My Writings. My Thoughts.

Do Cell Phones really cause Cancers?

At » 1:54:00 AM // 0 Comments »

While research on the area of cell phones causing cancer has remained inconclusive, the recent study by the WHO has once again opened a can of worms. 

The World health Organization now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. Before this announcement, the WHO had assured cell phone users that no adverse effects had been established. 

A brief synopsis of the study undertaken by the WHO - A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." What that means is they found some evidence of increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer for mobile phone users, but have not been able to draw conclusions for other types of cancers You can download the full WHO report here. 

Contradictory points of view – ABC news reports that some are wondering why, if there truly is a link between cancer and cell phone usage, there has not been a spike in brain cancer cases in the recent years, as cell phone usage has gone up dramatically. Of course time is a major issue as tumors take years and even decades to develop. 

Previous research – At least 30 studies conducted in the last 5 years, on the same topic, have tried and failed to establish links between cell phone usage and cancer. One such study from Denmark (2007), studied 4,20,000 people and failed to find a link between cell phone use and cancer. Participants were tracked by matching phone records to people in the Danish cancer registry, who were diagnosed with cancer. Among the 4,20,000 callers tracked through 2002, 14,249 cancers were diagnosed -- less than the 15,001 predicted by national cancer rates. The study did not find an increased risk for tumours either. 

It's better to be safer than sorry – Prevention, as we all know, is the much better alternative. Let the experts debate about whether we all face the risk of brain cancer with cell phone usage. While there is still no conclusive evidence, we should all take steps in avoiding this hazard instead of risking it. A hands-free is a must if you do talk on the cell phone a lot. 

Tips to cut back on cell phone usage and reduce radiation – 1. Use the landline when possible. 2. Send an sms instead. Voice calls expose you to the highest amount of radiation. 3. Buy a phone with low SAR. When buying a mobile phone, opt for one that has a low SAR or Specific Absorption Rate. An ideal rate is <0.6 W/Kg. 4. Wait for a strong signal. Try to use your cell phone only when the signal quality is good. Cell phones emit much more energy seeking a strong signal when the reception is low. 5. Keep calls short. 

(Courtesy : Health Me Up)

Myth about Sachin's centuries and India's losses

At » 12:00:00 AM // 13 Comments »

Why India loses when Sachin scores a century? Once again the 'myth' has come true. Sachin Tendulkar scored a classic 111 in the first innings last saturday, taking India to 267/1 in 39.3 overs and yet India lost the match to South Africa who showed a marvelous bowling display by bundling up the so much famed batting order of India in just 29 runs later. More than the loss, it was disgusting to see how the tasteless Sachin critics tried to blame his century as a bad omen to India's pathetic loss against the resurgent Proteas. I find it so ridiculous to hear these people giving frivolous reasons for putting down Sachin's record over his highly illustrious career over the last two decades. 

(Picture Courtesy:
Why do people even come with such baseless conceptions that Sachin is not a match-winner! Can't this simple stat shut these critic's mouths that out of 48 centuries that the master blaster has scored, only 13 have ended in a losing cause! Moreover in the history of One day cricket the maestro tops the list of those batsmen who have most number of their centuries resulting in their team lifting the winning trophy. I seriously believe these Sachin bashers are always in a state of denial. Despite these stats completely proving them wrong, they will have many other stupid reasons up their sleeve to down play Sachin's dedication towards the game. The above stats can be clarified here

So for all those Sachin critics who hate him for so many (nonsense) reasons, which I dont want to know, here I have analysed the 13 matches in which India lost despite Sachin scoring a century, an insignificant statistics on which you guys have such a delusional theory built up against the most prolific sports-person this game has ever seen.

1. In the first ever losing cause, 7 years after the maestro's debut, in 1996, India lost to Sri Lanka in the World Cup. Sachin scored 137 off 137 balls with India reaching 271/3 on a slow Ferozshah Kotla pitch. Yet the bowlers couldnt defend the total. Manoj Prabhakar (I dont know why I hate him so much), initially scored only 7 runs off 36 balls while opening the innings also gave a massive 47 runs in just 4 overs. (source)

2. Next in 2 months, in Singapore India played Pakistan. Sachin got out on 100 from 111 balls with the scoreboard reading 186/4. But as it was a trend then, the whole team got out for a meagre 226. The rain affected game gave a revised target of just 187 to win from 198 balls. V. Raju went for 51 in 5 overs in a match which was completely dominated by Pakistan's then in form openers Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar. (source)

3. Next up was a match against the Sri Lankans at Colombo. He scored 110 from 137 balls. Agreed that this innings was on a slower side but Azhar, the only other half-centurion in the match took 99 balls for his 58. No wonder India could manage only 226 in 50 overs. Sri Lanka easily chased it in 44 overs, losing only 1 wicket, which was taken by Sachin himself with a third most economical bowling stats in the Indian side. (source)

4. Sharjah 1998... no one can forget this series when Sachin was at the peak of his career. Australia raced to 284 in a match which saw a dramatic sandstorm. The revised target of 276 to win in 46 overs seemed impossible when India were reduced to 138 for 4 in 29 overs. Yet Sachin made a fighting 143 off just 131 balls. Sachin fell on 242/5 after making sure that India surpassed the required 237 runs in 46 overs so as to beat New Zealand on NRR to qualify for the finals. The other six batsmen could contribute only 107 more runs taking India to 250. (source)

5. In the first match of the Coco-Cola Champions trophy against Sri Lanka, India managed only 224 in 50 overs, of which 101 came from Sachin's bat alone. In a not-so-good bowling chart of India, Sachin finished with bowling figures of 5-0-22-0 with only Zaheer having a better ER. No wonder Sri Lanka won the match comfortably in 44 overs. (source)

6. Jodhpur saw one of the most humiliating defeats in Indian cricket history when they lost to Zimbabwe after putting 284 on board. When wickets were tumbling at the other end, Sachin guided the innings till the 47th over while scoring 146 with almost a run-a-ball. Zaheer was the second highest scorer with 32. Indian bowlers showed one of the most indisciplined display of all times giving away 30 extras in that match which had 15 wides!!! In a nail biting finish Zimbabwe won with 1 wicket and 1 ball remaining. (source)

7. On the bouncy pitches of Johannesburg, India had moved to a flying start with Saurav Ganguly and Sachin scoring an opening stand of 193 runs! After Ganguly fell, the others followed suit, but Sachin calmly finished his century and was the last man to get out with a score of 101 balls off 129 with India managing only 279. The bowlers couldnt restict the Proteas and Sachin yet again showed a decent display with bowling (9-0-51-0) with ER better than the regular bowlers in the team. (source)

8. In the second match of the famous Indo-Pak series in Pakistan, the hosts had ripped open the Indian bowling by posting a strong 329/6 on board. Sachin scored a quick 141 off 135 balls with 17 fours and a six just to end on the losing side in a closely fought match with India reaching 317 before being bowled out. When Sachin got out at 245/4 in 38.4 overs, India needed only 85 from 68 balls with 6 wickets in hand! (source)

9. India made a commendable 315/6 in 48 overs with Sachin scoring 123 from 130 balls. But with a poor display from bowlers (5 out of 7 with ER more than 6 and Nehra going for 75 runs in 9 overs), Pakistan won the thriller on the last ball scoring 319 in return. (source)

10. In yet another match with the arch-rivals India made 328 in the series opener in Peshawar thanks to Sachin's century off 113 balls and the other half centuries from Pathan and Dhoni. But Indian bowlers were a no-show on the Pakistan soil as their batsmen chased down the revised target of 305 on the last ball of 47th over. Only Pathan had ER less than 6 amongst the total 6 bowlers used by Dhoni. (source)

11. In 2006, India played the West Indies at Kuala Lumpur. Sachin batted throughout the 50 overs scoring 141 off just 148 balls giving Windies a target of 309 in 50 overs. But in yet another rain affected match, the west Indians won the match on D/L method after scoring 142 in 20 overs for 2 wickets. It would be utterly childish to blame Sachin for such losses. (source)

12. Open up your eyes fellas for this one! In 2009, at Hyderabad the Aussies made a massive 350 in 50 overs making the Indian bowlers look pathetic. In such a match India was down at 162/4 with the big three Gambhir (8), Yuvraj (9) and Dhoni (6) already back in the pavilion! Yet chasing down in the lights, Sachin gave an unbelievable fight running down the pitch with 4 sixes and 19 fours making 175 from just 141 balls!!! Tendulkar got out on 332/7 taking India comfortably close to the victory margin, requiring only 19 runs from 14 balls with 3 wickets in hand. But the infamous kid Ravindra Jadeja, Nehra, P. Kumar succumbed to pressure and India lost by just 3 runs in a match which many believed was far from reach. (source)

13. And now the mother of all matches that India lost despite Sachin's century. India, the most hyped team in this world cup, finally got to an explosive start against the Proteas with Sachin and Sehwag scoring almost at 8.5 runs per over taking India to 141 in just 17 overs! Sachin and Gambhir took the score to another level when the Indian score board read 267/1 in 39.3 overs. Almost everyone believed that at least 350 was on cards with 9 wickets in hand. Sachin got out on 111 from just 101 balls. But who would believe that later these famed batting line-up will collapse even faster than playing cards in just 29 runs with India managing only 296 with 8 balls to spare!!! With morale down, India was never in the match with rubbish bowling display and absolutely sluggish fielding with dropped catches and missed run-outs! India lost the match in the last over which needed 13 runs. (source)

So this is how it goes. Do not be so blinded with some unknown meaningless hatred against this man and resorting to stupid line of thinking that Sachin's tons are a bad omen to India! Barring these above 13, India never lost a match in the remaining 35 matches when the master blaster went past 100. 

Even when Sachin fails to score a hundred, India has won 56 times out of a total 93 when he has atleast scored a fifty. Sachin has most number of 'man of the match' and 'man of the series' than any other cricketer in the world.

Hopefully these statistics will open your ignorantly shut eyes and bring you back to reality and accept this gentleman as he is and respect his never die attitude towards the game of cricket. 

May 'GOD' Bless you all...

(This is a re-post. It was written earlier during the ICC World Cup 2011, a day after the India v/s South Africa match)

Happy Birthday Sachin!

