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Electric appliances may impact pacemaker’s functioning

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London, Feb 28 

If you are using a pacemaker to regulate your heartbeat, be careful about the proximity to your body of everyday household appliances and electrical tools as these may affect the functioning of the device, warns new research.

A pacemaker is a small device that is placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. This device uses low-energy electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate and is used to treat problems relating to the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.

The findings showed that pacemakers are susceptible to electric and magnetic fields (EMF) generated from powerlines, household appliances, electrical tools and entertainment electronics, in particular when programmed to maximum sensitivity or so-called unipolar sensing mode.

This EMF interference, depending on factors such as the settings of the implant or strength of the field source with pacemakers, can result in bradycardia, or a slow heart rate.

“Electromagnetic interferences with pacemakers in everyday life can cause harmful interferences,” said Andreas Napp, cardiologist at RWTH Aachen University Hospital in Germany.

In many cases, holding the appliance, tool or other EMF source at a forearm’s length distance — greater than 12 inches — limits the risk of electromagnetic interference.

Thus, “in occupational environments, such as the manufacturing industry, an individual risk assessment for workers with a pacemaker is required due to the presence of a strong EMF,” Napp added, in the paper appearing in the journal Circulation.

However, using dedicated device programming can effectively measure to reduce the individual risk of interference. For example, doctors can reprogramme pacemakers to a lower sensitivity to reduce EMF susceptibility, Napp said.

For the study, the team tested under different conditions the impacts of EMF exposure on 119 patients with pacemakers.

(IANS)

Health

One Crore Frontline Healthcare Workers To Receive Covid-19 Vaccine In First Leg

Five vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which four are in Phase II/III and one is in Phase-I/II trials.

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An estimated one crore frontline health workers will receive the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine whenever it becomes available, with around 92 per cent of government hospitals and 55 per cent of private hospitals across all states and UTs providing data identifying the workers, official sources said.

Five vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which four are in Phase II/III and one is in Phase-I/II trials.

States have been asked to accelerate the process of identifying frontline healthcare workers including doctors, MBBS students, nurses and ASHA workers etc, so that the exercise gets completed in another one week.

It has asked states to do planning and mapping of vaccination sessions where healthcare workers will be vaccinated during the 1st phase and mapping human resources across departments that could be deployed for vaccination sessions for verification of beneficiaries, crowd management and overall coordination.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet with chief ministers and other representatives of states and union territories via video conferencing on Tuesday to discuss the vaccine distribution strategy, sources said.

“Around 92 per cent of all government hospitals and 55 per cent of all private hospitals from across all states and UTs have provided data. The rest of the details will come in another one week. We have asked the states to accelerate the process,” an official source said.

The anti-coronavirus vaccine, once available, would be distributed under a special Covid-19 inoculation programme, using the processes, technology and network of the existing Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). It would run parallel to the UIP.

The Centre, with the help of state and UT governments, has started the process of identifying around 30 crore priority beneficiaries who would be given vaccine dose in the initial phase, sources had said.

The government has demarcated four categories which include around 1 crore healthcare professionals including doctors, MBBS students, nurses and ASHA workers etc, around two crore frontline workers including municipal corporation workers, personnel of the police and armed forces, about 26 crore people aged above 50 and a special category of those below 50 with co-morbidities and requiring specialised care.

Health Ministry’s existing digital platform eVIN which is being used for the UIP is being enhanced for the Covid-19 vaccine distribution and delivery, through which SMSs would be sent to recipients informing the time, date and venue to get the shots and digitally connect them and also track them, sources had earlier said.

Each person in the immunisation list would be linked with their Aadhar cards to avoid duplication and to track beneficiaries. However, in case a person doesn’t have an Aadhar card, a government photo identity can be used, the sources said.

Five vaccines are under different phases of clinical trials in India with the Serum Institute of India conducting phase-3 trial of the Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine while the indigenously developed Bharat Biotech and ICMR vaccine has already started the phase III clinical trial.

Indigenously developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila has completed phase -2 clinical trial in the country.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will soon start combined phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India.Biological E. Ltd has started early phase 1 and 2 human trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said that a Covid-19 vaccine is likely to be available by the first quarter of 2021.

He had said that the Centre estimates to receive and utilise 40-50 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine covering around 25 crore people by July next year.

“The prioritisation of groups for Covid-19 vaccine shall be based on two key considerations — occupational hazard and risk of exposure to infection, and the risk of developing severe disease and increased mortality,” he had said.

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More Than Half Of 20-Year-Olds In India’s Metros Likely To Develop Diabetes In Lifetime

As many as 134 million people in India, with more women at risk, could be afflicted with diabetes by 2045 due to reduced physical activity and poor diet.

