Chikungunya aftereffects and Chikungunya Arthritis

After recovery from Chikungunya fever persistent pain in Joints is due to Chikungunya Arthritis an aftereffect of chikungunya. Chikungunya Arthritis is also known as Post Viral Arthropathy. The bite from aedes aegypti mosquito has debilitating outcomes and the patient can get confined to bed for several weeks.

The most common aftereffects of Chikungunya include:

  • Pain in Joints which can persist for weeks
  • Feeling of weakness.
  • Lethargy and Fatigue.

The pain in the Joints is due to the counterattack of the immune system to the viral infection. The body recognizes some of its own cells as infective agents and hence attacks   some body cells along with the Chikungunya Virus. Antibodies activated by a viral attack often end up striking cartilages at the joints. This leads to swelling in the joints, often restricting movement. More than 50% of patients reported long term joint pain.  Some patients with joint pain do not respond well to the analgesics (painkillers) indicating damage of the nervous system.

People having a healthy lifestyle, healthy dietary habits usually recover faster than compared to others. The pain can handicap the person in a way where they cannot perform their daily routine chores comfortably.

Management of Joint pain:

The pain can be managed by mild exercises, cold packs, and pain killers. Ayurvedic medicine may also provide relief from the debilitating pain of the joints. Physiotherapy and mild exercise is also useful for management of pain and recovery. Simple exercise can help strengthen the muscles around the joints and can reduce pain and stiffness. Some of the useful simple movement exercises are:

  • Sit on a chair and then extend each leg parallel to the floor and hold it for a few seconds before lowering it. Repeat this less than 10 times at a time. You can do this 2 or 3 times a day.
  • Walk for 10 to 20 minutes at a mild pace. Avoid sitting for long periods of time at a stretch.
  • Do simple movement exercises by moving fingers, hand and elbow.
  • Some patients may need long term lifestyle changes for pain management.

 

Noble Prize 2016 in Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi

Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Noble prize in Physiology and Medicine for the year 2016 for his discoveries of mechanism of autophagy.

Autophagy is a process where cell recycles part of its own content.Yoshinori Ohsumi is from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Autophagy was a known fact among scientists since 1960’s but very little was known about how it worked. Ohsumi ‘s experiments with bakers yeast in 1990’s led to understanding autophagy.

The word autophagy originates from the Greek words auto-, meaning “self”, and phagein, meaning “to eat”. Thus,autophagy denotes “self eating”. Autophagy is a process where cell recycles part of its own content. Yoshinori Ohsumi is from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Autophagy was a known fact among scientists since 1960’s but very little was known about how it worked. Ohsumi ‘s experiments with bakers yeast in 1990’s led to understanding autophagy.Difficulties in studying the phenomenon meant that little was known until, in a series of brilliant experiments in the early 1990’s, Yoshinori Ohsumi used baker’s yeast to identify genes essential for autophagy. He then went on to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for autophagy in yeast and showed that similar sophisticated machinery is used in our cells.

His discoveries has led to understand fundamental importance of autophagy in many physiological processes, such as in the adaptation to starvation or response to infection. Mutations in autophagy genes can cause disease, and the autophagic process is involved in several conditions including cancer and neurological disease.

Disrupted autophagy has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and other disorders that appear in the elderly. Mutations in autophagy genes can cause genetic disease. Disturbances in the autophagic machinery have also been linked to cancer. Intense research is now ongoing to develop drugs that can target autophagy in various diseases.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo on Monday, Ohsumi said: “As a boy, the Nobel Prize was a dream, but after starting my research, it was out of my picture.”

He said he chose to focus on the cell’s waste disposal system, an unfashionable subject at the time, because he wanted to work on something different.

“I don’t feel comfortable competing with many people, and instead I find it more enjoyable doing something nobody else is doing,” he added. “In a way, that’s what science is all about, and the joy of finding something inspires me.”

Last year, the prize was shared by three scientists for discoveries that helped doctors fight malaria and infections caused by roundworm parasites.

Autophagy has been known for over 50 years but its fundamental importance in physiology and medicine was only recognized after Yoshinori Ohsumi’s paradigm-shifting research in the 1990’s. For his discoveries, he is awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

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