Friday, 27 September 2013

Keeping it clean down there

vaginal infection
Do you know that no fragrance, however potent, can overpower an offensive odour from the genital area? By that, we mean the vagina, anus and other organs of the groin.
In a new study published in the Journal of Internal and Reproductive Medicine, researchers say that the state of your genital is the best way a woman can know if she is healthy or not.
They note that though it is not every smell or discharge from the area that is abnormal,   it is also  perfectly natural to have a slight sweet smell that is non-offensive. But a strong and foul odour is a strong indication of an infection.
 Chief Gyneacologist at the May Clinic , New York, Dr. Anthony Parks, says apart from sexually transmitted infections,  a smelly crotch could result from  poor personal or genital hygiene.
He says,“The genital area is moist and warm. Bacteria can grow easily there. Excretions from the vagina, perspiration and urine can build up thereby making it even easier for the bacteria to grow if we do not care for them the way we should.”
Parks states that it is important to regularly wash the anus and the vagina, but warns that failure to do so could put one at greater risk of contracting a vaginal or urinary tract infection.
Here are some common vaginal and urinary tract infections that can occur as a result of poor hygiene.
 Trichomoniasis, also referred to as trich or TV, is an infection caused by a protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis. The symptoms include a discharge that is foul-smelling, frothy, and greenish-yellow. It causes severe itching, painful and frequent urination, and, sometimes, pain in the lower abdomen.
Yeast infection
A yeast infection, or candidiasis, occurs when the yeast fungus called Candida albicans, which is normally found in the vagina and anus, grows above normal levels. The result is a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge with itching, redness, and burning.
Gardnerella is another bacterium that is normally found in the vagina. An infection occurs when the amount of gardnerella bacteria increases, causing symptoms such as a gray or yellow, fishy-smelling, creamy discharge and mild itching and burning. The smell may actually become worse after washing since soap reduces acidity and bacteria grow better in a less acidic environment.
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections can occur when bacteria from the anus or vagina make their way into the urethra and bladder. Urinating helps to flush some of the bacteria from the urinary tract, but sometimes the bacteria left behind can cause an infection. Sexual intercourse, wiping from back to front, or irritants used in a bath (such as bubble bath or bath salts) are common causes of UTIs. The symptoms include painful and frequent urination, burning on urination, blood in the urine, and a fever.
Just like any part of the body, keeping a healthy vagina means taking care of surface areas, avoiding chemicals and listening to your body when something feels out of place.
Parks  recommends that the vulva and vagina should be cleaned with a bland bar soap once a day and advises that women should stay away from liquid body washes because they often irritate the vulva area and can lead to burning or itching.
He adds that it is better not to wash the vagina with a soap-based substance every time as too much cleaning can also cause irritation.
The gynaecologist states that besides washing the external genital area, it is important to wipe it with toilet paper after urinating or having a bowel movement.
According to him, solid body waste expelled by the anus contains bacteria that can cause vaginal and urinary tract infections if it is not cleaned off properly and hands should be washed after going to the bathroom.
 Therefore, the proper wiping method is from the front to back to ensure that bacteria from the anal area do not make their way to the vaginal and urethral area.
 Douches and feminine hygiene sprays are products that work to mask or limit odor or wetness,but doctors argue that these feminine products are unnecessary (unless used for medical reasons) and can cause more harm than good.
According to Parks, douches and feminine sprays can change the natural acidic balance of the vagina, which can cause bacteria to grow and put a woman at risk for infection.
Finally, a major part of good hygiene is being aware of what to wear and making sure that anything that touches the vaginal area is clean.
 “A girl should wear cotton underwear or the ones with a cotton crotch, at least. Underwear should be changed daily and after it becomes soiled or wet.  Tight or nylon underwear, tight pants, or pantyhose cause greater perspiration, which can allow bacteria to grow.
“ Towels should not be shared because they can pass along bacteria. Toilet seats are also breeding grounds for bacteria. It is wise to cover public toilet seats with toilet paper before sitting down. Taking these precautions can help lower the risk of infection and keep the genitals healthy.”he states.
culled from Punch

Friday, 20 September 2013

How to manage expenditure when income increases

How to manage expenditure when income increases
The author of ‘Practical Steps to Financial Freedom and Independence,’ Mr. Usiere Uko, in this report writes about how you can overcome the impulse of increasing your expenditure when your income goes up.

Tony works in one of the big four telecoms companies and lives in his Uncle’s boy’s quarters in Lekki Phase I. His Uncle does not charge him rent and he takes his meals at the main house. The boy’s quarters was fully furnished before Tony moved in. Apart from his clothes, toys and the Range Rover parked beside the boy’s quarters, Tony has little else to his name. A third child and only son in a family of five, Tony is the richest among his siblings. His parents had returned to the village upon retirement years back, leaving Tony with his senior sisters with the responsibility of seeing the remaining ones through school.

Fresh from youth service, Tony first moved in with his Uncle after he got a job in an eatery in Lekki Phase I through his Uncle’s connections. He later got a job in a bank before finally crossing over to the telecom company. One thing has remained constant since Tony got his first job. He is always broke and owing; hence he could not contribute to the sisters’ education or send money to his parents in the village. He always had one excuse or the other. As he changed jobs, the situation remained the same. His sisters are the ones paying the school fees of their siblings in school and sending money to their parents in the village. None of his sisters earn up to half his salary, though they live on their own. Tony is always broke. It had become a family joke.

Murphy’s Law of Expenditure
Tony is operating under the Murphy’s Law of expenditure which states that:
Expenditure will always grow to meet income.
This means as your income increases, your expenditure catches up. You return to your financial comfort zone, the place you are used to, which for many is being broke.
There is a way we instinctively act anytime money comes into our hands. If you think back each to time money gets into your hands, you will notice a pattern. Your money reflex kicks in. You do what you normally do with money and end up how you normally end up – usually where Murphy’s Law said you would. For Tony it is with an empty wallet and increased debt.
Increasing your expenditure when your income goes up is due to inability to delay gratification. We want to enjoy life now by acquiring things that we think will make life easier and make us feel happier. Consequently, as our income rises, we are better able to pander to our wants list; hence the truism in Murphy’s Law. Wanting better things is not wrong in itself. Life is supposed to get better and more fun. The challenge is doing the right thing at the wrong time, spending in the season for saving and investment.

