Easy ways to relieve crippling knee pain

Knee pain (Thinkstock)
Sometimes, a minor, nagging knee pain could transform into a debilitating condition, that impedes progress and hampers your daily schedule. Dr Sanjay Agarwala, an orthopedics and traumatology professional, says, “Knee problems have significantly increased over the last few years. Unhealthy diets and lifestyles, lead to an increase in weight along with poor muscles.”
To avoid knee problems, it is imperative to take care of your diet, weight, exercise regimen and more. Following are some healthy lifestyle practices that could help you to deal with knee pain and make life easier for you.

Eat the right food
Whatever we eat has a direct effect on our overall health and well-being. Dr Sanjay says, “To keep knee problems at bay, it is imperative that you eat healthy food.”
Doctors state that making sure you consume foods that are nutrient-rich is one of the key factors in having strong knees.

Have vitamin D
There is scientific evidence to support the role of vitamin D, along with calcium, in maintaining healthy bones at all ages. Studies have reported an association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of knee osteoarthritis progression. While sunlight can help you get your daily dose of this vitamin, you can also consider supplements for maintaining optimum knee health.

Avoid heels
Reams have been written about how harmful wearing high heels for long hours can be, and orthopedic surgeons cannot help but reiterate this fact. Dr Sanjay states, “In recent times, heels have been reported as a possible cause of knee pain; therefore, ladies are advised to avoid high heels.” Adding inches to your height at the cost of your bone health is not advisable. Studies suggest rising incidence of knee problems, including osteoarthritis in women wearing high heels. Ditch you heels for your knees’ good, state experts.

Knee replacement is an option
Preventing knee-related problems in various ways is essential. But when age, hereditary factors, environmental and stressful schedules make it too late to go into preventive options, the answer lies in surgery. Dr Sanjay says, “Talking about treatment options, in cases where knee pain has restricted physical movement of the patients, knee joint is so much damaged or worn that it has reduced the mobility. On failure of conservative management, total knee replacement can be an effective option to bring life back on the track.”

Lose extra weight
As studies suggest, more the fat mass, lesser the bone mass. This means higher body weight increases the risk of osteoporosis. The bottom line is, lose weight for stronger bones. Maintain a healthy weight. Keep an eye on your BMI and make sure it remains in ‘normal’ limits. Regular exercising and healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Be consistent with your diet
Keeping a food journal is important for consistency. Experts says that these can help you know what to eat and when. You can also take the help of your doctor/nutritionist to zero in on the right diet.

The right exercises
Dr Pankaj Bajaj, senior orthopedic surgeon says, “You must ensure that your exercises don’t strain your knee joints. Also, you must keep key muscles in mind while exercising.”

Eefa Shroff, yoga instructor, certified coach and a neuro-linguistic programming master practitioner, states, “Warming up and cooling down is extremely important every single time you exercise.” Spending a few minutes on the treadmill, stretching and doing other warm-up exercises are important.

Consult a doctor
Many a times, for women leading busy lives, osteoporosis remains undiagnosed until a fracture occurs. And the fact that it is usually asymptomatic is what lets it go unnoticed until too late. An expert can gauge your risk of osteoporosis by measuring bone mineral density (BMD). Dr Pankaj says, “Make sure you report any type of knee problem to an expert rather than becoming your own doctor.”

Three exercises that can help you

  • Wall slides
  • Wall slides can help you build up your quadriceps in a gentle and safe way. Start by pressing your spine against the wall. Now, slowly slide down to a comfortable limit to reach a sitting posture. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slide back up. You can increase the degree as per your comfort and capacity.
  • Short arc quad
  • This is a great muscle-relieving exercise. With your knee resting on a rolled towel, lie on your back. Now lift and straighten your knee slightly to tighten-up your muscles. Maintain the posture for five seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Bridge
  • Bridge strengthens hamstring core and butt. Keeping your feet flat on the ground and knees over the heels, lie on your back. Now, pick up your pelvis off the ground to make a straight line between your knees and shoulders.

