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Saturday, 4 December 2010

The Healthy Skeptic: Homeopathic cold remedies

Despite all of the cold remedies that have been proposed through the years, people still somehow manage to sniffle andsneeze. The truth is, modern medicine has yet to conquer the common cold. Sure, you could take NyQuil Multi-Symptom or Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough to clear up your head, but such medications can cause drowsiness, nervousness, sleep problems and other side effects. And they won't necessarily help your cold go away any faster, either.
Children's colds are especially hard to treat, says Dr. James Taylor, professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle. "Colds are a huge reason why parents bring their kids to a physician, and we have very little to offer," he says. In 2010, the FDA recalled many children's cold remedies — including syrups and drops from Tylenol, Motrin and Zyrtec — because of safety concerns.
Looking for relief without risks, many cold sufferers have turned to homeopathic pills and liquids, which are often heavily diluted — sometimes to the point where few to no molecules of the active ingredient remain.
Zicam RapidMelts, perhaps the most widely available homeopathic cold remedy, is sold at practically every drug store. According to the label, the single active ingredient, zincum gluconicum, has a 1X dilution. This means that one part of zincum gluconicum (a zinc compound) was diluted in 10 parts water before it was added to the lozenge. The label doesn't say how much zinc is in the product, but a customer service representative reached by phone said each lozenge contains 10 mg. of zinc, a little less than you'd get from a typical multivitamin.
Users are instructed to dissolve one lozenge in the mouth as soon as they notice cold symptoms, then take another lozenge every three hours until the symptoms disappear. A bottle of 25 tablets costs about $13. According to the label, Zicam RapidMelts are recommended for adults and children ages 3 or older.
Zicam RapidMelts shouldn't be confused with Zicam Nasal Gel or Zicam Swabs. Matrixx Initiatives, the company behind Zicam, voluntarily recalled these products in 2009 after the FDA warned that more than 130 users had lost their sense of smell.
Hyland's Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids, sold in many drug stores, follows the more traditional blueprint for homeopathic remedies. Homeopaths generally believe that dilution makes the active ingredients more effective — the greater the dilution, the greater the relief. Following that logic, Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids is diluted to the extreme.
According to the label, all of the active ingredients have a dilution of at least 6X, which means one part ingredient per million parts water. Some of the ingredients, including sulphur, have a dilution of 12X, which is a million times less concentrated than the 6X dilution. In other words, don't expect to get a whiff of rotten eggs when you open the bottle.
According to the label, Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids is recommended for cold sufferers ages 2 and up. Children ages 2 to 5 can take a teaspoon every four hours. Children ages 6 to 12 can take two teaspoons every four hours, and children and adults over 12 can take 3 teaspoons every four hours. A 4-oz. bottle (24 teaspoons) costs about $5.
The claims. According to the label, Zicam RapidMelts will "reduce the duration and severity of a cold." It also says you can "get over your cold faster with Zicam." Representatives from Zicam were unavailable for comment.
The website for Hyland's Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids says the "100 percent natural formula offers safe and effective symptom relief from common cold symptoms, including sneezing, sore throat and congestion." J.P. Borneman, chairman and chief executive of Hyland's Inc., says that homeopathic products work by "stimulating the body's natural healing process." He adds that the company has received positive feedback from parents.
The bottom line: Homeopathy has its share of devoted followers, but the field doesn't make scientific sense, says William Gleason, an associate professor of medicinal chemistry at theUniversity of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Most products are so diluted, he says, that there's "no longer any medicine in the medicine."
Proponents of homeopathy often claim that heavily diluted solutions contain a "memory" of the active ingredients, but Gleason says that concept is ridiculous. As he explains, every molecule of water in our bodies has been enough other places — oceans, sewers, the bathtubs of ancient Greeks — to make any "memories" hopelessly jumbled.
In a 2010 report, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of theNational Institutes of Health, said that the key concepts of homeopathy "are not consistent with the established laws of science."
Much of the controversy around homeopathy doesn't really apply to Zicam RapidMelts, Gleason says, because the product actually contains significant amounts of its active ingredient. But he also notes that zinc isn't exactly a silver bullet (or even a zinc bullet) against colds.
A 2000 study found that lozenges containing 13.3 mg. of zinc (about 3 mg. more than found in Zicam RapidMelts) cut the length of a cold by about one day but didn't affect symptoms. Other studies have found no benefits at all. After reviewing 14 previous studies, Stanford researchers reported in 2007 that the effectiveness of zinc lozenges had "yet to be established."
Taylor is planning to enroll 400 children in a placebo-controlled study of Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids. The study will be funded by Hyland's. "If homeopathy works, it would have to work on a different pathway than anything we know about," he says. "But I'm open-minded about it."


