Music can benefit those with Alzheimer’s and Anxiety

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The number of Alzheimer’s patients in India will triple by 2050

New Delhi, 6th May 2018: A study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah Health have come up with the theory that music-based treatments could be used to alleviate anxiety in patients with dementia. Music may help tap into the salience network of the brain that is still relatively functioning. The need of the hour is to create awareness on alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Music activates the brain, causing whole regions to communicate. By listening to the personal soundtrack, the visual network, the salience network, the executive network and the cerebellar and corticocerebellar network pairs all showed significantly higher functional connectivity.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India, said, “Alzheimer’s causes severe memory recall issues, and progressive damage to their brains impairing other cognitive functions as well. This can lead to a state of anxiety and disorientation in many people but listening to music can prove beneficial. Music can relieve stress, reduce anxiety and depression, and reduce agitation. Apart from aiding memory in those with Alzheimer’s, music can also benefit caregivers by reducing their anxiety and distress. It helps lighten the mood and provides a way to connect with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease by easing communication. Music is like an anchor, grounding the patient back in reality.”

India has an ever-growing elderly population, out of which 1.6 million are suffering from Alzheimer’s. This number is only expected to triple by 2050.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “It is important that you engage in regular mentally stimulating activities to keep those brain cells up and running. This is particularly beneficial for those who have crossed their 40s. Try doing light brain stimulating tasks like crossword puzzles, quizzes, daily reading or anything similar that interests you. For older individuals, it is advised that they engage their mental reserves through social engagement and exercise.”

Some tips from HCFI.

·       Maintain a healthy weight. Check your waistline.
·       Eat mindfully. Emphasize colorful, vitamin–packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes as protein sources plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes, too.
·       Exercise regularly. Aim for 2½ to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking (at 4 mph). Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging (at 6 mph) for half that time.
·       Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, keep a watch on your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar numbers.

Earlier clinical trials reported in uptodate have found that exposing patients to music for 15 to 20 minutes prior to and/or during a procedure reduces anxiety levels in samples of patients undergoing various procedures like colposcopy, cystoscopy and gastrointestinal; cesarean delivery; mastectomy; port catheter placement, day surgery, flexible cystoscopy; and hysteroscopy.
An observational trial in patients awaiting surgery found that patients’ subjective reports of decreased anxiety were consistent with heart rate variability, an objective marker of anxiety.
Music did not show a benefit during endoscopy in a trial of patients under conscious sedation.

Lack of awareness impedes the treatment of celiac disease in India

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Genetic susceptibility is a major factor in the development of this condition

New Delhi, 09th April 2018: According to statistics, celiac disease affects almost 0.7% of the world’s population. In India, about six to eight million Indians are estimated to have this disease, and its prevalence in the North Indian community is 1 in 100.There is a lack of awareness about this condition and the need of the hour is to educate people.

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Genetics has a major role in the prevalence of this condition and therefore, children are equally susceptible to it.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “People suffering from celiac disease cannot digest a protein called gluten which is found in barley and wheat flour. Gluten triggers immune system in patients to damage small intestine villi. As a result, patients cannot absorb nutrients from food and remain malnourished which could lead to anemia weight loss and fatigue. Celiac disease patients suffer from fat malabsorption. A gluten free diet is also recommended for patients with wheat allergy dermatitis herpetiformis multiple sclerosis autoimmune disorders autism spectrum disorders ADHD and some behavioral problems. Gluten containing cereals are wheat barley rye oats and triticale. Gluten is also present as a food additive in the form of a flavoring stabilizing or thickening agent. In these conditions one should switch over to gluten free foods.”

Gluten allergy, unlike traditional allergies, cannot be pinned down as its onset is gradual with symptoms that may resemble other conditions: headaches, stomach cramps, bloating, anxiety, depression, and so on. Gluten can gradually erode the villi in the small intestine and prohibit the body from absorbing nutrients from food.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “A person with celiac disease must stay away from items like wheat, rye, semolina, durum, malt and barley. It is a good idea to check labels at the back of packed products to check for traces of gluten. Some items that may contain gluten include canned soups, condiments, salad dressings, candies, and pasta. However, all this does not mean one cannot have variety in meals. It is possible to use alternatives such as rice, sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, bajra, ragi and buckwheat.”

Some HCFI tips.


Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big change and can take some time for a person to get used to. There are many naturally gluten-free foods which are also healthy and delicious. Some of these include the following.

  • Beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy products

Urban men and women at a high of acquiring brittle bones

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Vitamin D supplementation, healthy diet, and adequate physical activity can prevent osteoporosis

New Delhi, 08th April 2018: A recent study has indicated that urban Indians stand the risk of suffering from brittle bones which can cause fractures even with simple acts like bending over or coughing. A majority of the people in Delhi, both men and women, were found suffering from osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Osteopenia is a condition in which bone mineral density is lower than normal. It is considered by many doctors to be a precursor to osteoporosis that causes bones to become weak and brittle. A low-level of bone density could lead to a serious socio-economic burden in the future as the population of the elderly is bound to increase.

Speaking about this, *Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI and Immediate Past National President, IMA,* said, “In India, osteoporosis  is the second commonest diseases both in men and women after coronary artery disease. A low BMI is a risk factor for osteoporosis and high BMI is a risk factor for osteoarthritis. Therefore, a balance has to be maintained. It is possible to prevent long-term morbidity due to fractures in those individuals in whom the risk of developing osteoporosis is identified. A majority of people are unaware of the serious complications associated with osteoporosis. Even in the absence of a large scale cross-sectional study, hip fractures (HFs) are considered common and the peak incidence of osteoporotic HF is in younger age, around 50-60 years.”

The risk factors for osteoporosis include advancing age, past history of fractures, history of steroids intake, weight less than 40 kg, family history of hip fracture, intake of alcohol, smoking, 1.5” loss in the height in the past and height less than 145 cm.

Adding further, *Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Chief Editor of IJCP*, said, “In India, about 80% people have vitamin D deficiency.Vitamin D deficiency is much more important than calcium supplementation. If Vitamin D cannot be acquired from sunlight, vitamin D supplementation is needed.To overcome osteoporosis, one must remember the following mnemonic ABCDE: A means adequate sunligh t, B means avoiding bone toxins, C means adequate calcium, D means fortification or supplementation of Vitamin D and E means exercise.”

HCFI tips to prevent the risk of osteoporosis at an early age.

- Avoid bone toxins, namely, alcohol and smoking. Smoking is dangerous as it accelerates bone destruction. Excess of 80 ml of alcohol or 80 gm of   alcohol can accelerate bone destruction.
- Start Vitamin D supplementation right from when boys and girls are in the school going age. Remember, osteoporosis begins in the school going age  but manifests later in life.
- Three yoga exercises namely, Surya Namaskar, Tadasana and Vrakshasana, which involve standing on your toes or weight bearing on your toes, are    good to avoid osteoporosis.
- An adequate intake of protein in diet, combined with an adequate    intake of calcium helps increase bone density. One should aim for about 12%  of calories to come from proteins such as legumes, poultry, seafood, meat, dairy products, nuts and seeds.

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