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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Connection Between Heavy Drinking and Mental Ailments

Even though most Australians do know about the dangers of alcohol abuse, they still drink to manage depression and anxiety, a recent insight has revealed.Most Australians are aware about the link between drinking and mental health problems, and how alcohol can actually worsen it, but many take to it for the immediate relief it provides in lifting ones spirits.
Nearly 3% of Australians thought that alcohol and mental health have no connection while one-fifth felt that consuming two standard drinks each day would not really affect an adult's mental health.

Effect of Psoriasis and Its Treatment on Pregnancy

Pregnancy and psoriasis occurring concurrently often complicate the health status of a woman. Psoriasis is a skin condition marked by multiple patches or plaques on the skin covered with silvery scales. The relationship between pregnancy and psoriasis was recently reviewed by Jennifer M Landau et al.
Pregnancy does have an effect on psoriasis. The good news is, a number of women experience improvement in psoriasis during pregnancy. The bad news is, they also suffer from a flare of the disease following delivery.
Various ways in which psoriasis can affect pregnancy as reviewed in the above mentioned article are listed below:
• Psoriasis in pregnancy has been found to be associated with low birth weight of the baby, preterm birth and abortions. Low birth weight probably occurs due to the effect of inflammation of psoriasis on the placental blood and blood vessels. Some studies however contradict the above statement and concur that psoriasis is associated with the birth of ‘big babies.’

• The mental stress due to psoriasis may make the pregnant woman prone to depression, weight gain, smoking and alcoholism. The damaging effects of these situations on fetal health are well known. Depression may also make the pregnant women negligent in taking pre-natal vitamins, which in turn could affect fetal growth.
• Other health disorders are associated with psoriasis. These include diabetes, heart conditions like heart failure and heart attack, obesity and metabolic syndrome (metabolic syndrome consists of a group of disorders, which include obesity, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low high density lipoproteins and high blood pressure). Not only do these conditions affect pregnancy, the drugs used to treat these conditions could also have harmful effects on the fetus. For example, high blood pressure or hypertension is associated with low birth weight, preterm births and increase in fetal deaths. Some drugs used to treat hypertension, like those belonging to a group called ACE inhibitors, can cause fetal abnormalities. Diabetes may result in big babies and fetal abnormalities. Obesity can result in big babies, low Apgar score and premature birth.

• Some of the local medications used over the skin for psoriasis are usually safe if applied in a limited amount. Chances of fetal abnormalities with locally-applied medications could arise if large amounts are applied, the skin is damaged, or the medications are applied under occlusion, to increase the absorption.

• Most medications administered orally for psoriasis result in fetal damage and should be avoided in pregnancy. One such medication, acitretin, is absolutely contraindicated due to its ability to cause serious malformations in the fetus. The medication should be stopped much before the woman plans to conceive. Other drugs like methotrexate and mycophenolate mofetil have also been proved to harm the fetus and should be avoided.
• Phototherapy or light therapy with broadband or narrow band ultraviolet B appears to be a safe option for treating psoriasis in pregnancy. Cyclosporin A also appears to be safe and may be considered as an option.
Thus, a careful assessment of the woman’s condition with psoriasis is required during pregnancy. Counseling may be necessary to relieve mental stress. The drug therapy has to be especially monitored to ensure a safe pregnancy and healthy baby.
1. Psoriasis and the Pregnant Woman: What are the Key Considerations?; Jennifer M. Landau et al;Skin Therapy

Kidney Disease Patients Can Reap Rich Benefits From Pomegranate Juice

A new study has claimed that patients suffering from kidney disease may benefit abundantly from pomegranate juice, as the antioxidant-rich drink also helps to manage blood pressure and lower cholesterol.Lilach Shema and her colleagues from the Western Galilee Medical Center in Israel investigated the long-term effects of drinking pomegranate juice on heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure in kidney disease patients.
They randomised 101 dialysis patients to receive about three-and-a-half ounces of pomegranate juice or placebo, three times a week.
After one year, the number of blood pressure drugs patients took decreased in 22 percent of patients drinking pomegranate juice compared to 7.7 percent in the placebo group, while an increase was documented in 12.2 percent of patients drinking pomegranate juice compared to 34.6 percent in the placebo group.
They also found that patients who drank pomegranate juice had healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels and less plaque build-up in their arteries.

Regular Exercise, Less Computer Use Improves Sleep in Teens

Regular exercise improves a teenager's chances of a good night's sleep, while using the computer for more than two hours a day has the opposite effect, reveals a new study.
The study of nearly 15,000 high school students found that those who spent at least an hour engaging in physical activity daily were significantly more likely to report "sufficient" sleep-eight hours or more per night-than students who were inactive.
And teens who use a computer recreationally for more than two hours a day are less likely to get sufficient sleep than students who spend less time using a computer.
Earlier research has had similar findings, but this is the first large, nationally representative study to connect physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep in high school students, claimed Kathryn Foti, M.P.H., a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health and lead author of the paper.
"The message for parents is that encouraging daily physical activity and limiting computer use outside of what's necessary for schoolwork, can help students get the sleep they need," she said.
Judith Owens, M.D., director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. stated, "It is a vital issue."
"Insufficient sleep increases the risk of obesity, affects academic performance and has implications for safety. Chronic sleep restriction affects the immune system, the developing brain and the cardiovascular system," she added.
The analysis also linked extensive TV watching-four or more hours daily-to insufficient sleep.
The study appeared in the latest issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Worm Model for Testing of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinsonian worms, that have been mutated to be deficient in producing dopamine hold the key to identifying novel drugs for Parkinson's disease.
The dopamine-deficient worms are put through the same paces that lead to the immobility, but in the presence of a drug.If they become immobile as they normally would when water is removed, the researchers move on to the next drug. But if somehow a drug helps the worms' brains overcome the dopamine deficiency and they transition to crawling, the lab has a potential therapeutic.
Pierce-Shimomura says that although humans have a vastly more complex nervous system than the worms, the two species share an "ancient and conserved" genetic structure to their dopaminergic systems. What works to overcome a dopamine deficiency in the worms may do something similar in humans, and it can be tested in worms with extraordinary speed.
Pierce-Shimomura has already begun testing potential drugs for Parkinson's. So far he's found one compound that shows promising effects in the worms. The particular compound has already been approved for use in humans for treatment of another condition.
Working with the university's Office of Technology Commercialization, he's filed a patent application for the worm model for testing of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
About half a million Americans suffer from Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Early symptoms of the disease include shaking, rigidity, and slowness of movement. As it progresses, the physical symptoms can advance to the point of incapacity, and cognitive impairments, including early dementia, can arise as well.

No-surgery hope for knee patients

Suffering from knee damage? Don't fret. City doctors claim a new technique in which the body's own cartilage cells are cultured and implanted into the damaged portion can help patients recover faster, without having to undergo knee replacement surgeries.
According to Dr Raju Vaishya, senior orthopaedic surgeon at Apollo Hospital, the treatment - known as Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) - is practised at medical centres across the world and Apollo is going to introduce it soon. ACI means 'to get cartilage cells (chondrocyte) from yourself (autologous)'.
It is a two-stage procedure: harvesting a tiny portion of cartilage from a healthy area of the knee, cultivating it in a special medium that promotes its growth and injecting it into the diseased area in combination with a membrane (biomembrane) or in a scaffold matrix.
A leg brace is necessary till the cells grow and fill the defect in the cartilage. The patient can walk in three months and return to normal sporting activity after a year. This procedure is a boon for young people - especially sportsmen - as they can get back to their feet within a few months. It prevents complications like osteoarthritis.
"A 21-year-old patient who suffered severe knee injury in an accident seven months will undergo this procedure at our hospital on Sunday," said Vaishya. He was speaking at International Congress of the Indian Cartilage Society in the capital on Saturday.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Smile is Anti-aging

