Besides theine and certain aromatic substances, tea contains a substance called tannin. It is an astringent acid that can dry up the digestive juices and cause indigestion. Tannin is present in strong tea and tea that has been standing for a long time. After pouring boiling water on the tea leaves or tea bags, three minutes is enough to extract most of the flavour and aromatic substances. That is when the tea should be poured into the cup for drinking, for, it will not contain harmful amounts of tannin. The longer the tea infuses, the more tannin will be present.

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Noise pollution, especially that's due to road traffic, is a widespread problem in cities around the world. At a time when the impact of these on children isn't well understood, a new study conducted at 38 schools in Barcelona, Spain suggests that traffic noise at schools has a detrimental effect on children's cognitive development. The study was led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and the findings have been published in PLOS Medicine in June.

Attention and working memory

 The study covered 2.680 children between seven and 10 years of age. To assess the impact of traffic noise on cognitive development, researchers focussed on attention and working memory-two abilities that develop rapidly in that age group and are essential for learning. While attention corresponds to selectively attending to specific stimuli, working memory refers to the system that enables us to hold information in the mind and manipulate it during a brief period of time.

Over a 12-month period in 2012 and 2013, the field work of the study saw participants complete cognitive tests four times. By doing this, they were not only able to assess working memory and attention, but could also study their evolution over time. Noise measurements were taken in front of the 38 participating schools over the same period.

Slower progression

At the end of the study period, the findings clearly showed that the progression of working memory and attention was comparably slower in students who attended schools with higher levels of traffic noise. This supports the hypothesis that during childhood external stimuli like noise can affect the rapid process of cognitive development that takes place before adolescence.

Thus, the effects of transport on children's cognitive development not only includes schools exposed to aircraft noise and schools exposed to traffic-related air pollution, but also schools exposed to road traffic noise. Further studies on road traffic noise and their effects on children in other populations and cities are necessary to find out if these initial findings can be extrapolated to other scenarios.

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Also known as zoonotic disease, zoonosis refers to the disease that humans contract from animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Both wild and domestic animals can transmit a disease to humans, and the transmission can happen in different ways. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi are all agents of zoonotic diseases. Climate change and changing landscapes are expanding the range of infectious and zoonotic diseases, which were once confined to warmer regions.

Animals can sometimes carry harmful germs that can spread to people and cause illness – these are known as zoonotic diseases or zoonoses. Zoonotic diseases are caused by harmful germs like viruses, bacterial, parasites, and fungi. These germs can cause many different types of illnesses in people and animals, ranging from mild to serious illness and even death. Animals can sometimes appear healthy even when they are carrying germs that can make people sick, depending on the zoonotic disease.

Zoonotic diseases are very common, both in the United States and around the world. Scientists estimate that more than 6 out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, and 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. Because of this, CDC works 24/7 to protect people from zoonotic diseases in the United States and around the world.

How do germs spread between animals and people?

Because of the close connection between people and animals, it’s important to be aware of the common ways people can get infected with germs that can cause zoonotic diseases. These can include:

Direct contact: Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal. Examples include petting or touching animals, and bites or scratches.

Indirect contact: Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with germs. Examples include aquarium tank water, pet habitats, chicken coops, barns, plants, and soil, as well as pet food and water dishes.

Vector-borne: Being bitten by a tick, or an insect like a mosquito or a flea.

Foodborne: Each year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food. Eating or drinking something unsafe, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with feces from an infected animal. Contaminated food can cause illness in people and animals, including pets.

Waterborne: Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected animal.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family from zoonotic diseases?

People can come in contact with animals in many places. This includes at home and away from home, in places like petting zoos, fairs, schools, stores, and parks. Insects, like mosquitoes and fleas, and ticks bite people and animals day and night. Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from zoonotic diseases.

Keep hands clean. Washing your hands right after being around animals, even if you didn’t touch any animals, is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

  • Always wash your hands after being around animals, even if you didn’t touch the animals.
  • Many germs are spread by not washing hands properly with soap and clean, running water.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Because hand sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs, it is important to wash your hands with soap and water if they are available.
  • Know the simple things you can do to stay safe around your pets.
  • Prevent bites from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.
  • Learn more about ways to handle food safely—whether it’s for yourself or your family, your pet, or other animals.
  • Be aware of zoonotic diseases both at home, away from home (such as at petting zoos or other animal exhibits), in childcare settings or schools and when you travel.
  • Avoid bites and scratches from animals.

