Project ReAnima: A Breakthrough in the field of Neuroscience

The project is now a joint venture between the Philadelphia-based biotech company Bioquark Inc, Revita Life Science and Anupam Hospital

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Representational Image. Brain scan. Image source: www.macleans.ca
  • Dr. Bansal hopes to expand the window of when brain death is determined from the current standard of 6 hours
  • He will recruit people who are declared brain dead and have already started the trial 
  • He expects his first subject to arrive as early as this week with chances of him being a victim of a road accident

Flanked by a restaurant-cum-bar on one side and a gym on the other, Anupam Hospital is like any other small town private nursing home in India but for one minor detail: Project ReAnima, the world’s first clinical trial on the revival of brain dead patients.

A medical marvel if you may call it, but Dr. Himanshu Bansal, an orthopaedician and an expert on ‘central nervous system’, in a small three-storey hospital in Rudrapur has conducted world’s first ever trial to revive brain dead patients using stem cell therapy. The Anupam hospital in Rudrapur which is a small town in Uttarakhand , a state known for its Himalayan Beauty, is now clearing up its top floor to accommodate subjects, which in this case are patients that are declared dead by any hospital in the area.

Image Source:http://drhbf.org/about_dr_bansal.php
Dr. Himanshu Bansal. Image Source: drhbf.org

Don’t mistake this as an attempt to revive patients back to life or reverse the state of brain death- Dr. Bansal corroborates the above statement by adding that he hopes to expand the window of when brain death is determined from the current standard of 6 hours. With ethical approvals in his hand, he says he expects his first subject to arrive as early as this week with chances of him being a victim of a road accident.

Legal Implications

Being the principal investigator of the ‘groundbreaking’ project, and after being proved that this cutting-edge clinical trial project works, Government authorities had given ethical approvals to recruit 20 clinically dead patients. With no laws established for the ‘living dead’ or brain dead patients in India, there were no special permissions or approvals to look into for Dr. Bansal. Any case that requires clinical trials usually needs approvals from Drug Controller General of India before heading on to Institutional Review Board (IRB) for any further procedures.

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Contradictory to the above statement, since the recruits were assumedly dead the permissions from the DCG weren’t required and all the permissions that were needed were simply granted by the IRB. An interesting point to note, Institutional Review Board, in this case, consisted of nothing more than a bunch of local doctors from private hospitals, some even retired, reported The Hindu.

Clarifying the above details, Dr. Bansal added saying “The rules apply only on living patients. We will recruit people who are declared brain dead. We have already registered the trial at CTRI, which is the only requirement since there is a grey area legally when it comes to experimenting on brain dead patients.”

The birth of the ‘groundbreaking’ project

Neuroscience. Imagesource:sputniknews.com
Neuroscience. Imagesource:sputniknews.com

A project that is now a joint venture between the Philadelphia-based biotech company Bioquark Inc, Revita Life Science (of which Dr. Bansal is the owner) and Anupam Hospital started in 2009.

Dr. Bansal witnessed success with two patients, one of whom was a world-renowned athlete. By inducing a certain degree of sensation in comatose patients and without cutting them open, the effects of stem cell therapy were studied by him; these are called “anecdotal studies”.

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Currently, the first phase of the trials is about to start soon, in which for six weeks after the clinically dead patient is got into the facility; the effects will be studied on him using Median Nerve Stimulation and laser therapy. The technical name of the trial is given as ‘First In Human Neuro-Regeneration & Neuro-Reanimation’. BioQuark will provide one-third of the funding for this project.

When asked about the ethical and religious implications of this study on the families Dr. Bansal informed, “Most families will be grateful that their loved ones still have a chance.”

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Here’s how we Overlook the Sufferings of Migrant Workers in India

The death toll of migrant workers is increasing everyday

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India
Migrant Workers in India are stranded thousands of miles away from their families and homes. WIkimedia Commons

By Muskan Bhatnagar

India is going through a situation of crisis from all aspects. From the virus to national border tension, from financial losses to rising death tolls. Not only India, but the whole world is in a state of emergency. The crisis is so huge that we tend to forget the problems on the grass-root level. While the world is busy fighting Coronavirus, protesting against injustice, grieving the deaths of celebrities, let’s take a look at the migrant workers in India who’ve been battling the pandemic in an altogether different way.

It has been over six months since the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus. The first case in India was confirmed on 30 January. Since then, the nation has seen a constant rise in the number of cases as well as death tolls. The imposition of lockdown had put the privileged in their homes while the migrant workers had much more to worry about. No money, no savings, no shelter, and no resources to get back to their homes.

Even if we try our best, we’ll still fail to understand or feel the pain and suffering they have been put through. There are thousands of such workers across the nation who were forced to walk hundreds of miles to their native place with their families and kids, as there was no transportation available due to the lockdown which was imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Their story isn’t over yet. A recent report suggests that 198 migrant workers were killed during 1,461 accidents which took place over the course of the nationwide lockdown – from March 25 to May 31. The accidents killed at least 750 people, including 198 migrant workers. Migrant workers who were putting all their efforts to go back home comprise 26.4% of the overall deaths during the lockdown caused due to road accidents.

Not just road accidents, but migrant workers have also lost their lives due to starvation and heat sickness. Image walking thousands of miles the hot weather conditions of the summer season, with mercury shooting to 45 degrees Celsius, carrying all your belongings amid an ongoing global pandemic. What worse could you happen to them?

