Dear moms, here’s another reason to breastfeed your baby. It’ll protect you against MS

Mothers who breastfeed for at least 15 months over one or more pregnancies may be 53% less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with those who do not breastfeed at all or do so for up to four months, says a study.

MS is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves. The findings showed that women with MS have significantly fewer relapses, or attacks, during pregnancy or while they are breastfeeding exclusively.

“Among the many other benefits to the mother and the baby, breastfeeding may reduce the mother’s future risk of developing MS,” said Annette Langer-Gould from Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

Researchers found that women with MS have significantly fewer relapses, or attacks, during pregnancy or while they are breastfeeding exclusively. (Shutterstock)

In addition, women who were age 15 or older at the time of their first menstrual cycle were 44% less likely to develop MS later than women who were 11 years old or younger at the time of their first menstruation.

The total number of years a woman ovulated and other factors, such as number of pregnancies, use of hormonal contraceptives and age at first birth were not associated with risk of MS, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal Neurology.

“Other health benefits include a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart attack,” Langer-Gould said.

For the study, the team involved 397 women with an average age of 37 who were newly diagnosed with MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome, who were compared to 433 other women.

Meningitis shot also offers some defence against gonorrhoea: Study

Researchers studying a mass vaccination campaign against meningitis have found a surprising side effect – the shots also offered moderate protection against gonorrhoea, a sexually transmitted infection that is causing global alarm.

The findings, published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday, mark the first time an immunisation has shown any protection against gonorrhoea and point to new avenues in the search for a gonorrhoea vaccine, scientists said.

“This new research could be game-changing,” said Linda Glennie, an expert at the Meningitis Research Foundation who was not directly involved in the study.

Gonorrhoea has become an increasingly urgent global health problem in recent years as strains of the bacterial infection have developed high levels of drug resistance.

The World Health Organization warned last week that some totally drug-resistance superbug strains of the disease already pose a major threat.

Yet so far, efforts to develop a gonorrhoea vaccine have yielded disappointing results: Four potential shots have reached the clinical trial stage, but none has been effective.

In New Zealand, around 1 million people under age 20 received a meningitis vaccine known as MeNZB during a 2004-2006 immunisation programme. This provided a valuable opportunity to test for cross-protection, the scientists explained.

For their study, the team used data from 11 sexual health clinics for all people aged 15 to 30 who had been diagnosed with gonorrhoea or chlamydia, or both, and who had also been eligible to be immunised against meningitis in the 2004-2006 campaign.

They found that those who had been vaccinated were significantly less likely to have gonorrhoea. And taking into account factors such as ethnicity, deprivation, geographical area and gender, having the MeNZB vaccine reduced the incidence of gonorrhoea by around 31 percent.

Helen Petousis-Harris, who co-led the study at the University of Auckland, said the findings “provide experimental evidence and a proof of principle” that meningitis vaccines might offer moderate cross-protection against gonorrhoea.

“Our findings could inform future vaccine development for both the meningococcal and gonorrhoea vaccines,” she said.

Despite the diseases being very different in symptoms and transmission modes, she added, the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis have an up to 90 percent genetic match, providing a biologically plausible mechanism.

Yoga may protect against memory decline in old age : Research

Doing yoga for a long time could change the structure of your brain and protect it against cognitive decline in old age, suggests new research.

When the researchers imaged elderly female yoga practitioners’ brains, they found that the “yoginis” have greater cortical thickness in the left prefrontal cortex, in brain areas associated with cognitive functions like attention and memory.

As we age, the structure and functionality of our brains change and this often leads to cognitive decline, including impaired attention or memory. One such change in the brain involves the cerebral cortex becoming thinner, which scientists have shown is correlated with cognitive decline.

So, how can we slow or reverse these changes?

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, suggest that the answer could lie in contemplative practices like yoga. “In the same way as muscles, the brain develops through training,” explained one of the researchers, Elisa Kozasa of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil, involved in the study.

“Like any contemplative practice, yoga has a cognitive component in which attention and concentration are important,” Kozasa added.

The research team wanted to see if elderly long-term yoga practitioners had any differences in terms of brain structure compared with healthy elderly people who had never practiced yoga.

They recruited a small group of female yoga practitioners (also known as yoginis) who had practiced yoga at least twice a week for a minimum of eight years, although the group had an average of nearly 15 years of yoga practice.

The researchers compared the yoginis with another group of healthy women who had never practiced yoga, meditation or any other contemplative practices, but who were well-matched to the yoginis in terms of their age (all the participants were 60 or over) and levels of physical activity.

The researchers scanned the participants’ brains using magnetic resonance imaging to see if there were any differences in brain structure.

“We found greater thickness in the left prefrontal cortex in the yoginis, in brain regions associated with cognitive functions such as attention and memory,” Rui Afonso from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo added.

Protest against merger of govt schools

Parents and students of a government schools in old Delhi, that is likely to be merged with another by the government, voiced their opinion against the proposed merger on Thursday. The Government Girls Senior Secondary School (GGSSS), Panama Building, is proposed to be merged with the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV) No 1, Jama Masjid. While GGSSS, with 800 students, is a girls’ school for those between Class VI and Class XII, SKV No-1, with a strength of 300, is for students between Classes I-XII.

Image result for Protest against merger of govt schools

While both the schools are among the four that operate out of the same building and students won’t have to make any major changes, the protesters said they want to save the identity of the school.

After the merger, it will be known as the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV) No 1, Jama Masjid. Rajender Sharma, general secretary, Front of Forum RWA, said, “The students got to know that their school is being merged only a few days ago and decided to start a protest.

They don’t want to move to a school which does not have the capacity to even seat them. The students of the school have been scoring very well in their Class X and Class XII examinations, I fail to understand why they want the school to be merged.”

TN to appeal against Madras HC order to not reserve MBBS, BDS seats for state board students

Chennai The Tamil Nadu government will appeal against Friday’s Madras High Court’s (HC) decision to quash the Tamil Nadu government order to reserve 85% medical (MBBS) and dental (BDS) seats in undergraduate colleges for state board students. The admissions are being done on the basis of scores of a common entrance test, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

State health minister C Vijayabaskar said the government would appeal against the single judge order . His government was opposed to NEET to protect the interests of the students from Tamil Nadu and that was why reservation was notified. “We are still against NEET and our bills are awaiting assent of the President,” he said.

The state government had through a notification rolled out the reservations last month. A mention of the same was made in the brochures issued for admissions to various undergraduate medical courses in state colleges.

The Madras High Court has reportedly quashed a Tamil Nadu government order reserving 85% of MBBS and BDS seats for state board students

Disposing of a petition challenging the June 22 notification of the state government filed by a minor, C Darnish Kumar, a CBSE student, Justice K Ravichandra Babu directed the medical colleges to consider the petitioner for all the seats available for undergraduate courses in medicine in the state for the academic year 2017-18.

The petitioner had challenged the notification saying that only the Medical Council of India (MCI) had the power to regulate medical college admissions as per the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act. The MCI had stipulated that admissions to medical courses would be based on the marks obtained in NEET and merit lists prepared on the basis of such marks and that it did not distinguish between students from CBSE and the state board.

Justice Ravichandra Babu held that the impugned reservation was bad in law and violated Art 14 of the Constitution (Equality before law). He also held that the reservation indirectly meddled with the object and process of the NEET and compromised on merits of selection.

The judge directed authorities to prepare a fresh merit list and conduct the counselling for admissions accordingly.

The state government has not been in favour of NEET. It had submitted to the court that two of its bills, passed in the state assembly exempting students from NEET, were pending with the President for assent. The advocate general (AG) of Tamil Nadu also told the HC that 88,431 students appeared for NEET, out of which only 4,675 were from CBSE. “Since NEET is the basis of admission, to ensure fair and equal opportunity to candidates from different boards, such reservation is provided in the seats available in the State quota,” the AG said.

Justice Reddy refused to accept the state government pleas and quashed the notification providing for reservations to Tamil Nadu board students in medical college undergraduate courses.

TN to appeal against Madras HC order to not reserve MBBS, BDS seats for state board students

Chennai The Tamil Nadu government will appeal against Friday’s Madras High Court’s (HC) decision to quash the Tamil Nadu government order to reserve 85% medical (MBBS) and dental (BDS) seats in undergraduate colleges for state board students. The admissions are being done on the basis of scores of a common entrance test, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

State health minister C Vijayabaskar said the government would appeal against the single judge order . His government was opposed to NEET to protect the interests of the students from Tamil Nadu and that was why reservation was notified. “We are still against NEET and our bills are awaiting assent of the President,” he said.

The state government had through a notification rolled out the reservations last month. A mention of the same was made in the brochures issued for admissions to various undergraduate medical courses in state colleges.

Disposing of a petition challenging the June 22 notification of the state government filed by a minor, C Darnish Kumar, a CBSE student, Justice K Ravichandra Babu directed the medical colleges to consider the petitioner for all the seats available for undergraduate courses in medicine in the state for the academic year 2017-18.

The petitioner had challenged the notification saying that only the Medical Council of India (MCI) had the power to regulate medical college admissions as per the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act. The MCI had stipulated that admissions to medical courses would be based on the marks obtained in NEET and merit lists prepared on the basis of such marks and that it did not distinguish between students from CBSE and the state board.

