Women, are you taking birth control pills to postpone pregnancy? Unaware about how they work? Worried about its side effects? Have any doubts regarding how safe they are? Then, don’t worry and just relax as we help you separate fact from fiction. Birth control pills are small tablets that contain hormones to prevent pregnancy. Hence, the ovaries cannot release eggs that can be fertilized. These pills are wide ly used by many women. In the below article, we aim to help you understand everything you want to know about birth control pills. In this article, Dr Sulbha Arora, Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist and Clinical Director at Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai dispels some myths about birth control pills. Birth control pills contain a combination of hormones estrogen and progesterone, while, some birth control pills only contain progesterone. Birth control pills are a safe and effective method of contraception. They are around 92%-99% effective in most cases. The contraceptive effect lasts only for a month while the pill has been taken. Once the pill has been stopped, fertility resumes almost immediately. Some women do have certain misconceptions about taking the pill. Thus, it is essential to have the correct information when one decides to opt for this method of contraception. Birth control pills: Myths and facts Here we dispel some myths regarding birth control pills: Myth 1: There is a risk of infertility or impact on future fertility for women who take a birth control pill. Women believe that if they take the birth control pill then there will be difficulty in conceiving in the future as well. Fact: The combined oral contraceptive pill does not cause any infertility or impact on future fertility. This is true regardless of the duration woman has taken the pill whether it is just for a few months or for longer, the number of children the woman had in the past, or the woman’s age. The pill causes contraceptive effects only while it is being taken. Once the pill is stopped then the fertility resumes immediately. Myth 2: The birth control pill can cause a risk of birth defects. Some women who seek family planning believe that the combined oral contraceptive pill can lead to birth defects in babies. Fact: There is enough evidence that says the birth control pill doesn’t cause any birth defects or any harm to the foetus even if the woman becomes accidentally pregnant while taking the birth control pill. Myth 3: The contraceptive pill can cause cancer. Some women who want to use the contraceptive pill are afraid as they believe these pills cause certain types of cancers such as breast, uterine or ovarian cancer. Fact: The use of a combined oral contraceptive pill has proven to be beneficial in reducing the risk of two of the gynaecological cancers namely ovarian and endometrial. There are no reports of any significant increase in the incidence of any other type of cancer such as breast or cervical cancer either that can be conclusively attributed to the use of birth control pills. Myth 4: Using a contraceptive pill leads to general health problems such as bloating, mood swings, hair loss, and headaches. Fact: Some women may experience short-term side-effects associated with combined oral contraceptives which may include changes in the bleeding pattern, and acidity too.
High-fat diet disturbs body clock: Study
London: A new study has found that when rats are fed a high-fat diet, this disturbs the body clock in their brain that normally controls satiety, leading to over-eating and obesity. The findings of the study were published in ‘The Journal of Physiology’. The number of people with obesity has nearly tripled worldwide since 1975. In England alone, 28 per cent of adults are obese and another 36 per cent are overweight. Obesity can lead to several other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. This new research may be a cornerstone for future clinical studies that could restore the proper functioning of the body clock in the brain, to avoid overeating. Historically, it was believed that the master body clock was only located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. However, further research over the years has clarified that some control of our body’s daily rhythms (hormone levels, appetite etc.) lies in several other parts of the brain and body, including a group of neurons in the evolutionary ancient brainstem, called the dorsal vagal com plex (DVC). Specifically, the DVC has been shown to control food intake by inducing satiety. Research has also shown that in obesity, daily rhythms in food intake and the release of hormones related to eating, are blunted or eliminated. However, it has not been clear if the malfunctioning of brain centres controlling appetite is a cause or the result of obesity. This new research conducted at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow in collaboration with the University of Bristol found that high-fat diet-fed rats before they started to gain weight, showed changes in the DVC’s daily neuronal rhythms and the response of these neurons to appetite hormones. Thus, the researchers propose that disturbance in the DVC’s timekeeping leads to obesity, rather than being the result of excessive body weight. The research was performed on two groups of rats: those fed a well-balanced control diet (10 per cent kcal from fat) and a high-fat diet (70 per cent kcal from fat). To mimic the impact of an unhealthy diet on humans, the researchers introduced the new diet to adolescent rats (4-week-old) and monitored their food intake across 24 hours for four consecutive weeks. Electrophysiological recordings were performed to measure how DVC neuronal activity changes across 24h. The use of multi-electrode arrays allowed for simultaneous monitoring of around a hundred DVC neurons from each brainstem slice. This enabled the researchers to assess circadian changes of neuronal activity as well as neuronal responses to metabolically relevant hormones in each of the diet groups. While the human and mouse brainstem share common features, the major limitation of the study for its immediate translation to humans is that it was per formed on nocturnal animals (rats). The peak of the DVC activity was observed at the end of the day, which is the rest phase for rodents, but an active phase for people. Thus, it remains to be established if the phase of the brainstem clock is set to day and night, or whether it depends on patterns of rest and activity. This study opens new research opportunities for trying to establish the strategy how to restore body clock function of the DVC and therefore help tackle obesity
