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April-June 2012

HEALTH & HAPPINESS Soaking in the Sunshine Vitamin How toddlers behave and learn better New "massage method" to stop tooth decay Health Miracles of Exercise

How to improve your grades in exams Overeating and memory loss Meditation helps in psychiatric problems

Should sugar be regulated like alcohol and tobacco Atul Kochchar's Health & Happiness recipe

I recently spent a lot of time in India, visiting some of the most fabulous places from the magnificent temple towns of Tamilnadu to the world famous Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, where Buddha sat in meditation to attain enlightenment and to discover the middle-path to alleviate human suffering. India could be crowded, chaotic and noisy, yet you might find places calm and quiet, unspoiled by waste and untouched by vehicular pollution. One such place was Dhanushkodi, 14 km south of Rameswaram, the point where Lord Rama is said to have built a bridge to cross over to Sri Lanka. You could sit there for hours watching blue horizon, breathing fresh air and soaking in the gentle sun.

C O N T E N T S Spring, April - June 2012 Issue 6 04 - Overeating could cause memory loss - Long hours of sitting is no good 05 - Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin 06 - How tearjerkers make people happier - Drink water in exams to improves grades 08 - Toxic truth about sugar 09 - Bollywood is fuelling alcohol craze 10 - 'Health Miracles' of exercise 12 - Rubbing toothpaste onto your teeth 13 - How toddlers behave and learn 14 - Diabetics have high blood pressure 15 - Music and art can boost stroke recovery - Which type of Olive Oil 16 - Meditation reduces psychiatric disorders 17 - How to speed up stroke recovery 18 - Atul Kochhar's HNH recipe

How to get in touch Editor: Southall Health & Happiness Show: May I invite all of you to this event at the Dominion Centre in Southall on Sunday, the 20th May. You will have the opportunity to learn how to save someone's life in the event of a cardiac arrest. You will also have a Q&A session with one of the UK's top cardiologists, Dr Sandy Gupta. The event is organised in association with the British Heart Foundation.

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Vijay Rana Editor, The Journal of Health & Happiness

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Disclaimer: The information available in this magazine is for general awareness only. It is NOT a substitute for the knowledge and judgment of qualified medical experts. We make no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information. Should you have any health or medical condition, you are strongly advised to consult a qualified physician or other health care professional. Views expressed by our contributors are their own and we take no responsibility for their views.

Overeating doubles the risk of memory loss If you can't resist potato chips, cheesy burgers, chocolate cakes, samosas and parathas, think again. A new study from Mayo Clinic, Arizona, has found that elderly people, aged 70 and over, who ate more calories a day had a higher risk of a type of memory loss called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Researchers surveyed 1,233 people aged 70 to 89. The participants were free of dementia, but 163 had symptoms of MCI. Participants self-reported their daily caloric intake in a food questionnaire, and the researchers divided them into three groups accordingly. The lowest-calorie group consumed 600 to 1,526 calories per day, the middle group ate 1,526 to 2,143 per day, and the highest-intake group reported consuming between 2,143 to 6,000 calories per day. Those in the highest-calorie group were twice as likely to have MCI as those eating less than 1,526 calories a day. “The higher the amount of calories consumed, the higher the risk of MCI,” says study author Yonas Geda. The results of this study werr presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in April. MCI is a stage of cognitive decline between normal age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s dementia.

People with MCI have problems with memory and thinking that are noticeable to others, but that don’t interfere with everyday life. The condition can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s, but not all cases of MCI progress into full-blown dementia. According to a recent Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, more than 6% of Americans between the age of 70 to 89 develop MCI each year. It’s unclear why the amount of calories we consume may affect memory, but some scientists theorize that excessive calorie intake may stimulate stress proteins in the brain, which may contribute to memory loss. “Excessive calorie intake is the key here. Excessive intake is associated with thinking and memory,” says Geda. “The good news is consuming calories in moderation will not negatively influence memory. A healthy diet may prevent memory loss as we age.”

Long hours of sitting could lead to early death An Australian study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, has found that adults who sat for more than 11 hours a day had a 40 per cent increased risk of dying within three years, compared with those who sat for fewer than four hours a day. The study of more than 220,000 NSW residents has found the longer you spend sitting down the greater your risk of dying early, even if you otherwise do regular exercise. Professor David Dunstan, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, said health workers usually focused on trying to increase people's participation in sports, and trying to get them to do at least half an hour of exercise every day. "We need to think more about what we do with the 15 hours of non-exercise wake time," he said. Sitting can be detrimental for our health because when we sit down there is an absence of muscle contractions, explains Professor Dunstan. These contractions are

required for the body to clear blood glucose and blood fats from the blood stream. "Doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day is still important but it's just as critical for people to reduce their sitting time," Dr Hidde Van Der Ploeg from Sydney University, the lead author of the study said. He said the average adult spends 90 per cent of their leisure time sitting down. "We sit while eating our breakfast, we sit as we drive, we sit behind our desk all day, we're always sitting down and this is a health risk." Professor Dunstan said, "We need to take those opportunities to stand up, while on transport, at work, during our leisure time." He acknowledged that sitting for less than four hours a day was no mean feat. "It will require people to drastically change, which is hard," he said. "But that's the goal." 4 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS

Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin "When the days are sunny, go out for a few minutes and expose your face and arms to the sunshine." Leading medical research charity Arthritis Research UK is using the first day of British Summer Time to remind groups at risk of vitamin D deficiency to beat Britain’s grey skies and top up their levels of the essential ‘sunshine’ vitamin. The main source of vitamin D is through the action of sunlight on our skin, hence its ‘sunshine’ nickname. It is essential to help the body absorb calcium from food and low levels can cause serious problems with bone health. A lack of vitamin D can result in bone loss, impairment of muscle function and an increased risk of falls and fractures, and Britain’s frequently grey skies, particularly in winter months, may put millions of people at risk of vitamin D deficiency. The Arthritis Research UK recommendation follows the CMO’s advice earlier this year. Those at risk include people over the age of sixty-five; pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged six months to five years old, and those who rarely go outside. Pigmentation affects vitamin D synthesis and darkerskinned people, such as those of South Asian or AfroCaribbean origin, are at greater risk of deficiency. It is among these groups that the UK has seen recent cases of children with rickets. Arthritis Research UK Medical Director, Alan Silman, explains: “Vitamin D is essential for strong, healthy bones. Our advice to people is to ‘Step outside!’ as this is the best way to get vitamin D. When the days are sunny, go out for a few minutes and expose your face and arms to the sunshine. Don’t allow your skin to go red, and take care not to burn, particularly in strong sunshine and if you have fair or sensitive skin. From June to August just fifteen minutes is generally enough time.” “The country may have changed its clocks to British Summer Time but it will be a few more months before the sun’s UV levels are strong enough over Britain for our bodies alone to make enough vitamin D. “In less sunny months, we recommend that people top

up the vitamin D in your diet by eating more oily fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, pilchards and sardines, and foods ‘fortified’ with vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals and some margarines. You could also consider taking a vitamin D supplement.” There is significant research to suggest that bone strength starts at birth or even in the womb. Arthritis Research UK is currently funding research at Southampton University to prove that giving vitamin D supplements to pregnant women who are deficient in the vitamin can increase the bone density of their babies at birth and reduce the risk of their babies developing osteoporosis in later life. For more information about vitamin D and bone health visit If you are concerned about your levels of vitamin D visit your GP.

Q: Why do we need to sleep? A: We need sleep to create memories, think clearly and react quickly. Insufficient sleep hampers our ability to remember and reason. 5 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS

How tearjerkers make people Happier People enjoy watching tragedy movies like 'Titanic' or Veer Zara because they deliver what may seem to be an unlikely benefit: tragedies actually make people happier in the short-term. Researchers found that watching a tragedy movie made people happier by bringing attention to some positive aspects in their own lives. “Tragic stories often focus on themes of eternal love, and this leads viewers to think about their loved ones and count their blessings,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University. The key is the extent to which viewers thought about their own relationships as a result of watching the movie. The more they thought about their loved ones, the greater the increase in their happiness. Viewers who had selfcentered thoughts concerning the movie – such as “My life isn’t as bad as the characters in this movie” – did not see an increase in their happiness. Knobloch-Westerwick said this study is one of the first to take a scientific approach to explaining why people

enjoy fictional tragedies that make them sad. “Philosophers have considered this question over the millennia, but there hasn’t been much scientific attention to the question,” she said. The study published in the journal Communication Research, involved 361 college students who viewed an abridged version of the 2007 movie “Atonement,” which involves two lovers who are separated and die as war casualties. Before and after viewing the movie, the respondents were asked several questions which measured how happy they were with their life. After the movie, participants rated how much they enjoyed the movie and wrote about how the movie had led them to reflect on themselves, their goals, their relationships and life in general. What people wrote about was a key in understanding why people enjoy viewing fictional tragedies, Knobloch-Westerwick said. “People seem to use tragedies as a way to reflect on the important relationships in their own life, to count their blessings,” she said. “That can help explain why tragedies are so popular with audiences, despite the sadness they induce.”

Drinking water in exams may improve your grades by up to 10% Students who drink water during exams may improve their grade by keeping hydrated, says a study led by Chris Pawson from the University of East London and Mark Gardner from the University of Westminster. Their findings were presented on April 18 at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in London. The researchers observed 447 psychology students at the University of East London. They found that only 25% of the students brought a bottle of water to the exam hall. Second year students were much more likely to bring a bottle of water into the exam than those in the first year of university - 31% did so compared with 21% of the first-

year students. The researchers say that foundation students who drank water could expect to see grades improved by up to 10%.This improvement was 5% for first-year students and 2% for second years. Across the group, the improvement in marks was 4.8% for water-drinking exam candidates. Dr Pawson said that there was a possibility that water consumption may have a physiological effect on thinking functions that resulted in improved exam performance. He also proposed the possibility that consuming water may alleviate anxiety, which is known to have a negative effect on exam performance. 6 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS

The toxic truth about sugar

Should sugar be regulated like alcohol and tobacco Like cigarettes it is readily available; like alcohol it is highly addictive and like tobacco one has an irresistible craving for it, so why shouldn't sugar be regulated and controlled like tobacco and alcohol, asks a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco. In an opinion piece called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar”, published in the February 1 issue of the science magazine Nature, Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis have argued that sugar has much more than “empty calories.” They argued: “There is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly.” Almost a decade ago average individual consumption in the UK was 1.25lbs per week. And it has grown since then. According to the American Heart Association an average US adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Across the world the sugar intake has tripled in the past 50 years. The authors argue that the increase has helped to create a global obesity pandemic that contributes to 35 million annual deaths worldwide from noninfectious

diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They have suggested a series of higher taxes on sugary foods and controlling sales to children under 17. These ideas may look preposterous now but Prof. Lustig in a television interview argued that decades ago the idea of a ban on passive smoking looked equally inconceivable. Emphasising the metabolic effects of sugar Lustig, a professor of pediatrics and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) program at UCSF, said, “Sugar is toxic beyond its calories...Excess sugar can alter metabolism, raise blood pressure, skew the signaling of hormones and damage the liver — outcomes that sound suspiciously similar to what can happen after a person drinks too much alcohol." Some countries, including France, Greece and Denmark, levy taxes on sugar laden sodas, and the concept is being considered in at least 20 U.S. cities and states. The team has also suggested government intervention, similar to alcohol and tobacco, to reduce the consumption of sugar. When obesity and diabetes are becoming major global health concerns, policy makers will have to think about levying special taxes, controlling access and tightening licensing requirements on vending machines that sell high sugar products in schools and other workplaces.

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Boollywood is fuelling alcohol craze among Indian teenagers At present, on an average, Indians take their first sip of alcohol at the age of 19 compared to 28 in the 1990s. Experts say soon it will come down to 15 years. Whenever a Bollywood hero fails in love, loses his mother, is thrown out of school or sacked from his job, the first thing he does to drown his sorrow is to pick up a bottle of scotch and guzzles it in one go. Then wandering unsteadily on the streets, he sings a heartbreaking song. For decades Bollywood films have been promoting such irresponsible drinking - sending a message that bottle is the way out for any problem in life. Now a new study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai, has blamed Bollywood movies for directly influencing the drinking habits of India's adolescents. Fifty-nine popular Bollywood movies were coded to record the number of alcohol use occurrences and 3,956 adolescents were then asked if they had seen these movies. Overall 10% of the students (aged between 12-16 years) surveyed in the study had already tried alcohol. But students who had seen the greatest number of alcohol use occurrences in these movies - were found to be 2.78 times more likely to have tried alcohol compared with those who were least exposed. "These results show that exposure to alcohol use depictions in Bollywood films is directly associated with alcohol use among young people in India," said Dr GP Nazar from Health Related Information Dissemination Against Youth (HIRDAY). "While alcohol advertising is banned in all Indian media and scenes that justify or glorify drinking are not allowed in Bollywood films, there is no dedicated health legislation that prohibits the depiction of alcohol in these films and there is a clear need for an immediate alcohol control policy," he added. Meanwhile, the average age of alcohol consumption in India has been constantly falling by nearly nine years over the past decade. At present, on an average, Indians take their first sip of alcohol at the age of 19 compared to 28 in the 1990s. Soon, experts say it will come down to 15 years. Nearly 62.5 million people in India drink alcohol with the per capita consumption being around four litres per adult per year. For every six men, one woman drinks alcohol in India. A WHO study recently said families with frequent drinking husbands in New Delhi spend up to 24% of family income on alcohol. Bollywood films are hugely popular among the South Asian youth in the UK. Campaigners say that there should

be a similar study in the UK, how irresponsible portrayal of alcohol consumption is influencing the drinking behaviour of the South Asian youth in the UK.


