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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Seven toxic foods, drinks, and additives to cut out of your diet for good

With so much conflicting information out there about which foods are healthy and which foods are not, it can be difficult for many people to determine how best to approach a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well. But a good place to start is to avoid these seven toxic foods, beverages, and additives that are quite common in the American diet.
Seven toxic foods, drinks, and additives to cut out of your diet for goodDiet sodas and beverages sweetened with artificial chemicals. One of the more common dietary misconceptions in mainstream society today is the idea that “diet” beverages are somehow healthier than their sugar-sweetened beverages. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) saccharin (Sweet’N Low), and sucralose (Splenda) are among the more popular artificial sweeteners used in many diet sodas, juices, chewing gums, and other foods
Not only are artificial sweeteners bad for your health , but they also tend to promote obesity   If you want to protect yourself against chronic illness and toxicity — aspartame literally converts to formaldehyde in the body and causes metabolic acidosis — it is best to stick with either raw sugars or natural sugar substitutes like pure stevia extract.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the silent killer. It is not really much of a secret anymore that HFCS, despite all the corn industry shilling, is a toxic sweetener that should be avoided  . Since it is linked to obesity, brain damage, low IQ, and even mercury poisoning, avoiding all foods that contain HFCS — this can include breads, cereals, and other seemingly innocuous foods — will do wonders for your health.
Most vegetable oils, including hydrogenated and ‘trans’ fat varieties. The misdirected war on saturated fats has convinced millions of people that unsaturated vegetable oils are a healthy alternative. Not only do many vegetables oils turn rancid quickly, which means they are toxic  , but many of them also contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids which, apart from omega-3 fatty acids, can cause severe health problems like heart disease and cancer.
Many vegetable oils are also derived from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), including canola, soy, and corn oils. These same oils are often hydrogenated as well, a process that turns them into heart-destroying solid oils. Avoiding these and sticking instead to healthy fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and hemp oil will greatly improve your health and lower your risk of disease.
White bread, pasta, and other refined flour foods. They are cheap, plentiful, and come in hundreds of varieties. But white breads, pastas, and other foods made from refined flour are among the top health destroyers in America today. Not only are most white flour products carcinogenic because they are bleached and bromated, but they also lack vital nutrients that are stripped away during processing. Avoid them, and all processed wheat products if possible, to optimize your health.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), carrageenan, and refined salt. Often hidden in foods under deceptive names , MSG is a pervasive salt chemical you will want to avoid that is linked to causing headaches, heart problems, brain damage, and other problems. Carrageenan, another chemical additive often hidden in “natural” and organic foods like nut milks and lunch meats, is similarly worth avoiding, as it can cause gastrointestinal upset and colon cancer.
And processed salt, which is added to just about everything these days, lacks the trace minerals normally present in sea and earth salts, which means it ends up robbing your body of these vital nutrients  . Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke are just a few of the many conditions that can result from refined salt intake, so your best bet is to stick with unrefined sea salts and other full-spectrum salts.
Sources:Natural News
Courtesy:Truth Theory

