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According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the number one cause of deaths across the globe, and in India. CVD is also a costly disease to treat and can cause a huge economic burden on the patient, and his/her family.
For India in particular, CVD has become a severe cause of concern, owing to the disease’s accelerated buildup, early age of onset in the population, and the high case fatality rate. Some factors that have contributed to the rise of CVD cases across India include the south Asian genetic makeup and its a proneness to the disease, the ever-changing lifestyle, lack of exercise, dietary imbalance, and a high intake of saturated and/or trans fats amongst the population.
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In the past, multiple studies have also shown that regular consumption of almonds may help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL “bad”) cholesterol levels, a recognized risk factor for CVD – especially amongst Indians.
Recent research by Tufts University shows that eating 42.5 grams of almonds each day compared to not eating almonds may help reduce healthcare costs associated with cardiovascular disease among US consumers.
The objective of this study, funded by the Almond Board of California, was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of almond consumption in preventing coronary heart disease through changes in LDL cholesterol levels in the U.S. population, using both short-term base case analysis and 10-year risk prevention. The researchers developed a model to assess the relationship between eating 42.5g of almonds per day versus no almond intake. CVD parameters included the probabilities of increasing LDL levels, developing acute myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack), MI-related surgeries, and death due to the disease and surgeries and the cost of disease and procedures in the US population in 2012. The cost of almonds used in this research was also factored into the model and was based on price in the US market in 2012, as well.
The base-case model used in this research, which was a study of 150 US adults with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, showed that eating 42.5g of almonds per day would result in an annual cost savings of $363 compared to eating no almonds. The almond eaters had reductions in CVD risk factors including LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, body weight, and Apolipoprotein B (also known as Apo-B, the main protein found in harmful LDL cholesterol). These improved parameters decreased the average healthcare costs for treating CVD.
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Speaking about the study, Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, Ritika Samaddar noted: “The study establishes a very positive correlation between almond consumption, heart health, and a derived cost-benefit, each of which is relevant for a country like India where CVD cases are rising every day. While the health benefits of almonds have been analyzed by several other studies in the past, this new research also highlights a long-term cost advantage of almond consumption which is very unique. So make sure to include almonds in your family and your diet, to lead a healthier and more cost-efficient lifestyle.”
When the time horizon was expanded to 10 years, findings were similar in the pattern: it cost non-almond eaters $2566 in CVD prevention compared to a cost of just $1806 for almond eaters, or a savings of $760.
Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant said: “The results of this new study are interesting to note. Owing to the genetic makeup, sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary regime, and high salt intake, Indians are at higher risk of heart disease. If one develops the disease, it adds to the household’s medical expenses. Therefore, I suggest that people with a genetic history of CVD or those with established risk factors (high BP, diabetes, obesity, etc.) for heart disease alter their diets to include a daily dose of almonds, among other things. In the long run, improving your lifestyle will have a positive impact not just on your heart health, but may also reduce overall medical expenses.”
Based on these analyses, researchers concluded that consuming 42.5g of almonds per day is a cost-effective strategy for preventing CVD in short term and potentially, up to 10 years.
Acknowledging the findings in the study, Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert, and Diet & Nutrition Consultant commented: “It is interesting to note the long-term viability of this study, especially in the context of a country like India where CVD is one of the leading causes of mortality. Opting for healthier snacking options like almonds is a small yet impactful investment that is sure to pay off in the long run, especially for people with high risk to CVD. So the next time you head to the supermarket, stock up on roasted, salted, or raw almonds instead of unwholesome or fried snacks, to begin your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.” (IANS)
High drama was witnessed in Kanpur Dehat for over an hour when a man, upset over his wife's alleged affair with a local man, climbed the tower with his children and threatened to commit suicide. The incident took place on Monday near Gandhi Nagar in Akbarpur, when the man threatened to commit suicide after throwing his kids down from a height of nearly 40-feet. Chaos prevailed around the area and the locals informed the police that rushed to the spot.
After about half-an-hour of convincing, the police managed to bring him and his children down. The man told the police that his wife's affair was going on with his neighbor. He had complained to the police, but no action was taken. Police said that as per the man, his wife had developed an illicit relationship with a man, living nearby their house. "As per the man, in his absence, his neighbor visited his house often. He said that he had reprimanded his neighbor many times, but to no avail," said the police.
The man had complained to the police, but no action was taken. | Pixabay
The man had also lodged a complaint with the police but no action was taken. On the other hand, Akbarpur police said that on the basis of the complaint, action for breach of peace has been taken against the neighbor accused of luring his wife. Circle officer (CO) Akbarpur Arun Kumar said that the police are trying to sort out the issue. "Whatever action is appropriate will be taken," the official added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, man, wife, alleged, affair, children, India, police, neighbor, complaint, suicide, accuse, drama.)
