Saturday, 12 May 2012
Being healthy and losing weight are not only about crash diets, clothing sizes and numbers on the scale, experts say. Incorporating fitness into your life can boost your confidence and make you feel better inside and out, said the experts, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Start by throwing away all clothing catalogs with skinny models in skimpy bikinis on the front," Beth Kitchin, assistant professor of nutrition sciences, said in a university news release. "Then buy a bathing suit that flatters your shape. Going to extremes for weight loss leads to yo-yo dieting and makes you feel bad about yourself." "The goal is to be a healthy size for you, so focus your attitude and energy on becoming the best version of yourself and enjoy the journey to health," added Lauren Whitt, wellness coordinator at the university. The UAB experts said it's important to shape up for summer safely, and offered the following tips on how to reach your weight-loss goals: Be realistic. Consult your doctor about how much weight you need to lose to be healthy, and then set up a timeline to meet that goal. You can safely lose up to 2 pounds per week, they said. Don't overdo it. Make just one lifestyle change each day, such as cutting out a soda or eating breakfast. "Taking small steps toward your goal will make it more attainable," Whitt said. "An early-morning meal with protein should keep you satisfied until lunchtime and help you resist high-fat, sugary mid-morning snacks." Move more. It's important to increase your activity level, the experts noted. Start slow and be consistent. List exercise as an event on your work calendar so you have a reminder. Personalize your workout. Although most people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, the workout you choose should suit your personality, the experts advised. "If you are a social person, try going to a group class like Zumba or step aerobics," Whitt said. "Conversely, if you are more into a solo workout, go with walking, running or even swimming. If you burn at least 250 calories through exercise and cut out at least 250 calories from food -- one 20-ounce bottle of soda -- you easily can lose at least 1 pound a week." Don't skip meals. A better way to reduce calories is to keep a record of your food intake for a few days. "You'll find out where extra calories are coming from," Kitchin said. Make wise food choices. Half of your meals should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter should be grains and the last quarter should be lean proteins such as poultry and fish. It's also important to choose low-fat and high-fiber recipes; limit your portions; skip sugary drinks; and opt for foods that are baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted or steamed over those that are fried, buttered, creamed or breaded. The experts said women should have no more than one alcoholic drink and men should have no more than two drinks per day. "Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides calories without nutrients," Whitt said. "If you skip it altogether, you can reach your goals more easily." An occasional treat doesn't mean you can't meet your weight-loss goals, the experts added. Getting in shape does not require perfection; just get back on track the next morning. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on how to become more physically active. Source:HealthDay
Hyderabad-based eHealth Access, an innovative healthcare company, has launched a healthcare portal that provides online medical consultations for individuals and corporates. The new web portal provides an innovative ecosystem for patients who seek healthcare consultations. It uses an advanced telemedicine technology to serve the customers. The main objective of the launch of the portal is to provide 24/7 health consultation at affordable costs to individuals and corporate companies. In fact this initiative is a first of its kind platform connecting its customers to specialists via web and phone. "It is an innovative concept. It has shown a great acceptance by individuals and corporates which has 33000 customers and 27 corporates with 98.3 per cent user satisfaction rate through dialurdoctor.com which is now ehealthaccess.com,'' said S Jayadeep Reddy, founder CEO and MD, eHealthAccess.com. eHealthAccess.com serves two types of customers - individuals and corporates. An individual or a corporate customer can subscribe and avail services like doctor on call, online consultation (video conference, chat, email), medical history record, family health consultation, access to easily understandable health information and health videos and more. For corporates, they provide wellness programmes like health talks and health camps apart from providing regular services of individual customers. eHealth Access also puts up health kiosks in organizations where in the employees can avail all the services directly from the kiosk. 'In today's busy lives it becomes almost impossible to pull out time for basic healthcare consultation which could sometimes turn out to be fatal. eHealth Access has presented an innovative service of connecting employees to doctors at the employees' convenience. We have recorded positive results and feedback. This has proven to be beneficial for the employees and the organization, said Rahid, GM - HR, Hartex Ltd. eHealth Access recently received Rs.20 million angel funding from Akasam Consulting to expand its business activities. Source:Pharmabiz
