World Blood Donor Day 2017: Dos and don’ts to keep in mind while donating blood

A single blood donation, as doctors and the American Red Cross believe, can save the lives of up to three people. Doctors, from a single unit of blood, can use several individual components separately, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc. On 14 June, every year, countries all over the world come together to celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The event is aimed at raising awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products and thanking blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. This year’s campaign focuses on blood donation in emergencies and therefore the slogan is “What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often”.

In an emergency situation the natural response of an individual, inevitably is how can they help. The slogan then intends to help those who are stuck in a similar crisis by showing the way — give blood, give now and give often. As is evident from the slogan, the campaign harps on the role every individual can play to help out others in an emergency situation. Much like the other years, the objective is to prepare people to deal with emergencies, to engage authorities in the establishment of blood donor programmes, and to raise awareness of the need for a year-round blood donation.

Though transfusions of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year, including during emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters, and childbirth, it is extremely important that  certain safety features are kept in mind, while both donating and even receiving blood. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind, while participating in blood donation camps and campaigns.

World Blood Donor Day, Dos and don'ts blood donation, blood donation, donating blood saves lives, how to donate blood,Make sure it’s safe
* Check the safety and hygiene standards of the local camps before you sign up to donate blood.
* This includes checking the cleanliness of vials and syringes being used, which should be new and not reused.
* Attendants and doctors should be wearing gloves while handling the blood.
* People with infectious diseases (even a cold) should not be allowed at the donation point.
* Make sure you have a donor card that specifies your blood type.

Can you donate blood?
* As a donor, it is your responsibility to ensure the quality of blood you’re donating.
* You must be above 18 years of age.
* You should not be underweight. “Usually donors weighing more than 45-50kg are acceptable,” says Dr Byotra.
* You should not be suffering from any infectious (such as a cold or flu) or chronic diseases (such as diabetes).
* You should not have taken any intoxicating drugs, orally or otherwise, within 48 hours prior to donating blood.
* You should not have high blood pressure.
* You should not be pregnant or menstruating.

After you’ve donated blood
Once you have donated, it is also important to take care of your own health because it takes around 24 hours to replenish the volume of blood lost, which is around 400ml, or one unit.
* Soon after, make sure you drink a fruit juice or glucose-rich drink, and eat a light snack like fruits.
* Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid caffeine.
* Avoid smoking.
* You can go to work immediately after donating blood, doctors advise avoidance of intense physical exertion.

Feeling the heat? Here’s some tips for keeping the body cool in summer

Stock up onion, lemon, and eggs in your kitchen in summer as they help cool down your body naturally, say experts. Chef Ashish Massey at The Ancient Barbeque, and chef Sonu Negi share tips for keeping your body cool in summer:

* Keep your body hydrated. Drink plenty of water and try to add a glass of water half hour before every meal. This helps in easy digestion of food.

* Have fruits in morning and try to avoid fruits in the night as the sugar level of the fruits keeps you energetic and is absorbed in a day more as compared to night.

* Add lemon to your meal. Sun in summer leads to loss of vitamins and makes skin dry and dull. Lemon rich in vitamin-C helps to keep your skin healthy.

* Onions have amazing cooling properties. You can add it to your curries, dips, raitas, salads, and chutneys to help keep you cool. The red onions, in particular, are very rich in quercetin, which is a natural anti-allergen. Having lots of onions can provide you protection against sunstroke.

* Mint is a simple, easily available herb which you can add to your card to make pudina raita or have it in the form of chutneys besides using it in dips. The best thing about it is that you can grow it in a small pot at home for your use. Though it does not help bring down the body temperature but is refreshing to eat.

* Eat two boiled eggs daily for breakfast as it is the best and easily available form of protein in the market. Egg-rich in protein and good carbohydrates has a rich property of fast digestible food.

Western diet may up risk of Alzheimer’s: Study

Western diet, rich in cholesterol, fat and sugar, may significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people who carry a gene linked to the neurodegenerative disorder, a new study warns. ApoE4 and ApoE3 are two variants of a gene that codes for a protein, apolipoprotein E, which binds fats and cholesterol to transport them to the body’s lymphatic and circulatory systems and to the brain.

The ApoE4 variant is linked to increased inflammation, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease and appears in around 10 to 15 per cent of the population, researchers from University of Southern California (USC) in the US said. ApoE3, which does not increase risk for the disease, is a much more common variant appearing in an estimated 70 to 75 per cent of the population, they said.

The team compared the effects of a poor diet on groups of mice that either had the Alzheimer’s-associated ApoE4 gene orthe relatively benign variant of the gene, ApoE3. They placed a group of mice with ApoE4 on a control diet that was 10 per cent fat and seven per cent sucrose, while another group of mice with ApoE4 ate a Western diet that was of 45 per cent fat and 17 per cent sucrose for 12 weeks. A similar test was run on mice with ApoE3.

alzheimers, memory loss, memory loss resons, western diet and memory loss, Indian express, Indian express newsThe team found that on the unhealthy diet, both the mice with ApoE4 and those with ApoE3 gained weight and became pre – diabetic. But most significantly, those with ApoE4 on the unhealthy diet quickly developed more Alzheimer’s plaques – a marker for inflammation – in their brains, that obstruct cognition and memory but those with ApoE3 did not. However, Alzheimer’s symptoms did not worsen for the ApoE3 mice that ate a Western diet, researchers said.

“What happens to you in life is a combination of the genes that you have, the environment and behaviours, such as diet,” said Christian Pike, professor at USC.

“Our thinking is that the risk of Alzheimer’s associated with obesity is going to be regulated to some degree by the genes that we have,” Pike said

New ‘real sun-tan’ drug may help prevent cancer

Scientists have developed a new drug that mimics sunlight to make a person’s skin tan without being exposed to harmful ultraviolet radiation, reducing the risk of skin cancer. In tests on human skin samples and mice, the drug tricked the skin into producing the brown form of the pigment melanin, that gives human skin, hair and eyes their colour.

According to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, the finding could prevent skin cancer and even slow the ageing process. Ultraviolet (UV) light makes the skin tan by causing damage. This kicks off a chain of chemical reactions in the skin that ultimately leads to dark melanin – the body’s natural sunblock – being made.

cancer, cancer and suncreen, sun tan, sunscreens, ultra violet radiations, Indian express, Indian express newsThe new drug is rubbed into the skin to skip the damage and kick-start the process of making melanin. “It has a potent darkening effect. Under the microscope it’s the real melanin, it really is activating the production of pigment in a UV-independent fashion,” David Fisher, one of the researchers, told BBC News.

It is a markedly different approach to fake tan, which “paints” the skin without the protection from melanin, sun beds, which expose the skin to UV light or pills that claim to boost melanin production but still need UV light.

The scientists want to combine their drug with sun-cream to give maximum protection from solar radiation. “Our real goal is a novel strategy for protecting skin from UV radiation and cancer. Dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer – that would be really huge,” said Fisher.

Over third of heart surgery devices infected with bacteria

More than one third of the devices that are used in open-heart surgeries may be contaminated with a life-threatening bacteria, putting patients at the risk of deadly infections, a new US study warns. Researchers from the Special Pathogens Laboratory in the US found that 33 out of 89 heater-cooler units (HCU) about 37 per cent tested positive for Mycobacterium chimaera (Mchimaera) – a bacterium associated with fatal infections in open-heart surgery patients. HCUs control the temperature of a patient’s blood and organs during heart bypass surgery.

“The extent of contamination from such a rare organism in multiple units from all over the country was surprising,” said John Rihs, from the Special Pathogens Laboratory. Some devices remained positive for M chimera for months,indicating that disinfection can be difficult and routine testing is advisable, researchers said. “Beyond M chimera, we found other NTM species, Legionella and fungi, indicating these units are capable of supporting adverse microbial population,” Rihs said.

heart surgery devices, heart surgery devices available in india, heart surgery devices contaminated, bacteria contaminated heart surgery devices, indian express, indian express newsThe team assessed devices already in use for the presence of non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) colonisation (primarily M chimaera) in Heater-cooler units (HCU) before and after decontamination. Researchers tested about 653 water samples from 89 units received from 23 hospitals across the US and Canada. The team was surprised to find how contaminated the units were, with 97 cultures deemed uninterpretable due to high levels of bacterial and fungal contamination. Multiple other strains of mycobacteria were also detected in many of the units. HCUs have water tanks that provide temperature-controlled water during surgery through closed circuits. The water in the instrument does not come into direct contact with the patient, researchers said.

However, the water can aerosolise, and if contaminated,transmit bacteria through the air into the environment, and to the patient, they said. M chimaera is often found in soil and water but is rarely associated with infections. However, patients exposed to the bacteria through open-heart surgery can develop general and nonspecific symptoms that can often take months to emerge. As a result, diagnosis of these infections can be missed or delayed, sometimes for years, making these infections more difficult to treat.

Suffering from diabetes? Eating broccoli can help keep it in check

Eating broccoli sprouts may help diabetes patients manage their blood sugar, according to a new study which offers a much needed alternative to address the worldwide epidemic.Eating broccoli sprouts may help diabetes patients manage their blood sugar, according to a new study which offers a much needed alternative to address the worldwide epidemic.
Type 2 diabetes affects more than 300 million people globally, and as many as 15 per cent of those patients cannot take the first-line therapy metformin because of kidney damage risks. Seeking a more viable path forward, researchers identified compounds that might counter the disease — associated gene expression changes associated with type 2 diabetes. The researchers, including Annika Axelsson of Lund University in Sweden, constructed a signature for type 2 diabetes based on 50 genes, then used data sets to screen 3,852 compounds for drugs that potentially reverse disease.

diabetes, ways to control diabetes, advantages of broccoli, how to control diabetes, indian express, indian express newsThe most promising chemical — sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound found in cruciferous vegetables — tamped down glucose production by liver cells growing in culture, and shifted liver gene expression away from a diseased state in diabetic rats.

When the researchers gave concentrated broccoli sprout extracts to 97 human type 2 diabetes patients in a 12-week randomised placebo-controlled trial, obese participants who entered the study with dysregulated disease demonstrated significantly decreased fasting blood glucose levels compared to controls. The researchers said that developing gene signatures to investigate large public repositories of gene expression data could be a valuable strategy to rapidly identify clinically relevant compounds.

Recreational activity may up facial fracture risk in elderly

Although participating in recreational activities such as aerobics and muscle-strengthening activities could make older adults active, they may adversely increase the risk of facial fractures and other injuries, a study has warned.

The study showed that bicycling was the most common source of injury and was responsible for 26.6 per cent of the injuries.

Playing a team sport, such as softball or baseball, was the second most common source of injury and accounted for 15.4 per cent of all facial fractures, while outdoor activities such as hiking or camping accounted for 10 per cent of the injuries.

Interestingly, gardening was responsible for 9.5 per cent of injuries, and walking and jogging accounted for 5.5 per cent.

“Although injuries associated with more energetic and vigorous activities were more common overall, physicians should be aware that even activities characterised as having low risk such as gardening and walking still carry potential for trauma and facial fractures in this older patient population,” said Peter F. Svider from the Wayne State University in Detroit, US.

In more than 65 per cent cases, nose was the most common location for facial injuries.

While bones around the eye accounted for over 14 per cent of the fractures, other facial fractures, including jaw or cheek, were less common, and each accounted for less than 10 per cent of the injuries.

For the study, published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, the team collected data on emergency department visits from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2015, for individuals 55 years of age or older who sustained facial fractures from recreational activities.

The annual incidences of facial fractures from recreational activities increased by 45.3 per cent from 2011 to 2015.

As the population ages, public health agencies have encouraged aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening exercises among older individuals. However, there are no guidelines aimed at helping them avoid getting hurt, the researchers said.

Diet Diary: Why all that you read about red meat may not be right

Beef: Round, Sirloin, Shuck, Loin
Veal: All trimmed cuts
Pork: Tenderloin, leg (fresh), shoulder (arm or picnic)
Lamb: Leg, arm, loin

Red meat has acquired a negative reputation. Messages about its consumption are both confusing and misleading. It is generally believed that meat is rich in fat and cholesterol and a high intake of it, is associated with heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In fact, the fat and cholesterol content in lean red meat are comparable to poultry and fish.

A paper which reviewed 54 studies on the relation between red meat consumption and coronary artery disease, reveals that red meat may not be as bad as it is believed to be. Substantial evidence from recent studies show that lean red meat trimmed of visible fat does not raise blood cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Intake of harmful fats mainly comes from hydrogenated fats in fast foods, snacks, oils, spreads and other processed foods and visible fat of meat — referred to as charbi in Hindi — rather than from lean red meat. In fact, lean red meat is low in saturated fat and if consumed as a part of a healthy diet, is associated with reductions in LDL(bad) cholesterol in individuals with high and normal cholesterol levels. Lean red meat consumption has been found to have no effect on clotting properties of blood by researchers.

From an evolutionary perspective, human diet histories show that for a period of at least 2 million years, our ancestors consumed increasing quantities of meat. This meat was wild game — low in total and saturated fat and relatively high in poly-unsaturated fats (PUFA). The evidence presented in these reviews indicates that meat was a major energy source in pre-agricultural humans.

red meat, red meat consumption, red meat effects, cholesterol levels in red meat, red meat diseases, health newsOn the basis of several reviews, scientific evidence is accumulating that lean red meat is a healthy and beneficial component of any well balanced diet as long as it is fat trimmed and consumed as a part of a varied diet. It emphasises that meat itself is not a risk factor for western lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but, rather the risk stems from excessive consumption of harmful hydrogenated fats and untrimmed fatty meat of modern grain and concentrate fed domesticated animals.

Although there are some conflicting studies which associate red meat consumption with increased inflammation and increased risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease, the important thing to remember is that they do not take into account the quality of meat and several have been done on processed and cured meats like sausages, bacon, salami etc.

Meat is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and bio-available heme iron, a form of iron which is far more readily absorbed compared to iron found in plant foods. For women and teenage girls, who are more likely to get iron deficiency anaemia, lean red meat may be an important source of iron.

As is well known, ‘the dose makes the poison’. People who experience increased risk of colon cancer are those who consume more than 250 gms of red meat everyday.

Along with the quantity, the quality of meat and its processing also counts. Scientific evidence reveals that processed meat like sausages, bacon and salami increase the risk of bowel cancer more than red meat. They are not only high on fats but also contain potentially carcinogenic components such as nitrites. It is recommended that cured or processed meats be eaten as a condiment or flavouring with foods rather than as a main dish. Therefore, the American Cancer Society advocates limited intake of processed meats. Organ meats such as liver and kidney are relatively low in fat but high in cholesterol, and should be eaten less often, no more than once a month.

Other issues which need to be addressed are cooking methods — how healthy your diet is and how much of vegetables and fruits you eat. Cooking meats at very high temperatures such as frying or barbecuing, eating too much of char-grilled meat and processed meat is undesirable as it forms harmful compounds which can be carcinogenic. Cook meat in healthy ways — bake, roast or broil and do not fry. Marinating with herbs such as ginger, garlic and turmeric reduces formation of harmful compounds.

Childhood passive smoking may up arthritis risk later

Exposure to passive smoking in childhood significantly increased the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis in adult smokers, a study has showed.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet.

The findings showed that in smokers who had childhood passive exposure to smoke, the hazard ratio was 1.73 compared with non-smokers not exposed during childhood.

“Our study highlights the importance of avoiding any tobacco environment in children, especially in those with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis,” said lead author Raphaele Seror, professor at the University Hospitals of South Paris, France.

The results of the study was presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017.

Smoking, Cigarettes Further, in a separate analysis smoking was also associated with increased progression of structural damage to the spine in patients with ankylosing spondylitis — a painful, progressive and disabling form of arthritis caused by chronic inflammation affecting the spine and large joints.

Smoking led to the formation of new bony growths (known as syndesmophytes), the researchers said.

“Smoking constitutes a major risk factor not only for disease susceptibility but also disease severity in patients with AS,” said Servet Akar, professor from Izmir Katip Celebi University, Turkey.

“Rheumatologists should work hard to encourage their AS patients to quit smoking as this could have a major impact on future quality of life,” he added.

Teenagers today as sedentary as 60-year-olds

Amid heightened concern that exercise deficits are contributing to the growing obesity epidemic, new research has found that activity levels of teenagers are comparable to 60-year-olds.

The findings, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, also showed that starting at age 35, activity levels declined through midlife and older adulthood.

The study involved 12,529 participants who wore tracking devices for seven straight days, removing them for only bathing and at bedtime.

“Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low, and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds,” said the study’s senior author, Vadim Zipunnikov, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, US.

For their study, the researchers used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 survey cycles.

The devices measured how much time participants were sedentary or engaged in light or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

The researchers broke down findings into five age groups — children (ages six to 11); adolescents (ages 12 to 19); young adults (ages 20 to 29); adults at midlife (ages 31 to 59); and older adults (age 60 to 84).

Forty-nine per cent of the participants were male, the rest female.

Activity among 20-somethings, the only age group that saw an increase in activity levels, was spread out throughout the day, with an increase in physical activity in the early morning, compared to younger adolescents.

The increase may be related to starting full-time work and other life transitions.

Although males generally had higher activity levels than females, particularly high-intensity activity, after midlife, these levels dropped off sharply compared to females.

Among adults 60 years and older, males were more sedentary and had lower light-intensity activity levels than females.

The study confirmed that recommended guidelines were not being met. For instance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a day for children ages five to 17 years.

The study found that more than 25 per cent of boys and 50 per cent of girls ages six to 11 and more than 50 per cent of male and 75 per cent of female adolescents ages 12 to 19 had not met the WHO recommendation.