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Health clinics opened in 20 Delhi govt schools

A trained doctor, an auxiliary nursing midwife, and a psychologist will screen students for physical and mental health issues. Besides taking part in group counselling sessions, students can also secure individual counselling. Around 30 students are screened each day at these clinics.

Delhi deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia said these clinics will provide routine health check-ups. (ANI file photo)
Delhi deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia said these clinics will provide routine health check-ups. (ANI file photo)

New Delhi

Inaugurating individual health clinics in 20 government schools on Monday, deputy chief minister and education minister Manish Sisodia said these clinics will provide routine health check-ups as well as counselling to ensure the children’s physical and mental well-being.

Health minister Satyendar Jain was also present at the launch of the “aam aadmi school clinic” that was held at the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Moti Bagh on Monday. These clinics are functioning out of porta cabins set up on the premises of the 20 schools.

A trained doctor, an auxiliary nursing midwife, and a psychologist will screen students for physical and mental health issues. Besides taking part in group counselling sessions, students can also secure individual counselling. Around 30 students are screened each day at these clinics.

“Having a psychologist on campus is a big step because it will be an addition to our happiness curriculum,” said Sisodia.

Jain said school clinics were an extension of the mohalla clinics. “For the first time, the focus will be on mental well-being of children along with physical health checkups… A healthy mind will contribute to a healthy society and, ultimately, a healthier nation,” said Jain.

Ebola vaccine provides long lasting protection

A new study has examined antibody response among individuals who have received the Ebola vaccine and live in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that are experiencing outbreaks of Ebola disease.
Specifically, the researchers analyzed antibody response at various time intervals following vaccination with a single dose of the Ebola vaccine in an at-risk population in the DRC.
They discovered compelling evidence of robust and persistent antibody response among vaccinated individuals in the affected areas.
The World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source defines the Ebola virus disease (EVD) as a “rare but severe, often fatal illness in humans.”

Its symptoms commonly include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, a sore throat, and headaches. Vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes usually follow.

In some cases, EVD symptoms include internal and external bleeding, such as bloody stool or bleeding gums.

At the moment, Ebola vaccines are one part of an important scientific strategy to overcome EVD. Alongside them are treatmentTrusted Source with medications that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved and supportive therapy, such as oral rehydration and intravenous fluids.

A collaborative study between American and Congolese scientists has recently examined the antibody response in Ebola-vaccinated individuals in the DRC, which is one of the first places where scientists discovered EVD.

High risk of death or readmission after COVID-19 hospitalization

An intensive care unit in Connecticut
Scientists recently followed patients after hospitalization with COVID-19. Allison Dinner/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • A new study finds that people hospitalized with COVID-19 have an increased risk of death or readmission afterward.
  • The risk of death post-hospitalization is highest for individuals with preexisting dementia.
  • Also, the risk of death from any cause is 4–5 times higher after release from the hospital for people with COVID-19, compared with the general population.
  • People hospitalized with other diseases are about half as likely to die of any cause as those who received treatment for COVID-19.

A new study finds that being released from the hospital after receiving treatment for COVID-19 does not guarantee survival.

People who have survived at least 1 week after release from the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to die or return to the hospital over the following several months than the general population.

Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran, lead author of the present study and professor of statistical epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, told Medical News Today:

“This won’t be entirely due to lasting effects of the virus — we know that COVID-19 picks on more vulnerable people in the first place, plus there are generic adverse consequences of being seriously ill and hospitalized. Hence, the risks were more similar when we compared [them with those for] hospitalized flu patients.”

Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

The study findings were nonetheless striking, said Dr. Bhaskaran.

“Two things which stood out in the COVID-19 patients were the high risk of rehospitalization or death attributed to the COVID-19 disease itself, and the high risk of dying from dementia, especially in those with preexisting dementia disease,” he explained.

The study appears in PLOS Medicine.

