CGHS beneficiaries to avail health benefits of traditional medicine systems also

All CGHS beneficiaries—serving as well as pensioners— will now be able to avail the health benefits of alternate traditional systems  with the Union Health Ministry approving a proposal to empanel such Centres of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy under the Government health scheme.

“Private Day Care Therapy centers of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy will be empanelled under the CGHS shortly, in a manner similar to empanelment of similar day care centres of conventional (Allopathy) medicine already provided under the CGHS,” said an official from the Ministry.

Initial empanelment of  day care therapy centres will be undertaken on pilot basis for Delhi and NCR for a period of one year and subsequently would be considered for other places.

The official said that the step has been taken keeping in view of the growing popularity of AYUSH system of medicines amongst the public at large and all CGHS beneficiaries. The aim of the scheme is to improve the health and wellbeing, reduce health care expenditure and provide excellence in service delivery, efficiency, and comfort to the patients.

The treatment procedure requiring a short duration of stay in the Day Care Therapy Centre, ranging from a few hours to less than a Day will be made available to CGHS beneficiaries under this scheme.

“As the treatment procedure does not require overnight stay in the unfamiliar environment, it is extremely convenient for children and elderly patients,” said the official.

At present treatment of approved procedures like Panchkarma and Abhyanga etc. is given only after hospitalization in CGHS empanelment hospital.

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How to Reap the Benefits of Food as Medicine

Development & Aid, Featured, Food & Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, Food Sustainability, Global, Headlines, Health, Humanitarian Emergencies, Inequity, TerraViva United Nations

Sorghum is has nutritional and health benefits. Small scale farmer, Catherine Sibanda examines her sorghum crop in field, in Jambezi District, Zimbabwe, March 2015. Credit: Busani Bafana / IPS

BULAWAYO, Dec 2 2020 (IPS) – COVID-19 has magnified global food insecurity and is driving unhealthy eating and worsening malnutrition, food experts say. They have called for deliberate global investment in food as medicine on the back of growing diet-related illnesses.

Famed Greek physician, Hippocrates, foretold the future of food. He is attributed to have said: ‘Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food’. COVID-19 has pushed the conversation about food as medicine onto the world agenda as more people are paying attention to their health and increasingly what they eat.

“COVID 19 has exposed American population to infectious diseases, and it has started off the conversation around food is medicine and how we need to reset our food system to create higher quality and more nutrient-dense food,” physician and author, Mark Hyman, told a plenary session at the virtual ‘Resetting the Food System from Farm to Fork’ dialogue co-hosted by the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) and Food Tank.

Hyman said a rejigged food system which creates better health for the population was a good strategy for pandemic resistance. He said food as medicine is part of medical care because it works better and faster and cheaper than most drugs and is probably the most effective treatment we have for most chronic illnesses.

“Science is clear that more nutrient density and food quality plays a huge role in human health and the protector foods, foods that protect you against disease and have medicinal properties,” said Hyman. He proposed the eating of more inexpensive, plant-based foods. “We need to rethink farming and introduce more nutrient-dense foods.”

Early this year, the United Nations warned that the pandemic would escalate a global food crisis – the worst in 50 years. The international body said the pandemic would make nutrition beyond the reach of many.

“Our food systems are failing, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse,” UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, warned, proposing three action plan to bolster a failing food system.

Guterres said countries should designate food and nutrition services as essential while implementing protections for those who work in the sector, prioritise food supply chains and strengthen social protection for young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, older people and other at-risk groups. He also advocated the transformation of food systems for a more inclusive and sustainable world.

More than 820 million people in the world do not have enough to eat even though there is plenty of food to feed everyone. Globally, some 144 million children under five years are stunted as a result of malnutrition.

The UN has warned that nearly 690 million people, or 8.9 percent of the world’s population, were undernourished

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Long-Term Ocrelizumab Benefits Seen in PPMS

Early, continuous treatment with ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) led to sustained slowing of disease progression in primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), long-term data from the ORATORIO extension study suggested.

Most measures of 6-month confirmed disability progression, including Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores, were better in PPMS patients who started treatment early in ORATORIO compared with patients who started with placebo before joining the open-label extension, reported Jerry Wolinsky, MD, of the University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston, and co-authors. No new safety signals emerged compared with the double-blind phase of ORATORIO.

“Compared with patients switching from placebo, earlier and continuous ocrelizumab treatment provided sustained benefits on measures of disease progression over the 6.5 study years of follow-up,” the researchers wrote in Lancet Neurology.

“Although this study shows the benefit of earlier intervention with ocrelizumab in primary progressive disease, progression remains an important unmet need in multiple sclerosis,” they noted. “Further research should focus on how the potential benefits described in this study might be improved upon, particularly over longer time periods.”

PPMS is characterized by gradual disability accumulation from disease onset, sometimes with superimposed relapses or MRI lesion activity. Ocrelizumab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, is the only disease-modifying therapy approved to treat PPMS currently. The FDA’s decision was based on ORATORIO results, which showed that treatment with intravenous 600-mg ocrelizumab every 6 months reduced 3-month confirmed worsening of EDSS scores compared with placebo.

“The efficacy of ocrelizumab versus placebo shown in ORATORIO was recapitulated as participants switched from placebo to ocrelizumab upon entering the open-label extension,” noted Deja Rose, MD, and Jeffrey Cohen, MD, both of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, in an accompanying editorial.

But several questions remain, Rose and Cohen pointed out: “Can we extrapolate these results in primary progressive multiple sclerosis to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (a more common form of progressive multiple sclerosis, which occurs after a relapsing-remitting course)? Are there rare or late adverse events that have not yet been seen?”

“Some studies, but not others, have suggested that the proportion of patients treated with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies is higher among patients with severe COVID-19 outcomes than among the overall population with multiple sclerosis,” they added. “Further research is needed to investigate whether anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies reduce protective immunity after SARS-CoV-2 infection or, when available, vaccination.”

ORATORIO was a double-blind phase III trial of PPMS patients with an EDSS score of 3.0-6.5. Patients who had previous treatment with B cell-targeted therapies or other immunosuppressive medications were excluded.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive either intravenous infusion of 600-mg ocrelizumab (two 300-mg infusions, 14 days apart) or placebo every 24 weeks for at least 120 weeks. After the double-blind phase, patients entered an extended controlled period, followed by an optional open-label extension where they could continue ocrelizumab or switch from placebo to the drug. The last patient entered the open-label extension in April 2016.

Overall, 544 of 732 participants completed the double-blind period, and 527 people entered the open-label extension phase. Time to onset

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Bilingualism Benefits The Brain, Helps Delay Onset Of Alzheimer’s Disease

KEY POINTS

  • Bilingualism prompts the brain to work harder
  • It helps in keeping the brain healthy
  • Learning a new language is possible even in adulthood

The Alzheimer’s Association revealed that more than five million Americans are currently living with the disease and the number is projected to reach 14 million by 2050. The numbers may be grim, but recent research showed that there is one way to delay its onset, and that is through bilingualism. Learning a new language at any age can greatly help keep the brain healthier.

Dr. Ellen Bialystok, a Canadian psychologist and professor who has the rank of Distinguished Research Professor at York University, Toronto, has made one of the most compelling researches on the relationship between bilingualism and the brain. Bialystok, in a research published in Neurology, titled, “Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Bilingualism as a form of cognitive reserve,” revealed that bilinguals often receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s about four to five years later than monolinguals. 

“The more you use another language, the better you get at it. Well, that’s not surprising, but along with that, the more you use two languages, the more your brain subtly rewires,” Bialystok told CNN 

Bialystok noted that in terms of the benefits that the brain gets when it comes to bilingualism, levels of education do not matter at all. She highlighted that one of the most profound results of bilingualism was observed among illiterates or those who did not have any formal education. Speaking two languages was the only real way that their brains receive stimulation, such that the exercise provides protection to their brains as they grow older.

Bilingualism good for the brain Bilingualism benefits the brain. Photo: jamesoladujoye/Pixabay

Bialystok stated that the number of years that one speaks two languages would mean a longer period that the brain keeps on reorganizing. The earlier that people start becoming bilingual, the better.

Tamar Gollan, professor at the University of California, San Diego, said that people could not just turn off a language. Bilinguals are faced with everyday choices that monolinguals do not face. To this effect, the brain works harder to speak two languages.

