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India to fund stem cell research, fight poverty as well

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Kolkata: The remarkable ability of the human foetus to heal wounds without scars is still a mystery to scientists even after 30 long years. This yet unsolvable mystery if solved, with the help of stem cell research, would hugely impact India with its disease burden but has to be balanced with the need to fight poverty, said a globally prominent regenerative medicine expert.

“A clinical observation that has stood the test of time is that human fetal wounds from surgery performed in the second trimester (early fetal stage) heal without scarring.”

“Unlocking the secret would make Bill Gates look relatively poor,” said Andrew Burd, centenary professor, department of regenerative medicine and translational science, School of Tropical Medicine, here.

Burd explained for over 30 years, the biological secrets of scarless healing in the fetus have eluded researchers and at the same time the fascination for regeneration – salamanders and newts regenerating entire organs – has grown.

Advances in molecular biology and stem cell technology have spurred research and introduction of technologies to generate new tissues and replace diseased cells.

“By unlocking the secret, we can remove the diseases related to scarring and we won’t have lung, kidney or heart disease etc..”

“But for India, pumping in money to boost infrastructure for stem cell research is “a question of balance”.

“It is fighting poverty and illiteracy but it can’t ignore its burden of disease,” Burd told reporters at the ‘Frontiers in Translational and Regenerative Biology’ conference here on Sunday.

While the US is “far ahead”, China is “storming along” and Europe shows “exceptional quality of research”, India is a “late starter” in the domain, said Burd an expert in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

“There is a lack of understanding and political difficulties. What people need to understand is that we are not taking away human embryosa we are taking placentas and umbilical cords which are supposed to be thrown away,” said Burd, who was earlier associated with the Chinese University of Hong Kong and in the healthcare sector in Britain. (IANS)

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Every 4 in 10 Adults Suffer From Gastrointestinal Disorders Globally: Researchers

Mostly people find it embarrassing to talk about stomach and bowel symptoms

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For every ten adults in the world, four suffer from functional gastrointestinal disorders. Pixabay

For every ten adults in the world, four suffer from functional gastrointestinal disorders of varying severity, say Researchers, adding that people think it’s embarrassing to talk about stomach and bowel symptoms.

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, FGIDs, is a collective term for chronic disorders in the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms may arise throughout the gastrointestinal tract. From the upper part, the esophagus and stomach, they can include heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion (dyspepsia).For the lower parts (the intestines), chronic constipation, abdominal distension or bloating, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are among the complaints.

The current study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, gives an overall picture of the global prevalence of FGIDs. Data of more than 73,000 people in 33 countries were collected by means of web-based questionnaires and face-to-face (household) interviews.

“It’s striking how similar the findings are between countries. We can see some variations but, in general, these disorders are equally common whatever the country or continent,” said study author Magnus Simren from University of Gothenburg in Sweden.Web-based questionnaires were used in most of the countries in the study.

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The findings showed that the prevalence of FGIDs was higher in women than in men. Piaxbay

In some countries, instead, the respondents were asked to reply to the questions when an interviewer read them aloud.The questions posed to the respondents were based on the diagnostic criteria for IBS and other FGIDs. Particulars of other diseases and symptoms, living conditions, quality of life, healthcare consumption, etc. were also requested.

Also Read: GoodwillforGood: Vidyut Jammwal Launches Initiative to Support Ideas of Entrepreneurs

The findings showed that the prevalence of FGIDs was higher in women than in men, and clearly associated with lower quality of life. According to the questionnaire responses, 49 per cent of the women and 37 per cent of the men met the diagnostic criteria for at least one FGID. The severity of the disorders varied, from mild discomfort to symptoms that adversely affected the quality of life to a high degree.

The prevalence of FGIDs was also strongly associated with high consumption of healthcare, such as visits to the doctor and use of medication, but also surgery, the study said. (IANS)

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Above 51% Women Believe Indian Schools Don’t Have Menstrual Awareness Programme: Survey

Approximately 60 percent women believe that Indian schools do not have adequate facilities for girls to dispose off sanitary napkins

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"Without the right information, girls often don't know how to safely manage their period.", Manushi was quoted saying. Pixabay

More than 51 percent of women respondents say that Indian schools do not have a proper system to prepare teen and adolescent girls regarding the onset of menstrual periods. Nearly 60 percent women feel schools lack adequate facilities for girls to change and dispose of sanitary pads off, says a survey.

Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020 falling , and feminine hygiene brand Everteen had conducted the fifth edition of its annual Menstrual Hygiene Survey.

The survey was conducted among nearly 7000 Indian women participating from various cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kolkata.

Over 51 percent women respondents claimed that Indian schools do not have adequate systems to educate or mentally prepare teen and adolescent girls regarding the onset of menstrual periods. More than 95 percent women asserted that Indian school system should have some awareness programs to prepare girls on the subject. The survey also revealed that during adolescence, nearly 60 percent women did not have any prior knowledge about menstrual periods. In fact, as many as 38 percent women had first misinterpreted it as an injury or disease.

