• August 19, 2011
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15 Minutes Exercise will Increase the Life Span by 3 Years

If we spend 15 minutes a day for exercise, we will be able to increase our life span by 3 years, also probability of death can be reduced by 14%. If we do another 15 minutes of physical work, we can further reduce the probability of death by another 4%. This was invented by National Health Research Institute in Taiwan by observing more than 4 lakh people. It was also discovered in the research that exercise can reduce the risk of cancer too.

Cancer death probability in people who are keeping away from exercise are 11% more than those who do regular exercise. The study was conducted by NHRA between 1996 and 2008 on 4 lakh people in the age group of 20 years and above.

Another study published by British Journal of Sports Medicine reveals that a person who is in front of the television for 6 hours a day will have a reduced life span which will be 5 years less than the actual one. The instructions published by UK government recently about exercise instructs adults to do 150 minutes of exercise per week.

  • August 03, 2011
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High Sodium and Low Potassium Diet in Combination Increases Cardiovascular Risks

We were always aware of the risks of a high sodium diet. A new study revealed that the combination of high sodium and low potassium in our diet can increase the risks of cardiovascular disease and even cause death.  The lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, who is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says that, the independent action of the two minerals, as high salt or low potassium is not as risky as a combination of the two.

Increased salt intake is one of the causes of high blood pressure.  Potassium helps to counterbalance the effects of salt on blood pressure. High salt intake can increase the risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases by 20%, and high potassium diet can reduce the risk by 20%. Therefore we must reduce our salt intake, which is usually high in the processed food. As fruits and vegetables are rich sources of potassium, we must stress on these natural food in our diet. Besides, fruits and vegetables are low in sodium too.

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) encourages people to eat potassium rich food and restrict salty diet. As per the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, salt intake must be limited to less than 2300mg/day on an average, and less than 1500mg for those who are above 50, hypertensive, or suffer from renal ailments or diabetes.

  • July 29, 2011
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Latest Discovery Offers Options for Reducing Risks after Blood Transfusion

Studies have indicated that banked blood, especially the blood that is stored for longer period is inferior in its function. During the period of storage, blood looses its ability to transport oxygen. Timothy J. McMahon, M.D., PhD, who is an associate professor of medicine at Duke, says it is important to find methods to optimize and maximize the shelf life of the stored blood. 

Nitric oxide helps the blood vessels to relax. But the stored blood slowly looses the chemical and thus making the blood slow in its circulation as well as exchange of oxygen. The duke researchers also explains the role of ATP (adenosine—5’—triphosphate). ATP works as an anti-adhesive. Red Blood Cells or erythrocytes release ATP, which helps the vessel walls to relax helping the blood vessels to dilate and promote normal blood flow. As the ATP released is diminished, it makes the blood more dense and viscous. The blood develops a sticky quality. The older the transfused blood, the higher are the risks. The blood cells tend to adhere to the walls of blood vessels and have a diminished oxygen transporting ability. The patient can be at the risk of cardiac arrest, or respiratory failure or other serious complications.

In order to prevent these risks after transfusion of old blood, it is necessary to improve or strengthen the RBC's with additional ATP. It is understood that with the release of additional ATP, the stored blood will have an increased ability to transport oxygen as well as normalize the blood flow within the vessels reducing the risks post-transfusion.

  • July 28, 2011
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How to Tackle Fatigue During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is believed to be the most beautiful stage in a woman’s life. However, this beautiful phase is accompanied by its baggage of fatigue, tiredness, and other woes. It is common to feel debilitated and tired during pregnancy. The body has to work to support not just the mother, but also the foetus in the womb. The mother’s body has to nurture another evolving life. The course of expectancy involves various hormonal changes besides the physical.

The hormone levels are boosted. The body is functioning overtime to cope up with various changes like demands of blood supply to the foetus, altered blood glucose level, and metabolic rate etc. Every nutritional element and water utilized is more than that of a non-expecting woman.

By the beginning of the second trimester, the body is almost adjusted to hormonal changes. This is one time to pamper yourself to the maximum as for the benefit of both you and the baby. Feeling drowsy and tired in between is common. Do not overwork to get debilitated, and seek help instead. Taking small naps twice a day is surely energy boosting.  Timely intake of food, taking care of its nutritive value is important. Replenish your body with fruits and vegetables. Cut on caffeine, and opt for green tea instead. Make sure you have lots of water. For exercise, a small walk is sufficient, but never over do. Breathing right is very important. Inhale slowly and deeply. This helps revitalize the body and infuse freshness.

  • July 26, 2011
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Robotic Cardiac Surgery - A Technological Boon

Robotic heart surgery also known as the unmanned surgery was developed with the aim of overcoming the limitations of the minimally invasive cardiac surgeries. The robotic cardiac surgery is done using the Da Vinci surgical system which comprises of a surgeon’s console, robotic cart consisting of 4 surgeon manipulated arms and a HD 3-D visual system. During the robotic cardiac surgery the expert cardiac surgeon sits at the nearby computer console placed in the same Operation Theatre as the patient. Through the console the surgeon gets the 3-D magnified view of the surgical area. The computer console is attached to the various surgical instruments attached to the several robotic arms and helps the surgeon direct the robotic arm movements. The computer console translates the surgeon’s movements into the robotic arm movements which in turn carry out the procedure. Da Vinci surgical system has the tremor filter and controls for scaling the robotic arm movements.

When the surgeons perform the cardiac surgery manually then inspite of all the skills and the expertise the opening in the patient’s chest is large involving the splitting of the sternum and the retraction of the rib cage to get the clear access to the heart and the heart lung machine is needed to pump the blood in the body during the procedure. With the emergence of the revolutionary robotic cardiac surgery the entire procedure can be done with minimal invasion and maximum precision. Just 3-4 small ports in the chest are required to access every nook and corner of the heart. The robotic hands have the 360 degree range of movement making it possible to access every part of the heart.

Due to the minimal invasion of the chest tissues the healing time is much lesser and recovery of the patient is much faster than that in the conventional open heart surgeries. The patient can resume the regular activities in 2-3 weeks after the surgery.

  • July 25, 2011
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Mother’s Stress Can Pass on to the Foetus

Pregnancy is a very sensitive stage in a woman’s life. Undergoing a number of physical and hormonal changes, each day is a new challenge. We have always advocated a stress-free atmosphere for the mother-to-be. A recent study on a small group of 25 women, who have had emotionally stressful pregnancy and their children, now aged between 10 and 19 years, has stressed on a direct link with mental illness and behavioural problems.

The women in focus were those who had to face stress and domestic violence during their pregnancy. Researchers found that GR (glucocorticoid receptor gene) that fortifies and regulates the hormonal response of the body and mind to stress is altered in these children born to the studied mothers. The altered GR makes the individual hypersensitive mentally and hormonally and can get anxious and triggered easily on slightest impulse. Their ability to bear stress may be far lower as compared to the others.

Many experts opine that the psychological foundation begins since conception and thus the maternal psycho-social environment can have a great impact on the unborn baby in the womb. 

  • July 23, 2011
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Passive Smoking Can Cause Damage to the Ear

“Cigarette smoking is injurious to health’. The latest that we learn about tobacco smoking is that it is not only injurious to the smoker, but also to the bystander, or someone who is exposed to the smoke. The greater the exposure, the greater is the magnitude of damage.

A study conducted on over 1500 teens in the US, suggested that 40% of those who were not direct smokers but were in company of tobacco smokers had detected hearing impairment.

The tobacco smoke is known to cause middle ear infection. Cotinine is a by-product of nicotine which is formed when tobacco smoke comes in contact with the body. A blood test conducted on second-hand or passive smoke exposed individuals’ revealed presence of cotinine in the blood. Tobacco smoke is studied to disrupt blood circulation in the small vessels of the ear causing reduced oxygenation and accumulation of toxic waste which leads to the damage. 

  • July 22, 2011
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Coffee Can Reduce Risks of Liver Cancer by Almost 44%!

Liver is a vital organ performing various important functions of our body like protein synthesis, lipid and glucose metabolism, manufacturing bile, controlling digestion and metabolism, detoxification, combating infections, and many more. For ages coffee was known as being bad for health. Since a few years, the therapeutic effects of coffee have surprised all the coffee critics, and now coffee is considered as beneficial for health.

The Straits Times newspaper reported on a study conducted on the ethnic Chinese of Singapore. The study evaluated that those who consumed three or more cups of coffee a day are almost 44% lesser susceptible to developing liver cancer. Coffee beans contain cafestol oil and kahweol oil which have anti-cancerous property and protects the liver.

Cirrhosis of liver is one of the underlying causative factors that can lead to liver cancer. Various studies have shown that coffee can reduce the risks of cirrhosis of liver and thus it can control the risk of liver cancer. It has been studied that coffee has the ability to reduce the risks of various cancers like prostrate, colon, bladder, mouth, breast etc, besides liver.

  • July 22, 2011
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Retinal Blood Vessels Photography May Help Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Almost 35 million people are believed to be suffering from Alzheimer’s. If somebody falls for no particular reason, he must be evaluated for dementia, says William Thies, the Alzheimer's Association's scientific director.

Many a time’s patients visit ophthalmologists due to vision impairment which is one of the few initial signs of the Alzheimer’s. Scientist’s claim that, now on conducting eye test by taking photography of the retina it would be easier to identify the disease.  Researchers from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO developed this test that involved measuring the width of the blood vessels of the retina.

The test was conducted on 136 individuals of whom 13 were suffering from the disease, and 13 individuals who have mild cognitive impairment.  It was studied that the width of the blood vessels in the normal were different from those who we suffering. This recent finding further supported the study of Dr. Lee Goldstein of Boston University that the amyloid protein which forms the Alzheimer's brain plaque can be measured in the lens of the eyes indicating their risks of being prone to the disease.



  • July 07, 2011
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Eating Carrots Reduce Risk of Cancer

A recent study suggested the effect of carrots on the development of cancer. Carrot can halt the progress of cancer in early stages. Carrots contain retinoic acid which has shown to have property to reverse the multiplication of cells in cancer in the early stages. However retinoic acid cannot help in the tertiary and advanced stages.   

Another study conducted by the scientists at the University of Newcastle attributed cancer fighting ability of carrot due to falcarinol. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide and fatty alcohol that is found in carrots. It protects the carrot roots from fungal infection.    The team of researchers found that falcarinol, minimised the risk of cancer, developing in rats by one third. Falcarinol is a polyacetylene compound which has more anti-cancer properties than beta carotene. Test was conducted on 24 rats with pre-cancerous tumours. They were divided into 3 groups and fed different diets. Rats that ate carrots along with normal supply of food, and the group of rats that were given falcarinol (quantity equivalent to eating carrots) along with their feeds, were found to be 33% less prone to develop cancer than the third group that was kept away from carrot and falcarinol.

Carrots were always known as a nutrient rich food with a rich source of vitamin A and anti-oxidants. It is excellent for eyes too. With the recent research, carrot is a must in our daily diet with its anti-cancerous property.      

  • June 23, 2011
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Chronic Pains Linked With Obesity and Exercise

Obesity is a result of sedentary life style with lack of exercise, fatty diet. It can also be a result of hypothyroidism, depression, or can be drug induced too. BMI or Body Mass Index is the measure of weight related to height. Overweight is evaluated as a BMI between 25kg/m2 and 30kg/m2. A person is recognized or called obese when the BMI is above 30kg/m2. A study conducted on over 30,000 adults concluded the undeniable link between obesity and chronic pains. Obesity leads to reduced physical activity which further causes weight gain. An in-depth analysis on the statistical study done on BMI of individuals as well as how often they exercised revealed that, people who exercised for 2 hrs or more were 25% less likely to suffer from backache or neck/shoulder pain later in life, as compared to those who did not exercise. Similarly women who exercised 2 hrs per week are almost 8 to 9% lesser prone to lower back pain and neck or shoulder pain as compared to those who were inactive. Overweight and obese are more likely to develop chronic pains in future. Obese men and women have approximately 21% more chance to develop chronic lower back pain and neck or shoulder pain as compared to the normal weighing individuals. A balanced diet with moderate exercise is the best way to manage adverse effects of weight and reduce the risk of future chronic pains.

  • June 11, 2011
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Digoxin a Possible Treatment for Prostate Cancer

An exciting new research combining the laboratory science and the epidemiology conducted by the scientists at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found out that the men taking Digoxin, a drug used for Congestive Heart Failure and Cardiac Arrhythmias are at lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Digoxin is the drug derived from the foxglove plant and may help prevent or even treat prostate cancer.The study in its niche stage has yielded promising results with the good scope of further research in the field. The further research is due to understand the method Digoxin helps prevent prostate cancer.   Digoxin has the potential to curb the advancement of the prostate cancer by decreasing the amount of the protein HIF-1, responsible for promoting the growth of new blood vessels supplying more nutrition and oxygen to the cancer cells and enhancing their growth. Study establishes that the cardiac patients who take Digoxin regularly are at 25% lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who do not use this drug. Moreover those men who take Digoxin for over 10 years are at 50% lower risk of having prostate cancer than other men.   As the study is in its niche stage the scientists do not claim that the drug prevents prostate cancer nor do they favor the use of the drug to treat the prostate cancer patients. The study has to go a long way to establish the pathways used by Digoxin or similar drugs to prevent prostate cancer. The greatest advantage of using the current drugs for new medical conditions (known as drug repositioning) is the time saved in performing the long and rigorous safety tests for the drug.   A team of scientists at John Hopkins are now planning to conduct a study on the prostate cancer patients to determine the effect of Digoxin drug on them. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the encouraging future study results.