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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Want a memory booster? Try vitamins and minerals


New York: Adults who took vitamin and mineral supplements for almost a decade performed better on one type of memory test than those who didn't take the supplements, according to a new study from France. 

    The researchers say the findings suggest that getting enough nutrients could aid thinking and memory skills as people get older. Geraldine McNeill, a nutritionist at the University of Aberdeen in the UK, said some people – especially those deficient in vitamins and minerals – might get a memory benefit from boosting the nutrients in their diet. 
    Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot of the University of Paris XIII in France and colleagues write that the link between a higher intake of some nutrients and thinking and memory skills has been shown before in so-called observational studies. But those studies can't get at a cause-and-effect relationship. 
    "The question is, does the cognitive performance depend on the diet, or does the diet depend on the cognitive performance?" McNeill said. It's possible that people who have better thinking and memory skills might 
pay closer attention to what they're eating, she explained. 
    To try to get a clearer picture of the association, Kesse-Guyot and her colleagues conducted a study of close 
to 4,500 French men and women. In 1994, when the study participants were between 45-60 years, researchers split them randomly into two groups. Half of them took a daily supplement that included vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, and beta-carotene for eight years. The others took a nutrient-free placebo pill each day. None knew whether they were taking the vitamin or the sham pills. 
    After eight years, researchers stopped giving participants their assigned pills, and they could choose on their own whether or not to take vitamin supplements. Six years after that, the investigators brought them back to the lab for a round of memory tests. The tests included word and number problems to measure different types of memory and "mental flexibility." 
    While the supplement and placebo groups performed similarly on most tests, the nutrient-boosted participants beat their peers on one test of long-term memory in which participants had to recall words in different categories. The "findings support a beneficial effect of a well-balanced intake of antioxidant nutrients at nutritional doses for maintaining cognitive performance, especially verbal memory." REUTERS


Friday, July 29, 2011

Gastroenteritis & hepatitis now major worries

Mumbai: It's not mosquitoes but contaminated water that seems to be driving Mumbaikars to doctors this monsoon. The city has registered one of the highest incidence of gastroenteritis, a worrying fact that
    has been worsened by a spurt in hepatitis virus-caused jaundice in the city. In the May-June period, 10 patients succumbed to jaundice-related complications; six of them were pregnant women.
    "Gastroenteritis has been the worst disease this monsoon, with many patients coming in with kidney failure and lung injury. It has been the reason for the bulk of ICU admissions," said Hinduja Hospital intensivist Dr Khusrav Bajan. He ruled out antibiotic resistance as the reason for the surge; instead, he said, it is possibly because of mutation in microorganisms causing gastroenteritis. On Thursday, the civic body's daily health statistics showed that over 50 new patients with gastroenteritis were admitted to various civic hospitals, taking the total of these inpatients to 179.
    The other water-borne disease that has been worrying city doctors is jaundice caused by the hepatitis family of viruses. The National Liver Foundation, on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, started a task force to combat the virus' severity in women and children, said hepatologist Dr Samir Shah. "Our aim is to ensure that every pregnant woman is tested for Hepatitis B virus in the initial stages of pregnancy. It's important to ensure that her child gets the Hepatitis B
vaccine within 12 hours of birth," added Shah.
    The foundation conducted a survey and found that while most private hospital follow this protocol, the public sector only does so in half of the cases. "However, most Mumbai families prefer the nursing home sector which doesn't test the pregnant mother or ensure that the child gets a vaccine immediately after birth," said Shah.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WHO says Indians unhappiest By ’20, Depression 2nd Major Disability Cause; Women Twice As Likely To Suffer From It

New Delhi: Indians are among the world's most depressed. According to a WorldHealth Organization-sponsored study, while around 9% of people in India had an extended period of depression in their lifetime, nearly 36% suffered from Major Depressive Episode (MDE). 

