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Saturday, 18 September 2010

India sends 80% of AIDS drugs to poor nations

A new study published on Tuesday has established that Indian generic manufacturers supplied more than 80% of donor-funded AIDS medicines to developing countries in the last seven years, confirming India's status as the pharmacy of the Third World.

The study -- A lifeline to treatment: the role of Indian generic manufacturers in supplying antiretroviral medicines to developing countries -- was done by UNITAID, an international facility for the purchase of drugs against HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB founded in 2006, Boston School of Medicine and the Center for International Development, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

According to the study, in 2008, India-produced generics accounted for 91% of paediatric anti-retroviral (ARV) volume. AIDS treatment has experienced startling progress over recent years, with about four million people starting treatment between 2003 and 2008, largely due to India's ability to produce low-cost quality medicines, said a UNITAID statement.

At the same time, the study expressed concern that the legal framework in India that facilitated such production, was changing with implementation of the World Trade Organization ( WTO) agreement on Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). UNITAID also expressed concern over intellectual property measures beyond TRIPS being negotiated in regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), such as the FTAs with the European Union and Japan, which could create IP obligations for India that could cause price rise and delay access to newer and better ARVs.

"From 2003 to 2008, the number of Indian generic manufactures supplying ARVs increased from four to 10 while the number of Indian-manufactured generic products increased from 14 to 53. Ninety-six of 100 countries purchased Indian generic ARVs in 2008, including high HIV-burden sub-Saharan African countries. Indian-produced generic ARVs used in first-line regimens were consistently and considerably less expensive than non-Indian generic and innovator ARVs," revealed the study. For instance, the Indian generic version of the most commonly used first-line adult regimen (lamivudine/ nevirapine/ stavudine) dropped from $414 per person per year in 2003 to $74 in 2008.

"Indian manufacturers of generic antiretroviral (ARV) medicines facilitated the rapid scale up of HIV/AIDS treatment in developing countries though provision of low-priced, quality-assured medicines," observed the study.

Rather than agreeing to inappropriate intellectual property obligations through free trade agreements, India and its trade partners -- plus international organisations, donors, civil society and pharmaceutical manufacturers -- should ensure that there is sufficient policy space for Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers to continue their central role in supplying developing countries with low-priced, quality-assured generic medicines, concluded the study.

"The findings of this study raise grave concerns for us because UNITAID relies heavily on Indian generic manufacturers to supply quality-assured, patient-friendly, low cost AIDS medicines in over 50 countries," said Jorge Bermudez, UNITAID Executive Secretary. "What we need today is a more flexible approach to scale up treatment and not the opposite."


Healthy honey full of antibiotics

If you’ve been giving your child honey purchased from the market, in the hope that it will help enhance immunity and fight bacterial infections, and this may come as a shock.According to a study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment, sold most brands of honey in the country contain varying amounts of and consumption of antibiotics over time could push the resistance to antibiotics, leading to blood disorders related liver injury.
He said the search engine on the study busts the myth that the commercially produced honey was product.For Pure and natural study and chose 12 samples in Delhi, and all the well-known brands including one each from Australia and Switzerland. Other than one brand, Hitkari honey, were found all to contain antibiotics.While multi There are no criteria of antibiotics in India, he would have failed in samples of honey standards set for the export of pre-inspection brands export two Council.The also foreign to said Sunita Narain, Director search engine does not meet local standards of their own.
And used on a wide range of antibiotics before beekeepers.In 1965, the types of Italian in India through Punjab Agriculture University because of yield.But better because it was weak and needs to be heavy doses.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Aspirin Reduces Risk of Bowel Cancer

A new research has pointed out that a reduced daily dose of aspirin can help keep bowel cancer at bay.
Researchers investigated just under 2,800 people with bowel cancer and just under 3,000 healthy people, matched for age, sex, and residential locality.
All participants completed food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires to assess their usual diet and lifestyle choices, which are known to influence bowel cancer risk. 
NSAID (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug) intake was categorised as taking more than four tablets a month of low dose aspirin (75 mg), other NSAIDs, or a mix. 
The likelihood of surviving bowel cancer once diagnosed or developing the disease anew was then tracked over five years. 
In all, 354 (15.5pc) of those with bowel cancer were taking low dose aspirin compared with 526 (18pc) of their healthy peers. 
Taking any NSAID regularly curbed the chances of developing bowel cancer compared with those who didn't take these painkillers. 
This finding held true, irrespective of lifestyle choices, age, diet, weight, and level of deprivation 
After a year, taking daily low dose aspirin was associated with a 22pc reduced risk of developing bowel cancer, and the magnitude of the reduction in risk was cumulative, rising to 30pc after five years.