Good News for patient suffering from Ulcerative Colitis

A new study involving a man who swallowed worm eggs to relieve symptoms of ulcerative colitis sheds light on how worms promote healing in the intestine.
The study, published today in Science Translational Medicine, also identifies potential targets for more conventional ways of treating colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.“The idea for treating colitis with worms is not new, but how this therapy might work remains unclear,” says the study’s senior corresponding author, P'ng Loke, PhD, assistant professor of medical parasitology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Our findings suggest that infection with this particular parasite increases or restores mucus production in the colon, providing symptomatic relief.”
chronic disease, ulcerative colitis is characterized by open sores or ulcers in the lining of the colon. The disease is estimated to affect 600,000 Americans, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, and the most common symptoms are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. The cause is unknown, but studies points to defects in immune regulation. Disruption of mucus production is often associated with severe symptoms.
Colitis is common in North America and Northern Europe, where helminth (parasitic worm) infections are rare. Conversely, the disease is rare in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where helminth infections are endemic, leading researchers to hypothesize that the worms offer protection against this inflammatory bowel disease.
In animal models of autoimmunity these worms have suppressed inflammation, and clinical trials indicate that helminth therapy can be beneficial in relieving symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases.



Four-month-old baby boy dies after aunt gave him cough medicine

A four-month-old boy has died after his aunt gave him over-the-counter cough medicine, police have confirmed.
Daniel Richardson stopped breathing after he was given Robitussin at his Brooklyn home and died a short time later.
The aunt, identified only as Patricia, has not been charged and police are treating the boy's death as an accident.
She told the New York Daily News: 'I can't believe this happened. I didn't do anything wrong.'
Police were called to the family home at around 6.45pm on Thursday, where the found Daniel unconscious.
Emergency Medical Service workers rushed the infant to Woodhull Hospital, but doctors were unable to save him.
A spokesman for the city medical examiner's office has said autopsy results were inconclusive pending toxicology and tissue testing.
In 2007, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned parents not to give over-the-counter medicine to children younger than two without consulting their doctor.
Daniel's aunt has said that other than a cough, he did not have any medical issues. It is unclear if the family had consulted a doctor about the medicine.Neighbour Precious said: 'She's a very responsible lady. She baby-sat my kids and everything always goes fine.'This had to be a freak accident. I would still let her watch my kids again.'
Source:Daily Mail U.K.



Most Peoples have used alternative medicine to enhance health or treat illness in Malaysia

Traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) is fast gaining popularity alongside modern medicine in Malaysia.Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said promotion and research were crucial before any form of TCM was to be acknowledged.A study by the Institute for Medical Research in 2004 showed that about 70% of Malaysians had used TCM to enhance health or to treat an illness.“The ministry, through its TCM division, had taken several steps over the years to ensure that all the TCM being practised were safe and of quality,” he said after opening the Chinese medicine and chiropractic seminar and International Medical University healthcare centres at Bukit Jalil here yesterday.He added that research included continuous supervision, assessment and regulation, and issuance of appropriate guidelines and policies.In line with the Government’s aspiration to integrate TCM into the national healthcare system, TCM units had been established at six public hospitals – in Kepala Batas, Putrajaya, Pandan, Kuala Terengganu, Sandakan and Kuching – under the integrated hospital concept, he said.“We will complete the setting up of two more TCM units at Port Dickson Hospital and Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital before the end of the year,” he said, adding that the concept would be extended to more hospitals next year.In a related development, Liow said the TCM Act was expected to be tabled in Parliament early next year.He said the Act was supposed to have been tabled by end of this year but was delayed to incorporate additional views provided by associations of traditional medicine practitioners.Once the Act had been put in place, Liow said it would allow the Government to facilitate and help to develop TCM.He also said Malaysia and China had agreed to set up a task force to share expertise in traditional Chinese medicine.The task force, formed under the ministry, would meet its counterpart in China in setting up a centre of excellence to develop traditional Chinese medicine.Liow said both countries were currently working out details on the centre, to be located in Salak Tinggi, which would provide clinical services, training and research.
Source:The Star Online

