Pune woman fired for being HIV+ve gets her job back after 3 years

Pune woman job ordeal

A Pune-based woman, who was sacked by her employer almost three years ago for being HIV +ve, finally got her job back after the labour court ordered the company to reinstate her and provide her wages for the absentee period.

In an order passed on Monday (December 3), the court ordered the company to restore her in the same designation and provide the wages, news agency ANI reported.

The episode dates back to 2015 when the concerned pharma company had terminated her after she submitted medical documents to the company for claiming benefits. The report revealed to her employer that she was diagnosed with HIV, following which the company asked her to resign within 30 minutes.

“I was asked to submit a document for the medical claim and when I did that, they asked me about it [HIV]. I told them I got it from my husband and within 30 minutes, they forced me to resign. I had been working there as a trainee operator for five years,” she said.

Her husband died of the disease. She was also boycotted by her in-laws for having this infection.

The woman further claimed that the company officials had verbally informed her that the reason for her removal was the HIV infection; the documents (relieving letter/experience letter) handed over to her by the company clear mentioned absenteeism as the reason.

Advocate Vishal Jadhav, who appeared for woman, said, “An employee was terminated on the basis of being tested positive for HIV, however, the company claims that the employee resigned herself.”

The Pune court, on Monday, declared that no employee can be terminated on being tested positive for HIV.

“The company was asked to reinstate her in the same post she was in, along with providing all the back wages,” the lawyer added.


Immunotherapy keeps some advanced head and neck cancer patients alive for over three years

Image result for Immunotherapy keeps some advanced head and neck cancer patients alive for over three years

A new immunotherapy can greatly extend the lives of a proportion of people with advanced head and neck cancer, with some living for three years or more, a major new clinical trial reports.

Overall, the drug pembrolizumab had significant benefits for patients, with 37 per cent of patients who received it surviving for a year or more, compared with only 26.5 per cent of those on standard care.

But the results were particularly exciting among the group of people who did respond to pembrolizumab – with a median length of response of 18.4 months, compared with five months for standard care.

The large international clinical trial was led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and involved 97 medical centres in 20 countries.

The trial was sponsored and funded by Merck & Co., Inc., known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and the results are published in The Lancet today (Friday).

The drug was evaluated in a trial of nearly 500 patients with very advanced head and neck cancer that had spread around the body and had already become resistant to platinum chemotherapy, the first-line treatment for the disease. Some 247 patients were randomised to pembrolizumab and 248 to standard of care – chemotherapy or the targeted agent cetuximab.

When chemotherapy or targeted therapies stop working, treatment options for people with advanced head and neck cancer are limited, and they are normally expected to survive for less than six months.

Patients on the trial who received pembrolizumab survived for a median of 8.4 months with pembrolizumab, and 6.9 months with standard treatment.

But a minority of patients responded extremely well to pembrolizumab – 36 patients saw their cancer partially or completely disappear, and some are still cancer free three years after first receiving the drug.

Pembrolizumab also caused fewer serious side-effects than currently approved drugs – 13 per cent of people who received the immunotherapy experienced serious side-effects, compared with 36 per cent of people given standard treatment.

Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden hope pembrolizumab could be a much needed smarter, kinder treatment option for people with advanced head and neck cancer.

Pembrolizumab works by taking the brakes off the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells, and is already approved for use in some people with lung cancer, skin cancer and lymphoma.

Professor Kevin Harrington, Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Head and neck cancer is extremely hard to treat once it comes back or spreads, and the outlook for patients once other therapies have stopped working is very poor.

“Our findings show that the immunotherapy pembrolizumab extends the life of people with advanced head and neck cancer overall, and in a group of patients has really dramatic benefits. It is also a much kinder treatment than those currently approved.

“I would like to see pembrolizumab approved for use in the clinic, so that people with advanced head and neck cancer can be offered the chance of a longer life and improved quality of life. There is also an urgent need to work out how we can identify in advance which patients are likely to benefit, given that some of these people may do much better than they do on standard treatment.”

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“Immunotherapies are already revolutionising treatment for several cancer types, and I am excited to see the new drug pembrolizumab now showing benefit in advanced head and neck cancer.

“The next big challenge is to design immunotherapies that can work for many more people, so that more patients can benefit from the kinds of dramatic responses that we saw in some patients in this trial.”

Derek Kitcherside, 69, is alive and well after two years of treatment on the pembrolizumab trial at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London. He said:

“I was first diagnosed with cancer of the larynx back in 2011 but quickly went into remission after having standard treatments. I went back to enjoying my retirement, until I started having symptoms again, like coughing up blood, in January 2014. I thought it was the reoccurrence of the same cancer, but it turned out three or four tumours had spread to my right lung. I was told I had squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, which was inoperable and probably incurable.

“The standard treatments of radiotherapy and chemotherapy weren’t really doing much for me this time around. My tumours were still getting larger and I was told there wasn’t much more the doctors could do.

“I was really lucky to get a place on The Royal Marsden’s pembrolizumab trial and started treatment in May 2015. I travelled down from Leicester every three weeks for two years. My tumour was shrinking all the time and I felt a bit better every time I went – it made a huge difference to my life and I was able to return to normality.

“Now I have CT scans every nine weeks, which are still showing stable disease and slight tumour shrinkage each time. It’s remarkable how I’ve responded to the drug and I don’t think I’d be here without it.”


Dementia: This diet delays Alzheimer’s by three years and could prevent it ALTOGETHER

Image result for Dementia: This diet delays Alzheimer’s by three years and could prevent it ALTOGETHER

An estimated 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of the brain disorder, affecting 62 percent of those diagnosed.

Patients suffer memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.

A new study has shown that following a Mediterranean diet can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by up to three years.

Even more promising, the findings suggest that the Mediterranean style of eating could even stop the disease occurring altogether.

Lisa Mosconi at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York scanned the brains of 70 healthy adults, half who followed the Mediterranean diet, and half who followed a typically Western diet. The findings were published in New Scientist magazine.

The brain images of two women were displayed side by side. They were both in their early 50s and ate very different diets.

The first was an MRI scan of a women who has eaten a Mediterranean-style diet most of her life.

“Her brain takes up most of the space inside the skull,” she observed. “The ventricles, those little butterfly-shaped fissures in the middle of the brain, are small and compact.

“The hippocampus – the memory centre of the brain – is well-rounded and in close contact with the surrounding tissues.”

The Mediterranean diet can prevent Alzheimer’s disease from occurring GETTY

The Mediterranean diet can prevent Alzheimer’s disease from occurring

A diet rich in fish, olive oil, fruit and vegetables could delay dementia

The second scan was of a women who has eaten a Western-style diet for many years, including processed meat, dairy and sweets.

The image showed that her brain had developed signs of brain atrophy, or shrinkage, which Mosconi said indicated neuronal loss. “As the brain loses neurons, the space is replaced by fluids instead, which show up as black on an MRI,” she explained.

“There are more black areas present in the brain that has been fed a typical Western diet than in the brain that consumed a Mediterranean diet. These are all signs of accelerated ageing and increased risk of dementia.”

Research presented by Alzheimer’s Association International in 2017 supports these findings. It found that healthy older adults who followed a Mediterranean-style diet reduced their chance of getting dementia by a third.

“Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30-35 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment during ageing,” said Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.

The Mediterranean diet’s high level of antioxidants could have a protective effect

The Mediterranean diet’s high level of antioxidants could have a protective effect

A Mediterranean-style diet is fairly simple and focuses on fruit and vegetables, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil and fish.

Meat isn’t a staple in a typical Mediterranean diet. It does feature, though not as often as seafood, poultry and eggs.

There is very little refined sugar or flour in the diet, and aside from olive oil, fats such as butter are rarely consumed.

It’s thought the diet’s high level of antioxidants could have a protective effect.

It is also very high in protein, which may help to prevent brain inflammation and lower cholesterol, which could be linked to memory and cognitive problems.