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Nourishing body butters are effective to treat dry skin: Skincare experts

Packed in aesthetic boxes and marketed as premium products that promise to help moisturise and protect the skin, body butters are appealing to those who love taking care of their skin. Moreover, skin care experts are endorsing it too.  While the benefits of body butter are promising, understanding how it helps one boost their skin health is essential. We spoke to Dr Batul Patel, celebrity dermatologist, founder and medical director, The Bombay Skin Clinic and Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar, MBBS, MD dermatology, consultant dermatologist, Dr Trasi Clinic and La Piel Skin Clinic, who delve into the application and benefits of body butters.  Firstly, what is body butter? “Body butter is a thick and creamy skin moisturiser made from natural oils and butters, such as shea butter, cocoa butter, and mango butter. It often contains essential oils or other natural fragrances for added benefits,” says Patel.  In addition to this, Nerurkar says body butters are of two kinds. “They are either made from natural ingredients like extracts of nuts, seeds and plant oils, or are formulated chemically.”  They are different from body lotionsThe key difference is in their texture. Body butter is always thicker than creams and lotions. It contains very little water content. Besides, these products have a higher concentration of natural butter and oils.  Due to its high oil content it often provides long-lasting moisture.  Further, unlike creams and lotions that get absorbed into the skin faster due to their water content, body butter takes more time. Benefits of body butter1. Body butter is an excellent skin moisturiser for extremely dry skin. Its thick texture and natural formulation contain the essential vitamins that make the skin soft and supple. 2. Body butter also contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants to help increase collagen formation. Further, they protect your skin from free radicals that are responsible for premature ageing of the skin. This skincare product is also great for cracked hands and feet. It seals the cracks and hydrates the skin. This said body butter can largely benefit those suffering from skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis although professional guidance is recommended.  Body butters can also also help fight lip dryness as they as excellent lubricants and will help restore their natural softness. Though body butters have their own set of advantages for the skin, those who have naturally oily skin and are prone to developing acne must refrain from using body butters. Further, any person with an active skin infection should avoid using the butter temporarily till the infection subsides. Also Read: Ultimate bridal skincare guide: Say ‘I do’ to radiant skin on your big day Best time of applicationSince body butter is thick and creamy, it is best to apply it after having baths.  After the bath, pat the skin dry. Then apply the body butter on the slightly wet skin, which helps in the easy spreadability. Further, since the skin’s pores are open after showers, applying body butter will seal the pores and prevent any water loss from the skin. It will also help in locking the skin’s moisture.  For the complete benefits of the product, experts suggest purchasing natural body butters as they contain good antioxidants and nutrients for the skin as well as the hair.  There are many body butters available in the market that you can try. These include: 1. Shea ButterIt is derived from the nut of the shea tree native to Africa. It consists of essential fatty acids like oleic acid, linolenic acid and palmitic acid that ensure deep moisturising for dry skin. It also has potent anti-inflammatory properties which aid in decreasing irritation, swelling and redness in the skin. 2. Almond ButterDerived from almond nuts, it contains vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids. It has intense emollient properties to repair dry and damaged skin. It also helps in maintaining skin elasticity to significantly fade the visibility of stretch marks, cellulite and dented folds and tissues. 3. Cocoa ButterObtained from the seeds of the cacao plant, this thick creamy concoction is a boon for dry skin. Additionally, it is also great for dry scalp and dandruff. It helps stimulate hair follicles for a strong and silky hair texture. While these three are the most common ones, you can also try palm butter, mango butter, kokum butter, soy butter, avocado butter and aloe vera butter. Always opt for reputable brands whose products are free of chemicals. Check the ingredients before making a purchase. Be cautious if you have allergies, especially to tree nuts or fragrances. Patel suggests the following products:  1. The Body Shop: It is known for its wide range of options and natural ingredients. 2. Josie Maran: It offers high-quality, organic argan oil-based body butter. 3. Alba Botanica: These offer vegetarian and cruelty-free options and is good for sensitive skin.Also Read: Acne scars: Skincare experts share effective home remedies to get rid of them

03 October,2023 09:20 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Opting for in vitro fertilisation? Here are some helpful tips to follow

