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Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Grand Ayurveda Research Project will be shortly started in Nepal

 With the help of China Govt.a Grand Ayurveda Research Project will shortly started in Kathmandu.Ayush Darpan's Editor visited the site where construction is going on.This is a unique multispeciality Research Center to promote research in the  field of Ayurveda.Speaking to Ayush Darpan Campus chief of Ayurveda Sansthan Kirtipur,Kathmandu,Dr D.B.Rokka,who is a MD in Kaya Chikitsa from BHUsaid ,this institute will be a milestone in Hiamalayan Kingdom to promote the research in Ayurveda.At present there is a single Ayurveda College in Himalayan Kingdom under Tribhuwan University.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Energy Drinks may Harm Kids, Says Study

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has warned that contrary to general perceptions that energy drinks are safe for children, doctors have the obligation of warning their patients that such drinks carry some serious risks which can also be fatal. Researchers from the University of Miami's medical school say that energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine or similar ingredients which can cause adverse effects in children including seizures, strokes or even death.Lead researcher Dr Steven Lipshultz said that some of the popular brands of energy drinks contain four to five times the amount of caffeine found in soda and the rising popularity of such drinks among children, especially teenagers, pose a serious health risk to their consumers. “We didn't see evidence that drinks have beneficial effects in improving energy, weight loss, stamina, athletic performance and concentration”, Dr Lipshultz said.

US First Lady Urges Women to Breastfeed

The Obama administration has already introduced more flexible work rules and tax breaks on nursing equipment in order to encourage American women to breastfeed. The move risks fresh controversy for Mrs Obama after former Alaska governor Sarah Palin accused her and others of trying to use government power to dictate private behaviour like eating habits. "Breastfeeding is a very personal choice for every woman," the Telegraph quoted Kristina Schake, Mrs Obama's communications chief, as telling Politics Daily. "We are trying to make it easier for those who choose to do it." While discussing her 'Let's Move' anti-childhood obesity campaign, Mrs Obama said she wanted "to focus on the important touch points" in a child's life. "And what we're learning now is that early intervention is key. Breastfeeding. Kids who are breastfed longer have a lower tendency to be obese." The White House is sensitive to accusations that Mrs Obama is dictating what women should do. Robin Schepper, director of "Let's Move" insisted to "Politics Daily" that the First Lady "is not telling women to breastfeed".


Prostitutes may find an alternative life style.

The Supreme Court in India has cited instances from literature to focus on the traumatic life of prostitutes and the responsibility of governments to help them find an alternative life style.With poverty driving them into a life of sexual and other kinds of physical abuse, they need sympathy from society, commented Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra. They also directed both the Central and the state governments to introduce vocational training programs as well as rehabilitation procedures so that they can live a life of dignity that is their right under the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court has also directed the governments to submit compliance reports periodically  so that the actions they take could be monitored and regulated. The Supreme Court’s mandatory recommendations were made after Budhadev Karmakar was given life sentence for battering a prostitute to death in 1999, in Kolkatta. More than a decade later comes the recompense, to some measure, these unfortunate women had been waiting for.


Researchers Probe the Parkinson's-Mitochondria Link

For the last several years, neurologists have been probing a connection between Parkinson's disease and problems with mitochondria, the miniature power plants of the cell.
 Toxins that mimic Parkinson's effects act specifically to poison mitochondria, and mitochondria appear to be damaged in the brain cells that are endangered in the disease. But one unresolved question has been: are mitochondria simply the vulnerable "canaries in the coal mine" or is their deterioration a key step on the way to neurodegeneration? Now researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have found that a protein called MEF2D, which helps brain cells withstand stress and toxins, also plays an unexpected role inside mitochondria. MEF2D's ability to keep mitochondria well tuned appears to be especially sensitive to impairment in Parkinson's disease, the research team found. The results will be published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Our data suggest that problems with MEF2D in mitochondria could represent one of the earlier steps in the progress of the disease," says senior author Zixu Mao, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and neurology at Emory University School of Medicine. Postdoctoral researcher Hua She, PhD, was the first author. The Emory team showed that MEF2D binds one particular mitochondrial gene, ND6, which is necessary for assembly of complex I. Complex I begins the electron transport process that is necessary for mitochondria to function. Mitochondria are thought to have evolved from bacteria that once lived independently, but were engulfed and harnessed by a primitive cell millions of years ago. Mao and his colleagues found an example of how this symbiosis has extended to having proteins like MEF2D turn on genes inside mitochondria.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Diagnosis is a relief, even if it's bad news

