Researchers find benefits of clean air on fetal growth

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Women breathing high levels of pollution during the last month of pregnancy are more likely to give birth to babies with significantly lower weight as compared to an unexposed woman. A study of the effects of the air-quality controls, introduced during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, brings out the revelation.

Scientists involved in the study said that the temporary pollution regulations imposed on Beijing during 2008 Olympics had a measurable and positive effects on the weight of babies born to mothers who were 8-months pregnant at that time.

It is the first time when a study is able to indicate the harmful effects of air pollution on development of fetus in the womb while specifying the importance of clean air for fetal growth.

During 2008 Olympics, the Chinese government had imposed stringent curbs on vehicles and industry to minimize the impact of city’s high levels of air pollution on competing athletes. It was during this time when almost 84,000 births to mothers living in four urban districts of Beijing before, during and after the 2008 Olympics, were analyzed.

The study found that women who were in the eighth month of their pregnancy benefited most from the significantly “cleaner” air in the Chinese capital. The babies born to them were on average 23 grams heavier than the babies born to similar women in 2007 and 2009, when air pollution controls were not as severe.

David Rich, an epidemiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York, and lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, said, “This is the first study to show that when air pollution levels go down during the 8th month of pregnancy, we see an increase in birth weight.”

Just before the Olympics, the Chinese government took many steps to bring down the high pollution level in the capital. They prohibited traffic, closed factories and even seeded clouds to make it rain. These measures together led to 60% reduction in sulfur dioxide, 48% reduction in carbon monoxide, 43% reduction in nitrogen dioxide and a reduction in the number of particles in the air smaller than 2.5 microns, which have the capability to enter the blood stream through the lungs.

“The results of this study demonstrate a clear association between changes in air pollutant concentrations and birth weight. These findings not only illustrate one of the many significant health consequences of pollution, but also demonstrate that this phenomenon can be reversed,” said Dr. Rich.

“While Beijing’s pollution is particularly noteworthy, many of the world’s other cities face similar air-quality problems. This study shows that pollution controls – even short-term ones – can have positive public health benefits,” said Junfeng Zhang, a researcher at Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study.

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Here’s Why China is Predictable and Not Inscrutable

India could’ve easily predicted the Chinese coming on 5 August 2019

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The Chinese actions are far away from being Inscrutable. Pixabay

As the tensions rise between India and China along the borders in Ladakh, Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print invokes an American political satirist P.J. O’Rourke.

Talking about his works Shekhar points out that in his ‘A Brief History of Man’, P.J. O’Rourke writes a small sentence “Meanwhile, in China, there were the Chinese.”. This sentence is relevant to us today.

Shekhar Gupta believes that the sentence conveys us a sense of resignation about the “inscrutable” Chinese. This thought happens to be familiar thought in the West.

“But we don’t live in the West. We’ve lived next door to China for as long as first civilisations grew.”, writes Shekhar Gupta

Let’s look at the history of Indian interactions with China since independance. What is inscrutable about it? Talking about the military assault across two fronts in 1962, it may have been a surprise to our leaders back then, but that is only because they were delusional.

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Chinese actions in respect to India are predictable now. Pixabay

From Chinese ultimatum to India to “return their stolen yaks and sheep” in 1965, to their appearance along the Ladakh frontier this year, China happens to be completely predictable and far from inscrutable. Especially keeping in mind Chinese actions in respect to India.

The push at Nathu La (Sikkim) in 1967 was probably to check out the resolve from India. Which they saw at its weakest — having fought two recent wars (1962 and 1965), famines, ship-to-mouth existence, political instability and a diminished Indira Gandhi. . The Indian response was a lesson they quickly learnt. What did the Chinese do after that? They have kept the peace for 53 years. Will you call that response evidence of Chinese inscrutability? They probed us, got a rude push-back, and decided to wait and stir the pot in different ways, at different times, says Shekhar Gupta in his artcile for The Print.

The Chinese kept the hold of what they wanted in 1962. According to Shekhar the truth is, they had it in their possession almost fully, barring small, tactically important slivers in Ladakh. They asserted their ownership and let their larger claim, Arunachal Pradesh, fully in Indian control, go militarily uncontested.

The Chinese never gave up claim on it. In 1986-87, they again checked us out at Wangdung-Sumdorong Chu (Arunachal), when they saw Rajiv Gandhi take India’s defence budget to a 4 per cent-plus of GDP. And once more, the response was firm and the Chinese backed off. The lesson we learnt according to Shekhar Gupta is that the Chinese won’t open fire randomly for the sake of it, Or when they are absolutely sure of an easy victory so they could be seen like ‘teaching an upstart a lesson’ as they did in 1962. Predictable.

Each and every action and response of China fits a pattern- Deliver a message, add leverage, and return, according to Shekhar Gupta.

India, China and Pakistan shared this unusual ‘triangulation’ in which China was using Pakistan to keep India preoccupied, said Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his tenure.

His idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. He thought, that a country as big and powerful as China, would see less of an incentive for peace with India than Pakistan.

