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Soybean oil diet may trigger genetic changes in brain

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New York, Widely consumed soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes but may also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression, report researchers from University of California Riverside, including one of Indian origin.

In a study conducted on mice, the scientists found pronounced effects of the soybean oil on the hypothalamus where a number of critical processes take place. The research team discovered nearly 100 genes – including the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin produced in hypothalamus — affected by the soybean oil diet.

“The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress,” said Margarita Curras-Collazo, an associate professor of neuroscience and lead author on the study published in the journal Endocrinology.

The research team has not yet isolated which chemicals in the oil are responsible for the changes they found in the hypothalamus.

“But they have ruled out two candidates. It is not linoleic acid, since the modified oil also produced genetic disruptions; nor is it stigmasterol, a cholesterol-like chemical found naturally in soybean oil,” the study noted.

Identifying the compounds responsible for the negative effects is an important area for the team’s future research.This could help design healthier dietary oils in the future,” said Poonamjot Deol, first author on the study.

“If there’s one message I want people to take away, it’s this: reduce consumption of soybean oil,” Deol added.The team compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.

They believe this discovery could have ramifications not just for energy metabolism,but also for proper brain function and diseases such as autism or Parkinson’s disease.

“However, it is important to note there is no proof the oil causes these diseases,” the authors wrote.

Te same research team found in 2015 that soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Then in a 2017 study, the same group learned that if soybean oil is engineered to be low in linoleic acid, it induces less obesity and insulin resistance.

The team said the findings only apply to soybean oil — not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils.Do not throw out your tofu, soymilk, edamame, or soy sauce,” said Frances Sladek, a UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology.

“Many soy products only contain small amounts of the oil, and large amounts of healthful compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins”.

This study utilized male mice. Because oxytocin is so important for maternal health and promotes mother-child bonding, similar studies need to be performed using female mice.

Coconut oil, which contains saturated fats, produced very few changes in the hypothalamic genes, said the researchers.

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India

Stressed over board exams? Spend 10 mins daily with nature

They found that 10-50 minutes in natural spaces was the most effective to improve mood, focus and physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate.

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students with nature

New York, Feb 26 : Amid the ongoing board exams, spending as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting like the neighbourhood park can help students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress, say researchers.

The team from Cornell University in the US found that 10-50 minutes in natural spaces was the most effective to improve mood, focus and physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, aims to provide an easily-achievable dosage that physicians can prescribe as a preventive measure against high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues college students face.

“It doesn’t take much time for the positive benefits to kick in — we’re talking 10 minutes outside in a space with nature,” said study lead author Gen Meredith from the Cornell University.

“We firmly believe that every student, no matter what subject or how high their workload, has that much discretionary time each day, or at least a few times per week,” Meredith added.

For the findings, the research team reviewed studies that examined the effects of nature on people of college age (no younger than 15, no older than 30) to discover how much time students should be spending outside and what they should be doing while they’re there.

They found that 10-50 minutes in natural spaces was the most effective to improve mood, focus and physiological markers like blood pressure and heart rate.

“It’s not that there’s a decline after 50 minutes, but rather that the physiological and self-reported psychological benefits tend to plateau after that,” said study co-author Donald Rakow.

To enjoy the positive effects of being outside, students need only to be sitting or walking, the two primary activities the researchers examined in an effort to provide accessible recommendations.

“This is an opportunity to challenge our thinking around what nature can be. It is really all around us: trees, a planter with flowers, a grassy quad or a wooded area,” Meredith said.

The impetus for this work is a movement toward prescribing time in nature as a way to prevent or improve stress and anxiety, while also supporting physical and mental health outcomes.

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Foreigners feel ‘blessed’ to see Taj the day Trump visited

At many places on the route, the administration had made several statues of animals with flowers.

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Foreigners at Agra

Agra, Feb 24 : The foreign tourists who arrived in this historic city on Monday to see Taj Mahal said they were “lucky” and “felt blessed” to visit the 17th century monument on the day of US President Donald Trump’s visit.

The US President, who earlier in the day arrived at Ahmedabad and was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also announced a $3 billion chopper deal.

He landed here around 4.20 p.m. He was received by Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the Kheria airport.

Keith Clarke, a tourist from England, told IANS, “It’s my first visit to Agra, and India.” After reaching New Delhi three days ago, he arrived at Agra on Sunday night. When asked if he saw Taj Mahal, Clarke said, “Of course, I visited Taj in the morning before the US President’s arrival.”

Another foreign tourists, Sua Clarke said she was amazed as the US President was coming the same day to see Taj Mahal. Sua, in her late 50’s, said it was her first visit to India and was stunned by the cleanliness of the city.

On folk artists’ performance in the city, she said, “We loved the performance. And they too were enjoying while performing.” Artists’ performance was part of programme to welcome the First US Couple.

Alan, who also arrived here from the UK, said it was a lovely experience to find the Taj Mahal cleaned properly. “I heard that the Taj’s mausoleum were cleaned and the fresh mud wrapping were put on the graves of emperor (Shahjahan) and empress (Mumtaz),” he said.

Catherine Caley, also among the group, said her first visit to India had become memorable. “My trip to Agra and the Taj is one of the best moments of my life as before getting married I saw the monument on the day when the US President visited the historic site on same day along with his family.”

To welcome the US First Family here, the city was given a massive facelift. The administration put up huge billboards, placards, cut-outs and posters welcoming Trump and Melania.

The 13-km route from the airport to Taj Mahal had been spruced up aesthetically. The Indian and the US flags had been put up at round-abouts to give the area a festive look.

At many places on the route, the administration had made several statues of animals with flowers.

The walls were adorned with paintings reflecting the Brij culture and architectural heritage of Agra, Victorian-style lamp posts installed and the lawns of the Taj bedecked with colourful blooms.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Lifestyle

‘Minorities have complete freedom in Pakistan’

According to the London-based Minority Rights Group International, ethnic minorities in Pakistan include Sindhis (14.1 per cent), Pashtuns (15.42 per cent), Mohajirs (7.57 per cent), Baluchis (3.57 per cent).

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PESHAWAR

Karachi, Feb 24 : Members of minority groups in Pakistan can practice their religion openly and move about with complete freedom in the Muslim-majority country, a Minister has clamed.

While visiting the Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi on Sunday, provincial minister Nasir Hussain Shah vowed to protect the rights of minorities, reports The Express Tribune.

He commended the role and contribution that minorities have played in the development and progress of Pakistan, adding that he had come to the temple with a message of peace.

On behalf of the government, he also announced that 10,000 copies of the Bhagavad Gita would soon be distributed.

According to the London-based Minority Rights Group International, ethnic minorities in Pakistan include Sindhis (14.1 per cent), Pashtuns (15.42 per cent), Mohajirs (7.57 per cent), Baluchis (3.57 per cent).

Religious minorities include Christians (1.59 per cent), Ahmadis (0.22 per cent), Hindus (1.6 per cent), Shias, Isma’ilis, Bohras, Parsis and Sikhs.

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