Read Health And Fitness News

Covid-19 virus can last in lungs for up to two years: Study

SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, can last in the lungs of certain individuals for up to 18 months after infection, finds a study. The study, published in the journal Nature Immunology, showed that Covid-19 virus’ persistence appears to be linked to a failure of innate immunity (the first line of defence against pathogens). One to two weeks after contracting Covid, the SARS-CoV-2 virus generally becomes undetectable in the upper respiratory tract. But, some viruses persist in the body in a discreet and undetectable manner after causing an infection. They remain in what are known as ‘viral reservoirs’, even though it remains undetectable in the upper respiratory tract or blood. This is the case for HIV, which remains latent in certain immune cells and can reactivate at any time. It could also be the case for the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19, said the team from the Institut Pasteur, who first hypothesised the theory in 2021, and now confirmed it in a preclinical model of a non-human primate. "We observed that inflammation persisted for long periods in primates that had been infected by SARS-CoV-2. We therefore suspected that it could be due to the presence of the virus in the body," explains Michaela Muller-Trutwin, Head of the Institut Pasteur's HIV, Inflammation and Persistence Unit. To study the persistence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the scientists analysed biological samples from animal models that had been infected by the virus. They found that the amount of persistent virus in the lungs was lower for the Omicron strain than for the original SARS-CoV-2 strain. "We were really surprised to find viruses in certain immune cells -- alveolar macrophages -- after such a long period and when regular PCR tests were negative," said Nicolas Huot, researcher in the Institut Pasteur's HIV, Inflammation and Persistence Unit. "What's more, we cultured these viruses and were able to observe, using the tools we developed to study HIV, that they were still capable of replicating." To understand the role of innate immunity in controlling these viral reservoirs, the scientists then turned their attention to NK (natural killer) cells. "The cellular response of innate immunity, which is the body's first line of defence, has been little studied in SARS-CoV-2 infections until now," said Muller-Trutwin. "Yet it has long been known that NK cells play an important role in controlling viral infections." The study shows that in some animals, macrophages infected with SARS-CoV-2 become resistant to destruction by NK cells. While in others, NK cells are able to adapt to infection (known as adaptive NK cells) and destroy resistant cells, in this case macrophages. Innate immunity therefore appears to play a role in the control of persistent SARS-CoV-2 viruses, the team said.  This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

09 December,2023 09:17 PM IST | London | IANS
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Maternal inflammation in pregnancy may raise risk of anxiety, depression in kids

Maternal inflammation during pregnancy may be associated with anxiety and depression, and aggression in children, according to a study. While inflammation is a normal bodily response to injury or infection, the team wanted to learn whether factors linked to inflammation during pregnancy might be associated with dysregulation in children. “Dysregulation” in this context refers to children's attention, anxiety and depression, and aggression being measurably different from what is typically expected at their age. More youth with dysregulation (35 per cent) were born to mothers with prenatal infections compared with 28 per cent of youth without dysregulation. Other maternal factors studied, including being overweight before pregnancy, attaining less education, and smoking during pregnancy, were associated with higher likelihoods of childhood dysregulation. Children and adolescents who had a parent or sibling with a mental health disorder were also more likely to experience dysregulation. “Addressing factors and treating conditions associated with behaviour challenges may help improve outcomes for these children,” said Jean Frazier, of the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. The study also found that boys were more often affected than girls. Researchers used the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) to measure aggressive behaviour, anxiety/depression, and attention problems in children. Approximately 13.4 per cent of children and adolescents in the study met the criteria for the CBCL Dysregulation Profile. This study included 4,595 participants (ages 6-18 years) across the US.  This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

09 December,2023 08:58 PM IST | New York | IANS
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Flaxseeds can lower the risk of breast cancer: Study

