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Friday, 18 October 2013

Aspartame Damages The Brain at Any Dose

Did you know that Aspartame has been proven to cause brain damage by leaving traces of Methanol in the blood? It makes you wonder why Aspartame has been approved as “safe” and is found in thousands of food products. Currently more than 90 countries have given the artificial sweetener the “OK” to be used in foods.
“Multiple Sclerosis is often misdiagnosed, and that it could be aspartame poisoning” 

Given that Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar, manufacturers are able to produce their sweet foods and market them as “low calorie” so they can market and appeal to millions of people on “diets.” There is no doubt that the less sugar you have in your diet, the better. But replacing sugar with aspartame is not the solution, and in fact is likely to be even worse for your health.

In my personal experience, Aspartame has always made my head feel very odd when I consumed it. Headaches, light headedness and overall nausea, are all symptoms I personally feel from consuming Aspartame. But that isn’t even the bad part when you look at what all of the research is suggesting. So I question, and everyone should be asking the same: With all of the research about Aspartame and its dangerous effects, even in small quantities, why is it still approved by the FDA and other health agencies as being safe for human consumption? There are better solutions available and with less danger and side effects.

What is this lovely substance (Aspartame) made of?

An Aspartame molecule is essentially made up of 3 different substances. 90% of it is made of two natural amino acids, 1 being aspartic acid and the other being phenylalanine. The other 10% of the molecule is made up of a methyl ester bond (includes Methanol). The methanol is released from the aspartame within hours of consumption and begins traveling through the body via the blood. Once the methyl ester bond is broken, it liberates methyl alcohol or methanol (wood alcohol). The big problem with methanol is that it easily passes into your blood-brain barrier and once there, is converted into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is what is causing the brain damage. While animals are able to detoxify methanol in the body, humans do not have this capability. It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to realize that accumulating formaldehyde in the brain is not a good thing.

What’s the deal with Methanol?

As mentioned above, Methanol is the key issue here as it is what converts into formaldehyde. While it is often believed that formic acid is the issue with Aspartame, it is actually formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a serious neurotoxin and carcinogen. According to the EPA, Methanol is considered a cumulative poison which means is accumulates in the body and very little is excreted each time it is consumed.

Methanol is a toxin that destroys the myelin tissue in your body, which is the insulating material around your nerves that allows nerve signals to travel properly. Once injured, one can have what are called demyelinating symptoms that are commonly seen in diseases like MS and also migraines that can include bizarre and inconsistent visual field disruptions.

But it must be safe in small doses!

While having NO methanol in the body makes most sense, the EPA has accepted that a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day is still OK. Why we accept even small amounts of toxic stuff in our body is beyond me, but some feel we can still consume this stuff in small doses. According to Woodrow Monte, Ph.D, R.D., director of the Food Science and Nutrition Laboratory at Arizona State University:

“When diet sodas and soft drinks, sweetened with aspartame, are used to replace fluid loss during exercise and physical exertion in hot climates, the intake of methanol can exceed 250 mg/day or 32 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit of consumption for this cumulative toxin.”

Further, he states that due to the lack of a couple of key enzymes, humans are many times more sensitive to the toxic effects of methanol than animals. Therefore, tests of aspartame or methanol on animals do not accurately reflect the danger for humans.

“There are no human or mammalian studies to evaluate the possible mutagenic, teratogenic, or carcinogenic effects of chronic administration of methyl alcohol,” he said.

How can you know you are getting too much Methanol? You may experience headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. Another very well known sign of methanol poisoning is vision problems.

Adding to the problem, one of the amino acids in aspartame, aspartic acid is capable of crossing your blood-brain barrier. There it attacks your brain cells, creating a form of cellular overstimulation called excitotoxicity, which can lead to cell death.

Your blood-brain barrier, which normally protects your brain from excess aspartate, as well as toxins, is not able to adequately protect you against the effects of aspartame consumption because it:

  • Is not fully developed during childhood
  • Does not fully protect all areas of the brain
  • Is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions
  • Allows seepage of excess aspartate into the brain even when intact

That excess aspartate slowly begins to destroy neurons, and the large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. Then, when they do occur, they may or may not be associated with aspartame consumption, even though examples of chronic illnesses that are made worse by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include: Multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, hormonal problems, memory loss, epilepsy, hearing loss, Alzheimers, dementia, brain lesions, and Neuroendocrine disorders.