    MDE is characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration, besides feeling depressed. China had the lowest prevalence of MDE (12%). The average age of depression in India is 31.9 years compared to 18.8 years in China, and 22.7 years in the US. 
    The study, published in the BMC Medicine journal and based on interviews of over 89,000 people in 18 countries, says depression affects nearly 121 million people. It is the second leading contributor to shorter lifespan in the 15-44 age group. 
    The percentage of respondents who had lifetime MDE was higher in high-income (28.1%) than in low to middleincome (19.8%) countries. When it came to lifetime prevalence rates of depression, France (21%) and the US 
(19.2%) reported the highest rates of depression. 
    Women were twice as likely to suffer depression as men and the loss of a partner, whether from death, divorce or separation, was a main 
contributing factor, the study reveals. WHO ranks depression as the fourth top cause of disability worldwide and projects that by 2020, it will be the second leading cause. 
    Psychiatrist Dr Jitender 
Nagpal from VIMHANS said, "Depression can arise from day-to-day activities. MDE is much more serious. Planned suicide is highest among those suffering from MDE. Those suffering from MDE don't have the strength to conduct day-to-day chores and become dysfunctional. Increased stress, lonely lives and the falling apart of the social support systems like joint families is a major cause of growing depression among Indians." Major depression is a serious, recurrent disorder linked to diminished role in functioning and quality of life, medical morbidity and mortality.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Ayurveda, unani under mediclaim umbrella

Till some time back, health insurance policies used to cover only allopathy treatment while ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy and unani treatments were left out. Despite having a comprehensive health insurance plan in place, individuals who preferred such systems had to pay out of their own pockets. 

    These policyholders can now breathe easy as some insurance firms have started including such alternative forms of treatment under their cover, especially ayurveda. "Ayurveda being the most prevalent of the alternative systems, we have designed a product to cover treatments under ayurvedic hospitalization," says S S Gopalarathnam, managing director, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance. 
    While some insurers only offer it under their group policies, others have started offering the facility to individuals. PSU insurer New India Assurance and standa
lone health insurance provider Star Health and Allied Insurance are some of the companies that have started covering ayurvedic treatments under individual policies. ICICI Lombard General Insurance covers it under government scheme and Future Generali Insurance offers it to corporate group insurance buyers. 
    "Our policies do not cover any other line of treatment other than allopathy. Ho
wever, in group policies, if requested, we do offer tailor-made packages to corporate clients to cover ayurvedic treatment subject to certain conditions," explains Shreeraj Deshpande, head,health insurance, Future Generali. BOOSTER SHOT No standalone cover for alternative treatments 
    Some insurance firms have started including alternative forms of treatment like ayurveda under their cover. How did this need to cover alternative forms of medicine in health insurance arise? Gopalarathnam, explains, "During various focus group discussions with customers and agents, we found that for chronic ailments like spondilytis, arthritis and epilepsy, many people preferred alternate streams of treatment such as ayurveda, siddha and homeopathy etc." 
    Though the coverage has been expanded, there are curbs on the amount and situations under which it can be claimed. 
    New India Assurance's extends cover to individuals undergoing treatment with the help of Ayurvedic, homeopathic and Unani systems of medicine. "Such claims will be covered only to the extent of 25% of sum insured. Also, they need to have availed of the treatment at a government hospital to be eligible for the claim," informs Segar Sampathkumar, deputy general manager, New India Assurance. 

