Sunday December 17, 2017

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.”

ALSO READ: 

  • Aparna Gupta

    This is really an achievement in field of neuroscience. Hope this will prove successful and help the patients.

  • AJ Krish

    This project will give hope to the families of the victims. If this project succeeds, it will surely revolutionize science and further research will be done to exploit its other uses.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    If we could revive brain dead patients, it could be one great invention

  • Aparna Gupta

    This is really an achievement in field of neuroscience. Hope this will prove successful and help the patients.

  • AJ Krish

    This project will give hope to the families of the victims. If this project succeeds, it will surely revolutionize science and further research will be done to exploit its other uses.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    If we could revive brain dead patients, it could be one great invention

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Men Prefer Compassion Over Beauty in Women: Survey

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Matchmaking process
Couple sitting on bench. Pixabay
  • Women who are compassionate are more likely to be favored by men than those who are attractive
  • Banihal surveyed about 10,000 users of matchmaking site
  • The proportion of men and women involved in the study conducted by Banihal constituted 60 per cent and 40 per cent respectively

Aug 29, 2017: According to a recent survey, women who are compassionate are more likely to be favored by men than those who are attractive.  A neuroscience based support engine for finding partners, Banihal, surveyed about 10,000 users of matchmaking site, mentioned Newsx.

Also Read: Wearing Lipstick Makes Women Feel Smarter, Says Study 

The study indicated that approximately 27 per cent men consider kindness as the most welcoming characteristic in a woman, while only 6 percent attributed knowledge as the most notable feature of women. And 8 percent preferred beauty.

The proportion of men and women involved in the study conducted by Banihal constituted 60 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

Bengaluru men favor independent and self-supporting girls as opposed to the men in Delhi and Mumbai with the proportion being 17:14:8 per cent sequentially.

The study further shows that 41 per cent Bengaluru women regard a friend as their role model in contrast to 34 per cent women in Delhi and Mumbai.

Ishdeep Sawhney, Co-founder, and CEO at Banihal said: “This study shows the changing mindset and preferences among modern Indians and how they are approaching matchmaking and matrimony with much more clarity of their preferences. At Banihal, we pride ourselves on being able to use such data and insights to simplify the matchmaking process and find the perfect match for a person”.


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Patients who Survive Ebola often Continue to Face Numerous Health Problems: Study

They have to face numerous health problems

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Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone
Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone. VOA
  • Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016
  • Many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months
  • They show some quite distinct scarring patterns

Sierra Leone, West Africa, August 25, 2017: Patients who survive infection with the Ebola virus often continue to face numerous health problems. New research finds 80 percent of Ebola survivors suffer disabilities one year after being discharged from the hospital.

Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016; tens of thousands more who were infected survived.

Of those survivors, many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, the UK and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK are studying what’s called post-Ebola syndrome. One of the senior authors of the study, Dr. Janet Scott, says researchers are unsure why survivors experience such disabilities.

“I’m not sure we’ve quite gotten to the bottom of it yet,” Scott said. “The idea that you go through something as horrific as Ebola and just walk away from that unscathed was always a bit of a vain hope. So, it could be the inflammatory response. It could be damage to the muscles, and it could be the persistence of the virus in some cases. It could be all of those things.”

Scott says problems found in Ebola survivors’ eyes may provide clues to what is happening elsewhere in the body.

“They show some quite distinct scarring patterns,” she said. “There’s definitely scar tissue there. We can see it in the eyes. We can’t see it in the rest of the body, but I’m sure it’s in the rest of the body because the patients are coming in with this huge range of problems.”

The disabilities were reported in past cases of  Ebola outbreak, as well. However, because past outbreaks were smaller and there were few survivors, researchers were not able to do major, long-term studies on the after effects.

ALSO READ: Indian-origin Scientist part of the team that discovered natural Human Antibodies to fight Ebola viruses

This time, said Scott, “There are 5,000 survivors or thereabouts in Sierra Leone, and more in Guinea and Liberia. So, it’s an opportunity from a research point of view to find out the full spectrum of sequelae … the things that happen after an acute illness.”

Military Hospital 34 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, also took part in the study, helping to recruit 27 Ebola survivors and 54 close contacts who were not infected. About 80 percent of survivors reported disabilities compared to 11 percent of close contacts.

“The problems we’re seeing in Ebola survivors, this is not due just to the tough life in Sierra Leone. This is more than likely down to their experience in Ebola,” Scott said.

The research was led by Dr. Soushieta Jagadesh, who said: “a year following acute disease, survivors of West Africa Ebola Virus Disease continue to have a higher chance of disability in mobility, cognition, and vision.”

“Issues such as anxiety and depression persist in survivors and must not be neglected,” she added.

Scott hopes the findings can be used to provide better care in the event of another Ebola outbreak, no matter where it is. In the West Africa outbreak, the first goal was to contain the epidemic, followed by reducing the death rate.

“If I was treating an Ebola patient again, it has to be more than just surviving,” Scott said. “You have to try to make people survive well. Surviving with half your body paralyzed or with your vision impaired and being unable to care for your family or earn a living isn’t really enough. So, what I would like to do is to focus on that aspect to make people survive better and survive well.” (VOA)

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‘Hello Neighbor’ : This Organisation in Pittsburgh helps Migrants understand American Culture

The organization seeks to promote "meaningful interactions" between migrants and Americans

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  • Pittsburgh based organization ‘Hello Neighbor’ introduces migrants to welcoming American families
  • It is an initiative to build cultural bridge between two distinct cultures 
  • Many migrant families have felt safer after going through the ‘Hello Neighbor’ process

Pittsburgh, August 11, 2017: ‘Hello Neighbor’ is an organization based in Pittsburgh that aims to build cultural bridges between migrants and Americans.

The initiative tries to integrate the migrants into the society through fruitful interaction and activities.

The Hello Neighbor is a not for profit organization, established in January 2017. The process is simple. It is a mentorship program. The migrant family is paired with a welcoming open minded American Families. Through fruitful interactions and meetings, the migrant family will have the opportunity to learn the American culture and get integrated into the society.

ALSO READ: Chakma Refugees in India’s remote Northeast Forgotten in Floods: Charity World Vision

The American families (the Mentors) will receive support, education, and guidance to become refugee advocates.

Interactions include picnics, potluck dinner, cultural outings and more. The mentorship program is a four months program.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

Sloane Davidson, the founder, is the woman behind the idea of connecting two different families. As she stated to sources at VOA, “It is important to remember that refugees are people who are forced to flee.” She said she wanted to do something so the families could come together and have “meaningful interactions.”

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394