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Archive for April 2009

iSOFT wins US$ 1.0 million deal for a hospital information system in Libya‏

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iSOFT, an IBA Health Group Company, today announced that its Middle East and Africa division won a two-year deal to implement its hospital information system and a LabCentre solution at Al Khadra Hospital in Tripoli, Libya. The agreement is worth A$ 1.4 million (US$ 1.0 million).

iSOFT’s Executive Chairman & CEO, Gary Cohen, said: “This deal opens a new market for us in Northern Africa and expands our global footprint to 37 countries. Together with our recent agreements in Honduras and Mexico, this deal demonstrates our growing international influence of iSOFT as one of the world’s biggest health IT companies. It also proves that there is an untapped stream of potential growth opportunities for businesses with a global outlook.”

iSOFT’s eHIS solution will be implemented at Al Khadra private hospital in two phases in partnership with Alshada Pharmaceutical & Medical Equipment in Tripoli. Al Khadra, with more than 580 beds and 700 staff, has been a pioneer in many surgical procedures in Libya, such as urology, endoscopic and laparoscopic surgery. eHIS will provide point-of-care access to patient medical records to inform clinical decisions and so speed diagnoses and improve the quality of care. Integrated with the iSOFT LabCentre laboratory information system, clinical staff can request pathology tests and review and analyse results online. Faster turnaround of pathology tests again helps doctors make timely clinical decisions and improve treatment.

Increased use of NT-proBNP could help curb India’s heart disease toll

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International Consensus Statement calls for routine screening for at-risk patients

The biomarker, NT-proBNP should be widely used in
both primary care, as well as the emergency department, to more accurately diagnose patients with heart failure, claims Dr Antoni Bayes-Genis, a renowned cardiologist from Barcelona, Spain. Indian cardiologists will hear first hand from Dr Bayes-Genis, who is also one of the authors of the International Consensus Statement on the use of NT-proBNP in the management of heart failure – an important issue given India will have the highest number of heart failure patients in the world by 2015.

The international panel of experts, including Dr. Bayes-Genis, Director of Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Unit in Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Barcelona, recently released a set of recommendations on the use of NT-proBNP. These recommendations, which are being discussed in India by Dr. Bayes-Genis, were published in the American Journal of Cardiology. The panel concluded that NT-proBNP holds great promise as a routine screening tool in high risk populations, as well as a useful screening tool in the general population for detection of cardiac abnormalities and the prediction of future cardiovascular events, such as heart failure.

“By routinely testing people at-risk of developing heart disease for levels of NT-proBNP, doctors are able to diagnose the condition earlier and more accurately, which can have a significant impact on the long term health outcomes of patients. It enables the detection of even early stages of heart failure, a time in the disease process where there are generally no obvious symptoms”, said Dr. Bayes-Genis.

NT-proBNP is an inactive protein with a long half-life, thus it is more stable,, and remains in the blood stream longer than other markers., This makes NT-proBNP a more sensitive test for use in the early detection and management of congestive heart failure.

Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, is still the single most common cause of death worldwide. Unlike many conditions, heart failure is expected to continue to rise, due to ageing populations, the adoption of increasingly Westernised lifestyles and increased survival after other cardiovascular events. The incidence of heart failure in India is growing at a rate of 1.57million cases each year.

“Indians are more susceptible to heart failure, due to genetic pre-disposition as well as changes in dietary habits and lack of physical exercise. The NT-proBNP test can assist in the early diagnosis of heart failure which could reduce the incidence in the country,” said Dr Bhuwnesh Agrawal, Managing Director and Chairman of Roche Diagnostics, India.

As heart failure is a degenerative condition, it is not reversible and therefore an early and accurate diagnosis is crucial to ensure positive healthcare outcomes for patients. However, the condition is difficult to diagnose as early symptoms are non-specific and similar to those observed in many pulmonary disorders. As many as 50% of patients referred to cardiologists by general practitioners are initially misdiagnosed.