At » 1:01:00 AM // 0 Comments »

Dear Sachin,

Here's wishing you a very Happy Birthday... I wont quote the number because every fan of yours knows how insignificant it is to know how old Sachin Tendulkar has become... I am taking this privilege to write down this letter to you through my blog on this special day which is no less than a festival for billions of your fans in India and across the globe. Your birthdate 24th April 1973, is etched in the minds of all of us.

(courtesy: Internet)
Writing this itself makes me feel so euphoric and special. Thank you so much for the World Cup victory! By doing so, you did not just fulfill your dream, but that of billions of us too. If you ask me which is my most memorable photo of the World Cup, it has to be the one in which Yusuf Pathan lifts you on his shoulder and all the players do a victory lap with you with the tricolor in your hand! That photo still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. It beautifully reflects the emotion of the majority of us... a deep satisfying feeling inside to have won the world cup for you than anyone else.

You know Sachin, its an emotional roller-coaster ride every time we watch you playing. Its amazing how strongly attached we all are with every inning of yours. Every time you are on a song, new superstitions are born. When you inch closer to a milestone, everything around us comes to a standstill. As Greg Baum rightly says about you, 'He can stop time in India' quoting his famous train journey from Shimla to Kalka. Thank you for giving us this immense joy of watching you play those 'divine' shots in the outfield. Only a 'God' can play like that. Every stroke is a treat to watch. Nothing can be straighter than your straight drive. It's my favorite shot that comes off your willow. Its like sweet music flowing so serenely through your bat. Videos of you hitting Brett Lee with your gorgeous straight drives are a hit on YouTube.

When you cross a landmark, the whole nation erupts! When you fall early, a wave of sorrow grips the same nation. No one will forget that moment when you edged to Sangakkara off Malinga on that eventful night of 2nd April at the Wankhede in the World Cup finals. That picture of the raging bull Malinga celebrating against the backdrop of a completely shocked Mumbai crowd, soaked in a deafening silence, says it all. It was a mixed emotion for many including me, trying hard to resist the devils in my mind, constantly asking me whether this was going to be your last innings. In the sports bar where I was watching you along with some 500 odd crowd, many around me had misty eyes as they saw you walk back with your willow tugged under your elbow. That silence was indeed the loudest sound I must have heard in my entire life. Your expression said it all. You kept looking at the crowd, as if you were continuously saying 'sorry' to them. India slowly rose to their feet and clapped... to cheer you up, as the whole of Wankhede broke into applause as you returned... But thanks to your wonderful team, finally the dream came true when we all saw the World Cup trophy in your hands after 22 long years of perfect devotion and integrity with which you played this magical game. 'Sach' is your aura... 'Sach' is our love for you!

(picture courtesy:
When you started your career, you gave a new meaning to the word 'precocity'. Today the whole of India would thank the selectors back in 1989 for the bold decision that they took for including a short, shy, 16 year old in a team that was going to tour the land of the most dangerous fast bowling attack then. Expectedly the tour started with painful blows targeted towards you from Waqar and Akram. The Waqar snorter that hit your face leaving you with a bloody face and the way you declined to get retired hurt, later going on to score a match saving half century, showed the world your resolve to fight right from your early days. You made the whole world take notice of you, barely a few days after you had left your school.

Having said that I am a big fan of your straight drive, even more attractive than the masterstroke, is the 'discipline' that you have showed towards this game for more than two decades now. Just like all your shots, you have thoroughly mastered this principle of life as well. When it comes to balancing fame and success, you are cited as an example for a 'complete' personality. You are an 'Institution' in yourself. What you have given to this sport is immense but the influence you have on the young minds watching you play this game with sheer passion and dedication is simply terrific. Your illustrious career has all those values imbibed in it, that are essential to make it big as a human being, may it be leadership, management, excellence or discipline. Many would frown when I put 'leadership' right ahead, making you remind of the captaincy debacle. But most of us know that it wasn't your lack of captaincy skills that was solely responsible. There was definitely more to it during those days.

On the mental side of the game, you are undoubtedly the master of all. No doubt why you are called the secular saint of Cricket. Your every inning not only teaches how to set realistic goals, but also how to achieve it with positive thinking, efficient energy management and a cool and calm mind. Needless to say, your humility has bowled even your oppositions over. Its so heartening to hear from you, especially after so many proud moments in your life, that the most poignant moment of your 22 year old career is still the day you wore the India cap first! How humble you can be! Sachin, every image of yours has so much to tell and  so much for us to learn. For example, every time you step down the team bus, you have your headphones on. Amidst the crazy media with their constant clicking and flashing of cameras, its amazing how oblivious you are to the mad world around you. It will always remain a big mystery about what exactly lies beneath that helmet, under those curly hairs. Its the best show of equilibrium, when you approach the pitch and take guard. 

Your batting is a beauty to watch. The way you drive the ball, your back foot cuts, pulls and flicks look as if they have taken right out of the textbook. And as one would expect only from a person like you, you have shown master class in the other fields of cricket too. Your variations in bowling are so unpredictable. I still remember the last over you bowled in the Hero Cup against South Africa back in 1993. Today you are a part of a team of youngsters who were barely learning to walk when you started your career, and yet the enthusiasm you show in your fielding, even today, can make these young guns embarrassed. Your constant hunger for learning is what sets you apart from others.

