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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

5 BIOHACKS TO HELP YOU EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS & TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR OWN BIOLOGY

What is Biohacking? It’s changing your external and internal environment so you have full control of your biology, allowing you to upgrade your body, mind, and life.To change your external and internal environment so you have full control of your biology, allowing you to upgrade your body, mind, and life. It’s the art and science of becoming a ‘superhuman.’
The world of biohacking has been exploding popularity and everyone from stay-at-home moms to Fortune 500 CEOs is looking to find that edge. This means better performance at work, increased strength and focus, better sleep, and an effortless diet, just to name a few. But can the ingenuity of biohackers be used to increase one’s consciousness? Here are 5 ways to achieve elevated consciousness through biohacking.

1. Learn to Meditate Like a Buddhist Monk in 5 Days

A regular meditation practice clearly impacts your consciousness and your ability to look inward. However, newbie meditators usually find it difficult to do, and meditation proficiency is somewhat subjective. Yet biohackers have developed neurofeedback devices that can measure what state you’re in and thus help guide you into the correct mental state, acting like training wheels for your meditative practice. These devices range from small handheld electronics for home use to the coveted 40 Years of Zen program, a 5 day full immersion program in which you are monitored by the world’s most advanced neuroscientists. This program claims that after the 5 day course, you will have the ability to meditate like someone who has practiced every day for 20-40 years. Here is how they describe the benefits of achieving deep meditation through the use of their program:
Neurofeedback helps you get to the heart of thoughts and feelings that are holding you back. Many ailments and suffering we endure are due to some aspect of false perception or thinking. If you come from a technical background, think of it as “bad data”. Essentially, you are believing thoughts that aren’t true as you listen to the noise in your head rather than accessing the truth and wisdom to be that can be found in the space between your thoughts. By using neurofeedback training, you can filter out the noise and access a higher level of awareness and thinking.

2. Cold Therapy

This is the act of submerging most of your body in cold water. It has been practiced for over 100 years, but the multitude of health benefits it offers are only recently being understood. The evolution of this practice has led to the emergence of Cryosaunas, a chamber that cools the skin using liquid nitrogen and refrigerated cold air, which can achieve similar (and arguably better) results to an ice bath in just a few minutes.
Wim Hoff, commonly referred to as “The Ice Man,” holds multiple world records for enduring extreme cold temperatures. His abilities are not completely understood by the medical field and he is being studied by researchers at Radboud University Medical Center in the Neatherlands.
What is not widely known is that Wim discovered this ability out of sheer intuition. One day while sitting in a park, grieving the death of his wife and trying to achieve relief from the emotional pain he was feeling, he decided to walk into a very cold pond at the park. Upon doing so, he gapsed for air, and noticed that his mind emptied and became still when faced with the extreme cold temperatures. This gave him some relief and he continued this practice regularly.
Wim claims that this cold therapy has ended his suffering. It has also given him the ability to control his autonomic nervous system, which modern medicine thought was impossible. While doctors once believed that Wim was an anomaly and that only he could perform these superhuman feats, he has since taught many people his Method, which includes easy to learn breathing exercises that he claims anyone can be taught. Here is a video of researchers injecting Wim with a bacteria endotoxin that would make anyone have strong, cold-like symptoms such as a fever and chills. However, he was able to suppress the immune response and remain unaffected.
Keep an eye out for this biohacker.

3. Heart Coherence

The intuitive abilities and intellect of the heart have been proven by researchers at The Institute of Heartmath. This fascinating research shows us many things, one of which is that the heart has a measurable response several seconds before something bad happens. As Dr. Rollin McCarthy explains, “What this body of research is telling us is that the heart seems to be connected to a type of intuition that is not bound by the limits of time and space.” You can watch the video of this mind-blowing experiment by clicking here.
You can increase your heart coherence by using a home use device sold by the Institute of Heartmath. Their products are not prohibitively expensive and this non-profit organization has sold over 5 million units in over 100 countries.

4. Dance/Bioenergetics

Dancing is a form of expression as old as mankind itself. Many people enjoy how fun and liberating dancing can be, and experience all kinds of benefits from expressing themselves through movement. However, we can also benefit from movement of a different sort, called Bioenergetics.
There are several aspects to Bioenergetics and one of them involves shaking and moving without rhythm or pattern. The purpose is to break the bounds that society puts on us. I’m sure we all remember being a kid in school and having our teacher tell us to be quiet and still, and if not, our psyche certainly does.
The conecpt is simple: As you move in a way that you never have before, your frame of reference in terms of movement will expand. This will leach into the mind and create more spontaniety and creativity. Watch Elliot Hulse perform what he calls “Shake and Vibrate” to get a better idea of the concept.

5. Gratitude

Being in a state of gratitude has a ton of benefits and simply feels good. Many high achievers attest to the power of gratitude and it is a key variable in The Law of Attraction. But like many good practices, if not incorporated into your daily routine, they fall by the wayside.
Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas created “The Five Minute Journal” which, when used for mere minutes each day, offers many benefits. Deceptively simple, it asks the user to spend no more then a few minutes writing down a daily affirmation, something they are grateful for, and what would make the day great. At night, the user jots down three amazing things that happened that day and what would make the next day better. Simple, yet effective.

Can These Biohacks Really Improve My Life?

I could simply say “absolutely!” but let me instead tell you what it did for me.
On March 23rd, 2014, I was shot 7 times by a hitman. I was hit in the head, chest, neck, shoulder, arm, and twice in the ribs. I was left with a collapsed lung and a radial nerve palsy (paralyzed left hand). The lung healed but I didn’t regain movement in my hand and doctors told me that it wasn’t going to move again.
Then I came across Dave Asprey and his many Bulletproof Biohacks. I incorporated these biohacks into my life and the results cannot be explained by modern day medicine. Hear me tell the whole story on stage at the 2015 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. As a side note, the 2016 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference is taking place in California on September 23-25. I’ll be there along with the other 1000+ biohackers who have improved their lives by incorporating these cutting edge strategies.
Source:Collective Evolution

Nondrug approaches effective for treatment of common pain conditions, review suggests

Data from a review of U.S.-based clinical trials published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggest that some of the most popular complementary health approaches -- such as yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture -- appear to be effective tools for helping to manage common pain conditions. The review was conducted by a group of scientists from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health.
Millions of Americans suffer from persistent pain that may not be fully relieved by medications. They often turn to complementary health approaches to help, yet primary care providers have lacked a robust evidence base to guide recommendations on complementary approaches as practiced and available in the United States. The new review gives primary care providers -- who frequently see patients with chronic pain -- tools to inform decision-making on how to help manage that pain.
"For many Americans who suffer from chronic pain, medications may not completely relieve pain and can produce unwanted side effects. As a result, many people may turn to nondrug approaches to help manage their pain," said Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., NCCIH's lead epidemiologist and lead author of the analysis. "Our goal for this study was to provide relevant, high-quality information for primary care providers and for patients who suffer from chronic pain."
The researchers reviewed 105 U.S.-based randomized controlled trials, from the past 50 years, that were relevant to pain patients in the United States and met inclusion criteria. Although the reporting of safety information was low overall, none of the clinical trials reported significant side effects due to the interventions.
The review focused on U.S.-based trial results on seven approaches used for one or more of five painful conditions -- back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine -- and found promise in the following for safety and effectiveness in treating pain:
  • Acupuncture and yoga for back pain
  • Acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Massage therapy for neck pain with adequate doses and for short-term benefit
  • Relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine.
Though the evidence was weaker, the researchers also found that massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and osteopathic manipulation may provide some help for back pain, and relaxation approaches and tai chi might help people with fibromyalgia.
"These data can equip providers and patients with the information they need to have informed conversations regarding non-drug approaches for treatment of specific pain conditions," said David Shurtleff, Ph.D., deputy director of NCCIH. "It's important that continued research explore how these approaches actually work and whether these findings apply broadly in diverse clinical settings and patient populations."

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided byNIH/National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Polyunsaturated fat in adipose tissue linked to lower mortality