The quest for immortality

Immortality seems pretty cool…unless you wind up like this.How long can humans live?
The maximum human life span is currently about 125 years, scientists think. Most people fall far short of that because of poor diet, self-destructive habits, disease, or organ failure. But advances in medicine have already extended the average human life span in the U.S. and other modern nations from 46 in 1900 to 78 today, and science is now making steady progress toward solving the problem of aging itself. Through genetic manipulation, scientists are hoping to train the body's immune system to destroy cancer cells, and to tweak our DNA to prevent our healthy cells from dying. We may be approaching an era in which people can bring their aging bodies to a clinic for maintenance, like a car, and have new organs installed that were grown from stem cells or manufactured by 3D printers. "I'd say we have a 50-50 chance of bringing aging under what I'd call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so," says gerontologist Aubrey de Gray.
What is aging, exactly?
Scientists don't agree on a definition. One theory puts it in terms of oxidation: Just as the oxygen in air causes a cut apple to turn brown or a piece of iron to rust, the oxygen used in human metabolic processes introduces "free radicals" that can damage cells. Over time, those cells die. "In simple language, we don't get old, we rust from oxygen," noted pathologist Harry B. Demopoulos once said. Other scientists see aging through the lens of entropy. According to the second law of thermodynamics, all living and nonliving systems inevitably break down, lose energy, and degrade to a state of inert disorder — death.
Are there ways of avoiding this decline?
So far, there are only ways of slowing it down. One way to lengthen life in at least some creatures is, paradoxically, through near-starvation. Scientists have found that caloric restriction extends the lives of fish, rats, roundworms, and some other species by 30 to 40 percent. No trials have been conducted on humans, and an experiment on rhesus monkeys found that caloric deprivation produced no increases in life span. Still, some true believers called "skinnies" swear by a diet of only 1,200 calories a day — less than half what people usually consume. They're gaunt and hungry, but they're convinced they'll get 10 or 20 extra years of life.
Is there a better alternative?
Several labs around the world are working on replacing failing organs with new ones using stem cell technology. In July, Japanese scientists announced that they had grown the world's first functioning miniature livers from human skin cells. As the science of stem cells and organ building progresses, it may become possible to use a 3D printer to print out new organs on demand. Researchers have already managed to print out a fully beating, three-dimensional mouse heart. Since the cause of most deaths is organ failure, says Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, finding an easy way to produce replacement organs would "extend life by several decades." Some scientists are even looking for a "cure" for aging itself.
How could aging be cured?
Scientists are focusing on the idea of genetically manipulating mysterious stretches of our DNA called telomeres. Like the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces, telomeres prevent our chromosomes from fraying. But as our cells repeatedly divide over the course of years to renew the body, telomeres become shorter and frayed, until cells can divide no more and grow old and die. If we could somehow manipulate our genes to prevent telomeres from degenerating, then it might be possible to stop aging.
So is immortality a possibility?
Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov certainly thinks so: He's pumped millions into his "2045 Initiative," vowing to cure death within the next three decades. Then there's Google's director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, who predicts that humans will simply merge with computers, uploading our consciousness and memories and becoming immortal superbeings. So determined is Kurzweil to beat death that he gobbles up to 250 vitamins and other pills a day that he believes will help him live until 2045, when he says immortality will become a reality.
Should we want to live forever?
The idea fills many with dread. Consider a world in which millions of 150-year-olds roamed an already overcrowded planet, placing the environment and our welfare systems under incredible strain. Then there are the unforeseen cultural effects: Would people bother having children if they didn't need to live on through their offspring? Would the institution of marriage crumble under the prospect of 100-year — or eternal — relationships? Ethicist Leon Kass argues that finite life spans are necessary "for treasuring and appreciating all that life brings." But some scientists refuse to accept that death is beyond human control. "It's such a profoundly sad, lonely feeling that I really can't bear it," Kurzweil says. "So I go back to thinking about how I'm not going to die."
The Benjamin Button jellyfish
In 1988, a marine-biology student unwittingly discovered a mysterious sea creature that seemed to debunk the most fundamental law of biology: You are born, you age, and then you die. The tiny species, called Turritopsis dohrnii, appeared to grow younger and younger until it was transformed back to a polyp, its earliest stage of life — hence the nickname "Benjamin Button," after the F. Scott Fitzgerald character who ages in reverse. At that point, the jellyfish would begin its life cycle anew. Today, scientists are working feverishly to discover the immortal jellyfish's secret, believing that an understanding of the inner workings of primitive creatures like jellyfish, sponges, and flatworms could have radical implications for humans. "Once we determine how the jellyfish rejuvenates itself, we should achieve very great things," says marine biologist Shin Kubota. "My opinion is that we will evolve and become immortal ourselves."
Source:The Week

