Mommies and daddies passing hereditary diseases and characteristics are old-fashioned. Babies with heart defect indicating the mommy that she might be affected by cardiovascular disease later in life is the latest fashion and the serious result of a new study. Worldwide, congenital heart affects almost eight in every 1,000 newborns making it one of the most common birth defects in infants.
The research team followed over 1 million moms who delivered infants between 1989 and 2013. Moms were classified according to the infant’s severity of heart defect-critical, noncritical or no heart defect-and followed up for 25 years post-delivery for CVDs such as heart failure, heart attack, atherosclerosis disorders and heart transplants. This study is unique as it correlates heart defects in babies to heart disease in mothers who were devoid of any heart problems initially. When compared to mother of infants without congenital heart disease, researchers found:
While researchers are not exactly sure about the factors that cause this possible link, they feel that obesity, diabetes and preeclampsia are related to CHD and heart disease along with other factors such as genetics, stress and financial/emotional disturbance experienced by the mom when the baby is diagnosed with heart defect in the family.
Also, obstetricians who treat children for their heart defects can warn the mothers of such children to be double precautious and minimize their risk factors. This helps reassure a mom that taking care of herself is not a sin and does not convey the message anytime that she is neglecting the health of the baby prioritizing her health.
Face is the mirror of your soul, likewise, facial colors mirror your emotional state. Our faces mostly give away how we feel even with our slightest facial emotions. But a new study has found that even without the slightest of our change in facial emotions, we can convey our feelings through colors alone.
In general, we can identify our loved one’s feelings by their subtlest frown or a raised eyebrow even without speaking a word to him/her. This new study shows that it is possible to identify other people’s emotions only based on subtle color changes in their face almost 75% of the time.
The study segregated 100s of facial expressions into two color channels, a red-green channel and a blue-yellow one. Computer analysis showed that different emotions formed different color patterns which were identical irrespective of gender, ethnicity and skin tone. The study also monitored if individuals were able to guess emotions from facial expressions along with color or whether color alone was sufficient to convey the underlying emotion. To check this out, colors were super-imposed on neutral facial expressions and when the participants were asked to guess the emotion, the participants were able to guess 70% of the time when a photo conveyed happiness, 75% of the time when it conveyed sadness and 65% of the time when it conveyed anger. Even when vibrant colors were imposed on angry faces or subtle colors on happy faces, participants could identify the emotions or at least tell that something was different from the normal expression.
The researchers programmed an algorithm to recognize emotions and this algorithm detected human emotions much more precisely than humans- this algorithm detected happiness 90% of the time accurately, anger was detected 80% of the time correctly and sadness was found 75% of the time correctly. For example, disgust is characterized by a blue-yellow hue around the mouth and a red-green color on the nose and forehead. When analyzing the different colors corresponding to different emotions, researchers felt that these color patterns are due to changes in the blood flow or blood compositions triggered by the central nervous system.
Like we say, ‘red with anger’, ‘pink with pleasure’ or ‘turned white with fear’, facial colors denote different emotional states. Emotional health can affect our overall health and can also be rooted as the cause for mental disorders and stress-related problems, some of which are explained in detail at www.firsteatright.com. We blush when we are mentioned with the name of our favorite person, flush with anger or pleasure or turn pale when we experience fear or become frightened in some situations. A smiling person with red cheeks and temples (with a blue around the chin) is instantly branded as ‘happy’ but the same face with a slightly redder forehead and slightly lesser blue chin is branded as ‘surprised’. Such is the power of colors that can imply different emotions with the subtle changes in the shades and combinations.
Bread crust remains are a common sight in our kids’ lunch and snack boxes. Even we adults would relish eating bread with butter at the restaurant buffet as restaurants offer you the liberty to remove off the crust before devouring your bread.
Many parents feel sad while cutting off the bread crust due to their child’s repeated insistence and ponder upon the final nutritional value of the food they are preparing. Alas, don’t we all know that the bread’s crust is the most nutritional part of the bread? But, do we really know?
The Anti-Cancerous Effect
A German study in 2002 showed that the bread crust contains cancer-fighting compounds and was valued as the most-nutritious part of the bread. This study found that the process of baking bread produced a new antioxidant (pronyl-lysine) that was 8-times concentrated in the bread crust than in the crumb. Exposing the human intestinal cells to this antioxidant increased the activity of the enzymes associated with cancer prevention. This antioxidant is formed while baking both, yeast-based and yeast-free bread but dark-colored bread (wheat) contains more antioxidants than light-colored bread (white bread).
Since then, most parents who believed about the nutrition of the bread crust found a valid proof to back up their belief and started torturing their children to finish off the entire bread. But now, this belief has become a myth.
Don’t Fret About the Crust
A process called the Maillard reaction holds responsibility for the brown coloration of the baked breads. Here, sugar reacts with amino acids in the presence of heat giving bread its brown color. Few manufacturers add caramel color for a browner color and this reaction makes the crust taste and feel differently from the other portions of the bread.
While this Maillard reaction can produce the cancer-fighting pronyl-lysine, it can also result in the production of a cancer-causing compound called as acrylamide. This immediately does not convey the fact that bread crust causes cancer but there are varying opinions when it comes to the crust. It is like a battle between the good and evil (cancer inducers and cancer fighters) with us having minimal understanding or scope to decide upon the winner.
Experts in nutrition field feel that the nutrition of the crust depends on the type of bread you choose. Next time, don’t go behind your kids demanding them to finish off the bread crust. Use the leftover crust to feed birds or to make croutons or stuffing (using it with other foods).
Also, not all breads are created equally. The most-nutritious bread is the 100% whole-wheat or 100% whole-grain bread which contains the entire wheat grains and provides fiber, vitamin E and B vitamins. Whole grains are the most healthy carb options as they bear numerous advantages. People interested in knowing more about whole grains can visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Wheat bread often contains enriched wheat flour with the brain and germ removed. Breads with whole grains can be called as in-between bread as it may contain 100% whole-wheat flour along with enriched-flour. Here goes the actual truth: choose your bread wisely to eat healthy food indifferent of whether you eat your crust or not.
