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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Clinical Trial Finds Link Between Poor Sleep and Skin Aging

Clinical Trial Finds Link Between Poor Sleep and Skin AgingIn a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center found that poor sleep quality affects skin function and aging.The recently completed study, commissioned by Estée Lauder, demonstrated that poor sleepers had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Poor sleepers also had worse assessment of their own skin and facial appearance. 
The research team, led by Primary Investigator Elma Baron, MD, presented their data this spring at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland in an abstract titled "Effects of Sleep Quality on Skin Aging and Function." 
"Our study is the first to conclusively demonstrate that inadequate sleep is correlated with reduced skin health and accelerates skin aging. Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin's ability to recover after sun exposure," said Dr. Baron, Director of the Skin Study Center at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Insufficient sleep has become a worldwide epidemic. While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency, its effects on skin function have previously been unknown." 
Skin functions as an important barrier from external stressors such as environmental toxins and sun-induced DNA damage. The research team set out to determine if skin function and appearance is also impacted by sleep quality, which is vital to the growth and renewal of the body's immune and physiological systems. 
The study involved 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49, with half of participants falling into the poor quality sleep category. The classification was made on the basis of average duration of sleep and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a standard questionnaire-based assessment of sleep quality. The study involved a visual skin evaluation and participation in several non-invasive skin challenge tests including UV light exposure and skin barrier disruption. Additionally, participants filled out a sleep log for one week to quantify sleep duration. 
The researchers found statistically significant differences between good and poor quality sleepers. Using the SCINEXA skin aging scoring system, poor quality sleepers showed increased signs of intrinsic skin aging including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and slackening of skin and reduced elasticity. In this system, a higher score means a more aged appearance. The average score in the good quality sleepers was 2.2 versus 4.4 in poor quality sleepers. They found no significant difference between the groups in signs of extrinsic aging, which are attributed primarily to sun exposure, such as coarse wrinkles and sunburn freckles. 
The researchers found that good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently from stressors to the skin. Recovery from sunburn was more sluggish in poor quality sleepers, with erythema (redness) remaining higher over 72 hours, indicating that inflammation is less efficiently resolved. A Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) test was used at various time points to determine the ability of the skin to serve as an effective barrier against moisture loss. In measurements 72 hours after a skin barrier stressor (tape-stripping), the recovery of good quality sleepers was 30% higher than poor quality sleepers (14% vs. -6%) demonstrating that they repair the damage more quickly. 
Additionally, poor quality sleepers were significantly more likely to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). For example, 23% of good quality sleepers were obese compared to 44% of poor quality sleepers. Not surprisingly, self perception of attractiveness was significantly better in good quality sleepers (mean score of 21 on self evaluation) vs. poor quality sleepers (mean score of 18). 
"This research shows for the first time, that poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging and weaken the skin's ability to repair itself at night," said Dr. Daniel Yarosh, Senior Vice President, Basic Science Research, R&D, at The Estée Lauder Companies. "These connections between sleep and skin aging, now supported with solid scientific data, will have a profound effect on how we study skin and its functions. We see these findings as yet another way we can direct our scientific research toward the real needs of our customers who want to look and feel their best."



Study: Chinese Medicines are Safe and Effective for Vascular Dementia

 Study: Chinese Herbal Medicines are Safe and Effective for Vascular DementiaChinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years in China. It has also long been considered an effective treatment for vascular dementia. There are already meta-analyses of the effects of herbal extracts (ginkgo biloba and huperzine A) on vascular dementia. However, there has been no systematic review of the efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicines for vascular dementia, despite its wide use in clinical practice.
A recent study published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 18, 2013) evaluated the efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicines for vascular dementia, using efficacy, Mini-Mental State Examination score, Hasegawa Dementia Scale score, and adverse reactions as evaluation indices by performing a meta-analysis.

The results suggested that Chinese herbal medicine appears to be safer and more effective than control measures in the treatment of vascular dementia. Chinese herbal medicines for vascular dementia exert characteristics of syndrome differentiation of traditional Chinese medicine, and have good potential in the clinic. 
Source:Neural Regeneration Research


News Video:Survey shows Where you live can affect how long you live

Two studies are making headlines: one by the University of Washington that reveals that where in the U.S. you live can affect how long you’ll live, and another that reports that artificially sweetened sodas and foods don’t help with weight loss.

