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Health Bulletin


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  1. #741
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Website for people suffering from headache launched by IMS-BHU

    Director of the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (IMS-BHU) prof Rana Gopal Singh launched an interactive website (Kapar Dard) for the people suffering from headache on Monday.

    Highlighting the features of the website Dr VN Mishra of department of neurology said that the people's queries would be replied within 48 hours by the experts in this field. Presently the website is in Hindi and English, but shortly it will be available in seven additional languages including Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bengali, Gujrati and Sanskrit.

    People from any where, with a headache problem can log on to this website to create a free account by providing their name, e mail, phone number. After this they can type in the designated box the question pertaining to their problem. The main objective of this initiative is to provide expert advise to people to take control over the headache problem.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Working night shifts sends body into chaos, damages DNA: Study

    Working night shifts causes "chaos" for people's bodies and may result in long-term health problems, scientists have warned. Sleep researchers have now found that not only does irregular shift work have a similar effect to severe jet lag or repeatedly missing sleep, it has a damaging impact right down to the level of our DNA.

    Derk-Jan Dijk and Simon Archer, from the School of Biosciences and Medicine at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom said the "severe" effects of disrupting a person's natural body clock took hold "surprisingly quickly". Their study, conducted at the Sleep Research Centre in Surrey, set 22 volunteers onto "28-hour days", meaning their sleep patterns were shifted by four hours each night.

    Once the test subjects had fully moved over to the routine of a typical night shift worker, blood samples were taken to assess the impact on genes which are normally fine-tuned to a daily pattern. The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the change threw the subjects' DNA into "chaos".

    "Over 97% of rhythmic genes become out of sync with mistimed sleep and this really explains why we feel so bad during jet lag, or if we have to work irregular shifts," said Archer.

    His co-author, Dijk, said: "It's chrono-chaos. It's like living in a house. There's a clock in every room in the house and in all of those rooms those clocks are now disrupted, which of course leads to chaos."

    Referring to previous studies, Dijk added: "We of course know that shift work and jet lag is associated with negative side effects and health consequences. They show up after several years of shift work. We believe that these changes in rhythmic patterns of gene expression are likely to be related to some of those long-term health consequences."


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Increasing knowledge decreases human brain's capacity, scientists say

    Age mellows all, says the famous saying. Traditionally it is thought that age leads to a steady deterioration of brain function.

    However, a study has for the first time argued that older brains may take longer to process ever increasing amounts of knowledge, and this has often been misidentified as declining capacity.

    Experts now say that accumulation of years of wisdom and increased knowledge about the world and surroundings slow down human brain function as they age, much like what happens to the hard drive of a computer which is full.
    Older brains slow due to greater experience, rather than cognitive decline, the study now says.

    The study, led by Dr Michael Ramscar of the University of Tuebingen takes a critical look at the measures that are usually thought to show that our cognitive abilities decline across adulthood. Instead of finding evidence of decline, the team discovered that most standard cognitive measures are flawed, confusing increased knowledge for declining capacity.

    Dr Ramscar's team used computers, programmed to act as though they were humans, to read a certain amount each day, learning new things along the way.

    When the researchers let a computer "read" a limited amount, its performance on cognitive tests resembled that of a young adult.

    However, if the same computer was exposed data which represented a lifetime of experiences its performance looked like that of an older adult. Often it was slower, not because its processing capacity had declined, but because increased "experience" had caused the computer's database to grow, giving it more data to process, and that processing takes time.

    "What does this finding mean for our understanding of our ageing minds, for example older adults' increased difficulties with word recall? These are traditionally thought to reveal how our memory for words deteriorates with age, but Big Data adds a twist to this idea," said Dr Ramscar.

    "Technology now allows researchers to make quantitative estimates about the number of words an adult can be expected to learn across a lifetime, enabling the team to separate the challenge that increasing knowledge poses to memory from the actual performance of memory itself".

    "Imagine someone who knows two people's birthdays and can recall them almost perfectly. Would you really want to say that person has a better memory than a person who knows the birthdays of 2000 people, but can only match the right person to the right birthday nine times out of ten?" asks Ramscar.


  4. #744
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Track eye movement to know how patient you are

    People who are less patient tend to move their eyes with greater speed, says a study.

    "It seems that people who make quick movements - at least eye movements - tend to be less willing to wait," said Reza Shadmehr, professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University.

    The findings suggest that the weight people give to the passage of time may be a trait consistently used throughout their brains - affecting the speed with which they make movements - as well as the way they make certain decisions.

    To understand this, the research team used very simple eye movements - known as saccades - to stand in for other bodily movements.

    Saccades are the motions that our eyes make as we focus on one thing and then another.

    They are probably the fastest movements of the body as they occur in just milliseconds.

    Human saccades are fastest when we are teenagers and slow down as we age, said the study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

    The team first asked healthy volunteers to look at a screen upon which dots would appear one at a time - first on one side of the screen, then on the other, then back again.

    A camera recorded their saccades as they looked from one dot to the other.

    To determine whether saccade speed correlated with decision-making and impulsivity, the volunteers were told to watch the screen again.

    This time, they were given visual commands to look to the right or to the left. When they responded incorrectly, a buzzer sounded.

    "When the speed of the volunteers' saccades was compared to their impulsivity during the patience test, there was a strong correlation," said Shadmehr.

    "Some people simply make fast saccades," he added.

    "Our hypothesis is that there may be a fundamental link between the way the nervous system evaluates time and reward in controlling movements and in making decisions," added Shadmehr.

    This might also shed light on why malfunctions in certain areas of the brain make decision-making harder for those with neurological disorders like schizophrenia, or for those who have experienced brain injuries, the study said.


  5. #745
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Its official! Men more forgetful than women

    Researchers have suggested that men forget more than women.
    Professor Jostein Holmen , from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, said that it was surprising to see that men forget more than women.

    He said that it was also surprising to see that men are just as forgetful whether they are 30 or 60 years old, asserting that the results were unambiguous.

    Holmen and his co-workers asked nine questions about how well people think they remember as a part of a large longitudinal population health study conducted in mid-Norway called HUNT3.

    The participants were asked how often they had problems remembering things, whether they had problems with remembering names and dates, if they could remember what they did one year ago and if they were able to remember details from conversations. Men reported the most problems for eight out of nine questions.

    Women have the same problems with remembering as men do, but to a lesser extent. Names and dates are also hardest to remember for women.
    These problems accelerate with age, but to a much lesser extent than the researchers believed before. Women forget just as much whether they are 30 or 50 years old.

    The results have been published in BMC Psychology.


  6. #746
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Want to lose weight? Stay cold

    The best way to lose weight may be as simple as staying cold.

    A new study published in the latest edition of the Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism journal says that regular exposure to mild cold may be healthy and sustainable way to lose weight.

    Conversely, it means staying in warm and cozy homes and offices might be responsible for expanding waistlines.

    Scientists from the Maastricht University Medical Center in The Netherlands believe the stay-cold-to-stay-slim formula works because the body burns more energy to stay fit in cold places. The study's lead author Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt said, "We hypothesize that the thermal environment affects human health and more specifically that frequent mild cold exposure can significantly affect our energy expenditure over sustained time periods."

    A press release from the university quoted a previous study done in Japan which found a decrease in body fat after people spent 2 hours per day at 17 degrees Celsius for six weeks. The Netherlands team also found that people get used to the cold over time. After six hours a day in the cold for a period of 10 days, people in their study increased brown fat, felt more comfortable and shivered less at 15 degree Celsius.

    The team recommends that along with exercises, people should train themselves to spend more time in the cold.


  7. #747
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Honey, they just shrunk DNA lab!

    The doctor suspects you've got tuberculosis. You spit on a hand-held device — the size of a smartphone — and the DNA device tells if you are positive for TB.

    It will also say if the first line of drugs will work or that you have contracted the dreaded multi-drug resistant bug. It also tells you the drugs which will work and those that will not work for you. All this in 20 minutes flat! In other cases, it would even suggest the dosage.

    Professor Sir John Burn, medical director of UK-based The International Center for Life shared a glimpse into the future of applied genetics at the International Human Genetics Conference here on Friday. Prof Burn's company is developing Quantum Point of Care (QPOC), the hand-held diagnostic devise, which promises to change the way and speed at which diseases are diagnosed and treated the world over.

    Working on the project is a Gujarati lad, Harsh Sheth (23), who is pursing his doctorate in applied genetics from Newcastle University, UK. Sheth designs the probes used on nano-wires that will pick up that one mutation in the gene which causes the disease and thus give the diagnosis. Sheth says, "The possibilities are immense as its use for newer applications would be an ongoing thing."

    A host of other illnesses like malaria, which kills many because of late detection, too can be diagnosed in a matter of minutes. Conventional ultra modern genetic labs are housed in hi-tech sterilized environment. The devise has not only shrunk the lab, it has also made it portable enough to reach the poorest living in the remotest area.

    "The working prototype of QPOC should be ready by December 2014. We have raised the necessary funds through grants, investors as well as crowd-funding. The device would cost the price of an average smart-phone while the cassettes used for advance diagnostics would be disposable," says Dr Burns.


  8. #748
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Honey, they just shrunk DNA lab!

