HEALTH TRIBUNE Wednesday, November 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India
 


Diabetes-consciousness or an epidemic in India
Dr R. J. Dash
NOVEMBER 14 is World Diabetes Day when all of us with concern for this disease should reaffirm our commitment to the eradication of diabetes. Diabetes is the talk of the world today as the number of patients is rapidly increasing due to the adoption of Western life style and other factors. Men and women at a young age are developing diabetes and the cost of the total management of the ailment and its complications involving the eyes, kidneys and foot gangrene is rising.

Non-smokers and caring for good health, they are unlikely to have diabetes in their life. (Courtesy GlaxoSmithKline)

Our mind knows us well!
Dr Rajeev Gupta
T
HE human mind is the most versatile organ in the body. It is a storehouse of extensive information, experiences, images and emotions. In fact, it not only stores but also analyses and selects the material. It is constantly working and has a tremendous power of creation. It can scrutinise the existing possibilities and create new ones. The best thing about our mind is that it is our own mind and knows us well. It is aware of our strength and weaknesses. It is fully aware of our limitations. It is ready to accept new pieces of information and delete the old ones. It is flexible and ready to change its own concepts. It is always at our command provided we treat it like a helper and do not allow it to become the master.

  • Worries dissipate energy
  • Learn to relax

AYURVEDA & TOTAL HEALTH
Coconut is not merely a large nut!

Dr R. Vatsyayan, Ayurvedacharya
O
FFERED on happy occasions and at festivals and considered auspicious coconut represents the blissfulness of Indian culture and tradition. It is scientifically called Cocus naucifera. Its Sanskrit and Hindi names narikela and nariyal literally mean a water-containing fruit.

DO WE KNOW?
Cannabis is wonder drug
Anthony Browne

London, November 6
Cannabis is a “wonder drug” capable of radically transforming the lives of very sick people, according to the results of the first clinical trials of the drug. Tests sanctioned by the British Government are proving far more successful than doctors, patients and cannabis campaigners ever dared hope.


 
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Diabetes-consciousness or an epidemic in India
Dr R. J. Dash

NOVEMBER 14 is World Diabetes Day when all of us with concern for this disease should reaffirm our commitment to the eradication of diabetes.

Diabetes is the talk of the world today as the number of patients is rapidly increasing due to the adoption of Western life style and other factors. Men and women at a young age are developing diabetes and the cost of the total management of the ailment and its complications involving the eyes, kidneys and foot gangrene is rising.

The number of 150 million patients with diabetes in the world in the year 2000 is expected to double in the next 25 years. A bigger number of individuals will be at risk because of obesity, alcohol and tobacco abuse, physical inactivity and stress.

India has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of diabetes patients and will remain so for a long time. It is an uncontested fact. One in every eight adults is a diabetic in Indian towns and cities, while in the countryside, one in 16 or 20 has diabetes. The total number of patients with diabetes in the country at present is estimated at 27 million. It will be over 57 million by 2025. Western life-style, coca-cola culture and stress in daily life are clearly visible. Together with the outcome of diabetes inflicting heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and foot gangrene, many human lives are prematurely lost. These menaces must be arrested.

The cost of new drugs, new formulations and synthetic human insulin is unaffordable for the majority of Indian patients.

Light at the end of the tunnel was seen when a report from the National Institute of Health Study in the USA on the prevention of diabetes said that life-style modification alone could prevent diabetes in more than 50% subjects at risk!

Do not blame parents for imparting defective genes to us to induce diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, which are all related. The blame falls squarely on the patients would be who ape the western style of living without any thought. To contain the epidemic, we should get genuinely interested in physical activity, avoid calorie-dense foods, aerated beverages alcohol and tobacco.

Let us use the walking tracks every morning and evening, eat our breakfast as a king, lunch as a commoner and dinner as a pauper. Speak more to friends and relatives than munching snacks and watching the idiot box.

Let us reduce diabetes by adopting measures for its prevention. An early diagnosis and the adoption of needy patients for treatment assistance are wise things to do.

The Rotarians and the Lions should spread the message that diabetes is preventable. Camps should be organised for the detection of new cases and for evaluating early complications in the known ones. The health-care providers should develop diabetes-care services at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Insulin formulations should be made tax-free and these should be sold at a uniform rate throughout the country to prevent malpractices. Let us try to make ourselves diabetes conscious and healthy.

Prof Dash MD, DM, is the Head of the Department of Endocrinology at the PGI, Chandigarh.
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CME on diabetes next month

A full-day Continuing Medical Education Programme (CME), followed by a conference on diabetes for two and a half days will be held by the Department of Endocrinology at the PGI, Chandigarh, from December 14 to December 17. The guest faculty will include senior Professors from India and abroad. Over 300 delegates from all over the country have registered themselves.

