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New therapy may treat vitiligo within weeks

The Kashmir Monitor

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Scientists have developed a therapy that may help permanently treat vitiligo — a disease that causes the loss of skin colour in blotches — within a few weeks.
In many parts of the world there is great shame and stigma tied to vitiligo, an autoimmune disease of the skin that causes disfiguring white spots, which can appear anywhere on the body.
In some societies, individuals with vitiligo, and even their family members, are shunned and excluded from arranged marriages.
“The rejection is so crippling that one person suffering from the disease even requested an amputation of his forearm affected by vitiligo because he could marry with only one arm, but could not with vitiligo,” said John Harris, from University of Massachusetts in the US.
While existing treatments such as topical steroids and light therapy can be effective for patients, they take one and two years to show results. In most cases the white spots reappear at the same location, often within just one year after stopping the treatments.
This recurrence can be just as devastating as when the white patches first appeared.
“Our research team suspected that “memory” forms within the skin when the white spots first appear, so that the spots “know” where to return when treatments are stopped,” said Harris.
Researchers found cells in vitiligo skin from mice or humans that looked a lot like the memory cells that protect the skin from a second exposure to a viral infection.
The body “thinks” it is fighting a viral infection when it “misfires” at the patient’s normal cells, killing the pigment-producing cells in the skin called melanocytes and causing vitiligo.
These cells are called “resident memory T cells.”
Researchers isolated the disease-causing memory cells and analysed them more closely. They were able to determine that these cells specifically targeted the melanocytes.
“We hypothesised that if we could remove these memory cells from the skin using a new treatment, then treatments to re-pigment the skin would be long-lasting and possibly permanent,” Harris said.
Researchers tested the hypothesis on mice specifically engineered to develop vitiligo. They found that the vitiligo-causing memory cells require a special protein called “IL-15” to survive.
“We injected the vitiligo mice with an antibody that blocks the IL-15 protein from interacting with the memory cells,” Harris said.
The treatment wiped out the memory cells from the mouse skin within just a few weeks, allowing the brown pigment to return in a spotty pattern, just as we see in patients who respond to therapy.
Just two weeks of antibody treatments caused repigmentation that lasted for months, suggesting this strategy, unlike existing treatments, might provide long-term benefit for vitiligo patients.
The team is now working to develop a clinical trial to test this antibody treatment in human patients.


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Health

Natural Remedies for Prickly Heat Rashes

The Kashmir Monitor

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When summer strikes and you sweat more than usual, it’s not unlikely for prickly heat to show up. Also known as milaria rubra, this condition is characterized by small and raised red spots that itch like crazy. Because the primary cause of prickly heat is blockage of the sweat glands, it can occur practically everywhere provided that there are sweat glands present. However, it is more common on the chest, back, thighs, neck and forehead.
These are some tried-and-tested effective home remedies for prickly heat so you may quit scratching:
Ice Cubes: A quick and simple way to attain prickly heat relief is by gently rubbing ice cubes on those trouble spots. The cooling effect helps deal with the itchiness as well as reduces the appearance of those tiny bumps.
Oatmeal: Add a cup of raw oatmeal to your cool bath water. Immerse yourself there for 15 minutes to pacify those itchy red spots as well as make your body feel cool amidst the summer heat.
Baking Soda: Instead of oatmeal, you may add a cup of baking soda in your cool bathwater and soak in it. It’s also possible to simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of cold water, and apply the solution on prickly heat with a soft cloth.
Cornstarch: Using cornstarch just like baby powder is an effective way to attain instant relief from prickly heat itchiness. You may also add a few drops of water into a tablespoon of cornstarch to come up with a paste that you may daub on those red spots.
Aloe Vera: If you have aloe vera in your garden, there’s no need to look further. Simply break a leaf and apply the gel on those itchy bumps. Allow it to stay there for a few minutes and hit the shower.
Neem Oil: Margosa or neem oil has antibacterial properties. Applying it on problem spots can help deal with the itchiness you are facing as well as prevent further irritation.
Sandalwood Powder: A lot of commercially available prickly heat powders contain sandalwood powder. Boost its healing effect by mixing equal amounts of it with coriander powder and rosewater. Apply the paste on those annoying rashes and rinse once dry.
Fuller’s Earth: A staple ingredient in so many beauty products, fuller’s earth is an excellent prickly heat remedy. Add 2 tablespoons of rosewater to 4 tablespoons of it. Mix and daub the paste on those red bumps. Wash off with water once dry.
Banyan Tree Barks: Applying powdered banyan tree barks on affected areas allows effective relief from itchiness prickly heat brings.
Citrus Fruit Juice: The consumption of orange, lemon or lime juice helps refresh you during those hot summer days. Thanks to the loads of vitamin C necessary for skin health, drinking citrus fruit juice accelerates the healing of prickly heat.
Pick an all-natural prickly heat solution that you find easy and convenient. It won’t take long before you are ready to resume your summer enjoyment.

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Health

Don’t Miss Out On These 7 Skincare Hacks This Summer

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As exciting the beach holidays and summer trips might look, they have their downsides too. High temperatures, dust, dirt, pollution and of course, the summer sun can all take a toll on your skin. Ultraviolet rays of the sun can be very harmful for your skin. Apart from causing skin tanning, they can also cause sunburns and various other skin ailments. So here are some simple yet effective summer skin care hacks by dermatologist Dr Nivedita Dadu, that can protect your skin from tanning this summer.
Summer skincare hacks you must follow

  1. Hydrate yourself: It is very important to hydrate yourself by drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water throughout the day. Along with this, you can also drink fresh juices, lime water, coconut water and chilled smoothies too. Proper hydration is very important in summer as you tend to lose out on a lot of water from the body while sweating. This can make your skin look dull and dehydrated.
  2. Never forget your sunscreen: Ultraviolet rays can be really harmful to your skin thus, it is very important to safeguard your skin with a sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied even when indoors. Choose a sunscreen according to your skin type and ensure that it penetrates into your skin nicely.
  3. Eat healthy: Eating healthy is very important for your skin and body. Consume more fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, berries, canary melon and litchis that shall ensure that your body and skin remain hydrated and healthy. Lack of proper skincare can result in fewer antioxidants in the body, which can damage cells and cause skin ageing.
  4. Avoid makeup: Avoid applying makeup on your skin as much as possible as it shall eventually result in clogged pores and breakouts. Even if you are applying makeup, always ensure that you don’t miss out on your moisturiser and primer. Also, always remove your makeup before going to bed.
  5. Sleep properly: It is essential to sleep properly as the body releases growth hormones during sleep. These growth hormones help the skin to repair itself. Proper sleep also helps you have a glowing skin. People who don’t take enough sleep or have erratic lifestyles with unhealthy sleeping cycles tend to have dull skin. Proper sleep ensures that your skin is in a resting motion, which eventually results in faster cell regeneration.
  6. Cleanse your skin thoroughly: Cleansing your skin properly is a very crucial step during summers. The sweat, dust and sunscreen, if congested on the skin for a long period of time, can result in blocked pores and breakouts. Therefore, it is important to clean your skin nicely every day.
  7. Avoid hot showers: Hot showers can be dangerous for the skin. Hot water damages the skin by stripping off the natural oils. This leads to dry, red and unhealthy skin. Therefore, go for showers with cold water as they can make you feel fresh and re-energised.
    (Dr. Nivedita Dadu, Dermatologist and Derma surgeon, Dr. Dadu’s Clinic)

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Health

Office workers who sit a lot need to exercise

The Kashmir Monitor

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Office workers who sit for long periods of time can reverse the health risks of their modern sedentary lifestyle by exercising just 20 minutes per day, a new study revealed.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the University of Sydney-led collaboration with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the UK’s Loughborough University examined the health consequences associated with sitting, reports Xinhua news agency.
By statistically modelling physical activity and sitting against the death records of nearly 150,000 study participants aged 45 years and over, the study found “physical activity is particularly important for people who sit a lot”.
“Reducing sitting would be a good start but is not enough,” lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health said.
“In our study, sitting time was associated consistently with both overall premature mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in the least physically active groups – those doing under 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week.
“But one hour of physical activity per day is not necessary. Meeting the Australian public health recommendation of 150 to 300 minutes per week — equivalent to around 20-40 minutes per day on average — appeared to eliminate sitting risks,” Stamatakis added.
With many public health professionals growing increasingly concerned about the health risks associated with sitting, Stamatakis hopes the findings of the study will act as a wake-up call to office workers leading sedentary lifestyles who don’t get enough exercise.

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