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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Ayurveda offers cure for sterility

Recent research and studies have shown that a woman's lifestyle may affect her fertility.
Lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption, work-related stress and weight can impact a woman's ability to conceive and, if that happens, the proper development of the foetus.
It is therefore imperative that a woman should be free from disease, lead a healthy lifestyle and receive the required nourishment during the conception and gestation period.
Ayurvedic physician V.C. Ajith Kumar says sterility in women is generally a result of impairment of the ovary, uterus, fallopian tubes, hormonal imbalances or diseases: "The defects in the genital organs may be structural (organic) or functional.
These defects can be rectified through treatment. To correct organic defects, surgical measures have to be taken. But functional defects of these organs can be successfully treated by ayurvedic medicines."
In ayurveda, sterility is called bandhyatha and is believed to be caused by the simultaneous aggravation of all the three doshas - vata, pitta and kapha. Most ayurveda physicians prescribe medicines like sukumaran kashayam, ashokarishta and phalasarpis for bandhyatha.
According to Dr Kumar, who is with Ayush Ayurvedic, bala is another effective ayurvedic medicine for sterility: "The root of this plant is boiled in oil and milk, which is then used with lukewarm water as a douche.
This brings about a change in the mucous membrane of the genital tract which aids the effective combination of ovum and sperm in the uterus. The same medicated oil is also used internally, with patients consuming one teaspoon of it in the morning with a cup of milk."
He also advises women suffering from sterility to stop consuming fried and spicy food and instead eat fruits and vegetables in large quantities.
Kumari (aloe vera, above) is another medicinal plant used in ayurveda's treatment of bandhyatha.
Dr Kumar says it tones up the tissue cells of the uterus and the genital tract and prevents the discharge of abnormal fluids.
Ayurveda practitioners usually remove the outer skin of the aloe vera leaf and use the fleshy pulp inside to extract the juice. Patients are given about 30ml of aloe vera juice twice daily with a little honey added to it, preferably on an empty stomach.
It is said to stimulate the liver, promote digestion and regulate the bowels. "It has some effect in the correcting of the hormonal imbalances by which the genital organs of the patient get toned up," adds Dr Kumar.
Courtesy;Asia News

'Bouncer' a Protein effective in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Researchers have figured out how the immune cells of rheumatoid arthritis patients become hyperactive and attack their joints and bones.
It is because these cells lose their `bouncer` - a burly protein that keeps them in line - the same way a bouncer in a nightclub controls rowdy patrons. The Feinberg School of Medicine team has identified this `bouncer` - protein P21.
It checkmates immune cells from going into their destructive mode through the cartilage and bone, the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism reports.
When the scientists developed and injected an imitation of the protein into an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis, it halted the disease process, according to a Feinberg statement. "The bouncer molecule stopped the immune cells from going crazy," said Harris Perlman, associate professor of rheumatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School, who led the study. "Imagine destructive customers in a bar, and the bouncer says, `You are going to behave!` That`s P21. This discovery opens up a new avenue for future therapies, which are greatly needed for rheumatoid arthritis," he said.
Previous research by the Feinberg team showed people with rheumatoid arthritis were low in P21, but the protein`s role was unknown. The new study, reveals the protein`s vital role in keeping the immune cells in check. Currently, there is no effective, non-toxic way to stop the hyperactive immune cells, Perlman said.


“Excessive” Nutrition Linked to More Deaths Than Malnutrition

A new report released by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies reveals that more people across the globe are dying due to excessive nutrition compared to those dying due to hunger.Titled “World Disasters Report-2011”, the report states that while there are just over a billion people who are under nourished in the world, more than 1.5 billion are overweight while the obesity rates continue to rise in countries with low and middle incomes.
The report adds that excessive nutrition kills over 2.4 million people across the world, more than the number of people who die due to malnutrition. The report also said that obesity rates continue to rise in countries such as India and China, home to more than half of the hungry people in the world.
“At least one billion people are undernourished while a staggering 1.5 billion people are overweight, including an increasing number in low and middle income countries. Excess nutrition kills 2.4 million annually, more than hunger”, the IFRC Asia Pacific director, Jagan Chapagain said.

Smokers Risk Losing Everyday Memory Very Fast: Study

People who smoke have a higher risk of losing around one third of their everyday memory, more so than non-smokers, a study has revealed.The Northumbria University study also found that those who kicked the habit saw their ability to recollect information restored to almost the same level as non-smokers.
The study involved more than seventy 18 to 25-year-olds and included a tour of the university's campus.
Those who took part were asked to recall small details, such as music acts listed to play at the students' union and tasks completed at various points - known as real world memory test.
Smokers performed badly, remembering just 59 percent of tasks, while those who had given up smoking remembered 74 percent and those who had never smoked recalled 81 percent of tasks.
Dr Tom Heffernan, who leads Northumbria University's Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group, said the findings would be useful in anti-smoking campaigns.
"Given that there are up to 10million smokers in the UK and as many 45 million in the United States, it's important to understand the effects smoking has on everyday cognitive function - of which prospective memory is an excellent example," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
"We already know that giving up smoking has huge health benefits for the body, but this study also shows how stopping smoking can have knock-on benefits for cognitive functions too," he stated.

Arsenic in apple juice and other foods: How much arsenic is too much?

While it is true that arsenic appears naturally in soil, most Charlotte residents are not happy about the news that it is in apple juice. How much arsenic is safe to ingest without health concerns?
The typical Charlotte consumer buying apple juice at Harris Teeter or Berrybrook Farm may not be obsessed about protecting their health by avoiding arsenic in their foods. It also seems some consumers are not aware that arsenic is in many food products, but have heard about arsenic being in apple juice.
According to one FDA report, the amount of arsenic in apple juice is acceptable. The average person may be able to eat foods that contain low amounts or arsenic without suffering any health issues. That report contained the following:
But the Food and Drug Administration has every confidence in the safety of apple juice.
Donald Zink, Ph.D, senior science advisor at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), explains that arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a result of contamination from human activity. It is found in water, air, food, and soil in organic and inorganic forms.
As a result, small amounts of arsenic can be found in certain food and beverage products—including fruit juices and juice concentrates.

Charlotte consumers wanting to avoid arsenic in apple juice and other foods may want to do some research to learn the accepted levels of arsenic. Most would not agree that the levels listed on all sites are safe, preferring to avoid arsenic as much as possible
While some may state there is no need to be concerned about the levels of arsenic in apple juice, many parents in Charlotte and throughout the country have been avoiding apple juice found in a typical grocery store. Some are using other types of juice, while others have decided to stay with the organic apple juice available in local stores
By:Pat Anthony, Charlotte Healthy Living Examiner

Resurrected ancient protein is a potent antibiotic

IF MODERN medicine cannot provide an answer to multidrug-resistant microbes, perhaps ancient animals can. Biologists have resurrected a mammalian antimicrobial compound that was last seen on Earth 59 million years ago when mammals were recovering from the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Even now it is potent enough to destroy some of our most troublesome pathogens.
Last year the Infectious Diseases Society of America launched an initiative with the aim of producing 10 antibiotics to tackle multidrug-resistant bugs by 2020. The lower reaches of the tree of life are being explored for those antibiotics, says Ben Cocks of La Trobe University in Bundoora, Australia.
Already, promising molecules have been found in the tissues of primitive fish called lampreys (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1108558108).
Such an approach is effective because these molecules are so simple, says Cocks. Conventional antibiotics target precise flaws in a pathogen's armour, such as a particular enzyme. This is similar to how the adaptive immune system found in vertebrates works: it learns how to fight a new pathogen and then remembers the lesson for future battles. The trouble is that the pathogens patch their armour, requiring the immune system - and drug companies - to identify new weaknesses.
Cocks says this evolutionary arms race can be side-stepped by falling back on the cruder innate immune system that is found in all plants and animals - and which has largely been ignored in our fight with multidrug-resistant pathogens.
The molecules of the innate immune system use simple chemistry to target the lipids in cell membranes. They can either disrupt and weaken bacterial membranes, or subtly alter the properties of the host's healthy cells so that pathogens can no longer attack them.
But there's a problem: animals with the strongest innate immune systems tend to be so distantly related to humans that molecules taken from them can have toxic effects in humans. Cocks's solution is to study the mammals with the best innate immune systems, the molecules of which are more likely to be compatible with humans. His work has taken him inside the wallaby's pouch.
As marsupials, wallabies give birth to young at a much earlier stage in their development than placental mammals. For example, the tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii, is born after 26 days, equivalent to a 6-week-old human fetus. The tiny wallabies then crawl into their mother's pouch to grow larger.
"It's not a clean environment," says Cocks. Bacteria closely related to the superbugs affecting humans in hospitals have been found in the wallaby pouch. But the baby wallabies are so underdeveloped that they lack an adaptive immune system to fight them; their survival depends on their innate immune system.
Cocks's team scoured the wallaby genome and found genes that code for 14 cathelicidin peptides, a component of the innate immune system. Lab tests revealed that many of the peptides could kill a range of multidrug-resistant pathogens - without damaging human cells.
The team noticed that genes in five of the cathelicidins were remarkably similar and probably evolved from a single ancestor. "We thought that the ancestral form would have a special broad-range activity," says Cocks.
Using the changes within the five peptides, Cocks and his collaborators at the University of Sydney, Australia, worked backwards to predict the genetic sequence that codes for the original peptide. His team then used it to produce a synthetic version of the peptide, effectively resurrecting it.
"The amazing thing was that it worked well against a broad range of pathogens," he says. Lab tests showed it destroyed six of seven multidrug-resistant bacteria, and was 10 to 30 times more potent than modern antibiotics such as tetracycline (PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024030).
"This is really significant," Cocks says. "Now we have access to ancient peptides for future drug development."
Damian Dowling at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, says some ancient and extinct peptides might be more effective than those found in living creatures because bacteria haven't been exposed to them for millions of years. "Even if the bacteria once developed resistance against the peptide, it has probably lost it," he says.
Courtesy:New Scienist

Scientists Identify New Target for Activation of 'Good Fat' to Fight Obesity

Pathways that are critical to activating a type of "good" fat, which could lead the fight against obesity and diabetes have been identified by scientists.
The fat, called brown fat, actually burns energy rather than storing it, which the more common white fat does.The study, which sought to learn more about how to get brown fat cells to grow, identified two molecular pathways that lead to a protein called necdin that blocks brown fat growth.
With this information, researchers can look for ways to modify the steps along the pathways, either to stimulate another protein, which shuts down necdin, or block a different protein, located along the second pathway, which stimulates necdin.
The study showed for the first time that the two proteins can bind directly to the necdin gene.
"This is a very important piece of the puzzle," said Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD an assistant investigator and staff physician at Joslin and lead author of the paper.
"It provides new opportunities. The point is that we have got to learn how to grow these brown fat cells. There's a lot of missing information. We filled in some of the important missing pieces," he added.
The study has been published in the journal Endocrinology.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Lancet: India Making Promising Progress in Reducing Maternal Mortality

The promising and substantial progress made by India in reducing maternal mortality and improving the health of women and children has been praised by the experts estimating progress on the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).The analysis in The Lancet revealed that no country in sub-Saharan Africa would meet the goals to dramatically reduce deaths by 2015.
China, Rwanda and Botswana were also praised for "substantial acceleration" in tackling child mortality in the past decade.
The authors also said 23 countries in sub-Saharan Africa were unlikely at the present pace to achieve MDG4 before 2040.
"Many aspects of health systems limit the scale-up of child and maternal interventions. Numerical assessments of the MDGs are inevitably plagued by poor and missing data," they said.
"Nevertheless, some intervention strategies can be delivered without a health system that has the capacity for referral and emergency management," they said.
"These include vaccination, distributing insecticide-treated bed nets, vitamin A supplementation and deworming," they added.
The researchers from Seattle also revealed that there were 7.2 million infant deaths around the world in the past year, compared with 11.6 million in 1990, the report said.

Health ministry to send second team to inspect manufacturing sites in China soon

Union health ministry will soon send a delegation from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to China for auditing & inspection of manufacturing plants there as part of its efforts to ensure that only quality drug materials are sourced by Indian companies from abroad.
This will be the second auditing and inspection of manufacturing facilities in China as the ministry earlier in May this year had sent a three-member CSDCO delegation to inspect the manufacturing sites there. During that two-week long pilot project from May 9 to 21, the CDSCO delegation had inspected five manufacturing sites in China which have been found to be in good condition.
According to sources in the union health ministry, the process for the second inspection is going on and the ministry will soon send the team to China. The nitty-gritties of the visit such as the number of manufacturing sites to be inspected, the composition of the delegation and the exact date of the visit are being worked out by the ministry and it will be finalised very soon, sources said.
However, sources said that this time also the inspections will be carried out in China only and the plans to inspect manufacturing plants in Italy has been deferred. Earlier, the ministry had elaborate plans to start the new practice with one country each in Europe and Asia --- Italy in Europe and China in Asia. But in the pilot project, the ministry sent the delegation to China only. The ministry has made plans to extend the auditing and inspection of all the manufacturing sites in all the foreign countries once the pilot programmes are successful.
The introduction of auditing and inspection of foreign manufacturing facilities by the Indian drug regulators was a long awaited practice, especially in the wake of the fact that even though the government had made registration of imports of drugs and pharmaceuticals into India made mandatory way back in 2003, it failed to bring the desired results as the inflow of inferior raw materials into the country refused to subside.
It was under this background that the ministry earlier this year decided to introduce the practice of inspection of foreign manufacturing facilities. Accordingly, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr Surinder Singh formed a three-member panel, consisting of Arvind Kukrety, assistant drug controller (CDSCO), S Mannivannan, assistant drugs controller (CDSCO) and Dr AR Singh, director at Regional Drugs Testing Laboratory (RDTL) Chandigarh, for the pilot project.

Plastic Surgery Is Not for Everyone: Options Following a Mastectomy

A woman with a breast cancer diagnosis faces many sudden choices, and in the emotional frenzy, reconstruction decisions may get short shrift Lisa Wychgram Kluzik of Lafayette, California, was 38 years old, with a son in the first grade, when she found out that she had breast cancer. When the disease recurred after an initial lumpectomy in 2001, physicians recommended a mastectomy and more chemo. Because Wychgram works for a medical malpractice firm, she was privy to the risks and complications of Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous (TRAM) flap surgery. "With the TRAM flap, you end up like a patchwork quilt," she says. She declined reconstruction.
"Already I had an idea of what could go wrong," Wychgram says. She didn't want implants, either. A friend had those inserted after undergoing bilateral mastectomy. "They kept becoming infected, so she had them removed."
After surgery, Wychgram visited a specialty shop that sells standard mastectomy bra inserts, but she was unhappy with her asymmetric appearance and felt uncomfortable. "I play tennis, and when you wear an 'off-the-shelf' prosthesis, it's like putting a water balloon on your chest," she says. "It's heavy. It doesn't move with you."
Following years of frustration, an Internet search led Wychgram to Irene Healey, a sculptor and anaplastologist -- a creator of absent body parts -- who founded New Attitude. Healey's Toronto-based company uses laser-scanning and modeling software to create individualized breast prostheses. Wychgram traveled to Canada for a detailed consultation.
When the custom-designed prosthesis arrived, Wychgram's son, then 11 years old, noticed the difference right away. "Oh my gosh, you're even," he said. "You look great, mom."
Now, at 49, Wychgram has no regrets about her decision to skip reconstruction. She plays tennis, does yoga, and skis -- activities she says might be limited if she'd had implants or other chest-wall surgery. The custom prosthesis was expensive, but worth it: "Oh, definitely," she says. "I'm going back to get a new one."Every year, 80,000 or so women have one or both breasts removed for a cancer-related condition in the United States. Plastic surgery to reshape the breast, long within the purview of wealthy women, has become routine in some communities. Since President Clinton signed the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, which mandates that Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurers cover the costs, the proportion of women undergoing reconstruction has doubled. Now, some say, perhaps the pendulum has swung too far: The decision for women after mastectomy isn't if they'll have plastic surgery, but how and when.
In 2011, newly-diagnosed patients are plugged into a treatment plan that incorporates reconstruction from the get-go. Well-meaning physicians may assume that surgical generation of a breast mound helps a woman heal psychologically. A husband or lover taking a supportive or selfish stance on the matter -- or the patient herself -- might consider reconstruction a strange silver lining, among many alleged lifts of the breast cancer experience. Why not go for a better look?
What may come as a surprise is that some women, including young patients, may not opt for reconstruction even when the costs are covered. The reasons vary: Rowers, windsurfers, swimmers, and other athletes avoid potential weakening of abdominal and chest muscles; mothers fear not being able to lift their children; others worry, plainly, about the time and costs of extra surgery and the long-term complications of implants or grafts.
In the past decade, a handful of companies have developed technology to match pieces to a woman's shape, flesh tone, areola, and nipple. The custom-designed, external prosthetic devices simply insert into a bra and provide good, sometimes superior cosmetic results in clad women. Yet few patients or doctors know about this safe, lower-cost alternative to plastic surgery.
When they do choose reconstruction, their options are more varied than they once were.
Plastic surgery has come a long way since Dr. William Halsted advanced a surgical technique for aggressively treating breast cancer in the late 19th century at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In that era, women often held off seeking care until the tumors were bulky, typically piercing the chest wall and spreading to lymph nodes near the clavicle and armpit. Halsted developed a method to remove the entire breast, underlying pectoralis muscles and glands. The radical mastectomy became standard treatment for patients with breast cancer until the modern era.
In 1895, Dr. Vincent Czerny, operating at the University in Heidelberg, reported constructing a soft tissue mound on a woman's chest after mastectomy. He removed a lipoma -- a benign fatty tumor -- from a woman's flank and stuck it onto her chest wall. In the early 1900s, other surgeons experimented with grafting strips of muscle and fat to form flaps of tissue over mastectomy sites.
Halsted, who was highly influential, cautioned his colleagues against surgical manipulation of the chest wall for cosmetic purposes. He warned that by manipulating the wound after mastectomy, the surgeon might inadvertently spread tumor cells. Reconstruction could mask a tumor's recurrence, he advised.
What's more, these procedures were generally unsuccessful. Infections were frequent. Inadequate blood supply to the primitive grafts led to gangrene and, sometimes, fatal results. Through most of the 20th century, the process involved multiple procedures, delays, complications and, ultimately, failure. It wasn't until 1963, with the introduction of silicone gel implants, that the field of breast enhancement -- what doctors call augmentation mammoplasty -- was born.
Plastic surgeons readily adapted the silicone implants for post-mastectomy chests. Still, through the 1970s and, in some communities, significantly later, surgeons were reluctant to carry out the procedure. Many considered the matter paternalistically, for it was mainly younger, educated, and married women who would undergo reconstruction. Doctors perceived these women as lucky to be alive, and that extra surgery begged trouble.The bar is constantly raised higher," says Dr. Walter Erhardt, past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. His perspective stems from over 30 years' work in private practice in Albany, Georgia. "The results we're getting nowadays are better than what we got five or 10 years ago, and a whole lot better than what we were getting 15 and 20 years ago."Erhardt attributes progress in cosmetic outcomes to improved surgical methods, combined with earlier collaboration among each patient's physicians. "Years ago we worked in silos," he says -- meaning that the general and breast surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and plastic surgeons rarely spoke before a patient began treatment. Typically, women visited plastic surgeons months or years after treatment of the disease, if ever. "Other doctors set the canvas for what we can do," he emphasizes. This limited reconstruction possibilities, especially for patients who received radiation to the chest wall.
"Now we start talking around the time of a patient's diagnosis," he says. "Women can choose from so many options. In the last few years, more general surgeons are willing to perform skin and nipple-sparing mastectomies, he notes. This yields better cosmetic results.
Still, the data suggest that only three in seven women get the chance to learn about reconstruction before they begin cancer treatment, Erhardt says. "In the old days, the general surgeons had the attitude that if they're saving a woman's life, she should be happy and not worry about anything else."
"Every woman needs the choice," Erhardt says. Still, it's probably not the right thing for every patient: "It's additional surgery; it's additional time off; it's additional expenses." These all factor in. Reconstruction may not be suitable for some women with other illnesses. "And I've seen some patients who, despite getting a good reconstruction, have never been able to get over the loss of their breast, or having had cancer," he says.
More often than not, Erhardt sees positive outcomes: "Reconstruction provides simplicity in women's lives," he says. After breast cancer, patients don't have to put on a body part every day, and they enjoy greater freedom in clothing. The benefits don't only apply to younger women. "From grandmothers, the constant thing I hear is that they don't want to worry about the prosthesis. They're with grandchildren at the beach, and if the prosthesis gets knocked out by a wave they're embarrassed."Plastic surgery's not for everyone, says Dr. Costanza Cocilovo, a breast surgeon at Georgetown University. She estimates that one in five patients in her practice would prefer not to have the extra surgery. But for women who don't undergo reconstruction, the options are slim: "The standard prosthesis that Medicare will pay for is really horrible," she says. "It can be very upsetting, especially for older women if they've had a mastectomy on one side. They find it very difficult and embarrassing, because the alternatives are so unappealing."
A woman with a breast cancer diagnosis faces many sudden choices. Deciding whether to have a lumpectomy or mastectomy, and then choosing among oncologists and treatments -- chemotherapy, radiation, antibody infusions and possibly participating in a clinical trial -- involves a deluge of information.
In the frenzied and emotionally-loaded period of a new illness needing treatment, the decision on reconstruction may get short shrift, says Dr. Susan Cassidy, a physician and lawyer who has served as CEO of Contour Med, a manufacturer in Little Rock. Because insurance, by law, covers the costs of plastic surgery, and doctors in well-served communities tend to promote the procedure, breast cancer patients may not take sufficient pause to adequately contemplate the risks and benefits. "A woman should be informed about all the options, including custom prostheses," Cassidy says.
Whether she decides on implants, saline or silicone, or to have a TRAM-flap or other grafting procedure, the decision should be active, and considered. With knowledge in hand, she might move forward with reconstruction, knowingly and eagerly, or choose to hold off, entirely. It's a matter of choice.
The issue goes beyond convenience, he suggests. "It's about closure."
By:Dr. Elaine Schattner is a physician and writer who lives in New York City.
Courtesy:The Atlantic

Book Review: 'Healing with Homeopathy'

A simple, user-friendly practical guide to holistic health, Healing with Homeopathy deals deftly with over 100 illnesses arranged alphabetically from A-Z. Writing simply and clearly, Dr. Batra explains each condition, its symptoms and variations and what homeopathic remedy is likely to work best. Included are useful dos and don'ts as well as illustrative case studies, culled from over 35 years of medical practice.
Published September 2011 by Jaico Publishing House
Pages: 604
Price: Rs 395.00
Available at all leading bookstores and Dr Batra’s Clinics, across India

Diet Rich in Fruits, Veggies Can Help Teens Beat Mental Disorders

A new study has suggested that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help teenagers beat mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.The study of 3,000 adolescents has found that those who had poor diets filled with junk and processed foods were more likely to suffer mental health problems.
"The results of this study are consistent with what we have seen in adults but we think it could be more important because three quarters of psychiatric illnesses start before adulthood and once someone has depression they are likely to get it again," quoted Dr Felice Jacka, from Deakin University's Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit Dr Jacka as saying.
"If you can prevent it before it starts in childhood and adolescence you are shutting the gate before the horse bolts.
"Having good nutrition-rich foods is really important for adolescents because it's a time when they are growing rapidly and it's essential they have adequate nutrition," she added.
The participants in the survey filled in questionnaires about their diets and psychological symptoms in 2005 and again in 2007.
Those who ate healthy diets in 2005 were found to have fewer mental health problems than those with poor diets.
The study was published in the journal PLoS One.

Fresh Insight into Immune Tolerance

Recent research provides new insight into the complex immune regulatory mechanisms that underlie immune tolerance. The research study published by Cell Press in the journal Immunity and available online on September 15th provides intriguing insight into the complex immune regulatory mechanisms that underlie immune tolerance.Cells called Foxp3-expressing regulatory T cells, or "Treg cells," are a subpopulation of immune cells that suppress the immune system to maintain self tolerance. These regulatory "suppressor" cells have to recognize our own cells as "self" in order to turn off the effector arm of the immune system so that it does not attack our own healthy tissues and cause an autoimmune or inflammatory disease. There has been a lot of interest in Treg cells because it has been hypothesized that these cells might be useful for treating autoimmune disease or facilitating organ transplantation. "Foxp3 is a transcription factor that is important for Treg cell function," explains senior study author, Dr. Yisong Y. Wan, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "If we are going to fully understand immune tolerance and regulation, it is critical to understand how Treg and Foxp3 function are controlled."
Dr. Wan and colleagues were interested looking at a second transcription factor, GATA-3, best known as a master regulator of another type of immune cell. "GATA-3 plays multi-faceted roles of regulating immune function in a cell-type specific fashion," says Dr. Wan. "However, whether and how GATA-3 is involved in controlling Treg function was unknown." The researchers discovered that when GATA-3 was deleted from Treg cells, mice developed a spontaneous inflammatory disorder and that Treg cells were defective in their ability to suppress the immune system. They went on to show that GATA-3 controls Foxp3 expression by binding to a regulatory region in the Foxp3 gene and that defects in both GATA-3 and Foxp3 resulted in substantially impaired Treg cells.

