Fecal Transplant-an Old Way in a New Technology


We are much known to bacteria as well as antibiotic as anti-bacterial agent. But nowadays we have been becoming resistant to anti-bacterial agent because of the misuse of it. Science is working day and night on how to reduce this resistance; how to fight with the side effects. More the science develops more it finds useful techniques. A wonder of science is “Fecal Transplant”; seems interesting!

Fecal Transplant or Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) is a process in which, from a tested donor fecal stuff or stool is collected. Then it is mixed with a saline or other solution, strained, and placed in a patient by endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy or enema.

Though it has been reinvented in this new century, the practice was documented in the fourth century in China. Than over the 100 years it has been used for veterinary treatment. In many countries it has been used as the first line defense or choice of treatment as a preventive barrier against Clostridium difficile. In some custom of the world it has been found that a new born infant have to take a small amount of mother’s stool which have been thought to useful for the faster growth of good bacteria in the baby’s colon that fasts the development of baby’s immune system. C. defficile causes C. defficile colitis infection in which toxins are produced that damages the lining of the colon. That result in diarrhea and abdominal cramping associated with fever.

Curiosity may counter why we should use this fecal transplant rather than using any antibiotics to kill C. difficile. Conceptually, physicians have found that C. difficile colitis may occur and recur due to antibiotic disturbed patient’s intestinal microflora, on other word it is microbiome.

Alteration of this microbiome will lead a patient to a condition known as dysbiosis in which intestinal living organisms are no longer capable of protect themselves against C. difficile infection. Feces transplantation with a healthy diversity of bacteria can re-establish the resistance against C. difficile and prevent them from becoming a foremost organism in the gut environment.

The patients who have experienced at least three recurrences of C. difficile colitis most commonly be given this treatment when all the conventional therapies have failed.

Fecal transport is not common to patients; to some it may seem to be difficult or costly. Surprisingly it is of low cost and risk and highly effective treatment. Fecal transplantation has not been yet covered by many of the countries, but scientists have not loss their hope as day by day the number of interested people is increasing.

There may be good information for us that fecal transplantation can be performed by synthetic feces which is made from 33 bacteria species by culturing in a devise called RoBogut which actually mimics the human gut. This technique has become a remarkable step for the treatment of C. difficile colitis.

Fecal transplant has become popular in the US in the past few years though the reported number of patient treatment is below 500. In 2013, FDA has announced fecal transplant under Investigational New Drug Category and a Biologic. In the June of 2013, FDA approved this treatment only for recurrent of C. difficile. The process is done by testing the stool of donor.

Primarily fecal transplantation is using for the treatment of C. difficile but studies are ongoing to establish fecal transplant in the treatment of other disease. Till now physicians have restricted experience on fecal transplant. Continuous studies should be conducted so that physician can precisely conduct fecal transplantation. Awareness programmes should be arranged to make patient known about the procedure and its usefulness.

This unusual and old trend of treatment has brought a new hope in the medical science which should not be neglected because of the lack of research.

Farzana Khan Sristy is a pharmacy student, has completed her graduation under the department of Pharmacy, East West University. She has interest on recent development of treatment methods and drugs. She is doing her research on Phytochemical activities. Farzana is a student correspondent at Association of Life Science and Engineering Writers (ALSEW). She can be reached at farzana_sristy@yahoo.com

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A Message to Stop Animal Abuse


Dear Friends,

Recently there was lot of noise and protests in India against ‘Jallikuttu’- a south Indian Bull Taming tradition. Let me tell you what exactly is this.

Jallikaatu could be referred to as bull taming event typically practiced in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day, third day of the four-day Pongal festival. The term ‘jallikattu’ is derived from the tamil words ‘jalli’ and ‘kattu’.  Jalli refers to gold or silver coins. Kattu means ‘tied’. Therefore, combined together it refers to coins being tied to the bulls’ horns, which is considered the prize for whoever tames the bull. The bull that wins is used to service numerous cows preserving the native breed. It is renowned as an ancient ‘sport’, believed to have been practised some 2500 years ago. It is controversial because the sport often results in major injuries and even deaths.

A research conducted by People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)’s investigators found that the bulls were being disoriented, deliberately. The bulls’ tails were allegedly bitten and twisted; stabbed, punched and dragged on the ground. Jallikattu is cruel to the bulls.

I was following the news and was very sad to see the way bulls were treated during the sport/tradition.

People may have different opinion, some may say it is right but I am deadly against this or any form of ill-treatment to animals.

I am completely against Jallikuttu, bull fighting, cockfights, dogfighting, hare coursing, greyhound hunts and any cruel sports or torture games involving animals. It is appalling that civilized societies get their kicks by brutalizing animals in so many different ways – all for their own amusement, entertainment or pretext of tradition. These sports should be completely banned.

Jallikattu supporters say that it is a tradition and is very crucial to stop extinction of native cattle species. My point is that not every tradition should be carried forward into a modern civilisation. Practices such as sati and child marriage were all once considered “tradition”. Honour killing was at one point practised actively in several parts of the world, and considered normal. Why should our sense of self-worth and existence depend so heavily on traditions that are barbaric, archaic and promote a distorted sense of machoism? Also, there are other, less brutal, ways to prevent the extinction of indigenous species of cattle.

Indian Constitution says that it is our fundamental duty to be compassionate towards all living creatures – not just human beings. Then why should owners of private animals be free to engage in cruel activities with them? Bulls incur serious injuries and fractures during Jallikattu. Some even die. “Tradition” or “culture” are not a sufficient justification to indulge in this sport.

I even heard supporters saying “If Jallikattu is cruel to animals, then boxing/wrestling is cruel to mankind”. But there is a stark difference between the two sports -in boxing or wrestling, the consent of every player involved is taken, and the bulls never signed up for this “sport” they are forced to be a part of.

There is no dearth of the inane arguments being made in favour of this senselessly brutal sport.

Bullfighting is another brutal, infact, the most brutal and the blood sport which has probably been the subject matter of more protests from animal rights groups than any other. Thankfully, however the protests have had their effect and we are seeing less and less of this needlessly cruel activity is.

We must live in harmony and social peace with nonhuman animals. We have no right to harm any other animal because when we harm animals, we harm ourselves as a society.

It is right for people to stand up for something so pointlessly barbaric. It is fair to ask for a court ban on such cruel sports.

I respect animals and never buy anything which is made out of animal abuse. I don’t enjoy and don’t support circus where animals are mistreated and tortured to over-perform beyond their capacity. It’s pathetic how some people find pleasure in harming/killing animals There is no excuse for causing immense pain and suffering to these creatures just for the sheer heck of it…for fun and games.

It is necessary to create social awareness against the animal cruelty. It cannot obviously be done in a day but it is so important to keep bringing these cruelties to light and to work towards a constant evolution of our societies.

Arushi Madan is a student of Electronic & Electrical Engineering of University of Birmingham, UK. She is an environmental activist and working on different climate issues and creating awareness to reduce environmental pollution. Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation. She can be reached at madhumadan2003@yahoo.co.in

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What do you need to know about password?


It’s now 2017; According to Moore’s Law our transistor count Vs dye size graph has hit its highest numbers. We’ve got 22-core Xeon E5-2699V4 in the enterprise side and the beast in the game 10-core 6950X for enthusiasts. Again we have the GPUs are developing at a much higher rate. Nvidia released the new Quadro P6000, the most powerful (enterprise) card in the market. It has 3840 CUDA cores (more on that later), 24 GB GDDR5X VRAM, which translates in effectively 24 TFLOPS (Tera Flops) of raw computing performance*. These advancements in processing units are pushing development much faster. It’s a really good time to be alive. But, on the other side of the spectrum, availability of these extremely powerful cards is making us vulnerable.

First let me inform about the most used process of storing passwords by websites. When you are putting your password to a website while creating an account, the website hashes your password using some algorithms. As a result most of the websites don’t even know what your password is, unless they are storing the password in plain text, which is very risky. The most widely implemented hash functions are MD5 (128-bit) and SHA1 (160-bit). These were really strong and effective way of storing passwords in the past, but not now days. If your password is just a string of small-letter character, it’ll take less than a second to crack your password using a simple brute force attack. Let’s simplify what I just mentioned. Suppose your password is a 12 small-letter character. So, when someone brute forces your password, they’ll just check every possible 12 small-letter characters. They’ll have to process 12^26 bits (1.1447546×10^28 bit) of data. This might seem a lot to you, but for modern GPUs, it’s a small piece of cake, they’ll need as small as a fraction of a second to process this much data. So, if your password has capital letters, numbers and special characters (like !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, * or something else) then your password will be much harder to brute force. But there are a lot more ways to crack them too. So, the users need to create passwords in such a way that it’s tough to crack them through brute force attack. And we should avoid using passwords like password1, 12345678, etc. Because of these are the most common and widely used passwords and there are password libraries which contains millions of hacked passwords, passwords which people used in real life. Please, never ever use the same password in multiple websites. Huge companies like LinkedIn, Yahoo are frequently getting hacked and the passwords are leaked in the internet. If all your passwords are same, then someone might use your hacked password to login to may be your Amazon account and use your credit card or do many dangerous things like using your account for causing harm to someone. Well if the developer of the website is intelligent enough, he’ll use some better hashing function such as SHA512 with salting. Salting is basically adding an extra random string of character which is different for every user to the hashed password. So even if the hashed passwords are compromised, the hacker won’t be able to crack the passwords, because the salts will make the hashing algorithm unpredictable.