In a study from Uppsala University, published in the American journal JAMA Cardiology, the fatty acid linoleic acid (Omega 6) in subcutaneous adipose tissue was linked to lower mortality among older men followed over a 15-year period.
A high proportion of linoleic acid in adipose tissue largely reflects a high intake of various vegetable oils, as this study also demonstrated. The findings may further indicate that an excessively low intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids increases the risk of (premature) death. However, no clear correlation could be established with mortality from cardiovascular disease. This study is the largest yet conducted examining the association between specific fatty acids in adipose tissue and the intake of these fatty acids. The study is also the largest forward-looking study to have analysed the associations between fatty acids in adipose tissue, cardiovascular disease, and mortality from all causes.
The question of what type of fat food should contain has been hotly debated. According to current dietary guidelines, food should contain a relatively high proportion of unsaturated ¬- including 'polyunsaturated' -- fatty acids. One difficulty in dietary studies is finding a reliable method of measuring dietary intake, particularly over an extended period. Measuring the fatty acid composition of adipose tissue can therefore make a valuable contribution to our knowledge about the association between diet and disease. The composition of adipose tissue provides an objective reflection of the average fat intake in recent years, particularly of fatty acids that the body cannot produce itself, such as the Omega 6 fatty acid linoleic acid derived from vegetable sources. Linoleic acid occurs in sunflower, rapeseed and other vegetable oils, in soft table and cooking fats (margarine), nuts and seeds.
In the population-based study ULSAM (Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men), adipose tissue biopsy specimens and blood samples were taken from 853 men at the age of 71 years. At about the same time, the men in the study were asked to fill in a food diary over a period of seven days. Many of the men underestimated their intake of energy and fat. Disregarding the men who reported most inadequately, a clear correlation was evident between the proportion of linoleic acid in adipose tissue and the food diaries. Somewhat weaker correlations were observed between fatty acids in the blood and reported intake, while strong correlations were observed between adipose tissue and blood for most fatty acids. Overall, the findings indicate that the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids in adipose tissue reflects the individual's intake of these fatty acids over the long term, and this appears to be particularly true of linoleic acid, which is the most common polyunsaturated fatty acid. With regard to Omega 3 fats, however, this study showed no clear association with a risk of cardiovascular disease or mortality.
After taking statistical account of a number of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, no clear correlations with cardiovascular disease were observed for any fatty acid (251 deaths during a 15-year follow-up period). However, for total mortality (605 deaths) a correlation was seen, with a higher proportion of linoleic acid in adipose tissue being associated with a ten per cent lower risk of death. Linoleic acid is known to reduce the content of bad cholesterol in the blood, but the study cannot answer the question of whether this is the explanation for the association with reduced mortality.
The study is unique in measuring various fatty acids in adipose tissue among a large population of older men, followed over an extended period of time.
'Even though the study cannot prove any causal connection, the findings nevertheless support current dietary advice to replace some hard fats in the diet -- namely, those with a high proportion of saturated fatty acids -- with softer fats, e.g. vegetable oils with a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids,' says David Iggman, a physician and researcher at the Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Unit at Uppsala University.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Uppsala University

Six-day clinical trial finds integrative medicine program alters blood serum

In a novel controlled clinical trial, participants in a six-day Ayurvedic-based well-being program that featured a vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga and massages experienced measurable decreases in a set of blood-based metabolites associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease risk and cholesterol regulation.
The findings, published in the September 9 issue of Scientific Reports, represent a rare attempt to use metabolic biomarkers to assess the reported health benefits of integrative medicine and holistic practices. Senior author of the study, which included researchers from multiple institutions, was Deepak Chopra, MD, clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a noted proponent of integrative medicine.
"It appears that a one-week Panchakarma program can significantly alter the metabolic profile of the person undergoing it," said Chopra, whose foundation provided and managed funding for the study. "As part of our strategy to create a framework for whole systems biology research, our next step will be to correlate these changes with both gene expression and psychological health."
Study co-author Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor of family medicine and public health and director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health, both at UC San Diego School of Medicine, noted that alternative and integrative medicine practices, such as meditation and Ayurveda, are extremely popular, but their effects on the human microbiome, genome and physiology are not fully understood. "Our program of research is dedicated to addressing these gaps in the literature."
"The researchers looked at the effects of a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention on plasma metabolites in a controlled clinical trial," said first author Christine Tara Peterson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "Panchakarma refers to a detoxification and rejuvenation protocol involving massage, herbal therapy and other procedures to help strengthen and rejuvenate the body."
The study involved 119 healthy male and female participants between 30 and 80 years of age who stayed at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, Calif. Slightly more than half were assigned to the Panchakarma intervention (the Chopra Center's Perfect Health program, which typically costs $2,865 for a six-day treatment). The remainder to a control group. Blood plasma analyses, using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, were taken before and after the six-day testing period.
The researchers found that in the Panchakarma group there was a measurable decrease in 12 specific cell-membrane chemicals (phosphatidylcholines) correlating with serum cholesterol and inversely related to Type 2 diabetes risk.
"These phospholipids exert broad effects on pathways related to inflammation and cholesterol metabolism," said Peterson. "Plasma and serum levels of the metabolites of phosphatidylcholine are highly predictive of cardiovascular disease risk."
Application of a less stringent measurement standard identified 57 additional metabolites differentially abundant between the two groups of participants. The authors suggested that given the very short duration of the trial, the serum profile changes were likely driven by the vegetarian diet component of Panchakarma. They said further studies were needed to more fully understand the processes and mechanisms involved.

