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Saturday, 18 June 2011

10 Simple Tips to Achieve Optimal Digestive Health

 Most of the Americans are aware of the relationship that exists between fiber, probiotics and prebiotics and maintaining a healthy digestive sysytem , but only few of them actually consume these types of foods and beverages to experience their health benefits. "Making the right choices in your diet is your best assurance of keeping your digestive system running smoothly," said David Grotto, registered dietitian and author of "101 Optimal Life Foods."

Using these tips will have you well on your way to staying healthy and regular.

10 tips to achieve optimal digestive health:

1) Consume a Balanced Diet. Choose a variety of foods from each food group, especially fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and grains as well as certain yogurts and fluids.

2) Establish an Eating "Routine." Eat regular meals to help promote consistent tbowel movement .

3) Eat Small, More Frequent Meals. Aim for 4-5 small meals per day versus 2-3 large meals.

4) Chew More.Digestion  starts in the mouth. Chew thoroughly. Chewing can help with the needed breakdown of some nutrients.

5) Remember a Mealtime Beverage. Fluids help move solids through the digestive system.

6) Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Veggies. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can also provide prebiotics that support the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

7) Eat Yogurt or Kefir Daily. Certain yogurts and kefir contain probiotics  that can help promote digestion.

8) Relax After Eating. Give your body time to digest your meal before being active again.

9) Avoid Overeating. Excessive intake can burden the digestive system .

10) Get Moving. Focus on fitting physical activity into your day to help promote digestive health .



Medical device industry in India concerned over shortage of trained doctors

Shortage of trained doctors in India is a major concern for the medical device industry as they play a pivotal role in the use of advanced medical devices, said R Suresh, country director, Cook India Medical Devices, a subsidiary of US-based Cook Medical.
Stressing the urgent need to increase the number of skilled doctors in the country, Suresh said that one of the major impediments that hinder the growth of medical device industry in India is the shortage of well trained doctors who can handle advanced medical devices.
Suresh pointed out that ironically in India even though there is an increasing demand for advanced medical devices, there are very few doctors who are trained properly to handle it. “The use and effectiveness of any medical device depend upon how it is being used. Lack of knowledge about the new devices and certain medical practice settings are some of the major problems that need to be addressed.”
Cook India, a subsidiary of US-based Cook Medical which recently opened three new offices and warehousing facilities in Mumbai, has been taking special initiative in training doctors. According to Barry Thomas, vice president, Cook Medical, Asia Pacific, “We have plans to initiate programme specifically designed for the Indian doctors on how to handle and use the devices they use for surgeries. Our aim is to not only make the products available when and where it is needed but also to ensure that it is used properly.”
Thomas informed that the company is soon going to undertake initiatives that will specifically focus on expanding the education of the surgical team by providing effective training of the physicians, nurses, midwives etc.
Under the company's initiative, five doctors from across the country were trained to handle the lead management technique by a US based doctor. This particular technique plays a vital role in healthcare since it aids in the removal of lumenless cardiac leads or those that contain cable conductor wires, such as ICD leads.
Post training, nearly 15 surgeries have been conducted till now using this technique in Delhi, Chennai Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Hyderabad etc. Suresh stressed that it is the doctors who actually use the devices, so it is imperative that they have the necessary skill to handle it.

Salty Sausages Raise Concern in Britain

A new survey carried out by Consensus Action in Salt and Health (Cash) in Britain has revealed that a third of popular brands of sausages in the country contain almost half of the daily salt levels recommended by the government.More than 300 brands of sausages were analyzed by Cash who found that over 33 percent of the popular brands contained salt levels in excess of the maximum limit recommended by the Department of Health in 2010 while over 80 percent would struggle to meet the recommended levels that will come into force in 2012.
Popular brand Richmond’s range of sausages were found to contain the highest level of salt at 2.3g per 100g which means that eating just two sausages would see you consume almost half of the 6g limit recommended by the government.
“Sausages are such a British favourite at meal times that they are the third-largest contributor of salt in the UK diet. It is possible to eat much less salt by reading the label - we found enormous differences in salt content of sausages, regardless of the flavour, cost or meat content, showing that the hidden salt is completely unnecessary”, Cash’s Katharine Jenner said. 



