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Category Archives: Alternative Medicine
Posted: December 30, 2019 at 12:46 pm
SPRING HILL Wellness through attention to body, mind and spirit is the aim for adults, students and even pets at WellCome Om Holistic Wellness Center, a unique and recent addition to lifestyle education in Hernando County.
Opened with a full range of offerings this fall, the institute is housed in three architecturally dynamic buildings, extending to open-air learning spaces in a leafy, six-acre campus at 4242 Lake in the Woods Drive, just off Commercial Way.
Founder Dr. Maria Scunziano Singh is a physician of internal medicine with another diploma in naturopathic medicine. In establishing the center over several years, she explained, I have always wanted to bring truth to the public for living healthier, (with) a more balanced body, mind and spirit, and to know there is something beyond therapeutical, surgical and pharmaceutical. The concept embodies the holistic approach shes developed over her 58 years.
All things we have, Singh continued, can be for improvement of health overall, to enhance wellness. We dont have to treat things.
Under Singhs direction, eight on-site professional staffers are joined regularly by guest practitioners and consultants to lead processes, she said, to awaken, to educate and to nurture and to prevent illness.
At WellCome, meditation focuses on wakefulness, said administrator Natalya Musallam, a registered medical assistant with a college degree in health and wellness. The center educates through speakers and hands-on activities.
Among the facilities, the salt room has really taken off, Musallam said. The comfortably heated room is akin to a beach with salt crystals instead of sand underfoot, pressed salt walls and salt embedded in the ceiling. Treatment in the room is said to reduce respiratory inflammation, improve breathing and fight bacteria.
The dry heat, infrared sauna for whole-body detoxification is drawing approval from those who find wet saunas overly intense, she said.
In a sparkling stainless steel commercial kitchen, a visiting chef offers periodic cooking classes, showcasing plant-based dishes with new preparations, a particular hit with vegans and vegetarians, Singh said.
Organic edibles, body essentials and a range of eco-friendly products are for sale at the centers Conscious Market. Among them are honey, vegetable oils, seeds, dried herbs, fresh bulk greens in season, as well as kitchen gadgets, goat milk soaps, local artisan jewelry and crafts.
Market workshops have focused on using essential oils and concocting ones own body and skin products.
The outdoor landscape is edible, Musallam noted, pointing out lemongrass hedges, pineapple plants, fig and peach trees, and healing herbs.
In the movement studio, classes practice several forms of yoga, plus tai chi, kick-boxing, tribal belly dance, Latin dance, Pilates and guided meditation. Whole health includes attention to the arts, Singh believes, and a series of weekly classes on the subject begins in late January.
Special for teens is the iEmpower Club, which teaches leadership skills, making a difference and providing opportunities to earn community service hours.
As for pets, a recent lecture dealt with the use of essential oils for their benefit. Healthy pet treats are available at the Conscious Market.
Center memberships are available starting at an introductory $20. Massage starts at $45, movement classes, from $15. Details are available on the website, WellComeOMCenter.com.
A number of lectures and activities are offered free to the public. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Community and special events may be scheduled evenings and Sundays.
Contact the writer at email@example.com.
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Posted: at 12:46 pm
Image Credit: AFP
For all the flak the pharmaceutical industry has taken for its exorbitant pricing practices, theres no getting around the fact that its been a pretty stunning decade for medical progress.
Multiple new categories of medicines have moved from dreams and lab benches into the market and peoples lives, and investors who came along for the ride often reaped extraordinary profits. The Nasdaq Biotech Index is up 360 per cent over the last 10 years to the S&P 500s 190 per cent. And thats without mentioning the hundreds of billions of dollars in takeovers that rewarded shareholders with windfalls.
As 2020 approaches, its worth highlighting how far weve come in the past 10 years in developing new therapies and approaches to treating disease, even as politicians grapple with how to rein in health-care costs without breaking an ecosystem that incentivises the search for new discoveries.
Here are some of the decades biggest medical breakthroughs:
First approved in the US two years ago, these treatments still sound like science fiction. Drugmakers harvest immune cells from patients, engineer them to hunt tumours, grow them by the millions into a living drug, and reinfuse them. Yescarta from Gilead Siences Inc. and Novartis AGs Kymriah the two treatments approved so far can put patients with deadly blood cancers into remission in some cases. At the beginning of the decade, academics were just beginning early patient tests.
Its still early days for the technology, and some issues are holding these drugs back. There are significant side effects, and the bespoke manufacturing process is expensive and time-consuming. That has contributed to a bruising price tag: Both of the approved medicines cost over $350,000 (Dh1.28 million) for a single treatment. And for now, cell therapy is mostly limited to very sick patients who have exhausted all other alternatives.
Luckily, more options are on their way. Some drugmakers are focused on different types of blood cancers. Others hope to mitigate side effects or create treatments that can be grown from donor cells to reduce expenses and speed up treatment. In the longer run, companies are targeting trickier solid tumours. Scientists wouldnt be looking so far into the future without this decades extraordinary progress.
Researchers have spent years trying to figure out how to replace faulty DNA to cure genetic diseases, potentially with as little as one treatment. Scientific slip-ups and safety issues derailed a wave of initial excitement about these therapies starting in the 1990s; the first two such treatments to be approved in Europe turned out to be commercial flops.
This decade, the technology has come of age. Luxturna, a treatment developed by Spark Therapeutics Inc. for a rare eye disease, became the first gene therapy to get US approval in late 2017. Then in May came the approval of Novartis AGs Zolgensma for a deadly muscle-wasting disease. The drugs have the potential to stave off blindness and death or significant disability with a single dose, and, unsurprisingly, Big Pharma has given them a substantial financial endorsement. Roche Holding AG paid $4.7 billion to acquire Spark this year, while Novartis spent $8.7 billion in 2018 to buy Zolgensma developer Avexis Inc.
Dozens of additional therapies are in development for a variety of other conditions and should hit the market in the next few years. They offer the tantalising potential not just to cure diseases, but to replace years of wildly expensive alternative treatment. If drugmakers can resist the temptation to squeeze out every ounce of value by doing things like charging $2.1 million for Zolgensma, theres potential for these treatments to save both lives and money.
The above treatments modify DNA; this group uses the bodys messaging system to turn a patients cells into a drug factory or interrupt a harmful process. Two scientists won a Nobel Prize in 2006 for discoveries related to RNA interference (RNAi), one approach to making this type of drug, showing its potential to treat difficult diseases. That prompted an enormous amount of hype and investment, but a series of clinical failures and safety issues led large drugmakers to give up on the approach. Sticking with it into this decade paid off.
Alnylam Inc. has been working since 2002 to figure out the thorny problems plaguing this class of treatments. It brought two RNAi drugs for rare diseases to the market in the past two years and has more on the way. The technology is also moving from small markets to larger ones: Novartis just paid $9.7 billion to acquire Medicines Co. for its Alnylam-developed drug that can substantially lower cholesterol with two annual treatments.
Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Biogen Inc. collaborated on Spinraza, a so-called antisense drug that became the first effective treatment for a deadly rare disease. It was approved in late 2016 and had one of the most impressive drug launches of the decade. And Moderna Therapeutics rode a wave of promising messenger RNA-based medicines to the most lucrative biotechnology IPO of all time in 2018. From pharma abandonment to multiple approvals and blockbuster sales potential in under 10 years. Not bad!
Scientists had been working on ways to unleash the human immune system on cancers well before the 2010s without much luck. Checkpoint inhibitors drugs that release the brakes on the bodys defence mechanisms have since produced outstanding results in a variety of cancers and are the decades most lucrative turnaround story.
Merck got a hold of Keytruda via its 2009 acquisition of Schering-Plough, but it was far from the focus of that deal. Once Bristol-Myers Squibb & Co. produced promising results for its similar drug, Opdivo, Merck started a smart development plan that has turned Keytruda into the worlds most valuable cancer medicine. Its now available to treat more than 10 types of the disease, and has five direct competitors in the US alone. Analysts expect the category to exceed $25 billion in sales next year.
If anything, the drugs may have been too successful. Copycat efforts are pulling money that could fund more innovative research. There are thousands of trials underway attempting to extend the reach of these medicines by combining them with other drugs. Some are based more on wishful thinking than firm scientific footing. Still, the ability to shrink some previously intractable tumours is a considerable advance. If drugmakers finally figure out the right combinations and competition creates pricing pressure that boosts access, these medicines will do even more in the years to come.
Conquering hepatitis C
From a combined economic and public-health standpoint, a new group of highly effective hepatitis C medicines may outstrip just about anything else on this list so far. Cure rates for earlier treatments werent especially high; they took some time to work and had nasty side effects. The approval of Gileads Sovaldi in 2013, followed in time by successor drugs such as AbbVie Inc.s Mavyret, have made hepatitis C pretty easily curable in a matter of weeks. For Gilead, getting to market rapidly with its drug proved enormously profitable; it raked in over $40 billion in revenue in just three years.
Hepatitis C causes liver damage over time that can lead to transplants or cancer. The existence of a rapid cure is a significant long-term boon even if the initial pricing on the drugs made them, in some cases, prohibitively expensive. Sovaldi notoriously cost $1,000 per pill at launch and over $80,000 for a course of treatment. The good new is, treatments have become a lot more affordable, which should allow this class of drugs to have a broad and lasting positive health impact.
Hepatitis C is one of the relatively few markets where the drug-pricing system has worked well. As competing medicines hit the market, the effective cost of these treatments plummeted. That, in turn, made the drugs more accessible to state Medicaid programmes and prison systems, which operate on tight budgets and care for populations with higher rates of hepatitis C infection. Louisiana has pioneered the use of a Netflix model, under which the state paid an upfront fee for unlimited access to the drug. Its an arrangement that will help cure thousands of patients, and other states are likely to follow its lead.
Many of the medicines highlighted in this column have list prices in the six figures, a trend thats helped drive up Americas drug spending by more than $100 billion since 2009. Building on this decades medical advances is going to lead to even more effective medicines that will likely come with steeper prices. Id like to hope that policymakers will come up with a solution that better balances the need to reward innovation with the need to keep medicines accessible. That would really be a breakthrough.
Max Nisen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering biotech, pharma and health care.
Posted: at 12:46 pm
By Cottage Health | December 25, 2019 | 12:05 p.m.
Is the Internet your first source to check when researching health information? If so, youre not alone.
A recent survey, conducted by United HealthCare, found this was the case for 20 percent of survey respondents. With so much information at our fingertips, it can be hard to know if your search results come from reliable sources.
Brittany Haliani, manager of SAGE Medical Library at Cottage Health, covers this very topic in her Fact or Fiction presentation in which she discusses:
Tools to access authoritative health websites
How to see if your physician is board certified
How to look up your physicians medical license
How to evaluate health information shared on social media
How to access complementary and alternative medicine websites
Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.
You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?
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Posted: at 12:46 pm
Maureen Tonge wasn't supposed to see the end of 2019.
Diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour in January, doctors guessed she could have as little as only four months to live.
But throughout the year,the Yellowknife art teacher has seen her tumour shrink to one-tenth the size and it seems as though she'll beat the odds, she said.
Now, she's taking the holidays to spread a message of gratitude.
"May you find the blessings in the mundane, in the everyday," she told listeners of CBC's Trail's End, "because there is always blessings to be found."
