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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Shape Up, Safely, for Summer

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

eHealth Access launches healthcare portal for medical consultations

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 which is now,'' said S Jayadeep Reddy, founder CEO and MD, 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

Never Skip Your Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and one would do their health a whole lot of good not to miss it, a recent report has revealed. Focusing on children, the report stated that a breakfast rich in carbohydrates but low in GI is ideal as it helps improve concentration. Not only that, a good breakfast boosts energy levels and helps children cope with the stress of academics in a better fashion. Parents must ensure children do not miss out on this wholesome meal which gives a good start to a day. Source:Medindia

Japan May Become Extinct in 1,000 Years: Experts

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

Antibiotic Resistance Spreads Through Environment, Threatens Modern Medicine

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

Soaked Soybeans Release Key Cancer-fighting Substance

Soybeans soaked in warm water release an important cancer-fighting substance, say researchers. Hari B. Krishnan and colleagues explained that the substance, Bowman-Birk Protease Inhibitor (BBI), has shown promise for preventing certain forms of cancer in clinical trials. Those human tests resulted from evidence of BBI's beneficial effects, including indications that BBI derived from the large amounts of soybeans in traditional Japanese diets might underpin low cancer mortality rates in Japan. However, the current method of extracting BBI from soybeans is time-consuming and involves harsh chemicals. The scientists set out to see if there might be a greener and more environmentally friendly way of obtaining BBI. They found that soybean seeds incubated in water at 122 degrees Fahrenheit naturally release large amounts of BBI that can easily be harvested from the water. The protein appeared to be active, with tests showing that it stopped breast cancer cells from dividing in a laboratory dish. "The abundance of BBI in soybean seed exudates by incubating the seeds in warm water provides a simple and alternative method to isolate this low molecular weight protein," the researchers said. The finding was reported report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Source-ANI

Yoghurt Makes Mice Sexier, Slimmer

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.
"One of the first things we noticed was their fur coat," said Erdman, assistant director of comparative medicine at MIT. "It was so thick and shiny; shockingly shiny." But shiny fur was not the only aspect that set the yoghurt-eating mice apart from their siblings: They were also slimmer, and the males had "swagger." "We knew there was something different in the males, but we weren't sure what it was at first," Erdman said. "You know when someone's at the top of their game, how they carry themselves differently? Well, imagine that in a mouse." A lab technician would soon find out what was giving these males their sexy strut. "She noticed their testicles were protruding out really far," Erdman said. It turns out their testicles were 5 percent bigger than those of their non-yoghurt eating counterparts, and 15 percent bigger than those of mice on a diet designed to mimic "junk food" in humans. And in this case, bigger was better. "Almost everything about the fertility of those males is enhanced," Erdman said, explaining how yoghurt-eating males mated faster and produced more offspring. "There were legitimate physiological differences in males fed probiotics, not just the extra sexiness." On the other hand, female mice that ate yoghurt were even shinier than the males, and tended to be better moms to their larger litters. "We think it's the probiotics in the yogurt," Alm said. "We think those organisms are somehow directly interacting with the mice to produce these effects." Although the study is still in progress, the findings could have implications for human fertility, weight control and hair health. "When I saw those fur coats, I thought about adding more yogurt to my diet," Erdman added. Source-ANI

Chinese Students Hooked to IV Drips to Boost Test Scores

Intravenous drips filled with amino acids come in handy for Students at Xioagang high school in Hubei province of China to prepare for the nation's tough college entrance exams. The use of drips is becoming more and more popular with kids as they don't seem to have any problem with it, since it has no adverse health effects, according to Gao Pingqiang, a school official. "The school will not suspend the injection and we will continue if students want it," The Telegraph quoted Pingqiang, as saying. The dreaded exam, which is compared to "the stampede of 10,000 horses trying to cross a single log bridge", is known as the "black" month among students. Each year there are reportedly suicides before and during the exams. One third of students are excluded from university as a result. Source-ANI

'Essence of yoga lies in sincerity, not commercialisation'

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

HCG successfully performs auto liver transplant on patient diagnosed of hepatocellular carcinoma