Dieters Can Cope With Stress By Thinking 'Magically'

A new study has found that magical thinking, which is usually dismissed as naive and irrational, can actually help consumers cope with stressful situations like trying to lose weight.
Study authors Yannik St. James (HEC Montreal), Jay M. Handelman, and Shirley F. Taylor (both Queen's University, Kingston, Canada), said a person uses magical thinking when dealing with stress.
"Magical thinking occurs when an individual invokes mystical, supernatural forces to understand, predict, or even influence events to overcome these stressful situations," they wrote.
"Weight loss activities are stressful for a number of reasons: being overweight is associated with several negative health consequences as well as considerable social stigma.
"Consumers are expected to conform to unrealistic cultural ideals of slenderness and they are simultaneously enticed to indulge in abundant, highly caloric, processed food," the authors wrote.
To cope with these conflicting pressures and expectations, consumers engage in various forms of magical thinking. They describe weight loss as being influenced by mysterious forces, such as a body that "conspires" against them or food that "seduces" them.
"By invoking and negotiating with mystical forces, consumers actively work to create uncertainty and ambiguity as a way to generate hope and possibility in a cultural domain where they otherwise experience very little," the authors wrote.
The authors believe their findings should be of interest to consumer advocates and policy makers.
The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.



US Authorities Ignore Evidence-Based Medications, People Suffer

The US authorities are ignoring evidence-based lists of safe and effective medications, and it is the people who suffer. Ironically though the country’s Medicaid program ends up paying far more than what is necessary, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.
The study, which compared the Medicaid program’s Preferred Drug Lists in 40 states nationwide against the World Health Organization’s 2009 Essential Medicines List, found that the medications that are automatically paid for by the state-run Medicaid programs vary widely from state to state, with few consistent protocols or rationales for their selection, including cost, safety or effectiveness of the medication.
Findings will be published in the American Journal of Public Health and are now available online at
The WHO essential medicines concept is designed to help countries allocate limited resources to the most-needed, safest and most effective medications. The list has been updated biannually since 2002, using rigorous international standards to weigh medications’ safety and proven effectiveness, according to the researchers.
In 2007, the United Nations’ health organization found that 131 countries out of 151 surveyed use the WHO Essential Medicines List as a basis for their national formulary, but the United States is not among them.
“The United States has 51 different lists of medications that are paid for by Medicaid, and only a third of those medications consistently appear on the various lists,” said Lisa A. Bero, PhD, a professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy. “This research suggests that Medicaid could save significant money and also provide safer and more effective medications for patients by using a more consistent apear on the various lists,” said Lisa A. Bero, PhD, a professor in the UCSF school of pharmacy. “This research suggests that Medicaid could save significant money and also provide safer and more effective medications for patients by using a more consistent approach to deciding which drugs will  be covered.”


Friday, 17 June 2011

Proper clinical trials must for indigenous medicine system

Are the new and more strict guidelines of European Union (EU), promising to keep close vigil on manufacture and sale of ayurvedic, siddha and unani (ASU) drugs a warning call for local manufacturers? While the new and strict guidelines of EU call for proper documentation apart from long clinical assessment and trial (spanning over 10 years) of all types of drugs prepared under indigenous medicine system in different countries across the world and the practice has been made mandatory for these drugs before they are sold in EU countries from May this year.
"The EU may not be a big player as far as business of ASU drugs are concerned, but the move is a clear indication of how the western countries have started to look at the safety and efficacy of indigenous drugs, putting the health of their citizens at the forefront," said Anand Chaudhary, regional co-ordinator, Regional Pharmacovigilance Centre for Ayurveda Drugs (RPC-AD), Banaras Hindu University. "It is also a wake up call for local manufacturers to start scientific validation and proper documentation of indigenous drugs that are being developed at various centres across the country," he added. It may be mentioned here that while India is the fourth leading manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in the world comprising over 6,000 licensed drug manufacturers apart from over 60,000 brands of medicines, the pharmacovigilance is still in infancy stage in the country. Even though the country has witnessed establishment of two zonal pharmacovigilance centres apart from eight RPCs and 30 peripheral centres to bolster pharmacovigilance in the last three years, report from various centres suggesting low reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) from these medicines are enough to reflect lack of awareness in this regard. While a total of 114 cases of ADRs from ayurvedic drugs have been reported from different parts of the country in the period stretching from January 2010 to April 2011, the northern region of the country has drawn blank, failing to report even a single case of adverse drug reaction in the past 15 months. Also, as per reports of RPC-AD centre at BHU, only three cases of ADRs have been reported at the centre since its inception in 2008.
"The figure clearly reflects lack of awareness for reporting ADRs in the region and also sends strong warning and wake up call to the local manufacturers to pull their socks to promote scientific validation and initiate documentation for ASU drugs, if they are to become saleable in the world," says Chaudhary, who is also associate professor in the department of rasa shastra. He also emphasised that pharmacovigilance was basically meant to ensure post-marketing surveillance of ayurvedic products which might identify in ADR products, so that further improved version of ayurvedic product was available for the common man. "It is not meant for triggering any kind of rivalry or penalisation, but come up with safe drugs, much on the heels of the new guidelines of EU," he added. 