“The understanding of heart failure is still relatively low both among the public and healthcare professionals,” said Dr Bayes-Genis. “Yet early and accurate diagnosis can significantly impact treatment outcomes, and could moderate or even halt disease progression. Therefore it is important to fully utilise NT-proBNP and incorporate it into routine screening for at-risk patients. As NT-proBNP can detect even mild and moderate stages of the disease, it has been proven to be the most reliable and accurate marker to diagnose and assess a person’s risk of heart failure.”

NT-proBNP was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an objective marker for the diagnosis and prognosis of heart failure as well as the risk assessment in patients with acute coronary syndrome. It also offers strong prognostic value to help assess the increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with stable coronary artery disease.

In addition to its diagnostic and prognostic capabilities, NT-proBNP is being evaluated to guide treatment, to ensure patients receive the appropriate form and level of treatment, reducing cardiovascular event and ultimately improving patient management.

The potential benefit of regular NT-proBNP screening is particularly significant for at-risk population groups. High-risk patient groups include people suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, known coronary artery disease, or those aged 60 years and older among others.

“Regular screening of at-risk patients’ NT-proBNP levels can not only help save lives, but will also significantly reduce the patient’s cost burden. Medical and lifestyle interventions can be very effective treatment options for mild- to moderate heart failure. However, it is crucial that they are started early as the damage done to the heart in the severe stages of the disease is irreversible and ultimately fatal,” concluded Dr Bayes-Genis.

References for the article:

  1. Januzzi, JL. Comments from the International NT-proBNP Consensus Panel. Presented at: proCardio Symposium, Baveno, Italy. 2008.
  2. Mair, J. et al. The impact of cardiac natriuretic peptide determination on the diagnosis and management of heart failure. Clinical Chemistry & Laboratory Medicine 2001; 39: 571-588.
  3. Ordonez-Llanos, J. NT-proBNP: Analutical Considerations. In: NT-proBNP as a biomarker in cardiovascular diseases. Eds: Bayes-Genis, A. and Januzzi, JL. Thomson Reuters, 2008.
  4. Elin, RJ. et al. Laboratory and clinical aspects of B-type natriuretic peptides. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 2004; 128: 697-699.
  5. Pemberton, CJ. et al. Deconvolution analysis of cardiac natriuetic peptides during acute volume overload. Hypertension 2000; 36: 355-359.
  6. World Health Organisation. The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke. 2004. Accessed on 3 October 2008 at:
  7. Joint scientific symposium of ICMR and university of Minesota
  8. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health Data Fact Sheet: Congestive Heart Failure. September 1996.
  9. Roche Diagnostics. Data on File 2002.
  10. Roche Diagnostics. Elecsys proBNP – A novel approach for the management of heart failure.

    Piramal Healthcare honours the best interventional cardiologists in India

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    Piramal Healthcare Limited, one of India’s largest pharmaceutical companies, awarded the ‘Piramal Knowledge Academy Best Intervention Award 2009‘ to four eminent interventional cardiologists at the National Intervention Council (NIC) on April 26, 2009 in Hyderabad. Around 500 interventional cardiologists attended the program. Dr. Sarat Chandra, Chairman, National Intervention Council was instrumental in integrating this award in NIC. He presided over the conference and headed the jury that chose the winners.

    Piramal Knowledge Academy supports the cause of the Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) Registry and is aimed at promoting unique Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) by interventional cardiologists. PTCA Registry is a mid-term scientific fiesta which is organised every year, where more than 100 pre-selected cases are shown and discussed for everyone’s benefit over the course of the three days of the Registry. Piramal Knowledge Academy will continue to honour and acknowledge the best angioplasty cases in the country every year.

    Piramal Knowledge Academy conducts a host of Advisory Panel Programmes, Skill Upgradation Programmes and Collaborative Educational Programmes with the medical fraternity. Dr. Swati Piramal, Director Communications & Strategic Alliances, Piramal Healthcare Limited said, “Piramal Knowledge Academy was conceptualized with the belief that sharing of knowledge with the medical fraternity is an imperative to alleviate the lives of the end patients and thereby the status of healthcare in India. It is our humble attempt at recognizing and felicitating stellar achievements in interventional cardiology.”

