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Saturday, 14 September 2013

New Way of Purifying Drinking Water Identified

 New Way of Purifying Drinking Water IdentifiedCilantro also known as coriander and Thai parsley can be used to purify drinking water, say researchers.
Douglas Schauer, undergraduate student at a community college, said that C- also known as coriander and Thai parsley - shows promise as a much-needed new "biosorbent" for removing lead and other potentially toxic heavy metals from contaminated water. 
Schauer said that cilantro grows wild in vast amounts in countries that have problems with heavy-metal water pollution. It is readily available and inexpensive. 
"When the filter in a water purification pitcher needs to be changed, they could go outside, gather a handful of cilantro or some other plant, and presto, there's a new filter ready to purify the water," the researcher said. 
Cilantro's secret may lie in the structure of the outer walls of the microscopic cells that make up the plant. They have an architecture ideal for sorption of heavy metals. Other plants, including cilantro's cousins, parsley and culantro, have similar features and could potentially work as biosorbents, he added. 
Schauer said that biosorbents like cilantro could be packed into tea-bag-like packets, reusable water filter cartridges or even tea infuser balls and used to remove heavy metals. 
The study was presented at National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.



Ability to Erase Bad Memories Takes a Step Closer to Reality

While erasing bad memories may currently belong to the realm of sci-fi movies, it has now taken a step closer to reality after researchers showed that they were able to erase dangerous drug-associated memories in mice and rats.In the new study, the scientists inhibited actin polymerization - the creation of large chainlike molecules - by blocking a molecular motor called myosin II in the brains of mice and rats during the maintenance phase of methamphetamine-related memory formation. 
Behavioural tests showed the animals immediately and persistently lost memories associated with methamphetamine-with no other memories affected. 
In the tests, animals were trained to associate the rewarding effects of methamphetamine with a rich context of visual, tactile and scent cues. 
When injected with the inhibitor many days later in their home environment, they later showed a complete lack of interest when they encountered drug-associated cues. At the same time, the response to other memories, such as food rewards, was unaffected. 
The study has been published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry.



Role of 'Love Hormone' in Social Interaction

 Role of 'Love Hormone' in Social InteractionResearchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that oxytocin, often referred to as "the love hormone" because of its importance in the formation and maintenance of strong mother-child and sexual attachments - is involved in a broader range of social interactions than previously understood.The discovery may have implications for neurological disorders such as autism, as well as for scientific conceptions of our evolutionary heritage. Scientists estimate that the advent of social living preceded the emergence of pair living by 35 million years. The new study suggests that oxytocin's role in one-on-one bonding probably evolved from an existing, broader affinity for group living. Oxytocin is the focus of intense scrutiny for its apparent roles in establishing trust between people, and has been administered to children with autism spectrum disorders in clinical trials. The new study, to be published Sept. 12 in Nature, pinpoints a unique way in which oxytocin alters activity in a part of the brain that is crucial to experiencing the pleasant sensation neuroscientists call "reward." The findings not only provide validity for ongoing trials of oxytocin in autistic patients, but also suggest possible new treatments for neuropsychiatric conditions in which social activity is impaired. "People with autism-spectrum disorders may not experience the normal reward the rest of us all get from being with our friends," said Robert Malenka, MD, PhD, the study's senior author. "For them, social interactions can be downright painful. So we asked, what in the brain makes you enjoy hanging out with your buddies?" Some genetic evidence suggests the awkward social interaction that is a hallmark of autism-spectrum disorders may be at least in part oxytocin-related. Certain variations in the gene that encodes the oxytocin receptor - a cell-surface protein that senses the substance's presence - are associated with increased autism risk. Malenka, the Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has spent the better part of two decades studying the reward system - a network of interconnected brain regions responsible for our sensation of pleasure in response to a variety of activities such as finding or eating food when we're hungry, sleeping when we're tired, having sex or acquiring a mate, or, in a pathological twist, taking addictive drugs. The reward system has evolved to reinforce behaviors that promote our survival, he said. For this study, Malenka and lead author Gül Dölen, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in his group with over 10 years of autism-research expertise, teamed up to untangle the complicated neurophysiological underpinnings of oxytocin's role in social interactions. They focused on biochemical events taking place in a brain region called the nucleus accumbens, known for its centrality to the reward system. In the 1970s, biologists learned that in prairie voles, which mate for life, the nucleus accumbens is replete with oxytocin receptors. Disrupting the binding of oxytocin to these receptors impaired prairie voles' monogamous behavior. In many other species that are not monogamous by nature, such as mountain voles and common mice, the nucleus accumbens appeared to lack those receptors. 
"From this observation sprang a dogma that pair bonding is a special type of social behavior tied to the presence of oxytocin receptors in the nucleus accumbens. But what's driving the more common group behaviors that all mammals engage in - cooperation, altruism or just playing around - remained mysterious, since these oxytocin receptors were supposedly absent in the nucleus accumbens of most social animals," said Dölen. 
The new discovery shows that mice do indeed have oxytocin receptors at a key location in the nucleus accumbens and, importantly, that blocking oxytocin's activity there significantly diminishes these animals' appetite for socializing. Dölen, Malenka and their Stanford colleagues also identified, for the first time, the nerve tract that secretes oxytocin in the region, and they pinpointed the effects of oxytocin release on other nerve tracts projecting to this area. 
Mice can squeak, but they can't talk, Malenka noted. "You can't ask a mouse, 'Hey, did hanging out with your buddies a while ago make you happier?'" So, to explore the social-interaction effects of oxytocin activity in the nucleus accumbens, the investigators used a standard measure called the conditioned place preference test. 
"It's very simple," Malenka said. "You like to hang out in places where you had fun, and avoid places where you didn't. We give the mice a 'house' made of two rooms separated by a door they can walk through at any time. But first, we let them spend 24 hours in one room with their littermates, followed by 24 hours in the other room all by themselves. On the third day we put the two rooms together to make the house, give them complete freedom to go back and forth through the door and log the amount of time they spend in each room." 
Mice normally prefer to spend time in the room that reminds them of the good times they enjoyed in the company of their buddies. But that preference vanished when oxytocin activity in their nucleus accumbens was blocked. Interestingly, only social activity appeared to be affected. There was no difference, for example, in the mice's general propensity to move around. And when the researchers trained the mice to prefer one room over the other by giving them cocaine (which mice love) only when they went into one room, blocking oxytocin activity didn't stop the mice from picking the cocaine den. 
In an extensive series of sophisticated, highly technical experiments, Dölen, Malenka and their teammates located the oxytocin receptors in the murine nucleus accumbens. These receptors lie not on nucleus accumbens nerve cells that carry signals forward to numerous other reward-system nodes but, instead, at the tips of nerve cells forming a tract from a brain region called the dorsal Raphe, which projects to the nucleus accumbens. The dorsal Raphe secretes another important substance, serotonin, triggering changes in nucleus accumbens activity. In fact, popular antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft belong to a class of drugs called serotonin-reuptake inhibitors that increase available amounts of serotonin in brain regions, including the nucleus accumbens. 
As the Stanford team found, oxytocin acting at the nucleus accumbens wasn't simply squirted into general circulation, as hormones typically are, but was secreted at this spot by another nerve tract originating in the hypothalamus, a multifunction midbrain structure. Oxytocin released by this tract binds to receptors on the dorsal Raphe projections to the nucleus accumbens, in turn liberating serotonin in this key node of the brain's reward circuitry. The serotonin causes changes in the activity of yet other nerve tracts terminating at the nucleus accumbens, ultimately resulting in altered nucleus accumbens activity - and a happy feeling. 
"There are at least 14 different subtypes of serotonin receptor," said Dölen. "We've identified one in particular as being important for social reward. Drugs that selectively act on this receptor aren't clinically available yet, but our study may encourage researchers to start looking at drugs that target it for the treatment of diseases such as autism, where social interactions are impaired." 
Malenka and Dölen said they think their findings in mice are highly likely to generalize to humans because the brain's reward circuitry has been so carefully conserved over the course of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. This extensive cross-species similarity probably stems from pleasure's absolutely essential role in reinforcing behavior likely to boost an individual's chance of survival and procreation. 

