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  1. #651
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Kids are less fit than their parents were: Study

    Today's kids can't keep up with their parents. An analysis of studies on millions of children around the world finds they don't run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young.

    On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined 5 percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17.

    The American Heart Association, whose conference featured the research on Tuesday, says it's the first to show that children's fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.

    "It makes sense. We have kids that are less active than before," said Dr Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and spokesman for the heart association.

    Health experts recommend that children 6 and older get 60 minutes of moderately vigorous activity accumulated over a day. Only one-third of American kids do now.

    "Kids aren't getting enough opportunities to build up that activity over the course of the day," Daniels said. "Many schools, for economic reasons, don't have any physical education at all. Some rely on recess" to provide exercise.

    Sam Kass, a White House chef and head of first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move program, stressed the role of schools in a speech to the conference on Monday.

    "We are currently facing the most sedentary generation of children in our history," Kass said.

    The new study was led by Grant Tomkinson, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Australia. Researchers analyzed 50 studies on running fitness - a key measure of cardiovascular health and endurance - involving 25 million children ages 9 to 17 in 28 countries from 1964 to 2010.

    The studies measured how far children could run in 5 to 15 minutes and how quickly they ran a certain distance, ranging from half a mile to two miles. Today's kids are about 15 percent less fit than their parents were, researchers concluded.

    "The changes are very similar for boys and girls and also for various ages," but differed by geographic region, Tomkinson said.

    The decline in fitness seems to be leveling off in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and perhaps in the last few years in North America. However, it continues to fall in China, and Japan never had much falloff - fitness has remained fairly consistent there. About 20 million of the 25 million children in the studies were from Asia.

    In China, annual fitness test data show the country's students are getting slower and fatter over the past couple of decades.

    Experts and educators blame an obsession with academic testing scores for China's competitive college admissions as well as a proliferation of indoor entertainment options like gaming and web surfing for the decline.

    China's Education Ministry data show that in 2010 male college students ran 1,000 meters 14 to 15 seconds slower on average than male students who ran a decade earlier. Female students slowed by about 12 seconds in running 800 meters.

    Tomkinson and Daniels said obesity likely plays a role, since it makes it harder to run or do any aerobic exercise. Too much time watching television and playing video games and unsafe neighborhoods with not enough options for outdoor play also may play a role, they said.

    Other research discussed global declines in activity.

    Fitness is "pretty poor in adults and even worse in young people," especially in the United States and eastern Europe, said Dr Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway.

    World Health Organization numbers suggest that 80 percent of young people globally may not be getting enough exercise.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Men have bigger noses as they need more oxygen

    Men have larger noses than women because they have more muscle, demanding bigger noses to breathe in more oxygen, a new study has found. The study from the University of Iowa found that men's noses are about 10% larger than female noses, on average, in populations of European descent.

    The size difference, the researchers believe, comes from the sexes' different builds and energy demands: Males in general have more lean muscle mass, which requires more oxygen for muscle tissue growth and maintenance. Larger noses mean more oxygen can be breathed in and transported in the blood to supply the muscle. The researchers also noted that males and females begin to show differences in nose size at around age 11, generally, when puberty starts.

    Physiologically speaking, males begin to grow more lean muscle mass from that time, while females grow more fat mass. "This is the first study to examine how the size of the nose relates to body size in males and females," said Nathan Holton, assistant professor in the UI College of Dentistry and lead author of the paper.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with right tests, say experts

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth largest cause of death in the world now. More prevalent after 40 years of age, COPD can be diagnosed with a spirometry test, experts said on the eve of World COPD Day, November 20.

    The Aurangabad Chest Society (ACS) wants to improve awareness about the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), its secretary Venkatesh Deshpande said on Tuesday.

    "Spirometry, a simple, painless breathing test, is key to reducing the burden of one of the world's most common lung diseases. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, causing more than 3 million deaths every year. In India, approximately 30 million people are estimated to be affected by COPD and half a million die every year from the disease," said Deshpande.

    To commemorate the occasion, Aurangabad's leading chest physicians, in collaboration with a leading pharma company, have undertaken a mission of spreading awareness about the disease.

