Flu – What you still need to do

On Sept. 4 2017, I shared a blog on the severity of flu for this season (starting Oct 2017 – March 2018). This wasn’t a prophecy but explanation based on scientific evidence two aspects –

The history of the mutations occurring in the virus, as collected from the evidence from Southern hemisphere (Australia is the target country).

The nature of the virus genome that makes turns on the infrequent genomic shifts and genomic drifts. The flu season for the fall of 2017 saw a antigenic shift rather than an antigenic drift.

If you haven’t vaccinated, it is time to get it done. Also, read some simple tips on how best to prevent flu.

Unlike most respiratory virus, flu is a systemic disease with high morbidity and occasional mortality in extremes if age. Even if the outlook is bleak, you should still definitely get a flu shot if you haven’t already, as it does provide effective protection against several strains, and a quick shot with minimal side effects is worth it to avoid days of being stuck in bed.

Hydrogen Peroxide – the best first remedy to prevention.

To some, it may seem primal but from my personal experience, I have always benefited by doing Hydrogen Peroxide gargles at those early stages when you identify that throat discomfort. As always, talk with your doctor to understand its usage.

But best remember to wash your hands too. Here is a reason…

Another things that helps to prevent flu and any other viral disease is to wash hands frequently, it is wise to be paranoid to think your hands are carrying the bugs if you haven’t washed those for some time now. It definitely makes sense not to touch any of the organs above your neck. If you haven’t washed your hands, it is safe to presume they will transmit those viruses.

Antigenic Shift versus Antigenic Drift

Because circulating flu virus strains change, it’s difficult for health agencies to predict how bad flu season will be in a given year. Despite a lack of certainty, health officials generally agree that the best way to protect a population is for as many people as possible to get the shot and participate in what scientists call “herd immunity.” When more people in a society become immune to a virus—or any disease—chances decrease that someone who isn’t immune will be exposed. That could mean the difference between life and death for some people who have weaker immune systems—including the elderly, young children, and people with chronic medical conditions.

The trouble is, the makeup of the viruses can change in the blink of the eye, because virus strains constantly mutate. Although researchers have clues about what a virus did previously, they’re usually guessing what specific changes will happen next. Viruses don’t grow naturally in eggs. They need to mutate in order to do so. Usually, these mutations don’t affect the vaccine later on. But when they do, they can render them effectively useless. This seems to be the case with the batch of flu vaccines given out this year.

Current vaccines are only 10% effective against this year’s main flu strain, called H3N2. The authors theorized that this was in part due to this mutation and in part because of a complication with the antibody serums used to make the vaccine fit for people.

H3N2 is also a particularly nasty strain, which historically is always the worse influenza.

Why Flu may be bad for 2017-2018. https://wp.me/p7XEWW-Xf.

A virus mutation has made this year’s flu vaccine less effective https://qz.com/1143420/the-2017-2018-flu-vaccine-is-less-effective-than-usual/

https://theconversation.com/3-ways-the-us-should-prepare-for-the-next-flu-pandemic-91300

Masochistic Barbarism

Lately, Western media is deluged with abundant cases of harassment of women at the workplace. Several prominent public personalities have come under scrutiny, speculation, and fire. If it would have been the one-off case, I would have been uninterested, howsoever glaring it would have been. To me, this is a social phenomenon, an event in Western Social and Professional life, where women are rebelling and demanding a courteous and dignified behavior.

This is possibly a watershed event since this has engulfed almost the entire western world with stories of the promiscuous proposition by men of influence, be it George Bush senior, Weinstein, Charlie Rose or Donald Trump. One thing is clear, the limits and threshold of tolerance of such behavior are marginalized.

It is obviously an important step if we need to enable and empower women. However, sometimes, especially in the case of Harvey Weinstein, I feel that the lesser gender submitted willfully and now, are calling it an inappropriate act of transgression of modesty. Especially the movie industry is abuzz with such congenial and complementary exploitation, wherein one gives and the other takes as a transaction to achieve professional goals. The truth is somewhere in between, how much on which side, is truly understandable only after knowing complex emotions that dominate women.

At least, that revolt, that rebel that exposure of misdeed is possible in Western World. Back in Asia or other parts of the world, where masochism and patriarchy dominants, it will take decades to unravel such a phenomenon.

References:

Charlie Rose suspended following sexual harassment allegations
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-42060961

Changing history of relics

Below is an excerpt from Shashi Tharoor’s article.

