Indigenous diabetes testing kit to cost 90% less

NEW DELHI: India is set to introduce indigenous testing products for diabetes by the year-end, bringing down costs by 90 per cent. The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is in the final stages of testing products including strips and readers for diabetes.

Speaking on the need for India to have affordable indigenous technologies, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday, “I have given ICMR a deadline of the end of the year to bring indigenously developed testing strips for diabetes.”

ICMR director general Dr VM Katoch said the cost of a diabetes testing strip was between Rs 15-30 since the products were all patented. ICMR aims to bring down the cost to Rs 3-5.

Dr Katoch added, “A dozen projects have been initiated while four are in a very advanced stage. We are hopeful that we will be able to come out with some products by December.”

India is home to 62 million diabetics, second only to China which has 92.3 million diabetics. By 2030, India’s diabetes numbers are expected to cross the 100 million mark according to a 2012 report by International Diabetes Federation. More worryingly, WHO projects that in the next 10 years, deaths by diabetes will increase by 35%.

The economic burden due to diabetes in India is among the highest in the world. As per WHO estimates, mortality from diabetes, heart disease and stroke cost about $210 billion in India in 2005. Much of the heart disease and stroke in these estimates were linked to diabetes. Diabetes, heart disease and stroke together will cost about $333.6 billion over the next 10 years in India alone, estimates WHO.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. The disease exposes a person to heart attack, stroke, amputations, nerve damage, blindness and kidney disease.

Work on diagnostic tests for TB, dengue, kalazar, leptospirosis and other infections that are indigenously produced is also underway.

Confusion over Hosni Mubarak Death

Former Egyptian ruler, Hosni Mubarak, has been at the centre of confusion over his health condition. Many news outlets yesterday reported that Mubarak was ‘clinically dead’ but later reports stated that he was in a critical condition, unconscious and using ‘artificial respiration’ after suffering a suspected stroke.

Mubarak, aged 84, had ruled Egypt for over thirty years until he was overthrown last year when the country joined the Arab Spring.


crowds in tahrir square watch news of Hosni Mubarak's death

Crowds in Tahrir Square watch news of Hosni Mubarak's death.


According to official ruling military council in Egypt who are now in temporary control of the country, the ousted leader was still alive and according to General Said Abbas, “Any talk of him being clinically dead is nonsense.”

Perhaps he isn’t clinically dead but according to medical staff at the prison where Mubarak has been held since June 2nd, he is in a coma and on artificial respiration as they work to revive him. They are concerned about a blood clot on his brain which they are working to alleviate.


Hosni Mubarak and Barack Obama

Hosni Mubarak and Barack Obama


Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the deaths of protesters last year, even though he could have stopped the tragedy.

The uprising began last year and coincided with those in Yemen, Syria and Libya. The event was unprecedented; anti-Mubarak protesters took only 18 days to overthrow their corrupt leader who was encouraged to resign before the September elections by UN officials.


Protesters take to the streets in Egypt last year in a bid to oust Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters take to the streets in Egypt last year in a bid to oust Hosni Mubarak.


Over one million people marched the streets of Cairo and other cities and forced the President to resign after over 30 years of dictatorial leadership; a remarkable revolution that proves people still hold the power in the world and that our so-called leaders should fear the people, not the other way round.

As for Hosni Mubarak’s future, it looks likely to be short-lived as at 84-years-old, locked in prison with deteriorating health, there’s sure to be an official announcement of his death very soon.



Harold Camping suffers stroke – He didn't see that coming either

Harold Camping may have set the world record for falsely predicting the end of the world and his luck continued to plummet last week after he suffered a stroke. Some call it bad luck, others call it karma, but whatever the case poor old Harold – the man whose total fan base now numbers less than George W. Bush’s IQ – seems to be slipping down the swanny faster than you can say ARMAGEDDON.

