Psoriasis indicates HIV infection

Doctors were warned to be more watchful of suspicious manifestation of skin diseases after a case study published at the Singapore Medical Journal (SMJ) last month reported a 29-year old, unnamed man from Catanduanes, initially diagnosed with of psoriasis, was found to have developed the skin ailment due to HIV infection.

Psoriasis is a long-lasting, non-contagious skin disease characterized by red, itchy plaques and patches on the skin due to abnormal immune response of the body. Specific cause is unknown, but various factors such as lifestyle, drug allergy, and genetic susceptibility are thought to trigger the development of the disease. There is no known cure for psoriasis but treatments are available in managing its symptoms and spread. Continue reading

Filipino scientists found new proteins biomarkers to detect prostate cancer

prostate cancer

A group of Filipino researchers discovered five distinct proteins in human urine that can be used to diagnose prostate cancer in men.

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system that secretes white, milky fluid that constitutes 50–75% of men’s semen. Affecting 19 out of every 100,000 Filipinos, it is the second most common type cancer for men in the Philippines.

Currently, testing for prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood is considered to be the standard for prostate cancer screening. However, the researchers argued that PSA is not ideal for prostate cancer screening since increased in blood PSA is also seen in other conditions affecting the prostate, such as with prostitis (inflammation of the prostate) and benign prostate hyperplasia (non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate). Continue reading

Lessons from Yolanda: 4 ways to improve the retrieval and identification of bodies in disasters

Forensic expert from the University of the Philippines Manila, Dr. Racquel Fortun, recommended ways to improve retrieval and identification of the dead during disasters in her presentation at the 32nd Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) on March 14, 2014.

Identifying the bodies has both emotional and legal implications to the living relatives. As Dr. Fortun explained, identification provides closure for the families of the departed. Legal declaration of death helps settle issues on inheritance, remarriage, and criminal cases. However, retrieval and identification of bodies can be a huge challenge in disasters where many died.

Dr. Fortun shared the following ways to improve mass retrieval and identification of bodies during disasters based on her experience working in Tacloban City after Yolanda hit Leyte: Continue reading

Study on motorcycle accident highlights need for drunk driving law in PH

motorcycle safety

A new study on motorcycle accident victims in the Philippines whose injuries necessitated hospital admission prompted researchers to advocate for legislation of laws on drunk driving in the country.

The study, the first one to be conducted on the characteristics of the motorcycle-related accident victims in the Philippines, described the average Filipino victim to be a young adult male, who does not wear a motorcyle helmet, and is under the influence of alcohol.

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Tracing TB transmission in the Philippines through diversity of M. tuberculosis strains

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Filipinos are as likely to get PTB from their neighbors as with a family member who has the disease; scientists suggested after a recent study found different strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from PTB patients living in the same households.

Seeking to link the diversity in M. tuberculosis strains to the epidemiology of PTB in the Philippines, the collaboration of Filipino and American researchers revealed that at least 5% of the pairs of patients who live in the same household have strains of M. tuberculosis that do not match at all.

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