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Messages - maruppharm

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Pharmacy / Re: Anti-constipation Diet
« on: June 01, 2017, 12:00:19 PM »
Very informative raka.

Pharmacy / Re: Medicinal plant database in Bangladesh
« on: May 25, 2017, 10:42:07 AM »
This a very useful database.

Thanks, Fahim.

Pharmacy / Flamingo balancing act saves energy
« on: May 24, 2017, 09:36:39 AM »
Flamingos expend less energy standing on one leg than in a two-legged stance, scientists have confirmed.
It may be their signature pose, but how and why the birds perch on one limb has been a longstanding puzzle.
Now, a team from the US has shown that flamingos employ no active muscular effort when they're unipedal, meaning they are also expending less energy.
A passive mechanism is engaged in the one-legged position, allowing flamingos to stand proud while having a doze.
Previously, researchers had wondered whether the one-legged position might help reduce muscle fatigue, as the birds alternated from standing on one leg to the other.
Other teams have proposed that this behaviour helps regulate body temperature.
Now, Prof Young-Hui Chang, from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, and Lena H Ting, of Atlanta's Emory University, have uncovered the mechanical secrets behind this impressive trick.
The researchers conducted several experiments with both live and dead birds. Amazingly, they found that flamingo cadavers could be made to stand one-legged without any external support.
They describe this phenomenon, as a "passive gravitational stay mechanism".
FlamingosImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption
The birds' bright plumage is a marvel of the animal world
"If you look at the bird from the front, while they're standing on one leg, the foot is directly beneath the body which means that their leg is angled inward. That's the pose you have to strike in order to engage the stay mechanism," Prof Chang told BBC News.
However, dead birds cannot stand unsupported on two legs, suggesting a greater role for active muscle force in this posture: "If you tilt it to the vertical, like you would if you were standing on two legs, the whole thing disengages," said the director of the Comparative Neuromechanics Laboratory at Georgia Tech.
The researchers also studied live birds, and showed that when they were standing one-legged and resting, they hardly moved at all - underlining the stability of this passive position. However, the birds did sway somewhat when the one-legged posture was combined with an activity, such as grooming or calling out.
Prof Chang said the underlying anatomical apparatus that enables the passive posture was not yet understood - this is the next step in the team's research. But he explained that the phenomenon did not involve the limb joints locking.
"A lock would imply that it's fixed in both directions. What we found is that it's fixed in one direction, but flexible in the other direction, so we call it a 'stay' rather than a 'lock'. It's more akin to a doorstop," he told me.
Dr Matthew Anderson, an experimental psychologist who specialises in animal behaviour at St Joseph's University in Philadelphia, described the team's results as a "significant step forward".
The researcher, who was not involved with the latest study, added: "They begin to answer the question of how flamingos are able to rest on one leg. Importantly, these authors do not examine when and where flamingos actually utilise the behaviour in question, and thus this paper does not really address the issue of why flamingos rest while on one leg."
Dr Anderson's own research suggests that the birds adopt the unusual posture in order to conserve heat. Among other things, his team found that the number of birds resting on one leg falls as temperatures rise.
"Providing evidence of the mechanism that supports/allows for the behaviour to occur does not necessarily provide insight into why it happens in the first place."