'Miracle' Treatment for Genetic Diseases Discovered by Scientists

A new technique to alter the genetic code behind hundreds of diseases was hailed by U.S. scientists as a "miracle of modern medicine."
Genes  responsible for devastating diseases can be corrected by controlling faulty messenger cells that are central to the body's protein production, researchers said Wednesday.
"The ability to manipulate the production of a protein from a particular gene is the new miracle of modern medicine," according to Dr. Robert Bambara, from the University of Rochester Medical Center. "This is a really powerful concept that can be used to try to suppress the tendency of individuals to get certain debilitating, and sometimes fatal, genetic diseases that will forever change their lives."
The researchers focused on genetic material called messenger RNA  (mRNA) that can affect the production of vital proteins when a premature "stop" or "codon" signal occurs. This causes a cell to stop reading the genetic instructions partway through the process, resulting in the creation of an incomplete, shortened protein.
Writing in the journal Nature, the research team said that it produced normal, healthy proteins in test tubes and in live Yeast cells  by using short strands of another type of mRNA to correct the faulty ones.
The researchers were hoping to apply the same principles to the human body, with the aim of altering the course of genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and some cancers.
"This is a very exciting finding," lead study author Professor Yi-Tao Yu said. "No one ever imagined that you could alter a stop codon the way we have and allow translation to continue uninterrupted like it was never there in the first place."
 Source:Fox News

Ayurveda in Pakistan

In Islamabad, highly commercialised spas double-book, serve too many clients, don’t give consultations and sell pretentious-sounding and westernised skin and haircare products. Ancient healing practices like Ayurveda, indigenous to the subcontinent, which date back over 5,000 years, are largely ignored.
This is unfortunate because Ayurvedic healing is extremely conducive for therapeutic spa treatments because its central philosophy relies on one, single tenant: The mind and body are the same; physical health cannot be achieved without achieving emotional, mental and spiritual health. The holistic practice goes to show that physical therapy can be more dynamic than your run-of-the-mill four o’clock seaweed wrap or aromatherapy massage appointment.
However, this is not the case with The Neem Tree clinic where a holistic approach combined with personalised treatments make up this spa’s brand philosophy. The clinic launched two years ago, in December 2009, and ensures that all treatments, from Flower Power thermo-heals (a facial scrub made entirely out of crushed flower extracts) to the Pacharma massage (healing the body with herbal oils), are 100 per cent organic and natural.
“I am one of the few people trained in the five karma — the five different procedures used in Ayurvedic healing practice,” says Zehra Azim, the spa owner. Azim graduated as a distinction holder from the Shahnaz Husain’s Ayurvedic Academy in London. Shahnaz Husain, CEO of Shahnaz Herbals Inc., is a prominent Indian entrepreneur best known for her herbal cosmetics, particularly skincare products. Husain’s products are sold in leading global stores including Bloomingdale’s in New York, as well as Harrods and Selfridges in London. Azim uses the knowledge and skills she’s acquired at the academy to provide all-natural head-to-toe treatments for her clients.
Ayurvedic healing focuses on rejuvenating life through simple and natural means. “I’m also a soul therapist, which means I can massage without using oils to heal my clients and to figure out what they need. My aim is to treat people and get them to relax to the point when they feel they are reborn,” explains Azim. On average, she takes 60 clients a month and claims that foreigners bring in a lot of business. She prefers a small and loyal client-base to an endless stream of business. Depending on the treatments decided during consultations, prices can range from Rs1,500 to Rs3,000.
Neem Tree radiates a feeling of serenity and peace; soothing music plays in the backdrop while a mini-Grecian fountain trickles water on an altar decked with seashells. Azim serves water laced with sandalwood extract, a soothing emollient. The spa includes three rooms: One for hair treatments, herbal manicures and pedicures; another for consultations and facials and the third for body scrubs and massages.
The clinic, though small, is designed to only take one client at a time as Azim gives each client her full attention and administers all treatments personally after a free consultation designed to understand the client’s particular skin, hair and body type. She also makes and prepares her organic products using fresh fruits, yogurt, milk, oatmeal, chocolate, essential oils and various herbal ingredients. Real pearls, gems and gold dust are also used for facials. The same can’t be said about other health spas in Islamabad.The local market proves challenging: “It’s difficult for a lot of people here, especially the ones who are used to mass commercialised spa treatments to understand the use of organic products like yogurt, milk and fruit,” she said but until now, only five customers weren’t too keen on the treatments. “People are still suspicious, I think,” says Azim. “They want to hide behind layers of make-up instead”.
Ayurvedic remedies to try out
To get glowing skin, grate raw coconut and squeeze the milk out of it. Apply this milk over your lips and faceApplying pure castor oil prevents wrinkles and softens the skin. This also slows down the ageing processRubbing a raw potato on the face removes marks and pigmentsCamomile or peppermint tea is a good source for sound sleep and is an effective home remedy for insomnia.Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dairy products, nuts, dried fruit and dark green leafy vegetables encourage healthy nail growth. To make the hands soft and nourish the nails, prepare a cream of almond oil and honey and leave it on overnight.Gingko Biloba is an antioxidant and it oxidises the fatty cells under the surface of the skin. Thus any kind of build ups, like cellulite, cannot develop. It also strengthens the veins and boosts blood circulation.
By Rayan Khan
Courtesy: Express Tribune