9 Common Indian Spices That Prevent Cancer

When the opposition in question is an adamant disease like cancer, our armoury should be packed with a healthy lifestyle and a diet including foods that double as anti-cancer agents. Look no further than Indian spices to add incredible flavor to your food and prevent cancer.
9 Common Indian Spices That Prevent CancerWhen actress Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow, all she said was, “I’ll beat cancer”. Carrying this spirit of defeating a disease often labelled ‘incurable’, we try to find out diet methods, especially in the selection of spices that can avert the multiplying of malignant cells in the body that gradually mature into insurmountable cancer cells.
Our grandmothers would in no time prepare us a glass of warm milk with saffron sprinkled on top when we went crying to her with bruise on our knee or wound on the elbow. The herbal turmeric paste soothed minor cuts and healed all skin rashes. These age-old kitchen tricks are little more than mere quick-fix tactics. Spices like turmeric and saffron are inherent with medicinal properties that, when incorporated to our diet from an early stage strengthens our bodies against invasion of toxins, bacteria and virus.
Senior consultant surgical oncologist Dr. B. Niranjan Naik and senior clinical nutritionist, Fortis La Femme, Shipra Saklani Mishra, inform us about the goodness of Indian spices with cancer-fighting properties and the necessity of their inclusion to our eating habits.
Turmeric/Curcumin: This is the king of spices when it comes to dealing with cancer diseases, besides it adding a zesty colour to our food on the platter. Turmeric contains the powerful polyphenol Curcumin that has been clinically proven to retard the growth of cancer cells causing prostrate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, brain tumour, pancreatic cancer and leukemia amongst a host of others. Curcumin promotes ‘Apoptosis’- (programmed cell death/cell suicide) that safely eliminates cancer breeding cells without posing a threat to the development of other healthy cells. In cases of conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the surrounding cells too become a target in addition to the cancer cells. Therefore, the side-effects are imminent.
Fennel: Armed with phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, cancer cells have nothing but to accept defeat when the spice is fennel. ‘Anethole’, a major constituent of fennel resists and restricts the adhesive and invasive activities of cancer cells. It suppresses the enzymatic regulated activities behind cancer cell multiplication. A tomato-fennel soup with garlic or fresh salads with fennel bulbs make for an ideal entree prior to an elaborate course meal. Roasted fennel with parmesan can be another star pick.
Saffron: A natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid called ‘Crocetin’ is the primary cancer-fighting element that saffron contains. It not only inhibits the progression of the disease but also decreases the size of the tumour by half, guaranteeing a complete goodbye to cancer. Though it is the most expensive spice in the world for it is derived from around 250,000 flower stigmas (saffron crocus) that make just about half a kilo, a few saffron threads come loaded with benefits you won’t regret paying for. Saffron threads can be used in various ways:
Cumin: Yes, it aids digestion and probably that is why we like chewing a handful of cumin seeds at the end of every meal. However, its health benefits go beyond. A portent herb with anti-oxidant characteristics, cumin seeds contain a compound called ‘Thymoquinone’ that checks proliferation of cells responsible for prostate cancer. So, instead of loading your usual snack options with calories and oil, add this seasoning to your bread, fried beans or sauce and make the dish rich in flavour and high on health. You can rediscover the magic of cumin in your regular bowl of tadka dal and rice too!
Cinnamon: It takes not more than a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder every day to keep cancer risk away. A natural food preservative, cinnamon is a source of iron and calcium. Useful in reducing tumour growth, it blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body. Some of the effective ways of including cinnamon in your diet are:
-Start your day with a cup of cinnamon tea (in leaf or sachet)
-Make your breakfast meal a super healthy one; just add this wonder spice to your
morning oatmeal and you are going well!
-A fruity delight comprising chopped apples, a few walnuts and your magic potion cinnamon
-Honey and cinnamon in your glass of milk before going to bed; no cancer nightmares assured!
Oregano: More than a pizza or pasta topping, oregano confirms its worth as a potential agent against prostate cancer. Consisting of anti-microbial compounds, just one teaspoon of oregano has the power of two cups of red grapes! Phyto-chemical ‘Quercetin’ present in oregano restricts growth of malignant cells in the body and acts like a drug against cancer-centric diseases.
Cayenne Pepper/Capsaicin (Chilli peppers): A promising spice with anti-cancer properties, an overdose of chilli peppers however should be restrained. Capsaicin induces the process of apoptosis that destroys potential cancer cells and reduces the size of leukemia tumour cells considerably. It can be concluded that apart from setting our tongues on fire, chilli peppers can scare cancer pathogens off too.
Ginger: This humble spice boasts of medicinal qualities that help lowering cholesterol, boost metabolism and kill cancer cells. Easily added to vegetable dishes, fish preparations and salads, ginger enhances the flavour in cooking. Chew on fresh parsley if the odour bothers you.
Clove: On the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale used by the National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to assess the antioxidant value of foods, clove has the highest ORAC score. Besides it’s ability to prevent cancer, clove-infused water is used to treat stomach upsets, nausea and diarrhoea.
Others: Anise, basil, garlic, caraway, fenugreek, mustard, mint leaves, rosemary, Limonin (fresh lemon), virgin olive, vinegar and avocado are other cancer-fighting diet components.
Other diet habits that can keep cancer risk at bay:
1. A plant-based diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and beans is the best organic way to fight cancer.
2. Add fibre: Replace white rice with brown rice in meals
3. Substitute whole-grain bread for white bread; choose a bran muffin over a pastry
4. Snack on popcorn instead of potato chips.
5. Eat fresh fruits with skin.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation.
7. Cook with olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil
8. Avoid packaged or fried foods that are high in trans-fats
9. Avoid processed salt. Celtic sea salt/Himalayan salt can be consumed sparingly.
10. Cancer patients: Do not load your diet with turmeric or Curcumin supplements without doctor’s consult or prescribed dosage.
Cancer fighting salad recipe: Couscous salad with sun dried tomato
Couscous Wheat- 120 gms
Turmeric – 1 gm
Salt/pepper To Taste
Sun dried tomato- 2 nos
Olives (black/Green) – 2 nos each
Mint leaves- 2 sprig
Lemon juice
Ginger dices
Bell pepper dices- 15 gm
Olive oil- 2 Tsp
Pickle onion- 2 nos
Lettuce leaves
1. Take a pan and add salt, pepper, turmeric, couscous, olive oil and saffron. Steam the couscous for 5 minutes and chill immediately.
2. Now add lemon juice, bell pepper, olives, sun dried tomato, pickle onion (chopped) and dice ginger. Mix well and add mint. Mould it on top of lettuce leaves and serve chilled.
Prevent Disease
By:Ipshita Mishra
Courtsey:Truth Theory