Friday, 3 December 2010

Fight allergies with immunity

Runny nose, smarting eyes and sniffles are typical symptoms of winter allergies. Ayurveda offers help, learns Soumya M Nair
While winter is not typically a season of colds and coughs, it sure is the time of the year when allergies are given a ruffle. Just when the air turns crisp and cold, we pack our pockets with tissues and throat lozenges. The cause: allergies. Allergies can be triggered by almost any tiny particle in air, food or water, say doctors.
Any toxin that accumulates in the body and decreases immunity can be considered an allergen.  The ones to look out for this season are:
*Dust mites: They thrive in mattresses and bedding. Once these creatures become airborne, they can cause allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to them.
*Mold: This fungus thrives in damp, humid areas like the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. When spores enter the air, they can trigger a reaction. This often leads to a cold or nasal irritation.
*Pets: They may be your best friends, but everything — from their fur, urine or saliva — can trigger an allergic reaction in you. Contrary to popular belief, most people are not allergic to animal fur, but rather to a protein found in dead skin flakes, saliva and urine. These proteins, when inhaled, cause a reaction.
*Perfumes: Getting dressed up for holiday parties often means spritzing on perfume and cologne which can worsen breathing and lead to skin reactions in some people with allergies and asthma. Avoid using heavily-scented lotions, hairspray, room freshners and perfumes.
Allergy symptoms caused by dust, pollen, or mold are referred to as allergic rhinitis (hay fever). The symptoms include:
*Dark circles under the eyes
* Itchy eyes and nose
* Runny nose
*Smarting eyes
Pollen & allergy relief
Bangalore, also known as the Garden City, maybe famous for its cool summers and blissful winters, but with the winter comes the undesirable asthma attack.
Asthma patients must take good care of their health before the onset of winter as pollen and fog can trigger an attack.
“Seasonal pollen is the prime villain for winter allergies. Pollen can penetrate even the healthiest of bodies. Which is why ayurvedic medication for winter allergies recommends that you focus on bringing the body up to speed before an allergy,”  says Muhammed Rafik, Chief Medical Officer, SDM Nature Cure Hospital.
When the mercury dips, it sends dust, mold spores and insect parts scurrying into the air. During an allergic condition, the immune system goes into overdrive when it comes into contact with allergens and releases a chemical called histamine, which causes smarting eyes, runny nose and other symptoms.
“With the onset of winter, we also tend to spend more time locked up inside closed, damp spaces. This is unavoidable. But use that time indoors to strengthen your immune system. Eat right,” advises Dr Muhammed.
Food products like eggs, milk, peanuts, sea food and wheat can cause allergies in some people. The first contact with any foreign particle affects the nasal system, followed by the throat and, then, the skin.
Ayurveda is popular for its remedial ways, especially when it comes to tackling allergies. “With ayurveda, remedy begins with prevention. It is always easier to fight an infection with the right armoury,” says Dr G Narasimha Swamy, an ayurvedic doctor based in Bangalore.
He recommends six basic steps to follow to ensure that an allergy in winter does not pull you down.
*Build your immunity: There is nothing like a strong immune system to fight even the deadliest of viruses or bacteria.
*Go herbal: Just a few weeks before winter, avoid artificially-flavoured products and incorporate more healthy ingredients into your diet. Eg: Mint, tulsi, carrots, milk with turmeric, pepper, ginger, and cumin seeds help  to cleanse and strengthen the body.
*If you you suffer from asthma, medicines like talisathi, sithopalath, adathodavasika help to stabilise breathing and enhance lung capacity. “Dosage of medicine will depend on the severity of his/her condition. One must consult a qualified ayurveda doctor,” says Dr Swamy.
*Avoid tea and cocoa for a few weeks.
*Breathing exercises are of great help. Pranayama techniques can strengthen the lungs. They also remove toxins like dust particles and bacteria that settle regularly on the tongue and in the nasal cavity.
*Clean the tongue every day. Avoid stepping out without an extra layer of clothing.
Dr Radhika R, who has a private practice in Chennai, says: “Winter allergies can last anywhere between three and seven days. Very rarely are they intermittent, unless the patient neglects the condition.”
You can identify a winter allergy if you find that your eyes are itchy and dry, says Dr Muhammed.
Ayurveda prescribes a number of medications for allergies and nasal infections. Some of the general medicines that can be consumed to prepare the body for an attack, include lehya and rasayana preparations. Such products, made from plant extracts, are known to purify blood and strengthen the immune system.
“To all my patients who suffer from a cold or a throat infection, I recommend  mahaswasaharapavati. The more popular ones like amrutha churna and dashamalarishta are equally effective too,” says Dr Narasimha Swamy.
Ayurvedic practices involve cleansing, strengthening and reviving the body. The same is the case with treating allergies.
Source:Deccan Herald

Fee regulatory committee cracks whip on 41 colleges Read more: Fee regulatory committee cracks whip on 41 colleges

Paving the way for a stormy admission season, the fee regulatory committee has cracked down on 41 erring professional colleges in the state. They have been `blacklisted' for not parting with audit reports and details of their income and expenditure. 
Students seeking admission to these defaulting colleges will pay the lowest fee structure in that category next year. The committee will also write to regulatory bodies like the All-India Council for Technical Education, Dental Council of India and Medical Council of India to take disciplinary action against these institutions. 
The five-member fee regulatory committee headed by Justice (retd) B Padmaraj has bracketed 16 engineering, 10 ayurveda, nine dental, four medical and two homoeopathy colleges as deliberate defaulters for failing to furnish details of their accounts and proposed fee structure until 2014. 
Of these, 12 are in Bangalore, including Vydehi Institute of Dental Sciences (Bangalore), S Nijalingappa Medical College (Bagalkot), East-West Institute of Technology (Bangalore) and Bangalore Institute of Technology (Bangalore). 
The decision has angered a section of the colleges with principals planning to drag the panel to court. "Some years ago, when we submitted all details to another fee fixation committee, no action was taken. Instead, the government decided to go for a uniform fee structure. This time, we took a conscious decision not to reply to the notice issued by the regulatory committee. Let them decide on the fee and then we will plan legal action," principal of Nitte Mahalinga Adhyantha Memorial Institute of Technology (Nitte), S Y Kulkarni, told TOI. 
The committee had asked all unaided professional colleges in July to submit details of the proposed fee structure, audited books of accounts, plans, budget and schemes by August 16. Inspite of two reminders, several colleges deliberately breached the deadline. "We have a team of chartered accounts who will go through the balance sheets before fixing a fee structure for every college. Each and every college that has submitted the details is being called for a personal appearance before the committee. By February 2011, the fee structure is likely to be out," a member of the regulatory committee said. 
The current fee structure for seats filled in unaided colleges through CET is Rs 42,500 a year for medical and Rs 32,500 for dental courses. In case of engineering colleges, the fee was Rs 18,090 or Rs 33,090 depending on the rank and parental income. Ayurveda and homoeopathy students paid Rs 28,590 per year.


US Determines to See the End of AIDS

While praising the "tremendous progress" made in the battle against AIDS, President Barack Obama also expressed hope of continuing the determined fight against the disease that has claimed 25 million lives worldwide."At a time when so many men and women are living with HIV and AIDS every day, let's also recommit ourselves to build on the tremendous progress we've made both in preventing and treating the disease and ending the stigma and discrimination that too often surround it," Obama said in an online video.
The Empire State Building was among about 80 iconic landmarks in a dozen countries turning red at night to mark World AIDS Day.
The operation is led by (RED), a group founded by rock singer Bono, to drum up support for a campaign to end mother-to-child transmission of the deadly HIV virus by 2015.
As Obama commemorated the day of awareness, dozens of people protested outside the White House in a mock funeral procession to denounce the lack of access to care for the most destitute.
Philadelphia pastor Reverend Christopher Comer "implored the president to do more to keep his campaign pledges," as protesters around him sung gospels.
The Obama administration launched an ambitious plan in July to reduce by 25 percent each year the number of new infections in the United States by 2015.
"It's my hope that together we can move closer to the day when we eliminate this disease from the face of the Earth," Obama said.



Leading a Healthy Lifestyle Cuts Stroke Risk by 80%

Leading a healthy lifestyle - such as not smoking, eating a low-fat diet high in fruits and vegetables, drinking in moderation, exercising regularly and maintaining a normal body weight - can lower risk of first time stroke by 80 percent compared to those who don't make such changes, according to revised American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines.
For the first time, the guidelines address stroke as a broad continuum of related events, including ischemic stroke, non-ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA).
For prevention, there is often little difference along the stroke spectrum, said Larry B. Goldstein, chairman of the statement writing committee and director of the Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C.
The new guidelines feature several key prevention updates based on recent research:
Emergency room doctors should try to identify patients at high risk for stroke and consider making referrals, conducting screenings or beginning preventive therapy.
Although genetic screening for stroke among the general population isn't recommended, it may be appropriate in certain circumstances, depending on family history and other factors.
Doctors must decide whether to perform either procedure on a case-by-case basis.
Aspirin doesn't prevent a first stroke in low-risk persons or those with diabetes or asymptomatic peripheral artery disease. However, it's recommended for those whose risk is high enough for the reduction in stroke risk to outweigh the bleeding risks of aspirin.
The guidelines, last updated in 2006, will be published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.


Scientists Use Couch Potato Mouse Model to Understand Muscle Function

A couch potato mouse model has been used by scientists at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to study muscle function. 
Daniel Kelly and his colleagues found that these mice maintain normal activity and body weight but do not have the energy to exercise.
They report what happens when muscle tissue lacks PGC-1, a protein coactivator that muscles need to convert fuel into energy.
In obese individuals, PGC-1 levels drop, possibly further reducing a person's capacity to exercise - creating a vicious cycle. In this study, mice without muscle PGC-1 looked normal and walked around without difficulty, but could not run on a treadmill.
What happens is that the part of the cell that converts fuel into energy - can't function properly, so cells have to work harder to stay vigorous. This extra effort rapidly depletes carbohydrate fuel stores, leading to premature fatigue.
However, PGC-1-deficient couch potato mice were not obese and still respond normally to insulin - meaning they are not at risk for developing diabetes despite their sedentary lifestyles and mitochondrial problems.
This study dispels that notion, instead suggesting that perhaps malfunctioning mitochondria are a result of diabetes, rather than a cause.
"Lo and behold, even though these animals couldn't run, they showed no evidence of insulin resistance," Kelly said.
"We are now investigating what happens when we boost PGC-1 activity intermittently, as normally occurs when a person exercises."
The study appears in the December 1 issue of Cell Metabolism.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Delhi CM calls for ISI-like trade marks for all drugs to check spurious trade

RGUHS MD/MS Ayurveda Exam October 2010 Result Declared

Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), Karnataka, has declared the result of MD/MS Ayurveda exam. The exams were held in October 2010. To know more about the results, candidates can visit the university's official website: MD/MS Ayurveda Exam October 2010 Result Declared
Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) is one of the leading universities in Karnataka. It is a centre of excellence for higher education in the region. The university aims at offering quality education in the state. The university conducts courses in numerous disciplines through its various affiliated institutes/colleges spread across the state.

Mind, Body, and Soul fair in aid of Foundation Nepal

The inaugural Mind, Body, and Soul Fair will take place at the Harbour Hotel on Sunday December 5 from 2pm to 7pm. The event is the brainchild of Galway woman Nicky Deasy, CEO of the Galway based Irish registered charity, Foundation Nepal, to raise funds for the charity. Foundation Nepal works in some of the most impoverished parts of Nepal. The fair will also gather like-minded individuals together and offer a great day out to visitors and practitioners.Every conceivable alternative healthcare therapy will be covered at the event, with leading practitioners from all over the country on hand to discuss, and in some cases demonstrate, therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology, osteopathy, nutrition, yoga, reiki, energy healing, NLP, massage, baby massage, kinesiology, and psychotherapy.Visitors will have the opportunity to avail of a free consultation with a therapist of their choice and get lots of useful tips and advice for improving health and general wellbeing.  A series of free seminars will take place throughout the afternoon on topics including child nutrition, ayurveda, homeopathy, and kinesiology. The event is also an opportunity to do some Christmas shopping, with some practitioners offering gift vouchers and other items, and Foundation Nepal charity Christmas cards will be for sale on the day. Or simply be in the first 100 people to arrive and pick up a free goody bag.Tickets cost €10 and are available on the door of the Harbour Hotel on the day or can be purchased in advance from Foundation Nepal at (091) 446864. All proceeds raised will go to Foundation Nepal. 

PPP model should find cost effective solutions to healthcare: Azad

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