A barometer is a scientific instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure, specifically used to forecast weather and determine altitude. A barometer child is one who picks up the tension in the family and reacts to it. The child is not mature enough to comment that the family situation is somewhat volatile and some self-care or activity is needed to bring back calmness in the house. All that he/she can do is whine, cry, misbehave and refuse to cooperate as a reaction to the prevailing family tension.
A child’s world is very small. Parents are their 100% and they don’t find it necessary to look beyond mom and dad to explore the world. Kids are happy when parents are happy and feel sad when parents are sad. A kid’s life is as simple as that. They love seeing their parents have great fun, laughing, giggling, being animated, energetic and chuckling in life. This makes them feel at ease and satisfy their inner thoughts that everything is right in life.
The world seems perfect when parents seem happy and content. There is nothing to fear, no skeletons in the closet, no threats around and the world is a safe place to reside. When parents feel sad or anxious, kids feel responsible as they think that parents are sad because they are bad.
A parent’s mood is the barometer for a child’s life’s meaning, its ambience, security and tone. A small laugh from their mom or their dad’s thundering laughter makes children feel safe in life. Maternal depression affects children deeply and kids become unresponsive, less cognitive, anxious and withdrawn. In such situations a barometer child cannot tell what’s wrong but only act awkward, chaotic and feel different. These children are at an increased risk of succumbing to depression themselves if they are not diverted from such depressive surrounding. Depression can be extremely threatening to family peace which is clearly explained at www.firsteatright.com. A barometer child can be handled well in any of the ways given below:
See the bigger picture
Dealing with a misbehaving child then and there is the right approach to parenting. But, if this misbehavior seems to occur quite often, it’s time to ponder upon what is causing it and if the family unrest is responsible in any way for the kid’s behavior.
A calmer environment at home can ease things. You can get some external help with child care, share few responsibilities with your spouse or work out ways on how to speak with your spouse in a much more relaxed way to ease the tension at home. Try to take care of yourself too by sleeping well, eating properly, exercising more and spending some time with your friends to take better care of your kids.
Share your feelings with your child
In times of difficulty, it is appreciable that you talk to your child in an age-appropriate way about what is going on and what is your state of mind right then. This does not mean that you take this as an opportunity to pour out your sorrows to your children. If your kid feels that something is not in place or fishy, explaining what is going on in the family will help your child deal with the situation in a much-composed way than otherwise. Sharing feelings, talking about them and giving solutions for how to cope with them can provide your child with a critical learning opportunity.
Follow Time-based routines
A child feels secure when he/she experiences daily routine activities without hindrance even during stressful times. This is comforting as it gives the child a sense of predictability when other life situations are uncertain. Routine bedtime, playtime and school activities make the child feel that the world is after all, a good place to reside.
Don’t set expectations
Office stress, unhappy situation at home or personal fatigue calls for a break. Understand that this isn’t the time to start training your child on a new habit formation-potty training or setting the table. Revisit your parent goals-Are you doing certain things simply because you have been doing them from the start or your parents have done them to you? If you find them unnecessary, its high time to get rid of those practices that take away your precious time.
Find solutions along with your children
Rather than asking your child to simply stop fighting with his/her sibling as a cooperative gesture to the family unrest, you can ask your child to do simple things that can make your day better-“ Give your dad a big hug once he returns back from office”, “Help me set the dining table to have a candle light dinner” or “Ensure to get ready to the swimming class on time” are great motivators as children too feel good when they are able to contribute something to ease the stressful situation at home.
Rather than looking at a barometer child as a nuisance, when parents start looking at them in a positive way, everything takes a turn for the better. They are actually a gift of nature who alert us when there is an emotional strife amongst family members and enable us to make positive changes in our life.
The ketogenic diet is a famous diet that has been tried and tested by many people worldwide. Even if individuals don’t have personal experiences, they are sure to know someone who has tried the keto diet. But what about exogenous ketones that impact health and performance?
Ketones are metabolites of fat oxidation or in simple terms, are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. Their utmost importance lies in providing fuel to the brain as the brain can make use of only glucose and ketone bodies for energy. The brain usually relies on carbs as a substrate compared to lipids and during starvation, lipids are used to sustain brain functioning via these ketone bodies.
Carbs and glucose are primary energy providers to human body. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which ketone bodies act as primary energy providers to the body in comparison to the glycolysis state in which blood glucose provides energy. The primary ketone bodies used for energy include acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate.
Nutritional ketosis is the state of increased ketone levels in the body that is feasible through multiple ways such as fasting, by consuming a low-carbohydrate diet (less than 50 grams daily), exercising for a long time without carbs or by consuming exogenous ketones. We call it exogenous as we are taking a product that has been produced outside the human body. It is important to note that the terms ketosis and ketogenic have slightly different meanings. Ketosis is increased blood-ketone levels either from endogenous (produced in the liver) or exogenous (taken as supplement) ketones. Ketogenic is the existence of elevated ketone bodies as a result of following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and the ketogenic diet is the best example. Read more about this diet, its advantages and side effects at www.firsteatright.com.
There are two variations of exogenous ketones-salt and esters (mono- and di-esters). Ketone salts that are reasonably priced have mild impact on ketone levels raising the blood ketone levels to around 1 mmol and having a high salt load. Ketone esters, on the other hand, have a significant impact on blood ketones raising blood ketone levels to 3-4 mmol within 20 to 30 minutes of ingestion.
Impact of Exogenous Ketones
The impact of exogenous ketones on endurance performance is interesting as two important studies on this prove contrasting results-one shows positive effects and the other showed negative effects, but one has to remember that the protocols used for testing purpose varied significantly. Exogenous ketones are advantageous when there is overall improvement in substrate metabolism and prove beneficial in numerous ways:
April 25th signifies World Malaria Day which is one of the eight formal WHO health campaigns. The goal of ending malaria though quite ambitious is an achievable one when the right actions are taken as a combined effort.
In 2016, there were 216 million cases of malaria worldwide, but if you compare the statistics between 2010 and 2015, there was a global decrease in malaria incidence (21%) and mortality rates (29%) too. Sadly, the Sub-Saharan Africa still is the home to 90% malaria cases and 91% malarial deaths as per 2016 statistics.
Interesting Facts About Malaria
Vaccination is today’s gift for your child’s healthy tomorrow. Celebrated during the last week of April every year, World Immunization Week is a worldwide health campaign to create awareness on the needs of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases. Every year millions of people are saved from the deadly attack of illnesses and disabilities such as polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, cervical cancer, hepatitis B, pertussis and tetanus, 2-3 million deaths are prevented and people are becoming healthier due to the efficiency of a simple, inexpensive tool called ‘vaccination’.
Vaccination Aids in Disease Prevention
As soon as a child is born, weight and height measurements are taken, head circumference is measured and hearing levels are confirmed. Along with these value charts, the physician gives a list of vaccines that need to be injected as the child grows up. But sadly, in countries where mortality rates are high, more than 50% of the child population miss out on all these essential vaccinations needed for growing up in a healthy way.
Since the last few years, the number of children receiving vaccinations worldwide has decreased drastically and almost stagnated. If the vaccinations had been dispersed to kids as expected, more than 1.5 million lives could have been saved every year. These kids are robbed of their basic essential needs such as poor nutrition and health, inappropriate sanitation services and water which only makes way for diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and measles to attack them even more easily. Most of them live in densely populated poor communities that include slum environments where immunization chances are negligible. In 2016 alone, almost 19.5 million infants were deprived of their routine vaccinations amongst which a majority of them lived in 10 countries and sadly, India is one among them. Urbanization is rapidly happening and the future decades seem bleak as the population of urban slums is only going to multiply, specifically in Asia and Africa. But, this is not a reason to leave our future generation unattended, deprived of their rights and making them a victim of death. Organizations such as the WHO and UNICEF work with different countries and governments to improve knowledge about vaccination and encourage countries to arrange camps and services to reach one and all.
Indian government has opted for a vast immunization program that covers more than 26 million people annually. In late 2014, strategy ‘Mission Indradhanush’ was launched to provide full vaccination for children up to 2 years of age and pregnant women. Last few years helped India increase vaccination numbers by only 1% per year and this strategy aims to increase full immunization coverage to 90% by 2020. Every city, village, nomadic settlements and tribes are marked and local health workers take responsibility to vaccinate people in every marked locality. India’s Universal Immunization Program is the largest in the world which makes around nine million routine immunizations feasible across the country. The Routine Immunization (RI) program caters to the need of 27 million infants and 30 million pregnant women which helps saving the life of more than 4,00,000 children annually.
Interesting Immunization Facts
Blood pressure, stroke, diabetes or heart attack don’t differentiate people and treat every individual equally. These diseases neither know that they should be attacking only older people and spare the younger generation. A person might be fit, healthy, normal weight, does not smoke cigarette or drink alcohol and eats a healthy diet. Still he/she might be affected by a heart attack due to certain other reasons such as birth control pills, Sjogren’s syndrome, increase in lipoprotein level and many more.
Heart diseases is the number one killer among men and women, yet young people, especially those in good health, don’t think about getting themselves tested as they don’t doubt/care about their heart health or their doctors too don’t think that they need to be tested.
There are two interesting facts about heart attack in the younger population:
Research tells that three of four heart attacks in young people could be prevented if they follow the below given healthy lifestyle rules. Rules might seem to be elementary, but the results are far-reaching.
The individual feels void: Life changes overnight for young individuals who are affected by a heart attack. While all their life they have been partying, working, having fun, socializing, parenting and living good, a heart attack makes a person feel house-arrested and bored. Restrictions such as abstaining from alcohol, fatty food and smoking makes them feel deprived of the pleasures in life.
Fears death: Dying or death is not in a youngster’s dictionary and when heart attack strikes, the person starts fearing death. They worry about their future and the condition of their family. Even trivial pain in the body (arm or chest) makes them fear a heart attack.
Learns something positive out of it: Some individuals find something positive in every experience and these people take their heart attack too that way. They either start leading a healthier lifestyle, cut down smoking, drinking alcohol or reduce their consumption of fatty foods. They also suggest others, their family, friends and colleagues, to start leading a healthier lifestyle and avoid making the same mistake that they had committed.
One thing is clear-younger people who experience heart attack are mentally unstable compared to older people. Owing to this, they are less likely to attend rehab, do exercises, take medicines and make lifestyle changes that makes recovery easier. These people get quickly discharged from hospitals as they become physically fit and what needs to be done is to govern their mental health to enable a quicker physical rehab. While many young people think that heart attack draws their life to an end, what they don’t realize is that, it is the beginning of a better life when they follow the instructions given by their doctor and work hard on it.
Close your eyes and think for a minute- how many hours in a day do you spend sitting down or lying? Engaging in a regular workout session is good, but it might not be good enough to crumble the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. One might not even be aware that the activities that you do apart from your daily exercise schedule are termed as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and even trivial ones such as walking to your car from your office, carrying groceries up the stairs or fighting with your sibling are included under NEAT. These weigh equally as your regular workout activities, even slightly more. If you are interested to know how many calories are burned in every such activity, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Research shows that obese individuals sit for an added 2.5 hours compared to their normal-weighted counterparts. Surprisingly, increasing NEAT activities help obese individuals to burn an additional 350 calories every day. While it might sound less, this adds to 1.4 kilograms lost in a month without even setting your foot into the gym arena. These activities are a blessing in disguise for individuals who find it beyond their limit to allocate time for workout. Given here are practical tips that might help you move more:
Enjoy a Sit-to-stand Desk
Standing instead of sitting might sound silly without any movement attached. The advantages are simply superb and even a study has proved this. The study had office workers stand or sit for three hours after lunch every day and found that standing helped employees burn an additional 174 calories and lower blood sugar levels comparatively. It would be wise to alternate between standing and sitting to have a brisk day at office.
Keep Moving Around
Many of you might get immersed into papers and work once you sit at your desk at office. Use your smartphone to set reminders that help you move more in office. It would be even more better to get the aid of a coworker to walk with you around the office building or go for quick game of table tennis on your indoor sports court at office. Whatever might be your work, just get up and move more.
Move & Work
Walking meetings or moving office calls might sound silly and impractical now. But once you start doing it, others are sure to follow suit as soon as they realize the importance of movement through the day. You can even suggest team events, cycle to work days and stand-and-stretch breaks to keep everyone at office healthy and happy.
Join your Kids at Play Time
Going back and forth between your kids’ practice sessions, completing household chores and managing office work might make you get fixed on the notion that there’s no time for exercise. To overcome time crunch, you can utilize your kids’ practice sessions to complete your physical activity. You can also lend a helping hand to your kid’s team by offering to bring back their balls during a badminton session or go for a group workout with your fellow parents.
Enjoy dual benefit while watching TV. Standing, doing push-ups, squats or gentle stretches while seeing your favorite TV episodes can be a treat to your eyes as well as a benefit your physical fitness. Even better, if you commit yourself to a 10-minute walk before your favorite TV show which can help control blood-sugar levels too.
Use Transit Time
Exercising while travelling does not imply that you need to give up travelling on your luxurious car and start walking. Try to park your car further away from the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or conveying the necessary details to your coworker in person instead of sending a mail. Use your smart mind to find out as any ways as possible to move more during the day.
Travelling between Places
People have the wrong notion that travelling can become a hurdle for exercising. Everyone is realizing the importance of staying physically active and contributing towards fitness in their possible way. Airports and hotels nowadays have yoga rooms, gyms and fitness equipment. Beyond these regular ones, try to squeeze in some more physical activity-maybe you can walk to a few places to sight see or perform push-ups off your hotel bed before heading out for the day. The motive must be to maintain regular movement regardless of your conditions or schedule.
Pledge to Move
Performing daily activity is critical for a sound mind and healthy body. Instead of trying to squeeze in extra hours for exercise in a packed day, just try to analyze your lifestyle and work out ways to add more movement into your present routine.
In today’s world it is difficult to meet both ends meet without both the parents going for a job and the to-do list of such parents are an ever-growing endless one-preparing the child for the upcoming math test, scheduling meeting with the team for the latest updates, getting your groceries refilled, paying bills, giving candidate interview feedback to the manager and the list goes on and on-it is no wonder that working parents are stressed, drained out of energy and tired.
Even if you are the kind of person who is hardworking, responsible and tactful about getting things done, your daily routines of reorganizing your task items in your smartphone, refreshing items in your to-do outlook menu and working fervently over emails deleting or responding to mails appropriately will pave way for more sleepless or sleep-deprived nights. Despite such efforts, you still have the feeling that you don’t give your 100% effort both at office or at home! Wake up man! Realize that it is not possible to be 100% present in two places at a time unless you are a genie. The problem is not with the work structure or your family demands. It is dependent on how the human brains are wired. A sense of overwhelm is the normal feeling when there is so much to do, and you have restricted time to get all things done.
You do have certain things that can help working parents feel less stressed, less overwhelmed, calm and in control of the situation.
Toil Over Long-term Goals: Big companies have goals, long-term visions and revenue targets that they work through with efficient managers who work zealously to hit the bull’s eye. Such managers have booming confidence and self-motivation to work passionately towards such goals. Do we parents have such goals? We simply work hard to get through the day and finish off with the task list. We become slaves to the task list instead of doing it the other way around. If your goal in life is to become an entrepreneur while raising your kids to be healthy, self-sufficient and highly smart individuals, this provides the first step to focus your energy towards tasks that help you progress in your goal. Every single day you know that you are working towards your planned goal and become happy when you get there.
Each individual’s goals are different and important. Becoming financially independent to buy an own house is as important as another person’s goal of becoming a company’s CEO. By identifying goals that are personal and future-bases, you become detached from being overwhelmed and psychologically occupy the driver’s seat.
Time allocation matters a lot: Working parents who have a defined set of goals invest their time and energy towards accomplishing such goals. If you wish to become a board member in your organization and raise your kids with religious beliefs, then you must invest extra effort at office work and take your kid to Sunday school. Instead, attending international conferences or taking your child to every single quiz or sports event is not going to fulfill your goals in life.
Try allocating 10 minutes every weekend to go through your next weeks’ goals, identifying ones that don’t fit your long-term goals and taking the pain to say ‘no’ to at least 5% of them. This helps to garner ample more time for other things and increase your satisfaction levels too.
Maintain a ‘Done’ List: People focus on unfinished tasks at hand and ignore the ones that have been completed. TV shows usually use this tactic to end every episode with some suspense so that people keep thinking over it again and again and see it every day until the tangle is resolved.
Any unresolved problem or task keeps our mind going over it until it gets done and we remain anxious throughout the process. While task list is essential to complete chores, it also depends on how you maintain it and stay away from stress. If not, it is only going to add more fuel to your already stressed life. Maintain a separate list of completed tasks and go over it to remind yourself of your achievements. This helps a person to feel less stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. It makes him/her feel like a winner.
Spend some time doing nothing productive: Working parents don’t have any holidays as they are either busy at office or at home, but you can decide to take breaks occasionally for a short period. Every day set aside ’20 minutes’ doing nothing productive and utilize this time to enjoy a family dinner with your loved ones, playing a board of chess with your kid or dancing to funny tunes with your toddler. In this short timeframe you would realize your stress levels going down and your sense of family accomplishments rising up. Stress is a silent health killer and coping with stress requires a skillful approach which is explained in simple and practical ways at www.firsteatright.com. This is one reason why highly successful people take time off their work for a vacation regularly. When we shut off our thoughts from work perspective and spend quality ‘me’ time, it makes us more resilient and productive.
Working parents are great copers of everyday stress, targets and challenges as it requires one person to do two challenging jobs successfully. Fatigue, stress and a sense of overwhelming is inevitable, and these can be curbed to an extent by making rightful decisions, being confident in your performance and enjoying your everyday role, your career and precious time with your loving family.
Is Laundry only a Woman’s Job? Dads, share the load -This advertisement portraying men taking equal responsibility for washing clothes and sharing household burden was an instant hit among people in our country. It is 21st century and still we are advertising about equality and educating our society to share the workload burden. Undoubtedly, there are changes for the good happening around us, but we need stronger, faster and relevant ones to improve the status of women in our country.
Still, women face the brunt of the situation when it comes to household chores. They clean their houses day in and day out and one study has found that women who are regularly exposed to cleaning products may face a greater impact on their lung functioning in course of time. Also, women who used sprays or other cleaning products at least once a week faced an even greater decline in lung functioning over other women.
This does not imply that we should not clean the house. How we clean, what we use to clean and how these chemicals affect us must be analyzed and answered before we clean our house.
The study included more than 6000 individuals (50% of them were women) in their mid-30s and more than 85% of the women participants declared that they were the ones primarily involved in cleaning their homes. Results showed that the total amount of air a person can exhale declined by 4.3 ml/year faster in women who cleaned at home and 7.1 ml/year faster in women who worked as cleaners. The researchers compared the lung function decline of these women cleaners with that of those smoking cigarettes and commented that it was similar to smoking somewhat less than 20 packs a year. Cigarette smoking too is rapidly increasing among the female population and the days are not far off where the number of women smokers would outnumber men. But the question here is whether women smoke to prove themselves equal to men or do they really find it pleasurable? Get your answers at www.firsteatright.com.
While the study results might be surprising initially, when you think about inhaling small particles from the cleaning agents that are meant to clean the floor and not your lungs, it is not so surprising after all. Lung functioning capacity declines due to irritation of these cleaning chemicals on the mucous membranes lining the airways which in due time cause ever-lasting changes in the airways.
The study also found that asthma was more prevalent in women who cleaned their homes (12.3%) or worked as cleaners (13.7%) than in women who did not clean (9.6%). As this study was continued for a period of over two decades, the results are extremely reliable. The study also showed that:
Cleaning at home, offices, kitchen, roads and other public places is still seen as a woman’s work and most workers are still women. The study is a standing evidence of the minimal number of male cleaners present in the society which raises questions about gender and work. Certain kinds of work carry certain occupational hazards and we have to come up with solutions to minimize these hazards.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in India but sadly there are still millions of people who don’t realize the symptoms of one! We use the term ‘heart disease’ for any problem related to the heart and it does not refer to only heart attack. Our heart contains four major parts and the term could refer to problems existing in any one of them!
Atherosclerosis or blockage in arteries is the most common reason for a heart disease apart from other reasons such as leaky or tight valves, electric system that makes the heart beat too fast, slow or have extra beats. Heart muscle (myocardium) and pericardium (heart lining) can sometimes become too thick, thin or inflamed and affect the heart.
One thing is that heart disease does not strike like thunder or lightening as portrayed in movies or television and practically, there are people who don’t even notice their heart disease symptoms until they are struck by a heart attack or stroke. Listed here are some symptoms that are generally ignored by most people which can lead to complicated problems:
Climbing a flight of stairs or walking fast can make you short of breath and is an indication that you need to improve on your workout or pop in your allergy meds. Some other times, it is an indication of a heart disease as the heart fights vigorously to supply oxygen to all parts of your body.
As the heart disease aggravates, breathing problems can go to the extent that even lying down flat in the bed becomes difficult as this position restricts even the most limited air flow that the body gets. When you try medications or other measures that don’t solve your breathlessness problem, it is high time that you go for a second opinion.
Pain or discomfort in the chest is yet another important indication that the heart is not supplied with enough oxygen and this is termed as angina. Some individuals feel intense pressure or squeezing sensation on top of the chest, an indigestion-like feeling. When you have no proper explanation for such pain it is recommended that you go straight to the doctor.
All over body pain
Some women don’t feel pain in their chest but everywhere else in the body-abdomen, jaws or even neck. This is something that many women easily ignore as it is negligible compared to their periods pain. But, when you don’t expect such a pain on a normal day and when this pain is disturbing your normal activities making them more challenging, you need to fix an appointment with the doctor immediately.
Numbness in arms and legs
Apart from pain, some people experience numbness and weakness in the arms or legs as a result of decreased blood flow to the extremities. This can affect nerves too and you might end up with nerve damage. Anything you feel/don’t feel in your arms and legs is related to nerve health. If you cannot establish a solid link to this numbness or pain, it is critical that you meet your physician.
Flutter like butterfly
Sometimes, you can feel your heart beating very fast or irregularly. This is heart palpitation or arrhythmia. Such heart flutter indicates problems with the heart valve or electric system. Such heart palpitations always don’t point to the prevalence of a heart disease. People often tell that they feel such palpitations right before sleeping which settles down in sometime. This might be due to too much caffeine, wine, dehydration or even stress. Stress is a simple term that can hit you badly and spoil your good health. Read more on stress and ways to handle it effectively at www.firsteatright.com. When such palpitations remain for more than few minutes or occur along with other symptoms of heart disease, it is better to meet your physician immediately.
Tattoos are embraced by the rebellious few-this statement has become null and void as many individuals, even those with diabetes are opting for this body art form that involves the use of needles to inject ink under the skin.
Being a diabetic does not prevent you from having a tattoo. There are few pointers to bear in mind before getting yourself a tattoo:
Some risks involved in getting a tattoo include allergic reactions, skin infection, scarring, exposure to risk of blood-borne diseases, increased time for healing wounds and the pain involved in getting the tattoo removed. It is critical that you are 100% sure of getting yourself a tattoo as having the tattoo removed is painful, expensive and hard. Also, if you get a tattoo in some unresearched place where the needle is not properly sterilized, you might even be affected by HIV, Hepatitis B or C. On the other end of the spectrum, tattoos have been used in the biomedical industry to help physicians monitor chronic heart conditions, dehydration level and blood glucose issues as well. Read more on the advantages of using a tattoo at www.firsteatright.com.
After getting yourself a tattoo, if you find yourself unwell or doubt any infection, it is better to get in touch with a general physician who can investigate your problem.
Apart from being an actress, Angelina Jolie has become famous on the medical front too! Even a gene has been named after her- the ‘Angelina Jolie gene’. This Hollywood actress had her breast, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed due to her high cancer risk acquired from her mom who died at a young age due to ovarian cancer. Also, it has been researched that fathers can pass the gene for ovarian cancer to their daughters. Research details are briefed at www.firsteatright.com.
Screening every woman above the age of 30 for these cancer risks can help prevent cancer and save more lives. Mass screening of individuals would be cost-effective too. While the idea is solid and convincing, we are not yet conclusive about how the test can be done on so many individuals and how treatment/counselling can be offered to the affected women.
All About the BRCA Gene
Every individual has two copies of the BRCA genes, one from each parent. These genes help repair damaged cells and prevents them from growing and dividing rapidly. Mutations in these genes can lead to abnormal cell growth and increase the risk of cancer.
Generally, a woman is at a 2% risk of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime and a BRCA mutation can increase the cancer risk anywhere between 10% and 60%. Also, women are at a 12.5% risk of getting breast cancer in their lifetime and this risk is tremendously increased anywhere between 45% and 90% with BRCA mutations.
The impact this study could have on the healthcare industry in the future is exciting and worth the effort. But, testing for a faulty gene as a precautionary measure is like inviting problems on your own and can turn the life of the woman tested and her family members into a total chaos.
We also need to remember one thing- the presence of a mutation does not confirm the presence of cancer. This BRCA gene is not responsible for most of the breast/ovarian cancer cases.
Some love the bright shining sun and feel it a welcome change after the cold and sluggish winter season. For some others, it is a ticket to the scorching heat which makes exercising outdoors a punishment of sorts. This summer, instead of staying indoors fearing the heat waves to can continue your physical activity programs with some basic knowledge of thermoregulation and staying cool.
Thermoregulation is how our body maintains the internal temperature at constant levels despite outside factors. Exercise, even walking your dog or running around the park, increases body temperature and thermoregulation is required to control it. Sweat is one means of thermoregulation and helps drain out excess water off the body.
Summer is a critical period where one needs to be extremely careful while trying to lose weight. Almost 70% of our muscle tissue and blood constitute water and too much sweating can make us lose 3-5% of body weight steering the body to dehydration. Weight loss beyond 5% due to sweating (heat stress) can even turn out to be fatal.
Try following these tips to stay cool this summer:
One new study found that almost half of the 55 million abortions that happened worldwide between 2010 and 2014 were unsafe and almost 97% of these unsafe abortions occurred in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We term an abortion to be unsafe when it is terminated by an individual who lacks the necessary medical skills or in an environment that does not even have the basic medical facilities. Sometimes, such unsafe abortions can result in death! Other times, almost one-third (31%) of abortions were less safe where either of the two conditions was true, the abortion was performed by an untrained person in a safe environment or by a trained person using unsafe methods such as sharp curettage. Some abortions happened under least safe circumstances (14%) by untrained individuals using the most dangerous methods such as use of herbal concoctions. Such an abortion could leave a bit of the pregnancy tissue in the uterus, cause vaginal or cervical injury and infections.
Stricter Rules, Higher Unsafe Abortions Rates
The safety quotient of an abortion procedure depended on the strict enforcement of abortion rules. Maximum number of safe abortions were performed in countries with less restrictive laws, high economic development and well-developed infrastructure.
In countries which have a full-fledged ban on abortions or allow only the woman’s life/physical health to be saved, only 1 in 4 abortions were safe, whereas in countries where restrictions are less stringent and on a broader scale, 9 in 10 abortions were performed safely. One thing that must be clearly understood is that, restricting access to abortions does not grant access to reductions in the number of abortions.
Western and Northern Europe and North America are some of the countries where abortions can be carried out in the safest way. This is because, they have flexible laws on abortion, increased use of contraceptives, economic development, gender equality and high-quality healthcare.
Women get pregnant sometimes due to inevitable reasons and when they can’t find a way out to get aborted, many of them even commit suicide. Almost 23,000 women die every year due to complications that arise from unsafe abortions. The variation in the number of safe abortions performed vary drastically between countries. Almost 54% of abortions performed in low-economic countries fall into the ‘least-safe‘category while fewer than 1% of abortions performed in high-economic countries falls into this category. Also, are you aware that where you live affects your health quotient? Read more on the relationship between quality of life and your place of living at www.firsteatright.com. Ensuring increased availability, accessibility and affordability of contraception can minimize unwanted pregnancies and thereby, abortions. But this needs to be combined along with safe abortion methods to reap total benefits.
We feel it a responsibility to talk about our kid’s stool color, consistency and frequency with our fellow parents but shy away from discussing about our stool color and its related problems.
Bloody stools often indicate a problem in the digestive tract. The blood might come from anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. After using the toilet, you may notice blood in your stool, toilet paper or few drops in the toilet bowl. Many people try ignoring it as they feel embarrassed talking about it, even to their doctor.
Place of Origin is Important
Where the blood comes from tells about how it looks.
The food we eat too sometimes determines our stool color:
Bright red: Heavy or fast bleeding in the upper GI tract.
Black: Consumption of blackberries, lead, iron pills or bismuth medicines.
Red: Consumption of beetroot or tomatoes.
Different reasons exist behind blood in stools. They include:
Your physician might arrange for different tests depending on your symptoms, age and medical history:
Honeymoon phase in marriage and in office (the training period is normally called so) is known, but what has honeymoon phase got to do with a disease?
The period following type 1 diabetes diagnosis in a person where the pancreas functions to produce enough insulin and maintains blood sugar levels is generally termed as the honeymoon phase in diabetes. While it seems that diabetes might vanish and normalcy might return, unfortunately both these situations don’t happen.
Pancreas is an organ that produces insulin and Type 1 diabetes is caused due to an immune attack against the pancreas. In other words, the body starts killing its own insulin-producing cells (islet cells) and insulin injections prescribed pressurize the pancreas to produce insulin again. This period where the injections demand insulin production from the remaining beta cells in the pancreas too ends and the pancreas stops producing any more insulin thereafter putting an end to the diabetes honeymoon phase.
During the phase:
What About Type 2 Diabetes?
Generally, type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent among the two types and affects people much more intensely causing various side effects as mentioned at www.firsteatright.com. While individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes might experience reduced symptoms during the period after diagnosis, it is not on par with the benefits enjoyed by individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Before starting the individual on medications, physicians normally advise patients to start eating healthier food, avoid sugary foods and even fruits such as sapodilla, mango and banana, do regular physical activity and overall, adopt a healthier lifestyle. Such modifications can help lower blood glucose levels, but these rise again once the healthy lifestyle practices stop.
With debates still continuing over the pros and cons of processed foods, what is the news all about ultra-processed foods? Firstly, how do you classify foods as ultra-processed?