The US forces continued their bombardment of buildings and institutions in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, as part of their alleged manhunt of Islamic State (IS) fugitives, state news agency SANA reported. The US forces are shelling buildings and public institutions on Tuesday in the vicinity of the Sina'a prison in the Gweiran neighborhood in Hasakah "on the pretext of hunting down IS militants who fled the prison," said SANA.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. | Wikimedia Commons
The shelling came in tandem with waves of raids by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to homes in the surrounding areas, rounding up many civilians and taking them to unknown locations, the state news agency added. On January 20, IS inmates inside the Sina'a prison, which is controlled by the SDF, started a riot that was coordinated with IS militants from outside, who detonated the prison's gates with two booby-trapped vehicles, succeeding to free some prisoners.
The incident triggered clashes between IS and the SDF as well as US airstrikes on the areas, where the IS fugitives could have sought shelter in, Xinhua news agency reported. The clashes and airstrikes are still ongoing as the SDF has so far failed to contain the situation and storm the prison. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. Hasakah province is largely controlled by the US-backed SDF, while certain areas, particularly in the city of Qamishli, are still under the control of the Syrian government. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: US forces, shelling, bombarding, syria, islamic state, civilian casualties, qamishli, tandem, syrian democratic forces)
The circulating avian influenza outbreaks, including in India, do not seem to pose the 'high' risk but surveillance and biosecurity measures are necessary to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds, a UN-backed scientific task force said. Throughout the past autumn and current winter in the northern hemisphere, multiple avian influenza outbreaks, caused predominantly by the H5N1 HPAI virus, plus other subtypes, including H5N8, have occurred in India, the UK, the Netherlands and Israel with the ever recorded mortality of the Svalbard barnacle geese in Solway Coast.
The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, co-convened by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on Monday recommended that surveillance and biosecurity measures are reinforced to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds. The Task Force has convened and produced recommendations and guidance for authorities and managers of countries affected or at risk. Wild birds, including globally threatened species, are victims of HPAI viruses causing avian influenza. Affected sites also include areas of international relevance for conservation such as protected wetlands.
More than 2,400 migratory water birds died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal last year because of avian influenza. | Unsplash
It is essential that authorities with responsibility for animal health apply the One Health approach for communicating and addressing avian influenza. That means recognising the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment and acting with a coordinated and unified approach. The Task Force reminds authorities of their international obligations to ensure their response to the pathogenic virus does not include the culling of wild birds, nor actions that would cause damage to natural ecosystems, especially wetlands.
Ruth Cromie, who coordinated the work of the Task Force and the production of the statement, said: "Avian influenza represents a One Health issue threatening health across the board. The highly pathogenic viruses are still relatively new in wild birds and this winter's high levels of mortality remind us of their vulnerability and that working to promote healthy wildlife benefits us all." H5N1 is currently the avian influenza lineage most found in Africa and Eurasia in both poultry and wild birds. The wide range of wild birds affected include wildfowl, waders, gulls, cranes, grebes, herons, pelicans, gamebirds, corvids and raptors (diurnal and nocturnal), in addition to sporadic cases in mammals such as red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) and harbor Phoca vitulina and grey seal Halichoerus grypus.
Consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations. | Unsplash
In terms of human health, the currently circulating H5N1 HPAI viruses do not seem to pose the same zoonotic risk as the 'original' Asian lineage H5N1 (clade 2.2 and their derivatives plus clade 188.8.131.52b H5N6 viruses currently in China). In general, the risk can be considered low, recognising that some agencies now consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations, as low or moderate. In India, several instances of bird flu were reported in 2021. More than 2,400 migratory water birds, and almost half of them being endangered bar-headed goose, died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal Pradesh last year and that avian influenza (H5N1) was the cause.
Besides the bar-headed goose, the other species that died were the shoveler, the river tern, the pochard and the common teal. An 11-year-old boy died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi last year due to avian influenza, country's first fatality. India reported the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006. RSPB Scotland is calling for an emergency local moratorium restricting shooting on the Solway for the rest of the wildfowling season. It calls for urgent action to reduce the devastating impacts of avian influenza. New statistics from the most recent counts show that the UK is this winter experiencing the worst outbreak of this deadly disease on record, with migratory geese which 'over winter' on the Solway being the hardest hit.
According to RSPB Scotland, the latest population counts of the Svalbard barnacle goose show a drop in numbers from 43,703 in November last year to 27,133 in this month's count. This represents a decline of 38 per cent in the Svalbard breeding population of this species from winter 2020-21. CMS Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said: "Through late 2021 and early 2022 there have been numerous outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, with severe impacts on migratory birds. "The CMS Secretariat responded by convening the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds together with the FAO. We are pleased to share its advice and key recommendations for countries affected or at risk, and look forward to continuing our collaborative work to minimize risks to humans, poultry and wild populations of migratory birds." (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : avian, influenza, surveillance, United Nation, scientists, breeding, population, birds, affected, countries, poultry, migratory, health, issue, virus, responsibility, international, ecosystem.)