Use of Oral Steroids Increases Risk of Infection in People with Inflammation

More than 27 per cent of patients were admitted to hospital and seven per cent died within a week of diagnosis of infection, said the study

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Beware, Gyms, Health Clubs
In an alarming trend, gymnasiums and health clubs across the country are providing youngsters with steroids. Pixabay

Researchers have found that oral steroid use in patients with inflammatory diseases significantly increases the risk of infection and the risk increases with higher doses.

The study, published in the journal CMAJ, picked over 40,000 adult patients with polymyalgia rheumatica or giant cell arteritis in England.

The researchers found higher risks of infection when patients were taking oral steroids than when they were not taking them.

“In periods with prescribed medication, patients’ risk was 50 per cent higher than when it was not prescribed, increases in risk ranged from 48 per for fungal to 70 per cent for bacterial infections,” said Mar Pujades-Rodriguez, from the University of Leeds in the UK.

heart-rate, inflammation
Higher levels of inflammation may in turn increase risk for heart diseases as well. (IANS)

Steroids included prednisolone, prednisone, hydrocortisone and cortisone. The risk of infection increased with higher doses and was elevated even with low daily doses of less than 5 mg of prednisolone.

According to the findings, more than half of the patients (22,234 or 56 per cent) had infections, with the most common being lower respiratory tract infections (27 per cent), conjunctivitis (nine per cent) and shingles (seven per cent).

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More than 27 per cent of patients were admitted to hospital and seven per cent died within a week of diagnosis of infection, said the study.

Patients and clinicians should be educated about the risk of infection, need for symptom identification, prompt treatment, timely vaccination and documentation of history of chronic infection, researchers said. (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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pink-ribbon-cancer care
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

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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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Risk of COVID-19 Virus Infections by Touching Surfaces Relatively Lower: Reports

Risk of getting infected in other ways such by touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower

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COVID
COVID risk from touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower, suggests new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Pixabay

While the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people, the risk of getting infected in other ways such by touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower, suggests new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

This, however, does not mean that people should stop washing their hands frequently.

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus,” the CDC said.

Knowledge about how long the virus survives on surfaces is still evolving.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier found that viable coronavirus could live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for three days and it can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

Barely a couple of weeks after this finding, a CDC report said that genetic material from coronavirus was found on surfaces of Japan’s Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers disembarked.

coronavirus
Is the concept of COVID spread from surfaces a myth? Researches say not much. Pixabay

However, neither of these studies confirmed that coronavirus spread easily on surfaces, according to a report in USA Today on Thursday. The CDC in its guidance also said that the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low at this point of time.

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But it warned that the COVID-19 virus is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. “Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious,” the CDC said. (IANS)

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A Blend of Spices May Help in Lowering Inflammation in the Body: Researchers

Researchers suggest that adding a blend of spices to your meal may help in reducing inflammation

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food-spices
Adding spices to your meal may increase its health benefits. Pixabay

Adding an array of spices to your meal is a surefire way to make it tastier and a part of Healthy Recipes, but it may increase its health benefits as well, say researchers, suggesting that a blend of spices may help in lowering inflammation in the body.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, the research team used a blend of basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, oregano, parsley, red pepper, rosemary, thyme and turmeric.

In a randomised, controlled feeding study, the researchers found that when participants ate a meal high in fat and carbohydrates with six grams of a spice blend added, the participants had lower inflammation markers compared to when they ate a meal with less or no spices. “If spices are palatable to you, they might be a way to make a high-fat or high-carb meal more healthful,” said study researcher Connie Rogers, Associate Professor at Penn State University in the US.

According to the researchers, previous research has linked a variety of different spices, like ginger and turmeric, with anti-inflammatory properties. For the current study, the researchers recruited 12 men between the ages of 40 and 65, with overweight or obesity, and at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In random order, each participant ate three versions of a meal high in saturated fat and carbohydrates on three separate days: one with no spices, one with two grams of the spice blend, and one with six grams of the spice blend. The researchers drew blood samples before and then after each meal hourly for four hours to measure inflammatory markers.

oregano spices
the research team used a blend of many spices including oregano. Pixabay

“Additionally, we cultured the white blood cells and stimulated them to get the cells to respond to an inflammatory stimulus, similar to what would happen while your body is fighting an infection,” Rogers said. “We think that’s important because it’s representative of what would happen in the body. Cells would encounter a pathogen and produce inflammatory cytokines,” Rogers added.

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After analysing the data, the findings showed that inflammatory cytokines were reduced following the meal containing six grams of spices compared to the meal containing two grams of spices or no spices.

While the researchers can’t be sure which spice or spices are contributing to the effect, or the precise mechanism in which the effect is created, the results suggest that the spices have anti-inflammatory properties that help offset inflammation caused by the high-carb and high-fat meal. (IANS)