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Health & Medical News & Trends Update

Dipali ThakkarMarch 6, 2017


Bangalore, March 06, 2017: Juno Clinic (Davman Technology Services Pvt. Ltd.) an online and offline start-up focused on mental health counseling and treatment, has raised Rs. 8 crores from well-known serial entrepreneur Atul Nishar (Founder of Hexaware Technologies & Aptech Computers), the family office of Sunita and Neeraj Bhargava (Founder of Zodius Capital), Vikas Khemani (President & CEO, Edelweiss Securities Limited) and other individual investors as a part of a Pre-Series A fund raising round.

According to recent estimates by The Lancet Study, in India only 1 in 10 people with mental health disorders receives evidence-based treatment. The biggest challenge that stops people from seeking professional help for issues such as depression, anxiety or relationship conflicts is the social stigma attached with seeking help from professionals. Further, there is a dearth of trained professionals in India as most psychiatrists and psychologist operate only in the top metros. Understanding the need gap, the Company launched its online counseling clinic (www.juno.clinic) in January 2016, that allows counseling through online video connection, phone or chat, and has also started offline counseling clinics in Mumbai, with the first two clinics set up in Khar and Powai.

Juno Clinic, which started as a brain child of Davesh Manocha, Anuraag Srivastava, Arun Kumar and a renowned psychiatrist Dr. Vishal Sawant in Jan 2016, operates on a unique model that provides online (video/telephonic/chat) counseling as well as in-person counseling out of their clinics in Mumbai. The Company is not an aggregator for service providers but hires senior psychologists and psychiatrists full time, all of whom adhere strictly to American psychiatry protocols. The company currently has a medical team of 35.

Speaking on the funding, co-founder Davesh Manocha said, “We are privileged to have such seasoned investors believe in Juno Clinic. The company will use the funding proceeds to expand into both domestic and international markets online, increase the physical footprint within India and launch new B2B based products offerings that will ensure comprehensive solutions to all mental health problems.”

“We believe that only through the full-stack model, where we employ our medical team can ensure quality clinical services promise to our customers. We have a top class medical team, which gets further training on important aspects of online counseling”, Anuraag Srivastava co-founder of the Company added.

Online counseling holds a lot of promise, as it overcomes the barriers that usually prevent people from seeking treatment, such as social taboo, lack of access to quality therapists and hectic schedules. Further, the anonymity and comfort of not being seen by anyone makes it a compelling proposition for those who want counseling but are unable to get that.

GoodTime NationFebruary 7, 2016


Mumbai has come on the liver transplant map after patients and their families from Pune and Nairobi swapped portions of the organ, reports a leading English daily.

Meena Ranawade (33), a housewife from a village in Pune district donated a portion of her liver to Deepti Gadhvi (33), a newscaster from Nairobi who is suffering from liver cancer. While Gadhvi’s husband Mohammed Noorani donated a portion of his liver to Meena’s husband Balu who was diagnosed with liver failure a few months ago.

A swap transplant is a process where a member of a family of patient A donates to patient B, whose family member in turn donates to patient A.A similar swap had taken place in Delhi in 2009, but this is the first one to take place in Mumbai. Swap transplants have been taking place since 2009 but they usually happen for kidneys.Mumbai. Both Deepti and Balu could not find a match for their livers in their own families.

Deepti, a well known anchor from a local news station in Nairobi was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2014 when she was carrying her second child. By 2015, doctors said that her only hope was a liver transplant. She needed a donor but her husband’s blood group was different than hers. Around the same time, Meena brought her husband Balu to Global Hospital as he was diagnosed with liver failure.

The doctors realised, after doing a detailed blood work that the couples could swap livers. “On conducting detailed blood tests, we immediately realised that Meena and Mohammed could be swap donors for Deepti and Balu,” said Dr Mohanka. The couples agreed and applied to the state authorization committee for a sanction which also arrived quickly.

Both the patients are now back to normal. Balu will get to go home soon and Deepti will be in the city for a few more months. “The first thing I asked the doctor after the surgery is if this means I am cancer-free and he said yes. I guess there is hope for everyone,” Deepti said about the swap.

