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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Early Male Circumcision May Reduce Spread of HIV, HPV

Anna R. Giuliano, Ph.D., program leader in cancer epidemiology at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues note that studies have shown that circumcision of HIV-infected men does not reduce HPV transmission to their female partners, citing that many factors may account for this lack of efficacy.
However, they suggest that the high prevalence of HPV among the HIV-infected men (73 percent in the intervention group and 69 percent in the control group) and the high prevalence of HIV among the female partners of greater than 60 percent, relates to the lack of efficacy of male circumcision.
In that study, it was pointed out that the high and sustained prevalence of HPV among the HIV-infected individuals is "likely to overwhelm any preventative effect of circumcision."
"Male circumcision is important for reduction of not only HIV infection but also HPV infection in HIV-negative men and their female partners," said Giuliano.
"However, its efficacy seems limited to HIV-negative men. These results suggest the need for early circumcision to achieve maximum effectiveness in populations with a high incidence of HIV and cervical cancer," he added.
For maximum reductions in HIV and HPV infections and related diseases in women, such as cervical cancer, the researchers recommend that both circumcision and HPV vaccination of the male population should be delivered prior to sexual debut.
The study has been published in the British medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Source-ANI

In US Schools, Yoga Without the Spiritual

TO “om” or not to “om”: For those who teach yoga in schools, that is a question that arises with regularity.The little syllable, often intoned by yoga students at the beginning and end of class, signifies different things to different people. But with its spiritual connotations, it is a potential tripwire for school administrators and parents, along with “namaste” and other Sanskrit words, chanting and hands in the prayer position.
The om question ties into the wider debate over the extent to which yoga is entwined with religion. Yoga program directors, who train and place teachers in the schools and develop curriculums, try to avoid setting off a battle like the one that developed over the Lord’s Prayer.
“Every school is different, and every one has their own permutations and parameters of what you can and can’t do,” said Shari Vilchez-Blatt, founder and director of Karma Kids Yoga on West 14th Street, which holds studio classes and sends teachers to private and public schools in New York.
Bent on Learning, a 10-year-old program based on Grand Street that teaches 3,300 students a week in 16 public schools, is a namaste-free zone. “No namaste,” Jennifer Ford, the development director and one of the founders, said. “No om. No prayer position with the hands. Nothing that anyone could look in and think, this is religious.”
The hard-line policy is stressed in the 100-hour Bent on Learning teacher training. Perhaps a teacher accustomed to working in other settings inadvertently puts hands together in a prayer position, for instance. “It is easily explained, and fixed,” Ms. Ford said. “We weed it out quickly.”
Generally speaking, the money to support yoga programs comes from parent-teacher associations, grants, fund-raising and school budgets. Bent on Learning, which holds a glamorous annual benefit dinner with yoga enthusiasts including Gwyneth Paltrow and Russell Simmons, pays for classes at New Design High School, a public school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Kate Johnson, a Bent on Learning instructor, teaches more than 100 students each week at the school, in a basement room set aside for yoga. She leads the classes — an elective for gym — through a series of stretches, standing poses and sun salutations. Sanskrit terms for poses are used, on the theory that they are akin to French-derived terms like plié in ballet.
The class ends with students flat on their backs in corpse pose, savasana. Ms. Johnson tells the students to take a rare quiet moment to breathe.
After class, Allyson Lobo, 15, said, “I love yoga,” adding: “It’s relaxing. It makes me feel calm and takes me to a happy place.”
At Karma Kids, which works with more than 1,200 students in 16 schools, Ms. Vilchez-Blatt takes a more elastic position on “om.” “We om,” she said. “I don’t look at it as spiritual. When we say ‘om,’ it is all the sounds in the universe.” Still, she checks whether it is acceptable to school administrators before introducing it in class.
If the answer is no, Ms. Vilchez-Blatt has creative remedies, leading chants of “peace” or, at Chabad programs in Manhattan for children from prekindergarten through age 12, “Shal-OM.”
Jennifer Cohen Harper, director of Little Flower Yoga, which opened in 2006 and teaches about 700 students at 13 public and private schools, also discusses with administrators the content of classes. She may incorporate “om” and “namaste,” which she translates as “the light in me bows to the light in you.” The students do not do the prayer pose, instead placing their palms over their hearts.
If any qualms are expressed, Ms. Harper edits the language or behavior in question. “Occasionally someone will ask, ‘Do you guys do a lot of chanting?’ and you get the idea to stay away from it,” she said.
Jessica Soo, director of the after-school program at St. Luke’s School, an Episcopal elementary school in Greenwich Village where Little Flower teaches, has no objection to the use of “om” or “namaste.” She noted that in addition to the Little Flower classes, a staff foreign language teacher does yoga with students and discusses Sanskrit. “The kids are exposed to other cultures and religions in our school,” Ms. Soo said.
At Achievement First Bushwick Elementary School, a charter school, an after-school elective class taught by Little Flower instructors recently started when a teacher, Lisa Vandegrift, rang a singing bowl. Such a bowl is sometimes used in religious ceremonies, but here it had the secular goal of quieting rambunctious children and focusing their attention.
The students were led through energetic and playful sun salutations set to a song with Sanskrit lyrics describing a high to low push-up position. “What’s that funny word? Chaturanga!” Toward the end of the class, the students sat quietly in a cross-legged position, eyes closed, breathing in and out. One child made a ritual gesture called a mudra, with the backs of her hands resting on her knees and forefingers and thumbs forming O’s.
“I have no idea where she learned a mudra,” Ms. Harper, Little Flower’s director, who was observing, said with a laugh. “We never teach mudras. Kids come with ideas from TV.”
Courtesy:The New York Times

Teens' Short-Fuse Behavior Can Be Attributed to Their Brains f

Scientists have suggested that teenagers could be stroppy and anti-social simply because their brains are not working properly.The team at Yale University, in the U.S, found that during adolescence, the process that creates new brain cells is interrupted, with dramatic consequences, the Daily Mail reported.
As well as leading to problem behaviour, it could even cause mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, when the person matures into adulthood.
Experiments on mice revealed that they became 'profoundly anti-social' if the smooth development of brain cells was halted.
No such effect was observed if the same block occurred during adulthood, giving the researchers important clues into how personality can be formed.
The team focused on 'neurogenesis', a process in which cells are created in specific areas of the brain after birth.
It occurs at a much faster rate during childhood and adolescence but most other research has focused on adulthood.
"Intriguingly, schizophrenics have a deficit in generating neurons in the hippocampus, one of the brain areas where new neurons are created.
"Given that symptoms emerge in adolescence, it is possible that deficits in generating new neurons during adolescence or even childhood holds new insights," said lead author Professor Arie Kaffman.
The findings were published in the journal Neuroscience.
Source-ANI

Safety of homeopathy

Homeopathy is known for being effective, useful for all ages, and for its wide range of health applications. Plus, the low cost of homeopathic remedies is easy on your pocketbook.
This article introduces remedies that can make you feeling better fast, plus sale prices to stretch your dollars.
- Safety Of homeopathy
Homeopathy presents a long safe history of medicines that are usually called remedies. With over-the-counter 6X and 30X potencies, patients suffering from hundreds of illnesses such as painful health conditions, first-aid and seasonal problems can be helped.
- How can homeopathy offer such a safe path to recovery?
The key is homeopathy works with the body. They enhance one’s own self healing mechanisms and empower the immune system, as well. Conventional medicines oppose the body and use chemicals to force the body and usually turn off valuable symptoms which can guide us to the real background etiology in order to solve the patient’s main disease.
All conventional medications have side effects and interactions because they are toxic substances that in most cases are distributed to all tissues.
Homeopathic remedies serve as temporary tools to remove blocks to health through activating inborn self healing mechanisms.
Once the block is nudged out of the way, the body takes over to heal and balance.
This means safety. This is natural medicine and means real recovery and health.
Remember the 1997 FDA investigation of heart valve damage linked to the drug combination of Fen-Phen?
Or the 2000 class action suit against Ritalin manufactures for fraud in the over-promotion of ADHD and Ritalin?
Or the 2006 court case against Paxil for concealing the side effect of suicidal ideation and high risk of suicide?
Every year, new drug interaction books pour onto the market. Why?
Because allopathic drug interactions and contradictions must be constantly updated.
Compare this with homeopaths and lay people referencing Boericke's Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Boericke's classic book is still popular and accurate today as when it was printed, many years ago. Non of homeopathic remedies have been put away from its wealthy remedies list, exceeding 10,000 today.
That is because homeopathic remedies don't interact, cause side effects or have to be taken off the market.
Homeopathy can be taken at the same time as prescription medications. This means that you can use a homeopathic remedy to offset a side effect of a prescription, or to offer additional relief of symptoms.
Homeopathy is a family medicine. Safe and reliable for all ages, when prescribed by true homeopaths or homeopathic physicians who obey the homeopathic principles.
- Enough knowledge of homeopathy, a necessity
Your family with enough knowledge of homeopathic principles and common remedies, will notice immediate health benefits with The Remedy Chest. A wonderful kit of 29 remedies in 30X potency for fast first-aid treatment and relief of seasonal health complaints.
Read Choosing Potencies on the versatility of 30X potency.
When we are suffering from serious ailments, dosing can be a concern.
My systematic approach can be found online, click Guide to Correct Dose.
This information is a great assessment tool and helps you maximize your remedy to speed recovery.
- Avogadro number of molecules
When the potency of remedies exceed 30 centesimal, medicinal substance is not found in the remedy, Avogadro number or constant is exceeded but both potency and safety increase.
- Arthritis products
Osteoarthritis, is known as wear-and-tear arthritis, or degenerative joint disease.
Rhus Tox is the 1st choice remedy for osteoarthritis. Degenerative arthritis can take years to develop with the original stressor being an accident or injury.
Homeopathy provides the tools that can remove that blockage. Rhus Tox is one of the remedies known for helping with health problems that originate
years earlier due to an accident and injury.
For tips on finding the initial cause/blockage, so you can determine the correct homeopathic remedy for your current physical or emotional ailments.
Rhus tox is an effective medicine that addresses arthritic inflammation.
Take Rhus Tox at night to wake up to a bright morning with less stiffness.
Use to relieve backache, lumbago and rheumatism. Rhus Tox relieves general body aches.
This means Rhus Tox helps relieve bone and joint aches due to winter and spring flu.
Use Rhus Tox in 30X potency for recent problems and a single dose of it in 30C or 200c potency for chronic conditions.
Prices start as low as $6.99! and are available in your preference of liquid, tablets or pellets.
Even your pets will enjoy improved "get up and go" with Rhus tox.
General dose is 3 pellets 3 times a day with less frequency as improvement is made.
Homeopathy for Musculoskeletal Healing offers an in-depth look into pain relieving remedies.
For pain relief, try topical Traumeel and Topricin. Both include the healing remedy Arnica.
Whenever I hear someone tries to discredit homeopathy, I want to place a tube of Arnica ointment or tablets in their hands. Everyone who has had an injury and tried Arnica, knows what I mean.
The fast relief is so remarkable as to be memorable and undeniable!
Arnica is added to remedies for soreness and nerve pain such as Bellis, Calendula, Hypericum, Chamomilla, Symphytum, and Hepar sul.
Therefore one believes in the efficacy of homeopathic remedies after taking the proper one for his/her current condition especially in acute cases.
Source: elixirs