It can be easy for us to make the argument that this stuff is OK in small doses, and it hasn’t killed us yet so it can’t be that bad. But it almost seems there is something more to it why we use this reasoning. Are we just addicted to these substances? Afraid to admit we have been poisoning ourselves? Unable to accept that the FDA and health agencies have lied to us? Like to brush these truths off as conspiracies? No matter what the reason is, there comes a point where we must see what is staring us in the face and start looking at how we can begin making new choices. Returning to something that is healthier and more in line with our bodies. We are really damaging ourselves here and becoming quite numb to life. It is susbstances like Aspartame and Fluoride that are causing these issues and the difference it makes to avoid these substances is monumental for our quality of life and consciousness.


DHR plans online facility for promotion of biomedical research

With a view to strengthening the human resource base for health research, which is a permanent cause of concern in the country, the Department of Health Research (DHR) is planning to establish an online teaching and learning facility for the promotion of biomedical research, with components for supporting workshops.The Department has prepared a Cabinet note on the proposed steps to broad-base the human resources including the online facility and circulated for comments among the concerned agencies and departments, it is learnt.“Much of the biomedical research being carried out in the country today is confined to a few medical colleges/ institutions of the country. It is important that this research is encouraged in other parts of the country, especially rural and remote areas. One of the reasons for the limited reach has been the lack of knowledge and support for research. This programme will help prospective institutions and individuals to access resources- both financial and technical on research and promote research across the country,” according to the Department note.The Department plans to strengthen human resource base of the country by organizing focused training programmes within and outside India, for midcareer professionals in medical colleges and other academic establishments. About 3500 personnel are proposed to be trained (in five years) in various programmes.Improving the career path for young researchers, expanding the number of specialized researchers and then providing good initial support in the form of start up grants are planned as a part of this programme.Fellowships for training for researchers in identified advanced fields, scholarships at PG level for producing human resources in newer areas, young researcher programme to encourage young students for research, special training programmes in specified areas, mid-career research fellowships for faculty development for medical colleges and support to women scientists who have had break in career are among the different programmes.During the current year, it is planned to train over 700 mid-career/ other seniors and young investigators and provide start up grants for the faculty trained.An allocation of Rs.45 crore (plan) has been made in BE 2013-14 for the programmes, though the projected demand was to the tune of Rs.123 crore. BE 2012-13 allocation was Rs.44 crore which was drastically reduced to Rs.4.02 crore at the RE stage but the actual expenditure was nil due to the fact that the schemes could not take off for lack of necessary approvals.

No Health Impact from Wifi or Mobile Phone Emmissions

France's safety watchdog said that it was standing by existing recommendations for wifi, mobile phones and cellphone relay antennas, saying their emissions had "no demonstrated impact" on health.
 No Health Impact from Wifi or Mobile Phone Emmissions
 The National Agency for Health, Food and Environmental Safety (Anses) said that, in lab tests, electromagnetic emissions had had a "biological" effect on cells, although evidence for this was "limited." But it saw no grounds for recommending any changes to existing laws as there was "no demonstrated impact" on health. It said, though, it would make a recommendation that children and big users of mobile phones limit their exposure to the devices. The report was issued by a panel of 16 experts, who looked at more than 300 scientific studies that have been published since 2009, when the recommendations were last assessed. The panel noted some studies that have suggested a higher long-term risk of brain cancer for heavy users of mobile phones, Anses said. "In the light of current knowledge, given the rapid evolution of technologies and their uses, Anses recommends limiting the population's exposure to radio frequency energy -- in particular for mobile phones, and particularly for children and heavy users -- and to control general exposure to relay antennas," it said. Dominique Gombert, head of risk assessment at Anses, said that heavy use of mobile phones was considered to be 40 minutes a day in conversation. Options for consumers include using a hands-off kit or selecting a phone with lower electromagnetic emissions, Anses said. Mobile phones are the biggest single source of everyday exposure to electromagnetic radiation, the agency said.


