Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 2014), she added during the question hour.

Moreover, 5,000 Pakistanis were admitted to hospitals every day because of diseases caused by tobacco use (Pakistan Health Education Survey, 1999), she said.

According to the senator, in Pakistan, tobacco was a cause of death of around 160,189 persons every year. Moreover, the economic cost of smoking amounted to 143.208 billion rupees.

The minister said early detection and treatment of diseases caused by tobacco use were done along with other diseases in the hospitals. Since health services delivery is a devolved subject, so Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) and provincial governments are taking steps for early detection and treatment of diseases caused by tobacco use, she said.

She said to increase awareness among masses, the ministry has taken various steps including national mass media campaigns on tobacco control with assistance of World Lung Foundation (2015 & 2016), a pilot advocacy campaign in cinema theatres across Pakistan, with the support of Federal Film Censor Board.

In this campaign, two tobacco control messages “Alive” and “Sponge” have been disseminated to all cinema theatres to air/ broadcast them during their shows regularly, she said.


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Four in 10 cases diagnosed late Prostate cancer

Monitoring Desk

The report by charity Orchid found a “worrying trend” of late diagnosis with 37% of prostate cancer cases diagnosed at stages three and four.

The report found one in four cases of prostate cancer was diagnosed in A&E.

In February figures showed the number of men dying from prostate cancer had overtaken female deaths from breast cancer for the first time in the UK.

With an aging population, the charity has called for urgent action to prevent a “ticking time bomb in terms of prostate cancer provision”.

Orchid chief executive Rebecca Porta said: “With prostate cancer due to be the most prevalent cancer in the UK within the next 12 years, we are facing a potential crisis in terms of diagnostics, treatment and patient care. Urgent action needs to be taken now.”

The report canvassed the opinion of the UK’s leading prostate cancer experts and looked at previously published data to get a picture of the prostate cancer care across the UK.

The data came from organizations such as NHS England, charities and the National Prostate Cancer Audit.

The report says that 42% of prostate cancer patients saw their GP with symptoms twice or more before they were referred, with 6% seen five or more times prior to referral.

Prof Frank Chinegwundoh, a urological surgeon at Bart’s Health NHS Trust said: “25% of prostate cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed at an advanced stage.

“This compares to just 8% in the US where there is greater public awareness of prostate cancer and greater screening,” he added.

He said while there was controversy over the effectiveness of the standard PSA test used to detect the cancer, “it is still vital that patients are diagnosed early to assess if they need treatment or not as advanced prostate cancer is incurable”.

The report also said there needed to be renewed efforts to develop better testing methods.


The PSA test is available free to any man aged 50 or over who requests it, but the report said this can “create inequity” with tests being taken up by “more highly educated men in more affluent areas”.

Prof Anne Mackie, director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee, said the test was not offered universally because it was not very good at predicting which men have cancer.

“It will miss some cancers and often those cancers that are picked up when using the PSA test are not harmful,” she explained.

“Treatment for prostate cancer can cause nasty side effects so we need to be sure we are treating the right men and the right cancers.

“There is a lot of research into screening and treatment for prostate cancer and the committee, along with NICE and the NHS, is keeping a close eye on the evidence as it develops,” she added.

A spokesperson for NHS England said:

“NHS England is working closely with leading clinical experts to bring the latest research on prostate cancer into practice. Targeted work is also being undertaken to ensure prostate cancer is diagnosed quickly and that everyone receives the best care wherever they live across the country.”