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Antibiotic resistance: Your kitchen sponge could be the new weapon against it

Training and Health The Health Site

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem that is assuming alarming proportions.Here is a low-down on the condition and ways to fight it plus a new research that brings a ray of hope.
'The humble kitchen sponge has always been viewed as the breeding ground for germs. In fact, in a study published in Nature Scientific Reports , German researchers found the presence of more than 54 billion bacteria across 118 genera in kitchen sponges. They also found that cleaning the sponge thoroughly did not help much. But now, thanks to a new study, this very kitchen sponge could provide the key to fighting antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to researchers from the New York Institute of Technology, bacteriophages or viruses that infect bacteria, thrive in kitchen sponges. As the threat of antibiotic resistance increases, these bacteriophages can be used to kill the bacteria that antibiotics alone can’t kill. ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, presented the research recently. What is antibiotic resistance? Bacteria and fungi are constantly mutating. Antibiotic resistance happens when they mutate to defeat the antibiotic created to kill them. This is a global problem. It is posing a serious health risk to patients with conditions that require the administration of antibiotics. Their conditions become difficult to treat and involves more expenses on hospital stay and post hospitalisation check-ups. At times, it becomes downright impossible to treat such patients. There is a common misconception that antibiotic resistance means that a person’s body is resistant to the medication. But what it actually means is that the bacteria has become immune to the  medicine designed to kill it. Sometimes, the terms ‘antimicrobial resistance’ or ‘drug resistance’ are also used to refer to this problem. Severity of the problem According to media reports, around 7.5 lakh people in the country lose their lives to antibiotic resistance. This number is likely to increase and reach 10 lakh by 2050 as incidences of common infections and and minor injuries increasingly claiming lives are coming to light. According to the estimates of the World Health Organisation (WHO), multi-drug resistant bacteria are the most critical group of resistance species posing a threat in hospitals, nursing homes and patients and care for this condition requires devices like ventilators and blood catheters. This problem could soon become the most urgent public health concern if the solution takes time to emerge. And, victims will not be just humans. It has the potential to spread to veterinary treatments and also to the agricultural industries. In a recent report on antimicrobial resistant pathogens, the World Health Organisation put several gram-negative bacteria at the top of its list, stating that new treatments for these bacteria were “Priority 1 Critical”. This is because they cause infections with high death rates and are rapidly becoming resistant to all present treatments. One picks up these bacteria mostly in hospitals. Who are at high risk? This problem does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any age anywhere. People with chronic illnesses will suffer the most if antibiotics they require lose their effectiveness. It will affect the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, asthma and cancer. Moreover, procedures like joint replacements and organ transplants will also suffer because of this. People should try and not fall victim to infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis because the antibiotics used to treat them have become resistant. Keeping antibiotic resistance at bay Misuse of antibiotics is the culprit behind the acceleration of antibiotic resistance. It is important to use only those antibiotics that your doctor prescribes. It is also equally important to stick to the prescribed format. Never, ever, self-medicate. Take precautions to avoid infections. Wash hands regularly , practise safe sex, avoid contact with sick people and get your vaccinations in order. Switch to food that is produced without the use of antibiotics. Doctors point out that general public should be made more aware of the fact that for certain ailments like common cold and cough do not require antibiotics to be treated and can be tackled with simple medicines. WHO’s action plan In response to this problem, the World Health Organisation endorsed a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, at the World Health Assembly in May 2015. The 5 strategic objectives of this global action plan are: Improving awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance. Strengthening surveillance and research. Reducing the incidence of infection. Optimising the use of antimicrobial medicines. Ensuring sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance Hope for the future Experts point out that there has been no discovery of new antibiotic molecule despite research in the area in the last three decades. But recently, these have been some good news. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered how antibiotic resistance spreads through a hospital or community. It found that the preservation of the effectiveness of the current antibiotics is possible to a certain extent by curtailing the spread of antibiotic-resistance genes.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  published the findings . Researchers have also discovered a new drug compound which kills antibiotic resistant gram-negative bacteria that can cause infections including pneumonia, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections. The research, published in the journal ACS Nano , describes the new compound which kills gram-negative E. coli, including a multi-drug resistant pathogen said to be responsible for millions of antibiotic resistant infections worldwide annually. In a recent report on antimicrobial resistant pathogens, the World Health Organisation put several gram-negative bacteria at the top of its list. The report stated that new treatments for these bacteria were “Priority 1 Critical” .   (With inputs from IANS)'

