Monday, July 27, 2009

Prostate Cancer And Dairy Products

image by cperoni,

Research Points To Milk Possibly Being The Culprit

The prostate, a gland found in the male of all animal species, functions as a storehouse of seminal fluid that acts as gravy for sperms when they begin their onward journey. Accumulating in the epididymis sacs in raw, pristine, semi-dry state, the sperms get drenched in the seminal fluid when they enter and pass through the prostate portal. Floating in this fluid, the sperms are assured of a safe passage as they negotiate their way through the acidic tracts before the competition begins for the trophy of the ovum. This walnut shaped module must have been plugged thoughtfully in place in the reproductive mechanism by the Designer In-charge, no doubt concerned about the well-being of the warriors on whose tiny shoulders the enormous responsibility of procreation lies. May you succeed in your mission; the walnut seems to bless the warriors as it showers the fluid on them with abandon. However, going by the number of cancers of the prostate that men around the world carry inside them; it appears that their relationship with the wise walnut is paradoxically less than comfortable.

Prostate with a metal instrument pierced through it, wiki_*

* Prostate with a metal instrument pierced through it, wiki.

The epidemiology of prostate cancer gives an intriguing graph. While Asian men appear to be least at risk of an outbreak of prostate-cell rebellion; African American and Scandinavian hunks experience the revolt of prostate cells most susceptibly. The etiology of the condition has been equally intriguing, with the observation that migrants from low-risk countries to high-risk countries succumbing to the condition more readily --- pointing out to both environmental and lifestyle factors being major perpetrators.

image by iprole,

The expert report published by the World Cancer Research Fund in 2007 has come out with data that point to the possibility of dairy products - that contain abundant calcium - playing a role in provoking the cells that make up the walnut to go crazy and behave abnormally. Ergo, the milk that one has been drinking for so long might have something to do with the pain in the pelvic region one has been experiencing for some while, and which the doctor suspects might be prostate cancer.

WCRF Expert Report_*

The report published by the WCRF in 2007.

Milk and other dairy products are so much a part and parcel of our lifestyle, ever since childhood. After getting scrubbed and spruced up and ready for school, the last item on the agenda before rushing off out of the house used to be - and continues to be - the mandatory glass of milk that parents / caregivers thrust into the tiny tots' hands. Traditional wisdom emphasizes the contribution of calcium to our diet that a glass of milk supplies. But no, there is a problem with this milk, the researchers now say. Further, more refined research within the sub-group of dairy products of whole milk, low-fat milk, skim milk, cheese and yogurt, has pointed the needle of suspicion towards skim milk and low-/non-fat milk. Is this what migrants from low-risk countries to high-risk countries switch to, in their attempt to adapt to their new environment? May be the ingredients that are removed from whole milk on its way to being converted to skim milk are the real nutrition that the cells of the prostate yearn for the most?

image by nkzs,

However, the jury is still out, and the final verdict is yet to be given. Caution being better than cure, therefore if you are a male, or if there is some male who is under your care, you might consider restricting the diet to minimal dairy products. And keep in touch with the latest developments on the research on prostate cancer.

image by dgburns,

[Besides the challenges of cancers of various types that the human body has to face during the lifetime, there is this even bigger challenge for which science still does not have a solution. Read about this challenge - from a metaphysical perspective - here: "When The Connect Between The 4D And The Ethereal, Shrivels".]

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Balancing Work And Family

image by ba1969,
Don't Let Work Tensions Spill Over Into Home, And Vice-versa

Years ago, a story used to be recounted on the internet about how a businessman, very aggressive and tension-prone at work, would, while returning back home, indulge in a small ritual. I don't remember the exact details, but he would remove his footwear nearby, bow before a small tree in front of his house or hang his tool on one of its branches, murmur some prayer of gratitude, and only then step into the house. This small act would transform him from a teeth-gnashing, foul-mouthing, fist-waving fearsome bread-earner to a very genteel and loving husband and a doting father. The implicit moral of the story that must have been sought to be propagated is that people must learn to demarcate workplace from home.

