FAISALABAD - University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said on Sunday that salinity was affecting 6.8 million acres of land in the country which posing a threat of food insecurity.

He was talking to the participants of seminar on Quinoa arranged by the JK Agricultural Farms here on Sunday.

DCO, Noorul Amin Mengal, Farms Head, Anwar Javaid and Director General Extension Anjum Bhuttar were also present. Dr Iqrar said that land could be cultivated with sowing of climate and saline resistance crops as a step towards increasing the production and to alleviate poverty.

He said that Quinoa was having the resistance against the saline and climate changes. It is also a gluten free food and help lower down the threat of increasing blood pressure, he observed.

The demand of gluten free food is increasing, he said and added the country had the potential to tap the international market by promoting its cultivation. The demand of the quinoa only in United States is sanding at 43 million US dollar, he added.

He said that world key players of the production include Peru, Bolivia, Chilli and Argentina. He directed the UAF scientists to make research on the crop so that the best one would be promoted in the county.

Briefing on the importance of quinoa, Prof Dr Shehzad Basra from the Department of Crop Physiology said the world production of quinoa was standing at 90 thousands metric tonnes.

He said that Pakistan per acre quinoa production is 32 maunds whereas the country has the potential of getting 80 maunds per acre.

DCO Noorul Amin Mengal said that the agriculture was a backbone of our economy, contributing 21 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said that increase in per acre yield was essential to ensure food security. 

Anwar Javaid said that adoption of modern techniques and practices would pave way for increasing the agricultural yield in the country.

Breathing problems, asthma losses bone: Study



People with asthma-related breathing problems may be at increased risk for bone loss, according to a new study.

The study examined the records of more than 7,000 adults in Seoul, Korea, and found those with a certain characteristic of asthma had significantly lower bone density in a region of their spine than those without asthma symptoms, Khaleej Times reported.

The characteristic, called airway hyper responsiveness, means the airways in the lungs are particularly sensitive, and it doesn’t take much to trigger an asthma attack.

However, both men and women with airway hyper responsiveness were still in the normal range for overall bone density, on average.

“Asthma could be a risk for bone loss. The degree to which their disease puts them at risk for bone loss and fractures needs to be further studied,” Dr Sonal Singh said.

“We should be thinking about fractures in patients with asthma,” he said.”The study did make me think about the link between asthma and bone loss as I see my patients.”

Singh, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, was not involved in the current research but has studied broken bones in people taking steroids for chronic obstructive lung disease.

For the new study, researchers led by Dr. Jae-Woo Jung of Seoul National University Medical Research Centre analysed the health records of 7,034 patients seen at their hospital.

They found average bone density was lower in the lumbar spine in the 216 people who tested positive for airway hyper responsiveness.            

Fractures are a known side effect of the systemic steroids used to treat asthma, Jung and colleagues write. Several studies have also tied inhaled steroids to decreased bone density, they note.

Steroids can decrease bone formation by stopping calcium from being absorbed. The drugs can also interfere with production of hormones, causing muscle weakness and raising the risk of falls and related fractures, according to the National Institutes of Health.