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Artificial sweeteners linked to risk of weight gain, heart disease and other health issues. Artificial sweeteners may be associated with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing. The longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues. University of Manitoba George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Can sesame-based ingredients reduce oxidative stress? The antioxidant boosting properties of sesame, and especially sesame oil, can have a significant effect on oxidative stress, improving human health, according to a systematic review. Luciana de Almeida Vittori Gouveia and coauthors, Rio de Janeiro State University and Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil, assessed the published evidence on the effects of consuming sesame-based ingredients on markers of oxidative stress in people with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Multiple clinical trials reported increased levels of antioxidants and a reduction in oxidative stress with sesame consumption, particularly for individuals with hypertension and also with type 2 diabetes. "In addition to the clinical trial results reviewed in this article, preclinical studies have also shown that sesame oil is very effective in preventing atherosclerosis," says Journal of Medicinal Food Editor-in-Chief Sampath Parthasarathy, MBA, PhD, Florida Hospital Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences and Interim Associate Dean, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida. Journal of Medicinal Food

Type 2 diabetes patients and exercise - "An important take-home point for clinicians is to encourage patients to be physically active at a pace that is personally comfortable - this should lead to good adherence and health benefits," Huebschmann said. "If possible, all adults should gradually increase their activity to target at least 30 minutes of activity on most days, as this leads to many major health benefits. It's fine if people reach these goals in short intervals, such as 10-minute brisk walks." Amy Huebschmann, MD, MS, co-authors Judy Regensteiner, PhD, Wendy Kohrt, PhD, Leah Herlache, MS, Pamela Wolfe, MS, Stacie Daugherty, MD, Jane Reusch, MD, and Tim Bauer, PhD. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care

Concern over drug industry involvement at India's 'health camps' - Pharmaceutical sales representatives are screening people in India in return for prescriptions for their products. Free 'health camps' for poor people in India have grown popular, writes author Frederik Joelving, a journalist based in Denmark.

Local residents are invited to the camps that may include medical testing done by drug representatives or technicians, he explains. Some camps take place at temples or schools near slum areas and tend to attract hundreds of visitors, while smaller 'patient camps' can be at a hospital or in the waiting room of a doctor's office. The BMJ has evidence that unlicensed employees from several Indian drug firms and from the Indian arms of foreign drug companies have tested patients at health camps. 

The Medical Council of India says the practice is unauthorised and that only a registered medical practitioner can perform screening and diagnostic tests. Likewise, for doctors to prescribe specific products in return for testing services from a drug company is not only 'totally unethical,' said K L Sharma, joint secretary at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; it also violates MCI regulations.

"This kind of behavior can actually lead to harm to patients -- overdiagnosis, misclassification [of healthy people as sick], iatrogenic harm of drugs," Glyn Elwyn, a primary care clinician-researcher at The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA, told The BMJ.

"I would call it market penetration with a label of corporate social responsibility," said Hans Hogerzeil, a professor of global health at Groningen University in the Netherlands and until 2011 director for essential medicines and pharmaceutical policies at the World Health Organization. 

Leena Menghaney, a lawyer and India manager of Médecins Sans Frontières' Access Campaign, said: "This is nothing but selling privatised health care, whether it's medicines or diagnostics," adding that she discourages her family from going to the camps. BMJ

Fruit and vegetables good for a healthy body and mind - Eating a Mediterranean diet or other healthy dietary pattern, comprising of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and low in processed meats, is associated with preventing the onset of depression. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, says "We wanted to understand what role nutrition plays in mental health, as we believe certain dietary patterns could protect our minds. These diets are all associated with physical health benefits and now we find that they could have a positive effect on our mental health." "The protective role is ascribed to their nutritional properties, where nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables (sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) could reduce the risk of depression." BMC Medicine

Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics? A concentrated extract of maple syrup makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics. The findings suggest that combining maple syrup extract with common antibiotics could increase the microbes' susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic usage. Overuse of antibiotics fuels the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, which has become a major public-health concern worldwide. McGill University. Applied and Environmental Microbiology

The antioxidant capacity of orange juice is multiplied tenfold - The antioxidant activity of citrus juices and other foods is undervalued. A new technique for measuring this property generates values that are ten times higher than those indicated by current analysis methods. The results suggest that tables on the antioxidant capacities of food products that dieticians and health authorities use must be revised. Orange juice and juices from other citrus fruits are considered healthy due to their high content of antioxidants, which help to reduce harmful free radicals in our body. "The problem is that the antioxidant activity of the solid fraction (the fibre) isn't measured, as it's assumed that it isn't beneficial. However, this insoluble fraction arrives at the large intestine and the intestinal microbiota can also ferment it and extract even more antioxidant substances, which we can assess with our new methodology," José Ángel Rufián Henares, professor at the University of Granada. Food Chemistry

Vitamin D can affect pain, movement in obese osteoarthritis patients - "Adequate vitamin D may be significant to improving osteoarthritis pain because it affects bone quality and protects cell function to help reduce inflammation. Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphate concentration levels to keep bones strong," said Toni L. Glover, assistant professor. "Increased pain due to osteoarthritis could limit physical activity, including outdoor activity, which would lead to both decreased vitamin D levels and increased obesity." "Vitamin D is inexpensive, available over-the-counter and toxicity is fairly rare," Glover said. Older obese patients with chronic pain should discuss their vitamin D status with their primary care provider. If it's low, take a supplement and get judicious sun exposure." University of Florida. The Clinical Journal of Pain

Hypertension, high cholesterol, other heart disease risk factors increasing In Asia - The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes have been decreasing in the United States and Europe, however they appear to be on the rise in Asia. Journal of the American College of Cardiology
[Other experts have explored the phenomenon of importing Western lifestyles, importing Western diseases]

Component in green tea may help reduce risk - Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men. In recent years, an emphasis has been placed on chemoprevention - the use of agents to prevent the development or progression of prostate cancer. A team of researchers led by N B Kumar, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.D.A. published results of a randomized trial that assessed the safety and effectiveness of the active components in green tea to prevent prostate cancer development in men who have premalignant lesions. Twenty percent of green tea is consumed in Asian countries where prostate cancer death rates are among the lowest in the world and the risk of prostate cancer appears to be increased among Asian men who abandon their original dietary habits upon migrating to the U.S. Laboratory studies have shown that substances in green tea called, "catechins" inhibit cancer cell growth, motility and invasion, and stimulate cancer cell death. Green tea catechins also prevent and reduce tumor growth in animal models. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant and potent catechin found in green tea responsible for these cancer prevention effects. Moffitt Cancer Center. Cancer Prevention Research

Drinking chamomile decreases risk of death - Researchers found that drinking chamomile tea was associated with a decreased risk of death from all causes in Mexican-American American women over 65. Chamomile is one of the oldest, most-widely used and well-documented medicinal plants in the world and has been recommended for a variety of healing applications. University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The Gerontologist

Keeping physically and emotionally fit - Older adults who keep a clean and orderly home--because of the exercise it takes to get the job done--tend to feel emotionally and physically better after tackling house chores. "House cleaning kept them up and moving," said Kathy D. Wright, PhD, RN, CNS. "A clean environment is therapeutic." Case Western Reserve University school of nursing. Geriatric Nursing

Mediterranean diet, improved cognitive function - Supplementing the plant-based Mediterranean diet with antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts was associated with improved cognitive function. Emerging evidence suggests associations between dietary habits and cognitive performance. Oxidative stress (the body's inability to appropriately detoxify itself) has long been considered to play a major role in cognitive decline. Previous research suggests following a Mediterranean diet may relate to better cognitive function and a lower risk of dementia. 