Miracle of Ayurveda:Madhani files complaint

Abdul Nassar Madhani, who is currently in the Central prison in Bangalore, has filed a complaint before the prison superintendent expressing protest over denial of ayurvedic treatment to him. In the complaint, Madhani pointed out that he has been undergoing annual ayurvedic treatment (Panchakarma) for the past 19 years for cervical spondylosis, lumbar disc prolapse, fractures in spinal cords and left ankle ligament.
Madhani also pointed out that the Supreme Court had issued orders allowing continuous treatment for his ailments.Abdul Nasser Madani also known as Abdul Nasser Maudani or simply Madani or Maudany (born 1965, Sasthamkotta, Kerala) is a Muslim political leader fromKerala, India; who has spent more than a decade in  prisons.  Maudani organized an outfit known as the Islamic Sewak Sangh, which was banned in 1993. Following the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, he launched the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the stated objective of "Muslim-Dalit-backward caste" alliance. In 1992, Madani became the target of an assassination attempt, allegedly by a activist , in which he lost his right leg. However, in Muslim pockets in Kerala, Madani is looked upon as a hero and a saviour.In August 2010, Madani was arrested by Karnataka police for his alleged involvement in the Bangalore Serial blasts and is currently lodged under judicial custody. The wheel-chair bound Madani who is an inmate of Parappana Agrahara jail was admitted to Soukya at noon on Tuesday. The 28-day treatment at the sprawling integrated medicine spa in the city's outskirts will cost the government a whopping Rs eight lakh.
Madani's lawyers had appealed to the Supreme Court to allow him to travel to Kerala for treating his multiple ailments. But the court rejected the plea and asked Madani to avail treatment in Bangalore..