Researchers unveiled a population clock predicting that Japan could theoretically become extinct in 1,000 years due to sharp decline in birth rates. Academics in the northern city of Sendai said that Japan's population of children aged up to 14, which now stands at 16.6 million, is shrinking at the rate of one every 100 seconds. Their extrapolations pointed to a Japan with no children left within a millennium. "If the rate of decline continues, we will be able to celebrate the Children's Day public holiday on May 5, 3011 as there will be one child," said Hiroshi Yoshida, an economics professor at Tohoku University. "But 100 seconds later there will be no children left," he said. "The overall trend is towards extinction, which started in 1975 when Japan's fertility rate fell below two." Yoshida said he created the population clock to encourage "urgent" discussion of the issue. Another study released earlier this year showed Japan's population is expected to shrink to a third of its current 127.7 million over the next century. Government projections show the birth rate will hit just 1.35 children per woman within 50 years, well below the replacement rate. Meanwhile, life expectancy -- already one of the highest in the world -- is expected to rise from 86.39 years in 2010 to 90.93 years in 2060 for women and from 79.64 years to 84.19 years for men. More than 20 percent of Japan's people are aged 65 or over, one of the highest proportions of elderly in the world. Japan has very little immigration and any suggestion of opening the borders to young workers who could help plug the population gap provokes strong reactions among the public. The greying population is a headache for policymakers who are faced with trying to ensure an ever-dwindling pool of workers can pay for a growing number of pensioners. But for some Japanese companies the inverting of the traditional ageing pyramid provides commercial opportunities. Unicharm said Friday that sales of its adult diapers had "slightly surpassed" those for babies in the financial year to March, for the first time since the company moved into the seniors market. Unicharm started selling diapers for babies in 1981 and those for adults in 1987, said spokesman Kazuya Kondo, who declined to give specific figures on the sales. Source-AFP
Friday, 11 May 2012
Waste from people, pets, pigs and even seagulls may be playing a significant role in the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a number of new studies warn. Widespread fear of diminishing returns for modern medicine is becoming amplified, scientists say, by the discovery of soils and waterways polluted with both traces of antibiotics and bacteria encoded with antibiotic-resistant genes, the information that tells a microbe how to evade drugs designed to kill it. And even if that fortified microbe isn't capable of causing illness in humans itself, scientists add, its DNA could find its way into the more malignant microbes in the environment. "Antibiotic resistance is likely the biggest public health challenge that we'll be facing this century," said Amy Pruden, an expert on antibiotic resistance at Virginia Tech. "We're in a state of complacency right now. We count on antibiotics working for us, but they are slowly starting to lose their effectiveness." While progress has been made in the clinical realm -- limiting unnecessary uses of antibiotics, for example, and encouraging patients to take the full course of their prescribed drugs -- Pruden noted "mounting evidence that the environment is another important piece of the puzzle." Drug residues and bacteria with drug-resistant genes can pass together through a human's or animal's gut and into the environment, even if the living contaminants take a detour through a wastewater treatment plant. In a study published on Tuesday, Scottish researchers found that relatively low concentrations of antibiotics in certain environments -- such as river sediments, swine feces lagoons and farmed soil -- may be enough to speed along the proliferation of the drug-resistant genes. It's another survival-of-the-fittest story: Bacteria that can withstand the drugs will survive and reproduce, while their antibiotic-susceptible counterparts die out. The winning genes then have the potential to infiltrate drinking water or produce, which increases human exposure and raises the likelihood that the genes will spread. "Antibiotic resistance is such a big global health concern," said Alfredo Tello of the University of Stirling, lead researcher on the study. "We need to consider the effect that antibiotics released into the environment can have on development of this resistance." Adding to the danger is the fact that bacteria