Thursday, November 28, 2013

World AIDS Day 1/12/2013- HIV and Adolescents

. More than 2 million adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 years are living with HIV, and many do not receive the care and support that they need to stay in good health and prevent transmission. In addition, millions more adolescents are at risk of infection.

The failure to support effective and acceptable HIV services for adolescents has resulted in a 50% increase in reported AIDS-related deaths in this group compared with the 30% decline seen in the general population from 2005 to 2012.

Addressing the specific needs of adolescents

The WHO recommendations "HIV and adolescents: Guidance for HIV testing and counselling and care for adolescents living with HIV" are the first to address the specific needs of adolescents both for those living with HIV as well as those who are at risk of infection. They are being released in advance of World AIDS Day 2013 (1 December).

“Adolescents face difficult and often confusing emotional and social pressures as they grow from children into adults, “Adolescents need health services and support, tailored to their needs. They are less likely than adults to be tested for HIV and often need more support than adults to help them maintain care and to stick to treatment.”

Across sub-Saharan Africa, many who were infected at birth are becoming adolescents. In addition to the many changes associated with adolescence, they also face the challenges of living with a chronic infection: disclosing the news to friends and family and preventing transmission to sexual partners.

“Adolescents need health services and support, tailored to their needs. They are less likely than adults to be tested for HIV and often need more support than adults to help them maintain care and to stick to treatment.”

“Adolescent girls, young men who have sex with men, those who inject drugs or are subject to sexual coercion and abuse are at highest risk. They face many barriers, including harsh laws, inequalities, stigma and discrimination which prevent them from accessing services that could test, prevent, and treat HIV,”. “About one-seventh of all new HIV infections occur during adolescence. Unless the barriers are removed, the dream of an AIDS-free generation will never be realized.”

Making it easier to know HIV status

Furthermore, many young people do not know their HIV status. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that only 10% of young men and 15% of young women (15-24 years) know their HIV status and, in other regions, although data is scarce, access to HIV testing and counseling by vulnerable adolescents is consistently reported as being very low.

WHO recommends governments review their laws to make it easier for adolescents to obtain HIV testing without needing consent from their parents. The guidelines also suggest ways that health services can improve the quality of care and social support for adolescents. And they highlight the value of involving this age group to create an adolescent-centered approach to the services that work for people of their age.

Better equipping adolescents

“Young people need to be better equipped to manage their HIV infection and take ownership of their health care,”. “We have seen for example in Zimbabwe that, by developing adolescent friendly services, it is possible to achieve good treatment outcomes among adolescents. We urge others to be inspired by these examples.”

To help health workers put these recommendations into practice WHO has developed a new online tool which will be launched in January 2014. It uses practical examples from country programmes that are working closely with adolescents on HIV issues.

The guidelines provide recommendations and expert suggestions – mainly for policy-makers and national programme managers – on prioritizing, planning and providing HIV testing, counselling and care services for adolescents. Designed to be used with the recent WHO consolidated Antiretroviral guidelines, these new guidelines provide complimentary recommendations and guidance to support better provision of services to help adolescents remain in care and adhere to treatment.

The guidelines were developed based on scientific evidence, community consultations with adolescents and health workers, field experience of health workers and expert opinion. WHO led the development of these guidelines in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

World AIDs Day 2013

World AIDS Day - 1 December 2013

Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths

World AIDS Day is celebrated on 1 December every year to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to disseminate information about the status of the pandemic and to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world, particularly in high prevalence countries.

Between 2011-2015, World AIDS Day has the theme: "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths".

The WHO’s focus for the 2013 campaign is improving access to prevention, treatment and care services for adolescents (10-19 years), a group that continues to be vulnerable despite efforts so far.

WHO will release new guidance for HIV testing and counselling and care for adolescents living with HIV on World AIDS Day 2013.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Role Of Music On Brain Function

There are new roles for musical training,which include fostering brain plasticity, providing an alternative educational tool, and treating learning disabilities, researchers say.

Playing a musical instrument is a multisensory and motor experience that creates emotions and motions — from finger tapping to dancing — and engages pleasure and reward systems in the brain. It has the potential to change brain function and structure when done over a long period of time.

These new findings show that "intense musical training generates new processes within the brain, at different stages of life, and with a range of impacts on creativity, cognition, and learning.

Start Music Lessons Early

Musical training at a young age may strengthen the brain, especially regions that influence language skills and executive function.
A formal musical training for at least a year, beginning sometime between age 3 and 15 help to improve brain function in later part of life
The volume of brain regions related to hearing and self-awareness appeared to be larger in those who began taking music lessons before age 7. This hints that early musical training could potentially be used as a therapeutic tool.

"Early musical training does more good for kids than just making it easier for them to enjoy music; it changes their brain and these brain changes could lead to cognitive advances as well. Early music training could change the structure of the brain's cortex.

"There is a lot of research showing that musical training has various cognitive benefits, such as better working memory, pitch discrimination performance, and selective attention.
It might be possible that some specified musical training could be applied to education in the future.

Childhood music lessons have neural benefit decades later. Older adults who took music lessons as children but haven't actively played an instrument in decades have a faster brain response to a speech sound than individuals who never played an instrument.

Music Training Influences Multiple Senses

Musical training improves the ability of the nervous system to integrate information from multiple senses.

Hemce there are broader role for musical training in improving the ability of the nervous system to integrate information from all senses

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Lifestyle Guidelines to prevent stroke and heart attack

New lifestyle guidelines is to "reevaluate and update the concept of a healthy lifestyle," with the specific aim of preventing progression to cardiovascular disease in at-risk patients.

As such, the recommendations cover evidence related to dietary patterns, nutrient intake, and levels and types of physical activity that play "a major role in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment through effects on modifiable cardiOvascular risk factors," namely high LDL
cholesterol and hypertension,

Eat a dietary pattern that is rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy, lean poultry, nuts, legumes, and nontropical vegetable oils consistent with a Mediterranean or DASH-type diet.

Restrict consumption of saturated fats, trans fats, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sodium.

Engage in aerobic physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity lasting 40 minutes per session three to four times per week
The lifestyle and diet—namely calcium, magnesium, and alcohol intake; cardiorespiratory fitness; single behavioral intervention or multicomponent lifestyle interventions; the addition of lifestyle intervention to pharmacotherapy; and smoking. These may, however, have "potential benefits," .

The new guidelines, recommendations are broken out according to whether an adult in question has higher-than-desirable lipid profiles or higher-than-desirable blood-pressure levels, although the recommendations for both groups are very similar.

Low-Fat Diets Give Way to Mediterranean

The guidelines emphasize Mediterranean-style dietary patterns over a "low-fat dietary pattern," which is scarcely mentioned in the document, although "low-fat dairy products" are part of the dietary pattern advice. There are no specific recommendations to reduce overall fat consumption, only to reduce the percent of calories consumed from saturated and trans fats.

Also notable are the recommendations on sodium. The general recommendation to "reduce sodium intake" is given a level of evidence A (strong), in the NHLBI grading system or a class IA by the ACC/AHA grading system. By contrast, advice to further restrict sodium intake to 1500 mg/day as "desirable" .
The mean daily sodium intake in the US is about 3.5 g. "We're all consuming too much sodium . . . and it's absolutely critical to reduce it." However, she continued, "accurately assessing sodium intake is extremely difficult and probably clouds the whole issue, as does the [use of a] specific target.