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Saturday, 29 October 2011

10 Surprising Clues You'll Live to 100

About one in 10,000 people seems to be a "slow ager" who lives to 100 -- sometimes even in spite of bad health habits, like smoking or exercising little, according to new research. Will you be among them? You won't know if you're among the genetically predisposed for sure, of course, until those 100 birthday candles are lit. But researchers are discovering more and more clues as to who's on his or her way.
Clue #1: How many elderly relatives are on your family tree?
What it may mean: You may have longevity genes.
At least half of all those who reach 100 have a parent, sibling, or grandparent who has also achieved very old age (90-plus), according to the New England Centenarian Study at the Boston University School of Medicine, which studies 100-plussers to unlock secrets of successful aging.
A 2002 study by the center's director, geriatrician Thomas Perls, found that male siblings of centenarians have a 17 times greater chance of reaching their 100th birthday than other men born around the same time; female siblings are 8.5 times more likely to hit 100 than other females also born around the same time.
Other studies have found that exceptional aging is often clustered among multiple first-tier family members, supporting a genetic link. Having siblings, parents, and grandparents who make it to 100 seems to be a much stronger indicator than counting cousins and other more distant relatives.
Clue #2: How fast and how far can you walk?What it may mean: You're in good condition for the long haul.
Faster walkers live longer. University of Pittsburgh researchers crunched numbers from nine different studies including almost 35,000 subjects ages 65 or older. The result: For each gait speed increase of 0.1 meters per second came a corresponding 12 percent decrease in the risk of death.
The average speed was 3 feet per second (about two miles an hour). Those who walked slower than 2 feet per second (1.36 miles per hour) had an increased risk of dying. Those who walked faster than 3.3 feet per second (2.25 miles per hour) or faster survived longer than would be predicted simply by age or gender.
A 2006 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that among adults ages 70 to 79, those who couldn't walk a quarter mile were less likely to be alive six years later. They were also more likely to suffer illness and disability before death. An earlier study of men ages 71 to 93 found that those who could walk two miles a day had half the risk of heart attack of those who could walk only a quarter mile or less.
Clue #3: Do you have a lot of people in your life?What it may mean: Social engagement is a key lifespan-extender.
Countless studies have found that social isolation is bad for your health, while having friends and social engagement is good. One of the more surprising findings in The Longevity Project (a book about an eight-decade study of 1,500 subjects all born around 1910) is that religious women lived longer -- primarily, as it turned out, because of the social connectedness of their faith-based lifestyle. That is, they worshipped with others, joined committees, and engaged in social outreach, from clothing drives to soup kitchens.
"There was a clear, similar trend among people who had civic engagements, were active in their communities, volunteered, and otherwise stayed connected, whether with families, friends, or coworkers," says Leslie R. Martin, a professor of psychology at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, who's the coauthor of The Longevity Project.
Clue #4: Are you a woman?What it may mean: Odds are more in your favor from the start.
Sorry, fellas. In 2010, there were 80,000 centenarians in the U.S.; 85 percent of them were women, and only 15 percent were men.
It's not entirely clear what's causing the disparity. Theories include the protective role of female sex hormones and menstruation, lower rates of cardiovascular disease for women, and higher smoking rates among men. Men also have higher rates of car accidents and suicide.
The survival gap is gradually narrowing, however, possibly because women are living lives that are conventionally male in terms of stress and poorer health habits, especially smoking.
One bit of good news for men: Those who do reach the century mark are, on average, healthier and more functionally fit than their female counterparts. Women survive medical catastrophes better than men but with more disability.
Clue #5 (for women only): Did you have a child after age 35?
What it may mean: This is possible evidence that you're a slow ager.
Popular wisdom holds that late-life babies are tougher on a mother's aging body. If so, that graying hair mixed with newborn pink or blue reflects a silver lining: According to the New England Centenarian Study, a woman who naturally conceives and bears a child after the age of 40 has a four times greater chance of living to 100 than women who don't. Moms who give birth naturally at 35-plus also make it to 100 in larger numbers than younger counterparts.
It's not the act of bearing a child late in life that extends lifespan, however. Researchers instead believe that being able to conceive and give birth in your late 30s or 40s is probably an indicator that your reproductive system is aging slowly -- and that therefore the rest of your body is likely to be aging slowly, as well.
Clue #6: When were you born?What it may mean: Growing lifespans give younger people an edge.
A 2011 report by the British Department for Work and Pensions estimated life expectancy for citizens at various ages, providing a snapshot that Yanks can learn from, too.
A British girl born this year has a one in three chance of living to 100; a 2011-born boy has a one in four chance. If you're a 20-year-old woman, you have a 26.6 percent chance; a 20-year-old man has a 19.5 percent chance.
The average 50-year-old woman in the U.K. has a 14.6 percent chance of seeing 2061, the year of her diamond-anniversary birthday; just over one in 10 of her male counterparts will still be around then.
And if you're 99 now? You have a whopping 67 percent chance of seeing another year.
Clue #7: Do you worry -- but not too much?What it may mean: There's a "healthy" worry level.
It sounds like a punch line: "Be afraid, be very afraid -- but not too much!" So-called "catastrophizers" -- Eeyore-like personalities who fret about impending doom, see the glass as half-empty, and are harshly self-critical -- tend to die sooner, according to psychology professor Leslie R. Martin of La Sierra University.
On the other hand, a moderate amount of anxiety and worry is associated with a 50-percent decreased risk of death in any given year, she says. Moderate worriers tend to be less impulsive, take fewer risks, have less risky hobbies, and plan for alternatives, which may all be protective without adding a negative health impact.
Clue #8: Is your weight normal -- or are you only slightly overweight?What it may mean: You have better odds of reaching 100 than if you were obese.

A surprising 2011 Albert Einstein College of Medicine study of 477 adults ages 95 to 112 found that these solid-gold agers had no better health habits overall than a comparison group born at the same time that had been studied in the 1970s. One difference: Those in long-lived group were much less likely to be obese.

Both male and female centenarians in the study were overweight at about the same rates as those in the shorter-lived group. But only 4.5 percent of the long-lived men and 9.6 of the women were obese, compared to 12.1 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively, of the younger-lived controls. ("Normal weight" is a Body Mass Index -- or BMI, a measure of height in proportion to weight -- in the range of 18 to 24; "overweight" is 25 to 30; over 30 is "obese.")
This finding echoes other studies showing the greatest risks of death among those who are obese or underweight at age 65 (BMI under 18.5), compared to those of normal weight or slight overweight. A 2011 study at Loma Linda University in Southern California found that men over age 75 with a BMI over 27.4 lived nearly four years less than those with a lower BMI. For women over age 75, a BMI over 27.4 led to a two-year shorter lifespan. Studies of centenarians show that men who reach 100 are almost always lean (more so than women).
Luckily, this clue is one you can control. "Since you can't be sure if you'll live to 100, I wouldn't take the chance of ignoring the lifestyle interventions that we know will at least put you in the half the population who die after age 80 -- starting with watching weight and being sure to exercise," says the senior author of the Albert Einstein study, Nir Barzilai, director of the college's Institute for Aging Research.
Clue # 9: How long are your telomeres?What it may mean: Many people who live to 100 have a hyperactive version of an enzyme that rebuilds telomeres.

"What-o-meres?" you ask. Telomeres are protective DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes that gradually shorten as cells divide. (Pioneering telomere researcher Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California-San Francisco compares them to shoelace caps.) Eventually the telomeres become so short that cells stop dividing, a condition called senescence, creating the effects we recognize as aging in related tissue.
Scientists are still unraveling the key role telomeres seem to play in aging, cancer, and other biological processes, but this much is clear: The longer your telomeres, the more time you're apt to have left. A 2010 Italian study reported that cancer-free people with shorter telomeres were more likely to develop cancer within ten years than those with longer telomeres, for example.
Some studies show that removing chronic stress, not smoking, and eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can improve telomere length. Those centenarians with hyperactive telomere-making apparatus can probably thank their genes, though.
New blood tests are now being marketed directly to consumers, purporting to predict longevity based on telomere length. But critics caution that there aren't standards for measuring telomere length and that there can be such variability in telomeres that it's hard to predict much of anything from a sample.
Clue #10: Are you a positive person?What it may mean: Emotion influences health, which influences aging.
Some studies have shown that an upbeat attitude about aging adds years. But long-term studies conducted at the Stanford Longevity Center show that emotions, more than attitudes, may be the biologic mechanism at work, says Laura Carstensen, the center's director.
"What's the mechanism at work here? Feeling upbeat about your life means you experience less stress, which in turn affects cortisol levels, which can affect health," she says. Stanford researchers periodically assess 19 different emotions in subjects randomly polled over 1 week at 5-year intervals. Having more positive emotions than negative ones is associated with living longer.
Carstensen is a firm believer that while "slow agers" clearly exist, there's more to their stories than lucky genes. "There's mounting evidence that genes play a role in longevity, but genes play a role in almost everything," she says. "They don't express themselves in vacuums -- there are very complex interactions between genes and lifestyle." So all that advice on how to live to 100? Can't hurt to heed it.
By:Paula Spencer Scott,
Courtesy:Caring.com

Air pollution tied to lung cancer in non-smokers

People who have never smoked, but who live in areas with higher air pollution levels, are roughly 20 percent more likely to die from lung cancer than people who live with cleaner air, researchers conclude in a new study.
"It's another argument for why the regulatory levels (for air pollutants) be as low as possible," said Francine Laden, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in the research.
Though smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, about one in 10 people who develop lung cancer have never smoked.
"Lung cancer in 'never smokers' is an important cancer. It's the sixth leading cause of cancer in United States," said Michelle Turner, the lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University of Ottawa.
Previous estimates of how many non-smokers get lung cancer range from 14 to 21 out of every 100,000 women and five to 14 out of every 100,000 men.
The fine particles in air pollution, which can irritate the lungs and cause inflammation, are thought to be a risk factor for lung cancer, but researchers had not clearly teased apart their impact from that of smoking.
In this study, Turner and her colleagues followed more than 180,000 non-smokers for 26 years. Throughout the study period, 1,100 people died from lung cancer.
The participants lived in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico, and based on their zip codes, the researchers estimated how much air pollution they were exposed to -- measured in units of micrograms of particles per cubic meter of air.
Pollution levels in different locations ranged from a low of about six units to a high of 38. The levels dropped over time, however, from an average of 21 units in 1979 - 1983, to 14 units in 1999 - 2000, producing an overall average pollution level of 17 units across the study period.
After the team took into account other cancer risk factors, such as second-hand smoke and radon exposure, they found that for every 10 extra units of air pollution exposure, a person's risk of lung cancer rose by 15 to 27 percent.
The increased risk for lung cancer associated with pollution is small in comparison to the 20-fold increased risk from smoking.
And the study team didn't prove that the pollution caused the cancer cases, but "there's lots of evidence that exposure to fine particles increases cardiopulmonary mortality," Turner told Reuters Health.
Fine particles in air pollution can injure the lungs through inflammation and damage to DNA, Turner's team writes in its report, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Previous research has suggested similar conclusions. A study of people in China, for example, found an increased risk of lung cancer attributed to indoor air pollution from burning coal and wood to heat homes (see Reuters story of December 7, 2009). And several European studies have linked levels of soot and vehicle exhaust to lung cancer in non-smokers.
Laden noted that the pollution levels associated with the increased risk of cancer in the current study are not uncommon in the U.S.
"These levels are within the (regulatory) standards," Laden told Reuters Health. "We're not talking about people who live in a really polluted place with no pollution control."
Source:Reuters

Language Skills of Preschoolers Improve in the Company of Intelligent Classmates

A recent study found that preschool children with poor language skills are benefitted in the company of intelligent classmates.Researchers found that children with relatively poor language skills either didn't improve over the course of one academic year, or actually lost ground in development of language skills, when they were placed with other low-achieving students.
The results have important implications because many preschool programs in the United States are targeted to children in poverty, who may exhibit lags in their development of language skills, said Laura Justice, lead author of the study and professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at Ohio State University.
"The way preschool works in the United States, we tend to cluster kids who have relatively low language skills in the same classrooms, and that is not good for their language development," Justice said.
"We need to pay more attention to the composition of preschool classrooms."
Because children in poverty face increased risk for poor language skills, which means kids with low skills are often clustered together, she said.
The study involved 338 children enrolled in 49 preschool classrooms. The children completed a variety of standardized measures of their language skills in the fall of the academic year. The measures were repeated in the spring, giving the researchers a test of their improvement over the year.
These measures examined the children's grammar skills and vocabulary and ability to discuss what was happening in a wordless picture book.

New Therapy That Helps Increase Good Cholesterol Found

Researchers in US have found a new therapy that helps to boost the good cholesterol and lower triglycerides in the blood. The therapy could act as a potential tool for combating cardiovascular disease.
The new therapy has been found effective in non-human primates."The study was conducted because there is a very strong inverse correlation between the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) and heart disease," said co-principal investigator Ryan Temel, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pathology and lipid sciences at Wake Forest Baptist.
"The higher your level of HDL, the lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Currently, however, there are few therapies that significantly raise HDL," he stated.
While there are several effective therapies available on the market for lowering LDL, or bad cholesterol, modern medicine has yet to find a good way to raise HDL, Temel noted.
He and colleagues from NYU Langone Medical Center and Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, are studying a new drug that targets microRNA-33 (miR-33).
MiR-33 is a small RNA molecule that reduces HDL and increases triglyceride production.
The researchers tested the drug, anti-miR-33, in non-human primates and found that it increased HDL cholesterol and lowered triglycerides.
In the study, use of the drug resulted in a maximum HDL cholesterol increase of 50 percent after eight weeks that was sustained throughout the remainder of the 12-week study.
Anti-miR-33a/b treatment in the non-human primate model also increased the expression of miR-33 target genes involved in fatty acid breakdown resulting in suppressed triglyceride levels, a finding not previously observed in mice.

Cranberry Juice Effective Than Extracts In Fighting Bacterial Infections

A new study has found that the best way to fight bacterial infections is to consume cranberry in the form of juice rather than extracts.With scientific evidence now supporting the age-old wisdom that cranberries, whether in sauce or as juice, prevent urinary tract infections, people have wondered if there was an element of the berry that, if extracted and condensed, perhaps in pill form, would be as effective as drinking the juice or eating cranberry sauce.
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute tested proanthocyanidins or PACs, a group of flavonoids found in cranberries. Because they were thought to be the ingredient that gives the juice its infection-fighting properties, PACs have been considered a hopeful target for an effective extract.
The new WPI report, however, shows that cranberry juice, itself, is far better at preventing biofilm formation, which is the precursor of infection, than PACs alone.
"What we have shown is that cranberry juice's ability to prevent biofilms is more complex than we may have originally thought," said Terri Camesano, professor of chemical engineering at WPI and senior author on the paper. "For a while, the field focused on these PACs, but the data shows that they aren't the silver bullet."
"Cranberries have been recognized for their health benefits for a number of years, especially in the prevention of UTIs," the authors write in the new paper.

Bangalore Population Increased by Nearly 50% Despite Decline in Fertility Rates

With the world’s population crossing the 7 billion mark on October 31, a Bangalore-based think tank has revealed that the population in the city has increased by nearly 50 percent over the last decade.The Population Research Centre at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) analyzed the demographic changes over the last decade and found that the fertility of women in Karnataka has declined to 2 children per woman compared to the national average of 2.6 children per woman.
In spite of the reduction in growth rate, the population of Bangalore has increased by 48 percent in the last 10 years, with people migrating to the state capital. According to the 2011 census, Bangalore’s population increased from 57.01 lakh in 2001 to 84.25 lakh in 2011. Professor KS James of ISEC said that the rapid rise could be attributed to the large number of migrants to the city.
Professor James also said that with the fertility rate falling down, Karnataka could experience negative population growth rate. “The fertility rate has reached a replacement level [the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next] of two children per woman in Karnataka. Across India, it is around 2.6 children per woman. Karnataka will have a negative growth in child and adult population”, he said.
Source-Medindia

Watermelon Juice can Help Reduce Atherosclerosis Risk

University of Kentucky researchers, including one of Indian origin have claimed that an experimental group of mice with diet-induced high cholesterol, who were given watermelon juice to drink for eight weeks, had lower body weight than the control group of mice fed with water, due to decrease of fat mass.
Lean mass did not decrease, and plasma cholesterol concentrations were significantly lower, with modestly reduced intermediate and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.
It was also revealed that the animals also experienced statistically significant reductions in atherosclerotic lesions.
"Melons have many health benefits," lead investigator Dr. Sibu Saha said.
"This pilot study has found three interesting health benefits in mouse model of atherosclerosis. Our ultimate goal is to identify bioactive compounds that would improve human health."
Source-ANI

Friday, 28 October 2011

October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Ayurvedic View

The increasing rate of cancer in the world has led to a common concern for all of us. A disease that used to be rare earlier has now become a common problem with its roots spreading all over around the globe. Among all the types of cancer, the recent concern is on breast cancer, which is spreading fastly to the women all around the world.October has been observed as the international breast cancer awareness month in order to create awareness about breast cancer all over the world. Pink is the color denoting breast cancer and hence October is also called the pink month.
The rate of breast cancer is rising significantly and has doubled in the last decade. The death rate due to breast cancer in US is higher than any other cancer and hence it has become a matter of prime concern. The awareness program basically aims in providing the basic knowledge of the causes, prevention and remedies of breast cancer to the entire woman of world, which is the only way to fight against the disease. This program has really helped in reducing the death rate due to breast cancer.
Started in 1985 as America’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), Breast Cancer Awareness Month has shown a remarkable achievement in creating awareness about the disease that has resulted in a significant decrease of breast cancer to 2 percent every year since 1998. This awareness program focuses on educating people about breast cancer as well as raising funds for research and treatment of breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the tissues of breast. Prominently, there are two types of breast cancer namely ductal carcinoma, which initially starts from ducts that move milk to the nipples, and lobular carcinoma that starts from lobules. The common thinking is breast cancer is most prevalent in old age but the fact is, one can be a victim breast cancer in younger age too as the cancer cells are more belligerent in younger women. In fact the chances of breast cancer are more in younger woman. If detected in the early stage of its development, breast cancer can be treated up to 95 percent but once the formation of lump takes place its very difficult to recover. Ignorance is one of the main reasons of breast cancer, even if formation of lumps is felt; it is neglected, as there is no pain in the initial stage. But it grows with time. Moreover, one more reason is most of the woman are still not comfortable in discussing about breast or problems related to breasts. They don’t want to go for a breast checkup.
In today’s lifestyle we are more dependent on synthetic and packaged food and this is one of the main reason of breast cancer. Ayurveda, an ancient traditional Indian medical science, tells that there should be a balance between the three humors (tridoshas) in the body in order to attain good health. Packaged food contains various chemicals, which disturbs the harmony of the humors of body (vata, pitta and kapha) that leads to several diseases.
Though medical science has developed a lot in the modern time but still an absolute treatment for cancer is lacking. Ayurveda has solution for all the disease in it and it acts as both preventive and curative science. Ayurveda provides a range of preventive measure for breast cancer following which can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Ayurvedic view of breast cancer
According to ayurveda human body contains three doshas called tridoshas namely vatta, pitta and kapha, which signify physical, mental and spiritual status of body. There need to be a harmony in the tridoshas in order to keep you healthy. Any imbalance in these doshas can result in occurrence of disease. As per aryurveda, breast cancer is also a result of imbalance in the harmony of vata, pitta and kapha that results in the formation of cyst or lump in the breast. Ayurveda suggests a number of measures for the prevention and cure of breast cancer, which are highly effective.
Panchkarma
Panchkarma is the process which cleans the vata, pita nad kapha in human body and removes the unwanted toxins from the body and stimulates the immune system. Panckarma involves three aspects called snehan, swedan and sirodhara. Senham involves gentle massage, swedan is the steam bath and in sirodhara, ayurvedic formulations are poured on the forehead of the patient.
Diet
Ayurveda suggests a healthy and organic diet in order to avoid breast cancer. It avoids the consumption of inorganic and packaged food that lead to development of synthetic hormones in the body causing adverse effects.
Yoga
Practicing yoga daily is very beneficial for us and it helps in reducing the chances of breast cancer to null. Daily walking and yoga helps in proper lymphatic circulation thus avoiding the chances of breast cancer.
Massage
Self-breast massage with castor oil helps in prevention of swellings and formation of cyst in the breast. Moreover a gentle outward stroke to breast while lying in the bed is recommended. A gentle massage with neem oil is also quite effective in the treatment of breast cancer.
Medicinal herbs
Ayurveda suggests a range of herbs, which are very effective in the treatment of breast cancer. Herbal preparations of neem, tulsi, bhrungraj, patha, saariva, bhringraj guggulu, red clover, chaparral, roots of burdock, dandelion, barley grass, oregon grape root and aloe vera are quite beneficial in prevention and cure of breast cancer.
Thermography
Ayurveda recommends the use of thermography instead of mamography for the early detection of breast cancer. The radiations used in mammography have side effects while there are no side effects in thermography.
Rasayana Treatment
Toxic elements present in the body are the major reason behind breast cancer. Rasayana therapy aims in the treatment of these toxic elements with the use of several ayurvedic medicines and rasa rasayana therapy. The ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of breast cancer include Kamadudha-Ras, Shankh-Vati, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Laghu-Sutshekhar-Ras and Vishwa. These medicines have no side effects.
Human body contains several minerals such as mercury, copper, iron, zinc, sulpher, and silver. Rara rasayana therapy is used to fulfill any deficiency in any of the minerals.
Yukti Vyapashraya
In human body the new cells replace dead cells continuously. Yukti Vyapashraya helps in proper elimination of the dead cells and is very effective in the treatment of breast cancer.
Smoke Treatment
Smoke treatment is recommended in ayurveda for the treatment of breast cancer. In this medicated herbs are burned and the smoke produced is very effective in elimination of toxic elements from the body of patient.
Ayurvedic treatment is best described as an alternative treatment along with conventional treatment methods. It stimulates the healing rate of disease and helps in fast recovery. However, an absolute treatment of breast cancer is still not available but by living a balanced life style and by taking care of certain things on daily basis one can prevent the occurrence of breast cancer. Conventional methods of breast cancer are effective but on a temporary basis whereas ayurveda gives a holistic treatment by removing the ultimate cause of disease.
Today when the entire world is concerned for fighting breast cancer, ayurveda has proved to be a hope for the patients due to its holistic approach. By following the ayurvedic solutions, we can fight the deadly disease and help others to fight. Thus, ayurveda can help in eradicating the disease from the root.
Courtesy:Newstrack India

Pythons' big hearts hold clues for human health

You don't think of pythons as big-hearted toward their fellow creatures. They're better known for the bulge in their bodies after swallowing one of those critters whole.
But the snakes' hearts balloon in size, too, as they're digesting — and now scientists are studying them for clues about human heart health.
The expanded python heart appears remarkably similar to the larger-than-normal hearts of Olympic-caliber athletes. Colorado researchers report they've figured out how the snakes make it happen.
"It's this amazing biology," said Leslie Leinwand, a molecular biologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, whose team reports the findings in Friday's edition of the journal Science. "They're not swelling up. They're building (heart) muscle."
Reptile biologists have long studied the weird digestion of these snakes, especially the huge Burmese pythons that can go nearly a year between meals with no apparent ill effects. When they swallow that next rat or bird — or in some cases deer — something extraordinary happens. Their metabolism ratchets up more than 40-fold, and their organs immediately start growing in size to get the digesting done. The heart alone grows a startling 40 percent or more within three days.
Leinwand, who studies human heart disease, stumbled across that description and saw implications for people. An enlarged human heart usually is caused by chronic high blood pressure or other ailments that leave it flabby and unable to pump well. But months and years of vigorous exercise give some well-conditioned athletes larger, muscular hearts, similar to how python hearts are during digestion.
So Leinwand's team — led by a graduate student who initially was frightened of snakes — ordered a box of pythons and began testing what happens to their hearts.
The first surprise: A digesting python's blood gets so full of fat it looks milky. A type of fat called triglycerides increased 50-fold within a day. In people, high triglyceride levels are very dangerous. But the python heart was burning those fats so rapidly for fuel that they didn't have time to clog anything up, Leinwand said.
The second surprise: A key enzyme that protects the heart from damage increased in python blood right after it ate, while a heart-damaging compound was repressed.
Then the team found that a specific combination of three fatty acids in the blood helped promote the healthy heart growth. If they injected fasting pythons with that mixture, those snakes' hearts grew the same way that a fed python's does.
But did it only work for snakes? Lead researcher Cecilia Riquelme dropped some plasma from a fed python into a lab dish containing the heart cells of rats — and they grew bigger, too. Sure enough, injecting living mice made their hearts grow in an apparently healthy way as well.
Now the question is whether that kind of growth could be spurred in a mammal with heart disease, something Leinwand's team is starting to test in mice with human-like heart trouble. They also want to know how the python heart quickly shrinks back to its original size when digestion's done.
The experiments are "very, very cool indeed," said James Hicks, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who has long studied pythons' extreme metabolism and wants to see more such comparisons.
If the same underlying heart signals work in animals as divergent as snakes and mice, "this may reveal a common universal mechanism that can be used for improving cardiac function in all vertebrates, including humans," Hicks wrote in an email. "Only further studies and time will tell, but this paper is very exciting."
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and a Boulder biotechnology company that Leinwand co-founded, Hiberna Corp., that aims to develop drugs based on extreme animal biology.
Source:AP

WHO Working group counterfeit medical products to hold meeting from today

The second meeting of the working group of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the issue of spurious drugs, scheduled from October 25 to 28 at Geneva, will deliberate on a number of key issues including its relationship with the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) which India has been opposing strongly in the recent past.
The notes prepared by the WHO ahead of the crucial round of discussions said the WHO is a member of the IMPACT and has played a key role in its establishment and in its activities. “As a member among other members, WHO is not in a position to “dissolve” the Taskforce,” it said.
However, the world body has suggested among the ways forward that the member States could advise the international body on its future association with the IMPACT. “Member States may wish WHO to disengage or withdraw from its relationship with the Taskforce. Member States may recommend that WHO continue its relationship with the Taskforce, and suggest a reform of its format and procedures. They may recommend that WHO seek an alternative mechanism to the Taskforce,” it said.
The Working Group of Member States on 'substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products' will also address several other points including prevention and control of medical products of compromised quality, safety and efficacy such as substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products. WHO’s role in measures to ensure the availability of good-quality, safe, efficacious and affordable medical products is also on the agenda for discussion.
“In line with the recommendations of the first session of the Working Group, WHO is requested to continue to enhance the following activities in collaboration with its Member States, partners, non-governmental organizations and other agencies to provide support to countries wishing to strengthen their national and regional policies, health systems and regulatory authorities in order to ensure access to safe, effective, quality assured medical products through good distribution and supply practices,” the WHO said.
Source:Pharmabiz

Party Drug “Meow Meow” Linked to at Least 100 Deaths in Britain

Popular party drug “meow meow”, or mephedrone, has been linked to more than a hundred deaths in Britain over the last two years.Mephedrone was banned last year but has quickly replaced ecstasy and cocaine as the country’s “favorite party drug”. The drug has been implicated in the suicide of 20 people.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has called on for greater regulation of “legal highs”, drugs which are legal and display effects similar to banned drugs.
The council’s chairman, Professor Les Iversen said that many non-drug users are using it as they believe them to be safe just because they have not been banned. “Users are playing a game of Russian roulette. They are buying substances marked as research chemicals. The implication is that you should do the research on yourself to find out whether they’re safe or not. This is a totally uncontrolled, unregulated market”, Professor Iversen said.
Source-Medindia

Having Trouble Maintaining the Weight You Have Lost? Blame It on Your Hormones

A recent Australian study has pointed out a key reason why maintaining weight is tough, especially if you have shed some of it in the recent past. Further, regaining weight is a constant problem for dieters.According to scientists, nine hormones influence appetite. During the study, blood levels of nine hormones were studied prior to the weight-loss program and one year after the completion of the program.
Six hormones out of nine were found to be in a condition which would only elevate hunger. Dieters also said they were hungrier after their meals a year after their weight loss program as compared to their hunger levels before the program began.
According to researchers, the main focus should be to avoid weight gain in the first place rather than gain weight and try to lose it. Those who lose a lot of weight end up with a bigger appetite and also burn much lesser calories.
Source-Medindia

Men can Cut Their Bladder Cancer Risk With Higher Fluid Intake

Drinking plenty of fluids may help men to protect against bladder cancer, a new study has suggested.The study did not determine why increased fluid intake might be protective, but Jiachen Zhou, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at Brown University, hypothesized that the fluids may flush out potential carcinogens before they have the opportunity to cause tissue damage that could lead to bladder cancer.
The researchers evaluated the association between fluid intake and bladder cancer among 47,909 male participants in the prospective Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) during a 22-year period.
They found that high total fluid intake (more than 2,531 millilitres per day) was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk for bladder cancer among men.
Detailed analyses revealed the association was stronger among younger men.
The researchers also observed that the men drank fewer liquids, particularly water, as they aged.
The study was presented at the 10th AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held Oct. 22-25, 2011.
Source-ANI

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ayush mandates efficacy proof for ayurvedic goods

After ayurvedic products came under the scanner of authorities in markets like Europe, the department of Ayush (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) has mandated furnishing of clinical evidence to prove safety and efficacy of formulations that contain ingredients such as heavy metal. Though the industry has welcomed the move, it is worried about the delay in getting licenses and has asked more time for compliance.
Under the 158B guidelines issued under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1945, patented and proprietary ayurvedic, unani and siddha products with ingredients such as heavy metals and microbial load prescribed under schedule E (1), are mandated to prove their safety and efficacy for securing license. For this, the ingredients have to be tested in accredited labs and clinical trials should have been conducted on the product to prove efficacy.
Classical products can still easily receive licence if they have the ingredients prescribed by ayurvedic, unani and siddha texts.
While banning ayurvedic products, Europe had insisted on clauses like the drug should be manufactured in facilities compliant of EU-good manufacturing practices, drug has to be in use for at least 30 years, of which at least 15 years have to be in an EU country and clinical evidence of safety and efficacy have to be furnished.
“The Ayush’s move is good for ensuring the quality of ayurvedic products, especially when they are exported to overseas market. This will also bring in standardisation of procedures,’ said S Sajikumar, managing director of Dhathri Ayurveda.
“In Ayurvedic prescriptions, heavy metals too are used and studies on efficacy will give an explanation to this too,” he said.
However, the tests are causing delay in procuring license for ayurvedic products, said Vijay Kumar, general manager, new ventures of Arya Vaidya Pharmacy.
According to Chandrakant Bhanushali, general secretary of Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers Association, the industry has asked for two more years for compliance. The awareness level has to increase and the capacity also has to be built. “We are seeking the help of the department to conduct training programmes for the manufacturers,” he said.

Yoga May Help Low Back Pain. Mental Effects? Not So Much

A study believed to be the largest of its kind suggests that the physical aspects of yoga are effective at relieving low back pain, but it didn't find any evidence that yoga provided broader mental benefits.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, was published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It was lead by researchers at Seattle's Group Health Research Institute.Smaller studies in the past have suggested that yoga, which involves stretching exercises along with a mental component of deep breathing and other relaxation techniques, was moderately effective at easing symptoms of chronic lower back pain.
It was thought the combination of stretching and relaxation relieved back pain, according to previous studies.
But the current study found both yoga and stretching were equally as effective, suggesting the benefits of yoga are attributable to the physical benefits of stretching and not to its mental components, said the study's lead author, Karen J. Sherman, senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute.
It involved 228 adults with chronic, low back pain that didn't have a specific cause such as a spinal disc problem. They were divided into three groups to compare two types of classes with patients using a self-care book that provided instruction on exercises and stretches to help treat lower pain.
The people who took classes may have been more likely to complete the exercises. More than 80% of the participants in the self-care group reported reading some of the book and doing some exercises, but time spent on the exercises was typically less than the class groups. "They need that class format to get started," Ms. Sherman said.
About 50% of patients in the yoga or stretching classes reported feeling much better or completely better in relation to their back pain and function compared to about 20% of patients in the self-care group, said Ms. Sherman.
Twice as many patients in the yoga and stretching groups reported decreased medication use during the study compared to the self-care group.
About 90 patients each were randomly assigned to attend 75-minute weekly yoga classes or weekly stretching classes for 12 weeks. The people who attended the classes were also instructed to practice for 20 minutes a day at home in between classes.
Another group involved 45 patients who were given a 200-page book with advice on exercising, lifestyle modifications and managing flare-ups.
The type of yoga used in the study was viniyoga, a style of hatha yoga, that adapts exercises for each person's physical condition. The stretching classes involved 15 stretches targeting the lower back and legs were which held for a full minute repeated for a total of 52 minutes of stretching.
The study measured changes in back pain and functional status at the beginning of the study and at six weeks, 12 weeks and six months.
Source:Wall Street Journal

Blood Thinner Lowers Clot Risk in Plastic Surgery Patients

For plastic surgery patients at high risk, treatment with the anticoagulant (blood-thinning) drug enoxaparin can reduce the risk of serious blood clot-related complications called venous thromboembolism (VTE), reports a study in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery(R), the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
The results suggest that enoxaparin could help to meet one of the most important safety goals in plastic surgery today: preventing serious VTEs in high-risk patients. Funded by The Plastic Surgery Foundation, the study was performed by a consortium of U.S. plastic surgeons. The lead author was Christopher J. Pannucci, MD of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Enoxaparin Reduces VTE Risk in Patients at Highest Risk
Venous thromboembolism is a potentially serious complication in which clots develop, blocking blood flow to the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism). In addition to the immediate risk of death, VTE can lead to long-term complications and health problems.

The Venous Thromboembolism Prevention Study (VTEPS) included 3,334 patients undergoing plastic and reconstructive surgery at four U.S. hospitals. All were considered at increased risk of VTE, scoring three or higher on a standard VTE risk scale (Caprini risk assessment model). The Caprini score was based on a number of known risk factors such as older age, certain types of heart or lung disease, a recent history of VTE and other medical conditions.
All patients enrolled in the VTEPS were treated with enoxaparin--a type of the blood-thinning drug heparin that has been approved for use in patients at risk of VTE. Rates of VTE within 60 days after surgery were compared with those of similar patients undergoing plastic surgery at the same hospitals without preventive enoxaparin.
Enoxaparin appeared to reduce the rate of VTE among patients at highest risk: those with a Caprini score over 8. In this group, VTE occurred in about four percent of patients receiving enoxaparin, compared to 8.5 percent of similar patients who did not receive enoxaparin.
After adjustment for the Caprini score and other important risk factors, patients receiving enoxaparin were about 60 percent less likely to develop VTE.
Enoxaparin appeared to reduce the rate of VTE among patients in the highest category of risk. When the Caprini risk score was over 8, VTE occurred in about four percent of patients receiving enoxaparin, compared to 8.5 percent of patients not receiving enoxaparin.
With adjustment for other risk factors, the VTE rate was nearly tripled for patients with a Caprini score over 8. For patients with a prolonged hospital stay of four days or longer--an indicator of more severe illness--VTE risk was close to five times higher. When accounting for these two factors, treatment with enoxaparin reduced the relative risk of VTE by about 60 percent.
Venous thromboembolism is a major safety issue in surgical patients. A recent study found that rates of VTE in plastic surgery are higher than previously thought. Studies have suggested that most plastic surgeons know how to identify patients at increased risk of VTE, but don't always don't provide adequate preventive measures. In response to this concern, The Plastic Surgery Foundation rated VTE risk assessment and prevention as its top patient safety research priority.

The VTEPS results suggest that enoxaparin is effective in reducing the rate of VTE among plastic surgery patients at highest risk. Based on data from patients undergoing other types of surgery, current recommendations call for high-risk patients to receive a full week of postoperative anticoagulant treatment. Further studies will be needed to determine the optimal duration of enoxaparin therapy in patients undergoing plastic surgery.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery(R) is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
About Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
For more than 60 years, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery(R) ( http://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/ ) has been the one consistently excellent reference for every specialist who uses plastic surgery techniques or works in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. The official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery(R) brings subscribers up-to-the-minute reports on the latest techniques and follow-up for all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, including breast reconstruction, experimental studies, maxillofacial reconstruction, hand and microsurgery, burn repair, and cosmetic surgery, as well as news on medico-legal issues.
About ASPS
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world's largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery. For more information, please visit www.plasticsurgery.org .

Aspirin reduces cancer in high-risk patients

People with a genetic condition that puts them at increased risk of colon cancer may lower their chance of developing the disease by taking daily aspirin, a study suggests.The finding, however, doesn't apply to the general public, since aspirin can have side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding.
The 861 people in the British study had Lynch syndrome, a rare, inherited disorder that puts them at high risk for cancers including those of the colon. The condition accounts for about 3 to 5 percent of colon cancer cases.
Previous research had suggested that aspirin could help prevent colon cancer in that group.
In the latest study, people were assigned to take 600 milligrams of aspirin daily — about two regular strength aspirin — or dummy pills. After more than four years of follow-up, the study didn't find a significant difference in how many people in each group developed their first colon cancer.
But they did see one when they looked at long-term participants who regularly took their pills for at least two years. Among the 258 people on aspirin, there were 10 colon cancer cases. That compares to 23 cases in the 250 people on dummy pills. Rates of side effects like bleeding and ulcers in the stomach were similar in both groups.
"This is good news for a very specific population," said Asad Umar, a cancer prevention expert at the U.S. National Cancer Institute who was not linked to the study. He said the finding could apply to about 15 percent of colon cancer patients who have genetic defects similar to Lynch syndrome.But Umar warned aspirin should only be recommended for people at high risk for colon cancer.
"We're not ready to say aspirin is useful for the general public," he said. "There are still a lot of toxicity concerns."
The paper was published Friday in the journal Lancet. It was paid for by groups including the European Union, Cancer Research U.K., Bayer Corporation, the original maker of aspirin, and others.
Newcastle University's Dr. John Burn, the study's chief investigator, reported receiving a speaker's fee from Bayer last year.
Source:AP

Fertility treatment raises tumor risk in study

Women given drugs during fertility treatment to stimulate their ovaries to produce extra eggs have an increased risk of developing borderline ovarian tumors, Dutch researchers said on Thursday.
A large 15-year study found women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) were twice as likely to develop ovarian malignancies -- defined as either cancer or borderline tumors -- as similarly sub-fertile women who were not treated.
The risk was concentrated in borderline tumors, which have abnormal cells that may become cancerous but usually do not. The danger of invasive ovarian cancer was slightly higher in the IVF treatment group but this was not statistically significant.
Fertility experts said the results showed there was a need for further research, although they stressed the apparent risks were still very low.
"This ... goes some way to answering the questions that so many IVF patients ask. However, the results should be kept in proportion as the increase shown was from around five in a thousand to seven per thousand women," said Peter Braude of Kings College London.
Braude, who was not involved in the Dutch study, said the possible risks needed to be balanced against the important objective of IVF in conceiving a child.
Lead researcher Flora van Leeuwen of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam said the findings were significant because the study was the first to include a comparison group of sub-fertile women not undergoing IVF.
That is important because having difficulty conceiving or never having been pregnant are in themselves known risk factors for ovarian tumors.
The study observed 25,000 women, of whom 19,000 received IVF. It found 61 ovarian malignancies among the IVF group, of which 31 were borderline tumors and 30 invasive cancer -- a proportion of borderline cases that was unusually high.
Richard Kennedy, general secretary of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IF), noted that other studies over the past decade looking at ovarian stimulation and cancer risk had been generally reassuring.
"The IF remains of the view that the long-term risks are low but calls for continued vigilance through reporting of long-term outcomes with international collaboration," he said in a statement.
Source:Reuters

Study Suggests Tomatoes as Natural Alternative to Aspirin

Scientists are now recommending tomatoes as a healthy alternative to aspirin.
Clinical trials have shown that the natural gel in tomato seeds can prevent clotting and improve blood circulation in the body.Professor Asim Dutta-Roy from the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen ade the discovery.
The colourless, tasteless gel can be added to various foods and consumed.
In fact, it is already being used in one fruit juice product Fruitflow.
EU health officials have also accepted the medicinal value of the gel and permitted the use of such claims on packaged products.
Although, millions of older people presently take small doses of aspirin every day to improve blood flow, the drug can lead to bleeding in the stomach and also trigger off the development of ulcers.
"To date, no side effects have been demonstrated during the development of Fruitflow," the Telegraph quoted Prof Dutta-Roy, as saying.
Studies show Fruitflow consumption can smoothen the flow of blood within three hours and the effect can last up to 18 hours.
Source-ANI

Genetic Causes of Bipolar Disorder Uncovered

Uncovering the genetic causes of bipolar disorder could pave way to new and effective treatments, say researchers.Bipolar disorder is characterised by mood swings between mania and depression. Like autism, it is thought to be a spectrum of disorders and, although its causes are not well understood, it seems to run in families and is thought to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors.
Dr Steve Clapcote, of the Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology at the University of Leeds, who led the study, says: "We suspected from published studies of bipolar patients that levels of enzymes known as NKA or sodium pumps may be abnormal in bipolar disorder, but so far the evidence has not been convincing enough to warrant detailed clinical investigations."
The research, published today in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), used a strain of genetically modified mice that exhibit symptoms very similar to humans in the manic phase of the disorder.
The mice were bred with a particular mutation that prevents the NKA enzyme from functioning normally. When tested, the mice showed characteristics closely associated with bipolar disorder, such as increased tendency to take risks, hyperactivity, and disturbed sleep patterns. They also exhibited reduced mania when treated with anti-manic drugs.
Current drugs available to treat bipolar disorders, although usually successful, are limited to either Lithium or Valproate. They can't be matched to specific types of bipolar disorder, and can sometimes cause unpleasant side effects. There is therefore a need for treatments which can be better targeted, and which are more effective and better tolerated by patients.

Strawberries Protect Stomach from Alcohol Damage

European researchers have proved that eating strawberries reduces the harm that alcohol can cause to the stomach mucous membrane based on an experiment on rats. Published in the open access journal Plos One, the study may contribute to improving the treatment of stomach ulcers.
A team of Italian, Serbian and Spanish researchers has confirmed the protecting effect that strawberries have in a mammal stomach that has been damaged by alcohol. Scientists gave ethanol (ethyl alcohol) to laboratory rats and, according to the study published in the journal Plos One, have thus proved that the stomach mucous membrane of those that had previously eaten strawberry extract suffered less damage.
Sara Tulipani, researcher at the University of Barcelona (UB) and co-author of the study explains that "the positive effects of strawberries are not only linked to their antioxidant capacity and high content of phenolic compounds (anthocyans) but also to the fact that they activate the antioxidant defences and enzymes of the body."
The conclusions of the study state that a diet rich in strawberries can have a beneficial effect when it comes to preventing gastric illnesses that are related to the generation of free radicals or other reactive oxygen species. This fruit could slow down the formation of stomach ulcers in humans.
Gastritis or inflammation of the stomach mucous membrane is related to alcohol consumption but can also be caused by viral infections or by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (such as aspirin) or medication used to treat against the Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

Evolution of Human Brain

The correlation suggests that scientists studying the evolution of the human brain should look to genes considered recent by evolutionary standards and early stages of brain development.
"There is a correlation between the new gene origination and the evolution of the brain," said Manyuan Long, PhD, Professor of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study in PLoS Biology. "We're not talking about one or two genes, we're talking about many genes. This is a process that is continually moving and changing our brain."
Scientists have long sought to solve how the brain evolved to have the anatomical features and functional ability that separate humans from their primate ancestors. With the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the growing availability of genome sequences for primates and other species, researchers have looked to genetics for answers on brain evolution.
From these studies, many scientists have hypothesized that differential regulation of conserved genes shared across species, rather than the arrival of new species-specific protein-encoding genes, was responsible for the dramatically different human brain. But in a 2010 study, Long's laboratory discovered that the younger species-specific genes could be just as important as older conserved genes to an organism's development.
For the PLoS Biology paper, researchers merged a database of gene age with transcription data from humans and mice to look for when and where young genes specific to each species were expressed.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Yoghurt To Combat Heart Disease

An Australian study seems to show that moderate daily consumption of yoghurt prevents carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT). But consumption of milk and cheese at the same level had little effect in neutralizing such thickening.
The findings of the researchers at Sir Charles Gardener Hospital have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a journal of the American Society for Nutrition. The report is titled ‘Association between yoghurt, milk, and cheese consumption and common carotid artery intima-media thickness and cardiovascular disease risk factors in elderly women.’
“Through its role in reducing IMT, prolonged daily yoghurt consumption of 100 g/d may play a role in stroke and atherosclerosis prevention,” and recommends further exploration of the benefits of yogurt and probiotics, “ the report says.
Accredited practicing dietitian Kerry Ivey says the study emerged because of the lack of research into the effect of whole foods on CCA- IMT, especially in relation to dairy products.
“In general, dairy products get a bit of a bad rap in regards to cardiovascular disease, but there has been a demonstrated cardiovascular benefit in probiotic and yoghurt consumption,” Miss Ivey says.
“We’re trying to explore the benefits of yoghurt as distinct from their dairy characteristics.”
The trial used a cohort of 1,080 Perth women over the age of 70, who had been randomly selected for a ‘Calcium Intake and Fracture Outcome Study’.

Not your fault! Hormones linked to weight regain

Any dieter knows that it's hard to keep off weight you've lost. Now a study finds that even a year after dieters shed a good chunk of weight quickly, their hormones were still insisting, "Eat! Eat! Eat!"
The findings suggest that dieters who have regained weight are not just slipping back into old habits, but are struggling against a persistent biological urge.
"People who regain weight should not be harsh on themselves, as eating is our most basic instinct," Joseph Proietto of the University of Melbourne in Australia, an author of the study, said in an email. The research appears in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Weight regain is a common problem for dieters. To study what drives it, Proietto and his colleagues enrolled 50 overweight or obese patients in a 10-week diet program in Australia. They wanted to see what would happen in people who lost at least 10 percent of their body weight. Ultimately, only 34 people lost that much and stuck with the study long enough for analysis.
The program was intense. On average, the participants lost almost 30 pounds during the 10 weeks, faster than the standard advice of losing 1 or 2 pounds a week. They took in 500 to 550 calories a day, using a meal replacement called Optifast plus vegetables for eight weeks. Then for two weeks they were gradually reintroduced to ordinary foods.
Despite counseling and written advice about how to maintain their new weights, they gained an average of 12 pounds back over the next year. So they were still at lower weights than when they started.
The scientists checked the blood levels of nine hormones that influence appetite. The key finding came from comparing the hormone levels from before the weight-loss program to one year after it was over. Six hormones were still out of whack in a direction that would boost hunger.
The dieters also rated themselves as feeling hungrier after meals at the one-year mark, compared to what they reported before the diet program began.
Experts not connected to the study said the persistent effect on hormone levels was not surprising, and that it probably had nothing to do with the speed of the weight loss.
People who lose less than 10 percent of body weight would probably show the same thing, though to a lesser degree, said Dr. George Bray of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
A key message of the study is that "it's better not to gain weight than to try to lose it," Bray said.
Why would a dieter's body rebel against weight loss? It's an evolutionary holdover from earlier times, when weight loss could threaten survival and reproduction, says Dr. Rudolph Leibel, an obesity expert at Columbia University in New York. So "it's not surprising at all" that our bodies would fight back for at least a year, he said. "This is probably a more or less permanent response."
People who lose significant weight not only gain bigger appetite but also burn fewer calories than normal, creating "a perfect storm for weight regain," Leibel said.
He said avoiding weight regain appears to be a fundamentally different problem from losing weight in the first place, and that researchers should pay more attention to it.
The study was supported by the Australian government, medical professional groups and a private foundation. Proietto served on a medical advisory board of Nestle, maker of Optifast, until last year.
Source:AP

In Nigeria 70,000 babies born yearly with HIV

THE Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA),Nigeria, Professor John Idoko, has described as unacceptable, that 70,000 babies were still born with HIV and 30 per cent of people with HIV were on HIV treatment despite effective technology to treat and interrupt the transmission of HIV from mothers to children.
Professor Idoko, who was speaking in Ibadan at an academic seminar on reproductive health in Nigeria organised to mark the 70th birthday of an icon of obstetrics and gyneacology, Professor Oladapo Ladipo, stated that these were challenges against recorded successes already made in reducing the prevalence and stabilising the epidemic in the country.
According to Professor Idoko, treatment was a potential tool in the prevention and spread of HIV, so the need to ensure that more people that tested positive for HIV were placed on ARV treatment.
The NACA boss, who decried the increase in HIV treatment gap, stated that the number of new infections outpaced scale up treatment and, as such, the need to integrate HIV with other related services such as tuberculosis and malaria to ensure Nigeria’s ART coverage is increased and to ensure people accessed care early.

KIMS performs advanced gynaecological robotic surgery for first time in AP

Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in association with Vattikuti Foundation, a major global player with a specific focus in robotic surgery recently performed the most advanced gynaecological robotic surgeries for first time in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Department of Gynaecology at KIMS successfully performed a sacrocolpopexy and tubal recanalisation using robotic assistance.
KIMS is soon going to perform 40 gynaecological robotic surgical procedures. The surgeries are going to be performed by professor David Eisenstein, senior gynaecological robotic surgeon from Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit USA along with the expert team of the KIMS.
Some gynaecologic procedures enable surgeons to access the target anatomy using a vaginal approach, which may not require an external incision. But for complex hysterectomies and other gynaecologic procedures, robot-assisted surgery is the most effective, least invasive treatment option available now.
Through tiny, one to two cm incisions, surgeons can operate with greater precision and control, minimising the pain and risk associated with large incisions while increasing the likelihood of a fast recovery and excellent clinical outcomes.
With Robotic assistance now gynaecologists can perform hysterectomies, myomectomies, urogynaecology or pelvic reconstructions, endometriosis, and lymph node biopsies. The need for large abdominal incisions is virtually eliminated informed professor Neena Desai, senior consultant gynaecologist–KIMS.
The major advantage of robotics assisted surgery is that the incisions made are tiny so the recovery from surgery is extremely quick. Some other major advantages of robotic surgery are precision, 3-d magnification, decreased blood loss, less pain and lesser hospital stay informed Dr Bhaskar Rao, cardiothoracic surgeon and managing director and chief executive officer of KIMS.
KIMS Hospital has used the robot-assisted technology to benefit patients suffering from plethora of problems like urology (prostate, kidney, and urinary bladder), colorectal and now gynaecology surgeries. Soon they are also going to add other specialties such as ENT, cardiac surgery, gastro intestinal surgery and liver resections.
Source:Pharmabiz

Gene Variants Behind Stent Thrombosis Identified

Several gene variants that cause stent thrombosis have been discovered by Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers. Stent thrombosis is a devastating and often deadly complication after coronary stent implantation in people with coronary artery disease.The team found that three of these variants were associated with impaired sensitivity to the common blood thinner clopidogrel, and a fourth that affects a blood platelet receptor involved in platelet aggregation and clot formation. Analyzing these gene variants will help researchers identify patients at risk for early stent thrombosis and take measures to prevent it. The data also provide a clinical and genomic score that indicates the best predictive accuracy for stent thrombosis risk. The findings are published in the October 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Through a partnership with the Institut de Cardiologie at Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital in Paris, France, the research team evaluated the DNA of 123 patients who had undergone stent implantation and developed early ST while treated with dual antiplatelet therapy, which is a combination of aspirin and clopidogrel. The patient information was shared as part of ONline ASSIstance for Stent Thrombosis (ONASSIST), a nationwide web registry of patients in France. Looking at 23 genetic variants previously associated with clopidogrel metabolism, platelet receptor function, and the control of blood clotting, they found four that were predictive risk factors of early ST. They also found that a low dose of clopidogrel in combination with a proton pump inhibitor, which is a drug to treat acid reflux, also increased the risk of early ST.

Vitreous opacity vs. nervous system - Do eye floaters arise from the visual nervous system?

Floco Tausin author of this article is a graduate of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Bern, Switzerland. In theory and practice, He is engaged in the research of entoptic (subjective visual) phenomena in connection with altered states of consciousness and the development of consciousness. His interest is to strengthen the public awareness of the spiritual dimensions of entoptics like eye floaters, afterimages, phosphenes, form constants etc., and to reconcile their physiological and spiritual aspects and explanations. His texts, therefore, cover the topics medicine, religion, mysticism, esotericism, spirituality, and philosophy.

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For centuries, scholars have found different explanation for eye floaters, the mobile, scattered and transparent spheres and strings in our visual field. Early on, the origin was thought to be in the eye and the phenomenon was considered a disorder or degeneration somewhere between pupil and retina. Today, eye floaters are believed to be an opacity of the vitreous. However, careful observation of floaters reveal regular structures that call the degeneration thesis into question. These structures strikingly resemble the morphological and functional structures of receptive fields of the visual nervous system. Thus the hypothesis of this article: so-called “idiopathic” (harmless) eye floaters are a visible expression of neuronal processes.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Mommy Medicine: The modern prevalence of anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders. They're among the most common problems mothers and children deal with, yet many don't even realize they're suffering from an illness.
Many people go through life in a constant state of worry. It is very common for people to have physical symptoms that are really anxiety-related — things like chronic headaches, nausea before important appointments, chest pain, abdominal pain, and fibromyalgia.
Many children who suffer from anxiety disorders won't realize there's a problem until they leave home for an extended period of time and find they just cannot cope with stress. Mothers usually discover their anxiety disorder as life gets busier and they start feeling like they can never be what everyone wants them to be.
Many people suffering from an anxiety disorder literally think they are going crazy, but let me tell you all you are not crazy! Whether brought on by external situations or internal imbalances, anxiety disorders are medical conditions that can be treated.
General symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences
Nightmares
Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing
Problems sleeping
Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
Shortness of breath
Palpitations
An inability to be still and calm
Dry mouth
Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
Nausea
Muscle tension
Dizziness

If you don't realize you have an anxiety disorder, you'll likely try and treat the physical symptoms listed above. However, the key is to treat the underlying cause. The physical problems won't go away until you address the anxiety.
Overall, I believe anxiety and depression are such big problems in our society because we overwhelm ourselves with activities, responsibilities, wants, needs, etc. Solutions need to be considered before you drive yourself crazy with worry.
Here are a few ways you can seek help:
Try to reduce the expectation on yourself and others. You need to reduce pressure in your life at all costs.
It is most important, if you can afford it, to seek counseling. You need a neutral party to feel safe in expressing yourself. I cannot stress the importance of getting a good counselor. You need a counselor who is there to help you work through your problems with patience and love.
Talk to your counselor or visit a doctor to see if medication can help. It may be needed until you can get your thought process calm enough to function normally without worry.
Medication is not always a bad thing. In fact, in some people the anxiety stems from a chemical imbalance that inhibits their brain from processing stress correctly, and medication will restore that balance to their brain.
Herbal remedies can also help, but do your research.
All of these solutions lead to the ultimate goal: changing the way you think. In "The Feeling Good Handbook," author Dr. David D. Burns shares the "10 Forms of Twisted Thinking," which include: all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filter, discounting the positive, jumping to conclusions, magnification, emotional reasoning, "should" statements, labeling, personalization and blame.
Understanding and living by these concepts, Burns says, will help you proceed on your journey of healthy, happy living.
Source:KSL.com

Study Shows Yoga or Intensive Stretching Are Effective Treatments for Chronic Lower Back Pain

Practicing yoga or intensive stretching may improve chronic lower back pain and reduce the need for pain medications.
A new study shows 12 weeks of weekly yoga classes improved back function and reduced symptoms in people with chronic lower back pain.
The pain reduction continued six months after the classes began and participants were able to use less medication to manage their lower back pain.
Researchers say it's the largest study to date on yoga for back pain.
The study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Compared to people who were given a self-care book to manage their chronic lower back pain, the study showed those who took yoga classes experienced bigger benefits.
But the improvement in lower back pain among those who practiced yoga was no better than that found among a comparison group who took intensive stretching classes.
"Our results suggest that both yoga and stretching can be good, safe options for people who are willing to try physical activity to relieve their moderate low back pain," researcher Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, says in a news release.
"We expected back pain to ease more with yoga than with stretching, so our findings surprised us," Sherman says. "The most straightforward interpretation of our findings would be that yoga's benefits on back function and symptoms were largely physical, due to the stretching and strengthening of muscles."
Comparing Treatment for Lower Back Pain
Researchers say there are many treatment options available for chronic lower back pain, but few are highly effective. "Self-management strategies, like exercise, are particularly appealing because they are relatively safe, inexpensive, and accessible and may have beneficial effects on health beyond those for back pain," the researchers write.
In the study, researchers compared the effects of yoga, conventional stretching, or a self-care book in treating 228 people with moderate chronic lower back pain.
The participants were divided into three groups; one group took 12 75-minute weekly classes of yoga; the second group took conventional intensive stretching exercise classes; the third group received the self-care book The Back Pain Helpbook.
Researchers say the yoga and stretching classes emphasized the torso and legs. The type of yoga used in the study was called viniyoga, which adapts the principles of yoga for each individual and physical condition with modifications for people with physical limitations.
The stretching classes consisted of 15 different stretching exercises. Each stretch was held for a minute and repeated once, for a total of 52 minutes of stretching.
Researchers measured back-related function and chronic back pain symptoms at the start of the study and 6, 12, and 26 weeks after the study began.
At 12 weeks, the results showed that back-related function was better and chronic back pain symptoms reduced in people who took yoga or stretching classes compared with those who got the self-care book. These effects lasted at least six months.
"We found yoga classes more effective than a self-care book -- but no more effective than stretching classes," Sherman says. "In retrospect, we realized that these stretching classes were a bit more like yoga than a more typical exercise program would be."
In an editorial that accompanies the study, Timothy S. Carey, MD, MPH, of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says this research provides strong evidence for stretching therapies in treating back pain.
"Exercise is good for chronic low back pain, and more high-quality studies are needed to guide patients and health care providers in determining which types of physical treatments are most appropriate," Carey writes.

Dietary Patterns may Increase Colorectal Cancer Risk

Dietary pattern linked to levels of C-peptide concentrations may increase a woman's risk for colorectal cancer, find researchers.
High red meat intake, fish intake, sugar-sweetened beverage intake, but low coffee, whole grains and high-fat dairy intake, when taken as a whole, seemed to be associated with higher levels of C-peptide in the blood," said Teresa T. Fung, S.D., R.D., professor of nutrition at Simmons College in Boston, who presented the data at the 10th AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held Oct. 22-25, 2011.
C-peptide is a marker of insulin secretion that can be measured in a person''s blood. High levels of insulin may promote cell growth and multiplication. One of the major characteristics of cancer is aberrant cell growth. Higher levels of C-peptide, and therefore insulin, may promote cancer cell growth.
"Colon cancer seems to be one of the cancers that are sensitive to insulin," Fung said. "This research has helped us to put together a fuller picture of what may be going on in terms of mechanisms and the relationship between food and colorectal cancer risk."
Fung and colleagues surveyed a sample of women every two years about general health information including whether or not they had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The researchers also assessed women''s diets in a separate questionnaire mailed to them every four years. The dietary questionnaire listed more than 130 types of foods and asked the women how often they were consuming each type.

Genetic Cause of Newborn Kidney Disease Identified

Recent research provides clues into how gene defects cause autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease in newborns. The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN), a publication of the American Society of Nephrology.Mutations in a gene named PKHD1 cause ARPKD, but it's not clear how. Jason Bakeberg and Christopher Ward, ChB, PhD (Mayo Clinic) led a team that bred mice to have a small tag inserted into this gene. This tag allowed the researchers to follow the activities of the protein made by the gene, called fibrocystin.
"We found that small vesicles, termed exosome-like vesicles (ELVs), present in urine and other bodily fluids have abundant fibrocystin on their surface. This has allowed us to follow ELVs as they interact with primary cilia, or small hair-like structures that project into the urine from cells within the kidney's tubules," said Dr. Ward. "We believe that ELVs are involved in transporting a range of signals through urine and that ELV interactions with cilia are central to this signaling."
The findings may help investigators to understand how PKHD1 gene mutations cause ARPKD and to develop tests for the disease. "For example we are working on urine-based tests for polycystic kidney disease based on the use of ELVs," said Dr. Ward.
Source-Eurekalert

Study: Elderly Long-term Care Residents Suffer Cognitively During Disasters

During a disaster, physiological changes associated with aging and the presence of chronic illness make older adults more susceptible to illness or injury, reveals study.Investigators followed 17 long-term care residents, with a mean age of 86, who were evacuated for five days due to a severe summer storm and were relocated to different facilities with different care providers and physical surroundings. The displaced participants experienced delirium, cognitive changes, hospitalizations, and death, according to research published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.
"Older adults often have visual and hearing deficits, making it more difficult to interpret their environments and precipitating increased stress," said lead author Pamela Cacchione, PhD, APRN, GNP, BC. "This stress can also exacerbate chronic illnesses, further precipitating delirium."
The 17 participants were part of a broader intervention study testing the effectiveness of a nursing intervention to improve vision and hearing impairment and decrease incident delirium and other outcomes.
As part of the parent study residents were measured with four different tests. The MMSE is a 30-item mental status test that includes questions on orientation, language, attention and recall. The GDS is a 30-item interview based depression rating scale requiring yes or no responses, the NEECHAM is a 9-item nurse rated scale that includes the participant's vital signs and pulse, which is designed to assess for acute confusion/delirium and the mCAM, another delirium assessment tool which includes tasks to assess attention.

Calcium Not Likely to Help Teens Lose Weight

Calcium does not seem to help teenagers lose weight, suggests study.
In the study, more than 40 overweight teenagers were split into two groups and then randomly assigned to consume 1,300 or 650 milligrams of calcium a day.It either came from calcium supplements or was hidden in foods like frozen chocolate desserts containing milk proteins, fats and minerals (as opposed to whole milk).
For three weeks, both groups were placed on the same restricted diet of three meals and two snacks a day. Both groups got normal foods with enough protein, carbohydrates, fat and calories to maintain their weight.
After a break, the groups resumed the experiment for another three weeks, with teens assigned to a different calcium intake level for the second stage.
In the end, researchers found no differences in body fat and weight between the two groups, suggesting calcium had little to no effect on weight loss among the teens.
"The last 10 years of research hinted that calcium would bind to fat and take some of the fat out so you wouldn't absorb it," Fox News quoted co-author Connie Weaver, a nutrition professor at Purdue University, as saying.
"We showed that didn't happen."
They also tested the amount of calcium and fats the teens excreted and found no indication that calcium might help with weight loss by binding to fat in the intestines and preventing it from being absorbed.
Zemel suggested the findings may have been different because teenagers have different dietary needs than adults.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Activity: A great medicine

Physical and mental exercise, a strong connection with society and having a sense of purpose can powerfully counter the effects of aging

Few people think of a senior citizen making supper as an Olympic event. But due to the effects of aging, many seniors have to perform at elite-athlete levels, straining at 80 to 100 per cent of their ability just to do simple household tasks.
All over the Okanagan, these would-be senior athletes are being studied, wearing wires and electrodes as they putter about the house or a lab as part of a University of B.C. research project into frailty and how muscles function as we age.
"This is why many older adults require home or assisted care, because these types of activities become too challenging, not because of chronic disease, but just lost physiological capacity," explains UBC Okanagan assistant Prof. Gareth Jones of the Healthy Exercise and Aging Lab in the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention.
"But we can retrain that capacity. It's not lost forever," Jones added.
According to his research, the older you are, the faster your muscles tire, with fewer rests, leading to increased fatigue. Exercise can help, but 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous activity daily is what's needed for seniors to remain independent. In other words, exercise is medicine for aging.
Research such as this in the fields of gerontology and geriatrics is a hot topic, with good reason. By 2026, one out of every five Canadians will be over 65, according to the Canadian Institute of Health Research's Institute on Aging. More than a million Canadians are over 80 years old, and that number is growing, according to the Canadian Geriatrics Society. In B.C., nearly one in seven residents is over 65, and in 20 years that figure will more than double to one in four. As residents live longer - life expectancy in B.C. has risen from 60 in 1922 to 81 in 2007- they also want to know how to live better.
Experts advise that lifespans are mostly determined by simple genetics, nutrition and exercise. "We know that people are living longer. And lifespan is due to a combination of genetic and acquired factors that include environmental factors and illnesses and disease," said Dr. Roger Wong, a clinical associate professor of geriatric medicine at UBC.
Wong says many researchers are looking for ways for seniors to squeeze the most out of their years, rather than trying to push human life expectancy to the limit.
"People are talking about the quality of life of seniors, of 'active life expectancy,' rather than just the numbers or on living to 95 years old. That active phase is growing in Canada," said Wong, the president of the Canadian Geriatrics Society.
A new Canadian study hopes to unlock clues to help seniors thrive. In 2008 the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging was launched with the aim of following 50,000 citizens aged 45 to 85 for 20 years. More than 200 Canadian researchers will study the interaction of everything from subjects' medical histories and blood samples to family relationships and social supports.
"People are talking about the quality of life of seniors, of 'active life expectancy' rather than just the numbers or on living to 95 years old. That active phase is growing in Canada." - Dr. Roger Wong
MYTH BUSTER
"It's just amazing. It's covering the A to Z of gerontology. It's like a Webster's dictionary on aging," says Andrew Wister, chairman of Simon Fraser University's department of gerontology, who is heading one of three B.C. data-collection sites for the study.
Wister said studies show maintaining social contacts or retaining a sense of purpose is, with diet and exercise, a key to longevity.
"If you look at the characteristics of these people with longer lifespans, we find there is a strong sense of community and some kind of spiritual or family aspect that gives them a joie de vivre, that gives them something to live for," he said.
One of the best ways to stay young is to keep learning.
"Keeping our minds as well as our bodies active is very important. Research has shown that if you watch TV, even watching documentaries that make you think can be helpful, as well as things like playing bridge or chess. It's really all about 'moving' your mind," said Neena Chappell, a professor at the University of Victoria.
"We have a genetic makeup that clearly affects our health, but it is also true that there are social determinants of health, so a lot of other things matter . . . like social supports and self-esteem and having control over the decisions in your life," said Chappell, who is also president of the Canadian Association on Gerontology.
Volunteering can provide an excellent source of mental stimulus and social connection. Many seniors understand this: According to Statistics Canada, more than a third of people over age 65 volunteered in 2004. Seniors groups also offer advice on ways to stay healthy.
The Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of B.C., for example, connects about 80 seniors groups and offers a dozen free healthy-living seminars to seniors on topics from medication awareness and nutrition to dealing with stress.
"A lot of older seniors really have never had any formal education. We're trying to give them information that they need in plain language," said the council's president, Sylvia MacLeay, 74.
Back in his UBC Okanagan lab, Jones sums up his prescription for health and longevity this way: "You have to keep challenging yourself.
"Look at the people who get the most out of life. They are the people who continually challenge themselves physically, mentally and socially. Then you get to enjoy aging to a much higher degree."
Courtesy:The Province

A Conversation With David Friedman, Doctor of Naturopathy

David Friedman, a former journalism major-turned-chiropractic physician and doctor of naturopathy, spent more than three years developing Chews-4-Health, what he calls the world's "first full spectrum super fruit, sea vegetable, antioxidant chewable dietary supplement." It sounds like a product you might find yourself buying late one night from an infomercial, but it was met with international success, and Friedman will be the first to tell you that weight-loss products aren't the answer. The best ones, he says, are nothing more than a step in the right direction.
In addition to running Chews-4-Health (Friedman followed the release of his flagship product with two other weight-loss chewables), Friedman also serves as a health expert for Lifetime Television and hosts the syndicated radio show "To Your Good Health." Here, he discusses why he thinks each one of us is worth about $45 million, the key to losing weight and keeping it off, and how a trip to the chiropractor after hurting his back put him on the path to becoming a chiropractic physician.
What do you say when people ask you, "What do you do?"
I tell them, "I am a full-time student in an ever-changing world." I am always learning, growing, and striving to help others attain optimal health and become the best they can be. As a chiropractic physician, doctor of naturopathy and former teacher of neurology with post graduate education from Harvard Medical School, I am the first to admit that 50 percent of what I learned in college is obsolete today. The textbook all doctors learn from is called Gray's Anatomy. It is now in its 40th edition. That means the doctors that learned from the first 39 versions were taught outdated information. The recommended daily allowance for vitamins changes every three-five years; a lot of what nutritionists told their patients in 2007 would be the wrong information today. Because we as a nation become more sophisticated regarding food and health every year, even the U.S.D.A. changes their guidelines on dietary recommendations. To stay up to date with this ever-changing world, I remain a full-time student above and beyond my role as a doctor and health expert.
What new idea or innovation is having the most significant impact on how people think about nutrition?
People are finally starting to realize that synthetic vitamins (man-made) are no substitute for whole food nutrition. I'll never forget the day one of my patients told me she didn't need to take any nutritional supplements because she already eats something daily that gave her all the eight essential vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, niacin, copper, zinc, and vitamin A. After inquiring about what type of food would offer such a wide variety of nutrition, she told me she got all of these important nutrients from her Kellogg's Pop Tarts. Most of the vitamin supplements and enriched foods on the market use chemical nutrients created in a laboratory, and many of these are not good for your health. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine published research showing that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements can cause genetic damage to your DNA. However, natural vitamin C from citrus fruits strengthens your DNA. Research from the American Heart Association published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that vitamin E supplements cause an increased risk of dying from all causes. However, natural sources of vitamin E, like almonds, spinach, and olives, decrease your risk of dying. People are starting to understand that chemical nutrients created in a lab are no substitute for the health-enhancing powers of nature.
What's something that most people just don't understand about their health?
I think people put too many priorities above taking care of their own body. The Indiana School of Medicine did an interesting analysis on what the human body is actually worth. After analyzing the cost of a lung, heart, kidney, bone marrow, antibodies, mineral content, female eggs, male sperm, they concluded the human body is worth $45 million. Every person is a multi-millionaire inside, but most of us are not taking care of our net worth. So many people take better care of their $20,000 car than they do their own body, making sure it's polished, the tires are balanced, the right kind of oil and fuel is being used, and take it in for regular tune-ups. Your $45 million body requires the same attention for it to function at its optimal level.Fifty trillion cells in your body die and are being replaced every day. Your entire stomach lining is replaced every three days, your skin is replaced every four weeks and your muscles every six months. You have a chance to bring these new cells back stronger and healthier, but in order to do that you have to eat the proper diet and give your cells the right nutrients to fuel them.
What's an emerging trend that you think will shake up the world of diet and nutrition?
An emerging trend is the declining access to health care in America and the wakeup call it is causing. For the first time in history, our nation is worried about the future of their health care, forcing us to look at natural and less expensive alternatives. When I'm interviewed on radio and TV shows, one of the most common questions I am asked is, "What is your opinion on the healthcare reform?" I always reply, "I don't have an opinion, but if you want to know the answer, look in the mirror. Health care begins with you taking care of yourself and not relying on the government or insurance industries. By taking control of your own health care in the present, you can reach optimal health in your future.
What's a diet or nutritional trend that you wish would go away?
Fad diets. The key to losing weight and keeping it off is twofold: 1. lowering your caloric intake by eating healthier choices in the present, and 2. burning off existing fat that was the result of eating too many calories in the past. There are many great weight-loss products on the market. In fact, I've even formulated one myself. However, no matter how great these products are, they can only push you in the right direction. There's a saying I've always loved, "If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got." There's always the latest, greatest fad diet that can help you to lose weight. The key is keeping it off. To do that, you must change your attitude, improve your eating habits, and stop living a sedentary lifestyle.
What's an idea you became fascinated with but ended up taking you off track?
Every idea a person takes action on can open up a new door, taking them off track from their original plan. Sometimes it's life's failures that create our biggest achievements. While Thomas Edison was having trouble improving the efficiency of the telegraph, he noticed that the tape from the machine was making a noise that resembled spoken words when played at a high speed. He wondered if this could record a message. This new discovery took him off track and onto a new course ... the invention of the phonograph.
I started college as a journalism major, hurt my back and went to see a chiropractor. This led me on the pathway to becoming a chiropractic physician. While there, I taught neurology, which led to my writing a textbook on the topic. While teaching a board review seminar, a student asked me a question about nutrition that I wasn't able to answer. I realized I needed to learn more about nutrition and this desire lead to a degree in naturopathy, and eventually to me being the product formulator for my international nutritional company. I believe nothing takes you off track; Everything we encounter creates stepping stones for new beginnings.
Who are three people or organizations that you'd put in the nutrition Hall of Fame?
Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, for exposing the truth about big pharma, the dairy industry, the National Cancer Institute, the FDA, and the USDA. He objectively exposes the unbiased research that so many have been afraid to voice. T. Collin Campbell, author of The China Study: The Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health. And John Robbins, for showing America the behind-the-scenes look at how the food on our table is created.
What other field or occupation would you consider going into?
Law. In my life I've seen so many good people fall victim to the legal system and innocent people wrongfully sued and having to settle because fighting would have ended up costing them more money. Then there's the criminals that get off on a technicality or because their lawyer found a loop hole that made incriminating evidence inadmissible.
What website or app most helps you do your job on a daily basis?
Pubmed.org. The Internet is full of websites, blogs, and social media posts filled with opinions and misquoted science. This website offers the latest science directly from the horse's mouth.
What song's been stuck in your head lately?
"Wheel in the Sky," by Journey. "I don't know where I'll be tomorrow...."
Courtesy:the Atlantic

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