Well, the summary to this long post is change every password you ever created, because I’m sure your passwords are weak. Mix small-capital letters, add numbers and special characters. Don’t use your name or any common words. And always use different passwords for different accounts. If you can’t remember those passwords then use password managing services like LastPass, True Key, Enpass, KeePassX, Dashlane, Padlock, Passbolt, etc they are free. And always use 2-step authentication or maybe even 3rd step authentication. These multiple steps of authentication might be a hastle to deal with, but these will literally make your account 99.99% can’t be hacked.

I know someone might come up with the idea of biometric authentication. I’ll discuss that in the next part. Yes, there is a next part. Stay tuned for the next part if you are interested, I guess.

Sakib Sadman Shajib is a student of Notre Dame College, Dhaka. He can be reached at contact@sakibsadmanshajib.com

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Antibiotic Resistance: A Major Challenge for Human Survival

Md. Delowar Hossain

In the era of World War II, a miracle was seen to save millions of lives and that was the discovery of penicillin considered as the first chemical compound having antibiotic properties. Sir, Alexander Fleming was the man who discovered this serendipitous history. Actually, the term “antibiotic” describes the activity of any compound or chemical that can be applied to kill or inhibit bacteria that cause infectious diseases. Also, it is to be specified that antibiotic is not successful against the virus. These days, an expansive number of antibacterial agents are accessible to treat numerous life-undermining bacterial illnesses (e.g. tuberculosis, typhoid, syphilis, tetanus, diphtheria, gonorrhea, etc.) even so many antibiotics are under research to develop. Generally, a wide range of microbes are available in nature and in charge of various sorts of illnesses and every bacterial strain may not sensitive to a single antibiotic. As a result, there are present different classes of antibiotic (e.g.: cephalosporins, tetracyclines, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides) to cover a wide range of the bacterial spectrum.

Though antibiotic was the revolutionized medicine during the last half of the 20th century and had reduced the incidence of life-threatening infections. However, the success of antibiotics has been eroded through the development of “superbugs” that means bacteria has become resistant to antibiotic drugs or antibiotic resistance which makes a challenge for the human survival. “Superbugs” are developed when bacteria is mutated then they reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of a drug. In the event that once the microscopic organisms can survive and proceed with, it will duplicate bringing on more damage. Both globally as well as locally in Bangladesh “superbugs” are a mounting threat to control the infectious diseases. These may show resistance not only to the single drug rather multiple drugs and that is considered as the multidrug resistant. And in the history of 1953 Shigella outbreaks in Japan, a strain of the “Dysentery bacillus” was isolated exhibiting resistance to chloramphenicol, tetracycline, streptomycin, and sulfanilamide. And in the late 1980s even Methicillin-resistant “Staphylococcus aureus” had become prevalent in many hospitals and difficult to treat. Actually, superbugs are developed naturally over time through genetic mutations. However, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are accelerating this process. Abuse that implies anti-infection agents are gotten by a patient which is not in regards to the real reason of the disease. For example, antibiotic is taken for viral infections like colds and flu. Again, an incomplete total therapeutic dose of antibiotic, incorrect use of antibiotics such as too short a time, at too low a dose, the wrong diagnosis always enhances bacterial resistance to these drugs. Indeed, even numerous patients trust that new and costly medications are more efficacious than more seasoned agents. This observation supports the predominance of imperviousness to these more up to date operators and to more seasoned operators in their class. What’s more, the most vital thing is resistant strains that can be spread from a person to a community. Antibiotic resistance rates vary from one country to another. It is observed that nations having most elevated people get anti-infection have the most elevated resistance rates. This resistance rates rely on upon the measure of anti-microbial utilized, the number of people receiving the medication and the population density. How about we investigate some review, around the world, it is evaluated that more than half of patients receive antibiotics without clear signs where infants and children are among the most powerless populace gathers as antimicrobials have turned into a regular practice for the pediatric patients. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA has estimated that 50 millions of 150 millions prescriptions in every year are unnecessary.

In Bangladesh, it is evaluated that 50% common reasons to recommend antimicrobial are fever, respiratory and urinary tract disease and microbial affectability designs for them are not routinely honed for decision making in medication determination. About 70% prescriber mentioned that diagnostic uncertainty and emergence of resistance increase the antibiotic prescribing. 51.9% of prescribers opined that doctors prescribe antimicrobial more than the real need. And it is very unfortunate that over prescribing not only increases the health care cost, and may result in superinfection due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as fungi, and may increase the adverse drug reaction.

Now, what should do for slowing down the antibiotic resistance? In the first place, the prescriber ought to take after the fundamental standards of antimicrobial endorsing, patient ought to be adhered to their antibiotic treatment protocol and finish in time, even it should be entirely kept up that antimicrobials must not be recommended and administered without individual enrolled staff. Especially, in Bangladesh, a national alliance or regulation for the use of antimicrobials should be established for the prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance.

Md. Delowar Hossain is a student of Department of Pharmacy at East West University, Bangladesh. He is a student correspondent at ALSEW. He can be reached at dhdipu030@gmail.com


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Bipolar Disorder: The Happiness Sadness Divider

Rakibul Hasan

Bipolar disorder is a psychological disorder that causes unusual shift in mood, energy, activity, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Sometimes it called manic depression; bipolar disorder causes high shifts in mental conditions. People who have this disorder may spend weeks feeling like they’re beyond world before plunging into a deep depression. The length of both high and low varies greatly in persons. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in unexpected conditions in relationships, joblessness or less school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

In 2000 a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that prevalence and incidence of bipolar disorder are very similar globally. Age-standardized prevalence per 100,000 ranged from 421.0 in South Asia to 481.7 in Africa and Europe for men and from 450.3 in Africa and Europe to 491.6 in Oceania in women. Disability adjusted life year rates, for example, appear to be higher in under developing countries, where medical coverage are not enough and medications are less available. Within the United States, Asian Americans have significantly lower rates of it than their African and European American counterparts. Late adolescence and early adulthood are the peak years for the onset of this disorder. One study also found that in 10 percent of bipolar cases, the onset of mania had happened after the patient had turned over 50 or more.

There are two types of bipolar disorder as Bipolar-I & Bipolar-II. People with bipolar-I disorder have manic phases for at least one week. Many also have separate depression phases as well. Patients with bipolar-II have major depression, but instead of full manic episodes. They have low-grade hypomanic swings that are less intense and may persist less than week. They may seem fine, even like the ‘life of the party’ though family and friends notice their mood changes.

A person with bipolar disorder may have intense episodes of depression. There are two types of episodes and those are manic and depressive episode. Symptoms of depressive episode or depression include sadness, anxiety, lacks in energy, hopelessness, and trouble concentrating. They may lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy. It’s also seems that gaining or losing  weight, sleep too much or too little, and even think about suicide.

In the primary manic episode, people feel super-charged and think they can do anything. Their self-esteem soars out of control and it’s hard for them to sit still. They talk more and are easily distracted, they may seem insomnia. It often leads to reckless behavior, such as spending sprees, cheating, fast driving, and drug abuses.

When people with bipolar disorder have depression and mania symptoms at the same time, or very close together, this is called a manic or depressive episode with mixed features.  This can show unpredictable behavior, such as taking risks when feeling hopeless and suicidal tendency but energized and agitated.  Mood episodes involving mixed features are especially in women and in people who develop bipolar disorder at a young age

Doctors don’t know exactly what the causes of bipolar disorder are. Current theories say that the disorder may result from a combination of genetic and physiological as well as influenced by environmental- factors. Scientists think that brain circuits involvedin the regulation of mood, energy, thinking, and biological rhythms may function abnormally in people with bipolar disorder, resulting in the mood and other changes associated with the illness.

