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October: Month For ‘Down Syndrome Awareness’

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October: Month For ‘Down Syndrome Awareness’

Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when an abnormal cell division leads to an either an extra, full or partial, copy of Chromosome 21. Chromosome 21 is one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans. This ‘extra copy’ results in developmental changes and different physical features of Down Syndrome. It is also known as Trisomy 21, since it is a condition in which a child is born with an additional copy of his 21st chromosome. It is the most common genetic chromosomal disorder and varies from one individual to another. Furthermore, it can cause other medical abnormalities, including gastrointestinal and heart problems.

Discovery of Down Syndrome

Year

Progress made in the Research

1866
  • John Langdon Down, an English physician, published his scholarly work of a person affected by this genetic disorder;
  • Though some people had pointed out the characteristics of this Syndrome, it was Down who stated the condition to be a ‘separate and distinct disorder’.
1959
  • Jerome Lejeune, a French physician, identified Down Syndrome as a ‘chromosomal condition’;
  • He observed that the affected individual appears to have 47 chromosomes in his cell, instead of the normal 46 chromosomes. (later discovered that the extra chromosome is due to the division of the individual’s 21st chromosome).
2000
  • An international team of scientists successfully identified and categorized each of the 329 genes (approx.) in chromosome 21.
  • This paved the way for greater progress in the research

Causes

There are no behavioural or environmental factors that can lead to Down Syndrome. However, any of the following three genetic variations can lead to the same:-

  1. Trisomy 21:- This is the most known cause of the genetic disorder (95 per cent of the time). Every individual has 23 pairs of chromosomes, with one in each pair from the father and the other from the mother. When an individual’s 21st chromosome divides abnormally, he ends up having 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, instead of the usual 2 copies. The abnormal cell division happens during the development of either the sperm cell or the egg cell;
  2. Translocation Down Syndrome:- Here, a portion of the individual’s 21st chromosome affixes itself onto another chromosome, but he has only the usual 2 copies of the 21st chromosome. This could be caused before or at the time of conception;
  3. Mosaic Down Syndrome:- This is a rare cause, wherein an individual has only a few cells with an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. This abnormal division is caused after the fertilization stage.

Common Symptoms

  1. Flattened face;
  2. Small head;
  3. Short neck;
  4. Tongue sticking out;
  5. Eyelids slanting up (palpebral fissures);
  6. Small or unusually shaped ears;
  7. Poor muscle tone;
  8. Small feet, short hands with small fingers and a single fold in the palm;
  9. Excessive flexibility;
  10. Short height;
  11. Tiny white spots on the iris of the eye (called the Brushfield’s spots);
  12. Intellectual disabilities.

Possible Complications

People with Down Syndrome can experience certain complications, which could intensify as they get older. These complications include:-

  1. Dementia:- This is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking capabilities that are severe enough to obstruct one’s daily activities. Its signs and symptoms may begin around the age of 50. Dementia, coupled with Down Syndrome, could lead to Alzheimer’s disease;
  2. Leukaemia:- Leukaemia is a blood cancer where the count of white blood cells in the human body is higher than the count of the red blood cells and the platelets. Young children with Down Syndrome are exposed to a higher risk of being affected with leukaemia;
  3. Spinal problems
  4. Obesity
  5. Sleep apnea
  6. Immune disorders
  7. Gastrointestinal disorders
  8. Heart defects

Statistics

As per the Down Syndrome Federation of India, there is a greater probability of Down Syndrome in India and it occurs in from 1 in 800 live births to 1 in 1,100 live births. The risk of Down Syndrome increases with age, a child with this disorder can be born to a mother at any age. Only 20 per cent of the Down Syndrome births occur in those women who have crossed the age of 35. 80 per cent of children with Down Syndrome are born to mothers who are within the age limit of 35. Due to the advancements in the medical field, such individuals are now living healthier, stronger and longer than before.

Is there any treatment?

No. But, this can be addressed through:-

  1. Various educational and support programs providing assistance to the child and families concerned;
  2. Counselling sessions to enable families to help children with the improvement of their skills and abilities;
  3. Reliable schools which help such children to socialize and develop the required life skills.

In addition to this, there are a handful of organizations that are dedicated to supporting them. To name a few, the Down Syndrome Federation of India (Chennai) and the Down Syndrome Care Association (Mumbai).

Impact on Society

The impact and changes or transformation in the society regarding this disorder is drastic. Earlier people even though such children were cursed or evil; accepting their own “bundle of joy” was difficult for the parents, let alone the society. The lack of understanding, scientific knowledge and acceptance from the family and society as a whole made life challenging for such children. However, advancement in science and change in the mentality of society towards such special children –from ignorance to acceptance– which was a result of strenuous efforts of awareness by various global and national organisation, has brought about a bright future for them.

Today, individuals with Down Syndrome are widely accepted in the society and community. Opportunities are not denied to them and they are encouraged to be active in various activities, according to their capabilities.

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5 Healthy Smoothies You Need To Try This Summer!

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Smoothie II News Aur Chai

Summers are officially here and it’s really important to stay hydrated to keep going in this scorching weather. You can use a gamut of seasonal fruits to make smoothies. Smoothie is a fresh fruit pureed with milk, yoghurt, or ice cream to make a thick, smooth drink. 

Choose from blueberry, mango, peanut butter oatmeal, mint chocolate chip, pineapple, or any other fruit of your choice, and enjoy a nutritious and tasty smoothie in the comfort of your own home. Try these refreshing healthy smoothies to replenish and refresh your body. 

Here is a list of healthy smoothies to try this summer:

Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry Smoothie is a simple and succulent way to begin your morning! Yoghurt, frozen blueberries, and banana are blended into a frosty drink to make this rich and refreshing blueberry smoothie. The ingredients used in this smoothie are both tasty and nutritious

 Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen bananas
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yoghurt
  • ½ cup ice cubes

Mango Smoothie

What are summers if they aren’t brimming with mangoes? Make this delicious mango smoothie for an instant energy boost! Frozen banana, diced mangoes, and yoghurt are all good to have on hand. In a blender, mix all of the ingredients and blend until it’s smooth. It’s as easy as that!

 Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups frozen or fresh diced mango 
  • 1 cup frozen banana 
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • ½ cup of ice cubes

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie

This recipe for Peanut butter Oatmeal Smoothie is packed with frozen bananas, creamy peanut butter, yoghurt, oats, and honey. It only takes a few minutes to prepare this thick and creamy drink; is sure to keep you full.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • ¼cup +1 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup oats
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

 Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Whip up this beautiful blend of soothing mint chocolate chip smoothie recipe for an instant energy boost! Add spinach, avocado, frozen banana, milk, and fresh mint leaves to your blender and blend until it’s smooth. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and chocolate chips.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients: 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ¼ small sized avocado
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 25-30 mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crushed ice

 Pineapple Smoothie

This pineapple smoothie is a tropical mixture. Combine your pineapple, banana, and Greek yoghurt in a blender and blend until smooth and fluffy. Serve and enjoy this quick, nutritious, and refreshing drink!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup fresh diced pineapple
  • ½ sliced banana
  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup crushed ice

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Skin Care Tips To Survive Summers In India

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Skin Care in Summer in India | News Aur Chai

The summer heat in India can be harsh on your skin if you don’t take proper care of it. The blistering heat, dust, and pollution take away the natural shine and, in some cases, invite infections. To avoid all of these annoyances and to keep your skin glowing as it did before, try these summer skincare tips:

Clothing

Tight clothing during hot weather will irritate the skin and make sweaty areas of the body itch even more. To combat the heat, cotton and lighter fabrics are vital. Try wearing breathable fabrics.

Diet

Applying creams is not enough; you need to enrich your skin properly to keep it glowing. Juicy fruits and vegetables should be consumed in large quantities as they are high in nutrients and antioxidants that protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Try consuming cooling or seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Exercise

Exercise increases blood flow that ensures that oxygen reaches the skin cells. Any tissue damage (skin burn, etc) is repaired by the body.

Exfoliation

It is a process that helps in the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Exfoliate your skin regularly for healthy and glowing skin. You can simply use a washcloth to gently scrub your skin. Try this process at least once a week.

Eyes and Lips

Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses while stepping out in the sun. Protect your lips by applying a lip balm.

Feet

It is important to take care of your feet as well. Give yourself a manicure; remove the dead and dry skin cells with a scrub and moisturize them later.

Minimal Makeup

Go easy on make-up during summers; avoid anything heavy it’s most likely to melt off the minute you step out in the sweltering summer heat. When it comes to makeup during the summers, keep it simple as the skin needs to breathe.

Sunscreen

Summertime necessitates the use of sunscreen. It is important to safeguard yourself from tanning and skin burns. It also helps in protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. You should apply sunscreen at least twice a day. It is a must-have item, if you don’t have one; you should invest in sunscreen.

Stay Hydrated

It is extremely important to stay hydrated; especially during hot weather. Sweat causes us to lose a lot of our body fluids. Our bodies are severely harmed when the levels of body fluids drop. Staying hydrated also helps to flush out toxins from the body and feel refreshed. Carry a bottle of water everywhere you go, set reminders to drink water throughout the day so that you don’t forget to hydrate yourself!

Update your skincare products

It is very important to update your skincare products during summertime. During winters we need stronger creams to fight the cold and dry weather, but in the summer, we need hydrating products. Buy a moisturizer that is lightweight and non-greasy.

 Use natural remedies

Skincare home remedies are useful as they make your skin glow naturally without causing any harm. Applying Aloe Vera gel, Cucumber mask, Coconut oil, Honey mask, Lemon mask, Orange Peel mask, Turmeric paste are few remedies that soothe your skin during summer. 

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Health

A ‘Bird’s Eye View’ on Bird Flu in India

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Bird Flu India 2021 News Aur Chai

The first week of January 2021 witnessed an abnormal number of deaths among the birds, including the wild ones, in India. These deaths have been caused on account of the Avian influenza. The Avian Influenza, also known as ‘the bird flu’ and ‘H5N1’, are strains of the influenza virus that primarily infect birds.

Several reports started coming in that conveyed that the virus is being vigorously transmitted among the birds. There is a possibility that humans could also get affected if they get in touch with such affected birds.

With state government being alarmed to prevent the next outbreak, extra precautions and care are given to Poultry products in India. The Delhi government even imposed a ban on its sale; however, the centre intervened and uplifted as major occupation and livelihood depends upon poultry industry.

States like Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Assam and Madhya Pradesh banned the entry of poultry products from other states. Prices of poultry products slumped 50% in some of these states, and India is witnessing a growth rate of consumption dip.

Economically, the hospitality sector, particularly, restaurants who believes such a situation will further mar the industry which was recovering from Covid-19

What causes the ‘Avian Influenza’?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Avian influenza is categorized under ‘Type A’ out of the four types of influenza viruses. Type A affects both humans and different kinds of animals. This category is even capable of causing an influenza pandemic. Therefore, it is a matter of concern involving the public health.

1) Contact with an infected bird’s faeces or secretions from its nose, mouth or eyes;
2) Open markets, especially those in crowded areas and under unsanitary conditions, where infected birds and eggs are sold;
3) Undercooked poultry meat or eggs of the infected birds.

Situation in India (as of January 2021)

The cases of the bird flu have swooped in from the following Indian states:-
1. Kerala;
2. Rajasthan;
3. Madhya Pradesh;
4. Himachal Pradesh;
5. Haryana;
6. Gujarat;
7. Uttar Pradesh.

So far, there has not been any proof of any human-to-human transmission of the bird flu. Though the fatality level is low compared to other types of diseases, it is highly advisable to be extremely careful to avoid health difficulties.

Timeline of the Influenza in India over the years

Time Period & Particulars

2006 – The first major outbreak in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
2008 & 2014 – Subsequent outbreaks in West Bengal and Kerala respectively.
2006 to 2015 – 25 bird flu cases arose across 15 states. However, no human infection occurred so far.
2019 – The nation declared itself to be free from the bird flu

What are the symptoms?

Following are the common symptoms of the bird flu:-
a. At the initial stage:
Sore throat

b. At the later stage:
1. Fatigue;
2. Nasal congestion;
3. Dry cough;
4. Headache;
5. Sweating;
6. Body chills;
7. Muscle pain;
8. Fever;
9. Shortness of breath.

Who all are prone to this disease?

1. Children below 2 years of age;
2. Adults over 65 years of age;
3. People with co-morbidities (having more than one disease at the same time);
4. Pregnant women or those women who have recently given birth.

Any possible complications?

Yes! People who get affected by the bird flu could possibly end up developing dangerous complications such as:-

1. Heart problems;
2. Kidney dysfunction;
3. Respiratory failure;
4. Conjunctivitis (having a pink eye);
5. Pneumonia.

Prevention is better than cure!

Since 1997, less than 500 bird flu deaths have been reported to WHO. Still, that does not mean that one need not take any preventative measures to stay safe from the flu. Following are the simple prevention measures one can resort to:-

1. According to WHO, cooking of poultry (like chickens, ducks and geese) at or above 70 degree Celsius, in such a manner that no meat remains raw and red, is a one such safety measure to kill the virus in the prevalent areas;
2. Avoid getting in touch with domesticated birds, especially when you are travelling;
3. Take care of personal hygiene;
4. Be aware of any authorized and reliable flu shot;
5. Keep the poultry-touched utensils clean, to avoid cross-contamination;
6. Steer clear of raw eggs.
7. Use the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit when handling livestock.

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