Surprising weight loss tricks you can try

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It is possible to lose weight without a draining routine or tough-to-follow diet programme.Here are some smart and unusual ways to shed those extra kilos that you didn’t know about.
'Sticking to a diet plan can be extremely difficult and people frequently opt out of these for numerous reasons. But there are a few smart, unusual and easy-to-follow eating tricks you can resort to. These will bring about significant changes in your weighing scale. Sniff your food Sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking that you’re actually eating. Neutral sweet smells can also bring down your hunger levels. Some food smells that can work as appetite suppressants are garlic, fennel and grapefruit. Eat in a blue plate Scientists say that the colour blue functions as an appetite suppressant. They have found that people eat 33 per cent less in a blue room. The reason behind this can be traced back to the ancient times when this colour indicated poison. Ditch diet soda Diet soda can make you gain weight as it makes you feel hungry. It can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabeties. Switching to water is a much healthier alternative and also helps to suppress hunger. Eat in small plates The size of your plate and the portion of food you end up gulping down is directly related. If you eat in a big plate, you tend to take bigger servings, which eventually make you overeat. One of the best ways to control your portions is to eat in small plates, Look at the mirror while eating If you look at yourself while eating anything unhealthy, you will find it less tasteful. This will have you reduce the consumption of that particular food and promote healthy eating habits.  However, looking into a mirror doesn’t change your perception of a healthy food. Eat spicy food Spicy foods help in burning fat by increasing your metabolism. This is because foods like hot peppers have capsaicin which helps in raising your body temperature. This results in burning a few calories and decreasing your appetite. Chew slowly Your brain might take some time to register that you have eaten enough. Chewing slowly increases your satiation levels helping you take in fewer calories. Slow eating also stimulates the production of leptin, the hormone that signals that you are full. Eat eggs for breakfast Replacing a grain based breakfast with eggs or any source of quality protein is a good idea. It makes you feel full and eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours. This could be great for losing more weight and body fat. Use vanilla scented candles If you have a sweet tooth , simply light a vanilla scented candle after the main course is over. Vanilla scented candles suppress your appetite and you will not feel like having dessert anymore. It is especially helpful in curbing your craving for sweets. Turn the lights up Dim lights are known to reduce your inhibitions about food and make you order more. Be sure to make your dining area is well-lit when you eat at home. You can also play a soft for music at the backdrop as it relaxes you'

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome: Are litchis really the culprit?

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Doctors have blamed the litchi fruit for the spread of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome.But is the fruit really the villain here as everybody seems to think?Dr.
'Acute encephalitis syndrome is a serious health problem in India and it has assumed epidemic proportions in Bihar. This disease causes inflammation of the brain . Symptoms range from high fever, confusion, disorientation and delirium. It can induce coma if left untreated. Most of the victims are children. The recent outbreak of the disease in Bihar has so far claimed 110 lives. This has spread fear among many patients. Everybody wants to know if it is safe to eat litchis. Encephalitis is spreading in litchi growing areas of Bihar, including Muzaffarpur district, besides making an appearance in other parts of the country. Many experts have also confirmed that eating the fruit can spread the disease. But it was seen, that in Muzaffarpur, many of the victims also had very low sugar levels. They were also from the poorer section of society. So, maybe litchi is not the only contributing factor and there are other reasons behind this epidemic. Causes of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) affects the central nervous system, mostly in children and young adults. It is a viral disease. Symptoms include high fever, convulsions and headache. AES is complex and can be caused by either a virus or bacteria or fungi or a range of other agents. Scrub typhus, dengue, mumps, measles, Nipah and Zika virus can also cause this disease. Thus, many cases of AES remain clinically unidentified. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Neusrosciences in 2016, apart from viral encephalitis, a severe form of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis can also cause AES. The causative agent of AES varies with season and geographical location. It predominantly affects children below 15 years of age. Litchis do not cause Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Sleeping on an empty stomach at night, dehydration due to humidity and eating litchi on an empty stomach can cause AES. Blood sugar goes down in the early mornings after several hours of fasting. Undernourished children who sleep without eating a meal at night develop hypoglycemia (a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose level drops too low). The brain needs normal levels of glucose in the blood. The liver is unable to supply the need. The body then turns on the alternate pathway of glucose synthesis for fatty acid oxidation. Methyl Carboxy Phenyl Glycine (MCPG), found in litchis, blocks this pathway. Thus, litchi does not cause any harm in well-nourished children, but only in undernourished children who had consumed the fruit on an empty stomach. Effects of the toxin on undernourished children The liver of a well-nourished child stores glycogen (glucose polysaccharide). When the glucose level goes down, this glycogen breaks down into glucose and circulates in the blood to regularise blood sugar. But undernourished children (who belong to poor families) don’t have an adequate glycogen reserve to convert into glucose. Hence, the natural mechanism in undernourished children cannot correct the low glucose level in their blood and this causes hypoglycemia.Generally, when the glycogen reserve in liver is exhausted or is insufficient, the body tends to convert the fatty acid (non-carbohydrate energy source) into glucose. Unripe litchis contain high levels of a naturally occurring amino acid derivative called hypoglycin. This inhibits the body’s ability to produce glucose, causing hypoglycemia. But the litchi toxin blocks the the conversion process midway. Therefore, the body is unable to generate glucose and, as a result, does not correct the low blood glucose level. Don’t say no to litchi Litchi is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), potassium and copper. It contains antioxidants and has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Furthermore, it keeps blood sugar in check, reduces weight, protects the liver and boosts the immune system . It is a rich source of polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants) and proanthocyanidins. This prevents cardiovascular problems and even cancer.'