Why China pays too much for medicines

China has a drug problem. While most Western countries spend 10-12 percent of their healthcare budget on medicines, in China it is well over 40 percent, a disparity that goes to the heart of Beijing's crackdown on the industry.A promise this week by GlaxoSmithKline to make its drugs more affordable in China in the wake of a bribery scandal is an important lever Chinese authorities may now use to start redressing the balance.Britain's biggest drugmaker has given no details on the size of the price cuts it will consider, but an examination of its discounts in other emerging markets suggests there may be scope for reductions for some medicines of a third or more. Other pharmaceutical firms might have to follow suit."Four executives were arrested, the company itself will probably be fined top to bottom, and they are having to cut prices," said one veteran industry executive in China, who declined to be identified."That'll send a signal to other players in the industry, and prices should come down."Chinese police have detained four Chinese GSK executives in connection with allegations the drugmaker funneled up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials to boost sales and raise the price of its drugs.GSK has said some Chinese executives appeared to have broken the law, but Chief Executive Andrew Witty said on Wednesday that head office had no knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing.None of GSK's competitors in China has publicly said they would cut prices, and major pharmaceutical companies reached by Reuters have so far declined to comment.But a precedent was set earlier this month when Nestle led other foreign milk powder makers in cutting prices in China after Beijing launched an investigation into possible price-fixing and anti-competitive behavior in that sector.Around the same time, the powerful National Development and Reform Commission said it was examining pricing by 60 local and international pharmaceutical companies."The Chinese government never does anything without a reason. China could be using these investigations partly to clean house and to also drive prices down," said Philip Urofsky at law firm Shearman & Sterling, who previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice on cases involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups shows how China's drugs market has been thrown out of kilter by a system that effectively encourages public hospitals to prescribe large amounts of expensive medicine to earn revenue, given cuts in government subsidies over 30 years."In China, a very high proportion of health expenditure is spent on medicines, which reflects both over-consumption and high prices," said Hans Hogerzeil, a professor of global health at the University of Groningen and a former WHO director of medicines policy.As in many emerging markets, there is strong demand in China for Western drugs, whose brands offer quality assurance in an environment where patients often worry over sub-standard or counterfeit treatments. As such, they can command hefty price premiums, even though they are no longer protected by patents.Just how big a premium is revealed in data collected by Dutch-based Health Action International (HAI), a non-profit group focused on access to medicines.HAI found that in China's Shaanxi province last year, prices charged for drugs made by the original Western drug company in both the public and private sectors were about 11 times the international reference price as calculated by the U.S.-based independent group Management Sciences for Health.Exact comparisons with other markets are difficult, but a separate survey of prices in New Delhi, India, found the prices patients paid in the private sector for originator brands were much less at under five times the reference level.China's government has also faced criticism that some drug prices are higher than in South Korea and Taiwan, both developed economies."You have to question why the Chinese government is buying high-priced originator brands for off-patent medicines. It's clear they could treat many more patients, without any increase in expenditure, if they only procured lower-priced, quality-assured generics," said Margaret Ewen, coordinator for global pricing at HAI.
GSK has a record of cutting prices in emerging markets.In Indonesia, for example, GSK has halved the price of its top-selling inhaled lung drug Seretide, also known as Advair, and its antibiotic Augmentin was slashed by 50 percent in Brazil in 2010.Newer drugs have seen price reductions, too, with Avodart for prostate enlargement cut by a third in Russia and a similar discount seen for cancer treatment Tykerb in India.All these price cuts were made in the expectation that cheaper products would sell better - a strategy that GSK says has paid off in these cases.Witty said on Wednesday that tiered pricing "may well be important" in China.Jason Mann, managing director of emerging market healthcare and global biotechnology at Konus Capital in Hong Kong, said GSK might cut prices by 5-10 percent on average.But he questioned if other big drugmakers would immediately follow because they all sold different medicines in China and might not be directly competing with any that GSK reprices.Many international health experts would welcome tiered pricing as a way to counter pressures in the Chinese healthcare system, where hospitals get 40 percent of their income from prescribing drugs, giving doctors an incentive to use costly products and creating a fertile seedbed for corruption.The most recent edition of the WHO's World Medicines Situation report, issued in 2011, said that in China "even in the most basic primary care level institutions, patients are frequently provided with unnecessary and expensive drugs".As a result, medicines account for nearly half, or 43 percent, of China's total health expenditure, the WHO said.

Mediterranean Diet Prevents Risk of Oxidative Stress Related Diseases

A new research from Spain suggests that Mediterranean diet plan rich in non-heme iron can reduce risk of diseases, such as cancer, arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer's, that are linked to oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen (free radicals) and the body's ability (antioxidant capacity measured in ORAC) to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or easily repair the resulting damage. 

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by daily intake of fruit, vegetables, and cereals (whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, etc), beans, nuts, and seeds; a low-to-moderate intake of dairy products, fish, poultry and wine; a low intake of red meat; consuming egg 4 or less times a week; and olive oil as an important source of fat. These foods are associated with improvements in the total antioxidant capacity of individuals and reduced incidence of diseases related to oxidation. 
The Mediterranean diet isn't a quick fix diet for weight loss. Rather it's a healthy way of eating that can help everyone live a longer life and lower the risk of heart disease and other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome. One of the advantages of the Mediterranean diet is iron absorption as non-heme iron (from the fruits and vegetables) rather than heme-iron from saturated fats and meat. Heme-iron which has high bioavailability can act as a pro-oxidant factor known to induce oxidative stress, either by generating reactive oxygen species (free radicals causing inflammation) or by inhibiting antioxidant systems. 
However, it is not known whether an increase in dietary iron intake alone leads to increased oxidative stress in healthy individuals. So, Marta Romeu and her colleagues at Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain, investigated how iron in the diet influenced oxidative stress in Mediterranean population. 
The researchers studied 815 healthy individuals (425 women and 390 men) from the northeastern Mediterranean region of Spain. The participants were in the age group of 18 to 77 years. They underwent a clinical interview and data on lifestyle variables were collected. Diet was evaluated using the estimated food record method over 3 non-consecutive days. 
The researchers found that men had a higher energy intake and therefore higher consumption of most of the nutrients studied than women; however, no gender difference was found in the consumption of fruit and vegetables. On the other hand, body iron levels were higher in men than in women, because of higher energy intake, no blood loss through menstruation and hormonal factors. 
The findings regarding oxidative stress, antioxidant capacity and dietary iron intake revealed the following - 

 Oxidative stress is positively associated with aging, but antioxidant capacity is not. Oxidative stress increased with age although no significant differences between the sexes were found. 