    Similarly, Star Health also covers non-allopathic treatment, except Naturopathy, costs under its Unique Health Insurance Policy, "up to 25% of sum assured or a maximum of Rs 25,000 per occurrence, per year." 
    Chola Individual Health line Insurance policy provides coverage for ayurveda during hospitalization, prior and post hospitalization. A policy holder can get treated in any of the government registered ayurveda hospi
tals across the country and claim if hospitalized for more than 24 hours. 
    Naturopathy treatments are excluded in all policies, while few cover unani and homeopathic. This is because other forms of treatments have no standard treatment protocols and highly varied costs thus making it difficult to actuarially compute the cost to be covered. Even under ayurveda, select procedures are covered to ensure people do not misuse a policy for a basic rejuvenation procedure. 
    "We do not cover the unani system of medicine. Under 
ayurveda, hospitalization for panchkarma (five actions) meant to purify the whole body by eliminating accumulated toxins, is covered on a case to case basis," explains Deshpande. 
    It is important to note that there is no standalone cover available for covering alternative treatments. You will have to buy a standard health insurance cover from these select insurers and others who start offering the non-allopathic coverage. 
    Before you head for alternative treatment and make a claim, see whether the treatment is listed in the insurance policy document. Insurers are particular about the specific treatments covered. "Snehan and Swedan are payable only when these procedures are done as a part of pre-panchkarma preparation. Comfort treatments involving steam bath/ sauna/oil massages are excluded," Deshpande adds. 
    Similarly Gopalarathnam says, "We have identified about 40 common ailments for which ayurvedic treatments are prevalent and widely used, which we cover for treatment across any government registered hospitals."


BETTER REACH IRDA backs health cover for OPD and childbirth

New Delhi: The insurance regulator on Tuesday suggested that health insurance benefits include out patient department (OPD) in hospitals, including childbirth, and asked state governments to universalize the cover. 

    At present, health insurance claims are usually settled only on hospitalisation for at least 24 hours. Besides, child birth is not uncovered under almost all health policies. "Health insurance is today limited to just 20% of the market comprising in-patient (surgical) procedures. This market needs to grow to provide healthcare for all, for which we have to look at models that cover all medical treatment expenses," Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority chairman J Hari Narayan told an industry conference here. 
    Citing the global experience, Hari Narayan said that government needs to step up allocation for health insurance premium. 
    Some states such as Andhra Pradesh have already taken the lead and are offer
inghealth cover to the poorer section. At the Centre too, the government has been gradually expanding the ambit of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. 
    While universalisation is some distance away, Hari Narayan set October 1 as the new deadline for health insurance portability 
which will allow policyholders to change their insurer without losing out on any benefits. Typically, new ailments during the first few years of purchase of a new policy are excluded from claim settlement. IRDA had earlier fixed July 1 as the deadline for ushering in portability in health insurance, a long-pending issue. 
    Another pending item on the agenda, guidelines for insurance companies to raise funds, is also expected to be finalized by the end of the month. 
    For life companies, the clause mandating a three-year track record of profitability as a precondition for tapping the capital markets has been removed in the draft guidelines, he said.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Dangerous levels of caffeine found in energy drinks

New Delhi: Energy drinks being sold in India have dangerous levels of caffeine, a Delhi-based NGO, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), has said after conducting lab tests. According to the tests, 44% of the samples violate the maximum permissible limits of caffeine prescribed by the government. 

    The CSE tested leading 'energy' drink brands like Red Bull and Cloud 9, and found that many samples had breached the government set standard of 145 parts per million of caffeine. The NGO also warned that the industry was pushing for the relaxation of government norms, which would make it legitimate for the drinks to have much higher concentrations of the energy booster, laced with dangerous chemicals in them. 
    Under the new rules, the industry wants to more than double the limits 
of infusing caffeine into the drinks that are usually targeted at youth and health enthusiasts. "The Prevention of Food Adulteration allows a limit of 145 parts per million (ppm) of caffeine in carbonated beverages, but 'energy' drink manufacturers want a 320 ppm cap. What's worse, the country's food regulatory body seems to be towing their line," the CSE said in a release. 
Red Alert 
CSE tests 8 'energy' drink brands; finds 44% samples breach govt standard of 145 parts per mn of caffeine 
Caffeine in these drinks can have severe impact on health, says CSE, asking for strict regulatory control 
Red Bull makers say it has as much caffeine as 
a cup of coffee 
'Energy drink caffeine level same as in coffee' 
New Delhi: Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has asked for strict regulatory controls on caffeine content in packaged energy drinks like Red Bull and Cloud 9. "Their makers… claim that these help increase alertness of the mind and improve concentration, stamina and athletic performance, but in reality, the caffeine in them can cause severe health impacts," said CSE. 
    Red Bull producers in response said, "Red Bull Energy Drink contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, 80mg. 
    This is the same in the 160 countries across the world where our product is on sale. Thehealth authorities of these countries, including India, have concluded that Red Bull is safe to consume. Red Bull is not "banned" anywhere: it would be like "banning" coffee, colas or other caffeinated drinks". 
    The NGO, which had earlier 
stirred a debate by uncovering the presence of pesticide in carbonated drinks, pointed out that while the regular drinks were allowed a lower safe limit, the companies were asking that 'energy drinks' be allowed to power their drinks with a higher level of the chemical. 
    CSE tested 16 samples — two each of eight brands — of 'energy' drinks purchased at random from markets across the country. 
    The brands tested were Red Bull, Coca-Cola's Burn, Cloud 9, Hector Beverages' Tzinga, Monster Energy Ltd's Monster Ripper and three of JMJ group's XXX energy drink brands—Rejuve, Nicofix and Minus. The tests, carried out at its lab, found that 38% of the samples breached the permissible limit mentioned on the label, while 25% did not mention the caffeine content on the label. Worse, 44% breached the caffeine limit of 145 ppm. TNN
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mobiles may cause five-fold rise in brain cancer risk

LONDON: People who begin using mobile phones as teenagers and continue to do so for over a decade may be at a five-fold risk of developing a common type of brain cancer, Swedish scientists have claimed, citing new evidence. 

The study, published in the International Journal of Oncology, found large increased incidence of astrocytoma, the most common form of a malignant brain tumour type called glioma, in those who had been using mobiles for over 10 years. 

The new research comes weeks after theInternational Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organisation, stated that radiation from handsets was "possibly carcinogenic", though it stopped short of declaring there was a clear link. 

Campaigners, meanwhile, said the study was further evidence of the need to educate children of the potential dangers of mobile phone usage, the Daily Telegraph reported. 

For the study, a team of researchers examined the mobile and cordless phone use of more than 1,200 Swedes, who were diagnosed with malignant brain cancer between 1997 and 2003. 

Of those, the 905 who were still alive were interviewed about their phone usage. For the remaining 346, who had died, researchers asked their relatives about their loved-ones' telephone habits. 

They then compared this to phone use information on almost 2,500 "controls" who were either living and had no brain cancer, or had died of other causes. The team found that people who started using mobiles as teens, and have done so for at least 10 years, were 4.9 times more likely to develop astrocytoma.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Good health through fruits

Ayurvedacharya and naturopath, Satish Bajaj suggests fresh fruits that are ideal for people with different health problems

  The definition of good food in Ayurveda is that which tastes good in its raw, natural form without salt, spices and condiments. It should be available naturally, and be easily digestible. Seasonal fruits are, therefore, good. 
    Fruits provide energy and have curative properties. They help in healing and prevent diseases if taken regularly. A recent study showed that fruits and vegetables was helpful in reversing Type II diabetes by improving the functioning of the pancreas. The golden rule is that seasonal fruits grown where you live, are best for your health. Eat the following according to your healthFruits good for digestion: Almost all fruits relieve constipation if eaten with the seeds and skin. The fibre in fruits binds stools, absorbs moisture, thereby softening stools and giving them bulk. Fruits for the heart: Potassium in bael, cherries, cheekoos, sweetlime, loquat, peaches, and phalsa and magnesium in banana, mango, and plums protects the heart and lowers high blood pressure. 
Fruits for diabetics and asthamatics: Very sweet fruits like banana, cheekoos, grapes, and litchis are not recommended for people who have diabetes or respiratory problems, yet certain fibre-rich 
fruits are safe if eaten in reasonable quantities. Phalsa, jamun, khoobani, guava, loquat, prunes, ber, papaya, sour pomegranate, cherries, and amla can be eaten. 
Fruits that promote urination: 
Watermelon, muskmelon, white pumpkin, and green coconut water can be taken. Fruits for arthritis: Fruits that cause urination reduce swelling of painful joints by reducing uric acid levels in the blood. Cherries and walnuts are good. 
Fruit colours 
Red fruits are energisers and include apple, pomegranate, red grapes, dates, sapota, and watermelon. Yellow fruits are appetisers and provide natural vitamin A for eyes and skin (papaya, mango, loquat, oranges and pineapples). Green fruits boost immunity. These are amla, grapes, bael, and green almonds. Purple and violet fruits give a feeling of contentment (phalsa, jamun, aloobukhara, and red grapes). 
    Rich antioxidant fruits include mangoes, black grapes and currants. These fight diseases associated with age. Eat or drink only freshly cut fruits and juices. Oxidation begins immediately after cutting and keeping fruit exposed leads to microbial contamination. Eat fruits with skin and, wherever possible with seeds for roughage. Fruit juice is good for convalescents because they can consume larger quantities in an easily digestible form.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


  Be GooD ............Do GooD.......



footchart.jpg picture by arti810

Keep Walking..... 

The Organs of your body have their sensory touches at the bottom of your foot,

if you massage these points you will find relief from aches and pains 
as you can see the heart is on the left foot. 

Typically they are shown as points and arrows to show which organ it connects to. 

It is indeed correct since the nerves connected to these organs terminate here. 

This is covered in great details in Acupressure studies

God created our body so well that he thought of even this.

He made us walk so that we will always be pressing these pressure points and thus

keeping these organs activated at all times. 

So, keep walking.. 


Monday, July 11, 2011

Hypertension, diabetes take a toll on Mumbaikars’ lifestyle

Mumbai: It's not just monsoon diseasesthatMumbaikars arefalling prey to. A study has found that the number of hypertension cases in the city registered in the January-April quarter have almost doubled from the same quarter in 2009. 

    A three-year report compiled by NGO Praja Foundation shows that hypertension is becoming a cause for concernfor citizens.Thedata hasbeen collected and presented in quarterwise distribution of registered cases for hypertension in state hospitals, municipal hospitals and municipal dispensaries.
    The data shows that in the period between January 2008 and April 2011, the first quarter of this year has seen the maximum number of hypertension cases. As many as 11,564 cases were registered between January 2011 and March 2011, as against 8,063 cases registered in the same quarter last year. The data shows there was a spike in hypertension cases between October 2010 and December 2010, when 9,737 cases were registered. 
    Diabetes cases, too, saw a sharp increase of 76%, with municipal dispen
saries reporting only 2,593 cases in 2008-09, as against 4,536 cases in 2010-11. 
    NitaiMehta,founder-trusteeof the NGO, said that it is time the government takes note of these diseases and does something to curb them. "If the state and civic bodies had kept proper track of such trends, perhaps pragmatic solutions might have emerged. What is worse is that the periodicity of the diseases has also continued exactly in the same manner each year," Mehta said. 
    The BMC has not been completely oblivious to the rise in lifestyle diseases. Officials said that they planned to address the problem of these diseases 
in 24 dispensaries. A civic official said, "We have noticed that 75% of people suffer from lifestylediseases.Oncethe dispensaries are set up, we can identify patients and send them for treatment early." 
    Dr Altaf Patel, consultant physician, Jaslok Hospital, said that these diseases were initially limited to the rich section of society. "It is now changing andwecannotcallthem only lifestyle diseases anymore. Apart from changes in lifestyle, studies have also shown that groundwater which contains high levels of arsenic results in diabetes. Lead also results in high blood pressure and intellectual backwardness," he said.



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