The Telangana Science Journal

Health and Nutrition

(An International Electronic Science Digest Published from the United States of America)
(Click here to subscribe to this free e-journal)
(Dedicated to one of the most backward regions in India, "Telangana," )

Chief Editor: Dr. Sreenivasarao Vepachedu


Issue 96

5107 Kali Era , paardhiva Year, Margasira month
2063 Vikramarka Era, paardhiva Year, Margasira month
1927 Salivahana Era
paardhiva Year, Margasira month
 2005 AD, December


Diet and Exercise
Financial Health
Fruits, Vegetables & Memory
Fish, the Toxic Risk on Your Plate
Diabetes, Obesity & Alzheimer's
Vitamin D
Alcohol Causes Bone Loss

Mind-Body Connection
Heart and ED
Yoga Cures Back Pain
Passive Smoking
The Sex Attractants
Your Ancestry
Early Puberty in Americans
Raspberry Passion fruit Swirl
Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms
Vegetable Soup
The High Cost of Waiting

What is an "interest-only" loan?

Diet and Exercise
Fruits, Vegetables & Memory
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables not only makes you healthier but may also help keep your memory strong, says a study. A team of researchers led by Heidi Wengreen at the Utah State University tested the memory of over 5,000 seniors up to four times over an eight-year period. The group of seniors with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables, five or more servings a day, scored higher on the test than the rest of the participants. Moreover, those who nibbled on plenty of veggies and fruits were able to maintain their memory over time. Higher intake of fruits and vegetables may protect memory.  Eating more fruits and vegetables in your later years offers benefits to both body and mind. Earlier the same research group also found that taking daily vitamin E and C supplements cuts the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Fish, the Toxic Risk on Your Plate
Supermarkets throughout the Chicago area are routinely selling seafood highly contaminated with mercury, a toxic metal that can cause learning disabilities in children and neurological problems in adults, a Tribune investigation has found, in one of the nation's most comprehensive studies of mercury in commercial fish.   Testing by the newspaper showed that a variety of popular seafood was so tainted that federal regulators could confiscate the fish for violating food safety rules.  The testing also showed that mercury is more pervasive in fish than what the government has told the public, making it difficult for consumers to avoid the problem, no matter where they shop. Full Story at:,0,4192281.story.

For young children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and women who could get pregnant--some fish might do more harm than good. Mercury can damage the central nervous system of children, causing subtle delays in walking and talking as well as decreased attention span and memory.  Adults can experience headaches, fatigue, numbness in the hands and feet, and a lack of concentration. Some studies suggest that men also face an increased risk of heart attacks. No one knows how many people in the U.S. have been harmed by mercury in fish. But a recent government study estimated 410,000 babies are born each year at risk for mercury poisoning because of high levels in their mothers' bodies.

Mercury is a metallic element (Hg) that occurs naturally in rock and soil, and is released into oceans by underwater volcanoes. It also is released into the environment from the burning of fossil fuels, including coal. Bacteria in water convert the metal into a toxic form known as methylmercury, which becomes more concentrated and dangerous as it moves up the food chain. Cooking does not remove mercury from fish because the metal is bound to the meat. For example, a piece of tuna will have the same amount of mercury whether it is eaten raw as sushi or cooked on the grill.

Because mercury passes easily through the placenta and can harm the developing central nervous system, fetuses and young children are most vulnerable to its effects. So pregnant women, nursing mothers, women of childbearing age and young children should not eat large fish

Shopping at supermarkets, health food stores and gourmet fish shops is not safer. Because mercury is ubiquitous in the world's oceans, and once it gets into fish it cannot be removed, it likely does not matter who catches the fish, processes it or sells it. There is no evidence that buying premium brands helps. Whole Foods Market, which bills itself as the world's leading retailer of natural foods, said its seafood likely has as much mercury as fish sold elsewhere. "It's a global problem," said spokeswoman Ashley Hawkins.

Mercury does not stay in the body forever. It takes about six months to a year to leave the bloodstream once exposure stops.  However, mercury can permanently damage the nervous system in children.