Snacking on raisins may lower blood pressure A new study presented at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session has found that if you have slightly higher than normal blood pressure -known as prehypertension -- consider eating a handful of raisins. In this investigation, Dr. Harold Bays, MD, medical director and president of Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center (L-MARC), and his team conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial to compare the blood pressure effect of eating raisins versus other snacks in 46 men and women with prehypertension. Participants were randomly assigned to snack on raisins or pre-packaged commercial snacks that did not contain raisins, other fruits or vegetables but had the same number of calories per serving three times a day for 12 weeks. Data analyses found that compared to other snacks, raisins significantly reduced systolic blood pressure at weeks 4, 8, and 12, ranging from -4.8 to -7.2% or -6.0 to 10.2 mmHg (p values <0.05). While pre-packaged snacks did not significantly reduce systolic or diastolic blood pressure at any study visit. The study did not identify how raisins lower blood pressure. However, raisins are high in potassium, and have fiber, polyphenols, phenolic acid, tannins and antioxidants. 9 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS

Dr Hilal Fareed on 'Health Miracles' of physical activity and exercise

'Do qadam tum bhi chalo, Do Qadam ham bhi Chalen, Manzilen phir pyar ki aaengi chalte chalte' (If you walk a few steps, And I walk a few steps, Together we shall reach …The destination!) In this 1972 Bollywood hit the two souls in love are vowing and urging to walk a few steps; they suggest that it is only by stepping out that the final destination of fulfilment can be reached. How true this is – both in love and in life! And, for those friends who do not have a poetic disposition, even if the metaphor is ignored and only the literal meaning is taken – the proposition remains equally valid. The physical act of taking a few steps can change your life!

High Blood Pressure - Exercise helps to reduce high blood pressure. Regular physical activity makes the heart stronger. If your heart has to work less in order to pump blood, the force on your arteries decreases and your blood pressure is lowered. Becoming active can lower your blood pressure by 5 to 10 millimetres of mercury. If you have a normal blood pressure, exercise can prevent it from rising as you get older. Regular physical activity can also help in maintaining a healthy weight, which in itself is an important way to control blood pressure. People who have high blood pressure are more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. It takes one to three months for regular exercise to have impact on blood pressure and the benefits How Exercise Effects Health last only as long as the exercise is continued. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified Cholesterol - Exercise can help improve the balance of lack of Physical activity as the fourth leading factor for your cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol – lowglobal mortality causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths density lipoprotein or LDL (often called bad Cholesterol) globally every year. Physical Activity is important at all and high-density lipoprotein or HDL (often called good ages but is often forgotten as we get older. Modern Cholesterol). High levels of LDL and low levels of HDL Medical Science associates so many benefits to exercise are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. There is that it is sometimes referred to as a ‘Miracle’ or a good evidence that regular exercise increases the levels of ‘Wonder Treatment’. HDL and decreases the levels of LDL. Heart and Circulation (Cardiovascular) - Exercise Heart Disease and Stroke - People who maintain an increases the size and strength of heart muscle making the active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing heart heart do the work (of pumping blood to various parts of disease compared to sedentary people. Studies suggest the body) more efficiently. It also increases the number of that physical activity lowers the risk of stroke. Recent red blood cells which improves the oxygen carrying studies also indicate that exercise performed under capacity of the blood. The density of blood vessels medical supervision can be helpful in select patients of (capillary bed) surrounding organs and tissues stable heat failure. Inactive people have almost double the also increases with exercise as more branches develop risk of dying from heart disease compared with people leading to a better distribution of ‘oxygen loaded blood’ who are active. For people who don't do any exercise at to vital parts of the body.

all, even doing a little activity can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Patients who modify their lifestyle after heart attack to include regular exercise have improved rates of survival and patients who remain sedentary have the highest risk of dying early. Lungs and Respiration - Exercise strengthens the muscles involved in breathing. It increases the capacity of the lungs so more oxygen can be taken in with each breath. Exercise also leads to an increase in the number of capillaries within the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs resulting in an increase in the efficiency of gaseous exchange. Brain and Emotions - Research shows that exercise can cure many mental and neurological conditions. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain and it helps the release of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters which are vital for the function of brain. It also enhances formation of brain cells, helps development of connections between cells and promotes efficiency of signal transmission across them. Mood - Exercise, through the effects of neurotransmitters, improves mood, helps you feel happier, improves self-esteem, increases the sense of satisfaction and gives you a feeling of energy.

increasing muscle strength and endurance and by improving flexibility. Osteoporosis - This is a condition that makes bones brittle, thin, and easier to break. Osteoporosis is a natural aging process, starting earlier in women than in men. Regular weight bearing exercises can help slow the process of osteoporosis by preventing bone loss and making the bones stronger. Arthritis - Arthritis is a term used for a variety of conditions in which joints become painful and stiff; most prevalent of these is the degenerative or mechanical arthritis commonly known as 'Osteoarthritis'. Exercise helps improve flexibility and muscle strength leading to better function and long term relief of pain. It also helps in early recovery after major surgical procedures like joint replacements. Chronic Diseases

Overwhelming evidence from a variety of sources links many chronic diseases prevalent in the modern world to lack of physical activity and inappropriate diet. These include coronary artery and heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndromes and some cancers. Diabetes - Over 2 million people in the UK have Diabetes. Physical activity can help in lowering the risk of developing non-insulin dependent or Type 2 Diabetes. In people who already have diabetes Physical exercise can control blood sugar levels and protect from Stress and anxiety related disorders Dr Hilal Fareed - Regular exercise reduces stress and serious long term complications. Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon improves your ability to cope with it. Obesity and Weight - Being physically West Middlesex Hospital It can also help to reduce anxiety, active helps to reduce body fat by building phobias, panic attacks and anger. or preserving muscle mass and improving the body's Sleep - Exercise done during the daytime or early ability to use calories. Moderate exercise improves evening can help you sleep better. physical fitness and helps in preventing weight gain and Depression - Regular exercise can cure mild depression obesity. When moderate to high intensity exercise is and can reduce it when the depression is severe. Many combined with proper diet, it can help in losing weight. researchers believe that in certain types of depression Cancers - Physically active people are less likely to exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication suffer from certain types of cancers. Evidence suggests and cognitive behaviour therapy. that exercise protects against colon cancer and against Dementia - There is growing body of evidence to breast cancer in women. Physical activity may also help suggest that regular physical activity can prevent some prevent lung and uterine cancers. In patients who are types of dementia and in patients who have dementia it cancer survivors physical activity improves physical can improve mobility and reduce deterioration. fitness and promotes a better quality of life. Bones, Joints, Ligaments and Muscles - As we grow Other Benefits - There are numerous other benefits of older our bodies change. The density of our bones Physical activity. It may have a positive influence on our decreases making us more susceptible to fractures. Due to immune, digestive, hormonal, enzymatic and several other a decrease in our activity levels the size of our muscles functions. Some of the effects are proven and others are and their strength also decreases; tendons and ligaments being studied. It is not possible to discuss all these in a become less elastic affecting our co-ordination. These small article like this one. changes make us more prone to overuse injuries and falls. To add to all this, due to the inflammatory and Did you Know? If you are in Europe degenerative changes, our joints also become painful and stiff. you can dial to reach the Back Pain - Eight out of ten people have back pain at emergency services as you dial some point in their life. People who do not indulge in exercise are more likely to have back pain than people in the UK. who do. Exercise is one of the important modalities of treatment for chronic back pain. It helps back pain by




New "massage method" quadruples protection against tooth decay “Rubbing toothpaste onto your teeth increases the fluoride protection by 400%.”

Massaging your teeth with a finger In the study, 16 volunteers tested a after every meal is a common variety of brushing techniques, using practice in India. In fact, before the either high-fluoride or standard introduction of toothpaste, most toothpaste, and brushing either two Indians used, and many still use, or three times a day. various kinds of tooth powders and “The study revealed that those who rubbed it onto their teeth with a used a high-fluoride toothpaste three THE RESEARCHER´S TOP TIPS finger. Interestingly, now western times a day had four times better researchers are suggesting a similar fluoride protection in the mouth than • Use toothpaste at least twice a day, practice. those who used standard toothpaste after breakfast and before going to If you really want to avoid twice a day,” says Nordström. bed. cavities in your teeth, try massaging Rub your teeth after lunch • If necessary, brush a third time or them with a high-fluoride Also tested was a new method rub on some toothpaste instead. toothpaste after lunch. “Rubbing developed in collaboration with • If you have problems with cavities, toothpaste onto your teeth increases professor Dowen Birkhed, which choose a toothpaste with a higher the fluoride protection by 400%,” Anna Nordström explains, “Rubbing fluoride content. says lead researcher Dr Anna the front of your teeth with • Avoid rinsing out the toothpaste Nordström from the Sahlgrenska toothpaste can be an easy way of with water. Academy at the University of giving your teeth a third “shot” of Gothenburg, Sweden. fluoride during the day, after lunch for example. But this Eight years ago a new brand of toothpaste was launched should not replace brushing with a fluoride toothpaste in Sweden with more than three times as much fluoride as morning and evening.” standard toothpaste. Researchers have now performed the Daily use is essential first scientific evaluation of the effect of this “highThere is strong scientific evidence that daily use of fluoride toothpaste”. fluoride toothpaste has a pronounced preventive effect. Four times better results The study was published in Acta Odontologica Scandinavia.

Health & Happiness Art

Amisha says: "I have eaten my 7 pieces of fruits and veg, have you." If you are under 12 years of age, we would like you to take part in this exciting art competition. Send us your drawings with an inspiring Health & Happiness message and win a mystery gift. Email us 12 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS

Low cost aspirin may reduce the risk of some cancers In three new studies published in the Lancet, researchers from the University of Oxford say a daily dose of aspirin can reduce people’s risk of developing a variety of cancers and also lower the chance of their cancer spreading.

and the results should launch a deeper look into aspirin’s potential chemoprotective effects. Whether such trials will be undertaken is another matter, considering the expense of clinical trials and the lack of profitability of generic, over-the-counter aspirin.

Toddlers behave and learn better when parents respond positively to their attention-seeking

Toddlers often employ various tricks to draw your attention. They might cry, make irritating noise, kick a ball at you while you are watching your favourite soap to seek your attention. In fact, that is their way to say, "look at me". If you react annoyingly or angrily you might be slowing down their collaborative and learning skills. New research published in the journal Child Development suggests that toddlers whose parents have consistently responded positively to their attention seeking attempts are more eager to collaborate and learn. The studies looked at patients who were participating in Collaboration in toddlers has been linked to the several long-term, randomized trials on the effect of daily acquisition of social rules and norms later in childhood. low-dose aspirin (75 mg to 300 mg) for the prevention of The study was carried out at Concordia Universty's heart disease. The researchers examined how many of the Department of Psychology and the Centre for Research in participants went on to develop cancer. In one study, Human Development. patients taking aspirin had a nearly 25% lower risk of cancer after five years, compared with those taking a placebo. That translated into a 15% lower risk of dying of cancer during the study period; after five years, the risk of death was 37% lower in patients who remained on aspirin. In another study, which included five large trials in Britain that followed patients over an average of 6.5 years, aspirin users enjoyed a 36% lower risk of developing metastatic cancer and a 46% reduced risk of being diagnosed with colon, lung or prostate cancer. A third study, published in Lancet Oncology, looked at findings from observational studies and found that regular use of aspirin reduced the long-term risk of several cancers and prevented the metastasis of tumors. Taken together, the findings are the first to show the benefits of During the study, parent and child were put in the same aspirin in lowering cancer risk in short periods of time. room and the parent was asked to complete a long survey “These findings add to the case for use of aspirin to with questions that required attention and focus. This prevent cancer, particularly if people are at increased usually provoked attention-seeking behaviour in the child. risk,” lead researcher Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, a professor Some toddlers pointed at and shared objects with their of neurology at the University of Oxford. parent, laughed and smiled while talking to the parent, and The benefits of the low-cost therapy have to be used phrases like, "excuse me, mummy." This constituted balanced with its risks, however, which include high-quality behaviour in the researchers' eyes. Lowgastrointestinal bleeding. That type of evidence is what quality attention-seeking behaviour was shown by some experts are still waiting for. “I think he’s on to something. I just want to be cautious, and I don’t want to toddlers who cried, screamed, or even took the parent's pen and threw it across the room. exaggerate,” Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer "The study shows it is important to encourage positive and executive vice president of the American Cancer or high-quality, attention-seeking in toddlers because it Society, told the New York Times. “I’m not ready to say predicts their motivation to collaborate and participate in that everybody ought to take a baby aspirin a day to skill building activities", says lead author Marie-Pierre prevent cancer.” Gosselin. Still, the idea that an inexpensive and relatively safe 13 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS medication can prevent a range of cancers is powerful,

Half of the people with diabetes have high blood pressure Diabetes UK has issued a warning about the hugely damaging effect of high blood pressure, as a new analysis reveals that half of the people with the condition are not meeting their blood pressure target. Just 50.7 per cent of people with diabetes met this target during 2009/10, according to the analysis, which has barely improved since the previous year when 50 per cent of people met the target. This is despite the fact that high blood pressure increases the risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. Identification and control: We have used National Diabetes Audit information about England, but if the percentage was mirrored across the UK then it would mean that more than 1.4 million of the 2.9 million people with diabetes have high blood pressure. In contrast, just 30 per cent of the general population is estimated to have high blood pressure. A recent survey by Diabetes UK showed that most people with diabetes (91 per cent) are getting the annual blood pressure check that is part of our 15 healthcare essentials that every person with diabetes should receive. However, once people with high blood pressure have been identified, not enough is being done to help them bring it under control. This could include medication, as well as support in improving diet, losing weight if needed and stopping smoking.

"Extremely worrying":Barbara Young, Chief Executive for Diabetes UK, said, "Given the link between blood pressure and diabetes-related complications such as stroke, kidney failure and heart disease, it is extremely worrying that half of the people with diabetes have high blood pressure. People with diabetes need to be aware that high blood pressure can have a hugely damaging effect on their health. A top priority: "We need to get the message across that if you have diabetes then not only should you be aware of your blood pressure, but if it is high then reducing it should be one of your top priorities. "It is also important that healthcare professionals realise that measuring the blood pressure of people with diabetes is the start of the process rather than the end of it. Once people with high blood pressure are identified, healthcare professionals then need to work with that person to bring it down to an acceptable level." Blood pressure targets: For someone without diabetes, their blood pressure should be no higher than 140/85 but when you have diabetes (or if you have had a heart attack, stroke or coronary heart disease) your blood pressure should be no higher than 130/80.


