Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Pulse Beat

Medical developments from around the world

What Are Trans-fats?

Trans-fats are vegetable oil fats that are solidified in the laboratory to increase their shelf life and also to improve their appearance. This hydrogenation process, wherein hydrogen is incorporated into liquid fats to make them solid for commercial benefits and longer shelf life, was discovered by a French Nobel Laureate chemist Paul Sabatier in 1890. Americans jumped onto the bandwagon and Wilhelm Normann patented this process in the US, in 1902. This helped the industry to use this for foods like pizza base, cookies, etc, to increase their shelf life. By the end of the Second World War, hydrogenated margarine had totally replaced the healthy butter in American homes. See how quickly one gets a Nobel Prize if one does something which is good for business. Hydrogenation is not a great discovery; but the man got his Nobel anyway and this trans-fat must have killed millions by now. Now, the American Heart Association has finally admitted that trans-fats are really bad for human health.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C

As one ages, one needs more vitamin C for cell repair and good health. Many of us believe that only citrus fruits, like oranges and their family, have vitamin C.
Many other fruits have plenty of vitamin C, like mangoes, bananas and guavas. Taking vitamin C tablets is dangerous, as it might increase the risk of diseases because of a process called hormesis.

Ginger: A Superb Medicine

A 2008 study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, showed that ginger helps the muscles of the stomach contract. This aids digestion by moving the contents of the stomach into the small intestine, a great help to those suffering from indigestion.

Ginger also reduces inflammation. Colon cancer is preceded by inflammation in the colon and a study of cancer prevention had shown that inflammation markers in the colon were significantly reduced after 30 days of treatment with ginger root. This study was performed at the University of Michigan Medical School. Suzanna Zick was one of the researchers who worked on this study.

Ginger alleviates pain, like osteoarthritis pain, effectively. Research shows that osteoarthritis pain can be relieved by taking ginger. One study revealed that taking 500mg of ginger extract, twice a day, worked as well as taking 400mg of ibuprofen three times a day, for knee and hip pain related to arthritis. Research has also indicated that ginger and orange oil used in massage therapy can help reduce stiffness and pain in the knee.

Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, without any harm to the foetus. Dizziness, which is a very common complaint in the elderly, usually due to benign positional vertigo is helped to a great extent by regular use of ginger.
Some studies indicate that ginger can help prevent blood clots and possibly lower cholesterol, but the data is patchy in that area.

Global Warming

In an article in www.moneylife.in, I had written about how the global warming hypothesis may not be sound after all. Studies have shown data to have been fudged, to push the global warming hypothesis, among other things that fly in the face of all the related alarmism.

Now, see the report from NASA in leading publications: “This story is starting to break worldwide right now across the media, with The Telegraph now reporting, NOAA’s US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has been ‘adjusting’ its record by replacing real temperatures with data ‘fabricated’ by computer models.”

Because the actual historical temperature record doesn’t fit the frenzied, doomsday narrative of global warming being fronted today on the political stage, the data was simply altered using ‘computer models’ and then published as fact.

Who does one believe in this world? Science is just a creation of the human mind. George Berkeley, of Berkeley University fame, wrote years ago: “If there is no perceiver, there is no perception.” Scientific perception can be easily faked as needed to suit our purpose.


Brazil's double whammy: Neymar ruled out, captain Silva suspended

Brazil now needs to prepare without Neymar and key defender Silva for their second meeting with Germany in the World Cup at Belo Horizonte on Tuesday

Brazil aiming to win this year's World Cup suffered two major blows with star striker Neymar ruled out due to a fractured vertebrae and suspension of its captain Thiago Silva during its match with Colombia.


Brazil lost superstar striker Neymar for the World Cup after he fractured a vertebrae during his side's 2-1 World Cup quarter final win over Colombia.


Colombia defender Juan Zuniga kneed the 22-year-old Neymar in a crunching tackle and the Barcelona player was stretchered off in agony in the closing minutes of the game in Forteleza.


The injury and the suspension of captain Thiago Silva for the semi-final against Germany overshadowed a sensational David Luiz goal that sealed victory in one of the most physical games seen at this World Cup.


A hospital exam "showed he (Neymar) suffered a fracture of the third vertebra" in his back, team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar told reporters.


Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari fumed that Neymar has been "hunted" throughout the tournament and that no punishment was given for the tackle on him.


"I have been saying for three matches that Neymar has been hunted, but all the other countries say it is not true and it is only their players that are hunted."


Silva was booked for a second time in the tournament for impeding a clearance by Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.


But in Zuniga's case "there was not even a yellow card and Thiago got a yellow card for nothing," Scolari said.


Brazil are in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 12 years, but Scolari, who has vowed his side will win their sixth World Cup, now faces a major crisis.


Silva put Brazil ahead after seven minutes and Luiz scored a sensational 30 metre free kick to give Brazil victory.


Colombia's James Rodriguez extended his lead as the tournament's top scorer with his sixth goal in five games from the penalty spot after Julio Cesar brought down Carlos Bacca.


But Colombia now leave and Brazil must now prepare without Neymar and key defender Silva for only their second World Cup meeting with Germany in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday. The Germans beat France 1-0 earlier in the day.


Luiz's goal was another special moment in the World Cup.


"Today It was great because I hit the exact point where the ball can go many ways and it is difficult for the goalkeeper," said Luiz.


Food for Thought

Obesity is a serious health issue, but for the majority of Indians it is the lack of nutrition and food, enough to even survive, that is a pressing concern.

How I wish we could devise a new method for solving India’s problem of disappearing waistlines, while others worry about their bulging middles. The latter afflicts a minority in India, considering India has recently been found to be the leader in a competition of shrinking waistlines, along with some sub-Saharan African countries.

Bariatric surgery, coronary bypasses, etc, are ‘therapies’ for the rich. The poor, malnourished people are spared these health dangers; like the poor in the West who survived without bloodletting, purging and induced vomiting to get the humours out for 2500 years since the time of Hippocrates, because they could not pay the price the doctors then charged for these procedures.

Social schemes addressing the hunger problem in India are hobbling from one obstacle to another. A typical example that speaks about the hair-brained nature of these schemes comes from the state of Karnataka, where the (in)famous ‘one rupee a kilo’ rice for the poor has already run into a formidable roadblock. The traders’ union has gone on strike demanding higher commissions to distribute the cheap (unfit for consumption) rice for a rupee. Many traders are trying to obtain guaranteed sales contracts for their slow-moving items, like detergents, for a particular amount, as a precondition for distributing the cheap rice!

The scheme is expected to cost the Karnataka government a whopping sum of Rs4,300 crore; a heavy burden on their budget. India is not a rice surplus country and Karnataka might have to import rice to meet the demand if the scheme gets implemented. This is the story of just one state. Then there is the presence of rampant corruption in the set-up. We are also again at the top of the list of corrupt countries.

If one is sincere about improving the lot of India’s poor, who form half the world’s poor, one has to take some basic steps; provide three square meals a day for the poor, uncontaminated by animal and/or human excreta; provide clean water which is still a pipe dream for millions; provide a toilet for every house to avoid hookworms that eat away the little nutrition people get; and provide nutritious food for India’s pregnant women in the first trimester to avoid stillbirths and birth of babies with smaller than normal vital organs like the heart, blood vessels, hippocampus major and the pancreas. Congenital debilities make them prone to precocious heart diseases and other killers like diabetes. Thanks to the hippocampus major being small, these people cannot go up the educational ladder.

The greatest misfortune that could befall anyone is “not knowing where your next meal comes from.” Agrarian societies have suffered from this curse since the time the Yangtze Valley peasants worried about floods and pestilence. The husband in rural Indian households often spends a good part of his daily wages on country liquor. It falls upon the wife to feed herself and the children by scrounging together whatever little money she can manage. Poverty, goes the old adage, is the womb of all ills. “The poor pay for their poverty with their lives,” wrote Julian Tudor Hart, working in a poor mining community in Glyncorrwg, Wales, for half a century.

India’s most urgent problem is to get some food for the starving millions who suffer from NIDS (nutritional immune deficiency syndromes) and die like flies daily. When one looks at the whole country, the diseases of affluence cannot be our priority. The lower income group people often suffer from malnutrition due to eating the wrong foods, but the vast majority, the poorest of the poor, have sub-nutrition and shrinking waistlines which needs urgent treatment!

    “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” — Confucius

Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.



Narendra Doshi

3 years ago

Brief article contains a trunkload of points to think about and implement.

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