can easily swap genes with each other. A bacterium that passes through the intestines into the local waterway, for example, may not itself be a pathogen that normally threatens human health, but that benign bug can share its drug-tolerating secrets. "It's not necessarily important what species is holding on to the DNA as long as the DNA is held on to and propagated," explained David Cummings, a biologist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. "Then it can later be released to cause disease in an animal, plant or human." Cummings' own research has identified dangerous DNA in the river sediments around San Diego and across the Mexican border into Tijuana. "These coastal wetland habitats are becoming sinks and ultimately sources for drug-resistant bacteria -- more importantly, sinks for the DNA that provide resistance," said Cummings, who points his finger at pet waste, bird feces, leaky sewer pipes and hospital waste effluent as the likely culprits in the San Diego area, which is home to few livestock operations. "We've tinkered with a lot of resistance genes, and anything we look for, we find." A separate study published last month also emphasized the importance of oft-overlooked aquatic sources of antibiotic resistance. Canadian researchers analyzed four different bodies of water affected by varying levels of human activity. They found resistance genes at all four sites, although the intensity varied: A harbor hosting sewer overflows suffered from higher levels than a nature preserve. "Antibiotic resistance is widespread in aquatic environments ranging from heavily impacted urban sites to remote areas," Lesley Warren of McMaster University in Canada, and the lead researcher on the study, said in a statement. "The presence of environmental bacterial communities in aquatic environments represents a significant, largely unknown source of antibiotic resistance." What's more, antibiotic residue and resistance genes may be spread farther and more widely by wildlife, particularly seabirds. Researchers at the University of Miami recently found a large number of seagulls and pelicans were host to bacteria associated with broad-spectrum resistance to infectious bugs, such as the E. coli that causes urinary tract infections in women. It is becoming increasingly evident that the world's dire antibiotic-resistance problem involves a lot of players, all acting through a variety of complicated means. So what should be done? "The solutions need to come from upstream, figuratively and literally," said Cummings. "That can be public education, improving our wastewater management and treatment -- even something as simple, albeit expensive, as separating stormwater from the sewage system." The latter would limit the untreated sewage flowing into waterways. Of course, excrement from livestock is subject to even looser waste management practices than human waste. The use of antibiotics in livestock is the subject of ongoing debate. According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 80 percent of the country's antibiotics are given to food animals, predominantly for the purpose of promoting growth or preventing disease, rather than for treating illness. Also published this Tuesday was a study implicating the widespread use of antibiotics in swine feed. Not only do antibiotic-resistant genes end up in the soil and wastewater around the feedlots, but researchers suggest the genes are often spread further by the application of the waste on crop lands. In response to the growing concerns, the FDA released contentious guidelines last month that ask pork, beef and poultry producers to choose to stop using antibiotics for fattening up their livestock. As The Huffington Post reported in March, the agency has also been ordered by a federal court to follow through on a rule proposed in 1977 that would withdraw approvals for most non-therapeutic uses of penicillin and tetracyclines in livestock, drugs particularly crucial in human medicine. "Every time you use antibiotics, you can select for resistance," said Gail Hansen, senior officer with the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. "When giving them to healthy animals for no reason other than to get them to grow faster or compensate for unhygienic conditions, you're adding to that." "The new research," added Hansen, "really points out that antibiotics aren't just affecting the bacteria while they're inside the pig." By:Lynne Peeples Source:Huffington Post
Scientists have discovered that yoghurt makes mice slimmer and also sexier. But Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers Eric Alm and Susan Erdman wanted to know why. "Maybe it has to do with the healthy bacteria that live in our guts," ABC News quoted Alm, an evolutionary biologist, explaining how there are 10 times more bacteria in the body than human cells, as saying. "Maybe probiotics in the yoghurt have something to do with the effects on weight." To test the theory, Alm and Erdman fed one group of mice a normal mouse diet and the other group the same diet with a mouse-sized serving of vanilla yoghurt.
