Monday, December 28, 2015

An orgasm a day can keep prostate cancer risk at bay

source: Times of India

A recent study indicates that men who ejaculate every day have a lower risk of prostate cancer than men who do not ejaculate regularly.

Statistically, men who ejaculated more than 21 times a month had a 22 % lower risk of getting the disease.

However, no specific reasons for the findings were given.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, in 2012, there were more than 1.1 million cases of prostate cancer, making it accountable for 8 percent of all new cancer cases, and 15 percent of cancers in men.

Further reading: Giles, G.G., Severi, G., English, D.R., McCredie, M.R.E., Borland, R., Boyle, P. and Hopper, J.L. (2003), Sexual factors and prostate cancer. BJU International, 92: 211–216. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-410X.2003.04319.x

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Drug of Abuse: Gabapentin

Gabapentin is increasingly being used by patients in methadone maintenance programs to get a high.

Increasing availability, infrequent drug testing, and potentiation of euphoria when combined with opioids have likely all contributed to gabapentin misuse.

  • Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) data show that ED visits involving thenonmedical use of gabapentin have increased by 90% in the United States since 2008. 
  • DAWN data also suggest that 20% of patients in treatment may misuse or abuse gabapentin.

Meanwhile, there has been a rise in gabapentin prescribing.

Current advice on prescribing Gabapentin: use caution. Don't necessarily avoid prescribing it, but be careful and prescribe it from visit to visit. Don't just give somebody six refills and say you will see them in 6 months. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I do believe angels exist

I love to talk when I'm in the mood. And the best thing to get me into mood is to set up a good conversation. Last Monday proved one such day when I was having a conversation with a junior budding physician from Kolkata Medical College. We talked on various topics and soon it turned to society and our perspective of it. I have to admit although of my being bit of a pessimistic person in this matter but the conversation tickled many grey cells and later I received an email from his side detailing one of his many experiences as a trainee. I present it here with his due permission:

"He spake well who said that graveyards are the footprints of angels" - H. W. Longfellow

What’s the relevance of this quote with my status update??? 

Oh yes, there is. In these 6 long years of my life as a 'junior' doctor, I have witnessed the fate of several patients. Some have been cured; some have died while some others have survived only to lead a mere future life of hopelessness. Many of these souls have become too closely attached to me. And one of them is undoubtedly that small boy of our very own Paediatrics Department...the one I have always talked about: the HIV infected youngest friend of mine about whom I had written almost a year back. 

My last day out with this little friend of mine was 8 months back when he came to our hospital with the same old complaint of fever and diarrhea and got admitted. But since then there has been an uncanny silence from his end and I got no trace of him through calls or letters. The ice was finally broken when I enquired about his whereabouts from the nurses of our Medical ward where he was last admitted. And what did I come to know was that he is no more. He left this world 5 months back! He went into a deep slumber from which he will never wake up. 

I went silent for a moment. I looked down at the envelope in my hand in which I had brought the money to give him so that he could have a great time in the festive season. But all was a waste.
What's the use of the money now...

I feel helpless and hopeless at times when I lose someone close to my heart. I ask myself, ‘who are we? Next to God or next to nothing? We take pride in making new drug discoveries or when we heal a patient physically. But can we heal him from within? Can we help him adapt to this filthy society and live the life with dignity?’ 

The answer that creeps up every time is a big ‘No’.

We don’t in most cases. But surely we can. Curing someone isn’t merely restricted to healing of a bed-sore or relieving Acute Kidney Injury through Hemodialysis or prolonging the life of a cancer patient by 5 years. To heal someone means to heal with the power of love. Even if medical therapy fails to resuscitate a dying person but the touch of love can surely let his pain be eased in the last few moments of survival. I don’t know if I will ever emerge as a stalwart in my professional arena, but what I am happy about is the fact that I have given all the love I could to my little friend who would always have a shining smile on his face upon catching a glimpse of me. Now he will rest in peace forever in my sweetest memories. But the war he fought so far should never go in vain. 

The money that I failed to give him before he breathed his last still lies in the locker of my bank account. And someday, I want to use it for building a centre for the welfare of HIV infected children. You can call me a dreamer because ingle headedly it’s surely a difficult task but I hope people from this very society will join me in this venture over time. I do believe angels exist—even today...

Courtesy: Dr. Avik Basu

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New HIV infections down by 20 per cent in India: UN via@timesofindia

India has been able to achieve a more than 20 per cent decline in new HIV infections between 2000 and 2014, reversing the spread of the virus, according to a UN report that says the world is on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

New HIV infections have fallen by 35 per cent and AIDS-related deaths by 41 per cent, while the global response to HIV has averted 30 million new infections and nearly 8 million AIDS-related deaths since 2000 (UNAIDS).

The report noted that India "literally" changed the course of its national HIV epidemic through the use of strategic information that guided its focus to the locations and population approach.

"This placed communities at the centre of the response through the engagement of non-state actors and centrally managed policy and donor coordination," it said.

HIV treatment coverage for people living with HIV and TB has also increased and in terms of numbers of patients, the largest increases in antiretroviral therapy among people living with both HIV and TB have occurred in India, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

India accounts for more than 60 per cent of the Asia Pacific region's people living with HIV-associated TB.

The report noted that currently nearly 85 per cent of the antiretroviral medicines for HIV treatment come from India.

It said the Indian government had also succeeded in preserving the legislative and policy spaces that permit Indian companies that make generic medicines to consolidate their exporting capacities to other developing countries.

Currently, however, India is under pressure from several companies and governments of developed countries to dilute these provisions in free-trade agreements being negotiated with them, it said.