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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Its time to set up Ayurveda research database

Principal Scientific Adviser to the Union Government R Chidambaram has said that time had come to create an easily accessible user-friendly database for enhancing research-based knowledge in the field of Ayurveda. Inaugurating a national seminar on ‘Ayurveda in the 21st century’, organised by the Kottakkal
Arya Vaidya Sala to celebrate the Navati of Dr P K Warrier at the Tagore Centenary Hall on Sunday, he further said that “this should be a database limited to investigations, both Indian and foreign, which can withstand the scrutiny of modern science.”
Citing the importance of research in the field, Chidambaram said that these studies should focus on the long-term needs of the society, industry and the Indian strategic interests, which would benefit the country in a larger perspective.
“In allopathic treatment, patients showing the same symptoms will be provided with same medicines with slight difference in dosage. But on the other end, individualised treatment is being talked about, depending on the genome of persons,” he added.� He also said that discovering new drugs in Ayurveda was both time-consuming and expensive, owing to the extensive nature of clinical trials needed. Now there are approaches on using reverse pharmacology for drug discovery using natural products. This approach is inspired by reversing the routine ‘laboratories
to clinic approach’ to ‘clinics to laboratories approach’. Approaches like these will expedite drug discovery and development, he said.
Commenting the contributions of Dr P K Warrier in the field of Ayurveda, he said
that “Warrier himself has made special efforts to incorporate scientific and technological advances in the activities of Arya Vaidya Sala, without deviating from basic tenets laid down in the classical texts.”
Dr P K Warrier distributed awards to various people for their contributions in the field, during the function. Dr Ashok B Vaidya, Research Director, Kasturba Health Society, Mumbai, presided over the function.

Facebook Friend Numbers Linked to Brain Size

The more Facebook friends you have, the bigger bits of your brain are, British neuroscientists say.
Using brain imaging, researchers from University College London found that brain areas linked to social skills were larger in college students with sprawling social networks than in Facebook users with fewer friends. The team also found a strong correlation between the size of students’ online and offline social circles.
“We have found some interesting brain regions that seem to link to the number of friends we have — both ‘real’ and ‘virtual,’” Ryota Kanai, lead author of the study published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, said in a statement.
The results of the study, which was originally conducted with 125 college students, were later replicated in 40 more participants. The researchers cautioned that correlation does not mean causation but said they hoped to clarify how friends — and Facebook — shape our brains.
“The exciting question now is whether these [brain] structures change over time,” said Kanai. “This will help us answer the question of whether the Internet is changing our brains.”
Since the web went worldwide in the ’90s, its impact on our brains and behavior has been the topic of much controversy.
“Online social networks are massively influential, yet we understand very little about the impact they have on our brains,” study co-author Geraint Rees said in a statement. “This has led to a lot of unsupported speculation that the Internet is somehow bad for us.”
Indeed, some experts fear the Internet is slowly draining its users’ intellect and imagination. But its effects on cognitive and social development remain largely unknown.
“Our study will help us begin to understand how our interactions with the world are mediated through social networks,” said Rees. “This should allow us to start asking intelligent questions about the relationship between the Internet and the brain — scientific questions, not political ones.”
Source:abc News

World population to hit 7 billion this year, 10 billion by 2100

In the 1960s, the world was populated by around 3.5 billion people. This year, the population is expected to double that mark.
According to a new report by the United Nations, the population of Earth is expected to hit seven billion by the end of 2011, with the tally expected to hit 10 billion by the year 2100. And while these numbers have caused no small amount of concern regarding the planet’s ability to sustain such a massive population, scientists are also expecting the population to level off near the end of the century.
The world’s population has increased dramatically since the industrial periods of the mid-18th century, with the planet hitting the one-billion mark around 1800, then doubling that number in the early 1900s. The growth from that number to seven billion took only 50 years.
However, the growth rate is expected to slow by the year 2100 as the countries with the highest birth rates develop better female education and family-planning systems. Currently, much of the population growth is occurring in developing nations like Africa, where a high birth rate has the population doubling every 20 years or so.
Discovery News notes that if every woman had two babies, the world’s population would remain stable. However, the global average currently sits at around 2.5 births per woman, which is down from five births per woman in 1950.
“Every billion people we add to the planet makes life more difficult for everyone and will do more damage to the environment,” John Bongaarts, a demographer at New York’s Population Council, told Discovery. “Can we support 10 billion people? Probably. But we would all be better off with a smaller population.”

