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

Search Engine

Friday, 4 November 2011

Awareness Programme on Sports Ayurveda Held in THIRUVANANATHAPURAM

An awareness programme on Sports Ayurveda for sports coaches and sports team managers organised by the Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) was held on Thursday here.
The programme was inaugurated by cinestar Mukesh at a function that was presided over by Indian Systems of Medicine director Anita Jacob.Mukesh said that ayurveda had the potential to play a role in all sectors and that it can definitely contribute a lot in the field of sports medicine.
‘’The health and vigour of the sportstars can be maintained by ayurveda just as it maintains the health and beauty of the cinestars,’’said Mukesh. As many as 15 team managers and coaches took part in the awareness programme. Doctors working in the sports field took classes on the importance of ayurveda in sports for team coaches as well as team managers.
Indian Systems of Medicine joint director V N Gopinathan, Sports Ayurveda state co-ordinator Ajithkumar, Indian selection committee executive member Jaisamma Moothedam, District medical officer Sundaran and ISM joint director T T Krishnakumar spoke on the occasion.
Source:IBN Live

Too Much Sitting Raises Odds for Cancer: Study

The hours Americans spend sitting may be increasing their risk for cancer, just as the time they spend exercising can reduce the risk, according to new research.
"For colon and breast cancer we can now say there is convincing evidence that being physically active reduces your risk of developing those two major cancers," said Christine Friedenreich, a senior research epidemiologist at the Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Calgary, Canada.
"It's not enough to just meet the physical activity guidelines like doing 150 minutes a week of exercise," she added. "If you are spending the rest of your time sitting, like in front of a computer, that may be a problem."
For colon cancer, regular exercise can reduce the risk up to 35 percent, Friedenreich said. "There's a dose response -- that means more physical activity lowers the risk more," Friedenreich said. The same is true for breast cancer, where exercise can reduce the risk up to 25 percent.
One expert said the new findings do support a connection between sedentary lifestyles and cancer.
Dr. Freya Schnabel, director of breast surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said that "there is beginning to be evidence that the way obesity increases the risk of cancer is through an increase in inflammation in the body, and by doing exercise you can lower the makers of inflammation, which might lower the risk of cancer." But she stressed that more research is needed to clarify these links.
Friedenreich agreed. Although the connection between lack of exercise and the increased risk for heart disease is well-established, the association between a "couch potato" lifestyle and cancer risk is a relatively new finding and one that needs further investigation, she said.
Friedenreich, who has studied the connection between exercise and cancer for years, is slated to present the findings Thursday at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) annual conference in Washington, D.C.
In her most recent work, Friedenreich and her colleagues have found an association between exercise and the reduction of markers of inflammation, such as one called C-reactive protein, which might explain how exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer.
At the moment there is no conclusive evidence that increases in these markers of inflammation actually cause cancer or increase the risk of developing cancer, Friedenreich noted. It's probably a much more complicated process, she said.
"It's a bunch of different mechanisms that are going to have an impact," she said. "We think there are probably pathways through body fat, through hormones, through insulin resistance. Inflammation is one way cancer is affected; I wouldn't say it's the primary one, it's just one of the pathways.".
The study also appears in the October issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
It's not just lack of exercise that increases these markers of inflammation -- just sitting around or leading a sedentary life style may have the same effect. Friedenreich's presentation also describes findings from a study first published in 2009 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It suggested that simply sitting around watching TV can cut years off yours life.
To counteract the risk of leading a sedentary life, Friedenreich suggests regular exercise. But she also suggests that taking breaks from sitting, especially at work, will help lower inflammation and also the risk of cancer.
"Too much sitting, sedentary behavior, actually increase the risk of cancer," she said. "Some of the mechanisms seem to be the same as for lack of physical activity. If you can break up your sitting time, even by little bits, that can help reduce your risk of cancer," Friedenreich said.
Experts estimate that people sit about 15.5 hours a day, including at meals, traveling to and from work or school, working on the computer and watching television. Office workers may spend 75 percent of their time sitting.
"It is clear to me it's never too late" to start exercising to reduce your risk of cancer, Friedenreich said. "Anything you can do to maintain a healthy body weight, especially later in life, will reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer."
Of course people who lead sedentary lives are also at risk for other unhealthy habits that can lead to obesity, a known risk factor for some cancers. In addition, sedentary people might not eat the most healthful foods, which also increase the risk for some cancers, experts say.
Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, commented that "we know that exercise is a good tool to maintain normal body weight."
But, it isn't known whether reducing inflammation markers in the body really reduces the risk for cancer, she said.
"The things that are good for you in general appear to be good for you in terms of reducing your risk for some cancer," Bernik said.
Sit Less, Move More at Work
The AICR presentation includes tips for getting active at work:
Take a short walk, even down the hall, every hour -- set the timer on your computer to remind you.
Take a walk with coworkers to discuses issues,; don't just use email.
Use light weights while you're on the phone or reading emails.
Stand up while you talk on the phone and walk around.
Use an office wall for stretching, doing vertical pushups or leg lifts.
Put up a punching bag or chin-up bar in the break room.

Source:Health Day News

Leg Muscle Exercise Leads to Recovery of Heart Failure

The dysfunctioning of leg muscle is conjoined to the severity of symptoms in heart failure patients, states a new study.According to researchers from the University of Leeds, doctors should not only treat the heart muscle in chronic heart failure patients, but also their leg muscles through exercise.
"Our main message is that exercise is safe and beneficial in patients with heart failure. By warming up the leg muscles properly, the exercise can be more comfortable and sustained for longer - affording great benefits for these patients," Dr Harry Rossiter from the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences, said.
The researchers measured responses of the heart, lungs and leg muscles following a moderate exercise warm-up in a series of experiments with chronic heart failure patients.
Using a near-infrared laser to measure the oxygenation of the leg muscles, they found that warm-up exercise increased the activity of skeletal muscle enzymes that control energy production.
However, this adaptation was less in patients with the most severe symptoms, showing that the heart failure condition had a negative impact on the normal function of the leg muscles.
"Many chronic heart failure patients complain of leg fatigue during exercise and this can prevent them from being active. Our study shows that by warming up properly, patients can improve the oxygenation and performance of their leg muscles, which is beneficial in promoting exercise tolerance," Rossiter said.

Reduce Calorie Intake to Live Longer

Reduction in the Consumption of calories could slow down the process of ageing and age-related diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes, states a new research.According to researchers at the University of Gothenburg, the earlier the calorie intake is reduced, the greater is the effect on ageing.
Using yeast cells as a model, the researchers also claim to have identified one of the enzymes that hold the key to the ageing process.
They found that active peroxiredoxin 1, Prx1, an enzyme that breaks down harmful hydrogen peroxide in the cells, is required for caloric restriction to work effectively.
Prx1 is damaged during ageing and loses its activity, buy caloric restriction counteracts this by increasing the production of another enzyme, Srx1, which repairs Prx1.
"We are able to show that caloric restriction slows down ageing by preventing an enzyme, peroxiredoxin, from being inactivated. This enzyme is also extremely important in counteracting damage to our genetic material," said Mikael Molin, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.
The study has been published in the scientific journal Molecular Cell.

Age-related Diseases and Fruit Fly Intestine

The intestines of fruit flies could help put breaks on aging and age-related diseases, suggests study.Scientists at the Salk institute of Biological Studies have found that modifying a gene known as PGC-1, which is also found in human DNA, in the intestinal stem cells of fruit flies delayed the aging of their intestines and extended their lifespan by as much as 50 percent.
"Fruit flies and humans have a lot more in common than most people think," Newswise quoted Leanne Jones, a lead scientist on the project as saying.
"There is a tremendous amount of similarity between a human small intestine and the fruit fly intestine," she said.
Jones and her colleagues used genetic engineering techniques to boost the activity of the fruit fly equivalent of the PCG-1 gene.
They found that boosting the activity of dPGC-1, the fruit fly version of the gene, resulted in greater numbers of mitochondria and more energy-production in flies - the same phenomenon seen in organisms on calorie restricted diets.
When the activity of the gene was accelerated in stem and progenitor cells of the intestine, which serve to replenish intestinal tissues, these cellular changes correspond with better health and longer lifespan.
The flies lived between 20 to 50 percent longer, depending on the method and extent to which the activity of the gene was altered.
"Their intestines were beautiful," Christopher L. Koehler, a doctoral-student at University of California San Diego who conducts research in Jones' laboratory, said.
"The flies with the modified gene activity were much more active and robust than the other flies," he added.
The study has been published online in Cell Metabolism.

Slowing Down the Ageing Process is in Your Hands

Most people these days attach a lot of importance to looking young and it is no exaggeration that looking younger than one’s age gives people an unbeatable high. To achieve this dream, many are willing to go any length just to knock off years from their looks.One does not need to very far to look for those magic potions or pills to slow down ageing, for the secret may just lie in one’s own hands.
Recent research has claimed that eating fewer calories can retard the ageing process and offset many age-associated diseases such as cancer, dementia and type-2 diabetes.
Researchers also found that cutting the consumption of sugar and protein and ensuring intake of vitamins and minerals holds the secret to longevity.
This point was amply proved during research on animals which showed that reduced calorie intake added years to animals’ lifespan.
Cutting calorie intake improved levels of an enzyme called peroxiredoxin [Prx1], which offers protection against the effects of ageing.
'We are able to show that caloric restriction slows down ageing by preventing an enzyme, peroxiredoxin, from being inactivated. This enzyme is also extremely important in counteracting damage to our genetic material. Impaired Prx1 function leads to various types of genetic defects and cancer. Conversely, we can now speculate whether increased repair of Prx1 during ageing can counteract,” researchers said.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Ozone Ayurvedics forays into HP

Ozone Ayurvedics on Thursday entered Himachal Pradesh by launching age specific facial treatment kits in Shimla .
Ozone Ayurvedic is a component of the Ozone group of companies specialising in natural organic skin care products. “These age-specific treatment kits address acne and oily skin problems . Complexion brightening , skin nourishing and toning , combating fine lines and wrinkles ,” said H K Gupta, ED, Ozone Ayurvedics in Shimla.“We sell treatments for beauty and well being not cosmetics .We believe anything cosmetic is superficial and harmful to the skin if used on a regular basis. Our products are based on traditional ayurveda and latest clinical research,” said M Shahid , DGM sales and marketing Ozone Ayurvedics.
“Our effort is to prevent skin problems in teenagers , maintaining skin health in youth and repair skin damage in women above 25 years with the help of Ozone treatment kits,” said Shahid .
The Ozone group started its operations in 1991. The company’s range of skin health products have already been launched in New Delhi, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patna, Jaipur, Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Chandigarh among other places. Ozone claims more than 1000 beauty parlours are using its products.
Source:Business Standard

Laser surgery can change your eye color: do you want it to?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — what color that eye is may no longer be immutable. A California doctor is developing the technology for a laser procedure that will turn brown eyes blue. Dr. Gregg Homer of Stroma Medical says a 20-second procedure that removes melanin, the pigment that gives brown eyes their color, will permanently make them blue without affecting a patient’s eyesight — but some are questioning the necessity and vanity of such a surgery nevertheless.Homer tells KTLA that all brown-eyed people have blue pigment in their irises too — and a quick session under a specially-tuned laser can destroy the melanin in the eye, with the change occurring gradually over two weeks. The procedure can not change blue eyes to brown.
Though Homer says tests show no signs of tissue damage from the procedure, other ophthalmologists aren’t so confident about the procedure. Dr. Elmer Tu, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a spokesman for the American College of Ophthalmology, told CBS News that seepage of melanin into the eye is associated with a condition called pigmentary glaucoma, which can cause blindness. Homer says he expects to do another year of testing before the technique becomes available outside of the United States in less than two years, and within the United States in three.
In the meantime, those wishing to change the color of their eyes can look to a temporary solution: Colored contacts. They carry risk of infections and can cause discomfort, though, which is why Homer has been working to develop a more permanent solution.
The majority of the world’s population has brown eyes, and the number of blue-eyed people is decreasing in America. But it’s unlikely the procedure could reverse that trend: The procedure will cost $5,000. “But who put a price on vanity?” asks The Daily What. Will an eye color change be the new Hollywood must-have procedure, alongside liposuction, breast augmentation and a nose job? Or will the procedure give women new unrealistic expectations of beauty to live up to, à la Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”?
By: Maura Judkis
Source:The Washington Post

Ex-IAS officer's house converted into Homeopathic dispensary

Taking a cue from Nitish Kumar government in Bihar, the Orissa government on Wednesday converted the confiscated house of retired IAS officer Sanjib Kumar Ray, convicted in a disproportionate assets case, into a homeopathic dispensary in Bhubaneswar.
The Bihar government had converted the confiscated house of suspended IAS officer S S Verma into a school in September.
A vigilance court in January had convicted Ray of amassing ill-gotten assets and sentenced him to three years imprisonment. The court had also ordered police to confiscate his immovable property. The Orissa government on October 20 had taken possession of Ray's double-storey building at Gandamunda area.
Ray, who is out on bail, has since been staying in a rented house in Bhubaneswar, sources said. He recently moved the court seeking stay order for auction of his house.
"We have set an example by turning the confiscated house of Ray into a homeopathic dispensary. The dispensary will provide free treatment to the public at large," chief minister Naveen Patnaik said at a function of state vigilance here. Naveen said his government would a take strong stand against corrupt public servants. "The state government has decided to use the confiscated properties of corrupt officials for public purposes," he added.
Ray, who was promoted to IAS from OAS in 1997, had served as the district collector of Boudh in 1997 and vice-chairman of Cuttack Development Authority (CDA) in 2001, before retiring from service as additional secretary, state co-operation department in 2004. A case of corruption was registered against Ray on July 17, 2001, when he was vice-chairman of Cuttack Development Authority (CDA).
Residents of Gandamunda under Khandagiri police limit were pleasantly surprised to see a signboard flashing the "government homeopathic dispensary" at Ray's house. Sources said government employees had worked overnight to prepare Ray's house for the dispensary, ostensibly paving the way for Naveen to announce it at the vigilance function.
Director Indian Medicines and Homeopathy (DIMH) Mahendra Kumar Mallick said around 40 patients were treated at the new dispensary on day one. "Medicines are available free of cost. With this, we now have three homeopathic dispensaries in Bhubaneswar," Mallick said.
Notably, the vigilance court recently ordered confiscation of immovable properties of another retired IAS officer Ramesh Charan Behera and retired IPS officer Kali Charan Mohapatra.
Besides, applications for attachment of properties of a number of accused persons have been filed in different courts in 197 cases out of which orders have been passed in 80 cases. "Applications for confiscation of properties of some accused persons have been filed in 29 cases," a vigilance officer said.

Some birth control shows higher clot risk: US

Some birth control products, including contraceptive pills, rings and patches for women, carry a significantly higher risk of blood clot than low-dose medications, US regulators said Thursday.
The US Food and Drug Administration said in its review of studies that have included more than 800,000 women that the higher risks are posed by products such as the pill Yaz, the transdermal Ortho Evra patch, and the NuvaRing vaginal insert.
All three methods are "associated with an increased risk of VTE (deep venous thrombosis) relative to the standard low-dose" pills, the FDA said.
Featured in the study were pills that contain drospirenone, as opposed to another type of progestin known as levonorgestrel. Some brand names include Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, Ocella, Loryna, Gianvi, Safyral, Syeda and Zarah.
Yaz is the second biggest selling product made by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, with 1.56 billion in global sales.
NuvaRing is a once-a-month vaginal insert made by Merck pharmaceuticals, and the weekly Ortho Evra patch is made by Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
The finding about clot risk associated with patches and rings are new and need to be replicated, the FDA said. A full discussion on the matter is scheduled for December.
These "continuous exposure" birth control methods "potentially result in higher sustained exposure to estrogen and hence, increased thromboembolic risk," the FDA warned.
The European Medicines Agency concluded on May 27 that such birth control pills carry a higher risk of venous thromboembolism and that warning labels should be updated accordingly.
However it noted the overall risk of blood clot from any birth control method remains small and stopped short of advising women to stop taking pills containing drospirenone.
The pills have been the focus of numerous lawsuits, including one lodged earlier this year on behalf of a teenager who died from a blood clot allegedly linked to the German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer's Yaz contraceptive.
Michelle Pfleger, an 18-year-old college student in North Carolina, died of cardiac arrest last September after taking Yaz, also known as Yasmin or Ocella, to treat acne, according to the complaint.
Two studies out this year in the British Medical Journal found that drugs like Yaz and Yasmin increase the risk of serious blood clots three-fold or two-fold compared to earlier-generation oral contraceptives.
The official Yaz website says the drug is associated with "increased risks of several serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, and heart attack."
According to Glenn Jacobowitz, vice-chair of the division of vascular surgery at New York University, doctors have been aware of the risks of Yaz and similar pills for some time.
"The information on NuvaRing and Ortho Evra would be a new, but similar finding. This is certainly worrisome, particularly for women over age 35 and for smokers," he said.

Study: Infant formula ads reduce breast-feeding

The World Health Organization said a study has found that Filipino mothers who have been influenced by advertisements or their doctors to use infant formula are two to four times more likely to feed their babies with those products.
The study appears to support the Philippines' decision to limit advertising for infant formula, which can discourage mothers from breast-feeding that provides health benefits for newborns.
Published by the Social Science and Medicine Journal in September and released this week, the study said those mothers were 6.4 times more likely to stop breast-feeding babies within one year of age — a step that raises risks of illness and death for the infant.
Breast milk significantly reduces infant mortality, according to international health experts, who recommend that mothers exclusively breast-feed for the first six months and continue breast-feeding, supplemented by solid foods, until their babies are 2 years old.
The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, is not legally binding. It is up to individual countries to implement the code by enacting their own laws.
The Philippine study wanted to examine if marketing for breast milk substitutes was to blame for a drop in breast-feeding in the Southeast Asian country, one of several where multinational companies fought a legal battle for the right to aggressively sell baby formulas.
When the Philippine government tried to tighten its advertising laws for milk products, the companies took it to court.
The Supreme Court ruling in October 2007 upheld the Department of Health's mandate to regulate advertising of breast milk substitutes. It prohibited all health and nutrition claims but failed to support a full advertising ban, citing freedom of speech.
WHO data show exclusive breast-feeding rates for Filipino babies up to four months old dropped from 47.3 percent in 1998 to 40.1 percent in 2008.
Four of the six authors of the study are from the WHO, led by the organization's medical officer Howard Sobel. They conducted a household survey between April and December 2006 and focus groups in April-May 2007.
According to their findings, 59.1 percent of the mothers recalled an infant formula advertisement message and one-sixth reported a doctor recommended using formula. Those who recalled an ad message were twice as likely to feed their babies infant formula, while whose advised by a doctor where four times as likely to do so.
"Despite poverty and extra strain on household income associated with formula use, 41.1 percent of the infants and young children were fed formula," the authors said.
The WHO says addition of formula leads to decreased stimulation from suckling and its reflex for breast milk production. Not breast-feeding also was associated with a 5.8 times increased risk of all-cause deaths in the first two months of life, with risks elevated up to the second year, it says.
The authors said that despite the WHO's adoption in 1981 of the International Code of Marketing Breast Milk Substitutes to curtail unethical marketing promotions, few countries have fully implemented the code's ban on advertising or other forms of promotion.
Alex V. Castro III, executive director of the Infant Pediatric Nutrition Association of the Philippines that groups infant formula makers, said the association fully supports breast-feeding.
He said their members have been diligently complying with the Philippines' adaptation of the WHO's milk code, including prohibitions in advertising. He said no advertisement has been allowed without approval of an interagency headed by the Department of Health.

Over 2000 trials registered with CTRI since registration made mandatory in June, 2009

More than 2000 clinical trials were registered with the Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI) during the last more than two years since the registration of clinical trials was made mandatory by the Union health ministry for getting approval for clinical trials in the country. This is against the 298 clinical trials registered during the two years before the registration was made mandatory.
Dr Abha Agarwal, coordinator of the Registry, said that there has been a marked increase in the number of registration of clinical trials in the country ever since the registration was made mandatory by drugs controller general of India (DCGI) Dr Surinder Singh from June 15, 2009. The DCGI made registration of clinical trials mandatory as part of streamlining the clinical trials sector which remained largely unregulated in the country so far. During the last more than two years since the registration was made mandatory, around 2010 trials were registered with the CTRI, Dr Abha said.
Registration of clinical trial was only voluntary till early 2009 in the country. That the clinical trial organisations were not much interested in registration of trials for obvious reasons was clear from the fact that the total number of trials registered from July 2007, when the Registry was launched in the country, to December 2007 was just 11. In the year 2008, the number of registration went up to 137, still far from the desired level, given the size of the clinical trials going on in the country. From January 1 to June 15, 2009, the total number of trials registered was just around 150.
The CTRI was set up by the National Institute of Medical Statistics (NIMS) which is an arm of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through ICMR. It also receives financial and technical support through the WHO, WHO-SEARO, and the WHO India Country office.
The main objective of the CTRI is to ensure that every clinical trial conducted in the region is prospectively registered with full disclosure of the 20-item WHO ICTRP dataset, as well as all items of the CTRI dataset, in order to improve transparency and accountability; improve the internal validity (details of the methods of the trial that produce reliable results, primarily the method of random sequence generation, concealment of allocation, blinding of participants and investigators, and inclusion of all participants results) of trials right from the design,through conduct and reporting; conform to accepted ethical standards; and lead to reporting of all relevant results of all clinical trials in India and the region.

Baby Separated From Mother Suffers Stress

Separating babies from their mothers is stressful to the baby, research published in Biological Psychiatry provides new evidence.A woman goes into labor, and gives birth. The newborn is swaddled and placed to sleep in a nearby bassinet, or taken to the hospital nursery so that the mother can rest. Despite this common practice, the new research shows that babies thus separated suffer stress.
It is standard practice in a hospital setting, particularly among Western cultures, to separate mothers and their newborns. Separation is also common for babies under medical distress or premature babies, who may be placed in an incubator. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends against co-sleeping with an infant, due to its association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
Humans are the only mammals who practice such maternal-neonate separation, but its physiological impact on the baby has been unknown until now. Researchers measured heart rate variability in 2-day-old sleeping babies for one hour each during skin-to-skin contact with mother and alone in a cot next to mother's bed. Neonatal autonomic activity was 176% higher and quiet sleep 86% lower during maternal separation compared to skin-to-skin contact.
Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented on the study's findings: "This paper highlights the profound impact of maternal separation on the infant. We knew that this was stressful, but the current study suggests that this is major physiologic stressor for the infant."

Benefits of Nut Consumption

An association between nut consumption and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome, who are at high risk for heart disease has been established by researchers.Serotonin is a substance that helps transmit nerve signals and decreases feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier and improves heart health. It took only one ounce of mixed nuts (raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) a day to produce the good effects. The report appears in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.
Cristina Andrés-Lacueva and colleagues from the Biomarkers & NutriMetabolomics Research Group of the University of Barcelona in collaboration with the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University explain that the rise in obesity around the world means more and more patients have MetS. Symptoms include excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, which increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Dietary changes may help patients shed the excess weight and become healthier, among the changes, the regular consumption of nuts — which are jam-packed with healthful nutrients, such as healthy fats (unsaturated fatty acids) and antioxidants (polyphenols) — have been recommended to fight the metabolic abnormalities associated with MetS. To check the biochemical effects of nut consumption, the researchers put 22 MetS patients on a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks and compared them to another group of 20 patients who were told to avoid nuts.

Music Makes Wine Taste Better: Study

A recent study has revealed details of the correlation between listening to music and drinking wine. People who drink wine while listening to music perceive the wine to have the same characteristics as the particular artist or tune they are listening to.
For the study, Professor Adrian North from the Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh gave taste tests to 250 students while playing music, the Daily Mail reported.
The students were given either Alpha 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon or Chilean Chardonnay, and played one of four pieces with contrasting characteristics.
Volunteers were then asked to describe how the wine tasted and the results showed that the tune they listened to consistently affected how they perceived its taste.
The wine was described as powerful and heavy", "subtle and refined", "zingy and refreshing" and "mellow and soft".
Both the wines were given the highest ratings for being "heavy" by those who drank them to Carmina Burana by Orff.
According to North, for an earthy and full-bodied Merlot experience, drinkers should listen to Tom Jones while having their tipple.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Psychology.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

FDA approves Edwards aortic heart valve

Regulators have approved the sale of Edwards Life Sciences Corp's heart valve for patients deemed too sick to have open-heart surgery.
A clinical trial found that patients receiving the Sapien valve experienced two and a half times more strokes and eight times as many vascular and bleeding complications than those who did not receive the implant, but they were more likely to survive one year after surgery.
After a year, 69 percent of the Sapien patients were alive compared with 50 percent of those who received an alternative treatment.
In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve that allows blood to leave the heart does not fully open, decreasing blood flow and potentially preventing it from reaching the brain and the rest of the body.
A bad aortic valve commonly requires open-heart surgery, during which the ribs are sawed open, the heart is stopped and a new valve is sewn in place. With an Edwards' Sapien transcatheter heart valve, a catheter guides the new valve to the heart through the femoral artery in the groin or a small incision between the ribs.
Edwards has sold such a valve in Europe since 2007.
The company estimated last month that its U.S. sales of the Sapien valve would total between $150 million and $250 million in the first full year after the product is launched.
The device is expected to cost about $30,000, and will compete with a system developed by Medtronic Inc's CoreValve unit in Europe.
The Sapien valve is made of cow tissue and polyester supported with a stainless steel mesh frame.
Shares of Edwards rose 4.2 percent to $77.48 in after-hours trading following news of the approval, up from their $74.37 close.

Rare Persian manuscripts being preserved at archival institute in AP

Some rare Persian manuscripts and original texts on Ayurveda in Sanskrit are among the prized manuscripts being preserved at the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and Research Institute here.
In order to carry out this preservation work, Manuscript Conservation Centre (MCC) was set up in May this year on the premises of the state Archives, in collaboration with the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM).
The NMM was established in 2003 by the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture to unearth and preserve the wealth of manuscripts in India. The AP State Archives and Research Institute was chosen as one of the branches in south India to facilitate the National Mission.
According to officials, the objective of the MCC is to provide preventive and curative conservation of the rare and historical palm leaves and manuscripts, besides collecting the data of palm leaves and manuscripts for a comprehensive data-base at the national level.
The MCC has taken up the conservation or preventive and curative treatment of the manuscripts, which includes repair work from primary to permanent level, they said.
“This covers fumigation, hole filling and lamination, to give a long life to palm leaves and manuscript,” they said.
“Many rare and historical Persian manuscripts have been given preventive treatment. About 5,000 folios have been treated for their longer life,” they added.
The MCC is currently working on the old manuscripts of the National Institute of Indian Medical Heritage here as well as on the original texts of Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha, which are in Sanskrit, the officials said.
Besides preserving the original texts, the transcribing work of two Persian manuscripts - ‘Tarikh-i-Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah’ and ‘Maasir-i-Nizam’ by Lala Mansaram, from the medieval era, was also taken up in May this year.
The transcribing work would be useful to those working on the medieval history of the Deccan, the officials said.
Millions of manuscripts available in the country cover a variety of themes, textures, aesthetics, scripts, languages, calligraphies and illustrations, which constitute a part of India’s history and heritage, they said.
“The manuscripts lay scattered across the country as well as outside in numerous institutions as well as in private collection, often unattended and undocumented. The National Mission for Manuscript (NMM) aims to locate, document, preserve and make these manuscripts accessible (to everyone),” they added.
Source:The Hindu

Exercise Might Help Thwart 'Obesity Gene'

Folks genetically predisposed to obesity can reduce their odds of piling on the pounds by staying physically active, a new study suggests.
A large international group of researchers found that the so-called "fat mass and obesity associated" (FTO) gene, which is known to increase the risk of obesity, has a 27 percent weaker effect on physically active adults compared to inactive ones. Their conclusion comes from a meta-analysis of 45 prior studies analyzing data from more than 218,000 participants.
"I think it is important to highlight that you don't have to run a marathon or necessarily join the gym, but walking the dog, cycling to work, taking the stairs . . . about one hour [of activity] a day, five days a week, will have the effect we saw in our study," said study author Ruth Loos, group leader of the Genetic Aetiology of Obesity Programme at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England. "We hope that studies like ours convince people that even when genetically susceptible, a healthy lifestyle will help in the prevention of weight gain."
The study is published online Nov. 1 in the journal PLoS Medicine.
Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, along with nearly one-fifth of children up to age 19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is known to increase the risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain forms of cancer.
Loos said that prior research by her team on 20,000 adults also had shown that physical activity reduced the effect of the FTO gene on obesity risk, but subsequent studies hadn't always led to consistent results.
"What did surprise us was that the [exercise] effect was more pronounced in North Americans than in Europeans," she said. "We speculate that this might be due to the fact the Europeans are 'generally' less obese and more physically active than North Americans, and that there is a greater range of BMI [body mass index] and physical activity in North Americans such that the effect can be larger."
Some of those predisposed to being overweight may feel there's little point in resisting nature's pull, Loos noted. In fact, she added, a recent study on the effects of genetic testing showed that people who were informed they had a higher-than-average genetic susceptibility for obesity increased their dietary fat intake over the following three months, suggesting that the genetic information might have given them a sense of no control.
But this fatalism is misplaced, she said, though more research is necessary to understand the impact of genes and environment on weight.
Dr. Robert Berkowitz, senior medical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania, said the American obesity epidemic of the last three decades hasn't resulted from changed genes, but changed habits.
"It's good to see that physical activity can really help people despite having the [obesity] gene," Berkowitz added. "It really is a genes-environment interaction. Most of us are faced with sedentary jobs, so we're not as active as we used to be even 30 or 40 years ago. I think it all makes it difficult for a person coping with a weight problem."
Source:HealthDay News

Pregnant Man Thomas Beatie May Stop at 3 Kids

Thomas Beatie, the female-to-male transgender who garnered fame and sparked controversy when he became pregnant, may be calling it quits after giving birth to his third child.
Beatie appeared today on CBS’s “The Doctors” to discuss his nontraditional family. During the appearance, posted online by last Friday, Beatie said he was now considering a hysterectomy. According to the online account, he also talked with the show’s physicians about how he could return to his pre-pregnancy weight.
The episode of “The Doctors” marked the first time the whole family appeared on a TV show together.
Beatie, who was born female in 1974 and named Tracy Lagondino, had sex-reassignment surgery in 2002 and legally changed from female to male in Hawaii. But Beatie had never undergone “bottom” surgery, known as phalloplasty, to create an artificial penis. He also left his female reproductive organs in place and said the decision to bear children came after his wife, Nancy, found out she could not.
Beatie first achieved notoriety when he appeared in photos, bearded and with a pregnant belly, in 2007. The photos caused a sensation, with headlines trumpeting “the world’s first pregnant man.”
So far, Beatie has had three children — daughter Susan and sons Austin and Jensen – all born between June 2008 and July 2010 through artificial insemination using donor sperm.
Source:ABC News

Mega exhibition and conference on Indian Healthcare

The India Medical Tourism Destination (IMTD) exhibition and conference, which aims at promoting India as a global healthcare destination, is to take place on the 2nd & 3rd of November, 2011 at the Hall No. 7, Kuwait International Fair Grounds in Mishref, Kuwait.
The two-day mega medical tourism exhibition and conference is being organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Trident Exhibitions in collaboration with the Embassy of India, Kuwait and the Indian Doctors Forum, Kuwait. The exhibition will bring together top-notch medical professionals and leading healthcare and medical service providers from India, to showcase the international quality and great advancements made by the Indian Healthcare industry.
The exhibition will feature several multi-specialty hospitals as well as centers for alternative healthcare like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Siddha. Along with conferences and seminars conducted by leading academics and industry professionals, Business to Business meetings and tie-ups with leading hospitals and healthcare centers in India will also be promoted during the IMTD exhibition.

In London Body Parts Regenerate in a ‘Special Plastic’ Jar

A breakthrough technique in a London laboratory has scientists growing replacement organs which will be a boon to people in dire need of an organ transplant.
There has only been one actual transplant so far of what's called a "wholly tissue-engineered synthetic windpipe."
The recipient, a man from Eritrea who had previously been diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer, is now recovering well.
The technique of growing organs involves making a glass mock-up of the diseased body part and then coating it in a new type of polymer-a rubbery type substance developed in the London lab.
Seifalian described it as a "special kind of plastic." The plastic has microscopic pores, onto which stem cells taken from the patient can attach and grow.
The plastic acts as a scaffolding of sorts around which the patient's own cells can then regrow and remodel themselves into a new body part.
Because the cells are the patient's own, they are not rejected by the body's immune system, which is the usual problem with transplants.
The trachea may be just the beginning, "the heart is possible," said Seifalian, adding that more complex organs like lungs or brains will be much more challenging.
While the technique is not yet approved in the United States, Dr. Seifalian's lab is already getting body part orders from other countries around the world.

Health Benefits of Meditation

Meditation can boost our immune system, reduce blood pressure and improve our mental health, according to scientists from Harvard University and Justuc Liebig University. They believe that this ancient religious tradition has various health benefits and can be used as an effective clinical treatment.
Scientists concluded that there are 4 key components of meditation that could attribute for its beneficial effects including attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation and sense of self. These components are interlinked and together help us combat stress. Meditation is not a vague cure anymore. However it requires training and practice so that it has distinct measurable effects on our subjective experiences, behavior and brain function.The study has been published in the latest issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Yoga gets women with chronic, back pain moving

Another study finds that yoga classes can improve back function among people with chronic or recurrent lower back pain.While the British researchers found that yoga could help people move about and perform tasks, the ancient practice did not appear to reduce back pain itself.
The finding comes on the heels of similar results from a U.S. investigation published last week by University of Washington researchers in the Archives of Internal Medicine. That study found that sufferers of chronic lower back pain could get pain relief by participating in either instructor-led yoga classes or stretching classes.
Although last week's study focused on the relief of back pain, as opposed to the improvement of back function, both of the new studies found yoga classes worked better compared to people simply trying to help themselves with a self-help book on easing back pain.
"Our results showed that yoga can provide both short- and long-term benefits to those suffering from chronic or recurrent back pain, without any serious side effects," said study lead author Helen E. Tilbrook, of the University of York's department of health sciences in Heslington, England.
Tilbrook and her team published their findings in the Nov. 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers noted that chronic or recurrent back pain is one of the most common ailments driving people to seek health care.
To assess what role yoga might play in alleviating back pain, between 2007 and 2010 the team focused on the experience of just over 300 British back pain patients, most of whom were middle-aged women.
By the time of the study launch, the participants had endured an average 10 years of back pain, the authors noted.
Throughout the study all the participants continued their previous back pain standard of care (which can include medication, massage therapy and chiropractic treatment), supplemented by the distribution of a back pain education booklet.
However, roughly half the participants were also offered a three-month, 12-session yoga course led by experienced teachers.
No more than 15 students were enrolled in any one class, which were based on the "asana" and "pranayama" forms of yoga, and included a range of relaxation and mental focus techniques.
The result: disability and pain questionnaires completed at the end of the yoga program, as well as three and six months thereafter, revealed that those who had taken yoga classes reported better back function at every juncture, compared with the non-yoga group.
The biggest boost in back function among the yoga group was observed immediately following the conclusion of classes.
Back pain and general health, however, was no better among the yoga group than the non-yoga group, the team observed. That said, yoga participants expressed a greater confidence than those in the non-yoga group in their ability to perform normal activities both at the conclusion of yoga classes and three months after.
Tilbrook's team concluded that yoga appeared to offer back pain patients a better shot at improving back function than the usual course of back pain treatment.
Karen Sherman, the lead author of the back pain study published last week, believes the two new studies provide "better evidence that yoga is worth trying for patients with non-specific low back pain."
"Persons with 'non-specific' chronic low back pain don't have a lot of conventional medical options that have been shown to be helpful," noted Sherman, who is associate professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Washington, Seattle. "So, they commonly turn to various alternative therapies for relief," she explained.
"Prior to the publication of our recent study and the U.K. trial, there were less than 10 smallish studies suggesting that yoga might be a viable treatment option for persons with chronic low back pain," Sherman continued. "Our studies are larger and more robust than previous studies."
And while Sherman pointed to some differences in the way the two investigations were designed, both came to the same conclusion: "That yoga improves function among back pain patients," she said.
"So, I think the bottom line is that yoga is a viable treatment option," said Sherman, "and one that physicians and other clinicians should feel comfortable recommending to patients, especially if they have more mild or moderate back pain that limits their abilities to perform various activities that are a normal part of life for them.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Even light drinkers increase breast cancer risk: study

Light to moderate alcohol drinkers have an increased risk of breast cancer compared to women who do not drink beer, wine or liquor, said a US study published on Tuesday.
Women who drink three to six glasses of alcohol per week have a 15 percent higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who do not drink, said the research led by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Women who drink on average two glasses daily of alcohol show a 51 percent higher risk of breast cancer, said the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers followed 105,986 women who answered survey questions about their health and alcohol consumption from 1980 until 2008.
The higher breast cancer risk was seen whether the women drank early in life or whether they were drinking after age 40, suggesting that even stopping may not have an effect on lowering risk.
The findings also present a dilemma for women who may choose to drink small amounts of alcohol, such as red wine, for heart health.
"There are no data to provide assurance that giving up alcohol will reduce breast cancer risk," said an accompanying editorial by Steven Narod, a doctor at the Women's College Research Institute, Toronto.
"Women who abstain from all alcohol may find that a potential benefit of lower breast cancer risk is more than offset by the relinquished benefit of reduced cardiovascular mortality associated with an occasional glass of red wine," he wrote.
The study authors said that the reason for the boost in breast cancer risk remains unknown, but hypothesized that it could be due to the elevation of sex hormones circulating in a woman's system after she drinks alcohol.

5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke

Few things feel more terrifying and random than a stroke, which can strike without warning. And fear of stroke -- when a blood vessel in or leading to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot, starving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients -- is well founded. After all, stroke is the number-three killer in the U.S., affecting more than 700,000 people each year. Here are five foods that cause the damage that leads to stroke.
1. Crackers, chips, and store-bought pastries and baked goods
Muffins, doughnuts, chips, crackers, and many other baked goods are high in trans fats, which are hydrogenated oils popular with commercial bakeries because they stay solid at room temperature, so the products don't require refrigeration. Also listed on labels as "partially hydrogenated" or hydrogenated oils, trans fats are found in all kinds of snack foods, frozen foods, and baked goods, including salad dressings, microwave popcorn, stuffing mixes, frozen tater tots and French fries, cake mixes, and whipped toppings. They're also what makes margarine stay in a solid cube. The worst offenders are fried fast foods such as onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken.
Why they're bad:
For years scientists have known trans fats are dangerous artery-blockers, upping the concentrations of lipids and bad cholesterol in the blood and lowering good cholesterol. Now we can add stroke to the list of dangers. This year researchers at the University of North Carolina found that women who ate 7 grams of trans fat each day -- about the amount in two doughnuts or half a serving of French fries -- had 30 percent more strokes (the ischemic type, caused by blocked blood flow to the brain) than women who ate just 1 gram a day. Another recent study, also in women, found that trans fats promoted inflammation and higher levels of C-reactive protein, which have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
What to do:
Aim to limit trans fats to no more than 1 or 2 grams a day -- and preferably none. Avoid fast-food French fries and other fried menu items and study packaged food labels closely. Even better, bake your own cookies, cakes, and other snacks. When you can't, search out "health-food" alternative snacks, such as Terra brand potato chips and traditional whole grain crackers such as those made by Finn, Wasa, AkMak, Ryvita, and Lavasch.
2. Smoked and processed meats
Whether your weakness is pastrami, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, or a smoked turkey sandwich, the word from the experts is: Watch out.
Why they're bad:
Smoked and processed meats are nasty contributors to stroke risk in two ways: The preserving processes leave them packed with sodium, but even worse are the preservatives used to keep processed meats from going bad. Sodium nitrate and nitrite have been shown by researchers to directly damage blood vessels, causing arteries to harden and narrow. And of course damaged, overly narrow blood vessels are exactly what you don't want if you fear stroke.
Many studies have linked processed meats to coronary artery disease (CAD); one meta-analysis in the journal Circulation calculated a 42-percent increase in coronary heart disease for those who eat one serving of processed meat a day. Stroke is not the only concern for salami fans; cancer journals have reported numerous studies in the past few years showing that consumption of cured and smoked meats is linked with increased risk of diabetes and higher incidences of numerous types of cancer, including leukemia.
What to do:
If a smoked turkey or ham sandwich is your lunch of choice, try to vary your diet, switching to tuna, peanut butter, or other choices several days a week. Or cook turkey and chicken yourself and slice it thin for sandwiches.
5. Canned soup and prepared foods
Whether it's canned soup, canned spaghetti, or healthy-sounding frozen dinners, prepared foods and mixes rely on sodium to increase flavor and make processed foods taste fresher. Canned soup is cited by nutritionists as the worst offender; one can of canned chicken noodle soup contains more than 1,100 mg of sodium, while many other varieties, from clam chowder to simple tomato, have between 450 and 800 mg per serving. Compare that to the American Heart and Stroke Association's recommendation of less than1,500 mg of sodium daily and you'll see the problem. In fact, a nutritionist-led campaign, the National Salt Reduction Initiative, calls on food companies to reduce the salt content in canned soup and other products by 20 percent in the next two years.
Why they're bad:
Salt, or sodium as it's called on food labels, directly affects stroke risk. In one recent study, people who consumed more than 4,000 mg of sodium daily had more than double the risk of stroke compared to those who ate 2,000 mg or less. Yet the Centers for Disease Control estimate that most Americans eat close to 3,500 mg of sodium per day. Studies show that sodium raises blood pressure, the primary causative factor for stroke. And be warned: Sodium wears many tricky disguises, which allow it to hide in all sorts of foods that we don't necessarily think of as salty. Some common, safe-sounding ingredients that really mean salt:
Baking soda
Baking powder
MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Disodium phosphate
Sodium alginate
What to do:
Make your own homemade soups and entrees, then freeze individual serving-sized portions. Buy low-sodium varieties, but read labels carefully, since not all products marked "low sodium" live up to that promise.

Hands-On Homework Good for Heart Surgeons-In-Training

Take-home simulators help residents in cardiac surgery do better in the operating room, Dr. Buu-Khanh Lam today told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.Dr. Lam and a multidisciplinary surgical team developed a kit – containing sutures, forceps, and miniature tubing – that can be taken home by trainees to practice a highly technical operation called microvascular anastomosis. The procedure, which involves joining two arteries together, is the "bread and butter" of coronary artery bypass surgery and is performed hundreds of thousands of times a year in North America, says Dr. Lam, director of surgical undergraduate education at the University of Ottawa and director of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Valve Clinic.
It is difficult for residents to get enough surgical training for such a delicate procedure, he says, because cardiac cases are more complex, there are work hour restrictions for medical professionals, and the medical environment is more litigious. In addition, the high-stress environment of the operating room may not be conducive to the acquisition of a new skill. "We wanted to develop a training strategy so that new surgeons had more opportunities to practice on their own in order to become more proficient in the operating room," he explains.
To date the use of simulation in cardiac surgical training has been limited.
To test the benefits of at-home practice with the device, they recruited 39 first- and second-year surgical trainees. All received traditional tutorials and hands-on sessions. In addition, half of the trainees were also given the kit and asked to practice 10 more times and keep a log of practice hours.

Movement Therapy For Schizophrenia

The movement therapy could be effective in schizophrenia treatment. The therapy trains people to be focused and centered on their own bodies and includes some forms of yoga and dance.
The conclusion is based on a new study that shows schizophrenics have a weakened sense of body ownership. The rubber hand illusion made use of in the research produced the first case of a spontaneous, out-of-body experience in the laboratory.
The study, which appears in the Oct. 31 issue of the scientific journal Public Library of Science One, measured the strength of body ownership of 24 schizophrenia patients and 21 matched control subjects by testing their susceptibility to the “rubber hand illusion” or RHI. This tactile illusion, which was discovered in 1998, is induced by simultaneously stroking a visible rubber hand and the subject’s hidden hand.
“After a while, patients with schizophrenia begin to ‘feel’ the rubber hand and disown their own hand. They also experience their real hand as closer to the rubber hand.” said Sohee Park, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair of Psychology and Psychiatry, who conducted the study with doctoral candidate Katharine Thakkar and research analysts Heathman Nichols and Lindsey McIntosh.
“Healthy people get this illusion too, but weakly,” Park continued. “Some don’t get it at all, and there is a wide range of individual differences in how people experience this illusion that is related to a personality trait called schizotypy which is associated with psychosis-proneness.”

Healthy Childhood Diet may Lower Chronic Disease Risk

Childhood diet lower in fat and higher in fiber content can decrease risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease in adulthood, shows study published in The Endocrine Society''s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).A Western dietary pattern high in total fat and saturated fatty acids and refined grains is associated with an increased risk of the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of metabolic abnormalities that include abdominal obesity, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (sometimes considered "good cholesterol"), higher levels of triglycerides and blood glucose, and elevated blood pressure. This study evaluated the long-term effects of a dietary intervention to reduce fat and increase fiber intake during childhood on components of the metabolic syndrome in young adult women.
"This research is important because it suggests that modest reductions in total fat and saturated fat intake and increased consumption of dietary fiber during childhood and adolescence may have beneficial effects later in life by decreasing risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease," said Joanne Dorgan, PhD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA and lead author of the study.
In this study, researchers evaluated 230 women between the ages of 25 and 29 years, who nine years before the current study participated in the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC). DISC was a randomized controlled clinical trial of a reduced-fat dietary intervention that strived to limit fat intake to 28 percent of daily caloric intake and increase dietary fiber intake by encouraging consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The current study was conducted among females who had participated in the DISC trial to determine the longer-term effects of the DISC intervention.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Drug Testing on Animals

Professor Robert Winston has touched a rather controversial topic about testing drugs on animals before it is permitted for use on humans.
According to the professor, we should not crib too much about drug testing on animals, on the contrary we should welcome this practice.During a recent debate he made no bones about his opinion on animal testing. Lord Winston pointed a finger at Britain's universities for being sly about their hand in conducting experiments on animals.
"Let's face it, 95 per cent of us perfectly happily wear leather shoes. We should put the animal rights lobby into some kind of focus. Animal research has contributed hugely to physiological medical research in virtually every field. We need to say very clearly it would be unthinkable to take any drug which has not been tested on an intact animal. In fact, there is a case for having legislation to make it clear that a particular drug has only been possible for human consumption because of animal testing. This could be stamped on the packet, rather like a cigarette packet. I do not think we can argue there is any substitute for animal research," Professor Robert Winston said.

12-year-olds Consume 19 Glasses of Wine a Week

A recent survey involving 83,000 children found that children as young as 12 years old are consuming close to 19 glasses of wine a week.
The study found that 4% of 12 and 13-year-olds consume at least 28 units.Alcohol charity Addiction has underlined the need for support, care and counseling to help them kick the habit.

Sleep Deprived Brit Teens Struggle to Stay Alert in School

Nearly half of teenage girls in Britain struggle to stay attentive in school as they do not get enough sleep, reveals a new survey.According to the study by the School and Students Health Education Unit, 63 per cent of 12 to 13-year-olds say that they are getting enough sleep for their studies but the figure goes down, as they get older, the Scotsman reported.
Almost half (48 percent) of 14 to 15-year-old girls say they do not get enough sleep to concentrate on their schoolwork, as compared to two-fifths (41 per cent) of 14 to 15-year-old boys, who say the same.
It was also revealed that the proportion of youngsters getting eight hours or more of sleep at night drops with age.
Four-fifths of 12 to 13-year-olds got this amount of sleep, compared to 61 per cent of 14 to 15-year-old girls and 66 per cent of boys of this age.
The study is based on the data gathered by taking into consideration the point of view of 83,000 children in 2010.
And almost half (48 per cent) of the youngsters questioned said they do not normally get enough sleep for their health.

Researchers Discover Compound That can Fight Different Types of Viral Diseases

A compound that inhibits the replication of different viruses has been identified by researchers.
The compound prevents the replication of viruses by depriving them of an essential host factor.
The researchers led by Dr. Albrecht von Brunn of LMU Munich and Professor Christian Drosten from the University of Bonn first identified host proteins with which SARS viral proteins interact.
This strategy led to the finding that a cellular signalling pathway is essential for the replication not only of the SARS virus, but also of a whole set of related viruses that are pathogenic to humans and animals.
"This signal pathway is normally involved in regulating the immune system. We used a substance that inhibits the function of one of the proteins in the pathway, and found that it suppresses viral replication," said Drosten.
In other words, drugs that block this pathway inhibit the replication of many different viruses, and therefore act as broad-spectrum antivirals.
This opens a route to the treatment of conditions caused by the SARS virus, but also a whole variety of human coronaviruses, and pathogens that infect the internal organs of chickens, pigs and cats.
Inhibition of this pathway does not damage the host, because parallel pathways can compensate for its normal role in the cell.
The new study recently appeared in PloS Pathogens.

Group calls for HIV screening of teens who have sex

All sexually active adolescents should be screened for HIV, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday in a new policy statement that broadens earlier recommendations.
And in areas with higher rates of the infection, all teens over 16 should get the test, the group added in its statement.
More than 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV, and 55,000 of them are between 13 and 24 years old.
"Forty-eight percent of the youth who are infected don't know they are infected," said Dr. Jaime Martinez of the University of Illinois in Chicago, who helped write the new report, published in the journal Pediatrics.
"It's important to realize that those who don't know they are infected drive the epidemic," he told Reuters Health.
HIV usually proceeds to AIDS in the absence of treatment, but newer drugs can keep that from happening for many years. And knowing you're infected may also help stem transmission of the disease to others -- a benefit that isn't seen with cancer screening, for instance.
Today, many doctors only offer testing to patients they deem at risk, such as prostitutes, drug addicts and homosexual men. But since 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged everybody older than 13 to get an HIV test regardless of risk factors in areas with many undiagnosed cases.
The new statement is a bit more conservative, said Martinez, lest pediatricians be uncomfortable testing younger teenagers. He added that in 12th grade, more than 60 percent of adolescents say they are sexually active -- and that often they're having sex while under the influence.
An HIV test costs about $14, according to Martinez, and is accurate more than 99 percent of the time. Overall, less than one percent of the tests sound a false alarm.
Martinez acknowledged that a few people might be treated without harboring the virus, but added that even if the first test is positive, it still needs to be confirmed by a second before a diagnosis is made -- so the odds of treating someone mistakenly are very small.
"I hope pediatricians will feel comfortable offering this test," he said.
But not all experts are convinced screening everybody is the way to go.
Last week, a large study from French hospitals showed more than 1,000 adults would need to be tested for HIV to find just one new infection, making the researchers question routine screening (see Reuters Health story of October 24, 2011).
Given similar low yields from other studies, the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force makes no recommendations to the general public about HIV screening, although it urges high-risk groups to get screened.
Dr. Jason Haukoos at the Denver Health Medical Center is among the critics of sweeping screening programs.
"There is reasonable evidence to support screening, but it is not clear what the best approach is," he told Reuters Health. "I think the policy statement is a reasonable statement, but I say that recognizing that they don't take it far enough in terms of how this should be done."
For example, he said, there are still questions about consent and disclosure when it comes to children. And it's unclear who would pay for the extra screening.
"The big issue here is, we don't know if it's cost-effective," Haukoos said.

Civil society groups ask WHO members to drop IMPACT, avoid 'counterfeit' term

A group of public interest organisations from across the globe have asked the member States of World Health Organisation (WHO) to agree on WHO disassociating from International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) and discontinue using the term “counterfeit” to refer to medical products of compromised quality, safety and efficacy (QSE).
As many as 55 groups, many from India, and a few prominent activists have sent the joint letter to the chairperson of the WHO working group on substandard/spurious/falsified/falsely-labelled/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products which started at Geneva on last Tuesday.
“We are deeply concerned with the lack of human and financial resources allocated to WHO’s programme on medicines. We urgently call on WHO member states to restore WHO’s independence and to reassert its leadership by ensuring that WHO’s medicines programme receives the funds it needs particularly from WHO’s regular budget to fulfil its responsibilities to Member States,”’ the letter said.
One of the important objectives of the Working Group is to bring clarity with regard to the terminologies and definitions pertaining to medical products with compromised QSE.
The term “Counterfeit” is defined by the WTO-TRIPS Agreement as referring to a specific category of trademark violation1 and in some legislation to all other intellectual property (IP) violations as well. Against this background WHO’s use of the term “Counterfeit” to refer to compromised medical products would result in confusion and also offer a convenient route for proponents of an extended IP agenda to press for inappropriate IP enforcement standards in developing countries under the false premise that such standards will deliver quality assured pharmaceuticals to the people, the groups said.
“The WHO Secretariat has also recently agreed that the term 'counterfeit' is 'perceived as associated with intellectual property rights' rather than with 'public health'. Thus we urge Member States to agree in the upcoming Working Group to discontinue using the term 'counterfeit' to refer to medical products of compromised QSE,” the letter said.

“On WHO’s relationship with IMPACT, we reiterate that WHO should disassociate itself from IMPACT. Significant concerns have been raised about participation in IMPACT’s activities especially the central role played by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) in IMPACT’s activities, the lack of transparency surrounding IMPACT’s activities, and lack of accountability as IMPACT has operated outside the purview of WHO member states. Concerns have also been raised about IMPACT’s link to entities (e.g. OECD, MNCs, WCO, Interpol) which are very much engaged on matters pertaining to IP enforcement under the banner of “anti-counterfeiting activities,’’ the letter said.
Another key concern pertains to outputs of IMPACT particularly its Principles & Elements for National Legislation Against Counterfeit Medical Products which includes a call for addressing counterfeit medical products inter alia by establishing or enhancing intellectual property legislation; contains provisions that could result in TRIPS plus implementation as well as non-tariff barriers for trade in medical products which could undermine access to affordable medicines, become entry barriers for generic industries particularly of developing countries and affect use of flexibilities such as parallel importation of good quality medicines. These elements also promote measures that have led to seizures/detainment of good quality pharmaceuticals in transit at European ports on request of MNCs on suspicion of IP violations, which resulted in delayed treatment for developing country patients, they said.
“Noting these concerns and the wide recognition that IMPACT lacks credibility and legitimacy, we strongly urge WHO Member States to agree that WHO disassociates itself from IMPACT and to stop hosting IMPACT’s website or rely on the documents produced by IMPACT as a basis for its work on QSE,” the groups said.
The list of civil society groups included India-based associations like All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), Asha Kiran Samudayak Samiti (CBO), Center for Trade and Development (Centad), Centre for Safety and Rational Use of Indian Systems of Medicine, Consumer and Civic Action Group, Diverse Women for Diversity, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society, LOCOST, Research Foundation for Science Technology & Ecology , SATHI, and many international organisations like Third World Network and Oxfam, having presence in India.

Now, Sterile Male Mosquitoes to Control Spread of Malaria

Oxford University researchers have come up with a novel method of curbing mosquito related diseases by releasing sterile male mosquitoes to compete with other male mosquitoes for mates
More than 20,000 mosquitoes of aedes aegypti species were released by the researchers over a 25-acre area of Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. The aedes aegypti species of mosquitoes are one of the major carriers of dengue fever which affects more than a 100 million people worldwide.
The researchers said that the mating success rate of these genetically modified mosquitoes more than half as good as their fertile rivals, leading to hopes that a bigger trial could be conducted to test the effectiveness of such a method in reducing mosquito population.
“We were really surprised how well they did. For this method, you just need to get a reasonable proportion of the females to mate with GM males - you'll never get the males as competitive as the wild ones, but they don't have to be, they just have to be reasonably good”, lead researcher Luke Alphey said. The report has been published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Researchers Find Cure to Parasitic Roundworm in Its Genes

The draft genome of Ascaris suum, a parasitic roundworm of pig, has been sequenced by an international team of researchers. This effort has paved the way for the development of new and urgently needed interventions against ascariasis and other nematodiases.Ascaris worms are soil-transmitted helminths causing ascariasis in human and animals.
In this collaborative study led by the University of Melbourne and BGI, the researchers sequenced the A. suum genome at approximately 80-fold coverage and generated approximately 273 million base genome sequence for A. suum.
"Compare to the other metazoan genomes reported to date, we found this genome has few repetitive sequences, only about 4.4percent of the total assembly," said Shiping Liu, the co-leading author of the study and Senior Bioinformatician of Comparative Genomics Group at BGI.
"We later found out this phenomenon was probably caused by the chromatin diminution,"he added.
"We also identified a number of potential drug targets. Notably, in the A. suum gene set, we found a homologue (acr-23) of the C. elegans monepantel receptor, suggesting that this drug may kill A. suum.
"By sequencing A. suum genome, we identified abundant key information to better understand the molecular biology of A. suum and the exquisite complexities of the host-parasite interactions on an immunobiological level. We believe our work will pave the way for the future Parasitic Diseases Research," said Liu.
The study was published online in the international journal Nature.

Artificial Blood for Transfusions Available in a Decade

Scientists after their research breakthrough ascertain that artificial blood created from stem cells in the lab could qualify to be tested on humans within a span of two years. The artificial blood is likely to be available for routine transfusions in a decade.
The scientists believe their work will transform transfusions by preventing hospital shortages, and save thousands of lives on battlefields and at the scene of car crashes, by providing industrial scale quantities of blood.The man-made blood would be free of infections that have blighted natural supplies and could be given to almost everyone regardless of blood group, the Daily Mail reported.
The hope comes from Edinburgh and Bristol university researchers, who have for the first time made thousands of millions of red blood cells from stem cells - 'master cells' seen as a repair kit for the body - taken from bone marrow.
Edinburgh University's Professor Marc Turner hopes to make a supply of cells with the O-negative blood type. This 'universal donor' blood could be given to up to 98 per cent of the population.
Turner predicts that in two to three years, he will be ready to inject a teaspoon of man-made blood into healthy volunteers, in the first British trial of blood from stem cells.
Large-scale trials would follow, but the blood could be in routine use in a decade. Within 20 years, it may be possible to produce two million pints of artificial blood a year - enough to satisfy the nation's medical needs.

Facebook Badge