Health challenges of obese fathers and their kids

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While a new study reveals that having those extra kilos as a father can impact your child’s health, here we tell you about health consequences that obesity can bring to you.
'It is a well-known fact that a mother’s health affects her child’s well-being. However, do you know that a father’s health condition can also have significant effects on his kids? Yes, you read it right. According to a recent study published in the journal BMC Medicine, father’s lifestyle could be passed onto their kids by an epigenetic mechanism. This means that if you are obese, your child can also have those extra kilos. Moreover, there are other health challenges that kids of overweight dads face, suggests research. Several studies have shown that kids with obese fathers exhibit developmental delay. However, your obesity doesn’t only put your child’s health at stake. It can do much more harm to your body than you can think of. Obesity can take a toll on your physical functionality and increase your vulnerability towards life-threatening conditions in the long run. Notably, obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year due to this condition, says WHO. According to the definition of this world body, a person with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 is obese. BMI is a measurement derived from your weight and height. It estimates your body composition and tells you whether you are underweight, overweight or have an ideal weight. Certain risk factors including genetics, age, and medical problems can also increase your risk of being obese. Here, we tell you about some of the health conditions that you may fall prey to if you are obese. Cardiovascular disease Obesity is a major risk factor behind the onset of cardiovascular diseases, says WHO. Being overweight puts you at the risk of developing atherosclerosis, observes a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research . Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol builds up in your blood, vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients from heart to the rest of the body. This blocks the blood flow to your organs and tissues forcing your heart to put pressure on the vessels to pump blood. This results in hypertension. Also, the plaque accumulated in the arteries can burst and cause blood clot, putting you at the risk of having heart attack. In case the clot is in the brain, you may experience a stroke. Symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on the location of the arteries affected. In case of cholesterol accumulation in heart arteries, you will experience chest pain. If it has affected arteries in the brain, you may feel weakness in your arms or legs, slurred speech, loss of vision, etc. Respiratory disorders According to a study published in the International Journal of General Medicine, “ Obesity decreases lung volumes, which are reflected by a more restrictive ventilatory pattern.” It can lead to ineffectiveness of the respiratory muscles and strength, causing respiratory overload. If you are obese, cholesterol or fats may get deposited on the walls of the lungs restricting oxygen flow. Also, it may cause inflammation that can result into asthma. People who are overweight are at higher risk for respiratory infections . Asthma is three to four times more common among people with obesity than those without the condition. Sleep apnea It is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops (briefly) and starts again. Fat deposits around the upper airway can obstruct breathing and reduce oxygen flow in the brain and the rest of the body, causing obstructive sleep apnea. There are basically two types of sleep apnea namely obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The former occurs due to the blockage of airways whereas the latter happens when your brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to reduced respiratory control centre. Sleep apnoea is characterized by loud snoring, sore throat, morning headache, irritability, insomnia, etc. It may cause daytime sleepiness and make heart disease and stroke more likely. Apart from obesity, certain other risk factors of this condition are sex (male), old age, having large tonsils, family history, nasal obstruction, etc. If not treated on time, it may also cause metabolic syndrome, liver problem, high blood pressure, etc. Diabetes There are various hypotheses about how obesity leads to diabetes. One of them states that accumulation of fats in the body stresses the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) present in cells. It is a type of organelle that is responsible for the synthesis of proteins and lipids. When ER has a lot of lipids to process, it sends signals to the cells to stop responding to insulin. This leads to insulin resistance that causes concentration of sugar in the blood, a sign of diabetes.  According to a study published in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, accumulation of adipose tissue affects metabolism by secreting hormones, glycerol, and other substances like NEFAs, a known factor to cause insulin resistance . In obese individuals, the secretion of these substances will be increased. Osteoarthritis Fat does more than just hanging around inconvenient places, making it tough for you to pull on your favourite clothes. Obesity can destroy your joints too. Excess fat causes destruction of cartilage and joints in a non-mechanical way. It keeps on gradually releasing inflammation-causing proteins and other biochemicals like tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1. These proteins lead to joint inflammation, making them vulnerable to developing osteoarthritis. It is a type of arthritis characterized by symptoms like pain, tenderness, stiffness in joints , loss of flexibility, swelling in bones, grating sensation, etc. Osteoarthritis can potentially worsen with time and result in chronic pain and difficulty in performing daily tasks. Apart from obesity, factors like older age, genetics, joint injuries, bone deformities, metabolic disease, etc. can also increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis.'

Human sperm retains viability in outer space conditions

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'Researchers have found that human sperm retains its complete viability within the different gravitational conditions found in outer space. The results could be a huge boost to zillionaires like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who see the “colonisation” of space as an answer to the Earth’s ever threatened resources. “If the number of space missions increases in the coming years, and are of longer duration, it is important to study the effects of long-term human exposure to space in order to face them,” said Montserrat Boada from Dexeus Women’s Health in Barcelona, whose group worked with microgravity engineers from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona. “It’s not unreasonable to start thinking about the possibility of reproduction beyond the Earth,” Boada said. The study was performed using a small aerobatic training aircraft (CAP10), which can provide short-duration hypogravity exposure. The plane executed a series of 20 parabolic manoeuvres, providing eight seconds of microgravity for each parabola. Overall, 10 sperm samples obtained from 10 healthy donors were analysed after exposure to the different microgravities found in space and ground gravity. The sperm analysis comprised a full range of measurements currently performed for fertility testing — concentration, motility, vitality, morphology and DNA fragmentation  and results found no difference whatsoever in any of the parameters between the microgravity space samples and the control group samples from Earth. Indeed, there was 100 per cent concordance in DNA fragmentation rate and vitality, and 90 per cent concordance in sperm concentration and motility, said Boada. These minor differences, she added, “were more probably related to heterogeneity of the sperm sample than to the effect of exposure to different gravity conditions”. Boada described this as a preliminary study and her group will now move on to validate the results and then to larger sperm samples, longer periods of microgravity and even fresh sperm. One reason for using frozen sperm in this study was the known effect of radiation on fresh sperm, Boada noted. “Radiation impairs the quality and viability of human sperm, and these effects are expected to be greater on fresh sperm than on frozen samples,” she said. The study was presented at an annual meeting of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna, Austria.'