Weight-loss Alkaline Diet's Multiple Benefits

Followers of the alkaline or pH diet have claimed that the diet not only helps weight loss but can help alleviate a variety of ailments from indigestion to arthritis.They also said it could allegedly make you happier, more energetic and even reverse the ageing process, the Daily Express reported.
Alkaline or pH diet, which consists mostly of fruit, salads, vegetables, chickpeas, coconuts and almonds, is the diet of choice for models, fashion designers and celebrities.
The theory is that all foods once digested leave a mineral residue in the body, which is either acid or alkaline. Our bodies need to be alkaline so we should avoid overloading our system with acid-forming foods such as sugar, meat, dairy, white bread and pasta.
To neutralise acid our body steals minerals such as calcium and magnesium from our bones to keep the body's pH levels stable.
To avoid an acid surplus the pH diet theory says we need to eat foods that leave an alkaline residue, mainly green vegetables and most fruits, especially, though it sounds contradictory, acidic ones such as lemons.
Stephanie Morgan whose company Raw and Juicy provides bespoke alkaline diet meals delivered to your door claims the diet isn't meant to be an ordeal.
A woman who followed the diet said "not only have I had a week off cooking, I've lost 4lbs and even my husband tells me I look better."

Health ministry to withdraw ban on ads on morning after pills

The Union health ministry will soon withdraw its ban on advertisements on emergency contraceptive pills like Unwanted-72, Option-72 and I-Pill. The ministry had imposed the ban in January last year after experts raised concern that these advertisements may promote the misuse of the pill by the young generation.
According to sources, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) of the union health ministry in its meeting held on October 10 has decided to allow the advertisements on emergency contraceptive pills with some riders. As per the new DTAB guidelines, a committee consisting of the principal of a reputed girls college, representatives from civil society groups and the advertising council should screen the ads and the scripts before they are on air.
Ever since the drug companies launched advertisements on emergency contraceptive pills like Unwanted-72, Option-72 and I-Pill, experts and public interest groups in the country have been raising concern that these advertisements may promote the misuse of the pill by the young generation who have started looking at the pills as a regular contraceptive method as the advertisements are said to have failed to drive home the message clearly that these pills are emergency contraceptives.
Apart from the civil society organisations, gynaecologists in the country have also been expressing concern on the misuse of the pill by the young generation. It triggered a debate in sexually conservative India with critics arguing that the easy availability of such pills would encourage promiscuity among the millions of young people. There was also criticism that the easy availability of these drugs will also promote unsafe sex among younger generation and may result in promotion of diseases like HIV/AIDS in the country.
When the public criticism reached its crescendo after the companies started airing competitive ads on these pills, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) banned the advertisements on these emergency pills and left the matter to the DTAB, which is the highest authority of health experts on technical matters under the union health ministry.
Now that the DTAB has taken a final decision in favour of the pharma companies, they can start advertisements on these pills.

Over-55s use brains more efficiently than youth

It is the retort every parent uses to win an argument with their teenage children: being older makes you wiser.But scientists have come up with evidence that reveals the old adage to be true, proving that the over-55s use their brains much more efficiently than younger people.
Researchers in Canada found that years of life experience makes older brains just as effective when it comes to decision-making as their younger counterparts.
Older people were found to be less bothered by making a mistake and used their brains more selectively than younger minds, only engaging certain parts at the precise moment they were required.
The findings contradict previous theories - and popular beliefs - that suggest our brains deterioriate with age, making us less able to make reasoned decisions.
Scientists from the Institute of Geriatrics at the University of Montreal studied 24 young people aged between 18 and 35, alongside a group of 10 older people aged 55 to 75.The participants were asked to complete a series of increasingly difficult tasks, including pairing up words, while the researchers monitored their brain activity.
The results of neuro-imaging scans showed that the young and old brains reacted very differently when told they had made a mistake in the matching exercise.
While younger players instantly activated several different areas of their brains, the older particpants strugged off the error and kept the relevant parts of their brains dormant until the next task.
Study author Dr Oury Monchi said the experiment was proof that wisdom comes with age. "When it comes to certain tasks, the brains of older adults can achieve very close to the same performance as those of younger ones," he added.
He said the findings resembled the tale of the hare and the tortoise, the fable in which the slower but more cautious competitor wins the race.
"It was already known that ageing is not necessarily associated with a significant loss in cognitive function," Dr Monchi added. "The older brain has experience and knows that nothing is gained by jumping the gun."
Courtesy:The Telegraph

Liquorice Pill Could Help Prevent Hot Flushes

Liquorice could cut hot flushes, night sweats in older women by 80 percent, claim scientists.
They found that a pill containing the sweet root cuts the number of hot flushes women experience by up to 80 per cent, as well as helping to keep bones strong without any side effects.
Hot flushes and night sweats affect most women in the years leading up to and after their last period.
Most women are bothered by them for four years, but they can disturb sleep, zap energy, cause embarrassment and reduce quality of life for up to 20 years.
The pill produced 'remarkable' results when taken daily by women who were close to or going through 'the change', the scientists claimed.
This is thought to be because plant chemicals in liquorice have a similar effect to the female sex hormone oestrogen, levels of which plummet around the menopause.
A U.S. fertility conference heard that in future, liquorice-based supplements could provide women who cannot or will not take traditional, oestrogen-based hormone replacement therapy with an effective alternative.
The researchers, from the University of Southern California, gave supplies of liquorice extract called licogen or a placebo pill to 51 women who were going through or who were close to the menopause.
Within a year, most of those taking the liquorice found that the number of hot flushes and night sweats they had each day fell by 80 per cent - or from an average of ten to just two.
And instead of waking an average of four times, their sleep was disturbed just once or twice.
The findings were presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's annual conference.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

AHMA plans training programme for doctors, nurses to handle emergencies in Ayush hospitals

yurveda Hospital Management Association (AHMA) in Kerala will soon kick start a training programme for resident doctors and staff nurses of its member hospitals to manage common emergency situations such as difficulty in breathing, sudden vomiting, hypertension, body pain etc. affecting the patients admitted in the Ayurveda hospitals.
The training protocols include methods of Ayurveda and allopathy and will be carried out in association with allopathy doctors who are interested to support Indian systems. The programme will be started from January 2012 in selected hospitals and gradually extended to all the member hospitals, said Dr Baby Krishnan, general secretary of AHMA.
According to him, AHMA, an association of over one thousand Ayurveda hospitals in Kerala, unveils the plan to equip all the Ayurveda physicians to manage such emergencies so as to retain the patients in their own hospitals rather than sending them to allopathy hospitals in the name of efficient treatment. Either because of minor side effects or of other simple reasons the patients admitted in the Ayurveda hospitals get nausea or suffocation or high blood pressure. Then they are being sent to, or taken away by their stand-bys, to allopathic hospitals for immediate medical care. Such situations adversely affect the genuineness of the age old Indian system and of the prestige of the physicians attending the patients. The training program will put an end to this degrading practice and the doctors and the nurses will work together to stabilize the patient’s condition after proper diagnosis and initiate treatment, he said.
Dr Baby Krishnan said the association is against all kinds of OTC products marketed by certain manufacturing companies claiming solutions to various chronic diseases. No member hospital of his association encourages such products sold through wide publicity, even though their manufacturers are members of AHMA.
The office-bearers of the hospital association has recently called on the state health minister and reiterated their demand that the controversial Kerala Ayurveda Health Centres (Issue of Licence and Control) Act, 2007 should not be implemented without considering the opinion of the association. The former LDF government in the state had put aside the implementation plan considering the request of hospital managements. They said any such plan to regulate the ayurvedic hospitals could be taken on the basis of the soon to be implemented central act, Clinical Establishment Act, and not on a separate act only for Kerala.
While enumerating their future plans, AHMA secretary said they have submitted a project to the Kerala government for its consideration that a two year academic course to create qualified nurses and pharmacists for Ayurveda could be conducted with the help of well established IP hospitals. The government should conduct the courses and issue certificates. Currently all the Ayurveda hospitals are facing shortage of nurses and pharmacists.

