How to keep skin looking young? We asked the experts

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The beauty market is awash with anti-aging products, and the lists of ingredients in serums and creams that promise to slow down or reverse that process can be confounding.

Take a look at the fine print and you might encounter Vitamin C or green tea extract or alpha-hydroxy acids. Can anything make a difference?

We checked in with a handful of experts, including Dr. Gregory Henderson, a dermatologist and clinical instructor in dermatology at UCLA, in our search for answers.

By the way, cosmetics companies test their products extensively. The Food and Drug Administration does not test products, but can take action against a manufacturer if it has concerns over product safety.


Activated charcoal, which can absorb some toxins, has been used to treat alcohol and drug poisoning in emergency rooms for decades. But in the last few years, the beauty industry has embraced it, touting its ability to absorb dirt and oil. Can it be effective?

“When used as part of a mask or strip,” Henderson says, “the charcoal may help remove sebum and keratinous debris from skin pores.”

Clay and mud

Mud is sometimes used in masks that are used to hydrate the skin and is acknowledged by many in the medical community for its potential to help with skin issues. “Mud therapy,” says Henderson, “is an ancient tradition and historically has been used for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.”

Clay is one of the most common ingredients found in beauty products, and experts tend to agree that it can serve a useful purpose, if used according to directions. Clay masks, designed to remove oil, dirt and dead skin cells, can be used as a delivery mechanism for ingredients — oils and emollients, for example — to ease dry skin.

Sodium hyaluronate

Sodium hyaluronate, which is used in all sorts of wrinkle and skin-repair products, is a “cousin of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the skin which helps hang on to water and helps give the skin a younger appearance,” says UCLA dermatologist Dr. Hayley Goldbach.

“Dermatologists often inject hyaluronic acid fillers into skin, resulting in more volume and a reduction in fine lines.” Sodium hyaluronate, designed to be applied to the skin, “has not been shown to have the same anti-aging or collagen-boosting properties as injectable hyaluronic acid.” But it continues to be included in various medical studies and papers that are focused on the efficacy of various anti-aging products.

Alpha hydroxy acids

According to Medscape, an online reference source used by medical professionals, AHAs (including glycolic and citric acids) “improve skin texture and reduce the signs of aging by promoting cell shedding” in the outer layers of the skin. But “the mechanism of the action is not completely understood.”


Caffeine is used in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals to counter a number of skin conditions, including the appearance of cellulite. It works, in theory, “by stimulating lipolysis — the breaking down of fat — in the skin and by improving the microcirculation,” Henderson says.

Caffeine is also found in some eye creams, promoted by cosmetic lines for its ability to shrink blood vessels under the eyes, although “its role has not been well studied.”

Green tea extract

In the last few years, there’s been a surge in the use of green tea extract in beauty products. WebMD reports that “the ingredients in tea can reduce sun damage and may protect you from skin cancer when you put it on your skin.” Henderson says that “a study combining green tree extract, caffeine and resveratrol showed reduced facial redness.”

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most popular ingredients in anti-aging products, promoted as something that can protect cells from free radicals, which can damage cell DNA, increase signs of aging and lead to cancer.

Some experts say the antioxidants found in vitamin C can assist the body’s production of collagen. But Henderson cautions: “While limited studies have shown that topical vitamin C may limit photoaging, many current preparations … are not formulated to allow the vitamin C to effectively penetrate the skin. Also unless protected from the air, most preparation became inactive without hours of opening.”


Peptides, formed from amino acids, are “cellular messengers” of sorts and are commonly used in beauty products. According to Henderson, signal peptides may stimulate collagen production. Carrier peptides “may aid in the delivery of copper to the skin and promote smoother skin.” (Copper is said to help develop collagen and elastin.)


Many of us associate algae with unpleasant encounters in the water (seaweed, pond scum, etc.), but algae have been used in traditional diets and folk medicine for centuries.

In the beauty world, you might read about ingredients such as blue marine algae or brown algae extract. You won’t find universal agreement on their effectiveness in cosmeceuticals, but an article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology suggests brown seaweed “could be used as a potential cosmetic ingredient to make skin firmer and smoother.”

The bottom line?

Some of the ingredients listed in the fine print on cosmetics and cosmeceuticals may actually help your skin. But what the experts really hope you’ll indulge in are rest, exercise, a healthy diet and sunscreen.


Get off that couch to beat dementia: Experts to older folks

Sedentary older adults with no genetic risk factors for dementia may be just as likely to develop the disease as those who are genetically predisposed, researchers, including one of Indian origin, have warned.

The study , which followed more than 1,600 Canadians over five years, sheds new light on the relationship between genes, lifestyle risk factors and dementia.

Researchers also found out that while the carriers of a variant of the `apolipo protein E’ genotype are more likely to develop dementia, inactivity dramatically increases the risk for non-carriers. “The important message here is that being inactive may completely negate the protective effects of a healthy set of genes,“ said Jennifer Heisz, assistant professor at McMaster University, Canada.

“Given that most individuals are not at genetic risk, physical exercise may be an effective prevention strategy,“ she added. About 47.5 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. The number is expected to surge to 115.4 million by 2050, the researchers said. With no known cure, there is an urgent need to explore, identify and change lifestyle factors that can reduce dementia risk, they added.

“This research shows that exercise can mitigate the risk of dementia for people without the variant of the apolipo protein genotype. However, more research is needed to determine the implications from a public health perspective,“ said Parminder Raina from McMaster


Over 30 mn diabetics in India in one decade: Experts

Over 30 mn diabetics in India in one decade: ExpertsOver 30 mn diabetics in India in one decade: Experts
In the last one decade, the number of diabetes patients in India increased by over 30 million due to sedentary lifestyle and erratic schedule mostly common in the age group of 20-40 years, said the country’s leading diabetic experts on Monday .

Their statistics stated that in the early 2000, there were around 31.7 million persons diagnosed with diabetes and by 2015, the figure increased to 62 million.

“This change is due to the erratic food timings, sleep, unhealthy lifestyle, physical inactivity and other erratic patterns of lifestyle. Such changes in lifestyle leads to insulin resistance wherein body does not use insulin properly,” said Abhay Vispute, Diabetologist at Mumbai-based SRV Hospital.

Though genetic factors contributed to diabetes, Vispute said: “Urban migration and obesity due to rising social standards were the other reasons.”

India has been declared as the “world diabetic capital”, with cases to touch 70 million by 2025.

“Not only youngsters, even children between the age group of 12-16 years are detected with Type 2 diabetes. It is essential that they understand the importance of modifying their lifestyle, also, for those who are detected with diabetes, their siblings or children must also conduct regular check-ups,” said Tejas Shah, Diabetologist at the Holy Spirit Hospital, Mumbai.

The experts also said that 10 per cent of the pre-diabetic patients become diabetes patients every year.

Pradeep Gadge, Chief Diabetologist at Gadge Diabetes Centre, said an increase of 31 million among diabetes patients within 15 years was alarming.

“Diabetes at such a young age means lifelong struggle to keep it under control. It is essential to take appropriate measures. Simple ways to take measures against diabetes includes, avoiding junk food, following an active lifestyle, keep check on weight and conduct tests at periodic intervals,” said Gadge.

World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14. Noticing lack of awareness and delay in diagnosis among the patients, Delhi-based Primus hospital recently created a record by screening 900 patients in eight hours .

“It is essential for diabetic patients to not only monitor their blood sugar level but other diabetes inflicted health problems also,” said Ashok Jhingan, a senior diabetologist at Primus Super Speciality Hospital.

Experts have also raised concerns on the rising cases of blindness due to the diabetic retinopathy caused by diabetes.

“Diabetes can cause many health problems, especially when it is severe and not in control. One of the serious conditions is called diabetic retinopathy, and is one of the foremost causes of blindness,” said Siddarth Sain, Ophthalmologist at Sharp Sight Group of Eye Hospitals, Delhi.

According to Sain, with an increase in duration of diabetes, the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases.

“At least 80 per cent of people suffering from diabetes for more than 15 years have some damage in blood vessels of the retina. Severe and uncontrolled diabetes, fluctuating blood sugar levels, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood cholesterol and diabetic kidney are all conditions which predispose a diabetic to develop changes in the retina,” said Sain.

Kamal B. Kapur, another leading Delhi-based Ophthalmologist said: “Diabetic retinopathy can weaken and cause changes in the small retinal blood vessels. These blood vessels may then begin to leak or swell or develop brush-like branches.”

“This deterioration of the retinal blood vessels causes hindrance in the supply of oxygen and nutrition needed by the retina to remain healthy,” he added.

“Early stages of this condition may cause symptoms like blurred vision. As the disease progresses, one may notice cloudiness of vision, blind spots, floaters or even sudden loss of vision,” he said


Chennai: Include three educational experts in the panel, directs HC

The PIL was filed by the director of an NGO, CHANGE India, A Narayanan

Director of an NGO, CHANGE India, A Narayanana filed the plea

Director of an NGO, CHANGE India, A Narayanana filed the plea

The state government has been directed to include three educational experts in the panel constituted by the government to deal with issues, including minimum land requirement, relating to 746 unauthorized schools.

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The court said the advocate general submitted that the norms have been worked out but conceded that the committee consists of only bureaucrats manning department persons concerned with education.

Directive of the HC: In brief

  • Since earlier recommendations included education experts also, it was agreed that three educational experts in the earlier committee could be included in this committee which may now finalize the report developed by the committee of bureaucrats
  • “We may note the submission of the counsel for the petitioner that the committee may keep in mind the observations made by the Supreme Court while dealing with Kumbakonam tragedy case,” the bench added
  • As per the earlier directive of the court, D Sabitha, Principal Secretary to Education department, was present in the court at the time of hearing.

About the PIL:

Who filed the PIL and why?

  • Earlier, Director of an NGO, CHANGE India, A Narayanan filed the PIL that sought to quash a government order dated August 18, 2015 of the school education secretary and consequently to forbear authorities from granting recognition against law to unrecognized schools not fulfilling the norms specified in various GOs and the judgment of the Supreme Court

What has been sought?

He also sought a direction to ensure that all unrecognized schools were closed by the end of the academic year 2015-16 and that students in such schools were placed in other neighbourhood government/government aided/unaided schools so as to enable them to continue their education in recognised schools.


Birth Control Pills May Increase Risk Of Stroke: Experts

Birth Control Pills May Increase Risk Of Stroke: Experts

NEW DELHI: Apart from obesity, birth control pills and additional factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes may put women at increased risk for the most common type of stroke, health experts suggest.

Oral contraceptives increase the risk of ischemic strokes, caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain.

“Women who take birth control pills are slightly at higher risk of stroke as a result of the high estradiol content in these contraceptive pills, which also increases the risk of blood clots,” Vipul Gupta, Additional Director, Neurointervention Surgery, and Co-Director, Stroke Unit, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, said.

“The risk also increases for a woman during pregnancy as the increased blood pressure puts stress on the heart. Also migraine can cause chances of stroke three times up in women,” Satnam Singh Chhabra, Head Neuro and Spine Surgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, added.

Women who smoke are also advised against taking birth control pills as this may increase the risk of a stroke.

Stroke is a serious medical emergency causing premature death and disability. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off; brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die.

“A stroke occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain is suddenly cut off. The brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to function,” Mr Gupta explained.

Apart from the ischemic stroke, there is the hemorrhagic stroke caused by a blood vessel that bursts and bleeds into the brain.

“Rheumatic heart disease and atrial fibrillation in younger females is emerging as major cause of strokes,” MG Pillai, Head of the Cardiology Department at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, said.

When brain cells die during a stroke, the abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.
The treatment for stroke may also depend on its type. An ischemic stroke in many cases can be reversed through medicines but only if it is detected within three hours of its occurrence. Treating a hemorrhagic stroke involves finding the cause of bleeding in the brain and controlling it.

“Depending on the damage and overall health of a patient, one can regain the lost abilities to some extent through rehabilitation and medicines,” Satnam Singh Chhabra explained.

Unlike ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes aren’t treated with antiplatelet medicines and blood thinners because these medicines can worsen the bleeding.

Advanced scans, such as CT angiography, perfusion imaging and MRI are also done to evaluate the site of blockage and quantify the extent of the brain that can be salvaged.

Gains can happen quickly or over the time depending on various factors like the area of the affected part, how much is affected and the patient’s motivation. The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first three to four months of a stroke.

“The cure for a stroke depends on the amount of area damaged. If the damage is fatal then it may take months to heal and if the damage is normal, the patient may recover within a week or two,” Kishan Raj, Consultant Neurologist at IBS Hospital, Faridabad, explained.

According to experts, 80 per cent of all strokes are preventable. This starts with managing key risk factors, including high blood pressure, smoking, atrial fibrillation and physical inactivity.

Strokes are life-changing events that can affect a person both temporarily or permanently.

After a stroke, successful recovery will often involve specific rehabilitative activities such as speech therapy, physical therapy to help a person re-learn movements and coordination along with occupational therapy to help people improve their ability to carry out routine daily activities.


Obesity And Arthritis Are Linked: Medical Experts

Obesity And Arthritis Are Linked: Medical Experts

MUMBAI: Various studies have linked rising cases of arthritis with obesity which occurs due to poor lifestyle, food habits and lack of physical exercise, according to medical experts.

On the occasion of ‘World Arthritis Day’ observed on October 12, experts said arthritis, a disease of joints, is an autoimmune disorder and has been on the rise in last decade.

Most severely affected by osteoarthritis are the knee joints, which may even require replacement.

Bangalore-based Obesity Surgery expert M G Bhat said,

“Various studies in Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School have demonstrated the connection between obesity and arthritis. In fact every 2-3 of 10 patients we see for obesity-related issues, also come with arthritic problems. Also, weight-bearing joints like knees and hips undergo extra strain in case of obese patients, worsening their condition.”

According to a study by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US, around 1 in 3 obese people suffer from arthritis, whereas about 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese.

With poor lifestyle, food habits, lack of physical activity etc, instances of obesity have been on a rise, directly affecting the number of arthritic patients.

Director of Mumbai-based AXIS Hospitals and Orthopedic Surgeon Umesh Shetty said a large number of patients suffering from arthritis and other related problems are either overweight or obese.
“Half the patients who come to me for knee replacements or other arthritic problems are either overweight or obese. We prefer and guide them for a non-surgical treatment as first line of treatment if the cases are not severe and help them to facilitate losing weight,” Dr Shetty told PTI.

“Weight loss can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints and therefore, limit further injury and delay the progress of arthritic condition,” he said.

Obesity causes excess fat in the body which releases inflammatory chemicals that may play a role in increasing instances of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Experts believe inflammatory chemicals like cytokines can impact different body systems.

According to studies quoted by Arthritis Foundation, a USA-based NGO, about 70 per cent of people with gout are overweight and 14 per cent are obese, and therefore, obesity also puts a person at a higher risk of developing gout apart from osteoarthritis.

“In order to control excess joint stress and inflammatory chemicals, it is advisable to keep the fat in control among all people and in particularly those who suffer from osteoarthritis,” Mr Bhat said.

“We advise such patients to undergo treatment with a qualified physiotherapist for strengthening their quadriceps and hamstring muscles so as to reduce the weight-burden on the knee joint. We also recommend non-invasive physiotherapies like ultrasonic therapy for knee joints, TENS (Trans Electrical Nerve Stimulation) etc,” Dr Shetty added.

In cases of arthritic patients also suffering from obesity, as a first line of action doctors suggest them to improve joint care through rest and exercise, maintain an acceptable body weight, control pain with medicine and other measures and achieve a healthy lifestyle in order to delay the progress of arthritis, he said.


Heart Transplant Scenario In India Very Dismal, Say Health Experts

Heart Transplant Scenario In India Very Dismal, Say Health Experts

NEW DELHI: Lack of infrastructure, logistical constraints, and myths and stigma attached to organ donation are the major hurdles keeping the rate of heart transplant in India at an “abysmal low” vis-a-vis in the west, according to health experts.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death globally, leading to more deaths annually than from any other cause.

The World Heart Day is being observed globally today by doctors, experts and civil societies.

While an increasing population, including youth, is growing susceptible to heart ailments with changing lifestyle, doctors say the country is not catching up on heart donations which could save several lives.

“India’s record when it comes to heart transplant is very dismal. One of the main factors is medical infrastructure and many times brain deaths in ICUs are not notified, thus losing precious time.”

“Besides, there are logistical constraints, when the harvested heart doesn’t reach the donor in stipulated time through the green corridor,” says Balram Airan, Professor of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at AIIMS. Mr Airan was part of the team at the premier institute which performed the country’s first heart transplant at AIIMS on August 3, 1994.

Heart transplant is warranted for patients with end- stage heart failure or irreparable coronary artery disease. In this procedure, doctors replace the ailing heart with a healthy one harvested from a brain dead patient.
Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant, Cardiovascular Surgery at Apollo Indraprastha Hospital in New Delhi, says, in the country itself, “north India is lagging behind its southern counterpart”.

“In the south, there are well laid-out procedures and government is very active, besides people being aware about organ donation. In Delhi and other parts of north India, the coordination work is quite informal and hence not smooth and efficient, leading to delay,” Mr Goel told PTI.

He says, at Apollo Indraprastha, “no transplant has been performed yet, but, there are four-five patients on waiting list, from Delhi and Ghaziabad and Bareilly, among other places.”

Tamil Nadu is leading the way at present with nearly 200 transplants, Delhi about 50-60, Kerala 20, a single transplant in Rajasthan and nothing else from Lucknow to Kolkata, he said.

“Sometimes the harvested heart fails to reach the recipient in golden time due to lack of agency and traffic coordination in the green corridor. After harvesting, the heart must reach its recipient within 3-4 hours or it dies,” says Rajeev Maikhuri, Organ Transplant Coordinator at AIIMS.

Doctors also say that sometimes people refuse to donate organs due to superstition, like “they won’t be getting that organ in next life, if donated.”


Unnecessary Platelet Transfusion Can Cause Harm: Experts

Unnecessary Platelet Transfusion Can Cause Harm: Experts

NEW DELHI:  Unnecessary platelet transfusion causes “harm” and puts dengue patients “at risk” of developing complications such as sepsis, say health experts.

The national capital is grappling with rising cases of the vector-borne disease in the city, which has claimed at least 19 lives and affected over 1,300 people.

In dengue patients, platelet count registers a fall, and if it is not replenished, it may lead to fatality.

“It is crucial that the public is educated about the fact that platelet transfusion is not the only solution and is not required in most of the dengue cases,” cardiologist and President-elect of Indian Medical Association, Dr KK Aggarwal said.

Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and IMA today jointly held a webcast on the subject of platelet transfusion.

Platelet is one of the major components of blood that is affected by dengue and its normal value is between 1.5 to 4.5 lakh.

Addressing the webcast, Dr NK Bhatia, Medical Director Mission Jan Jagruti Blood Bank said, “Unnecessary transfusion causes more harm and puts the patient at risk of complications such as sepsis, transfusion-related acute lung injury, transfusion associated circulatory overload, alloimmunisation and allergic and anaphylactic transfusion reactions.””Transfusion must only be done if a person’s platelet count is less than 10,000, and he or she has active bleeding,” he said. Platelet count of 20,000 and below can cause bleeding complications as in cases of dengue haemmorrhagic fever. Mr Aggarwal, also, president of HCFI, said a majority of people are not aware that most dengue cases are “preventable and manageable”.

“The risk of complications is less than 1 per cent of dengue cases and if the public knows warning signals, all deaths from dengue can be avoided. It is, however, a myth that all dengue patients require platelet transfusion,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

Mr Aggrawal also claimed that “platelet counts acquired by machine readings are not reliable, and a discrepancy of up to 40,000 can be found.”

Recently, a first of its kind clinical study had claimed that platelet transfusion may not be needed or deferred for patients suffering from “severe dengue” if the percentage of young regenerated platelets in the blood is above or equal to a cut-off mark.

The study was conducted by the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here on 50 adult dengue patients having a platelet count of less than 100000/cu mm, who were admitted there last year.

The typical symptoms of dengue are fever, vomiting, head



Mother nursing her newborn baby.
Credit: © Romanova Anna / Fotolia

A new study, which followed 180 pre-term infants from birth to age seven, found that babies who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had had larger volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent and had better IQs, academic achievement, working memory, and motor function.

The findings were published online in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Our data support current recommendations for using mother’s milk to feed preterm babies during their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization. This is not only important for moms, but also for hospitals, employers, and friends and family members, so that they can provide the support that’s needed during this time when mothers are under stress and working so hard to produce milk for their babies,” says Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, a researcher and physician in the Department of Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and lead author.

Researchers studied infants born before 30 weeks gestation that were enrolled in the Victorian Infant Brain Studies cohort from 2001-2003. They determined the number of days that infants received breast milk as more than 50 percent of of their nutritional intake from birth to 28 days of life. Additionally, researchers examined data related to regional brain volumes measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at each baby’s term equivalent age and at seven years old, and also looked at cognitive (IQ, reading, mathematics, attention, working memory, language, visual perception) and motor testing at age seven.

The findings show that, accross all babies, infants who received predominantly breast milk on more days during their NICU hospitalization had larger deep nuclear gray matter volume, an area important for processing and transmitting neural signals to other parts of the brain, at term equivalent age, and by age seven, performed better in IQ, mathematics, working memory, and motor function tests. Overall, ingesting more human milk correlated with better outcomes, including larger regional brain volumes at term equivalent and improved cognitive outcomes at age 7.

“Many mothers of preterm babies have difficulty providing breast milk for their babies, and we need to work hard to ensure that these mothers have the best possible support systems in place to maximize their ability to meet their own feeding goals. It’s also important to note that there are so many factors that influence a baby’s development, with breast milk being just one,” says Belfort.

Researchers note some limitations on the study, including that it was observational. Although they adjusted for factors such as differences in maternal education, some of the effects could possibly be explained by other factors that were not measured, such as greater maternal involvement in other aspects of infant care.

Belfort adds that future studies using other MRI techniques could provide more information about the specific ways in which human milk intake may influence the structure and function of the brain. Future work is also needed to untangle the role of breastfeeding from other types of maternal care and nurturing on development of the preterm baby’s brain.


Whip the battle of the bulge with these steps: Experts

Mercedes-Benz India helps with development at new Brazilian plant

Mercedes-Benz India has been a major player in the development of the workforce  at a new plant in Brazil that was opened by its parent company recently. Workers for this new plant were sent to the Mercedes-Benz Chakan plant to familiarise themselves with the production processes. This was also done to integrate the new location into the international plant network through personal relations.

Speaking on the occasion, Roland Folger, managing director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India commented, “It’s a matter of immense pride for us that Mercedes-Benz India was chosen to train the Brazilian colleagues and familiarise  them with the production process, towards s etting up the new assembly plant in Iracemápolis. India is a forerunner amongst Mercedes-Benz’s assembly plants globally, and in the past we have already supported the plant in Vietnam in the global network. Both the teams gained in creating trust, a bond of friendship beyond cultures and continents, and being an ideal example demonstrating the strength of collaborative working .”

The first vehicle to roll off the Brazilian production line was a black C-Class Saloon and it will soon be followed by the GLA crossover later this year. Commenting on the milestone, Markus Schäfer, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, manufacturing and supply chain management, said, “The opening of the Mercedes-Benz Iracemápolis plant is a further milestone in the development of our flexible and efficient production network.”

[“source -pcworld”]