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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Nanomedicine Closer to Reality With Stanford Research

A class of engineered nanoparticles — gold-centered spheres smaller than viruses — has been shown safe when administered by two alternative routes in a mouse study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine. This marks the first step up the ladder of toxicology studies that, within a year and a half, could yield to human trials of the tiny agents for detection of colorectal and possibly other cancers."These nanoparticles' lack of toxicity in mice is a good sign that they'll behave well in humans," said Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor of radiology and senior author of the study, which will be published April 20 as the featured paper in Science Translational  Medicine
"Early detection of any cancer, including colorectal, markedly improves survival," said Gambhir. For example, the widespread use of colonoscopy has significantly lowered colon cancer mortality rates, he said. "But colonoscopy relies on the human eye. So this screening while extremely useful, still misses many cancer lesions such as those that are too tiny, obscure or flat to be noticed."
A promising way to catch cancer lesions early is to employ molecular reporters that are attracted to cancer-lesion sites. One method in use involves fluorescent dyes coupled with antibodies that recognize and bind to surface features of cancer cells
 But that approach has its drawbacks, said Gambhir, who is the director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford. The body's own tissues also fluoresce slightly, complicating attempts to pinpoint tumour . Plus, the restricted range of colors at which antibody-affixed dyes fluoresce limits the number of different tumour -associated features that can be simultaneously identified. Some versions of this approach have also proved toxic to cells.


Maharashtra to include Ayurveda as part of MBBS syllabus

The  Maharashtra University of Health Science (MUHS) will soon constitute an expert committee to discuss the new syllabus for the MBBS students for the coming academic year as it has been decided to include   basic Ayurveda as part of MBBS syllabus in the medical colleges in the state.
A decision to include Ayurveda in MBBS syllabus was taken following recommendations from the Ayush department. There are 34 private and government medical colleges in the state. Their syllabus comes under the purview of the MUHS. According to the Ayush recommendations, every medical college should reserve at least 20 hours to teach ayurvedic science in MBBS classes.
Dr Arun Jamkar, vice chancellor, MUHS said “As per the suggestions made by Dept of Ayush we are meeting up to form a committee to implement these directives and to discuss the new syllabus for the medical students for the coming year.” He further informed that Maharashtra will be the first state for implementing such directives.
Dr Arun Jamkar, vice chancellor, MUHS said “We are meeting soon to form a committee to implement these directives and to discuss the new syllabus for the medical students for the coming year.”
Dr Vijay Magar, associate professor at the RA Podar Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Mumbai said “Ayurveda is an ancient medicine and the students are more interested in learning modern medicine. For this it is a nice move as modern medicine doctors should be familiar with ancient medicine and its treatment methodology. Every person should know about Ayurveda. Instead of devoting so much time for a course, we can have atleast one lecture every week. Like for conducting research in herbal products there are separate institutes.”
Dr Jamkar informed that as most of the universities across the world has been teaching the ancient medicine of their respective cultures. For instance, modern medicine doctors in China get lessons in Chinese medicine. “Finally we too are introducing the study of our ancient medicine. We are proud that ours will be the first state in the country to implement the Ayush directives”, he added.
MUHS ensures in proper and systematic instruction, teaching, training and research in modern medicine and Indian systems of medicine in the state of Maharashtra, and to have balanced growth in the medical sciences. They are taking initiative to implement this decision to attract more MBBS students to take up Ayurveda as the major subject to practice and to research on the same.


Secret Behind Shane Warne's Young Look

Shane Warne has denied Botoxor facelift claims, attributing his youthful looks to moisturizers , healthy eating and exercise. "New Estee Lauder moisturisers for my skin  have made a big difference," he said, adding: "Yes, I'm still a man." "I am 86kg. Lost 7kg and close to being the fittest I have ever been. Fitness and being healthy is now a daily habit I feel great and never been happier in my life " he posted.
"I am also eating very healthily and am flattered that people think Ilook younger . I have worked hard over the last five months on fitness," he added.
Warne admitted using moisturisers helped reversing his ageing appearance. 



How Good are Dietary Supplements?

A recent study has found out the efficacy of dietary supplements and if they are as good as they claim to be.
Well, according to a study published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, there seems to be an interesting asymmetrical relationship between the frequency of dietary supplement use and the health status of individuals. Wen-Bin Chiou of National Sun Yat-Sen University decided to test if frequent use of dietary supplements had ironic consequences for subsequent health -related behaviors after observing a colleague chose an unhealthy meal over an organic meal simply because the colleague had taken a multivitamin earlier in the day.
"After reviewing the literature of the prevalence of dietary supplement use, it seemed to show that use of dietary supplements is increasing, but it does not appear to be correlated with improved public health ," says Chiou who conducted the study along with Chao-Chin Yang of National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism and Chin-Sheng Wan of Southern Taiwan University.
Two different experiments were conducted using a diverse set of behavioral measures to determine whether the use of dietary supplements would license subsequent health-related behaviors. Participants in Group A were instructed to take a multivitamin and participants in the control group were assigned to take a placebo. However, all the participants actually took placebo pills. The results from the experiments and survey demonstrated that participants who believed they had taken dietary supplements felt invulnerable to health hazards , thus leading them to engage in health risk  behaviors. Specifically, participants in the perceived supplement use group expressed less desire to engage in exercise and more desire to engage in hedonic activities, preferred a buffet over an organic meal (Experiment 1), and walked less to benefit their health (Experiment 2) than the control group.


Friday, 22 April 2011

Earth Day: How safe are CFL bulbs?