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The above post is reprinted from materials provided byUniversity of California - San Diego

Monday, 12 September 2016

First accurate simulation of a virus invading a cell

For the first time, scientists know what happens to a virus' shape when it invades a host cell, thanks to an experiment by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Understanding how the virus shape changes could lead to more effective anti-viral therapies.
The experiment was designed to investigate how a virus' protein shell -- its capsid -- changes as it prepares to inject its genetic material into a cell. These altered virus particles are known as A-particles, or virus entry intermediates.
In previous experiments, exposing a virus to extreme heat or proteins caused the shape of the entire capsid to change. These were the closest observable simulations to a virus invading a cell that had been devised at the time.
"Using these lab tricks, my lab and those of other researchers were able to create high-resolution structures of the altered virus particles, but all of these tricks were triggering the capsid from all directions," said Susan Hafenstein, assistant professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology, Penn State College of Medicine.
Hafenstein hypothesized that in a more realistic simulation, only the part of the virus that interacted with receptors on the cell would change shape.
In the new experiment, Hafenstein and her coinvestigators simulated the surface of a cell by using mock membranes called nanodiscs. They inserted human cell receptors protein molecules that let outside signals into the cell -- into the nanodiscs, the first time this has been done to capture a virus capsid. The results were reported in a recent edition of the journal Science Advances.
"This particular receptor has a long tail that it buries into the cell membrane," Hafenstein explained. "In our experiment, it buried its tail into the nanodisc, giving us a mock membrane displaying the appropriate receptor to bind to the virus."
The researchers then added virus capsids to the receptor membranes and observed the resulting changes to the capsid using an imaging technique called cryo-electron microscopy.
When the thousands of 2D images they took were reassembled into a 3D capsid -- a process much like a CAT scan -- they found that previously observed shape changes happened only at the where the receptors bound to the virus.
"Our work shows that a pore opens up only at that one point of interaction with the host cell," Hafenstein said. "And that's what's going to set up the capsid to release the genetic material into the cell. We think we have captured the first physiologically accurate virus capsid prepared to enter the host. All the ones that we had studied previously showed changes taking place all over the capsid."
A recent advance to cryo-electron microscopy -- direct electron detecting -- made the observation possible.
"This way of taking images has allowed us to take really fast images that can then be corrected into perfect data," Hafenstein said. "Now we can get atomic resolution using cryoEM."
The researchers used a virus called coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) in their experiment. CVB3 is a type of picornavirus, a family of rapidly mutating small RNA viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to pancreatitis to polio.
RNA viruses -- a group that also includes HIV -- change every time they replicate. These highly-mutating viruses can escape antiviral medications.
The ultimate goal is to understand intricacies in the steps of the virus life cycle, such as how the virus enters the host cell, and to direct antivirals to those specific steps, Hafenstein said. "Then, if the virus mutates away to escape the drug, it will also lose the ability to enter the cell."
Next, Hafenstein's group plans to use a larger nanodisc to capture the process of the virus interacting with the mock membrane.
"Because the nanodiscs in this set of experiments were so small, we're not getting the best picture of the interaction, and that's one place to improve," she said. This, she hopes, will reveal "the most important step--figuring out what triggers the release of the RNA into the cell."
Source:National Institutes of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Health CURE

