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South Asians in US more prone to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes

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Washington: South Asians in US are more prone to heart attacks and diabetes when compared to other ethnic groups, as highlighted in a health congress here.

The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) has highlighted various preventive healthcare initiatives at the First World Congress on Preventive Healthcare 2015 in Houston, Texas.

Aimed at creating global awareness about preventive healthcare, the three-day Congress held from July 10-12 was part of the North American Bengali Conference (NABC) 2015, organized by Tagore Society of Houston.

The Congress highlighted that one American dies every 40 seconds in the US from cardiovascular diseases. A disproportionate burden of this risk is seen in the 3.4 million South Asians who live in the US.

The risks for heart attacks and cardiovascular deaths can be up to five times higher for South Asians when compared to other ethnic groups.

The total number of people with diabetes is projected to rise from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030.

In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes and 13 percent of Asian Indians had diabetes.

While South Asians have a one in three lifetime risk for developing diabetes, total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the US in 2012 were $245 billion.

Dr. Sumita Chowdhury, chairperson for the Congress, appealed to the South Asian community to help conquer the epidemics of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes by joining the the South Asian Cardiovascular Registry.

Bringing together all stakeholders in the healthcare to formulate a shared vision towards prevention of disease, the Congress was intended to create sustainable measures for prevention that can be adapted worldwide and integrated into the fabric of life.

The forum was a way to evaluate the factors contributing to the increased disease risk among South Asians and help to formulate awareness campaigns to help modify risk factors that are specific to this ethnic group.

AAPI President Dr Seema Jain, highlighted various initiatives taken by the largest ethnic association of medical professionals in the US, in America and in India for preventing health risks and bringing the best healthcare to millions of people.

An estimated 1.2 million physicians of Indian origin working around the world have made enormous contributions to the world of healthcare, she said.

Jain pointed out that Indian-Americans constitute less than one percent of the population in the US, but they account for nearly nine percent of the physicians in the country.

Serving in almost all parts of America, they are estimated to provide healthcare to over 40 million patients in the US, she said.

(IANS)

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New Drug Offers Treatment For Diabetes-Related Blindness

The researchers now plan to conduct a full-scale clinical trial, Gamble said

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New drug offers hope for diabetes-related blindness.

In a major breakthrough, Australian scientists have developed a new drug that offers treatment for people suffering from diabetic retinopathy — the main cause of blindness from diabetes.

The debilitating disease occurs when tiny blood vessels in the retina, responsible for detecting light, leak fluid or haemorrhage.

While treatment options include laser surgery or eye injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), they are not always effective or can result in side effects, highlighting the need for alternative therapeutic approaches.

The team from the Centenary Institute in Sydney developed a novel drug CD5-2, which in mouse models was found to mend the damaged blood retinal barrier and reduce vascular leakage.

“We believe CD5-2 could potentially be used as a stand-alone therapy to treat those patients who fail to respond to the anti-VEGF treatment. It may also work in conjunction with existing anti-VEGF treatments to extend the effectiveness of the treatment,” said lead author Ka Ka Ting from the Institute.

“With limited treatment options currently available, it is critical we develop alternative strategies for the treatment of this outcome of diabetes,” Ting added.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

The key process involved in diabetic retinopathy pathology is the breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB), which is normally impermeable. Its integrity relies on how well capillary endothelial cells are bound together by tight junctions. If the junctions are loose or damaged, the blood vessels can leak.

In the study, reported in the journal Diabetologia, CD5-2 was found to have therapeutic potential for individuals with vascular-leak-associated retinal diseases based on its ease of delivery and its ability to reverse vascular dysfunction as well as inflammatory aspects in animal models of retinopathy.

Previous studies have shown that CD5-2 can have positive effects on the growth of blood vessels.

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“This drug has shown great promise for the treatment of several major health problems, in the eye and in the brain,” said Professor Jenny Gamble, head of Centenary’s Vascular Biology Programme.

The researchers now plan to conduct a full-scale clinical trial, Gamble said. (IANS)