So are you switching off lights this Earth Day to save precious resources?If your excuse is you use CFL bulbs at home instead of the usual filament ones, you might be doing something for the environment but harming yourself in the bargain. A recent study says that energy saving bulbs and lamps contain cancer-causing elements in them.And you thought only shampoos were bad.I've heard of shampoos containing carcinogens and that eating one potato is as good as smoking a cigarette, but hold on — there's more. If you use a spring mattress, you're at greater risk of getting cancer in this lifetime, says another study.Back to lumpy cotton mattresses, folks.Jokes aside, what are you doing this Earth Day for our planet? We have our annual freecycle fair, some of our colleagues have planted saplings, Bangalore's trying to do away with throwaway plastic for good, among many other things.

Pre-birth pesticide exposure may link to lower IQ

A link is being drawn between pre-birth exposure to pesticides and low intelligence.

The chemicals that were studied are called organophosphates or OPs. They're found in everything from the pesticides sprayed on crops to the bug killers we use in our homes.

Three different studies in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found a correlation between prenatal OP exposure and lower IQ in children. Pesticide levels in pregnant moms were measured.
One study found that women with the higher levels went on to have children who had an IQ average seven points lower than other children.
The research is considered significant because it followed mothers and their offspring over time

Doctors may Lose Their License If They Conduct Sex Selection Tests

In a strict move to curb the practice of sex selection tests, Doctors caught conducting  the same  will forfeit their  Medical Council of India license to practice.   
The Union Health Ministry may soon direct State MCI boards to name the doctors who have been convicted earlier and ensure that their license to practice is cancelled permanently.A directive has also been issued to keep a  vigil on the number of ultrasound machines in districts  including details of ultrasound clinics/imaging centres. 
It is now mandatory to fill Form F , which will soon be available online. The radiologist in the ultrasound clinics will need to fill up Form F before conducting ultrasound on the pregnant woman with details of the patient and doctor as well as the reason for conducting sonography. 



Is Sexually Transmitted Gonorrhea Becoming a 'Superbug?

The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea is increasingly developing resistance to all of the antibiotics we have to treat it in the United States, researchers warn.In 2009, nearly a quarter of strains tested in a nationwide surveillance project of gonorrhea were resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, fluoroquinolones, or a combination of these antibiotics that are typically used to treat the STD. And early data from 2010 indicate resistance to another type of antibiotic, cephalosporin, is emerging. That's concerning because cephalosporins are the only class of antibiotic left that doctors recommend to treat the disease."This may be the harbinger of things to come," Dr. Kimberly Workowski, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of STD Prevention, said of the early 2010 data. "The resistance may be getting worse," Workowski told MyHealthNewsDaily.If resistance to cephalosporins develops, gonorrhea could develop into a superbug, and have a catastrophic effect on our ability to control the disease in the country, researchers say. A superbug is a strain of bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics and is very difficult to kill. Other examples of superbugs include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA ) and some strains of tuberculosis.Experts are working on strategies to prevent antibiotic resistance, including treating the disease with several antibiotics at once. They also advocate protected sex and STD screening as ways to reduce the acquisition of gonorrhea.
Emerging antibiotic resistance
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea and is spread through sexual activity. Individuals with gonorrhea often show no symptoms, but the disease can lead to serious complications, including infertility and chronic pelvic pain in women, and in men epididymitis, a painful condition of the ducts attached to the testicles that may cause infertility if left untreated, according to the CDC. If the bacteria spread to the blood or joints, the condition can be life-threatening, the CDC says.More than 301,174 cases of gonorrhea were reported to the CDC in 2009, though the agency estimates more than 700,000 people become infected with the disease each year in the United States. It is the second most common infectious disease that is required to be reported to the U.S. government.Since the 1970s, the bacteria have become resistant to traditional antibiotics, including penicillin and tetracycline. In 1991, resistance to fluoroquinolone started to emerge. Researchers don't recommend treatment with these antibiotics now because, once a bacterium has developed resistance to a drug, that resistance can quickly develop again.Researchers are seeing the emergence of gonorrhea that's resistant to cephalosporin in South East Asia. Typically, resistant strains from that part of the world migrate over to the U.S., and then spread from West to East, Workowski said."The concern is that history tends to repeat itself," Workowski said. "It's following the same pattern that's happened before."
How to prevent resistance
To prevent the emergence of cephalosporin resistance, the CDC is now recommending the disease be treated with an injectable form of cephalosporin as well as another type of antibiotic, such as azithromycin or doxycycline.The CDC, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, is also working to identify other drugs that might be used to treat gonorrhea cost-effectively, including drugs that target the bacteria in different stages of the life cycle, Workowski said.The organization is also working to develop a response plan in case of an outbreak, Workowski said.
Pass it onGonorrhea could become a lot harder to treat if the bacteria that cause the disease develop resistance the last class of antibiotics we have to combat it.

Children in Rural India Learn Math Through the 'Skype School'

The electricity keeps cutting out, the Internet connection is crackly and the speakers don't always work, but Santosh Kumar knows that 20 pupils far away in eastern India are relying on him. 
Once a week, Kumar uses the Skype computer programme to teach maths to children in Chamanpura, a poor village in the struggling state of Bihar, 600 miles (970 kilometres) from his two-storey house in the suburbs of New Delhi.
The free Internet service allows the class to see, via a projector, Kumar's tutorial which includes an animated tale about a greedy priest and a wily countryman to teach the students about numbers and the concept of infinity. 
"The first time I did this, they were really excited by the technology, now they don't care," Kumar said. "It's normal to them."
Kumar, a successful 34-year-old engineer, grew up in Chamanpura village before battling his way to a place at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and on to a well-paid job in the Indian capital.
"It's an uphill task to bring education to villages," he said, recalling his teenage years when he would cycle eight miles to college in a nearby town.
Kumar's cousin Chandrakant Singh, also now a well-paid engineer, decided during a trip back to the village to set up a school for children aged between 6 and 12.
"I wanted to provide a world-class education to students in the remotest place on Earth," said Singh, who remembers studying at night under the dim light of a kerosene lamp.

Green Tea To Alleviate Urinary Incontinence In Women

Green tea might help alleviate Urinary Incontinence (UI) in middle-aged and older women.
Professor Andy Lee, from the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, collaborated with a Japanese research team to examine the effects of green tea consumption in a cohort of Japanese women aged between 40 and 75.
While UI was a problem for 28 per cent of participants, the results showed that those who drank four or more cups of green tea daily were significantly less likely to suffer from the condition.
“The difference between green tea and black tea is that the former is a non-fermented product,” Professor Lee said.
“Both teas are produced from the leaves of Camelia sinensis, but green tea has undergone far less oxidation during processing, and it has far less caffeine,” he said.
Of the principal chemical constituents of green tea, epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG , is the most active polyphenol. Previous research has shown EGCG to be mainly responsible for the inhibitory effect of green tea on urinary stone formation. EGCG has been demonstrated to cause a dose-dependent decrease in urinary bladder cancers. Another experimental study showed that green tea could reduce glucose levels and renal injury associated with abnormal glucose-related oxidative stress in diabetic nephropathy.
UI is a distressing condition and a costly problem for middle-aged and older people. Up to 35 per cent of the population aged 60 and over are estimated to suffer from UI, with women twice as likely to suffer from the condition as men. With around 50 per cent of nursing home admissions relating to UI, it is a serious problem worldwide.



Yoga helps cancer survivors sleep bette

Cancer survivors might want to try yoga to get a better night`s sleep and to boost their energy levels, according to a US study.Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York randomly assigned more than 400 cancer survivors, most of whom had been treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer, into two groups. One group did gentle Hatha yoga and restorative yoga -- including special postures and breathing and mindfulness exercises -- twice a week for a month. The other was only monitored, following standard practice. Those who did yoga were able to cut back on sleeping pills and slept better, as measured by a 22 percent increase in sleep quality on a commonly used scale. That was nearly twice the improvement of survivors who didn`t do the exercises. Yoga also cut fatigue by close to half, and led to a small increase in quality of life. That is good news for cancer patients, said researcher Karen Mustian who led the study that will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in early June. "We really don`t have any good remedies for fatigue for cancer survivors," she told Reuters Health. "We really don`t have any good remedies for fatigue for cancer survivors," she told Reuters Health. Although patients may take drugs to help them sleep, such medications have side effects and aren`t usually long-lasting which led Mustian`s team to look for alternatives. How yoga achieves its relaxing effects isn`t completely clear. "It may be promoting social bonding," Mustian said, adding that preliminary studies have suggested it could also lower stress hormones. For cancer survivors seeking help from yoga, Mustian recommended looking for Yoga Alliance-certified instructors, especially those who have experience with people dealing with illness. She also stressed that the results may not apply to all forms of yoga. Dr. Douglas Blayney, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said physicians and oncologists were often uncomfortable advising patients who wanted to use therapies that were complementary to standard cancer therapy. "A physician can say with some confidence, "yes, this kind of yoga program may be useful"," Blayney, who was not involved in the research, told Reuters Health. "Here we have a studied intervention, one that has been subjected to clinical trials and, lo and behold, it seems to be beneficial." 


Thursday, 21 April 2011

India patents 1,300 yoga moves

India has made available a list of 1,300 newly registered yoga poses, compiled to prevent the ancient moves from being exploited by patent pirates.Hindu gurus and some 200 scientists compiled the list from 16 ancient texts to prevent yoga teachers in the United States and Europe from patenting established poses as their own.The database, which includes 200 video demonstrations, will be made available to international patent offices through India's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL)."We are making available the 30-40 most popular yoga asanas in the open domain," TKDL head, V K Gupta said. "The rest will be available only to patent offices."He said more poses from another 20 ancient texts would be added to the list.Yoga has become a lucrative business in Europe and the United States since it was popularized by celebrities in the 1960s and 70s. In India, however, the centuries-old tradition is still taught free of charge in public parks.Indians have been outraged by attempts by "yoga gurus" in the West to patent poses. In the United States alone, the patent authorities have issued more than 130 yoga-related patents, 150 copyrights and 2,300 trademarks related to the ancient practice.The Japanese Patent Office signed an agreement on Wednesday with the TKDL to receive access to the list.India has already signed similar agreements with patent offices in the United States, Europe, Australia and Canada.

Health ministry wants govt hospitals to create integrated medicine management system to push generics

With a view to promote generic drugs through the hospitals in the Government sector, the health ministry has suggested creation of integrated medicine management systems in the premier hospitals in the country.
The Ministry, which has already instructed the doctors at all the Central government hospitals and autonomous institutions to give names of generic equivalents while prescribing drugs, has now asked the public healthcare establishments to put in place the medicine management system to ensure the supply of generic drugs to the patients.
Following the instructions, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is planning to set up a pharmacy to distribute generic drugs to the patients. The Institute has prepared a list of commonly prescribed generic drugs prescribed by the various departments and the aspects of procuring the medicines would be finalised soon, sources said.
Under the integrated medicine management system, the doctors would prescribe the available generic drugs in the pharmacy being set up at the hospital, so that they can be distributed to the patients. This will also help the patients immensely who otherwise are being asked to purchase costlier medicines from outside shops.
According to the sources in the health ministry, the model being prepared by the AIIMS would be sent to other major premier institutes in the public sector to create a medicine management system, suitable for each hospital, based on the availability drugs.
The integrated system would cover procurement, tracking of stocks, availability and supply, apart from sending information to the doctors in the departments about the generic drugs which could be prescribed to the patients, sources explained. Sometime back, the health ministry had given instructions to the central government hospitals to give the names of generic equivalents while prescribing drugs. “It shall invariably also be mentioned that any other equivalent generic drug could also be provided. With this prescription the hospitals could have the flexibility of providing generic equivalents of the prescribed medicine,” according to the instruction by the ministry.