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Nearly 60 percent women did not have any prior knowledge about menstrual periods. Pixabay

In terms of infrastructure, almost 59 percent women felt that schools do not have adequate cleanliness of public toilets or facilities for girls to change and dispose sanitary pads off.

Chirag Pan, CEO, PAN Healthcare, says, “Menstrual hygiene and wellness have been known issues in the Indian context. While there has been progress in recent years, it is imperative that we leverage our strength in the Indian value-based systems and inculcate the importance of good menstrual hygiene from the onset of puberty itself. Schools can and must play a pivotal role in bringing this paradigm shift through classroom education, awareness programs and focused infrastructure development.”

In workspaces too, 41 percent women felt their office needed better cleanliness and facilities to change and dispose sanitary pads off in toilets.

The survey also suggests that the role that doctors can play in preventing gynecological problems is significantly downplayed due to the shame and guilt associated with menstrual cycles in Indian context. More than 50 percent women said they have had some gynecological infection or problem such as UTI, rashes, foul smell or itching during or after menstrual cycle in the past one year. Among these, 20 percent of women had such issues more than 3 times during the year. More than 64 percent women have faced irregularities in their period dates, out of which half have had to deal with it more than 3 times in a year. Ironically, only 37 percent of women said they consult a doctor in case or irregular periods, whereas 32 percent prefer to discuss it within the family and 30 percent just ignore it. Similarly, more than 54 percent women have had white discharge, but only 25 percent prefer to consult a doctor.

As many as 56 percent women believe that menstruation is still perceived as a taboo in Indian society. Not surprisingly, then, more than 42 percent of women felt uncomfortable buying sanitary essentials from a shop or a chemist, especially when there were several other customers. Because of the guilt associated with menstrual cycle, 87 percent women admitted that they had to hide or secretly take their sanitary product for changing. Interestingly, more than three-fourth of the respondents said that menstruation would not have been such a taboo subject in the society if men had it too!

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87 percent women admitted that they had to hide or secretly take their sanitary product for changing. Pixabay

Also Read: Imperative For Heart failure Patients To Be Health Literate: Study

Another key revelation from the survey shows that 53 percent women have used a public toilet more than 3 times at an office, mall or cinema hall to change sanitary product. Hariom Tyagi, CEO, Wet and Dry Personal Care,says, “Our survey shows that 75 percent women feel uncomfortable having to use public toilets to change sanitary products. Yet, more than 93 percent women still use sanitary napkins. By switching to better, modern-age menstrual hygiene methods (MHM) such as menstrual cups, women can reduce the number of times they have to change their sanitary product in a day. Many women have told us that using menstrual cups has greatly reduced their daily discomfort due to periods.” The survey revealed that menstrual cups are now being used by 4 percent of the women, and their adoption has overtaken tampons by almost double.

One of the alarming trends that emerged from the survey shows that more than one-third women said they have used a pill or some other method to delay periods in case of an important occasion. (IANS)

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Important to Lead Workforce With Care Than Ever: Accenture Report

Caring of Workforce becomes essential than ever

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Workforce
"Responsible Leadership" has become a must while leading a Workforce. Pixabay

With COVID-19 dramatically changing the way people live and work, it is now more important for managers to lead their workforce with compassion and care than ever, said a report from Accenture.

As people find themselves in an unfamiliar, fast moving global environment, “Responsible Leadership” has taken on an even deeper meaning, it said.

The report titled “Human Resilience: What your people need to know” highlights what workers need from leaders in three basic areas: physical, mental and relational.

“These needs apply at all times, but they are magnified in crisis. Leaders who rise to the challenge will help their people develop human resilience — the ability to adapt and engage through difficult times,” said the study.

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“Everyone might be worried about employment and a paycheck during the crisis.”, said the report. Pixabay

In terms of physical needs, people require help feeling they are empowered to do what is necessary to keep themselves and their families safe and well.

“Each organisation will have its own nuances. In a company with people mainly in physical locations, concerns might include no-contact service and wearing protective equipment,” said the study.

The insights shared in the report are based on the Accenture workforce research spanning over 15,600 global workers in 10 countries and 15 industries.

“Everyone might be worried about employment and a paycheck during the crisis. Asking early and often what people need or are concerned about will help your leadership team to determine your best actions,” said the report.

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“Managers have to evolve work rules for more flexibility, based on emotional intelligence and people’s individual needs.”, said the report. Pixabay

Read More: Temperature, Latitude not Associated with COVID-19: Researchers

In terms of mental health issues, the research pointed out that amid the changing working conditions due to COVID-19, consecutive hours of uninterrupted work may not be feasible as many people deal with disrupted elder care and childcare, difficulties securing essential supplies at home, and potential healthcare issues.

“Managers have to evolve work rules for more flexibility, based on emotional intelligence and people’s individual needs. Educating managers on this sooner rather than later can help empower their teams to adapt,” said the report.

With regard to the relationship needs of workers, leaders should strive to provide them with a sense of connection and of belonging to something bigger than themselves. (IANS)