Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Is it Your Genes or Your Lifestyle?
“The most important factors for a long life, I think, are partly in the genes; number two is lifestyle, which includes healthy diet and regular exercise. However, I think too much exercise is also unhealthy because of over-stress; sometimes people who exercise too many hours per day die early.” — John Gokongwei
 
Human genome has millions of times more germ genes compared to the small 23,000 human genes. Unlike what illiterate doctors (illiterate, today, is one who is incapable of unlearning the wrong things one has learnt, to re-learn new facts) and greedy biotechnology industry, which wants to amass wealth by selling genetic counselling, cord blood freezing, stem-cell therapy and what have you, tell—genes are the be-all and end-all of our inheritance. Doctors keep generating fear in the minds of healthy young people that, if their parents had suffered fatal diseases, they are likely to develop those diseases. Such disease-mongering is good for business but could ruin young lives and the mortal fear can, by itself, bring on such diseases.
 
It is now well known, for more than 25 years, that human evolution is not genetic but environmental; while a few of the dominant human genes (among the 23,000) might help transmit certain genetically inherited disorders, they are incapable of contributing to chronic lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Evolutionary biologists have been shouting from housetops about the ascendency of environment, above genes, in evolution and disease inheritance. Unfortunately, most of our cross-sectional short-term small cohort studies generate false positive data mostly to appease the grant givers’ needs and they give us the false impression about disease inheritance.
 
The New England Journal of Medicine (12 November 2016) has published a milestone paper on this subject which looked at a very large set of human beings (more than 55,000 people) studied for genetic mapping and lifestyle. It was also significant in that all the 50-odd genes connected with heart attack have been studied in detail as were lifestyle factors, ranging from really horrible ones, to simple smoking, drinking and obesity. The study clearly brought out the importance of healthy lifestyle in preventing a heart attack even in those with a very bad genetic history and gene patterns. This was the first study that looked at genes and lifestyle in the same cohort—a brainchild of the leader of the research team, Dr Sekar Katiresan, the director of genetic research at The Mass General Hospital in Boston. This young man found that there were no studies in the past that looked simultaneously, in the same cohort; they looked at them individually. That did the trick for this study. Here are the take-home messages for lay readers:
 
1. The boss in inheritance is environment and not genes.
2. One does not need to be worried, even if one is dealt a bad hand in genetic play.
3. Even those with strong genetic background could avoid heart attacks, if they switch to a healthy lifestyle.
4. One does not have to undergo hardships in trying to change lifestyle. For those with extreme obesity, it is not easy to lose weight. If they just add regular exercise, hard work, avoided alcohol and tobacco, they could alter their genetic risks.
5. Even minor changes in lifestyle could bring significant benefits.
 
There was near unanimity among all sections of researchers in this area on the wonderful results of this study which used the best statistical methods. An on-going study of one million such people is in the pipeline. The leading researcher of that study feels that his outcomes might just reinforce the results of this study as he was very impressed by the rigours of this study. The results, he said, should quell the cries of those who emphasise that genes are above all as well as those who emphasise that elements of lifestyle are above all. “It’s not nature or nurture; it’s both,” says the study.
 
We can now safely say that heredity is not to be feared like in the past. Most diseases depend on the lifestyle (environment); to be healthy, one can follow a healthy lifestyle which is not difficult and is very inexpensive. An appeal through this article to practising doctors is that they should not scare patients about their bad heredity; it can now be mended by changing one’s lifestyle. 

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COMMENTS

Bapoo Malcolm

5 months ago

It is the will to live. After a time, people just give up. Of course, that excludes accidents.

nitin joshi

5 months ago

great article

How ATMs Function
The demonetisation announcement has caught not only money hoarders, but also banks and financial institutional on the wrong foot. What followed was a massive rush either to exchange Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes or withdraw money from banks. The reason for the overload on banks, especially for allowing customers to withdraw cash, was the non-functioning automatic teller machines (ATMs). Many of them are still waiting to be ‘recalibrated’ for the new currency which would take weeks, if not months, before normalcy can be restored. 
 
