The Telangana Science Journal

(Dedicated to one of the most backward regions in India, "Telangana," where I was born, although I am an American citizen and ethnically 1/2 Andhra , 1/4 Kannada and only 1/4 Telangana. )

Issue: 60

5104 Kali Era , Chitrabhanu Year, Pushya month
1924 Salivahana Era , Chitrabhanu Year, Pushya month
2060 Vikramarka Era, Chitrabhanu year, Pushya month
 2002 AD, December
Chief Editor: Sreenivasarao Vepachedu , PhD, LLM
Contributing Editor: Venkateswara Rao Karuparthy (KVR) , MD, DABPM


KVR's Column
Breathing Exercise
Kiddush Prevents Cancer
Mammograms Detect Heart Disease
Mountain-Biking and Men
Potbelly Kills You
A Regular Phenomenon, Not Alarming
The Three-Continental-Link
A Regular Routine Keeps You Healthy
Average Age of American Mother
Morning After Pill Reduced Abortion
Stanford Motorcycles with Laptops in India
Physical Fitness and Education
Reddy beats Pfizer


KVR's Column

This month’s study (see below) shows beneficial effects of respiratory muscle training for Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. This is very interesting in the sense that age old pranayama breathing techniques are designed to balance and control the physiology of the body. The training of respiratory muscles in general helps the ventilatory capacity and overall stamina of the patient. This in turn helps to improve oxygenation and general health, just like any muscular exercise.

However, pranayama breathing yoga techniques are subtler and complex and claim to have multiple physiological effects. For example, surya anuloma viloma (breathing exclusively through right nostril) has been shown to activate sympathetic nervous system along with increased metabolic rate. Pranayama also has been shown to increase muscle strength.

It is important to validate ancient knowledge by modern research.  I am glad that there is an increased interest in scientific community to explore these ancient techniques and validate them.

Further reading:

1.Beckon, J Changes in blood glucose levels induced by different forced uni-nostril breathing, a technique which affects both brain hemispericity and autoomic activity, Medical Science Research, 16:1197-99 1988
2. Physiological effects of Yoga Breathing Raghuraj, Shirley Telles, Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore India, Selected papers of 5th International conference on ‘Frontiers in Yoga Research & Applications 16-19 Dec 1999.

- Venkateswara Rao Karuparthy

Breathing Exercise
In the first controlled study of its type, researchers have discovered that respiratory muscle training in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can produce functional improvement through structural adaptation within the respiratory muscles. Spanish investigators studied 14 male patients with COPD in a randomized, placebo-control trial of an inspiratory muscle training protocol. Half of the patients, who were about age 66,  received sham treatment. The other seven participants underwent supervised breathing using a threshold inspiratory device for 30 minutes per day, five times a week, for five consecutive weeks.  The researchers found that respiratory muscle strength as well as respiratory endurance were significantly increased after inspiratory muscle training. However, the investigators were unable to detect any changes in either walking distance or maximal oxygen uptake. The study appears in the first issue for December 2002 of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Kiddush Prevents Cancer
Concord grape juice widely used by American Jews for making Kiddush on Shabbat has been found by researchers in Texas to be a powerful, heart-protective and anti-cancer antioxidant that compares favorably to synthetic supplements. Ishwarlal Jialal and others at the Southwest Medical Center in Houston published their research in November issue of  the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.   Flavonoids that are found in fruit, vegetables, chocolate, tea, wine, and grape juice reduce cellular oxidative stress and are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.  In their article, the researchers compared the effects of Concord grape juice and antioxidant supplements in a group of healthy subjects, and found that it is a potent, long-lasting antioxidant that compares favorably to supplements in its action and perhaps has unique properties that supplements do not.

Mammograms Detect Heart Disease
More than 350,000 U.S. women die of heart disease each year, compared with about 40,000 who die from breast cancer. Yet many women believe breast cancer is a greater risk and may not know they have heart disease.  Mammograms, designed to detect breast cancer, may also reveal signs of an even greater threat to women: heart disease. Mammogram images can detect calcifications in breast arteries that may indicate an increased chance of developing heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic study of 1,803 women.  Women with breast-artery calcifications were 20 percent more likely to have heart disease than those without calcifications.

Mountain-Biking and Men
According to a small Austrian study that adds fodder to a debate over cycling and male sexual function presented at an annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, frequent mountain-biking may reduce fertility in men.  The research suggests frequent jolts and vibration caused by biking over rough terrain may cause abnormalities, including small scars within the scrotum and impaired sperm production. The abnormalities were found in professional mountain bikers and other "extreme" bikers who logged at least 3,000 miles yearly - or an average of more than two hours a day, six days a week.  The study found nearly 90 percent of 55 bikers studied had low sperm counts and scrotal abnormalities. Only 26 percent of the 35 non-bikers studied had similar damage.