Use of complementary, alternative medicine affects initiation of chemotherapy

Women with early-stage breast cancer for whom chemotherapy was indicated and who used dietary supplements and multiple types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) were less likely to start chemotherapy than nonusers of alternative therapies, according to latest research led by Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. This is one of the first studies to evaluate how complementary and alternative medicine use affects decisions regarding chemotherapy. Findings are available in JAMA Oncology.
Dr. Greenlee and colleagues studied a group of 685 women with early-stage breast cancer who were recruited from Columbia University Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, and Henry Ford Health System and enrolled 2006-2010. The women were younger than 70 with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer.
The study included five types of complementary therapies: the dietary supplement use of vitamins/minerals, herbs/botanicals, and other natural products, as well as mind-body self-practice, and mind-body practitioner-based.
Use of alternative therapies was reported by the large majority of the women studied--87 percent. By 12 months, chemotherapy was initiated by 89 percent of women for whom chemotherapy was indicated. The remaining group of women for whom chemotherapy was discretionary had a much lower rate of initiation--at 36 percent. Nearly half (45 percent) were clinically indicated to receive chemotherapy per National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.
Not all women initiate adjuvant treatment for breast cancer despite the survival benefits associated with it. The decision to start chemotherapy involves psychosocial factors, belief systems, and clinical, demographic and provider characteristics.
Complementary and alternative therapy use among patients with breast cancer has increased in the past two decades. The most commonly used complementary and alternative therapies were dietary supplements and mind-body practices. On average, the women used two such therapies, although nearly 40 percent of the women reported using three or more complementary and alternative therapies.
The use of mind-body practices was not related to chemotherapy initiation. However, dietary supplements usage and a higher simultaneous use of multiple complementary and alternative therapies among women for whom chemotherapy was indicated were associated with a lower likelihood to initiate chemotherapy than nonusers, according to the results. There was no association between starting chemotherapy and using alternative medicine among women for whom chemotherapy was discretionary.
Greenlee suggests that it is important to consider possible alternative explanations for their findings. For example, it is unclear whether the association between complementary and alternative medicine use and chemotherapy non-initiation reflects long-standing decision-making patterns among study participants. It is possible that women who did not initiate treatment and who were alternative therapy users were long-time users of CAM and chose complementary medicine as an alternative to conventional chemotherapy. However, the study did not assess prior complementary and alternative medicine use and therefore cannot rule out this possibility.
"Though the majority of women with clinically indicated chemotherapy initiated treatment, 11 percent did not. A cautious interpretation of results may suggest to oncologists that it is beneficial to ascertain use of complementary and alternative medicine therapy among their patients, especially dietary supplement use, and to consider use of alternative treatment as a potential marker of patients at risk of not initiating clinically indicated chemotherapy," Greenlee said.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided byColumbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

How Chinese medicine kills cancer cells

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have shown how a complex mix of plant compounds derived from ancient clinical practice in China -- a Traditional Chinese Medicine -- works to kill cancer cells.
Compound kushen injection (CKI) is approved for use in China to treat various cancer tumours, usually as an adjunct to western chemotherapy -- but how it works has not been known.
This study, published in the journal Oncotarget, is one of the first to characterise the molecular action of a Traditional Chinese Medicine rather than breaking it down to its constituent parts.
"Most Traditional Chinese Medicine are based on hundreds or thousands of years of experience with their use in China," says study leader, Professor David Adelson, Director of the Zhendong Australia -- China Centre for the Molecular Basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
"There is often plenty of evidence that these medicines have a therapeutic benefit, but there isn't the understanding of how or why.
"If we broke down and tested the components of many Traditional Chinese Medicines, we would find that individual compounds don't have much activity on their own. It's the combination of compounds which can be effective, and potentially means few side-effects as well.
"This is one of the first studies to show the molecular mode of action of a complex mixture of plant-based compounds -- in this case extracts from the roots of two medicinal herbs, Kushen and Baituling -- by applying what's known as a systems biology approach. This is a way of analysing complex biological systems that attempts to take into account all measurable aspects of the system rather than focussing on a single variable."
The Zhendong Australia China Centre for Molecular Traditional Chinese Medicine was established at the University of Adelaide in 2012 in a collaboration with the China-based Shanxi College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Zhendong Pharmaceutical Company.
The Centre was established with a donation by the Zhendong Pharmaceutical Company, with the aim of understanding how Traditional Chinese Medicine works, and the long-term aim of possible integration into western medicine.
The researchers used high-throughput next generation sequencing technologies to identify genes and biological pathways targeted by CKI when applied to breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory.
"We showed that the patterns of gene expression triggered by CKI affect the same pathways as western chemotherapy but by acting on different genes in the same pathways," says Professor Adelson.
"These genes regulate the cell cycle of division and death, and it seems that CKI alters the way the cell cycle is regulated to push cancer cells down the cell death pathway, therefore killing the cells."
Professor Adelson says this technique could be used to analyse the molecular mechanisms of other Traditional Chinese Medicines, potentially opening their way for use in western medicine.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided byUniversity of Adelaide 

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