Consuming flaxseed can help manipulate the gut bacteria to lower the risk of breast cancer -- one of the most deadly cancers, researchers have demonstrated in a new study. In the study, published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum, flaxseed components called lignans were shown to influence the relationship between gut microorganisms and the expression of mammary gland microRNAs (miRNAs). A subset of these miRNAs regulates the genes involved in breast cancer, including genes that control cell proliferation and migration. "The gastrointestinal microbiota plays an important role in modifying many components of our diet to impact human health," said Jennifer Auchtung, Assistant Professor in the Food Science and Technology Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "In this study, we found correlations between diets enriched in flaxseed, cecal microbiota composition and miRNA profiles in the mammary gland that regulate many pathways, including those involved in cancer development. This preliminary study supports further research into the role that the microbiota plays in dietary approaches to reduce risk factors associated with disease," she added. The researchers studied the effects of flaxseed lignans on the microbiota of young female mice. Lignans, fibre-associated compounds found in many foods and particularly plentiful in flaxseed, are associated with reduced breast cancer mortality in post-menopausal women. The researchers found that lignan components generate specific miRNA responses in the mammary gland. miRNAs are short, noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression by targeting the 3' untranslated region of target mRNAs. To determine whether the relationship between the microbiota and mammary gland miRNAs could be manipulated to reduce the risk of breast cancer, the researchers fed flaxseed lignan components to female mice to determine whether gut cecal microbiota profiles are related to miRNA expression in the mammary gland. The cecum, the first part of the colon, located in the right lower abdomen near the appendix, is believed to have a role in production of short-chain fatty acids and has been proposed to serve as a reservoir of anaerobic bacteria. One flaxseed oil lignan requires microbial processing to release bioactive metabolites, small-molecule chemicals produced during metabolism that influence physiology and disease -- in this case having antitumor effects. The researchers found that the microbiota and mammary gland miRNA are related and that flaxseed lignans modify the relationship to be non-cancer causing. "If these findings are confirmed, the microbiota becomes a new target to prevent breast cancer through dietary intervention," said Elena M. Comelli, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

09 December,2023 08:38 PM IST | New York | IANS
When it comes to sleeping naked, there are a few safety measures and hygiene factors that should be followed by everyone. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Sleeping naked is good for health? Expert lists down surprising benefits

Sleeping naked is not just a personal choice, but actually a promoter of good health. Although some may shy away, even in solitude, others eagerly embrace the opportunity.   Aniruddha Gangar (24) (name changed for privacy reasons) a Goregaon resident and photographer by profession calls the experience of sleeping naked ‘heavenly’. “The kind of sound sleep I get when sleeping naked is incomparable. It’s the best way to relax, especially after a stressful day at work.”   Gangar, originally from Goa, recently shifted to Mumbai and stays with one of his relatives. He shares that due to space constraints and lack of privacy in a city like Mumbai, he waits to be left alone at home for days. Although Gangar loves to sleep naked when alone, he adds, “I usually prefer to sleep without any clothes on during summers, but I try to avoid doing the same during monsoons and especially winters.” He says it makes him more vulnerable to catching cold.   For Borivali resident Reema Gunjal (26) (name changed for privacy reasons), a user experience designer, sleeping naked is a new experience. Although she admits to it being relaxing, one that she would like to do quite often, she says, “It is still a bit embarrassing, being a woman, even if I am alone in the room.” “Feeling shy is so deeply ingrained in women” adds Gunjal, “that most of the time I wake up in the middle of the night only to put my clothes on and go back to sleep.” Speaking about the positive impacts, Gunjal says, “On nights that I sleep naked, I wake up feeling rested and fresh the other day.”   Feeling relaxed is not the only health benefit sleeping naked offers. Mid-day Online spoke to Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, to explore the various health benefits of this practice.    Sexual and reproductive health Sleeping naked is beneficial for sexual as well as reproductive health. It enables the body to breathe freely, preventing excessive sweating and creating a more comfortable sleeping environment.    In terms of sexual health, cooler temperatures near the genital area can improve sperm production in men and allow to maintain proper vaginal pH in women. Sleeping naked can contribute to an improved self-image and body acceptance. By embracing our natural state without constraints or coverings, one can get more comfortable with their body and less self-conscious, thereby boosting self-esteem.  Benefits for women and men Sleeping naked allows the body to manage its temperature. Women often experience fluctuations in body temperature throughout their menstrual cycles. During this time, sleeping without clothing can help maintain an optimal temperature by promoting air circulation. Additionally, sleeping naked can also improve vaginal health. Wearing tight underwear or pyjamas can lead to a warm and moist environment, which may lead to the overgrowth of bacteria or yeast infections. By allowing the genitals to breathe freely during sleep, women can cut down the risk of such vaginal infections.  Speaking on the health benefits of sleeping naked for men, Siddhartha adds that a significant number of men prefer sleeping naked due to the feeling of freedom that comes from shedding clothing before hitting the sheets. By sleeping in their natural state, without any fabric constraints, men feel more connected to their bodies and enter a total state of comfort which can ultimately lead to better sleep quality. Moreover, sleeping naked allows for improved air circulation around the body, keeping temperatures cooler throughout the night. Added benefits for couples  Sleeping skin-to-skin enhances intimacy and strengthens the emotional bond between partners. The physical contact that comes with being naked in bed releases oxytocin, often referred to as the love hormone, which promotes feelings of closeness and trust. This intimate connection can help couples feel more connected during sleep, leading to overall improved relationship satisfaction.   When we sleep, our body temperature naturally decreases to promote restfulness. Wearing pyjamas can disrupt this process by trapping heat in our bodies and causing discomfort or even night sweats. Sleeping naked ensures that neither partner is overheated or restricted, resulting in more peaceful nights of slumber. Further, Siddhartha says, “Sleeping naked in the same bed can lead to couples embracing their own bodies as well as their partner's without any kind of judgment or inhibition.”    Tips to get comfortable sleeping naked  Although majority of men do feel comfortable sleeping naked, most women don’t. According to Siddhartha, for most women in India, young too, it is hard to sleep naked even when alone due to societal constraints and cultural norms. “Women thus avoid sleeping without clothes altogether.”  If you wish to sleep naked but are too shy to do so, Siddhartha suggests some easy tips 1. Use blinds or curtains that provide complete darkness. This will help reduce any apprehension about potential observers.  2. Invest in high-quality bedding made from breathable materials like cotton or bamboo to enhance comfort while staying cool throughout the night.  3. Remember that your personal comfort should take precedence over societal expectations.  For those who just can’t get themselves to sleep naked, Siddhartha says, “It is totally okay.” She also suggests a few alternatives that can offer similar benefits that sleeping naked does.  1. Opt for loose-fitting and breathable materials that allow for air circulation. Natural fabrics like cotton are ideal choices as they provide a comfortable temperature throughout the night.  2. Avoid tight elastic bands or constrictive outfits. They help promote better blood flow, preventing discomfort or restless sleep. One can choose cotton pants or t-shirts, co-ords, nightwear or gowns.  3. Use fabrics that are skin-friendly. Remember, finding appropriate clothing for sleep is all about personal comfort and preference.  4. Keep in mind that the goal is to create an environment conducive to relaxation that helps to get a sound sleep at night.   Hygiene precautions  When it comes to sleeping naked, there are a few safety measures and hygiene factors that should be followed by everyone. It is important to ensure that the room temperature is conducive to sleeping without clothes. The body needs to stay within a certain temperature range for optimal sleep. If it's too cold or too hot, this can disrupt your rest.  One must also maintain complete cleanliness when it comes to bedding. Sleeping naked involves direct skin contact with your sheets and pillowcases, so it’s crucial to keep them clean. Sweat and bacteria present on the fabric promote the growth of allergens and irritants that could cause discomfort or skin issues. Wash and change your bedding from time to time to prevent any dust allergies and rashes.  

