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: 61

5104 Kali Era , Chitrabhanu Year, Maakha month
1924 Salivahana Era , Chitrabhanu Year, Maakha month
2060 Vikramarka Era, Chitrabhanu year, Maakha month
 2003 AD, January
Chief Editor: Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, PhD, LLM
Contributing Editor: Venkateswara Rao Karuparthy (KVR) , MD, DABPM


Top 10 Stories
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid
Obesity And Diabetes Epidemic
Sari  isn't Indian?
Marine County Mistery
Detection of Heart Disease
Sleep and Heart Disease
Cheese From Cloned Cows
Ants, Mushroom and Mold
Your Body:2003


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid
Ischemic stroke is interruption of  blood flow to a certain area of the brain.  Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health assessed the effect of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid from fish on the risk of ischemic stroke. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid is found in fish and flax seed abundantly. Researchers found that men who consumed a small amount of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid  one to three times per month reduced their risk of ischemic stroke by 40 percent compared to the men in the study who ate fish less often or not at all.  There was no evidence of further risk reduction of stroke by consuming fish more often. Men who ate fish five times per week received the same benefits as those in the study who ate fish two or three times per month. The findings are published in the December 25, 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Other studies found benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in reduction of stroke in women also. Fish is not the only source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid. The parent compound of the omega-3 fatty acid is called alpha-linolenic acid. Flaxseed is loaded with alpha-linolenic acid. Plant Sources (mostly Alpha linolenic acid): Nuts, almonds, dried butternut, English walnuts, flaxseed, soybeans, pinto beans, wheat germ, purslane, leeks, mustard seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnut & rapeseed (canola) oils, green leafy vegetables, grain, spirulina etc.

Sources of unsaturated oils:
wheat germ oil (bottled oil or capsules), walnuts (raw nuts, bottled oil or capsules),pumpkin seeds, purslane (dark, leafy green used throughout Mediterranean countries), hemp seed oil (bottled oil or capsules), flaxseed oil, unrefined or cold-pressed brands of canola oil.

Enjoy 1-2 grams of borage oil (liquid or capsules) daily or 3-6 grams of evening  (liquid or capsules). Other savory omega-6 sources:
primrose oil, black currant seed oil (capsules), pine nuts (raw nuts), pistachios (raw nuts), sunflower seeds (raw seeds), Conjugated Linoleic Acid--CLA (capsules), Check labels and avoid products made with partially hydrogenated versions of these oils.

olive oil, sesame oil (bottled oil), avocado (raw or bottled oil), peanuts (raw nuts or bottled oil), almonds (raw nuts or bottled oil), pecans (raw nuts), cashews (raw nuts), hazelnuts (raw nuts or bottled oil), macadamia (raw nuts).

Cancer, Obesity And Diabetes Epidemics
Americans keep getting fatter and more are developing diabetes, according to the alarming finding of a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  The CDC says that more than 44 million Americans were obese and 16.7 million people had diabetes in 2001.  The findings were based on telephone surveys of 195,005 U.S. adults.  The real rates may be even higher because people tend to underestimate their weight on phone.

Bigger Portions: In a new study, researchers looked at such foods as hamburgers, burritos, tacos, french fries, sodas, ice cream, pie, cookies and salty snacks and found that the portions got bigger between the 1970s and the 1990s, regardless of whether people ate in or out.  The study was conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was published in January 22nd issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.  The University of North Carolina study looked at people's portions at home, in fast-food joints and at other restaurants. It included a sample of 63,380 people over the age of 2. A person who ate Mexican food in 1977 consumed an average of 408 calories in one sitting compared with 541 calories in 1996. The USDA suggests between 1,600 and 2,800 calories per day depending on a person's age, gender and activity level.

