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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Yoga helps breast cancer survivors curb fatigue

About one third of breast cancer survivors experience fatigue that can affect their quality of life, but a small new study finds that doing yoga might help restore some lost vitality.
After three months of twice-weekly yoga classes, a group of breast cancer survivors in California reported significantly diminished fatigue and increased "vigor." A control group of women who took classes in post-cancer health issues, but didn't do yoga, had no changes in their fatigue or depression levels.
Dr. Maira Campos, a research scholar at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine who was not involved in the study, said the findings echo similar results from past studies that looked at yoga and cancer patients.
Persistent fatigue lasting years after cancer treatment is a common problem whose origin is unknown, and for which there are no validated treatments.
Some studies have shown that stress-reduction techniques or exercise classes can help reduce fatigue among cancer patients and survivors in general. But none of them has specifically targeted cancer survivors experiencing fatigue to see if a potential therapy reverses the problem, according to Julienne Bower, an associate professor in the psychology department of the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues.
They recruited 31 breast cancer survivors to undergo "treatment" for their fatigue over 12 weeks at the UCLA Medical Center. Each woman was randomly assigned to participate in either two 90-minute yoga classes every week or a two-hour health class once a week.
At the start of the study, each group of women had similar scores on a questionnaire that gauges fatigue levels.
The group taking the educational classes experienced about the same amount of fatigue and energy throughout the initial study period. However, the group taking the yoga class reported about a 26 percent drop in fatigue and a 55 percent increase in energy after the 12-week yoga regimen.
The women in the yoga group also continued to report significant improvements in fatigue levels three months after the classes stopped.
The findings, published in the journal Cancer, do not prove that yoga caused the improvements in fatigue levels. The researchers note, however, that both groups of women had similar expectations that their assigned "treatment" would help them, so a placebo effect is not a likely explanation for the benefits seen in the yoga group.
Jacquelyn Banasik, an associate professor in the College of Nursing at Washington State University, also noted improvements in cancer fatigue after yoga classes in a study she published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in 2010.
"I can't say that yoga is the only way to achieve the results seen in ours and other studies," Banasik told Reuters Health in an email. "A beginning ballet class -- with (its) emphasis on form and positioning -- might have similar effects. Gaining a sense of control over one's physical body, when one has a disease like breast cancer, might be an important part of the benefit."
Both of the studies by Bower and Banasik used Inyengar yoga, which, according to Banasik, emphasizes taking poses slowly and paying close attention to maintaining correct form.
Campos told Reuters Health that acupuncture, exercise and physical therapy are sometimes used to treat cancer survivors suffering from fatigue, without a prescription if their symptoms are mild.
She added that she would not prescribe yoga based just on the new study, however.
She said it would be better to compare yoga to another exercise instead of a health- class setting.
Campos also emphasized that it's important for patients to talk to their doctors about fatigue during and after cancer treatments.
"The patient should not be suffering or impaired just because they had cancer," Campos said.
Source:Reuters Health

Top Indian orthopaedic docs to bring focus on osteoporosis at Arab Health 2012

12 invites participation from Indian doctors and orthopedicians across the country to participate in the Conference that will have its key focus on osteoporosis. India’s leading orthopaedicians will be sharing their learnings about the silently debilitating bone disease and interventions in the medicine world to counter it.
The eighth Middle East Orthopaedics Conference, which will take place at Arab Health Exhibition & Congress from 23-25 January, 2012 in Dubai. The Conference will bring the issue into sharp focus and interesting learning, which are expected to be presented by experts around the world. The conference will address issues around orthopaedics in the neonate, adolescent, senior patient, back patient and athlete as well as innovations and other topics pertinent to the region.
According to the Arthritis Foundation of India ( AFI), one out of eight men and one out of three women in India suffer from osteoporosis. The disease is increasingly being diagnosed among youngsters and is three times more common among Indian men than their western counterparts. AFI predicts that there shall be 36 million cases of osteoporosis in the country by 2013.
Recently published data establish that Indians have low BMD [Bone Mineral Density] as compared to the Western Caucasians; this could be attributed to differences in skeletal size; however, the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is a major factor in the low BMD and poor bone health of Indians. Study on osteoporosis in Indians also demonstrates that this high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency exists across both urban and semi-urban Indians. Different subgroups of Indian population have been seen with the problem from urban office workers, postmenopausal women, pregnant women to school children and even newborns! Lack of the essential vitamins, an effect of rapid urbanization, darker skin pigmentation, smoking, obesity, diet and prolonged breast feeding without supplements, high caffeine and carbonated consumption, as well as a lack of vitamin D fortification in common foods seem to be the factors behind the disease.
Mario Skugor, MD, Co-director, Endocrinology and Reproductive Organ Block, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA will be hosting a session on The Role of Vitamin D in Bone Health at the Conference. Commenting on the issue he said, “Vitamin D deficiency is a critical concern and the increasing prevalence of osteoporosis demonstrates a clear need for change. In highlighting the issue during the conference, we aim to improve both awareness and education and highlight the disease as a national health priority alongside obesity and diabetes."

Meet the Ultimate Solution for Fertility Treatment with Ai Ja Lee Acupuncture & Herb

In the U.S., 7.3 million women ages 15 – 44 have experienced infertility, or impaired ability to receive children after one year of attempt, according to a national survey conducted in 2002 by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That accounts for 11.8% of the total women population.
Major causes of infertility include stress, sexually transmitted diseases, overuse of contraceptives, unhealthy lifestyle, and organ conditions, according
Of the 7.3 million, only 6.1% have sought professional diagnosis and treatment, says Only slightly over 1% have taken medical treatments, according to the website.
Major treatment methods for infertility include fertility drugs, surgery, and assisted reproductive technology (ART), depending on multiple factors associated with the couple.
Besides the modern and high-tech treatments, infertile couples could give a shot to the wisdom of the old – acupuncture, a way of Chinese medicine that puts thin needles into the skin on particular spots on the body, sometimes accompanied with heat, pressure or mild electrical current. The “why” of its effects has been debated, but acupuncture is generally believed to influence the energy flow inside of human body.
In a study published in journal Fertility and Sterility in 2002, a research resulted in a substantially higher pregnancy success rate for women who received acupuncture in addition to the traditional vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment protocols.
"It can allow you to cross the line from infertile to fertile by helping your body function more efficiently, which in turn allows other, more modern reproductive treatments, like IVF, to also work more efficiently," says James Dillard, MD, assistant clinical professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and clinical adviser to Columbia's Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, reports WebMD.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, acupuncture, through inserting the sterile needles into specific points on the body, the stimulus on those points could regulate the way in which the body functions. “Acupuncture helps by addressing problems that affect fertility such as under-functioning (hypothyroidism) or over-functioning (hyperthyroidism),” states the association.
In using acupuncture to cure infertility, a patient should begin with three times of treatments per week, and gradually reduce the frequency to once a week, according to Ai Ja Lee, a licensed acupuncturist in New York and Florida. Lee, a practitioner certified by NCCAOM (National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), received Patent Certificate for Alternative Remedy-Based Composition for Enhancing Fertility, effective in conception assistance and miscarriage prevention.
“Many of our patients failed in conceiving through IVF or IUI,” said Lee. “But 70% of those who come to our clinic conceived successfully after the medication.”
“It took some patients just two months till they conceived, though acupuncture was the only treatment they used,” she added. Generally, 3% of patients use acupuncture alone, while 50% use herb tea, and the rest the combination of the two. More information and testimonials are available on Ai La Jee Acupuncture & Herbs website.
There are minimal risks in using acupuncture for fertility treatment, says the American Pregnancy Association. It is recommended to seek treatment from an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders. Acupuncture is not contraindicated for anyone regardless of their pathology or what medications they are taking, said the association.
Courtesy:International Business Times

Losing Weight by Crash Dieting is a Bad Idea

Resorting to crash dieting for losing weight is not a good idea, as eventually the body tries its best to regain the lost fat stores, according to researchers at J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation.
During the study researchers evaluated 78 postmenopausal women with an average age of 58-years who had lost 12% of their weight as part of the study from a dieting program. The study showed that older women who lose weight tend to gain it back again as fat and not muscle, which is all the more unhealthy. The weight regain showed 81% fat and only 19% muscle.
Principal investigator for the study, Dr. Barbara Nicklas said, "The body composition of some of the women was worse than before their weight loss. When older women lose weight, they also lose lean mass. Most women will gain a lot of the weight back, but the majority of the weight regained is fat."
The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Gene Mutation Behind Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer Identified

Researchers have found that the mutations in the ATM gene may increase the hereditary risk for developing pancreatic cancer.Pancreatic cancer is one of the most morbid cancers, with less than 5 percent of those diagnosed with the disease surviving to five years. Approximately 10 percent of patients come from families with multiple cases of pancreatic cancer.
"There was significant reason to believe this clustering was due to genetics, but we had not, to this point, been able to find the causative genes that explained the cluster of pancreatic cancer for a majority of these families," said lead author Alison Klein, Ph.D., associate professor of oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and director of the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry.
Klein and colleagues used next-generation sequencing, including whole genome and whole exome analyses, and identified ATM gene mutations in two kindreds with familial pancreatic cancer.
When these initial findings were examined in a large series for patients, ATM mutations were present in four of 166 subjects with pancreatic cancer but were absent in 190 spousal control subsets.
Klein said that knowledge of the presence of the ATM gene could lead to better screening for pancreatic cancer, the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death. However, there are currently no recommended screening tests.
Many doctors use endoscopy as a screening tool for pancreatic cancer, but researchers are still evaluating this technique in clinical trials.