Credit : Centers for diseases control and preventions

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The practice of using stethoscopes started in a hospital in Paris, in the early 19th Century.

The Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris provided specialised medical care. Rene Laennec, one of the doctors there, was trained to use sound to diagnose diseases of the chest.

One day in 1816, a young woman who had a heart problem came to consult Dr. Laennec. Ordinarily, the physician would have put his ear to the woman's chest and listened to her heartbeats to detect if there was any aberration. But the woman who came to see Dr. Laennec was rather plump. Uncomfortable with the idea of putting his ear to her chest, the doctor's eyes fell on a newspaper lying there...and he got a brainwave!

He rolled the newspaper into a cylinder and applied one end of it to the region of the woman's heart and the other to his ear. And then his own heart thumped in joy and excitement! He could hear her heartbeats more clearly than if he had put his ear directly to her chest. It was a landmark moment in medical science.

Laennec fashioned a hollow, wooden cylinder and catalogued the various sounds he could hear through it when applied to a patient's chest, and what the sounds indicated about the health of the patient. He sent his findings to the Academy of Science, in Paris.

It was not long before his invention began to be used by physicians all over Europe.

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Among the numerous days celebrated the world over, the one that profoundly impacts the present as well as future generations is World Bicycle Day. Well, on 3 June every year, since 2018, the U.N. General Assembly dedicated this day to celebrate the joy of riding bicycles. The simple structure of a bicycle requires only air and a bit of energy to function, however, it has proved itself to be both environmentally-friendly and a friend to all mankind. Prof Leszek Sibilski, a Polish-American sociologist, along with his sociology students, was the inspirer of this cause.

Apart from being an eco-friendly and economic means of transport, bicycling also promotes good physical as well as mental health. Cycling decreases the possibility of falling prey to cardiovascular diseases, aids in building body muscle, and reduces overall fat. It strengthens bones, improves joint mobility and relieves stress. In addition, it also facilitates the regulation and maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels in our system. Thus, cycling reduces the risk of depression, obesity, arthritis, diabetes, certain cancers, strokes and heart attacks.

The bicycle symbolizes adaptability and sustainability. Governments around the world are adopting and promoting eco-friendly conveyance systems. Many countries have dedicated bicycle tracks which make commuting by bicycle safe. India, too, has introduced bicycle tracks in cities like Delhi and Bangalore.

Though daily riding to work may be an inconvenience, taking into consideration climatic conditions, either having to face the scorching sun or heavy rain, however, despite these conditions, enthusiastic riders change their cycling gear once they reach their destination. It's a trend already prevalent in Europe.

Types of bicycles

If you are new to buying a bicycle, these guidelines will help you choose the right one.

Road bikes: Designed for normal roads.

Mountain bikes: Suited for hilly terrains.

Hybrid/commuter bikes: Combination of road bikes and mountain bikes.

Cyclocross bikes: A road bike feel for off-road trips.

Folding bikes: Commuting, leisure or touring for the short-on-space.

Electric bikes: A hybrid, mountain or road bike with a battery and a motor.

Touring bikes: Designed for carrying loads over longer distances while remaining comfortable for the rider.

Taking into consideration the multiple benefits that cycling has to offer, using a bicycle whenever possible, if not regularly, will be advantageous to both our earth and ourselves. Look for ways in which cycling can be introduced into your daily routine; maybe riding to nearby places while carrying out daily tasks, to school, work or a friend's house. Let's try and adopt the culture of cycling and be the change our environment and our health needs.

Fun Facts

  • The longest tandem' bicycle seated 35 people; it was more than 20 metres long.
  • Every year, around a 100 million bicycles are manufactured worldwide.
  • The use of bicycles has conserved more than 238 gallons of gas yearly.
  • The Netherlands is the most bicycle friendly country in the world. 30 per cent of all transport is via bicycle. Seven out of eight of its residents over the age of 15 own bicycles.
  • The Tour de France, established in 1903, is the most famous bicycle race in the world. Bicycle track racing has been a sport in the Olympic Games since 1896.

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