Doctors too believe that swaps in liver transplants will help increase the donor pool but say that they won’t be as common as swaps for kidney transplant. Dr Shah said liver swaps are rarer than kidney swaps because of the logistics involved. “You need four operation theatres and 10 surgeons and eight anaesthetists to carry out these operations simultaneously,” he said.

Sridevi RanganathanJanuary 12, 2016


A new smartphone system with a unique ability to monitor and treat Type 1 diabetes has been invented by a team of researchers from the United States. The system is composed of a combination of a sensor that treats the condition and an insulin pump that can be worn and is automated to calculate the amount of insulin required by an individual.

With his constant trials towards putting forward the concept of an artificial pancreatic arrangement since 2006, Boris Kovatchev, the Director at the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Technology, is soon to take his step into the two finals phases of the international testing that is to be held during 2016. He has also tied up with the Dean of Dean of the Paulson School of Engineering, and Applied Sciences at Harvard, Francis Doyle III and is also being assisted by his research team in the same regard.

The working mechanism of the Diabetes control system:
The blood-glucose sensor is a pen drive sized object that can be worn in any of the parts of the body including leg, arm and abdomen. It functions by reading the glucose level existing and passing on the reading to the nearest Android phone that is customized to receive the signal and report the values. The reports received by the smartphone are analyzed under a given protocol of the prefixed algorithm. Further, insulin pumping occurs as per the directions through the wireless connection. The required amount of insulin thus takes its entry into the blood stream. The delivery of the same is assisted by a fine needle attached to the pump.

The system is characterized to be of the closed-loop type with a focus to reduce the chances of risk hidden in Type 1 diabetes. It indeed is a boon to millions of people who suffer from this condition which demands a lot of attention in terms of keeping a check on the blood sugar levels by various other means. Insulin injections also add to the cumbersome process of coping with type 1 diabetes. This system is sure to combat all the above needs and promises that a diabetic can lead the life of a normal person.

Sridevi RanganathanDecember 25, 2015


The Indian list of essential drugs is newly formulated with an addition of 106 drugs including those for Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and Cancer making it a total of 376. This third revision in the National List of Essential Medicines, made by the committee formed by the health ministry saw that 106 medicines were newly added and 70 were deleted after a series of discussions and consultations throughout the country.

A notice by the ministry revealed, “There were 348 medicines listed in NLEM, 2011. A total of 106 medicines have been added and 70 medicines have been deleted to prepare NLEM, 2015 which now contains a total of 376 medicines,” and also added saying “The NLEM, 2015 has been prepared adhering to the basic principles of efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness, consideration of diseases as public health problems in India,”.

Essential medicines are defined as those drugs which serve the prioritized needs in healthcare among the population and are hence grouped under lists namely primary, secondary and tertiary as per the levels of healthcare. The listing is based on the disease burden on a country, priority health concerns, ability to afford and so on.

As per the committee’s recommendation, the list is revised once in three years and comes into effects soon after. Listing makes the medicines more affordable to people. The range of drugs that are covered in the list includes analgesics, contraceptives, cardiovascular, antivirals and many more. The latest list follows the WHO’s 2015 list of essential drugs.

Ranjana Smetacek, the director general of the Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India said “We will be seeking clarification and a better understanding of its implications.” One can indeed expect a reduction in the price for the listed drugs. Executives from related industries said that the drug prices in India are among the lowest prices in the world.

Sridevi RanganathanDecember 1, 2015


The first consignment of ShanIPV, inactivated polio vaccine in the inactive form, manufactured by Shantha Biotechnics, a Hyderabad-based biotechnology firm, will be made in a few days now. The company is affiliated to Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of Sanofi. The first few doses of this vaccine will be made available for administration of one dose in the immunisation chart for all infants in India as per the recommendation of the World Health Assembly in May 2015.

It was launched on Monday by J.P. Nadda, Health Minister, as a part of India’s foresight of global eradication of polio.

The minister also made an announcement that the IPV injection will be administered to infants below one year of age. It will as well be accompanied by a third dose of OPV, an oral vaccine for free at the immunisation centres.

The health minister said, “At this momentous milestone, India remains committed to global polio eradication. India is introducing IPV into its routine immunisation programme along with oral polio vaccine,”

The introduction of the vaccine will be accomplished phase-wise of which the first phase targets Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.

