Researchers Identified Protein Linked to Circadian Rhythm

Researchers Identified Protein Linked to Circadian Rhythm

Researchers have identified a protein that is involved in the body’s internal 24-hour clock, known as the circadian rhythm. The protein, however, appears to get disrupted in shift workers and those experiencing jet lag.

Interruptions in the circadian rhythm make it difficult for some individuals to sleep when they are supposed to do so. Shift workers and people who fly across different time zones are especially vulnerable. Sleep is frequently disrupted until the workers adjust to a late night schedule or travelers to the new time zone. Experts say the process can take days or weeks, causing fatigue, indigestion, and poor cognitive performance, in addition to sleep disruption.

An international team of British and American researchers identified the protein, SIK1, which is involved in the body’s response to daylight. About 100 genes are switched on, signaling it is time to wake up after a night’s sleep. SIK1, however, can interfere with the body’s ability to adapt with that process.

When researchers blocked the activity of SIK1 in a group of laboratory mice whose 24-hour clock was disrupted, the animals adjusted faster to changes in the light-dark cycle.

Scientists believe it now may be possible to develop a drug that helps shift workers and travelers recover sooner from disruptions of their circadian rhythms so they can get a good night’s rest.

An article on the body’s 24-hour internal clock in published in the journal Cell.

Statins Could Extend Life

Statins Could Extend Life

photo shows 40 milligram tablets of Lipitor, one kind of statin used for lowering blood cholesterol, in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

photo shows 40 milligram tablets of Lipitor, one kind of statin used for lowering blood cholesterol, in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

Statins, long prescribed to those with high cholesterol, may actually prevent aging and extend lifespan, according to new research in the September 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal.

The research indicates that statins reduce the speed at which telomeres shorten, a key factor in the aging process. A telomere is a region of DNA strand at the end of a chromosome that protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration.

“Statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down senescent [aging] cells in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension,” said Giuseppe Paolisso, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Internal Medicine, Surgical, Neurological Metabolic Disease and Geriatric Medicine at Second University of Naples in Naples, Italy.

Researchers worked with two volunteer groups to test statins’ effects on telomeres. One group was under statin therapy, while the second group did not use the drugs. The group using statins had higher telomerase activity in their white blood cells, which was associated with less shortening of the telomeres.

The researchers say higher telomerase activation prevents the excessive accumulation of short telomeres.

“The great thing about statins is that they reduce risks for cardiovascular disease significantly and are generally safe for most people. The bad thing is that statins do have side effects, like muscle injury,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. “But if it is confirmed that statins might actually slow aging itself—and not just the symptoms of aging—then statins are much more powerful drugs than we ever thought.”

University of Health Sciences UHS Lahore Symposium on Depression

University of Health Sciences UHS Lahore Symposium on Depression

Rawalpindi: Depression is one of the most common mental disorders worldwide, said Major General (r) Muhammad Aslam, vice chancellor of the University of Health Sciences, Lahore, at an inaugural session of 5th National Symposium on Depression held at Pearl Continental Hotel here on Saturday, says a press release.
The symposium was organised by Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS) in collaboration with Department of Psychiatry Rawal Institute of Medical Sciences, Pakistan Medical Association and Psychiatric Welfare Association, Lahore.
Depression is a serious health condition affecting millions of people each year. The total cost in human suffering is impossible to estimate. Depression often impairs many aspects of our everyday lives and affects not only those who are depressed, but also those who care about the depressed person.

He added that some of the more common factors involved in depression are Family history, Trauma and stress, Pessimistic personality, physical conditions and other psychological disorders.

Lt Gen (r) Karamat A Karamat, principal & dean of Rawal Institute of Medical urged the need of two months compulsory training of Psychiatry for all doctors. Khaqan Waheed Khawaja, chief executive of Rawal Institute of Medical Sciences on the occasion said that several international and national mental health organisations have been providing educational, academic, research trainings and crisis intervention.

Chairman Organising Committee and Vice President of PPS Dr Mazhar Malik said the platform of PPS various CME programmes are being organised in the country addressing common psychiatric disorders for primary care physicians. PPS ex-president Professor Dr. M Riaz Bhatti also shared their views with the participants. PPS Secretary General Dr Syed Aslam Shah brief about the upcoming activities of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society.

