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Vaping can make you more prone to Covid infection: Study

While tobacco smokers are known to have worse Covid-19 outcomes, a new study showed that vapers are more susceptible to infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The electronic cigarettes typically contain an e-liquid, made up of nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavour chemicals. The researchers at the University of California, Riverside, found that propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin alone or along with nicotine enhanced Covid infection through different mechanisms. Further, the addition of benzoic acid to e-liquids prevents the infection caused by propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and nicotine, they said in the paper appearing in the American Journal of Physiology. "Users who vape aerosols produced from propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin alone or e-liquids with a neutral to basic pH are more likely to be infected by the virus, while users who vape aerosols made from e-liquids with benzoic acid -- an acidic pH -- will have the same viral susceptibility as individuals who do not vape," said Rattapol Phandthong, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, from the varsity. The team obtained airway stem cells from human donors to produce a 3D tissue model of human bronchial epithelium. They then exposed the tissues to JUUL and BLU electronic cigarette aerosols to study the effect on SARS-CoV-2 infection. They found that all tissues showed an increase in the amount of ACE2 -- a host cell receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Further, TMPRSS2, an enzyme essential for the virus to infect cells, was found to show increased activity in tissues exposed to aerosols with nicotine. Prue Talbot, a professor of the graduate division at the varsity, said that e-cigarette users should be cautious about vaping as some products will increase their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. "It would probably be best for vapers to quit vaping for the protection of their health and to stop nicotine dependency," she said. Phandthong warned “it is worth bearing in mind that the scientific literature has shown that a vaper who contracted SARS-CoV-2 has more complications during the recovery period and is more likely to develop long Covid-19, which can be serious and last many months post-infection. We hope our findings encourage vapers to stop vaping and discourage non-users from starting to vape." 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

28 February,2024 02:36 PM IST | New York | IANS
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IIT Madras develops first India-specific AI model to determine foetus age

In a first, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model that is specific to Indian population and can accurately determine the age of a foetus in a pregnant woman, in her second and third trimesters. Accurate age of a foetus -- gestational age -- helps in providing proper care of pregnant women and also to determine precise delivery dates. Currently, physicians in India determine the gestational age using a formula developed for Western population, increasing chances of error. The new model called ‘Garbhini-GA2’ accurately estimates the age of a foetus for the Indian population, reducing error by almost three times, said the team of researchers, including from the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad on Monday. It is “the first late-trimester gestational age estimation model to be developed and validated using Indian population data”, they noted in the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia. The new model can also improve the care delivered by obstetricians and neonatologists, thus reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in India. The research is also part of ‘Interdisciplinary Group for Advanced Research on Birth Outcomes -- DBT India Initiative’ (GARBH-Ini) programme. “GARBH-Ini is a flagship programme of DBT, and the development of these population-specific models for estimating gestational age is a commendable outcome. These models are being validated across the country,” said Dr. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, in a statement on Monday. “IIT Madras has been contributing towards solving healthcare problems at the grassroots and local level with the aim of enhancing public health in India. To this end, we are utilising advanced data science and AI/ML techniques to build tools to predict unfavourable birth outcomes. The first step towards this is to develop accurate GA models that perform significantly better than currently used models designed using Western populations,” added Dr Himanshu Sinha, a Coordinator at the Center for Integrative Biology and Systems Medicine, IIT Madras, and who led the data science work for this research. Garbhini-GA2 used three routinely measured foetal ultrasound parameters, and was developed using GARBH-Ini cohort data documented at Gurugram Civil Hospital, Haryana, and was validated in an independent cohort in South India. Once validated in prospective pan-India cohorts, this Garbhini-GA2 can be deployed in clinics across India, improving the care delivered by obstetricians and neonatologists, thus reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in India, the researchers said. “Improving the gestational age accuracy is a critical component of the broader goals of the GARBH-Ini study, which aims to reduce the adverse pregnancy outcomes,” said Dr Shinjini Bhatnagar, Principal Investigator of the GARBH-Ini programme and a Distinguished Professor, at THSTI. 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

28 February,2024 07:38 AM IST | Chennai | IANS
Participants of all ages, from senior citizens to children aged 12 years and above, joined the cause. Photo Courtesy: Mpower

Cyclists pedal 170 kilometres from Pune to Mumbai for mental health advocacy

Over 200 cyclists embarked on an inspiring journey from Pune to Mumbai, covering 170 kilometers in the 5th edition of 'Ride to Mpower' (RTM) cyclothon on February 25. The two-day charity event, organised by Mpower, an initiative of Aditya Birla Education Trust, aimed to drive mental health awareness in the country. It saw participation not only by professional cyclists but also fitness enthusiasts eager to support the cause of mental health awareness. Participants of all ages, from senior citizens to children aged 12 years and above, joined the cause. The 25-kilometer ride from Vashi to Birla Centurion welcomed riders of all age groups, while children had a blast in the Joy Ride, which was a lively 10-kilometer stretch from Sion to Birla Centurion. This collective effort of over 400 cyclists aimed to show support and drive awareness about mental health, striving to stamp out stigma associated with mental health.  Speaking at the finish line at Birla Centurion, Worli, Neerja Birla, founder and chairperson of Aditya Birla Education Trust and Mpower said, “Today, we gather to highlight the importance of raising awareness about mental health and the critical need for stigma-free conversations on this topic. It's imperative that individuals feel empowered to seek support from experts without any social stigma attached to it, I commend all the cyclists who participated in this movement to drive awareness for mental health. Your dedication and commitment are crucial in fostering a stigma-free conversation around mental health issues."  The culmination of the event saw the cyclists indulge in various activities like games, karaoke, and live band music after the cyclists were honoured with medals and certificates at the finish line by Birla and Parveen Shaikh, VP Operations at Mpower. Ride to Mpower was conceived with the vision of fostering a sense of community, aiming to raise awareness about mental health and eliminate the stigma associated with it and goes beyond raising awareness for mental health. In a demonstration of its commitment, the event donated 1,000 kilograms of grains symbolising the calories burned by the participants during the ride, in addition to 20 cycles to select NGOs. 