The Madras High Court has reportedly quashed a Tamil Nadu government order reserving 85% of MBBS and BDS seats for state board students

Justice Ravichandra Babu held that the impugned reservation was bad in law and violated Art 14 of the Constitution (Equality before law). He also held that the reservation indirectly meddled with the object and process of the NEET and compromised on merits of selection.

The judge directed authorities to prepare a fresh merit list and conduct the counselling for admissions accordingly.

The state government has not been in favour of NEET. It had submitted to the court that two of its bills, passed in the state assembly exempting students from NEET, were pending with the President for assent. The advocate general (AG) of Tamil Nadu also told the HC that 88,431 students appeared for NEET, out of which only 4,675 were from CBSE. “Since NEET is the basis of admission, to ensure fair and equal opportunity to candidates from different boards, such reservation is provided in the seats available in the State quota,” the AG said.

Justice Reddy refused to accept the state government pleas and quashed the notification providing for reservations to Tamil Nadu board students in medical college undergraduate courses.

 

Vaccine Fuels Hope In The Tough Fight Against Gonorrhea

A mass vaccination campaign for a meningitis outbreak in New Zealand offers a ray of hope in the fight toward reduced rates of gonorrhea, an entirely different kind of illness. This is the first time a vaccine has shown protection against the sexually transmitted infection.

The World Health Organization recently warned that gonorrhea had become difficult to treat and was rapidly developing resistance to antibiotics. The disease causes around 78 million new cases globally each year.

Mass Vaccination In NZ

Back in the early 2000s, a huge epidemic of meningococcal B disease struck New Zealand, with very high disease rates, the team of researchers wrote, adding the government’s request to the WHO to help create a specific vaccine for it.

Meningococcal disease is the bacterial type of meningitis and affects the membrane protecting the brain. It can be spread from person to person typically via kissing, coughing, or sneezing.

“Meningococcal B disease is very lethal disease, and even people who survive are left with a lot of lifelong medical problems,” said study author Dr. Steve Black in a CNN report.

The vaccine targeting the bacteria was used in a mass vaccination drive from 2004 to 2006, inoculating about 90 percent of the New Zealand population.

Black and his colleagues were curious as to what the vaccine’s other effects could be. Black focused on New Zealand’s gonorrhea statistics, as the bacteria causing gonorrhea and that causing meningococcal disease are considered “cousin” organisms and have 85 to 90 percent similar genetic composition.

Unintended Benefit

They studied patients in sexual health clinics ages 15 to 30 years who were eligible to receive the vaccine and were diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia (or both).

There were 1,241 gonorrhea cases in the subjects. Vaccinated individuals emerged as significantly less likely to be infected with gonorrhea than those who did not receive the shot, or a rate of 41 percent versus 51 percent.

Accounting for other factors such as gender and ethnicity, the team concluded that receiving the vaccine decreased gonorrhea incidence by about 31 percent.

The New Zealand vaccine is no longer available, but the same membrane-attacking component has been incorporated in a new vaccine targeting a broad range of group B Neisseria meningitidis. Called Bexsero, the meningococcal vaccine is developed by GlaxoSmithKline and is created to fight more strains than before.

“Based upon our results, assessment of this vaccine’s potential effect on gonorrhea infection seems warranted,” the researchers wrote in the journal The Lancet.

Health officials said that gonorrhea remains treatable in the United States, but warned that resistance to current antibiotics may develop. Practices such as oral sex help spread “super gonorrhea” and make the problem harder to address.

 

Meningitis shot also offers some protection against gonorrhoea, finds study

Researchers studying a mass vaccination campaign against meningitis have found a surprising side effect: the shots also offered moderate protection against gonorrhoea, a sexually transmitted infection that is causing global alarm.

The findings, published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday, mark the first time an immunisation has shown any protection against gonorrhoea and point to new avenues in the search for a gonorrhoea vaccine, say scientists. “This new research could be game-changing,” said Linda Glennie, an expert at the Meningitis Research Foundation, who was not directly involved in the study.

Gonorrhoea has become an increasingly urgent global health problem in recent years as strains of the bacterial infection have developed high levels of drug resistance.

The World Health Organisation warned last week that some totally drug-resistance superbug strains of the disease already pose a major threat. Yet so far, efforts to develop a gonorrhoea vaccine have yielded disappointing results: Four potential shots have reached the clinical trial stage, but none has been effective.

In New Zealand, around 1 million people under age 20 received a meningitis vaccine known as MeNZB during a 2004-2006 immunisation programme. This provided a valuable opportunity to test for cross-protection, the scientists explained.

For their study, the team used data from 11 sexual health clinics for all people aged 15 to 30 who had been diagnosed with gonorrhoea or chlamydia, or both, and who had also been eligible to be immunised against meningitis in the 2004-2006 campaign.

