Last Updated April 10, 2020 | Healthcare Asia - Medical and Healthcare news in Asia

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Malaysia, Indonesia, overcoming medical supplies shortage in SEA

Malaysia, Indonesia, overcoming medical supplies shortage in SEA

April 06, 2020

China is slowly lifting restrictions imposed after the deadly COVID-19 outbreak late last year, but the number of cases in other nations continues to skyrocket alarmingly – some ASEAN countries are even facing shortages of medical supplies and COVID-19 test kits despite inter-regional efforts to help contain infections. Malaysia is currently the nation with the highest number of positive cases in Southeast Asia. A two-week partial lockdown has been initiated in the country […]

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Research

New blood test can check for at least 50 types of cancer before symptoms of disease

New blood test can check for at least 50 types of cancer before symptoms of disease

New research from the UK and US, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DF) and University College London, has found a simple blood test can screen for more than 50 types of cancer. The test looks for telltale chemical changes to cell-free DNA that leak from tumours into the […]

UK study finds weight gain may reduce risk of breast cancer before menopause

UK study finds weight gain may reduce risk of breast cancer before menopause

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women – according to the World Health Organization – and also accounts for the highest number of cancer-related deaths. But new research led by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, suggests that weight gain may have a protective effect against breast cancer […]

Graphite nano-coating kills bacteria infesting implants, as designed by Swedish scientists

Graphite nano-coating kills bacteria infesting implants, as designed by Swedish scientists

A new, antimicrobial implant coating, using carbon-based nanoplatelets, has been developed by scientists at Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers) in Sweden – the vertically-protruding nanoplatelets can slice through the protective outer membrane of bacteria that might otherwise […]

NIH finds new coronavirus stable for hours on everyday surfaces

NIH finds new coronavirus stable for hours on everyday surfaces

A new study led by scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US, has found that the new coronavirus, which causes the deadly respiratory disease COVID-19, remains stable for hours on various surfaces, and suggests that people may acquire the […]

Charged nanoparticles compromise waste disposal unit, kills cancer cells

Charged nanoparticles compromise waste disposal unit, kills cancer cells

Cancer cells’ garbage disposal systems, or lysosomes, are particularly vulnerable to internal attacks as opposed to those of healthy cells. Lysosomes are tiny sacs packed with enzymes and acids that degrade unwanted parts of the cell, before either recycling or ejecting the waste components […]

Technology & Devices

Ventilator shortage due to COVID-19 to be eased with UK-designed, modern, iron lung

Ventilator shortage due to COVID-19 to be eased with UK-designed, modern, iron lung

The fast spread of the COVID-19 virus has overwhelmed healthcare systems in many countries with the most obvious difficulty being that Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilators (IPPV) – which aid breathing in people whose lungs have been heavily affected by the virus […]

Sewage sensors are being modified to give early warnings of COVID-19

Sewage sensors are being modified to give early warnings of COVID-19

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is focused on analysing the contents of our sewage to better understand human behaviour and public health. For example, the presence of certain metabolites in sewage samples could indicate the prevalence of illicit substance use in communities […]

Singaporean company develops rapid test kit which can detect COVID-19 in minutes

Singaporean company develops rapid test kit which can detect COVID-19 in minutes

The current testing done to confirm patients with COVID-19 requires laboratory specialists, dedicated medical testing equipment and a few hours of waiting. However, a Singapore-based firm, Biolidics Limited (Biolidics), has fortunately come up with a rapid test kit which can detect the coronavirus in less than 10 minutes, with an accuracy of […]

World-first artificial pancreas app monitors/delivers insulin as needed

World-first artificial pancreas app monitors/delivers insulin as needed

Type-1 diabetics, who need to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin if necessary, may find their disease easier to manage now that scientists at the University of Cambridge, UK, have launched the world’s […]

New, two-step treatment refills and patches herniated discs

New, two-step treatment refills and patches herniated discs

Along our backs, between each of our vertebrae, is a spinal disc consisting of a rubbery exterior called the annulus and a shock-absorbing, jelly like substance called the nucleus. Although mostly resistant to the wear and tear of daily life […]

Pharmaceutical

Australian scientists find possible coronavirus treatment in FDA-approved drug

Australian scientists find possible coronavirus treatment in FDA-approved drug

A present-day anti-parasitic drug has been shown to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic currently, in just two days. As observed by scientists at Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery […]

Australian agency starts “milestone” testing of potential COVID-19 vaccines

Australian agency starts “milestone” testing of potential COVID-19 vaccines

The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has begun animal testing of two potential COVID-19 vaccines, which will determine if they would be safe to use on humans. The vaccines, one by UK’s University of Oxford and one by US company Inovio Pharmaceutical, have been cleared for animal testing by the World Health Organization […]