• Vitamin C intake improve antioxidant capacity, whereas saturated fatty acids caused oxidative stress. An increase in the consumption of vegetables is associated with improved antioxidant capacity, but only in women and not in men. 

 In men, age, tobacco and heme iron (saturated fats and meat) are positively associated with oxidative stress. 

 Dietary non-heme iron from fruits and vegetables are protective against oxidation while dietary heme iron from meat and fish and saturated fatty acids are associated with increased oxidative stress. 
The researchers concluded - 'It is evident from this study that oxidative stress is related to aging regardless of sex, but no alteration in antioxidant capacity is related to age. Moreover, we observed an association between diet and biochemical iron levels with the antioxidant and pro-oxidant status of the organism in our general population'. 



Cannabis Constituent Found to Have No Effect on Multiple Sclerosis

No evidence of a cannabis constituent in the progress of multiple sclerosis, found a new study.The first large non-commercial clinical study to investigate whether the main active constituent of cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) is effective in slowing the course of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), shows that there is no evidence to suggest this; although benefits were noted for those at the lower end of the disability scale. 
The CUPID (Cannabinoid Use in Progressive Inflammatory brain Disease) study was carried out by researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. 
CUPID enrolled nearly 500 people with MS from 27 centres around the UK, and has taken eight years to complete. 
People with progressive MS were randomised to receive either THC capsules or identical placebo capsules for three years, and were carefully followed to see how their MS changed over this period. 
The two main outcomes of the trial were a disability scale administered by neurologists (the Expanded Disability Status Scale), and a patient report scale of the impact of MS on people with the condition (the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale 29). 
Overall the study found no evidence to support an effect of THC on MS progression in either of the main outcomes. 
However, there was some evidence to suggest a beneficial effect in participants who were at the lower end of the disability scale at the time of enrolment but, as the benefit was only found in a small group of people rather than the whole population, further studies will be needed to assess the robustness of this finding. 
One of the other findings of the trial was that MS in the study population as a whole progressed slowly, more slowly than expected. 
This makes it more challenging to find a treatment effect when the aim of the treatment is to slow progression. 
The study is published in The Lancet Neurology.


Researchers Shed Light On Regeneration

Regeneration: The rabbit can't do it, neither can a frog, but zebrafish and axolotls can and flatworms are true masters of the craft. Why some animals can re-grow lost body parts or organs while others cannot remains a big mystery. And even more intriguing to us regeneration-challenged humans is the question whether one might be able to activate regenerative abilities in species that don't usually regenerate.Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden are now one step further in understanding the factors that regulate regeneration. They discovered a crucial molecular switch in the flatworm Dendrocoelum lacteum that decides whether a lost head can be regenerated or not. And what is even more spectacular: The scientists manipulated the genetic circuitry of the worm in such a way as to fully restore its regeneration potential. 
In his lab, Jochen Rink, research group leader at the MPI-CBG, usually studies the flatworm species Schmidtea mediterranea. It is known for its excellent regenerative abilities and thus a popular model species in regeneration research: "We can cut the worm to 200 pieces, and 200 new worms will regenerate from each and every piece", Rink explains. Now, for a change, Rink and colleagues brought a different beast into the lab, the flatworm Dendrocoelum lacteum. Even though a close cousin of the regeneration master S. mediterranea, this species had been reported to be incapable of regenerating heads from its posterior body half. "What's the salient difference between the two cousins", the researcher asked? 
Together with researchers from the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden Rink's team searched for an answer amongst the genes of the two species, focusing on the so-called Wnt-signaling pathway. Like a cable link between two computers, signalling pathways transmit information between cells. The Dresden researchers inhibited the signal transducer of the Wnt pathway with RNAi and thus made the cells of the worm believe that the signalling pathway had been switched to „off". Consequently, Dendrocoelum lacteum were able to grow a fully functional head everywhere, even when cut at the very tail. 
Re-building a head complete with brain, eyes and all the wiring in between is evidently complicated business. However, as the study showed, regeneration defects are not necessarily irreversible. Jochen Rink is stunned: "We thought we would have to manipulate hundreds of different switches to repair a regeneration defect; now we learned that sometimes only a few nodes may do". Will this knowledge soon be applicable to more complex organisms - like humans, for example? "We showed that by comparisons amongst related species we can obtain insights into why some animals regenerate while others don't - that's an important first step".

Source: Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Liver experts urge Centre to step up hep- B vaccination drive to check deadly disease in India

Union government should rapidly put in place measures to control hepatitis B on similar lines that it tackled polio virus. The growing incidence of hepatitis or liver inflammation is seen as major public health concern as over a lakh patients are seen to succumb to the deadly disease, stated liver experts.
The big task for the government is to increase the coverage of the hepatitis immunization programme implemented under the National Health Mission just like what it did for polio eradication.
On the occasion of the World Hepatitis Day, observed annually on July 28, has this year’s theme as ‘Say No To Ignorance’. “While it is equally important to dispel ignorance, it is important to create awareness about hepatitis B & C which are curable with early detection,” stated experts.
A big advantage for hepatitis cure in India is the drastic reduction of drug cost to half the price following the inclusion of these medicines in the  Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013. In fact, the booster shot to the patients is that prices have reduced from Rs.6,000 to Rs.3,000 per vial. The deadly health condition which can impact any strata of the population has been an expensive therapy protocol, Dr Ravindra BS, consultant Gastroenterology and Hepatology Therapeutic Endoscopy Specialist at the BGS Global Hospitals, told Pharmabiz.
Hepatitis is one of the most prevalent and serious infectious conditions in the world, but many people including health policy makers are unaware of its staggering toll not just on global but national and state health. Hepatitis B and C viruses are the cause liver cancer and liver transplants.
“There is a serious lack of awareness among the public that both Hepatitis B and C are curable with access to affordable drugs besides  availability of vaccines for Hepatitis B control,” pointed out Dr Ravindra.
“The rampant rise in the number of hepatitis cases are seen to be induced by excessive alcohol and fatty food consumption besides hectic lifestyles leading to drug abuse. Most of the antibiotics, pain killers are toxic and causes liver failure if it is indiscriminately prescribed. Therefore there is lot of onus on the doctor to caution on the patient on the liver toxicity reactions,” said Dr Satya Prakash, senior professor & head of the Department of Gastroenterology, M S Ramaiah Memorial Hospital.
Therefore the need to sensitize the patient is the big task on hand and ensure prevention of unsupervised drug therapy which could control hepatitis B, added Dr Prakash.


American physicians of Indian origin extend support to improve healthcare quality in India

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin’ (AAPI), representing over 100,000 medical diaspora, has offered to chip in with its expertise to improve the quality standards of healthcare system in India.
After meeting different stakeholders including the regulatory authorities and the Government officials here, AAPI president Dr Jayesh Shah said AAPI and the Union Health Ministry together will launch a permanent platform (Swasthya India) to make use of the expertise of Indian doctors working abroad for Indian population.
Listing the priorities that India should focus in the healthcare and the areas where AAPI can help, he said there should be efforts to improve the overall quality standards and accreditation of hospitals in the country.
“Another key area is standardization of protocols and strong audit and tracking system. Like ECHO (Enhanced Collaborative Health Outcome) in the USA, India should also set up a network connecting the primary health centres with the top academic institutions,” he told Pharmabiz.
While stressing the need for improving the ethical aspects in the healthcare profession, he also called for a strong policy on biomedical waste disposal in India.
Pointing out the existing practice in the US, renowned interventional cardiologist Dr Subhash Banerjee said India should promote research as part of the curriculum of medical education. In India, medical practice and research are going on as parallel streams without no interconnectivity, he said.
Commenting on the efforts by the AAPI to reverse the brain drain, AAPI president-elect Dr Ravi Jahagirdar said they were forming a support group to stimulate the process. The group would study the investment prospects in India and share it with AAPI members.
Identifying the prospects in the clinical trials sector, AAPI will organise a CEO forum on clinical trials as part of the forthcoming Global Healthcare Summit, to be organized at Ahmedabad from January 2 to 5 in collaboration in collaboration with Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs & Indian Development Foundation of Overseas Indians.
The AAPI leaders also disclosed that there would be a round-table on medical education at the event. Another attraction will be a research competition looking to promote research among the young doctors and medical students as part of the event.
AAPI which has 165 chapters around the world claimed that every seventh patient in the USA is treated by a member of AAPI. Looking to extend its assistance to the Indian population, it is operating 17 expert clinics in the rural areas of India, said Anwar Feroz, advisor of AAPI.
They disclosed that Gujarat Government had asked the association to prepare a five year plan to improve the MMR in the State. The association has been working in tandem with regulatory authorities like Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Union Health Ministry over the last 32 years, they added.


Friday, 26 July 2013

Migraine is associated with variations in structure of brain arteries

The network of arteries supplying blood flow to the brain is more likely to be incomplete in people who suffer migraine, a new study by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reports. Variations in arterial anatomy lead to asymmetries in cerebral blood flow that might contribute to the process triggering migraines.
The arterial supply of blood to the brain is protected by a series of connections between the major arteries, termed the "circle of Willis" after the English physician who first described it in the 17th century. People with migraine, particularly migraine with aura, are more likely to be missing components of the circle of Willis.
Migraine affects an estimated 28 million Americans, causing significant disability. Experts once believed that migraine was caused by dilation of blood vessels in the head, while more recently it has been attributed to abnormal neuronal signals. In this study, appearing in PLOS ONE, researchers suggest that blood vessels play a different role than previously suspected: structural alterations of the blood supply to the brain may increase susceptibility to changes in cerebral blood flow, contributing to the abnormal neuronal activity that starts migraine.
"People with migraine actually have differences in the structure of their blood vessels - this is something you are born with," said the study's lead author, Brett Cucchiara, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology. "These differences seem to be associated with changes in blood flow in the brain, and it's possible that these changes may trigger migraine, which may explain why some people, for instance, notice that dehydration triggers their headaches."
In a study of 170 people from three groups - a control group with no headaches, those who had migraine with aura, and those who had migraine without aura - the team found that an incomplete circle of Willis was more common in people with migraine with aura (73 percent) and migraine without aura (67 percent), compared to a headache-free control group (51 percent). The team used magnetic resonance angiography to examine blood vessel structure and a noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging method pioneered at the University of Pennsylvania, called Arterial spin labeling (ASL), to measure changes in cerebral blood flow.
"Abnormalities in both the circle of Willis and blood flow were most prominent in the back of the brain, where the visual cortex is located. This may help explain why the most common migraine auras consist of visual symptoms such as seeing distortions, spots, or wavy lines," said the study's senior author, John Detre, MD, Professor of Neurology and Radiology.
Both migraine and incomplete circle of Willis are common, and the observed association is likely one of many factors that contribute to migraine in any individual. The researchers suggest that at some point diagnostic tests of circle of Willis integrity and function could help pinpoint this contributing factor in an individual patient. Treatment strategies might then be personalized and tested in specific subgroups.