Yoga is not boring and one can do it anywhere - from a construction site to a spiritual environment, says noted exponent Deepika Mehta, clearing myths about the routine, adding that it has transformative powers. "There are so many misconception about yoga like doing yoga is boring, takes time to show result, meant for older people and is not a form of fitness," Mehta told IANS. She is currently hosting "Yoga City" on NDTV Good Times and says that through the show she wants to clear misconceptions about the form. "I will try my best to inspire people about the transformative powers of yoga as it has given me so much in my own life. I was convinced to do the show because I believe that people in cities need this ancient practice of yoga the most. The concept of the show proves that yoga can also be done at a construction site and not specifically in a spiritual environment," added the 34-year-old. Quite a few celebrities like Lara Dutta, Shilpa Shetty and Bipsha Basu have launched their yoga DVDs. Asked whether she also plans to launch a yoga DVD, Mehta said: "I am planning to come up with a book. But it is very important for me to do it with full sincerity and honesty to retain the real essence of yoga and not just make it a commercial thing." This Mumbai-based yoga trainer has an enviable client list that includes Bollywood celebrities like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu and Deepika Padukone, as also industrialists Avanti and Yash Birla and the Kingfisher swimsuit calendar models. Mehta has spent nearly a decade learning and practicing yoga and has travelled to countries like Bhutan and Mexico to teach and practice yoga. Her influences range from international renowned yoga guru K. Pattabhi Jois to pop diva Madonna. However, she also enjoyed working with Indian celebrities. "I enjoyed teaching Indian celebrities. They are so focused that it has been a pleasure teaching them be it Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka or Bipasha," she said. And finally some health tips. "Practice yoga with a teacher who is connected to the traditional form of the exercise. It is important to focus on your diet because I believe that we are what we eat. So, treat your body like a temple and take nutritious and wholesome food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sprouts, nuts and healthy fats. "Drink at least one glass of vegetable juice everyday. It helps in cleansing and alkalising your body. Make sure you walk for at least 30 minutes every day. Last but not the least, make peace, happiness, health and joy your priority. Also, a positive approach towards life will attract success," Mehta said. Source:IANS
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG), the specialist in cancer care has performed a auto liver transplantation which is medically referred to as ex-vivo liver resection. The hospital has stated that the effort is a first time in Karnataka. The 64-year-old Thimme Gowda, was diagnosed 3 weeks ago with hepatocellular carcinoma, at a private hospital in the city. His condition was critical and was referred to HCG for a second opinion. Initially the patient had begun to notice a feeling of abdominal fullness and loss of appetite since a month. He first approached a private hospital in the city and an ultra sound scan detected large tumour in the liver, in the size of a large melon that was in the centre of his liver. The tumour was awkwardly situated at a site where it partially obstructed all three Hepatic veins that carried blood out of the liver towards the heart. Any attempt at trying to remove the tumour by standard surgery would result in profuse bleeding from these veins that were likely to be injured while removing the tumour. The other oncologist was kind enough to seek a second opinion from the specialist and refer the patient, said Dr. Sanjay Govil, Liver Transplant Surgeon, HCG. After the patient was analysed in detail, HCG adopted a procedure to remove the liver from the patient’s body. The procedure helped us to wash the liver in a preservative solution (HTK solution) and kept it in ice so that the liver could survive a number of hours without blood flow. We therefore chose this approach called 'Ex-vivo' resection literally meaning 'out of body' and the procedure is also called 'Bench Surgery’ because it is done on the bench next to the patient. The process is an 'Auto-transplantation' which means that the patient’s own healthy liver is transplanted back into his body. We were able to perform the operation safely with very little blood transfusion. The patients liver function is very good postoperatively and he is recovering slowly, added Dr Govil. The Ex –Vivo resection is performed in the specific instance where the tumour involves either the veins draining the liver or the main vein draining blood back to the heart - where considerable blood loss is anticipated. This case highlights not only a rare and unusual operation, but also the importance of referral to specialists before denying treatment to someone and the importance of patients getting a second opinion for major illnesses, he said. HCG has over 25 cancer centres in the country and is South Asia’s largest cancer care network. The cancer major has defined the future of cancer care in India by designing, building and managing cancer care centres. It focuses on cancer care treatment, imaging and laboratory services, clinical trials and research services. Its effort is to make high quality cancer care accessible by adopting global innovations. Source:Pharmabiz
