The Telangana Science Journal

Health and Nutrition

(An International Electronic Science Digest Published from the United States of America)
(Dedicated to one of the most backward regions in India, "Telangana," My Fatherland )

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Issue 123

5109 Kali Era, Sarvajit Year, Phalguna month
2065 Vikramarka Era, Sarvajit Year,  Phalguna month
1929 Salivahana Era
Sarvajit Year, Phalguna month
 2008 AD, March





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Diet and Exercise

Belly Fat and Dementia Risk
The Fish Myth

Drug Pollution
Avoid Medication
Drosophila Shares Our Genes
Cheaper Alternatives are Not Good Enough
Clues to Sexual Evolution
Kidney Disease
Delhi: Medical Tourism

Yellow Thai Curry with Mixed Vegetables
Easy Mexican Rice Recipe
Mexican Quesadillas
Vegan Quiche

Diet and Exercise

Belly Fat and Dementia Risk
Abdominal fat can increase your risk for Alzheimer's disease, even if you're not overweight. A study published in the journal Neurology found that people in their forties who store a lot of fat in their abdomens have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other type of dementia later in life. The researchers observed the risk even in people who weren't overweight. The study looked at data from medical check-ups on men and women age 40 to 45. Their belly size was measured as part of the exam. An average of 36 years later, the researchers examined medical records to see which of the participants had dementia. Those who had a normal body weight and high belly measurement were 89% more likely to have dementia. Overweight people with low belly measurements had an 82% higher risk of dementia, and overweight people with high belly measurements had double the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Among obese participants, those with low belly measurements had an 81% greater chance of developing dementia, while those with high belly fat had more than three times the risk of developing dementia.

Woody Allen said: "My brain? That's my second favorite organ." Perhaps he's speaking only from the male perspective, but the brain ranks highly in importance for both sexes. Don't lose it to dementia or other disease.

Get moving. Get as much aerobic exercise as you and your doctor think you can tolerate, which ideally would include brisk walking for thirty minutes five days a week. Try to include strength training several days a week, either using weights or resistance mechanisms. A new highly recommended exercise is ballroom dancing, which is good for your mind as well as your body.

The Fish Myth
According to Dr. Blaylock, you can't count on government agencies like the FDA (which regulates commercial seafood) and the EPA (which regulates fish from sports fishing) to protect you. He says they don't share their concerns over contaminants with us — the general public — through the media or through public alerts.  Why? Because they tread a very thin line trying to protect the public, while at the same time not wanting to destroy the seafood industry. After all, commercial fishing is our nation's oldest industry, and also the world's last remaining industry for a truly wild food resource.

Unfortunately, independent studies have shown that methylmercury (the type of mercury found in seafood) is highly toxic to many of your organs and tissues — and especially to the developing brain of fetuses and newborns. And mercury tends to accumulate in fatty parts of the body (your brain is about 60% fat) and remain for decades. Mercury triggers chronic brain inflammation and plays havoc with your immune system.

Even Dr. Blaylock agrees on the importance of omega-3 oils, the healthy oil found in seafood and many other vegetable sources, such as, but not limited to, flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, verdelago etc. Omega-3 has been associated with dramatic reductions in heart-related deaths, strokes, cancer, and arthritis pain.

Healthy men who report lower levels of the nutrient folate in their diets have higher rates of chromosomal abnormalities in their sperm, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

An estimated 1 to 4 percent of a healthy male's sperm has abnormal numbers of chromosomes, or aneuploidy, that are caused by errors during cell division (meiosis) in the testis. However, the causes of these errors are not well understood. If these abnormal sperm fertilize a normal egg, there would either be a miscarriage or a fetus with a chromosomal disorder such as trisomy, in which cells have three rather than the normal two copies of a given chromosome.

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in a wide range of foods, particularly liver, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and legumes. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, can have up to 100 micrograms of folate per serving.  It is needed during the synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins, and it is necessary for the production of new cells.  Folate also helps keep in check levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that, when elevated, is linked to heart disease.
Studies have shown that adequate intake of folate by women just before and during pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida or anencephaly. It may be worthwhile to increase the U.S. recommended daily allowance of folate for men considering fatherhood from the current level to 400 micrograms per day, the researchers said.

