Lack of nutrition having a crippling effect on Kyrgyz children – UN

30 June 2011Nearly one in every four deaths of young children in Kyrgyzstan is caused by under-nutrition, and the physical and mental development of many other boys and girls is being delayed in the Central Asian country, according to a United Nations report launched today. The joint report of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank finds that, despite improvements in the past decade, at least 22 per cent of all deaths of children under the age of five are the result of under-nutrition.Under-nutrition is having a serious impact on the Kyrgyz economy, leaving estimated losses of as much as $32 million each year, the report notes.It calls for scaled-up investment in nutrition, particularly in ensuring that all salt that is sold is iodized and all stocks of wheat flour are fortified with iron, folic acid and other B vitamins.UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, who has been visiting Kyrgyzstan this week, said the country’s authorities, UN agencies and their development partners have the opportunity to drastically reduce the number of children who suffer from stunting and other effects of under-nutrition.“These children learn less, and they will earn less – deepening the cycle of poverty,” Mr. Lake said. “Investing in good nutrition is the smart, cost-effective thing to do, helping to save more children’s lives and accelerate progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with equity.”The World Bank has estimated that at least $6.2 million of Kyrgyzstan’s economic losses from under-nutrition could be eliminated by scaling up the country’s existing nutrition projects, especially those on the iodization of salt and the fortification of flour.UNICEF is also promoting good nutritional practices such as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, the timely introduction of complementary feeding programmes and an increase in the intake of vitamins and minerals among young children. read more

Multiple sclerosis New stem cell transplantation may freeze disease progression

first_imgPatients were given a drug which encourages stem cells to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, where they were removed from the body.High-dose chemotherapy was then administered to kill all immune cells, before the patient’s own stem cells were put back into the body to “reset” the immune system.Nearly three in four (73 per cent) patients with relapsing MS – where the disease flares up before symptoms improve – found their symptoms did not worsen for five years after having AHSCT, compared with one in three patients with progressive MS, the more severe variant of the disease. We previously knew this treatment reboots or resets the immune system but we didn’t know how long the benefits lastedDr Paolo Muraro, Imperial College London The disease is caused by the immune system malfunctioning and mistakenly attacking nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.It leads to problems with movement, vision, balance and speech.The treatment, autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT), was given to patients with advanced forms of the disease who had failed to respond to other medications.A similar approach has been trialed on people with certain forms of cancer, with encouraging early results.Dr Paolo Muraro, the new study’s lead author, said: “We previously knew this treatment reboots or resets the immune system but we didn’t know how long the benefits lasted.”In this study, which is the largest long-term follow-up study of this procedure, we’ve shown we can ‘freeze’ a patient’s disease – and stop it from becoming worse, for up to five years.”The researchers noted, however, that the nature of the treatment, which involves aggressive chemotherapy, carried “significant risks”.The chemotherapy deactivates the immune system for a short period of time, which can lead to greater risk of infection – of the 281 patients who received AHSCT, eight died in the 100 days after treatment.The treatment works by destroying the immune cells responsible for attacking the nervous system. A multiple sclerosis treatment which “resets” the immune system has been found to “freeze” progression of the disease in nearly half of patients, according to scientists.A study led by Imperial College London found that 46 per cent of patients who underwent the treatment did not suffer a worsening of their condition for five years.The treatment could give hope to the estimated 100,000 people in the UK who are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), for which there is currently no cure. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more