09 December,2023 07:05 PM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Everything you need to know about small intestine transplant

Did you know, that a large number of people require intestinal transplants? The intestines may fail to sufficiently process and absorb food, thus failing to meet the body's nutritional needs. This condition is known as intestinal failure.  Dr Gaurav Chaubal, Director of Liver, Pancreas, Intestine Transplant Program and HPB Surgery, Global Hospitals, Parel sheds light on the importance of small intestine transplants.  A surgical procedure, the small bowel transplant, involves transferring small intestines from a living or deceased donor to a recipient. This transplant might be necessary for individuals with certain congenital conditions. In children, these conditions include necrotising enterocolitis, malabsorption syndromes, and motility disorders.  On the other hand, adults might need this procedure due to mesenteric ischemia, volvulus, or invasive mesenteric tumours. These patients typically experience malnutrition and progressive weight loss. To manage these symptoms, they often need artificial nutrition which is costly and can lead to severe complications such as potentially fatal infections. Types of intestinal transplant For patients suffering from intestinal failure, the preferred method of treatment is an intestinal transplant. This involves the surgical removal of the unhealthy section of the small intestine and replacing it with a healthy one from a donor. In cases where the disease is confined only to the small intestine without any liver failure, this procedure can be a vital lifeline for patients whose condition has become critical due to irreversible intestinal failure. On the other hand, when both liver and intestines fail, combined liver and intestine transplantation is performed. Here, both diseased organs are surgically removed and replaced with healthy ones from a donor. The primary reason for liver failure in these instances is complications arising from intravenous nutrition or TPN.  Without undergoing transplantation, patients suffering from both intestinal and liver failures while continuing on TPN are generally expected to survive between 6 to 12 months.  When two or more internal abdominal organs, including the intestines, are failing, a multivisceral transplantation is carried out. The procedure might involve transplanting organs such as the stomach, duodenum, pancreas, intestine, and liver. This intricate operation can be lifesaving for individuals suffering from combined abdominal organ failure due to diseases like Gardner's syndrome (familial colorectal polyposis), a precancerous colorectal disorder, and intestinal pseudo-obstruction (a reduced capacity of the intestines to move food along).  The recuperation period post-transplant typically spans two to three weeks. Following the transplant, patients can resume normal life activities and dietary habits. A successful outcome is achieved in seventy-five per cent of patients who can eventually stop relying on artificial nutrition. Types of tests done before the transplantBlood group and HLA typing. Laboratory tests: Automated blood count (CBC), hepatic and renal function tests, coagulation profile.  Serologic tests: CMV, EBV, HIV, as well as hepatitis A, B, and C Radiographic evaluation of the entire gastrointestinal tract to determine actual bowel length and function (transit time) Duplex Doppler sonography of the intraabdominal vascular system (abdominal aorta, superior mesenteric artery, portal vein, superior mesenteric vein). Conventional angiography is not routinely done and is only required for selected patients.  Liver biopsy (only for patients with clinical evidence for total parenteral nutrition-induced liver dysfunction to assess the need for a simultaneous liver transplant) Assessment for the presence of infectious foci (including dental and ENT consults) Additional organ system-specific investigations as dictated by pathology results of the aforementioned evaluation process (e.g., coronary angiography, pulmonary function tests, creatinine clearance). Screening before transplantation is a process that both donors and recipients must go through. The purpose of this screening is to confirm the organ's suitability for transplantation by ensuring it is healthy. Additionally, it checks if the recipient has any medical issues that would prevent them from undergoing a transplant. The transplant procedureThe transplantation of the small intestine can occur independently or in conjunction with other organs such as the liver, stomach, or pancreas. This surgical process can be quite intricate. The procedure involves a surgeon extracting the unhealthy portion of the recipient's small intestine and substituting it with a healthy segment from a donor. The blood vessels of both parties are then interconnected, and the donor's intestinal piece is linked to the recipient's digestive system.  A section of the transplanted intestine is attached to an ileostomy which is an opening leading from the abdominal wall to the skin. This allows for the assessment of transplant functionality and the detection of potential issues. Over time, this opening may typically be sealed up. As long as this ileostomy exists, bodily waste is expelled through it into a pouch. Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.