Binge Drinking in US Leading to Many Deaths and Huge Costs

Binge drinking in the United States results in 79,000 deaths per year and costs $745 per person, or nearly $2 per drink, according to a government report out Monday.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report uses data from 2006, the latest year for which information is available.
Costs related to excessive alcohol drinking reached $223.5 billion that year, according to the report.
The CDC defines binge drinking as four or more drinks per occasion for a woman, and five or more drinks per occasion for a man; heavy drinking as more than one drink per day on average for a woman, and twice that amount for a man; and any alcohol consumption by pregnant women or underage youth.
Researchers looked at cost related to losses in workplace productivity (72 percent of the total); related health care expenses (11 percent); law enforcement and criminal justice expenses (nine percent); and costs from drunken driving accidents (six percent).
"This research captures the reality that binge drinking means binge spending, not just for the person who drinks but for families, communities, and society," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden.
Responsible behavior combined with effective policies "can decrease unhealthy drinking, reduce health care and other costs, and increase productivity," Frieden said.
More than three-quarters of the cost of excessive alcohol consumption "is due to binge drinking, which is reported by about 15 percent of US adults," said Robert Brewer, alcohol program leader at CDC and one of the report authors.

Our Willpower Depends on Blood Sugar Levels

Our levels of willpower are directly linked to our consumption of sugar or glucose, says a new book.
It promises not only to help people learn self-control, but also to explain why so many of us find it so difficult to say no.The book titled Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength, by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney is a bestseller in the U.S, the Daily Mail reported.
"Ask people to name their greatest strengths and they'll often credit themselves with honesty, kindness, humour, creativity and even modesty - but not self-control," wrote the authors.
"Conversely, when people were asked about their failings, a lack of self-control was top of the list," they stated.
They found that the moments when our glucose levels are at their lowest are the moments when we make poor decisions or fail to get anything done.
By analysing studies performed on groups as diverse as convicts in Finland and children at primary school in America, the authors found the lower our blood sugar levels, the angrier we feel and, in turn, the less control we have over our actions.
According to the book, using the part of our brain that determines self-control, the fronto-median cortex, uses up more of our body's glucose supplies than normal.
This causes us to crave sweet things to replenish our blood sugar levels, making us reach for biscuits rather than healthier savoury foods.

The Good Housekeeping Route to a Healthy Liver

A study in the October 17 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology explains that differences in the levels of two key metabolic enzymes could make some people more susceptible to liver damage.
Some forms of liver disease, particularly steatohepatitis, are marked by the formation of misfolded protein aggregates called Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs). Not all patients display these aggregates, however, and some research suggests that MDBs are more common in patients of Hispanic origin. Different strains of mice also show different susceptibilities to MDB formation when their livers are damaged by the drug DDC, which induces oxidative stress. A team led by researchers from the University of Michigan analyzed the proteomes of livers from two different mouse strains to investigate the cause of their different sensitivities to DDC.
Many metabolic and oxidative stress–related enzymes were expressed at differing levels in the livers of C57BL (MDB-susceptible) and C3H (MDB-resistant) mice, resulting in higher levels of reactive oxygen species in C57BL liver cells after DDC treatment. Prominent among these enzymes were two general "housekeeping" proteins: the metabolic enzyme GAPDH and the energy-generating protein NDPK, both of which showed reduced expression in C57BL livers and were decreased further by DDC treatment.
Depleting GAPDH or NDPK by RNAi elevated reactive oxygen species levels similarly to DDC treatment, whereas overexpressing GAPDH prevented DDC from inducing reactive oxygen species production in C57BL liver cells. The authors think that low GAPDH and NDPK expression causes C57BL livers to be metabolically and oxidatively stressed even under normal conditions and therefore more sensitive to additional stresses like DDC treatment. The researchers also found that GAPDH is localized in protein aggregates in cirrhotic patient livers, suggesting that similar mechanisms may contribute to liver disease severity in humans.

China Medical Technologies' Chinese subsidiary gets renewed high and new technology enterprise status

hina Medical Technologies Inc., a leading China-based advanced in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) company, announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Beijing Yuande Bio-Medical Engineering Co., Ltd. (Beijing Yuande) has passed the examination by the relevant government authorities and renewed its high and new technology enterprise status for another three year period from January 2011 to December 2013. With this status, Beijing Yuande is qualified for a preferential corporate income tax rate of 15 per cent, which is lower than the statutory corporate income tax rate of 25 per cent, as well as other government incentives for high and new technology enterprises.
China Medical Technologies, Inc. is a leading China-based advanced IVD company using molecular diagnostic technologies including Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (FISH) and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) and an immunodiagnostic technology, Enhanced Chemiluminescence Immunoassay (ECLIA), to develop, manufacture and distribute diagnostic products used for the detection of various cancers, diseases and disorders as well as companion diagnostic tests for targeted cancer drugs.