    The winners of the prestigious award this year are:

    • Dr. Navneet Singh from AIIMS, Delhi for his unusual case of CoArc dilatation,
    • Dr. Bhanu from J.J. Medical College, Mumbai for her case on ballooning and stenting in peripheral and pulmonary artery stenosis,
    • Dr. Pankaj Jariwalla from Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad for his case on left systemic artery to pulmonary vein AV valve formation, closed by vascular plug & coil embolisation and
    • Dr. Harikrishna from Shri Chitra Institute of Medical Sciences, Trivandrum for Ductal stenting in a neonate. The winners were honoured with a monetary award of Rs. 20,000, a certificate and an annual print subscription to an international health journal of repute.

    The medical fraternity unreservedly appreciated this initiative from Piramal Healthcare. “It is a great honour for me to receive this award,” said Dr. Harikrishnan.

    Accentium Web Pvt. Ltd – the one stop for many online solutions

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    In India, the years 2007-08 made most of us sit up and take notice of the social media (Please correct me if I am wrong). Although the concept of blogging had been around for a couple of years, most of us became aware of its importance only when many newspapers covered reports about famous personalities blogging. The recent buzz is the prime ministerial candidate for BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has gone the Barrack Obama way by engaging in massive online campaigning as well online advertising(even on a matrimonial site). We have to wait and watch to see the effect as the estimated percentage of internet users in India is relatively less compared to the United States of America.

    The Internet has definitely changed the way we are leading our lives – be it work, shopping, banking or even the way we live. From just sending/receiving emails and browsing for information besides gaming, internet has come a long way. Today we see a massive usage of the internet space in the form of company websites, social networking, blogging, forums and online marketing, etc. It is definitely the medium to be reckoned with. According to Mr. Vivek Pahwa, CEO of Accentium Web Pvt. Ltd. and winner of Asia’s Best Young Entrepreneur Award 2008, “We can definitely see this medium developing rapidly in the next 20 years.”

    For those who don’t know (I presume most of the people who view my blog are laypersons and not necessarily experts), Accentium Web Pvt. Ltd, has been behind some of the leading websites as follows:-

    • It is the one of its kind and just a click away. The website was started because it was felt that not much was done for people who wanted to remarry by a regular matrimonial site. The website offers valuable alternative to people looking for second marriage. The website offers various user friendly features like free registration, horoscope matching, live chat, etc., besides free online marriage counselling sessions for all its registered members. Currently there are approximately 100,000 members registered on the website. Interestingly, even people, who have never married before, have visited the site and become members.
    • India’s No. 2 automobile portal is your one stop for all car buying needs – from researching which car to buy by comparing various cars on price, technical specifications, etc to helping you do a test drive at your doorstep. The site also helps you contact dealers closest to you. You can book the car through; get the best car loan through them. Even the major paperwork related to car can be done through The website lets you do everything in one place – at your home.
    • Today the way people conduct their business has changed with the wide use of internet. Many businesses have websites that allow people to conduct business online. Online marketing and online advertising have been gaining impetus in the recent years. In fact, it is considered complimentary to advertising in other modes of media such as TV and print. The benefits are many and include wider reach of audience via internet, cost effective, etc. offers complete digital marketing and branding solutions and services which include Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Optimization and Web design/development.
    • Accentium is launching a new website – on May 1st. The website will serve as an information, comparison and application provider for all kinds of financial products. It will enable users to review various products like different types of loans, insurance products, and credit cards – compare across various banks, read reviews on banks and also apply for a loan/credit card/any other financial product on the site itself. has been incorporated into to ensure you get the car loan that is suitable for your needs.

    And the brain behind the organisation – Mr. Vivek Pahwa, who hopes to grow the current businesses bigger and also get into new ventures that are innovative and scalable.

    For more details about the company visit

    You can also visit the following sites:

    ‘Thin is in’ this summer at Lenovo

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    Lenovo recently introduced its range of slimmest entertainment PCs in India yet – the very sleek, Lenovo IdeaCentre A600 all-in-one desktop and the super slim Lenovo IdeaPad Y650 notebook1. The two products are not only the thinnest in their respective categories, but are loaded with some game-changing features, not seen in the Indian market.  

