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Drug-resistant tuberculosisa a 'blinking red' global threat – Times Now

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Tuberculosis is now the world’s most deadly infectious disease&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspGetty Images

Deadly, drug-resistant tuberculosis — as lethal as Ebola and tough to treat in even the best hospitals — is a “blinking red” worldwide threat, the head of a global health fund warned in an interview with AFP.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is on a mission to eradicate the three epidemics and plans to spend around $12 billion on it over the next three years.

“We should all be more worried about multidrug-resistant TB than we are. It gets nothing like the level of attention it should do,” Peter Sands, Global Fund’s head, told AFP during a visit to New Delhi.

Tuberculosis has become resistant to antimicrobials in an estimated 600,000 cases worldwide.

The disease “does not obey borders or need visas, nor pay attention to how wealthy you are. At the moment, about 25 per cent of those 600,000 cases are being diagnosed and treated”, said Sands, who became head of the organisation last year.

“If you look across the threats to global health security, this is one where the light should be blinking red.”

The UN has set the goal of eradicating AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis epidemics by 2030. 

“The blunt truth is that we are not on track for that ambition,” Sands said.

Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump called for a concerted push to end his country’s AIDS epidemic within 10 years, though he did not say how much money would be ploughed into the effort.

Sands said on Wednesday that despite his grave assessment of the risks ahead, significant progress has been made in the battle against the three epidemics.

The number of deaths caused by AIDS and malaria has decreased by about half since the start of the century, he said.

Tuberculosis — now the world’s most deadly infectious disease, killing some 1.3 million people each year (not including HIV co-infections) — caused about 20 per cent fewer deaths in 2016 than in 2000.

However, the 57-year-old said: “If you compare the trajectory in terms of new infections and deaths against what we need to do, we need to step up the fight.”

As health authorities slacken the pace, new variations of drug-resistant diseases are turning up, threatening progress already made and triggering a resurgence.

Soft drinks and medication

Global Fund was set up in 2002 as a partnership between the authorities, civil society, the private sector and patients. It aims to raise $14 billion from 2020-2022 — $1.8 billion more than the amount it brought in over the 2017-2019 period. Other non-profits have criticised the fund’s budget target as not being ambitious enough to achieve its goals.

Global Fund has a distinctive way of working — it builds partnerships with private companies that extend beyond financial donations, notably in sub-Saharan Africa where the organisation makes two-thirds of its investments.

The multinational Unilever uses the reputation of its brand of hygienic products, Dove, to work to prevent HIV in South Africa among those most vulnerable to the virus — teenagers and young women — through a school programme.

In several African nations, Global Fund also teams up with Coca Cola, tapping into the country’s distribution networks to deliver medicines to isolated clinics. 

“In the most remote parts of the most countries, you can get a Coca-Cola,” Sands said, adding his organisation can use “their trucks, their supply chain logistics, to help us get medicine to the places where people are who need them.”

The link-up is uncommon in the aid sector and regarded with some suspicion.

“I don’t think partnering with the private sector comes naturally to all the actors in the global health world. There is a fair amount of sort of distrust and misunderstanding” between the two, said Sands, who earlier headed Britain’s Standard Chartered bank.

A meeting will be held in the Indian capital on Friday to prepare for Global Fund’s next three-yearly conference — to take place in Lyon next October.

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Cutting out on these foods can help combat gastrointestinal issues – Times Now

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Cutting out on these foods can help combat gastrointestinal issues (Representational Image)&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspGetty Images

London: Cutting out specific foods can alleviate gastrointestinal issues for physically active people, especially a runner, researchers say. The study, conducted by researchers from the Anglia Ruskin University in Britain, showed that a low fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide and polyol (or FODMAP) diet reduces some of the issues caused by exercise such as stomach cramps and bloating, and improves a person’s perceived ability to exercise.