27 February,2024 05:42 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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How almonds can help boost post-exercise muscle recovery and performance

A new study found that eating almonds reduces feeling of muscle soreness during exercise recovery which translates to improved muscle performance during a vertical jump challenge. These results expand on prior research which looked at how almonds affect muscle recovery after exercise. In the new research study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition and funded by the Almond Board of California, 25 mildly overweight middle-aged men and women performed a 30-minute downhill treadmill run test after eight weeks of consuming 57g (two ounces) of whole raw almonds daily. The control group ate a calorie-matched (86 g/three ounces) snack of unsalted pretzels. The treadmill test was designed to cause muscle damage to see how almonds affected muscle recovery. Also Read: ‘Lazy Girl Job’: How Gen-Z is changing the way we perceive jobs today  Researchers measured participants’ muscle function; blood markers of muscle damage and inflammation; and perceived muscle soreness using a visual scale, before, during, and at three time points after the treadmill test. They also measured markers of cardiometabolic health, body composition, and psycho-social assessments of mood, appetite, and well-being at baseline and after eight weeks of almond snacking. Participants who ate almonds experienced an almost 25 per cent reduction in muscle soreness when performing an explosive power exercise (a vertical jump challenge) over the cumulative 72-hour exercise recovery period. The perceived reduction in soreness translated to better muscle performance during the vertical jump challenge in the almond group versus the control. No significant differences were observed in measures of cardiometabolic health, muscle damage/inflammation, mood state, or appetite for the almond group or the control group. Also Read: Have you acquired the bookshelf wealth? The study included non-smoking participants who were mildly overweight and occasionally physically active but were not trained athletes. A limitation of this study is that the results are not generalisable to populations with other demographic and health characteristics. “Our study suggests that snacking on almonds can be recommended to occasional exercisers as a go-to food to help fitness recovery after strenuous exercise,” said Dr. Oliver C. Witard, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Metabolism and Nutrition at Kings College London. “Almonds are naturally nutritious with protein, good fats and the antioxidant vitamin E. They can be considered an ideal food for fitness.” One serving of almonds (28 g) has 4 g of plant protein, 13 g of good unsaturated fat and only 1 g of saturated fat. Also Read: Dangal actor Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise spurs efforts to raise awareness about autoimmune diseases: Doctors 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

27 February,2024 02:10 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Mid-Day Premium National Protein Day: An expert guide to picking your protein