German researchers claim that facial expressions have an impact on how old we look and smiling can actually make one look younger.During the study, several men and women were shown multiple photographs and asked to guess the age of the people in those photos. It was found that people were most likely to under-estimate the age of people when they were smiling.
Experts cited the following reasons for this observation- firstly, it is hard to tell whether the facial wrinkles seen in a smiling face are the effect of the smile or permanent. Secondly, we consider smiling faces more attractive in other ways including being younger than they actually are.
The study has been published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Teens can Reduce Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease Via Fiber-Rich Diet

Following a fiber rich diet reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease among teenagers, according to a new study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association.Researchers from the Michigan State University said that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduced the risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes as they are rich in vitamins, minerals and other chemicals.
The researchers conducted the study on more than 2,000 teenagers in the United States between 12 to 19 years of age. The researchers tested for what is known as metabolic syndrome: set of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, large waistline, low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and high levels of fat in the blood.
The researchers found that approximately 6 percent of the teenagers had the metabolic syndrome. However the number went to nine percent among children who ate the least amount of fiber in their food compared to 3 percent who ate the most amount.
Lead researcher Joe Carlson was quick to point out that eating a fiber rich diet did not mean that teenagers could gorge on food items containing high levels of saturated fat. “We know if you eat a lot of saturated fat, or trans fat, it tends to raise (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol”, he said.

Star Cricketer Gautam Gambhir Pledges to Donate His Organs

Organ donation in India received a major boost after cricketer Gautam Gambhir announced that he will be donating his organs to a Delhi hospital after his death.Gambhir pledged his organs after launching the “Gift a Life” initiative, a website that encourages people to donate their organs to needy people, which is backed by Apollo Transplant Institutes.
Urging the media to generate awareness among people regarding organ donations, Gambhir said, “Thousands die every year for want of organs and I feel that through this initiative we can do the society good as it helps us bridge the gap between the demand for these organs and their availability.
Gambhir also urged everyone to make a firm decision to donate their organs.

The Exercise Prescription for Back Pain

The latest research shows why you shoud consider yoga or stretching for your aching back.
When it comes to treating back pain, you may be better off signing up for a yoga class than going to the doctor. That’s the findings of several studies all released within the last week.
In a large scale British study people with long term back pain were divided into two groups. Half of them took a 12-week course of yoga and the others received standard health care from a medical professional.
Three months later, the group who participated in yoga was able to take part in 30 percent more activities compared to those who went to the doctor. They also experienced a reduction in pain. The differences in the two groups were pronounced. The yoga group was able to walk faster, stand up for long periods of time and dress without assistance.
Back pain is an extremely costly condition. At some point in our lives, we all suffer from some pain whether it’s from lifting a heavy item, sitting at a desk all day, or straining ourselves without knowing it. Standard care offers treatment of the symptoms: anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone shots. When those fail to provide relief, surgery often becomes an option. All those treatments add up quickly and have varied side effects. And unfortunately, some of the most costly approaches do not prove the most effective.
According to the study results, yoga provides short and long term benefits to those suffering from chronic or recurrent back pain. And there are no serious side effects.
A University of Washington study revealed the same findings. In that study patients were divided into three groups. One group took a weekly 75-minute yoga class, the second took a weekly 75-minute stretching class, and the final group received a book on self-care which did include stretches but did not take a class. Patients who had been taking anti-inflammatory medicine before the study were allowed to continue.
That research showed both yoga and stretching classes was good at relieving chronic moderate lower back pain. Self-care just didn’t get the job done. As in the other study, participants who took a class were able to take part in more of life’s daily activities. They were also more likely to cut back on any medication they were taking.
For those suffering from pain, a beginner’s yoga class or an intensive stretching program is recommended. But researchers from the latter study say, exercise prescription is recommended only for people who are willing and able to move. Patients who are unable to move their body and have severe back pain should not try to “stretch it out.”
If you are suffering from back pain, experts warn that not all classes are the same. It’s hard to find someone who specializes in back pain. You probably aren’t going to find a trainer in the gym to help you unless he or she holds a special certification. Stretching classes should focus on a therapeutic orientation and the yoga class should be geared specifically for lower back pain.
Classes are more expensive the trying to handle back pain on your own. But in the long run, taking a class is much more effective than dealing with it on your own, and cheaper than taking medicine on a long term basis or seeking out other treatments.

Religious People More Optimistic and Less Depressed

According to a US study, regular attendance at religious services is associated with a more optimistic outlook, a lesser inclination to be depressed and less cynical outlook on life compared to those who do not attend services at all. People who attended services more than once a week were 56% more likely to range above the median score of optimism and 22% less likely to be depressed.
Religious participation reduces the risk of mortality. It helps in promoting an individual's psychological and physical health by calming people in stressful times, creating meaningful social interactions and help curtail bad habits.
The report will be published in the Journal of Religion and Health.

'Low-Salt Diet' Not Beneficial for Caucasians

A low-salt diet which restricts the sodium intake to 1.5grams per day may not be beneficial for Caucasians, according to a new study. Though a diet low in salt might help a little to reduce blood pressure it increases the blood cholesterol by 2.5% and triglycerides by 7%. It leads to increase of hormones (Renin, Aldosterone, adrenaline and nor-adrenaline) that cause salt accumulation in the body.
Study researcher Dr. Niels Graudal, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark feels that the overall good and bad consequences of a low-salt diet may cancel each other out and so the diet has relatively very little effect on the development of disease. However the researchers feel that benefits might be greater in Blacks and Asians, but they are not certain about this.Further wide scale research is essential as this study had certain limitations. As against the guidelines issued by the 'American Heart Association', the researchers defined a 'low-salt diet' as one that included 2.3grams of salt or less per day. Also, the effect of this diet on the body should be studied for a longer period than 4weeks.
The study has been published online in the 'American Journal of Hypertension'.

Effect of Alcohol on Heart Disease Risk

Alcohol consumption may slash the risk of death from coronary heart disease, suggests recent study.In a prospective, observational study of approximately 150,000 Norwegians, the investigators found that alcohol consumption was associated with a large decrease in the risk of death from coronary artery disease.
For men, the fully adjusted hazard ratio for cardiac death was 0.52 (95% CI 0.39 - 0.69) when comparing subjects reporting more than one drink/week in comparison with those reporting never or rarely drinking; for women, it was 0.62 (0.3-.23).
There was little change in the hazard ratio when HDL-cholesterol (HDL) was added to the model, suggesting that very little of the lower risk of heart disease was due to an increase in HDL from alcohol consumption.
Forum members considered this a well-done analysis. They were surprised at the very low amounts of alcohol intake reported by the subjects, with only 16% of males and about 8% of females reporting more than one drink/week.
It is possible that the low levels of drinking, or perhaps over-adjustment in the multivariable analysis, led to the lack of effect of HDL. Most other studies have shown a much larger proportion of the effect of alcohol on heart disease risk to be associated with an increase in HDL.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A mantra worth marketing?