    "Though COPD might not be cured completely with available drugs today, proper education and awareness about the disease could surely help reduce its occurrence," said Deshpande. Measures like quitting smoking, use of pollution-free means of cooking and proper ventilation in residences might lower the risk of COPD significantly, said Shrikant Papinwar, former president, Chest Society, Aurangabad chapter.

    World COPD Day will be observed on November 20 around the theme 'It's not too late. Ask your doctor about a simple breathing test called Spirometry', which emphasises the importance of the test in diagnosing the disease. "Many national and international COPD guidelines, including those prepared by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), identify spirometry as the gold standard for diagnosing COPD," said Deshpande.

    According to Deshpande, professionals like traffic police personnel, roadside vendors and rickshaw-pullers are more prone to COPD due to dangerous pollutants in vehicular exhaust. Use of pollution masks and regular checks of vehicles for valid Pollution Under Control Certificate (PUC) could be useful to prevent pollution from automobile exhaust, Deshpande pointed out.

    "COPD is a substantially under-diagnosed disorder, where diagnosis is delayed until the condition reaches an advanced state. Spirometery is the most frequently used pulmonary function test and enables health professionals to make an objective measurement of airflow obstruction and assess the degree to which it is reversible," said pulmologist Masood Ahmed.

    Though smoking is the major cause of COPD, rapid industrialisation and vehicular emission has impacted the lung health of even those not exposed to smoke of any kind, Ahmed said.

    Pulmonologists in the city said that they have observed that about 90% of COPD patients are smokers, while 10% are non-potential victims, such as women who work in ill-ventilated kitchens.

    In rural areas surrounding Aurangabad, 60% of COPD patients are smokers, while 40% are women, who develop the disease due to prolonged exposure to biomass fuel since childhood.

    Pulmonologists use broncho-dilator medicines to test a patient's lung capacity. "Often, patients may mistake breathing difficulties being caused by heart problems, whereas it could be due to COPD," said Deshpande.

    "Once the disease develops into the advanced stage, it affects multiple organs. Complications include breathing difficulty, which could affect the heart, putting a patient at risk of heart-attacks or heart failures. Diabetes worsens the condition, leading patients to develop stroke. Inevitably, patients are malnourished and develop sleep disorders," said pulmologist Suhas Bardapurkar.

    Papinwar said quitting smoking and taking up physiotherapy and respiratory exercises have a therapeutic effect. "Pollution due to industries, automobiles, burning of garbage in open land, sugar factories and spinning mills in the region too are contributing factors to air pollution," he said.

    "COPD is a disease appearing similar to asthma, but occurs in the elderly and is much more lethal and painful," said ACS secretary Shrikant Sahastrabuddhe. He added that COPD is a non-communicable lung disease related to exposure that progressively increases in breathlessness.

    "The early symptoms of COPD are chronic cough, spewing sputum and breathlessness during physical activity such as exercise or walking. Smoking remains one of the most important causes of COPD," said Deshpande.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Gender of speaker may affect language processing

    Sex of a speaker may determine how quickly and accurately we understand words, a new study suggests.

    The study from the University of Kansas suggests that depending on the sex of the speaker, language with grammatical gender may be interpreted and understood differently among listeners.

    Scientists set up an experiment showing that the sex of a speaker affected how quickly listeners identified words grammatically that there was evidence that even higher-level processes are affected by the speaker.

    Based on the fact that Spanish words have a grammatical gender, words ending in "o" are typically masculine and in "a" are typically feminine - the researchers showed that the sex of a speaker affected how fast and accurately listeners could identify a list of Spanish words as masculine or feminine.

    When there was a mismatch between the sex of the speaker and the gender of the word, listeners slowed down in identifying the word grammatically and were less accurate.

    Grammar and syntax have been thought for decades to be automatic and untouchable by other brain processes, said Michael Vitevitch, KU professor of psychology.

    Everything else - the sex of the speaker, their dialect, etc - is stripped away as our brains process the sound signal of a word and store it as an abstract form.

