Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Spill the beans Survey after survey has proven that Mumbaikars have weak kidneys. Here’s a quiz to test how well you know the filtration units of your body

Last month, a news report had the BMC admit that Mumbai is suffering an 80 per cent shortage of dialysis beds. Several patients, unable to access dialysis, have succumbed to kidney failure. 

    With lifestyle disorders on the rise among urban Indians, it's especially important to take care of your kidneys (so what if you have a pair?). For that, you'll have to know the bean-shaped filters of your body inside out? Take our quiz to find out if you do: Where are your kidneys located? 
a) Front and upper section of your body b) Front and lower section of your body c) Lower section of your body, in the back d) Lower section of your body, in front 
Answer: C. Kidneys are located behind the abdominal cavity, above the waist. While their rear portion is covered by the ribs, the lower section is unprotected. If you place your hands on your hips, the position of your thumb indicates the position of the kidney. 
Smoking affects the kidneys 
    a) True b) False 
Answer: A. The kidneys perform the essential function of keeping the blood in the body free of toxins. In fact, several heavy smokers suffer from renal cell carcinoma, says Dr Madan Bahadur, consultant nephrologist and transplant surgeon at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre. Smoking also increases the deposition of cholesterol in large blood 
vessels, reducing blood supply to kidneys. This means oxygen levels in the kidneys drop, causing hypoxia, diminishing their ability to function optimally. How much blood does a kidney filter every day? 
a) 10 litres b) 100 million litres c) 180 litres d) 100 litres 
Answer: C. A healthy adult's kidneys filter about 180 litres of blood every day to remove toxic wastes. 
What's a kidney-friendly combination? 
    a) Carrots and green beans 
    b) Pineapple, green peas and coffee 
Answer: B. Pineapple, green beans and coffee are all low potassium foods. Potassium is a mineral present in most foods, and your kidneys are responsible for maintaining potassium levels in the body (healthy levels — 3.5 - 5.0 mEq/L). High levels can lead to a irregular heartbeat, and even a heart attack. 
The primary cause of kidney failure in India is 
    a) Kidney stones 
    b) Diabetes 
    c) Hypertension 
    d) Kidney infection 
Answer: B. Fifty per cent of kidney related diseases are caused by diabetes. In diabetics, the albumin protein necessary for muscular functions, leaks into the filtering unit of the kidney blocking the tubules from which urine is sent out of the body. Hence, urine is absorbed back into the body altering the balance of the cytokine level — cell-signalling molecules that aid cell-to-cell communication in immune responses resulting in permanent damage. 
Which common habit is a kidney-killer? 
a) Taking strong painkillers off and on. b) Eating stale food. c) Drinking hot soup. 
Answer: A. Heavy doses of strong painkillers that fall in the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) category interfere with the filtration of the kidneys, directly increasing toxicity levels in the body. This could either cause acute injury to the kidneys (this is reversible) or chronic injury (which signifies permanent damage). "While it's okay to pop the occasional painkiller, ensure that you drink a lot of water after.


Painful cosmetic procedures can wait. Jet-spray, a relatively new technique that is touted to take away years from your face, is increasingly getting popular. City skin specialists tell us more about it... 

What's jet-spraying? 
Dermatologist Dr Apratim Goel says, "Jet spray technology or the jet peel is a relatively new, non-invasive, relaxing and painless skin-care procedure." 
How it works 
The technique is based on a simple principle. "Pressurised air accelerates a jet of micro droplets, which is used to gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin," says Dr Goel. The technique removes dead skin cells and also helps regulate blood circulation. 
How it helps 
The technique delivers key micronutrients in facial skin. "Vitamin C (which acts as an antioxidant) and Hyaluronic acid (Restylane and Vital) are mainly used in this treatment. Hyaluronic acid moisturises the skin naturally," says dermatologist Dr Bindu Sthalekar. The jet transports moisture and vitamins into your skin without even touching it, adds Dr Goel. 

Is it new? 
Jet Spray is a relatively new technology. "It has been in the market for two-three years," says Dr Sthalekar. 
The benefits 
"Penetration is better in jet-spray technology," says Dr Sthalekar. It unclogs pores and removes debris that naturally builds up in your skin. The jet also massages and improves blood circulation, making your skin look vibrant, smooth and younger," adds Dr Goel. 
Is it painful? 
Not at all. The jet is cool and soothing and one feels instantly relaxed. 
Experts say many people are not able to handle the pressure created by the jet-spray. Also, senior dermatologist Dr Sushil Tahiliani points out that the procedure doesn't have any scientific validity. He says, "It claims to cleanse debris and improve blood circulation, but there are no scientific studies to prove it. The human body is designed to age. Even if you stop ageing of the face using various methods, you cannot stop the layers under the skin, the muscles and the bones from ageing. You should not run after procedures that claim to make you fairer and younger."

It’s official! Exercise does reduce risk of dementia

A new study has found that the five measures to stave off dementia are taking regular exercise, not smoking, keeping low body weight, eating healthy and having a low alcohol intake. People who consistently followed four or five of these behaviours experienced a 60% decline in dementia and cognitive decline — with exercise being the strongest mitigating factor — as well as 70% fewer instances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, compared with people who followed none. 
    "What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health — healthy behaviours have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure," 
said researcher Peter Elwood. 
    "Taking up and following a healthy lifestyle is, however, the responsibility of the individual. Sadly, the evidence from this study shows that very few people follow a fully healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, our findings reveal that while the number of people who smoke has gone down since the study started, the number of people leading a fully healthy lifestyle has not changed," he added. ANI

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

‘Tummy clock’ tells us how much to eat

Melbourne: Scientists have found the first evidence that the nerves in the stomach act as a circadian clock, limiting food intake to specific times of the day. The discovery, by University of Adelaide researchers, could lead to new information about how the gut signals to our brains about when we're full, and when to keep eating. 
    In the University's Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory, Dr Stephen Kentish investigated how the nerves in the stomach respond to stretch, which occurs as a consequence of food intake, at three-hourly intervals across one day. "These nerves are responsible for letting the brain know how much food we have eaten and when to stop eating," said Kentish, who is the lead author of the paper. 
    "What we've found is that the nerves in the gut are at their least sensitive at time periods associated with being awake. This means more food can be consumed before we feel full at times of high activity, when more energy is required," Kentish added. 
    "However, with a change 
in the day-night cycle to a period associated with sleeping, the nerves in the stomach become more sensitive to stretch, signalling fullness to the brain quicker and thus limiting food intake. 
    "This variation repeats every 24 hours in a circadian manner, with the nerves acting as a clock to coordinate food intake with energy requirements," he said. So far this discovery has been made in lab studies, not in humans. "Our theory is that the same variations in nerve responses exist in human stomachs, with the gut nerves being less sensitive to fullness during the day and more sensitive at night," he said. PTI


Effects of High Blood Pressure