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Friday, 2 December 2011

Govt plans house-to-house services for homeopathy

The state government is planning to put more emphasis on mother and child healthcare through homeopathy by launching house-to-house services.
While speaking at the inaugural function of the 66th World Homoeopathic Congress of Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis on Thursday, Haryana health minister Rao Narender Singh said that the state government had urged the Central government to enhance the lumpsum wages of homoeopathic medical officers recruited on contract basis under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
Keeping in view the vulnerability of mothers and children to strong medicines, the "Mother and Child Healthcare Campaign" of the Central government was successfully launched with a focus on homoeopathy, Singh added.
Source:TNN

WHO, UNICEF & UNAIDS report indicate 15% decline in new HIV infections and 22% in AIDS related deaths

According to the latest report by the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS Report on the global HIV/AIDS response indicates that increased access to HIV services resulted in a 15 per cent reduction of new infections over the past decade and a 22 per cent decline in AIDS-related deaths in the last five years.
"It has taken the world ten years to achieve this level of momentum," says Gottfried Hirnschall, director of WHO's HIV department. "There is now a very real possibility of getting ahead of the epidemic. But this can only be achieved by both sustaining and accelerating this momentum over the next decade and beyond."
Advances in HIV science and programme innovations over the past year add hope for future progress. In times of economic austerity it will be essential to rapidly apply new science, technologies and approaches to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of HIV programmes in countries.
The report highlights what is already working: Improved access to HIV testing services enabled 61 per cent of pregnant women in eastern and southern Africa to receive testing and counselling for HIV - up from 14 per cent in 2005; Close to half (48 per cent) of pregnant women in need receive effective medicines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in 2010; antiretroviral therapy (ART), which not only improves the health and well-being of the infected people but also stops further HIV transmission, is available now for 6.65 million people in low- and middle-income countries, accounting for 47 per cent of the 14.2 million people eligible to receive it.
When people are healthier, they are better able to cope financially. The report acknowledges that investment in HIV services could lead to total gains of up to US$ 34 billion by 2020 in increased economic activity and productivity, more than offsetting the costs of ART programmes.
“2011 has been a game changing year. With new science, unprecedented political leadership and continued progress in the AIDS response, countries have a window of opportunity to seize this momentum and take their responses to the next level,” said Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director, Programme, UNAIDS. “By investing wisely, countries can increase efficiencies, reduce costs and improve on results. However, gains made to date are being threatened by a decline in resources for AIDS.”
The report also points to what still needs to be done: More than half of the people who need antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries are still unable to access it. Many of them do not even know that they have HIV.; Despite the growing body of evidence as to what countries need to focus on to make a real impact on their epidemics, some are still not tailoring their programmes for those who are most at risk and in need. In many cases, groups including adolescent girls, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, prisoners and migrants remain unable to access HIV prevention and treatment services; Worldwide, the vast majority (64 per cent) of people aged 15-24 living with HIV today are female. The rate is even higher in sub-Saharan Africa where girls and young women make up 71 per cent of all young people living with HIV - essentially because prevention strategies are not reaching them.
Key populations are continually marginalized. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, more than 60 per cent of those living with HIV are people who inject drugs. But injecting drug users account for only 22 per cent of those receiving ART.
Although better services to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV have averted some 350 000 new infections among children, some 3.4 million children are living with HIV - many of whom lack HIV treatment. Only about one in four children in need of HIV treatment in low- and middle-income countries received it in 2010, as compared to 1 in 2 adults.
"While there have been gains in treatment, care and support available to adults, we note that progress for children is slower," says Leila Pakkala, Director of the UNICEF Office in Geneva. “The coverage of HIV interventions for children remains alarmingly low. Through concerted action and equity-focused strategies, we must make sure that global efforts are working for children as well as adults”.
In 2010, HIV epidemics and responses in different parts of the world vary with shifting trends, progress rates and outcomes.
Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the biggest overall annual increase – 30 per cent - in the number of people accessing ART. Three countries (Botswana, Namibia and Rwanda) have achieved universal coverage (80 per cent) for HIV prevention, treatment and care services. The regional ART coverage rate stood at 49 per cent at the end of 2010. Approximately 50 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV receive treatment to prevent mother-to child transmission of HIV. And 21 per cent of children in need are able to get paediatric HIV treatments. There were 1.9 million new infections in the region, where 22.9 million people are living with HIV. There are some major disparities in progress between different parts of the region. Countries in Eastern and Southern Africa have reached much higher coverage rates for ART (56 per cent) and PMTCT (64 per cent) than countries in Western and Central Africa (30 per cent and 18 per cent respectively).
Asia shows a stabilizing epidemic overall, but new infections are very high in some communities. Of the 4.8 million people living with HIV in Asia, nearly half (49 per cent) are in India. Antiretroviral treatment coverage is increasing with 39 per cent of adults and children in need of HIV treatment having access. Coverage of PMTCT services is relatively low – (16 per cent).
Eastern Europe and Central Asia presents a dramatic growth in HIV, with new infections increasing by 250% in the past decade. Over 90% of these infections occur in just two countries: Russia and Ukraine. The region demonstrates high coverage rates for PMTCT and paediatric HIV treatment (with 78% and 65% coverage rates respectively). However, ART coverage is very low at 23%, particularly among the most affected people - the ones who inject drugs.
Middle East and North Africa records the highest number of HIV infections ever in the region (59 000) in 2010, which represents a 36 per cent increase over the past year. Coverage of HIV services are very low in the region: 10 per cent for ART, 5 per cent for paediatric treatment and 4 per cent for PMTCT.
Latin America and the Caribbean have a stabilizing epidemic with 1.5 million living with HIV in Latin America and 200 000 in the Caribbean. HIV is predominantly among networks of men who have sex with men in Latin America. In the Caribbean though, women are the more affected group accounting for 53 per cent of people living with HIV. The region has ART coverage of 63 per cent for adults and 39 per cent for children. Coverage for effective PMTCT regimen is relatively high at 74 per cent.
Countries are already showing marked efficiency gains in HIV programmes: South Africa reduced HIV drug costs by more than 50 per cent over a two-year period by implementing a new tendering strategy for procurement. Uganda saved US$ 2 million by shifting to simpler paediatric regimens. Such efficiencies are promoted through Treatment 2.0 - an initiative launched by WHO and UNAIDS in 2010 to promote simpler, cheaper and easier-to-deliver HIV treatment and diagnostic tools, combined with decentralized services that are supported by communities.
A WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF "Elimination Initiative" aims to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keep their mothers alive.
WHO is developing new guidance on the strategic use of antiretroviral drugs for both prevention and treatment.
WHO's "Global Health Sector Strategy on HIV/AIDS, 2011-2015", endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2011 highlights the importance of continuing efforts to optimize HIV treatment and "combination" prevention - the use of a range of different approaches to reduce people's risk of infection.
Source:Pharmabiz

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Improves TBI and PTSD in Veterans

Treatment with hyperbaric oxygen benefits veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), say researchers. The findings are available online now in the Journal of Neurotrauma.Sixteen US veterans injured in Iraq who had been diagnosed with mild-moderate traumatic brain injury/post-concussion syndrome (TBI/PCS) or traumatic brain injury/post-concussion syndrome/post-traumatic distress disorder (TBI/PCS/PTSD) were enrolled in the pilot study. They completed a history and physical exam as well as a clinical interview by a neuropsychologist, psychometric testing, symptom and quality of life questionnaires, and baseline SPECT (Single-photon emission computed tomography) brain blood flow imaging prior to treatment. The veterans then underwent 40 treatments of low-dose hyperbaric oxygen therapy during 60-minute sessions over a 30-day period. They were retested within a week after treatment.
Post-treatment testing revealed significant improvements in symptoms, abnormal physical exam findings, cognitive testing, quality of life measurements, and SPECT scans. Results showed improvement in 92% of vets experiencing short-term memory problems, in 87% of those complaining of headache, in 93% of those with cognitive deficits, in75% with sleep disruption, and in 93% with depression. They also saw improvements in irritability, mood swings, impulsivity, balance, motor function, IQ, and blood flow in the brain, as well as a reduction in PTSD symptoms and suicidal thoughts. These findings were mirrored by a reciprocal reduction or elimination of psychoactive and narcotic prescription medication usage in 64% of those for whom they were prescribed.
"This study strongly suggests that both post traumatic stress disorder and the post concussion syndrome of mild traumatic brain injury are treatable nearly three years after injury," concludes Dr. Paul Harch, who is also Medical Director of the LSU Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Care Department. "The magnitude of the improvements in memory, executive function, functional brain imaging, and quality of life, as well as reduction in concussion and PTSD symptoms cannot be explained with a placebo effect."
Blast-induced TBI and PTSD are diagnoses of particular concern in the United States because of the volume of affected servicemen and women from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2008 Rand Report estimates that 300,000 (18.3%) of 1.64 million military service members who have deployed to these war zones have PTSD or major depression and 320,000 (19.5%) have experienced a TBI. Overall, approximately 546,000 have TBI, PCS, or PTSD and 82,000 have symptoms of all three.
Evidence-based treatment for PTSD exists, but problems with access to and quality of treatment have been problematic in the military setting. Treatment of the symptomatic manifestation of mild TBI, the PCS, is limited. Treatment consists of off-label use of FDA blackbox labeled psychoactive medications, counseling, stimulative, and adaptive strategies. There is no effective treatment for the combined diagnoses of PCS and PTSD.
The research team also included Drs. Keith Van Meter, Susan Andrews, and Paul Staab at LSU Health Sciences Center, as well as researchers from The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, and Georgetown University Medical Center. The research was supported by the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, the Semper Fi Fund, and the Coalition to Salute Americas Heroes, among others.
Further studies in Veterans are underway to confirm the present findings.
Source-Eurekalert