Bipolar disorder is widely accepted to be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. The chemicals responsible for controlling the brain’s functions are called neurotransmitters. If there is an imbalance in the levels of one or more neurotransmitters, a person may develop some symptoms of bipolar disorder. For example, there is evidence episodes of mania may occur when levels of noradrenaline are significantly high, and episodes of depression may be the result of noradrenaline when it islow.

A stressful condition often triggers the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Examples of stressful triggers include the breakdown of a relationship, physical, the death of a close family member or loved one.

Bipolar disorder may also be triggered by physical illness, sleep disturbances and other problems in everyday life, such as problems with money.

There are several types of drugs to treat bipolar disorder. They include mood stabilizers that prevent episodes of ups and downs, as well as antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. When they aren’t in a manic or depressive phase, people usually take maintenance medications to avoid a relapse.

Counseling might be one of the medications and manage their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors when mood swings. Interpersonal therapy aims to deal with the strain bipolar disorder puts on personal relationships.

Another treatment is done while you are asleep under general anesthesia, can rapidly improve mood symptoms of bipolar disorder. It’s one of the fastest ways to ease severe symptoms. ECT is often a safe and effective treatment option for severe mood episodes when medications have not led to meaningful symptom improvement.

Rakibul hasan is a under graduate student at department of pharmacy, east west university, Bangladesh. He can be reached at rw.rakibul@gmail.com


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Ebola and its recent discovered life-saving vaccine

Sayma Afroz

Ebola (Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is one kind of rare disease which was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This disease is caused by Ebola virus and that virus belongs to a family of Filoviridae. This virus causes disease not only human but also animals like gorillas, monkeys etc. The host of Ebola virus is unidentified but on the basis of research and researchers opinion, it is established that the virus is carried out by bats.

People get infected by Ebola virus through mucous membranes or damaged skin with blood, excretions, organs or bodily fluid of diseased humans or animals. There is a great risk for health care worker who treated the patients having Ebola. However, people persist contagious until the virus presents in their blood.

For the treatment of Ebola virus disease, there is no available vaccine yet. Some drug therapies and immune therapies are used for the improvement of the infected patients.

Recently, The Lancet medical journal published that finally Researchers have established an Ebola vaccine which showed an outstanding result in the prevention of Ebola virus disease.

According to the journal, a cluster-randomised ring vaccination trial was done in the coastal region of Basse-Guinée involving 11841people.This trial was started in 2015.They applieda single intramuscular dose of a vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine in the prevention of Ebola virus disease confirmed by laboratory test.Among them, 5837 people were given the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine. As a result, no Ebola cases were found among the people after vaccination. On the other hand, 23 cases were found among the people who did not take the vaccine.

The experiment was funded by WHO, in association with Guinea’s Ministry of Health, Norwegian Institution of Public Health,UK Wellcome Trust,Medecins sans Frontieres and other international partners.

About the research, Dr. Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, said that “This trial, confirming the 100 percent efficacy of the rVSV Ebola vaccine, is a simply remarkable outcome”. He also said that working together with other organization,they are succeeded to develop a vaccine for the recovery of the people affected by Ebola virus.

Public Health Agency of Canadainvented the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine. At present, the vaccine is under development which is done by the drug company Merck.This year, the vaccine’s manufacturer Merck honored Breakthrough Therapy Designation from USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) and PRIME position from EMA (European Medicines Agency), providing quicker regulatory evaluation of the vaccine once it is presented.  The recently discovered Ebola Virus Disease Vaccine is rVSV-ZEBOV.

Moreover,the company is started doing extra safety studies on children and other susceptible populations for getting approval from USFDA and Drug Administration. Merck and WHO’s followers are working together for license application of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine.

For the future collection of the vaccine, Merck will be provided US$5 million by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance in the upcoming January. They have made an agreement that the company will provide 300,000 doses of the vaccine in case of an emergency.

The rapid development of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine has a positive impact on the progression of WHO’s R & D and encourage to take steps to ensure safe and effective medicine for the prevention of the diseases.

We feel proud to have such a vaccine that can work for the recovery of the patients being infected by Ebola virus.Although many people lost their lives because of improper treatment during Ebola, so, we can said that this vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV) has a vital role to bring a revolutionary progress in the prevention of Ebola virus disease.