Aging Tumor Cells may be an Effective Cancer Treatment: Study

 Aging Tumor Cells may be an Effective Cancer Treatment: StudyScientists have shown that diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) may be susceptible to treatment by re-activating the normal aging program in tumor cells so they can no longer divide.The study took place at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and got published in Nature Communications, it details a novel, tumor-suppressive role for the Smurf2 protein—which typically plays an "enforcer" role in cellular aging, also called senescence —in a subset of DLBCL. Identification of this novel function for Smurf2 provides a new therapeutic target for treating this cancer. "Normally, this pathway is responsible for senescence and suppressing proliferation of B cells," said Hong Zhang, PhD, assistant professor of cell & developmental biology at UMMS and senior author of the study. "However, human DLBCL show low levels of Smurf2 expression; these low levels affect a pathway that encourages un-checked cell division and tumor growth. It's possible that restoration of Smurf2 expression may provide therapeutic benefits for patients and help encourage remission in difficult to treat cases." Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. An estimated 70,000 people living in the United States will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013, accounting for 30 to 40 percent of all new diagnoses. Roughly 50 percent of those diagnosed will not respond to conventional treatment or will relapse within five years. Rachel Gerstein, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and physiological systems at UMMS, and co-author of the study, notes that "the average age at the time of diagnosis with DLBCL is mid-60s. Therefore, it's particularly exciting to connect a glitch in cellular aging within DLBCL to this cancer that preferentially affects the elderly." A 2012 Cancer Research study by Drs. Zhang, Gerstein and colleagues found that mice deficient in Smurf2 gene expression developed spontaneous tumors, including B-cell lymphoma. To determine if a similar Smurf2 deficiency was connected to human DLBCL, and better understand the molecular pathway being disturbed, Zhang and colleagues initiated a new study to examine Smurf2 expression in patients with DLBCL. They found that a significant subset of these tumor samples showed a marked decrease in Smurf2 expression. Furthermore, lower levels of Smurf2 correlated to poor survival prognosis. Taken together, these findings indicate a strong role for Smurf2 in human DLBCL. Closer examination by the study authors, including first author Charusheila Ramkumar, PhD, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMMS and now a postdoctoral fellow, revealed that Smurf2 is part of a complex pathway incorporating the transcriptional regulator YY1 and the regulatory gene c-Myc (also a well known oncogene). Together, these three proteins collaborate to regulate cell proliferation and division. However, in a subset of DLBCL patients this cycle has gone awry. Tumor cells that showed decreased levels of Smurf2 expression also had increased levels of YY1 and c-Myc expression. These increased levels of YY1 and c-Myc caused cells, including B-cells, to continue dividing. Unrestrained cell proliferation is a hallmark of many cancers and in the case of DLBCL cells with a perturbed Smurf2-YY1-c-Myc pathway, it leads to tumor formation. Not only does the lack of Smurf2 lead to increased cell division through this pathway but it also allows the tumor cells to continue dividing longer. Because Smurf2 (which normally plays a part in cellular aging) expression levels are already low in DLBCL cells, these tumor cells don't age normally. As a result, tumor B-cells effectively remain younger longer, allowing them to proliferate even more. "This enhanced cell proliferation induced by YY1 and c-Myc activation, coupled with impaired senescence due to low Smurf2 levels helps drive lymphoma formation," said Zhang. "It also suggests multiple roles for Smurf2 in tumor suppression in the form of suppressed cell proliferation and senescence response." To gauge the potential clinical relevance of this basic biological discovery, Zhang and colleagues restored Smurf2 expression in human DLBCL cells. Once restored, proliferation of these cells was inhibited, providing new hope that therapeutics designed to increase expression of Smurf2 in lymphomas, when coupled with existing treatments, will be a more effective approach to achieving remission in patients. The next step for Zhang and colleagues is to screen for molecules that can either increase or mimic the expression of Smurf2. He will also screen other cancer types, such as liver cancer, for the Smurf2-YY1-c-Myc pathway to see if they are also susceptible to this approach. "This is another example of a basic biological discovery having important clinical applications," said Zhang. "When we started this line of inquiry we were interested in the role of Smurf2 in cellular aging. We never expected the clinical relevance to be so immediate and striking."
Source:Nature Communications

