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Vegetarian diet may up cancer, heart disease risk in Indians: Study

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Vegetarian diet
Scientists found evidence that a vegetarian diet has led to a mutation that may make people more susceptible to inflammation, and by association, increased risk of heart disease and colon cancer.
Vegetarian diet has led to a mutation that may make people more susceptible to inflammation, increased risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

Long term vegetarian diet can lead to a genetic mutation that may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease in Indians, a new study by Cornell University researchers has claimed.

Scientists found evidence that a vegetarian diet has led to a mutation that may make people more susceptible to inflammation, and by association, increased risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

broccoli-mainThe discovery by researchers including Kumar Kothapalli from Cornell University in US provides the first evolutionary detective work that traces a higher frequency of a particular mutation to a primarily vegetarian population from Pune (about 70 per cent), when compared to a traditional meat-eating American population, made up of mostly Kansans (less than 20 per cent).

By using reference data from the 1000 Genomes Project, researchers provided evolutionary evidence that the vegetarian diet, over many generations, may have driven the higher frequency of a mutation in the Indian population.

The mutation, called rs66698963 and found in the FADS2 gene, is an insertion or deletion of a sequence of DNA that regulates the expression of two genes, FADS1 and FADS2. These genes are key to making long chain polyunsaturated fats, researchers said.

Among these, arachidonic acid is a key target of the pharmaceutical industry because it is a central culprit for those at risk for heart disease, colon cancer, and many other inflammation-related conditions, they said.

Treating individuals according to whether they carry 0, 1, or 2 copies of the insertion, and their influence on fatty acid metabolites, can be an important consideration for precision medicine and nutrition.

The insertion mutation may be favoured in populations subsisting primarily on vegetarian diets and possibly populations having limited access to diets rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially fatty fish, researchers said.

“With little animal food in the diet, the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids must be made metabolically from plant PUFA precursors,” researchers said.

“The physiological demand for arachidonic acid, as well as omega-3 EPA and DHA, in vegetarians is likely to have favoured genetics that support efficient synthesis of these key metabolites,” they said.

Changes in the dietary omega-6 to omega-3 balance may contribute to the increase in chronic disease seen in some
developing countries, researchers said.

The findings were published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Health

Congress alleges govt procuring Covid vaccine at inflated prices

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Congress on Sunday questioned the procurement of Covid vaccines, alleging that the government has procured the vaccines at inflated prices despite the manufacturers claiming they would supply the vaccines without seeking profit.

Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, addressing a press conference, said, “Why should the Modi government pay Rs 95 per dose more to Bharat Biotech for a vaccine that has been developed with the expertise and experience of scientists of government-run ICMR and pay more for a vaccine that has only been tested on 755 individuals and is yet to be cleared after phase-3 trials?”

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

“Why is the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,000 per dose in the open market?” he asked.

Surjewala said, “‘Covishield’ is an AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. Serum Institute is supplying this vaccine at Rs 200/dose to government. AstraZeneca has committed to supplying the vaccine at no profit while ‘Covaxin’, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, is being supplied at Rs 295/dose. Admittedly, Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).”

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had said stated that his company will sell Covishield for Rs 1,000 per dose in open market, that is Rs 2,000 for 2 doses required for every individual.

Surjewala said, “Why should export of vaccine be permitted without immunisation of India’s population? ‘Corona Vaccine For All’ should be the stated policy of Modi government.”

“However, the government’s approach on free vaccination or cost of vaccination, cost to exchequer, profit margins of companies, etc, for India’s 130 crore people is completely opaque and shrouded in secrecy,” he said.

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Health

13 Israelis suffer facial paralysis post inoculation

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

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Vaccine

Jerusalem, Jan 17 : At least 13 Israelis suffered mild facial paralysis as a side effect after receiving the first Covid vaccine jabs, the Health Ministry said, adding that the count could be higher.

The officials have raised questions on whether or not to administer the second dose to these individuals the Health Ministry had recommended for the second dose, reported the Jerusalem Post.

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

“I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

As for receiving the second dose, he admits he is undecided, but says that “it is important to note that this is something rare, and I don’t want people to avoid getting vaccinated – it’s important”.

“I recently came across, for example, someone vaccinated who was dealing with paralysis, and decided not to give her a second dose,” Galia Rahav, Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Centre told Ynet.

“It is true that it can be given according to the Health Ministry, but I did not feel comfortable with it.”

She added that, “No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose.”

However, the Health Ministry has assured of the second dose only when the paralysis passes, Ynet reported.

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Delhi reports 51 cases of minor adverse events post vaccination

As many as 1,91,181 people were vaccinated on day one of India’s first phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive.

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Hours after the Health Ministry announced on January 16 that India has reported no case of post-vaccination hospitalisation yet, 51 persons complained of minor adverse events in Delhi. Another person developed severe adverse event following immunization and had to be referred to the AEFI centre.

Out of a total of 4,319 healthcare and frontline workers who were vaccinated on Jnauary 16 in the National Capital, two healthcare workers at NDMC’s Charak Palika Hospital reported mild adverse event post-vaccination including mild tightness in the chest. They were kept under observation by AEFI team and discharged 30 minutes later after they felt at ease. The two other cases were reported from Northern Railway Central Hospital, of which one was referred to the AEFI centre, the Delhi government has informed.

As many as 1,91,181 people were vaccinated on day one of India’s first phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive.

Beneficiaries from 11 states and union territories across India received Covishield or Covaxin shots on the first day of the vaccination drive, namely, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.

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