Comparing risks

Using the National Health Service (NHS) England’s OpenSAFELY data, Dr. Bhaskaran and his colleagues compared health data from 24,673 patients who had been hospitalized for COVID-19, a demographically matched general-population control group of 123,362 individuals, and 16,058 people who had been hospitalized for influenza.

The researchers tracked the individuals’ health for up to 315 days after hospitalization. During this period, the study authors write,

“COVID-19 patients had higher risks of all-cause mortality, readmission or death due to the initial infection, and dementia death, highlighting the importance of post-discharge monitoring.”

Post-discharge patients who had COVID-19 were 4–5 times more likely to die from any cause than the members of the control group. Their risk was almost double that of people previously hospitalized for influenza.

Another recent study from Estonia, which appears as a preprint, reaches similar conclusions. Rather than focusing on hospitalizations, the authors followed 66,287 people for 12 months following a positive SARS-CoV-2 test. They conclude:

“People infected with [SARS-CoV-2] had more than three times the risk of dying over the following year compared with those who remained uninfected.”

Coronavirus: As Delhi withdraws all COVID restrictions, here are some standard precautions you must take on your own

Almost three months ago, COVID’s Omicron variant began wreaking havoc around the world, spreading like wildfire and causing mild cold-like symptoms among people. The surge in the coronavirus cases alarmed health officials across nations, leading to strict measures.

Now, as the Omicron scare begins to wane, the National Capital of India, Delhi has decided to lift all COVID curbs. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday announced that all COVID-related restrictions, including night curfew and 50 per cent capacity rule at restaurants and bars will be withdrawn in the capital. Along with that, the fine for not wearing a mask has been reduced from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 500. Furthermore, the DDMA has said that schools are to go offline from April 1.

While the news is an indication that COVID cases are slowly declining and matters are beginning to stabilize, it is important to remember that the pandemic is ongoing and we must not let our guards down. Here’s how you can be responsible on your own.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can lower your risk of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccines can also help prevent serious illness and death.”

Although breakthrough cases continue to remain a possibility, experts believe COVID vaccines are highly effective against severe illness and helps build protection against future illness.

Investigating the effects of critical illness in early childhood on neurocognitive outcomes

A four-year sibling-matched cohort study conducted at 31 U.S. PICUs and associated neuropsychology testing centers sheds light on the subject. Researchers found that children who survived PICU hospitalization for respiratory failure and were discharged without severe cognitive dysfunction had significantly lower subsequent IQ scores than their matched siblings.

“While the difference in IQ scores between patients and unexposed siblings was small, the data provide strong evidence of the existence and epidemiology of pediatric post-intensive care syndrome (PICS-p) after a single typical episode of acute respiratory failure necessitating invasive ventilation among generally healthy children,” says Martha A.Q. Curley, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) and the study’s lead researcher.

The study reaffirms the importance of assessing long-term outcomes as part of any trial evaluating acute interventions in pediatric critical care. It also underscores the importance of further study to understand which children may be at highest risk, what modifiable factors could cause it, and how it can be prevented. The results of the study have been published in JAMA. The article “Association of Acute Respiratory Failure in Early Childhood With Long-Term Neurocognitive Outcomes” is available online.

FDA Says New Alzheimer’s Drug Should Have Limited Use. What Are the Implications?

Under a new FDA rule, an Alzheimer’s drug will be used only to treat people in the early stages of the disease. MoMo Productions/Getty Images
  • The Food and Drug Administration is limiting the use of the drug Aduhelm to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It’s now being recommended only for people in the early stages of the disease.
  • Medical professionals and officials at the Alzheimer’s Association say they support the limitations.

Following pushback and resignations over the decision to approve the use of Aduhelm to treat Alzheimer’s disease, officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) narrowed their recommendations last summer for the drug to only be used to treat people in the early stages of the disease.

That pullback came just weeks after the approval of the drug, the first approved to treat Alzheimer’s in 18 years.