     “At Lenovo, we always keep pushing the limits of good design, balancing form and function, as exhibited in our Lenovo IdeaPad Y650, the super-thin and light 16-inch laptop and Lenovo IdeaCentre A600, the slimmest and fully loaded all-in-one desktop. This unique blend of design and engineering sets us apart from competitors and gives consumers a new kind of entertainment and computing experience.” Ramprasad L, Vice President,
    Transactional Consumer Sales, Lenovo India said.

     Lenovo IdeaCentre A600 Desktop – India’s first all-in-one with game-changing features including motion sensor gaming and VOIP call via remote

    Lenovo brings consumers the next generation of desktop computing with the IdeaCentre A600 – Lenovo’s first all-in-one desktop. The new, sleek IdeaCentre A600 all-in-one features a 21.5-inch frameless screen, and provides discerning space-conscious and style-conscious users a modern design that measures only one inch at its slimmest point, making it one of the slimmest all-in-one desktop PCs2.

     Unlike other all-in-one products in the market, the Lenovo IdeaCentre A600 features a 4-in-1 optional remote which enables four unique features:

    • It is the only PC in the market to introduce ‘motion sensor’ gaming feature
    • Lenovo 4-in-1 remote control can also be used as a VOIP handset to make and receive phone calls over the Internet.
    • The remote also serves as a media center/TV remote, and with Microsoft Vista Media Center users can use the controller to operate DVDs, movies and TV
    • The remote also functions as an “air mouse” so it can be used to operate the cursor on the screen.

     For the entertainment enthusiast, the all-in-one offers a 16:9 aspect ratio screen with full HD resolution delivering outstanding image quality while the integrated speaker system with bass sub-woofer and Dolby® Home Theater™ audio certification completes the home cinema experience. Users can also take advantage of the TV tuner for watching and recording their favorite TV.

     At the core of the all-in-one is a powerful desktop computer with choices of Intel® Core™2 Duo processors, optional ATI Radeon™ graphics card technology with DirectX10 support, up to 4GB of fast DDR3 memory for improved multitasking and up to 1TB (1,000GB) of hard drive space for storing hundreds of videos, music and other documents. Equipped with the latest high-performance mobile processor technology, the all-in-one runs whisper-quiet even when performing intensive tasks.

     Lenovo IdeaPad Y650 Notebook – Slimmest-Lightest 16-inch-laptop packed with entertainment features!

    Lenovo delivers its first 16-inch widescreen laptop with the Lenovo IdeaPad Y650, the thinnest and lightest 16-inch laptops in the market today1. In fact, the laptop weighs less than many 15-inch laptops, providing users with an additional inch of screen space without compromising on mobility.

    • Making use of advanced materials like carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), Lenovo has engineered the laptop down to a slender one-inch at its thinnest point with a weight of just 2.55 kg.
    • The Lenovo IdeaPad Y650 has been designed in a modern soft black design with an interlocked hexagon pattern on the top cover along with a discrete copper accent around the perimeter of the laptop.
    • The machine also features touch-sensitive controls and ambient light sensor technology – a sensor on the PC’s cover automatically detects changes in the environment’s light to help protect against eye strain.
    • The keyboard is similar to the ThinkPad keyboard and has bevel sides.
    • The notebook is a multimedia powerhouse with integrated Nvidia GT105M with CUDA acceleration graphics processor supporting high-definition graphics bringing images to life with vibrant colors and 16:9 format viewing experience.
    • The Lenovo IdeaPad Y650 uses JBL Speakers along with Dolby® Home Theater™ providing users a legendary audio experience.  
    • OneKey theater software gives users an easy option to switch the PC display and sound effect from normal to movie mode.
    • Users also benefit from longer battery life with LED backlight technology which minimizes energy consumption.
    • The laptop can support BluRay Rambo and comes with a built-in TV Tuner. 

    Pricing and Availability

     The Lenovo IdeaPad Y650 notebook is available at a MRP of Rs. 103,990 (inclusive of all taxes) and the Lenovo IdeaCentre A600 all-in-one desktop is available at a MRP of Rs. 69,500
    (inclusive of all taxes).
    The range is available at all Lenovo outlets in India from April 15, 2009.

    For more information see 


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    A. O. Smith Corporation, the parent company of A. O. Smith India Water Heating Private Limited, a global leader in applying innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions to water heating products marketed worldwide, has bagged the prestigious Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation of the Year Award. This is the second time A. O. Smith has received the award in four years.

    Based on its recent analysis of the North American water heater market, Frost & Sullivan presented A. O. Smith Corporation with the 2009 Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation of the Year Award for its distinctive commitment to delivering innovation in product design and efficiency.

    Commenting on the achievement, David Warren, Vice-President (International), A. O. Smith Water Products, said, “It is an honour for A. O. Smith to be recognised by Frost & Sullivan for our dedication to innovation twice within four years. The recognition reinforces A. O. Smith’s promise to deliver innovative technology and energy efficient water heating products not only in America but across the globe.”

    Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jorge Moreno said “The Company scored highest on services, availability of spare parts, product range and features, and energy efficiency, which were classified as the most critical success factors for contractors and end-users alike. Also, the A. O. Smith brand is highly recognized, which tends to play an important part in the purchasing decisions of end-users and therefore the installers and contractors as well.”

    Tamal Chaudhuri, National Sales & Marketing Manager, A. O. Smith India Water Heating Private Limited commented, “Overall, A. O. Smith’s vision and sound understanding of the industry have enabled it to introduce new products that are more efficient and with original design features. This is especially true in case of our India Operations. A. O. Smith products available in India are a result of extensive research conducted to identify what the Indian consumers need. The products have been tailored to answer the differentiated India market and conditions. In recognition of these factors the company is the deserving recipient of the 2009 Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation of the Year Award. We have always strived to apply innovative technology to make our products not only energy efficient but superior in performance.” The award lauds innovation shown by launching a broad line of emerging products and technologies.

    A. O. Smith is the first US water heater business to enter the India market and is supplying premium quality residential and commercial water heaters to the markets. The company conducted comprehensive research before entering the market including consumer focus groups and qualitative studies.

    The result was the premium eco-friendly top quality electrical water heaters. Dual glass coated heating elements in the water heaters reduce electricity bills, increase the life of the heating element and heat water faster, thus proving to be a product that offers value for money and efficiently conserves energy.

    Adding further, Tamal Chaudhuri said, “No other water heater company in the world has the resources that A. O. Smith brings to the Indian market. We offer a portfolio of the best-known and most widely respected water heater brands in the world. Our facility under construction at Harohalli, Bengaluru, will manufacture water heating products specially customized for India market and ecological conditions. We would like to emphasise that India is a priority.”

    Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

    A. O. Smith will help educate and influence consumers, retailers, architects and contractors that the implementation of high-efficiency products will reduce life-time operating costs and energy costs.

    From manufacturing to installation, A. O. Smith is dedicated to bringing innovative products and services to the market. The company’s vision and understanding of the industry have enabled it to introduce new products that are more efficient, less costly to produce, and offer original design features.

    Mumbai High Court Order Against Firms Selling Counterfeits of Piramal Healthcare’s Esgipyrin

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    Piramal Healthcare Ltd. obtained a common ex-parte ad-interim order from the Mumbai High Court on Thursday, April 9, 2009 restraining four companies from using trademarks similar to its product Esgipyrin. Piramal Healthcare is a registered proprietor of the mark ‘Esgipyrin’ and the company has been using the trademark since 1974.

    The four companies that have been restrained via this order are:

    • Endolabs Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., for their trademark Easipyrin
    • Endolabs Lifescience, for their trademark Elgipyrin
    • Spachem Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., for their trademark Zypyrine
    • Endolabs Ltd., for their trademark Agepyrine

    The order states that the companies have introduced the infringing products for the same ailment as countered by Piramal’s Esgipyrin and that it has been prima facie seen that the product is deceptively similar to that of the original product. The order further goes on to state that the companies have been engaged in a deliberate, dishonest and fraudulent act of counterfeiting and are passing off their products as that from Piramal Healthcare.

