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Tobacco use still major cause of death, says WHO

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Geneva, May 31: Tobacco use still remains a major cause of death despite a significant decline of its use globally since the beginning of the 21st century, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Marking the World No Tobacco Day, the WHO in a new report revealed that tobacco kills over 7 million people each year, although the worldwide prevalence of tobacco smoking has dropped between 2000 and 2016 from 27 per cent of the world’s total population to 20 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.

That reduction, steady as it is, still lags behind global and national commitments to drag down tobacco use by 30 per cent by 2025 among people aged 15 and older, the WHO said, adding the current downward trend, if it continues at the current pace, will only see a 22 per cent slide by the target year.

In addition, the awareness of the causal relationship between smoking and cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has not yet been raised among ordinary people, despite the fact that most people know that smoking can lead to cancer, the WHO warned.

“Most people know that using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people aren’t aware that tobacco also causes heart diseases and stroke — the world’s leading killers,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.

According to the WHO, cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and stroke, are responsible for 44 per cent of NCD deaths, or 17.9 million deaths annually.

Three million people die prematurely every year due to cardiovascular diseases related to tobacco use, including 890,000 deaths through exposure to second-hand smoke, the world body added.

A 2005 treaty signed by members of the WHO has been ratified by 180 nations now.

It urges banning tobacco advertisements and sponsorship, as well as imposing taxes to discourage tobacco consumption.

IANS

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Zika virus cases reach 72 in Jaipur

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Jaipur, Oct 15 : The number of people infected with the Zika virus rose to 72 in Jaipur, officials from the health department said on Monday.

The number of people carrying the virus was put out after a review meeting chaired by Additional Chief secretary (Health) Veenu Gupta.

The officials informed that 280 teams were surveying the affected areas by visiting each and every house. Around 96,000 houses had been surveyed till date.

Since Sunday, the health department has started issuing challans against owners of houses where larvae of the mosquito that transmits the virus were found.

The virus is transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito. It causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, and muscle and joint pain. It is particularly harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected upon birth.

Till Monday evening, 68 such challans were issued and penalties of Rs 44,000 were imposed.

Screening and anti-larvae measures are continuing in the capital city. The samples are also being collected from those suffering from fever, the officials said.

The people in the affected areas are being advised to temporarily suspend water storage, and the same is being supplied via tankers.

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Internet obsession among adolescents leading to mental disorder: Experts

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Spending excessive time over internet and social media is emerging as a leading cause for mental disorder among adolescents and youths, say medical experts.

“It is seen that youths and teenagers are getting obsessed with mobile phones and computers. They spend most of time either playing games and chatting over social media and get away from the real world,” RK Chadda, HOD Psychiatry and Chief National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC).

According to Dr Rachna Bhargava, Associate Professor, Psychiatry and NDDTC AIIMS, excessive time spent over virtual world is forces youths to remain secluded from reality.

“Individuals develop an imaginary world and tend to confine themselves within that. Youths, especially boys aged between 14-25, have been observed to be more prone to mental disorder,” Bhargava added.

Among early symptoms it is found that a child tends to stop interacting or mingling with other children and creates a distance from family members.

“If a device is being forcefully taken away from a child, it is seen that he or she tends to lose temper and even misbehaves,” Dr Anju Dhawan, NDDTC stated.

Dr Pratap Saran, Psychiatry, AIIMS pointed that the primary reason behind youths falling prey to mobile games or social media addiction is because of lack of parental supervision.

“It is often seen that the parents remain engulfed in their own daily routine work and ignores the child. At times even the parents also fails to understand or realise that a child is developing mental disorder and it further escalates the syndrome,” Dr Saran added.

However, most mental disorder cases remain unattended. Dr Bhargava said the reason behind is that neither the patients nor anyone from their families come up and talk about it to medical experts.

“Most people do not even realise that they are facing mental disorder. Many think it is a stigma to attend a psychiatrist and hesitate to report or talk about the issues. There is quite a gap between psychiatrists and mental disorder patients,” she said.

According to the experts, mental disorder owing to social media and mobile games can be avoided if parents start early supervision.

“The addiction cannot be measured in a particular time frame. It can develop after using even for 3-4 hours of more than 6 hours. It is very important that parents should take their child for outdoor activities, that will help them to keep in pace with the real world,” Dr Chadda mentioned.

The recently concluded National Mental Health Survey of India estimates current prevalence of mental disorders in the age group 18-29 at 7.39 per cent and lifetime prevalence at 9.54 per cent.

AIIMS also organised an event to promote awareness of mental health issues affecting the young people on the occasion of World Mental Health Day which is marked on October 10 every year.

(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Overdose of Vitamin A may up bone fracture risk

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London, Oct 9: Over-supplementing Vitamin A in your diet may decrease bone thickness, leading to weak and fracture-prone bones, a new study claims.

Vitamin A found in meat, dairy products and vegetables, is an essential source that is important for growth, vision, immunity and organ function.

The findings showed that mice which were given lower doses of Vitamin A, equivalent to 4.5-13 times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in humans, showed thinning of their bones in just eight days.

“Overconsumption of Vitamin A may be an increasing problem as many more people now take vitamin supplements. Overdose of Vitamin A could be increasing the risk of bone weakening disorders in humans but more studies are needed to investigate this,” said Ulf Lerner, Professor from Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“In the majority of cases, a balanced diet is perfectly sufficient to maintain the body’s nutritional needs for Vitamin A,” Lerner added.

Previous studies on mice have shown that short-term overdosing of Vitamin A, at the equivalent of 13-142 times the RDA in people, results in decreased bone thickness and an increased fracture risk after just one or two weeks.

However, these studies were performed with very high doses of Vitamin A, over a short period of time.

“In our study we have shown that much lower concentrations of Vitamin A, a range more relevant for humans, still decreases rodent bone thickness and strength,” Lerner noted.

Researchers suggested that people should be cautious of over-supplementing Vitamin A in their diets.

IANS

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