Allergies Affect Mood

Seasonal allergies have a definite impact on mood, often increasing the risk of depression, states research. 
Dr. Paul Marshall, neuropsychologist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota comments that a visit to an allergist  could actually mean the likelihood of depression affecting a person.Although allergies do not cause clinical depression, they cause mood changes that result in the physiological symptoms of mild depression, leading to overall feelings of sadness, lethargy, and fatigue. And those who already suffer from depression, their symptoms worsen with the allergy. 
An allergic  reaction brings about the release of cytokines in the body that brings on the feeling of being ill and ‘mentally drained.’ Earlier studies, led by Marshall, had proved that allergies triggered off by pollen caused fatigue and mood changes and slowed down cognitive processing. 
Dr. Teodor Postolache at the University of Maryland, in his study, established the link between tree pollen  depression and suicide, and this occurred more in women than in men. 
Other research concludes that low moods could be circumstantial, caused by the sneezing or sleeplessness or even by the medication taken for the allergy. And although these factors could lead to depression, they are not its direct cause. Antihistamines and decongestant do affect sleep and put more stress on the heart. This brings about fatigue and irritability and affects the work performance and children’s behavior patterns. 
According to Dr. Michael Silverman, assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, people shouldn't blame their allergies for deeper emotional issues. Allergies only aggravate an already-existing situation.


Diet Personality Type Helps Cut Your Flab

Health Risk Diet Increase High Blood Pressure If you are wondering how to lose weight after eating calorie laden food, help is at hand. A new research from Weight watchers UK has revealed that there are seven diet personality and discovering which one you are could be the key to weight-loss success, reports the Sun.WeightWatchers takes into account the fact that all calories are not created equally and some foods help you to feel fuller than others and burn calories more effectively in our bodies. 
Because protein and fibre-rich foods - such as lean meat, chicken, fish and wholegrains - help you to stay fuller for longer, these are assigned a lower ProPoints value compared with fat-rich and refined carbohydrate foods. 
Even if a chicken breast high protein and a croissant (refined carbohydrate) have the same calories, the former has a lower point score because it will more effectively stave off hunger pangs and also help to burn extra calories in your body. 
Vegetables have zero ProPoints values and you can eat as much as you like of them. 
The same is true of fruit. The plan nudges you towards healthier lifestyle choices, making it easier to stick to in the short term when shedding pounds and when trying to keep them off.


Ayurvedic clinics across Gujarat see increased footfalls

As more and more people take to alternative medicine, ayurveda and naturopathy clinics in the state seem to be growing rapidly. This could be gauged from the fact that such clinics and hospitals in cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat have seen their footfalls doubling in the last two years.
Kutch based Swas Healthcare promoted by an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, that runs a chain of naturopathy clinics across the state, is planning to come up with its second hospital within the next six months. Swas now operates a 40-bed hospital at Kharoi in Kutch."We are looking at starting a 40-50 bed brownfield facility in the state, and currently are in talks with two to three potential partners.The idea is to acquire an existing infrastructure and do some value-addition and then run it", said Sanjay Singh, director, Swas Healthcare Pvt Ltd.
He added that the company is targeting to achieve a 40-50 per cent growth in turnover during 2011-12. Its current turnover is close to Rs 1 crore. Swas now runs two clinics at Ahmedabad, and one each at Surat and Rajkot apart from its hospital in Kutch.
Similarly, Vadodara based Sarvodaya Parivar Mandal Trust run 35-bed naturopathy hospital has seen its wait-list of patients seeking admission more than double from a two-month period around a couple of years ago to four to six months waiting now. The hospital is not only treating patients with common ailments like diabetes and arthritis, but also people with psycho-somatic problems.
Singh pointed out that in the last one year, Vadodara has seen a spurt in activities in the ayurveda and naturopathy segment, with many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) taking up such initiatives as an add-on service they are already providing together with wellness and rejuvenation centers coming up in parts of north Gujarat spanning Palanpur, Mehsana, Himmatnagar among others.
While it is difficult to arrive at an exact figure pertaining to the ayurveda and naturopathy industry size in the state, industry insiders roughly estimate it to be between Rs 20-30 crore. Buoyed by the good growth in the last few years, some clinics are also planning to come up with their own range of ayurvedic products.
City based Ayuraksha clinic said that it was planning to market products under its own brand this year. Gargi Bhasava of Ayuraksha said, "We first plan to test waters with our own range of products in Ahmedabad, and if we receive good response, we can then expand our footprint with more clinics as well as our marketing network in other cities."
"Patients have become more aware and conscious about alternative medicines. Many are complementing their allopathic treatments with ayurvedic medication or therapy. The non-resident Gujaratis also have a role to play in this. ", said Baldeo Prasad of Maharshi Ayurveda Clinic in Ahmedabad.
He added that Gujarat has around eight to ten Ayurveda colleges and nearly 1,000 qualified naturopaths pass out every year who have either Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (BNYS) or Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) degrees. People are taking to naturopathy mainly to cure chronic diseases like osteo-arthritis, asthma, diabetes, kidney and liver disorders among others, Prasad said.
Source:Business Standard