Studies have revealed that the combination of OPV and IPV can boost up children’s’ immunity against polio causing agents. This indeed offers protection of a much higher order.

India was free from Polio right in the year 2014. Nadda also said, “IPV will roll out to 126 countries which are only using OPV in the national programme, and it will be the largest and fastest globally-coordinated vaccine introduction project in history,”

On the occasion of the launch of the vaccine, Director-general of Health Services (DGHS), Jagdish Prasad and Additional health Secretary, C.K. Mishra was also present.

UNICEF representative t India, Louis-Georges Arsenault, introduced IPV into India’s immunization programme, thus making it much stronger and also termed it a “monumental step”.

Kunal JainNovember 29, 2015


Nestlé’s Pasta, after undergoing laboratory tests, has been reported to contain lead in quantity much beyond the permissive limit. Just like Maggi noodles which was proved to be of a similar composition, Nestlé’s pasta is the latest target and has revealed lead in its content, according to a state government official. Nestle was not available at that time for discussion regarding the same.

Sriji Traders was the Nestle distributor from where Pasta samples were collected on the 10th of June and were sent to a Government food testing Lab in Lucknow as per the statement made by Arvind Yadav, designated officer at food and Drug Administration Mau.

He stated that “After Maggi, the sample of macaroni pasta was taken from Mau and sent to National Food Analysis Laboratory, Lucknow in which the lead was found to be much more that the permissible limit,”

Arvind Yadav also mentioned, “According to report received on September 2, they failed the tests. The standard limit is 2.5 PPM (parts per million) while it has been found to be 6 PPM. The letter informing the Nestle Company sent at its Modinagar address has come back here undelivered,” The officer also reported to the media, the letter that had returned undelivered.

Nestle Macaroni Pasta now falls under the category of ‘unsafe food’ according to him. A detailed report has also been sent across to the FDA commissioner, Lucknow, on 12th October, to seek sanction for lodging a case. Yadav added, “in case it is received it will be filed in the court of the CJM here,”

As an answer to various questions Yadav said, “It can also lead to banning the product.” “They (Nestle) were sent a letter over a month ago intimating them about the results. They had a month’s time to appeal against the test but the letter sent by the FDA was not received by the company and was returned here,”

Rahul RathoreNovember 28, 2015


Food gets Toxic with Reaction between Tap Water

Latest studies have revealed that the presence of chloraminated tap water and iodized table salt used for cooking could add risk in your food due to the presence of harmful toxins. Scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Nanjing University in China reported that they found molecules of unknown elements created while cooking using chlorinated tap water in combination with iodized table salt. They also put forward a safer method for people which includes limiting of cooking time as well as temperature and also cooking with table salt that is fortified with iodate and not iodide.

The tap water that we consume is subjected to disinfection before domestic supply. This is basically achieved by addition of chlorine or chloramines (Chlorine+ Ammonia) and several other ways.
Both Chlorination and Chloramination have their respective effects on the chemical structure and components of water. The reaction of chlorine or chloramines with the iodized salt that is added to the food can result in the formation of a hypoidous acid under the influence of temperature.

While the above is not the only cause of concern, it also has an extended version of its effect as the acid can react with the food and the organic matter present in the tap water to produce iodinated disinfection byproducts (I-DBPs), which are entirely new to the researchers. Researchers also identified and tested the toxicity of some molecules, under the study.

Xiangru Zhang, corresponding author of the paper and Associate Professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said “I-DBPs formed during cooking with chloraminated or chlorinated tap water are something new to environmental chemists, toxicologists and engineers. They are relevant not only to drinking water researchers and practitioners but also to the public,”

The scientists also conducted several analyses of the I-DBPs formed as a result of cooking with tap water which is chloraminated and chlorinated. Simulation of cooking with tap water from various sources was also conducted at different temperatures and cooking time. They also tried adding wheat flour in the place of iodized salt to look for other DBPs that could be formed.

With the help of cutting-edge chemistry techniques, they could recognize and identify 14 entirely new molecules of which 9 of their structures were revealed. The nine molecules were then subjected to toxicity analysis which showed that some of them were 50 to 200 times more toxic than the rest.
The above study was as well published in the journal by name, Water Research.

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