National Protein Day is observed across India on February 27 every year. The main aim is to raise awareness about the health benefits of protein in our diets. “It’s crucial to understand the significance of protein in our diets and the diverse options available to meet our protein needs,” says Dr Archana Batra dietician, and a certified diabetes educator. With a plethora of protein supplements flooding the market, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is best suited to your lifestyle, dietary preferences, and fitness goals. On National Protein Day, we asked the nutrition expert to outline the pros and cons associated with popular protein alternatives and help us make an informed decision by offering in-depth comparative information. 1. Whey protein Whey protein is one of the most popular and widely consumed protein supplements. It is derived from milk during the cheese-making process and is rich in essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for muscle building and recovery. Whey protein is rapidly absorbed by the body, making it ideal for post-workout consumption when fast delivery of amino acids to the muscles is crucial for recovery and growth. Pros Fast absorption: Whey protein is quickly digested and absorbed by the body, making it ideal for post-workout recovery.                                                          High in essential amino acids: Whey protein contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair. Versatile: Whey protein can be easily incorporated into shakes, smoothies, and recipes to increase protein intake. Cons Dairy-derived: Individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies may experience digestive discomfort when consuming whey protein. Price: Whey protein supplements can be relatively expensive compared to other protein options. Also Read: World Cancer Day: Examining the impact of physical activity on preventing breast cancer 2. Casein protein Casein protein is another dairy-derived protein sourced from milk. Unlike whey protein, casein is digested and absorbed slowly by the body, providing a sustained release of amino acids over a longer period. This slow-release property makes casein protein an excellent choice for providing a steady supply of amino acids to the muscles, particularly during periods of fasting or overnight. Pros Slow digestionCasein protein forms a gel-like substance in the stomach, resulting in slow digestion and prolonged amino acid release. SatietyThe slow digestion of casein protein can help promote feelings of fullness and satiety, making it a suitable option for weight management. Muscle preservationCasein protein may help prevent muscle breakdown during periods of fasting or between meals. Cons Dairy-basedSimilar to whey protein, casein protein may not be suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. TextureCasein protein tends to have a thicker and creamier texture compared to whey protein, which may not be preferred by some individuals. Also Read: Do unmarried women in India feel judged and ashamed when visiting gynaecologists? 3. Plant-based protein Plant-based protein supplements have gained popularity in recent years, particularly among vegetarians, vegans, and individuals with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance. These protein powders are derived from sources such as peas, rice, hemp, soy, and quinoa, and they offer a complete amino acid profile comparable to animal-based proteins. Below, are the various types of plant-based protein sources commonly available: Pea Protein Pea protein is derived from yellow peas and is rich in essential amino acids, particularly lysine, which is often limited in plant-based proteins. It's easily digestible and suitable for individuals with soy or gluten allergies.   Hemp Protein Hemp protein is extracted from hemp seeds and contains all nine essential amino acids. It's also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, making it beneficial for heart health and digestion.   Soy ProteinSoy protein is derived from soybeans and is a complete protein, meaning it provides all essential amino acids. It's commonly used in plant-based protein powders and offers various health benefits, including supporting bone health and reducing cholesterol levels.  Rice Protein Rice protein is made from brown rice and is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for individuals with food sensitivities or allergies. While it's not a complete protein on its own, it can be combined with other plant-based protein sources to enhance its amino acid profile. Quinoa Protein Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Quinoa protein powder is gluten-free and offers a range of nutrients, including fibre, magnesium, and iron.  Pros Vegan-friendlyPlant-based protein supplements are free from animal products, making them suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Allergen-friendlyPlant-based protein powders are free from common allergens like dairy and lactose, making them suitable for individuals with food sensitivities. SustainableProducing plant-based protein requires fewer resources and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to animal-based protein production. Cons DigestibilitySome plant-based protein sources may be less digestible or bioavailable than animal-based proteins, leading to potential digestive discomfort for some individuals. FlavourPlant-based protein powders may have a stronger, earthier taste compared to whey or casein protein, which may not be appealing to everyone. Also Read: Chef Ranveer Brar set to trace Indian culinary secrets with new cooking show ‘The Family Table’ 4. Blended Protein Blended protein supplements combine multiple protein sources, such as whey, casein, and plant-based proteins, to provide a balanced amino acid profile and a combination of fast and slow-digesting proteins. These supplements aim to offer the benefits of both rapid and sustained amino acid release for optimal muscle growth, recovery, and satiety. Pros Balanced amino acid profileBlended protein supplements combine different protein sources to provide a complete spectrum of amino acids for optimal muscle building and recovery. VersatilityBlended protein powders can be used at any time of day, whether post-workout, between meals, or as a meal replacement. DigestibilityBlended protein supplements may be easier on the digestive system compared to pure whey or casein protein for some individuals. Cons CostBlended protein supplements may be more expensive than single-source protein powders due to the inclusion of multiple protein sources. Flavour and textureBlended protein powders may have a different taste and texture compared to single-source protein supplements, which may appeal to only some. Five things to consider while choosing the right protein for you By considering these factors and exploring the diverse range of protein options available, you can select the protein supplement that best aligns with your dietary preferences, supports your fitness goals, and enhances your overall health and well-being. By making informed choices and incorporating quality protein sources into your diet, you can nourish your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive.  1. Assess your dietary preferences and restrictionsConsider whether you follow a specific dietary pattern, such as vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous. Determine if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, such as lactose intolerance or sensitivity to certain plant-based proteins like soy.  2. Identify your fitness goals Determine your primary fitness objectives, whether they involve muscle building, weight management, or overall health and well-being. Tailor your protein choice to support your specific fitness goals. For example, if you're aiming to build muscle, prioritise protein sources that are high in essential amino acids and easily digestible. 3. Consider timing and usageEvaluate when you plan to consume protein supplements. For instance, do you need a fast-digesting protein for post-workout recovery, or are you seeking a slower-digesting protein for sustained energy and satiety? Determine how you intend to incorporate protein supplements into your daily routine. Will you use them as post-workout shakes, meal replacements, or snacks between meals? 4. Review protein quality and composition Assess the amino acid profile of different protein sources. Look for complete protein sources that provide all nine essential amino acids in adequate proportions. Consider the bioavailability and digestibility of different protein types. Some proteins may be more easily absorbed and utilised by the body than others. 5. Evaluate taste and texture preferencesTake into account your taste preferences and sensory preferences when selecting protein supplements. Some individuals may prefer the taste and texture of certain proteins over others.  Experiment with different flavours and formulations to find a protein supplement that you enjoy and can consistently incorporate into your diet.  Also Read: Open peri peri paneer dosa, hibiscus dosa and other innovative recipes to add a twist to your dosa

27 February,2024 10:30 AM IST | New Delhi | Maitrai Agarwal
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Mid-Day Premium Do this to reverse premature greying of hair

