News on Health & Science

New Norms to Ease Back Pain

An association of doctors has pencilled India’s first formal guidelines for pain diagnosis and treatment amid concern that Indian patients are either under-treated or over-treated for acute and chronic pain.

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The Indian Society for the Study of Pain (ISSP) will release its pain management protocols for low back pain next week, to be followed later by protocols for other conditions, from headaches and neck and joint pain to pain related to cancer or trauma.

Limited surveys suggest that one in five patients in India with chronic pain do not find relief despite being under medical treatment, specialists in the ISSP said.

“We believe there is under-treatment, over-treatment, direct over-the-counter purchase of medicines by patients, and erratic treatment,” said Parmanand Jain, ISSP president and professor of anaesthesia at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. “We’re hoping these pain management algorithms will improve this situation.”

The protocols, developed primarily for the medical community, will provide a well- defined sequence of diagnostic investigations and the line of treatment for specific conditions associated with acute or chronic pain.

Pain specialists are hoping the protocols will also help keep patients away from diagnostic procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and even surgery, when they are not required.

Patients with low back pain are usually given mild painkillers and advised rest. If the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse and MRI scans show degenerative changes in the vertebral discs, it doesn’t mean surgery is required.

“Three out of four persons without any back pain may also show changes in MRI scans. So, the changes (in those with pain) may not be causing the pain at all,” said K. Jawahar Choudhury, senior pain management consultant at Apollo Hospital, Delhi.

As for over-treatment, many pain specialists believe the long-term abuse of painkillers is contributing significantly to the country’s burden of kidney disease.

But ISSP members concede that doctors in India are sometimes compelled to prescribe inappropriate treatment to cancer patients because morphine, a key pain-killer, isn’t easily available. The drug is distributed only through licensed clinics.

“We’ve been telling the narcotics control bureau to expand the distribution of morphine,” said Geeta Joshi, anaesthesiology professor at the Regional Cancer Centre, Ahmedabad. India’s per head consumption of morphine is 0.6mg, whereas the world and US figures are 5.93mg and 76mg, respectively.

: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Feeders May Affect Your Baby’s Health

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Giving a bottle of milk to a baby in the cot is an easy way for working mothers to put their child to sleep and complete their official  and household chores.
However, the next time you plan to purchase a feeder for your baby, think twice as it may cause your child an infection.

Dr Daljeet Singh, principal and paediatrician at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), said, “There is no need to give feeders or sippers to infants as they are the main carriers of infections. Breast feeding is important for a child till six months. A child should be fed semi-solid foods after that.”

He advised the use of wider mediums like a saucer, glass and cup etc for feeding as there was less scope for infection to be transmitted.

“Feeders have narrow space and sometimes they are not sterilized properly. This may lead to infections. It is best to use a spoon and saucer to keep infections at bay,” he added.

Dr Ashwani Singal, consultant and neonatologist at Apollo Hospital said, “There is no need to use feeders and I tell my patients to avoid using it. A child must be breast-fed for at least six months.”
He said it had been observed that those children who used feeders had 20 times higher risk of getting diarrohea, pneumonia, ear infections and allergies.

He said, “Working mothers can store their breast milk for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. This can be given to the child with a spoon and saucer.”

Talking on similar lines, Dr Rajinder Gulati, president of the Indian Academy of Paediatricians, Punjab, said, “Infants must be breast-fed for up to 6 months or one year.”

Discussing the issue, Gauri Sharma, a mother said, “My son was prone to carry infections. He used to suffer from diarrhoea every three months. Things have become better after I stopped feeding him through bottles.”

Source:   The Times Of India

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Health Quaries

Some Health Questions And Answers

Q: I have a paunch. How can I reduce it?….CLICK & SEE

A: Spot reduction of a paunch alone is not possible. You have to attempt all-round weight reduction and toning exercises. This can be done with a judicious combination of diet and exercise. Either alone will work only in the short term.

Men tend to accumulate weight around their middle. It will probably be the first place you gain weight and the last place you lose it. The risk factors associated with a paunch are diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. In men the risk increases once the waist measurement crosses 102 cm.

No surgery
Q: My eight-year-old son has frequent attacks of tonsillitis when the weather changes or if he drinks or eats refrigerated things. The doctor says I should wait and not have them operated. Is that correct?

A: Years ago many children had their tonsils removed as they were considered a useless troublesome organ. Today, we know that the tonsils filter out harmful viruses and bacteria and prevent them from entering the body and causing disease. Surgery is seldom necessary. It is recommended if there are seven or more episodes of tonsillitis in one year, the swollen tonsils interfere with breathing or swallowing, or an abscess develops in the tonsils.

Infection occurs with bacteria and viruses. These are usually spread with close contact. The number of infections increases when the child starts school. The refrigerator probably has little to do with the frequent attacks.

The tonsils tend to decrease in size as the child grows older. Waiting and watching instead of rushing into surgery seems like a sensible option. Your doctor is right.

Safe period
Q: We are a newly married couple and do not want children. My wife dislikes condoms and refuses to take the pill. My friend advised natural family planning and the safe days. I was too embarrassed to find out the details. How do we go about it?

A: First, you have to calculate the length of your wife’s menstrual cycle. This can vary in different women and can be anywhere from 26 to 45 days. The first day of bleeding is taken as day one.

Pregnancy occurs if there is sexual intercourse around the time the egg is released. This is usually 14 days before the next period starts. The safe period is thus seven days before and seven days after menstruation. It is not a very reliable method though.

Some couples practice coitus interruptus. In this method, ejaculation takes place outside the vagina.

Medication and sterility
Q: My wife and I have been trying to have a baby for the last 20 years. She is now nearing 40. She has had two miscarriages in the past. I was given methotrexate on and off for my medical condition of psoariasis. I now think this may be the cause of our problem.

Gonadotoxins are substances that interfere with sperm formation and quality. They may be chemicals, medication (both prescription and non-prescription), tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. The severity and reversibility of the problem depend on the duration and amount of exposure. Methotrexate is one of the medicines that can do this if taken long term.

Consult a reproductive medicine unit in a hospital near you. They will be able to work with your physician to determine the best course of action.

Memory loss
Q: I am preparing very hard for my exams. My marks used to be very good. Now the more I study the less I remember. My marks are decreasing. All these late nights are making me irritable.

A: Sleep deprivation leads to memory loss, irritability and a decline in reasoning. All the three would work against good academic performance.

Most people need around eight hours of sleep a day. Your brain automatically knows how tired you are. If you are consistently using an alarm clock to wake up, it means that you are forcing your brain to function when it is not ready. This decreases efficiency and impairs memory.

Perhaps your marks will be better if you put in 30 minutes of physical activity a day and also got rid of your alarm clock.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)