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Injuries to spinal cord – treated with hESC therapy: Study

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During the past 2 decades, cell-based therapies for SCI have been researched in several studies. Replacement of damaged neural tissues and re-establishing connections between the central and peripheral nervous system is vital for the treatment strategy for patients with SCI. Thus, the cells having a potential of self-renewal and differentiating into multiple cell types would be best suited for patients with SCI. Dr Geeta Shroff, director Nutech Mediworld, in a recent research has published report on how human embryonic stem cells (hESC’s) can treat spinal cord injuries (SCI).

The findings are first of its kind as the cell line developed was free from animal products and chromosomally stable.

The uniqueness about the cell line that makes it exclusive is that the process of cell line was derived from a single hESC which is already patented and published in her earlier reports.

 

A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) can be any damage to the spinal cord that changes its function, temporary or permanently.

SCI is a challenging neurological injury and is associated with permanent disability and decreased life expectancy.

The complex series of pathological events involved in SCI result in long-lasting locomotor and sensory neuron degeneration below the injury. There have been several strategies to improve neurological recovery, such as surgical intervention, physiotherapy, and pharmacological interventions, but none of these have proven to be effective.

Replacement of damaged neural tissue, enhancement of endogenous neural regeneration, and modulation of the inflammatory response after SCI are the key elements in restoring function after SCI.

Research done by Dr Geeta Shroff on Stem cell transplantation proves to be a promising technology that has the potential to replace damaged neurons, reestablish lost axonal connections, and provide neuro-protective factors to allow for healing and recovery after SCI. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) play a vital role in treating neurological disorders and have a huge potential for differentiation and can provide neuronal or glial cells for transplantation.

Most embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from egg which are donated during IVF which otherwise is a medical waste.

The institutional committee for stem cell research and therapy of Nutech Mediworld reported all the work with respect to embryonic stem cells to the National Apex Body and the Indian Council of Medical Research. An independent ethics committee approved the study protocol. The data of a single cohort of patients with SCI treated with hESCs conducted during 24 May 2005 to 31 August 2012 at a single site in New Delhi, India, were collected retrospectively. She started the research in 2002, with 33 patients suffering from incurable diseases. Thereafter the safety and efficacy of the therapy, dose schedule, and protocol for administration of hESCs and therapy schedule were established in a pilot study conducted on 72 patients. With the success of her pilot study, another study was done on 108 patients with SCI that verified the safety and efficacy of hESC in patient with SCI. She has filed a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization, covering over 126 countries.

“The present study with 226 patients with SCI was undertaken after these two studies. A number of studies conducted in animal models has observed hESC-derived cells to be able to differentiate into mature oligodendrocytes and neurons in patients with SCI. The study was performed under proper supervision of a team of physicians that included external consultants and validated by an external clinical research organization. The patients were scored as per ASIA scale by independent physicians before and after the treatment and by the in-house physicians and the rehabilitation team.” Says Dr shroff. After confirmation of diagnosis, the patients were tested for hypersensitivity reactions with hESCs (0.05 mL hESC injected subcutaneously). The study consisted of three treatment phases with gap phases in between so that the hESCs could grow, repair, and regenerate the affected part. After the hypersensitivity testing, the patients entered the treatment phase, T1, T2, T3. Each treatment phase lasted 4–6 weeks and was 4–8 months apart. The physicians continuously administered the hESCs. No immune-suppressants were given to the patients. In addition to hESC therapy, all the patients received physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The rehabilitation focused on overall improvement of the patient and mobilization of the patient was performed using different ambulatory aids

The findings and results of the research showed dramatic changes in each phase.” Out of the 226 patients examined 3/4th were men with a mean age of 28 years. At the end of T1, 45% of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade. At the end of T2, 58% of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade, and at the end of T3, 70% of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade” concluded Dr Shroff.?

Dr.Geeta Shroff,Director & Stem Cell Expert,

Nutech Mediworld, New Delhi


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Health

Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

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Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:

 

Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.

Symptoms

Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Headaches
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Health

Busting myths around blood donation

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As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.

 

The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

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By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF ED

We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION, LONG-TERM CURE

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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