Juhi Chawla’s philanthropic endeavour

It was by sheer accident thatactor Juhi Chawla was standing in the lobby of a hospital where she saw a woman weeping quietly in the corner. Juhi who immediately went to talk to her says that she is a changed person who now is working towards building a hospital especially for children where all kinds of treatment – allopathic, homeopathy and ayurvedic – will be made available.
The person Juhi met was the mother of a 14-year-old boy, a cancer patient, who is on the last stage of the disease and the doctors have apparently asked the boy to be taken home. The disease started when the boy got hit in his jaw while playing football. The unattended wound soon transformed into cancer and soon the boy was on his second stage of the disease. The disease came back to haunt the boy despite initially getting cured of it.
“His parents had run out of money and were selling their belongings. Now as the doctors gave little hope, the mother was desperate to save her child. She approached me in tears trembling in despair. I promised to do something and I did. I visited Zishan too. He was painfully weak. The chemo and radiation had jammed his head and he couldn’t swallow and could barely breathe. The doctors were giving him IV and antibiotics to strengthen him so that they could do one more round of chemo,” Juhi wrote on her Twitter page. Juhi perhaps helped with whatever she could but that was not enough to save the child from the jaws of the disease.
The actor says that from that day onwards she decided to work towards building the hospital and if her friends are right then she is steadily working towards it.
“I know what I’m going to do. I will at least try to do. God please help me make this happen, build a hospital only for children. A hospital that combines homoeopathy and ayurveda with allopathy!!! Draw from the wisdom of the old and the technique of the new!! Let every mother know that if she needs help and hope she can come there. God help me realise my dream,” she further wrote.

OHSU Researchers Uncover Cause of Hypertension From Antirejection Drugs

Discovery may help prevent kidney damage in organ transplant patients
Modern medicine’s ability to save lives through organ transplantation has been revolutionized by the development of drugs that prevent the human body from rejecting the transplanted organ.
But those antirejection drugs have their own side effects — sometimes serious.
A group of researchers led by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered the process that may be causing many of those side effects. And the discovery means those side effects likely can be dealt with cheaply and easily — with a class of widely used drugs that are often avoided in patients with organ transplants.
The researchers' findings were published this week in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.
The researchers examined the effects of a class of antirejection — or immunosuppressive — drugs called calcineurin inhibitors, which includes cyclosporine and tacrolimus.
Calcineurin inhibitors, which can be instrumental in preventing organ rejection in transplant patients, also can cause hypertension and kidney problems. The researchers’ findings reveal what ultimately causes those problems — a calcineurin inhibitor spurs the production of an abnormally high level of a natural protein in the kidney.
Researchers found that a thiazide diuretic drug, which blocks the responsible protein, reduced hypertension in mice that had been given the calcineurin inhibitor. And mice lacking this protein did not develop hypertension at all.
The collaborative team of researchers, which included scientists from University College London, extended their observations to humans — kidney transplant patients in the United Kingdom.
University College London scientists found that kidney transplant patients who received the calcineurin inhibitor were more sensitive to a thiazide diuretic than were patients treated with other antirejection drugs.
The research results could mean very good news for transplant patients who have hypertension and potassium problems due to the antirejection drugs they’re taking. That’s because the drugs that can combat the elevation of the natural protein are generally the cheapest hypertensive drugs available — but many physicians have not been prescribing them for the side effects because they believed the problems were caused by changes outside the kidney.
“These findings should allow physicians to prescribe these simple drugs much more often and provide help to many, many more transplant patients who are suffering from these side effects,” said David Ellison, M.D., head of OHSU’s Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and the senior author of the study.
Ellison said the research points the way toward the next question he is planning to look at — taking a deeper look at the mechanism of how the antirejection drugs work. More research in that area might help scientists develop a drug that suppresses the body’s attempt to reject a transplanted organ, but produces none of the hypertension and other side effects, he said.
“That’s my new grant proposal — to take it to the next step,” Ellison said.
The lead investigators on the study were a nephrology trainee from Erasmus University in The Netherlands who worked for six months in Ellison’s laboratory, and an honorary senior lecturer from UCL. Scientists from Charité University in Berlin, Germany, also contributed substantially.
“This was a great example of team science,” Ellison said. “It was fun to have people from around the world collaborate to produce something that none of them was capable of producing alone.”
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Dutch Kidney Foundation and Erasmus University.
About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and only academic health center. As Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of the state and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,310 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.
Source:Health Canal.com

Defeat migraine with Ayurveda

Migraine is a widespread health issue. Studies show that 10-15 per cent of Indians suffer from migraine issues. Prevalence in women is three times more than in men and has been related to the menstrual cycle and menopause. Migraine triggers include:

- High stress, anxiety, anger
- Hormonal fluctuations in women
- Irregular sleep
- Some type of allergy/eating habits

Migraine is a form of excruciating, periodic headache allied with digestion and
neurological disorders. Symptoms accompanying a migraine attack include:

- Severe pain (unilateral), throbbing, pricking and pounding in the head.
- Nausea, vomiting, dizziness
- Loss of appetite, numbness and fatigue in the body
- Sensitivity to sound, light and smell.

Visual disturbances include seeing spots or stars, zigzag lines, loss of vision in one eye, or blurred vision.
Some may experience the attack daily; others may have it once or twice a month. The duration of attacks may last between four to 72 hours, in some cases. The pain of a migraine headache is generally moderate to severe, and can disturb our normal activities and spoil general wellbeing. Although a variety of pain relievers are available to treat a migraine, it only suppresses the pain. The problem persists in the body and prolonged use of painkillers have been known to cause severe side effects. Ayurveda provides a safe and natural treatment for complete cure.
Ayurveda follows a different way to deal with migraines — it tends to be result-oriented, not process-oriented. It treats the patient as an individual case and not as a generic group.

Treatment
The specialty of Ayurveda lies in the concept of diagnosing the disease and achieving complete cure. It focuses on the root cause of the disease. Toxins (ama) and aggravation of dosha are the main causes of the disease. So, effort can be made by removing the toxins from the body, (by adopting various purificatory procedures) and stimulating the digestive fire to stop further production of ama and balancing the dosha.

