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Synthetic bedding ‘can cause asthma’

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NEW YORK: Are you prone to asthma? Then avoid synthetic bedding, for a new study has claimed that it can aggravate asthma more than feather products as it contains high levels of fungal cells.
An international team has found that synthetic bedding contains much higher levels of fungi related beta glucan than feather bedding, which are non-allergenic components from the cell walls of fungi that can account for up to 60 per cent of the weight of the cell.

“This study adds further strong evidence that feather bedding is better than synthetics if you have asthma. This is because beta glucan is pro-inflammatory and associated with lung function changes including peak flow variability in kids.
“There have already been a number of international studies that show synthetic bedding is associated with more asthma symptoms compared to feather bedding,” lead researcher Rob Siebers of Otago University said.

For their study, the researchers looked at 178 samples obtained from 35 floors, 35 mattresses, 35 duvets, 73 pillows. The total beta glucan levels of synthetic pillows were two to three times higher than from feather pillows.



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HEALTH

10 home remedies to avoid swine flu

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Are the rising swine flu casualties giving you jitters? Not sure how you can avoid falling prey to the growing epidemic? First and foremost, there is absolutely no need to panic.

Here are some easy steps you can take to tackle a flu virus of any kind, including swine flu. It is not necessary to follow all the steps at once. You can pick and choose a combination of remedies that suit you best. However, if you are already suffering from flu, these measures can help only up to an extent.

1. Have five duly washed leaves of Tulsi (known as Basil in English; medicinal name Ocimum sanctum) everyday in the morning. Tulsi has a large number of therapeutic properties. It keeps throat and lungs clear and helps in infections by way of strengthening your immunity.

2. Giloi (medicinal name Tinospora cordifolia) is a commonly available plant in many areas. Take a one-foot long branch of giloi, add five to six leaves of Tulsi and boil in water for 15-20 minutes or long enough to allow the water to extract its properties. Add black pepper and sendha (salt used during religious fasts), rock or black salt, or Misri (crystalised sugar like lumps to make it sweet) according to taste. Let it cool a bit and drink this kadha (concoction) while still warm. It will work wonders for your immunity. If giloi plant is not available, get processed giloi powder from Hamdard or others, and concoct a similar drink once a day.

3. A small piece of camphor (kapoor) approximately the size of a tablet should be taken once or twice a month. It can be swallowed with water by adults while children can take it along with mashed potatoes or banana because they will find it difficult to have it without any aides. Please remember camphor is not to be taken everyday, but only once each season, or once a month.

4. Those who can take garlic, must have two pods of raw garlic first thing in the morning. To be swallowed daily with lukewarm water. Garlic too strengthens immunity like the earlier measures mentioned.

5. Those not allergic to milk, must take a glass of hot or lukewarm milk every night with a small measure of haldi (turmeric).

6. Aloe vera (gwarpatha) too is a commonly available plant. Its thick and long, cactus-like leaves have an odourless gel. A teaspoon gel taken with water daily can work wonders for not only your skin and joint pains, but also boost immunity.

7. Take homeopathic medicines — Pyrogenium 200 and Inflenzium 200 in particular — five tablets three times a day, or two-three drops three times a day. While these are not specifically targeted at H1N1 either, these work well as preventive against common flu virus.

8. Do Pranayam daily (preferably under guidance if you are already not initiated into it) and go for morning jog/walk regularly to keep your throat and lungs in good condition and body in fine fettle. Even in small measures, it will work wonders for your body’s resistance against all such diseases which attack the nose, throat and lungs, besides keeping you fit.

9. Have citrus fruits, particularly Vitamin C rich Amla (Indian gooseberry) juice. Since fresh Amla is not yet available in the market (not for another three to four months), it is not a bad idea to buy packaged Amla juice which is commonly available nowadays.

10. Last but not the least, wash your hands frequently every day with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds; especially before meals, or each time after touching a surface that you suspect could be contaminated with flu virus such as a door handle or a knob/handle, especially if you have returned from a public place or used public transport. Alcohol-based hand cleaners should be kept handy at all times and used until you can get soap and warm water.

(The author is an avid reader and follower of alternative therapies including spiritual healing, ayurveda, yoga and homeopathy)



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HEALTH

Now just pop a pill to stop blood clots

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Washington: Blood clots can now be stopped easily and without needles, says a new study.
Known as deep-vein thrombosis, blood clots affect the large veins in the lower leg and thigh. They are responsible for killing hundreds of people worldwide, esp. after joint replacement surgery. If the clot breaks free and moves through the bloodstream, it can lodge in lungs, a condition known as pulmonary embolism which is often fatal.

Treating blood clots with syringes after joint surgery is painful and can cause bleeding. Now, an international team has found a better way of preventing deadly blood clots without increasing the risk of bleeding, the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ reported.
In a double blind study of more than 3,000 patients, researchers tested a new type of anti-clotting drug called Apixaban, which is an oral medication. The medicine proved just as effective at preventing blood clots and reduced the risk of bleeding by half. Most importantly for patient convenience, it was much easier to use, they said.��� This is a major step in our fight to prevent DVT and the many unnecessary deaths each year caused by blood clots after joint replacement surgery.

“We now have a better treatment that reduces the risk of bleeding, and a patient no longer has to endure injections by needle,” team leader Gary Raskob of University of Oklahoma said.



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HEALTH

Hysterectomy through belly button leaves no scars

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LONDON: In a surgical feat, doctors have operated on a woman which they claim is the first hysterectomy in Europe through a tiny incision in her belly button, leaving no visible outward scars.
The technique, known as single incision laparoscopic surgery, is the latest development in keyhole surgery where the instruments are inserted through the belly button including a tiny camera and surgeons manoeuvre inside using a TV monitor.

Surgeon Thomas Ind, who led the team which carried out the hysterectomy ��� the surgical removal of the uterus ��� on the woman named Debbie Price, said the method is only an extension of what is already being done with keyhole methods.
���Instead of making three or four holes for instruments we just make one hole. The patients like the idea of not having three or four little scars across their tummy���, he said. Price, 46, decided to go for the operation after suffering for years with adenomyosis ��� a painful condition where the womb lining grows into muscle of the uterus.



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