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Parents need to ensure that toxic substances used at home are kept out of their child's reach. We bring you some ways tips to ensure your child is not exposed to harmful chemicals, and also what to do in case of an emergency.

Have you ever worried that your little one would pick up anything lying around and put it in his or her mouth? Young children, especially toddlers, can hardly identify what’s edible or not, which is why parents need to be alert and keep children away from potentially dangerous items.

A five-year-old child, Abhay, for instance, was critically ill after swallowing a naphthalene ball. He was admitted to Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield, in Bengaluru, with severe jaundice, complaining of vomiting and decreased urine output. He was finally cured.

Naphthalene balls are commonly used in households. Dr Senthil Kumar, Consultant Paediatric, Neonatal & Cardiac Intensivist, Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield, who treated Abhay, suggested some tips for parents on keeping children safe from naphthalene balls:

1. Parents must ensure that naphthalene balls/ mothballs are kept away from the reach of children.

2. Directions to use naphthalene balls must be followed carefully. These balls are suggested to be used on or around clothing and not in the attic area, on the ground or in the eaves.

3. Proper washing of clothing and bedding has to be done before wearing or using it.

4. Disposal of old/ unused naphthalene balls should be done timely.

Keeping your child safe from toxic items

Not just naphthalene balls, there are several other items kept at home, from medicines to disinfectants, which, if consumed, can prove detrimental to children. Dr Kumar suggested ways in which parents can ensure children’s safety:

1. Keep toxic substances not only out of children’s way but also hidden from their sight.

2. Keep all medication behind locked cabinets.

3. Properly label items.

4. Use child-resistant containers and packaging.

5. Avoid highly toxic substances at home.

What to do in case if a child accidentally consumes toxic substances

Despite all measures, if a child ends up consuming a toxic substance, here are steps that parents can consider, besides, of course, immediately contacting a medical professional, as recommended by Dr Kumar:

1. Watch for warning signs like recurrent vomiting, fever, bluish discoloration of lips and fingers, breathing difficulty, persistent cough, fits, increased irritability or drowsiness, jaundice, abdominal pain, decreasing urine output and poor oral intake.

2. Rush to the nearest hospital.

3. Don’t induce vomiting in case of acid, bleach, detergent, petroleum distillates, mosquito repellents or ingestion of toxic oils.

4. If possible, carry the alleged poison with you to the hospital to help them understand the nature of poisoning and the antidote, if available.

Courtesy - Indian Express

Friday, 27 April 2018 17:25

Our emotions may shape what we see, says a study

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"That is, we do not come to know the world through only our external senses - we see the world differently when we feel pleasant or unpleasant," said a researcher of the study.

Our emotional state in a given moment may influence what we see, according to a study which shows that humans are active perceivers. The findings published in the journal Psychological Science could have implications that extend from everyday social interactions to situations with more severe consequences. For instance, they could be useful when judges or jury members have to evaluate whether a defendant is remorseful, researchers said. In two experiments, they found that participants saw a neutral face as smiling more when it was paired with an unseen positive image.

“We do not passively detect information in the world and then react to it – we construct perceptions of the world as the architects of our own experience. Our effective feelings are a critical determinant of the experience we create,” said Erika Siegel, a psychological scientist at the University of California, San Francisco in the US. “That is, we do not come to know the world through only our external senses – we see the world differently when we feel pleasant or unpleasant,” she said.

In previous studies, Siegel and colleagues found that influencing people’s emotional states outside of conscious awareness shifted their first impressions of neutral faces, making faces seem more or less likeable, trustworthy, and reliable. In the latest research, they wanted to see if changing people’s emotional states outside awareness might actually change how they see the neutral faces. Using a technique called continuous flash suppression, the researchers were able to present stimuli to participants without them knowing it.

In one experiment, 43 participants had a series of flashing images, which alternated between a pixelated image and a neutral face, presented to their dominant eye. At the same time, a low-contrast image of a smiling, scowling, or neutral face was presented to their non-dominant eye – typically, this image will be suppressed by the stimulus presented to the dominant eye and participants will not consciously experience it. At the end of each trial, a set of five faces appeared and participants picked the one that best matched the face they saw during the trial.

The face that was presented to participants’ dominant eye was always neutral. However, they tended to select faces that were smiling more as the best match if the image that was presented outside of their awareness showed a person who was smiling as opposed to neutral or scowling. In a second experiment, the researchers included an objective measure of awareness, asking participants to guess the orientation of the suppressed face. Those who correctly guessed the orientation at better than chance levels were not included in subsequent analyses. Again, the results indicated that unseen positive faces changed participants’ perception of the visible neutral face.

Courtesy - Indian Express

Revered like a god at one point of time, the Manipur ‘polo’ pony now survives on scraps of garbage from the road.

On the side of the world’s oldest polo ground in Imphal, one of two large hoardings sends out a strong appeal to the public: “Save Manipuri pony, the original Polo pony.” The other, simply states, “We gave the world the game of Polo.” And they did. Modern polo can be rooted back to Manipur, and is derived from the indigenous game called Sagol Kangjei, originally played with Manipuri ponies. The animals, often considered the ‘pride of Manipur’ , are believed to be the descendents of Samadon Ayangba, the winged steed of Lord Marjing, one of the many deities in Manipuri mythology. They are warrior horses, among the  five equine breeds in the country.

Today, these animals, once revered as gods, are on the brink of extinction. As per the Quinquennial Livestock Census of India, conducted after every five years, the population of Manipuri pony has been dwindling since 2003, from a total of 1,898 ponies to only 1,011 in 2012. The census for 2017 is yet to
be conducted.

30 Deaths in 12 Months

As per a random survey conducted by Manipuri Pony Society (MPS) in 2014, with the support from Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA), Manipur Equestrian Association (MEA) and all the polo clubs and some pony owners of Manipur, there are about 97 ponies at the temporary Pony sanctuary at Lamphelpat. “The four-month-long exercise could not reach some remote areas of the state. However, we could make a rough judgment that the population of the ponies would be less than 600 at the point of time,” says N Ibungochoubi, MPS secretary, “But the rate of death is much higher than the rate of birth and we fear that today the number of ponies must be even lesser than what we had presumed,” he said.

Road accidents and food poisoning are the two biggest factors for undesirably high fatality rate of the ponies. Rapid urbanisation has caused the natural habitats (grazing fields) of the ponies to dwindle, and they come out to the roads. Here, they  survive on the garbage and little patches of grazing ground left in and around valley. This leads to multiple diseases which gradually kills the breed. The MPS has recorded around 30 deaths of young colts in 2017 alone.

Earlier the Manipur government allotted two temporary sanctuaries for the ponies: one at Lamphelpat, Imphal West and the other in Marjing foothills, Imphal East. “The Lamphelpat’s sanctuary remained flooded throughout the rainy season while there was a shortage of fodder at the Heingang sanctuary—thus driving out ponies to the streets a usual,” said Homen Thangjam, a member of MHRPA.

A New Statue

The government declared the ‘Manipuri Pony’ as an endangered breed in 2013. Subsequently, in a bid to protect the horse breed, the government introduced the Manipuri Pony Conservation and Development Policy in 2016. However, the policy has failed to achieve anything substantial.

The MPS and other like-minded groups reportedly have been urging the government to demarcate natural habitats such as Lamphelpat and other favourable grounds in all the districts of Manipur and conserve them as open and free grazing grounds for the local animal including ponies.

K. Dhanachandra, secretary Manipuri Pony Owner and Players Association (MPOPA), said there are 16 clubs, comprising pony owners from different part of the states. But the clubs are getting no financial assistance from the government at the moment. “Unlike cattle, rearing ponies is not a lucrative business, the owners are doing so just for the love of the sports and the animal,” he said.

Despite the odds, constant efforts are made by NGOs like MPS, MHRPA and pony enthusiasts to popularise the game of polo, with the intention to preserve the endangered species. There are about 15 pony-related events organised by the MHRPA such as the International Polo Tournament, Governor’s Cup, State Equestrian Championship during the polo season from October to March before the onset of monsoon. These tournaments keep the tradition of the pony alive.

It is against this backdrop that the Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has recently announced to develop Marjing Pony sanctuary, as a tourist destination where a 120-feet-high statue of the Manipuri pony will be erected, drawing flak from many quarters. “After all these years, when we thought the government had finally come to its senses, it is giving more emphasis on developing a statue by investing crores but not for the living ponies. What could be more disappointing than that?” said K Dhanachandra MPOPA secretary.

Courtesy - Indian Express


"People say classical music is dying. I feel it will always survive. It was composed by humans, to be performed by humans, to be listened to by humans. The number of people could be less, but they will always need it", says the pianist expert.

Saying classical music makes one feel on a higher plane, a visiting Moroccan pianist contends that “there hasn’t been a terrorist or someone committing a crime after coming from a classical music concert”. “One thing I can say: That there hasn’t been a terrorist or someone committing a crime after coming from a classical music concert. You can’t say the same about pop concerts. Classical (music) elevates the soul. You feel richer. You feel in the higher sphere. Pop can sometimes bring out the violent elements of one’s personality,” said Marouan Benabdallah, a Moroccan musician who is a big name in his country and who recently performed in India. “Classical music is universal. It doesn’t belong to one nation or one culture.” Benabdallah was four years old when he started playing the piano which, according to a research, demands more skill than any other instrument. The 35-year-old feels that the instrument is complex to an extent that a complete orchestra can be played on it.

“When you start learning to play the piano, it is not that difficult and results come quickly. It becomes more and more complex with time and you realise that you can play the whole orchestra on it,” the musician told IANS in an interview after his concert here at the India Islamic Cultural Centre. “My mother is a music teacher. She used to give lessons at home… students were there, the piano was there in front of me all the time,” he said, adding: “It was absolutely natural for me to start playing it.”

Understanding the nuances of the instrument, he said, takes a lifetime. “You can reach a certain point. Once you reach there, there is always a higher point in terms of the sensibility of music and the instrument you play. Today when I look back, I feel I have improved a lot. There are people, I know, who haven’t,” he laughed. “It is like an ongoing journey that will end only after death.” At his Delhi performance, the musician brought to the capital works by classical composers from the Arab world — from war-torn Syria to Lebanon, from Algeria, Morocco’s political rival in north Africa, to Egypt and, of course, his native Morocco.

One of his curious experiences while performing in India, which he has visited a fair number of times, was that the audience starts trickling in late and the printed time is not necessarily the time he gets to start his show because, like in Chandigarh once, only one couple was in the audience when he came on stage. Talking of classical piano compositions, he said they were different from other forms of music. “You cannot listen to it while playing football, or in the gym. It is not the music that masses demand — the music that doesn’t need much focus.”

Benabdallah described the classical music genre as universal and richer than other genres. “People say classical music is dying. I feel it will always survive. It was composed by humans, to be performed by humans, to be listened to by humans. The number of people could be less, but they will always need it.” He said the genre needs more support. “Music companies are not looking at it. It is surviving on its own without any support. “It needs patrons, music lovers, and art lovers and not (music) companies looking at their finances.”

Courtesy - Indian Express