Worsening of asthma at night – Study explains why
Washington: For hundreds of years, people have observed that asthma severity often worsens in the nighttime. One longstanding question has been to what degree the body’s internal circadian clock — as opposed to behaviours, such as sleep and physical activities — contributes to the worsening of asthma severity. Using two circadian protocols, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Oregon Health & Science University have pinned down the influence of the circadian system, uncovering a key role for the biological clock in asthma. Results of the study are published in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Understanding the mechanisms that influence asthma se verity could have important implications for both studying and treating asthma. “This is one of the first studies to carefully isolate the influence of the circadian system from the other factors that are behavioural and environmental, including sleep,” said co-corresponding author Frank A.J.L. Scheer, PhD, MSc, director of the Medical Chrono biology Program in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at the Brigham. Co-corresponding author Steven A. Shea, PhD, professor and director at Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences added, “We observed that those people who have the worst asthma, in general, are the ones who suffer from the greatest circadian induced drops in pulmonary function at night, and also had the greatest changes induced by behaviours, including sleep. We also found that these results are clinically important because, when studied in the laboratory, symptom-driven bronchodilator inhaler use was as much as four times more often during the circadian night than during the day.” As many as 75 per cent of people with asthma — 20 million people in the U.S. — report experiencing worsening asthma severity at night. Many behavioural and environmental factors, including exercise, air temperature, posture, and sleep environment, are known to influence asthma severity. Scheer, Shea, and colleagues wanted to understand the contributions of the internal circadian system to this problem. The circadian system is composed of a central pacemaker in the brain (the suprachiasmatic nucleus) and “clocks” throughout the body and is critical for the coordination of bodily functions and to anticipate the daily cycling environmental and behavioural demands.
National Nutrition Week: 4 tips from Rujuta Diwekar for weight loss and sustainable health
Delhi: National Nutrition Week 2021: Today is the last day of National Nutrition Week in India. The 7-day event started on September 1 to raise public awareness about nutrition and healthy eating habits. This year, the theme for National Nutrition Week is ‘feeding smart right from start’. And who better to talk about it than celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar. She has always stressed the importance of eating right and healthy to achieve a whole some lifestyle. To mark the last day of the National Nutrition Week 2021 today, here are four tips by Rujuta Diwekar for achieving sustainable health and weight loss. These tips are from her popular books on health and wellness, like Secrets of Good Health, The PCOD Thyroid Book, and Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha, available on Audible.in.
According to Diwekar, “’Health is wealth’ is not just a saying but also a reality. The pandemic has, in one way or the other, taught us this.” So, here are four tips from her that will help you achieve the wealth of health. Superfoods for immunity building Rujuta motivates people to move away from popular trends and shift towards eating local, seasonal and traditional. One of her books, Eating in the Age of Dieting, lists five superfoods to boost immunity and secure all necessary nutrients in the body. They are banana, jackfruit, jamun, kusum and custard apple. “If the food is not tasty then how will it be healthy?” Rujuta Diwekar chalks out five easily available food items that one can include in their daily routine to transform their diet and make it more appealing. These ingredients are ghee, rice, cashews or nuts, pickle or achar, and mango or sitaphal – depending on the season. She says that all these food items can set one on a path of sustainable health and weight loss. “Women should never, ever ‘standardise’ their meal size.”
The nutritionist says that the key to a fab body is simply eating. She explains that women are hormonally vibrant creatures, and it’s perfectly normal for them to eat more on some days and less on others. The key is to stop at the right time. Bollywood actor Kareena Kapoor, who has co-narrated one of Rujuta’s books – Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha – that talks about the same issue, says, “Please eat or you are not going to lose weight is what Rujuta has taught me.” “Eating right and exercising can restore hormonal balance.” Rujuta says it is vital to take charge of ourselves, thank our bodies, and make peace with the fact that it’s not the hormones, it’s us. She says, “Women often tend to indulge in chaotic eating, which is forced by hormones. Food has the ability to heal and it has more power than any pill made in the lab, and it maintains good health and brings a hormonal balance.” According to her, including food supplements in our diet that can help create the right hormonal balance is a vital step to relieving some stress.
COVISHIELD-LIKE VAX MAY HELP FIGHT NIPAH VIRUS
London: A Covishield-like vac cine has been found successful in monkey trials against the Nipah virus, according to an international team of researchers. Nipah virus (NiV) is a highly pathogenic and re-emerging virus that causes sporadic but severe infections in humans. Last week, it claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy in Kerala amid the Covid surge. While all high risk contacts of the deceased have tested negative, nearby states have been put on high alert for the disease. An outbreak of the virus in the state in 2018 killed 17 of the 18 confirmed with the virus. Currently, no vaccines against NiV have been approved. Researchers from the Univer sity of Oxford, and the US Na tional Institutes of Health investigated the efficacy of ChAdOx1 NiV in the eight African green monkeys. They published the results on the pre-print server bioRxiv, meaning it is yet to be peer-reviewed. ChAdOx1 NiV is based on the same vector as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, which has been approved for emergency se in over 60 countries world wide and administered to 100 million people. While one group of four monkeys were administered either two shots or a single shot of the ChadOx1NiV, the other group were injected with dummy protein (ChAdOx1 GFP), again vectored by ChAdOx1. All the eight were then or artificially infected with the real Nipah virus, some given via the nose and others through the throat. A robust humoral and cellular response was detected starting 14 days post initial vaccination. When artificially infected with the real Nipah virus, the control animals displayed a variety of signs and had to be euthanised between five- and seven days post-inoculation. “In contrast, vaccinated animals showed no signs of disease, and we were unable to detect infectious virus in all but one swab and all tissues,” the researchers said. “No to limited antibodies against fusion protein or nucleoprotein IgG could be detected 42 days post-infection with real NiV, Suggesting that vaccination induced a very robust protective immune response preventing extensive virus replication,” said Sarah C Gilbert, from the Jenner Institute Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford. The researchers had previously shown that a single dose of ChAdOx1 NiV provides full protection in hamsters. The team also found very limited evidence of virus replication in vaccinated animals, all but one swab was negative for infectious virus and no virus was found in tissues obtained from vaccinated animals. These data suggest the vaccine may provide close to complete protective immunity in the monkeys, the researchers explained. “In both hamster and monkey NiV models, vaccination with ChAdOx1 NiV resulted in induction of high antibody titers coupled with complete protection against lethal NiV disease,” said Vincent J Munster, Laboratory of Virology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH.
Hernia: A common surgical problem – Here is what expert says
Mumbai: Hernia is a common surgical problem, and it is advisable to treat it at the right time. If left un treated hernias have the potential to become irreducible, obstructed or strangulated. This can lead to acute pain and emergency surgery may be needed. Once you know that you have a hernia, appropriate care must be taken. Read on to know more about this. In this article, DrAparna Govil Bhask er, Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon at Saifee Hospital, Apollo Spectra, Namaha and Currae Hospitals, Mum bai shares her insight into the common surgical problem, hernia. Did you know? A hernia is a swelling caused due to protrusion of an organ or tissue from an abnormal opening in the wall of the muscle that holds it in place. Hernias can be internal or external. Most of the hernias that we encounter are external hernias. External hernias occur through a weak spot in the wall of the abdomen or the tummy. They usually present as a swelling that increases on strain ing and reduces on resting or lying down. The most common sites of a hernia formation are in the groin region, upper thigh, in and around the navel or through the scar of previous sur gery. Hernias can be seen in all age groups and both genders. While in guinal hernias are more common in men, umbilical, femoral and inci sional hernias are more commonly seen in women. Risk factors The two main factors that are implicated in causing a hernia are the weakness of abdominal muscles and increased pressure inside the abdomen which tends to force the internal contents out through the weakened area. Ab dominal wall weakness may be con genital or could be a result of exces sive fat due to obesity, repeated preg nancies, or a surgical incision. On the other hand, increased abdominal pressure may be a result of a long standing cough, constipation, urinary straining due to an enlarged prostate, heavy exercise and so on. Know about the red flags Most patients present with complaints of a dragging and aching pain and/ or a lump that may increase in size on exertion and reduce in size on resting or lying down. Sometimes, the hernia may get obstructed or strangulated and, in that case, it may present with vomiting, constipation and a swollen abdomen along with severe pain in the abdomen. If you are experiencing any kind of pain or a lump in the abdominal or groin area it is advisable to visit a surgeon for a check-up. The diagnosis of a hernia is usually made by clinical examina tion. Investigations like ultrasonog raphy or CT scan may sometimes be required. At the same time, it is also important to determine the cause of hernia and a thorough evaluation must be done for the same. How to deal with it There is no medical treat ment for a hernia. Treatment of her nia is mainly surgical. Hernia surgery usually involves reduction of hernial contents, repair of the defect and reinforcement of the defect with a mesh. Surgery can be performed either through open technique or by laparoscopy. The approach towards surgery is usually decided by the sur geon after a clinical examination. While laparoscopic surgery is the preferred approach for most hernias nowadays, open hernia surgery may be required for very large, complex or recurrent hernias. Laparoscopy (TEP, TAPP, E-TEP, IPOM) has many advantages over open surgery. As it causes very little trauma, it leads to less pain, early recovery, early discharge from the hospital and earlier return to work.