Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 37, Tuesday, September 21, 2010



News flash

Mastercraftspersons Award and Crafts Fair 2010

The ceremony
National Crafts Council of Bangladesh and Bengal Foundation jointly organised an award ceremony and a five-day fair, to reestablish the seemingly lost crafts of Bangladesh.

On September 18 2010, at the main auditorium of National Museum, Shahbagh, the event was officially launched by the Honourable Minister of Education, Nurul Islam Nahid. Eminent folklore researcher and Managing Director of Bangla Academy, Shamsuzzaman Khan, Chairperson of Bengal Foundation, Abul Khair, President of National Crafts Council of Bangladesh, Shahid Hussain Shamim and Managing Director of Bengal Foundation, Luva Nahid Chowdhury were also present in the ceremony.

To retain the skills of the artisans in Bangladesh that reflects our history and heritage, the organisers arranged an award ceremony the Mastercraftspersons Awards, where four artisans were honoured.

The fair
A five-day long crafts fair has also been organised. The fair, also at the National Museum, will continue till September 22 (it will be open everyday from 10am to 5pm). The fair is a huge attraction as it clusters together a plethora of crafts from all around the country. Different stalls have different items to offer, from musical instruments to elegant saris.

National Crafts Council and Bengal Foundation have embarked upon a very noble cause of encouraging and helping the artisans. The craftsmen, because of lack of business acumen, and a shrinking demand for many of these traditional demands, are finding it very difficult to cope financially. This is exactly the kind of promotion they need.

Shuvod Kumar, a mask maker, shares his passion for making and painting masks, shares the story of how he learned the art from his father, and how his father learned from his father. Like many others, this has been a knowledge handed down as a family heirloom. He expresses a positive attitude and also speaks of better days that are yet to come.

Whether you want to buy something, or simply want to experience the world of Bangladeshi crafts, paying a visit to the fair will definitely be worthwhile!

By M H Haider


Anthrax decoded

Understandably, the outbreak of a life threatening disease such as Anthrax has engendered panic, and the powers that be have gone about trying to quell the fears. Authorities in Bangladesh, according to the information published in The Daily Star, stated that the government has sufficient reserve of anthrax vaccine and stated that even village doctors (lacking modern medical training) and pharmacists, are able to treat the disease.

Anthrax commonly infects wild and domesticated herbivorous mammals, which ingest or inhale the spores while grazing. Ingestion is thought to be the most common route by which herbivores contract anthrax. Carnivores living in the same environment may become infected by consuming infected animals. Diseased animals can spread anthrax to humans, either by direct contact or consumption of a diseased animal's flesh.

On the September 17 issue of The Daily Star, in the 'Letters to the Editor' section, Mohammed Shahidul Islam brought up an interesting aspect of the fight against the spread of the disease. Vultures help germs from breaking out after it eats dead cattle and sheep. Vulture stomach acid is exceptionally corrosive, allowing them to safely digest carcasses infected with diseases like anthrax, that would be lethal to other scavengers. If dogs and cats do the scavenging, there would be a real danger of them spreading the disease. Vultures may well help contain this disease, so it would be a good time to stop killing these birds.

Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another; it is spread by spores. The dead body of an animal that died of anthrax can also be a source of anthrax spores.

Symptoms are usually an ulcer that develops on the skin, about 1 to 3 centimeters wide. Within a week the centre of the ulcer becomes black. Without treatment, a complication may be blood poisoning.

While it is true that some forms of the disease (i.e. skin or cutaneous anthrax), if diagnosed early, can be treated easily using antibiotics such as penicillin, doxycycline and ciprofloxacin, Bangladesh is a country where antibiotics use is not regulated and many pathogenic bacteria have become resistant to multiple antibiotics.

If anthrax is detected late, particularly gastrointestinal and pulmonary anthrax, the disease can be fatal. Late stage anthrax may involve massive ulcer, edema, bleeding, high fever, shock and hemodynamic instability leading to death. A high level of supportive therapy, in addition to antibiotics, would be necessary to treat such conditions.

Death rate among patients with untreated anthrax approaches 100 percent. Death rate among treated patients is 1-76 percent depending on the type of anthrax and the time of diagnosis. Thus, anthrax is not necessarily a simple and easily treatable disease.