"Our results suggest that in an older population a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts may counter-act age-related cognitive decline. The lack of effective treatments for cognitive decline and dementia points to the need of preventive strategies to delay the onset and/or minimize the effects of these devastating conditions. The present results with the Mediterranean diet are encouraging but further investigation is warranted," the study concludes. Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi Sunyer, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, and Ciber Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid. JAMA Internal Medicine

Age-friendly communities essential for well-being - The future of communities around the world will in large part be determined by the efforts to achieve a high quality of life for their older citizens. "The concomitant growth of cities and of an older population within those cities has come to generate a disjuncture between physical infrastructure and resident needs," states PP&AR Editor Robert B. Hudson, PhD. "Modern economic growth results largely from private sector investments and incentives which pay little heed to the concerns of vulnerable populations." Age-friendly communities are designed to promote aging-in-place, which is the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level. National Academy on an Aging Society, the policy branch of The Gerontological Society of America. Public Policy & Aging Report

Yoga - meanings and practice of yoga changed as it was adapted by the US market. The study examined how the meaning of yoga transformed in the past three decades. The results show that yoga became decreasingly associated with spirituality and increasingly associated with medicine and fitness. The study argues that the shift in the meanings are due to the changes in how yoga gurus are trained, market contests amongst different meanings and the distinct branding practices of small and big players in the market. Americans spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, vacations and media.

Sources trace the beginning of yoga in the United States to Swami Vivekananda's speech representing Hinduism at the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. During the first half of the 20th century, yoga was construed mainly as a spiritual practice linked to mysticism, magic, and asceticism with religiophilosophical underpinnings and an emphasis on Raja yoga (the mental science) rather than Hatha yoga (physical yoga).

In the 1970s, a more scientific understanding of yoga emerged, and it became a viable player in the field of mind-body medicine. The spirituality approach to yoga is structured around the goal of enlightenment, with gurus (charismatic leaders that devotees look up to in their practice) as leaders. The spirituality logic is translated into practice through chanting, meditation and reading of religious texts which is all aimed at enhancing self-awareness. The medical approach is organized around the health benefits of yoga. The instructors are perceived as healers who help patients recover from injuries, manage pain and prevent chronic health problems. This is rooted in scientific study. The fitness approach emphasizes physical benefits as the goal of yoga. This is rooted in kinesiology. "Commercialization also emerged and yoga became increasing commoditized with the rising coverage of yoga brands, gear, clothing, and retreats," said Assistant Professor Gokcen Coskuner-Balli, Ph.D. The medical approach was amplified as medical studies started examining and publishing the health benefits of yoga. The medical approach also got institutionalized with the founding of the U.S. government's lead agency for scientific research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Co-author Dr. Burcak Ertimur. Chapman University. Journal of Marketing

India Industry Growth - The third edition of Children & Baby Maternity Expo hosted by UBM India at Bombay Exhibition Center, successfully concluded in Mumbai, bringing together global suppliers and manufacturers. The event had over 80 exhibitors and 150 brands. The event saw participation from world-renowned brands and representations from countries such as China, Hong Kong, Belgium, Italy, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and USA.

Salt and hypertension - Excessive salt intake "reprograms" the brain, interfering with a natural safety mechanism that normally prevents the body's arterial blood pressure from rising. Prof. Charles Bourque says the message remains: limit dietary salt. McGill University Faculty of Medicine. Neuron.

Cooking Charts - Over half of people internationally say they cook purely for fun once a week or more. Italy and South Africa lead on passion for food and cooking. India and Ukraine top the chart for hours per week people spend cooking. France, Germany and Brazil trail in bottom five. 29 percent of people claim to have great knowledge and experience about food and cooking. South Africa and India top the list, with around half of people (50 and 48 percent respectively) agreeing, or agreeing strongly, that this applies to them. GfK

Vegetarian diet linked to lower risk of colorectal cancers - Eating a vegetarian diet was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancers compared with nonvegetarians. Loma Linda University, California. JAMA Internal Medicine

