If You Take Tylenol For Joint Pain, You Need To Read This

If the pain is bad enough to send you rummaging through your medicine cabinet, you’re probably on the hunt for something that works—and fast. But a new study suggests one of the most common over-the-counter pain meds may not be the cure-all you once thought.

According to new research, published in the BMJ, acetaminophen—known to most of us as Tylenol—isn’t all that effective at relieving pain from osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.

Because acetaminophen is one of the most popular tools for treating pain, study author Gustavo Machado, a PhD student at the George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney medical school in Australia, says he and his co-authors wanted to assess its safety and efficacy. And their findings are not too promising: “Our results revealed that acetaminophen provides only trivial benefits for patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis in terms of pain reduction and improvement of function and quality of life,” Machado says. The researchers also found acetaminophen to be entirely ineffective for low back pain.

hip pain
Machado and his colleagues analyzed results from 13 prior clinical trials on the effectiveness of acetaminophen and found the reductions in pain for people with hip or knee osteoarthritis were so small they wouldn’t be considered “clinically important.” Acetaminophen improved pain in these patients by an average drop of just 4 points or less on a scale of 0 to 100. On the other hand, the researchers write, previous studies show that a regular strength and flexibility exercise routines can make a big difference when it comes to pain, compared to more sedentary folks. One study found exercise resulted in an average drop of 2.3 points on a 0 to 10 pain scale, nearly 5 times the impact of acetaminophen in the current study.

Before you toss your pill bottles, it’s worth discussing the risks and benefits with your doctor, Machado says, as every patient is different. And because this review only examined low back pain and hip or knee osteoarthritis, he can’t say whether people using acetaminophen for other painful conditions are reaping any benefits.

However, should you choose another pain-relief route, you do have effective and safe options to quiet barking hip and knee joints, Machado says. “Land- and water-based exercises, strength training, weight management, and oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (like ibuprofen) have also been shown to be effective for patients with lower limb osteoarthritis.” To help speed back pain recovery, he recommends getting some regular physical activity and avoiding bed rest. (Try these 4 exercises to ease back pain.)

One place to start is with this knee-protecting move: Using a set of light ankle weights, sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your palms on the sides of the chair for balance. Slowly lift one foot until the leg is straight. Hold for a couple of seconds, then lower it back to the floor. After you’ve done 10-12, repeat on the other leg.

‘Superhuman’ drug makes users dangerous: police

Confiscated vials of flakka. Photo / AP

A new synthetic drug makes people feel “superhuman” and has led to a series of dangerous incidents, United States police are warning.

Known as flakka, its effects include hallucinations, rage, delirium, paranoia and a sharp rise in body temperature which leads users to take off their clothes.

One naked man tried to kick in the door of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in Florida because he thought a mob was trying to kill him. Another, experiencing similar hallucinations, tried to climb the police station fence and became impaled on a spike, police said. He was taken to hospital and survived.

Other cases included a man who ran naked through a neighbourhood convinced he was the Norse god Thor, and tried to have sex with a tree.

Last week, Qushanna Doby, 20, was charged with child neglect after her 1-year-old baby was found abandoned in the street. She said she had blacked out after taking the drug and couldn’t remember where she left the child.

Flakka is mostly made in China and Pakistan and smuggled to the US through the post. It is usually sold in crystal form and can be smoked, injected or swallowed.

Don Maines, a drug treatment expert in Fort Lauderdale, said: “They feel stronger and more sensitive to touch. But then the paranoia sets in. It seems to be universal that they think someone is chasing them. It’s just a dangerous, dangerous drug.”

First complete 3D view of iconic Pillars of Creation released

The legendary space clouds known as The Pillars of Creation have revealed a whole lot of previously unseen things in a first-ever 3D view. The graceful, finger-like gas wonders can be glimpsed in stunning clarity in the accompanying video.

3D data visualisation of the Pillars of Creation (www.eso.org)

Mankind’s first encounter with the pillars happened in 1995, when the Hubble space telescope revealed the graceful gas protrusions, which are actually part of a region called the Eagle Nebula – a sort of star nursery, where violent births take place in clouds of gas. The radioactive stellar winds that are emitted when a birth takes place often disperse the gas around a new star, allowing for closer views.

But sometimes the clouds withstand these forces, obscuring the view. This happens in regions where the gas is more dense and full of stuff. Often, this battle of forces pushes the gas into peculiar shapes, such as the pillars.