Must Watch: Amazing Story of Personal Transformation

We have all heard of amazing weight loss stories or personal transformations and many of them are powerful stories. This one however has an added twist that  makes it quite extraordinary. This man went from being overweight and unable to walk without assistance to being able to walk on his own and losing over 100 lbs! How did he do it? Yoga and a lot of determination - See more at:
Source:Collective Evolution
We have all heard of amazing weight loss stories or personal transformations and many of them are powerful stories. This one however has an added twist that  makes it quite extraordinary. This man went from being overweight and unable to walk without assistance to being able to walk on his own and losing over 100 lbs! How did he do it? Yoga and a lot of determination - See more at:

Wellness centres reluctant to take accreditation from NABH, only 5 opted so far after 3 years

Despite the efforts by the Quality Council of India and the incentives by the Ministry of Tourism, the wellness centres in the country are reluctant to apply for the accreditation by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH), in comparison to other healthcare establishments.
During the last three years after the accreditation was introduced, only five wellness centres have secured the certificates while 12 others have applied for the certification which was aimed at ensuring better quality for the centres as per the international standards.
The centres which got accreditation so far are Kaya Skin Clinic (Juhu, Mumbai), Kaya Skin Clinic (Peddar Road, Mumbai), Sanjeeva Medical Spa, Best Western Premier Vedic Village Spa Resort (Kolkata), R The Spa, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel (New Delhi) and VLCC Healthcare Limited (Gurgaon).Lack of awareness among the wellness centres, even by those who are attracting large number of travellers from abroad, is one of the reasons for the slow progress in the scheme, according sources in the NABH which has been holding workshops and meetings for the spas, Ayurveda centres, yoga and naturopathy centres, fitness centres, skin care centres etc.Ministry of Tourism is giving privileged incentives for NABH Accredited Wellness Centres and Accredited Ayurveda Hospitals. Under the Scheme, “Mark of Excellence” is being provided to the accredited wellness centres distinguishing them from other non accredited entities, aimed at providing confidence to the international tourists and local tourists that the centres are providing services as per global standards and by credentialed staff (qualified and trained) and rights of customers are protected where the emphasis is on infection control practices and environment safety aspects.Wellness entities that would opt for wellness accreditation programme provided by NABH would feature on the incredible India website. All accredited entities will be linked to accredited centers website from the listing. Display of NABH Mark of Excellence and Ministry of Tourism approved logo at appropriate locations and listing of Accredited Wellness entities on Incredible India stalls in approved National & International wellness & spa conferences are some of the incentives.Accreditation Standards for Wellness Centres prepared by the technical committee contains complete set of standards for evaluation of Wellness Centres for grant of accreditation. The standards provide framework for quality of care for customers and quality improvement for Wellness Centres. The standards help to build a quality culture at all level and across all the functions of Wellness Centre. NABH Standards has ten chapters incorporating 84 standards and 396 objective elements.The standards focus on all aspects of service delivery like customer rights and education, infection control practices, trained and experienced staff, infrastructure, environment safety, processes and controls among many others, statutory and regulatory compliances.