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) involves combining eggs and sperm outside of the body in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred back into the uterus to achieve a successful pregnancy. It can be used to overcome various infertility issues, including blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm count or motility, hormonal disorders and unexplained infertility. However, when it comes to undergoing IVF, there are a few dos and don'ts that can help you maximise your success rates.  Here are some of the essential guidelines by Dr Ritu Hinduja, fertility consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai, that one must follow before opting for IVF treatment. Visit the dentist before opting for IVF treatment When going through the process of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), dental problems may not be at the forefront of your mind. However, it's important to remember that oral health can have a significant impact on your overall well-being, including your fertility journey. Periodontal disease and infertility can be interlinked. Inflammation caused by any gum disease can spread throughout the body, affecting reproductive organs and potentially hindering conception. Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during IVF. Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups are essential, as well as diligently following proper brushing and flossing techniques.  Don’t colour your hair with ammonia Prior to embarking on your initial IVF cycle, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with relevant details concerning IVF as well as hair dye usage. The chemicals found in hair dye can potentially be harmful, as they may contain harsh ingredients that could be absorbed through the scalp and enter the bloodstream. This could affect hormone levels and potentially interfere with the delicate balance needed for a successful IVF cycle. Furthermore, some of these substances are capable of traversing the placental barrier and introducing toxic compounds into your uterine environment. It is better not to opt for the hair dye to avoid any further problems. While there are organic and non-toxic options available, they may still contain some chemicals. Even hair straightening is not recommended. Don’t use retinol If you are undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with using retinol. While retinol are widely known for its anti-ageing benefits and the ability to improve skin texture, using them before IVF can have adverse effects on fertility. Retinol, also known as vitamin A derivatives, are powerful exfoliants that work by increasing cellular turnover and promoting collagen production. However, they can also thin the uterine lining and potentially hinder embryo implantation during IVF.  It is important to prioritise your reproductive goals over cosmetic benefits during this delicate period.  Discontinue Isotretinoin tablets Isotretinoin, commonly known as Accutane, is a powerful medication used to treat severe acne. However, for women who are planning to undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF), discontinuing isotretinoin tablets is highly recommended. This is because isotretinoin has been shown to have harmful effects on developing foetuses and can lead to severe birth defects. It's advised to speak with your fertility specialist before undergoing IVF treatment and clear all your doubts.

02 October,2023 02:05 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Coffee-infused skincare products have great anti-ageing properties. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Including coffee in your skincare routine can yield great results: Experts