Spotting a lone grey hair can be a stark reminder of ageing. While a greater number of Gen Z and young Indians are sporting grey locks as a fashion statement – there lies an undeniable signpost that the hands of time are at work. To break down the lifecycle of one hair strand – it undergoes a repeated process of renewal and an eventual demise. As the ageing process unfolds, the once-vibrant hair follicles weaken, leading to reduced production of the pigment – melanin. Consequently, the inevitable growth of grey hair becomes apparent – reveals Mridul Munet, CMO, Vasmol (HRIPL). “Melanin is a crucial pigment residing in the hair follicle which determines the hair colour. Its gradual depletion marks a transformative shift in the colour range of your hair,” he adds emphasising that it is one of the primary factors behind the premature greying of hair. To unravel ways to improve hair health, spoke to experts who shed light on home-based remedies to reverse grey hair. Boosting melanin production Reversal of greying hair is fairly simple if you can narrow down the factors causing the greyness. For example, you could be developing grey hair due to vitamin deficiency which can be corrected with the consumption of the right nutritients – shares Radhika Iyer Talati, the founder of Anahata Organic. To counter such deficiencies – a balanced diet, laden with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, emerges as the primal method to attain optimal hair health. When it comes to promoting melanin production – Vitamins B12, folate and copper stand out as crucial players in melanin synthesis, stresses the hair and skin expert - Mansi Gulati. “Incorporating these vitamins into your daily meals can foster a natural radiance that extends from within,” remarks Gulati. One can consume vitamin B12 with an array of options, including eggs, dairy products and lean meats. Equally important is the inclusion of folate-rich foods such as leafy greens, legumes and whole grains. By incorporating these nutrient-dense choices, you not only support overall well-being but also provide the building blocks necessary for robust melanin synthesis. Further enrich your diet with copper from sources like nuts, seeds and seafood to nourish hair locks.  One could go by the mantra – grey hair, no care; but that might mean living in denial. The condition of one's hair also serves as an indicator of mental well-being and lifestyle choices. If it's apparent that stress is leading to grey hair, then meditating and including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet can restore your original hair colour faster than you think. Research also shows that cutting down on smoking and drinking also reduces anxiety and oxidative stress. Avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or blow-drying your hair too often will also help reverse grey hair. Even though grey hair due to genetics cannot be reversed, there are ways to reduce that effect to a large extent. Home-based beetroot hair mask to reverse grey hair For ages, pure and natural dyes have been used to reverse the greying of hair. “Today, the market is flooded with diverse varieties of hair colour products. These products contain a host of chemicals and questionable ingredients which the consumer is left to use with incomplete knowledge,” reveals Talati. This leaves the consumer puzzled about what works and what does not. In a quest to find natural and home-based remedies, Gulati shares an easy hair mask recipe that can be whipped up in the comfort of one’s home. 1. Brew a strong cup of coffee and let it cool.2. Combine the coffee with the oil from a vitamin E capsule and a generous amount of beetroot juice to form a smooth paste.3. Apply this mixture evenly to your hair and let it sit for about 30 minutes.4. Post 30 minutes, rinse your hair with normal water The coffee adds depth and darkness, vitamin E nourishes your hair and beetroot juice imparts a beautiful reddish tint. Repeat this process bi-monthly to maintain and enhance the richness of your naturally dyed locks. Rubbing onion juice onto the scalp Our grandmothers would always use onion juice on their scalps to maintain hair health, reminisces Talati. Red onions have proven to be a timeless, effective way to control grey hair and boost hair growth. The juice of an onion raises catalase, an enzyme that is responsible for darkening hair. Not only that, onion juice is a great source of hydration for the scalp and is known to add shine and glow to the hair. Here’s how you can make this paste: 1. Mix 3 tablespoons of onion juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a bowl.2. Massage your scalp with this combination.3. Wash after 30 minutes with a natural shampoo. Talati affirms that you will notice visible results within a month. Using curry leaves for hydration Curry leaves contain precious Vitamin B that restores the pigment melanin in the hair follicles. Using curry leaves in many forms is known to reverse and prevent further greying. Beta-keratin present in curry leaves prevents hair fall and helps keep the scalp hydrated. 1. Prepare a paste by grinding 20 grams of fresh curry leaves with some water.2. Mix this with 2 tablespoons of curd and apply this all over your head and hair. Leave it on for 25 minutes or more and wash off with a natural shampoo.3. Boil 20 grams of curry leaves, 1/2 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds and 1 tablespoon of nigella seeds in about 5 tablespoons of coconut oil until the leaves turn black. Strain and use this oil on your hair.4. Boil a cupful of curry leaves in a cup of oil till they turn black.5. Cool, strain and store.6. Massage into hair 2-3 times a week. Leave overnight and repeat at least 3 times a week. Identifying the factors behind premature greying of hair The colour and style of hair play a pivotal role in augmenting an individual's physical appearance, thereby influencing their body image, opines Munet. The greying of hair, often perceived as a tell-tale sign of advancing age, can significantly impact an individual's self-esteem. He lays down the primary causes responsible for grey hair: 1. Various lifestyle choices can lead to early greying, such as prolonged use of digital screens and electronic devices, pollution, stress and inadequate sleep. These elements elevate the generation of free radicals, which can harm melanocytes and hasten the process of hair turning grey. 3. Extended exposure to sunlight's UV radiation can result in oxidative stress within hair follicles, harming melanocytes and leading to premature greying. It's recommended to shield your hair from excessive sun exposure and consider using products with UV protection. 3. Premature greying can be influenced by pollution and exposure to specific chemicals, which elevate oxidative stress on melanocytes. Safeguarding your hair from environmental pollutants and utilising hair care products containing antioxidants can assist in reducing this impact. 4. The impact of hair dyes and chemical treatments on premature greying depends on the ingredients used. Conventional hair dyes may have harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, potentially harming melanocytes. 5. Lack of essential nutrients like vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, copper, calcium and ferritin can contribute to premature greying.  

