Liver, bladder, pancreas experts hold conference

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International and national experts on hepatopancreatobiliary surgery deliberated upon various aspects of new advancements in treatment of liver, pancreas and gall bladder on the first day of Indian Chapter of International Hepato Pancreato Biliary Association (IHPBA) at Bhopal.

Heart attack takes 350 lives in an hour, says cardiologist

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Pointing out that in India nearly 350 people die every hour and almost 8400 every day due to heart attack, eminent cardiologist Dr. PC Manoria said, there was almost an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart attack in the country.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of the 19th annual conference of Association of Physicians of India (API) MP Chapter at Hotel Lake View Ashoka, here, in Sunday.
Several experts form across the country deliberated upon various medical issues on the first day.
Dr. Anand Somya form Mumbai spoke on spoke on treatment of varicose veins by laser therapy. He pointed out that the results of laser therapy were very positive. He stated that the patient undergoing laser therapy treatment experienced improvement in symptoms within a few days.
Earlier inaugurating the conference, State Urban Administration Minister Babulal Gaur, said the although medical science had made tremendous progress, yet the incidence of heart attack was increasing at a rapid pace. He pointed out that it was mainly due to faulty lifestyle.
Dr. Pankaj Manoria said that new drugs for preventing blood clotting had been giving tremendous results and were very effective.
API Chairman – elect Dr. R K Shrivastava said similar continuous medical education programmes would also be orgainised in rural areas. He said efforts would also be undertaken to increase the membership drive of the association.

Low-carbohydrate diets better for easing weight: study

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A low-carbohydrate diet is better than a standard, calorie-restricted one for cutting down weight and lowering blood levels of cancer-promoting hormone insulin, a British study has found.
Researchers at Genesis Prevention Centre at University Hospital in South Manchester, found that restricting carbohydrates two days per week may be a better dietary approach for preventing breast cancer and other diseases.
“It is interesting that the diet that only restricts carbohydrates but allows protein and fats is as effective as the calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet,” said Michelle Harvie, research dietician at the Genesis Prevention Centre.
Harvie and her colleagues compared three diets during four months for effects on weight loss and blood markers of breast cancer risk among 115 women with a family history of breast cancer.
They randomly assigned patients to one of the following diets: a calorie-restricted, low-carbohydrate diet for two days per week; an “ad lib” low-carbohydrate diet in which patients were permitted to eat unlimited protein and healthy fats, and a standard, calorie-restricted daily Mediterranean diet for seven days per week.
Data revealed that both intermittent, low-carbohydrate diets were superior to the standard, daily Mediterranean diet in reducing weight, body fat and insulin resistance.
Mean reduction in weight and body fat was roughly four kg with the intermittent approaches compared with 2.4 kg with the standard dietary approach.
Insulin resistance reduced by 22 per cent with the restricted low-carbohydrate diet and by 14 per cent with the “ad lib” low-carbohydrate diet compared with 4 per cent with the standard Mediterranean diet.

How exercise benefits the brain

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To learn more about how exercise affects the brain, scientists in Ireland recently asked a group of sedentary male college students to take part in a memory test followed by strenuous exercise.
First, the young men watched a rapid-fire line-up of photos with the faces and names of strangers. After a break, they tried to recall the names they had just seen as the photos again zipped across a computer screen.
Afterward, half of the students rode a stationary bicycle, at an increasingly strenuous pace, until they were exhausted. The others sat quietly for 30 minutes. Then both groups took the brain-teaser test again.
Notably, the exercised volunteers performed significantly better on the memory test than they had on their first try, while the volunteers who had rested did not improve.
Meanwhile, blood samples taken throughout the experiment offered a biological explanation for the boost in memory among the exercisers. Immediately after the strenuous activity, the cyclists had significantly higher levels of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is known to promote the health of nerve cells. The men who had sat quietly showed no comparable change in BDNF levels.
For some time, scientists have believed that BDNF helps explain why mental functioning appears to improve with exercise. However, they haven’t fully understood which parts of the brain are affected or how those effects influence thinking. The Irish study suggests that the increases in BDNF prompted by exercise may play a particular role in improving memory and recall.
Other new studies have reached similar conclusions, among both people and animals, young and old. In one interesting experiment published last month, Brazilian scientists found that after sedentary elderly rats ran for a mere five minutes or so several days a week for five weeks, a cascade of biochemical processes ignited in the memory center of their brains, culminating in increased production of BDNF molecules there. The old, exercised animals then performed almost as well as much younger rats on rodent memory tests.
Another animal study, this one performed by researchers in the Brain Injury Research Centre at the University of California, Los Angeles, and published in September in the journal Neuroscience, showed that if adult rats were allowed to run at will for a week, the memory centre of their brains afterward contained more BDNF molecules than in sedentary rats, and teemed with a new population of precursor molecules that presumably would soon develop into fully functioning BDNF molecules.
Perhaps the most inspiring of the recent experiments is one involving aging human pilots. For the experiment, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine asked 144 experienced pilots ages 40 to 65 to operate a cockpit simulator three separate times over the course of two years.
For all of the pilots, performance declined somewhat as the years passed. A similar decline with age is common in all of us.
Many people find it more difficult to perform skilled tasks – driving an automobile, for instance – as they grow older, says Dr. Ahmad Salehi, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford and lead author of the study.
But in this case, the decline was especially striking among one particular group of men. These aging pilots carried a common genetic variation that is believed to reduce BDNF activity in their brains. The men with a genetic tendency toward lower BDNF levels seemed to lose their ability to perform complicated tasks at almost double the rate of the men without the variation.
While the pilot experiment wasn’t an exercise study, it does raise the question of whether strenuous exercise could slow such declines by raising BDNF levels, thereby salvaging our ability to perform skilled manual tasks well past middle age.
“So many studies have shown that exercise increases levels of BDNF,” says Salehi. While he notes that other growth factors and body chemicals are “upregulated” by exercise, he believes BDNF holds the most promise.
“The one factor that shows the fastest, most consistent and greatest response is BDNF,” he says. “It seems to be key to maintaining not just memory but skilled task performance.”
Salehi plans next to examine the exercise histories of the pilots, to see whether those with the gene variant, which is common among people of European or Asian backgrounds, respond differently to workouts.
In people who have the variant and less BDNF activity, “exercise is probably even more important,” he says. “But for everyone, the evidence is very, very strong that physical activity will increase BDNF levels and improve cognitive health.”

Healthcare Workers Least Likely To Fear Job Loss

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Healthcare workers feel secure in their jobs going into 2012, according to a Randstad Employee Attachment Index. Only 12 percent of healthcare workers surveyed fear they will lose their jobs next year, but many feel unappreciated and undervalued.
A mere 18 percent of healthcare workers expect a promotion next year. Among the responses, 35 percent of healthcare workers do not feel their efforts are valued by their employer. Not surprisingly, about the same percentage of workers that feel undervalued also plan to seek out a new job with a different employer within the next six months (37 percent). Additionally, 45 percent of healthcare workers would “accept an enticing offer from another company”.
Additional healthcare predictions from the Randstad survey:
• 2o% do not feel secure in their employment
• 65% predict that their employer will lay employees off in 2012
• 27% are likely to seek a new position in their current company
Of all sectors surveyed, healthcare workers are the least likely of all sectors to fear losing their jobs next year, and also the least likely to expect a promotion. Other industries surveyed include IT, Finance & Accounting, Pharma, Engineering, and General Business.

Suspend collector health officials

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The state general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Badal Saroj has written to chief minister Shivraj Singh, demanding suspension of the collator of Sidhi and the district health officials for failing to contain malaria deaths despite receiving reports.
He has also demanded Es Five lakh each as compensation for kin of each of the malaria victims in Chauphal, Pawaya, kuthar and Karimaati villages.,
Saroj has said in his letter that he is writing to the CM since it is impossible to meet him (CM) in person. He has said maximum of the 49 persons who died recently of malaria belonged to Baiga or Gond tribe or dalit communities and it was improbable that mosquitoes bit them selectively. This proved that most of the deaths were actually because the victims were malnourished and could not sustain the disease. He said that the administration squarely failed in preventing the deaths despite the local auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) and the district secretary of CPM informing the health officials and district collector respectively on October 17 and 22.
The CPM, apart from demanding suspension of these officials, Saroj has also demanded termination of the doctors of Semaria Primary health Centre (PHC) who have remained absent for long duration from duty and who are kin of senior BJP leaders and probe into the ‘missing’ mid- day meal and nutritious food quota for the four affected villages. CPM has also demanded effective implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in the affected area and full payment of work already done under scheme.

The Checklist: How to stay healthy in December

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One of the best ways to avoid gaining weight during the holiday eating season is to ramp up your exercise regimen. Yeah, right.
Chalene Johnson knows it’s hard to squeeze exercise into your December schedule. But she’s convinced that even the most overwhelmed among us can make it happen.
Johnson, creator of TurboFire workout program and author of “Push: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve” (Rodale, 2011), applies “secrets of success” gleaned through observing folks who’ve succeeded in business, marriage and other areas of life to the realm of weight management. Here are her tips for making exercise happen, no matter how busy or tired you are.
Build it into your schedule. Take 10 minutes first thing in the morning or, better yet, the night before to plan. First, schedule the things you absolutely must do, being sure to account for how much time those activities actually will take. Then add your daily exercise. “Treat it with the same dignity and respect you would any other important task,” Johnson says. Make use of the hour before dawn if you can. “Nobody needs you at 5:30 a.m.,” she says.
Whittle your list. Just for December, give yourself permission to drop a few things to make room for exercise. That could mean not volunteering in your kids’ schools, slowing down on the social media or cutting back on housecleaning. You could also outsource tasks such as gift-wrapping or untangling strands of lights.
Make your promise public. Telling people you plan to exercise regularly during the holidays makes you accountable. Enlist a friend (“someone who won’t let you slide”) to join you in person or on Facebook. Or get your office mates to agree to a daily lunchtime walk.
Create a “why” list. “Write down all the reasons why you want to make fitness a priority during the holidays,” Johnson says. Post it where you’ll see it every day. Or create it as a note or calendar item on your cellphone so you’ll have it with you all the time.
Dry skin? Moisturize your air.
Got the winter dry-skin blues? Unfortunately, that moisturizer you’ve been slathering on will only help so much.
“Your skin is 70 percent water,” says Robert Greenberg, a dermatologist practicing in Vernon, Conn. And the dry indoor heat this time of year saps the skin of its moisture.
“Your skin becomes dry because it lacks water, not because it lacks oil,” Greenberg says. Using moisturizers and creams doesn’t really help, he says, unless you apply them right after your shower or bath (or after washing your hands), when you have lots of water in your skin. Moisturizers act as a barrier against evaporating lots of water, but the effectiveness is temporary.
So, is drinking more water the solution? Greenberg says no, adding that dry skin is not a sign of overall dehydration.
The best way to combat dry skin in winter, Greenberg offers, is to “try to change the environment by putting more moisture in the air. Houseplants with lots of water, a humidifier, a pan of water on top of the wood stove” can help a room feel more like summer, he says.

Four hours of sleep at night? A long lie-in at the weekend will not make up for it, find scientists

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After a working week of sleepless nights many of us think that a long lie in on Saturday morning will help rejuvenate our ailing bodies.
However, scientists today claimed that trying to catch up on the shut-eye we lose during the week may be a fruitless task.
Researchers have found that the effects of restricted sleep – four hours or less a night – are cumulative and that having very little sleep is almost as bad for the body as no sleep at all.

Even catching less sleep for just a few days affects the way the mind functions, and a single night’s decent sleep may not immediately reverse this, say researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lead researcher Dr Chiara Cirelli said: ‘There’s a huge amount of interest in sleep restriction in the field today.
‘Instead of going to bed when they are tired, like they should, people watch TV and want to have an active social life,.
‘People count on catching up on their sleep on the weekends, but it may not be enough. Even relatively mild sleep restriction for several nights can affect an individual’s ability to perform cognitive tasks.
‘For instance, recent studies in humans have shown that five days with only four hours of sleep each night result in cumulative deficits in vigilance and cognition, and these deficits do not fully recover after one night of sleep, even if ten hours in bed are allowed.’
She added that insomnia can also increase the bodies resistance to insulin and lead to diabetes.
Dr Cirelli’s team studied the affect of sleep deprivation on rats and recorded their slow wave activity (SWA) when they were asleep and awake. SWA indicates when an individual needs to sleep because the longer someone stays awake, the higher their SWA level.
The scientists found that SWA accumulated over time, even when the rats were able to snatch short periods of rest.
Dr Cirelli explained: ‘Monitoring SWA levels during waking time is very important in understanding the whole picture.
‘High SWA levels during periods of both sleeping and waking signal that you need to go to sleep.’
Researchers, whose work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, hope that the study will help scientists better understand the harmful effects of sleep disturbance.

Babies And Toddlers Should Not Watch TV, Media Screens Say US Doctors

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The best way you can help your baby or toddler learn and develop a healthy brain is to unplug the TV and other media screens, and play with them, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) whose new policy reiterates, in the light of newer data, their previous recommendation that parents and carers keep children under 2 years of age as “screen-free” as possible.

The AAP released their report and policy statement, “Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years”, on Tuesday at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Boston. It also appears online ahead of print in the journal Pediatrics.

The new report and policy confirms the guidance the AAP provided in 1999 for children under 2: that there are more negative than positive effects from exposing this age group to TV and media screens. That policy came more from belief than hard evidence says the AAP, but the new policy, which has the same message, is based on evidence that has since emerged about children’s early brain development and how different types of stimulation and activity influence their early learning processes.

Lead author of the policy, Dr Ari Brown, who is a a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media, told the press that:

“The concerns raised in the original policy statement are even more relevant now, which led us to develop a more comprehensive piece of guidance around this age group.”

The AAP reports that in a recent survey, they found 90% of parents said their under-2s watched some form of electronic media. On average, children of this age watch TV for one to two hours a day, and by age 3 nearly one third have TVs in their bedrooms.

The survey also found that parents who agreed with the statement that educational television is “very important for healthy development” are twice as likely to keep the TV switched on all or nearly all the time.

In their new report, the AAP group set out to address two questions: Do video and TV programs offer any educational value for the under-2s? And does watching them harm this age group?

The report concludes that:
• Although many video programs aimed at babies and toddlers are marketed as “educational” there is no evidence that they are.
• Programs are only educational if children understand the content and context of what is being screened: studies have shown consistently that only the over-2s have this understanding.
• Unstructured play is more valuable for the young developing brain than watching electronic media.
• Unstructured play gives young children the opportunity to think creatively, learn how to problem solve, develop reasoning and develop motor skills.
• Free play also helps them learn how to entertain themselves.
• Young children need to interact with humans, not screens, and they learn best this way.
• Watching TV and videos with your child may increase their understanding, but he or she will learn more from a live presentation.
• Watching your own program when your young child is with you is “background media” for them and it detracts from the interaction between you: it may also interfere with their learning.
• Watching TV and videos at bedtime is not a good sleep habit: it disrupts healthy sleep which can affect mood, behavior and learning.
• Research shows that young children who watch a lot of TV and other media have a higher risk of delayed language development when they start school, although the reasons for this are unclear.
In the light of this information the policy recommends that if they choose to expose their under-2s to screen media, then parents and carers should have a strategy for managing the exposure and set limits. But it points out the AAP prefers they not be exposed to media at all at this age.

The AAP also recommends parents and carers employ other ways of stimulating children’s learning when they are busy doing what they have to do. For instance, instead of placing young children in front of a screen while you prepare meals or do chores, have them nearby engaged in supervised play, such as playing with nested cups on the floor.

They also recommend that you don’t put a TV set in your young child’s bedroom, and recognize the damage that your own media viewing can have on their learning and development.

The report calls for more research to examine the long-term effect that early media exposure can have on the physical, mental and social health of children.

Brown says the best thing you can do for your young child to help them learn and develop is to engage him or her in unstructured play: both with yourself and independently.

“Children need this in order to figure out how the world works,” he urges.