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Saturday, 27 November 2010

National Surveillance System for antibiotic resistance planned

Early Diagnosis is Important to Realise Positive Outcomes in Rheumatoid Arthritis

A new study has revealed that it is important to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) early in order to realise positive outcomes.
Researchers in the Netherlands found that patients who are assessed by rheumatologists soon after RA symptoms appear are more likely to experience less joint destruction and improved chances of DMARD-free disease remission.The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that RA affects up to 1 percent of the population worldwide and is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. 
This chronic, systemic disease is characterized by inflammation in the lining of the joints, which can frequently lead to joint damage. 
Current medical evidence suggests that early initiation of an optimal RA treatment strategy-within 12 weeks of symptom onset-can prevent joint damage, improve long-term function, and increase the likelihood of achieving disease remission. 
Michael van der Linden and colleagues from the Leiden University Medical Center examined 1674 early arthritis patients from the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic cohort. 
Researchers studied the associations among total delay to physician assessment, achievement of DMARD-free-remission, and the rate of joint damage over a six-year follow-up period.




Heart Disease Risk can be Offset by Increasing Blood Levels of 'Good' Cholesterol

Increasing the blood levels of HDL or 'good' cholesterol is known to reduce the risk of heart disease much more than consumption of statins. 
A new study conducted with 1,623 patients investigated the safety of anacetrapib, a drug that inhibits a protein called CETP, which raises HDL, reports Nature.The trial found with 94 percent confidence that anacetrapib does not harm patients - in contrast to the 15,000-patient trial of torcetrapib, also a CETP inhibitor.
When Pfizer halted that trial, many companies stopped working on CETP blockers. Researchers were left wondering whether torcetrapib's failure was down to unexpectedly high toxicity in that compound, whether the inhibition of CETP itself is harmful, or whether the idea that raising HDL levels lowers risk is flawed.
After 24 weeks on the drug anacetrapib, patients experienced a 138 percent increase in HDL levels. In contrast, exercising and changing diet might only raise HDL by 10 percent, said Christopher Cannon, a cardiovascular researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
The participants, all of whom were also on statins, experienced a further 40 percent reduction in LDL levels.
The researchers noted some positive trends: 3.3 percent of patients taking the drug experienced heart attacks, stroke or other kinds of cardiovascular events, compared with 5.3 percent of patients in the placebo group.
Prediman Shah, director of cardiology and atherosclerosis research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, is happy with the results, but equally cautious.
Whether raising HDL really works won't become clear until data from larger studies begin to emerge, Shah said. An international, 30,000-patient trial testing anacetrapib's efficacy will begin next year, but results won't come in until at least 2014.




Yellow, Green Vegetable Consumption Extends Lifespan: Study

High blood levels of the antioxidant alpha-carotene, found in yellow and green vegetables, appear to reduce the risk of dying over a 14-year period, according to a new study. 
Oxygen-related damage to DNA, proteins and fats may play a role in the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Carotenoids-including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene-are produced by plants and microorganisms and act as antioxidants, counteracting this damage. 
Chaoyang Li of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the relationship between alpha-carotene and the risk of death among 15,318 adults age 20 and older who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. 
Participants underwent a medical examination and provided blood samples between 1988 and 1994, and were followed through 2006 to determine whether and how they died. 
Over the course of the study, 3,810 participants died; the risk for dying was lower with higher levels of alpha-carotene in the blood. 
Higher alpha-carotene concentration also appeared to be associated with lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer individually, and of all other causes. 
The results support increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as a way of preventing premature death, the researchers conclude. 
Yellow-orange (carrots, sweet potatoes or pumpkin and winter squash) and dark-green (broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, turnips greens, collards and leaf lettuce) vegetables have high alpha-carotene content. 

The finding was posted online today and will be published in the March 28 print issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.


