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5-a-day ‘fruits and veggies’ help you live longer

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A recent publication in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation states that 5-a-day mix diet of fruits and vegetables can improve your health and help you live longer. The study while noting that some vegetables and fruits are healthier than others, recommends people to start by adding 1 or 2 fruits or vegetables a day to their diets. The study identifies an optimal intake level of fruits and vegetables and supports the evidence-based, succinct public health message of ‘5-a-day,’ meaning people should ideally consume five servings of fruit and vegetable each day.

Researchers studied diet and mortality among more than 100,000 men and women in the United States over the course of about 3 decades, along with data from similar studies conducted worldwide. Information on more than 2 million study participants was included.

However, the study also analyzed that not all foods that one might consider to be fruits and vegetables offered the same benefits. Starchy vegetables for e.g., such as peas and corn, fruit juices and potatoes were not associated with reduced risk of death from all causes or specific chronic diseases. On the other hand, green leafy vegetables, including spinach, lettuce and kale, and fruit and vegetables rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, berries and carrots, showed benefits.

The authors concluded that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk for the chronic health conditions that are the leading causes of death, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. For e.g., compared to those who consumed two servings of fruit and vegetables per day, participants who consumed five servings a day of fruits and vegetable had a 13 per cent lower risk of death from all causes; a 12 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke; a 10 per cent lower risk of death from cancer; and a 35 per cent lower risk of death from respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Eminent cardiologist Dr. KK Aggarwal has also emphasized on the need for having a ‘colorful plate’ recommending mindful eating, which means being aware of the hunger and satiety signals of the body. It also means using all the five senses while eating: colors (eye), smells (nose), flavors (taste), textures (touch) and sound while chewing (ear) of the food. Mindful eating also relieves stress and will help to check the rising numbers of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, etc.

 UIN: 170HP83R

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    April 19, 2021 at 1:48 pm

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Coronavirus

Italy to mandate green passes for entry to museums and other public places

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With rising cases in Italy, the Italian Government has decided to mandate a ‘green pass’ to visit its museums, attend sports events, enter restaurants, attend town fairs and conferences or casinos, visit bingo parlors and pools, among other public activities.

Similar to the Passe Sanitaire issued by the French Government, this pass is set to go into effect from August 6, according to current reports. Eligibility for the pass includes at least one dose of a COVID vaccine in the previous nine months or proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the past 48 hours. Recently recovered from COVID-19 patients are also eligible for the pass provided they can submit sufficient proof for the same. According to the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s official statement, these passes are meant to allow people to do the things they enjoy “with the assurance they won’t be next to contagious people”.

As of now on 26th July 2021, it is not clear as to how non-Italian residents or tourists and visitors would be able to obtain this green pass or if there will be any equivalent documents from other countries that could be considered for issuance of the green pass. According to their Press Release, eventually Italy could make the Green Pass mandatory for travel including trains, buses and air travel. However, Italian nightclubs that have remained shut for some time continue to remain shut until further notice.

Italy was among the countries worst affected by the pandemic in early 2020 and reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the European Union.

Italy has reported more than 4.3 million cases of COVID-19 and close to 128,000 deaths, according to the latest available data from the World Health Organization. The WHO further reports that over 5.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered till date.

UIN:370HP204R

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Sputnik Light refused Emergency Use License in India

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Globally most COVID-19 vaccines developed including the Pfizer-BioNTech, Astra Zeneca, Sputnik V, the Indianized Covishield to the Bharat Biotech manufactured Covaxin, are all administered in two doses. Sputnik manufacturers have recently launched a variant of its successful Sputnik V vaccine and this vaccine claims to have the advantage of being administered in a single dose. The one-dose vaccine, dubbed as Sputnik Light, could speed up the pace of vaccination drive in countries like India, inoculating twice as many people at the same time.

Sputnik Light was approved for emergency use in Russia in May, with an efficacy of approximately 80%.

While the Sputnik V received emergency use approval in India in early April, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has refused to grant emergency-use authorization to Sputnik Light – the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine stating that there is need for the conduct of the phase-3 trial of the ‘lighter’ version of the Russian vaccine in the country.

Sputnik Light, developed by Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, received authorization for use in Russia in May. The makers announced that the single dose Sputnik Light has 79.4% efficacy, but the company is yet to release scientific papers detailing the trial phase of the Sputnik Light vaccine, which may be one of the reasons that despite Sputnik V being authorized for use in 69 countries and Sputnik Light being authorized in 10 countries, neither Sputnik V nor Sputnik Light has received authorization for emergency use from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

Thus, while Russia recently rolled out the single-dose Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine, also known as Gam-COVD-Vac for worldwide circulation, some global health authorities including the CDSCO in India have stated that more tests are necessary to confirm its reliability.

UIN: 368HP202R

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Tuberculosis is rising in COVID patients

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Some media reports recently covered and reported a sudden rise in cases of Tuberculosis (TB) in patients who were infected with COVID-19. This is not true. According to the Health Ministry Press Information Bureau report of 17th July 2021, “there is not enough evidence currently to suggest that there has been an increase in TB cases due to COVID-19 or due to increased case finding efforts.”

Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe COVID19 disease. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has recently recommended TB screening for all COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 screening for all diagnosed TB patients to better understand and analyze the convergence of TB and COVID-19 for better surveillance and case finding of TB and COVID-19. The recommendation highlights studies that have shown that history of active as well as latent TB as an important risk factor for the COVID-19 infection.

Active or latent TB further results in increased susceptibility with rapid and severe symptom development and disease progression with poor outcomes. In addition, TB patients also tend to have co-morbid or living conditions (malnutrition, diabetes, smoking, HIV etc.) that increase their vulnerability.

Both TB and COVID-19 are known to be infectious, and they primarily attack the lungs, presenting similar symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing. In addition, TB bacilli can be present in humans in a dormant state and has the potential to start multiplying when the individual’s immunity is compromised for any reason such as a post-COVID scenario for COVID-19 survivors, especially due to the infection or the treatment with immunosuppressants such as steroids.

Therefore, because the COVID-19 infection can make an individual more susceptible to developing active TB disease, or an opportunistic infection like black fungus, it is important for COVID-19 survivors to be screened for TB as recommended by the MOHFW.

UIN: 365HP101F

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France is battling the 4th wave of the pandemic with 150% rise in cases

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Yes. France is currently battling the fourth wave of the pandemic and it is spreading with “lightening” speed.

On 21st July 2021, the French Prime Minister Mr. Jean Castex announced that the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is now the main variant circulating in France and has seen a stratospheric rise of 150% jump in cases in a week. He also added that 96% of the 18,000 new cases reported on 20th July 2021, were unvaccinated individuals.

In an attempt to restrict this rise, the Government in France has announced that a health pass called Passe Sanitaire will be required for all events or places with more than 50 people. This came into effect from 22nd July 2021. People wanting to go to cinemas, museums, sporting matches and other cultural venues in France will have to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test.

Starting from early August, the health pass will also be needed to enter restaurants and bars and for long-distance train and plane journeys, in a move to encourage people to get vaccinated. The French Government has also announced tougher sanctions for violation of the health pass rules, with fines ranging from 1500 to 45000 Euros, including a jail sentence up to one year, for first to third time offenders across legal and natural citizens of France.

UIN: 366HP200R

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The third wave is here

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A message circulating on social media is making several claims about the COVID-19 Delta virus including the claim that the third wave is here and there are some different symptoms of the viral infection because this is a variant of the already known Delta variant of the Coronaviruses which will cause the third wave. The forward further claims that there are no obvious signs of the new variant, and its infection and patients may experience no cough or fever but a lot of joint pain, neck pain, general weakness, back aches, loss of appetite, etc. However, none of this is true.

The Press Information Bureau in its 17th July 2021 release, has also confirmed that these forwards are fake and has released a tweet on the official handle of the Bureau regarding the same.

There has been lot of talk about if and when  the third wave would hit us, as on date, we have no evidence backing the claim that India is looking at a third wave coming in or has already reached the stage to term the current state of the pandemic as the third wave.

According to various news reports and expert symposia, experts around the world, including top scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have reiterated that the onset of the third wave has begun but these are mostly based on individual countries on a case to case basis.  For India, according to the latest projections, the third wave may hit between August and October according to the government which is why the next 2-3 months will be crucial.

UIN: 364HP100F

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