UN Warns Against Food Waste on World Food Day

The United Nations marked World Food Day on Wednesday warning against food waste, as amid rising obesity, 842 million people go hungry and stressing the importance of healthy diets.
 UN Warns Against Food Waste on World Food Day
 Around a third of food produced globally currently goes to waste -- some 1.3 billion tonnes a year according to the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). "With just a quarter of that, we could feed the 842 million hungry," said Robert van Otterdijk, an agriculture industry expert at FAO. Halving the amount of food wasted would mean having to raise world food production by 32 percent to feed the world's population in 2050, instead of the 60 percent currently estimated. Mathilde Iweins, coordinator of a report on the cost of food waste, said that "the agricultural areas used to produce the food that will never be eaten are as big as Canada and India combined". But the FAO said focusing on the type of food being consumed was just as important, warning that malnutrition and poorly-balanced diets impose high costs on society -- from towering health care bills to lost productivity. "One out of every four children in the world under the age of five is stunted," the FAO said in a report. "This means 165 million children who are so malnourished they will never reach their full physical and cognitive potential," it said. About two billion people in the world lack vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health while 1.4 billion people are overweight. Children with stunted growth may be at greater risk of developing obesity problems and related diseases in adulthood in a worrying cycle of malnutrition. Of those overweight "about one-third are obese and at risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes or other health problems", the FAO said. The agency said that while wiping out malnutrition worldwide "is a daunting challenge, the return on investment would be high". "If the global community invested $1.2 billion (888 million euros) per year for five years on reducing micronutrient deficiencies, the results would be better health, fewer child deaths and increased future earnings," it said. "It would generate annual gains worth $15.3 billion," it added. The FAO said it was particularly excited by projects aimed at "raising the micronutrient content of staple foods -- either through 'biofortification' or by encouraging the use of varieties with higher nutrient content". There are hopes that underutilised, nutrient-rich staple crop species might come into fashion, as well as eating insects such as beetles. With the fight against malnutrition excelling in some countries and lagging behind in others, the FAO gave examples of methods to help improve food systems. In rural Vietnam, fish-stocked ponds, chickens used as a source of fertiliser and garden-grown crops have reduced child malnutrition and chronic energy deficiency in women of child-bearing age, while raising incomes. In Ethiopia, a project involving goats has upped milk consumption and incomes by teaching women better goat management and genetically improving the animals. The FAO insisted however that country-specific projects must be backed up by global efforts to stem waste. "Getting the most food from every drop of water, plot of land, speck of fertiliser and minute of labour saves resources for the future and makes systems more sustainable," the organisation said. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Most antibiotics prescribed for sore throat unneeded

Most Americans with a sore throat are prescribed antibiotics even though just a fraction stand to benefit from them, a new study shows.
Researchers said only about 10 percent of adults with sore throats have strep throat, which is caused by bacteria that could be killed by antibiotics.
Almost all other sore throats are caused by viruses. In those cases, "an antibiotic is not going to help you and it has a very real chance of hurting you," Dr. Jeffrey Linder, who worked on the study at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said.
Although serious side effects are rare, he said antibiotics can cause diarrhea or yeast infections and interact with other medicines. Overuse of the drugs also makes bacteria resistant to them - which means future infections could be harder to treat.
For their study, Linder and his colleague Dr. Michael Barnett analyzed data on 8,200 U.S. primary care and emergency room visits for sore throats between 1997 and 2010.
They found doctors prescribed an antibiotic at 60 percent of those visits, with no change in that rate during the study period, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
What did change is that a greater proportion of prescriptions were for new, expensive antibiotics in recent years - even though penicillin works just fine against strep throat, Linder told Reuters Health.
His team's findings were presented Thursday at IDWeek 2013 in San Francisco.
The researchers noted that they didn't have data on each patient's diagnosis, so they couldn't know exactly when antibiotics were appropriate.
Linder said ideally, doctors should use a few key symptoms to figure out which patients should be tested for strep throat. Patients are more likely to have strep if they have a fever, swollen lymph nodes, white spots on the tonsils or swollen tonsils and no cough.
But the test is often used "pretty indiscriminately," or people are given antibiotics without even being tested for strep, Linder said.
Dr. Ralph Gonzales, who has studied antibiotic prescribing at the University of California, San Francisco, said the results weren't all bad news, necessarily.
The proportion of people visiting their primary care doctor for a sore throat - rather than any other complaint - dropped from almost 8 percent to about 4 percent during the study period, he noted.
He said fewer total visits for sore throats means fewer antibiotics are being prescribed - even if most people with achy throats still get the drugs.
"At least from a public health perspective, we're having a lower impact on resistance," Gonzales, who wasn't involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.
Dr. Paul Little, a professor of primary care research at the University of Southampton in the UK, said people can avoid getting unneeded antibiotics by not going to the doctor for a run-of-the-mill sore throat.
"The truth is, nasty things are really pretty uncommon," Little, who also didn't participate in the study, told Reuters Health. "What you need to do is manage your symptoms," he said, such as with over-the-counter pain relievers and plenty of fluids.
"The vast, vast majority of these are going to get better on their own," Linder agreed.
Still, Little said, "If you're worried about it and you're very unwell … then I think it is worth it to see a doctor and have a (strep) test."
SOURCE: JAMA Internal Medicine, online October 3, 2013.