Keep in mind…
Don’t stress your bones and muscles by exercising too much or too hard. Know your limits and exercise accordingly. You can choose from jogging, brisk walking, swimming, a few minutes of treadmill running or a combination of these. But comfort is the key. Also, make sure you do a warm-up before any physical regimen to avoid risk of injury or fracture.


Chikungunya rears head again in Mumbai

Chikungunya rears head again in Mumbai (Getty Images)
Chikungunya, the breakbone fever, has made a comeback to Mumbai after a span of one and a half years.The BMC on Thursday confirmed four cases of the viral disease that wreaked havoc in Delhi this year, affecting thousands and its complications claiming 13 lives.

The health report from the civic body stated that at least 20 more people are suspected to be suffering from the disease that spreads through the bite of the same aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue. Physicians from the private sector are not surprised by the findings as they have been talking of viral fever cases with debilitating joint pain, a classic chikungunya symptom, since the onset of monsoon.

All the four confirmed cases have been reported from Dadar, Mahim and Mankhurd in the first 12 days of October. Another four of the probable cases have been identified by private physicians from Byculla, Tardeo, Girgaum and nearby areas. Looking at the disease map, it is clear that there is no clustering, as they are being reported from across the city. The disease’s most significant symptom is arthralgia (joint pain) seen in the majority of cases, said Dr Minnie Khetrapal, head of BMC’s epidemiology department.

She added that all the four confirmed patients were hospitalized and have subsequently recovered.

The last significant chikungunya outbreak in the city was in 2010 and prior when cases were reported in hundreds. In 2011, the incidence came down to 86 and drastically dropped further to the range of 30-40 in the following years. The last confirmed case of chikungunya was reported in 2014. The disease has not led to any known deaths so far.

Physicians said the reemergence of the virus was only a matter of time with Pune and several parts of the state already reeling under its attack this year. According to state figures, Pune has seen a 13-fold increase in chikungunya cases in the first nine months of this year compared to last year. The state has recorded 1,804 cases of chikungunya between January and August this year as against only 35 in the same period last year.

“Mumbai has the vector, and with the volume of people commuting between the two cities, it would have been impossible for the city to escape the virus for long,” said a doctor. Infectious disease expert Dr Om Srivastava however said that the disease is non-fatal and can be tackled with timely intervention. “There is no cause for panic. At least seven to eight viruses, including chikungunya, can have similar symptoms such as fever, rashes, low platelet count. So it is essential to consult a doctor at the earliest,” he said.

Khetrapal said that doctors from the public and private sector have been trained about reading symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. “What differentiates chikungunya from dengue is that the latter comes with fever and dropping platelets, while the former causes severe joint pain. The virus may not be visible in the blood in the initial five days, but afterwards, it may remain for three months or more,” said Dr Khushrav Bhajan, intensivist at PD Hinduja Hospital.

He said that the disease gets worrisome only when there is involvement of the brain or other vital organs.

Meanwhile, there was a slight spurt in leptospirosis cases in the first two weeks of October with 96 suspected and 18 confirmed cases. Dengue too continues to ail the city . Over 1800 suspected cases and 102 confirmed cases were reported this month. Worryingly, nearly 6000 people had to be hospitalised for fever in October, the BMC said.


Prostate cancer treatment may trigger dementia in men

Prostate cancer treatment may trigger dementia in men (Getty Images)
A common hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer may double a man’s risk of dementia, regardless of his age, found a recent study conducted by Penn Medicine researchers.

Last year, the researchers discovered a dramatic association between Alzheimer’s disease and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a mainstay of treatment for prostate cancer since the 1940s currently used in over a half million men in the United States. This new study suggests a broader neurocognitive risk associated with the testosterone-lowering therapy.

While the findings do not prove that ADT increases the risk of dementia, the analysis comparing the medical records of almost 9,500 prostate cancer patients who received ADT versus those who did not strongly supports that possibility.

“This is not an academic question anymore; this is really a clinical question that needs to be answered,” said lead author Kevin T. Nead. Adding, “We have two papers here showing very similar outcomes and magnitude of risk, which I think supports the case for this to be studied prospectively.”

