Raw horse gram good for diabetics

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The Endoc
The Endoc

With dietary practices increasingly linked to lifestyle diseases, here is some news to cheer about for diabetics. Scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have found that unprocessed raw horse gram seeds not only possess anti-hyperglycemic properties but also have qualities which reduce insulin resistance.
The scientists made a comparative analysis between horse gram seeds and their sprouts and found that the seeds would have greater beneficial effects on the health of hyperglycemic individuals. Dr. Ashok Kumar Tiwari, Principal Scientist and lead author of the study said increased consumption of highly processed foods was contributing to spiked levels of blood glucose and lipid levels. He said South Asians consume more carbohydrates, and the introduction of polished white rice has contributed to increased levels of blood sugar among them.
Quoting an earlier study carried out at IICT, he said it was noticed that brown rice or pounded rice was less glycemic than polished rice. He said that persistent hyperglycemia induces oxidative stress which in turn generates free radicals. These free radicals damage bio-molecules leading to imbalance in physiological functions and development of diabetic complications. Describing horse gram (Ulavalu in Telugu, Kulthi in Hindi, Kollu in Tamil) as a poor man’s pulse crop in South India, he said it was an anti-oxidant rich food grain. Traditionally different preparations were made with the pulse to suit the requirements of different seasons. For instance, it was given in the winter for generating body heat/warmth and energy.
The authors of the study, which was published recently in Nutrafoods, said: traditional medicinal texts describe its use for asthma, bronchitis, leucoderma, urinary discharge, kidney stones and heart disease.
Dr.Tiwari said the study found that raw horse gram seed was rich in polyphenols, flavonoids and proteins, the major anti-oxidants present in fruits and other food materials.
Anti-oxidants help in controlling oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals. He said the study found that raw horse gram seed has the ability to reduce post-prandial hyperglycemia by slowing down carbohydrate digestion and reduce insulin resistance by inhibiting protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1 beta enzyme.
He said that of late a belief has gained ground that eating sprouts of horse gram would be beneficial for health. However, the study found that during sprouting its anti-diabetic medicinal property gets reduced.
He said the majority of anti-oxidant properties were confined to the seed coat and its removal would not do any good. “Any preparation made of whole grain is better than sprouts or horse gram pulses”, he added.

Better batteries from rice husk

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The Endoc
The Endoc

Lithium-ion (Li) batteries are important for modern technological progress because they power the electronics and hybrid electric vehicles industries, and are an important component of renewable energy methods. However, as advancements in these fields are made, Li batteries are also expected to perform better such as have higher charge capacity.
At the moment, layers of graphite are used inside Li batteries to store electrical charge from chemical reactions. Silicon has been suggested as a replacement because its charge capacity is about 400 times that of graphite. It is resilient to heat, and easy to store and dispose. And now, scientists from South Korea have proposed an alternate route that is both shorter and eco-friendly.
They have proposed to use layers of silicon dioxide, or silica, that rice plants have developed in their husks through years of evolution, as a source of silicon. These silica layers, while forming a protective sheath, are uniquely porous at the nano-scale level to allow air and water ventilation, and the same could increase silicon’s performance in batteries.
Although about 100 million tons of rice husk are produced annually worldwide, so far they have been recycled only for low-cost agricultural items. That could change. The researchers were able to demonstrate a technique through which silicon could be extracted from the layers while maintaining its 3D nanoporous structure.
Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on July 9.The fabrication of silicon (Si) from nanoporous husks predominantly involved simple thermal and acidic treatments. Because silicon has low electronic conductivity, researchers then compensated with a uniform coating of polydopamine and carbon.
A significant obstacle to its use in batteries till date is that silicon’s atomic layout expands tremendously when Li ions enter it. Over many charge-discharge cycles, the layout expands and then breaks, and the battery becomes unusable.
But the 3D nanoporous structure prevented this from happening by permitting the Li ions to move in a channel-like arrangement without pushing against silicon atoms. This extended the life and performance of the battery.
Across 200 charge-discharge cycles, it retained 100 per cent of its original charge capacity (1,554 mAh), and 82 per cent across 500 cycles.
Moreover, its charge-transfer efficiency was also mostly unchanged over these cycles, going only from 100 to 99.7 per cent. The conventional Li battery in a smartphone has a capacity of 1,300-2,000 mAh, and an efficiency of 80-90 per cent beyond 400 cycles.

New treatment could cut down insulin injections for diabetics

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Researchers have done path breaking research, which can help people suffering from diabetes to postpone or decrease their need for insulin injections.

            Michel Pairet, head of pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim’s non-clinical research and development, said this treatment could be a cure if it is linked with early diagnosis and treatment.

            Early trials have shown promising results in strengthening the beta cells in the pancreas, which secrete insulin to control high levels of glucose in the blood.

            Stem cells are used to protect and regenerate beta cells, which normally are damaged by high sugar diets in the process.

            Pairet said that the next wave of innovation is to try to protect the beta cell in the pancreas and maybe to cure diabetes by inducing the regeneration of the beta cells.

            He said that during diabetes, the beta cells disappear because of inflammatory mechanisms, however, not all mechanisms are known yet.

            Pairet explained that you can protect the beta cells or you can identify factors for the regeneration of the cells based on progenitor cells and try to help these cells regenerate, meaning that the treatment could help stop or delay the disease and its complications.

DNA – Why brains get tired when exercising

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The Endoc
The Endoc

When a marathon runner suddenly collapses to the ground after reaching the finishing line, many people may probably assume that this is because he has expended all energy in his muscles.

But a new study has suggested that it might also be a braking mechanism in the brain, which swings into effect and makes us too tired to continue.

What may be occurring is what is referred to as ‘central fatigue,’ said researchers.

“Our discovery is helping to shed light on the paradox which has long been the subject of discussion by researchers,” said Associate Professor Jean-Francois Perrier from the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, who has spearheaded the new research.

“We have always known that the neurotransmitter serotonin is released when you exercise, and indeed, it helps us to keep going. However, the answer to what role the substance plays in relation to the fact that we also feel so exhausted we have to stop has been eluding us for years. We can now see it is actually a surplus of serotonin that triggers a braking mechanism in the brain. In other words, serotonin functions as an accelerator but also as a brake when the strain becomes excessive,” said Jean-Francois Perrier.

He hopes that mapping the mechanism that prompts central fatigue will be useful in several ways.

Central fatigue is a phenomenon that has been known for about 80 years; it is a sort of tiredness, which, instead of affecting the muscles, hits the brain and nervous system.

By conducting scientific experiments, it is possible to observe and measure that the brain sends insufficient signals to the muscles to keep going, which in turn means that we are unable to keep performing. This makes the mechanism behind central fatigue an interesting area in the battle against doping, and it is for this reason that Anti Doping Danmark has also helped fund the group’s research.

“In combating the use of doping, it is crucial to identify which methods athletes can use to prevent central fatigue and thereby continue to perform beyond what is naturally possible. And the best way of doing so is to understand the underlying mechanism,” said Jean-Francois Perrier.

The brain communicates with our muscles using so-called motoneurons. In several diseases, motoneurons are hyperactive. This is true, for example, of people suffering from spasticity and cerebral palsy, who are unable to control their movements.

Jean-Francois Perrier therefore hopes that, in the long term, this new knowledge can also be used to help develop drugs against these symptoms and to find out more about the effects of antidepressants.

11 doctors get notices for drug trials

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State government has served notices on 11 doctors named in drug trials. Legal action would be taken if they are found guilty. Minister of state for health Mahendra Hardia informed the house while replying to a question by Pratap Grewal of Congress.

Hardia said that this issue hovers the house frequently. Based on the recommendations received, after a preliminary probe, from chief medical and health officer, Indore, chargesheet has been served upon 11 doctors. The minister, in his written reply to Grewal’s question, said that despite giving chargesheet to these doctors, it has not cancelled their registrations as only Madhya Pradesh Medical Council is vested with the power to do so. The Council has also served notices to these doctors and conducted a probe in the matter. According to the doctors, they have conducted the trials after getting approval from the Drug Controller of India under Schedule Y of the Drug Cosmetic Rules, 1945 amended in 2005. Under the rule, it was mandatory for them to keep the data secured and maintain confidentiality in the matter. Hardia also told the House that the State Medical Council had also written letters on December 30, 2011 and February 25, 2012 to the Drug Controller General of India with a request to issue directives for probing the matter.


In reply to a written question asked by Arvind Singh Bhadauria, CM replied that Lokayukta has caught 51 government employees taking bribe from January till date (from Bhopal, Gwalior and Chambal division) out of which only 13 have been chargesheeted. Nine government employees from Bhopal including ENT specialist from Hamidia hospital Dr Sunil Kumar Pippal, executive engineer of PWD Naimuddin Siddiqui, RTO clerk BP Sharma, accountant of Pandit Khushilal Ayurved College Ram Motwani and RI Misrod OP Awasthi have been caught in Lokayukta’s net. Out of these 51 cases, only three were caught with a bribe of Rs 50,000 while most of the others were caught with amount ranging from Rs 400 to few thousands.


The Endoc

‘Yoga can damage your body’ article throws exponents off-balance

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A $5bn industry is outraged over a New York Times article saying that the keep fit regime is bad for your body
One of the most common sights in New York is slim, young professional women scurrying across the city with rolled-up yoga mats under their arms and determined looks, cramming in a dawn or lunchtime session between power moves in the office. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that an incendiary magazine piece in the New York Times, under the headline, “How yoga can wreck your body”, has turned the usually chilled community of yoga-lovers upside down. In the US, and perhaps even in Britain, where an estimated million people practise regularly, yoga may never be the same again.
The offending article, which appeared across several pages of the paper’s prestigious Sunday magazine, was written by senior science writer William Broad. In it, he alleged that students and even “celebrated teachers” were injuring themselves “in droves” by over-ambitious and under-taught yoga moves.
He also quoted at length the views of local yoga veteran Glenn Black, who seriously hurt his back after years of practice. According to Black, “the vast majority of people should give up yoga altogether” because it’s too likely to cause them serious damage.
The result has been acrimony, recrimination and a ferocious backlash from representatives of a $5bn-plus industry in America with an estimated 20 million followers five times more than 10 years ago. Drivel, sensationalism, disgraceful hype, bizarre and misleading were just some of the criticisms posted online and expressed to the Observer. After more than 700 comments had been posted on the New York Timeswebsite, there was no room for more.
The well-known Ashtanga New York group retaliated with an article on its own website entitled “How the New York Times can wreck yoga”.
Meanwhile, the controversy quickly became the talk of the hundreds of studios all over the city and the hundreds of thousands beyond.
“I’m shocked. Yoga transformed my life and I love going to practise it’s made me healthier and much calmer and my body feels more alive,” said Susan Davies, 28, a software designer, as she walked near Central Park on the way to her twice-weekly class. “I’m more balanced and yet more assertive and efficient at work my friends who do yoga say the same.”
Paula Tulsi, who runs the Manhattan practice Reflections Yoga, said: “The controversy is massive. People in the circles I run in are going crazy, because lots of people who were going to try yoga the people you can bring in and heal are going to be afraid now and they’ll think yoga’s bad. That’s so tragic and angering.”
“I thought it was insulting to the yoga community,” said massage therapist Eddie Rodriguez, who runs the Maio Physical Therapy practice in New York. But Rodriguez did point out that many yoga classes are too crowded and most people aren’t aware that many instructors are barely trained even though they may look the part. “I encourage my clients to try yoga. But get a recommendation by word of mouth, don’t just go to a studio because it’s got a free offer, it’s on the gym schedule or it’s nearby and has classes at convenient times. It’s definitely a case of buyer beware,” he said.
And in New York, at least, tales of yoga disasters are not difficult to find. Arts administrator Elizabeth Bennett, 45, slipped a disc in her neck after being “bullied” into a headstand at a New York yoga studio. “When I hesitated, he called me a wimp. There are too many teachers who push unwitting students too far to serve their own egos,” she said.
Despite having health insurance, she ended up spending about $8,000 of her own money on acupuncture and months of physiotherapy until she was pain-free again. Bennett added that people trust yoga and rely on it as a source of healing, not injury, but are now learning to be a lot more sceptical and discerning in their choice of studio.
Anatomy experts also warn as did Broad’s article about the risks of inverted poses, which can strain cervical vertebrae or restrict blood flow into the head, either acutely or progressively.
David Patane sees up to 10 clients a year with a current or past yoga injury at his Physique corrective exercise, movement and lifestyle coaching business in Manhattan. He said the computer age has given so many people slouched postures and expanded waistlines that they are inviting injury if they jump up from their chairs and unthinkingly start twisting themselves, on demand, into poses that hyper-extend the often already weakened neck and lumbar spine.
“A neck pushed forward one inch in front of the plumb line of correct alignment common with slumped posture is already putting seven pounds of stress on the cervical spinal column,” he said. When these people flipped into a shoulder stand, or bent their legs back over their heads in “plough pose”, there was a greater risk of injury, he said.
Megan Branch, 22, an executive assistant at a web company, strained her back last year simply by doing the “superman'”, where you lie on your front and raise your legs and arms simultaneously, because she was in a class that was so crowded with up to 70 people that she had to lie at an odd angle so the next student did not have his feet in her face.
“I felt something snap in my back and then I went limp,” she said. She recovered by resting and stretching carefully, but her back now feels less stable.
The $5 community class, like many, simply had a leader to mimic, with no expert correction of students’ postures or warnings about injuries or not pushing one’s limits. In an industry where there is cursory certification and no official licensing, yoga teachers can become “qualified” with a 200-hour online course.
“Many teachers are coming out of training and don’t even know the three different hamstring muscles,” said Emilia Conradson, who branched out from teaching the Forrest school of yoga into her own therapy business Body In Balance in New York, which also treats yoga injuries. “Their understanding of anatomy is laughable, and yet yoga is about the physical as well as the spiritual and needs to be safe.” Other experts blame the “westernisation” of yoga as more of a workout than a holistic practice.
Even Tulsi, while furious at the inflammatory nature of Broad’s attack, does admit that the debate is timely. “It’s not yoga, it’s the bad translation or teaching of yoga that’s the problem,” she said.
After a row that threatened to throw one of America’s favourite middle-class leisure pursuits off balance the lesson for devotees is clear: take care and take your time when choosing your next yoga class.

‘Drug policy should aim at lowering medicine cost’

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The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Centre that its policy on controlling prices of essential drugs should be aimed at lowering the cost of medicines and not raising it. A bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice SD Mukhopadhyaya made the observation while hearing a 2003 PIL seeking
the list under Drugs Price Control Order to enable inclusion of more medicines. At present, there are just 74 medicines on the list.
“Twenty years back blood tests were done for R60. But, now it costs around R6,000. We have become insensitive to healthcare issues. If there were no hospitals such as AIIMS or Safdarjung, many would have died,” the bench observed.
The court expressed its concern after the petitioner, All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), pointed to several loopholes in the government’s fresh policy. The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has posted its new policy on its website and invited comments on it. The last date for submitting its comments is November 30.
AIDAN has criticised the decision to delink the ceiling prices of formulations from the price of bulk drugs. According to the petitioner, if formulation ceiling price are not based on the bulk drug prices, the government would end up legitimising overpricing.
SC raps states for ignoring PM advice
The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up various state governments for ignoring the PM’s advice to set up sanctioned number of special CBI courts, regretting that even a letter, written in 2009, by the country’s highest authority was being consigned to the “dustbin”.
The court granted eight weeks to the eight defaulting states to set-up the special courts as majority of the cases pertaining to corruption and criminal misconduct related to public servants.

Dietary guidelines for New Age Indian

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A change in socio-economic status generally brings change in food habits, which then gets reflected in the changed disease profile. “Indian consumers are increasingly taking to packaged food due to accessibility, affordability and attractive marketing,” said Dr B Sesikeran, director, National Institute of Nutrition.
Addressing a conference on National Priorities in Nutrition Research here on Monday, Dr Sesikiran added, “The incidence of diabetes has nearly doubled among the rural population over the last decade which is more than that observed in the urban populace.”
A book of revised Dietary Guidelines for Indians, was released on the occasion, which reveals the increase in lifestyle-related diseases among both the urban and rural population.
Dr Sesikeran said the book meant for the general public, monitors the shifting profile of nutrition-related diseases over time. “The data presented indicates that the average blood pressure has increased in Indians due to increased consumption of processed foods and snacks,” said the director.
A new guideline has been specifically included about ‘regular physical activity’, keeping in mind the increasingly sedentary lifestyle being followed. The upper limit for Body Mass Index (BMI) which determines whether a person is considered obese has been lowered from 25 to 23, as Asians are at a higher risk of obesity and cardiac arrests at marginally high BMIs, he added.
However, the new-found affluence has failed to trickle down to those at the bottom, as the poor remain calorie-deficient and incidence of anaemia among children and pregnant women has increased.
�He said the book recommends an increase in fat intake by 20 percent than what it was in 1998. “The book also recommends increase in calcium intake for children and adolescents to 600-800 mg per day considering under-nutrition and stunted growth still prevails,” added Dr Sesikeran.