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Internet obsession among adolescents leading to mental disorder: Experts

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Spending excessive time over internet and social media is emerging as a leading cause for mental disorder among adolescents and youths, say medical experts.

“It is seen that youths and teenagers are getting obsessed with mobile phones and computers. They spend most of time either playing games and chatting over social media and get away from the real world,” RK Chadda, HOD Psychiatry and Chief National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC).

According to Dr Rachna Bhargava, Associate Professor, Psychiatry and NDDTC AIIMS, excessive time spent over virtual world is forces youths to remain secluded from reality.

“Individuals develop an imaginary world and tend to confine themselves within that. Youths, especially boys aged between 14-25, have been observed to be more prone to mental disorder,” Bhargava added.

Among early symptoms it is found that a child tends to stop interacting or mingling with other children and creates a distance from family members.

“If a device is being forcefully taken away from a child, it is seen that he or she tends to lose temper and even misbehaves,” Dr Anju Dhawan, NDDTC stated.

Dr Pratap Saran, Psychiatry, AIIMS pointed that the primary reason behind youths falling prey to mobile games or social media addiction is because of lack of parental supervision.

“It is often seen that the parents remain engulfed in their own daily routine work and ignores the child. At times even the parents also fails to understand or realise that a child is developing mental disorder and it further escalates the syndrome,” Dr Saran added.

However, most mental disorder cases remain unattended. Dr Bhargava said the reason behind is that neither the patients nor anyone from their families come up and talk about it to medical experts.

“Most people do not even realise that they are facing mental disorder. Many think it is a stigma to attend a psychiatrist and hesitate to report or talk about the issues. There is quite a gap between psychiatrists and mental disorder patients,” she said.

According to the experts, mental disorder owing to social media and mobile games can be avoided if parents start early supervision.

“The addiction cannot be measured in a particular time frame. It can develop after using even for 3-4 hours of more than 6 hours. It is very important that parents should take their child for outdoor activities, that will help them to keep in pace with the real world,” Dr Chadda mentioned.

The recently concluded National Mental Health Survey of India estimates current prevalence of mental disorders in the age group 18-29 at 7.39 per cent and lifetime prevalence at 9.54 per cent.

AIIMS also organised an event to promote awareness of mental health issues affecting the young people on the occasion of World Mental Health Day which is marked on October 10 every year.

(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Father’s exercise can boost kids’ health in adulthood

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New York, Oct 23: For men planning to start a family, hitting the gym can help their children with a healthy metabolism.

While the diet and exercise habits of a pregnant woman can have an impact on the health of her baby, a new study on mice suggests that lifestyle practices of fathers prior to conception too can affect children’s health in adulthood.

The findings explored that paternal exercise had a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring well into their adulthood.

Offsprings from mice who exercised showed improved glucose metabolism, decreased body weight and a decreased fat mass in adulthood.

On the other hand, the sedentary male mice that fed on a high-fat diet passed along the traits of poor metabolic health and higher glucose intolerance.

However, exercise was found to mitigate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the researchers said.

“This work is an important step in learning about metabolic disease and prevention at the cellular level,” said K. Craig Kent, from Ohio State University in the US.

“Offspring from the dads fed a high-fat diet fared worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. But exercise negated that effect. When the dad exercised, even on a high-fat diet, we saw improved metabolic health in their adult offspring,” added Kristin Stanford, a researcher from the varsity.

Importantly, exercise was found to change the genetic expression of the father’s sperm that suppresses poor dietary effects and transfer to the offspring, the researchers noted in the paper published in the journal Diabetes.

Development of Type-2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health have been linked to parents’ poor diet, and there is increasing evidence that fathers play an important role in obesity and metabolic programming of their offspring.

“We’re now determining if both parents exercising has even greater effects to improve metabolism and overall health of offspring. If translated to humans, this would be hugely important for the health of the next generation,” said Laurie Goodyear, postdoctoral student from the Joslin Diabetes Centre in the US.

IANS

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Eating spinach, beetroot could help prevent vision loss

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Sydney, Oct 22: Eating vegetable nitrates, found mainly in green leafy vegetables and beetroot, could prevent macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss in people over age 50, new research has found.

People who ate between 100 to 142 mgs (milligrams) of vegetable nitrates each day had a 35 per cent lower risk of developing early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than people who ate less than 69 mgs of vegetable nitrates each day, showed the findings published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Spinach has approximately 20mg of nitrate per 100g, while beetroot has nearly 15mg of nitrate per 100g.

“This is the first time the effects of dietary nitrates on macular degeneration risk has been measured,” said lead researcher Bamini Gopinath from Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia.

For the study, the researchers interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 49 and followed them over a 15-year period.

“If our findings are confirmed, incorporating a range of foods rich in dietary nitrates — like green leafy vegetables and beetroot — could be a simple strategy to reduce the risk of early macular degeneration,” Gopinath said.

The research did not show any additional benefits for people who exceeded 142mgs of dietary nitrate each day.

Age is the strongest known risk factor for AMD and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.

There is currently no cure for the disease.

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Ebola death toll rises to 200 in Congo

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

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Ebola Infection

Kinshasa, Oct 21 : The death toll in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 200, the Health Ministry has said.

According to statistics released by the Ministry on Saturday, of the 200 cases confirmed in Beni and surrounding areas, 117 have died of the virus while 61 others recovered after treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

The World Health Organization said the 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC does not currently constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

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