It is common knowledge that Ayurveda has been in practice in India for the last 3000 years. Yet, the popular mode of diagnosis in this country is generally allopathic. However, with growing awareness about the benefits of alternative medicine and possible side effects of allopathic drugs in more and more people, one sees a renewed interest in our traditional methods of treatment and healing. It is then at an opportune time that the Government has commissioned a first-ever status report on Indian medicine and folk healing. The report, funded by the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has recently been submitted to the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, strongly suggesting the establishment of a high-level commission to propagate and globalise Ayurveda. The report, over 300 pages long gives the example of China suggesting our Government “study and document” how China has succeeded in doing so with their traditional medicine.
To drive home the point, the report compiler, Shailaja Chandra, former Secretary, Department of AYUSH, and former Chief Secretary of Delhi Government, has called for “establishing a high-level Commission like the L.M. Singhvi Commission, which addressed issues related to NRI/PIOs.” The mandate should be to follow a promotional plan for our traditional medicines akin to that of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), charted out by China since 1972, primarily for Acupuncture and herbal medicine.
“The website of the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) indicate that TCM is widely used in the United States. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included questions on the use of various Complementary and Alternative (CAM) therapies, an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults had used Acupuncture in the previous year,” says the report, a copy of which is with The Hindu Metro Plus. Chandra, in the report, also mentions that the U.S. Government-recognised Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) accredits schools that teach Acupuncture and TCM. “About a third of the U.S. states that license acupuncture require graduation from an ACAOM-accredited school.”
The status report has particularly called for positioning Panchakarma like Acupuncture. “There is a need to reposition Panchkarma as a recognised therapy for muskulo-skeletal and neurological problems including rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinsonianism and in Behavioural Science. A beginning could be made by demonstrating Panchakarma procedures on veterans suffering from post-trauma stress disorder to be observed by Veteran Affairs Department of U.S. Defence. Were a high-level policy decision to be announced — for example if Indian Railways as the biggest employer in the public sector recognised Ayurvedic treatment for insuring accident cases, it would instil confidence,” it says.
“Our missions abroad stock few CDs and leaflets here and there but efforts to market Indian medicine have been lack-lustre and unconvincing.”
Among other suggestions, the report, compiled after an exhaustive research spanning close to a year, puts the thrust on research in Ayurveda. “Only clinical outcomes published in international journals would lead to recognition of Ayurveda. The ground reality is that there is no legal scope to practice Ayurveda in most countries, primarily because of a lack of credible research.” This has necessitated the need to study and document the policies and strategies that China adopted over the years for globalisation of TCM.
Significantly, the report calls for the need to offer postgraduate interdisciplinary training to modern scientists to increase the dialogue between Ayurveda and modern science. While lauding the efforts of the Kerala Government in promoting Ayurvedic Tourism, Chandra also highlights the fact that the influential American Medical Association is “hugely exercised about heavy metal content in Ayurvedic formulations.”
“The issue alone is enough to distort the globalisation discourse for a very long time. It already occupies centre-stage on the NCCAM's website on Ayurveda. The situation demands that massive attention be paid to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and testing for heavy metals and impurities, without which few will take us seriously.”
The report, made with “a focus on benefits that the systems have given to the public”, ends with the submission, “The 12th Five year Plan is on the anvil. The time is to act now.”
Source:The Hindu

Ayurveda dept in Kerala functions without head even after one year of creation of separate dept

Even after one year of the creation of a separate department for Ayurveda in Kerala, the government has not so far created a post of Drugs Controller to head the department in the state.
Concerned over the government apathy, the department, which has been operating separately from September 9 last year, has asked the government to consider seriously the creation of a post of drugs controller for its smooth functioning.
The proposal demands increase in staff strength and strengthening of working facilities whose shortages often become bottleneck to enforce Drugs & Cosmetics Act (D&C Act) properly in the state, according to the deputy drugs controller in charge of the department. Technical staffs are required in the quality control lab also.
According to Dr N Vimala, the in-charge drugs controller, the department has submitted a separate proposal to the Ayush department with projects for strengthening the Quality Control Lab.
When the news about the proposal by the Ayurveda division was put to the state health minister Adoor Prakash, he said he will look into the matter seriously.
Kerala, hailed as the hub of Ayurveda, has more than 1200 licensed manufacturing units and a host of retail outlets. The apathy of the government badly affects the functioning of the manufacturing industry. In all the three zonal offices, the issue of all licences is getting delayed due to heavy work load and several other reasons. The poor situation of the department makes huge revenue loss to the government.
Previously, the head office was working in a separate portion in the state drugs control department office, but after the formation it was shifted into a separate building. The proposal to the government, which was made on 21.10.2011, demands for, in addition to the existing, one Drugs Controller, one ADC and 7 drug inspectors. At present, the department enforces the Act with just three drug inspectors one each in Kozhikode, Kochi and Kollam. When the Kollam zonal office has a jurisdiction of three districts including it, the other two offices have five districts each. In these two zones alone, more than 800 manufacturing units are operating and many of them are having popular products with decades' old tradition.
Dr Vimala said the government will soon sanction three vehicles for three zonal offices and appoint one driver for the vehicle in the head office. She said for the effective monitoring of the units, at least 10 drug inspectors are required in all the zones.

India-EU to begin joint research in the field of biotechnology applied to human health

Under the New INDIGO Partnership Programme (NPP) on Biotechnology applied to Human Health, India and the European Union (EU) will soon begin joint research in the field of biotechnology applied to human health. Apart from India, the other participating countries under the programme are Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Norway, Portugal and Spain.
The primary aim of the programme is to reinforce EU-India cooperation in thematic areas of mutual interest, recognising the fact that biotechnology is one of India’s research strengths while health is a field of rising importance both in India and Europe.
The programme will support high quality research networks working on collaborative projects, and at the same time to provide a mechanism for future extended projects of Euro-Indian cooperation. Multilateral research projects will be funded, providing for mobility, workshops and research costs as well as personnel costs – depending on national regulations. This includes strengthening existing contacts in order to initiate and prepare joint projects or foster cooperation.
In order to realise multilateral research cooperation project consortia have to be composed of at least two European and one Indian partner, but should not involve too many partners. Scientists from universities, research institutions and small and medium enterprises / companies from India conducting research within the health science biotechnology area can apply for the programme. The small and medium enterprises is as defined by BIRAP, DBT.
Under the programme, only trans-national projects will be funded. Each proposal must involve eligible researchers/research institutes from a minimum of two different European New INDIGO funding members, as well as one or more eligible partners from India.
Research groups from non-funding New INDIGO partner countries may participate in projects if they secure their own funding. Their participation and their secured funding need to be confirmed through signing a Letter of Commitment.

Scientists Identify Potential Compounds for New Anti-Cancer Therapies

Two new molecules that can kill lymphoma cells in mice have been identified by scientists at the University of Southern California.The peptides, molecules derived from a cancer-causing virus, target an enzyme in cancerous cells that regulates a widely researched tumour suppressor protein known as p53.
The peptides inhibit the enzyme, causing p53 levels in cancer cells to rise, which lead to cell death.
Lymphoma tumours in mice injected with the two peptides showed marked regression with no significant weight-loss or gross abnormalities.
HAUSP, or herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin specific protease, is an enzyme that cleaves the normally occurring protein ubiquitin from substrates like p53. In a healthy environment, ubiquitin binds to a substrate, causing it to degrade and die. "Given the mounting evidence that HAUSP serves as a pivotal component regulating p53 protein levels, the inhibition of HAUSP should have the benefit to fully activate p53," said Hye-Ra Lee, Ph.D., the study's first author and a research fellow in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Using co-crystal structural analysis, Lee and her colleagues found a tight, "belt-type" interaction between HAUSP and a viral protein that causes Kaposi's sarcoma and lymphoma.
The peptides derived from this viral protein bind 200 times more strongly to HAUSP than p53, making them ideal HAUSP inhibitors.
The researchers found that the peptides comprehensively prevented HAUSP from cleaving ubiquitin, allowing p53 levels to rise - thereby representing potential new chemotherapeutic molecules that can be used for anti-cancer therapies.

