Friday, July 31, 2009

A Widget that Helps Patients Find Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies conducted by doctors to test the new treatments. Without such studies we wouldnt have all the great drugs and medicines. Also in many cases, these studies provide access to potentially life saving treatments.

Every day thousands of patients are instructed by their doctors to look for clinical trials as a way to test a new treatment which may work better than conventional treatments.

I came across a clinical trials site that allows bloggers to create a nice clinical trials search widget for any health condition. You too can create this widget and embed the same in your blog and help patients find these trials and connect with the trial investigators.

Here is how the widget looks for Multiple Myeloma Trials

Screening BKS Iyengar's "Yoga: The Ultimate Freedom"

I recently attended a special screening of a vintage video tape showing an hour long yoga demonstration by one of the worlds greatest Yoga Exponent, BKS Iyengar. This black and white recording, titled "Yoga: The Ultimate Freedom", showcases the worlds foremost yoga expert, BKS Iyengar demonstrating a variety of yoga poses. The video was shot in 1976 and is considered the best recording of this great yoga teacher.

Note, Mr. Iyengar (affectionately called Guruji by his students) was 58 years old then! He is almost 90 now and still practices hours of yoga in his home/yoga institute in Pune, India.

As you can see in the pictures below, these are very advanced and technical difficult yoga poses that require years of dedicated practice. But as Mr. Iyengar himself goes on to say in the video and elsewhere, yoga can lead to the Ultimate Freedom of the body, mind and spirit. He also emphasizes that even though the poses may look tough, if you start and view yoga as a life long journey then the poses will begin to flow. Mr, Iyengar himself is a living example of such a transformation - when he started practicing yoga at the age of 15 he could barely bend down enough to reach his knees as he suffered from Tuberculosis which greater limited this spinal movements!

I have been practicing yoga for 15 months now and attend a weekly class of 90 mins. The class goes through a series of poses with intense stretching and focusing of the mind that makes one realize one's own body. And yes, with each class the body begins to open up and the stiff joints and muscles begin to loosen up. The relaxation and lightness that one feels after each class can only be experienced.

Hope you consider embarking on this lifelong journey of discovery, freedom and joy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Indian Mangoes, Kesar Variety are not to be missed.

Folks, if you have not had Indian mangoes, then are you missing one of nature's most delicious gifts. Yes, mangoes are not that popular in the USA and most Americans have only had access to mangoes from Mexico or Haiti. Okay they are mangoes but really they hardly compare with the flavor and taste of Indian mangoes. And perhaps you are wondering that if these mangoes from India are so good. then why you Havent had or heard about them before? Valid question - because till 2007 Indian mangoes were not permitted to be imported in the US! In 2007, while visiting India and signing the nuclear treaty, president bush agreed to allow import of Indian mangoes (as the famous headlines of the day went, India agrees to exchange mangoes for American nukes!!)

So coming now to the mangoes! more than 85% of the worlds mangoes are produced in India - and here truly hold you breath - there are more than 500 varieties of mangoes grown in the india - yes 500 - there is the Alphonso, Kesar, Chausa, Safeda, Malda, Dussheri, Biju, Langda, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics.

In the US, you can get high quality, hand picked and packed Kesar and alphonso mangoes. Kesar actually refers to saffron - so imagine a mango that tastes like saffron.

When the mangoes came for the first time in the USA in summer 07, we were so excited that along with my friends at that we organized a whole event tango with mango - 20 dishes all made with mangoes - from appetizers to desserts.

The kesar mangoes are simply delicious - mid sized, with a yellowish green skin with tinges of saffron , these mangoes have a delicate fragrance. Sold in boxes ten each (priced at $30/box - yes sounds a bit high but they are well worth the buck) , you can get them in select Indian grocery stores (Jackson hts in queens for example, or the India market in jersey city)

And in case you are wondering how to best to eat them, then forget about the usual way of slicing them (yea you can do that). But if you really want to enjoy a kesar mango and become blissful. then the trick is to hold the mango between you thumb and index finger and massage the mango gently from all sides. As you massage the mango, the pulp become juice. After massaging for 2-3 minutes. just pluck out the skin at the mouth of the mango and then suck the juice. And experience natural bliss!