So what exactly is an ATM? Basically, an ATM is a machine connected with the bank or a financial institution that allows customers to perform various transactions. Never mind, most ATMs across the world are used only to withdraw cash and, hence, sometimes are referred as cash machines. Development of ATMs started at various places. However, it was Barclays Bank which installed its first cash machine on 27 June 1967 in north London. It was developed by an engineering team led by John Shepherd-Barron from the printing company De La Rue. The ATM was called as De La Rue Automatic Cash System or DACS. A small start-up Spytec was the first company to use a card with magnetic stripe at the back. In 1965, a British engineer, James Goodfellow, developed the idea of storing a personal identification number (PIN) on the card which, till date, is used by ATM-makers across the world. However, it was IBM that came out with the first true ATM machine named 2984, in December 1972. 
 
An ATM consists of a central processing unit (CPU), magnetic or/and chip-card reader, PIN pad, a crypto-processor, display screen, function keys (placed near the screen), printer, vault, housing and sensors and indicators. Just like PCs (personal computers), ATMs also have an operating system (OS) installed to carry out various functions. Most ATMs across the world use Microsoft Windows OS, with Linux and CEN XFS making some inroads in this field as well (Banrisul of Brazil uses Linux, while Triton, Diebold, NCR use XFS for their cash machines). 
 
How Do ATMs Work?
When a customer swipes her card at the ATM, and verifies her identity through the PIN, she is allowed to perform transactions like checking balances, transferring money, changing PIN (at own bank ATM) and so on. This routine, however, is not fixed and some ATMs may ask for the PIN only after allowing you to enter the transactions details. Besides, Visa and MasterCard, India has its own network, RuPay, developed and managed by National Payment Corporation of India. RuPay’s fees are lower than that of Visa and MasterCard.
 
 
Demonetisation Effects on ATMs
As mentioned above, most ATMs are used as cash dispensing machines. There are different currency denominations and, depending on the size of the currency note, the holding slot (cassette) needs to be recalibrated or adjusted. During the latest demonetisation drive, recalibration of cassettes seems to have escaped the decision-making process, resulting in several ATMs being unable to dispense new currency notes of Rs500 and Rs2,000. Considering that India has about 220,000 ATMs spread over the country, and the number of personnel required to recalibrate each machine, it would take a few more days before people can use these cash machines again. While the recalibration work is going full swing, ATMs are facing the other issue of currency supply. So, unless this demand & supply gap is narrowed or closed, ATMs would be able to dispense only limited cash to customers. 

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NSE gave preferential access to some brokers: Govt
As per the findings of a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) appointed Committee, National Stock Exchange (NSE) had given preferential access to some brokers to its co-location servers for algorithmic trading, says the union government.
 
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Arjun Meghwal, the Minister of State for Finance, says, "The architecture of NSE with respect to dissemination of tick-by-tick through transmission control protocol (TCP) or internet protocol (IP) was prone to manipulation or market abuse. And this system has been discontinued by NSE from 3 December 2016".
 
“Preferential access was given to stock broker(s), wherein it was possible for stock broker to log into multiple dissemination servers through multiple internet protocols assigned to him. It was also possible for a single member to have multiple logins to a single dissemination serve through multiple IPs assigned to it. It was observed that stock broker(s) had multiple advantages by logging in first or even second and third,” the Minister said quoting the SEBI report.
 
Earlier in October, NSE appointed Deloitte India to conduct a forensic audit of its algo trading system and examine allegations of unfair access to some brokers in algorithmic trading, as per media reports. 
 
This appointment by NSE follows an order from the market regulator to NSE Chairman Ashok Chawla. The letter sent by SEBI on 9 September 2016, asked NSE to "immediately initiate an independent examination (including forensic investigation by an external agency) of all the concerns highlighted by the SEBI expert committee in its report alleging lack of process that allowed this to happen and collusion if any and fix accountability for the aforesaid breaches covering NSE and stock brokers, vendors and outsourced entities involved in the issue.”  (Read: SEBI Finally Cracks down on NSE’s Suspect Algo Trading. What does it mean? )
 
Apart from a forensic investigation, the most significant punitive aspect of SEBI’s directive is that all revenue accruing from its co-location facilities, including from fibre connectivity between brokers’ co-location facilities and their offices must be paid into an escrow account. The NSE has been asked to get all concerns expressed by the committee addressed, and take necessary action, within three months. 
 
According to the newspaper report, the forensic audit by Deloitte would cover NSE's co-location facility, algorithmic trading platform, brokers and vendors who access or are connected with NSE’s co-location facility. It will also examine allegations of collusion between NSE officials, vendors and brokers and gather evidence if any violations are found, two of the people told Live Mint.
 

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COMMENTS

Balwant Kumar

1 month ago

Kab khatam hogi auction aur notification

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