Categories
News on Health & Science

A Step Forward

The Jaipur foot is now even better, thanks to a dedicated group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

………………………………………………

Looking for a project to do in his third undergraduate year, Goutam Reddy was sure he would not do anything “fashionable”. He was studying electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. “I wanted something that would find application in the developing world, not the next fast car,” he says.

Reddy grew up in Michigan State, but his parents were of Indian origin. During one of his visits to India, he came to know about the Jaipur foot, which was being fitted to patients by the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti in New Delhi. He visited this organisation, trying to understand and improve the technology as part of his project. But he could not find anything to do immediately.

Anyone who sees the Jaipur foot being fitted to patients will never forget the experience. It was no different for Reddy. The Jaipur foot, developed in the 1970s by the late P.K. Sethi, an orthopaedic surgeon, and artisan Ram Chandra, is the one of the best options in the world if you lose your leg. It is lightweight and strong, made of easily available materials like rubber, and costs only $28. An artificial foot in the US would cost a few thousand dollars at least. It was popular among soldiers in war-ravaged countries like Afghanistan. Soldiers who lost their legs came to Jaipur to be fitted with this low-cost miracle. At least 250,000 of these have been fitted to poor people who have lost their legs.

……………………………………………..
The Jaipur foot (above) gave Sudha Chandran(a great dancer) a new lease of life after she lost a leg in a 1981 accident.

Yet the Jaipur foot is far from perfect. Reddy realised that the manufacturing methods needed improvement. Several devices used in the Jaipur foot could be improved as well. This was expected, because they were still using techniques developed 30 years ago. If the knee is also amputated, as often happens, the patient will not be able to bend his or her leg — in this case, the artificial foot. This is a common problem with most low-cost artificial legs. Although he could not develop a project immediately, Reddy realised that he could improve the Jaipur foot sometime in the future. The fitting process, in particular, seemed in need of betterment.

The traditional way of fitting was to use plaster of paris moulds. A year and a half ago, the Centre for International Rehabilitation in Chicago developed a new process. This consisted of making the amputees put their leg inside sand and then applying a vacuum. The vacuum made the sand rock solid, and the resulting impression a perfect mould. The vacuum is created using an air compressor, and this necessitated the use of a generator. Reddy, along with other MIT students, found a way to eliminate this generator. They also gave a new name to the Samiti: the Jaipur Foot Organisation (JFO).

After Reddy finished his master’s degree at MIT, he set up a non-profit organisation called Developing World Prosthetics. Other MIT students also joined him. These students were also studying engineering at MIT, and they chose improving the Jaipur foot as their undergraduate project. Some of them travelled to India — using a grant from MIT’s public Service Centre and a $7,500 prize from a competition — to work on this. Finally, they developed a method using a cycle pump and human power to generate a vacuum in the fitting process. The students returned with a better perspective of the developing world. “I want to work on developing world prosthetic projects,” says Philip Garcia, one of the students.

Meanwhile, Reddy has initiated a course at MIT on wheelchair design in developing countries. He remains deeply interested in robotic prosthetics, and in improving the Jaipur foot farther. Members of the JFO rarely get the time to improve the original invention. “Our primary aim is to make and fit the foot,” says Sanjeev Kumar, manager of the Delhi branch of the JFO. Reddy and his organisation will now attempt this task.

……………………………………………..
The dancer enthralls her audience in the hugely popular TV show Jhalak dikhla ja

For example, they are trying to improve the sand-casting system for adoption in rural areas. Another project is to improve the flexibility of the device. If the Jaipur foot is fitted above the knee, the patient has to walk with a straight leg — they can bend the “knee” only when they want to sit. The MIT students and Developing World Prosthetics are now working on this problem. The spring session at MIT has a course on developing world prosthetics, and solving the straight knee problem will be one of their primary tasks.

SourcesL : The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Advertisements
Categories
News on Health & Science

Why Bird Flu Has Been Kept At Bay

[amazon_link asins=’1590560981,B075SRQKHZ,B00MOI63IE,B06Y3LD26N,B000HRMAMM,0785221875,0470038640,B004EUZOEY,1599160153′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’397be6b5-defe-11e7-9190-f59cb62526c7′]

Scientists say they have identified a key reason why bird flu has so far not posed a widespread menace to humans.So far, the H5N1 strain has mainly infected birds and poultry workers, but experts fear the virus could mutate to pass easily from human to human.
.The bird flu virus affecting poultry is the H5N1 strain

However, Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that to enter human respiratory cells the virus must first pick a very specific type of lock.

