Watch Online the Live Sessions of ISWWTA 2015 Rishikesh on Youtube.Visit:
Previous issues of AYUSH DARPAN in Hindi is now available online visit:

Search Engine

Saturday, 1 October 2011

PCI asks State Pharmacy Councils to issue good standing certificate to pharmacy graduates

The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), the statutory body formed to regulate the pharmacy education and practices in the country has decided in recent meeting that all the State Pharmacy Councils in the country should issue good standing certificate to pharmacy graduates.
In a recent meeting held in August, 2011 PCI has addressed all the State Pharmacy Councils across the country to issue good standing certificate to all the graduates including B Pharm, D Pharm, M Pharm etc. who wants to carry out their profession in US, UK or any country outside India.
Dipankar Chakraborthy, vice president, PCI informed that the good standing certificate will be issued by the registrar, of the concerned State Pharmacy Council. “For the same we have urged all the State Pharmacy Council to charge fee for issuance of the certificate and it should not be more than Rs.1000,” he said.
“The pharmacists working here in India should not apply for the certificate as they are not valid and under the State Pharmacy Council and it is unethical to apply for the good standing certificate. It is just the provision made for the students who wants to work and carry out their profession outside India,” Chakraborthy added.
The PCI in its notice, stated that all the institutes coming under the required state council should be approved by PCI under section 12 of Pharmacy Act, 1948. Thereby applicant is required to submit a request for issuance of certificate stating the purpose of working as a pharmacists in abroad for which certificate of good standing is required and they should submit the communication of concerned body or institution requiring the same.
For obtaining the certificate of good standing, the student will have to fulfil all the details including name, address, qualification, name of the college, university, admission date and passing year, registration number and date, required by the institutions as registered in the State Pharmacists Register.
In view of the above, PCI has advised all the students to strictly follow the prescribed provisions with regard to get the certificate and carry out their profession as a pharmacists outside India under the Pharmacy Act, 1948.

Bringing Back Medicines Derived From Nature

Trivendrum:'Grihankanathil Oru Oushadhodyanam' ('A Medicinal Garden in your Courtyard') and 'Amla' (Indian Gooseberry) Mission, were the two projects that were inaugurated at the VJT hall on Wednesday evening by Mayor K Chandrika. The projects were originally scheduled to be inaugurated by Ministers Adoor Prakash and V S Shivakumar, both of whom could not make it to the function due to unforseen circumstances.In her inaugural speech, Mayor K Chandrika talked in detail about the various kinds of medicinal plants that were once found abundantly in the state, and whose presence has now dwindled down drastically due to the rapid urbanization.
“Urbanization is the reason for the modern generation to have almost completely forgotten about the wealth of medicinal herbs that were once abundant in Kerala. In olden days medicines for most kinds of small diseases and infections were prepared from the plants that were grown in the courtyard of a home. But now, we couldn't care less about the presence of a medicinal plant in our homes. The situation needs to change and I sincerely hope that these two projects go a long way in bringing that change in the society,” she said.
The project is being funded by State Medicinal Plant Board and will involve the distribution of herbal plants to homes and conducting classes and seminars to spread awareness about the need to revive the usage of medicinal plants in the treatment methods followed in the state.Both the projects are being run under the guidance of the pharmacognosy unit functioning under the Government Ayurveda College. The projects aim to make people aware of the value of medicinal herbs that are fast disappearing in the modern urbanized world. P K Shivadasan, principal of Government Ayurveda College, gave the welcome speech at the function which was presided over by T Shivadas (Director, Ayureda Medical Association).“If every home has a few medicinal plants growing in their courtyards, that's enough for the whole family to ward off small time infections, rather than spending money on doctors and English medicines,” he said in his presidential speech.

African Witch Doctors' Tea Could Lead to New Drugs For Many Diseases

A medicinal tea prepared by local African witch doctors and given to pregnant women when the time for birth arrives could lead to potential new drugs for many human diseases including AIDS, according to a new study.Made from the leaves of a plant called "kalata-kalata," the tea speeds labour and delivery.
Scientists analysed the plant and discovered a remarkable new substance.
The study by David Craik, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, promises to turn kalata-like proteins, called cyclotides, into new drugs for treating health problems, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria and even AIDS, which affect millions of people worldwide.
Craik, who discover the medicine while on a medical relief mission to Africa, is the winner of the 2011 ACS Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry.
The video of his research explains how cyclotides have a strong internal architecture that keeps them active when taken by mouth.

Avoid alcohol, tobacco for a healthier heart

The cardiology department of LLR Hospital and Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi Medical College organised a lecture on heart diseases on the occasion of World Heart Day on Thursday.
Medical students and doctors discussed various heart ailments in the lecture session of Dr R K Bansal, HoD of cardiology department.
About 100 million people in India are reportedly suffering from heart problems.
As per a WHO study, by 2015, the percentage of patients suffering from cardiac problems will go up by 30% in India.

Problem-Solving Threapy Could Prevent Suicide

Problem-solving therapy could prove effective in preventing suicides, say New Zealand researchers. They reached the conclusion at the end of the world’s largest trial to assess the efficacy of the therapy on those who attempt suicide and are hospitalized.
The findings of the study at the University of Auckland have been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry this month.
The therapy involves patients having about five one-hour sessions of face-to-face talking therapy that teaches them a structured way to identify and solve problems in their lives.
Findings show Problem-solving therapy could prove effective in preventing suicides, say New Zealand researchers. They reached the conclusion at the end of the world’s largest trial to assess the efficacy of the therapy on those who attempt suicide and are hospitalized.The findings of the study at the University of Auckland have been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry this month.
The therapy involves patients having about five one-hour sessions of face-to-face talking therapy that teaches them a structured way to identify and solve problems in their lives.
Findings show Problem-solving therapy could prove effective in preventing suicides, say New Zealand researchers. They reached the conclusion at the end of the world’s largest trial to assess the efficacy of the therapy on those who attempt suicide and are hospitalized.The findings of the study at the University of Auckland have been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry this month.
The therapy involves patients having about five one-hour sessions of face-to-face talking therapy that teaches them a structured way to identify and solve problems in their lives.
Findings showed that all patients who received problem-solving therapy were less hopeless, less depressed and had fewer suicidal thoughts than those who did not receive the treatment or received the usual care.
Usual care involves referral to mental health professionals and recommendations for joining drug and alcohol treatment centres, among other options.
The controlled trial, funded by ACC, looked at 1094 randomly selected people who appeared in emergency departments between September 2005 and June 2008 at four district health boards (DHBs) in New Zealand.
Although the therapy did not lead to lower rates of repeat self-harm for all people, the risk of appearing in hospital again over the next year was significantly lowered for those who had a history of attempted suicide or self harm (around 40% of the group).
"Self-harm is common and those admitted to hospital because of this are an easily identifiable high-risk group, so there is an important opportunity for intervention, particularly in relation to suicide prevention," lead investigator, Associate Professor Dr Simon Hatcher, said.

Coming Soon, A Stay Sober Pill

Scientists are in the process of developing a "stay sober" pill that limits the effects of alcohol on the brains.
In a lab experiment, mice given the drug did not even get tipsy, despite being fed enough alcohol to make them stumble and fall over.The American and Australian scientists who carried out the research focused on the way alcohol affects glial cells, which make up 90 per cent of the brain.
They play a crucial role in the immune system, helping to fight infections such as meningitis. In the experiment, shutting off this immune response produced a remarkable effect - it stopped the mice who were given alcohol from getting drunk.
Not only were the animals' reflexes far better, they also found it much easier to balance and walk than animals whose brain immune cells were allowed to work normally.
"When a mouse gets drunk, it is quite similar to a human that's drunk. It can't work its motor co-ordination properly. If you stop these immune cells from working, the animals didn't get drunk," the Daily Mail quoted University of Adelaide researcher Mark Hutchinson as saying.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Enzyme That Regulates Degradation of Damaged Proteins Identified

An enzyme called proteasome phosphatase that appears to regulate removal of damaged proteins from a cell has been identified by scientists at the University of California, San Diego and UC Irvine. The understanding of how this process works could have important implications for numerous diseases, including cancer and Parkinson's disease.The study – led by Jack E. Dixon, PhD, professor of Pharmacology, Cellular & Molecular Medicine, and Chemistry/Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego and Vice President and chief scientific officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute – appears this week in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Proteasomes are very large protein complexes found in all eukaryote cells, in archaea (a group of single-celled microorganisms) and in some bacteria. These basket-like chambers are essential for removing damaged or misfolded proteins from the cell. The inability of a defective proteasome to destroy misfolded or damaged proteins can be cataclysmic.
Scientists have known for some time that the proteasome can be regulated by a process called phosphorylation – a chemical process by which a phosphate is added to a protein in order to activate or deactivate it, and which plays a crucial role in biological functions, controlling nearly every cellular process, including metabolism, gene transcription and translation, cell movement, and cell death. However, researchers had a poor understanding of the kinases that put the phosphate residues on the proteasome and almost no understanding of the phosphatases that remove the phosphates.