11 Ways Magnesium Helps Your Mind & Body

Magnesium is also a key ingredient in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
If one were to have a magnesium deficiency, they might experience muscle spasms, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, and cerebral infarction. So if any of these symptoms are showing up within your body, it might be worth having a look at a magnseium deficiency.
Can you have too much magnesium? Yes. Interestingly, dietary consumption of magnesium has not shown any adverse effects when going over 400mg daily. However, when taken in supplement form, 400+mg caused diarrhea as the body attempts to excrete the excess.
When it comes to daily recommended values it can differ:
Adult males between the ages of 19 to 30 is 400 mg and for their female counterparts, it’s 310 mg.
Adult men over age 31 need 420 mg, while females over age 31 need 320 mg daily.
During pregnancy and lactation adult females are require 310 to 360 mg.
There are quite a few benefits of including Magnesium in your diet. These include prevention of stroke, reversing osteoporosis, regulating blood pressure, treating diabetes, preventing heart disease, easing menstrual pain, and more! Magnesium can be obtained from various fruits and veggies or supplements. It is important remember that if you are not buying organic produce there isn’t as many nutrients in conventional farming!
Foods that are high in Magnesium:  beets, dates, raisins, broccoli, black beans, spinach, whole grains, cacao powder, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, flax and sesame seeds.
More Benefits of Magnesium
1. Better sleep – The sleep regulating hormone melatonin is disturbed when Magnesium is deficient. Furthermore, Magnesium brings balance and controls stress hormones. Stress and tension are often reasons why people suffer from insomnia in the first place
2. Relaxes the nervous system – Serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system and elevates mood, is dependent on Magnesium
3. Bigger, stronger muscles – Magnesium allows the body to produce more Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1), which is a major contributor to the growth and strength of muscles. Furthermore, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the cell’s energy store, and is created with help from Magnesium
4. Better flexibility – Magnesium loosens tight muscles. Without Magnesium, muscles do not relax properly and cramps occur. Magnesium is important for flexibility, because low Magnesium results in a buildup of lactic acid, causing pain and tightness
5. Bone integrity and strength – Magnesium helps to fix calcium properly. It may blow some people’s mind that the calcium supplements they’re taking are not only useless, but are actually contributing to osteoporosis! There are actually about eighteen essential nutrients that contribute to bone health; Magnesium is definitely one of the most essential, because it stimulates a particular hormone called calcitonin. And, it also suppresses a hormone called parathyroid that breaks down bone
6. Remineralizes teeth – Magnesium deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorous and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth
7. Alkalizes the body – Magnesium helps return the body’s pH balance. Magnesium reduces lactic acid, which is partly responsible for post-exercise pain (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
8. Hydrates – Magnesium is a necessary electrolyte essential for proper hydration
9. Helps to relieve constipation – Magnesium can be used to cleanse the bowels of toxins
10. Enzyme function – Enzymes are protein molecules that stimulate every chemical reaction in the body. Magnesium is required to make hundreds of these enzymes work and assists with thousands of others
11. Diabetes – Magnesium enhances insulin secretion, which facilitates sugar metabolism. Without Magnesium, glucose is not able to transfer into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage, including the nerves in the eyes