Over 200 doctors, medical students and representatives of pharmaceutical firms attended the inaugural session of the symposium.

Korean Ambassador Visited Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi PMAS-AAUR

Korean Ambassador Visited Pir Mehr Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi PMAS-AAUR

Rawalpindi:The Ambassador, of the Republic of Korea Dr. Jong Hwan Song, expressed that Government of Korea would do its best to enhance the development of Pakistan and the friendship relations between the two nations in the spirit of cooperation and goodwill.
He said this while addressing as a chief guest at the workshop “Saemaul Undong (the New Village) Movement” at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi here on Friday.
On the occasion, University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Director General Mr. Sung Choonki, Director KOICA Mr. Je-Ho Yeon, Expert on Saemaul Undong Movement Mr. Jeon Hae Hwang, KOICA Coordinator Mohsin Khan, Koica Program Officer Miss Seo GaEul and University faculty members were also present.
Korean Ambassador said that the Government and people of Pakistan can make another success story by following the Korean model of Saemaul Undong Movement and principles for sustainable economic development.
While talking about Korea he informed that in 1970s, agriculture in Korea contributed 50% to the Korean industry and the per capita income of Korea was nearly 257 US Dollars. On that time visionary late President Mr. Park Chung-Heerealized the situation and started “Saemaul Undong Movement” emphasizing on economic and social reforms as the key priorities of the state. He encouraged the farmers to fight against poverty and hunger and to work for their own welfare. The Ambassador informed that through this movement, after 43 years Korean per capita income raised to 23, 000 US Dollars and Korea emerged as a strong economy in the world.
Dr. Jong Hwan Song emphasized the former KOICA funded project “Establishment of Pak-Korea Capacity Building Center at PMAS-AAUR” is directly linked to “Saemaul Undong Movement” for the uplifting of farming community of Pakistan and providing them an opportunity to use advance technologies in agriculture, forestry and livestock production. He believes that PMAS-AAUR could play a significant role to disseminate the “Saemaul Undong Movement” in the rural areas of Pakistan. He hoped that this movement would play a fundamental role to develop and revitalize the rural areas, as well as to strength the partnership between both the countries.
The Korean Ambassador further stated that the good working relationship with PMAS-AAAUR, will set the tone for better cooperation in the future till the success of our joint project. The Embassy of Republic of Korea and KOICA will continue to participate actively with the aim of making PMAS-AAUR and Pakistan more developed and peaceful, he added.
Earlier, PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad welcome the Ambassador, of Korea Dr. Jong Hwan Song & other KOICA officials and gave a detailed briefing on the educational, research and extension programmes of the university and its future plans.
In his address, Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad indicated that KOICA project will greatly contribute to the capacity building initiatives for farming community taken by the PMAS-AAUR through training. He further stated that this will also helpful to Pakistani experts to enhance their skills and competencies in the required disciplines.
He also expressed that a comprehensive strategy has been devised in order to solve the field problems in the agriculture and livestock sectors, which have immense potential for development. The KOICA center will have a positive transformative effect on Pakistan’s economy and will assist in alleviating the poverty, he added. He believes that academic collaboration can make an important contribution to uplift the socio-economic condition of developing countries like Pakistan if it is developed and delivered responsibly and effectively.
The Vice Chancellor informed the participants that University is currently launching a comprehensive community service program to not only provide the routine conventional extension services but it will also assure to practically involve the university students and researchers for guidance and demonstrations to the farmers. New technological advancements, improved methods and interactive approach will be introduced to enhance the productivity at the farm level, he added.
He further added that to provide quality vegetable seeds, certified nurseries and management techniques to the farmers, the University is undertaking a massive program of vegetable nursery rising through advanced interventions of controlled atmosphere. This nurseries plant would be available round the year as and when required by the farmers.
University is actively playing its role to bring together various stake holders of the agriculture sector consisting of farmers, agro-based industries, different wings of agricultural department, universities and research institutes under one umbrella to achieve the common goal, a very effective and result oriented approach for the development of agriculture in the country, the Vice Chancellor said.
Korean ambassador, Dr. Jong Hwan Song, KOICA officials and PMAS-AAUR, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad also planted a trees at University campus. University’s Vice Chancellor also presented a shield to the Korean Ambassador and souvenir to KOICA officials.

Scholarships announced for journalists – Higher Education Commission (HEC)

Scholarships announced for journalists – Higher Education Commission (HEC)

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has announced PhD scholarships for journalists from FATA under its project “Provision of Higher Education Opportunities for students of Balochistan and FATA”.

According to an HEC official, the working journalists of FATA can apply for PhD scholarship in the field of journalism.

The scholarships will be awarded to those who have secured admission in an HEC-recognised university in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

To a question, the official said the applicant’s age should be no more than 35 years as on September 24 and he/she should be working as a journalist having domicile of FATA. Applicants’ academic qualification should be Masters in Journalism or equivalent with not more than two second divisions and not less than 50 percent marks throughout the academic record, he added.

Can brushing teeth fight a cancer-causing virus?

Can brushing teeth fight a cancer-causing virus?

LAHORE: People whose teeth and gums are in poor condition may be more susceptible to an oral virus that can cause certain mouth and throat cancers, a new study suggests. Researchers found that of more than 3,400 US adults, those who rated their oral health as “poor” to “fair” were more likely to have an oral infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), which, in certain cases, can eventually lead to cancer. Overall, 10 percent of people with tooth or gum disease tested positive for oral HPV. That compared with 6.5 percent of those who rated their dental health as “good” to “excellent.” The results, reported Aug. 21 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, do not actually prove that diseased teeth and gums cause HPV infection. “We don’t know if poor oral health led to the HPV infection,” said Christine Markham, one of the researchers on the study. Her team tried to account for other factors that could affect dental health or the odds of having HPV – such as smoking or multiple oral sex partners. And poor oral health was still linked to a 56 percent increase in the risk of having oral HPV. But there could be other explanations for the connection, and more research is needed, said Markham, an associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Centre in Houston. Still, she said, there are already plenty of reasons to take care of your teeth and gums. “Good oral health care is important for your health in general,” Markham said. This study just offers some more incentive, she added. HPV, which can cause genital and anal warts, is the most commonly transmitted sexual infection in the United States. Usually, the immune system clears the infection, but in some cases the virus persists in the body. And persistent infection with certain HPV strains can eventually lead to cancer – with cervical cancer the best known. HPV can also invade the mouth during oral sex. Those infections usually cause no symptoms, but a lingering infection with a cancer-linked strain can lead to oropharyngeal cancer, which affects the back of the throat, base of the tongue and tonsils. It’s a rare cancer, but cases tied to HPV are on the rise in the United States. No one knows why. It’s already known that poor oral hygiene is tied to a heightened risk of oropharyngeal cancer, even when smoking and heavy drinking – two big risk factors for the cancer – are taken into account.

YDA offers free-of-cost software for govt hospitals

YDA offers free-of-cost software for govt hospitals

LAHORE: Young Doctors Association (YDA) has offered to provide free-of-cost software to Punjab government which is prepared to computerised data of thousands of patients visiting emergency wards in 23 teaching hospitals.

These views were expressed by YDA office bearers during media briefing on Sunday. YDA leader Dr Salman Kazmi said the software was made by a graduate of King Edward Medical University Dr Rizwan, and added that previously millions of rupees had been wasted on such projects and now it was a need of the hour to run emergency slip computerisation project. He said the software would help upload data of the diseases of various patients. He further the software was Internet-based and would provide the exact figures that how many patients of gastro, measles, dengue, and other communicable diseases as well as road accidents, or any kind of injuries, suicide and burns incidents were present in the emergency ward.

University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore diploma in food safety, control abolished

University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore diploma in food safety, control abolished

LAHORE: A one-year postgraduate diploma in food safety and control launched by the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) in collaboration with USAID, UNIDO and Eurpean Union (EU), was abolished after it failed to achieve targets.

The UVAS had launched a one-year postgraduate diploma but could not achieve required goals due to which the Food and Nutrition Department decided to abolish it.

The purpose of the diploma was to establish a food inspector training hub at the university as well as improving export market access for Pakistan food products though skilled manpower.

There is a dearth of food inspectors and at least 3,600 food inspectors were expected in the job market through postgraduate diploma which could not be completed successfully.

Education, a key to success: DC Malir Karachi

Education, a key to success: DC Malir Karachi

KARACHI: Deputy Commissioner Malir Qazi Jan Mohammad has termed education to be the “key to success” of any country, and teachers have a pivotal role in this regard. He was addressing the student recognition ceremony held in Nasra School-Malir Campus on Saturday. He said that Pakistan cannot progress ahead without giving attention to its education sector, and urged the Sindh government to give proper consideration towards the teaching sector. On the occasion, he awarded the students who secured top positions across Pakistan in the Aga Khan University Examination Board 2013. Rutaba Nadeem of SSC Science Group secured the 1st position; Sameer Kiyani of HSSC Science Group was awarded the 3rd position, while Syeda Jaisha of HSSC Science Group stood 5th. DC Malir handed over the certificates and shields among the students, their teachers, and the heads of Nasra School. Cash prizes were also awarded to position holders.

Health, hygiene far cry for female adolescents

Health, hygiene far cry for female adolescents

KARACHI: A sociological study to assess the level of health awareness among female adolescents (12-16 year olds) in Karachi identified 43% of the interviewees to have comprehensive understanding about their health and hygiene needs, while 45 % were moderately informed, and 12% little conscious about relevance of these requirements.

Sharing details of her study, researcher Bilquis Rehman said many girls enter in adolescence with a host of socio-economic factors that expose them to variety of difficult situations such as dropping out from school and early pregnancies without reaching the proper physical and emotional maturation.

“These issues trap adolescent girls into the vicious circle of poverty; thus hindering them from getting their real share of basic rights,” she said.

The interviewees, comprising public schools-going students of 18 towns of Karachi, mainly belonged to low socio-economic section, and the family income of about 92% of these girls ranged between Rs 2000 to Rs 5000; whereas, only 8% had more than Rs 15,000 per month family income.

Attitude of 68% of these adolescents regarding health and hygiene-related practices was found to be adequate and appropriate, while the remaining 32%, owing to varied reasons, were found to be inadequate and unhealthy.

The researcher was of the opinion that the level of awareness of health of adolescents had significant association with mothers’ education and with their economic conditions.

“Education of mothers plays an important role in the awareness level of their daughters,” she said.

Supplementing her stance, she said assessment of adolescents’ level of awareness regarding their puberty, and its related matters showed that only 11% were conscious of it, while 38% were unaware. About 52% of them had some knowledge, which can be termed as “limited” and “insufficient.”

In the backdrop of being denied their right to health related information, the girls were also found to be deprived of access to health services in cases of problems and complications.

Adolescents’ knowledge about major communicable life threatening diseases such as Hepatitis-B and HIV was also very low, and not more than 1% of them had any knowledge about sexually transmitted infections.

In reply to a question, the researcher said schools’ role to provide information about health services was meagre, and that 41% of these adolescents said their parents on gender equality indicators treated them “equally.”

On basis of the information collected, the researcher said basic health services should be ensured through schools whereas health education, with specific reference to reproductive health must be incorporated in school curriculum.

She agreed that a policy is required for empowerment of adolescent girls, with specific reference to their rights to health, as this would strengthen their reproductive healthcare rights when they grow up as a woman.

“Empowerment through “health knowledge” enables adolescents to manage their health, and attain a better and healthy future, not only for themselves but also for the country,” reiterated the researcher.

Bilquis Rehman responding to a query on the relation between health standards and development said that health is not only a pre-requisite for development, but it has been globally declared as a basic human right.”

Without achieving the agreed health standards, no one can ensure self-development nor can contribute to the country’s development, said the researcher mentioning that better health provides individuals with the ability to promote their potential, and become responsible members of the society.

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) extends admissions’ deadline

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) extends admissions’ deadline

ISLAMABAD: The Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has announced it will continue its admissions from matriculation to MA/MSc level programmes for the Autumn Semester, 2013 with late fee until tomorrow (Monday). AIOU Director (Admissions) Syed Ziaul Hasnain said the students could obtain admission forms and prospectuses for all programmes from sale points at the main campus of the university as well as the regional campuses and coordinating offices across the country. He said that the students would have to pay late-fee charges of Rs 100 for matriculation, Rs 200 for intermediate, PTC and BA; Rs 500 for Postgraduate and BEd programmes. The admission forms along with the required fee could be submitted at the nationwide branches of Habib Bank Ltd, First Women Bank, Bank Alfalah, Allied Bank and at the designated branches of National Bank of Pakistan and Muslim Commercial Bank, he added. The details of designated branches are available in the prospectuses as well as at the regional offices. Fee in shape of bank draft or pay order will not be accepted.

Pakistani student breaks world record

Pakistani student breaks world record

Pakistani student breaks world record

Pakistani student breaks world record

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani students have bagged a plethora of As and A*s at the Edexcel, Cambridge International Examinations’ (CIE) International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and A-level exams, June 2013 session.

The Froebel’s International School’s (FIS) student Haroon Tariq has beaten the current world record and secured phenomenal 40 As across IGCSE, O-level and A-level subjects, spanning both humanities and sciences, such as human and social biology, Islamic religion and culture, physics, chemistry and global development. This is an outstanding feat of achievement, putting Pakistan at center stage and in the global spotlight.

The Froebelians undergo a rigorous curriculum through the academic year with a combination of curricular and co-curricular training aimed at grooming well-rounded, multifaceted achievers. This effort bears fruition at the end of each year as students take a step towards acceptance at some of the world’s best universities to advance their academic careers. The Froebel’s alumni regularly make their way to institutions such as the Cambridge University, Brown University, University of Warwick, The Agha Khan University and LUMS, many of whom are awarded substantial scholarships.

This year has proved a resounding success at FIS. Examination results have demonstrated a significant number of students securing up to 100% in English language and 99% in mathematics.

Commenting on the recent results, FIS Head Principal Shahmina Kamal said, “We feel honoured to be instrumental in shaping a competent youth for the Pakistan of tomorrow.”

A total of 199 students appeared for the IGCSE exams, securing 162 A*s and 124 As.

“I always remind students that success is a state of mind, they need to trust themselves as they always know more than they think they do. Also, it is kind of fun to do the impossible,” said FIS Head Department of Examinations Sahar Pirzada. “Surely enough, now Froebel’s has students setting world records for academic excellence achieving an unparalleled 40 As,” she added.

Four more dengue cases surface in Lahore

Four more dengue cases surface in Lahore

LAHORE: Four more dengue patients were reported in the city, taking the number of patients to 58 on Saturday. The new patients were identified as 20-year-old Asad of Multan Road, 35-year-old Shaista, , Nasrullah, 23, and Aslam, 20, resident of Ravi Town. They were admitted to Mayo Hospital after suffering from fever for last few days.

The experts say dengue fever cases emerge usually in September, a month for spread and breeding of mosquitoes. They further said the number of dengue patients would be increased due to current rainy season which caused accumulation of rainwater in various parts, especially low lying areas of the city. The doctors have advised people to spray anti mosquito repellents, close windows to bar mosquitoes enter home, cover all food items and cover water pots to avoid the disease.

Nasra School Karachi elects students’ council

Nasra School Karachi elects students’ council

KARACHI: After a week-long vigorous campaigning, debating and voting, the students of Nasra School elected the office bearers of students’ council. Chief Justice Sindh High Court (SHC) Mushir Alam was chief guest at the oath-taking ceremony on Saturday. Trustee of Education Trust Nasra School, and former special assistant to the prime minister, Shahnaz Wazir Ali addressed the ceremony, attended by over 1,100 students. She informed that a committee was formed to oversee the transparency of election process. Chief Justice SHC appreciated the students’ activism and said they had a bright future ahead.

Dengue Surveillance Cell reports 27 more cases in Karachi

Dengue Surveillance Cell reports 27 more cases in Karachi

KARACHI: Dengue Surveillance Cell Sindh on Saturday reported 27 new cases of dengue viral fever in the metropolis. Focal Person for Dengue Surveillance Cell Dr M Shakeel Aamir Mallick said that a total of 906 dengue fever cases have been reported in Sindh province since January 2013, out of which 863 were reported in Karachi and 43 in rest of the province. He said 10 dengue patients have expired in Karachi this year so far. Mallick added that 44 dengue patients were still admitted to different hospitals of the Sindh and 27 new cases were reported in metropolis on August 31. He further said five new cases were detected in Hyderabad city. He informed that since January 2013, 30 cases have been detected in Hyderabad; one in Larkana; one in Dadu; two in Kambar; one in Khairpur; two in Sanghar; one in Naushero Feroz; while two in Shikarpur; two in Thatta and one in Kashmore.