Learning a new language even as an adult can greatly benefit brain health. Just like exercise, wherein the more that one exercise, the greater that one expands his capacity for oxygen. By exercising the brain more through bilingualism, the brain maintains its flexibility. Add in physical activities, eating healthy and sufficient amounts of sleep, and one may be able to keep the brain healthier.

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California’s $100M dialysis battle comes with ancillary benefits for labor union


A patient undergoes dialysis at a clinic in Sacramento, Calif.

A patient undergoes dialysis at a clinic in Sacramento, Calif. | Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

OAKLAND — In initiative-happy California, one set of ads stands out — those involving dialysis clinics, an industry that’s historically been a lower-profile player in politics.

The ads are unusual not only because of their unlikely topic but their volume, which is high because industry opponents of a labor ballot measure are spending more than any group opposing the other 11 proposals California voters must decide on.

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The massive spending gap between the $100 million opponents, including DaVita Inc., have raised and the $8.9 million by supporters led by SEIU United Healthcare Workers West means that the dialysis industry has flooded airwaves as it defends itself against organized labor. The same chain of events played out two years ago, resulting in a resounding defeat for the union’s ballot initiative.

California’s ballot wars have escalated in recent years as industries see little problem spending more than $100 million — and nearly twice that amount in the gig industry’s case — to persuade the electorate. Businesses and organizations that don’t get their way in the state Capitol often use the ballot to change state laws or as leverage to pressure lawmakers and other powerful interests. Proposition 23 is the third most expensive ballot initiative in 2020, according to data compiled by POLITICO.

While SEIU-UHW says it is committed to passing Prop 23, political strategists suggest that labor backers may simply be playing the long game by placing an initiative on the ballot every two years challenging the industry. Win or lose, the union is putting pressure on dialysis companies to spend gobs of money each general election.

“The threat of a ballot measure is something UHW has used strategically,” said Brian Brokaw, a Democratic strategist in Sacramento who is not involved in the Prop. 23 campaign. “In order for a threat to actually be credible, sometimes you have to put it on the ballot. But appearing on a ballot and actually running a campaign to support something are two different things.”

Proposition 23 faces long odds not just because of the industry’s $100 million war chest, but also because it involves a regulatory matter on a crowded ballot — a perfect recipe for voter rejection.

Two years ago, Californians voted 60-40 to reject Prop. 8, another SEIU-UHW-backed initiative that would have capped dialysis profits. But to get that win, the dialysis industry, led by the dominant franchises DaVita Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care, invested about $111 million to defeat it, or nearly six times what the proponents spent.

One day after that Nov. 6, 2018 election, the union vowed to refile the initiative in California and other states. SEIU-UHW did file another initiative, but Prop 23 looks dramatically different, focusing on requirements that clinics must meet such as staffing one doctor on site.

John Logan, director of labor employment studies at San Francisco State University, said unions have long used non-traditional tactics like ballot-box campaigns to get

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Gilead questions WHO study that cast doubts on drug’s COVID-19 benefits

By Deena Beasley and Vishwadha Chander

(Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc has questioned the findings of a World Health Organization (WHO) study that concluded its COVID-19 drug remdesivir does not help patients who have been admitted to hospital.

The American company told Reuters the data appeared inconsistent, the findings were premature and that other studies had validated the drug’s benefits.

In a blow to one of the few drugs being used to treat people with COVID-19, the WHO said on Thursday its “Solidarity” trial had concluded that remdesivir appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or length of hospital stays among patients with the respiratory disease.

The antiviral medication was one of the drugs used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection, and has been shown in previous studies to have cut time to recovery, though the European Union is investigating it for possible kidney injury.

The WHO trial was conducted in 11,266 adult patients in more than 30 countries. The evidence was conclusive, the WHO said.

Gilead said other trials of remdesivir, including with 1,062 patients that compared it with a placebo, showed the treatment cut COVID-19 recovery time.

“The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir,” Gilead told Reuters.

Gilead said it was “unclear if any conclusive findings can be drawn” given what it called differences in how the trial was conducted from site to site and between the patients who received the medicine.

In April, the top U.S. infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, predicted remdesivir would become “the standard of care”.

