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Health Bulletin


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  1. #2281
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Obese children may have weaker bones: Study


    Obese children tend to have more muscle but excess body fat may compromise other functions in their bodies, such as bone growth, new research has found.

    Joseph Kindler from the University of Georgia in US studied how muscle can influence different characteristics of bone geometry and strength in children.

    Researchers were interested in looking at the geometry of bones - the measures of size and strength of the bone - particularly for children and adolescents.

    Kindler pulled together previously published findings to give an up-to-date look at how muscle influences bone geometry and bone strength during youth. The role of fat in these relationships was also investigated.

    Based on the research they gathered, muscle was a strong contributor to bone growth throughout childhood and adolescence. However, this relationship may differ in children with greater body fat.

    "It's a common understanding that, in children, muscle is a very strong determinant of how bone is going to grow," said Kindler, a doctoral candidate at UGA's College of Family and Consumer Sciences' department of foods and nutrition.

    "Obese children will tend to have more muscle, so we would suspect that they would also have larger, stronger bones," said Kindler.

    The excess fat that accompanies obesity can be deposited within the muscle. There is emerging evidence that suggests this fat within the muscle may have an effect on how the bone grows, according to researchers.

    Understanding how excess fat, specifically that within the muscle, can influence the muscle and bone relationship in children is still under investigation, but there is clearly a connection, Kindler said.

    The findings were published in the journal Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity.


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  2. #2282
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Pig's cornea restores Chinese man's sight


    Chinese surgeons on Monday announced the successful transplant of a bioengineered pig cornea into a human eye, a development that may help millions of people to see again.

    Doctors from the Shandong Eye Institute in east China's Shandong province said the procedure took place in late September. "The patient's vision has gradually improved after a three-month recovery period, which means the transplant was a success," said Zhai Hualei, director of the institute's cornea division.

    Sixty-year-old Wang Xinyi had a serious corneal ulcer.He could only see moving objects within 10 cm. "The doctors originally told me that my father might lose sight in one eye because there are not enough cornea donations," Wang's son said.

    The transplant used a bioengineered cornea named Acornea, the first such prod uct to be accredited by the China food and drug administration in April, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

    "With the pig cornea as the main material, the product is devoid of cells, hybrid proteins, and other antigens. It retains a natural collagen structure with remarkable biocompatibility and biological safety," said Zhai.

    Cornea diseases are one of the biggest causes of blindness in China, blinding around 4 million people. New cases are increasing by 100,000 each year, however, only about 5,000 people receive a cornea transplant annually.

    "This bio-engineered cornea may help millions of people to see again," Zhai said.

    According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.


  3. #2283
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    88% of Chennai’s corporate workforce is at risk of diabetes: Study


    A study conducted by S10 Healthcare suggests that 88% of Chennai professionals face the risk of diabetes due to the sedentary lifestyle, erratic eating habits and work induced stress levels.

    The study was done on a sample size of about 1,500 professionals that included 1,200 males and 300 females.


    According to the study, only 12% of the population was with low or no risk of diabetes and 73% of the working individuals faced the risk of obesity. It also concluded that working women are at a higher risk compared to male population and the especially corporate workforce in their 20s are diabetic.


    Speaking on the report, Dr Dobson Dominic, medical director at S10, said: "We live in a world where we are so caught up with ourselves that we struggle to strike a balance between our professional and personal lives. The young clan, especially, is so inclined towards fast food, binging and instant meals that surviving on healthy diet is not taken seriously. As a result, we see an increase in diabetes and obesity."


    Uncontrolled diabetes can affect various parts of the body, including blood vessels, heart, kidney, eye, gums and nerves. Hence, adequate and preventive measures should be adapted to control the spread of diabetes among the city's workforce, he added.


  4. #2284
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Chennai floods: Asthma patients advised to keep off damp walls

    Asthma patients in Chennai should be careful about the moulds or fungal spores that grow on damp walls after the heavy rain and floods in Chennai, warn doctors.

    While asthma is an allergic reaction triggered by various allergens like pollen, dust mites and pets, the increased moisture content in the air during monsoon promotes the growth of moulds or fungal spores, which can grow on damp walls and directly trigger asthma attacks.

    "Also, during this season, there usually is a high amount of pollen in the air, resulting in breathlessness and wheezing," said Dr P K Thomas, consultant physician and chest specialist, Apollo Clinic.

    Wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are all symptoms of asthma, which is a chronic respiratory disease, caused by inflammation of the air passages in the lungs.

    A person suffering from asthma experiences constriction in the airway passages, resulting in a restricted flow of oxygen to the lungs. During monsoons, the high humidity levels act as a trigger, leading to tightening of the airways muscles and difficulty in breathing.