For seven decades after independence, Indian identity rested on cultural pluralism. Now, the Hindu-chauvinist BJP is seeking to redefine India as a Hindu nation long subjugated by foreigners – not just British colonizers, but also Muslim conquerors.

By stoking long-buried resentments and promoting hatred of Muslims, the BJP’s kulturkampf is dividing Indian society, fragmenting its political discourse, and undermining its soft power in the world.

If the BJP is to avoid doing further damage to the Indian nation, it must recognize that the past is not a blunt tool for scoring petty political points. One cannot avenge oneself upon history: history is its own revenge. PROJECT SYNDICATE

India’s siege on Taj Mahal smacks of religious chauvinism
http://bit.ly/2mAqQDF

Vanishing religions and languages

As a competition between different faith, we will certainly feel envious about Islam. However, as a state craft, I find it deplorable as these nomads are truly not nomads but have an inherent value system in their practice. When we convert them, irrespective of religion, to Christians, Buddhist, Muslims or any other faith, we essentially destroy and lose these value microsystem, enriched over time, to eternity.

Truly speaking, all dominant religions are indulging in proselytization and conversion. Barring exceptions, only Hindus haven’t done so, not as part of virtue but the varna sanstha has no place to accommodate a new entrant. Major conversions have been initiated by Christians ( last 4 centuries), Muslim (mostly before Christian conversion and the recent one being mass conversion to Buddhism.

Somehow, there is an irrational dominant perspective with man that his faith is supreme and the final emancipator of humanity. To be true, we dumb humans need humanoid Gods, his existence is truly sublime and beyond our human perception of humanoid cult. Irrespective, any faith, including the nomadic faith, offers a perspective of his existence, ethos and expectation of our responsibilities. Why destroy one and impose our? That’s so humanly and that’s so deplorable.

Indonesia’s Orang Rimba: Forced to renounce their faith
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41981430


 

[10:14 PM, 10/26/2017] Heda Shashank: One of the most impressive work and a facet of India that makes us feel proud about its heterogeneity and one that creates an awareness on keeping it alive. Truly deserves a bharat ratna!

The man who ‘discovered’ 780 Indian languages
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-41718082

Time for collective responsibility, not partisan bickering

Delhi and other metropolitan places are an eye opener. Gradually, with uncontrolled automobile proliferation, lack of awareness (Only Chai time talk) and political fights over the spoils (even before the winners are declared) will extend this pollution to second and third tier cities. We don’t have to wait for a decade, it is hardly a matter of few more years, and you will be surprise to see that smaller cities too are in the fray of pollution.

delhi-pollution759

In the western world, pollution from car is the biggest contributor towards environmental pollution. However, In India (as in this case of Delhi and other metropolitan places in India), we see other contributors such as organic and nonorganic pollutants.

In Delhi and other major metropolis in India, the contributing factors are many fold. Inorganic particulate matter, Volatile Organic Compounds and dust are major contributors to such menace. Even if major factors are corrected, (partial control works too), that would help reduce the VOC’s significantly. However, is there a way to look at these factors as isolated contributors and work upon each in helping reduce the pollution?

EPA’s Tier 3 standards? While Europe has significantly reduced vehicular pollution by adopting this standards, US has been away from implementing. India can revisit the EPA standards and implement those across the country.

Car pulling, rationing, allowing cars with advanced environmental standards are immediate way out. However, in the immediate period, petroleum guzzlers should be completely banned plus mid-long term strategy should revisit how best to eliminate the use as f fossil fuel.

crop-burning

Crop burning: While it is hard to change the deep rooted cultural practices, time has come to bury the crop rather than burn and create smog.

In US countryside, we can burn crop when certain environmental conditions exist. Patterns which indicate conducive burning can be identified and crop burning can still be allowed while such conditions exist.

Greening the environment – India has been on the fore front in plantation and replacing trees, additional measures need to be taken to clear environmental pollution.

In India, as in other democratic countries, the major bottleneck is one up man-ship, partisan bickering and political blame game. However, all these politicians should form a nonpartisan committee comprising of each party and stakeholders and be given the credit for reducing pollution.

 

Managing Osteoarthritis of Knee

Obesity is the biggest risk factor for osteoarthritis of knee. Next is sedentary habits and disuse of certain muscle groups and eventual imbalance. Sedentary lifestyle is another contributory factor. Dietary factors also contribute towards accentuated knee pain.

As far as possible, try avoiding aggressive surgical options. This blog was written in response to a friend approaching for resolving dilemma on management of osteoarthritis of knee.