Home nutrition care keeps patient out of hospital

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According to a study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Paying attention to nutrition care helps promote patients' strength and prevents them from going back to the hospital.
'Researchers have found that implementing a nutrition care plan at home for patients at risk for malnutrition had a dramatic impact on helping keep them out of the hospital. “Our goal as a home healthcare provider is to help patients get back on their feet as quickly as possible and to keep them out of the hospital,” said study lead author Katie Riley from Advocate Aurora Health in the US. Paying attention to nutrition care helps promote patients’ strength and prevents them from going back to the hospital, which ultimately reduces healthcare costs, she said. For the study, published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, more than 1,500 home health patients were followed for 90 days. The research found that when patients at risk for malnutrition received a comprehensive nutrition care program to aid in their recovery, risk of being hospitalised was significantly reduced by 24 per cent in the first 30 days, nearly 23 per cent after 60 days and 18 per cent after 90 days. It was also found that healthcare costs were reduced by more than $2.3 million or about $1,500 per patient at risk for malnutrition. “Healthcare systems are driven to improve patient care while reducing costs. Our research shows that prioritising nutrition across different settings of care – from hospital to home – can significantly cut costs while improving patients’ health,” said study co-author Suela Sulo'

Oral steroids increase infection risk in people with inflammation

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According to a study published in the journal CMAJ, use of oral steroid use in patients with inflammatory diseases can raise the risk of infection.
'Researchers have found that oral steroid use in patients with inflammatory diseases significantly increases the risk of infection and the risk increases with higher doses. The study, published in the journal CMAJ, picked over 40,000 adult patients with polymyalgia rheumatica or giant cell arteritis in England. The researchers found higher risks of infection when patients were taking oral steroids than when they were not taking them. “In periods with prescribed medication, patients’ risk was 50 per cent higher than when it was not prescribed, increases in risk ranged from 48 per for fungal to 70 per cent for bacterial infections ,” said Mar Pujades-Rodriguez, from the University of Leeds in the UK. Steroids included prednisolone, prednisone, hydrocortisone and cortisone. The risk of infection increased with higher doses and was elevated even with low daily doses of less than 5 mg of prednisolone. According to the findings, more than half of the patients (22,234 or 56 per cent) had infections, with the most common being lower respiratory tract infections (27 per cent), conjunctivitis (nine per cent) and shingles (seven per cent). More than 27 per cent of patients were admitted to hospital and seven per cent died within a week of diagnosis of infection, said the study. Patients and clinicians should be educated about the risk of infection, need for symptom identification, prompt treatment, timely vaccination and documentation of history of chronic infection , researchers said.'

Want a rocking sex life? Stop overeating

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Certain bad habits can make your sex life go for a toss.Break them if you want your bedroom performance to rock. The post Want a rocking sex life?
'Your mind must have perked up every time you heard the word ‘sex’. This is quite normal. Sex is one of the most talked about topics in the world. Just the idea of getting cuddly with your partner can heighten your senses and stimulate your hormones.   A rocking sex life is a must for overall well-being. Sex is a great stress reliever. It also boosts your immune system. According to a study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, a healthy sex life is associated with better living and job satisfaction. This should be enough to convince us of the importance of a healthy sex life. But, despite knowing the importance of sex in our lives, we, sometimes inadvertently, adopt certain habits that can ruin our sex lives. See if you are harming your sex life by adopting these habits. Overeating Overeating causes obesity and this affects the hormonal balance of the body. It brings down stamina, which is so important for sexual performance. It decreases libido by affecting the production of testosterone. Obesity also affects blood flow to the genitals causing erectile dysfunction. Obesity causes medical conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes, which are known to have an adverse impact on sexual performance. Also, obese people often suffer from anxiety and low self-confidence and this results in poor sexual performance. Buried penis syndrome, a condition where the penis is buried beneath folds of skin, is another problem that obese men have to deal with. Women with a higher body mass index (BMI) are also more likely to suffer from sexual problems due to poor circulation in the genital area. According to a research published in British Medical Journal , obese women are less likely to use contraception and obese men have fewer sexual partners. Having frequent late nights Going to bed late at night can lead to sleep deprivation. According to a study conducted at the University of Chicago, sleeping can stimulate the production of testosterone hormone in the body. This hormone increases sexual desire. On the other hand, sleep deprivation increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol while suppressing the testosterone hormone. This has a negative effect on your sex drive. Cortisol also has a negative effect on sperm count and health. Most hormone secretion is controlled by the Circadian clock and an interrupted sleep cycle prevents your body from releasing reproductive hormones that affect fertility. Sleepless nights can also lead to erectile dysfunction, says a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine . Taking on stress unnecessarily Stress can wreak havoc on a person’s body. It reduces your desire to have sex and puts the body on survival mode. It stimulates the most important functions for survival, like blood flow and increased heart rate. At the same time, stress suppresses essential functions like sex and is responsible for the release of hormones like cortisol or epinephrine. If your stress response isn’t reversed, it can contribute to a condition known as chronic stress. It causes depression and anxiety, which are known factors that get in the way of a healthy sex life. It impacts your physical health in many ways and one of the side effects is a low libido. Conflicts within a relationship can be a stronger factor in low libido than other types of stress. Orgasm is difficult if a person is stressed about something and has a ‘busy mind’ or is distracted during sex. It is going to be harder to focus on your arousal, the pleasurable sensations or orgasm. Chronic stress leads to depression and anxiety, and both conditions can get in the way of a healthy sex life. Indulging in binge drinking Too much alcohol often causes poor erectile functioning. It actually interferes with the chemical messengers in the brain that signals your penis to become erect. For women, it can dehydrate their vagina making penetration uncomfortable and painful. Men or boys who drink a lot alcohol may suffer from erectile dysfunction . Alcohol also reduces the production of testosterone, which controls male fertility and sexual performance. It affects your ability to feel sexual stimulation by interfering with the signals between the brain and the genitals. Men can find it hard to ejaculate or may ejaculate too quickly. Women may find it harder to orgasm or their orgasms may feel less intense after heavy drinking. Drinking heavily over a long period of time can not only lead to a lower sex drive in both men and women but also cause the testes and penis of a man to shrink. Lowered testosterone can affect sperm production, which can reduce fertility. Depending on anti-depressants Taking anti-depressants is not a big deal in today’s world. For some, it is almost a social statement. But please remember that one of the most common side effects of the use of anti-depressants is a low sex drive. This is true for both men and women. These drugs suppress your feelings by raising the serotonin levels and this can prevent you from responding to sexual stimulation. This can be disastrous for sexual satisfaction. But the good news is that exercise can counter the side effects of anti-depressants on sexual performance. A study published in Depression and Anxiety says that exercise can significantly improve sexual performance in women. But, since prevention is always better than a cure, staying away from these drugs are a better option for a rocking sex life. Look for other ways to alleviate depression.'

