SGPC’s medical college: Confusion over turning Punjab govt seats into management quota

With just a day remaining in counselling for MBBS and BDS courses in Punjab, confusion prevails over whether or not the government will allow Sri Guru Ram Das Medical College (SGRDC), Amritsar, to convert all 75 government quota MBBS seats into management quota on account of its being a Sikh minority institute run by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Eligible candidates will appear for counselling at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) on Monday.

The SGRDC has 150 seats: 75 in government quota and 75 in management/minority quota. The fee for minority/management quota is around Rs 40 lakh for the fiveyear course, which is four times the cost of a seat in the general government quota. On July 1, it announced to scrap government quota, and put all seats under management quota.

Officials from the state government discussed the issue at a meeting in Chandigarh on Friday evening, but no decision was announced. Dr Raj Bahadur, vice-chancellor of the BFUHS, had earlier said, “We can’t accept the proposed division of seats until the institute gets the approval of the ministry concerned.” Harjit Singh, director of public instructions (DPI), colleges, didn’t respond to the text messages and calls.

SGRD has 150 seats, with 75 in the government (general) quota and 75 in the management/minority quota.

An education department official told HT on the condition of anonymity, “SGRDC will definitely get the status of a medical university sooner or later, but cannot charge fee as per its will. They (SGRDC) initially sought to charge Rs 62 lakh for MBBS! But the fee has to be as per the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions Act, 2006. Though the official decision is yet to come, it may not be allowed to scrap its government quota this session.”

Parents have been seeking clarity. Naveen Sehgal from Bathinda said, “I am not sure if my child can seek a government quota seat in the SGRDC as they are claiming to have converted all the seats to management quota which are really expensive.”

Geeta Sharma, principal of the college, did not take calls.


If the SGRDC is allowed to scrap the government/general quota, those having no reservation or those who are not in the NRI quota will not get admission at the institute.

Already, 75 seats in the government quota had 12 seats reserved for NRIs. Of the 63 seats left, 25 are reserved for Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and physically handicapped candidates.

DU admissions: Just 10% seats left, popular colleges finalising intake for courses

Admissions to merit-based undergraduate courses under the fourth cutoff list at Delhi University closed on Saturday, with admissions approved to almost 90% of the seats.

This may have been the last chance for many to get admitted to popular course choices in sought after colleges at DU, as many of them will be closing admissions to these courses.

DU has around 56,000 seats in its 60-odd constituent colleges, of which 50,000 seats are for merit-based undergraduate courses. Admissions to these seats are based on cutoffs .

By Saturday evening, admissions had been approved to almost 45,000 of these seats, and almost 42,000 students had paid their admission fees by 6 pm.

According to DU officials who are part of the admission process, almost 3,500 seats had been filled in the latest round of admissions, leaving only about 10% of the seats still vacant.

By Saturday evening, admissions had been approved to almost 45,000 of these seats, and almost 42,000 students had paid their admission fees by 6 pm.

Colleges such as Sri Venkateswara College have already admitted students beyond capacity. “We have approximately 1,150 seats, and we have approved 1,198 admissions. Almost all the courses will be closed for admissions, especially under the general category, in the next list,” said P Hemalatha Reddy, the principal.

Ramjas College too expects to close admissions to most of its courses, as they have less than 100 seats remaining at their institution. Kirori Mal College too has claimed that the fourth list would have been the last chance for many applicants, as most popular course choices will be closed.

However, Daulat Ram College claimed they still had around 150 seats remaining. “Even in sought after courses such as BCom, BCom (hons) and English (hons), we have a few seats remaining,” said Savita Roy, the principal.

For sciences, students may want to look to Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College. “We have filled approximately 570 out of our 800 seats. Though most courses are going to be closed, we still have seats in the science courses,” said an associate professor.

The next cutoff list is expected to be released on Tuesday.

Delhi University (DU) takes steps to ensure ragging-free campus

New Delhi With the academic year about to begin, the Delhi University has taken a slew of measures to ensure ragging-free and disciplined campus.

At a proctorial meeting with officials of the DTC, Delhi Metro and the Delhi police held on Friday, decisions to make the campuses women-friendly were also taken.

The university will set up two control rooms in North and South campus from July 20 to August 2 for easing the induction process of the freshers.

The Delhi police will deploy women police personnel in plain clothes in the varsity premises to curb ragging or eve- teasing incidents, a release issued by the university said.

Delhi university will set up two control rooms in north and South campus from July 20 to August 2 for easing the induction process of the freshers. Seen here, students last year introducing themselves to seniors.

All colleges will get police picket points with a special assistance to women colleges. Besides, all eating joints on the campus will be under extra vigil.

“The Delhi Metro has been requested to make announcements in trains and stations about the varsity being intolerant towards ragging,” the release said.

Defacing of walls with graffiti and sensitive posters, unauthorised entry of outsiders to hostels have been prohibited, according to the release.

Sensitive areas in the campus have been put under electronic surveillance as a measure to curb ragging and maintain discipline.

Ragging can be reported to on national anti-ragging helpline 1800 180 5522 or the North Campus control room (27667221) or on South Campus number 24119832.

Poor sleep may point to onset of Alzheimer’s disease: study

Poor, disrupted sleep may indicate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in people who are otherwise healthy, a study warns. Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US found that people who reported worse sleep quality, more sleep problems and daytime sleepiness had more biological markers for Alzheimer’s disease in their spinal fluid than people who did not have sleep problems. Those biological markers included signs of the proteins amyloid and tau and brain cell damage and inflammation.

“It’s important to identify modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s given that estimates suggest that delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in people by a mere five years could reduce the number of cases we see in the next 30 years by 5.7 million,” said Barbara B Bendlin, PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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While some of these relationships were strong when looking at everyone as a group, not everyone with sleep problems has abnormalities in their spinal fluid.

There was no link between biological markers in the spinal fluid and obstructive sleep apnea, researchers said.

“It is still unclear if sleep may affect the development of the disease or if the disease affects the quality of sleep,” Bendlin said.

Researchers recruited 101 people with an average age of 63 years who had normal thinking and memory skills but who were considered at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

They either had a parent with the disease or were a carrier of a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease called apolipoprotein E or APOE.

Participants were surveyed about sleep quality. They also provided spinal fluid samples that were tested for biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.

Things you need to know about swimming during menstruation

Will you get terrible cramps or catch an infection? Women often come across these questions when they think of swimming while menstruating. If you enjoy swimming during the rest of your cycle, there’s no reason to stop just because you have your period. Female health app Clue has answered eight commonly asked questions about swimming when you’re on your period, reports

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* Is it unhygienic to swim while menstruating?

There’s nothing unhygienic about swimming during your period. If you use a tampon or menstrual cup, it’s unlikely that any blood will be released into the water while you swim. Even if your period started while you were swimming and a small amount of blood came out, this would be diluted by the water. Swimming pools contain small amounts of bodily fluids like urine and sweat, but the water is usually treated with chlorine to prevent the spread of disease. In other words, you are not endangering anyone’s health by swimming during your period.

* Will I leave a bloody trail in the water?

Water pressure can stop your flow temporarily while you swim, but if you laugh, cough, sneeze, or move around, the pressure can change and a small amount of blood might come out. The good news is it probably won’t be visible. When you get out of the water your period will flow again normally, so it’s a good idea to use a tampon or menstrual cup while swimming. Sanitary and pantyliners aren’t a good option because they will absorb water and become ineffective.

* Can I catch an infection from swimming during my period?

It’s very unlikely you would catch a vaginal disease from swimming. Skin infections and stomach illnesses from swallowing contaminated water are more common complaints. Check with your regional health authority for information on water quality at local swimming spots. Take a shower after swimming to reduce chlorine exposure, and avoid sitting around in wet swimwear. If you notice any itching, burning, or unusual discharge after swimming, get it checked by your doctor.

* Can swimming make my cramps worse?

Low-intensity exercise like swimming can actually help to relieve menstrual cramps. During exercise, your body releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers and give you an increased feeling of well-being.

* Will everyone know I have my period? What if I stain my bikini?

Menstruation is a natural process. If you’re worried about stains or leaks, you could wear a dark coloured swimsuit or add an extra layer by wearing swim shorts. Ask a friend to alert you to any problems, or take a quick trip to the bathroom to check – this way you can relax and just have fun in the water.

Sugar intake in pregnancy ups allergy, asthma risk in baby

High intake of sugar during pregnancy may increase the risk of allergy and asthma in the baby, a study has found. While some research has reported an association between a high consumption of sugar-containing beverages and asthma in children, the relation between maternal sugar intake during pregnancy and allergy and asthma in the offspring has been little studied. Researchers from University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in the UK collected data from almost 9,000 mothers who were pregnant in the early 1990s and their offspring.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, analysed associations between maternal intake of free sugars in pregnancy and allergy and asthma at seven years of age.

Allergy was defined as by positive skin tests to common allergens, namely dust mite, cat and grass.

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While there was only weak evidence for a link between free sugar intake in pregnancy and asthma overall, there were strong positive associations with allergy and allergic asthma together.

When comparing the 20 per cent of mothers with the highest sugar intake versus the 20 per cent of mothers with the lowest sugar intake, there was an increased risk of 38 per cent for allergy in the offspring (73 per cent for allergy to two or more allergens) and 101 per cent for allergic asthma.

“We cannot say on the basis of these observations that a high intake of sugar by mothers in pregnancy is definitely causing allergy and allergic asthma in their offspring,” said Professor Seif Shaheen from QMUL.

However, given the extremely high consumption of sugar in the West, we will certainly be investigating this hypothesis further with some urgency.

The team speculate that the associations may be explained by a high maternal intake of fructose causing a persistent postnatal allergic immune response leading to allergic inflammation in the developing lung.

The researchers controlled for factors like maternal characteristics, social factors and other aspects of maternal diet, including foods and nutrients that have been previously linked to childhood asthma and allergy.

The offspring’s free sugar intake in early childhood was found to have no association with the outcomes seen in the analysis.

Digital devices blamed for dry eye problem among children

There is an increase in dry eye symptoms among younger patients due to excessive use of digital devices, a study has said.

Dr Amber Gaume Giannoni, a local optometry specialist with the College of Optometry at the University of Houston, on Wednesday said the more children stare at a screen, the less they tend to blink, which results in dry eye symptoms, because blinking helps stimulate the glands used to moisturise the eyes.

The study also showed that children as young as eight can spend six hours a day in front of a screen, Xinhua news agency reported.

Giannoni suggested parents set limits to their children’s screen time and pay attention to such symptoms as forcefully blinking, eye rubbing and eye redness.

She recommended a method of 20-20-20 to decrease digital eye strain — a 20-second break for every 20 minutes of staring at a digital device, and looking 20 feet (about six metres) away or somewhere off into the distance.

Parents should take note that the children who spend a lot of time on their smartphones and computer devices may be at a high risk of developing dry eye disease. It was seen that children who did not have access to smart phones and other electronic devices, had less chances of developing the dry eye disease.

To keep your children safe, try to keep them away from smartphone for as longer as you can, it’ll definitely help their eyes which in turn will help their all over performance in studies and extra curricular activities.

How does prenatal alcohol exposure raise addiction risk

Babies’ exposure to alcohol in the womb causes alteration in the brain’s reward system, which then increases their risk for drug addiction later in life, according to a study. The key appears to lie with endocannibinoids — cannabis — like chemicals that are produced by the brain itself, the research showed.

After the prenatal brain is exposed to alcohol, these endocannibinoids impact certain dopamine neurons — that are involved in addicted behaviours. The endocannibinoids weaken the excitatory synapses onto dopamine neurons, in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) — part of the brain implicated in addiction, attention and reward processes.

“The end result is that the dopamine neurons in the brain become more sensitive to a drug of abuse’s effect. So, later in life, a person needs much less drug use to become addicted,” said Roh-Yu Shen, senior research scientist at the University at Buffalo.

However, in a brain that is prenatally exposed to alcohol, the effect of the endocannabinoids is reduced due to a decreased function of endocannabinoid receptors.

As a result, the excitatory synapses lose the ability to be weakened and continue to strengthen, which Shen believes is a critical brain mechanism for increased addiction risk, Shen said, in the paper detailed in The Journal of Neuroscience.

“By understanding the role endocannibinoids play in increasing the brain’s susceptibility to addiction, we can start developing drug therapies or other interventions to combat that effect and, perhaps, other negative consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure,” Shen noted.

Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and neurodevelopmental abnormalities.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) cause cognitive and behavioural problems. In addition to increased vulnerability of alcohol and other substance use disorders, FASD can lead to other mental health issues including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety and problems with impulse control.

Marijuana may up psychosis risk in teenagers: Study

Daily consumption of marijuana may increase an adolescent’s risk of having recurrent psychotic-like experiences by 159 per cent, according to a new study. The psychotic-like experiences include the experiences of perceptual aberration — for example feeling that something external is part of their body — and thinking that they have been unjustly badly treated.

“Our findings confirm that becoming a more regular marijuana user during adolescence is, indeed, associated with a risk of psychotic symptoms,” said lead author Josiane Bourque, doctoral student at the Universite de Montreal (UdeM) in Canada.

“Although they may be infrequent and thus not problematic for the adolescent, when these experiences are reported continuously, year after year, then there’s an increased risk of a first psychotic episode or another psychiatric condition,” Bourque added.

The findings, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, revealed that individuals who go on from consuming marijuana occasionally to abusing the substance once a week or as often as every day, may be at 159 per cent increased risk of developing psychosis-like experiences.

Marijuana use reduces a person’s ability to resist socially unacceptable behaviour in response to a particular stimulus. An increased risk of depression as a result of frequent marijuana use is thought to be behind psychosis’ onset, the researchers said.

“Our results show that while marijuana use is associated with a number of cognitive and mental health symptoms, only an increase in symptoms of depression — such as negative thoughts and low mood — could explain the relationship between marijuana use and increasing psychotic-like experiences in youth,” Bourque said.

These findings have important clinical implications for prevention programs in youth who report having persistent psychotic-like experiences.

“While preventing adolescent marijuana use should be the aim of all drug strategies, targeted prevention approaches are particularly needed to delay and prevent marijuana use in young people at risk of psychosis,” noted Patricia Conrod, professor at UdeM.

Childhood obesity may lead to hip disease, suggests research

Obesity may put children at increased risk of hip disease, a condition that can cause life-long morbidity, suggests new research. Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is the most common hip disease of adolescence. The condition always requires surgery, can cause significant pain, and often leads to a hip replacement in adolescence or early adulthood.

“Ultimately this study helps us to better understand one of the main diseases affecting the hip in childhood,” said one of the study authors Daniel Perry from the Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, in Britain.

Children with SCFE experience a decrease in their range of motion, and are often unable to complete hip flexion or fully rotate the hip inward. Early recognition of SCFE is important as the deformity may worsen if the slip remains untreated.

In an effort to identify children at higher risk of this condition, the researchers examined hospital and community based records to explore factors associated with SCFE, and explanations for diagnostic delays.

All of the records examined were of individuals under 16-years-of-age with a diagnosis of SCFE and whose electronic medical record was held by one of 650 primary care practices in Britain between 1990 and 2013.

Using the height and weight of children recorded in the notes at some point before the disease was diagnosed, the researchers were able to identify that obese children appear at highest risk of this condition, according to the study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

“This is the best evidence available linking this disease to childhood obesity — which makes this condition to be one of the only obesity-related disease that can cause life-long morbidity starting in childhood,” Perry said.