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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Herbal remedies for diabetes

How about turning to herbal remedies and medicinal plant derivatives for the treatment of diabetes? While modern medicine is making significant contributions in management and control of diabetic condition, there are a series of indigenously grown herbs and plant derivatives, known to be employed traditionally by local people in the treatment of diabetes, which even the ayurveda experts have found beneficial. 
As per head, Department of Dravyaguna, BHU, KN Dwivedi, aloe vera-- a widely known household plant originating from arid countries and resembling the cactus-- is regarded as a 'healing herb.' The dried aloe vera sap and gel (taken from the inner portions of the leaves) are used traditionally to treat diabetes. Similarly, Coccinia indica, also known as the 'ivy gourd' that grows wild across the Indian subcontinent, has been traditionally employed in ayurverdic remedies, as the herb has been found to contain insulin-mimetic properties ( mimics the function of insulin). In addition, 'karela' or bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is known to help diabetics with insulin secretion, glucose oxidation and other processes. 
The ayurveda experts also vouch for 'tulsi' leaves or basil (Ocimum sanctum), a herb employed in traditional ayurvedic practices, known for enhancing the functioning of beta cells and facilitate the insulin secretion process.
Source:Times of India

Exploring the Research on Homeopathic Treatment for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic ailment without a known cause and without a safe, effective conventional medical treatment. However, the three to six million Americans who suffer with fibromyalgia will be pleased know that several studies published in leading medical journals have found outstanding results from homeopathic treatment.Well-designed high quality scientific studies published in the British Medical Journal and inRheumatology (the journal of the British Society for Rheumatology) have confirmed the real benefits of homeopathic medicines as distinct from a placebo.Fibromyalgia is not considered to be a "disease" by the conventional medical standards but is recognized and referred to as a "syndrome." Although there are no specific blood tests, x-rays or any other type of technology that is presently accepted by conventional medicine for diagnosis of this condition, the diagnosis is based on clinical findings from the history and physical exam (pain in tender points).Fibromyalgia was previously called "fibrositis," but this name was changed when it became evident that inflammation was not a part of this condition. In 1990 the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) established criteria for the classification of fibromyalgia as a product of a well-designed, multi-center study of the condition (Wolfe F et al, 1990). As defined by ACR, fibromyalgia must include:
  1. A history of widespread pain for at least three months. Widespread pain must have all of the following: pain in the left side of the body, pain in the right side of the body, pain above the waist and pain below the waist. In addition, axial skeletal pain (cervical spine or anterior chest or thoracic spine or low back) must be present.
  2. The patient must report feeling pain in 11 of 18 tender sites on digital palpation (with 4 kg of force) which are located bilaterally on the body.
  3. Lastly, the presence of a second clinical disorder does not exclude the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
The syndrome of fibromyalgia can cause stiffness, fatigue, myalgias (muscle pain), subjective numbness, headaches (often migraine), dizziness, paraesthesias, IBS-like gastrointestinal disturbances, memory and concentration problems, sleep disorders and various states of anxiety and depression (Chakrabarty and Zoorob, 2007).A recent meta-analysis of the efficacy of fibromyalgia pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments found that there was no clear indicator that specialized care provided more than the same moderate efficacy obtained in primary care settings with routine treatments (Garcia-Campayo J et al, 2008). Recommendations for the conventional medical management of fibromyalgia typically are based on a program that emphasized education, use of antidepressants and/or muscle relaxants, exercise and cognitive therapy best accomplished when the patient and healthcare providers work as a team (Goldenberg, et al, 2004).In 2004, Goldenberg et al published results from an extensive literature search of fibromyalgia treatment trials and found no evidence for efficacy of opioids, corticosteroids, NSAIDs, benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics, melatonin, calcitonin, thyroid hormone, guaifenesin, dehydroepiandrosterone or magnesium. Since this article's publication, duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella) and pregabalin (Lyrica) have attained FDA approval for treatment of fibromyalgia, although as is typical, each of these drugs is known to cause a variety of side effects, including significant fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, insomnia, sexual problems (that can even last for years after stopping drug treatment), weight gain, excessive sweating and constipation. The most serious adverse effects cases, admittedly rare, are uncontrolled hypertension, hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity) or suicide. Even more problematic is the fact that each of these drugs is known to create a wide variety of minor and serious symptoms if or when the patient tries to stop taking the drug.In 2010, a systematic review of the most recently used conventional drugs for fibromyalgia was published in a leading scientific journal (Clauw, 2010). Although some drugs had beneficial effects, the author acknowledged the significant limitations of these benefits and the need to utilize other treatment options. He wrote, "Because of the modest overall analgesic efficacy seen with any class of analgesic drug in any chronic pain state, we should be particularly aggressive about using more non-pharmacological therapies in treating patients with chronic pain."
Conventional physicians are usually forced to use combinations of drugs to control the numerous and varied symptoms expressed by fibromyalgia patients, though the use of multiple drugs concurrently generates additional pathology and further challenges when the patient wishes to slow down or end the medication. Further, little research has been conducted to date evaluating the use of polypharmacy methods for these patients (thus, whatever research has been conducted on individual drugs becomes questionably relevant to those patients taking multiple drugs).Fibromyalgia affects women 10 times more often than men, and is most common in women 20-50 years old (Chakrabarty and Zoorob, 2007). This condition also has been observed in children and adolescence and is more common in relatives of patients with fibromyalgia, suggesting the contribution of both genetic and environmental factors, which naturopathic and homeopathic practitioners are especially trained to address and manage effectively.