Risks of Vitamin Supplements Highlighted

Recent research sheds light on the value of vitamin supplements, with results indicating that taking too many supplements could be harmful.The research is forcing scientists to rethink the use of supplements with antioxidants, which had been seen as beneficial in preventing cancer, heart disease and other ailments.
"Everybody is confused," admitted Toren Finkel, head of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
While logic would seem to dictate that taking vitamins and antioxidants should help fight illness and disease, Finkel said in an interview that the clinical data "are pretty consistently showing no benefit."
"So that means we have to go back and think about some of the assumptions we have made along the way in terms of what the mechanism for these diseases are and how things like oxidants play a role in those diseases," he told AFP.
Finkel explained that while it has long been believed that oxidants -- free radicals produced by the body or introduced through external sources such as pollution -- were unhealthy, the research paints a more complex picture.
"You have to go back to the lab and try to design experiments you can do a little simpler with cells or animals... to better understand the role of oxidants and vitamins," he said.
"For years, we were using these supplements without knowing the effects on the body."

Monday, 17 October 2011

Time has come to talk about dying – doctors

MODERN medicine has shifted its focus to prolonging life at all costs, but it’s time to put the planning of end-of-life care back on the agenda, according to an editorial in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Intensive care physician William Silvester and respiratory physician Karen Detering from the Respecting Patient Choices Program say advance care planning is beginning to be recognised as a pivotal part of end-of-life care.
“Our common law duty of care as doctors is to always act in the patient’s best interests,” they say in their editorial.
“One of the most practical ways to put this into action is to regularly ask ourselves: ‘Am I caring for this patient or family the way that I would want myself or my family to be cared for, by taking the time to identify their personal, spiritual or religious views and take these into account when I am making decisions?’”
The authors say it’s important for doctors to ensure patients’ consent to treatment is fully informed, by understanding their goals and values and by identifying their wishes regarding treatment if they become seriously ill and can no longer decide or communicate what they want.
Doctors need to talk to the family when a patient is no longer competent to make decisions and to know ahead of time what a person would want, they say.
“More than half of us are not in a position to express these preferences at the end of life,” the authors say.
In a separate MJA article, palliative care doctors Brian Le and Michael Chapman outline a case which raises the question of “whether a person has the capacity to make decisions for him- or herself” regarding end-of-life care”.
The issue is “likely to become an increasing problem, as palliative care services care for an ageing population, with a significant comorbid burden, who are more at risk of diminished capacity due to the prevalence of illnesses such as dementia”, they say.
Source:Cowra community News

Strengthen Your Immune System - Avoiding Cold and Flu This Winter

Discover simple, natural, and gentle ways of strengthening your immune system to avoid getting cold and flu this winter, using homeopathy and natural supplements. Homeopathy has a long history of successfully healing acute respiratory viral infections. Homeopathy supports the body's natural curative mechanisms and can lead to gentle and rapid resolution of cold or flu. Homeopathic remedies are safe, effective, and easy to use at home.

Cotton Candy-Like Fibers May Help Diabetics With Hard-to-heal Wounds

Scientists from Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a cottony glass material which may help diabetics suffering from hard-to-heal open wounds.The glass fiber material could become a source of relief for diabetics fighting infections. It also could be used by battlefield medics or emergency medical technicians to treat wounds in the field.
In a recent clinical trial, the material was found to speed the healing of venous stasis wounds in eight out of the 12 patients enrolled in the trial. Details about the trials and the material were published in the May 2011 issue of the American Ceramic Society’s Bulletin magazine.
The material – a nanofiber borate glass – was developed in the laboratories of Missouri S&T’s Graduate Center for Materials Research and the Center for Bone and Tissue Repair and Regeneration, says Dr. Delbert E. Day, Curators’ Professor emeritus of ceramic engineering and a pioneer in the development of bioglass materials. Day and his former student, Dr. Steve Jung, developed the material over the past five years.
Other bioactive glass materials are formed from silica-based glass compositions and have been used primarily for hard-tissue regeneration, such as bone repair. But Day and Jung experimented with borate glass, which early lab studies showed reacted to fluids much faster than silicate glasses.
“The borate glasses react with the body fluids very quickly” when applied to an open wound, says Day. “They begin to dissolve and release elements into the body that stimulate the body to generate new blood vessels. This improves the blood supply to the wound, allowing the body’s normal healing processes to take over.”

Science of everyday living

Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, the words ayus, means “longevity”, and veda, means “related to knowledge” or “science”.
The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India. Over the centuries, ayurvedic practitioners have developed a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures for the treatment of various ailments. Practitioners contend that Ayurveda is as relevant in modern times as it was earlier when it all began.
“Ayurveda offers all answers for holistic and healthy living. It’s not that other streams don’t work, but as a doctor, if I have to advocate health, I would recommend Ayurveda,” says Dr Prashanth S Acharya, cofounder of ARTH (Ayurvedic Health Center Trust).
Ask him about the relevance of Ayurveda in today’s times and he offers an interesting comparison.
“A car that we see today, has come a long way from the first model and has incorporated several changes. However, its basic design is the same. Similarly, Ayurveda remains the same intrinsically, though its forms may have changed.
A person’s health is the focus of our treatment; to relieve the doshas (constituents) rather than a particular disease. People are conceptualising treatment but the fact is that barring surgical processes, Ayurveda can treat almost any disease according to the basic constituents of a person so as to bring about equilibrium,” states Dr Acharya.
Perhaps this is the strongest fact about Ayurveda – that it is a truth of science, which has answers to all lifestyle-related disorders.
From telling you when to brush your teeth to which perfumes work best in a particular season, Ayurveda deals with the science of everyday living. Says Dr Acharya, “There was a time when incidence of infections like smallpox was high.
Antibiotics were widely used to treat patients and they became popular.
However, today lifestylerelated disorders are on the rise, not infections.
Besides, every system has its advantages and disadvantages. Understanding one system and complementing the differences in it from other streams of medicine, is the way forward.”
Ayurveda deals with correcting lifestyle disorders, forging positive thinking and creating equilibrium between one’s senses and bodily functions.
“We can treat practically every disease, though limitations may arise in the forms of medicine and the time of treatment which depends on the depth and duration of an ailment. The other unique aspect is that Ayurveda is the only stream of medicine that detoxifies the body – using panchakarma therapy. Sometimes, you don’t need medicines, a cleansing will do just fine,” Dr Acharya explains.
With fitness taking precedence nowadays, awareness about a holistic approach to life has also grown.
“Modern medicine has specialised to such an extent that superspecialisation is quite the norm. But Ayurveda believes that a disease is psychosomatic, involving both physical and mental abilities,” says Dr Acharya.
“Today, health encompasses physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing.
Ayurveda grew in India as a holistic science because of strong support systems and the culture of ensuring overall well-being,” he further adds.
Despite the argument leaning in favour of Ayurveda, many people don’t seem too keen to follow its principles. While some find it tedious, others discontinue treatment citing diet restrictions. However, Dr Acharya is quick to allay doubts.
“People are living life on the go and want instant results in everything. But Ayurveda asks you to invest in health over a long-term period. It is not difficult to follow a diet that your body can handle; and not all treatments have severe diet restrictions. Besides, Ayurveda is affordable; the time of treatment may vary.
All it requires is a shift in thinking.”
Source:Indian Express

Sunday, 16 October 2011

1 in 6 Cellphones in Britain Contaminated With 'Fecal Matter'

One in six cellphones in Britain may be contaminated with fecal matter that can spread E. coli, likely because so many people don't wash their hands properly after using the toilet, a new study contends.
The findings also suggest that many people lie about their hygiene habits, according to the researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London.
The study authors went to 12 cities and collected 390 samples from the cellphones and hands of volunteers, who were also asked about their hand-washing habits.
Ninety-five percent of the participants told the researchers that they washed their hands with soap and water where possible. However, lab tests revealed that 92 percent of phones and 82 percent of hands had bacteria on them. The researchers also found that 16 percent of hands and 16 percent of cellphones harbored E. coli bacteria, which is found in feces and can cause serious illness.
The study was released to coincide with Global Handwashing Day on Oct. 15.
"This study provides more evidence that some people still don't wash their hands properly, especially after going to the toilet. I hope the thought of having E. coli on their hands and phones encourages them to take more care in the bathroom -- washing your hands with soap is such a simple thing to do but there is no doubt it saves lives," Dr. Val Curtis, a hygiene expert at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and U.K. campaign leader for Global Handwashing Day, said in a school news release.
"Our analysis revealed some interesting results from around the U.K. While some cities did much better than others, the fact that E. coli was present on phones and hands in every location shows this is a nationwide problem. People may claim they wash their hands regularly but the science shows otherwise," Dr. Ron Cutler, of Queen Mary, University of London, said in the news release.
Hand-washing with soap can prevent a number of illnesses caused by bacteria and viruses.
Courtesy:Health Day News

Study Says Ill Husbands a 'Nightmare' for Wives

Women think their spouse is very annoying or a 'nightmare' once they get sick, says a new study.
The Walgreens Flu Impact Report that was conducted by the national drugstore chain found that a third of American women think their hubands are very annoying when they come down with the flu.
Asked if they would rather have the flu or take care of a spouse or partner, the results were split evenly at 50 percent, the New York Post reported.
Only 14 percent of men feel the same way.

Illegal Mining Causing Great Wall of China to Crumble

Media reports indicate that parts of China's famous Great Wall are reportedly being damaged due to illegal mining for minerals.At one wild section in Laiyuan county in North China's Hebei province, the wall has completely crumbled due to people carrying out night operations to steal reserves of iron, copper, molybdenum and nickel that are buried along a 150 kilometer stretch of the famous landmark, the China Daily reports.
A survey has revealed that over 80 percent of the Great Wall in Hebei province is in bad shape due to tourism and inappropriate infrastructure, but it is the illegal mining that is causing the most damage to the site.
"We have no idea how many enterprises are engaged in the mining along the Great Wall site. The cultural heritage department has no knowledge of the specific information on the passages in the mining, either," the paper quoted an engineer from the Hebei provincial ancient architecture protection institution, as saying. e claims that the government should play a more active role in protecting the Great Wall.
"Because of the remote location and the length of the Great Wall, its protection needs the attention and support from the local government, who we suggest deploy more personnel and increase the financial assistance," he added.

Genetically Influenced Responses to Alcohol Affect Brain Activation, Says New Research

A new study says that a low level of response (LR) to alcohol reflects at least in part a low brain response to alcohol and carries significant risk for the later development of alcoholism.
This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain activation in individuals with low and high LRs to alcohol while they performed a cognitive task.
Significant differences detected in brain activation may contribute to the inability by individuals with a low LR to recognize modest levels of alcohol intoxication.
A low level of response (LR) to alcohol is a genetically influenced characteristic, or phenotype, that reflects at least in part a low brain response to alcohol, and carries significant risk for the later development of alcoholism. This study addressed the physiological underpinnings of a low and high LR, finding significant differences in brain activation during a cognitive task, possibly reflecting differences in the amount of brain activity used to deal with a cognitive challenge.
Results will be published in the January 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.
"While some genes that contribute to LR have been provisionally identified, the mechanism through which the low LR operates in the brain has not been extensively studied," explained Marc A. Schuckit, distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and corresponding author for the study. "This report confirms prior reports from our group that used a different cognitive task to show that people with a low LR process information differently from those with a high LR even when tested with placebo. The differences between LR groups after placebo and alcohol across different cognitive tasks may help explain why low LR subjects might have more problems recognizing the effects of moderate doses of alcohol. If you aren't able to recognize the effects of lower doses of alcohol, you are more likely to drink heavy amounts per occasion, which both directly and indirectly increases your risk for alcohol problems."

Dancing Can Help Ward Off Obesity, Diabetes

Dancing can help prevent obesity, a triggering factor of Type 2 diabetes, according to US scientists.
Busting hip-hop moves across a wooden gym floor, scientists led children through one hour of dancing weekly for one month.Using pedometers, the research team found that the students averaged twice as many steps on days they danced.
At the same time, says Dr. Terri Lipman, PhD, CRNP, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, the children had elevated resting heart rates after exercise, indicating that they were not physically fit.
Dr. Lipman aims to change that by encouraging children worldwide to "Dance for Health."
"Dancing is not only free, culturally relevant, and fun," says Dr. Lipman, "it is also an easily accessible way for children to lead a more active lifestyle.

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