Why Salman Khan loves doing split exercises

Training and Health The Health Site

Salman Khan takes to twitter to post a picture of himself performing the perfect split pose.Here, we tell you everything you need to know about the split exercises and why you should pick it up too.
'Bollywood superstar Salman Khan seems to be basking in the success of Bharat. However, he doesn’t break away from his fitness regime . Recently, Khan took to his Twitter handle to post a picture of himself performing split exercise. He posted it with a witty caption, “In splits . . . ha ha ha.” The 53-year-old actor has always been a fitness enthusiast and a few days back he also posted a video of himself stretching his legs on an equipment. He had captioned that video saying, “It’s not only about being strong but being flexible too . .” It’s not only about being strong but being flexible too . . Being strong equipment now installed in over 100 gyms in last 2 months pic.twitter.com/YnbWPHZlUO — Salman Khan (@BeingSalmanKhan) June 18, 2019 Khan rightly opines that being flexible is as important as being strong. Split exercises help you attain the flexibility that you desire. That is why this regimen has always been popular among dancers, gymnasts, cheerleaders and martial arts practitioners. Split exercises may seem impossible or tough at the first glance. But they are not as impossible as they seem apparently. A little bit of exercise will help you ace these workouts. WHAT ARE SPLITS BY THE WAY? A split exercise is an exercise where you are required to stretch your legs in opposite directions. While stretching, the legs should be in line with each other. A few examples of split exercise include the frog pose, the front body stretch and the side body stretch. GOLDEN RULES FOR SPLIT EXERCISES There are many who don’t attempt these workouts out of the sheer fear that they might end up hurting themselves. Follow these rules and you will be able to perform split exercises with ease.   Rule 1: While trying to perform a split exercise it is possible to injure your hamstrings or hip flexors if you are not careful. Stretch slowly by taking time and do not try to force your muscles as they might snap if stretched too hard. Rule 2: It is important to realize that it will require a large amount of time to get into this position. Have patience and give it time by waiting for your body to change slowly. Practice easing into the pose for three times a week for about twenty seconds. Rule 3: It is recommended you workout before you start performing static stretching. This will help you warm up your body and ease the motion of your joints, reducing the risk of any possible injury. BENEFITS OF PERFORMING SPLITS Apart from lending flexibility to your muscles , split exercises come with multiple benefits. Provides a deep stretch to your body Deep stretching of both your hamstrings and quadriceps is required to perform a split. While in this pose your thighs are especially stretched and this provides flexibility. This exercise will help your legs perform better if your they are in continuous use in your day-to -day life. Improves your body awareness The splits position is an especially hard one to achieve as aligning your legs can prove to be difficult.  If you practise this position over time you will be able to gain an acute awareness of the muscles in your whole body. That’s how split exercises increase your body awareness. Develops focus and perseverance The splits pose requires a deep stretch in your thighs along with a strong core. This, added with the need to correctly align your legs makes it essential for you to focus deeply. Split exercises require high efficiency levels and therefore, perseverance is a must. Makes you more patient with practice You cannot force your body into this position and it will inevitably take you time to master it.  Split exercise demands utmost attention on your muscles. The time you will need to ease into splits will leave you more patient than you were before starting with this regimen. 5 STRETCHES THAT HELP YOU MASTER SPLIT EXERCISES Here, we take you through 5 stretching workouts that will help you master split exercises. They are quite easy to. However, it will be good if you try them under the guidance of a trainer. Frog Pose The frog pose is simple to do and helps to warm up your hips. How to Sit onto all your fours. Keeping your feet pointing back separate your knees as far as you can. Allow your hips to fall downwards and thighs to slide open. You might be holding yourself up or lying all the way down depending on how open your hips are. Butterfly Pose This pose stretches your inner thighs and makes your groin area more flexible. How to Put the soles of your feet together by bending your legs while you are sitting straight. Hold on to your heels and pull them towards you. Allow your knees to fall towards the ground. You can bend forward till your chest is over your feet to stretch more. Half Squat This exercise helps to work the muscles of your inner thighs and stretches your hips and legs. How to Stand with your legs apart and bend your right knee to squat on the right. Place your hands on the ground while you fold forward. Point the toes on your left foot outwards. Keep most of your weight on your hands if the stretch feels too intense. Wall Straddle This position allows a fresh glow of blood towards the hip area and stretches the muscles of the thighs and legs. How to Put your legs straight against the wall and lie down. Start putting your legs in a straddle position and stretch. Let your legs fall towards the ground while keeping your heels on the wall. Place your hands on your inner thighs and gently press down if you want to stretch further. Pancake Fold Working this stretch will give you pain free mobility while improving blood circulation around the pelvis and groin area. How to In a straddle position sit upright on the ground. Spread apart your legs as far as possible and start leaning forward. Try to flatten out your torso on the ground like a pancake. You can try to hold on to your feet with your hands if you can.'

Your social media posts may help in diagnosing diabetes, depression and more

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The words you use on your social media posts can reveal your health issues, according to researchers.They identified 21 conditions based on profile updates and posts.
'sTurns out that what people post in social media can reveal their health condition. Researchers from Penn Medicine and Stony Brook University find that Facebook status updates and posts can identify as many as 21 health conditions based on their profiles and the words they use in their posts. They studied the posts of 999 Facebook account holders and looked into their demographic information as well. According to researchers, all the 21 health conditions can be predicted by looking at only Facebook data. However, Facebook updates alone  (not demographic information) predicted 10 of these conditions better. The more predictive Facebook data was also more intuitive in the sense that it used words like ‘drink’ and ‘bottle’, which is indicative of alcohol abus e . But predicting all the 21 conditions was not easy. People who used religious language like ‘God’ or ‘pray’ in their posts were 15 times more likely to have diabetes. Also, words like ‘dumb’ and use of expletives indicated drug abuse and psychoses. However, researchers have shared the words associated with only a few of these health conditions. The journal  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  brought out the results. In fact, in 2018, scientists associated with this research had revealed that an analysis of social media  posts, more specifically Facebook posts, can predict the onset of depression almost three months earlier than a diagnosis at a clinic. While we wait for social media to revolutionise the diagnosis sector of healthcare industry, here are the 21 health conditions that Facebook can reveal. However, the presence of particular words does not mean that the user has the disease. It can also indicate a person’s risk factor. Digestive Abdominal Symptoms Disorders of the digestive tract are called digestive or abdominal disorders. People from the maedical fraternity refer to them as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract disease . The above mentioned study on Facebook users revealed that posts containing words ‘sitting, chilling, here, waiting, come, ASAP, irked, confused and cannot’ are indicative of this condition. Symptoms to watch out for Bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, incontinence, nausea and vomiting, unexplained weight loss or gain, difficulty swallowing, stomach pain and cramps. Alcohol abuse When a person starts drinking too much it can be called alcohol abuse . It is a chronic disease that affects the brain. Words from FB posts like ‘bottle, weed, drunk, high, shirt, shoes and wear’ are indicative of this condition. Symptoms to watch out for Depression, inability to stop drinking , poor performance at work, irritability, feeling of guilt, violent episodes, blackouts and shaky hands. Depression According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. According to them, almost 350 million people are affected by depression globally. The words in social media posts associated with depression are ‘pain, doctor, blood, hospital and feelings’. Symptoms to watch out for Unhappy mood, reduced interest in pleasurable, loss of sexual desire, weight loss and low appetite, difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping, slowed movement and speech, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, impaired ability to think and thoughts of death or suicide, Drug abuse When a person becomes addicted to any opiate, it is abuse of drugs . The words on social media that indicate this condition are ‘dumb, nobody, everybody’ and swear words. Symptoms to watch out for Bloodshot eyes, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, sudden weight loss or weight gain, deterioration in personal grooming, body odour, tremors, slurred speech or impaired coordination, drop in performance, unexplained change in personality, sudden mood swings, periods of hyperactivity, agitation or giddiness and lack of motivation. Sexually transmitted disease Diseases transmitted through sexual contact are called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). People who use swear words and words like ‘wanna, walk, scream, away, move, rather and cry’ are prone to STDs. Symptoms to watch out for Bladder infection, a change in vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, pelvic pain, painful sexual intercourse, fever, cold sores around the mouth. Diabetes When your body loses its ability to process blood glucose or blood sugar, you get diabetes. Researchers have seen that words that have a religious bent indicate this disease. ‘Family, God, father, please, lord and pray’’ are some of the words that people prone to diabetes used. Symptoms to watch out for Excessive urination, itchy feet at night, unusual thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, irritability, slow healing wounds, fatigue and frequent urination.  