Wasteful spending on diabetes may 'bankrupt' the NHS A new report published in the journal Diabetic Medicine says that the NHS’s annual spending on diabetes in the UK will increase from £9.8 billion to £16.9 billion over the next 25 years, a rise that means the NHS would be spending 17% of its entire budget on the condition. The report suggests that 80% of the NHS's £9.8bn annual UK diabetes bill goes on the cost of treating complications - many of which are preventable with health checks and better education. According to the report, the total cost associated with diabetes in the UK currently stands at £23.7 billion and is predicted to rise to £39.8 billion by 2035/. Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said, "This report shows that without urgent action, the already huge sums of money being spent on treating diabetes will rise to unsustainable levels that threaten to bankrupt the NHS. But the most shocking part of this report is the finding that almost four fifths of NHS diabetes spending goes on treating complications that in many cases could have been prevented."

Music and arts boost chances of stroke recovery

100,000 women in 1975, to 39.3 today. In 1975 there were fewer than 8,000 cases of lung cancer diagnosed among UK women, in 2009 this figure was more than 18,000. The disease is still more common among men in the UK, where there were more than 23,000 cases in 2009. But unlike women, rates of lung cancer among men in the UK have been falling steeply. In 1975 the rate of lung cancer among men in the UK was 110 per 100,000, whereas now it is 58.8. The figures also show nearly 35,000 people (19,410 men and 15,449 women) died from lung cancer in the UK in 2010. In the 1960s, around 45% of UK women were smokers. Nowadays the prevalence of smoking among UK women is 20%. During World War II and the rest of the 1940s, 65% of UK men were smokers, nowadays that figure has fallen to 22%. Lung cancer was the most common cancer in the UK until the mid-1990s when it was overtaken by breast cancer. However, it still accounts for 11% of all new cancer cases among women, and 14% among men.

Listening to music and appreciating art is not only good for your soul, it's good for your body too. A new study found that stroke survivors who enjoyed music, painting and theatre had better chances of recovery than patients who did not. Researchers from the University Tor Vergata School of Nursing in Rome asked 192 stroke survivors whether they did or did not like art. Among the participants 105 reported an interest in music, painting and theatre, and 87 said they had no interest in arts. The researchers then compared quality of life for both of these groups. Overall, art lovers reported a range of positive physical and mental health benefits. They had more energy, better general health and improved mobility. They were also happier, less Among cooking oils, olive oil is touted as one of the anxious or healthiest. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which depressed and can lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein had better (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol in the blood. memory and Choosing olive oil is a bit like choosing wine. There are different grades, and some are more flavourful and offer communication skills. more health benefits. Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource “Stroke survivors who saw art as an integrated part of offers tips on choosing an olive oil. their former lifestyle, by expressing appreciation towards Virgin, extra-virgin or refined: Virgin and extra-virgin music, painting and theatre, showed better recovery skills olive oils tend to be higher in polyphenols (a powerful than those who did not,” said the lead author Dr. Ercole antioxidant) than are the more-processed, refined olive Vellone, assistant professor in nursing science at the oils. Antioxidants are considered beneficial because they University Tor Vergata. help the body rid itself of unstable molecules called free Introducing art to patients during post-stroke care may radicals and also help by boosting mood . Previous research has shown minimize harmful that listening to a favourite piece of music stimulates the cellular release of dopamine in the brain, which causes feelings of inflammation. A pleasure. “Dopamine improves quality of life each time it recent study is released in the brain,” said Vellone. comparing virgin The new findings, presented at the annual Spring olive oil, refined Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing in Copenhagen, olive oil and the Denmark, fall in line with a 2008 study from Finland that combination of reported that patients who listened to music had easier both found that stroke recovery. That study looked at 60 stroke patients virgin olive oil and found that those who listened to music for a couple of appears to have hours a day had better verbal memory and attention greater heartrecovery as well more positive moods, compared with health benefits. those who didn’t tune in. Freshness: The “Music works like a megavitamin for the brain. Results in fresher the oil, the Finland study showing improved mood is important the greater the for recovery,” says Dr. Wendy Magee, associate professor antioxidant of music therapy at the Boyer College of Music and properties. Dance at Temple University in Philadelphia. Quality olive oils generally include a packaging date. At purchase, it should be no more than one year old. Price and flavour: You could opt for lower cost, less Cases of lung cancer among women in the UK continue to flavourful virgin olive oil for cooking and invest in the pricier and more flavourful virgin or extra-virgin oils for rise, according to new figures released by Cancer use in vinaigrettes or drizzling over salads or side dishes. Research UK. The charity says the rate of lung cancer

Olive Oil: Which type is best?

