Saturday, July 30, 2011

Diabetic? Forget pills, pop almonds

Diabetes is caused when there is deficiency of insulin hormone, which controls blood sugar level. Its symptoms include fatigue, excessive thirst and frequent urination.

"With an estimated 50.8 million people living with the disease, India has the world's largest population of diabetics in the world, followed by China with 43.2 million," says the World Health Organisation(WHO).

The number in India is expected to go up to 87 million - 8.4 per cent of the country's adult population - by 2030.

With India staring at a major public health threat due to diabetes and other lifestyle diseases, almond is now being hailed as the health nut.

"Indians are more prone to lifestyle diseases like diabetes. The increasingly sedentary lifestyle and fast food double up the risk. Almond, which has traditionally been part of our diet, is a high source of nutrition and helps push these diseases away," says Snoop Misran, director of Diabetes Foundation (India).

"A handful of almonds contain 164 calories and 7 gm. of protein, which helps in fighting hunger pangs and helps you control what you eat. Almonds also help growing children in developing strong bones," he adds.

A study done by scholars from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, West Chester University, Pennsylvania, and Loma Linda University of California, all in the US, and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition also confirms that the nut can control diabetes if consumed regularly.

"A diet consisting of 20 per cent of calories as almonds over a 16-week period is effective in improving markers of insulin sensitivity and yields clinically significant improvements in LDL-C (low density lipoprotein cholesterol) in adults with pre-diabetes," the study said.


Spectacles go chic!

"Not so long ago, glasses were seen primarily as a medical aid rather than a stylish accessory," the Scotsman quoted Bryan Margate of Vision Express, as saying.

"It is encouraging to see that the introduction of style has had a huge and positive impact on people's perceptions. There is a real sense that eyewear can boost your confidence and your desirability today – both to potential partners and to potential employers. The world has turned on its head in the last ten years and the message is that rather than being a hindrance, glasses are in fact a clear advantage," he added.

The study showed that 53 per cent of glasses-wearing women aged 18 to 44 had received amorous approaches from men.

Here's how to match frames with different face shapes:

Oval : The oval face is considered the ideal shape because of its balanced proportions and because it's the standard of beauty. Therefore it is perhaps the easiest to choose frames for. To keep the oval's natural balance, look for spectacle frames / glasses that are as wide as the broadest part of the face or walnut-shaped spectacle frames that are not too deep or too narrow. Almost any style is suitable; round, oval, angular or upswept.

Round : A round face has curvilinear lines with the width and length in the same proportions and no angles. To make the face appear thinner and longer, try angular narrow spectacle frames / glasses to lengthen the face. Choose spectacle frames / glasses that are distinctive, square with designs that accentuate the upper part of face. Look for frames with high temples.

Square : A square face has a strong jawline and a broad forehead. The width and length are in the same proportions. To make the square face look longer and soften the angles, try narrow, soft round or large ovals spectacle frames / glasses styles, spectacle frames / glasses that have more width than depth and narrow ovals.

Long face : A long face is characterised by high cheek-bones, a deep forehead and a strongly defined sharp chin line. This shape can benefit from enhancing the width of the face so try wide, large framed glasses in oval or round styles.


Sex during pregnancy

My wife is three months pregnant. Is it okay for us to have sex? I feel embarrassed to ask our family doctor. We are avoiding sexual contact; but I do feel the urge for sex. What do we do?

This is one of the most common questions posed by couples expecting their first child. Their lack of knowledge regarding the correct method, timing and frequency cause varied misconceptions and at times, a total withdrawal from sex. This often backfires, as the woman, owing to her psychological state and emotional needs, fails to understand the behavioural changes in her partner. Here's what to expect.

Emotions on high

During pregnancy, a woman's mental make-up undergoes a dramatic change. She becomes emotional and sometimes oversensitive. The way her needs are acknowledged (or dismissed) affects her mental state and thereby the foetus as well. If she feels that her husband is not adequately responsive, she may get irritable, and suffer from insomnia,loss of appetite or over-stimulated hunger.

Most men are unaware that their behaviour often causes these emotional upheavals. Many take the easy way out and take their wife to the doctor, without realising that she simply needs her husband to understand her moods, feelings and anxieties.

Discrepancy in sex drives

The changes taking place in the mother-to-be are part of her biological make-up. Hormonal and chemical changes prepare her for conception, pregnancy and childbearing. The awareness that she is pregnant creates new aspirations and sexual relations go down the priority ladder. There is, however, no such biological change in the man. He needs to make himself aware of the physical and emotional demands of fatherhood, but continues to feel the urge for intercourse. In such a situation, it is essential that he does not force this one-sided need on his pregnant wife.

For intercourse

Though a woman may not have strong sexual urges, she does need warm and gentle physical contact and caressing. In the process, if she is aroused and willing, they can have intercourse too. However...

- Avoid the missionary (man-superior) position. Woman on top position is advisable, or they both could be in a sitting position, so that there is no pressure on her abdomen and that movement is gentle.


Parents responsible for kid's bad behaviour

A child's bad or erratic behaviour in the classroom can be attributed to his or her parents a study has found.
A survey of over 8,000 members by the NASUWT Teachers Union found that more than two in three teachers identified poor back-up from parents as the most common factor for student misbehavior.
The negative influences of television and media were also blamed by teachers.
"Parents can't simply abandon their responsibilities at the school gate," BBC quoted NASUWT leader, Chris Keates, as saying.
"Teachers are not receiving the support they need from parents, school leaders or government to assist them in maintaining high standards of pupil behaviour," Keates added.

