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Young adults need to beware of heart attacks post-Covid-19

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The effect of two years of the Covid-19 pandemic on one’s health is slowly being unravelled on a daily basis by experts. People, across age groups, are experiencing different kinds of effects months after recovering from the virus and that now is being called ‘Long Covid’.  There has been an alarming rise in the number of people suffering and dying from heart attacks. According to an earlier Mid-day Online report, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) public health department, Mumbai witnessed 17,880 deaths due to heart attack between January 2021 to June 2021 compared to 5,633 deaths in 2020. While the numbers indicate the number of deaths, city doctors have also seen a rise in the number of people being treated for heart attacks over the course of the last two years and more so among younger adults. Mid-day Online spoke to Dr Ameya Udyavar, consultant cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist, PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC and Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, cardio-thoracic surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre and they say the reasons are a mix of regular lifestyle habits and could also be Covid-19. They express the need for caution and why more people need to be concerned about it after suffering from Covid.   Has there been an increase in the number of heart attacks experienced by younger adults during the Covid 19 pandemic? Udyavar says there has been an increase in heart attacks in younger adults but it’s difficult to say if it’s due to Covid unless thoroughly investigated. He explains, “Most of them could be due to the conventional risk factors like smoking, increased mental stress, lack of exercise, high cholesterol etc.” However, Bhamre says this could be due to the sedentary lifestyle during the pandemic. He adds, “With no socialisation and physical activities, the cases of heart attack have gone up when it comes to youngsters. The sugar and cholesterol levels were not controlled properly and a majority of people even gained oodles of weight.” The fact that many people were under stress during the pandemic, he says, has also contributed to the rise in the number of heart attacks. Have people experienced these heart attacks after suffering from Covid-19? People coming with heart attacks post-Covid are less, says Udyavar. “Most of the clotting post-Covid happens in the veins. So, one sees more cases of clots in the legs and pulmonary circulation. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of heart attacks post-Covid because he points out that clots in arteries can also cause heart attacks and there is a possibility of that after suffering from the virus. On the other hand, Bhamre says he has seen a majority of people who have experienced heart attacks after Covid-19 infection. He explains, “Some patients have already had pre-existing heart problems and also suffered a heart attack. Most of the recovered Covid patients have encountered heart injury, heart failure, stroke and a heart attack”. It is not only these heart related issues but also other symptoms such as chest tightness, breathing difficulties, swelling of the heart, low pumping capacity, heart failure, blood clotting and arrhythmia that have been commonly seen in post-Covid patients. During the ongoing pandemic, majority of people suffering heart attacks  belong to which age group?Udyavar and Bhamre say the majority of patients who have been coming in are in the age group of 30-50 years. “They have suffered heart attacks due to smoking owing to stress, unhealthy lifestyle and even pre-existing heart problems,” adds Bhamre.  What are the reasons for people suffering heart attacks? Udyavar says the most common cause of heart attack is sudden occlusion in the coronary arteries of the heart. “A cholesterol plaque rupture in the artery causes a complete occlusion.”  “The common risk factors are smoking, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, improper sleep and diet,” he adds. While these are some of the most common factors, Bhamre says unmanaged diabetes and heavy workouts that put pressure on the heart and a diet loaded with trans fats and a sedentary lifestyle that is too much sitting and a lack of physical activity can cause heart attacks. Should younger people be worried about suffering a heart attack due to their lifestyle habits especially after Covid-19? Bhamre believes that youngsters who were severely infected with Covid-19 should definitely take care of their heart. He explains, “They will likely suffer heart issues in the near future. So, follow the precautionary guidelines given by the doctor. Do not take any medication without your doctor's advice.” What are the lifestyle changes that younger people should bring about to avoid heart attacks? Younger people, says Udyavar, should take care of the risk factors and make certain changes in their lifestyle. “They should try to reduce their blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels, exercise regularly, eat well and have a good night's sleep. Quitting smoking is the major risk factor initiative in young patients.” The increase in stress levels means that even mental relaxation in the form of pursuing hobbies, outdoor activities and meditation should be done, according to the expert. Youngsters will have to take charge of their health after getting infected with Covid, reiterates Bhamre. “They will have to eat a well-balanced diet inclusive of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes and lentils. Avoid processed, junk, canned and oily food. They should go for regular cardiac screening after every six months,” he concludes.Also Read: Mumbai doctors on why gastroenteritis peaks during monsoon (Disclaimer: This article is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Mid-day Online does not in any way endorse the accuracy, completeness, efficacy or timeliness of any advice or line of treatment mentioned in this article. Readers must always seek the advice of a certified medical practitioner and/or a mental health professional before deciding on or starting any course of treatment.)

05 December,2022 12:09 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome where the body gets excessively sensitised to pain and the patient feels generalised pain across their body. Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Fibromyalgia: Know more about the autoimmune disease and how exercise can help

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Last week, Indian filmmaker Vikram Bhatt revealed he had been suffering from an autoimmune condition called Fibromyalgia for the last 18 years. Bhatt’s revelation came after he spoke out in support of Indian actor Samantha Ruth Prabhu, who in October had shared with her fans that she had been diagnosed with myositis, another autoimmune condition, a few months ago.  Mid-day Online reached out to Mumbai health experts Dr. Sunilkumar Singh, consultant, rheumatology, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Rohini Samant, consultant rheumatologist, PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC in Mahim to understand more about the condition. While Singh and Samant delve into the causes, symptoms and treatment, they suggest adopting an exercise regime and having good sleep hygiene to help deal with the condition.   What is Fibromyalgia? Singh: Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome where the body gets excessively sensitised to pain and the patient feels generalised pain across their body. Apart from generalised pain, there are other components of fatigability, sleep disturbances and thinking problems. Most importantly the pain is truly felt by the patient due to sensitisation to pain by centres in the brain.  Samant: Fibromyalgia is a relatively common disease that affects 1 per cent of the population. It is characterised by diffused widespread muscle pains all over the body and severe fatigue which cannot be explained by any other medical condition.  Can people identify Fibromyalgia themselves?  Singh: It can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Although patients can understand the symptoms and can feel the pain, it’s difficult for patients to diagnose this because there are many other possibilities that can have signs and symptoms similar to Fibromyalgia. Many patients who have thyroid issues or Vitamin D or Calcium deficiency might have pains similar to fibromyalgia. The patient can have a perception of the pain but the diagnosis will only be possible by the doctor.  Samant: Doctors will need to identify the condition. One common cause which can cause this kind of widespread pain is Vitamin D deficiency. This definitely needs to be excluded before diagnosing fibromyalgia.  What are the causes of fibromyalgia?  Singh: There is no one single cause that has been identified for fibromyalgia. There are multiple factors like genetic tendency, stressful events, viral illness which disrupts the way a patient perceives pain and that leads to fibromyalgia. Sometimes, it’s secondary to other underlying diseases like arthritis.  Samant: It is usually triggered by emotional stress, excessive physical stress, or some injury.  Are there different types of fibromyalgia?  Singh: There are no specific classifications, but we see patients who have a dominant component of fibromyalgia. Some have dominant pains while others have excessive tiredness and some have cognitive impairment where patients find it tough to remember things or do simple tasks. Primary fibromyalgia means that there is no other underlying illness whereas secondary fibromyalgia is where some diseases are already diagnosed and fibromyalgia comes along with this.  Which age group is more prone to getting fibromyalgia? Is it seen more in any particular type of body?  Singh: We’ve seen dominantly young to middle age females between the ages of 30 years to 50 years suffering from fibromyalgia.  Samant: It usually affects people in the working age group; active professionally or at home i.e young and middle-aged people. Women are affected far more than men. The accompanying symptoms of fibromyalgia are migraines, acidity, and lack of refreshing sleep. The lack of refreshing sleep largely contributes to the fatigue and muscle pain that is perceived in fibromyalgia.  Can people prevent the onset of this condition by consuming certain kinds of foods?  Singh: I don’t think there is enough evidence currently for the linkage of any food to the prevention of fibromyalgia. There is no preventive strategy as such.  Samant: There are no foods that can prevent or help in fibromyalgia.  What are the precautions that people can take?  Singh: There are no direct precautions that people can take to avoid fibromyalgia. However, a healthy lifestyle, good sleeping habits, avoidance of addictions, can indirectly help in preventing fibromyalgia.  Samant: The precautions that need to be taken are to be mindful of how you cope with stressful situations and doing physical exercise in the form of walking or swimming and also doing exercises to strengthen the muscles. These need to be done gradually so as to not cause aggravation of the pain.  What is the kind of treatment that people have to undertake? Do they have to follow a particular lifestyle post-diagnosis?  Singh: There is a lot of scope for lifestyle measures, exercise programmes, psychotherapy, and medications in solving the problem. We need a combination of things which can give a 10 to 20 per cent of relief in each parameter so that cumulatively the patient feels an overall sizeable improvement in their condition. It is equally important to have a good exercise programme and proper sleep hygiene as much as the importance of a drug is. A correct combination of all components leads to the betterment of the patient  Samant: There are quite a few effective treatments. Although there is no cure for the condition, it can be well controlled with treatment. So, drugs like pregabalin have been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Other drugs like antidepressants like Duloxetine also helps. Gabapentine is also a drug that is useful in Fibromyalgia. For immediate relief of pain drugs like Paracetamol, Tramedol can be used to alleviate the pain. However, the drug treatment has to be accompanied by a proper physical activity programme, yoga and meditation. All of which will create a positive impact on these patients.  Does Covid-19 have any kind of bearing on the condition?  Singh: Sometimes viruses have been implicated as the cause of fibromyalgia. I have seen a few patients who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia post Covid-19, hence the virus has had an impact.  Samant: Covid-19 definitely had a negative impact on the patients as it in general increased anxiety regarding Covid which leads to the worsening of symptoms of fibromyalgia.  Do people with other muscle conditions need to take special care in case of such a condition?  Singh: An independent problem will be treated and along with it, overall fibromyalgia will be taken care of. More importantly, this is challenging for the doctor to differentiate between which component is dominating – the primary muscle problem or the fibromyalgia. For the patient, it just worsens or aggravates their pain perception.  Just to give you an example, an arthritis patient who develops fibromyalgia might feel that their condition is not improving because they are in constant pain and fatigue. However, when the doctor observes the patient, purely from an arthritis point of view, they might see that the patient is doing well because the joints have responded but the patient may still have pain because of the condition of fibromyalgia.Also Read: Understanding testicular cancer and why men should get tested early

05 December,2022 12:05 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
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Study reveals that pandemic stress has physically aged teens' brains

