Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Drink Tea Without Milk to Lose Weight and Choesterol : New Study !!!

Tea please .... Hold the Milk !!!!
Tea lovers can now kill the guilt of sipping an extra cup of tea. Researchers have found that tea helps one reduce weight provided he consumes it without milk. However if tea is taken with milk especially cow milk, than all the benefits are lost. For all those hitting the gym, and undertaking crash diets to lose weight, lay back and sip a hot cup of tea without milk, as a new study claims that drinking tea could help you lose weight, only if you don't add milk to it.
All teas, black, green or red are a rich source of anti oxidants like Theaflavins and Thearubigins which help in weight loss and cholesterol reduction, but these antioxidants in tea which aid in weight-loss are neutralized if milk is added to it. These anti oxidants present in tea reduce the amount of fat absorption in the intestine and can also cut cholesterol.
Tea is one of the good sources of anti oxidants that help one to prevent obesity and lose weight. But in order to reap this beneficial property of tea one should drink it without milk.
Researchers at the Tea Research Association in Assam, India have found that tea is a rich source of antioxidants such as theaflavins and thearubigins that help not only to cut cholesterol but reduce the amount of fat absorbed by our intestines.
But this fat-fighting ability of tea is neutralized if we add milk to it. Dr. Devajit Borthakur, a scientist at the Tea Research Association in Assam said that the benefits are cancelled out by the protein found in milk. He said, “When tea is taken with milk, theaflavins and thearubigins form complexes with the milk protein, which causes them to precipitate. Therefore we neither get the health benefits from these compounds nor from milk. Therefore, it is always advised to take tea without milk.” 
Also a study by scientists in Japan, reveals that extracts from tea leaves inhibit the absorption of fat in the intestines of rats being fed high-fat diet. These rats also had less fat tissue on their bodies and lower fat content in their livers, reports the Journal of Nutrition. Hiroaki Yajima, a scientist with the Kirin Beverage Company in Japan who carried out the Japanese research, said: "Black tea extracts may prevent diet-induced obesity by inhibiting intestinal lipid absorption." Researchers now believe this could explain why people in Britain appear not to benefit from the healthy affects of tea despite being among the world's biggest consumers of the beverage.
The study therefore is an eye-opener to many who can not imagine drinking tea without milk if, of course, they want to cut extra flab from their bulging waist line.  Consumption of black tea becomes important if one wants to lose weight. The health boosting properties of black tea are often disguised by tea lover’s habit of drinking it with milk.
One more reason to drink Tea without milk : Studies have also revealed that a type of protein found in milk called caseins decrease the amount of heart healthy compounds known as catechins that are found in tea.

Other benefits of tea :

 1. Drinking black teas can help to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as it helps to expand the arteries, which increases blood flow to the heart.
2. Research has shown the black/green tea can be used in the fight against cancer. Properties of the tea slow down the growth of cancerous cells without destroying healthy cells.
3. Tea is also believed to help to delay the aging process. Nowadays there are many anti aging creams and lotions that contain tea extracts to help the skin look younger.

4. Drinking tea such as black and green tea helps to reduce bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.
5. Tea contains fluoride, which can help to prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel.Tea also strengthens our bones.
6. For those people with diabetes, drinking tea can help to decrease glucose levels, which can reduce the risk of cataracts, and other conditions brought about by diabetes.
7. Tea builds the body's resistance to infection, especially the ones infused with a variety of herbs. By inhibiting free radicals tea strengthens the immune system providing protection to the organs against infection.

The research suggests that despite more attention being paid to the health benefits of green tea, black tea may have greater health-boosting properties which are masked by the tendency to drink it with milk.

Bottom Line: Tea is a healthy beverage offering many health benefits (if you skip the cream and sugar). Brew your tea for at least 3 - 5 minutes to bring out the beneficial polyphenols. Enjoy the aroma of tea !!!!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

World TB Day...24th March,2011 : "On the Move Against Tuberculosis : Transforming the Fight - Towards Elimination of TB"

The 24th March of every year is World Tuberculosis Day. The relevance of the statement cannot be more reinstated on the curable communicable disease in a country like India. Out of sheer ignorance, TB is still considered a fatal disease and the struggle to eradicate the disease and to open the closed mindset of the society has become an everyday battle for patients and medical practitioners alike.  
It was on 24 March 1882 that Dr. Robert Koch made a great breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis by detecting the TB bacillus—the cause of tuberculosis. A third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB and the World Health Organization (WHO) is networking with organizations and countries to reduce TB prevalence rates and mortality by half by 2015.
World TB Day 2011 enters into the second year of the two year campaign, “On the move against tuberculosis” focusing on innovation in TB research and care. Accelerating the campaign are fresh objectives and targets from the Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015: Transforming the Fight—Towards Elimination of TB, launched in October 2010 by the Stop TB partnership.
WHO TB Facts:
• TB kills more people than any other infectious disease in the world
• In developed countries TB is seen in elderly, while in developing countries it is commonly seen in young adults
• Every second, someone in the world is infected with TB
• One third of the world’s population has TB now
• 5-10 % of people infected with TB (without HIV infection) become sick or infectious at some point of time in life
INDIA TB Facts :
(i) * TB is everyone’s problem especially in India and China and it affects the most productive age group, 20 to 40 years.
(ii) * It is also the largest killer in India.
(iii) * There are 20 lakh new patients in India every year apart from the ones yet to be cured.
(iv) * And that makes it up to one third of world TB patients in India alone.
(v) * It is also disturbing to note that 3, 30, 000 people die every year and 8, 70, 000 are infectious making them capable of infecting others.
The TB Challenge :
(1)."If you have cough for two weeks or more, GET two Sputum examinations".
(2)."Lung TB is the most common form of TB constituting more than 85 % of the cases".
(3)."TB in children forms 5-15 % of all TB cases".
(4)."TB is the most common opportunistic infection in people having HIV/AIDS".
(5)."Improper/irregular/incomplete treatment can lead to multi drug resistant TB".
(6)."Sputum examination is the most reliable and cost effective tool to diagnose TB".
(7)."Best way of preventing the spread of TB is early diagnosis and complete treatment".
(8)."Every patient who is cured stops spreading TB, and every life saved is a child, a mother, or a father who will go on to live a longer, TB-free life".
Risk factors for developing TB include :
(a).Being around someone with active TB.
(b).Having a chronic illness such as diabetes.
(c).Being immunocompromised either from HIV, chemotherapy for patients with cancer, end-stage kidney disease, prolonged steroid use etc. 
(d).Working in the health care field.
(e).Living in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, mental institution, or prison.
(f ).Older people are also at an increased risk of developing TB.
(g).Social factors such as poverty, overcrowding, and homelessness are also risk factors of TB.

(h).Another social risk factor of TB is alcohol. It has long been evident that there is an association between alcohol use and risk of TB. The risk of active TB is substantially elevated in people who drink more than 40 g alcohol per day and/or have an alcohol use disorder. This may be due to both an increased risk of infection related to specific social mixing patterns associated with alcohol use and influence on the immune system of alcohol itself and of alcohol-related conditions.
Tackling the TB menace :
What makes tackling the TB menace so challenging is that the bacterium is so difficult to get at—it is slow growing, has very tough cell walls and remains hidden in body cells for a long while before it is detected. Treatment requires a drug regimen that is relatively long, requiring 4 to 6 months and breaking the intake of medicine in the middle develops drug resistant strains.
The current focus on TB elimination is aimed at developing simple, rapid TB tests, faster treatment regimens and bringing an effective TB vaccine to the market. To this end, the 2011 World TB campaign throws a worldwide searchlight for individuals who have devised new ways to stop TB and have inspired others in the fight against tuberculosis.

On the Move Against Tuberculosis :
Poster sessions, symposiums and conferences are lined up at the academic level all over the world to discuss the elimination of TB. In developing countries Road Show campaigns have been arranged to visit communities, health clinics and primary health centres spreading the message to Stop TB and to remove the social stigma attached to TB patients.
While it is important for governments to ensure availability of TB drugs to patients, it is equally important for family members of TB patients, health care providers and patients themselves to stick to the drug regimen and not break medication in the middle thereby complicating TB treatment further. Only a concerted effort from all—researchers, governments, healthcare providers, TB patients and their families, the drug industry, the media and all members of the civil society, will ensure a stiff and effective fight against tuberculosis—a disease that is both preventable and curable.
Q. Tuberculosis is curable, yet society continues to ostracize and stigmatise TB patients. Why is that ?
A. Previous experiences and movies. Movies around the 50s and 60s have romanticised TB projecting patients as coughing, bleeding and eventually dying. Before the 50s and 60s there was no concept of chemotherapy and TB patients were kept in ventilated sanatoriums. It was usually the patients with natural immunity that survived. Somehow the movie version of TB has been ingested. Hence scientific facts must be gotten right. TB is curable with correct treatment, and periodic monitoring by medical professionals trained in it.
Q. TB is complicated to handle. How has it become a primary concern?
A. TB is everyone’s problem especially in India and China and it affects the most productive age group, 20 to 40 years. It is also the largest killer in India. There are 20 lakh new patients in India apart from the ones yet to be cured. And that makes it up to one third of world TB patients in India alone. It is also disturbing to note that 3, 30, 000 people die every year and 8, 70, 000 are infectious making them capable of infecting others.
Q. Last year the DOTS Plus guidelines had been released. What's the effectiveness of DOTS ?
A. Direct Observation Treatment, Short Course (DOTS), is a procedure where medication is given under direct observation by a health worker. Since TB is a chronic disease the shortest course lasts for at least six months and depending on the severity, the duration is bound to increase to 9 months to even a year. If the treatment extends, then the motivation to continue the treatment decreases. Also, once the patient starts to get asymptomatic the motivation to continue treatment decreases.
The effectiveness of DOTS will be ensured only if patients follow the entire treatment until TB is completely eradicated. The educated dutifully follow the entire treatment; it is the poorly informed who discontinue before they are cured.
Q. The population is vast, what are the suggestions to provide uniform services ?
A. One of the challenges is the accessibility to the centres that provide DOTS. People from rural areas, hilly regions, find it difficult to reach the centres. Travelling to these centres could cost them their livelihood in case of casual labourers. In such cases, even post-men and school teachers are requested to deliver DOTS to patients living in remote areas. There should be more centres set up to provide treatment.
Q. What is the difference between the treatment provided by the government and private hospitals ?
A. DOTS are provided by the WHO and the government for free. The pills are administered thrice a week, every alternate day. Whereas in private hospitals 3 to 4 drugs are bought from pharmacies and the treatment is on an everyday basis. They are both equally effective.
 Q. What are the the current challenges in treating TB ?
A. The emergence of Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is dangerous. Drug resistant TB is not curable by usual TB treatment and treatment is 20 times more expensive and needs at least 1 and half years to get cured. The time needed for identification of Resistant Tuberculosis is long(5-6 weeks) and the test is expensive and not available commonly in usual labs; hence there should be more referral sites.
In addition, newer diagnostic methods should be implemented, cost factor should be considered and quicker identification must be enforced. Most importantly, research and development needs to be in place and encouraged. That is the theme behind this World TB Day 2011’s slogan- Transforming the fight Towards Elimination. This new plan, for the first time, identifies all the research gaps that need to be filled to bring rapid TB tests, faster treatment regimens and a fully effective vaccine to market.

In general, the anti-TB medications are very safe. The prevention of MDR-TB is of utmost importance. In simpler terms, some bugs need 3 pesticides to kill it; similarly TB always needs 3 to 4 drugs to prevent it from becoming drug resistant. The wholesome regimen has to be adhered to ensure the treatment is effective.

Support TB patients, do not push them away. They can do with all the encouragement starting with eceiving a simple act of concern such as enquiring about their well-being. Health workers should exert pressure in a positive way so patients will stay on course when patients get asymptomatic.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Japan Radiation Fears .... greatly exaggerated !!!!

 As workers struggle to contain the fallout from the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, people as far away as Illinois are calling public health officials in a state of panic.
There is much hue and cry all over the world to buy 'Potassium Iodide' .. a drug known to protect thyroid gland from radiation to some extent. Panic is being created even on some social websites like Facebook, and Twitter etc. by some people.
They are hoping to get their hands on potassium iodide pills to protect them from radiation -- despite warnings that, in the absence of a real nuclear threat, taking the medicine is riskier than doing nothing.
Sixty-six years after the first atomic bomb exploded over the city of Hiroshima, radiation spooks people everywhere. But the anxiety is largely disproportionate to the actual danger.
"People in general have an exaggerated fear of radiation. That is true in the United States, and it is probably even more so in Japan & whole Asia" said Jerrold Bushberg, director of health physics programs and clinical professor of radiology and radiation oncology at the University of California Davis.
Despite the Japanese government's assurances that the risk so far is minimal, residents of Tokyo have flooded out of the city and foreigners have fled the country, hoping to escape a threat they cannot see.
The fact is that everyone is exposed to small amounts of radiation every day just from living on earth or flying in an airplane. That all adds up to about 2.4 units, known as millisieverts, a year. This can vary widely, ranging from 1 to 10 millisieverts, depending on where you live.

Background radiation will cause 1 out of 100 people to die of cancer in their lifetimes, said Dr. Donald Bucklin, who spent 10 years as medical director for the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona, the largest nuclear plant in the United States. Additional exposure increases this risk.
In Tokyo, 150 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, people grew fearful when readings rose about 10 times above the normal reading. At that level, residents were exposed to 0.809 microsieverts per hour -- 1,000 times less than a millisievert, or about 10 times less than a chest X-ray.
"The levels of radiation experienced by the public at present should be no cause for concern," said Dr. Richard Wakeford, visiting professor of epidemiology at the Dalton Nuclear Institute at University of Manchester in Britain.

"To put radiation doses into context, many Japanese undergo CT scans for cancer screening purposes, and these scans produce radiation doses of about 10 millisieverts (10,000 microsieverts) -- much more than they are receiving from the Fukushima reactors."
Japan radiation localized, no immediate threat: WHO :
Friday,March.18,2011 .... The WHO believes the spread of radiation from a quake crippled nuclear plant in Japan remains limited and appears to pose no immediate threat or risk to health.
At this point, there is still no evidence that there's been significant radiation spread beyond the immediate zone of the reactors themselves," Michael O'Leary (WHO China's representative) told a group of reporters.
"At the same time, we know that the situation is evolving and we need to monitor closely and see what happens over time. Things can obviously change, and have changed, over this last week."
(This GeoEye's IKONOS satellite image was taken over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan at 10:19 am (Tokyo time) on March 17, 2011 and released to Reuters on March 17 ).
Japan has been battling for nearly a week to bring under control the overheating Fukushima nuclear plant after it was battered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Experts and officials fear a major leak of radioactive substances from the plant could pose a serious health risk, and China, India and nearby countries have stepped up monitoring of radiation levels.
O'Leary suggested that the impact of such an event on this region would be small, but said other factors mattered too.
"The reactors, of course, are quite far from India and China. The risk of spread depends on several factors. One is obviously the amount of radioactive material, or radionuclides, that are released from the reactor itself. Beyond that are weather and wind conditions that determine," he said.
"As with anything that spreads or can spread out, the farther away you are, the more dispersed it is."
The emergency has sparked panic buying of iodized salt in China and India , based on the misunderstanding that the iodine it contains could prevent the body's intake of radioactive iodine that could be released in the event of a major explosion at the plant.
But O'Leary said iodine should not be taken indiscriminately or treated as a substitute for supplements administered before or shortly after radiation exposure to reduce the risk of long-term cancer.
"It should not be taken indiscriminately. It does have potential side effects," he said.
"The amount of iodine in salt is very small. It wouldn't be possible to consume enough salt to get a protective dose. In the end, not many people will need iodine supplements."