An updated, higher-resolution view was provided in 2014, with the use of advanced new hardware. But this time, we’re getting a 3D rendition, which not only heightens the clarity but also allows scientists to more accurately place the finger-like clouds geographically in the nebula, as well as learn more about their distribution through the region.

The view was captured using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Like any cloud that answers to the laws of physics, we also know the pillars are slowly dissolving, losing mass ‘rapidly’ – about 70 Suns’ worth every million years. Seeing as science puts their total current mass at about 200 Suns, it looks like we have three million years more to observer the colorful shapes.

Getting there is of course a dream – the region is some 7,000 light years away. But we can study the beautiful formations from a distance. With a distance so vast, there’s no telling if the pillars are even there anymore – some scientists posit the theory they were engulfed in a supernova some 6,000 years ago. If true, we wouldn’t know for another thousand years.

The new findings are outlined in the new issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Watch the video. URL: https://youtu.be/uWklVPvk0C8

7 Most Unhealthy Processed Foods You Need To Avoid

Processed foods have the advantage of saving time and this makes them tempting to people who have a busy lifestyle and for those who don’t particularly like to cook. Most processed foods also come with a low price tag that is hard for many consumers to resist. However, at some point we really need to look at the hidden costs that processed foods have on our health.

It is no secret by now that the vast majority of processed foods are not healthy. In general, they are very low in nutrients, especially micronutrients like antioxidants and vitamins, while simultaneously being high on calories. They also contain industrially engineered ingredients that can be very harmful to the human body.

Eliminating all processed foods from your diet may be quite difficult. However, you can significantly improve your healthy by eliminating the worst of the processed foods. Below, you will find a list of the 7 most unhealthy processed foods.


Chicken Nuggets – Like hot dogs, chicken nuggets are at the pinnacle of industrialized foods. While you may think that chicken nuggets are mostly protein, the typical chicken nugget, including the famous chicken McNuggets, are more than 50 percent fat and they contain more carbs than protein. Keep in mind too, that the carb portion is made of very unhealthy carbs found in the fillers and breading.

Most chicken nuggets are deep fried, often in an oil containing trans fat. Trans fat causes cell membrane deformities that contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Most chicken nuggets also contain many unhealthy additives such as MSG and tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).



Soda Pop – There is nothing nutritional about sodas; they are empty calories. Moreover, they contain substances that can hurt you. As if sugar wasn’t bad enough, almost all sodas today use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener and this is even worse than sugar. HFCS has been shown to be damaging to the liver as well as causing blood glucose spikes even worse than normal table sugar would. Soda pop is a primary contributor to the obesity problem in the United States.

Soda pop is also one of the most powerful acid producing substances we can put into our bodies. As such, they cause our naturally alkaline body pH to become acidic. Cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment and can’t survive in an alkaline environment. An acidic body is also much more susceptible to viral and bacterial attacks since it weakens the natural defenses of the body’s immune system.


Hotdogs & Other Processed Meats – Hot dogs have been a staple of the American diet for decades. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports that Americans eat about twenty billion hot dogs a year. They also report that ninety-five percent of all American homes serve hot dogs. Of course, lunch meats like bologna also have similar ingredients.

The vast majority of hot dogs and other highly processed meats on the market contain loads of salt, MSG, sodium nitrate and other preservatives, artificial flavors, cheap unhealthy fillers, and mechanically separated meat and poultry. Most people don’t realize that mechanically separated meat has been so highly processed under extreme heat and pressure that whatever nutritional value it had to begin with is lost in the processing. For example, proteins become denatured under these extreme industrial conditions. If you have an absolute craving for a hot dog, look for nitrate free organic hot dogs with no preservations, artificial flavors, or meat byproducts.


Store Bought Cookies, Cake, Muffins, and Crackers – For the purpose of this article, cookies, cake, muffins, and crackers have all been lumped into a single category because the health issues associated with them are similar. Beyond the obvious high levels of sugar and salt, most of these products also contain trans fat. Trans fat is added in part because it is much cheaper than healthy fats and this makes them more profitable. However, trans fat is also added to prolong shelf life and to improve the texture. In fact, there are whole “food science” labs devoted to figuring out how to use trans fats and other industrial foods to achieve the perfect texture in these types of products.

