A Long Engagement

I first learned of my would-be betrothal to a man named Stephen in 1993, when I was 21. My parents had just returned to the States from a trip to the territory of my mother’s people, the Karen; their home is the country I will always call Burma, though it had been renamed Myanmar by its military-backed government. A 29-year-old soldier engaged in resistance against the junta, this Karen man was also a self-taught programmer and engineer — and he appeared to have dazzled my parents. ‘‘I promised you in marriage to him,’’ my mother informed me, only half in jest.

 

A year later, we heard that Stephen had been in a boating accident on the Salween River, which snakes from the Tibetan Plateau down to the Andaman Sea. While saving a young woman, he was thrown into the water and pinned between two colliding boats. His back was broken, and he was now paralyzed from the waist down.

 ‘‘Isn’t it possible he’ll recover?’’ I asked a physician friend.

 ‘‘He’ll never walk again,’’ she told me, so coldly that I had to leave the room. I wept, confused by my outburst, overcome by the feeling that a terrible injustice had been done to someone I loved but had never met.

 It was seven months later, on my first trip to Karen territory, that I actually met Stephen. But when I visited him in the wood-planked dwelling where he lived with a colonel’s family, he hardly glanced at me, and I felt hurt. He was slight yet strong, and his avoiding gaze told me something about both his fortitude and wounded pride. His mother later informed me, seemingly at random and with startling candor, that the question of marriage had been eliminated for him. ‘‘He won’t be able to satisfy a wife,’’ she said.

 But he was able, with time, to become instrumental in Karen affairs. Along with other indigenous peoples there, the Karen had long been fighting the government’s oppressive actions against minorities, and in the late ’90s, after Stephen immigrated to the United States, he and my mother began working closely in the push for human rights and democratic governance. She trusted Stephen’s opinion more than anyone’s. He often referred to her as his teacher, and she teased and worried over him as if he were a son. Still, during these years, I never developed more than an acquaintance with him. He was based in Seattle, and I was consumed with my own life in Southern California — education, work, marriage and parenthood.

I first learned of my would-be betrothal to a man named Stephen in 1993, when I was 21. My parents had just returned to the States from a trip to the territory of my mother’s people, the Karen; their home is the country I will always call Burma, though it had been renamed Myanmar by its military-backed government. A 29-year-old soldier engaged in resistance against the junta, this Karen man was also a self-taught programmer and engineer — and he appeared to have dazzled my parents. ‘‘I promised you in marriage to him,’’ my mother informed me, only half in jest.

 A year later, we heard that Stephen had been in a boating accident on the Salween River, which snakes from the Tibetan Plateau down to the Andaman Sea. While saving a young woman, he was thrown into the water and pinned between two colliding boats. His back was broken, and he was now paralyzed from the waist down.

 ‘‘Isn’t it possible he’ll recover?’’ I asked a physician friend.

 ‘‘He’ll never walk again,’’ she told me, so coldly that I had to leave the room. I wept, confused by my outburst, overcome by the feeling that a terrible injustice had been done to someone I loved but had never met.

 

It was seven months later, on my first trip to Karen territory, that I actually met Stephen. But when I visited him in the wood-planked dwelling where he lived with a colonel’s family, he hardly glanced at me, and I felt hurt. He was slight yet strong, and his avoiding gaze told me something about both his fortitude and wounded pride. His mother later informed me, seemingly at random and with startling candor, that the question of marriage had been eliminated for him. ‘‘He won’t be able to satisfy a wife,’’ she said.

 But he was able, with time, to become instrumental in Karen affairs. Along with other indigenous peoples there, the Karen had long been fighting the government’s oppressive actions against minorities, and in the late ’90s, after Stephen immigrated to the United States, he and my mother began working closely in the push for human rights and democratic governance. She trusted Stephen’s opinion more than anyone’s. He often referred to her as his teacher, and she teased and worried over him as if he were a son. Still, during these years, I never developed more than an acquaintance with him. He was based in Seattle, and I was consumed with my own life in Southern California — education, work, marriage and parenthood. 

