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Friday, 3 February 2012

Anxiety therapy doesn't work as well in elderly: study

A form of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy appears to help older adults battle anxiety disorders slightly better than other approaches, but not as well as in younger adults, according to a new study.
"Cognitive behavioral therapy is the mainstay for treating anxiety disorders in younger adults. Its lower effect in older adults in this study is concerning," said Dr. Eric Lenze, a professor at Washington University School of Medicine, who was not involved in this study.
Anxiety disorders, which include panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress and generalized anxiety disorder, are common in adults over age 55.
The authors write in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that three to 14 out of every 100 older adults has an anxiety disorder.
While earlier studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy works well for younger and middle-aged adults, there has not been as much research into the treatment for seniors.
"The prevailing assumption tends to be that what works with working-age people will work with older people, but this might not actually be the case," said Rebecca Gould, the lead author of the study and a researcher at King's College London.
Gould's team gathered up the results from 12 previous studies on people over age 55 with an anxiety disorder.
Half of the studies compared cognitive behavioral therapy to other treatments, such as medications or group discussions, while the other half compared the therapy to no treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) often involves one-on-one meetings with a therapist, with the ultimate goal of solving the defective thinking process that's causing the disorder.
On average in the studies, people went through 12 sessions of therapy.
Compared to doing nothing, cognitive behavioral therapy had a "moderate" effect on helping people's anxiety.
Compared to medications or group discussions, the therapy relieved the disorder slightly better.
Gould's team noted that the improvement over other treatments was small.
"What this might mean clinically is that the client in the CBT condition might be a little less severely or moderately anxious relative to the client in the active control condition," Gould wrote in an email to Reuters Health.
GOING AFTER ROOT CAUSES
Gould says therapy might work better than drugs because it seeks to fix the causes of anxiety rather than the symptoms.
"If we can address the causes of symptoms of anxiety (e.g. by changing how we think about or interpret things) then we can stop them coming back in the future. If we only address the symptoms of anxiety then we can't," she said.
Though Gould's analysis and those of studies in younger adults agree that cognitive behavioral therapy helps treat anxiety, the effect in older adults is small while the effect seen in younger adults is moderate or large, the authors wrote.
Gould said she doesn't know why the therapy seems less effective in older adults, but it's possible that talk therapy might take longer to work for them.
Lenze said that cognitive behavioral therapy is still worthwhile in older adults.
"Until better treatments are developed there are somewhat limited options," he told Reuters Health.
He added that anxiety can take a toll on the mental and physical health of adults if it's not treated.
Gould said more studies that compare cognitive behavioral therapy to other treatments are needed in older adults, and her group is planning a study that explores the benefit of "mindfulness-based" cognitive therapy, which includes practices such as meditation.
Lenze said he and his colleagues are also exploring this approach, as well as combining cognitive behavioral therapy with medications.
SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, online January 27, 2012.

‘The Science of Yoga’ Considers the Practice’s Benefits

In “The Science of Yoga,” William J. Broad brings something unusual to his subject: an open mind. Broad, the book’s biographical note informs us, has practiced yoga since 1970. For nearly that long he has also been a science reporter for The New York Times, writing books like “Teller’s War: The Top-Secret Story Behind the Star Wars Deception” along the way. But Broad brings neither the boosterism of a yoga devotee nor the leeriness of a professional skeptic to his project — just curiosity, energy and a commitment to follow where his investigations lead. That route turns out to be a long and meandering one, ending up at an ambiguous, or at least ambivalent, conclusion. Though “The Science of Yoga” lacks the clarity of a book that sets out to define and defend a preconceived position, what it does offer is an intellectually honest exploration that is true to yoga’s own winding path.Broad’s objective is simple enough: to evaluate in scientific terms the claims made for yoga. But this turns out to be more complicated than it seems. For one thing, there are the sheer number and variety of those claims: yoga, it is said, can prevent heart disease, reverse aging, eliminate pain, and bestow serenity and peace. Broad patiently and exhaustively examines the evidence for each of these assertions, revealing surprises along the way. Yes, yoga can reduce anxiety and improve mood. No, it won’t help the overweight shed pounds. Yes, it may actually slow the body’s biological clock. Broad doesn’t just discuss the results of the scientific literature; he weighs the relative prestige of the journal in which the studies were published and scrutinizes each experiment’s design and methodology. This is more information than some readers may want, but Broad leaves no doubt that he’s done his homework.
This dogged pursuit of the truth about yoga enables Broad to excavate its remarkable history. He combs through decades of studies, talks to hundreds of scientists and practitioners and roams the world in search of the real deal on yoga. Locating its origins in India thousands of years ago, he recounts his visits to “historians, archives, literary societies and more, traveling by bus, subway, bicycle rickshaw and train (open doors, looking out over villages and smoky morning fires).” In Calcutta, he visits a library so obscure and little-used that dust covers the books and cobwebs hang, horror-movie style, from the ceiling. What he finds in these records bears little resemblance to the yoga we know today as the quintessential activity of a clean-living, upper-middle-class American lifestyle. The yogis of old, Broad notes, “were often vagabonds who engaged in ritual sex or showmen who contorted their bodies to win alms — even while dedicating their lives to high spirituality.” They read palms, interpreted dreams and sold charms; they promoted yoga as the way to sexual ecstasy (“yoga,” Broad tells us, means “union,” and not just the spiritual kind).
Yoga’s bid for respectability began with its home country’s campaign for independence from Britain. In 1924, an Indian nationalist named Jagannath G. Gune established a sprawling compound dedicated to the scientific study of yoga. The goal was to give the ancient and often unsavory ritual “a bright new face that radiated with science and hygiene, health and fitness” — to present it as an indigenous practice that Indians could point to as proof of both their traditional wisdom and their swift modernization. The rebranding was a spectacular success. Yoga as a means to physical fitness and psychological equilibrium spread quickly around the world, and once it reached the United States in the early years of the 20th century, it changed yet again. Broad uncovers the fascinating fact that many of the practices we associate most closely with yoga, like the flowing series of poses known as the Sun Salutation, have no ancient pedigree, but are instead modern inventions.If this history is recounted in intricate, perhaps excessive detail (it comes complete with a list of “main characters” that spans seven pages), one grows to appreciate Broad’s conscientiousness upon arriving at his chapter on yoga injuries — a real risk, he argues persuasively, that has been largely overlooked. The notion that a person can be hurt while engaging in yoga, Broad writes, “runs counter to yoga’s reputation for healing and its promotion of superior levels of fitness and well-­being”; many current practitioners turned to yoga after being injured by more high-impact activities. Nevertheless, he makes a strong case that without careful precautions, yoga can produce painful or incapacitating impairments in the form of torn Achilles tendons, nerve damage, back injuries and even stroke.But Broad isn’t done yet. His chapter on injuries is followed by discussions of yoga’s power — real or not — to heal disease, enhance sexuality and uplift the spirit. His conclusion? “The discipline on balance does more good than harm.” It can relieve stress and decrease pain, but along with the possibility of serious injury, it can also lead to disappointment for those expecting a miraculous change to their bodies or psyches.In other words, yoga is a decidedly mixed bag. Yet after centuries of practice by millions of people, how could this bag not be filled with gems and gimmicks, treasures and trash?Nor is yoga at the end of its evolution. Broad details the recent growth of the “yoga industrial complex,” the big business of selling books, magazines, DVDs, clothes and the mats that seem to inhabit every tote bag carried in brownstone Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side. And he brings us up to date on current trends in yoga practice, documenting the popularity of routines that combine yoga poses with vigorous aerobic exercise. These very un-serene styles include Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga and YogaFit, whose “YogaButt” program promises “a bottom that is ‘sleek and sexy.’ ”
Appropriately, yoga seems to have come full circle: flush with cash and focused on perfecting the body, modern yoga has returned to its earthy origins in money and sex. Not that Broad traces anything so neat as a circle. True to his open-minded orientation, he resists ­final summations, leaving ample room for ­yoga’s next ­self-transformation.

Courtesy:Annie Murphy Paul, the author of “Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives,” is writing a book about the science of learning.
Source:NewYork Times

Study Results of Massage....

