Category Archives: Health

Food for Thought

I may have to put this idea  in a point form instead of a long narrative lest I forget to post it.

1. With global warming and attendant natural catastrophes we are going to have famines and food shortages.

2. Question is can we make digestible food utensils?

3. If we can make biodegradable plastics (microbes have to do the job) the next futuristic trend would be to make utensils that we can eat up at the end of the meal.

4. If our microbes (Ecoli) cannot do the job we have to swallow a capsule or two containing microbes  before of after the meal like medicine.

5. Or even think of introducing a biogas producing microbe with the meal or after the meal or  drop  the capsule into the commode.

6. When we empty the contents of the bowel they should be there ready to spring into full action.

7. Each man producing his own quota of energy would be the first anti-capitalistic version of eco-energy principle of mine.

8. We should not think of tagging energy and digestible  food pathways to our own Ecoli due to ethical issues.

9. First of all we must make ourselves to eat the digestible food utensils.

10. It will be fun when these cutlery are made with pleasing colours and sweet taste that cleaning up job is done instantly after meal without servants.

There is one probable hitch with this plausible adventure.

Will the children eat the utensils and leave the food items for the caretaker or the parent to eat and ultimately he or she become unfashionably fat?

This is food for thought for you in the coming year, if you think of developing this idea  or improving it without telling or help of the WHO or the WFO.

Habit and the lack of the habit

We have  now lost  a habit which used to be infectious in the bygone years

It is that the ability to crack a joke and laugh.

We have lost it, well and truly.

When a country goes through prolong and protracted war when lot of fellow beings are taken away of the right to live in their prime of life except the oneself who survives the ordeal, it is said that the truth is the first casualty.

But I say it is not the only casualty.

The ability laugh and crack a joke becomes the biggest casualty. if one includes self criticism and realization of one’s own fallacies and the ability to laugh at very self not others, the loss of that capacity is debilitating to say the least.

If a nation loses the ability to laugh at itself in an adversity and if it is never regained in pristine form, the selfish, mask like and moronic behaviour outlasts the the war by decades

It has happened to us.

Yes when the foreigners come we smile at them and it is only a reflex action without any meaning in it but perhaps with lot of guilt inside.

Because there is nothing else to redeem smile disguises the pain and agony inside in lot of us.

Like a patient who comes to a doctor, if the body politic is sick we cannot laugh any more.

If there is any semblance of laugh it is artificial and induced and not spontaneous.

We have not addressed this habit or lack of it in the first place.

Even school children lack this ability.

Can you get an elephant to laugh.

Yes an ant can do that but not a man or a woman (Read my article how to make an elephant laugh probably at It looks like this site is blocked).

Now I have reproduced it for posterity here.

When are we going to begin the  spontaneous laughter?

I do not know with the cost of living spiraling!

I think we have to train the Sri-Lankans to smile and laugh.

We should have a workshop for that in the coming year not elections again.

Priorities? Whats Gone Wrong?

Have we got our priorities right?

Is hygiene a matter for concern?

Is home science taught to children especially girls?

Is dengue the biggest problem?

Can pure politicians decide on health issues?

Are our doctors trained sufficiently in Public Health?

Are our hospitals (both Public and Private) disease factories?

I can answer the last question easily.
Yes our hospitals are disease factories, there is no doubt about it.
If a patient is taken to a hospital he invariably acquires a new disease if he stays more than 48 hours.
That is why our mothers are discharged as soon as possible after child birth.

I am not going to get involved in any political arguments except saying that 30.000 (may be 40 thousand) children die every day due to poor hygiene and improper education worldwide.
One of the first lessons we have to teach undergraduates is hand hygiene when they enter university. But within 4 weeks they go back to bad habits and the cycle perpetuates itself
Majority of them have studied in tutories and not in school and the tutors never teach hygiene in their cramped up classes.

Below is some relevant samples and I have no editorial control over them or any connections.

Science Daily (Mar. 24, 2010)
A new study suggests that hand sanitizers containing ethanol are much more effective at removing rhinovirus from hands than washing with soap and water. Sanitizers containing both ethanol and organic acids significantly reduced recovery of the virus from hands and rhinovirus infection up to 4 hours following application.
The researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville and Dial Corporation, Scottsdale, Arizona detail their findings in the March 2010 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Rhinovirus is the known cause of approximately 30 to 35% of common cold cases in adults. Hand-to-hand contact is one of the main avenues of transmission contributing to the spread of rhinovirus infections. In the study researchers compared the effects of hand washing with soap and water and an ethanol-based hand sanitizer by contaminating the fingers of healthy volunteers with rhinovirus and then randomly grouping them and administering one of six hand treatments.
The experiments ranged from a control group who had no treatment, several groups who washed their hands for differing amounts of time (some with soap, some without), and several who used varying amounts of hand sanitizer. Results showed that the ethanol hand sanitizer removed approximately 80% of detectable rhinovirus from hands and was much more effective than no treatment, water alone, or soap and water. Soap and water removed rhinovirus from 31% of hands.

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008)
Washing hands with soap and water before delivering a newborn infant is associated with a lower rate of neonatal deaths in developing countries, according to a report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
“Although major achievements have been made in reducing mortality in children younger than 5 years, less progress has been made in reducing neonatal mortality,” according to background information in the article. It is estimated that there are approximately 4 million neonatal (newborn) deaths each year, with more than 99 percent occurring in low- and middle-income countries. “About half of these deaths occur at home where mothers receive little or no perinatal care. These neonatal deaths are attributable primarily to infections, prematurity and birth asphyxia [suffocation].”
Victor Rhee, M.H.S., of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues obtained data in an observational study of 23,662 newborns through 28 days of life in rural southern Nepal from 2002 to 2006. Mothers of the infants were given questionnaires the day after delivery and two weeks later to identify maternal and birth attendant hand-washing practices.
More than 90 percent of births occurred at home or outdoors while the mother was being transported to a facility. Birth attendants washed their hands before the delivery of 59.2 percent of live births, while only 14.8 percent of mothers washed their hands with soap and water or antiseptic before handling their newborn. The overall mortality rate was 32.1 per 1,000 live births.

ScienceDaily (May 29, 2005)
The most accurate estimates of the causes of child deaths to date, published in the March 26, 2005 of THE LANCET, reveal that worldwide more than 70% of the 10.6 million child deaths that occur annually are attributable to six causes: pneumonia (19%), diarrhoea (18%), malaria (8%), neonatal sepsis or pneumonia (10%), preterm delivery (10%), and asphyxia at birth (8%).

Robert Black (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA) and colleagues in an independent group on child health epidemiology, along with those from the World Health Organisation (WHO), analysed available data from publications and ongoing studies in 2000 to 2003 to obtain new estimates for mortality by cause in children younger than age 5 years. They found the four communicable disease categories account more than half (54%) of all child deaths. Infection of the blood or pneumonia in newborn babies and pneumonia in older children constitute 29% of all deaths. Undernutrition is an underlying cause of 53% of all deaths in children aged younger than 5 years. The investigators also calculated the total numbers and proportional distributions of deaths in children younger than age 5 years by cause for the six WHO-defined regions. Among deaths in children, 42% occur in the WHO Africa region, and an additional 29% occur in the south-east Asia region.

For many years, Chief physician Birger Forsberg has been working with international health issues, and has a particular interest in diarrhoea diseases children in low and middle-income countries. Although diarrhoea-related death amongst children has declined in the past thirty years, diarrhoea is still thought to be the cause of several million child deaths every year.
“Research shows that around 1.5 million children suffering from diarrhoea can be saved every year with the right treatment,” says Dr Forsberg.
Back in the 1980s the WHO started a special programme to reduce diarrhoea-related child mortality. The organisation estimated that about two thirds of all deaths from diarrhoeal diseases were attributable to violent, watery diarrhoea and acute dehydration. It therefore promoted the greater use of rehydration solutions with sugar and salt additives and increased fluid intake. The recommendations were incorporated in most countries’ national health programmes and active information campaigns were run through the WHO, UNICEF and national authorities. The use of the recommended treatments (rehydration or increased fluid intake) has increased but not as much as desired.

The review, led by Regina Ejemot of the University of Caliber, in Nigeria, shows that teaching people about hand washing can reduce the incidence of diarrhea by up to 30 percent and might have as great an affect as providing access to clean water.
“Our review specifically assessed the effects of interventions to promote hand washing and not the effectiveness of improving sanitation,” Ejemot said. “However, common sense would suggest that there has to be water for hand washing to happen, regardless of community awareness of benefits or willingness to wash hands.”

WHO estimates that diarrhea is responsible for over 2.2 million deaths annually, especially in children under the age of five. It is an important cause of malnutrition in resource-poor countries and, if persistent, can contribute to decreased resistance to infection and hamper children’s growth and development.