Hypertension Hypertension or high blood pressure can cause severe complications and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and even death. It is also called the ‘silent killer’ because the symptoms are difficult to identify. ‘Pain, doctor, blood, hospital and surgery’ are some of the words from social media posts that indicates this condition. Symptoms to watch out for Excessive sweating, anxiety, sleeping problems, flushing, headaches and nosebleeds. Genitourinary disorders The genitourinary system refers to the reproductive organs and the urinary system. Disorders of this system include congenital defects, infectious diseases, trauma or conditions that affect the urinary structure. Symptoms to watch out for Unexplained fever, sudden weight loss, pain in the lower part of the body, weakness in legs and body ache. Injury and poisoning Injury and poisoning are often the leading causes of death among children and teenagers. Poisoning happens for a person swallows, inhales or comes in contact any toxic substance. Injury can be caused by sharp objects are can also be self-inflicted. Symptoms to watch out for Burns or redness around the mouth and lips, breath that smells like chemicals, such as gasoline or paint thinner, vomiting, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, confusion or other altered mental status and bleeding. Respiratory symptoms Respiratory disorders are indicated by difficulty in breathing. If left untreated, it can lead to serious conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and asthma.   Symptoms to watch out for A persistent cough, difficulty while breathing or shortness of breath, wheezing, a lingering chest pain, mucus discharge for more than a month, coughing up blood, runny nose, fatigue and body aches.   Pregnancy Pregnancy refers to the time when a child gestates or develops in a woman’s womb. This can be a happy yet stressful time in most women’s’ lives. Symptoms to watch out for Missed period, headache, spotting, weight gain, pregnancy-induced hypertension, heartburn and vomiting, constipation and cramps, back pain, anemia, depression and insomnia, breast changes, acne, hip pain and diarrhea. Skin disorders Skin is our largest and most visible organ. Many factors contribute to its wellbeing. Allergens, pollution, infection as well as stress can be the culprits behind a skin disorder. Symptoms to watch out for Itchiness, swelling, redness, rash, flaky or scaly skin, blisters, oozing and bumps or growths. Chronic pulmonary disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease characterised by increasing breathlessness. Symptoms to watch out for Shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, excess mucus in lungs, a chronic cough Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis), frequent respiratory infections, lack of energy, unexplained weight loss in later stages and swelling in ankles, feet or legs. Blood loss anaemia When your blood is deficient of iron, you get this type of anaemia. It is characterised by a decrease in the amount of haemoglobin in the blood. Severe blood loss or an improper diet can cause this anaemia. Symptoms to watch out for Extreme fatigue, weakness, breathlessness and chest pain, inflammation of the tongue, increased thirst, confusion, dizziness and headaches, pale complexion, cold hands and feet, brittle nails, unusual cravings for ice, dirt or starch and poor appetite. Fluid and electrolyte disorders Electrolytes are naturally occurring compounds like calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphate, potassium and sodium, in the body that control important physiologic functions. These substances are present in the blood, body fluids and urine. Symptoms to watch out for A fast heart rate or irregular heartbeats, fatigue and lethargy, convulsions or seizures, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, cramps and weakness, headaches and confusion, numbness and tingling of limbs. Obesity Obesity is a serious disorder where a person has an excessive amount of body fat. It increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Your obesity quotient is measured by body mass index (BMI). You can calculate BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. Symptoms to watch out for Excessive body weight, lethargy and a body mass index of 30 or higher. Anxiety It is normal to be anxious once in a while. But if a person worries incessantly about everyday situations it is a disorder. Symptoms to watch out for Nervousness or restlessness, a sense of impending danger, panic or doom, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, weakness, trouble concentrating and insomnia. Psychosis This is a mental condition where a person loses tough with reality. It can also bring on episodes of hallucinations and delusions. Symptoms to watch out for Hearing, seeing or feeling things that do not exist, coordination problem in thought, speech or behaviour, unresponsiveness and difficulty concentrating. Blood loss anaemia This kind of anaemia is induced by loss of blood due to reasons like excessive bleeding or injury. Symptoms to watch out for Pale or yellowish skin, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, chest pain, cold hands and feet and headache. Coagulopathy This is a bleeding disorder where the blood is unable to clot. It causes uncontrolled internal or external bleeding. If left untreated, it can be fatal. Symptoms to watch out for Blood in urine, blood in stools, double vision and headaches, seizures, chest pain, shortness of breath and organ failure. Collagen Vascular Disease This is actually a group of diseases that affects the connective tissue. It is a condition where the immune system causes inflammation in collagen and nearby joints. Symptoms to watch out for Fatigue muscle weakness, fever body aches, joint pain and skin rash.'