Medicare also launched a review on how — and if — they should cover the cost of the drug.

That review, a seldom-used process called “coverage determination,” will consider Aduhelm’s usefulness along with its price tag, said to be as high as $56,000 a year.

That decision could reduce access to the drug even more.

The revelations prompted officials at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and the Mount Sinai medical complex in New York to announce in July 2021 that they will not treat people with Aduhelm.

In February 2022, officials at the American Academy of Neurology released a review of clinical trial data on Aduhelm that concluded that the new drug did reduce amyloid plaques in the brain but stated the evidence was unclear on the drug’s effectiveness on Alzheimer’s symptoms.

The review also reported that side effects are common with the use of Aduhelm.

Researchers Say Vitamin D3 Bolsters Immune System Better Than Vitamin D2

Vitamin D tablets
Vitamin D can be obtained through sunshine, certain foods, and supplements. Olga Shumitskaya/Getty Images
  • Researchers say vitamin D3 bolsters the immune system better than vitamin D2.
  • This goes against previous research that rated both forms of vitamin D about the same.
  • Experts say you can obtain a sufficient amount of vitamin D by being out in the sun for up to 30 minutes.
  • Certain foods, such as milk, cheese, and breakfast cereals, are fortified with vitamin D.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone and immune system health, but not all forms of the vitamin are created equal, new research suggests.

Looking at two forms of vitamin D supplements — those containing vitamin D2 and those containing vitamin D3 — scientists from the Universities of Surrey and Brighton in the United Kingdom report that only vitamin D3 induced an effect on the body that might bolster the immune system.

“We have shown that vitamin D3 appears to stimulate the type I interferon signaling system in the body — a key part of the immune system that provides a first line of defense against bacteria and viruses,” Colin Smith, PhD, a professor of functional genomics at Brighton and a lead study author, said in a press release. “Thus, a healthy vitamin D3 status may help prevent viruses and bacteria from gaining a foothold in the body.”

This is significant, because previous research indicated both forms of vitamin D were equally effective, while this latest study suggests foods fortified with vitamin D should prioritize D3 over D2.

“The lack of impact we found when looking at vitamin D2 means that a larger study is urgently required to clarify the differences in the effects,” said Susan Lanham-New, PhD, a professor and head of the department of nutritional sciences at Brighton and a study co-author.

Researchers Scan Brain of Dying Patient: Here’s What they Found

EEG of a brain scan.
Janiecbros/Getty Images
  • A recording of a man’s brainwaves at the time of his death showed patterns similar to what occurs during dreaming, memory recall, and meditation.
  • Around the time of death, the EEG recorded changes in gamma brainwaves (oscillations) and other types of brainwaves.
  • The man was in the hospital after developing epilepsy after a fall. During an EEG scan, he had a heart attack and died.

A team of scientists inadvertently recorded the brainwaves of an 87-year-old patient as he died, providing the first glimpse at what happens in the brain during the final moments of life.

The man’s brainwave patterns in the 30 seconds before and after his heart stopped beating were similar to what occurs during dreaming, memory recall, and meditation.

The man was in the hospital after developing epilepsy after a fall. While doctors were using continuous electroencephalography (EEG) to detect his seizures and treat him, the man had a heart attack and died.

Around the time of death, the EEG recorded changes in gamma brainwaves (oscillations) and other types of brainwaves.

“Through generating oscillations involved in memory retrieval, the brain may be playing a last recall of important life events just before we die, similar to the ones reported in near-death experiences,” study author Dr. Ajmal Zemmar, a neurosurgeon at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, speculated in a news release.

However, it’s impossible to know based on the EEG what the man may have experienced in his mind at the time of death.

In addition, “These findings challenge our understanding of when exactly life ends and generate important subsequent questions, such as those related to the timing of organ donation,” said Zemmar.

The researchers caution against drawing broad conclusions based on this study, which involved only one patient.