The symptoms of mercury poisoning:
For small children:
  Subtle decreases in learning abilities
  Delays in walking and talking
  Decreases in attention or memory
For adults:
 Numbness in hands and feet
 Loss of concentration, coordination or memory
 Blurred vision
 Hair loss
Sources: EPA, FDA, California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Dr. Jane Hightower and Chicago Tribune

The tea, discovered in China nearly 5,000 years ago, has long been thought to have health benefits. A few cups of tea every day may lower the risk of ovarian cancer, finds a Swedish study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.   Women who reported drinking two or more cups of tea per day were 46% less likely to develop ovarian cancer compared to women who never drank tea. Women who drank less than two cups of tea also saw a benefit, although it was not as great. Tea type was not specified, but most of the subjects reported drinking black tea.   There could be factors other than tea itself that affected the women's ovarian cancer risk, such as tea drinkers could have had healthier lifestyles than the other women.

If you suffer from gum disease, you may find that eating grapefruit significantly reduces bleeding. Researchers from the Friedrich Schiller University, Germany, discovered that people with gum disease experienced much less bleeding (of the gums) if they ate two grapefruits a day for two weeks. Smoking is associated with a much higher incidence of gum disease. It was advised not to brush teeth immediately after consuming the grapefruits. This is because citrus fruits are acidic and can weaken tooth enamel making it susceptible to erosion. You can read about this study in the British Dental Journal.

Diabetes, Obesity and Alzheimer's Connection

A team at the University of California, San Diego found eating lots of fat blocks production of an enzyme key to the production of the hormone insulin.  Details are published in the journal Cell.
The number of people with diabetes has soared to over two million in the UK.  Of these, the vast majority - about 1.7 million - have the type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity. Morinaga Milk Industry has announced the results of its latest research on aloe barbadensis leaf. The company has conducted a trial that covers 70 people who are diagnosed as borderline diabetic.  The trial results indicate that a regular intake of aloe barbadensis gel has helped reduce the levels of fasting blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin. Accordingly, the company concludes that aloe barbadensis leaf may play a role in preventing and improving diabetes.  Details of the research will be presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society of Adult Diseases to be held in January 2006.

If heart disease and diabetes aren’t bad enough, now comes another reason to watch your weight. According to a study just released, packing on too many pounds can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  A team led by researchers at the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Western Australia has shown that being extremely overweight or obese increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. They found a strong correlation between body mass index and high levels of beta-amyloid, the sticky protein substance that builds up in the Alzheimer’s brain and is thought to play a major role in destroying nerve cells and in cognitive and behavioral problems associated with the disease.

A compound isolated from a cyanobacterium, a type of blue-green algae known as Nostoc, shows promise of becoming a natural drug candidate for fighting Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, according to an in vitro study by researchers in Switzerland. It is believed to be the first time that a potent agent against Alzheimer's has been isolated from cyanobacteria, commonly known as 'pond scum.' The study was published in the Dec. 26 issue of the Journal of Natural Products.

Vitamin D
A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found. The evidence for the protective effect of the "sunshine vitamin" is so overwhelming that urgent action must be taken by public health authorities to boost blood levels, say cancer specialists.  A growing body of evidence in recent years has shown that lack of vitamin D may have lethal effects. Heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis are among the conditions in which it is believed to play a vital role. The vitamin is also essential for bone health and protects against rickets in children and osteoporosis in the elderly.

The findings from America are controversial because very high doses of Vitamin D can have serious side-effects. More than 2,000 IU - 50 micrograms - a day can lead to the body absorbing too much calcium, possibly damaging the liver and kidneys. Dark-skinned people may need more exposure to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D, and some fair-skinned people shouldn't try to get any vitamin D from the sun because of the danger of skin cancer.  The easiest and most reliable way of getting the appropriate amount is from food and a daily supplement. The findings have been published in the American Journal of Public Health, published on-line December 27, 2005 and to be printed in the February 2006. To learn more about vitamin D, visit the National Institutes of Health.

