Close relationships the basis of stress-free life

We all know that deep and meaningful relationships play a vital role in one's overall well-being but still, most of us are bereft of emotional bonding in life. It is imperative, therefore, to listen to your heart and stay close to those who love you the most.

According to an interesting study, close relationships not only support individuals in their ability to cope with stress or adversity but also in their efforts to learn, grow, explore, achieve goals, cultivate new talents and find purpose and meaning in life.

"People will be most likely to thrive with well-functioning, close relationships that serve different support functions - whether the relationship is with friends, parents, siblings, a spouse or mentors," said researchers Brooke Feeney of Carnegie Mellon University and Nancy Collins from University of California at Santa Barbara.

Relationships serve as an important function of not simply helping people return to baseline but help them to thrive by exceeding prior baseline levels of functioning.

"We refer to this as source of strength (SOS) support and emphasise that the promotion of thriving through adversity is it's core purpose," Feeney explained.

The second important function of relationships is to support thriving in the absence of adversity by promoting full participation in life opportunities for exploration, growth and personal achievement.

According to researchers, thriving involves five components of well-being; hedonic well-being (happiness, life satisfaction), eudaimonic well-being (having purpose and meaning in life), psychological well-being, social well-being and physical well-being.

Sometimes, support providers may inadvertently do more harm than good if they make the person feel weak, needy, inadequate or induce guilt and make the recipient feel like a burden.

"Being responsive involves providing the support that is dictated by the situation and by the partner's needs, and being sensitive involves responding to needs in such a way that the support-recipient feels understood, validated and cared for," Collins emphasised.

The paper published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.

UNICEF reports a rise in the number of child marriages in Kerala

Kerala may be the only state in India with the highest literacy rate, but it seems the state has not been able to beat the child marriage demon. According to a report by UNICEF, notwithstanding a better gender balance in the southern part of the country, child marriage has been found to be on the rise in Kerala in recent years. ‘In the southern part of India we have a relatively better gender balance which explains lower rates of child marriage. Nevertheless, recent studies have shown a rising rate in Kerala,’ Unicef’s child protection specialist in India Dora Giusti said.

Child marriage – the huge elephant in the room

A report released by Dasra, a philanthropy foundation called Marry me later: Preventing Child Marriage and Early Pregnancy in India released a report on the phenomenon of child marriage in India. The report also highlights how millions of girls can lead a healthier life for themselves and their families if they marry later. (Read: Child marriage: When will our girls’ lives be more important than religious sentiments?)

The report says India accounts for the highest share of world’s 60 million child marriages and 61% of women between the ages of 25-49 were married before they turn 18. Some other statistics from the report:
India accounts for 40% of child brides in India, which means two out of every five child brides is an Indian.
47% of Indian girls are married before they turn 18.
22% of Indian girls give birth before they turn 18.
Girls under 15 are five times as likely to die during child birth than women in their early 20s.
Loss of productivity due adolescent pregnancies is $7.7 billion a year.

Ill-effects of child marriage

The reason child marriage is a big concern is because it leads to a host of complications related to adolescent pregnancy which include: 

Hypertension: They have a higher risk of suffering from hypertension during pregnancy than women in their 20s and 30s. They’re also likelier to suffer from pre-eclampsia.

Anaemia: Caused due to lack of red blood cells which is usually due to nutrition deficiency like iron, vitamin B12, folic acid. The most common form is anaemia.

Postpartum haemorrhage: The term refers to a haemorrhage (bleeding) after delivering and is quite common among adolescent mothers. It’s caused due to the four Ts: Tone, Trauma, Tissue and Thrombin. (Read: Priyanka Chopra speaks out against female genital mutilation and child marriage)

With inputs from PTI
Source..the health site

Government employees could be first to test the free medical scheme for senior citizens

Senior citizens in Delhi now have a safe haven when it comes to their healthcare. Beginning 1st September this year, hospitals run by the Central government will offer free medical consultations. This is a move made by the government to lessen the burden on senior citizens who often have to shell out large amounts of money for their medical care.

This move comes amidst reports of the Indian National Commissions on Population stating that there has been a steady rise in the average lifespan of an individual. The commission has projected that the number of people in the 60 years plus is poised to reach 143 million in 2021. – a statistic that requires adequate medical infrastructure. 

But if you live in any other state other than the capital, the Union Health Ministry has assured people that they will duplicate the model in other states of the country if this model worked in Delhi.

According to the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, the plan is to implement the free services plan will start with 20 clinics run by the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) exclusively for central government employees and their dependent families.

Vardhan in a statement to the Press Information Bureau said, ‘We will see how much demand accrues for the CGHS clinics and the ability of the clinics to handle demand from the general public before extending the services to more people in other cities.

But there are some restrictions, the free consultation will not include free medication and the minimum qualifying age is 60 years. Apart from that the scheme will only be valid between 1.30 and 3.00 pm on working days.
Source..the health site

Researchers discover webcams can be used to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms

A new pilot study is taking an innovative approach to detecting irregular heartbeats, and they’re calling it “FaceTime” for heart diagnoses.