09 December,2023 06:39 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

1 in 3 new mothers suffer lasting health problems after childbirth: Lancet

More than a third of women worldwide are likely to experience a long-term health problem such as depression, low back pain, among others, caused by childbirth, according to a new study published on Friday in The Lancet Global Health. The study shows a high burden of postnatal conditions that persist in the months or even years after giving birth, affecting about 40 million women each year. These include pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), affecting more than a third (35 per cent) of postpartum women, low back pain (32 per cent), anal incontinence (19 per cent), urinary incontinence (8 per cent-31 per cent), anxiety (9 per cent-24 per cent), depression (11 per cent-17 per cent), perineal pain (11 per cent), fear of childbirth (tokophobia) (6 per cent-15 per cent), and secondary infertility (11 per cent). "Many postpartum conditions cause considerable suffering in women's daily life long after birth, both emotionally and physically, and yet they are largely underappreciated, underrecognised, and underreported," said Dr. Pascale Allotey, Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research at WHO. "Throughout their lives, and beyond motherhood, women need access to a range of services from health-care providers who listen to their concerns and meet their needs -- so they not only survive childbirth but can enjoy good health and quality of life," Dr. Allotey said. The study, based on a literature review spanning the last 12 years, showed that there are no recent high-quality guidelines to support effective treatment for 40 per cent of the 32 priority conditions analysed. The team called for greater attention to the long-term health of women and girls -- after and also before pregnancy. The researchers call for greater recognition within the health care system of the common problems, many of which occur beyond the point where women typically have access to postnatal services. Effective care throughout pregnancy and childbirth is also a critical preventive factor, they argued, to detect risks and avert complications that can lead to lasting health issues after birth. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

09 December,2023 12:15 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Getting Covid late in pregnancy may increase health risk for mothers: Study