Pharmacy / Treating children with electroconvulsive therapy
« on: May 20, 2017, 09:54:55 AM »
Electroconvulsive therapy - in which a small electric current is passed through the brain causing a seizure - is now used much less often than it was in the middle of the last century. But controversially it is now being used in the US and some other countries as a treatment for children who exhibit severe, self-injuring behaviour.
Seventeen-year-old Jonah Lutz is severely autistic. He's also prone to outbursts of violent behaviour, in which he sometimes hits himself repeatedly.
His mother, Amy, is convinced that if it wasn't for electroconvulsive therapy - ECT - he would now have to be permanently institutionalised for his own safety, and the safety of those around him.
The use of ECT featured famously in the 1975 Hollywood movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson. Set in a mental institution, the Oscar-winning film cemented most people's view of ECT as barbaric.
But Amy describes the modern version of the therapy as little short of miraculous.
"ECT has been transformative for Jonah's life and for our life," she says. "We went for a period of time - for years and years - where Jonah was raging, often multiple times a day, ferociously. The only reason he's able to be at home with us, is because of ECT."
It's estimated that one in 10 severely autistic children like Jonah violently attack themselves, often causing serious injuries ranging from broken noses to detached retinas. No-one really knows why. Some theories link self-injuring behaviour to anxiety caused by an overload of sensory signals, others to frustration as the autistic child struggles to communicate.
Amy and husband Andy tried countless traditional treatments using medication or behavioural therapy before finally turning to ECT - a treatment that first began to be used on children like Jonah a decade ago, in parts of the US. Each session alleviates his symptoms for up to 10 days at a time - but it's not a cure.
Jonah's doctor, Charles Kellner, ECT director at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, is so convinced it's effective and safe that he allows Amy to witness the procedure and the BBC to film it.
Prof Kellner says the best way to overcome the negative image of ECT portrayed in popular culture is "to show people what modern ECT is really like, and show them the results with patients like Jonah".
Jonah is one of a few hundred children in the US to receive the controversial treatment. He has had about 260 ECT sessions since the age of 11.
Amy and her autistic son Jonah, now 17
"There's a lot of interesting new neural imaging research showing that ECT actually reverses some of the brain problems in the major psychiatric illnesses," Kellner explains, as he makes final checks on the wiring around Jonah's temples.
"We don't know exactly why it works in people with autism and superimposed mood disorders, but we think it probably reregulates the circuits in the brain that are deregulated because of autism."
The modern treatment is carried out under general anaesthetic, with muscle relaxants to prevent violent convulsions. At the flick of a switch, Kellner administers just under an amp of electric current in a series of very short pulses.
Jonah's body begins to shake as the current induces a seizure - ECT specialists think this may "reset" the malfunctioning brain. The convulsions last for about 30 seconds.
Amy is unperturbed by what she sees.
"If a doctor says they need to cut open your child's chest to conduct life-saving surgery, you would allow it. That is more barbaric yet we accept it," she says.
Within an hour Jonah is fully alert. He and his mother head out of the hospital and on to the New York street to find an ice cream parlour.
neural images showing brain activity
Find out more
Viewers in the UK can watch Chris Rogers's Our World documentary My Child, ECT, and Me on the BBC News Channel on Saturday 20 May or Sunday 21 May - click here for transmission times or to watch online
Viewers outside the UK can watch it on BBC World News over the coming week - click here for transmission times
Because the long-term effects of ECT on children exhibiting self-injuring behaviour are unknown, in some countries - and in a handful of US states - the treatment is not allowed. The UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence doesn't recommend ECT for use on under 18s.
But ECT is a well-established treatment in adults for severe, often life-threatening depression. Its use is controversial, though, with memory loss the main acknowledged side-effect. What's disputed is the scale of the memory loss. Studies carried out by ECT doctors suggest lapses are mostly short-term and that memory function soon returns to normal. But opponents of ECT cite surveys claiming to show that more than half of patients suffer serious long-term memory loss.
"It's a traumatic brain injury," says Dr Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist who has long fought the psychiatric establishment, and campaigns for a total ban on ECT. "The electricity not only travels through the frontal lobes - that's the seat of intelligence, and thoughtfulness and creativity and judgment - it also goes through the temporal lobes - the seat of memory. You are damaging the very expression of the personality, the character, the individuality, and even, if you believe in it, the expression of the soul."
For former US Army intelligence officer Chad Calvaresi and his wife Kaci, the potential benefits of ECT far outweigh the risks for their 11-year-old, violently autistic daughter, Sofija.

"When she was aggressing towards me, my instinct as a mom was to grab her and hold her and hug her and wait," Kaci explains. "But she got so big and strong that I couldn't do that."
Sofija spent much of her early life suffering neglect and abuse in a Serbian orphanage, before Chad and Kaci adopted her in 2009. They were determined to give her a better life in America, but in 2016 they suffered the heartbreak of institutionalising her again - this time for her own safety.
"She beat herself so bad her nose was busted and bleeding, her lips were busted open and bleeding," Chad explains. "She gave herself a black eye. I was scared of my own daughter."
Chad shows pictures of Sofija's injuries on his phone
For six months Sofija received medication and therapy as an in-patient at the renowned Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, but there was little improvement. During her frequent violent episodes it often took three highly trained care staff - all wearing protective clothing and shielding Sofija with padded mats - to prevent her injuring herself or others.
After exhausting all other options, Sofija's doctors finally agreed to Chad and Kaci's request to give her ECT. Just a month later her behaviour had improved enough for her to return home.
Sofija comes home
We caught up with the family after six months and more than 30 treatments, and the transformation was remarkable. Sofija was swimming in the family pool and playing with her siblings, and while her violent episodes hadn't disappeared completely, her parents felt they were less intense and more manageable. Sofija was also receiving home schooling in maths and English. "She's sharp as a tack," says Kaci. "The only memory loss that Sofija has had from ECT is she forgets the procedure has actually happened."
ECT for severely self-injuring autistic children like Sofija is still in very limited use, and without a long-term scientific study it remains highly controversial. But even though Sofija is likely to need ECT every week for the foreseeable future, her parents have no regrets - they have their daughter back home.
"It's overwhelming if I think about it," says Kaci, "but what future did she have without it? My hope is she doesn't need it for the rest of her life but at this point I see it like a diabetic needing insulin. It keeps her alive. Literally it keeps her alive and it makes it possible for us to be able to have her in our home living life with our family and enjoying Sofija."
Sofija at home during her maths lesson
Image caption
Sofija enjoys a maths lesson at home
For and against ECT
The Royal College of Psychiatrists says ECT is a "safe and effective treatment for severe depression" in adults but acknowledges on its website that some dispute this:
Many doctors and nurses will say that they have seen ECT relieve very severe depressive illnesses when other treatments have failed. Bearing in mind that 15% of people with severe depression will kill themselves, they feel that ECT has saved patients' lives, and therefore the overall benefits are greater than the risks. Some people who have had ECT will agree, and may even ask for it if they find themselves becoming depressed again.
Some see ECT as a treatment that belongs to the past. They say that the side-effects are severe and that psychiatrists have, either accidentally or deliberately, ignored how severe they can be. They say that ECT permanently damages both the brain and the mind, and if it does work at all, does so in a way that is ultimately harmful for the patient. Some would want to see it banned.