For me you are not just the greatest Cricketer ever, but you are the greatest sportsperson this world has ever seen. Many believe that you are the next Don Bradman... agreed! Even Sir Don saw himself in you. But looking at you today, I can proudly say, without even a glimpse of doubt, that there wont be 'a next Sachin Tendulkar' ever!

(Courtesy: Internet)
Sachin, you are aware of the media frenzy around you. Even after all eyes are always upon you, day and night, no scandal has even come close to you in this long career. Your clean image has been an inspiration for many. There are and will always be cynics around you, questioning your contribution in tense match situations, some still living in the delusion that your centuries do not often take India to the wins. (For them I have an answer here). In fact it is you who looks to build a strong base for a win, but the ten other men in the team fail to capitalize on it. Despite this, you never ever showed any emotion whenever India lost despite your heroics. You simply walk away from the field shaking hands with the same teammates that let you down. 'These' cynical minds who criticize you, forget that its not a one man show, but a team effort that matters at the end. But that criticism has no logical basis and I believe it is often an emotional outburst, an immature one though! More so, it is so ridiculous to hear it from someone who have not even held a bat in their entire life. These are people who like to make cheap fun and criticize you for their personal gains. Sadists!!! Anyways, dear 'God', please keep ignoring them and forgive them as you always do.

Despite living in a country where expectations from you grow day by day, you have made it a point to bring each one of them to reality. You didn't let expectations bog you down even a bit. But we mad, crazy fans will always remain hungry for more success from you. Just like you, even we never get satisfied with your achievements. We insanely crave for the 'next milestone' thats closing in. We easily forget that its a 38 year old body which has been toiling hard ever since it stepped for the first time in 1989, whose joints are often bandaged all the time. However impatient we are, you have never disappointed us. No wonder the latest 'wish' that is doing the rounds in your fan club is for you to play alongside Arjun one day in the national cricket team. What a day that will be! However distant it seems, we will always be hopeful from our 'God' to fulfill our wish one day!

Words fail when I say 'thank you' Sachin, for all the wonderful moments you have given this cricket-mad nation to savor for years to come. Finally, here's wishing you a very Happy Birthday once again... and also wishing you luck in Aamchi Mumbai style... 
'Come on Tendlya... Gheun Tak!'

-Yours lovingly, 
Dr. Kirti Tandel 
(a die-hard fan)

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

At » 9:41:00 PM // 0 Comments »

What exactly is Posttraumatic stress disorder? Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of an anxiety disorder. It usually develops as a result of a terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience. PTSD sufferers re-experience the traumatic event or events in some way, tend to avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event (avoidance), and are exquisitely sensitive to normal sensory life experiences (hyperarousal). Although this condition has likely existed since human beings have endured trauma, PTSD has only been recognized as a formal diagnosis since 1980. However, it was called by different names as early as the American Civil War, when combat veterans were referred to as suffering from "soldier's heart." In World War I, symptoms that were generally consistent with this syndrome were referred to as "combat fatigue." Soldiers who developed such symptoms in World War II were said to be suffering from "gross stress reaction," and many troops in Vietnam who had symptoms of what is now called PTSD were assessed as having "post-Vietnam syndrome." PTSD has also been called "battle fatigue" and "shell shock."

(Courtesy: Internet)
PTSD statistics in children and teens reveal that up to more than 40% have endured at least one traumatic event, resulting in the development of PTSD in up to 15% of girls and 6% of boys. On average, 3%-6% of high school students in the United States and as many as 30%-60% of children who have survived specific disasters have PTSD. Up to 100% of children who have seen a parent killed or endured sexual assault or abuse tend to develop PTSD, and more than one-third of youths who are exposed to community violence (for example, a shooting, stabbing, or other assault) will suffer from the disorder.

Although not all individuals who have been traumatized develop PTSD, there can be significant physical consequences of being traumatized. For example, research indicates that people who have been exposed to an extreme stressor sometimes have a smaller hippocampus (a region of the brain that plays a role in memory) than people who have not been exposed to trauma. This is significant in understanding the effects of trauma in general and the impact of PTSD, specifically since the hippocampus is the part of the brain that is thought to have an important role in developing new memories about life events. Also, whether or not a traumatized person goes on to develop PTSD, they seem to be at risk for higher use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. Conversely, people whose PTSD is treated also tend to have better success at overcoming a substance-abuse problem.

What are the effects of PTSD?
Symptoms in women with PTSD who are pregnant include having other emotional problems, poor health behaviors, and memory problems. Women who were sexually abused at earlier ages are more likely to develop complex PTSD and borderline personality disorder. Babies who are born to mothers who suffer from this illness during pregnancy are more likely to experience a change in at least one chemical in their body that makes it more likely (predisposes) the baby to develop PTSD later in life. Individuals who suffer from this illness are at risk of having more medical problems, as well as trouble reproducing. In children and teens, PTSD can have significantly negative effects on their social and emotional development, as well as on their ability to learn.

What causes PTSD? 
Virtually any trauma, defined as an event that is life-threatening or that severely compromises the physical or emotional well-being of an individual or causes intense fear, may cause PTSD. Such events often include either experiencing or witnessing a severe accident or physical injury, receiving a life-threatening medical diagnosis, being the victim of kidnapping or torture, exposure to war combat or to a natural disaster, exposure to other disaster (for example, plane crash) or terrorist attack, being the victim of rape, mugging, robbery, or assault, enduring physical, sexual, emotional, or other forms of abuse, as well as involvement in civil conflict. Although the diagnosis of PTSD currently requires that the sufferer has a history of experiencing a traumatic event as defined here, people may develop PTSD in reaction to events that may not qualify as traumatic but can be devastating life events like divorce or unemployment.

What are the symptoms and signs of PTSD?
The following three groups of symptom criteria are required to assign the diagnosis of PTSD:

1. Recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma (for example, troublesome memories, flashbacks that are usually caused by reminders of the traumatic events, recurring nightmares about the trauma and/or dissociative reliving of the trauma)

2. Avoidance to the point of having a phobia of places, people, and experiences that remind the sufferer of the trauma or a general numbing of emotional responsiveness

3. Chronic physical signs of hyperarousal, including sleep problems, trouble concentrating, irritability, anger, poor concentration, blackouts or difficulty remembering things, increased tendency and reaction to being startled, and hypervigilance (excessive watchfulness) to threat. The emotional numbing of PTSD may present as a lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyed (anhedonia), emotional deadness, distancing oneself from people, and/or a sense of a foreshortened future (for example, not being able to think about the future or make future plans, not believing one will live much longer). At least one re-experiencing symptom, three avoidance/numbing symptoms, and two hyperarousal symptoms must be present for at least one month and must cause significant distress or functional impairment in order for the diagnosis of PTSD to be assigned. PTSD is considered of chronic duration if it persists for three months or more.

A similar disorder in terms of symptom repertoire is acute stress disorder. The major differences between the two disorders are that acute stress disorder symptoms persist from two days to four weeks, and a fewer number of traumatic symptoms are required to make the diagnosis as compared to PTSD.

In children, re-experiencing the trauma may occur through repeated play that has trauma-related themes instead of or in addition to memories, and distressing dreams may have more general content rather than of the traumatic event itself. As in adults, at least one re-experiencing symptom, three avoidance/numbing symptoms, and two hyperarousal symptoms must be present for at least one month and must cause significant distress or functional impairment in order for the diagnosis of PTSD to be assigned. When symptoms have been present for less than one month, a diagnosis of acute stress disorder (ASD) can be made.

Symptoms of PTSD that tend to be associated with C-PTSD include problems regulating feelings, which can result in suicidal thoughts, explosive anger, or passive aggressive behaviors; a tendency to forget the trauma or feel detached from one's life (dissociation) or body (depersonalization); persistent feelings of helplessness, shame, guilt, or being completely different from others; feeling the perpetrator of trauma is all-powerful and preoccupation with either revenge against or allegiance with the perpetrator; and severe change in those things that give the sufferer meaning, like a loss of spiritual faith or an ongoing sense of helplessness, hopelessness, or despair.

What is the treatment for PTSD?
Treatments for PTSD usually include psychological and medical interventions. Providing information about the illness, helping the individual manage the trauma by talking about it directly, teaching the person ways to manage symptoms of PTSD, and exploration and modification of inaccurate ways of thinking about the trauma are the usual techniques used in psychotherapy for this illness. Education of PTSD sufferers usually involves teaching individuals about what PTSD is, how many others suffer from the same illness, that it is caused by extraordinary stress rather than weakness, how it is treated, and what to expect in treatment. This education thereby increases the likelihood that inaccurate ideas the person may have about the illness are dispelled, and any shame they may feel about having it is minimized. This may be particularly important in populations like military personnel that may feel particularly stigmatized by the idea of seeing a mental-health professional and therefore avoid doing so.

Teaching people with PTSD practical approaches to coping with what can be very intense and disturbing symptoms has been found to be another useful way to treat the illness. Specifically, helping sufferers learn how to manage their anger and anxiety, improve their communication skills, and use breathing and other relaxation techniques can help individuals with PTSD gain a sense of mastery over their emotional and physical symptoms. The practitioner might also use exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy by having the person with PTSD recall their traumatic experiences using images or verbal recall while using the coping mechanisms they learned. Individual or group cognitive behavioral psychotherapy can help people with PTSD recognize and adjust trauma-related thoughts and beliefs by educating sufferers about the relationships between thoughts and feelings, exploring common negative thoughts held by traumatized individuals, developing alternative interpretations, and by practicing new ways of looking at things. This treatment also involves practicing learned techniques in real-life situations.

Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of cognitive therapy in which the practitioner guides the person with PTSD in talking about the trauma suffered and the negative feelings associated with the events, while focusing on the professional's rapidly moving finger. While some research indicates this treatment may be effective, it is unclear if this is any more effective than cognitive therapy that is done without the use of rapid eye movement.

Families of PTSD individuals, as well as the sufferer, may benefit from family counseling, couple's counseling, parenting classes, and conflict-resolution education. Family members may also be able to provide relevant history about their loved one (for example, about emotions and behaviors, drug abuse, sleeping habits, and socialization) that people with the illness are unable or unwilling to share.

Medications that are usually used to help PTSD sufferers include serotonergic antidepressants and medicines that help decrease the physical symptoms associated with illness like some beta-blockers. Individuals with PTSD are much less likely to experience a relapse of their illness if antidepressant treatment is continued for at least a year. SSRIs are the first group of medications that have received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PTSD. Treatment guidelines provided by the American Psychiatric Association describe these medicines as being particularly helpful for people whose PTSD is the result of trauma that is not combat-related. SSRIs tend to help PTSD sufferers modify information that is taken in from the environment (stimuli) and to decrease fear. Research also shows that this group of medicines tends to decrease anxiety, depression, and panic. SSRIs may also help reduce aggression, impulsivity, and suicidal thoughts that can be associated with this disorder.

Other less directly effective but nevertheless potentially helpful medications for managing PTSD include mood stabilizers, as well as mood stabilizers that are also antipsychotics. Antipsychotic medicines seem to be most useful in the treatment of PTSD in those who suffer from agitation, dissociation, hypervigilance, intense suspiciousness (paranoia), or brief breaks in being in touch with reality (brief psychotic reactions). The antipsychotic medications are also being increasingly found to be helpful treatment options for managing PTSD when used in combination with an SSRI. Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) have unfortunately been associated with a number of problems, including withdrawal symptoms and the risk of overdose, and have not been found to be significantly effective for helping individuals with PTSD

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Save the girl child

At » 10:51:00 PM // 2 Comments »

When God made Adam, he also made Eve. But looking at the current provisional Census data released by the government of India, I really wished God had made provisions for one Eve for every Adam. In a country presided by a woman and where the 'hand' behind the ruling party is that of a woman, the census shows a really shameful face of India when it come to the child sex ratio. The 'Save a Girl Child' campaign has again gained momentum in India. Slogans, campaigns, posters are all over the place. But what remains a major question is that even after 64 years of Independence, why the girl child still craves for her freedom here in India?

save the girl child india
The census did give us a reason to smile with the welcome news that since the last nine decades, India is finally showing a significant slowing of the growth rate. It gives us a ray of hope that India's population will definitely stabilize in the near future. Also the literacy rate has gone up from 64.83 to 74.04 in the last ten years. But what has really shamed the nation is one statistic that shows the 'child sex ratio' has fallen steeply from 927 in 2001 to 914 in 2011! Even though the number of girls per 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 has been falling continually since 1961, the fall in the last decade is the worst since independence, as the statistics reveal. So are we moving ahead or backwards?

Cynics will still argue that the overall sex ratio in the general population has in fact increased 932 in 2001 to 940 in 2011 and so we should be happy about it. Yes we definitely should be, but only after accepting the fact that the improvement is a mere reflection of the greater natural longevity that the female sex enjoys over its counterpart and also to the recent advances and improvement in the health care sector. It can be my no means be used as a blanket to cover the disturbing reality of the declining child-sex ratio.

The recent census has widened the gap between the northern and the southern India. Though the north-east states show a very healthy picture with Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh displaying the most admirable picture of child sex ratio, the rest of the country has shown decline in the stats with even Kerala and Puducherry failing to sustain the upgoing ratio back in 2001. Only a few states like Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar have shown improvement.

So where have we actually gone wrong? Everyday most of the dailies have some or the other editor emphasizing the fact that India is evolving into a global superpower. But what piece of wisdom explains the continually plummetting number of girl child as compared to the boys? The reasons are many! People started misusing the concept of the MTP act that was laid down in 1971. It took 23 years for the government to realise this, before the act was amended in 1994 so as to criminalise the practice of getting an ultrasound scan done for the sole purpose of determining the sex of the foetus. But that was certainly not going to be enough. Even the new PNDT act has failed to keep up to it's name and has not been strictly implemented as many studies have revealed.

Looking at the way this issue is handled in this country, it is rightly said that 'The hardest profession one can take in life is to be a girl child.' Right from the time she is in the womb to her adulthood, its not just the male domination in the society that is responsible for the pain and discrimination she goes through but even the elder females in the family contribute to it. Female foeticide, infanticide, early marriage, sex-discrimination and dowry are the social evils that have crippled the society right from the pre-independence era. It has become a norm in the northern and the western states of India that a male child is a must so as to inherit the name of the family for many generations to come.

Ever wondered what would be the consequences if the child sex ratio keeps dipping down in the years to come? If not, dont be shocked that the 'doomsday' has already started showing it's ugly face in northern states like Haryana where people have finally started 'buying' girls from other states like Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and the North East so as to give birth to their family inheritor. Often the poor girl is 'shared' by men in the same family and once the 'motive' is accomplished the same girl is resold. This 'bride-trading' has become a concept that will be hard to erase unless and until some major stringent action is taken by the competent authorities in near future.

What are the reasons that is pushing this 'global superpower' so behind when it comes to gender equality? Certainly the three main factors are Poverty, Illiteracy and lack of awareness about health resources. Poverty leads to malnutrition. It is said that out of 7.5 crore malnourished children in India 75% are females! It is no surprise that how nutrition wise girls are still discriminated even during their adolescence. This further results in various reproductive disorders. Add to it, the custom of child marriages and early marriages with ill-planned pregnancies and lack of proper health care. Needless to say that dowry and domestic violence are the next social evils that many women in our country have to face with a notion which they are expected to accept that its natural to suffer because of the X chromosome which they have inherited. With 70% of our population coming from the rural setup, this picture is really alarming. 

To all those who are still stuck in this age old ideology of male inheritor, I request you all to please free up your mind. Listen to your inner voice, listen to the unseen face of that beautiful life inside that womb which asks you 'Why?' every time a thought crosses your mind to take away her right to see this beautiful world even before she is born. In the end it's not the 50:50 sex ratio that is important but the equality in the thoughts of each one of us towards a girl child and the acknowledgement in her abilities to stand at par with the male sex that should make the difference. Its not about how one sex is superior than the other or which sex has an advantage over the other. Its all about giving equal opportunities to both of them and not resort to the devils in your mind that doubt the abilities a girl child has, to bring a smile on your face. Its high time that the gender bias should be uprooted from the social ideology and apprehensions towards a girl child be overthrown. 

No wonder why they say, 
"If you educate a man, you educate one person, but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole family!"

Should Sachin get Bharat Ratna Award?

At » 11:51:00 PM // 4 Comments »

The famous questions doing the rounds in the media now-a-days is that 'Should Sachin Tendulkar get the Bharat Ratna award?' or 'Does he deserves the honour?' And since 2nd April 2011, after India won the ICC cricket world cup 2011, the demand has gathered steam and creating a buzz not only in the cricketing circle but also in the political arena. Many of the previous Bharat Ratna awardees, ex-cricketers, politicians and other sportspersons also back the thought of giving the Little Master the highest civilian award as soon as possible.

(Courtesy: Internet)
I completely agree and I am aware of the basic facts that revolve around granting this prestigious honour. The award is given for exceptional service towards advancement of Arts, Literature and Science and in Public service of the highest order. Agreed sports is not included in the above mentioned criteria and the current rules do not make Sachin eligible for the prize. But it goes without saying that his achievements neither need any explanation or a debate to determine their influence on the billions across the country. And if rules need to be changed and amendment of the criteria are imminent, Sachin's is the best excuse for doing so because the reason is worthy enough. 

Some argue that Sachin is too 'young' to get the award and hence it would be too premature to honour him with such a prestigious award. But for a man who has devoted more than two-thirds of his life for a game which is no less than a religion in this country, giving him this highest honour is the most apt thing to do to give him back what he has given to this country. This man has not played cricket just like a game but it his passion towards it. Ironically, even after being 38 yrs old, it is this 'youth' factor that makes him stand apart from the rest. Look at the joy on his face every time he dives on the field or takes a catch. He is as excited and rearing to go as an 18 year old. Virat Kohli put it down really well on the world cup winning night, that as Sachin has been carrying the burden of this nation on his own shoulders for the last 21 years, its high time now we carry him on ours and reciprocate!

If you will go through the list of the 41 Bharat Ratna awardees, most of them are politicians and the last three are musicians. Not taking anything away from them, the argument that individual performances in a particular field should not be the basis of the award appears baseless. For example talk about Satyaji Ray, M S Subbalakshmi, Ravi Shankar, Lata Mangeshkar, Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, etc. These great people were also honoured for what they achieved in their respective fields. So how is Sachin different from them. Sachin shouldn't be given the award based on his performances, but for the tremendous influence he has over the billions of us. He is an institution in himself with his absolutely down to earth persona and disciplined lifestyle. His achievements are no less than a social service. His every innings is a learning module for not just the buddying cricketers but also for other young minds because it has all the core values like determination, passion, devotion and integrity that one needs to excel in his field. No wonder he is truly called as the 'God of Cricket'. 

Regarding the 'art' angle, Cricket is an art form too and Sachin has mastered it so well. He is the only cricketer in history to have played in the last 4 decades i.e. 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s! Finally just to sum it up I feel if despite all that he has done for this country, he doesn't get this honour, it would be as blasphemous as Mahatma Gandhi not getting the Noble Peace award. I hope such a time never comes and the true 'Jewel' of India does get the Bharat Ratna award soon. Amen!

We all are Anna Hazare!

At » 7:02:00 PM // 3 Comments »

India is a country of festivals, love, peace, enthusiasm and... corruption. However harsh the last word sounds, we as Indians have accepted the reality. But what have we done to counter it? Today one man has rose to the occasion and doing it for all of us. 72 year old social activist Anna Hazare's fast unto death has entered the third day in demand of a stringent anti-corruption bill as a part of the 'India Against Corruption' movement. And its our moral duty to step ahead and support him and tighten the noose around the government to get the common man heard. 

(Courtesy: Internet)
The 'Modern Mahatma' is showing tremendous courage and determination to push through the Lokpal Bill, which will see an independent non-political body being empowered to punish all those guilty of corruption, not even sparing the Prime minister of this country. After 105 years since the real Mahatma introduced Satyagraha in the non-violent fight against the Britishers, here is one man who is using the same principle to fight against even more dangerous culprits than the firangis, our own corrupt politicians. I haven't seen the country explode with such marvelous support across all the age groups and across all the strata of the society in support of this great Gandhian. Right from the media, the celebrities, the sports people to the common office goer, the school teacher, the farmer, college students, all are showing solidarity in unison to this amazing movement of 'India against Corruption'. It only waits to be seen whether Jantar Mantar will turn out to be the Tahrir Square of India if the government does not heed to Anna's demands.
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My only appeal to all those who are reading this is to come out and support this movement in your own way. Spread the word. If Anna Hazare can... we all can! Even if we show just 10% of support that we showed towards the Indian cricket team during the Cricket World Cup, we can still win this one. It is so ridiculous how Sonia and Rahul Gandhi sat in the general stands while watching the cricket matches just to show their connect with the common man and when it came to participating the same common man in drafting the revolutionary Lokpal bill, they have ignorantly shut the door on him. People there were as many as 8 instances when the government had fooled us on passing the bill by dissolving the house when it came to clearing the bill. Stand up and say "Not This Time!". Enough is Enough!
There is no one Anna Hazare... I am Anna Hazare too, You are Anna Hazare, We all are Anna Hazare!
How long will we let these corrupt politicians drain our nation's resources and demoralize us? It is really pitiful to hear the same politicians who hail from a party based on Gandhian principles calling Anna's satyagraha as 'childish' and 'blackmail'. I have immense respect for our Prime minister but it is very sad to see him heading a cabinet full of corrupt ministers. 

Friends and colleagues, we were not lucky enough to experience the euphoria of the great freedom struggle that our great leaders fought 60 years back. But now is the time. Its now or never! The path adopted by Anna may be a very old one, but we all need to believe in him and ourselves. We need to believe in a better tomorrow. In Anna we can see a leader, a selfless one, with no political greed. In him we can see a savior who can take us to the end of this fight against corruption. We need to stand up for ourselves and for our next generation. We cannot doubt each other any more. We have to rise and stand firm. THIS IS THE MOMENT!

Jai hind!

Cricket and the rise of the 'D' word!

At » 9:51:00 PM // 0 Comments »

'Depression doesn't care who it attacks: if it wants you, you cannot beat it off with a CV or a bank balance' - Marcus Trescothick
 I am writing this post in the wake of the recent events in the ongoing Cricket World Cup 2011, where an English Cricketer withdrew from the team because of depression. Michael Yardy, the left arm spinner from the England squad left the camp last week citing depression. It was so brave and honest of him to have come forward and accept the situation and letting it know to the authorities. But this is not the only event in which sports with the cruel and demanding image it has today, has taken its toll on the mental health of the athletes.

(Courtesy: Internet)
The 30-year-old Sussex man, who has played a bit-part role during the tournament but has been a regular on the one-day scene over the last two years, is flying back to England immediately after discussions with the squad's medical team. But Yardy was not the only English cricketer to feel the blues. Marcus Trescothick, the Ex-English opener too failed to beat depression  during his 2006 tour of India, which lead him to take a decision to quit his international career in 2008, cowed into submission by what he called the “black wings” of stress, sleeplessness and psychological torture.

The erratic schedule and the huge burden of expectations with lack of quality time with the loved ones have all contributed in players confronting their demons every now and then. The simple fact that Yardy spent only 4 days at home with his wife and the two kids in a span of 5 months explains the apathy of these brave sportsmen. I call him brave because Yardy did not try to beat around the bush by faking injuries or feigning illness. Instead he uttered the 'D' word with courage and honesty.

Graham Thorpe and Phil Tufnell were also the victims of the curse of Cricket. It is said that Tufnell had even spent a night in the psychiatry ward during the Ashes tour of 1994-95. Lou Vincent, who made a century on debut for New Zealand against an Australian attack containing Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, also dropped out of top-class cricket because of depression.

Cricket today is such a game where the players spend more time with their team mates than their own families. Moreover, the uncertainty and the huge pressure to fight for your place in the playing eleven, especially in teams like India, South Africa, Australia who boast a terrific bench-strength, sometimes tears at the nerves. It has become a one-cap wonder game. One match you play good, you are the apple of so many eyes. The very next match you under perform, and you are on the hit-list of many. Though sport is all about showing your strengths and not your weakness, burning out of the cricketers due to a crazy schedule is becoming a serious issue today. Self-doubt, loneliness and home-sickness are the demons that these cricketers are confronting in this mad world of cut-throat competition.

But I believe there are more Yardys and Trescothicks in other teams too. And they are certainly not going to be the last ones. It is high time that constructive steps are taken into considerations, so as to avoid such circumstances. People like Geoffrey Boycott, should not criticize and overlook such new problems the current generation of cricketers are going through. These oldies need to realise one thing, that cricket has changed drastically today. It was very insensitive on Boycott's part to have correlated Yardy's confession of being depressed with his cricketing abilities. 

Depression is just like any other illness. It has nothing to do with the 'strength' or 'weakness' of one's mind. It is due to an imbalance of neurotransmitters in your brain that are responsible for your mood in your day to day activities. Comments like 'Pull yourself together mate' or 'Cheer up boy' will not serve any purpose. Once depression attacks someone the only way out is to seek professional help and even more importantly accept it honestly. Yardy did it with courage. Hats off to him. Wishing the man a speedy recovery...

Do not forget... 'Everyone is vulnerable!'

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