Category: Emergency Health care

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Leukaemia drug offers hope of an HIV cure to replace the 'dangerous' stem cell transplant

Leukaemia drug offers hope of an HIV cure to replace the 'dangerous' stem cell transplant

91 Views 07,June 2019

A leukaemia drug may completely rid HIV-positive patients of the virus that slowly leads to AIDS, scientists claim.

Trials on four infected monkeys showed two given arsenic trioxide had no detectable levels of the virus 80 days after treatment.The other two had a diminished pool of the virus inside their bodies - but not enough to be technically classed as in remission.None of the macaques - given a strain of HIV similar to that which strikes humans - were taking other drugs designed to keep the virus at bay.

Experts hope the breakthrough could lead to ways of curing the 37million people living across the world who are known to have the virus. Charities say it may lead to a way of replacing a risky procedure that simultaneously fights cancer and has already rid two patients of the virus. But they warned the macaque study, which they described as 'promising', is still preliminary and needs to be further investigated.

UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS advisor Shaffiq Essajee told MailOnline: 'Findings from the recent study are very exciting and suggest that new drugs, in combination with existing antiretrovirals, may be able to reduce or eliminate the HIV reservoir.'These results warrant further research to assess the safety and efficacy of this approach for people with HIV especially children.'

Doctors are currently experimenting with a stem-cell transplant that has rid at least two patients of the virus long-term. It is known to be dangerous.Details of the most recent patient - known as the 'London patient' - were only made public in March at a medical conference in Seattle. The patient, who had Hodgkin lymphoma, had the last-ditch stem cell transplant from a donor with a HIV-resistant gene.After 18 months, the man showed no signs of HIV – despite choosing not to take the antiretroviral drugs (ART) to keep his virus at bay.

ART, taken daily, suppresses the virus to prevent a resurgence. Within six months of taking the pills, the virus can be quashed to undetectable levels.A few weeks off the pills and patients' levels of the virus can skyrocket.The man is not considered to be cured – only in long-term remission. For example, cancer patients have to be in remission for five years before being labelled as cured. However, the experimental procedure - which works by giving patients genes from people who are naturally immune to HIV - is dangerous because patients can suffer a fatal reaction if substitute immune cells don't take. Critics also say it doesn't apply to most people living with HIV because it may only benefit a handful of patients who also have cancer.The new approach, involving a drug already approved in the US and Europe, could be used, or lead to a substitute to the risky stem cell procedure - that also works on patients who don't already have cancer.

Researchers at King's College London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave four HIV-positive macaques arsenic trioxide.Two of the monkeys showed signs of the virus being fully suppressed, according to the report published in the journal Advanced Science.Neither experienced a 'rebound' – when the virus becomes detectable again – when all their antiretroviral therapies were stopped.The other two showed signs of harbouring a lower amount of the virus but not enough to prevent a rebound, according to the results.

The researchers, led by Dr Qing Yang, showed the drug approach can mimic the second phase of the risky stem cell transplant.Phase two works by reducing the number of immune cells that have HIV receptors on. However, it is unclear how arsenic trioxide does this.In transplants, patients receive stem cells from people with a mutated CCR5 gene, which causes their white blood cells to have incomplete receptors, blocking the HIV virus from entering and infecting cells. CCR5 is the gene that HIV targets and uses as its access point to enter the immune system.Further trials are needed to confirm the new findings before the drug is tested on humans.

Researchers first proved arsenic trioxide can replicate phase one of the stem cell treatment more than a decade ago, but on a milder scale.In laboratory tests, they discovered it could kill the immune cells harbouring HIV without affecting cells that are free of the virus.

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WHO warns - More than 1 MILLION people a day get sexually-transmitted infections

WHO warns - More than 1 MILLION people a day get sexually-transmitted infections

43 Views 07,June 2019

More than a million people every day worldwide catch a sexually transmitted infection, with rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis the most worrying, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The vast majority of the infections are easily preventable and curable, but some diseases - in particular gonorrhea - are evolving into super-bug forms and that are increasingly difficult to treat with antibiotics, the WHO said in a report.

'Sexually transmitted infections are everywhere. They are far more common than we think,' Teodora Wi, a medical officer in the WHO's department for reproductive health and research, told reporters as the data were released.The report, based on 2016 global data which are the latest available, showed that among men and women aged between 15 and 49 there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016, 87 million of gonorrhea, 6.3 million of syphilis and 156 million of trichomoniasis.

Sexually transmitted infections or STIs are a 'persistent and endemic health threat worldwide' and have a profound impact on both adult and child health, the WHO said.If they are left untreated, they can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths and an increased risk of HIV.Syphilis alone caused an estimated 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016, making it one of the leading causes of baby loss globally, the research said.

Peter Salama, the WHO's executive director for universal health coverage, said the data showed the need for 'a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases.'Sexual infections caused by bacteria can normally be treated and cured with widely available medicines, but the WHO study said recent shortages in the global supply of benzathine penicillin had made it more difficult to control syphilis. Rising drug resistance to gonorrhea treatments is also a growing health threat.

Tim Jinks, a specialist in infectious disease at Britain's Wellcome Trust global health charity, said the increase in cases of STIs was alarming, especially given that some antibiotics are becoming less effective due to drug resistance.'The high numbers of cases of gonorrhea are of particular concern,' he said in an emailed comment. 'We are increasingly seeing incidences of so-called 'super-gonorrhea' which are practically impossible to treat.'

The study and data were published online in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

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What to do if you're bitten by a snake

What to do if you're bitten by a snake

19 Views 04,June 2019

You should:

Sit down and stay calm
Gently wash the area with warm, soapy water
Remove any jewelry or tight clothing near the bite site
Keep the bitten area still, if possible, and raise it to heart level
Call the Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222
If a snake bite victim is having chest pain, difficulty breathing, face swelling or has lost consciousness, call 911 immediately

You should not:

Cut the bitten area to try to drain the venom - this can worsen the injury
Ice the area, because it can cause additional tissue damage
Make and apply a tourniquet or any tight bandage, because it's better for the venom to flow through the body than for it to stay in one area
Suck or use a suction device to remove the venom
Attempt to catch or kill the snake involved

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What You Need to do After a Car Accident

What You Need to do After a Car Accident

16 Views 04,June 2019

Ensure your safety
You have just been in an accident. The first thing to do is check for immediate danger. If you’ve been in a heavy crash your car might be in a bad condition. If for any reason, you suspect that it is no longer safe to remain in your car, you should get out immediately.
If you feel that you are safe, make sure to check yourself for any physical injuries. Be sure to check your head and neck very thoroughly, because whiplash is a very common injury in car accidents. Because of the shock, you might also not notice pain at first, so be sure to check yourself carefully.
If you are injured, you should seek medical attention before doing anything else. Make sure to obtain a medical report with copies that you can use for future claims.

Move your vehicle to a safer place
If you are safe and you feel fine, it is time to start dealing with the accident. If your vehicle can still move safely, it is advisable to move it to the side of the road or another safe place. This frees up the road for other drivers and allows you to get out of your car safely. However, before doing this, it is advisable to quickly snap a few pictures of the initial collision situation for your insurance claim.

Step out of the vehicle and observe the situation
Get out of the vehicle and start assessing the damages to your car and to the other driver’s car. Take pictures of everything and from every angle. If you plan to claim insurance, you will want as much evidence as possible before you file your claim.

Stay calm and don’t panic
It is important that you stay calm and don’t panic. During car accidents emotions tend to flare and it’s easy to throw accusations back and forth, but that is not the right approach. Think practical, for you to minimize your loss from this accident, you will need as much evidence and information as possible. You are more likely to obtain said information if you behave in a calm and composed manner.

Take pictures and exchange information
This part is very important so don’t skip it. In order to validate a possible insurance claim, you will need evidence that backs up your claim. The other driver might file a claim that disputes your claim, for example, if you disagree over who was at fault during the accident.
To make your claim stronger you can take pictures of the damages to both cars, and the situation on the road. Take pictures of anything that might be relevant. While you’re at it, take a picture of the other driver and his license plate as well, just in case he wants to deny everything.
After your photo shoot, it is time to exchange information. If you don’t want to settle this in a direct settlement you are going to need the drivers’ information for your insurance claim.
You will need the registration number of his vehicle, the make and model and the color. From the driver, you will need his name, address, IC number and driving license number and don’t forget his telephone number, just in case your insurance company wants to contact him. You might also need the contact information of his insurance company, just in case you want to make a claim against his insurance policy.
Lastly, it is smart to reach out to other people who might have witnessed the accident. If their account supports your version of the story, you can record their information and statements as supporting evidence.
Come to an agreement on the settlement
If you both agree, you can choose to handle the situation with a direct settlement. That means you both agree on who was at fault and how much the damage is. This can be tricky because the other driver or you might make an incorrect estimation of the repair costs involved. A direct settlement is therefore only a good option for minor damages. If your car is completely shredded, you are better off making an insurance claim.

Make a police report
Make sure that you file a police report within 24 hours of the accident. This is very important because the police report is a mandatory part of your insurance claim. Be sure to ask for a certified copy, as you might need it later during your insurance claim.

Decide if you want to claim insurance
Regardless of if you want to claim your insurance, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. It is smart to record the accident hotline of your insurance company on your phone. It is advisable to call them as early as possible to let them know what happened. Your insurance company can also arrange a tow truck for you, should you need one.
Deciding to claim insurance means you have to let go of your No Claim Discount (NCD), which is an important decision. The NCD can be as high as 55% in Malaysia, which means that you could actually be worse off by claiming insurance if the claim amount is too low.
Another thing to consider is the excess clause. This is basically a clause in your insurance contract that prohibits you from claiming damages below a certain threshold. If you have an excess clause in your policy, your claim must be above the excess clause. Then, the insurance company will pay the difference between your claim and the excess amount.

Get your car fixed
If your car is pretty torn up, you can have a tow truck take your car to a panel shop for reparation. Before engaging a tow truck or a panel shop, consult with your insurance company. It could be that they have a preferred provider, which could make things easier when you want to claim insurance.

Get on with your day
If you have followed the steps in this guide, you should be in a comfortable position considering the situation. Let’s quickly summarize; to file your insurance claim without any problems you will need the following:

The personal particulars of the drivers involved in the road accident: names, IC numbers, addresses, driving license numbers and contact details.
The names of the insurers of the other vehicles.
Make/models and registration numbers of the other vehicles in the roadside accident.
Registration numbers of tow trucks (if applicable)
Photos of the accident and the damages, notes of the extent of the damages
Be sure to file a police report and inform your insurer within 24 hours of the accident.
Be sure to carefully read your insurance policy to check for any particular details regarding claiming insurance, as individual insurers might use different methods. Good luck!

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