“Tri-specific” antibodies and the fight against HIV


HIV is the abbreviation by which most of us know Human Immunodeficiency Virus. First identified in the 1980s this hugely effective virus attacks the immune system, resulting in the development of the “Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome”, or AIDS. Estimates suggest that around 36.7million people are living with HIV, and since the start of the epidemic, 35 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses. The disease continues to be a killer, with around 1 million people dying from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016 [1]

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Is A Gluten-Free Diet Actually Good For You?


Walking into any supermarket, it’s hard to ignore a relatively new food label plastered on so many food items: Gluten-Free! Whether it is in restaurants or the in-flight dinner menu, gluten-free options are available. Is this just another health trend? Is it actually necessary to follow this diet? And, what IS gluten, anyway? 

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Body mass index and mild cognitive impairment


The number of people affected by dementia is rising. In the main this can be attributed to an ageing population; however, with over 24 million people affected worldwide [1] a huge amount of interest is focused on improving our understanding of the disease. One particular area of interest is in attempting to uncover additional risk factors which may predispose towards developing this devastating condition. Some of these are well understood – for example age, family history and diabetes [2]. A huge range of factors continue to be investigated, including weight, diet and exercise in middle-age, smoking, alcohol consumption and social interactions. The so-called ‘modifiable’ risk factors are among the most interesting, as these may provide information on how individuals can help protect themselves from dementia in later life [3].

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Schizophrenia: The Potpourri of Personal Tragedies


Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that confines the sufferer in a crippling cocoon of a dysfunctional mind. Many of us have suffered at least one symptom, some time in our lives, from the intricate and detailed spectrum of schizophrenia. Indeed, schizophrenia is a personal tragedy that affects 1 in 100 people in their life time. An estimated 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Schizophrenia each year1. As per the estimates, two million Americans have the diagnosis of schizophrenia. The term ‘Schizophrenia’ was introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 19112, which meant in German a splitting of the different parts of the thought process. Highest known risk factor is having a family member affected with Schizophrenia. Risk of schizophrenia in a person is 9 in 100 if the mother has the disease. Similarly, the risk is approximately 7 in 100 if the father, brother, or sister has schizophrenia.

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2017 was dominated mainly by issues pertaining to politics, international events, and natural disasters but a few medical and health-related topics did manage to get people’s attention. 10 of some of the most newsworthy topics regarding diseases, procedures and technological advances will be discussed briefly.

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Are you at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis?


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition of the joints, where sufferers experience joint pain and swelling. It is more common in women than men, most frequently develops in middle age (as compared to degenerative osteoarthritis which is a disease of ageing) and has been estimated to affect around 2% of the adult population in North America [1]. Rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to affect ‘small joints’ such as knuckles and is often symmetrical. Many sufferers complain that early morning is the most difficult time, with pain and stiffness easing later in the day.

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Orphan Drugs: Promises, Pitfalls & the Path Ahead


In 1581 Rembert Dodoens, a Flemish physician and botanist, wrote a Latin book ‘Medicinaliumobservationum exempla rara, recognita et aucta’ which, for the first time in history, covered the diagnosis and treatment of diseases with a low prevalence1. He prepared an extensive list of some 200 rare diseases in the 16th century such as Calculus in vesica (stone in the bladder), Lapides in vessicafellis (gall stones), Catalepsis (seizure), Mania cum Melancholia affinitatemhabet (mania with melancholia) Vermis in vesica (worms in the bladder) and Vomitus sanguinis (vomiting blood).

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T Cell Lymphoma: Many Faces of the Slick Slayer


Thomas Hodgkin, a British physician and pathologist, heralded the era in which a pathologist was actively involved in the clinical decision making and care processes. He described Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1832, in a paper titled On Some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen, but his work was recognized 33 years later through the eponymous use of the term ‘Hodgkin’s disease’ by British physician Samuel Wilks1, who rediscovered the disease.

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What sleep disruption does to your body


We pass about one third of our lives sleeping, not as a matter of choice, but as a matter of compulsion. Almost each one of us must have witnessed that a problem at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. We do inch forward in making the discoveries in the realms of sleep sciences, except little baby step by baby step. Much is left to be explored in the mysterious and seemingly bizarre world of sleep. Sleep is a reversible quiescent state with a distinct species-specific posture. For its property of being arousable, sleep is a far cry from coma or severe hypothermia. During sleep, the sensitivity to environmental stimuli is reduced and the sleeping animal is not as calmly aroused as a wakeful animal. Also, sleep is homeostatically regulated by super-efficient and poorly understood controls of body; if wakefulness is stretched for long periods, it will lead to an increase in some aspect of subsequent episode of sleep.

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Recent advances in treatment of autoimmune diseases


Since its formal conceptualization in the 1940s, autoimmune disorders have attracted immersive debates from medical professionals, researchers, philosophers, social theorists and anthropologists. Through all these decades of untiring efforts, the understanding of the operational elements of autoimmunity has proved to be labyrinthine task, and current familiarity with the underlying disharmony represents the tip of the iceberg. Though many etiological theories have attracted the eyeballs, in the current context, autoimmune disorders are believed to arise due to molecular mimicry and hygiene hypothesis.

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