Call for more training to improve blood tests in A&E

Scientists say doctors need better training to avoid mistakes in blood samples taken in hospital A&E departments.
The warning from the Association for Clinical Biochemistry follows an audit at Birmingham City Hospital.
The trust has put in place extra training, but the ACB says this is a problem across the UK.
The College of Emergency Medicine says it is essential that staff use the right technique to collect blood.
Blood test results are often key to assessing patients when they arrive in A&E. But staff are frequently working under extreme pressure.
The ACB is worried that this contributes to errors when they take blood samples.
The concerns are highlighted by the Birmingham audit of samples collected by a range of junior doctors and nurses.
Urgent cases
In the study, published in the Annals of Clinical Biochemistry, the researchers followed the collection of 50 samples from some of the most urgent cases, over a two week period.
More than half were taken using the wrong equipment. They should normally by collected into vacuum tubes with special needles rather than using syringes which can damage fragile blood cells.
The researchers also found that about half the samples were mishandled for testing, raising the risk of contamination.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote
It sounds a bread and butter procedure but it is very important that it is done correctly, safely and consistently. We need to ensure there is the right level of expertise. ”
Dr John Heyworth
President, College of Emergency Medicine
The trust has arranged extra training and guidance for its A&E staff. The director of pathology at the hospital, Dr Jonathan Berg, who helped to carry out the study, says good technique is vital to ensure the tests reflect the true status of the patient.
"Junior doctors have surprisingly little training in taking blood and have a love of still using syringes which cause major problems and this is very easy to correct with a simple training programme. This is an issue right across the country".
The director of scientific affairs at the ACB, Dr Robert Hill, says there is a need for better training.
"The compromises to specimen quality made in A&E when attempting to rush through investigations clearly put some patients at risk, so fixing the problem requires more than just identifying a culprit.
"Solutions must include monitoring the competence of those taking blood during their training period and discouraging those whose lack of practice prevents them from doing it properly."
'Bread-and-butter' procedure
The study is being presented at the annual conference of the College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
The college's president, Dr John Heyworth, says the paper is "universally relevant" to all A&E departments.
"It sounds a bread-and-butter procedure but it is very important that it is done correctly, safely and consistently. We need to ensure there is the right level of expertise.
"I think it is always seen as so routine, there is not enough focus on it as a technique for formal review and training."
The chairman of the BMA's Junior Doctor Committee, Dr Tom Dolphin, also welcomed the study.
"Emergency Departments are high pressure environments where junior doctors have to take blood in an efficient, timely manner.
"Bloods can be taken in a variety of ways and this study highlights some consequences of the choices faced by junior doctors when taking blood.
"Incorporating the findings of this research into training for junior doctors and medical students would be helpful if we are to reduce some of the issues that can arise from blood sampling."
By Adam Brimelow
Courtesy:BBC News

Thursday, 22 September 2011

'Sticky' Honey Face Pack That can Reverse Ageing Hits UK Markets

A new anti-ageing 'sticky' face pack made from honey that claims to make you look 10 years younger goes on sale in Britain.
Active Chilean Rainforest Honey, which costs 8.49 pounds a jar, is said to smooth fine lines on the face, neck and hands while tightening the skin.Used twice a day for 20 minutes, it is also said to be twice as good as normal moisturisers at reducing stretch marks, and for preventing sunburnt skin from peeling.
Active Chilean Rainforest Honey is already a popular in America where sales have grown by 400 per cent since April.
"Active Chilean Rainforest Honey is a wonderful product as it can be used in such a variety of ways," the Daily Mail quoted Jamie Christie, of British manufacturer The Active Honey Company, as saying.
"The latest, it appears, is for a facial mask.
"It is incredibly popular in the United States and, judging by the feedback we've received, it looks set to become something of a 'hit' in the UK, too," he stated.
The honey is derived from the nectar of the Quillay, Tineo and Ulmo trees, native to the Valdivian rainforest of southern Chile.
The secret to its anti-ageing properties could lie in the presence of enzymes, which break down scar tissue and make ageing and sun-damaged skin more elastic.
There have been no clinical studies but the company claims the users have reported looking ten years younger in a matter of weeks.

Dog Attack Victim Undergoes 15-hour-surgery Using 358 Leeches to Reconstruct Face

A woman was attacked by her own dog which bit off her face leaving a hole right from the upper lip till the right eye.
Her face was reconstructed using hundreds of leeches. Thankfully, after the attack, the missing skin was carefully preserved by her relatives who kept it chilled till she made it to the hospital.
A 15-hour-surgery followed and surgeons worked to reattach the flap using 358 leeches to revive the skin by sucking blood back into it.
She is said to be recovering well.

Fresh Insight into Immune Tolerance

Recent research provides new insight into the complex immune regulatory mechanisms that underlie immune tolerance. The research study published by Cell Press in the journal Immunity and available online on September 15th provides intriguing insight into the complex immune regulatory mechanisms that underlie immune tolerance.Cells called Foxp3-expressing regulatory T cells, or "Treg cells," are a subpopulation of immune cells that suppress the immune system to maintain self tolerance. These regulatory "suppressor" cells have to recognize our own cells as "self" in order to turn off the effector arm of the immune system so that it does not attack our own healthy tissues and cause an autoimmune or inflammatory disease. There has been a lot of interest in Treg cells because it has been hypothesized that these cells might be useful for treating autoimmune disease or facilitating organ transplantation. "Foxp3 is a transcription factor that is important for Treg cell function," explains senior study author, Dr. Yisong Y. Wan, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "If we are going to fully understand immune tolerance and regulation, it is critical to understand how Treg and Foxp3 function are controlled."
Dr. Wan and colleagues were interested looking at a second transcription factor, GATA-3, best known as a master regulator of another type of immune cell. "GATA-3 plays multi-faceted roles of regulating immune function in a cell-type specific fashion," says Dr. Wan. "However, whether and how GATA-3 is involved in controlling Treg function was unknown." The researchers discovered that when GATA-3 was deleted from Treg cells, mice developed a spontaneous inflammatory disorder and that Treg cells were defective in their ability to suppress the immune system. They went on to show that GATA-3 controls Foxp3 expression by binding to a regulatory region in the Foxp3 gene and that defects in both GATA-3 and Foxp3 resulted in substantially impaired Treg cells.

Premature Birth Elevates Risk of Death

A study has highlighted that children born prematurely carry a risk of early death.
A study of data of more than 600,000 people born in Sweden between 1973 and 1979 showed a connection between premature birth and early death.Researchers from Stanford University in California, who conducted the study said, "The underlying mechanisms are still largely unknown but may involve a complex interplay of foetal and post-natal (post birth) nutritional abnormalities, other intra-uterine exposures including glucocorticoid (a steroid hormone) and sex hormone alterations, and common genetic factors. Clinicians will increasingly encounter the consequences of pre-term birth throughout the life course and will need to be aware of the long-term effects on the survivors, their families and society."

New Cancer Cures Possible With Gamma Ray 1,000 Billion Times Brighter Than The Sun

Scottish scientists have created a magnificent gamma ray beam, which is more than a thousand billion times brilliant than the Sun, to revolutionize cancer detection and treatment.
A team led by scientists from the University of Strathclyde said the ray could be used in medical imaging, radiotherapy and radioisotope production, as well as monitoring the integrity of stored nuclear waste.
The researchers found that ultra-short-duration laser pulses could interact with ionised gas to give off beams that are so intense they can pass through 20cm of lead and would take 1.5 metres of concrete to be completely absorbed.
Experts say the discovery may lead to scanners that provide doctors with a clearer picture of cancerous tumours deep within the body.
They may also be able to target treatment more effectively by delivering a gamma-ray beam to blast tumours.
"This is a great breakthrough, which could make the probing of very dense matter easier and more extensive, and so allow us to monitor nuclear fusion capsules imploding," the Scotsman quoted Professor Dino Jaroszyski, who led the physicists, as saying.
"It could also act as a powerful tool in medicine for cancer therapy and there is nothing else to match the duration of the gamma ray pulses, which is also why it is so bright," he added.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Physics.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

In Coimbatore Ayurveda expert calls for free med education with a 'sacred' touch

It was way back in 1977, noted Ayurveda exponent P R Krishna Kumar conceived a unique 7? year course to shape ayurvedic doctors based on the ancient gurukula pattern.
Affiliated first to Madras University and later to Bharathiar University, the course was tailored in such a way that students resided with their masters in a green, calm environment. The curriculum included spiritual practices and traditional martial arts apart from old ayurvedic manuscripts.
The course succeeded in creating a unique breed of Ayurveda scholars, now known in academic circles as the Coimbatore experiment.
It was provided free of cost, despite being a financial burden on the Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, where he was the managing trustee.Over 100 students completed the course before it was wound up in the 1980s due to the interventions of national bodies of Ayurveda and higher education.
"They wanted to cut short the duration of the course to five years, to be taught in classrooms by teachers getting UGC salaries. They forgot that it was a free course. Finally, I wound up the gurukula institution and started a self-financing ayurveda college as permitted by the authorities. It is a huge success economically, collecting capitation fees and other monies from students. But it fails to churn out socially responsible doctors," said Krishna Kumar on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
"The old Gurukula had moulded some of the best ayurveda doctors in the country, who made a substantial contribution to the treatment of many diseases," said Krishnakumar, whose continued efforts over the last four decades has put Coimbatore on the world map of alternative medicines.
The ayurvedic expert was recently honoured with Padmasree by the union government. He is instrumental in growing Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, which began in a small rented room at Trichy Road in Ramanathapuram in 1943, into a force to reckon with as it currently produces 400 therapeutic medicines.

India will have new drugs to treat vector borne diseases in 3 years from now: Dr Rajarajan

India will have new drugs to effectively treat the vector born diseases within three years. All the challenges in this regard will be addressed by pooling the talents of the skilled professionals from the medical and paramedical fraternity as drug development is a multidisciplinary work, said Dr S Rajarajan, president of Indian Association of Medical & Pharmaceutical Virologists.
According to him, a concerted effort of the professionals of medical, pharmacy, biotechnology, microbiology and Veterinary animal sciences is the need of the hour to accelerate the research and development on new drugs to treat the emerging and re emerging viral diseases like dengue, chickungunia, swine flu, viral hepatitis, ross river fever and yellow fever, he said.
In an interview with Pharmabiz, he said the viral diseases pose a great threat to human health and there should be some kind of drugs to effectively treat these without a chance to recur. What is done today is just contain clinical symptoms or block the spread of infection. It is not permanently cured by suitable antiviral drugs. But, there are examples of viral diseases like chicken pox and herpes zoster that can be cured by administering the drug- Acyclovir. In the case of mosquito borne infections, new drugs have to be found to treat them, he said.
As the coordinator of the Bioinformatics Infrastructure Facility Centre of DBT at the Presidency College in Chennai, Dr Rajarajan, associating with other two Institutions, had submitted a project report to the Bioinformatics Division, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Government of India to do research on developing new drugs for vector born diseases. The project has been sanctioned by the DBT and the research work will commence soon. He added that Department of Bioinformatics Centre of Pondicherry University and the P G Department of Zoology, DAV College, Kanpur were also in the team of the innovation project.
When briefing on the project, the virologist said, “Our idea is to first conduct a survey of the prevalence of human disease causing viruses among mosquitoes in India. After isolation of virus from mosquitoes, research will be carried out to find out potential anti-virals applying bio-informatics tools (using in silico and confirmation by in vitro methods). By identification of these viruses, mosquito borne, we can plan efficiently to control the spread of viral fever and eradication of mosquito borne viral infection.”
The responsibility to survey and collect mosquitoes is vested with the research fellows of DAV, College, Kanpur. The DBT centre of Presidency College will isolate the viruses and identify them in their laboratory and will find out the susceptibility of the virus to potential anti-viral compounds. The Control of Excellence Department of Bioinformatics of Pondicherry University will suggest what potential compounds are to be tested for anti-viral activity.
He said there is a need for a chain of drugs for any disease as resistance to a drug by a virus may develop sooner or later. Then If one drug is not working or found having resistant strains, an alternative drug can be used. “In the case of Chicken pox, there are reports that Acyclovir is having few resistant strains. So we must develop two or three drugs comparable or superior to Acyclovir and be prepared for new drugs,” Dr S Rajarajan said.
For the new drug innovation, the department has signed an agreement with the Chennai based pharmaceutical manufacturing company Arvind Remedies as a potential Industrial partner under the DST, TDT project (Technology Development Transfer).

Study: Dialysis 3 times weekly might not be enough

A major study challenges the way diabetics and others with failing kidneys have been treated for half a century, finding that three-times-a-week dialysis to cleanse the blood of toxins may not be enough.
Deaths, heart attacks and hospitalizations were much higher on the day after the two-day interval between treatments each week than at other times, the federally funded study found.
The president of the National Kidney Foundation said she was "very troubled" by the results published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
"We could be doing a better job for our dialysis patients" and that might mean doing it more often, said Dr. Lynda Szczech, a Duke University kidney specialist who had no role in the study.
Kidneys rid the body of waste and fluids. Most of the 400,000 Americans with failing kidneys stay alive by getting their blood purified by a machine three days a week at dialysis clinics — usually on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In both cases, there's a two-day break between the last session of the week and the next one.
The three-day dialysis schedule has been around since the mid-1960s and gives patients a weekend break from the grueling hours of being hooked up to a machine.
However, doctors have suspected that the two-day hiatus between treatments was risky, and smaller studies have found more heart-related deaths on the day after the gap.
"All the fluids and toxins are built up to the highest extent on Monday morning right before dialysis," said Dr. Anthony Bleyer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, who has done similar studies.
The latest research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is the largest yet. It was done by Dr. Robert Foley of the University of Minnesota and colleagues. All reported receiving fees from dialysis clinics and suppliers.
The team analyzed medical records of 32,000 people who had in-center dialysis three times a week from 2005 through 2008. The average age was 62 and a quarter had been on dialysis for a year or less. After about two years of follow-up, 41 percent had died, including 17 percent from heart-related causes.
Monday was the riskiest day for people on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. For those on a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule, the riskiest day was Tuesday.
Researchers found a 22 percent higher risk of death on the day after a long break compared with other days of the week. Put another way: For every 100 people on dialysis for a year, 22 would die on the day after the long interval versus 18 on other days.
Hospital admissions for stroke and heart-related problems more than doubled on the day after a long break than on other days — 44 versus 20 for every 100 people treated.
Fixing this problem, however, could be daunting for patients, busy dialysis centers and insurers and it would require a rethinking of how dialysis is currently delivered.
Medicare covers the cost of dialysis, regardless of age, spending about $77,000 annually per person. It covers thrice-weekly treatment, but people can get a fourth session if needed.
Dr. Paul Eggers of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases said adjusting how dialysis is done "would require some fairly convincing evidence. I'm not sure this one study would be sufficient to change" standard practice.
Kidney expert Dr. Eli Friedman of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York, said he's in favor of every-other-day dialysis or even daily dialysis. But it would mean "a multibillion dollar change," said Friedman, who launched the country's first federally funded dialysis center.
A clinic operator said increasing treatments would require additional staff. And patients also would have to be willing to come in more often.
"They don't even like coming in three times a week. It's completely understandable. It's not fun," said Dr. Allen Nissenson, chief medical officer at DaVita, which runs more than 1,600 clinics around the country.
There has been recent interest in more frequent dialysis after studies hinted that it made people feel healthier.
This year, Medicare started giving clinics a financial incentive to teach patients to do dialysis at home, allowing them to cleanse their blood more often. But this option is not for everyone. It requires intense training and patients need a helper at home.
Unless rules change, Wake Forest's Bleyer said people can take simple steps to reduce their risk by not drinking too much fluid between long dialysis breaks and eating a healthy diet.
"Patients must be a little more careful on the weekend than on other days of the week," he said.
Carol Thomas, who has been on dialysis since 2007, watches her water intake especially on weekends and avoids dairy, beans and nuts, which are high in certain nutrients that can cause complications.
Thomas, of Sacramento, Calif., said home dialysis is not an option because she doesn't have someone to help her. Would she make the trip for dialysis more often if given the choice?
"It's an inconvenience, but probably if it meant lengthening my life," the 69-year-old said.