Potbelly Kills You
It's long been known that having a potbelly and high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack or stroke, but a medical study released on December 4th in  Journal of the American Medical Association has estimated that people with those risks and others are two to three times more likely to die prematurely. Experts say about one-third of middle-aged men and women in the USA have the same cluster of risk factors, called metabolic syndrome. People with this syndrome have at least three of the following risk factors: high blood sugar; a waist circumference of greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women (Asians and Indians have a lower threshold); lower-than-average HDL cholesterol; high triglycerides; and high blood pressure.  Men who had the syndrome at the study's start had a two to three times greater chance of dying of a heart attack or a stroke during the study than men who did not have this collection of risk factors. In addition, men who had the syndrome also had a greater risk of dying for any reason, although most of the extra risk of death was because of the higher chance of suffering a heart attack.  Regular exercise and a healthful diet can trim a waistline, lower blood sugar and reduce the risk associated with this syndrome.

Among all women, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. Heart disease kills more than five times as many women as breast cancer. Moreover, cardiovascular disease kills more women than men.  A landmark heart study of more than 5,000 Chicago area women has shown how being physically fit reduces a woman's risk of dying.  During the seven years the women's cases were followed, those who were out of shape were 1.7 times more likely to die from all causes than women fit enough to run 5 mph. Women who had a metabolic score of less than 5 were 1.7 times as likely to die during the seven-year study as women who scored higher than 8, the average score. Here are metabolic scores of sample activities: 1.0-Watching TV; 1.5-Vigorous sex; 2.5-Slow walk (2 mph); 4.0-Leisure bicycling (slower than 10 mph); 5.0-Walking up stairs, carrying up to 15 lbs; 8.0-Singles tennis or running a 12-minute mile (5 mph); 10.0-Swimming laps freestyle, vigorously; 12.0-Rope-jumping, fast; 15.0-Competitive speed skating.  The findings were presentedat the recent meeting in Chicago of the American Heart Association .

A Regular Phenomenon, Not Alarming?
"It's a regular phenomenon. Each year, after the rainy season and before winter sets in, many, many children die in Uttar Pradesh. This is nothing alarming," said Navtej Singh, the administrator. Poverty, illiteracy and a lack of hygiene lead to the death of hundreds of children each year from diseases spread by mosquitoes and flies in Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state in size and population.  Health experts have begun investigating a mysterious virus that has killed nearly 100 children and sickened hundreds of others over the last two months in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The children, mostly below 12 years in age, have died in hospitals in small towns following what doctors and district officials said was high fever brought on by mosquito bites: Japanese encephalitis is spread from pigs to humans through mosquito bites. It attacks the central nervous system, causing flu-like symptoms, vomiting, paralysis and even death.  The disease had not been widely reported by the news media as such deaths were common.  Media has more imortant things to report than this regular phenomenon and there is nothing to be alarmed because death is natural!?

The Three-Continental-Link: The link between Africa and Asia lives in India
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of more than 300 islands in the Bay of Bengal and are part of the Indian Union.  Geologically the islands are part of the land mass comprising north-east part of the Indian Union, Burma, Thailand, Mlayaisa and Indonesia.   About 265 of these islands are not inhabited. The islands are surrounded by coral reefs, sandy beaches and clear water.  The climate in the Andaman and Nicobar islands is tropical.  The islands were used by the British in the 19th century, mainly for imprisoning Indian freedom fighters in the 'cellular jail'.  Brachycephalic Negroids from Africa were the oldest people to have to come to India.  These people are now found in patches among the hill tribes such as Irulas, Kodars, Paniyan, and Kurumbas of south India in the main land and in Andaman islands where they have retained their language.  The main tribes are Onge, Andamanese, Shompen, Nicobarese and Jarawa . The number of tribals is fast dwindling.  Anthropological Museum built in 1975, small but informative museum, showcases the four alleged Negroid tribes of the Andamans, viz, the Jarawas, the Sentinelese, the Andamanese and the Onges, and two Mongoloid tribes of the Nicobars, viz, the Nicobarese and the Shompens.