Sugar Free Strawberry Cultivation in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand's Nainital District farmers have taken up the cultivation of sugar free strawberries
In a unique initiative to cater to the needs of various patients who are like eating fruits but are not able to do so due to the sugar content in the fruit, cultivators came out with an alternative where they produced strawberries with the help of tissue culture technique.
While interacting with the mediapersons, farmer M S Negi, who initiated this effort, informed that the plant is even used in making medicines.
"These plants benefit people suffering from cancer, diabetes, asthma, cough and stone. This is a medicinal plant, and I thought that such plant would be possible to grow with the help of tissue culture, we are getting good response from the public," said Negi.
They had produced three varieties of strawberries in the poly-house under the favourable condition, and these strawberries have ten percent less sugar content than the actual amount in the fruit.
This is a specialised variety as the sugar contents are very low in this. Thirdly, as we are growing it under controlled temperature inside that will give a good production and quality which we will not be able to get in the open field," said agriculturist, Rakesh Nandan.
The farmers, who are now hesitant to grow traditional crops, are experimenting with the cultivation of strawberry and are optimistic that the new yield would pay rich dividends.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Hindus worldwide laud Russian court rejection of Bhagavad Gita ban

Hindus have welcomed the rejection by Tomsk court in Siberia (Russia) of proposed ban on ancient scripture Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord).
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, thanked the honorable Court welcoming its ruling and pointed out that it did the right and sensible thing befitting a democratic, open-minded and pluralistic society.
Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that Bhagavad Gita was one of the holiest scriptures of Hinduism and banning it would have hurt the devotees. He thanked the efforts of Hindus and other friends worldwide who supported the ban rejection.
Rajan Zed further said that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be maltreated.
Zed argued that attempt at banning Bhagavad Gita was apparently an attack on religious freedom and belittling of the entire community.
Rajan Zed stressed that this philosophical and intensely spiritual poem, often considered the epitome of Hinduism, was highly revered by Hindus. Besides being the cornerstone of Hindu faith, Bhagavad Gita was also one of the masterpieces of Sanskrit poetry and a world treasure and had been commented by hundreds of authors and translated into all major languages of the world.
It was a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, just before the beginning of the great Mahabharata war, in which Lord Krishna gave spiritual enlightenment to the warrior Arjuna, who realized that the true battle was for his own soul. Its 700 verses in 18 chapters considered the nature of action, the religious and social duty, the human relationship to God, the means of liberation, and the nature of sacrifice, etc., Zed added.
Established in 1604, Tomsk, one of the oldest towns in Siberia, is a major center for Russia’s IT industry and houses Siberia’s oldest university Tomsk State University. Nikolay Nikolaychuk is reportedly the Mayor.

Overuse of diagnostic exams can harm patient health, inflate medical costs, some experts warn

If you've had a medical procedure lately, you probably first had blood tests, an imaging test like an MRI or ultrasound, perhaps an electrocardiogram and possibly more.
"Is all this really necessary?" you might have wondered.
That's a question that doctors themselves are now raising as a growing body of evidence suggests that overuse of diagnostic testing may be harming patients' health and driving up health-care costs.
"There is clear overuse or misuse of certain kinds of tests for certain patients," said Dr. Steven E. Weinberger, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American College of Physicians.
So should doctors exercise more restraint, or should patients take a more active and skeptical role in their care?
Weinberger believes the answer lies somewhere in the middle. "There needs to be an honest conversation in both directions, with a clear understanding about what is and isn't necessary," he said.
Experts agree that excessive testing is costing the U.S. health-care system billions through waste. Weinberger said that some estimates have suggested the cost could run as high as $200 billion to $250 billion a year, an amount equal to about 10 percent of the total amount spent on the nation's health care.
But the true cost is borne by patients who face increased health risks associated with diagnostic testing, he said. Dr. Anthony Shih, executive vice president for programs of the Commonwealth Fund, a private health policy research foundation, agreed.
"Although most patients are aware that procedures carry some risks, they are less aware that tests carry risks," Shih said.
Diagnostic testing, in fact, carries three main risks, Weinberger and Shih said:
Risks directly related to the test itself, such as the radiation exposure caused by imaging tests.
The risk for a false positive, which can lead to a string of other unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures, each with their own sets of potential health hazards.
The risk that a condition will be identified that never would have been clinically significant but now will probably be treated.
A routine electrocardiogram, for example, might identify some nonspecific condition that leads to a cardiac catheterization, an invasive medical procedure that carries its own set of health risks, Weinberger said.
"Unnecessary testing is not necessarily benign," he said. "It can lead to situations that can pose health risks to patients."
Clearly, patients should become more active in asking whether tests are necessary. But as most anyone who's been a patient can attest, asking such questions can be daunting for anyone, but especially for a sick person who needs treatment.
Weinberger said he has personal experience when it comes to the difficulty of challenging tests as a patient. He recently had arthroscopic surgery for a knee injury, but before the procedure he had to undergo a battery of diagnostics that included lab tests, a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram -- all unnecessary, as far as he could tell. And yet, he had the tests without questioning them.
"My experience shows you how hard it is," Weinberger said. "If there's anyone who was in a position to question these tests, it's someone like me." But, he admitted, "you don't want to antagonize the person who's going to provide your care. Sometimes the easiest road is to just go along."
His organization, the American College of Physicians, has started tackling the issue through what it calls its High-Value, Cost-Conscious Care Initiative, which aims to reduce unnecessary testing by educating physicians and patients alike on the benefits, harms and costs of tests linked to specific ailments.
"We're basically trying to develop a list of those types of things that are overused and explore the evidence behind why they are overused," Weinberger said.
Shih said that people who are facing diagnostic tests should use such resources to educate themselves and then feel free to question their doctor about the tests that have been ordered.
"The patient should always ask what the test is looking for, what the potential harms are for the test, and what the next steps are if the test finds something," he said. "As the tests get more invasive and more complex, I would be more careful about asking for the reasoning behind each test."Ultimately, however, both patients and doctors need to keep in mind that the necessity of tests is a very specific and personal matter, Shih added.
"It's important to recognize that for any given patient, even with the exact same condition, the decision may not be the same," he said. "It depends on the values and preferences of each patient."
"Some patients want to be absolutely sure, while other patients may be more comfortable with uncertainty," Shih explained. "There is no hard-and-fast rule for which tests might be appropriate for each situation."
Source:Health Day

Kerala Pharmacy Council to launch pharmacy functional training to fresh graduates

Following the footstep of the Kerala State Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KSMSCL), the Kerala state pharmacy council has also devised a training programme for fresh pharmacy graduates instilling the basic skills needed for managing a pharmacy in community level and hospitals.
To introduce the new scheme in a comprehensive manner, the Council has started a training institute to provide practical training to the aspiring pharmacists and orienting the pharmacy professionals. The inauguration of the training institute, State Institute for Pharmacists’ Advanced Training (SIPAT), will be held in March 2012, and he enrolment for the institute from D Pharm, B Pharm, M Pharm and Pharm D holders has already been started, said K C Ajith Kumar, president of the Council.
Recently the KSMSCL had started a training course for its newly recruited pharmacy graduates to handle the soon-to-be-launched ‘Karunya” medical shops. It was reported that the medical services corporation has found the fresh graduates inefficient to run a pharmacy, hence skilled training was fixed for them with the assistances of drugs control department, hospital pharmacies and pharmacy council. This has persuaded the pharmacy council to adopt the scheme for finding a solution to the shortage of skilled manpower in the sector.
The institute plans to train four batches of 50 candidates each year. Pharmacists for the Medical Corporation’s forthcoming chain of pharmacies will also be trained in this centre. The retired director of Amritha College of Pharmacy, Dr K G Revikumar has been made the director of the institute.
“The current situation of the pharma retail market is very competitive, so skilled and efficient pharmacist is required for every new pharmacy for good service. Only education is not sufficient to manage a drug store, the present day pharmacy graduates lack the basic skills needed for functioning. This is due to the lack of up-gradation of syllabus by Universities and lack of practical exposure to drug stores, paying counters, industries and allied streams during their education. So the training course will make them practically efficient pharmacists,” said Dr Revikumar.
The course will cover a wide range of practical subjects in the area of drug management including warehouse management, procurement strategy, drug policies, inventory control techniques, storage related issues, drug information, patient-centred problems, etc. After the completion of the course the candidates will be able to control a pharmacy independently, he added.
For facilitating practical training at the counters, apart from medical colleges, the council has made tie up with major private hospital pharmacies and chain pharmacies across the state. The three-month course will be residential training and a nominal fee will be collected from the participants for their food and accommodation.
The director said that besides pharmacy orientation the candidates will be trained in pharma marketing, pharmacy teaching, pharma journalism and industry jobs. He said this is the first of its kind training catering to aspiring pharmacists in India by a pharmacy council. Those who complete the training course will be eligible to work under the procurement agencies of WHO and UNICEF, he said.

