Friday October 20, 2017

Gene Therapy: Scientists may have found a way to ‘turn off’ Asthma!

Asthma is a major chronic disease that makes it difficult to breathe properly. Scientists using 'Gene Therapy' may 'turn off' Asthma

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FILE - A person uses an inhaler to cope with asthma. VOA
  • Asthma is a noncommunicable disease which narrows the air passage to the lungs causing difficulty in breathing.
  • Some 235 million people currently suffer from this chronic disease. 
  • It is a common disease among children. 

What is it? 

Asthma restricts a person’s ability to breathe. The inflammation narrows the extent of the air passage. It is a common disease in many parts of the world. Nearly 300 people suffer from Asthma according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. 250,000 are estimated to die from the disease. Asthma patients experience tightness in chest, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing.

What are the recent developments?

The problem with Asthma and allergies as such is that the immune cells (also called the T-cells) are very resistant to treatments. That is because they have immune memory. Previously, scientists looked at nanoparticles so as to smuggle the allergen past the immune system. Now, scientists are able to wipe off the memory of these T-cells with gene therapy.

Diagrammatic representation of Asthma. Wikimedia

A research done at the University of Queensland led by Associate Professor Ray Steptoe shows some promising results. Dr. Steptoe has his lab at the Translational Research Institute.

The team of scientists took blood stem cells, inserted the gene that regulates allergen protein and then put it into the recipient. The gene produces cells that ‘turn off’ allergic responses in the recipient.

Through the experiment, scientists successfully terminated any allergic response by the body.

What the future holds?

This study was centered around Asthma. The results have encouraged the scientists to apply the study to provide protection against other common allergies- peanuts, bee venom, shellfish, etc.

Another challenge for the study ahead is an attempt to turn off multiple responses because there may be several proteins one might be allergic to.

 

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Asthma Afflicted Children Are Prescribed Unwanted Antibiotics: Study

The findings showed that asthma symptoms are often mistaken for a respiratory tract infection and are given antibiotics as a preventative measure

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Antibiotics
Neutral background picture with asthma medicine. Wikimedia

London, Sep 11, 2017: Children suffering from asthma are unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics for treatment even though guidelines do not support this, new research shows.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.

The findings showed that asthma symptoms are often mistaken for a respiratory tract infection and are given antibiotics as a preventative measure.

Also Read: New Technology to Predict Asthma Attacks in Children: Researchers 

Overuse of antibiotics in children can lead to drug-resistant infections, as well as leave kids at high risk of a future infection that is difficult to treat, the researchers warned.

“International and national guidelines clearly state that antibiotics should not be given for a deterioration in asthma symptoms, because this is rarely associated with a bacterial infection,” Esme Baan from the Erasmus University, in the Netherlands.

“Inappropriate use of antibiotics can be bad for individual patients and the entire population, and makes it harder to control the spread of untreatable infections.”

The researchers found that children with asthma were approximately 1.6 times more likely to be prescribed antibiotics, compared to children who do not have asthma.

“Antibiotics should only be given when there is clear evidence of a bacterial infection such as for pneumonia,” Baan said.

“However, we saw that, in children with asthma, most of the antibiotic prescriptions in children were intended for asthma exacerbations or bronchitis, which are often caused by a virus rather than bacteria.”

For the study, presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2017 in Italy, the team included 1.5 million children from the UK, including around 150,000 with asthma, and a further 375,000 from The Netherlands, including around 30,000 with asthma.

Antibiotic prescription rates were almost two-fold higher in the UK overall. In both countries, amoxicillin was the most commonly used antibiotic. (IANS)

One response to “Asthma Afflicted Children Are Prescribed Unwanted Antibiotics: Study”

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Research Reveals That Breastfeeding Can Protect Your Child From Asthma Exacerbation

Research has revealed that children who are breastfed have a 45% lower risk of asthma exacerbation later in life

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Breastfeeding can protect your child from Asthma.
Breastfeeding can protect your child from Asthma. Pixabay
  • Breastfeeding creates a protective shield for your child against various diseases
  • A child suffering from Asthma who was breastfed is less prone to Asthma aggravation
  • Breastfeeding strengthens child’s immunity system by providing all necessary nutrients, minerals, antibodies to the child

Washington D.C., September 4, 2017: When a baby is born, the initial few months are very crucial for the baby’s immunity system. Research says that breast milk develops the immunity system of a child and this immune system protects the child from various health problem throughout his life.

A research was conducted on 960 children aged between 4 to 12 years who were consuming regular asthma medicines.

