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Friday, 10 June 2011

Governments target to reach 15 mn people with HIV treatment by 2015

On the basis of new evidence that shows HIV treatment is also HIV prevention, the Governments have taken a critical step by committing to reach 15 million people with HIV treatment by 2015 in a meeting at the UN Summit on AIDS. However, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and doctors without borders feels that to make this treatment target a reality, the governments must take immediate concrete action.
Fresh scientific evidence shows that treatment is also a form of prevention, as it reduces the risk of transmission of HIV from one person to another by 96 per cent. By ambitiously expanding treatment, according to new research by UNAIDS, twelve million infections and more than seven million deaths can be averted by 2020. It could also reduce by more than half the number of new infections by 2015. This will require an additional $ 6 billion top up each year until 2015.
However, funding for AIDS declined in both 2009 and 2010, leaving the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the US-government’s PEPFAR and other programmes short of resources.
“There are nine million people waiting for HIV treatment today. This whole AIDS Summit will have been a farce if we do not see real plans to ramp up treatment so we can get ahead of the wave of new infections,” said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer, executive director of MSF’s Access Campaign.
“By agreeing to expand HIV treatment to 15 million people in four years, governments are committing to take the latest science that treatment is prevention and turn it into policies that save lives and can stop the virus,” said Sharonann Lynch, HIV/AIDS Policy Advisor for MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines.
Countries also need to ensure that the medicines needed to break the back of the epidemic remain affordable. This means not just supporting policies that drive down prices, but refraining from pushing policies that drive up prices by imposing ever tighter intellectual property protection. In particular, free trade agreements negotiated by the US, the EU and others with developing countries are creating further barriers to price-busting generic competition, and threaten access to affordable newer medicines.
According to Michelle Childs, policy and advocacy director of MSF’s Access Campaign, “Without affordable medicines, access to treatment cannot become a reality. Over six million people are on treatment today, largely because generic production drove the price of the first generation of AIDS medicines down by 99 per cent since 2000. This success can only be repeated with newer and more potent medicines if barriers to-low cost drug production are removed. But countries are making promises to treat AIDS in one meeting and working hard to keep prices out of reach behind closed doors in other meetings. This double-speak has to stop.”
The final declaration ending the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS is expected to be formally endorsed by countries on 10 June.


Type 2 Diabetes Shows Negative Effect on Heart Function in Adolescents

"Past studies in adults with Type 2 diabetes show that their heart and blood vessels' ability to adapt to exercise may be impaired. Our study shows that these changes in heart function may begin to happen very early after Type 2 diabetes occurs," said the study's lead author, Teresa Pinto, MD, a pediatric ENDOCRINOLOGIST at the Dalhousie University IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 
Impaired heart function is observed among adolescents with TYPE-2 Diabetes  shows study.

Pinto performed the research while at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. The researchers studied how the heart and blood vessels of 13 teenagers with Type 2 diabetes adapted to exercise, compared with 27 overweight or obese subjects who did not have diabetic and  19 nondiabetic and nonobese control subjects. The subjects were ages 12 to 20 and from New Zealand. Their body composition, including percentage of body fat, was determined using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans.

All subjects performed an exercise test on a stationary bicycle designed for use in a magnetic resonanse imaging (MRI) machine. With MRI, images were taken of each subject's heart and femoral artery, a large blood vessel in the leg that supplies the leg with blood. MRI took place while the subjects were at rest and during or immediately after exercise on the cycle.

The images of the heart showed that the hearts of subjects with Type 2 Diabetes did not expand and fill up with blood between heart beats as well as the hearts of subjects in the other two groups. This occurred during exercise only, the authors found. With exercise, the amount of blood pumped out with each heart beat (the cardiac output) was normal in all three groups, although still lower in the DIABETIC group.



Eating Broccoli, Cauliflower Protect From Prostate Cancer

HDACs are a family of enzymes that, among other things, affect access to DNA and play a role in whether certain genes are expressed or not, such as tumor suppressor genes. 
Scientists have found that a nutrient in broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables not only helps prevent cancer  but also fights it.

The scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have shown that sulforaphane found at fairly high levels in these vegetables is an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, or HDAC enzymes.

HDAC inhibition is one of the more promising fields of cancer treatment  and is being targeted from both a pharmaceutical and dietary approach, said scientists.

"It's important to demonstrate that sulforaphane is safe if we propose to use it in cancer prevention or therapies," said Emily Ho, associate professor in the OSU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences and the study's lead author.

"Just because a phytochemical or nutrient is found in food doesn't always mean its safe, and a lot can also depend on the form or levels consumed. But this does appear to be a phytochemical that can selectively kill cancer cells, and that's always what you look for in cancer therapies ," Ho stated.
The findings were published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, a professional journal.



Weight Watchers' Eating Plan Ranked Best Diet For Weight Loss

Weight Watchers was recognized as the Best diet plan for weight loss and best industrial diet plan in the first U.S. report and world report ratings.

The result was finalized by a panel of 22 leading, independent scientific experts after conducting a 6-month assessment of 20 diets and diet programs.
"This acknowledgment by U.S. News and World Report underscores what numerous clinical studies have already shown about the efficacy of our approach to weight loss," said David Kirchhoff, president and chief executive officer, Weight Watchers International, Inc.
The Weight Watchers PointsPlus program emphasizes the need for a healthful, balanced diet made up of nutrient-dense foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains - essential nutrients to help consumers achieve healthy, long-term weight loss.
The Weight Watchers program is scientifically proven to reduce the risk of obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some types of cancer.
"One of the reasons our program is successful is because it helps guide people to delicious, nutrient-rich foods. It's a simple and affordable answer to achieving a healthy weight and living a healthier life," Kirchhoff said.
The result has been published online.


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Hepatitis- C Patients will get help by consumption of coffee

"Coffee intake has been associated with a lower level of liver enzymes , reduced progression of chronic liver disease and reduced incidence of liver cancer," said Neal Freedman, PhD, MPH, of the National Cancer Institute and lead author of this study. "Although we observed an independent association between coffee intake and virologic response to treatment, this association needs replication in other studies." 
In a recent study it was found that coffee drinking benefits hepatitis-c with chronic liver disease. Patients who received peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment and who drank three or more cups of coffee per day were two times more likely to respond to treatment than non-drinkers.
Among non-drinkers, 46 percent had an early virologic response; 26 percent had no detectable serum hepatitis C VIRUS  (HCV) ribonucleic acid at week 20; 22 percent had no detectable serum at week 48; and 11 percent had a sustained virologic response. In contrast, the corresponding proportions for those who drank three or more cups of coffee per day were 73 percent, 52 percent, 49 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
 Approximately 70 to 80 percent of individuals exposed to HCV become chronically infected. Worldwide, these individuals are estimated to number between 130 and 170 million. Higher coffee consumption has been associated with slower progression of pre-existing liver disease and lower risk of liver cancer . However, the relationship with response to anti-HCV treatment had not been previously evaluated. Treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin resolves chronic hepatitis- C in about half of patients. It is unknown whether coffee will improve response with the addition of new drugs that were recently approved for use in the U.S.


Study finds why smokers gain weight when they quit

Scientists say they've finally discovered why smokers tend to gain some weight when they kick the habit.
It turns out that nicotine can rev up brain cells that normally signal people to stop eating when they're full, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.
The weight connection isn't huge: On average, quitters gain less than 10 pounds. Still, it's a worry that many smokers cite when asked why they don't try to quit. Now the question is whether the discovery might lead to better treatments to help them quit without worrying about weight.
Yale University associate research scientist Yann Mineur stumbled onto the connection while studying a nicotine-related substance in mice — and the animals suddenly started eating less.
Nicotine hooks onto a variety of receptors, or docking sites, on the surface of cells. That's how it triggers addiction in one part of the brain.
But when it comes to weight, the Yale research found that both nicotine and the related drug cytisine were activating a different receptor than the one involved in addiction. This one is located on a small set of neurons in the hypothalamus, a region that regulates appetite.
When they gave nicotine to mice without that cellular pathway, it didn't help them lose weight like it did normal mice.
Smoking causes cancer, heart attacks and a host of other ailments so worry about modest weight gain shouldn't deter someone from quitting. But smokers who do have that concern should try nicotine-based smoking-cessation treatments, said study senior author Marina Picciotto, a Yale professor of psychiatry and neurobiology.
The other drug used in the mouse experiments, cytisine, is sold in Eastern Europe for smoking cessation but not in the U.S., and she'd like to see if there's data on the weight of smokers abroad who've used it.
Developing a drug to target only these specific receptors would be difficult, she cautions, because they're also involved in the body's stress responses in ways that could lead to such side effects as high blood pressure.

