Mother’s Chest Is the Best Place for Healthy Infants
This old granny’s wisdom has recently been reinforced by an elegant study of newborns conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital. Grace Chan, who led the study, says that, each year, four million babies die worldwide during their first month. Premature babies are more vulnerable. Mother’s chest, with skin-to-skin contact, is the best place to be in, if the child does not need any emergency procedure which may require separation/isolation. Skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo mother care (KMC), is often encouraged after birth as a way to improve breastfeeding practices. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), immediate skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child is associated with longer duration of breastfeeding.
Common Cold: Uncommon Breakthrough
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the usual culprit for common cold in infants, young children and elderly people. This could lead to pneumonia and respiratory infection.
A new study from The Imperial College (London) has discovered that there are special immune cells that prevent, or protect against, RSV. Until now, we knew that these cells are seen in mice; but this study show that these cells are very active in humans. Resident memory T-cells are immune cells that appear at the site and then, as and when needed, recruit other immune cells to the battle. This has provoked the usual suspects to finding a vaccine—aka making very big money—as common cold is almost ubiquitous in winters in the West and not uncommon in other parts. The vaccine-wallahs have discovered a nasal spray vaccine which you would take easily in place of a jab. Only time will tell what this vaccine does to the human system.
Can Saliva Test Indicate Future Health Risk?
Seems too good to be true; let’s not get carried away. The antibodies against external invaders are secreted mainly in the saliva, gut and the eyes. Measuring the levels of IgA (Immunoglobin A) antibodies might give us an idea about the status of the body’s defence mechanism.
IgA secretion rate was negatively associated with all-cause mortality. Further analysis revealed an underlying association with cancer mortality and, in particular, with non-lung cancers. Low levels of antibodies in saliva appear to indicate a greater risk of mortality and could be an early warning sign, according to research published in PLOS ONE. However, “There are a number of factors that can affect how well we produce antibodies and maintain their levels. There are some that we have no control over, such as age, heritability or illness, but our general state of health can also affect their levels; stress, diet, exercise, alcohol and smoking can all influence those levels.”
Paying through Your Teeth?
I am a sceptic and was always cautious about dental implants which have become a big money-spinner all over the world. Now, an exhaustive study of implantology, reported by international and American associations for dental research (IADR/AADR) has published articles in the January 2016 issue of Journal of Dental Research (JDR) that explore new evidence on the biological complications of dental implants and the great challenges.
“While dental implant therapy remains an important treatment modality to replace missing teeth, these studies also underscore the importance of tooth preservation in patients susceptible to gum infections such as periodontitis. The caution is that careful assessments and treatment planning amongst dental generalists and specialists should be performed to optimise the clinical decision-making for patients receiving advanced reconstructive implant or periodontal therapy,” said JDR editor William Giannobile. “We believe the outcomes of these studies will be beneficial to patient care and oral health.”