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

Cure for Hiccups Developed

A 13-year old girl develops an innovative way of curing hiccups using lollipops. To silence her stubborn hiccups during the summer of 2010, Mallory Kievman attempted at swallowing saltwater, making herself gag, eating a spoonful of sugar, sipping pickle juice and drinking a glass of water upside-down. Almost two years and 100 attempted folk remedies later, the 13-year-old is preparing to lead a team of M.B.A. students from the University of Connecticut in building a company that can bring her invention - Hiccupops, or hiccup-stopping lollipops - to market this summer. "It's very rare, when you're evaluating businesses, that you can envision a company or product being around 100 years from now," New York Times quoted Danny Briere, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Startup Connecticut, which nurtures new companies, including Hiccupops, and is a regional affiliate of the Startup America Partnership, as saying. "Hiccupops is one of those things. It solves a very simple, basic need." Mallory met Briere last spring at the Connecticut Invention Convention, an annual competition for kids. "I went there, and I knew it would either be a hit or a miss project," she said. "People would either like it, or they would think I was crazy." She had developed the product in her family's Manchester, Conn., kitchen, combining her three favourite cures - lollipops, apple cider vinegar and sugar - into a single confection. "It triggers a set of nerves in your throat and mouth that are responsible for the hiccup reflex arc," said Mallory with a matter-of-fact tone. "It basically over-stimulates those nerves and cancels out the message to hiccup." The judges did not consider her to be crazy. Instead, they awarded Hiccupops prizes for innovation and patentability. As part of her winnings, intellectual property lawyers filed for a patent, now pending, on Mallory's behalf. She will soon have her own team of consultants also. The University of Connecticut's Innovation Accelerator intends to dispatch a group of graduate business students this summer to help push Hiccupops out into the world. The students will work from late May through August and get paid for their toil by the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a university hub that hosts the Innovation Accelerator program. The centre's executive director, Christopher Levesque, will be their mentor. "It's a nifty invention and it has some terrific potential benefits for society," said Levesque. "It straddles that line between an attractive, go-to product that people might like to savor and a helpful nutraceutical aid. It's innovative, born of some real ingenuity." Mallory expects Hiccupops to become a staple of school nurses' offices and drugstores. She also intends exploring a medical niche, since hiccups are a common and uncomfortable side effect of chemotherapy. "It always has been really appealing to me to be able to sort of have a product out there that can help people," she said. "I want to become a doctor and go into medicine," she added. Source-ANI

Hypnosis provides effective treatment for IBS

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

Study shows botanical formula fights prostate cancer

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 "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

Positive feelings may help protect cardiovascular health

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 may lessen common cold symptoms but adverse effects are common

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

Naturopathic care can improve blood sugar, mood in diabetes

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:
Dr. Bradley is a research assistant professor at Bastyr University School of Naturopathic Medicine in Kenmore, Wash. Source:Eurekalert

Seeking HIV treatment clues in the neem tree

Preliminary data hint at how extracts from the tree, abundant in tropical and subtropical areas, may stop the virus from multiplying Tall, with dark-green pointy leaves, the neem tree of India is known as the "village pharmacy." As a child growing up in metropolitan New Delhi, Sonia Arora recalls on visits to rural areas seeing villagers using neem bark to clean their teeth. Arora's childhood memories have developed into a scientific fascination with natural products and their power to cure illnesses. Now an assistant professor at Kean University in New Jersey, Arora is delving into understanding the curative properties of the neem tree in fighting the virus that causes AIDS. She will be presenting her data at a poster session at 12:25 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego. Her preliminary results seem to indicate that there are compounds in neem extracts that target a protein essential for HIV to replicate. If further studies support her findings, Arora's work may give clinicians and drug developers a new HIV-AIDS therapy to pursue. Extracts from neem leaves, bark and flowers are used throughout the Indian subcontinent to fight against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. "The farther you go into the villages of India, the more uses of neem you see," says Arora. Tree branches are used instead of toothpaste and toothbrushes to keep teeth and gums healthy, and neem extracts are used to control the spread of malaria. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, a form of traditional Indian alternative medicine, even prescribe neem extracts, in combination with other herbs, to treat cardiovascular diseases and control diabetes. The neem tree, whose species name is Azadirachta indica and which belongs to the mahogany family, also grows in east Africa. Arora's scientific training gave her expertise in the cellular biology of cancer, pharmacology, bioinformatics and structural biology. When she established her laboratory with a new research direction at Kean University in 2008, Arora decided to combine her knowledge with her long-time fascination with natural products. The neem tree beckoned. Arora dived into the scientific literature to see what was known about neem extracts. During the course of her reading, Arora stumbled across two reports that showed that when HIV-AIDS patients in Nigeria and India were given neem extracts, the amount of HIV particles in their blood dropped. Intrigued, Arora decided to see if she could figure out what was in the neem extract that seemed to fight off the virus. She turned to bioinformatics and structural biology to see what insights could be gleaned from making computer models of HIV proteins with compounds known to be in neem extracts. From the literature, she and her students found 20 compounds present in various types of neem extracts. When they modeled these compounds against the proteins critical for the HIV life-cycle, Arora and her team discovered that most of the neem compounds attacked the HIV protease, a protein essential for making new copies of the virus. Arora's group is now working on test-tube experiments to see if the computer models hold up with actual samples. If her work bears out, Arora is hopeful that the neem tree will give a cheaper and more accessible way to fight the HIV-AIDS epidemic in developing countries, where current therapies are priced at levels out of reach of many people. "And, of course," she notes, "there is the potential of discovering new drugs based on the molecules present in neem." Source:Eurekalert

Scientists discover new type of cell with a key role in treatment-resistant asthma

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

Dental Plagues Help Decode Ancient Dietary Habits and Preferences

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 misused get rich the quack way

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: Source:Indian Express.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Eating Same Food Daily Is Bad For Your Health

A dietitian has warned against eating the same range of foods every day as it may take a toll on your health. A survey has revealed that most people stick to toast and cereals for breakfast every day with sandwiches for lunch. And they rely on a handful of favorites such as pasta, chips or pizza in the evenings. Sixty-eight per cent of people questioned in the survey for PAGB, the trade association for over-the- counter medicines and food supplements, said they routinely buy the same things from the supermarket every week. "Eating the same type of food every day is not only boring but could lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients," the Daily Express quoted Dietitian Helen Bond as saying. "It can also compromise the immune and digestive systems and, ultimately, long-term health," he warned. Source-ANI

Biodegradable Stent Appears Safe: Study

First fully biodegradable coronary artery stent appears safe for long-term treatment of coronary artery disease, says study published in Circulation. Stents are mesh tubes inserted into coronary arteries to help prop them open and allow for blood flow to the heart muscle. The biodegradable Igaki-Tamai stent is used in nine European Union countries and Turkey — but not in the United States — to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD), the disorder which results from fatty deposits that narrow leg arteries. However, no countries have approved the Igaki-Tamai stent for treating clogged heart arteries. "We have needed this long-term clinical data to clarify the coronary safety of the stent," said Kunihiko Kosuga, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study and director of cardiology at Shiga Medical Center for Adults in Moriyama City, Japan. "Our findings will pave the way for the entry of coronary stents made of biodegradable polymers into the real world of interventional cardiology." Metal stents, sometimes coated with drugs, remain in the body and can reclog. This biodegradable stent is made of poly-l-lactic acid, a cornstarch-based material, which dissolves into the artery wall. This leaves no foreign material in an artery permanently and reduces the occurrence of an in-stent blood clot. In the study, researchers tracked 50 Japanese patients (44 men, average age 61 years old) who received 84 Igaki-Tamai stents between September 1998 and April 2000. The stents weren't coated with drugs. After an average 10 years, researchers found: The survival rate was 98 percent free from cardiac death and 87 percent free from death from all causes. Fifty percent of patients experienced no major cardiac complication. Acceptable major event complication rates were similar to those for bare metal stents. Although researchers expected stent degradation to take six months, the study indicated the stent was totally absorbed in three years. "Fully biodegradable stents may hold an important position as the next generation of coronary devices," Kosuga said. Source-Eurekalert

Study: Men who do load-bearing exercise in early 20s may be shielded from osteoporosis

Without intervention, 1 in 5 men develop fractures related to osteoporosis in old age Young men who play volleyball, basketball or other load-bearing sports for four hours a week or more increase bone mass and might gain protection from developing osteoporosis later in life, according to a new study in the May issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The study, the largest scale investigation of its kind, discovered that young men who actively resisted the urge to adopt a "couch-potato" lifestyle in their late twenties seemed to gain the biggest bone benefit. "Men who increased their load-bearing activity from age 19 to 24 not only developed more bone, but also had larger bones compared to men who were sedentary during the same period," said senior study author Mattias Lorentzon, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden. Bigger bones with more mass are thought to offer a shield against osteoporosis, a disease that affects men and women alike, in which bones become porous and weak over time and start to fracture by age 50 or later. "Osteoporosis actually seems to get its start by age 25 when bones start to lose tissue. So this study sends an important message to young men," Lorentzon said. "The more you move, the more bone you build." Sports that involve jumping or fast starts and stops and increase the load put on the body's bones seemed most associated with the enhanced protection for men. Lorentzon and his colleagues found that basketball and volleyball seemed the best kinds of activities for building bone mass, followed by soccer and tennis. Such load-bearing sports seem to push the body to form new bone tissue. Activities that do not put an increased load on the bones, like swimming and bicycling did not seem associated with the building of bigger bones or more bone mass, even though they offer other health benefits. Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide yet many are unaware that they are at risk. The disease has been called the silent epidemic because bone loss occurs without symptoms and the disease often is first diagnosed after a fracture. Osteoporosis is more common in women, but men also develop it—usually after age 65. Previous studies suggest that load-bearing physical activity might shield men and women from bone loss, which occurs as part of the aging process. But Lorentzon and his colleagues wondered if the link would hold true in a very large study that followed men over a five-year period. To find out, the researchers evaluated 833 men who were 18- to 20-years old at the start of the study. The researchers measured the participants' bone mass and collected information about their exercise habits. Five years later the recruits came back to the lab to report activity levels and get bone scans again. The researchers discovered that men who both started off with a high level of load-bearing exercise at the study's start and those who stepped up the pace had a better chance at building bone than men who remained sedentary or those who slacked off during the five year period. They found that for every hour of increased physical activity during the five-year study, the men in this study gained bone mass. The study found that recruits who participated in load-bearing sports for four hours a week or more showed an increase in hip bone density of 1.3 percent. At the same time, men who remained sedentary during the five year study lost about 2.1 percent of bone mass in the hip, a worrisome finding because thinning hip bones are more likely to break later in life. Hip fractures in men often lead to serious disability and complications, including life-threatening post-surgery infections and cardiovascular events. This study was conducted in white men recruited mostly from the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. However, Lorentzon noted the findings likely apply to Caucasian men in the United States and in other countries, and additional research must be done to show that such load-bearing exercise can protect men in other ethnic groups and women. "Such research is crucial to understanding how osteoporosis develops and more importantly how to prevent it," said Keith Hruska, M.D., president of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), the world's leading scientific organization for bone health. "Bone fractures from osteoporosis devastate men and women all over the globe and ongoing research is the only way to find ways to protect men from this disease." Source:Eurekalert

Loneliness may Speed Up Aging Process

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.

Beehive Extract Arrests Growth of Prostate Cancer Cells

An extract from honeybee hives stops prostate cancer growth in mice, shows research. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester, or CAPE, is a compound isolated from honeybee hive propolis, the resin used by bees to patch up holes in hives. Propolis has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for conditions ranging from sore throats and allergies to burns and cancer. But the compound has not gained acceptance in the clinic due to scientific questions about its effect on cells. In a paper published in Cancer Prevention Research, researchers combined traditional cancer research methods with cutting-edge proteomics to find that CAPE arrests early-stage prostate cancer by shutting down the tumor cells' system for detecting sources of nutrition. "If you feed CAPE to mice daily, their tumors will stop growing. After several weeks, if you stop the treatment, the tumors will begin to grow again at their original pace," said Richard B. Jones, PhD, assistant professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research and Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology and senior author of the study. "So it doesn't kill the cancer, but it basically will indefinitely stop prostate cancer proliferation." Natural remedies isolated from plant and animal products are often marketed as cure-alls for a variety of maladies, usually based on vague antioxidant and anti-inflammatory claims. While substances such as ginseng or green tea have been occasionally tested in laboratories for their medicinal properties, scientific evidence is commonly lacking on the full biological effects of these over-the-counter compounds. "It's only recently that people have examined the mechanism by which some of these herbal remedies work," Jones said. "Our knowledge about what these things are actually doing is a bit of a disconnected hodge-podge of tests and labs and conditions. In the end, you're left with a broad, disconnected story about what exactly these things are doing and whether or not they would be useful for treating disease." To study the purported anti-cancer properties of CAPE, first author Chih-Pin Chuu (now at the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan) tested the compound on a series of cancer cell lines. Even at the low concentrations expected after oral administration, CAPE successfully slowed the proliferation of cultured cells isolated from human prostate tumors. CAPE was also effective at slowing the growth of human prostate tumors grafted into mice. Six weeks of treatment with the compound decreased tumor volume growth rate by half, but when CAPE treatment was stopped, tumor growth resumed its prior rate. The results suggested that CAPE stopped cell division rather than killing cancerous cells. To determine the cellular changes that mediated this effect, the researchers then used an innovative proteomics technique invented by Jones and colleagues called the "micro-western array." Western blots are a common laboratory tool used to measure the changes in protein levels and activity under different conditions. But whereas only one or a few proteins at a time can be monitored with Western blots, micro-western arrays allow researchers to survey hundreds of proteins at once from many samples. Chuu, Jones and their colleagues ran micro-western arrays to assess the impact of CAPE treatment on the proteins of cellular pathways involved in cell growth – experiments that would have been prohibitively expensive without the new technique. "What this allowed us to do is screen about a hundred different proteins across a broad spectrum of signaling pathways that are associated with all sorts of different outcomes. You can pick up all the pathways that are affected and get a global landscape view, and that's never been possible before," Jones said. "It would have taken hundreds of Westerns, hundreds of technicians, and a very large amount of money for antibodies." The micro-western array results allowed researchers to quickly build a new model of CAPE's cellular effects, significantly expanding on previous work that studied the compound's mechanisms. Treatment with CAPE at the concentrations that arrested cancer cell growth suppressed the activity of proteins in the p70S6 kinase and Akt pathways, which are important sensors of sufficient nutrition that can trigger cell proliferation. "It appears that CAPE basically stops the ability of prostate cancer cells to sense that there's nutrition available," Jones said. "They stop all of the molecular signatures that would suggest that nutrition exists, and the cells no longer have that proliferative response to nutrition." The ability of CAPE to freeze cancer cell proliferation could make it a promising co-treatment alongside chemotherapies intended to kill tumor cells. Jones cautioned that clinical trials would be necessary before CAPE could be proven effective and safe for this purpose in humans. But the CAPE experiments offer a precedent to unlock the biological mechanisms of other natural remedies as well, perhaps allowing these compounds to cross over to the clinic. "A typical problem in bringing some of these herbal remedies into the clinic is that nobody knows how they act, nobody knows the mechanism, and therefore researchers are typically very hesitant to add them to any pharmaceutical treatment strategy," Jones said. "Now we'll actually be able to systematically demonstrate the parts of cell physiology that are affected by these compounds." Source-Eurekalert

Study Says Mixing Drugs, Herb Remedies can Damage Health

Combining common drugs with herbal, dietary or nutritional supplements can damage health, say researchers. "'Natural' does not equal 'safe,'" and the effects and interactions of herbal or dietary supplements and functional foods such as energy drinks or nutritional bars can be difficult to predict, says Catherine Ulbricht, senior attending pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital. "If something has a therapeutic action in a human body, this substance can also cause a reaction or an interaction," added Ulbricht, the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies reports. The risk for interactions is greatest in younger and older people and in individuals with multiple health conditions or who take multiple medications, explains Ulbricht. Common examples include an increased risk of significant bleeding tied with garlic, ginkgo, ginger and saw palmetto supplements; decreased blood sugar as a result of chromium, cinnamon, whey protein, and others; hormonal effects of dong quai, black cohosh, kudzu, and saw palmetto; and elevated blood pressure caused by bloodroot, green tea, hawthorn, and mate. Source-IANS

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