Tuesday, August 30, 2016

First meeting of newly constituted National Council of Senior Citizens held

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
30-August-2016 21:01 IST

First meeting of newly constituted National Council of Senior Citizens held

Shri Thaawar
​ ​
chand Gehlot assures full cooperation of M/o Social Justice and Empowerment in the welfare of Senior Citizens

The first meeting of the newly constituted National Council of Senior Citizens held under the chairmanship of the Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot here today. Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Ramdas Athawale and Secretary, M/o SJ&E Smt. Anita Agnihotri were present on the occasion
Addressing on the occasion Shri Thaarwarchand Gehlot welcomed all the new member of the Council and apprised them of their roles and responsibilities in the council. He said that ancient culture of our country signifies the importance of service to the old persons and senior citizens and it is our ancient tradition. He emphasized that the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is committed to formulate and implement positive schemes for the welfare of the senior citizens. He informed the members that the efforts are going on to increase the nominal  amount of Old Age pension. He expressed his concern on the deteriorating safety and security condition of senior citizens in our country. He opined that without the proper cooperation of State Governments and NGOs, this purpose will not be served. He announced that now onwards 'Vridhashram' will be called "Vriddh Jan Grah" where all facilities of recreation and entertainment for the senior citizens will be available.
In his address Shri Ramdas Athwale said that the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is working towards the welfare of all senior citizens in the country and is supporting many organizations who are involved in this mission.
In her welcome address, Smt. Anita Agnihotri said that the 10 Agenda points for this meeting cover all aspects of welfare of senior citizens and their purpose is to ensure that the programme and policies for senior citizens are properly implemented.    
          The meeting discussed the following 10 Agendas:
1.      Review of the policy for Senior Citizens at Central and State levels.
2.      Review of the programme being implemented by different Ministries for the Welfare of Senior Citizens, such as IPOP, IGNOAPS, NPHCE etc.
3.      Review of the working of MWPSC Act, 2007.
4.      Review of measures taken by Government for the physical safety and security of Senior Citizens.
5.      Review of measures for the economic well being and financial security in Old Age, with special reference to Pension Plans, Reverse Mortgage Scheme etc.
6.      Discussion on Senior Citizens Welfare Fund.
7.      Review of Health care facilities with special reference to Geriatric care, Respite/Palliative care, Home care and Health Insuran
8.      Review of concessions and other facilities available to Senior Citizens.
9.      Review of effectiveness of public administration in safeguarding the interest of Senior Citizens in the society.
10.  Evaluation of the extent of Awareness and Sensitization of younger generation regarding the special needs and right of Senior Citizens.
An autonomous National Council for Senior Citizens headed by the Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment was set up to promote and co-ordinate the concerns of older persons. The Council includes representatives of relevant Central Ministries and the Planning Commission. Five States are represented on the Council by rotation. Adequate representation is given to non-official members representing Non-Government Organisations, Academic bodies, Media and Experts on Ageing issues from different fields.
Improved life expectancy has contributed to an increase in the number of persons 60+. From only 12 million person 60+ in India in 1901, the number crossed 20 million in 1951 and 57 million in 1991. Population projections for 1996-2016 made by the Technical Group on population Projections (1996) indicate that the 100 million mark is expected to be reached in 2013. Projections beyond 2016 made by the United Nations (1996 Revision) has indicated that India will have 198 million person 60+ in 2030 and 326 million in 2050. The percentage of person 60+ in the total population has seen a steady rise from 5.1 per cent n 1901 to 6.8 per cent in 1991. It is expected to reach 8.9 per cent in 2016. Projections beyond 2016 made by United Nations (1996 Revision) has indicated that 21 per cent of the Indian population will be 60+ by 2050.
Sanjay Kumar/SJ&E/30.08.2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Got Elected as EC Member of Aasara Circle 18 Committee

Yesterday  I participated in Aasara meeting in Dy Commissioner's Office, GHMC Circle 18 office. Circle 18 covers Tarnaka, Boudhanagar, Sitafalmandi,West and East Marredpally and rest Secunderabad up to Paradise (SCB excluded). Some 25 Representatives of SCAs from these areas participated. We learnt that many are members in many SCAs. Mrs Aruna, Mr Kannan, Mrs Gertrude and myself were there from SCF. Mr Chepuri Shankar Rao was expected from AOSC, perhaps he could not make it.