Swine flu outbreak in India - A new study suggests that the strain has acquired mutations that make it more dangerous than previously circulating strains of H1N1 influenza. Ram Sasisekharan, the Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Biological Engineering. Massachusetts Institute Of Technology. Cell Host & Microbe

Onion extract may improve high blood sugar and cholesterol - "Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement," said lead investigator Anthony Ojieh, MBBS (MD), MSc, of Delta State University in Abraka, Nigeria. "It has the potential for use in treating patients with diabetes." The Endocrine Society

Lower systolic blood pressure reduces risk - People 60 or older, especially minorities and women, have a lower risk of stroke if the top number (systolic) in their blood pressure is below 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Miami and Columbia University. American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference.

Optimistic people have healthier hearts - People who have upbeat outlooks on life have significantly better cardiovascular health. "Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts," said Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois. "This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health."

Optimists had significantly better blood sugar and total cholesterol levels than their counterparts. They also were more physically active, had healthier body mass indexes and were less likely to smoke. Health Behavior and Policy Review.

Heart disease patients advised to avoid being outside in rush hour traffic - Professor Robert F. Storey: "More than 3 million deaths worldwide are caused by air pollution each year. Air pollution ranks ninth among the modifiable disease risk factors, ahead of low physical activity, high sodium diet, high cholesterol and drug use." There is a two way interaction between air pollution and cardiovascular risk factors, state the authors. Obese people and those with diabetes may be at higher risk of the cardiovascular effects of pollution, while air pollutants may exacerbate and instigate the development of risk factors such as high blood pressure and impaired insulin sensitivity. European Society of Cardiology. European Heart Journal.

Mahila - Dalmia Bharat Group Foundation (DBGF) recently facilitated the first Mahila Co-operative - 'Pragati Mahila Rural Development' (PMRD) in Yadwad Panchayat. The foundation will work closely with 61 Self Help Groups (SHGs) across 10 target villages.

Feeling younger  - Feeling younger than your actual age might be good for you. Self-perceived age can reflect assessments of health, physical limitation and well-being in later life, and many older people feel younger than their actual age. "Self-perceived age has the potential to change, so interventions may be possible. Individuals who feel older than their actual age could be targeted with health messages promoting positive health behaviors and attitudes toward aging," the study concludes. University College London. JAMA Internal Medicine.

Diets high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts among factors to lower first-time stroke risk - Eating Mediterranean or DASH-style diets, regularly engaging in physical activity and keeping your blood pressure under control can lower your risk of a first-time stroke. Mediterranean-style diets are generally low in dairy products and DASH-style diets emphasize low-fat dairy products. "We have a huge opportunity to improve how we prevent new strokes, because risk factors that can be changed or controlled — especially high blood pressure — account for 90 percent of strokes," said James Meschia, M.D., professor and chairman of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. American Heart Association. Stroke.

A family meal a day may keep obesity away - It has been suggested that family meals, which tend to include fruits, vegetables, calcium, and whole grains, could be protective against obesity.
University of Minnesota and Columbia University. Journal of Pediatrics.

Healthy lifestyle may buffer against stress-related cell aging - A study shows that while the impact of life's stressors accumulate overtime and accelerate cellular aging, these negative effects may be reduced by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and sleeping well. "The study participants who exercised, slept well and ate well had less telomere shortening than the ones who didn't maintain healthy lifestyles, even when they had similar levels of stress," said lead author Eli Puterman, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSF. "It's very important that we promote healthy living, especially under circumstances of typical experiences of life stressors like death, caregiving and job loss." In recent years, shorter telomeres have become associated with a broad range of aging-related diseases, including stroke, vascular dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis diabetes, and many forms of cancer. University of California - San Francisco. Molecular Psychiatry.