Green Tea and Papaya can Prevent Diabetes, Say Researchers

Researchers at the Centre of Excellence for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research at the Mauritius University have found that green tea and fermented papaya are preventive means for diabetes.
"The Mauritius green tea prevents an increase of sugar levels in blood while the fermented papaya helps positively reduce the level of the reactive protein C and the uric acid," said Prof Theeshan Bahorun presenting the research findings Wednesday, Xinhua reported. Bahorun said the results are very significant because they show a reduction of risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases without medical intervention. The researchers asked 77 participants, who had reached a pre-diabetic stage to drink three cups of green tea before meals for 14 weeks. Apart from this, 78 participants took three cups of hot water everyday for the same period, followed by a two-week weaning period. Later, all the participants were tested for the bio-markers such as rate of glycemia and lipid, immune system, functioning of liver and kidneys, inflammation and ferrous toxicity. "We discovered that green tea reinforced the anti-oxidant defences of those who had reached the pre-diabetic stage. And most importantly, the tea did not have any negative impact," Bahorun said. Another group of 127 people participated in the study on the impact of fermented papaya on diabetes. Out of these, 50 consumed two packets of fermented papaya per day for a period of 14 weeks and 77 others took two glasses of hot water each day for the same period, followed by a two-week weaning period. Then, they were tested for glycemia, cholesterol, urea, creatinine and uric acid. "Those who consumed two packets of fermented papaya showed several positive changes vis-a-vis the diabetes risk factors," the professor said. The results further showed that when taken in small doses, the fermented papaya could help in the promotion of oral hygiene.


Cocaine use can make otherwise resistant immune cells susceptible to HIV

In many ways, the spread of HIV has been fueled by substance abuse. Shared needles and drug users' high-risk sexual behaviors are just some of the ways that narcotics such as cocaine have played a key role in the AIDS epidemic in much of the world.
There is, however, relatively little research into how drugs can impact the body's defenses against the virus. But a new UCLA study published in the October issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology examines how cocaine affects a unique population of immune cells called quiescent CD4 T cells, which are resistant to the virus that causes AIDS.
The results: cocaine makes the cells susceptible to infection with HIV, causing both significant infection and new production of the virus.
"The surprising result was that the changes cocaine induced on these cells were very minimal, yet they were sufficient to fuel infection," said Dimitrios Vatakis, assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study's senior author. "We found that cocaine mediates its effects directly, inducing minimal changes in the physiology of these cells and utilizing the same pathways it uses to target the brain."
For the year long in vitro study, the researchers collected blood from healthy human donors and isolated quiescent CD4 T cells. They exposed the cells to cocaine, then infected them with HIV. They harvested the samples over different time points to trace the cells' susceptibility to infection at different stages of HIV's life cycle, comparing the infected cells with untreated cells.
They found that a three-day exposure to cocaine made the cells more susceptible to HIV infection by stimulating two receptors in the cells, called σ1 and D4. The findings suggest that cocaine use increases the pool of T cells in the human body that can become infected by the virus.
The researchers caution that, as with all in vitro studies, the results may be skewed. Also, they based their research on an acute—that is, brief--cocaine exposure set-up; by contrast, typical drug users are chronic users, meaning that they take the narcotic over extended time. They do, however, have data from their animal models that support and strengthen their observations.
"We have shown that cocaine modulates the permissiveness of quiescent cells to HIV," the researchers conclude. "The potential for cocaine to augment the pool of HIV target cells with a commensurate increase in the viral reservoir has significant implications for HIV seropositive individuals who abuse or use stimulants such as cocaine."
The next stage in the research will be to more closely examine the means by which cocaine makes these once resistant cells susceptible to infection and if the drug does indeed lead to a higher viral reservoir, and to use humanized mouse models to study how drug abuse affects HIV infection as well as the efficacy of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).
Source: University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