Increase your savings as income goes up
If we want to move ahead financially, we have to break Murphy’s Law over our finances so that we can have money work for us. That means we have to fix our expenditure and increase our savings when our income goes up. Prices of things do not go up in the market when you get a pay increase, promotion or bonus. The market does not know, hence your expenditure should not go up when your income goes up; rather your savings and investment should go up. Your expenditure should go up by reason of inflation, not pay raise. How do you achieve this?

The best way to escape the pull of Murphy’s Law of expenditure is to switch our mindset from – spend first and save what is left (often nothing) – to save first and spending what is left. It means cultivating the habit of paying yourself first. When you cultivate the discipline of saving first and sticking to a fixed recurrent expenditure, you have escaped the gravitational pull of Murphy’s Law of expenditure. More money now translates to moving faster towards your financial goals.

Derive pleasure from saving
Shopping makes us happy. As children, we loved new toys and were forever pestering our parents to buy us things. Anytime a visitor gave us money, the first thing that came to mind was what to buy.  This habit has been carried over into adulthood and taken to a whole new level. If you feel bored or down, go to the mall and let retail therapy work its magic on you.  Hence spending makes us happy while saving is boring and painful (being deprived of instant gratification), so we gravitate towards spending. We naturally seek pleasure and avoid pain hence we love to spend and procrastinate on saving. We give our money away instinctively. Therefore the idea of our savings growing month by month does not fascinate us. We believe the future will take care of itself – just enjoy the moment.

We can turn it around. We can link pain to shopping and pleasure to saving. When you meditate on how much money has passed through your hands in the past five to ten years with precious little to show for it, it makes you angry, especially if you are trapped in a job you hate. When you think about what you could have do with that money – your sweat and blood – if you dwell on it long enough, you will start to feel different about giving your money away just like that. When you start to see your money as potential employees capable of working long and hard for you come rain or shine 24/7 public holidays inclusive, you want to invest more, even in fixed deposits or  treasury bills if you have no idea what else to do.

Focus on your financial goals
When you set clear financial goals and focus on achieving them, you find it easier to delay gratification and save towards your goal. When you have a goal, nothing motivates like making steady progress towards that goal. If you put money aside from your salary every month, your pile grows each month. You look towards each pay day with anticipation because your portfolio is going to grow yet again. If you are investing, it means the returns are going up each month. No paid job comes with a pay hike each month, but that is what happens when you add to your portfolio each month.

As you practise delayed gratification, it becomes a habit. You start to prioritize your financial goals above spending, accumulating stuff that will eventually end up in the trash. More pay speeds up the process, moving you faster towards financial independence, where your monthly returns grows to cover your monthly expenses thereby giving you the power of choice.  Powered by the magic of compound interest, you begin to gather momentum and acceleration towards your financial goals.

When you get to this place, you have escaped Murphy’s Law of expenditure. Your savings grow to meet your income rather than your expenditure.  You are now in control of your finances and fully back in the game.
culled from Punch

Full cream vs skimmed milk

Milk is a whitish nutritious liquid secreted by the mammary gland of mammals. All mammals produce milk; however, the most common milk sold commercially is that of the cow.

A few people have raised concerns as to why milk from cows should be consumed by humans; but this practice is as old as man himself.

We start drinking milk when we are young, but our intake decreases as we get older. Some people shy away from it because they fear it will add too much fat to their diet, while others leave it out because they believe that they no longer need it.

Milk is an essential part of our diet because it provides our bodies with the necessary vitamins and nutrients it needs to function properly.  Milk is composed of protein, fat, lactose (milk sugar) ash, solids, nutrients and minerals.

The mammal whose milk has the highest protein content is the whale (13.6 per cent), while the values in other mammals are: rat (11.3 per cent), cat (11.1 per cent), polar bear (10.26 per cent ), dolphin and deer (10.4 per cent), dog (9.5 per cent), buffalo (5.9 per cent), pig (5.8 per cent), elephant (4.9 per cent), goat (3.1 per cent), cow (3.1-3.9 per cent, depending on the breed) and human (1.1 per cent).

Health benefits of milk
Milk contains protein, calcium, lactic acid, fat, vitamin A, B12, D and zinc. These ingredients help to hydrate our skin, while the lactic acid acts as exfoliant to help smoothen skin.
Milk is a great source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Children need it to help proper bone growth and development, while adults need it to help eliminate the chances of developing osteoporosis — a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile due to depletion of calcium and protein.

A glass of milk can relieve stomach upset in patients with gastric (stomach) ulcers because milk is made up of suspended particles that help to coat the stomach walls and acts as an antacid (a substance which neutralises stomach acidity). Drinking milk is also a common first aid antidote for swallowing heavy-metal poison.
The production process of milk starts from the dairy farm where milk is collected from the udder of the cow, using milking machines. The milk samples are then taken to the lab and a series of tests are run to ensure that it is free of harmful microorganisms and wholesome for human consumption.

Milk that meets the set standards, based on quality and composition, then undergo some further steps of processing which include pasteurization — a process of heating the milk to a specific temperature for a specific period of time to kill harmful microorganisms.

Homogenisation — a process in which the fat particles in the milk are broken up and dispersed evenly throughout the milk, giving it a creamy look. The final process involves the separation of fat from the milk. The fat removed is mostly used to produce milk bi-products such as cheese, butter, etc.
Milk from which the fat has been totally ‘skimmed’ or removed is known as skimmed milk.
If about 3.25 per cent of fat is re-introduced into the already skimmed milk, the milk is referred to as full-cream milk or whole milk.

Beyond the fat content, major differences exist between the nutritional values in, and indications for consuming skimmed milk and full-cream milk. A few of these differences are:
Full-cream milk contains about 3.25 per cent fat, while skimmed milk contains about 0-0.5 per cent fat. As such, many nutritionist and doctors recommend it for those who are trying to maintain a healthy weight.
Full-cream milk is very good for young subjects; however, reducing dietary fat is recommended to reduce total blood cholesterol in adults.

Full-cream milk contains more cholesterol than skimmed milk. This is why full-cream milk is not advisable to be taken by persons who already have high blood cholesterol levels and are at a high risk for coronary heart disease.

Skimmed milk contains fewer calories than full-cream milk. Replacing three cups of full-cream milk a day with skimmed milk saves about 1,200 calories in just one week. This can be significant for the weight loss diet. However, the increased number of calories in full-cream milk makes it very suitable to meet the energy requirements of young and growing children.

Another major difference between whole milk and skimmed milk is that the fat present in whole milk makes it creamier and more delicious than skimmed milk. This is why many people find skimmed milk a bit bland.
Unlike full-cream milk which contains both water soluble and fat soluble vitamins, skimmed milk lacks the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) because they have been skimmed alongside with the fat during the production process. This is the reason why some people consider skimmed milk to actually be less healthy than whole milk, questioning the extent to which animal fat contributes to weight gain. However, most manufactures re-fortify skimmed milk with vitamins A and D because of the major role these vitamins play.

In conclusion, full-cream milk is recommended for infants, toddlers, teenagers, active adults and body builders; while skimmed milk is recommended for adults above 60 years of age, obese persons, or anyone who has high blood cholesterol levels.
Let’s be health-wise! Please, ensure that your household takes a glass of warm milk daily.
culled form Punch

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Managing lactose intolerance in children

A concerned mom shared her experience with other mothers about the likely causes of diarrhoea in children:
“When my daughter was two months old, she started having diarrhoea. I let this go on for a couple of days and then took her to our family doctor. The doctor told me that she has gastroenteritis (infectious diarrhoea). I was given oral re-hydration solution and Flagyl syrup.

After a couple of days, she still wasn’t any better and I was at my breaking point. So, I scheduled an appointment with another doctor in order to get a second opinion. The new doctor that I now call my daughter’s pediatrician said that she didn’t think that the baby has gastroenteritis. She said that she was likely to be lactose intolerant and had colic.

She told us that when a baby is developing intolerance to cow’s milk, a symptom of that is diarrhoea. So, she advised us to change her baby formula, and, immediately, the diarrhoea stopped.”
Lactose (milk) intolerance happens when the body cannot break down a sugar called lactose, which is present in all milk — from breast milk, to dairy (cow) milk and other dairy products.
Lactose makes up around seven per cent of breast milk, similar to the amount in infant formula. Lactose provides around 40 per cent of baby’s energy needs, helps absorb calcium and iron, and helps ensure healthy development.

Usually, the enzyme lactase, which is produced in the small intestine, changes the lactose into glucose and galactose — sugars that are more easily absorbed. Sometimes, babies don’t produce enough lactase to break down all the lactose, so the unabsorbed lactose passes through the intestine without being digested. Undigested lactose irritates the intestine and causes a build-up of wind and diarrhoea.

Most children or adults who are diagnosed with lactose intolerance can digest small amounts of lactose, which would not cause symptoms.

Primary lactose intolerance happens when babies are born with no lactase enzymes at all. This is genetic and extremely rare. It is a medical emergency and the baby would need a special diet from soon after birth in order to thrive.

Secondary lactose intolerance can occur if a child’s digestive system is disrupted by illness affecting healthy production of enzymes like lactase; or if there is not enough lactase being produced. Illnesses that might lead to secondary lactose intolerance include tummy bugs that cause gastroenteritis.

Sometimes, lactose intolerance is confused with other digestive problems, such as food allergy or lactose overload. This is because these conditions have similar symptoms. Food allergies and lactose overload are not the same as lactose intolerance, and do not affect a baby’s production of lactase.

Lactose overload
Lactose overload also causes all the symptoms similar to lactose intolerance, but it is not the same as lactose intolerance. Lactose overload occurs when a baby consumes large amounts of lactose at one time and cannot break it all down. The condition can occur when bottle-fed babies drink a lot of milk. Again, babies who are being weaned on too much milk may have conditions similar. Mothers have a natural oversupply of breast milk in their baby’s early weeks.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance and lactose overload are similar and are listed below: pain, wind, swelling of the tummy, crankiness, failure to settle at feeding times, coming on and off the breast, failure to gain weight, diarrhoea, frothy green stools,  perianal excoriation (redness and peeling of the buttocks) and an irritable baby who may pass wind often. Lactose intolerance doesn’t cause vomiting, but food allergies do.

Diagnosing lactose intolerance
Clinitest tablet: This is usually deployed when a small amount of stool is mixed with water, and then a special tablet is added and checked for colour change. This is mostly used when temporary lactose intolerance is suspected after gastroenteritis.
Hydrogen breath test: This is used to test the amount of hydrogen gas in the child’s breath. Lactose-intolerant children will have higher levels of hydrogen in their breath, because of the process of fermentation in the gut (when bacteria feed on the lactose that hasn’t been broken down).
Elimination diet: This involves removing foods containing lactose from the child’s diet to see whether symptoms improve. If the symptoms come back once the foods are reintroduced, lactose intolerance is most likely the cause of the problem.
Stool PH/acidity test: This test, used in infants and young children, measures the amount of acid in the stool. It will reveal the presence or otherwise of lactic acid and glucose produced by undigested lactose and other substances.

Treatment for lactose intolerance depends on the cause. Primary lactose intolerance is an emergency. It requires the attention of a doctor, pediatrician or nutritionist.
For secondary lactose intolerance caused by gastroenteritis, using Lactaid drops that contain the enzyme lactase may help. This is not readily available in Nigeria, though.
Alternate breastfeeding with lactose-free or soy-based infant formula, which are readily available in Nigeria. For serious condition, the baby may be weaned from the formula for a while.
In the case of perianal excoriation, the redness, cuts or abrasions on the baby’s buttocks due to acidity of the lactose may be treated with good protective cream.
culled from Punch

Why Shouting At Teenagers Makes Them Worse

Middle-class parents who shout at their teenage children are increasing their risk of depression and troubled behaviour.

Even if parents enjoy a close relationship with their son and daughter, harsh verbal discipline was found have a dramatic impact on their teens emotional development, a study found.

This form of discipline can vary from yelling and shouting at a child, to swearing and using words to humiliate them.

Scientists looked at 976 two-parent families in the US, the majority of which were middle-class.
They found that many shifted from physical to verbal discipline as their children entered adolescence.

They also discovered that more severe forms of harsh verbal discipline were commonplace, and directed at teens in nearly half of households. 

The researchers found if parents use such punishment when their child is 13, the teen is more likely to have behavioural or emotional problems later on.

These youngsters tended to suffer more depressive symptoms between ages 13 and 14 than children who were not disciplined in this manner, while they were also more likely to have conduct problems such as misbehaving at school, lying, stealing, or fighting.

‘This is one of the first studies to indicate that parents’ harsh verbal discipline is damaging to the developing adolescent,’ said lead researcher Dr Ming-Te Wang, assistant professor of psychology in education at the University of Pittsburgh.

‘The notion that harsh discipline is without consequence, once there is a strong parent-child bond-that the adolescent will understand that ‘they’re doing this because they love me’-is misguided because parents’ warmth didn’t lessen the effects of harsh verbal discipline.
‘Indeed, harsh verbal discipline appears to be detrimental in all circumstances.’