FODMAP foods include those containing lactose (milk, yoghurt and cheese), fructans (found in cereals, bread and pasta), galactic-oligosaccharides (legumes and onions), excess fructose (for example in apples, pears and asparagus) and polyols (often added as a food additive).

“We found a clear benefit when following the low FODMAP diet, with a reduction in exercise-related gastrointestinal symptoms amongst otherwise healthy, recreational runners,” said Justin Roberts, Principal Lecturer at the varsity.

For the study, the researchers involved a group of healthy recreational exercisers.  Everyone in the group followed two eating plans for one week at a time, with the key difference being the FODMAP content.

The findings, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that 69 per cent of those following a low FODMAP diet experienced an improvement in symptoms and were able to exercise more frequently and at a higher intensity.

In addition, the improvement in perceived pain, in conjunction with reduced experiences of bloating whilst on a low FODMAP diet, is likely explained by a reduction in intestinal water volume and gas production, caused by fewer indigestible carbohydrates available for fermentation in the gut.

However, further studies are needed to examine the benefits of this diet when combined with long-term training strategies. It is important that people take care if deciding to follow a low FODMAP diet, as reductions in total caloric and carbohydrate intake may impact on nutritional quality, Roberts suggested.
 

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New technique to measure blood clot developed: Details inside – Times Now

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New technique to measure blood clot developed (Representational Image)&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspGetty Images

London: Scientists have developed a new technique that allows them to measure blood clotting as well as the formation of free radicals, that leads to the build-up of blood clots, which in turn cause heart disease, stroke and dementia. The technique, led by the University of Exeter researchers, investigates a part of the blood clotting process which focuses on the ways in which platelets from blood samples clump together.

“This method may be useful for future studies looking into new anti-platelet treatments for diseases such as diabetes, where clotting is disturbed and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke,” according to the study detailed in the Haematologica journal.

The researchers discovered that the enzyme NADPH Oxidase is critically important for the generation of free radicals, the stimulation of blood clotting and the promotion of blood vessel damage in patients.

They successfully used the technique in mice and human cells. Their aim is to better understand how blood cells function, which will help to develop new drugs against blood clotting diseases or to test the risk of clotting diseases in patients.

“We’re really excited to discover this new technique and its potential to understand how blood vessel diseases develop. For the first time, we can now simultaneously measure blood clotting and the formation of free radicals,” said lead author Giordano Pula, from the Exeter Medical School. 

“We know they play a key role in blood vessel damage caused by ageing, diabetes, obesity and chronic inflammation. We’re currently using this technique in our efforts to develop a new treatment to protect the blood vessels in diseases such as heart diseases, stroke, obesity, and vascular dementia,” Pula added.
 

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Simple Tips to Boost Heart Health at Work – Bel Marra Health

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February is heart health month. To ensure you’re working on improving your heart health, we wanted to share with you our simple tips to boost your heart while at work. It can be hard to always be active and eat the right foods, which are critical components of a healthy heart. This is why we want to provide you with easy steps to take to start improving your heart.

If you work a typical nine to five job, you’re likely pretty inactive during that time. For some of you, this may also mean you aren’t surrounded by the best food options either – unless you pack your own lunch.

To boost your activity levels, there are things you can add to your daily workday. For starters, if you are in a high building, consider taking the stairs more often. If you sit all day, remind yourself to move around each hour.

As mentioned, packing your own food and snacks is a good option so that you don’t binge on unhealthy foods. Pack your lunch bag with nuts, fruits, and seeds to keep you energized.

Lastly, work can be stressful, and stress can take a real negative toll on your heart health. Finding healthy ways to manage your stress can lead to better heart outcomes. This could involve stepping out for some fresh air, taking a few moments to concentrate on your breathing, or carrying around some essential oils with you to calm you down. Whatever healthy option you use to reduce stress, your heart will thank you for it.

These tips can go a long way in better controlling your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and even weight, which are all contributing factors to heart health.


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