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More than half of men and nearly two-thirds of women currently aged 20 years in India could develop diabetes in their lifetime, with most of those cases likely to be type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Diabetologia, estimated the probability of a metropolitan Indian of any age or body mass index (BMI) developing diabetes in their lifetime.

According to the scientists, including those from the Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC) in New Delhi, the country already has a significant health burden caused by diabetes with more than 77 million adults currently afflicted by the condition, and the number expected to almost double to 134 million by 2045.

As urban centres continue to grow rapidly across India, they said decreasing diet quality, and decreased levels of physical activity are all contributing to this hidden epidemic.

In the study, the researchers assessed age-, sex- and BMI-specific incidence rates of diabetes in urban India based on data from the Centre for Cardiometabolic Risk Reduction in South Asia (2010-2018).

They also analysed the age-, sex- and urban-specific rates of mortality from period lifetables reported by the Government of India (2014), and the prevalence of diabetes reported by the Indian Council for Medical Research India Diabetes Study (2008-2015).

Based on the analysis, the scientists said the lifetime risk of developing diabetes in 20-year-old men and women free of diabetes today is 56 and 65 per cent, respectively.

Women generally had a higher lifetime risk across the lifespan, the study noted.

According to the researchers, for those currently aged 60 years and currently free of diabetes, around 38 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men would go on to develop diabetes.

They cautioned that obesity had a substantial impact on these projections, with the lifetime risk highest among obese metropolitan Indians — 86 per cent among 20-year-old women, and 87 per cent among men.

People with lower BMI had considerably higher diabetes-free life expectancy and obese 20-year-olds were estimated to have around half of their remaining life years free from diabetes.

However, those with normal or underweight BMI were projected to live out most of their remaining years diabetes-free, the scientists said.

“The remarkably high lifetime risk of developing diabetes and the low diabetes-free life expectancy in India’s metropolitan cities, especially for individuals with high BMI, implies that interventions targeting the incidence of diabetes may be of paramount importance moving forward,” the researchers noted in the study.

They noted that metropolitan Indians at every age and BMI have an alarmingly high probability of developing diabetes compared with results from high-income countries, and that proactive efforts to prevent diabetes in cities are urgently needed.

According to the scientists, this is particularly needed given the rapid increase in “urban obesogenic environments” across the country.

In addition to these risk factors, the scientists said Indians already have a relatively high predisposition to developing the condition at both lower ages and lower BMIs when compared with white European populations.

“Such high probabilities of developing diabetes will have severely negative implications for India”s already strained health system and also out-of-pocket expenditure on diabetes treatment by patients, unless diabetes is immediately acknowledged for what it is,” said study co-author Shammi Luhar from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

“Despite these very high predicted lifetime risks of diabetes, it is possible to prevent or postpone diabetes by effective lifestyle modification, such as following a healthy diet, by increasing physical activity and reducing body weight in those who are obese or overweight,” added Viswanathan Mohan, another co-author of the research from the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation in Chennai.

The scientists believe the need of the hour is policy and investment with clearly spelt out targets and commitments to meet by 2030.

“Perhaps an aspirational target of ’90-90-90′ (90 per cent of people with diabetes detected, 90 per cent of those detected treated, and 90 per cent of those treated controlled), is imminently needed,” said study co-author Nikhil Tandon from the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

“Such a target could operate in the same way as the 90-90-90 targets introduced some years ago for HIV, which has since been replaced by even more ambitious 95-95-95 targets,” Tandon added.

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‘Situation going out of control’: SC seeks Covid report from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the infections in these states are “going out of control” and asked them to submit a status report within two days.

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The Supreme Court on Monday sought a status report from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Assam on steps taken to control the spread of coronavirus infection, news agency PTI reported. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the infections in these states are “going out of control” and asked them to submit a status report within two days.

“Things have worsened in Delhi especially in November. You file a status report on what steps have been taken,”the court told Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who was appearing for the Delhi government. The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, said that all efforts shall be made by the Centre and the states to mitigate the situation and to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

While fresh cases of coronavirus infections continue to decline — or remain stagnant — in the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and even Himachal Pradesh have been seeing a significant rise in active cases.

Amid the surge in a few states, the Centre on Sunday dispatched high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to help them tackle the spread of the disease. A few days ago, similar teams were sent to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh as well.

Part of the reason for the surge in cases in these states could be attributed to low adherence of physical distancing norms during the festival season, especially since it came after a prolonged phase of relative stability, which could have given rise to complacency amongst the public.

On Monday, India’s COVID-19 caseload went past 91 lakh with 44,059 coronavirus infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries surged to 85,62,641. The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the thirteenth consecutive day. There are 4,43,486 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date which comprises 4.85 per cent of the total caseload.

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