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Sex casts its spell on sleeping people too

June 7, 2010 Comments off

Sexsomnia, which involves initiating sex with a bed partner while asleep, afflicts nearly eight percent of sleep disorder patients, says a new research.

The disorder was found to be more common in men than women. Results indicate that 7.6 percent of patients (63 of 832) at a sleep disorder centre reported that they had initiated or engaged in sexual activity with a bed partner while asleep.

The prevalence of reported sexsomnia was nearly three times higher in men (11 percent) than in women (four percent).

The study notes that sexsomnia appears to occur predominantly during confusional arousals and may occur during an episode of sleepwalking.

“There have been no previous studies of how frequently sexsomnia occurs,” said co-investigator Sharon A. Chung, sleep research lab staff scientist in the department of psychiatry at the University Health Network in Toronto.

“While our finding of eight percent of people reporting sexsomnia seems really a high number, it should be stressed that we only studied patients referred to a sleep clinic. So, we would expect the numbers to be much lower in the general population.”

The study involved a retrospective chart review of 832 consecutive patients who were evaluated for a suspected sleep disorder; the sample consisted of 428 men and 404 women.

Patients completed a questionnaire about sleep disorders symptoms, behaviours during sleep, sleepiness, fatigue and mood.

Symptoms of insomnia, fatigue and depressed mood were similar between people reporting sexsomnia and other patients at the sleep disorders centre.

Both groups also had similar rates of smoking and caffeine consumption. However, people who reported sexsomnia were twice as likely as other sleep centre patients to admit using illicit drugs (15.9 percent vs 7.7 percent).

Although sexsomnia was common, patients rarely mentioned the problem to their doctor. Chung noted that only four of 832 patients expressed a complaint about sexsomnia during a consultation with a sleep specialist, said a University Health Network release.

“It seems that patients generally don’t discuss this with their doctors,” she said.

These findings were presented Monday in San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010 – 24th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

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Categories: Health

Smokers more depressed than non-smokers

June 2, 2010 Comments off

Smokers are more than twice as likely to have symptoms of depression as compared to non-smokers, research says.

A study by University of Otago involved over 1,000 people, who were asked at ages 18, 21 and 25 years about their smoking habits and whether they had symptoms of depression.

Sophisticated statistical analysis of results found that smoking increases the risk of developing depressive symptoms, rather than the other way round, says an Otago release.

David Fergusson, professor at Otago, who led the study, says: “Our findings are consistent with the conclusion that there is a cause and effect relationship between smoking and depression.”

“The reasons for this relationship are not clear. However, it’s possible that nicotine causes changes to neurotransmitter activity in the brain, leading to an increased risk of depression,” he adds.

Categories: Health

Fresh hope for HIV patients

March 9, 2010 Comments off

In a welcome news for HIV patients, Canadian and American researchers have found new ways to increase effectiveness of the current drugs to fight the deadly disease.

Currently, HIV/AIDS patients are treated with highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) that involves at least three active anti-retroviral medications. The HAART ‘cocktail’ is suppresses viral replication in the blood.

Although HAART delays the progression of AIDS and prolongs life, it does not lead to cure of the disease.

But now researchers from Montreal University , McGill University , and the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI) have published a new study that may lead to an expansion of the role of the current drug arsenal used to fight HIV.

The joint study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, shows how the pivotal role of two molecules, PD-1 and IL-10, can influence the function of CD4/T-helper cells and alter their ability to fight HIV, a statement by Montreal University said Monday.

“Our findings show that the membrane protein PD-1 is up-regulated during HIV infection by the release of bacterial products from the gut and this subsequently increases the production of a cell derived factor, IL-10 that paralyses the immune system,” lead author Rafick-Pierre Sekaly has been quoted as saying.

” We are the first to show that these two molecules work together to shut down the function of CD4 T-cells in HIV patients. This in turn, may lead to paralysis of the immune system and an accelerated disease progression.

“Our results suggest that it is important to block both IL-10 and PD-1 interactions to restore the immune response during HIV infection,” said Sekaly.

“We believe that immunotherapies that target PD-1 and IL-10 should be part of the arsenal used to restore immune function in HIV-infected subjects,” he added.

Categories: Health

Imported swine flu vaccine will reach India in February

January 20, 2010 Comments off

Imported swine flu vaccine will finally be available in India by the third week of February but these vials are mainly for the high-risk group of medical practitioners. The indigenously developed vaccine will not be available before April, officials said here Tuesday.

“The French pharma company Sanofi Pasteur is at least 15 days ahead of others. The vaccine from this company will be available in India by the third week of February,” Drug Controller General of India S. Singh said.

“The company is starting the bridge study (human trials) from Wednesday,” he said.