image by ba1969,

Though this small story might be a part of folklore, work-family research has taken such anecdotes seriously. The person who stands before the mirror everyday to get dressed, then commutes to a workplace to spend the next few, contracted hours performing productive labor, and then commutes back home to take rest and sleep just so that they can get up the next morning and repeat the same cycle --- may outwardly appear to be quite their normal self to the newspaper hawker and the florist they pass by en route. But peep inside, and quite possibly a can of angst-riddled soul reveals itself. Conforming to organizational expectations takes its toll on both physical and emotional health. Peer competition, coupled with demands of overload and working against deadlines - imposed artificially by self-serving supervisors or set ruthlessly by bang-for-the-buck-seeking clients - further add fuel to the proverbial fire. The outcome? The person commuting back home is not the normal self that the newspaper hawker and the florist think they see, but a very exhausted and battered and fatigued being who longs for the comfort of the familiar couch or sofa back home.

image by tizwas01,

The problem arises when we do not, like the businessman in the anecdote, perform that small ritual before stepping into the house. The consequence of not doing so is that work-related problems continue to cogitate the mind, and have an impact on relationships at home. The brooding, irascible father or mother who declines to participate in the easy laughter and bonhomie at the dinner table does not make for the best of parental role-models. The irritated and exhausted spouse who turns over to go to sleep the moment their body flops on the comfy duvet -- potentially adds to the catalog of marital discord cases at the local court.

image by jayofboy,

Somewhere along the way of building the home - and by home I don't mean the brick-and-mortar -, we forget that just like the workplace is an institution that places its set of demands and expectations, the home or family too is an institution that has its own set of demands and expectations. And while we jump to our feet to respond to even the hint of a reprimand from the workplace, we take for granted the cajoling and gentle persuasion from home. While to the colleagues and the supervisors at the workplace we are just another dispensable entity, just another face in the crowd of employees; to the children and the spouse we may not be as dispensable. Indeed, the latter depend on us not only for the bread and butter that we bring home, but also for the emotional nurturing that we are in a position to provide.

image by trash69,

In this context, a study conducted by psychologists on 49 employees working at different hierarchy points in a set of organizations in Madrid threw up some interesting conclusions. (The study appears here.) Focusing on the measures an organization can adopt to improve employee productivity, the study stresses the importance of including short breaks during the working hours. For the worker who positions themselves before the assembly line right from the moment they swipe their id-card in the clocking machine till the time comes for lunch, the short breaks give them time to dissipate the building fatigue. The study also emphasizes the role played by counselors and empathy-enabled supervisors, in whom the average employee can confide in and articulate their concerns and tensions. The simple act of articulation of thoughts and expressing one's emotions to someone one is comfortable with, can break the downward negative spiral.

image by jan-willem,

But these are suggestions about what the organization can do to make us happy and keep us happy. As individual employees and human beings, while waiting for the HR department people to read articles such as this and act upon the recommendations, we can follow the example of the businessman in the anecdote and add his daily ritual to our routine. Do you notice the small plant or tree that you walk past every day before stepping into the house? All that you need to do is to pause before the plant, remove your footwear...

image by taluda,

Your family will be grateful to the plant. Your organization will find you an indispensable asset.

image by hortongrou,

[Do you remember the first days when you launched your career? The I-will-take-on-this-world spring in your steps? The can-do-will-do attitude? And do you now compare it wistfully with your feelings now about the same job? Burnouts happen - they are a natural outcome of priorities gone topsy-turvy and approaches sliding off the right track. Read about it in this article: "Rekindle The Passion In Your Job".]
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nicotine Addicts - Use This Spice To Alleviate Your Illnesses

image by diana34,

This Spice Can Stop Further Liver Damage

We all know how harmful nicotine is to health. The ubiquitous cigarette or pipe or bidi or cigar or whatever is your favorite smoking device, held to the lips, nowadays does not even conjure the image of the suave and dapper individual that films of yesteryears used to project. Today the image is anything but. The smokers know it too, of course, and despite that, stopping the hand from reaching out for that next puff is rather difficult. The body is no longer in one's control. That is what, after all, entrapping oneself to some addiction leads one to.

image by gklinek,

While research continues on a) how to get the tobacco smokers off their addiction, and b) how to genetically modify the tobacco itself to produce a more benign version --- it appears to be still some way off before a foolproof solution can be found that can guarantee 100% success in all cases. And while this research continues in the labs around the world, millions of human beings continue to merrily smoke their favorite brand, and correspondingly millions of precious livers continue to get perforated in this smoke. Till such time that some real breakthrough is obtained, can these livers be saved from further damage?

image by defbv,

Turns out that this might not be an impossible task - of saving the smoked livers from further damage. Tobacco these days comes blended with a myriad variety of sweeteners and flavors. Researchers say there's one flavor that the addicts might do well to get hitched to. There is a whole bunch of papers published in peer-reviewed journals that points to the efficacy of this naturally-occurring pigment on restoring the liver to its original health. (And here is an article on the pigment, published earlier on this blog.) This pigment, in case you haven't clicked on the links already, is called curcumin, and is an important ingredient in a spice known as turmeric, grown in abundance in south-Asian countries, and used as a routine condiment in meal preparations in south-Asian homes.