From face masks, scrubs, under-eye patches and face serums to body lotions, coffee-infused products have become dominant in the world of skincare. Beauty influencers, celebrities and dermatologists alike swear by coffee for healthy skin. Yet, some have their doubts regarding the same.  Mid-day Online sat down with skincare pundits to delve into the benefits of coffee for skin and explore the appropriate ways to incorporate it into one’s basic skincare routine.  Dr Rinky Kapoor, consultant dermatologist, cosmetic dermatologist and dermato-surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, Mumbai says, “Coffee, which has long been a beloved beverage for its energy-boosting properties, can also work wonders for your skin.”  Speaking on the possible reasons behind coffee’s recent popularity in skincare, Kapoor says, “Coffee-infused skincare products have great anti-ageing properties. Coffee grounds are rich in antioxidants, which help to combat free radicals and reduce signs of ageing such as wrinkles and fine lines.”  Adding to this, Dr Palak Deshmukh, consultant dermatologist, trichologist and venereologist, Jehangir Hospital, Pune says, “Coffee also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin and reduce redness and swelling. Additionally, caffeine found in coffee can constrict blood vessels, reducing puffiness and redness.”  Coffee offers a range of unknown benefits that further promote healthy skin. Coffee ground’s coarse texture is exceptionally beneficial as it acts as a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells, leaving the skin smoother and brighter. This exfoliation process also stimulates collagen production, leading to firmer and more supple skin over time. When used in scrubs or masks, coffee can also stimulate blood flow, promoting healthier, more radiant skin. Further, some coffee-infused products can temporarily tighten and smooth the skin's appearance, reducing the appearance of cellulite. Ways to incorporate coffee into your skincare routineIf you are planning to include coffee in your skincare regime, both Kapoor and Deshmukh suggest investing in a few products.  Coffee scrubs: These are excellent for the body. They exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and leaving it smoother and brighter. Coffee eye creams: Specifically designed for the delicate skin around the eyes, these creams can reduce puffiness and dark circles due to caffeine's vasoconstrictive properties, meaning it constricts blood vessels and helps reduce swelling around the eyes.  Coffee masks: These are versatile as they benefit various parts of the face and body. They can enhance blood circulation, improve complexion and reduce redness and irritation. Coffee-infused body lotions: These provide hydration and a subtle coffee scent for the entire body ensuring your skin stays fresh for a long time.  Coffee-infused face serums: These can be used to address specific facial concerns, such as anti-ageing or brightening. Each type of product has its unique advantages, and the choice depends on your skincare goals and preferences. To get you started, Kapoor lists down five products that you can use  1. mCaffeine 2. WOW Skin Science 3. Dot & Key 4. Mamaearth  5. Biotique Natural coffee-infused packs to make at homeIf you wish to give coffee a try first before spending huge amounts on skincare products, you can try out these natural packs as recommended by both Kapoor and Deshmukh. By combining coffee grounds with a few simple ingredients, you can create these luxurious face masks that will rejuvenate and revive your complexion.  1.Coffee honey yoghurt mask: Ingredients:Ground coffee - 1 tbspHoney or yoghurt - 1 tbspCoconut oil - 1 tsp (Quantity is subject to one’s own preference) Method:To make your own coffee-infused face mask, start by mixing one tablespoon of ground coffee with one tablespoon of honey or yoghurt. Honey is known for its soothing properties and helps to moisturise the skin, while yoghurt contains lactic acid that exfoliates dead skin cells. You can also add a teaspoon of coconut oil to make the mask more hydrating. Apply the mixture onto clean, dry skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. The result is a glowing complexion that feels soft and smooth to the touch. 2. Coffee and lemon mask:Ingredients:Ground coffee - 1 tbspLemon juice - 1 tbsp (Quantity is subject to one’s own preference) Method:Mix the ingredients well and apply the mixture lightly on your face. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it off with water. This one is a brightening and energising coffee mask that can give your tired-looking complexion a much-needed lift. The addition of lemon juice can help fade dark spots and even out skin tone. Caffeine in the coffee stimulates blood flow to your face when applied topically, giving you a healthy glow from within. 3. Coffee and moisturiser mask:There are no specific ingredients for this one and it is easy to make and apply. Simply mix a small amount of coffee grounds with your favourite cleanser or moisturiser and gently massage it onto your face in circular motions. Rinse off thoroughly and enjoy the rejuvenating effects of this DIY exfoliant. 4. Simple coffee:Another interesting way to include coffee in your skincare regime is by using it to reduce under-eye puffiness. To experience this benefit, brew a strong cup of black coffee (without sugar or milk) and allow it to cool down completely. Soak cotton pads in the cooled liquid and place them over closed eyelids for 10-15 minutes while you relax. The caffeine will do its magic by shrinking the blood vessels around your eyes, reducing puffiness considerably. All these packs can be applied once a week for the best results. Results may vary from person to person, so be patient and consistent with your chosen mask. Always do a patch test before applying any homemade mask to your face to ensure you don't have an adverse reaction.  Negative effects of coffee on skin Direct application of coffee on the skin has become increasingly popular in recent years, with claims ranging from reducing cellulite to brightening the complexion. However, before you reach for your morning cup of coffee as a skincare treatment, it is also important to consider the risks.  One of the main reasons coffee is thought to have positive effects on the skin is due to its high caffeine content. “However,” Kapoor says, “applying coffee directly onto the skin is not recommended as it can cause damage due to its harshness and dryness. It is better to consult an expert before opting for any home remedies when it comes to skincare.”  Deshmukh too adds, “Coffee grounds, in their coarse form, can be abrasive and may potentially irritate sensitive skin.” Coffee can be quite harsh and may cause irritation or dryness, particularly for those with sensitive or reactive skin. The coarse texture of coffee grounds, when applied too vigorously, can also cause microtears in the skin. Additionally, overuse of coffee-based products can disrupt the skin's protective barrier, resulting in increased sensitivity. The acidity of coffee could also disrupt the natural pH balance of your skin if used excessively or without proper dilution.  It's important to approach this trend with caution and consider patch testing first before applying coffee directly onto your face or body. Do not just follow any trend or videos blindly. If coffee is suitable for one, that doesn’t mean it will suit your skin as well.  Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.Also Read: Why some people are obsessed with wearing black clothes

02 October,2023 10:27 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Researchers use E-tongue, an AI model, to predict bitterness of medicines

A team of UK researchers used an “electric tongue” and an artificial intelligence (AI) model to predict the bitterness of drugs. Taste is key to making sure people regularly take their medications and is an important part of drug development. For example, taste has been identified as the biggest barrier in compliance for children taking medicine, but taste is also an issue for adults, especially adults taking long-term medication, such as for HIV. The team from University College London (UCL) used an e-tongue -- a device made of sensors responding to taste -- to assign bitterness scores to medicines, and in turn estimate the aversiveness expected from the clinical dose planned. The e-tongue measures how much the bitter molecules stick on a plastic sensor that acts like the human tongue, and then it compares it with a clear sample. The difference between the two measurements represents a theoretical bitterness level of a medicine. Using an e-tongue means drugs can be tested more quickly and effectively compared to the alternative option of conducting a human trial. But the team collaborated with machine learning experts to speed up drug development further using an AI model. Using data from the e-tongue, the AI model breaks down a drug into a series of molecular descriptors (e.g., number of atoms, total surface area of the molecule) that determine taste in order to predict levels of bitterness. The model being developed will be an open access tool, meaning that pharmaceutical development around the world can benefit from the data on palatability of medicines, said the researchers. “We run a machine learning algorithm to basically see what’s the chemical structure, what’s the molecular structure, what are the other chemical physical parameters that make it bitter, and try to see if there’s a relationship,” Dr Hend Abdelhakim from UCL Global Business School for Health was quoted as saying to the Telegraph. Dr Abdelhakim explained that taste in medicines was especially a problem for children who have a “heightened sense of taste”. “It’s a problem for longer-term diseases, so for example, HIV,” explained Dr Abdelhakim. “Antiretroviral medicines don’t taste very well. So, if the patient has to take those pills every day for life, it’s a much bigger problem, especially if they start them very, very young. “Even if it’s a wonder drug, if the patient doesn’t take it, it won’t work.” Treatment adherence is also particularly important with antibiotics as an interrupted course of treatment will contribute to antimicrobial resistance. “With antibiotics, if the patient doesn’t take it, yes, they won’t get better. But also you’re going to contribute to antimicrobial resistance,” said Dr Abdelhakim. “It’s actually a bigger problem for the rest of 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

02 October,2023 08:44 AM IST | London | IANS
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New vaccine offers hope to reverse diseases like arthritis, Type-1 diabetes

A new type of vaccine that does not shut down the immune system has shown promise in the lab to completely reverse autoimmune diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Type-1 diabetes, and Crohn's disease. A typical vaccine teaches the human immune system to recognise a virus or bacteria as an enemy that should be attacked. Currently autoimmune diseases are generally treated with drugs that broadly shut down the immune system.  The new "inverse vaccine", developed by researchers at the University of Chicago, does just the opposite: it removes the immune system's memory of one molecule.  While such immune memory erasure would be unwanted for infectious diseases, it can stop autoimmune reactions like those seen in multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, in which the immune system attacks a person's healthy tissues.  The inverse vaccine, described in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, takes advantage of how the liver naturally marks molecules from broken-down cells with "do not attack" flags to prevent autoimmune reactions to cells that die by natural processes.  "In the past, we showed that we could use this approach to prevent autoimmunity," said lead author Jeffrey Hubbell, Professor in Tissue Engineering from the varsity’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME).  "But what is so exciting about this work is that we have shown that we can treat diseases like multiple sclerosis after there is already ongoing inflammation, which is more useful in a real-world context," he added.  The human body has a mechanism for ensuring that immune reactions don't occur in response to every damaged cell in the body -- a phenomenon known as peripheral immune tolerance and carried out in the liver. The team discovered in recent years that tagging molecules with a sugar known as N-acetylgalactosamine (pGal) could mimic this process, sending the molecules to the liver where tolerance to them develops.  "The idea is that we can attach any molecule we want to pGal and it will teach the immune system to tolerate it," explained Hubbell.  "Rather than rev up immunity as with a vaccine, we can tamp it down in a very specific way with an inverse vaccine."  In the new study, the researchers focused on a multiple-sclerosis-like disease in which the immune system attacks myelin, leading to weakness and numbness, loss of vision and, eventually, mobility problems and paralysis.  The team linked myelin proteins to pGal and tested the effect of the new inverse vaccine. The immune system, they found, stopped attacking myelin, allowing nerves to function correctly again and reversing symptoms of disease in animals.  In a series of other experiments, the scientists showed that the same approach worked to minimise other ongoing immune reactions.  "These treatments can be very effective, but you're also blocking the immune responses necessary to fight off infections and so there are a lot of side effects," said Hubbell.  "If we could treat patients with an inverse vaccine instead, it could be much more specific and lead to fewer side effects."  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

02 October,2023 08:28 AM IST | New York | 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.” 

02 October,2023 07:21 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Neck lumps, infectious and non-infectious, can be dangerous if avoided: Doctors

Ignoring neck lumps, which can be both of infectious and non-infectious origin, can prove to be dangerous, said experts on Sunday stressing the need for early diagnosis. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes that helps fight infection and disease. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped lumps of tissue found throughout the body.  When the body is fighting an infection, like in the case of fever, lymph nodes can swell. However, if the lymph nodes are swollen and painless, it could also be a sign of cancer. “If one is having a swollen lymph node which is gradually getting bigger with or without pain, fever, it mandates immediate medical attention and expert advice,” Neha Rastogi Panda, Senior Infectious Diseases Specialist at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, told IANS.  Panda said that in Indian settings, one of most common causes of lymph node enlargement/ swelling is tuberculosis (TB). Other infections -- viral, fungal should also be sought on a case to case basis. Furthermore, nodes can also be a sign of an inflammatory process and also cancerous origin called lymphoma.  “There is overlap and always a dilemma owing to huge similarity between symptoms of lymphoma and infections particularly tuberculosis which leads to delay in appropriate treatment. We have seen one has been started on anti-tubercular therapy without diagnosis and it doesn't improve leading to further delay and complications,” the doctor said. “Lymphoma can be misdiagnosed as TB, so it becomes important to diagnose it correctly, the only way these two can be separated is by biopsy and blood works,” Rahul Bhargava, a lymphoma expert and Principal director of haematology and bone marrow transplant, at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told IANS.  Lymphoma is cancer that begins in infection-fighting cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes. These cells are in the lymph nodes. Bhargava said, “for Lymphoma, with newer treatment methods, the cure rate has become higher but what is required is early diagnosis”.  “First thing when we see an enlarged lymph node or a prolonged fever or weight loss we should do lymph’s node biopsy to characterise and differentiate between Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for which we need a special test called immunhistochemistry”.  Bhargava said that bone marrow transplants have helped improve the clinical outcomes in a big way.  “Many patients recovered successfully after being declared terminal just because we considered innovative modules as an important and effective treatment option,” he told IANS. Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy rays (or particles) to destroy cancer cells may also help.   “Radiation therapy is part of the treatment for most people with Hodgkin lymphoma. It is essential in patients with bulky disease and also in patients where chemotherapy does not achieve complete remission. It is also used to ease (palliate) symptoms caused by lymphoma that has spread to internal organs, such as the brain or spinal cord, or when a tumour is causing pain because it's pressing on nerves,” Vineet Nakra, Radiation Oncologist at Max Super Speciality. 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

01 October,2023 01:57 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
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Exposure to chemicals may delay puberty in girls: Study

Exposure to PFAS, a group of synthetic chemicals may delay puberty in girls, a new study has shown. According to the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, PFAS chemicals are generally found in cleaning products, water-resistant fabrics, such as rain jackets, umbrellas, tents, and nonstick cookware etc. “The delay of puberty in girls can lead to negative long-term health outcomes, including a higher incidence of breast cancer, renal disease and thyroid disease,” said corresponding author of the study Susan Pinney, PhD. “Environmental exposures during puberty, not just to PFAS, but anything, have more of a potential for a long-term health effect. What these have done is extended the window of susceptibility, and it makes them more vulnerable for a longer period of time,” she added. To conduct this study, researchers of the University of Cincinnati, US, enrolled 823 girls of age six to eight years and followed them with exams every six to 12 months to see when they experienced the first signs of breast development and pubic hair. The team found that 85 per cent of the girls had measurable levels of PFAS and over 99 per cent of the girls had measurable levels of PFOA, one of the most important of the PFAS. “The study found that in girls with PFAS exposure puberty is delayed five or six months on average but there will be some girls where it’s delayed a lot more and others that it wasn’t delayed at all but we are especially concerned about the girls at the top end of the spectrum where it’s delayed more,” said Pinney. “It’s taken a very long time for us to recognise it as a human toxin. Meanwhile, all of these toxins got into our environment, and it’s going to take a long time before they leave,” she 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.

01 October,2023 12:39 PM IST | New York | IANS
Taking a teaspoon of roasted fennel seeds after every meal reduces the risk of acidity. Image Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Expert remedies to prevent heartburn and acid reflux

Ever felt a burning sensation rising from your stomach up to your chest? If yes, then you're not alone. Known as acid reflux or heartburn, the condition occurs when the stomach’s acid content flows into the oesophagus. The discomfort can strike at the most inconvenient moments, turning a meal or a night's sleep into a tormenting ordeal. According to data released by the National Health Profile in 2022, acidity-related ailments have witnessed a startling surge across the country. In fact, the prevalence of acid reflux and heartburn has increased by 30 per cent in the past decade alone, affecting individuals of all ages and backgrounds. This statistical revelation underscores the need to promote greater awareness about acidity management and prevention. Here are a few tried and tested remedies by yogini Radhika Iyer, who also helms the wellness outfit – Anahata Organic. Food items to curb acidity Roasted fennel and cumin seedsTaking a teaspoon of roasted fennel seeds after every meal reduces the risk of acidity. These seeds aid digestion, control bloating and help regulate acid production in the stomach. Simply chew these seeds with a pinch of sugar post lunch and dinner every day to see remarkable results. Watermelon juiceThe juice of a watermelon is not only good for digestion, but it can also help the body feel at ease if you are suffering from severe acidity. During summer, when the watermelon grows, it is advised to consume its juice in the afternoons to cool down the heat within the body. ClovesIf you are used to consuming deep-fried food every now and then, chances are that you will experience acidity more regularly. Chewing some cloves after your meals keeps the stomach acid secretion in check and improves the acidic environment in the body. AlmondsFull of antioxidants and fibre, almonds help digestion and also help regulate the formation of stomach acid. They also help curb hunger pangs and are thus highly recommended to stop binge eating. Due to their high nutritional value, eating a few almonds throughout the day will help lower food intake, preventing the risk of acidity. Mint LeavesThe cooling sensation of mint leaves can help you find temporary relief from heartburn and acid reflux. Not only that, but these leaves support digestion and help control bad breath that could be a cause of acidity. Include plenty of mint-infused water and buttermilk in your daily diet to keep acidity at bay. ButtermilkMade from freshly formed curd, a full glass of buttermilk after lunch helps neutralise acidity in the stomach. Combined with black pepper powder and cumin powder, it soothes the burning sensation emerging in the stomach caused due to hyperacidity. Ginger TeaLoaded with phenolic compounds and antioxidants that support digestion and treat several complex gastric issues, including acidity, consuming a hot cup of ginger tea may well be your secret medicine to cure acid reflux. Consume this hot beverage before each meal to ensure a relaxed digestion. Papaya and BananaThe digestive enzymes in both banana and papaya help neutralise excess stomach acid. Consuming these fruits alternately every day will help improve digestion and regulate stomach acid secretion to prevent chronic belching and heartburn. Apart from these, chewing on basil or tulsi leaves, consuming organic jaggery and drinking fresh aloe vera juice everyday will make a massive difference in managing your acidity issues. “Many of these remedies have been passed on from my grandmother to my mother and then to me and time and again, they have helped me and my family reduce the effect of acid reflux without the intake of any prescribed medication,” shares Iyer. Herbs known for their effectiveness in relieving acid reflux Those who experience acidity and acid reflux should follow a Sathwik diet, shares Dr Manoj Kutteri, Medical Director and CEO, Atmantan Wellness Centre. The diet should consist of well-cooked vegetables, non-citrus fruits and vegetables, foods that are low on fibre content, nickel-free along with sufficient amounts of natural probiotics as well. He shares four essential herbs and plants to treat acidity. LicoriceDeglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), in particular, is frequently regarded as a natural cure for acidity due to its capacity to alleviate acid reflux and heartburn. The oesophagus and stomach's fragile mucous membranes are protected by substances found in licorice roots. This defensive function helps lessen the discomfort and harm that stomach acid causes, easing acidity symptoms. Licorice also has anti-inflammatory qualities, which can be beneficial for people who have acid reflux. Licorice may also encourage the stomach to produce more mucus. This elevated mucus production can be beneficial. PeppermintThe plant peppermint is well known for its potential to help with acid reflux or indigestion problems. There are a number of reasons why it is used as a natural cure for stomach problems. First, peppermint has long been used to treat heartburn and indigestion. It contains substances that could ease the lower esophageal sphincter and other gastrointestinal tract muscles, which could lessen the chance of acid reflux. ChamomileIt has anti-inflammatory qualities that make it very beneficial for relaxing the inflamed lining of the oesophagus and lowering inflammation brought on by acidity. This can lessen the burning sensation and discomfort that are frequently felt during episodes of acid reflux. The mild calming effects of chamomile may also assist in lowering tension and anxiety, which can result in acid reflux. GingerThe anti-inflammatory effects of ginger can soothe the stomach lining and lessen the formation of stomach acid. Digestion is aided as well. Lifestyle habits to reduce acidity Lifestyle habits and routines play an important role in managing acidity symptoms. 1. Using a wedge pillow is beneficial while lying on the bed, shares Dr Manoj. This can help raise your upper body so that the burping of acids can be prevented. Adopt a left lateral lying position which is ideal to reduce acid reflux.2. Avoid larger meals at night just before bedtime and consider giving a gap of 2-3 hours between the food intake and sleep.3. Avoid all aerated drinks and coffee and also only sip water frequently rather than drink too much at a time. 4. Do stroll immediately after the food so that you take advantage of the gravity to push the acids down. 5. Stress management techniques help a lot in controlling acidity symptoms, considering that stress is a major contributing factor causing acidity. 6. Various meditation techniques, pranayama techniques such as Nadi Shudhi, Sheetali, Sheetkari Pranayama are all beneficial in dealing with acidity.7. Another effective way to combat acidity is by incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your daily diet. Probiotics help restore a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and improve digestion, leading to reduced acidity levels. Common causes of acidityWhile occasional acidity may not pose a significant health risk, chronic acidity can damage the digestive system. One of the main causes of acidity is a poor diet, particularly one high in spicy and fatty foods. These foods can irritate the lining of the stomach, leading to increased acid production, informs Dr. Meghraj Ingle, Senior Consultant - Gastroenterology, Global Hospitals, Parel Mumbai. Certain lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption can also contribute to acidity by relaxing the muscles of the oesophagus and allowing stomach acid to flow back into it.  Another common cause of acidity is stress. When one is stressed, the body produces more cortisol, which increases gastric secretions and elevates stomach acid levels. This can disrupt normal digestion and result in symptoms like heartburn and indigestion. Moreover, frequent use of over-the-counter pain medications also triggers acidity as they interfere with the protective lining of the stomach. Identifying trigger foodsIdentifying trigger foods that worsen acidity can be a game-changer when it comes to managing acid reflux and heartburn. While everyone's triggers may vary, there are some common culprits that individuals can start paying attention to. Spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol, and fatty foods are often known for their potential to exacerbate acidity symptoms. However, it's important for one to realise that not all trigger foods affect everyone in the same way. One person's acid reflux trigger might be perfectly manageable for another individual. This is why keeping a food diary can be helpful in tracking down specific trigger foods. By taking note of everything consumed throughout the day and any corresponding symptoms experienced, patterns may start to emerge. Once these triggers have been identified, the next step is finding suitable alternatives that won't worsen acidity. Instead of indulging in spicy food that is notorious for causing discomfort during digestion, opt for herbs like oregano or basil. Similarly, replacing citrus fruits with low-acidity options such as melons or bananas can provide the necessary vitamins while being gentle on the stomach. 

30 September,2023 09:58 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Medical expert shares causes behind women's irregular periods

Did you know? Certain factors such as polycystic ovary syndrome, over-exercising, stress, and thyroid problems can lead to irregular menses. Read on to know more about this and seek timely medical attention to avoid any further health problems. Having irregular periods is a common occurrence in women. However, frequent or large changes to one’s menstrual cycle may indicate that there is an underlying issue. There are some women who get their menses after a gap of 2-3 months leading to panic-like situations. These are some of the reasons behind irregular periods: 1. Regardless of whether your menstrual cycles are consistent or not, most women experience irregular periods due to factors such as pregnancy, perimenopause, certain medications, uterine fibroids, breastfeeding, and birth control. These issues are completely normal and usually temporary, resolving themselves quickly once you move past these different stages in life.2. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) happens due to metabolic issues that result in hormonal imbalances. PCOS can manifest with a variety of symptoms including irregular periods, excessive hair growth in male-like hair pattern areas of the body, acne breakouts, weight gain, thinning hair, and darkening skin. Visit the doctor without any delay and seek timely intervention.3. Thyroid problems impact your menstrual cycle. Hypothyroidism can lead to prolonged and heavy periods, while hyperthyroidism may result in shorter and lighter periods. According to various studies, those women with thyroid disorders also suffer from irregular periods. To diagnose a potential thyroid disorder,  consult a doctor who can determine the exact underlying cause behind irregular periods.4. Females who engage in intense training may also experience irregular periods, and some may even stop menstruating altogether. This is because excessive exercise can disrupt the hormones responsible for menstruation. The solution here is to reduce the intensity of your workout routine to allow your metabolic system to regulate itself.5. Stress has a pervasive impact on various aspects of our health, including our menstrual cycles causing irregular periods.6. Endometriosis is another reason for irregular periods. Here, the tissue that usually lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. Thus, one will experience irregular periods. So, stay alert and take charge of your health.7. Prolactin hormone excess - Small pituitary adenoma infrequent cycle. (Dr. Supriya Puranik, Director – 9M Fertility & Senior Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ankura Hospital, Pune)

30 September,2023 08:47 AM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Lack of sleep, reduced physical activity may increase risks of premature birth

Lack of sleep and reduced physical activity during pregnancy may increase the risk of premature birth, according to a study. The team used a machine learning (ML) algorithm to detect fine-grained changes in sleep and physical activity patterns of 1,000 women whose data was collected by devices worn by them throughout pregnancy. "We showed that an artificial intelligence algorithm can build a ‘clock’ of physical activity and sleep during pregnancy, and can tell how far along a patient’s pregnancy is, but some patients don’t follow that clock. When patients’ sleep and activity levels don’t change on a typical trajectory, the study showed, it's a warning sign for premature birth,” said Nima Aghaeepour, Associate Professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine and of paediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine. The study, published in the journal npj Digital Medicine, also identified a variety of risk factors for premature delivery, including greater levels of inflammation in the pregnant woman, specific immune-system changes, higher levels of stress, history of having a preterm birth and certain types of bacteria in the mother’s microbiome. "Our patient population experiences a lot of adversity, and our preterm birth rates are much higher than at Stanford," said co-author Sarah England, Professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "The study participants included women experiencing a variety of stressors linked with higher rates of preterm birth, such as racism, low socioeconomic status and living in areas with higher crime rates," said England. Surprisingly, sleeping better and being more physically active than usual for her stage of pregnancy was linked with a 48 per cent reduction in risk for preterm delivery. Conversely, if a woman was sleeping worse and being less physically active than usual for her stage of pregnancy, her risk for preterm delivery was 44 per cent higher than for pregnant women with typical sleep and activity patterns. "The results suggest that scientists should run studies to test whether tracking and modifying pregnant women’s sleep or physical activity could lower their prematurity risk. It’s telling us where to go for future interventions," said Aghaeepour. 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

30 September,2023 08:41 AM IST | New York | IANS
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