In order to that, Ayurveda has formulated some treatments (upakarmas) such as:

- Shiro Pichu
- Shiro Dhara
- Pradhana Karmas (Main treatment)
- Virechana (Purgation Therapy)
- Basti (Enema Therapy)
- Nasya

These have been proven to be effective and powerful self-healing processes, which help the body to eliminate toxins and to stop further production of toxins, strengthen the immune system in order to become more resistant to illnesses, enhance the body’s ability to be self-reliant, show vitality and mental clarity. It also brings about deep relaxation and a sense of well-being.
Along with these treatments, internal medicines (herbo-mineral compounds) play an important role in curing this disease. According to the principles of Ayurveda, if proper treatment is given at the right time, there is a fair chance of recovering from it for good.
Source:Deccan Herald

How naturopathic medicine helped rebuild my life

lternative medicine was an unknown field for me until about six months ago, when I was suffering from an unbalanced physical and psychological situation and conventional medicine, tests and medications were just making everything worse.
In April 2011, I had a nervous attack and I lost my balance, part of my motor skills, consciousness, and my appetite. I urgently met my family doctor to fix the situation. However, instead of finding what was wrong with me, I was literally abandoned from receiving any further consultations, only because I did not believe my problem would be resolved by taking anti-depressant pills. Deeply confused, I left the clinic, purchased the pills and went off to a scheduled meeting in the evening of the same day. There, I met a lady who had refused to follow chemotherapy to cure her cancer and has recently attained her health through naturopathic medicine. A week later, my first visit to a naturopath assured me that I was seeking my health by following a wrong path!
During the past six months my friends and family have witnessed not only the healing of my disorders, but that I have also learned to live a healthier and a happier life. This is not magic. This is about the vision of this medicine that taught me to learn about my body and treat it as an individual system with individual categories of demands and characteristics. The consultations were not about getting a prescription for a single problem. They showed me 1) inherited and acquired tendencies of my body towards health and disease, 2) my current condition in general, 3) the state of every organ in particular, and 4) how I should adjust by daily diet and physical exercises to enhance the system efficiently.
Since then, I've shared my story with friends and family members and I am proud to see their satisfaction in discovering the roots of their problems and healing methods by following an adaptable personal diet and exercise. This encouraged me to share my story with a wider audience here at OpenFile.
Unfortunately, naturopathic medicine seems to be overlooked by health care policy-makers and media. Newspaper headlines on medicine and health issues rarely give information on this topic or any related fields. According to Andrea Sullivan, President, DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians, “Naturopathy offers the very kind of cost-effective, holistic, proactive treatment that the administration [of Health and Human Services Office] is looking for. It's the answer to most of their concerns. I and the nation's other naturopathic doctors are a large, underutilized population of practitioners with specialized training in preventing illness. We keep patients out of hospitals, and in the process we save lives – and millions of dollars.” (Sep. 2009, White House assembly) So, what is behind the scenes that prevents our community from using a treatment that:
1. Reduces the overall cost of health care;
2. Makes health care safer and more effective for patients; and
3. Gives patients more control over their own care?
Courtesy:OpenFile

Sri Sri inaugurates Ayurveda hospital

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar inaugurated a new campus for the Sri Sri College of Ayurveda Science and Research Hospital located inside the Art Of Living campus on Kanakpura road on Friday.
The hospital offers free consultation and a variety of Ayurveda treatments including surgery and dentistry. “We shall aim to promote well being and not just treat diseases,” said Dr Seema, Head of Department. Discussing the dentistry treatments being offered, she explained that the treatments are carried out without anesthesia. “There is a particular way of turning the face which acts as a natural anesthesia, this results in anesthesia free dental operations,” she explained. “We shall also aim at treating the rural population at these premises, people who are well off can pay or else we won’t charge them,” said Sri Sri Ravishankar while speaking at the launch.
Medical Education minister S A Ramdas also announced that the college will soon get permission to conduct PG courses.
He stressed the need for increasing knowledge about Ayurveda and said, “Some countries have banned the use of Ayurved a f o r treatment, we will fight against such bans. Sri Sri Ravishankar will be our ambassador in this.”
Source:IBN Live

Friday, 7 October 2011

Natural Remedies to expand global market reach with USP grade extracts

Natural Remedies is looking forward to expand its global market presence with its range of USP grade herbal extracts. The company is looking at markets of US, EU, Asia Pacific and Australia to tap the leading formulation manufacturers.
The company is focused on supporting various Pharmacopoeia bodies of the world, for developing reliable analytical methods for Indian Medicinal Plants and their extracts. So far, its laboratory has contributed extensive analytical data on 9 of the common India medicinal plants like Andrographis, Ashwangandha, Bacopa, Centella asiatica, Forskohlii, Garcinia cambogia, Guggul, Phyllanthus amarus and Malabar nut tree. The monographs on seven plants have been published in the US Pharmacopoeia, 34.
The herbal ingredients include standardized herbal extracts, primary phyto-chemical reference substances, patented and branded dietary ingredients. While the company has widened its market opportunities, it is now looking to increase volumes to consolidate its presence in the international market, stated Dr. Amit Agarwal, director, Natural Remedies.
“We are the only company in the country engaged in the development of USP extracts,” he added.
The company’s strengths include extensive scientific studies covering proof of efficacy, safety and consistency of branded ingredients. The data is published in various international peer reviewed indexed journals. “Such publications have helped us to convince international customers on the utility and quality of our herbal ingredients,” he said.
For herbal extracts in the international market, one of the frequently encountered problems is the lack of harmony in the methods for assessment of quality. In the absence of any official methodology each manufacturer and buyer adopt their methods and often arrive at conflicting results in terms of quality assessment parameters. To minimize these problems, Natural Remedies has looked at offering the extracts that adhere to the various international Pharmacopoeia bodies.
“We are now learning the safety review process adopted by USP for dietary ingredients so that in the near future we can support them in this area too. The USP Dietary Supplements Compendium 2009-2010 covers safety reviews on popular Indian medicinal plants like Ashwagandha, Indian Frankincense (Boswellia), Fenugreek, Green Tea, Mangosteen and Noni. Such safety reviews, when published in a reputed book of reference like USP, go a long way in developing international trade on Indian medicinal plant extracts” stated Dr Agarwal.
The company’s international marketing operations are also recognized by Shefexil, the Shellac & Forest Products Export Promotion Council part of the Ministry of Commerce, as it bagged the award for excellence in exports for 2008-09 and 2009-10. It received the award in the Vegetable Soaps and Extracts category.
India has around 2,000 medicinal plants of which only 120 are used in large quantities which accounts for a mere 6 per cent. Barring few medicinal plants which are rare and endangered, there is a huge opportunity for herbal industry. To generate a demand the most important activity would be to conduct high quality randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trials. Such trials are expensive and most small medium enterprises(SMEs) in the sector cannot afford them on their own. This is where the government should allocate sufficient financial assistance under the 12th Five Year Plan, to conduct the clinical trials.
“As of now, there are very few funding options available to the herbal SMEs sector. Therefore if the government has a separate fund allocated for the clinical studies and post marketing surveillance, it would boost the overall trade of Indian medicinal plants and products made from them,” stated Dr Agarwal.
Source:Pharmabiz

US FDA approves gel to stop blood flow during blood vessel surgery

The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has approved LeGoo, a gel that allows surgeons to temporarily stop blood flow during surgery so that they can join blood vessels without clamps or elastic loops.
To join blood vessels during surgery, it is necessary to temporarily stop blood flow to the area where a new vessel is being attached. Stopping blood flow prevents flooding the surgical area with blood, which makes it difficult for the surgeon to clearly see where to place sutures to connect the two vessels.
LeGoo has been shown to minimize blood flow into the surgical area without damaging blood vessels. Standard tools, such as elastic loops and clamps, do not always allow for a bloodless surgical area and may damage vessels.
“LeGoo is an innovative device that offers surgeons an additional aid during vascular surgery,” said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the US FDA’s Centre for Devices and Radiological Health. “The gel’s unique properties may facilitate surgeries that entail the joining or grafting blood vessels.”
LeGoo is a temperature sensitive gel that is liquid at room temperature and solid at higher temperatures. When injected into a blood vessel, LeGoo forms a gel plug that molds to the shape of the blood vessel and stops blood flow for up to 15 minutes.
After the blood vessels are joined, the plug is expected to dissolve on its own in 15 minutes. In the event the plug needs to dissolve sooner, the surgeon can dissolve the gel plug by applying a cold pack or cold saline to the blood vessel.
In support of approval of the pre-marketing application, the US FDA reviewed studies showing that LeGoo is biocompatible and non-toxic. The US FDA also looked at data from a clinical trial of 110 patients undergoing bypass surgery without stopping the heart (off pump coronary artery bypass). Investigators found that LeGoo is as safe and effective as vessel loops, devices commonly used to stop blood flow during coronary bypass surgery.
LeGoo is approved for temporarily stopping blood flow in blood vessels below the neck that are 4 millimeters or less in diameter. It is contraindicated for use on vessels supplying blood to the brain.
The US FDA, an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.
Source:Pharmabiz