Combining Chinese and Western medicine could lead to new cancer treatments

Combining traditional forms of Chinese and Western medicine could offer new hope for developing new treatments for liver, lung, colorectal cancers and osteosarcoma of the bones.
Experts from Cardiff University's School of Medicine have joined forces with Peking University in China to test the health benefits of a traditional Chinese medicine.
The team also set-out to examine how by combining it with more traditional methods like Chemotherapy could improve patient outcomes and potentially lead to the development of new cancer treatments and therapies.
"Traditional Chinese medicine where compounds are extracted from natural products or herbs has been practised for centuries in China, Korea, Japan and other countries in Asia," according to Professor Wen Jiang from Cardiff University's School of Medicine, who is the director of the Cardiff University-Peking University Joint Cancer Institute at Cardiff and led the research as part of a collaboration between Cardiff University and Peking University.
"Although a few successes, most of the traditional remedies are short of scientific explanation which has inevitably led to scepticism – especially amongst traditionalists in the West.
"As a result, we set out to test the success of a Chinese medicine and then consider how combining it alongside traditional methods like Chemotherapy could result in positive outcome for patients," he adds.
Yangzheng Xiaoji is a traditional Chinese formula consisting of 14 herbs. The formula has been shown to be beneficial to cancer patients – however, until now how it works has remained unknown.
Since 2012 the Team have investigated how the formula works, discovering that it works by blocking a pathway which stops the spread of cancer cells in the body.
"The formula has been shown to be beneficial to patients with certain solid tumours, when used alone and in conventional therapies, such as Chemotherapy.
"It suggests that combining the formula with conventional as well as new therapies could hold the key to developing new treatments for cancer patients.
"We are already looking to clinical trials in treatment of lung and other cancer types."
Funded by Cancer Research Wales and the Albert Hung Foundation – the results will be presented at the European Cancer Congress 2013 which takes place in Amsterdam between the 27th September and 1st October.
Source: Cardiff University

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Yoga in menopause may help insomnia—but not hot flashes

Taking a 12-week yoga class and practicing at home was linked to less insomnia—but not to fewer or less bothersome hot flashes or night sweats. The link between yoga and better sleep was the only statistically significant finding in this MsFLASH (Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health) Network randomized controlled trial.
Katherine Newton, PhD “Many women suffer from insomnia during menopause, and it’s good to know that yoga may help them,” said lead author Katherine Newton, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute. She e-published these findings in Menopause, ahead of print.

“Hormone therapy is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for hot flashes and night sweats,” Dr. Newton said, “and fewer women are opting for hormone therapy these days.” That’s why MsFLASH tried to see whether three more “natural” approaches—yoga, exercise, or fish oil—might help ease these menopause symptoms. The study assigned 249 healthy, previously sedentary women at multiple sites, including Group Health, to do yoga, a moderate aerobic exercise program, or neither—and to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or a placebo.
Exercise seemed linked to slightly improved sleep and less insomnia and depression, and yoga also was linked to better sleep quality and less depression—but these effects were not statistically significant. The omega-3 supplement was not linked to any improvement in hot flashes, night sweats, sleep, or mood.
Source:Group Health Research Institute



The phytonutrients in oats and their role in human health: A review of the evidence

Oats may deserve the well-earned status of "super grain", according to research presented at the American Association of Cereal Chemists International annual meeting, being held this week in Albuquerque, NM. World-renowned grain researchers presented compelling data to support the important role that oats can play in improving diet quality and supporting human health.
As a part of the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence's aim to elevate the relevance and benefits of oats through science, agriculture and innovation, YiFang Chu, Ph.D., PepsiCo R&D Nutrition, shared new data about antioxidants in oats (Avena sativa L.) and their role in human health. In the session, "Antioxidants in Grains and Health: Is there a Linkage?" Chu emphasized that oats are a nutritious whole grain with evidence to show that oats are even more complex than previously thought. They possess a wide spectrum of biologically active compounds including carotenoids, tocols (Vitamin E), flavonoids and avenanthramides – a class of polyphenols.
"The polyphenols, avenanthramides, are unique to oats and have been widely used in skincare products because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects," says Chu. "As scientists continue to link inflammation to chronic diseases, they are also investigating whether bioactivities produced by the polyphenols in oats can be as beneficial from within the body as they are on the skin." There are over 25 different biologically active avenanthramides in oats that look similar chemically, but behave differently. Therefore, adds Chu, "compared to the bioactive compounds identified in other grains—like wheat and rye—oats may be more bioavailable and possess more anti-inflammatory properties."
In addition to avenanthramides, oats and oat products have many bioactive compounds that may provide health benefits. Oats and oat-containing products that meet a minimum level of oat beta-glucan are allowed to bear a Food and Drug Administration-approved health claim for cholesterol-lowering benefits. Studies also suggest oats can enhance satiety and may also help reduce the risk of other chronic conditions. 
Source: Pollock Communications