DESPITE THE many advances of modern medicine, it remains surprisingly common for doctors to be unable to offer a definitive diagnosis to a patient.Even after fairly extensive investigation, the cause of a collection of symptoms can remain elusive. For example, we use the term pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO) when someone has a persistent elevated temperature for which the initial series of investigations draws a blank.
Medicine has strategies for dealing with these situations, but for the patient it is most unsatisfactory and can be frankly worrying. Without a named disease, there may be a feeling of not being taken seriously. For the doctors looking after that person, the lack of definition may lead to them feeling professionally inadequate.
In the US, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has set up the Undiagnosed Disease Program for patients who are seriously unwell. Success for the programme comes when doctors are able to identify a known disease that has eluded diagnosis.Their success rate remains frustratingly low, but even patients who are told they have a named incurable condition are perversely grateful. For families in particular, there is a relief in a condition being given a diagnostic label, even when no cure is available.
In cancer care, 3-5 per cent of malignancies are classified as cancer of unknown origin (CUO). It occurs when a secondary cancer, known as a metastasis, is identified but despite a thorough medical history, physical examination and standard investigations, the primary tumour cannot be found.
The natural progression of cancer of unknown origin is quite different to cancers where the primary site is known. However, CUOs tend to spread unusually rapidly; they are also unpredictable in their pattern of spread and are often quite aggressive tumours.
Assuming the usual blood tests, X-rays and even scans have been carried out on the patient with cancer of unknown primary with no positive results, what happens next?
CAT scans have been shown to help in about 40 per cent of CUOs and can also guide doctors when trying to biopsy a suspicious area in the body. MRI scans are helpful in women suspected of having primary breast cancer. And PET (positron emission tomography) scans are good at picking up hidden lung cancers and head and neck cancers.PET’s ability to track active processes such as blood flow and metabolism enables it to assess the body’s functioning at any given time. PET is based on the principle that most disease states cause increased cellular activity, making it ideal for finding cancer cells.Another widely used technique is that of immunohistochemistry, the science of identifying known tumour markers in tissue biopsies. Among the 10 or so markers tested for is prostate specific antigen (PSA) in men who have bone secondaries but in whom it has been difficult to locate a primary tumour in the prostate. The ovarian cancer marker CA125 is a useful option in women with secondary cancer growth in the abdomen.Doctors may also deploy scopes in an effort to find the cancer. Bronchoscopy may pick up evidence of lung cancer, while a gastroscopy may reveal a hidden stomach cancer.However, a combination of diagnostic imaging, immunohistochemistry and endoscopy may identify just three in every 10 hidden primary cancers. There is hope that genetic profiling may increase the detection rate to 80 per cent.But it’s not all doom and gloom: young men with secondary growths in lymph nodes between the lungs respond well to treatment.How do you treat these CUOs? Usually there is a well-founded suspicion of where the primary is and so the chemotherapy regime for that cancer is started. For those truly mysterious tumours, cancer specialists will often try a combination of two chemotherapy drugs while assessing the patient’s response.Having an undiagnosed condition is a challenge. When that disease is a cancer with a hidden primary, one could be forgiven for thinking the gods really were against you. 