Ill Effects of Internet as Grave as Climate Change: Prominent Brit Neuroscientist

 Society should be aware of the potentially harmful effects of the Internet on the brain, leading neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, one of Britain's most prominent female scientists, has said.
She claimed that the issue of ill effects of networking sites and computer games is almost as important as climate change.
"I think the quality of our existence is threatened. We need discussions about this, we need debate, and we need more of an effort put in. We need to recognize this as an issue rather than sweeping it under the carpet," the Scotsman quoted Lady Greenfield as speaking at the British Festival of Science at Aston University in Birmingham. 
"We should acknowledge that this is bringing an unprecedented change in our lives and we have to work out whether it is for good or bad," she added.She also focused on the fact that her are some very good things emerging from the technology but then, nothing comes without a price.
She hammered 
search engines saying that they hinder the ability to learn and computer games make us more reckless in our day-to-day lives.
"Rather than sleepwalking into this we should be the masters and not the slaves of technology and harnessing it in ways that we could do exciting and fulfilling things with," the scientist concluded urging people to grasp positives out of 



Home remedies from the old days often find new converts

Dr. Hillary Campbell of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Sacramento, said she found a survey from the World Health Organization while researching alternative medicine. It suggested that 80 percent of developing countries use herbal medicine.
"And now most people using alternative medicine in Western society are those who have immigrated from developing countries," she said.
Many combine the home remedies with modern medicine, working with doctors who teach them to avoid bad combinations or overuse of alternative treatments.
Like Curiel, Rebecca Gonzalez's grandmother was known in her town in Mexico as the woman with the remedies and knowledge. Gonzalez said that back then, in the rural town, even if people wanted to go to a doctor it was impossible to find one.
"So part of it may have been necessity, but part of it may have been a way of life," she said.
Gonzalez said she still relies on teas to help with a sore throat or insomnia before she'll go to a doctor or take a pill. And in the winter, to avoid getting sick, she said, she always has cinnamon or mint tea brewing.
But the Sacramento woman said she doesn't use all the handed-down remedies, among them softening the pain of tonsillitis by swallowing an egg yolk sprinkled with sugar. Or warming a banana peel and placing it on the bottom of her foot to soothe a sore throat.
"I am more cautious now and I probably would take the kids to the doctor for things that may seem more serious," Gonzalez said.
Dr. Ashby Wolfe of the department of family and community medicine at the University of California-Davis Medical Center said a lot of her patients are Latino and many have used some kind of alternative medication.
It's her routine to ask every patient.
"It is important that we as doctors ask if they are using alternative medications and pay attention to these forms of medications," Wolfe said.
Too much of an herb can become toxic, and it can be unsafe to take some of them with prescribed medications.
But alternative medicine can also complement prescribed medicines, Wolfe said.
A 2007 National Health Interview Survey found that 38 percent of adults reported using complementary and alternative medicine in the previous months.
Wolfe and Campbell both said they believe doctors don't get enough training in complementary and alternative medicines.
Curiel's training has come from experience. And the success of his advice relies partly on faith.
"Not all the home remedies that I know of work for everyone, but staying hopeful and positive definitely helps," he said.
For depression, Curiel suggests showering with palo de Brazil, or Brazilwood. He tells people it can heal the heart and calm the nerves just by holding it while in the shower.
For people who have skin infections or gastritis, he suggests a plant called cuachalalate that can be soaked in water and be rubbed on the skin. He also tells them to drink the leftover water as a tea.
Curiel treats his own diabetes with nopalitos, a cactus. He said it also can be used to lower the need for cholesterol medication and treat gastrointestinal disorders, skin ailments and viral infections. He tells people to cook the nopalitos and eat them on their own or drink them in a smoothie.
A couple of doors down Franklin Boulevard from where Curiel dispenses his advice, many of the herbs he recommends are for sale at La Mexicana Bakery.
Miguel Campos and his mother, Gloria Campos, said that, in a good day, 10 to 15 customers will buy herbs for various treatments.
"Our store is known to be the place to go for these remedies," Miguel Campos said.
These days, many of them come in cellophane packages with labels marked in Spanish and English.
Gonzales said she believes her children will continue the home-remedy tradition.
"These remedies are part of their culture and they come with the story of 'This is what my grandmother did,' so maybe it will work," Gonzalez said.
USES: Flowering tops of the plant are used to make teas, liquid extracts, capsules or tablets for sleeplessness, anxiety and gastrointestinal conditions such as upset stomach, gas and diarrhea.
Can be applied to the skin as a cream or an ointment for various skin conditions, or used as a mouth rinse to treat mouth ulcers resulting from cancer treatment.
THE SCIENCE: Has not been well studied in people so there is little evidence to support its use for any condition.
SIDE EFFECTS: Allergic reactions can include skin rashes, throat swelling, shortness of breath and anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
USES: Orally, cassia cinnamon is used for type 2 diabetes, gas, muscle and gastrointestinal spasms, preventing nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold and loss of appetite.
Also used for impotence, bed wetting, rheumatic conditions, testicle hernia and menopausal symptoms.
THE SCIENCE: Cinnamon is a good source of manganese, an important component of a healthful diet. It contains a substance that activates formerly inhibited insulin receptors.
SIDE EFFECTS: Its anticlotting properties can cause profuse bleeding in conjunction with other blood thinners if a patient is injured, menstruating excessively or has surgery.
USES: High cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers.
Garlic cloves can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be dried or powdered and used in tablets and capsules. Raw, the cloves can be used to make oils and liquid extracts.
THE SCIENCE: Garlic may slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and may slightly lower blood pressure.
SIDE EFFECTS: Breath and body odor, heartburn, upset stomach and allergic reactions all more common with raw garlic.
Aloe vera
USES: Clear gel from the leaves is often used as a topical ointment for burns and other conditions. The green part of the leaf that surrounds the gel can be used to produce a juice or a dried substance taken orally for diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and osteoarthritis.
THE SCIENCE: Topical aloe gel may help heal burns and abrasions. Other uses have not been heavily researched.
SIDE EFFECTS: Gel can inhibit healing of deep surgical wounds. Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use, which can decrease the absorption of many drugs.
St. John's wort
USES: Sleep disorders, nerve pain and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Also can be used as a sedative, to treat malaria and as a balm for wounds, burns and insect bites.
THE SCIENCE: Studies have shown varied degrees of success in treating depression.
SIDE EFFECTS: May cause increased sensitivity to sunlight. Other side effects can include anxiety, dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, headache or sexual dysfunction.
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine,


