Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Out of many different type of skin infections people suffer from, atopic dermatitis is one that is fairly common. This condition often affects infants and young children, but may also persist into adulthood or affect adults as well. Patients suffering from this disease often see it alternate between flares and periods of remission where it may seem like the condition has cleared up completely. In many cases, children who have experienced a permanent remission from it are left with dry skin that is easily irritated.

The exact cause of this skin condition is not clear, but it is understood to be triggered by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.

People with highly sensitive skin have the highest risk of suffering from this condition.

It has also been associated with a number of other atopic disorders such as asthma and seasonal allergies along with allergies to certain types of food.

Dry skin, redness and excessive itchiness are common symptoms of this condition. Other symptoms vary from person to person and their reaction to the itching. Ideally, you should not scratch your skin, if you suffer from atopic dermatitis. Scratching and rubbing the skin can worsen the condition. In some cases, this can lead to the development of thick, leathery skin while in other cases it could lead to the development of papules or raised bumps on the skin. Further scratching of these papules can make them infected and crusty.

The treatment for this skin condition depends on the patient’s age, overall health and symptoms presented. There are three main goals of treatment for atopic dermatitis; healing the skin, preventing flares and treating symptoms as they appear. Much of caring for the skin involves developing skin-care routines, identifying exacerbating factors, and avoiding circumstances that stimulate the skin's immune system and the itch-scratch cycle.

Skin care is the first aspect of treating this condition. It is essential to keep the skin clean and follow a simple regimen.

Avoid using multiple soaps, lotions, fragrances etc and have a lukewarm bath with a mild chlorine solution.

Moisturize your skin immediately after your bath before drying your skin.

Pick creams instead of serums and try to pick one that is as free of fragrances and chemicals as much as possible.

Medication for this condition usually involves corticosteroid creams and ointments.

Immune moderators may also be prescribed to suppress the immune system and speed up the healing process.

Antibiotics to treat this condition may also be prescribed in pill or cream form, though the former is often found to be more effective.

In rare cases, the patient may also need to be hospitalized for a few days. This restricts the patient’s exposure to allergens and irritants.

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In today's world, the number of working moms all over the world is more than ever. Such women have a huge two-fold task of balancing between work and home, which includes looking after their children and managing their work at office. Balancing the two ends can make life hard for a working mother.

Here are some effective ways to find balance in motherhood for working mothers:

1.Find good child care: While you are out for work all day, it is very important for you to get a good babysitter or nanny for your child. You could should seek references from people and find a patient and quality babysitter for your child. It is important to manage and evaluate the babysitter on all the criteria you require. An experienced and friendly sitter would make your child comfortable.

2.Keep the morning easy: Get things organized at night so that you can keep the mornings hassle free. Use the mornings to prepare your child’s lunch and laying out clothes. Plan all kinds of family schedules during this time.

3.Maintain a family calendar: You should maintain a calendar to figure out the priorities of your family. You can maintain bill payment dates, a chore calendar for your kids, a list of all important events and other required charts. This will enable you to maintain everything, in spite of your busy schedule and enable you to strike a better balance.

4.Stay connected during daytime: You should try to stay connected with your children, even when you are away. You should call them frequently or send them cute messages or voice recordings and videos. This will keep them happy and they will miss you less. They will be more comforted and feel loved that you are near instead of being away at work.

5.Keep away from distractions and time wasters: You should stay disciplined and maintain a limit on making phone calls or checking mails. Try to do these activities when your children are asleep. Cut down your television watching time and spend the evenings with your partner. When you are spending time with your children, do not multitask and give them your total attention. At work, try not to waste time and return home as soon as work gets over.

6.Arrange family activities: You must make time for your kids in order to nurture your bond and get along with them. During their growing up phase, your child requires a major chunk of your time. Make special family dinners, watch movies with your family in the home theater and engross in different games. Spending time with your partner is also very important.