Homeopathic first aid

You can add value to your practice by offering your patients homeopathic care to speed their recovery from trauma and injuries. Homeopathy is a gentle, safe, and non-toxic therapy that promotes rapid recovery. It can be used alone or as a complement to chiropractic.
Homeopathy basics
Homeopathy as a system of medicine has been used for more than 200 years worldwide since it was developed by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. Homeopathy respects the body’s innate ability to heal, and uses individualized medications to support the body’s own healing capacity.
It is often effective where conventional medicine fails. Furthermore, homeopathy is grounded in a scientific method and supported by clinical research.Homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like.” This states that a disease can be cured by using a substance that can produce similar symptoms of the disease when given to a healthy person.
For example: You may have experienced eye and sinus pain when cutting a fresh onion. In homeopathy, you can use a homeopathic preparation of onion to treat ailments like allergic rhinitis and the common cold. The more the prescription matches the patient’s symptoms, the greater the benefit.
Homeopathy can be effective in treating many acute and first-aid conditions like traumatic bruises, back pain, nerve injuries, and sprains and strains. This makes it valuable for chiropractic. A homeopathic expert can also treat more serious and chronic diseases. Your skill as a homeopathic prescriber dictates the types of conditions you choose to treat.
If you are new to homeopathy, several homeopathic pharmacies sell groups of commonly prescribed remedies for certain conditions. To successfully prescribe individualized homeopathic remedies, here are some basic guidelines you can apply to start achieving results and getting your patients better quickly, safely, and naturally.
Five tips for acute homeopathic prescribing
Find out all the details of the main problem for the patient. Perform due diligence to come to an accurate medical diagnosis.
It is important to find out the pain’s exact location, its exact sensation, its pattern of radiation, and its modalities (what makes it better and worse). The more details you obtain, the richer the symptom picture and the easier it will be to find the most individualized homeopathic remedy.
Use open-ended questions like “describe your pain” or “what makes the pain worse?” to get the most reliable descriptions from the person, rather than asking close-ended “yes-or- no” questions.
Other important symptoms are any changes the person has experienced since the injury or trauma began. This may include changes in their general temperature (e.g., whether they are chilly or warm), thirst, appetite, sleep, perspiration, or mental and emotional states.
For difficult cases, consult your homeopathic references (materia medica) to find the remedy that best matches your patient’s symptoms or refer to a homeopathic specialist.
Homeopathy for first aid
While there are many possible choices in the homeopathic treatment of acute injuries, here are the more frequently indicated remedies that you can use in everyday chiropractic:
Arnica montana: Arnica is the number-one remedy for traumatic injuries and will be helpful in about 70 percent of such cases. It is useful for sprains and strains to tendons and ligaments, contusions, head injuries, post-surgical recovery, and bruising after motor vehicle accidents.
The key is to give Arnica right after the traumatic injury in the first stage when there is swelling, black-and-blue bruising, and the injury feels sore or bruised. The patient may be oversensitive to pain and everything they lie on may seem too hard. Some patients may try to be tough and say they are OK when they are clearly injured more than they will admit.
Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort): Hypericum is the main homeopathic remedy for crush injuries to the distal extremities such as the fingers, toes, and nails (especially at the tips). It can also be used post-surgically when Arnica fails as well as for phantom pains in amputees.
Patient’s needing Hypericum will have intolerable shooting nerve pains that will travel upward from the distal extremity proximally. Hypericum is also the most indicated first-aid remedy for coccyx injuries.
Cimicifuga racemosa: Cimicifuga is the number-one remedy for the bruised, sore feeling of muscle tissue after hard exercise. You may find this valuable for your sedentary patients who come in sore after starting a new exercise regimen.
Rhus toxicodendron: Consider Rhus tox as a top remedy for sports injuries such as knee and ankle sprains as well as low-back pain. You can prescribe it a few days after your initial Arnica prescription, once that has helped the swelling come down. Rhus tox injuries often happen from overexertion. The pain is aching and the joint will feel stiff, especially after resting for a while. Low-back pain will be better from hard pressure such as lying on a hard floor. If the person’s pain improves from application of heat, Rhus tox is indicated.
Bryonia: Bryonia is another remedy for sports injuries such as sprains/strains, low-back pain, and costochondritis. You will need to differentiate your prescription between Bryonia and Rhus tox. As with Rhus tox, prescribe Bryonia following an Arnica prescription once the initial swelling and bruising have improved. You will know it’s time because the swelling has improved, yet the pain still persists. For an accurate Bryonia prescription, the pain will worsen from the slightest motion and improve from rest and hard pressure. It will worsen from warmth and improve with cold applications.
Ruta graviolens: Next to Rhus tox and Bryonia, Ruta is an invaluable remedy for sprain/strain injuries to the wrists, ankles, and flexor tendons and ligaments. You can give it in the second stage after Arnica for bruised, weak, and sore joints following an injury when you see no clear indication for Rhus tox or Bryonia, or if you’ve tried those remedies and they failed to help.
Belladonna: This remedy can treat acute injuries, costochondritis, and low-back pain. It is for pain that is severe and pulsating, throbbing, shooting, or for spasms and intense cramps. The spasms can begin and end suddenly, and sometimes may be the only symptoms. Other symptoms may include pain worsening from motion, touch, or exposure to cold. The pain may worsen when lying on the painful side, and improve when sitting up.
Symphytum: Symphytum is the main remedy for speeding the healing of bone fractures. This is a supportive therapy you will give to patients once they’ve had the fracture appropriately set by an orthopedist. It will follow Arnica well after the initial stages of swelling and bruising have improved. It is best to prescribe a low potency dose (like 6C or 30C daily) until the fracture is completely healed.
Magnesia phosphorica: The person needing Mag phos will have a classic sciatica pattern of nerve pain extending from the low back down the back of the buttocks and back of the leg. The pain can be cramping (often from overexertion) or sudden, violent, and neuralgic, such as cutting, shooting, or sharp lightning-like pains. When the sciatica pain improves from warmth and pressure, but warmth is better than pressure, consider this remedy.
Colocynthis: This is another sciatica remedy. When the pain improves from warmth and hard pressure, but pressure gives the most relief, Colocynthis will often be effective. In their state of extreme pain, patients may be angry, indignant, and easily offended; yet these mental-emotional symptoms are not as significant for diagnosis as are the physical symptoms.
Homeopathic dosing strategies
Homeopathic remedies are FDA-approved medicines that are very dilute, and thus are non-toxic. They are mostly made from plant, mineral, or animal substances, and are given in minuscule doses to eliminate the possibility of side effects.
Homeopathic medicines are dosed by dissolving three to four pellets in the patient’s mouth. In acute cases, dose the medicine every hour or two at first, until you notice a clear improvement in pain levels.
In severe acute pain, use high potencies (e.g., 200C, 1M, or 10M). If there is no relief after a few hours or days, try another remedy.
After initial signs of improvement, the dosage can be backed off to three to four times a day. If the patient gets better for a few days and then relapses, first try a higher potency of the same remedy before changing to a different homeopathic medicine.
Overall, the most important thing is finding the best remedy, not the potency. With accurate homeopathic prescribing, acute problems can be expected to resolve rather quickly within a few days to weeks. With intense pain, the right remedy will often give relief within hours of the first dose.
Homeopathic first-aid kits
For your practice, you can set up an account with one of the various homeopathic pharmacies to stock homeopathic remedies as a courtesy for your patients.
Most of the remedies discussed can also be purchased by patients over the counter in low potencies (below 30C) at many health food stores. Higher potencies of individual homeopathic remedies (above 200C) are only sold to doctors.
Several homeopathic pharmacies sell first-aid kits that patients and families can keep at home. These are perfect for long-standing patients who can learn basic homeopathic prescribing when their kids get various bumps and bruises.
Teaching parents homeopathic first- aid prescribing is an incredible practice-building technique because it makes them more valuable patients and advocates of your practice. Patients who experience homeopathy working first-hand for their minor problems at home will be happy because they can use an all-natural therapy rather than toxic drugs.
By:Jamie Oskin, ND (He is in private practice at the Arizona Natural Health Center. He graduated in 2008 from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. He has completed naturopathic family medicine and homeopathic specialty residencies)

“Healing with Homeopathy”,Book Launched

Well-known Delhi homeopath Dr. Mukesh Batra launched his book “Healing with Homeopathy”, in the Capital recently. Published by Jaico Books, it was released by Parliamentarians Maneka Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor and his wife Sunanda Pushkar at The Park. The book, said Dr. Batra at the launch, “is very simply done and well-structured.” “There are some hundred diseases I have compiled along with their remedies in an alphabetical order. The book is like an encyclopaedia for homeopathy medicine.” The book, he said, has been aimed at developing one's understanding of homeopathy. But, it doesn't encourage self-medication and treatment. “It is very important that you always consult a doctor for any ailment because a cough can be TB or Bronchitis. Symptoms are only an external manifestation of a disease.”
Divided into three parts, the part one of the book introduces the reader to homeopathy. Part two tells the history of homeopathy and how homeopathy medicines work. Part three is about hundred aliments and their remedies. Some of the common diseases mentioned are acne, asthma, constipation, diabetes, gas, hair loss, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, sexual disorder in men and women, warts etc. Each ailment is explained under heads like what, how, why, symptoms, diagnosis, remedy, case study and expert views. He said, “Homeopathy is the most recent and the most radical of medical sciences. It is the most humane, safe, gentle and the fastest growing healthcare system of healing. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), homeopathy is the second largest medical system in the world. It is used by over 550 million people worldwide.” Homeopathy market is growing three times faster than traditional pharmaceuticals industry, he said, adding, “The global homeopathy market will be Rs.52,000 crore by 2017. And Indian homeopathy market is expected to reach Rs.5,873 crore by that time.”
The book also talks about the principles of homeopathy and how its medicine works. “Homeopathy treats diseases by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in healthy persons produce symptoms similar to those of the disease. This is the basic principle of homeopathy called Law of Similars. This law says that exposure to a substance can cause specific symptoms in a healthy person. That substance in homeopathic remedy stimulates the body's internal curative powers to overcome similar symptoms in illness states,” explained the homeopath.
Dr. Batra's book also demystifies many myths about homeopathy. He claimed, “There are no side-effects in homeopathy.”

Camel Milk Ice Cream All Set to Enter Britain

Camel’s milk may give cow’s milk a run for its money. Recently, ice cream made from camel’s milk is in great demand in the Middle East.
Camel milk is soon becoming a hot favorite as it is low in fat but high on nutrients. Camel milk is rich in iron and vitamin B and in comparison to cow’s milk has nutrients in greater quantities.
Consumers are taken up with its extra creamy and yet light texture.
Camel milk ice creams will soon be available in Britain.