Homeopathic Treatment:Homeopathic medicine is a 200+-year-old system of medicine that utilizes specially prepared doses of medicines made from various substances of the plant, mineral or animal kingdom. Each medicine is prescribed for its capacity to cause, if given in overdose to healthy people, symptoms similar to those that the sick person is experiencing. Because basic physiology recognizes that symptoms represent defenses of the body (and mind) in its efforts to fight infection and/or adapt to stress, a homeopathic medicine is selected for its capacity to mimic a person's own symptoms, thereby augmenting their own defensive response.Just as vaccines and allergy treatments are in part based on this same premise -- whatever a substance causes in overdose, it will elicit an immune response when taken in small doses -- homeopathic medicines are a system of helping the "wisdom of the body" defend and heal itself.In homeopathy, ALL ailments are considered "syndromes," that is, all disease is a constellation of physical and psychological symptoms, and each patient has his or her own subtly different syndrome of a disease. The fact that people with fibromyalgia tend to have sometimes slightly or overtly differing symptoms from each other is no significant problem for homeopathic treatment. In fact, homeopathic treatment tends to be easier when patients have idiosyncratic or unusual symptoms.The good news for fibromyalgia patients who receive homeopathic medicines is that these remedies are not known to cause direct drug interactions with any conventional drugs the patient may be taking. The pharmaceutical lobby decries homeopathy for its lack of effect: the problem for them is that if one unfathomable homeopathic treatment works, their argument is in tatters. Patients are also spared some of the conventional drug artillery used to limit symptoms. Further, because people with fibromyalgia tend to have distinct and unusual symptoms, this situation actually makes it easier for homeopaths to treat them successfully.Other advantages homeopathy has over conventional drug therapies are lower cost and the avoidance of the usual GI, headache and CNS side effects as well as reactions that can be life threatening.However, newspapers, magazines and even books on fibromyalgia, typically ignore studies showing the efficacy of a homeopathic medicine in its treatment. This omission occurs despite evidence of its significant efficacy as verified in several studies published in major medical journals. In addition to the scientific evidence for homeopathic treatment, surveys of people with fibromyalgia tend to show that homeopathic medicines is one of the more popular alternative treatments used by people suffering from this ailment. For instance, Dietlind et al (2005) found that 10 percent of patients answering a survey on their use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for fibromyalgia symptoms reported using homeopathy.
Scientific Evidence for Homeopathy
The first controlled trial testing the homeopathic treatment of patients with fibromyalgia was an impressive and sophisticated double-blind "crossover" trial that was published in the prestigiousBritish Medical Journal (Fisher et al, 1989). A crossover trial is a sophisticated method to test the efficacy of a treatment because each patient's results with the "real treatment" are compared with that same patient's results with a placebo. While most double-blind studies compare one group of people who receive the "real treatment" with another (hopefully similar) group of people who receive a placebo, crossover trials compare the results of each person and his/her response to real treatment with his/her response to placebo.Because of the nature of a crossover trial, the researchers chose to accept into this study only patients that fitted the symptom-syndrome for needing just one homeopathic medicine that tends to be one of the most commonly indicated remedies for fibromyalgia patients. The researchers found a surprisingly high percentage of patients (42 percent) whose symptoms indicated a need for this medicine, Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus tox).After the researchers found 30 patients who seemed to fit the symptoms of Rhus tox, half of the subjects were given a placebo during the first half of the experiment, while the other half were given the homeopathic medicine. Then, halfway through the experiment, each subject's treatment was switched.The homeopathic dose of the medicine used was 6C. The researchers specifically chose to use a low potency dose of this medicine for this trial because these less potent doses provide short-term results. Over 200 years of homeopathic practice have found that homeopathic medicines that are of a higher potency -- that is, those that have undergone a greater number of dilutions, with vigorous shaking of the solution in between dilutions -- have a longer term effect [1]. Because halfway through this study each subject was given either a placebo or a homeopathic medicine, the researchers only wanted to use a medicine that provided a short-term result and this is precisely what their results confirmed.The researchers found that there was a substantially significant degree of improvement in the reduction of tender points and improved pain and sleep when the subjects were taking the homeopathic medicine, as compared to when these same subjects were taking a placebo. In other words, twice as many people experienced significantly less pain or significantly improved sleep when they were taking the homeopathic medicine as compared to when they were taking the placebo.Iris Bell, M.D., Ph.D. and her colleagues at the University of Arizona School of Medicine conducted a study funded by National Institutes of Health which resulted in four articles published in peer-review medical journals (Bell et al, 2004a; Bell et al, 2004b; Bell et al, 2004c; Bell et al, 2004d). The primary clinical results from this study were published in the highly respected journal,Rheumatology (published by the British Society for Rheumatology), and it found statistically significant results from homeopathic treatment. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 62 fibromyalgia patients received an oral daily dose of an individually chosen homeopathic medicine (or a placebo) and were evaluated at baseline, two months and four months (Bell, et al, 2004a).The study found that 50 percent of patients given a homeopathic medicine experienced a 25 percent or greater improvement in tender point pain on examination, as compared to only 15 percent of those who were given a placebo experienced a similar degree of improvement. After four months, the homeopathic patients also rated the "helpfulness of the treatment" significantly greater than did those who were given a placebo. It is therefore not surprising that the study also showed that the average number of remedies recommended by the homeopaths was substantially higher to those in the placebo group as compared with the real treatment group.One special additional feature of this trial was that the first dose of medicine was given by smell and that both groups were monitored with EEG. The researchers found that there was a significant and identifiable difference in the EEG readings in patients who were given the real homeopathic medicine as compared to those given the placebo (Bell et al, 2004b; Bell et al, 2004c). Each patient had three laboratory sessions, including at baseline, at three months and at six months after initial treatment. The researchers found that the active treatment group experienced significant increases in the EEG relative alpha magnitude, while patients given a placebo experienced a decrease in this measurement.Another unique feature of this study was that it included an optional crossover design, allowing patients who had initially been prescribed one treatment (placebo or medication) to switch to the "other" treatment (Bell et al, 2004d). The researchers found that 31 percent of those patients who had been prescribed the real medication chose to switch, while 41 percent of those patients who had been prescribed the placebo chose to switch.The combined evidence of clinical improvement along with physiological response to the homeopathic medicine gives these results additional significance.The newest randomized controlled trial was conducted comparing "usual medical care" compared with usual medical care plus adjunctive care by a homeopath for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)(Relton et al., 2009). Adjunctive care consisted of five in depth interviews and individualized homeopathic medicines. The primary outcome measure was the difference in Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire total score at 22 weeks. ("Usual care" refers to one or more of the following: physiotherapy, aerobic exercise, analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants.)A total of 47 patients were recruited. Drop out rate in the usual care group was higher than the homeopath care group (8/24 vs 3/23). Adjusted for baseline, there was a significantly greater mean reduction in the FIQ total score (function) in the homeopathic care group than the usual care group (-7.62 vs 3.63). There were significantly greater reductions in the homeopath care group in the McGill pain score, FIQ fatigue, and 'tiredness upon waking' scores. The study also found a small effect on pain score (0.21, 95 percent CI -1.42 to 1.84) (despite what may be considered a relatively small effect on pain, this degree of benefit resembles the small to modest effect from conventional medications described above); but this trial found a surprisingly large effect on function (0.81, 95 percent CI -8.17 to 9.79). Of additional importance, there were no reported adverse events from homeopathic medicines.Ultimately, the homeopathic treatment of patients with fibromyalgia requires individualized care by clinicians who are adequately trained in homeopathy. This condition is too complex for 'self-care treatment' or for treatment by clinicians who have not received professional training.The body of scientific evidence showing efficacy of individualized homeopathic treatment in the care of patients with fibromyalgia suggests significant benefits. If you or someone near and dear to you has fibromyalgia, consider getting professional homeopathic care for both safe and effective treatment. Further, although fibromyalgia is not officially considered a type of arthritis, a review of homeopathic research found patients with this more common ailment also benefit from homeopathic treatment (Jonas, et al, 2000).A Note to and about Skeptics of Homeopathy:Skepticism of homeopathy, like skepticism of any subject, can be healthy, except when this skepticism is based on ignorance of the subject and except when one maintains a closed mind or denies good scientific evidence. Sadly, the vast majority of people who express skepticism about homeopathy do not maintain a "healthy skepticism" but tend to be uninformed, misinformed, and simply in denial about homeopathy and the body of evidence that confirms its benefits.It is more than a tad ironic that those people who hold themselves out as "defenders of medical science" tend to have such an unscientific attitude towards homeopathy. These people tend to show evidence of both ignorance about homeopathy and (worse) arrogance about their viewpoints. These people who are "medical fundamentalists" love to attack homeopathy saying that "there is no evidence that homeopathy works." In fact, they make this assertion so often that they have gotten some people to actually believe them. Needless to say, anyone who says that there is no scientific evidence that homeopathic medicines work is simply proving their ignorance of the subject (as this article on fibromyalgia validates) or verifying their propensity for misinformation.These fundamentalists also love to assert that "there is no plausible mechanism" for how homeopathic medicines work. Such statements display a serious ignorance of medical history because people who say this ignore the fact that it was only relatively recently did physicians understood how aspirin worked, and yet, no doctor (or patient) chose to not use this drug simply because the mechanism of action was not adequately understood.Whenever good scientists or physicians make reference to the many clinical and laboratory studies that verify the efficacy of homeopathic medicines, the "deniers" assert that the scientist is only "cherry-picking" the good studies and ignoring the others. In reference to fibromyalgia, there have been no studies that have shown that homeopathic medicines don't work. The only studies that have been conducted to date have shown efficacy of homeopathic treatment. Obviously, there is no cherry-picking here.Sadly, many people who claim to be skeptics are simply representatives of Big Pharma. In England, the leading anti-homeopathy organization, Sense about Science, is led by a former public relations expert who has a long history of representing Big Pharma companies ( - see link in References).Some "deniers" are audacious enough to suggest that the "weight of evidence" evaluating homeopathy shows that these medicines do not have any benefit beyond that of a placebo. Was Thomas Edison's discovery of electricity false because 999 experiments failed to produce electricity and only one that was successful? Is the weight of evidence that he failed?Deniers will inevitably assert that Edison's discovery is proven every day, and yet, homeopaths likewise will say that homeopathy is proven every day by the hundreds of millions of its users worldwide, including many of the most respected scientists, physicians, corporate leaders, political leaders, clergy and spiritual leaders, literary greats, sports superstars, and every day average people.The bottom line about research on homeopathy is that the denialists tend to evaluate a study by determining whether it was "well-conducted" according to inappropriate scientific standards. They do not evaluate whether the homeopathic medicine tested was the RIGHT medicine for the patient or not. For instance, if a researcher gave every patient the SAME drug no matter what disease they had, this study would not be a good test of that drug, even if it was "well-designed" (ie, it was randomized, double-blind, and placebo controlled). And yet, it is common for these denialists to assume that just because a study testing homeopathy was well-controlled does NOT mean that it was a fair or adequate test of the homeopathic method.People still skeptical about homeopathy might benefit from reading of body of previous articles that I have written at this website. More specifically, there is a body of evidence showing efficacy of homeopathic treatment of respiratory allergiesinfluenza, and many other conditions. Of additional importance is the fact that homeopathic medicine today is the leading alternative therapy used by physicians in Europe and that dozens of surveys have confirmed that patients who use homeopathic medicines tend to be significantly more educated than those who do not .Perhaps the best evidence to verify the value of homeopathic medicines and the serious threat that homeopathy plays occurred in mid-2010 when the British Medical Association deemed homeopathy to be "witchcraft" (Donnelly, 2010). Because history confirms that "witches" were women healers, herbalists, and intuitives who were a threat to local doctors and the church, many of us who are involved in homeopathy are honored to be aligned with witches.Finally, it may be appropriate for the medical fundamentalists to heed to words of the founder of homeopathic medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. On his gravestone are the Latin words, "Aude sapere," which translates as "dare to taste, to experience." Indeed, despite whatever skepticism one has, the proof is in the pudding. Try it yourself and see for yourself.
Special appreciation to June Riedlinger, R.Ph, Pharm.D., ND, who contributed to an earlier version of this article ... and a blessed thank you to Hugh Paterson for his excellent editing feedback.
Source:The Huffington Post