Life is quite difficult for working mothers who have to balance work and family together. In order to maintain a balance, follow the above-mentioned measures and lead a happy and fulfilling life.

HealthBreastfeeding Has Lifesaving Benefits: UNICEF
Breastfeeding Has Lifesaving Benefits: UNICEFIANS | Updated: January 29, 2016 15:53 ISTTweeterfacebookGoogle Plus Reddit
Breastfeeding Has Lifesaving Benefits: UNICEF
In a statement issued recently, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced that breastfeeding has lifesaving benefits. "Investing in breastfeeding has a significant impact on the health of women and children and on the economies of both rich and poor countries," said Unicef Chief of Nutrition Werner Schultink, citing a new series published by the weekly medical journal, The Lancet.

"The (Lancet) series provides crucial evidence for the case that breastfeeding is a cornerstone of children's survival, health, growth and development and contributes to a more prosperous and sustainable future," he said. The study found that breastfeeding saves babies lives, reducing the risk of sudden infant deaths and intestinal diseases, reports Xinhua.

It also highlighted the economic benefits of breastfeeding and called on governments to support mothers with policies such as a minimum of 14-week maternity leave. It found that countries lost over $500 billion annually because of a loss in cognitive ability which led to reduced earning capacity for people who had not been breastfed as babies.

In China, the study found that breastfeeding had decreased by five percent between 2003 and 2008 and that a ten percent increase in breastfeeding could reduce treatment costs of childhood disorders by about 30 million dollars in urban China alone. UNICEF, which contributed to the Lancet series, said the study showed that breastfeeding can help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are a set of 17 economic, social and environmental goals all UN member states have agreed to work towards achieving by the year 2030. "Breastfeeding is the most natural, cost effective, environmentally sound and readily available way we know to provide all children, rich or poor, with the healthiest start in life," said Schultink. "It's a win-win for all concerned to make it a priority," he added.

The first three months of pregnancy, a time that parenting magazines and Hallmark cards often portray as magnificent and carefree, can actually be a wretched experience for many women. As many as 90 percent of mothers-to-be experience some degree of nausea and vomiting, and scientists have long speculated about what, from an evolutionary standpoint, the function of all that unpleasantness might be. The leading theory has to do with food.

The idea, first proposed by physician Ernest Hook at Albany Medical College in 1976, is that a pregnant woman's sickness significantly narrows the amount and variety of things she eats.

That protects the unborn baby -- and its host, the mother -- from bacteria, toxins and other nasty things that can be contained in food products. Think salmonella in raw eggs or toxoplasma gondii in under cooked meat. For most women, morning sickness lasts only for the first trimester, which also happens to be the most vulnerable period for a fetus -- the period when its brain's neurons and its organs are formed.

"Morning sickness and the aversion to potentially harmful foods is the body's way of preserving wellness of the mother at a time when her immune system is naturally suppressed," evolutionary biologists Samuel M. Flaxman and Paul W. Sherman of Cornell University wrote in a 2000 paper.
This mechanism still remains just a theory, and a somewhat controversial one at that. Perhaps the biggest question about it has been whether pregnancy sickness is actually linked to better pregnancy outcomes.

A new analysis published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine by researchers at the National Institutes of Health sides squarely with Hook in providing evidence that nausea and vomiting in pregnant women may indeed be a positive sign for the baby's prognosis.

The study involved tracking nearly 800 women, and it's important to note that there are a few unusual things about the cohort. One is that the group was highly homogeneous. Most of the women were white (96 percent), very young (63 percent age 29 and younger), married (95 percent) and employed (72 percent).

All the women in the study had also experienced one or two prior pregnancy losses and, as might be expected, the number of miscarriages in the group is higher than might be expected in the general population. Moreover, the women were also part of a randomized clinical trial about the effectiveness of low-dose aspirin in protecting against pregnancy loss.

Nonetheless, it stands as perhaps the most rigorously conducted research on the topic. Previous studies involved asking women well along in their pregnancies to try to recall how much nausea and vomiting they had experienced -- a methodology that is error-prone because it relies on people's imperfect memories. But this one began following women trying to get pregnant and was therefore able to get information on them -- via daily diaries -- from almost the first day of conception.

The women's diaries showed that by the eighth week, nearly 85 percent reported having nausea alone or nausea with vomiting. Of the 797 women who had positive pregnancy tests, 188 of the pregnancies ended in loss. An analysis of that data found that women who had either nausea alone or nausea accompanied by vomiting were 50 to 75 percent less likely to experience a miscarriage. Those are huge differences.

"The results should be reassuring to women who are going through these symptoms and suffering through this hard time," researcher Stefanie Hinkle, a staff scientist in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's epidemiology branch, said in an interview.

Hinkle and her colleagues wrote that it's possible there may be "evolutionary advantage to change one's dietary intake, increase consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods." That explains the ice cream many women ingest by the pint when they are pregnant. Not so much the pickles.

Encouraging women to eat foods they dislike during pregnancy will not improve the pregnancy outcome and could increase the embryo's exposure to pathogens and harmful chemicals, according to the researchers.

The NIH study also provides some evidence countering another hypothesis proposed by scientists about the function of pregnancy sickness -- that it might have to do with forcing women to avoid risky behaviors like smoking and consuming alcohol and caffeine. The researchers noted that "our modeling strategy accounted" for this idea and suggested "the mechanism is likely not through avoidance of such substances."

A third theory -- that pregnancy sickness may be due to effects of human growth hormone -- wasn't tested in the study.

Hinkle emphasized that the findings shouldn't lead the lucky women who are not experiencing pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting to panic.

"Every pregnancy is different," she said, "and at an individual level this is not indicative of having or not having a healthy pregnancy."

Women with vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy may predispose their children to metabolic diseases such as Type-2 diabetes, a team of researchers led by one of Indian origin has warned.

The vitamin is found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

Its deficiency are more likely to occur in pregnant women, who follow a vegetarian diet, the study said.

"The nutritional environment provided by the mother can permanently programme the baby's health," said Ponusammy Saravanan, Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Warwick in Britain.

In this study, researchers hypothesised that the changes associated with B12 deficiency may be the result of abnormal levels of leptin - the hormone that tells us we are full after eating.

"Maternal B12 deficiency may affect fat metabolism and contribute to this risk. This is why we decided to investigate leptin, the fat cell hormone," Saravanan added.

Leptin is produced by human body's fat cells and its levels rise in response to eating food.
While lean diets are associated with normal levels of leptin, obesity causes levels to rise and remain consistently higher than normal.

This can eventually lead to leptin resistance, continued overeating, and an increased risk of insulin resistance, which leads to Type-2 diabetes, the researchers observed, adding that leptin can provide an effective 'marker' for body fat.

The study showed that babies born to mothers with B12 deficiency had higher than normal leptin levels.

This suggests that maternal B12 deficiency can adversely programme the leptin gene, changing the levels at which the hormone is produced while the foetus grows.

"The leptin can increase for two reasons. Either low B12 drives fat accumulation in the foetus, and this leads to increased leptin, or the low B12 actually causes chemical changes in the placental genes that produce leptin, making more of the hormone," explained Adaikala Antonysunil from University of Warwick.

The study was presented at the Society for Endocrinology's annual Conference in Brighton.

Dr. Sarita Bharambe
Dr. Sarita Bharambe
DHMS, Family Physician, 30 yrs, Pune
Dr. Suhel  Shaikh
Dr. Suhel Shaikh
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Dermatologist, 2 yrs, Pune
Dr. Meghana Karande
Dr. Meghana Karande
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 1 yrs, Pune
Dr. Komal Khandelwal
Dr. Komal Khandelwal
BAMS, Ayurveda, 8 yrs, Pune