Scientists Discover How Wounds Are Healed With The Help Of Special Immune Cells in Skin

 Scientists Discover How Wounds Are Healed With The Help Of Special Immune Cells in SkinAn important process by which special immune cells in the skin help heal wounds was found by the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) scientists.They found that these skin-resident immune cells function as "first responders" to skin injuries in part by producing the molecule known as interleukin-17A (IL-17A), which wards off infection and promotes wound healing. "This appears to be a critical and unique component of mammals' defense against skin wounds, and we hope that it will point the way towards better therapies for people with difficulties in healing wounds," TSRI Professor and senior author of the study, Wendy L. Havran said. Havran and other researchers have shown in recent years that special immune cells known as dendritic epidermal T cells (DETCs) are the only resident T cell population in the outer layer of skin (epidermis) of mice-and are resident in human skin, too. These cells are now thought to serve as the immune system's principal sentinels in the skin-when they detect damage signals from nearby wounded skin cells, they summon other, non-skin-resident immune cells to the site of the wound. Skin injuries in mice that have been bred to lack DETCs take much longer than normal to heal. In the new study, Havran's laboratory looked for new ways in which DETCs contribute to wound healing. The scientists found that DETCs are indeed the primary producers of IL-17A after skin injuries, but she observed that some and not all DETCs perform this function. The study is published online by the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Study Identifies Genes Associated With Unhealthy Liver Function

Study Identifies Genes Associated With Unhealthy Liver FunctionA groundbreaking study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) involving nearly 2,300 extremely obese diabetes patients, has identified genes associated with unhealthy liver function.This is believed to be the nation's first large-scale genome-wide association study in overweight patients with diabetes. Results of the study, done in conjunction with the Geisinger Health System, will be presented at the 64th annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Nov. 1-5 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The study — Genome-wide analysis identifies loci associated with total bilirubin levels, steatosis, and mild fibrosis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — looked at how genomic factors affect the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It was selected for presentation from among a record 3,139 submittals from around the world proposed for what also is known as The Liver Meeting 2013. "These genetic factors could help us identify patients who are most at risk of developing non-alcoholic forms of fatty-liver disease (NAFLD), and which patients may be more likely to progress to severe forms of NAFLD, such as steatohepatitis (NASH)," said Dr. Johanna DiStefano, the study's principal investigator and lead author. Dr. DiStefano is Director of TGen's Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Division. NAFLD is the build up of extra fat in liver cells, not caused by alcohol. It is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease. NASH is liver inflammation and damage caused by a buildup of fat in the liver, not caused by alcohol. "Our results showed evidence for new genetic loci that may play a role in the biological mechanisms of NAFLD and NASH," said Dr. Glenn S. Gerhard, a faculty member of the Geisinger Obesity Institute and a co-investigator of the study. "We discovered genes that may help identify those patients most at risk for the types of liver disease so severe that they could require transplants," said Dr. Gerhard, Administrative Director for the Institute for Personalized Medicine at Penn State University-Hershey. Patients included in this study were those with extreme obesity enrolled in a bariatric surgery program. The study identified evidence for association with markers in the neurocan gene (NCAN) on chromosome 19p12, and rs2501843 on chromosome 1.
Translational Genomics Research Institute


Study Explains Why Some People are Night Owls While Others Larks

 Study Explains Why Some People are Night Owls While Others LarksFor the first time researchers have studied the structural brain differences between people who like to get up early in the morning, and those who prefer to stay up late.Researchers have asserted that the discovery of the differences could potentially help them understand why night owls are more prone to depression, News Scientist reported. According to the new study, 10 percent of people are considered as early risers or larks and 20 percent qualify as night owls, and both are known as chronotype. For the study, the brains of 16 larks, 23 night owls and 20 intermediate chronotypes were scanned by Jessica Rosenberg and her colleagues, from Germany's RWTH Aachen University, with diffusion tensor imaging. The team's findings revealed that the white matter in the brain, which is a fatty insulating matter that accelerates the transmission of nerve signals, was less in night owls in areas linked with sadness. Rosenberg asserted that the study suggests that the reduction in the matter could possibly be caused by the fact that night owls have permanent jet lag.


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