Exposure to ultraviolet B (UV-B) light was associated with an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers, but not melanoma, new research suggests. The study appears in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Alcohol Causes Bone Loss
Bone loss is an often-overlooked consequence of drinking, but recent research has illuminated how alcohol takes a toll on the bones, according to a new report.  In a review of cell, animal and human studies, Dr. Dennis A. Chakkalakal of the Omaha VA Medical Centre in Nebraska describes how drinking leads to bone loss, higher risk of fractures and slower healing of bone breaks.  The main problem appears to be that alcohol inhibits the normal formation of new bone, Chakkalakal reports in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Mind-Body Connection: Bickering in Marital Life is Unhealthy
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that spouses in hostile relationships had consistently elevated stress levels that affected wound healing. Researchers looked at married couples, primarily white, well-educated spouses, age 22 to 77, who had been married an average of 13 years. The researchers found that blisters healed more slowly following argumentative conversations than after supportive discussions.  The researchers created blisters on the arms of each spouse, then removed the wounded skin and covered the sores to measure healing. During the first session, the couples were asked to participate in supportive discussions, while during the second they discussed topics designed to provoke arguments. The sessions were videotaped and analyzed for hostility, and the couples also answered questionnaires on hostility levels and marital satisfaction. The couples' sores healed more slowly after the argumentative session than the supportive one, the researchers found, and the couples with a more all-around hostile relationship healed more slowly in general than happier couples. Highly hostile couples, i.e., the couples who got along least, had healing rates that were only 60 percent those of less hostile couples. Blood tests also revealed higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in couples following conflicts. Cytokines are linked to a higher risk for a variety of health problems.  The researchers say their findings suggest that both short- and long-term stress in relationships can negatively affect partners' health. There is a clear physiological cost to chronic bickering that could have negative long-term consequences.

A new study finds that women who sleep well and have good friends have low blood levels of a rather nasty molecule called interleukin-6, elevated levels of which have been linked to diseases ranging from Alzheimer's disease to rheumatoid arthritis to cancer.  It's been known that poor sleep quality is associated with higher levels of IL-6, which in turn are associated with higher death rates.  The findings appear in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Heart and ED
A large study of men age 55 and older adds to evidence that erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a warning sign for heart disease.  Men with ED were more likely than other men to experience chest pain, a heart attack or a stroke during the next seven years, the study found.  The results suggest that men who see their doctors for impotence drugs also should consider getting screened for heart disease.

Yoga Cures Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common condition for which usual treatments (drugs such as NSAIDs, pain-killers and muscle relaxants, and exercise) are only modestly effective.  The first major study of yoga for back pain, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, shows that yoga is a viable option for reducing pain. The yoga group in the study was supervised by a trained instructor attuned to low-back pain and that successful treatment also requires that patients practice regularly at home. Study finds that a yoga program was more effective in treating lower back pain than another exercise program or reading a book about low back pain.  At 12 weeks, the yoga group had better back function than the other exercise group or the education group, although all reported about the same levels of pain. At 26 weeks, the yoga group reported better back function and less pain than the other two groups. The research study used Viniyoga, a type of gentle yoga with fairly simple poses adapted for the individual, and attention to breathing.
Passive Smoking
A new study by a Cambridge team has found that passive smoking or living with a smoker for five years can double the risk of the disease and regular smoking can triple it, reported in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Mammalian Pheromones, the Sex Attractants
Male Asian elephants are famed for their annual bouts of heightened sexual activity and aggression, called "musth", during which they produce a notoriously pungent cocktail of chemicals to advertise their mating status. The researchers found that more mature males impress females by including a balance of different versions of a particular pheromone called frontalin, which exists in two molecular "mirror-image" forms.  The scientists found that the frontalin is released by the elephants in specific ratios that depend on the animal's age and stage of musth. Whether humans have the ability to communicate using pheromones or not, the research into elephants is considered a significant step forward in the understanding of this signaling in mammals. The aggressive sexual activity of Asian elephants could be a key to understanding the human sex sense, according to new research to be published in the international science journal Nature.

Your Ancestry and Migration Pattern
In one project, spearheaded by National Geographic Society and IBM, participants buy a kit for $99.95, scrape some skin cells from the inside of their cheek, and send the samples in for analysis. Once the DNA is processed, participants learn their haplogroup -- the specific branch on the tree of early human migrations and genetic evolution that their maternal or paternal ancestors belong to. They'll also get a map of the migration routes of those deep ancestors. For more:,312,p1.html

Early Puberty in American Girls
The age at which girls in the U.S.A. reach puberty is continuing to dip, with heavier weights and changing national demographics playing important roles, according to a new study.  Research over the years has documented a gradual decline in the average age at which U.S. girls have their first menstrual period - from the age of 12.75 in the 1960s to about 12.5 in the early 1990s.  The new findings, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, show that the trend has continued. National data for the years 1999 through 2002 put the average age at menarche - the first menstrual period - at just over 12.3 years, researchers at Tufts University in Boston found.  Exactly why girls are reaching puberty earlier is unclear, but many experts find it concerning for a number of reasons. For one, early menarche is linked to an increased risk of breast and uterine cancers later in life, possibly due to the greater lifetime exposure to estrogen. Then there are the questions about what's causing the trend - including whether exposure to chemicals that act as hormone "disruptors," such as PCBs and certain pesticides, is involved. Researchers also suspect that the national jump in obesity and excess weight is playing a role, as it's thought that body fat is important in triggering and maintaining a woman's menstrual cycle.

Young women with type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes are apt start menstruating later than young women without diabetes, a study suggests in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, December 2005. The study also suggests a link between increased levels of total glycosylated hemoglobin (GHb), a measure of blood glucose control, and increased age at first menstruation (i.e., menarche). Better control of blood glucose levels in young women with diabetes might bring the age of first menstruation in line with non-diabetic women.

Raspberry Passion fruit Swirl
Ingredients: 300g / 2-1/2 cups, raspberries, 2 passion fruit /raspberries, 400g 1-2/3 cups low fat fromage frais, 30ml /2 tbsp caster sugar, raspberries and sprigs of mint to decorate.

Direction: Mash the raspberries in a small bowl with a fork, until the juice runs Scoop out the passion fruit pulp into a separate bowl with the fromage frais and sugar and mix well.  Spoon, alternate spoonfuls of the raspberry pulp and the fromage frais mixture into stemmed glasses or one large serving dish stirring lightly to create a swirled effect.  Decorate each dessert with a whole raspberry and a sprig of fresh mint Serve chilled.

Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms
Ingredients: 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms, 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced, 2 cloves garlic, sliced, 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 1/2 tsp. minced ginger, 2 tsp. soy sauce.

Direction: In medium saucepan over low heat, warm olive oil and sesame oil. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Sauté 15-20 minutes or until onions and mushrooms are soft.  Add spinach, ginger and soy sauce. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until spinach is hot.

Vegetable Soup

Ingredients: 8 servings ( 1 cup per servings ), 3 tablespoons canola oil, 4 leeks ( white part only ), washed well and chopped, 1/2 pound asparagus cut into 1/2 inch pieces, 1/2 small yellow squash cut into 1/2 inch pieces, 4 ounces snow peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 4 cups of water, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel.
Direction: Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add leeks and cook 2 minutes, until softened stirring occasionally. Add asparagus and cook 2 minutes until color brightens. Add squash and pea pods and cook 2 minutes or until squash begins to soften.  Add salt, pepper and water bring to a boil . Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Just before serving stir in parsley and lemon peel.

Your Financial Health
The High Cost of Waiting
The biggest mistake you can make is assuming you don't have any money to save. If you earn an income, it's simply a matter of how you're spending it. You can put some money aside each month — if you make saving for your future a priority. The longer you wait the more money you will need to save each month to make up for lost time. See for an example:

If you begin saving for your retirement early in your life, you'll have to put aside much less money each month. If you wait until you're nearing retirement, the amount you'll need to save each month could be near impossible. The illustration at right shows you how time really is money. See for an example:

What is an "interest-only" loan?

This material contains only general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial, tax, medical or health care advice. For information about specific needs or situations, contact your financial agent or physician.
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Source: The primary sources cited above,  New York Times (NYT), Washington Post (WP), Mercury News,, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle (DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP, etc.

Copyright ©1998-2005
Vepachedu Educational Foundation, Inc
Copyright Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc., 2004.  All rights reserved.  All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for special medical conditions or any specific health issues or starting a new fitness regimen. Please read disclaimer.

Om! Asatoma Sadgamaya, Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya, Mrityorma Amritamgamaya, Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih!
(Om! Lead the world from wrong path to the right path, from ignorance to knowledge, from mortality to immortality and peace!)
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