Researchers from Buck Institute and McMaster University have produced scientific evidence that a massage does indeed help heal sore and stressed muscles and may be as effective as aspirin or other pain medicines to calm the effects of intense exercise.
The study which is published online in the Science Translational Medicine claims that massage reduces inflammation by slowing the production of chemicals in the body linked to inflammation, promotes the growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle and reduces muscle pain.
Lead author, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsk said, "This study provides evidence that manipulative therapies, such as massage, may be justifiable in medical practice. The potential benefits of massage could be useful to a broad spectrum of individuals including the elderly, those suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and patients with chronic inflammatory disease."
About 18 million people undergo massage therapy annually in the US, making it the fifth most widely used form of complementary and alternative medicine.
Source:MedIndia

Health ministry plans measures to combat rising zoonotic diseases

With India being identified as a hot-spot for zoonotic diseases, the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare is planning a number of combative steps including coordination cell and appointment of veterinary consultants under the Disease Surveillance and Response Programme to check these diseases.
Zoonotic diseases account for a substantial burden of morbidity and mortality due to endemic as well as emerging diseases. While 61 per cent (868/1415) of all identified infectious organisms are zoonotic, about 75 per cent (132/175) of pathogens associated with emerging diseases are zoonotic, according to statistics collected by the Ministry, following increasing apprehension about the rise of such diseases.
“A strong coordination is needed between human health, animal health and other sectors at all levels to control the zoonotic diseases like avian influenza, plague, rabies, leptospirosis, etc. Existing Committees and Groups (for example, Standing Committee on Zoonoses, Joint Monitoring Group) at central level and existing disease surveillance committees at state level will be responsible for inter-sectoral coordination. A zoonosis coordination cell will be established to monitor the activities,” sources said.
Besides, one additional contractual position for a veterinary (consultant) is proposed under the Disease Surveillance and Response Programme at state level to improve inter-sectoral coordination and to support the State Surveillance Officer in tackling the zoonotic diseases. At the district and the block levels, District Surveillance Officer would coordinate the activities between veterinary, municipal corporation/committees and other local bodies and voluntary agencies involved in the subject.
The Ministry is also seeking an amount of Rs.51.08 crore every year under the next Five Year Plan towards this programme. Activities would also include lab strengthening for identified target diseases and manpower development, sources said.
A zoonosis is any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans. The number of human deaths in India due to rabies alone is 20,000 every year of the total of 55,000 global deaths.
Source:Pharmabiz

GCP FOR AYURVEDIC DRUGS

The Department of Ayush has recently issued a circular making clinical trials mandatory for all the existing and new ayurvedic medicinal products in the country. A set of guidelines has been already prepared by the Department for the purpose and it plans to implement it from coming April onwards. The guidelines are formulated based on CDSCO document on Good Clinical Practices for pharmaceutical products. The draft states that these guidelines should be followed for carrying out research in all ASU and traditional medicines in India at all stages of development. Currently, clinical trials on the ASU and TM medicines are conducted by very few companies and institutions according to their own expertise incorporating ayurvedic principles. These are mainly in the form of confirmatory trials on safety and efficacy of patents and propriety medicines. The government felt the need for bringing an orderly development of this sector for some time now in the wake of persistent demand for documented evidence of clinical efficacy and safety of these drugs from the importing countries. As a first step, It had undertaken elaborate studies of toxicity and metal content analysis of about 5000 herbal raw materials commonly used by the country's Ayurveda units. Currently, these raw materials with no uniformity in quality are procured from divergent sources resulting in sharp variations in product efficacy.
Lack of a standardized manufacturing practice and a system of scientific documentation are two fundamental problems faced by this sector from the very beginning. The main reason for this trend is the unorganized character of this industry consisting of mostly small and tiny units spread across the country. These units have been resisting introduction of any regulatory reforms for years. The move to introduce clinical trials is also being objected to by a section of this industry on the ground that it is not necessary for traditional medicines especially for the ones which are already established in the market for years. This argument is not very convincing and not acceptable to the international market and the regulatory authorities there. The regulatory authorities of the developed countries are willing to accept the fact that many diseases can be cured and prevented with ayurvedic drugs but they need documented evidence to support this contention. Indian Ayurveda industry is not able to fully cash in on the growing international demand for its products as these countries are insisting on safety of these products, standardisation of raw materials and dosage forms as in the case of modern medicine. Ayurveda industry should realize this position and cooperate with the government in implementing basic regulatory reforms if it has to grow into a science based modern industry.
Source:Pharmabiz

Regenerative medicine: the future of organ donation?

As we face a severe and worsening shortage of donor organs, Dr. Anthony Atala says we should look to a new approach: regenerative medicine.
“Regenerative medicine promises to be one of the most pervasive influences on public health in the modern era,” says Dr. Atala, director of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The Institute was the first in the world to successfully grow organs in a lab and transplant them into humans.
Regenerative medicine uses cell transplantation, material sciences, and bioengineering to construct biological substitutes that may restore and maintain normal organ function in people. Stem cells may offer a potentially limitless source of cells for tissue engineering.
Dr. Atala will discuss how regenerative medicine may offer new treatment options for people with diseased and failing organs from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday, March 15, 2012, in the auditorium of Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, 670 Albany Street.
The lecture is the keynote of Science Day, a research celebration featuring posters and oral presentations by pre- and post-doctoral dental students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty and staff, and dental vendors. The event is free and open to the public.
The Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine will be the premier academic dental institution promoting excellence in dental education, research, oral health care, and community service to improve the overall health of the global population.

Source: DentistryIQ

Diabetes Associated With Biological Time-Keeper

Mutations in the melatonin receptor gene lead to an almost seven fold increase in the risk of developing diabetes, researchers in Lille and Paris have demonstrated.
This research, which was published in Nature Genetics on 29 January 2012, could contributed to the development of new drugs for the treatment or prevention of this metabolic disease.
Type 2 diabetes is characterised by excess blood glucose and increased resistance to insulin. It is the most common form of the disease and affects 300 million people in the world, including 3 million in France. This figure should double in the next few years, driven by the obesity epidemic and the disappearance of ancestral lifestyles. It is known that genetic factors, combined with a high-fat, high-sugar diet and lack of exercise, can also contribute to the onset of the disease. Furthermore, several studies have shown that sleeping disorders that affect the duration and quality of sleep are also high risk factors. Shift workers, for example, are at greater risk of developing the disease. No previous research has described any mechanism linking the biological clock to diabetes.
The researchers focused their attention on the receptor of a hormone called melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland as light fades. Melatonin, also known as the hormone of darkness, can be seen as a biological "time-keeper", synchronising biological rhythms with nightfall. The teams sequenced the MT2 gene, which encodes its receptor, in 7600 diabetics and persons with normal glycaemia. They found 40 rare mutations that modify the protein structure of the melatonin receptor, 14 of which made the receptor in question non-functional. The team went on to demonstrate that the risk of developing diabetes is nearly seven times higher in people affected by such mutations, which make them melatonin-insensitive.
It is known that the production of insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling blood glucose levels, drops at night to prevent any risk of hypoglycaemia. Insulin production starts up again, however, to avoid excess blood glucose during the day, which is when most people eat.
This study could lead to new drugs aimed at preventing or treating diabetes. Researchers could, for example, adjust MT2 receptor activity to control the metabolic pathways associated with it . The work also highlights the importance of genome sequencing as a means of personalising treatment for diabetic patients. There are many genetic causes for diabetes and the therapeutic approach needs to be adapted to the metabolic pathways concerned by each patient's particular disorder.
Source-Eurekalert

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ayurveda plant raises Alzheimer’s hope :Ashwagandha extracts reverse symptoms in mice, Indian scientists claim

Ashwagandha, a plant used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, cleaned out abnormal protein deposits in the brain and reversed damage and behavioural changes observed in Alzheimer’s disease when tested on mice, a team of Indian scientists announced today.
The scientists have shown through experiments on mice that extracts of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) can reverse within 30 days the abnormal accumulation of a protein, called beta-amyloid plaque, in the brain that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) at Manesar in Haryana fed genetically-engineered mice, which had symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease, a daily oral dose of a cocktail of chemicals called withanosides and withanolides, extracted from Ashwagandha.
The extracts appeared to boost the synthesis of a special protein in the liver that acts as a chaperone and helps remove amyloid plaque from the brain. The scientists said a component of this protein slips into the bloodstream and draws the accumulated amyloid plaque out of the brain into the bloodstream for eventual disposal and excretion from the body. The findings appear today in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“It’s like vacuum cleaning the brain to get rid of unwanted amyloid plaque,” said Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, a senior neuroscientist at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, who initiated the study eight years ago while she was director of the NBRC.
In their experiments, the scientists observed the elimination or reduction of amyloid plaque within the brain and an improvement or a complete reversal of behavioural deficiencies in the model mice, depending on the age of the animals.
Suvarna Alladi, a neurologist at the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, who is not associated with the study, said all current therapy against Alzheimer’s disease directly target the brain. “This is a novel strategy. They’re targeting the liver to remove amyloid plaque from the brain. But this is also essentially an anti-amyloid therapy which currently appears to be a promising way ahead against Alzheimer’s disease.”
Neurologists estimate that India has about four million people with dementia, the majority with Alzheimer’s disease. Current treatment involves pharmaceutical compounds designed to prevent the accumulation or the synthesis of amyloid plaque. “But the best available therapy today does not cure Alzheimer’s disease,” Alladi said.
While the use of Ashwagandha has been advocated for centuries in traditional medicine, the NBRC study is the first to show that its extracts reverse Alzheimer’s disease.
“The results appeared so stunning that we requested an independent laboratory in Canada to validate them,” Ravindranath told The Telegraph. Neurologist Edith Hamel at McGill University in Montreal and fellow researcher Jessica Mills repeated the experiments with a different model mouse and obtained similar results.
The NBRC team, including Neha Sehgal, Alok Gupta, Rupanagudi Khader Valli, and Shanker Datt Joshi collaborated with Delhi University plant chemistry experts Subhash Jain and Pankaj Khanna who extracted the withanosides and withanolides from the plant.
The researchers caution that the Ashwagandha extract is not ready for human trials yet. Ravindranath points out that the dose given to mice was very high — about one gram per kilogram bodyweight of the animal.
“The evidence with mice looks good. If this holds up in future studies, we should go into human trials,” said Manjari Tripathi, a neurologist at AIIMS, New Delhi.
“This is a desperate hunt for a devastating disease that robs its victims of memory and thinking capacity. There may also be other herbs waiting to be assessed through rigorous scientific research.”
Source:The Telegraph

Yoga, naturopathy are effective therapies for lifestyle diseases

Fifteen-year-old Dhanush R Krishna was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus at birth. In January, he was admitted to Arogyadhama, an ayurvedic centre. He underwent a therapeutic programme that included asanas, suryanamaskara, relaxation techniques, pranayama, yogic diet and meditation, as a lifestyle intervention for two weeks. Result? On admission, Dhanush had a blood sugar level of 295 mg/dl. After the treatment, which lasted for 11 days, it came down to 83mg/dl.
Dhanush’s experience was cited on Wednesday by the department of Ayush, at a press conference to promote alternative therapies for the treatment of
diabetes, blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and obesity.
GN Sreekantaiah, director, department of Ayush, said: “We have been successful in not only finding alternative therapies for illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and lower backache, but also in conducting thorough research before publishing the data. Yoga and naturopathy have emerged as effective alternative therapies for these diseases.”
The department of Ayush has been promoting research into alternative therapies for various diseases through yoga and naturopathy.
The SDM College of Naturopathy and Yoga, Dharmasthala, Dakshina Kannada district, and Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA yoga university), Bangalore, have carried out extensive research in treating patients suffering from diabetes, back pain, obesity and hypertension using natural remedies.
“Some of the natural interventions, such as therapeutic yoga sessions, relaxation and meditation, hydrotherapeutic treatment, oil massages, restrictive and therapeutic dietary measures, stress management and personalised counselling, have been effectively used to control several diseases,” said Dr Prashanth Shetty, director, SDM College of Naturopathy and Yoga.
Source:DNA

A call centre for promoting genuine Ayurveda is established in Kerala

Quack ayurvedic practitioners in Kerala will not have an easy time hereafter. A call centre identifying genuine ayurvedic centres and doctors will start functioning near Shoranur soon.
It is being set up jointly by the 110-year-old Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam, Shoranur,� and Tata Business Support Services at the Poomully Neelakantan Namboodiripad Memorial Ayurveda College run by the Sringeri Madom, Karnataka, and the Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam at Cheruthuruthy.
The call centre will list out the ayurvedic professionals� at specific locations, time-tested traditional physicians in this field, mode of treatment and units producing genuine medicines in the state apart from suggesting medicines for common ailments.
“It is a� helpline for promoting ayurveda,’’ says Arjun Bhaskaran, associate vice-president of� Tata Business Support Services.
M Muralidharan, secretary of the Keraleeya Ayurveda Samajam, who is also the secretary of the PNNM Ayurveda College, says that� initially, the call centre will function for 12 hours and gradually be extended round the clock. A committee will be formed consisting of retired professors from government and private ayurvedic medical colleges and a screening of all panchayats and taluks in Kerala will be undertaken to list out genuine ayurveda practitioners. They would be included in the directory being prepared, he says.
The call centre is mainly aimed at the propagation of ayurvedic medicines all over the world and to prevent quacks from bringing disrepute to the profession. For example, in the case of mental health, doctors at the Kottackal Arya Vaidyasala were experts and they would be referred, he says.
It is also proposed to undertake digitisation of the traditional ayurveda texts and engage in more research activities through this tie-up with the Tata Group,� Muralidharan says.
Hitherto insurance companies had found it difficult to provide� cover for patients undergoing ayurvedic treatment since they were unable to distinguish between the genuine and the fake. By undertaking such a joint venture with the Samajam, the insurance arm of the Tatas, Tata AIG, also could come up with suitable products and ensure full cover for the treatment, says Bhaskaran.
Tata Business Support Services has a similar call centre for AIDS in Tamil Nadu which was set up four years ago. They attend to 700 to 800 calls per day. It is also proposed to set up a call centre for tuberculosis in five states shortly, Bhaskaran adds.
Tata Business Support Services Ltd is one of the largest third-party customer service providers in India and one of the leading integrated end-to-end outsourcing service providers serving a global clientele.

Purple Potatoes Help Cut Blood Pressure

Consumption of purple potatoes decreases blood pressure by about 4 percent, say scientists.
The researchers say that decrease, although seemingly small, is sufficient to potentially reduce the risk of several forms of heart disease.
It is the first study to check the effects of eating potatoes on blood pressure in humans.
Purple-skinned potatoes, a boutique variety increasingly available in food stores, are noted for having high levels of healthful antioxidant compounds. And in Korea, purple potatoes are renowned in folk medicine as a way to lose weight.
Joe Vinson and colleagues thus decided to investigate the effects of eating 6-8 small microwaved purple potatoes twice a day on 18 volunteers, most of whom were overweight with high blood pressure.
The volunteers ate potatoes or no potatoes for four weeks, and then switched to the opposite regimen for another four weeks while researchers monitored systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the higher and lower numbers in a blood pressure reading like 120/80), body weight and other health indicators.
Average diastolic blood pressure dropped by 4.3 percent and systolic pressure decreased by 3.5 percent. The majority of subjects took anti-hypertensive drugs and still had a reduction in blood pressure.
None of the study participants gained weight. Vinson said that other studies have identified substances in potatoes with effects in the body similar to those of the well-known ACE-inhibitor medications, a mainstay for treating high blood pressure.
But he suspects that the effects may be due to other substances in potatoes. The scientists do not know yet whether ordinary white potatoes have the same beneficial effects.
The finding was reported in the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Source-ANI

The Bitter Truth About Sugar

Sugar is a poison and is as detrimental to health and addictive as alcohol or tobacco. Therefore, the research team from the University of California feels that the sale of products containing added sugar should be subject to regulation through taxation and legislation, just like alcohol and tobacco.
Sugar makes people fat and also changes the body's metabolism, raises blood pressure, throws hormones off balance and harms the liver. Sugar consumption has tripled worldwide over the past 50 years. Sugary foods and drinks are responsible for illnesses including obesity, heart disease, cancer and liver problems which contributes to 35million deaths a year worldwide. This damage is similar to the effects of drinking too much alcohol- which is made from distilling sugar.
Lead author of the study Prof. Robert Lustig said, "Governments need to consider major shifts in policy, such as taxes, limiting sales of sweet food and drinks during school hours, or even stopping children from buying them below a certain age."
In their article published in the journal 'Nature', entitled 'The Toxic Truth About Sugar', the scientists said, "A little is not a problem but a lot kills- slowly."

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Boosts Miscarriage Risk

Two glasses of alcohol a week raises miscarriage risk by 66 percent, reveals study.
Despite some studies showing that light drinking during pregnancy is fine, the new research, which included over 90,000 women, offer the strongest evidence yet that playing it safe might be the best strategy for women who are gestating.
"You should never give a recommendation based on a single study," said lead author Anne-Marie Nybo Anderson, an epidemiologist at the University of Copenhagen.
"But if I was to give a recommendation to my daughter, I would say that if you plan a pregnancy and if you want to be careful and do everything you can in order to not harm your future baby, then I think you should stop drinking when you start trying to become pregnant, and then after the first four months you can be a little more relaxed."
Undoubtedly heavy or binge drinking during pregnancy is dangerous to a developing foetus but research on the effects of low levels of alcohol consumption has offered contradictory results, with conclusions depending on the way studies are designed and even the country where studies are done, the Discovery News reported.
For the new study, Nybo Andersen and colleagues took advantage of a natural experiment in Denmark. For quite a few years in the late 1990s, the country's national health board relaxed its recommendations for pregnant women, suggesting that they usually avoid alcohol but if they decided to drink, they should not have more than a drink a day and they should not drink every single day.
The new guidelines turned moderate drinking during pregnancy into standard and permissible behaviour for Danish women.
Having a glass of wine with a baby on board was no longer associated with depression or other negative health habits. It became just a normal thing to do, and many women indulged - before the health board reversed its guidelines and became stringent again after a few years.
During that period of societal permissiveness, a national program enrolled more than 100,000 pregnant women to participate in a Birth Cohort study.
The participants were asked several questions about their lifestyles, health behaviours and pregnancies through digital telephone interviews.
They also revealed how much alcohol they had drunk before and how much they drank after getting pregnant.
Mothers entered the study when they were six weeks pregnant, and follow-up interviews recorded the eventual outcomes of their births.
Overall, about 55 percent of the Danish women continued drinking alcohol while pregnant during the study period. Only 2 percent averaged more than four drinks a week, and majority of them drank far more moderately.
However, according to the study, it only took two drinks a week to increase the risk of miscarriage during the first 16 weeks by 66 percent.
Women who drank between half a drink and one and a half drinks each week showed a 19 percent increased risk in pregnancy loss, but only at the start of the second trimester. After the first four months, light drinking did not seem to make a difference in rates of miscarriage or stillbirth.
"I was pretty sure that alcohol intake at such low amounts in pregnancy would not have dramatic effects," Andersen said.
"But what we found was that there was quite a high risk for miscarriage with moderate alcohol intake, and there was a stronger risk the earlier in pregnancy we looked," Andersen added.
The study has been reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Source-ANI

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Health ministry seeks Rs.250-cr financial outlay for national pharmacovigilance programme

The union health ministry has sought a financial outlay of Rs.250 crore for the national pharmacovigilance programme (PvP) for setting up more adverse drug reaction (ADR) centres and increasing the manpower during the 12th five year plan.
The ministry has sought Rs.50 crore per year during the plan period towards strengthening the programme, including setting up more ADR centres and increasing the manpower. Thus Rs.250 crore has been sought for the next five year plan period, sources said.
The programme was launched in July 2010 to capture ADR data in Indian population in a systematic way. The main objective of the programme is to monitor ADR in Indian population. The data would be captured through the medical colleges in the country which would be provided necessary administrative and logistic support.
The programme, that ultimately aims at helping the drug regulators to limit the use or even phasing out approved drugs with high toxicities, will also help generate independent, evidence based ADR data which would help in taking regulatory decisions on safety aspects of drugs marketed in India, sources said.
While endorsing the demand for Rs.250 crore for the programme, an expert panel under the Planning Commission has recently recommended to make the process of reporting adverse reactions simple and accessible. “Steps should be taken to encourage patients and consumer protection groups - to report drug reactions as it has been observed that consumers do a better job in reporting drug reaction than doctors,” the panel said.
“Develop and maintain a national (computerised) pharmacovigilance database consisting of all suspected adverse drug reactions to medicines observed in India. Mandate that the report of any suspected adverse drug reaction should be filed with the national pharmacovigilance database and not with the manufacturer. Sensitise the overworked physicians to the why and how of pharmacovigilance,” the recommendations of the panel said.
In the first phase of the programme, the target was to set up 40 ADR centres, but 20 were set up. The target is to cover the entire country through the network or ADR centres by 2017.
Source:Pharmabiz

Anna Hazare heads to Bangalore for naturopathy treatment

Anna Hazare, who is undergoing treatment in a city hospital at Gurgaon , will leave for Bangalore on Thursday for naturopathy treatment. The 74-year-old activist will fly to Bangalore in the morning and get admitted to Bangalore’s Jindal Naturecare Institute, his close aides told PTI. Meanwhile,
doctors at Medanta — The Medicity said his health has improved after the treatment.
Dr AK Dubey, medical superintendent of the hospital, said, “In the morning, Anna expressed his desire to go for a walk. He slept well on Tuesday and this is certainly a good sign.” According to the doctor, Anna is being given low-sodium diet.
The anti-graft activist was admitted to Medanta on Sunday.
During his stay in the Gurgaon hospital, allegations were levelled that he was administered overdose of anti-biotics and steroids while he was in treatment at Sancheti hospital in Pune. However, Hazare has said there was no basis to these allegations and stood by Dr KL Sancheti.
Dr RR Kasliwal, head of internal medicine at Medanta, said, “He came to us with complaints of breathlessness and high blood pressure. As far as we know he has no heart ailment and his vital organs are all right.”
Source:HT News

World meet on yoga from February 9

The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) will host an international conference on Yoga and Naturopathy from February 9 to 13.
The conference which to be held at Gayatri Vihar, Palace Grounds, will also have an Arogya Expo.
The conference aims to spread awareness on the benefits of Yoga.
More than 5,00,000 people and 5,000 delegates, including yoga exponents, health professionals, students, academicians and policy makers from across the globe are expected to take part in the International Conference on Yoga, Naturopathy and Arogya Expo – 2012.
“It was a generally held belief that hypertension, lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and pain in the lower back could be cured only by one form of medicine.
However, now, yoga and naturopathy have emerged as alternative therapies,” said G N Sreekantaiah, Director, Department of AYUSH.
Source:Deccan Herald

India is to assist Srilanka on improving the indigenous medical system.

Following discussions held by Minister Salinda Dissanayake with India’s Health and Family Welfare Minister Gulam Nabhi Azad, India has come forward to assist in improving the indigenous medical system. This meeting has taken place on the sidelines of the 66th World Homeopathy Conference held in India recently. An MOU is to be signed between the two countries shortly. As a preliminary step, a delegation led by the Secretary of India’s health and family welfare Ministry will arrive in Sri Lanka next Sunday. During this visit the Indian delegation will discuss about establishing an indigenous medicine university and a homeopathy university. They will also discuss about providing Indian assistance for Ayurvedict research activities.

Beware of Counterfeit Liquor

A university student’s experience with a cheap bottle of vodka should be a warning for others to avoid consuming cheap liquor.
21-year-old student, Lauren Platts, purchased an inexpensive bottle of vodka. She felt extremely uneasy after consuming some of the vodka.She was unable to get out of bed for two days and she felt her eyesight deteriorating gradually. Even though it is two months after the incident, she is still battling problems with her sight.
"I've been sent home from work because of the vision problems. It's really scary. I think I might have it for good, but I'm just grateful to be alive or not completely blind," she said.

New Guidelines to Minimize Surgical Infections

Healthcare Infection Society (HIS) has come up with new guidelines to prevent infection in minor surgery."These guidelines are the first ever published guidance in the UK that define, from an infection prevention and control perspective, the basic physical requirements for facilities in which surgical procedures may be performed outside conventional operating theatres and carried out within day centres and primary care," advises Professor Hilary Humphreys, lead author on the HIS guidelines and Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin.
Recent changes in healthcare include the provision of more surgical services in primary care and day centres where it may be cheaper and easier for patients to access them, rather than admit patients to an acute hospital. In addition, developments in certain areas of medicine, such as interventional radiology and cardiology, have expanded the range and complexity of procedures now undertaken outside an acute hospital setting. However, not all of these new settings are suitably equipped to prevent and control infection when undertaking minor surgery.
"The trend to carry out more minor surgery in day centres and primary care is presenting new challenges – as some of these facilities are not appropriately set up to undertake minor surgery," continues Professor Humphreys.
To address this issue, HIS convened a multi-disciplinary group tasked with producing the first ever UK guidelines to minimise infection occurring outside conventional operating theatres. The guidelines, published in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of Hospital Infection, cover topics such as appropriate ventilation, use of instruments, flooring/ceiling requirements etc.
These guidelines should now be referred to by all infection prevention and control teams and others (e.g. practice managers) involved where minor surgical procedures are to be carried out in day centres or primary care settings. They should also be considered when developing new facilities or updating/refurbishing pre-existing facilities.
Dr. Tim Boswell, Consultant Microbiologist at Nottingham University Hospitals, and Chairman of HIS comments, "The Society hopes that these guidelines will improve the safety and quality of patient care in settings outside hospital operating theatres and also recommends that on-going surveillance of outcomes, such as surgical site infection, takes place to guide future guidelines and practice."
Source-Eurekalert

Why are Men the First to Say the Three Famous Words, ‘I Love You’?

A research conducted by American scientists who interviewed 171 heterosexual students below 25 years of age, found that men are more likely to speak about their feelings and profess love much faster than women. Infact, men are the first to say 'I love you' to their girlfriends.
The research found that men took only a few weeks to fall in love while women nursed their feelings for a few months and expressed it only when they were absolutely sure of what they felt.
Women appeared to be more cautious about expressing their love, whereas men seemed to have a hidden agenda behind their rather premature expression of love.
The best way to get women to bed faster is by expressing feelings of love and perhaps sexual desire is top of mind among most men. The study also showed that men could not differentiate between lust and love, and are rather confused about their feelings.

Gene Mutation Triggers Accumulation of Fat, Other Lipids in Liver

Mutation of a gene encoding a ketone body transporter leads to accumulation of fat and other lipids in the livers of zebrafish, scientists from the University of Utah and the University of California at San Francisco have discovered This discovery, published in the Feb. 1, 2012, issue of Genes & Development, reveals that transport of ketone bodies out of the liver is a critical step in energy metabolism during fasting. It also provides a new approach for studying the development of fatty liver disease in humans.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or abnormally high accumulation of lipids in the liver, is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Lipids are a broad group of molecules that include fats, triglycerides, and cholesterol. In some people, NAFLD causes no complications, but in others, excess fat in the liver can lead to inflammation or development of scar tissue, resulting in permanent liver damage or even liver failure. NAFLD may also increase the risk of heart disease in people who are overweight or obese. The increasing prevalence of NAFLD in the United States is due, in large part, to the obesity epidemic and it is estimated that more than 6 million U.S. children already have fatty liver disease.
"Currently, there are a limited number of treatment options for decreasing excess fat in the liver and there are no methods for reversing damage to liver tissue due to NAFLD," says Amnon Schlegel, M.D., Ph.D., investigator in the University of Utah Molecular Medicine program, assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and senior author on the study. "By identifying and characterizing novel genes that regulate accumulation of lipids in the liver, we may be able to gain new insight into the physiological processes that lead to NAFLD."
Previous research has shown that many of the proteins known to control lipid metabolism in humans are also present in zebrafish. Schlegel and his colleagues began by identifying a zebrafish mutant known as red moon (rmn), which developed abnormal lipid accumulation in liver cells, without evidence of associated liver inflammation or liver damage, when exposed to fasting conditions. Schlegel and his colleagues then used a molecular genetic technique called positional cloning to isolate the gene disrupted by the rmn mutation. They found that the rmn mutation inactivated slc16a6a, a gene thought to encode a protein required in the transport of nutrients during fasting.
"Until now, the activity of the Slc16a6a protein has not been functionally characterized in any organism," says Schlegel, who's also an adjunct assistant professor of biochemistry at the U medical school. "Our studies indicate that Slc16a6a is a protein involved in the transport of β-hydroxybutyrate."
β-hydroxybutyrate is a ketone body, a compound that is produced in the liver when blood glucose is low and fatty acids are broken down for energy. During periods of fasting, most body tissues can use fatty acids as an energy source, but the brain relies on β-hydroxybutyrate and other ketone bodies for fuel. Schlegel and his colleagues discovered that, in rmn mutants deprived of nutrition, loss of Slc16a6a function disabled secretion of ketone bodies from liver cells and increased lipid accumulation in the liver. They also found that introducing the human form of the SLC16A6 protein into rmn mutant livers restored ketone body secretion.
"Our research has uncovered a previously unrecognized, but critical step, in the complicated physiology of fasting," says Schlegel. "We still don't know whether altered fasting liver metabolism influences the development of NAFLD, but knowing that Slc16a6a is required for secretion of ketone bodies from liver cells during fasting may have implications for our understanding and treatment of other medical conditions where ketone bodies play a role. These include uncontrolled type 1 diabetes, obesity, and childhood metabolic disorders caused by defects in fatty acid metabolism."
Source-Eurekalert

Kalam asks experts in medicine to develop new technology

Former President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said here on Tuesday that the country's best talent in the field of medicine should strive to develop innovative technology so that the needy could afford the fruits of modern medicine. On Tuesday, Dr. Kalam inaugurated VICTUS Femtosecond Laser Cataract Surgery machine at Maxivision Eye Care, Somajiguda.
“I call upon the Maxivision eye surgeons to form a team of experts who can explore the multidimensional uses of Femtosecond laser in treating various eye ailments. We need to utilise the technology and help people who can't afford modern medical care,” Dr. Kalam said.
The former President said that the multiple applications of the Femtosecond laser would help doctors treat a host of eye ailments.
Immediately after the inauguration, the renowned nuclear scientist also interacted with the eye surgeons of Maxivision and enquired about the newly acquired laser surgery machine.
The officials of Maxivision said that the new machine had been under test from November 2010.
Already, the eye surgeons had completed close to 450 eye surgeries by using the new laser machine. The surgeons pointed out that not a single case had reported complications after the surgery.
The VICTUS platform, essentially, helped doctors conduct cataract, refractive and therapeutic procedures of the eye on a single platform. The laser machine would help surgeons perform computer controlled precise, accurate and reproducible incisions compared to current manual procedures. The success rate for such surgery was 100 per cent, doctors added.
“This is the first such laser machine in the World and I would like to congratulate Maxivision for this accomplishment,” founder and chairman of GVK, G. V. K. Reddy said.
Chairman of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Dr. G. N. Rao, Founder of Maxivision Eye Hospitals, Dr. Kasu Prasad Reddy, Film Producer D. Ramanaidu and several other doctors were present.
Source:The Hindu

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Confusion prevails over status of six banned drugs as court is yet to deliver final verdict

Confusion prevails among the state drug authorities and the industry over the status of the union health ministry's notification dated 10/2/2011 in which it had banned six drugs including nimesulide for below 12 years of age and combination of PPA (phenylpropanolamine HCL).
Even though the Madras High Court had stayed the notification subsequently, there are complaints that the state drug authorities are not issuing manufacturing licenses on the grounds that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has not yet issued any specific guidelines on receipt of Madras High Court orders. “Upon receipt of the notification, the state drug authorities had asked the manufacturers to surrender the licenses for cancellation. But, even after the Madras High Court's stay on the notification, the concerned FDAs are not issuing the licenses and are as a matter of dilly- dallying tactics referring the requests of manufacturers to technical officers,” sources said.
Immediately after the notification, the authorities were prohibiting the distribution and sale of these formulations. But, after the court stay, these same authorities have stopped taking action on sale/distribution of these formulations and the sale is freely allowed thereafter. Under this situation not issuing licenses for manufacturers by these same authorities is not understandable, sources said.
“In ethical promotion, we are getting very good response for the product nimesulide suspension as there is a segment of paediatricians, who are strong supporters of nimesulide as NSAID in management of pain and fever in paediatric patients. As per these doctors, there is no bad experience or any negative report on this molecule. The role of FDAs in non-issuing of the license for this product in spite of unambiguous orders of Madras High Court is not tenable and posing constraint in business,” a manufacturer said.
He further said that same is the story of phenylpropanolamine. The general physicians are prescribing these time tested combinations in management of cold and fever. There is good and continuous demand in market for combinations of PPA. It is however, observed that the PPA as API is not available in the market. Though the PPA is manufactured by them, they are not permitted by concerned FDAs to sale PPA to local manufacturers. The sale of PPA is only permitted to export market/export manufacturers.
Immediately after the controversial notification last year, the CIPI had moved the Madras High Court, praying to allow time for the companies to liquidate their stocks. In its order on March 15, 2011, the court allowed the drug companies to liquidate the stocks of nimesulide suspension and PPA. Later on March 23, the court merged the CIPI case with another similar case filed by pharma major Cipla Ltd. Hearing the petition filed by Cipla, the court had stayed the entire notification of the ministry (GSR 82 E) dated February 10, 2011.
But, confusion prevailed in the market over the status of the notification once CIPI decided to withdraw the case citing several reasons, including short of funds to continue the case in the court. After the exit of CIPI from the case, there were contradicting interpretations about the status of the case, even among the regulatory authorities. There was a plea that since the court has allowed the stay to Cipla, it is applicable to it only.
But, legal experts like Manoj Tongra have clarified that since the court had stayed the entire notification, it is status quo ante, meaning companies can sell all these products as before the notification.
Though the hearing on this high voltage case has been concluded way back in September last year and the court had reserved its judgment, it is yet to deliver the final order. But, it did not vacate the stay either.
Source:Pharmabiz

Birth control pills recalled, may not prevent pregnancy

Pfizer said on Tuesday it was recalling about 1 million packets of birth control pills in the United States because they may not contain enough contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.
Pfizer said the birth control pills posed no health threat to women but it urged consumers affected by the recall to "begin using a non-hormonal form of contraception immediately."
The drugmaker said the issue involved 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets.
It said an investigation had found that some blister packs of the oral contraceptive might contain an inexact count of inert or active ingredients in the tablets.
The pills were manufactured by Pfizer and marketed by Akrimax Pharmaceuticals and shipped to warehouses, clinics and retail pharmacies nationwide, the company said.
Source:Reuters

Study questions proton therapy for prostate cancer

A warning to men considering a pricey new treatment for prostate cancer called proton therapy: Research suggests it might have more side effects than traditional radiation does.
A study of Medicare records found that men treated with proton beams later had one-third more bowel problems, such as bleeding and blockages, than similar men given conventional radiation.
This is an observational study so it is not definitive, but it is one of the largest to compare these treatments. Proton therapy is rapidly growing in use — Medicare covers it — even though no rigorous studies have tested whether it is as safe or effective as usual care.
It costs around $48,000 — at least twice as much as other prostate radiation treatments. Hospitals are rushing to build proton centers, and nine are operating now — sites include Boston, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Fla., and Loma Linda, Calif., east of Los Angeles. Promoters often claim it is less likely to cause complications.
"There's no clear evidence that proton therapy is better" for prostate cancer, and the new results suggest it may cause more complications, said Dr. Ronald Chen, a radiation specialist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
He led the study and will give results at a medical meeting in San Francisco later this week. They were discussed Tuesday in a telephone news conference sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and two other cancer groups.
Proton therapy uses proton particles instead of X-rays. In theory, it targets radiation more directly to tumors and spares healthy tissue, which should lead to fewer side effects. Its value is established for treating eye and certain pediatric tumors. But it often is marketed for prostate cancer — a far more common condition.
Researchers checked Medicare records on more than 12,000 men treated for early-stage prostate cancers from 2002 through 2007. Follow-up information was available for four years on average.
First they compared an older version of external beam radiation to a newer form that now dominates the field — intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT. It, too, targets radiation more precisely to the prostate, and this is the first large study to show it was better than the older method — even though it came into use a decade ago.
"We found that patients who were treated with IMRT required fewer additional treatments after radiation which indicates better cancer control," Chen said. There also were slightly fewer bowel problems, although there also were slightly more sexual problems among men treated with IMRT.
A second part of the study compared 684 men with proton therapy to a similar group treated with IMRT. There were 18 cases of bowel problems for every 100 proton therapy patients per each year of follow-up versus 12 such problems for those treated with IMRT.
"That's a red flag," said Dr. Bruce Roth, a cancer specialist at Washington University in St. Louis who is involved with the cancer conference but had no role in the study.
It's too soon to know whether proton therapy will prove more effective to justify higher side effects, but seeing this difference so soon in its use is troubling, he said. Doctors don't want a repeat of the IMRT experience, "where it becomes the new standard of care without that comparative data," he said.
The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality paid for the study, which included researchers from the National Cancer Institute. The government also is paying for a definitive study to compare proton therapy to other types.
It "clearly is a promising therapy," but it has not yet shown an advantage for treating prostate cancer, said Dr. Jason Efstathiou of Massachusetts General Hospital, who will lead the new study.
Early results from patients at his hospital suggests there are fewer complications in the first six months after proton therapy, but "maybe this is a short-term advantage" that disappears or does not occur at every hospital using it, he said.
Only a rigorous study will tell. It starts this summer and will give results in three to five years.
Source:AP

‘We are not quacks

CLAIMS by some Australian doctors that universities should stop teaching "nonsense" alternative medicine courses have angered a Byron Bay naturopath.
Michelle Lowe said she had studied the Complementary Natural Medicine course at Southern Cross University for four years.
"It's a very demanding course where we actually study pre-medical science and clinical diagnosis," she said.
"We are certainly not quacks as some of these doctors have claimed."
The Friends of Science in Medicine last week claimed that universities had been trashing their reputations by teaching "quackery" and pseudoscience.
The Australian group has written to university vice-chancellors saying they should back evidence-based science rather than give "undeserved credibility to what in many cases would be better described as quackery".
One of the group's founders, Professor John Dwyer, said 19 universities across the country were offering "degrees in pseudoscience".
"It's deplorable, but we didn't realise how much concern there was out there for universities' reputations until we tapped into it," Prof Dwyer said.
Michelle said she totally disagreed with the group's claims.
"There is an increasing demand for natural remedies, as well as advice on diet and lifestyle.
"Practitioners in our industry are all about preventative medicine as well as treating the symptoms with herbs that have been around for thousands of years.
"Herbal remedies do work - there have been clinical trials to back that up."
Michelle said naturopaths provided a viable alternative to doctors.
Head of SCU's School of Health and Human Sciences Iain Graham said he welcomed any scrutiny of educational practices.
"Eighty per cent of Australians seek alternative therapies," Professor Graham said.
"Many alternative approaches to health have been around longer than conventional medicine.
"Overseas, there is a broader view of these types of treatments and they are well accepted, particularly in many European countries."
SCU offers an undergraduate Bachelor of Clinical Sciences and as part of completing that degree, students can choose to study naturopathy and osteopathy.
Prof Graham said the uni aimed to produce capable and creative practitioners.
Michelle Lowe
Complementary Natural Medicine student
Herbal remedies do work - there have been clinical trials to back that up.
Source:Bryon Shire News

Milk may Boost Brain Function

A glass of milk could boost brain and mental performance, reports study published in the International Dairy Journal. Researchers found that adults with higher intakes of milk and milk products scored significantly higher on memory and other brain function tests than those who drank little to no milk. Milk drinkers were five times less likely to "fail" the test, compared to non milk drinkers.Researchers at the University of Maine put more than 900 men and women ages 23 to 98 through a series of brain tests – including visual-spatial, verbal and working memory tests – and tracked the milk consumption habits of the participants. In the series of eight different measures of mental performance, regardless of age and through all tests, those who drank at least one glass of milk each day had an advantage. The highest scores for all eight outcomes were observed for those with the highest intakes of milk and milk products compared to those with low and infrequent milk intakes. The benefits persisted even after controlling for other factors that can affect brain health, including cardiovascular health and other lifestyle and diet factors. In fact, milk drinkers tended to have healthier diets overall, but there was something about milk intake specifically that offered the brain health advantage, according to the researchers.
In addition to the many established health benefits of milk from bone health to cardiovascular health, the potential to stave off mental decline may represent a novel benefit with great potential to impact the aging population. While more research is needed, the scientists suggest some of milk's nutrients may have a direct effect on brain function and that "easily implemented lifestyle changes that individuals can make present an opportunity to slow or prevent neuropsychological dysfunction."
New and emerging brain health benefits are just one more reason to start each day with lowfat or fat free milk. Whether in a latte, in a smoothie, on your favorite cereal, or straight from the glass, milk at breakfast can be a key part of a healthy breakfast that help sets you up for a successful day. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk daily for adults and each 8-ounce glass contains nine essential nutrients Americans need, including calcium and vitamin D.
Source-Eurekalert

Reliability Holds Key to Lasting Happiness, Not Love

Those couples who can rely on each other are the ones to have the most successful lasting relationships, states to a new study.
Scientists at the Edinburgh University found that what people think they desire in a partner is often unrelated to what they end up choosing."The most likely romantic partners are those that are around you every day at times when you are looking for a match," the Daily Express quoted relationship specialist Dr Lars Penke as saying.
"Students, exactly at the age when most people look for romance, are fortunate enough that they are surrounded by many potential partners," he said.
The findings of the study were published in the European Journal of Personality.
Source-ANI

You can practice Yoga at International Airport...

Last week the San Francisco International Airport announced the opening of its new "Yoga Room,” a peaceful space in which travelers can practice yoga, do breathing exercises or simply meditate. The room, represented in airport directional signage by a pictograph of a seated figure in the lotus position, is located past the security check-in, allowing folks to wind down from that often stressful experience before boarding their plane.
I called Baxter Bell, an M.D. and yoga teacher in Oakland, Calif., to ask about the potential health benefits yoga might provide an air traveler.
“I think it could be of some benefit,” Bell says. “The general tenor of travel these days is so stressful, it’s almost designed to get the blood pressure up and stimulate the fight-or-flight response. Stretching [as in doing yoga] can switch from the sympathetic, fight-or-flight nervous system to the parasympathetic, or rest and digest,” system. That could go a long way toward reducing stress.
Bell says he actually just flew into the San Francisco airport but was so eager to get to his nearby home that he didn’t check out the yoga room, which the airport press office says is the first of its kind in the nation. “I would be surprised if many people chose to pop in before going home,” he said. “But it’s a good antidote for the first part of a travel day, which is getting into the airport.” A yoga interlude in a designated room would also be useful “during a layover,” when it would be “such a great place to chill out.”
Chilling out is all well and good, but might there be any non-stress-related benefits to practicing yoga at the airport? Bell, who also writes a blog about yoga and healthy aging, supposes that doing some yoga might offer a bit of protection against deep vein thrombosis, the development of blood clots that sometimes occurs when people remain inactive during long flights by “getting the circulation going.” But he thinks walking up and down the aisle during the flight itself, or doing the seat-bound exercises some airlines recommend on seat cards, might be more beneficial in that regard.
I asked whether people who’ve never done yoga before should avail themselves of airport yoga; the San Francisco airport offers mats and some props but no formal instruction. “It’s a tough call,” he said, “with all the hoopla [surrounding the upcoming publication of William Broad’s book ‘The Science of Yoga’ and a much-discussed New York Times article about it]. It would be irresponsible to just go in and start practicing yoga if you never have practiced yoga before,” just as it would be irresponsible to tackle a rock-climbing wall for the first time without instruction, he says. But yoga newbies can still benefit from “gentle breathing and meditation,” Bell says.
And many people might enjoy their flight more if they manage to squeeze in few simple “inversions,” poses in which the head is positioned below the heart, before boarding. “A simple standing forward-folding bend, downward-facing dog, or legs-up-the-wall pose could prepare you for sitting on the plane, could possible prepare you physiologically to handle the flight better.”
Source:WP

The medicine that may end up killing the patient

A new international accord between the majority of the EU countries - a treaty on “Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union” - was born last night –Monday 30th January-. Presumably the bearers were 27 EU leaders but 2 of them refused, for the time-being, to adopt the new-born. The birth took place behind closed doors and no representative of the European peoples was allowed in the room.Now the 25 member states will start the long and cumbersome march of ratification in the respective national institutions. However this treaty, differently to the custom EU treaty ratification process, would enter into force as soon as 12 Eurozone countries will have ratified it.
The purpose of the treaty is to impose long-term fiscal and financial stability to the member states, the underlying assumption being that this should bring about growth. Many leading political figures and economists raised their voices to argue the impossibility to generate the latter solely with the former. Yet, the only initiative to stimulate the European demand has come from the Commission President J.M. Barroso has proposed to reallocate funds originally intended to regional policies. As much as this should be welcome, the amount considered is clearly insufficient to give the boost the European economy needs.
On the request of Germany, the decisions taken during the summit were mainly about enforcing mid and long-term austerity measures. The treaty is being referred to as “fiscal pact” but this name is misleading because all the measures go in the direction of reducing expenses and restricting budgets. No real fiscal solidarity between states is being established. In other words, if a country is in a downward spiral there is no mechanism to transfer income from surplus to deficit countries, instead the country should ask for help to the European Stability Mechanism, an intergovernmental organisation. The Eurozone might qualify as a monetary union but for sure not as a fiscal union. It is important to note that, the European parliamentarians, i.e. the elected representatives of the citizens of Europe, have not been part of this dramatically important process. The new treaty will use the European Commission and the European Court of Justice to enforce the rules but the European Commission has seen its powers removed like never before and has de-facto become a secretariat of the European Council.
Taking a step back to regard the process of European unification, this treaty reaffirms the coup d’état given by the states to the integration process. Since the crisis started in 2008 any pretended solution, from the EFSF to this “fiscal pact”, has increasingly downgraded the European Commission and consistently ignored the European Parliament. This dynamic has not brought about benefits; whereas the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by the US and the financial markets, the current economic crisis has its roots in the actions taken by the Franco-German directoire and in the inaction of the EU as a whole. It is hence worrying that this treaty will continue administering the medicine that may end up killing the patient.
A real European solution requires more than governance; it requires a government. The Franco-German directoire has proven ineffective in governing the crisis precisely because it has put the national interests before the European interests. During the last years the communitarian institutions have proven to be as effective in pursuing the common interest as they have been incapable of showing the necessary leadership. The only way the European Commission can stop the tendency of becoming the Council’s secretariat is if it manages to gain legitimacy in front of the European peoples. Therefore, it is necessary that the next European elections are not only about the European Parliament but also about the election of the leader of the European government. i.e. the President of the European Commission. Once such a leadership is established, it will be possible to create a proper EU budget and an EU treasury capable of replacing the “fiscal pact” with a real fiscal union.
This intergovernmental treaty is neither a solution to the short-term problems nor it will be the long-term solution to the problems of Europe. However it can be an intermediate solution in the run-up to the construction of a real European government which could emerge from the new EP elections in 2 years’ time.
There is still time but… is there political will?
Source:thenewfederalist.eu

Alternative medicine can be scientific, say besieged academics of Australia

RMIT University’s School of Health Sciences has rejected the suggestion that it peddles pseudo-scientific quackery via its courses in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Acting head of the school Dr Ray Myers has defended RMIT’s health science programs as “evidence-based education and practice”, citing collaboration in clinical research of CAM treatments funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Dr Myers was speaking in the face of a campaign by a coalition of prominent medical researchers to expunge higher education of the “undisciplined nonsense” taught in CAM courses at Australia’s “somewhat lesser universities”.
The campaigning group, Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM), has about 400 signatories, including immunologist Sir Gustav Nossal and Professor Jock Findlay, chairman of the NHMRC’s Embryo Research Licensing Committee. It has written to every vice-chancellor in Australia asking for a review of their health science courses to “ensure that primacy is given to scientific principles based on experimental evidence”. The letter laments the spread of chiropractic studies to 19 Australian universities, and complains that ‘energy medicine’, ‘tactile healing’, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, acupuncture, and reflexology are taught “as if they were science”.
Group co-founder Emeritus Professor John Dwyer from the University of NSW said that FSM wants “vice-chancellors to ask their deans of science what’s the heck’s going on … It’s just extraordinary that such undisciplined nonsense is being taught in universities around Australia.”
“One of the complaints that we have about so-called alternative medicine is that it doesn’t strive to be tested. … modern medicine is totally devoted to doing everything we can to take this evidence-based approach and do good science and do good research into the things we do to people,” he said. “Alternative medicine doesn’t do that – it’s more than happy to rely on tradition and anecdote and it doesn’t really want to be tested.”
However, Dr Myers said that CAM research at RMIT was conducted in a thoroughly scientific manner, with the NHMRC funding clinical trials of alternative medicines. In a clinical study granted A$560,000 by the NHMRC and A$30,000 by the National Institute of Complementary Medicine, the university was collaborating with two Melbourne hospitals on a clinical study investigating the use of ginseng, a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, for improving lung function in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), he said.
The NHMRC had also granted A$400,000 for a project in which the university was collaborating with three Melbourne hospitals on a three-year clinical trial of acupuncture for pain management in emergency departments, Dr Myers said. “The project follows the promising results of pilot studies by RMIT researchers, in which more than 1,000 patients received acupuncture treatment for acute pain relief at the emergency department of the Northern Hospital.”
The professions of Chinese medicine, chiropractic and osteopathy are government regulated, Dr Myers said, with RMIT programs in these fields meeting current professional standards and subject to external accreditation. Chiropractic and osteopathy were areas in which clinical research was limited, but RMIT’s education program incorporated the “best available evidence, while promoting further clinical research into these treatments,” Dr Myers said. “RMIT stands by its long record of evidence-based research and the high quality of its health sciences programs.”
But FSM is not buying it. “Those universities involved in teaching pseudoscience give such ideologies undeserved credibility, damage their academic standing and put the public at risk,” the group’s letter states.
The great danger, said Professor Dwyer, was that people who have chronic health problems or who have been persuaded that doctors do not have the answers are delaying the “proper investigation and treatment” of their illness by instead seeking help from therapists offering alternative medicine.
“These are dangerous delusions, and our campaign at the moment is aimed at those somewhat lesser universities, but nonetheless universities, that are offering and teaching pseudoscience as if there was an evidence base to support it, because obviously that gives credibility in the eye of the public,” Professor Dwyer said.
Citing the late CEO of Apple, Professor Dwyer said that “Steve Jobs spent a year with his cancer of the pancreas trusting homeopathic remedies, and by the time he got to the surgeons it was all over.” It is worth noting the veracity of this claim by Professor Edzard Ernst about Mr Jobs treating his cancer with homeopathy has left some struggling to find evidence for it, while others have claimed that for nine months after his diagnosis, Mr Jobs spurned what could have been life-saving surgery in favour of not homeopathy but a vegan diet and herbal remedies.
The “lesser universities” that have aroused the ire of FSM include the Australian Catholic University, Charles Sturt University, Central Queensland University, Edith Cowan University, Macquarie University, Monash University, Murdoch University, RMIT University, Southern Cross University, Swinburne University, the University of Ballarat, the University of New England, the University of Newcastle, the University of Queensland, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Western Sydney, and the University of Wollongong. To buttress its case, FSM has gathered a list of offending courses, which includes Chinese Medicine, Wellness studies, Applied Eastern Anatomy, Clinical Science with options to study osteopathy and naturopathy, Mind/Body Medicine, and many others.
“It should be a policy that all universities, higher education institutions, should not be involved in in this woolly teaching,” Professor Dwyer said, adding that “I suspect that these are well attended, popular, money-earning courses for cash-strapped universities.”
The claims of FSM, however, ignore the evidence about CAM in higher education, said Dr Wardle, a NHMRC Research Fellow at the University of Queensland’s School of Population Health and co-director of the Network of Researchers in Public Health and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NORPHCAM), an international group promoting clinical research in CAM.
“They’re actually not that interested in evidence, because the overwhelming evidence is that putting CAM into universities has increased the standards, decreased the fringe element, and improved public safety, so it definitely smacks of dogmatism,” said Dr Wardle, who is a naturopath.
“They love to say that there’s no such thing as complementary medicine and conventional medicine, there’s just evidence-based and non-evidence-based, but, for example, St John’s Wort for over a decade now has been shown to be equally as effective as any pharmaceutical indication for mild to moderate depression, yet there’s still a large group of doctors who refuse to integrate it simply because it’s a herbal medicine,” Dr Wardle said.
The world of CAM is not a “homogenous entity”, said Dr Wardle. “There is a lot of crap, but there’s good stuff, and treating it like it’s all the same thing is very, very fraught. Taking it out of universities runs a real risk of the fringe element getting a stronger voice in the profession.”
“There are studies from Canada, Australia, and Britain that show that CAM practitioners are less anti-vaccination when they’re university trained, and they refer more to conventional [medical] providers when things get serious if they’re university trained.”
“If you look at chiropractic courses [in universities], most of it is human physiology. Chiropractic is certainly not the dominant part of the course. If you look at naturopathy, they do learn herbal medicine and nutrition but they also learn basic health science: they learn the common language of health practice – they learn what a physio or a medical doctor or a nurse would learn. Putting it into the universities diminishes the fringe element,” Dr Wardle said. “If they [FSM] are really worried about public safety they should be not trying to exclude and ostracise them from the university sector.”
He questioned how representative FSM’s roll call of doctors really is, saying that he has just completed a survey of every rural GP in NSW and qualitative interviews with about 30. “About a third wouldn’t have anything to do with complementary medicine providers, another third were very open to it – maybe too open – and the other third if they knew a practitioner who got results they’d send people on.”
About 70 per cent of Australians use CAM and it thus makes sense for research and training to be carried out within the regulation and scientific rigour of the universities, Dr Wardle said.
Source:The Conversation

Monday, 30 January 2012

Blood Pressure Differences Between Arms Could Signal Heart Risk

People whose systolic blood pressure -- the upper number in their reading -- is different in their left and right arms may be suffering from a vascular disease that could increase their risk of death, British researchers report.
The arteries under the collarbone supply blood to the arms, legs and brain. Blockage can lead to stroke and other problems, the researchers noted, and measuring blood pressure in both arms should be routine.
"This is an important [finding] for the general public and for primary care doctors," said Dr. William O'Neill, a professor of cardiology and executive dean of clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
"Traditionally, most people just check blood pressure in one arm, but if there is a difference, then one of the arteries has disease in it," he said.
The arteries that run under the collarbone can get blocked, especially in smokers and diabetics, he noted. "If one artery is more blocked than the other, then there is a difference in blood pressure in the arms," O'Neill explained.
"Doctors should, for adults -- especially adult smokers and diabetics -- at some point check the blood pressure in both arms," he said. "If there is a difference it should be looked into further."
The report appears in the Jan. 30 online edition of The Lancet.
For the study, a team led by Dr. Christopher Clark, from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter in Devon, England, reviewed 28 studies that looked at differences in systolic blood pressure between arms.
This process is called a meta-analysis. It uses data from previously published studies to find trends that may not have surfaced in the original data.
This analysis found that a difference of 15 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or more between readings was linked with an increased risk of narrowing or hardening of the arteries supplying the lower limbs, called peripheral vascular disease.
The risk of reduced blood flow to the legs and feet was increased 2.5 times and the risk of decreased blood flow to the brain was increased 1.6 times, the researchers found.
The difference in blood pressure was also associated with a 70 percent increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 60 percent increased risk of death from any cause, the authors added.
The risk of having peripheral vascular disease was also increased with a 10 mm Hg difference in blood pressure between arms, the researchers noted.
It makes no difference which arm has the higher or lower pressure, it's the difference between them that matters, the study authors said.
Finding peripheral vascular disease early and treating it by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol as well as giving up smoking can help reduce the risk of death, Clark's group said.
"Our findings suggest that a difference in [systolic blood pressure] of 10 mm Hg or more, or 15 mm Hg or more, between arms could identify patients at high risk of asymptomatic peripheral vascular disease and mortality who might benefit from further assessment," the researchers concluded.
"Findings from our study should be incorporated into future guidelines for hypertension [high blood pressure] and blood pressure measurement," they added.
Another expert agreed that when it comes to blood pressure monitoring, both arms matter.
"These findings further reinforce blood pressure measurement guidelines of the American Heart Association, World Health Organization, International Society of Hypertension and European Society of Hypertension, which recommend that blood pressure should be measured in both arms at initial assessment," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and spokesman for the American Heart Association.
He believes that, "individuals found to have differences in systolic blood pressure in between arms of greater than 10 or 15 mm Hg should undergo further vascular assessment."
More information
For more information on high blood pressure, visit the American Heart Association.
Source:HealthDay

Doctors 'should check blood pressure on both arms

Measuring blood pressure on both arms rather than only one can reveal an elevated risk of heart disease or even death, according to a study released Monday.
In a review of medical literature, researchers at the University of Exeter found that a difference in the so-called systolic blood pressure between arms can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble.
People with high blood pressure -- also called hypertension -- have an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia, previous research has shown.
High blood pressure is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as 140 over 90 millimetres of mercury or more. Mercury is used in blood-pressure gauges.
The first number measures maximum heart pressure (systolic), while the second measures pressure when the heart is in a resting phase (diastolic).
Published in the British medical journal The Lancet, the findings suggest that both-arm blood pressure checks should become standard practise, the researchers said.
The probe reviewed 28 studies with data on the difference in systolic blood pressure between arms.
They concluded that a gap of 15mm of mercury or more was linked with an increased risk of the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet.
It was also associated with pre-existing cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood supply to the brain and can contribute to dementia.
Above this threshold, death rates due to cardiovascular problems likewise went up.
Most such cases are "clinically silent" and double-arm checks would better identify those at risk, the study said.
Source:AFP

India, Tunisia to launch joint research projects in biotechnology, medical science

India and Tunisia will launnch joint research programmes in the field of biotechnology, medical sciences and other allied sectors of the science and technology with a view to find out and promote areas of joint research beneficial to the people in both the countries.
The research will be held under the Programme of Cooperation in the fields of Science and Technology for the years 2012-14. The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology and the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, (MHESR) will partner for the programme.
The proposals have been invited from Indian and Tunisian universities, research centres and institutes to submit joint proposals for scientific and technological research and development projects. The key areas identified included biotechnology, material sciences, medical sciences and science popularisation. The duration of the projects should be of two years which could be extended by one year, on the basis of progress assessment, after mutual agreement of both Coordinating Ministries.
Both the partnering departments also have worked out the mode of supports like visits by the project researchers from the two countries. The jointly approved projects are likely to be started in September 2012.
Tunisia has been looking for opportunities to strengthen the ties with India in the field of science and technology. The third meeting of the Joint Commission Meeting will be held soon in Delhi to take forward ongoing collaborations. Both the countries also have joint working groups in many areas including drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Source:Pharmabiz

Smells can Evoke Powerful Emotional Memories

Smells can revoke powerful and emotional memories from the past more efficiently in comparison to sounds, finds a new study.
A well-known idea called the "Proustian phenomenon" proposes that distinctive smells have more power than any other sense to help us recall distant memories, the Telegraph reported.
The theory is named after the French writer Marcel Proust, who in his novel 'A la recherche du temps perdu' (In search of lost time) describes a character vividly recalling long-forgotten memories from his childhood after smelling a tea-soaked madeleine biscuit.
Experts have suggested that the special impact of odour on our memory could be related to the proximity of the closeness of our olfactory bulb, which helps us process smells, and the amygdala and hippocampus brain regions which control emotion and memory.
However, although the theory is well-known anecdotally, no studies have been able to firmly establish that the phenomenon even exists.
Now researchers could have gone a step closer to proving it after an experiment showed smells trigger more detailed, arousing and unpleasant memories of painful experiences than sounds.
A team from Utrecht University in The Netherlands recruited 70 female students and played them video footage designed to provoke aversion, such as car accidents and reports on the Rwandan genocide.
While the film was played, the smell of cassis was pumped into the room, coloured lights were directed onto the back wall and neutral music was played in the background.
A week later, the participants were asked to recall their memories of the film while exposed to either the same smell, lights or sounds used in the initial screening.
Those who were given the cassis smell remembered more details about the film and found their memories more unpleasant and arousing than those who had the background music as a memory trigger, although the lights and the smell were equally effective.
Researchers said that there was no difference between the triggers in two other categories measuring how evocative and vivid the memories were.
Re-testing participants after a longer period than one week could produce more distinctive results, they said.
The researchers said that the findings "do not confirm the Proust phenomenon", but could prove useful for research into post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes patients to recall vivid and painful experiences.
The study has been published in the Cognition and Emotion journal.
Source-ANI

Sleep Patterns - Problems, Prevalence and Persistence in First Three Years of Life

Sleep problems in early childhood can be easily missed or recognized by parents and doctors. A short and flexible screening tool (like a questionnaire) may help the process of recognizing these children do that corrective measures can be instituted.Sleep is essential for daily functioning, sleep related issues are routinely addressed through anticipatory guidance in pediatric settings. However, research indicates that pediatric sleep problems may go undetected during routine clinical care. Although there is no gold standard for sleep assessment during infancy and early childhood, a study confirms the importance of focused screening for sleep problems during infancy and early childhood that goes further than merely asking if the child has problems sleeping.
This study was performed in United States in which 359 mother/child pairs participated.Sleep questionnaires were administered to mothers when children were 6, 12, 24, and 36 months old. Sleep variables included parent response to a nonspecific query about the presence/absence of a sleep problem and 8 specific sleep outcome domains: sleep onset latency, sleep maintenance, 24-hour sleep duration, daytime sleep/naps, sleep location, restlessness/vocalization, nightmares/night terrors, and snoring.
The sample was 64% white participants and 31% African American participants. In the 6- months survey point, the overall rate of parent-reported sleep problems and behaviors around sleep maintenance did not significantly differ by race or family income at any time point. However, there was differential attrition over time among African Americans and those in the lowest education and income groups. Those from lower-income families were reported to have longer sleep onset latency, shorter overall sleep duration, less independent sleep, and more snoring than were white children and those fromhigher-income families.
Reported napping/daytime sleep, vocalization/restlessness, and nightmares/night terrors differed by race or family income at only one time point. Nightmares/ night terrors and restlessness/ vocalization were significantly associated with parent report of a sleep problem from 12 to 36 months of age.
While the presence of a nonspecific sleep problem was reported by roughly 10% of parents at each time point, parent report of a sleep problem was significantly associated with snoring only at 12 months and with the location of a child’s sleep only at 24 months. Parent report of a sleep problem was significantly associated with longer sleep onset latency across all age ranges, as well as poorer sleep maintenance and shorter sleep duration at 6 to 24months but less strongly at 36 months.
21% to 35% of those who were reported to have a sleep problem during infancy showed persistent sleep problems 1 to 2 1/2 years later. Night waking and shorter sleep duration were perceived as sleep problems by 6 months of age and then remained particular concerns for parents through 2 years of age. Also, across all time points, the majority of children (62.5%–81.9%) were sleeping in their own bed.
Parents did not seem to associate snoring with sleep problems as a result snoring could be completely overlooked during well-child visits, despite its known risk for morbidity. It is noteworthy that the failure of a parent to recognize and report problems related to these domains could lead to errors in clinical decision making. Like sampling error may have influenced prevalence estimates of sleep problems. All sleep measures were based on parent-report. Since there is no single validated instrument for assessing sleep problems in children aged 6 to 36 months, the data was pooled from 2 independent sleep questionnaires. Sleep problem and behavioral domains that were the focus of this study are culturally defined to varying degrees; study did not propose nor examine potential mechanisms underlying sleep problems.
Parent interpretation and report of a sleep problem during early childhood may be inconsistent with clinical criteria for diagnosing pediatric sleep disorders, especially when assessed via a nonspecific query. To clarify parental concerns about sleep during early development and ensure that clinically relevant sleep issues are not overlooked, it is recommended that sleep problems be screened by using a flexible family-centered approach while addressing specific sleep behaviors and symptoms that have known clinical significance.
Reference: Prevalence, Patterns, and Persistence of Sleep Problems in the First 3 Years of Life; Kelly Byars et al; Pediatrics 2012.

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