SKIMS to get geriatric centre: Azad

The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, on Saturday announced setting up of Regional Geriatric Centre at Sher-e- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura here and seven other medical institutions across the country.
While speaking on the occasion of the International Day of Senior Citizens at All India Medical Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi Azad said, “Geriatrics is a specialty that needs help and support of the medical fraternity to achieve its full potential.”
He dedicated the geriatric OPD at AIIMS New Delhi to the National Programme for Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE). “On this day, let us resolve to make every effort to provide better health care to our elderly to ensure that they remain active members of our society. This is the occasion to acknowledge the contribution of the elderly in shaping today’s world. We should pay our tribute by committing ourselves to the cause of healthy ageing,” Azad said.
The Minister said that Government of India had initiated a national programme in the name of “National Programme for Health Care of Elderly” which is being initially implemented in 100 most backward and remote districts of the country with poor health indicators, covering 21 states.
Azad also launched the NPHCE guidelines and said that the programme would be extended to all the 640 districts of the country over the 12th plan period.
He said during last few decades life expectancy has increased substantially and, consequent to this, the population of senior citizens has increased four fold since 1951. The number of senior citizens above the age of 60 was 76.6 million as per the Census 2001 which constituted about 7.5 % of the total population. At this rate of increase, it is projected to become 173 million by 2026.

Grey hairs over care of elders

Sri Lanka does not have a single geriatrics specialist in the public health service, though the country has an aging population.
With one in five people falling into the over-60 age category in the country by 2030, the “zero status” with regard to doctors who should be looking after them, is causing grey hairs for health professionals, the Sunday Times understands.
This worrisome fact has been disclosed in the recent publication, ‘Medicine in the Elderly’ jointly edited by Prof. Colvin Goonaratne and Dr. Achala Balasuriya, while the world celebrated International Elders’ Day yesterday.
“In microcosm, the fact that we have not a single specialist geriatrician in our national health service tells the story of elderly health care in our country,” laments the doctor-duo. Geriatrics is the branch of medicine concerned with the diseases and care of old people.
With epidemiological transition inexorably following the demographic, the two specialists state in the preface of the book that Britain widely regarded as having one of the best health care systems in the world had at least 1,100 practising specialist geriatricians last year (2010) for a population of about 62.5 million.
Demographic transition is the phenomenon where a population’s age structure changes over time due to mortality, fertility and immigration/emigration, it is learnt, while epidemiology is the study of the spread and control of diseases.
Prof. Goonaratne and Dr. Balasuriya urge that Sri Lanka with a population of 21 million, one-third of Britain, there should be at least 300 specialist geriatricians. “Since the proportion of old people in Sri Lanka is likely to be less than in Britain, even one-half of 300, (150) specialist geriatricians might be regarded as initially acceptable, but the number is zero,” they say.
Other data in the book also show the pathetic plight of the elderly in the country – 48.3% of elderly people survive on the merciful generosity of their children; about 5.5% on donations from other relatives and friends; and 13.5% on the woeful pittance known as the pension. That places 67.3% of the elders in a financially insecure and socially dependent status.
Source:the Sunday Times Srilanka

Thursday, 29 September 2011

TN govt has no immediate plan to launch DoP scheme, Jan Aushadhi

The Tamil Nadu government has no immediate plan to launch the Jan Aushadhi scheme launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) in 2008, as the state has its own medical shops operating under its cooperative department, said a senior health official.
He further added that the Cooperative Medical Shop (CMC) wing operating under the state cooperative department will have more outlets spreading all parts of the state soon, including those district headquarters which have so far no cooperative super markets. The government is interested to start more CMC outlets rather than launching Jan Aushadhi scheme, he said.
He claimed that Tamil Nadu was the only state where medicines, including all essential drugs, are being supplied to the patients free of cost through government hospitals. “This is the state where the perfect condition of drug distribution system is prevailing. When we have our own well established medicine distribution system, why should we bother about launching a different scheme,” he said.
The government received a letter from the union government one year before asking to take steps to start the Jan Aushadhi scheme. But so far no development has taken place in the matter, said M Rajendran, the drugs control director, when contacted.
He has confirmed the information that the government has decided to increase the number of cooperative medical shop outlets in all parts of the state with three more units in Chennai alone. Super markets under the cooperative sector are operating the medical shops and where ever the super markets function, there will emerge the CMC outlet. The stores are functioning very well and their services are also good, he said.
Referring to the obliging function of the stores, the drug control director said the Tamil Nadu government started the co-op medical stores 40 years ago. In Chennai, the CMC outlet is operating at Chintamony super market and in Madurai it is in the Pandian Stores. There is Karpagam store in Vellore, Chintamany in Trichy and Kaveri in Tanjore. The Tamil Nadu cooperative medical shops would stock all kinds of drugs and would dispense the medicines at concessional prices. The medicine sold through this shop would not suffer any sales tax and most of these shops are functioning round the clock throughout the year, he added.
For all kinds of medicines of the Indian System, Tamil Nadu has the multi-state cooperative society, IMPCOPS, which distributes medicines in the entire area of south India.
Jan Aushadhi scheme was started by the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers in 2008 in order to sell generic drugs to the common man on concessional rates.

Vegetables To Combat Colorectal Cancer

Vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli could help combat colorectal cancer (CRC), according to a new study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The impact, though, might vary depending on where the cancer originates.Researchers from the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) found that brassica vegetables (sprouts and the like) impacts positively in the case of cancers of proximal and distal colons.
A lower risk of distal colon cancer was associated with apples too, but increased consumption of fruit juice could trigger rectal cancer.
"Fruits and vegetables have been examined extensively in nutritional research in relation to CRC, however, their protective effect has been subject to debate, possibly because of different effects on different subsites of the large bowel," commented lead investigator Professor Lin Fritschi, PhD, head of the Epidemiology Group at WAIMR.
"It may be that some of the confusion about the relationship between diet and cancer risk is due to the fact that previous studies did not take site of the CRC into account. The replication of these findings in large prospective studies may help determine whether a higher intake of vegetables is a means for reducing the risk of distal CRC," she said.
Researchers investigated the link between fruit and vegetables and three cancers in different parts of the bowel: proximal colon cancer, distal colon cancer, and rectal cancer. The case-control study included 918 participants with a confirmed CRC diagnosis and 1021 control participants with no history of CRC. The subjects completed extensive medical and nutritional questionnaires and were assigned a socioeconomic status based on their home address.

World Heart Day 2011 - "One World, One Home, One Heart"

World Heart Day falls on 29th September 2011. On this day, The World Heart Federation (WHF) underlines the importance of heart health for individuals and their families with the crucial message that “heart health is in one’s own hands”.The WHF urges everyone to look after themselves, and their families and work in a focused manner to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. 80% of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented with diet and lifestyle changes. Therefore, ‘prevention’ of cardiovascular disease is at the heart of WHF initiatives this year.
The theme for World Heart Day 2011, "one world, one home, one heart" presents a challenge to individuals to accept the onus of heart health for the individual and family and champion the cause of heart healthy living.
Disheartening facts
Cardiovascular disease holds the top rank for killer diseases and is behind 29 per cent of all deaths worldwide each year.
According to the recent WHO report on cardiovascular disease — prevention and control, cardiovascular diseases account for most causes of death and disability. Nearly 17.3 million people succumbed to cardiovascular disease in 2008. 80% of these deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries and men and women were equally affected by it.
Since 80% of cardiovascular diseases can actually be prevented, the rise in numbers of cardiovascular diseases is because we have not taken enough measures to prevent its occurrence.
To give you an idea of what might be in store, based on the present trend, it is estimated that nearly 23.6 million people may die from cardiovascular disease by 2030.
What attacks your heart?
• Unhealthy diet (Food laden with transfats)
• Tobacco
• Stress
• Blood Pressure
• Diabetes
• Obesity
• Depression
• Sedentary lifestyle

Time to Act - Let’s get Hearty

The World Heart Federation has provided action points for you and your family to reduce cardiovascular risks.