We all remember the moment the Rapture didn’t occur – 6pm, May 21st , 2011 – and I for one was actually relieved because it meant I could get those little jobs done that needed attention. Heaven forbid that I should ascend to the land of comfy shoes, easy slacks and cardigans without my house first being in order down here; what would the non-ascending neighbours think?

Harold Camping suffered a Stroke last week

Despite his vague numerological approach to predicting the world’s end, Camping continued to spout the message of ascension through his Family Radio show and it was after his broadcast last Thursday night that he suffered the stroke. The 89 year old Camping was taken to a local hospital according to a message posted by Charlie Menut, station manager of WFME, a Family Radio affiliate. The note was posted on a Yahoo site.

According to a neighbour who spoke to the Oakland Tribune, Camping was doing OK the following morning. The unnamed neighbour saw an ambulance collect Harold and then spoke to his wife Shirley who told him on Friday morning that the Alameda minister was in a reasonable condition but that his speech was “a little slurred.”

It’s thought that Family Radio will update listeners in the next few days – that’s if anyone still listens to the show.

Undoubtedly his ratings will have dropped sharply on May 22nd when most believers’ hopes would have been truly shattered. After the Rapture failed to happen there was dismay and disbelief  which then turned to anger.

Harold Camping's failed Rapture prophecy split families down the middle and many people gave up jobs and homes on faith

Many staunch believers gave up their jobs, sold possessions and even homes in some cases, such was the depth of their belief. Faith is all well and good but believing that the end of the world will happen on man’s time and not God’s in a specific moment? That’s just plain stupid.

Although Harold Camping himself spoke of his shock following the Rapture no-show, he went into hiding for a week before emerging (probably long enough for the pitchfork and burning torch brigade to have cleared off) with the news that he was “flabbergasted”.

The peasants are revolting

Clearly not very good at making predictions, he obviously didn’t see this stroke coming either.

Share your thoughts on Harold Camping’s stroke by leaving a comment.

Read about Harold’s prediction, the Armageddon, Zombies and the CDC and Harold breaks the news.


Nate Dogg passes away aged 41

Much respected singer and rapper, Nate Dogg passed away yesterday during the early hours of the morning. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reported that he had died from unknown causes on March 15th, 2011 aged 41 years and they had been informed by is family.


Although the cause of death is still unclear, it is well recorded that Nate Dogg (born Nathaniel D. Hale) had been battling with serious health conditions for a number of years. On December 19th, 2007 he was thought to have suffered a heart attack which was later revealed to have been a stroke.


Nate Dogg has left a great musical legacy after his passing on March 15th, 2011

He had been a patient at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, California where staff confirmed his release on December 26th stating that he had been admitted into a medical rehabilitation center to aid his recovery. In January 2008 the news that he had been completely paralyzed down his left side was made public but doctors believed he would make a full recovery and his voice had not been affected.


His life had been a bumpy enough ride littered with successes and controversy, not least his arrest in April 2002 for offences related to firearms and drugs to which he pleaded guilty in May 2002. He was sentenced to community service and probation as well as being sent to drug counselling.


It is however his collaborations with other artists that he will be best remembered for, and which brought him his greatest successes. Although his solo work was well received it was his work with artists like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Warren G amongst other names that won him the biggest plaudits and led to four Grammy nominations.


[adsense]Since 2004, Nate Dogg was featured on and contributed to over 40 chart singles, and although a solo album was penned for release on the Affiliated Entertainment Group that same year he had to wait until June 3rd, 2008 for his eponymous album to hit record stores.


He also set up a gospel choir called Innate Praise leaving a lasting legacy to be remembered and enjoyed by family, friends and fans.

Please share our thoughts on Nate Dogg’s passing, life and work or leave a tribute by writing a comment.

Read about how singing, music therapy and a limb mobility robot can help stroke victims.



Serene Branson's speech loss attributed to aphasia, not a stroke

Yesterday the internet was buzzing over the news that Serene Branson of KCBS-TV had suffered a stroke on camera. Distressing images were seen on TV as she lost the ability to speak, but nothing has yet been confirmed as to the cause of her motor neurone failure. No official report has been made but it is now thought that she did not suffer from a stroke.

She was set to report live on the Grammy awards, and despite starting brightly she was unable to form words and the broadcast was cut.

An on–the-scene paramedic examined Ms. Branson and gave her the all clear, stating that her vitals were regular and she displayed no signs of a stroke. She was taken home by a friend and reports today say she is feeling fine.

There is concern over her health though and Dr. Larry Goldstein of the Duke Stroke Centre, Durham N.C. said, “She appears to have aphasia; a problem with expressive language, and right-sided facial weakness. Although this can be caused by other conditions, it is very concerning for stroke.”

Aphasia is a degenerative illness that can occur due to damaged brain tissue around the areas responsible for language. It normally affects people after they’ve had a stroke or head trauma and is similar to the condition suffered by former boxers. It can also develop over time through brain tumours, infections or dementia.

The unfortunate Branson has been the butt of some incredibly cruel jokes and callous treatment by other web and social sites, as if suffering aphasia live on television wasn’t humiliating enough.

The general consensus, whether a stroke or not, is that Branson should have been taken to the hospital as a precaution and examined by doctors who are trained properly for the job, not dismissed as ‘ok’ by a glorified ambulance driver.

Share your thoughts about the incident by leaving a comment.

Read about other Grammy related matters such as Rihanna battling laryngitis, Aretha Franklin’s tribute, and Esperanza Spalding attacked by Bieber fans. Learn more about how singing can help stroke victims, and the robot that can help them regain mobility.


This Halloween, Google remembers Scooby-Doo creators

Scooby-Doo’s legendary voice was created by Don Messick, who died of a stroke in 1997. This halloween, Google honours his achievement through a series of seasonal doodles.

Don Messick was one of the most prolific voice actors of the 20th century. Apart from working on Scooby-Doo, the show’s eponymous talking dog, he also voiced other kids’ cartoon icons such as Papa Smurf, Ranger Smith, Boo Boo Bear and Astro.

Messick was born in New York in 1926. At first, the youngster wanted to be a ventriloquist – a stage performer who manipulates his or her own voice to make it look like it is coming from somewhere else, usually using a puppet as a prop – and supported himself being one for a time. He later recalled memories from his childhood when he started hearing voices. Then people around his began hearing those voices too. A doctor eventually deduced that these voices were coming from Messick, who was unconsciously talking to himself and others. “The doctor said, “’Lots of people talk without saying anything, but you’re a freak.  You say things without even talking.’ He told me to gargle with pink ink.  Instead, I got myself a wooden partner and became a ventriloquist,“ Povonline cites.

His big break came in the mid-1940s when he was suddenly asked to step in as the voice of Droopy Dog, due to the original actor’s illness. When Bill Thompson left the production around 10 years later, Massick was asked to take over.

Between 1957 and 1965, Messick worked with fellow voice actor Daws Butler for Hanna-Barbera cartoon production unit. It was in these years that he voiced Boo Boo Bear, Ranger Smith and Astro.

He was cast as Scooby-Doo in 1989 and the role would remain his best known. He voiced the Great Dane through numerous TV shows, four films and and several commercials. He later also took on the role of Scrappy-Doo, Scooby’s nephew.

In 1981 he started voicing Papa Smurf, from hit cartoon Smurfs. Around this time, he did various bits of work on The Jetsons, The Transformers, Duck Factory as well as returning to his old-time role of Droopy for Tom and Jerry Kids.

In 1996, Messick suffered a stroke while recording. He turned pale and muttered, “I can’t do this anymore,” stumbled out and went home.

Povonline cites another actor who was there at time and said, “If it had been anyone else, we’d have figured the guy had the flu or he had a hangover or something.  But for Don Messick to not finish a job…we all started crying because we knew it had to be something very, very bad.”