Short Temper? There's a Homeopathic Remedy for That

Traditional medicine focuses on treating physical symptoms. So does homeopathy. There are conventional medications available for emotional ailments such as depression and anxiety: again, homeopathy treats these ailments too. You won’t, however, find a conventional med that gives you relief from “flaring tempers.” Homeopathy is unique in that it claims to treat – with orally administered medication – moods and emotional conditions that traditional medicine considers to be out of its jurisdiction.If you went to see a conventional medical doctor and complained that you’d recently been on a short fuse, she would first ascertain that you weren’t a danger to yourself or others, and then she would probably recommend therapy. A homeopath, on the other hand, might suggest you take belladonna. Because homeopathic medicine goes by the principle of “treat like with like,” if you had symptoms similar to those caused by belladonna poisoning, you would take homeopathic belladonna to treat them. Rage is one indication of belladonna overdose - hence the homeopath’s prescription of this remedy for someone complaining of a short temper. This remedy would also help you with hot flashes, throbbing headaches, earaches, and inflammation.If you were feeling lethargic during the day and restless at night, a traditional doctor might give you a comprehensive physical exam. Then, assuming you were healthy, she would perhaps recommend you get more exercise, stop eating sugar, and cut out caffeine, tobacco and alcohol. If things truly got bad, she would probably prescribe a sleeping pill. Homeopaths, however, would treat this symptom with abies nigra, especially if stomach pains accompanied your sleep problems. Silica treats an even more specific variation on this sleep problem: True Star Health’s homeopathy site states that silica is best used for people who “often go to sleep at first, but awaken suddenly with a hot or surging feeling in the head—and find it hard to fall asleep again.AWeb site describes the homeopathic remedy Thuja occidentalis as treating “fixed ideas, as if a strange person were at his side; as if soul and body were separated; as if something alive in abdomen… Emotional sensitiveness; music causes weeping and trembling.” You’d be hard pressed to find conventional medication that treated all these diverse emotional symptoms, especially if they weren’t severe enough to fall into the category of depression, anxiety, or another mental disorder.Plenty of people pooh-pooh homeopathy, saying it’s good for nothing but a placebo effect. Plenty of others, however, rely on these remedies to treat ailments for which there’s simply no traditional medication – such as a short temper – and claim homeopathy works for them.

Rs. 46.20 crore being spent on construction of Ayurvedic institutions in Himachal Pradesh says CM