Elderly problems need to be addressed early

How about turning to herbal remedies and medicinal plant derivatives for the treatment of diabetes? While modern medicine is making significant contributions in management and control of diabetic condition, there are a series of indigenously grown herbs and plant derivatives, known to be employed traditionally by local people in the treatment of diabetes, which even the ayurveda experts have found beneficial. 
As per head, Department of Dravyaguna, BHU, KN Dwivedi, aloe vera-- a widely known household plant originating from arid countries and resembling the cactus-- is regarded as a 'healing herb.' The dried aloe vera sap and gel (taken from the inner portions of the leaves) are used traditionally to treat diabetes. Similarly, Coccinia indica, also known as the 'ivy gourd' that grows wild across the Indian subcontinent, has been traditionally employed in ayurverdic remedies, as the herb has been found to contain insulin-mimetic properties ( mimics the function of insulin). In addition, 'karela' or bitter melon (Momordica charantia) is known to help diabetics with insulin secretion, glucose oxidation and other processes. 
The ayurveda experts also vouch for 'tulsi' leaves or basil (Ocimum sanctum), a herb employed in traditional ayurvedic practices, known for enhancing the functioning of beta cells and facilitate the insulin secretion process. 
Source:Times of India

Study Says Sex Motivated by Love and Commitment Most Satisfying

Those who seek sexual satisfaction should stop and examine why they are having sex in the first place, says a new study. 
Research has shown that both men and women are more satisfied when having sex out of love and commitment, rather than for material gain or to achieve success, Discovery News reported.In this study, researchers used a sample of 544 sexually active male and female undergraduates, and found that there are slight differences in sexual satisfaction between men and women.
About 90 percent of the respondents were heterosexual, and they answered survey questions on their sexual satisfaction and their motivations for having sex.
A diverse list of possible reasons for sex was listed, including arousal, expression, revenge, stress reduction, social status, self-esteem, orgasm, to burn calories, try out new techniques, love and commitment.
Love and commitment came out to be the strongest correlated motive to sexual satisfaction for both men and women, while having sex for self-esteem or for resources (for example, to get a job or to get drugs) was linked with lower satisfaction.
For women, having sex for pleasure and for expression were linked to higher sexual satisfaction, but having sex to seek a new experience was linked to lower sexual satisfaction.
The researchers report that since their sample was non-clinical, sexual satisfaction skewed higher than it would in a representative population.
The findings have been published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Madras High Court stays TN govt order allowing ISM practitioners to practise allopathy

What Happens in a Woman's Brain During an Orgasm ?

It is now possible to know what goes on inside a woman's brain during her orgasm, courtesy a scan developed by American scientists.
Rutgers University researchers have discovered that sexual arousal numbs the female nervous system to such an extent that she doesn't feel as much pain-only pleasure.Orgasm affects up to 30 different parts of the brain including those responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction and memory, found researchers.
The researchers asked eight women to stimulate themselves while lying under a blanket inside a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, a tunnel-like machine often used to detect brain tumours.
Most women took less than five minutes to reach an orgasm although some took as long as 20.
During that time, the MRI scanner took images of their brain every two seconds to show which parts became

active during the orgasm.
The scientists found that two minutes before the orgasm, the brain's reward centres become active, the areas usually activated when eating food and drink.
Immediately before they reached the peak, other areas of the brain became affected such as the sensory cortex, which receives 'touch' messages from parts of the body and the thalamus, which relays signals to other parts of the body.
Once the orgasm has started other parts of the brain are activated such as those responsible for emotion.
The final part of the brain to be activated is the hypothalamus, the 'control' part of the brain, which regulates temperature, hunger, thirst and tiredness.


Study: Acne medicine users at heightened suicide risk

People who take the acne medication isotretinoin — perhaps best known by the brand-name Accutane — have a slightly higher risk of suicide than people who don't take the medication. However, the excess risk is most likely due to having severe acne, not because the drug causes psychiatric problems.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analyzed data from people who had taken isotretinoin from 1980 to 1989 and identified suicide attempts and deaths through 2001. There were 128 suicide attempts among 5,756 patients. Suicide attempts began between one and three years before the medication was taken. The suicide risk was the highest within six months after treatment ended.
It's possible that the increased suicide risk may be due to a patient's despair that his or her social life did not improve after acne treatment, especially if the treatment was unsuccessful, the authors wrote.
"Many studies have shown that acne in itself has a negative psychological impact. For example, in line with our findings, severe acne has been shown to be associated with suicidal behavior," they wrote in the study, published Thursday in the British Medical Journal.
A study published in September also concluded that it is severe acne, not the medication, that may increase mental health problems. That paper, which appeared in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found the worse one's acne, the more likely an individual was to think about suicide.
Regardless of the cause of the increased risk, the mental health of people taking the medication should be assessed during the course of treatment and for at least one year after treatment has ended, the authors wrote. Isotretinoin is sold under a variety of names, including Amnesteem, Claravis, Clarus and Decutan. Accutane is no longer on the market.
Source:LA Times