    According to the American Lung Association, asthma is one of the most chronic disorders of childhood and is the third-largest reason for hospitalization among children under 15.


    Dr Somu Sivabalan, consultant pediatrician and pulmonologist at Kanchi Kamakoti Child Trust Hospital in Chennai, said: "Despite increasing prevalence, asthma remains one of the poorly-controlled diseases. Inhalation therapy has emerged as the effective treatment to manage asthma, compared to oral pills and tablets. When asthma drugs are inhaled, they reach the lungs directly instead of going through the blood and other organs of the body. Thus, there are fewer side effects and lesser drug dosage."


    When inhaled corticosteroids are used consistently, asthma symptoms are relieved more effectively than through the use of any other single long-term control medication in both children and adults.


    "So, with the help of novel and effective treatment options like inhalation therapy don't let asthma dampen your spirit this monsoon season," said the doctor.


  5. #2285
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mental time travel a unique human capacity: Study

    Humans appear to be the only species who are able to remember events that they had experienced and mentally time travel not only into the past but also the future, suggests new research.

    The researchers found no definitive evidence for foresightful behaviour in animals.

    In order to answer the question if animals are capable of mental time travel, the researchers relied on published experimental studies and matched the results with their own model.

    "Some animals indeed appear to possess episodic memory. There is, however, no evidence that they are able to construct, reflect and compare different future scenarios like humans are. We, therefore, do not believe that animals are capable of mental time travel," said one of the researchers Sen Cheng, professor at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.
    For example, the ability of squirrels to cache food in autumn for the winter can be interpreted not as an anticipatory activity, but rather as innate behaviour, the researchers said.

    "The squirrel would hoard food even if it had been fed in the winter all its life," Cheng noted.

    The new model that the researcher developed suggests a new relationship between mental time travel and episodic memory -- the memory of autobiographical events that can be explicitly stated.

    The research team assumed that mental time travel is composed of different components.

    "Component one are memory traces from episodic memory. That means: fairly accurate representations of personally experienced episodes, where each trace represents a particular experience," Cheng explained.
    Component two is the ability to construct mental scenarios. By this, the researchers mean dynamic representations of past or expected situations that are not isolated but rather can be embedded into larger contexts and be reflected.

    If, for example, someone misplaces their key, they mentally travel back to places and situations where they still had the key.

    The study was published in the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews.


  6. #2286
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    39.36% of Indian men have abnormal lipid: Study


    A pan-India study showed that 39.36% of Indian men had abnormal lipid marker levels in their blood. The analysis based on 13.93lakh samples tested over three years showed that the abnormality was the highest among men from the eastern zone.

    SRL Diagnostics collated the data based on lipid profile tests done in men between 2012 and 2014. Lipid disorders refer to excessive levels of fatty substances in the bloodstream. Unhealthy lifestyle choices which include eating a high-fat diet, smoking, etc are some of the major contributors to lipid disorders today in the country. The analysis also found that the abnormal levels were predominant in the age groups of 31—45 years (41%) followed by 34% in the age bracket of 46-60 years.

    Men from the eastern Zone had highest percentage of abnormality with 42.2%, while northern and western zone had 40.3% and 39.1% respectively. Among the four zones, southern India showed the lowest percentage of abnormality with 34.8%. "Lipid disorders lead to excess of unhealthy lipids or fatty substances in the blood. They are an important risk factor in developing atherosclerosis and heart disease. Apart from genetic causes for lipid disorders, a diet high in saturated and trans fat will also increase cholesterol," said Dr Leena Chatterjee, director - Fortis SRL Labs.

    She further added "Our in-house data analysis on lipid disorders assessed the abnormalities seen in tests done in men residing in various cities that represent diverse geographic origin, occupation, and socio-economic status and food habits. Although this analysis may not be extrapolated to real setting prevailing in populations across the zones, it gives an idea as to what extent men in those zones have abnormalities in their blood lipid values."


  7. #2287
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Diabetes growing at alarming rate: Study

    An analysis of over 10.21lakh blood sugar levels of men, women and children revealed that an overwhelming percentage of them had diabetes. An estimated 65.1 million people in India are affected with diabetes and the prevalence is expected to reach around 69.9 million by 2025.

    The survey was carried out by Metropolis Healthcare that tested the samples for fasting blood sugar over the last three years. It found out that over 60% of men, 51% women and 28% children between the age group of 0-12 were diabetic.

    "India is already infamous as the diabetic capital of the world and the incidence is increasing due to various factors, such as unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, family history and stress. Diabetes is a lifelong condition and requires regular monitoring. People with diabetes are susceptible to kidney dysfunction, cardiovascular diseases, neurological problems and much more. Diabetics need to undergo regular tests and monitoring to ensure that all their vital parameters are normal," said Dr Sonali Kolte of Metropolis.

    While Type-1 diabetes lasts a lifetime, many people suffering from Type -2 diabetes have managed to get rid of their symptoms through a combination of exercise, diet and body weight control. If diabetes is not adequately controlled the patient has a significantly higher risk of developing complications related to cardiovascular diseases, neurological problems and many more.


  8. #2288
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Is nicotine replacement therapy healthy way to quit smoking?

    Experts say there is enough scientific evidence to suggest that Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can work effectively to quit smoking.

    "Tobacco contains an addictive substance called nicotine. When inhaled, nicotine gives a feeling of distress and smoker feels relaxed, almost immediately. This is the reason why people who are trying to quit, get extremely tempted to smoke when stressed or overworked," said Dr Lancelot Pinto, chest physician at Hinduja Hospital.

    In his opinion the right way to quit smoking is to gradually withdraw from nicotine. "This is possible by using NRT. It is a way of getting small amount of nicotine into the bloodstream without smoking and hence, without the harmful chemicals present in a cigarette. A dose of NRT gives lesser amount of nicotine than that released by most cigarettes, but sufficient enough to reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. NRT usage schedule is reduced gradually to lesser and lesser amounts, until the smoker no longer needs nicotine," said Dr Pinto.

    Pinto also quoted a study that stated that irrespective of the socioeconomic condition of the smoker, NRT increases the rate of quitting as much as 70%. There are various ways to go for NRT, including nicotine gums, patches, inhalers, tablets, lozenges, and sprays.

    Smoking is one of the major causes of lung cancer, heart diseases, hypertension, and harms almost every organ of the body.

    Head and neck cancer surgeon Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi from the Tata Memorial Hospital however had a different view point. He said that smokers should not rush for nicotine replacement or any other tobacco product immediately.

    "Several well conducted studies have proved that the philosophy of 'nicotine replacement therapy' has not made any dramatic impact. A recent randomized trial showed addition of Nicotine replacement therapy to smoking pregnant women did not improve cessation," he said. He advises that one may try drinking plenty of water, avoiding hunger, using chewing gums and going for walks or exercise to overcome withdrawal.


  9. #2289
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Coca-Cola paying diet experts to counter obesity claims? I'm not surprised - what I saw there horrified me

    Like an over-shaken can, outrage is spilling everywhere today. An investigation by The Times has outlined how Coca-Cola spends millions of dollars every year trying to disprove the undisprovable.

    Frankly, anyone gullible enough to believe any 'research' suggesting cans of fizzy sugar don't make you fat is an idiot, but that's not the real problem here. The real problem is what Coca-Cola do day in day out, and nobody bats an eyelid.

    When I was offered my first 'proper job' in 2009 it was, for my sins, with Coca-Cola Enterprises (the then UK arm of the Coca-Cola company). I was a territory sales rep. With a van full of all the drinks I used to guzzle as a kid (Fanta, Sprite, Capri Sun, and, of course, the rainbow of Coke varieties) I set off with joy to my 'patch' to sell, sell, sell.

    It took all of two days for my enthusiasm to be completely annihilated.

    In my branded transit I approached my third store of day two. My objective was clear: get to know my customer, get to know their customers, sell them everything they need and then sell them everything they don't. On arrival at the petrol station forecourt, to my utter dismay, I spotted a young boy, probably no older than fourteen. Fourteen years old, and about fourteen stone. Dressed in his repulsive fluorescent school uniform, his face was flushed red from the almost impossible task of standing upright. In his hand? A two litre bottle of Sprite. The sugar content of which is 136 grams. That's 144 per cent of his daily recommended amount - and there were numerous 4 packs of those on my 'for sale' list.

    I had become the conduit for obesity, and it felt awful.

    So this went on - day after day, month after month. Each month a new target, new product or new initiative to 'sell in' to my 144 customers. Each individual drink noted, tallied and scored by the great Coke computer back at base. Any drink went off sale and there were investigations to be made. Any none-Coke products in a Coke fridge and the company could send threatening letters to a struggling corner shop owner. It doesn't matter that a product may not be selling; they are contractually obliged to fill their fridge with, basically, whatever Coke tells them to.

    Then came the new golden boy of pop: the energy drink. Since the advent of Red Bull, the sector was growing by hundredsof percentage points year on year and showed no signs of slowing down.

    In meeting after meeting we were told of all the new varieties of caffeine-filled sugar bombs we were to peddle: four Relentless flavours, three Monster, three Powerade and, for a brief time, the energy shot. Our targets had to be met, so our targets were kids. "Find out where the big schools are in your area," we were told. "Show the shops these graphs, charts, figures... Kids love these products."

    A 500ml can of Monster Ripper not only contains 47 per cent of our recommended sugar intake, it also has 160mg of caffeine. That's the equivalent of having a cup and a half of coffee, with ten sugars. Try giving that to your teenage daughter.