    This is the abstractionist model of how we store words in memory championed by well-known cognitive scientist, linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky and his followers.

    An alternate school of thought conceives of our brains processing words using exemplars containing and indexing information about both the word and the speaker.

    "Our study shows that all that other information does influence not just word recognition processing, but higher-level processes associated with grammar," said Vitevitch.

    The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Eye colour linked to severity of skin conditions

    Eye colour can tell whether you`re at risk of serious skin conditions. The blue eyed are less likely to have vitiligo, while the brown eyed may have lower risk of melanoma, says a new study.

    Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disease in which pigment loss results in irregular white patches of skin and hair. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.

    The study, led by the University of Colorado School of Medicine (UCSM), looked at almost 3,000 people with vitiligo of Non-Hispanic European ancestry, identifying 13 new genes predisposed to vitiligo, the journal Nature Genetics reports.

    `Genetically, in some ways vitiligo and melanoma are polar opposites. Some of the same genetic variations that make one more likely to have vitiligo make one less likely to have melanoma, and vice-versa,` said Richard Spritz, director of the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Program at the UCSM.

    `Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, in which a person`s immune system attacks their normal pigment cells. We think that vitiligo represents overactivity of a normal process by which one`s immune system searches out and destroys early cancerous melanoma cells,` added Spritz, according to a Colorado statement.

    People with vitiligo are at higher risk of various other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Their kin are also at higher risk for these same diseases, even if they don`t have vitiligo.

    Spritz said this means there must be some genes that push towards these autoimmune diseases in general, while other genes and environmental triggers determine which autoimmune disease occurs and when.

    So, as scientists learn about the genetics of vitiligo, they are also learning about the genetics of these other autoimmune diseases.


  6. #656
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cadila launches novel therapy for lung cancer

    Ahmedabad-based Cadila Pharmaceuticals, introduced the first novel product for cancer management, which it claims is a significant breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer.

    Mycidac-C is an innovative research product for patients suffering from a cancer sub-type, non-small cell lung cancer, and will be priced at Rs 4,000 for 10 injections. The total cost of therapy to patients is estimated at Rs 40,000-- which the company claims is affordable as cancer treatment is generally exorbitant.

    Dr Rajiv Modi, CMD Cadila said on Thursday "Our drug is a significant breakthrough in the management of squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), since the introduction of first line cancer drugs nearly thirty years ago".

    As per World Health Organisation, approximately 1.25 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year worldwide. Lung cancer kills more people than the three next commonest cancers combined.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Caffeinated coffee boosts blood flow

    A new study has revealed that the caffeine in a cup of coffee might perk up your blood vessels, thereby improving your cardiovascular health.

    A study of 27 healthy adults showed, for the first time, that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee significantly improved blood flow in a finger, which is a measure of how well the inner lining of the body's smaller blood vessels work.

    Specifically, participants who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee.

    "This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health," lead researcher Masato Tsutsui from the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.

    Study participants were people who did not regularly drink coffee, ranging in age from 22 to 30. On one day, each participant drank one five-ounce cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee.

    Then researchers measured finger blood flow with laser Doppler flowmetry, a non-invasive technique for gauging blood circulation on a microscopic level. Two days later, the experiment was repeated with the other type of coffee. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew when they were drinking caffeinated coffee.

    The researchers noted blood pressure, heart rate, and vascular resistance levels. They also took blood samples to analyze levels of caffeine and to rule out the role of hormones on blood vessel function.

    Compared to decaf, caffeinated coffee slightly raised participants' blood pressure and improved vessel inner lining function. Heart rate levels were the same between the two groups.

    The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.


  8. #658
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Eating nuts tied to reduced death rate: Study

    People who eat a daily handful of nuts are 20 per cent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn't consume nuts, according to the largest study of its kind.

    Scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health also found that regular nut-eaters are more slender than those who didn't eat nuts.

    The study also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death.

    "The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 per cent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America," said Charles S Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report.

    "But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 per cent — in the risk of dying from cancer," added Fuchs, who is also affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's.

    Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect couldn't be determined.