Women who experience Covid-19 infections within a week before giving birth are at an increased risk for severe maternal morbidity (SMM) events, including acute renal failure and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), according to study. An international team of researchers from the US, Canada and Australia showed that the risk of SMM was 2.22 times higher among women with SARS-CoV-2 infection within 7 days of delivery and 1.66 times higher among those with infection 7-30 days prior to delivery compared to those who were uninfected. The highest risk observed was associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection for ARDS. The risks of sepsis and acute renal failure were 3-4 times greater for deliveries following SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to uninfected. In the study, published in the Open Forum Infectious Diseases, researchers used electronic records of 93,624 deliveries occurring from March 11, 2020, to July 1, 2021, to look for positive Covid-19 tests and 21 SMM conditions. "Those with SARS-CoV-2 infection within 7 days of delivery were more commonly younger (15-24 years old), Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black, resided in a rural area, had lower household income (<$40,000), and delivered after August 2020 compared to those without SARS-CoV-2 infections," said the researchers including from University of San Francisco in the US. At a population-level, the authors estimate that 2 per cent of SMM cases can be attributed to SARS-CoV-2 infection during the 7 days prior to delivery. The greatest burden of SARS-CoV-2 infection in terms of impact on SMM was observed among those with at least one pre-existing medical condition. Among those with a pre-existing medical condition, the risk of SMM was nearly three times higher following SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to no infection, and among those infected, SARS-CoV2 contributed to 66 per cent of SMM cases. The researchers said their findings should result in a more urgent push to vaccinate pregnant women. "Among this large, national, commercially-insured cohort of pregnant people who gave birth during a time when fewer than 24 per cent of pregnant people had received a Covid-19 vaccine, we found that SARS-CoV-2 infection around the time of delivery was associated with increased risk of SMM, especially ARDS, and contributed to 2-3 per cent of total SMM cases. "Covid-19 is preventable, and prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection around the time of delivery could reduce the incidence of SMM and subsequent health burden, especially in high-risk groups," the researchers said. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

09 December,2023 10:53 AM IST | New York | IANS
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Mid-Day Premium Leaking while sneezing? Experts suggest Kegel's to strengthen pelvic muscles

Globally, pelvic floor dysfunction remains one of the largest unaddressed issues in women’s healthcare. According to a report by Indian Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the prevalence of pelvic floor dysfunction in postpartum women was 20.7 per cent, out of which urinary incontinence was 10.6 per cent. The study conducted by Dr Mili Rohilla and Dr Shakun Tyagi highlights that one out of five women undergo pelvic issues post-delivery, underscoring the need to address women’s pelvic health. In response to this, Kegel exercises have emerged as an essential tool to combat pelvic issues that include urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and other related conditions.With factors like pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, constipation, ageing and lifestyle disorders – the pelvic muscles undergo strain and turn weaker over time. Kegels provide a proactive and non-invasive solution to these myriad problems not just for women but men as well. To put it simply, Kegel refers to clench-and-release exercises meant to strengthen pelvic muscles. They play a crucial role in firming up the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. But, here’s a catch! Yasmin Karachiwala – A Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer emphasises that you cannot overdo Kegels as it may lead to more damage than good. “The trick is to put enough pressure to contract and expand the muscles and not contract them too tight!” Who can benefit from Kegels?1. Those who experience slight urine leakage during activities such as sneezing, laughing or coughing (stress incontinence).2. People who encounter a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before releasing a significant amount of urine (urinary urge incontinence).3. Anyone suffering from stool leakage (faecal incontinence). Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises has been shown to effectively alleviate and prevent pelvic health issues, affirms Spoorthi S., a fitness expert from As more women become cognizant of the importance of pelvic floor health, the practice of Kegel exercises is becoming increasingly relevant given their sedentary ways of lifestyles. What’s good is that Kegels can be practiced anywhere, at any moment. Locating the pelvic floor muscles for KegelsFor womenSpoorthi shares that nailing Kegels means finding your pelvic floor muscles and working them the right way. One method to locate these muscles for women involves gently inserting a clean finger into the vaginal canal and engaging the vaginal muscles around the finger.Another approach is to identify the muscles by attempting to interrupt the flow of urine midstream. The muscles involved in this action constitute the pelvic floor muscles. “Familiarise yourself with the sensation of these muscles contracting and relaxing,” remarks Spoorthi.However, it's important to note that this method should be used solely for instructional purposes. It is not advisable to frequently interrupt urination or regularly perform Kegel exercises with a full bladder, as incomplete bladder emptying may increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).If uncertainty persists about whether the correct muscles have been located, consulting with a gynaecologist is recommended. They may suggest the use of a vaginal cone, an object inserted into the vagina, relying on pelvic floor muscles to maintain its position.Another valuable technique for identifying and isolating pelvic floor muscles is biofeedback training. During this process, a medical professional will either insert a small probe into the vagina or place adhesive electrodes on the external area of the vagina or anus. Participants are then prompted to perform a Kegel, with a monitor displaying whether the correct muscles were engaged and the duration of the contraction.For menMen often encounter similar challenges in pinpointing the correct set of pelvic floor muscles. To locate them, one technique involves attempting to contract the muscles in the rectum — ensuring that the muscles of the abdomen, buttocks, or thighs remain relaxed.Another effective method is to engage the muscles responsible for preventing the release of gas. If difficulties persist, practising the interruption of urine flow can be helpful. Like with women, this proves to be a reliable method for identifying pelvic floor muscles, but it is advised not to make it a regular practice.For men struggling to locate these muscles independently, biofeedback is a beneficial option. Seeking guidance from a doctor may also be worthwhile if self-identification proves challenging.Step-by-step guide to performing Kegel exercisesEngage in contraction exercises by following these steps:Choose your positionBegin by lying on your back to familiarise yourself with contracting the pelvic floor muscles. Once comfortable, practice the exercises while sitting and standing.Contract and relaxContract your pelvic floor muscles for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax for an equal duration. Repeat this contract/relax cycle 10 times. Ensure that other muscles, such as the abdomen, legs, or buttocks, remain relaxed. Detect any unwanted abdominal action by gently placing a hand on your belly.Extend the timeGradually increase the duration of both contractions and relaxations. Progress to 10-second cycles, focusing on controlled and deliberate movements.Aim highStrive to incorporate at least 30 to 40 Kegel exercises into your daily routine. Distribute them throughout the day rather than performing them all at once. These inconspicuous exercises can be seamlessly integrated into moments like waiting at a stoplight, riding an elevator or standing in a grocery line.DiversifyEnhance your routine by incorporating short, 2 to 3 second contractions and releases, often referred to as "quick flicks." This variation adds diversity to your pelvic floor muscle training.Safety tips:1. If you experience discomfort in your abdomen or back following a Kegel exercise session, it indicates incorrect execution. Always ensure that, even while contracting your pelvic floor muscles, the muscles in your abdomen, back, buttocks and sides stay relaxed.2. Ensure to release tension in your pelvic floor muscles between each Kegel contraction. This interval is integral to the routine, and skipping it is crucial to prevent injury. 3. Keep the muscles in your stomach, back, thighs and buttocks relaxed during Kegel exercises, concentrating solely on your pelvic floor. 4. Maintain normal breathing and refrain from holding your breath during Kegels. 5. Avoid practising Kegel exercises while urinating, as this can potentially weaken the pelvic floor and pose risks to your kidneys and bladder.6. Avoid excessive strain during Kegel exercises. Overworking the muscles may lead to fatigue, rendering them incapable of performing their essential functions