    Teachers started complaining about their pupils being high on energy drinks during class, only to crash later in the day. So lots of schools banned fizzy drinks from their premises. Coke had to start removing vending machines up and down the land. Their reaction was simple: sell it to them off-site instead. And lo and behold! In came the era of the 'meal deal'.

    This was the new baby of the bosses. In every newsagent, sandwich shop and cafe, we were told to link our products with everything from newspapers to crisps. We offered our branding in return for discounted rates or for product placement within the stores. Coke will tell you a 500ml bottle only contains two servings. Confusing, then, that we should link them with a single serving of sandwich.

    During the Olympics our brand 'activation' was scary. As an official sponsor, we completely hijacked the Olympic torch relay. Internally it became less about the torch, but more about how much product was available on the route it took through the UK. I was working in supermarkets by then, and was told I should have been 'embarrassed' by the paltry offering I made in my Tesco Extra store. We were supposed to be celebrating an Olympic flame passing through, but all Coke wanted to do was piss their product all over those in attendance.


    I started to challenge our ethics from within, but the response was often a passive aggressive 'We're simply offering the customer a choice'. I dispute that to this day. With the levels of advertising, sponsorship and branding they achieve it becomes less a choice, more a subconscious trigger.


    We worked with the big four supermarkets to offer deals on Coke with pizza, Coke with cooked chickens, Coke with curries and, of course, Coke with more Coke. We had to fight for as much display space as possible within every store and colleagues were hailed as heroes for building a mock-stadium out of 6-pack cans during the football World Cup. We were even told to get Capri Sun put on the 'back-to-school' aisle. The more we succeeded, the more we were paid. Because Coke don't care about their customers; they just care that they have them.


    As people take issue with a bit of research, hidden away in some journal nobody will ever read, they sit silently as they're slapped in the face by branding. We allow companies like Coca-Cola to sponsor FIFA, the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup without so much as questioning the ethics behind such a decision. By pouring millions of our diabetic dollars in to these events, we start to associate physical activity with fizzy drinks. It's ludicrous, and yet remains unchallenged. Their marketing is a juggernaut, riding roughshod over decency and our health, in the search for profits.


    Money talks, and Coca-Cola have it all. Our only defence is stop giving it to them.


    Oh - and if you drink Vitamin Water thinking it's good for you, you deserve that triple bypass.


  10. #2290
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Smoking dips 10% in 2 years in India but women smokers up sharply



    Cigarette consumption in India is falling steadily even as the number of women smokers is rising, making it home to the second largest number of female smokers after the United States.

    According to the latest data on cigarette consumption given by the health ministry in Parliament, the consumption in 2014-15 was 93.2 billion sticks — 10 billion less than in 2012-13. The production of cigarettes too fell from 117 billion to 105.3 billion sticks in the same period.



    In the face of this good news is the sobering finding of a global tobacco study, which showed that the number of women smokers in India went up from 5.3 million in 1980 to 12.7 million in 2012. The study, titled 'Smoking Prevalence and Cigarette Consumption in 187 Countries - 1980-2012' was carried out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and released last year. This jump in numbers constitutes only a marginal increase in prevalence (percentage of smokers in the above 15 population) from 3% to 3.2%. But it has been flagged as an area of concern by anti-tobacco activists who point out that it runs against the global trend of the rate of decline among women smokers being consistently faster than in men.

    Incidentally, unlike most countries where cigarettes constitute over 90% of tobacco consumption, in India, it is just about 11% . Hence, while the decline is a positive development, its impact on burden of diseases caused by tobacco consumption remains limited as consumption is dominated by chewing tobacco, followed by bidis.


    According to a 2009-10 survey by the health ministry on tobacco consumption among adults, 24% of men and 17% of women use smokeless tobacco, much higher than the proportion of smokers in that age group - 15% and 2% respectively. About 9% of men and 1% of women both chew tobacco and smoke it. The survey also showed that tobacco use was higher in rural areas - 52% among men and 24% among women, compared to 38% and 12% in the urban areas.






    In the US, where almost a third of the population were smokers in 1980, ground-breaking research on diseases caused by tobacco use and sustained campaigns by the government and non-profit agencies has managed to bring down prevalence to around 17% of the adult population.


    "Every kind of tobacco consumption ought to be taxed, including the small-scale bidi and gutka manufacturers," said Bobby Ramakant, an anti-tobacco activist with Corporate Accountability International. "This, along with pictorial warnings and adequately funded programmes to help people quit using tobacco, is the only way the National Tobacco Control Programme will work. It all depends on the government's commitment to reduce non-communicable diseases. Tobacco use is a huge risk factor for many of these diseases, especially cancer."


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