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Kids exposed to 9/11 ‘dust’ showing signs of heart disease risk




New York, Sep 7: Sixteen years after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers sent a “cloud” of toxic debris across Lower Manhattan, children living nearby who breathed in the ash and fumes are showing early signs of risk for heart disease, a study says.

“Since 9/11, we have focused a lot of attention on the psychological and mental fallout from witnessing the tragedy, but only now are the potential physical consequences of being within the disaster zone itself becoming clear,” said study lead investigator Leonardo Trasande, Associate Professor at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine.

The researchers analysed blood tests of 308 children, nearly half of whom may have come in direct contact with the dust on 9/11.

Children with higher blood levels of the chemicals known to be in the dust had elevated levels of artery-hardening fats in their blood, showed the findings published online in the journal Environment International.

Long-term danger may stem from exposure to certain perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs — chemicals released into the air as electronics and furniture burned in the disaster, Trasande said.

These include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), widely used to make plastics more flexible until its health effects, including lower-than-normal birthweights and brain damage, led US manufacturers to stop using it in 2014.

Children exposed to 9/11 ‘dust’ had significantly higher PFOA blood levels than the children who were not living or studying in the city on the day of the attack.

Among the latest study’s results was that roughly every threefold increase in blood PFOA levels was tied to an average nine per cent to 15 per cent increase in blood fats.

Raised fat levels in the blood, especially Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, are known risk factors for heart disease and can if left unchecked lead to blood vessel blockages and heart attack.

Fortunately, these very early signs of cardiovascular risk can generally be addressed by diet, weight control, and exercise, Trasande said.



World Sleep Day: Over 60% Indians feel sleep is not a priority, finds Survey



world sleep day

New Delhi, March 16: Over 60 per cent of Indians feel exercise is the top factor impacting health and well-being more than sleep, finds a survey that highlighted the need for good sleep for better health.

The survey, led by Philips India, showed that 19 per cent of Indian adults account overlapping work hours with normal sleep time (shift work sleep disorder) as a key barrier to sleep.

According to another 32 per cent, technology is a major sleep distractor.

While 45 per cent adults have tried mediation to initiate and maintain good sleep, 24 per cent reported having tried specialised bedding.

“Sleep disorder is a much more serious issue than what most people understand, especially given their direct correlation with other serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke etc,” Harish R, Head (Sleep and Respiratory Care) at Philips, said in a statement.

“In a country where snoring is traditionally associated with sound sleep, it is extremely challenging to make people aware that it is a sign of a serious sleep disorder,” he added.

The findings will provide directions to raise awareness and innovate interventions to ensure an important but oft-neglected aspect of health and wellbeing: sleep health.

The survey was based on Philips annual global survey conducted with over 15,000 adults across 13 countries — India, the US, the UK, Germany, Poland, France, China, Australia, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Japan.


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Slow down ageing with right food, ample sleep



slow down aging
slow down aging, Photo youtube

New Delhi, March 13: Want to age slowly and live a longer life? Eat right, get adequate sleep and stay positive.

“There are a couple of things, one is food for sure. What you eat is what you show on the outside. The second is what and how you think… if you are more positive, if you are happier then your skin and your cells are happy and you don’t age as fast as you would if you were unhappy or stressed,” Neha Ranglani told IANS on behalf of Sony BBC Earth’s show “How to Stay Young”.

“The third is sleep, which is super important. These three things determine your youthfulness,” added the nutritionist and wellness expert.

VLCC’s wellness expert Anju Ghei said the food one eats has direct impact on physical, mental, and emotional health.

“A well-balanced diet can provide all the nutrition you need to fuel your daily activities. The total daily calorie intake should take into account the level of daily physical activity,” Ghei said.

Ranglani said “fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains to a small extent and pulses are extremely healthy”.

“The more natural and less processed you eat, the slower you age because then you’re giving your body the nutrients, vitamins, the anti-oxidants which help to form the collagen and maintain the elasticity of your skin.

“That way, your cells break down and repair faster rather than just breaking down and not repairing because of the unhealthy food,” she added.

How can young professionals include that in life who prefer to grab a bite while on the go?

Ranglani said: “The whole point is that they need to be organised as to what they would eat the entire day, and depend less on packaged and outside food.

“So if they are organised and carry proper meals for proper timings and instead of eating chips or having tea or coffee, if they pick up fruits or have more of coconut water with malai or have a handful of nuts that would help them give them the nutrients that their body needs.

“They just need to be mindful about what put in their mouth at every point of time.”

Ghei also said eliminating stress, sleeping well and sleeping enough, kicking the butt and curbing alcohol will also make a difference.

“It’s the continued stress and our body’s natural, evolutionary response that causes all sorts of health problems, including weight gain,” she said.

To this, Ranglani added: “Tea, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes should not be consumed at all. These things can wreck your whole youthfulness. The internal and external smoke and toxins can actually make your skin look dull and dead, leading to wrinkling and ageing faster.

“These addictions are something which everyone needs to get over for a happy and a healthy life.”


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Parliamentary panel red-flags government’s ambitious healthcare scheme




New Delhi, March 13: The Modi government has released less than half of the budgeted allocation for health insurance of poor families in fiscal 2017-18, even as it promised to step up coverage with the proposed launch of what is called the world’s largest government healthcare programme.

The revenue allocation of Rs 975 crore for the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) was reduced to Rs 565 crore and, as the year progressed, the actual release was just Rs 450 crore — less than half of the budget estimate, according to a parliamentary panel’s report.

“Funds as a central share of premium under RSBY of approximately Rs 450 crore were only released for such states that submitted their proposal during the year 2017-18,” said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in its report.

As for the reason for reducing the budgeted allocation, the panel quoted the Department of Health and Family Welfare, saying: “This ministry had moved a proposal for another scheme with an enhanced cover of Rs 1 lakh per family.

“However, this proposal is still pending with the cabinet. Therefore, such states that were waiting for the new scheme to be launched did not submit any proposal and meanwhile stopped implementation of RSBY.”

Even the amount of Rs 25 crore allocated for capital purposes in 2017-18 for setting up office premises for the proposed scheme with an enhanced cover of Rs 1 lakh remained unutilised during the period as the cabinet approval for the scheme remained pending. The money was surrendered.

The RSBY provided a limited coverage of only Rs 30,000 and there was a proposal to increase it to Rs 1 lakh. While the government had difficulties in implementing the healthcare scheme, it announced the launch a bigger healthcare programme in its Union Budget for 2018-19 last month.

The proposed National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which would subsume RSBY, would cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, and the coverage is further enhanced to Rs 5 lakh per family per year.

However, the Parliamentary Standing Committee has warned of possible failures.

The committee reported that the enrolment in RSBY was quite low. “Only 57 percent of eligible are enrolled and less than 12 percent of the eligible persons got their hospitalisation covered through RSBY.”

Citing a comprehensive review of various studies on RSBY, the panel said that in a majority of states (eight out of 14) there was an increase in out-of-pocket expenditure related to RSBY, while only two of 14 studies showed a reduction in expenditure.

It further noted that many states have opted out of RSBY in favour of state-run schemes. “The government should form a committee to analyse the failures of RSBY and ensure that inadequacies plaguing the operation and implementation of RSBY are not repeated.”

The panel observed that the new scheme is just a modification of the earlier one as more than half of the target beneficiaries proposed to be covered under the NHPS were already covered under existing government-supported schemes.

“What would indeed have been a step forward is if it covered out-patient treatment as well, but that is lacking,” said the Parliamentary panel.


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