Thursday January 18, 2018

Zika Threat: WHO rejects the call to postpone or move Olympics from Rio

The letter to WHO is signed by 150 international scientists, doctors and medical ethicists from such institutions as Oxford University and Harvard and Yale universities in the United States

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FILE - A municipal worker prepares insecticide to be sprayed at Sambodrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016. The Sambadrome will be the site of the archery competition during the Rio Olympics. Image source: Reuters
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  • Zika virus also is linked to serious birth defects
  • The outbreak began in Brazil a year ago in 2015
  • Abnormal small heads are seen in newborn babies affected with the virus

Good news for people who are eagerly waiting for 2016 Olympics. The World Health Organization (WHO) has rejected a call to move or postpone this summer’s Rio Olympic Games over the Zika outbreak, reported BBC.

Zika virus also is linked to serious birth defects. WHO said that delaying the Olympics or shifting it from Rio would “not significantly alter” the spread of the virus.

Renowned scientists from all over the world wrote an open letter to WHO saying that the global health body should go through the new Zika guidance and that the new findings about the virus has made it “unethical” for the Games to go ahead.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it sees no reason to delay or move the Games because of the mosquito-borne disease.

More than 60 countries and territories are continuing with the transmission, while the  outbreak began in Brazil a year ago.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on the latest research and forecasts on the Zika virus, May 26, 2016. Image source: AP
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on the latest research and forecasts on the Zika virus, May 26, 2016. Image source: AP

While mild symptoms are seen in people affected with Zika, in the letter, the experts mention it causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and may also cause a rare and sometimes fatal neurological syndrome in adults.

This letter is signed by 150 international scientists, doctors and medical ethicists from such institutions as Oxford University and Harvard and Yale universities in the United States.

They cite the failure of a mosquito-eradication programme in Brazil, and the country’s “weakened” health system as reasons to postpone or move the Olympics in “the name of public health”.

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Formula made from Cow’s milk may reduce the risk of diabetes

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Formula made from Cow's milk may reduce the risk of diabetes
Formula made from Cow's milk may reduce the risk of diabetes. IANS

New York, Jan 3, 2018: Drinking formula made from cow’s milk may not put babies at higher risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, the first large international trial showed.

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Previous studies have reported that early exposure to complex foreign proteins, such as cow’s milk proteins, may increase the risk of Type 1 diabetes in young children with genetic risk for the condition.

For the new study, the team led by University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, examined 2,159 infants from 15 countries with genetic risk for Type 1 diabetes to find out whether delaying the exposure to complex foreign proteins such as cow’s milk proteins would decrease the risk of diabetes.

After breastfeeding, infants were either weaned to a special formula (extensively hydrolysed casein formula), with the cow’s milk proteins split into small peptides (small pieces of the protein), or a regular cow’s milk-based formula with intact cow’s milk proteins.

Infants were fed the study formula for at least two months until the age of six to eight months and at the same time were given no cow’s milk proteins from any other food sources and were followed for over 10 years.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that no association was found between children fed formula with whole-milk proteins or those with the proteins broken down.

“The study puts to rest the controversy regarding the potential role of cow’s milk formula in the development of Type 1 diabetes,” said Dorothy Becker, Professor at the varsity.

The study also showed that “there is no evidence to revise the current dietary recommendations for infants at high risk for Type 1 diabetes,” Becker noted. (IANS)