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National Vaccination Campaign Targeting 1.6 Million Children

DAMASCUS,(ST)_ Health Ministry yesterday  launched a national vaccination campaign against measles and polio in the health centers and temporary residence that will continue until  November 21st..

Minister of Health Dr. SaadNaev stressed , during his  tour on Kudsia suburb health center  and  temporary accommodation centers  that the  campaign is targeting 1.6 million  children in health centers and medical teams distributed all over the country 's provinces.

The minister pointed out that the campaign in temporary accommodation  centers targeted  children from one year old to  under 15 year- s old with  MMR vaccine  for  measles, rubella , mumps and vitamin A and children from the age of one day-to under five years  with oral paralysis vaccine  while at health centers, children from one day old -to- under  five years are given  oral polio vaccine , regardless of previous doses and children from year old to pre-schooling  age  are immunized by MMR vaccine and vitamin A .

The Minister of Health pointed out  that " the ministry imported  vaccines from best international companies and offered it free  for all children , at costs that  exceed billions  Syrian pounds , annually .

For her  part, UNICEF 's Deputy Resident Representative in Damascus HamidaRamadanistressed  that the organization seeks to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health and other partners to reach  and immunize every  Syrian child, especially under the current circumstances , where some families find it difficult to access medical services.

Dr. Tariq Abdul-Rahman of the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO)  in Cairo noted that  the good cooperation between the Ministry of Health and international organizations will contribute to the success of the campaign, but "the concern comes from the possibility of lack of access to all areas under the current difficult circumstances ."

Abdul-Rahman said that the importance of the campaign comes from the timing , as a result of current circumstances,  Syria is  experiencing a decline in the percentage of children immunized and therefore , efforts should be concerted to raise the  percentage  of immunized children  again.

Last Sunday, the  Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and  UNICEF launched a vaccination campaign in the country 's schools against measles, rubella , mumps , targeting 800 thousand children from sixth grade class  to the ninth , which will last until the end of the first schooling semester.

In Homs, director of health care department  Dr. Abdul MomenQashlaq  said that the  " campaign is expected  to include 180 thousand children under the age of five against polio and 130 thousand children against measles , rubella, mumps ," pointing out that he coordinated  with the Red Crescent branch in Homs to deliver the vaccine to unsafe areas , so as to ensure that all children are vaccinated .

Meantime, Aleppo Health Directorate Aleppo started yesterday the national vaccination campaign against measles and polio in the health and temporary accommodation centers that are expected to target about  734.749 children, according  to director Dr. Waddah Hussein.

Simultaneously, Sweida Health Directorate launched   yesterday the national vaccination campaign against measles and polio , targeting  44 thousand children under the age of five in addition to 6 thousand children under the age of five years in temporary accommodation centers.

T. Fateh

Chew on This: 8 Foods for Healthy Teeth

Regular brushing and flossing help keep teeth healthy by getting rid of sugars and food particles that team up with bacteria to form plaque. Plaque produces acid that damages tooth enamel, causes cavities and sets the stage for periodontal, or gum, disease.

Now, a growing body of research is finding that certain foods may be good for teeth, too. Just as so-called "functional foods" may keep your heart healthy, for instance, others may promote oral health, according to Christine D. Wu, a pediatric dentistry researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Here are eight teeth-friendly foods that show promise.

Tea: Compounds called polyphenols, found in black and green teas, slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea for one minute, 10 times a day, had less plaque buildup on their teeth than people who rinsed their mouths with water. What's more, the size and stickness of their plaque was reduced.

Cheese: Research published in the journal General Dentistry earlier this year reported that 12- to 15-year-olds who ate cheddar cheese had lower acid levels in their mouths than those who ate sugar-free yogurt or drank a glass of milk.

Raisins: Naturally sweet, raisins don't contain sucrose, or table sugar. Sugar helps bacteria stick to the tooth surface, letting them produce plaque, Wu said. Raisins are also a source of phytochemicals, which may kill cavity-causing plaque bacteria. Some compounds in raisins also affect the growth of bacteria associated with gum disease, Wu has found.