Low-Cal Diet Rich in Proteins Helps Obese Women Maintain Bone Health

A recent study conducted by researchers at McMaster University suggests that a low calorie diet that is rich in proteins but low on carbohydrates is most effective in improving the bone health of overweight and obese young women when combined with physical exercise.The researchers conducted the test on three different groups of obese and overweight women who were given low, medium or high amounts of dairy foods coupled with higher or lower amounts of protein and carbohydrates over a period of 16 weeks. All of the three groups also exercised every day including aerobic exercise and two additional workouts of circuit weightlifting per week.
The researchers found that the protein rich diet countered the accelerated bone loss during weight loss as it contained bone-supporting nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and dairy-based protein.
“Our data clearly show dairy-source protein is important when aiming to avoid harmful consequences such as accelerated bone loss during weight loss. In our view, young women attempting to lose weight should consume a diet higher in dairy-source protein”, lead researcher Andrea Josse said. The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Arsenic Found in Packaged Apple Juice

While apple juice is touted as the healthiest way of starting your day, it may turn out to be harmful for your health after a Consumer Reports study found that grocery store-purchased apple juice contained high levels of arsenic.Though store purchased juice had always contained low levels of arsenic, and the US Food and Drug Administration considers it to be safe to drink, the new report has revealed that the health agency is allowing too much harmful chemicals to enter into kids’ juices.
The Consumer Reports study, published by Consumers Union, took Environmental Protection Agency's standard for bottled drinking water of 10 ppb as the benchmark and found that nine of the 88 apple juice samples that it tested were well above EPA limits but within FDA standards of 23 ppb.
Consumers Union revealed that it has already held talks with FDA regarding the issue and the health agency is said to be seriously considering lowering its maximum limit for arsenic. “We look at apple and grape juice as a poster child for arsenic in the food supply in general. Chronic low-level exposure of carcinogen is something we should be concerned about”, Consumers Union’s Urvashi Rangan said.

Chimps 'Self-medicate' With Medicinally Rich Food

Chimpanzees 'self medicate' with aliments containing medicinal ingredients such as anti-bacterial agents and de-wormers, suggests a new study.Lead author Shelly Masi, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and her team recorded the items consumed by a community of over 40 wild chimpanzees at Kibale National Park, Uganda.
Besides the items, they documented the availability of the foods, as well as the social interactions between the chimps, Discovery News reported.
They also collated the same information for about a dozen wild western gorillas in Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic.
Unusual food consumption in chimpanzees, implying foods not normally associated with nutritional needs, was twice as high as it was for gorillas.
Gorillas turned out to have more specialized guts that are better capable of detoxyifying harmful compounds, making them have less of a need to self-medicate than chimps and humans may need to.
"We conclude that self-medication may have appeared in our ancestors in association with high social tolerance and lack of herbivorous gut specialization," Masi and her colleagues said.
Chimpanzees and people are very social and both learn from each other, including what to eat.
"Older and more successful individuals (such as those that are high ranking) are expected to be the best model to copy, and are mainly responsible for generating and transmitting food traditions."
Study of the mostly non-nutritional and sometimes slightly toxic foods consumed divulged that most had medicinal properties.
Based on the study, the chimpanzee medicine chest apparently included the following: Antiaris toxicaria leaves (anti-tumor), Cordia abyssinica pith (anti-malarial and anti-bacterial), Ficus capensis (anti-bacterial), Ficus natalensis bark (anti-diarrheal), Ficus urceolaris leaves (de-worming agent), and many more.
The primates appeared to have purposefully opted for the medicinal parts of these plants, and consumed them even when other more nutritious and palatable foods were available.
Additional research has also shown that apart from chimpanzees and other non-human primates, other animals like goats and monkeys, self-medicate too.
Source-ANI

Microscopic Worms Could Have Answer to Living Life on Mars

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking conceives that if humanity is to survive we will have up sticks and colonise space. However uncertainty lies if human body is ready for the challenge?
Scientists at The University of Nottingham believe that Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a microscopic worm which is biologically very similar to the human being, could help us understand how humans might cope with long-duration space exploration.
Their research, published on Wednesday 30 November 2011 in Interface, a journal of The Royal Society, has shown that in space the C. elegans develops from egg to adulthood and produces progeny just as it does on earth. This makes it an ideal and cost-effective experimental system to investigate the effects of long duration and distance space exploration.
In December 2006 a team of scientists led by Dr Nathaniel Szewczyk from the Division of Clinical Physiology in the School of Graduate Entry Medicine blasted 4,000 C. elegans into space onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. The researchers were able to successfully monitor the effect of low Earth orbit (LEO) on 12 generations of C. elegans during the first three months of their six month voyage onboard the International Space Station. These are the first observations of C. elegans behaviour in LEO.
Dr Szewczyk said: "A fair number of scientists agree that we could colonise other planets. While this sounds like science fiction it is a fact that if mankind wants to avoid the natural order of extinction then we need to find ways to live on other planets. Thankfully most of the world's space agencies are committed to this common goal.
"While it may seem surprising, many of the biological changes that happen during spaceflight affect astronauts and worms and in the same way. We have been able to show that worms can grow and reproduce in space for long enough to reach another planet and that we can remotely monitor their health. As a result C. elegans is a cost effective option for discovering and studying the biological effects of deep space missions. Ultimately, we are now in a position to be able to remotely grow and study an animal on another planet."
Many experts believe the ultimate survival of humanity is dependent upon colonisation of other planetary bodies. But we face key challenges associated with long term space exploration. Radiation exposure and musculoskeletal deterioration are thought to be two of the key obstacles to successful habitation beyond LEO.
The C. elegans has been used on Earth to help us understand human biology – now it could help us investigate living on Mars.
C. elegans was the first multi-cellular organism to have its genetic structure completely mapped and many of its 20,000 genes perform the same functions as those in humans. Two thousand of these genes have a role in promoting muscle function and 50 to 60 per cent of these have very obvious human counterparts.
Dr Szewczyk is no stranger to space flight – this was his third space-worm mission. Dr Szewczyk and his team at Nottingham collaborated with experts at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Colorado and the Simon Fraser University in Canada, to develop a compact automated C. elegans culturing system which can be monitored remotely to observe the effect of environmental toxins and in-flight radiation.
Dr Szewczyk said: "Worms allow us to detect changes in growth, development, reproduction and behaviour in response to environmental conditions such as toxins or in response to deep space missions. Given the high failure rate of Mars missions use of worms allows us to safely and relatively cheaply test spacecraft systems prior to manned missions."
The 2006 space mission, which led to this latest research, was followed up with a fourth mission in November 2009. Some of the results of the 2009 mission were published earlier this year in the journal PLoS ONE
Together these two missions have established that the team are not only in a position to send worms to other planets but also to experiment on them on the way there and/or once there. More results, including a mechanism by which muscles can repair themselves are due to be published shortly.
The origins of Dr Szewczyk's worms can be traced back to a rubbish dump in Bristol. C. elegans often feed on bacteria that develop on decaying vegetable matter.
Source-Eurekalert

Yoga guru sues ‘copycat’ student

Bikram Choudhury, the Calcutta-born yoga teacher in the US, has sued a former student for over a million dollars for copying his style of exercise that involves workouts in a 105°F room.
Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, has copyrighted this technique.
In the lawsuit filed in a California court for copyright infringement, the 65-year-old has sought damages in excess of a million dollars and urged a federal judge to block Yoga to the People, a chain of studios founded by Greg Gumucio, his old student.
Choudhury has alleged that Gumucio’s yoga studios offer the “traditional hot yoga” class that is identical to his Bikram Yoga, which is a 26-posture sequence done in a room heated up to 105°F or 41°C.
“The hot yoga class is taught in the same ambient environment as Bikram Yoga in order to give students the impression that the class offers the same experience and benefits a student would have at a Bikram Yoga studio,” the 25-page plea said.
Gumucio had entered into an agreement with him that prohibited the use of the Bikram Yoga brand name and trademark in any form, Choudhury said.
While a Bikram Yoga class costs $25, Gumucio’s chain of studios charges $8 for the session.
Choudhury’s lawyer Robert Gilchrest said he had an investigator take Gumucio’s classes that were “virtually mirror images and the dialogue was consistently the same” as Choudhury’s yoga classes.
Gumucio opened Yoga to the People in New York in 2006. The chain currently has five studios in the city as well as in California and Seattle. Choudhury said he had to close one of his studios in Manhattan because “the presence of our competitors,” namely Yoga to the People, “made it impossible for us to continue”.
In his defence, Gumucio said he never agreed to abide by Choudhury’s rules and that was why he parted ways with him. “I have never agreed with Bikram and his idea that he owned the yoga or that he should sue anyone.” He said his sequence of poses is not exactly the same as Choudhury’s.
Source:PTI