Diet tied to lower risk of vision loss in old age

In the United States, the condition occurs in more than six out of every 100 adults over age 40.Though patients can be treated with medications and surgery, none of these cures the disease.All the participants also had eye exams every three years for the next decade to determine who suffered vision loss.To see whether these especially susceptible people might reduce their risk, the researchers, based in the Netherlands, surveyed the eating habits of more than 2,000 participants over the age of 55. All were tested for the macular degeneration susceptibility genes.Among people with the CFH variation, greater amounts of either zinc, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids or lutein/zeaxanthin in the diet was linked to a smaller risk of macular degeneration.At least two gene variations are known to raise a person's risk for developing the condition compared to the general population. One of the variations (called CFH) increases a person's odds of macular degeneration up to 11-fold and another (called LOC387715S) raises them by up to 15-fold.For those who had the LOC387715S variation, reduced risk of vision loss was seen among people who ate greater amounts of zinc or omega-3 fats.In their case, for example, 25 percent of people who ate 11.85 mg per day of zinc developed macular degeneration, compared to 33 percent of people who ate just 7.5 mg per day.A new study finds that among people with a genetic susceptibility to macular degeneration -- vision loss caused by erosion of the retina - those who ate higher levels of zinc, antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids cut their risk of developing the disease by as much as a third compared with those who ate lower levels of the nutrients."Therefore, clinicians should provide dietary advice to young susceptible individuals to postpone or prevent the vision-disabling consequences of (age-related macular degeneration)," the researchers wrote in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.Age-related macular degeneration is common, accounting for half of all cases of blindness in developed countries, they note.For instance, 39 out of every 100 people who ate the lowest amounts of omega-3 fats (about 22 milligrams per day) developed vision loss, whereas 28 out of every 100 people who ate the largest amounts of omega-3s (268 mg per day) had vision loss."To achieve this benefit, it does not appear necessary to consume excessive amounts of these nutrients; the recommended dietary allowance will suffice," the authors note.The recommended dietary allowance in the U.S. for zinc is 11 milligrams daily for men and 8 milligrams for women. Men are recommended to consume at least 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day, and women 1.1 grams.Good sources for zinc include oysters, red meat, nuts and beans. Oily fish are some of the best food sources for omega-3 fats, while beta carotene is found in carrots, sweet potatoes and other vegetables and fruits.Lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant in eggs and green leafy vegetables.For people at a higher risk of losing central vision as they age, eating sufficient levels of certain dietary nutrients could help protect their eyes.The authors did not work out whether or how these nutrients are responsible for the prevention of macular degeneration.
SOURCE:Archives of Ophthalmology, June 2011.

Study Shows Ancestry Plays Vital Role in Nutrition and Disease

The impact of gene-diet interactions in different populations in regards to disease prevention and treatment is now being considered by scientists.The latest research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the laboratories of Floyd H. "Ski" Chilton, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology and director of the Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention, and Rasika Mathias, Sc.D, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, reveals how humans of different ancestry process a certain type of fat called polyunsaturated (PUFA) fat.
Importantly, this work suggests that the dramatic increase in a particular type of fatty acid, omega-6 PUFAs, in the American diet, together with a genetic propensity, causes individuals of African descent to more efficiently convert these dietary PUFAs to long chain PUFAs in the human body. Long chain PUFA can then, in turn, be converted to inflammatory messengers. Increased inflammatory messengers have been associated with a variety of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, allergies and asthma, and diabetes. The research, described in a manuscript that appears online this month in BMC Genetics, with upcoming publication in The British Journal of Nutrition, finds that populations of African descent have a much higher frequency of the gene variants associated with the conversion of dietary, medium chain omega-6 PUFAs to long chain omega-6 PUFAs that then have the potential to increase inflammation. Medium chain omega-6 PUFAs are found in the American diet in very high concentrations in margarine, vegetable oils, animal fats and processed foods.



Non-beating, Non-pumping Device Developed

A non-beating, non-pumping machine developed by Texas Heart Institute researchers could save the lives of heart patients. This device functions like a heart.
 According to the researchers, although such a device would leave a person without a pulse, it could work better than pumping devices, thereby prolonging the patient's life.
It also aids reducing the chance of infection or other complications. 
The machine that delivers blood through the body with the use of simple whirling rotors was tested on an 8-month-old calf.
 The team removed the calf's heart and replaced it with two centrifugal pumps that 'spin' blood throughout the animal's body.
 "If you listened to her chest with a stethoscope, you wouldn't hear a heartbeat," the Discovery News quoted Billy Cohn, of Texas Heart Institute as saying.
 "If you examined her arteries, there's no pulse. If you hooked her up to an EKG, she'd be flat-lined," he added.
After practicing on 38 calves, the team tried the device on a 55-year-old human patient, who was dying from amyloidosis, a disease that causes buildup of abnormal proteins that clog the organs until they stop functioning.
 Though, the patient died after a month of getting the implant due to the underlying disease attacking his kidneys and liver, doctors said that the pumps had performed flawlessly.
 They added that continuous-flow pumps could last longer than other artificial hearts and cause fewer problems because each side has just one moving part: the constantly whirling rotor.
 "These pumps don't wear out. We haven't pumped one to failure to date," said Bud Frazier, from Texas Heart Institute.


“Narada Falls” in USA

There are “Narada Falls” in the Washington state of USA.

