Pneumonia Kills Children More than Any Other Disease


Pneumonia is one of the diseases that cause children deaths over the world especially in developing countries. Every year more than 1.9 million children die due to pneumonia. According to WHO, pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children worldwide, accounting for 15% of all deaths of children under 5 years old. In 2013, an estimation of about 935 000 children under the age of five died because of the disease.

Pneumonia is an inflammation that touches lungs especially the air sacs or what is known as alveoli. When lungs are infected, alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, something that makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake. The disease is mostly caused by viruses, bacteria infection, and fungi and it is known by symptoms including chest pain, cough, and breathing problems.

A recently published study investigated the prevalence of pneumonia in developing countries among young children and tried to understand the disease’s relation with nutrition. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from department of Applied Nutrition and Food Technology, Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh. Researchers tried to find the relation between nutritional status and incidence of pneumonia and diarrhoea among children under the age of 5 with reference to socioeconomic status of their parents.

The study enrolled a total of 400 children aged between 0-60 months from poor families and low educational level. Results showed that “the higher prevalence (62.72%) and frequency (1.85) of pneumonia was found in under 12 months of age.” The rate in all children surveyed was 53%.

Malnutrition is among the factors behind pneumonia. The study stated “even poor nutrition or marginal malnutrition can predispose children to pneumonia.” This is understood through the challenging situation of childhood nutrition in the Asian countries as referred to in the study “childhood malnutrition is comparatively high in Southern Asia likely 45-48% in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, 38% in Pakistan and 30% in Sri Lanka.”

Also, scientists supposed a relation between pneumonia and anemia. They said that “anemia also significantly increases the risk of pneumonia in children which indicate that anemia might be a risk factor for lower respiratory tract infections including pneumonia…” Besides, the study made reference to other factors that can lead to pneumonia including “low birth weight, underweight, and lack of breastfeeding” the study said.

UNICEF revealed encouraging statistics stating that “global under-five mortality rate has declined by nearly half (49%) since 1990, dropping from 90 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013.” However, the world, especially developing countries where the rates are still high, need to face diseases that raise child mortality including pneumonia and diarrhea that “kill 1.2 million of children every year than any other illness – more than AIDS, malaria and measles.”

Does Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Have Negative Effects on Health?


There was always a controversy whether some food additives have negative effects on health. Among these additives that have been subject to much discussion and several scientific studies, the Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). As mentioned in Wikipedia “MSG is used in the food industry as a flavor enhancer with an umami taste that intensifies the meaty, savory flavor of food, as naturally occurring glutamate does in foods such as stews and meat soups.”

The use of MSG as a flavor enhancer is mainly used in Asian cuisine such as Japan, China, and others, as well as in different parts of the world. A lot of people relate many symptoms such as flushing, headache, and other health problems to the MSG intake. But for decades, scientists haven’t found firm evidence relating between MSG and these symptoms.

A new study conducted by researchers from Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia, has gone through a number of researches that studied effects of MSG, both on rodents and human, and tried to review these studies to find an answer to the question if MSG has negative effects on health or not.

Researchers tried to analyze MSG effects in relation with what is mainly discussed by scientists namely “Neurotoxic effects in brain, obesity and metabolic defects, ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ and detrimental effects on sex organs” as stated in the study.

Effects on Central Nervous System

In previous studies made on rats, researchers showed that high doses of MSG “causes neuronal necrosis in hypothalamic arcuate nuclei in neonatal rats…MSG (4 mg/g, subcutaneously, on post-natal days 1, 3, 5 and 7) led to prefrontal cerebral cortex changes, including fewer neurons, shorter and less ramified dendritic processes and loss of cortical cell number from postnatal day 8-14 compared to control rats.”

The main issue that researchers have always faced is relating these studies’ results that are done on rodents to human. Researchers said “Although the toxic effects of MSG on the CNS have been shown in previously mentioned animal studies, there are problems to apply these results` to human MSG intake.”

In this context, scientists stated a study that was led by FAO and WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives in 1988 stressing out that “blood levels of glutamate associated with lesions of the hypothalamus in the neonatal mouse were not approached in humans even after bolus doses of 10 g MSG in drinking water.” “Also the Consensus meeting in 2007 noted that glutamate did not trespass into fetal circulation, even in high doses” the study added.

Obesity and Metabolic Disturbances

To investigate effects of MSG on obesity, researchers of the above mentioned study have analyzed data from studies done on animals “in which neonatal administration of MSG provides a model of obesity with impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance led to concerns about obesity in humans using MSG in food.”

It is noticed that “MSG increased mRNA expression of interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, resistin and leptin in visceral adipose tissue, it increased insulin, resistin and leptin levels in serum and it also impaired glucose tolerance” the study stated. Also, researchers made a hypothesis that “MSG could induce liver injury likely as a consequence of incipient nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, contributing to inflammation… (Besides), the development of hepatic insulin resistance could be the consequence of deregulation between liver and adipose tissue.”