• Give up smoking - ensure a smoke-free environment for you and your family

• Ensure your home is a storehouse of healthy food choices

• Ensure consumption of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday

• Be active- discourage sedentary pursuits and restrict time spent on the computer and television. 30 minutes of regular exercise which can be brisk walking, cycling, swimming or any other aerobic activity is known to boost heart health

• Regular exercise is known to keep stress under control and ward off depression

• Evaluate blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels along with waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index (BMI) periodically. This can help ascertain cardiovascular risk.
It might be heartening to know that 80% of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by adopting the above measures. If you haven’t already, World Heart Day 2011 is a good time to kick start a heart healthy lifestyle.

Modern medicine for an ancient species

In Stamford Wednesday, a prehistoric animal got a CT scan.
It was something to get your mind around.
Arizona, a Galapagos tortoise, has not been using his right hind leg, so his owners and veterinarian brought him to Cornell University Veterinary Specialists, which opened on Canal Street in January.
There, the 300-pound Arizona, whose species walked the earth with dinosaurs millions of years ago, was sedated and wearing an oxygen mask. A monitor beeped his heart rate, and the red crossbeams of a laser shined on his shell as a technician positioned the state-of-the-art scanner.
Arizona lay on the table that slid him toward the imaging tube but his shell, nearly 4 feet long, was too big to fit inside. So veterinarians and technicians backed him up to it and extended his injured leg for x-raying.
"Good boy, Arizona," said his owners, a couple from Pound Ridge, N.Y., on the North Stamford border. They stroked the leathery, pebbled skin of his powerful front legs.
The couple has two sanctuaries for giant tortoises -- one on 12 acres in Pound Ridge and another on 8 acres in Florida. They do not want their names published to protect the location of the New York sanctuary.
Six of their giants are Galapagos, the largest of the tortoises, which can grow to 800 pounds and live for an average of 100 years. The oldest known Galapagos lived 152 years.
Because they are endangered, people may keep them only by permit.
Several universities have breeding programs, said Dr. Jeremy Sabatini, Arizona's veterinarian and owner of Pleasantville Animal Hospital in Westchester County, N.Y., but "there is no giant tortoise collection this size anywhere in the country. To have them here is a great experience."
Cornell University Veterinary Specialists offers 24-hour emergency and critical care, and mostly treats dogs and cats, said the spokeswoman, Anne Greenberg. Its specialties include cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, surgery and more.
It's the largest university-owned veterinary hospital in the United States, which means profits are used to fund research and education in veterinary medicine, Greenberg said. The hospital takes cases referred mostly from veterinarians in Fairfield, Litchfield and Westchester counties, she said.
"We offer our services to anyone who needs us," Greenberg said, including a mighty Galapagos tortoise.
The species likely originated in South America. Though tortoises are land animals, they are buoyant and can extend their necks above water to breathe. They can go months without food and fresh water, so they could have survived the 500-mile swim to the Galapagos, an island chain off the coast of Ecuador, where they thrived.
In the 16th Century, there were about 250,000 giant tortoises in the Galapagos. But they were hunted for their meat, oil and shells, their habitats were taken over by farmers and goats, and their eggs were destroyed by rats and pigs.
By the 1970s, there were just 3,000 tortoises on the islands. Conservationists began to breed them in captivity and release the juveniles back to the islands, and got the number up to about 19,000.
The Westchester County couple also has 44 Aldabra tortoises, the second-largest. They are a threatened species native to the Seychelles Islands near Africa.
Arizona is one of the few breeding Galapagos males in the United States, his owners said. In his mid-20s, he is just coming into breeding age.
In their colony of giant tortoises, Arizona is the calm, cool leader of the pack, his owners said.
"He's suave. He's smart. He's in charge without it being too obvious," one said.
"Even though he's not the biggest, he's the king," said her husband. "He gives the others a look and they go away."
In Pound Ridge, the giant tortoises spend most of their days grazing in a meadow.
"We have to rotate the pen areas a few acres at a time to give the grass time to grow back," an owner said.
Besides grass, they eat bananas, strawberries, cactus fruit and papaya.At night, they huddle in groups of three and four, often near stone walls, which retain heat from the daytime sun.
"If it gets chilly, we'll cover them with moving blankets," an owner said.
They also have a stone building with heated floors and large windows to let in lots of sun. At the end of the day, the females -- Clementine, Isabella and the rest -- can be persuaded to form a tortoise train and walk in, nose to tail. The males, especially Arizona, are less cooperative.
"We put pieces of apple down, leading to the door, but he eats the last one and starts to turn around to go back into the meadow," an owner said. "He has his own mind."
The vegetarian diet produces powerful reptiles. Arizona "can walk through a sheetrock wall and splinter the four-by-six beams without even knowing he did it," one of the owners said.
In the wild, giant tortoises are known to push over trees so they can eat the leaves.
A first look at the CT films Wednesday showed no obvious signs of fracture, tumor or infection in Arizona's leg, Sabatini said.
"So far, the films suggest a soft-tissue injury. If that's the case, we'll put him on pain medication and make him rest," Sabatini said. "We want to catch it quickly. Tortoises are secretive. They will act healthy until they're pretty sick."
Few places treat giant tortoises, so the CT scans will be shared with veterinarians, radiologists and others around the country.
"There's the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, the San Diego Zoo, one in Hawaii and few others," an owner said. "We all keep in touch. Once one of the tortoises had a fungus on his back and someone told us to put Vicks VapoRub on it. The fungus was gone in no time."
The weather is turning cold, so next week Arizona and the other giant tortoises will travel to Florida in a horse trailer modified for them.
An owner said she will miss the sight of the quiet, dignified tortoises sunning themselves in the meadow, necks and legs outstretched.
"They're totally at peace," she said. "As a species, I think they can be saved. They have to be. They've been around for millions of years. They have to be able to stay."

An MRI for back pain may only confuse the diagnosis

“Doc, my back is killing me! I think I need an MRI.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever uttered those words, but I can tell you I’ve sure heard them … more times than I can count. And believe me, I get it. When you’re in pain, all you care about is finding out what’s causing it as soon as possible so you can get rid of it as soon as possible. It’s quite tempting to believe that the answer to all your back troubles can be revealed by a quick nap in the MRI tube. The frustrating truth, however, is that it usually can’t. Even worse, that nap often leads to unnecessary treatments including increased procedures, risks, costs, and ultimately, postponed diagnosis and treatment.
The current issue of The Back Letter (a monthly publication by Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins) has an interesting update on this very topic, noting: ”The American College of Physicians recently initiated a campaign to end routine imaging for low back pain on the premise that it has no clinical value and often leads to a harmful cascade of events for patients.”
The key phrase there is “routine imaging.” In other words, spine imaging (x-rays, CT scans, and especially MRIs) should not be the rule but rather the exception, as it is rarely needed or even helpful. The fact is, the vast majority of adults have detectable spine abnormalities (e.g. bulging discs, degeneration changes) despite having no pain.
Presenting her study on medical care provided post-MRI to the recent International Forum for Primary Care Research on LBP in Australia, Barbara Webster, PA-C concluded (as quoted in The Back Letter): “… that decisions regarding future interventions were very much driven by the findings on the MRI—whether they were clinically relevant or not.”
The Back Letter sums it up this way:
… having an MRI appears to be a common pathway for most individuals who go on to have other procedures. And it seems likely that the visualization of anatomic abnormalities on MRI scans—abnormalities that are almost always present on the scans of middle-aged adults—is a significant driver of that process. Most of those abnormalities would have no clear relationship with back symptoms. Yet once they are discovered, they are difficult to forget—for patients and providers alike.
Translation: the mere presence of findings on MRI makes both patients and doctors feel obliged to do something even though that something is usually unwarranted.
This realization will come as a shock to the many people who regard the MRI as the Magic 8-Ball of medicine, magically revealing the secret of what ails them. The reality, however, is that an MRI is nothing more than a detailed picture, one with a tendency to add to rather than lessen the confusion of getting an accurate diagnosis. The more detail, the more confusion over what any of it means. For that reason, the MRI is useful only to the degree with which it correlates with other pieces of the puzzle (e.g. symptom details, physical examination findings, and results of other tests). It is no better at providing a definitive answer than is opening up the hood of your car when you hear it making a funny sound. After all, you’re almost guaranteed to find a grimy engine block, a frayed fan belt, maybe a missing radiator cap or any number of other “abnormalities,” but these things mean very little in and of themselves, and may have nothing to do with the funny sound. In fact, they do little more than prompt the same question that most findings on a spine MRI should: “OK, so what?”
The bottom line is that spine MRIs can be very valuable tools but only if ordered for the appropriate reasons, put in proper clinical context, and correlated with other pieces of the puzzle. When it comes to back pain, they’re not the end all be all they’re cracked up to be. They’re barely the end some be some, as the American College of Physicians has made clear. In most cases, MRIs are unnecessary and delay proper treatment; at worst, they lead to potentially harmful interventions. So the next time your doctor declines to order that MRI you requested, know that it’s not some callous attempt to contain costs. Odds are, it’s to spare you unnecessary testing, hassle, risk, and delayed treatment. In other words, odds are it’s just the correct call.
Kerrie M. Reed is a physiatrist who blogs at Your Functional Health.
Submit a guest post and be heard on social media’s leading physician voice.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mount Everest Climb may Soon be Ice-Free Thanks to Global Warming