Sudden Decline in Testosterone May Cause Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms in Men

The results of a new study by neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center show that a sudden decrease of testosterone, the male sex hormone, may cause Parkinson’s like symptoms in male mice.  The findings were recently published in theJournal of Biological Chemistry.
One of the major roadblocks for discovering drugs against Parkinson’s disease is the unavailability of a reliable animal model for this disease.
“While scientists use different toxins and a number of complex genetic approaches to model Parkinson’s disease in mice, we have found that the sudden drop in the levels of testosterone following castration is sufficient to cause persistent Parkinson’s like pathology and symptoms in male mice,” said Dr. Kalipada Pahan, lead author of the study and the Floyd A. Davis endowed professor of neurology at Rush. “We found that the supplementation of testosterone in the form of 5-alpha dihydrotestosterone (DHT) pellets reverses Parkinson’s pathology in male mice.”
“In men, testosterone levels are intimately coupled to many disease processes,” said Pahan.  Typically, in healthy males, testosterone level is the maximum in the mid-30s, which then drop about one percent each year. However, testosterone levels may dip drastically due to stress or sudden turn of other life events, which may make somebody more vulnerable to Parkinson’s disease.
“Therefore, preservation of testosterone in males may be an important step to become resistant to Parkinson’s disease,” said Pahan.
Understanding how the disease works is important to developing effective drugs that protect the brain and stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Nitric oxide is an important molecule for our brain and the body.
"However, when nitric oxide is produced within the brain in excess by a protein called inducible nitric oxide synthase, neurons start dying,” said Pahan.
“This study has become more fascinating than we thought,” said Pahan.  “After castration, levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and nitric oxide go up in the brain dramatically. Interestingly, castration does not cause Parkinson’s like symptoms in male mice deficient in iNOS gene, indicating that loss of testosterone causes symptoms via increased nitric oxide production.”
“Further research must be conducted to see how we could potentially target testosterone levels in human males in order to find a viable treatment,” said Pahan.
Other researchers at Rush involved in this study were Saurabh Khasnavis, PhD, student, Anamitra Ghosh, PhD, student, and Avik Roy, PhD,   research assistant professor.
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health that received the highest score for its scientific merit in the particular cycle it was reviewed.
Parkinson's is a slowly progressive disease that affects a small area of cells within the mid-brain known as the substantia nigra. Gradual degeneration of these cells causes a reduction in a vital chemical neurotransmitter, dopamine. The decrease in dopamine results in one or more of the classic signs of Parkinson's disease that includes resting tremor on one side of the body; generalized slowness of movement; stiffness of limbs and gait or balance problems. The cause of the disease is unknown. Both environmental and genetic causes of the disease have been postulated.
Parkinson's disease affects about 1.2 million patients in the United States and Canada. Although 15 percent of patients are diagnosed before age 50, it is generally considered a disease that targets older adults, affecting one of every 100 persons over the age of 60. This disease appears to be slightly more common in men than women.
Source: Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Human stem cell-derived hepatocytes regenerate liver function

Researchers have generated functional hepatocytes from human stem cells, transplanted them into mice with acute liver injury, and shown the ability of these stem-cell derived human liver cells to function normally and increase survival of the treated animals. This promising advance in the development of cell-based therapies to treat liver failure resulting from injury or disease relied on the development of scalable, reproducible methods to produce stem cell-derived hepatocytes in bioreactors, as described in an article in Stem Cells and Development, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Stem Cells and Development website .
Massoud Vosough and coauthors demonstrate a large-scale, integrated manufacturing strategy for generating functional hepatocytes in a single suspension culture grown in a scalable stirred bioreactor. In the article "Generation of Functional Hepatocyte-Like Cells from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells in a Scalable Suspension Culture" the authors describe the method used for scale-up, differentiation of the pluripotent stem cells into liver cells, and characterization and purification of the hepatocytes based on their physiological properties and the expression of liver cell biomarkers.
David C. Hay, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, U.K., comments on the importance of Vosough et al.'s contribution to the scientific literature in his editorial in Stem Cells and Development entitled "Rapid and Scalable Human Stem Cell Differentiation: Now in 3D." The researchers "developed a system for mass manufacture of stem cell derived hepatocytes in numbers that would be useful for clinical application," creating possibilities for future "immune matched cell based therapies," says Hay. Such approaches could be used to correct mutated genes in stem cell populations prior to differentiation and transplantation, he adds.
"The elephant in the room for stem cell therapy rarely even acknowledged let alone addressed in the literature is that of scalable production of cells for translational application," says Editor-in-Chief Graham C. Parker, PhD, research professor, Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine. "Baharvand's groups' landmark publication not only demonstrates but exquisitely describes the methodology required to scale up stem cell populations for clinical application with a rigor to satisfy necessary manufacturing standards."


About the Journal
Stem Cells and Development is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published 24 times per year in print and online. The Journal is dedicated to communication and objective analysis of developments in the biology, characteristics, and therapeutic utility of stem cells, especially those of the hematopoietic system. Complete tables of content and a free sample issue may be viewed on the Stem Cells and Development website.