Crunchy foods: It takes serious chewing to break down foods such as carrots, apples and cucumbers. But all that crunching isn't in vain. Chewing "may disturb dental plaque, and serve as a cleansing mechanism," Wu said.  So instead of remaining in your mouth and settling on teeth, bacteria get cleared away.

Vitamin-rich foods: Foods containing calcium — such as cheese, almonds and leafy greens — and foods high in phosphorous — such as meat, eggs and fish — can help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy, according to the American Dental Association.

"Acidic foods and beverages may cause tiny lesions on tooth enamel," Wu said. "Calcium and phosphate help redeposit minerals back into those lesions." Calcium is also good for bones, including your jaw.

Sugarless gum: Pop a stick in your mouth after eating. Chewing boosts saliva secretion, clearing away some bacteria, Wu said. The keyword here is "sugarless." Bacteria rely on sucrose to produce plaque, Wu said.

Milk: In a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association in July, Wu and her team found that drinking a glass of milk after downing dry, sugar-sweetened Fruit Loops lowered levels of acid in the mouth more than drinking water or apple juice did.

Cranberries: Cranberries contain polyphenols (just as tea does), which may keep plaque from sticking to teeth, thus lowering the risk of cavities, according to a study published in the journal Caries Research. A caveat: Because the fruit is so tart, many cranberry products have added sugar, which may affect any potential benefits for teeth, Wu said.

Source: manyyearsyoung.com

B.N

Mindfulness Practice Leads to Drop in Blood Pressure

The finding is reported in the October issue of Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.

The study included 56 women and men diagnosed with prehypertension -- blood pressure that was higher than desirable, but not yet so high that antihypertensive drugs would be prescribed. Prehypertension receives increasing attention from doctors because it is associated with a wide range of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. About 30% of Americans have prehypertension and may be prescribed medications for this condition.

One group of patients was assigned to a program of MBSR: eight group sessions of 2½ hours per week. Led by an experienced instructor, the sessions included three main types of mindfulness skills: body scan exercises, sitting meditation, and yoga exercises. Patients were also encouraged to perform mindfulness exercises at home.

The other "comparison" group received lifestyle advice plus a muscle-relaxation activity. This "active control" treatment group was not expected to have lasting effects on blood pressure. Blood pressure measurements were compared between groups to determine whether the mindfulness-based intervention reduced blood pressure in this group of people at risk of cardiovascular problems.

Patients in the mindfulness-based intervention group had significant reductions in clinic-based blood pressure measurements. Systolic blood pressure (the first, higher number) decreased by an average of nearly 5 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), compared to less than 1 mm Hg with in the control group who did not receive the mindfulness intervention.

Diastolic blood pressure (the second, lower number) was also lower in the mindfulness-based intervention group: a reduction of nearly 2 mm Hg, compared to an increase of 1 mm Hg in the control group.

Mindfulness-based interventions Could 'Prevent or Delay' Need for Antihypertensive Drugs Ambulatory monitoring is an increasingly used alternative to clinic-based blood pressure measurements. However, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring showed no significant difference in blood pressure with the mindfulness-based intervention.

"Mindfulness-based stress reduction is an increasingly popular practice that has been purported to alleviate stress, treat depression and anxiety, and treat certain health conditions," according to Dr Hughes and coauthors. It has been suggested that MBSR and other types of meditation may be useful in lowering blood pressure. Previous studies have reported small but significant reductions in blood pressure with Transcendental Meditation; the new study is the first to specifically evaluate the blood pressure effects of mindfulness-based intervention in patients with prehypertension.

Although the blood pressure reductions associated with mindfulness-based interventions are modest, they are similar to many drug interventions and potentially large enough to lead to reductions in the risk of heart attack or stroke. Further studies are needed to see if the blood pressure-lowering effects are sustained over time.

The researchers argue that mindfulness-based interventions may provide a useful alternative to help "prevent or delay" the need for antihypertensive medications in patients with borderline high blood pressure.