09 December,2023 09:15 AM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Feeling sleepy at work? Doctors suggest hacks to fix it

Yawning or even feeling sleepy at work is considered unprofessional in most work cultures across the world. Yet, when drowsiness hits you at work, there is not much you can do to stop it. While feeling sleepy at work once in a while can be understandable if you have slept late the previous night, a regular occurrence of this indicates a lifestyle issue.  Sadly, drooping eyelids and constant yawning are common occurrences among most office-goers. Feeling sleepy at work each day can lead to irritation and disappointment. From wondering what makes us feel so sleepy during the day to battling drowsiness each day, this is a spiral we just can’t seem to get out of. Feeling sleepy at work can severely impact one’s productivity and performance.  To help you prevent this from happening, Mid-day Online only spoke to sleep experts who share hacks and lifestyle modifications necessary to tackle drowsiness at work.   “One major cause of feeling sleepy at work is hampered sleep quality and poor sleep hygiene. This coupled with an unhealthy diet high in sugar, consumption of processed food, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of physical activity can result in decreased energy levels and increased feelings of fatigue during working hours. These factors combined can cause one to feel drowsy,” says Dr Harish Chafle, pulmonology and critical care, Global Hospitals Parel Mumbai.  Dr Lancelot Mark Pinto, consultant pulmonologist and epidemiologist, P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, further adds, “Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is considered the bare minimum to feel adequately rested and refreshed. Most individuals fail to get a good eight hours of sound sleep. As a result, the restorative function of sleep is not served, and people feel sleepy during the day.” Chronic stress and anxiety arising from both work-related pressures and personal life challenges can significantly impact one's energy levels. Prolonged exposure to high levels of stress hormones like cortisol can disrupt the body's natural rhythm, affecting overall alertness. Poor air quality and inadequate lighting in the workplace too, can contribute to drowsiness, as they affect the body's circadian rhythms and overall well-being.   Additionally, one of the sleep-related diseases called Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome(OSAHS) is another major reason why people feel sleepy at work. This condition is often triggered due to obesity and high body mass index. Sleep apnea causes obstruction to breathing due to excessive fat deposited around the neck. This disturbs one sleep and leads to people feeling drowsy the next day. Such individuals tend to doze off very easily in meetings or at their work desks. How does feeling sleepy at work affect one’s health and performance?  Chafle: Sleep deprivation causes heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Furthermore, chronic lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illness and infections. It also takes a toll on cognitive function and mental health. Insufficient sleep can impair decision-making abilities, memory retention, and emotional regulation. This can lead to decreased productivity and heightened feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.  Further, drowsiness impairs cognitive function, making it difficult to focus, concentrate, and make sound decisions. This can lead to errors, inefficiency, and rework, ultimately affecting the quality of work produced. Drowsiness often results in slower reaction times and decreased attention to detail, increasing the risk of accidents and workplace injuries.  Pinto: Besides other common health risks associated with sleep deprivation, the incidence of cancers has also been linked to chronic sleep deprivation. Sleep also has a role in the regulation of immunity. With regards to productivity at work, there is a growing realisation that productivity can vary based on factors such as attention span, reaction times, ability to perform deep work and other cognitive factors that are all adversely impacted by the lack of sleep. This is especially of serious concern in fields in which public safety is at stake like the airline industry, teaching profession, medical industry, etc.  What are some healthy ways to avoid feeling sleepy at work? Chafle: One healthy way to avoid feeling sleepy at work is to prioritise getting a good night's sleep. Creating a consistent bedtime routine, reducing screen time before sleeping, and setting up a comfortable sleep environment can all contribute to better quality sleep. Staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water is a good idea. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and a lack of focus, so keeping a water bottle at your desk as a reminder to sip regularly can help combat this.  Eating fruits and nuts, can provide sustained energy levels and prevent the mid-afternoon slump that often leads to drowsiness. Pinto:  Nothing can serve as a substitute for a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene entails a few common measures:  1. Having a fixed sleep/wake time.2. Limiting exposure to devices before bedtime 3. Avoid caffeinated beverages six to eight hours before bedtime, this includes tea, coffee and sodas. 