    The doctor suspects you've got tuberculosis. You spit on a hand-held device the size of a smartphone and the DNA device tells if you are positive for TB.

    It will also say if the first line of drugs will work or that you have contracted the dreaded multi-drug resistant bug. It also tells you the drugs which will work and those that will not work for you. All this in 20 minutes flat! In other cases, it would even suggest the dosage.

    Professor Sir John Burn, medical director of UK-based The International Center for Life shared a glimpse into the future of applied genetics at the International Human Genetics Conference here on Friday. Prof Burn's company is developing Quantum Point of Care (QPOC), the hand-held diagnostic devise, which promises to change the way and speed at which diseases are diagnosed and treated the world over.

    Working on the project is a Gujarati lad, Harsh Sheth (23), who is pursing his doctorate in applied genetics from Newcastle University, UK. Sheth designs the probes used on nano-wires that will pick up that one mutation in the gene which causes the disease and thus give the diagnosis. Sheth says, "The possibilities are immense as its use for newer applications would be an ongoing thing."

    A host of other illnesses like malaria, which kills many because of late detection, too can be diagnosed in a matter of minutes. Conventional ultra modern genetic labs are housed in hi-tech sterilized environment. The devise has not only shrunk the lab, it has also made it portable enough to reach the poorest living in the remotest area.

    "The working prototype of QPOC should be ready by December 2014. We have raised the necessary funds through grants, investors as well as crowd-funding. The device would cost the price of an average smart-phone while the cassettes used for advance diagnostics would be disposable," says Dr Burns.


  9. #749
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New app promises to replace reading glasses

    Israeli app-maker has developed a new app, called "GlassesOff", that claims to eliminate the need for reading glasses for aging eyes.

    The app also claims to even give "super-vision" beyond the 20/20 standard that an optometrist shoots for, Fox News reports.

    CEO Nimrod Madar said it is based on a very simple theory that vision actually happens in the brain as the eye captures light, the brain interprets that data, and the app can alter how the brain interprets that information.

    The GlassesOff app works by presenting special designs, called Gabor patterns, like fuzzy, vertical bars in a 12 to 15 minutes sessions, during which the app trains the user to look for these patterns as they flash on-screen for a fraction of a second in varying size, orientation shape and contrast patterns, by which the neurons in the brain gets stimulated.

    It can work wonders for the sufferers of presbyopia, a condition that hits nearly everyone by early 40s, and the app is ideally suited for people aged 40 to 60.

    The app is going to cost 59 dollars after its testing phase is over, followed by a subscription price to maintain the brain's newfound visual acuity.

    Presently, the app is available for the iPhone and iPad only, but an Android version should be released in the coming few months, the report added.


  10. #750
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Music therapy for ailments
    "Give an ailing heart a song and see how it recovers," quoted Jim Morrison, frontman of The Doors. Music has healing properties, claimed musicians and now, doctors too are singing the same tune.

    According to a recent study, certain symphonies played on the piano, saxophone, harmonica, violin, Agung A Tamlang, Marimba and xylophone have shown features that can help cure ailments.

    To date, there is evidence that music therapy can reduce high blood pressure, depression and sleeplessness. In Alzheimer's patients, music therapy was shown to significantly reduce anxiety and aggression. While there are no claims that music therapy can directly cure diseases like dementia, medical professionals believe that music can reduce certain symptoms, help with healing, improve physical movement, and enrich a patient's overall quality of life.

    For instance, people often seek refuge in music when they are not in the best of their spirits. Or, even after a hard day at work, some of us prefer falling asleep to soft music. It is indeed an effective mood enhancer. Music therapy has been used effectively to treat depression.

    "Music helps patients with Parkinson's, dementia, autism and other disorders. For patients of Parkinson's, it helps by providing a rhythmic beat that can work as a timekeeper of sorts for the patient's physical system. It helps the muscles to coordinate and work together to make the patient walk," says city-based psychiatrist Amirul Hoda. He stresses on the fact that this therapy helps the mind to calm down to a great extent. "I have had patients in the past who have suffered from anxiety and stress. Their increasing dependence on sleeping pills was not only affecting them physically but was also having a negative effect on their mind as the addiction was somewhat bad," he informs.

    A regular habit of listening to jazz for about 15 to 20 minutes every day primarily helped soothe and rest their racing mind. Indian folk and classical music, western - jazz, pop, rock, psychedelic and progressive music, country and African music also have qualities to alleviate mood swings. These help increase the flow of alpha-waves in brain and lessen theta-waves (detected through EEG signals), hence making brain active.

    Rashmi Panicker, another psychologist, points out that this therapy is not new and that it has been present in India since ancient times. "Various Indian ragas are known to have healing properties and have been practised in different cultures since ages," she informs.


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