How Steve Jobs' Lovable Machines Got in Our Hearts

Steve Jobs was one of the greatest biologists of our time. The late Apple chief will be rightly remembered for his design and marketing genius, but it was his understanding of the look and behavior of organisms — not to mention the psychology of the most sophisticated organism of all — that is the reason he's being so deeply mourned.
Human beings have always loved to biologize their machines. Favorite old cars don't just break down, they die. Computers don't power down, they sleep. Manual typewriters and obsolete turntables are spoken of with a teary fondness usually reserved for late relatives. (See photos of Steve Jobs' remarkable career.)
Smart designers have long understood the power of blurring the line between the organic and inorganic. It's not for nothing that the muscle cars of the 1950s were actually less muscle than they were curve — an almost voluptuous assemblage of sheet-metal hips and flanks and tail-lit rump. It's not for nothing that dragsters who nicknamed their cars always went for something like Lulu or Betsy or Norma Rae — despite the fact that what they were feminizing was a multiton hunk of roaring, smoking, screeching machine. Still, nobody ever called a sports car Bob.
Machines don't have to smolder to be loved. The same industry that gave us the GTO and the '57 Chevy also gave us the Volkswagen Beetle and the Mini Cooper — cars that beg to be hugged as much as driven. It's not beauty that's at work here; indeed, it's a sort of antibeauty — the same thing that made the homely, spindly yet oddly beautiful lunar module so adored in the days of the lunar program. In one of the perfect visual convergences of that era, the Volkswagen folks took out full-page magazine ads that featured nothing but a photo of the lunar module, accompanied by the legend "Ugly, but it gets you there." The VW logo was stamped proudly below it.
Part of what's at work here is the compassion impulse. A cute puppy will trump a less cute one in the eyes of shoppers looking in a pet-store window. But a needy stray can blow them both away. Another powerful variable, at least in the case of some machines, is what's known as neoteny — or baby-like traits. Across the animal kingdom, adults of uncounted species will go gooey at the sight of big eyes, high foreheads, small noses and, in the case of mammals, undersized chins — the better to nuzzle up snugly for nursing. Throw in baby fat — dimpled elbows, creased thighs, a general absence of sharp corners or right angles — and we're helpless. (Read TIME's obituary on Steve Jobs.)
Even from the earliest days of Apple, Jobs seemed to know all of this and to design his machines accordingly. The very name Apple — with its rounded, organic logo that someone already seemed to have been unable to resist taking a bite of — contrasted nicely with the chilly IBM initials and their machine-tooled look. The earliest Apples were simple tan boxes, but by the time the Apple IIc came along, Jobs had traded in tan for white, shrunk the keyboard down to a less intimidating size and suspended an angled monitor over it that seemed to crane toward the user with an eager-to-please winsomeness.
The first Macintosh was a higher form of this anthropomorphic art, petite and rectangular, but also without sharp corners. In what became the machine's signature advertising image, the little screen displayed not the Apple logo, but the cursive word hello in all lowercase letters. Even the form-fitting zippered bag the Macintosh came in seemed less a carrying case than a sort of computer Snugli. Certainly, it was the Mac's utility and then-revolutionary icons and pull-down menus that made it a hit once people got their hands on it, but it was the cuddle factor that helped get them in the door.
It's certainly no coincidence that Apple's lost decade was also the one it spent without Jobs, when the computers retained most of their ease-of-use advantages but slipped back to the brown-box design. It's no coincidence either that when Jobs returned, the product line seemed to start over from its infancy, with the bulbous, irresistibly baby-like iMacs of the late 1990s — in candy colors, no less — maturing to the goosenecked, round-bottomed adolescent model of 2002 and later to the more traditional rectangles of today. (See the top 10 Apple moments of All-TIME.)
Apple can get away with the mature look it sells now because the company has harnessed the power of an even more sophisticated kind of biology: the products don't just perform, they actually exhibit behavior. They think about your music collection and organize it as lovingly and obsessively as you would if you had the time; they've taken over from your mom or your big sister who faithfully kept the family photo albums, caring for your pictures and tucking them safely away where you can always find them by date, by place, by face. And with the arrival of the iPhone and iPad, the final human-machine barrier — the intimacy of touch — has been hurdled. There is no mouse, there is no keyboard. Your hands are always all over your iPad — you take it to bed with you, for goodness' sake — as you read or write or engage in the very personal business of sending mail.
It's fair to remember that Jobs, for all his other attributes, was also just a CEO and salesman, and the kind of tributes and encomiums and impromptu shrines that are appearing around the world in his memory seem a little out of place. But it's also fair to argue that Jobs was in some ways different from other captains of industry. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Bill Gates changed the world too — Gates more than all of them, perhaps, with his second chapter as the world's greatest philanthropist — and yet the garment rending and candle lighting that has followed Jobs' death suggests a passion that none of the others stir up. Perhaps it's that Gates and the rest invented what were essentially just products — remarkable things that transformed the way we lived, but merchandise all the same. Jobs' inventions got inside not just our lives but also our heads and — improbably — our hearts. That, of course, is the way it is with living things.
Courtesy:Time.com

Tainted Rice Wine Claims 9 Lives in Cambodia

Cambodian police said that at least nine people have died and 76 have been hospitalized after drinking tainted rice wine at a funeral ceremony.The victims began falling ill shortly after drinking the wine in western Pursat province on Tuesday, police chief Sarun Chanthy told AFP by telephone, describing symptoms including vomiting and dizziness.
Samples of the drink were still being analyzed but doctors suspected the wine "contained high levels of methanol or ethanol", he said.
Last year, at least 17 Cambodians died in eastern Kampong Cham province after drinking rice wine out of a bottle previously used for weed killer.
Cambodians often drink locally brewed rice wine, which is relatively inexpensive but can be dangerous if not mixed properly.
Source-AFP

Thursday, 6 October 2011

UofL to honor 82-year-old with Optimal Aging Award

University of Louisville Geriatrics is set to honor an 82-year-old woman with the first Optimal Aging Award for maintaining physical, mental, social and spiritual health.The award is to be given Tuesday to Rachele "Rae" Guernsey of Louisville during a luncheon at The Olmstead in Louisville.
UofL Geriatrics celebrates those who are role models for maintaining active engagement with life well into their senior years.
Guernsey maintains an active life style as a daytime and overnight hiker, yoga enthusiast, active church member, civic volunteer and traveler, both across the U.S. and internationally.
Spaulding University President Tori Murden McClure is scheduled to be the keynote speaker, discussing her experiences as an explorer and adventurer and how those experiences in the wild have served her as a civic and educational leader.

Century-old Bacteria Unearthed in New York Hospital

It was 1897. William McKinley took office as President of the United States. A New York Sun editorial told 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon that, yes, there is a Santa Claus. And someone at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City buried a time capsule full of bacteria in the cornerstone of the building.
On Wednesday, Dr. Martin Blaser, a bacteriologist and chair of the department of medicine at New York University, cracked open the capsule to take a closer look at the century-old microbes, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Blaser and his team found spores of the bacteria, called Clostridium perfringens, inside a small glass vial. These microbes still live in the intestines of modern humans, but don’t usually cause many infections these days, besides some forms of food poisoning. But at the turn of the 20th century, they often caused infections that led to gangrene.
Even though modern medicine keeps us from being sickened by Clostridium perfringens, Dr. William Schaffner, head of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, said Blaser still has good reason to study these aged organisms.
“He’s trying to see how different this particular strain of organisms is compared with present-day varieties of the bacteria,” Schaffner said. “We may find to our surprise that the bacteria are somewhat different.”
The widespread use of antibiotics, beginning with the 1928 discovery of penicillin, has had a lasting impact on lots of bacteria, particularly on their genes. Blaser told the Journal that he and his team will be looking for how these drugs might have affected Clostridium perfringens.
“We’ve had 70 years of antibiotics, so the question is, have there been new changes in the bacterial genome from the time of that organism,” he said.
The key will be to get the microbes to wake up and start growing. Schaffner said the doctors who buried the time capsule would have known that these bacteria could survive for decades in the austere environment of the glass vial.
“These bacteria can go into hibernation, letting them survive eons without exposure to moisture,” he said. “Now, they’re going to put them in a hospitable environment, surround this spore with a high-grade liquid lunch inside a test tube, and we hope it will wake up and transform into something we can study.”
If the bacteria spores are still alive, Blaser’s team said they should start growing within 24 hours.
“It’s pretty cool if the spores are still viable, and will be cooler still if they actually find a genetic difference,” said David Topham, co-director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence. “But it’s going to take some time to sort it out.”
By:Carrie Gann
Courtesy:ABC News

