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Here is why women should switch to period underwear

As we continue to strive for a more sustainable way of living, it's crucial to reevaluate our approach towards feminine hygiene during menstruation. The sustainable menstrual product sector is on an upward trajectory as the industry recognises the emerging sustainable trends and their impact. Conversely, research is increasingly uncovering concerns associated with the extended use of generic tampons, including their potential link to carcinogens. When you consider the multitude of benefits that period underwear provides, it becomes evident that they are remarkably eco-friendly. With its reusable and eco-friendly design, period underwear offers a remarkable solution that not only ensures comfort but also contributes significantly to a sustainable future. Pallavi Utagi, CEO and founder of SuperBottoms reflects on the importance of choosing period underwear as a remarkable step towards sustainability.  Hygienic freshness and antibacterial assuranceConcerned about sustainability in terms of hygiene? Period underwear addresses these worries effectively. Many brands incorporate antibacterial properties into their fabric while ensuring that you remain fresh and odour-free throughout the day. This hygienic approach to personal hygiene boosts your overall comfort and peace of mind during your periods. Cost-effective choice which adds to sustainable savingsSustainability extends to your financial well-being as well. While the initial investment in period underwear may seem higher than purchasing disposable products, it's essential to consider the long-term cost savings. Over time, the durability and reusability of period underwear translate into significant financial benefits.  With sustainable reusability, they are eco-friendly marvelsThe standout feature of period underwear is its remarkable sustainability. These eco-friendly garments are designed to be washed and reused, eliminating the need for disposable pads and tampons. You actively reduce the immense amount of menstrual waste generated annually by making the switch to period underwear. The long lifespan of period underwear means fewer resources are consumed in manufacturing and less waste ends up in landfills. This not only minimises environmental impact but also contributes to a greener planet for future generations. It's a powerful move towards a more sustainable lifestyle that aligns with global efforts to minimise waste and reduce our carbon footprint. Unmatched comfort with sustainable well-beingPeriod underwear excels in providing maximum comfort ensuring a rash-free menstruation without compromising on our responsibility towards the planet. With full coverage and a high-waist design, period underwear prioritises your comfort, making your period experience much more bearable. Period underwear eliminates the constant need for bathroom breaks or concerns about leaks. It offers up to 8 hours of leak-free and stain-free protection. 

22 September,2023 06:34 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Mumbaikars spend most part of their lives hustling and chasing their dreams but often forget why they are doing what they are doing. Photo Courtesy:

Mid-Day Premium Why recreational activities are essential to manage stress

Staying true to the nature of the city, Mumbaikars seem to have normalised working round the clock. This has led to a tremendous work-life imbalance and given rise to stress and workplace burnout. Recreational activities, in such times, go a long way in helping working Mumbaikars maintain their sanity.  As children, we attended numerous extra-curricular classes and participated in various recreational activities. To date, we stress the importance of recreational activities for children to ensure their overall well-being. Why is it that we fail to apply the same in our lives?  Juggling constantly between work and personal commitments can take a toll on one’s physical as well as mental health. More so, it can lead us to feel disconnected from ourselves. It is, thus, imperative to establish a healthy relationship with ourselves. Engaging in recreational activities can make that possible.  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” says Mynoo Maryel, life coach, thought leader, Co-founder POEM Foundation, JEGO and FED 100. “There is no doubt that Mumbai is a city that never sleeps. It does push each one of us to excel and achieve our life goals. However, it is essential to ensure we don’t forget to enjoy our life and the journey that leads us to our goals.”  In a hard-hitting observation, Maryel says, that Mumbaikars spend most part of their lives hustling and chasing their dreams but often forget why they are doing what they are doing. On days when an emotional breakdown or mid-life crisis-like situation strikes, disappointment and frustration get the best of us. This is where practising a hobby or engaging in recreational activities comes into play.    Identifying the need for recreational activitiesWorking constantly, be it at the office or at home taking care of domestic chores, can lead to a feeling of disappointment towards life in general. It can make us lose interest in things and also impact our personal relationships. The failure to strike a work-life balance can drain us mentally, physically and emotionally. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and making time to engage in activities that feed the soul can not only help us lead a balanced life but also improve our work performance.   Maryel suggests engaging in any recreational activity that makes you happy and helps in relaxing the mind. This can include, swimming, playing any sport you like, singing, dancing, going for long drives, cooking or even spending time with your friends.    Mumbaikars share the relevance of recreational activitiesKevin Baretto, a 26-year-old, associate brand consultant at Id8 Media Solutions residing in Mahim, loves to play cricket. “Making time for hobbies is very difficult considering my busy schedule, but I make it a point to do things I love. It helps me manage stress effectively.” Kevin plays cricket for around three hours mostly during the weekends or public holidays.   Kevin Baretto   He says, “Even though I only play for a couple of hours, twice a week, it helps me manage stress for the entire week. It keeps me away from my smartphone. Playing cricket takes my mind off all work and life-related stressors.”   Other than cricket, Kevin’s other hobbies also include shooting short films and participating in theatre. He participates in various activities conducted by his parish, St. Michael's Church which conducts many fun youth activities like trekking, sports tournaments and social activities.   For Kevin, drama too makes him happy. “Since performing in theatre is not a regular activity, I wait for opportunities,” says Kevin who last performed in a play named ‘The hunchback of Notre Dame,’ the rehearsals for which went on for a period of 6 months.  Speaking about the relevance of practising hobbies for Mumbaikars, Kevin says, “Most of the week is spent in front of the computer or on calls which is definitely stressful. It is very important to keep yourself engaged in a certain hobby to relieve stress from time to time.” According to Kevin, every working Mumbaikar, be it an intern or senior official, everyone should engage in different recreational activities.  Nidhi Netravalkar (26), a resident of Malad working as a copywriter and creative supervisor, with Ogilvy, has been practising Kathak for 15 years. “I don’t get time to go for a regular dance class due to the flexible nature of work but I do go for dance workshops whenever I get the time, especially over the weekend. It not only reduces my stress but also gives me the energy to work. It calms me in ways nothing else can.”   Nidhi Netravalkar Besides dancing, Nidhi also loves to read and cook. She says she tries to read for at least an hour every day. According to Nidhi, it is extremely necessary to participate in recreational activities because of the fast-paced nature of life in Mumbai. “We need to prioritise taking time out for ourselves to do something we love outside of work. Not only will it help us reduce our work stress but will also help us to perform better at work.”   Another young Mumbaikar, Rashmi Manuja(24), anchor, producer at Radio Mirchi says, “Every person must find some healthy way to relieve stress that builds up over the week. Doing something you love helps to calm down yourself. When I participate in any recreational activities I love, it makes me feel confident about myself.”   Rashmi ManujaRashmi is a passionate drummer who also occasionally enjoys boxing. She says, “Being able to play my favourite songs on the drums gives me great joy. Playing the drums helps me manage my anxiety. It distracts me from unsettling thoughts and clams me down.”    Besides drumming, she also goes boxing three times a week and makes time to watch films/series regularly for a limited period of time.   Tips to make time for recreational activities Just as we prioritise our work, it is equally important to also prioritise our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. It helps to navigate the everyday stressors with a sane mind.    To take the first step towards enrolling yourself for recreational activities, begin with something you enjoy doing the most. Initially, start with something that is easily doable and requires less effort. Take time to understand what works best for you. You might have to push yourself to get habituated to a new habit and routine, but when you start experiencing positive outcomes, you will end up looking forward to it.  Dedicate a specific time during which you only do things that relax your mind. In this time period do not deal with anything related to work unless extremely urgent. If your work schedule is packed and does not permit you to take an hour off during the day, take up something fun over the weekend. Ensure you participate in some recreational activities for a few hours at least once a week.  Also Read: From mind to body: Understanding the impact of stress on physical health, and tips to manage it