According to the analysis made on the children suffering from asthma, those children who had been breastfed had a 45% lower risk of asthma exacerbations later in life as compared with children who had not been breastfed.

Dr. Anke Maitland-van der Zee, the senior author of the study, said that although breastfeeding can be seen as a protective factor for asthma exacerbation, the causal relation is still unclear.

According to another research conducted by Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, children who were fed other milk or solids in addition to breast milk in first 4 months had an increased risk of wheezing, dry cough, and persistent phlegm as compared to children who were exclusively breastfed in their first 4 months.

In the early stage of life, changes in the composition and activity of the gut microbiome influence the immune system and these changes might indirectly lead to changes in asthma later in life.

Scientifically, the causal relationship between breast feeding and asthma is not still unknown. But research says that breast feeding plays a vital role in developing a child’s immune and respiratory system. So, in this way, breast feeding does reduce the child’s vulnerability towards Asthma.

-prepared by Shivani Chowdhary of NewsGram. Twitter handle: @cshivani31

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Islamic Yoga: Amalgamation of Yoga and Quranic Recitation by Muslim Women of Vadodara

A yoga session was organized by Tadbeer Foundation in which around 52 Muslim women participated

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Islamic Yoga, Amalgamation of yoga and Quranic recitation by Muslim Women
Islamic Yoga, Amalgamation of yoga and Quranic recitation by Muslim Women. Pixabay
  • Yoga is an age-old technique practiced since thousands of years and it is not a legacy of any one religion
  • Through Islamic yoga, we are trying to blend the ancient practice with Islamic chanting
  • I am a very good believer of Islam but there is a myth that only Hindus can practice yoga

Vadodara, Gujarat, August 22, 2017: Does only one religion have an exclusive right over yoga? Is yoga to be practiced by Hindu’s only?  It’s is a long going debate if practicing yoga is permitted in Islam religion or not as it originated from being a form of Hindu worship. Different people of Muslim faith have contrasting opinions on it. Don’t worry!  A city-based foundation called Tadbeer Foundation has come up with an uncommon way to spread yoga amongst Muslims. They have mixed yoga with Quranic recitation.

A special yoga session was organized by Tadbeer Foundation in which was attended by around 52 Muslim Women on August 20. The session was held at Taiyyebi Hall which is on Ajwa Road, Vadodara.

According to TNN report, Naasheta Bhaisaheb of the Tadbeer Foundation said, “Generally, women from our community stay away from doing yoga believing that it belongs to a particular faith. But yoga is an age-old technique practiced since thousands of years and it is not a legacy of any one religion. Through Islamic yoga, we are trying to blend the ancient practice with Islamic chanting,”

She added that the Islamic yoga is a completely a new concept altogether and in this practice, Quranic recitation gets blended along with various yogic posture in which Muslim Women try to enhance the physical benefits of yoga by adding a spiritual touch with recitation.

“The yoga session was specially designed by our spiritual leader Saiyyedna Haatim Zakiyuddin Saheb and my husband Dr. Zulqarnain Bhaisaheb, a homeopathy doctor,” said Bhaisaheb.

ALSO READ: Yogatomics Training and Wellness Centre in Stonington, USA Uses Healing Sound to Bring Twist in Traditional Yoga Practices

For this particular session, an international yoga expert – Shabanaben Lalawala came especially from Mumbai. He targeted common problems which women often suffer from like osteoarthritis of knees, back pain, frozen shoulders and hip pain among other diseases. Yoga can help in providing relief from diseases like these to an extent and can also prevent women from having such diseases if they practice yoga on a regular basis.

She added, “In this session, we focused on 5 asanas. From next session onwards, we will be focusing on problems related to diabetes, thyroid and so on.”

ALSO READ: These 7 Yoga Practices Can Help You to Ease Your Wandering Mind and Enhance Concentration

A local Muslim woman got herself a private yoga practitioner to help her with yoga postures. Fatema Lokhandwala, a 43-year-old woman, who holds a master’s degree in medical microbiology, said “I am a very good believer of Islam religion but there is a myth that only Hindus can practice yoga. Since last 4 years, I have been practicing yoga for which I got a private yoga practitioner. But the Islamic yoga that we did on Sunday was meant for physical, mental as well as spiritual upliftment and added more to what I was practicing so far,” mentions TNN report.

Shahina Chasmawalla, a 41-year-old lady, a resident of Vasna Road said “I am practicing yoga since last 5 years but Islamic yoga was a totally new concept for me. There is a taboo because of which some Muslim women don’t practice yoga. Anybody can practice yoga for its health benefits.”


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