Environmental factors can also trigger lung cancer

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Increasingly, more number of youngsters are being diagnosed with this condition, even if they are non-smokers

New Delhi, 22 May 2018: As per findings by a team of Indian and British scientists, nanoparticles derived from tea leaves can inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells, destroying up to 80% of them. Tea leaves contain many compounds including polyphenols, amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. The study found that quantum dots produced from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells.

While smoking and tobacco consumption are two main causes for lung cancer, there are other factors at play as well. The percentage of non-smoking lung cancer patients has gone up to 20% in recent times according to statistics and this can be attributed to the increasing pollution levels.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Increasingly a number of non-smokers, often young, are being diagnosed with lung cancer. The nature of the disease is also witnessing a change with more cases of adenocarcinoma being reported. This may be linked to a mutation in genes due to environmental factors such as pollution. Adenocarcinoma is a type of non-small cell lung cancer and is rising rapidly in India. Polluted air contains hydrocarbons and various carcinogens which can wreak havoc on lung health. This combined with genetic factors, passive smoking, and other triggers can make the situation worse. It is important to create awareness that a diagnosis is must right at the onset of symptoms failing which the disease can progress rapidly.”

Some early symptoms of lung cancer include persistent cough, blood in sputum, chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing or coughing, hoarseness, weight/appetite loss and shortness of breath, among others.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “While it may not be possible to alter the environmental triggers responsible for lung cancer, those who smoke should definitely try to quit the habit. Smoking not only causes lung cancer but various other health complications over time.”

Some tips from HCFI.

Quit smoking and talk to your children about the negative health effects of this habit. Quitting this deadly habit can reduce your risk of lung cancer, even if you’ve smoked for years. Make use of other options such as nicotine replacement products, medications, and support groups.
Avoid secondhand smoke if you happen to live in and around a smoker. Avoid areas where people smoke, such as bars and restaurants, and seek out smoke-free options.
Check the radon levels in your home.
Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work. You can wear a mask for protection. Your risk of lung damage from workplace carcinogens increases if you smoke.
Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Food sources of vitamins and nutrients are best.
Try and exercise on most days of the week. If you don’t exercise regularly, start out slowly.

Nipah virus encephalitis: A newly emerging disease

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The cause of death of three people, who were suffering from acute viral encephalitis, in Kozhikode has been confirmed to be due to the Nipah virus by the National Virology Institute in Pune.

Nipah and Hendra viruses are two related zoonotic pathogens that have emerged in the Asia-Pacific region. Both are RNA viruses that belong to the Paramyxoviridae family. The viruses jump the species barrier and infect a secondary animal host (e.g., pigs or horses), and transmit infections to humans

Here are some key facts about Nipah virus infection.

Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, which causes severe disease in both humans and animals. The associated mortality is high.
The natural hosts for the Nipah virus are the fruit bats of the Pteropus genus, which are symptomless carriers. Mainly four species have been demonstrated to have serologic evidence of infection with this virus. The virus is shed in the saliva, urine, semen and excreta of the infected bats.
Nipah virus spreads to humans through direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or other people who are infected with the virus. People have been also cautioned to avoid eating fruits that have fallen to the ground.
Nipah virus was first identified in 1998 as the cause of an outbreak of viral encephalitis among pig farmers in Malaysia, where pigs were the intermediate hosts. The virus derives its name from Sungai Nipah, a village in the Malaysian Peninsula where the pig farmers became ill with encephalitis. Since then, several outbreaks of acute Nipah encephalitis have been reported from Bangladesh, West Bengal (Siliguri), India with reports of person-to-person transmission in hospital settings and in the Southern Philippines. Raw date palm sap that had been contaminated by infected fruit bats was identified as the source of infection in an outbreak that occurred in Bangladesh in 2004.
The incubation period is 5 to 14 days.
Clinically, the main presentation of Nipah virus infection is as an encephalitic syndrome characterized by onset of non specific symptoms – sudden onset of fever, headache, myalgia, nausea and vomiting followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion. The infected person can become comatose within 24 to 48 hours.
The case fatality rate of Nipah encephalitis ranges from 9 to 75%
Meningismus is seen in approximately one-third of patients although marked nuchal rigidity and photophobia are uncommon.
Patients infected with Hendra virus have presented with fever and influenza like illnesses, or with meningoencephalitis
Nipah virus infection can be diagnosed by ELISA test.
On MRI, typically multiple, small (less than 5 mm), asymmetric focal lesions in the subcortical and deep white matter without surrounding edema are seen.
There is no effective treatment for Nipah virus infection. The mainstay of treatment is supportive care focusing on managing fever and the neurological symptoms. Infection control practices and barrier nursing are important as person-to-person transmission may occur. Severely ill patients need intensive care.
Ribavirin, a nucleoside analog, can be given empirically as it has a broad spectrum of antiviral activity against both RNA and DNA viruses. In the Malaysian outbreak, 140 treated patients were compared to 54 control patients who did not receive ribavirin. Fewer treated patients died (32% vs 54%). However, treated patients were identified later in the outbreak so it is possible that they were given better general medical care compared to untreated patients seen earlier. Subsequent animal models found that ribavirin, as well as chloroquine, were ineffective.
Anti-thrombotic agents, aspirin and pentoxyfylline, were administered in some patients based upon the recognition that arterial thrombosis may play an important role in the CNS disease.
Nipah virus is classified internationally as a biosecurity level (BSL) 4 agent. Biosafety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, for which there are no vaccines or treatments, or a related agent with unknown risk of transmission (CDC).