Lung cancer among women still rising in UK among women in the UK has risen from 22.2 in every


How meditation helps to switch off areas of brain linked to anxiety and other psychiatric disorders A new brain imaging study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how people who regularly practice meditation are able to switch off areas of the brain linked to daydreaming, anxiety, schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. The brains of experienced meditators appear to show less activity in an area known as the "default mode network", which is linked to self-centered thinking. Meditation can help deal with a variety of health problems, from quitting smoking, to coping with cancer, and even preventing psoriasis, one of the researchers said in a statement. For this study, they wanted to look further into the neurological mechanisms that might be involved. Lead author Judson A. Brewer, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale, and colleagues, used FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans to observe the brains of both novice and experienced meditators as they practiced three different forms of meditation. They found that the experienced meditators, regardless of the type of meditation they practiced, seemed able to switch off the

default mode network, which has been linked to lapses of attention, and disorders such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. This could be the result of meditators constantly monitoring mind-wandering and the emergence of "me" thoughts, and suppressing them. These are the kind of thoughts, when in extreme or pathological form, are associated with diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. The FMRI scans showed the experienced meditators' brain activity was the same both during meditation and when they were just resting, or when they were not being told to do anything in particular. Thus the researchers concluded that perhaps experienced meditators have developed a new default mode, which is centered more on the present than on the self. Meditation has been a central part of philosophical and contemplative practices for thousands of years: it helps the practitioner to be mindful of the present moment, Brewer told the press, and studies have shown it is also linked to increased levels of happiness.


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Treating stroke in ambulance can speed up recovery Stroke costs the economy an estimated £8 billion per year in England alone Treating stroke in specialised ambulances en route to hospital could make a big difference in the recovery of stroke patients. Mobile stroke units can halve the time it takes a patient to get clot-busting drugs, a small German trial found. A report published in The Lancet Neurology says that clot-busting drugs (thrombolytics) can be effective if the stroke is caused by a blood clot (the cause in about 80% of cases), but not if it is due to a bleed. The faster an eligible patient receives clotbusting treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability. In the study, patients treated by mobile stroke If somebody is having a stroke around you then units, were given thrombolysis within 35 minutes. look for: "FAST" Whereas those sent to the hospital for treatment in the usual way waited 76 minutes. Experts say larger studies ► Facial weakness - has the person's face are needed to explore what impact earlier treatment can drooped, usually down one side have on prognosis. Only a minority of stroke patients reach ► Arm weakness - is the person able to lift hospital and undergo brain scanning within a few hours, which is necessary if these drugs are to be administered. both arms above their head Stroke is the third biggest cause of death in the UK and ► Speech problems - does the person's speech the largest single cause of severe disability. Each year sound slurred more than 110,000 people in England will have a stroke, ► Time to call 999 - if one or more of these which costs the NHS over £2.8bn. symptoms are present call 999 immediately


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Atul Kochchar's Health & Happiness recipe

PAN ROASTED DUCK WITH GREEN PEA AND PUFFED RICE SALAD "Spring and summer brings a new energy in our lives. As a chef, I look forward to these seasons to make my plates full of flavours and colours. This recipe just does that! Duck is a lighter source of protein (ignore its skin) and new season Savoy cabbage with light south Indian spicing makes all the boxes tick. - Bon Appetite !" PORTIONS 4 - 4 Gressingham duck breast dressed - Salt - 10 gm Pepper - 10 no Curry leaves - 5 gm Red chilli powder - 2 gm Turmeric powder - 10 gm Coriander powder - 100 ml Grape seed oil SALAD - 200 gm Duck confit prepared and shredded - 50 gm Fried onions - 15 gm Pickle spice paste - 10 gm Coriander chopped - 50 gm Onions cut in macedoines - 50 gm Cucumber deseeded & cut in macedoines - 50 gm Green peas blanched - 50 gm Tomatoes deseeded and macedoines - 5 gm Green chilly chopped - 2 no. Lemon juice - 5 gm Chaat masala - 10 gm Tamarind chutney -10 gm Mint chutney -20 ml Cold pressed mustard oil - 20 gm Puffed rice -10 gm Gramflour sev  Marinate duck with spices and grape seed oil.  Slowly render fat in a pre heated pan and finish duck in oven at 180 C till  core temperature of 56 c. hold in a warm place.  Mix shredded confit with fried onion & pickle paste, leave it for a while.  Add all cut vegetable with chopped coriander and chilies.  Dress with chutneys, lemon juice, chaat masala and mustard oil.  Just before serving fold in rice and sev.  Carve duck and serve with salad.


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The Journal of Health & Happness  

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The Journal of Health & Happness  

A free health magazine for London