Rs. 132 crore being spent on promoting Ayurveda in Himachal Pradesh says CM

Chief Minister, Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the State Government was promoting Ayurvedic treatment and added that Rs. 132 crore were being spent during the current financial year on strengthening the activities of the Ayurveda Department whereas Rs. 67.88 crore were spent during 2007-08 on this. A record increase of 94 percent had been made in the budget for this, he added. He was addressing a public meeting at Solan today. Earlier Chief Minister inaugurated Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay District Ayurvedic Hospital Building constructed at a cost of Rs. 3 crore and Health and Skin Disease Treatment Camp at Solan.
Chief Minister said that best Ayurvedic treatment was being practised in Himachal Pradesh and added that State Government was encouraging this traditional treatment method for the benefit of common man. He said that the State Government was making efforts to develop Ayurveda College Paprola as Ayurveda University.
Prof. Dhumal said that the State Government had approved to fill up 330 posts of Ayurveda Doctors during last three and half years out of which 249 posts have already been filled up. He said that process of filling up of 300 posts of Ayurvedic Pharmacists was in progress. He said that in addition to these, 48 Class-III & IV employees have also been appointed, 283 daily wagers regularised and 476 part time workers had been made daily wagers. He said that construction work of 3 Ayurvedic Hospitals and 70 Ayurvedic Dispensaries have been completed and added that Rs. 22 crore were being spent on maintenance of 28 Ayurvedic Hospitals. He said that construction work of 220 Ayurvedic Dispensaries by spending Rs. 26 crore was in progress. He said that Drug Quality Institute was being setup at a cost of Rs. 5 crore at Jogindernagar and added that Rs. 3 crore have been released along with the approval for starting B-Pharma course in the State. He said that classes have been started in Jogindernagar College of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Science from this month.
Chief Minister said that the State was heading towards becoming Anaemia free due to the concerted efforts of the State Government and added that check ups of 8,98,641 persons have been conducted in Kangra and Hamirpur Districts during the first phase.
He said that the PG seats in Government Post Graduate Ayurvedic College had been increased from 24 to 39 in order to make specialised treatment available to people. He said that Rs.2.06 crore were being spent on cultivating medicinal herbal plants in the State.
Prof. Dhumal said that efforts would be made to increase the number of beds in the 20 beded Solan Ayurvedic Hospital and added that 6 private wards would be created in the Hospital.
Shri Pawan Gupta, Chairman Baghat Bank alongwith other officers presented a draft of Rs. 51 thousand towards Chief Minister's Relief Fund. Chief Minister thanked them for the gesture.
Dr. Rajeev Bindal, Health Minister welcome the Chief Minister. He said that developmental schemes worth Rs. 13 crore were dedicated to the people of Solan in a single day which was a record in itself.
Shri Virender Kashap M.P , S/Shri Dr. Rajeev Saizal, Govind Sharma and Smt. Vinod Chandel MLAs, Ex-MLAs, Smt. Sheela Chairperson Zila Parishad, Shri Ganesh Dutt, Vice Chairman Himuda, Shri Pawan Gupta, Chairman Baghat Bank, Shri Laj Kishor Sharma, Chairman Jogindra Bank, Smt. Ritu Sethi General Secretary, Child Welfare Council, Shri Mohan Singh Thakur, Chairman Agriculture Marketing Mandi, Shri Ravinder Parihar, President Solan Block BJP, Shri P.S.Draik, Director Ayurveda, Shri C.Paul Raso, Deputy Commissioner, Sh. D.S. Chandel, Director Health and other prominent persons of the town were present on the occasion.

Pancreatic cancer declining, but among most deadly

Pancreatic cancer is notoriously lethal — there are almost as many deaths from it each year as there are new cases. The deaths this week of Apple founder Steve Jobs and Nobelist Ralph Steinman bring unusual attention to this less-well-known type of cancer that has actually been declining despite no big advances in treatment or finding it early.
A decline in smoking, one of the top risk factors for the disease, may be behind the drop in cases.
Jobs lived more than seven years after being diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor — a less common, slower-growing and more treatable type of pancreatic cancer than the kind that killed Steinman a week ago and actor Patrick Swayze two years ago.
The Apple chief kept details of his illness behind a firewall and declared he was cured after cancer surgery in 2004. However, five years later, gaunt and having lost a lot of weight, Jobs had a liver transplant. Experts said it was likely because his cancer had returned or spread.
A liver transplant sometimes can cure the type of cancer that Jobs had. But if it comes back, "it's usually in one to two years," said Dr. Michael Pishvaian of Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In January, Jobs announced his third and final leave of absence. He resigned in August and died on Wednesday.
Part of what makes pancreatic cancer so deadly is that the pancreas is as vital as the heart. You can live with just part of a liver or a colon, or only one kidney or lung. But the pancreas is a fish-shaped organ that makes digestive enzymes and insulin and other hormones that enable the body to make energy from food.
In the United States, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths. About 44,030 people will be diagnosed with it and about 37,660 people will die of it this year in the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimates.
Possible symptoms are fatigue, back pain, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, jaundice and nausea, according to the Lustgarten Foundation, a private group that finances research on the disease.
This cancer often is not found until it is advanced or has spread, and overall survival is dismal: 20 percent after one year and only 4 percent after five years.
However, with a neuroendocrine tumor like the one Jobs had, "people can live a longer time; median survival is five to eight years," said Dr. Alan Venook, a pancreatic cancer specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
The lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 71, according to the cancer society. Men and blacks account for more cases than women and whites, possibly because of differences in smoking rates. Smokers have two to three times more risk of developing the disease. Use of smokeless tobacco also raises the risk.
Obese people, those who don't exercise much and diabetics also have more risk for pancreatic cancer. Alcohol use might play a role: Most studies haven't tied it to pancreatic cancer, but heavy drinking can lead to diabetes and liver and pancreas problems that pose a cancer risk, the cancer society says.
The best hope for a patient is that the tumor is operable. That was the case in February 2009, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a small, early-stage pancreatic tumor removed at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
On the horizon are immune system treatments — research that Steinman, the Nobel recipient from Rockefeller University in New York, was studying in the lab and trying on his own pancreatic cancer.
The immune system has a hard time recognizing and fighting cancer because the enemy is not an invading germ but our own cells gone rogue. Treatments called therapeutic cancer vaccines are ways to modify cells to help the immune system recognize the risk.
One such vaccine by NewLink Genetics, a small biotech firm in Ames, Iowa, is in late-stage testing now for pancreatic cancer. The company website says the larger study was initiated after a mid-stage test suggested improvement in survival.
Dr. Roderich Schwarz, chief of surgical oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, has enrolled a few patients in some immune therapy studies, which have not paid off in the past.
"Vaccines are coming along," and last year's approval of one for advanced prostate cancer suggests researchers may be learning to overcome some of the drawbacks of the past, he said.
"It's quite possible that vaccines will claim their territory in the treatment of these challenging tumors," Schwarz said. "It's still in the development stage rather than the proven stage."
Source:AP

Accurate Time of Death Could be Revealed by the Nose

Scientists say that the inside of the nose could help pinpoint the time of death, especially if it was within the previous 24 hours.
Tiny finger-like projections lining the nose called cilia continue to beat after death, even though it slows down gradually at a predictable rate.Accurately estimating the time of death has been a challenge for forensic teams as indicators of body temperature or decomposition rate can be confounded by a number of factors including temperature, and whether the person was involved in a struggle, say, shortly before death.
Cilia, however, seems relatively immune to environmental factors, researchers say.
Biagio Solarino of the University of Bari in Italy and his colleagues suspected that cilia continue to beat after death.
So they took a scraping of the inside of the nose from 100 cadavers to examine the cilia.
They observed motility in cilia as long as 20 hours after death, reports New Scientist.
The study will be presented at the International Symposium on Advances in Legal Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany.
Source-ANI

Malaysia may turn into a competitor to India in clinical research soon

Malaysia may soon become a favored destination for clinical trials in the Asian region and can emerge as a possible competitor to India in clinical research in future, according to Prof Dixon Thomas, HoD of Department of Pharmacy Practice, Raghavendra Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (RIPER), Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh.
Prof Dixon Thomas is doing a research on the project Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) launched by Malaysian government as part of the country’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). The ETP includes 12 national key economic areas (NKEA) which included clinical research. In view of the potential foreign investment to the country, contract clinical research has been identified as one of the entry point projects for the NKEA.
In a chat with Pharmabiz, Prof Dixon Thomas said Asia has 80 per cent of the world population and Malaysia being a country within the ASEAN region, is well-placed to achieve the status of a preferred destination for clinical trials in the region. Coordination of public and private hospitals, clinical research organizations, diverse patient pool, low cost and qualified professionals are the supporting factors that help the country to achieve that goal. The population in the ASEAN region provides huge potential both for the scientific pursuit of clinical trials as well as the subsequent pharmaceutical commercialization of research & development efforts.
According to him Clinical Research Malaysia is a project established to promote and develop the growth of industry sponsored clinical trials. Its main task is to encourage and support the pharmaceutical industry and clinical research organizations to select Malaysia as the preferred destination for contract clinical research and thus gain foreign direct investment from the global drug development industry. Its core function is to coordinate and foster greater collaboration among the ministry of health’s network of 24 Clinical Research Centres (CRCs) and other independent CR centres formed in private hospitals and academic centres, he said.
Regarding the progress of the project, he said Malaysia has made efforts in increasing the number of high-quality clinical trials being conducted by initially forming a One-Stop-Centre within the CRC, which acts as the main contact point for network of CRCs to facilitate access to 137 general and district Ministry of Health (MOH) hospitals. These hospitals act as the referral center for more than 4000 health clinics serving as potential sites for clinical trials. This One-Stop-Centre serves as the main contact point for industry and sponsors to access the sites and investigators. The Health Minister of the country, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, during the opening ceremony of National Conference for Clinical Research 2011, launched Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) and announced that CRM would provide a unique strategy to attract clinical trials to Malaysia, Prof Thomas added.
When asked about the advantages of Malaysia’s Industry Sponsored Trials, he said the CRM will ensure better communications between potential pharmaceutical industry sponsors and CRO’s with the MOH sites and investigators. There is supportive research infrastructure such as National Medical Research Register, which is an online register in which every clinical trial conducted within the country is recorded. The researcher acknowledged that CRC has been instrumental in establishing patient registries in more than thirty disease areas. Since 1999, Malaysia has mandated that all clinical trial investigators must receive training in relevant research topics such as Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Good Research Practice (GRP) in order to equip them with the necessary technical expertise and administrative capabilities when conducting the trials.
Another advantage is that the multi-racial and multi-ethnic local patient population providing an excellent opportunity for clinical trial investigators to conduct clinical research on a widely diverse patient population, especially pertaining to their genetic make-up. There is very good transport logistics, and costs are very manageable when conducting clinical trials in the country. Besides, the administrative and other costs incurred during the conduct of these trials in Malaysia will also be kept minimal, Prof Dixon Thomas said.
Source:Pharmabiz