'Cooking With Kids' School Program Can Fight Childhood Obesity

Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other reports that childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years, it is important to reach our children early to form good food habits.However, with teachers having to incorporate more and more learning standards into their already packed curriculums, where does that leave room for nutrition education in elementary schools? Perhaps by putting it into school subjects like geography and the study of other cultures, math, and science. A study in the November/December 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior shows how the Cooking with Kids program successfully helps students learn school subjects and develop cooking skills.
Cooking with Kids is an experiential food and nutrition education program for elementary school students, based on social learning theory and food acceptance principles ( Students explore, prepare, and enjoy fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultural traditions. Founder and executive director Lynn Walters and program director Jane Stacey have developed integrated curriculum materials for grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-6. Cooking with Kids also encourages students to treat each other respectfully and to practice the social skills of working together to prepare a meal and then sitting down to eat together.
As part of a larger evaluation of the program, investigators from the Colorado State University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition interviewed 178 fourth-graders to determine students' cooking attitudes and experiences at school and home after a series of cooking plus tasting or just tasting classes alone. Their teachers and Cooking with Kids food educators were also interviewed. Students and their teachers who participated in both types of experiential classes described positive experiences with curriculum integration into academic subjects, and those receiving cooking classes reported opportunities to enhance their social skills. The study also found that students in cooking plus tasting schools did not perceive cooking-related tasks at home as 'chores', unlike students who received just tasting classes or those who did not receive either type of class. And, in general, students' perspectives were that the curriculum strengthened their understanding of the content of school subjects.

Hindus irked at “sexploitation” of yoga

Hindus are upset at what they call as “sexploitation” of yoga.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that yoga was a serious mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman). But for mercantile greed, market seemed to be flooded with books, magazines, DVDs, and other media showing yoga as some kind of potion to enhance sex life.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that it was simply misuse of age old and revered system of yoga.
Rajan Zed listed some of the popular titles selling in the market: “Better Sex Through Yoga” (Greaux, Langheld, Rich), promising “Easy Routines to Boost Your Sex Drive, Enhance Physical Pleasure, and Spice Up Your Bedroom Life”; “Sexy Yoga” (Barrett), giving “40 Poses for Mindblowing Sex and Greater Intimacy”; “Sex Yoga” (Brighton), showing “The Seven Easy Steps To A Mind-Blowing Kundalini Orgasm . . . No Partner Required!”; “Intimate Yoga for Couples” (Mishabae); etc.
Here is sampling from some well known magazines: “Yoga Positions for Better Sex” (Prevention), “Want Better Sex? Do Yoga” (Psychology Today), “Workout: Yoga for Hotter, Better Sex” (Men's Health), “Yoga for Better Sex” (Women's Health Magazine), “The Great Sex Yoga Workout” (Fitness Magazine), etc. Even Harvard Health Publication of Harvard Medical School gave "Examples of yoga poses to enhance sexual function". shows a "Playboy's Naked Yoga" free video depicting Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood doing various yoga poses on a yoga mat totally naked.
Criticizing portrayal of yoga as erotica, Zed pointed out that yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy and was highly revered in Hinduism.Rajan Zed further says that some sages have described yoga as the silencing of all mental transformations, which leads to the total realization of the Supreme Self. Some have used yoga attempting to gain liberation by removing all sensory barriers. According to Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
Zed argued that just for plain mercantile greed, companies and individuals should not attempt to distort the esteemed ancient yoga tradition as it would hurt the devotees.
About 16 million Americans, including many Hollywood and other celebrities, reportedly do yoga. Hinduism, which introduced yoga, is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about billion adherents and “moksh” (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Women suffer quicker brain damage from alcohol abuse: study

Women alcoholics suffer damage to the part of their brain that controls moods, impulses and sleep three times faster than their male counterparts, a Swedish study showed Wednesday.
Women suffer a 50-percent reduction in the so-called serotonin function in their brain after four years of excessive drinking, while men show the same amount of damage after 12 years of alcohol abuse, according to the study by researchers at Gothenburg University.
"The impairment is progressing much faster in women," explained Kristina Berglund, who conducted the study with colleagues from the university's Department of Psychology, as well as two researchers at the faculty of Health Sciences, known as the Sahlgrenska Academy.
Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that is, among other things, critical to the development and treatment of depression and chronic anxiety.
It also regulates impulse control and our ability to fall asleep and stay awake.
The researchers studied several brain functions of 42 people -- a third of them women -- who admitted to alcohol dependency, along with 28 control subjects.
"We saw that the alcohol dependent individuals had significantly lower serotonin functions," Berglund told AFP.
The women tested said they on average had been drinking the equivalent of about 12 bottles of wine a week for four years, while the men had been drinking the same amount, but for 12 years.
However, "we could see the damage to the serotonin function was equal between men and women," Berglund said.
The results, which are scheduled to be published in the journal of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research in January, had come as a partial surprise to the researchers, she said.
"We were not surprised to find that the serotonin function was impaired in the alcohol-dependent individuals, but we were surprised to see that women were so much more vulnerable, even in the brain," she said.
Ulf Berggren, one of the Sahlgrenska Academy contributors to the study, meanwhile stressed that while the timing was different, men ultimately suffered the same degree of harm to their serotonin function as women.
The study authors acknowledged more research was needed, especially since they had used such a small number of test subjects.
Berglund also said that while the researchers had connected significant serotonin function harm to alcohol abuse, they still needed to look at the psychological impact of the damage.
"We know this function is significantly impaired, but what does this mean? What are the consequences? That's a question that needs answering," she said.

Fortis Hospitals surgeons perform combined surgey giving a new lease of life to an aged patient

Fortis Hospitals Bangalore has performed a unique combined surgery on an 83 year old patient who was suffering from severe heart disease for the past 4 years and also diagnosed of bladder cancer recently.
The patient S R Subhramaniam, ex-president and managing director of Larsen & Tourbo had a history of severe aortic stenosis problem. He was advised to Fortis and was prescribed to undergo Cystoscopy test which revealed cancer in the bladder.
The specialists recommended bladder resection surgery followed by creation of new bladder using a part of the patient’s small intestine through a process known as Neobladder.
“Though we advised Subramaniam for an immediate bladder reconstructive surgery, another major issue we faced was his heart condition which itself required a surgery to be done. On one hand, operating on the bladder cancer alone may have posed the patient to the risk of heart failure due to the narrowed aortic valve, on the other hand, operating on aortic valve would have postponed the cancer surgery on the bladder which could result in him bleeding from the urinary bladder in addition to spread of cancer cells. Therefore solving the two problems separately would not have been safe,” explained Dr Mohan Keshavamurthy, consultant urologist and Transplant Surgeon, Fortis Hospitals.
After detailed discussion, a decision was taken to undergo combined surgery where the heart and bladder cancer could be handled at the same time. The team represented by Dr Rehan Syed, Consultant Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Dr Mohan Keshavamurthy, Consultant Urologist and Transplant Surgeon, Dr Aashish Shah, Consultant GI Surgeon and Dr Murali Chakravarthy, Consultant Anaesthesiologist prepared a set of strategies to operate the patient in such a way that both the issues comprising the heart and the bladder could be dealt at one go. The specialists then moved ahead with the combined surgery starting with the cardiac procedure in the first half and the bladder reconstructive surgery later. After 6 hours of operation a unique Aortic valve replacement surgery with radical bladder resection and reconstruction with Ileal Neobladder was performed and the patient was cured of both the ailments.
According to Dr Syed, the procedure was challenging as the patient needed a minimal access valve replacement procedure where the the first few hours are critical and the bladder cancer was resected during that time. To my knowledge this is the first time such major surgeries are done in a single sitting.

Link Between Air Pollution and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Air pollution is associated with increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, reveals research.Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and limitation in the motion and function of multiple joints. Though joints are the principal body parts affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other organs as well. An estimated 1.3 million Americans have RA, and the disease typically affects women twice as often as men.
Environmental factors have been connected with the development of RA, and exposure through a person''s airways is of particular interest to researchers. Researchers from Brigham and Women''s Hospital in the United States and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden recently examined whether long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with an increased risk of RA. They studied 1,330 cases of RA (as well as an additional 2,235 people without the disease) from the Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and 91,203 women from the US Nurses'' Health Study (among whom 762 developed RA over 30 years of follow up).
The researchers predicted exposures to several common air pollutants, classified as either gaseous (air pollution in gas form, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide) or particulate (air pollution that contains tiny particles, such as soot or dust), at homes of all participants based upon residential addresses. Then, they examined the association between increases in these different components of air pollution with the increased risk of developing RA. While looking at the risk associations between air pollution and RA, the researchers took into account other variables that might affect RA risk, such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, education, race, smoking ,reproductive factors, hormone use, physical activity and body mass index.

Oral Substitute For Insulin

Australian researchers claim that they have found a substitute for insulin to help treat diabetes orally. It is a small drug molecule that could help take the needle out of diabetes, they say, but no details are available.Over 10 years, Professor Erik Helmerhorst and his colleagues at Curtin University looked at millions of compounds on pharmaceutical databases to try to emulate the molecular map of insulin.
“On a computer, in silico, we searched three million compound structures for their ability to fit that map,” explains Professor Helmerhorst.
“Our innovation is the development of a new chemical entity, a small drug molecule we have discovered and developed, that can be taken orally as a tablet to replace insulin per se,” said Professor Helmerhorst.
Professor Helmerhorst outlined his team’s quest at the Univation 2011 conference in Perth.
The annual conference showcases research from four universities in Western Australia, with the aim of getting further backing from investors and commercialisation experts.
The research, undertaken with Epichem, has the ability to revolutionise the treatment of diabetes, which is a growing worldwide problem.
Professor Helmerhorst said there was a niche market for their drug molecule to target Type 2 diabetics to help delay to the onset of insulin dependency.
He said 95 per cent of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, who last year spend some $10 billion a year on insulin.
“The reality is that nearly one-third of Type 2 diabetics will end up needing insulin therapy at some stage,” he said.

Research Confirms Eating Slowly Reduces Food Intake

Eating slowly could be an effective weight-loss technique, two studies confirm.Two new studies by researchers at the University of Rhode Island are providing additional insights into the role that eating rate plays in the amount of food one consumes. The studies found that men eat significantly faster than women, heavier people eat faster than slimmer people, and refined grains are consumed faster than whole grains, among other findings.
Kathleen Melanson, URI associate professor of nutrition, along with graduate students Emily Ponte and Amanda Petty, presented their research at the annual meeting of The Obesity Society in Orlando this month.
In one laboratory study, which validated that self-reported eating rates reflect an individual's actual eating rate, Melanson and her lab team found that fast eaters consumed about 3.1 ounces of food per minute, medium-speed eaters consumed 2.5 ounces per minute, and slow eaters consumed 2 ounces per minute. This work is the first to validate self-reported eating rates that have been used in large population studies, which have shown relationships between eating rate and body weight.
The researchers also found what Melanson described as "very strong gender differences" in eating rates. At lunch, the men consumed about 80 calories per minute while the women consumed 52 calories per minute.
"The men who reported eating slowly ate at about the same rate as the women who reported eating quickly," said Melanson, director of the URI Energy Balance Laboratory.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

New Guidelines Issued for Genetic Heart Disease

Most people with a genetic heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) can live a normal length of time, according to the first science-based guideline for diagnosing and treating the condition.
About 600,000 Americans have HCM, which affects about one in 500 people worldwide. HCM, the most common type of genetic cardiac disease, alters the way the heart functions and can cause erratic heart beats, obstructed blood flow, and sudden cardiac death.
However, many people with HCM experience no problems, according to the guideline from the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association (ACCF/AHA).
"HCM is widely misperceived as a fatal condition, but a diagnosis of HCM is not a diagnosis of sudden cardiac death. We now have effective treatments to help most patients manage the condition, although it remains the most common cause of sudden death in the young and in competitive athletes," guideline writing committee co-chairmain Dr. Bernard J. Gersh, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., said in an ACCF/AHA news release.
Standard drug therapy includes beta- and calcium-channel blockers. For patients who don't respond to these drugs, there are effective surgical and catheter-based approaches, according to the guideline.
All patients diagnosed with HCM should undergo a thorough evaluation of their risk for sudden cardiac arrest, including a personal and family history and an echocardiogram.
If appropriate, HCM patients should be offered genetic counseling and genetic testing.
Patients with HCM should not participate in intense competition sports but can play low-intensity sports such as golf and take part in a number of recreational sporting activities, according to the guideline.
An implantable defibrillator can reduce the risk of sudden death in certain HCM patients judged to be at high risk based on markers such as fainting or having a family member who suffered sudden death.
The guideline is published in the current online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and in Circulation.
Source:Health Day

Clinton sets new U.S. global AIDS focus on treatment

The United States set a new direction for its global AIDS campaign on Tuesday, emphasizing HIV-fighting drugs that can prevent new infections to bring the goal of "an AIDS-free generation" within reach, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Clinton, outlining new priorities for the U.S. global AIDS program started in 2003, said drug treatments, combined with new efforts to stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV and the preventive effect of expanded voluntary male circumcision, had changed the AIDS battle plan.
"Creating an AIDS-free generation has never been a policy priority for the United States government -- until today," Clinton said in a speech at the U.S. National Institutes of Health outside Washington.
"This goal would have been unimaginable just a few years ago," she said. "While the finish line is not yet in sight, we know we can get there because now we know the route we need to take."
The United States, through its President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program, has channeled billions of dollars into the fight against HIV/AIDS, which has infected more than 60 million people and killed nearly 30 million since it was first reported in 1981.
The PEPFAR program has been a major factor in the global response to HIV. In 2010, nearly $16 billion was spent on HIV response in low- and middle-income countries, according to the U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and it estimates that at least $22 billion will be needed to combat the disease by 2015, helping avert 12 million new infections and 7.4 million more deaths in the next decade.
Strides have been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, integrating prevention and treatment efforts with broader health programs to prevent HIV infections, keep children healthy and help mothers give birth safely.
Voluntary male circumcision also has been shown to cut the risk of female-to-male transmission by more than 60 percent, and since 2007 more than 1 million men have been voluntarily circumcized.
But drug treatment appears the most promising. A series of studies in the past year have shown that drugs used to treat HIV also can dramatically reduce the risk of new infection among heterosexual couples -- fueling discussion on whether AIDS money is best spent on drugs or traditional prevention programs, such as condoms, counseling, testing and education.
Clinton said the answer was clear.
"If we take a comprehensive view of our approach to the pandemic, treatment doesn't take away from prevention. It adds to it," she said. "So let's end the old debate over treatment versus prevention and embrace treatment as prevention."
With some 34 million people living with HIV around the world today, the new U.S. emphasis on treatment could prove costly -- although Clinton noted that the per-patient cost had fallen dramatically as AIDS drugs become available as generics in many poor countries.
"In 2004, the cost to PEPFAR for providing ARVs and services to one patient averaged nearly $1,100 a year; today, it's $335 and falling," Clinton said, referring to anti-retroviral drugs. "Continuing to drive down these costs is a challenge for all of us."
Clinton said more people still were becoming infected every year than were starting treatment but that scaling up "combination prevention" strategies in hard-hit countries could drive the worldwide rate of new infections down by at least 40 percent to 60 percent.
She said the United States, which already has donated $50 million to fund academic studies on how best to ramp up the new model, would spend another $60 million to expand combination-prevention in four sub-Saharan African countries to provide more data on the efficacy of the approach.
Clinton, who has been fighting hard to preserve U.S. spending on overseas aid and development as the U.S. Congress grapples with huge U.S. budget deficits, said it was important the United States maintain its leadership in the AIDS battle.
"At a time when people are raising questions about America's role in the world, our leadership in global health reminds them who we are and what we do," she said.
By Andrew Quinn

Exercise Referrals Appear to Have 'Weak Evidence'

Alleged effectiveness of exercise referral schemes as they are delivered at present is questioned by a Research commissioned by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme. The research was commissioned by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and carried out by research teams from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD) and the Universities of Exeter (Sport and Health Sciences) and Brunel (Health Economics Research Group).The study is published in the British Medical Journal on-line on Monday 7th November and in press on Friday 12th November.
The findings of the study indicate that there is 'weak evidence' to support exercise referral schemes as a means of increasing the physical activity and improving the health outcomes of sedentary individuals in the long run. The results of the study do not diminish the importance of physical activity promotion but highlight the need to continue to identify cost effective ways to change population prevalence.
There is little doubt that physical activity contributes to the prevention and management of a wide range of medical conditions, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and psychological disorders such as depression. The national recommendation is that adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes' moderate intensity exercise on at least five days a week – but only one third of adults in the UK are active to this level.
Exercise referral schemes, where GPs or another member of Primary Care team are able to refer selected patients to exercise specialist often at local gyms and other sports centres, have been part of the arsenal for the prevention and management of medical conditions since the early 1990s.

Asthma may be Worsened by Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

A new study has revealed that cholesterol-lowering medications help in fighting heart disease, but may increase severity of asthma.For preliminary research, Safa Nsouli and his team from of Danville Asthma and Allergy Clinic, Calif, compared 20 patients with asthma taking prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication or statins, to 20 patients with asthma who did not take the drugs.
They found that the patients taking statins had more airway inflammatory obstruction at three, six and 12 months as compared to those not on statins.
"The research showed patients taking statins more frequently used their rescue medication, had increased nighttime awakenings and had increased asthma symptoms throughout the day," Nsouli said.
"These potential effects of statins on the inflmmatory cascade of asthma indicate the need for a larger scale study," Nsouli added.

Yoga can help undo damage running does to your body

It's no secret that running is hard on the body. Yoga, with its perfect mix of postures and breathing exercises, may offer just the right balance you're looking for.
"Once runners know about yoga, they're hooked," says Tiffany Cruikshank, an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the Nike World Headquarters in Portland and author of the 30-day yogi detox book, "Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life."
She says many runners come to her seeking yoga moves to heal an injury but end up considering it a crucial part of their training routine. Yoga has been shown to reduce stress, increase fitness levels and help maintain a healthy lifestyle. The combination of active and passive stretching helps warm up the muscles and avoid injuries most associated with the repetitive strain of running, explains Cruikshank. It can also replicate that elusive mental state known to athletes as The Zone.
To get the most of the ancient Indian technique, though, approach it as a complement to running. "Think of yoga as a balance to athletic competition, not an extension of it," says Alice Markel, Registered Yoga Teacher who conducts a regular Yoga for Runners workshop in the Chicago area. "Yoga is not a competitive sport."
Here's a brief list of benefits runners can get from yoga, as well as some common moves to achieve them. Since form is critical, be sure to check out resources like the "Yoga Journal" site to get free step-by-step instructions on how to perform these postures.
The Benefit: Muscle Pliability
People always associate yoga with flexibility, but that means something different for runners. "Really, it's about becoming more pliable. You don't need to be Gumby; you just have to make your body more adaptable to stressors," says Cruikshank.
What does muscle pliability mean for runners? Cruikshank says the goal is to make muscles "more like a rubber band, less like a guitar string" by expanding the functional zone of the muscle spindles and creating a larger range of contraction that allows the muscles to lengthen. She says this increased range indirectly increases runners' performance capacity, keeps the muscles supple and regulates nerve conduction.
How to Get It
Try the Low Lunge (anjaneyasana) for hips, Reclining Big Toe (supta padangusthasana) with a strap to stretch hamstrings and glutes, and Reclining Revolved Eagle (supta parivrtta garudasana) for the IT band.
The Benefit: Proper Body Alignment
Yoga also helps develop awareness of proper body alignment, explains Markel. A longtime runner, Markel actually put her jogs on hold when she began studying yoga professionally. "I realized that if I'm going to be pounding the pavement like that, I need to have the proper alignment," she says. After developing better posture, she began running again and realized many of her regular aches and pains — which she'd attributed to "just getting older" — disappeared.
How to Get It
Start with the Mountain Pose (tadasana). Markel says attaining that proper alignment begins with this deceivingly simple pose, as you can easily see how your form is off. Keep your feet hip-distance apart and shift your weight on your feet. Look to see what your knees are doing. Are they misaligned? Markel adds that the moment to correct your form is on the mat, not when you're in mid-run.
With each yoga pose, you'll continue to become more mindful of how your body is, and isn't, aligned properly.
The Benefit: Controlled Breathing
Yoga emphasizes the power of breath, with every movement related to deep diaphragmatic breathing. This makes the on-the-track benefit clear.
"I've had a lot of runners come in with tension and chest tightness, and yoga's specific breath work strengthens their diaphragm significantly, allowing better control over their breathing," says Cruikshank.
Focusing on the breath itself has a calming effect as well, says Markel. "If someone's really nervous about a particular race, deep breathing and breathing awareness can really help."
How to Get It
Practice diaphragmatic breathing through yoga's pranayama, the practice of regulating breath and achieving mindfulness. Start with your hands on your stomach and feel the breath moving up and down. Practitioners refer to this as the "three-part breath," for the abdomen, diaphragm and chest. You should feel the breath deeply and notice your diaphragm contracting, says Markel. This allows increased lung capacity while also helping achieve a more mindful state.
The Benefit: Mindfulness
"It's easy to look at the physical stuff, but really the mental aspect of it that we look at" says Cruikshank. Athletes have another name for this mindful, present state: The Zone. Through yoga's various postures, breathing exercises and meditative reflection, it's possible to achieve this without crossing any finish line.
"The word 'yoga' means yolk or union, and it refers to the body, mind and spirit connection," says Markel.
How to Get It
Just like other forms of exercise, yoga provides the greatest benefit when done consistently. That means as many days of the week as possible, even if it's just for 10 or 15 minutes each session.
By Shelby Sheehan-Bernard
Source:Seattle Times

Most Parents Have No Cribs About Quality of School Meals Provided for Children

A recent poll, the largest of its kind, which sought the response of close to 10,000 parents showed that parents are quite satisfied with the quality and nutritional value of the meals provided at school for their children .Parents also expressed their wish to be informed by the school about the meals provided to the children on a day-to-day basis.
Lynda Mitchell, LACA National Chair said: “Winning over hearts, minds and bodies in the drive to reduce obesity and build healthier lifestyles calls for a united front… It is great, therefore, to see parent power playing its part behind the scenes. School caterers want to work in partnership with parents and their children’s schools as well as education and health professionals to ensure we can continue to provide good, nutritious food from which children and young people can benefit, both academically and physically.”

Monday, 7 November 2011

Alcohol, Asthma and Allergies Don't Mix

Alcoholic beverages can trigger allergic reactions or exacerbate existing allergies, experts warn.
Though rare, some people have allergies to the alcohol itself, while others are allergic to various substances in alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine, Dr. Sami Bahna, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and chief of Allergy and Immunology at Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport, La., said in an ACAAI news release. Symptoms may include red, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, upset stomach and difficulty breathing.
Triggers can include various ingredients in beer and wine, including barley, ethanol, grapes, malt, hops, wheat and yeast. Other potential allergens are sometimes added during processing, including egg whites, which may be used during the filtering process, and sulfites, which occur naturally in wine but also may be added as a preservative.
Allergic reactions to an alcoholic beverage can range in severity from a minor rash to a life threatening asthma attack and anaphylaxis. The researchers pointed out alcohol could also aggravate existing allergies.
"Individuals can be allergic to the alcohol itself or an added ingredient, but even when people are not allergic, they may not realize that alcohol can worsen existing allergy symptoms, particularly food allergies," noted Bahna. "In these cases, the study pointed out, avoiding alcoholic beverages is the best way to avoid potential reactions."
Wine contains chemicals called tyramines, which can cause headaches, he added.
Bahna is slated to discuss case studies of alcohol-related allergic reactions Sunday at the annual meeting of ACAAI in Boston. He also pointed out that exposure to tobacco smoke can worsen asthma and allergies by making smokers more sensitive to airborne substances, like pollen and mold spores.
"People with allergies and asthma should be especially careful to avoid any exposure to tobacco smoke," Bahna said.
Anyone who suspects they had a reaction to alcohol, food or tobacco should see an allergist, Bahna recommended.
"In most cases, simply understanding what triggers the allergic reaction will help the person find an alternative drink to enjoy," Bahna said.
Source:Health Day News

Michael Jackson's Doctor Guilty

Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the singer who had been proclaimed the king of pop.
The prosecution triumphed after six weeks of impassioned arguments and witness testimonies, arguing that Murray was responsible for a lethal overdose of the anesthetic propofol.
Murray, 58, did not flinch and showed no emotion as the verdict was read. A few celebratory whoops were heard when the court clerk read the word, "guilty."
The crowd outside the courthouse, made up largely of Jackson fans, erupted into cheers as the guilty verdict was read.
Judge Michael Pastor denied a request by Murray's lawyers to allow him to remain free while awaiting sentencing on Nov. 29. Instead the judge said, "Public safety demands that he be remanded" to jail.
"This is a crime where the end result was the death of a human being," Pastor said. "This demonstrates rather dramatically that public should be protected."
The doctor, dressed in a dark pinstriped suit, had his hands cuffed behind his back and was led out of the courtroom to jail. As Murray was about to get up, Pastor told him to hold on, and added that they would discuss restitution at a later date.
Murray could be sentenced to up to four years in prison and could lose his medical license, but at a news conference after the verdict, District Attorney Steve Cooley acknowledged that it is unlikely Murray will be spending four years in prison.
"It will be very difficult to achieve an appropriate sentence of incarceration for Conrad Murray," Cooley said, due to overcrowded prisons and Murray's lack of a prior criminal record.
"There was a homicide. Someone lost their life. Three children lost time with their father because of so much criminal negligence," Cooley said. "The effort was worth it just to make that point."
Cooley also said that Murray's felony conviction woud result in the automatic suspension of his medical license in California. Cooley said he hoped other states would honor California's convictions.
Michael Jackson was 50 when he died June 25, 2009 as he was preparing for his "This Is It" tour, a comeback extravaganza that he hoped would restore him as a superstar.
The judge told the court that he would seal the names of the jurors until further notice, and confidential records referring to the jurors were to be destroyed.
The Jackson family arrived at the courthouse an hour before the reading of the verdict, led by parents Joe and Katherine Jackson. Randy, LaToya, Rebbie, Jermaine and Jermaine's wife were all in court. Family friends Rick and Kathy Hilton were also in attendance.
The Jackson family exited the courthouse without making a formal statement.
When LaToya Jackson was asked how she was feeling about the verdict, she said, "Wonderful. Absolutely. Justice was served. Michael was watching over us," according to ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC.
Joe Jackson simply said, "There's more."
Prosecutor David Walgren spoke briefly to thank the jurors and sympathize with the Jackson family.
"Our sympathies go out to the Jackson family for their loss," Walgren said. "They have suffered [the loss of] not a pop icon, but a son and a brother and I think that's most important to keep in mind today."
Walgren's strong case and conduct in the courtroom garnered him many fans during the trial and the crowd was chanting Walgren's name outside the courthouse after the verdict.
Today was the second day of deliberations. The jury deliberated for about six hours on Friday and for less than three hours today before reaching a decision.
Murray was accused of causing the singer's death by administering the powerful anesthetic propofol and not properly supervising his patients or taking proper steps after Jackson stopped breathing.
Murray has contended that Jackson gave himself the fatal dose while the doctor was out of the room.
The six week long trial offered a window into Jackson's bizarre and eccentric lifestyle, peeks rarely allowed during the highly-private pop star's life.
The trial began with a shocking photo of Jackson's dead body in a hospital gurney and a photo of his naked body from his autopsy.
It featured a slurred audio recording of Jackson made on Murray's phone in which Jackson is so drugged that he can barely be understood.
The case revolved around Jackson's inability to sleep without the powerful anesthetic propofol, a hospital grade drug, and a battery of other drugs as he was preparing for his "This Is It" concert tour.
Prosecutors contended that Murray was willing to give Jackson propofol, which Jackson affectionately referred to as "milk," in return for a $150,000 a month paycheck. Murray told police that for two months leading up to Jackson's death, he had aministered propofol to Jackson in his bedroom almost nightly.
Murray argued that he was trying wean the king of pop off of the drug.
Jackson's chronic inability to sleep was one of many odd details of his life to emerge from the trial, along with such mundane things like his food preferences to strange medical decisions.
Jackson's chef, Kai Chase, told the court that the notoriously thin star had penchants for beet juice and almond milk. He insisted on healthy food for himself and his three children and wanted lunch served at 12:30 p.m. every day.
Through evidence and testimonies, it was also revealed that Jackson received injections of Botox in his armpits and groin and wore a urninary catheter while sleeping.
Jurors listened to 49 witnesses over 22 days of testimony. Murray did not testify. Back in the jury room, jurors had more than 300 exhibits to look over.
Source:Good Morning America

60% Alzheimer Cases Go Undiagnosed

Almost 60% of Alzheimer cases and other forms of dementia go undiagnosed as 2/3 adults cannot differentiate between normal signs of aging and the symptoms of dementia. Around 1/3 people feel there is no support for victims of dementia. Due to this about 4,00,000 families fail to get vital help from the NHS. The Department of Health has found that against the 6,34,000 victims hardly 2,50,000 dementia patients are registered by GP's.
This information has been revealed as part of the government's advertising campaign in England aimed at encouraging early diagnosis. The ad campaign shows a daughter's dilemma as she realizes that her father is affected by memory loss.Experts have urged family members to look out for warning signs of dementia like anxiety, confusion or memory loss in elderly relatives when they visit them this festive season. This helps in early diagnosis. Early intervention slows down the progression of the disease. This helps the affected to plan the future, reduce care home admissions and improve the patient's as well as the entire family's quality of life.

Weight Loss Is the Best Medicine For Knee Osteoarthritis Sufferers

Long-term intensive diet combined with moderate exercise can improve mobility and reduce pain by as much as 50 percent in people with osteoarthritis, an expert suggests. The research, by Stephen P. Messier, PHD, at Wake Forest University, was presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago.Knee osteoarthritis is a common form of osteoarthritis and is caused by cartilage breakdown in the knee joint. Factors that increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis - including being overweight, age, injury or stress to the joints, and family history - can increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis.
Losing weight by monitoring diet is potentially one of the best treatments for controlling pain associated with knee OA. Researchers from Wake Forest University in North Carolina recently conducted a long-term study that evaluated the impact of weight loss with or without exercise in reducing pain caused by OA. The researchers also measured function and mobility in older, overweight adults with knee osteoarthritis.
The researchers conducted the Intensive Diet and Exercise for Arthritis trial that measured 454 overweight adults with pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. Participants were selected randomly to lose weight in 18-months by either diet restriction only, or combining dietary restrictions with exercise. These groups were compared to an exercising-only control group. The researchers set a weight loss goal for the diet groups of at least 10 percent of body weight and required the exercise groups to participate in one hour of low-to-moderate walking and resistance training three days a week. The researchers compared the changes between the groups after the 18 month trial.