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Parents, key to keep teens off alcohol

Parents can play an important role in preventing teenagers from consuming large quantities of alcohol, according to a new thesis.

It said that adolescents who smoke, stay out with their friends and have access to alcohol - from their parents, for example - when they are as young as 13 are at greater risk of becoming binge drinkers in their late teens.

"Initiatives that focus on strengthening the parent-child relationship and limiting parental provision of alcohol can prove effective in limiting risky consumption among adolescents," said Anna-Karin Danielson from the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolina Instituted.

"Parents also play an important role when it comes to teaching young people how to resist peer pressure to drink," she added.

Danielson monitored 1,200 pupils aged 13 to 19 years between 2001 and 2006, and investigated which factors can reduce the risk of high alcohol consumption (protective factors) and which constitute risk factors.

The results showed that adolescents exhibiting risky behaviour in their early teens need help quickly as they are at greater risk of high consumption in the future, and of associated problems with their health, school, parents and friends, for example. This is where parental input can make all the difference.

"But boys and girls are slightly different," said Danielson.

"The risk of high alcohol consumption among boys who smoke and who have friends who drink is considerably reduced when parents keep an eye on what teenagers get up to, and with whom. Whereas girls in the risk zone benefit most from an emotionally stable and close parent-child relationship in terms of protective effect," she added.


Groom yourself for college life

Making the transition from school to college is filled with anxiety. Aisha Sahijwala gives you tips on grooming yourself for the much-talked-about college life
"Since high school, I anxiously waited to enter college - a place filled with fun, freedom and of course, education," recalls Simran Gupta, a class XII student of Mithibai College. A number of individual perceptions are linked to campus life. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most impressionable phases of student life. Today, students leave no stone unturned when preparing for college. Here are some tips that ensure a safe sail, when joining college.

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The D-day

Most youngsters imagine vivid pictures of what their first day at college could be like. Friends, fun, lectures, books, libraries, blacklists and a host of good memories make place in the minds of young collegians. No matter how far the college attempts to make a fresher feel comfortable, it is ultimately freshers who need to gel with the crowd.
"My first day at college was confusing; I was lost among the crowd. Since I was new to the city, little did I know about college life in Mumbai. Probably that's what helped me make the best of friends at college," expresses Vinay Naik, a class 12 student. Your first day at college is what you make it to be. It is usually a combination of figuring out what division you fit into and who your batch mates are. When asked what you would do on your first day at college, Rhea Hirani, who is currently awaiting her SSC exam result says, "I want to study at HR College. My exploring expedition will begin at the college canteen. I've heard that it's got the yummiest of delicacies," she quips.

A whole new world

The new trend among students is that of getting a new wardrobe. No longer will they wear their old set of clothes and carry their same handbags. Initially believed as a trend followed by girls, it is now proved that boys too, prepare just as much. Rohit Arora, who just gave his class XII exam says, "Of course guys prepare for their first day at college. I remember shopping two months before college started. The same happened a year later. I practically changed my wardrobe twice."
College life begins way before you actually enter college. Preparing for admissions, filling forms, buying new accessories, clothes and diaries mark the beginning of your college life. The secret behind a number of blooming shopping hubs around colleges is revealed; ever increasing student crowd being the key.
Khushboo Khilnani, a KC College student quips, "I cannot count the number of times I have visited gift shops in the college vicinity. Whether it's a birthday or friendships day, our one stop gift shop is Satyam Collections. Infact, students are seen more at gift shops than in college. It's a phase actually. Initially, it's only about fun. Gradually, studies, projects and attending lectures come in."

This, that and all that

Apart from preparing for your days at college, the new highlight is that of increasing student clubs. The Rotract Club, Students Council, Language clubs and College fest clubs eagerly welcome new talent. Staying back for practice, breath-taking intercollegiate fests, convincing sponsors and a lot more combine practical learning and fun.
Whether you're prepared or not, your first day at college will be memorable. It's a race... beginning with a get-set-go! A combination of anxiety, curiosity and excitement await you! Go... experience this, that and all that!


Childhood stress accelerates cell ageing

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Researchers claim that stress suffered during childhood has deeper implications, which show at a later stage.
According to a study of children from Romanian orphanages, the effects of childhood stress could be visible in the DNA on growing up, reports Nature .
It is now proved that children who spent their early years in state-run Romanian orphanages have shorter telomeres than the ones who grew up in foster families.
Biologically, telomeres get slightly shorter each time a chromosome replicates during cell division. However, it has now emerged that stress may also result in their shortening.
Resultantly, shorter telomeres may propel diseases in adults ranging from diabetes to dementia.
The study was initiated at a time when orphanages were still common in Romania and a foster care system was especially established for this project.
Researchers analysed 136 orphans aged between 6-30 months, half of whom were assigned to foster families and the other half remained in orphanages.
They measured the length of the telomeres from DNA samples of the children when they were 6-10 years old and found that kids who stayed in the orphanage for longer had shorter telomeres compared to their peers in foster care.
"It shows that being in institutional care affects children right down to the molecular level," said Stacy Drury, clinical psychiatrist of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The study is published in Molecular Psychiatry1 .

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