22 September,2023 05:10 PM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Over eight million Indians are suffering from Alzheimer’s: Healthcare experts

The number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s in India is estimated to be between 5.3 million and 8.2 million, healthcare experts said. World Alzheimer’s Day was observed on Thursday to raise awareness and educate people around the globe about Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is a chronic disease where brain and memory cells slowly start to lose thinking and the ability to carry out simplest tasks. The brain cells themselves degenerate and die, destroying memory and other important functions. This year’s theme for Alzheimer’s Day is ‘Never too early, Never too late’, which focuses on identifying the factors that cause this disease and taking steps to reduce and prevent dementia. Organizations gather on this day so that they can better understand about this condition and generate more funds for research. According to Ch Vijay, Consultant Neurologist, KIMS Icon, Vizag, Alzheimer’s disease usually occurs for people who are in their mid 60s, where their brain gets the most effected, resulting in such as memory loss, inability to be independent, poor judgment, loss of spontaneity etc. Patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s experience pain, but with the help of a proper care system the pain can be manageable. “Life expectancy for Alzheimer’s patients is around 8-10 years, which can be lesser when diagnosed in the 80s or 90s. It can extend till 15-20 years in some patients. Purple is the colour to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s. Oftentimes, Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. In India, people with Alzheimer’s are possibly between 5.3 million to 8.2 million. Because of the usage of curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant that possess anti-inflammatory properties which helps fight the disease, Indians have substantially managed the increase of Alzheimer’s but since 2005, it has grown more than dementia,” he said. P. Sravanthi, Consultant Neurologist, SLG Hospitals, said, “There are many myths surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. It does not always happen to older people, most people get this disease in their 60’s but it is a chronic disease where there is a decline in thinking and the ability to carry out simplest tasks. "About 5 per cent of people in their 30s, 40s and 50s get this disease as an early sign. Another myth about this disease is that it is not always an inevitable part of aging, it can take away someone’s ability to eat, talk and more. The medications that help with Alzheimer’s disease do not help with permanent cure of the disease as there is no current way to stop or slow the ailment. Medications might help with thinking, language, memory, skills and some behavioural problems.” Talking about the tools that help doctors diagnose this disease, Subhangi Thakur Hameer, Consultant Neurologist, Amor Hospital, said that there are no specific blood tests available in India to determine Alzheimer’s disease. Performing clinical assessment and a PET scan, CT or an MRI can help diagnose Alzheimer’s. Administrative psychological evaluation to determine whether the person is going through any symptoms such as depression or other related conditions that contribute to the person’s symptoms. People with these memory problems should return to the doctor every 6-12 months. According to Shraddha Sanghani, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Century Hospital, Alzheimer’s can be caused due to the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. Deposits of protein such as amyloid form plaques around the brain cells. Another protein is called tau, which forms tangles within brain cells. “Seeking support when needed, taking regular breaks, eating healthy foods, joining a caregiver's support group are methods which can help aging Alzheimer’s patients. It is really important to have self-care practices in place which can be suggested by the doctor," Sanghani said. Lifestyle factors also account for Alzheimer’s disease. People with low social engagement, sleep, physical activity and nutritious diet have the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s disease. If people stay healthy, the factors might reduce, but not permanently cure. 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

22 September,2023 11:49 AM IST | Hyderabad | IANS
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Sound of cough may help identify Covid-19 severity: Study

The sound of cough could offer a quick, easy, and cost-effective method for identifying the severity of Covid-19 disease in patients, whether at home or in any healthcare setting, suggests a study. While most individuals impacted by Covid-19 experience milder symptoms and recover within a few weeks, the global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to pose a significant health challenge. Some of those affected may progress to develop more severe illness and pneumonia, often resulting in a more unfavourable prognosis. Although protocols have been developed to assess patients' risk, diagnostic and prognostic tools primarily rely on expensive and less accessible imaging methods, such as radiography, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT). Therefore, there is a need to develop a simpler and more readily-available prognostic tool that enables healthcare providers to identify patients who have developed or are at risk of developing severe disease. This would streamline patient triage and facilitate early intervention, even in home or primary care settings. A team of Spanish researchers carried out a study based on the analysis and interpretation of cough sounds in the initial phases of Covid-19. This method is presented as a potential predictive, simple, and accessible tool to assess the risk of suffering severe pneumonia. The research, published in the ‘European Respiratory Journal’, involved smartphone recordings of voluntary coughing sounds from 70 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, all recorded within the first 24 hours after their admission to the hospital. Barcelona’s Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) conducted an acoustic analysis of these recordings, which revealed significant differences in cough sounds depending on the severity of the respiratory condition, as previously confirmed by imaging tests and the need for supplemental oxygen. The results indicate that this analysis could be used to categorise Covid-19 patients as mild, moderate, or severe and to monitor patients with persistent Covid-19. The study was conducted using data collected between April 2020 and May 2021 at Hospital del Mar. Dr. Joaquim Gea, emeritus head of the Pneumology Service, researcher at the Hospital del Mar Research Institute, suggests that these findings can prove beneficial “in regions with limited medical infrastructure or during emergency situations. This approach can aid in the prompt identification and isolation of Covid-19 patients, thus facilitating proper medical care and the implementation of control measures.” While the study was primarily centred on Covid, it also paves the way for applying this model to other respiratory conditions. 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

22 September,2023 11:43 AM IST | London | IANS
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Suppressing negative thoughts improves mental health: Study

The commonly-held belief that attempting to suppress negative thoughts is bad for our mental health could be wrong, suggests a new study Scientists at the University of Cambridge trained 120 volunteers across 16 countries to suppress thoughts about negative events that worried them, and found that not only did these become less vivid, but that the participants' mental health also improved. "We're all familiar with the Freudian idea that if we suppress our feelings or thoughts, then these thoughts remain in our unconscious, influencing our behaviour and well-being perniciously," said Professor Michael Anderson from the varsity’s Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. "The whole point of psychotherapy is to dredge up these thoughts so one can deal with them and rob them of their power. In more recent years, we've been told that suppressing thoughts is intrinsically ineffective and that it actually causes people to think the thought more -- it's the classic idea of 'Don't think about a pink elephant'," he said. These ideas have become dogma in the clinical treatment realm, said Anderson, with national guidelines talking about thought avoidance as a major maladaptive coping behaviour to be eliminated and overcome in depression, anxiety, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example. Dr. Zulkayda Mamat, from Trinity College, Cambridge believed that inhibitory control was critical in overcoming trauma in experiences occurring to herself and many others she has encountered in life. She had wanted to investigate whether this was an innate ability or something that was learnt and hence could be taught. "Because of the pandemic, we were seeing a need in the community to help people cope with surging anxiety. There was already a mental health crisis, a hidden epidemic of mental health problems, and this was getting worse. So with that backdrop, we decided to see if we could help people cope better," Dr. Mamat said. In the study, published in Science Advances, each participant was asked to think of a number of scenarios that might plausibly occur in their lives over the next two years -- 20 negative "fears and worries" that they were afraid might happen, 20 positive "hopes and dreams," and 36 routine and mundane neutral events. The fears had to be worries of current concern to them, that have repeatedly intruded in their thoughts. "It was very clear that those events that participants practised suppressing were less vivid, less emotionally anxiety-inducing, than the other events and that overall, participants improved in terms of their mental health. But we saw the biggest effect among those participants who were given practice at suppressing fearful, rather than neutral, thoughts," Dr. Mamat said. Suppressing thoughts even improved mental health among participants with likely post-traumatic stress disorder. Among participants with post-traumatic stress who suppressed negative thoughts, their negative mental health indices scores fell on average by 16 per cent (compared to a 5 per cent fall for similar participants suppressing neutral events), whereas positive mental health indices scores increased by almost 10 per cent. In general, people with worse mental health symptoms at the outset of the study improved more after suppression training, but only if they suppressed their fears. This finding directly contradicts the notion that suppression is a maladaptive coping process. "What we found runs counter to the accepted narrative," said Professor Anderson. "Although more work will be needed to confirm the findings, it seems like it is possible and could even be potentially beneficial to actively suppress our fearful thoughts." 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

22 September,2023 11:31 AM IST | London | IANS
Many smokers have turned to e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, in hopes of reducing their tobacco consumption or quitting altogether. Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Mid-Day Premium Are vapes really a safer alternative to cigarettes?

Vaping is better than smoking, rather, it helps one quit smoking. This is a common notion among many smokers as well as non-smokers. How true is it? No one really knows. “Many smokers have turned to e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, in hopes of reducing their tobacco consumption or quitting altogether. However, the effectiveness of switching to vapes to quit smoking is yet to be proven,” says Dr Atul Narayankar, consultant medical oncologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road.  Adding to this, Dr Pankaj Jain, consultant chest physician and pulmonologist, Jehangir Hospital says, “Although many people assume vaping helps quit smoking, it is important to understand that it is still a relatively new product, and there is not enough research to say for sure whether it is a safe or effective means to give up on the addiction of smoking.”  Rising popularity among the youngOver the past few years, there has been an exponential rise in the use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking. Vaping has especially become more common among the youth. For the young, vaping is seen as an edgy, fashionable activity.  Responding to the cool quotient attached to these products, manufacturers are coming up with stylish and colourful designs making them more attractive for the young. Further, vapes come in various nicotine strengths and flavours, making them more tempting to the younger generation. Another factor that can be a possible cause of the rise of their popularity is the ease of access to these devices. They can be purchased either online or in many local stores, so they're much more convenient than traditional cigarettes. Vape kits are relatively affordable and come with clear instructions, enabling young users to start vaping with minimal effort. E-cigarettes vs cigarettesCigarettes and vapes are two popular ways to consume nicotine, but they differ greatly in their composition, usage and potential health risks.  Vapes are electronic devices that aim to mimic the act of smoking by delivering nicotine through a vaporised solution. Unlike conventional cigarettes that burn tobacco, e-cigarettes operate by heating a liquid comprising nicotine, flavourings and other chemical components. Cigarettes are made from tobacco leaves that undergo combustion when lit, releasing harmful chemicals like tar, carbon monoxide and other carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) into the air and the smoker's lungs.  Additionally, cigarettes are cheaper than vapes. A pack of cigarettes typically costs around Rs 12, while the minimum price of an e-cigarette stands somewhere around Rs 1200. However, the long-term cost of smoking is much higher than the cost of vaping.  Health impacts of vapingThere is no doubt that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and tuberculosis (TB), but vaping too has its own health risks that must not be ignored.  “Although vapes are marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, research suggests that vaping is just as harmful to your health,” says Jain. Studies have shown that vaping can lead to respiratory problems like bronchitis and pneumonia.  “Those who vape may experience coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Vaping also raises the risk of lung cancer, asthma and bronchitis and is harmful to reproductive health,” adds Narayankar. E-cigarettes also contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical and a known carcinogen. Additionally, many vapes also contain diacetyl, a chemical associated with lung disease. Propylene glycol, a chemical commonly found in e-cigarette liquids, also has a negative effect on the respiratory system over time. Inhaling these chemicals can cause many short-term negative side effects like changes in breathing rate, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and increased temperature.  Electronic cigarettes can also weaken the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to colds and flu. Vaping can also have negative long-term health effects, including changes in blood vessel elasticity and increased risk of stroke and heart attack. It can also lead to cancer, as well as an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Effectiveness of vaping to help quit smokingVapers argue that vaping can be an effective tool for quitting smoking due to its ability to deliver nicotine in a less harmful manner compared to traditional cigarettes. By inhaling vapour instead of smoke, individuals may decrease their exposure to harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.  Vaping offers users a greater degree of control over their nicotine consumption in comparison to conventional smoking. E-cigarettes are available with varying levels of nicotine concentration in their e-liquids, ranging from high amounts resembling regular cigarettes to zero-nicotine alternatives. This enables users to gradually reduce their nicotine intake over time. Nevertheless, health experts say that whether it is cigarettes or vapes, both pose equal health risks. If you are a smoker looking to quit, switching to vapes may not be the best option for you. Instead, talk to a specialist about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) options best suited for you.  They might also suggest some exercises to reduce stress and give you more energy to help break the habit and involve you in social groups that are working towards the goal of quitting smoking.  While switching to vapes may offer some short-term relief to smokers, the potential dangers far outweigh the benefits. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult a specialist who can offer more healthy solutions.  Vaping is an addiction tooBoth cigarettes and vapes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug. However, nicotine is more addictive in cigarettes than in vapes. This is because the smoke from cigarettes contains other chemicals that promote easy absorption of nicotine into the bloodstream. This triggers the release of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and reward.  This is not to say that vaping is less addictive. Upon inhalation through vaping, nicotine swiftly enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain. This flood of dopamine generates a feeling of contentment that strengthens the urge to vape again, resulting in gradual dependence. It thus has the same effect on the brain as cigarettes. In fact, experts say that certain e-cigarette liquids offer an array of enticing flavours that attract young users, making them more vulnerable to addiction. Flavoured vapes contain a flavoured e-liquid, rather than the standard unflavoured nicotine e-liquids that are commonly found in traditional e-cigarettes and similar vaporiser devices. The flavouring is usually derived from popular food or drinks, such as chocolate, caramel, coffee, cola and more. The reason flavoured vapes exist is that many people find the taste of traditional e-cigarettes to be unpleasant. The flavoured versions are meant to provide a more enjoyable vaping experience.  Legality of vaping in IndiaThe sale, manufacture, import, export, transport, distribution and running of advertisements of e-cigarettes, or vapes are prohibited in India. India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare brought this into effect in September 2019. The ban was imposed due to concerns about the health risks of vaping. Despite a complete ban on vapes, young people are still able to access e-cigarettes in India illegally.  We asked experts, ‘Why is it that cigarettes, being more harmful to health, continue to be sold but vapes are banned?’  In response to this question, Narayankar says, “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India's massive population makes it the largest tobacco market in the world. India is one of the only countries that has completely banned the sale of e-cigarettes. Yet 23 per cent of the Indian population reported using e-cigarettes, 70 per cent reported using tobacco, and 8 per cent were dual users of both e-cigarettes and tobacco.” Adding to this, Jain says, “Although many would be of the opinion that both vapes and cigarettes should be banned, given the dangerous health risks both pose, that is not the case. When it comes to cigarettes, they are heavily taxed by both state and federal governments, providing a substantial amount of revenue to fund public health initiatives and other government programs. If tobacco sales were to be banned, this revenue would be lost, which could create major fiscal issues for governments and public health efforts. Thus, it makes more sense to keep cigarettes legal, while enacting stricter regulations and policies to reduce consumption, such as a higher age limit for purchasing, increased taxes, etc. Vapes, on the other hand, have been identified as a potential gateway to traditional cigarettes for youth, and in order to protect public health, it is more beneficial to have a complete ban on their sale.” 

22 September,2023 09:32 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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How generative AI helps enhance humour and mental well-being

The comic element in us builds unbelievable and remarkable power and prowess, shaping our mental well-being as humans. It's a powerful stress reliever, mood lifter, and social contractor. Recently, artificial intelligence (AI) has gained attention for its role in humour and mental well-being. "For billions of people, mental health care is inaccessible and unaffordable. With the internet at our fingertips, Generative AI possesses the capability to match us with the right therapy", says Sourav Banerjee, Founder and CTO, of United We Care. "Gen AI can craft fresh, ready-to-brew content, spanning text, images, or music. It also self-learns through vast datasets. There are various ways generative AI can create humour. It can be trained on joke datasets or use "reinforcement learning" to make people laugh. Generative AI has the potential to transform humor, tailored to individual needs." According to Banerjee some of the benefits of AI-generated humor include stress and anxiety reduction, improved mood and outlook reflections, enhanced social connectivity and coping with unseen challenges. "Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, mood-boosting chemicals. AI-generated humor can stimulate this endorphin release, potentially reducing stress and anxiety levels. Humor's ability to illuminate life's lighter side can bolster our self-perception and outlook. AI-generated humour offers fresh perspectives and insights, helping us cultivate a sunnier disposition. Humor serves as a powerful tool for building rapport and establishing connections with others. AI-generated humor can facilitate this by offering shared experiences and generating laughter. Humour offers a coping mechanism by providing a sense of perspective and reducing feelings of isolation in challenging situations. AI-generated humor can provide alternative viewpoints to help individuals navigate their problems", said Banerjee.  The future of AI-generated humour appears promising. As generative AI continues to evolve, numerous innovative applications emerge, including: Banerjee says, "AI could revolutionise mental health treatment by tailoring humor therapies to individuals' unique needs, potentially transforming how we address mental health issues. Virtual reality experiences may be designed to provide immersive humor therapy, offering novel approaches to treating mental health conditions." The potential applications for AI-generated humor are limitless. We can only imagine the many ways generative AI will be used to improve our lives and bring us joy as it continues to advance. While AI-generated humour holds immense promise, several challenges warrant attention. One issue is that since AI might not always understand the subtleties of human humour, it is possible for AI-generated humor to be offensive or inappropriate. Due to its limited training dataset, AI-generated humor can occasionally become monotonous or lack originality. But given the many benefits that AI-generated humor offers, it seems possible to get past these obstacles.  We predict the emergence of humor that is both entertaining and good for mental health as generative AI develops. Speaking on the next stage of generative AI, Banerjee adds, "Generative AI is moving towards cognitive AI, which will be a more advanced version that can diagnose problems and revert to a previous state. It will make use of the power of developing more precise models to comprehend not only the causes of human emotions but also to comprehend and foresee how a person may proceed along the path to mental health and wellness. It is possible to increase smiles and happiness by using cognitive AI to introduce a little humor." 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

21 September,2023 10:24 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Mid-Day Premium What you need to know about Alzheimer’s and here’s how you can help

There is more emphasis being placed on one’s health and fitness now more than ever before, and this has probably been triggered because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects over the last three years. With people across all age groups facing various illnesses, taking one's health for granted is no longer an option. Alzheimer's disease, particularly affecting the elderly, is among the concerns that demand attention. Every year, World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on September 21 to raise awareness and challenge the stigma about the neurological disease, which Dr Annu Aggarwal, consultant neurology, Specialist Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital Mumbai, says accounts for around 60 per cent of all cases of dementia. Simply, she explains, “Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behaviour.” While the cause for the disease is still not entirely known, and there is currently no cure for it, there is a need to raise awareness about the disease that affects 1 in 8 people aged 65 and older. spoke to Aggarwal and Dr Pradyumna Oak, director, Neurology and Stroke Unit, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, who shed light on the symptoms, effects and challenges. The Mumbai specialists also share the common misconceptions, how people around those with Alzheimer’s disease can help them in daily life, and the need for awareness locally to help the patients better. What is Alzheimer's disease and how do people get it? Aggarwal: Alzheimer’s disease is part of a group of neurological disorders known as dementia that result in decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory, thinking, planning, language skills, and change in personality and behaviour. In normal ageing, the loss of intellectual or cognitive faculties is minimal and people can live independent and productive lives. However, in dementia, this is affected, and the result is an interference with a person’s ability to work and interact socially. Alzheimer's disease accounts for around 60 per cent of cases of dementia.  Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behaviour. It is irreversible and over time, affects the ability to carry out even simple tasks. People affected by Alzheimer have progressive and frequent memory loss. It is associated with deposition of abnormal proteins in the brain such as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which disrupt neuron function, along with brain cell death and brain shrinkage. Research has shown a loss of connections between nerve cells in the brain that result in messages not transmitted. While the exact cause is not entirely understood and is the subject of ongoing research, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.Oak: Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the memory, thinking, and behaviour, primarily detected in the elderly population. While the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is yet unknown, it's believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. We have observed a number of cases where genetic factors, along with an age-related degeneration of the brain, results in the condition. Which age group is prone to getting Alzheimer's disease? Does it affect any particular gender more than the other? Aggarwal: Alzheimer’s usually develops in men and women over the age of 65 years, making this age group more prone to the condition. However, there's a form of the disease called early-onset Alzheimer's that can affect people in their 40s or 50s. Women are somewhat more likely to develop Alzheimer's than men. In India, there are 4 million people currently living with dementia, of which Alzheimer's disease accounts for over 60 per cent of the cases. This means that one in eight people aged 65 and older and nearly half of people aged 85 and older will develop dementia.  Oak: Most commonly, senior citizens, above the age of 65 are the high-risk population for developing Alzheimer's. In rare cases though, we have observed that individuals between the ages of 40 and 50 can also develop early-onset Alzheimer's. As per some research conducted in India, women seem to be slightly more affected than men, but the exact cause of this, needs additional research.  What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease? Aggarwal: Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include loss of memory, difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying, disorientation about time and place, difficulty in performing routine tasks, difficulty recognising faces and surroundings, misplacing objects, problems understanding visual or spatial cues, issues with speech or writing, problems with language, personality and mood changes. Oak: Alzheimer’s proves difficult to diagnose at initial stages due to its subtle symptoms, such as forgetfulness, difficulty in performing familiar tasks, and trouble with language, which are often cited as results of old age. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms lead to confusion, disorientation, and behavioural changes. Families of some patients have also reported noticeable changes in personality and social withdrawal as well, mostly caused by inability to address the social group as effectively as in the past.What are the effects of Alzheimer's on the person? Aggarwal: As the disease progresses, individuals may misplace items more frequently, show decreased judgement, might not recognise their loved ones, may struggle with effective communication, withdraw from social or work activities, and undergo changes in mood or personality. There may be mood swings, bouts of depression, and increased agitation. These may appear in different degrees and it is advisable to consult a physician on noticing any of them. Diagnosis is based on clinical evaluation, laboratory tests and specialised brain imaging.Oak: Alzheimer’s proves difficult to diagnose at initial stages due to its subtle symptoms, such as forgetfulness, difficulty in performing familiar tasks, and trouble with language, which are often cited as results of old age. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms lead to confusion, disorientation, and behavioural changes. Families of some patients have also reported noticeable changes in personality and social withdrawal as well, mostly caused by inability to address the social group as effectively as in the past. What are the challenges that a person with Alzheimer's disease can face in daily life? Aggarwal: In their daily life, an individual with Alzheimer's might grapple with remembering names or appointments, misplacing items frequently, difficulty in managing finances with trouble counting change or paying for a purchase, making decisions, and navigating familiar places. If going out alone, they can forget the way back and get lost. There's also the risk of social withdrawal and isolation due to fear or confusion, which can make them vulnerable to scams or accidents.Oak: An Alzheimer's patient faces difficulties in every task of the routine life. They fail to remember recent conversations or events, manage finances, or be an effective part of any social group or situation. As the disease advances, they may struggle with physical tasks such as dressing, eating, and maintaining personal hygiene, which further increases their dependency on the family members or caregivers. Can Alzheimer's be treated? Aggarwal: There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but certain drugs can alleviate and slow down symptoms and help improve cognitive abilities. It can delay functional decline to an extent. Treatment is also aimed at managing the behavioural problems such as depression, agitation, and aggression. Non-drug strategies like cognitive stimulation and regular physical activity have shown promise in symptom management.Oak: There are a number of treatments available to manage Alzheimer's disease. Though reversing the loss of brain function is impossible, with early intervention, we can manage the condition, slow down the progression and improve the quality of life. These include better memory issues and slower cognitive decline as compared to absence of treatment. When should a person or the family consider getting expert advice for Alzheimer's? Aggarwal: At the first signs of cognitive difficulties or memory lapses, it's imperative to seek a medical evaluation. With early detection, patients can get the maximum benefit from available treatments to maintain their independence for a longer period. Early diagnosis allows patients to participate in decisions about living options, medical treatment, financial and legal matters. Oak: It’s advisable to seek a specialised neurology opinion at the first sign of memory loss or cognitive decline. Early intervention can potentially help in managing the progression of the disease more effectively. What are the common misconceptions about Alzheimer's? Aggarwal: The misconceptions surrounding Alzheimer's include the belief that it is a normal part of ageing, while others think it only affects the elderly. Another common myth is that memory loss is the sole symptom, overlooking the range of cognitive and behavioural changes that accompany the disease.Oak: Most common misconception in India, which thwarts the early intervention in patients with Alzheimer's, is that the condition is just a part of normal ageing, which is not the case. Additionally, many believe that it solely affects memory, whereas it can have a broader impact on cognitive and physical abilities. Are there foods that can be eaten to delay the onset of Alzheimer's? Aggarwal: There is no specific food that can guarantee prevention. However, diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and olive oil have been associated with a potentially reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's. The Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet as well as eating healthy have been associated with cognitive benefits in studies. The link between diet and Alzheimer’s is still being evaluated. The possible reasons certain diets may be of benefit includes the diet affecting biological mechanisms, such as oxidative stress and inflammation, that trigger Alzheimer’s, the diet working by impacting other risk factors of Alzheimer’s such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, and a relationship between gut microbes and aging-related processes that lead to Alzheimer’s. However, studies are still in progress as researchers continue to seek answers.Oak: Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, coupled with regular physical activity, can help in delaying the onset of dementia. Incorporating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can be beneficial. However, in no scenario, the diet or non-clinical therapies should be considered as a sole therapeutic option to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  How can people who have Alzheimer's deal with the disease? Aggarwal: Staying socially active, engaging in cognitive stimulating activities such as solving puzzles, maintaining a routine, using memory aids like calendars and reminders can help patients and their families deal with the changes that come with Alzheimer’s. One can also join support groups or seek counselling. Oak: A number of factors such as structured daily routine, engaging in cognitive therapies, and staying socially connected can help in managing the disease. Most important being an adequate family and friend support network, which can improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients. It is also crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular medical check-ups. How can family or friends of those with Alzheimer's help them deal with it? Aggarwal: Family and friends can play a crucial role by showing patience and understanding along with unstinted support. Assisting with daily tasks, encouraging social interaction, and creating a predictable, safe environment is something that is invaluable. Caregivers must learn more about the disease to offer better support. Oak: The emotional support network of family and friends plays a vital role in management of Alzheimer’s, alongside clinical therapy. Acting to their emotional needs, assisting with daily tasks, and encouraging physical and cognitive activities is known to provide the much-needed moral boost to the patients. Being patient and empathetic is vital in helping them cope with the disease. How can society and the local government body help people with Alzheimer's at the civic level? Aggarwal: At a societal level, there is a need to create awareness about dementia and Alzheimer’s among people. There must be support for community programmes and training for caregivers. There must be a focus on ensuring accessible and affordable medical care and long-term management of Alzheimer’s patients. Policies should ensure that the legal rights of a patient must be protected, and the patient is taken care off as the disease progresses and the patient’s condition worsens.Oak: There is very little awareness about Alzheimer’s, its causes, effects and how to seamlessly make these patients a part of a sensitive community. We can start with creating awareness about the condition at community level, include educational institutes, and establish support groups to provide resources. The government can establish specialised healthcare facilities and initiate community screening programmes for early detection and management of Alzheimer's.  

21 September,2023 10:34 AM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
Memory cafes provide a safe and engaging environment where participants partake in memory-enhancing exercises, cognitive games, and reminiscence activities. Image Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Memory cafes offer a path to cognitive improvement for Alzheimer’s patients

In the quiet suburbs of Khar, the Kothare family is grappling with a harrowing illness. Every morning, Damini (74) believes that a man dressed in white is trying to enter her home with a packet of milk in hand. A resilient woman, Damini has been diagnosed with a neurological condition – Alzheimer’s. Her journey is marked by daily challenges, but one aspect of her life remains consistent: She feels anxious whenever the milkman drops by in the mornings. Her daughter, Daksha, opens up about this traumatic ailment that affects millions of families worldwide. “Aai, began to show subtle signs of forgetfulness some five years back. It started with misplacing keys, forgetting dates and sometimes losing her way in familiar places. When this became too rampant, we sought medical advice, which led to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.” Daksha recalls the profound impact on their lives as they navigated the challenges of watching a beloved family member slowly slip away. As Damini's memory continues to fade, their story serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for research and support for those affected by Alzheimer's – a condition that touches countless lives and demands greater awareness and understanding. New-age medical treatments for Alzheimer’s disease: Memory café Memory cafes, also known as cognitive stimulation programs, are supportive and social group activities designed to enhance the cognitive function of individuals with Alzheimer's and related dementias. These clubs provide a safe and engaging environment where participants partake in memory-enhancing exercises, cognitive games, and reminiscence activities.  By promoting mental stimulation, social interaction and emotional support, memory clubs aim to slow cognitive decline, improve quality of life, and foster a sense of belonging for individuals living with Alzheimer's disease, while also providing respite and support for their caregivers, shares Dr Aman Priya Khanna, a Minimal Access Surgeon at HexaHealth, Pune. Virtual Reality (VR) Therapy Medical experts are exploring the use of virtual reality as a therapeutic tool for Alzheimer's patients. VR technology allows individuals to immerse themselves in interactive and engaging environments, which aims to stimulate cognitive functions and memory recall.  Alzheimer's patients are given VR devices to relive past experiences, visit familiar places, or engage in mentally stimulating activities, potentially improving memory and overall cognitive well-being. This innovative approach not only enhances quality of life but also provides a non-pharmacological method for managing the disease's symptoms. Art and Music Therapy Creative therapies, such as painted art and exposure to rhythms have gained prominence as non-pharmacological interventions for Alzheimer's patients. These therapies harness the power of creative expression to enhance emotional well-being, reduce anxiety and stimulate memory. Patients can engage in painting, sculpting, or playing musical instruments, allowing them to express themselves and connect with memories and emotions that they felt once. Such therapies promote a sense of accomplishment and joy contributing to a better quality of life for those living with Alzheimer's. Gut Microbiome Interventions Emerging research suggests a connection between gut health and brain function. Medical experts are investigating interventions that aim to improve the gut microbiome of Alzheimer's patients. These interventions may include dietary changes, probiotics, or fecal microbiota transplantation. By promoting a healthier gut environment, researchers hope to positively impact brain health and potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, offering a unique and holistic approach to treatment.  Tau-Targeted Therapies The growth of abnormal tau protein is another key component of Alzheimer's pathology. Innovative therapies are being developed to target tau and prevent its aggregation which poses the risk of nerve cell damage. These treatments aim to slow or halt the progression of the disease by addressing tau-related neurodegeneration. Several approaches, including small molecules and immunotherapies, are under investigation to target tau in different ways. Other scientific innovations to tackle forgetfulness in older adults In May 2019, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Research Roundtable delved into alternative therapeutic approaches, including active immunotherapy for neurological disorders.  This approach involves stimulating the patient's immune system to produce antibodies against the very elements that trigger Alzheimer's disease. With this treatment, doctors aim to reduce the buildup of ‘beta-amyloid plaques’ in the brain to potentially slow down the progression of the disease. Recent progress in measuring Alzheimer’s indicators like amyloid, tau, and neurodegeneration in blood enables tracking drug effects during clinical trials. This offers a less invasive and cost-effective alternative to cerebrospinal fluid or neuroimaging markers. Role of technology to monitor and support Alzheimer’s patients Technology is vital in supporting Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.  1 Cognitive training apps help preserve cognitive abilities, while medication reminder apps ensure timely doses. 2 Mobile apps provide information and resources, and wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers monitor vital signs and activity levels, offering valuable insights into overall well-being.  3 GPS tracking devices enhance patient safety by preventing wandering and telehealth enables convenient remote consultations, reducing caregiver burden. 4 Fall detection systems promptly alert caregivers to potential accidents, thus improving safety.Assistive technology, designed to assist individuals in their daily lives, encompasses various tools, from electronic pill reminders to smart home systems controlling heating and lighting. Smartwatches have gained popularity as wearable devices that collect essential health and activity data, benefiting Alzheimer’s and dementia care.  Caregivers can track activity levels, monitor heart rates, and evaluate sleep patterns, all crucial aspects of patient health. Some devices also aid in safer mobility. Boundary alarm systems issue alerts if a person strays beyond a predefined boundary, and tracking devices utilise satellite or mobile technology to locate individuals at risk of becoming lost or missing. These technological advancements empower caregivers, enhance patient safety, and improve overall quality of life. The role of precision medicine In Western societies, Alzheimer’s disease is the predominant form of dementia and ranks sixth in causes of death. Precision medicine, an individualised approach considering a person’s genetics, environment, and lifestyle has gained prominence in AD care.  Precision medicine tailors care for enhanced outcomes, utilising advanced diagnostics for early detection and intervention. Genetic profiling identifies risk factors and sheds light on treatment decisions to be made by the expert.   From then on, treatment plans are personalised based on genetics and clinical profiles optimising effectiveness. Regular monitoring allows adjustments for sustained efficacy, while accurate prognosis supports long-term care planning for patients and caregivers.  Personalised strategies address modifiable risk factors, promoting prevention. Tailored support helps patients and families navigate Alzheimer’s complexity. Precision medicine individualises care, potentially slowing disease progression and improving patients’ and families’ quality of life. Current challenges in treating Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer’s disease (AD), often seen in older individuals, can stir strong emotions like surprise, uncertainty, anger, anxiety, hopelessness, and sadness.  However, the medical fraternity faces several challenges in treating AD. These challenges can differ depending on the region. In India, socioeconomic disparities, cultural stigma, and inadequate recognition of dementia by medical professionals can impede timely diagnosis. The primary hurdle in addressing Alzheimer’s is its typical late-stage diagnosis, often after it has significantly progressed. Many link Alzheimer’s with the ageing process, leading to limited awareness and understanding of the condition.  We’re still searching for precise and dependable early detection methods for the disease. Despite progress in Alzheimer’s research over recent decades, even drugs that showed initial promise have failed to demonstrate effectiveness in large-scale clinical trials for slowing or reversing the disease’s advancement. Non-pharmacological interventions for Alzheimer’s disease Non-pharmacological or behavioural interventions are designed to enhance cognitive function, enable daily living activities, and address accompanying behavioural symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients, such as depression, wandering, sleep disturbances, agitation, or aggression.  Cognitive training programs, especially when initiated early in the disease’s progression, have shown the potential to slow cognitive decline and improve overall quality of life. These programs engage the mind through mental exercises, bolstering cognitive reserves and maintaining cognitive function. Lifestyle adjustments, encompassing proper nutrition with diets like the Mediterranean or DASH diet, rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, offer neuroprotective advantages. Additionally, weight management plays a role in reducing the risk of cognitive decline related to obesity. Social support is equally vital, fostering cognitive stimulation through social engagement and emotional support. Stress-reduction techniques and mindfulness practices enhance mental well-being, diminishing the risk of cognitive decline associated with chronic stress. Incorporating these non-pharmacological interventions into Alzheimer’s care plans can complement traditional treatments, ultimately elevating the quality of life for individuals grappling with the disease. The nomenclature of Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer's disease is named after Dr Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neurologist who first described the condition in 1906. Dr Alzheimer made this groundbreaking discovery while studying the case of a middle-aged woman named Auguste Deter, who exhibited unusual and severe cognitive and memory impairments. Dr Alzheimer conducted a post-mortem examination of Deter's brain and observed distinct neurological abnormalities, including the presence of abnormal protein deposits (known as amyloid plaques) and tangled nerve fibres (referred to as neurofibrillary tangles). His detailed findings and clinical observations contributed significantly to the understanding of this condition.

21 September,2023 09:58 AM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Unlocking the secret to a pain-free life: Insights from a fitness expert

Many of us are no strangers to body pain and discomfort. Whether pain is the outcome of a sedentary lifestyle, an injury, or the natural wear and tear of aging, it can significantly impact our quality of life. While medication and other conventional treatments have their place, one often overlooked yet highly effective approach to pain management is movement. Moving your body has the transformative power to lead a healthier, more pain-free life. Why is Movement Important in Pain Management? Strengthening Muscles and Joints One of the primary benefits of regular physical activity is its ability to strengthen muscles and joints. When you engage in exercises that target specific muscle groups, you enhance their support for your joints. This added support can alleviate pain in areas like the knees, hips, and lower back, making it an excellent strategy for managing chronic pain conditions. Enhancing Flexibility Many pain issues stem from stiffness in the joints and surrounding tissues. Movement and stretching exercises can improve the flexibility of the body. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are particularly effective for enhancing flexibility while promoting relaxation and stress reduction. Reducing Inflammation Inflammation is a common driver of pain in conditions like arthritis. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, swimming, and cycling, can help combat inflammation by promoting healthy circulation and immune system function. Promoting Weight Management Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for managing pain, especially in weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Exercise, combined with a balanced diet, supports weight management efforts, reducing the strain on these joints and mitigating pain. Releasing Endorphins Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. These neurochemicals can help combat pain and enhance mood, creating a positive feedback loop that encourages continued physical activity. Tips to Create an Effective Pain Management Exercise Routine When incorporating movement into your pain management strategy, it is essential to do so safely and effectively. Here are some tips to help you get started: Consult a Fitness Expert Before beginning any new exercise routine, especially if you have chronic pain or underlying medical conditions, consult with a fitness expert. They can offer guidance on suitable exercises and any precautions you should take. Be Slow and Steady If you are new to exercise or have been inactive for a while, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This approach will help prevent injury and minimize pain during your initial sessions. In addition, consistency is key; therefore, aim for regular exercise sessions, even if they are short. Pick the Right Activities Select exercises that are appropriate for your condition and preferences. Low-impact activities like swimming or stationary cycling can be gentler on the joints, making them ideal for those with joint pain. Listen to Your Body Pay close attention to how your body responds to exercise. If a particular movement or exercise exacerbates your pain, stop immediately and consult with a fitness expert for modifications. The power of movement in pain management cannot be overstated. Exercise has helped countless people struggling with different types of body pain. While it may not be a magic cure, regular physical activity, when approached mindfully and with proper guidance, can be a valuable tool in your pain management toolbox. Remember, pain should never be a barrier to a fulfilling life; instead, it can be a motivator to explore the incredible potential of your body through movement. So, lace up those sneakers, roll out the yoga mat, or dive into the pool – your journey to a pain-free and active life begins with that first step. (Nupur Patil, Fitness and Nutritionist) 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

21 September,2023 09:22 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Representation pic

Study: Mediterranean diets may help prevent Alzheimer's disease

People who eat diets rich in green leafy vegetables as well as other vegetables, fruits, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts and fish may have fewer amyloid plaques and tau tangles in their brain -- signs of Alzheimer's disease -- than people who do not consume such diets, according to a study. These food items are found majorly in the brain-focused MIND -- short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay -- and plant-based Mediterranean diets. Although similar, the Mediterranean diet recommends vegetables, fruit, and three or more servings of fish per week while the MIND diet prioritises green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens along with other vegetables. The MIND diet also prioritises berries over other fruit and recommends one or more servings of fish per week. Both the MIND and Mediterranean diet also recommends small amounts of wine. The study found people who ate the highest amounts of green leafy vegetables, or seven or more servings per week, had plaque amounts in their brains corresponding to being almost 19 years younger than people who ate the fewest, with one or fewer servings per week. "Our finding that eating more green leafy vegetables is in itself associated with fewer signs of Alzheimer's disease in the brain is intriguing enough for people to consider adding more of these vegetables to their diet," said study author Puja Agarwal, from RUSH University in Chicago. While this study, published in the journal Neurology, shows an association of regularly consuming these diets with fewer Alzheimer's disease plaques and tangles, it does not establish a cause and effect relationship. However, "these results are exciting -- improvement in people's diets in just one area -- such as eating more than six servings of green leafy vegetables per week, or not eating fried foods -- was associated with fewer amyloid plaques in the brain similar to being about four years younger," Agarwal said. "While our research doesn't prove that a healthy diet resulted in fewer brain deposits of amyloid plaques, also known as an indicator of Alzheimer's disease, we know there is a relationship, and following the MIND and Mediterranean diets may be one way that people can improve their brain health and protect cognition as they age," she added. The study involved 581 people with an average age of 84 at the time of diet assessment who agreed to donate their brains at death to advance research on dementia. The participants died an average of seven years after the start of the study. Right before death, 39 per cent of participants had been diagnosed with dementia. When examined after death, 66 per cent met the criteria for Alzheimer's disease. A limitation of the study was that participants were mostly white, non-Hispanic, and older so the results cannot be generalised to other populations. "Future studies are needed to establish our findings further," Agarwal said. Also Read: How to help your children prepare for exams, and cope with anxiety and stress 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

21 September,2023 08:50 AM IST | New York | IANS
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