Thursday, March 18, 2010

Natural calamities: Yoga helps in stress management

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 18: Practising yoga for about a week will be useful in stress management after any natural calamity. A week of yoga will decrease sadness and anxiety in victims of natural disasters like tsunami, flash floods, cyclones and earthquakes. Yoga is a good intervention for post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to Dr Shirley Telles of the department of Yoga Research, Patanjali Yogpeeth, certain yoga exercises help in controlling heart beat, breath rate and emotional distress. Yoga, particularly Sudarshana Kriya, acts not only on the body improving physiological functions, but also relieves mental tension, stress and trauma associated with loss of life and property in a calamity.

Patanjali Yogpeeth researchers including Dr N Singh, Dr M Joshi and Dr A Balkrishna studied the effect of yoga on the victims of natural calamities including floods. The team selected two groups of victims, one performing yoga and another non-yoga group. The results showed that those who performed yoga had overcome the trauma and sadness easily. The yoga group practised yoga for 60 minutes while the non-yoga group continued with its normal work.

"A week of yoga can reduce feelings of sadness and possibly prevent an increase in anxiety after calamity," the study pointed out, adding that
since yoga includes asanas, kriyas, pranayamas and dhyana, it can be regarded as an intervention to treat stress resulting from a traumatic event.

According to the Yogpeeth team, high distress levels at the time of assault significantly predict increased levels of fear and anxiety in the following months. "Since the level of distress is strongly correlated to Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, an attempt to decrease distress immediately following the event may result in a more positive treatment outcome.

The study noted that since interventions like trauma debriefing in the initial period will only increase the risk of PTSD symptoms, yoga practices like Sudarshan Kriya Yoga can be considered for surviving victims of natural calamities. The researchers suggest yoga activities like loosening exercises (movement of joints) for 10 minutes, asanas for 20 minutes and pranayamas for 25 minutes. The session can be concluded by five minutes of guided relaxation in shavasana.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Health Quiz: All about the heart and its functions

By Syed Akbar
This simple quiz will help you know how well informed you are about your heart and its functions. Each right answer fetches you 10 points. Excellent, if your score is 80 and above, good if it is between 60 and 80, average if it is 40 and 60, and bad if the points earned are below 40. Get ready to take the test.
1. We quite often hear cardiologists referring to infarction or myocardial infarction to be precise. Infarction is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. What is meant by infarction?
a) Heart-lung machine b) Fast beating of heart c) Heart attack d) death of cells of heart
2. Coronary artery supplies blood to the heart. If this is blocked, it prevents blood supply to heart muscles, leading to heart attacks. Is this true?
a) yes b) no
3) What happens if a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is damaged or blocked?
a) heart attack b) stroke c) fever d) nothing, simple giddiness
4) Many say that they love from the deep of their hearts. By the way how many rooms or chambers does heart have?
a) three chambers b) four chambers c) two chambers d) no chambers, it is one solid piece
5) What is hypertension?
a) blood pressure b) low blood pressure c) high blood pressure d) mild blood pressure
6) When blood pressure is measured, the meter shows two readings. What is the upper reading called?
a) systolic blood pressure d) diastolic blood pressure (c) BP d) hypotension
7) When a person is said to have a normal blood pressure?
a) systole of less than 90 and diastole of less than 150 b) systole of less than 140 and diastole of less than 90 c) systole of more than 100 and diastole of more than 150 d) none of the above
8) Children do not get heart attacks?
a) yes b) no
9) What exactly is the function of heart?
a) generating vital nutrients necessary for the body b) intelligence c) creating affection d) pumping blood
10) Major symptoms of heart attack are
a) Chest discomfort b) pain in arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach c) shortness of breath with or without pain d) all the above
1) d 2) a 3) b 4) b 5) c 6) a 7) b b 9) d 10) d

Monday, March 8, 2010

Did HIV has its roots in India?

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 8: The deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has its roots in India, according to researchers at the University of Hyderabad and Kakatiya University.
Contrary to popular belief that HIV, the infectious agent of AIDS, had originated in sub-Saharan Africa, the new study points out that the virus had its roots on the Indian soil in pre-historic times. The researchers, M Radhakrishna of HCU, and S Ram Reddy of Kakatiya University, observe that Charaka Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic text dating back to 300 BC) contains reference to an immunodeficiency problem similar to HIV.
"Medical, archaeological, mythological and biological evidences point out the possibility of origin of AIDS in Indian sub-continent. The man and monkey association started in India by Paleolithic period. We can find monkey paintings in various historic sites and ancient Indian literature... Many sculptures from 300 BC to 12th century CE depicted the monkey-man association. It is also depicted that the monkeys are giving medicine to the king that strengthens monkey-man association from many thousand years," the researchers said.
Caraka Samhita contains references to "azokshyam" (degradation of immunity) an AIDS-like disease. Many of the archaeological sites of period between 3000 BC to 1000 in India were displaced due to various viral diseases. Archaeological reports reveal that massive deaths occurred in those areas.
"The consumption of primate meat by certain tribal and non tribal communities is still prevalent in north east and eastern India. The use of meat from hunted primates as a bait to agricultural pests is also common in the north eastern states. A few of these Indian monkeys were found to be serologically and virologically positive to simian retroviruses," they pointed out.
According to them, Assamese macaque and pigtailed macaque harboured simian foamy virus. Natural infection by simian retrovirus in languor (Semnopithecus entellus) has been traced in two different geographical regions of India.
"Analysis of HIV-1 subtype C and HIV 2 genome sequences from India showed that these sequences were closely related to each other and phylogenetic (evolutionary) analysis of these sequences clustered together and showed monophyletic (common) lineage. Origin of AIDS in Indian peninsular should be investigated for simian immunodeficiency virus in wild monkeys of India," they said.