Source:Stanford University School of Medicine 


New Strides in Tissue Regeneration by Stem Cells

Spanish researchers conducted a path-breaking study where they got mature cells in living mice go back to their youthful state, which is a big stride in tissue regeneration by stem cells.Right now, the technique is at its earliest stage and is hedged with safety questions, which makes it impossible to envisage in humans. 
But, said the researchers, it opens up a new strategy leading to a beguiling end: that one day damaged tissue will be healed by simply reprogramming nearby adult cells into replacements for the lost or diseased area. A transplant would not be needed. 
Stem cells have excited huge interest in medical research. 
They are immature cells that differentiate into the specialised cells that comprise and maintain the human body. 
In 2006, a team led by Shinya Yamanaka in Japan announced a breakthrough. 
A clutch of four genes introduced into adult cells in a lab dish rewound these cells back to their baby state. 
These so-called induced pluripotent stem cells -- known by their acronym of iPS -- have since become the most closely-followed innovation in the field. 
Despite many hurdles, they are seen by some as being even more promising than embryonic stem cells, the "gold standard" for versatility but a source hotly opposed by moral conservatives. 
Reporting in the journal Nature, a team led by Manuel Serrano and Maria Abad of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre created genetically-modified mice that carried the four "Yamanaka genes". 
The genes were then switched on by administering a drug in the mice's water. 
Cells in the rodents' kidney, stomach, intestine and pancreas all showed signs of being reprogrammed, back to an extremely versatile or "totipotent" state that seemed more like embryonic stem cells than lab-dish iPS, the team reported. 
The technique confirms that reprogramming can be done in living tissue, and not just in the lab dish, said Serrano. 
"We can now start to think about methods for inducing regeneration locally and in a transitory manner for a particular damaged area," he said. 
Other researchers were divided as to whether the work was a game-changer and all cautioned that daunting obstacles lay ahead. 
There was no evidence about what happened to the cells in the mice after they had been reprogrammed. 
In addition, the animals developed clusters of tumours called teratomas, although this had been quite expected as part of the research. Creating teratomas is a benchmark of the versatility of an experimental stem cell. 
"This paper is very exciting. Clearly, nobody wishes to do this for therapeutic purposes because this leads to the formation of tumours," Ilaria Bellantuono, a University of Sheffield researcher, told the Science Media Centre, a not-for-profit organisation in London. 
"However, this is a proof of concept that pluripotency can be achieved in vivo," or in living animals. 
The process "still needs these iPS cells to be safely converted to useful 'adult' cells in the body," warned Chris Mason, a professor of regenerative medicine at University College London. 
"The major challenge will be tightly controlling every step in this potential approach in order to deliver clinical benefits whilst avoiding significant complications."



