Monday December 17, 2018

India is Ground Zero for TB: Number of cases much higher than reported

The study published in Lancet found that in 2014, the private sector treated double the cases handled by government-run hospitals depicting the failing battle against TB

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TB Patient. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
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INDIA, September 5, 2016: : Ground zero of the global battle against one of humankind’s deadliest diseases, India could have between two and three times more Tuberculosis(TB) cases than currently assumed, said a recent paper released in ‘Lancet’, a medical journal.

The study found that in 2014, the private sector treated between 1.9 million and 5.34 million cases — or about double the cases handled by government-run hospitals.

Before this study, India was believed to have about 2.2 million TB cases, a quarter of the global TB burden, thus far estimated at about 6.3 million.

However, the private sector both helps and hinders TB treatment, the study implies.

Although standardised Tuberculosis treatment in India is delivered by the public sector, early diagnosis and treatment are hampered by the presence of a vast and unregulated private health-care sector, said the study, whose eight authors come from a variety of institutions, including London’s Imperial College, the Indian government, the World Health Organisation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funded the study.

“Poor diagnostic practices in this sector prolong Tuberculosis transmission by delaying diagnosis, whereas a general lack of counselling and support of treatment adherence hampers successful, relapse-free cure,” said the study. “Moreover, most cases treated in the private sector are never notified to public health authorities.”

Tuberculosis Diagram. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Tuberculosis Diagram.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Analysing sales patterns of 189 drugs containing rifampicin — a key anti-TB formulation — over 2013 and 2014, the researchers estimated how many were sold to the private sector. In 2014, the WHO estimated that 800,000 TB patients escaped public-sector diagnosis, but these statistics were mostly compiled from expert opinion. So, the new study provides an empirical estimate that is independent of such opinion.

“This study illustrates the need to address the burden of Tuberculosis treated by the private sector and improve surveillance,” the researchers wrote, acknowledging the paper’s limitations, including the failure to capture TB patients who do not approach a doctor, use the informal sector or are being treated for multiple-drug resistance.

“This study also raises an urgent need to revise current estimates of Tuberculosis burden, informed by more systematic evidence relating to Tuberculosis management in the private sector,” the researchers wrote.

Although the incidence of TB in India has been declining, drug resistance and its interaction with other diseases, such as HIV, have slowed progress.

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Throughout history, TB has killed more humans than any conflict, disaster or disease known to mankind. In the 5th century, Greek philosopher Hippocrates advised doctors to stay away from TB patients, since there was no cure. In the 17th, it was called the great white plague of Europe, as it swept the continent, killing thousands over 200 years. In the 21st Century, it infects 10 million people every year, killing a fifth of those.

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TB bacteria have in-built armour, acids that protect them against the body’s cellular defenders. Most people infected with it have latent tuberculosis, where the bacteria are walled off in clumps by the cells of the immune system. Sometimes, the containment fails, particularly in people with weakened immune systems. If a drug doesn’t kill the bacteria completely, it becomes immune to that drug and can eventually overwhelm the immune system. (IANS)

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Here’s A List of Top 5 Gadgets of India in 2018

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Rs 57,900 is packed with rich features -- both for the workaholic and the lazy soul

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Top 5 gadgets that grabbed eyeballs in India in 2018. (IANS)

From high-end tablets to powerful cameras, the year 2018 saw some cool gadgets arriving in India. Here are the top 5 picks from the lot.

1. Apple Watch Series 4

Call it guardian of your health. If you are constantly worried about an elderly person in your family suffering a fall in the bathroom or in the garden, the Apple Watch Series 4 is what you need.

The device houses a feature called “Fall Detection” that will alert emergency contacts saved in your iPhone in case you meet with a hard fall.

The new Watch has an electrical heart sensor with two new features — low heart rate notifications and faster heart rate reading. The moment you get furious, Watch Series 4 sends you an immediate notification about your heart rate going through the roof, requiring you to cool down.

In the US, Apple Watch Series 4 will now help users take an electrocardiogram (ECG) right from their wrist and check irregular heart rhythms (hope these features come to India soon).

Apple Watch Series 4 is now available in India — the GPS+Cellular variant starts from Rs 49,900 and GPS-only model from Rs 40,900.

Apple Watch
Apple watch series 4.

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Rs 57,900 is packed with rich features — both for the workaholic and the lazy soul.

The 2-in-1 comes equipped with Samsung “DeX” (docking station) and S Pen, making it a perfect device for those who are always on the go and seek entertainment on the side.

The redesigned S Pen offers services like navigate, translate and organise notes — and even to send personalised texts via Samsung “Live Message”.

The device has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, runs Android 8.1 Oreo, has 4GB RAM in two 64GB and 256GB internal memory with microSD variants. There is a 13MP rear and 8MP front camera.

If you are a Samsung smartphone user, especially Note 9, and want the same experience on a bigger display, Galaxy Tab S4 is your default choice. Invest in a Book Cover Keyboard to give the tab a laptop-like form factor.

3. OnePlus 6T

Undoubtedly the flagship killer of the year in the Rs 30,000 – Rs 40,000 segment.

The company’s latest addition packs in all the goodness of OnePlus 6 along with meaningful upgrades such as the much-anticipated under-display fingerprint sensor, a smaller waterdrop-style notch and a bigger battery.

The 6T is OnePlus’ costliest smartphone so far with a price tag of Rs 37,999 (for the 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage base variant). It is also available in a configuration of 8GB RAM+128GB storage and 8GB RAM+256GB storage for Rs 41,999 and Rs 45,999, respectively.

OnePlus has brought a slew of meaningful upgrades to the 6T and the phone definitely looks and feels better this time. Topped with a bigger battery and some hardware improvements, OnePlus 6T makes for a highly desirable smartphone in the premium category.

4. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

The Rs 14,999 All-New Echo Plus (2nd Gen) with a smarter Alexa comes with a built-in smart hub that helps you set up compatible Zigbee-enabled smart home devices directly, just using your voice.

Just ask Alexa to discover your devices and begin controlling compatible lights, plugs, locks, thermostats, sensors and in-wall switches.

With seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, Echo Plus will hear you from all directions.

One feature that is worth mentioning is the equaliser (EQ) feature that allows users to personalise sounds by adjusting the bass, mid-range and treble.

Just ask Alexa to increase or decrease a specific band like “turn up the bass” or “decrease the treble” and she does it for you.

The second-generation Echo Plus with a far more intelligent Alexa is a real upgrade if you have experienced the first generation Echo.

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With seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, Echo Plus will hear you from all directions. Pixabay

5. Canon EOS R

The first full-frame mirrorless camera from Japanese camera maker Canon, the 30.3MP EOS R is the show stopper.

With the new EOS R, four types of RF mount adapters have been introduced to complete the EOS R ecosystem.

The EOS R features an electronic viewfinder. The camera is equipped with features like advanced Dual pixel CMOS AF, Digic 8 imaging processor, High density AF points positions, Multi-function slider bar, Flexible AE Mode and High speed data communication RF mount.

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The RF lens mount is a balance of optical, mechanical and electronic engineering excellence, enabling innovative full-frame lens designs, faster auto focus and high-speed communication between the camera and lens.

The 54mm diameter RF mount is what makes EOS R unique with its short back-focus of 20mm and 12-pin contact points for enhanced communication between the lens and body.

The camera costs Rs 189,950 and with the EOS R kit (RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens), the price is Rs 278,945. (IANS)