As usual the president of the committee,  Mr Vijaya Raju, Dy Commissioner was not available due to other 'pressing' issues. Meeting was chaired by VP Sri V Nageswara Rao assisted by Secretary Dr Vittal Rao. Main item on the agenda was to elect members and office bearers for the committee as the term of last one was over in May 2016. GHMC circular of 27th may 2013 and letter of Sep 2013 were circulated. The election was casual and members were elected by mutual consent and agreement.
Sri P Rajeswara Rao of West Marredpally as Vice President, Dr Vittal rao being re-elected as secretary, some 19 persons were chosen for the committee. Complete list will be released after approval of President.

From the papers circulated, I discovered that I have been an organizing secretary of this 'august' body for three years without ever realizing it!. I vaguely remember Mr Chary once phoning me up some years ago saying the I have been included in some GHMC committee.Now I know how / why I have been getting so many SMS invitations for  circle committee meetings. Though I tried to attend two or three meetings, I did not succeed as the meetings were postponed! To assuage my guilty feelings for being inactive out of ignorance / negligence, and determining to do whatever I can, I volunteered to be a part of the team and I was taken as an EC member. Other members from SCF who were selected are: Mrs Aruna and Mr SR Kannan.

The meeting was useful in learning about several stalwarts who are doing excellent work. Ms Sujatha is compiling (revising) OAH directory. Mr KSL Raju looks after short stay home. Prasad Rao of Tarnaka  and Sri Om prakash again of Tarnaka are proud of very active DCCs. Red Cross needs volunteers from Aasara. Mr Omprakash made an appeal to SCAs to send info on activities for inclusion in Tarnaka Times. Mrs Gertrude entered her driver's name for free supply of a walking stick.

Dr P Vyasamoorthy
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony, Secunderabad 500015 Telangana
LL 040-27846631 / Mobile: 9490804278

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ramamurti - Does Emotionality influence human longevity