A new study reveals that adolescents' brain is physically altered due to pandemic-related stress. Their brain structures now appear several years older than the brains of comparable peers before the pandemic.  Until now, these sorts of accelerated changes in "brain age" have appeared only in children who have experienced chronic adversity, whether from violence, neglect, family dysfunction, or a combination of multiple factors. The new findings, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, indicate that the neurological and mental health effects of the pandemic on adolescents may have been even worse. "We already know from global research that the pandemic has adversely affected mental health in youth, but we didn't know what, if anything, it was doing physically to their brains," said Ian Gotlib, the David Starr Jordan Professor of Psychology in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. By comparing MRI scans from a cohort of 163 children taken before and during the pandemic, the study showed that this developmental process sped up in adolescents as they experienced the Covid-19 lockdowns. It is still unclear whether the changes in brain structure that the Stanford team observed are linked to changes in mental health. "It's also not clear if the changes are permanent," said Gotlib. "Will their chronological age eventually catch up to their 'brain age'? If their brain remains permanently older than their chronological age, it's unclear what the outcomes will be in the future," the researcher noted. The findings could have major implications for other longitudinal studies that have spanned the pandemic. If kids who experienced the pandemic show accelerated development in their brains, scientists will have to account for that abnormal rate of growth in any future research involving this generation. "The pandemic is a global phenomenon -- there's no one who hasn't experienced it," said Gotlib. "There's no real control group." These findings might also have serious consequences for an entire generation of adolescents later in life, added co-author Jonas Miller. Also Read: Women with pandemic-induced stress twice as likely to experience changes in menstrual cycle: Study 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

04 December,2022 04:20 PM IST | New York | IANS
The Green Mediterranean diet is a variant of the Mediterranean diet and is inspired by the eating habits of people in Greece and Italy. Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Green Mediterranean diet and how it compares to Atkins, vegan and keto diet

Even though most of us grow up eating a healthy diet, many of us adopt different diets of time depending on bodily requirements. However, fad diets have taken over in the last few years and many people keep changing their diets accordingly but that may not always yield desired results.Living in a world full of information and innovation, there is much to discover, so we explored the trending Green Mediterranean Diet, and compare it to other popular diets such as keto, vegan, and Atkins to see how it measures up. Let's bite in to it and see what the buzz is about. Green Mediterranean dietCurrently in vogue and the most "healthy diet" popular across the globe nowadays is the Mediterranean diet. This allows for the consumption of nuts, olive oil, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and fish. It also permits the consumption of dark chocolate and red wine. But according to recent research, a Mediterranean diet with a "green" twist could potentially be more effective. The Green Mediterranean diet is a variant of the Mediterranean diet and is inspired by the eating habits of people in Greece and Italy. Simply put, if you choose a green Mediterranean diet, you must eliminate red and processed meats and eat a lot more leafy green vegetables. According to the National Library of Medicine, "The green MED diet, supplemented with walnuts, green tea, and Mankai and lower in meat/poultry, may amplify the beneficial cardiometabolic effects of the Mediterranean diet." For those suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and cognitive decline, the green MED diet has been shown to be more effective. If you have a health issue related to the previously mentioned treatments, you may try this diet after consulting your doctor. Atkins dietThe Atkins diet is named after cardiologist Dr. Robert C. Atkins. It is a popular low-carbohydrate eating plan developed in the 1960s. The key to this Atkin's diet plan is to avoid food with high carbs, eat as much protein and still lose weight. While the green MED diet advises against red meat, the Atkins diet allows meat consumption, with the rest of the rules remaining the same on eating habits. Keep handy the four phases of the Atkins Diet to achieve a better result: Phase 1: Induction Phase 2: Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) Phase 3: Pre-Maintenance Phase 4: Lifetime Maintenance Vegan dietThe hospitality business has woken up to the growing popularity of the vegan lifestyle. Many people have adopted it as a result of mounting climate change and animal rights concerns. Vegan diets require less cropland than meat-based diets do, but aside from all the other resources that have an impact on the environment, the vegan lifestyle is also advantageous in terms of health benefits. Vegans consume only plant-based foods, such as plant-based meat, fruits, greens, nuts, etc. The vegan diets major objectives is to promote weight loss and reduce cholesterol levels in order to reduce the risk of heart disease. Ketogenic dietDr. Russell Morse Wilder of the Mayo Clinic discovered the Ketogenic diet, also referred to as the "Keto diet." He also created the phrase "ketogenic diet" to describe a diet that encourages you to eat an excessive amount of fat and little to no carbohydrates, resulted in a high quantity of ketone bodies in the blood (ketonemia). The ketogenic diet was first made available as an epileptic treatment in the 1920s. The diet programme first had considerable popularity, but as antiepileptic drug therapy advanced, its use drastically decreased. Today, people are using the keto diet to burn fat while fasting and eating any high-fat foods they like, including red meat, fatty fish, nuts, cheese, and butter. While there is much discussion among health-conscious individuals about the various diets that are advertised in the marketplace, it is important to first speak with your doctor and get guidance on the best diet you should follow.Also Read: Follow these innovative recipes to warm you up this winter season 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

04 December,2022 02:59 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Everything you need to know about freezing your eggs

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In a recent interview, Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston revealed that she’d been unsuccessfully going through fertility treatments. The 53-year-old actress made headlines, and sparked conversations when she recounted her fertility journey amid lifelong speculation, and regretted not freezing her eggs. Mid-Day.com spoke to Dr. Gunjan Sabherwal, fertility expert, Nova Southend IVF and Fertility to further our understanding of egg freezing.  “In today’s era, people in their 20s and 30s are moving up the financial ladder and achieving financial stability, and exploring parenthood at a later stage to better provide for their children. However, there is always the risk of your biological clock running out. This is where egg freezing comes in as an alternative to preserve fertility and increase chances of pregnancy. Also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation, egg freezing involves taking medications to stimulate your ovaries, retrieving unfertilized eggs, and quickly freezing them at sub-zero temperatures until you are ready to start or grow your family,” explains Sabherwal. She walks us through the egg freezing process, and answers important questions.  Prepping for the procedure Before the egg freezing process begins, a doctor will evaluate your medical history with a focus on fertility, assess the regularity of the menstrual cycle, and perform a range of blood tests to determine hormone levels. A woman's ovaries typically produce one egg per month. When there are minimal eggs available for freezing, the chances of a successful pregnancy decreases. In order to maximise the number of eggs, a hormonal treatment is initiated. This treatment typically requires a woman to receive hormone injections at home one to three times per day for 10 to 12 consecutive days. Most women intake birth control pills, oestrogen, lupron, or aygestin (a type of progesterone) for at least a month prior to the hormone injections. This inhibits the natural cycle and increases the hormone's effectiveness. Although, hormone levels and types vary, typical treatments stages include: Two weeks of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinizing hormones (LH) injections to enable the ovaries to produce more eggs. A gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) injection about halfway through the cycle, which prevents ovulation from occurring too early in the cycle. Depending on the size of your follicles and oestrogen blood levels, a final shot of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), also known as trigger shot, is given 34 to 35 hours prior to the egg retrieval procedure. This helps to mature the eggs. Blood tests are performed on a regular basis to monitor the effects of hormone treatments. In addition, ultrasound detection is carried out to trace ovulation and assess egg development. Egg retrieval and storage The anesthesiologist begins the egg retrieval procedure by administering light intravenous sedation for your comfort. Anesthesiologists use monitored anaesthesia care rather than general anaesthesia during egg retrievals. An oxygen cannula will be set under your nose and propofol anaesthesia medications will be administered through your IV to put you to sleep. An ultrasound is used to guide a tiny hollow needle with suction capabilities into your follicles and direct it to a catheter through the vaginal wall to drain the fluid from the follicles that contain the developed eggs. The procedure usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. When the retrieval is finished, the anesthesiologist will gently take you out of sedation and transfer you to a recovery room where you will be monitored. Light vaginal spotting, abdominal cramping, bloating, and constipation are common symptoms within the first 24 hours. To relieve cramping, a tylenol and heating pads are usually recommended. In case of severe abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, or dizziness, contact your doctor immediately. Once collected, eggs are immediately transported to the IVF lab, where one of the embryologists locates, isolates, and places your eggs in a controlled environment for a few hours before freezing. Usually, 10 to 20 eggs are retrieved for IVF. However, not all of them are suitable for use, as only about two-thirds have reached the appropriate maturity. One of the most crucial steps in the IVF procedures is egg retrieval. This process, along with the steps preceding and following egg retrieval, makes IVF the most effective fertility treatment because it addresses a number of key infertility issues. Even after the procedure has been explained, there are several aspects that require mediation. Below, Sabherwal answers frequently asked questions.  How long does the process take? Is the procedure painful?Egg freezing is a painless procedure thanks to advanced internal imaging and anaesthesia. Minor side effects may occur, but the retrieval procedure is simple and painless. A single egg freezing cycle takes about 3 to 4 weeks. This includes birth control pills or other medication for 1 to 2 weeks to momentarily alter your natural hormones. Lastly, hormone injections for 9 to 10 days to stimulate your ovaries and ripen multiple eggs.  When should I consider egg freezing?Egg freezing is a recommended treatment alternative for a variety of reasons. Some of them include: Conditions or circumstances impacting fertility: These include sickle cell anaemia, autoimmune diseases like lupus, and gender diversity, such as transgender identity. Undergoing cancer treatment: Certain medical treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy, have a negative impact on your fertility. Freezing your eggs before the commencement of these treatments is a great way to preserve your fertility. Future use: Many women today are considering egg freezing in order to focus on their professional lives and achieve career goals while also securing their pregnancy options for a later stage. Egg freezing is also an excellent option for single and unmarried women who want to pursue parenthood when the time comes. Is egg freezing safe? What are the risks involved in the process?Egg freezing entails a relatively low-risk, simple and painless procedure. However, there are some risks associated with the same: In rare cases, using injectable fertility drugs to induce ovulation, such as synthetic follicle-stimulating hormone or luteinizing hormone, can cause ovaries to swell and be painful soon after ovulation or egg retrieval (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea are some of the side-effects of this procedure. However, recent studies found that children born from frozen eggs did not exhibit an elevated rate of birth defects, when compared to the general population. How many eggs should be stored to achieve pregnancy?In women up to the age of 38, egg thawing and fertilisation rates of 75% are expected. Thus, if 10 eggs are frozen, 7 are expected to survive the thaw and 5 to 6 will fertilise and develop into embryos. In women up to the age of 38, 3 to 4 embryos are typically transferred. As a result, 10 to 15 eggs are usually recommended for each pregnancy attempt. Most women aged 38 and under are presumed to produce 10 to 20 eggs per cycle. Would retrieving eggs right now lead to lesser eggs in future?No, egg freezing will not reduce your ovarian reserve or decrease your chances of becoming pregnant naturally in future. During each menstrual cycle—one egg completes the ovulatory process. The egg follicle is activated, and the egg grows and matures before separating from the ovary and beginning to travel down the fallopian tubes. However, in addition to the ovulated egg, a number of follicles are activated that do not progress beyond the first stage. When the immature eggs within those follicles do not mature, they die. This is known as "atresia." Egg freezing uses some of those otherwise wasted eggs. What is the success rate of the procedure?  Is it possible that more than one egg freezing cycle is required?Egg freezing is considered to be one of the most efficient pregnancy alternatives. Over 300,000 children worldwide have been born from frozen embryos using cryopreservation techniques around the world. There are two criteria for judging egg freezing. Fresh, never frozen embryos are one standard, while frozen embryos are another. How can eggs remain frozen?Storing the frozen eggs securely in cryotops in liquid nitrogen containing cans helps in maintaining the viability of these eggs. How do I use my eggs once I've frozen them? How long are they viable for?Frozen eggs should last indefinitely. Their viability is more dependent on your age and overall health at the time the eggs are collected. Most people store eggs for 5 to 10 years. In fact, children are born from eggs frozen for as long as 14 years. When you're ready to use your frozen eggs, they'll be thawed, fertilised in a lab with sperm, and implanted in the gestational carrier's uterus. Your doctor may advise you to use an intracytoplasmic sperm injection fertilisation technique (ICSI), as the freezing process makes the outer coating around the eggs tougher and sperm may be unable to penetrate it naturally under IVF. ICSI involves injecting a single healthy sperm directly into each mature egg. Depending on your age at the time of egg freezing, your chances of becoming pregnant after implantation range from 30 to 60%. The older you are when you freeze your eggs, the less likely it is that you will have a live birth in the future. What happens to the eggs which remain unused?If you underwent a successful infertility treatment and still have embryos left over from your treatment, you have a few options: Storing for future use: You can choose to store your embryos for the future if you want to try for more children. Donation of good quality embryos: If you do not want to try for any more children and feel that your family is complete, you can choose to donate your good quality embryos to help other couples have a baby and enjoy the fruits of parenthood. Research: You can donate your embryos to research centres that study embryos, eggs and sperms to develop new techniques and medical breakthroughs. Also Read: Myositis: All you need to know about the autoimmune condition

03 December,2022 02:04 PM IST | Mumbai | Maitrai Agarwal
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A study has found that all types of alcohol, including wine, may up cancer risk

A recently published study has found that all types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, increase cancer risk but people have low awareness about it and some even perceive alcohol as having health benefits. All beverage types containing ethanol, such as wine, beer and liquor, which increase cancer risk. To date, seven cancer types have been linked to alcohol consumption, including cancers of the breast, mouth and colon. "Alcohol is a leading modifiable risk factor for cancer in the US and previous research has shown that most Americans don't know this," said Andrew Seidenberg, who led the study as a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute in the US. The team found that awareness of the alcohol-cancer link was highest for liquor, with 31.2 per cent of adults being aware of the risk, followed by beer (24.9 per cent) and wine (20.3 per cent). Ten per cent of adults said wine decreases cancer risk while 2.2 per cent said beer decreases risk and 1.7 per cent said liquor decreases risk. More than 50 per cent of adults reported not knowing how these beverages affected cancer risk, according to the study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. "All types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, increase cancer risk. The findings underscore the need to develop interventions for educating the public about the cancer risks of alcohol use," said William MP Klein, associate director of the National Cancer Institute's Behavioral Research Programme. Older adults also demonstrated lower awareness of alcohol as a risk factor for cancer. "Educating the public about how alcohol increases cancer risk will not only empower consumers to make more informed decisions, but may also prevent and reduce excessive alcohol use, as well as cancer morbidity and mortality," said Klein. Also Read: Everything you need to know about freezing your eggs 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

02 December,2022 09:05 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Air pollution now linked to serious illnesses among kids: Study

From dementia to altering brain structure in kids, from sudden heart attacks to autism risk -- the health impact of long-term exposure to air pollution is not just respiratory illnesses, as several new studies have documented this year alone. These new investigations raise a fresh alarm for the governments and agencies in India to fast-track their efforts to safeguard the population from air pollution. Exposure to above-average levels of outdoor air pollution increases the risk of death by 20 per cent, and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent, according to a team of researchers, including one of Indian origin. The study, published in the journal 'PLOS ONE' in June, showed that using wood or kerosene-burning stoves, not properly ventilated through a chimney, to cook food or heat the home also increases the overall risk of death (by 23 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively) and cardiovascular death risk (by 36 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively). "Our study highlights the role that key environmental factors of indoor/outdoor air pollution, access to modern health services, and proximity to noisy, polluted roadways play in all causes of death, and deaths from cardiovascular disease in particular," said researcher Rajesh Vedanthan from NYU Langone Health. In a first-of-its-kind study, published in the peer-reviewed journal 'Environmental Pollution' in September, researchers linked exposure to air pollutants like particulate matter PM2.5 -- particularly in the first five years of life starting from the womb -- and alterations in the brain structure that may put children at psychiatric and cognitive disorder risks later in life. The study, led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), found an association in children aged 9-12, between exposure to air pollutants in the womb and during the first 8.5 years of life and alterations in white matter structural connectivity in the brain. Abnormal white matter microstructure has been associated with psychiatric disorders (depressive symptoms, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders). In April, China-based researchers claimed that exposure to air pollutants -- even at levels below World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines -- may trigger a heart attack within an hour. The study, published in the American Heart Association's journal 'Circulation', found exposure to any level of four common air pollutants -- fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide -- could quickly trigger the onset of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). ACS is an umbrella term describing any situation in which blood supplied to the heart muscle is blocked, such as in a heart attack or unstable angina, chest pain caused by blood clots that temporarily block an artery. "The adverse cardiovascular effects of air pollution have been well documented. But we were still surprised at the very prompt effects," said Haidong Kan, professor in the School of Public Health at Fudan University in Shanghai. "Another surprise was the non-threshold effects of air pollution. Any concentration of air pollutants may have the potential to trigger the onset of a heart attack," Kan added. According to UK-based researchers, air pollution is likely to increase the risk of developing dementia. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants in the UK published its findings in July this year, after reviewing almost 70 studies that analysed how exposure to emissions affect the brain over time. The 291-page report concluded that air pollution is likely to increase the risk of accelerated "cognitive decline" and of "developing dementia" in elderly people. Experts believe this is due to the impact of pollutants entering the circulatory system, affecting blood flow to the brain. Last month, another study found that the impact of breathing diesel exhaust fumes may be more severe for women than men. Hemshekhar Mahadevappa and Neeloffer Mookherjee from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, looked for changes in people's blood brought about by exposure to diesel exhaust. In both females and males, they found changes in components of the blood related to inflammation, infection and cardiovascular disease, but they found more changes in females than males. "These are preliminary findings, however, they show that exposure to diesel exhaust has different effects in female bodies compared to male and that could indicate that air pollution is more dangerous for females than males," said Mookherjee. This is important as respiratory diseases such as asthma are known to affect females and males differently, with females more likely to suffer severe asthma that does not respond to treatments. Also read: Mumbai: Finally, pollution board rap for bio-waste plant 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

02 December,2022 11:26 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Pollution and skincare: Poor AQI can harm your skin; experts share tips

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Indulging in Diwali festivities in India means binge eating sweets and heavy meals, which usually contain a high amount of oil or ghee, and an increased exposure to highly polluted air and dust due to cleaning and burnt crackers. Though fun, these do end up altering one’s skin conditions; seasonal weather changes and use of make-up for long hours further add to the impact. According to Dr Subodh Sirur, consultant dermatologist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai, glycemic food stuffs like sweets and dairy products can lead to acne breakouts. The generous (mis)use of oil based cosmetics can only worsen the situation. “Moderating the indulgence in high glycemic foods and picking the right type of cosmetics will help avoid any undesirable impact on the skin,” says Sirur. Dr Poorva Shah (MBBS, MD Skin), consultant medical and aesthetic dermatologist, adds that a high-sugar and processed-food diet can cause inflammation, acne breakouts, and premature skin ageing. Moreover, while dairy can be healthy, excess consumption of dairy products during the festive season can cause pimples, whiteheads and blackheads among acne-prone people. Moreover, festive season can lead to stress-causing situations for people, who are swamped with multiple duties, at home and work and also for those, who experience festive loneliness or disassociation. Shah says stress can activate your immune system, causing inflammation and excess oil production, ultimately leading to pimples on the skin. Shah states acne, pigmentation and sunburns are the major skincare problems faced by people during the festive season: Acne: The most common skin disorder that arises during this time can be stressful for many adolescents and adults. Acne is caused by clogged hair follicles and oil glands of the skin, which are frequently triggered by hormonal changes. The skin condition encompasses not only pimples on the face, but also blackheads, cysts, and nodules. Skin pigmentation: According to media reports, the air quality index (AQI) in Delhi and Mumbai worsened during the first day of the festival. In some parts of Mumbai, the PM 2.5 increased to over 270 in some parts of the city. Pollution caused by Diwali firecrackers can linger in the air as airborne particulate matter. They can get into your skin's tiny pores, causing problems like dull skin and hyperpigmentation. Sunburns: This is caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or sunlamps. The skin becomes red, painful, and hot to the touch, and it may even peel off. The first step in treating sunburn is to seek shade, preferably indoors, and to cool the skin. Due to a hectic schedule during festivals, people often miss out on following their regular skincare routine. Due to changes in the diet and external conditions, one may have to take additional measures for a short period to get back to their regular routine after the festive season. Shah and Sirur suggest following tips to detox skin post-Diwali: 1. Deep cleanse: Our skin requires deep cleansing, scrubbing, and toning following the Diwali festivities. 2. Gentle cleansing: The pollution is on the high and the use of a gentle cleanser twice a day will remove the dirt and the pollutants from the surface of the skin. This followed by the use of a toner to tighten the pores of the skin makes the skin look fresh. 3. Right moisturiser: The next step would be the use of a moisturiser. Be certain to check what suits your type of skin the best before choosing a moisturiser.  4. Hydrate: Increase the amount of water you consume. Maintain healthy skin by eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep. That's why it's called beauty sleep! Allow your skin to regenerate by avoiding alcohol. This aids in the detoxification of your body and skin, as well as the removal of toxins. 5. Exfoliation: Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells using physical or chemical scrubs. Physical scrubs should be avoided by acne-prone skin because they can cause micro tears and sensitization. For chemical exfoliation, AHA and BHA-based products are the best options and should be used no more than twice a week. The concentration of AHA/BHA should be determined by your dermatologist. 6. Facials: Indulge in medical-grade facials such as hydrafacials, which are multi-step facial treatments typically performed with a HydraFacial machine. Aestheticians use the HydraFacial (device) in a single session to cleanse, exfoliate, extract, and deliver a variety of rejuvenating serums, leaving your skin glowing. 7. Avoid makeup: After Diwali; avoid wearing makeup for a few days to allow your skin to breathe. Also Read: Why more awareness needs to be created about stuttering in educational institutions and society

02 December,2022 11:23 AM IST | Mumbai | Sarasvati T
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

Want to protect your skin from pollution? Follow these easy tips

Living in India, one is exposed and aware of the rising pollution levels in the country. The high levels of air pollutants for an extended period may cause serious harm to your skin. As Delhi continues to get engulfed in smog with the air quality approaching a hazardous level, the harmful pollutants in the air may hamper your skin if appropriate care is not taken. To rescue your skin from harsh pollutants, a team of sensitive skin experts from Cetaphil shares a few tips to ensure our skin doesn't lose its nourishment. Air purifier: Invest in a good air purifier for yourself. Since most allergies stem from dust, a good quality air purifier is ideal to help clean the home environment and remove dust and other harmful particles. Practice good hygiene: Always wash your hands thoroughly after every task and before touching your skin. Change your clothes at least twice a day and ensure that you take a bath regularly to remove all the pollutants from your skin. Keep the skin nourished: Your skin may suffer because of increased pollution and seasonal changes, making it more sensitive and prone to irritation and allergies. People with sensitive skin may have a thinner or weakened skin moisture barrier, which allows irritants to penetrate and hydration to escape. Make sure your skin is well-nourished and moisturised to improve the resilience of sensitive skin. While stepping outdoors, always carry a moisturiser cream which can soothe irritated skin and provide intense moisture. Limit outdoor time: Tracking air quality ensures that you can better manage your outdoor time. Go for a walk in the morning when the air is fresh and plan your day and tasks to avoid making multiple trips outside. In addition, don't forget to apply sunscreen as the harsh rays of the sun paired with the hazardous air quality can make your skin more irritated. This could also lead to stinging and itching. Look for hypoallergenic products: It is essential to use hypoallergenic products especially if you have sensitive skin in this harsh climate. Using strong products on the skin when it is already irritated may cause more harm than you can imagine. Look for ingredients like Niacinamide, which helps in tackling inflammation and helps in the oil regulation in your skin.Also Read: ‘Winter worsens bone problems’: Experts share ways to maintain bone health 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

02 December,2022 11:15 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Commuters travelling amid smog conditions as air quality continues to deteriorate in Mumbai. Pic/mid-day photographers

Explained: What does AQI mean and just how bad are Mumbai’s pollution levels?

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Of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, 22 are in India. Delhi, whose Air Quality Index regularly falls in the “poor” or “very poor” categories, ranks as the most polluted capital city worldwide. Although Mumbai did not figure in that list, released by the Swiss Organisation IQAir in March this year, there have been instances when South Mumbai has recorded similarly alarming AQI levels. Recently, the Supreme Court of India asked the Centre and states in the National Capital Region to devise a proposal to switch all industrial units to piped natural gas or cleaner fuels in order to keep a check on Delhi’s rising air pollution levels. The SC also approved setting up an Enforcement Task Force by the Centre’s Commission for Air Quality Management to ensure strict action against those violating the Commission’s directions. Mid-day Online reached out to Dr B.S. Murthy, director of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, to understand AQI and various factors affecting significant indicators of air pollution. Could you please explain what ‘Air Quality Index’ (AQI) is and why it is important? Air Quality Index or AQI is an indicator of air quality; the lower the AQI, the better the air quality. It is calculated based on the 24-hour average concentration of important air pollutants like particulate matter or PM10, PM2.5, NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide), O3 (Ground-level ozone), CO (Carbon Monoxide), SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide), NH3 (Ammonia) and Pb (Lead), which are harmful for human health if they are above the prescribed national ambient air quality standards. AQI is grouped into 6 categories; AQI < 50 as ‘Good’, between 51 and 100 as ‘Satisfactory’, between 101 and 200 as ‘Moderate’, between 201 and 300 as ‘Poor’, between 301 and 400 as ‘Very Poor’ and between 401 and 500 as ‘Severe’. AQI is calculated for each pollutant (called Sub index) and the final AQI is the highest of the sub-indexes. In other words, the highest sub-index signifies the leading pollutant determining the AQI. Mostly PM10 or PM2.5 is found to be the leading pollutant. Other locations in Mumbai with 'very poor' air quality include Mazagaon at 331 and Malad at 327. Bandra-Kurla Complex's AQI was 331 on November 16. Pic/Mid-Day photographersWhat are the factors affecting the AQI? AQI depends mainly on concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 defined as particles with size less than or equal to 10 micrometres and < or = 2.5 micrometres respectively. PM10 or PM2.5 concentration depends on emissions of pollutants from various sources like vehicular exhaust, industries, road dust, wind-blown dust, coal and fossil fuel combustion, brick kilns, garbage incineration, etc. The emitted pollutants get redistributed in space and time horizontally and vertically, due to wind circulations and convection. For a given pollutant concentration, stable atmospheric conditions (in winter or night time) degrade air quality whereas convective mixing (in summer or day time) dilutes and improves the air quality. An influx of relatively more polluted air mass increases pollution levels whereas that of pristine air mass reduces pollution levels due to the mixing of air masses. Considering Delhi is enclosed by a hypothetical box, for a given background pollution level in the box, the fluctuation in concentration depends on the difference between the rates of inflow and outflow of air mass consisting of pollutants. That inflow depends on the magnitude of pollution level in the incoming flow and the wind speed and direction. The outflow from the box depends on vertical dispersion or ventilation and wind speed and direction. Atmospheric chemistry — involving chemical reactions among the pollutants and gases — generates secondary particles that add up to pollution level.  What levels of particulate matter (PM) are considered safe? PM2.5 concentration (24-hour mean) of less than 30 microgram per cubic metre is considered ‘Good’. PM2.5 between 30 and 60 is ‘Satisfactory’, between 60 and 90 is ‘Moderate’, between 90 and 120 is ‘Poor’, between 120 and 250 is ‘Very Poor’ and more than 250 is ‘Severe’. These are the national ambient air quality standards applicable for any location in India.  There has been a lot of discussion about increasing the use of public transport. Could you please elaborate on the possible solutions, specific to Mumbai, to maintain the PM levels? In most of the urban or metropolitan cities, transport (vehicles) is the major source of pollution. If public transport is made comfortable and available at regular time intervals across the city, then people would prefer to go by public transport rather than using private or personal vehicles. This would reduce the number of vehicles plying on the roads, thus controlling emissions partially. Improving traffic management for a smooth flow of vehicles with a few signals would reduce the idling time of vehicles at road junctions leading to less fuel consumption and emissions. Other options are to use solar and wind energy or nuclear energy for power generation rather than coal in thermal power plants. Phasing out old vehicles and encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles by offering incentives is one strategy. Planting trees along both sides of roads and maintaining proper ventilation in residential and office buildings helps reduce power consumption. Collection of garbage locally and recycling it (instead of dumping in landfills and burning) to produce biogas or compost at multiple locations is to be done. Implementation of these plans requires public participation voluntarily with awareness about the implications of air pollution for global warming and climate change. Recently, the AQI of South Mumbai was reportedly poorer than that of Delhi (and this has been noted multiple times)? Could you please explain the major reasons for it? Annual statistics of air quality categories in Mumbai indicate that ‘poor' or ‘very poor' occurs only 3-10 percent of the time in a year. During the remaining 90-97 percent, it is ‘Good’, ‘Satisfactory’ or ‘Moderate’. In comparison, Delhi experiences 'Poor' or 'Very poor' category for about 50-60 percent of the time in a year. At times in some locations, the hourly air quality in Mumbai may witness 'severe' or 'very poor' levels, which could be due to either some sporadic emission source like biomass burning. It could also happen due to poor ventilation of air mass due to high rise buildings blocking the wind flow resulting in temporary stagnant conditions leading to accumulation of pollutants.  How do the weather and seasonal changes affect the AQI in Mumbai? In winter and summer, PM2.5 is observed in the range 25-125 microgram per cubic metre whereas in the monsoon season it is 20-50 microgram per cubic metre. So in winter and summer, AQI indicates mostly 'Moderate' while in monsoon it is 'Good/Satisfactory'. In the monsoon season, frequent rains scavenge pollutants in the atmosphere through wet deposition, leading to better air quality. In winter, stable or neutral atmospheric conditions reduce dispersion of pollutants thus helping accumulation near the ground. In summer, relatively higher air temperature increases convective mixing of pollutants thus diluting their concentration near the ground. Does being surrounded by the sea help in maintaining the pollution levels of Mumbai? Is there a link and could you please explain the science behind it? Daily mean observations indicate negative correlation between PM2.5 concentration and relative humidity (RH) indicating that the higher the RH, the lesser the PM2.5 and the better is the air quality. Mumbai, being a coastal city, experiences an RH of 40-70 percent in summer, 60-80 percent in winter and 80-95 percent in monsoon. High moisture (high RH) availability in the atmosphere helps PM2.5 particles (which are hygroscopic with affinity towards water) absorb moisture, become bigger in size and heavier, leading to enhanced deposition on the ground thus reducing its concentration in the atmosphere. Relatively wet ground prevents lifting of dust by wind and vehicles. Coastal cities also experience sea breeze that brings in pristine air mass (if marine air is less polluted relative to that over land) over land, leading to reduction in pollution over land. Land surface does not cool much during night time in coastal cities due to high RH that helps maintain neutral stability which is favourable for the dispersion of pollutants.  Also Read: Delhi's air quality still 'very poor' with AQI at 311

02 December,2022 11:10 AM IST | Mumbai | Sarasvati T
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock

'Progress in HIV care for kids, pregnant women nearly flat over past 3 years'

In time for World AIDS Day on December 1, the UNICEF has warned about progress in HIV prevention and treatment. The United Nations agency has said that the progress in children, adolescents, and pregnant women has nearly flatlined over the past three years, with many regions still not at pre-Covid service coverage. Around 1,10,000 children and adolescents (0-19 years) died from AIDS-related causes during 2021 while another 3,10,000 were newly infected, bringing the total number of young people living with HIV to 2.7 million, according to the latest UNICEF global snapshot on children and HIV/AIDS, which was released on Monday. This stagnation comes on top of an existing and growing gap in treatment between children and adults. "Though children have long lagged behind adults in the AIDS response, the stagnation seen in the last three years is unprecedented, putting too many young lives at risk of sickness and death," said Anurita Bains, UNICEF associate chief of HIV/AIDS. "Children are falling through the cracks because we are collectively failing to find and test them and get them on life-saving treatment. Every day that goes by without progress, over 300 children and adolescents lose their fight against AIDS," Bains added.  Despite accounting for only 7 per cent of overall people living with HIV, children and adolescents comprised 17 per cent of all AIDS-related deaths and 21 per cent of new HIV infections in 2021. Unless the drivers of inequities are addressed, ending AIDS in children and adolescents will continue to be a distant dream, warned UNICEF. However, the snapshot shows that longer-term trends remain positive. New HIV infections among younger children (0-14 years) dropped by 52 per cent from 2010 to 2021, and new infections among adolescents (15-19 years) also dropped by 40 per cent. Similarly, coverage of life-long antiretroviral treatment (ART) among pregnant women living with HIV increased from 46 percent to 81 per cent in a single decade. While the total number of children living with HIV is on the decline, the treatment gap between children and adults continues to grow. In UNICEF HIV-priority countries, ART coverage for children stood at 56 per cent in 2020 but fell to 54 per cent in 2021. This decline is due to several factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic and other global crises, which have increased marginalisation and poverty, but is also a reflection of waning political will and a flagging AIDS response in children. Globally, an even lower percentage of children living with HIV had access to treatment (52 per cent), which has only marginally increased over the past few years. Meanwhile, coverage among all adults living with HIV (76 per cent) was more than 20 percentage points higher than among children. The gap was even larger between children (52 per cent) and pregnant women living with HIV (81 per cent). Alarmingly, the percentage of children between the ages of 0-4 years living with HIV and not on ART has been rising over the past seven years, climbing to 72 per cent in 2021, as high as it was in 2012, shows the snapshot. Many regions -- Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Eastern and Southern Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and West and Central Africa -- also experienced drops in treatment coverage in pregnant and breastfeeding women during 2020, with Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and North Africa seeing further declines in 2021. Except for West and Central Africa, which continues to see the highest burden of mother-to-child transmission, none of the aforementioned regions have recovered to the coverage levels achieved in 2019. These disruptions put the lives of newborn babies at increased risk. In 2021, more than 75,000 new child infections occurred because pregnant women were not diagnosed and initiated on treatment, shows the snapshot. Also Read: 3.8 million people living with HIV in South-East Asia region, says WHO 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/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 December,2022 02:35 PM IST | United Nations | IANS
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