Medical developments from around the world
Popularity of Treadmill Work Stations
For some years now, studies have revealed that sitting for a long time is bad for health and leads to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Health conscious companies, in the United States, now provide their workers standing facilities to work; they are building workstations with treadmills so that people can keep working while walking on the treadmill. This has cut down their health insurance spending. Interestingly, sitting jobs damage health, even if the person has been exercising regularly otherwise.
Female Sex Hormone Is Important for Males Also
Nature works wonders and scientists have not understood the whole thing even now. A study published in the 12th September issue of New England Journal of Medicine shows how reduction in oestrogen levels, and not testosterone, results in diminished sex drive and middle level spread of fat in men. Drug companies should take note that selling testosterone alone might not be of much use in male menopause.
Dying with Dignity
In 1968, a letter titled “Not Allowed To Die” was sent to the British Medical Journal describing the ordeal of a retired 68-year-old doctor, who had metastatic stomach cancer. Reporting on it, the New York Times stated: “After much of his stomach was surgically removed and a blood clot cleared from his lung, he asked that ‘no further steps be taken to prolong his life, for the pain of his cancer was now more than he would needlessly continue to endure.’ Two weeks later, the unfortunate doctor had a heart attack in the hospital. His heart was shocked and restarted five times in a single night; morning found him in a persistent vegetative state. His body remained alive for another three weeks. That hellish situation, rare in the rest of the world, is all too common in the USA, and now in India, a copy cat of US medicine. That has only become worse over the years from 1968. Although most of us claim a desire to die with dignity, as Katy Butler reminds us in the book Knocking on Heaven’s Door, a fifth of American deaths now take place in intensive care, where 10 days of futile flailing can cost as much as $323,000, as it did for one California man.”
I am told that 90% of the profits of American hospitals come from keeping dying people in intensive care units for the last 10 days! A very good business indeed!
What Has Food Colour Got To Do With Health?
Darker colours of fruits and vegetables contain a higher level of anti-oxidants. It is a good habit to include many coloured foods in your diet for good health. According to Naturalnews.com, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed the protective anti-tumour activity of tomatoes. The website said, “When mice were given either isolated lycopene or tomato paste for three days, the researchers found the tomato paste had much stronger antimutagenic activity compared to corresponding doses of pure lycopene.” The research paper said, "Results indicate that lycopene has antimutagenic effects, although the effects are lower than that of tomato puree, which contains a complex mixture of bioactive phytochemicals. The antimutagenic effect is connected with the chemo protective role of lycopene, tomatoes, and tomato products in the prevention of carcinogenesis.”
TRAI is taking pesky calls and SMS from banks very seriously. It has warned six banks that it would cut all their telecom resources across the country if they fail to follow regulatory directions. To show that it means business, it has reportedly cut off all of Citibank’s lines for three hours on a working day last week
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which issued a warning on 23rd September to six banks against using unregistered telemarketers, has actually cracked the whip. According to informed sources, the regulator cut telephone lines of Citibank for three hours on a week day. However, this could not be confirmed at the time of writing. We sent an email, however, Citibank representative declined to comment on the issue.
Last week, TRAI warned six banks, Axis Bank, Citibank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) and State Bank of India (SBI) against using services from unregistered telemarketers for promoting their business. These telemarketers were found using calls and SMS to promote their business.
Customers have been complaining for years about irritating calls from lenders but many companies including banks still call those who have already registered their names in the Do Not Disturb registry. TRAI had pointed out that "Notwithstanding the action taken by TRAI, a large number of complaints continued to be received from consumers regarding calls/SMSs originated by unregistered telemarketers on behalf of banks, insurance companies and builders for promoting their business in utter disregard to the Regulations issued by the Authority," the regulator said.
TRAI said, these organisations are marketing their products through retailers, distributors and franchisees and are therefore, responsible for the acts of their agents. The regulator issued the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (Thirteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2013, which provide that “in case complaints continue to come in, then on receipt of the third complaint, all the telecom resources of the entity or organisation on whose behalf the business is being solicited, shall be disconnected."
Taking a serious note, the telecom regulator said, "Keeping the larger public interest in view and to prevent public inconvenience, the Authority has decided to exercise temporary regulatory forbearance and has directed the banks to look into the specific cases of breach, initiate corrective action and report back to the Authority within a period of seven days, failing which the banks are liable to have all their telecom resources disconnected throughout the country."
Incidentally, on 1st October, many banks, including Citibank and SBI published ads warning telemarketers from using their name for offering financial products and services, including credit cards and personal loans. This was after all lines of Citibank were shut down. Other banks have taken note of this serious action by TRAI.
Earlier in July, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also advised banks and financial institutions to use services of only those telemarketers registered with TRAI for all their promotional and telemarketing activities.
In May 2013, Delhi's Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum asked HSBC and its three direct selling agents (DSAs) to pay Rs50,000 as compensation for causing harassment to one Ashutosh Sinha and also pay Rs5,000 towards litigation cost.
In its order, the Consumer Forum, said, “We are of the opinion that some unsolicited calls have been given to the Complainant by which the right of privacy of the Complainant was violated and the Complainant suffered inconvenience, harassment and mental agony due to unsolicited calls. We are of the opinion that Complainant is entitled to be reasonably compensated for that.”