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Patent tracker for Ayurveda

An Indian government science agency has established a formal mechanism to track patent claims filed in other countries to guard against India’s traditional knowledge, primarily in medicine, being passed off as innovation.
The Global Biopiracy Watch System is a new component of an effort initiated 10 years ago by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to create a giant database of traditional knowledge contained in the Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha systems of medicine.The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) built over the past decade contains some 2,25,000 formulations based on therapies mentioned in centuries-old texts on traditional medicine — the oldest one from the 8th century AD.Foreign patent examiners are expected to screen this library whenever they encounter patent applications that appear rooted in traditional medicine and to deny patents if there is no innovation.
India today signed an agreement with Japan’s patent office to make available the TKDL to Japanese patent examiners, after signing similar pacts with patent offices of Europe, the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and the UK over the past two years.“But foreign patent examiners have limited domain knowledge on traditional medicine,” said Vinod Gupta, the TKDL project head. “In the Global Biopiracy Watch System, we’ll ourselves rely on software to screen patent applications filed in all these countries.”Over the past two years, the TKDL officials have identified 224 patent applications with the European Patents Office (EPO) that are based on traditional knowledge — and successfully blocked 35 patents on herb-based therapies.After receiving an alert from the TKDL, the EPO has set aside its earlier decision to grant patents on two claims. In the other 33 cases, the patent applicants themselves decided to withdraw their applications when confronted with evidence from the TKDL.“We need to find unfair claims before the patents are granted,” Gupta said. After a patent is granted, the only option is litigation which is expensive — it could take anywhere from $2,00,000 to $6,00,000 to oppose each granted patent, he said.Japan hopes to use the TKDL to avoid granting patents on existing knowledge. “We need to respect traditional knowledge as prior art,” said Tomoki Sawai, director of the international affairs division at the Japanese patents office.All of the blocked patent claims so far have related to plant-based therapies — fruit juice pitched as a tonic for the heart, a mixture of spinach and fenugreek to boost the immunity and other extracts of plants to fight stress, diabetes or obesity.Gupta said he expects the TKDL database to grow to contain nearly 350,000 formulations from traditional medicine. The TKDL project has also digitally recorded 1,300 postures and exercises prescribed in various texts of yoga, he said.“There have been attempts in the past to stake copyright or patent claims on yoga exercises, adding some simple equipment to monitor the body’s parameters while the exercise is being performed,” Gupta said.In the 1990s, the CSIR had successfully blocked a patent in the US on the use of turmeric for medicinal purposes.
Source:The Telegraph

Experts discuss endoscopic procedures at BHU

The department of shalya tantra under the faculty of ayurveda, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), organised a special lecture on endoscopic procedures on Tuesday.Noted endoscopic surgeon Dr Sumit Shukla delivered the lecture highlighting the advancements and the scope of the surgery especially in ayurveda on the occasion.As per Dr Lakshman Singh, programme coordinator, the lecture was a part of guest lecture series marking the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya, founder of BHU.Senior faculty members including C B Jha, dean, faculty of ayurveda and head of department, Dr DN Pande were also present on the occasion.

Americans need not visit India for cheap health care: Obama

With spiraling health care cost a cause of concern in America, US President Barack Obama today pushed for an affordable health care arguing that he would not like his countrymen to travel to countries like India and Mexico for cheaper treatment.
"My preference would be that you don't have to travel to Mexico or India to get cheap health care. I'd like you to be able to get it right here in the United States of America that's high quality," Obama said amidst applause at a community college in Virginia.
Obama was responding to a question from the audience on increasing health care cost in the US.
"Before we went on the path of you can go somewhere else to get your health care, let's work to see if we can reduce the costs of health care here in the United States of America. That's going to make a big difference," he said.
"And Medicare is a good place to start because Medicare is such a big purchaser that if we can start changing how the health care system works inside of Medicare, then the entire system changes. All the doctors, all the hospitals, they will all adapt to these best practices," Obama said.
"One of the things that we want to do as part of our health care reform package is let's start doing a better job of negotiating better prices for prescription drugs here in the United States so that you don't feel like you're getting cheated because you're paying 30 per cent more or 20 per cent more than prescription drugs in Canada or Mexico," he said.
Re-importation, he said, is a short-term solution that a lot of seniors are resorting to. "But why should drugs that are invented here in the United States end up being more expensive than another country?" he asked.
"Well, the reason is, is because drug companies can get away with it here and they can't get away with it there, and we should change some of those systems to make it cheaper for everybody here. But that's going to make a huge difference in terms of reducing our deficit," he noted.

High-fat, low-carb diet may reverse kidney failure: study

Kidney failure is a main complication of diabetes, but a lab study on mice showed that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet could reverse that in eight weeks, US researchers said Wednesday.The extreme food plan is known as a ketogenic diet and is often used to treat children with drug-resistant epilepsy. It starves the body of carbs and sugars, thereby tricking the body into burning fat for fuel instead of glucose.The diet is so restrictive it must be devised with an expert's help. Meal options may include scrambled eggs with cream, a bacon and butter omelet, or lettuce doused in mayonnaise.Doctors theorized the diet might work for diabetics by blocking the toxic effects of glucose, a simple sugar made as the body metabolizes food but that can become harmful in diabetics who lack enough insulin to regulate it.So the team at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York took two groups of mice that were genetically predisposed to having Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Half were fed a standard, high-carb diet while the other half received a ketogenic diet.After eight weeks, kidney failure was reversed in the ketogenic-fed mice, said the study published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE."Our study is the first to show that a dietary intervention alone is enough to reverse this serious complication of diabetes," said lead author Charles Mobbs at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine."This finding has significant implications for the tens of thousands of Americans diagnosed with diabetic kidney failure, and possibly other complications, each year."According to the National Institutes of Health, 24 million people in the United States have diabetes, and close to 180,000 people are living with kidney failure linked to their diabetes.Mobbs said the diet is not likely to be suitable as a long-term fix in humans, but said the findings indicate even as little as a month on the regime could be enough to "reset" the body and avoid kidney failure.Mobbs said the findings should "help us identify a drug target and subsequent pharmacological interventions that mimic the effect of the diet."His team is planning more studies to explore the ketogenic diet's impact on other neurological diseases such as retinopathy which causes loss of sight.