The First Animal Naturopathy Council Launched in the USA

Two American animal naturopaths, Dr. Kim Bloomer and Dr. Jeannie Thomason, have instituted the first animal naturopathy council ever available, the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. 
Animal naturopathy is a relatively new profession in the United States although animal naturopaths are nearly as common as veterinarians in other countries. While there are several organizations available for naturopaths in human health worldwide, Drs. Bloomer and Thomason have not found any organization that provides continuing education or certification for animal naturopaths anywhere in the world. The two decided to fill the need in order to make available continuing education and to set a standard for their profession through a board certifying examination. Bloomer and Thomason are no strangers to breaking ground in uncharted territory. In 2004 they were two of the earliest bloggers on natural animal health. In 2005 the two began their online radio podcast/webinar show, Animal Talk Naturally when there were no other radio shows, podcasts or webinars focused on natural animal health and animal nature.Both of these animal naturopaths have been guests on various radio shows, and written articles for a variety of magazines both online and offline in their ongoing effort to educate pet owners on a proactive approach to the care of their pets. “Our heart and passion has always been to help pet owners learn the most natural, God-honoring way of caring for their pets. We long for the day when all of the animals are well and cared for according to their species needs,” commented Bloomer. “Until we have better trained professionals teaching true holistic care of pets then the pet owners will be left in the lurch to try and wade through the mountain of available information that can often be confusing and misleading. We know that by setting a standard through certification and offering continuing education to animal naturopaths and other holistic animal consultants that we can ensure that the pet owners will be provided the most concise and consistent information so they can make informed decisions for their animals.” stated Thomason. The organization, American Council of Animal Naturopathy offers a board certifying examination for animal naturopaths to uphold the standard of the principles of naturopathy and for other natural animal health practitioners desiring to be certified in animal naturopathy. In addition the Council offers memberships to certified animal naturopaths, students, individual and business supporters, and natural animal health schools. 
While the continuing education classes are not yet available those will be forthcoming as the council aligns with various natural animal health educators and organizations around the world. 
The American Council of Animal Naturopathy (ACAN) was founded on May 5, 2010 and located in New Mexico. This woman-owned business was instituted to provide examinations and continuing education that reflect and uphold the highest professional standards of practice for animal naturopaths.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

'Playing flute like practising yoga'

The language of the humble bamboo flute is universal and more sought after than other classical instruments like the sitar and sarod, says flute maestro Hari Prasad Chaurasia.
He was born into a family of wrestlers and used to practise music secretly.
"One can find a simple wooden bansuri (flute) anywhere. It is an everyday thing - a bamboo pipe with holes to control the movement of air. It is so easy to play. Only Lord Krishna could have thought of such a musical instrument," said Chaurasia, 72.
"It is in a way more popular than the sitar and the sarod," Chaurasia told us after a solo concert at the Embassy of France here.
There are two things he enjoys about the flute.
"Primarily, the sound and secondly, the controlled breathing by the flautist to retain mastery over the notes. It is almost like yoga. In effect, I end up doing two things simultaneously - make music and practise yoga," Chaurasia said.
Born in a family of wrestlers in Allahabad, Chaurasia says music has been his destiny.
One day while walking through the streets of Allahabad, he heard the plaintive strains of the flute and immediately knew that it was his calling.
However, he went to the 'akhada' to learn wrestling with his father and trained in music secretly at a friend's home in the neighbourhood. "I was not any good at wrestling. I went there to please my father, but the strength and stamina I built then, helps me play the flute even till this day," he said.
Chaurasia was later trained by Annapurna Devi, the reclusive daughter of Baba Allauddin Khan.
The classical musician, who has carried the Indian flute to the world, was honoured with the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des' Arts et des Lettres for globalising Indian classical music and taking it to Europe.
A book, 'Hariprasad Chaurasia and the Art of Improvisation', by Henri Tournier was released to mark the occasion.
The book with notations, brief history and sequence of Indian ragas and raginis features colourful illustrations by artist Sujata Bajaj capturing the essence of Chaurasia's music.
Classical instrumental music needs promotion by government institutions like the culture ministry "to move to the next level", the maestro said.
"The culture department should take care of the needs of classical music. They should build more organisations that teach students. Only the traditional 'gurukul' (traditional Indian school) system of training can revive pure classical music in the country," Chaurasia said.
The maestro has a gurukul in Mumbai, where he teaches both young and old students in residency programmes and in day classes.
"I take care of 16 students in my gurukul where they learn Indian classical music free of cost. Their lodgings are paid for. Of the 16, at least 13 are foreign students. It is my Vrindaban. I have another one in Bhubaneswar," he said.
Chaurasia made his mark as a Bollywood musician and has also collaborated with guitar virtuoso John MacLaughlin.
The maestro believes in fusion music. "People are confused about what is fusion. For me, fusion is if you are speaking to me in Hindi and I am replying in French - and in the process creating a new universal musical language. It is two diverse genres of music from different geography chatting," he said.
"Fusion does not take away from pure classical Indian music. Two music can play along side, managing to remain pure. I am part Indian and part French. I love playing in Paris," he said defending his support for fusion music.
Chaurasia serves as the artistic director at the Indian music department of the Rotterdam Music Conservatory in the Netherlands.
"I love to improvise on my music, I have been doing it since childhood. When I play in a school I make my music identifiable to children, when I play in jail prisoners can relate to it and when I perform at corporate soirees - who are used to dancing with popular music - I improvise my music to make it more contemporary," he said.
Source:Time of India

AYUSH festival at Colvin Taluqdar College

The National AYUSH Festival, organised by the Central and state governments, will be held at Colvin Taluqdar College from November 12-15. Being organised in Uttar Pradesh for the first time, the health festival will have special programmes on ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy. 
An initiative of the Union health and family welfare ministry and FICCI, the festival is aimed at informing the general public about AYUSH facilities and their benefits. Apart from conducting a free-of-cost health check-up, authorities will disseminate information about various research initiatives undertaken by the ministry in the field of alternative medicine. Different alternative medicines will also be available on sale. 


