Dhaka, July 11 (UNB) - Exposure to outdoor air pollution is linked to decreased lung function and an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study of over 300,000 people published Tuesday, reports The Indian Express.
COPD is a long-term condition linked to reduced lung function that causes inflammation in the lungs and a narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult.
According to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project, COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide, and the number of global COPD deaths are expected to increase over the next ten years.
Lung function normally declines as we age, but the research published in the European Respiratory Journal suggests that air pollution may contribute to the ageing process and adds to the evidence that breathing in polluted air harms the lungs.
“There are surprisingly few studies that look at how air pollution affects lung health,” said Anna Hansell, a professor at the University of Leicester, UK.
The researchers used a validated air pollution model to estimate the levels of pollution that people were exposed to at their homes when they enrolled in the UK Biobank study.
The types of pollutants the researchers investigated included particulate matter (PM10), fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are produced by burning fossil fuels from car and other vehicle exhausts, power plants and industrial emissions.
The team then conducted multiple tests to see how long-term exposure to higher levels of the different air pollutants was linked to changes to participants’ lung function.
The participants’ age, sex, body mass index (BMI), household income, education level, smoking status, and exposure to secondhand smoke were accounted for in the analyses.
Further analyses also looked at whether working in occupations that increase the risk of developing COPD impacted disease prevalence.
The data showed that for each annual average increase of five microgrammes per cubic metre of PM2.5 in the air that participants were exposed to at home, the associated reduction in lung function was similar to the effects of two years of ageing.
When the researchers assessed COPD prevalence, they found that among participants living in areas with PM2.5 concentrations above World Health Organization (WHO) annual average guidelines of ten microgrammes per cubic meter, COPD prevalence was four times higher than among people who were exposed to passive smoking at home, and prevalence was half that of people who have ever been a smoker.
The current EU air quality limits for PM2.5 is 25 microgrammes per cubic metre, which is higher than the levels that the researchers noted as being linked to reduced lung function.
“In one of the largest analyses to date, we found that outdoor air pollution exposure is directly linked to lower lung function and increased COPD prevalence.
“We found that people exposed to higher levels of pollutants had lower lung function equivalent to at least a year of ageing,” Hansell said.
“Worryingly, we found that air pollution had much larger effects on people from lower income households. Air pollution had approximately twice the impact on lung function decline and three times the increased COPD risk on lower-income participants compared to higher-income participants who had the same air pollution exposure.
“We accounted for participants’ smoking status and if their occupation might affect lung health, and think this disparity could be related to poorer housing conditions or diet, worse access to healthcare or long-term effects of poverty affecting lung growth in childhood,” Hansell said.
Dhaka, July 11 (UNB) - Popular in many Asian cultures for its varied uses, rice water is known to be a natural cleansing option that also has numerous other benefits. Made with just rice and water where the rice has either been boiled or soaked, rice water is known to help one achieve better-looking and tighter skin without being dependent on harsh chemicals, and that too at no extra cost, reports The Indian Express.
Around 16 percent of these are proteins, the building blocks which are essential to cell health. Triglycerides and lipids each make up 10 per cent of the rice water composition while starch (an extract still used in Japanese cosmetics), is present at 9 per cent. Carbohydrates, inositol, phytic acid and inorganic substances are other components of rice water.
Boiling rice, soaking rice, or fermenting soaked rice water are three ways in which rice water can be prepared and used. The type you pick depends on the availability of time and at which consistency you want to use the rice water.
-Take half cup of uncooked rice and rinse thoroughly.
-Place the rice in a bowl with two–three cups of water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
-Strain the rice water into a clean bowl or bottle.
Boiling method: Cover half cup of rice with double the water typically used for cooking. Cook the rice in boiling water and strain the rice water into a clean bowl or bottle before use.
Fermented rice water: Leave the rice water to stand at room temperature for up to 12 hours before straining – allowing it to ferment. Strain the rice water into a clean bowl or bottle before use.
How to use it?
-As boiling the rice will create a concentrated batch of rice water which is stronger, one needs to mix it with clean water when using it.
Rice water by soaking is the easiest of the lot. However, since it’s not concentrated, one may run out of it faster.
-Fermenting the rice water takes the most time but the process of fermentation brings out more vitamins and nutrients.
Benefits for skin: Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are essential for maintaining healthy and beautiful skin, rice water contains the nourishing antioxidant ferulic acid, as well as allantoin, an organic compound that helps soothe skin. It is also known to heal skin irritation caused by sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), an ingredient found in many personal care products. Anecdotal evidence has shown that using rice water twice a day helps skin that has been damaged by SLS.
Facial cleanser: For a softer and more radiant looking skin, just pour some rice water onto a cotton pad and dab it on your face. Let your skin air dry for a few minutes. Use it every day as part of your skin care routine, or a couple of times a week. This helps provide a boost of vitamins and minerals to the skin.
Facial toner: Just pour some rice water onto a cotton pad and apply to the face. It helps tighten skin and minimise pores, keeping your skin smooth and bright.
Good for acne: The soothing effect of rice water makes it a great treatment for acne. While acting as an astringent, it helps reduce redness and helps prevent future breakouts.
Soothes sunburns: Rice water can help reduce inflammation and redness in case of sunburn. To make it extra soothing, take your rice water out of the fridge and apply it to sunburn immediately, using a cotton pad.
Benefits for the hair
Hair rinse: Rinsing your hair with rice water can add shine to your hair and help keep it strong and healthy. All you have to do is pour rice water over your hair after shampooing and conditioning and then gently massaging it into your scalp and hair, followed by rinsing with water.
Works to untangle frizzy hair and balance pH level of the scalp
In 2010, a study was published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, where researchers clearly stated that using rice water as a hair treatment offered several benefits including improved elasticity, texture and lesser friction and frizz. This is largely due to the presence of inositol, a carbohydrate. It also helps keep the hair’s natural oils intact and its pH levels are similar to that of the scalp.
Dhaka, July 11 (UNB) - According to the World Health Organisation, India has an estimated 8.7 per cent people with diabetes in the age group of 20 to 70 years. A chronic disease, diabetes is caused when the body is unable to use the insulin it produces or is unable to produce enough insulin, reports The Indian Express.
It is essential for people with diabetes to eat small meals at regular intervals to keep their blood glucose levels in control. To help plan a healthy day ahead, dietitian Jasleen Kaur, founder and mentor Just Diet clinic shares a meal plan which patients with diabetes can follow.
7am to 8am: Soak 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds in one cup of water overnight and drink it in the morning along with 7 soaked almonds, and 1 soaked walnut.
9am to 10am: Have one cup of dalia or 1 vegetable sandwich with a cup of skimmed milk.
11am to 12 pm: Have 1 apple or 1 glass of lemon water or salted buttermilk.
1pm to 2pm: Have 1 to 2 rotis (mix barley flour with normal flour in 1:1 ratio) with 1 cup of green vegetables and curd. Or have 1-2 moong dal cheela with salad and vegetables.
4pm to 5 pm: 1 cup of skimmed milk or 1 cup tea with bhuna chana or 2 whole wheat or 2-3 ragi biscuits.
7pm to 8pm: For dinner, have 1-2 barley rotis with vegetables and salad or you can even have 4-6 pieces of grilled chicken with salad.
9pm: Have a cup of green tea post dinner.
Dhaka, July 11 (UNB) - Sugary drinks - including fruit juice and fizzy pop - may increase the risk of cancer, French scientists say, reports BBC.
The link was suggested by a study, published in the British Medical Journal, that followed more than 100,000 people for five years.
The team at Université Sorbonne Paris Cité speculate that the impact of blood sugar levels may be to blame.
However, the research is far from definitive proof and experts have called for more research.
What counts as a sugary drink?
The researchers defined it as a drink with more than 5% sugar.
That included fruit juice (even with no added sugar), soft drinks, sweetened milkshakes, energy drinks and tea or coffee with sugar stirred in.
The team also looked at diet drinks using zero-calorie artificial sweeteners instead of sugar but found no link with cancer.
How big is the cancer risk?
The study concluded that drinking an extra 100ml of sugary drinks a day - about two cans a week - would increase the risk of developing cancer by 18%.
For every 1,000 people in the study, there were 22 cancers.
So, if they all drank an extra 100ml a day, it would result in four more cancers - taking the total to 26 per 1,000 per five years, according to the researchers.
"However, this assumes that there is a genuine causal link between sugary drink intake and developing cancer and this still needs further research," said Dr Graham Wheeler, a senior statistician at Cancer Research UK.
Of the 2,193 cancers found during the study, 693 were breast cancers, 291 were prostate cancers and 166 were colorectal cancers.
Is this definitive proof?
No - the way the study was designed means it can spot patterns in the data but cannot explain them.
So, it did show that the people who drank the most (about 185ml a day) had more cancer cases than those who drank the least (less than 30ml a day).
And one possible explanation is that sugary drinks are increasing cancer risk.
But, alternatively, people who drink the most sugary drinks could have other unhealthy behaviours (eating more salt and calories than then rest, for example) that raise their cancer risk and the sugary drinks themselves could be irrelevant.
So, the study cannot say that sugary drinks cause cancer.
"While this study doesn't offer a definitive causative answer about sugar and cancer, it does add to the overall picture of the importance of the current drive to reduce our sugar intake," said Dr Amelia Lake, from Teesside University.
She added: "Reducing the amount of sugar in our diet is extremely important."
Is this just about obesity?
Obesity is a major cause of some cancers - and excessive consumption of sugary drinks would increase the odds of putting on weight.
However, the study said it was not the whole story.
"Obesity and weight gain caused by sugary-drink excessive consumption certainly played a role in the association but they did not explain the whole association," Dr Mathilde Touvier, one of the researchers, told BBC News.
So what might be going on?
The French researchers say the link "was strongly driven by sugar content" and they blame blood sugar levels.
They also suggest some chemicals in the beverages, such as those that give an appealing colour, may be to blame.
However, their study does not attempt to answer this question.
"I find the biological plausibility of this difficult, given there was no significant difference between groups in relation to body weight or incidence of diabetes, which is often cited as an associated risk," Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian, said.
What do the researchers say?
The team at Université Sorbonne Paris Cité say more large scale studies are needed to corroborate the findings.
"Sugary drinks are known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, overweight, obesity and diabetes," said Dr Touvier.
"But what we show is they are also associated, maybe, with cancer risk."
They say their research is further evidence that taxing sugary drinks is a good idea.
"These data support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice, as well as policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks," their report says.
The UK introduced a sugar tax in 2018, with manufacturers having to pay a levy on high-sugar drinks they produce.
What do drinks companies have to say?
The British Soft Drinks Association said the study "does not provide evidence of cause, as the authors readily admit".
Its director general, Gavin Partington, added: "Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet.
"The soft drinks industry recognises it has a role to play in helping to tackle obesity, which is why we have led the way in calorie and sugar reduction."
Washington, Jul 10 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump is directing the government to revamp the nation's care for kidney disease, so that more people whose kidneys fail have a chance at early transplants and home dialysis — along with better prevention so patients don't get that sick to begin with.
Senior administration officials told The Associated Press that Trump is set to sign an executive order Wednesday calling for strategies that have the potential to save lives and millions of Medicare dollars.
That won't happen overnight — some of the initiatives will require new government regulations.
And because a severe organ shortage complicates the call for more transplants, the administration also aims to ease financial hardships for living donors, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.
Another key change: steps to help the groups that collect deceased donations do a better job. Officials cited a study that suggests long term it may be possible to find 17,000 more kidneys and 11,000 other organs from deceased donors for transplant every year.
Federal health officials have made clear for months that they intend to shake up a system that today favors expensive, time-consuming dialysis in large centers over easier-to-tolerate at-home care or transplants that help patients live longer.
"Right now every financial incentive is toward dialysis and not toward transplantation and long-term survivorship," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, whose father experienced traditional and at-home dialysis before getting a living donor transplant, told a Senate hearing in March. "And you get what you pay for."
About 30 million American adults have chronic kidney disease, costing Medicare a staggering $113 billion.
Careful treatment — including control of diabetes and high blood pressure, the two main culprits — can help prevent further kidney deterioration. But more than 700,000 people have end-stage renal disease, meaning their kidneys have failed, and require either a transplant or dialysis to survive. Only about a third received specialized kidney care before they got so sick.
More than 94,000 of the 113,000 people on the national organ waiting list need a kidney. Last year, there were 21,167 kidney transplants. A fraction — 6,442 — were from living donors, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation's transplant system.
"The longer you're on dialysis, the outcomes are worse," said Dr. Amit Tevar, a transplant surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who praised the Trump administration initiatives being announced Wednesday.
Too often, transplant centers don't see a kidney patient until they've been on dialysis for years, he said. And while any transplant is preferable, one from a living donor is best because those organs "work better, longer and faster," Tevar said.
Among the initiatives that take effect first:
—Medicare payment changes that would provide a financial incentive for doctors and clinics to help kidney patients stave off end-stage disease by about six months.
—A bonus to kidney specialists who help prepare patients for early transplant, with steps that can begin even before they need dialysis.
—Additional Medicare changes so that dialysis providers can earn as much by helping patients get dialysis at home as in the large centers that predominate today. Patients typically must spend hours three or four times a week hooked to machines that filter waste out of their blood.
Home options include portable blood-cleansing machines, or what's called peritoneal dialysis that works through an abdominal tube, usually while patients are sleeping.
Today, about 14% of patients in kidney failure get at-home dialysis or an early transplant. By 2025, the goal is to have 80% of people with newly diagnosed kidney failure getting one of those options, officials said.
These changes are being implemented through Medicare's innovation center, created under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act and empowered to seek savings and improved quality. The Trump administration is relying on the innovation center even as it argues in federal court that the law that created it is unconstitutional and should be struck down entirely.
Other initiatives will require new regulations, expected to be proposed later this year. Among them:
—Allowing reimbursement of lost wages and other expenses for living donors, who can give one of their kidneys or a piece of their liver. The transplant recipient's insurance pays the donor's medical bills. But they are out of work for weeks recuperating and one study found more than a third of living kidney donors reported lost wages, a median of $2,712, in the year following donation. Details about who pays — and who qualifies — still have to be worked out.
—Clearer ways to measure how well the nation's 58 organ procurement organizations collect donations from deceased donors. Some do a better job than others, but today's performance standards are self-reported, varying around the country and making it hard for government regulators or the OPOs themselves to take steps to improve.
"Some OPOs are very aggressive and move forward with getting organs allocated and donors consented, and there are those that are a little more lackadaisical about it," said Pittsburgh's Tevar. Unlike the medical advances in transplantation, "we haven't really made big dents and progress and moves in increasing cadaveric organs or increasing live donor options."