When I arrived late at night in a Thai village across the Salween from Karen headquarters, he was sleeping. We hadn’t seen each other since my mother’s memorial service, and after all that time on the phone, I’d almost forgotten his paralysis. Now when I walked into the room, I was stunned to see how helpless he looked, as if fastened to the bed, and I found myself rushing to this man I’d never touched and falling down into his arms.

 At the time, I could no more stop my tears than explain them. Today, on the eve of the first general elections in the country in decades, it seems to me that I was reacting to the tremendous toll that his personal and political struggles had taken on him. I must have been reminded also of my mother, who had been similarly confined to her bed during her illness, and whose death had cost us a heroine. It occurs to me now how vulnerable Stephen and I were, how dependent on each other. Even to get out of bed, Stephen would need my help. And I needed the comfort that perhaps only he, with all our unrealized history, could give. He seemed to understand all of this, and he stroked the back of my head.

 At the end of our trip, we stayed a night at his cousin’s place, a concrete structure filled with guests, in Mae Sot, Thailand. The cousin was away, but a sweet woman Stephen knew showed up with dinner. She sat in the kitchen while we ate, re-emerging to knead Stephen’s shoulders before wheeling him into the bathroom to prepare him for sleep. A nurse with two daughters, she had trained hundreds of other nurses serving the nearby refugee camps. ‘‘Whenever I come through, she takes care of me,’’ Stephen explained later, from a bed alongside mine. Then he let on that she was the young woman he saved long ago on the Salween. ‘‘Look at all she’s done,’’ he said, with the tenderness I’ve come to rely on. ‘‘Tell me it wasn’t worth it.’’

 

A New Solution That Stops Snoring and Lets You Sleep

A New Solution That Stops Snoring and Lets You Sleep

If you’re like most Americans you probably don’t get eight hours sleep each night.

 But, if you also constantly feel exhausted, experience headaches for no obvious reason or have high blood pressure, you could have a more serious problem.

 That’s because these can all be the result of snoring—which is, in turn, the most common symptom of a potentially serious health problem—obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). 

While most people think of snoring as a minor annoyance, research shows it can be hazardous to your health.  That’s because for over 18 million Americans it’s related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People who suffer from OSA repeatedly and unknowingly stop breathing during the night due to a complete or partial obstruction of their airway.  It occurs when the jaw, throat, and tongue muscles relax, blocking the airway used to breathe.  The resulting lack of oxygen can last for a minute or longer, and occur hundreds of times each night.  

 

Thankfully, most people wake when a complete or partial obstruction occurs, but it can leave you feeling completely exhausted.  OSA has also been linked to a host of health problems including:

 Acid reflux

Frequent nighttime urination

Memory loss

Stroke

Depression

Diabetes

Heart attack

People over 35 are at higher risk.

 

OSA can be expensive to diagnosis and treat, and is not always covered by insurance.  A sleep clinic will require an overnight visit (up to $5,000).  Doctors then analyze the data and prescribe one of several treatments.  These may require you to wear uncomfortable CPAP devices that force air through your nose and mouth while you sleep to keep your airways open, and may even include painful surgery.

 Fortunately, there is now a comfortable, far less costly and invasive treatment option available.  A recent case study published by Eastern Virginia Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine concludes that wearing a simple chinstrap while you sleep can be an effective treatment for OSA.

 The chin strap, which is now available from a company called MySnoringSolution, works by supporting the lower jaw and tongue, preventing obstruction of the airway.  It’s made from a high-tech, lightweight, and super-comfortable material.  Thousands of people have used the MySnoringSolution chinstrap to help relieve their snoring symptoms, and they report better sleeping, and better health overall because of it.

 An effective snoring solution for just $119

 The “My Snoring Solution” Chinstrap is available exclusively from the company’s website which is currently offering a limited time “2 for 1” offer.  The product also comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

 If you want to stop snoring once and for all, without expensive CPAP devices or other intrusive devices, this may be the solution you’ve been waiting for.  The free additional strap is great for travel or as a gift for a fellow sufferer.

 Best of all, this product comes with an unconditional 90-day, money-back guarantee! 

Allergies linked to obesity and heart risks

Allergies linked to obesity and heart risks

Sometimes, the body’s immune system goes into overdrive. It’s meant to fight disease and foreign microbes. But at times it may inappropriately fight against healthy parts of its own body. This is known as autoimmune disease. Common examples include asthma and allergies. Children with such diseases face a higher than normal risk of becoming overweight and developing conditions that could lead to heart disease, a study now finds.Asthma is a disease affecting the lungs' airways. It can make it hard to breathe. Eczema (EX-eh-mah) is an autoimmune disease that makes the skin rough, itchy and red. Allergies act up when the body thinks something harmless in the environment is actually dangerous and then tries to fight it.

 Jonathan Silverberg looked for people with any of these conditions who had been interviewed as part of a major U.S. health survey. Silverberg works at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill. As a dermatologist there, he treats skin disorders, such as eczema.

 For the new study, he reviewed data from interviews of more than 13,000 U.S. children and teens (and their families). Some 14 percent of children up to age 17 had asthma. Another 12 percent had eczema. And 17 percent had seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever. Then Silverberg looked beyond the autoimmune symptoms in these kids for signs of other underlying diseases. And he found them.

 “Children with allergic disease have higher odds of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol than those without allergic disease,” Silverberg now reports.

 Obesity has been ruled a disease. And children with eczema were slightly more likely to be overweight or obese, he found. Children who had asthma or hay fever were too.

 High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to push blood through its vessels and arteries. Cholesterol (Ko-LES-tur-oll) is a soft, waxy substance in the blood. Although it helps the body function, too much of it can clog the arteries. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol can raise chances of serious heart problems, such as a heart attack. Children with asthma and hay fever were about twice as likely to have high blood pressure or cholesterol, Silverberg found.

 Their overall risk of high blood pressure or high cholesterol was fairly small. And Silverberg can’t say whether asthma or allergies caused the high blood pressure or cholesterol. But it’s certainly possible, he notes.

 Silverberg described his new findings December 8 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

 What to make of the findings

Kelvin MacDonald is a pulmonologist. He treats people with lung problems, such as asthma, at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. MacDonald says that he and other doctors have been worried about a recent rise in childhood obesity and asthma. They’re also concerned that the two appear to be linked.

 “It’s a chicken and an egg question,” MacDonald says. By that he means it is unclear which one comes first: the chicken or its egg. It’s possible, he says, that “you have asthma and you become obese because you’re inactive. Or,” he notes, it’s possible that “you start becoming obese because you’re being sedentary and that causes the asthma.” In the same way, scientists don’t know if asthma or allergies might cause high blood pressure and cholesterol or if it could be the other way round. For now, MacDonald says, nobody knows which is true.

Silverberg thinks there are several ways that having asthma or allergies might boost blood pressure or cholesterol. Inflammation, for instance, is the immune system’s response to injury or disease. And children with asthma and allergies usually have more of it. During inflammation, immune cells release proteins and hormones that cause changes in the body. For example, they can temporarily narrow blood vessels or irritate nerves. Scientists are still trying to understand how this might boost blood pressure. 

Some children don’t get much exercise because it makes their asthma or allergies worse. They often take medicines. Silverberg points out that this medicine, the lack of exercise — or both — might affect blood pressure and cholesterol. But he adds that more research is needed to be sure.

 MacDonald notes that different types of inflammation can occur. But the data used in this study did not identify which types of inflammation the sick children had. That makes it harder to understand what’s happening in their bodies.

 “That’s the problem with all these types of investigations” that show provocative links between one thing and another, MacDonald says. They can find an association, but can’t show how it causes the problem.

 But the study does suggest that allergic diseases and conditions like obesity are not separate problems. Indeed, MacDonald says, “It is interesting to think that the obesity epidemic and the allergy epidemic could be related.”

 Meanwhile, for children and teens with asthma or allergies, it’s important to treat those diseases, Silverberg says. And to promote health, he adds, it’s also important to eat a healthy diet, to sit less and to move more.