The price of this imported vaccine will be around Rs.300.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the indigenous swine flu vaccine will be available in India in April. “We are developing the swine flu vaccine which will form the base for immunising other influenzas like bird flu as well,” he said.

So far, India has reported over 1,100 deaths due to the contagious virus and over 28,000 people have been infected with the disease till now.

Categories: Health

Swine flu vaccine may be available in India this year

January 13, 2010 Comments off

The swine flu vaccine could become available for use in india this year with an American firm collaborating with an Indian biopharmaceutical company to facilitate the manufacture, clinical development and commercialisation of the vaccine in India.

VaxInnate Corporation, based in Cranbury, New Jersey, Tuesday announced that it has granted Indian biopharmaceutical company Biological E. Limited a license to its recombinant H1N1 pandemic swine flu vaccine.

Under the terms of the agreement, the vaccine will enter clinical development in India early this year and could become available for emergency use in India after completion of clinical trials.

As with all new vaccines, the Indian government must approve the vaccine based upon clinical evaluation before it can be used. Financial terms of the agreement include initial fees, milestone payments and royalties on sales.

Biological E. should be capable of manufacturing sufficient H1N1 vaccine in several months to address the needs of India’s 1.2 billion population in a public health emergency, the announcement said.

The agreement also permits Biological E. to sell excess vaccine to other South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. South Asia is home to one-fifth of the world’s population.

“Biological E. looks forward to working closely with VaxInnate to rapidly develop and manufacture this innovative vaccine in India,” said Vijay Kumar Datla, chairman and managing director of BE.

“As a leading vaccine provider, we hope to play a key role in protecting Indians and other South Asians from pandemic H1N1 flu.”

“VaxInnate is pleased to partner with Biological E. to meet the H1N1 vaccine needs of India and to demonstrate the speed and volume capabilities of our proprietary vaccine technology,” said Alan Shaw, president and CEO of VaxInnate.

“We will continue to pursue domestic and other international partnerships for development of this and other vaccines to meet global needs.”

VaxInnate’s proprietary technology – based upon a combination of toll-like receptor-mediated (TLR) immune enhancement and recombinant bacterial production of vaccine antigen – conveys significant speed and volume advantages, making it capable of producing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses in weeks instead of months.

Meanwhile, VaxInnate plans to pursue clinical development and licensure of pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines in the US.

Categories: Health

Two swine flu deaths in Delhi, city’s toll 87

January 12, 2010 Comments off

Two people died due to swine flu in the national capital Monday, taking the toll due to the pandemic virus to 87 in the city, health officials said.

A 41-year-old man died in Apollo Hospital while a 36-year-old woman died in GTB Hospital in the capital Monday, said Anjana Prakash, Delhi’s deputy nodal officer for swine flu.

“Both of them were admitted to the hospital with severe lung infection,” Prakash told IANS.

The city also reported six new cases of swine flu Monday, taking the cumulative swine flu infections in the city to 9,562. Over 50 percent of those affected by swine flu in Delhi are children.

Delhi reported its first swine flu death Aug 20, 2009.

Categories: Health

Special marriage website excites HIV positive people

January 8, 2010 Comments off

Junali Devi, a widow living in Assam, is eagerly awaiting the launch of India’s first matrimonial website for HIV-positive people.

Guwahati’s 35-year-old Junali (name changed on request), who lost her husband three years ago to HIV/AIDS, is among thousands of HIV-positive people in northeast India and elsewhere excited by the prospects of finding a good match through the website.

“I am pinning all my hopes to find a genuine match on the proposed website. I want to live a life with dignity and want someone who is intelligent, sober, and caring,” Junali told IANS.

The website (www.hitchiv.com) to be launched later this month at the behest of the Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+) has already generated a lot of interest among HIV- positive people.

“We have already got about 150 to 200 requests for membership despite the fact that the website is yet to be launched,” Jahnabi Goswami, president of INP+, said.

Goswami, 32, is one of the few women in India fighting to raise awareness about the disease. She belongs to an even smaller group of people who have publicly declared that they are HIV- positive.

Membership to the website would be open only to people living with HIV/AIDS.

“Strict privacy would be maintained and only registered members will be able to log in and scan profiles of prospective partners,” Goswami said.

There are thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS interested in marriage and leading a normal life with dignity, but since they cannot get in touch with like-minded people, their dreams remained unfulfilled.

“It is an excellent idea to have this website as marriages between an HIV- positive couple would enable them not only to lead a happy life but also to take care of and support each other, which is very important,” S.I. Ahmed, head of the AIDS Prevention Society, a community healthcare group in Assam, said.

INP+ would arrange pre-marital counselling to prospective couples interested in having children post-marriage.

“When it comes to marriage the couple would surely be told about the pros and cons,” Ahmed added.

Categories: Health