Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Awareness

September is PCOS awareness month. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. PCOS symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive body hair and polycystic ovaries. PCOS causes small, pearl-sized cyst clusters in the ovaries. The cysts are fluid-filled and contain immature eggs. Women with PCOS produce slightly more amounts of male hormones known as androgens. The cause of PCOS is unknown. PCOS is a syndrome disease and is a collection of signs and symptoms.Post menopausal women can also suffer from PCOS.


PCOS is caused by an imbalance in the hormones (chemical messengers) in your brain and your ovaries. PCOS usually happens when a hormone called LH (from the pituitary gland) or levels of insulin (from the pancreas) are too high, which then causes the ovaries to make extra amounts of testosterone. All women make testosterone, but in PCOS, ovaries make a little bit more testosterone than required. In PCOS LH levels are often high when the menstrual cycle starts. The levels of LH are also higher than FSH levels. Because the LH levels are already quite high, there is no LH surge. Without this LH surge, ovulation does not occur, and periods are irregular.

The symptoms include:

  • Infertility
  • Excess or unwanted body or facial hair growth
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Weight problems, often including weight gain around the waist
  • Irregular or missing periods
  • Patches of dark skin on the back of your neck and other areas, called acanthosis nigricans

70% of women with PCOS are still undiagnosed. Hence awareness is key factor for the syndrome. PCOS treatment starts with proper diagnosis. Treatment is then chosen based on every individual’s symptom, age and future pregnancy plans. Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is increased in PCOS, and may become part of its diagnostic criteria

  • Birth control pills to regulate menstruation
  • Insulin-sensitizing medications
  • Ovulation induction to treat infertility
  • Androgen-blocking medications
  • Topical anti-hair-growth medications
  • Other excess hair treatments

The best treatment for PCOS is a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. Increasing your daily activity and a regular exercise regime reduces further complications. Vitamin D deficiency may play an important role in the metabolic syndrome. Myo-inositol supplementation, however, appears to be effective in improving several of the hormonal disturbances of PCOS. Early diagnosis and treatment reduces the risk of some of the other risks, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The World Health Organization estimates that it affects 116 million women worldwide as of 2010. High-fiber carbohydrates include whole-grain breads and cereals, whole-wheat pasta, bulgur wheat, barley, brown rice, and beans are some healthy foods to help combat the complications of the syndrome.



Common Cold: Vaccine

Common cold is a viral infectious disease which  affects the nose, throat, sinuses, and voice box may also be affected. The rhinoviruses is the most  cause for common cold.  People with influenza often show similar symptoms as people with a cold, though symptoms are usually more severe in influenza. There is no vaccine for the common cold. The need for a vaccine against rhinoviruses is necessary because there are more than 100 varieties of rhinovirus causing common cold circulating around the world.

The researchers report in Nature Communications ; Vaccines that combine dozens of varieties of rhinovirus at once are effective in stimulating antiviral antibodies in mice and monkeys. Researchers in 1960s showed that it was possible to vaccinate people against one variety of rhinovirus and prevent them from getting sick when affected with samples of the same virus. The main problem arises due to the diversity of the rhinoviruses.

Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta took 50 types of rhinovirus and mixed them together into our vaccine, and made sure we had enough of each one,” Moore says. “If we make a vaccine with 50 or 100 variants, it’s the same amount of total protein in a single dose of vaccine.

“There are no good animal models of rhinovirus replication,” Moore says. “The next step would be human challenge models with volunteers, which are feasible because the virus is not very pathogenic.”

Emory University School of Medicine has provided the vaccine technology to a startup company, Meissa Vaccines, Inc., which is pursuing a product development plan with support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ vaccine manufacturing services

Source:Science Daily


Chikungunya: Facts

Chikungunya: Virus 

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne alpha virus that was first isolated after a 1952 outbreak in modern-day Tanzania .A number of chikungunya outbreaks is due to the change in the genetic sequence which altered the viral coat protein which allows it to multiply more easily in the mosquito cells. The virus uses Asian tiger mosquito (invasive vector ) and the main vector being Aedes aegypti. Precautions need to be taken to stop the growth of the vector to combat the virus spread.

In 2006 there was a large outbreak in India . The virus re-emerged in 2006 after a gap of 32 years and caused an explosive outbreak affecting 13 states. The states first affected were Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala. The tropical environment of India aids in the mosquito growth and hence spread of the virus.

Now in the year 2016 the outbreak in Delhi and regions near to Delhi is large.  According to the Department of Microbiology at AIIMS, 712 samples were tested at its lab this year, of which 391 tested positive — 362 of the positive cases were tested between July 1 and August 20. Last year, only 64 cases were reported in Delhi.

Chikungunya can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. The commonly available ELISA blood test can be used to check Chikungunya antibodies. While this may take longer to become positive, virological tests like RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase PCR) can be used for earlier detection of virus in the blood – as early as the first 5 days after the onset of symptoms.

Research is ongoing to find a vaccine for Chikungunya. The disease is spreading outside Asia and it is suspected that new strains of Chikungunya viruses are out .

Note: It is a cumulative data from various sources.

Staying safe:   

Mosquitoes breed in fresh water. Prevent water logging in your area, and discard the bottles, tyres, dishes and other areas where water logging is possible.

Cover water coolers and tanks, and clean them frequently. Donot allow water to stay stagnated for more than a day.

Children wear clothes that cover their hands and legs while going out to play, and do not allow them to play near water bodies.

If diagnosed with dengue or chikungunya, take plenty of rest. Water, fruit juices, coconut water and electrolyte solutions help in staying hydrated.

The blood platelet count has to monitered and if required platelet transfusion may be needed.

Do net self-medicate. Antibiotics and steroids do not show any benefit and can have adverse effect. Aspirin should be avoided. Paracetamol can be taken to reduce fever.

New Gene Discovery can yield new treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

New research has found that blocking the gene – called TNFR5 – halted the destruction process of insulin producing cells, a discovery that could lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Insulin regulates the blood sugar level. Insulin helps store the sugar in your liver and releases sugar when the sugar level is low.

Using high-density microarray analysis, more than 31,000 genes associated with the pancreas were evaluated, which would determine which ones were most sensitive to glucose and fatty acids.

The researchers found that the gene TNFR5 had the highest sensitivity to glucose and fatty acids, and  an overexpression of this gene led to beta cell destruction. This led to the finding inhibiting TNFR 5 activity could be a promising treatment for type 2 diabetes.