They found that those who had been vaccinated were significantly less likely to have gonorrhoea. And taking into account factors such as ethnicity, deprivation, geographical area and gender, having the MeNZB vaccine reduced the incidence of gonorrhoea by around 31%.

Helen Petousis-Harris, who co-led the study at the University of Auckland, said the findings “provide experimental evidence and a proof of principle” that meningitis vaccines might offer moderate cross-protection against gonorrhoea.

“Our findings could inform future vaccine development for both the meningococcal and gonorrhoea vaccines,” she said. Despite the diseases being very different in symptoms and transmission modes, she added, the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis have an up to 90% genetic match, providing a biologically plausible mechanism.

OnePlus 5 Speed Test Shows 6GB RAM Variant Holds Its Own Against 8GB Model

The OnePlus 5, which was recently launched in India, boasted of some top-of-the line specs that looked to challenge flagship smartphones from the likes of Apple and Samsung. Apart from the dual rear camera setup, the OnePlus 5 also highlights an 8GB RAM variant. While many feel that 8GB of RAM in a smartphone is a bit of an overkill, OnePlus clearly felt differently. But just how much of performance difference does is there in comparison to the 6GB of RAM variant? A YouTube channel tries to find out.

We already know that the 8GB variant of the OnePlus 5 is blazing fast after seeing a speed test videowhere it beat the iPhone 7 Plus. But for those curious to know just how much faster the OnePlus 5 with 8GB of RAM is compared to the 6GB model, a YouTube video recently posted by Timmers EM1 pitted the two against each other in a real life benchmark, launching the apps first and then reopening them from memory.

OnePlus 5 Speed Test Shows 6GB RAM Variant Holds Its Own Against 8GB Model

From the video, one can conclude that both the 8GB + 128GB Midnight Black variant of the OnePlus 5 and the 6GB + 64GB Slate Grey model are pretty similar when it comes to load times. Both are extremely fast and fluid when freshly opening the apps and it’s mostly hard to tell them apart from a few instances when the 6GB model doesn’t quite keep up.

When testing multitasking or loading the apps once again from memory, both responded snappily, although with apps like Amazon and eBay, the 6GB variant had to refresh the page a bit. On a second try (and with one additional game), the 6GB variant started reloading a number of apps all over again while the 8GB model had all the apps intact in memory. Despite that, both the models managed to keep a large number of apps in memory which is pretty impressive.

In our review of the 6GB model, we found that switching between the apps to be extremely smooth and the smartphone excels at gaming and media playback. Our review also pegged the OnePlus 5 6GB RAM variant versus the 8GB RAM variant in synthetic benchmarks like AnTuTu, GeekBench, and 3DMark, and the results were neck to neck, with 6GB RAM variant sometimes even trouncing its better endowed counterpart.

In conclusion, both the OnePlus 5 variants do extremely well at loading apps and a slight lag with the 6GB OnePlus 5 should not be a cause for concern and will likely be the more popular choice when considering that it’s Rs. 5,000 cheaper than the 8GB model.

Tamil Nadu film fraternity ends strike against ‘steep tax’ imposed after GST rollout

It will be business as usual for the Tamil film fraternity from Friday, with theatre owners withdrawing their agitation against the “steep taxes” imposed on them following the GST rollout.

The four-day stir was cut short after three rounds of talks with the government, during which ministers assured agitators that the government will form a panel to decide on the municipal tax.

GST taxation will reflect on film tickets when the movie halls reopen, forcing cinemagoers to shell out a little more than they are accustomed to.

“We decided to withdraw the stir after the government agreed to constitute a committee comprising government officials and members of the film fraternity to resolve the municipal tax issue,” said Abhirami Ramanathan, president of the Tamil Nadu Film Chamber of Commerce.

Theatre owners and distributors in the state have demanded a complete rollback of the 30% municipal tax over and above the 28% GST imposed on ticket sales because “it was certain to cripple their business”.

With this, tickets priced at Rs 120 will become Rs 153, and those costing Rs 110 and Rs 100 will rise to Rs 130 and Rs 118 respectively.

The theatre owners’ stir received support from the Opposition DMK and Congress, which raised the issue in the state assembly. Municipal administration minister SP Velumani responded by saying that the government will address issues affecting all sections of the society.

GST

Earlier, finance minister D Jayakumar told association members that while the government sympathised with them, the matter required a policy-level decision. The agitators – including members of the Tamil Film Producers Council, South Indian Artistes Association, theatre owners and film distributors – had held talks with chief minister K Palaniswami in this regard on Monday. Though the meeting did not result in a consensus, the film fraternity was hopeful of a positive outcome.