Thursday, 1 December 2011

'Unhealthy' Food Served in Children's Hospitals in US : Study

It is natural to expect children's hospitals would serve as a role model for healthy eating, given the obesity epidemic among the young in the United States. But hospitals in California fall short, with only 7 percent of entrees classified as "healthy" according to a new study published in Academic Pediatrics.
Researchers from UCLA and the RAND Corporation assessed 14 food venues at the state's 12 major children's hospitals and found there was a lot of room for improvement in their offerings and practices.
"As health professionals, we understand the connection between healthy eating and good health, and our hospitals should be role models in this regard," said Dr. Lenard Lesser, primary investigator and a physician in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program in the Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Unfortunately, the food in many hospitals is no better – and in some cases worse – than what you would find in a fast food restaurant."
The study authors developed a modified version of the Nutrition Environment Measures Scale for Restaurants (NEMS-R) as an assessment tool for rating the food offerings in hospital cafeterias. This measurement system takes into account pricing, availability of vegetables, nutrition labeling, combo promotions and healthy beverages.
Overall the average score for the 14 hospital food venues was 19.1, out of a range of 0 (least healthy) to 37 (most healthy). Of the total 359 entrees the hospitals served, only 7 percent were classified as healthy according to the NEMS criteria. And while nearly all the hospitals offered healthy alternatives such as fruit, less than one third had nutrition information at the point of sale or signs to promote healthy eating.
Among the other key findings:
All 14 food venues offered low-fat or skim milk and diet soda
81 percent offered high-calorie, high-sugar items such as cookies and ice cream near the cash register
25 percent sold whole wheat bread
Half the hospitals did not provide any indication that they carried healthy entrees
44 percent did not have low calorie salad dressings
Since no one has previously documented the health of food in these hospitals, researchers provided hospital administrators with their scores to encourage improvement. Since the study was conducted in July 2010, some of the hospitals surveyed have taken steps to either improve their fare and/or reduce unhealthy offerings. For example, some have eliminated fried food, lowered the price of salads, and increased the price of sugary beverages or eliminated them altogether from their cafeterias.
"The steps some hospitals are already taking to improve nutrition and reduce junk food are encouraging," Lesser said. "We plan to make this nutritional quality measurement tool available to hospitals around the country to help them assess and improve their food offerings."
Researchers said hospitals can improve the health of their food offerings by providing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and smaller portions; shrink the amount of low-nutrient choices, and utilize low-cost options to promote healthy eating such as signage and keeping unhealthy impulse items away from the checkout stand.
"If we can't improve the food environment in our hospitals, how do we expect to improve the health of food in our community?" Lesser said. "By serving as role models for healthy eating, we can make a small step toward helping children prevent the onset of dietary-related chronic diseases."
Source-Eurekalert

Red wine and heart

Do you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal? If so, here's the good news! Red wine and heart health go hand in hand, if taken in moderation.
Red wine contains antioxidants such as resveratrol and catechines that protect the heart and boost good cholesterol (HDL) production.
Patients taking medications, such as aspirin, need to consult their doctors

Slew of Initiatives for Ayush Sector in XIITH Plan: Sh Azad

The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad today announced a host of new initiatives being considered for AYUSH sector in the XIIth Plan subject to availability of funds. The Minister was speaking at the Inaugural Function of the 66TH World Homeopathic Congress organised in New Delhi today. Shri Azad said that more stress will be given in the XIIth Plan for Integration of AYUSH systems in health care delivery and their incorporation in National Health Programmes through co-locating such facilities with our sub-centres and primary health care centres.
Speaking about the new initiatives being considered for XIIth Plan, Shri Azad said a National Commission for Human Resource in AYUSH will be set up to undertake a comprehensive work force study and formulate action plans for inter sectoral co-ordination. It is also proposed to set up Referral hospitals in eight National Institutes to provide world class treatment facilities with National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) accreditation for secondary and tertiary level health care along with Research and Quality Control Laboratories in these Institutes to expand the quality testing facilities in the country for ASU&H products as well as promoting research and training activities at institutional level, he said. Five Hi-Tech Quality Control Labs would be set up under the Research Councils at regional levels with National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accreditation to expand the quality control to the highest standards, Shri Azad informed. A National Institute of Medicinal Plants is envisaged, which would provide training facilities, demonstration at site, raw materials processing and testing facilities and drugs repository. It is also proposed to have a Central Drugs Controller for AYUSH drugs to facilitate standardization of ASU products and effective enforcement of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act with a view to ensure high quality health products to the consumers. During the 12th Plan, the Department also proposes to set up a Homoeopathic Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited to provide facilities for manufacturing of Homoeopathic medicines to ensure quality and timely supplies to dispensaries, the Minister announced. The Department also intends to set up an All India Institute of Homoeopathy to fulfill the emerging interest of scientists for research in homoeopathy and inculcate better inter-disciplinary understanding for promoting evidence-based use of homoeopathy, Shri Azad stated.
Recalling the highlighting of important achievements of the Department of AYUSH during the 11th Plan, the Minister said three National Institutes were set up during this period, viz, The North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine, Passighat, Arunachal Pradesh, set up at a cost of Rs.30 crores and the OPD functioning from 2009; The North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy, Shillong, Meghalaya, started its OPD from October 2010 at a total cost of Rs. 58 crores; The All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi also started operations from September, 2010 and will be completed at the total cost of Rs.90 crores. A Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine was set up this year. Development of identity and quality standards of 256 Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) and 92 homoeopathic drugs was done, including quality testing of 1342 ASU and 3709 homoeopathic samples during the 11th Plan. Chairs in Ayurveda and Unani were established in Charite, University of Western Cape, South Africa in 2011 to propagate the teaching of these systems. 1933 Public Health Centres, 260 Community Health Centres and 83 District Hospitals have been supported since 2005 for setting up AYUSH facilities. During the period of the 11th Plan from 2005-06 to 2011-12, Twelve State Drug Testing Laboratories, 17 Pharmacies, 34 State Drug Licensing Authorities, 62 proposals of strengthening enforcement mechanism of ASU drugs and 11 proposals of strengthening in-house quality control laboratories of drug manufacturers were supported by the Department. As a part of National Mission on Medicinal Plants, 732 Nurseries have been set up since 2005 and 70,267 hectares of land have been covered for cultivation of Medicinal Plants, Shri Azad noted.
Addressing the international experts of Homeopathy who have assembled for the four-day Conference on the theme of ‘Homeopathy for public Health Issues’, Shri Azad stated that in India the Government provides opportunity to every recognized medical system to develop and be practiced with a view to provide integrated and holistic health care services so as to encourage a pluralistic health care delivery system. Shri Azad said many countries are facing challenges in providing basic health care to their citizens due to rising costs of increasingly complex technologies. In this context, systems like Homoeopathy could be useful, where relevant, he emphasized. “World Professional bodies like Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis have an important role to play here by addressing the skepticism surrounding the scientific nature and reliability of this system of medicine. It is for LMHI and its members to endeavour to find answers to such misconceptions by showing how the Homeopathic science has evolved over the last 200 years and contributed in overcoming some of the challenging epidemics and other diseases”, the Minister said. “The primary health care approach, beginning with the Declaration of Alma-Ata more than 30 years ago, recognized that prevention requires collaboration with multiple health sectors. This is where the relevance of Homoeopathy in health care could come in. The medicines in homoeopathy are widely used in curative care since they are seen as being cost effective, simple and also due to the fact that they are seen to cure certain diseases for which there is no known or effective treatment in other systems’, the Minister said.

Shri Azad added that India takes pride in the fact that we have the largest number of traditional and alternative medicine teaching institutions in the world. The Department of AYUSH intends to put in more concerted efforts to streamline the quality of education during 12th Plan with the objective of imparting high quality training and achieving clinical excellence in all our traditional and alternative systems’ doctors. He noted that we are also training students from many neighboring countries and that India will continue to be the major hub for all systems of medical education, including homoeopathic education, in Asia with its focus on excellence. Shri Azad said India would be happy to help countries like Srilanka in augmenting their Human Resource needs in field of Homeopathy.
Shri Azad honoured many senior Homeopaths on the occasion as also released books and software prepared by subject experts. The Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Sri Lanka, Shri Salinda Dissanayake, Minister of Health, Medical Education and Elections, Government of Haryana, Secretary Department of AYUSH, GOI Shri Anil Kumar, office bearers of LMHI and other subject experts were present on the occasion. Dr. Jose Matuk Kanan, President, LMHI declared the Congress open for scientific session proceedings. About 2400 delegates from 35 countries are participating in this congress, being hosted in India for the fourth time after the earlier congresses held in 1967, 1977 and 1995.