Wednesday, 11 September 2013



Medical Marijuana for Children: Is Pediatric Pot Worth It?

The legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, is one of those political issues that everyone seems to have inordinately strong opinions about. Well, good news, debate fans, now it’s for kids.
Doctors are at odds as to whether prescribing pot for children is a good idea. Critics, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have argued that prescribing marijuana for young children hasn’t been sufficiently tested and the long term effects of juvenile use are unknown. Other groups, such as the Clinicians’ Institute for Cannabis Medicine, argue that marijuana can be bred so as to downplay its psychoactive qualities.
In the case of 11-year-old Zaki Jackson, medical marijuana has been a life-saver. Jackson was diagnosed at six months old with a form of epilepsy so severe that it caused up to 250 seizures per day. His parents tried 17 different medications over a span of 10 years to try and calm the seizures, but nothing worked.
Then Zaki’s doctor prescribed pot.
“We are Christians,” Zaki’s mother Heather says. “We are conservative. And we’re using medical marijuana. That’s a kind of big hump for people to get over. Despite the stigma associated with cannabis, we owed it to Zaki to give it a try.”
It worked like a charm. “I probably stared at him for a good three hours after his first dose and then I fell asleep. I didn’t feel any seizures after his first dose,” his mother reports. In the eight months since Zaki began the reefer regimen, he has finally been able to do regular little kid things, like ride a swing.
Zaki’s pot is specially bred to have low levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot, but higher levels of a cannabinoid called cannabidiol, or CBD. While both THC and CBD impact pain, nausea, and seizures, CBD isn’t psychoactive, meaning that kids using this type of marijuana won’t get high.
Still, some experts are skeptical. Dr. Sharon Levy of the Boston Children’s Hospital reiterates that clinical trials are lacking. Levy also notes that some substances that once promised cures have long since been dismissed as ineffective or harmful. “A couple of generations ago physicians were recommending tobacco as a good method of relaxation or to relieve stress,” Levy says. “It seems unbelievable now.”
 By David Powell

Prescription Drugs Kill Over 100,000 People Each Year, Are You Being Medicated Incorrectly?

Death by medicine is a twenty-first century epidemic, and America’s war on drugs is clearly directed at the wrong enemy.” –Dr. Joseph Mercola 
I have briefly focused on mushrooms and cannabis as medicine sources. Now, it is only fair to shine the spotlight on the other side of the medicinal spectrum: prescription drugs. One could go through and list the pros and cons of each individual prescription drug or, to save some time, one could first approach prescription drugs as a whole. Doing so exposes an alarming truth, ringing louder than the individual benefits of each drug.  Prescription drugs are currently responsible for more deaths annually than illegal drugs.  According to Tom Frieden, the CDC director himself, “it’s a big problem, and it’s getting worse .”

Out of the 783,936 annual deaths from conventional medicine mistakes, approximately 106,000 of those are the result of prescription drug use . According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, two-hundred and ninety people in the United States are killed by prescription drugs every day
prescription-drug-abuse-us-articleEven if prescription drugs do not literally kill a patient though, they slowly kill their mind and body. This alters their ability to innately feel deeply and compassionately, the patient can be stripped piece by piece of his inner awareness and inner consciousness, the very essence of their being.
Death by Rx can be sentenced in the form of many, often times subtle masks. Since it happens slowly, the clouding of the patient’s once clear brain goes unnoticed as the fog sets in so densely that he is no longer able to decipher if this new state of consciousness is “normal” or if it is better or less than it should be; rather, it just is. The body system is inevitably forced to adjust to the foreign  chemicals the patient pops in his mouth every morning, activating the conditioning of acceptance of his new found state of awareness as if it is as it has always been. As if this shift in consciousness ceased to ever occur. Little by little he fades, until the place where his mind now resides is one far away.