The study, published in the journal Child Development, found that not only does harsh verbal discipline appear to be ineffective at addressing behaviour issues, it may actually add to the problem.

Even if the parents were close to their child, this form of discipline still caused emotional damage.

The report concluded: ‘Maternal and paternal warmth did not moderate the longitudinal associations between mothers’ and fathers’ use of harsh verbal discipline and adolescent conduct problems and depressive symptoms.’

The researchers suggested parents’ hostility could actually lead to an increase in the risk of delinquency, by lowering inhibition and fostering anger, irritability, and belligerence in adolescents.

During the experiment, teens and their parents completed surveys over a two-year period on topics related to their mental health, child rearing practices, and the quality of the parent-child relationship.

Approximately 90 per cent of American parents admit one or more instances of harsh verbal discipline towards their children.

Dr Wang suggests parents who want to discipline their teenage children would benefit by talking with them about their concerns and the consequences of the behaviour.
He said the findings could influence future parenting programmes and encourage alternative methods of punishment to shouts and insults.
Source—Dailymail London

Cod liver oil is good for you

Cod liver oil

Doctor Price was right, as usual. Cod liver oil is very good for you, more than you ever knew. Research studies ranging from 1918-2001 give cod liver oil an A+ rating. This marvelous golden oil contains large amounts of elongated omega-3 fatty acids, preformed vitamin A and the sunlight vitamin D — essential nutrients that are hard to obtain in sufficient amounts in the modern diet. Samples may also naturally contain small amounts of the important bone- and blood-maintainer vitamin K. So,
• Cod liver oil provides vitamin D that helps build strong bones in children and helps prevent osteoporosis in adults.
• The fatty acids in cod liver oil are also very important for the development of the brain and nervous system
• Cod liver oil greatly improves heart function to prevent heart disease and to treat it even in advanced stages, after a heart attack and after heart surgery
• Cod liver oil alters the linings of the arteries in such a way as to improve healing after damage
• Cod liver oil can provide vitamin A on a continuous basis throughout the year.
• Many of the conditions addressed by cod liver oil are considered related under the title Syndrome X. These include obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, adult onset diabetes and stroke
• In numerous studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, stress response, immune response, allergies, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, including bipolar syndrome and manic-depression
• Cod liver oil is most famous for contributing to bone health, preventing and reversing rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults
• Pregnant women using cod liver oil have infants with a lower risk for juvenile type 1 diabetes. This effect was found only in mothers taking cod liver oil, not in mothers taking multivitamin supplements

Monday, 16 September 2013

Beyond malaria, mosquito can give you dengue fever


In our part of the world, the mosquito buzz is a familiar, though hateful, tune that we hear rather frequently.
As individuals, we do all that is possible to protect ourselves and loved ones from the deadly bite that a mosquito can inflict. And when we suspect that we’ve subscribed to the fever that comes as a result, the next line of action is to seek urgent medical attention.

At governmental level and with support from international donors, all efforts have been deployed towards ridding endemic areas of mosquitoes. From subsidising drugs for combination therapies  for those who have been exposed to mosquito bite, to the distribution of free insecticide-treated nets; as well as sensitisation campaigns in all relevant media, it is obvious that no one should treat mosquito bite with levity.

The fear is not without scientific backing. French scientists had captured what happens in your body right from the moment you are exposed to a mosquito bite, to the moment you start seeing the physical effects by way of illness.

The scientists are of the view that when a mosquito bites, it doesn’t just draw blood, but in fact probes around under the skin to find a blood vessel, usually for several minutes at a time.
Led by Valerie Choumet, researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris say some people, especially in Africa and Asia, are bitten several times every day. Each time a mosquito bites an individual, the researchers say, the blood-sucking mosquito drinks for an average of four minutes!

While on their murderous biting spree, the scientists warn, mosquitoes suck so hard that the besieged blood vessels start to collapse. “Some of these cells rupture, spilling blood into the surrounding spaces,” the scientists say.

When this happens, the mosquito naturally gets excited, drinking from the pool of blood created.
Worse still, the researchers say, malaria-carrying mosquitoes would spend longer time probing around for blood vessels, “which suggests that the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium, may be controlling the insect’s nervous system.”
Enter dengue fever
But beyond the mortal fear that malaria fever — a consequence of Anopheles mosquito bite — inspires, a worse disease looms large but it has not attracted as much due attention as has malaria fever.

According to the World Health Organisation, dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. WHO notes that the incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades; and over 2.5 billion people — more than 40 per cent of the world’s population — are now at risk from dengue

WHO says further that the infection causes flu-like illness, and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue, or Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.
Scientists lament that about half of the world’s population is now at risk of developing dengue fever, while severe dengue is regarded as a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries.

Bad enough, the number of dengue fever cases has been on the increase in recent times, as it spreads to new areas and explosive outbreaks are occurring. Worse still, researchers say, more than one-third of the world’s population live in areas at risk for transmission, and this includes Nigeria.

As worrisome as it is, physicians say, there is no specific treatment for dengue or severe dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below one per cent. To prevent dengue, they say, we need effective vector control measures.
Dengue fever in-depth

Epidemiologist, Mr. Segilola Araoye, explains that dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. “The viruses are related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever,” he says.

Experts say dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito that has been infected with a dengue virus. The mosquito itself becomes infected when it bites a person who has the dengue virus in his blood. As the infected mosquito feeds on more people, it spreads the virus directly from one person to another.

Araoye says that as is the case with many diseases, doctors can only diagnose dengue viral infection with a standard blood test to check for the virus or antibodies to it.
General practitioner, Dr. Tunde George, says there is no vaccine for dengue; nor are there specific medications to treat a dengue infection.

“Because dengue fever is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it. For typical dengue fever, the treatment is purely concerned with relief of the symptoms. This makes prevention the most important step, and prevention means avoiding mosquito bites,” George enthuses.
Experts warn that the risk of being bitten by Aedes mosquito is highest during the early morning, several hours after daybreak, and in the late afternoon before sunset, though mosquitoes may feed at any time of the day.