A lot more studies have discussed this relation between MSG and obesity, but the study stressed out that though some studies found positive effects, but “the application of these results to human MSG intake is difficult due to differences in mechanisms which could potentially lead to obesity and possible combination with other substances leading to potentiation or inhibition of particular compounds` effects.”

Other MSG Effects

To evaluate other effects of MSG, researchers have stated a study which is done in China to question relation between MSG and hemoglobin. The study took samples of 1197 Chinese men and women and they “found a positive association between MSG intake and hemoglobin increase only in men. The authors hypothesized that MSG effect could be mediated via leptin due to the potential role of leptin in hematopoiesis” the study discussed.


Researchers come to a conclusion that though studies found positive toxic effects of MSG on nervous system, adipose tissue, insulin resistance, liver, reproductive organs, and many other body systems and organs, in studies conducted on animals; however, these results are hard to be applicable on humans because of differences in doses that could be taken by humans and animals. Yet, toxic effects of MSG on the body are still not clear and much research still needed to clarify that, so one should consider some negative effects when consuming this substance.


What Relation between Retinol Binding Protein 4, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes?


WHO defines obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. The obese person is the one with a BMI of 30 or more, to distinguish it from an overweight person who has a BMI between 25 and 30. A person becomes obese when there isn’t balance between calories he eats and what he uses.

Obesity has become an alarming problem for world health as 2.8 million people die each year due to overweight and obesity. The latter increases the risk of getting different diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, arthritis, diabetes and others. To evaluate obesity’s effects in relation with these diseases it causes, a number of scientific studies have assessed this relation in quest of finding the appropriate answers.

In this context, a new published study which is conducted by a group of researchers from Physiology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Egypt, has worked on determining relationship between Retinol Binding Protein 4 (RBP4) and insulin resistance, something that has direct link with diabetes.

Researchers of the study started from the assumption that “Retinol binding protein (4 RBP4) attracted a considerable attention as an adipokine that provides a possible link between expression of adipose GLUT4 in adipocytes and insulin resistance.”

Based on results, scientists showed that “RBP4 levels were elevated in overweight and obese subjects and correlated positively with BMI.” The study made reference to previous studies that found that there’s a relation between RBP4 and the insulin sensitivity. “Changes in RBP4 have systemic effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis in humans” researchers added. And this has direct effects on glucose metabolism.

To carry their study, researchers divided the participants into 3 groups. After analyzing their collected data they noticed that “2hr (OGTT) glucose and lipid profile (total cholesterol, T.G, and LDL-C) were all significantly higher in overweight and obese groups as compared to normal group.”

Researchers said that “it is possible that an increased serum RBP4 prevents the transthyretin from exerting its β-cell stimulus secretion effects. In addition, RBP4 might have a direct role in the progression of lipogenesis, as it was found that RBP4 increased the expression of the gene encoding fatty acid synthase in adipose tissue.”

After making different data analysis, researchers come to a conclusion that “serum RBP4 levels were elevated in overweight and obese men as compared with normal weight subjects and were associated with increased E2/T ratio and HOMA-IR in obese men. In addition, direct effect of T and or E2 on RBP4 expression from liver or adipose tissue could not be excluded. Finally, the disturbance in E2/T ratio seems to affect RBP4 serum levels and insulin sensitivity in obese me.”

Can the Archetype of Ordinary Woman Fit All Products in Advertisement?

ordinary woman_advertisment

Advertisement is a necessity for companies to connect more customers and persuade audience to purchase. Brands have always relied on the power of woman’s physical appearance to lead advertising campaigns. In order to connect consumers and reflect a good image of the product and brand, the embodiment of products in idealized models or celebrity endorsement are widespread phenomena in marketing. But what about promoting using the archetype of ordinary woman?

A recently published study has investigated the use of ordinary woman in advertisement and how successful it could be for different products. The study which is conducted by researchers from “Faculty of Economics and Management, Sfax, Tunisia” and published in a Journal of Marketing Research and Case Studies asked and tried to answer the question of how could the ordinary woman be a reference to designers for all types of products?

In quest of answers, researchers of the study investigated the celebrity endorsement and how effectively it is on the product’s success. A lot of brands choose celebrities to endorse their products based on the idea that “what is beautiful is good”. In their marketing strategy, brands then target “‘emotional feeling’ rather than the relational one” making the celebrity’s beauty an affecting element on the product’s image. The celebrity’ beauty is intended to make the product “more attractive and appealing, motivating consumers to pay attention to advertising messages.”

Brands turn to this strategy “to fight against the commoditization in saturated markets and thwart competition.” But, according to researchers “it is not the right device to accelerate the process of persuasion.”

Researchers mentioned that different risks are raised following this kind of advertising for instance the huge amount of money spent in favor of celebrities that would affect the financial abilities of the brand. Also, “highly attractive models (HAM) monopolize the attention of exposed persons (Till et al, 1998), which contributes to the neglect of the brands in question.” Another risk of this strategy “is related to celebrities’ life. In fact, any negative information about celebrity produces negative effects on brand’s attitude, and reduces the credibility of spokesperson.”

To avert all these risks, managers can turn to ordinary women as archetypes in their advertising campaigns. The study cited that “the model of “ordinary woman” could be the solution for recipients seeking identification. It can also be a good way for managers to stand out from competitors who don’t stop using celebrities”. However, the archetype of ordinary woman is not likely to fit all products.

Researchers conducted and analyzed data collected from 30 individuals in aim of discussing “the question of correspondence between the “ordinary” woman and the various types of products.” The study stated that results “show that the physical characteristics of the model and values are very important to advertise products.”

For their analysis, researchers based their study on different products and how the archetype of ordinary woman can fit to a product more than another. Researchers studied 5 products including Luxury product (watch with diamonds), Durable product (car), Mass consumption product (pasta), Electronic product, and service (hotel). Results showed “that the archetype of OW fit more food like pasta than other types of product…”

Depending on the study’s results, the archetype of ordinary woman might be successful for certain products, but it couldn’t be for all. So, in order to lead a successful advertising campaign, every brand has to choose the archetype of woman that would fit its product in order to reach the aimed success.

Impact of Buzz Marketing on Brand Image and Purchase Decision

buzz marketing

In a way or another we all play at some point the marketing agent for certain products or brands. When we recommend a brand for a friend or just talk about it in an exciting way, then we are enticing him to do the same. This is what’s referred to in marketing as word of mouth and it is more effective than a commercial on radio, TV, or anywhere else. Businesses try to find ways to let people talk about them, and to reach that goal, they base their campaigns on this word-of-mouth marketing strategy or what is also known as buzz marketing.

As defined by Wikipedia, buzz marketing “is the interaction of consumers and users of a product or service which amplifies or alters the original marketing message. This emotion, energy, excitement, or anticipation about a product or service can be positive or negative.” But as a person who is not of marketing, you might wonder how this buzz marketing can impact purchasing decision?

A new study conducted by a group of researchers from “Faculty of Economics and Management of Tunis” and published here on the Journal of Marketing Research & Case Studies, has tried to answer this question. The study’s focus is to clarify how effective buzz marketing is and determines its contribution to advertising.

History of buzz marketing

“Buzz marketing is initially appeared on the Internet…Indeed, the tools inherent in this type of media used to convey information in a few clicks. The message can be sent directly to a third person…Born around 1997, it travels out of bounds and win virtual ‘reality’” the study discussed the founding and the first stages of buzz marketing.

Impact of Buzz marketing

To create buzz around a business, marketers try to give people something to talk about using different strategies such as building suspense around a product or the launch of an event, or create controversy about that…etc. Yet creating a buzz is not always positive on the image of the business, but it can also be negative.

Negative Impact

Researchers of the above study stated Hughes’ analysis that “action buzz marketing can harm the brand, that is to say, if it generates a negative and uncontrollable buzz due to the non-appreciation of the brand or the message it tries broadcast.” So, businesses have to carefully control their message because “bad buzz marketing can have dramatic repercussions on brand sales.”

Positive Impact

For the aim of building a positive image of the business “buzz marketing should be permanently creativity, mixing fantasy and reality. The ultimate goal is to surprise, aroused the curiosity of consumers and especially to talk about the brand beyond the action” the study stated. “The brand tries to make an experience to the consumer by offering to become his privileged ambassador in order to promote a product or service.”

Impact on the awareness to the brand

To search what impact buzz marketing has on the awareness to the brand, the study stated that it “uses social ties of some consumer groups called community (individuals with common behaviors) to promote an offer…In the field of the community, the product is a recognition factor, a real tool that creates a link among individuals in the community.” So, marketers need to shape their strategies to meet these needs. “The means of communication used to promote a product must meet the criteria of belonging to a community as it is.”

Influence on purchase decision

The successful buzz marketing maintains a good relationship between the brand and customer. “This new consumer involvement will help generate word of mouth that meets the objectives of the company and thus affect many people.” Customers then turn to be “full participants of the brand and not just as consumers. Thus, the post-modern consumer is primarily a consommacteur” meaning an “active brand vector.”

To weigh the effectiveness of a buzz marketing campaign, marketers measure its variables that reveal the influence including image, awareness and purchasing decision. Researchers of this study have shown that the image of a brand is affected by buzz marketing and has also an impact on the customer’s awareness of the brand, and thus his decision to purchase. The idea of buzz marketing goes beyond the classic view that sees customer “an actor but his own consumption influences the consumption of others.”