Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
FDA Examines Whether MRI Drugs Accumulate in Brain Tissue
The agency says doctors should consider limiting MRIs to reduce exposure from certain image-enhancing drugs that contain the metal gadolinium
The Food and Drug Administration announced today it is investigating the risk of brain deposits for patients who are given repeated MRIs using imaging drugs that contain a heavy metal.
The FDA did not announce any label changes for the nine medicines that contain the metal, gadolinium, saying there was a “need for additional information.” However, “to reduce the potential for gadolinium accumulation,” the safety announcement asked health care professionals to “consider limiting” their use and to reexamine “the necessity of repetitive” MRIs involving these drugs.
ProPublica has extensively reported on the potential risks of contrast agents, including a call by two prominent radiologists for more research following recent studies that unexpectedly found gadolinium in the brain tissues of patients. The patients each underwent at least four scans using two of the nine agents currently on the market. It is not known if the deposits are harmful. 
Gadolinium-based contrast agents have been on the market for a few decades and enhance the scanned images. About one-third of the 20 million MRIs in the United States each year use one of the nine agents. The FDA’s call to doctors to limit use of the agents seeks to make sure the “additional information provided by the contrast is necessary.” 
Normally, the gadolinium is largely eliminated from the body via the kidneys following the drug’s injection. As such, patients are screened to ensure they do not have kidney disease. But the recent studies found that gadolinium can remain in the brain even in patients whose kidneys function normally.
In the past, the FDA has been slow to move in this area. 
In 2007, it ignored the advice of two of its medical reviewers who wanted to ban one of the drugs, Omniscan, made by GE Healthcare, for patients with severe kidney disease. In 2010 the agency reversed course and recommended that Omniscan and two other drugs shouldn’t be used in patients with impaired kidneys. The other drugs were Magnevist, made by Bayer HealthCare, and Optimark, sold by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
The gadolinium brain deposits discovered in the new research involved patients who had been administered Magnevist and Omnsican, leading some experts to suggest doctors should think twice about which of the nine agents to prescribe.
GE Healthcare and Bayer say their primary concern is patient safety and that they have been examining the issue in light of the new research. The FDA said its toxicology research center “will study the possible safety risk further” in conjunction with industry and outside scientists.
Sarah Peddicord, an FDA spokeswoman, declined to say when the research would be completed but said the agency would “update the public when more information is available.” She added that manufacturers have been asked to report any problems with gadolinium retention and that “some manufacturers have already initiated animal and clinical studies” to further investigate the issue.
Courtesy: ProPublica


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Goa: Paradise by the Sea

Service to Goa by the sea route may start again. The author recounts the charm of travelling to Goa by this mode and life in Goa