Tonge said she first noticed something was wrong late last year, when she was "suffering quite drastically from anxiety and depression."
"I had lost all forms of balance," said Tonge, who also works as a yoga teacher.
Tonge said she initially thought the problem was seasonal affective disorder. But after she experienced a grand mal seizure in January, she went to the YellowknifePrimary Care Centre.
"The doctor that I saw said, 'Let's rule out the worst-case scenario and get you a CT scan,'" she said. "But being what the system is up here, I didn't hear for two weeks, and then my CT scan wasn't booked for another four weeks."
When she was finally diagnosed with brain cancer, Tonge said she was under the impression shehad at least a year to live.
But the reality was far worse. Her neurosurgeon informed her husband and twin sister, Kirsten Tonge, that she could have as little as four months.
It was Kirsten who helped her recognize that "I didn't really get it right," about the timeline, she said.
Tonge said during this period, she was in "a full-on state of denial."
"[I]had indicated to everyone that would listen that I was neither my diagnosis nor my prognosis and that I would prove them differently," said Tonge.
In March, she began a rigorous, six-week course of chemotherapy.
During her treatment, Tonge, a believer in alternative medicine, recruited the supportive "prayers and positive energy" of "thousands of people from all corners of the globe." She also engaged the services of B.C. based shaman, worked with naturopathic doctors, and used essential oils.
Before her treatment, Tonge's tumour measured approximately 54 cubic centimetres. A followup MRI in late July showed a "dramatic" reduction to just over seven cubic centimetres.
And on Dec. 11, her latest scan showed it had shrunk even further.
She called her recovery "a team effort."
Tonge isn't out of the woods yet while her tumour is reduced in size, she's still getting treatments in Yellowknife and returning to Edmonton for exams and checkups.
"I'm incredibly fortunate to be on long-term disability at this point, and so I am able to focus my days on healing," she said. "I spend typically hours in a day doing different meditations."
Tonge also spends her time practicing yoga, exercising with her dog, learning how to paint, and working on a book about her journey.
She said the past year has been a spiritual journey as much as it has been a physical one.
"I just fairly recently have embraced the fact that I'm a living miracle," she said.
Her advice to others for the holidays is to focus on the present moment and find your blessings in the everyday.
"Honestly, there is only now."
Posted: at 12:46 pm
Tania Maduro and Syngin Colchester are one of the most controversial couples on Season 7 of TLCs 90 Day Fianc. Fans have criticized Tania for many things since her fiance Syngin moved from South Africa to the U.S.
Viewers blamed her for not prepping their temporary home (a she-shed behind her moms house) before his arrival to leaving for 30 days to complete a monthlong herbalism intensive in Costa Rica in the middle of their first 90 days together.
But after the Dec. 22 episode, Judgement Day, 90 Day Fianc fans voiced their criticism about something a lot more trivial. Many viewers noticed that Tania didnt often seem to wear bras, especially during her trip to Costa Rica. Syngins fiance took to Instagram to defend her choices in underwear and clap back at critics.
Under a recent photo of herself in a revealing dress, Tania pushed back against negative opinions from 90 Day Fianc viewers. Can you help with a supporting bra? one Instagram user wrote sarcastically. And when Tania asked why the commenter thought her choice of undergarments was their concern, the critic responded, Its unattractive. Thats why. Do you but posting a pic will get opinions.
The 29-year-old reality star wrote back, Omgosh sorry! Didnt realize I was supposed to be attractive to you. My apologies.
After the most recent 90 Day Fianc episode aired, Tania took to her Instagram stories to share that Syngin was part of her inspiration for giving them up. Fun fact: I never really liked wearing bras, she wrote in response to the widespread criticism. My ex used to call me gross and other mean things the one day I wouldnt wear one. It wasnt until Syngin that I felt empowered and comfortable enough to not wear one.
Tania, who often posts on social media about natural health and alternative medicine, also took the opportunity to contend that bras werent necessary to begin with. Fun facts: Bras are not medically [necessary] to survive. Mostly they are needed for only superficial reasons, the 90 Day Fianc star argued on Instagram.
She also said she was happy with her choice, no matter what anyone thought. My breasts have become perkier when I started to [choose] when I would wear a bra or be braless, Tania wrote. It was because my muscles were finally working.
Tanias unpopularity on 90 Day Fianc thus far has made her a frequent target for criticism on social media. Still, shes never backed down from defending herself or been shy about standing up for her beliefs, both big and small.
In her Instagram stories, Tania even shared a bit of a history lesson about bras in her defense of her decision not to wear them. The modern bra came about predominantly after steel from corsets was needed for wars. Now since the modern bra is fairly new, why were we wearing corsets before?
The 90 Day Fianc star said she now felt free without the obligation to wear a brassiere on a daily basis. And if you wouldnt wear a corset every day, and you feel so much relief the moment you take off YOUR bra, maybe should really dig into why you feel so upset that Im free and [choose] not to wear a bra all the time, Tania declared.
Still, 90 Day Fianc fans didnt shy away from critiquing Tania on her beach photos. Please wear a bra, one Instagram user wrote.
Unafraid to speak her mind, Tania wrote in response, Sorry you dont know the freedom of not having to wear them all the time. And in another snarky reply, she reiterated that she was more free than ever without a bra weighing her down.
How good do you feel when you finally get home from work and you take yours off? she questioned one critic. Now take that feeling and multiply it by 100 because thats how much more free I am than you. Kisses!
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Posted: at 12:46 pm
Five related agencies have joined forces to open the first farm in Northern Thailand to study cannabis farming. The cannabis cultivation and production center, is the first to be opened in Thailand.
The cultivation and production center is located at Petchlanna Organic Farming Community Enterprise in Lampang.
Lampang Provincial Agriculture Office has combined interests with; the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine; the Medical Cannabis Organization; Chiang Mai University; and Rangsit Univeristy. Above all to further advance the research of medical cannabis. Which has also led to the allocation of the first legal zone for cannabis cultivation in Thailand.
The National Farmers Federation plans to expand the cultivation of a Thai strain of cannabis to all regions of Thailand. With planned legal cultivation zones to open in Buriram, Surat Thani, and Kanchanaburi in the future.
The pilot cannabis farm in Lampang is situated on 4.5 rai of land. The Thai cannabis plants are being cultivated using an organic method. The farm is also a part of the study of cannabis growth to prove that cannabis can grow well in regular soil. Outside of special green houses. Cannabis plants from the first cycle will be delivered to the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine for further research and extraction for medical use.
Even with the opening of a legal cannabis farm, it is still illegal for any unauthorized persons to grow cannabis. Even more to have cannabis products in their possession. Such offences are consequently punishable by law.
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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market Future Scope Including Top key Players Herb Pharm, Herbal Hills – Market News Gazette
Posted: at 12:46 pm
Zion Market Research published a new 110+ pages industry researchComplementary and Alternative Medicine Market: by Intervention (Acupuncture, Botanicals, Magnetic Intervention, and Body, Mind & Yoga); by Distribution Channel (E-Training, Direct Contact and Distance Correspondence): Global Industry Perspective, Compreheis exhaustively researched and analyzed in the report to help market players to improve their business tactics and ensure long-term success. The authors of the report have used easy-to-understand language and uncomplicated statistical images but provided thorough information and detailed data on theGlobal Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market. The report equips players with useful information and suggests result-oriented ideas to gain a competitive edge in the Global Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market. It shows how different players are competing in the global market and discusses strategies they are using to distinguish themselves from other participants.
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Herb Pharm, Herbal Hills, Columbia Nutritional Inc., Deepure Plus, Helio USA Inc., Pure encapsulations, Inc., Nordic Naturals, and other wellness institutes like John Schumachers Unity Woods Yoga Center, Iyengar Yoga Institute, The Healing Company, Yoga
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Global Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market: Regional Analysis
To understand the competitive landscape in the market, an analysis of Porters five forces model for the market has also been included. The study encompasses a market attractiveness analysis, wherein all segments are benchmarked based on their market size, growth rate, and general attractiveness. This report is prepared using data sourced from in-house databases, secondary and primary research team of industry experts.
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The report answers important questions that companies may have when operating in the Global Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market. Some of the questions are given below:
What is the current CAGR of the Global Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market?
Which product is expected to show the highest market growth?
Which application is projected to gain a lions share of the Global Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market?
Which region is foretold to create the most number of opportunities in the Global Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market?
Will there be any changes in market competition during the forecast period?
Which are the top players currently operating in the global market?
How will the market situation change in the coming years?
What are the common business tactics adopted by players?
What is the growth outlook of the Global Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market?
Also, Research Report Examines:
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Posted: at 12:46 pm
Written by Chahat Rana | Chandigarh | Updated: December 30, 2019 5:51:31 am Arguably the greatest challenge faced by Chandigarhs residents when it comes to their health, is alleviating the burden of anaemia.
When it comes to the health of Chandigarh, there is an abundance of government schemes and policies, but the condition remains almost the same, says Rachana Shankar, a scientist at the PGIMER Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, who is currently surveying women and childrens health in various parts of the tricity. Shankar says there are times when her work seems futile and her advances in community engagement and health awareness bring no fruition in terms of changing health parameters. Everything begins with women, who bear children as healthy or unhealthy as they are, so the idea is to focus on women and early childcare, explains Shankar, before adding but there is already so much work being done to aid them, so there must be a deeper issue we are not able to solve.
Chandigarh, which ranked second in the composite good governance index for Union Territories in India, boasts not only of some of the most reputed public health institutes, but of an administration which has been commended for its dedication to timely implementation of health-related schemes and policies. Under the Poshan Abhiyan or the National Nutrition Mission, the Chandigarh administration received four awards, including one for effective implementation of the scheme in the city; the city also flagged off three mobile anganwadis which aim to reach children who are otherwise unable to access the anganwadis. The administration has almost completed its goal of establishing 52 Health and Wellness Centers (HWC) in their attempt to fortify primary healthcare in the city and furthermore, many from the health field, including nurses and anganwadi workers, have received national awards for their work in 2019. Yet, as Shankar rightly pointed out, chronic health ailments mostly driven by lifestyle choices are rampant across residents, regardless of their socio-economic background.
The burden of anaemia
Arguably the greatest challenge faced by Chandigarhs residents when it comes to their health, is alleviating the burden of anaemia. According to the last National Family Health Survey, 73 per cent children and 75 per cent women in the city are anaemic. Apart from anaemia, with more than 20 per cent children lacking adequate levels of vitamin A, according to data from the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18, Chandigarh also falls in the danger zone for high rates of vitamin A deficiency.
Director Health Services Dr G Dewan ascribes the high rate of anaemia to inaccurate methodologies used to collect data by the agents sent by the NFHS team. A team of doctors from PGIMER conducted the same research again and found the rate closer to the national average of 50 per cent anaemic women and children, claims Dewan. However, even if the number of anaemic women is around 50 per cent of the population, the statistic is classified as a major health concern under the guidelines of the CNNS. The nutrition survey, which was released this year, classifies anaemia as a major public health concern in regions where more than 40 per cent women and children are anaemic.
