April 2016 Now Crowned As The Driest Month On Record

Driest AprilApril 2016 has turned out to be the driest one in the last many years. Accordingly, it was also one of the hottest on record with temperatures continuously settling above 40 degree Celsius at several places. Heatwave like conditions did not even spare the hills of North India. On the other hand, Northeast India remained cool with rains lashing the region throughout the month of April.

Record-breaking temperatures were witnessed in several areas in the country with Bangalore losing its pleasant weather crown. Heatwave in Telangana andOdisha claimed hundreds of lives as well.

Pre-Monsoon showers were almost absent from the country. Cumulatively, India received 30.8 mm of rainfall against the normal of 38.9 mm. This amounted to 19% of rainfall deficiency, which actually falls in the ambit of normal rains. However, the situation was grim as most of the contribution came from Northeast India. North, Central and West India performed extremely poorly in terms of pre-Monsoon showers.

The table below shows the cumulative rainfall figures for the month of April in several cities of India against their normal averages. (figures in millimeters)

Driest April

 

Looking at the figures above we could say that Northeast India received very heavy showers and most of the places like Guwahati and Silchar exceeded the monthly average rainfall.

The subdivision of Assam and Meghalaya witnessed 75% excess rains. Andhra Pradesh received excess rains to the tune of 15%. On the other hand, Punjab was rain deficit to the tune of 94% and East Uttar Pradesh was 100% rain deficit. All the subdivisions in Northwest India remained parched. West Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh did not receive any rainfall at all.

This April, 27 subdivisions of the country received scanty or deficit rains while 4 subdivisions receive no rain at all. In the year 2014 when the pan India deficiency was 42% in April, 18 subdivisions witnessed normal rains. But, this year only 4 subdivisions recorded normal rains.

April 2012 had witnessed 24% excess rains while the next year was 21% rain deficit. Even then, in 2013, normal rains were recorded by 5 subdivisions. In 2014, the pan India rains were deficit to the tune of 42%. However, 12 subdivisions received normal rains.

Pune To Witness Frequent Pre-Monsoon Rain, Comfortable Weather

Pune rainsThe weather of Pune remained continuously dry throughout the month of April with isolated light rains occurring only on April 5, 6 and 18. Temperatures also remained above normal for most of the time.

The monthly average rainfall in Pune for the month of April is quite less (6.6 mm), which is also the hottest month for the city. The rainfall figure increases to 40.6 mm in May as pre-Monsoon showers increase by this time of the year. The average maximum also comes down to 37.2 degree Celsius in May from 38.1 degree Celsius in the month of April.

The ‘Queen of Deccan’, Pune, is famous for its pleasant and soothing climate throughout the year. However, this year Pune witnessed extreme weather conditions in April when Pune touched 40°C quite frequently.

 

Till now in May, weather in Pune has remained dry. However, we expect that temperatures will remain near normal or slightly above till May 10. Thereafter, isolated light rainfall activities are expected from May 11 to 13. As per weather models, the latter half of May will witness more frequent pre-Monsoon activities.

We hope that the monthly average rainfall will be reached by the end of the month and temperatures will also come down marginally. Weather in Pune will remain pleasant or slightly comfortable.

Study shines a light on low winter-time male libido

iStock

 

Exposure to bright light can raise testosterone levels and lead to greater sexual satisfaction in men with low sexual desire, according to the results of a small scientific trial.

Scientists at the University of Siena in Italy found that regular, early-morning use of a light box – similar to those used to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD – helped men increase testosterone and improved their sex lives.

Andrea Fagiolini, a professor who led the study and presented it at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Vienna on Monday, said the treatment may prove useful during the Northern hemisphere’s darker winter months.

“The increased levels of testosterone explain the greater reported sexual satisfaction,” he said. “In the Northern hemisphere, the body’s testosterone production naturally declines from November through April, and then rises steadily through the spring and summer with a peak in October.”

Low sexual desire can affect significant numbers of men after the age of 40, with studies finding that up to 25 percent of men report problems.

Fagiolini’s team recruited 38 men diagnosed with either hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual arousal disorder – both characterized by a lack of interest in sex.

