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Virtual reality (VR) technology can enhance the quality of life for people with dementia by helping them to recall past memories, reduce aggression and improve interactions with caregivers, says a study.
The technology helped patients recall old memories by providing new stimuli difficult to achieve, due to ill health, or inaccessible within a secure environment, said the team from the University of Kent in the UK.
These memories not only provided positive mental stimulation for the patients but also helped their caregivers learn more about their lives before care, thereby improving their social interaction.
“VR can clearly have positive benefits for patients with dementia, their families and caregivers. It provides a richer and more satisfying quality of life than is otherwise available, with many positive outcomes,” said Jim Ang, Professor at the University of Kent.
For the study, the researchers picked eight patients aged between 41 and 88 who are living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
Each patient used a VR headset to ‘visit’ one of five virtual environments of a cathedral, a forest, a sandy beach, a rocky beach and a countryside scene.
The sessions were monitored with feedback gathered from patients and their caregivers.
The patients also demonstrated their own choices during the experiment, with some keen to explore different VEs within a session, while others explored the same environment repeatedly.
“With further research it will be possible to evaluate the elements of virtual environments that benefit patients and use VR even more effectively,” Jim Ang added. (IANS)
Anti-viral drug Molnupiravir may emerge as the game-changer in the fight against Covid-19 as studies suggest it can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in newly diagnosed patients, an expert says.
Distinguished cardiologist and health systems expert Dr. Krishna Reddy Nallamalla believes that Molnupiravir as an effective oral drug for the treatment of Covid-19 assumes significance as cases are still being reported despite vaccines, which are not as effective against the spread of the virus and have lower efficacy against certain variants.
Almost two years since the onset of the pandemic, the world has reported close to 250 million positive cases and 5 million deaths, while half a million cases are still being reported every day.
"We have face masks, vaccines, and steroids to fight the pandemic. We also have the expensive injectable antiviral drug Remedesivir and the monoclonal antibody cocktail for those who can afford these. Most of the oral drugs, including chloroquine, ivermectin, anti-HIV drugs, anti-hepatitis drugs.. did not stand the scrutiny of scientific studies. Some others had weak evidence to be of large-scale," said Dr. Krishna Reddy, who is also President of InOrder, a nonprofit institute working to strengthen systems to secure the health and Regional Director (South Asia) of global health non-profit, ACCESS Health International.
"Despite the development of Covid-19 vaccines in a record time period, the world continues to witness daily positive cases of half a million. While vaccines have been effective against moderate to severe illness, they have not been as effective against the spread of the virus. In addition, the efficacy is lower against certain new variants. Another growing concern has been the rapid decline in neutralizing antibodies within six months after the second dose necessitating the booster dose in people at high risk," he said.
He also pointed out that the inequity in access to vaccines has been glaring within and between countries.
On how Molnupiravir helps, Krishna Reddy said that the basic building blocks of coronavirus are ribonucleic acids (RNA), and their analogs can produce mutations that are lethal to the virus. While Remedesivir is an analog and is demonstrated to reduce hospital stay in moderately-ill Covid patients, it is expensive and has to be given through the intravenous route.
"Molnupiravir was earlier developed as an oral drug against influenza. It is also an analog of ribonucleic acids, similar to Remedesivir. In a preprint published in June, virus isolation was noted in 1.6 per cent of those patients receiving Molnupiravir compared to 16.7 per cent of those receiving placebo on day 3 and 0 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively on day 5," Krishna Reddy said.
Merck and Ridgeback have announced on October 11, the submission of an emergency use authorization application to the US FDA for the treatment of mild to moderate cases (room air oxygen saturation more than 93 per cent at rest).
The submission is based on positive results from a planned interim analysis from the phase 3 MOVe-OUT clinical trial, which evaluated Molnupiravir in non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate Covid illness who were at risk to progress to severe Covid requiring hospitalization.
In the interim analysis, there was a 50 per cent reduction in risk of hospitalization or death (7.3 per cent with drug vs 14.1 per cent with placebo) with Molnupiravir. Full results of the trial are awaited.
Merck has previously announced that it has entered into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements for Molnupiravir with six established Indian generic manufacturers to accelerate the availability of the drug in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), following approval or EUA by their respective regulatory bodies.
The arrival of an effective and affordable oral drug has long been awaited in the fight against Covid-19 across the world and more so in LMIC which are yet to receive sufficient quantities of vaccines.
There is also growing concerned about the duration of efficacy of the vaccines and their efficacy against new variants. Many rich countries have started booster doses while many developing countries are still waiting for their first doses.
Krishna Reddy believes that India is in a unique position to supply the needed vaccines to countries awaiting them and also the affordable generic oral Molnupiravir, to derive significant geopolitical mileage.
"Reaching the milestone of one billion vaccine doses, India has exhibited remarkable resilience despite the devastating second wave that was driven by the Delta variant. It has restarted its vaccine exports to other countries. It is in a position to start exports of the new effective oral drug that the world has been eagerly awaiting," he added. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, Coronavirus, Medicines, Molnupiravir
According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.
Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.
Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.
As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.
Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.
Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.
Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.
Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.
Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.
Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.
Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.
The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.
To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.
Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.
The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.
The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.
Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.
The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.
When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.
"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.
"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.
Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.
On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.
Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.
Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.
The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.