Multivitamin Supplements and Its Impact on Health

Multivitamin supplements are good for nothing, say experts.
Researchers spent more than six years following 8,000 people and found that those taking supplements were just as likely to have developed cancer or heart disease as those who took an identical-looking dummy pill.And when they were questioned on how healthy they felt, there was hardly any difference between the two groups.
Many users fall into the category of the 'worried well' - healthy adults who believe the pills will insure them against deadly illnesses - according to Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George's Hospital in London.
"It's the worried well who are taking these pills to try and protect themselves against Alzheimer's disease, heart attacks and strokes," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
"But they are wasting their money. This was a large study following people up for a long period of time assessing everything from their mobility and blood pressure to whether they were happy or felt pain," she stated.
Multi-vitamin supplements have become increasingly popular as a quick and easy way of topping up the body's nutrient levels.
But a series of studies have indicated that, for some people, they could actually be harmful.
While the evidence that vitamins can do harm is still limited, the latest study seems to confirm that many people are at the very least taking them unnecessarily.
A team of French researchers, led by experts at Nancy University, tracked 8,112 volunteers who took either a placebo capsule, or one containing vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc, every day for just over six years.
They assessed the state of their health at the beginning and end of the trial, taking a quality of life survey designed to measure everything from mobility and pain to vitality and mental health.
When researchers analysed how many in each group had gone on to develop serious illnesses over the years, they found little difference.
In the supplement group, 30.5 per cent of patients had suffered a major health 'event', such as cancer or heart disease. In the placebo group, the rate was 30.4 per cent.
There were 120 cases of cancer in those taking vitamins, compared to 139 in the placebo group, and 65 heart disease cases, against 57 among the dummy pill users.
"The perception that supplementation improves general well-being is not supported by this trial," the researchers concluded.
The findings have been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Body Odor Attracts Mosquitoes That Spread Malaria

The Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto mosquito that spreads malaria is particularly attracted to people with body odor and whose skin is heavily covered with certain kinds of bacteria, according to scientists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
The study has important implications for malaria transmission and prevention.
Scientists studied sweat samples from the sole of 48 men aged 20-64. They discovered that mosquitoes were most attracted to humans who had a high abundance but low species diversity of bacteria on the skin. Researchers believe that humans with a more diverse array of microbes on their skin are more likely to possess certain species that emit compounds, which in turn neutralize human body odor that mosquitoes find attractive. So mosquitoes are less likely to come into contact with these humans, and thus they are less likely to contract malaria.
The levels of Staphylococcus bacteria were 2.62 times higher in samples that were 'highly attractive' than the 'poorly attractive' individuals. Variovorax and Pseudomonas repelled the mosquitoes.
This finding may lead to the development of personalized methods for malaria prevention in future.
The research is published in scientific journal PLoS One.

Study Says Coated Drugs can Contain Harmful Plasticizing Chemicals

Coatings of many drugs and supplements contain harmful chemicals called phthalates, says study.
These chemicals have been linked to a variety of hormonal and reproductive problems in both rats and people.Scientists can't yet say how levels of phthalates in pills might translate into health risks. But the scientists behind the work said, pregnant women and children might want to be cautious especially those who take regular doses of medicine for chronic conditions.
It may be impossible to completely avoid phthalates in medicines, though, because not all phthalate-containing drugs mention inactive ingredients on their packaging. And researchers don't want people to stop taking the pills they need.
Instead, the new work points to the need for both further research and possible action by regulating agencies.
"Since medications are an important component of health care, I would not ask the consumer to make these decisions," discovery News quoted Russ Hauser, a reproductive physiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the authors of the new study as saying.
"This decision about whether phthalates should be used in medications should be made at the federal level by the F.D.A," he added.
Phthalates describe a class of chemicals that have a wide range of industrial uses. As ingredients in plastics, they provide flexibility and resilience. In coatings on capsules and pills, they can help regulate the release of drugs over time or the delivery of active ingredients to specific areas in the digestive tract where it is most useful for them to be absorbed.
In total, the search included between 500 and 1,000 supplements and drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Of those, the team found more than 100 contained two forms of phthalates that have been shown to have deleterious health effects in studies on animals and human infants.
Called dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diethyl phthalate (DEP), these chemicals affect the reproductive tracts of developing males, leading to hormonal, fertility and reproductive problems, said Shanna Swan, a reproductive epidemiologist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Among other studies, she has found that preschool boys who had been exposed to the highest levels of DBP in the womb were least likely to choose typically male toys.
It's too early to know what the health risks are, but pregnant women are the biggest source of concern, Swan said, especially if they take coated medicines for long-term issues.
The study was reported in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Stir-hit patients turn to Ayurveda

Forget about Ayurveda being a laggard against all Modern medicine. Ongoing strike by doctors at government hospitals and dispensaries has increased patient inflow (including new patients) at outdoor patient departments of National Institute of Ayurveda and associated hospitals.
During the strike period, registration of patients at NIA Hospital OPD has peaked to 625, while patients reported at Bombaiwala Hospital shot up to 131 and up to 30 at NIA Satellite Hospital.
As per doctors at NIA-Jaipur, OPD patient inflow has increased by 20-25 per cent, while identical percentage increase has been reported at Bombaiwala Hospital and NIA Satellite Hospital.
NIA director Dr Ajay Sharma confirmed increase in patient registrations at the three NIA hospitals and said the rise in patients may be because the government hospitals are badly hit by the stir.
NIA doctors revealed that maximum increase has been reported at OPDs of Kaya Chikitsa (Medicine) and Bal Roga (Pediatrics) during the period between December 21 to December 28.
Maximum 625 patients were reported at NIA OPD on December 21, the first day of stir, with most of the increase being attributed to patients coming directly to NIA Hospital OPD after failing to get treatment at neighbouring government hospitals and dispensaries. As many as 583 new patient registrations were reported at NIA hospital on Wednesday and 572 on Monday, while the figure hovered between 440 to 503 on remaining days.
Meanwhile, the OPD registration data at SMS Hospital during resident doctor's strike has shown a steady decline. Total patients registered with SMS Hospital stood 4396 on December 20, followed by 3686 on December 21, but dropped to 2655 on December 22, when the resident doctor's strike became effective at the premier hospital.
Since then OPD registrations at the hospitals have been declining consistently reaching a low of 1493 patients on December 24, even as senior teachers/consultants worked religiously to keep the OPD going.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

NIH establishes National Centre for Advancing Translational Sciences

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established the National Centre for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the nation’s hub for catalysing innovations in translational science. The action was made possible by Congress’ approval of a fiscal year 2012 spending bill and the president’s signing of the bill, which includes the establishment of NCATS with a budget of $575 million.
NCATS will be working closely with partners in the regulatory, academic, non-profit, and private sectors, NCATS will strive to identify and overcome hurdles that slow the development of effective treatments and cures.
“Congressional support for the NCATS marks a major milestone in mobilizing the community effort required to revolutionize the science of translation,” said NIH director Dr Francis S Collins, MD, PhD. “Patients suffering from debilitating and life threatening diseases do not have the luxury to wait the 13 years it currently takes to translate new scientific discoveries into treatments that could save or improve the quality of their lives. The entire community must work together to forge a new paradigm, and NCATS aims to catalyse this effort.”
A prime example of the type of innovative projects that will be led by NCATS is the new initiative between NIH, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop cutting-edge chip technology. This new technology will allow researchers to screen for safe and effective drugs far more swiftly and efficiently than current methods. A great deal of time and money can be saved testing drug safety and effectiveness much earlier in the process.
To meet the goals of NCATS, NIH is reorganizing a wide range of preclinical and clinical translational science capabilities within NIH into an integrated scientific enterprise with new leadership and a bold new agenda. While the effort to recruit an NCATS director continues, organizational changes and realignment of resources will move forward under the leadership of Acting Director Thomas R Insel, MD, and Acting Deputy Director Kathy Hudson, Ph.D. Dr Insel is the director of the National Institutes of Mental Health and Dr Hudson is the deputy director for science, outreach, and policy at the NIH.
The following programmes will comprise NCATS:
Bridging interventional development gaps, which makes available critical resources needed for the development of new therapeutic agents; clinical and translational science awards, which fund a national consortium of medical research institutions working together to improve the way clinical and translational research is conducted nationwide.
Cures Acceleration Network, which enables NCATS to fund research in new and innovative ways.
FDA-NIH Regulatory Science, which is an interagency partnership that aims to accelerate the development and use of better tools, standards and approaches for developing and evaluating diagnostic and therapeutic products.
Office of Rare Diseases Research, which coordinates and supports rare diseases research.
Components of the Molecular Libraries, which is an initiative that provides researchers with access to the large-scale screening capacity necessary to identify compounds that can be used as chemical probes to validate new therapeutic targets.
Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases, which is a programme to encourage and speed the development of new drugs for rare and neglected diseases.
The budget for NCATS is primarily a reallocation of funds from programmes previously located in the NIH Office of the director, National Human Genome Research Institute, and National Centre for Research Resources.
NIH is committed to both basic and applied research and has maintained a relatively stable ratio of funding across these two areas of focus. The funding ratio will not be disturbed by the establishment of this new centre.
The formation of NCATS has been a methodical process highlighted by the recommendation of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board in December 2010 to create a new centre dedicated to advancing translational science. This recommendation was followed by a year of intensive feedback and expert insight from all sectors of translational science through advisory meetings and extensive public consultation.
“I am deeply grateful for the expertise and insight provided by the many researchers, industry executives, patients, voluntary organizations, and NIH staff that helped NIH evaluate NCATS’ purpose and crystallize its vision,” said Dr Collins.
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

Yoga a good remedy for low back pain

Two large studies have underscored the benefits of yoga for people suffering from low back pain. 
In one project, 313 adults in the United Kingdom with chronic or recurrent low back pain received an education booklet, after which 156 were randomized to a 12-class, three-month yoga program; the remaining participants were deemed the usual-care group. 

