Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Over 40,000 pledge support on Facebook

NEW DELHI: The public movement against corruption initiated by Gandhian leader Anna Hazare has become a rage among netizens. The Facebook page created by the group has registered over 40,000 followers in one day, while more than seven lakh people from across the country have pledged support to the cause through mobile phone registration. According to activist Arvind Kejriwal, a leading campaigner for the movement against corruption, the response from youngsters in particular is enormous.

"The social media is abuzz with our movement against corruption. Thousands of people from across the country are contacting us through Facebook and Twitter. In at least 400 cities, youngsters are continuously joining in to help us with the logistics ," said Kejriwal. He said on Wednesday, students from several Delhi colleges and universities among others joined the agitation. "In the US, Australia and several other countries, Indians are joining in, to support the public movement against corruption ," Kejriwal added.

On the Facebook page, minute by minute updates on Anna's messages, support to the cause from different sections of the society and government's response to the same are posted. "It is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of India - a freedom struggle for freedom from corruption," posted one Asha Singh on Facebook.

Anna Hazare told Times City that the positive response and active participation by so many youngsters is incredible. "It will help us make the country clean of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. When I see the young faces and go through the messages of support posted by them through different social networking sites and other communication media, it really heartens me. It fills me with more energy and enthusiasm to carry on the crusade against corruption," he said.

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and cricketer Kapil Dev have also pledged support to the cause. Khan wrote to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, requesting him to agree to the legitimate demand of Anna. "I am one of over a billion citizens of this country, who is affected by and most concerned about corruption...I request you to pay heed to the voice of Anna Hazare in appreciation for what he is fighting for," reads the letter. The actor said he went through the Internet to read about the Jan Lokpal Bill and agrees with its recommendations.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Danger is in the air: Cycling biggest trigger of heart attack

LONDON: Doctors have for long said that cycling is good for health. But, now a new study has claimed it is literally one of the biggest triggers of heart attacks.

The study, which analysed 36 pieces of research , has revealed that the "final straw" in bringing on a heart attack is spending time in traffic as a driver, cyclist or commuter, the Lancet journal report

But of these, cyclists are in greatest danger because they are more heavily exposed to pollution and are subjecting themselves to another major heart attack trigger, exercise.

Traffic exposure was blamed for 7.4% of heart attacks, followed by physical exertion with 6.2%. Over-all air pollution triggered between 5% and 7% of heart attacks, while drinking alcohol accounted 5%.

Other risk factors included negative emotions (3.9%), anger (3.1%), eating a heavy meal (2.7%), positive emotions (2.4%) and sexual activity (2.2%). Cocaine was to blame for 0.9% of heart attacks, but this was because of limited exposure to the drug among the population.

On an individual basis, taking cocaine was shown to raise a person's risk of having a heart attack 23-fold , according to the study, led by Dr Tim Nawrot, from Hasselt University in Belgium. In comparison, air pollution led to a 5% extra risk, but since far more people are exposed to traffic fumes and factory emissions than cocaine, air quality is a far more important population-wide threat.

David Spiegelhalter, a risk expert from Cambridge University, said it was difficult to "disentangle" the risk factors in the study for certain situations, such as driving or cycling to work in heavy traffic. "A lot of other factors are contributing to the overall risk; air pollution, stress, physical exertion, even anger which is another well-known trigger for a heart attack."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Docs Warn Packaged Foods Have High Preservatives, Can Cause Serious Health Hazards

Illness packages on your platter

New Delhi: Predominant among the food items in Rattan Kumar's kitchen storage are packaged foods and drinks. Kumar is a senior executive with a major pharmaceutical company and his wife works with a management firm. He says these are easy to cook and he does not have to run to vegetable shops at odd hours.
    Many working couples and students living alone prefer to have packaged foods due to their busy schedules, but doctors warn against this. According to them, much of the packaged food available in markets have high quantities of preservatives like calcium, potassium and sodium salts and sodium benzoate that can cause serious health problems. "Usually, human body has a good capacity to handle electrolytes and chemicals used in these preservatives. However, excessive and longterm usage can cause toxicity. Those suffering from organ
damage—kidney, heart and liver—need to be extra-cautious," said Dr Anoop Mishra, chairman, Fortis' Centre of Excellence in Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology.
    According to Dr Nidhi Sa
rin, clinical nutritionist, sodium nitrate is used in processed meats such as ham, hot dogs, sausage and bologna to increase their shelf-life and maintain their colour. "Excessive consumption of sodium nitrate is known to worsen asthma and decrease lung function. So one should avoid having packaged foods on regular basis and or at least check the amount of preservatives used before consuming them," she said. Sarin said that potassium bromate is used in breads and other bakery products to increase their volume. "If the bread is not cooked long enough or not at a high enough temperature, then a residual amount of this oxidizing agent will remain in bread, which may be harmful if consumed," she added.
    "Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid are food preservatives found in sauces, fruit juices, jams and pickled products. If used over the permissible limit, regular intake can cause allergic reactions," said Ashok Kanchan, a researcher working with Consumer-Voice NGO. He said that under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, two types of food preservatives—natural and chemical—are allowed. "The use of benzoic acid, nitrites and other kinds of preservatives is legally permitted. But there is need for monitoring of the quantity. Also, consumers need to be aware of the side-effects such preservatives can have on high-risk patients," he added.


that may not be as healthy as fresh food Canned foods with large amounts of sodium or fat
Breads and pastas made with refined white flour instead of whole grains
Frozen fish sticks and frozen dinners HIGH IN that are SODIUM Packaged cakes and cookies Processed meats
which can prove harmful on excessive and long-term usage
Phosphoric acid: Bone weakening, kidney stones and kidney damage

Sodium Benzoate:
allergies, liver problems
Sulphites: worsen asthma
Boric acid:
kidney damage, cancer, testis damage

Calcium, potassium and sodium salts: High BP, kidney damage, worsening of heartrelated diseases, calcification of tissues

Packaged snack foods such as chips and candies
Always read the label of pre-packaged food products for chemical content

    High-risk patients: Kidney patients, high BP patients and those suffering from heart-related diseases should avoid too much of packaged food, particularly meat items that have high salt content


Malaria deaths at record high in state

Pune: Malaria claimed 185 lives in the state from April 2010 to March this year, which is the highest annual number of casualties from the disease reported in the last seven years. Of the 185 casualties, Mumbai alone accounted for 137.
    These are the figures from the latest epidemiology report on malaria released by the state health department in April this year. The state registered only around 60-65 deaths in 2003-04. Pune district may have acquired immunity to the mosquito-borne disease, with just four deaths in 2010-11. Notably, Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad did not report a single malarial death.
    "There is a perceptible rise in malaria cases this year, which can be attributed to the huge construction
activity in Mumbai and the rest of the state. Besides, consolidated surveillance has also resulted in enhanced detection of malaria cases in 2010-11," said V D Khanande, joint director (malaria) of the state health services, adding that a central government team recently evaluated the state's pre-monsoon preparations.
    As many as 1,38,605 positive cases were recorded in the state in 2010-11, which is again high as compared to
85,435 cases recorded in the previous year.
    In 2007, 67,850 cases were registered and 67,333 cases were registered in 2008. To control the growing mosquito menace, the state health department had to seek technical support and expertise from the Union government.
    S B Nadoni, senior regional director (regional office) of the Union health and family welfare, said, "Efforts to reduce the mortality
rate last year met with little success. In fact, Maharashtra reported more cases and deaths. The state even sought the Centre's intervention in curbing the menace in Mumbai and other parts of the state."
    According to Nadoni, the components of the national malaria control strategy include the use of longlasting insecticides, bed nets, indoor residual sprays, early diagnosis and treatment of cases, management of the environment, forecasting, prevention and control of epidemics.
    Avinash Bhondwe, former president of the Pune unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, "The number of malaria, dengue and chikungunya cases reported by the state health department is just the tip of the iceberg. A majority of the cases remain under-reported."

Med diagnoses radiate worries

Scans Such As X-Rays Are The Diagnostic Answer To Many Diseases, But Are They Also Guilty Of Putting Us At Health Risks?

As the world watches Japan after it announced that contaminated water from its crippled nuclear plants would be released into the sea, experts are talking about a touchy topic: Is radiation from medical devices harmful?
    Medical scans have emerged as the final diagnostic answer for many diseases such as cancer. Nuclear medicine scans and treatment are considered as the most underutilized but maximum potential fields. But what about excessive prescriptions? More so for the common man who in this technology-driven age begins his morning with radiation—whether benign or not—from mobile phones and continues through the day as he walks through metal detectors and hunches over the computer.
    A Canadian study published last month found that patients who underwent low-radiation heart scans had an increased risk of cancer. The study looked at 82,861 patients who had a heart attack in Quebec between April 1996 and March 2006: 77% had at least one cardiac procedure with lowdose ionizing radiation within a year of the attack. It found 12,020 cancer cases affecting the abdomen or pelvis and chest areas.
    Cancer specialist M Basade quoted a New England Journal of Medicine's
article stating: "There is documented evidence associating an accumulated dose of 90 mSv (millisievert) from two or three CT scans with an increased risk of cancer.'' The American FDA states that undergoing certain nuclear scans would involve radiation doses of that equal to about 2,000 chest X-rays.
    Not all agree with this view. Many experts point out
that Earth's natural radiation would result in people getting exposed to 2-3 mSv a year. Radiologist Dr Bhavin Jhankaria said, "Most of these theories are based on extrapolations drawn up after studying the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They are mere statistical assumptions and not conclusive studies.''
    Jhankaria added that in countries such as Sweden and Finland—whose healthcare systems recorded every scan that a citizen underwent—have never showed any adverse cancer-medical scan graph. "Every medical follow-up of each
patient is recorded in these countries. Surely if radiation is so dangerous, then it would have shown up in these countries.'' He felt that such studies should be undertaken so that the benefits of medical scans can be better highlighted.
    Many medical reviews have studied the risk-benefit graph of medical scans. A study by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) said "The amount of radiation during a typical body CT scan (10 mSV) is equivalent to two years of radiation from background sources. The risk of getting fatal cancer from this amount of radiation is about 1 in 2,000.''
    Dr K S Parthasarathy, former secretary of AERB, said: "Safe dose of radiation depends on the context. So when 400
mSv is safe for a cardiac patient undergoing angioplasty (it saves his life), it may not be safe for a normal person."
    The US authorities recently released a study on the health impact of airport scanners, which give out very small amounts of low-dose radiation. Dr Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a radiology professor at UCSF, whose study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, said: "You need to go through an airport scanner 200,000 times to be equivalent to the dose of one CT scan. I'd rather focus on getting rid of some of those CTs."

ABDOMEN X-RAY Dose (mSv) | 0.5-0.7 = Background radiation for 62-88 days
LUMBAR SPINE X-RAYS Dose (mSv) | 1.8 = Background radiation for 7 months
HEAD CT Dose (mSv) | 2.0 = Background radiation for 8 months
CHEST CT Dose (mSv) | 8.0 = Background radiation for 3 years
ABDOMEN AND PELVIS CT Dose (mSv) | 10.0 = Background radiation for 3 years
VIRTUAL COLONOSCOPY Dose (mSv) | 10.2 = Background radiation for 3 years
WHOLE BODY PET/LOW DOSE NON-CONTRAST CT Dose (mSv) | 8.5-10.3 = Background radiation for 3 years
PROSPECTIVE ECG-GATED CORONARY CT ANGIOGRAM Dose (mSv) | 4.0 = Background radiation for 1 year
RETROSPECTIVE ECG-GATED CORONARY CT ANGIOGRAM Dose (mSv) | 18.0 = Background radiation for 5 years
TC-99M SESTAMIBI 1 DAY CARDIAC REST-STRESS TEST Dose (mSv) | 12 = Background radiation for 3.5 years
CORONARY ANGIOGRAPHY (DIAGNOSTIC) Dose (mSv) | 4.6-15.8 = Background radiation for 2-5 years
CORONARY ANGIOGRAPHY (WITH INTERVENTION) Dose (mSv) | 7.5-57.0 = Background radiation for 2-19 years


Any woman with damaged or lackluster hair can add natural shine to her frizzy locks with a treatment known as the hair manicure. This professional service offered at certain salons and beauty parlors involves using a colored cream to add a slight tint of color and a shiny gloss to the hair. The treatment is similar to deep conditioning procedures and also comparable to the cellophane hair treatment.

Women can choose between a colored hair manicure cream and a clear cream meant to add shine but no color. A hair manicure is not the same as hair dye. While it can touch up dull color or enhance natural hair color, it provides only a slight tint and will not show any drastic changes in the color itself. Most women seek the treatment for the healthy shine it gives them, not for the color. Typically, someone receiving a hair manicure will choose either clear or a color that matches her current hair.

After choosing the right color, the stylist mixes together the hair manicure cream in a bowl. Using a soft brush, she applies it to sections of the hair until the entire head is covered. Next she carefully wraps the hair and places the person under a dryer to let the color set. The entire process takes from 30 to 45 minutes, the same time it takes to do a traditional hair coloring process. After the correct amount of time has elapsed, the stylist checks that the color has properly set in and rinses the cream out.

Major advantages of receiving a hair manicure include livening up dull hair and repairing hair with mild damage, such as frazzled or dry hair from overuse of heated hair products or hair dye. Unlike the chemicals found in hair dye, the cream used for a hair manicure does not cause damage or dryness. While it can help treat unhealthy hair, it can only do so much and works best on those with minimal damage. A stylist may suggest an additional treatment first to help repair the hair before using the manicure cream to add shine.
Pricing for the procedure can be expensive depending on the salon and the stylist. It usually costs about the same as a professional coloring job and for those with extremely damaged hair it may be ineffective and a waste of money. The cream used on the hair is available to buy for use at home, but the process is meant for a professional and it is discouraged for those without professional experience to try the procedure on their own.