Stop waiting for a miracle drug: A Boston University doctor says a sufficient amount of vitamin D can cut the risk of catching coronavirus by 54%.
“People have been looking for the magic drug or waiting for the vaccine and not looking for something this simple,” said Dr Michael Holick, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, reports Bostom Herald.
Holick and his colleagues studied blood samples from Quest Diagnostics of more than 190,000 Americans from all 50 states and found that those who had deficient levels of vitamin D had 54% higher COVID positivity compared to those with adequate levels of vitamin D in the blood.
The risk of getting coronavirus continued to decline as vitamin D levels increased, the study, published in the Public Library of Science One peer-reviewed journal shows.
“The higher your vitamin D status, lower was your risk,” Holick said.
Many people are vitamin D-deficient because there are only small amounts in food, Holick said. Most vitamin D comes from sun exposure and many are deprived, especially during winter months.
But the sunshine vitamin is easy to find and relatively cheap in drug stores, and taking vitamin D pills comes at no risk. “It’s perfectly safe,” Holick said.
“It’s considered to be, by many, the nutrient of the decade,” Holick said.
COVID-19 positivity is strongly associated with vitamin D levels in the blood, a relationship that stayed the same across different races, sexes and age ranges, the study states.
Vitamin D suppresses excessive cytokine release that can present as a cytokine storm, a common cause of COVID-related morbidity and mortality.
A deficiency in the nutrient alters the immune system, making one more likely to get upper respiratory infections, Holick said.
Throughout the pandemic, people of color have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus, experiencing a higher risk of acquiring it and having serious complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Holick’s study examined the ZIP codes of people of color and found patients from predominantly Black and Hispanic ZIP codes had lower levels of vitamin D and were also more likely to have coronavirus than in patients from predominantly white, non-Hispanic ZIP codes.
The average adult needs around 2,000 units of vitamin D a day, Holick said. He said he’s been taking 6,000 units a day for decades and is in great health.
Several other studies on vitamin D have shown its benefits to the immune system.
Research published with the National Institutes of Health showed people with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels.
Another study of more than 11,000 participants published in the British Medical Journal found vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection among all participants.
“Vitamin D definitely improves your overall immunity to fight infections,” Holick said.
Update: A Brigham and Women’s Hospital study will test to see if vitamin D can lessen the severity of coronavirus symptoms and reduce the chance of becoming infected with the illness in a nationwide, placebo-controlled trial.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) virtually inaugurated a month-long cultural festival on Sunday, initiating live cultural shows in 10 Upazilas across the country that will run till January 31.
The festival is featuring two-day cultural programmes in each Upazila where artistes from Upazila level are scheduled to showcase their cultural performances for one hour, district-based artistes will perform for 30 minutes and BSA acrobatic troupe will perform for 30 minutes.
A virtual inauguration ceremony was held on Sunday at BSA’s official Facebook page in the afternoon. Presided by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky, the virtual inauguration ceremony was joined by Jatiya Sangsad chief whip Noor-E-Alam Chowdhury as its chief guest.
The festival was inaugurated by Simeen Hussain Rimi MP, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Cultural Affairs.
Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Md Badrul Arefin, Madaripur District Commissioner Dr Rahima Khatun, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Shibchar Upazila in Madaripur Md Asaduzzaman and Chittagong District Shilpakala Academy's District Cultural Officer Md Moslem Uddin attended the inaugural ceremony as special guests.
According to BSA's schedule, the programmes will be held at Shibchar upazila in Madaripur district on January 4 and 5, Kapasia upazila in Gazipur on January 13 and 14, Nawabganj upazila in Dhaka district on January 22 and 23, Domar upazila in Nilphamari district and Bhandaria upazila in Pirojpur district on January 25 and 26, Melandaha upazila in Jamalpur district on January 27 and 28, Rangunia upazila in Chattogram district and Kaharole upazila in Dinajpur district on January 29 and 30, Dumuria upazila in Khulna district and Matlab upazila in Chandpur district on January 30 and 31.
Earlier, the announcement of the festival was made by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky at a press briefing held at the National Art Gallery conference room of the Academy on Saturday.
Eminent novelist Rabeya Khatun passed away in the city on Sunday at the age of 85.
According to her family sources, Rabeya Khatun breathed her last at her Banani residence due to old-age complications.
Her body was taken to Bangla Academy premises at 12 pm on Monday and then her body was taken to the Channel-i premise at 3 pm where a namaz-e-janaza took place.
Then the novelist was buried at the Banani Graveyard after Asr prayers.
Rabyea Khatun was born to Maulavi Mohammad Mulluk Chand and Hamida Khatun on December 27, 1935 in Bikrampur in the then British India (now Munshiganj District, Bangladesh),
In her illustrious career spanning over 60 years, Rabeya Khatun wrote over 50 novels and more than 400 short-stories featuring versatile topics. She also wrote a handful of travel blogs.
Khatun's first story Proshno was published in weekly ‘Juger Dabi’ magazine and her novel ‘Rajarbagh’ was published in Begum magazine.
She wrote her first novel Madhumati in 1963, depicting the handloom artists’ struggles in a fictional narrative, which cemented her position as a novelist in the country.
Ekattorer Noy Maash (1990) is one of her most significant creations which she wrote as a memoir of the War of Liberation in 1971.
Three of her books were adopted for feature films - Kokhono Megh Kokhono Brishti (2003), Megher Pore Megh (2004) and Madhumati (2011).
Khatun also worked in Khawatin magazine edited by Jahanara Imam. She worked as the editor of the literature section of the magazine ‘Cinema’ along with legendary filmmaker Zahir Raihan and later became the editor of monthly ‘Angana’ in the 1950s.
For her immense contributions in Bengali literature, Rabeya Khatun was awarded Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1973, Ekushey Padak in 1993 and Independence Day Award in 2017.
Rabeya Khatun married ATM Fazlul Haque, a journalist, critic and filmmaker on July 23, 1,952 (passed away in 1990).
Her son Faridur Reza Sagar is the current managing director of Impress Telefilm Limited and Channel-i, daughter Keka Ferdousi is a noted chef and television cooking show host, another son Farhadur Reza Probal is an architect and her youngest daughter Farhana Kakoly is a homemaker.
The 106th birth anniversary of art maestro Zainul Abedin is being observed today (Tuesday).
The creative genius was born on December 29, 1914, in Kishoreganj and went on to become the man behind the establishment of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University and the Folk Art Museum in Sonargaon, Narayanganj.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, his birth anniversary is being celebrated with a small number of programmes. Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Arts will arrange a virtual edition of Zainul Festival today.
The virtual event, including placing a floral wreath at the grave of the Shilpacharya by the Dhaka University vice-chancellor and faculty members at 10am followed by a virtual photography and art exhibition on the life and works of Zainul Abedin, was broadcast on the Fine Arts Faculty website www.fineart-du.com.
There will also be a virtual exhibition in collaboration with ARTCON in 3D Virtual Reality technology, featuring works by the prominent artists of the subcontinent along with the artists from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University.
Historically known for his sketches of Bengal famine in 1943, Zainul developed his passion for art in his childhood on the banks of Brahmaputra River. He completed his graduation from the Government Art School, Kolkata in 1932. He left Kolkata and permanently returned to Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), his motherland, just after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.
Zainul then actively worked behind the establishment of Dhaka Art Institute and became its principal in 1949. The institute later became today’s Faculty of Fine Arts.
The institute became the hub of fine arts practices in the then East Pakistan and actively participated in historical foundation events of independent Bangladesh such as the 1952 Language Movement and 1971 Liberation War under the artistic leadership of Zainul.
He willingly went on retirement from the Dhaka Art Institute in 1967 and was conferred the honorary title of Shilpacharya (great master of fine arts) by the institute.
Zainul received a two-year training from Slade School of Fine Art in London and began a new style of art called the 'Bengali style' featuring folk art forms with their geometric shapes including the usage of semi-abstract representation and primary colours. However, he lacked the sense of perspective, realising the limitations of folk art, and went back to nature, rural life and the daily struggles of people to make art that would be realistic but modern in appearance, thus being the pioneer of modern artistic style in the subcontinent.
He visited Palestinian camps in Syria and Jordan in 1970 and made 60–70 paintings of the refugees there, adding just another example of his calibre as a modern, international artist.
Known for the simple yet majestic projection of natural and social hazards, Zainul painted the 1970 Bhola cyclone that devastated then East Pakistan, portraying the effect of the cyclone through his painting ‘Monpura’.
As a fond lover of folk arts, Zainul formed Charu O Karu Shilpi Sangram Parishad and also collected a large number of traditional crafts, ceramic works, and nakshi kanthas in his lifetime which he preserved through founding the Folk Art Museum at Sonargaon, Narayanganj in 1975.
He also founded the Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala, a gallery of his own works at the Shaheeb Quarter Park on the bank of Brahmaputra River in Mymensingh the same year.
“Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin has cemented his legacy as the greatest artist of Bangladesh who got himself ecologically balanced in riverine Bangladesh. He portrayed the nature of Bengal through his imaginative inner eyes that explored more than outer vision,” renowned art critic Moinuddin Khaled told UNB.
Further explaining with examples, he added, “Many of us know about the infamous 1943 famine in the greater Bengal which happened due to the heinous acts of the British government, and we know about the havoc of that period because of Zainul’s artworks which perfectly portrayed the social situation at that time.”
In 1973, Zainul received an honorary D.Litt from Delhi University. He was declared National Professor of Bangladesh in 1975. NASA honoured the iconic artist through naming a crater on the planet Mercury after the painter, called the 'Abedin Crater' in 2009.
Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin passed away on May 28, 1976 after suffering from lung cancer.
Even if you’re not behind the meaning behind Christmas, this holiday season is all about presents, festivities and gatherings with loved ones. Secret Santas and other gift exchanges are fantastic ways to break the ice, but there are a few more ways to exchange gifts while keeping things fresh. Here are some gift exchange ideas for you to try this Christmas.
Switch, Steal, Unwrap
A couple of dice and a sizable roster of guests (minimum of 5) is all you’ll need to get this activity started. As the name suggests, depending on what is rolled on the dice, guests will either switch, steal or unwrap a gift on hand. The game starts with each guest bringing a gift (or multiple gifts) and gathering in a circle. If rolled one or two, gifts are either switched with the person to the left or right. Three and four will give the person who rolled the dice a chance to “steal” any gift within the circle, while five and six will have the person open the gift on hand. It’s a rather simple game that keeps things light and suitable for a gathering with kids involved! As an option, the dice numbers and what they represent can be printed out on a sheet of paper to make the activity simpler for all participants.
Also read: Top Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Parents
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Another simple game that only requires only two decks of playing cards! If you’re planning to do your gift exchanges in a public place or somewhere less homey, this game can easily be applied. Much like Switch, Steal, Unwrap; this game leaves everything up to chance. Everyone will place their presents on a table and the facilitator will count the number of gifts and have identical cards of that number set aside per deck. The cards selected from the first deck will then be distributed with a gift till everyone has a randomly given gift and a card. People will draw from the second deck until one person has a matched card to go first.
Also read: Top Christmas Dining Spots in Dhaka
During this person’s turn, he or she can choose whether to open the gift they have on hand or to “steal” a gift. Doing this will involve challenging the person to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If the challenger wins, he will trade gifts and unwrap it while the loser will keep the gift wrapped and continue with the next turn. If the challenger loses, they will open the gift they have and either trade it with the person challenged if requested or keep it for good. The game ends when everyone has opened a gift.
Left Right Poem Gift Exchange
This one will require some preparation time from the organiser as a long “poem” will have to be written beforehand. In this poem, the words “right” and left” will have to be written into a poem or a short story if that is easier. The goal is for everyone in a circle with a gift on hand and to rotate respectively when the aforementioned words are used while someone reads the poem out loud. At the end of the poem, everyone will open their gift they are holding. A very straightforward game that can be quick or long-lasting, depending on the organiser’s creativity and writing skills.