Traditional Cambodian medicine has a future in the Kingdom's healthcare sector

Cambodian medicine comes in different shapes and colours and can be purchased in stores or from individuals throughout the country. Just about all Khmer medicine used nowadays is derived from mostly herbal plants, bark, roots and leaves from various trees, but there are also some minerals and other natural ingredients. 
While many Cambodians think that Khmer medicines are a form of naturopathy that can cure many diseases, it is also believed that traditional medicine is by and large consumed by the poor because it is much cheaper and more available than Western medicine. 
However, Eung Sok Lean, the chief of the research laboratory at MediKhmer, which recently opened and produces high-standard Khmer traditional medicines, does not agree with this idea and says that Khmer medicine has always been a favourite for all rich and poor Cambodians, even though some people also prefer Western medicine to cure their own illness.
“Khmer medicine is part of Cambodians’ life, although now it’s the century of modernity and high technology,” she says. “There is so much herbal medicine out there to explore and use to cure people of illnesses,” she adds.  
Sok Lean says that Khmer medicine’s popularity has been taken to a new level after MediKhmer was established a few months ago in cooperation with Pharnext, a company from France which has explored the potential of Khmer medicine.
Ung Phyrun, an official from the Ministry of Health, told LIFT that about 40 to 50 percent of the Cambodian population uses traditional medicine, which can be consumed orally and prescribed by a traditional medicine expert called a “Kru Khmer”.  
He adds that many regulated traditional medicine stores have been recognised nationally and have operated in Cambodia for many years, but says that the ministry will not let inexperienced practitioners of Khmer medicine advertise beyond their actual capacity. 
As part of the efforts to upgrade the use of Khmer medicine, the Nippon Foundation last year supported the establishment of a school for “Kru Khmer”, or Khmer practitioners of traditional medicine, for the purpose of preservation and distribution of accurate information about traditional medicine in Cambodia. 
It was seen as an initial effort to ensure that those trained in traditional medicine from all around the country would provide the best of traditional healthcare.
Having had years of experience in mixing traditional Khmer medicines for headaches, diarrhoea and physical pain for patients, the 50-something-year-old Van Veasna from Preah Vihear province says her patients believe that traditional medicine cures just as well as Western alternatives.
“They think that our medicine has very small side effects on our bodies after taken, so it makes people recover quickly,” she says. 
As a Kru Khmer, she hopes that one day traditional Khmer medicine will be studied in a medical school or university, to end the mystery and silence the sceptics. 
In order to ensure that the next generation of Cambodian doctors take traditional medicine into consideration, Pharnext and MediKhmer have founded a foundation called Khmernext to provide a scholarship to a medical student who after graduation continues to work with MediKhmer. 
Professor Daneil Cohen, the CEO of Pharnext, spoke at a press conference in Phnom Penh last month, saying he thinks that a great deal of good traditional medicine abounds in Cambodia and that it should be used for the sake of humanity.
Source:Phnom Penh Post

Too Much of Saturated Fat Could Damage Your Sperm: Study

New research by experts at Harvard Medical School in the US suggests that men who eat a lot of saturated fat could be damaging their sperm. The researchers found that men who consume lots of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat may have fewer sperm. 
On the other hand, those who eat healthier fats - specifically omega 3 and omega 6 - may have healthier sperm that is more active, the study suggests.
Saturated fat is found in processed meats such as bacon, sausages and ham, dairy and butter. Monounsaturated fat is found in items such as olive oil.
"We were able to demonstrate that in men who took in higher amounts of fats, such as saturated fat and monounsaturated fat, there was an association with decreased sperm concentration," the Independent quoted researcher Dr Jill Attaman as saying.
"But polyunsaturated fat - those seen in fish primarily - was associated with improved sperm morphology and motility," Attaman added.
The findings were presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Denver.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Study Reveals How Ageing Impacts the Brain

A Swedish research has suggested that measuring the lactic acid levels in the brain could reveal the aging process, in mice at least. 
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, have revealed that a build-up of the chemical in the brain was a hallmark of the ageing process, reports the New Scientist.
Jaime Ross and his colleagues investigated how ageing was affected by damage to the DNA in mouse mitochondria, the energy-producing part of cells. 

The team modified mitochondrial DNA, producing a mouse strain that aged prematurely. 
In these mice and healthy controls, the time it took for levels of lactic acid in the brain to double correlated with how fast they aged. 
Lactic acid is a normal product of metabolism, so Ross's team speculated that age-damaged mitochondria could be affecting metabolic processes. 
The brains of both types of mice showed damage to the genes responsible for lactate regulation. 
Future studies might reveal if changes in brain lactate were linked to neurodegenerative disease in humans, said Ross. 
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Sexually Active Men Stay Healthy, Live Longer!