Turmeric root, wiki

Enterprising entrepreneurs amongst us might find it an attractive proposition to conduct a survey to find out whether anybody else has already brought a curcumin-filled cigarette filter in the market; and if not, then be the first off the mark to do so!

image by stocker,

There is an interesting twist to the saga of nicotine addiction, and the application of curcumin to this twist is interesting too. Of late, a number of societies around the world have begun taking to a smoking device that originated in India centuries ago. Why and how it spread can be explained by the internet. Very slowly, an entire social culture and etiquette is building around this device. I am of course referring to the hookah, also known as Shisha or Nargeela or Argeela, depending on which community you are a product of or have come in touch with. Besides the languid glamour that has come to be associated with hookah, another (mis)conception that has added to its attractiveness is the notion that the nicotine loses some of its toxicity when it bubbles through boiling water, so you can still enjoy your high but with a reduced risk. Which, unfortunately is not true. This fad is growing to such an extent that niche cafes are springing up in the unlikeliest nooks and corners to cater to the fast growing clientele, the entire cuisine revolving around this ingenious contraption with burning coal in one container and water in another.

image by thiagors,

Cafes now offer hookahs with water laced in different flavors. Why not lace the water with curcumin? The interesting point is this: while it is confirmed that the boiling water makes no impact on tobacco's toxicity, it is confirmed that curcumin's extraordinary properties are further enhanced when it is mixed in water that is then boiled. The recipe suggested is to add 5mg of curcumin in every ml of water. Boiling the mix for ten minutes is all it takes for the contraption to turn from a liver-killer to a liver-saver.

image by selma04187,

So in case you are planning to launch the next hookah cafe in your town, you might consider adding curcumin-flavor to your menu-card, and tom-tom in the advertisement fliers about how your clientele's health-consciousness is your uppermost concern.

image by mattox,

[Talking of health consciousness, here is an article that describes cultures whose inhabitants enjoy the best of health --- across generations, all because they are very conscious about it: "You've Entered The Blue Zone".]

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Diabetics: Laugh And Be Inspired - Through Comic Strips

image by silviogs,

Health Information, Delivered Humorously

Diabetics do not have it easy. While going through the daily humdrum of life, the mind keeps subconsciously scanning the newspapers, TV news, and whatever other information source available, for any breakthrough news about some cure for their condition. And when they are with friends and family, there is always somebody around with some sage piece of advice about how someone from some exotic land somewhere faraway has come up with this herb or that seed which has to be boiled in the oil extracted from snakes - of a certain color - that have just emerged from the cracks of their eggs. And the said concoction, if drunk at the stroke of midnight for three successive new moon nights, will provoke the pancreas to produce those juices that will balance the sugar level in the body. Some sage piece of advice this. But you get the idea.

image by cema,

Exasperated diabetics now have some funny stuff to tickle the rib. Soon, US-based newspaper readers will be able to get a daily dose of advice, laced in science and dabbed in humor, about prevention and treatment of the condition. (Online versions of these newspapers are available on the web too - some free, some paid.) This is courtesy Mr. Baldo Bermudez, the main character of the daily comic strip "Baldo" which is published in over 200 newspapers across the US.

image from

The 15-year old teenager Baldo is soon going to realize that his dad, Sergio, is afflicted with diabetes. Poor Baldo thinks that it is he who has brought this condition on to his father with his mischief and antics. The boy and his sister Gracie will, in their typical tongue-in-cheek style, drive home the point about eating healthier, to pay more attention to physical exercise, to not succumb to bouts of sudden anger and intermittent sloth, and to try and remain calm and peaceful at all times.

image by mzacha,

The strip - published in English and Spanish - is a creation of Hector Cantu and Carlos Castellanos. The series on diabetes awareness, beginning June 30th, is an outcome of the duo's partnership with the
National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

image by amp2,

Looking at one's condition with humor in itself is a good therapy!

[While on the subject of diabetes, here is another angle to ponder and reflect upon: "Diabetes - Silent Killer? Or Awakener?".]

image by saine,

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