Recently, butchers on street sides selling beef that they claim have been 'approved' by doctors, while many grocery stores have stopped selling beef. In such situations it is best to use your own judgement in verifying these claims, and if there is doubt, it is probably best to say 'no'.

LS Desk

Health wise

Combatting Flu

Feverish illness with high temperatures is the primary symptom of normal or seasonal flu. Patients may also have a cough, runny nose, headache, sore throat, aches, and chills. Some people also have nausea and diarrhoea. Temperatures may rise to a maximum of 105 degrees. These are the first stages of normal flu. The second stage attacks a patient's respiratory system and might lead to pneumonia. According to physicians, children and elderly people are generally prone to this second stage.

In Bangladesh, people are more susceptible to seasonal flu during the months of April to October. Seasonal flu is a viral disease. During the first seven days, known as the incubation period, the patient does not have any symptoms. There are various symptoms during the next seven days known as the 'spreading period' when the victim suffers most.

Virologist of focal point national influenza centre of IEDCR (Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research), Dr ASM Alamgir says, “Of those who come to the 12 medical college hospitals and 14 district hospitals in Bangladesh with a cold, ten to twelve percent are victims of normal flu,” said Dr Alamgir.

"Patients should have enough rest and drink lots of fluids. Paracetamols and nutritious food are also good treatments for the first stage of influenza." "In case of children who are prone to be victims of pneumonia, should be kept under close monitoring of doctors," said Dr Alamgir.

According to the physicians, the best way to avoid catching flu or spreading it around is to take sensible hygiene precautions, such as washing hands regularly. There is good evidence that regular hand-wash (more than four times a day) cuts the spread of illnesses such as flu and the common cold.

Sensible hygiene measures include covering the nose and mouth during coughing or sneezing, using a tissue where possible, disposing used tissues quickly and sensibly, washing hands often, with hot water and soap, cleaning regularly-touched hard surfaces frequently (such as door handles), using normal cleaning products and to make sure that children follow these hygiene rules.

In case of pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, or looking after small children, it's even more important to try to avoid catching the flu virus. Normal seasonal flu can make pregnant women very ill, and can even cause problems like premature birth. Pregnant women who suspect they have flu should call their doctor immediately. They may need antiviral medicine.

It's important to make sure that the children follow hygiene measures like regular hand-wash and coughing or sneezing into a tissue. Children are often the first to pick up a virus. For most children, symptoms of flu are similar to those in adults, and the disease is not likely to be severe. However, children under five may not get all the usual symptoms, but they may seem lethargic and have trouble breathing.

The symptoms of a child when infected by flu are fast breathing or troubled breathing, bluish or grey skin colour, does not drink enough fluids, does not wake up or not interacts, acts irritating that he or she does not want to be held, does not urinate, or does not shed tears during crying.

Children can take antiviral medicines prescribed by a doctor. Even babies under one year can take antiviral medicines if a doctor thinks it is necessary.

By Mahtabi Zaman


Defense against pet hair

Grooming is only one part of a pet's cleanliness. Keeping them clean and looking good can be relatively simple, but cleaning the area where they live can be more difficult. Our furry friends can't help but make a mess, but there are ways to minimise the inconvenience they cause.

When it comes to the most common household pets, dogs and cats, the most obvious problem is shedding. It is unavoidable, and part of the territory of owning a furry pet is that their hair spreads all through your home. You can actually use liquid fabric softener to remove pet hair from your clothes, furniture, and carpet. Make up a solution of liquid fabric softener and water. Dilute the softener with the water and just pour it into a spray bottle. When you do your routine housecleaning, take the spray bottle with you, and whenever you come across a surface coated in pet hair, just spray a bit of the solution onto the fabric. Wait for a couple of minutes until the solution is dry, and then vacuum or brush off the hair.

You can also try and minimise the spread of unwanted follicles. Try stroking your pet with wet hands next time. Before you sit down to watch television and you know your pet will come up to cuddle, just get your hands a little wet. When you do stroke your pet, the water will actually help the loose hair on your pet stick to your hands.

