Saturday, December 1, 2012

AIDS DAY - 1st Dec. 2012.

Theme for WORLD AIDS DAY, 2012 ... “Getting to Zero”.

*** Zero New HIV Infections, 
*** Zero Discrimination and 
*** Zero AIDS Related Deaths.

UN AIDS strategy goals 2012 - 2015 :
* Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work.
* Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated, and AIDS-related maternal mortality reduced by half.
* All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs.
* Universal access to anti retroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment.
* TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half.
* People living with HIV and households affected by HIV are addressed in all national social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support.
* Countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses reduced by half.
* HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence eliminated in half of the countries that have such restrictions.
* HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses.
* Zero tolerance for gender-based violence.

“Zero AIDS related deaths” would probably be possible by making adequate treatment available free of cost to all AIDS patients. This means that they should receive the recommended regimens under the guidance of an experienced doctor.  AIDS medications, if taken as single tablets, lead to resistance and ineffectiveness of the drug; adequate health education should be imparted in this regard.  A recent report pointed out that there are very few specialists in India trained in treating AIDS patients.  Additional efforts to encourage more doctors to specialize in this line could make a difference to the millions of HIV-positive patients. 
In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide.

“Zero discrimination” is another important aspect necessary especially in India.  For fear of contacting the disease, people tend to keep away from a person who is known to be HIV positive.  This could lead to people hiding their illness, which could further encourage the spread of the disease.  We have heard of people losing jobs because they are HIV positive; innocent children asked to leave school because they carry the virus; some HIV positive people are refused medical treatment. Public education is necessary to remove the stigma and ensure that HIV positive people are an integral part of the society. 

“Zero new HIV infections” is probably the most difficult goal to achieve.  This calls for increased awareness of the routes of spread of HIV, and ways and means to prevent the spread.  Safe sex practices should be advised and condoms should be made easily available. Hospitals and blood banks should maintain strict precautions against the spread of HIV.  Injection drug users should also be advised not to use the same syringe. 
In 2011 the total world AIDS cases were around 34 million & half of them don't know about their HIV status. 

“Getting to zero” does appear a difficult task for a country like India, but it is not an impossible one. It needs good co-operation between the public, the government and the health care system to achieve this goal.

Ironically, when AIDS was detected in early 1980s, there was not a single case recognized in India.  But the failure of the health care system to control the infection saw a whooping increase in the number of cases following the detection of the first case in 1986; estimates from 2009 reveal that there are nearly 2.4 million HIV-positive people living in India !  Initially, the infection was seen only in sex workers and truck drivers; today it affects all sections of the Indian society. 

India, as a nation usually performs worse than its South Asian neighbors when it comes to basic healthcare parameters – the infant mortality rate of Bangladesh (37) and Sri Lanka (11) are lower than India’s – but there’s one disease that the country has been battling successfully – HIV/AIDS.

According to the latest UNAIDS report, India managed to reduce its HIV count by a staggering 56% while both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka saw an increase in HIV cases by 25%. This has led to various international figures like praising India’s HIV/AIDS prevention model.

India is not alone though in reining the overall spread of the disease. Worldwide, the number of people newly infected continues to fall : the number of people (adults and children) acquiring HIV infection in 2011 (2.5 million) is 20 percent lower than in 2001. 
In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide. This represents a 24 percent decline in AIDS-related mortality compared with 2005 when 2.3 million deaths occurred.

The efforts to tame the overall spread of the disease have, however, yet to make a significant dent in the worst affected high risk category. According to the latest Technical Report of India’s HIV estimates, at the national level, HIV prevalence is highest amongst the injecting drug users (IDU) at 12.22 percent followed by men who have sex with men (MSM) at 6.82 percent and female sex workers (FSW) at 5.92 percent respectively.

Nationally, in India the prevalence rate for adult female is 0.29 percent, while for male it is 0.43 percent.  This means that for every 100 people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHAs), 61 are men and 39 women.  Prevalence is also high in the 15-49 age group ( 88.7 percent of all infections ), indicating that AIDS still threatens the cream of society, those in the prime of their working life.’  

Globally, the biggest gain has been made in reducing new HIV infections among children. Half of the global reductions in new HIV infections in the last two years have been among newborn children. The new HIV infections in children have dropped by 24 percent in the last two years. The break-up of the category in India is not readily available.  

Rapid increases in Anti-retro-viral therapy for AIDS (ART) coverage are helping more countries achieve universal access to treatment, care and support. Anti retro viral therapy has emerged as a powerful force for saving lives. In the last 24 months the numbers of people accessing treatment has increased by 63 percent globally. In India approximately 40 -59 percent of eligible people were receiving ART at the end of 2011.

If we look around we would see that the prevention activities are not happening very actively. It is high time that one should be aware of the fact that care and prevention are part of the same continuum to control the spread of the infection.’

World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us - individuals, communities and leaders - to take action and ensure that human rights are protected and global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment are met.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Singing Lowers Blood Pressure & Boosts Your Heart !! (New study).

Singing Lowers Blood Pressure !! (New study : Harvard Medical School, Boston) ....

Singing has distinct advantages over everyday chitchat. When we sing instead of speak, we have intonation, melody line, and crescendo, which gives us a broader vocabulary to express ourselves.
You don't have to be a professional to reap the benefits of singing.

While previous studies have shown that listening to music may help lower an individual's blood pressure, new research that was published in the March, 2011 issue of "American Journal Arthritis Care and Research" indicates that singing or producing melodies may provide similar benefits.

The researchers followed a 76-year-old woman through her treatment for bilateral knee osteoarthritis. Despite her use of several drug-based therapies, the doctors had to postpone the woman's procedure (total knee replacement surgery) due to her high blood pressure which had reached 240/120.

The patient asked her doctors if she could sing to ease her stress, a routine that she said sometimes helped her fall asleep at night. After two songs, her blood pressure reading was reduced to 180/90. The doctors were pleased with this result and asked her to continue singing periodically throughout the night. A morning evaluation showed that the woman's blood pressure still fell down to 160/90 and remained at this stable level and she was permitted to undergo treatment & the surgery (knee replacement) was successful.
"Singing is simple, safe, and free. Patients should be encouraged to sing if they wish," said the study's lead author Nina Niu. You don't have to be a professional to reap the benefits of singing.
“This is cost-free and toxicity-free,” said Niu. “Looking back, it makes a lot of sense. But when you’re in a hospital setting, you think, ‘We need to give the patient drugs.'
While previous studies have proved playing music can soothe patients, this case study by Niu and colleagues is the first to find a patient’s own singing can help tremendously.

“Before she was singing, she was in a range that qualifies for malignant hypertension ( very high B.P. ), when the patient is in danger,” said Niu. Twenty minutes of song not only decreased her blood pressure, but kept it down for several hours — long enough for surgery.

Even listening to good music has several health benefits ....
There are many reports of listening to good music and its health benefits ... for example, a 2007 Spanish study involving 207 patients found that listening to music before surgery was as effective as the prescription drug benzodiazepine in reducing blood pressure. Other research has found that listening to music can help reduce pain, including arthritis pain. BUT latest research indicates that SINGING or producing melodies may provide similar benefits.

Another study from Washington DC, about Singing for Seniors :-

Singing particularly in a chorus, seems to benefit the elderly particularly well. As part of a three-year study examining how singing affects the health of those 55 and older, a Senior Singers Chorale was formed by the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. The seniors involved in the chorale (as well as seniors involved in two separate arts groups involving writing and painting) showed significant health improvements compared to those in the control groups. Specifically, the singing group reported an average of :-

* 30 fewer doctor visits.
*Fewer eyesight problems.
*Less incidence of depression.
*Less need for medication.
*Fewer falls and other injuries.
Even lead researcher Dr. Gene D. Cohen, director of the Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., was surprised at how big of an effect the seniors' arts participation had on their health. "The average age of all the subjects was 80. This is higher than life expectancy. The fact that there was so much improvement in many areas was the surprise factor."
The seniors themselves also noticed health improvements, said Jeanne Kelly, director of the Levine School of Music, Arlington Campus, who led the choral group. The seniors reported :-

* Feeling better both in daily life and while singing.
* Their everyday voice quality was better.
* The tone of their speaking voice did not seem to age as much.
* Easier breathing.
* Better posture.

Singing can turn off the stress hormones that increase your blood pressure.
According to recent studies, singing your favorite songs for 20 minutes daily can send your Cortisol levels plunging by 25% or more. Listening to gospel songs, hymns or golden oldies, or what ever type of music calms and inspires you, can have the effect of slowing your beating and relaxing your heart muscles, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.
Your VOICE is a tool of expression and a vehicle for improving your well-being. Make a joyful noise: keep singing in the shower, no matter what the neighbors say. It could reduce your pain,tension, anxiety, stress, BP and prolong your life.

I do enjoy both singing and listening to good and old melodious music. Whenever I'm in pain or stress ... believe me ... music does wonders for me.

If you ever have the desire to break out into song -- in the shower, in the car, during morning/evening walk, in the park or maybe at your neighbor's infamous karaoke night -- you should embrace it whole-heartedly. This ancient art not only feels good, it can enhance your well-being, boost your heart & immune system, reduce your feelings of pain & stress and even prolong your life.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Secret to Control Anger/Temper – Use Your Wrong Hand. .... A new study.

Are you one of those facing anger issues ?.
Unable to control your temper, feel like screaming at queue jumpers or sly colleagues or bossy people.

Well now there is an easy way out.
NO you don’t need to do meditation or even count to ten to control your rage.
All you got to do is a slightly odd kind of exercise – Just Use Your ''WRONG HAND'' claims a study.

Now if anyone wants to control temper then train oneself to use the ‘wrong hand' as a way of self control, ... a recent study has reported, which was published in March, 2012 issue of the ''Journal Current Directions in Psychological Science''.
A more aggressive person usually harms himself by lacking self control and does not understand what he has done and how it could be control.
Dr Thomas Denson of the University of New South Wales in a study showed that people who were able to use their non-dominant 'wrong hand' up to two weeks were able to keep their aggression in check much better. So if you are right handed, you are told by Dr. Denson to make use of your left hand ‘for pretty much anything that is safe to do.

( Stirring tea with left hand ).
’Thus for instance if you are right handed you must try to get into the habit of switching on TV, opening a door, using remote controls or stirring a cup of tea etc with your non-dominant left hand, while the left-handers must do just the opposite as according to Dr. Denson ‘This requires people to practice self control because their habitual tendency is to use their dominant hands.”
(Opening door with left hand) Dr. Denson opines that practicing self-control is not really different from getting better at a hobby we indulge in like say golf or playing piano. It is basically self control which keeps us from hitting out at queue breakers or throttling scheming colleagues.
(Using mobile with left hand).
Dr Denson also believes that the more you practice controlling your impulses over long term, the more your self control capacity gets stronger over time “It is just like practicing anything, really - it is hard at first.” But, over a period of time, it can make anything annoying easier to deal with.

(Using a remote with left hand).
In studies he showed people who try to use their non-dominant hand for two weeks keep a lid on their aggression better.
(Thumbs up with left hand)

(Plug in/out with left hand)

(Pointing things with left hand)

(Writing with left hand).
In one experiment, participants were mildly insulted by another student and were given the option of retaliating with a blast of white noise, a combination of all the different frequencies of sound also known as static.
Those who had practiced self control responded less aggressively.

Road rage: Is self-control a skill you can 'practice' like doing keyboard exercises to learn piano ?
Dr Denson and colleagues said criminologists and sociologists have long believed people commit violent crimes when an opportunity arises and they are low on self-control. He said: ‘It is an impulsive kind of thing.’
For the last ten years or so psychologists have joined this research, using new ways of manipulating self-control in experiments, and found self control and aggression really are tightly linked.
Studies have also found that, after people have had to control themselves for a while, they behave more aggressively. So longer the duration, better it is.
Dr Denson said: ‘I think, for me, the most interesting findings that have come out of this is that if you give aggressive people the opportunity to improve their self control, they are less aggressive.’
It is not that aggressive people don’t want to control themselves - they just aren’t very good at it.
In fact, if you put aggressive people in a brain scanner and monitor their brain activity while insulting them, the parts involved in self control are actually more active than in less aggressive people.
So it might be possible to teach people who struggle with anger or violence problems to control themselves more easily.
The same basic fact is predicted in the figure below which depicts the nornal brain centres of a Right-Handed person.

For people not inclined towards violence, it may also be useful to practice self control by trying to improve your posture, for example. Added Dr Denson: ‘ if you practice that over the long term, your self control capacity gets stronger over time. It is just like practicing anything, really - it is hard at first.’
But, over time, it can make that annoying colleague easier to deal with.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

GUAVA ( अमरूद् ) ... The Amazing Super Fruit in News !!!

We are aware about Amla and its health benefits but never thought that Guava ( अमरूद् ) will be so much beneficial. In our general view, we think and perceive that costlier fruits would yield more benefits but it is now recently proved wrong and baseless by a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad (India),

Guava certainly is the “Fruit in the News”. Besides its much proven health benefits, the fruit is being discussed lately because of its high ''Antioxidant'' levels.Guava (Psidium guajava L.) has always been a very important fruit crop of India. It has always gained great respect because of its ...
(1). High nutritive value,
(2). Easy availability,
(3). Low economic value,
(4). Pleasant aroma, and
(5). Good flavor.

Guava has the second highest content of vitamin C, next to Amla. It is also very high in the soluble fiber ''Pectin'' which cleans and rinses our intestines well.
A guava weighing 100g (approx a medium sized guava) would contain 260 mg of Vitamin C (recommended intake is 40mg per day) and 8.5 gm of dietary fiber (recommended intake is 25 gm to 30 gm per day). Guava is also rich in Carotenoids and Potassium. The nutrient content of fruit differs with the cultivar, stage of maturity and season. Guava is in the true sense a SUPER FOOD.

Apart from the fruit, guava leaves also have an array of qualities which are healing and curative. Guava leaf is 'antibacterial' in nature. Studies conducted in the past have proven the leaves to be helpful in Diabetes. They help regulate blood glucose levels. Guava leaves could also be consumed like any other cooked green leafy vegetable or juice. This would bring nutrition on the platter absolutely free of cost.

Guava ... Higly rich in Antioxidants :-
An epidemiological study was conducted recently by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad (India), to know the ANTIOXIDANT properties of different fruits. The study included only those fruits that are easily available in the Indian market and are commonly consumed by maximum Indians.
The fruits were Guava, Pine-apple, Indian plum, Mango (ripe), Apple, Chiku, Watermelon, Custard apple, Grapes (green), Orange, Papaya (ripe), Pomegranate, Sweet lime and Banana.

The results showed that out of the 14 fresh fruits, guava and mango were found to be the richest in antioxidants. Anti-oxidant property of guava was found to be 496 mg / 100gm, which is said to be sufficient to get rid of 'free radicals' (wear and tear/disease causing chemicals) present in our body. The antioxidant activity of the fruits in the study ranged from as high as 496 mg /100 gm in Guava to as low as 22 mg /100 gm in pineapple.
''Lycopene'' is the potent antioxidant found in abundance in Guava.
A guava provides 2.9 g of Lycopene, an antioxidant that protects healthy cells from toxins that accumulate in the body due to metabolism and environmental pollution. The damaging effect of toxins includes premature aging, cancer development because they damage DNA in charge of growth and development.

Free radicals hasten ageing and are responsible for causung many Cancers and many other degenerative disorders. So, the main objective behind the study was to know the antioxidant properties in naturally occurring fruits that could fight against free radicals.

(Anti oxidant model)

The study has brought forth the benefit of the natural occurring antioxidants in lowering the risk of degenerative diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Atherosclerosis (hardening of blood channels).
Dr Sreeramulu, from the Endocrinology and Metabolism division of the National Institute of Nutrition’s and the lead author of this study, stated that “Natural antioxidants have attracted considerable interest among nutritionists, food manufacturers and consumers because of their presumed safety and potential therapeutic value”.
Dr Sreeramulu highlighted the importance of the findings saying that “even the commonly available Guava can enrich the Indian diet”. He also added that “We usually believe expensive fruits are the richest source of nutrition. But our extensive research shows that highly economical fruits like ''Guava'' are rich in antioxidants the most that help scavenge free radicals that destroy tissues."
The Indian plum, the custard apple and India’s beloved mangoes, all came after guava in antioxidant richness.
The study also found that while there is a presence of antioxidant concentrations of just under 500 mg per 100 gm in guava, 330 mg in plum and 135 mg in pomegranate, apples have a quarter of the antioxidants compared with guava and bananas have a tiny fraction with 30 mg per 100gm.

Other benefits that this Indian superfood (Guava) provides are as follows :

(1). It slows diarrhea and loose bowels ...
Guava and guava leaves are very rich in astringents. Astringents are compounds that make the gums feel tighter. These astringents are alkaline in nature and bind up loose bowels. They also have disinfectant and antibacterial properties and thus are helpful for the stomach and intestines by assisting in inhibiting dangerous microbial growth causing diarrhea.

(2). It relieves cold and cough ...
Guava and guava juice also help in giving relief from cough and cold as they contain antioxidants and also disinfect the respiratory system.

(3). It allows healthy digestion and bowel movement ...
Guava is one of the best sources of soluble fiber. The seeds serve as a natural laxative. It is a boon for the mankind as they are excellent in maintaining the stomach health.

(4). It helps control diabetes and blood pressure ...
Guava is hypoglycemic in nature and also helps to control blood pressure when consumed on regular basis.
Guava leaf tea may be effective in lowering blood glucose levels. According to a study published in 2010 in "Nutrition and Metabolism" and conducted by the Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research in Tokyo, Japan, consumption of guava leaf tea inhibits alpha-glucosidase enzymes. The inhibition of these enzymes results in reduction of blood glucose levels; the suppression of elevated blood glucose levels is critical in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

(5). It helps maintain healthy and glowing skin ...
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and its condition speaks volumes about your health. Rashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and oily, dry and aged skin, may reflect stress, lack of exercise or a poor diet. Improving your skin's health is possible in a variety of ways, including adding more skin-supportive nutrients in your diet. Guava is a tropical fruit that provides several nutrients like Vit. C, Vit. K, Lycopene & water that support skin maintenance. Including it in your diet may help you make progress toward the beautiful complexion you want that is more than just skin deep.
The abundance of astringents in the fruit and leaves helps tighten the muscles. The skin could also be washed by its decoction to give a bright and clean look.

(6). It helps in fat reduction and loose weight ...

Guava is a one of the best fruits to consume, especially for a person on a weight loss regime. It is highly satiating and satisfying. Having just a medium sized guava can take care of hunger for next three hours easily.

(7). Mouth Ailments ...

Guava leaf tea is useful in treating ailments associated with the mouth. According to "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" by Jonny Bowden, the tea made from the guava leaf can treat ulcers in the mouth. In addition, as a gargling agent, guava leaf tea can alleviate discomfort associated with sore throats, laryngitis and mouth swelling.

(8). Infections ...
Guava leaf tea has shown effectiveness when used as a topical treatment of skin and soft tissue infections. A study conducted at Federal University of Technology in Yola, Nigeria revealed the components of the guava leaf extract promoted anti-bacterial properties, which prevented infections in surgical wounds and other skin and soft tissue infections.

It’s best to eat the whole raw fruit. But guava has a tendency to mix and merge with other flavors and create a delightful new taste, so, it could be used to prepare vegetables, cocktails, floats, punches and desserts.

''A guava a day would definitely keep the doctor away''.

For super health and super energy make sure not to miss eating the guava when it is in season... as it is right now in Indian subcontinent and the price now in this season is JUST 15-20 Rs./KG... So friends go for it right now on daily basis for the next 2-3 months as Indian markets are already flooded with this super fruit.