In addition, the man had epilepsy with swelling and bleeding in the brain. “Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and white matter damage can influence rhythmic brain activity,” the authors wrote in the paper.

The study was published Feb. 22 in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Newly Diagnosed Diabetes in COVID Patients Often Temporary

Newly diagnosed diabetes in many COVID-19 patients may be a temporary type triggered by COVID, according to a new study.

Blood sugar levels returned to normal in about half of the newly diagnosed diabetes patients after they left the hospital, and only 8% required insulin after one year, according to the report published online recently in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.

“We believe that the inflammatory stress caused by COVID-19 may be a leading contributor to ‘new-onset’ or newly diagnosed diabetes,” said lead author Dr. Sara Cromer, an investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston.

“Instead of directly causing diabetes, COVID-19 may push patients with pre-existing but undiagnosed diabetes to see a physician for the first time, where their blood sugar disorder can be clinically diagnosed,” she added in a hospital news release. “Our study showed these individuals had higher inflammatory markers and more frequently required admission to hospital ICUs than COVID-19 patients with pre-existing diabetes.”

For the study, Cromer’s team looked at 594 COVID-19 patients who had signs of diabetes when they were admitted to MGH at the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

Of those, 78 had no previous diabetes diagnosis. Many had less severe blood sugar levels but more severe COVID-19 than those with a previous diabetes diagnosis, the study found.

However, blood sugar did revert to normal in about half of these COVID-linked cases.

“This suggests to us that newly diagnosed diabetes may be a transitory condition related to the acute stress of COVID-19 infection,” Cromer said.

Acute insulin resistance appears to be the key mechanism underlying newly diagnosed diabetes in most COVID-19 patients, and if it occurs, it is generally not permanent, she explained.

“These patients may only need insulin or other medications for a short time, and it’s therefore critical that physicians closely follow them to see if and when their conditions improve,” Cromer added.

COVID-19 patients who were newly diagnosed with diabetes were more likely to be younger, non-white, and uninsured or on Medicaid than those with previously diagnosed diabetes, the study found.

The researchers said that finding suggests that many of the new cases were pre-existing but undiagnosed diabetes in people with limited access to health care services.

What We Know Now About the Omicron BA.2 Variant

A researcher works with samples of COVID-19
Liu Xiao/Xinhua via Getty Images
  • A new subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus strain has been detected.
  • Dubbed the “stealth” variant, it has mutations that make it different from the original Omicron variant.
  • Experts say that, currently, there are no signs that it’s very different from the original Omicron strain.

The BA.2 Omicron sub-variant, also known as the “stealth” sub-variant, has been detected in 83 countries around the world, according to data from GISAID, with new surges happening in Denmark.

Infectious disease experts are keeping an eye on this even more contagious version of the Omicron variant, reported to be 30 percent more contagious, as it now represents nearly 4 percent of new infections in the United States.

While it may be even more infectious than the original omicron variant, there’s no evidence so far that it’s likely to overstep vaccine protection.

Experts say it’s important to monitor the subvariant. But so far, there are no signs that it’s more dangerous or infectious than the original Omicron.

Still, the introduction of any subvariant is worrying for a global population who’s experiencing COVID fatigue, as well as emotional and mental exhaustion.

When it comes to tackling the new Omicron subvariant, here is what we know right now.

What is the new Omicron subvariant?

The new version of the variant is known as BA.2, while the original Omicron is BA.1. According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, the BA.2 subvariant differs from BA.1 in some of the mutations, including the spike protein.

Some experts are calling the new subvariant the “stealth Omicron” because while it registers as positive on a PCR test, it isn’t immediately discernible as the Omicron variant.

“Omicron and other COVID viruses can mutate when they infect new persons and multiply abundantly,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine, department of health policy, and professor of medicine, division of infectious diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“The majority of such mutations, or genetic changes, are harmless and have no impact. By statistical chance, a mutation, or a series of mutations, can occur that can alter one or more of the basic characteristics of the virus,” he said.