Doctors from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi interested in diabetes have been invited to attend the conference for the latest information on diabetes. For details one can contact Prof R.J. Dash, Head of the Department of Endocrinology, PGI, Chandigarh, or reach via e-mail ridash@rediffmail.com. For the full programme, one can visit the website www.glemarkindia.com or www.diabetes.org.in.

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Our mind knows us well!
Dr Rajeev Gupta

THE human mind is the most versatile organ in the body. It is a storehouse of extensive information, experiences, images and emotions. In fact, it not only stores but also analyses and selects the material. It is constantly working and has a tremendous power of creation. It can scrutinise the existing possibilities and create new ones. The best thing about our mind is that it is our own mind and knows us well. It is aware of our strength and weaknesses. It is fully aware of our limitations. It is ready to accept new pieces of information and delete the old ones. It is flexible and ready to change its own concepts. It is always at our command provided we treat it like a helper and do not allow it to become the master.

Our mind somehow carries some element of "collective unconsciousness", a term coined by Carl Jung. It carries without clear logic imprints of collective human behaviour even from our remote-past ancestors. There is nothing astonishing about it. We observe it in animals. Who teaches a bird to make a nest? Who teaches ants to travel in lines? Who teaches a honeybee to collect nectar from flowers and deposit it in a honeycomb? Who teaches sea turtles to travel thousands of kilometres and come to the seacoast in Orissa to lay eggs? And who teaches the young turtles to swim back to their own colonies? This is not learns behaviour. This is innate or inborn behaviour. Genetic inheritance is passed on from generation to generation. Behaviour is imprinted and this has been flawlessly going on for millions of years.

Similarly, the human brain carries unlimited sources of energy and strength, which can be utilised in constructive as well as destructive ways. See how some among us become so creative and productive. Such people have stimulated their brain cells in a positive direction. They have oriented their minds towards one goal and trained them to dip into the deep, hidden sources of energy present in each one of us.

Worries dissipate energy

Our day-to-day problems and worries keep our minds entangled, and exhaust us. The increasing involvement with so many routine activities leads to mental exhaustion. Some of these, of course, cannot be avoided. We have to follow a pursuit for earning a livelihood. We have to pay money for everything we purchase in the market. Similarly, we have to look after our family. But there are a number of mental activities that can be avoided to save energy — for instance idle gossip, the criticism of others, quarreling over trifles and digging pits for others to fall into. These are negative activities that waste our mental energy. One must scan one's activities and try to delete unproductive ones in order to conserve this energy for constructive purposes.

Focus your attention on positive thoughts and actions. Worries exhaust our mental energies. Tensions have the same role to play. An optimum degree of tension is a must for all of us to survive and grow. But beyond a point it has a negative role. It becomes counterproductive. Unconscious energy's reservoir is available only to a relaxed and calm mind.

What happens when we are angry? We feel completely mentally exhausted. We even lose control over our mental faculty and do certain acts just to repent later. We are unable to concentrate and do simple jobs. It is a common observation that those who get angry and easily explode over simple issues often complain of mental and physical fatigue. They keep on having muscular pain and bodyache. They frequently pick up fights with others and spoil relations with them. They are unable to exploit the resources available to them. Their brain cells remain constantly over-excited. So, they consume more energy even when they are actually doing nothing. They find themselves incapable of doing higher tasks.

Learn to relax

One must remember that a relatively or completely relaxed mind can provide better coordinated and effective output. You may have seen some people who are usually relaxed. Others have mastered the simple psychological, behavioural and physical techniques to become relaxed. Millions of people around the world have learnt these techniques and there is no reason why you can't do the same and get the benefit.

The author is a consultant psychiatrist and de-addiction specialist at the MANAS Psychology and De-addiction Centre, Tagore Nagar, Ludhiana (Ph. 472822 and 472899)

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AYURVEDA & TOTAL HEALTH
Coconut is not merely a large nut!
Dr R. Vatsyayan, Ayurvedacharya

OFFERED on happy occasions and at festivals and considered auspicious coconut represents the blissfulness of Indian culture and tradition. It is scientifically called Cocus naucifera. Its Sanskrit and Hindi names narikela and nariyal literally mean a water-containing fruit.

Ayurvedic texts describe three stages of the coconut fruit — bala (unripe), madhyama (ripening) and pakva (ripened). At the unripe stage, water is the only consumable thing in it whereas later the quantity of water becomes small and soft, and fleshy pulp comes up. The fruit becomes hard and devoid of water in its ripened stage.

Coconut is sweet in taste and heavy, unctuous and cold in effect. Coconut water alleviates vata and pitta.

Ancient acharyas have depicted coconut water as cool, freshening, digestive, and antipyretic. It also has balya (tonic), diuretic and wound-healing properties. The ripe fruit is considered to be stimulant, hot in potency, and the reliever of pelvic spasms. Coconut oil has been described as keshya (hair-nourishing), good for the skin and possessing many other qualities similar to that of cod liver oil. The water of the fresh, unripe fruit contains protein and glucose (sugar) besides chlorides and phosphates. Vitamin A and B are also found at this stage.