Thursday, 16 September 2010

Hospital drops 'homeopathy' title

An NHS hospital is dropping the word homeopathy from its title to better reflect its work.The Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital will now be called the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.Senior staff recommended the change to better reflect the hospital's methods, which integrate complementary and conventional medicine following controversy over homeopathy, which MPs said last year should no longer be funded on the NHS.The Commons Science and Technology Committee said there was no evidence homeopathy was any more effective than placebo - the same as taking a sugar or dummy pill and believing it works.Homeopathy, which is a 200-year-old system, differs from herbal medicine in that it relies on substances being diluted many times. It has been funded on the NHS since its inception in 1948.The Royal London, which is part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, introduced acupuncture, herbal medicine and other complementary therapies to the NHS. Some 18% of patients there are treated with homeopathy exclusively, another 53% receive no homeopathy and the reminder are given a mixture of treatments.A statements said the hospital and its staff had focused on integrated medicine for more than 10 years.Clinical director, Dr Peter Fisher, said the name change had received widespread support."Interest in our services is growing all the time and our name change reflects the integration of complementary and conventional disciplines."Patients can be treated in absolute safety in an NHS hospital subject to the clinical governance regime of UCLH and where very experienced physicians are governed by the General Medical Council, and other health professionals by their respective statutory bodies."
Source:The Press Association.

Workshop on yoga, naturopathy

To promote yoga and naturopathy in Kerala, the Central Council for Research and Naturopathy (CCRYN) and Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in association with Bethany Nature Cure and Yoga Centre will conduct workshop-cum-training camp at Mar Gregorious Renewal Centre, Nalanchira, on September 29 and 30.Chief Minister V S Achudanandan will inaugurate the workshop.  PWD Minister M Vijayakumar and Health Minister P K Sreemathi will attend the function. According to the organisers, the workshop will focus on the practise of yoga and naturopathy.
The registration fee will be Rs 100 for children and Rs 200 

Scientists Understand Gene Mutation Behind Cleft Palate Development

Scientists have found a novel mechanism that explains why a certain gene mutation results in craniofrontonasal syndrome (CFNS), which causes cleft palate and other malformations on the face. 

Previous studies have revealed that a mutation in a gene called ephrin-B1 caused abnormalities in facial development, but researchers were uncertain of how.

Philipe M. Soriano, Professor, Developmental and Regenerative Biology, and Jeffrey O. Bush, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Developmental and Regenerative Biology, both at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, studied mice embryos that were genetically engineered to have a mutation in the ephrin-B1 gene. 

They determined that ephrin-B1 controls craniofacial development by signaling cells to multiply and when there is a mutation in this gene, it causes anomalies in the cell proliferation process 

"Common thinking has been that ephrin-B1 only guided cells in craniofacial development. We were surprised to learn that, instead, this gene signals for cells to multiply, providing us with a clear understanding of why craniofacial development is abnormal when a mutation is present," said Soriano. 

"Craniofacial anomalies are among the most common human birth defect. Our findings represent a critical step forward in understanding how cleft palate and other malformations develop, and will hopefully bring us closer to finding ways to prevent or treat these abnormalities," Bush added. 

The research is published in the September issue of Genes and Development.



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