Hypnosis can be a highly effective treatment for the bowel disorder IBS. Studies involving a total of 346 patients conducted by researchers at The Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, showed that hypnotherapy alleviated symptoms in 40 per cent of those affected – and that the improvement is long-term. Around 15 per cent of the Swedish population is thought to suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), symptoms of which include abdominal pain and alteration of bowel habits, as well as abdominal distension and bloating. Those with milder symptoms can be helped through lifestyle advice and some medical treatments, but those with severe symptoms currently lack an effective treatment option. Researchers at The Sahlgrenska Academy have now been able to demonstrate that hypnotherapy provides lasting relief, even for severe symptoms. Can be used in ordinary healthcare The treatment of IBS using hypnotherapy has been studied before, but only at highly specialised "hypnotherapy centres". Researcher Magnus Simrén and his colleagues at The Sahlgrenska Academy of Gothenburg University have conducted two studies to evaluate a form of treatment that could be used in ordinary healthcare. 40 percent showed reduction in symptoms In one of the studies, which was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 138 patients with IBS received hypnotherapy treatment for one hour a week over 12 weeks. The study showed that 40 per cent demonstrated a satisfactory reduction in symptoms, compared with 12 per cent in the untreated control group. "The treatment involves the patient learning to control their symptoms through deep relaxation and individually adapted hypnotic suggestions. The idea is for the patient to then use this technique in their everyday life," says Magnus Simrén. The positive effect was sustained for the entire year for which the study ran and led to an improvement in the quality of life experienced by the treatment group. Long-term effect In the other study, which was presented in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 208 patients who had previously received hypnotherapy were examined. The results showed that 85 per cent of those who had been helped by hypnosis still felt the benefits of the treatment up to seven years later – and that the majority still actively use the technique in their everyday lives. Reduce cost for society "In this group, use of the healthcare system as a result of stomach and bowel symptoms had also reduced by 70 per cent," says Magnus Simrén. "Overall, our studies show that hypnotherapy is an effective method of treating IBS, even when provided outside of specialist 'hypnotherapy centres'. The conclusion is that hypnotherapy could reduce both the consumption of healthcare and the cost to society, and that hypnosis therefore belongs in the arsenal of treatments for IBS," says Magnus Simrén. Source:Eurekalert
A non-toxic, botanical formula controls aggressive human prostate tumors in mice, according to a peer-reviewed study in the The International Journal of Oncology. Researchers at Indiana University, Methodist Research Institute, showed the prostate formula significantly suppresses tumor growth in aggressive, hormone-refractory (androgen-independent) human prostate cancer cells. The study also demonstrated the formula has no toxic side effects, even at high dosages. "This study is a milestone in the research of this formula, demonstrating its safety and effectiveness in treating human prostate cancer in an animal model," says researcher and formula inventor Dr. Isaac Eliaz. "These positive results offer a significant contribution to prostate cancer research and add to the growing body of published data substantiating the role of natural compounds in the treatment of prostate cancer." The formula combines botanical extracts, phytonutrients, botanically-enhanced medicinal mushrooms and antioxidants. This is the third study from a major university to demonstrate the formula's ability to suppress tumor growth and metastasis. For more information on the formula, visit www.prostatehealthsolutions.org. "Multiple studies have demonstrated that this prostate formula is a possible treatment for hormone-refractory prostate cancer," says lead researcher, Dr. Daniel Sliva. The study found that the orally-administered formula suppressed tumor growth by 27 percent, compared to controls. In addition to significant reduction in tumor volume, the formula inhibited several genes (IGF2, NRNF2 and PLAU/uPA) that encourage cancer proliferation and metastasis. The formula also increased expression of CDKN1A, a gene that fights prostate cancer by inhibiting cancer-promoting cellular mechanisms. By suppressing genes related to aggressive prostate cancer growth and proliferation, and increasing the expression of cancer-fighting genes, the formula demonstrates multiple anti-cancer mechanisms and genetic targets. This pre-clinical in vivo study confirms previously published in vitro data, which showed the formula decreases the expression of PLAU/uPA genes in aggressive, hormone-independent prostate cancer cells. Prior to this research, the formula was studied at Columbia University and the Cancer Research Laboratory, Methodist Research Institute, at Indiana University Health. These studies also showed the formula inhibits prostate cancer growth and proliferation. Source:Eurekalert
Over the last few decades numerous studies have shown negative states, such as depression, anger, anxiety, and hostility, to be detrimental to cardiovascular health. Less is known about how positive psychological characteristics are related to heart health. In the first and largest systematic review on this topic to date, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found that positive psychological well-being appears to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events. The study was published online April 17, 2012 in Psychological Bulletin. The American Heart Association reports more than 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) each day, an average of one death every 39 seconds. Stroke accounts for about one of every 18 U.S. deaths. "The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive. We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD regardless of such factors as a person's age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, or body weight," said lead author Julia Boehm, research fellow in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH. "For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50% reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers," she said. In a review of more than 200 studies published in two major scientific databases, Boehm and senior author Laura Kubzansky, associate professor of society, human development, and health at HSPH, found there are psychological assets, like optimism and positive emotion, that afford protection against cardiovascular disease. It also appears that these factors slow the progression of disease. To further understand how psychological well-being and CVD might be related, Boehm and Kubzansky also investigated well-being's association with cardiovascular-related health behaviors and biological markers. They found that individuals with a sense of well-being engaged in healthier behaviors such as exercising, eating a balanced diet, and getting sufficient sleep. In addition, greater well-being was related to better biological function, such as lower blood pressure, healthier lipid (blood fat) profiles, and normal body weight. If future research continues to indicate that higher levels of satisfaction, optimism, and happiness come before cardiovascular health, this has strong implications for the design of prevention and intervention strategies. "These findings suggest that an emphasis on bolstering psychological strengths rather than simply mitigating psychological deficits may improve cardiovascular health," Kuzbansky said. Source:Eurekalert
Oral zinc treatments may shorten the duration of symptoms of the common cold in adults, although adverse effects are common, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Canadian researchers looked at 17 randomized controlled trials with 2121 participants between 1 and 65 years of age to determine the efficacy and safety of zinc in treating the common cold. All trials were double-blinded and used placebos as well as oral zinc preparations. The authors found that, compared with placebos, zinc significantly reduced the duration of cold symptoms, although the quality of evidence was moderate. High doses of ionic zinc were more effective than lower doses at shortening the duration of cold symptoms. "We found that orally administered zinc shortened the duration of cold symptoms," writes Dr. Michelle Science, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, with coauthors at McMaster University. "These findings, however, are tempered by significant heterogeneity and quality of evidence." There was weak evidence that people taking zinc were less likely to have symptoms after one week, although there was no difference in symptoms between the two groups at three days. While zinc appeared to reduce the duration of symptoms in adults, there was no apparent effect in children. Participants taking zinc treatment were more likely to experience adverse effects including bad taste and nausea. Previous studies have shown conflicting effects of zinc in reducing cold symptom severity and the duration of symptoms. "Until further evidence becomes available, there is only a weak rationale for physicians to recommend zinc for the treatment of the common cold," conclude the authors. "The questionable benefits must be balanced against the potential adverse effects." Source:Eurekalert
Monday, 7 May 2012
A new joint study by Group Health Research Institute and Bastyr University Research Institute found that type 2 diabetes patients who received naturopathic care (as an adjunct to conventional care) had lower blood-sugar levels, better eating and exercise habits, improved moods, and a stronger sense of control over their condition than did patients receiving only conventional care. The findings, published today in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, show that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may have several positive effects on people with type 2 diabetes, which affects nearly 26 million Americans. "The news is encouraging for those fighting the disease," said Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH, director of the Center for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Wellness at Bastyr University and its clinic, the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. "Patients involved in the study cited the benefits of trying different approaches to find the best ways to minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes. In many ways, that strategy mirrors our partnership with Group Health in this research study—working together to discover the best possible solutions." Forty study participants received counseling on diet, exercise, and glucose monitoring from four naturopathic physicians (NDs) in addition to conventional diabetes care from their medical doctors, including prescription medications. Many of the participants also received stress-management care and dietary supplements. Researchers then compared these 40 participants with 329 patients receiving only conventional diabetes care. In six months and about four naturopathic treatment visits, participants demonstrated improved self-care, more consistent monitoring of glucose, and improved moods. Hemoglobin A1c rates (a measure of blood-sugar control) were nearly a full percentage point lower for those patients. This compares with a drop of only 0.5 percent over the same time period for 329 clinically similar patients receiving only conventional diabetes care. The encouraging findings from this small observational study will need to be confirmed by a randomized trial with larger numbers of participants, according to Dr. Bradley. Finding more effective ways of treating type 2 diabetes is important because it is one of the top-10 causes of death in Americans and is costly to treat: $1 out of every $10 spent on health care in the United States is used to fight type 2 diabetes, at a cost of $178 billion every year. "Our number-one goal is to help patients," added Daniel Cherkin, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute. "Collaboration with our research colleagues at Bastyr University allows us to explore a broader range of ways to help meet the needs of our patients." Courtesy:
For most people with asthma, a couple of puffs from an inhaler filled with steroids makes breathing easy. But if their lungs become resistant to the calming effect of that medicine, they live in fear of severe asthma attacks that could send them to the hospital – or worse. Now, new research from the University of Michigan Health System may help explain what's going on in the lungs of these steroid-resistant individuals. The findings could aid the development of new treatment options, and of better ways to identify people at risk of becoming steroid-resistant. The U-M scientists have discovered a new type of cell in mice that appears to be crucial to causing asthma symptoms -- even in the presence of steroid. The research, published in Nature Medicine, also showed that people with asthma have a very similar cell type in their blood at higher levels than people without the condition. The researchers call the new cell type T2M, for type 2 myeloid – reflecting its origin in the bone marrow and its involvement in the "type 2" immune response that causes asthma symptoms. In the lungs, T2M cells were shown to receive specific distress signals sent out by cells in the lung lining – and to produce molecules that lead to more inflammation. The role of these cells was uncovered after a persistent search by a team led by pathology professor Nicholas Lukacs, Ph.D., and Bryan Petersen, a student in U-M Medical School's Medical Scientist Training Program who recently completed a Ph.D. thesis based on these findings. They found the cells while examining the role of a signaling molecule called interleukin 25, or IL-25 -- a type of protein called a cytokine that other asthma-probing scientists and pharmaceutical companies are also looking closely at. The U-M team searched for cells that had a receptor on their surface capable of receiving IL-25's inflammation-promoting signal, and isolated a type of granulocyte that hadn't been observed before. They found that when these cells received IL-25 signals, they pumped out more inflammation-promoting cytokines called IL-4 and IL-13 that drive hallmarks of asthma such as mucus formation. What's more, the cells could still do this in the presence of a steroid medication. And, the researchers showed they could essentially give steroid-resistant asthma to an animal that didn't have it or IL-25 receptors, by transferring the cells to their lungs. They then partnered with U-M asthma and allergy specialist Alan Baptist, M.D., an assistant professor of internal medicine, to see if T2M-like cells could be found in humans. They recruited volunteers both with and without asthma, and drew small amounts of blood from their arms. Sure enough, cells of a very similar type as that found in mice, with very similar proteins on their cell surface, showed up in higher amounts in the blood of the asthma sufferers. Despite these results, Lukacs cautioned, "It's still too early to say that we could target these cells in humans. But because of the industry interest in IL-25 and its receptors, these results give that line of inquiry more fuel." Lukacs is also assistant dean for research at the U-M Medical School. Petersen, who is also earning a medical degree as well as the doctorate he recently defended, notes that more research volunteers will be needed to explore the cells' role in humans. He, Lukacs and Baptist hope to open a new clinical trial soon that would allow both people with asthma – and those without – to aid the research. "While we've verified that this cell can be seen in people with asthma, we need to find out in a large group if it is more prominent in people with more severe, treatment-resistant forms of the disease – and even whether it could help define the characteristics of someone who will eventually develop that form of asthma," he says. Meanwhile, the researchers will continue exploring IL-25's role, and the way different irritants cause the cells in the lung lining to release it. For instance, viruses that infect the lungs can cause the release of IL-25 – and such infections are also a known cause of asthma attacks. Source:Eurekalert
Tiny particles of plague removed from the teeth help decode ancient dietary patterns, reveals study. G. Richard Scott, associate professor of anthropology at the College of Liberal Arts, University of Nevada, Reno, obtained samples of dental plaque from 58 skeletons buried in the Cathedral of Santa Maria in northern Spain dating from the 11th to 19th centuries to conduct research on the diet of this ancient population. After his initial findings met with mixed results, he decided to send five samples to Simon R. Poulson at the Nevada University's Stable Isotope Lab, in the expectation they might contain enough carbon and nitrogen to allow them to estimate stable isotope ratios, said a university statement. "It's chemistry and is pretty complex," Scott explained. "But basically, since only protein has nitrogen, the more nitrogen that is present, the more animal products were consumed as part of the diet. Carbon provides information on the types of plants consumed." Scott said that once at the lab, the material was crushed, and then an instrument called a mass spectrometer was used to obtain stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios. "It was a long shot," he said. "No one really thought there would be enough carbon and nitrogen in these tiny, five to 10 mg samples to be measurable, but Dr. Poulson's work revealed there was," added Scott. Source-IANS
Ayurveda is the science of health and longevity. But this science and yoga therapy are being misused by quacks with the help of mass media. Naturopathy is another area which requires no specific qualification to practise. Hippocrates, ‘Father of Medicine,’ advocated naturopathic medicines. Natural diet and exercise are part of treatment. Benedict Lust is supposed to be the father of naturopathy. He had been schooled in hydrotherapy. He also practised herbal therapy. In our country, the practitioners of naturopathy require no particular education and training. Some of them are wind bags and they are unscrupulous and boastful. Nature cure is a term coined by John Scheel in 1895. There was a decline of this type of cure in the US which happened to be revived in 1970s. The healing power of nature became part of holistic treatment and the body’s vital ability to heal itself too is being experimented. More relevance is given to diet and life style. Gandhiji experimented with this method and wrote extensively on the results of his trials. He had firm faith in the healing power of nature. A five-and-a-half- year degree course is offered in doctor of naturopathy and yogic sciences. Diploma in naturopathy is also offered. Despite this, people cleverly come up proclaiming their skill in naturopathy without acquiring any basic qualifications. Buddha sanyasis forbid suppression of natural urges. They advocate moderation of food, sleep, sex and medicine. Exercise, yoga, meditation and massage are essential to maintain health. ‘Panchakarma’ enables elimination of toxic elements from the body. Internal medicine, paediatrics, surgery, eye and ENT, psychiatry, toxicology, aphrodisiacs etc. are the branches practised by our ancestors. Hinduism and Buddhism have contributed a lot to the medical field in ancient India. Other methods included foot massage, head massage, face mask and steam. Physicians discover diseases after long interviews and physical examination. They suggest change in lifestyle while using their medicines. Diet and lifestyle are given utmost importance in ayurveda. In Adharva Veda, there are 114 hymns and formulations for treatment. Dhannuanthari is believed to be the ‘deva of ayurveda’ who came out while churning the Palazhi by the Asuras and Devas. His second birth was in Dwapara Yuga. Yoga is the union of ‘Jeevatma’ and ‘Paramatma’. (Agnipurana Ch.372) It is also a physical exercise and helpful to coordinate the material body and the soul. Yoga is a cure for many diseases and also helpful to maintain good health. A rudimentary knowledge of yogic exercises is low-brow and such a person is not qualified to train. Let us evaluate the modus operandi of quacks. Pot belly is the mark of a tacky, physical condition. An idea flashes in a quack’s mind to acquire easy money. He produces in bulk a concoction to be massaged on the protruded part with wide publicity in the media. Attractively packed, it reaches the market. A special oil and the sap of some medicinal plants are the ingredients. The product is pushed with pomp and tumult. The hunk on the bottle has packs on the abdomen. Within a few weeks, he amasses wealth before too much complaints reach him and then he stops production. Another quack, as fresh as daisy, produces an ointment with enchanting smell which can make lilies and roses on the otherwise rough cheeks. One week is more than enough to ginger up vitality and acquire the beauty of the cinema star on the packet. Narcissism is an innate trait that moulds a puppet. The producer of this ointment too becomes a multimillionaire though he appears as a jinx to a bad face. Some well-advertised medicines are sold like hot cakes as they will increase memory. Lean ladies develop muscles all over by consuming another medicine! Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, kidney problems, epilepsy, schizophrenia etc. have easy cure if you purchase the medicines and use them according to the instructions in the ads! A so-called physician has agents all over India to bring patients to him. We are made to believe that he can cure diabetes with some kind of herbs though we should not stop the medicines we use now. He has paid-employees to trump up his products and the popularity he gets is through ads. Another wizard can diagnose your problem simply by touching some parts of your body. He claims that the accuracy of his findings can be verified by lab tests. Charlatans thrive with the help of people who propagate the extraordinary skill of the miracle man. All these people have one aimbig bucks! The government should stop the emergence of incompetent people with ulterior motive. Unscrupulous people should not be allowed to sell medicines. Yoga training should also be monitored along with massage centres. Misleading ads require stringent punishments.(The writer is a retired principal and social critic. The views in the article are the writer’s own. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Source:Indian Express.
Sunday, 6 May 2012
A new study has found that loneliness can speed up the effects of aging and increase the risk of heart diseases. The study was conducted by researchers at Cornell’s University who divided 182 men into two groups, with the first group between 18 to 30 years of age and the second group between 65 to 80 years of age. The researchers then took blood pressures of the participants at the start, during and after the test. The participants were assessed for their social bonds and the researchers found that those who viewed themselves as lonely had higher blood pressure levels and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases compared to their contemporaries. “The most striking thing we found was that the cardiovascular response of the lonely young adults to the social stressor task looked more like that of the non-lonely older adults. I think it’s helpful to distinguish the emotional pangs that are associated with acute loneliness from the more chronic feelings of distress that accompany perceived deficits in the quality of our social relationships”, lead researcher Anthony Ong said.