Participation in the yoga program led to greater improvements in back function than did usual care (Ann Intern Med. 2011;155:569-578). Compared with the usual-care group, the adjusted mean Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire score was 2.17 points lower in the yoga group at three months, 1.48 points lower at six months, and 1.57 points lower at 12 months. 

The two groups had similar scores on back pain and general health at all three points. The yoga participants had higher pain self-efficacy scores at three and six months, but not at 12 months. Adverse events — mostly increased pain — were reported by 12 of the 156 yoga patients and two of the 157 usual-care members. 

In a similar randomized trial, this one taking place in the United States, 228 adults with chronic low back pain were also randomized to 12 weekly classes of yoga, conventional stretching exercises or a self-care book. 

Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH, and colleagues affirmed in Archives of Internal Medicine that after adjustment for baseline values, 12-week outcomes for the yoga group were superior to those for the self-care group in terms of improving function and reducing symptoms due to chronic low back pain and remained so at the 26-week mark. However, yoga was not superior to conventional stretching exercises at any time point.

Source:From the December 2011 Issue of Clinical Advisor

At 91, Florida yoga teacher named ‘world’s oldest’

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. • The yoga teacher in the front of the room lay on the floor, her hands resting on her upper thighs. She lifted her right leg high in the air, foot flexed. Then she grabbed her right foot in her right hand and brought her leg toward her face as she raised her upper body a few inches off the ground.
Students in class smiled in amazement as they watched the teacher’s knee graze her nose.
It wasn’t just the pose that was amazing — it was the teacher’s age. Bernice Bates is 91 years old, and she’s more flexible than people who are a third of her age.

Chinese Milk Found to Have Cancer-causing Toxin

Chinese milk is in the news again. After the melamine scare, this time excessive levels of a cancer-causing toxin have been discovered in milk produced by one of China's leading dairy companies.China's quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, found high levels of an aflatoxin in milk and milk products after it conducted a random check at Mengniu Dairy.
While the national standard allowed a maximum of 0.5 micrograms carcinogenic content in a kg of milk, the official test found 1.2 micrograms of the toxic substance in the Mengniu sample, The China Daily reports.
According to the test result published on the website of the general administration, the sample product was a 250 ml pack of pure milk produced on December 18.
Aflatoxin is virulent in terms of toxicity and is classified as a first-class carcinogen by the World Health Organization.
According to the paper, Mengniu apologized to consumers on its website on Sunday, without mentioning the cause of the incident.
Lu Jianjun, a spokesman for Mengniu said that the company has checked other batches, and no faulty products were found.
"Now Mengniu products in the market are all safe," he added.

New 'Weightloss' Pill Nuratrim That Burns 380 Calories Per Day Hits UK Market

A new pill that claims to help lose those extra calories, which one unwittingly adds up during festivals, in a pain-free calorie-burning process was sold out as soon as it hit the UK market yesterday.Makers claim that one dose of Nuratrim can burn 380 calories-a-day, which is 15 times more than normal.
Advanced orders topped 50,000 as the product reached the UK on Tuesday and it sold out within hours when it was launched across the U.S. in October.
Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston have reportedly used the tablet, which contains extracts of liquorice and green coffee to speed up digestion.
German creator Dr Alfred Hasslebacher said that the pill has been "been clinically proven to increase energy levels, suppress appetite, and burn fat".
"It has been devised to assist all men and women looking to lose excess weight and control their appetite," the Daily Mail quoted Dr. Hasslebacher as saying.
"This optimum formula has been clinically proven to increase energy levels, suppress appetite, and burn fat," he stated.
Nuratrim costs 34.95 pounds for 30 pills and is designed to be taken daily with breakfast.
Makers report that Nuratrim can burn as many calories as a 40 minute run, and the natural ingredient Glucomannan, absorbs water which swells the stomach to keep hunger at bay.
"Our extensive research showed how hard it is to achieve your ideal weight and size when the daily demands and pressures of your lifestyle impede on your good intentions," Dr. Hasslebacher explained.
"Nuratrim is an unique blend of pure ingredients that have thermogenic properties which naturally stimulate the body's metabolism by mimicking the effects of physical activity," he added.
Research involving 65 patients of average weight, found Nuratrim increased metabolic rate by 35 percent, reduced appetite by 78 percent and burned an additional 20 percent of fat.
Over an eight week period 90 per cent of those involved lost a minimum of 14 lbs without changing their diet or lifestyle.

Two arrested for manufacturing spurious Ayurveda medicine

Two persons have been arrested for allegedly manufacturing and supplying spurious ayurvedic drugs in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, police said today. 29-year-old Kapil Vaish and Vikram Singh (35) were arrested by police, who also recovered huge quantity of spurious medicines and unearthed the manufacturing unit in Bareilly. Acting on a specific information, police arrested Vaish, an M.Com from Aligarh Muslim University, from near Red Fort and recovered 30 boxes of spurious Regulin Forte and 60 boxes of spurious Recharge Plus from his possession. During interrogation, Vaish disclosed that he procured these capsules from a manufacturing unit located in Bareilly and Singh was arrested during a raid there. However, the owner of the factory U Khan is still absconding. Vaish also told police that he got the boxes for packing the spurious medicines from one Manoj in Ghaziabad. He also said he supplied spurious ayurvedic medicines to chemist Shops in Bhagirath Place, Delhi, Ghaziabad and Lucknow. Till date, he has made around Rs 10-12 lakh from this nefarious trade and has recently bought a brand new Maruti Alto car.

Karnataka plans meet on naturopathy, yoga

Karnataka, in association with various other organizations is organizing an International Conference on Yoga, Naturopathy and Arogya Expo 2012 from February 9 to 13 at Palace Grounds in Bangalore.
More than 5,000 delegates from 30 countries are expected to participate in the event. The conference is jointly funded by both the State and Central governments and event sponsors, S A Ramdas, minister for medical education told reporters.
He said about 300 delegates from USA, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have already confirmed participation in the Expo which will also have 300 stalls showcasing various health products.
About 500 papers on Yoga and Naturopathy would be presented during the event, which would see Bollywood actor Hema Malini and Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, yoga expert B K S Iyengar among others take part, he said.
“The first international conference on yoga and naturopathy will be a global platform for all stakeholders to engage in intellectual exchange to strengthen the evidence based practice of yoga and naturopathy,” he added.
It ould enable the professionals to network with each other and to reaffirm their sense of purpose to establish yoga and naturopathy as a system of choice to deal with challenges of lifestyle diseases,” Ramdas said.
The event would see showcasing of advances in relevant fields, orients students and facilitates policymakers, saints and health educators, he added.
Source:Business Standard

Coffee Cuts Endometrial Cancer Risk by 25%

Endometrial cancer is the most common uterine cancer and research has shown that women who drink 4 or more cups of coffee per day are at reduced risk of endometrial cancer.
When researchers followed dietary details, lifestyle information and medical history of 67,470 women aged 34-59 from the start of the study in 1980 till 2006; they found that compared with women who drank less than 1 cup of coffee a day, those who drank 4 or more cups had a 25% lower risk of endometrial cancer. Participants who drank 2 or more cups of decaffeinated coffee per day had a 22% lower risk of endometrial cancer.
Lead author, Youjin Je said, "For healthy non-pregnant women, drinking four cups of coffee a day has no known negative effects. But, a substantial amount of sugar, cream or milk added to coffee can negate the potential benefits."
The study has been published online recently in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

10 bedded Homeopathy Hospital to be constructed in NE

The Department of Ayush which is under the Ministry of Health, will be establishing a Homeopathy Hospital in the state shortly, informed Dr N Birkumar, Officer-in-Charge, Regional Research Institute (Homeopathy) .
Addressing media persons at State Guest House today, on the inaugural function of the Two days CME programme, Dr N Birkumar said that the Homeopathy Hospital will be admitting patients suffering from different diseases including skin diseases and treat them free of cost.
He further said that Homeopathy can now treat various diseases.
The Regional Research Institute (Homeopathy) at New Checkon, Imphal has OPD facilities now.
Very soon the Institute will also have the inpatient hospital.
The 2 Days CME programme will be attended by around 50 Homeopathy doctors.
Various experts from outside the state will also be giving lectures at the programme.
The programme will also be minutely discussing on various skin diseases.
Speaking as the Chief Guest of the function RP Gadi, Accounts Officer, Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, New Delhi said that the Homeopathic treatment has developed through the years.
The function was also attended by Chetana Lumba, Research Officer, Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, New Delhi as the Guest of Honour.
Dr Km Loken, Dermatologist, JNIMS and Dr Chetana Lumba were also present as resource persons on the occasion.