Banana can lower your blood pressure

Scientists from Manipal, India and John Hopkins University have found that eating bananas may reduce by blood pressure by 10 percent as it acts like an ACE-inhibitors medication taken for blood pressure. Eat a whole banana as a snack or add it in your morning cereal or make a fruit salad with banana as one of the ingredients. Whatever way you eat it, a medium sized banana will provide 422mg of potassium and 17 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin C.

HIV/AIDS: One of the Greatest Medical Fights in Human History

Will HIV/AIDS go down in history as the single largest pandemic of all time or will we effectively stop this killer before it tops the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages or the Great Influenza of 1918-1919? Early warnings suggested that HIV/AIDS deaths could reach 90 million, higher than the estimated 75 million that fell victim to the "black death" in the 14th century and the more than 50 million that died of the Spanish Flu as World War I ended. Now, thirty years into the crisis, AIDS has infected 60 million people and 27 million have died. How will history judge our response? And where do we go from here?
When AIDS first hit in the summer of 1981, doctors were baffled -- all they could do was help orchestrate a dignified death for their patients. Today, due to unprecedented investment and global collaboration, more than thirty drugs have been licensed to treat AIDS and more than 6 million HIV-infected people in the world's poorest countries are receiving lifesaving treatment. This is a modern miracle of science, medicine, and humanity.In the United States, approximately 1.2 million people are living with the virus although 20 percent are unaware of their status. New infections have stabilized from a high of 130,000 in the 1980s to approximately 50,000 annually. African-Americans have been particularly hard hit accounting for 44 percent of new infections while forming only 12 percent of the population. Unfortunately, as treatment options have expanded, complacency about the disease has set-in resulting in a continuing spread of the virus.
Antiretroviral therapy has allowed HIV-infected subjects in the United States and Europe to live longer with a greatly improved quality of life. These individuals are no longer dying of AIDS or related illnesses, but instead are succumbing to the same diseases of the heart, liver, kidney, brain and other organs that affect the general population. Disturbingly, these diseases are striking 10-20 years earlier in those infected with HIV despite effective antiviral treatment. Urgent efforts are now underway to understand why this "accelerated aging" is occurring and to devise ways to interrupt it.
While the tide was turning in the United States and other developed nations in the mid 1990's, Africa was dying of AIDS. Seven out of every ten new infections in the world occur within the sub-Saharan region. The 2000 International AIDS Conference held in Durban, South Africa helped galvanize the world into action. Highly successful programs like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria were launched and individuals from all walks of life came forward. These efforts are clearly paying off with twenty-two different African countries now reporting declining HIV infection rates. Storm clouds are on the horizon. The Global Fund recently announced that no new grants will be made until at least 2014 due to financial constraints. Our gains in the global HIV/AIDS epidemic are very fragile; the world desperately needs continued vigorous leadership by PEPFAR and the Global Fund.
Despite tremendous advances in treatment, prevention of HIV infection is the surest way to end the global threat of HIV/AIDS. Stunning advances have occurred on this front. Male circumcision has been shown to reduce HIV spread from infected women to men by about 60 percent; massive campaigns are now underway to circumcise adult men. A single antiretroviral pill taken once a day can prevent high-risk individuals from becoming infected and a new microbicide is at last providing women a safe means to partially protect themselves from HIV.
We continue the search for the "holy grail" of HIV prevention -- an effective vaccine. While the virus's ability to alter its form through mutation has thus far thwarted efforts, there is cause for hope. A recent HIV vaccine trial conducted in Thailand provided a hint of effectiveness for the first time.
Less heralded than advances on the treatment and prevention fronts, the HIV/AIDS crisis is spurring fundamental changes within African health systems that promise long-lasting and beneficial effects. A strong and self-sufficient Africa with health systems in place for delivering high-quality care to their populations and capable of confronting and containing the next epidemic, which is inevitable, is in the best interest of both Africa and the world.
One successful approach to building health capacity involves the creation of African-owned and African-led centers of excellence like Accordia Global Health Foundation's flagship program, the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), in Kampala, Uganda. Through its clinical, training, and research programs, IDI is helping change the health landscape of Uganda. IDI is also providing professional opportunities for talented African physicians and nurses who otherwise might have left for positions in the United States or Europe (Click here to read "Meet Dr. Sabrina"). The impact and reach of centers like the IDI are exceeding all expectations and provide a promising blueprint for building a healthier and stronger Africa.
There is much to be proud of in the history of HIV/AIDS, but our work is far from done. Today, President Obama and former President George W. Bush are commemorating this World AIDS Day in an address to George Washington University students, calling for the "beginning of the end of AIDS." This is a welcome reaffirmation of U.S. leadership in accelerating global efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The impact of this commitment will be felt from Washington D.C. -- where infection rates rival that of many African countries -- to Kampala, Uganda.
In July 2012, Washington, D.C. will host the XIX International AIDS Conference themed Turning the Tide Together, reflecting the real opportunity to change the course of human history. HIV/AIDS can continue to be remembered as inflicting the "single greatest reversal in human development in modern history" or as our single greatest triumph as a global community.
How do you want to be remembered?
African-owned and led centers of excellence within medical schools are uniquely well-positioned to provide the leadership necessary to end the continent's healthcare crisis and bring African healthcare up to world standards. In 2011, Accordia Global Health Foundation, Pfizer Inc, and an alliance of infectious disease specialists, established the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), a center of excellence within Makerere University, one of Africa's oldest and most venerable universities. Since its founding, IDI has tested and treated over 500,000 patients for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
By:Dr. Warner C. Greene and Dr. Elly T. Katabira
Source:huffingtonpost

The Health Benefits of Cooking with Ghee

Known in the West as “clarified butter”, ghee has a long history as a staple of Indian cooking and medicine. According to the Bhavaprakasha 6.18.1, an ancient 16th Century Ayurvedic text, “Ghee is sweet in taste and cooling in energy, rejuvenating, good for the eyes and vision, kindles digestion, bestows luster and beauty, enhances memory and stamina, increases intellect, promotes longevity, is an aphrodisiac and protects the body from various diseases.”
With its delicious buttery flavor ghee can be used in place of butter or other oils in cooking. Traditionally, ghee is made by slowly melting butter over a low heat. This creates three separate layers, a watery layer that is the first to be skimmed off, than the milk solids are removed leaving a deep golden colored saturated butterfat. This golden liquid contains conjugated linolenic acid, which is known to aid the body in weight loss and helps to lubricate the body’s connective tissues. Because it is so rich in antioxidants and lacking in milk solids, ghee does not have to be refrigerated, which makes it great for travel and for use in herbal medicines.
Ayurveda uses ghee both internally and externally as a massage oil in treatment for dryness, arthritis, and to loosen toxins from the fatty tissues. The Ayurvedic detoxification program, Panchakarma, recommends eating ghee with meals, along with daily massage treatments to help bring the toxins out of the tissues and out to the surface. Since the body excretes mostly water soluble chemicals the ghee works to dissolve the lipid soluble toxins for elimination through the digestive tract.Easy to digest, ghee is alkaline forming in the body helping to calm inflammation that is fed by an acidic Standard American (SAD) Diet. Since the milk solids are removed in the cooking process ghee is lactose free; good news for individuals who cannot digest dairy products.
Medicinally ghee is highly touted for its benefits to the nerve tissue and the brain. Improving memory function is only one benefit as it is also prescribed in cases of depression, anxiety, dementia, and epilepsy. The ancient Indian masters attributed the rich fat in ghee with the properties to regenerate brain cells and should be eaten by pregnant women to insure the development of the fetus’s brain.
According to Ayurveda practitioner, Dr. Vasant Lad, burning eye issues, eye stress or eye disorders such as glaucoma, can benefit from incorporating ghee into the diet. A popular eye treatment he recommends is to place one drop of lukewarm liquid ghee in each eye at bedtime to soothe and strengthen weak eyes.Ghee is easy to use in cooking, has a high smoking point, meaning it won’t burn at high temperatures; contains no artificial ingredients or trans fats. It is, however, a saturated fat weighing in at 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. A “little dab will do ya”, so less is more when using the rich flavor of ghee in cooking.
Source:Care2

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hope for new AIDS protection seen in mouse study

As scientists struggle to find a vaccine to prevent infection with the AIDS virus, a study in mice suggests hope for a new approach — one that doctors now want to test in people.
The treated mice in the study appeared to have 100 percent protection against HIV. That doesn't mean the strategy will work in people. But several experts were impressed.
"This is a very important paper (about) a very creative idea," says the government's AIDS chief, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He didn't take part in the research.
The new study involved injecting mice with a protective gene, an idea that's been tested against HIV infection in animals for a decade.
In the nearly 30 years since HIV was identified, scientists haven't been able to find a vaccine that is broadly effective. One boost came in 2009, when a large study in Thailand showed that an experimental vaccine protected about a third of recipients against infection. That's not good enough for general use, but researchers are now trying to improve it.
Researchers reported the new results in mice online Wednesday in the journal Nature. They hope to test the approach in people in a couple of years. Another research team reported similar success in monkeys in 2009 and hopes to start human tests even sooner.
A traditional vaccine works by masquerading as a germ, training the body's immune system to build specific defenses in case the real germ shows up. Those defenses are generally antibodies, which are proteins in the blood that have just the right shape to grab onto parts of an invading virus. Once that happens, the virus can't establish a lasting infection and is cleared from the body.
Scientists have identified antibodies that neutralize a wide range of HIV strains, but they've had trouble getting people's immune systems to create those antibodies with a vaccine.
The gene-injection goal is straightforward. Rather than trying to train a person's immune system to devise effective antibodies, why not just give a person genes for those proteins? The genes can slip into cells in muscle or some other tissue and make them pump out lots of the antibodies.
The mouse work is reported by David Baltimore and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology.
Ordinary mice don't get infected with HIV, which attacks the immune system. So the research used mice that carried human immune system cells.
Baltimore's team used a harmless virus to carry an antibody gene and injected it once into a leg muscle. The researchers found that the mice made high levels of the antibody for more than a year. The results suggest lifetime protection for a mouse, Baltimore said, although "we simply don't know what will happen in people."
Even when the mice were injected with very high doses of HIV, they didn't show the loss of certain blood cells that results from HIV infection. Baltimore said researchers couldn't completely rule out the possibility of infection, but that their tests found no evidence of it. He said a few hundred mice appeared to be protected.
The work was funded by the federal government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Baltimore said his lab has filed for patents.
"I think it's great," said Dr. Philip R. Johnson of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who reported similar results in monkeys in 2009. "It provides additional evidence this is a concept that's worth moving forward."
Johnson said he has discussed doing a human trial with federal regulators and is preparing an application for permission to go ahead. If all goes well, a preliminary experiment to test the safety of the approach might begin in about a year, he said. Baltimore said his group is also planning human experiments that he hopes will start in the next couple years.
Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned that mouse results don't always pan out in human studies. He also said both the gene approach and standard vaccines should be pursued because it's not clear which will work better.
"We're still in the discovery stage of both of them," he said.
Dr. Harris Goldstein, director of the Einstein-Montefiore Center for AIDS Research in New York, who has done similar research in mice, called Baltimore's result a significant advance if it works in humans because it shows a single injection produces high levels of antibodies for a long time.
It might lead not only to preventing infection, but also a treatment for infected people, he said. If it allowed people with HIV to stop or reduce their medications even for temporary periods, they could avoid the inconvenience and side effects of the drugs, he said.
Source:AP

Yoga may ease insomnia, menopause problems

A couple of yoga sessions a week could help ease sleep problems and other effects of menopause, a small study suggests.
The study, reported in the journal Menopause, included postmenopausal women diagnosed with insomnia.
"We are not saying that yoga can cure postmenopausal symptoms," Dr. Helena Hachul, one of the study authors, wrote in an email to Reuters Health. "But it can improve and relieve them."
Hachul and her colleagues randomly assigned 44 women to one of three groups. Fifteen had no treatment, 14 did stretches with a physical therapist twice a week and 15 participated in yoga classes twice a week.
The yoga sessions included a variety of stretching positions and Tibetan techniques used for strong and fast breathing.
After four months, women in the yoga group reported fewer menopause problems than those who did nothing.
Women often experience hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, and irritability during menopause, and some have trouble sleeping or feel down. Hormone replacement therapy eases many of those problems, but comes with risks of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer, according to the Women's Health Initiative study from 2002.
Since then, fewer women are taking hormones and many have looked to alternative methods of dealing with their problems, including taking herbs such as black cohosh and red clover for hot flashes. But one study found those remedies are no better than dummy pills.
Homeopathic treatments such as evening primrose oil, ginseng, kava, licorice, or sage, have also been a disappointment, according to the North American Menopause Society.
By contrast, research has shown that yoga reduces stress levels and curbs the activity of the sympathetic nervous system's "fight or flight" response, the body's reaction to threat or danger.
"This is part of the accumulating evidence that shows the benefits of yoga," said Cathryn Booth-LaForce about the latest findings.
"Doctors are starting to recommend yoga, not just for menopause, but for a variety of conditions," added Booth-LaForce, who studies alternative therapies for menopause at the School of Nursing at the University of Washington but was not part of the new study.
She cautioned that key information was missing from Hachul's report, however.
"I'm concerned that there's almost no description of the yoga positions used or how many people completed all the sessions."
In the study, women completed questionnaires before and after they received treatment.
One questionnaire rated menopause symptoms from 0 to 18 as mild, 18 to 35 as moderate and 35 and over as severe. After four months, women who practiced yoga had an average score of 12.4, while women who had no treatment, had a score of 19.9.
On a sleep questionnaire from 0 to 28, with 28 being the most severe insomnia, the yoga practitioners had an average score of 9.7, while those with no treatment scored 13.7.
However, there weren't any clear differences between women who did stretches and those who did yoga.
"Lying on a table and getting stretched may have helped with relaxation," Booth-LaForce told Reuters Health. "But yoga is about focusing on what you're doing and connecting the mind and body. That's a lot more than having your limbs stretched."
Booth-LaForce encourages women to take up yoga and recommends taking a restorative or gentle yoga class.
Yoga classes typically cost from $9 to $16.
"I would suggest women take a yoga class a week, and then try to practice yoga 15 minutes a day at home," Booth-LaForce said.
Source:Reuters

Centre to set up BIRAC to make India globally competitive in biotech innovation & entrepreneurship

n order to stimulate, foster and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry, particularly the small and medium enterprises, the central government will soon set up a 'Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council' (BIRAC).

By setting up such a council, the government aims to make India globally competitive in biotech innovation and entrepreneurship and to create affordable products and services. The Council will operate with a core budget for its regular activities and recurring expenses for human resources and operational cost with an initial outlay of Rs.70 crore for two years.
The council is being established as a separate body for supporting product innovation and providing required infrastructure and services at different stages of the value chain for promoting innovation and product development. It will provide funding and investment for early and late stage, including Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI), Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP) and Ignition grant; technology transfer and acquisition in national priority areas; and technology development – incubators, parks, etc.
It will also provide support services such as IP facilitation, legal and contracts, regulatory and clinical trial facilitation; mentoring and capacity building.
The council would function as the government’s, inter-phase agency for supporting industry –academia interaction, which will service as a single window for the emerging biotech industry through which they can acquire knowledge, access world class R&D infrastructure, access rate limiting serious technologies and seek technical problem solving help regulatory advice.
The setting up of an innovation support organisation like BIRAC will address the felt need in the government system for providing a comprehensive enabling environment and technology related service package to promote, nurture and support medium and high level innovation in biotech research. This would be particularly useful for small and medium size companies, and also support and facilitate creation of new start-ups.
Source:Pharmabiz

4-months of Low-calorie Diet can Cure Type-2 Diabetes

Following a low-calorie diet everyday for just 4-months could cure type-2 diabetes, according to a study done at Leiden University in the Netherlands. These findings may revolutionize the treatment of the lifelong condition which has no cure.
Researchers studied 15 obese men and women with type-2 diabetes. The volunteers were asked to follow a 500-calorie-a-day diet for 4-months. The researchers observed that diabetics who cut down on calories actually had a far more significant improvement in the condition and in their general health than medication offered. They did not need life-saving insulin, the level of dangerous fat deposition around their heart (pedicardial fat) was significantly reduced and their cardiac function improved, their BMI's dropped.
Study's lead author Sebastiaan Hammer said, "It is striking to see how a relatively simple intervention of a very low-calorie diet effectively cures Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, the effects are long term, illustrating the potential of this method. Lifestyle interventions may have more powerful beneficial cardiac effects than medication in these patients."
The benefits of calorie restriction persisted even after the volunteers went back to their usual eating habits and regained weight. However, the study only demonstrates an improvement to diabetes symptoms rather than a cure. Dr. Hammer has warned that calorie restriction may not be for everyone with diabetes and diabetics considering trying it should consult a doctor beforehand.

Dept of Ayush proposes DCGI post exclusively for Indian medicines

With the Indian system of medicines including Ayurveda getting increased attention from world around, the Department of Ayush is pushing the idea of setting up a Central Drug Controller for Ayush drugs separately for ensuring quality of drugs in the sector.
The Department has already forwarded the proposal in this regard to the Planning Commission for consideration and inclusion in the final Plan for the 12th Five Year Plan period with an estimated allocation of Rs.166 crore, sources said.
“The Expenditure Finance Committee at its meeting held in April, 2010 under the chairmanship of Secretary (Expenditure) had agreed to create infrastructure of Central Drug Controller for Ayush drugs. Allocation of Rs.166.00 crore has been projected for this purpose in the 12th Plan. Under the Central Drug Controller for Ayush Drugs, 40 posts including 25 regular and 15 contractual/outsourced posts will be created and in addition salaries of scientific manpower in 30 state-run Drug Testing Laboratories will be borne during 12th Plan period. This provision will be made under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Drugs Quality Control under the head - Promotion of Ayush,’’ sources said.
Presently the demand for traditional Indian medicine -- Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and other herbal products -- has increased tremendously in India and abroad. The world herbal market is estimated to be $62 billion out of which the share of China is $19 billion and that of India is only $1 billion. There are around 10000 ASU drugs manufacturing units in the country at present, according to the note by the Department.
“To facilitate the increased acceptability of ASU (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani) medicines within the country and abroad, the core issue is the quality and standardization of ASU products and effective enforcement of the provisions of the Drugs & Cosmetic Act. It is recommended by the Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Drugs Consultative Committee (ASUDCC) chaired by DCGI that a separate Central Drug Controller for ASU drugs may be created,’’ sources said.
Taking into consideration the importance of the sector, the planned Central Drug Authority of India (CDAI) had proposed the induction of an additional drug controller general for Indian systems of medicines. At present, the post for the Additional DCGI for Indian medicines has been lapsed. This post would be revived to assist the DCGI for quality control and regulations of Indian systems of medicines and homoeopathic products, according to the proposal.
The CDAI also proposed to have five assistant drug controllers to govern the ASU sector, and one each would be posted in five zonal offices of Chandigarh, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata to assist the Deputy Drug Controllers. However, with the lapse of the very proposal to set up CDAI, the plans to strengthen the regulatory mechanism for ASU drugs also lapsed.
Source:Pharmabiz

Nanotechnology To Reduce Rejection Of Implants

Nanotechnology can come in handy to reduce chances of rejection of implants like hip replacements and pacemakers, say researchers at the University of Gothenburg.“Activation of the body’s innate immune system is one of the most common reasons for an implant being rejected,” explains Professor Hans Elwing from the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. “We can now show why the body more easily integrates implants with a nanostructured surface than a smooth one.”
The researchers used a unique method to produce nanostructures on gold surfaces, creating gold particles just 10-18 nm in diameter and binding them to a completely smooth gold surface at carefully regulated distances. The result is something akin to a cobbled street in miniature.
Giving implants this cobbled surface reduces the activation of important parts of the innate immune system. This is because several of the proteins involved are of a similar size to these nanosized cobbles, and so do not change in appearance when they land on the surface. This gives the body a greater ability to integrate foreign objects such as implants, pacemakers and drug capsules into its own tissues, as well as reducing the risk of local inflammation.
“It may be that the innate immune system is designed to react to smooth surfaces, because these are not found naturally in the body,” says Elwing. “Some bacteria, on the other hand, do have a completely smooth surface.”
Modern nanotechnology makes it easy and cheap to surface-treat implants and drug capsules, but it will probably be several years before this becomes a reality in human medicine. The focus now is on customising titanium implants of various kinds.
“We’ve developed a graded surface with different cobbelstone package that we think can be used for bone implants,” says Elwing. “Bone is very hard on the outside but then gets softer, so it would be good to have hard integration on the surface and softer integration underneath. We reckon we can make titanium screws that are denser at the head of the screw so that they fuse best at the top. This kind of customisation is the future.”
Research into the body’s innate immune system was rewarded this year with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
The results are presented in the International Journal of Nanomedicine.

Cell Which Improves Body’s Ability to Fight Infections Discovered

A novel type of cell which helps the body battle infections even critical illnesses has been found by researcher Carola Vinuesa from The John Curtin School of Medical Research.This cell called as Natural killer T follicular helper (NKTfh), first recognizes foreign molecules or lipids, which sit on infectious bacteria. The cell then produces antibody responses in B cells , which is a natural method for the body to battle infections.
`Natural killer T cells, unlike other T cells, recognize molecules known as lipids instead of just recognizing proteins expressed by infectious bacteria. These types of bacteria can cause life-threatening infections, including meningitis and pneumonia. NKT cells don`t just recognise lipids, they can be naturally activated by them.Not surprisingly, NKT cells have been shown to play important roles in combating infection and in other immune processes including allergy, cancer and autoimmunity. What we have found is a subset of NKT cells, the NKTfh, which are specialised in generating antibody responses in B cells that recognise lipid-containing antigens," she said.
This gives a boost to B cells, which help in strengthening the human immune system and enhancing its capability to offset potential infection.”

Exercise Modifies Brain to Help Us Choose a Healthy Diet

An increase in physical activity prompts us towards an improvement in diet quality, a new study now reveals. A healthy diet and the right amount of exercise are important for treating and preventing obesity but until now we have known little about the relationship both factors have with each other.Many questions arise when trying to lose weight. Would it be better to start on a diet and then do exercise, or the other way around? And how much does one compensate the other?
"Understanding the interaction between exercise and a healthy diet could improve preventative and therapeutic measures against obesity by strengthening current approaches and treatments," explains Miguel Alonso Alonso, researcher at Harvard University (USA) who has published a bibliographical compilation on the subject, to SINC.
The data from epidemiological studies suggest that tendencies towards a healthy diet and the right amount of physical exercise often come hand in hand. Furthermore, an increase in physical activity is usually linked to a parallel improvement in diet quality.
Exercise also brings benefits such as an increase in sensitivity to physiological signs of fullness. This not only means that appetite can be controlled better but it also modifies hedonic responses to food stimuli. Therefore, benefits can be classified as those that occur in the short term (of metabolic predominance) and those that are seen in the long term (of behavioural predominance).
According to Alonso Alonso, "physical exercise seems to encourage a healthy diet. In fact, when exercise is added to a weight-loss diet, treatment of obesity is more successful and the diet is adhered to in the long run."
The authors of the study state how important it is for social policy to encourage and facilitate sport and physical exercise amongst the population. This should be present in both schools and our urban environment or daily lives through the use of public transport or availability of pedestrianised areas and sports facilities.
Exercise modifies the brain
Eating and physical activity are behaviours and are therefore influenced by cognitive processes that are a result of activity in different areas of the brain. Previous studies have already assessed changes in the brain and cognitive functions in relation to exercise: regular physical exercise causes changes in the working and structure of the brain.
The experts point out that these changes seem to have a certain specificity. The Harvard researcher supports the notion that "regular exercise improves output in tests that measure the state of the brain's executive functions and increases the amount of grey matter and prefrontal connections."
Inhibitory control is one of the executive functions of the brain and is basically the ability to suppress inadequate and non-conforming answers to an aim (the opposite of this would be impulsiveness), which makes modification or self-regulations of a behaviour possible.
With regards to losing weight and sustaining weight loss in the long run, various recent studies suggest that executive functions such as inhibitory control and optimal functioning of the brain's prefrontal areas could be the key to success. This success is mainly the fruit of a behavioural change. Inhibitory control could also help to prevent weight gain in healthy people.
The researcher outlines that "in time, exercise produces a potentiating effect of executive functions including the ability for inhibitory control, which can help us to resist the many temptations that we are faced with everyday in a society where food, especially hypercaloric food, is more and more omnipresent."
Spain – leader in obesity
There has been an alarming rise in cases of obesity in Spain in recent years, so much so that prevalence in various areas of the country is higher than in many parts of the USA, which is traditionally thought of as the paradigm of obesity in the western world.
Furthermore, along with other Mediterranean countries, Spain has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in Europe. The experts are urging society to become aware of the problem and join forces to prevent and treat all types of obesity.
Source-Eurekalert

Monday, 28 November 2011

India and Bulgaria sign MoU on health & medicines

India and Bulgaria today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Health & Medicines to usher in new era of cooperation in health and medicines between the two countries.
The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad signed the MoU today in New Delhi with the Minister of Health of the Republic of Bulgaria Dr Stefan Konstantinov.
Azad said that each country can learn from the experiences of the other and share best practices and success stories. The Bulgarian delegation led by president of National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, Tsetska Tsacheva, comprising of Members of Parliament from Bulgaria are on an official visit to India till November 30, 2011 at the invitation of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar.
Speaking at the signing ceremony Azad elaborated that the MoU between India and Bulgaria would inter alia cover issues of medical services; public health and prophylactics; medical science and training of medical personnel; medical education and research; drug regulation and pharmaceuticals; medical tourism and health legislation. Cooperation between the Contracting Parties may be in the forms of exchange of medical and scientific information; exchange of experience on priority issues; participation of scientists in scientific medical activities organized in each country; short-term exchange of medical personnel or joint projects on subjects of mutual interest, Azad added.
Dr Stefan Konstantinov on his part underscored the importance of training of medical personnel and exchange of scientific information with special attention to area of prophylactics. He also said that there is great potential in Bulgaria for developing genetic medicine and e-healthcare with the help of India.
Source:Pharmabiz

Diabetic Patients Should be Regularly Screened for Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder is a condition where the urinary bladder is unable to perform its usual function of storage of urine efficiently. Consequently, the patient suffers from symptoms like increased urgency to pass urine and at an increased frequency. The patient may have to get up frequently at night to void the bladder. He/ she may also experience episodes of incontinence, which could interfere with his/her social life. Patients with urinary incontinence are said to be suffering from overactive bladder “wet” and patients without urinary incontinence are said to be suffering from overactive bladder "dry."
Overactive bladder becomes more common with increasing age. It often occurs due to increased muscle activity of the bladder, which could be a consequence of partial bladder obstruction, as in the case of prostate enlargement. The inner lining of the bladder could also play a role in bladder overactivity through the release of certain substances like prostaglandins, which stimulate the nerves and result in urgency.
People with diabetes are at a risk of developing overactive bladder. Diabetes affects nerves; thus if nerves supplying to the bladder are affected, there could be an error in signals going to the bladder, resulting in urgency and voiding at the wrong time. This is one of the mechanisms suggested for the occurrence of overactive bladder in diabetes.
A study was carried out to study the prevalence of overactive bladder in patients with type 2 diabetes. The patients were administered a questionnaire to find out if they suffered from symptoms of overactive bladder.
Out of the total 1359 included in the study, 22.5% reported to be suffering from overactive bladder; 11.7% of these with overactive bladder dry and 10.8% with overactive bladder wet. Overactive bladder and overactive bladder wet were 2.4 and 4.2 times more common in patients with diabetes of more than 10 years duration, and of age more than 50 years. Men and older aged individuals were more likely to suffer from overactive bladder, whereas older individuals and people with a broader waist were more likely to suffer from incontinence due to the overactive bladder.
The above study reiterates that overactive bladder is common in people suffering from diabetes especially over a long duration; hence diabetics should be routinely screened for the presence of overactive bladder to ensure early treatment and prevent complications.
Reference:
1. Liu R et al. Prevalence of Overactive Bladder and Associated Risk Factors in 1359 Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Urology 2011; 78 (5): 1040-1045.
2. Yoshida M et al. The Forefront for Novel Therapeutic Agents Based on the Pathophysiology of Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction: Pathophysiology and Pharmacotherapy of Overactive Bladder. J Pharmacol Sci 2010; 112: 128 – 134.

Bee Sting Venom as an Anti-Aging Treatment

Some of the biggest celebrities in the world are opting for an unusual form of anti aging treatment after a group of South Korean researchers found that bee sting venom was one of the most effective ways of stopping the process of aging.Researchers led by Dr Sang Mi Han conducted the decade lone study for New Zealand beauty company, Manuka Doctor and the treatment will be available for use at Holland & Barrett shops from Monday.
The treatment has already attracted some of the big celebrities with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Dannii Minogue having reported to have undergone the £55 bee venom facial treatment. The company claims that the treatment is the “next best alternative to botox, in a jar”.
Dr Han revealed that the bee sting venom helps prevent sun damage and restore collagen formation. “Exposure to the sun is one of the main causes of wrinkles because UV light increases levels of proteins which are responsible for the degradation of collagen in the skin This is what leaves it lacking in elasticity, sagging and wrinkling as we age”, Dr Han said.

Low Calorie Diet Benefits Obese Patients

In obese patients with type 2 diabetes, intake of restricted calorie diet improves heart function, reveals study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)."Lifestyle interventions may have more powerful beneficial cardiac effects than medication in these patients," said the study's lead author, Sebastiaan Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Radiology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. "It is striking to see how a relatively simple intervention of a very low calorie diet effectively cures type 2 diabetes mellitus. Moreover, these effects are long term, illustrating the potential of this method."
Diabetes is a chronic illness in which there are high levels of glucose in the blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the U.S., with 18.8 million diagnosed cases and an estimated seven million undiagnosed cases. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, representing 90 to 95 percent of diagnosed cases among adults.
Pericardial fat is a visceral fat compartment around the heart that can be detrimental to cardiac function, especially in people with metabolic disease. Dr. Hammer and colleagues set out to determine the long-term effects of initial weight loss induced by caloric restriction on pericardial fat and cardiac function in obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
Using cardiac MRI, the researchers analyzed cardiac function and pericardial fat in 15 patients—including seven men and eight women—with type 2 diabetes before and after four months of a diet consisting of 500 calories daily. Changes in body mass index (BMI) were also measured.
The results showed that caloric restriction resulted in a decrease in BMI from 35.3 to 27.5 over four months. Pericardial fat decreased from 39 milliliters (ml) to 31 ml, and E/A ratio, a measure of diastolic heart function, improved from 0.96 to 1.2.
After an additional 14 months of follow-up on a regular diet, BMI increased to 31.7, but pericardial fat only increased slightly to 32 ml. E/A ratio after follow-up was 1.06.
"Our results show that 16 weeks of caloric restriction improved heart function in these patients," Dr. Hammer said. "More importantly, despite regain of weight, these beneficial cardiovascular effects were persistent over the long term."
Dr. Hammer pointed out that these findings stress the importance of including imaging strategies in these types of therapy regimens.
"MRI clearly showed all the changes in fat compartments, structural changes in the heart and improvements in diastolic function, making it a very effective method of quantifying the effects of metabolic interventions," he said.
While these results are promising, not all patients are eligible for this type of therapy. Patients should consult with their doctors before embarking on any type of reduced calorie diet.
"It is of utmost importance to follow such a complicated intervention under strict medical supervision," Dr. Hammer said, "especially as patients may be able to stop all anti-diabetic therapy from Day 1."
Source-Eurekalert

Cell Which Improves Body’s Ability to Fight Infections Discovered

A novel type of cell which helps the body battle infections even critical illnesses has been found by researcher Carola Vinuesa from The John Curtin School of Medical Research.This cell called as Natural killer T follicular helper (NKTfh), first recognizes foreign molecules or lipids, which sit on infectious bacteria. The cell then produces antibody responses in B cells , which is a natural method for the body to battle infections.
`Natural killer T cells, unlike other T cells, recognize molecules known as lipids instead of just recognizing proteins expressed by infectious bacteria. These types of bacteria can cause life-threatening infections, including meningitis and pneumonia. NKT cells don`t just recognise lipids, they can be naturally activated by them.Not surprisingly, NKT cells have been shown to play important roles in combating infection and in other immune processes including allergy, cancer and autoimmunity. What we have found is a subset of NKT cells, the NKTfh, which are specialised in generating antibody responses in B cells that recognise lipid-containing antigens," she said.
This gives a boost to B cells, which help in strengthening the human immune system and enhancing its capability to offset potential infection.”

Chinese Medicine Could Be An Effective Option for Childless Couples

Traditional Chinese medicine double the chances of conceiving in couples with fertility problems as compared to western drugs, finds a new study.
The researchers at Adelaide University, Australia, reviewed eight clinical trials, 13 other studies and case reports comparing the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with western drugs or IVF treatment.
The review, funded by the Australian government, included 1,851 women with infertility problems, and the clinical trials alone found a 3.5 rise in pregnancies over a four-month period among women using TCM compared with western medicine.
Other data covering 616 women within the review showed 50 percent of women having TCM got pregnant compared with 30 percent of those receiving IVF treatment.
The overall analysis concluded that there was a two-fold increase in the likelihood of getting pregnant in a four-month period for women using TCM as compared with orthodox approaches.
"Our meta-analysis suggests traditional Chinese herbal medicine to be more effective in the treatment of female infertility - achieving on average a 60 percent pregnancy rate over four months compared with 30 percent achieved with standard western drug treatment," the Daily Mail quoted the study's authors as saying.
According to the study, the difference appeared to be due to the careful analysis of the menstrual cycle, the period when it is possible for a woman to conceive, by TCM practitioners.
The study has been published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Source-ANI

Knowing How Paracetamol Works may Lead to Better and Safer Medications for Pain Relief

Knowing how paracetamol works may lead to better and safer ways of pain relief.
Paracetamol, often known in the US and Asia as acetaminophen, is a widely used analgesic (painkiller) and the main ingredient in everyday medications such as cold and flu remedies.
Although discovered in the 1890s and marketed as a painkiller since the 1950s, exactly how it relieves pain was unknown.
Now, the King's College researchers have discovered for the first time the principal mechanism of action for one of the most-used drugs in the world.
The King's researchers with colleagues from Lund University in Sweden, have identified that a protein called TRPA1, found on the surface of nerve cells, is a key molecule needed for paracetamol to be an effective painkiller.
"This is an extremely exciting finding, which unlocks the secrets of one of the most widely-used medicines, and one which could impact hugely on the development of new pain relief drugs," said Dr David Andersson, from the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases at King's.
"Paracetamol is the go-to medicine for treating common aches and pains, but if the recommended dose is significantly exceeded it can lead to fatal complications.
"So now we understand the underlying principal mechanism behind how this drug works, we can start to look for molecules that work in the same way to effectively relieve pain, but are less toxic and will not lead to serious complications following overdose," he stated.he study has been published online today in Nature Communications.
Source-ANI