Duke-NUS scientists to start testing COVID-19 vaccine this year; other vaccine developments

Duke-NUS scientists to start testing COVID-19 vaccine this year; other vaccine developments

As the search for a vaccine for the new coronavirus progresses, scientists from the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore are planning for testing to begin as soon as this year – Duke-NUS has teamed up with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and other international partners to plan a clinical trial. Other countries […]

New, additional substance seen to alleviate side effects of strong antidepressants

New, additional substance seen to alleviate side effects of strong antidepressants

The antidepressants used today block the return transport of serotonin and thereby also the removal of active serotonin, a chemical that plays a major role in regulating our levels of happiness. Such a blockage would require large doses of the antidepressant, which can consequently bring risks of their own such as weight problems […]

Alleged antibody against coronavirus found amidst potential therapeutic agents, vaccines

Alleged antibody against coronavirus found amidst potential therapeutic agents, vaccines

At least 7,500 people across the globe have died from a new coronavirus outbreak while some 188,790 others have been infected by the coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, as of March 17. The virus primarily attacks the lower respiratory […]

Wellness and Complementary Therapies

Low-fat milk could help with slower aging, seen by telomere length

Low-fat milk could help with slower aging, seen by telomere length

Different fat concentrations in your milk may affect aging, according toa team from Brigham Young University (BYU), Utah, who discovered a link between low-fat milk and longer telomeres that could equate to several more years of life. Telomeres are the protective caps […]

Early companionship with “man’s best friend” shown to lessen the risk of developing dementia

Early companionship with “man’s best friend” shown to lessen the risk of developing dementia

Early life exposure to pet cats and dogs have been said to alter the human immune system through various means, including pet-induced stress reduction. A study from US-based Johns Hopkins Medicine now suggests that being around a dog […]

Why organic baby food and feeding?

Why organic baby food and feeding?

Baby food options can be overwhelming when it comes to nutrition for children. There is a lot of advice floating around when it comes to what you should feed your baby. In the current dynamic […]

Scientists use honey in surgical meshes to fight post-op infection

Scientists use honey in surgical meshes to fight post-op infection

Honey has been touted as a healing agent due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties – most recently, an international team has incorporated honey into a surgical mesh coating that could help prevent post-operative infections […]

Specific protein tag may help immune system fight disease

Specific protein tag may help immune system fight disease

Cells need proteins to carry out various biological functions, usually tagged to determine/modify their cellular activity. Now, scientists from the University of Iowa, US, who studied proteins tagged ISG15, have developed a novel method to […]

Community health

“It’s Morphin’ Time!” when Filipino nurse makes colourful PPEs for medics of COVID-19

“It’s Morphin’ Time!” when Filipino nurse makes colourful PPEs for medics of COVID-19

Filipino OR nurse Adrian Pe, who has a penchant for fashion design, is making colourful personal protective suits (PPE) inspired by pop culture characters such as the Teletubbies and the Power Rangers for his fellow health workers in one of the hospitals in Iloilo, Panay Island, in the Philippines […]

A question of mass testing to weed out COVID-19 infections in Malaysia

A question of mass testing to weed out COVID-19 infections in Malaysia

Malaysia is apparently still under-testing its people – some may have been infected or are spreading the deadly COVID-19 virus – and the next two weeks of the Movement Control Order (MCO) will be critical in determining if it can effectively suppress COVID-19 infections […]

Social distancing is the way to go to tackle COVID-19

Social distancing is the way to go to tackle COVID-19

The social-distancing measures announced this past week by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has elicited much uncertainty, fear and panic. However, despite the abrupt decision, health professionals agree that such measures will save lives in the long run […]

Chinese university develops 15-minute test kit for coronavirus detection

Chinese university develops 15-minute test kit for coronavirus detection

China’s Nankai University expects its newly-developed coronavirus rapid test kit to be used in the epidemic prevention and control soon – the northern Chinese university’s Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)[…]

Mainland China sees more than 100 new deaths from coronavirus over weekend

Mainland China sees more than 100 new deaths from coronavirus over weekend

The Chinese National Health Commission reported on Monday that the COVID-19 death toll in mainland China reached 1,770 as of the end of Sunday – therewere 2,048 new cases across mainland China, with more than 94% of the new cases on Sunday confirmed in the central province of Hubei, where the outbreak is concentrated; the province also saw about 100 deaths on Feb. 16.[…]

Health alert

Maintaining mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Maintaining mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Loneliness and social isolation may increase the risk of premature death by nearly 50%, according to two meta-analyses from Brigham Young University in Utah, US, in 2017. However, as many people’s freedom of movement is now severely limited thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic […]