Budgetary provision of Ayurveda has been increased by 40 percent for current financial year. Centre of Excellence at Jogindernagar would train the farmers from each district and training continued round the years Rs. 46.20 crore was being spent on construction of 27 Ayurvedic Hospitals and 300 Swasthya Ayurveda Kendras.
This was stated by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister while addressing the people on the occasion on the foundation-stone laying ceremony of Centre of Excellence in development of 'Dravyagun' speciality and medicinal plants in Research Institute in Indian System of Medicines at Jogindernagar in district Mandi today, estimated to cost of Rs. 5 crore.
Chief Minister said that State Government was according high priority to popularise the ayurved system of medicines and had enhanced budgetary provision by 40 percent so that Ayurveda system was popularized and strengthened in real sense. He said that all such endeavour of the State would fruition only with active involvement of the training personnel. He said that farmers from all four Northern States would be visiting the centre for learning the herbal farming techniques, besides research scholars' scientists etc. He said that farmers would not be motivated to cultivate medicinal plants but also learn scientific extraction of herbal medicinal plants. He said that 10 Ambulance under Atal Swasthya Seva would be positioned in Mandi district by 25th of February, 2011.
Prof. Dhumal expressed concern over the change in the mind-set of the people who were abandoning traditional farming practices. He said that soil health testing was in progress and 3.62 lakh farmers had been provided soil health cards with the advice of suitability of soil for particular type of cash crops which would fetch them remunerative prices. He said that all farmers would be provided soil health card in coming two years, which would give agriculture sector new diamond. He urged farmers to take benefit of researchs and development in the field. He also advised them not to waste fertile farming land for house construction.
Chief Minister said that Rs. 350 crore organic fertilizer project in financial help from JICA would soon to launched in the State, while two ambitious schemes Pandit Deen Dayal Kisan-Bagwan Samridhi Yojna and Doodh Ganga Yojna were already being implemented were gaining popularity amongst the people which was strengthening the rural economy. He said that organic farm produce was gaining popularity and had ready market where farmers needed to venture to find employment and self-employment avenues for themselves in traditional farming practices.
Prof. Dhumal said that there was need to revive the ancient culture traditions and treatment system, which had been heavily influenced by western systems of living and health. He said that Ayurveda was one the ancient system of medicine which was result of exhaustive research and development by saints and sages. He said that since the allopathic medicines had many side effects while the ayurveda had no side effects and curative quality was much dependable.
Chief Minister underlined the need to take research outcome to the farmers by educating them about the benefit of cash crops cultivation, especially herbal cultivation. He advised scientists to dedicate their services with sincerity and devotion to make Himachal Pradesh Herbal State in real sense.
Later, Chief Minister also laid foundation-stone of B.Pharmacy College at Jogindernagar to house the first B. Pharmacy College of the State constructed at a cost of Rs. 3 crore.
Chief Minister planted a sapling of Cinnmomom Zeylaricom, Sh. Gulab Sisngh Thakur, PWD Minister also planted sapling of Cinamom Tamala and Dr. Rajiv Bindal plantned sapling of Myrica Vagii.
Sh. Gulab Singh Thakur, PWD and Revenue Minister also the welcomed Chief Minister to his home segment and called it a moment of pride since national level research and development centres would soon be coming up in the town. He said that the herbarium at Jogindernangar had rare about 200 species of medicinal herbs which were priced heavily in the markets. He said that Herbal Garden was also emerging a centre of learning and tourists interest. He urged for extension of the herbarium activities to the rural areas, so that farmers were also benefited, where herbal scientists needed to play key role. He thanked the Chief Minister for sanctioning Jogindernagar B.Pharmacy College. He detailed out various other developmental activities taking place in the area and thanked for his liberal financial support.
Dr. Rajiv Bindal, Health and Ayurveda Minister also welcomed Chief Minister for laying foundation stone of ambitious herbal project. He said that the State Government was endeavouring to provide health cover to common-man, mother and child and quality medical services. He spoke of the facilities available to BPL families who were now getting 38 medicines free of cost. He said that free institutional delivery facilities were being ensured to the women. He said that to motive herbal research and development was to generate income avenues to farmers and make raw material available for herbal medicines manufacturing. He said that now ready market for herbal produce was available and tied up with Patanjli Yog Peeth Hariwar. He said that Ayurved, Doctors, Farmers, Students of Paprola College would get facility of research and training of Herbal garden Jogindnernagar and the centre would cater to the requirements of five northern states.
Sh. P.S. Draik, Director Ayurveda proposed vote of thanks and said that new milestone had been added to strengthening of ayurveda system of medicines and find new remedies to the various critical ailments.
Dr. Subhash Rana, Incharge, Herbal Garden welcomed the Chief Minsiter and gave detailed presentation over the herbal potential to be exploited through the new project. He hoped that the upgradation of the centre would facilitate .upcoming Ayurveda professionals.
Sh. Ravinder Ravi, IPH Minister, Sh. Kishan Kapoor, Industries Minister, Smt. Sarveen Chaudhary, Social Justice & Empowerment Minister, Sh. Dile Ram, MLA and President District, Mandi BJP, Sh. Ram Swaroop Sharma, Vice-Chairman, State Civil Supplies Corporation, Sh. G.R. Jamwal, Chairman, HIMFED, Sh. Mohan Joshi, Chairman, Milkfed, Sh. Ajay Rana, Vice-President, State BJP, Sh. Surat Singh, President, Jogindernagar BJP, Mandal, Dr. S.K. Sharma, Advisor Ayurveda, GOI, Dr. Amandeep Garg, Deputy Commissioner, other senior officers and prominent people of the area were present on the occasion.

