Monday November 20, 2017

Scientists Discover a Genetic Variant that can Suppress the desire of Drinking Alcohol

A shift from heavy to moderate social drinking could have major public health benefits, such as reduced cardiovascular disease risk

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Representational image. Pixabay

New York, November 29, 2016: In a step that could lead to development of drugs to regulate alcohol consumption, researchers have identified a gene variant that suppresses the desire for a drink.

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“The findings are based on the largest genome-wide association meta-analysis and replication study to date mapping and comparing the genetics — the DNA — of more than 105,000 light and heavy social drinkers,” said a corresponding author of the study David Mangelsdorf, Chair of Pharmacology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“The study identified a variation in the beta-Klotho gene linked to the regulation of social alcohol consumption. The less frequent variant — seen in approximately 40 per cent of the people in this study — is associated with a decreased desire to drink alcohol,” he said.

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Like many complex traits, the genetic influences on brain functions affecting drinking behaviour were thought to be so small that it would be necessary to study large numbers of people in order to detect those genetic variations, Mangelsdorf said.

The study compared the genetics of light and heavy social drinkers of European ancestry participating in nearly four dozen other large population studies worldwide.

The findings, published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could lead to development of drugs to help those with drinking problems.

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A shift from heavy to moderate social drinking could have major public health benefits, such as reduced cardiovascular disease risk.

Increased alcohol consumption is linked to two heart disease risk factors in particular — high blood pressure and obesity, according to the American Heart Association. (IANS)

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World Heart Day 2017: 6 Simple Tips to Keep your Heart Healthy | NewsGram

How strong are your ABCDEF’s? Let’s find out!

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September 29 is World Heart Day. Here is how you can care for your heart! Pixabay

New Delhi, September 29, 2017 : World Heart Day is here, and that gives us another reason to reiterate why you should be going an extra step to care for your heart. India accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s burden of heart diseases. This risk in Indians is almost double than their western counterparts and can be mainly attributed to genetics, diet and lifestyle.

An Increasing Trend of Heart Diseases

According to a WHO report released in mid-September, it was revealed that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer are an increasing cause of premature deaths all around the world, taking as many as 30 million lives annually. These diseases cause self-inflicted damage and trace their roots to individual lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, drugs and unhealthy or unbalanced diet.

ALSO READ Even less physically fit people can help themselves to prevent risk of Heart related Diseases: Study

Common Causes of Cardiovascular Diseases

Heart diseases are primarily caused because of accumulation of fats, cholesterol and other substances within and on the walls of the arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis.

This build-up begins from a young age and ultimately results in blockage of the arteries, which disabled the heart from pumping necessary quantity of blood. This, in turns, results in various disorders of the heart and the blood vessels.

Symptoms of Cardiovascular Diseases

Typical symptoms when your heart’s health is fluctuating will include chest pain or angina, breathlessness, sweating, palpitations and gastric pain. Some people may even complain of bloating or abdomen fullness.

Your heart is the reason your body is doing everything it can. So why not do something special for your heart on this World Heart Day?

World Heart Day 2017

World Heart Day is celebrated on September 29 and focuses on a holistic approach to generate awareness about cardiovascular disease.

A truly global initiative, World Heart Day is aimed to unite people from all corners of the world in the fight against cardiovascular diseases and encourage healthy hearts and healthy lifestyles across the world.

Heart diseases are the biggest man-made killer in India and the world. So what should be done on this World Heart Day to address the problem? All you have to do is keep your ABCDEF in check.

But how strong are your ABCDEF’s? Let’s find out!

6 Simple Tips To Keep your Heart Healthy Forever:

  • ABC: “A1c, Blood Sugar & Cholesterol” :

ABC remains for A1C, Blood Sugar, and Cholesterol individually. A1C is a test to check for glycated hemoglobin; it is fundamental to hold ABC levels in line for a more beneficial heart. You must also make it a habit to monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol levels and endeavor to keep the levels inside the recommended confines.

  • D : Diet  “Eat Heart Healthy Diet” :

You must consume a heart healthy diet that includes supplement-rich foods: Nutrition is critical to general well-being. As indicated by several nourishment researchers, a diet healthy for the heart, comprising of nutritious foods, for example, 1.5 servings (43 grams) of almonds may decrease levels of heart harming inflammation and additionally bring down aggregate and LDL cholesterol. Consumption of fish or salmon is also good for the heart as they are a rich source of Omega-3.

E : Exercise “Maintain a Healthy Waistline” :

It is a well established fact that a healthy waistline directly corresponds to cardiovascular well-being. Accumulation of fat on the stomach is directly proportional to rising blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and soaring triglycerides level which are significant hazard factors for heart ailments. As previously revealed, consumption of 42 grams of almonds every day reduces belly fat and waist circumference- and increase in both of which are well-established coronary illness risk factors.

F : Fit Lifestyle “Fitness begins with an active lifestyle” :

As indicated by the American Heart Association, 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week is prescribed for development in heart-health. Alternatively, you can also undertake 75 minutes of energetic or high-force exercise.

Physical activity is a boon for your heart; no amounts of healthy or controlled diet will prove beneficial unless complimented with a fit lifestyle.

Additionally, if your heart’s health is on your mind, then you must quit smoking.

Smoking harms the inner lining of the arteries and further deposits fat, thereby resulting in clogging. A cigarette may seem small, but its effect can be long lasting and ultimately result in death. These include a stroke, angina or a heart attack.

ALSO READ Worried About Your Heart’s Health? Make These 5 Spices a Part of Your Diet and See the Benefits Yourself!

These activities must not only be taken into account to celebrate World Health Day. Instead, aim to make them a part of every routine and witness how life changes for the better!

A little effort today will go a long way to keep you healthy and ready for all that life has to offer. On this World Heart Day, if you take a pledge to keep your ABCDEF’s under check, a healthy heart and a fit lifestyle are sure to follow!

 

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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India’s Textile and Fashion Heritage now part of Google project

Google's project 'We Wear Culture' is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

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Google's new art project 'We wear Culture' digitizes fashion, Wikimedia
  • Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India
  • It intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures
  • Its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

June 15, 2017: To a certain extent, a culture is defined by what is worn by its people. In a country as diverse as India, vast and varied spectrum of cultures and clothes is one of the specialties. Google’s latest virtual exhibition project now provides us the opportunity to explore and know more about it.

Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago, from the ancient Silk Road to the unmatched elegance of the Indian Saree,  from the courtly fashion of Versailles, to the Victorian ballgowns with intricate thread work.

According to Amit Sood, director of Google Arts and Culture,”We invite everyone to browse the exhibition on their phones or laptops and learn about the stories behind what you wear. You might be surprised to find out that your Saree, jeans or the black dress in your wardrobe have a centuries-old story. What you wear is true culture and more often than not a piece of art.”

Culture is defined by what is worn by its people. Click To Tweet

The company also mentioned that noteworthy collections from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and varied weaves from across India, from Gharchola to Patola to Temple to Ikat sarees will be included in the online project, as it intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures.

ALSO READ: New Google Project Digitizes World’s Top Fashion Archives.

According to PTI reports, the world fashion exhibit also includes designs from north-eastern India including the weaves of tribes such as the Nagas, Meitis. it will showcase the traditional attire from Meghalaya called ‘Dhara’ or ‘Nara’ worn by the Khasi women as well.

As a part of the exhibit, Sewa Hansiba Museum has brought the unique colorful and rich embroidery arts, applique and mirror work from different communities such as the Ahir, Rabari, Chaudhury Patel and many others from the western part of India online.

The exhibition conducted by Salar Jung Museum brings to light the Sherwani and its journey of becoming the royal fashion statement of the Nizams from 19th century Hyderabad. Fashion and textiles enthusiasts can revisit Colonial Indian attires with Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. Over 400 online exhibitions and stories sharing a total of 50,000 photos, videos and other documents on world fashion are open to exploration as well.

The ‘We wear Culture’ initiative highlights significant events in the growth of the world fashion industry; the icons, the movements, the game changers and the trendsetters like Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, Audrey Hepburn and many more.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang