Thursday, March 25, 2010

Women who eat a diet high in biscuits,cakes & pies that contain trans fats are more likely to develop a womb condition that can cause infertility.!!!

Bad fat linked to infertility condition: research

Women who eat a diet high in biscuits, cakes and pies that contain trans fats are more likely to develop a common womb condition that can cause infertility, researchers have said.

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

A study found that women with the highest consumption of trans fats were 48 per cent more likely to develop endometriosis than those with the lowest consumption.

However eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, seemed to protect against the disease as these women had a 22 per cent reduced risk of the condition.

Endometriosis affects around one in ten women and is when the lining of the womb grows in the wrong places. It can cause no symptoms at all or severe pain and in some cases infertility.

The study involving over 70,000 women in America, is the largest to look at the link between diet and endometriosis.

Previous research found that eating four grams of trans fat a day can lead to infertility in women.

In the most recent study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, it was thought that trans fat increase inflammation in the body encouraging rogue cells from the womb lining to grow while omega-3 fatty acids constricted their growth.

Lead author Dr. Stacey Missmer, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, America, said: "This study gives us a strong indication that we’re on the right track in identifying food rich in Omega-3 oils as protective for endometriosis and trans fats as detrimental."

Women in the study filled out food questionnaires every four years between 1989 and 2001 and traced the numbers who went on to develop endometriosis.

The results showed that while total fat in the diet was not important, the kind of fat women were consuming was linked to the risk of endometriosis.

Trans fats are liquid oils that have been turned into solids by a process called hydrogenation and are in thousands of pre-prepared foods to give texture and a long shelf life.

The fat has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

(C) The Telegraph Group London 2010


Sri Lankan students can now get a university degree through online education...!!! NODES.LK...!!!

Online degree chance for Dasun Edirisinghe

Sri Lankan students can now get a university degree through online education, Higher Education Minister Prof Wiswa Warnapala announced yesterday.

The Minister said that he was delighted at the revolutionary introduction which is also a realisation of one of the promises pledged under the ‘Semata Sarasavi’ (University Education for All) theme of the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto.

The innovative scheme is offered by NODES, the National Online Distance Education Service, commenced under the Distance Education Modernisation Project (DEMP) of the Higher Education Ministry.

He said the NODES programme was declared open for students on March 1.

NODES, introduced under the DEMP, started in 2004 and 26 centres had been set up islandwide, he said.

This innovation would create greater opportunities for tertiary education through Online Distance Learning (ODL).

Universities, professional associations, private and public sector education institutions are instructed to adopt this mode of learning to cater to a larger student population.

The Minister said the NODES had introduced 46 courses of studies and these courses allowed the students to choose a course of study leading to a degree, diploma or certificate, depending on their qualifications.

A loan agreement signed between the Asian Development Bank and the Sri Lankan government on August 18, 2003 launched the DEMP.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rain Water Harvesting Policy in Sri Lanka.....!!!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Rain Water Harvesting Policy in Sri Lanka

Dr Tanuja Ariyananda - Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum

[ Harvesting rainwater]
* First National policy on Rain Water Harvesting
* Gazette to amend Urban Development Authority drainage laws passed on August 25, 2007
* Rain Water Harvesting International Workshop - Kandy in 2006

Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans are world famous for its water resource management. The first ever dam built in the world Tissa Wawe (3rd Century BC) is recorded from this island (History of Dams, 1994) and also the famous proclamation by King Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 AD), “.....let not even a small quantity of water obtained by rain, go to the sea without benefiting man” (Arumugam, 1969, quoted from Mahawansa), shows the wisdom and commitment of ancient kings and people to conserve and efficiently manage water resources.

In more recent times, Sri Lanka has another first in water management, that is we have the first National Policy on Rain Water Harvesting.

Urban Development and Water Supply Minister Dinesh Gunawardena initiated the formulation of a National Policy and Strategy for Rain Water Harvesting in 2005 and was approved by the government. The policy objective is aimed at encouraging communities to control water near its source by harvesting rainwater.

This results in, minimizing the use of treated water for secondary purposes, reduction of flooding, improving soil conservation and groundwater recharge, providing water for domestic use with adequate treatment, agricultural benefits and reduce energy consumption.

A gazette to amend the Urban Development Authority (UDA) drainage laws was also presented by Minister Gunawardena and was passed in Parliament on August 25, 2007. In addition the regulation has been gazetted on April 17, 2009, which makes rainwater harvesting mandatory in certain categories of new buildings in areas under Municipal and Urban Council jurisdiction.

Minister has also initiated promotion of rainwater harvesting in the South Asian region by hosting an International Workshop on Rain Water Harvesting in Kandy in 2006.

The workshop was attended by five Ministers from SAARC countries, where they signed a declaration to exchange experience and know-how, and use different methods of rain water harvesting to contribute to solving poverty and water needs of human kind, other living being and the environment.

Parakrama Samudraya - the vast water reservoir built by
King Parakramabahu (1153-1186) Pic. courtesy: Google

Water is not only one of the most essential daily needs for the humans and other living beings, but is also important for the sustenance of biodiversity, ecology and overall health of the planet Earth. Because of the continuing increase in population, human consumption is causing a severe decline in the amount of available water resources.

Additionally, it is been predicted that there is strong impact of Global Climate Change on the availability and variability of water resources.

Rain water harvesting will reduce the pressure on present water source caused due to increase in demand, minimize the Government expenditure on subsidy, reduce water bills, minimize the use of treated water allowing more people to be served, save on energy needed to transport and treat water and will also reduce flooding in some cities.

Rainwater harvesting will also mitigate the effects of climate change on water resources during times of floods and drought.

If this timely action and direction by the Minister, is successfully implemented it will ensure that Sri Lankans will be self-sufficient in water, once enjoyed by our ancestors and are prepared for the impending water crises in the future due to the effect of climate change.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A year after kicking the smoking habit, smokers’ arteries showed signs of reversing a problem that can set the stage for heart disease...!!!

Arteries improve after smokers quit, study finds

ATLANTA (AP) - Quitting smoking can turn back time.

A year after kicking the habit, smokers’ arteries showed signs of reversing a problem that can set the stage for heart disease, according to the first big study to test this.

The improvement came even though smokers gained an average of 9 pounds (4 kilograms) after they quit, researchers found. Their levels of so-called good cholesterol improved, too.

"A lot of people are afraid to quit smoking because they’re afraid to gain weight," said the study’s leader, Dr. James Stein, a University of Wisconsin-Madison cardiologist.

The new research shows these people gain a health benefit even though they pick up pounds that hopefully can be shed once they’ve gotten used to not smoking, he said.

Smoking is one of the top causes of heart disease, and about one third of smoking-related deaths in the U.S. are due to heart disease. A heart attack often motivates longtime smokers to give it up.

Quitting is known to lower the risk of developing or dying of lung cancer. This is the first major clinical trial to show it quickly improves artery health. Results were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and presented at the group’s annual conference on Monday.

In the study, 1,500 smokers were given one of five methods to help them quit - nicotine patches; nicotine lozenges; the drug bupropion, sold as Wellbutrin and Zyban; or a combination of patches and lozenges or the drug and lozenges. A sixth group received a dummy treatment.

After one year, 36 percent had quit, and it made no difference which method they used, Stein said.

Before the study started and one year after smokers quit, doctors did ultrasound tests to see how well blood vessel linings relaxed and handled blood flow. Hardening of the arteries is an early step to heart disease. Using a tourniquet, they stopped blood flow in the forearm for a few minutes, then measured how a major artery responded when the flow was restored.

"It’s a valid test" and is considered a good sign of how healthy the heart arteries are, said Dr. Alfred Bove, a Temple University heart specialist and president of the cardiology group.

Doctors found that artery function improved 1 percent in the quitters.

"That may not sound like much," but research shows that translates to a 14 percent lower risk of developing heart disease, Stein said.

"It’s a small improvement at one year. The question is, do these folks keep getting better?" Bove said.

The study is continuing another two years to give an answer, Stein said.

London-based GlaxoSmithKline PLC provided smoking cessation medicines for that part of the study, and several authors have research funding from the company. Federal government grants paid for the artery study.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Females that have multiple mates reduce the risk of producing a brood of offspring without males..!!!

Promiscuous females
‘could prevent species becoming extinct’

Promiscuous females could prevent their species becoming extinct, scientists have found.

According to research by the Universities of Exeter and Liverpool, females that have multiple mates reduce the risk of producing a brood of offspring without males.

The study, published today in Current Biology, says an all-female brood could occur when all the ‘male’ Y chromosome sperm are killed before fertilisation, because of a sex-ratio distortion (SR) chromosome.

Scientists believe all-female broods will pass the chromosome on to their sons, which will in turn produce more female-only broods and eventually there will be no males and the population will die out.

Known as ‘polyandry’ among scientists, the phenomenon of females having multiple mates is shared across most animal species, from insects to mammals.

For this study, the scientists worked with the fruitfly Drosophila pseudoobscura.

They gave some populations the opportunity to mate naturally, meaning that the females had multiple partners. The others were restricted to having one mate each.

Several generations of these populations were bred so researchers could see how each fared over time.

Over 15 generations, five of the 12 populations that had been monogamous became extinct as a result of males dying out.

The SR chromosome was far less prevalent in the populations in which females had the opportunity to have multiple mates and none of these populations became extinct.

Having multiple mates can suppress the spread of the SR chromosome, making all-female broods a rarity, the researchers suggest.

This is because males that carry the SR chromosome produce only half as many sperm as normal males. When a female mates with multiple males, their sperm will compete to fertilise her eggs.

The few sperm produced by males carrying the SR chromosome are out-competed by the sperm from normal males, and the SR chromosome cannot spread.

Lead author Professor Nina Wedell, of the University of Exeter, said: ‘’We were surprised by how quickly - within nine generations - a population could die out as a result of females only mating with one partner.

‘’Polyandry is such a widespread phenomenon in nature but it remains something of an enigma for scientists. This study is the first to suggest that it could actually save a population from extinction.’’

(C) The Telegraph Group London 2010