To determine if a product contains trans fat, you should not go by what it states on the front of the label. The USFDA actually allows manufacturers to label their products with “zero trans fat” if each individual serving contains less than 0.05 grams of trans fat. Many manufacturers simply reduced the size of a serving to reach this magic number. So, instead of a serving size being three cookies, they might say it is one cookie so they could put a “zero trans fat” on the label. To know for sure if a product actually contains trans fat, you need to look at the ingredient list and look for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated.” If these words appear, then the product contains trans fat.

Many Popular Breakfast Cereals – Do you want to know why so many breakfast cereals are “fortified” with vitamins and minerals? The reason is because otherwise they would be so devoid of nutrition, no one would want to buy them. Fortified means that the vitamins are artificially added during the processing of the food. It’s no better than taking a crunchy vitamin, and in fact, usually a low quality vitamin. For example, these fortified cereals often add a form of vitamin D that is not easily used by the human body.

Most breakfast cereals are also loaded with sugar, or worse, high fructose corn syrup. If they contain corn, as many do, then you can bet it it is genetically modified (GMO) corn because this type of corn is much cheaper and this increases their profit. GMO corn has been shown to cause tumors in rodents in a recent study conducted in Europe. Research studies have been limited in the United States and other countries because Monsanto and other biotech companies threaten scientists with lawsuits if they conduct research with their patented seed. However, there have been many anecdotal cases showing cattle and other farm animals getting sick and/or dying from eating GMO corn.


Granola Bars – While you may be surprised to see granola bars on a list of the 7 most unhealthy processed foods, this is actually one of the reasons they are listed here. The marketing of granola bars are exceptionally deceptive. They are usually marketed as an exceptionally healthy food when in fact they are just the opposite. This means people tend to eat more of them thinking they are actually eating a super convenient, tasty, healthy food when they really are not. Parents also tend to feel good about giving granola bars to their kids but they really aren’t any healthier than a candy bar.

Regardless of what you see on the front of the packaging or hear in the commercials, almost every brand of granola bar contains high fructose corn syrup. If you don’t believe this fact, try going into any supermarket and finding a box of granola bars that don’t contain this harmful ingredient. You’ll be hard pressed to find one! Even if they say they are made with honey or maple syrup, read the ingredient label. Some will put a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup for flavor but most of the sweetness is still derived from high fructose corn syrup. They are also sometimes loaded with fat, including trans fat, and lots of sodium too!

Pre-Made Condiments and Salad Dressings – Most condiments and salad dressings contain high fructose corn syrup as this is a really cheap way food manufacturers can add bulk to their product and improve the flavor with very little cost. Many also contain trans fats and food additives like MSG. Another factor that makes them so unhealthy is that we tend to not think about what’s in condiments when we apply them to our food. Even a healthy fresh vegetable salad can quickly become an unhealthy meal if an unhealthy dressing is added.

One way to eat healthier is simply to make your own condiments and salad dressiongs where you can control the ingredients. You can usually store salad dressings and homemade ketchup for at least a week in the refrigerator.

In conclusion, one of the healthiest steps you can take to improving your health is eliminating, or at least significantly reducing, the processed foods you eat. It is also important for you to carefully read the ingredient label when shopping and not just depend on what it says on the front of the package.


Science Explains How Fructose, Glucose Affect Our Appetite

Scientists have revealed how fructose and glucose have different effects on physiological and behavioral responses to food.

To assess the different effects of the two sugars on hunger and food cue responses in the brain, Kathleen A. Page and colleagues conducted fMRI scans on 24 people who had been given drinks sweetened with fructose on one day and glucose on another day.

Participants were shown images of high-calorie foods and then reported their level of hunger and desire for the foods. Participants reported greater hunger and exhibited greater activity in the orbitofrontal cortex and visual cortex of the brain in response to the food images after ingesting fructose, compared with responses after ingesting glucose.

Further, the authors found that fructose produced a smaller plasma insulin response than glucose. When presented with a choice between delayed monetary rewards or immediate high-calorie food rewards, participants displayed greater willingness to give up monetary rewards for food rewards after ingesting fructose than after ingesting glucose. The results suggest that ingestion of fructose may not produce the same satiety effects as glucose, according to the authors.

Due to differences in metabolism, fructose may enhance the reward value of high-calorie food and promote eating, compared with glucose. (ANI)

Probiotics and Prebiotics and Conditions They Can Help Treat.