Chronic Pain Sufferers Might Consider Suicide

A national study on chronic pain shows that 1/3 of the Australian population suffers from chronic pain and 20% of them have considered suicide while 5% have attempted suicide.Chronic pain Australia president Coralie Wales, who commissioned the study of 2500 people, said, "Most sufferers also felt stigmatized, believing they were perceived as drug addicts or bludgers." In some places chronic pain sufferers  were forced to collect their medication from the Drug and Alcohol  Services, alongside drug addicts which made them feel worse. According to 2007 Access Economics report, it is estimated that chronic pain cost the nation $34.3 billion per year. 


24 Ayurveda colleges disapproved by CCIM

 Not complying with the standards fixed by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), hundreds of ayurveda colleges are mushrooming in the country. Karnataka ranks second after Maharashtra, to house the highest number of ayurveda colleges in the country and barring a few, most of these colleges are run by private people and are well below the standards fixed by the CCIM.A majority of our politicians have been involved in the mushrooming of these colleges across the state, due to which these colleges do not meet the required standards.After the country wide inspection of all the ayurveda colleges, Central Council of Indian Medicine, an apex body which prescribes minimum standards of education in the Indian Systems of Medicine has come out with the fresh list of colleges lacking the set standards for the year 20112012.Surprisingly, of the total 56 ayurveda colleges in the state, Central Council of Indian Medicine has disapproved 24 of such Institutions.
During the oneday visit to all the ayurveda colleges across the country by the 180 teams, they revealed that nearly 35 per cent of the colleges are not fit to function in the country.While some are short of teaching faculty, it was also found that duplicity of names and fake experience affidavits are being submitted in many cases, others do not have inpatients facilities and lesser number of OPD patients, said Dr Jayaprakash Narayana, vice president, CCIM.To get the accurate data on the list of eligible colleges, CCIM preferred to chose professors and readers from various government colleges for the inspection.Since 40 years, CCIM did not engaged its council members but sought assistance from professors and readers of government colleges to conduct the inspection in ayurveda colleges across the country, the CCIM member added.

Tamarind Seeds To Regrow Damaged Nerves

A new biomaterial derived from tamarind seeds could help regrow damaged nerves in the brain and spinal chord, says an Australian researcher. The work could revolutionise treatment of nerve-based injuries and diseases, such as Parkinson’s, it is hoped.
PhD student Andrew Rodda was part of a Monash Materials Engineering team investigating xyloglucan, a plant-based compound derived from the seeds of the tamarind tree.
Within plants, xyloglucan plays an important role in linking cells together and Mr Rodda has been studying its effects in animals with damaged neve cells .
The compound developed by Mr Rodda can be injected into an injury site  as a liquid, before becoming a gel as it reaches body temperature .
Once in place, the gel acts as a support structure through which healthy cells can migrate and potentially reattach themselves to the nervous system.
Until now, all damage to the nerve cells  of the central nervous system  - the brain and spinal cord  – had been considered irreparable.
Mr Rodda said the lack of repair, or regrowth is due mainly to the toxic environment left behind after nerve death.
“Nerve cells are sensitive, and will only grow in the most supportive of environments,” Mr Rodda said.
“After injury, new cells cannot normally penetrate into the empty space left after mass cell death. Cells clump at the edges, forming an impenetrable barrier. This leaves the centre of the wound as a lesion, which contains chemicals that kill growing nerves.”



Heart Attack Rate Drops

The risk of heart attack falls 74% among nearly 10,000 civil servants working in London over a 20-year period, finds study. The contributing factors for this decline include Better control of cholesterol levels and blood pressure and a decline in smoking. However, the reduction would have been even greater were it not for the fact that more people became fatter during this time, and this rise in body mass index (BMI) accounted for an estimated 11% increased risk of heart attack over the same period.In a paper published online today in the European Heart Journal  [1], researchers report that, among 9453 people taking part in the long-running Whitehall II study in London (UK), there was a substantial reduction (74%) in the chances of a first heart attack (myocardial infarction) among both men and women between 1985 and 2004. This corresponded to an annual average decline of 6.5%. 
Over half of this reduction in heart attack rates rates could be explained by improvements in four of the main risk factors for heart attack : declining levels of "bad" non-HDL cholesterol levels , an increase in "good"HDL cholesterol, reduced blood pressure, and a reduction in the number of people who smoked. There was also a modest but statistically insignificant contribution from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables. Together, these five rsik factors accounted for 56% of the reduction in the risk of heart attack.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Study Ranks Mental Health as Young People's Top Health Problem

 Mental health problems are the leading cause of disability among children, teens and young adults worldwide, according to a new study.
Researchers who analyzed global data collected in 2004 found that neuropsychiatric disorders -- including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcohol use -- accounted for 45 percent of the disease burden among those 10 to 24 years old.
The next two most common causes of disability among young people were accidental injuries, most often caused by traffic accidents, at 12 percent, and infectious and parasitic diseases at 10 percent.
The researchers also found that important risk factors among young people that affect their health later in life include unsafe sex, alcohol use, iron deficiency and lack of birth control.
"The disease burden arising in early adolescence from major risk factors is low," the researchers wrote. "However, rates rise sharply in late adolescence and early adulthood for both alcohol and unsafe sex. For other risk factors that commonly start in adolescence, such as tobacco use, low physical activity, high blood pressure, and overweight and obesity, their contribution to disease becomes apparent only in mid- to-late adulthood," according to Fiona M. Gore, of the department of health statistics and informatics at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues.
"Our risk factor data suggest that preventive strategies should adopt a life-course approach whereby the focus on the adolescent and young-adult years is prominent," the authors concluded in the report published online June 7 in The Lancet.
People aged 10 to 24, numbering more than 1.8 billion, represent 27 percent of the world's population, the report noted.
More information
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about child and teen mental health.

Gadhafi investigated over use of drugs for rapes

 The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Wednesday he is investigating whether Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi provided Viagra-type drugs to Libyan soldiers to promote the rape of women during the current conflict.
Luis Moreno Ocampo said his office is collecting evidence on rapes and has become "more convinced" that Gadhafi decided to punish women by using rape as a weapon, which would be a new method in the Libya civil war of instilling fear and trying to control the population.
He told a news conference after briefing the U.N. Security Council on Darfur that some witnesses confirmed the Libyan government was buying containers of Viagra-type drugs to carry out the policy, and "to enhance the possibility to rape."
"We are trying to see who was involved," Moreno Ocampo said.
He said it was difficult to know how widespread the use of rape is in Libya.
"We're getting important information," Moreno Ocampo said. "In some areas we had a number of a hundred people raped. The issue for us was, can we attribute these rapes to Gadhafi himself, or is it something that happened in the barracks."
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to refer the Libyan crisis to the International Criminal Court, the world's permanent war crimes tribunal.
On May 16, Moreno Ocampo asked judges to issue arrest warrants for Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi, accusing them of committing crimes against humanity by targeting civilians in a crackdown against rebels who are trying to end his more than 40 year rule.
Judges are now evaluating the evidence and must decide whether to confirm the charges and issue international arrest warrants. If the arrest warrants are issued, Moreno Ocampo said he may add the charge of rape to the case.
Moreno Ocampo said the two cases against the three top Libyans involve the shooting of civilians in demonstrations in different cities at the beginning of the conflict and the arrest, torture and forced disappearance of people, particularly in areas under Gadhafi's control.
But he told reporters that witnesses interviewed by investigators asked why the court was focusing on arrests, tortures and disappearances over the last three months because "it happened for 20 years — so we'd like you also to review all of them."

FDA: High Dose Of Popular Cholesterol Medicine May Damage Muscles

The Food and Drug Administration is beefing up the safety instructions for simvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering medication that was the second-most prescribed medicine in the U.S. last year.
About 2.1 million people in the U.S. got a prescription for simvastatin last year. The drug, which is mainly dispensed in generic form, is also sold under the brand name Zocor and is an ingredient in the combination drugs Vytorin and Simcor.
The FDA says the risk of muscle injury may also be increased when simvastatin is taken in combination with other drugs, including the antibiotic erythromycin and protease inhibitors for HIV treatment. (A list of the drugs can be found here.)
The agency says the highest approved dose of simvastatin (80 milligrams) has been linked to a higher risk of muscle injury, a risk that is greatest during the first year of use. The symptoms of the damage, a condition called myopathy, include pain, tenderness and weakness.
FDA says doctors should no longer prescribe the 80 milligram dose to new patients. The high dose of simvastatin lowers bad cholesterol about 6 percent more than a 40 milligram dose, the agency said.
The FDA said data from a seven-year-long study called Study of the Effectiveness of Additional Reductions in Cholesterol and Homocysteine contributed to the decision.
Last year, 94 million simvastatin prescriptions were filled in the U.S., making it the second-most prescribed drug in the country, according to data from IMS Health.
Source:npr news

Muscle Strength With Apple Ingredient

In search of a way to prevent the muscle wasting that comes with illness and aging, researchers have landed a natural compound that might just do the trick. The findings reported in the June issue of cell metabolism , a Cell Press publication, identify a component of apple peels as a promising new drug candidate for the widespread and debilitating condition that affects nearly everyone at one time or another."Muscle wasting is a frequent companion of illness and aging," said Christopher Adams of The University of Iowa , Iowa City. "It prolongs hospitalization, delays recoveries and in some cases prevents people from going back home. It isn't well understood and there is no medicine for it." 
Motivated by the desire to change that, Adams' team first looked at what happens to gene activity in muscles under conditions that promote weakening. Those studies turned up 63 genes that change in response to fasting in both people and mice and another 29 that shift their expression in the muscles of both people who are fasting and those with spinal cord  injury. Comparison of those gene expression signatures to the signatures of cells treated with more than 1300 bioactive small molecules led them to ursolic acid as a compound with effects that might counteract those of atrophy. 
"Ursolic acid is an interesting natural compound," Adams said. "It's part of a normal diet as a component of apple peels. They always say that an apple  a day keeps the doctor away…"



Dried Fruits Equivalent to Fresh Fruits: Report

Health researchers presented their views recommending that food policy makers should consider dried fruits equal to fresh fruits in dietary recommendations around the world. The scientific evidence for considering dried fruits nutritionally equivalent to fresh fruits not only provides policy makers with tools to improve dietary recommendations, but also offers a healthful solution for populations worldwide.Organized by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Foundation, or INC, the 30th World Nut & Dried Fruit Congress brings together industry leaders and researchers in an international dried fruit round table. The round table highlighted the collaboration by thirteen scientists from the United States, Greece, Turkey, Japan, and the United Kingdom on the paper, entitled Traditional Dried Fruits: Valuable Tools to Meet Dietary Recommendations for Fruit intake.
Research presented at the 30th Congress by Dr. Daniel D. Gallaher of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Andriana Kaliora of Harokopio University, and Dr. Gary Williamson of the University of Leeds supports the paper's statement that traditional dried fruits should be included with fresh fruits in dietary recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake around the world.
"Dried fruits are great sources of total and soluble fibre in the diet," said Dr. Gallaher. "Just as fresh fruit, they have low glycemic index values and can play an important role in preventing different aspects of metabolic diseases."
In addition to providing fiber, dried fruits rank among the top potassium sources in diets around the world, according to Dr. Arianna Carughi, Health and Nutrition  Research Coordinator for the California Dried Fruit Coalition. Dried fruits also contain a range of increasingly important bioactive phenolic compounds, as well as specific vitamins and minerals , unique to each fruit.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Is Social Networking Changing the Face of Medicine?

The reaction to the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations that women in their 40s did not need routine mammograms was swift and furious. Using email, social networking sites and electronic bulletin boards, breast cancer survivors vented their outrage.
Researchers say the magnitude of the reaction heralded a new era in the online exchange of health information -- one that's faster, fiercer and more powerful than before.
"There is not NEARLY enough explanation being given for this abrupt about-face. Ever since I was a little kid, I've known about the importance of women having mammograms," posted one woman.
"It sounds like insurance companies are behind this more than anything else. Here is our New Health Reform. Kill off as many as possible," wrote another.
The reaction to the task force's recommendations "was a great illustration of how two worlds collide," said Kristin K. Barker, a sociologist at Oregon State University, and lead author of a new study. "On the one hand, you had the science that was saying mammography for women in their 40s might not be as effective as we thought, and on the other hand, you had the personal experiences of the women who believed they were saved by having a mammogram."
Shortly after the guidelines were released, women organized on message boards and sent off petitions to lawmakers. Neither federal health insurance programs such as Medicare nor private insurance companies reduced their mammogram coverage for women in their 40s, which is evidence that the outcry had an impact on policy, Barker said.
Polls showed that women disagreed with the recommendation to push back routine breast cancer screening to age 50, and that support for mammograms starting at age 40 among women hasn't wavered.
A HealthDay/Harris Poll of more than 1,000 U.S. women conducted in April found that 57 percent believed mammograms should start at age 40, while just 12 percent thought that 50 was the right age to start getting mammograms.
The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual mammograms for women starting at age 40.
"People have their own health experience and they have often been suspicious of medicine, but you get a lot of people together with their own experiences that contradict medical advice, and it becomes a very potent social force," Barker said.
The study authors did not take a stand on the new guidelines, although they noted the recommendations were based on concerns about the link between radiation exposure and breast cancer, the risks and expense of false positives (and follow-up biopsies) and the "troubling lack" of an association between increased screening and declining mortality rates.
Seeking and sharing health information on the Internet is nothing new, of course. People have been doing it since the '90s, said Susannah Fox, associate director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.
"In 2000, you might go online, punch in a few key words, and get some printouts to review or take to your doctors," Fox said. But technological changes -- such as broadband technology with faster connections and smart phones that enable people to text, swap emails and access the Internet remotely -- have vastly expanded the reach of that shared information.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have made what Fox calls "peer to peer health care" increase exponentially. Along with young people, women in their 30s, 40s and 50s are among the most likely to use social networking sites, the precise demographic that was up in arms about the mammogram guidelines, Fox said.
Many who post on message boards for breast cancer or other conditions aren't just venting, Fox said. They are digging around, sometimes reading source material, such as research papers, to educate themselves.
In the study, published in Social Science & Medicine, researchers analyzed postings on five breast cancer discussion boards the month after the recommendations were released.
Barker anticipates that the clash they saw between medical professionals presenting hard statistics and patients voicing their personal feelings about one treatment or another will continue to occur for all sorts of conditions.
"This kind of social dynamic is going to change the face of medicine," Barker said.
Pitfalls to the rapid exchange of information are also likely, these experts said. Incorrect medical material can be passed around as quickly as correct information, and it's not always easy for people reading it to tell the difference, they said.
"The downside is that people are able to spread rumor as quickly as they are able to spread information, and social networks are again the perfect mechanism for spreading both," Fox said.
More information
For more about mammography, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
Source:Health Day

Allopathy, Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy et US

More definitions; Practitioners with the letters MD after their names have been trained in allopathic schools.  They have been graduated from college or university usually, and then attended four years of medical school.  This is followed by residency, the first year of which is called internship.  Residency can be three years, for internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics, on up to eight years for neurosurgery.  Some residencies are then followed by fellowships in specialty training, like gastroenterology, endocrinology, cardiology, plastic surgery, etc.  (Yes, these people are in their thirties by the time they get a "real job" by the time they are Board Certified, an important credentially.)
If the degree is "DO", that is for people trained in Osteopathy.  At this point in time, DO and MD training is the same in the first two years in basic science education.  In the second two years, osteopathic schools give additional training in osteopathic manipulation, a hands on manipulation that can be a very effective adjunct in certain conditions.  (Some DOs do not focus on this in their training and do not include OMT, osteopathic manipulative therapy, in their practices.)  The residency and fellowship structure follows the same hierarchy as the allopathic system.
Homeopathy is a specific training in which the underlying principle is that "like treats like".  The practice utilizes dilutions of herbs and minerals singly or in combination to treat anything form illnesses to mood disorders.  It is profound yet subtle treatment.  Homeopathy was the leading discpline in medicine in this country a hundred years ago and is still widely practiced in Europe where there are entire hospitals that use only Homeopathic medicines.  Hahneman Medical School in Philadelphia was originally a school of homeopathy.  (It has since been bought by a big hospital chain and had its name changed.)  You can buy certain homeopathic remedies in your local health food store, but there are practitioners who specialize in this area and can create individually designed remedies for a specific patient.
Naturopathy is a field of medical care which utilizes foods and supplements as medicine.  The degree of ND is conferred in a school of naturopathy of which there are several in this country, mostly in Washington and Oregon.  This discipline recognizes the efficacy of using the intestinal tract in a very basic and important way of dealing with any medical issue. 
 Courtesy:Dr Fater

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