    A counterfeit drug is a medication or pharmaceutical product which is produced and sold with the intent to deceptively represent its origin, authenticity or effectiveness. The prevalence of counterfeit drugs appears constantly to be on the rise and these drugs are a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and loss of public confidence in medicines, the manufacturers and the overall health structures.

    Written by sreelakshmi

    15 April, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Play with a purpose

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    Here is a novel way to make learning interesting for your little ones. The following article is authored by Ms Lina Ashar, Chairperson, Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd.

    Whether children’s expressions are marked by ear to ear grins or brow furrowing intensity, the concentration with which they examine and occasionally dismantle a new object or the enthusiasm they bring to each endeavour and the joy they radiate as they acquire each new skill, children at play are a wonder to behold!

    These early years are ripe with opportunities for you as parents to unlock your child’s potential.

    A child’s brain is a work in progress profoundly influenced by his or her environment and what he or she is exposed or remains deprived of.

    Play comes so naturally to children and seems nothing more than a simple pleasure. It is very easy to overlook the many far reaching benefits that play contributes to your child’s emotional, physical and intellectual development.
    Through play, children learn to communicate, count, hone their gross and fine motor skills. Early play encounters with friends, family and siblings teach children how to get along with others, respect rules and boundaries.

    Play also gives you an opportunity to bond with your child. When he or she is in a quiet mood cuddling and reading books or building blocks creates a feeling of peaceful togetherness. When your child is in a more playful mood a game of hide ‘n’ seek or a bean bag toss can be fun and exciting.

    When you help your child acquire new skills and praise his or her efforts, you demonstrate how you are there to lend support. Countless studies demonstrate that children learn best in a loving, supportive environment.

    Children are primed to learn and parents instinctively strive to provide the stimulation that they need. Since play is the vehicle of learning for children, below are some everyday activities that can become rich learning experiences.

    Activity 1: In the bathroom: Fishing we will go!

    Objective: To develop finger muscles, aiming and hand- eye co-ordination.

    Materials: Tub of water, a plastic sieve with a handle and a few ping-pong balls.

    How to go about it:

    1. Place all the table tennis balls in a tub of water.
    2. Show your child how to remove a ball floating in the tub of water with the help of a sieve. Let him/her remove the remaining ping-pong balls in the same way!
    3. Want to make things more exciting – have a race of the same activity with your child!!

    Activity 2: Busy little hands in the kitchen: Ice Painting

    Objective: To provide an opportunity for tactile stimulation.

    Materials: Ice lollies (Place an ice cream stick in each ice tray and set overnight to make the ice lollies), paints, rough/used sheets, newspapers to spread on the floor, apron.

    How to go about it:

    1. Spread newspapers on your kitchen floor.
    2. Dress your child in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or make him/her wear an apron.
    3. Fill bowls with different colour paints – preferably red, blue and yellow.
    4. Give your child rough/used sheets and drop some blotches of paints- give the ice-lollies and let him/her mix paints with them.
    5. Help your child initially (its great fun-do try it) and then let him/her continue. Keep replacing the ice-lollies as long as your child enjoys painting. Talk about how it feels – cold.
    6. Talk about the colours and ask your child to name or identify the colours. Draw attention and show how the colours have changed as he/she mixes it.
    7. Option – Set coloured ice-lollies and give these to your child to paint with -To do this set coloured [using food colours] water in the ice tray!

    Activity 3: Number Mania – Clap the number

    Objective: Though your child has been exposed to these numerals in school, it is ok if he/she cannot recognize them. This activity will help you to reinforce what he/she has learnt at school.
    Materials: Prepare simple flash cards of numerals 1, 2, 3, 4. (Take a sheet of chart paper cut in to four squares of A/4 size paper. Write a numeral on each piece of chart paper.)

    How to go about it:

    1. Show each cutout and name the numeral – flash numeral 1 cutout and say this is “one” and so on.
    2. Explain the activity to your child. When you flash a numeral encourage your child to clap as per the number value for e.g. when you flash numeral 1 the child has to clap once.
    3. Conduct this activity with a lot of verbal hints – when you show numeral 1 cutout say this is numeral 1 – clap once – continue in the same manner for numerals 2, 3 and 4.
    4. Conduct this activity thrice. Now show the numeral and ask your child to name it. Assist the child if he/she is unable to identify the numeral and clap that many times along with him/her.
    5. Continue the activity with variations – stamp feet, bang hands on floor, jump etc.

    Activity 4: Animal Day – Pretend Play

    Objective: To help your child distinguish between different animals based on their characteristics.

    Materials: Yourself and your talents to enact!!

    How to go about it:

    1. Tell your child that mummy is going to act like an animal and he/she has to guess which animal it is.
    2. Crouch on your fours and bark (woof woof) – DOG
    3. Curl up like a cat and meow – CAT
    4. Place one palm over the other and move only the thumbs and last fingers (like fish fins) – child has to guess – FISH
    5. Bend on knees, place hands on head – two fingers pointing and hop like a rabbit – RABBIT
    6. Move on fours and moo – COW
    7. Pretend to gallop and neigh – HORSE
    8. Once your child has guessed, encourage him/her to participate in the activity of – Let’s pretend to be different animals!!

    More activities can be found in ‘Mom Dad and I’ books available at leading book stores developed by Kangaroo Kids Education Limited for Brainworks creative learning.

    The activities in these books have been designed to help you make the most of these wonderful years by providing a wealth of simple and diverse activities to enjoy with your child. These activities will help build a solid foundation for all future learning.

    The Muthoot Group to add 400 Branches, tally to go up to 1500 by Sept ‘09

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    Group to add 3000 employees across 20 states to cater to growing demand

    The Muthoot Group, A Muthoot M. George Enterprise, one of the largest financial groups in the country having diverse business interests, has ushered the new financial year with the announcement of adding 400 more branches to its expanding network in the coming 6 months. This addition will take the branch count across the country to 1500 by September 2009.

    Speaking on the occasion, Mr. M. G. George Muthoot, Chairman, The Muthoot Group, said “We offer quick, hassle-free loans solutions & other financial services and there has been a growing demand for these products. We are opening these branches to ensure we reach out to the unmet demand. While others are hesitant in giving loans, we are increasing our loan portfolio significantly. Over our 122 year old existence, more than 25 crore people have benefited from the gold-based lending pioneered by us.”

    “Taking inspiration from our two elephant logo, we have always believed in putting in effort and growing despite adverse conditions. We expect to add around 3000 employees to cater to this growth.” added Mr. M. G. George Muthoot.

    The Muthoot Group, with a network of over 1100 branches across the country has an annual turnover of Rs. 20,000 crores. The group’s multiple interests in businesses range from Financial Services, Infrastructure & Housing, Information Technology, Power Generation, Hospitality, Media to Healthcare & Education.

    Muthoot Finance Ltd., the flagship company of The Muthoot Group, is the pioneer in ‘Retail Gold Finance’ and is the largest player in this segment worldwide. In continuation of its tradition in revolutionizing the retail gold finance, it has conceptualized ‘5-Minute Gold Power Loans’.

    Written by sreelakshmi

    13 April, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Know All About Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

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    This Article is written Dr Gautam Allahbadia, Medical Director of Rotunda -The Center for Human Reproduction, the world-renowned infertility clinic at Bandra. He is also the Medical Director at the Deccan Fertility Clinic & Keyhole Surgery Center, Shivaji Park, Mumbai

    According to the World Health Organization, the incidence of infertility is about 10% worldwide. The WHO data has further concluded that in most developing countries, one out of four ever-married couples of reproductive age are infertile because of primary or secondary infertility. Misconceptions are very common in the world of infertility. One popular myth is that infertility is the “woman’s problem” and once that problem is fixed, the couple will be able to conceive. This is far from the truth. Data collected over the last twenty years reveal that infertility is due to a male factor in almost 30% of cases. In another 30% of cases there is a combined male and female factor. Therefore, the male factor is at least partly responsible in about 60% of infertile couples.

    Growing infertility among urban couples

    Stress and environmental pollution are two of the main causes of growing infertility among urban couples. Stress plays a very important role, and often couples conceive when the stress factor is removed from their lives. Late marriages, choosing career over babies, changing food habits, environmental pollution are just some of the subtle factors silently contributing to the growing incidence of infertility. The final nail in the coffin is stress that stems from work, from peers, from relatives and ultimately from the infertility itself, forming a vicious cycle.

    A recent Danish study has concluded that average sperm counts in the general population have dropped to half of what they used to be fifty years back, from 113 million/ml in 1940 to 66 million/ml in 1990. The Internet Journal of Urology published an article that says this change is recent and appears to occur internationally, suggesting adverse effects of lifestyle or environmental factors on the male. If the decrease in sperm counts continue at this rate, we will witness widespread male infertility in the next few years. To date there is no conclusive evidence as to the precise cause, and available preventive measures which can be taken to avoid this trend are not common knowledge. Not only are sperm counts decreasing, but also are the average sperm volumes which contain a greater proportion of deformed spermatozoa with reduced motility.

    Treatment for male infertility by ICSI

    Less than a decade ago, treatment for a severe male factor limited to inseminations or IVF using donor sperms. Today, newer advances in male infertility have introduced innovative therapeutic options that offer men, including ones with no sperms in their ejaculate, a greatly improved chance to conceive their own biological child.

    Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
    (ICSI) is a procedure that can be used as a part of IVF (in vitro fertilization) or test tube baby treatment. It was introduced in 1992 and was welcomed as a breakthrough in fertility treatment where the problem is on the man’s side. Since then, it has become the most successful technique in male infertility treatment, replacing older techniques. In ICSI only one sperm is needed, which is directly injected into each egg to make it fertilize.

    Who might benefit?

    ICSI can offer real hope to couples where the man has a very low sperm count, produces few good quality sperms, or has a problem with anti-sperm antibodies in his semen. In fact it can also help in cases where there are absolutely no sperms in the semen (azoospermia). Sometimes in such cases sperms are actually produced in the testes but do not come out. The man may have had an irreversible vasectomy, or has no sperm in his semen due to missing tubes or blockages in his reproductive organs. These sperms can be retrieved from the testes directly and used to fertilize the eggs by ICSI. This procedure thus offers an alternative to the use of donor sperms; an option that is preferred by many as it gives them a chance to have their own biological child. Couples who have tried IVF can move on to ICSI if not enough eggs could be retrieved from the female partner; or if fertilization has failed with standard IVF.

    How does it help?

    With ICSI, the sperm do not have to travel to the egg or penetrate the outer layers of the egg. Therefore it can help men whose sperm are too few, or cannot move properly, or where the sperm can get to the egg, but are unable to fertilize it for some reason. In ICSI each sperm is picked up by a micromanipulator and physically injected into each egg thereby making it fertilize. Two days later the fertilized eggs become balls of cells called embryos. These embryos are then transferred into the lady’s uterus by a fine catheter.

    What is the success rate?

    The success rate of ICSI is increasing as more and more clinics become experienced in this technique. The overall average success rate for women under 35 years is around 30%.

    What are the advantages?

    ICSI opens doors to parenthood that were previously closed for couples with a male factor problem. It gives men with absent, few or immotile sperms the chance to have their own biological child, which might not have been possible without this technique. Sperms can also be retrieved from the testes of men who have in the past undergone a vasectomy that now cannot be reversed.

    What are the disadvantages?

    Nature follows the principle ‘Survival of the fittest’. During normal conception, only the hardiest sperm manage to travel great distances and break through the membrane of an egg to fertilize it. Weaker sperm never make it. Because ICSI bypasses this process of natural selection, critics worry about higher rates of miscarriage, and long-term health & developmental problems for children conceived using whatever sperm are available. Research so far has been reassuring about most potential risks. No impact has been seen on the cognitive and motor skills of children conceived using ICSI.