Effective Cancer Killers Identified

Two molecules that kill cancerous cells in mice have been discovered by University of Southern California researchers.The peptides, molecules derived from a cancer-causing virus, target an enzyme in cancerous cells that regulates a widely researched tumor suppressor protein known as p53. The peptides inhibit the enzyme, causing p53 levels in cancer cells to rise, which leads to cell death. Lymphoma tumors in mice injected with the two peptides showed marked regression with no significant weight-loss or gross abnormalities.
The discovery is detailed in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, which posts online on Sunday, Nov. 6.
HAUSP, or herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin specific protease, is an enzyme that cleaves the normally occurring protein ubiquitin from substrates like p53. In a healthy environment, ubiquitin binds to a substrate, causing it to degrade and die.
"Given the mounting evidence that HAUSP serves as a pivotal component regulating p53 protein levels, the inhibition of HAUSP should have the benefit to fully activate p53," said Hye-Ra Lee, Ph.D., the study's first author and a research fellow in the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Using co-crystal structural analysis, Lee and her colleagues found a tight, "belt-type" interaction between HAUSP and a viral protein that causes Kaposi's sarcoma and lymphoma. The peptides derived from this viral protein bind 200 times more strongly to HAUSP than p53, making them ideal HAUSP inhibitors. The researchers found that the peptides comprehensively prevented HAUSP from cleaving ubiquitin, allowing p53 levels to rise — thereby representing potential new chemotherapeutic molecules that can be used for anti-cancer therapies.

People Lack Willpower to Follow Good Eating Rules

A University of Alberta researcher has said that most people know the rules of good eating, but they quite often have a hard time applying them. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don't snack before supper; you'll ruin your appetite.These dietary pearls of wisdom have been dropped on children for decades.
But Robert Fisher of the University of Alberta noted that while people know the rules surrounding good eating and proper nutrition, they seem to lack one common component that often costs them the battle of the bulge: willpower.
The focus of Fisher's study, developed with Laurette Dube from McGill University, defined the lay beliefs of Americans with regards to rules about eating.
Responses such as not snacking, always eating breakfast and not wasting food were common responses.
Through a series of studies, Fisher was able to synthesize his findings into scales wherein these rules were weighed against factors such as eating behaviours, body satisfaction and social desirability.
The researcher was surprised to find that people with higher body mass indexes had stronger beliefs associated with the rules than people with lower BMIs.
Yet, he notes, that there are plenty of examples in society of people knowing what to do but acting in a contradictory manner.
He noted that what they did find in the study is that people with higher BMIs actually had stronger beliefs in the normative rules related to eating. The missing element, he said, was not following their individual belief structures.
"What we found is that if people undertake these behaviours, which are related to the norms, they tend to have a lower BMI. Having the beliefs alone is just not sufficient," said Fisher.
The study was recently published in the journal Appetite.

Stress may Cause Premature Aging in People Who Buy or Sell Homes

Buying or selling a house could be a stressful business indeed after a new study revealed that the stress associated with such a move would make you feel at least two years older.
The study was commissioned by online conveyancing firm In-Deed and polled over 200 people who had either bought or sold a house in the last three months.
The researchers found that over 66 percent of the respondents said that the experience had aged them with a number of people showing various signs of aging such as no sex (20 percent), short term memory loss (14 percent) and hair loss (10 percent).
Stating that prolonged stress can lead to premature aging, lead researcher Dr Glenn Wilson said, “Periods of prolonged stress and anxiety can seriously take their toll on our well-being, with depression, weight loss and premature ageing a likely outcome.”

Ayurvedic medicine to combat disease in T&T

Ayurvedic medicine could help in combating diseases in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. This can be facilitated through the establishment of a centre for Ayurvedic medicine in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications, Dr Surujattan Rambachan told the opening session of the Ayurvedic Seminar and Workshops at the Divali Nagar he hoped the sessions will bring “enlightenment on the value and benefits which can be derived from Ayurvedic medicine, as well as, the role of traditional healing in combating diseases in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.”
Dr Rambachan said he welcomed the opportunity for dialogue and partnerships with all stakeholders, local and international, to create sustainable avenues for growth. “We hope that the discussions taking place will lead to greater collaboration and the exchange of ideas and views will set the foundation for a mutual beneficial relationship between the Ayurvedic institutions of India and our local practitioners and institutions,” he said. Rambachan and his colleagues, Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan and Minister of Tourism Dr Rupert Griffith met with members of a delegation led by Shri Anil Kumar, Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Siddha and Homoeopathy) and the Indian High Commissioner, Shri Malay Mishra.

Brain Chemistry may be Altered by Brain Parasite

Infection by the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii directly affects the production of dopamine, a key chemical messenger in the brain, says a research group from the University of Leeds. This brain parasite affects 10-20% of UK's population.
Infection by the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii directly affects the production of dopamine, a key chemical messenger in the brain, says a research group from the University of Leeds. This brain parasite affects 10-20% of UK's population.These findings are the first to demonstrate that a parasite found in the brain of mammals can affect dopamine levels.
Whilst the work has been carried out with rodents, lead investigator Dr Glenn McConkey of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences, believes that the findings could ultimately shed new light on treating human neurological disorders that are dopamine-related such as schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson's disease.
This research may explain how these parasites, remarkably, manipulate rodents' behaviour for their own advantage. Infected mice and rats lose their innate fear of cats, increasing the chances of being caught and eaten, which enables the parasite to return to its main host to complete its life cycle.
In this study, funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute and Dunhill Medical Trust, the research team found that the parasite causes production and release of many times the normal amount of dopamine in infected brain cells.
Dopamine is a natural chemical which relays messages in the brain controlling aspects of movement, cognition and behaviour. It helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centres and regulates emotional responses such as fear. The presence of a certain kind of dopamine receptor is also associated with sensation-seeking, whereas dopamine deficiency in humans results in Parkinson's disease.

Study: Live Liver Donors Have Troubles Years Later

People who have donated part of their liver for transplant can experience physical and psychological complications years after the operation, according to a German study.
Almost half of the 83 liver donors surveyed had complaints ranging from pain and digestive problems to depression three or more years after surgery—but nearly all said they'd donate again, the study in the Annals of Surgery said.
In a living-donor liver transplant, a team of surgeons removes a lobe of the donor's liver to implant in the recipient. The remaining portion of the donor's liver regrows to full size within two months.
"There is a risk for some long-term complaints, which may be potentially controllable by workup modifications, improvements in surgical techniques and a thorough follow-up of donors at the transplant centers," said Georgios Sotiropoulos, lead author and professor of surgery and transplantation at University Hospital Essen in Germany.
Transplant surgeons say they would rather not have to put a healthy person at risk, but there aren't enough organs available to provide livers for everyone who needs them.
Organs from living donors also have some advantages over the alternative, a liver from a cadaver, for a number of reasons, including that the donation can occur at the best time for the recipient.
The average age of donors in the German study was 36, and their average time since donation was six years.
In the study, 31 percent of donors complained about having diarrhea or an intolerance to fatty foods and about 10 percent complained of gastroesophageal reflux. A small number of donors had discomfort at the incision site or in their ribs.
Three donors reported bouts of severe depression, two of them requiring hospitalization, and one patient had a worsening of pre-existing psoriasis.
Of the 83 donors surveyed, 39 reported no lingering symptoms or problems. But three young and otherwise healthy men said they had been turned down for life insurance because there's so little data available on the long-term effects of living liver donation.
While the study did not have a control group, its findings are consistent with past research, said Jean Emond, vice chair of the Department of Surgery and director of the transplant center at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital in New York.
"I think the conclusions are cautious and reasonable. We need to keep a close eye on these people," he said, adding that there needs to be psychological support before and after the procedure.
About 4,500 liver donations have been made in the United States by living donors since the first surgery in 1989, according to the national transplant database. The first such donations were made to children, who require a smaller piece of the liver.
Emond, who assisted with the first live-donor liver surgery, said the risk of death after donating a large portion of the liver is about one in 1,000.
"The ethical standard has to be that you do it because it's the right thing to do for the patient with full and informed consent, he added.
Source:Fox News

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