Pharmacy / China claims breakthrough in mining 'flammable ice'
« on: May 20, 2017, 09:51:37 AM »
China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substance under the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply.
Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough.
Methane hydrates, also called "flammable ice", hold vast reserves of natural gas.
Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.
What is 'flammable ice'?
The catchy phrase describes a frozen mixture of water and gas.
"It looks like ice crystals but if you zoom in to a molecular level, you see that the methane molecules are caged in by the water molecules," Associate Professor Praveen Linga from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore told the BBC.
Officially known as methane clathrates or hydrates, they are formed at very low temperatures and under high pressure. They can be found in sediments under the ocean floor as well as underneath permafrost on land.
Despite the low temperature, these hydrates are flammable. If you hold a lighter to them, the gas encapsulated in the ice will catch fire. Hence, they are also known as "fire ice" or "flammable ice".
By lowering the pressure or raising the temperature, the hydrates break down into water and methane - a lot of methane. One cubic metre of the compound releases about 160 cubic metres of gas, making it a highly energy-intensive fuel.
How methane hydrate is formed
The crux, though, is that extracting the gas is extremely difficult and energy consuming.
Methane hydrates were discovered in Russia's north in the 1960s, but research into how to extract gas from them from maritime sediment only began in the last 10 to 15 years.
As a country lacking any natural energy resources, Japan has been a pioneer in the field. Other leading countries are India or South Korea - who also don't have their own oil reserves.
While the US and Canada are also active in the field, they have been focussing on hydrates under permafrost in the far north of Alaska and Canada.
Why is it important?
Methane hydrates are thought to have the potential to be a revolutionary energy source that could be key to future energy needs - likely the world's last great source of carbon-based fuel.
Vast deposits exist basically underneath all oceans around the the globe, especially on the edge of continental shelves. Countries are scrambling for a way to make the extraction safe and profitable.
China describes its latest results as a breakthrough and Mr Linga agrees. "Compared with the results we have seen from Japanese research, the Chinese scientists have managed to extract much more gas in their efforts."
"So in that sense it is indeed a major step towards making gas extraction from methane hydrates viable."
It's thought that there is as much as 10 times the amount of gas in methane hydrates than in shale for instance. "And that's by conservative estimates," says Prof Linga.
methane hydratesImage copyrightUSGS
Image caption
Methane hydrates recovered in the Gulf of Mexico by the US Geological Survey
China discovered flammable ice in the South China Sea in 2007.
Nestled between between China, Vietnam and the Philippines, the South China Sea has in recent years been an increasingly contentious issue, with Beijing claiming sole sovereignty over it - and hence rights to all natural reserves hidden under its surface.
What next?
While indeed a breakthrough, China's success is still only one step on a long journey, Prof Linga explains.
"It is the first time that production rates actually seem promising," he says. "But it's thought that only by 2025 at the earliest we might be able to look at realistic commercial options."
An average of 16,000 cubic meters of gas with high purity have been extracted per day in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea, according to Chinese media.
But Mr Linga also cautions that any exploitation of the reserves must be done with the utmost care because of environmental concerns.
The potential threat is that methane can escape, which would have serious consequences for global warming. It is a gas that has a much higher potential to impact climate change than carbon dioxide.
So the trick is to extract the gas without any of it slipping out.

Brennan Agranoff is a 17-year-old with a lot on his plate.
The high-school junior balances homework with another full-time job he's had since he was 13: He's founder and CEO of HoopSwagg, a custom socks startup.
HoopSwagg isn't just a little project on the side for this teenager. In four years, Agranoff has grown his idea to make custom-design athletic socks into a profitable online-only business with annual sales of more than $1 million.
Agranoff's lightbulb moment came in 2013 at a high-school basketball game, where he noticed most kids were wearing the same plain Nike athletic socks. If these simple socks started such a craze, he wondered: What would happen if he kicked things up a notch and printed custom designs on them?
brennan agranoff
Brennan Agranoff, founder and CEO of custom socks startup HoopSwagg.
Related: An Indian technologist creating factory jobs in America
Fast forward four years, and HoopSwagg now offers more than 200 original designs created by Agranoff himself: a mix of goofy (a melting ice cream cone), funky (a spoof of the infamous Portland International Airport carpet) and tongue-in-cheek ("goat farm," a family inside joke scattered with photos of the real animals on the family's property). Agranoff also wants to allow customers to create their own designs in the future.
The company is now shipping 70 to 100 orders a day, with each pair of socks priced at $14.99. And this week, HoopSwagg announced its first acquisition: It bought competitor, which will add over 300 designs to the portfolio and help expand HoopSwagg's customer base.
brennan boxes
HoopSwagg ships its custom socks to customers nationwide.
But HoopSwagg started small. After Agranoff's initial idea at the school basketball game, he spent six months researching logistics like machinery and technology needed for custom digital printing on fabric.
He then made the case to two potential investors: his parents. "They thought the concept was a little out there," Agranoff said. But he was persistent and ultimately received a $3,000 loan.
In true startup fashion, HoopSwagg launched in the family garage in Sherwood, Oregon, just outside of Portland. Agranoff set up the design printing and heat presser machines with his family's help. He enlisted his parents to buy "as many white athletic socks as they could get from Dick's Sporting Goods."
Hoopswagg's first year was slow. But momentum grew quickly after the socks -- which Agranoff said are "for everyone from 6-year-olds to 80-year-olds" -- took off on social media.
Related: Stores are scooping up this nut-free ice cream
Agranoff leveraged his own social network and targeted a group of social influencers to help spread the word. In particular, the sock design inspired by the Portland airport's former teal-and-geometric-shape pattern went viral, bringing more attention to the brand.
As sales soared, the company quickly outgrew the garage. The Agranoff family built a 1,500-square-foot building on their property to accommodate production, warehousing and shipping.
Brennan warehouse
Agranoff in his new 1,500 square feet warehouse on the family's property.
His mother joined the business full-time, and Agranoff also has 17 other part-time employees. But self-sufficiency is key to his success, he said. Agranoff also taught himself to code, so he could better set up and manage his business' website, and how to use graphic design tools to develop the designs. He remains the company's only graphic designer, though he is colorblind.
Related: A cloth slow cooker is empowering rural women around the world
For now, the socks are primarily sold through HoopSwagg's website and via Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), eBay (EBAY) and Etsy. The next three years are pivotal for HoopSwagg, said Agranoff, who wants the brand to be in retail stores," said Agranoff. He's also expanding customization to other products like shoelaces, arm sleeves and ties.
Meanwhile, Agranoff is set to graduate high school six months early. While college is in the plan at some point, he's slated to focus on HoopSwagg full-time after high school graduation. He currently spends about six hours per day on the business, after putting in a day of school and finishing his homework.
While Agranoff has never taken a business class, he learned a lot by buying items at garage sales and selling them on eBay -- a pursuit he began when he was eight.
"So really, I've been learning how to do this for a while," said Agranoff. "Especially today, with all the information available on the internet, you can't be too young to learn how to be an entrepreneur."
CNNMoney (New York)

Pharmacy / Re: The rise of drug resistance
« on: April 20, 2017, 09:57:20 PM »
This is becoming a serious issue. Please take advice from an expert before taking any drug. You can get this expert advice from model pharmacy.

Pharmacy / Spread of human disease from animals mapped
« on: June 18, 2016, 02:56:03 PM »
Scientists say they have developed a better way to predict how animal diseases can spill over into humans.
Their model for Lassa fever, which is spread by rats, predicts that there will be twice as many human cases of the disease in Africa by 2070.
The method can be applied to other disease threats such as Ebola and Zika, they say.
Like the Ebola virus, the Lassa virus causes haemorrhagic fever and can be fatal.
Lassa fever virus currently affects between 100,000 and one million people a year in western sub-Saharan Africa.
A rat found in parts of the continent can pass the virus to people.
Scientists led by Prof Kate Jones of the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at UCL looked at about 400 known outbreaks of Lassa fever between 1967 and 2012.
Lassa fever
Lassa virus is carried by the Mastomys rat, which is found in parts of Africa.
The virus is passed to people through direct contact with infected rats by catching and preparing them for food, or by food or household items contaminated with rat droppings or urine.
The virus can also be transmitted through contact with body fluids of an infected person.
Around 80% of people with Lassa virus have no symptoms or have symptoms that mimic other illnesses, such as malaria.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, abdominal pains, sore throat and facial swelling.
Source: World Health Organization
They developed a model to calculate how often people are likely to come into contact with disease-carrying animals and the risk of the virus spilling over.
It shows more areas of West Africa are at risk from Lassa fever spill-over events than previously thought.
Disease outbreaks
"Our model suggests that in future, it is likely to become a greater burden on local communities spreading to more areas with approximately twice as many spill-over events predicted by 2070," Dr Jones and colleagues from the University of Cambridge and the Zoological Society London report in the journal, Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
The method takes into account environmental change and the way human populations are expected to grow.
The projected increase in cases is largely due to climate change, with the rat that passes it to people (M. natalensis) thriving in hot and wet conditions, they say.
Meanwhile, growth in human populations in certain areas will mean more people coming into contact with the rodent.
"This model is a major improvement in our understanding of the spread of diseases from animals to people," explained Prof Jones.
Lassa fever virusImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image caption
Lassa fever virus
"We hope it can be used to help communities prepare and respond to disease outbreaks, as well as to make decisions about environmental change factors that may be within their control."
Investment need
More than 60% of emerging infectious diseases originate in animals.
As well as well-known threats such as Ebola and Zika, other diseases including Lassa fever already affect thousands of people and are expected to spread as the world warms.
"Our new approach successfully predicts outbreaks of individual diseases by pairing the changes in the host's distribution as the environment changes with the mechanics of how that disease spreads from animals to people, which hasn't been done before, " said co-researcher Dr David Redding of UCL.
The researchers say the model can be refined to include diseases such as Ebola and Zika.
Prof Jonathan Ball of the University of Nottingham, who was not involved in the research, said if the models hold true, then future climate change and population growth will significantly increase the number of Lassa fever outbreaks - and this is likely to be true for other infectious diseases.
"The threat of emerging and neglected diseases will not go away and we need to invest in research and global healthcare systems to ensure that we are ready to deal with these threats and their consequences," he said.

Source BBC

Pharmacy / Regular coffee drinkers have 'cleaner' arteries
« on: June 18, 2016, 02:55:07 PM »
Drinking a few cups of coffee a day may help people avoid clogged arteries - a known risk factor for heart disease - Korean researchers believe.
They studied more than 25,000 male and female employees who underwent routine health checks at their workplace.
Employees who drank a moderate amount of coffee - three to five cups a day - were less likely to have early signs of heart disease on their medical scans.
The findings reopen the debate about whether coffee is good for the heart.
Heart effects
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the effect of coffee on heart health.
angiogram showing an obstructed coronary artery
Image caption
In heart disease, the arteries supplying the heart muscle can become blocked
Some studies have linked consumption to heart risk factors, such as raised cholesterol or blood pressure, while others suggest the beverage may offer some heart protection.
But there is no conclusive evidence either way, and the latest research from South Korea, which is published in the journal Heart, only adds to the discussion.
Unexplained link
In the study, the researchers used medical scans to assess heart health.
Specifically, they were looking for any disease of the arteries supplying the heart - the coronary arteries.
More research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association
Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation
In coronary heart disease, the coronary arteries become clogged by the gradual build-up of fatty material within their walls.
The scan the researchers used looks for tiny deposits of calcium in the walls of the coronary arteries to provide an early clue that this disease process may be occurring.
None of the employees included in the Korean study had outward signs of heart disease, but more than one in 10 of them were found to have visible calcium deposits on their scans.
The researchers then compared the scan results with the employees' self-reported daily coffee consumption, while taking into account other potential heart risk factors such as smoking, exercise and family history of heart problems.
People who drank a few cups of coffee a day were less likely to have calcium deposits in their coronary arteries than people who drank more than this or no coffee at all.
The study authors say more research is needed to confirm and explain the link.
Coffee contains the stimulant caffeine, as well as numerous other compounds, but it's not clear if these might cause good or harm to the body.
Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation said: "While this study does highlight a potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association.
"We need to take care when generalising these results because it is based on the South Korean population, who have different diet and lifestyle habits to people in the UK."
How much caffeine?
coffee beans
In the US, experts say up to 400mg a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults
There is no recommended daily upper limit for caffeine consumption in the UK, except for pregnant women
If you're pregnant, you should limit the amount of caffeine you have to 200mg a day - equivalent to two mugs of instant coffee
one mug of instant coffee: 100mg
one mug of filter coffee: 140mg
one mug of tea: 75mg
one can of cola: 40mg
an espresso contains about 50mg of caffeine
Coffee shop caffeine levels vary widely

Source BBC

Pharmacy / Cancer risk from coffee downgraded
« on: June 18, 2016, 02:54:21 PM »
The cancer risk of coffee has been downgraded, with experts concluding there is inadequate evidence to suggest it causes the disease.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, had classed coffee as "possibly" carcinogenic since 1991.
This was because of a link to bladder cancer.
But the expert group has now decided there is insufficient evidence to say whether it causes cancer or not.
Drinking very hot drinks - above normal drinking temperature - probably does though, it has concluded.
The IARC said this was because of the link to oesophageal cancer.
But the risk was only there for drinks consumed above 65C.
This was based on studies in places such as Iran, China and South America, where tea is often consumed at 70C.
The findings have been reached after 23 scientists reviewed hundreds of different studies.
What should we make of this?
In a nutshell, experts are admitting they just don't know whether coffee causes cancer. Previously, they had said it was possible it did.
But what is also important to note is that this cancer-classification process has nothing to do with the likelihood of someone getting cancer, just whether something can cause it.
For example, the category 1 carcinogens - where experts are convinced the agent causes the disease - include smoking tobacco and eating processed meat.
But smoking increases the risk of cancer twentyfold, whereas regularly eating processed meat doesn't even double it.
Previously the IARC thought it was possible coffee caused cancer. That was not a judgment on the chances of getting it from drinking coffee, just that there was a link.
Now the evidence is judged to be insufficient to say either way.
But will this make a difference to coffee drinkers? It's doubtful. Most probably never even considered cancer when sipping their morning cuppa even when it was classified as a risk.
The IARC runs a register of environmental causes of cancer.
There is a scale ranging from category 1 - including activities such as smoking - where the evidence is convincing, to category 4, where there appears to be no risk.
Since 1991, coffee has been in category 2B - reflecting what was then seen as a possible link to bladder cancer.
Now, it has been switched to category 3, which means it cannot be classified.
The IARC also noted a reduced risk for coffee drinkers of cancers of the liver and womb.
Dr Rachel Thompson, of the World Cancer Research Fund, said the findings reflected the emerging research.
She said tea drinkers in the UK should not be alarmed though.
"These new findings don't mean that you can no longer enjoy hot drinks," she said.
"It is the very hot temperatures that have been identified as a cancer risk, and so, when drinking tea or other hot drinks, just let it cool down for a few minutes, especially if you're not adding any milk."
National Coffee Association president Bill Murray said: "This finding is great news and highly significant for coffee drinkers and confirms evidence from an avalanche of studies by highly respected and independent scientists."

Source BBC

Pharmacy / Zika: The key unanswered questions
« on: June 18, 2016, 02:53:34 PM »
This grainy image is one of the few pictures of the Zika virus.
The infection has prompted the World Health Organization to declared a global health emergency due to the link to thousands of suspected cases of babies born with small brains - or microcephaly - in Brazil.
But there are still many, crucial, unanswered questions.
How many people have been infected in the Americas?
The best estimate of Zika infections is between 500,000 and 1.5 million - which is quite a wide margin of error. What percentage of people in an affected area are getting infected? Is it everyone? We don't know.
Why the explosive outbreak?
One theory is that the virus has mutated to become more infectious. Alternatively, some experts argue it could simply be a case of the virus reaching areas where people are densely packed together and there are huge numbers of mosquitoes.
Who is infectious?
Around 80% of people have no symptoms when they get the virus - although this figure needs further investigation. It's not known if they can also spread the virus or even why they are asymptomatic.
Does it cause microcephaly?
It's the biggest health concern in the outbreak, yet the link with Zika and birth defects is still only "strongly suspected". Parts of Brazil that have seen cases of Zika have, several months later, also seen a surge in microcephaly. However, the trials to prove the link have not finished.
How risky is infection?
If the virus does cause microcephaly, how often does this happen? Does every infection lead to birth defects? Or is it one-in-100? One-in-10,000 perhaps? At the moment it's not clear how worried pregnant women should be.
Is there a risky period in pregnancy?
If the virus causes microcephaly, does it matter when you are infected? There have been some suggestions that the first trimester (the first 12 weeks) is key, but other doctors have hinted there might be risks as late as 29 weeks. And those risks could change over time.
How could it damage the brain?
Some infections, such as rubella, can damage the brains of developing babies during pregnancy. But it is not known how Zika could be crossing the placenta and damaging brain growth.
Does developing symptoms change the risk?
Around four-in-five people infected will not develop symptoms. Do silent infections carry the same risks of microcephaly as those which result in a fever or a rash? There is also the rare neurological disease Guillain-Barre syndrome that has been linked to Zika infection and we don't know which patients are most a risk.
What's going on in Africa and Asia?
The virus was first detected in Africa and then parts of Asia until it reached Brazil and then spread. So do these continents represent giant vulnerable populations susceptible to Zika outbreaks? Or has Zika been around and undetected there for years, so that most of the population are immune? It is hard to establish the global threat without knowing the answer.
How big is the surge in microcephaly really?
There are big questions about the quality of the data, both before the outbreak of Zika and now. The figures for previous years may be underestimates, and the number of suspected cases is an overestimate. Of the 4,783 reported cases of microcephaly - 404 have been confirmed, 709 have been disproved and 3,670 are still being investigated.
Can it be spread by other mosquitoes?
The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but it is confined to tropical and sub-tropical countries. There is concern that Zika could be spread by other mosquitoes too such as the Asian tiger mosquito. This species prefers more temperate climes such as parts of Europe.
How big a risk is sex?
It seems likely that the overwhelming majority of cases are spread by the Aedes mosquito where the insect bites a person with the virus and passes it onto the next person it bites. But sexual transmission has been implicated in a couple of infections. It's unknown how common this is.
What about immunity?
Are you infected once and then protected for life, like measles? Or does it take multiple infections to achieve immunity? How long does immunity last? These answers will tell us how long the outbreak could last and indicate whether a vaccine would be effective.

Source BBC

Pharmacy / Is tech addiction making us far more stressed at work?
« on: June 18, 2016, 02:51:05 PM »
We are the distracted generations, wasting hours a day checking irrelevant emails and intrusive social media accounts.
And this "always on" culture - exacerbated by the smartphone - is actually making us more stressed and less productive, according to some reports.
"Something like 40% of people wake up, and the first thing they do is check their email," says Professor Sir Cary Cooper of Manchester Business School, who has studied e-mail and workplace stress.
"For another 40%, it's the last thing they do at night."
The Quality of Working Life 2016 report from the Chartered Management Institute earlier this year found that this obsession with checking emails outside of work hours is making it difficult for many of us to switch off.

"The idea is to develop tools that help us knife and fork our way through deluges of information," he says.
Much of Microsoft's work centres on its personal assistant, Cortana.
Other firms are experimenting with social media-style messaging in an attempt to escape the tyranny of email.
Self help
Some tech firms believe monitoring our computer behaviour is a first step in seizing back control of our work-life balance.
Robby Macdonell from Nashville Tennessee, founded tech start-up RescueTime because he was so frustrated not knowing where his days were going. He was being distracted too easily.
"These alerts are very well designed to capture your attention and stimulate the parts of your brain that say, 'I have to react to this right now'," he says.

He developed a program to monitor how much time we spend on each application and give users the ability to block certain programs for set periods of time.
Similarly, Dajia Zhu from Hangzhou in eastern China, wrote the StayFocused app to help himself and others be honest about how much time they were devoting to work tasks, as opposed to web browsing or messing about on social media.
"I started to write the app since I needed to overcome my procrastination," he says.
Woman being bombarded with devicesImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image caption
Digital tech has made it more difficult to balance work and leisure time
And if you find working in an open-plan office distracting, you can always try ChatterBlocker, an app that plays sounds to neutralise office ambient noise.
"Personally, I'm easily distracted if other people are talking while I'm trying to focus," says the app's developer, Earl Vickers.
Sweating the small stuff
Wearable technology offers another way to help us manage our stress at work, according to some people.
Since January, Professor Michael Segalla has offered an iHealth activity and cardiac tracker to every MBA student at the HEC Paris management school.
The gadgets gather data every 10 minutes from each student - heart rate, blood oxygen levels, sleeping patterns - which can then be viewed on a dashboard.
Woman meditating on deskImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image caption
Is "mindfulness" a low-tech way to deal with hi-tech stress?
Along with the biometric data, students are being asked online how stressed and happy they feel. The idea is to see how perceived wellbeing and biotracking data affect academic performance.
"It is a sad fact that firms are probably spending more money on monitoring the physical state of machines than they are on monitoring the physical health and wellbeing of employees," says Prof Segalla.
He admits that making this type of physical information available to instructors and supervisors is an invasion of privacy. But he says in the era of Google, Bing, and social networks, "privacy is virtually gone" anyway.
In a similar vein, Irish start-up Galvanic has come up with Pip, a small, white device that measures skin perspiration - an indicator of stress according to many researchers.
Woman holding Pip gadget and phoneImage copyrightGALVANIC
Image caption
Galvanic's Pip gadget measures stress levels and communicates wirelessly with your phone
A tiny electric current passed along your skin varies depending on your levels of perspiration. So if Pip detects an increase in sweaty-palmed stress levels, you can connect it wirelessly to your smartphone and play a short game. To win, you have to relax.
The idea is that by learning to relax, you'll be able to do so more quickly in future.
Biofeedback devices like these give people "a window into their physical response to stress, helping them learn to control it," says Ian Robertson, professor of psychology at Trinity College Dublin and chair of Pip's scientific advisory board.
All in the mind
In the US, "mindfulness" is all the rage as a way of coping with our stressful digital world.
Google, Target, and the Marine Corps have all recently introduced meditation sessions in the workplace. Insurer Aetna found that just an hour a week of such activity reduced employees' stress levels by a third - and their healthcare costs by $2,000 (£1,400) a year.'s Michael Acton Smith (left) with actor Richard E GrantImage copyrightCALM.COM
Image caption's Michael Acton Smith (left) with actor Richard E Grant recording an audio book
And the technology causing us all this "always on" grief - the smartphone - can be used effectively to deliver such courses, says Michael Acton Smith, co-founder of, a meditation course provider.
"The irony wasn't lost on us," he says.
The man behind the Moshi Monsters kids game says his seven-day mindfulness course, created with San Francisco-based practitioner, Tamara Levitt, now has five million users.
He hopes we'll use our smartphones in queues or on public transport to practise breathing and concentration techniques, rather than checking emails and social media.
Perhaps we just have to learn to switch the damned things off.

Source BBC

Very informative post.............I have  benefited from using it.

কাল বেলা একটার দিকে টিম হোটেল ছেড়ে ‘প্রিয় আবাস’ বিসিবি একাডেমি ভবনে ফিরলেন বাংলাদেশ অনূর্ধ্ব-১৯ দলের খেলোয়াড়েরা। বড় পরীক্ষা শেষে শিক্ষার্থীদের চেহারায় যেমন ‘চাপমুক্তি’র আনন্দ থাকে, সাইফউদ্দিন-মোসাব্বেক-পিনাকদের মুখেও দেখা গেল তেমন অভিব্যক্তি!
কেউ কেউ ব্যাগট্যাগ রেখেই ঝটপট বেরিয়ে গেলেন বাইরে। বন্ধুদের সঙ্গে যে বহুদিন আড্ডা দেওয়া হয় না কিংবা দেখা হয় না প্রিয় মুখগুলো। অধিনায়ক মেহেদী হাসান মিরাজকে অবশ্য পাওয়া গেল ভিন্ন রূপে। সতীর্থদের মতো সময় কাটানোর সুযোগ ছিল না তাঁর। বেশ কেতাদুরস্ত হয়ে পড়িমরি করে ছুটছেন বিসিবি কার্যালয়ে।
ঘটনা কী? কিছু বলতে চাইলেন না। টুর্নামেন্ট-সেরার পুরস্কার কি তাহলে মেহেদীর হাতে উঠছে? যুব অধিনায়কের দেওয়া রহস্যময় হাসিতে শুধু এতটুকু অনুমান করা গেল, কিছু একটা ঘটতে যাচ্ছে।
হলোও তা-ই। মেহেদী পেলেন টুর্নামেন্ট-সেরার স্বীকৃতি। আর তাতে ফাইনাল ম্যাচের পুরস্কার বিতরণ মঞ্চে অংশগ্রহণ থাকল বাংলাদেশের। যুব বিশ্বকাপ তো বটে, কোনো বৈশ্বিক প্রতিযোগিতায় এই প্রথম বাংলাদেশের কোনো খেলোয়াড় টুর্নামেন্ট-সেরা হলেন। তুমুল করতালিতে মেহেদীকে শুভেচ্ছা জানাল দর্শকেরা। অভিনন্দন পেলেন ওয়েস্ট ইন্ডিজ ও ভারতের খেলোয়াড়দেরও।
যুব অধিনায়কের এই সাফল্যের আনন্দ শুধু শেরেবাংলা স্টেডিয়ামের গ্যালারিতে সীমাবদ্ধ থাকল না, ছড়িয়ে পড়ল সারা দেশেই। মেহেদীও বললেন, পুরস্কারটা তাঁর একার নয়, গোটা দেশের, ‘এই টুর্নামেন্টে ১৬টা দল খেলেছে। আমি পেয়েছি টুর্নামেন্ট-সেরার পুরস্কার। এই অর্জন আমার একার নয়, সারা দেশের। বিশ্বকাপের মতো আসরে ভালো খেলা অনেক বড় ব্যাপার। সারা বিশ্ব দেখেছে, বাংলাদেশ ভালো ক্রিকেট খেলছে, ধারাবাহিক উন্নতি করছে। এটা ভীষণ আনন্দের।’
পুরস্কারটা যে মেহেদীর হাতে উঠছে, আভাস মিলছিল আইসিসির জরিপেও। ‘টুর্নামেন্টে সেরা অলরাউন্ডার কে?’—এই প্রশ্নে প্রতিদ্বন্দ্বীদের চেয়ে স্পষ্ট ব্যবধানেই এগিয়ে ছিলেন মেহেদী। অবশ্য দর্শকদের ভোটেই যে তিনি টুর্নামেন্ট-সেরা হয়েছেন, তা নয়। পুরস্কার পেয়েছেন মূলত মাঠের পারফরম্যান্সেই। বোলিং, ব্যটিং, ফিল্ডিং—তিন বিভাগেই ধারাবাহিক পারফরম্যান্সে দলকে নেতৃত্ব দিয়েছেন সামনে থেকেই। ৬ ম্যাচে ৬০.৫০ গড়ে রান করেছেন ২৪২, যেটি দলের পক্ষে দ্বিতীয় সর্বোচ্চ রান। হাফ সেঞ্চুরি করেছেন টানা চার ইনিংসে।
দলের বিপর্যয়ে লড়েছেন বুক চিতিয়ে। নেপালের বিপক্ষে বাংলাদেশ যখন ৯৮ রানে বেশ চাপে, জাকির হোসেনকে সঙ্গে নিয়ে দলকে জিতিয়ে তবেই ফিরেছেন। ওয়েস্ট ইন্ডিজের বিপক্ষে সেমিফাইনালেও দেখা গিয়েছিল লড়াকু মেহেদীকে। দুর্ভাগ্য বাংলাদেশের, ম্যাচটা হেরে যাওয়ায় বিফলে যায় তাঁর ৬০ রানের দারুণ ইনিংসটি। তবে শ্রীলঙ্কার বিপক্ষে তৃতীয় স্থান নির্ধারণী ম্যাচে তাঁর ৫৩ রানের ইনিংসটা বৃথা যায়নি। বোলিংয়েও সমান উজ্জ্বল। নিয়েছেন ১২ উইকেট, এটিও দলের পক্ষে দ্বিতীয় সর্বোচ্চ।
মেহেদীর সবচেয়ে বড় শক্তি, তীব্র চাপের মধ্যে খেলতে পারেন ঠান্ডা মাথায়। ওই পরিস্থিতিতে কীভাবে এটা সম্ভব হয়? মেহেদীর উত্তর, ‘সব সময়ই ইতিবাচক থাকার চেষ্টা করি। আমি পারব—এই বিশ্বাসটা সব সময়ই আমার মধ্যে থাকে। শান্ত (নাজমুল হোসেন) টুর্নামেন্টের আগে বলেছিল, “তুই দলের অধিনায়ক। তুই ভালো খেললে দলও ভালো খেলবে।” এ ব্যাপারটা আমার মাথায় খুব কাজ করেছিল।’
মেহেদী যখন টুর্নামেন্ট-সেরার পুরস্কার নিয়ে ফিরছেন, পেছনেই শিরোপা জয়ের আনন্দে মাতোয়ারা ওয়েস্ট ইন্ডিজ। ক্যারিবীয় যুবাদের এই আনন্দ আক্ষেপের সুরই তুলল মেহেদীর মনে, ‘আসলে ওই দিনটা (ওয়েস্ট ইন্ডিজের বিপক্ষে সেমিফাইনাল) আমাদের পক্ষে ছিল না। ওদের সঙ্গে হারটাকে দুর্ঘটনাই মনে করি।’
যুব বিশ্বকাপ শেষ, এরই সঙ্গে সমাপ্তি ঘটেছে মেহেদীর বয়সভিত্তিক ক্রিকেটের সীমানাও। শুধু তিনি নন, এই দলের অধিকাংশ খেলোয়াড় শেষ করলেন বয়সভিত্তিক ক্রিকেট। মেহেদীর প্রত্যাশা, ভবিষ্যতে এই দলের অনেকে খেলোয়াড় খেলবেন জাতীয় দলে। নিয়মিত আলো ছড়াবেন আন্তর্জাতিক ক্রিকেটে।

সারা বিশ্বের ১০০ কোটি ব্যবহারকারীকে ইন্টারনেট ব্যবহারের সুবিধা পৌঁছে দিতে বিভিন্ন দেশে চালু হচ্ছে ইন্টারনেট ডট ওআরজি প্রকল্প। এ প্রকল্পের অন্যতম উদ্যোক্তা ফেসবুক ১০ মে বাংলাদেশেও চালু করেছে প্রকল্পটি। বাংলাদেশসহ ১১টি দেশে বর্তমানে চালু হয়েছে প্রকল্পটি। সর্বশেষ দক্ষিণ আফ্রিকার দেশ মালাউইতে চালু হয়েছে প্রকল্পটি। এ উপলক্ষে এক স্ট্যাটাসে ইন্টারনেট ডট ওআরজির বর্তমান অবস্থা নিয়ে ইনফোগ্রাফিক্স প্রকাশ করেছেন ফেসবুকের সহপ্রতিষ্ঠাতা ও প্রধান নির্বাহী কর্মকর্তা মার্ক জাকারবার্গ। ‘কানেক্টিং দ্য ওয়ার্ল্ড’ শিরোনামে এ ইনফোগ্রাফিক্সে যেসব দেশে প্রকল্পটি চালু আছে, সেসব দেশের মানচিত্রসহ রয়েছে বেশ কয়েকটি তথ্য।

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