How a compound in turmeric can kill cancer cells in infants

Researchers found that nanoparticles can be used to deliver the turmeric compound to tumour sites.

Attaching curcumin — a compound found in turmeric — to nanoparticles can be used to destroy treatment-resistant neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infants, said researchers (including one of Indian origin). Unique approaches to target tumour cells with nanoparticle delivery systems hold promise for treatment of resistant tumours, such as the high risk neuroblastoma, researchers said. Previous research showed how turmeric has strong antioxidant properties that inhibits free radical production, and controls ageing. It is also linked to slowing prostate cancer growth.

“High-risk neuroblastoma can be resistant to traditional therapy, and survival can be poor,” said Tamarah J Westmoreland, a paediatric surgeon at Nemours Children’s Hospital in the US. “This research demonstrates a novel method of treating this tumour without the toxicity of aggressive therapy that can also have late effects on the patient’s health,” said Westmoreland, senior author of the study published in the journal Nanoscale.

Neuroblastomas are cancers that start in early nerve cells and commonly form in the tissue of the adrenal glands, near the kidneys. High-risk neuroblastoma is hard to cure and is more likely to become resistant to standard therapies or recur. These cancers are also associated with late effects after treatments have ended, including developmental delays, hearing loss, or other disabilities, researchers said.

Curcumin has been shown to have substantial anti-cancer ability, but its low solubility and poor stability have made its use in medicinal applications challenging. Researchers found that nanoparticles can be used to deliver curcumin to tumour sites. “This shows that nanoparticles can be an effective delivery vehicle for cancer drugs,” said Professor Sudipta Seal, from University of Central Florida (UCF) in the US.

“More research is needed, but we are hopeful it could lead to more effective treatment of this devastating disease in the future,” said Seal, a collaborator on the study. In the study, researchers loaded Cerium oxide nanoparticles with curcumin and coated them with dextran to test in cell lines of a high-risk form of neuroblastoma, known as MYCN-amplified, as well as non-amplified neuroblastoma.

This formulation induced substantial cell death in neuroblastoma cells while producing no or only minor toxicity in healthy cells, researchers said. Overall, the nano-therapeutic treatments showed a more pronounced effect in MYCN-amplified cells, which are traditionally more resistant to drug therapies, they said.

Hypertension and diabetes kill more people in Delhi than other diseases, says report

In 2015, 3,890 hypertension-related and 1,356 diabetes-related deaths were reported from hospitals and dispensaries run by the Delhi government and the municipal corporations.

Each year, more people die of hypertension and diabetes in Delhi than dengue or malaria, says a new report released on Wednesday.

The ‘State of Health of Delhi’ report was released by the NGO Praja Foundation.

In 2015, 3,890 hypertension-related and 1,356 diabetes-related deaths were reported from hospitals and dispensaries run by the Delhi government and the municipal corporations.

The year before, 1,962 hypertension-related deaths and 1,762 diabetes related deaths were recorded.

In the communicable diseases category, tuberculosis took the maximum toll, killing 3,635 people in 2015 and 4,350 the year before.

“In the same period, we found that the counsellors and the MLAs did not raise a single question regarding tuberculosis,” said Milind Mhaske, project director of Praja Foundation.

In the same period, dengue killed 486 during 2015, when Delhi had its worst ever outbreak, and 74 in 2014. Malaria killed 164 in 2015 and 160 in 2014, according to the report.

The data for the report was collected by the Praja Foundation through RTIs to various government institutions.

Diarrhoea affected more Delhiites than any of the other seven diseases for which data was collected. On an average, from 2014 to 2016, Delhi saw an average of almost six lakh cases annually and 41% of those who died of diarrhoea were under the age of four.

“During the last three years when Delhi saw an extremely high number of diarrhoea cases, the civic authorities received a high number of complaints about polluted water. Issues of water supply constituted 50% of all complaints on civic issues that were lodged in 2016,” said Anjali Shrivastava, assistant manager at Praja Foundation.

The zone-wise distribution of the data showed that between 2014 and 2016, Rohini was a hot spot for dengue (contributing 26% of all dengue cases), tuberculosis (33%) and typhoid (27%). Rural Narela contributed the highest number of diarrhoea cases (22%) and civil lines malaria cases (26%).

Through a sample survey of 24,000 households in Delhi in 2017, the report also found that only 24% of the people living in Delhi used the services of government dispensaries and hospitals.

This comes even as Delhi government has opened 100 mohalla or neighbourhood clinics and plans to open a total of thousand to bring in more people to the public healthcare system.

The poorest families in Delhi end up spending 11.5% of their family income on healthcare.

The report found that only 15% of Delhi families had at least one family member with some sort of health insurance to pay for their treatment.

The Delhi government also plans to start an insurance scheme for universal coverage which will work on cross-subsidy, meaning premiums of well-to-do people will discount the premiums of the poor.

Improved Sleep Pattern May Help Kids With ADHD: Beware of Foods That May Kill Sleep

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is categorized as a developmental and behavioral disorder that affects the learning and behavioral ability in children. Kids with ADHD also depict signs of impaired attention. A latest study compiled by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) establishes a link between sleep and ADHD symptoms. “Simple adjustments to the bedtime routines of children with ADHD” could make a significant difference, said lead researcher Melisssa Mulraney. Sleep deprivation or irregular bedtime routine has previously been linked to triggering health issues in kids triggering irritability, attention problems, learning difficulties among others.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine notes positive bedtime routines to facilitate proper sleep which helps keep children fresh, focused and energetic throughout the day. In another study, experts from the Saint Joseph’s University in America aimed at understanding the role of bedtime routines and sleep pattern in children. Institution of a regular bedtime routine was seen to be associated with decreased sleep problems and daytime behaviour problems in kids.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

While regular bedtime routine may help your child sleep better, tweaking your kid’s diet with food items that promote sleep may also help. Some of the most common ingredients may help your kid doze off in peace; however, you must be wary of foods that you include in your child’s diet. A host of items can mess with your little ones’ sleep; we list down some of those below:

Spicy foods


Spices are hot in nature and tend to raise the body’s temperature. In kids, consumption of spicy foods right before bedtime may make them feel restless.

green chillies 625

Steer clear of spice

Processed food items

The ratio of processed or packaged food items in your child’s diet should naturally be as low as possible. Make sure your child’s last meal of the day is not laden with extra oil, spice or fat as it may hamper the digestion, cause bloating and make it difficult to fall asleep.

junk foodSay no to junk


Ever heard of the term ‘sugar rush’? That’s exactly what is going to happen if you let your kid binge on heavy desserts post dinner and before turning in. Always monitor the portion size of your kid’s meals.