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Common chemicals may reduce vitamin D levels

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ISLAMABAD: Exposure to certain common chemicals called endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in several consumer products, including plastic bottles, may reduce levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream, said a study.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) are found in everyday products and throughout the environment. Bisphenol A (BPA), a known EDC, is often found in plastics and other consumer products.
“Nearly every person on the planet is exposed to BPA and another class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals called phthalates, so the possibility that these chemicals may even slightly reduce vitamin D levels has widespread implications for public health,” said the study’s first author Lauren Johns from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
The study examined data from 4,667 US adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2005 and 2010. The participants provided blood samples so their vitamin D levels could be measured. To measure EDC exposure, the participants had their urine analyzed for substances left behind after the body metabolized phthalates and BPA, Medical Xpress reported.
The study found people who were exposed to larger amounts of phthalates were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream than the participants who were exposed to smaller amounts of the EDCs. The link was strongest in women. There also was an association between exposure to higher levels of BPA and reduced vitamin D levels in women, although the relationship was not statistically significant in men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anti-polio campaign to start in Karachi from today

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KARACHI: Mass immunization campaigns, known as National Immunization Days (NIDs), would be started from today to administer anti-polio drops along with the supplement of Vitamin A to over 2.3 million children up to five years of age in all 188 union councils in the metropolis during seven days.
More than 9000 polio teams will perform their duties in the campaign, it was decided in a meeting chaired by Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Sualeh Farooqui, at his office, said a statement on Sunday. Briefing about security arrangements it was told the meeting that foolproof security arrangements have been made to ensure the security of polio teams. The meeting was attended among others by Municipal Commissioner KMC Dr. Saifur Rehman, all Deputy commissioners, all district and town health officers, officials of Police, Pakistan Rangers, Health
Department, Emergency Operation Centres (EOC). The Commissioner stressed the need to work with the focus based strategies addressing issues specifically in all areas.  He said that there is a great need to work for the improvement of micro plan and communication strategy. He asked the Deputy Commissioners to make all-out efforts to make the campaign result oriented. He urged the parents to cooperate with the polio teams to ensure their children are safe as a vaccine, given to them multiple times, can protect them for life. The Commissioner also stressed the need that efforts should also be made to administer polio drops to school going children of up to five years of age.
It was informed to the meeting that the Education department’s private school secretariat has instructed the concerned private schools to help the administration and cooperate with the polio teams in carrying out their duties for providing children the protection from the crippling decease. It was decided in a meeting that awareness campaign of teachers, as well as parents, would be initiated with the support of school administrations in coordination with the Directorate of the Private Schools. He said that polio eradication was a national cause and it would be the top priority of city administration to carry out its efforts for the elimination of poliovirus.

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Insulin can also treat bowel inflammation

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ISLAMABAD: Insulin, which plays a key role in managing blood sugar, also has potential to act against colitis a chronic bowel inflammation, said a study.
The study, conducted on mice, showed that chronic bowel inflammation can be treated effectively by injecting insulin into the rectum, health news reported. Insulin works because it activates a gene inside the bowel cells, which has an antioxidant effect and thus may be able to protect the bowel cells from inflammation.
“Existing treatments attack the bowel’s immune system, dampening it, instead our method strengthens the bowel cells’ own defense. It appears to work equally well, and it can probably be used in combination with existing treatments,” said Jorgen Olsen, Professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
For the study, published in the scientific Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, the team examined the effect of the treatment in a series of tests on mice with chronic colitis of the type Colitis Ulcerosa. The cause of these bowel disorders is unknown but they cause patients great discomfort and can involve bloody diarrhea, anemia, stomach ache, and weight loss.
The researchers have studied the effect of the insulin treatment in various ways.  The team found that treatment with insulin led to a 50 percent drop in the amount of inflammation, compared to the saltwater control treatment. Further, the mice also lost 15-20 percent less weight than the control group and importantly, they gained weight 50 percent faster, following the treatment. Based on the positive results, the researchers will now test the treatment in clinical trials on humans.

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Protect kids’ eyes from too much screen time

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ISLAMABAD: Specialist Ophthalmologist on Saturday warned parents that too much screen time can result in digital eyestrain, which can include burning, itchy, or tired eyes, headaches, and head and neck pain are other threats for children using screens too often and too long.
Specialist Umer Sohail explained, with the popularity of video games and online activities, dry eye is becoming increasingly prevalent in children and teens glued to their screens. The condition can cause permanent eye damage.
“The problem with screen time is it actually has some pretty significant side effects on our eyes particularly kids’ eyes,” he said.
He said that children are exposed to screens for longer amounts of time than ever before. This widespread access to smartphones, tablets, games consoles, TVs and laptops is causing concern amongst doctors internationally.
The doctor said that computer vision syndrome is the visual discomfort you or your kids experience after watching TV or using your gadgets for an extended time. Your eyes may feel sore, heavy and tired. This may also be accompanied by headaches, nausea and dry eyes.
Umer Sohail said beyond correcting any vision problems, proper eyewear should only serve to enhance your child’s safety that means parents need to keep an eye out for any aspects of glasses or contacts that may pose additional hazards.
Parents should stay alert to subtle cues, too, such as making sure there’s no white in the pupil of a child’s eye. Experts say children are developing it because they aren’t blinking enough while glued to their devices, he added.
“These behaviors can cause damage to the cells of the eyes which are important for avoiding dry eye disease,” he mentioned.
He suggested moderation is key when it comes to how much time a child spends looking at a small screen. “Take breaks about every twenty minutes or so,” Dr said. “Try to focus on something kind of far away in the room. Blink your eyes a few times before going back to the activity that they’re doing.”
Current recommendations say children between ages 2 and 5 should limit their screen time to one hour per day. For children 6 and over, they should use screens in moderation.
He says, “it’s becoming more clear that increased use of devices, as well as just increased reading, potentially at close proximity, without some regular break intervals, could lead to that increase.”
Expert recommended encouraging children to adopt good posture when using technology and to keep anything with a screen about 18 to 24 inches away from their eyes.
Remind them to blink when looking at a screen and don’t allow them to use computers in brightly lit areas to help protect against eye strain, he concluded.

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