Drinking raw milk dramatically increases risk for foodborne illness - An analysis found that the risks of drinking raw (unpasteurized) cow's milk are significant. Consumers are nearly 100 times more likely to get foodborne illness from drinking raw milk than they are from drinking pasteurized milk. In fact, the researchers determined that raw milk was associated with over half of all milk-related foodborne illness. The researchers discourage the consumption of raw milk, which some claim is healthier and tastes better than pasteurized milk. They note that the risks are better understood than the benefits, and that further research is needed to determine whether the health benefit claims are legitimate. Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Improving diet quality reduces risk for type 2 diabetes - Improving the overall quality of one's diet helps to prevent type 2 diabetes, independent of other lifestyle changes. Those who improved their diet quality by eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and less sweetened beverages and saturated fats, for example – reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by about 20 percent. Lead researcher Sylvia Ley, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. American Diabetes Association's 74th Scientific Sessions®.

Diet soda linked to increases in belly fat - A study shows that increasing diet soda intake is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity in older adults. Findings raise concerns about the safety of chronic diet soda consumption, which may increase belly fat and contribute to greater risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases. Metabolic syndrome--a combination of risk factors that may lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke--is one of the results of the obesity epidemic. In an effort to combat obesity, many adults try to reduce sugar intake by turning to nonnutritive or artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose. Previous research shows that in the past 30 years, artificial sweeteners and diet soda intake have increased, yet the prevalence of obesity has also seen a dramatic increase in the same time period. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Smoking, elevated risk of developing a second smoking-related cancer - Cigarette smoking prior to the first diagnosis of lung (stage I), bladder, kidney or head and neck cancer increases risk of developing a second smoking-associated cancer (up to five-fold higher risk of developing a second smoking-associated cancer compared to survivors of the same cancers who never smoked.) Tobacco use constitutes the largest preventable cause of death and disability in developed countries and is a rapidly growing health problem in developing nations. It is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths and is associated with increased risk for at least 17 types of cancer. "Our study demonstrates that health care providers should emphasize the importance of smoking cessation to all their patients, including cancer survivors," said Meredith S. Shiels, PhD, MHs, a research fellow with the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Stop smoking clinics

6,000 steps a day keeps knee OA limitations away - A study shows that walking reduces risk of functional limitation associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA). The study suggests that walking 6,000 or more steps per day may protect those with or at risk of knee of OA from developing mobility issues, such as difficulty getting up from a chair and climbing stairs. "Walking is an inexpensive activity and despite the common popular goal of walking 10,000 steps per day, our study finds only 6,000 steps are necessary to realize benefits. We encourage those with or at risk of knee OA to walk at least 3,000 or more steps each day, and ultimately progress to 6,000 steps daily to minimize the risk of developing difficulty with mobility." Dr. Daniel White, PT, ScD, Sargent College at Boston University in Massachusetts. Arthritis Care & Research.

Vivanta by Taj ... - Hotels & Resorts - Madikeri, Coorg, has made it to the Conde Nast Traveller US, UK and India's Hot List.

Situated at an altitude of 4000 ft. within 180 acres of subtropical rainforest, the hotel is the perfect retreat for nature lovers and sybarites. It offers panoramic vistas of the mountains. The surrounding rainforest's lush canopies are home to over 350 species of flora and fauna.

India Shares Expertise in Public-Private Partnerships - Africa and India have a lot to offer to each other in terms of experiences and ideas, not only because of their trade but also cultural ties and similarities in social structures. In an effort to further improve a commercial relationship that has lasted over 2,000 years, an “India-Africa Partnership Day” was organized on the sidelines of the African Development Bank's annual meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) of India jointly organized the event whose theme was “Sharing India's Experiences with Africa in PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships)”. The event was aimed at the sharing of India's experiences, knowledge and ideas on facilitating and financing infrastructure development through mechanisms including the PPP (public-private partnership) model.

“With the new emerging leadership in many African countries, Africa's growth is going to become a reality,” said Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Economic Affairs, in India's Finance Ministry. He added that India was currently Africa's fourth-largest trading partner and has investments of US $50 billion on the continent.