Migrant workers across India have lost their lives due to various causes. Pixabay

Last month a train in Maharashtra ran over 16 migrant workers who were sleeping on the tracks. The workers were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna to board a “Shramik Special” train to return to Madhya Pradesh amid lockdown. 14 of the 20 died on the spot and 2 lost their lives in hospital. The accident took place when they decided to take rest and sleep on the railway lines.

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If you start reading and researching more about the stories of migrant workers in India, you will come across incidents that will break your heart and move you to tears. Women, children, joint families, elderly, everyone has to suffer and starve on the roads during this global emergency.

Rather than discussing and grieving the losses in India, the attention is put to other worldwide issues, easily overlooking the problems of our people. Why do we mourn the loss of a celebrity so much? A simple answer will be because they were legends in their field. That’s right. But we feel devasted because they die, and not because they were legends. It is a matter of loss of life. Similarly, when such a huge amount of people die on the streets, we tend to overlook. In both cases, someone dies.

The migrant workers in India are losing their lives every day, and it’s probably just a news piece for us all.

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60% Decrease in Pediatric Fractures During Pandemic: Study

There is a significant decline in sports-related fractures among kids during lockdown

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fractures
Children are reporting less sports fractures and injuries during the lockdown, says a recent study. Pixabay

By Siddhi Jain

COVID-19 social distancing measures, including the closure of schools and parks and the indefinite cancellation of team sports, has led to nearly 60 percent decrease in overall in pediatric fractures, according to a new study?.

The study also revealed an increase in the proportion of fractures sustained by children at home. Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that although the overall rate of fractures is down significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the proportion due to bicycle and trampoline injuries has gone up substantially?

The findings, published in the ‘Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics’, suggest a need for increased awareness of at-home safety measures.

“It is important to remind parents about the importance of basic safety precautions with bicycles and trampolines, as many children are substituting these activities in place of organised sports and school activities,” said Apurva Shah, MD, MBA, an orthopaedic surgeon in CHOP’s Division of Orthopaedics and senior author of the study.

fractures
Researchers found a nearly 2.5-fold decrease in the daily incidence of fractures during the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period. Pixabay

The research team gathered data on 1,735 patients who presented at CHOP with acute fractures between March 15 and April 15 and compared that information with patients who presented with fractures during the same timeframe in 2018 and 2019. The researchers found a nearly 2.5-fold decrease in the daily incidence of fracture cases during the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Sports-related fractures saw a particularly dramatic decline, accounting for only 7.2 percent of fracture cases during the pandemic versus 26 percent of all fracture cases in the same month in 2018 and 2019.

Despite these significant declines, the researchers found an increase of more than 25 percent in fractures occurring at home, which was accompanied by a 12 percent increase in fractures caused by high-energy falls, like those resulting from trampoline injuries, and bicycle injuries. With families spending more time at home due to social distancing guidelines, the researchers suggest this shift in injury location is a natural result of families finding alternative recreational activities for their children.

Also Read: AirAsia India Provides 50K Free Domestic Flight Tickets to Doctors as Tribute

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Patients aged 12 and over saw a five-fold reduction in the monthly number of fractures. Pixabay

The decline in fracture incidence was bigger for some age groups than others. Patients aged 12 and over saw a five-fold reduction in the monthly number of fracture cases, whereas children aged 5 and under saw only a 1.5-fold decrease.

The researchers surmise this is due to younger children substituting other active pursuits for pre-pandemic activities, like playground outings and other outdoor activities, whereas adolescents, who are more likely to play team sports, are making fewer of those substitutions. (IANS)

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80% Cases of COVID-19 in India Exhibit Nil or Mild Symptoms: Health Minister

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says that nearly 80% of COVID cases in India are asymptomatic

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Harsh-Vardhan Symptoms
Health MinisterHarsh Vardhan said that almost 80% COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic. Wikimedia Commons

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said almost 80 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in India are asymptomatic or at best with very mild symptoms, according to Covid-19 pandemic in India updates.

In an exclusive interview to IANS, the Health Minister said, “Even today, in almost 80 per cent of the cases of COVID-19, which are being reported in India, the patients tend to exhibit either nil or mild symptoms. These patients are mostly contacts of confirmed cases. Interestingly, had it not been for our contact tracing efforts, and if left to their own in isolation, these patients may not have even remembered or reported their infection.”

Harsh Vardhan, who has recently been elected the chief of WHO’s Executive Board, was answering a query on whether asymptomatic patients who are potential virus carriers and who can take the virus deeper into rural India are causing worry to the government.

He said, “I am aware about WHO’s mention of some laboratory-confirmed cases that are truly asymptomatic. It is equally true, that as on date, there has been no documented asymptomatic transmission.”

However, he added that recently, more symptoms like headache, muscle pain, pink eye, loss of smell, or loss of taste, intense chills, rigors and sore throat have been included in the list of COVID-19 symptoms by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States. “It will require more studies before these symptoms are finally included in our list in India,” he quipped.

symptoms
Recently, more symptoms like headache have been included in the list of COVID-19 symptoms. Pixabay

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He added that the new symptoms were very subjective and vague which might go unnoticed, might not be remembered by the patient and, thus, might even go unreported. “Moreover, if for a moment we talk of testing such asymptotic patients, identification of all these asymptomatic cases will require repeated testing of 1.3 billion population which is a resource expensive exercise for any country and is neither possible nor recommended,” the Health Minister said.

He emphasized on priority-based and targeted testing and said that it will be helpful in detecting more cases of COVID-19 and curbing the disease. “With our efforts at sustained and quality assured scaling up of the testing facilities, I am sure, we shall be better placed for maximum case detection,” he concluded. (IANS)