An active sex life is the key to a longer life for men only if they are faithful to their partners, a new research has found.
Italian medical researchers have found that a healthy sex life means fewer cardiovascular problems for men.
"What was evident from the research was that men who had active sex lives and were faithful to their partners had fewer cardiovascular complaints and lived longer," the Telegraph quoted Emmanuele Jannini, coordinator of the research, as saying.
"Increased sexual activity produces more testosterone, which leads to less depression and a better cardiovascular performance which means an improved metabolism," said Jannini.
Jannini said the study has revealed that those who were unfaithful had a poor cardiovascular performance because they were "also coping with the increased stress of their infidelity."
She said that an increased amount of testosterone produced during sex was good for men because it burned off excess sugars and reduced the risk of heart disease.
"People who have diabetes especially benefit from a healthy sex life and an active sex life also helps avoid prostate problems for men," she added.
The Italian Society of Sexual Medicine carried out the study.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Research Reveals How Some People Control HIV Infection Naturally

Researchers have revealed that the rare ability of some individuals to control HIV infection without the need for medications may be explained by the tiny variants in a protein that alerts the immune system to the presence of infection.An international research team led by investigators from the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), MIT and Harvard and from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard describe finding that differences in five amino acids in a protein called HLA-B are associated with whether or not HIV-infected individuals can control viral levels with their immune system only.
The current investigation began with a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of almost 1,000 controllers and 2,600 individuals with progressive HIV infection, through a collaboration with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. The GWAS, which tests variations at a million points in the human genome, identified some 300 sites that were statistically associated with immune control of HIV, all in regions of chromosome 6 that code for HLA proteins.
Further analysis narrowed the number of gene sites to four but could not indicate whether those differences actually affected viral control or were just located near the causal variants. Fully sequencing that genome region in all participants was not feasible, but a process developed by Sherman Jia - a medical student in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, working with de Bakker at the Broad - pinpointed specific amino acids; and directly testing those sites associated five amino acids in the HLA-B protein with differences in viral control.



Statins in Higher Doses Cuts Heart Attack, Stroke Risk: Study

Higher doses of statins cut the risk of heart attacks and stroke by one-seventh compared with regular statin treatment, according to a review published online on Tuesday by The Lancet. 
The study looked at five trials in which around 40,000 patients, advised to lower their levels of blood cholesterol, received either regular statin treatment or intensive treatment.
At the one-year point, intensive statins produced a "highly significant" additional reduction of 15 percent in cases of heart attack, coronary bypass and stroke compared with regular doses.
The analysis found no increase in cancer or mortality from non-cardiovascular disease.
The research was carried out by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' Collaboration, led by Colin Baigent, an Oxford University professor.
Statins, the biggest-selling prescription drugs in the world, work by reducing blood levels of artery-clogging "bad" cholesterol.
In a second study, also carried by The Lancet, British scientists found that, among high-risk patients, higher doses of statins reduced the risk of cardiac arrest, blockage or stroke by six percent compared to lower doses.
There was no difference in cardiovascular fatalities.
The trial was conducted among 12,000 men and women who had previously had a heart attack. They received either 80 milligrams or 20 mg of simvastatin daily.


Monday, 8 November 2010

Ayurveda Center in Houston, TX, Launched by Santhigram Kerala Ayurveda

Santhigram Kerala Ayurvedic Co. of US Inc launched its fifth Ayurveda center in the US at 3223 South Main, Stafford (in Houston), TX 77477 (281-969-8062). Santhigram Kerala Ayurveda is an international Ayurvedic company offering genuine "Kerala specific Ayurvedic Therapies" for the well-being of mankind and is in the mission,
"To propagate worldwide, traditional Kerala specific Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy for comprehensive health, rejuvenation of the body , to manage chronic and acute ailments through their established Authentic Ayurvedic Centers, which offer customer friendly services without compromising on the essence of Ayurveda , "The Science of Life"
Ayurveda and Yoga are time tested ancient systems of medicine that help to maintain perfect body and mind, which are now popular in most western cultures. There are many variations in the practice of these two medical disciplines , but the only place in the world where Ayurveda is still practiced in its absolute purity and dedication is in the nick-named 'God's own country', Kerala, India. Ayurvedic Physicians in Kerala have developed specialized techniques of Panchakarma, which in many ways is more than whole body purification therapy. Kerala has specialized in this therapy over the years and it has become the center of world attention. Large numbers of medical tourists from around the world come to Kerala to experience these therapies.Santhigram Ayurveda with its corporate headquarters in New Delhi, India, after a decade long successful operations in India, spread its wings to United Kingdom five years back. The recent popularity of Ayurveda in the United States and its continued acceptability and success in UK has encouraged the company to further extend its unique services to the United States. Santhigram launched its first US center in November 2007 and presently is running four centers in New Jersey, one at Holiday Inn, Raritan Center, Edison (732-738-1580), another inside Bally Total Fitness Facility in East Brunswick (732-238-2003), third Center at Oak Tree Road, Edison NJ (732-662-5589) and fourth center at Denville, Near Parsippany NJ (973-784-3027).The fifth US Center was inaugurated on Friday, October 22, 2010 at 3223, South Main, Stafford TX 77477 (281-969-8062) by Mr. Thomas Abraham, Mayor Pro-tem, City of Sugarland, TX in the presence of Stafford Councilman Mr. Robin Ellakkad. H.H. Bhakti Sundar Goswami Maharaj, the Regional Secretary of Iskcon Temple, American Region was the Guest of Honor.During the occasion the Mayor-Protem Mr. Thomas Abraham appreciated the efforts of Santhigram for bringing this unique Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy to Houston and expressed confidence that it will be of great help to many people who suffer from various ailments where modern system of medicine is not helpful in providing side-effect-free treatments and people go all the way to India to undergo this treatment. He has promised all possible support for Santhigram's mission to establish authentic ayurvedic centers in various parts of United States. Mr. Robin Ellakkad, the councilman who spoke during the occasion also expressed happiness that Santhigram was successful in bringing this specialized therapy to Houston which will be of immense help to many people suffering from a number of chronic ailments. His Holiness Bhakti Sundar Goswami Maharaj talked about the origin of Ayurveda which is a system of medicine practiced by the sages in ancient times and forms part of Hindu mythology. He narrated his excellent experience of Ayurvedic treatments that he had undergone in India and wished Santhigram all success in its efforts to establish authentic ayurvedic centers in the United States.
Mr. Gopinathan Nair, President & CEO of the company in his welcome speech has expressed satisfaction about the tremendous support Santhigram has received from the local community leaders for starting the ayurvedic center in Houston and unveiled the plan of the company in launching more centers in Texas and other states in coming months. Mr. Vikram Pillai, Global Director, Mr. Muraleedharan Pillai, Centre Director and Dr. Ambika Nair, Senior Consultant also spoke on the occasion.Santhigram is an ISO 9001:2008 certified provider of Ayurvedic Services based in India with international centers in UK and US and is specialized in "Kerala specific Ayurvedic Panchakarma Therapies". The current synthetic lifestyle of modern man has led him to many health problems. The stress and strain of daily grind is a major factor for many chronic diseases. Lack of exercise, polluted environment and climatically unsuitable food habits further adds to the problem. "Ayurvedic and Panchakarma Therapies" that Santhigram offers reduce the physical suffering from skeleto-muscular diseases, control several dreaded disabilities, ward off the middle age syndrome, possibly retard the aging process and provide unlimited curative powers for body and mind by repairing the worn out tissues revitalizing the body, increasing memory power, improving vigor and vitality and make oneself physically and mentally fit. Santhigram's specialized Ayurvedic & Panchakarma therapies also help to alleviate specific health problems like Back Pain, Neck Pain, Frozen Shoulder, Sinusitis, Migraine, Joint Pain, Arthritis, Insomnia, Depression etc, reduce obesity and mental tension, enhances body complexion and skin luster, correct one's metabolism and deficiencies and also recharges the body and mind.Santhigram has cut out an ambitious plan of setting up multiple Ayurvedic Centers in all the 50 states in the US and is looking for partners in every state in its mission to launch world class Ayurvedic centers.