The link between Africa and Asia lives in the Indian Union in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, according to a study in the journal Current Biology . Genetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA, a genetic element passed down only through women, shows that the Onge and Jarawa people belong to a lineage, known as M, that is common throughout Asia, the geneticists say. This establishes them as Asians, not Africans, among whom a different mitochondrial lineage, called L, is dominant.  The geneticists then looked at the Y chromosome, which is passed down only through men and often gives a more detailed picture of genetic history than the mitochondrial DNA. The Onge and Jarawa men turned out to carry a special change or mutation in the DNA of their Y chromosome that is thought to be indicative of the Paleolithic population of Asia, the hunters and gatherers who preceded the first human settlements. The mutation, known as Marker 174, occurs among ethnic groups at the periphery of Asia who avoided being swamped by the populations that spread after the agricultural revolution that occurred about 8,000 years ago. It is found in many Japanese, in the Tibetans of the Himalayas and among isolated people of Southeast Asia, like the Hmong. The discovery of Marker 174 among the Andamanese suggests that they too are part of this relict Paleolithic population, descended from the first modern humans to leave Africa. Dr. Underhill, an expert on the genetic history of the Y chromosome, said the Paleolithic population of Asia might well have looked as African as the Onge and Jarawa do now, and that people with the appearance of present-day Asians might have emerged only later. It is also possible, he said, that their resemblance to African Pygmies is a human adaptation to living in forests that the two populations developed independently. NY .

A Regular Routine Keeps You Healthy
According to a study being published in The Journal of Family Psychology concludes that family routines can be good for both physical and mental well-being.  The authors defined routines as settled patterns of activity or communication and rituals as events or acts that evoked emotions or conferred meaning.  Routines appear to have benefits in terms of physical health or well-being and in families with predictable routines, children had fewer respiratory illnesses and better overall health, and they performed better in elementary school.  Adolescents in families with strong rituals reported a stronger sense of self, couples reported happier marriages, and children had greater interaction with their grandparents.

Average Age of American Mother
In 2000 the average American woman having her first baby was almost 25 years old. In 1970 the average age was 21.4 years for a first birth, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on December 11. The report also showed that the average (or mean) age of mothers for all births rose from 24.6 years to 27.2 over the past three decades.  Comparing international patterns, the report points to an increase in the average age at first birth in most of the developed countries; averages in 2000 ranged from 24 in the Slovak Republic to 29 in Switzerland. Several factors may account for this healthy delay in childbearing, most importantly educational opportunities and career choices for women. From 1970 to 2000, the number of women completing college has nearly doubled and the number in the labor force has gone up by almost 40 percent. Changes in contraception use, economic cycles, social support and marriage patterns should also be considered.  Over one-half of all births still occur to women in their twenties, but the average age in this group has shifted steadily upward since 1970. The increase in the average age of women having a baby also reflects the relatively recent downturn in the teen birth rate and the rising birth rates for women in their thirties and forties.

Morning After Pill Reduced Abortion
"Morning-after pills" prevented as many as 51,000 pregnancies that would have ended in abortion in the USA in 2000, a study reports in the current issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Researchers from the non-profit Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York and Washington, D.C., conclude that emergency contraceptive pills may have accounted for as much as 43% of the decline in abortions from 1994 to 2000. In 2000, 1.3 million abortions were performed, 110,000 fewer than in 1994.  Morning-after pills are basically high doses of oral contraceptives that prevent ovulation, fertilization or implantation of a fertilized egg. There are two brands on the U.S. market: Preven and Plan B .  The study's authors surveyed a nationally representative sample of 10,683 women who had had abortions in 2000-2001.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the main factor underlying heart failure and stroke, and can lead to heart attacks. High blood pressure affects 50 million Americans, and 24 million of them spend $15.5 billion a year for blood pressure lowering drugs. The remainder do not know they have hypertension or do not take drugs for it. The prevalence of hypertension increases with age; more than half of those over 60 have hypertension.  Traditional water pills, or diuretics, are superior to newer, more expensive drugs in lowering high blood pressure and preventing its serious and often fatal complications, according to a study reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The new study found that a diuretic, chlorthalidone, was more effective in preventing fatal and nonfatal heart attacks than were three other classes of drugs: amlodipine (sold as Norvasc), a calcium channel blocker; lisinopril (Zestril and Prinivil), an ACE inhibitor; and doxazonsin (Cardura), an alpha-adrenergic blocker.  The market for blood pressure lowering drugs is huge.

Stanford Motorcycles with Laptops in India
In India, a driver of a custom-designed Honda off-road motorcycle carrying a solar-powered laptop computer makes the rounds through remote countryside as a result of Reuters Foundation's fledgling Digital Vision Fellowship Program at Stanford University .  The projects are meant to be feasible, small-scale solutions to one of the most daunting challenges confronting philanthropic-minded technologists: making information technology accessible and relevant to those living in remote regions of developing nations. The mission is to spread literacy and bring basic information to villagers.  The computer-carrying motorcycle was developed by fellow Rajeswari Pingali and is on its way to rural India. The ``mobile telecenter'' has support of two foundations and a state government in India. Digital Vision began in October 2001 with five fellows, and has expanded to 12 this year, with a commitment from the Reuters Foundation for funding through at least next year. The fellows also bring funding through their companies or non-profit organizations, such as Cisco Systems or the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, or are in some cases self-funded. Projects typically cost about $10,000.

Physical Fitness and Education
The California Department of Education examined the relationship between the spring 2001 physical-fitness test and the Stanford Achievement Test results of more than 1 million students in reading and mathematics, and found a correlation between fitness and student achievement.  In the Santa Clarita Valley, where the students far surpassed the state averages last year in both tests, school officials say they have always put an emphasis on physical education because they believe it is an integral part of student achievement.  State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin announced that the results of a recent study conducted by the California Department of Education (CDE) show a distinct relationship between academic achievement and the physical fitness of California’s public school students.

Reddy beats Pfizer
The US District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit by Pfizer, Inc., the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, which sought a restriction on Dr Reddy’s Laboratories’ amlodipine maleate, on the grounds that the patent-term extension does not cover Dr Reddy’s amlodipine maleate product.  Pfizer’s contention was that amlodipine maleate was a copy of its own amlodipine besylate, the key ingredient of its $ 2 billion Norvasc drug. Norvasc is indicated for the treatment of hypertension and angina. It had total sales of $ three billion, including $ two billion in the US, and the rest elsewhere.  Dr Reddy’s stand was that as one salt in amlodipine maleate was different from Pfizer’s product, the product itself was unique, a “speciality product”. Pfizer filed a suit against Dr Reddy’s in June this year on the two Orange Book patent- ‘909 patent. DC


Sweet Potato Salad 
  Serves 8 
  2 cups cubed cooked sweet potatoes 
  1 apple, chopped 
  1 cup chopped celery 
  1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained 
  1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  1 (8-opunce) can juice-pack pineapple tidbits, drained 
  1/4 cup nonfat sour cream 
  1/4 cup egg substitute 
    2 tablespoons milk 
  1/2 teaspoon salt 


  Combine sweet potatoes, apple, celery, mandarin oranges, walnuts and pineapple in bowl; mix well.  Stir in mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise, milk and salt.  Chill, covered, until serving time. Spoon onto lettuce-lined salad plates. 
Arthirtis Foundation

Sweet Potato Latkes 


1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled 
1 small onion 
1/4 cup matzah meal, or unbleached white flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/3 cup egg substitute, or 3 egg whites 
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
salt and pepper spray oil or 2 tablespoons olive oil 
Serve with: non-fat or low-fat sour cream applesauce 

Place a couple of non-stick baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 450°F. Peel the potatoes and onion and coarsely grate in a food processor fitted with a shredding disk or on a box grater. Grab handfuls of the grated vegetables and squeeze tightly between your fingers to wring out as much liquid as possible.  Transfer the grated vegetables to a mixing bowl and stir in the matzah meal, baking powder, egg substitute, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg, and plenty of salt and pepper. (The latkes should be highly seasoned.) Spray the hot baking sheets with oil (or drizzle the oil on it and spread with a wooden spoon) Spoon small mounds of potato mixture onto the baking sheet to form 2-1/2 inch pancakes, leaving 1 inch between each latke.  Bake-fry the latkes in the oven until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes per side, turning once with a spatula. (When you turn the latkes, try to flip them onto spots on the baking sheet that still have oil.) Transfer to plates or a platter and serve at once with sour cream and/or applesauce.

Healthy Pineapple Poppy-Seed Bread

 Makes: One loaf
 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup sugar (brown or granulated),1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 can crushed pineapple in juice, 1/3 cup skim milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds.
 Preparation:   Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, (including the juice), milk and  extracts. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Add poppy seeds.  Lightly coat an 8-x-4-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray  (nonfat). Spread batter evenly in pan, and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40minutes.  Remove bread from oven, and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Let  bread cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Source: The primary sources cited above,  New York Times (NYT), Washington Post (WP), Mercury News,, Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle (DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP, etc.

Copyright Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc., 2002.  All rights reserved.  All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for special medical conditions or any specific health issues or starting a new fitness regimen.


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"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
   Where knowledge is free
   Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
   By narrow domestic walls"
   Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Gitanjali, 1912.

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