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Indo-US experts developing solar-powered oral cancer detector for remote areas

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Kolkata: Researchers in India and the US are testing a handy solar-powered device for early detection of oral cancer which could be integrated with mobile technology, enabling faster and accurate diagnostics in rural areas.

Designed by the Beckman Laser Institute (BLI), University of California-Irvine (UCI) and the Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre (MSCC) in Bengaluru, the compact screening and diagnosing system – slightly larger than a shoe box – has been specially adapted for India, which has one of the highest rates of head and neck cancers in the world and accounts for the highest rate among women.

Its light-weight and user-friendly features mean even minimally educated healthcare workers in the field can apply it. The solar energy-driven device will capture images of the patient’s oral cavity and transmit them via a mobile phone to experts at the centre.

“India is the first country in which we are using the device – it was specifically designed to meet conditions and needs there. The final device will have a solar option,” Petra Wilder-Smith of BLI told a news agency in an email interaction.

Recognised as a pioneer in the application of optics and lasers in oral diagnosis, Wilder-Smith said the device is based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) – an imaging technology that is similar to ultrasound, except that it uses light (a laser). The screening will be in real-time and the patient will not be subjected to harmful radiation.

“The inexpensive, very small, robust portable diagnostic system for oral cancer based on OCT will be used to screen for oral cancer in the field by basic level healthcare workers in India, and a simple diagnostic algorithm will indicate further diagnostic and treatment needs for each individual,” said Wilder-Smith, director of dentistry at BLI.

Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India, accounting for 40 percent of all cancers overall and for over 50 percent of all cancers in some areas of the country.

It is also disturbing to note the spike in oral cancer in young adults.

“In the US, the oral cancer rate is also high, especially in African-Americans, older persons, and tobacco and alcohol users. It is particularly troubling that recently a trend has been observed worldwide towards an increased incidence of oral cancer among young adults,” informed Wilder-Smith, stressing on early detection.

Why the emphasis on the light-based technology?

Wilder-Smith said oral cancer and pre-cancer are currently diagnosed using a visual exam, which has a poor accuracy rate, and by surgical biopsy, which cannot be performed in the field by basic-level healthcare workers.

And since existing and emerging imaging-based diagnostic tools are too expensive, too fragile and difficult to operate in remote locations, head and neck oncologist M.A Kuriakose from MSCC, who is leading the venture in India, said the probe will be of immense value in low-resource settings in rural India, where visits to dentists are rare.

“It is being tested in MSCC Bengaluru. The validation phase is 12 months. We are also planning to incorporate the transmission of the laser image from remote location via a mobile phone. Once developed, one needs to get regulatory approvals before it can be made available for wider clinical use,” Kuriakose said.

With the fabrication cost goal estimated at lower than $5,000 (Rs.335,000), researchers say the subsequent models of the probe will be wireless and 3D scan-enabled.

“The experimental model costs about Rs.1.5 lakh (lower than that of existing commercial devices). However, the commercial product cost will be significantly lower,” Kuriakose told a news agency.

The project is funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, under the Indo-US collaborative programme. The Department of Biotechnology is also a funding partner, said Kuriakose.

The collaborators are also working in close consultation to thrash out a simple diagnostic algorithm which will indicate further diagnostic and treatment needs for each individual.

“Screening will identify whether a person needs to travel to a centre with higher levels of expertise in oral cancer for further tests and potential cancer therapy,” Wilder-Smith added.

(Sahana Ghosh, IANS)

(Picture credit:www.thehoopsnews.com)

 

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Smoking: Its Ill effects On Fertility and Child Birth

Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on fertility and consequently the quality of life in pregnancy

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Smoking
Smoking increases miscarriage rates in women. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on the fertility of both men and women, and consequently the quality of life in pregnancy. These health tips by expert can help. If a woman is a regular smoker, then it has a double effect on a woman’s fertility. Smoking can harm both the eggs and the uterus. It not only affects her egg quality, but can also have endometrial effect. Many studies too have shown that smoking can have negative effects on fertility, notes Dr Apurva Satish Amarnath, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility.

“In women, smoking decreases in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates by about half. Smoking also increases miscarriage rates. smoking also reduces the egg reserve of the woman which is not a reversible condition. For instance, if we are to compare two women with the same characteristics in terms of egg quality, quantity, BMI, AMH-level, among others, the chances are that the non-smoking woman will conceive faster than the smoking woman. If a woman quits smoking completely, then the chances of conception improve and the risk of miscarriage reduces,” Dr Apurva told IANSlife ahead of the International Anti-Tobacco Day on May 31.

From the male’s perspective, the carcinogen quality of cigarettes in general affects the motility of the sperm and excessive smoking can lead to the poor sperm count and other fertility problems. As compared to females, the condition can be reversible.

If a man completely gives up smoking the quality of his sperms can improve, resulting in his fertility improving in a span of 3-6 months after quitting completely, she said.