Himachal Pradesh: Efforts to develop Rajiv Gandhi Post Graduate Ayurvedic College as Ayurvedic University says CM

State Government had created 340 posts of ayurvedic medical officers out of which 241 had been posted and efforts made to develop Rajiv Gandhi Post -Graduate Ayurvedic College as Ayurvedic University. This was stated by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, in public meeting he addressed Rajiv Gandhi Government Ayurvedic College complex, Paprola in district Kangra, after he laid foundation-stone of Regional Centre for Geriatric Care and Nursing Hostel, estimated to cost Rs. 5 crore today. He said that the college was to be developed as the Best Ayurvedic College in the country in near future.
Chief Minister said that 1,153 ayurvedic health institutions were in service of the people of the State manned by well qualified and experienced medical professionals. He said that out of total 340 sanctioned posts 241 had also been filled up of which 165 deployed in various health institutions. He said that 76 were recruited on batchwise and 79 were being recruited through HP Public Service Commission. He said that Panch Karma Kendra had been enhanced from 6 to 16 and Kshar Chikitsa Centres from 2 to 9. He said that 294 daily wagers in the department were regularised while 231 part time workers made full time daily wagers. He said that 293 class III and IV employees had been benefited during past three years.
Prof. Dhumal said that State had envisioned legislative provisions to protect the interests of the parents in their old age and made their wards responsible to take care of their parents. He said that it was the duty of the children to look after their parents in old age. He said that necessity had surfaced to carry introspection whether the Indian family system was relevant in the present day context. He said that Indian culture and various systems were renowned for its quality and contents the world over. He said that the modern generation was getting influenced with the Western culture and traditions which was not a matter of pride but a reason for introspection.
Chief Minister said that Ayurved had originated in India and was gaining popularity the world over. He said that the system had negligible side effects and capable to cure the disease from root. He said that people from the world over were switching over to Ayurvedic system of treatment keeping in view its curative qualities. He said that efforts were being made to motivate farmers to diversify their farming and go for cultivation of herbal and medicinal value crops to derive maximum benefits from their farm lands. He underlined the need to intensify research and development activities in the college so that exhaustive research could benefit in curing dreaded diseases which had so far remained incurable by other systems of treatment. He said that knowledge of the medicinal herbs was necessary for the strengthening of the ayurveda system. He said that cultivation of such valuable herbs which were at the verge of extinction needed to be re-cultivated and research carried out to cure many ailments.
Prof. Dhumal said that Panchayati Raj Training Centre was being constructed at Baijnath at a cost of Rs. 6.24 crore while Rs. 12.24 crore was being spent on the training programme of the elected representatives of panchayati raj institutions and a time schedule drawn to educate newly elected representatives to panchayati raj institutions on priority. He said that Rs. 4 crore was also being spent on development and creation of infrastructure facilities for Para-Gliding events at Beer near to Baijnath. He said that 13 IPH schemes with Rs. 12.60 crore would be constructed in Baijnath assembly segment to facilitate the farmers.
Chief Minister was presented Rs. 11,000 by Dr. Chanchal Sharma, Principal of the College Rs. 5,100 by Dr. J.R.Sankhyan and Rs. 2100 by Shri Mukesh Kumar, Pradhan, Gram Panchayat, Paprola, as contribution towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund on the occasion.
Dr. Rajiv Bindal, Health and Family Welfare and Ayurveda Minister, thanked the Chief Minister for laying foundation-stone of Geriatric Care centre which would benefit people of five States of north India. He said that Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College was likely to start 50 seats in MD MS courses. He said that PG courses in 11 disciplines of the Ayurvedic College at Paprola had been started. He said that efforts were on to add four disciplines to the PG education. He said that the matter had also been raised with Government of India to increase the number of seats from 50 to 100. He said that the college would be contributing significantly towards the health care of the senior citizens as also train more medical professionals from within and adjoining States. He said that herbiculure would get boost up with the setting up of herbal garden at Jogindernagar. He said that foundation-stone of pharmacy college building would also be laid at Jogindernagar. He said that Nursing College would also be started at Paprola on priority.
Shri Trilok Kapoor, Chairman, Woolfed, also welcomed the Chief Minister to his home segment and thanked him for laying foundation-stone of the first of its kind research centre in North India, at Paprola. He said that interests of the members of Gaddi community were safe in the hands of Prof. Dhumal and launched various schemes for their benefit.
Dr. S.K.Sharma, Advisor Ayurveda, Government of India dwelt upon the historic background of the ayurvedic system of medicines. He said that ayurved was competent to provide people complete health. He also urged the Chief Minister to double the seats in BAMS and post-graduate numbers in the College which would also generate income to the College. He said that blood collection and blood transfusion facilities could be made available at Paprola in association with Government of India. He said that the College was likely to be the best college of the country with quality infrastructure up-gradation.
Shri P.S.Draik, Director of Ayurveda, proposed vote of thanks and said that another milestone had been added to the health infrastructure creation in the State.
Dr. B.L.Mehra, Nodal Officer of the Centre welcomed the Chief Minister and detailed out activities being added to the academic curriculum of the college with the beginning of the new Geriatic Care Centre.
Shri Ravinder Ravi, Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Shri Kishan Kapoor, Industries Minister, Smt. Sarveen Chaudhary, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Shri Vipan Parmar, MLA and General Secretary, State BJP, Shri Sanjay Chaudhary, MLA, Shri Ashok Kumar, Chairman, Panchayat Samiti, Shri Chaman Lal Grover, President, Baijnath BJP Mandal, Shri R.S.Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, Shri Diljeet Thakur, Superintendent of Police, other senior officers and prominent people of the area were present on the occasion.
After the function Chief Minister also listen public grievances of the local people.