“Ahoy! “Ahoy! Goa Ahead! Captain of Ports, Goa announces the liner to set sail again between Mumbai and Goa.” This is delightful news. I took this journey many years ago aboard a steamer service of Mogul Lines that departed from the Mumbai’s ferry wharf in the evening. It was quite a ceremonial setting sail, from what I remember—comfortable in pace and manner. Each group embarking would be directed to their beds for the night journey by the colour of the ticket. A sonorous whistle would hasten the latecomers and departure announced with much waving and fanfare.
Through the entire journey, the sea-liner route took the coastline. And as the winter sun hung low in a golden hued setting, it cast a honey brown halo in the faint mist of the surf in the distant horizon.
The coastline was dotted with colonies of thatched roof briefly swathed in twilight and the swiftly descending dark in the tree-lined expanse. Birds, perhaps they were sea gulls, their sounds in a soothing lull of waves and the heavy salt-laden air. Small fires and lamps, now visible amid a flurry of coconut trees, all like a miniature set in a backdrop, mesmerising, to say the least. 
For a moment, I actually wondered if Captain Haddock and Tintin with Snowy felt similar goose-bumps on that Red Sea voyage. But then such are treasures of childhood memories. Raigad, Malvan, Ratnagiri, Vengurla, perhaps. We passed by that night. The upper-deck cabin-level foyer, fairly comfortable for a winter journey, had a few people who gathered for a brief aperitif—ice-cubes tinkling as we rolled along gently, with passengers in lively conversation and anecdotes, until dinner was announced with the ceremonial bell at 9.00pm. 
It was far more thrilling and delightful than flying or any other mode of transport. If the liner sets sail this winter, as announced, please consider me booked to travel with the wife—Pax 2 | Cabin_Upper-deck | Mum-Goa-Mum.
Of course, whether you fly in, travel by the Konkan Railway via an equally picturesque track, or drive, Goa welcomes you like no other. Fresh green fields, endless turquoise waters, flaming golden sunsets, swaying palms, lush paddy fields, temples, beaches, sea shells, churches, fish and sol kadhi (nectar for the soul), a concoction of coconut milk and kokum (a tamarind-like fruit, Latin name: Garcinia indica).
A simple life, that is how the locals live and that is what Goa offers in unabashed plenty. Goa has been referred to as Aparanta (land beyond time), sussegad (the typical laid-back life) but, frankly, what do you do, once you are in Goa?
Anything else would be out of character for a tropical haven. Soak in the sun, try to make peace with the unhurried pace of life, and just be. For the explorer, wanderer, adventurer, there is a lot that Goa has to offer other than a rich history of world cuisine, architecture and crafts. It has some of the finest Goan-Portuguese cathedrals and churches, innumerable shrines and temples.
For places to see and visit, you have Sinquerim, Candolim, Saligao, Anjuna, Mandovi, Zuari and the famous Dona Paula. You cannot but be overwhelmed by the sheer expanse and beauty. The Wednesday flea-market at Anjuna has taken its place on the world map, so to speak. One of the most exciting times to visit is during the annual carnival in February-March. Thousands pour into the streets in peace and merrymaking, with colourful floats, street dances, music and festivities.
For people, there is Remo—the man who made Goa famous with his music—who lives there.  The house of Mario Miranda, a legend is worth a visit—although I am not sure of visiting facilities and rights but you need to check and not miss this man now living somewhere in ‘Aparanta’ (the other world).
When in Goa, preferably get your own transport. You can hire motorcycles and scooters by the day (most recommended, safe and affordable) or, if you are a blithe spirit, bicycle is the way to go. Of course, you have taxis on hire (unfortunately they are no longer the Benz).
The local lingo is Konkani and English; but you can get by with Hindi and Marathi. When to go? Anytime of the year is paradise found.Winter and monsoons are the best; summers can be rather warm and humid. Goa in the rains is nature in full and complete glory. It has mist, drizzle, thunderclaps, forked lightning, torrential downpour—all orchestrated with croaking frogs and spine-tingling tumultuous roar of the sea. Like they say: widescreen and stereophonic sound.
The most preferred food—Konkani fish thali: The fish in this coastal state is aplenty; fresh rice comes from the lush fields; and fruit is a given in nature’s haven of bounty. So whether it is crab, mussel, clam, prawn, and fresh water or sea water foods—bliss is for those who eat fish; all this to be washed down with the manna from heaven, sol kadhi.
Many (not only Goans) have chosen to lead a retired life in this blessed land of peace and plenty.
Come. It is not going to remain this way forever.



Ralph Rau

2 years ago

Goa WAS an unspoilt paradise when it was populated primarily by the small population of 1 million natives.

The number one threat to Goa today is the pressure posed by vast amounts of plastic packaging and other non bio-degradable waste.

Not just the villages, even the towns are unable to cope with the volumes of waste. Every village would like to dump its waste in some other village.

Monster garbage dumps are gradually leaching plastic toxins into the village water table.

In a typical village watch out for the burning of mixed (including plastic bags, cellophane, cling-film wrap and tetrapak) garbage by every household. Use a mask whenever the smell of smoke permeates the village air.

For the lasts two decades government and NGOs has been unable to come up with any viable solution. Recently Citizens of Margao have been mobilised to act by the local newspaper Herald.

You can google the words "Goa garbage" to read all about how Goa is "Going, Going, Gone" .

The ground water toxicity remains the biggest threat to the health of residents and visitors to Goa.


2 years ago

Looks like there is no other place in India...Stop coming to Goa you Ganties...


2 years ago

Enjoyed reading . . . bliss is for those who eat fish. How true!

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