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Smartphone may help men test infertility at home

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infertility
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New York, March 24: Researchers have developed a smartphone-based semen analyser that can help men test infertility in the privacy and comfort of their home, suggests new research.

In tests, the researchers found that the easy-to-use smartphone app and accessory analyses sperm concentration and motility with approximately 98 per cent accuracy.

The research, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, could offer men a potent weapon to fight infertility as a prevailing cultural and social stigma, and get round the lack of access to seeking an evaluation in resource-limited countries.

“We wanted to come up with a solution to make male infertility testing as simple and affordable as home pregnancy tests,” said Hadi Shafiee from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, US.

“Men have to provide semen samples in these rooms at a hospital, a situation in which they often experience stress, embarrassment, pessimism and disappointment,” Shafiee pointed out.

More than 45 million couples worldwide grapple with infertility, but current standard methods for diagnosing male infertility can be expensive, labour-intensive and require testing in a clinical setting.

“Current clinical tests are lab-based, time-consuming and subjective. This test is low-cost, quantitative, highly accurate and can analyse a video of an undiluted, unwashed semen sample in less than five seconds,” Shafiee added.

The analyser consists of an optical attachment that can connect to a smartphone and a disposable device onto which a semen sample can be loaded.

The new test utilises the advancements in consumer electronics and microfabrication.

A disposable microchip with a capillary tip and a rubber bulb is used for simple, power-free semen sample handling.

The team also designed a user-friendly smartphone application that guides the user through each step of testing, and a miniaturised weight scale that wirelessly connects to smartphones to measure total sperm count.

To evaluate the device, the research team collected and studied 350 clinical semen specimens at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Centre in Boston.

Overall, the smartphone-based device was able to detect abnormal semen samples based on World Health Organisation (WHO) thresholds on sperm concentration and motility with an accuracy of 98 per cent.

“The ability to bring point-of-care sperm testing to the consumer, or health facilities with limited resources, is a true game changer,” co-author of the study John Petrozza, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Centre, said.

The smartphone-based analyser for semen analysis is currently in a prototyping stage. The researchers said that plan to perform additional tests and will file for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

IANS

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An egg a day may keep heart diseases away

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Eggs

Beijing, May 22: If you thought eating eggs is bad for your heart due to their high cholesterol content, think again. A large study has now shown that people who consume an egg every day could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases.

“The present study finds that there is an association between moderate level of egg consumption (up to one egg/day) and a lower cardiac event rate,” the study authors said.

The researchers pointed out that eggs are a prominent source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide mostly due to ischaemic heart disease and stroke (including both haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke).

For the study, published in the journal Heart, Chenxi Qin from Peking University Health Science Centre in Beijing, and colleagues set out to examine the associations between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, major coronary events, haemorrhagic stroke and ischaemic stroke.

They used data from the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) study, an ongoing prospective study of around half a million (512,891) adults aged 30 to 79 from 10 different geographical areas in China.

The researchers focused on 416,213 participants who were free of prior cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

Analysis of the results showed that compared with people not consuming eggs, daily egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of CVD overall.

In particular, daily egg consumers (up to one egg per day) had a 26 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke, a 28 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke death and an 18 per cent lower risk of CVD death.

In addition, there was a 12 per cent reduction in risk of ischaemic heart disease observed for people consuming eggs daily, when compared with the ‘never/rarely’ consumption category — about 2.03 eggs per week.

This was an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors said their study had a large sample size and took into account established and potential risk factors for CVD.

IANS

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Delhi govt planning free dialysis at pvt hospitals: Jain

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Dialysis

New Delhi, May 21 : The Delhi government is planning to make the dialysis procedure free at private hospitals and dialysis centres on a public-private-partnership basis, subject to conditions, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today.

Jain said only those private hospitals and standalone centres which have more than 10 dialysis machines and are empanelled under the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme or the Central Government Health Scheme would be eligible to become a partner in the project.

Delhi government through the Delhi Arogya Kosh will pay them Rs 1,274 per dialysis.

Delhi residents who have been living in the city for the past three years and having an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh shall be eligible to avail the facility, Jain said.

The government is also installing dialysis machines at its own hospitals.

“We have installed 15 machines out of the 75 machines that we intend to install at various hospitals,” he said.

Jain said the idea behind providing the facility at private hospitals or dialysis centres is to cut the travel time for patients, who otherwise may have to go long distance to avail that facility at a government hospital.

“This would be like a reverse referral facility where patients would be referred to an empanelled hospital or centre nearby their home,” he said.

Jain said the government was in an “expansion mode” as far as health services were concerned.

“Five of our hospitals have already earned NABH entry-level accreditation – Pt Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Shri Dada Dev Matri Avum Shishu Chikitsalaya, Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital, Guru Gobind Singh Hospital and Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital,” he said.

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All you need to know about Nipah Virus

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Nipah Virus

New Delhi, May 21: Nipah Virus is an emerging infectious zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It was first reported in Malaysia in 1998.

It is spread by fruit bats and can be transferred from a human through close contact, body fluids, saliva and cough.

Nipah Virus first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

At present, there is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

NiV infection in humans has a wide range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.

Generally, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.

WeForNews 

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