Saturday, 16 May, 2015

Lack of food safety killing 2.2 mn every year

Lack of government policies on food and water safety is causing the death of 2.2 million people, including children, every year across the globe, health experts said on Sunday.

They said the use of pesticides and fertilizers in the past 50 years has grown nearly 170 times.

As a consequence, persistent residues of the chemicals contaminate food and disperse in the environment and find their way into the food chain.

"There has been rampant use of chemicals resulting in several short-term and long-term effects on the human body. High use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides while growing food grains results in food-borne diseases," Behram Pardiwalla, consultant internal medicine at Wockhardt hospital, said in a statement.

He said tackling the problem was necessary because toxic compounds like pesticides, heavy metals and toxins of fungal or bacterial origin could also contaminate the food during manufacture, storage or transportation.

Observing that unsafe food kills an estimated 700,000 children in Southeast Asia alone every year, he said: "Even if the food is free of bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemicals, other contaminants, additives and adulterants can cause over 200 diseases ranging from diarrhoea to cancer."

Pradeep Gadge, consultant diabetologist at Shreya diabetes centre, said: "The lack of surveillance by the government on food adulteration is another big issue that is contributing to the food poisoning among people.

"Adulteration of milk is very common. Some milk suppliers add salt to slow down the decomposition process of milk. Similarly cane sugar is often added to milk. Consumption of such milk leads to multiple health hazards especially in diabetic and blood pressure patients.

"Kidney patients and blood pressure patients suffer serious consequences due to the salt content of such adulterated milk," he said.

Apart from urging the governments of the countries to ensure food safety, they also said that there was a need to work with NGOs to raise awareness among the people.

The WHO has designated food safety as the theme for World Health Day-2015 on April 7.

In a statement, WHO's South Asian director Poonam Khetrapal said food safety was one of the key focus areas under the International Health Regulations -- IHR 2005 -- which include all public health emergencies of international concern that involve contaminated food and outbreaks of food-borne diseases.

She said WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have established the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) to rapidly share information during food safety emergencies.

Saurabh Arora, a pharmaceutical experts and founder of said there were 306 disease outbreaks due to food contamination in 2014 alone.

"Food that is produced and processed at one place may become contaminated at the source, but affect the health of the consumer, located at the other side of the globe," he said in a statement.

Dealing with depression: Symptoms and treatment

Recent times have seen a lot been written and spoken about depression. And mental health experts say that they are glad that there is an increasing awareness about this. 

Undiagnosed depression is said to lead to a host of problems like chronic anxiety, anger bouts and even pain disorders. Depression can affect relationships and careers if not diagnosed an treated in time. Actress Deepika Padukone received a lot of positive feedback when she opened up about her own battle with depression. The star said that there should be no embarrassment in asking for help when it comes to dealing with depression, and that it would help them hugely.

Experts agree with Padukone. They say that the sooner one accepts that there is a problem and seeks treatment, the better (and at times quicker) the recovery. One of the major contributing factors that may exacerbate depression is loneliness. As strange as it may sound, even in a bustling city like Mumbai, one can feel alone.

Other factors like marital discord, extreme work pressure, high competition and expectations can all lead to depression. Don't, however, allow it to drag you down. Help may just be a call away.

- Continuous feelings of sadness or anxiety for no specific reason.
- Loss of appetite or a significant increase in appetite leading to drastic weight loss or gain.
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping almost all the time.
- Feeling irritable about little things and losing your temper often.
- Think that nothing will ever go right in your life and feel restlessness.
- Feelings of pessimism, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness or helplessness are often reported in depressed individuals.
- Disinterest in regular activities and cutting yourself out from social dos. 

Treating depression 
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and EMDR Therapy are said to be among the most effective intervention for treating depression, say experts. Together with medication, they work well to treat this disorder. Clinical psychologist and author Seema Hingorrany says that unfortunately there is still a stigma associated with seeking help for emotional and mental problems, including depression. "Sadly, feelings of depression often are viewed as a sign of weakness rather than as a signal that something is out of balance. The absolute fact is that people with depression cannot simply 'snap out of it' and feel better spontaneously. For anyone who is facing treatment, congratulate yourself on the awareness and the fact that you love yourself enough to want to feel good," she says.

Friday, 19 October, 2012

17 facts and myths about great skin

Skin care is a tricky area. Your skin needs nourishment and care if you want it to look radiant and healthy. And with advances in medical science, you can greatly delay the signs of ageing. 

Here are some skin care facts and myths that you should be aware about...

1. Teens wanting blemish-free skin and fairness with over-the-counter (OTC) products advertised by film stars must identify the need for using these products. Radiant and lustrous hair cannot be achieved using OTC products. Consult a dermatologist — use the products they give instead of fancy OTC products whose unsupervised, prolonged usage can lead to hyper-pigmentation.

2. The young woman just out of her teens blessed with good hair and healthy skin needs to pay attention to what she eats, make sure she gets adequate sleep (seven to eight hours), exercise regularly and avoid taking stress. She must cleanse, moisturise and use a sunscreen.

3. What you put in your mouth is more important than what you put on your skin! If your core is healthy, it will show on your face. Have a diet rich with Vitamin A and antioxidant foods, lots of coloured fruits and vegetables. Regular exercise improves circulation and blood supply, and flushes out toxins. 

4. Bad hair days exist. The weather can wreak havoc on hair. Dry weather can make your hair frizzy, humidity can make it limp, stress can turn it oily. Products and chemical treatments that don't agree with you will also give you bad hair days.

5. Stress increases cortisol levels and this over activity of the oil gland will make one prone to breakouts. Psychological problems can lead to acne.

6. Fortunately, most skin problems if identified and treated early can be reversible.

7. The ageing process depends on the genes, but in a woman, it is any time between the mid 20s to late 30s.

8. If you get adequate sleep (the skin repairs and rejuvenates itself when we're asleep), eat the right diet, stay active and keep yourself hydrated, you won't regret later. Water retains moisture in the skin making it glow. Decrease stress levels and know your skin type (oily, dry, a combination, sensitive or mature skin) and use products accordingly. Sunscreen will avoid blotchiness and dullness. Exfoliate your skin at least one a week. This will remove dead skin and helps the moisturiser absorb better.

9. Men shouldn't shy away from approaching dermatologists for skin problems. Men have an added advantage — shaving daily is an automatic exfoliating process.

10. All commercially sold beauty products are not harmful. If made well and prescribed for a reason by an expert, they are beneficial; but certainly not when self-prescribed.

11. Continuous and long-term use of make-up does not damage the natural oils and texture of the skin if the make-up is of good quality, applied correctly, suitable for your skin type and removed properly.

12. Botox, fillers, wrinkle erasers, skin tightening machines, laser and mild non-invasive treatments are a boon.

13. Women in their 20s want fairer skin. A woman in her 30s fears blotchy and dehydrated skin, pigmentation etc. By the time she is 40, she fears lines, crow's feet, creases, deeper folds, wrinkles and sagging skin. Women in their 20s and 30s can start with microdermabrasion non-chemical peels, which remove dead, outer skin layers and delay the ageing process. As a woman ages, her dermatologist can tell her what she needs and doesn't. A woman in her 40s may need to get rid of wrinkles and folds near her nose and mouth and can opt for fillers and skin tightening. A woman in her 50s can go in for laser rejuvenation. This can erase 10 years off her face.

14. Dermatology and cosmetology are not the same. A dermatologist has done an in-depth study of skin, skin care and its problems. A cosmetologist is an expert on cosmetics on skin. A dermatologist can treat external as well as internal skin problems — something that a cosmetologist can't. The skin is a mirror of one's internal system. It can indicate more problems than just advancing age.

15. Botox does not harm the body. What is injected is a purified toxin. It relaxes the muscle where it is injected and is an excellent treatment for lines, creases, wrinkles, crow's feet etc.

16. It is never too late to salvage your skin. There are several non-invasive treatments like chemical peels and hydra dermabrasion which rejuvenate the skin. Non-abrasive skin tightening machines can help.

17. The world has become a smaller place with advances in medical science. Indian dermatologists update themselves by attending international conferences and undergoing constant training. The same treatments available in New York can be availed at a clinic in Mumbai. People prefer doing it here instead going abroad.

Saturday, 14 January, 2012

WHO lauds India’s polio-free drive

NEW DELHI : India's success in controlling polio - not reporting a single case of the crippling disease in 12 months - has been lauded by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Calling it "India's greatest public health achievement", the WHO said the number of polio-endemic countries - those which have never stopped indigenous wild poliovirus transmission - could soon be reduced to a historical low of three: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. 

"India was once recognized as the world's epicentre of polio. If all pending laboratory investigations return negative, in the coming weeks India will officially be deemed to have stopped indigenous transmission of wild poliovirus. India's success is arguably its greatest public health achievement and has provided a global opportunity to push for the end of polio," said WHO's director-general Margaret Chan

Chan said the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is in full emergency mode and focused on using this momentum to bring down the crippling disease. "Stopping polio in India required creativity, perseverance and professionalism. The lessons from India must now be adapted and implemented through emergency actions to finish polio everywhere," Chan added. 

TOI on Friday had reported how countries like Angola, Lebanon, Tajikistan, Bangladesh and Namibia are fighting polio with most of them having imported the virus from India multiple times in the last decade. 

On similar lines, the WHO said, "Poliovirus can travel easily to polio-free areas. Stopping polio in India will prevent a recurrence of the polio outbreaks - due to virus of Indian origin - seen in recent years in countries as diverse as Angola, Bangladesh, Nepal, Russia and Tajikistan." 

Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr Thomas Frieden said, India must continue to protect its children through supplementary immunization activities and improved routine immunization coverage rates or risk a potentially horrific re-importation event. "Polio's history contains many cautionary tales," Dr Frieden said. 

"Polio anywhere in the world is a risk everywhere in the world, and to protect itself from a setback, India is appropriately planning to continue meticulous monitoring and intensive childhood vaccination against polio," he added. 

UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said, "India's achievement is proof positive that we can eradicate polio even in the most challenging environments - in fact, it is only by targeting these areas that we can defeat this evil disease. We have the ability to protect every last person, especially children, from this entirely preventable disease - and because we can, we must finish the job of eradicating polio globally, once and for all." 

Rotary International had first launched the global polio eradication drive in 1985. Rotary International's president Kalyan Banerjee said that with the intensity of transmission in India, many experts had predicted it would be the last country in the world to achieve eradication. 

In 2009, India had more polio cases than any other country in the world. India recorded 741 cases of polio in 2009 - nearly half the number of global cases. But, the nation reported only one case of polio from West Bengal on January 13, 2011. Since then, India has managed to keep the deadly virus at bay. Experts agree that the introduction of the new bivalent vaccine made a difference. 

India saw a 94% decline in polio cases in 2010. It recorded only 42 polio cases. The number of affected districts also saw a sharp dip - from 90 in 2008, 56 in 2009 to only 17 in 2010. Polio hotbed Uttar Pradesh reported 10 polio cases in 2010 as compared to 602 in 2009. 

Bihar recorded nine polio cases in 2010 against 117 in 2009. Scientific studies showed that BOPV induced a significantly higher immune response - 30% more than other trivalent or monovalent vaccines that was used earlier...

Thursday, 27 October, 2011

Some Help To Prevent/Treat BACK PAIN..

Back pain can occur due to various factors such as muscle strain, sprain or slipped disc. Being overweight can make back pain worse. One of the most common causes of back pain is doing work that you are not used to, such as carrying heavy objects or engaging in strenuous physical work.

What is a slipped disc?
The bones that make up your spine contain disc-like structures between them. When a disc gets swollen and presses against the nerves, the condition is called slipped disc. It can be extremely painful and can affect the quality of your life.
The condition is usually caused while trying to lift heavy objects. Sometimes you may not be aware of the cause of your slipped disc. The good news is that slipped disc and other forms of back pain can be relieved by doing some simple exercises and/or medications. Getting your muscles in better shape and improving your posture when you are sitting, standing and sleeping can also help in preventing back ache.

Back pain relief

If you have hurt your back or are suffering from a backache, follow these steps to get some quick relief:
  • Lie on your back on the floor with pillows under your knees as shown in the picture.
  • You may also keep your feet on a chair with your hips and knees bent as depicted in the picture.
  • Do this simple procedure for 1–2 days.
  • Do not employ this procedure for long as it can weaken your muscles and delay pain relief.
  • Walk for 5–10 minutes once in a while, even if you have pain, as physical movement aids in faster recovery.
  • Other procedures such as using heating pads, ice packs and body massages can also provide relief. But it is best to consult your doctor before using any of these procedures.

Seeking medical help
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, get in touch with your doctor immediately:
  • Your back pain spreads down up to your knees.
  • You feel numb in your groin, rectal area, legs and foot.
  • You have fever, weakness and sweating.
  • The pain is so unbearable that you are not able to move.
  • The pain does not go away even after 2 or 3 weeks.

Preventing back pain

The following tips will help you guard yourself from hurting your back:
  • When you lift heavy objects, keep your knees bent and squat while lifting the object. Do not bend to lift it.
  • While carrying the object hold it close to your chest, keep your spine erect and straight.
  • When you are lifting the object, do not twist your body.
  • When you move heavy objects, push it instead of pulling it.
  • Do not remain seated for long hours. Get up once in a while and stretch your body.
  • Do not wear high heeled footwear.
  • Exercise regularly. Lack of exercise can cause backache.

While standing
When you stand for long hours, shift your body weight from one foot to the other. You can also keep one foot in an elevated position by placing it on a stone, stool or raised platform. Stand straight and maintain a good posture.

While sitting
Use chairs with straight backs which provide adequate support to your lower back. When you want to turn, do so by moving your entire body. Do not twist your body at the waist. This can cause back strain. While driving, sit straight with your seat forward within easy reach of the controls.

While sleeping
Sleep on your side with your knees bent. Put a pillow under your head to support your neck. If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees and a small pillow under your lower back.

Certain exercises can help you strengthen your back. However, consult your doctor before doing these exercises; your doctor knows what is best for you.

One Life..

7 Billion, National Geographic Magazine

Dr.Aj 's to-read book montage

The Secret
Angels & Demons
Romeo and Juliet
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Virgin's Lover
The Alienist
The Time Machine
2001: A Space Odyssey
Mein Kampf
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Schindler's List
The Discoverers
Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
The First World War
Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
Tales From Malgudi.
The Bhagavad Gita

Dr.Aj Sean's favorite books »