Modern medicine has forgotten the essence of illness care

Health is a state where each human body cell is in sync with other cells. Illness is when this communication breaks down.
“One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicines.”– Sir William Osle.
In the 21st century, I could only echo that great sentiment as a truism, despite the tall talk of the “so-called” evidence-based medicine. Napoleon Bonaparte went one step further, but one could argue that he was not a physician. Napoleon was at the receiving end of such a medical practice in Persia where he died. “Medicine is a collection of uncertain prescriptions the results of which, taken collectively, are more fatal than useful to mankind.” Napoleon, though, was more accurate scientifically today. The latest science says that uncertainty is the only certainty in the world. This is truer of medical science, if there is one. A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience. If that were so, this one from Voltaire takes the cake: “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”I have often written that our evidence base has been built on loose sand.Of course, no one seems to take it seriously. They would have, if it had any financial interest behind it. The present Randomised Controlled Trials and linear relations help generate billions of dollars in chemical therapeutics even if that results in thousands dying of our efforts directly or indirectly.Recently, I had a message from one of my students, who is a leading dermatologist in India doing innovative research. “I always wondered when I used to listen to you during my student days and respected your views all along. In dermatology evidence is found only in 28 per cent of published studies. All molecular biology companies come with an offer to give authorship if we buy their equipment for our laboratory! Doesn't that mean that most molecular biology studies are prototype and try to find out how what is known fits into their study?”The foundations of our evidence in modern medicine like the statistical risk calculations, (especially the relative risk reductions in place of absolute risk reductions that are sold to gullible doctors in most of the “scientific” articles without mentioning the NNT figures) and, the RCTs, which have no true science base, are very shaky, indeed. We need to have a new science of man, which is sadly missing in this whole bargain. Physics changed in 1925 and there is no more physics, but we still use the same old physics laws for our statistics. Matter is not made up of matter. Matter and energy are interchangeable. ( Human molecules communicate with one another which can now be documented through the photon lights emitted from each DNA.What is the science base of our reductionism, organ based specialisation and our reliance on Mendelian inheritance? Instead of trying to rehash the existing evidence base, it is better to think of a new evidence base for health and illness. Health is a state where each human body cell is in sync with other cells. Illness is when this communication breaks down. We need a new non-linear, holistic, dynamic, scientific base for future medical research. Nature has provided a robust repair mechanism inside the human system which has been weakened by our modern lifestyle. Even though both Claude Bernard and Louis Pasteur did note that the “terrain is more important than the seed” we have gone the whole hog on the seed, risk factors, and what have you. Modern medicine has forgotten the essence of illness care which is basically strengthening the terrain.Our ancient wisdom:Indian Ayurveda and many other complementary systems stress just that fact to strengthen one's immune system. Ayurveda has many immune boosting modalities in its armamentarium.Many simple methods which have stood the test of time are being forgotten now, thanks to the brainwashing of the masses through mass media advertisements about the wrong approaches to keep one healthy. The leading one among them is goading people to have a regular “health” check-up. Nothing could be more dangerous than that to apparently healthy people. When one is healthy one should NEVER ever go for a check up!The common man will have the doubt as to how he/she could know about health. One is healthy when one has a) enthusiasm to work and b) enthusiasm for being compassionate. One of the ancient exercises could be the most potent modern medicine, a daily walk if one is not a physical labourer. Universal love is another life-giving elixir.
(The writer is former professor of cardiology, Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London and former Vice-Chancellor, Manipal University. Email:
Source:The Hindu

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