Since last year, various officials working under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the Women and Child Welfare Department of the administration have come together to tackle the epidemic. Poshan Abhiyan has united different government agencies under the Anaemia-Free Campaign or the T3 campaign which was launched in September 2019. Though under the ICDS scheme, children and women across the country were given folic acid to treat anaemia for several years, the T3 campaign hopes to make a consolidated effort using a test, treat and talk approach to address the issue from all fronts. The idea is to engage with the community and counsel them on why they need to treat their anaemia and then provide them with long-term solutions including lifestyle changes, rather than just giving them a tablet that they often refuse to take, says Sarita Godwani, a consultant for the Poshan Abhiyan in Chandigarh.
However, according to some doctors and nutrition experts, efforts to alleviate anaemia have been made too late by the authorities, and hence getting quick results will be next to impossible. These things cannot be done in a jiffy, it takes a lot of time to change the dietary and lifestyle habits of a population. We knew the rates of anaemia had been high since 2017, but work has truly begun only now, says a nutrition expert from the city who wishes to remain unnamed. So even though in name and writing we have all these provisions for health, there has been no thorough investigation and implementation of effective ways of impacting the health of our citizens. These efforts, including counselling, have just come into being now, so it will take a lot of time for things to change, i.e. if they change at all, says the expert.
The question of nutrition
If given an option, 10-year-old Sumit, a resident of a construction site in Dhanas whose parents work as daily wage labourers, would eat a packet of chips over the kadhi-chawal served by anganwadi workers to all the women and children living at the site. If I could get my hands on some change, I would buy chips every day, says the boy with a sheepish smile, clutching the hand of his severely malnourished younger sister, who has come under the radar of frontline health workers due to her developmental retardation. They all flock to buy junk food, it is no wonder all our efforts seem futile sometimes, says the anganwadi helper at the site. At another slum near Panchkula inhabited by scores of malnourished kids, a small store next to the slum is filled with kids of all ages buying chips and other junk food.
The junk food addiction is not just a problem of the socio-economically backward of Chandigarhs population. The packet of chips connects Sumit and the slum children to their more privileged counterparts in the city as well, who if given the option will tear into the transfat-laden packaged food before touching the hot nutritional food otherwise prepared for them. The nutritional deficiency on the one hand of course is aggravated by your socio-economic background, but on the other it goes beyond that and reveals our complete lack of awareness when it comes to dietary choices we need to make for our health even if we have the means to afford all kinds of food, says Raveesh Grewal, a nutrition consultant for Poshan Abhiyan, whilst on his way to a site for a regular checkup of those diagnosed with severe malnourishment. At the site, the nutritionist quickly spots a child with Severe Acute Malnourishment (SAM) by her significantly bloated belly caused by water retention. Every day we spot someone new with severe malnourishment, almost every day, says Grewal.
Though there is no recent study published on the prevalence of malnourishment in Chandigarh or the rest of the tricity, the rampancy of the issue is not only vouched for by the research conducted by doctors and health workers in their individual capacity, but also by high rates of occupancy in Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers (NRC) in the city. In November, Newsline reported on the over-occupancy of the NRC at civil hospital Panchkula, which treats children from across the tricity and the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. The centre, which aims to rehabilitate severely malnourished children by giving them essential carbohydrates and increasing their weight at least by 15 per cent, is perpetually over-occupied. Hence, the doctors stationed at the centre are forced to let go of those that have improved a little in a shorter than stipulated time period, to make space for cases that require more urgent care. We do our best with whatever resources we have, and we also provide counselling to mothers so hopefully people improve their nutritional intake and lifestyles when they go back home instead of falling to the same debilitating condition again, says Dr Rohit Sharma.
This short-term approach will do nothing in terms of getting out of the vicious cycle of malnutrition, especially for those who do not have the means to give adequate time to their children, says Dr Poonam Khanna, nutrition expert from PGIMER school of public health, who has conducted extensive research on women and child health in the region. According to Khanna, for those who come from weaker economic backgrounds, especially those who live hand to mouth, productivity is the key to survival. So it becomes almost impossible for them to focus on their childrens health enough to make sure they remain out of the red zone of malnutrition, says Khanna, referring to the stratification of levels of malnutrition provided by the World Health Organization, with red zone being the most life-threatening.
Apart from hindering mental development, one of the biggest effects of malnutrition is stunting. Stunting is not limited to the underprivileged. For example, I too am stunted, we dismiss stunting as something that is just in our genes, but I am stunted because my protein intake was not adequate despite my mother being privileged enough to give me attention and adequate amounts of food, says Shankar, the woman scientist at PGIMER. According to her, there is an acute lack of awareness and hesitation in changing our lifestyles no matter our socio-economic background. We all need 55 grams of protein a day, how many of us truly follow that? says Shankar, before adding, No matter what treatment is provided by the government, unless preventive measures are put in place through awareness and lifestyle changes, we will continue to accumulate chronic health issues which will affect us for the rest of our lives, says Khanna.
Integrating AYUSH and Yoga
Apart from focusing on womens health and early child development, the UT Administration is working in line with the Central governments National Health Mission (NHM) to promote more indigenous forms of alternative medicine and treatment such as Ayurveda and Yoga. Under the National Health Mission and as prescribed under the National Health Policy of 2017, regions across India have to develop Primary Healthcare Centres known as Health and Wellness Centres (HWC).
The Chandigarh Administration is actively working towards creating 52 such HWCs by March 2020, which will provide a more comprehensive approach to primary healthcare, providing not only basic health services, but also treatment for women and child health, non-communicable diseases, emergency care and free medication for certain diseases. Apart from this, the HWCs are guided by the principle to enable the integration of Yoga and AYUSH as appropriate to peoples needs. AYUSH is an acronym which stands for a conglomeration of alternative medical practices, including Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. After coming to power, the current government promoted AYUSH treatment in the country by setting up a separate AYUSH ministry and dedicating ample funds to work towards strengthening the practice of AYUSH in the country.
According to NHM, the need for integration of AYUSH and yoga in the mainstream is fuelled by a comprehensive, rehabilitative and preventive approach to primary healthcare. Dr Dewan, the Director of Health, says the HWCs will decrease the burden of providing treatment in tertiary healthcare centres such as PGIMER and other public hospitals in the city. Furthermore, this push towards holistic and alternative treatment will be particularly effective for those suffering from chronic conditions which allopathic medicine alone cannot tackle. This comprehensive form of treatment is what we aim to achieve at the primary level. In Chandigarh, the HWCs will be staffed by not only an ANS and an MBBS medical doctor, but also an AYUSH practitioner, says Dewan.
Medical Superintendent at GMCH 32, Dr Ravi Gupta, also welcomes the shift towards alternative treatment. I myself am a big believer in yoga, I have also prescribed yoga to some of my patients who have been suffering for long with chronic illnesses, says Gupta, who adds that the hospital is also working towards building a separate department for AYUSH-related medical therapy. Earlier in 2019, even PGIMER had announced its decision to start prescribing yoga asanas as treatment to its patients. By March, the reputed tertiary health care centre had signed a memorandum of understanding with Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, a university in Bangalore, for facilitating research collaborations on yoga at the hospital.
Furthermore, yoga has been made a part of the curriculum of city schools, and is also prescribed under the Poshan Abhiyan for adolescent girls, pregnant women and children. Under the Fit India Programme, schools have been asked to conduct at least 20 minutes of yoga for students almost every day. Some schools have had to follow the directive even if that means making the children sit at the playground in the cold. Officials from Poshan Abhiyan have been distributing pamphlets that prescribe yoga exercises for women and children in different age groups, according to their physical and mental health needs. For example the booklet for pregnant women will have those asanas that will benefit her during her pregnancy, without compromising on her and her childs health, says Godwani, the consultant for Poshan Abhiyan at Chandigarh.
PGI prescribes caution
Though a comprehensive approach to healthcare and a dedication to universal health coverage in the city is welcomed by all, medical professionals have voiced their contentions with the focus on AYUSH. At the end of the day, we all have to turn to allopathic treatment, which is our first and primary line of defence, says a senior PGIMER doctor who wishes to remain anonymous. We welcome the approach, and we should expand the ambit of treatment, especially when it comes to chronic and lifestyle-related issues, but at PGIMER for one, people come here in the most precarious condition, and these patients can be helped only through modern medicine, says the doctor. The doctor also believes that the burden of treatment at PGIMER will not be lightened by an increasing focus on alternative treatment, but through a fortification of existing primary healthcare infrastructure. For example the local dispensaries need be stocked with basic medicine and a good MBBS doctor at all times. We should ensure that before we expand into this whole wellness fad, adds the doctor.
Even Dr Ravi Gupta, who has great faith in yoga and its myriad health benefits, is skeptical of the extent of its effect when it comes to primary health care in the city. Unfortunately, though there is anecdotal evidence of the benefits of alternative medicine and yoga, there is no thorough scientific research conducted about its actual benefits, says Gupta. So allopathic practices can never be replaced, and I dont think that is what the administration is attempting to do anyway, but still the focus on AYUSH and yoga has a separate place in medicine, which can never challenge the benefits of modern medicine, Gupta sums up.
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Each month, the Tampa Bay Times selects a letter of the month. Several of the winners recently visited with us and learned more about the editorial board and the Times. Reprinted below are the winning letters from December 2018 through October. Lets keep the conversation going and the letters flowing in 2020.
Editorial: Let DNA testing remove doubt in death row cases | December 2019
I have firsthand knowledge of how difficult it is to get DNA tested for a death row inmate. My father, Thomas Arthur, was executed in Alabama on May 25, 2017, after more than 35 years on death row. He fought for years to test the DNA. There was a lot of it, blood, hair and more. He was not the best father and had been in prison. He got out and seemed to be a better man but was arrested for the murder that landed him on death row shortly after his release. Finding any sympathy or justice was an uphill battle. The biggest reason DNA was denied for so many years was the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which created deadlines for inmates to file certain appeals.
In Alabama, you are not entitled to an attorney on death row and at the time he needed to file, there was no law library and he had no money to file anything. We were pretty poor. I will always wonder if he committed the murder that sent him back to prison and death row. The inmates family is treated badly. I had to walk into the execution chamber surrounded by reporters and to the laughter of several state and prison representatives. The families of both the victim and the inmate deserve to know for sure if the person really committed the crime. Denying inmates the right to test DNA is wrong, especially when the technology did not exist at the time of the crime. I said at my fathers execution I would like to see DNA testing mandatory in all cases in all states. Otherwise, everyone is stuck in limbo, unable to find closure. We have executed innocent people. My father may have been one of them. I will never know for certain. Thats the way the state prefers it.
Sherrie Stone, Riverview
Maxwell: The joy of reading, from father to son to daughter to grandsons | January 2019
Thank you, Bill Maxwell, for writing about the importance of reading in the home. I cried when I read it. I have been an elementary school teacher for 20 years 12 in Pinellas County and a mom for almost 18. I have said from the beginning of my career that learning begins with the parents, and that a solid foundation prior to starting school is a key to success in the classroom. Like Mr. Maxwell, my husband and I read to our daughter in utero, and as often as we could after she was born. My husband and I are both avid readers, so our daughter has always had access to books and magazines at home. She understands the importance of being a reader and values that skill. She thrived as a result of her early, constant exposure to language, both in print and conversation.
Being a parent carries with it an enormous responsibility. That responsibility includes engaging your child from the very beginning with letters, sounds and words. The myriad programs our public schools have put forth in an effort to close the academic gap will continue to fail because the bottom line is learning has to start from day one, and it has to start with parents.
Jana Bailey, St. Petersburg
The seriousness of a persons social gaffe should be judged, not by todays standards, but in the context of societal standards at the time and place where the gaffe occurred. As an example of how standards evolve, consider the following: In the late 30s and early 40s, my fathers church would stage minstrels in which the performers appeared in blackface, and no one seemed to think much about it. I feel that it was done more out of ignorance, at that time, of the feelings of black people rather than of any malice or hatred.
Today such behavior would be thought abhorrent. By the mid-40s, my father was a champion of integration to the extent that he received threats upon his life and on the lives of his family. Awareness of the feelings of others can and does evolve, and a persons behavior in the past should be judged by the standards of the past, and that persons character should be judged by the totality of their behavior, past and present.
Tom Hagler, Wesley Chapel
College admissions scandal: Whos Mark Riddell, the Florida man and really smart guy who took tests for kids? | March 2019
What a mess. One coach allegedly took a $400,000 bribe to place a student on her team roster to help her get into Yale. As a mother of two teenagers attending a private university in Florida, all I can think of is thats exactly how much my kids college tuition costs for both of their four-year degrees. Money that this middle-class family didnt have. An issue that kept me awake night after night, but I had faith it was going to get resolved. I just didnt know how. Fast forward three years. My children went to college, but not because we paid any shady company to help them cheat on their test scores or to make them the top athletes. What did happen was a lot of hard work, hours of practicing and tutoring. And they did get their good test scores, and they did get accepted to their college of choice, and they also did get merit-based scholarships.
We only did what a normal parent does. We provided moral and emotional support, continuous and unbiased guidance, and we paid for their exam fees. We also stayed up with them during their studying times so that they would feel like we had their back no matter what the results. I dont feel bad for those parents involved in this scandal. I do feel bad for their children.
Marielys Camacho-Reyes, Haines City
Florida House passes bill allowing teachers to be armed, sending it to Gov. DeSantis | April 2019
I am a nobody. I have no voice. I, along with thousands of people directly involved with education such as educators, PTAs, communities and unions, wrote, emailed, called and visited legislators asking that teachers not be armed. Those contacts were ignored.
Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 4, which gave voting rights to felons who have completed the terms of their sentences. Legislators have decided to alter what voters wanted by adding restrictions, which now might make felons pay court costs and fees before being able to vote. Floridians spoke about money that was earmarked to be given specifically to public schools. But legislators, in their ploy to dismantle traditional public schools in order to promote charter schools, disregarded the will of the people, giving more money to charter schools in spite of the fact that charter schools are not held to the same rules. This year I am a nobody. But eventually, my voice will be heard.
Marilyn Warner, Clearwater
Dont wait for the glossy postcards to appear in your mailbox at election time, all bearing your legislators versions of their record. Find out now how they voted, which is easily done, online. Did they vote to strip money from traditional public schools, diverting it to private firms and charters, including the entire budgeted amount for school repairs? Did they support the measure that leaves Floridas teachers among the poorest-paid in the nation, yet still call themselves pro-education? Did they ignore the voters again, steering $270 million away from the Forever Florida amendment and into the states bureaucracy? Did they contribute to rigging the electorate, once again, by virtually nullifying Amendment 4s voting rights restoration? How did they vote on the road to nowhere, a project designed to line the pockets of rich landowners at our expense? Did they support the unconstitutional flow of state tax money into vouchers for private and religious schools? At campaign time, my own senator sings a different tune about his record; his votes tell the truth. Now is the time, voters, to look at reality.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg
Measles cases are on the rise, but some Tampa Bay parents wont vaccinate their kids | June 2019
The article on vaccination was well done. In my 50 years as a practicing physician, I am still baffled by the mindset that ignores valid science and replaces it with unscientific nonsense. And the people who fall into this category are often intelligent, educated and generally nice people. So what makes them ignore science and put their faith in often dangerous misinformation? I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but it seems to me that this situation requires accentuation of a number of basic human emotions, and among these two stand out: fear and paranoia. But what makes these people use the fruits of science in everyday life cellphones, computers, air travel, etc., yet go back centuries into a nonscientific period when it comes to health issues? Many years ago I had a patient, the wife of an airline pilot, ask me what I thought about alternative treatment for her malignancy. I told her to ask her husband what he thought about alternatives to the instrument landing system. These people have found a way to divorce health science from other science. There is no good reason for this. The sadness and frustration over child health issues is very understandable. We always look for a cause when bad things happen. The well-known fallacy post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) seems inherent to the human condition, but such reasoning is often fallacious. This is why rigid scientific trials exist. The availability of previously unimaginable amounts of data are now available on the internet, which is both wonderful and dangerous. With regard to medicine, we must adopt the attitude of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). There is no sign to tell you whether your internet search is yielding treasure or trash. The famous physician William Osler summed up the anti-vaccination stance in 1915. He proposed taking 10 vaccinated and 10 unvaccinated people with him to work in the next epidemic. Osler said, And I will make this promise neither to jeer or to jibe when they catch the disease, but to look after them as brothers; and for the three or four who are certain to die I will try to arrange the funerals with all the pomp and ceremony of an anti-vaccination demonstration. Have we learned nothing in 100 years?
Dr. John Clarke, St. Petersburg
Trumps racist rant requires a collective response | Editorial | July 2019
I was 6 when I was told by a parent of a white classmate to go back to where I came from. It was confusing because I was born in this country. Throughout my life, whether in school or playing sports, I can recall several instances where I was told to go back to Africa, usually followed by the N-word. If you ask any person of color, whether born here or not, most will tell you of similar experiences.
As I got older, I came to realize these taunts came from small-minded bigoted individuals who put me down to make themselves feel superior and better about their lives. Sadly, I also can recall my teachers, coaches, clergy and friends who did not come to my defense and pretended the incident never happened. Racism and hate crimes are on the rise in America, and it is no coincidence. History has proven that silence is not golden, and this president has history with racism. Is this where we are with the GOP and this country?
Neil Armstrong, Tampa
If you are a duck hunter you are required to use a plug that limits the magazine to three shells. This rule is intended to give ducks a fighting chance to evade being shot by a hunter armed with an autoload shotgun. We, as conservatives, (mostly) agree this is a good rule to avoid decimating the wild duck population while advancing a policy of skill and accuracy. Our Constitution prevents taking away peoples guns, but lets consider giving people the same consideration as wild ducks. For example: (1) permanently limit magazine capacity to three rounds; (2) allow only one magazine per gun; (3) possession of non-compliant magazines will be fined $10,000 per incident. The goal is not gun control but to give hunted people the same sporting chance we give wild ducks.
Bernard Waryas, Dunedin
Take me out to ballgame? Nah | Sept. 2019
Its just not true that the Rays lack fan support. Ironically, you report that the TV and radio ratings have spiked. The games have been getting the highest ratings in the market, and the share is among the best for all MLB markets. Not a surprise. Hundreds of thousands of baseball fans live here. The reason for low attendance is obvious and has been written about before. But it bears repeating. The problem lies with you, St. Petersburg, the location of the stadium and the above-ground nuclear fallout shelter you built to house baseball. Let me explain. I attended the final game against the Yankees. I left my home in Forest Hills, a north central Tampa neighborhood, at 5:45 p.m. to arrive at a 7:10 p.m. game. On a normal traffic day, its 30 miles and about 37 minutes. I arrived at the stadium at 7:35 p.m. and got to my seat about 7:45 after a long walk down a concrete corridor that blocked my view of the game, almost exactly two hours after I left home. I missed the first two innings, and Joey Wendles home run (an historically rare event in itself). Most of that drive time was spent on I-275 between the Ulmerton Road exit and the 38th Avenue N exit, a distance of just over 6 miles. That drive took just over 40 minutes.
The stadium is inaccessible for most of the fans in the Tampa Bay market. Its location makes it reasonably accessible to South Pinellas and South Tampa. The total population of those areas is a bit over 500,000. From Largo north in Pinellas and from Seminole Heights to the north and east, its impossible to get to a game for most working people. The distance and the bottleneck of routes to St. Petersburg has effectively cut the Rays off from the teams fans. The stadium is reasonably accessible to less than 20 percent of them.
Rex Henderson, Tampa
I am white, privileged and educated. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh summa cum laude, and I cannot afford to live in Tampa Bay, specifically, Bradenton. I was only able to live here because of the generosity of my parents for the last two years. Almost all of my friends live at home. We are in our 20s and 30s, working service-related jobs, because this area offers little to no professional work. At $11.87 an hour, I hustle 40 hours a week as a library assistant at Selby Library in downtown Sarasota, and on the weekends I babysit, dog-sit, cat-sit or just sit (as in doing laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills). I love Selby; I love books, my co-workers, the idealism and freedom that public libraries still offer. I dont love that anything costing over $10 takes considerable thought as to whether it is necessary or not. When trying to find affordable housing, I simply had to laugh because all I could budget for on my current salary is $250 a month; a cheap HOA fee for some. I am completely priced out. In a culture (still) deeply divided by race, class and gender, how are our black, brown, Latinx and queer residents getting by? I am not. They are not. We are not. So tip generously, act kindly and remember all of us invisible folk, the ones who serve you day after day. We are trying so hard to simply make ends meet. Vote to increase minimum wage and take a stand for us, for this community. Until then, I have to move to where the grass is greener on the other side (as in anywhere, but here).
Emily Grant, Bradenton
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By GILLIAN SLADE on December 30, 2019.
For local seniors the possibility that the city will stop funding senior services at the Veiner Centre has loomed large this year.
In October, councillors on the public services committee voted 2 to 1 in favour of sending the citys recommendation about the future of seniors services to council for a decision.
The recommendation includes a transition to a multi-service model for seniors services, conducting a community evaluation to identify what services would best meet the needs of seniors, and to then issue a request for proposals (RFP) with the possibility of an independent governance operating model for the Veiner Centre and Strathcona Centres.
Recently the city held the first of two public consultations to hear what services are important to seniors.
At the consultation, held at the Veiner Centre, a number of people said they felt the membership fee going from $40 to $100 a year and $300 a year if you want to use the exercise equipment has contributed to the drop in number of members.
There was also a sense that along with a lovely new building after the 2013 flood, the operating model was transformed changing the atmosphere as well.
Once the community consultation is complete, staff will evaluate the feedback and explore alternative operating models.
A recommendation will be forwarded to council in the spring of 2020.
In August, Aaron Nelson was appointed the citys new manager for community connections and support and this includes overseeing the Veiner Centre.
Also this year the provincial government decided to not renew the appointment of the seniors advocate. The seniors advocate office was established in 2014 and Sheree Kwong See was appointed for a three-year term in September 2016. Some of the staff in that office and some of the budget for the seniors advocate will be transferred to the existing health advocates office. The health advocate reports directly to the minister of health.
Since Kwong See was appointed the seniors advocates office handled 3,560 client cases with a budget of about $980,000. About $770,000 of that amount accounting for salaries and benefits.
Medicine Hat hosted the 55Plus Summer games in 2019. Hosting the event raised $250,000 and some of that was spent on improvements that will continue to benefit the local community.
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