Pressure Theory To The Rescue Of Ears

For our ears bombarded on all sides, better protection could come via the long discarded pressure theory.In a paper published in the Journal of Hearing Science, Dr Andrew Bell of the Research School of Biology at The Australian National University, says the ‘pressure theory’ explains inconsistencies that have long puzzled hearing researchers.
“Hearing loss used to be called ‘blacksmith’s disease.’ In the modern age, it might come to be called MP3 disease,” Dr Bell said.
“The pressure theory has the potential to lead to better measures to protect people from damagingly loud sound levels.”
The middle ear consists of three tiny bones and two miniature muscles which tense up to protect the ear from loud sounds.
Dr Bell said that these bones and muscles work together as a tiny pump, raising the pressure of the fluid in the inner ear – like pushing a cork into a bottle of water. According to Dr Bell, it is the increased pressure that softens the impact of loud noises on the delicate cells that process sound.
The fresh insight delivered in Dr Bell’s paper may help us to understand why some people have ‘tough’ ears that seem impervious to noise-induced hearing loss while others are very susceptible.
“If we can find a way to make the middle ear muscles ‘pump’ more effectively, like they seem to do in tough ears, we could provide better protection against noise,” Dr Bell said.
The pressure theory was first put forward more than 150 years ago and has since been dismissed. But with the risk of hearing damage associated with the now ubiquitous MP3 player, Dr Bell believes the theory is due for revival.
“Current theory contradicts data from hearing studies,” Dr Bell said, “Pressure theory can help explain these inconsistencies.
“All the evidence over the last century can be fitted neatly into pressure theory once you see that the sensing cells in the inner ear are tiny pressure gauges that react instantly to pressure changes.”

Obesity linked to older adults' risk of falls

Obese older adults may be more likely than their thinner peers to suffer a potentially disabling fall -- though the most severely obese may be somewhat protected from injury, a new study suggests.
Falls are often seen as a problem for thin, frail older adults, since their bones are especially prone to fracture.
But obesity carries its own risks, according to Christine L. Himes, one of the researchers on the new study.
"People who are obese may have a harder time with balance," said Himes, of Syracuse University in New York.
And when they lose their footing, she told Reuters Health, obese older adults may be less able to react quickly and stop a fall.
In their study, Himes and colleague Sandra L Reynolds found that obese older adults were anywhere from 12 percent to 50 percent more likely to suffer a fall over two years than their normal-weight peers were.
Those odds rose with the level of obesity. The 50-percent higher risk was seen among people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher -- or about 100 pounds overweight for a man, and 80 pounds overweight for a woman.
The findings, reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, are based on 10,755 Americans age 65 and up who were surveyed every two years.
Between 1998 and 2006, the group reported a total of 9,621 falls, resulting in more than 3,100 injuries serious enough to need medical attention.
Of people who suffered a fall, 23 percent were obese, compared with just under 20 percent among older adults who did not fall during the study period.
The researchers factored in health conditions that are linked to both obesity and the risk of falling -- like arthritis, pain in the legs, diabetes and stroke. But obesity itself was still linked to a higher fall risk.
When it came to the risk of being injured from a fall, the most severely obese older adults -- a BMI of 40 or higher -- were one-third less likely to be injured than normal-weight people who fell. People with milder obesity, however, showed no such protective effect.
In fact, those moderately obese people were at greater risk of reporting longer-term disabilities after fall, versus normal-weight men and women.
Over the eight-year study, participants reported 4,324 instances of new or worsened disabilities after a fall -- though, Himes noted, it's not certain that the fall caused the problem.
People with milder obesity (a BMI of 30 to 34.9) were 17 percent more likely than normal-weight people to report a disability after a fall. And those with a BMI between 35 and 39.9 were 39 percent more likely to report a disability.
Those patterns make sense, according to Himes. Obese people, in general, may be vulnerable to taking a spill than thinner folks. And when they do fall, Himes said, the most obese people may get some protection from injury by their extra padding and denser bones.
But when obese people who are injured, they may be less likely to get better.
"It's just harder for obese people to recover from injury," Himes said. "They're going to be in poorer physical shape to begin with."
So fall and disability prevention, she said, may be one more reason for people to maintain a healthy weight as they age. "This is just another reason that obesity needs to considered an important public health problem," Himes noted.
Besides losing weight, obese older people may want to be especially mindful of cutting their fall risk in other ways. In general, experts recommend regular moderate exercise like walking and tai chi to improve balance and coordination; getting rid of fall hazards in your home, like loose rugs or any other obstacle you might trip over; and using assistive devices such as grab bars for the tub or shower.
It's estimated that more than one-third of Americans age 65 and up suffer a fall each year. And a similar proportion of older adults are obese -- a trend, Himes noted, that is likely to get worse.

SOURCE:Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, online December 8, 2011.

Poor People May Be Quicker to Be Kind

Poor people are quicker than middle-class or rich individuals to recognize the suffering of others and to show compassion, according to a new study.
It included more than 300 young adults who were divided into groups that took part in three experiments designed to assess their levels of empathy and compassion.
The findings challenge previous research that concluded lower-class people are more likely to react with anxiety and hostility when faced with adversity, said the researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
"These latest results indicate that there's a culture of compassion and cooperation among lower-class individuals that may be born out of threats to their well-being," study author and social psychologist Jennifer Stellar said in a university news release.
"It's not that the upper classes are cold-hearted. They may just not be as adept at recognizing the cues and signals of suffering because they haven't had to deal with as many obstacles in their lives," she explained.
The findings, published online Dec. 12 in the journal Emotion, suggest a scientific basis for emotional differences between the rich and poor that are depicted in such Charles Dickens classics as "A Christmas Carol" and "A Tale of Two Cities."
The results also indicate that people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may do better in cooperative settings than those who are wealthy.
"Upper-class individuals appear to be more self-focused, they've grown up with more freedom and autonomy," Stellar said. "They may do better in an individualist, competitive environment."
More information
For more on compassion, go to the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University.