4. Avoid vigorous exercise in the evening.5. Having a light dinner and limiting the consumption of alcohol. While alcohol may help people fall asleep more easily, it interferes with the quality of sleep and leaves people feeling lethargic in the morning. Those who smoke cigarettes also tend to have a poorer quality of sleep.  If one starts to feel sleepy or drowsy at work, what can they do to fight it?  As quick fixes, both Chafle and Pinto suggest doing the following:  1. Take a brisk walk outside or even around the office. This can help to get your blood flowing and increase alertness. 2. Incorporate short bursts of physical activity, such as stretching exercises or quick desk yoga sessions. This can re-energise both your body and mind. 3. Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day as dehydration can contribute to feelings of fatigue.  4. Consider increasing natural light exposure or using a daylight lamp, as this is believed to improve mood and productivity. 5. It's also important to practice good posture while seated at your desk to prevent slouching-induced fatigue. Consider using an ergonomic chair if possible. 6. In case you are someone who feels sleepy post-lunch, try to do small bursts of activity such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing some desk exercises, which can also combat drowsiness. Taking a few minutes to meditate, focus on deep breathing, or simply relax and clear the mind can rejuvenate energy levels and improve mental clarity. What role does workplace ergonomics play in helping fight drowsiness?  Chafle: Poorly designed workstations, uncomfortable chairs, and improper lighting can contribute to feelings of drowsiness and fatigue. A poorly positioned computer screen can strain the eyes and lead to headaches, while an uncomfortable chair can cause discomfort and decrease productivity. To improve workplace ergonomics and combat drowsiness, consider implementing adjustable desks and chairs to support proper posture and reduce physical discomfort. Incorporating natural lighting or installing lighting that mimics natural daylight can help regulate employees' circadian rhythms. Pinto: Encouraging the use of stairs, using devices such as pedometers or smart watches that encourage people to have more steps a day, having flexible workstations, considering the use of standing desks, and having gyms at work can all encourage individuals to fight sleepiness at the workplace. Is the consumption of sugar and caffeine the right way to fight off drowsiness? Chafle: Having sugar or excess caffeine to combat drowsiness is a common strategy for many people, but it may not be the most effective approach. While sugar and caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, they often lead to a subsequent crash, leaving individuals feeling even more tired than before. Relying on these substances as a solution for drowsiness can contribute to long-term health issues such as weight gain, insulin resistance, and disrupted sleep patterns.  High sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It can also lead to tooth decay, inflammation, and impaired immune function. Caffeine, when consumed in large quantities, can cause anxiety, insomnia, and high blood pressure. It may contribute to digestive issues such as acid reflux and stomach ulcers. Both substances can also disrupt hormone balance and contribute to mood swings and irritability.  An infusion of fresh mint leaves and ginger steeped in hot water can provide a revitalising boost without the caffeine jitters. Herbal teas like Tulsi (holy basil) release stress and have cognitive enhancement properties that help to rejuvenate the mind. A cup of golden milk made with turmeric, warm milk, and honey not only provides calming effects but also contributes to overall brain health. Have protein-rich snacks like nuts, Greek yoghurt, or hummus with vegetables to avoid energy crashes. Incorporating small amounts of caffeine strategically, like a cup of green tea or black coffee mid-morning, can also help stay awake without leading to a post-caffeine crash.  Making mindful food choices at work can have a significant impact on productivity and overall well-being throughout the day. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and chia seeds, can provide sustained energy and improve cognitive function. Pinto: Caffeine in moderate quantities is not harmful. Caution needs to be exercised if one suffers from hypertension or cardiac disease. Consuming sugar is not advisable as it has consistent and long-term adverse effects that cannot be justified. Caffeine when taken in excessive amounts can cause tremulousness, and irritability and can cause an increase in the heart rate and blood pressure. It can interfere with sleep, perpetuating the cycle of sleepiness leading to more consumption. One also tends to get resistant to the effects of caffeine, making individuals consume more over time, leading to more adverse effects.  Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.

