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Benefits of early breast cancer detection.

Thursday, June 26th, 2008
by Sck

Breast Cancer RibbonsBreast cancer patients whose tumor is detected early can survive as long as those without the disease, an analysis of latest figures has revealed.

The findings of this new audit, by the Association of Breast Surgery and the NHS Breast Screening Programme, may prove to be good news for more than 60 per cent women whose cancers are detected when small, before spreading to the lymph nodes.

The audit took into account the outcomes for women with breast cancer diagnosed in 1990-91 and 2000-01.

61 per cent of cancers detected through screening were divided into to groups. WomenBreast Cancer Cell who were in a group, which was classified as “excellent” on diagnosis at the time of detection, had the same life expectancy as women of the same age who had never had cancer. The same also held true for the second group of women whose scenario was “good”.

The audit demonstrated a significant improvement in the survival rates for women having more aggressive types of breast cancer.

On the whole, a 15-year survival stands at 86 per cent for women with a screen-detected invasive breast cancer in England, Wales and Northern Ire-land.

However, all breast cancers are not screen-detected. In fact, two thirds of the cancers are detected in ways other than screening. This may be because they appear during the intervals between screenings and produce symptoms, or because they occur in women who fall outside the age groups routinely screened.

The scientists are planning to extend screening to include women aged between 47 and 73 by 2012. This implies that an extra 400,000 women a year will be screened and an increased proportion of cancers detected.

“It is vital that women are aware of the excellent survival now achieved for breast cancers diagnosed through screening and they should be confident in the quality of the service they receive. I would encourage all women who are invited to be screened to attend. Any woman who has previously ignored an invitation to breast screening should contact her local unit,” Martin Lee, president of the Association of Breast Surgery, as saying.

Are chips healthy?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
by Ann

A new survey has revealed that most of the modern parents in Britain believe that chips are a healthy vegetable.

ChipsThe survey of 1000 sets of parents has shown that nearly 50 percent of the parents are ignorant of basic nutrition and don’t realise that greens cooked as part of a meal count as a portion of vegetable

Though many people considered potatoes to be a vegetable, they did not contain as many nutrients as other vegetables and were more correctly associated with starches such as rice and pasta.

According to the survey led by Department of Health more than a third of said that they believed that a baked potato counted as a portion of vegetables.

Another five per cent identified chips as a vegetable.

Azmina Govindji, from the British Dietetic Association, said there was strong evidence that eating enough fruit and vegetables could reduce the risk of contracting certain diseases, including cancer.

“There is a lot of research which shows that eating 400 grams, or five portions, of fruit and vegetables every day can reduce your risk of certain types of cancer and of coronary heart disease,” Telegraph quoted Govindji, as saying.

“More widely, eating lots of fruit and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of being obese, which can accuse many problems, not least diseases like diabetes,” she added.

Another 8 out of 10 parents under the age of 34 said that they struggled with the cost of buying fresh fruit and vegetables.

Almost eight out of ten said that frozen fruit and vegetables did not counted towards the Government recommendations of five portions a day.

Themes dominating Indian Films

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Unbelievable but true - Indian filmmakers, criticized for promoting ills like smoking and violence through their films, actually churn out more movies endorsing social and family values than other genres. Of the 1,146 movies made last year, a whopping 870 were ’social movies’ - meaning basically clean fare meant for family viewing.

All might not have taken up burning social issues, but by definition of the genre, they have inscribed traditional Indian values.

Overzealous social activists may see many evils in Bollywood films, but according to the information and broadcasting ministry’s own admission based on the movies certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Mumbai’s tinsel town makes the highest number of social genre films.Taare Zameen Par

Almost half its total annual production is directed towards the family audience - movies that can be watched by all, irrespective of age and gender. Such films produced last year include ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Namastey London’ - all telling different stories but meant for family screening.

Tara Rum PumDespite an increasing young movie-going population, family audiences still constitute 60 percent of India’s cine-goers. Keeping this in mind, most filmmakers consciously attempt to cater to family tastes with varying degrees of success.

“When we make films, we borrow heavily from society. The fabric of Indian society is so closely structured that everything one does makes an immediate impact on the other,”Namastey London says actor-director Anant Mahadevan.

“The films only reflect the interplay of emotions the impact brings forth. Even if I make a suspense film, there is bound to be some reflection of society. So you can’t see a suspense film, an action film or a thriller in isolation,” Mahadevan, who directed films like ‘Dil Vil Pyar Vyar’ and ‘Dil Maange More’, said.

The CBFC certified a total of 3,700 movies for screening in India last year. Apart from the 1,146 feature-length Indian movies, it cleared 361 foreign features, 313 foreign short films and 1,873 short ones from India.

Interestingly, as many as 2,575 received the ‘U’ certificate while only 663 got ‘UA’ and 462 were categorized as ‘A’ films.

Among the Indian movies, the CBFC accorded ‘U’ certificate to 629 movies, ‘UA’ to 310 and ‘A’ to 207.

However, producer Pahlaj Nihalani says that the definition of social films has changed over the years.

“There will be few takers today if we make the kind of social films our predecessors made in the 196os. In these days of stiff competition, we will have to go by the market trend. Even when making a family drama, some amount of masala needs to be added to make the film audience-friendly,” he said.

Mahadevan echoed his views. “The films we make today look different from those in the past because our social values are changing.”

According to information and broadcasting ministry report, India made only 64 movies based on crime last year and only 44 were action flicks.

Of these much-criticized action movies, almost half were produced in the south while Bollywood showed its predilection only for thrillers and comedies. It made over 35 thrillers and 23 comedies in 2007.

“The films we make are intrinsically on triumph of good over evil. How one narrates it makes one film different from the other. Conflict is the key word. Only the depiction varies from film to film,” explained producer Mukesh Bhatt, whose latest movie ‘Jannat’ is currently doing good business.

Though in previous years Bollywood had produced quite a few patriotic films like ‘Border’, ‘Gadar, Ek Prem Katha’, ‘Sarfarosh’, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Swades’, it produced none last year.

Except one in Kannada, Indian filmmakers avoided this genre.

Bollywood

De Taali: Bollywood film review

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

De TaaliThe funniest moment in the sporadically amusing ‘De Taali’ is when all torture fails to intimidate a kidnapped Riimi Sen. Then Riteish Deshmukh fishes out a copy of ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag’ and she screams in agony.

That’s much the best in-house joke I’ve seen in a Hindi comedy. E. Niwas not only assisted Varma, he also made a semi-sparkling comedy ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’ for Varma before branching out.

Contrary to the promotional campaign, ‘De Taali’ is not a boys-will-have-fun kind of raunchy comedy we had expected. Yes, there are two boys - Aftab Shivdasani and Riteish -both in spirited form as friends, one rich and the other an unselfconscious parasite. They remind you of Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in ‘Namak Haraam’.

Rest assured, De Taali doesn’t aspire to be a serious study of spaces that separate capitalism from serious exploitation.

So relax. Put your feet up in the empty chair in front and let that popcorn do all the talking. Here’s a film that goes from goofy definitions of asexual bonding to purely corny sexual bonding.

The tree-house bonding among Aftab, Riteish and Ayesha Takiya (in ever-sprakling formDe Taali and showing terrific timing in both the light and serious moments) is punctuated by spasms of satire on bonding among a trio that seems to have borrowed its primary rules of friendship from Karan Johar’s ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and then turned it on its head.

Somehow the bondings never get deeper than the shallow and skittish. The dialogues are deliberately casual and trendy. The first-half delivers some tangy tendrils of narration that never quite grow into trees of titters.

The second half, where Riteish and Ayesha kidnap the gold digger who wants to marry their naively sentimental rich friend, gets out of hand and finally runs out of breath. Niwas’s penchant for black humour gets the better of the plot. By the time poor goofy Aftab realises he loves the girl on the tree-top we’re well past the stage of caring.

The sequence where Riteish visits Riimi’s monstrously malfunctional family is so over-the-top you wonder which came first - the family or its psychosis. The jokes on Alcoholics Anonymous are hopelessly inadequate and better left alone.

The talented Pavan Malhotra, who was powerfully perched in Niwas’ ‘My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves’, makes a cameo appearance as a lecherous tutor who gives Riimi lessons on the dining table while she licks an ice cream with suggestive languor - a bit of Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Bemisaal’.

The Big B pops up ubiquitously throughout the narrative, which includes a fancy-dressDe Taali party where everyone dresses up as a character from a Bachchan film. And Aftab’s character is even named Abhishek.

You could enjoy the spurts of wit that keep cropping up here and there. Soon it becomes hard to keep up with the improvisations and innovations in the script. The quartet of principal actors keeps the comedy afloat. Riteish is in specially good form, displaying a razor-sharp comic timing in a crowd of faces.

Yup, this guy has got the ‘it’ factor. The film misses the bus by a wide margin. But nevertheless makes us smile a while.

Know the educational side of social networking sites

Saturday, June 21st, 2008
by Sue

Those hooked to social networking sites like Orkut, MySpace and Facebook, do not just kill their time online, but learn a range of new things, says a new University of Minnesota study, which has detailed the educational benefits of such websites.Orkut

Countering all the previous findings, this first-of-its kind study has also highlighted that low-income students are in many ways just as technologically savvy as their well-off counterparts.

The study was carried out for six months on students of thirteen urban high schools in the Midwest, between ages 16 to 18, belonging to families whose incomes were at or below the county median income (at or below 25,000 dollars) and who were taking part in an after school program, Admission Possible, aimed at improving college access for low-income youth.

It was found that 94 percent of the students participating in the study used the Internet, 8MySpace2 percent go online at home and 77 percent had a profile on a social networking site.

On being asked what they learn from using social networking sites, the students listed technology skills as the top lesson, followed by creativity, being open to new or diverse views and communication skills.

Other than the surveyed students, a follow-up, randomly selected subset were asked questions about their Internet activity as they navigated MySpace.

“What we found was that students using social networking sites are actually practicing the kinds of 21st century skills we want them to develop to be successful today,” saidFacebook Christine Greenhow, a learning technologies researcher in the university’s College of Education and Human Development and principal investigator of the study.

She added: “Students are developing a positive attitude towards using technology systems, editing and customizing content and thinking about online design and layout. They’re also sharing creative original work like poetry and film and practicing safe and responsible use of information and technology. The Web sites offer tremendous educational potential.”




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