Note: Never be your doctor, always discuss with professionals before initiating any medical plan.

Osteoarthritis is a disease of ageing, a normal wear and tear process. Contrary to mainstream views, I trust, body has enough resilience to recover and bounce back. However, tailoring to age specific and relevant activities help significantly in avoiding any aggressive surgical options. Currently, there is significant impetus towards minimally invasive surgery and if possible, one should explore those.

Knee Joint

Agreed, Osteoarthritis of knee is a disease of ageing but ‘Obesity’ is the single most important risk factor. Other contributing factors are sedentary habits and disuse of certain muscle groups and eventual imbalance.

Evaluating the stage of osteoarthritis is important and management depends upon the stage of destruction.

Loss of Joint Space

stage-of-knee-osteoarthritis

A comprehensive plan will include working on below options –

  • Exercise
  • Physical Therapy
  • Modify Your Activities
  • Weight Control
  • Self-Help/Assistive Devices
  • Heat and Cold Treatments
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Over-The-Counter Medications
  • Injections

Summarily –

Weight reduction –

  1. Salt sugar restriction, and
  2. Accentuated calorie burning from active exercise

Physiotherapy:

To evaluate Consistent or Progressive Foot Progression Angle.

  1. Identify muscles that are in disuse atrophy. This creates imbalance and accentuates arthritis. Start fixing those muscles with proper advice from Physiotherapist.
  2. Postural training.
  3. Gait training

Heat Application

    Nutritional supplements such as

  1. Glucosamine-chondroitin supplements
  2. Turmeric, Ginger (oral when low grade to moderate, topical when severe)
  3. Babul ka goond
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Krill Oil

Arthroscopy is invasive

Evaluating knee joint fluid helps. Since arthroscopy is considered, also discuss injecting Glucosamine in the joint fluid and possible steroids if inflammation is exuberant.

Avoid NSAID’s:

As best as possible, avoid taking NSAID’s. If you have pain, take Tylenol (Paracetamol).

Additional Reading:

(Click the link for additional reading)

When Bones Collide

Treatment of Osteoarthritis: Stanford University

18 ways to keep your joints healthy (https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/better-living-ra-17/active/slideshow-keep-joints-healthy)

https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/bones-joints-and-muscles/osteoarthritis/treatments.html

https://drsarahbrewer.com/the-9-best-supplements-for-knee-pain

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/swollen-knee/basics/treatment/con-20026072

http://www.synviscone.com/what-is-synvisc-one.aspx

https://med.stanford.edu/clinicaltrials/trials/NCT01397981

https://med.stanford.edu/clinicaltrials/trials/NCT02767570

Humanity – A Universal Religion

(There is only 1 religion called Humanity. Its not important to understand whether Jesus/ Krishna/ Mohammed or Buddha is the messenger of god.. whats important is whether we get “that message”).

Absolutely true! However, despite our teaching the best of the lot sway away from the message? It is easy to be distracted, not because we love to indulge in ourselves but discerning and making choices and persistently acting on it is trying and arduous, whereas indulgence is a default state.

Religion was probably introduced by well-read men thousands of years ago after studying human psychology to keep control on the actions of human beings as we are the most intelligent species and capable of doing terrible things if not kept in check.

First, let us go to back to that time when it all originated. Do we expect a sudden mutation from homo erectus to homo sapiens all of a sudden? [Astrolopothecus to Zinzanthropus to Homo erectus to Homo Sapiens are those stages of evolution.] Where did those books come from? As for the history of mankind, if I recollect the existence of the oldest religion, it goes back to only 10,000 to 12,000. However, modern men came around 300000 years ago. What happened to the history in between? I am trying to impress the fact that wisdom and science is not completely

In science if we have to prove any theory by deduction, we start with a hypothesis (assumption).

In Hinduism that hypothesis or assumption is ‘the belief of reincarnation’ meaning that soul is immortal and when we die, the soul takes another form. Without the belief of reincarnation or rebirth; the whole philosophy of hinduism falls flat. So its important to believe in the concept of soul & reincarnation to understand hinduism to its core.

Soul is nothing but your gut feeling. Soul will always tell you to do the right thing, no matter what! Its either black or white – there is no gray area. The moment one does something wrong, he gets caught up in the guilt cycle. To break that cycle, no matter what religion a person belongs to, these 3 pillars do act as guidelines to help you lead a happy & peaceful life:

1) Bhakti – Faith & Belief to shape the quality of our thoughts and have a positive attitude towards life
2) Karma – Every action has a equal and opposite reaction. As you sow, so shall you reap!
3) Dharma – Meaning “duty or responsibility” towards family, friends, society, nature above and beyond you. And always doing the right thing.

The ultimate aim is to do good karma and find your peace!! And one thing that I have realized is that your happiness & sadness is defined by the quality of your relationships (w/ family, friends, colleague, society)

UN and World Polity

Truly speaking, UN with its seemingly democratic nature and composition, has an under pinning rudimentary barbaric, strongman-ship and jungle law pervading its transactions. The current world order is dominated by the brute power of ‘west aligned’, hegemony.

Fire and Fury

It’s in fashion, mainstream media and folks discard every other idea that Trump intends or does. We should ask ourselves, how do we deal with Kim where decades of diplomacy failed, where repeated waves of sanctions have had no meaningful effect in stopping the nuclear ambitions and now, the regime is at its best in exploiting and extorting with a real nuclear armed missile. Nothing wrong if Trump escalates with ‘fire and fury’. Of course, that comes not as a strategy but as a natural (rather naturalized) response. To be true, that’s the only language Kim Jong Un can understand, that’s the only way ‘carrot and stick’, diplomacy can work with DPRK.

Controlling tantrum and tweets

So its difficult to control a tantrum throwing child, especially if he is in the driving seat, you have no controls and your fate is critically and essentially dependent on this driver.

Visit my blog – ‘The world on a leash’ click here

Excerpts from National Review below

‘First, North Korean leaders know that they would not only lose a war with the United States, they would also lose their regime and, quite possibly, their lives’.

‘Second, to the extent that North Korea has any hope at all of achieving a victory, it has to strike first, achieve a degree of surprise, and find a way to deter the planned American counterattack’.

‘What does this all mean? So long as North Korea does not believe that we are preparing to launch an aggressive attack, they are highly likely to maintain the status quo. They’re keenly aware of the first rule. If there’s a war, they’ll lose. If, however, the DPRK believes the United States is preparing aggressive military action, it may well gamble on a first strike. But, given the first rule, its leaders would have to truly believe the end of their regime was at hand. Only perceived desperate times would justify desperate measures’.

‘Trump’s rhetoric are most troubling. It’s not clear what he stands to gain with his aggressive words, and to the extent they have an effect, they seem to be backfiring. There’s no indication that his words are deterring the DPRK from pursuing an active ICBM force. To the contrary, they are incentivizing North Korea’s rush to create deliverable intercontinental weapons. They aren’t “scaring” North Korea into any sort of compliance with American wishes. Kim Jong-un is countering Trump rhetoric not just with rhetoric of his own but also with actions that frighten every American ally in the region — the kind of actions that raise tensions and increase the chance of miscalculation. Nor is there much evidence that Trump’s rhetoric is triggering a Chinese response decisive enough to force the DPRK into compliance’.

‘Trump, thankfully, has surrounded himself with careful military advisers, but he is not making careful statements. Indeed, he is reportedly ignoring his advisers’ advice. It’s too much to say that he’s actively courting nuclear conflict or even a second Korean War. It’s not too much to say, however, that he’s increasing risks without any clear reward’.

What Are the Chances the War of Words with North Korea Escalates?

How Western Civilization Could Collapse

Fossil Fuel

It took millennia for the organic matter to get converted to fossil and our generation is using it as a bottle of coke. If that’s the cost, we are grossly misusing it. Actually we are ripping mother earth. We better start ride sharing, carpooling and economizing on the use of gas even if our ‘rip off’ generation can afford it.

US maintains a stockpile of 90-100 days assuming disruption in global supply chain. How come suddenly gas vanished in seven days? Long weekend itself puts stress on gasoline consumption plus a rumor of gasoline deficiency.

I analyzed this in two folds… there is no milk in the town and Kojagiri is right around the corner.

Like most of you, I am a strong proponent of saving fossil fuel and green earth. I strongly agree with contemporary view of environmentalists that humans are consuming more and creating stress on the system. The cost of fossil fuel, $2.5/g, is highly underrated. It took millennia for the organic matter to get converted to fossil and our generation is using it as a bottle of coke. If that’s the cost, we are grossly misusing it. Actually we are ripping mother earth.

We better start ridesharing, carpooling and economizing on the use of gas even if our ‘rip off’ generation can afford it. Today’s Gas shortage just taught us one thing. Just get it in short supply, we don’t need to increase price, that shortfall itself will change our behavior.