The results of the study were published online yesterday in the journal Heart Rhythm.

Atrial fibrillation, a common form of abnormal heart rhythm, affects more than 3 million Americans. But, it’s estimated that 30% of people with atrial fibrillation go undiagnosed.

The study tested a new webcam based diagnostic tool for heart problems and was conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Xerox. Researchers programmed a webcam with a Xerox developed algorithm to scan participants faces for the slightest change in skin coloration. Certain changes in skin color, undetectable to the human eye, may indicate a person is experiencing hearth arrhythmia.

The webcam is programmed to look for high levels of hemoglobin, which takes on more of the green spectrum of light. The camera works by detecting reflections of green light as blood pulses through the face. Since the skin on your face is the thinnest and blood vessels are closest to the surface, its easiest to catch changes in blood color here.

Researchers hooked 11 participants with atrial fibrillation up to an electrocardiogram, so they could measure the heart’s electrical activity while the 15 second facial scans were being taken. Researchers found that color changes picked-up by the camera corresponded to the heart rate detected on the ECG.

The video monitoring method, called videoplethymography, had an error rate of 20% compared with an error rate of 17-29% for automated ECG measurements.

Considering this is only a pilot study, a lot more research still needs to be conducted. Researchers from this study are in the process of putting together a much larger study using the same technology, but with a more diverse population including people both with and without atrial fibrillation.

“This technology holds the potential to identify and diagnosis cardiac disease using contactless video monitoring,” said Jean-Philippe Couderc, one of the researchers from the University of Rochester in a press release. “This is a very simple concept, but one that could enable more people with atrial fibrillation to get the care the care they need.”

Ultimately the hope is that the technology could be refined to be able to detect other types of heartdisease. The study was funded by Xerox and the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, a New York State-support Center for Advanced Technology.
Source..venture beat 

Gut bacteria may trick us into eating what they want

Washington: Gut bacteria may be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often drive us towards obesity, a new study suggests.

US researchers concluded from a review of scientific literature that microbes influence human eating behaviour and dietary choices to favour consumption of the particular nutrients they grow best on, rather than simply passively living off whatever nutrients we choose to send their way.

Bacterial species vary in the nutrients they need. Some prefer fat, and others sugar, for instance.

But they not only vie with each other for food and to retain a niche within their ecosystem - our digestive tracts - they also often have different aims than we do when it comes to our own actions, according to senior author Athena Aktipis.

While it is unclear exactly how this occurs, researchers believe this diverse community of microbes, collectively known as the gut microbiome, may influence our decisions by releasing signalling molecules into our gut.

Because the gut is linked to the immune system, the endocrine system and the nervous system, those signals could influence our physiologic and behavioural responses.

"Bacteria within the gut are manipulative," said Carlo Maley, director of the University of California - San Francisco (UCSF) Center for Evolution and Cancer.

"There is a diversity of interests represented in the microbiome, some aligned with our own dietary goals, and others not," said Maley, corresponding author on the paper.

We can influence the compatibility of these microscopic, single-celled house-guests by deliberating altering what we ingest, Maley said, with measurable changes in the microbiome within 24 hours of diet change.

"Our diets have a huge impact on microbial populations in the gut. It's a whole ecosystem, and it's evolving on the time scale of minutes," Maley said.

Research suggests that gut bacteria may be affecting our eating decisions in part by acting through the vagus nerve, which connects 100 million nerve cells from the digestive tract to the base of the brain.

"Microbes have the capacity to manipulate behaviour and mood through altering the neural signals in the vagus nerve, changing taste receptors, producing toxins to make us feel bad, and releasing chemical rewards to make us feel good," said Aktipis, co-founder of the Center for Evolution and Cancer with the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF.

The research was published in the journal BioEssays.
Source..zee news

Mother's milk vital for premature babies

New York: Incorporating human milk fat supplement into premature infants' diets improves their growth outcomes in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), says a new study.

"For premature babies who weigh less than a kg, one of the problems is that their lungs and other organs are still developing when they are born," said Amy Hair, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

"If the infant gains weight and increases in length at a good rate while in the NICU, this helps improve their (growth) outcomes," Hair added.

Previous research has shown that an exclusive human milk diet protects the intestines of premature infants and supports their growth.

This diet consists of mothers' own breast milk or donor human milk, as well as a fortifier consisting of protein and minerals made from the donor milk.

In this study, researchers sought a way to optimise growth in infants who weigh between 750 and 1,250 grams and need additional calories.

As infants are already receiving enough protein from the fortifier, another way to help them grow is by giving them fat. One of the byproducts of pasteurising donor milk is milk fat, also referred to as a cream supplement.

They found that infants in the cream group had better growth outcomes in terms of weight and length than infants in the control group.

The study appeared in the Journal of Pediatrics


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