Smoking
Smoking and tobacco use can have a serious impact on fertility. Pixabay

Smoking during pregnancy

According to Dr Sandeep Chadha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Motherhood Hospital, Noida, smoking during pregnancy are dangerous for both mother and the baby.

If a mother smokes, the 4,000 harmful chemicals present in each cigarette passes directly to the baby through the mother’s bloodstreams. In such cases, the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage goes up besides an increased risk of low birth weight, baby’s heart rate, breathing problem and premature delivery, Dr Sandeep told IANSlife.

These risks to the baby multiply with the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy. Not only for babies, but tobacco smoking is also harmful to the mother, increasing her risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and other conditions.

Passive smoking and childbirth

A study has presented that exposure to secondhand smoke was associated with lower IQs in children. For babies exposed to secondhand smoke, there is an increase in risk for developing asthma attacks, breathing problems, ear infections, impaired lung development, and coughing.

Smoking tobacco
Smoking tobacco decreases in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates. Pixabay

Children exposed to secondhand smoke require more ear tube surgeries than those who are not exposed. Sudden infant death syndrome is more common in babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy as well as in babies exposed to secondhand smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoking by pregnant mothers is similar to first hand smoking.

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

If you are planning to conceive, it’s better for the couple to kick the butt as early as possible. (IANS)

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COVID-19 Makes it Difficult to Manage Cancer Care: Oncologist

Dr Abhishek Shankar said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system

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Coronavirus outbreak has made it difficult to manage cancer care. Pixabay

By Dr. Abhishek Shankar

A recent report– ‘Cancer Care Delivery Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Disease – 19 (COVID-19) Outbreak’ published in the journal of Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention has pointed out that cancer patients are more susceptible to coronavirus than individuals without cancer as they are in an immunosuppressive state because of the malignancy and anticancer treatment. Oncologists should be more attentive to detect coronavirus infection early, as any type of advanced cancer is at much higher risk for unfavorable outcomes.

Author, Dr Abhishek Shankar, assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology at Lady Hardinge Medical College said that coronavirus has made it difficult to manage the cancer care delivery system.

“As we are having a lockdown in the whole country, patients can’t travel from one place to another. About 95 percent of the cancer care services are restricted to the urban areas but we also know that 70 percent of the people live in rural areas. So, there is a lot of disparity in cancer care. For cancer patients, stress is more disturbing for the patient rather than cancer itself,” Dr Shankar told ANI.

Cancer care
Dr. Shankar added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services. Pixabay

Also Read: Having a Child with Cancer Doesn’t Impact Parents’ Separation: Researchers

He added that in this situation, it is very difficult to manage these people as they are unable to come to the hospital as we are running only emergency services.

Talking about the report, Dr Shankar said, “We have published the paper on cancer care delivery, although guidance is that you shouldn’t delay and you should continue with the treatment. But there are many challenges that are coming right now. We have also advised cancer patients about the precautions they should take. Also, patients need to verify social media messages coming in from a credible source like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and WHO.”Furthermore, he suggests that persons suffering from cancer should get treated from nearby hospitals and try avoiding the delay.

The cancer specialist remarked that it is a dilemma for healthcare professionals as well as patients because there is an issue regarding what to follow and what not to. “To date, there is no scientific guideline regarding the management of cancer patients in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak,” Dr Shankar informed.

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Having a Child with Cancer Doesn’t Impact Parents’ Separation: Researchers

Being parents to a cancer patient kid doesn't trigger separation, say researchers

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cancer seperation
Chldhood cancer may not trigger seperation among parents according to researchers. Pixabay

Contrary to traditional belief, researchers now say that having a child with cancer did not appear to impact parents’ risk of separation or divorce or affect future family planning.

Childhood cancer can cause feelings of fear and uncertainty among parents and burden them with many practical challenges related to caregiving and work-related obligations, according to the study published in the journal Cancer.

For the findings, the research team from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre examined data from several registries in Denmark, linking information on parents of children diagnosed with cancer in 1982-2014 (7,066 children and 12,418 case parents) with parents of children without cancer (69,993 children and 125,014 comparison parents).

Parents were followed until 10 years after diagnosis, separation or divorce, death, emigration, or the end of 2017, whichever came first.

Overall, parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation and an eight per cent lower risk of divorce compared with parents of children without cancer.

Among parents of children with cancer, those who were younger had less education, and were unemployed had elevated risks for separation and divorce.

The findings showed that risks were also higher among parents of children diagnosed at a younger age.

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Parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation. Pixabay

The investigators also evaluated how the diagnosis of cancer in a child affects parents’ decisions on having another child.

Also Read: Lockdown: Here are 5 Occasions to Celebrate With Luxurious Meals at Home

They expected that parents of a child with cancer would have fewer children than parents of children without cancer and that they would postpone having another child.

This was not the case, however, as the researchers found that the childhood cancer experience did not negatively affect parents’ future family planning in Denmark.

The researchers noted that health care providers should communicate these reassuring and encouraging findings to parents, but that support should be offered if needed to improve family life in the long term. (IANS)