French Royalty was in Trivendrum for Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment

A French Princess was in the Trivendrum city for two weeks. Princess Diane (née Princess Diane Françoise Maria da Gloria of Orléans), was here for a Auyurveda treatment at the Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort. Princess Diane was at the Resort with her family members and secretary. She and her family went through the Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment. Officials at Somatheeram confirmed that the treatment was the primary reason for the visit.During her stay, she made a courtesy call to the royal family at Kowdiar Palace. An ardent lover of art and a successful artist and sculptor herself, she was rejoiced when His Highness Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma gifted her a book with Raja Ravi Varma’s sketches and paintings in it.                                                                                              The Kowdiar royal family invited her to see thepallivetta organized as part of the Aaraatt festival of Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple. She accompanied the royal family to the Sundaravilasam Bungalow which was the venue for the pallivetta event.In fact Princess Diane is the 6th child of the Orléanist claimant to the French throne, HRH Henri, Count of Paris (1908–1999), and his wife HI&RH Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza (1911–2003). And the sister of Prince Henri, the Duke of France. Princess Diane is married to the Duke of Württemberg (Germany). 
Princess Diane was attracted by the cultural diversity, nature and the friendly people of Kerala and thus tempted for a second visit. Her first visit to the state was in October last year. The General Manager of Somatheeram, Sivanandan observed, “she is well - aware about our culture, tradition, important events and people. She has grown so fond of the state that she plans another visit here.”
 The Princess, family and her entourage left the city on Monday.

Obama Administration Takes Action Prescription Drug Abuse

As part of the Obama administration's Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan to tackle the issue of prescription drug abuse, makers of painkillers have been asked to provide educational materials to help train physicians about the correct use of these drugs.The US FDA has sent letters to manufacturers of opioid drugs asking them to prepare materials which can be useful for the physicians or prescribers while counseling patients  about the risks and benefits of opioid use. These documents will contain information regarding proper pain management, patient selection and ensure that their patients understand how to use these drugs safely. These documents will be approved by the FDA. New educational guidelines will be required for manufacturers of hydromorphone, oxycodone, morphine, oxymorphine, morphone, methadone and transdermal fentanyl. These drugs can be highly addictive.
Prescription drug abuse is an alarming public health crisis and its overuse can be as dangerous as street drug abuse. Therefore immediate action is needed on these lines.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Stress hampers intestinal bacteria making immune system inactive

A new research has indicated that stress not only sends the human immune system into overdrive - but it can also wreak havoc on the trillions of bacteria that work and thrive inside our digestive system.Michael Bailey, an assistant professor of dentistry and member of the Institute for Behavioural Medicine Research at Ohio State University and colleagues turned to mice to better understand the roles that bacteria play in immune balance. They ran a series of experiments using a common stressor for these animals. From the intestinal samples, Bailey’s team could determine the relative proportion of at least 30 types of bacteria residing there.Compared to the control mice, the stressed animals showed two marked differences: The proportion of one important type of bacteria in the gut - Bacteroides - fell by 20 to 25 per cent while another type - Clostridium - increased a similar amount. Also, levels of the two biomarkers, IL-6 and MCP-1, jumped 10-fold in the stressed mice, compared to controls.The researchers then treated stressed mice with broad-spectrum antibiotics that could kill as much as 90 per cent of the intestinal bacteria for a short period. When they again looked at the two immune biomarkers in the stressed mice, they saw only a doubling of IL-6 and MCP-1 - an increase only one-fifth as much."We know now that if we knock the population of bacteria down with antibiotics, we don’t have the same innate immune response,” said Bailey. "That showed that the bacteria are involved in the ability of stress to prime the innate immune system,” added Bailey.He said that the research shows that some of the changes in systemic immunity in the body can be influenced by changes in these bacterial colonies, a result that reinforces the idea that they have a broader effect on the immune response.The study is detailed in the current issue of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Indian-Origin Writer Wins Pulitzer

India-born Siddhartha Mukherjee (in picture) won the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction for his latest book, Siddhartha Mukherjee , a cancer specialist of Indian origin, and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, has won the 2011Pulitzer  in general non-fiction category.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, is his first book  where Mukherjee, 40, has narrated the struggle that has gone through the centuries with the dreaded disease. He has analyzed his subject with care and precision balancing it with an involvement that marks a good writer.Having grown up in Delhi and studied at St Columba's School, Mukherjee moved to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar to train  as a cellular biologist. His book has been listed in "The 10 Best Books of 2010" by The New York Times and the "Top 10 Non-fiction Books" by the Time magazine.
The Pulitzer award citation described The Emperor of All Maladies as "an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science". The Pulitzer website states that the book is a "magnificent, profoundly humane biography of cancer".
Mukherjee is the fourth person from India to have been awarded the coveted prize which carries  a $10,000 award.India-born Dr. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Centre.

A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School.
He has published articles in NatureThe New England Journal of MedicineThe New York Times and The New Republic.
In his book, Dr. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and deaths, told through the “eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out war against cancer“.
An award-winning science writer, Dr. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective and a biographer’s passion.
The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease that humans have lived with — and perished from — for more than 5,000 years.
The “riveting, urgent and surprising” book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.
It is a profoundly humane “biography” of cancer — from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.
“From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth—century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease,” according to information on the book on Pulitzer’s website.
The book provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments besides providing hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.


Mother’s Diet Changes Unborn Child’s DNA

A mother’s diet during the first weeks of her pregnancy could alter her unborn child’s DNA leading to later obesity and other related problems, according to scientists in New Zealand.
The research led by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman looked at the epigenetic change that changes the function of the child’s DNA. "What we now know is the biology by which one becomes obese and one goes onto have the complications associated with obesity starts before you are born,” he reported.The researchers studied 300 umbilical cords from newborn babies, and they analyzed the degree of chemical change in the DNA. They could predict whether a baby would go on to become obese later on in life.
Mothers with early pregnancy diets low in carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch, had children with these changes, the epigenetic markers.
Then, it was seen that there was a strong link between those same markers and a child's obesity at ages six and nine.
According to the research, fathers also played a contributory factor in the alteration in the child’s DNA impacting how the baby develops its control of blood sugar and fat deposition later on.
The study will continue for a at least two more years as researchers study the foods that are the most harmful for unborn babies. Meanwhile researchers urge expectant mothers is to eat a balanced diet that includes legumes, pulses, things like lentils and chick peas, and fruits and root vegetables like kumara and potatoes.


Children With HIV at Higher Risk of Drug Resistance

About 1 in 8 children infected with HIV experiences triple-class virological failure -- meaning the virus becomes resistant to multiple drugs -- within five years of starting antiretroviral treatment, a European study shows.That drug failure rate is higher than in adults and highlights the challenge of maintaining viral load suppression in young patients who begin antiretroviral therapy so early in life, the researchers said.Virological failure occurs when drugs can no longer reduce the amount of HIV in a patient's blood, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.The study included more than 1,000 HIV-positive children in several European countries. The children, who were infected with HIV via their mother before or at birth, were under 16 years of age and began treatment with three or more drugs between 1998 and 2008.Along with an overall 12 percent rate of triple-class virological failure, the researchers also found that children who began antiretroviral treatment at an older age were more likely to experience failure.One expert said that the higher rate of virological failure may be tied to lower rates of drug adherence by kids."HIV is a dynamic infection in which billions of virus particles are produced each day in the bodies of HIV infected persons," explained Dr. Bruce Hirsch, attending physician in Infectious Disease at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. "Though each particular virus dies off in less than a day, the high rate of production and the high mutation rate requires that three active anti-viral medicines be present in the blood stream continuously for years.""Growing up is hard to do," Hirsch added, and "taking unpalatable medications every day is hard on young kids."But there are potential solutions."Easier to take combinations, better tasting syrup versions would help children cope with this infection," Hirsch said.The study's authors agreed. "There is continued need for strategies to promote optimum drug adherence in children, caregivers and young people to minimize the likelihood of triple-class virological failure, and for development of suitable new drugs and formulations to optimize the treatment of children with treatment failure," wrote Ali Judd and colleagues at the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit in London.
Courtesy:Health Day
The study appears online April 19 in The Lancet.

American university holds unique one-of-a-kind-in-the-world Hindu Baccalaureate Service

Unique, one of a kind baccalaureate service in the world, was held at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) in USA on April 17 evening.
“Fourth Annual Hindu Baccalaureate Service of UNR (Dikshant Utsav)” blessed the graduating class in the traditional Hindu style according to ancient scriptures, complete with applying tilak (religious mark) on the foreheads of graduates, participatory reading of Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit, keynote address by a Swami and kirtan (sacred chant). In addition, it also included blessings by Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, etc., representatives who recited prayers in Arabic, Pali, Hebrew, Persian, besides English. Confucian and Dao prayers were also read on the occasion.
Organized by Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed in collaboration with Indian Student Organization (ISO) of UNR, it started with lighting traditional lamp before the statue of goddess Saraswati, patron of learning and the arts, and included blessing of the upcoming graduates with wisdom from Vedas,Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita—all ancient Hindu scriptures, by well-known Hindu monk Swami Vedananda from California (USA). Prominent musician Jim Eaglesmith chanted kirtan number “Radhe-Govinda” and the audience followed him on the chant.
Besides Vedananda, those who blessed the graduating class included Presbyterian Pastor Bruce Taylor, Nicholas Frey of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Muslim Imam Abdulrahim Barghouthi, Buddhist Priest Phil Bryan, Jewish Rabbi ElizaBeth Beyer, Baha’i Roya Galata, Reverend Robert Roy of International Community of Christ, and Dr. David Mitchell of Satya Chetna International. ISO President Dharshini Dhanalakshmi thanked the religious leaders for their blessings.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that the purpose of this baccalaureate service was to root the graduating class in divine spiritual tradition so that they had a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success.
Education in Hindu tradition has been deep rooted; Zed says and adds that after many important universities in ancient India, like Taxila, Nalanda, Sarnath, Amaravati, Banaras, Kanchi and Ujjain; great Indian universities also flourished in medieval period, like Odantapura (745 AD), Vikramasila (810 AD), Somapura (480 AD), Jagaddala (1090 AD).
Baccalaureate service basically means service where a sermon is delivered to the graduating class. In use since at least the eighth century, origins of the baccalaureate service point to an Oxford University statute of 1432, which required each bachelor to deliver a sermon in Latin as part of the academic exercise.
The flagship institution of the state established in 1864, UNR is one of the top 120 universities in America for funded research, which spans issues relating to the environment, renewable energy resources, the life sciences and plasma physics. The University competes in 19 men's and women’s sports.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