The study appears in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The researchers say their discovery may help scientists better monitor changes in H5N1 – and find better ways to fight it.

Flu viruses attack by binding sugar chains, called glycans, that line the airways and lungs.

Latching on

The chemical linkages between the sugar molecules in these chains differ between humans and birds.

Until now it has been assumed that bird flu viruses would be adapt to humans simply by acquiring mutations that enable them to attach to the human types.

But Dr Ram Sasisekharan and colleagues found this step depends on the shape assumed by the flexible sugar chains rather than the type of linkage.

Bird flu viruses currently require cone-shaped glycans to infect birds, so the umbrella shape found in humans has protected most of us from avian flu.

This suggests that for the H5N1 bird flu virus to become pandemic it must adapt so that it can latch onto the umbrella-shaped glycans of the human upper respiratory tract.

Dr Jeremy Berg of the National Institutes of Health which funded the work said: “Sasisekharan’s team has changed our view of flu viruses and how they must adapt to infect us.

“The work may also improve our ability to monitor the evolution of the H5N1 virus and thwart potential outbreaks.”

Professor Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading, said: “This new work shows that there are sublevels of sugar that the virus prefers to use to get into cells and the authors suggest this is a significant factor in why H5N1 has not yet spread to humans.

“It provides a finer level of analysis than has been done so far but it is likely that other factors, like the reduced temperate of the human upper airway, also are involved.”

“It is likely that other factors, like the reduced temperate of the human upper airway, also are involved

Professor Ian Jones of Reading University said

Sources: BBC NEWS, 25th. Jan ’08

Categories
News on Health & Science

Lost memories can be restored

[amazon_link asins=’B01L9JD1VA,B01MUEVBPB,B00RDLMY2G’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’446a5bab-c6e9-11e7-873a-e74e1794ffd9′]

Mental stimulation and drug treatment may help people with brain ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease regain seemingly lost memories, according to research published on Sunday.Scientists used two methods to reverse memory loss in mice with a condition like Alzheimer’s — placing them in sort of a rodent Disneyland to stimulate their brains, and also using a type of drug that encourages growth of brain nerve cells.

CLICK & SEE

Neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said such methods might yield similar benefits in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia that rob them of their memory and ability to learn.

“We show, I believe, the first evidence that even if the brain suffered some very severe neurodegeneration and the individual exhibits very severe learning impairment and memory loss, there is still the possibility to improve learning ability and recover to a certain extent lost long-term memories,” Tsai said.

Tsai said if apparently lost long-term memories could be retrieved, this suggested the memories had not been actually erased from the brain. Instead, she and colleagues reported in the journal Nature, the memories probably remained in storage but could not be accessed or retrieved due to the brain damage.

The researchers used genetically engineered elderly mice in which they were able to activate a protein that triggered brain pathology very much like that of people with Alzheimer’s, with atrophy and loss of nerve cells.

Previous research has shown that regular mental stimulation such as reading or playing a musical instrument may reduce one’s risk for Alzheimer’s. And a stimulating environment also has been shown to improve learning in mice.

In one part of their study, the researchers took mice out of their usual bland cages and placed them in a sort of mouse playground loaded with an ever-changing assortment of colorful toys, treadmills and other mice.

The researchers previously had used a “fear-conditioning” test — placing mice in a chamber and delivering a mild electric shock to their feet — to establish an enduring memory.

Mice with Alzheimer’s-like brain damage put in the stimulating environment could remember that shock test far better than similar animals kept in standard cages. The playground mice also were better at learning new things than those kept in cages. After exploring the biological mechanism behind the improvement in mice placed in the enriched environment, the researchers tested on the mice a class of drugs called histone deacetylase, or HDAC, inhibitors.

Source:The Times Of India

Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Corn

What are corns?
Corns are annoying and sometimes painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas that are being pressed on by underlying bones. They occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Corns can be painful to walk on even when they are small. Common locations are:

* On the sole, over the metatarsal arch (the “ball” of the foot);

* On the outside of the fifth (pinky) toe, where it rubs against the shoe; and

* Between the 4th and 5th toes. Unlike other corns which are firm and flesh-colored, corns between the toes are often whitish and messy; they are sometimes called “soft corns.”

It’s usually hard to know where finger corns come from since they often don’t appear at sites of obvious pressure.

click & see

How can corns be prevented?
Generally speaking, corns are a disease of civilization. If we didn’t wear shoes, we wouldn’t have them. Potential preventive measures therefore include:

1. Moving to Tahiti to stroll on the sand in your bare tootsies! This is a pleasant approach, as long as you never have to go back home and walk in shoes again.
2. For the incurably civilized, wearing comfortable shoes is useful. The idea is to avoid having footgear press on the outside of the 5th toe, or pressing the 4th and 5th toes together.
3. Another approach is to pad the potentially affected area. You can buy many sorts of padding at the drugstore:

* Cushions to put between the toes;
* Foam or moleskin pads to put over the places where corns form;
* Foam pads with holes in the center (like doughnuts or bagels), which redistribute pressure around the corn instead of right over it; and
* Cushioned insoles to pad your feet and alleviate mechanical pressure.

How can corns be treated?
You can buy many types of medicated products to chemically pare down the thickened, dead skin overlying the corn. These products are share the same active ingredient –salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic, which means it dissolves the protein (keratin) that makes up most of both your corn and the thick layer of dead skin which often tops it. Used once a day as indicated on the package directions, these products are gentle and safe. Salicylic acid treatments are available in different forms including:

* Applicators
* Drops
* Pads
* Plasters

All of these treatment will turn the top of the skin white and allow you to trim or peel away dead tissue, making the corn protrude and hurt less.

It generally is recommended that salicylic acid not be used in diabetics or when there is poor circulation (because of concern about how normally the skin can heal); however, in practice, salicylic acid is withheld only when there are clear signs of ongoing inflammation of the skin.

When should you seek professional treatment for corns?
If the corn bothers you and doesn’t respond to salicylic acid and trimming, you might consider seeing a physician or podiatrist who can physically pare corns with scalpels. (It’s better not to do this yourself, especially if you’re elderly or diabetic.) Podiatrists also can measure and fit you with orthotic devices to redistribute your weight on your feet while you walk so that pressure from the foot bones doesn’t focus on your corns. (Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one-size-fits-all and may not be effective.)

Surgery for corns is rarely necessary. There is never a point to cutting out a corn. The pressure that caused it to form in the first place will just make it come back. When necessary, surgery for corns involves shaving the underlying bone that is pressing on the skin to reduce the pressure.

This link may show some natural remedy for corns.

Source:www.medicinenet.com

Categories
Suppliments our body needs

Iron

[amazon_link asins=’B01LB6808U,B006QQRY2O,B00NV5UTM0,B00BKNSV2A,B00GZ9K2TO,B00XDABCC4,B00582WT6I,B01IAH4OJ2′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’746aa62b-8181-11e7-a9f4-7385786ff174′]

What is iron?

Iron is an important trace mineral found in every cell of the body, usually in combination with protein. Depending on the level of iron in the body, it can act either as an antioxidant, or it can stimulate the formation of free radicals.

Why do you need it?

Iron is an essential nutrient because it is a vital part of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all body cells. Iron is essential to the formation of hemoglobin and myoglobin, which carries the oxygen in the blood and muscles. It makes up part of many proteins and enzymes in the body.

How much iron should you take?

According to the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron is as follows:

* Adult men: between 10-12 milligrams/day
* Adult women: 15 milligrams/day
* Children aged 7-10: 10 milligrams/day
* Infants: 10 milligrams/day
* Pregnant/lactating women: 30 milligrams/day

What are some good sources of iron?

Red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes and fortified cereals are all good sources of iron. Other sources include oysters, dried fruits, molasses, and dark, leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

The best food sources of easily absorbed iron are animal products. Iron from vegetables, fruits, grains, and supplements is harder for the body to absorb. Mixing lean meat, fish, or poultry with beans or dark leafy greens at a meal can improve absorption of vegetable sources of iron up to three times. Foods rich in vitamin C also increase iron absorption.

What can happen if you don’t get enough iron?

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide. Deficiency occurs in the form of iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency and anemia can occur during periods of rapid growth, during pregnancy, and among women who are menstruating more than usual. It can be associated with any type of intestinal loss of blood, frequent donation of blood, or from the inability to absorb iron efficiently. Initial symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are fatigue and lack of energy. Dizziness, weight loss, headaches and lowered immunity can also occur.

What can happen if you take too much?

Iron toxicity rarely develops from an increased intake of dietary iron alone; however, increased intake of iron supplements may lead to toxicity. Symptoms include fatigue, anorexia, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, weight loss, shortness of breath, and possibly a grayish color to the skin.

Source:ChiroFind.com