 Power Words

(for more about Power Words, click here)

allergen  A substance that causes an allergic reaction.

 allergy  (adj. allergic) The inappropriate reaction by the body’s immune system to a normally harmless substance. Untreated, a particularly severe reaction can lead to death.

 artery  Part of the body’s circulation system, these tubes carry blood from the heart to all parts of the body.

 asthma  A disease affecting the body’s airways,which are the tubes through which animals breathe. Asthma obstructs these airways through swelling, the production of too much mucus or a tightening of the tubes. As a result, the body can expand to breathe in air, but loses the ability to exhale appropriately. The most common cause of asthma is an allergy. It is a leading cause of hospitalization and the top chronic disease responsible for kids missing school.

 autoimmunity   (adj. autoimmune) A process whereby the immune system turns against its host. This inappropriate reaction can cause disease instead of curing it. Autoimmune diseases can be quite severe and hard for doctors to treat. They include rheumatoid arthritis (affecting joints, such as knees), multiple sclerosis (targeting nerves and muscles), Crohn’s disease (affecting the gut), psoriasis and lupus (affecting skin) and the type of diabetes that typically develops in young children. In all of these cases, the immune system generates out-of-control inflammation.

 cholesterol    A fatty material in animals that forms a part of cell walls. In vertebrate animals, it travels through the blood in little vessels known as lipoproteins. Excessive levels in the blood can signal risks to the blood vessels and heart.

 eczema    An allergic disease that causes an itchy red rash — or inflammation — on the skin. The term comes from a Greek word, which means to bubble up or boil over.

 epidemic  A widespread outbreak of an infectious disease that sickens many people (or other organisms) in a community at the same time. The term also may be applied to non-infectious diseases or conditions that have spread in a similar way.

 high blood pressure   The common term for a medical condition known as hypertension. It puts a strain on blood vessels and the heart.

 hormone   (in zoology and medicine)  A chemical produced in a gland and then carried in the bloodstream to another part of the body. Hormones control many important body activities, such as growth. Hormones act by triggering or regulating chemical reactions in the body. (in botany) A chemical that serves as a signaling compound that tells cells of a plant when and how to develop, or when to grow old and die.

 inflammation  The body’s response to cellular injury and obesity; it often involves swelling, redness, heat and pain. It is also an underlying feature responsible for the development and aggravation of many diseases, especially heart disease and diabetes.

 immune system  The collection of cells and their responses that help the body fight off infections and deal with foreign substances that may provoke allergies.

 obesity   Extreme overweight. Obesity is associated with a wide range of health problems, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

 proteins      Compounds made from one or more long chains of amino acids. Proteins are an essential part of all living organisms. They form the basis of living cells, muscle and tissues; they also do the work inside of cells. The hemoglobin in blood and the antibodies that attempt to fight infections are among the better-known, stand-alone proteins. Medicines frequently work by latching onto proteins.

 sedentary   Not physically active; an adjective for activities done largely while sitting.

 

Just ONE hour of jogging or swimming a week is 'more effective in fighting obesity than counting calories'

It’s long been thought that the key to fighting obesity lies in limiting caloric intake.

Yet, for some obese people who count their calories, shedding the pounds proves an impossible goal to reach.

Scientists have discovered the answer lies in the fact obesity can stem from inherited genes.

And, their new findings reveal the best way to blunt the effects of those genes is to exercise. 

 

A physically active lifestyle has been found to substantially decrease the genetic effects of major obesity genes, a new study from McMaster University revealed.

Just one hour a week of jogging or swimming for obese people is more beneficial than diets or reducing portion sizes, scientists found.

The study said: ‘These data challenge the idea of attributing the obesity epidemic mainly to excessive caloric intake and support the universal value of [physical activity] to maintain a healthy body weight.’

The team of scientists looked at data from nearly 17,400 people from six ethnic groups: South Asian, East Asian, European, African, Latin American and Native North American.

The study participants were recruited from 17 countries and researchers followed them for more than three years.

Study co-author Hudson Reddon, a PhD student, said: ‘To strengthen the confidence in our results, we used both basic and precise (metabolic equivalent score) measures of physical activity, and we compared the traditional body mass index to the recently developed body adiposity index.’

The scientists analysed the impact of 14 obesity predisposing genes.

They determined that physical activity can blunt the genetic effect of FTO – a major contributor to obesity – by up to 75 per cent.

Previous studies have found physical activity converts ‘bad’ white fat into ‘good’ brown fats, known as adipose tissue.

The current study found that the combined role of FTO and physical activity in obesity and adipocyte browning strengthened those previous results.

The study said: ‘Given the growing consensus that food intake may be the main driver of the obesity epidemic, it is important to note that both PA measures displayed significant associations with both adiposity measures at baseline and at follow-up.’

As a result, the scientists determined that physical activity can influence obesity, despite the broad range of lifestyles of the study participants.

Furthermore, the researchers cited a recent analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cohort from 1988 to 2010.

The analysis found that physical activity has a larger impact on BMI and waist circumference trends than caloric intake.

Dr David Meyre, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, said: ‘This provides a message of hope for people with obesity predisposing genes that they can do something about it.

‘Our body weight destiny is not only written in our genetic blueprint.’

He added: ‘These promising results encourage us to investigate how additional lifestyle factors, such as diet, stress and sleep patterns, may impact the genetic predisposition to obesity.’

 

 

Scientists develop antibody that may treat type 2 diabetes

Scientists develop antibody that may treat type 2 diabetes

 

The increase in adipose tissue characteristic of obesity has long been linked to increased risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Boston: Researchers have developed a new antobody that could potentially be used to treat type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and other metabolic diseases.

The therapeutic improves glucose regulation and reduces fatty liver in obese mice by targeting a hormone in adipose (fat) tissue called aP2 (also known as FABP4).

 The increase in adipose tissue characteristic of obesity has long been linked to increased risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The tissue itself plays an active role in metabolic disease, in part by releasing hormones which act in distant sites such as the liver, muscle, and brain that affect systemic metabolism.

 Since aP2 levels are significantly increased in humans with obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, and mutations that reduce aP2 result in significantly reduced risk of diabetes, dyslipidemia and heart disease, strategies to modify aP2 function carry promise as new lines of therapeutic entities against these common and debilitating chronic diseases. 

In the study, researchers from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues described the development and evaluation of novel monoclonal antibodies targeting aP2.

 The team found that one of these antibodies effectively improved glucose regulation in two independent models of obesity. Additionally, beneficial reductions in liver fat were observed.

 “The importance of this study is two-fold - first, demonstrating the importance of aP2 as a critical hormone in abnormal glucose metabolism, and secondly, showing that aP2 can be effectively targeted to treat diabetes and potentially other immunometabolic diseases,” said Gokhan S Hotamisligil, a professor at Harvard Chan School.

 Monoclonal antibodies have the potential to be transformative first-in-class therapeutics to fight obesity-related metabolic and immunometabolic disease, the authors said.

 The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

 

Preparations under way for annual drive against polio

Preparations under way for annual drive against polio

 

The Department of Health and Family Welfare has resolved to achieve 100 per cent coverage under the annual pulse polio programme that aims to administer anti-polio drops to children below the age of five.

While the first phase of the nationwide programme would be taken up on January 17, the second phase will be conducted on February 21.

In all, 1,69,348 children would be administered the oral polio vaccine (OPV) in Mandya district, H.P. Manche Gowda, District Health Officer (DHO), said. Speaking to The Hindu here on Tuesday, he said the department had begun preparations towards achieving 100 per cent coverage under the drive. The district administration has set up 723 centres across the district for administering the oral polio vaccine. As many as 2,892 health workers will be involved in the drive. In addition, the department would deploy 144 supervisors, 44 transit teams and five mobile teams for ensuring success of the pulse polio immunisation campaign.

Special arrangements have been made to reach the children who are travelling, and those residing at inaccessible pockets of the district. Health workers would track such children and administer the oral polio vaccines, he said.

Deputy Commissioner M.N. Ajay Nagabhushan has reviewed the preparations for the programme. He has provided valuable suggestions to the officials concerned and have urged them to ensure that every eligible child is covered under the drive.

The department would set up polio vaccine centres on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway, at the railway station, bus-terminals, festival sites and other public places to ensure success of the national immunisation programme.

A training programme on the methods for proper storage and administration of vaccine would be conducted here shortly for the staff nurses and others designated for the campaign, a taluk medical officer said.

Meanwhile, the department is contemplating organising awareness rallies for the success of the drive shortly.

 

The first phase of the programme to be held on January 7, and second on February 21

723 centres set up for administering oral polio vaccine

2,892 staff nurses, 144 supervisors, 44 transit teams and five mobile units will be involved in the drive

Training in proper storage and administration of vaccine to be provided soon to all those involved in the campaign

 

More social bonds lower heart disease, cancer risks

 

In a first of its kind study, researchers have shown that there is a clear link between social relationships and certain key measures of health like obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure. The less social relationships a person has the more these key measures get skewed, and this leads to long term health effects including heart disease, stroke and cancer. 

 There has been considerable research in the past two decades on the link between social life and health status but this study by scientists from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US, and Renmin University, Beijing establishes the link between measurable indicators. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

 "Based on these findings, it should be as important to encourage adolescents and young adults to build broad social relationships and social skills for interacting with others as it is to eat healthy and be physically active," said Kathleen Mullan Harris, professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

 Specifically, the team found that the sheer size of a person's social network was important for health in early and late adulthood. In adolescence, that is, social isolation increased risk of inflammation by the same amount as physical inactivity while social integration protected against abdominal obesity. In old age, social isolation was actually more harmful to health than diabetes on developing and controlling hypertension. 

 

In middle adulthood, it wasn't the number of social connections that mattered, but what those connections provided in terms of social support or strain. "The relationship between health and the degree to which people are integrated in large social networks is strongest at the beginning and at the end of life, and not so important in middle adulthood, when the quality, not the quantity, of social relationships matters," Harris said. 

 Harris and her team drew on data from four nationally representative surveys of the US population that, together, covered the lifespan from adolescence to old age. They evaluated three dimensions of social relationships: social integration, social support and social strain. They then studied how individual's social relationships were associated with four markers shown to be key markers for mortality risk: blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and circulating levels of C-reactive protein, which is a measure of systemic inflammation. 

 One of the four nationally representative surveys was part of The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, or Add Health, the largest, most comprehensive data researchers use to study how social relationships, behavior, environment and biology interact to shape health in adolescence and influence well-being throughout adulthood. 

 "We studied the interplay between social relationships, behavioural factors and physiological dysregulation that, over time, lead to chronic diseases of aging—cancer being a prominent example," Yang Claire Yang, a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, CPC fellow and a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Centre. "Our analysis makes it clear that doctors, clinicians, and other health workers should redouble their efforts to help the public understand how important strong social bonds are throughout the course of all of our lives."

 

Pneumonia kills 2 lakh kids every yr

Pneumonia kills 2 lakh kids every yr

 

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5

India may be the top consumer of antibiotics in the world but it is losing a large number of lives annually due to lack of antibiotic access to treat preventable diseases such as pneumonia.

A new study in the Lancet’s special series on Antimicrobial Resistance shows that only 12.5 per cent of India’s under-five children with suspected pneumonia are actually getting treatment for the same, resulting in 2,10,000 deaths every year.

The Lancet article titled, “Access to effective antimicrobials: A worldwide challenge” goes on to conclude on the basis of research that India can avert 80.7 per cent of its annual under 5 pneumonia attributable deaths by universalizing access to antibiotics.

“India with low reported percentage of children with suspected pneumonia receiving antibiotic treatment (just 12.5 pc) can reduce the number of present community acquired bacterial pneumonia deaths by 80.7 per cent to 40,691 annually instead of the current 0.210 million. This means it can avert 1,69,760 deaths every year by ensuring children suffering pneumonia get medicines,” says Prof Ramanan Laxminarayan, lead author of the paper.

The authors argue that even today lack of access to antibiotics is killing more people worldwide than antibiotic resistance is. They studied antibiotic use and diseases patterns in 101 countries and concluded that worldwide universal antibiotic access can avert 0.445 million deaths out of the estimated 0.590 million community acquired pneumonia deaths annually. This represents a reduction of 75 pc child mortality globally.

“The point we are making is – for human health lack of access to essential and lifesaving medicines is as important as the issue of antibiotic resistance. Talking of the challenge of antibiotic resistance in isolation won’t help when even today we have large sections of people without access to medicines,” Laxminarayan says.

The study also shows India leading the global burden of neonatal sepsis deaths attributed to antibiotic resistant pathogens thereby flagging the attention of policymakers to the need for a national action plan on antibiotics which ensures their effective use while preventing their abuse.

Annually, 214500 neonatal sepsis deaths are attributable to resistant bacteria in the five high burden countries – India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo and China. Of these deaths, 56, 500 are annually reported from India.

Director General of ICMR Dr Soumya Swaminathan agrees to the challenge of lack of antibiotic access in India saying, “Most of the children in underserved area are unable to get pneumonia antibiotics due to prescription problems. We need to experiment with new models of prescription where we don’t have enough doctors to write medicines.”

Between 2000 and 2010, worldwide consumption of antibiotics rose by 36 per cent. Three fourths of this rose in BRICS countries alone with 23 per cent increase in retail sales of antibiotics in the BRICS nations being attributed to India.

The World Health Assembly has endorsed a Global Resolution on Antimicrobial Resistance. The resolution mandates all member nations to put in place national action plans to combat the antibiotic challenge within two years.

12.5%: Children with suspected pneumonia are actually treated annually

2,10,000: Under-5 children die of inadequate treatment every year

1,69,760: Deaths can be averted by ensuring that children get medicines

 

How emotions effect your brain's creativity

How emotions effect your brain's creativity

Emotional expression affects the brain's creativity network, says a new brain-scanning study of jazz pianists, adding that "happy" and "sad" music evoked different neural patterns in their brains. 

 

The workings of neural circuits associated with creativity are significantly altered when artists are actively attempting to express emotions, the researchers report. 

 "The bottom line is that emotion matters. It can't just be a binary situation in which your brain is one way when you're being creative and another way when you're not," said senior author Charles Limb from University of California-San Francisco. 

 "Instead, there are greater and lesser degrees of creative states, and different versions. And emotion plays a crucially important role in these differences," he explained. 

 The team focused in a brain region known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which is involved in planning and monitoring behaviour. 

 The researchers found that DLPFC deactivation was significantly greater when the jazz musicians improvised melodies intended to convey the emotion expressed in a "positive" image (a photograph of a woman smiling) than a "negative" image (photo of the same woman in a mildly distressed state). 

 On the other hand, improvisations targeted at expressing the emotion in the negative image were associated with greater activation of the brain's reward regions. 

 "This indicates there may be different mechanisms for why it's pleasurable to create happy versus sad music," added first study author Malinda McPherson. 

 

For each musician, any brain activity data generated during these passive viewing periods, including emotional responses, were subtracted from that elicited during their musical performances. 

 

This allowed the researchers to determine which components of brain activity in emotional regions were strongly associated with creating the improvisations. 

 Moreover, Limb said, the research team avoided biasing the musicians' performances with words like "sad" or "happy" when instructing the musicians before the experiments. 

 The paper appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.

 

Enjoy the holidays with less stress

Enjoy the holidays with less stress

 

Do you get stressed out during the holiday season? The holidays are a joyful time but can present a wide variety of demands.

Take a deep breath and give yourself a break! The holidays don’t have to be perfect to be a special time with loved ones.

Try these tips for dealing with the stress that may be weighing on your shoulders during the next few weeks. You may surprise yourself and end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

1. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

2. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.

3. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities.

4. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

5. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind and restoring inner calm.

Join us in HealthConnection at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16, when Ken Kinzie, LCSW, will discuss coping techniques for stress related to the holiday season. RSVP to (941) 917-7011.

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.