The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, is losing its ice rapidly, according to a report from a mission launched to measure changes in the Himalayas due to climate change.A US-funded mission led by the Mountain Institute will be meeting in Kathmandu to try and find practical solutions to the threat of catastrophic high-altitude flooding from lakes forming at the foot of melting glaciers.
Growing evidence from climbers and local people suggests that climate change is making a strong impact even well above the 8,000-metre line, with signs of melting ice on the southern approach to Everest.
"When I climbed Mount Everest last year I climbed the majority of ice without crampons because there was so much bare rock," the Guardian quoted John All, an expert on Nepal glaciers as saying.
"In the past that would have been suicide because there was so much ice," he stated.
All said that the terrain he crossed was very different from the landscapes described by earlier generations of climbers and that historic photographs of the Everest region also showed a longer and deeper covering of ice.
Tshering Tenzing Sherpa, who has overseen rubbish collection at the site for the past few years has said that the Everest Base Camp, which occupies a high rocky plateau next to the Khumbu glacier, has undergone similar changes and that the summer monsoon has brought several deep new crevasses in the black ice beneath the rocks.
"Everything is changing with the glaciers," Sherpa added.

Antidepressants and Antiplatelet Therapy may Increase Bleeding Risk

Combined use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in combination with antiplatelet therapy may raise risk of bleeding in patients with heart attack, finds study published in CMAJ.
Antiplatelet therapy is commonly prescribed for patients who have had heart attacks to reduce the likelihood of another attack. There is, however, a risk of bleeding, which increases when certain other medications such as anticoagulants or SSRIs are taken at the same time as antiplatelet therapy.
SSRIs are commonly prescribed for depression. Many patients have symptoms of depression after a heart attack.
The study in CMAJ looked at 27 058 patients aged 50 years or older between 1997 and 2007. More than half were taking ASA alone and about 3% were taking SSRIs along with antiplatelet therapy. Researchers found that although ASA and clopidogrel taken on their own have a similar risk of bleeding, combining an SSRI with ASA increased the risk by 42%, and combining SSRI use with dual antiplatelet therapy increased the risk by 57%. Women appeared to have a decreased risk of bleeding, as did patients who had angioplasty as an intervention after their heart attack.
Bleeding includes gastrointestinal bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke or other bleeding that required hospitalization or occurred in hospital during treatment.
"Ultimately, clinicians must weigh the benefits of SSRI therapy against the risk of bleeding in patients with major depression following acute myocardial infarction," write the authors. They conclude physicians must be cautious when prescribing antidepressants.

Popular Herbal Supplement Has No Benefit for Prostate : Study

The global market for saw palmetto extract is about $700 million a year, but a randomized trial at 11 sites in North America showed that even triple doses of the over-the-counter drug neither worked nor harmed the patients.
"Astonishingly enough, there was not any measurable effect -- either in benefits or in toxicity -- with increasing doses of the supplement in comparison to placebo," said co-author Claus Roehrborn, chairman of urology at University of Texas Southwestern.
"These supplements are apparently not doing anything measurably above and beyond what we call the placebo effect," said Roehrborn of the research in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Led by Michael Barry of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, researchers followed 379 men age 45 and older whose symptoms included difficulty emptying their bladders, weak and/or frequent urination.
As part of the randomized trial, some received saw palmetto extract -- which comes from the berries of the saw palmetto dwarf plant tree -- and others were given a sugar pill that smelled and tasted the same.
Measurements showed the drug, even when increased in dosage over 72 weeks, had no impact on urinary symptoms such as nighttime urination or incontinence, and did not improve sexual function or allow men to sleep better.

Potatoes: Best Natural Source of Potassium

Potatoes are the largest and most affordable source of potassium, reveals research presented today at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE). Per serving, white potatoes were the largest and most affordable source of potassium of any vegetable or fruit.Dr. Adam Drewnowski and colleagues from the University of Washington merged nutrient composition data from the USDA Food and Nutrition Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS 2.0) with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) national food prices database. Frequency of consumption data was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-4). The Affordable Nutrition Index (ANI) was the metric used to assess nutritional value per dollar for potatoes and for other vegetables.
Potatoes were the lowest cost source of dietary potassium, a nutrient identified by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as lacking in the American diet. The high cost of meeting federal dietary guidelines for potassium, 4,700 mg per person per day, presents a challenge for consumers and health professionals, alike. However, the cost of potassium-rich white potatoes was half that of most other vegetables.
"Potatoes deserve credit for contributing to higher diet quality and increasing vegetable consumption," said lead researcher Adam Drewnowski, PhD. "Potatoes also play an important role in providing affordable nutrition to Americans. You CAN afford to meet key dietary guidelines IF you include potatoes in your diet."

Social networking has changed the landscape in health care

In a recent Harvard Business Review Blog, David Armano writes about the six pillars of influence that leads to measurably favorable outcomes.
To achieve measurably better health, the pillars Armano explains can certainly be adopted.
He notes how the “social web can amplify signals, influence behavior and lead to action.”
Social networking has changed the landscape in health care. Technology has paved the way for instant communication and feedback.
While some companies continue to question the value of social media networking, debating whether or not they should be on Twitter or Facebook, others have superseded the hesitation, and are presently into the next phase of social networking.
The companies who currently have delved into the social media networking space can find their customers are already there, sharing their health concerns, supporting one another, and seeking better health outcomes. They can interact with them in real-time, and monitor behavior and trends. According to Deloitte, “Social networks hold considerable potential value for health care organizations because they can be used to reach stakeholders, aggregate information and leverage collaboration.”
The power of social media networking is vast. Sharing thoughts, ideas, viewpoints, posting updates, collaborating with consumers and colleagues is immeasurable. Tapping into a community of users whose word-of-mouth influence in the social space is fierce, and it goes beyond the standard role of social media networking.
Facebook, Twitter and Google plus are only a few of the social networking platforms utilized, and the millions of individuals who use it have the capability to spread information like wild fire. They can reach and influence others in their social circles at lightning speed.
Individuals have the capability to influence their friends about their favorite restaurant, movies, electronics and TV shows; but imagine the power that individuals have to influence their circle of friends, and their friends and so on and so on, about better health.
Within the circles of social networking, trust and relationships are formed. Individuals can take an active role in promoting health and wellness. Social influence develops based on the trust within the circles of the social network. Family and friends can help inspire and motivate each other. They can also hold others within their circles accountable for their actions. People with influence and trust can help others achieve their health goals.
Applying the science of behavior change in the social networking space possibly may lead to better outcomes.
In a meeting summary from the National Institutes of Health on the Science of Behavior Change, it concluded that:
“The science of behavior change has long suffered from fragmentation along scientific and topical boundaries…Yet because unhealthy behaviors cause so much morbidity and mortality, the status quo cannot prevail. There is, however, renewed hope that the NIH can facilitate progress by supporting research on basic mechanisms of behavior change and by fostering transdisciplinary efforts spanning Institutes, Centers, and levels of analysis.” NIH SOBC Meeting, June 15-16, 2009 Meeting Summary
As stated above by the National Institutes of Health, “the status quo cannot prevail.” Moving to the next level which incorporates utilizing the powerful social networking platform that harbors powerful social influence may be an answer to help foster healthy living.
Engaging with a powerful and influential supportive community of family and friends in the social circles, and having health experts offer action plans with inspiration and motivation to better manage chronic conditions and to improve overall well-being; individuals can be guided to better health efficacy.
Courtesy:Barbara Ficarra (She is creator, executive producer and host of the Health in 30® radio show, and founder and editor-in-chief of

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Medicine and Politics

The heated political arguments about the vaccination of children to prevent oral and genital cancers have become so charged that any thoughtful discussion of the potential risks and benefits of the vaccine now appears to be out of the question.
When the manufacturer of the vaccine initiated lobbying efforts to make the vaccine a requirement for school registration and enrollment, the objections became so widespread and vehement that those efforts were abandoned. However, the substantive issues and questions are too important. They should not be crowded out by the din being created by the politically motivated on both sides of the issue.
Almost 40 years ago the human papilloma virus, HPV, was found to cause a sexually transmitted disease. In 1985, epidemiological studies linked the virus to genital cancers of the cervix and vulva. As it turned out, there are more than 50 strains of this virus with some 10 of them considered oncogenic -- associated with an increased risk of cancer -- with two strains, HPV-16 and HPV-18, accounting for 70 percent of all cases of cervical cancer. In the last three decades, these oncogenic strains of HPV have also been shown to be causally related to cancers of the oral cavity, vulva, vagina, anus, rectum and penis.
Five years ago, a vaccine to protect against the effects of four of the oncogenic strains of the HPV most strongly associated with the increased risk of cancer was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccination protocol involves three inoculations given over a six-month period at a total cost of approximately $400.
To be effective, the vaccine must be given before HPV infection, so the FDA recommends vaccination before adolescence and the onset of sexual activity. Although the current suggested regimen for vaccination is for girls and boys beginning as early as 9 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than a third of the original target group of adolescent girls have received three doses of the vaccine.
Because the vaccine only protects against four oncogenic strains of HPV virus, girls and women still require screening for the disease with a Pap smear -- the current gold standard for the detection of precancerous lesions and cancers of the cervix -- and/or a test for the presence of HPV virus. There are additional methods available to detect precancerous lesions in females and males which are office procedures that can be performed without anesthesia. The essential point is that current screening programs will have to be continued in those who are vaccinated.
There is no way of knowing what the long-term effects of administering HPV vaccines are in young children. Historically, data about other vaccines is not reassuring. The Salk polio vaccine was grown in monkey kidney cells, which later were found to be contaminated with another virus not identified before the vaccine had been administered to millions of children. Sixty years later, there are still debates about what the potential effects of that occult virus might be.
In the World War II, yellow fever vaccine was administered to military troops being sent to regions where yellow fever was endemic. It wasn't until long after the war was over that we learned that the egg-grown yellow fever vaccine was contaminated with an avian virus. Several studies were launched in the late '50s attempting to determine if the military personnel who received the yellow fever vaccine had suffered any significant diseases which could potentially be attributed to the contaminating virus, but logistical obstacles prevented the completion of those investigations.
There is still a great deal of work that needs be done to evaluate this new HPV vaccine. We don't know if it results in lifelong immunity for those vaccinated. We don't know if there is significant variability in the development of effective immunity to the vaccine. The unknown risks of the HPV vaccine deserve a thorough discussion -- especially since it is a very costly intervention, which does not eliminate the need for customary follow-up surveillance of the disease it is being administered to prevent.
The cancers it does prevent all have precursors, which may be diagnosed and treated, thereby lowering the risk of cancer. While a valid argument can be made that the use of the HPV vaccine is justified in third world countries where Pap smear screening and elimination of the premalignant lesions is not readily available, I believe that other strategies may be more appropriate for young girls and boys in the U.S., which will not expose them to potentially significant health risks.
Bruce A. BarronAdjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Professor at New York University School of Medicine

BAHVS Delight at European Funding for Homeopathy Research

THE British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons (BAHVS) is celebrating following the announcement that veterinary homeopathy research is likely to receive a huge cash injection.
The European Parliament's Agriculture Committee (AGRI) is to vote on a draft budget of 2 million Euros (£1.7million) in order to pilot a research project and co-ordinate research on the use of homeopathy and phytotherapy on farm animals. A final decision is expected later this year.
A need for European investment in veterinary research was prompted by growing concerns of antibiotic resistance and the emergence of superbugs like MRSA and C. difficile in veterinary and human medicine. Homeopathy is commonly used to treat bacterial conditions by homeopathic vets in practice all over the world today. Four recent studies support its practical application in everyday practice.1 Phytotherapy refers to the use of therapeutic herbs (herbal medicines) in treating bacterial conditions.
Homeopathic vet and President of the BAHVS, Mark Elliott said “we are delighted with the proposal to fund further research in to the use of homeopathic and herbal medicine for farm animals.
“We need to bring these medicines into veterinary treatment regimes in an informed way to take the strain off pharmaceuticals. Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly worrying problem that is not going to go away. Homeopathy as a veterinary medical intervention has proven successful many times over the years. It is safe and used worldwide by millions of human beings too.
“Should the plans go ahead, this new funding will be very welcome and demonstrates how homeopathy has taken a huge step forward in recognition for treating ill health in farm and domestic species.”

Hyderabad to organize COP-11 biodiversity conference from October 1 to 9, 2012

Hyderabad is gearing up to host the International Biodiversity Conference to be held from October 1 to 9, 2012, at Hyderabad International Convention Centre near Hitex.
Earlier, the Central government had chosen Hyderabad over other four metros of the country for the event. They found Hyderabad to be the apt destination as it has the ability and logistic infrastructures for holding such an international event. This is the 11th Conference of Parties (COP-11) on biological diversity. It is expected that more than 30 countries and 12,000 participants will take part in this convention.
India has not hosted a meeting of a Conference of the Parties to a multilateral environmental agreement since 2002. This will be the first meeting to assess the implementation of the Nagoya biodiversity compact. It is expected that all countries who are Parties to the Convention will submit their national biodiversity strategies and action plans, by the time of the meeting next year.
The Hyderabad meeting is also important as it is widely expected that two new protocols to the Convention will have entered into force: the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, and the Nagoya -Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. It is expected that both of these protocols will have force of law should they receive sufficient numbers of instruments of ratification in the coming months. Currently, the Nagoya Protocol has 24 signatories and the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol has 23.
The state and central ministries of environment and forest departments are working to finalize the guest room bookings in the city for the visiting delegates. Union Forest and Environment Secretary, Dr T Chatterji, visited the city and held talks with various agencies for the smooth execution of the international event. The meeting of the Conference of the Parties will also coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity as well with the Rio+20 meeting scheduled earlier in the year.

Digest This Prospect of Insects as Food

Insects could turn out to be healthy food as they contain reduced levels of fat and cholesterol, have high levels of minerals and double the amount of the protein contained in meat and fish.
Entomophagists, a term used to describe the people who eat bugs, have interested farmers who have begun to produce food to meet their special needs. They are trying to give a good spread of snails, scorpions ,worms and tarantulas.
The EU is encouraging this idea of promoting culinary insects and is now exploring its possibilities.
The UN is of the opinion that such micro-livestock can be a good source of nutrition especially when the conventional food resources fall short. Another important aspect is that insects are also environmentally friendly and they require much reduced food and space.

Superbugs Could Meet Their Match in Ancient Oz Mammals

Biologists have reproduced a 60-million-year-old wallaby gene and used it to develop a compound that could help fight multidrug-resistant superbugs.
Antimicrobial resistance is a large threat to our health and current antibiotics are in danger of becoming ineffective as bacteria evolve to resist them.
Using molecules of the innate immune system from animals with the strongest innate immune systems to fight these superbugs have so far been impractical.
The reason being that animals tend to be so distantly related to human beings that molecules taken from them could have toxic effects on us.
Which is why Ben Cocks of La Trobe University in Bundoora, Australia and colleagues decided to study the mammals with the best innate immune systems, the molecules of which are more likely to be compatible with humans.
Lab tests revealed that many of the peptides (a component of the innate immune system) destroyed six of seven multidrug-resistant bacteria, and was 10 to 30 times more potent than modern antibiotics such as tetracycline.
"This is really significant," New Scientist quoted Cocks as saying.
"Now we have access to ancient peptides for future drug development," he added.

Wrong Medicine for a Sick Economy seems true in US

"In US Middle-class families shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires," repeatedly proclaims President Obama, arguing for his proposed $1.5 trillion tax increase over the next 10 years. "That's pretty straightforward. It's hard to argue against that."
In fact, Mr. Obama's statement is anything but straightforward and not hard to argue against.
Seeking to reverse his declining poll numbers, especially among his increasingly disillusioned base, Obama is attempting to give the impression that America's millionaires and billionaires are paying lower taxes than their secretaries.
IRS data for 2008, however, the latest year for which the numbers are available, show that those who earned more than $1 million in adjusted gross income paid an average federal income tax rate of 23.3 percent.
For those earning $100,000 to $200,000 in 2008, the average federal income tax rate paid was just about half as much, 12.7 percent. For those with adjusted gross incomes from $30,000 to $50,000 -- a millionaire's secretary, for instance -- the average federal income tax rate paid was 7.2 percent, less than a third of the rate paid by those earning $1 million and over.
Obama is echoing a recent column in the New York Times by billionaire Warren Buffett in which Buffett wrote that the federal income tax rate he paid was lower than the rate paid by employees in his office.
"Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett," Obama responded. "There is no justification for it. It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million."
Again, the Buffett analysis is less than straightforward. For those in the top income brackets, a disproportionate share of income is from dividends, capital gains and other investments -- income that is taxed at 15 percent. IRS data show that taxpayers with more than $1 million in yearly income get only 33 percent of their income from wages and salaries.
An honest portrayal would acknowledge that dividends and capital gains are doubled taxed, first as corporate profits at the highest corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world, 35 percent, and then again as individual income when dividends are distributed or stock is sold.
The total tax rate on capital gains is "closer to 45 percent than 15 percent," stated a Wall Street Journal editorial on September 20.
In fact, the tax hit on capital gains is higher than the Journal states because capital gains are not indexed for inflation, producing taxes that are levied on illusory gains. The stock seller is taxed not only on real gains in purchasing power, but also on phantom gains attributable to inflation.
On the overall tax burden, Obama is arguing that the rich should start paying their "fair share." He doesn't mention that the latest IRS data, for 2008, show the top 1 percent of U.S. income earners paying 38 percent of all federal income taxes, the top 10 percent paying 70 percent, and the top half of income earners paying 97 percent of total federal income taxes.
Also unacknowledged by this White House is how President Kennedy's cut in the top marginal income tax rate produced an immediate increase in federal revenues, or how President Reagan's cut in the top marginal income tax rate was followed by a drop in the unemployment rate in the 1980s from 9.7 percent to 5.3 percent.
President Obama's prescription for revenue growth and job growth moves in exactly the opposite direction.
Source:The American Spectator

Bid to rejuvenate Ayurveda in NE

It is expected that Ayurveda, which till date has not received much attention in the North East States including Assam is going to get rejuvenated with the needed propagation soon to be launched.
In a recent brainstorming session at Govt Ayurvedic College, Guwahati, policy makers and stake holders of Ayurveda decided to make use of this traditional health care system for the development of the entire NE region.
Darshan Shankar, advisor to the Planning Commission, while highlighting the importance of Ayurveda, suggested that the Govt of Assam submit the proposal for converting the Govt Ayurvedic College to a national institute which will benefit the entire NE region. He also proposed for a new international level institution for research and higher studies in Ayurveda here.
PP Shrivastava, Member, NEC, assured total support for promoting and documenting the traditional knowledge of the tribal medicine systems in the NE region. “Since Ayurveda is much affordable and herbal medicines are easily accessible to the common masses in NE region, promoting this health care system should get importance,” he said.
It needs to be mentioned here that the session was attended by academicians, industrialists, NGOs, scientists, students and researchers.
Dr SP Bhattacharjee, Director, North East Centre for Ayurveda and Homeopathy, chaired the session. The programme was organized by World Ayurveda Foundation in association with All Assam Ayurveda Welfare Society and Ayurveda Teachers’ Organization.
The session suggested introducing post-graduations in all the departments at the Govt Ayurvedic College, it being the only functioning institution in the entire NE region, setting up Ayurvedic colleges in every States of the region in a phased manner, starting district Ayurvedic hospitals with minimum bed strength of 30 in the region.
Source:The Assam Tribune

Monday, 26 September 2011

Study: Dads less likely to die of heart problems

Fatherhood may be a kick in the old testosterone, but it may also help keep a man alive. New research suggests that dads are a little less likely to die of heart-related problems than childless men are.
The study — by the AARP, the government and several universities — is the largest ever on male fertility and mortality, involving nearly 138,000 men. Although a study like this can't prove that fatherhood and mortality are related, there are plenty of reasons to think they might be, several heart disease experts said.
Marriage, having lots of friends and even having a dog can lower the chance of heart problems and cardiac-related deaths, previous research suggests. Similarly, kids might help take care of you or give you a reason to take better care of yourself.
Also, it takes reasonably good genes to father a child. An inability to do so might mean a genetic weakness that can spell heart trouble down the road.
"There is emerging evidence that male infertility is a window into a man's later health," said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a Stanford University urologist and fertility specialist who led the study. "Maybe it's telling us that something else is involved in their inability to have kids."
The study was published online Monday by the journal Human Reproduction.
Last week, a study by other researchers of 600 men in the Philippines found that testosterone, the main male hormone, drops after a man becomes a dad. Men who started out with higher levels of it were more likely to become fathers, suggesting that low levels might reflect an underlying health issue that prevents reproduction, Eisenberg said.
In general, higher levels of testosterone are better, but too much or too little can cause HDL, or "good cholesterol," to fall — a key heart disease risk factor, said Dr. Robert Eckel, past president of the American Heart Association and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, Denver.
"This is a hot topic," Eckel said. "I like this study because I have five children," he joked, but he said many factors such as job stress affect heart risks and the decision to have children.
Researchers admit they couldn't measure factors like stress, but they said they did their best to account for the ones they could. They started with more than 500,000 AARP members age 50 and over who filled out periodic surveys starting in the 1990s for a long-running research project sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
For this study, researchers excluded men who had never been married so they could focus on those most likely to have the intent and opportunity to father a child. Men with cancer or heart disease also were excluded to compare just men who were healthy when the study began.
Of the remaining 137,903 men, 92 percent were fathers and half had three or more children. After an average of 10 years of follow-up, about 10 percent had died. Researchers calculated death rates according to the number of children, and adjusted for differences in smoking, weight, age, household income and other factors.
They saw no difference in death rates between childless men and fathers. However, dads were 17 percent less likely to have died of cardiovascular causes than childless men were.
Now for all the caveats.
Researchers don't know how many men were childless by choice and not because of a fertility problem.
They don't know what fertility problems the men's partners may have had that could have left them childless.
They didn't have cholesterol or blood pressure information on the men — key heart risk factors.
Less than 5 percent of participants were blacks or other minorities, so the results may not apply to them.
All those questions aside, however, some prominent heart experts were reassured by the study's large size and the steps researchers took to adjust for heart disease risk factors.
"I think there's something there," and social science supports the idea that children can lower heart risks, said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and genetics expert at Scripps Health in La Jolla, Calif. "Whether it's with a pet, a spouse or social interaction ... all those things are associated with better outcomes."
Dr. Daniel Rader, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania, said: "It's biologically plausible that there's a connection," but the reduced risk attributed to having children "is pretty modest."
Men often ask him what they can do to keep from dying of a heart attack, he said.
"I'm not really prepared to, on the basis of this, tell them to start having a few kids," Rader said.

International models using homeopathy for beauty

While Indian models may be relying on expensive cosmetic products for skin problems, international models seem to have discovered a cheap homeopathy cure for beauty problems. At the recently concluded New York Fashion Week, Arnica Montana, a homeopathic supplement, readily available in
gels and oral supplements, was used by models as a gel to cure puffiness and get an instant glow. Not just the models, designer Philip Lim too tried the medicine and said, “I felt my skin glow.” And designer Diane Von Fursternburg tweeted “Arnica gel is the best thing for bruises.”
The medicine may be a quick fix to beauty problems, but homeopaths in the city warn against using it without medical advise. “Though Arnica Montana cures acne, puffiness and skin injuries, one must still consult the doctor before using it,” says Dr Bela Chaudhry. “The medicine should not be consumed over a prolonged period of time without medical advice,” says Dr AK Gupta of AKG’s OVIHAMS Homeopathic Clinic.Indian models, however, are unaware of the medicine as a beauty fix. “I’ve never heard of this medicine, but I won’t mind trying it,” says model Noyonika Chatterjee. “I’m not aware of any such beauty cure,” says model Sapna Kumar. “I’d rather stay away from such medicines and stick to natural ways,” says model Diva Dhawan.
Source:HT News

An Ayurvedic cure for infertility

Ayurvedacharya Vipul Khira says Ayurveda recommends the use of certain herbs, foods, and seeds to treat infertility. These are usually different for men and women
Ayurveda lays down certain principles and methods for the treatment of infertility. Infertility also includes couples who can conceive but due to repeated miscarriages, the woman is unable to carry the pregnancy to full term. On an average, as many as one out of 10 couples cannot conceive. On a social level, infertility in one of the partners attracts social stigma and taboos. Treatment for men: Both men and women have an equal role to play in childbirth. The concept of male Infertility in Ayurveda centres around abnormalities in sperm, deficiency in seminal fluid, defect in penile function such as in erection or ejaculation, senility or old age. A man could be unable to conceive because of urinary diseases. A number of medications are advised. Certain herbs are administered such as jeevaka, kakoli, shatavari aand ashwagandha to correct these conditions. Kokilaksha and vidarikanda are prescribed to increase the quantity of seminal fluid. Foods such as rice, wheat, milk, ghee, eggs, black gram, almonds and mutton soup are useful. Special herbs for women: Female infertility in Ayurveda has been described as a tubal block, pelvic Inflammatory disease, salpingitis, obesity, uterine fibroids and vaginitis. For women, herbs like iodhra, ashoka shatavari, and aloe vera are useful and improve fertility by regulating hormonal levels. Purification therapy is also useful for both partners and improves chances of conception. When the woman’s uterus is not defective and the man’s semen is full of active spermatozoa, then apamarg roots ground with milk are prescribed for the woman. Ashwagandha is roasted with cow’s butter and boiled with milk and sugar and can be had by the woman on certain days following the menstrual cycle.

The California College of Ayurveda Announces Its Fall 2011 Ayurvedic Studies Program

The Ayurvedic Health Educator (Level I) begins October 4th in Los Angeles, and October 18th in Nevada City, California. The program is also offered online via the Veda Web - Live Internet Program.
Ayurveda courses are offered by the ayurveda school throughout the United States in various educational formats. The Ayurvedic Health Educator (Level I) begins October 4th in Los Angeles, and October 18th in Nevada City, California. The program is also offered online via the Veda Web - Live Internet Program.
Ayurveda, "The Science of Life," is the healing science from India, and has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It provides holistic understanding and healing to people on all levels: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ayurveda uses a multitude of healing modalities including herbs, diet, colors, aromas, sound, lifestyle recommendations, panchakarma meditation, and Yoga.
Students who complete the AHE program (Level I) will receive a joint certificate of completion from both the California College of Ayurveda and the American Institute of Vedic Studies. This program is designed for the student wishing to integrate their training in Ayurveda with an existing health care degree, massage or Yoga certification, or to receive the knowledge for personal growth and/or self-healing. Graduates with no previous training may conduct community ayurvedic educational workshops and seminars. This training can be combined with our Ayurvedic Massage and Body Therapy certification, allowing level-one graduates to become licensed Massage Therapists in the state of California.
Source:PRWeb Release

. Fish and the ‘Stroke’ of Good Luck

Detailed analysis of 15 studies has led researchers to conclude that eating fish regularly can cut the risk of a stroke. Researchers said that the particular ingredient omega-3, found in fish, lowers the risk of stroke.
Consumption of two to three servings of fish per week, is sufficient to lower the risk of stroke.
Selenium, Vitamin D, and other types of proteins found in fish could be providing this health benefit.Fatty fish such as salmon and herring are rich in omega -3 fatty acids and is thus loaded with many benefits to health.

Jamnagar royal family slaps notice on ayurvedic college

Shatrushalyasinhji Jadeja of the erstwhile princely state of Jamnagar has slapped a notice on Gulab Kunverba Ayurvedic Society in Jamnagar to hand over the land to the royal family as they had failed to utilize it for the given purpose.
The notice has been served on Gulab Kunverba Ayurvedic Society through advocate Shailesh Mehta.
The notice states the then ruler of Navanagar (now Jamnagar) Digvijaysinhji Jadeja had given the land to establish the ayurvedic college, hospital, community hall and other facilities for the promotion of ayurveda and the college was named after the then rajmata 'Gulab Kunverba Ayurvedic College.
The land belongs to the Jamnagar royal family and ownership of the land remained with the family. The land was given only for educational purpose to Gulab Kunverba Ayurvedic Society. But at present, the members of society have been using it for commercial purpose.

Increasing Number of Teens Have Unprotected Sex

Increasing numbers of British teens are courting trouble by having unprotected sex which could end up in a host of sexually transmitted diseases as well as unwanted pregnancies.Nearly 43% confessed not using a condom during sex. Worse, many teens are unaware about the consequences of unsafe sex.
Nearly 25% confessed they had unsafe sex, since their partner did not prefer to use contraception.
Nearly 41% of the world’s 208 million pregnancies annually are not planned, researchers said.

Pregnant at 61

In Brazil, a woman at 61, due to give birth to her first child became pregnant with a donor egg.
The woman in question, whose case has appeared in local media, asked that her name be withheld. She is post-menopausal, married to a man who is 38, and became pregnant with a donor egg. She is due in November.
"I had already gone through menopause... My husband wanted to be a father. I wanted to be a mother too. I am in great health... and I have undergone a very thorough medical clearance," she told O Globo newspaper.
She said she did not plan to tell her future daughter about her having used a donor egg to become pregnant.
It is not Brazil's first late-in-life pregnancy. As recently as September 9, a 52-year-old woman whose husband is 88 became a first-time mother of twins.
Brazilian health officials say they are concerned about a wave of late-in-life pregnancies, which can put great strain on and harm some older mothers' bodies.
Yet as of now, there is no age limit for artificial insemination; doctors are not supposed to proceed if there would be grave risks for the mother or child.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ayurveda Committee To Be Dissolved in SriLanka?

The Ayurveda Drugs Formulary Committee is to be dissolved as they have opposed moves to import and distribute drugs manufactured in Japan which claim to cure cancer, despite them not being certified by the Japanese government.
A Sunday Leader exposé last week revealed that Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake has approved the move to import the drugs from the Japanese manufacturer despite opposition from the Ayurveda Drugs Formulary Committee.
Minister Salinda Dissanayake has now cancelled a meeting which was scheduled to be held with the members of this Committee this week, a committee member told The Sunday Leader on the condition of anonymity.
He said there is strong suspicion that the members of the Ayurveda Drugs Formulary Committee will be removed and replaced by members loyal to Minister Salinda Dissanayake.
The Committee, which comprises 20 members, was scheduled to meet next Friday but Minister Dissanayake has sent a notice saying the meeting has been cancelled and a new date was not fixed.
Of the 20 members, 18 had spoken out against the new drug, the Ayurveda Drugs Formulary Committee member said.
When The Sunday Leader contacted the Secretary, Ministry of Indigenous Medicine P. D. Dahanayake, he said that he was not aware of any move to dissolve the Ayurveda Drugs Formulary Committee.
The two tablets to be imported from Japan, bearing numbers NCK-E538A and NCK-E538B have been manufactured by a company in Japan called ‘Brast Sheave’ but have not been tested or certified by the Japanese government.
He also said that he has not spoken to Minister Salinda Dissanayake regarding the drugs manufactured in Japan.
The Sunday Leader made several attempts to contact Minister Salinda Dissanayake but our attempts proved futile.
In the meantime, Dr. Hemantha Benaragama, Director of the Cosmetic Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA), told The Sunday Leader importing Western medicine must have clearance from the Ministry of Health which this particular two tablets do not have.
By Indika Sri Aravinda
Source;The Sunday Leader

Dutch doctors urge end to male circumcision

Dutch doctors want politicians and human rights groups to speak out and discourage the practice of male circumcision in the Netherlands because they say it is a "painful and harmful ritual," and a violation of children's rights.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 boys are circumcised in the Netherlands each year, mostly for religious reasons and not always with an anesthetic, according to the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) which represents surgeons, pediatricians, general practitioners and urologists.
"We want to discourage male circumcision, because it is an unnecessary procedure with complications, which violates the integrity of the child," Lode Wigersma, a spokesman for the association, told Reuters on Friday.
"This is not an innocent procedure, we see complications in about 5 percent of the cases, as well as some long-term and psychological implications," he said.
Male circumcision involves the removal of all or part of the foreskin of the penis. It is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys, and is also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide.
The Dutch medical association has urged religious leaders to find alternative rites of passage that are not irreversible and which are not painful for the child.
The practice of female genital mutation has been prohibited by law in the Netherlands since 1993 for all ages.
Last year the Dutch medical association released a report against the practice of circumcision of male children for non-medical reasons, hoping to initiate a public discussion.
Now it is appealing to Dutch politicians to speak out against the practice to help "gradually change the mentality" in society and among religious groups that circumcise their boys.
The doctors group said that contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause some minor as well as serious complications including bleeding, infection, urethral stricture as well as panic attacks, which it says are particularly common.
It said there was no medical reason to surgically remove a part of the genitals of healthy babies and young children, who are too young to give their consent to the procedure.
The Dutch doctors are not calling for a circumcision ban, for fear the practice will be driven underground.
"We also understand that it (circumcision) is a deeply embedded religious habit so we don't expect it to be over in a few years, so our appeal is if you want to do it then have it done by a doctor with anesthesia," said Wigersma.
The majority of male circumcisions in the Netherlands are done in special circumcision clinics by doctors using anesthetic on Muslim boys between 5 and 7 years, according to Wigersma.
Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, President of the Dutch Association of Rabbis, said only about 50 male Jewish babies are circumcised in the Netherlands each year.
He disputed the 5 percent complication rate, and said there have not been any problems in the Jewish community due to strict rules about how and when circumcision takes place.
"According to Jewish law, you have to do it (circumcision) the Jewish way," Jacobs said.
The doctors' recommendation to end the practice of circumcision is likely to be controversial given that it involves both Jewish and Muslim traditions.
In a rare show of unity in June, the Dutch Muslim and Jewish communities -- numbering about 1 million and 40,000 respectively in a total population of 16 million -- condemned the government's proposed ban on the religious slaughter of animals as a violation of their religious freedom.
By Roberta B. Cowan

Akshay Kumar Wins More Hearts by Becoming the Ambassador for Heart

The well-known Bollywood action hero, Akshay Kumar, has recently put his heart and soul into a different project far removed from the make-believe world of films.Akshay is backing the heart healthy movement and has become the ambassador of a Mumbai–based hospital to offer his support for children and senior citizens suffering heart diseases.
Akshay Kumar is now the 'Good heart Ambassador' for Asian Heart Institute (AHI) and will champion the cause of more than a million babies born worldwide in underpriviledged households with congenital heart problems.
Cardiac treatment, medical care and surgery at cost effective rates will be offered by the AHI under its Asian Seva Campaign to children and senior citizens with heart problems.
A 24-our helpline 126126 has also been launched by AHI for heart patients who are in critical situations and require emergency care.
With his active support for the cause of heart patients, Akshay has surely won several hearts!

Poor Diet, Risk Factor For Mental Health Problems In Adolescence

Poor diet could be a risk factor for mental health problems in adolescence, say Deakin University health researchers.In a study of 3000 Australian adolescents, published in the journal PLoS One, the Deakin researchers revealed that diet quality predicted mental health in adolescents over time, suggesting that it might be possible to use diet to prevent mental health problems developing in the first place.
“We found that diet quality and mental health were linked, with healthier diets associated with better mental health in 2005 and also predicting better mental health in 2007. This relationship even persisted when mental health at the starting point was taken into account,” said Dr Felice Jacka from Deakin University’s Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit based at Barwon Health, who led the study.
“Three quarters of psychiatric illnesses begin before the age of 25 and the average age that depressive illnesses start is only 13 years old. Once an individual experiences depression, they are more likely to experience it again. We believe that diet may be an important environmental factor influencing the development of mental health problems during adolescence, when rapid growth makes good nutrition particularly important.
“This new evidence suggests that it might be possible to prevent some cases of depression developing in the first place by ensuring that the diets of adolescents are sufficiently nutritious.”
For the study, the researchers analysed data collected from over 3000 Australian adolescents in 2005 and again in 2007.

Wockhardt Foundation inks MoU with GAIL India for Vision 1000 project, plans 1000 mobile units across India

Wockhardt Foundation has entered into a strategic alliance with Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) to jointly launch Vision 1000 healthcare programme in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The Foundation through its Vision 1000 aims to provide free primary healthcare at the doorstep of the poor families in rural and remote areas through a pan-India network of mobile healthcare units. GAIL India has its major installations in these two States. It is looking at signing strategic alliances with companies across private and public sectors to join hands as partners for its Vision 1000 programme on a pan-India basis.
The roll-out of the programme in these two states will commence from the first week of October 2011. Through this mobile healthcare outreach programme in two states both the partners would enable free primary healthcare aid to nearly 135,000 patients annually in MP and approximately 90,000 patients in UP.
According to Dr Huzaifa Khorakiwala, CEO and Inspiration, Wockhardt Foundation said, “Having successfully launched Vision 1000 across Gujarat, Orissa and various parts of Maharashtra, it has now become imminent that we put the programme’s expansion on a fast-track. Our partnership with GAIL provides us a like-minded partner to aid in the expansion of Vision 1000. Through this strategic collaboration with GAIL, we are expanding the programme in two key states. Over the next one year we aim to further expand this programme across other states of the country.”
As part of its Vision 1000 expansion plan, over the next 5 years Wockhardt Foundation plans to have a network of 1000 mobile healthcare units spread across the length and breadth of the Indian sub-continent. The pan-India expansion will help Wockhardt Foundation reach out to nearly 25 million poor people with free healthcare services across the country.

Man Arrested Over Painkiller Sabotage

British police say that they have arrested a man from south London on suspicion of sabotaging packets of Nurofen Plus painkillers with anti-psychotic and epilepsy drugs.The case of suspected sabotage last month led to the makers of Nurofen Plus, Reckitt Benckiser, recalling the painkillers in Britain and halting their distribution.
A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police Service said the unnamed 30-year-old man had been arrested in Bromley in the south of the capital on "suspicion of contamination of goods".
"The man is currently being held for questioning at a south London police station," the spokesman told AFP.
Five contaminated packets of Nurofen Plus were found in Britain in August, prompting a national health warning and the recall by the manufacturers.
Four of the affected packs contained Seroquel XL, an anti-psychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia, mania and bipolar depression, and two people accidentally took the drug but suffered no harm.
The epilepsy drug Neurontin was found in another packet but no one was thought to have taken it.


Digitisation of 40,000 Sanskrit manuscripts on at BISM

Under the National Manuscripts Mission (NMM), a collection of around 40,000 manuscripts in Sanskrit are being digitised at the Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal (BISM). A team from the NMM began work at BISM over a month ago. The work includes digitising manuscripts from private sources in the city as well.
The process of digitisation began at early August, and 550 manuscripts on Ayurveda were the first of the lot to be scanned and uploaded. “The 40,000 manuscripts run into several thousand pages, the digitisation of which is to be completed within the next two years. So far, we have digitised 2,000 manuscripts,” said historian Mandar Lawate, who is coordinating this project with the NMM.
Dating back 600 years, the Sanskrit manuscripts pertain to various topics on Ayurveda, Puranas, Vedas, philosophy and art. For instance, ‘Shivlilamrut,’ ‘Pandav Pratap’ and ‘Hari Vijay’ authored by poet Shridhar, Eknathi Bhagwat, Sant Tukaram’s ‘gathas’ and ‘Dnyaneshwari,’ are some of the manuscripts which would be digitised soon.
“The smallest manuscript, a Hindu ‘panchang,’ is the length of a human finger, while the largest one, based on the ‘Mahabharat,’ is as big as a cupboard. These manuscripts are at least 300 years old. Some of the other manuscripts are written in golden ink, vegetable dyes, and highlighted with illustrations and drawings,” Lawate said. The process of manuscript digitisation has been on at the BISM for the last two years, through various agencies and projects. “So far, the BISM hasn’t been to do any digitisation on its own, as we are short of trained manpower and infrastructure, and also due to paucity of funds,” Lawate said.
The NMM had listed the digitisation of these 40,000 Sanskrit manuscripts during the centenary year celebrations of the BISM last year. “We don’t have any government aid at the moment. Our objective, on the occasion of the organisation’s centenary year, was to collect Rs 1 crore. Last year, the Pune Municipal Corporation had promised Rs 30 lakh each for two years, but we haven’t got a single paisa yet. So far, we’ve been able to collect some Rs 30 lakh only from the well-wishers of the BISM,” added Lawate.
Last year, the PMC had also sanctioned money for the preservation of the mandal’s buildings. “That too hasn’t arrived. We are told by the PMC that the Maharashtra government is yet to approve these sanctions,” Lawate said.

Facebook Badge