Monday, 14 February 2011

WHO to develop technical definitions on counterfeit medical products

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it will develop the necessary technical definitions, global norms and standards for assessment methods, technologies, and legal and regulatory measures for combating substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medicines, using the Organization’s well-established procedures for the independent development of global standards and policy guidance.The WHO has made it clear ahead of the proposed meeting to set up the working group to address the problems of counterfeit from February 28 to March 2, after many countries led by India raised apprehensions on the delay in setting up the working group instead  of leaving the task with controversial International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT).“Globally, substandard medicines constitute the most common type of quality problem, and the one that has the largest negative impact on health. WHO will therefore continue to strengthen its global and country-level activities in promoting the availability of efficacious, safe and affordable medicines of good quality. Strengthening national regulatory systems will also, indirectly, reduce the possibilities for substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medicines to enter the market. Since regulatory approaches on their own are not sufficient, as discussed, specific additional actions will be needed to combat the negative public health impact of “counterfeit” medicines,” according to the documents released by the agency.In terms of the problem of counterfeit medicines, the promotion of awareness on things including the extent and dangers, and the necessary actions  against it will be central activities of WHO, together with all relevant stakeholders. The campaign will target governments, health policy-makers, health professionals and the public, the agency said.“In order to foster such awareness and to give meaningful technical support to Member States and other stakeholders, the Secretariat must first be clear and consistent in several areas: the definitions, the recommended actions and the public messages. To this end, WHO will develop the necessary technical definitions,” it said.“In this regard, many experts recognize that the term “counterfeit medicine”, while fully appropriate and generally accepted  at the time of its first use in 1988, has been overtaken by international developments and is now increasingly perceived as associated with intellectual property rights rather than public health. In order to stress the public health aspect of the problem while developing the global norms and standards, it is proposed that “counterfeit” in WHO’s definition be modified to “falsified”, and that the term “counterfeit medicine” be reserved for a falsified medicine with a counterfeit trademark, in accordance with existing WIPO definitions,” the documents said.In 2009, following discussions at the Sixty-first World Health Assembly and the 124th session of the Executive Board, and the questions raised about WHO’s involvement in the Taskforce, WHO formally re-established its own programme to combat “counterfeit” medicines within the Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies Department, in addition to its continuing involvement in the Taskforce. WHO also introduced a clear distinction between the Secretariat’s activities and those of the Taskforce; for example, two different web sites were established and a new WHO fact sheet was issued, it said on the works so far on the front.“Since July 2010, WHO’s work in this area has continued, but on a sharply reduced scale, owing to limited resources. Its focus is on developing global normative guidance and expansion of the Rapid Alert System in some regions,” the documents said.

Naturopathy heals naturally

"Through medicines, we are just healing the reason of sickness and not sickness as such," says eminent naturopathy expert Dr Jacob Vadakkanchery.He was speaking at the seminar held as part of the naturopathy camp, conducted on the 7th of every month at Joseph Mundassery hall yesterday.The benefit of naturopathy is renowned because of its natural way of healing. Natural medicines and oils for various diseases are given to the people who came to attend the programme. The camp is conducted every month but on different dates in 14 districts of the state.
Source:City Journal

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

Previous research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids - commonly found in fish oil - can prevent retinopathy, a major form of blindness that affects people with diabetes and premature babies, in a mouse model of the disease. Now a follow-up study, from the same research team at Children's Hospital Boston, has revealed how exactly omega-3 fatty acids help prevent several forms of blindness.
It also provides reassurance that widely used COX-inhibiting drugs like aspirin and NSAIDs do not negate their benefit. The results showed that omega-3 fatty acids could prevent eye blindness such as retinopathy, caused by the proliferation of tortuous, leaky blood vessels in the retina, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels. Previous research by Children's Hospital ophthalmologist Lois Smith and senior investigator of the new study had shown that mice fed diets rich in omega-3s had 50 percent less pathologic vessel growth in their retina than mice fed diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids. In their new study, Smith and her colleagues documented another protective mechanism - a direct effect on blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) that selectively promotes the growth of healthy blood vessels and inhibits the growth of abnormal vessels. They isolated the specific compound from omega-3 fatty acids that has these beneficial effects in mice (a metabolite of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, known as 4-HDHA), and the enzyme that produces it (5-lipoxygenase, or 5-LOX).

Keep Your Partner Heart-healthy This Valentine's Day

"You are not even choosing between the lesser of two evils, red wine and dark chocolate have positive components that are actually good for your heart," said Susan Ofria, clinical nutrition manager at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. Red wine, and also dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher, contain resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Red wine is also a source of catechins that could help improve "good" HDL cholesterol. Ofria, who is also a nutrition educator, recommends the following list of heart healthy ingredients for February, national heart month. Eight Ways To Say "I Love You" - Top Heart-Healthy Foods Red Wine - "Pinots, shirahs, merlots - all red wines are a good source of catechins and reservatrol to aid 'good' cholesterol." Dark Chocolate, 70 percent or higher cocoa content - "Truffles, soufflés and even hot chocolate can be a good source of resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids) as long as dark chocolate with a high content of coca is used." Salmon/Tuna - "Especially white, or albacore, tuna and salmon are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and canned salmon contains soft bones that give an added boost of calcium intake." Flaxseeds - "Choose either brown or golden yellow, and have them ground for a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, phytoestrogens." Oatmeal - "Cooked for a breakfast porridge or used in breads or desserts, oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, niacin, folate and potassium." Black or kidney beans - "Eat them raw for an even higher source of niacin, folate, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, soluble fiber." Walnuts and Almonds - "Both walnuts and almonds contain omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, heart favorable mono-and polyunsaturated fats." Blueberries/cranberries/raspberries/strawberries - "Berries are a good source of beta carotene and lutein, anthocyanin, ellagic acid (a polyphenol), vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber."



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