Source: sciencedaily.com

B.N 

Well-Connected Hemispheres of Einstein's Brain May Have Sparked His Brilliance

The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein's brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to a new study conducted in part by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.

"This study, more than any other to date, really gets at the 'inside' of Einstein's brain," Falk said. "It provides new information that helps make sense of what is known about the surface of Einstein's brain."

The study, "The Corpus Callosum of Albert Einstein's Brain: Another Clue to His High Intelligence," was published in the journal Brain. Lead author Weiwei Men of East China Normal University's Department of Physics developed a new technique to conduct the study, which is the first to detail Einstein's corpus callosum, the brain's largest bundle of fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication.

"This technique should be of interest to other researchers who study the brain's all-important internal connectivity," Falk said.

Men's technique measures and color-codes the varying thicknesses of subdivisions of the corpus callosum along its length, where nerves cross from one side of the brain to the other. These thicknesses indicate the number of nerves that cross and therefore how "connected" the two sides of the brain are in particular regions, which facilitate different functions depending on where the fibers cross along the length. For example, movement of the hands is represented toward the front and mental arithmetic along the back.

In particular, this new technique permitted registration and comparison of Einstein's measurements with those of two samples -- one of 15 elderly men and one of 52 men Einstein's age in 1905. During his so-called "miracle year" at 26 years old, Einstein published four articles that contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed the world's views about space, time, mass and energy.

The research team's findings show that Einstein had more extensive connections between certain parts of his cerebral hemispheres compared to both younger and older control groups.

The research of Einstein's corpus callosum was initiated by Men, who requested the high-resolution photographs that Falk and other researchers published in 2012 of the inside surfaces of the two halves of Einstein's brain. In addition to Men, the current research team included Falk, who served as second author; Tao Sun of the Washington University School of Medicine; and, from East China Normal University's Department of Physics, Weibo Chen, Jianqi Li, Dazhi Yin, LiliZang and Mingxia Fan.

Source:Sciernce Daily

R.S

Role of Brain Stress in Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes Development

Joslin researchers have gained new insights into how obesity and type 2 diabetes can create a stress response in the brain, especially in the hypothalamus (the brain region that regulates appetite and energy production), that may contribute to altering metabolism throughout the body. The findings are reported in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The researchers investigated the role of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) in hypothalamic insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. Hsp60 is a stress response protein that protects the mitochondria, the "power plants" of the cell that produce energy. They found that in type 2 diabetes and obesity, the level of Hsp60 goes down, making mitochondria less efficient and leading to insulin resistance in the brain and altered metabolism throughout the body.

In the study, mice genetically engineered not to produce Hsp60 also exhibited mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain which led to insulin resistance in the hypothalamus. "This is the first time a study has shown that mitochondrial dysfunction can cause insulin resistance in the hypothalamus and how this can lead to altered metabolism throughout the body," says Andre Kleinridders, Ph.D., study lead author and an Investigator in the Joslin Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism.

The investigators also showed that leptin, the hormone produced by fat cells that regulates appetite, is one of the key factors that regulate Hsp60 expression in the hypothalamus and that in obesity this regulation is lost. "These findings link obesity and the fat cell hormone leptin to the process of altered Hsp60 levels in the brain and this appears to start the ball rolling toward altering metabolism in other tissues of the body as well," says C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., study senior author and Joslin Chief Academic Officer and Head of the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism, and Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"It's a vicious cycle: people become obese, obesity disturbs the way the hypothalamus responds to stress, which makes people more likely to stay obese and become diabetic. The brain not only controls metabolism but the body's metabolism affects the brain and aspects of brain function," says Dr. Kahn.

Joslin researchers are also investigating how mitrochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance affect the brain as it ages. "Mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance in the brain are associated with neurodegenerative diseases. If we could treat mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain, it could increase cognitive performance," says Dr. Kleinridders.

Source: sciencedaily.com

B.N