Prescription pills merely treat, or should I say bandage, undesirable behaviors and sensations as opposed to addressing the underlying root cause of the problem. Band-Aids disintegrate as the medication fades, only to unveil unwanted symptoms once more.  For example, a patient tells their doctor they are abnormally tired, at which point the doctor delivers a diagnosis of “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” equipped with a prescription for a medication that promotes “wakefulness” such as Vyvanse, Nuvigil, Provigil, or Adderall. Entering the picture before you can so much as dig your toes into the problems accompanied with use or potential abuse of stimulants is a bright red flag. One that arose before the doctor’s pen was able to so much as brush against his Rx pad.  “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” similar to countless other diagnoses accepted by an outlandish amount of patients with each given day, is not a diagnosis. It is a symptom. A symptom of a diagnosis that the doctor failed to put a respectable amount of effort into identifying. People do not become chronically tired for no reason, lest they fall chronically lazy; in which case a prescription surely exists for as well. Chronic debilitating fatigue is a clear sign the body system is not functioning at its optimal level. Knowledge that the body will always work to do what is necessary to survive, and that even then, it is still immensely fatigued, sets off a deafening siren signaling the presence of a problem too big for the body’s system to compensate for. The sad and infuriating truth is that a large handful of people diagnosed with “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and numerous other disorders are in reality suffering from something as simple as a nutritional deficiency, easily identifiable with a hair analysis test. I use the term “simple” because when this is the case, a stout dose of the select nutrient may be administered to the patient on a temporary basis, during which the deficiency will correct itself and the patient will be alleviated of “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”
Scenarios like this easily occur due to the average dietary standards, or lack thereof, followed by the majority of society. It is truly a shame to think of a person taking prescription drugs with an essay length of possible side effects, when the answer to their health problem lay within the painless process of nutrient replenishment all along. Some doctors, not all, are quite apt to spatting off spoof diagnoses and prescribing whatever dangerous drug their alleged diagnosis may require. And to what expense? Useless, avoidable suffering of a patient whose doctor overlooked the most obvious and important symptom of all -that the patient, like himself, is a human being. An equal being treated inhumanely by a fellow human being who he sought out with trust regarding his problem.  Take a step back, take the truth in. This happens frequently, so there is no use to pretend, let it all sink in. Now, who is the truly sick one?
Logically speaking, the war on drugs would be on the ones responsible for the most fatalities and health complications, the ones that are easily accessible and right in front of our faces, the ones which remain legal despite all this; rather than on the drugs that are already illegal and monitored, more difficult to obtain, and responsible for less deaths. Taking the bigger picture into account, if the war on drugs was honestly centered on the well-being of society, focus would be placed on drugs most harmful to the human body system, prescription drugs. But that is logically speaking and unfortunately, logically speaking commonly translates to wishful thinking in the world of war, medicine and illegal drugs. With each passing moment, “logic” becomes more and more of a foreign concept to the major parties in charge of the world of conventional western medicine.
1. Null, G PHD. (2011). Death by Medicine. Mount Jackson, VA: Praktikos Books.
2. Mercola, J. “The New Epidemic Sweeping Accross America (and it’s Not a Disease). 26 October 2011. Web. 1 May 2013.
3. Glover, S, Girion, L. “Prescription drug-related deaths continue to rise in U.S.” Los Angeles Times. 29 March 2013. Web. 1 May 2013.,0,2980747.story
4. Starfield, B. (2000). The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4. Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
By: Shell MW
Courtesy: Collective Evolution

News Video:Chris Wark's Chemo-Free Colon Cancer Survival Story

Chris shares his story at The 2011 Cancer Control Convention in Los Angeles, CA.

US Congressional Hearing About Marijuana Legalization

The Obama administration is facing criticism over its attempt to straddle the federal law that makes marijuana illegal and state laws that permit recreational use of the drug.In the first congressional hearing since the administration announced a new, permissive enforcement policy, law enforcement and drug-prevention groups and their congressional allies see an opportunity to push back. The administration's Aug. 29 announcement allows the two states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized — Colorado and Washington — to go their own way without federal interference as long as they implement strong enforcement systems."We are at a precipice," said Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a drug prevention group. "We're about to create Big Marijuana by allowing the commercial production, retail sales and mass advertising of this drug similarly to how we have had Big Tobacco for the last hundred years."The lead witness at Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was to be Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who signed the guidance putting the new marijuana enforcement standards in place.Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who spent eight years as a prosecutor early in his career, says the Justice Department should focus on prosecuting violent crime and should respect the votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal and medical use. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee's top Republican and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, says Attorney General Eric Holder's action was "the wrong message to both law enforcement and violators of federal law.""When marijuana will be fully legal to buy, diversion of the drug will explode," nine former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs said in a letter to Holder.With the door to legalization open in two states, others could follow.The 20,000-member Marijuana Policy Project says it will support efforts to end marijuana prohibition in 10 more states by 2017. Voters in Oregon and Alaska could consider marijuana legalization measures next year.At the federal level, legislation on financial institutions and marijuana is pending in the House, but not in the Senate. Legalization supporters hope the hearing "will be a springboard" for Senate action, said Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, which was pleased by the federal government's new stance.A bill sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., would exempt from the federal marijuana ban anyone complying with state laws that allow production, possession and delivery of marijuana. Another measure, sponsored by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., would allow financial institutions to provide services to legitimate marijuana-related businesses. Currently, processing transactions or investments with money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges.Banking long has been an issue in states which have laws permitting medical use of marijuana. In 1996, California voters made their state the first to allow medical use, and 19 more states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws.Other scheduled witnesses at Tuesday's hearing were John Urquhart, the sheriff in King County, Wash., and Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado Gov. John W. Hickenlooper.Urquhart, a former narcotics detective, says marijuana prohibition is costly and ineffective and says it's important to send a message to the federal government that it should no longer categorize marijuana as an illegal drug in the same category as heroin and LSD. Finlaw works for a governor who opposed legalization but didn't campaign vigorously against it. In May, Hickenlooper signed legislation governing how recreational marijuana should be grown, sold and taxed, calling it the state's best attempt to navigate the uncharted territory of legalized recreational pot.
Source:ABC News

Black Seed - 'The Remedy For Everything But Death'