Sayma Afroz is a undergrad student at East West University, Bangladesh. She can be reached at saymaafroz333@yahoo.com


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“New Drug Transforms The Immune System To Slow The Progress Of Multiple Sclerosis”

Shariful Islam

Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable and potentially disabling disease that cripples the central nervous system. It is a widespread neurological condition that hits young adults, usually between ages 20 and 40, caused by an immune system disorder that misunderstood a part of the brain as a hostile foreign particle and attacks it. Though there are treatments available, particularly for its second state, multiple sclerosis remains incurable.

Multiple Sclerosis foundation estimate that about 400,000 people in the United States and about 2.5 millon people around the world have multiple sclerosis.

A new drug Ocrelizumab, is the first known drug shown to work against the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis by alternating the immune system to slow damage to the brain.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, focuses on how ocrelizumab is able to destroy B cells, the part of the immune system that attacks the myelin sheath, the protective coating around nerves cells which serve as wire insulation for electrical signals to travel across nerves to nerves. The study notes that among 732 patients with progressive MS, showing deterioration dropped from 39 percent prior to Ocrelizumab treatment to 33 percent with the new drug. Apart from these, patients who take drug showed lesser brain loss detected on scans.

The drug, taken as an intravenous drug, has been accepted for review for use by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug administration. The ocrelizumab treatment hampers this process  by  stopping  the  B-cells  from  attacking  the myelin.

Dr Aisling McMahon, the head of clinical trials at the Multiple Sclerosis  Society, said: “This is really big news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

“It is the first time a treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of Multiple Sclerosis, which offers a lot of hope for the future.”

Shariful Islam is a undergraduate student at Department of Pharmacy, East West University, Bangladesh. He can be reached at sharifulislamewu004@gmail.com


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Statins in Diabetes: Some Unaware Facts


Diabetes, a most common disease we see in this era. Among 100 people, 40 people are affected by this disease even children are not away from this. If you have diabetes, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Usually doctors are likely to prescribed statins during this time. But do you ever think it can also give opposite effect. What if it increases the risk of diabetes instead of decrease???

The effect of statins is due to inhibition of hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMG-CoA) and decrease in LDL-C is due to up regulation of LDL receptor activity. Statins decrease LDL-C levels, resulting in a significant reduction of cardiovascular events in many high-risk patients.

The right statin for a person is partly depending on his or her LDL level. If cholesterol is only slightly elevated a less potent statin such as Pravastatin and lovastatin are good options. If cholesterol level is high then the powerful statins such as Rosuvastatin, Atorvastatin and Simvastatin are the options. But if we see carefully most of the time the prescribed statins are Rosuvastatin or Atorvastatin whatever cholesterol is high or not. Prolong and continuous use of such high potent statins is of course a risk indication although they decrease the risk of heart disease at a certain level.

On the other hand, someone who has never had heart disease and who has high cholesterol but no other risk factors is less likely to derive benefit from a statin drug while still facing the risk of diabetes.

The exact mechanism of why statins can lead to diabetes hasn’t been confirmed, but there are several things we do know. Research has found that statins affect the HMG-coenzyme a reductase pathway, the same pathway that can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes.  Those with a genetic weakness are especially vulnerable.

Patients taking the controversial heart drug, statins, have an almost double the risk of diabetes and an up to a twofold risk of serious diabetic complications, a shock study has found. Some very serious studies are conducted since last couple of years in order to establish a link between statins and reasons behind diabetes. This latest study determined that people taking statins had a 46 percent higher risk of diabetes than those not on statins. The research, published in a leading journal examined 25,970 patients over ten years and discovered statin users had a higher incidence of diabetes and also weight gain.

Studies are done both for men and women. 154,000 women and 8749 men were participated in this study. In women, post-menopausal women taking certain types of statins had a 48% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, were found in results. While in men, at the beginning of the study, none of the men had diabetes. But in the 5.9 year follow-up period 625 of the participants developed type 2 diabetes—and those who took statin drugs were at highest risk.

In January 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a Consumer Update outlining some of the risks associated with taking statins, which included an increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of type 2 diabetes. FDA conduct two types of study among one found a 9 percent increase in the risk of diabetes among statin users, and the other a 12 percent increase in the risk. But despite this result FDA representative Amy G. Egan said that statins are established effective drug in treatment of heart disease. Because of some unwanted effect they can’t be ignore as their effect is beyond doubt, people should not scare off statins.

People should do something on their own so that they can minimize the risk of statins as well as avoid the chance of diabetes. It is a good idea to try to do some physical activity and a heart-healthy diet. Exercise helps minimize many heart disease risk factors, including Type 2 diabetes. A proper diet with fiber full food where fat is controlled is enough to manage the risk. But after all this if these efforts do not work doctor can replaced statins at some level. Usually this time patients are put in Medical nutrition therapy where red yeast rice and fish oil are usually tend to replaced statins.

Although a risk named diabetes are linked with statins that does not mean it is incurable or untreatable. The effect of statins on glucose is relatively insignificant. Therefore, the risk of diabetes worsening while taking a statin is small. A caution while prescribing and taking statins and a healthy life style can change the scenario always.

Zahida Haque has graduated from Department of Pharmacy, University of Asia Pacific. She can be reached at zahidahaque95@gmail.com


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Cure of disease without medicine: Placebo Effect


Today people are using medicines for certain illness like pain, nausea fever etc. Over use of drugs can cause many health problems as well as some medicines create dependency, which is harmful for people. It will be very helpful if we can heal ourselves without the help of any medicine. Placebo is such a thing that is not itself a medicine but can cure disease. Placebo is a Latin word that means “I shall please”.

Placebo is anything that seems to be real medical treatment but it isn’t. It can be a pill, or any type of fake treatment. Placebos do not contain any active substances needed to cure a disease or affect patient’s health. It may contain sugar, starch, distilled water or saline solution. Actually it is a pill or capsule or injection made of excipients without the active ingredient. Typically, the person getting a placebo doesn’t know for sure that the treatment isn’t real. Placebo is used for disease such as boredom, fatigue, headache, blurred vision, acid reflux, dihydrogen mono oxide intolerance, tooth decay, post-micturition convulsion, chronic back pain, toenail goblin, binge watching, hypochondriasis etc.

While treating the wounded American soldiers during World War II, Henry Beecher ran out of pain-killing morphine. So, he decided to continue telling the soldiers that he was giving them morphine, although he was actually infusing them with a saline solution. Amazingly, about 40 percent of the soldiers reported that the saline treatment eased their pain. Today, scientists better understand that why those soldiers felt better. Beecher gave the soldiers a placebo, a substance that may look like a real medication, but isn’t. That’s how placebo was discovered. Now many researches are going on this placebo.

Research has shown that a placebo treatment can have a positive therapeutic effect in a patient, even though the pill or treatment is not active. This is known as the “placebo effect” or “placebo response”. This happens in up to 1 of 3 people.  Usually the term “placebo effect” speaks to the helpful effects a placebo has in relieving symptoms. This effect may last for a short time. It’s thought to have something to do with the body’s natural chemical ability to briefly relieve pain and certain other symptoms.

Expectation plays a potent role in the placebo effect. Placebos work because patients expect them to work in the body. The more a person believes they are going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that they will experience a benefit. Studies in both laboratory and clinical settings consistently show that when people ingest a pharmacologically inert substance or placebo but believe that it is an active substance, they experience both the subjective sensations and physiologic effects expected from that active substance. Exactly how placebos work to relieve pain and other symptoms remains a mystery but neuroscientists have uncovered several important clues. They have discovered that placebos help the brain release natural chemicals and change brain activity in ways that mimic the effects of real drugs and treatments. Scientists have found that placebos can cause the brain to release its own pain relief chemicals such as opioids. In addition, the brain areas that process pain show reduced activity following placebo treatment. One study has shown that men were more likely to report relief from heat-induced arm pain when they thought a fake anesthetic numbing cream was the real thing. Imaging data has revealed that the placebo effect had suppressed incoming pain signals from the arm to the brain. Other studies showed placebos can affect symptoms of certain brain diseases. Parkinson’s disease, a neurological condition has marked by low levels of the brain chemical dopamine, is often treated with a dopamine drug called levodopa. Research has shown that placebos can increase the dopamine levels in the brains of Parkinson’s patients, and help them move more easily just like levodopa itself.

Along with the expectation, placebo effect depends on some factors. Research has shown that placebo capsule works better than tablet, placebo injection works better than capsule and placebo machines works better than injection. Two tablets or capsules works better than one and costly, big, branded, shiny packet of pills produce greater effect. Other research showed blue pill is more effective as sleeping pill and red is for stimulant pain relief and yellow pills as antidepressant.

Placebo effect also works geographically. For example, in Germany using placebo to treat ulcers were better than anywhere else in Europe. Using placebo to treat hypertension does not work in Europe.

Today placebos are used while testing the effectiveness of the therapeutic effect of other drugs. This test is conducted by two groups of peoples. One group take placebo and other group take the medicine to be tested. But the volunteers do not know whether they are taking real or fake medicine. If the recovery is more in the group taking real medication, then the medicine has therapeutic value. But nowadays things are changing. Surprisingly placebos are showing more therapeutic level than the real one. Even sometimes patients are told that they are taking placebo, but they still recover. This is may be because they know that this fake pill has healed patients.

Therefore a question arises that, if we can heal ourselves then why we need any fake drugs like sugar pill, saline water or a talk with doctor? Actually we need this because we are not interested to cure ourselves immediately whatever the circumstance is. Taking any pill or injection works as safety signal to cure illness. That’s why fake medicines are needed.

In terms of ethics, in a research about 66% of the doctors felt that pure placebos are acceptable under certain circumstances, although the majority felt that they were unacceptable when they involved deception or threatened doctor-patient trust. The other 33% of doctors felt pure placebos are always unacceptable. Of the impure variety, there was much more acceptance, with 84% of doctors believing that they are okay in some circumstances.

Maliha Afroj Zinnia is a undergrad student of East West University, Department of Pharmacy. She can be reached at 94maliha@gmail.com


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Cervical Cancer Awareness: because it matters


Cancer does not have a face until it’s yours or someone you know. Unfortunately the Cervical Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths in cancer in Bangladesh. More than 50 percent of those diagnosed with the disease will die from it. There are thirteen thousand woman die every year in Cervical Cancer in Bangladesh.

The Cervical Cancer is a deadly cancer that clutches lives of the women in most of the cases due to lack of consciousness in the developing countries also. More than 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer each year, and more than 4,000 of women dies. Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer among women aged 15–34 and is accountable for

16% of all cancers diagnosed in this age group. Unlike the majority of cancers, it is primarily a disease of the young with 62% of registrations in those aged 50 or below.

Sometimes you get to choose your battle and sometimes the battle chooses you. Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer can happen to any person, of any age, both genders, and every race.  Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, pear-shaped organ, is located in a woman’s lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum. The cervix forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.

Do we know what causes Cervical Cancer? In recent years, there has been a lot of progress in understanding what happens in cells of the cervix when cancer develops. In addition, several risk factors have been identified that increase the odds that a woman might develop Cervical Cancer. HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is found in about 99% of Cervical Cancers. You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus. Not all types of HPV cause Cervical Cancer. Some of them cause genital warts, but other types may not cause any symptoms.

What are the risk factors for Cervical Cancer? Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer. Several other risk factors that increases your chance of developing Cervical Cancer include: HPV infection, smoking, immunosuppression, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, being overweight, long-term use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills), being younger than 17 at your first full-term pregnancy, economic status, etc. However, it is still important to know about risk factors that cannot be changed, because it’s even more important for women who have these factors to get regular Pap tests to detect Cervical Cancer early.

The bad news is that Cervical Cancer can be difficult to detect at home. Unlike, say, breast or testicular cancer, which is often detected by a lump, cervical cancer is usually slow-growing, with few symptoms. However, the best protection is early detection. The symptoms of Cervical Cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s so important to get a regular Pap test to ensure early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions.

Cervical Cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide. In Bangladesh, 50.19 million women are at risk of Cervical Cancer and the annual incidence number is 17.686 cases. Cervical Cancer covers about 22.4% of all cancers. You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer, it’s a mindset. It is crucial to strengthen your body and acquire good lifestyle habits as early as possible to minimize your individual risk. HPV vaccine and regular Pap tests work together to prevent Cervical Cancer in women. Having a Pap test check for abnormal cells in the cervix or test to check for HPV can find cells that may become cervical cancer. And vaccination prevents most cases of cervical cancer if given before a girl or woman is exposed to the virus. The vaccine works to prevent infection, but can’t kill the infection once it’s present. Cervical Cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer if it is found in the early stages.

The emotional toll of dealing with HPV is often as difficult as the medical aspects and can be more awkward to address. But you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. So fight like hell to prevent and cure Cervical Cancer. And don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about the stuff happening down there, such as irregular bleeding, new discharge, or pain with intercourse. That uncomfortable conversation could save your life.

 Aboni Nasir is a graduate pharmacist. She has completed her gradation under department of pharmacy of East West University. She has interest on public health and recent health issues. She can be reached at aboni.nasir92@gmail.com


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