All news from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh

Neglect of India’s Tribal Healthcare Highlighted

One hundred and four million tribal people, accounting for 8.6 percent of India's population, are heavily marginalized and discriminated against. Not only are tribal communities socio-economically othered by the mainstream Indian populace, but they also face a host of structural inequalities, with access to healthcare being one of the biggest.

Use of Marijuana is Increasing Among the Teens, Findings

The "gateway pattern" of adolescent substance use is changing, and marijuana is increasingly the first substance in the sequence of adolescent drug use, according researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Traditionally, students experiment with cigarettes and alcohol before cannabis, but since 2006, less than 50% of adolescents try cigarettes and alcohol before they try cannabis for the first time. The findings are published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Pediatric Post-marketing Drug Studies: Two-third Studies are Missing

The FDA requires clinical studies of new drugs in pediatric populations, since many drugs developed for use in adults are also used in children. These studies are often requested after the drug is approved in adults, as "post-marketing" trials. However, a study from Boston Children's Hospital finds that only a third of these mandatory trials were completed within an average of seven years. As a result, most new drug labels continue to lack information needed for use in children, and most FDA-approved medications remain untreated in children.

Deadly Bird Flu Virus Takes Hold in Humans, Study

New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans. Researchers at Griffith's Institute for Glycomics and the University of Hong Kong have shown specific sugar molecules-S-glycans-that are present in the respiratory tract  are key receptors for  influenza viruses, particularly the highly pathogenic influenza virus strains

Study Warns: Proposed Cancer Treatment Boost Lung Cancer Stem Cells

Epigenetic therapies—targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell—are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital now report that at least one epigenetic therapy that initially looked promising for lung cancer actually has the opposite effect, boosting cancer stem cells that are believed to drive tumors. They also identify a strategy that reduces these cells, curbing lung cancer in mice. Findings were published online today in Nature Communications.