Understanding how COVID-19 affects children vital to slowing infectious diseases’ spread

Understanding how COVID-19 affects children vital to slowing infectious diseases’ spread

A recent commentary reveals a small percentage of children infected with COVID-19 can become seriously ill – researchers thus caution that it is critical to understand how the virus affects children to model the pandemic accurately, limit the disease’s spread, and hopefully treat infected […]

World may face pandemic as epicenters of rapidly spreading coronavirus appear outside China

World may face pandemic as epicenters of rapidly spreading coronavirus appear outside China

COVID-19 cases inside China have for the first time been surpassed by fresh cases elsewhere this past week, with Italy and Iran emerging as epicenters of the rapidly spreading illness as well as the first reported infection in Latin America, Pakistan, Sweden, Norway, and Romania […]

WHO concerned by global spread of COVID-19; China reports significantly fewer new cases

WHO concerned by global spread of COVID-19; China reports significantly fewer new cases

Despite a sharp fallin new deaths and cases of the coronavirus – in the Chinese epicenter Wuhan – on Saturday (US Central Time), new infections continued to rise in other countries, such as South Korea, Iran, Italy and Lebanon. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned against making predictions about the outbreak as it was deeply concerned about the worsening number of infections elsewhere, with no clear link to China. […]

Gloves Sector: A helping hand for Malaysian gloves growth

Gloves Sector: A helping hand for Malaysian gloves growth

Scarcity and viral infections may bring out the best and the worst in situations, but for Malaysia’s glove sector, it is the catalyst to its continued growth. When the Covid-19 (new coronavirus disease) epicentre, Wuhan in Hubei, China, was placed on cordon sanitaire, Malaysia was among the countries that responded to the call for medical supplies […]

Other health News

New vaccine delivery system eases transport to remote areas

New vaccine delivery system eases transport to remote areas

March 09, 2020

Transporting vaccines to remote or developing regions comes with a host of problems, with solutions including keeping them in sugary gels, freeze-drying them so they can be stored at room temperature and putting them in a state of suspended animation. A new delivery method from scientists at University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), US, preserves the living strains of viruses in a thin, lightweight film without the need for refrigeration – the film can be taken orally and rapidly dissolves […]

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Deleted DNA segment linked to ventricular enlargement in schizophrenia

Deleted DNA segment linked to ventricular enlargement in schizophrenia

February 26, 2020

Patients may suffer from what is known as “auditory hallucinations” in schizophrenia – they hear often distressing and distracting “voices” due to enlarged cerebral ventricles, which afflicts nearly 80% of schizophrenic individuals. Uncovering the biological origins of auditory hallucinations is the first step to reducing the overall disease burden of schizophrenia – developmental neurobiologists at St. Jude […]

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Anti-inflammatory “switch” could stop chronic inflammation and reverse aging

Bilingualism can hold back Alzheimer’s symptoms, but only for so long

February 20, 2020

A person can have many benefits from being bilingual, for the brain, it can shorten recovery times from stroke, stave off cognitive decline associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and so on. Unfortunately, it seems that bilingualism can also significantly accelerate the deterioration into severe Alzheimer’s once symptoms manifest, as found by psychology researchers at Canada’s York University […]

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US university scientists finds Ebola virus gene can kill stray brain cancer cells

US university scientists finds Ebola virus gene can kill stray brain cancer cells

February 17, 2020

Recently, there was an exciting breakthrough in the Ebola virus research at Yale University, Connecticut – a gene taken from the Ebola virus was found to selectively target and destroy glioblastomas, a type of aggressive brain tumour, in mice. Glioblastomas are notoriously difficult to treat, with the cancer cells often slipping away from the main growth and into the brain, leading to high rates of recurrence […]

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Anti-inflammatory “switch” could stop chronic inflammation and reverse aging

Anti-inflammatory “switch” could stop chronic inflammation and reverse aging

February 12, 2020

While inflammation is the body’s natural defense against threats, prolonged inflammation may lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Type-2 diabetes. However, a molecular “switch” could essentially turn off unnecessary inflammation, potentially reversing these conditions and,maybe, even aging itself, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) […]

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Long, damaged nerves can be regrown with new polymer-protein technology

Long, damaged nerves can be regrown with new polymer-protein technology

January 27, 2020

In the US, nerve damage affects more than 20 million people, including wounded soldiers and unfortunate civilians. Often, if a damaged nerve section is longer than a third of an inch, the nerve can’t regrow to its target and gets knotted into a painful ball called a neuroma – significantly compromising sensation and motor function. Recently, researchers have created a biodegradable nerve guide that can regenerate long sections of damaged nerves […]

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