And would you know, mosquitoes generally thrive in heavily populated residential areas.
Again, physicians say, Aedes mosquitoes typically live indoors and are often found in dark, cool places such as in the closets, under the beds, behind the curtains, and in bathrooms. The best bet, therefore, is to regularly frisk these areas by keeping them clutter- and moist-free; while also allowing for fresh air in the home.
Culled from Punch

Stroke: All you need to know

Dr. Biodun Ogungbo

Stroke is the acute and dramatic onset of focal or global neurological deficit, which is most often caused by interruption of the blood supply to the brain or, indeed, bleeding into brain tissue.
What is the state of stroke among Nigerians? Is it on the increase or decreasing because of awareness from government?
The incidence of stroke is increasing worldwide. Stroke is now the second leading cause of death in most industrialised countries among adults aged 65 and above. It does seem that stroke is affecting younger people in Nigeria. A study and anecdotal evidence suggest that stroke principally affects middle-aged women, with increasing cases of stroke among young Nigerians. Most of the patients we see are between 40 and 60 years old.
In your estimation, what’s the number of Nigerians with stroke?
We do not know the actual number of Nigerians suffering a stroke each year. But we can estimate. The population of Nigeria exceeds 168,833,379 million people. If we assume an average stroke incidence of 116 per 100,000 of the population in Nigeria, then 195,846 people suffer a stroke in Nigeria yearly. Using figures from Sagamu, Ogun State, it can be estimated that roughly 34 per cent (n=59,160) will die within a month and 60 per cent (n=118,320) within six months.
What are the danger signs before someone gets a stroke?
Transient ischemic attack is the name for a mild stroke. This is a harbinger of death and a warning sign of impeding major stroke. People who have a mild stroke are at increased risk of having a major stroke within the year. They are the best people to see and treat in hospitals because doctors can then make great efforts to identify why they have had a mini stroke and do all they can to prevent a bigger stroke.
It is important to recognise and diagnose a patient with TIA. Confusion, blurring of vision, speech impairment, difficulty walking and weakness of an arm or a leg are possible pointers to impending major stroke.

How can one avoid getting stroke?
Identifying patients with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smokers, sickle cell patients and those with a strong family history of stroke is very important. These people are at risk of stroke and so must change their lifestyles or go on medications to prevent stroke.
Hypertension is the single most important cause of stroke and the one that is eminently reducible by treatment. It has been estimated that between 52 and 70 per cent of stroke patients have hypertension. Up to 60 per cent of patients have undiagnosed high blood pressure prior to presentation. Reduction of high blood pressure substantially reduces stroke risk.
It is the duty of every clinician or nurse to at least check the BP of all adults they are reviewing for any health problem.

How can stroke be treated first hand before a patient is taken to the hospital?
Prevention is important. Next to that is early presentation to hospital. ‘Brain attack’ is a term that has been coined to emphasise the need for URGENT action. Studies have shown that delays in presentation are caused mostly by lack of awareness of stroke. Stroke victims MUST be taken to hospital immediately.

There’s so much myth surrounding it; how true is it that it is caused by enemies or evil spirits?
The idea that somebody hates you and therefore wished stroke on you is one of the major impediments to early presentation of stroke victims for treatment. We must keep emphasising that stroke occurs in the brain due to lack of blood going to the brain. It is not due to witches or witchcraft and cannot be ‘sent’ by one person to another. It occurs in people with risk factors for stroke who have not looked after themselves.

How can government dispel this myth?
Public awareness programmes are important. Information about stroke should be made widely available to the public. The local press, celebrities and television personalities should be educated on the risks of stroke and the importance of wide public awareness. Stroke issues should be introduced in schools, churches, mosques, on television, in the theatre and brought to national attention.

What’s the achievement of Stroke Action, Nigeria so far?
Stroke Action, Nigeria convened the first ‘Stroke Assembly’ in Nigeria last year, and it generated massive public awareness about stroke. People now know that stroke is no longer an untreatable condition.
Stroke Action, Nigeria has started the active recruitment of Stroke Ambassadors to cover every nook and cranny of the country. These ambassadors are empowered to spread the news about stroke and educate the wider public. We also evaluate strategies to enlist the support of politicians and the general public in stroke awareness.
The public (You!) must, in return, help Stroke Action, Nigeria by
- Supporting and sponsoring Stroke Action, Nigeria’s ‘Stroke Outreach Programmes’
- Investing ‘seed finance’ for capacity building to establish a pilot Stroke Action ‘Life After Stroke’ centre,
- Supporting the sustainability of the service, and subsequent efforts to reduce the incidence of stroke.
We need your help physically, morally and financially to reduce the incidence of stroke in Nigeria, by creating much awareness about this dreadful disease. Call or email me for more information on how you can help locally.
For donations, please make payments to:
Account Name: Stroke Action LTD/GTE
Diamond Bank: Acct No. 0029726120 (giving your office/name as a reference).
Culled from Punch

Friday, 13 September 2013

Values employers look for in workers

Despite the fact that millions of people, many of them graduates with impressive results, are looking for jobs, there are reports of employers lamenting that there is a dearth of talent.
While the falling educational standards is often blamed for the inability of job seekers to pass recruitment tests and interviews, some experts say it is partly down to the fact that many people do not understand what employers want.
According to them, many people focus on skill acquisition to the detriment of good work ethics.
Work ethics over skills
A study by the Centre for Social Justice in 2011 shows that to eight in 10 employers rate good work ethics higher than skill in terms of importance when they are filling entry level positions.
The study explains that 62 per cent of the employers said they decided against employing people for positions which did not require experience when they observed poor work attitude and ethic. According to it, 57 per cent of respondents said poor presentation was responsible, with only 29 per cent blaming poor academic qualification.
“Many employers told us that they believe students should leave education ‘work ready’ and that currently too many students fall short,” the study says.
Attributes it says employees look out for are timekeeping, self-awareness, confidence, presentation, communication, teamwork and an ability to understand workplace relationships.
It adds that employees say even when applicants have these attributes, they are often below the standard required.
The Executive Director, CSJ, Gavin Poole, was quoted as saying,“A key message this report highlights is that for many who feel that work is beyond reach, employers do not agree.
“For those entering the workplace, often for the first time, attitude and personal responsibility are regarded much higher than qualifications.”
Another study of 174 employers by OI Partners, a global talent management and leadership development/consulting firm,came up with eight qualities employers value the most in workers.
The Chair, OI Partners, Steve Ford, says, “Workers need to demonstrate to their bosses that they are making critical contributions, have the qualities the company desires most, and that they have earned retention rewards.”
The eight qualities employers value the most in workers, according to the survey, are:
Being a team player
This was chosen by 71 per cent of the surveyed companies. “Being part of a team has taken on a higher priority since many companies are still operating with leaner work forces and there is a greater need to accomplish goals through others,” says Ford.
Ability to stay fully focused
This was chosen by 68 per cent of employers.Here, Ford says employees should share complimentary letters and emails they receive with their bosses. “Don’t assume that he or she already knows about your excellent customer service, but do it in a discreet way,” he adds.
 Ability to motivate and engage others in their jobs
This was chosen by 65 per cent of the companies. And, according to Ford, in a challenging economy, employers appreciate when their employees reach out and keep each other motivated and involved in their work.
Success in achieving your ‘critical few objectives’
Picked by 62 per cent of the companies, Ford explains that these objectives are among the top one or two reasons why an employee is hired in the first place, hence accomplishing them will count more than any other contributions they have made.
 Ability to work smart
This was selected by 60 per cent of the companies. This includes being up to date on the latest technology, keeping your skills and professional knowledge current, and continually searching for improvements in productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
 Hard worker
57 per cent of the companies surveyed chose this. Ford says, “Although companies for years have preferred working smart to working hard, they still want to see that you are dedicated to your job, put in an extra effort and volunteer to fill any gaps when necessary.”
Ability to add value
This was preferred by 52 per cent of the organisations surveyed. According to them, retention rewards recognition of your value. Fords says it is important for employees to track and document the specific ways they have added value to your employer.
 Ability to contribute to improving the bottom line
This was selected by 48 per cent of the businesses. According to Ford, there are various ways to do this, including helping to increase sales, cut costs, decrease turnover, and make useful suggestions and recommendations.
A human resources expert, Penny Loretto, who has more than 20 years of experience in career counseling and internship advisement, in an article published on, says the following are the top work ethics employers value:
Strong work ethic
Employers value employees who understand and possess a willingness to work hard. In addition to working hard it is also important to work smart. This means learning the most efficient way to complete tasks and finding ways to save time while completing daily assignments. It’s also important to care about your job and complete all projects while maintaining a positive attitude. Doing more than is expected on the job is a good way to show management that you utilise good time management skills and don’t waste valuable company time attending to personal issues not related to the job.
Dependability and responsibility
Employers value employees who come to work on time, are there when they are supposed to be, and are responsible for their actions and behavior. It’s important to keep supervisors abreast of changes in your schedule or if you are going to be late for any reason. This also means keeping your supervisor informed on where you are on all projects you have been assigned.
A positive attitude
Employers seek employees who take the initiative and have the motivation to get the job done in a reasonable period of time. A positive attitude gets the work done and motivates others to do the same without dwelling on the challenges that inevitably come up in any job. It is the enthusiastic employee who creates an environment of good will and who provides a positive role model for others. A positive attitude is something that is most valued by supervisors and co-workers and that also makes the job more pleasant and fun to go to each day.
Other values employers look for, according to Lorreto are self-motivation, motivation to grow and learn, strong self-confidence, professionalism, honesty, integrity and loyalty.
Culled from Punch

Play safe, avoid oral cancer

When it comes to being responsible — by that I mean using condoms during sex, many will take the gold. But, do you apply the same precaution during oral sex?

Did you know that you can contact sexually-transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, and even cancer of the throat from oral sex? I doubt it.

Before now, oral sex was usually considered a lower-risk sexual activity; but a recent study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that it’s actually becoming a popular, though unintended, way of spreading sexually transmitted infections.

The researchers state that since oral sex involves a partner stimulating the genitalia of another person, using the mouth, including the lips, tongue or teeth, viral and bacterial infections such as herpes and HIV can be contacted through these means.

The Chief Medical Director of Westover Heights Clinic in Portland, Oregon, an American private clinic specialising in STDs, Dr. Tarri Warren, says the risks of contacting these diseases depend on a lot of different things, including the number of sexual partners, gender, and what particular oral sex acts people engage in.

 She states, “Many people don’t know that STDs can be spread orally. Or, if they do, they don’t see the health risks as being very serious. Oral sex is not safe sex; rather, it’s safer sex, but it’s definitely not safe sex because most people don’t use protection for oral sex. However, they should actually be cautious about it too, especially if your partner has other partners.”

Warren says performing oral sex on a male partner without a condom is riskier than other forms of oral sex, and stresses the importance of condom use for a man having oral sex with multiple male partners.

“If a male is giving oral sex to a woman, I consider that to be a low-risk exposure; but a woman giving oral sex to a man with multiple partners is really dangerous. You can’t tell if his partners are infected. It is just like sex with multiple partners but no penetration,” she adds.

Another concern that has recently arisen is the question of catching chlamydia through oral sex.
In May 2011 International conference at Gateshead, at which Dr Indrajit Ghosh and his colleagues revealed the results of their screening programme among female commercial sex workers in London.

They found that one in every 25 of these women had chlamydia in the throat. It seems fairly certain that they had acquired the germ through offering oral sex to customers.

Additionally, one in every 50 of the female sex workers had unsuspected gonorrhoea in the throat.
Ghosh says, “This research makes it clear that oral sex is not quite as safe as it may have seemed – except of course if you only do it with one partner.”

Oral sex is linked to throat cancer. Cancer? Yes, you can get throat cancer from oral sex, says American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer, Otis Brawley.

Brawley explains, “It’s not oral sex, per se, that causes cancer, but the human papilloma virus which can be passed from person to person during sex — including during oral sex — that causes cancer. Those who have ever performed oral sex have more than doubled their risk of getting an HPV infection.”

Researchers have found that some cancers of the oropharynx (the middle of the throat) and tonsils are caused by a certain type of HPV.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed a greater risk for oropharyngeal cancer in people that had oral sex with at least six different partners.

They found out that the DNA signature of HPV Type 16 was often found in the cancers of people who had multiple oral sex partners.

Brawley says, “Both men and women can have an HPV infection in the throat. It doesn’t discriminate by gender. The population that I thought would be least likely to get it was the first population to have this problem — that is heterosexual men between ages 40 and 50,” he says.

Again, one can get HIV through oral sex. A research conducted by the San Francisco Aids Organisation found out that many women contacted HIV from oral sex by swallowing semen.

The study states, “HIV still can enter through open cuts and sores, or possibly by infecting the lining of the mouth. There are some documented cases of people getting HIV through their mouth.

“Once semen gets past the mouth, stomach acid and enzymes in the aesophagus kill the virus. So, swallowing or spitting out semen reduces your risk for HIV, compared with letting it sit in your mouth.”

However, you don’t have to leave yourself and your partner unprotected. To reduce your risk for these infections, experts recommend the use of barrier protection like dental clams or condoms and also offer some advice.

