Saturday, July 4, 2009

Med magic: Broken spine joined

New Delhi: In a "first-of-its-kind" case, doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here have rejoined the broken spinal cord of a 10-year-old boy.
    The boy, Premchand from Firozabad in UP, fell while playing in a field and the moving blades of a tractor's harrow went over his back cutting his vertebral column into two. He was brought to the AIIMS trauma centre on September 4 and was immediately operated upon after five hospitals said they could not treat him. Nine months later, he is back on his feet and walking without help. At AIIMS, a team of doctors performed the rare surgery lasting over eight hours.
    D B Choudhary, senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon at AIIMS, said: "The child was in shock due to blood loss and had two deep wounds on the back with active leak of cerebrospinal fluid and rib fracture. His entire spine was fragmented in two parts. Initially, he was given blood and treated with other medicines
to prevent meningitis."
    Claiming it a medical feat, AIIMS trauma centre chief M C Mishra said: "I have done extensive research and can conclude that it is a first-of-its-kind case in medical history. Such a case with sharp penetrating injury to the spine in a child causing complete breakage of the lumbar spine in two parts presenting with complete loss of power and sensations is extremely unusual and has not been reported in literature either."
    The child started responding and felt sensations only a month after his surgery and now, after nine months, he is able to walk with minimal assistance. He is, at present, undergoing rehabilitation physiotherapy. "We are expecting him to recover soon," Deepak Gupta, one of the doctors who operated upon the boy, said. "There is no threat of infection," he added.
    Referring to Premchand's treatment, he said: "It is another miracle carried out at AIIMS." TNN AND AGENCIES


l Moving blades of tractor's harrow cuts vertebral column of a 10-year-old from UP into two
l 8-hr surgery done at AIIMS in September after five hospitals refused to treat him
l Kid starts feeling sensation only a month after the surgery and is able to walk with minimal assistance after nine months

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flat shoes can be the real culprits behind spine and leg ailments


A recent study says flat shoes can be the real culprits behind spine and leg ailments. Smita Roy speaks to city experts and gets the ideal heel size

 We've heard stories about high heels being bad. Even the bootylicious Beyonce Knowles, who's known for her sexy fashion sense, was recently heard complaining about her high heels. It's a proven fact that high heels can cause several ailments related to the knees, back and spine. And when it gets too much to handle, most people simply switch over to flat shoes. While doctors say that flats are better since they relax the feet and don't let them tire soon, a recent study says wearing total flats can be a cause of trouble. For starters, it kills the sex appeal that high heels bring in! But on a more serious note, podiatrists around the world are alarmed at the rising number of foot injuries caused by moving around in ballerinas and flip-flops. Although comfortable, flat shoes can cause severe foot pain, shooting pains in the shins, bunions, back aches and arthritis.
    Muscular and occupational therapist Dr Preeti Jadhav says, "Walking in heels alters the centre of gravity, training your legs to produce muscle especially in the calf and thighs thus toning them. For people who suffer poor circulation and are prone to swollen ankles, shoes with one-inch heels can boost the amount of blood and tissue fluid that is returned from the legs to the upper body. Modest heels of about one or one and a half inch can improve alignment of the lower back reducing the risk of lower back pain. It also helps people with straight backs as it restores a
healthy curve and eases tension in the muscle. For total comfort while walking, one must stick to the one to one and a half inch heel rather than wearing the absolute extremes."
    Physiotherapist Dr Priya Rathore says, "Absolute flats are fine as long as the insole is padded well. But otherwise I would agree that one-inch is the ideal heel size. It helps your calf muscles. Although here, too, I'd say that the insole has to be soft. Shoes with hard
insoles can be painful — whether they are flats or high-heeled!"
    Research also claims that women who wear one to two inch heels may have more fun between the sheets than women wearing absolute flats. The body posture adopted while wearing heels improves the pelvic floor muscles, which eventually helps achieve a wonderful climax. The best bet hence, is to wear different kinds of shoes with variable heel lengths at different points of time. Doctors also advise against wearing any particular pair of shoes regularly. Although the absolute skyscraper kinds are still a 'no-no', a little bit of heel would only do good! 

HERE'S HOW FLAT SHOES CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT THE BODY: People tend to shuffle instead of walking. This can ruin the body posture. They cause the feet to roll inward, stretching ligaments and tendons. The stretched ligaments pull toes out of alignment with the rest of the foot, causing severe pain. This can eventually cause bunions. When the feet roll in, they pull the knees with them. If forced into an awkward angle, the knee caps can become inflamed, painful, and sometimes, arthritic. Walking uphill or running in flats can also bring trouble, as the lack of support causes inflammation along the shin, prompting shooting pains.

FLAT OUT: Whether stillettos or platforms (extreme left), one inch heel is ideal

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Financial planner Gaurav Mashruwala warns against rising health costs

 Year 2007 will be remembered by Manoj Nirbhavane for the rest of his life. His mother Padma fell critically ill. The doctors had given her only 10% chance of survival. The family did not have health insurance. The cost of the ICU and more than three months of hospitalization ran into lakhs. All the savings had to be eroded, and some money borrowed, to cover the treatment.
    She is fine now, and so is the family. But had society not stood by them and helped financially, the Nirbhavanes' story could have turned out quite different. Maintaining good relations in society is the biggest wealth anyone can ever have.
    Manoj, 30, holds an MBA from Mumbai University. He works with a private life insurance company. His wife Shilpa is also employed. Manoj's father retired from the Brihanmumbai Municipality Corporation. He has two elder brothers. All of them live separately.
"I want to support my children the way my father supported me," says Manoj. (1) They want a corpus of Rs 30 lakh for education, Rs 5 lakh for marriage and Rs 40 lakh to establish children in their profession etc. (2) Further, they need Rs 50 lakh for their retirement after 30 years (3) Lastly, they need Rs 5 lakh to send both Manoj and Shilpa's parents abroad for a vacation. They consider all this their responsibility. Costs are at today's rate of inflation. Further they dream of foreign travel, a holiday home and, most importantly, a corpus to support the needy.
Cash flow: Total monthly inflow from all sources is in the range of Rs 40,000. Total outflow is Rs 36,000, going towards their insurance premium, household expenses, taxes, entertainment and savings. About Rs 17,500 is saved every month.
Net worth: The value of total assets apart from the house is Rs 7.10 lakh. Against this, the outstanding liability is Rs 50,000, or about 7% of the assets.
Contingency fund: Against mandatory monthly expense of Rs 16,000, funds in
form of cash at home and savings bank linked FD is Rs 70,000. This is about 4.5 months' reserve.
Health & life insurance: They have a family floater health care policy totalling Rs 3 lakh, which covers the spouse and

dependents parents. Sum assured for life is Rs 20.65 lakhs. This is in the form of term plans and endowment policies. Savings & investment: Cash at home is Rs 20,000. Rs 50,000 is kept in the bank. The value of direct equity is Rs 15,000 and of the equity mutual fund is Rs 3 lakh, Bonds/FD total Rs 80,000. Balance in EPF/PPF is Rs 2 lakh and post office schemes, Rs 45,000. Debt:Equity ratio is 55:45
FISCAL ANALYSIS: They are living well within their means. Excess funds are lying in cash/near cash assets. We recommend independent health insurance policies for each family member, and also a larger sum assured. Life insurance is insufficient. Borrowing is well within limits. Debt:equity ratio is well balanced.
Contingency fund: Keep aside Rs 35,000 in a savings bank linked to an FD and Rs 15,000 in cash at home. Any surplus funds should be utilized to buy additional health cover for family.
Health & life insurance: As far as pos
sible, opt for independent health cover for each family member. Also, when parents are nearing 60 years, try and get maximum health cover for them. Bearing in mind future financial responsibilities, incremental life insurance cover of Manoj should be Rs 80 lakhs—through term plans only.
PLANNING FOR FINANCIAL GOALS: Children: Funds required more than a decade from now. Systematically invest in an index fund and a gold fund. Allocation should be about 90% equity and 10% gold
Retirement: Retirement is more than three decades away. Therefore, start another systematic investment in an S&P 500 index fund. This kind of fund is more risky compared to Sensex/Nifty fund, but since retirement is more than three decades away it is worth the risk.
Parents' vacation: Use existing investment into equity, mutual fund, bonds and post office schemes to fund parents' vacation. Slowly start transferring existing mutual funds as well as maturity proceeds of bonds and post office schemes in the next two years into a a mutual fund with 80% debt and 20% equity.
    Further, the couple should create a corpus for funding parents' illnesses if any. Park the amount in a debt-based mutual fund.

Nothing in life is more frustrating than facing a situation where funds are not available to treat illnesses of our near and dear ones, especially when it comes to the parents who lovingly brought us up. Opt for maximum possible health cover for them. People often compromise on the sum assured, thinking the amount is too large. Never gauge this from the current levels of treatment costs. Coverage of Rs 5 lakhs at today's rate might be high in some cities, but ten years later it may not be sufficient. By then, your parents would be old and insurance companies may not be willing to enhance sum assured. No expense in life is more important than health cover for parents and our dear ones.

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 The primary function of hair is protection and hence if we see pictures of our ancestors, you'll always find men covered with thick bushy hair as a protection against the vagaries of nature, but today we are living in the world of diminishing returns as far as the hair is concerned, both men and women are facing the harshness and reality of scanty hair and baldness.
    Hair in today's world is not only your crowning glory but a measure of ones self image, prestige and confidence. A person's body language has a lot to do with the way a person perceives himself or herself to look and hair plays a great role in this perception.
    Baldness can lead to body dismorphic

disorder, which is characterised by the patient being preoccupied by a perceived flaw in the appearance of the hair specially thinning and balding.The patient may spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror or may refuse himself / herself to look in the mirror. He / she may avoid social contact, refuse to have photograph taken and experience extreme self-consciousness eventually leading to depression.
    Trichology, the science of hair and scalp care, offers hope to millions of people suffering from baldness and its associated health problems through,
1. Proper diagnosis 2. Correct counselling 3. Treatment process

Baldness is broadly classified into:
1. Androgenetic alopecia 2. Non-Scarring alopecia 3. Scarring alopecia

As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia is a baldness triggered off by the action of the male hormone on a weak gene.
The male hormone, androgen is to blame. Androgen starts flowing freely in the body in the post-pubescence stage. Ironically, it is the same hormone, which causes the
destruction of the hair follicles in those who are genetically predisposed to baldness.The hair follicles are attacked; the hair begins to fall off.The person begins to go bald and is diagnosed to be suffering from Male Pattern Thinning (MPT) or androgenetic alopecia. Unfortunately, one cannot tamper with one's genes and taking anti-male hormones to destroy the male hormones could have potential side effects like sexual dysfunction and depression.
    Women have both androgen (which is responsible for hair growth all over the body) and the female hormone oestrogen. In men, androgen ironically causes the destruction of the hair follicles in those who are genetically predisposed to this kind of baldness. Fortunately for women, the hormone oestrogen counteracts and stops this negative action of androgen. However, in periods when the oestrogen level falls, androgen starts attacking the hair follicles and as the hair follicles are destroyed, hair starts to thin.

    For example, before menopause, the production of oestrogen is high.This acts as protection against the small amount of androgen that women produce. After menopause, when the production of the oestrogen slows down dramatically or stops altogether, Female Pattern Thinning (FPT) in women begins.This thinning may also be triggered off by stress, the consumption of oral contraceptives, after hysterectomy, childbirth, or hormonereplacement therapy.

Male pattern thinning usually begins during the late teens and early 20's and affected men are well on the way to baldness at early 30's. Male pattern thinning is easily recognised by its location on the scalp and by the manner in which it occurs.The thinning of the hair occurs at the temples and / or the thinning of the hair occurs in the front crown areas of the scalp.The final stage of such a loss leaves a band of hair around and back and the sides of scalp and baldness over the rest of the scalp.The diagrammatic representation of the stages of baldness to the extreme left shows us the progress of this disorder.
    In women, androgenetic alopecia appears as diffuse hair loss or thinning in the fronto-vortex region (i.e. - on top of the frontal region) and the frontal region is

spared in most cases (Above graphic).This hair loss happens at a slower rate than in men and it happens at a much later time in life. But age does not make it less traumatic for a woman, especially if she has had luxuriant hair before.
How to face baldness:

In their anxiety to look good and feel better, people leave no stone unturned right from applying snake oil to elephant teeth to standing on ones head or applying the so called magical lotions for re-growth of hair.
    Re-growth is possible only in nonscarring alopecia's and is never possible in androgenetic alopecia or scarring baldness like pseudopalade. Ninety per cent of all baldness in the world are of Androgenetic type and science today has progressed so far as to control the balding process i.e. to keep you where you are for a longer period of time. It is important to understand that male pattern thinning is a progressive disorder and hence the earlier the diagnosis, the better and longer the

chances of controlling the problem.
It was found that nature had some natural DHT blockers, which could control the action of the male hormone on the hair. Green tea and a berry seed called saw palmetto, which grows in North America and Australia were the two most prominent DHT blockers found. Saw palmetto and green tea processed as a food supplement called Serenoa Complex has turned out to be one of the most potent treatments for controlling male pattern thinning.
The monitoring of male pattern thinning:
The follicular count method is used by trichologists all over the world to help patients monitor the control of male pattern thinning.The process involves counting of the number of hair follicles in the fronto-vertex area and monitoring the count every three months.

    Hair camouflage techniques like single hair follicular grafting (surgical), carefree systems (non surgical) and hair fibres (temporary) have been developed to help you regain your lost hair.
    With proper care, which includes proper diet, healthy lifestyle, adequate sleep, early diagnosis and proper treatment by your trichologist, Baldness can be faced by one and all. Have a Great Hair Day!


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GLM may be the answer for Arthritis

Arthritis, one of the most debilitating diseases of our time, has affected millions of people worldwide irrespective of age and gender. Nature, being the most powerful healer, has now given a new hope to arthritis patients.
    According to a double-blind placebo controlled study conducted on 53 patients over six months in France on Gonarthritis (arthritis of the knee), the results of the trial support the effective action of Seatone (GLM extract) in subjects suffering from mild arthritis of the knee.
    The study was conducted by B Audeval and P Bouchacourt and published in the 'La Gezette Medicale'. The results of this trial support the effectiveness of Seatone in arthritis of the knee because the curves representing the development of the averages of seven out of the ten assessment criteria, favour this product and because the difference between Seatone and Placebo attains the threshold of statistical significance for four of these criteria:
    Pain assessed according to Huskisson's scale
    'ARA' function stage
    Opinion of the patient on the result of the treatment
    Effectiveness as judged by the clinician
    Green Lipped Mussel (GLM), is an edible shellfish, commonly found off the waters of New Zealand. This edible shellfish is a major diet of the New Zealand population. In 1974, an
American research program studied the marine mollusc and discovered its natural recovery potentials for the treatment of arthritis. Since then, it has been studied and shown in clinical trials to be effective in relieving the symptoms of arthritic related conditions. Healtheries – a New Zealand based multinational natural healthcare company - has introduced the extract of GLM in the capsule form under the brand name of Seatone. Today, Seatone is sold in over 30 countries and has benefited thousands of users worldwide. According to John Croft, a marine scientist associated with the research
    on GLM,
    "The various clinical studies have indicated the success rate of 75 per cent on arthritis patients, without causing any classical adverse side effects of drug therapy."
    In India, the cost for this therapy of 1000mg/day comes to Rs 50 per day for the first three months, which can be later reduced to 500 mg/day, with Rs 25 per day.
    Perma Healthcare
    Call: 022-65185151/ 6161/ 7171 (10 am to 6 pm, all days)

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‘Right diet key to battling anaemia in children’

Mumbai: If findings in a south Mumbai school are any indication, then parents in the city need to worry about anaemia among their children. A nutritionist who has been conducting research on anaemia and school health programmes tracked 497 students in a school in Pydhonie and found that nearly 70% of them suffered from anaemia.
    It took simple modifications—adding a dash of spinach in the green chutney or introducing idlis in the school canteen—to correct the condition.
    "Our preliminary study on 234 boys in the school showed that 96 of them had haemoglobin levels of less than 12 gm per decilitre,'' said nutritionist Ratnaraje Thar, who conducted the
study as part of her doctoral thesis from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS).
    Guided by Ashok Bhagwat of NMIMS, she and her team then took blood samples of students from nursery to Std X, concluding their study in March.
    Calling anaemia a silent disorder, Thar blamed children's fondness for junk food, irregular snacking habits and the tendency to skip breakfast for the problem. Anaemia may skip parents' radar as it isn't visible, but doctors say they should watch out for signs of fatigue, weakness, paleness of eyes, weight loss, deformity in nails, irritability and poor academic performance as indicators of the condition.
    The study should serve as a wakeup call to parents. Paediatrician Indu
Khosla said anaemia was extremely common among children. "Of the cases I get, 50%-60% are of varying degrees of anaemia, the most common being iron deficiency,'' she said.
    Nutritionist Vibha Kapadia said the problem stems from the fact that children don't like eating green vegetables, certain fruits and other wholesome food items that give them nutrition.
    "The canteen served vada-pav and samosas, which weren't nutritious. It took months of convincing before the authorities introduced healthier options such as idlis and sprout-bhel,'' said Thar. She and her team counselled parents and conducted fun activities with students to change their eating habits. Kapadia said, "Good eating habits should be cultivated from an early stage."


WHO estimates that over one-third of the world's population suffers from anaemia. India continues to be one of the countries with the highest prevalence of the disease. National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3 estimates reveal the prevalence of anaemia to be 70%-80% among children, 70% among pregnant women and 24% among adult males.

Eat dates with breakfast Alter your menus to include nutritious foods. For instance, add pumpkin in tomato sauce or spinach in your chutney Get traditional food items back into your kitchen

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