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Saturday, 7 May 2011

What was in medicine chests at bin Laden compound?

Either Osama bin Laden or those who lived with him at the Pakistan compound where he was killed apparently suffered from stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and nerve pain — plus the normal ailments that affect a family with children, according to a pharmacist’s analysis of medications reportedly found at the siteIn addition, the medicine cache was said to contain Avena syrup, a botanical product that has at least two uses: as an artificial sweetener often used for a sour stomach and as “natural Viagra” that could be used to increase sexual desire and potency.“The caution is, we don’t know who used what,” said Cynthia Reilly, a pharmacist and director of practice development for the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. “And we know that in the United States, 40 percent of medication use is off label,” meaning it is used to treat conditions for which it has not been approved.Reilly reviewed a list obtained by NBC News from Pakistani sources of nearly a dozen drugs found in the aftermath of the U.S. killing of the 9/11 terror mastermind on Sunday in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The medications provide some insight into ailments of the people living at the compound, but show no evidence of serious health conditions, such as the kidney failure rumored to afflict bin Laden.“Quite honestly, there’s nothing here that indicates a long-term, chronic condition,” Reilly said.The listed medications included drugs to ease the symptoms of stomach problems, such as ulcers and gastric reflux, Reilly said. A drug listed as Grucid, an Indian version of a drug sold in the U.S. as omeprazole, is used for that purpose, Reilly said. The list also includes something simply called “ulcer capsule.”
The medications also included gabapentine, a drug frequently used to control seizures or to ease nerve pain. The drug is often used to combat the burning or aching pain that lingers after shingles infections, Reilly said.Natrilix, a drug used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, also was on the list. Notably, that drug should not be used by people with kidney failure, Reilly said.The medicine chest included several remedies for children’s ear infections, colds and coughs. So-called “Penza drops” are known in the U.S. as ampicillin syrup. A drug identified as “Tixylax” likely refers to Tixylix, a nighttime cough syrup often used for children. “Brufen syp” appears to refer to ibuprofen, the common pain reliever, Reilly said.In addition, investigators found “Dettole,” likely Dettol topical antiseptic products used to clean minor cuts and scrapes.The discovery of Avena syrup raises questions about whether bin Laden or anyone at the compound was hoping to boost sexual desire and performance. Avena Sativa is an extract of wild oats, a dietary supplement marketed as an aphrodisiac known by the nicknames “natural Viagra” and “wild oats,” Reilly said.“Again, we don’t know who used it,” Reilly said. “It could be used to soothe nerves or as a mood elevator. It could have been used by women to stimulate desire.”Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC News chief medical editor, said that while the syrup is marketed as an aphrodisiac, little research has been done on the subject."There is a lot of folklore around its potential as a natural Viagra, but not a lot of science," she said. "Of course, it could have provided Osama with a psychosomatic boost".Here’s the complete list obtained by NBC News:
1) Tablet
2) Ulcer Capsule
3) Tab/Cap Gabapentine
4) Penza drops
5.) Natrilix
6.) Grucid
7.) Avena syrup
8.) NIFIM, an antibiotic
9.) Syp, Tixylax , its use generally for children for chest problems
10.) Brufen syp
11.) Dettole, an antiseptic
Courtesy:Robert Windrem, NBC News investigative producer for special projects, contributed to this report

Workshop on AYUSH in Ahmedabad

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad is conducting a three-day workshop for the department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), ministry of Health and Family Welfare, government of India, on Saturday, with the aim of helping it increase its scope.
"The AYUSH system currently constitutes only 0.4% of the healthcare system in India. The workshop, which is a three-tier programme, is aimed at improving this figure," said professor Anil Gupta of IIMA.
He added that the institute will also give recommendations to the health ministry, if something worthwhile comes out of the workshop. Bureaucrats, policy makers and others have attended the workshop in the past.
This session, starting on May 7, will have heads of all the departments -- ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy - taking part.
The workshop is being conducted to understand what policy makers, practitioners and others in the system are going through, so that problem areas can be found and addressed.
"AYUSH is part of India's future and the workshop is being conducted to look at inclusive healthcare system through alternative medicine.

AMMOI urges health ministry to bring national ban on practice of fake, unqualified Ayurvedic healers

In a memorandum to the Union health ministry, the Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organisation of India (AMMOI) has urged the government to take immediate steps to ban the practice of fake and unqualified traditional healers in the country, through amendment of existing act and rules if necessary.
The secretary of AMMOI, Dr D Ramanathan handed over the memorandum to the union minister of state for health, S Gandhiselvan during his visit to Kerala recently. 

The organisation was forced to bring the issue to the notice of the minister as the Kerala government, prior to the assembly election, gave exemption to the traditional healers of northern Kerala from acquiring qualification and registration as per  some provisions of Travancore-Cochin Medical Council Act. The decision of the government was later stayed by the Kerala High Court.
Dr Ramanathan said there should be a policy decision by the Central government after amending relevant acts pertaining to  the practice by doctors of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy systems. He said that the regulations of Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) strictly prevent the practising of unqualified doctors and fake healers. But some state governments are still issuing orders allowing fake traditional healers to practise and Kerala case is the best example of such unwise action. The CCIM and other ayurvedic doctors associations in Kerala have challenged the decision of the government in the court.
AMMOI also demanded implementation and spread of Ayurveda and other Indian Systems of Medicine in the north-eastern parts of the country where everyone is following the modern system. It is necessary to constitute a committee consisting eminent personalities from the ISM sector to prepare a detailed scheme to introduce Ayurveda system in those states and it should be included in the curriculum of schools and colleges there for the 12th five year plan. AMMOI suggested that the members of the committee should be from CCRA, CCRUM, CCRS, ICMR, CCIM and ayurvedic industry.
The ayurvedic manufacturers’ appeals to the ministry included a request for a new scheme for the cultivation of medicinal plants. Because of deforestation and population growth, ayurvedic manufacturing industry is facing shortage of raw materials. The organization has also invited the minister’s attention to the European Union’s ban on Indian system of medicinal products following detection of heavy metal substance in some products.
He further sought the help of the health ministry to remove the barriers in introducing the health insurance scheme for Ayurveda treatment. Likewise the health ministry should find out a solution for withdrawing the central excise duty imposed on classical medicines by the finance ministry. Even though the financial department took some steps in favour of the ayurvedic industry’s demands, it is still pending, says the memorandum.
The Union minister was also requested to intervene in the matter of salary discrimination adopted by the Kerala government. “India’s national policy is to give equal status to all system of medicines. But in Kerala this is not so and  the treatment  of Ayurveda is looked down.  In spite of repeated letters and directions from central government, there is no change in the state policy. The best example is the differences in the pay scale of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy doctors”, said Dr Ramanathan, a CCIM executive committee member.
The memorandum also demands for additional financial aid for the upcoming Kerala Ayurvedic Cluster to be inaugurated in Thrissur for its development and setting up of research units. AMMOI  requested the minister to nominate Dr ET Neelakanta Mooss of Ashtavaidya families  as  member to the National Medicinal Plant Board.

Diet Helps Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

After ahead trauma , patients require a higher-than-normal amount of protein and calorie intake to reduce the swelling and inflammation of brain , says study. This procedure should be followed for at least two weeks.
Erdman, a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM), led a committee tasked with providing nutritional recommendations for TBI patients to the U.S. Department of Defense.The IOM reports that in one estimate 10 to 20 percent of returning veterans have sustained a TBI, with other estimates suggesting that TBIs account for one-third of all combat-related injuries.
But soldiers wounded by roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't the only patients who can benefit from these new guidelines. Victims of brain injuries received in motorcycle and car accidents, football and hockey players who have severe concussions, and even stroke victims need early protein and energy, he said.



Gender Bias Found in Children's Books

Gender bias in children's books with male characters, including male animals, leading the fictional pack was uncovered in a recent study.
The findings of Florida State University researchers are based on a study of nearly 6,000 20th century children's books published from 1900 to 2000.While previous studies have looked at the representation of male and female characters in children's books, they were often limited in scope.
"We looked at a full century of books," says lead author Prof Janice McCabe, assistant professor of Sociology at Florida State University.
"One thing that surprised us is that females' representations did not consistently improve from 1900 to 2000; in the mid part of the century it was actually more unequal. Books became more male-dominated," she added. Since children's books are a "dominant blueprint of shared cultural values, meanings, and expectations," the authors say the disparity between male and female characters is sending children a message that "women and girls occupy a less important role in society than men or boys."
The study has been published in Gender and Society. 



Can Saliva Be Used To Detect Malaria?

Photo: A mosquito sucking blood
Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, remains as a global burden despite all the medical advances. Though preventable and treatable it kills some 881,000 people every year. Examination of blood sample is perhaps the most common way of detecting malarial parasite. The peripheral blood smear examination is often regarded as the “gold standard” for the diagnosis of malaria. 
Measurement of antibodies reflects exposure to parasites. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to pathogens. Antibodies are routinely measured in sera or on dried blood spots. 
Studies were performed in two countries: Tanzania and Gambia. These aimed at developing a non-invasive method would provide extra utility in sampling general populations. Saliva is already in use in the detection of viral infections. Blood and saliva samples from the same individuals were collected in unlinked surveys conducted in Tanzania and Gambia. A total of 253 samples were studies. Results were encouraging. Data demonstrate anti- malarial antibodies can be detected in saliva. Antibody levels in saliva correlate strongly with levels in plasma.


Tracing The Origins Of Medicine And Its Political History

Why are there many schools of medicine when this is not true for other sciences such as physics and chemistry? Author Daya Ram Varma MD, PhD, explores the answer to this question as he shares an in-depth study on The Art and Science of Healing Since Antiquity.
This book has been in the making for over fifty years and represents a distillation of the author’s understanding of the origins of medicine. The modern medicine, like all schools of medicine, is a child of spiritual medicine commonly known as witchcraft. It has made gigantic advances, but not enough to remain unchallenged by other streams of the witchcraft. The Art and Science of Healing Since Antiquity is an attempt to analyze how witchcraft unfolded into its different variants and why modern medicine is its most rational expression.
As readers browse through the pages, they will see how the author endeavors to show that witchcraft, or spiritual medicine, is the medical expression of a gathering and hunting society, Ayurveda, Chinese and Greek medicine of an agricultural society and modern medicine of a capitalist society. Through The Art and Science of Healing Since Antiquity, Dr. Varma attempts to present a political history of medicine that would help readers gain an insight into different schools of medicine and assist them in making a rational choice.

CordLife performs India’s first successful mixed stem cell transplantation

The stem cell banking has once again proved to be a life-saver, this time for a five-year-old boy Moinam from Siliguri. He was detected with ebeta thalassemia at the age of five months and after five years his family has a reason to rejoice, when underwent a successful stem cell transplant. CordLife India, Asia’s largest stem cell bank, had preserved the cord blood of Moinam’s sister and provided it to Moinam at the time of the transplant therapy. CordLife made this announcement today, highlighting the fact that this was India’s first successful mixed stem cell transplant.

The boy had to undergo the painful and elaborate process of blood transfusion and was on medication until stem cell transplant from cord blood and bone marrow gave him a new life. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder in which the body produces an abnormal form of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells and causes severe anaemia that can occur within months after birth. If left untreated, severe anaemia can result in insufficient growth and development, as well as other common physical complications that can lead to a dramatically decreased life-expectancy.

On 3rd April 2011, the stem cell transplantation was carried out by Dr. Ashish Mukherjee at the Netaji Subhash Cancer Research Institute and this is the first time that a mixed stem cell transplant (cord blood and bone marrow) has been performed in India. The boy is now in recovery phase and is expected to get completely cured as his blood tests have been very heartening.

The MD of CordLife India,  Meghnath Roy Chowdhury said, “It has given our international presence and superior technology in preserving stem cells, the parents approached us to preserve their second child’s cord blood during her birth. We are happy that we have been part of this path breaking transplant case, which has given a new lease of life to the child.”

The medical director of CordLife India, Dr Prosanto Chowdhury elaborated that “When stem cells are needed to treat a life-threatening disease, doctors can effectively predict transplant success by evaluating two factors - HLA compatibility and stem cell count. A transplant unit’s stem cell count in relation to the recipient’s body weight is called the cell dose, and it is the most significant predictor for overall transplant survival. In situations, like haematological malignancies, the clock is ticking and the stem cells are to be procured and transplanted at the earliest, so keeping the stem cells, and using them on as and when required basis, is the key to success. Transplants like these confirm CordLife’s technology and our assurance to parents who bank with us their baby’s cord blood. CordLife has added another feather to its cap in its history of successful transplant cases including treating diseases like cerebral palsy and leukaemia through stem cell transplants”.
“This successful transplant case would further enhance the confidence of the parents and stem cell therapy and cord blood banking would be looked up as a possible measure for treatment against such life threatening diseases” according to Meghnath Roy Chowdhury.
There are about 10,000 thalasaemic children born each year in India, and most of them do not live beyond 10 years of age. Thanks to this revolutionary development in the healthcare industry which will help the nation to fight against the life threatening diseases like thalassemia, leukaemia etc.


Friday, 6 May 2011

Stress Increases Inflammatory, Behavioral Responses From the Brain

Scientists from Ohio State University's Institute of Behavioral Medicine Research have discovered that a model of social stress can increase inflammation among brain cells, providing new insight into how the stress response in the brain affects inflammatory and behavioral responses.
The findings may also provide new targets for drugs treatments in the continuing struggle to curtail depression and anxiety.John Sheridan, professor of oral biology, and Jonathan Godbout, an assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics, turned to colonies of mice to make their discoveries.
Groups of mice living together quickly adopt a hierarchy ranging from dominant to subordinate. This vaguely political system controls the interaction among the animals.
Once these patterns had been established, the researchers then added an additional, highly aggressive mouse to the mix for a two-hour period each day to disrupt the social hierarchy.



Ozone Hole - Key Player in Climate Change

Ozone hole located over the South Pole has been linked with the climate change of the Southern Hemisphere. Ozone hole influences the tropical circulation and increases rainfall at low altitudes in the Southern Hemisphere.
This is the first time that ozone depletion, an upper atmospheric phenomenon confined to the Polar Regions, has been linked to climate change from the Pole to the equator.
"We show in this study that it has large and far-reaching impacts. The ozone hole is a big player in the climate system!" said Lorenzo M. Polvani, Professor of Applied Mathematics and of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Senior Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and co-author of the paper. 
"It's really amazing that the ozone hole, located so high up in the atmosphere over Antarctica, can have an impact all the way to the tropics and affect rainfall there - it's just like a domino effect," said Sarah Kang, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Columbia Engineering's Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and lead author of the paper.

Health Ministry ropes in IIM-A to promote AYUSH

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is drawing up recommendations for the Union Health Ministry on how can AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) medicines be promoted better in the country. IIM-A has been entrusted with the task by the Department of AYUSH.
IIM-A professor Anil K Gupta said that currently AYUSH makes up barely 0.4 per cent of the total healthcare system in India, so the aim is to integrate AYUSH systems among themselves and also with allopathic medicine.
“AYUSH has not been able to reach people in rural and urban areas. It is an affordable medical system for the rural and urban poor. Even for the affluent it is a preventive system that is greatly useful because it targets lifestyle, food, mental health and overall well-being,” he said.
The recommendations will be finalised after a three-tier set of programmes concludes. At present, the third set of dignitaries, including doctors, researchers and field workers, is attending a five-day programme at the institute.
Sorce:Indian Express

Obese People Have Less Satisfying Sex Lives: Study

Obesity may lower levels of sexual satisfaction, especially for women, a new study shows.
Duke University researchers studied 91 obese men and 134 obese women who completed a sexual functioning questionnaire before enrolling in a weight loss study. The questionnaire covered nine areas: interest, desire, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, behavior, relationship, masturbation and sexual problems.
"We found that there was lower sexual satisfaction and lower sexual quality of life among women than men, and overall sexual quality of life was low among both groups," Dr. Truls Ostbye, a professor in the department of community and family medicine, said in a Duke news release.
The researchers also compared the obese patients' scores to the results from a group of cancer survivors and a general population group. Obese women's scores were lower than both those groups' scores, while obese men's scores were between the scores of the cancer survivors and the general population group.
"Our findings contribute to a growing body of research that indicates obesity is associated with reduced sexual functioning and sexual quality of life among both men and women," Ostbye said.
Doctors should be aware of this issue and invite obese patients to talk about it, the researchers said.
"Obese patients welcome the opportunity to discuss the effects of their weight on quality of life, including sexual quality of life," said study co-author and clinical psychologist Ronette L. Kolotkin. "Because so many obese individuals experience discrimination and prejudice, they appreciate providers who create a warm, supportive environment in which to discuss these sensitive issues."
The study appears in the May/June issue of the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.

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