27 February,2024 08:45 AM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Mid-Day Premium Do some gynaecologists judge unmarried women for having premarital sex?

“I have had a 24-year-old patient who was judged by her previous gynaecologist for having premarital sex and was asked to call her mother into the room and describe her concerns. This patient was also refused contraceptives as she was told it was unnecessary before marriage. Incidents like these only make me realise how being judgmental comes so easily to even experts in our society,” reveals Dr Divya Vora, obstetrician and gynaecologist.  Similarly, when asked if he too has come across a patient who was judged by a gynaecologist for being sexually active, Dr Rohan Palshetkar, head of unit Bloom IVF, professor at Dept of OBGY, D.Y. Patil School of Medicine says, “Unfortunately I have.” The doctor chose not to share any more details for privacy reasons.   This is not to say that all the gynaecologists in the country have an orthodox mindset. To dive deep into this subject, Mid-day Online conversed with Vora and Palshetkar who shared relevant details and provided solutions to unmarried women for proper guidance and treatment.  Do unmarried women, especially those sexually active, fear visiting gynaecologists?  Vora: Absolutely. Our society is still very unaccepting of women being sexually active before marriage. Unfortunately, a lot of gynaecologists tend to have that mindset too. It is something that needs to be part of our medical curriculum – to be non-judgmental and be able to have open, progressive, and appropriate conversations about sex.  Palshetkar: To be honest it varies from area to area. When we are looking at the metro cities, it isn’t a major issue. The majority of women residing in metro cities won’t be concerned about their sexual status. Few might get worried and may even withhold the information if they are going to their gynaecologist for a regular check-up. However, if you do have any problems, it is important to be clear. We are there to help you and there will not be a judgement from our end. Sexual health and reproductive rights should be upheld and treated without judgement.  Does being judged negatively impact patients’ overall well-being?  Vora: One bad experience with a gynaecologist can lead to fear in the patient to visit any gynaecologist even in the future. It can make them feel like all doctors are judgmental and insensitive. The experience can also make them feel like they did something morally incorrect. This not only leads to their inability to trust their doctor but also prevents them from seeking timely medical care when needed.  Palshetkar: Firstly, coming across a gynaecologist who is judgmental regarding the sexual health of an individual is rare. However, for those who do experience this, it can lead to breaking the trust of the patient towards the doctor. Such a patient won’t divulge all the information leading to improper treatment due to lack of information.  Is there a viable solution?  Vora: Unfortunately, not even 1 per cent of our society can be called progressive considering the density of our population, especially rural. Having said that, there is a drastic improvement in this generation of doctors in terms of being able to have open, judgement-free conversations and the future looks better.  For women looking for a gynaecologist, do not go ahead with a doctor who asks your parent to be in the room, judges/scowls at you for being sexually active, makes you feel uncomfortable with their statements/expressions, denies treatment based on their cultural beliefs, and makes you feel guilty/impure. Don’t go to your mother’s/aunt’s gynaecologist if it makes you uncomfortable. Ask around, do your research, and then pick a gynaecologist you can trust and be open with.  For me, the question I directly ask is ‘Are you sexually active?’ When the marital status is not addressed, it makes my patient believe that it does not matter, and very honestly, it does not. It's very important to make the patient feel like they can share anything and everything with you without having to lie/hesitate. We need to understand that we deal with the most intimate concerns, and the only way to approach them is by being understanding, judgment-free, empathetic, and most importantly, confidential. Palshetkar: I think times are changing where we can even talk about sex before marriage. I think the time will come when there probably won’t be any judgement. We must accept everyone’s individual decisions even if they don’t match our line of thinking. Whether patients come for a regular check-up or they seek an abortion, it isn’t our place to judge their actions. It is important to be objective and ensure they get the best line of treatment. We can advise them of options but not enforce them.  In my opinion, there isn’t a right or wrong way to pick the doctor. Maybe you can consider going to their Google page or website, understand their speciality and then figure it out. Sometimes even after doing that you may meet doctors who may not suit your needs but they will refer you to someone who will help treat your conditions.  What societal changes are necessary to ensure women have easy access to sexual health-related medical assistance? Vora: It's simple. By not talking about marriage at all! Why should someone’s sexual activity be associated with being married? By implementing comprehensive sex education in the curriculum, having safe spaces for people to be able to talk about their bodies and concerns openly, having public awareness campaigns, providing healthcare workers training regarding these matters, conducting community workshops, and providing legal protections that ensure privacy and confidentiality for anyone seeking reproductive health advice can go a long way in bringing about a positive change.  Palshetkar: I think it’s important to bring about awareness about sexually transmitted infections, the right to abortions, and sexual and reproductive health rights so that society is sensitised to all situations. This will help women approach gynaecologists to get their treatment in time and ensure that they do not have any long-term effects of their ailments.  Are there any benefits of being sexually active before marriage? Vora: Engaging in consensual sexual activity before marriage can have potential benefits. Some of them include: Emotional connect: Sexual intimacy can deepen bonds and foster better communication between partners. Compatibility: Exploring sexual compatibility before marriage allows couples to understand each other's needs, preferences, and desires. Reduced anxiety: Addressing sexual concerns before marriage can alleviate anxiety and promote a healthier relationship.Understanding one’s own body: Learning about one's own and each other’s bodies and sexual needs can be empowering and contribute to overall well-being. Open communication, mutual consent, and respect are extremely important for a positive and healthy sexual relationship, regardless of marital status. Palshetkar: There are no benefits to being sexually active before marriage, however, it isn’t a liability either if you are careful about your reproductive and sexual health.  How can women advocate for themselves? Vora: It is always best to tell a gynaecologist who becomes your moral police about how uncomfortable they made you feel. It is also completely okay to change your doctor multiple times if need be. I don’t believe in public humiliation, there are more positive ways of handling a situation. Palshetkar: I think you should not get affected and consider changing your gynaecologist to ensure you get the right treatment without any judgement. 

27 February,2024 07:05 AM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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Can dehydration lead to stroke, as mentioned by Zerodha's Nithin Kamath?

Dehydration, a dangerous loss of body fluid, can be a significant contributing factor for suffering a stroke, said doctors on Tuesday, after Zerodha co-founder and CEO Nithin Kamath cited it as a possible reason behind his recent stroke. In a post on X, Kamath on Monday revealed he suffered a mild stroke around six weeks ago. Besides poor sleep and exhaustion, he said dehydration could be a reason. "Around six weeks ago, I had a mild stroke out of the blue. Dad passing away, poor sleep, exhaustion, dehydration, and overworking out - any of these could be possible reasons,” he posted. Kamath said that he is on the path to recovery. "While dehydration isn't the direct cause of stroke, it can be a contributing factor mainly in cerebral venous strokes rather than arterial strokes," Guruprasad Hosurkar, Additional Director - Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, told IANS. "Dehydration involves losing more fluids from our bodies than what is gained thereby causing an electrolyte imbalance in the body hence affecting various body functions. One of the least known effects of severe dehydration is that it possibly increases chances for stroke development," said Koulsoum Houssein, full time consultant, Holy Family Hospital, Bandra. Also Read: Dangal actor Suhani Bhatnagar’s demise spurs efforts to raise awareness about autoimmune diseases: Doctors The health experts explained that dehydration leads to thickening of blood, which slows blood flow to the organs including brain which in turn, can increase the risk of blood clot formation and cause stroke. "During episodes of dehydration, blood thickens making it difficult for the heart to effectively pump blood through the arteries. This in turn may lead to low blood pressure as well as low supply of blood to the brain (insufficient cerebral perfusion), thus increasing risks for developing strokes," Houssein told IANS. "Dehydration can also make vessels in the brain narrow so much which then reduces flow of blood together with oxygen needed by vital tissues in brain areas. Additionally, inadequate hydration affects temperature regulation which might result in heat related illnesses stressing out the cardiac system further," he noted. A large study published in the Lancet journal eBioMedicine, last year, showed that people who aren't hydrated enough may age faster and even have a higher risk for chronic diseases that could result in early death. Not consuming enough water can increase the risk of death by 20 per cent, it showed. Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health, including reducing stroke risk, said the experts. "Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, particularly during hot weather or physical activity," they said. Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Longer the life of a food product, the sooner your expiry date: Revant Himatsingka aka Food Pharmer Kamath is also known for his fitness advice on social media. While he reiterated the need to keep oneself fit, the stroke, he acknowledged, left him questioning why a person who's fit and takes care of himself could be affected. "Stroke is usually associated with old age and pre-existing conditions like hypertension and diabetes; however, it is essential to note that young people who seem healthy can become stroke victims. In this age group, apart from dehydration, unappreciated cardiovascular conditions as congenital heart diseases, or abnormalities in blood supplying vessels to the brain, often go unrecognised," Houssein explained. Drug abuse, trauma or brain injury, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases are other reasons that result in strokes among young and fit persons. Also Read: Are vapes really a safer alternative to cigarettes? The doctors stressed the need for regular medical check-ups and screenings particularly among those whose family history has incidences of strokes or heart diseases; eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. 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

27 February,2024 01:40 AM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Mitchell Kenneth

'Star Trek' actor Kenneth Mitchell succumbs to fatal motor neuron disease

Canadian actor Kenneth Mitchell, known for roles in 'Star Trek' and 'Captain Marvel', on Monday passed away aged 49 due to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- a fatal motor neuron disease. The disease, a slow degeneration of nerves of the brain, starts in mid-middle age, around 50s. Ken battled the fatal disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, for five and a half years, his family posted in a statement on Instagram. “With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Kenneth Alexander Mitchell, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, son and dear friend,” the post read. “Ken was widely known as an actor in many films and television shows. He portrayed an Olympic hopeful, an apocalypse survivor, an astronaut, a superhero’s dad, and four unique Star Trekkers,” it added. Dr Ishu Goyal, Associate Consultant Neurologist, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, says that no particular reason behind the disease is known yet, which makes it difficult to predict who can get the disease. “While sometimes it is genetic, it does not run in families. So we cannot really predict who is going to get ALS,” Ishu said. Muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventually respiratory failure are the main outcomes of ALS, which predominantly affects the motor neurons that regulate voluntary muscles -- used for chewing, talking and moving arms and legs. Symptoms of ALS include muscle weakness, muscle cramps and twitches (fasciculations), impaired motor function, dysphagia, or slurred speech, increased muscular tone and stiffness and breathing issues. “People with ALS may eventually lose their abilities to move, breathe, eat, and talk as the disease worsens,” Dr Vipul Gupta, chief of Neurointervention and co-chief of stroke unit, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, told IANS. “Insufficient oxygen delivery to the bloodstream by the lungs is the primary cause of death for most ALS patients. Breathing may become difficult or impossible with ALS. This is due to the fact that it affects the muscles in our lungs and chest. The diaphragm, which divides your chest from your abdomen, is one of these muscles. Other breathing muscles affected include those between your ribs,” he added. A common clinical feature of the disease is its slow-growing process. “It usually starts with weakness in one part of the body. It may start from the hand or leg. And gradually the weakness keeps on increasing, and it keeps on stepwise involving the other parts of the body. So the part of the body that gets affected loses its function,” Ishu said. Over the years, the weakness keeps on increasing, making the patient wheelchair-bound. However, the patient remains mentally normal. They can think, communicate normally. Gradually it also affects speaking function, and ultimately turns fatal as it starts affecting respiration, as well as causes swallowing dysfunction. Unfortunately, there is no particular cure for this disorder, but there are a few drugs which slow down the process of ALS to a certain extent, the doctors said. It may prolong the life of the patient by a few months. The two drugs that are currently used are the Tarragon injections, which are given monthly, and Dialysol tablets, which have to be taken twice daily.

26 February,2024 04:42 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
Parents, Divyam Patel and Dr Lalit verma. Image credits: Global Hospital, Mumbai

Mother donates part of liver to 12-year-old son in lifesaving transplant

Mumbai: A mother from Surat, selflessly donated a portion of her liver to her 12-year-old son who was suffering from severe acute liver failure. Dr Lalit Verma, Dr Gaurav Chaubal and the liver transplant team successfully conducted an intricate 12-hour transplant surgery to save the child's life. The child has now been discharged from the hospital and is gearing up to return to school as he did before. Divyam Patel was doing well until he developed a high fever and began vomiting. He received outpatient care with supportive treatment and oral antibiotics in Surat. However, after 5 days, he had altered consciousness and was admitted to a tertiary care hospital on 27/12/ 23 in altered consciousness. Due to liver failure indicated by abnormal liver function tests, he required an urgent transplant. Subsequently, he was transferred to Global Hospitals in Parel Mumbai for further treatment. Dr Lalit Verma, Sr Consultant, Pediatric Liver Transplant Program said, “With continuous higher requirement of ventilator support and risk of internal bleeding decision was made to perform a liver transplant on super urgent basis. He was having severe acute liver failure secondary to the Hepatitis A virus. Approximately 99 percent of patients who contract Hepatitis A infection recover without hospitalisation. However, 0.5 to 1 percent of patients may require ICU care and some may need to undergo liver transplant with worsening of liver function (jaundice, bleeding, multi-organ failure). His mother with the same blood group came forward to donate a part of her liver.  The required test was performed in a record time. Dr Gaurav Chaubal, Director of Liver, Pancreas, Intestine Transplant and HPB Surgery led a team to perform a 12-hour surgery and was discharged 12 days after surgery. Divyam miraculously responded to the treatment and recovered in 12 days post-surgery “After the successful transplant, Divyam has shown remarkable progress and a strong desire to return to normalcy. His appetite and overall activity have significantly improved. His eagerness to resume school reflects not only his determination but his innate resilience,” said Dr Chaubal. “As a mother, witnessing my son's struggle with liver failure was heartbreaking. The fear of losing him consumed me until the doctors stepped in and gave us hope through a life-saving liver transplant. Their team of dedicated medical professionals worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the procedure. I am forever grateful for their expertise and commitment. Witnessing the transformation in my son post-transplant has been nothing short of miraculous. He can now eat well and has resumed his daily routine. He will soon be meeting his friends as he intends to join the school in some days.  We have realized the importance of organ donation and will advocate for raising awareness about this critical issue,” concluded Mrunalini Patel. 

26 February,2024 04:11 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Mid-Day Premium Donor gametes are allowed for single women, divorcees but here is the catch

