Sunday November 19, 2017

700 Percent rise in Antibiotic resistant Infections caused by bacteria in US Children

More than 75 percent of the antibiotic-resistant infections were already present when the young people were admitted to the hospital

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Bacteria, Wikimedia

New York, Feb 25, 2017:  Researchers have found a 700-per cent surge in infections caused by bacteria that is resistant to multiple kinds of antibiotics among children in the US.
According to researchers, these antibiotic resistant infections — caused by Enterobacteriaceae, a family of bacteria that also include such pathogens as Salmonella and Escherichia coli — are linked to longer hospital stays and potentially greater risk of death.

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The findings showed that the proportion of these infections in children caused by bacteria increased from 0.2 per cent in 2007 to 1.5 per cent in 2015, a more than 700 per cent increase in prevalence over the eight-year period.

“There is a clear and alarming upswing throughout US of antibiotic resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections in kids and teenagers,” said lead author Sharon B. Meropol, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at Case Western Reserve University in the US.

Bacterial infections resistant to multiple drugs are especially concerning in children, for whom there are a limited number of stronger antibiotics currently approved for use compared to adults, putting kids at higher risk for worse outcomes, the researchers said.

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For the study, published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, the team analysed data from 48 children’s hospitals throughout the US, focusing on approximately 94,000 patients under the age of 18 who were diagnosed with Enterobacteriaceae – associated infections between 2007 and 2015.

More than 75 percent of the antibiotic-resistant infections were already present when the young people were admitted to the hospital, upending previous findings that the infections were mostly picked up in the hospital.

 This suggested that the bacteria may be increasingly spreading in the community.
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In addition, the bacterial infection may also cause a greater mortality risk among pediatric patients.

 “Health care providers have to make sure we only prescribe antibiotics when they’re really needed. It’s also essential to stop using antibiotics in healthy agricultural animals”, Meropol added. (IANS)

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Herbs that Can Protect You from Harmful Monsoon Infections

Herbs can boost your immunity and keep you healthy during monsoon

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Herbal treatment for prevalent infections in monsoon. Pixabay
  • Monsoon brings along with it a lot of contagious infections
  • An effective way to deal with infections is ayurvedic treatment
  • Herbs help us fight both water and airborne infections and they also boost our immune system

New Delhi, July 24, 2017: Monsoons are always loved and welcomed by people after the heat of scorching summer. However, the monsoon brings along with it a number of infections such as cholera, malaria, asthma, dengue fever, diarrhea, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and much more.

One way to fight these infections is ayurvedic treatment, i.e., using herbs. Dr. Manoj Kutteri, wellness director at Atlantan Wellness Centre says that these herbs can help boost immunity and enable us to fight against water and air-borne diseases which are very common during the monsoon season. He has also shared a list of such herbs which can help us deal with the diseases and infections using ayurvedic treatment.

Ayurvedic treatment. Source: Pixabay

i. Turmeric is known to have a positive effect on our health and we must include it in our everyday diet. This herb will enable us to improve our immunity during monsoon. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. One way of consuming it is adding it in hot milk and have it every night before bed.

ii. Licorice is known to cure respiratory problems since a long time. It serves as a cure for cold, sore throats and related issues.

iii. Ginger possesses anti-inflammatory gingerols and shoals found in ginger root helps to quickly relieve a sore throat. They also help in killing rhinoviruses which give rise to respiratory infections such as cold.

iv. Pepper, a readily available herb, is usually mixed with tonics for treating cough and cold. It also gives relief from nasal congestion and sinusitis. It serves as a cough remedy as it helps to break down the mucus and phlegm depositions in the tract and its irritant property aids in expelling that loosened matter through either sneezing or coughing. This discharges the material from the body which in turn helps you heal from infections.

ALSO READ: Li Ching-Yuen: The 256 year-old Herbalist lived on a diet of Herbs

v. Tulsi or basil is known to contain phyto chemicals such as Eugenol, Ursolic Acid, Bioflavonols like Ocimarin,lutein Ocimumosides and Apigenin, among others. Rosmarinic Acid serves as an effective anti microbial agent which helps to cure respiratory tract infections and to mobilize mucus. This acid also helps to relieve congestion in the chest by enlarging the airways present in the lungs. Drinking 1-2 cups of tea made of Tulsi on a daily basis is a convenient and effective way to improve your immunity system. The tea compensates for the cold entering you from outside environment and therefore helps in regulating your internal temperature.

vi. Triphala is made using 3 herbs (namely harde, Amla, beheda) and is considered a potent antioxidant. This herb enhances capability of digestion in the body which is usually affected during monsoon. Amla, the richest Vitamin C source, not only decreases the gravity of cold but also improves the immunity. Beheda is known to cure a cough, clearing congestion, keeping loose motions in control and curing diarrhea. Harde also aids in digestion and aids in the body’s pulmonary system.

vii. Garlic has numerous properties such as anti protozoal, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal which help in providing relief from coughs and in opening up the lungs by clearing mucus. Its antibacterial and anti-viral property is due to the compound named “Allicin” present in it which is the cause of its flavor which is strong and hot. The compound known as “Ajoene” found in garlic aids in controlling of infections caused by viruses, microbes, and bacteria. It is naturally helps in preventing cancer, to be more precise colon cancer. Moreover, it is also utilized for treatment of pain and cramps in muscles.

vii. Cinnamon possesses a natural warming and anti-bacterial property which helps in the treatment of cough, cold, and sore throat, and a hot cinnamon tea cup can provide a relief from itching, throat irritation, and helps in stopping the arrival of a cold.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter Hkaur1025

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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Satellite sends First Quantum Signal to Earth

This is a big step towards achieving a secure and developed way to encrypt communications because ever-improving computer algorithms can not crack them

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Micius
Micius satellite. wikimedia
  • An orbiting satellite has sent the first entangled pair of photons to Earth
  • It is a big step towards achieving a secure and developed way to encrypt communications
  • They can not be cracked by ever-improving computer algorithms

June 18, 2017: It was reported by scientists today that an orbiting satellite has sent the first entangled pair of photons to Earth. It is a big step towards sending quantum keys from satellites — an approach that has been heralded as a secure and developed way to encrypt communications because ever-improving computer algorithms can not crack them.

A laser on China’s Micius satellite, which was launched last year and is dedicated to researches related to quantum satellite communications, spit out pairs of entangled photons from its position, 500 km above Earth. Then two telescopes on Earth – about 1200 km apart — had 5 minutes each day to look for them as the satellite passed over both telescopes. It was found that paired photons survived the journey through Earth’s atmosphere. They detected 1 entangled pair per second out of the 6 million sent in that time.

So how exactly does all this work?

A quantum key needs to be generated first by two people who are looking to communicate. Then, one person receives one of the entangled photons in the pair, the other person receives the other. When the received photons have measured the photons, they obtain bits of information strung together to create a key that they both have. That key can be used to encrypt and decrypt a message. The users can also share a portion of the key publicly to check if it has been compromised. In case if someone tries to intercept the communication at any point, they would then notice a difference between their strings.

Also read: NASA’s Curiosity rover finds a Wide Variety of Minerals in Martian Rocks

There is a certain set of problems as well. Caltech’s John Preskill believes even though it is an important proof of concept, the feat doesn’t address one of the biggest problems with quantum communications. Currently, these messages can’t be sent long distances. Photons, using an optical fiber to carry a quantum signal, can only make it about 100 km before the dissipation of the light.

Quantum systems are similar to optical telecommunications here on earth and need repeaters that are able to amplify the message so it can be passed long distances. But amplifying a quantum message in the same way optical ones are done would effectively result in the destruction of the information. That is why satellite-based communication are being eyed by researchers. The reported 500 km from space is an improvement over optical. Quantum signals were measured in another study published today from a satellite 38,000 km away to a single point. But in deploying a global network which would likely be able to combine optical fiber and satellites, the repeater problem still stands.

Preskill has predicted that it is more likely we will first come up with another form of encryption for communication. “There will be other ways of doing classical public key cryptosystems that we won’t know how to break with quantum computers,” he added.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang