Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Beware of spinal cord injury and take steps to prevent it
There are over 2 million friends with spinal cord injury in India, making it, the capital with this disability, in the world. To prevent it from getting worse, take the Nina Foundation pledge today
NK, a 19-year old, was driving her brand new car to college along with her friend seated beside her. Suddenly on the empty stretch of road a drunken man materialised from nowhere and her first reflex was to avoid hitting him as she promptly swerved her wheel and the car slid over the road into the bushes. When she regained consciousness in the hospital, she realised her spine was fractured and she had lost all sensation and movement waist down. The biggest trauma that would haunt her for long was that her friend lost her life.    
Her journey back on track took her and her family 10 years of aggressive rehabilitation, visits to different doctors and specialists and getting her spirit and energy back to restart her education, college and work. Her life was saved albeit with the most devastating and permanent disability - spinal cord injury.
NK is amongst the several lakhs who due to our over-crowded cities and vehicle traffic suffer road accidents. The irony of our country is that we have accurate statistics about how many people die due to road accident but NO statistics whatsoever regarding those who have a severe injury. Such injuries can be divided into:
• Head injuries
• Spinal cord injuries or 
• Sometimes both
It is also surprising that a random survey of people shows how easy it is to bribe and get a driving license without a test. It is a flourishing business in most cities. Citizens are enticed to buy newer and newer models of cars with flimsy features, but no car manufacturer hands over a booklet citing “safety measures” while driving on our killer roads. India has the highest number of road accidents and now has the worst rate for road traffic accident worldwide.
With over 1.30 lakh deaths annually and 16 deaths every hour in road accidents, India has overtaken China. World Health Organization (WHO) in their first-ever Global Status Report on Road Safety reports this. It lists down speeding, drunk driving, non-usage of helmets and seat belts as the main factors. 
According to the WHO report, a road accident is the second most important cause of death in 5-29 years old age group. Road deaths have increased by 40% between 2003 and 2008 in India. Also states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the most affected. 
Road safety experts indicate that the real number of deaths could be much higher since many cases are not reported, there is no estimate as to how many people are injured and die in a few hours per day post the accident, and their deaths are no longer linked to road traffic accidents (RTA).
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Road Traffic Accidents/Motor Vehicular Accidents/Mishaps- Whiplash Injuries
Fall from Height (fall from tree/ terrace)
Work Injuries: Fall of Load on Neck/ Back
Sports Injuries
Violence:  Bomb Blast
Tuberculosis / Infections / Tumours
A spinal cord injury usually begins with a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates the vertebrae. The damage begins at the moment of injury when displaced bone fragments, disc material, or ligaments, bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue. Most injuries to the spinal cord do not completely sever it. Instead, an injury is more likely to cause fractures and compression of the vertebrae, which then crush and destroy axons -- extensions of nerve cells that carry signals up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the rest of the body. An injury to the spinal cord can damage a few, many, or almost all of these axons. Some injuries will allow almost complete recovery. Others will result in complete paralysis.
How do Spinal Cord Injuries Affect the Body? It affects the 
• Motor System
• Sensory System
• Bladder
• Bowel
• Temperature Regulation (Autonomic Functions)
• Sexual Function
• Mind- psychological trauma and depression. In fact no other injury affects so many parts of the body as a spinal cord injury- Mobility, Hot- cold- bite sensation, Skin, Bones, muscle strength, Urine and Stool Control. 
There are over 2 million friends with spinal cord injury in India, making it, the capital with this disability, in the world.
Spinal cord Injury is a permanent disability transforming a person’s life and rehabilitation is the key to facing life with dignity in the world. The WHO has declared spinal cord injury as the most devastating disability in the world.
In an effort to protect our children and the public from spinal injuries, a pledge has been created that you, your family and friends can take together. This pledge is being taken for Awareness and Prevention of SCI. 
This movement has been created to bring awareness to drivers, pedestrians, sports people and the public and make our roads and community a safer place to live.
Please let us take this pledge: 
I pledge to drive any vehicle safely with a valid driving licence at all times. 
I will never drink and drive. 
I will never use the mobile phone while driving. 
I will follow all traffic laws and never indulge in over-speeding.  
I will follow safety precautions like putting on seat belt (for cars) or proper helmet (for two wheelers). 
I will always be aware of my surroundings. 
I will check lights, brakes and tyre conditions before driving.
As a pedestrian, I will always look both sides of the road before crossing.
I will cross the road only from zebra crossing when the green light for pedestrian is on.
I will not use the mobile while crossing the road.
I will use footpath while walking.
I will hold small children's hand while walking alongside or crossing the road.
I will help the elderly or the disabled while crossing.
I pledge to ensure that all safety equipments are used while participating in any adventure sports. I will understand and follow rules and instructions while participating in these adventure and other sports.
I will help people as per the guidelines shared and learnt today if I am a witness to any of these incidents in my life. 
Let us all come together and pledge to spread this campaign amongst more people and prevent spinal cord injury as well as pain and loss.
I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family & neighbours.
We at Nina Foundation propose three powerful ideas for immediate action: 
  1. All vehicle manufacturers to make the buyer undergo our pledge and also give the same in a printed laminated form in English and local language to be kept in the car for frequent reading.
  2. A nationwide spinal cord injury REGISTRY to be actioned by Government hospitals and maintain these statistics to be widely circulated every week. As no records are available regarding how many people with spinal cord injuries are admitted in hospitals per week/ month/ year.
  3. All the states with a high incidence of spinal cord injury to establish world class Spinal Cord Injury rehabilitation centres for the resurrection of the young who suffer this devastating disability.
Recovery to normal is not guaranteed after most rigorous and expensive rehabilitation. Even living with deficit will require large sums of money and effort. So, it is prudent to thank lord for the healthy, fully functional body and take proper care of it. Let us save lives!
(Dr Ketna L Mehta is an educationist, editor, author and Founder Trustee of Nina Foundation that works for the rehabilitation of economically and socially disadvantaged people with spinal injuries. Her PhD Thesis was “Market Potential Study for a World Class Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Mumbai”. She is also Editor and Associate Dean Research, WeSchool. Dr Himanshu Doshi is Trustee of Nina Foundation with experience in general practice, emergency medicine, international offshore occupation health and safety. Email- ninafoundation@gmail.com, www.ninafoundation.org)



Tulsidas Thakur

2 years ago

I request Ninafoundation.org to please launch a public campaign to pressurise authorities to paint zebra crossings which are missing/unrecognisable at innumerable crossings, to give effect to this part of pledge: "I will cross the road only from zebra crossing when the green light for pedestrian is on".


Himanshu Trivedi

2 years ago

Nina Foundation's is one of the noblest cause in the world. I'd like to support the organisation. MoneyLife might like to encourage that with appropriate information.


Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Himanshu Trivedi 2 years ago

Moneylife is already doing it in multiple ways. You need to search and read. It is featured in Beyond Money in the magazine, if you "encourage" our efforts with a subscription.
We also had the privilege of felicitating Dr Ketna Mehta on International Women's Day a couple of years ago. We publish her writings too.

I suppose that is plenty of support and more than adequate information for those who want it.

Himanshu Trivedi

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 2 years ago

Dear Ms Dalal

I sincerely appreciate all these efforts. My comments appreciating Nina Foundation is on the basis of this article on moneylife.in only.

I wanted to do my bit also, being one of the sufferer myself. So I wrote it'd be great if information how to contribute is added in the article. A general reader might not already be aware about what all great information is buried under tons of great write-ups here. ... And so nothing unnatural if searching about it doesn't occur to one such reader.

Please appreciate this fact in case you have taken exception to anything in my words (appears from your reply. I have only been feeling great about Money Life and appreciating).

More power to all of you. God bless.

National Awards: 'Baahubali' wins Best Film; Big B, Kangana get Best Actors
New Delhi : Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli's southern magnum opus "Baahubali: The Beginning" was on Monday named the Best Feature Film at the 63rd National Film Awards announcement here. Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan's performance in "Piku" and Kangana Ranaut's dual act in "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" was lauded with the Best Actor and Best Actress honour.
"Baahubali: The Beginning", which was a box office wonder, was lauded for being an "imaginative film, monumental by its production values and cinematic brilliance in creating a fantasy world on the screen" by filmmaker Ramesh Sippy, head of the Feature Film jury here.
"Baahubali" was even named for the award for Best Special Effects as these brought out the "emotional and dramatic upheavals of the story" in the movie.
While some other marvels of southern cinema have found a place in the list of winners, Bollywood clearly stole the limelight with "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" winning the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment; and Sanjay Leela Bhansali getting the Best Direction Award for "Bajirao Mastani", which also won the Best Supporting Actress award for Tanvi Azmi.
The period drama even emerged victorious in the Best Cinematography category, while Remo D'Souza won the Best Choreography honour for "creating enchanting moves" for the track "Deewani mastani", and Shriram Iyengar, Saloni Dhatrak and Sujeet Sawant won for the movie's production design.
In the audiography section, Biswadeep Chatterjee's sound designing and Justin Ghose's re-recording of the final mixed track for the Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone starrer, have been honoured.
Another big Bollywood winner was "Dum Laga Ke Haisha", which was not just named Best Hindi Film, but also won the Best Female Playback Singer for Monali Thakur for a "delightful and soulful rendition of a song of love", "Moh moh ke dhaage". The use of "fresh, simple array of metaphors" in the song by Varun Grover was appreciated with Best Lyrics honour.
A Special Jury Award went to Kalki Koechlin for her "realistic performance as a young woman afflicted with cerebral palsy" in "Margarita, With A Straw", whereas Ritika Singh, a kick boxer-turned-actress, got a special mention for "gutsy performance of a boxer in the making".
Neeraj Ghaywan, whose unusual drama "Masaan" found critical acclaim nationally and internationally, has been encouraged with the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director for "his perceptive approach to filmmaking in handling a layered story of people caught up in changing social and moral values".
Social media platforms were abuzz with users slamming the importance given to Bollywood vis-a-vis regional cinema. Another interesting facet that emerged was that the honours went to movies which were true blue box office wonders in 2015.
As for regional cinema, actor-filmmaker Samuthirakan was given the Best Supporting Actor award for the Tamil drama "Visaranaai", for which late Kishore T.E.'s editing work has also been lauded.
This year, a special honour, Film-Friendly State Award was given for the first time. It went to Gujarat "because of the efforts in the direction of ease of doing business and facilitation of films and towards the promotion of Indian cinema".
Among the winners in the Best Music Direction category are: M. Jayachandran won Best Song for "Kaathirunnu kaathirunnu" ("Ennu Ninte Moideen") and Ilaiyaraaja won in the Background Score sub-category for "Thaarai Thappattai".
As for the Screenplay segment, the award for the Best Screenplay Writer (original) is shared by Juhi Chaturvedi ("Piku") and Himanshu Kumar ("Tanu Weds Manu Returns") -- who have even shared the Best Dialogue honour -- while the Best Screenplay Writer (adapted) award has gone to Vishal Bhardwaj for "Talvar".
"Nanak Shah Fakir", which has been named for the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, has even won for its costume designing (Payal Saluja) and make-up (Preetisheel G Singh and Clover Wootton).
Malayalam film "Nirnnayakam" was named Best Film on Social Issues for "tackling a relevant and unaddressed issue of curtailing freedom of movement for the common man due to hartals and processions"; and Gaurav Menon won the Best Child Actor award for "Ben".
Besides these, films in various languages like Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Kannada, Konkani and more were chosen for awards; and talent in the non-feature film categories were also announced, apart from awards on film-related writing.
List of other awards:
Best Assamese Film: "Kothanodi"
Best Bengali Film: "Sankachil"
Best Kannada Film: "Thithi"
Best Konkani Film: "Enemy"
Best Malayalam Film: "Pathemari"
Best Marathi Film: "Ringan"
Best Punjabi Film: "Chauthi Koot"
Best Tamil Film: "Visaranai"
Best Telugu Film: "Kanche"
Best Sanskrit Film: "Priyamanasam"
Best Mizo Film: "Kima's Lode Beyond the Class"
Best Oriya Film: "Pahada Ra Luha"
Best Maithili Film: "Mithila Makhan"
Best Manipuri Film: "Eibusu Yaohanbiyu"
Best Wancho Film: "The Head Hunter"
Best Haryanvi Film: "Satrangi"
Best Khasi Film: "Onaatah"
Best Children's Film: "Duronto"
Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation: "Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal"


Pulse Beat

Friends Could Help You To Remain Healthy

Several studies, published in some of the leading journals, like the Journal of the American Heart Association, Journal of Neuro-immuno-psychology and many others, have shown how having good friends reduces stress. They have also shown that the more friends one has, the less likely s/he will be depressed or even demented! As far as cardiovascular health is concerned people who are happy with their friends have less heart attacks, strokes and even sudden deaths.

New Treatment for Limb Ischemia To Avoid Amputations

Bioengineers and physicians at the University of California (San Diego) have developed a potential new therapy for critical limb ischemia, a condition that causes extremely poor circulation in the limbs and leads to amputations. The therapy consists of injecting in the affected area a gel derived from the natural scaffolding, or extra-cellular matrix, in skeletal muscle tissue. The team tested the procedure in a rat model of the disease and found that it promotes muscle remodelling and improves blood flow. They published their findings recently in the inaugural issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Basic to Translational Science.
“This is a unique approach that not only helps repair the damaged vascular system, but also helps restore muscle tissue,” said Karen Christman, a professor of bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine at UC San Diego and the paper’s senior author. 
This is still in the experimental stage and needs human studies before being let loose on the common man. I am sure, it will soon become a reality as this can be patented by drug companies who will bend over backwards to get such drugs to the market, sometimes even prematurely.

Mindful Eating Helps Reduce Body Weight

Dr Jennifer J Daubenmier and her colleagues evaluated the effects of a mindfulness-based weight-loss intervention in adults with obesity and, although no statistically significant differences in weight loss were found compared to the control group, the mindfulness intervention showed greater improvements in certain cardio-metabolic outcomes tied to Type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease up to one year after the intervention ended. The research is published in the March 2016 issue of Obesity, the scientific journal of The Obesity Society.
When subjects were trained to concentrate on the present while eating, instead of multi-tasking while eating, they did a lot better in understanding their need for food and did very well to drop weight. A good example is the time-honoured south Indian vegetarian meal at weddings and other religious functions. The meal starts with pickle and then goes on with many curries of vegetables. The serving takes time. By the time the main dish (rice) comes, people would have mentally savoured the smell and the desirable taste of the spread before them. This will bring forth more digestive juices for better digestion and absorption. There is no other distraction; all are seated in a row (usually on the floor but, lately, at tables and chairs) unlike the Western-style buffet dinners where one does not concentrate on the food but gets distracted and cannot control one’s intake based on satiety. Our meal is a type of mindful eating.
Mindful eating has had more positive effects on fasting blood glucose at 18 months and a ratio of triglycerides to HDL-cholesterol levels at 12 months (a difference of -4.1mg/dL and -0.57, respectively), both of which are linked to Type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Deborah Tate, spokesperson for The Obesity Society, said “This research points to some of the potential benefits of enhancing the mindfulness components of behavioural weight loss.” 



Mohsin Khan

1 year ago

Very informative...

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