Coconut has a lot of medicinal properties. Fresh coconut water is given to the patients of dehydration and sunstroke. It allays excessive thirst and pacifies the burning sensation. It is an acclaimed medicine. In acute and chronic gastritis. While reducing acidity, coconut water also helps in healing gastric ulcers. Due to its diuretic action, it is beneficial in burning micturation and urethritis. Dried coconut kernel is considered to be an aphrodisiac and hot in effect.

Since time, immemorial, coconut continues to be a part of many ayurvedic formulae and is a popular household remedy for a number of problems.

Here are a few tips
Patients suffering from stubborn acidity and gastric ulcer can take 100 to 200 ml of fresh coconut water of the unripe fruit two times a day. It is a trusted natural remedy for increased acid secretions. In hiccups, it can be given as an adjunct. During convalescence, coconut water does excellent replenishment. In diarrhoea, dysentery, infections of the urinary tract and febrile conditions, the use of coconut water helps restore normalcy. The massage of the scalp with coconut oil nourishes the hair. It forms the base of many popular brands of hair oil. Coconut oil is also used in allergic skin conditions, eczema, burns and scalds.

Though leaves and roots of the coconut tree are also used as medicine, it is the fruit which finds a more exalted status. Coconut pulp is eaten raw and is used in culinary items like chutneys and curries. Ayurvedic texts mention Narikelkhand, Narikelalavan and Narikelamrita as classic medicines which contain coconut as their main ingredient.

Dr R. Vatsyayan is an ayurvedic consultant based at Sanjivani Ayurvedic Centre, Ludhiana. (Phones: 423500 and 431500;e-mail - sanjivni@satyam.net.in)

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DO WE KNOW?
Cannabis is wonder drug
Anthony Browne

London, November 6
Cannabis is a “wonder drug” capable of radically transforming the lives of very sick people, according to the results of the first clinical trials of the drug.

Tests sanctioned by the British Government are proving far more successful than doctors, patients and cannabis campaigners ever dared hope.

Some of the patients are simply calling it a “miracle”.

Taking the drug — which it is still illegal for doctors to prescribe — has allowed a man previously so crippled with pain that he was impotent to become a father; a woman paralysed by multiple sclerosis to ride a horse for the first time in years; and a man who couldn’t sit up in a chair on his own to live without a carer.

Until now claims of the benefits of the drug for certain conditions have been anecdotal. But the preliminary results of the UK government trial, started last year, suggest that 80 per cent of those taking part have derived more benefit from cannabis than from any other drug, with many describing it as “miraculous”.

The results make it almost inevitable that the Government will bow to public pressure and legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes by 2002. Scientists now predict that cannabis - first used for medicinal reasons 5,000 years ago — will follow aspirin and penicillin and become a “wonder drug” prescribed for a wide range of conditions.

Bowing to pressure for a less hard-line attitude, the Home Office started the first major cannabis trials in the world to see whether there was any scientific basis for its use as medicine. A licence was granted to a specially formed drug company to grow the plants under controlled conditions in a secret location in southern England. Twenty-three patients, suffering from multiple sclerosis and arthritis, were recruited on to the first trial, and given daily doses of cannabis by spraying it under the tongue, before wider trials were started.

The remarkable stories of the patients were been revealed on the BBC television programme Panorama, which was granted unique access to them.

Alex Ure, a former paratrooper, suffers from a severe spinal condition. The pain was so bad he considered suicide; he found legal painkillers turned him into a zombie and he couldn’t have sex with his wife, Wendy, for five years. But after starting the trial he became a father. “I couldn’t even bend down and play with a child before — I could do anything now,” he said. His doctor, Willy Notcutt, of James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth, was sure the cannabis was responsible: “His pain has been sufficiently controlled to engage in sex again,” he said.

Jo, the wife of a school chaplain, suffered so badly from multiple sclerosis she would struggle to lift her legs up in the air six times. After she started the trial, she could lift her legs 25 times. “It’s miraculous, really extraordinary. I’ve never had any sort of relief of this kind, and I’ve tried pretty well everything,” she said.

Tyrone Castle, a former publican, started suffering from multiple sclerosis when he was 21 and became so incapacitated he needed two helpers to winch him out of bed. He also suffered from uncontrollable spasms. Cannabis has transformed his life.“It has really helped sort out my spasms. It helps me sleep because I don’t spend the night jumping about. The difference in my legs is unbelievable — they are no longer stiff as a board,” he said.

Notcutt said the trial was a success: “The results have exceeded what I dared hope for. We’re getting 80 per cent of patients getting good-quality benefit from the cannabis. For some we are getting almost total relief from their pain, with pain scores going down to zero.”

Doctors believe cannabis could eventually prove useful in conditions such as osteoporosis, cancer, HIV and AIDS, arthritis, spine injury and certain forms of mental illness.

— Observer News Service
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