More and more, researchers are drawing connections between our health and the universe of bacteria that live inside our bodies — particularly in our guts. The world is full of microorganisms, and so are our bodies: There are 100 trillion microorganisms in our digestive tract alone! The healthy ones, called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria,” help your gut digest food and synthesize vitamins and essential fatty acids.

When we develop an imbalance in the amount of good bacteria versus bad bacteria in our bodies (often as a result of disease, diet or medication/antibiotics), we can develop symptoms and even chronic conditions that may be resistant to typical medical treatments.

dulezidar/iStock/Getty Images

Enter probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. They’re available mainly in the form of supplements and foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi.

The body of research on the benefits of consuming probiotics centers around digestive disorders (e.g., diarrhea, Crohn’s disease and the elusive irritable bowel syndrome). However, there are also strong linkages being drawn between our microbiomes and our immune health, autoimmune disease, inflammatory conditions and even obesity. Probiotics are also helpful in synthesizing vitamins (particularly B vitamins), lowering the risk of allergies, decreasing risk of dental caries and even mitigating lactose intolerance.

The benefits of one strain of probiotics may not necessarily apply to others, or even to different preparations of the same species or strain. If you are looking to treat a specific condition with probiotics, the list below may come in handy in your search for the right supplement for you. These are some probiotic genomes that recent research has associated with certain conditions.

Health Conditions and the Recommended Probiotics and Prebiotics

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Saccharomyces boulardii
Enterococcus faecium
Streptococcus thermophilus
Lactobacillus casei
Lactobacillus acidophilus

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
Lactobacillus plantarum
Bifidobacterium infantis
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG

Vaginal Yeast Infection:
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1
Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14

Immune Support:
Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus plantarum
Lactobacillus salivarius
Bifidobacterium bifidum
Bifidobacterium lactis
Lactobacillus casei Shirota
Lactobacillus casei
Lactobacillus reuteri

Lactose Intolerance:
Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Streptococcus thermophilus

Lactulose (prebiotic)
Oligofructose (prebiotic)
Inulin (prebiotic)
Bifidobacterium animalis
Lactobacillus casei Shirota

What Are Prebiotics?
I can’t write about probiotics without mentioning their partners in crime: prebiotics. Prebiotics are the indigestible carbohydrates that feed probiotics. They are found mainly in foods like Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, bananas, oatmeal and chicory root.

Some of the common health benefits associated with prebiotics include decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduced risk of colon cancer and relief of constipation. Prebiotics also decrease the pH of the colon and thereby increase mineral absorption and possibly even reduce the survival of some harmful bacteria.

Overall, if you’re looking to maintain a good balance of gut bacteria, simply eat a healthy, diverse diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and fermented products. You may also consider taking a probiotic supplement for specific conditions or after a course of antibiotics. Consult with a health professional to determine the best course of action for you and your situation.


Why MDMA May One Day Be Used In Couples Therapy

In recent years, the psychoactive drug MDMA has piqued the interest of psychologists, who are investigating whether it could be beneficial in treating mental health problems. A new study, which finds that the drug can facilitate introspection and help people to feel closer to their loved ones, further suggests this may be the case.

Known by the scientific name 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and sold on the street (often with dangerous additives) under the names Molly and ecstasy, MDMA is known to evoke feelings of intimacy and compassion.

The study, which was published this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, analyzed how the drug affects the way users talk about the important people in their lives — and showed evidence of these prosocial effects. People spoke in greater depth about their relationships and offered more details about intimate topics while under the influence of MDMA, the researchers found.

“With MDMA, you get these really increased feelings of sociability and closeness with others,” Matthew Kirkpatrick, a professor of preventative medicine at the University of Southern California and one of the study’s authors, told The Huffington Post. “When you’re on MDMA, you tend to focus on positive social-emotional stimuli, and you’re less reactive to negative emotional stimuli, such as fearful or angry faces.”

The findings suggest that MDMA may someday be a helpful tool couples therapy.Decades ago, MDMA was used in this context.

“I suspect you would see that couples would rate each other as being more emotionally responsive, they would feel closer to one another and they would engage in longer conversations about deeper topics,” Kirkpatrick explained. “I think it could be quite useful for couples counseling.”

For the small study, 35 healthy participants — all of whom had previous experience with MDMA — completed two sessions with a research assistant. During one session, participants were given MDMA and during another, a placebo. Researchers then asked the participants to talk freely about a close relationship.