Androgens (male hormones) normally play a key role in stimulating prostate cell growth. Thus, therapies that suppress androgen production or activity are often used in treating prostate tumors. Drastically reducing androgen activity can, however, have adverse side-effects. Studies have found associations between low testosterone levels and obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, which are also known risk factors for dementia.

Research in recent years also has linked ADT and low testosterone to cognitive deficits, and has shown that men with Alzheimer’s tend to have lower testosterone levels compared to men of the same age who don’t have the disease. However, it is currently unknown if ADT may contribute to the risk of dementia more broadly.

Researchers, used a novel and sophisticated ‘text-processing’ method to analyze electronic medical records from patients treated at an academic medical center from 1994 to 2013, with a median follow-up of 3.4 years. The team identified 9,277 men with prostate cancer with a mean age of 66.9 years, including 1,826 men who received ADT. The team showed that the ADT group, compared to the control group, had significantly more cases of dementia in the years following the initiation of ADT. The absolute increased risk of developing dementia was 4.4 percent at five years: 7.9 percent among those who received ADT vs 3.5 percent in those who did not, which is more than double the risk. The analyses also suggested a “dose-response effect.”

The patients, who had been receiving ADT for at least 12 months, had the greatest risk of dementia, they found. There was also no evidence of an interaction between use of ADT and age. The risk was doubled in both age groups. The probability of developing dementia at five years was 13.7 percent in men over 70 who had ADT vs. 6.6 percent in men over 70 who did not. For men younger than 70, it was 2.3 percent in those who had the therapy vs. one percent for those who did not.

There are several plausible mechanisms that may explain the association between ADT and dementia. There is some evidence that testosterone has a general protective effect on brain cells, so that lowering testosterone would leave the brain less able to resist the processes leading to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“As the population of older, long-term cancer survivors continues to rise, the health issues that cancer therapies can leave in their wake will become increasingly important,” Nead said. Adding, “Further studies are needed to investigate the association between this therapy and dementias, given the significant patient and health system impacts if there are higher rates among the large group of patients undergoing ADT today.”


Zika virus unlikely to infect same person twice

Zika virus unlikely to infect same person twice
You are unlikely to get Zika fever twice as new research bolsters the belief that people infected with the virus may not be susceptible to it again.

“The research shows that infection provides excellent protection against reinfection,” said one of the researchers Stephen Higgs, Director of the Biosecurity Research Institute, at Kansas State University in the US.

“This means people infected during this current epidemic will likely not be susceptible again. When a large proportion of the population is protected — known as herd immunity — the risk of future epidemics may be low,” Higgs said.

Re-infection of six animals 45 day after primary infection with a heterologous strain resulted in complete protection, which suggests that primary Zika virus infection elicits protective immunity, the researchers said.

The protection against reinfection was one of several findings of the collaborative study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Other findings showed that Zika virus is present in the blood very early during infection and remains in some tissues for a long time but is only briefly present in other tissues.

For the study, the researchers produced Zika virus at the Biosecurity Research Institute and provided it to collaborators to support studies performed at several other laboratories.


Water-based exercises will always remain a hot trend

Water exercise
Water-based exercises are not a new trend. But the fact is that these kind of exercises will always remain a hot fitness fad. And experts agree. Asif Shaikh, a fitness professional, says, “Water-based exercises are good for people who have knee and joint problems and slipped disc issues. Beginners also get a metabolic benefit.” Fitness professionals say that since these are low-impact exercises, they are easy on the joints and can be done by everyone.

Victor D’Lima, a fitness professional, adds, “When you exercise in water, you don’t have any gravity forcing your body weight down onto your joints.” Water based exercises have a lot of benefits and, yes, it does help in losing weight in a much easier, effortless way.

Victor says, “Water-based exercises burn three times more calories than land-based ones. One can lose around 800 plus calories in an hour depending upon one’s metabolism, weight etc.” Our body is over 60 per cent water and it is a natural, organic element. So, working out in water is not just good for your body, but your mind as well. One can try it and feel blissfully energised say experts. Asif says, “Core development is better in water-based exercises than land-based ones because you need to balance yourself all the time. It also helps to work other smaller muscles that cannot be targeted by gym training. These exercises have both metabolic as well as cardio vascular benefits.”

With the October heat already upon us, it seems to be a good idea to dunk into the pool for a sweat-free exercise session. Here’s more on water-based exercises…

Warm-ups are essential
Yes, we have reiterated that working out in water is easier on your body, but that does not mean that you could give warm-ups a pass. Experts say that exercises like walking or marching under water is essential. Wearing aqua shoes could help. Warm-ups could also be done on land — light jogging, brisk walking, jumping rope etc.

Aqua spinning
Taking your spin class to the pool is one great move, say fitness experts. Victor explains, “This is primarily an under-water cycling class. Special aqua bikes are placed inside pools. The water level in the pool is above your waist and you pedal against the water.

Reasons to cycle in the water

  • You can lose up to 800kcal
  • Exercising in water is less dehydrating
  • It burns cellulite effectively
  • Enhances blood flow
  • Known to be impact-free on joints
  • There is no muscle soreness
  • It relieves stress and helps sleep
  • It enhances cardiovasular health
  • Helps better breathing
  • Aids muscles recovery and promotes flexibility

Aqua exercising with infants
Exercising in water is great for both the infant and the parent. Try pulling and kicking under water with your child. Always make sure that you are holding your baby comfortably and there is skin-to-skin contact. Pull your baby along with you in the water. You should be facing each other like shown in the picture. This helps your baby to gain confidence in water and also strengthens your bond. Maintaining eye-contact and talking to your baby will make this a fun exercise.

Aqua aerobics
Doing aerobics in water has great benefits, because it offers much greater resistance than air does. Experts explain that walking in water requires a lot more effort than walking on the land and that is the reason exercising inside water burns more calories.

Aqua noodle workout
A workout using the aqua noodle can help you get in shape and drop a few kilos. You could try the following exercise for your upper body. Wading through chest-high (shallow-end of the pool) water, hold both ends of your noodle on your left and right hand. Begin with the noodles held high above your head (like shown in the picture). Then, put both hands just below the water surface and extend your arms and push the noodle out. Pull it back to your chest. Keep repeating (at least 10 times). Do not stand at one place as you do this. Keep walking in the water, while you move your hands.

Stay safe
When exercising in a pool, ensure that you are not alone — a friend or a pool lifeguard should be around. Asif adds, “Sometimes people, even expert swimmers, could suffer from a sudden bout of dizziness, fainting spell or cramps, which could make them lose balance in the pool. To avoid such situations one must not exercise alone in the pool, especially so, if they are not expert swimmers.” It is also essential to consult a doctor before one begins any kind of new exercise programme.

Exercising in water burns more calories…
Jogging on land: Six calories * per minute
Aqua jogging: Eleven calories * a minute
* Approximately
Working out in water makes your muscles work harder, because your movements make your muscles fight against the resistance the water offers, thereby burning more fat. Experts say that this is the reason why you get a more intense workout and faster toning of muscles.

Did you know?
Marathon runners become a centimetre shorter when they finish their race
Running is a high-impact exercise. Experts say that every time your foot touches the ground, a shock travels up your legs and your spine. This shock is almost equal to around five time your own body weight. The repetitive pounding movement of sprinting tightens your muscles which in turn compresses the vertebrae of your spine. This is the reason why marathon runners are a centimetre shorter when they finish their race.


Embrace the Hygge lifestyle, become fitter and happier

Eat meals with the extended family
They say it’s the little things in life that bring us the most joy. The Danish have incorporated this very message in their daily routine; no wonder they are ranked as amongst the happiest people in the world! In fact, they even have a term to describe this mood or philosophy. Called Hygge, this Nordic art of living is all about finding a deeper meaning and establishing a mindful connection with the world. You don’t need to live luxuriously or look for grand gestures; you just have to enjoy the smaller joys with your favourite people. This feel-good trend is not just great for your mental well-being, but physical fitness too. We share a few tips to get Hygge happy…

Get clarity
Many studies suggest that taking some me-time all by yourself, in a park, forest or natural environment, lowers stress levels, increases energy, boosts self-esteem and makes you less angry. This stems from a popular pastime in Scandinavia — hunting — which requires people to wait an entire day in the forest for their game, and they use this time to sit alone and concentrate. Though difficult to achieve, this leads to the feeling of being content.

Sing a song
Whether it’s birthdays, anniversaries or festivals, the Danes like to sing together in a group. Research has found that singing in unison, not only makes people happier, but it has similar benefits to yoga. According to a study, the heartbeats and breathing synchronise, which help lung and heart health. Singing together also releases the ‘happy’ hormone oxytocin, which lowers stress and increases feelings of trust
and bonding.

Skip the gym every once in a while
On your journey to achieve Hygge, sometimes, it’s okay to go easy on your unforgiving fitness regime. Nordic people love nature and believe that exercising outdoors is preferable to the gym. Those who work out in the open are more likely to keep up a consistent routine. For instance, instead of hitting the treadmill, go for a jog or walk in the park. Mumbai has many open gyms on it’s sea-facing promenades, which are a great alternative to closed gyms.

Take a coffee break
Fika, which is a Swedish tradition, is simply taking a break to sit down and enjoy a hot drink and a sweet pastry or bun. Whether you’re a chai lover or a coffee drinker, make sure to incorporate this simple activity in your busy work schedule because this is one small indulgence that will make your day.

Eat meals with the extended family
Next time you plan to meet up with your grandparents or cousins, instead of going to a restaurant, plan a sit-down dinner at home. It doesn’t have to be a gala feast. Involve your family members, to zero down on the menu and prepare the meal together. Delegate tasks, give everyone a role — cooking, setting the table, serving food, cleaning the dishes after the meal etc. This is a bonding exercise. And don’t forget to throw in some board games or play a round of dumb charades!

Discover the joy of working out
Most of us think of exercising as a tedious chore. But this Nordic concept views it as an enjoyable activity, not a manic obsession. If a regular gym routine seems like a punishment, try an alternative and more holistic approach to fitness. Enroll yourself for dance classes or aqua aerobics!

Create your own sanctuary
We rarely allow ourselves to idle or ponder. Do this intentionally; set aside a time in the day and create a space where your spirit can catch up with your mind. You can try bathing in the tub with candles, or drink a cup of wine as you journal your inner thoughts. Or simply switch off your phone, sit quietly and allow your mind to wander off before going to bed. Remember to catch up with yourself.

It’s okay to binge on your favourite foods
We’re so harsh on ourselves that even when we indulge in things, we do so with pangs of guilt. Hygge means enjoying the good things in life, especially those that make you happy. This holds true for your favourite fatty foods too! Right from childhood, Scandinavians treat themselves on one day of the week, which is their cheat day. Studies also show that a treat, every now and then, can make a person more likely to stick to a diet.


Have you tried ‘running meditation’ yet?

(Pic: Thinkstock)
It’s said that there’s nothing like a good run around the block to work off the day’s steam and stress. But the next time you do so, don’t just lace up and take off without a thought. Instead, try running meditation, considered the ‘zen’ of running.

What it is
Mindfulness has been talked about a lot of late – with meditative eating, working and walking, becoming a huge trend. And meditative running too, is about a heightened awareness of the self (different sensations) and of the surrounding, as you run. As you concentrate and focus on your workout, you slip into a relaxed zone and also become more alert and attentive to how your body is responding to it.

Advantages of being more aware

The general idea is that mediation needs one to be silent or still and away from the crowd. But this is not true. It does not require a specific environment. It is based on the notion that as long as you can meditate as long as you are in control of your conscious mind. “We often tend to get lost in our thoughts and worries when doing anything on our own as the mind travels constantly. But, with this form of meditation we are harnessing it back to the present and re-focusing,” states fitness expert Ankit Karnal.

Beats depression
A key catalyst for depression is a being unable to stop oneself from slipping into negative thoughts and gloom. Meditation has shown to help override that. It prevents the mind from wandering and brings back focus and positivity. “This is a very good way to beat stress and feel better. As you gain mindfulness, you also gain clarity and start to feel more positive,” says life coach Niti Shah.


Study yourself:
At the start, ascertain how you are feeling. Are you anxious? Do you also have any physical pains? If so, recognise this as the faster you so do so, the quicker you will respond to it. At the end of your run ask yourself how much better you are now feeling.
Breathe right: Before taking off, take deep breaths. And when you start to run, maintain a steady breathing pattern — inhale though the nose and exhale from the mouth. Now, start to sync your running step with your diaphragmatic breathing.
Focus the mind: During the run, if the day’s worries start to creep into your mind, ask yourself why you are
running. Be aware of the surrounding — the fresh air, people and time of day and think of how it might benefit you. Accept the response the body is giving you to escape the stress.
Maintain the rhythm: Be mindful of how you are putting one step before another, of how your feet are hitting the ground and how you are moving ahead. Observe the rhythm and fall into it. You will soon also feel the tightness in the muscles disappear.


  • Studies show that a moderate amount of running can add years to your life, even if it’s only for 15 minutes each day.
  • It can effectively help one lose weight.n It increases the sleep quotient. A survey reported that adding just 10 minutes of physical activity a day, helped people sleep better.
  • Running beats fatigue, too. Regular exercise actually perks up energy levels and increases overall strength in the long run.
  • It also boosts heart health. Roughly 40 minutes of moderate exercise thrice a week helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • It might even reduce cancer risk. There’s strong evidence that physically- active people have lower risks of colon and breast cancer.
  • You’ll increase bone health. Any exercise such as running can build strong and healthy bones, toughen the joints and slow down bone loss.

5 things to tell yourself as you run

It’s said that positive mantras and affirmations can work wonders to remove mental stress, any physical tension and pain. Here are a few of them…
– I love myself completely. (Tell yourself this as you begin your run each day).
– Running can give me good health.
– I feel grateful. (Saying this will make you feel positive).
– As I run, I feel light on the feet.
– I am going to feel stronger and more relaxed.


WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? – Air quality worst early in the morning

<p>WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? - Air quality worst early in the morning<br></p>WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? – Air quality worst early in the morning

PM10 Far Exceeds Safe Limits In Parts Of Gurgaon, Dwarka
Winter’s coming. And, already, the signs are ominous: Qutab Plaza in Gurgaon recorded an average PM10 (coarse, pollution particles) level of 421 micrograms per cubic metres between September 20 and October 7, which is more than four times the national 24-hour safe standard.
Similarly, Dwarka sector 22 recorded an average PM10 level of 203 micrograms per cubic metres during the same period -twice the national safe standard. Sector 13 in RK Puram, at the other extreme, recorded an average PM10 level of only 20 micrograms per cubic metres -lower than the WHO guidelines.

All this has been revealed by the information collected by the Indian Open Data Association as a part of an air pollution data experiment.The data indicate a large variation in air pollution levels in different parts of the city. While the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee together monitor 11 locations this project has now brought together trends from different parts of NCR where air quality isn’t monitored by any government agency .

IODA, a data startup, deployed low-cost air-quality monitors at several locations last year and has just started analysing the trends. Last year, IODA had called for volun teers to install these monitors outside their homes or offices Finally , 30 monitors were installed that have made continuous readings of PM10 and PM2.5(fine, respirable air pollutants).

Mrutyunjay Mishra, co-founder of IODA, said: “PM10 levels are breaching the safe standard most of the times, particularly from night up to mid-morning. We also noticed that particulate pollution peaked from safe levels to poor within a fortnight from September 20 to October 7, indicating a strong association with the weather.”

PM10 levels at locations under IODA are “poor” mostly between 8 pm and 10 am and the worst during early mornings. While the PM10 averages are high at many locations, the range is very large -for instance, Qutab Plaza recorded a maximum PM10 level of 788 micrograms per cubic metres during the fortnight compared to a minimum of only 56 micrograms per cubic metres.

The DPCC and CPCB data may also give us a slightly skewed picture. Areas such as Anand Vihar are always seen to be far more polluted than south Delhi locations. More localised monitoring may actually overturn these findings. For instance, IODA data show parts of Dwarka and Gurgaon to have very poor air quality.

“The DPCC and CPCB devices are super-sensitive and their readings are always higher than what the low-cost ones measure. Having a network of low-cost sensors is important for creating public awareness because they show the same trends as the government’s monitoring stations.The data is more granular and we can scale up deployment of low-cost sensors to cover more areas,” said Mishra.

There is usually a 5-10% variance in air pollution levels monitored by the government’s stations and lowcost sensors. The data also helps make a direct correlation with sources of pollution. Qutab Plaza, for example, has too many construction projects around it. “It’s obvious such high levels are because of construction dust,” said Mishra.

The idea of tracking air quality through low cost monitors was first floated by Mishra at the MIT’s Kumbathon last year in Nashik. “The idea was to make data truly open because data is knowledge and helps solve problems. I realised people wanted to contribute,” said Mishra, who along with his team, procured 51 low-cost air-quality monitoring kits. So far, the team has invested nearly Rs 20 lakh into the project.

Asutosh Dikshit, CEO of United Residents Joint Action, for instance, tied up with IODA to mount these monitors at its locations.

“We decided to install them because seeing these levels will push people to change their behaviour. Air pollution levels will eventually impact property prices too and that is a very sensitive issue for residents,” said Dikshit.


Ice cream from seaweed to help fight warming?

<p>Ice cream from seaweed to help fight warming?<br></p>Ice cream from seaweed to help fight warming?

Cookies baked from extracts of local seaweed abundant in the Sundarbans mangroves have 17% higher protein content than those available commercially, says a team of scientists who harnessed the marine plant-like organisms for local climate change adaptations in the central part of the archipelago.
Rising sea levels that led to the ingress of saline water into the interiors of the Sun darbans -impacting agriculture and nutrition quality -forced oceanographer Abhijit Mitra and his team to turn to seaweeds.

“We used steamed extracts of seaweeds for making cookies, ice cream and bread.The ice creams had 11% higher anti-oxidants than ordinary ones,” Mitra, in-charge of mapping the carbon sequestration in the mangroves, said. Scientists have also made bread with it.


Sleep-deprived kids eat more

Sleep-deprived kids eat more (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
Young kids who miss daytime nap and also stay up late at night are likely to consume more calories, suggests new research.

These findings may shed light on how sleep loss can increase weight gain and why a number of studies show that preschoolers who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be obese as a child and later in life.

“To our knowledge, this is the first published study to experimentally measure the effects of sleep loss on food consumption in preschool children,” said study first author Elsa Mullins from University of Colorado Boulder in the US.

“Our results are consistent with those from other studies of adults and adolescents, showing increased caloric intake on days that subjects were sleep deprived,” she said.

In this small study, preschoolers were deprived of roughly three hours of sleep on one day – they had no afternoon nap and were kept up for about two hours past their normal bedtime – before being awakened at their regularly scheduled times the next morning.

During the day of lost sleep, the three- and four-year-olds consumed about 20 per cent more calories than usual, 25 per cent more sugar and 26 per cent more carbohydrates, lead study author Monique LeBourgeois, Assistant Professor at CU Boulder.

The following day, the kids were allowed to sleep as much as they needed.

On this “recovery day,” they returned to normal baseline levels of sugar and carbohydrate consumption, but still consumed 14 per cent more calories and 23 per cent more fat than normal.

“We found that sleep loss increased the dietary intake of preschoolers on both the day of and the day after restricted sleep,” LeBourgeois said.

The study was published in the Journal of Sleep Research.