Asthma Care Measure Questioned

A recent research shows that quality of discharge planning had no effect on the readmission rates for asthma patients.
The findings have been published in October's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Asthma is the leading cause of admissions in children's hospitals. To help provide the best care, the Joint Commission, a non-profit that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations programs nationwide, adopted three core process measures for evaluating how hospitals treat childhood asthma.
The Children's Asthma Care (CAC) measures include giving asthma relievers upon admission, providing systemic corticosteroids and creating a home management plan of care when they are discharged. Hospitals' compliance with the first two measures was high and did not vary enough for researchers to study the impact on outcomes.
By studying hospitals' compliance with the third measure -- devising a home health management plan -- researchers concluded that it had no effect on hospital readmissions or return emergency department visits for asthma.
"No matter how well your hospital did in complying with this there was no difference in readmissions," Sills said. "For a parent trying to choose a hospital for a child with an asthma attack, this quality measure doesn't help determine which hospital will provide better care. From a policy standpoint, these measures may not meet the Joint Commission's own criteria for an accountability measure -- that compliance should lead to better outcomes. This is especially important for measures that will be used for public reporting and pay for performance. Requiring a hospital to meet a certain criteria of patient care and then finding out that it makes no difference is reason to reevaluate these measures."

Insight: Nobel winner's last big experiment: Himself

In the last few years of his life, Dr. Ralph Steinman made himself into an extraordinary human lab experiment, testing a series of unproven therapies - including some he helped to create - as he waged a very personal battle with pancreatic cancer.
The winner of the 2011 Nobel prize in medicine, who died only three days before the award was announced on Monday, ultimately tried as many as eight unproven treatments.
"He felt that human clinical investigation was the highest form of research, that it was critical to engage in it," Dr. Sarah Schlesinger, Steinman's clinical lab director and colleague at New York's Rockefeller University, told Reuters. "He had great criticism of how slowly the process moved ... he was impatient with data and mice," she added.
Friends and colleagues said Steinman was devoted to research that would make a difference in the lives of people.
That became more apparent after his own cancer diagnosis, recalls Dr. Louis Weiner, director of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., who worked with Steinman on a cancer immunology panel through the American Association of Cancer Research.
"Because he was looking down the barrel of his own gun in a sense, he shared the cancer patient's sense of urgency that we identify new and effective treatments," Weiner said.
"He didn't want to be held hostage to failed concepts, to petty obstacles that interfere with the development of effective therapies. He wanted to see effective treatments made available to people so that they could be helped."
Steinman spent his entire career on immunology research for which he won the Nobel Prize, an honor he shares with American Bruce Beutler and French biologist Jules Hoffmann for their contributions to explaining the immune system.
Steinman's discovery of dendritic cells in 1973 led to the first therapeutic cancer vaccine, Dendreon's Provenge, which treats men with advanced prostate cancer.
When Steinman was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer four-and-a-half years ago, the cancer had already begun to spread to his lymph nodes.
"He elected to receive all of the conventional therapy that was available. He had surgery and conventional chemotherapy as well, but he was quite certain that was unlikely to cure him or even allow him very much time," Schlesinger said.
"The one-year survival for what he had was less than 5 percent."
RALLYING AROUND
Dr. Michel Nussenzweig, head of molecular immunology at Rockefeller who had worked with Steinman for more than three decades, said Steinman had already been working on dendritic cell therapy when he became ill and wanted to try it himself. The medical community rallied around.
"Many people all over the world helped to get a vaccine for him, but it was designed entirely by Ralph and the effort was coordinated by Ralph," Nussenzweig said.
Despite the urgency, it was played strictly by the book - which meant hours painstakingly filling out paperwork for U.S. regulators and carefully following study protocols.
"Sometimes you hear of people in the back room of the lab injecting themselves," Schlesinger said. "That was not this. An immense amount of my last four years was spent on the paperwork," said Schlesinger, whose working relationship with Steinman dates back to her high school days, when she spent summers working in his lab.
She said Food and Drug Administration regulators were quick and responsive, but did not cut the team any slack. "Things that would have taken months to turn around, turned around in days," she said.Nussenzweig took a portion of Steinman's tumor and used that to grow cells in the lab that would help form the basis of personalized cancer treatments.
There were no immunotherapy trials going on at Rockefeller at the time that could help Steinman, and to start from scratch would be too time-consuming.
"He had all of these friends and colleagues who offered basically whatever they had," Schlesinger said.
Steinman initially got an experimental vaccine called GVAX, which was first developed by Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is now being developed by BioSante Pharmaceuticals.
"The first set of dendritic cells he received, we gave him in collaboration with a biotech company called Argos Therapeutics," Schlesinger said.
The researchers made dendritic cells from Steinman's blood and from blood precursor cells.
"We charged them with RNA that had been extracted from his tumor at the time of the operation and then we administered those cells to him," Schlesinger said.
He got them eight or nine times over a course of several months, and then also received chemotherapy.
Researchers at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas also offered a melanoma vaccine they were working on for Steinman to try.
And then there were more conventional treatments: he got a chemotherapy drug from Eli Lilly and Co called gemcitabine or Gemzar, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's newly approved melanoma treatment ipilimumab or Yervoy, Roche's Tarceva, which targets proteins involved in cancer growth, and a drug from Roche's Genentech unit that interferes with the so-called hedgehog signaling pathway that can become reactivated with certain cancers.
All of the treatments had been cleared for use by U.S. regulators in clinical trials.
"It's not like we were hooking something up in the lab and injecting him," Schlesinger said.
Steinman ultimately tried as many as eight therapies.
Schlesinger said he initially wanted to try each treatment one by one and study them to see if they offered any benefit. "Ralph believed he was going to be cured and he was going to publish this. So we had to do it in such a way that it would be publishable," said Schlesinger.
But both she and Nussenzweig put their foot down and insisted on doing treatments simultaneously.
"We literally had to argue with him that it was only going to be a case report anyway. There was no statistical significance to one person, no matter how well the experiment was designed, and we just had to save him," Schlesinger said.
She said she never questioned using the experimental drugs on her longtime friend and mentor. "I often felt like, 'Oh my God, why can't I do this better?"
BORROWED TIME
Steinman lived four-and-a-half years after getting a diagnosis that typically kills people within a year or less.
Colleagues say it is impossible to know what prolonged his life. Whether it was surgery, chemotherapy or the experimental treatments, Steinman was convinced it was his own beloved dendritic cells, the specialized immune system that eventually won him the Nobel Prize.
He worked up to the very end. The day before entering the hospital for the last time, he spoke with Schlesinger for several hours about his lab's latest research on a vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV.
"I could see him getting sicker, but his spirit was so indomitable and he was so optimistic," she said.
Steinman's health declined quickly after Schlesinger's meeting with him a week earlier (September 24).
"On Sunday he got short of breath, and he went into the hospital and he had pneumonia and a blood clot on his lung so he was being treated for that," she said. "Wednesday he really took a turn for the worse so in the end it was very quick."
Steinman died on Friday, September 30.
Schlesinger was told by the family of his death on Saturday. "They sort of swore us to secrecy ... because he had a network of hundreds of people and they wanted privacy," she said. The plan had been for Michel Nussenzweig to tell the university of his passing on Monday morning.
But that was abandoned when the family got an e-mail around 5:30 a.m. from the Nobel Committee at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, saying he had won the medicine prize.
Nobel awards are not given to people posthumously and earlier in the week Steinman's daughter Alexis even joked with her father that he needed to hold out until the awards were announced on Monday.
Schlesinger said the secrecy about being admitted to the hospital had nothing to do with the Nobel prize.
"He didn't want to be bothered by anybody ... at the end he just wanted to be with his family," she said.
Goran Hansson, Secretary General of the Nobel Committee, said Steinman had been in Stockholm in March to give a lecture and seemed to be in good shape.
"We had done what we could in terms of checking on websites and with people and there was no indication that he was about to die immediately," Hansson said.
In the end, the Nobel Committee decided to award the prize to Steinman posthumously.
"I was so sorry he did not live long enough to receive the recognition, to get the happiness out of being recognized this way," Hansson said.Many of his friends felt the same way. "I wish he'd had a chance to take a victory lap," Weiner said
Courtesy:Reuters

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

All we are saying is give nature a chance

Glenda Wright reckons she has always been a "little bit odd".
A keen traveller, she spent quite a few years in Europe, working as an artisan making jewellery and leather goods.
While living in the Canary Islands, she began to take an interest in herbal medicine.
She noticed that the islanders often used herbs and plants for medicinal purposes. "For them it was a matter of finding whatever was available and using that local knowledge."
Back in New Zealand, she travelled the country with a team of Clydesdale horses and noticed how they varied their plant diet from day to day.
When the travelling bug had finally gone, she decided to take her interest in herbal medicines to a logical conclusion, gaining diplomas in both naturopathy and medical herbalism. In 2002, she opened a clinic in Wanganui. A post-graduate diploma in medical herbalism is still a work in progress for her.
Wright describes her diagnostic method as a combination of approaches. She looks at lifestyle and nutritional factors, and prescribes herbal medicines that will "fine-tune" the body. It is about getting the body to use the resources it already has."The body is the most amazing piece of chemistry, that will regenerate given the right opportunity," she says.
Naturopaths are trained to look at the "whole person".
"We're looking to see where pathways have gone out of balance. So, when a client comes to us we don't say the client has this disease and treat the disease. We get a full history of the client and what has led to their current state of health."
Wright says that she looks closely at a patient's diet and finds out how different food affects them. "Some foods rob our body and some foods nourish our body. Then the diet can be fine-tuned a little bit."
She says it's a matter of including more beneficial food in the client's diet, and supplementing this when needed.
"There are herbs that are specific to individuals that will work to enhance that pathway," Wright says.
Naturopathy involves three years of intensive training. Study covers anatomy and physiology. On top of that they learn about nutrients and how they work in the body.
"Because we have to work alongside Western-style medicine, we don't want to be bringing herbs or medicines in that are going to clear the Western medicine more rapidly so they become ineffective. Usually by the time somebody comes to a naturopath they've generally [been] on quite a few Western medications."
She says it is rare that a naturopath doesn't bring about a change in a client, "but it is a partnership".
"I can suggest to them as much as I like that they need to take out the foods causing deficiencies in their diet, but it really requires a willingness on the client's part to actually make those changes," she says.
Patients coming to her have to take on some responsibility, and she encourages clients to make changes.
Wright works out a comprehensive and detailed plan for each client so the patient has a written reference to constantly refer to during their treatment.
She says people often forget that Western medicine has its basis in herbal medicine, which has isolated specific constituents of plants to create the medicine. "The danger of doing that, though, is that you don't get the fullness of the plant."
She says the plant Rauwolfia serpentina is a good example, as the first hypertension medications were made from this. It was done by isolating the alkaloid, resperine, from the plant.
"This was then used to manage high blood pressure, but caused side-effects that hadn't been noted when the whole plant was used in a traditional manner," she says.
"Unfortunately, medical herbalists can no longer use this herb at all, as it's gone on to a restricted list that only doctors can use and, because most doctors are not herbalists, they are unaware of the value of this plant."
Wright says our dependence on white flour, white sugar and "transfats" (manufactured fats) causes more problems than anything else.
"Bakery goods, like commercial cakes and biscuits, include all three and the body has absolutely no way of dealing with transfats.
"White sugar robs the body of B vitamins, bringing on things like insomnia, mood swings.
"Spray residues on vegetables has given us significant reproductive issues, especially in young women."
There was a time when naturopathy and medical herbalism was regarded as nothing more than quackery, but Wright says since she opened her clinic nine years ago, scepticism disappeared once people discovered the benefits of her methods. She says the relationship between her and local GPs was "variable".
"GPs have become more aware of the value of nutritional medicine and some of the Wanganui doctors are fully supportive of the clients taking on our protocols.
"Certainly GPs have become more aware of the value of natural medicines."
HERBS AND NATUROPATHY
Herbal medicine refers to using seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside conventional medicine. It is becoming more mainstream as improvements in analysis and quality control, along with advances in clinical research, show the value of herbal medicine in treating and preventing diseases.
In the early 19th century, when chemical analysis first became available, scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients in plants. Later, chemists began making their own version of plant compounds and, over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favour of synthetic drugs.
The World Health Organisation recently estimated that 80 per cent of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary healthcare.
The use of herbal supplements has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. They are used to treat many conditions, such as asthma, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and migraines, among others.
By:John Maslin
Courtesy:The STAR

Social Media Sites may Help Identify Students at Risk of Problem Drinking

Social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace could hold clues to problem drinking among college students, finds report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.According to background information in the article, alcohol is a major cause of injury and death among U.S. college students. "Approximately half of students who use alcohol report direct alcohol-related harms, and as many as 1,700 college student deaths each year are alcohol related," write the authors. They also note that although screening tools (such as the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, or AUDIT) are available to aid in identification of persons with problem drinking, screening at the population level among college students is challenging as many do not seek health care at student centers. However, the authors write, "one novel approach to identify college students who are at risk for problem drinking may be social networking sites (SNSs), such as Facebook and MySpace."
Megan A. Moreno, M.D., M.S.Ed., M.P.H., of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and colleagues evaluated the associations between displayed alcohol use and intoxication/problem drinking (I/PD) on Facebook and self-reported problem drinking using the AUDIT clinical scale. The AUDIT is a 10-question scale that assesses consumption, dependence and harm or consequences of alcohol use. A score of eight or higher indicates the person is at risk for problem drinking. The authors included undergraduate students (ages 18-20 years) at two state universities who had public Facebook profiles in the study.

Blood Pressure Risk Nearly Three Times Higher in Overweight Children: Study

A new research in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association found overweight or obese children run the risk of having high blood pressure, almost three times higher than children at normal weight.A study of 1,111 healthy Indiana school children over a period of 4.5 years revealed that when the children's body mass index (BMI) reached or passed the 85th percentile — the beginning of the overweight category — the adiposity effect on blood pressure was more than four times that of normal weight children. Adiposity is fat under the skin and surrounding major organs.The absolute value of BMI is not used to classify weight status in children, because change in BMI is normal and expected as children grow and develop. Instead, BMI percentiles are used which adjust for age and gender.
Researchers found when children reached categories of overweight or obese, the influence of adiposity on blood pressure increased.
"Higher blood pressure in childhood sets the stage for high blood pressure in adulthood," said Wanzhu Tu, Ph.D., study lead author and Professor of Biostatistics at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana. "Targeted interventions are needed for these children. Even small decreases in BMI could yield major health benefits."
Among study participants, 14 percent of the blood pressure measurements from overweight/obese children were in prehypertensive or hypertensive levels, compared to 5 percent in normal weight children. Blood levels of leptin, a hormone in fat tissues, and heart rate had a similar pattern as blood pressure. So leptin may have played a mediating role in obesity-induced blood pressure elevation, researchers said.

Study: Strange Fruit Burns Average 8.9 Pounds, 2 Inches in 28 Days

Move Over Weight Watchers, an exotic super fruit called 'African Mango' is quickly becoming America's hottest new way to lose weight.
And much to the chagrin of the nation's $40 billion-dollar diet industry, which sells outrageously expensive surgical procedures and drugs that have done little, if anything, to trim America's ever-growing collective waistline.
Indeed, interest in the use of African Mango extract (irvingia gabonensis) as a safe, effective and inexpensive weight loss alternative surged after Dr. Mehmet Oz called it, mentioning no specific brand, a "breakthrough supplement" and a "miracle in your medicine cabinet" on his Emmy Award-winning The Dr. Oz Show, which aired on September 13, 2010.3
Similarly, one of the show's leading medical contributors, Dr. Tanya Edwards, M.D., called African Mango extract, mentioning no specific brand, a "miracle pill" after it helped her lose 7 pounds in less than a month without making any changes to her diet or exercise routine.4 Click here to read her report.
Subjects Lost an Astonishing 3,990% More Weight
According to a recent study published in the scientific journal Lipids in Health and Disease, men and women supplementing with African Mango extract for just 28 days lost an astonishing 3,990% more weight than those taking a placebo (8.9 lbs vs. 0.22 lbs).1
Beyond the weight loss, the volunteers taking African Mango extract 30 minutes before meals lost a stunning average of 2.4 inches from their waistlines as well as 1.8 inches from their hips — and their bad LDL cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose levels all plummeted.1
What Is African Mango, and How Does It Work?
Despite the recent frenzy surrounding African Mango and its ability to cause safe weight loss, the fruit has actually been used as a diet aid for centuries in Cameroon, Africa.5
The brightly-colored tropical fruit is native to Cameroon's west-coastal rainforests. African Mango, or Bush Mango, differs from other mango fruits in that it produces a peculiar seed, which natives of Cameroon refer to as Dikka nuts.5
For hundreds of years, an extract from the seeds called irvingia gabonensis has been used among Cameroon villagers for its wide-ranging medicinal benefits, which range from reducing and preventing obesity to lowering cholestrol to regulating blood sugar to treating infections.1,5
Americans Swear by African Mango's Slimming Benefits
Tiffany Waterson, a 30-year-old mother of three from St. Petersburg, Florida, says she struggled with her weight for years until discovering African Mango.

Yoga Fest Yokohama 2011

Don't worry, the ability to bend like that isn't a requirement for entry.
Did you indulge a bit too much over the first three-day weekend? Find out how to kickstart your body’s revitalization process at the Yoga Fest Yokohama.
This annual event features three days of lessons, seminars and lectures by some of the top yogis from Japan, the US, Hong Kong and beyond. Stop by the free expo area to check out booths showcasing the latest in fashionable yoga wear and spiritually enlightening music as well as information on local studios.
Experience some of the more untraditional sides of the sport over at the main stage, which features a lineup of yoga as performance, fusing dance, art and live music.
Serious practitioners will want to check out the various lessons and seminars (starting at three for ¥8,500), covering Ashtanga, Ayurveda, pressure points and macrobiotic eating.

7th Nutra India Summit from 15th to 17th March 2012 in Bangalore

India's flagship event for the Nutraceuticals, Functional Foods, Dietary Supplements, Ingredients and Health Foods Industry - Nutra India Summit 2012, is scheduled to be held from 15th to 17th March, 2012 at Lalit Ashok, Bangalore. The announcement and the event document was released by Distinguished Scientist Dr. V Prakash - Chairman – Nutra India Summit 2012, Bangalore, in the presence of Dr G K Vasantha Kumar,Additional Secretary, Agriculture Department, Mr. B M Vijay Shankar - Additional Managing Director, KBITS, and Mr G. N. Sreekantaiah,Director, Dept of AYUSH, and Mr. Jagdish Patankar,Managing Director – MM Activ Sci-Tech Communications Co.
The Theme of the 7th Nutra India Summit will be Nutraceuticals & Nutritionals: Improving the Quality of Life & Lifestyle.
Dr. V. Prakash in his key note address highlighted the fact that Bangalore and surrounding region has the best Eco-system for the Nutra sector to flourish and thanked Dept of IT, BT and S&T and GOK for announcing their total support and said Nutra India Summit will position Karnataka as the leading State for Nutra sector similar to its leadership in IT, BT and Nanotechnology.
Mr. Vijay Shankar shared with the audience various initiatives of Dept of IT, BT and S&T including N2P2 – (Nutri / Nutraceutical and Phyto - Pharmaceutical Park) & highlighted the opportunities for the Nutra sector and formally announced that as a Host State GoK will give wholehearted support to the event.
Mr. Jagdish Patankar said the prevailing Research & Industrial eco-system of Bangalore and a highly responsive Government leadership had encouraged the organisers to bring the 7th edition of Nutra India Summit to the city of Bangalore and added the event was alternatively held at Mumbai and Delhi for the past 6 years.
He said the programme is organized by CSIR, CFTRI & IUFoST & MM Activ Sci-Tech Communications and supported by leading industry associations like HADSA, Pharmexcil, OPPI, IDMA, ADMA, IDA and ABLE.
The 7th Nutra India Summit will consist of International Conference, NuFFooDS: the Health & Food Show, Highlight Lectures: Morning Mantra, CEO Summit, Dieticians & Nutritionists Forum, Poster Session "Walkway of Discovery", Nutra Awards, Buyer-Seller Meet and Workshops and Seminars.
7th NIS will have International participation from Australia, Belgium, China, Dubai, Germany, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, UK, USA and SAARC countries is expected and increased participation in the NuFFOds Expo and International Conference.
Nearly 500 delegates from Leading Food /Nutrition, Pharma, Processed Food Sector and Traditional Knowledge sector will participate in the three Day conference that will be addressed by over 75 national and international experts. NuFFooDS Expo will attract more than 80 Exhibitors and 5000 Business Visitors. Poster Session is expected to draw nearly 50 Young Researchers representing the best of Research and Academic Institutions from across the country.
The audience was also informed that the International Conference will focus on today's trends and tomorrow's opportunities. Speakers from across the globe will discuss topics such as Wellness through Health and Functional Foods, Innovations in Instant Foods, Drinks & Health Beverages, Enhancing Nutrition through fortification, Empowering Snacking Habits with Healthy options, Pre and Probiotics, Traditional knowledge for Lifestyle Management for Wellness, Emerging opportunities in Sportaceuticals, Effective Nutritional strategies with Nutrigenomics, Value additions to Health Foods Ingredients through Enzymes, Prevention and new food laws as well as look into public awareness and consumer trends.
The Summit will feature a Reverse Buyer- Seller meet, organised by Pharmexcil(Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council) with support of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India between Indian and International Companies in the AYUSH - Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, & Homeopathy - Sector.
In conclusion the audience was informed that 7th Nutra India Summit is expected to bring together all stakeholders to give a major fillip to the Nutra Industry and contribute to creating awareness about the benefits of Nutraceuticals & Nutritionals among general public.

Meet the man whose love for Ayurveda is extraordinary

It would be appropriate to describe 68-year-old Dr Vasant Lad as India’s ambassador of Ayurveda to the US. Originally from Pune, Lad sees the propagation of Ayurveda as his life’s mission. Such is his dedication that he never tires visitingparts of the US and the UK to explain the benefits of the ancient health science of India that is now winning respect because ayurvedic medicines are free from side-effects.
Lad has enormous gratitude for his hometown, where he spends at least four months treating patients for free. One of his patients engineer BN Chavan, says, “There are not many places where one can get Marma therapy, a form of treatment designed to stimulate 107 alleged vital, epidermal, invisible but palpable “junction points” between mind and matter. As I reside in Thane I cannot afford to go to a doctor in Haridwar. I am happy to get treated from Lad as he is good and also has helped me heal myself.”
Born and brought up in Guruwar Peth, young Lad took the Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAM&S) degree from the University of Pune and Master’s of Ayurvedic Science from the Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Pune, before becoming a vaidya. He served for three years as medical director of the Ayurveda Hospital in the city and taught Clinical Medicine at the Pune University College of Ayurvedic Medicine for 15 years.
Over the years, his academic and practical training included the study of allopathy, surgery and medical palmistry.In 1979, he travelled throughout the US sharing his knowledge by holding seminars and talks.
There was a turning point in his life in 1984 when he reached Albuquerque, New Mexico and established the Ayurvedic Institute. He has been serving as its director and principal instructor.
Lad has also authored numerous books and won respect throughout the world for his knowledge of ayurveda.
“Ayurveda is vast and other things like, astrology, medical palmistry and vastu shastra are interlinked and related to a person’s illness and health,” he says.
Unlike most non-resident Indians, who are well-settled abroad, Lad makes annual visits to India out of a deep sense of gratitude and to cherish his identity as an Indian.
“I come to Pune every year for the love of the city and Indian culture and people. This is my birth place and my roots are here. One should not forget his roots, which is why I come here every year,” says Lad, who does not charge a penny for his services.He sees about seven patients every evening, giving ample time to each.He directs the money he gets through voluntary contribution to set up a branch of his institute he plans to open near Uruli Kanchan.“I do this work out of love for humanity,” he says.
Interestingly, Lad has many students from US, UK and Germany, who come to Pune at their own expense and choose to serve the patients and learn from Lad. Every year students come to study clinical applications of Ayurveda in November and December.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

World Stem Cell Summit highlights advances in regenerative medicine

An organizer of the World Stem Cell Summit says one of the key problems medical researchers face these days is how to apply their findings in the real world.
"How do you take the phenomenal scientific research going on in labs and translate it into medical treatments,?" said Bernie Siegel, the founder and co-chair of the summit and executive director of the Genetic Policy Institute, which organized the event.
"It's a big job to do this, and more than just the science," Siegel said, noting that in a growing field now moving beyond basic lab research, the aim is to connect the people who do the work with those who finance it.
The three-day summit, which opened Monday in Pasadena, features more than 150 top international speakers and 50 hours of programming with leaders from science, pharmaceutics, business, policy, ethics, law and other fields.
The cell therapy industry, a "nascent" field, has emerged to be a potentially multi-billion business with unlimited potential, Siegel said.
Stephen Dalton, a University of Georgia professor, reported that one of the biggest developments in stem cell research in the past year was the realization that cells can be transdifferentiated from one state to another without returning to a pluripotent state.
Dalton said the principle was previously supported by a few isolated examples but it was not until 2010 that the idea was widely accepted.
Mark Sussman, a professor from San Diego State University, called the identification of lung stem cells from human tissue samples capable of regenerating the highly complex and specialized structures of mature lungs a breakthrough in lung biology and regenerative medicine.
He said results presented by the Anversa group in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrate that human lung stem cells can be expanded in vitro and also retain the capacity to integrate into adult tissue upon introduction into mice.
The study, Sussman said, has opened up an entirely new field of possibilities for lung regeneration and potential therapeutic applications for many conditions where treatment options are either very limited or nonexistent.
By:Chen Zhi
Courtesy:Xinhuanet.com

Denmark Becomes World's First To Slap 'Fat Tax' on Food


Denmark on Saturday imposed a fat tax on fatty foods and thus has become the first country in the world to do so. The consumers hoarded butter, pizza, meat and milk to avoid the immediate effects.
"We have had to stock up with tonnes of butter and margarine in order to be able to supply outlets," Soeren Joergensen of Arla Distribution told AFP.
The new tax, designed by Denmark's outgoing government as a health issue to limit the population's intake of fatty foods, will add 16 kroner ($2.87, 2.15 euros) per kilo (2.2 pounds) of saturated fats in a product.
This means an increase in the price of a pack of 250 grammes of butter, for example, by 2.20 kroner to more than 18 kroner.
"It has been a chaotic week with a lot of empty shelves. People have been filling their freezers," Christian Jensen of an independent local Copenhagen supermarket told AFP.
"But actually I don't think the tax will make that much difference. If people want to buy a cake, they will buy it. But right now they're saving money," he added.
The new tax will be levied on all products including saturated fats -- from butter and milk to pizzas, oils, meats and pre-cooked foods -- in a costing system that Denmark's Confederation of Industries (DI) says is a bureaucratic nightmare for producers and outlets.
"The way that this has been put together is an administrative nightmare, and I doubt whether it will give better health. It's more just a tax," DI foodstuffs spokeswoman Gitte Hestehave told AFP, adding that the costs of levying the tax would be passed on to consumers.

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