The participants’ conversations were analyzed for content related to emotions, cognition and social interaction. Researchers found that MDMA prompted increased use of social and sexual words, as well as words relating to both positive and negative emotions. The participants using MDMA also spoke more about the future and death, likely because they were thinking introspectively, the researchers hypothesized.

“On a psychological level, our volunteers felt more insightful and confident about their feelings while on MDMA,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Matthew Baggott, a data scientist and neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, told The Huffington Post. “This seemed like a different, more unusual type of drug effect than simply being talkative and feeling good.”

In recent years, MDMA has been a subject of of growing interest to clinicians. Psychologists have found that the drug holds promise as a treatment for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness, social anxiety in autistic adults and post-traumatic stress disorder.

With further research, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may be available to individuals suffering from such disorders. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has invested $20 million to make MDMA an FDA-approved prescription medication by 2020.

But don’t go asking your therapist for an MDMA session just yet — we may be a number of years away from legalized MDMA-assisted therapy. The substance is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that it’s been deemed dangerous and without medical value. But some members of the medical community argue that it should be categorized as a Schedule III drug, which would allow doctors to administer it for therapeutic purposes.

“There’s a huge political component to MDMA,” Kirkpatrick said. “Something needs to change politically where MDMA can be seen as a safe and viable therapy under the proper settings.”

No association between lung cancer risk in women and reproductive history or hormone use

The Women’s Health Initiative Studies, a large prospective study of lung cancer, found no strong associations between lung cancer risk and a wide range of reproductive history variables and only revealed weak support for a role of hormone use in the incidence of lung cancer.

In the United States 40% of the 160,000 deaths from are women. In men 90% of lung cancer deaths are associated with tobacco usage; however in women this number is around 75-80%. Female never-smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer than male never-smokers and the histological subtype of lung cancer is different between men and women. Women have a better prognosis with a 5-year survival rate of 20% compared to 15.4% for men. Given these gender differences there is a need to understand the potential role of reproductive factors and hormone use in determining lung cancer risk in women.

The Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study and Clinical Trials enrolled a geographically and ethnically diverse cohort of 161,808 postmenopausal women age 50-79 years between 1993 and 1998 at 40 centers across the United States. Reproductive history, oral contraceptive use, and hormone therapy replacement was evaluated in the 160,855 women eligible to be included in the analysis. Incident lung cancer was observed in 2,467 and the median follow-up was 14 years.

The results published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, show that with previous use of estrogen plus progestin (< 5 years) were at a slightly reduced risk for lung cancer. Increasing age at menopause trended towards reduced risk whereas increasing number of children trended towards increased risk. Those who were age 20-29 at the birth of their first child had reduced risk of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but not all lung cancer. Risk estimates for hormone therapy usage and previous surgery to remove both ovaries varied with tobacco exposure history.

The authors conclude “our study does not support the idea that reproductive history independently contributes to lung cancer risk, and recapitulates the inconsistent findings within epidemiologic literature on lung cancer risk and reproductive history measures. Likewise, the epidemiologic literature is also inconsistent with regard to the role of hormone use in lung cancer risk and the overall results presented by our study suggest that oral contraceptives and hormone therapy use are not associated with risk of lung cancer.” The lead author Ann G. Schwartz, Deputy Center Director, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University and member of IASLC, cautions that “questions remain about estrogen and lung that will not easily be answered by studies focusing on  use and

Esophageal Cancer: Five Things You Need to Know.

Although it is not a common disease, esophageal cancer affects about 18,000 new patients each yearin the United States. Typically, the disease is found more often in men than in women, with men having about a ten-fold higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.

“Esophageal and gastric cancers are some of the most stubborn and aggressive cancers that we treat in the United States today,” explains Peter Enzinger, MD, director of the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer at Dana-Farber. “Therapies must be quite aggressive to treat these cancers, but we must know how to effectively treat any side effects as well.”

Here are five key facts you should know about esophageal cancer:

1.      What are the risk factors associated with esophageal cancer?

While smoking and drinking can increase the likelihood of developing esophageal cancer, the disease can affect anyone.

Some common risk factors are:

2.      What is Barrett’s esophagus and how does it relate to esophageal cancer?

Peter Enzinger, MD, sees patients in the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer at Dana-Farber.

Barrett’s esophagus is a pre-cancerous or, in some cases, early form of esophageal cancer. It is often due to chronic inflammation from acid reflux and appears as abnormal cells lining the esophagus. When detected early, there is a better chance of preventing the further development of cancer.

If diagnosed, it is important to treat Barrett’s esophagus to prevent the development of esophageal cancer. People diagnosed with an early form of Barrett’s esophagus will take medication and make lifestyle changes to reverse symptoms. If it is a high-grade form of Barrett’s esophagus, doctors may use a procedure called radiofrequency ablation, which removes abnormal tissue and allows normal tissue to grow back.

3.      What are the signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer?

The early stages of esophageal cancer typically have no symptoms. As the disease advances, symptoms start to become more noticeable. The most common symptoms include painful/difficult swallowing, weight loss, and regurgitation of food.

4.      How is esophageal cancer diagnosed?

A physician will conduct several tests to determine whether someone has esophageal cancer. The tests typically include a combination of chest X-rays, barium swallow, esophagoscopy, endoscopy,blood chemistry studies, complete blood count (CBC), or endoscopic ultrasound (EUS).

5.      What are the treatment options for esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer is difficult to treat because it is usually diagnosed in later stages of the disease. For many patients, doctors will perform surgery to remove the cancer. If the disease is diagnosed in a later stage, doctors may also recommend chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy prior to surgery.

Patients may also consider clinical trials for treatment. Dana-Farber currently offers several clinical trials for esophageal cancer and a national list is maintained at clinicaltrials.gov.

Used tyres can minimise the earthquake’s impact on buildings

Waste tyres can be a great environmental concern but a professor at a Japanese university hailing from Assam has developed earthquake resistant techniques using them which he says can be effective and affordable means to minimise impact on buildings.

Nepalese policemen look for survivors in the debris of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal ,Sunday, April 26, 2015. Sleeping in the streets and shell-shocked, Nepalese cremated the dead and dug through rubble for the missing Sunday, a day after a massive Himalayan earthquake devastated the region and destroyed homes and infrastructure. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

These techniques can be implemented all over the world, especially in Asia, says Hemanta Hazarika, professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Kyushu University in Fukuoka.

Hazarika, who is the secretary of a technical committee of International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) related to Geotechnical Natural Hazards in Asian region, is currently in Nepal as part of a Japanese expert team dispatched to the quake-ravaged country.

He has patented one of the techniques and a prototype construction of tyre-retaining wall is planned in Japan within the next few months to replace a conventional retaining wall, which was completely damaged by last year’s earthquake in Nagano.

“These techniques can preserve the environment, mitigate disaster and reduce cost. Judicious combination of these three factors is very important for innovative construction techniques,” 47-year-old Hazarika told PTI.

As dumped tyres will be used in the construction, these techniques are very affordable in developing countries as they are cost effective as compared to other existing techniques which can only be afforded by rich nations, he says.

Elaborating on the techniques, Hazarika, an alumnus of IIT-Madras, says the first one is related to retaining wall protection from an earthquake.

Tyre chips are used as cushion to prevent damage of waterfront structure during an earthquake.

“The second technique is related to the protection of private houses against earthquake shaking and related phenomenon such as liquefaction. Here also tyre chips or tyre chips mixed with sand or gravel are used. The third technique is about protection of sea wall and river embankment from scouring and erosion due to tsunami and wave effect. In this technique, whole tyres are used.”

“Since tyres do not look good, planting of trees and shrubs are suggested and our field experiment shows that tyre can be planted easily and plants can cover them to make the surrounding green,” he explains.

Test results have indicated that the use of these techniques leads not only to the reduction of the seismic load, but also the seismically induced permanent displacement of the structure.

The techniques also could prevent the bumpiness of the backfill after an earthquake, thus maintaining the performance of infrastructural facilities after strong earthquakes.

In the recent Nepal quake, besides killing thousands of people, the deadly earthquake has also had a heavy toll on buildings.

According to estimates, at least 175 residential buildings were destroyed in central Kathmandu while nearly 150,000 dwellings collapsed across the country.

Hazarika had been in Nepal twice as part of the ISSMGE to study natural hazards issues, especially earthquakes, liquefaction and landslide.

He said he would be more than happy to share his expertise and explore possibilities of implementation of his techniques in India.

“Northeast of India which has high probability of similar earthquakes as in Nepal needs utmost disaster mitigation measures. It is time to act now otherwise it will be too late,” he warned.