Brawley says, “Before you two taste each other’s forbidden fruit, make sure you’re clean. Don’t perform oral for about 45 minutes after you brush your teeth, floss, or engage in any other aggravating oral behavior; and not at all when you have open sores.”

But you can be more practical this weekend. Get yourself and your partner tested for these diseases before engaging in any sexual activity. And save yourselves the worry.
Remember, the catch is, stay faithful!
Culled from Punch

Read with your children, not to them


Research has found that reading with young children and engaging them can make a positive impact on the child’s future and their family.

Bradford Wiles is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in early childhood development at Kansas State University. For most of his career, Wiles’ research has focused around building resilience in vulnerable families.

His current research is focused on emergent literacy and the effect of parents reading with their children ages 3 to 5 years old.

“Children start learning to read long before they can ever say words or form sentences,” said Wiles. “My focus is on helping parents read with their children and extending what happens when you read with them and they become engaged in the story.”

The developmental process, known as emergent literacy, begins at birth and continues through the preschool and kindergarten years. This time in children’s lives is critical for learning important preliteracy skills.

Although his research mainly focuses on 3-5 year olds, Wiles encourages anyone with young children to read with them as a family at anytime during the day, not just before going to bed. He also believes that it is okay to read one book over and over again, because the child can learn new things every time.

“There are always opportunities for you both to learn,” said Wiles, “and it creates a family connection. Learning is unbelievably powerful in early childhood development.”

It goes deeper than just reading to them, as parents are encouraged to read with their children. Engaging children is how they become active in the story and build literacy skills.

“There is nothing more powerful than your voice, your tone, and the way you say the words,” said Wiles. “When I was a child, my dad read to me and while that was helpful and I enjoyed it, what we are finding is that when parents read with their children instead of to them, the children are becoming more engaged and excited to read.”

Engaging the child means figuring out what the child is thinking and getting them to think beyond the words written on the page. While reading with them, anticipate what children are thinking. Then ask questions, offer instruction, provide examples and give them some feedback about what they are thinking.

“One of the things that I really hope for, and have found, is that these things spill over into other areas,” said Wiles. “So you start out reading, asking open-ended questions, offering instruction and explaining when all of the sudden you aren’t reading at all and they start to recognize those things they have seen in the books. And that’s really powerful.”

Wiles explains it in a scenario where a mother reads a book with her 4 year old about a garden. Then they go to the supermarket and the 4 year old is pointing and saying, “look there’s a zucchini.” The child cannot read the sign that says zucchini but knows what that is because they read the book about gardens.

During this time called the nominal stage, the developmental stage where children are naming things, a child’s vocabulary can jump from a few hundred words to a few thousand words. The more exposure they’ve had through books and print materials, the more they can name things and understand. It’s the emergent literacy 
 skills that can set the stage for other elements.

The school of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University is producing lesson plans to help families learn how to read with young children. These lesson plans are research-based but they have been condensed into usable and applicable lessons for families.
Culled from Punch

Daily Glass Of Milk During Pregnancy Makes Your Children Taller

Children born to women who drink milk during pregnancy are more likely to be tall when they are teenagers, new research shows.

A team of scientists who tracked babies born in the late eighties found their height during adolescence was directly related to how much milk their mothers consumed when they were in the womb.

Although maternal milk intake has long been thought to promote growth in newborn babies, the latest research suggests the benefits last well into early adulthood.

Nutrition experts from Iceland, Denmark and the U.S. wanted to see if the benefits seen in the early stages of life from milk were extended into later years.

They tracked babies born to 809 women in Denmark in 1988 and 1989, after monitoring how much milk the women had consumed during the pregnancy.

The babies were measured for weight and birth length and then followed up again almost 20 years later.
The results, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show teenagers of both sexes were generally taller if their mothers had drunk more than 150 millilitres - roughly a quarter of a pint of milk - a day during the pregnancy, compared to children born to women who drank less than that amount.

By their late teens they also had higher levels of insulin in their bloodstream, suggesting they were less at risk of getting type two diabetes.

In a report on the findings researchers said: ‘Maternal milk consumption may have a growth-promoting effect with respect to weight and length at birth.

‘These results also provide some suggestion that this effect may even track into early adult age.’
Earlier this year British scientists found pregnant women could boost their babies’ IQ by drinking more milk because it is rich in iodine.

They looked at more than 1,000 pregnant women and found those who consumed lower amounts of iodine - which is also found in other dairy products and fish - were more likely to have children with lower IQs and reading abilities.

Iodine is essential for producing hormones made by the thyroid gland, which has a direct effect on the development of the foetal brain.
Source:Dailymail London

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Fight That Belly Fat

Fight that belly fat

You’ve tried everything – fasting, deliberate starvation, water therapy and beans-only diet – but that potbelly does not seem to budge.
You have invested in some weight loss pills and herbs, but that waistline seems to be growing wider each day. Indeed, no matter what diet you follow and what exercise you do, you can’t seem to get rid of your paunch.
You are not the only one. The battle of the bulge is one of the biggest dietary challenges of the 21st century, according to experts.
The belly is the part from which most people would want to lose fat; but, sadly, it is often the last area to give way in the race to reduce body weight.
Beating the belly bulge as you grow older almost seems impossible and frustrating. However, Chief Cardiologist with Memphis Heart Centre, United States of America, Dr. James Arthur, says you must not give up for the sake of your health and longevity.
Arthur states that excess belly fat is more dangerous than excess fat around the hips and thighs.
He says, “Belly fat can lead to serious health problems. Studies and research have proven that excess fat in the abdominal area could result in a constellation of killer diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.”
The physician adds that though being overweight is hereditary, poor lifestyle choices is the major reason why many could not fight accumulating fat in their abdominal area.
 As impossible as it seems, though, you can shed that bulging belly without breaking the bank. Health and Fitness Instructor, Jo Mattew, in her book, Bust the Belly, gives some stress-free lifestyle changes that can help you achieve your goal of possessing a flat tummy. Here are some:

Get more sleep
Getting enough sleep is very important if one is looking to beat the bulge. Studies have shown that people who don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep eat more than those who do get the recommended eight hours sleep.
Mattew says, “This happens because of the impact of sleep on your hormones, in particular your hunger hormone, ghrelin. The higher your ghrelin levels are, the hungrier you become. Sleep works as a reset for your hormones; so, if you don’t get enough sleep, then your hormones will be out of balance.”