The World Health Report 2002 attributes at least 2.7 million deaths globally per year to low fruit and vegetable intake. Evidence suggests that there is insufficient consumption of these foods in most countries of the world. As well as helping prevent chronic diseases, adequate fruit and vegetable intake also improves nutritional deficiencies and increases resistance to infectious diseases. Chronic diseases, which include cardiovascular diseases, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancers and obesity, now contribute 60 per cent of deaths and 49 per cent of the global disease burden. This is largely a result of a few major risk factors, including tobacco use and a significant change in diet habits and increased physical inactivity. Such changes are taking place in the context of industrialization, urbanization, economic development and food market globalization. The 3rd Biennial 5 A Day International Symposium in Berlin, Germany,  January 14-15, was held to bring health professionals and industry representatives together to widen the initiative to boost increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

Life Expectancy: People who are overweight at 40 are likely to die at least three years sooner than those who are slim, meaning that in terms of life expectancy, being fat during middle age is just as bad as smoking, researchers say. The study was conducted by Dutch researchers and published in January 7th issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Nonsmokers who were classified as overweight, but not obese, lost an average of three years off their lives. Obese people died even sooner. Obese female nonsmokers lost an average 7.1 years, while men lost 5.8 years.  For smokers, the results were even worse. Obese female smokers died 7.2 years sooner than normal-weight smokers, and 13.3 years sooner than normal-weight nonsmoking women. Obese male smokers lived 6.7 years less than trim smokers, and 13.7 years less than normal-weight nonsmokers. Being obese at age 20 can cut up to 20 years off a person's life, with the biggest impact on black men, according to yet another study that underscores the long-term dangers of being overweight.  The research appeared in January 8th issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.

Stroke: Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say a weight gain of 6-7 pounds can increase the risk of stroke. Obese men were, in fact, twice as likely to have a stroke as men who weren't overweight, according to the study, published in the Dec. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Stroke accounts for one in every 14 deaths in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death and disability in the nation.

Intra-abdominal fat: In September 2002, the Institute of Medicine said that an hour's worth of moderate physical activity per day is needed to maintain a healthy body weight. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows how. In the new study, researchers measured the fat levels of 168 sedentary and overweight postmenopausal women. Half of the women were required to exercise moderately for 45 minutes a day, five days a week.  For the first three months, they worked out in supervised sessions at a gym three days a week. For the next nine months, they went to the gym at least once a week but did the bulk of their workouts at home. The other half attended stretching classes once a week. Twelve months later, the women who worked out for an average of 45 minutes five times a week had made the biggest change in their bodies' composition, losing about 7 percent of their intra-abdominal fat. Women who worked out but not quite as much had significant but smaller reductions. Those who only stretched were essentially unchanged, both in weight and body composition. Intra-abdominal fat is harder to see, but has been linked to a greater incidence of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing a person's weight in pounds by height in inches squared and then multiplying by 703. A caucasian person whose index is 25 or greater is considered overweight.  The proposed measure of BMI for Asians and East Indians: Low morbidity at <18.5 BMI; Average morbidity at 18.5-22.9 BMI; Overweight with increased morbidity at 23 BMI; At risk at 23-24.9 BMI; Obese with high morbidity at 25-29.9 BMI; Obese with severe morbidity at >30 BMI.

See also:

President Bush's fiscal year 2004 budget plan will include an increase of $100 million to $125 million for a new initiative to prevent diabetes, obesity and asthma through community initiatives to achieve healthier lifestyles for hundreds of thousands of Americans, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced. "To truly stem the epidemic of preventable diseases that threaten too many Americans, we need to move from a health care system that treats disease to one that avoids disease through wiser personal choices," Secretary Thompson said.

Sari  isn't Indian?
The Indian saree could be derived from Athenian dress, the West Chinese Kushans brought the jubba-coat and the pyjamas to India under Emperor Kanishka two thousand years ago, and the kurta is a pure Moghul creation. Strange but true.  These facts have emerged from the research being undertaken by Goa-based prominent fashion designer Wendell Rodricks, currently undertaking a research project on clothing down the ages here. ‘Khakhi’ does not have any iconographic or spiritual symbolism in any Indian texts. Instead, it means dust in Urdu, and was the colour promoted by the British in World War I, adopted by many European nations as a military costume and still has colonial undertones internationally, says Wendell. Wendell says the Huns from Central Asia introduced the long cloaks and breeches-pyjamas. Arabs of the eighth and ninth centuries introduced skirts and robes.  Earlier, Indian colouring of cloth was restricted to nila (blue), lothitaka (red magenta), laksa (red of lac), kalka (black) and haldi (yellow). Islamic influences in the 12th century introduced “delicate colours” like old rose, pista green, copper, violet, ruby, orange and sandlewood.  Most were extracted from fruits and nuts. Cutting of cloth and elaborate sewing became prominent after the Muslim invasion, according to Wendell.  “It is a tribute to the wisdom of our ancestors that they used outside cultural traditions along with our own ancient heritage to make Indian clothing one of the most culturally rich in the world,” argues Wendell. In Goa on the weekend, he announced plans to soon publish a book on his study of Goan clothes across the centuries, and possibly set up a museum of local garments. Deccan Chronicle, Panaji, Jan. 12

Marine County Mistery
For the past decade, residents of Marin County have been wondering how such a pristine area could have the nation's highest rate of breast cancer. But amid a new wave of publicity and concern, scientists suspect the answer may be found in the people who live there.

It's counter-intuitive to think that being wealthy and educated -- attributes that usually lower disease risk -- would raise a woman's chances of getting breast cancer. But as scientists uncover more about the individual risk factors associated with the disease, the link begins to make sense. Researchers have consistently found that not having children or having the first child at an older age raises a woman's risk. No one knows for sure why this is, but experts believe the most likely explanation involves both hormones and the way breast tissues develop. Pregnancy and breast feeding cause breast cells to mature and start producing milk, and scientists believe the process helps stabilize cells and may protect them from cancer-causing influences, including hormones like estrogen. But as more time passes before maturation, the cells may have already sustained damage that could eventually lead to cancer. Both estrogen and progesterone, which spike up and down during a woman's menstrual cycle, are known to prompt cell division in breast tissue, which could also promote the growth of damaged cells. That's also apparently the reason hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is tied to an increased risk of breast cancer. In general, women from higher socioeconomic groups and those who live in the western United States are more likely to use HRT. Although one survey in Marin suggested the rate of using HRT was about on par with the rest of the country, other experts believe the county's number is probably higher. Furthermore, well-off women are more likely to get medical attention and mammograms, which catch many cancers that might not otherwise be diagnosed. But, again, a recent survey found that mammogram rates in Marin County are only slightly higher than national and state norms.
Drinking alcohol has also been correlated with higher breast cancer risk. In a recent survey of Marin County households, 12 percent of women drink almost daily, as compared with 5 percent in the general U.S. population, according to Rochelle Ereman of the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.

Finally, women in certain ethnic groups are more likely to carry genetic mutations known to be involved in breast cancer. Those include Ashkenazi Jews, Icelanders and the Dutch, according to Dr. Mary B. Daly, director of cancer prevention and control at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. All of those factors also help explain why breast cancer has become such a highly publicized cause. Unlike most other diseases, it disproportionately hits a population that is relatively vocal and powerful. And because of recent nationwide trends toward fewer children and more use of hormone replacement therapy, along with better screening, the rates overall are up. Whether the entire increase can be explained by known risk factors hasn't yet been determined. For More Click Here.

Detection of Heart Disease
New guidelines published on January 28th suggest doing a blood test for C-reactive protein, or CRP, when doctors are unsure whether their patients need aggressive treatment and lifestyle changes to protect their hearts. Studies in recent years have shown that people with high levels of this inflammatory protein, necessary for fighting injury and infection, face double the usual risk of heart attacks and strokes.   The new recommendations, drawn up by the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are the first to propose an important role for inflammation testing in heart disease.

Sleep and Heart Disease
Women who averaged five hours or less of sleep a night were 39 percent more likely to develop heart disease than women who got eight hours. Those sleeping six hours a night had an 18% higher risk of developing blocked arteries than the eight-hour sleepers. Nine or more hours of sleep was associated with a 37% higher risk of heart disease.  The researchers suggested that getting enough sleep may be nearly as important to heart health as eating right and exercising. And they pointed out a recent poll that found that about one in three Americans has long-term sleep deprivation. The study was published in January 28th issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Cheese From Cloned Cows
Scientists have created cows that produce milk with higher than normal levels of protein, which would speed the process of making cheese. Cows have previously been genetically engineered to produce proteins for use as pharmaceuticals in their milk. The journal Nature Biotechnology will publish a paper on the work in its February issue. The researchers at AgResearch, a New Zealand government-owned research company, introduced extra copies of the genes for beta-casein and kappa-casein into cow cells in the laboratory and cloned cow embryos from those cells. Out of eleven cows created, nine produced milk with 8 percent to 20 percent more beta-casein and twice as much kappa-casein as controls.


Serves: 2-4 


2 larger baking potatoes, 5ml/1 tsp sunflower oil, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 2.5cm/1 in piece fresh ginger root, grated 5ml/1 tsp ground cumin, 5ml/1 tsp ground coriander, 2.5ml/1/2 tsp ground turmeric, garlic, salt. 

Preheat the oven to 1900C/3750F/Gas 5. Prick the potatoes with a fork. Bake for 40 minutes, or until soft. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Heat the oil in a nonstick pan and fry the onion for a few minutes to soften. Stir in the ginger, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Stir over a low heat for about 2 minutes, then add the potato flesh, and garlic salt, to taste. Cook the potato mixture for a further 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells and top each with a spoonful of natural yogurt and a sprig or two of fresh coriander. 



Serves: 2 


For base:450g/1 lb/4 cups plain flour, pinch of salt, 1 sachet easy-blend yeast, about 350ml/12 fl oz/11/2 cups warm water 

For topping: 1 onion, sliced, 10ml/2 tsp olive oil, 2 large red and 2 yellow peppers, seeded and sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 400g/14oz can tomatoes, 8 pitted black olives, halved salt and black pepper 


To make the dough, sift the flour and salt into a bowl ,add in  the yeast. Stir in just enough warm water to mix to a soft dough. 
Knead for 5 minutes until smooth . Cover and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. 
To make the topping, fry the onion in the oil until soft, then stir in the peppers, garlic and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until no free liquid remains. Season to taste. 
Preheat the oven to 2300c/4500F. Divide the dough in half and press out each piece on a lightly oiled baking sheet to a 28cm/11 in round, turning up the edges slightly. 
Spread over the topping, dot with olives and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot or cold with salad. 


Lentil Soup

  Serves 8 

  1 pound lentils,  7 cups water,  2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 4 carrots, chopped, 1 (16- ounce) can crushed tomatoes 


 Sort and rinse lentils. Bring lentils and water to a boil in stockpot; reduce heat.  Simmer for 1-1/4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Sauté garlic in olive oil in skillet until brown. Stir into lentil mixture. Add carrots and tomatoes; mix well. Simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Ladle into soup bowls. Serve with shredded cheese and Italian bread. May add 8 ounces cooked ditalini or spaghetti or 1 cup cooked white or brown rice to soup. 


Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients: 3 long, thin cucumbers 
1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, 2 cups plain yogurt, 2 table- spoons finely chopped fresh dill 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 

Preparation: Peel cucumbers and cut into halves lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Chop coarsely. Combine cucumbers with salt and wine vinegar in bowl; mix well. Let stand for 1 hour or longer; drain and pat dry. Combine cucumbers, yogurt, dill and cayenne in serving bowl; mix well. 
 Arthritis Foundation 



3/8 cup Italian dressing low cal, 3/4 Tablespoon Mustard Dijon, 3/4 cup Broccoli, 1 cup, 3/4 cup Cucumber, 1 cup slices, 3/4 medium Pepper yellow, 1 medium, 15 small Tomatoes cherry, 9/16 cup Carrots sliced, 1 cup, 1-1/2 Tablespoons Parsley fresh


Diagonally slice carrots. Cut yellow pepper into strips. Mix dressing and mustard. Pour over combined remaining ingredients; cover. Refrigerate 2 hours to marinate. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Stir in tomatoes just before serving. 

Note: Due to Dr. Karuparthy's busy schedule in India, KVR's column is not available for this month.

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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   Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Gitanjali, 1912.

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