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A natural prescription for healthy living

A trip to the doctor can turn into a relaxing retreat if you have an appointment at The Fredericton Naturopathic Clinic.Owned and operated by Dr. Parissa Bunin and her husband Dr. Judah Bunin, the clinic offers an alternative environment for patients seeking the help of naturopathic doctors.
After considering a conventional medical degree, Parissa realized the philosophy of naturopathic medicine was a better fit for her own beliefs.
"One of the principal philosophies of naturopathic medicine, besides 'do no harm' and that sort of thing, is to treat the cause. I found that was pretty attractive in terms of dealing with people's issues. You don't just give them something to get rid of the symptom; you try to find the root of the problem and try to solve that," Parissa said.
Naturopathy is an alternative medical system incorporating natural remedies and healing practices. Naturopathic doctors offer treatments and advice in the fields of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, lifestyle counselling and some physical medicine, she said.
"A naturopathic doctor is the general practitioner of natural medicine. It's a fairly large scope for naturopathic doctors. We see patients coming in and look at their case history, and try to determine what the best strategy is naturally to treat them."
Parissa completed a bachelor of science degree followed by an intensive four-year doctor of naturopathic medicine program, before becoming professionally regulated in Ontario and opening the practice in Fredericton.
A doctor of naturopathic medicine must be accredited with an alternative medicine degree by a recognized school. In Canada, only two schools offer a program in naturopathic medicine that has been accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).
Parissa said her favourite part of the job is the opportunity to own her own practice with her husband, and having the flexibility to spend time at home with her children. She said getting to the root of a patient's problem and providing natural alternatives that are successful is also rewarding.
"The other thing I like, and otherwise I don't think I'd be in this profession, is when I do see these amazing changes in people who are desperate and haven't had any success with conventional treatment for whatever reason. You can see these amazing changes just by changing the way they're eating, or their lifestyle, and that's really rewarding," Parissa said.
Most clients come in for digestive issues, hormonal difficulties and anxiety and depression, she said.
"But it's really quite a large scale of people we see, in terms of what they come in for. People come in to see us for cold prevention, something as simple as 'how do I make sure my kids are healthy this winter?'
"And then people have come in to see us also for cancer, because they may be getting the conventional treatment but they want complementary health to help them recover fast or aid with the recovery."
Although the profile of naturopathic doctors has been raised in recent years by movements toward healthy living and natural eating, Parissa said there are still many misconceptions about the job of a naturopathic doctor.
"I think the biggest one is that we are not as educated as conventional doctors to make a diagnosis," she said, adding if people aren't aware of a naturopathic doctor's education, it can cause hesitation.
"We are health-care practitioners. We are allowed to make a diagnosis and treat. Naturopathic doctors are the experts in alternative health."
There are six provinces that offer professional regulation of naturopathic doctors, but New Brunswick isn't one of them.
Dr. Judah Bunin, president of the New Brunswick Naturopathic Doctors Association, said he's passionate about advocating for the regulation of naturopathic doctors in New Brunswick.
"The top priority at this point in time is to rally about public education and raising awareness, because we are a new profession in the big scheme of things. Focusing on need for professional regulation is important," Judah said. "The biggest thing regulation would do for everybody who is interested in naturopathic medicine is making it illegal for somebody to call themselves a naturopath without the proper training. Right now, unless the patient did their own homework to find out their credentials, there's nothing legally anybody could do to stop them from calling themselves a naturopath. It would provide protection for the public."
Parissa said she thinks there is a huge demand for naturopathic doctors, especially in provinces such as New Brunswick where it can be difficult to find a family doctor.
"It would be wonderful if we got regulated and were able to send people out for testing, refer them to specialists and do those kinds of things that we're trained to do.
EDUCATION: According to the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, naturopathic doctors must complete three years of pre-medical sciences at a university, a four-year full-time program at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine, standardized board exams, and meet credits as required by provincial regulatory boards.
DEMAND: There are currently 10 active members of the New Brunswick Association of Naturopathic Doctors, according to the association's website, but the demand is growing as alternative health becomes more popular.
SALARY: Ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 a year, depending on how many hours a week the naturopathic doctor chooses to work, or if they own their own practice, said Dr. Parissa Bunin.
HOURS: Could be from 25-40 hours a week, depending on how often the naturopathic clinic is open and the doctor is willing to work.
Source:Business Journal

Friday, 26 November 2010

Research Finds How We Perceive Sour Tasting Foods

Some interesting insights into how our tongues perceive sour taste have been gained by a new research. 
Sour is the sensation evoked by substances that are acidic, such as lemons and pickles. The more acidic the substance, the more sour the taste.Acids release protons, which were thought to bind to the outside of the cell and opening a pore in the membrane that would allow sodium to enter the cell. Sodium's entry would send an electrical response to the brain, announcing the sensation that we perceive as sour.
But the researchers found that the protons were entering the cell and causing the electrical response directly.
"If we want to know how sour works, we need to measure activity specifically in the sour sensitive taste cells and determine what is special about them that allows them to respond to protons," said Emily Liman, associate professor of neurobiology in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
Liman and her team bred genetically modified mice and marked their sour cells with a yellow florescent protein. Then they recorded the electrical responses from just those cells to protons.
The ability to sense protons with a mechanism that does not rely on sodium has important implications for how different tastes interact, Liman speculated.
"It makes sense that nature would have built a taste cell like this, so as not to confuse salty with sour," she said.


Europe may Soon Enforce a Ban on Baby Bottles With Bisphenol-A

Europe is likely to enforce a ban on baby bottles which contain the chemical Bisphenol-A,owing to its adverse effects on child health, the European Commission said. 
European Union health commissioner John Dalli wants to pull such bottles off shop shelves across the 27-nation bloc because of the "uncertainties" about its effects on infants, his spokesman Frederic Vincent told AFP.Only two EU countries, France and Denmark, have imposed bans on baby bottles with Bisphenol-A. Danish authorities went a step further by extending the prohibition to all food products for children up to three years old.
Bans are also in place in Australia, Canada and a few US states. Canada became in October the first country in the world to classify Bisphenol-A as a toxic substance despite industry opposition.
Dalli met with people from the industry to come up with a proposal and intends to draft legislation in the first quarter of 2011, Vincent said.
The European Parliament called in June for a ban on the manufacturing and sale of baby bottles containing Bisphenol-A.
Dalli decided to draft legislation after the European Food Safety Authority issued in September an opinion by experts on the chemical.
The report confirmed that Bisphenol-A was safe in very small quantities but also pointed to "areas of uncertainty" based on new studies, Dalli said in a statement on October 7.
"It cannot be excluded that there might be an effect on the development, immune response or tumour promotion," Dalli said.
Legislation proposed by the commission must be approved by EU states and the European Parliament.



The Big Fat Problem Plaguing India

The growing affluence in India has come with a heavy price – the burden of obesity. Paradoxical as it may seem, India needs to grapple with extreme poverty and malnourishment on one hand and the growing epidemic of obesity amongst the affluent, on the other. It may well be called the mother of all disparities, for the moneyed middle class and upper class consume more than recommended and are bursting at the seams, while the poor remain hungry, just skin and bones-both extremes which cost the country very dearly.
The drive against obesity gains momentum around this time every year and November 26th, 2010 is dedicated as Anti-Obesity Day in India. The anti-obesity efforts for 2010 seek to educate the public about the health risks of obesity and the best ways to manage weight.
Burden of The Bulge            
A recent study led by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), published in the Lancet, has ranked India in the forefront of an obesity epidemic. Statistics point to an increase in overweight or obese citizens by 20% between 1998 and 2005. Presently, one in 6 women and one in 5 men are overweight in India. Indeed, there is a dire need to trim, as obesity figures are bulging dangerously at a staggering 70 million in India.
Explaining the results of the study, OECD lead author Michele Cecchini said, "The results varied across countries surveyed. Seven in 10 Mexican adults are overweight or obese, while nearly half of all Brazilians, Russians and South Africans are also in this category. China and India are also rapidly moving in the wrong direction. Low- and middle-income countries have far fewer health care resources to deal with the consequences of obesity, which include higher rates of cardiac disease, cancer and diabetes."
Today, it is no longer a lean childhood, as most children are having trouble carrying their own weight. There is immense trouble brewing, for 17 % of the youngsters in the age group of 14-18 in India are overweight or obese.
A study by the Diabetes foundation of India found that in a Delhi private school, one in three children are obese. It appears that children are consuming much more than what is recommended for them. Childhood obesity is most certainly a fallout of the present lifestyle, as children are spoilt for choice - fat laden food, plethora of sedentary pursuits, which has made the common child a comfortable couch potato. Gone are the days when children preferred to walk to schools or go cycling. Today, families eat out much more than our previous generations. Junk food is easy buy for the affluent but not so for the poor, which also explains why obesity knocks on the rich door.

Good Reasons to Battle the Bulge 

Obesity is not a simple problem for it can trigger at least 53 diseases. Insulin resistance of the body can go haywire causing a major lifestyle disease- Diabetes. Obesity is known to alter blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides, all of which can trigger life-threatening health conditions.

Obesity is also the primary cause of many non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Another study which looked at the health repercussions of obesity, published in the Lancet, has revealed that “by 2030, non communicable disease will account for nearly 70% of all global deaths and 80% of these deaths will occur in developing countries like India”.
Research also shows that South Asians must watch their weight as their genes increase their risk of heart disease and diabetes – both of which are a deadly offshoot of obesity. If most Indians have ample waistlines, it is a predictable part of their Indian genetic history and we must do much more than blame our forefathers!
Time to Trim 
Effective weight management is easy with a healthy diet and regular exercise. A good way to prevent obesity is to blend in rigorous physical activity and a healthy diet regimen specifically tailored to fight fat.
Steps to keep obesity at bay: 
1. Imperative to adopt a balanced diet containing vegetables, proteins, and fruits. Experts advice that the trick lies in sprucing up your diet with more fiber, and giving a cold shoulder to junk food, snacks and bakery products.
2. Exercise regularly, ideally 4-5 times a week.
3. Keep a check on your weight by monitoring it.
Obesity is a man-made problem. It is time to put on our thinking caps and make healthy lifestyle choices in order to lead a disease-free life. Take those crafty food advertisements with a pinch of salt. Junk fast-food. Get Moving. Rewards will come to you in the form of good health which is indeed the greatest wealth!

Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha units to gain as insurers planning to include ISM under insurance cover

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Beware before using Drugs,These May cause sexual problem

Drugs are among the most common yet unsuspected causes of sexual problems. They are responsible for nearly 25% cases of sexual dysfunction.  Hence it is important to eliminate them as a cause of the problem before the patient is subjected to further tests and investigations.The nervous as well as our endocrine or hormonal systems of a person have profound  influence on sexual function.
Nervous system – The nervous system comprises of the brain, spinal cord and emerging nerves.  Sexual arousal first takes place in our brain.  Signals are then carried though various nerves to the genital organs.  Sexual arousal may also occur due to physical stimulation of the genitals.  In this case, the signals travel from the genitals to the spinal cord and then back to the genitals.Signals are transmitted between nerves though the release of substances called neurotransmitters.  Any alteration in these neurotransmitters could lead to sexual dysfunction.  Drugs that affect brain, nerves or neurotransmitters can cause sexual problems.  Some drugs acting on the brain inhibit sex by causing drowsiness.
Hormonal or Endocrine system – The body's sex hormones such as androgens, estrogen and testosterone have a strong influence on sexual function.  Drugs that interfere with the effects of sex hormones cause sexual dysfunction.
Erection in males occurs due to accumulation of blood in the penis.  Drugs that reduce blood pressure could reduce the pressure in the penis leading to loss of erection. Sexual problems occur in both males and females.  In males, they manifest as decreased sexual drive or libido, impotence (inability to attain or maintain an erection), impairment of ejaculation and / or loss of orgasm.  Some patients complain of a prolonged painful erection called priapism.  Females may complain of decreased libido and/or lack of orgasm.  They may also complain of pain or spasms of vaginal wall during intercourse and/or lack of adequate lubrication.  The problem is less studied in females than in males.
Though some drugs causing sexual dysfunction are mentioned here, a number of other drugs could also be responsible.  Hence any patient complaining of sexual problems should not forget to list out the drugs he/she takes including over – the – counter drugs.  Some of the drugs may cause problems if stopped suddenly; hence the patient is advised to consult his/ her health care professional before deciding to stop a drug.




QCI, Tourism Dept to promote Ayush abroad

The Quality Council of India has tied up with the Department of Tourism and various Indian high commissions to boost the export of Ayurvedic products. These agencies will promote Ayurvedic products and institutions certified by QCI in the overseas market.
The QCI is also in talks with the Drug Controller General of India for bringing in necessary regulations to ensure sale of certified products in the domestic market.
The QCI in collaboration with the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), had recently introduced Ayush Mark quality certification. Till now Ayush mark has been conferred on one hospital and a few products of seven dcompanies. While six other hospitals and most of the leading Ayurvedic product manufacturers have applied for the mark, QCI and AYUSH are in the process of promoting the certification.
“Reports about traces of heavy metal and toxic elements in some Ayurvedic products had raised concerns among the domestic as well as global consumers of Ayurvedic medicines. To allay these fears and promote the system, we have come out with the Ayush mark and certification scheme to determine the composition of the products as well as the treatment standards of Ayurvedic hospitals,” Girdhar J Gyani, secretary general of QCI told Financial Chronicle.
“While we will work towards increasing awareness about the mark among the manufacturers and consumers, the Tourism Department and Indian high commissions will help promote it abroad,” he said.
Tourism department has agreed to promote Ayurvedic drugs, hospitals and spas as well as allopathy hospitals under its ‘Incredible India’ campaign. Similarly all the Indian high commissions abroad will increase awareness about the certification through their websites.
The QCI plans to spend Rs five crore annually for the promotion of the new certification. “We have also asked DCGI to bring in necessary regulations to ensure that only certified drugs are sold in the domestic market. Such a measure will help speedy acceptance of the certification,” he said.


‘Yoga is a slow process but it is everlasting’

Payal Gidwani Tiwari can take credit for making Kareena Kapoor and beau Saif Ali Khan, Tusshar and Ekta Kapoor and Sridevi, among others, bendy enough to put their head over their heels. Along with her husband Manish Tiwari, Payal introduced Bollywood’s swish set to her unique brand of yoga, which Kareena Kapoor credits for her dramatic weight loss en route to size zero. Putting together her experiments with yoga, Tiwari recently released a fitness book called From XL to XS.
The book claims that you can indeed drop several sizes by practising yoga regularly. More importantly, while most experts claim that yoga is more a tool for holistic living than a weight loss technique, Tiwari claims that you can significantly alter your body shape with yoga. “Yoga brings an intrinsic change in the body and mind,” she says. “If you follow it consistently, every day for six months, you can achieve weight loss and alter your body structure.”But doesn’t body shape involve a lot of complex factors, such as genetic predisposition, and how can yoga reverse them? Tiwari illustrates with the example of Kareena Kapoor: “Kareena’s problem areas were her arms and calves. I recommended certain asanas just for those parts. Everyasana works internally. It takes care of your hormonal and digestive system. Once you’ve achieved that inner balance, you automatically start losing weight.”
Tiwari has been practising yoga for seven years. Her interpretation of yoga is based on the curriculum of the Kaivalyadhama School in Lonavala. “But we bring in modifications depending on each person’s body type,” she says. “We look at five parameters that are crucial for fitness: cardiovascular strength, endurance, flexibility, stamina and body composition.” Tiwari also brings in additional elements to the workout, including spot jogging and walking up stairs.
To start with, Tiwari says it’s important to have the right understanding of a healthy body. “I don’t believe in size zero at all,” she says. “Ideally, there should be an eight-inch difference between your chest and your waist, and your waist and your hip. You might be a little on the heavier side, but if you have this ratio, you tend to look very proportionate.”If you’re a beginner to yoga, Tiwari suggests you cut your teeth with the surya namaskar, the series of twelve asanas that is considered highly beneficial for the body’s internal systems. “Surya namaskars are a complete workout,” she says. “If your knees and back are fine, you can start with five surya namaskars. As you go along, your strength and stamina increases.”But in addition, you need to pay attention to your diet and lifestyle. “You need to have a balanced diet and eliminate sugars and fast food from your diet,” says Tiwari. “Even a small change in lifestyle can go a long way.”
Source:Hindustan Times

Homeopathic immunization against Leptospirosis

Homeopathic immunization against Leptospirosis in Cuba has resulted in significant reduction of disease incidence, prompting the Cuban government to focus more on homeopathy medicine in disease prophylaxis.
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease which is endemic in Cuba. It usually worsens during the hurricane and high rainfall seasons from October to December each year when the infection is spread via infected water, although rodent urine will also carry the disease.
In both 2007 and 2008 the RC was hit by severe hurricanes. The three eastern regions of Cuba, Las Tunas, Holguin and Granma (IR = Intervened Region) usually have a much greater incidence of the disease per head of population than the rest of the country (RC). In 2007 the Cuban Government, through the Finlay Institute which manufactures most vaccines used in Cuba, decided to homeopathically immunize the bulk of the population in IR due to a severe spike in the incidence of the disease.The HP intervention against Leptospirosis in IR in 2007 and 2008 has been an unqualified success. According to the data collected by Australian researcher Isaac Golden, the data shows a breaking of the seasonal trend in IR in late 2007 and the substantial reduction of the disease in IR in 2008 despite IR remaining the region most at risk due to severe hurricanes in IR in 2008. The details of the effective intervention were mentioned in the Cuban Assembly. Following on this experience a decision was made to undertake a massive HP immunization of the total population against Swine Flu in 2009/10 involving over 9.8 million people.
Dr. Manish Bhatia, CEO of, world’s leading homeopathy portal said that it is clear that the Cuban initiative in safe, effective, and low cost infectious disease prevention, making the Cubans world leaders in this area of immunization and this study will be followed with great interest by both practitioners and public health scientists around the world.
Source: PRlog

Awareness Programme on AYUSH Hospital Accreditation


Visit this Link for Details
Awareness Programme on AYUSH Hospital Accreditation

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Govt to provide upto 70% loan for setting up clinical research facilities in India

Skipping Breakfast For Long Could Increase Risk Of Heart Disease and Diabetes

Not only is breakfast good for weight management, but it is also good for reducing other risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as blood insulin and cholesterol levels, researchers say.Skipping breakfast is a fairly common practice with 23 per cent of adults and 10 per cent of children reporting they did not regularly eat breakfast in the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (Australia) and there is evidence that skipping breakfast is becoming more common. Dangers in such a practice have now been revealed.
“People who reported skipping breakfast both during childhood and adulthood had more risk factors for diabetes and heart disease than their peers who ate breakfast at both times in the study,” said PhD student Ms Kylie Smith at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania. She is the first author and chief investigator of the new study.
The investigation was part of the national Childhood Determinants of Adult Health (CDAH) study. Over 2,000 participants were involved with the breakfast skipping study.
“We used data from a large nation-wide study with a 20 year follow-up from childhood to early adulthood.”

“Compared to those who ate breakfast both as a child and an adult, those who skipped breakfast on both occasions had a larger waist circumference, and had higher fasting insulin, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), which are all risk factors for heart disease and diabetes,” Ms Smith said.




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