Relaxation is essential if you want to slim down your mid-section. Most people lead extremely stressful lives, which have a negative impact on hormones, and in turn, their weight.
The fitness expert notes that the hormone, cortisol, which increases with stress levels, could increase accumulation of belly fat.
She states, “Just behind the abdominal wall, you have an organ called the greater omentum. One of its jobs is to soak up cortisol. When you are stressed, you produce more cortisol and the organ soaks the hormone and it keeps getting bigger and your tummy keeps bulging.”

Ditch processed foods
Processed foods are full of toxins that are harmful to the body. The liver’s job is to detoxify them from your body, but ingesting toxins on a regular basis won’t help the liver to do its job effectively.
Mattew adds, “It means that there will be more toxins that the liver cannot work on. When this happens, they need to be stored in the body. Unfortunately, the toxins are stored in your fat cells and, in particular, an organ behind your abdomen called the greater omentum. This is the reason people have a hard pot belly rather than it being soft and flabby.
“If you are losing weight but struggling to lose the hard bulging belly, then you need to clean up your diet and eat organic foods.”

Cut out alcohol
 Alcohol is a toxin, experts warn. Just as eating toxic foods will lead to your greater omentum enlarging and your pot belly growing, so will drinking alcohol.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, which again slows down fat loss. It contains a massive amount of calories; and while alcohol is in your system, you will struggle to burn fat, as your liver is busy detoxifying alcohol rather than burning fat.

Drink more water
Water is essential in the battle to beat the belly bulge. For a start, 75 per cent of your body is made up of water. That fact alone should make one realise the need to keep drinking more water. If you are not drinking enough water, it will greatly affect your body.
Water is also used to clear toxins from the body and it helps fats to pass through your system before they can be stored. If you are dehydrated or not drinking enough water on a regular basis, toxins will build up in your body, affecting your ability to burn fat. Worse still, the fats will more likely be stored in your body.
According to Mattew, most people who overeat and struggle to control their hunger are, in fact, chronically dehydrated; and no matter how much they try to fight off hunger or how much they eat, the feeling doesn’t go away. She adds that with more water intake, however, the hunger will disappear.

 Limit carbohydrate
You will probably have heard people say that carbohydrates make people fat, and not just fatty foods. This is true, experts say, as carbohydrates do lead to weight gain due to the effect they have on the hormones. However, you still need carbs in your diet; so, don’t cut them out completely.

Improve your posture
There are plenty of reasons why improving your posture will help you beat the belly bulge. Improved posture will help speed up metabolism through increased muscle tone, while it also helps the body to burn more calories and fat around the waistline.
 Source: Punch

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

As school resumes, raise your child’s IQ


As school resumes, raise your  child’s IQ
Holiday is over and some schools have reopened for the new academic year.
While the long vac lasted, knowledgeable parents allowed their children to enjoy the holiday full blast by making them to follow their passion. Many school children relate that they visited historical places, some travelled to the village to see their grandparents, while others had the privilege of travelling abroad for the summer.
Well, all that is over and rigorous academic work will soon set in.
As parents, you may have paid your child’s tuition, bought the uniform and sundry other stuffs that will make the new school year a good success.
But before you give yourself thumbs-up for a job well done, you still have one crucial step to take: helping to raise your child’s Intelligent Quotient. “How,” you may ask. Well, here’s how—

PE is not a waste!
Many schools these days have done away with the playground. Rather, the available spaces have been converted to classrooms, all in a bid to show parents state-of-the-art structures. Little do they know that physical education does play a significant role in a child’s academic prowess.
If you are still in doubt, a report published in the Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine should convince you.
Researchers at the Vrije Universiteit University Medical Centre, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, say there’s a positive relationship between physical activity and the academic performance of children.
Study leader, Dr. Amika Singh, says though the pressure to improve test scores may often mean more instructional time for classroom subjects, with less time for physical activity, “According to the best-evidence synthesis, we found strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance.”
The scientists advise that being more physically active is positively related to improved academic performance in children. They note that exercise may help cognition by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain, decrease stress and improve mood; and overall increase growth factors.

Ditch junk foods
Healthy eating is still very much in vogue, hence scientists’ warning that foods high in sugar and saturated fats will not only make your child sick and obese, they can actually lower your child’s IQ!
In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiological Community Health, researchers tracked the eating habits of 4,000 children from age three and tested their intelligence at age eight-and-a-half.
The scientists, led by Dr. Kate Northstone of the Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, United Kingdom, discovered that children who ate the most processed foods, with a lot of convenience food, fat and sugar, had IQ scores 1.67 points lower than their counterparts whose diets included more fruits, vegetables, fish and pasta.
So, make it a habit from now on to fill your child’s lunch box with nutritive foods such as fruits and other whole foods.
Expose him to Omega-3
A new report published in Perspectives on Psychological Science claims that supplementing children’s diets with fish oil, enrolling them in quality preschool, and engaging them in interactive reading are effective ways of raising a young child’s intelligence.
Scientists, led by John Protzko, a doctoral student at the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, conclude that certain dietary and environmental interventions can be effective in raising children’s IQ.
Protzko says, “Supplementing pregnant women and newborns with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, foods rich in Omega-3, were found to boost children’s IQ by more than 3.5 points. These essential fatty acids may help raise intelligence by providing the building blocks for nerve cell development that the body cannot produce on its own.”

Encourage interactive reading
Again, the Protzko team advises that by encouraging a child to read, it improves his intelligence. Technically called “interactive reading,” the scientists say engaging children in this pastime can boost their intelligent quotient.
So, instead of telling your child to read silently instead of reading aloud, those who should know better advise that you let him “disturb” you with his loud reading!

Give breakfast
Many parents hurry out of the home without the least thought to the need to prepare breakfast for their growing babies. This is wrong, as researchers warn that children who start their days with a healthy breakfast are more focused, better prepared for the day’s challenges and ultimately get higher grades and test scores.
A study conducted by scientists at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital reveals that when children have daily access to a breakfast that provides them with 25 per cent of the nutrients they need in a day, their test scores are likely to improve significantly, while level of tardiness will fall dramatically.

Music empowers
These days, many schools employ music teachers to teach the subject. Whether or not the school owners know the implications of this for IQ development, researchers at the University of Toronto  say music lessons boost brain power among children ages six to 11 years old.
Led by Glenn Schellenberg, the scientists opine that “correlational and quasi-experimental studies reveal that music lessons have positive associations with verbal memory.”
In layman’s language, what this translates into is that music lessons positively impact some aspects of development — that is intellectual functioning.
Source: Punch