Obesity for a Prolonged Period Enhances the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

The next time you feel your child is not plump enough, think again. A recent study by Reis and others, published in the journal JAMA, has shown that prolonged obesity (> 20 years) increases the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in young individuals.According to the World Heart Federation, there are 400 million adults who are obese, of whom 1 billion people are overweight. In the overweight category, 17.6 million of them are children under the age of 5. 
Obesity is measured by calculating the ratio of the weight in kilograms to the square of the height of the individual in meters, also known as body mass index (BMI). The ideal BMI for good health should be in the range of 21-23 kg/m2. Individuals with BMI ≥ 30 are considered obese. Obesity is a metabolic risk factor for CHD. Coronary heart disease affects blood vessels supplying the heart muscle. Reis and others observed 3275 young adults, aged 18-30 years, who did not show any signs of obesity when the study was initiated in 1985-1986. Overall and abdominal obesity were measured using BMI and waist circumference as units of measure. At the end of 25 years, overall obesity was observed in 40.4% and abdominal obesity in 41% of the study population. Individuals showed a 2-4% increased risk of CHD for each progressive year of obesity. 
Coronary arterial calcification (CAC) or calcium deposits in arteries, a risk indicator of subclinical heart disease, was measured with computed tomography for the last 10 years of the study. The proportion of individuals, with increased overall or abdominal obesity and showing CAC, were 25.2% and 27.7%. 
Obesity Heart Disease Statistics 
According to the World Health Organization, 17 million deaths (48% of non-communicable diseases) are attributed to cardiovascular diseases. One of the main risk factors is physical inactivity, which leads to the physiological change of obesity in individuals. Each year, 2.8 million people die worldwide due to obesity. Obesity contributes to 5% of the risk factors for CHD. 

Obese Heart Rate 
Resting heart rate for normal individuals ranges from 60-100 beats per minute (b-min-1). Research has found the risk of developing obesity is increased when the resting heart rate crosses 80b-min-1. Another study has shown that the maximal heart rate of obese individuals can average upto 180 ± 9b-min-1.   

Obesity as a Risk Factor in Cardiac Surgery 
Obese patients, who undergo cardiac surgery, tend to show certain postoperative complications such as prolonged ventilation, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary complications. Obesity, however, is not associated with increased mortality in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. 

Obesity in India 
Obesity in India is increasing at an alarming rate with 30 million Indians being termed as obese. In India obesity accounts for 1.9% of the estimated risk for noncommunicable diseases, of which 24% mortality is attributed to cardiovascular diseases. 
While technology has certainly improved our daily existence, it has also created a sedentary lifestyle for most of us. Obesity is now more common in affluent countries compared to lower-income nations. The link between obesity and increased risk of heart disease, in young adults, will take a toll on the healthcare system of these countries in the near future. Strong government initiatives to promote a healthy, fitness-based lifestyle, among the younger generation, will go a long way in improving the economic and social wellbeing of the global community. 
Franckowiak SC, Dobrosielski DA, Reilley SM, Walston JD, Andersen RE. Maximal heart rate prediction in adults that are overweight or obese. J Strength Cond Res. May 2011;25(5):1407-1412. 


Researchers Explain How to Make Preclinical Animal Research More Effective

Amongst all the drugs that enter clinical trials in humans, only 11% are ultimately found safe and effective enough to receive regulatory approval.One possible reason for this dismal success rate is flawed preclinical animal research. A number of recent initiatives seek to improve the design and execution of such experiments. Now, a new study led by Prof. Jonathan Kimmelman of McGill University identifies key procedures believed to address threats to the validity of preclinical findings. 
The authors of the study, published this week in the journal PLOS Medicine, conducted a systematic literature search and identified 26 guidelines with 55 different procedures that groups of scientists have proposed to improve the quality and usefulness of preclinical efficacy studies for investigational drugs. They then summarized and prioritized the results. 
Many of these recommendations aren''t widely implemented in preclinical research. As a result, "It is quite possible that drugs are being advanced into clinical trials without reliable evidence that they are useful," Kimmelman says. "This is a problem, ethically, because trials are hugely expensive and involve burdens for patients. We''re not learning all we can from the animal studies in drug development, and failed drug development means higher drug prices." 
The key recommendations are contained in a new checklist, and include many procedures that are already used in human research, including use of appropriate sample sizes, use of randomization and blinding. Another key recommendation is matching animal models to the human manifestation of the disease. (If using mice to test a treatment for a childhood disease, for example, researchers should use juvenile mice.) 
Kimmelman and Valerie C. Henderson, researchers in the Biomedical Ethics Unit and Experimental Medicine in McGill''s Faculty of Medicine, co-authored the article with researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the University of Ottawa, and Western University, London, Ont. 
"By identifying widely shared recommendations, we believe our analysis provides a more evidence-based rationale for design and interpretation of drug studies in animals," Kimmelman concludes. "Investigators, institutional review boards, journals, and funding agencies should give our recommendations due consideration when designing, evaluating, and sponsoring translational investigations." 
Funding for the study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 


Ginseng Reduces Cancer Fatigue

 Ginseng Reduces Cancer FatigueGinseng supplements taken for 2 months help cancer patients and survivors get rid of fatigue, finds study.Lead author Debra Barton, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota said that nearly all patients with cancer can suffer from fatigue at some point; either at diagnosis, during treatment and even after treatment, and (fatigue) can linger for several years. 
She said that issue with cancer-related fatigue is that it can be a profound fatigue that is not relieved by sleep or rest and that it can significantly impact the ability of people to accomplish the things they are used to doing every day, Fox News reported. Ginseng had shown promise for fatigue in earlier studies as well, researchers said. 
Tired cancer patients and survivors often turn to that and other dietary supplements such as Coenzyme Q-10, L-Carnitine and guarana, but not all are supported by evidence. 
To look more closely at the effects of ginseng, Barton and her coauthors split 364 people with cancer-related fatigue into two groups. 
People in one group took 2,000 milligrams of Wisconsin ginseng daily for eight weeks; those in the other group took placebo capsules. 
Participants reported their fatigue on a specialized questionnaire. Researchers then weighted those answers on a 100-point scale, where higher scores indicate more energy. Both groups started with an average score around 40. 
After eight weeks, the ginseng group reported a 20-point score increase, on average, compared to a 10-point improvement for the placebo group. 
That's more than enough change to be noticeable in daily life, according to the scale. 
Side effects such as nausea, vomiting and anxiety were not any more common among people taking ginseng. 
The findings are published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.


Color and Personality

Did you know your favorite color reveals a lot about your personality? For a minute decide upon your favorite color and then, scroll down to 'color-decode' your personality.Red: The color red, in general, is symbolic of vitality and health. People having outgoing, aggressive and impulsive personalities tend to like the color red. They tend to be very ambitious, optimistic, open, uncomplicated, determined, restless and abrupt. Also, 'red' people aren't really introspective and are often unaware of their own shortcomings. 

Green: Green is the color of peace, harmony, hope, fertility and renewal. Gentle and peaceful people often opt for greens. 'Green' people are often exploited by others owing to their civilized and modest nature. A 'green' person tends to pay more attention to detail. The qualities of generosity, compassion, love, loyalty and orientation are what define them. 

Blue: The color blue signifies reliability, trust and vulnerability. A 'blue' person tends to be caring, soft, compassionate, patient, persevering and also exercises amazing self-control. They are often admired for their wisdom and intellect. On the flip side, they also have a tendency to worry too much and tend to be suspicious. 

Yellow: The color yellow is symbolic of imagination, happiness, joy and wisdom. Yellow lovers have a sunny personality and a strong sense of humor. They are mostly intellectuals. A 'yellow' person may at times try to neglect their responsibilities and rush into things. Impulsiveness defines them but they manage to put on a brave front in terms of adversity. Their communication skills are excellent and they excel in everything that involves the mind. 

White: White is the color of purity, youth and innocence. They are basically simple and have anoptimistic nature. They are neat, sensible, wise, self-controlled, far-sighted and confident. Sometimes, they can also be critical of themselves and tend to be loners. They might be introverts but love the opportunity to speak out. 

Black: Black symbolizes caution, dignity and mystery. People who have an inclination to the color black generally suppress their inner desires and emotions. Also, it is seen that prestige and power play an important role in their life. They tend to be unemotional, methodical and never let any negativity around them affect them. They also tend to suppress their emotions. 

Pink: The color pink symbolizes most of the qualities of the color red, but in a more subtle way. Women who like the color pink tend to have strong maternal qualities. They are likely to be loving, affectionate and caring. People who love the color pink tend to be charming in their own way, and are usually kind, sensitive and generous. They have an aura of warmth around them to which most people feel drawn to. They also have an optimistic attitude; they are generally calm and composed. They tend to be perceived as sweet and beautiful but with a hint of immaturity. 

Brown: The color brown symbolizes a person who has a great deal of stamina, patience and a down-to-earth attitude. A 'brown' person tends to be very practical and may compromise often to maintain stability. They have a sensual nature, and people often find it easy to open up to them and to confide in them. Losing control over a situation is the thing that scares them the most and sometimes them have a materialistic attitude. 

Purple: Purple is the color of royalty and elegance. 'Purple' people are basically sensitive, compassionate, understanding and introverted. They have strong intuitive powers and have an amazing imagination. Generous by nature, they tend to have great friends. Also, they detest responsibility and like being a free spirit. 

Gray: The color gray defines a person who exercises caution in everything they do. As a 'gray' person, they are willing to compromise and sometimes even work without a reward. They have a strong sense of business and tend to shut off their emotions at times. They prefer a safe and secure existence and steer clear of extreme emotions. They are dependable, tactless and sometimes obstinate.         

Orange: The color orange symbolizes luxury and pleasure. An 'orange' personis a fun-loving person with a great social circle. The qualities of fearlessness and curiosity are embedded deep within them. Often, they tend to dramaticize a little bit, but overall, they are good natured people which makes them popular amongst their peer group. 


Himalaya launches ‘Livline’ campaign for creating awareness on liver care

The Himalaya Drug Company has launched ‘Livline’, a national public health campaign for creating awareness on liver care.
Liver disease is among the top ten killer diseases in India, with lack of awareness being a strong reason for its high incidence. In an effort to spread greater awareness on liver health, Himalaya, through its campaign Livline, will travel across the country, addressing people on the importance of liver care.
The central theme of the Livline Campaign is “It’s your liver. Keep it healthy”. Himalaya along with the help of local doctors will take this message out to the public through innovative means. In its first phase, Livline will travel to over 300 cities across different states and conduct 550 Hepatitis awareness programmes. The Livline Campaign will aim to reach out to over 50,000 people in the first year of operation. In the second year, the program will target 100,000 people across the country.
In Karnataka, the Liveline campaign will be conducted in Bangalore, Belgaum, Bellary, Davangere, Gulbarga, Hubli, Tumkur, Shimoga, Mysore and Mangalore.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Dr. Rangesh, head - Drug Discovery, The Himalaya Drug Company, said “We have observed that in 90 per cent of cases, people are unaware that they have a liver disease. Diagnosis happens at a very late stage due to this lack of awareness. We conceptualised the Livline campaign with the objective of spreading awareness on how to care for the liver, how to identify symptoms, what constitutes high risk behaviour and suchlike. The programme will spread the message of preventive and protective care. We have associated with local doctors across cities to help us conduct these programmes and raise awareness for liver health. This is a pan-India initiative with an aim to double our reach year on year.”


Seminar on medicinal plants to be held at Thrissur on July 28

The Kerala State Medicinal Plant Board and the Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organisation of India (AMMOI) are jointly organising a medicinal plant seminar-cum-workshop at Thrissur on July 28.
The Seminar is conducted mainly to encourage cultivators for farming of medicinal plants and aromatic herbs in order to get all varieties of plants required for the manufacture of ayurvedic medicines in the state. Experts will deliver lectures to educate the farmers on how to earn money by cultivating medicinal plants, said Dr D Ramanathan, general secretary of AMMOI.
The seminar will be inaugurated by P C Chacko, member of Parliament from Thrissur, at Sahithya Akademy Hall at 9 am. Chairman of Care Keralam, the Ayush Cluster, Padmashri Dr P R Krishnakumar will preside over the meeting. The vice-chancellor of the veterinary and animal sciences university, Dr B Ashok will deliver the keynote address.
Dr K G Sreekumar, CEO, CareKeralam, Dr K Prathapan, director, National Mission of Medicinal Plants, Karipmpuzha Raman, managing director, Carekeralam, Dr E T Neelankantan Moss, Dr Gracy Mathew, Dr Indira Balachandran, Dr Baby P Skaria, Dr KC Chacko, Dr Girish Kumar, Prof T A Panicker, Dr O L Pious, Dr Sheela, Dr Jose Varghese and Dr D Ramanathan will speak on various subjects in the seminar.
In the valedictory session in the evening, Dr P M Varrier, president of AMMOI will preside and Therampil Ramakrsihnan, MLA will do the inauguration.
Ayush clusters from other states will showcase their stalls in the seminar.


News Video:Tall women more likely to develop cancer, study says

A recent study finds that taller women may face an increased risk of many cancers than their shorter counterparts.Researchers looked at a sample of nearly 145,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 for the analysis published in the US journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 
They found that each additional 10 centimeters (four inches) of height was linked to a 13 percent higher risk of getting cancer. 
"Ultimately, cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, so it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk," said lead author Geoffrey Kabat, senior epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York. 
After 12 years of following women who entered the study without cancer, researchers found links between greater height and higher likelihood of developing cancers of the breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, ovary, rectum, thyroid, as well as multiple myeloma and melanoma. 
The height association remained even after scientists adjusted for factors that might influence these cancers, such as age, weight, education, smoking habits, alcohol consumption and hormone therapy. 
"We were surprised at the number of cancer sites that were positively associated with height. In this data set, more cancers are associated with height than were associated with body mass index (BMI)," added Kabat. 
Some cancers saw an even higher risk among taller women, such as a 23 to 29 percent increase in the risk of developing cancers of the kidney, rectum, thyroid, and blood for each additional 10 centimeters of height. 
None of the 19 cancers studied showed a lower risk with greater height. 
The study did not establish a certain height level at which cancer risk begins to rise, and Kabat said it is important to remember that the increased risk researchers found was small. 
"It needs to be kept in mind that factors such as age, smoking, body mass index, and certain other risk factors have considerably larger effects," he said. 
"The association of height with a number of cancer sites suggests that exposures in early life, including nutrition, play a role in influencing a person's risk of cancer."


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Is Sex After Heart Attack Safe?

Many Women Worry About Sex After Heart Attack

It's a hidden concern that doctors need to discuss more, experts say
After a heart attack, women often worry about the safety of having sex again, and many wish their doctors would talk about the issue more.So finds a study involving interviews with 17 women who'd survived a heart attack in the past two years. The researchers found that while most rekindled their sex lives within a month of the attack, many also remained fearful about how sex could affect their hearts.What's more, few had discussed the issue with their doctors. And when they had, it was the women, not the doctors, who brought the topic up."Unfortunately, that's not surprising," said Emily Abramsohn, a researcher at the University of Chicago who worked on the study, published online July 24 in theJournal of the American Heart Association.The women, who averaged 60 years of age, were all part of a larger study following heart attack survivors' health. In that study, only 47 percent of men and 35 percent of women said their doctors had talked to them about resuming their sex lives.Fears around the cardiac dangers of sex may be unfounded, experts say. Many studies have shown that for most heart attack survivors, sex is a low-risk activity. Less than 1 percent of all heart attacks are triggered during sex, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).Still, doctors may be unsure about what specific advice to give, said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist and director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.There are guidelines on the topic, issued just last year from the AHA and the American College of Cardiology. These recommendations offer up some general parameters: Sex is "reasonable," for instance, when heart patients can climb two flights of stairs without having chest pain or trouble breathing.One woman in the new study said her doctor told her just that. The problem, she said, was, "I couldn't hardly climb two flights of stairs before I had a heart attack.""We need to be able to tell patients more than that," said Steinbaum, who is also the author of Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum's Heart Book, which addresses women'sheart health, including sexual activity.Sex involves emotional and mental well-being, too, Steinbaum noted, and women may have concerns about it even if they feel physically fit. Depression, for instance, is common after a heart attack, and that might affect a woman's sexual functioning."We need to address the emotional and psychosocial issues, too," Steinbaum said.Abramsohn agreed that doctors may not know what to say on the subject, and noted that there are also practical obstacles.In the immediate term, your doctor is concerned with saving your life, she explained. Then, when you're being discharged from the hospital, the doctor may be focused on your medications or cardiac rehab; any discussion of sexual well-being may get lost.
Source:HealthDay News

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