Hon.Director (Emeritus), CEFRA, Dept. of Psychology,
S.V.University, Tirupati-517 502.
For long, the Scientist and the common man alike, have shown a keen interest, in prolonging human life.  The multidisciplinary science of Gerontology, has put in, a significant effort, in the last five decades, to enhance healthy longevity.  Several models of longevity have been proposed, that enumerate the contributory factors.  The model of longevity, developed as part of “The Tirupati Centenarian Study” is one of them, that is relevant to the Indian context.  It could be seen in the model, that, apart from the genetic influences, the cumulative effects of a dynamic set of idiopathic factors on the person, as one passes through the life span, contribute to the longevity of the person (Ramamurti, 1997, The Longevity Model – The Tirupati Centenarian Study).  Among them, the physical and mental stresses that result from (negative) emotional experiences and the manner of coping to them , are significant contributory factors.  Longevity, in effect, is the weighted regression of these factors.
A search of psychological literature shows, that there are a considerable number of studies, that highlight the unhealthy impact of negative emotional stress on the person.  Selye’s (1957) work on stress is a pioneering contribution and Walter B Cannon’s 1914 and 1927 articles constituted a seminal research on the impact of emotions (the medullary - adrenal link).  The myriad scientific investigations that followed over the years (some using fMRI and PET scans) have laid bare , in whopping detail, the impact of emotions on the psycho physiological processes in the brain and body of the individual.  It is becoming increasingly clear, that we as gerontologists  need to give significant attention to these findings.  This is all the more so, because none can be totally free of the emotional experiences in their daily lives.  The emotions intricately influence “healthy ageing”, the motto of W.H.O.
There are two axes through which emotions act on the body system.  They are, as you may know (a) The sympathetic-Adrenal-medullary axis (SAM) and (b) The Hypothalamus – pituitary – adrenal axis (HPA).  They could be, I believe, not only sensori initiated, but also thought initiated.  Both ultimately activate the adrenal hormones (epinephrine (EPI) and Norepinephrine-NE).  The fight or flight response to emotion provoking stimuli is initiated through these axes.  The SAM axis involves the sympathetic branch of the Autonomic nervous system.  The SAM axis activation is the body’s primary physiological response to acute stressor stimuli, Norepinephrine (NE) slows digestion, increases plasma glucose and dilates pupils while epinephrine (EPI) increases heart rate, cardiac contractility, relaxes smooth muscles, increases blood pressure and glucose release. EPI levels depend on the severity of stresses (emotional) and may rise to several times the resting levels.  It is to be noted that frequent emotional experiences of a negative character may become chronic.  Ultimately, they cause tissue damage.  It has been reported that these chronic stressor initiated effects are similar to age related (ageing) changes (Bosch et al., 1998, Chida &Fristamer, 2008, Jackel et al., 2010).  In a similar fashion, the HPA axis activation during emotional experiences has detrimental effects on health. Prolonged exposure to emotional experiences may lead to cortisol elevation which in turn may cause several health problems.  These effects have been reported to be similar to changes seen in the ageing process.
In addition to the aforementioned impact of emotional experience through the SAM and HPA axex, they have an effect on the immune system, both innate immunity and also the adaptive immunity.  Chronic negative emotional experiences may lead to lowered immunity (B lymphocyte) concentrations. The adaptive response of the immune system wears out.    
The foregoing brief discussion - on the effects of bad emotions on the mind and body through SAM and HPA axes and the down regulation of immune response -highlights the fact that bad emotions are to be prevented.  Though the body adapts to acute emotional stress, it can only be temporary.  As the allostatic (short term adaptation) load increases it leads to a wearing down of bodily systems, to oxidative stress and tissue damage and increased susceptibility to infections.  They exacerbate age related changes and hasten them.  As these effects cumulate over the growing years, the aging trajectory gets punctuated with more ailments, more elongated co-morbidity , and ultimately leading to earlier mortality.  Thus, there is  growing evidence to establish the link between increased negative emotionality and unhealthy and shortened  longevity.
Negative emotions in life are triggered by threats to the psychological self, leading to the flight or fight response.  No doubt, they depend on the sensitivity of the individual to react to these threats. These threats need not always be real but could be “phenomenal”, subjective or just developing from an imaginary build up.  The root cause of these negative emotional experiences can be largely traced to the unique subjective perception of damage to the self of the individual concerned. Therefore, attempts to reduce the negative emotional experiences would do well to try to systematically desensitize the individual to the subjective perceptions of threat to the self.  Child rearing in the early formative years would play an important role in blunting this sensitivity and building better tolerance to threats to the psychological self (eg. through Sensitivity training).The profiles of centenarians in the Tirupati centenarian study showed that the centenarians too had stressful life experiences , but they coped with the emotional stress in a better manner using cognitive based rather than emotion based strategies  A cognitive based response to provocation could  replace an emotionally charged response of coping to threat.  Techniques such as distraction, meditation and relaxation should be handy to tackle build up of emotional stress.  Successful training in developing strategies in problem solving and decision making could help in meeting a variety of threatening situations.  
On the other hand, the encouragement to seek and experience the pleasant emotions should be a part of familial and educational training.  An active training in the practice of positive .thinking, would go a long way, in reducing negative –thought-based emotions.  The creation and maintenance of a positive mind set in people is becoming a necessity. It has  social benefits too.  Methods of channelizing the emotional energies  through positive self expression like art, participation in hobbies, creative thinking, laughter, singing, dancing, reading humour and the like are the many ways of countering the negative mindset by a positive mindset and tilting the balance – favourably.
In essence, the foregoing discussion has attempted to highlight the bad impact of negative emotions on the psycho physiological processes in the individual, causing morbidity. Prolonged emotional stress does influence longevity. It is necessary to learn and use a variety of preventive strategies to desensitize the individual to negative - emotion - triggering stimuli and perception of real or imaginary threats to the “self”.  On the plus side, building a positive mindset and indulging in pleasant self expression would keep the mind at peace.  After all, it is the mind that makes the man and hence the mindset needs to be effectively conditioned to maintain a positive balance, resulting in lesser need to activate the SAM or the HPA axes to stimulate the adrenals.  Such a life plan would greatly reduce the bad impact of negative emotions on the body and mind, thereby reducing morbidity and prolonging healthy longevity.        

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

104-year-old cyclist named world's greatest centenarian athlete | New Scientist

104-year-old cyclist named world's greatest centenarian athlete

​You will surely like to see the photo of this cycling centenarian in the url given at the end. ​

Fast track: age no barrier to sporting success for Robert Marchant
Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo
By Helen Thomson

Think you're too old to do sport? Think again. Researchers have analysed the performances of the world's oldest record-breakers and named a 104-year-old cyclist champion.

Romuald Lepers the University of Burgundy, Dijon, and his colleagues are investigating how age affects athletic performance in elite sport stars as they age. While analysing the performance of some of the best athletes over the age of 40, the team began to wonder who the world's best 100-plus sportsperson was.

To find out, they identified all the best performances by centenarians in athletics, swimming and cycling. To gauge how ability declines with age, they then compared each of them with the current world record holder for their discipline.

For example, Usain Bolt holds the 100-metre record of 9.58 seconds. Donald Pellmann, competing in the 100 to 104 age-group in 2015, completed the same distance in 26.99 seconds – a 64.5 per cent decrease in performance compared with Bolt.

The centenarian athlete who showed the smallest decline was Frenchman Robert Marchand, who holds the world record for his age group in 1-hour track cycling, among others. Cycling 26.93 kilometres in 1 hour, Marchand was only 50.6 per cent slower than Bradley Wiggins's 54.53 km record.

Read more: Gene doping in sport could make the Olympics fairer and safer
Other centenarians who had spectacular performances competed in the high jump, shotput, and swimming events.

Downhill from here?
Previous studies have shown that prowess in athletic events can be maintained until 35 to 40 years of age. After that, our performance decreases by about 10 to 15 per cent per decade, says Lepers.

But Marchand has declined much more slowly. Lepers says that Marchand has exceptional muscular and cardiorespiratory function compared with other people of his age. His performance corresponds to an age-related decline of less than 8 per cent per decade for more than 60 years.

The rate of athletic decline also depends on the sport. "Our study shows that in some disciplines the decline is less pronounced," he says. Running and swimming performances tend to plummet, for instance, whereas throwing and cycling abilities tend to decline more gently.

As old as you feel
It can be difficult to qualify as a centenarian athlete. Despite being able to run 100 metres in 23.4 seconds – closer to Bolt's record that Pellman's time – 105-year-old Fauja Singh was not included in Lepers's study because he can't produce a birth certificate. They were not officially issued in India when he was born, which he says was in 1911.

Read more: Walking and cycling are still good for you despite air pollution
Lepers's team have yet to discover a supercentenarian athlete – someone aged over 110. But this might change, he says. "Given the increased number of centenarians worldwide, it is very likely that the number of centenarian athletes will increase in the coming years."

These athletes are not only exceptional biological examples, but also good examples for others to follow, says Lepers. Take Canadian Ed Whitlock, he says. Whitlock was the first person over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. He took up running in his 40s. "It's never too late to be active," says Lepers.

Journal reference: Age and Ageing, DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afw111

Friday, August 5, 2016

Power cut and KCR

​Power cut


I hate KCR

for power cuts.


When he took charge,

power cuts used to be long and frequent

that gave me incentive and enthusiasm

to use that opportunity

and complete many non-power-related tasks like:

Cleaning shelves,

Folding dried clothes,

Reading newspapers and books,

shop for daily needs

attend to cooking

phone up friends etc.

When power is there,

If I am at home and not sleeping

I am at the laptop / PC.


Nowadays power cuts are infrequent and for brief duration;

None of the pending tasks get time to finish;

Therefore I hate KCR



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Fwd: MOOC on IMAD from IITM -- FREE FIVE WEEKS Online Course

Free online MOOC from NAPTEL on Application Development

IIT Madras offers Massive Open Online Course (=MOOC) of five weeks duration starting in Sep 2016 on Introduction to Modern Application Development (=IMAD), all for FREE.
No qualifications needed except a basic knowledge of javascript. After five weeks of completion of the course you will have written your own Mobile APP!!!

If there are tech savvy seniors, desirous of dusting their deadly brains, here is an opportunity.
Now read the following message from IIT-M

We want to draw your attention to the IIT Madras (NPTEL) online course
entitled "Introduction to Modern Application Development" (IMAD).

For details, visit http://www.imad.tech/ and for a short video about
the course, see the IMAD video at

The course instructors are Gaurav Raina (Faculty IITM) and Tanmai
Gopal (IITM Alumnus, CSE, 2012).

Registration for the course is free and all the course videos will be
available online (NPTEL/YouTube). Upon completion of the course, one
can also get certification from IIT Madras.

The students completing this course will have the tangible benefit of
having a shot at getting internships/jobs at some of the top tech
startups/companies in India. Companies such as

ChargeBee <https://www.chargebee.com/> ,
CloudCherry <https://www.getcloudcherry.com/> ,
PickYourTrail <http://pickyourtrail.com/> ,
DIGIGRID Energy Solutions <http://digigrid.in> ,
Playfiks <http://www.playfiks.com/> ,
USP Studios <http://www.uspstudios.co/> ,
SolverMinds <https://www.solverminds.com/> , and
Volante Technologies <http://www.volantetech.com/>

have tied up with us to provide interview opportunities to these
students after the course. We are adding more companies to this list
as we speak. This is a testament to the usefulness of the skills that
the course will be teaching.

This course can be useful for a very wide audience, ranging from
schools, universities, technical institutes, to people working  in
industry. One of the objectives is to get people excited about
technology, and to that end it would be great if you could pass on
information about the course to a wide audience through the various
contacts of the office of international and alumni affairs.

Thank you!

Kind regards,
Dr. Gaurav Raina
Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras