Medical developments from around the world
Of Sodas and the Heart
A case was presented at the European Society of Cardiology where a lady, aged 31, had sudden collapse with cardiac arrhythmias and very low levels of potassium in the serum. After she recovered, the woman told her doctors that she had not taken water in the previous five years and depended on cola drinks only for that time. Similar cardiac arrhythmias were reported in five other patients on sodas in the same meeting.
Liver and Heart Disease
In future, all fatty liver patients should be investigated for coronary artery disease. Obese people, who do not exercise and have fatty liver changes which might go on to cirrhosis of liver, had significantly higher incidence of coronary artery disease than control groups. This study was reported at the Annual Gastroenterology meet in the USA
Effect of Anti-depressants on Babies
Stephen Pilling, professor at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), said that there is evidence that suggests that selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can double the risk of a child being born with heart defects. Furthermore, it was found that anti-depressants have been used by up to one in six women of child-bearing age.
These anti-depressants have been shown to increase the risk of suicides as well. Another important issue that keeps coming up, now and then, is that elderly women, who are either depressed or are on anti-depressants like SSRIs, have a higher chance of heart attacks.
Exercise Could Turn White Fat into Brown Fat!
Exercise in men, and also in mice, has shown that the body fat in those who regularly exercise slowly turns brown. Brown fat has a higher metabolic rate and burns more calories. Brown fat is also known to prevent diabetes in the long run, if the exercise is kept up.
Too Much Exercise Not Good
I have been writing about this for decades. Too much of anything is bad. A recent Bloomberg news release by Natasha Khan & Shannon Pettypiece stated, “As the average age of competitors in endurance sports rises, a spate of deaths during races or intense workouts highlights the risks of excessive strain on the heart through vigorous exercise in middle age.” Furthermore, it states, “benefits of exercise are well known; researchers now suspect that there may be a point at which exertion becomes dangerous, especially for middle aged men.” In this context, I feel that periodic marathon running might not be a good idea, although it might net quite a few patients for the sponsoring organisations.
Obesity Is a New Disease
Apparently, obesity is a disease now. And there will be newer drugs to address it. According to a piece which appeared on The New York Times (NYT), “The vote of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates went against the conclusions of the Association’s Council on Science and Public Health, which had studied the issue over the last year. The council said that obesity should not be considered a disease mainly because the measure usually used to define obesity, the body mass index, is simplistic and flawed.” Furthermore, the NYT report said, “Delegates rejected the conclusion of the Council and voted... in favour of a resolution pushed by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American College of Cardiology and some other organizations.” This confirms what I had been saying for so long, that ‘disease mongering’ is here to stay and people are scared into believing that they have a disease.
Moneylife discovers an organisation that nurtures budding writers without allowing commerce to interfere with creativity
Siyahi, in Urdu, means ink—the dye that traps space on paper, by way of contours of the written word, to unfetter our thoughts. It is also the name of a literary consultancy, set up as a trust in Jaipur, which embodies its founder’s passion for literature of all genres and languages.
Mita Kapur, the founder and chief executive of Siyahi, says that the trigger point for setting it up came at a chance meeting with a UK publisher after the Jaipur Lit Fest. He pointed out the urgent need for having Indian ‘literary agents’ and said: “With such an explosion of writing in India, not just in English, but also in regional languages, the time is right.” Says Mita: “He literally pushed me into taking a decision on an idea I had been toying with. And, within a month, in April 2007, Siyahi was up and running.”
Siyahi provides a platform for authors—budding and established—and hand-holds them all the way from manuscript review, to design, to contract with publishers, to marketing. As its website states: “At the heart of the organisation is an insatiable need to find meaningful stories and then help these voices reach out into the world. We enjoy working with authors from all backgrounds and genres. Our effort comes from a passion and commitment that Siyahi was founded to help fresh voices to get heard and read.”
Mita confesses, quite honestly, that she set up the organisation as a trust only because, as a business, it would have had a different set of requirements —rules to play by; commerce and passion are two entirely different approaches. As a trust, Siyahi provides limitless scope for experimenting with creative programmes to promote Indian literature, not only in India but internationally as well. Since 2010, Mita has been participating in the Frankfurt Book Fair and has also been able to sell titles from that very year!
Siyahi has been able to grow its portfolio of authors, albeit slowly; it has about 100 authors now. But Mita says the commitment has grown exponentially with the chord of support she has been able to strike not just within the country but internationally as well. The foreign authors Siyahi has been able to bring to its fold are from countries like Belgium, Pakistan, Canada, USA and Sri Lanka.
The first event organised by Siyahi was in 2007, in its very first year of operations. ‘The Zubaan Poster Women Exhibition’ documented the rich and multi-layered history of the contemporary women’s movement in India.
Siyahi’s USP is its special interest in regional languages. It facilitates translations of books to and from various languages. Mita says: “We have a special interest in regional works and mythology and we actively promote the oral traditions that are the living history of our ancient civilization.” She also believes that translations are a medium of literary preservation. They are becoming increasingly significant in a global world, for cross-cultural understanding. So, in January 2008, Namita Gokhale, the founder director of Siyahi’s ‘Translating Bharat’ conferences, organised ‘Translating Bharat: Language, Globalization and the Right To Be Read’ to provide an interactive space to writers, translators and publishers to understand core issues and work towards creating bonds and benefit from each other’s experiences and understanding. This series of conferences, along with the ‘Mountain Echoes Literary Festival’ in Bhutan (which has ‘mountain writing’ as its unstated, subtle core), have become annual events that authors look forward to. Siyahi has provided consultancy for literary festivals in Singapore and Manila as well.
Siyahi needs funding for organising literary festivals and events to further its commitment to nurture the reading habit, especially amongst the youth. They make a special effort to invite schools and colleges in their events. Donations to Siyahi are tax-exempt under Section 80G.
D-241, Amrapali Marg,
Jaipur 302021, India
Mobile: 91 9829013402
E-mail: [email protected]
The combined index of these industries—coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity—was at 159.2 in May 2013 with a growth rate of 2.3%, according to official data
Growth in eight infrastructure industries slowed to 2.3% in May mainly due to contraction in crude oil, natural gas, coal and fertiliser output.
The eight core industries had expanded at a rate of 7.2% in the same period last year.
The combined index of these industries—coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity—was at 159.2 in May 2013 with a growth rate of 2.3%, according to official data.
“The decline in the growth rate in May was mainly on account of negative growth witnessed in the production of coal, crude oil, natural gas and fertiliser,” the ministry of commerce and industry said in a release.
The contraction in production of coal, crude oil, natural gas and fertiliser in the month under review this year was at 3.3%, 2.4%, 18.7% and 2%, respectively.
The eight core sector industries have a weight of about 38% in the overall industrial production.
Petroleum refinery production showed an expansion of 5%. However, the growth was subdued as compared to 23.4% registered in May 2012.
Steel production grew by 4.1% as against 3.8%, while cement output was up by only 3% against 15.4% in the review period.
Growth in electricity generation stood at 6.2%, as against 5.9% expansion registered in the May 2012.
The growth in eight infrastructure industries was 3.2% in 2012-13 as against 5% in the previous financial year.