New powerful painkiller has abuse experts worried

Drug companies are working to develop a pure, more powerful version of the nation's second most-abused medicine, which has addiction experts worried that it could spur a new wave of abuse.
The new pills contain the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone, packing up to 10 times the amount of the drug as existing medications such as Vicodin. Four companies have begun patient testing, and one of them — Zogenix of San Diego — plans to apply early next year to begin marketing its product, Zohydro.
If approved, it would mark the first time patients could legally buy pure hydrocodone. Existing products combine the drug with nonaddictive painkillers such as acetaminophen.
Critics say they are especially worried about Zohydro, a timed-release drug meant for managing moderate to severe pain, because abusers could crush it to release an intense, immediate high.
"I have a big concern that this could be the next OxyContin," said April Rovero, president of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. "We just don't need this on the market."
OxyContin, introduced in 1995 by Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Conn., was designed to manage pain with a formula that dribbled one dose of oxycodone over many hours.
Abusers quickly discovered they could defeat the timed-release feature by crushing the pills. Purdue Pharma changed the formula to make OxyContin more tamper-resistant, but addicts have moved onto generic oxycodone and other drugs that do not have a timed-release feature.
Oxycodone is now the most-abused medicine in the United States, with hydrocodone second, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration's annual count of drug seizures sent to police drug labs for analysis.
The latest drug tests come as more pharmaceutical companies are getting into the $10 billion-a-year legal market for powerful — and addictive — opiate narcotics.
"It's like the wild west," said Peter Jackson, co-founder of Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids. "The whole supply-side system is set up to perpetuate this massive unloading of opioid narcotics on the American public."
The pharmaceutical firms say the new hydrocodone drugs give doctors another tool to try on patients in legitimate pain, part of a constant search for better painkillers to treat the aging U.S. population.
"Sometimes you circulate a patient between various opioids, and some may have a better effect than others," said Karsten Lindhardt, chief executive of Denmark-based Egalet, which is testing its own pure hydrocodone product.
The companies say a pure hydrocodone pill would avoid liver problems linked to high doses of acetaminophen, an ingredient in products like Vicodin. They also say patients will be more closely supervised because, by law, they will have to return to their doctors each time they need more pills. Prescriptions for the weaker, hydrocodone-acetaminophen products now on the market can be refilled up to five times.
Zogenix has completed three rounds of patient testing, and last week it announced it had held a final meeting with Food and Drug Administration officials to talk about its upcoming drug application. It plans to file the application in early 2012 and have Zohydro on the market by early 2013.
Purdue Pharma and Cephalon, a Frazer, Pa.-based unit of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, are conducting late-stage trials of their own hydrocodone drugs, according to documents filed with federal regulators. In May, Purdue Pharma received a patent applying extended-release technology to hydrocodone. Neither company would comment on its plans.
Meanwhile, Egalet has finished the most preliminary stages of testing aimed at determining the basic safety of a drug. The firm could have a product on the market as early as 2015 but wants to see how the other companies fare with the FDA before deciding whether to move forward, Lindhardt said.
Critics say they are troubled because of the dark side that has accompanied the boom in sales of narcotic painkillers: Murders, pharmacy robberies and millions of dollars lost by hospitals that must treat overdose victims.
Thousands of legitimate pain patients are becoming addicted to powerful prescription painkillers, they say, in addition to the thousands more who abuse the drugs.
Prescription painkillers led to the deaths of almost 15,000 people in 2008, more than triple the 4,000 deaths in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month.
Emergency room visits related to hydrocodone abuse have shot from 19,221 in 2000 to 86,258 in 2009, according to data compiled by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In Florida alone, hydrocodone caused 910 deaths and contributed to 1,803 others between 2003 and 2007.
Hydrocodone belongs to family of drugs known as opiates or opioids because they are chemically similar to opium. They include morphine, heroin, oxycodone, codeine, methadone and hydromorphone.
Opiates block pain but also unleash intense feelings of well-being and can create physical dependence. The withdrawal symptoms are also intense, with users complaining of cramps, diarrhea, muddled thinking, nausea and vomiting.
After a while, opiates stop working, forcing users to take stronger doses or to try slightly different chemicals.
"You've got a person on your product for life, and a doctor's got a patient who's never going to miss an appointment, because if they did and they didn't get their prescription, they would feel very sick," said Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. "It's a terrific business model, and that's what these companies want to get in on."
Under pressure from the government, Purdue Pharma last year debuted a new OxyContin pill formula that "squishes" instead of crumbling when someone tries to crush it.
But Zogenix, whose drug is time-released but crushable, says there is not enough evidence to show that such tamper-resistant reformulations thwart abuse.
"Provided sufficient effort, all formulations currently available can be overcome," Zogenix said in a written response to questions by The Associated Press.
At a conference for investors New York on Nov. 29, Zogenix chief executive Roger Hawley said the FDA was not pressuring Zogenix to put an abuse deterrent in Zohydro.
"We would certainly consider later launching an abuse-deterrent form, but right now we believe the priority of safer hydrocodone — that is, without acetaminophen — is a key priority for the FDA," Hawley said.
FDA spokeswoman Erica Jefferson said the agency would not comment on its discussions with drug companies, citing the need to protect trade secrets.
Drug control advocates say they're worried the U.S. government is too lax about controlling addictive pain medications. The United States consumes 99 percent of the world's hydrocodone and 83 percent of its oxycodone, according to a 2008 study by the International Narcotics Control Board.
One 41-year-old loophole in particular has fed the current problem with hydrocodone abuse, critics say. The federal Controlled Substances Act, passed in 1970, puts fewer controls on combination pills containing hydrocodone and another painkiller than it does on the equivalent oxycodone products.
A Vicodin prescription can be refilled five times, for example, while a Percocet prescription can only be filled once.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration have been studying whether to close this loophole since 1999 but have made no decision. Congress is now considering a bill that would force the agencies to tighten the controls.
"This is a problem that is fundamentally an oversupply problem," said Jackson, the drug-control advocate. "The FDA has kind of opened the floodgates, and they refuse to recognize the mistakes made in the past."
Pure hydrocodone falls into the stricter drug-control category than hydrocodone-acetaminophen medications, meaning patients would have to go to their doctors for a new prescription each time they needed more pills. But Jackson said that's no guarantee against abuse, noting that dozens of unscrupulous doctors have been caught churning out prescriptions in so-called "pill mills."
The Drug Enforcement Administration, which enforces controls on medicines along with the FDA, said it could not comment on drugs that have not yet been approved for sale.
However, Zogenix has acknowledged the abuse issue could become a liability.
"Illicit use and abuse of hydrocodone is well documented," it said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September. "Thus, the regulatory approval process and the marketing of Zohydro may generate public controversy that may adversely affect regulatory approval and market acceptance of Zohydro."

Probe Launched into Bali Tattoo HIV Infection Report

An official has confirmed that Indonesia is investigating the case of an Australian who is believed to have been infected with HIV while getting a tattoo on the resort island of Bali.
"We received a report about this case from the health ministry yesterday and officials will be visiting tattoo parlours today to verify this claim," Bali health department chief Nyoman Sutedja told AFP.
"At this point, we are still investigating. We can't say for sure if the patient caught the virus from getting a tattoo or sexual contact," he added.
There are currently 4,200 HIV/AIDS cases on Bali, Sutedja said.
Australian health authorities on Friday said a patient diagnosed with HIV probably contracted the virus while being tattooed on the island. They did not reveal any details of the individual concerned.
More than a million tourists visit Bali every year to enjoy its white, surf beaches, nightlife and Hindu culture.
Indonesian officials said last year that the number of known HIV/AIDS cases on Bali was soaring, with one in four prostitutes reported to be HIV-positive and the number of infections jumping almost 19 percent from the year before.

Protein Shakes and Baldness

A recent study reveals that protein shakes are partly to blame for baldness as they lead to the production of certain chemicals, which causes hair loss.WA's only hair transplant surgeon Jennifer Martinick said that she was booked out for more than six months and performing more than 400 procedures annually - up about 30 per cent from a year ago.
"Lots of young guys these days are very image conscious," Perth Now quoted Dr Martinick as saying.
"They are 20 or 30-something, go to the gym, some even have Botox, take protein shakes to build up muscle but don't realise it can contribute to baldness. They have lots of disposable income so they come for treatment because they also want a full head of hair."
"There is a growing feeling that people are getting balder earlier and it may be possibly because of diet."
"There are a lot of animal fats in the western diet and then guys go to the gym and take things like creatin, whey protein isolates and think they're doing the right thing," Dr Martinick added.
The New Hair Clinic physician said that she recommended patients to stop consuming protein shakes to prevent further hair loss and was able to delay baldness in some cases with medication.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Ayurvedic-vegan diet for good health

Chef Darshana Thacker combines the ethical principles of a vegan diet with the ancient tenants of Ayurvedic cooking
Darshana Thacker grew up in a family that followed the tenets of Ayurvedic cooking. Then eight years ago, the Los Angeles-based Ayurvedic chef turned adopted veganism. She found that the two diets shared a sense of ethics and health and now she marries them together to have the ideal meal plan for healthy living.
"Ayurveda is a way of life, which brings you in an alignment with yourself," says the chef who is in the city to talk about her Ayurvedicvegan diet. "According to me, a vegan diet because of its ethical values fits into an Ayurvedic life."
So while she eats no animal products, she plans her meal according to the dosha type/body constitution (see box) and ensures the balance of the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent and bitter), textures, colours and nutrients (balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats). She also adopts the Ayurvedic cooking methods such as steaming vegetables, soaking and sprouting beans and lentils, and rinsing grains well before cooking.
So how does she ensure that the body is nourished with enough proteins? She says, "Research indicates that we require only 10 per cent of our total daily calories to maintain a strong healthy body; it is very easy to meet this target on a whole foods, plant-based diet.
In fact, there is strong evidence suggesting that protein intake higher than that, especially of animal protein, poses potential risk for diseases."
Of the 20 essential amino acids required for building protein, she says, our body can produce 11 and the other nine are available through various food. It is not necessary for the body to get the remaining nine from the same food - the body breaks down and stores the individual amino acids in a pool when protein is consumed. It will restring the protein as and when required.
Thacker says, "It is very difficult to be protein deficient on a calorie dense diet. From a whole foods and plant-based diet, you get a perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. This has ample quantities of phytochemicals, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals."
An animal-based diet consisting of dairy, meat and eggs protein brings with it saturated fat and cholesterol. Thacker recommends a good source of plant-based protein for bananas, brown rice, barley pearl, quinoa, whole wheat bread, chickpeas, lentils, soymilk, broccoli, tofu, and spinach.

Pharmexcil to push SMEs to take up exports of traditional medicines to US, Europe

Focus on the exports of herbal products, the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) recently organised a programme called market quick start programme in three major cities. This programme was aimed at facilitating and pushing the small and medium enterprises (SME's) belonging to the traditional, herbals and natural products industry to expand their export.
The programme which was particularly aimed at exploring export opportunities in North America and European markets was co organised and supported by HADSA and New Hope, USA. It was focused on sensitising and exposing the exporters of the traditional, herbal, nutraceutical products to enter US and European markets.
According to Dr P V Appaji, executive director, Pharmexcil, “The Indian companies need to understand that when doing business with foreign countries they must be aware of the rules and regulations prevalent in that place so that they can tap the market and the opportunities it provides accordingly. Our main aim through this programme was to sensitise the Indian manufacturer's of traditional medicines on the requirements of the foreign countries so that they can recognise the same and mould their strategy accordingly.”
Apart from that, it also provided an ideal platform for foreign traders to discover and understand the traditional market for which India has a huge potential. Indian manufacturers should be able to gauge the expectations of the foreign regulators and also on what new laws they are planning to enforce that may impact the interest of the Indian exporters in future.
“Based on the tremendous response that we received from this programme, we have decided to conduct more of such events focused specifically on the traditional sector so that they can get a much needed boost for exports,” Dr Appaji said.
He pointed out that in spite of having a strong presence in the Indian market the traditional sector which consist of herbal, Ayurvedic, Unani, nutraceutical products etc. is not able to bridge the gap and create a forte for exports like the pharma sector because they do not have proper documentation and scientific data to support the demands of the western nations. Dr Appaji urged that the government should initiate steps to project the ayurvedic industry by motivating and supporting the manufacturers to produce scientific data and documents for the products that are manufactured by them.
The market quick start programme was organised in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore and was attended by 80 delegates in Mumbai, 40 in Hyderabad and 40 in Bengaluru respectively.

Mother, Daughter Give Birth Same Day

December 21st was a big day for 17-year-old Brianna Guerrero, she became a big sister. But she also became a mother.
Brianna Guerrero gave birth to a healthy 9 pound 9 ounce son named Ayden at 6:52 a.m. Wednesday, only 6 hours after her mother, Jessica Rotter, gave birth to Ayden's uncle. The mother and daughter pair, who were not due to deliver on the same day, gave birth one room apart at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, Ill.
"This is the first time I've seen this," said Dr. Alex Lipovich, Brianna and Jessica's doctor. "I've had mothers and daughter who were pregnant at the same time in my practice before, but to deliver within a few hours of each other is a first."
The births went smoothly according to Lipovich, and both new mothers were very happy about the additions to their family, "although the mother was little disappointed that she couldn't be there to comfort her daughter."
Both children are expected to be released from the hospital today, just in time to be home for the holidays.
But that's not the only fascinating family birth to occur in recent days. Twin sisters Danielle and Nicole Fisher both gave birth to sons at a Virtua Hospital in Voorhees, N.J., last Tuesday night. The sisters, who had due dates roughly two weeks apart gave birth within 13 minutes of each other, according to the Courier Post.
The Courier Post reports that both sisters still live at home with their mother meaning that the newborn cousins, Johnathan and Maximus, will grow up just like their mothers, sharing more than just a birthday.

Weight Lost Might Return, Still Persist With Healthy Diet

Weight lost might frequently return to haunt the dieter, but he or she should not be discouraged. Long-term healthy dietary interventions do yield dividends, points out a Ben-Gurion University researcher.The study led by Health Sciences Prof. Assaf Rudich identified two distinct biomarker patterns that correspond to weight change, one of which continues to improve with time.
The study was conducted among 322 participants during the two-year Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT) performed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at the Nuclear Research Center Negev, Israel (New England Journal of Medicine). The population was randomized to three different, but healthy interventions: low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carbohydrate diets, and unprecedented adherence rates were maintained throughout the entire two-year period.
According to Assaf Rudich, “This study tells us that we may all have tunnel vision on weight when it comes to healthy dieting. Although maintaining ideal body weight is linked to better health, when it comes to adopting healthier dietary habits in mild to moderately obese people, there are benefits beyond weight loss, such as decreasing inflammatory tone and elevating the ‘good cholesterol’ HDL.”
Dieting’s benefits outlast the pounds
Rudich explains that switching to healthier dieting extends benefits beyond the single outcome of weight loss. In fact, important improvements that likely signify decreased risk for cardiovascular disease occur even despite weight regain, as long as dieting continues.
The researchers identified two distinct patterns:
“Pattern-A” includes biomarkers [insulin, triglycerides, leptin, chemerin, monocyte-chemotactic-protein-1(MCP-1), and retinol-binding-protein-4(RBP4)] whose dynamics tightly corresponded to changes in body weight. They significantly improved during the first six months of the “rapid weight loss phase.” Then, unfortunately, they significantly trended in the opposite direction once participants started to regain weight during months 7-24 (the “weight maintenance/regain phase”).
“Pattern B” that includes high-molecular-weight (HMW) [adiponectin, HDL-cholesterol, high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fetuin-A, progranulin, and vaspin], which displayed a continued, cumulative improvement throughout the intervention, despite the partial weight regain observed during months 7-24 of continued dieting, a totally different pattern of biomarkers.
These patterns were similar, although of different magnitude, across the low-carb, Mediterranean and low-fat diets.
Along the same line of continued benefit of adopting healthier dietary habits, the research team published an article last year in Circulation (a journal of the American Heart Association) that participants in DIRECT showed regression of the atherosclerotic plaque in their carotid artery, a process underlying a large percentage of the cases of stroke. Regression of atherosclerosis was previously only demonstrated with medications or with rather extreme dietary regimens.
Long-term choices more important than dieting ‘magic bullets’
According to Prof. Iris Shai, principal investigator of DIRECT, these findings contain a strong message for the public. A researcher at BGU’s S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition in the Department of Epidemiology, Shai says that, “Switching to a healthy lifestyle is a long-term strategy that should be done moderately but persistently. There are no magic shortcuts,” she says.
“There is no doubt that moderate weight loss is an important goal for specific populations, and losing weight will indeed improve several markers that are rather tightly related to fat mass, such as triglycerides, insulin and leptin. These, however, will tend to change similarly to weight dynamics.
“Yet, it is encouraging that adhering to a healthy diet per-se will continue to improve other blood biomarkers, some of which quite strongly associate with improved cardio-metabolic health, likely because they reflect adipose tissue and other organ function, such as HDL-c, adiponectin and CRP. Such markers may signify long-term effects of the initial weight loss, or, maybe even more promisingly, reveal to us the capacity of healthier dietary habits to reverse obesity-associated adipose tissue and liver dysfunction.”

Maintaining Healthy Dietary Habits Has Benefits Beyond Weight Loss

Improvements to health remain even if weight is regained after long-term healthy dietary interventions, say researchers.Long-term healthy dietary interventions frequently induce a rapid weight decline, mainly in the first four to six months, followed by weight stabilization or regain, despite continued dieting.
The partial regain may discourage people from adhering to healthier habits, but research now shows that improvements to health remain, regardless of partial weight regain.
The study identified two distinct biomarker patterns that correspond to weight change, one of which continues to improve with time.
The study was conducted among 322 participants during the two-year Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial (DIRECT) performed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at the Nuclear Research Center Negev, Israel (New England Journal of Medicine).
The population was randomised to three different, but healthy interventions: low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carbohydrate diets, and unprecedented adherence rates were maintained throughout the entire two-year period.
"This study tells us that we may all have tunnel vision on weight when it comes to healthy dieting. Although maintaining ideal body weight is linked to better health, when it comes to adopting healthier dietary habits in mild to moderately obese people, there are benefits beyond weight loss, such as decreasing inflammatory tone and elevating the 'good cholesterol' HDL," said BGU Faculty of Health Sciences Prof. Assaf Rudich.
Rudich explains that switching to healthier dieting extends benefits beyond the single outcome of weight loss. In fact, important improvements that likely signify decreased risk for cardiovascular disease occur even despite weight regain, as long as dieting continues.
The researchers identified two distinct patterns:Pattern-A" includes biomarkers [insulin, triglycerides, leptin, chemerin, monocyte-chemotactic-protein-1(MCP-1), and retinol-binding-protein-4(RBP4)] whose dynamics tightly corresponded to changes in body weight.
"Pattern B" that includes high-molecular-weight (HMW) [adiponectin, HDL-cholesterol, high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fetuin-A, progranulin, and vaspin], which displayed a continued, cumulative improvement throughout the intervention, despite the partial weight regain observed during months 7-24 of continued dieting, a totally different pattern of biomarkers.
These patterns were similar, although of different magnitude, across the low-carb, Mediterranean and low-fat diets.
The study was recently released online in Diabetes Care.

Music Can Help Ease Pain In High-anxiety People

A new study has suggested that listening to music can help relieve pain in high-anxiety people, who can easily become absorbed in cognitive activities.
Researchers from the University of Utah Pain Research Center evaluated the potential benefits of music for diverting psychological responses to experimental pain stimuli.
They hypothesized that music may divert cognitive focus from pain. If true, the key to successful pain control from this method would be the degree of engagement by the patient in the diversion task.
One hundred forty-three subjects were evaluated for the study. They were instructed to listen to music tracks, follow the melodies, and identify deviant tones. During the music tasks, they were given safe, experimental pain shocks with fingertip electrodes.
The findings showed that central arousal from the pain stimuli reliably decreased with the increasing music-task demand.
Music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses, and engaging cognitive attention. Music, therefore, provided meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce pain.
Among the study subjects, those with high levels of anxiety about pain had the greatest net engagement, which contradicted the authors' initial hypothesis that anxiety would interfere with a subject's ability to become absorbed in the music listening task.
They noted that low anxiety actually might have diminished the ability to engage in the task.
The study has been published in The Journal of Pain.

Maternal Stress During Pregnancy Impairs Child Health – Study

Maternal psychosocial stress during pregnancy may be a common risk factor for impaired child health, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Many studies have established that prenatal stress in the form of life and emotional stress to the mother during pregnancy can have a lasting negative impact on the behavior and biology of the offspring. The children of such mothers have an increased risk of malformations, asthma, and mental and behavioral disorders. So much so that, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that the role of maternal stress during pregnancy should be given high research priority.
In view of this, Clinical psychologist Marion Tegethoff and colleagues conducted a study to determine whether stress during pregnancy could be a risk factor for various child diseases in the offspring.
The study was based on data from the Danish National Birth Cohort. The information on maternal stress was gathered from a telephone interview taken around 30 weeks of gestation. And information on children’s diseases was derived from the Danish National Hospital Register. Complete information on maternal stress during and after pregnancy as well as the data on diagnoses was available for 66,203 (99 percent) of the eligible mother–child pairs that participated in all of the relevant interviews.
The results were disturbing –
• There was an increased risk of mental disorders during the first 2.5 years of life in children of mothers reporting high life stress during pregnancy compared with mothers reporting low life stress.
• Maternal life stress during pregnancy was also associated with an increased risk in the diseases of the eye, ear, respiratory system, digestive system, skin, musculoskeletal system and genitourinary system in children.
• Maternal life stress during pregnancy was again associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations in offspring.
• Maternal emotional stress during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk for the first diagnosis of infectious and parasitic diseases.
• There was a decreased risk for the first diagnosis of endocrine and metabolic disorders, diseases of the eye, and the circulatory system up to 3 years of age in children whose mothers were emotionally stressed during pregnancy. However, the researchers felt that ‘it was too early to conclude whether common forms of maternal emotional stress during pregnancy have the potential to protect certain organ systems against disease’.
The researchers did not exclude the possibility of associations between the stress-related changes in lifestyle or health related factors during pregnancy and child diseases.
There is also a direct relationship between nutrition during pregnancy and a range of offspring diseases.
Further, alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been associated with birth defects and impaired offspring development and behavior.
The analysis of the data revealed that elevated stress levels across pregnancy altered the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins that serve as messengers between cells of the immune system) in the offspring; the dysregulation of cytokine production could cause certain mental disorders, infectious diseases and diseases of the various body systems.
One limitation of the study was that the researchers did not have data on the timing of the maternal stress exposure during pregnancy, which may play a role in the relationship between stress and long-term health.
The researchers concluded that ‘the observed associations between maternal stress during pregnancy and offspring health may have implications for public health and health care policy:
- First, further investment in the reduction of life stress during pregnancy may be an important opportunity to improve child health.
- Second, our findings encourage consideration of preventive strategies for infants of mothers who were highly stressed during pregnancy’.
Reference: Tegethoff M, Greene N, Olsen J, Schaffner E, Meinlschmidt G 2011. Stress during Pregnancy and Offspring Pediatric Disease: A National Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect 119:1647-1652.

It Will be Possible to Heal a Broken Human Heart

A way for the human heart to repair itself that may pave the way towards new therapeutic approaches for cardiac regeneration and repair.
To search for new molecules involved in heart development, Tao P. Zhong and his colleagues from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, developed a robust small molecule screen using a zebrafish system.
The zebrafish is an excellent model organism to study heart growth and development because there are established genetic approaches that permit visualization of fluorescent beating hearts within transparent embryos.
After screening nearly 4,000 compounds, the researchers discovered three structurally related molecules that could selectively enlarge the size of the embryonic heart. The compounds, cardionogen-1, -2, and -3, could promote or inhibit heart formation, depending on when they were administered during development.
Cardionogen treatment enlarged the zebrafish heart by stimulating production of new cardiac muscle cells from stem cells.
They went on to show that cardionogen could stimulate mouse embryonic stem cells to differentiation into beating cardiac muscle cells. The effects of cardionogen were linked to Wnt signaling, a pathway best known for its role in embryonic and heart development.
Cardionogen opposes Wnt signaling to induce cardiac muscle cell formation. Importantly, the interaction of cardionogen with Wnt seemed to be restricted to specific cell types.
Taken together, the results identify the cardionogen family members as important modulators of cardiac muscle cell development.
"Evaluating the potential of cardionogen on human adult and embryonic stem cells is the next logical step," Zhong, senior author of the study, said.
"This may ultimately aid in design of therapeutic approaches to enhance repopulation of damaged heart muscle and restore function in diseased hearts," he added.
The study has been published in the journal Chemistry and Biology.

Multiple Sclerosis is Not a Disease of the Immune System?

Multiple sclerosis, which was long viewed as primarily an autoimmune disease, is not actually a disease of the immune system, says an article to be published Friday (Dec. 23) in the December 2011 issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology.
Dr. Angelique Corthals, a forensic anthropologist and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, suggests instead that MS is caused by faulty lipid metabolism, in many ways more similar to coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) than to other autoimmune diseases.
Framing MS as a metabolic disorder helps to explain many puzzling aspects of the disease, particularly why it strikes women more than men and why cases are on the rise worldwide, Corthals says. She believes this new framework could help guide researchers toward new treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease.
Multiple sclerosis affects at least 1.3 million people worldwide. Its main characteristic is inflammation followed by scarring of tissue called myelin, which insulates nerve tissue in the brain and spinal cord. Over time, this scarring can lead to profound neurological damage. Medical researchers have theorized that a runaway immune system is at fault, but no one has been able to fully explain what triggers the onset of the disease. Genes, diet, pathogens, and vitamin D deficiency have all been linked to MS, but evidence for these risk factors is inconsistent and even contradictory, frustrating researchers in their search for effective treatment.
"Each time a genetic risk factor has shown a significant increase in MS risk in one population, it has been found to be unimportant in another," Corthals said. "Pathogens like Epstein-Barr virus have been implicated, but there's no explanation for why genetically similar populations with similar pathogen loads have drastically different rates of disease. The search for MS triggers in the context of autoimmunity simply hasn't led to any unifying conclusions about the etiology of the disease."
However, understanding MS as metabolic rather than an autoimmune begins to bring the disease and its causes into focus.
Corthals believes that the primary cause of MS can be traced to transcription factors in cell nuclei that control the uptake, breakdown, and release of lipids (fats and similar compounds) throughout the body. Disruption of these proteins, known as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), causes a toxic byproduct of "bad" cholesterol called oxidized LDL to form plaques on the affected tissue. The accumulation of plaque in turn triggers an immune response, which ultimately leads to scarring. This is essentially the same mechanism involved in atherosclerosis, in which PPAR failure causes plaque accumulation, immune response, and scarring in coronary arteries.
"When lipid metabolism fails in the arteries, you get atherosclerosis," Corthals explains. "When it happens in the central nervous system, you get MS. But the underlying etiology is the same."
A major risk factor for disruption of lipid homeostasis is having high LDL cholesterol. So if PPARs are at the root of MS, it would explain why cases of the disease have been on the rise in recent decades. "In general people around the world are increasing their intake of sugars and animal fats, which often leads to high LDL cholesterol," Corthals said. "So we would expect to see higher rates of disease related to lipid metabolism—like heart disease and, in this case, MS." This also explains why statin drugs, which are used to treat high cholesterol, have shown promise as an MS treatment.
The lipid hypothesis also sheds light on the link between MS and vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps to lower LDL cholesterol, so it makes sense that a lack of vitamin D increases the likelihood of the disease—especially in the context of a diet high in fats and carbohydrates.
Corthals's framework also explains why MS is more prevalent in women.
"Men and women metabolize fats differently," Corthals said. "In men, PPAR problems are more likely to occur in vascular tissue, which is why atherosclerosis is more prevalent in men. But women metabolize fat differently in relation to their reproductive role. Disruption of lipid metabolism in women is more likely to affect the production of myelin and the central nervous system. In this way, MS is to women what atherosclerosis is to men, while excluding neither sex from developing the other disease."
In addition to high cholesterol, there are several other risk factors for reduced PPAR function, including pathogens like Epstein-Barr virus, trauma that requires massive cell repair, and certain genetic profiles. In many cases, Corthals says, having just one of these risk factors isn't enough to trigger a collapse of lipid metabolism. But more than one risk factor could cause problems. For example, a genetically weakened PPAR system on its own might not cause disease, but combining that with a pathogen or with a poor diet can cause disease. This helps to explain why different MS triggers seem to be important for some people and populations but not others.
"In the context of autoimmunity, the various risk factors for MS are frustratingly incoherent," Corthals said. "But in the context of lipid metabolism, they make perfect sense."
Much more research is necessary to fully understand the role of PPARs in MS, but Corthals hopes that this new understanding of the disease could eventually lead to new treatments and prevention measures.
"This new framework makes a cure for MS closer than ever," Corthals said.

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