African Development Bank (AfDB).

Pollution Free Cities for India - Shubhojit Mallick was adjudged the winner of the 'Dalmia Bharat Smart City Contest' which was conducted in collaboration with Ashoka University and NASA Research Park based Singularity University. Shubhojit Mallick won the contest for his innovative project in Bangalore that captures pollutants from automobiles using Nanocylinders to reduce pollution.

Mr. Puneet Dalmia, MD, Dalmia Bharat Group, commented, "We are glad that the first of our initiatives under the MoU between Ashoka University and Singularity University has come to a successful completion. We are proud to have opened new avenues for youth in India and will continue to do so in the future. The GIC has received tremendous response from students all over India and we are happy to have played a small role in helping support the government's vision of building smart cities across India."

The Gamechanger - Narendra Modi the Chief Minister of Gujarat has a lot many untouched aspects of his life that Sudesh Verma has brought forward through his new book Narendra Modi - The Gamechanger.

Living with Diabetes - 'The Illustrated Guide to Living with Diabetes in India', a practical guide to self-manage diabetes was launched at Kochi by Sir Michael Hirst, President, International Diabetes Federation (IDF) during the 5th World Congress of Diabetes India. Dr. Shaukat Sadikot, President - Elect, IDF and Prof. Dr. Jean Claude Mbanya, Past-President, IDF were also present.

Mumbai - Oracle India is witnessing unprecedented demand for its cloud solutions in the country. Oracle's Software as a Service (SaaS) business has seen the highest and fastest adoption rate till date, with Platform as a Service (Paas) close behind. Oracle Cloud solutions are helping Indian enterprises, large and midsize, to confidently embrace the cloud and use it to support their business transformation initiatives. Some of Oracle's cloud customers include Birlasoft Limited, iGate Global Solutions, Indiabulls, Kotak Life Insurance, Pearson India, PolicyBazaar, PVR Cinemas Ltd., Reliance Commercial Finance, Thomas Cook India Ltd. among others."We are upbeat about the momentum in cloud. The growth in this business is happening faster than our expectation. Oracle Cloud offers the broadest, most complete, and the most integrated set of cloud offerings in the industry. It's a great time to be at Oracle and be part of the cloud business team - whether you are an employee, a customer, a developer or a partner," said Shailender Kumar, Managing Director, Oracle India.

Franchising Market in India - The new report, "Franchising Market in India", states that India has witnessed large scale adoption of franchising as a prospective entry route for expansion. It is hailed as being a key strategy when growth becomes saturated in domestic markets and companies look beyond borders for untapped potential and markets. Bharat Book Bureau

Summer Holidays Offer, Udaipur, India - Set in forty three acres of lush green landscaping, Hotel Trident, Udaipur is located on the banks of the picturesque Pichola Lake and overlooks the tranquil Jag Mandir and the surrounding Aravalli range.

Maha Shivarathri – A Rapturous Night With the Divine - Isha Foundation celebrated the sacred night of Mahashivarathri at the Isha Yoga Center at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains. Over 8 lakh people from all parts of the world gathered at the center to participate in a nightlong Sathsang with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Sadhguru's discourses and powerful meditations were interspersed with musical performances by Raghu Dixit and his popular folk rock band - the Raghu Dixit Project, Anita Ratnam, the classical and contemporary dancer and choreographer, and Padma Shri Aruna Sairam, the eminent Carnatic vocalist.

The celebrations began at 5.40 pm at the Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple with Sadhguru conducting the Pancha Bhuta Aradhana - a unique opportunity to cleanse the five elements of the body which leads to health and well-being. At the celebration grounds, the festivities began with chanting followed by Sadhguru leading the audience through several preparatory spiritual processes. At the stroke of midnight, Sadhguru initiated the huge gathering into a very powerful meditation which was the most looked forward to event of the night. Cultural and musical performances were held in between meditations and discourses. Annadhanam (a free offering of food) was served to hundreds of thousands of people on this auspicious night. The celebrations culminated at 6 am with a meditation by Sadhguru.