Companies such as Gilead are racing to find a treatment for COVID-19. Some 1.1 million people have died and 39.1 million have been reported infected in the pandemic, and the global economy has been thrown into chaos.

Remdesivir was developed for Ebola, which causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through bodily fluids.

It was quickly repurposed and has offered some hope for patients, though the WHO’s findings may shift the focus of the search for a vaccine to new monoclonal antibodies being developed by companies including Regeneron.

The Solidarity trial also evaluated hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, and concluded that they, like remdesivir, did little to help patients survive or leave the hospital more quickly.

The WHO trial’s results are yet to be reviewed and were uploaded on the preprint server medRxiv. (https://bit.ly/3nViYIf)

“PREMATURE”

Gilead say the Solidarity conclusions, lacking scrutiny from other scientists, were premature.

“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design,” it said.

Remdesivir got emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1, and has been authorized for use in several countries.

During the Solidarity study, trials of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June after

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As Open Enrollment Begins, Health Benefits May Not Change Much

If you take medication regularly for a chronic condition, she added, make sure the plan’s prescription benefit covers it.

If your employer offers multiple plan choices, Ms. Watts of Mercer said, you should take the time to compare the total cost of coverage for each option — don’t just look at the premiums. She advises taking the total premium and subtracting any contributions made by your employer, such as to a health savings account, to compare the cost of different plans.

“Do the math,” she said.

To see your total potential financial exposure, add the plan deductible. If you are generally healthy and don’t take regular medication, a plan with a higher deductible may save you money. If you can’t afford unexpected costs, a lower deductible — typically with a higher premium — may be the best option. The average deductible for an individual is $1,644, Kaiser found.

Theresa Adams, senior knowledge adviser at the Society for Human Resource Management, said many workers didn’t take enough time to evaluate benefits. She encouraged them to make use of online tools offered by their employers to help choose options and to reach out with questions.

How much can I contribute to a health savings account in 2021?

Contribution limits ticked up for next year, the Internal Revenue Service announced. The maximum contribution is $3,600 for an individual and $7,200 for family coverage. (People 55 and older can save an extra $1,000.) H.S.A.s, however, are available only with specific types of health plans with high deductibles — at least $1,400 for individual coverage and $2,800 for family coverage for 2021. Typically, your employer will specify if a plan is H.S.A. qualified.

Some plans have a different option, called a health care flexible spending account. You can contribute to it before taxes, via paycheck withdrawals, to pay for care and products that your health plan doesn’t cover. Contribution limits are lower than with an H.S.A., and if you change jobs, your flexible spending account doesn’t go with you, as an H.S.A. does.

When is open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act marketplace?

According to Healthcare.gov, open enrollment for coverage starting on Jan. 1 runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. Open enrollment for state-run marketplaces may vary.

The legal challenge before the Supreme Court isn’t expected to affect this year’s open enrollment, as the court’s decision would probably come before next summer.

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Health Benefits of the Family Dentist

It is recommended that we visit the dentist at least two times a year, which means every six months. This way we can get our teeth cleaned, gums checked, and locate any concerns before they become a bigger problem. If we realize any concerns before they become a bigger problem, this can save you time, money, worry, and sometimes even pain in the long run. A regular cleaning also helps prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay, tooth sensitivity concerns, and they also help give us a fluoride treatment if necessary to help prevent tooth decay.

At a regular dental visit, we also may get x-rays done of our teeth to help the dentist see cavities, and other tooth or jaw concerns. If a cavity is spotted, they can fill the cavity and save you the time and money for more tooth problems later on, such as having to get a crown, dental implant, root canal, or other procedure to help restore the health of your teeth. Also, the dentists are friendly, helpful, and supportive.

Going to see the dentist may be scary for many, and embarrassing or shameful for others, but it should not be. The family dentist is there to help and protect your teeth and save you time and money on other oral health problems in the future. There are many dentists that also often to sedate people while cleaning their teeth these days, so it will be less scary and painful. Finally, dentists are there to answer any questions or concerns you may have. They are also trained to be professional and gentle. So, it is important to do the right thing for your teeth and go see your family dentist. You may see that the benefits are better than you once thought.

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Alternative Medicine Provides Benefits

Listing the medicinal benefits of marijuana is like trying to list all stars in the sky. With the help of technology, the medical attributes of marijuana are increasingly being incorporated into the fabric of societies everywhere. It has been used as a holistically effective medication on each continent by various kinds of people for thousands of years. Illegal or not, many people have attributed to its healing effects on various illnesses. Legal marijuana use is on the rise and for good reason.

One of the main benefits that are associated with medicinal marijuana is the relief of neuropathic and chronic pain. In a study conducted in HIV patients with neuropathic pain showed that 46 percent of patients who were administered with it experienced 30 percent pain reduction. On the other hand, only 18 percent of those administered with placebo got similar results. Marijuana use also increases the appetite. It stimulates the metabolism of the body and can cause the user an experience of appetite increase. For those patients who experience decreased appetite because of a certain disease, marijuana could help in appetite stimulation. It can signal a craving for food within the body of the patient and encourages one to eat in order to provide energy to the body.

Another benefit of marijuana is that it decreases nausea. Most patients experience nausea and vomiting because of certain illnesses or treatments, like chemotherapy. The THC, an active marijuana ingredient could decrease the nausea and vomiting symptoms in cancer patients. Controlling nausea improves the quality of life of a patient and could make them more receptive to the treatment. Furthermore, marijuana is also good for muscle relaxation. Inhalation of the smoke relaxes the body muscles. Patients who experience muscle twitching or tightness often have a hard time completing normal daily chores. These patients could benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana since it can help reduce the symptoms of muscular pains or aches. This treatment could increase the ability of a patient to move normally and promotes a positive quality of life.

Probably one of the benefits of marijuana is that it is an herb, grown from the earth and is not something that is refined or processed or enhanced chemically. Moreover, it does not have many difficult to pronounce ingredients that are designed to manipulate the symptoms of illnesses. It is a natural medicine without the liver-damaging side effects of prescription drugs. Marijuana has no permanent damage even on long-term use and most patients opt not to smoke it. It can be used in butters, baked goods, and other natural means that makes it the easiest medicine to swallow.

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7 Health Benefits of Cyanidin 3-Glucoside

Cyanidin 3-glucoside (C3G) is a water-soluble plant compound that is part of the anthocyanins category. It plays an active role in producing the dark color pigments in a variety of fruits and flowers. This natural substance is primarily sourced from fruits and vegetable with dark skins such as purple potatoes, blueberries, plums, blackcurrants, and black rice.

Most people already get a certain amount of cyanidin 3-glucoside in their diet, but this is usually at a negligible amount. It is possible to increase the intake of this substance by making a change in the diet or taking it in supplement form.

Here are seven of the potential health benefits for increasing the intake of cyanidin 3-glucoside:

Antioxidant

The rich antioxidant content of this compound helps the body neutralize the build up of free radicals. Free radicals develop when oxygen is able to interact with specific molecules. By neutralizing the free radical damage, it is possible to minimize the risk of serious disease such as certain cancers (skin, prostate, lung, and colon) and heart disease.

Atherosclerosis

The risk of atherosclerosis is lowered with an increased intake of cyanidin 3-glucoside. Atherosclerosis is a condition that relates to the build up of plaque on the artery wall which prevents the proper blood flow throughout the system. If the artery walls are restricted too much because of the hard plaque this can increase the risk of suffering from a heart attack.

Diabetes

It has the ability to help suffers of type-2 diabetes because of its ability to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose levels.

Anti-inflammatory

Foods rich in cyanidin 3-glucoside can help to increase the body's ability to fight-off inflammation, which has the negative effect of causing serious health conditions.

Eye health

This plant compound has the ability to regenerate rhodopsin, which is essential to let the retina absorb light. A benefit of this is the ability to improve night vision. Plus, the rich antioxidant content is believed to have a positive effect of slowing the development of age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration.

Tissues

The powerful antioxidant properties in cyanidin 3-glucoside make it useful to tissues by slowing the aging process, fighting off DNA damage, and preventing the formation of cancerous cells by encouraging apoptosis, which is the programmed death of diseased cells.

Fat loss

For the bodybuilder there is the potential to increase muscle gain and reduce fat gain because this compound has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity, which is useful for providing more carbohydrate calories and protein to muscle cells.

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