    However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts and for "tree nuts" - walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts.

    Several previous studies have found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis.

    But no previous study had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for over 30 years.

    For the new research, the scientists were able to tap databases from two well-known ongoing observational studies that collect data on diet and other lifestyle factors and various health outcomes.

    The Nurses' Health Study provided data on 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010, and the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study yielded data on 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010.

    Participants in the studies filled out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years. With each food questionnaire, participants were asked to estimate how often they consumed nuts in a serving size of one ounce.

    "In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period," explained Ying Bao of Brigham and Women's Hospital, first author of the report.

    Those who ate nuts less than once a week had a seven per cent reduction in mortality; once a week, 11 per cent reduction; two to four times per week, 13 per cent reduction; five to six times per week, 15 per cent reduction, and seven or more times a week, a 20 per cent reduction in death rate.

    The report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


  9. #659
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Eating nuts tied to reduced death rate: Study

    People who eat a daily handful of nuts are 20 per cent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn't consume nuts, according to the largest study of its kind.

    Scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health also found that regular nut-eaters are more slender than those who didn't eat nuts.

    The study also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death.

    "The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 per cent in deaths from heart disease the major killer of people in America," said Charles S Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report.

    "But we also saw a significant reduction 11 per cent in the risk of dying from cancer," added Fuchs, who is also affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's.

    Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect couldn't be determined.

    However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts and for "tree nuts" - walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts.

    Several previous studies have found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis.

    But no previous study had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for over 30 years.

    For the new research, the scientists were able to tap databases from two well-known ongoing observational studies that collect data on diet and other lifestyle factors and various health outcomes.

    The Nurses' Health Study provided data on 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010, and the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study yielded data on 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010.

    Participants in the studies filled out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years. With each food questionnaire, participants were asked to estimate how often they consumed nuts in a serving size of one ounce.

    "In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period," explained Ying Bao of Brigham and Women's Hospital, first author of the report.

    Those who ate nuts less than once a week had a seven per cent reduction in mortality; once a week, 11 per cent reduction; two to four times per week, 13 per cent reduction; five to six times per week, 15 per cent reduction, and seven or more times a week, a 20 per cent reduction in death rate.

    The report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


  10. #660
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    When tears are good for the eye

    Our tears are worth a lot more than one could possibly imagine. Take the case of an IT professional or anyone using computers all day. The long and strenuous hours spent staring at a screen can get tiresome on the eyes, spots may start appearing from nowhere and appear foreign to the eyes, headaches start occurring and all this because while we are concentrating on the screen in front of us, we forget to blink and the side effects of that can take its toll on the eyes.

    An ophthalmologist from Coimbatore, Dr Chitra opens up about strain that people who stare at computer monitors all day saying, “What people fail to realise is that gazing at a computer screen all day strains the eye muscles and tear drop cover that acts as a shield or a protective layer over the eye. People do not realise that while concentrating on work, they forget to blink, which, in turn, results in the protective tear drops drying out, and to make things worse is that fact that they are normally within an air conditioned space that dries up this protective layer even more quickly,” says Dr R. Chitra, Medical Director of Eye Foundation, Coimbatore.

    She points out that the muscles in the eye need some time to relax. “All one has to do is to turn away from the screen, stare out into the distance. The muscles in the eye are strained when they focus on something; staring into an infinite distance relaxes them.”

    Tear drop evaporation can be alleviated through some simple remedies, such as an orthoptic examination if the headaches get bad, or alien spots start popping up in the vision. The simple tests include muscle balance in the eye test, near vision and near point of observation, for the doctor to know what the patient’s difficulty is.
    Dr Chitra explains that if a patient is treated early enough, there will be no need for a tear drop supplement. There are simple exercises that one can do at work or at home to keep vision intact and ensure that the reserve tear drops in the eyes are well within the limit. For people with refractive errors in the eyes, evaluation is very important, but thanks to modern technology, lenses can be inserted directly into the eye after a thorough check up of their eye sight, which does have its own pluses, especially since youngsters who worry about their looks don’t like to sport spectacles.


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