Mahashivarathri is one of the biggest and most significant of the sacred festival nights of India. This, the darkest night of the year, celebrates the Grace of Shiva, who is considered the Adi (first) Guru from whom the yogic tradition originates. The planetary positions on this night are such that there is a powerful natural upsurge of energy in the human system. It is enormously beneficial for one's physical and spiritual well-being to stay awake and aware in a vertical position throughout the night. In addition, the benefit of any spiritual practices performed on this night multiply many-fold. It is for this reason that in the yogic tradition it is said that one should not sleep on the night of Mahashivarathri.

Increased risk of heart attack, stroke - "We have described a marked increase in cardiovascular risk in the month after spousal bereavement, which seems likely to be the result of adverse physiological responses associated with acute grief. A better understanding of psychosocial factors associated with acute cardiovascular events may provide opportunities for prevention and improved clinical care." Iain M. Carey, M.Sc., Ph.D., of St. George's University of London, and colleagues. JAMA Intern Med.

Don't throw out old, sprouting garlic - it has heart-healthy antioxidants - "Sprouted" garlic — old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves — is considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. But scientists are reporting that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts. Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system ... American Chemical Society. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Meat and cheese may be as bad for you as smoking - A high-protein diet during middle age makes you nearly twice as likely to die and four times more likely to die of cancer, but moderate protein intake is good for you after 65. Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general. University of Southern California. Cell Metabolism.

Maternal health program in India  - The Chiranjeevi Yojana program in Gujarat, a state in northwestern India, received the Wall Street Journal Asian Innovation Award in 2006 and has been hailed by some as a model for wide adoption throughout India. 
"Impact of Chiranjeevi Yojana on institutional deliveries and birth outcomes in Gujarat, India: a difference-in-differences analysis," by Manoj Mohanan, Sebastian Bauhoff, Gerard La Forgia, Kimberly Singer Babiarz, Kultar Singh and Grant Miller. Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Blood pressure skyrockets - Hypertension is skyrocketing in India, with rural-to-urban migrants at especially high risk. Hypertension will be a key theme at the 65th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI), which takes place during 5-8 December in Bangalore, India, and features a collaborative programme with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Hypertension expert, Dr Rajeev Gupta from Jaipur, India, said: "Hypertension is the most prevalent cardiovascular risk factor among Indian adults. Epidemiological studies have reported that the prevalence of hypertension is 25-35% in urban areas and 15-20% in rural areas. This is more than the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, metabolic syndrome or diabetes."

Dr Gupta said: "The key lifestyle factors that promote hypertension are sedentary habits and diet. When people migrate from rural areas to urban areas they increase their weight, measured as body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), and they increase their waist size. This is clearly due to changing lifestyles – they become more sedentary and their diet changes. They tend to eat more fat, saturated fat, trans fatty acids and salt, and less fruits and vegetables." 122013

Controversial vaccine trial should never have been run in India - The trial, which has now been halted and is the subject of an investigation by the Indian government, was examining the safety and feasibility of offering a vaccine against the virus associated with cervical cancer. 

The trial was run by the international health charity PATH and involved more than 23,000 girls from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh states. A committee of scientists commissioned by the Indian Government to look into the trial said that the study involved a number of serious ethical violations.

Professor Allyson Pollock explained: "This trial has clearly raised serious concerns for the people and government of India. ..." "We found that current data on cervical cancer incidence do not support PATH's claim that India has a large burden of cervical cancer or its decision to roll out the vaccine programme."
Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Edinburgh. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Awareness Week to Beat Invisible Glaucoma - L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) plans a series of activities to commemorate Glaucoma Awareness Week to bring public focus on the eye disease that affects both adults and children. The focus is on early detection and prevention of glaucoma through family screening and prevention of steroid abuse.

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