A study by French researchers shows that ultra-processed foods consumption paves way for cancer risk. According to these researchers, foods that undergo the most industrial food processing are classified as ultra-processed. For example, fish nuggets, packaged sweets, snacks and breads, sodas and sweetened drinks, meat balls, chocolate bars, instant noodles and soups and any products made entirely from sugar, oil and fats come under this classification. This classification is defined solely by the opposition to the ‘unprocessed or minimally processed foods’ category constituting fresh fruits, veggies, rice, eggs, pulses and milk. Processed foods fall under different categories depending on their processing level. Details of each level with examples are given at www.firsteatright.com.
A Major Global Issue
Cancer poses a major worldwide problem and according to the World Cancer Research, almost one-third of the most common neoplasms can be curbed with proper lifestyle and diet changes. With such knowledge, since the recent few decades, the world is travelling towards the opposite end of the health spectrum by drastically increasing the consumption of highly processed foods that are perceived to be safe, convenient, highly palatable and inexpensive.
A study of around 105,000 people (mostly middle-aged women who were followed for 5 years) indicated that when people’s intake of such foods increased, the risk of developing cancer too increased. Exact numbers show that when increase in intake of ultra-processed foods rise by 10%, the number of cancers detected increased by 12%. On an average, there were 79 cancers per 10,000 people each year and increase in intake of these processed foods by 10% would cause an additional 9 cancers (summing to 88) per 10,000 people.
Other concerning elements here include, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and increased calorie consumption of foods that can also elevate the risk of cancer. The researchers did finetune their study to accommodate these triggers too! While the study can be used for further research in this field of ultra-processed foods and their association with cancer, we cannot 100% say that ultra-processed foods are a cause of cancer.
While we need to restrict consuming the above-mentioned processed foods, one need not entirely forego or slay desires for the same. Along with health foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses and dairy, we can include small portions of our desirable processed foods in our lives. To eliminate or minimize the risk of cancer, each of us must eat a well-balanced diet, do exercise regularly, avoid smoking/alcohol and be active.
While India is competing against China for the Number 1 spot in terms of population, sperm count among men in Western countries (North America, Europe, Australia & New Zealand) has been greatly decreasing, almost halved in less than 40 years, according to researchers.
Huge data analysis of more than 43,000 men showed that sperm concentration declined by 52.4% and 59.3% in terms of total sperm count. Sadly, this decrease in count and concentration are not slowing down but only increasing.
Infertility at the Threshold?
Even with such decreasing sperm count, it does not point at widespread infertility problems (count stands at 47.1 million sperm per millimeter) as the sperm count is well above the 15 million sperm threshold that is fixed as the base for infertility. The maximum disadvantage couples might face is that it might take a longer time to conceive. But, in the long run when this decline continues it might put humans at a stage where conceiving becomes a great task and infertility rates sky-rocket to an all-time high.
Female infertility issues have been the point of discussion in mankind almost in every case when couples struggle to conceive. These findings shed light on increasing male infertility rates too. The depressing fact is that the actual cause for such decrease in sperm counts is still unknown. A number of suspicions and theories exist:
Science has improved life expectancy by almost 25 years in the past century. But, what is life worth living without quality, health, happiness and wellness? Until we change our lifestyle, eating habits, safeguard our environment and minimize the chemicals that we are exposed to, our future looks bleak. We would face problems with conceiving and delivering healthy babies (reproduction as such) which might even lead to the extinction of human species.
At the same time, we don’t know much about decreasing sperm count in South American, Asian and African countries which remains an area to be explored.
Many live to eat and most of the time are concerned about when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat and how much physical activity to perform to stay healthy. With so much varieties to choose from, it is hard to decide what to do and what information you can trust. The information given below might help you make appropriate food choices and changes to your physical activity habits to improve your lifestyle and reach/maintain a healthy weight.
Myth: Redeem yourself free of all your favorite foods
Fact: There is no rule stating that you need to forego all your favorite foods when you want to lose weight. Small quantities of your favorite high-calorie foods can be included in your weight-loss plan. All you have to do is, keep note of the total amount of calories you consume for the day. In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than what you consume through food and beverages.
Myth: Grain products such as bread, pasta and rice are fattening. Please avoid them when trying to lose weight.
Fact: Grains are not hopeless foods that contribute only empty calories, but substituting them with whole grains is more nutritious and helps you feel fuller for longer time periods. Dietary guidelines recommend making half your grains as whole grains as these are loaded with nutrients such as iron, fiber and many others. Include brown rice, whole-wheat bread, cereal and pasta in your daily meal plan.
Myth: Gluten-free foods help you to eat healthier
Fact: This is completely a myth and there is no need to eat gluten-free food unless you are allergic to gluten or have celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye grains. If you go on a gluten-free diet without having gluten allergy, you would be missing some of the important nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals needed by the body. A gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet and does not help an individual lose weight.
Myth: Never touch any fats if you want to lose weight.
Fact: You need not avoid all fats if you want to lose weight or become healthy. Fats are also like other essential nutrients that are needed by the human body and should be an indispensable part of a healthy diet plan. The only restriction here is that fats contain higher number of calories than other food groups and hence, must be taken in limited quantities. If you are on a weight-loss program, try consuming small amounts of food with healthy fats such as avocados, olives or nuts. You can also replace whole-fat milk or cheese with low-fat versions.
Myth: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.
Fact: Dairy products are an important food group and avoiding them is going to cause nutritional deficiencies. They contain proteins your body needs to help organs work well and also contain calcium needed for strong bones. Milk and yogurt, the most commonly consumed dairy products, contain vitamin D to help your body utilize calcium. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products that contain lesser calories.
Myth: Following a vegetarian diet helps you lose weight.
Fact: Even certain research shows that a healthy vegetarian eating plan or a dietary plan that mostly contain foods from plants are linked to lower levels of obesity, lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. Weight loss happens only when you reduce the total amount of calories you consume, vegetarian or not. Some vegetarians may consume foods high in calories, fats and sugar that might lead to weight gain.
No food is bad. It all depends on how much you take. If you want to lose weight healthily, you need to follow a balanced dietary weight loss plan that includes foods from all food groups in the right proportion. To get such a diet plan, please visit a reputed nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com.
Nerves are special cells that carry information from one part of the body to another in the form of tiny electrical signals. For example, if you want to run your nerves instruct your leg muscles to move. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and sciatica is a symptom of some problem with this nerve.
Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve that runs from your hips to the feet is irritated. The sciatic nerve controls muscles in the back of the knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of your thigh, a portion of your lower leg and the sole of your foot. If you have sciatica your bottom, back of the legs, feet and toes can cause pain (stabbing, burning or shooting), tingling feeling, numbness or weakness. It is usually only on one side of your body. A cough or sneeze can worsen the pain. Back pain along with these symptoms is common, but not as bad as the pain in your bottom, legs or feet.
In most cases there is no one common cause attributed for sciatica while some of the frequent causes include:
Normally, medicine, exercise or surgery are the common treatment options suggested by a doctor. The physician might refer you for physiotherapy that includes exercise and massage or advise you to go for psychological support to help you cope with pain.
Do’s & Don’ts to Prevent Sciatica from Reoccurring
Our world is cascading under food crunch and animals and birds are no exclusions to this. A new study has found that wild polar bears have increased metabolic rates than before, and drastic climatic and environmental changes affect food sources of these white fuzzy creatures-they are less able to catch enough prey to meet their energy needs than before.
Polar Bears with Collar Trackers
Nine female polar bears were made to wear high-tech collars that recorded video, location and activity levels for some 8-12 days while metabolic tracers tracked the bear’s energy expenditure. Surprisingly, the metabolic rates were almost up by 50% than previously predicted and five of the nine bears lost body mass. These facts without doubt convey the message that polar bears were unable to catch the required quantity of prey to match their energy requirements.
The research group also found that these white-haired creatures have higher metabolic rates than earlier thought. On analyzing, they feel that these bears are subjected to long-distance travels to hunt down their prey because of the Arctic sea-ice which makes it difficult for them to catch their prey. Generally, polar bears use the sea ice to hunt seals and decrease in frozen ice in the Arctic (decline of about 14% per decade) makes these bears look for their food farther away.
It is before the summer that decides how much of fat they can accumulate onto their body and how much of energy stores they have that can be expended. Before this study, researchers assumed that polar bears used less energy as they are mostly ‘sit-and-wait’ creatures that would minimize their energy expenditure while hunting. All these were disproved with the results from the high-tech collars that showed that they need higher energy and they must be catching more seals than expected.
The Declining Rates
Polar bear population has been steadily decreasing by about 40 percent over the past decade. With the latest technological advancements, it makes it explicit for researchers to understand the way these bears move on ice, their activity patterns and energy needs. All these make it easier to comprehend the effect of these changes in the sea-ice.
Global warming and environmental changes are affecting creatures living worldwide in some way. Carbon footprints differ for different foods that again affect the environment in different ways. Individuals interested in reducing carbon footprints and enhancing environmentalism can visit the website www.firsteatright.com. We, as humans are blessed with the sixth sense that helps us differentiate the good from the bad. If we don’t take charge of things at least in this juncture and try to sort them out, we would be self-destructing our own planet and the days are not far off for this final event of the human ecosystem.
Pollution is killing millions of people every year worldwide, almost 9 million people to be more precise. Air pollution alone is responsible for the death of 6.5 million people of the total 9 million due to various reasons such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
We talk about the ever-increasing traffic rates in all our cities and the problems of commutation. How many of us are genuinely aware of the problems due to traffic-related pollution and its sever impact on vascular health, especially in individuals with cardiovascular disease?
A new study has found that when an individual with a higher risk for heart disease is exposed to traffic-related pollution, he/she is exposed to greater chances of high blood pressure and peripheral artery disease (PAD). But, the research could not show any link between long-term traffic exposure and heart disease, especially coronary vessel disease and heart attacks.
Death due to diseases related to the circulatory system, such as heart disease and stroke, account for more than 30% deaths in our country. Hence, this study occupies top-priority and calls for certain drastic measures to be taken. For instance, we need to relook into the proximal placement of schools and nursing homes with respect to dense-traffic areas. The more we are informed about the risk factors associated with vascular diseases, the more we can inform and safeguard the common man from the associated risks.
The effect of the traffic depended on the proximity of the individual to the traffic-centric area. Individuals who reside within a kilometer of a heavy-traffic road were at a higher risk for high blood pressure and PAD. With the blood pressure rates garnering a new definition (click the link www.firsteatright.com for the new systolic and diastolic readings that define blood pressure), more people are categorized as having BP which further elevates the risk of heart diseases.
Some studies also proved the relationship between pollution due to increased traffic rates and Type 2 diabetes, inflammation and atherosclerosis. Researchers are now interested in analyzing how traffic-related pollution might alter function of genes involved in cardiovascular disease.
Music is the soul of life. Whether your child matures into another Lata Mangeshkar or Jay-Z is not the point here, but the benefits and advantages he/she gains from these practice classes and lessons.
Research shows that including music classes along with academics sharpens a child’s academic and cognitive skills. Earlier times, music was an indispensable part of children’s life as most of them were made to learn classical or any other music form by their parents. But these days, parents and children desperately search for extra coaching for academics, special training for math/science Olympiads and try every way possible to excel in academics due to increasing competition. Most schools don’t have a dedicated music class for children even under the fifth grade despite repeated research and findings that music improves overall cognitive skills. There are even research on the impact of exercise on improved cognition in children and for details on the same, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
In one study, researchers followed 147 Danish children enrolled in different schools across the country using a structured musical method. All schools followed regular curriculum while some schools had music or arts classes too, both practical and theoretical. Results proved that:
Other Areas that Have a Scope for Improvement
Music helps in language development, especially in children aged from 2-9 years and this helps enhance brain parts that process music over time. Research also shows that children who learn music have higher spatial intelligence which can help them visualize elements that should go together, like when they solve math problems. Schools are the best place to inculcate musical interest in children. When so many people are involved in various creative activities, even those uninterested would start trying to learn and do better.
I don’t mean to say that learning music makes you are smart person. It does help to learn a new skill, makes you disciplined, participate in cultural events, forget stage fear, be a part of something innovative and overall, enjoy the learning process.
Don’t enroll your child in a musical class with the intention of making him/her perform better in academics. Enroll them with the intention of making them musical. This makes the kid better understand himself/herself as the art and music world molds the way in which kids think and improves the way in which he/she expresses things.
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