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Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: Odisha Govt to Hold Rath Yatra Without Devotees this Year

Shekhar Gupta believes that today, that option is not so available, as hostility with Pakistan is central to the Modi-BJP politics. They’d rather make peace with China than Pakistan. That is why the lavish welcomes and frequent meetings with the Chinese leaders. The objective, still, is escaping that triangle.

Another instance of Vajpayee explaining the Chinese negotiating style. “Dekhiye, aap aur hum baithe hain aur vaarta kar rahe hain (see, you and I are sitting and negotiating),” he said. If two people require something and the first person asks to let go of something, the other will say no. Then the first person again asks for something little less, then again the other person might say no. But ultimately the second person will relent and let go of some. The Chinese would never do that.

Both these leaders underlined that the Chinese are consistent, and predictable. And that is why we should not be shoched or surprised by what they have unveiled across Ladakh. We should have anticipated it on 5 August last year when we made the big changes in Jammu & Kashmir. This Chinese move, like all others in 60 years, was fully predictable. Even the timing, says Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print.

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Apple Manages to Open Nearly Half of its Retail Stores Worldwide

Apple has reopened nearly 256 retail stores globally

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Nearly half of Apple retail stores are now open globally. Pixabay

Apple has managed to reopen nearly 256 retail stores out of more than 500 worldwide, as it aims to safely restart operations.

Apple closed all its retail stores outside Greater China in March as COVID-19 pandemic spread. All the Apple stores in Greater China are now open.

“In China, and later around the world, we were one of the first companies to close our stores. In Greater China, we saw the importance of swift action — and the critical importance of social distance — to slow the virus’ spread,” according to Apple’s head of retail Deidre O’Brien.

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Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings at their stores to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Pixabay

“As time has gone on, we’ve continued to refine and expand our in-store health and safety measures, which have proven so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been safely open for months,” he added.

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Apple is taking some additional steps in most places. Throughout the day, Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

“Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID-19,” O’Brien elaborated. (IANS)

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Tips to Overcome Pandemic Effects During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should stay healthy, calm and safe during pregnancy in current times

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Pregnancy might be a little more difficult compared to the earlier times because of the ongoing pandemic. Pixabay

As social distancing and staying at home have become the “new normal” in the current scenario, it is important during pregnancy to keep a calm mind, continue their checkups with doctors on online sessions, and be open about their concerns, say experts according to Health Tips.

“With all the uncertainty around, one of the best things that you can do is be positive and practice ways that will help ensure your and your baby’s well-being,” said Dr. Prathibha Babshet, Ayurveda Expert, R&D, The Himalaya Drug Company.

“This is possible by taking care of your mental health and keeping a calm mind. Pregnancy during the pandemic is certainly hard but not impossible. It is advisable to stay home as much as possible to avoid crowded spaces and follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines,” she said.

While pregnancy care may look a little different now than it used to earlier, here are a few tips to approach these changes:

Try to establish a daily routine of activities in a way that it becomes a new normal in your life. From your diet, meditation, and yoga, to skin care, getting adequate sleep, and regular medical checkups, make a list of all the things you do in a day and prioritise them.

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Establish a daily routine and schedule for yourself. Pixabay

If you need to step out for work or a checkup, remember to maintain social distancing and wear a mask and carry a sanitizer, as this can help reduce the risk of exposure to germs and bacteria.

Frequent checkups during pregnancy is vital for the mother and baby. So, check with your gynaecologist on online sessions for these checkups. If you are due to deliver, understand and be open about the delivery options and post-natal care.

As pregnancy skin care is an important aspect of your motherhood phase, include massages and moisturisation in your daily routine to help deal with common pregnancy skin concerns, Babshet said.

Indulge in a soothing massage using a massage oil; this will help promote blood circulation. You can also opt for a body butter that will help with dry skin issues. Whatever routine you follow, do remember to use products containing herbal actives and that are free from chemicals, she added.

Your baby gets nutrients from what you eat. Avoid binge-eating. Make it a priority to stick to a balanced diet including fruits and vegetables, and drink at least 8-10 glasses of water.

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One should take extra care of their diet during pregnancy and take balanced diet for the good health of the offspring. Pixabay

If you enjoy cooking, look up simple recipes online for a healthy immune system.

Manage your stress in different ways — practice breathing exercises to calm yourself and indulge in new hobbies or rediscover old ones. You can also take online courses on playing an instrument, learning a new language, or anything you have always wanted to do. You may also enjoy planning things for your baby’s arrival, like decorating a nursery.

Also Read: Ways to go Sustainable While Maintaining Menstrual Hygiene

Talk to your doctor if you are anxious about your baby being exposed to the virus during breastfeeding. Always clean your nipple area before and after breastfeeding. Sanitise your hands, and the place around your baby, frequently.

In addition to following these tips, read and be aware of the potential symptoms of the virus and take preventive measures.

Avoid reading negative news about the current situation, which might cause anxiety.

Instead, use the screen time to talk to your friends and family, or watch something you enjoy. This will keep you happy and occupied. (IANS)

Researchers find benefits of clean air on fetal growth
Here’s Why China is Predictable and Not Inscrutable
Apple Manages to Open Nearly Half of its Retail Stores Worldwide
Tips to Overcome Pandemic Effects During Pregnancy