The following day, Messick’s agent phoned around to say the star had retired and that other actors should be cast in his role. At a retirement party held a couple of months later, the actor’s speech was slurred due to the stroke, yet he could still make the Scooby-Doo noises and wore a tie with the dog on it.

Messick suffered a second stroke and died on October 27 1997 aged 71. A former colleague remarked: “He was a true gentleman, a true professional, and he did his job as well as humanly possible.  And maybe just a little bit better than that, even.“

So as we celebrate Halloween this year, let’s remember some of the greats without whom our lives would have been a lot duller.

Other celebrities who have suffered strokes include Britain’s ex-PM Margaret Thatcher, comic actor Norman Wisdom and actress Rue McClanahan.

Images: Silmara Viltem on Picasa Web Albums and Andy Liang on Flikr

Poison frontman Bret Michaels to have heart surgery

Bret Michaels has been struck by a number of health issues of late, enough to last a life time, one would think. He is currently on his Rose and Thorns tour, impressing his fans with his comeback following the stroke he suffered earlier this year. However, it’s not all smooth sailing for the musician just yet.

As reported by Daily Mail, the frontman is set to go under the knife to repair a hole in his heart that doctors discovered when he was hospitalized earlier this year. He will have surgery in January for the condition that unbeknownst to him he has had since he was born.

In April the rocker suffered a near fatal haemorrage and his remarkable discovery even stunned doctors.

A rep for the rock star told, “Is he 100 percent? No, but he’s in good spirits, he’s having fun on the road, he loves his fans and has always said music heals him.

“He said that there are times when, of course, he worries but he has great people around him and he’s very cautious.”

Michael is still on the road touring, and following  his surgery and a recovery period the action will continue when he goes on tour to promote his autobiography ‘Roses and Thorns: The reality of my Rock and Roll Fantasy’. There’s no stopping this man.

Read here to learn more about diabetes type 1, which the rocker suffers from, and diabetes type 2.


Stress may increase heart death risk

Those who have high levels of stress-induced hormone cortisol may be at an increased risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease, a recent study from the Netherlands has suggested.

Scientists at the University Medical Center conducted research on people aged 65 and upwards. At the beginning of the study, the 861 participants provided urine samples, which were used to measured for cortisol, a hormone produced by the body to help it recover from psychological stress. They were then monitored over the six following years.

The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, eventually revealed that those whose urine provided the highest readings of cortisol, were five times more likely to die from cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes.

No links were found between high levels of cortisol and other causes of death, The Telegraph points out, quoting Dr Nicole Vogelzangs, lead author of the study, as saying: “Previous studies have suggested that cortisol might increase the risk of cardiovascular mortality, but until now, no study had directly tested this hypothesis.

“The results of our study clearly show that cortisol levels in a general older population predict cardiovascular death, but not other causes of mortality.“

The BBC spoke to Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, who said: “Stress is already associated with an increased risk of heart disease and this study throws up more evidence about the role of cortisol.“

Images: Wikimedia Commons

Zsa Zsa Gabor rushed back to hospital

Zsa Zsa Gabor has been taken back to hospital again, it is being reported. The 93-year-old actress and socialite was found “unresponsive” by her husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, who called 911.

“I just called an ambulance and she has to go back to UCLA [Medical Center],” Prince Frederic told TMZ.

This is Zsa Zsa’s third time in hospital recently. Her health took a turn for the worse when she fell out of bed in her Bel-Air home on July 17, breaking her hip. After undergoing hip surgery, she remained in hospital, only to undergo surgery again, this time for removing blood clots in her upper body.

Before her release from hospital in August, Zsa Zsa asked for a priest to give her her last rites. She has since been resting at home.

Zsa Zsa, who was left partially paralyzed after a car accident in 2002 and has also suffered a stroke, is labeled by many as the “original Paris Hilton”.

Read our complete coverage of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s health.

Find out more about the intriguing background of  Zsa Zsa Gabor and Prince Frederic von Anhalt.

Images: Wikipedia