High-end diagnostics changing the face of medical testing industry

Last month, Strand Life Sciences, a Bengaluru-based specialty diagnostic company, bought the India operations of US-based medical diagnostic company, Quest Diagnostic. The takeover created ripples in the medical diagnostic industry in India.Quest had set shop some ten years ago and has an established routine testing business with many corporate clients.


Strand is actually a spinoff from IISc Bangalore as a bioinformatics company. It bought out HCG’s diagnostic business in January, with a focus on oncology testing and now with Quest, it is emerging as a sophisticated end-to-end operator. The Quest acquisition offers a new service line, of routine testing, which is 80-90 per cent of the diagnostic market. The deal could make Strand a leader in the testing business.

Quest’s corporate wellness testing and women health segments are stronger than ours. Our oncology, advanced diagnostics and genomics are stronger. Quest was stronger in the north, we are strong in the south. We have a distributed presence in small towns in India, especially in the south and west. Their presence in Delhi and Ghaziabad will be complementary,” Says Ramesh Hariharan, CEO and Founder, Strand Life Science.

Arguably, diagnostics is a significant part of the healthcare growth story, with the vertical growing at 17 per cent consistently for over a decade. It was worth an estimated $5 billion in 2017, with 30 per cent of the market in radiology (X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans and such like) and the rest in sample testing. While Dr Lal’s, Metropolis, Thyrocare, SRL and Apollo Diagnostics have been around for a while, the sector has seen the entry of numerous players since 2010.

While the business is still unregulated, you still need to be registered under the Shops and Establishments Act to set up a pathology lab. But apart from that, you don’t need any specific registration with any regulatory body and there are no prescribed minimum quality standards to be met. Quality accreditation with NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) is purely voluntary. Currently only one per cent of the laboratories are so accredited. While the big labs operating at READ FULL ARTICLE HERE – BS / BUSINESS STANDARD


Exercising at this time of the day does not cause sleep problems

Turns out, exercising four hours before going to bed does not have a negative effect on sleep.Even among sleep researchers, it is a widely held belief that sleep quality can be improved by avoiding exercise in the evening. However, according to researchers from the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport, it is not generally true.

Elderly woman doing exercise with her personal trainer

The scientists concluded that “If doing sport in the evening has any effect on sleep quality at all, it’s rather a positive effect, albeit only a mild one.”By combining the data from the different studies, the researchers showed that in the night after study participants had done some sport in the evening, they spent 21.2 percent of their sleeping time in deep sleep.

Following an evening without exercise, the average figure was 19.9 percent. While the difference is small, it is statistically significant. Deep sleep phases are especially important for physical recovery.However, vigorous training within an hour before bedtime is an exception to the rule.


Teens dealing with stress positively have a strong immune system

Turns out, teenagers dealing with stress because of their families may affect certain processes in the body, including blood pressure and the immune system.The researchers at the Penn State explored the strategies adolescents used to deal with chronic family stress and their effects on various metabolic and immune processes in the body.Strategies could include cognitive reappraisal — trying to think of the stressor in a more positive way — and suppression, or inhibiting the expression of emotions in reaction to a stressor.


The team found that when faced with greater chronic family stress, teens, who used cognitive reappraisal, had better metabolic measures.”These changes are not something that will detrimentally impact anyone’s health within a week or two, but that over years or decades could make a difference,” said Hannah Schreier, a researcher. “That may be how small changes in metabolic or inflammatory outcomes may become associated with poorer health or a greater chance of developing a chronic disease later in life.”

Exposure to chronic stress doesn’t always lead to poorer health outcomes, in part because of differences among people.The findings of the study suggested that there may be ways to help someone be more resilient in the face of stress by encouraging certain emotion regulation strategiesThe researchers also found that under conditions of greater chronic family stress, the immune cells of adolescents who were more likely to use suppression also tended to produce more pro-inflammatory cytokines, molecules that signal to other cells that there is a threat present and that the body’s immune system needs to kick into gear.

“Cytokines are like messengers that communicate to the rest of the body that added support is needed.Meanwhile, the researchers found that adolescents who tended to use cognitive reappraisal while under more family stress had smaller waist-to-hip ratios — a measurement used as an indicator of health and chronic disease risk — and lower blood pressure.


Know how massage helps ease arthritis pain

Health News :Turns out, undergoing a weekly, whole-body massage can help patients with arthritis (in their knees) experience significant improvement in pain and mobility.Researchers at the Duke University suggested that massage can offer a safe and effective complement to the management of knee osteoarthritis, at least in the short term.The finding of the study appeared in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.