The water acts like a kind of hair magnet that will attract the hair to your hands rather than to your clothes, furniture, or carpet. When you are sitting there petting your pet, you might want to keep a bowl of water next to you so you can continue stoking and still dealing with the hair problem. Dip your hands in the water every time the water on your hands dry out, and continue petting. This will help the loose hair not get where you don't want it.

-LS Desk

Dental wise

Dental wise

DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan
BDS, DDS (BSMMU), PhD (Japan), Associate Professor, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM Hospital and Ibrahim Medical College, Shahabag, Dhaka. www.aikodental.com 9885426

Dear Dr. Mahfuj
My name is Ashfaque and I am 42 years old.. I have five root canal treated teeth, which were done three years ago and I was advised to go for capping by my dentist. Anyway, I was very reluctant to undergo the capping as there was no pain or any other complaints. But unfortunately last week one of my root canal treated teeth was fractured during biting a biscuit. What do I do now? Is it still possible to make a cap on that fractured tooth?

- Ashfaque

Dear Ashfaque,
Well, your dentist gave you the right advice regarding getting a crown (cap). Actually after root canal treatment, tooth structure becomes brittle and it also loses colour. To restore the normal structure/anatomy, to prevent possible fracture and to rebuild normal functions, we strongly recommend crowning/cap after root canal treatment.

Without examining your teeth, it will be difficult for me to give you correct advice on whether it is possible to cover your fractured tooth by a cap or not. But if your root is healthy even after you lose your entire crown and if you don't have any complaints of pain, then it is still possible to restore your valuable teeth by cast core technology. I think you should immediately consult with your dentist and consider his opinion.

Dear Doctor,
I cannot drink cold water as it gives a very abnormal sensation (a sort of pain) on my upper right jaw. I visited many dentists but I am not satisfied with their explanations and their treatment plans. Can you elaborate on the reasons behind this abnormal sensation?

- Molla Abdur Rahim

Dear Mr Rahim,
I will try to explain the causes of this abnormal sensation.
What is tooth sensitivity?

It can be defined as a painful reaction in one or more teeth triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks. This pain can be sharp, sudden and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

Apart from a cavity or a missing filling, the most common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed dentin on the roots of your teeth. Normally, the dentin (the second, more sensitive layer of the tooth) is surrounded and protected by your enamel or cementum (special root covering) and gums.

The cause or mechanism of dentinal sensitivity is still not well understood. It is believed that the little tubes that connect the dentin to the nerve or pulp serve as sensory conductors. That sensation may be one of pain.

Causes of exposed root surfaces, which may result in dentinal sensitivity:
Brushing too hard - Over a period of time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush may wear away enamel or cementum and cause the dentin to be exposed.

Recession of the gums - Movement of gums away from the tooth due to periodontal disease will expose the root surface.

Gum disease - Inflamed and sore gum tissue may also cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments, which exposes root surface.

Other causes of sensitive teeth:
Cracked teeth - Chipped or broken teeth may fill up with bacteria from plaque and enter the pulp causing an inflammatory reaction.

Grinding your teeth - Grinding or clenching your teeth may wear down the enamel and expose underlying dentin.

Plaque- The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.

What to do at home:
Maintain good oral hygiene - Continue to clean all parts of your teeth and mouth thoroughly.

Use a soft bristled toothbrush -This will result in less toothbrush abrasion of the tooth surface.

Use desensitising toothpaste - There are many on the market. With regular use you should feel a decreased sensitivity.

Consider what you eat- If you frequently eat foods high in acids, such as citrus fruits (example: sucking on lemons), they can gradually dissolve the enamel over time, leading to dentin exposure. The citric acids may aggravate the hypersensitivity and initiate a painful reaction.

Use fluoridated dental products - As an example, with a daily application of a fluoridated mouthrinse, hypersensitivity usually decreases.

Professional Care:
Ask your oral health professional, about professional products that may be used to help reduce sensitivity. Some of the most common treatments are:

White fillings (glass inomer or composite filling) to cover exposed root surfaces.

Fluoride varnish applied to the exposed root surface.
Dentin sealer applied to the exposed root surface.






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