This most popular horsetail type waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park in Lewis County near Paradise, where waterfall drops 188 feet, was named by Arthur F. Knight in 1893. Upper part of this waterfall freezes in winter and becomes icicles, which attracts many ice climbers from afar. Its source is glacier and it flows year round.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, admiring the fascination of West with Hindu names, urged it also to explore the rich philosophical thought which Hinduism offered.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that some formations in world famous Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona, USA) were named as Shiva Temple, Krishna Shrine, Vishnu Temple, Rama Shrine, Brahma Temple (7851 feet), and Hindu Amphitheater.

Legendary Narada maharishi was mentioned in Atharva-Veda. He was said to be the author of various texts of Hinduism, Brahma’s son, chief of Gandharvas, inventor of vina; and was known as messenger between gods and men, mischief maker, a great wanderer, etc.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

UK drops DNA tests for refugees and asylum seekers

Britain has dropped a controversial policy of using DNA tests to identify the nationality of African refugees and asylum seekers after criticism that there is no scientific merit to the practice.
According to a statement issued Friday by the U.K. Border Agency, the government "does not plan to take forward DNA or isotope testing for country of origin identification purposes" and has also suspended an internal review of the program. It did not explain why it was not continuing the program.
The pilot project first began in 2009 and was heavily slammed by experts, who said it was not possible to pinpoint a person's nationality based on their genes. Authorities in Britain described the testing as voluntary, and some applicants were asked to provide a mouth swab or hair or nail sample in cases where there were questions about their nationality.
The government said such tests provided valuable evidence in assessing whether asylum seekers are telling the truth about their country of origin. The tests were used only on people who claimed to be from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.
Refugees may be eligible for asylum in Britain if they can prove they face persecution at home because of their race, religion, political views, sexual orientation, or other factors. People from more repressive or chaotic countries, like Sudan or Somalia, often have a better chance of gaining asylum than those from more stable countries like Kenya.
Experts at the U.K. Border Agency were hoping to match DNA samples to genetic lineages in certain countries, which might suggest where a person was from. But, scientists maintained the tests offered very little solid proof.
"Science is an uncertain business," said John Harris, a professor of bioethics at Manchester University and a member of the Human Genetics Commission, a government advisory panel. "This was probably a mistake from the start because it was unlikely to be reliable."
The project was completed last March, with an evaluation scheduled to be published later — but those plans have also now been shelved.
Besides genetic tests, British officials also used isotope analysis of asylum seekers' hair and nail samples. Scientists can look at the composition of certain elements like oxygen or strontium to see where a person has been.
But these isotopes are present only so long as the hair and nails have recently been growing, meaning such tests will only give clues into an applicants recent whereabouts.
Britain has been a lightning rod of controversy in the debate over security versus civil liberties. It has one of the largest DNA databases in the world, with more than 5 million samples collected by authorities to help fight terrorism and crime.
Harris said that even if the genetic tests were not overly intrusive, the perception of authorities taking DNA from asylum seekers is disturbing.
"Scientific tests are often wrongly regarded by all parties as infallible and it becomes very difficult to challenge them," he said. "It then becomes very difficult to have a level playing field."

New 'Superfruit' May Help Fight Obesity And Ageism

 New 'Superfruit' May Help Fight Obesity And AgeismThe sea buckthorn, which is grown in the Himalayan mountains, has been regarded as one of the most effective weight loss supplements on the market today.

The superfruit which contains vitamins A, B1, B2, E and up to 10 times the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges, is said to boost the brain function. Antioxidants in the berries also help to fight teeth problems, acne, ageism, poor digestion and constipation. It is also said to keep the heart healthy.
Aside from the berry, the leaves and stem can be used to treat skin diseases. Known to be the healthiest berries available, it is already a huge hit in the US where it has been hailed as a slimming aid.

It is now available in the UK as the drink Pep.

"The grocery trade has been asking us to innovate. This ingredient is new to the UK market," the Daily Express quoted Simon Hardy, of Drinks Brokers, as saying.

Tony Ferguson of food product manufacturers The Ingredients Consultancy, said: "You can, perhaps, classify sea buckthorn as a new Superfruit."