Study shows oral health inequalities among kids

Training and Health The Health Site


'A recent study highlights the oral health inequality between indigenous and non-indigenous children across the country. The study was published in the journal ‘Journal of Dental Research’ on June 22 at Vancouver Convention Centre West Building, Vancouver, BC, Canada. This study compared relative oral health inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and adolescents ages 5 to 15 years old from Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and many more. Data were collected by the researchers from the most recent nationally representative oral health surveys in each country and gingival inflammation, dental caries experience, untreated decayed teeth and missing and filled teeth were assessed in the primary and permanent dentitions. Parent-reported child oral health was also evaluated. The authors of the study found that irrespective of country, Indigenous children had worse oral health than their non-Indigenous counterparts in all indicators. The magnitude of these differences was greatest in Australia for the proportion with dental caries experience, untreated decay or gingival inflammation. For missing teeth, filled teeth and poor parent-reported child oral health, the magnitude of inequality was greatest among Brazilian children. These findings suggest that Indigenous and non-Indigenous oral health inequalities begin in childhood. This reinforces the need for equity in social and economic policies, along with culturally appropriate and early oral health interventions.'

What if diabetes brings along depression with it?

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Diabetes is known to affect your mental health too.So, depression has been found to hit diabetes patients quite often.Read on to know how you can tackle both together.
'When we talk about diabetes we usually talk about blood sugar levels, diet changes, the importance of exercise, et al . However, we hardly talk about the mental health status of a diabetic patient. Of course, we think that mental health and diabetes are two separate conditions and need to be treated differently but know that diabetes can affect a person’s mental health too. In fact, it is known that people who suffer from diabetes also suffer from depression, especially if one has been struggling with the condition for too long. Here is how your blood sugar levels can make you feel low and gloomy.  ‘Studies have shown that compared with non-diabetic people, patients with type II diabetes have up to 25 per cent increased risk of developing depression. However, the underlying relationship is still unclear,’ says Dr Srinivasa P Munigoti, consultant diabetologist and endocrinologist Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore . In fact, depression and diabetes are symbiotic in nature one fuels the other. Here he answers few questions on how to tackle the two conditions simultaneously. How depression worsens diabetes? Most often the signs of depression in a diabetic patient go unnoticed and this is when both the conditions keep escalating till there reaches a point where therapy or medication becomes less of a help. In order to nip this deadly duo in the bud, one needs to be watchful for signs of depression, especially the caregiver or a family member should be vigilant. Feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and lethargy for a consecutive number of days at a stretch should be taken seriously. This lethargy that creeps in with depression often leads to laziness where a person finds it difficult to take care of self. This makes him go off track from his diet schedule, medications and make him lethargic enough to even exercise. All of this worsens diabetes. It is important to treat both depression and diabetes simultaneously and the good news is it can be treated together to prevent one’s health from dwindling any further. Here are eight symptoms of depression that you ought to now.    Can depression affect blood sugar levels despite people being on medications to treat diabetes? Yes, it is possible. Depression affects your ability to perform tasks, communicate and think clearly. Research shows that diabetic patients who also suffer from depression have been shown to have poor control of their glucose and also their metabolic status. Such poor control can cause complications and health problems that may worsen symptoms of depression. Moreover, people who are depressed can resort to unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, smoking all of which can make one’s blood glucose levels go haywire. Know what is the normal range for your blood sugar levels.  What can be done to control these dual demons simultaneously? There are two ways of dealing with the dual demons – proper nutrition and exercise. Eating a balanced healthy diet with a good amount of proteins in it helps every individual to battle both diabetes and depression. Food fuels the brain and helps it to function at its optimum. Fruits, green vegetables, fish, milk poultry all have a positive effect on the brain and help to settle mood swings that are common in depression. Healthy eating also ensures that one stays in a positive frame of mind and is able to be more focused on medications and management of a condition like diabetes. Apart from this, exercise also has an impact on the brain. It helps to keep the brain agile and bring the sugar levels down. Can people with diabetes be prescribed anti-depressants to tackle depression? Yes, the mood swings that come with being depressed also adversely affect the lifestyle of a diabetic patient. So tackling that with anti-depressant therapy would lead to a much better quality of life.'

Kitchen sponge viruses can kill bacteria that antibiotics cannot: Report

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Recent research reveals a novel way of fighting stubborn bacteria found in kitchen sponges.
'The US researchers have discovered viruses that can infect bacteria in kitchen sponges . They may prove useful in fighting bacteria that cannot be killed by antibiotics alone. The study presented on Sunday at American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting showed that two researchers used the bacteria as bait and identified two phages or bacteria-eating organisms, which could swallow bacteria from their own used kitchen sponges, the Xinhua news agency reported. A kitchen sponge is exposed to all kinds of different microbes, thus forming a vast microbiome of bacteria and providing rich food sources for phages. “Our study illustrates the value in searching any microbial environment that could harbor potentially useful phages,” said Brianna Weiss, a life sciences student at New York Institute of Technology, in a statement. The researchers swapped the two phages to see if they could infect the other person’s isolated bacteria and they found the phages did kill the other’s bacteria. They compared the DNA of both isolated strains and discovered that they belong to a rod-shaped group of microbes commonly found in feces. Some of those microbes could cause infections in hospital settings. Although the two bacterial strains are closely related, the researchers found chemical variations between them when performing biochemical testing, which revealed that those phages are not picky eaters. “These differences are important in understanding the range of bacteria that a phage can infect, which is also key to determining its ability to treat specific antibiotic-resistant infections,” said Weiss.'

Hate to hit the gym? Simply work out at home

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New study finds that performing exercises at home or following a home-based fitness routine is as effective in fighting obesity as gym workouts. The post Hate to hit the gym?
'If you are not finding time to hit the gym, do not worry. Researchers have found that working out at home not only saves your time, cost and access but also increases adherence. The study, published in The Journal of Physiology , investigated a home-based high-intensity interval training (Home-HIT) programme and studied its benefits for clinically obese individuals with an elevated risk of heart disease. The research team were interested in whether Home-HIT is a time-efficient strategy that helps to reduce other common exercise barriers such as difficulty with access to exercise facilities due to travel time and cost. “An exercise regimen such as Home-HIT that reduces barriers to exercise such as time, cost, and access, and increases adherence in previously inactive individuals gives people a more attainable exercise goal and thus could help improve the health of countless individuals,” said study author Sam Scott from Liverpool John Moores University. For the study, 32 obese people completed a 12-week exercise programme. A range of health markers were measured in these participants, including body composition, cardiovascular disease risk and the ability to regulate glucose. They were categorised in three groups — those who did supervised, lab-based cycling HIT programme; those who did UK government-recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise; and those who did home-based HIT programme of simple body weight exercises suitable for people with low fitness and low mobility and performed without equipment. The researchers found that home-based HIT was as effective as both the government-recommended 150-minute exercise and the supervised, lab-based HIT programme for improving fitness in obese individuals.'