Monday, July 20, 2009

Lower IQ raises risk of heart disease


Washington: A new study, conducted by researchers in the UK, has shown that having a lower than average IQ is in itself a risk factor for heart disease.
    In the study of over 4,000 people, David Batty and his colleagues at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh found that IQ alone explained more than 20% of the difference in mortality between high and low socio-economic groups.
    The researchers found that the results were the same even when known heart disease risk factors were taken into account. "We already know that socio-economically disadvantaged people have worse health and tend to die earlier from conditions such as heart disease, cancer and accidents," BBC News quoted David Batty, who led the study for the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, a saying.
    "Environmental exposures and health-related behaviours, such as smoking, diet and
physical activity, can explain some of this difference, but not all of it," he added. The research team studied a group of 4,289 former US soldiers from all walks of life. As expected from past trends, those on low incomes and with less education had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
    However, when the researchers took into account intelligence or cognitive function, commonly referred to as IQ, and controlled for nine other known heart disease risk factors, IQ alone explained 23% of the differences in mortality between the highest and lowest socio-economic groups in the study.
    They offer several possible explanations for this - low IQ scores might simply be a marker of underlying poor health or intelligence might lead to greater knowledge about how to keep healthy. Batty said, whatever the explanation, the findings imply the IQ of the public should be considered more carefully when preparing health promotion campaigns.
    The study has been published in the European Heart Journal. ANI


 Free radicals in our body can be flushed out with high levels of lycopene, which is found abundantly in tomatoes. Several types of cancers can be fought by high levels of lycopene.
    Researchers have discovered that men who consumed 10 servings of tomatoes a week can cut the risk of developing prostate cancer by 45 per cent and seven servings of raw tomatoes a week, lower the risk of developing rectal colon or stomach cancers by 60 per cent.
    Cooked tomatoes are richer than raw ones — cooking tomatoes in olive oil allows your body to absorb the lycopene better.

Tomatoes do not lose their nutritional value after being cooked.
    They're are rich in potassium and contain niacin, vitamin B6, and folate, which are great to have a healthy heart.
    Tomatoes are rich in two anti aging free-radicals — iycopene
and beta carotene. These nutrients are enhanced when tomatoes are heated or cooked. While picking up tomatoes, make sure you choose ones that come in the brightest shades of red — these have high amounts of betacarotene and iycopene.
    Since they contain lots of fibre and are low in calories, tomatoes are a great food to include in your diet if you're keen on losing some pounds.
    Betacarotene gets converted into vitamin A once you eat it. Vitamin A helps in the development of healthy skin, hair and aids vision, development of bones and teeth.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nourish your bones!


Maintaining your bones with diet and excercise keeps you fit for longer!

Did you know that 90 per cent of the calcium in a human body is stored in our bones and teeth? Calcium is an extremely important mineral as it helps in the development of a healthy body structure/ skeleton early in life. It minimises weakening of bones as one ages. A balanced and nutritious diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D, helps in absorbing calcium and is a must for maintaining healthy bones.
It results in greater demineralisation which leads to further reduction of calcium from the bones. A calciumrich diet also helps in maintaining proper blood pressure, heart beat and nervous system. Research has also revealed that there is a positive correlation between calcium intake and the incidence of premenstrual syndrome. This mineral plays a vital role in controlling osteoporosis, a condition in which deficiency of calcium
leads to weak and fragile bones, further increasing the incidence of fractures in elderly people. Excess weight, obesity also tends to worsen this condition.
CALCIUM IS RECOMMENDED FOR EVERYONE I Including pregnant or breastfeeding women, who should include the specified quantity of calcium in their diets: Infants — 300 mg
Children — 600-800 mg Adults — 1000 mg Pregnant women — 1300 mg L a c t a t i n g mothers —1300 mg Post-menopausal women —1200 mg
SOME FOODS THAT ARE A RICH SOURCE OF CALCIUM ARE I Cheese, tofu, yoghurt, calcium fortified soy drink, orange juice, canned sardine and also fresh fish. Soy products are highly recommended for postmenopausal women as they help in building strong bones. Chinese cabbage, turnips, mustard greens, dried figs, soy nuts should also be included in regular diet. Avoid excessive intake of animal protein, as it obstructs the absorption of calcium.
It helps in calcium absorption. An hour of direct sunlight
everyday is ideal for the human body. Fish oils and eggs are also a rich source of vitamin D and should be included in the daily diet. Excessive alcohol should be avoided as it reduces the ability of the bones to absorb vitamins and calcium. Regular exercise in any form, running, skipping, aerobics, tennis, weight training and brisk walking is a must for healthy bones.
(Jyoti Arora, team leader — nutrition & dietitics, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


You need not undergo complicated scans to detect signs of disorder. Your bulging eyes or bleeding gums are indications of ailments to come. Dr Hemant Thacker tells you about the warning bells our body rings

Did you laugh it off when your child called you a frog because of your bulging eyes? Or were you just 'mildly surprised' why chapped lips came visiting you in summer? It's time you pay attention to something you're going to live with your entire life – your body.
    Intriguing as it sounds, our bodies have mechanisms smart enough to indicate diseases much before they afflict you or simply warn you of
your improper food habits. We jotted a list of common symptoms noticed among people. Dr Hemant Thacker explains how the stressed, ignorant Mumbaikar needs to heed to these alarm bells, to save time and money nursing ailments.
Malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, abnormal calcium levels or simply bad hygiene.
Re-check your iron and vitamin levels. You may
    have to increase your in
take of iron, calcium and multivitamins (have more milk and greens). You could also have contracted a mild fungal infection. However, press the panic button only if more than 50 per cent of your nails
    are brittle.
Hyper-thyroidism. You may also be suffering from sleep apnea or a chronic respiratory disorder.
Not much on your
    own, unfortunately. Consult a spe
cialist for thyroidrelated problems or a sleep specialist to correct your sleeping habits.
Inadequate moisture
and dehydration. Your lips may crack also because of sitting in your air-conditioned office cubicle for long hours. But most importantly, dry lips are an alarm bell for those who overdose on antibiotics.
Cut down on those antibiotics, go natural for a change. Make it a habit

    of drinking the recommended six glasses of water every day. It hasn't harmed anyone yet. And if your job demands you to sit in an air-conditioned environment for prolonged hours, do your best to avoid the blast coming exactly towards your face. Not to forget, apply moisturiser regularly.

The protein levels in your system have crashed, or are about to crash. Swelling in feet and ankles may also be due to obesity. Lastly, if you sit in one position for long hours,
the swelling may settle in or increase.

If both your feet have swollen (bilateral swelling), you might have had a lucky escape, for it only indicates a general disorder as stated above. However, if it's only on one leg, do
not ignore this symptom. Rush to a pathologist and get a blood test done ASAP to rule out a kidney/liver/heart/lung disorder. Lastly, if you spot varicose (swollen) veins, do not delay in consulting a doctor.
It is safe to blame all hair-related problems to malnutrition, directly or indirectly. Also, if you've been having only selected (read 'tasty') calciums, vitamins and minerals, your hair is likely to be dry. Lastly, do not rule out local infections such as dermatitis and dandruff.
While you go out and buy that fancy shampoo which
promises hair as

smooth as Priyanka Chopra's, take some time out and improve your nutrition levels. Have a balanced diet if you really care for your hair. If the problem still persists, see a trichologist.

Vitamin C deficiency is the culprit for bleed
ing gums. If undetected, it can lead to chronic gum infections.
Binge on citrus fruits such as oranges. Often overlooked in this category are
potatoes, which, w h e n not cooked for long, supply sufficient amounts of Vitamin C. Also, check your brushing habit. If you've been brushing haphazardly and if your toothbrush is of the hard or semihard variety, it can cause serious damage to your gums.

An imbalanced diet. You're probably overdoing on spinach and beetroot, to produce a dark stool. If this isn't the case, then occult (hidden)

    bleeding in the upper part of the gastric system (which can occur due to many reasons), can produce a tarry colour.
Go easy on the greens for a while. If it doesn't help, go for a stool examination to rule out blood-related diseases and then take appropriate measures.
(Dr Hemant Thacker is an honorary physician at Jaslok, Breach Candy and Bhatia hospitals)

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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‘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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