“Osteoarthritis is a leading cause of disability and affects more than 30 million people in America,” said lead author Adam Perlman. “Medications are available, but many patients experience adverse side effects, raising the need for alternatives. This study demonstrates that massage has the potential to be one such option.”

Scientists enrolled 200 patients with osteoarthritis in their knees. Patients were randomly divided into three groups: those who received a one-hour, weekly Swedish massage for eight weeks; those who received a light-touch control treatment; and those who received no extra care other than their usual regimen.Patients were assessed after every two months using a standardised questionnaire.

The questionnaire measured pain, stiffness and functional limitations, including how well patients can climb stairs, stand up from sitting or lying down, bend, walk or get out of a car, among other activities.Massage significantly improved patients’ scores on the questionnaire compared to light-touch and usual care.At 52 weeks, the twice-monthly massages maintained the improvements observed at eight weeks but did not provide an additional benefit. There were no significant differences between the groups at 52 weeks.


Face masks may protect you from staph bacteria

According to a recent study, face masks appear to provide important protection against drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tracked 101 hog farm workers and 79 household members for four months, taking nasal swabs and asking questions about face mask use.The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives.


The researchers found that for workers who wore face masks consistently during the four-month study, witnessed a 50 to 70 percent reduction in the likelihood of finding dangerous, livestock-derived S. aureus strains in their swabs and household members appeared to be protected too.

“Face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) could be effective in reducing occupational exposure to livestock-associated S. aureus and preventing the spread of these bacteria to workers and their families,” said study’s lead author Christopher D. Heaney.The chronic use of antibiotics to treat and prevent diseases encourages the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, including strains that can cause serious illness or death when they infect people.


Children should not have to sacrifice their privacy for education

This year, the media has exposed — and the government, including through guidance issued by the F.B.I. has begun to address — a string of harms to individual privacy by the technology sector’s leading firms. But policymakers must intervene specifically to protect the most precious and vulnerable people in our society: children.


Their behavioral data is continuously suctioned up by technology firms through tablets, smartphones and computers and is at risk of being misused.For many American children, going to school means handing over personal data. The Summit “personalized learning” educational tool — a platform for online lessons and assessments that was developed by a charter school network with the help of Facebook engineers and is backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — has been criticized for asking parents to consent to sharing their children’s personal data, including their names, internet activity and grades. Google has vastly expanded its reach into America’s schools as more than half of students use its Gmail and Docs apps, and a majority of mobile devices shipped to schools are Chromebooks.

Should the tremendous amounts of data underlying the operation of these kinds of services get into the wrong hands, our children’s futures could be at stake.Concerns over illegitimate sharing of and access to student data have been raised by parent groups, consumer watchdogs, and privacy advocates, many of whom have begun public awareness campaigns and legal battles.

They’re rightly worried, for example, about the fairness of college admissions processes that rely on student data profiles shared by personalized learning companies. Similarly, parents are concerned about the dispensation of financial awards including scholarships that are influenced by data that children have provided in surveys. In some cases the information doesn’t include just things like grades and test scores but also covers categories like race, religion, address READ FULL ARTICLE HERE ON BS / BUSINESS STANDARD

Chase for talent pushes Apple, Google and Amazon far beyond west coast

This generation’s biggest technology companies — including Apple, Amazon and Google — have long been tied to their hometowns. Now these giants are increasingly outgrowing their West Coast roots.Driven by a limited pool of skilled workers and the ballooning cost of living in their home bases of Silicon Valley and Seattle, as well as President Trump’s shifting immigration policies, the companies are aggressively taking their talent hunt across the United States and elsewhere. And they are coalescing particularly around a handful of urban areas that are already winners in the new knowledge-based economy, including New York City, Washington, Boston and Austin, Tex.


This eastward expansion accelerated on Thursday when Apple said it would build a $1 billion campus in Austin, expanding its presence there to over 11,000 workers and becoming the area’s largest private employer. The decision followed Amazon’s highly publicized selection of Queens and Arlington, Va., last month for new offices that would house at least 50,000 employees. Google, too, is shopping for more real estate in New York that could enable it to more than double its work force of 7,000 in the city.

They’re expanding out,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Tech talent is in very short supply. So if these tech companies want to grow and flourish, they need to find talent in other parts of the country.”The chase for tech talent has been global for decades, and Silicon Valley’s older companies have had big offices all over the world for years. Intel, for example, has far more employees in Oregon than it does in READ FULL ARTICLE HERE ON BS / BUSINESS STANDARD