This humble, but immensely powerful seed, kills MRSA, heals the chemical weapon poisoned body, stimulates regeneration of the dying beta cells within the diabetic's pancreas, and yet too few even know it exists.
Black Seed - 'The Remedy For Everything But Death'The seeds of the annual flowering plant, Nigella Sativa, have been prized for their healing properties since time immemorial.  While frequently referred to among English-speaking cultures as Roman coriander, black sesame, black cumin, black caraway and onion seed, it is known today primarily as black seed, which is at the very least an accurate description of its physical appearance.   
The earliest record of its cultivation and use come from ancient Egypt. Black seed oil, in fact, was found in Egyptian pharoah Tutankhamun's tomb, dating back to approximately 3,300 years ago.[i]  In Arabic cultures, black cumin is known as Habbatul barakah, meaning the "seed of blessing." It is also believed that the Islamic prophet Mohammed said of it that it is "a remedy for all diseases except death."
Many of black cumin's traditionally ascribed health benefits have been thoroughly confirmed in the biomedical literature. In fact, since 1964, there have been 458 published, peer-reviewed studies referencing it.
We have indexed salient research, available to view on on our Black Seed (Nigella Sativa) page, on well over 40 health conditions that may be benefited from the use of the herb, including over 20 distinct pharmacological actions it expresses, such as:
  • Analgesic (Pain-Killing)
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Anti-Ulcer
  • Anti-Cholinergic
  • Anti-Fungal
  • Ant-Hypertensive
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Bronchodilator
  • Gluconeogenesis Inhibitor (Anti-Diabetic)
  • Hepatoprotective (Liver Protecting)
  • Hypotensive
  • Insulin Sensitizing
  • Interferon Inducer
  • Leukotriene Antagonist
  • Renoprotective (Kidney Protecting)
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Inhibitor
These 22 pharmacological actions are only a subset of a far wider number of beneficial properties intrinsic to the black seed. While it is remarkable that this seed has the ability to positively modulate so many different biological pathways, this is actually a rather common occurrence among traditional plant medicines.
Our project has identified over 1600 natural compounds with a wide range of health benefits, and we are only in our first 5 years of casual indexing. There are tens of thousands of other substances that have already been researched, with hundreds of thousands of studies supporting their medicinal value (MEDLINE, whence our study abstracts come, has over 600,000 studies classified as related to Complementary and Alternative Medicine).
Take turmeric, for example. We have identified research indicating its value in over 600 health conditions, while also expressing over 160 different potentially beneficial pharmacological actions. You can view the quick summary of over 1500 studies we have summarized on our Turmeric Researchpage, which includes an explorative video on turmeric. Professional database members are further empowered to manipulate the results according to their search criteria, i.e. pull up and print to PDF the 61 studies on turmeric and breast cancer.  This, of course, should help folks realize how voluminous the supportive literature indicating the medicinal value of natural substances, such as turmeric and black seed, really is.
Black seed has been researched for very specific health conditions. Some of the most compelling applications include:
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Two grams of black seed a day resulted in reduced fasting glucose, decreased insulin resistance, increased beta-cell function, and reduced glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in human subjects.
  • Helicobacter Pylori Infection: Black seeds possess clinically useful anti-H. pylori activity, comparable to triple eradication therapy.
  • Epilepsy: Black seeds were traditionally known to have anticonvulsive properties. A 2007 study with epileptic children, whose condition was refractory to conventional drug treatment, found that a water extract significantly reduced seizure activity.
  • High Blood pressure: The daily use of 100 and 200 mg of black seed extract, twice daily, for 2 months, was found to have a blood pressure-lowering effect in patients with mild hypertension.
  • Asthma: Thymoquinone, one of the main active constituents within Nigella sativa (black cumin), is superior to the drug fluticasone in an animal model of asthma.Another study, this time in human subjects, found that boiled water extracts of black seed have relatively potent antiasthmatic effect on asthmatic airways.
  • Acute tonsillopharyngitis: characterized by tonsil or pharyngeal inflammation (i.e. sore throat), mostly viral in origin, black seed capsules (in combination with Phyllanthus niruri) have been found to significantly alleviate throat pain, and reduce the need for pain-killers, in human subjects.
  • Chemical Weapons Injury: A randomized, placebo-controlled human study of chemical weapons injured patients found that boiled water extracts of black seed reduced respiratory symptoms, chest wheezing, and pulmonary function test values, as well as reduced the need for drug treatment.
  • Colon Cancer: Cell studies have found that black seed extract compares favorably to the chemoagent 5-fluoruracil in the suppression of colon cancer growth, but with a far higher safety profile.Animal research has found that black seed oil has significant inhibitory effects against colon cancer in rats, without observable side effects.
  • MRSA: Black seed has anti-bacterial activity against clinical isolates of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Opiate Addiction/Withdrawal: A study on 35 opiate addicts found black seed as an effective therapy in long-term treatment of opioid dependence.
  • Source:Green Med Info

Does Cranberry Juice Really Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

What is Urinary Tract Infection?

If you feel the need to urinate more often than usual but pass only a little cloudy, foul-smelling urine at a time, and there is pain or burning during urination, you may have urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infection (UTI), is a pretty common bacterial infection (most often caused by Escherichia coli) that can occur anywhere in the urinary tract - urethra, ureters, bladder or kidneys. It is 10 times more common in women than in men and statistics reveal that more than 50 percent of women get UTI at least once in their lifetime. Being female, being sexually active or using certain types of birth control, menopause, diabetes, and using a catheter to urinate, are all risk factors for UTI. Although UTI can be successfully treated with a short course of oral antibiotics, the most studied and most effective natural remedy for the infection is the cranberry, in the form of juice, sauce, or dried fruit.

Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infection

Earlier, scientists believed that cranberry juice improved urinary tract health by lowering the pH of the urinary tract and making it more acidic. However, more recent research studies have shown that antioxidants called proanthocyanidins (PAC) present in cranberry prevents E. coli from sticking to the urinary tract walls. And this goes for both, antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant E. coli. The mechanism by which cranberry PACs altered bacterial behavior, however, was not fully understood until Dr. Nathalie Tufenkji and her team from the Department of Chemical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal found that expression of the gene that encodes for the bacteria's movement was decreased in the presence of cranberry PACs. They also found that cranberry powder can inhibit the ability of Proteus mirabilis, a bacterium frequently implicated in complicated UTIs, to multiply and swim in the laboratory medium. Further, increasing concentrations of cranberry powder reduced the production of urease by the bacteria. Urease is an enzyme that contributes to the virulence of infections. "While the effects of cranberry in living organisms remain subject to further study, our findings highlight the role that cranberry consumption might play in the prevention of chronic infections," Dr. Tufenkji said. "More than 150 million cases of UTI are reported globally each year, and antibiotic treatment remains the standard approach for managing these infections. The current rise of bacterial resistance to antibiotics underscores the importance of developing another approach." Findings of another study from the same team revealed that cranberry-enriched silicone substrates impaired the spread of P. mirabilis, indicating the potential use for cranberry derivatives to hinder the spread of germs in implantable medical devices such as catheters. The most recent research published in the journal Phytotherapy Research confirmed the preventive effect of cranberry on urinary tract infection 'beyond doubt'.

Cranberry Juice Benefits

Apart from UTI, a few studies also suggest that cranberry PACs can prevent Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and sometimes cancer, from sticking to the stomach walls. Benefits of antimicrobial activities of cranberry extend beyond the urinary tract and stomach. Studies have suggested that cranberries have major cardiovascular benefits, in the sense, they reduce LDL levels and platelet aggregation, maintain HDL levels and improve vascular function. The same PACs in the cranberry juice that help with UTI also inhibit bacteria from clinging to the teeth, thus preventing tooth decay and cavities. Interestingly, cranberry juice can help with obesity too. A study on lab mice from the State University of New Jersey, USA, showed that cranberry juice supplementation ameliorated insulin resistance and plasma lipid profile, and reduced visceral fat mass in obese mice. Cranberry is also beneficial in type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer.

Cranberry Juice Health Risks

Despite all these benefits of cranberry juice, there is a flip side to it as well, as far as UTI is concerned. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cautions people with personal or family history of kidney stones not to drink cranberry juice or use cranberry tablets. Although a Cochrane review in 2012 showed that a person had a 14 percent lower risk of UTI if taking cranberry products compared to no treatment or a placebo, several researchers pointed out that it was not a 'very significant difference' and could be just chance. Many also pointed out that positive results obtained under laboratory conditions may not have the same outcome in human beings. Again, according to the European Food Safety Authority - 'A claim on cranberry fruit products by standardized by their proanthocyanidin content and reduction in the risk of urinary tract infections in women by inhibiting the adhesion of certain bacteria in the urinary tract has been assessed with an unfavorable outcome'. Further, number of case reports suggested that taking cranberry juice might interact with warfarin (Coumadin). However, other trials refuted the suggestion by saying taking two 8-ounce glass of juice daily doesn't interfere with the action of warfarin. Another drawback is that medical fraternity hasn't come out with equivocal recommendation on how much cranberry juice to take or which product (juice or tablets) is more effective in treating UTI. Ultimately, even if cranberry doesn't help you prevent UTI, drinking more fluids including cranberry juice helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. But drink it only if it doesn't interfere with your medications or doesn't bother your stomach. Whether or not cranberry prevents or cures UTI, cranberry juice has big health payoffs because of its antioxidant content. So go ahead and have a glass just for the pleasure of enjoying it!



New Form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Described By UCLA Researchers

A new form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that occurs after an acute bout of diverticulitis was described by UCLA researchers. This is a finding that may help lead to better management of symptoms and relief for patients.The discovery of this new condition, called Post-Diverticulitis Irritable Bowel Syndrome (PDV-IBS), validates the irritable bowel symptoms that many patients report long after suffering a bout of diverticulitis, but that many physicians wave off as being part of the original condition, said study senior author Dr. Brennan Spiegel, an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We've known for a long time that after some people develop diverticulitis, they're a different person. They experience recurrent abdominal pains, cramping and diarrhea that they didn't have before," Spiegel said. "The prevailing wisdom has been that once diverticulitis is treated, it's gone. But we've shown that IBS symptoms occur after the diverticulitis, and it may result from an inflammatory process like a bomb going off in the body and leaving residual damage." The study appears Sept. 5, 2013 in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. As they age, most people develop diverticulosis, or pouches in the lining of the colon. More than 50% of people over 60 have the condition, but the pouches usually don't cause any problems. Occasionally, the pouches become inflamed, leading to diverticulitis, which causes pain and infection in the abdomen. Doctors usually treat it with antibiotics, or in more severe cases, surgery. "A major surprise in our study was that diverticulitis patients not only developed IBS at a higher rate than the controls, but they also developed mood disorders like depression and anxiety at a higher rate," Spiegel said. "Because IBS and mood disorders often go hand in hand, this suggests that acute diverticulitis might even set off a process leading to long-standing changes in the brain-gut axis." The discovery of PDV-IBS could mean better attention to patients complaining of symptoms after diverticulitis, symptoms that up until now may have been dismissed by physicians. Spiegel said the PDV-IBS "Patients often report ongoing IBS symptoms after the diverticulitis has long passed, and this study supports their beliefs and introduces a new diagnosis," Spiegel said. "If doctors recognize this, they may take the symptoms more seriously and manage them actively, just as they can manage IBS actively with various new drugs on the market and currently in development." More than 1,000 patient records from the West Los Angeles Veteran's Affairs Medical Center were examined for the two-year study, including patients that had suffered acute diverticulitis and another group of patients that did not have it. The groups were matched for age and sex and had similar comorbidities, or other existing health problems. The groups were followed for many years as UCLA researchers tracked the differences in IBS diagnoses and mood disorders. "This study expands our understanding a little bit about what might cause IBS. It's such a common condition and there may be different flavors," Spiegel said. "We've now added a new flavor to the menu, a new risk factor for developing IBS. By learning more, we might be able to expand the therapies we can use on these patients." The study was funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals. "Our findings support the evolving paradigm of diverticular disease as a chronic illness- not merely an acute condition marked by abrupt complications. Far from a self-limited episode, acute diverticulitis may become a chronic disorder in some patients," the study states. "Diverticulitis is correlated with not only chronic IBS symptoms, but also long-term emotional distress beyond the event itself. Awareness of this possible risk is important because persistent, untreated gastrointestinal symptoms and comorbid depression may worsen outcome and increase the economic burden of an already prevalent disease."
journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Amino Acid Arginine Could Help Beat Diabetes

 Amino Acid Arginine Could Help Beat DiabetesArginine stimulates a hormone linked to the treatment of type 2 diabetes.More than 371 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, of whom 90 percent are affected by lifestyle-related diabetes mellitus type 2 (type 2 diabetes). In new experiments, researchers from the University of Copenhagen working in collaboration with a research group at the University of Cincinnati, USA, have demonstrated that the amino acid arginine improves glucose metabolism significantly in both lean (insulin-sensitive) and obese (insulin-resistant) mice. Postdoc Christoffer Clemmensen said that the amino acid is just as effective as several well-established drugs for type 2 diabetics. To test the effect of the amino acid arginine, researchers subjected lean and obese animal models to a so-called glucose tolerance test, which measures the body's ability to remove glucose from the blood over time. Clemmensen said that the team have demonstrated that both lean and fat laboratory mice benefit considerably from arginine supplements. He said that they improved glucose metabolism by as much as 40 percent in both groups and can also see that arginine increases the body's production of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), an intestinal hormone which plays an important role in regulating appetite and glucose metabolism. The findings have been published in the scientific journal Endocrinology. Source-ANI


Study Reports on Link Between Testicle Size and Parenting

 Study Reports on Link Between Testicle Size and ParentingNew research looking to fathering habits and testicle size suggested that bigger may not be better when it comes to the day-to-day raising of small children.The research involved 70 US men of varying ethnicities -- most were Caucasian, five were Asian and 15 were African-American. All were the fathers of children aged one to two. The larger the volume of their testes, the less the men were involved in daily parenting activities like changing diapers, said the study by researchers at Emory University in Georgia. In comparison, men with smaller testes showed more nurturing activity in the brain when shown pictures of their children, and also were more involved in their children's upbringing, according to surveys answered separately by both the fathers and their female partners. All the men in the study were aged 21-55 and lived with the biological mothers of their children. Most were married. "I wouldn't want to say that men with large testes are always bad fathers but our data show a tendency for them to be less involved in things like changing diapers, bathing children, preparing meals, taking them to the doctor and things like that," said lead author James Rilling, an associate professor of anthropology. The study sought to test an evolutionary theory that holds that people and animals are either built to breed or to nurture. The findings support the notion that human beings have a limited amount of energy to invest in reproductive efforts -- so either they put energy into producing offspring or into raising it. If you invest more energy in parenting you have less available for mating and vice versa," explained Rilling. Since the testes are where sperm is made, and their size can be linked to the amount produced, the researchers said their study is unique and the first of its kind. Previous studies have shown a link between high testosterone levels and lower parental involvement as well as divorce and infidelity. The Emory team also analyzed testosterone levels and found the same inverse relationship to parental involvement in their study. "Other people have looked at testosterone and parental behavior but as far as we know we are the first to look at testes size and parental behavior and we think we are getting at something different," said Rilling. "We are suggesting that men with larger testes are more built for a mating effort strategy and as a consequence are less built for investing in children." Researchers used functional MRI scans to analyze brain activity when the men were shown pictures of their toddlers and also of strangers' children. To assess the men's daily parenting involvement with their young children, scientists asked the men and their female partners to separately fill out questionnaires. The volume of the testes was measured in a voluntary MRI scan, to which 55 of the 70 men agreed. Still, the researchers could not say for sure whether testes size caused the difference in fathering behavior, or if perhaps the act of becoming a father might have caused the testes to shrink in some men. Urologist Joseph Aluka, who was not involved in the research, said he commonly sees men with smaller testes in a certain context. "The guy who comes in with smaller testes is more likely to have greater difficulty with getting his wife pregnant," Aluka, an assistant professor at New York University Urology Associates, told AFP. If such men end up being more involved as parents, "maybe these guys struggled to have kids and appreciate the experience a little bit more," Aluka said. "I wouldn't be surprised if just a few participants in this study fundamentally affected their data because it is a small study," said Aluka, describing the findings as "a stretch." The study appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Study: Neurons In Our Brain 'Mirror' Space Near Others As If It Were Ours

 Study: Neurons In Our Brain 'Mirror' Space Near Others As If It Were OursNeurons in our brain 'mirror' the space near others, just as if this was the space near ourselves, reveals a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The study, published in the scientific journal Current Biology, sheds new light on a question that has long preoccupied psychologists and neuroscientists regarding the way in which the brain represents other people and the events that happens to those people."We usually experience others as clearly separated from us, occupying a very different portion of space," says Claudio Brozzoli, lead author of the study at the Department of Neuroscience. "However, what this study shows is that we perceive the space around other people in the same way as we perceive the space around our own body." The new research revealed that visual events occurring near a person's own hand and those occurring near another's hand are represented by the same region of the frontal lobe (premotor cortex). In other words, the brain can estimate what happens near another person's hand because the neurons that are activated are the same as those that are active when something happens close to our own hand. It is possible that this shared representation of space could help individuals to interact more efficiently -- when shaking hands, for instance. It might also help us to understand intuitively when other people are at risk of getting hurt, for example when we see a friend about to be hit by a ball.
Source: scientific journal Current Biology


Fruit Juices and Smoothies: a New Risk to Our Health

 US researchers have pointed out that fruit juices and smoothies are now a new risk to our health because of the amount of sugar the healthy drinks are believed to contain.

 Fruit Juices and Smoothies: a New Risk to Our Health
 Barry Popkin and George Bray pointed the finger at high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks in 2004, causing a huge headache for the big manufacturers, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Popkin, a distinguished professor at the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, told the Guardian that smoothies and fruit juice are the new danger. He added that it's kind of the next step in the evolution of the battle, and it's a really big part of it because in every country they've been replacing soft drinks with fruit juice and smoothies as the new healthy beverage. Researchers from the UK, USA and Singapore found that, in large-scale studies involving nurses, people who ate whole fruit, especially blueberries, grapes and apples, were less likely to get type 2 diabetes, which is obesity-related, but those who drank fruit juice were at increased risk. People who swapped their fruit juice for whole fruits three times a week cut their risk by 7 percent. The British Soft Drinks Association says that consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9 percent over the last 10 years, while the incidence of obesity has risen by 15 percent.

The study is published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.


ISMGA urges state govt to take immediate measures to set up ISM university in Tamil Nadu

The Indian siddha medical graduates association (ISMGA) in Tamil Nadu has urged Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha to initiate immediate measures to establish an Indian System of Medicine (ISM) university in Tamil Nadu, which has been pending for quite some time due to the apathetic attitude of the officials in the directorate of Indian medicine.

Alleging that the inordinate delay is due to the apathy of the officers, the ISMGA has recently approached the chief minister and submitted a memorandum, demanding immediate measures to speed up the activities for establishing the university.

The Tamil Nadu government had issued an order on January 23, 2012, directing the Directorate of Indian Medicine for taking preliminary action to establish the university. The order had also wanted the directorate to create a post of special officer along with certain temporary posts for the initial work.The siddha medical graduates association in its memorandum alleged that the concerned officers in the directorate of ISM have so far not taken any positive step towards implementing the government order. The siddha graduates have also alleged that there is deliberate attempt from some corners to block the establishment of the ISM university in the state, hence they sought the intervention of the state chief minister.ISMGA general secretary Dr Selvin Innocent Das told Pharmabiz that, on behalf of the association, he sent several letters to the directorate of Indian medicine asking for the progress of the order. But, he said, the officers at the directorate are not responding to his queries in this regard. Even his letter through RTI was also unanswered, he told Pharmabiz.“It is more than 18 months since the government issued the order directing the authorities of the Indian medicines to take steps to establish the ISM university in the state, which is a long cherished desire and a demand of the siddha community. But the concerned officers are not showing any interest, even not replying to our letters. Still we are not sure whether a Special Officer has been appointed for the purpose as ordered by the government. Finally we wanted to approach the government for its immediate intervention,” he said.The order of the government says that besides appointing a special officer and other temporary staffs, the directorate can utilize the facility at the Tamil Nadu Medicinal Plant Corporation Ltd (TAMPCOL) office at Annanagar as the office of the university for the time being to start the preliminary work. The government had sanctioned more than Rs. 1 crore for the initial work for the university.The association complains that if the work is not started before long, it will lead to the lapse of the sanctioned amount. They demand that an experienced siddha physician should be appointed as the special officer rather than appointing any academician.According to them, there are health universities in Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and in some other states. Since Tamil Nadu is the hub of Siddha system, it is high time an exclusive university for siddha and other Indian systems is established, they added.

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