66th world homeopathy meet in India

he 66th International Homoeopathy Congress will be held in Delhi in the first week of December. Organised by LMHI (Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis), the Congress will be held at Siri Fort from December 1 to 4.
This is the fourth time the annual mega event is coming to India under the theme ‘Homoeopathy for the Public Health’. More than 2,500 homoeopaths are expected to attend the Congress, in which over 290 scientific papers will be presented.
Discussions on the management of epidemics like dengue, chikungunya, pain management during childbirth, Homeopathic approach to treatment of HIV and AIDS related cases and clinical study of homeopathic medicine in cases of epilepsy in children will also be part of the Congress. Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will inaugurate the event, informed Dr R K Manchanda, organising secretary, LIGA 2011.
From Tamil Nadu, Dr Jayesh V Sanghvi, Dr P V Venkatraman, Dr R Gnanasambandam, Dr P Mukundan, Dr Khushali V Gambhir and Dr R D Pavalan will present scientific papers at the Congress.
Source:IBN Live

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Yawning May Cool the Brain When Needed

Yawning helps keep the brain cool, and the sinuses play a role in that process by acting as bellows, a new report suggests.
Yawning isn't triggered because you're bored, tired or need oxygen. Rather, yawning helps regulate the brain's temperature, according to Gary Hack, of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and Andrew Gallup, of Princeton University.
"The brain is exquisitely sensitive to temperature changes and therefore must be protected from overheating," they said in a University of Maryland news release. "Brains, like computers, operate best when they are cool."
During yawning, the walls of the maxillary sinuses (located in the cheeks on each side of the nose) flex like bellows and help with brain cooling, according to the researchers.
They noted that the actual function of sinuses is still the subject of debate, and this theory may help clarify their purpose.
"Very little is understood about them, and little is agreed upon even by those who investigate them. Some scientists believe that they have no function at all," Hack said in the news release.
The researchers said their theory that yawning helps cool the brain has medical implications. For example, excessive yawning often precedes seizures in people with epilepsy and pain in people with migraine headaches.
Doctors may be able to use excessive yawning as a way to identify patients with conditions that affect temperature regulation.
"Excessive yawning appears to be symptomatic of conditions that increase brain and/or core temperature, such as central nervous system damage and sleep deprivation," Gallup said in the news release.
The paper appears in the December issue of the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Huge quantity of spurious and misbranded cosmetics products seized in Kerala

In a state-wide raid to unearth spurious/misbranded cosmetics, the intelligence branch of the drugs control department in Kerala has seized huge quantities of spurious or misbranded skin creams, face creams, talcum powders including baby powders, perfumes and deodorants from retail outlets in all the districts in the state.
The confiscated articles include popular Johnson's Baby Powder, Johnson's Baby Fragranced Aqueous Cream, Johnson's Baby Oil, Dabur Watika Styling Jelly, Ponds Cold Cream, Fair & Lovely (Multivitamin fair skin cream) and Ponds Age Miracle daily Resurfacing Cream and Nivea Breast Cream.
The raid was initiated following a research study held by the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (DIPSAR), New Delhi on the various brands of cosmetics sold in the country.
The Institute has reported that most of the available cosmetic brands are containing toxic substances like lead, arsenic, cobalt and nickel, which when applied on the skin, permeates into the body and causes serious side effects which include from simple dermatitis to carcinoma, C S Satheesh Kumar, Drugs Controller of Kerala told Pharmabiz.
In most of the seized products, there was no mention about the manufacturer, batch number or date of manufacturing, he added. The confiscated articles were produced before the concerned judicial courts in each district.
Some of the products were manufactured under Ayurveda manufacturing licences, but the products are containing allopathic ingredients (eg Himani Boroplus Prickly Heat Powder). Nikki Toilet Soap, detected in a shop in Kannur, did not mention the total fatty matter on its label. The After Shave Lotion taken from Kasargodu district has no manufacturing date or batch number. Nivea Breast Cream seized from Thrissur shows no sale drug licence.
So many other items including various brands of After shave lotions, glycerine I P, Absorbant cotton wool I P, Hydrogen Peroxide I P, perfumes, face creams, face powders and creams were seized following violation of several norms of drugs and cosmetics rules.
Satheesh Kumar said the officials of the department will conduct further enquiries in the matter to trace out the sources of manufacturing of these products for bringing the culprits before the court of law and to curb the sales of such products in the state. According to Section 27-A of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940, he said, “whoever himself or by any other person on his behalf manufactures for sale or for distribution, or sells, or stocks or exhibits or offers for sale any cosmetic deemed to be spurious shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years and with fine which shall not be less than Rs. 50,000 or 3 times the value of the cosmetics confiscated, whichever is more”.
In the case of misbranded cosmetics, the punishment will be imprisonment for a term which may extend to 1 year or with fine which may extend to Rs. 20,000 or both, the drugs controller said

Yeast and Anti-aging

Yeast may help uncover ways to maintain one's youthful looks, claim researchers.
A team of Johns Hopkins and National Taiwan University researchers have successfully manipulated the life span of common, single-celled yeast organisms by figuring out how to remove and restore protein functions related to yeast aging.
The scientists showed that when they remove this age-related protein variant, the organism's life span is cut short, but when they restore it life span is dramatically extended.
In the case of yeast, the discovery reveals molecular components of an aging pathway that appears related to one that regulates longevity and lifespan in humans, according to Jef Boeke, director of the HiT Center and Technology Center for Networks and Pathways, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"We believe that for the first time, we have a biochemical route to youth and aging that has nothing to do with diet," Boeke said.
The chemical variation, known as acetylation because it adds an acetyl group to an existing molecule, is a kind of "decoration" that goes on and off a protein - in this case, the protein Sip2 - much like an ornament can be put on and taken off a Christmas tree, Boeke says.
Acetylation can profoundly change protein function in order to help an organism or system adapt quickly to its environment.
The team showed that acetylation of the protein Sip2 affected longevity defined in terms of how many times a yeast cell can divide, or "replicative life span."
The normal replicative lifespan in natural yeast is 25. In the yeast genetically modified by researchers to restore the chemical modification, life span extended to 38, an increase of about 50 percent.
The researchers were able to manipulate the yeast life span by mutating certain chemical residues to mimic the acetylated and deacetylated forms of the protein Sip2.
"Our next task is to prove that this phenomenon also happens in mammalian cells," stated the study's first author, Jin-Ying Lu, M.D., Ph.D., of National Taiwan University.
The study was reported in the September 16 edition of Cell.
Source-ANI

Needle Acupuncture Deemed Safe Among Teens

Researchers from University of Alberta said that using acupuncture as a mode of treatment among teenagers and kids under the age of 18 years is safe with minimal side effects.The researchers used data from 37 different studies involving more than 1,422 patients and found that less than 12 percent of the patients complained of mild adverse incidence such as pain, bruising, bleeding, or worsening of symptoms.
Lead researcher Sunita Vohra said that the number of such cases could be low if the treatment is carried out by qualified practitioners. “Of the adverse events associated with paediatric needle acupuncture, a majority of them were mild in severity. Many of the serious adverse events might have been caused by substandard practice”, the researchers wrote in their report which has been published in the journal Paediatrics.

Children are Fitter When Boys and Girls Exercise Separately

To witness good results in fitness boys and gorls must exercise separately.
Sports teachers in primary schools and a greater diversity of exercise routines would also help young girls who continue to be less active than boys, according to them.These recommendations come after the release of the NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey report which found children are not eating enough vegetables and spending too long watching television or playing video games.
Children's basic movement skills like running, jumping, throwing and catching were poor, the Daily Telegraph quoted Dr Louise Hardy, senior research fellow at the University of Sydney's Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Research Group as saying.
Dr Hardy said physical education teachers in primary schools would help pupils develop these skills.
Girls should be offered less traditional exercise forms such as Zumba, yoga or pilates to lift their interest in fitness, she said. (ANI)
Source-ANI

'Health Time Bomb' Ticks Away on Elder’s Bad Diet

According to doctors, a health time-bomb is being stored up for many who face a future blighted by a poor quality of life simply because they are not eating the right foods.
Diet is one of the most important risk factors in the development of chronic conditions and is something we can all easily change for the better.
Yet an increasing ageing population means millions are risking an old age blighted by illnesses that could be prevented if they simply maintained a healthy, balanced diet.
In an independent research carried out by Carrie Ruxton, diets of older people were analysed for nutritional content to gauge their likely health status now and in the future.
Ruxton evaluated data from 71 previously published reports, studies and trials to establish the health risks that people aged 50 or over could be facing.
According to her, while ageing was inevitable, the goal was to age healthily, with an absence of chronic disease and a slower decline in cognitive and physical function.
She found that in too many cases older people failed to get enough vital nutrients for optimal health, in particular vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iodine.
Vitamin D is vital for bone health, while research suggests it can help combat other serious illnesses including cancer.
She found that 97 percent of people aged 65 and over fail to meet the recommended vitamin intake, but more than 40 percent of that age group and 47 percent of over-75s have a long-standing illness that limits their ability to perform everyday tasks.
"Those most at risk include people in their 80s and the elderly in institutions. This has led to calls for more older people to take multi-nutrient supplements. Healthy eating advice should be combined with information on the beneficial role of dietary supplements," the Daily Express quoted Ruxton as saying.
The study has been published in the journal Nutrition and Food Science.
Source-ANI

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