08 December,2023 06:30 PM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
Representational Image. Pic Courtesy/iStock

Depression, constipation & UTI may signal multiple sclerosis risk

People who later develop multiple sclerosis (MS) are more likely to have conditions like depression, constipation and urinary tract infections five years before their diagnosis, according to a new study. The study, which is published in the online issue of Neurology, also found that sexual problems and bladder infections, or cystitis, are more likely in people who later develop MS. The conditions were also more likely to occur in people who had other autoimmune diseases, lupus and Crohn’s disease. MS, Crohn’s disease and lupus are all autoimmune diseases. They all affect women more often than men and affect young adults. “Knowing that these conditions may be prodromal symptoms or even early-stage symptoms of MS would not necessarily lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease in the general population, since these conditions are common and could also be signs of other diseases, but this information could be helpful for people who are at a higher risk of developing MS, such as people with a family history of the disease or those who show signs of MS on brain scans but do not have any symptoms of the disease,” said Celine Louapre from Sorbonne University in France. The study involved 20,174 people newly diagnosed with MS. They were each matched with three people who did not have MS of the same age and sex, for a total of 54,790 people. Then the people with MS were also compared to 30,477 people with Crohn’s disease and 7,337 people with lupus. Then researchers used the medical records database to see whether the participants had any of 113 diseases and symptoms in the five years before and after their diagnosis, or before that matching date for the people who did not have an autoimmune disease. The people with MS were 22 per cent more likely to have depression five years before their diagnosis than the people without MS. They were 50 per cent more likely to have constipation, 38 per cent more likely to have urinary tract infections, 47 per cent more likely to have sexual problems, and 21 per cent more likely to have cystitis, or bladder infections. For depression, 14 per cent of the people with MS had prescriptions for antidepressants five years before diagnosis, compared to 10 per cent of the people who did not have MS. By five years after diagnosis, 37 per cent of people with MS had antidepressant prescriptions, compared to 19 per cent of those without MS. “Of course, not everyone who has these symptoms will go on to develop MS,” Louapre said. “We’re hoping that eventually these early signs will help us understand the biological mechanisms that occur in the body before the actual symptoms of the disease develop.” This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

08 December,2023 08:42 AM IST | New York | IANS
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Over 4 hours of smartphone use daily may affect mental health: Study

Adolescents who indulge in smartphones for more than four hours daily could be at higher risk of adverse mental health and substance use risk, according to a study. Prior research has shown that smartphone use among adolescents has increased in recent years, and that this usage may be associated with higher risk of adverse health -- such as psychiatric disorders, sleep issues, eye-related problems, and musculoskeletal disorders. To deepen understanding of the relationship between adolescents' use of smartphones and health, the team from Hanyang University Medical Center, Korea analysed data on more than 50,000 adolescent participants. The data included the approximate number of daily hours each participant spent on a smartphone as well as various health measures. The statistical analysis employed propensity score matching to help account for other factors that could be linked to health outcomes, such as age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Adolescents who used a smartphone for more than four hours per day had higher rates of stress, thoughts of suicide, and substance use than those with usage below four hours per day. However, adolescents who used a smartphone one to two hours per day encountered fewer problems than adolescents who did not use a smartphone at all, revealed the findings published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The authors note that this study does not confirm a causal relationship between smartphone use and adverse health outcomes. Nonetheless, the findings could help inform usage guidelines for adolescents -- especially if daily usage continues to rise. "This research shows the impact of using smart devices for more than four hours a day on adolescent health," said Jin-Hwa Moon and Jong Ho Cha of Hanyang. “The adverse effects of smartphone overuse became prominent after 4 hours of daily usage time. These results can help establish smart device usage guidelines and education programmes for appropriate media use,” they added. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

08 December,2023 08:36 AM IST | Seoul | IANS
This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK