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Newsletter. Issue 2009-22. October 24, 2009

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Health & Wellness

H1N1 (SWINE FLU), its origin and precautions.

This message is from Dr. Vinay Goyal a renowned doctor who visited last week to lecture on the topic H1N1 (SWINE FLU), its origin and precautions.

He is an MBBS, DRM, DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital, Bombay Hospital, Saifee Hospital, Tata Memorial etc. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).

The following message given by him,

The Message...........

Thanks to media hype about H1N1, several people who trust me have either approached or called me to advice. The hype in media about the utility of face masks and N95 respirators as a tool for general protection against H1N1 can't be deplored enough.

Yesterday, a friend who listened wanted me to write down briefly what I advised so that he could tell others in similar words. Hence this short email to friends whom I have advised recently (and others whom I haven't yet). Please realize that this is not an official advice, especially the one about face masks or N95. Most N95 respirators are designed to filter 95% particulates of 0.3µ, while the size of H1N1 virus is about 0.1µ. Hence, dependence on N95 to protect against H1N1 is like protecting against rain with an umbrella made of mosquito net.

Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates (only) there. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible not coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps - not fully highlighted in most official communications - can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

  1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

  2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).

  3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate  this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

  4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.

  5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

  6. Drink as much of warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm. All these are simple ways to prevent, within means of most households, and certainly much less painful than to wait in long queues outside public hospitals.

Happy breathing!


11 Foods That Trigger An Allergy
TNN 11 October 2009, 08:00pm IST

A delicious meal should put a smile on your face, not turn it bright red. Or itchy. Or bumpy.

For some people, certain foods can trigger hives (an eruption of small welts), swollen lips, itchiness, flushing, eczema (rough, itchy patches), or a hot-to-the-touch rash, even if you've never reacted to a food before.

If the outbreak covers your entire body or is accompanied by chest tightness, wheezing, or shortness of breath, you're having a full-blown allergic reaction.

If you know what food triggered your reaction, you can steer clear of it in the future. But if you're not sure, write down everything you ate leading up to your outbreak, use this list of common culprits as a memory jogger, and talk with your doctor about allergy testing.

  1. Cow's milk

  2. Eggs

  3. Peanuts

  4. Tree nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds, etc.)

  5. Shellfish

  6. Soy

  7. Wheat

  8. Red wine

  9. Citrus (limes, oranges, etc.)

  10. Tmatoes

  11. Hot spices, such as chili seasonings



Report aims to improve literacy skills of young Canadians and could save Canada billions

LONDON, ON, Oct. 14 /CNW/ - Low literacy skills cost Canada billions of dollars annually. Raising the literacy proficiency of Canadians would increase tax revenues by $11 billion/year and save $5 billion/year in unemployment and social assistance payments.

Currently, at least 42% of Canadian adults struggle with literacy. The costs and consequences of this pattern of underperformance are enormous. Literacy problems begin early in life and are most effectively addressed in childhood. Canada needs a National Strategy for Early Literacy to raise the literacy level of our population, for the benefit of all.

Led by a range of education, literacy and public interest organizations, the National Strategy for Early Literacy is the first pan-Canadian initiative that offers an action plan on what needs to be done to improve literacy skills of young Canadians. The report released today was prepared by the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. It synthesizes key findings from a series of new policy research papers and an extensive public consultation process to formulate the Strategy. The report concludes with specific recommendations regarding how current policies and practices can be modified to improve literacy outcomes, and how these can be monitored publicly.

Full and summary versions of the report are available in both English and French at http://nselwiki.cllrnet.ca .

"Canada's global competitiveness depends on our citizens' abilities to read, communicate and interact effectively. It is clear that too many Canadians are failing to acquire essential skills but the good news is that we know a lot about what can be done to improve this situation. Since the benefits from improved literacy accrue over a lifetime, it is absolutely critical to focus on ensuring that Canadians acquire the foundational literacy skills they need, early in life. The National Strategy report defines a coherent, evidence-based strategy for improving literacy from birth through age 16," said Donald G. Jamieson, Ph.D., CEO and Scientific Director, Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network.


About literacy in Canada:

  • At least 42% of Canadian adults lack the literacy skills needed to succeed in Canada today

  • One in four Canadian children who enter Grade 1 is significantly behind his or her peers and poorly prepared to learn.

  • Approximately one-fifth of Canadian children aged four to five show delays in vocabulary development.

  • Literacy impacts all aspects of modern life. For individuals, it is the foundation for academic, financial, and life success; for nations, it is key to a healthy democracy and a flourishing economy. Adults with poor literacy skills are less successful in school, work less, and are unemployed longer. They require more social assistance and are more frequently in poorer health.

  • Reducing the percentage of Canadians who have low literacy skills by just 1% (from 42% of the population to 41%) would increase labour productivity by 2.5% and Canada's annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.5% per person, leading to a permanent increase of $18
    billion/year in Canada's GDP.

About The National Strategy for Early Literacy (NSEL)

  • The National Strategy for Early Literacy (NSEL; http://nselwiki.cllrnet.ca) is a cooperative, Canada-wide initiative to improve the literacy skills of young Canadians.

  • A range of education, literacy and public interest organizations came together to lead the NSEL initiative, which was built on the expertise and administrative resources of the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet).

  • The Strategy has involved:

  1. Determining what is known and not known about improving early literacy outcomes.

  2. Preparing policy research papers to summarize the available evidence in key areas.

  3. Conducting a national public consultation - involving solicitation
    of written briefs, followed by public hearings in eight major cities across Canada - to obtain advice on what can and should be done to improve literacy outcomes.

  4. Synthesizing and evaluating submissions, policy research papers, presentations and discussion at public hearings, and other relevant materials, leading to the NSEL report, which summarizes what can be - and is being - done to improve literacy skills outcomes for Canadian children and youth.

About CLLRNet:

  • The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet; The Network) is a not-for-profit Canadian corporation dedicated to improving the language, literacy and numeracy skills of Canadians.

  • CLLRNet develops evidence-based tools and resources for policymakers, practitioners (e.g., teachers, speech-language pathologists, etc.), and parents concerned with increasing the literacy skills of Canadian children.

  • The Network promotes high quality applied research on the literacy issues that are most important for Canada.

  • CLLRNet is unique in Canada and the world, as it facilitates collaboration between researchers, trainees and partners in the policy, service-delivery and knowledge exchange sectors working on the common goal of improving literacy skills.

For more information please visit www.cllrnet.ca.

For further information: Media Information: Jennifer Starcok, Managing Director, Canadian Language & Literacy Research Network, tel. (519) 850-2901,


Bracelets 'useless' in arthritis

Copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps are useless for relieving pain in people with arthritis, say University of York researchers.

In the first tightly controlled trial to look at both alternative therapies, there was no benefit to their use for pain or stiffness. All 45 patients tested a copper bracelet, two different magnetic wrist straps, and a demagnetised version.

An arthritis charity said people should not waste their money on the therapies.

Study leader Stewart Richmond, a research fellow in the Department of Health Sciences, said there had only been one other randomised controlled trial - comparing the treatment with placebo - on copper bracelets and that was done in the 1970s.

The market - particularly in magnetic devices which can cost £25 and £65 for the wrist straps - is worth billions of dollars worldwide. In the trial, 45 people aged 50 or over, who were all diagnosed as suffering from osteoarthritis wore each of the four devices in a random order over a 16-week period.

They were all ineffective in terms of pain, stiffness and physical function, the researchers reported in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Placebo effect

"It appears that any perceived benefit obtained from wearing a magnetic or copper bracelet can be attributed to psychological placebo effects," said Mr Richmond. "People tend to buy them when they are in a lot of pain, then when the pain eases off over time they attribute this to the device.

"However, our findings suggest that such devices have no real advantage over placebo wrist straps that are not magnetic and do not contain copper."

He said the marketing of the devices was often to vulnerable elderly people.

Jane Tadman from the Arthritis Research Campaign said although many people with arthritis wore copper bracelets, there was no current research that supports their use.

"Although there is a big public appetite for non-drug treatments from arthritis patients, we would not encourage them to spend a lot of money on products for which there is very little scientific evidence," she added.

The charity is in the process of compiling a report on the effectiveness of complementary therapies and arthritis.

Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8310792.stm
Published: 2009/10/16 11:52:19 GMT


New survey shows Canadian eating habits in trouble

Registered Dietitians warn Canadians missing out on important health benefits

MONTREAL, Oct. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Registered Dietitians from Dairy Farmers of Canada in collaboration with Dietitians of Canada today released the results of a national survey that revealed that many Canadian adults are not consuming the recommended number of daily servings of any of the four food groups. It was also surprising that, for each of the food groups, a significant number of people reported not consuming any of that food group on the day prior to the survey. Registered Dietitians are warning this trend may have serious consequences on the nutritional health of Canadians.

The data, collected by IPSOS Reid from more than 2,000 people across Canada in August 2009 was analyzed by Registered Dietitians to provide a snapshot of what Canadian adults are eating and drinking during a twenty-four hour period.

The results showed that:

  1. Consumption of all four food groups is far below recommended levels;

  2. A significant number of Canadian adults had not consumed any milk and alternatives or any vegetables and fruit on the day prior to the survey;

  3. Many Canadian adults report they have barriers to healthy eating;

  4. A majority of Canadian adults are not aware of the many health benefits of milk and alternatives and vegetables and fruit including their role in reducing the risk of some cancers, hypertension and other chronic diseases; and

  5. When made aware of these important health benefits, Canadians report they are motivated to increase their intake of foods from these food groups.

"In addition to encouraging Canadians to include the recommended number of servings of the four food groups from Canada's Food Guide health professionals might also need to focus more on the reasons why these foods are important," says Mary Sue Waisman, Manager, Public Affairs Communications, Dietitians of Canada. "For example, most Canadians don't seem to know about the role milk products and vegetables and fruits play in controlling blood pressure or lowering the risk of some cancers. If they did, it might just help them to choose additional servings of these products more often.

Another important finding of the IPSOS survey is that many Canadians report they have barriers to healthy eating. "This is consistent with the observations from Registered Dietitians across Canada who report that many people find it challenging to eat well. For example, they need help with how to include healthier food choices in their daily meal plan, how to prepare and cook healthy foods that don't break the food budget," says Waisman.

Further information and useful tips about milk and milk products can be found at www.getenough.ca. The Dietitians of Canada website at www.dietitians.ca/eatwell  is the "go to" place for trusted nutrition information and solutions to consumers' eating challenges with the four food groups.

"Based on the new Ipsos Reid survey and the landmark Canadian Community Health Survey published in 2006, Registered Dietitians from Dairy Farmers of Canada and Dietitians of Canada are calling on health professionals to join us in explaining the many health benefits of each food group and to motivate Canadians to consume the recommended daily servings particularly of Milk and Alternatives and Vegetables and Fruit," said Waisman.

About Dietitians of Canada

Dietitians of Canada represents and supports nearly 6,000 dietitians across Canada. Registered Dietitians provide trusted, evidence-based nutrition information and can make tailored eating plans that best suit your active lifestyle. To find a Registered Dietitian in your local area, including those who specialize in sports nutrition, visit www.dietitians.ca/find  or ask your doctor for a referral.

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