Researchers Find Protein That Could Help Predict Head and Neck Cancer

Researchers have identified a protein that could pave way to predict the spread of head and neck cancer nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

The study by Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) researchers found the protein could also serve as part of a treatment strategy to stop the spread of the disease.
 Though uncommon in the United States, NPC is one of the most common malignant tumours in southern China and Southeast Asia with incidence rates nearly 25 times that of most of the rest of the world. 

VARI researchers worked with scientists in Singapore, China, and the United States on the study.

"This study does not just report another molecular marker for metastasis of nasopharyngeal cancer, these investigators have revealed an important process related to this molecule," Wei Zhang, Ph.D., Professor at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, explained.

"Characterization of this process will open diverse opportunities for effective inhibition of this novel target for cancer metastasis," Zhang said.

NPC is the most common cancer originating in the nasopharynx area of the throat and has the highest metastasis rate among head and neck cancers. By the time patients are diagnosed, the disease has usually spread to lymph nodes or distant organs such as the liver.

Working together with physicians and scientists at Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center in China, VARI researchers found that the protein serglycin is a marker of metastasis for NPC.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Inhaler Drug Linked to Increased Death Rate

The use of inhalers to deliver the drug tiotropium significantly increased the death rate among people suffering from chronic bronchitis or emphysema, according to a new study.
The results show that those using such an inhaler were 52 percent more likely to die than those using a placebo, the researchers said.
The new study raises concerns not only about the mist inhaler but also about the drug itself, the researchers said. In the United States and elsewhere, the medication is available in a powdered form and sold under the brand name Spiriva. The drug is commonly used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
"What we think is going on is that the mist inhaler is delivering a higher concentration of tiotropium than it should be and that may be increasing the risk of death," said study researcher Dr. Sonal Singh, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Fifty-five other countries now allow tiotropium to also be administered using a mist inhaler.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved such inhalers for use in the U.S., though U.S. patients are taking part in a large, 17,000-patient study comparing two devices using the same drug.
"I'm worried about the participants assigned to the use of the mist inhaler," Singh said. "They are not fully informed about what could be serious safety issues with the device."
The increased number of deaths linked to the inhaler are primarily from cardiovascular disease, Singh said. Tiotropium belongs to a group of drugs called anticholinergics, which increase the risk of heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias), especially among those with existing heart conditions.
The new study was an analysis of five previously conducted studies involving 6,500 people.
The study showed there was one death yearly, above what would statistically be expected, due to the mist inhaler for every 124 patients treated.
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, and includes the chronic lung diseases emphysema and bronchitis, which are usually brought on by decades of smoking, the researchers said. Tiotropium is routinely given to COPD patients with symptoms such as shortness of breath, and those with hospitalizations as a result of their breathing problems.
The shortness of breath caused by COPD can be treated with other long-acting bronchodilators, the researchers said. The risk of additional hospitalizations for these chronic lung diseases can be reduced somewhat by other COPD inhalers. Singh said patients should discuss the risks and benefits of COPD treatments with their doctors.
The findings are published today in the British Medical Journal. The research was funded by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources and the National Institutes of Health Roadmap for Medical Research.

FDA adds heart warning to Pfizer anti-smoking pill

Federal health regulators are warning doctors and patients that Pfizer's anti-smoking drug Chantix may slightly increase the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday a study of 700-heart disease patients taking Chantix showed a small uptick in heart problems among those taking the smoking-cessation drug versus those taking placebo. The agency stressed that the drug helped patients quit smoking and that this benefit "should be weighed against its potential risks when deciding to use the drug in smokers with cardiovascular disease."
Chantix is a twice-daily tablet that works by binding to nicotine receptors in the brain, reducing the symptoms of withdrawal.
The FDA will add new warnings to the drug's label about the study's findings. Patients will also receive an updated medication guide with their Chantix prescription that talks about the heart risks.
Drugmaker Pfizer will be required to analyze a large group of studies to further define the heart risk, according to the FDA. The company said in a statement that "the overall cardiovascular event rates reported in the study were low."
Approved in May 2006, Chantix has been used by millions of patients in the U.S., though sales have declined since 2008 when the drug was first linked to psychological side effects, including depression and suicidal thoughts. It currently carries a boxed warning, the most serious type, about those risks. GlaxoSmithKline's competing drug, Zyban, carries the same warning.
New York-based Pfizer Inc. reported sales of $755 million for Chantix last year. Most of the drug's new sales have been driven by patients outside the U.S. Company shares dipped 5 cents to $20.14 in afternoon trading.

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