Drug Pollution
A vast array of pharmaceuticals, including prescription drugs and over the counter drugs, such as  antibiotics, anti-convulsants, pain killers, mood stabilizers and sex hormones, have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Sick people take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue. The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world. Studies have detected pharmaceuticals in waters throughout Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe — even in Swiss lakes and the North Sea.  For example, in Canada, a study of 20 Ontario drinking water treatment plants by a national research institute found nine different drugs in water samples. Japanese health officials in December called for human health impact studies after detecting prescription drugs in drinking water at seven different sites.

The proportion of babies delivered by C-section has increased dramatically in recent decades in the United States and many other countries. Doctors who use age, weight and other factors to predict if a pregnant woman will need a Caesarian section to deliver her baby have a new gauge: the length of the cervix, researchers said. The cervix closes off the uterus, where the baby is growing. Researchers in Britain say their study of more than 27,000 pregnancies found that women with the longest cervixes were more likely to need surgery to deliver their child.
The C-section rate was 25.7 percent for women with a cervix between 40 and 67 millimeters, 21.7 percent for 36 to 39 millimeters, 18.4 percent for 31 to 35 millimeters and 16 percent with a cervical length of 16 to 30 millimeters. An inch is about 25 millimeters. Eight hospitals in and around London participated in the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Length was measured with ultrasound in the 22nd, 23rd or 24th week of pregnancy.

Avoid Medication
We’ve gotten used to taking pills for everything that ails us, but medications have side effects and cost money. The April 2008 issue of the Harvard Health Letter takes a look at how to manage seven common conditions without taking medication. It takes some discipline, but in many cases, the nonpharmacological approach can do as much as pills.

Here’s a brief look at the conditions and treatments.
There’s a good chance that losing weight will make arthritis less painful. Combine weight loss with exercise and you may have less pain and more mobility. Even for those who don’t need to lose weight, exercise that doesn’t put “load” on the joints reduces pain.
Your LDL level may drop by 5% or so if you keep foods high in saturated fat off the menu. Additional soluble fiber may reduce LDL levels as well. So can margarines fortified with sterols.
Cognitive decline
Memory training and other “brain exercises” seem to help healthy older people stay sharp. But physical exercise may benefit the brain more than mental gymnastics.
Studies have shown that regular physical activity can have a potent antidepressant effect.
Regular physical activity is a powerful brake on blood sugar levels as well, because exercised muscle becomes more receptive to the insulin that helps it pull sugar in from the bloodstream. Eating fewer sweets and easy-to-digest carbohydrates also helps control blood sugar levels.
High blood pressure
Losing weight, getting more exercise, and eating less sodium all lower blood pressure.
Weight-bearing exercise puts stress on bones, and bone tissue reacts by getting stronger and denser, fending off osteoporotic processes. Extra vitamin D and calcium top the list of dietary recommendations.

Drosophila Shares Our Genes

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago managed the feat of drawing blood from a fruit fly and say their method could expedite understanding of the physiology of important insects such as Drosophila melanogaster, the common laboratory fruit fly that shares almost three-quarters of its genetic code with humans, which could provide substantial benefits for neuroscientists.

Under a microscope, the researchers managed to scrape an incision along the body of a fruit fly larva causing it to leak hemolymph -- insect blood -- onto the underlying collecting plate, and then vacuum it up through a narrow tube, getting enough sample for analysis. The technique enabled them to gather from 50 to 300 nanoliters -- billionths of a liter -- of fluid, about one-thousandth of a drop, without significant evaporation, even when performed in open-air conditions that are prone to evaporation.  Traditional methods require that several flies or larvae be homogenized to obtain a large enough sample for analysis. In the new method, only a single larva is used, and only one biological fluid, the hemolymph, is extracted. The method opens up the possibility to study an individual, rather than a general population, to learn how body chemistry affects neurological function.  Fruit flies serve as particularly good laboratory animals because of their ability to quickly breed new generations, including ones with genetic mutations that are analogues to genes that cause human diseases.

Cheaper Alternatives are Not Good Enough
You are offered two painkillers, one selling at full price for $2.50 per pill and the other for 10 cents each. In most phases of life we all look for bargains but when the issue is health, the cheaper version may not work as well for you, according to a recent study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  Cheaper products are less successful at stopping pain. It has long been known that consumers’ beliefs and expectations influence their judgment of products and services. In a separate recent study that measured reactions of brain pleasure centers, wine drinkers experienced more pleasure when sipping a vintage they believed was more expensive.  The experiment may help explain why some high-cost medical therapies are popular when inexpensive alternatives are available, such as prescription painkillers versus over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Advertising, if done well, can also give rise to a positive placebo effect.

Clues to Sexual Evolution
A new study in the journal PLoS shows that there are great similarities between the parts of DNA that determine the sex of plants and animals and the parts of DNA that determine mating types in certain fungi. This makes fungi interesting as new model organisms in studies of the evolutionary development of sex chromosomes.
There are three eukaryote kingdoms (organisms with DNA gathered in the cell nucleus), plants, animals and fungi.  In the plant and animal kingdoms there are individuals of different sexes, that is, bearers of either many tiny sex cells (males) or a few large ones (females). In the fungi kingdom, there are no sexes but rather a simpler system of different male and female gametes that mate. These are distinguished by different variants of a few specific genes. 

There are many ways to determine sex. In humans it is done by sex chromosomes. It is thought that this sex difference arose in the plant and animal kingdom from the simpler system of mating types and that this happened several times independently of each other throughout evolution. The change is believed to have happened with the inhibition of a step in the copying process in DNA, which led to two separate chromosomes. These then developed further over a long period of time.

Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can be a stealthy killer, slowly damaging organs over many years before causing recognizable symptoms.  Fortunately, you can take steps to forestall, or slow, kidney disease:
  • Control high blood pressure and diabetes. Lowering both can cut the risk of kidney disease.
  • If you have diabetes, take ACE inhibitors (Prinivil, Zestril) or ARBs (Atacand) to protect your kidneys.
  • Don’t take medications, especially pain relievers, in high doses each day. Ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), can be especially damaging to kidneys. In rare cases, some statin drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and lovastatin (Mevacor) can harm muscles which then release a protein that harms kidneys.
  • When taking any medicine, follow all instructions carefully.
  • Inform your doctor of all medicines you take on a regular basis, including supplements.
  • Prevent kidney stones, which can damage kidneys in addition to being extremely painful, by drinking liquids, especially water. Avoid excess colas, which may help stones form.
  • Cut down on salt. Kidney damage reduces the kidneys’ ability to excrete salt. Reducing salt also lowers blood pressure.
  • Keep your weight in check. If you have kidney disease, being overweight increases the risk of kidney failure two to five times faster than those of normal weight.
  • Limit your intake of protein. Too much protein can stress already burdened kidneys.
Eat a healthy daily diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid high-fat, salty and sugary foods.
Exercise regularly.
Monitor blood pressure to keep it in the normal range of 120 systolic over 80 diastolic.
Keep track of blood glucose levels if there's a personal or family history of diabetes.
Keep a record of questions to ask your health provider and be assertive in getting answers.
Take medications as prescribed and alert health providers about any problems.
Be aware of warning signs of kidney failure, such as more frequent urination, particularly at night; difficult or painful urination; and puffiness around the eyes and swelling of the hands and feet.,1,2721786.story

Delhi: Medical Tourism
The number of Americans heading abroad for medical procedures is surging as the country's 46 million people without health insurance look for treatment they can afford and cash-strapped U.S. companies struggle to find cheaper ways to provide high-quality medical care to their employees, according to the American Medical Association.

Mexico has long attracted American travelers looking for cut-rate cosmetic surgery or dental work, and countries like Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines continue to lure medical tourists as well. But India, 15 hours away from the U.S. by plane, is fast becoming the destination of choice for patients seeking complicated high-end procedures they can't afford or can't manage to schedule with a doctor they trust at home. These include things like heart surgery, organ transplants and orthopedic procedures like knee replacement or hip resurfacing.

Last year, the South Asian giant attracted 150,000 medical tourists from the United States, Britain, Africa and elsewhere in South Asia, largely by offering an enticing trio of advantages: highly trained English-speaking doctors, quick appointments and bargain-basement prices. In India, a heart bypass goes for $10,000 and a hip replacement for $9,000, compared with $130,000 and $43,000 respectively in the United States, the AMA said.

India's initial rush of patients, however, may be nothing compared with what is to come. According to the AMA, major U.S. employers and insurers are exploring whether they could hold down soaring health-care costs by shipping their workers halfway across the world for elective surgery.

Traveling to India for medical care is not without its problems, of course. The country may be increasingly known for its well-educated workers, high-tech call centers and new wealth, but squalor and chaos are still regular features of life.

Malpractice laws are weaker, leaving patients who run into problems while being treated with little legal recourse. Patients may struggle to find U.S. doctors willing to take on after-surgery care once they return home. And the flight to India may be difficult—even in business class —for anyone with a serious medical problem.

But India is working hard to make traveling for surgery as appealing as possible for foreigners. The country recently created a special medical visa classification for tourists seeking health care. Some top-of-the-line hospitals and hotels are teaming up to build joint facilities. And many hospitals and medical tourism sales firms offer package deals—from airport pickup to translators and airline bookings—designed to insulate visitors from some of the country's more trying aspects.

At Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, one of the most popular medical tourism facilities in the country, the cavernous open-air foyer surges with a United Nations of patients: turbaned Sikhs, women in form-fitting bright West African garb, hip young Chinese women in low-slung jeans, Indian mothers cradling their newborns and Afghan patients in woolen pakul hats.

Upstairs on the fifth floor, a spacious modern lobby gives way to air-conditioned hospital rooms that would look at home anywhere in the United States. Appetizing-looking club sandwiches—not curry —glide in and out of the rooms on trays delivered by attendants.,1,5552555.story

Yellow Thai Curry with Mixed Vegetables
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup vegetable broth; 1 cup coconut milk; 1 potato, pre-cooked and chopped; 2 carrots, pre-cooked and sliced; 1 cup broccoli; 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped; 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced, 1 tsp sugar, 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1/2 tsp turmeric; 2 tsp curry powder; 3 tbsp chili sauce; 1/3 tsp salt
PREPARATION: Bring the coconut milk and vegetable broth to a slow simmer. Add the potatoes and vegetables and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes. Serve over rice if desired.

Easy Mexican Rice Recipe
INGREDIENTS: 1 onion, diced; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1/4 cup olive oil; 1/2 tsp ginger; 1/2 tsp ground coriander; 1/4 tsp ground cloves; 1/4 tsp pepper; 2 cups white rice; 3 cups diced or pureed tomatoes; 2 tsp salt; 1 1/2 cups water
PREPARATION: Sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes, until onions are soft.  Add the ginger, coriander, cloves and pepper and stir to combine.  Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes, salt and water and stir to combine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is done cooking.

Mexican Quesadillas
INGREDIENTS: 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil; 1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips; 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips; 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips; 1/2 tsp cumin; dash salt and pepper, to taste; 1/2 tsp lime juice; 2 1/2 cups cheese, grated; 8 tortillas; salsa (optional).
PREPARATION: Cook the pepper in oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add cumin, salt and pepper and lime juice and cook until peppers are just soft, about 5 minutes. Place 4 flour tortillas flat on a baking pan. Place a large spoonful or a thin layer of peppers on a flour tortilla. Add a thick layer of cheese and cover with another flour tortilla.  Bake at 375 degrees for about ten minutes, or until cheese has melted. Slice into fourths or 6 pie pieces, like a pizza. Top with salsa if desired.

Vegan Quiche
INGREDIENTS: 1 onion, chopped; 6-8 mushrooms, sliced; 3 cloves garlic; 1 tbsp olive oil; 8 oz frozen shortcrust pastry; 1/2 block firm tofu; 1 tsp soy milk; salt and pepper to taste; 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese; 3-4 tomatoes, sliced thin.
PREPARATION: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the onion, mushrooms and garlic in oil until soft, about 3 to minutes.  Press the pastry into a quiche dish and bake for 5 minutes.  In a blender or food processor, process the tofu, soy milk and salt and pepper until smooth. Mix together the tofu and veggies and add the vegan cheese. Gently pour into baked pastry.
Layer the sliced tomatoes across the top of the quiche.  Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until done. 

Notice: This material contains only general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial, tax, medical or health care advice. For information about specific needs or situations, contact your financial, tax agent or physician.
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Source: The primary sources cited above,  New York Times (NYT), Washington Post (WP), Mercury News,, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle (DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP,, etc.

Copyright ©1998-2008
Vepachedu Educational Foundation, Inc
Copyright Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc., 2007.  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. Please read disclaimer.

Om! Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya, Mrityorma Amritamgamaya, Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih!
(Om! Lead the world from wrong path to the right path, from ignorance to knowledge, from mortality to immortality and peace!)
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