27 Contact Lenses Are Found in Woman’s Eye, Doctors Report

Seventeen contact lenses removed by an anaesthetist. A further 10 were found during examination under a microscope by the surgeon. CreditBMJ

For years, she had assumed that the strange sensation in her right eye was just a part of a changing body, nothing worth troubling over.

Fortunately for the unidentified 67-year-old woman, doctors preparing her for routine cataract surgery last November discovered the source and removed it. Unfortunately for the squeamish, the cause was the stuff of nightmares: The woman’s eye had become home to a hard, bluish mass of nearly 30 contact lenses held together by mucus.

The lump the medical team discovered was composed of 17 contact lenses, they reported this month in BMJ, a medical journal. On further examination, they found 10 more.

“We were all shocked she had not noticed!” Dr. Rupal Morjaria, an ophthalmologist in Britain and one of the three authors of the report, said in an email.

It is not clear how long the lenses were in the woman’s eye, but she had worn monthly disposable lenses for 35 years, the doctors said. The cataract surgery was postponed because of a greater risk of infection, but it was later carried out with no long-term complications, Dr. Morjaria said.

She and her colleagues speculated that the patient’s poor vision and deep-set eyes may have contributed to her not noticing the accumulating mass.

“She said she had felt an uncomfortable and gritty eye, ‘like something was inside,’ but she didn’t think it was anything to worry about,” Dr. Morjaria said.

While lenses in Britain may be obtained only following an exam with a specialist, they are easy to buy online, Dr. Morjaria said. In the case of the patient, the lenses were lodged so high up under the eyelid that they would not have been easily spotted, she added.

The team decided to publicize the case to raise awareness about safe contact lens use, she added. While contacts can be an effective way to correct vision, experts note that they must be treated with care.

“This patient was lucky, however contact lens overwear can cause sight threatening complications,” Dr. Morjaria said.

Last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 41 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. Only a small percentage get serious eye infections.

To reduce the risk of infection, the agency recommended not sleeping in contact lenses without discussing doing so with an eye doctor, not combining old and new contact lens solution, and replacing lenses as recommended.

The mass was discovered by Dr. Richard Crombie, an anesthesiologist, and was removed by Dr. Amit Patel, an ophthalmologist. Both were authors of the report with Dr. Morjaria.


Those Black Dots on Your Nose Are Probably Not Blackheads

Blackheads are big business. Products that promise to remove them, treatments that totally tackle them and mesmerizing videos that show people popping them (yes, it’s totally gross and, yes, we’re guilty of tuning in) are undeniably all the rage. But, as New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD, reveals, not are all blackheads are really blackheads at all.

“Some people think the black dots on their nose are clogged pores or blackheads,” she says. “They are, in fact, mostly fine hairs or sebaceous filaments, which is a combination of sebum and skin cells.”

So now that all our skin care beliefs are shaken to the core, how can we tell what’s what? “They’re different from blackheads since those are formed from an obstruction of the follicular opening and are pathologic, while sebaceous filaments are more common and often normally found in the nose, as this is an area with more active sebaceous glands,” Dr. Day explains.

While Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, MD, does note that many people do have actual blackheads on the nose, she says that, regardless of which one ails you, the course of treatment for both is pretty similar. “They are both treated with light/medium exfoliation, extraction, use of sunblock and chemical peels.”





Are You Having Excessive Hair Loss? Know the Causes

Are You Having Excessive Hair Loss? Know the Causes

Excessive hair loss may be due to many reasons

Losing hair is a natural occurrence and according to a New York based study, on an average, we lose at around 50-100 hair strands on regular basis. And this happens because your hair goes through its cycle where your hair re-grows when you lose them. However, if that cycle disturbs because of certain reasons, you should immediately get your Doctor’s appointment. While choosing a suitable hair shampoo and conditioner are essential to prevent excessive hair loss, there are certain physical and mental reasons which contribute to it. Losing hair also acts as an indicator of your overall health and therefore it is important to be careful about excessive hair loss. Hence, read further to know about the reasons which makes that happen.

1. Hormonal Changes

Imbalanced secretion of hormones in the body causes excessive hair loss. The reasons for this hormonal imbalance is manifold; they can be due to pregnancy, childbirth or the onset of menopause. According to health experts, thyroid problems also distorts hormonal levels.

2. Scalp Infections

Scalp infections like- Ringworm loosens your hair roots and often result in patchy scalp. An unhealthy scalp can cause inflammation that makes it difficult for hair to grow. Skin conditions that lead to hair loss include Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), psoriasis and fungal infections.

Seborrheic dermatitis causes the scalp to shed it skin which leads to greasy and yellowish scales on your shoulders or in your hair. It is possibly because of hormonal changes or excess oil in the skin.

3. Hair-Pulling Disorder

Hair-Pulling Disorder is also called trichotillomania which causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair- from scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body. This unusual disorder leads to hair loss.

4. Hereditary Hair Loss

Genetic hair loss is known as androgenetic alopecia and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is one of the most common cause for hair loss. The gene can be inherited either from your mother or father. If not given timely medical attention, this leads to permanent hair loss.

5. Hyperthyroidism

When your body produces too little thyroid hormone, you are said to have hypothyroidism (or an under-active thyroid). Thyroid hormone is responsible for everything from your basal metabolic rate to the growth of your hair, skin and nails. But when you don’t have the right amount, you may notice changes in bodily functions.

6. Iron Deficiency

Women with heavy blood flow during menstruation or those who intake food with insufficient nutrient content, have unusual loss of hair. The excessive blood flow during periods, often lead to iron deficiency which obstructs the oxygen supply into your blood.

7. Excessive Styling

Too much styling and dyeing can harm your tresses. Heat and chemicals used in styling weakens your hair, causing it to break and fall out. It is, therefore, advisable to style your hair while being mindful of the kind and composition of the hair-color used.


N.C. cancer patients’ lives are at stake if Senate doesn’t act this week

Image result for N.C. cancer patients’ lives are at stake if Senate doesn’t act this week

Cancer patients increasingly take pills for their treatment rather than injections. But insurance rules make them far more expensive. Diedra Laird 2015 file photo

A cancer diagnosis is one of the most disrupting and frightening experiences a person can go through. I know because it happened to me just last year.

I live with two forms of blood cancer – myelodysplastic syndrome and myelofibrosis. I am also one of the fortunate ones. Ongoing treatment has so far been successful in keeping the cancer in check, but I live with the reality that my body will stop responding so positively and I will need a new treatment game plan.

And unless the North Carolina Senate acts this week on legislation bringing fairness to cancer health coverage, I will also continue living with the reality that I might not be able to afford the next treatment I need, even though I have health insurance.


Student Graduates in Dying Mom’s Hospital Room

For many years, intravenous (IV) delivery was the primary method for administering the medicines used to treat cancer, but these days, many of the frontline cancer treatments are in pill form – used in conjunction with injectable or IV therapies, or even in place of them.

In fact, well over one-third of the anti-cancer medications approved by the Food & Drug Administration over the last two years are in pill form. For many cancers, the most effective and appropriate form of treatment comes in a pill, and for some cancers, such as chronic myeloid leukemia, an oral therapy is the only available treatment option.

Despite the need for oral anti-cancer medications, some health plans in North Carolina require patients to pay a large sum for them, often in the thousands of dollars, as opposed to the more reasonable fixed copay charge for IV treatments. The high costs make it difficult and often impossible for cancer patients to get the therapies their doctors prescribe. Without those prescribed therapies the prospects for continued life are extremely limited.

The sobering reality is that cancer is the leading cause of death in our state, with nearly 57,000 North Carolinians diagnosed each year. And yet, North Carolina is one of only seven states that hasn’t enacted legislation requiring health insurers to cover oral anti-cancer medications in the same way they cover injectable or IV chemotherapy.

The state House passed such legislation – known as the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act (HB 206) – this year and during the past two legislative sessions, yet it has never gotten a hearing in the Senate.

With the clock ticking down on this year’s session, time is of the essence for the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act and for the many North Carolinians that it would help. I hope senators will finally listen to our voices and allow the legislation to move forward.

Health insurance is a pool we all pay into so that we can afford care if or when we need it. No North Carolinian should have to forego the necessary treatment prescribed by their doctor because insurers do not cover oral anti-cancer medications in a fair way. It’s time to bring insurance policies in line with modern medicine – and in line with the rest of the country – and make cancer care fair in North Carolina.



25 Chicago Startups That Are Fighting Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancer, and about 40% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. The number of people living with cancer is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024.

Think that’s too big a problem to disrupt? Think again.

Startups across Chicago are finding ways to fight the chronic disease through innovations in pharmaceuticals, diagnostic tools, big data, medical devices, survivorship plans and even subscription gift boxes. While creating a business in any medical field is difficult, university startup centers, such as University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Northwestern’s N.XT Fund, as well as incubators MATTER and Healthbox, offer medtech startups business resources and funding to get their big ideas off the ground.

If these startups succeed, the return on investment is far more than money. It’s improving the quality of life, and perhaps even saving the lives, of the millions of people suffering from cancer today.

Here’s a look at 25 startups in Chicago that are fighting cancer.

Jivana Biotechnology: This preclinical-stage biotech company down modulates an anti-apoptotic protein in cancer cells through the process of gene silencing. By preventing production of the target protein, they’re able to increase cell sensitivity to chemotherapeutics and other inhibitory drugs, according to the startup.

Latona Therapeutics: This startup out of Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Chicago Booth School of Business is developing a novel drug-delivery technology that uses light-activated nanoparticles to directly target cancer cells while avoiding healthy cells. They’re initially focused on triple-negative breast cancer, which can only be treated by chemotherapy.

SurgiNet: This startup has created a patented mesh that’s used for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. SurgiNet took the top prize at Northwestern University’s 2016 Venture Challenge.

LifeMotion Technologies: This medical device startup provides individualized rehabilitation technology that improves TMJ function for patients suffering from Trismus due to head and neck cancer, as well as other conditions that impact jaw mobility.

Exicure: This sRNA platform company previously raised $40 million in funding and entered into a $790 million partnership to develop a drug for psoriasis, but its next products are focused on oncology, as SNAs have been shown to lead to long-lasting disease fighting innate immune response, the startup says.

Innoblative: This startup is creating specialized electrosurgical devices that can improve on multiple surgical procedures. Their first product is a radiofrequency ablation (RFA) applicator that allows surgeons to intraoperatively coagulate and ablate soft tissue beds, according to the startup.

Nanocytomics: This startup is creating a technology platform that aims to provide highly accurate, low-cost, non-invasive cancer screening, which are intended to identify patients that are likely to benefit additional cancer diagnostic procedures, such as colonoscopies, CT scans, and biopsies. They’re commercializing the technology through Preora Diagnostics.

RiMo Therapeutics:  This University of Chicago startup uses nanotechnology to deliver low-dose x-ray treatments which has been shown to be highly effective in eradicating solid tumors.  The startup received $250,000 from the University of Chicago Innovation Fund in 2016.

Ohmx: This diagnostics company is working on an electronic detection platform for the early detection of cancer. Previously the startup was awarded a $1.5 million SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute for a prostate cancer biomarker project.

Third Coast Therapeutics: This biotherapeutics startup is aiming to stop the spread of cancer cells throughout the body through a precise targeting method to alter the activity of key kinases involved in the metastatic process, the startup says. The startup received funding from Northwestern’s high tech fund N.XT.

GliaLab: This artificial intelligence startup that works with existing medical imaging devices to create faster, smarter breast cancer diagnoses. Founder Abu Qader told us last year the software is between 93% and 99% accurate, and gives results in real-time.

PrescriptIQ: This University of Chicago startup has a proprietary “Genomic Prescribing System” (GPS) that includes a database of how patients with particular genetic profiles react to specific drugs that physicians can access for better prescriptions. PrescriptIQ received $100,000 from the Innovation Fund in 2014.

SurvivorPlan: This startup offers clinicians a cancer survivorship care planning platform, enabling cancer centers to meet CoC Survivorship Care Plan Standards.

Actuate Therapeutics: This Northwestern University and University of Illinois at Chicago biopharma startup is focused on creating compounds that can better treat cancer and inflammatory diseases. Their lead molecule, 9-ING-41, has demonstrated anti-tumor activity for brain, pancreas, lung and breast cancer.

MicroSensor Labs: This startup is creating a cancer biomarker detection platform that focuses on liquid biopsies in order to detect cancers at very early stages.

Thriveosity: This startup offers a subscription box service with all-natural goods that address a cancer patients’ pain points and side effects, such as lotions for rashes and brain games to improve mental stimulation.

Quantitative Insights: This University of Chicago startup has a computer-aided diagnosis system that integrates data from MRIs, ultrasound and x-rays to help radiologists more accurately diagnose of breast cancer. Quantitative Insights is a Polsky incubator company and has received funding of $50,000 and $100,000 from the UChicago Innovation Fund in 2011 and 2014, respectively.

Cancer IQ: Cancer IQ is a digital health platform that provides doctors with a patients’ cancer risk assessment, prevention, and genetically-informed treatment plans. CancerIQ took fourth place in the 2013 New Venture Challenge.

American BioOptics: This startup has created a non-invasive test for colorectal cancer screening process as a means of identifying patients at high risk for cancer who are in need of additional follow-up.

Ariel Precision Medicine: This digital health startup has a platform that integrates a patients’ symptoms and genetics with complex medical information, then compares this with a databases of disease patterns to identify the underlying cause of the disease and the best treatment plan.

Diagnostic Photonics :This medical device company provides handheld, high­-resolution imaging systems that help clinicians view whether they’ve removed all cancerous tissue at the microscopic layer.

Innocrin Pharmaceuticals: This Matter member pharma startup discovers and develops novel oral selective inhibitors of CYP17 lyase, which is a validated target for the treatment of advanced breast and prostate cancer, the startup says.

MetriTrack: This medical device startup is working on proprietary automated solutions for precise and efficient hand-held ultrasound exams.

Tempus: This Chicago startup, founded by Groupon founder Eric Lefkofsky, uses machine learning and genomic sequencing to better understand a patient’s tumor, as well as create personalized treatment plans based on the data.

TTC Oncology: This University of Illinois at Chicago-founded startup is working to advance drug therapy for the treatment of Tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer.

Bateman Skincare Is a Brand For Handsome Young Men Who Are Young and Handsome

Image result for Bateman Skincare Is a Brand For Handsome Young Men Who Are Young and HandsomeYou know how pretty much every pop culture film is being made into a musical? Imagine that… but now with beauty. Instead of breaking scenes down into dance-y numbers and jazz hands, the concept is translated into one thematic element, this one being skin care.

Bateman Skincare takes its name from the titular character in American Psycho, Patrick Bateman. The 1991 Brett Easton Ellis novel turned year-2000 film, now turned conceptual skin care line is a highly edited collection of your six essential products: a rose hip and seaweed cleanser, an herbal balancing toner, AHA exfoliating gel, hyaluronic serum, hyaluronic moisturizer, and a zinc + clay mask.

I would imagine that a psychopathic narcissist would absolutely follow a six-plus-step skin-care routine, but Bateman Skincare errs more general; the brand claims a unisex approach to skin care that focuses on the individual, You are your own best asset printed on their card. “One of the most memorable parts of the book and movie revolves around skincare and the importance of having a routine; this adherence to structure is a cornerstone of our brand.” It also happens to be the cornerstone of any good skin-care regimen that you expect to see results from.

The line is modestly packaged in clinical amber bottles and dare I say, vaguely early 90s-typeface (I don’t know. I’m a beauty editor, not a graphic designer). Judging by the products’ ingredients, however, it all seems fairly legit from a glance — simple pared-down formulas with botanically-derived ingredients featuring face-faves, hyaluronic acid, squalene, seaweed, rose hip seed oil and witch hazel.

I asked a cosmetic chemist (who asked to remain unnamed) his opinion about the line and he gave it a blasé thumbs-up. “I don’t think this line will help much with someone with acne or any specific skin concerns. I think it’s aimed more to handsome young men who are already handsome and young.”

… Kind of like the chiseled Mr. Bateman himself, who now that I think about it, is a bit parallel to the prototypical Glossier girl… but a dude — conventionally attractive, naturally fit, and effortlessly chic yet with a staunchly disciplined focus on grooming aesthetics that gives the appearance of effortlessness.

However in an ironic yet pleasant turn, Bateman Skincare products are cruelty-free, unlike the guy it’s based on.


Zero Carb Diet: Why Carbohydrates are Necessary?

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What is considered to be a zero-carb diet?

Do you know what is a zero-carb diet? It is a diet that restricts carbohydrates which is only high in protein, fat, and vegetables. The amount of carbs in a zero-carb diet is limited between 50 to 150 grams per day, depending on the diet.

But before you get happy and jump on the zero-carb diet for weight loss bandwagon, you must know that carbohydrates are necessary as it provides energy to the body. It is the basic macronutrient found in all plant foods.There are 2 types of carbs – simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs or the bad carbs are found in soda, sugar, white rice, corn syrup, etc. Opt for foods that contain complex carbs or good carbs which include vegetables, fruits, whole grain bread, oatmeal, legumes, brown rice and wheat pasta.

zero carb diet for weight loss
zero carb diet for weight loss

Do zero carb diets work for weight loss?

When carbohydrate consumption is below 100 grams, the body usually responds by burning muscle tissue for the glycogen (glucose). When the glycogen starts to run out, the body burns its own fat for fuel. The body does it only when it is starving. A lot of people believe that cutting carbs in favour of higher protein is a simple way to become lean fast. By some people, carbs are also not regarded as an essential part of the diet and are given a lesser importance.

Restricting any type of food group from your diet can lead to various health problems.  A zero-carb diet asks for curbing one particular food group. It only consists of high protein which may result in nutritional deficiencies causing ill health.

Why is a high protein diet bad for you?

A high-protein diet may damage kidney function in people suffering from kidney problems because your body may have trouble flushing out all the waste products of protein metabolism. Some of the high-protein diets include foods such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, which may increase the risk of heart disease.

High protein diet
High protein diet

What are the dangers of a high protein low carbohydrate diet?

Zero-carb diet has been known to be ineffective and unhealthy. It is because after you go back to normal eating habits the weight returns back.

Here, is a list of some of the risks that might arise when you are on a high protein low carb diet:

  1. High cholesterol
  2. Kidney problems
  3. Osteoporosis and kidney stones

Reducing your intake of this major nutrient can cause negative side effects. The more you decrease carbs in your diet, the greater the side effects.

14 Negative side effects of zero-carb diet

The list below includes the most common side effects of zero-carb diet.

  1. Frequent Urination
  2. Fatigue and Dizziness
  3. Low Blood Sugar
  4. Headaches
  5. Constipation
  6. Sugar Cravings
  7. Diarrhea
  8. Shakiness or Weakness
  9. Muscle Cramps
  10. Sleep disturbances
  11. Kidney Stones
  12. Hair loss
  13. Lowered T3 Thyroid Hormone Levels
  14. Heart Palpitations


Even if you are on a weight loss diet, you should not fully omit carbs from your diet. The reason is:

  1. Carbs in the form of glucose are the only source of energy that the brain and central nervous system can utilize.
  2. In the absence of carbs, fat cannot be broken down completely. If you want to lose weight carbs are required to help in breaking down the fat completely.
  3. You need carbohydrates to exercise as carbs are absorbed by the muscles which in turn will keep you active throughout.

Carbohydrates are not bad provided you select the right ones in your weight loss diet.You can watch the video for more information about zero-carb diet.




Drug information leaflets are ‘impenetrable’ and ‘unreadable’: Medicine pamphlets must be improved so patients can understand them, report claims

Drug information leaflets must be improved so they can be more easily read and understood, a report claims.

The Academy of Medical Sciences has called for the pamphlets that come in medicine boxes to be made clearer to ensure ‘comprehension and readability’ for patients.

Drug leaflets should also include information on the benefits of taking a medicine, and not just a ‘laundry list’ of the potential harms, it adds in its report.

Professor John Tooke, chair of the report, said: ‘The patient information leaflet does not provide a balanced appraisal of the benefits and harms of medicines and was described in our public dialogue as being “impenetrable” and “unreadable”.’

The Academy has released a series of potential questions that the public can ask their doctor to help them make an informed decision about whether to take certain medicines.

Drug information leaflets must be improved so they can be easily understood, experts claim

Drug information leaflets must be improved so they can be easily understood, experts claim

Unclear information leaflets 

Professor Tooke said: ‘The one piece of information that patients are guaranteed to receive – the patient information leaflet – does not provide a balance appraisal of the benefits and harms of medicines and was described in our public dialogue as being “impenetrable” and “unreadable”.

‘As far as patient information leaflets are concerned there is currently an obligation for industry to expose the risks, which is why they predominate this laundry list of side effects.

‘That’s a regulatory requirement and we’re saying that the regulation needs to serve the user and therefore what they need too is a balanced view of the potential harms and benefits.’

The Academy recommends patients ask their doctor questions, such as ‘How will this medicine make me feel? Will it affect my daily life?’, to aid their decision-making regarding whether to take certain medications, the BBC reported.

Patients trust friends more than science

The report, released yesterday, also revealed patients are more likely to trust the opinions of their family and friends than the results of clinical trials when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of their medication.

The Academy surveyed 2,041 members of the public and 1,013 GPs about their attitudes towards medical research.

Results revealed that 63 per cent of the public and 82 per cent of GPs are sceptical of claims made by drugs trials.

Many have major doubts following a series of scares over the safety of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), cholesterol-lowering statins and the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

The findings also demonstrate just 37 per cent of the public trust evidence from medical research, while 65 per cent value the opinion of friends and family.

Perhaps surprisingly, 82 per cent of GPs believe medical research is biased in favour of drugs appearing effective and safe.

Just 37 per cent of the public trust medical research, yet 65 per cent value friends' advice  

Just 37 per cent of the public trust medical research, yet 65 per cent value friends’ advice .

Risks of unclear information 

Sir John Tooke, report chairman, said: ‘We all need medicines at some point in our life yet the decision as to whether to use a drug or not can be a confusing one as illustrated by numerous controversies played out in recent years – in relation to the use of statins to reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease; the risks and benefits associated with hormone replacement therapy and Tamiflu in the treatment of influenza.

‘Questions raised about the risk and benefit balance of being on statins were associated with large numbers of people stopping the drugs from which it has been inferred there could be 2,000 excess strokes and heart attacks over the next 10 years in the UK, so there can be health consequences from the result of confusion.

‘It is our view that unless we improve the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential harms and benefits of medicines, both established and new, patients will not reap the full advantage of scientific advance.’

He said: ‘It’s startling to hear that only about a third of the public trust medical research.

‘Patients are struggling to make sense of the information they receive from their doctor, the TV, the internet and their friends and family about medicines.

‘With our ageing population and ever more sophisticated treatments being made available, we need to act now to give patients clearer and more useful information about the medicines they take.’

Why the confusion? 

As well as the ongoing debate about whether the insomnia and muscle weakness side effects of statins outweigh its cholesterol-lowering properties, there is similar confusion regarding HRT  for the menopause and whether it causes breast cancer.

The NHS has claimed the benefits outweigh the risk, yet surveys have shown the majority of women are still very sceptical.

In addition, research published back in 2009 claimed that ‘more than half of children taking Tamiflu to combat swine flu suffer side effects such as nausea, insomnia and nightmares’.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said: ‘Medical science is progressing at an unprecedented rate, opening up opportunities not only to cure certain diseases but potentially to prevent them ever occurring.

‘It is vital that we find the best possible ways to use and communicate scientific evidence, so that progress may be translated into benefits for patients.’


AYUSH Diets Claim to Heal All But How Easy Are They to Follow?

Image result for AYUSH Diets Claim to Heal All But How Easy Are They to Follow?

New York: On this International Day of Yoga (IDY), India’s 69.2 million diabetics might consider waking up to a spoonful of methi seeds soaked overnight on an empty stomach, followed by with meals of salads fresh fruits, multigrain rotis and brown rice gruels.

This is part of the ideal sattvic diet for diabetics, according to the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN), a body of the Ministry of AYUSH, most recently in the news for advising pregnant women to “detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatredness [sic] and lust”.

The pamphlet on Mother and Child Care, distributed by AYUSH minister Shripad Yesso Naik, in the run up to the IDY, is scarcely the only document advising lifestyle and dietary practices. The aforementioned diet is part of a similar booklet on the benefits of yoga and naturopathy on diabetes, one of India’s most prevalent non-communicable disease (NCD). Dr. Ishwara Acharya, president of the CCRYN told News18 that these practices could rid India of NCDs.

Much of this advice, however, is treated warily by nutritionists.

“AYUSH diets endorse ‘sattvic’ philosophy, which is fine, but does not mean that people who have been consuming non-vegetarian foods are not eating healthy. In fact, several nutrients are only found in non-vegetarian foods like long chain omega 3 fats, vitamin B12 etc,” said Dr. Shweta Khandelwal, nutritionist and associate professor, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Nor is the humble egg, disdained by the sattvic diet, easily substituted. Khandelwal did the math. One egg has the biological value (BV) — the unit for measuring how much protein a food source provides the body — of 100. One whole egg makes available 6 gram of protein for the body. Thus eggs are an excellent source of protein. However, she explained, many of the vegetarian sources of protein have a low BV. Thus one has to consume about three to four bowls (200-250 ml each) of dal to get as much bioavailable protein.

Protein requirements are still easier to achieve with a vegetarian diet for an adult, said Purnima Menon, senior fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); the trouble would be with iron, zinc and calcium. In a country with widespread anemia among girls and women, which affects lifelong health and makes pregnancy more dangerous, iron is hard to ignore.

According to Acharya, naturopathic diets could correct menstrual cycles from puberty on, perhaps stopping the loss of iron from excess bleeding. He was careful to add that the CCRYN was not asking anyone to stop taking supplements, even though naturopathy is a drugless system.

However, iron has limited vegetarian sources — certain leafy vegetables or lentils — Menon said. These are either expensive or not readily available.

The latest antenatal guidelines by the World Health Organisation recommend “consumption of a variety of foods, including green and orange vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts, whole grains and fruit” for healthy pregnancies.

Even if an AYUSH prescribed diet fulfills one’s nutritional needs, it trips over accessibility and affordability, as pointed out by both Khandelwal and Menon.

Seasonal fruits, prescribed for diabetics, are often priced too highly for urban poor to afford, who have now become increasingly vulnerable to diabetes according to the ongoing diabetes survey of the Indian Council of Medical Research. As are the dry fruits to be consumed by pregnant women.

“Consuming a balanced and nutritious diet is a problem across all classes and sectors,” said Khandelwal, adding “With the rise in working populations and erratic lifestyles we all often fall prey to cheap, ready-to-eat options, which are mostly empty calories laden with trans fats.”

However, the minutely detailed AYUSH diets are more suited to those either leading a life of leisure or who have enough help at home with the amount of preparation required.

Menon, who works at the Health and Nutrition Division at IFPRI, said the prescribed diet, at least for pregnant and lactating women would take significant efforts in terms of time and resources. “It takes time to procure and process, things like alfalfa and sprouts,” said Menon, “and many pregnant women do not have the time, the access or the support.” For many women, it will be hard to adhere to fruits and sprouts at 7am, whole wheat rotis at 11am and juices at 3pm.

Recently having completed a study on nutrition and behavioural changes in pregnant women in Bangladesh, Menon called it impractical to expect women to make drastic changes in their diet at the moment of pregnancy. Acharya may call naturopathy a change of lifestyle. However, “changes, and recommendations on what changes to make, to add those extra 350 to 400 calories and other nutrients to a pregnant woman’s diet, have to be incremental and contextual,” said Menon. People form habits by eating multiple times a day, every day. One cannot expect women from coastal communities to suddenly stop eating fish, a ready source of protein. In India, diverse socio-agricultural diversity, a daily family diet in Kerala would be very different from Gujarat or from any other state, she said.





Insomniac? You are at a greater risk of asthma

Insomniac? You are at a greater risk of asthma (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)Insomniac? You are at a greater risk of asthma (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
Do you chronically spend sleepless nights, have poor sleep quality or face difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep? Beware, you may be more than thrice at risk of developing asthma in adulthood, researchers have warned.

Asthma affects approximately 300 million people worldwide, with major risk factors including smoking, obesity and air pollution.

“The study found that those people with chronic insomnia had more than three times the risk of developing asthma, suggesting that any changes in the body due to insomnia may accumulate and result in more severe harmful effects on the airways,” said lead author Ben Brumpton from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Norway.

More recently, symptoms of depression and anxiety have also been associated with a risk of developing asthma in adulthood, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, the team used statistical analysis to assess the risk of asthma among 17,927 participants aged between 20 and 65 years in Norway.

The results showed that those participants reporting difficulty falling asleep “often” or “almost every night” during the last month had a 65 per cent and 108 per cent increased risk of developing asthma over the following 11 years, respectively.

Similarly, those who reported waking too early without being able to go back to sleep “often” or “almost every night” had a 92 per cent and 36 per cent increased risk of developing asthma.

For people who reported poor quality sleep more than once a week, the risk of developing asthma increased by 94 per cent.

“As insomnia is a manageable condition, an increased focus on the adverse health effects of insomnia could be helpful in the prevention of asthma,” suggested Linn Beate Strand from NTNU.