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has modified the surrogacy rules (2022) to let married couples avail an egg or sperm of a donor in case one of the partners has a medical condition. As per the new law, the District Medical Board has to certify that either the husband or wife is suffering from a medical condition necessitating the use of donor gamete. The surrogacy using donor gamete is allowed subject to the condition that the child to be born through surrogacy must have at least one gamete from the intending couple, it stated. Before the passing of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021, restrictions on the definition, process and rights of the intending couple, intending mother, surrogate and child were not established, informs Mr Nitiz Murdia, the co-founder and managing director at Indira IVF. In light of the mushrooming of IVF and surrogacy clinics in India – the regulations to govern the space remained grey. With the upgraded Act now, the following factors have been established:  What is the eligibility criteria?  For couples 1. The couple must be of Indian origin. 2. The couple must be legally married. 3. The female partner must be between the ages of 23 and 50, while the male partner must be between the ages of 26 and 55 on the day of registration. 4. The couple must not have any surviving child either biologically, through adoption, or via surrogacy. Additionally, they must not have a child who is mentally or physically challenged, or suffering from a life-threatening disorder without a permanent cure. The amendment came after the Supreme Court last year received petitions from women across the country  For single women 1. The woman must be of Indian origin. 2. She must be either a widow or a divorcee. 3. She must be between the ages of 35 and 45 years. 4. The woman must not have any surviving child either biologically, through adoption, or via surrogacy. Additionally, she must not have a child who is mentally or physically challenged, or suffering from a life-threatening disorder without a permanent cure.  Also Read: Do unmarried women in India feel judged and ashamed when visiting gynaecologists?  Eligibility to be a surrogate mother: 1. Must willingly agree to become a surrogate mother without any form of force or coercion. 2. Must be willing to engage in altruistic surrogacy, where no financial compensation, fees or remuneration, except for necessary medical expenses and prescribed costs, are provided to the surrogate mother or her dependents. 3. Must have been previously married. 4. Must have at least one child of her own. 5. Must be between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of implantation. 6. Must not have previously served as a surrogate mother and must not have had three unsuccessful attempts at surrogacy. 7. Must not provide her own gametes for the surrogacy process. 8. Must provide consent as required by the relevant laws and regulations.  Medical requirements for the intending couple or woman Murdia stresses that the intending couple or woman must have one of the following medical indications necessitating gestational surrogacy: 1. Absence of uterus, congenital absence, or abnormality of the uterus (such as hypoplastic uterus, intrauterine adhesions, thin endometrium or small uni-cornuate uterus) or surgical removal of the uterus due to medical conditions like gynaecological cancer. 2. Intended parent or woman experiencing recurrent failure to conceive after multiple attempts of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), also known as recurrent implantation failure. 3. Multiple pregnancy losses without an identifiable medical cause or unexplained graft rejection attributed to an exaggerated immune response. 4. Any medical condition rendering it impossible for the woman to carry a pregnancy to viability or posing life-threatening risks during pregnancy.   In the presence of these conditions, the Act first presented had allowed the use of gametes only from the biological parents to be fertilised and to be used for the purpose of surrogacy. However, there can be other medical indications due to which a female might be unable to produce eggs at all and may also have a dysfunctional uterus. This includes the following:   1. She has Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is a disorder that mainly affects the female reproductive system. This condition causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent, although external genitalia are normal 2. She has pre-mature ovarian failure wherein a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs before the age of 40 and transition to menopause What previous surrogacy law stated The Centre had in March 2023 issued a notification banning donor gametes for couples intending to undergo surrogacy. The amendment came after the Supreme Court last year received petitions from women across the country after it allowed a woman with a rare congenital disorder to avail surrogacy with a donor egg. Thus, keeping this in mind, the amendment to allow the use of one donor gamete has been introduced. However, the modified act now eases the constraints faced by couples and single mothers trying to conceive. This can be performed when the District Medical Board certifies that either partner in the intending couple has a medical condition that necessitates the use of a donor gamete. Thus, one of the gametes, either the egg or the sperm, has to be of the couple and the other can be from a donor, upon the vetting of the District Medical Board. However, the amendment does not introduce changes for single women who are widowed or divorced; should they opt for surrogacy, the egg must be their own and they may opt for a donor sperm.  Also Read: World Cancer Day: Examining the impact of physical activity on preventing breast cancerSingle men do not qualify The law does not allow single men to opt for surrogacy. In India, it is prohibited to determine the sex of a child before it is born and hence, the sex of a child born through assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy is also unknown. The Act’s exclusion of single men may be inspired by the regulations surrounding adoption in India which states that single men may not adopt a girl child. Legal implications The process may be slightly longer and tedious for an intending couple or woman, state experts. Four documents which include a certificate of essentiality, certificate of eligibility of surrogate mother, certificate of eligibility of intending couple or woman, and approval for availing surrogacy from the state ART board have to be produced. Following this, and on a unique case basis only, intending couples would be allowed to use either a sperm or egg donor for surrogacy. Such patients may require assistance from a lawyer to get the documents to apply for surrogacy. Thus, an additional legal cost may be implied for the patient, thereby, increasing the overall cost of treatment. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, adopts a stringent approach to prevent malpractices through measures like prohibiting commercial surrogacy, imposing strict eligibility criteria, and regulating ART clinics. The surrogate mother is entitled to medical expenses during the gestation period and insurance coverage for 36 months. Moreover, the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act, 2021 has prioritised the safety of donors and especially egg donors, wherein donors have to be between ages 25-35 years, and they can donate eggs only once in their lifetime. It has specified medical insurance for the donors as well. Ultimately, the Acts’ effectiveness in curbing malpractices depends on robust enforcement. Continuous evaluation basis of the ever-evolving healthcare scenario and unique patient cases further helps in creating more stringent and inclusive legislation. Thus, the latest amendment is a testament to the same that protects the fundamental rights of patients.   Also Read: Does Ozempic help in sustainable weight loss? 

26 February,2024 10:32 AM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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