Indian naturopathy team arrives in Nawalparasi District of Nepal

A team of physicians from Maharashtra, India has arrived at Rajahar, Nawalparasi district on foot with the objective of promoting naturopathy.
The team has arrived in Nepal with the goal of establishing the naturopathy throughout the world.
The march dubbed as the World Service Naturopathy Water Treatment March Committee organized the march and the march was initiated from Sunauli on April 9.
The team comprising Dr. Laxmi Kanta Sawale, Dr. P.G. Ratna Parakhi and Dr. Girish Selinakar will complete a 32-kilometres-long march only by drinking water. 
Source:The Himalayan Times

8 Yoga asanas for the office

Are you chained to your office desk for long hours at a stretch with little to no daily exercise? Does your life circle around your laptop? Is typing while hunched over a tiny desk how you spend each day? If the answer is yes, then you need to get proactive about your mental and physical state of being. To help you achieve just that, here are eight yoga asanas for the office that will help you combat mental and physical stress by increasing your concentration levels and relaxing any muscle tensions. Read and practise right away! 
Office Yoga Asana 1: Wrist Stretches- Perform these simple stretches as a warm up exercise before starting your work and you'll never complain of wrist pain. (1) Extend and stretch both wrist and fingers acutely as if they are in a hand stand position and hold them up for a count of 5. (2) Make a tight fist with both hands and then bend wrist down while keeping the fist and hold it for a count of 5. 

Office Yoga Asana 2Neck Asana- Breathe in as you bend your head in the right direction. Try and aim at a point where your shoulder touches the ear. Exhale as you bring your back to the normal position. Make sure you keep your neck and spine long. Now do the asana on the left side. Perform five breathing cycles on each side. 

Office Yoga Asana 3Reversed Shoulder Rotation and Thoracic Wave- Inhale as you move your shoulders in an upward and backward direction. Exhale as you move them in a downward and frontward direction. Pay key attention to the breathing cycle and keep your neck and spine comfortably straight. Perform eight to ten rotations on each side. 

Office Yoga Asana 4: Cow Face Pose for your upper back- Take both your hands and clasp your hands behind your back. If you are unable to clasp, don't try too hard, comfortably stretch your fingers towards one another. Release with an exhalation. Now shake your arms for about 30 seconds and repeat. 

Office Yoga Asana 5Cat Asana for the lower back- While exhaling, bend your back in a backward direction creating a sharp curve in your spine. Now bend in a forward direction with the point between the shoulder blades and inhale. Do it for 5 breathing cycles to relieve your body of long hours at the desk. 

Office Yoga Asana 6: Konasana for toned arms- Stand straight with legs wide apart. Now bend forward from your waist. Try and touch the ground with the tips of your fingers, if possible place both your hands on the ground while standing. Your upper body should be in a straight line. Look ahead by about 3 inches. Perform konasana for 10 to 30 seconds and breathe normally throughout the asana. 

Office Yoga Asana 7: Bhastrika for your abdomen- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Close your eyes and start exhaling and inhaling via nose by focusing on the abdominal muscles. As soon as you release your abdominal muscles you'll realize that your diaphragm contracts before you start to inhale. Hear the sound of your breath and perform this asana 5 times at a stretch. Give it a pause. Breathe normally. And start again. Complete one to two rounds on a daily basis and increase the number of your breaths by 5, each week. 

Office Yoga Asana 8: Leg Extension Asana- Sit in a comfortable position with one leg bent and placed on a chair or desk in front of you. Place both your hands on your feet. Keeping your spine straight, inhale and extend your leg outward while holding it with your hands. Stay in this position for 3 to 5 breaths. Exhale as you come back to the normal position, while moving your hands and placing them on your waist. Stay in this position for 3 to 5 breaths. Relax. Perform 5 to 10 rounds like this. 


UP 1st to begin 2-yr diploma course in homeopathy pharmacy

UP is all set to become the first state in the country to launch a two-year diploma inhomeopathy pharmacy (also called homeopathy compounder course) that would produce homeopathy pharmacists for operating government dispensaries in the state.
Two government homeopathy colleges in the state - one each in Lucknow and Allahabad with 100 seats for the course - would provide training to the aspiring candidates in the academic session starting this year.
Uttarakhand has also shown interest in launching the course to bolster homeopathy dispensaries in the state in the next year.
All the 200 seats under the course have been filled through competition, and the course is all set to make its beginning this year, said Dr Jai Ram Rai, registrar, Homeopathy Medicine Board (UP), while talking to TOI on Monday. Saying that the eligibility criterion for application under the course has been fixed as intermediate pass-out in science stream, he also said that the move would bolster homeopathy pharmacy besides reviving the government dispensaries.
It may be mentioned here that Dr Rai was in the city to attend 256th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr Christian Fredric Samuel Hahnemann, marked as the World Homeopathy Day. The programme was organized by the Banaras Homeopathic Doctors Association at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on Sunday evening.
It is also worth mentioning that a total of 1,670 government homeopathy dispensaries exist in UP, the maximum in the country. In addition, nearly 29,000 registered homeopathy doctors practice in the state which is the highest in the country.
As per Dr R C Yadav, general secretary, Provincial Homeopathy Teachers' Association (UP), efforts are also being made to restart the three government homeopathy colleges at Lucknow, Bijnore and Jaunpur that were recently closed by the UP government. Presently, there are seven government homeopathy colleges in the state but the number is insufficient to meet the demand of homeopathy doctors in the state. Two new government colleges in Aligarh and Gorakhpur are also likely to open soon to strengthen homeopathy services in the state. 


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