Gene Mutations Behind Mental Disorders Identified

Recent studies have identified genetic mutations common to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The independent studies, each conducted by a consortium of about 200 scientists, also found significant genetic overlap between the debilitating mental disorders.chizophrenia patients typically hear voices that are not real, tend toward paranoia and suffer from disorganized speech and thinking. The condition is thought to affect about one percent of adults worldwide.
Previously known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterised by hard-to-control mood swings that veer back-and-forth between depression and euphoria, and afflicts a similar percentage of the population.
The biological profile of both conditions remain almost entirely unknown. Doctors seek to hold them in check with powerful drugs.
Scientists have long observed that each syndromes tends to run in families, suggesting a powerful inherited component. But early hopes of finding a single-gene culprit swiftly faded, giving way to the realisation that -- to the extent DNA is at fault -- blame is probably spread across dozens, maybe even hundreds of DNA variants.
Genome-wide comparisons made possible by gains in computing power involve sweeps of tens of thousands of individual genetic codes from patients and otherwise healthy counterparts.
But so far only a handful of suspects have been found that, at best, account for about 30 percent of the heritable component of schizophrenia.
Nailing down genetic drivers is made even harder by uncertainty as to whether schizophrenia and bipolar -- defined by a varying constellation of symptoms -- are single or multiple diseases.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Homeopathy and Ayurveda for Hair Loss Reversal

Hair loss can be embarrassing and hamper one’s self esteem and confidence. When caught early hair loss can be reduced and even stopped completely. Homeopathy and Ayurveda can minimize or stop hair loss by using natural products and herbs.
Some Ayurvedic products recommended by the Vaidyas( Ayurvedic doctors) are:
Brahmi: This hair pack is available in most Indian grocery stores and used with curd is an excellent hair pack.
Amla or Indian gooseberry is packed with Vitamin C and thus loaded with antioxidants. In powdered form it can be mixed with henna, brahmi powders along with curd to make a great hair pack.
Neem: This is a natural remedy against dandruff and lice and also has blood purifying abilities. Use in powdered form with coconut oil or curd to massage scalp.
Ritha: These are natural soap nuts that are used for cleaning hair without stripping off the natural oils. Use in powdered form to massage scalp and wash off thoroughly.
Aloe Vera: Drinking Aloe Vera juice has its benefits and a glorious mane of hair is just one of them.
Oils like coconut oil; sesame oil- Massaging is a great way to stimulate the scalp. Coconut oil is used extensively in coastal regions where women have beautiful shiny black hair. Probably coconut oil is their secret?
Herbs like silica-rich horsetail, rosemary, sage and nettle are also boiled and steeped to make a ‘tea’ which can be used for massaging hair and scalp. Apple cider vinegar is used to rinse the hair to seal hair cuticle. This will make hair look darker and also stimulates hair growth.
Homeopathy for hair loss reversal might be a bit slow to show results. Homeopaths prescribe different medicines depending on the nature, personality and temperament of the patient. It aims at treating the root cause of the problem rather than take care of symptoms only. Accordingly they may prescribe saw palmetto, phosphorus, Silicea and other such medicines to treat hair loss in a natural way.
Most herbs and medicines mentioned here do not have any known side effects, but they should be tried only under an expert’s guidance and advice

Yawning Cools Down The Brain

You may yawn out of sheer boredom. But in the process you might be unwittingly doing a good thing to your brain - cooling it down.
A study led by Andrew Gallup, a postdoctoral research associate in Princeton University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is the first involving humans to show that yawning frequency varies with the season and that people are less likely to yawn when the heat outdoors exceeds body temperature. Gallup and his co-author Omar Eldakar, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Arizona’s Center for Insect Science, report this month in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience that this seasonal disparity indicates that yawning could serve as a method for regulating brain temperature.
Gallup and Eldakar documented the yawning frequency of 160 people in the winter and summer in Tucson, Ariz., with 80 people for each season. They found that participants were more likely to yawn in the winter, as opposed to the summer when ambient temperatures were equal to or exceeding body temperature. The researchers concluded that warmer temperatures provide no relief for overheated brains, which, according to the thermoregulatory theory of yawning, stay cool via a heat exchange with the air drawn in during a yawn.
Gallup describes the findings as follows:
This provides additional support for the view that the mechanisms controlling the expression of yawning are involved in thermoregulatory physiology. Despite numerous theories posited in the past few decades, very little experimental research has been done to uncover the biological function of yawning, and there is still no consensus about its purpose among the dozen or so researchers studying the topic today

EGFR Gene Essential for Pancreatic Cancer Development: Study

epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is vital for the development of pancreatic cancer, reveals study presented at the Second AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research.
The mutation of the KRAS gene has been found to be an important component in the development of many cancers, including pancreatic cancer. However, Barbara M. Gruener, researcher at the Technical University in Munich, Germany, said that despite the presence of KRAS, the development of preneoplastic precursor lesions and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is blocked without the EGF receptor.
"These results revealed an unappreciated central role of EGFR very early in the carcinogenic process," said Gruener, who is a doctoral student at the university.
Gruener and colleagues compared more than 40 mice with the pancreas-specific deletion of EGFR with the KRAS mouse model for pancreatic cancer.
"Contrary to current opinion, we showed that lack of EGFR blocks the development of pancreatic cancer," she said. "Originally, we wanted to characterize the known role of EGFR in pancreatic cancer to a higher extent so that EGFR targeted therapy could be more individualized."
Gruener said the results were not what researchers had expected and were surprising.
"With oncogenic active KRAS, you would expect that the lack of a receptor that is upstream of the KRAS signaling pathway does not impair the carcinogenic effects of KRAS almost completely," she said.

Alcohol of Any Kind is Harmful to Heart Health

While it is often assumed that red wine is beneficial to heart, an alcohol health group in Australia has hit out against the myth and said that alcohol of any kind is detrimental to the health.The Alcohol Policy Coalition, made up of a number of health groups in Australia, has dismissed some of the recent studies that claimed that people who drink in moderation are at less risk of heart disease than abstainers.
The coalition has come out with a report citing various studies which show that any benefits obtained by light drinking of alcohol is far outweighed by the risk to the long term health.
Commenting on the study, the chief executive of the Victorian Heart Foundation, Kathy Bell said, “After reviewing all the scientific evidence, it appears any positive effects of alcohol in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease have been hugely overestimated. ’In particular, red wine has no special protective qualities.”

Monday, 19 September 2011

‘Mother Tongues’ Descendent from Prehistoric Fathers

Peter Forster and Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge found that language change among our prehistoric ancestors came about via the arrival of immigrant men - rather than women - into new settlements, New Scientist reported.
The language of some cultures correlates with a prehistoric influx of foreign males. This is still reflected in the genetics of people today.
Forster and Renfrew wondered if changes could be traced via maternal or paternal genes, by studying mitochondrial DNA or Y-chromosome genes, respectively.
In a meta-analysis of studies that linked genetic markers to cultural heritage in North and Central America, Iceland, Australia, Africa and New Guinea, they found that only Y-chromosome DNA reflected the cultural origins of the local language.
For example, Iceland was colonised by Norse Vikings with women kidnapped from the British Isles.
Most mitochondrial DNA found in Icelandic people today is similar to that in the British Isles, while Y-chromosomes carry Scandinavian DNA.
And the Icelandic language has Scandinavian roots, not English.
The finding suggests an interesting trend, but it is hard to identify a global pattern from this small selection of studies, stated evolutionary anthropologist Keith Hunley of the University of New Mexico.

High Calcium Intake Causes Prostate Cancer

Among African-American men, high intake of calcium causes prostate cancer, suggests study by epidemiologists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center."High dietary intake of calcium has long been linked to prostate cancer but the explanation for this observation has been elusive," said Gary G. Schwartz, Ph.D., associate professor of cancer biology, urology, and public health sciences at Wake Forest Baptist and co-author on the study.
Schwartz and colleagues from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California studied 783 African-American men living in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, 533 of whom were diagnosed with prostate cancer. They studied the effects of genotype, calcium intake and diet-gene interactions.
The study is one of the few to explore genes related to calcium absorption or to examine diet in a large African-American population. Although prostate cancer is 36 percent more common among African-Americans than in non-Hispanic whites, data on the diet-cancer link primarily comes from Caucasian populations. The team targeted a genetic allele that is more common in populations of African origin than in other populations and which is associated with regulating the absorption of calcium.
In the United States, more than 240,000 men are diagnosed annually with prostate cancer and about 33,720 die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Only lung cancer kills more American men. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, there are no proven strategies for preventing the disease, but changes in diet and lifestyle have shown to reduce the risk of disease progression.

Molecular Changes in Brains of Depressed Women

Researchers from the University of Pittsburg in the United States have found molecular changes in the brains of women who are depressed, leading to hopes of better understanding of mental illnesses in future.
The National Institute of Mental Health funded study included 21 women who were suffering from depression and 21 women with no history of depression.
The researchers analyzed the post-mortem brain tissue samples and found that those who suffered from depression showed pattern of reduced expression of certain genes in a region of brain known as amygdala, which is responsible for sensing and expressing emotion.
“It seemed to us that if there were molecular changes in the depressed brain, we might be able to better identify them in samples that come from females. Indeed, our findings give us a better understanding of the biology of this common and often debilitating psychiatric illness”, lead researcher Etienne Sibille wrote in the study that has been published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Hidden' Code in DNA That Passes Down Biological Traits

A new groundbreaking study has found that a "hidden" code linked to the DNA of plants allows them to develop and pass down new biological traits far more rapidly than previously thought.
The study by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies provides the first evidence that an organism's "epigenetic" code - an extra layer of biochemical instructions in DNA - can evolve more quickly than the genetic code and can strongly influence biological traits.
While the study was limited to a single plant species called Arabidopsis thaliana, the equivalent of the laboratory rat of the plant world, the findings hint that the traits of other organisms, including humans, might also be dramatically influenced by biological mechanisms that scientists are just beginning to understand.
"Our study shows that it's not all in the genes," said Joseph Ecker, a professor in Salk's Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, who led the research team.
"We found that these plants have an epigenetic code that's more flexible and influential than we imagined.
"There is clearly a component of heritability that we don't fully understand. It's possible that we humans have a similarly active epigenetic mechanism that controls our biological characteristics and gets passed down to our children," he explained.
The study was published in the journal Science.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show

Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found.
Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety.
Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation's growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979.
Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
"The problem is right here under our noses in our medicine cabinets," said Laz Salinas, a sheriff's commander in Santa Barbara, which has seen a dramatic rise in prescription drug deaths in recent years.
Overdose victims range in age and circumstance from teenagers who pop pills to get a heroin-like high to middle-aged working men and women who take medications prescribed for strained backs and bum knees and become addicted.
A review of hundreds of autopsy reports in Southern California reveals one tragic demise after another: A 19-year-old Army recruit, who had just passed his military physical, took a handful of Xanax and painkillers while partying with friends. A groom, anxious over his upcoming wedding, overdosed on a cocktail of prescription drugs. A teenage honors student overdosed on painkillers her father left in his medicine cabinet from a surgery years earlier. A toddler was orphaned after both parents overdosed on prescription drugs months apart. A grandmother suffering from chronic back pain apparently forgot she'd already taken her daily regimen of pills and ended up double dosing.
Many died after failed attempts at rehab — or after using one too many times while contemplating quitting. That's apparently what happened to a San Diego woman found dead with a Fentanyl patch on her body, one of five she'd applied in the 24 hours before her death. Next to her on the couch was a notebook with information about rehab.
The seeds of the problem were planted more than a decade ago by well-meaning efforts by doctors to mitigate suffering, as well as aggressive sales campaigns by pharmaceutical manufacturers. In hindsight, the liberalized prescription of pain drugs "may in fact be the cause of the epidemic we're now facing," said Linda Rosenstock, dean of the UCLA School of Public Health.
In some ways, prescription drugs are more dangerous than illicit ones because users don't have their guard up, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Opferman, head of a county task force on prescription drug-related crimes. "People feel they are safer with prescription drugs because you get them from a pharmacy and they are prescribed by a doctor," Opferman said. "Younger people believe they are safer because they see their parents taking them. It doesn't have the same stigma as using street narcotics."
Lori Smith said she believes that's what her son might have been thinking the night he died six months shy of his 16th birthday. Nolan Smith, of Aliso Viejo, loved to surf, sail and fish with his brother and father. He suffered from migraines and anxiety but showed no signs of drug abuse, his mother said.
The night before he died in January 2009, Nolan called his mother at work, asking for a ride to the girls basketball game at Aliso Niguel High School. Lori told him she couldn't get away.
When Nolan didn't come home that evening, his parents called police and his friends. His body was found the next morning on a stranger's front porch.
A toxicology test turned up Zoloft, which had been prescribed for anxiety, and a host of other drugs that had not been prescribed, including two additional anti-anxiety drugs, as well as morphine and marijuana.
All investigators could give the family were theories.
"They said they will have parties where the kids will throw a bunch of pills in a bowl and the kids take them without knowing what they are," Lori said. "We called all of his friends, but no one would say they were with him. But he must have been with someone. You just don't do that by yourself."
The triumph of public health policies that have improved traffic safety over the years through the use of seat belts, air bags and other measures stands in stark contrast to the nation's record on prescription drugs. Even though more people are driving more miles, traffic fatalities have dropped by more than a third since the early 1970s to 36,284 in 2009. Drug-induced deaths had equaled or surpassed traffic fatalities in California, 22 other states and the District of Columbia even before the 2009 figures revealed the shift at the national level, according to the Times analysis.
Source:LA Times

Treating Depression with Acupuncture

Researchers concluded that acupuncture is a very reliable and promising treatment mainly for the major depression in women. Actually Depression is very common in India and it is one of the mostly reported medical reasonings. In that case many patients are not getting proper treatments so they give up at very early stages. After recovery from it, many are not able to cure it totally and so it is suggested that there should be some alternative treatment available for depression other than psychotherapy and medication.
For the depression treatment one can go for the electro acupuncture, it actually involves the application of a small electrical current through acupuncture needles and nothing else. Most of the researchers have concluded that acupuncture is more effective for mild depression and for depression related to a chronic medical illness.
Acupuncture is one of the natural as well as safe way to treat the depression. Anxiety and Stress are the main depression that has been caused mainly due to the chemical imbalances in the brain. For this the conventional treatments include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills mostly. But the common side effects of these kinds of drugs are blurred vision, headache, drowsiness, low libido, and many like these.
Acupuncture helps in a natural way for stimulating the central nervous system and increasing the production of naturally occurring chemicals in the body like endorphins and enkephalins, which are responsible for a person's mood and feeling of well being etc. Acupuncture treatment is mainly based on the increasing or balancing the life energy, which is regulating emotional, mental, and physical balance of the body. So depression, anxiety and stress occur by abnormal emotions, which reduce the normal flow of life energy.
In China, it is believed that medicine governs the emotions of an individual. They believe that the body as well as the mind is a real part of the same functional system. Acupuncture method actually helps the body and mind and balances emotional distress in a natural way successfully as it promotes the body's natural healing abilities.
Acupuncture Helps in a Natural Way
Acupuncture never separates the mind and body but it treats both the physical and mental symptoms of conditions at the same time
It enhances the health of anyone with conditions caused by drug side effects
It helps by reducing or eliminating the need for medication and its inherent side effects
It emphasizes prevention and health maintenance by a balance diet
Acupunctures Additional Benefits
Acupuncture helps by balancing the hormones in the body responsible for the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual conditions of the body and mind.
It helps to create emotional balance, calmed the body and mind
It improves the overall health and well-being
It improves mental conditions and enhanced concentration
It also reduces pain and muscle tension
Enriched sleep
It helps to feel positive about self, more interest in life
It increases energy by regular exercise
It improves ability to handle changes and problems in life easily
It also reduces eating disorders

Health Min preparing action plan to tackle genetic blood disorders during 12th Plan

The health ministry will submit a Plan of Action on genetic blood disorders including sickle cell disease to the Planning Commission for incorporating it as part for the control programme for non-communicable diseases under the 12th Five Year Plan.
A core working group of experts, constituted by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), has formulated guidelines for preparing an Action Plan for the States to implement a programme for prevention and control of sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia and haemophilia, sources said.
The action plan will be based on the findings of an extensive research held by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on thalassemia. A multi-centric research on “community control of thalassemia” was completed by ICMR in six states -- Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
National Institute of Immunohaematology, Mumbai, has also carried out research on thalassemia in the last few years. The Institute has also played an important role in imparting training to other centres in molecular diagnosis of thalassemia.
According to the studies, India has a high percentage of people suffering from genetic disorders that cause severe anaemia, including thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh stand top among the States in this regard.
Of the samples from Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh examined for the study, 34 per cent were found to have sickle cell anaemia. Maharashtra is third with 33 per cent of its population suffering from sickle cell anaemia while Bihar and Tamil Nadu are at the fourth position with 31 per cent of its people suffering from the genetic blood disorder, according the studies.
India has the highest number of sickle gene carriers in the world, accounting for 50 per cent of the total population in the category in the world. Most of tribal belt in India being an endemic area for malaria, the people living in tribal area are affected by sickle cell anaemia, according to the Health Ministry. The action plan was prepared in the light of these studies

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