After taking baseline readings, they divided the men into two groups and gave one regular treatment with a bright light box, while the control, or placebo, group was treated with a light box adapted to give out significantly less light.

“We found fairly significant differences,” Fagiolini said.

“Before treatment, both groups averaged a sexual satisfaction score of around 2 out of 10. But after treatment, the group exposed to the bright light was scoring sexual satisfaction scores of around 6.3. In contrast, the control group only showed an average score of around 2.7 after treatment.”

CONSENT IN YOGA CLASS—TO TOUCH OR NOT TO TOUCH

Consent in Yoga Class—To touch or not to touch

 

For most of us, yoga studios offer a haven of safety and peace, a welcoming and inclusive space to collectively share the experience of movement, breath, and meditation. Every teacher has the responsibility to hold this sacred space for their students. The recent discussions swirling around the yoga community regarding affirmative consent (including the sexual harassment claims against Bikram Choudhury) have highlighted the importance of establishing a framework that supports consent and communication between teachers and students.

Many people understand the concept of affirmative consent as it relates to sexual relationships, but how does it pertain to yoga? Consent is a clear agreement between people that touch is welcome and that boundaries are understood and respected. Consent is about clear communication, which rings true for any kind of relationship, sexual or not. Because everyone comes to yoga with a different background and different comfort level when it comes to touch, teachers need to be extra vigilant in ensuring that every student’s needs and boundaries are met and respected.

While some of us may enjoy the experience of offering an adjustment or receiving a hands-on assist, for others this can be alarming, triggering, or even downright scary. In the United States alone, one out of every six women, and one out of every thirty three men have been the victim of rape or related physical trauma. Each one of these people might carry an energetic memory of that experience within their body. As teachers we may simply want to offer a gentle touch or guide someone into a deeper twist, but our touch may unintentionally trigger someone in very real ways. Taking that into account, as well as acknowledging the importance of physical autonomy and the personal experience of being in the body, it is imperative that a student gives consent before touch is shared.

Many students, especially those new to a class, may not feel comfortable telling the teacher that they would prefer not to be touched. Luckily, there are creative methods to communicate this without having to verbally say it. At a yoga class that I attended recently, the teacher walked around the room offering each student a card. With beautifully painted images and simple meditations on them, these cards served as intentions for our personal practice and communicated consent to the teacher. Image up meant that touch was welcome, image down meant that it was not desired. There are many other ways to incorporate similar ideas into a class. Stones or shells could be used in place of cards, with each student picking one up and placing it by their mat if they are open to adjustments. The yogaflipchip was designed specifically for this purpose.

Yoga has the power to bring us a deep awareness of our bodies. Expressing ‘yes’ to touch or ‘no’ to touch breeds an even deeper awareness of our bodies and a strong sense of empowerment. By providing a welcoming, open space with clear communication, we can ensure that people feel comfortable expressing consent, and thus create a space for people to flourish in their bodies.

Vasectomies not linked to increased prostate cancer risk

 

Having a vasectomy doesn’t increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer or dying from it, a U.S. study suggests.

Previous research has been mixed about the risk of prostate cancer associated with vasectomy, a common form of long-term birth control that involves snipping or blocking tubes that transport sperm out of the testicles.

“Our study provides some reassurance that having a vasectomy is unlikely to meaningfully increase risk of developing any type of prostate cancer, including fatal prostate cancer,” said lead study author Eric Jacobs, a researcher at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.

Two things that do make prostate cancer more likely are smoking and obesity, Jacobs said by email.

“Men who want to lower their risk of fatal prostate cancer should focus on maintaining a healthy weight and, if they smoke, quitting smoking,” Jacobs said.

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of malignancy among men in the U.S., behind melanoma.

While vasectomy isn’t the primary form of birth control for most couples, about 5 percent of women of reproductive age in the U.S. say this is the method they use to prevent pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Men who undergo this sterilization procedure often worry about whether it will negatively impact their sex life or fail to prevent pregnancy.

Concerns about a cancer risk spiked after a large 2014 study linked vasectomies to a 10 percent greater risk of developing prostate tumors, as well as a 20 percent higher risk of fatal prostate cancer, Jacobs and colleagues note in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

But the overall risk of prostate cancer is still quite low, said Jennifer Rider, a public health researcher at Boston University and Harvard University who was an author on the 2014 study.

“Even a 20 percent increase in the risk of lethal disease – if that is in fact the true relative risk – is still quite small in absolute terms,” Rider said by email. “Given that the benefits of vasectomy as an effective method of birth control are well established, vasectomy remains an important contraceptive option.”

Men with vasectomies can still spread Zika via sex, report suggests

mosquito

 

A man in Spain may have passed the Zika virus to his wife through sex, even though he’d previously had a vasectomy, according to a new report of the case.

The 53-year-old man and his 51-year-old wife had gone on vacation to the Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean in early February this year, the report said. They spent 10 days on the islands, and returned to Madrid in mid-February. They both got mosquito bites on the trip.

A few days after their return, the man developed symptoms of Zika infection, including a fever, rash, headache and joint pain, which went away after about a week. When the man had nearly completely recovered from the infection, the couple had unprotected sexual intercourse.

In men who’ve undergone a vasectomy, sperm from the testes cannot make their way into semen. These men still ejaculate semen during sex, but the semen contains no sperm. (Sperm are men’s reproductive cells, whereas semen is usually a mixture of sperm and other fluids.)

A week later, (which was two weeks after the man first showed symptoms), the woman also developed symptoms of Zika.

Doctors tested blood and urine samples from the husband and wife, as well as the husband’s semen. The woman’s urine sample tested positive for Zika virus, as did the man’s semen sample.

It’s likely that the man became infected from a mosquito bite he got when the couple was in the Maldives. Zika is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, and mosquitoes infected with Zika are known to be present in the Maldives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the woman didn’t develop symptoms until 18 days after she returned from the trip. For a Zika virus infection, this incubation period (or the time it takes a person to show symptoms after he or she is infected) would be “exceptionally long,” the researchers said. It’s thought that the incubation period for Zika is between three and 12 days, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

It’s unlikely that the woman was infected by a mosquito bite she got in the Maldives, and this means that sexual transmission “is definitely a possibility” in the woman’s case, the report said. It’s the first time that possible sexual transmission of Zika virus from a man with a vasectomy has been reported, the report said.

Doctors were able to detect infectious Zika virus in the man’s semen up to 69 days after he first showed symptoms. This is the longest time period that infectious Zika virus has been detected in semen, the report said.

This case suggests that, rather than hiding exclusively in sperm, the Zika virus may be present in other fluids that make up semen, such as fluid from male reproductive glands, or pre-ejaculate secretions, the report said.

“Public health recommendations to prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus should take these data into consideration,” and should recommend use of protection during sex after travel to an area with Zika, even if a man has had a vasectomy, the report said.

The World Health Organization currently recommends that men and women returning from areas with Zika transmission should use protection for at least six months after their return.

Vasectomies not linked to increased prostate cancer risk

 

Having a vasectomy doesn’t increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer or dying from it, a U.S. study suggests.

Previous research has been mixed about the risk of prostate cancer associated with vasectomy, a common form of long-term birth control that involves snipping or blocking tubes that transport sperm out of the testicles.

“Our study provides some reassurance that having a vasectomy is unlikely to meaningfully increase risk of developing any type of prostate cancer, including fatal prostate cancer,” said lead study author Eric Jacobs, a researcher at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.

Two things that do make prostate cancer more likely are smoking and obesity, Jacobs said by email.

“Men who want to lower their risk of fatal prostate cancer should focus on maintaining a healthy weight and, if they smoke, quitting smoking,” Jacobs said.

More on this…

  • 10 foods that can help prevent prostate cancer

  • Is it possible to reverse a vasectomy?

  • Treat or monitor early prostate cancer? 10-year survival is the same, study says

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of malignancy among men in the U.S., behind melanoma.

While vasectomy isn’t the primary form of birth control for most couples, about 5 percent of women of reproductive age in the U.S. say this is the method they use to prevent pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Men who undergo this sterilization procedure often worry about whether it will negatively impact their sex life or fail to prevent pregnancy.

Concerns about a cancer risk spiked after a large 2014 study linked vasectomies to a 10 percent greater risk of developing prostate tumors, as well as a 20 percent higher risk of fatal prostate cancer, Jacobs and colleagues note in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

But the overall risk of prostate cancer is still quite low, said Jennifer Rider, a public health researcher at Boston University and Harvard University who was an author on the 2014 study.

“Even a 20 percent increase in the risk of lethal disease – if that is in fact the true relative risk – is still quite small in absolute terms,” Rider said by email. “Given that the benefits of vasectomy as an effective method of birth control are well established, vasectomy remains an important contraceptive option.”

For the current study, researchers examined data on almost 364,000 men who were at least 40 years old when they joined a large cancer prevention study in 1982, including 42,000 men who’d had vasectomies.

Over 30 years of follow-up, 7,400 men died of prostate cancer.

Overall, men with a vasectomy had a 1 percent higher risk of dying from prostate cancer – a difference too small to rule out that it was due to chance.

When men did develop prostate cancer, those with vasectomy were 9 percent less likely to have lethal “high-grade” cancers, though this difference was also statistically insignificant.

One limitation of the study was that vasectomy status was reported by men’s wives, potentially resulting in some under-reporting, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on vasectomies performed after the start of the study.

In this study, as well as in the 2014 research, it’s possible that men who had vasectomies were screened more often for prostate cancer or that they were different in some ways from their peers who didn’t get the sterilization surgery, noted Siobhan Sutcliffe, a public health researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who wasn’t involved in either study.

“Another possible explanation for the difference in study findings is chance,” Sutcliffe said by email. “This is why we investigate associations in many different study populations so that we can ultimately draw conclusions from a large body of evidence rather than from one study.”

IBM, Venturesity launch initiative for industry readiness

The Start Up Mashup Hackathaon 2015, an Apps build up challenge which would have winners being offered jobs with startups with the biggest App Makers, an event of which the Financial Express was the Media Partner held at the IIT in New Delhi on saturday. Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal New Delhi 280315With a view to bridging the skills gap in emerging technology areas, IBM, in association with Venturesity has launched a career challenge for engineering students who can be a part of workshops in mobile app development, cognitive computing and data analytics.

The workshops will be held in 8 regions throughout India for a total of 24 workshops. Following these, the students will be invited to take part in a hackathon where they will develop innovative apps using these emerging technologies.

The initiative was launched across many leading educational institutions in India in partnership with Venturesity and IBM India’s University Relations team. The online registrations started on July 15. So far, around 11,800 students across India have registered for this.

Mona Bharadwaj, Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives, University Relations, IBM India/South Asia, said, “The main focus of this initiative is to help make students industry ready, therefore more employable and to serve as an open platform enabling hidden talent across the country to have the opportunity to be spotted.”

Before attending the workshops, students will be required to take part in a small online quiz that will test their preparedness. Over 11,800 students have already cleared this preliminary challenge.

Six workshops have already been conducted over the weekend of August 27 and 28, 2016, with over 1,600 students attending the same. The workshops were mentored by industry experts and experts from IBM.

At the end of the challenge, participants get to win prizes and stand a chance to have their resumes reviewed by IBM India’s recruitment team for potential placement interviews and internships.

Awareness About Sepsis In India Quite Low

Awareness About Sepsis In India Quite Low: Study

A global health body today underlined the need for spreading awareness about sepsis, saying it kills more people than breast or prostrate cancer combined and awareness about it in the country is “quite low”.

The George Institute for Global Health said sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs.

The condition kills up to 5.3 million people each year. According to a 2012 study, it affects one in four in intensive care units (ICUs) across the country every year. Very few people know the key warning signs include fever and high heart rate, it said.

“One out of four patients admitted in ICUs contracted the ailment in hospitals’ emergency departments. Almost one out of two patients with sepsis died. The reasons for the rising incidence could be poor hospital hygiene, abuse of antibiotics or rampant self-medication among people,” the institute said.

It said sepsis can lead to multi-organ failure and is globally a prime cause of death by infection. The study, Indian Intensive Care Case Mix and Practice Patterns (INDICAPS), is based on a sample size of 4,209 patients, including 171 children, admitted to 124 ICUs across 17 states.

Preliminary findings showed how 26 per cent of the patients in ICUs contracted sepsis.Mortality rate in patients with sepsis was 42.2 per cent.

The study also busted the myth that patients undergoing surgeries are more prone than others to sepsis. 859 or 27.6 per cent of the patients who died of sepsis were not operated upon and were in hospital for non-surgical treatment.

“The percentage of deaths in surgical cases was around 14.4 per cent. Common sites of infection in patients that resulted in sepsis included bedsores, intravenous lines, surgical wounds and surgical drains,” it said.

Being Socially Active Early on Can Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay

Being Socially Active Early on Can Keep Alzheimer's at Bay

If you are in your 30s or 40s and have a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s, now is the time to start your fight to keep the disease at bay. At least for as long as you can.

Experts say that although there is no preventive measure to escape Alzheimer’s, being socially active and adopting a healthy lifestyle early can delay its outset, maybe even stop it altogether.

“Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia, and it usually hits when one is around 60-65. If you have a family history then early lifestyle changes, at age 30-40, can delay its outset or even stop it,” said Mumbai-based mental health expert Pradeep Mahajan.

“An active lifestyle, if you are a patient, can also slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s,” he added.

Being “active” in this context has as much to do with being mentally active as it is to be physically fit. In this day and age of increasing digitisation of our lives, when we are constantly hooked to our laptops, smart phones and tabs, being socially more active, interacting with people, and getting involved in activities that push your mind to think can help one delay dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease or AD is the most common type of dementia, in which the mental ability of a person declines and gradually reaches such a stage that it becomes difficult for the individual to lead a normal life. It is an incurable disease with a long and progressive course.

According to the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDI), over 3.7 million people in India suffer from dementia. According to doctors, this number is expected to double by 2030. A report by ARDI further says that the estimated cost of taking care of a dementia patient is Rs 43,000 annually, and will only increase in the coming years.

Sameer Malhotra, head of the Mental Health and Behavioural Science Department at Max Hospital, Delhi, said that although AD is not curable, a combination of medication along with lifestyle changes can slow down the degeneration process.

“A good diet, breathing exercises and good sleep are found to be helpful,” Malhotra said. “For someone who has been detected with Alzheimer’s, it is important to keep his or her mind engaged. Playing Sudoku has been found to be very helpful because it keeps the mental faculties alert.”

When it comes to diet, Mahajan recommends food rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and those low on the glycemic index. Turmeric is also said to be beneficial.

He also stressed on the importance of social stimulation — actual interpersonal interactions. Isolation of the patient, doctors stress, does not work and will only hasten the degenerative process.

AD is caused because of the deposit of a protein, Amyloid, in the brain which renders parts of it — responsible for memory, thinking, calculation, and vocabulary — non-functional. The threat of the disease progressively increases with increasing age.

As the disease progresses, taking care of an AD patient can become extremely challenging and both physically and mentally exhausting. Sowmya Sahni, whose father is an AD patient, says that the worst part of the disease is to lose your loved one a bit every day.

“Someone who has raised you, who was so fiercely independent, is now dependent on somebody else to take him to the washroom, to remind him to eat his food. It’s frustrating and heart-breaking. There are times I lose my cool…and then feel guilty about it. It’s like taking care of a baby,” Sahni confessed.

Sahni decided to take help from professionals to care for her father. A full-time working woman, with an eight-year-old son to take care of, she now drops him to a day care centre for patients like him near her office and picks him up on the way back home.

Recognising the need to support care-givers in order to take better care of AD patients, non-profits like ARDI organise regular workshops and meetings for sharing experiences, talking of possible solutions and learning from each other on how to cope with various situations. It also supports day care centres in different cities across India like Bengaluru, Calicut, Delhi and Kochi.

ARDI has also been demanding that the government recognise dementia as a disabilityassociated with the elderly so that it is at par with other handicaps and resources can be reallocated. It also demands the setting up of memory clinics at the district level for early diagnosis and management of dementia and aid to support day care.