6 Foods for Natural Heavy Metal Chelation

Heavy metals can do significant damage to the body. Historically, they’ve been used as “an instrument of murder” (in the case of arsenic) and instruments of war. But most people who are exposed to heavy metals in today’s times are through their food, water, vaccines, or the air around them. The good news is that there are natural ways to chelate heavy metals from your body.
chlIn high amounts, heavy metal toxicity can cause numerous symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and even death. In lower amounts toxicity from lead or mercury, for example, can have much subtler effects. In either case, however, ridding the body of these harmful metals is important.
Removal of heavy metals from the body is known as chelation. This word actually comes from the Greek word “claw” and was used because early practitioners saw substances that they believed grabbed a hold of the metals and carried them out of the body through the digestive system. The term stuck.
Fortunately, there are foods with natural chelation properties. In cases of minor exposure, you don’t need to spend a fortune on prescriptions or even supplements in order to restore optimal health. The following are natural heavy metal chelating agents.
  • Amino Acids. Amino acids are great at removing metals from the body – so good for meat eaters. These proteins are found in eggs and fish, among other things, and can work to increase liver health and balance enzyme production.
  • Cilantro. Cilantro is just one super-herb that can effectively remove heavy metals (aluminum, mercury, and lead in particular) – in only two weeks. Also, because these metals can damper the immune system, cilantro is also recognized as an immune-booster.
  • Food-Grade Activated Charcoal - Dr. Al Sears, MD, has his patients use food-grade activated charcoal for general detoxifying; this includes detoxing heavy metals. For heavy metal detoxifying, he recommends a total of 20 grams per day, spaced apart in two to four doses, over a 12 day period. I prefer taking a heaping tablespoon once in the morning, well before breakfast for general detoxification.
  • Brazil NutsNot necessarily a chelation food, Brazil nuts actually work to restore the good minerals, like selenium and zinc, that may be lost in the chelation process.
  • Onions and garlic. The sulfur in onions and garlic can also work to eliminate heavy metals. Along with these, things like eggs, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage also have high sulfur content.
  • Chlorella. The superfood known as chlorella can serve as a mild chelation-helper. You can find it in supplement form or as a powder to add to various dishes.
  • Courtesy: Elizabeth Renter
Source:My Science Acadamy

Your Liver May Be 'Eating' Your Brain

Your liver could be "eating" your brain, new research suggests.
People with extra abdominal fat are three times more likely than lean individuals to develop memory loss and dementia later in life, and now scientists say they may know why.
It seems that the liver and the hippocampus (the memory center in the brain), share a craving for a certain protein called PPARalpha. The liver uses PPARalpha to burn belly fat; the hippocampus uses PPARalpha to process memory.
In people with a large amount of belly fat, the liver needs to work overtime to metabolize the fat, and uses up all the PPARalpha — first depleting local stores and then raiding the rest of the body, including the brain, according to the new study.
The process essentially starves the hippocampus of PPARalpha, thus hindering memory and learning, researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago wrote in the study, published in the current edition of the journal Cell Reports.
Other news reports were incorrect in stating that the researchers established that obese individuals were 3.6 times more likely than lean individuals to develop dementia. That finding dates back to a 2008 study by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.
In another study, described in a 2010 article in the Annals of Neurology, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that the greater the amount of belly fat, the greater the brain shrinkage in old age.
The surprising discovery in the new study is that the hippocampus uses PPARalpha to process memory and learning, and that this is a possible reason for the connection between belly fat and dementia and/or memory loss.
Rush University researchers, led by neurological sciences professor Kalipada Pahan, raised mice that were deficient in PPARalpha. Some mice had normal PPARalpha in the liver but depleted PPARalpha in the brain, and had poor memory and learning abilities. Others had normal PPARalpha in the brain but not the liver, and showed normal memory, as expected.
When the researchers injected PPARalpha into the hippocampus of PPARalpha-deficient mice, their learning and memory improved, Pahan said.
"Further research must be conducted to see how we could potentially maintain normal PPARalpha in the [human] brain in order to be resistant to memory loss," Pahan told LiveScience.
PPARalpha thus provides a new avenue to explore in searching for a treatment or cure for Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and related memory-loss and cognition problems, Pahan said.
Losing your belly fat won't hurt, either.
Courtesy: Christopher Wanjek
Source:Live Science

Elusive secret of HIV long-term immunity

Scientists have discovered a critical new clue about why some people are able to control the HIV virus long term without taking antiviral drugs. The finding may be useful in shortening drug treatment for everyone else with HIV.
These rare individuals who do not require medicine have an extra helping of a certain type of immune protein that blocks HIV from spreading within the body by turning it into an impotent wimp, Northwestern Medicine® scientists report. The new finding comes from analyzing cells from these rare individuals and HIV in the lab.
Scientists have been trying to solve the mystery of why 1 percent of people with HIV -- called "controllers" -- have enduring control of the virus without medications, in some cases for life. The controllers' early defense against HIV is quickly extinguished by the virus, so how do they have long-term immunity? The Northwestern discovery represents what scientists have long sought: a second line of defense deep in the immune system backing up the short-lived early defense.
This discovery suggests a novel approach involving much earlier treatment that could potentially make every HIV-infected person into a controller for the long term by protecting the reserves of this defensive immune protein. The goal would be for them to eventually be free from anti-retroviral drugs.
Currently most HIV patients need to take powerful anti-retroviral drugs every single day for life. If the medicines are stopped, the virus quickly reactivates to harmful levels even after years of treatment.
"Preserving and even increasing this defense in cells may make more HIV-infected persons into controllers and prevent HIV from rebounding to high and damaging levels when anti-HIV medications are stopped," said Richard D'Aquila, M.D., the director of the Northwestern HIV Translational Research Center. He is the senior author of the study, which will be published Oct. 16 in the journal PLOS ONE.
D'Aquila also is the Howard Taylor Ricketts Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
D'Aquila and colleagues now are working to develop a medicine that would boost this defensive immune protein called APOBEC3G, or A3 for short.
The Missing Second Defensive Line Much is known about how the immune system of controllers initially fights the virus. But HIV quickly escapes from that first line of defense by mutating and evading the adaptive immune system. How these individuals control HIV long term without medications to keep from developing AIDS has been under study by many researchers. It seemed there must be a second defensive line in the immune system.
Turning HIV Into a Wimp In the new study, D'Aquila and his team have found that controllers, long after they have acquired HIV, have a more abundant supply of the critical immune protein A3 in specific white blood cells called resting memory T cells. This is where the virus lies silently in an inactive form and roars back when anti-retroviral drugs are stopped. In controllers, though, their bounty of A3 means that any new HIV made from those cells inherits a helping of A3, which turns the new viruses into harmless wimps that can't infect other cells.
You Can't Fool A3 The feisty A3 is a critical part of the newly characterized intrinsic immune system, and it resides in many cells of the immune system including resting T cells. Unlike the adaptive immune system, which fails to recognize the virus once it mutates its pieces, the intrinsic immune system can't be fooled.
"The intrinsic immune system recognizes the basic guts of the virus -- the nucleic acids -- that HIV can't change and then damages those nucleic acids," D'Aquila said.
D'Aquila theorizes that the controllers' first line of defense slows down the ability of HIV to destroy all the A3.
"Perhaps starting anti-HIV drugs very soon after HIV is caught, rather than the current practice of waiting until later to start, would work like the controllers' first line of defense," D'Aquila suggested. "If we preserve A3, it could minimize HIV's spread through the body as this protein seems to do in controllers."
Otherwise, D'Aquila theorizes, all reserves of the protein are wiped out if HIV replicates unchecked for several months.
Babies and Other Controllers D'Aquila pointed to several recent examples of early treatment sometimes resulting in lasting control of HIV in humans that are consistent with this theory.
In January 2013, a baby was born to an HIV-positive woman in Memphis who didn't take preventive medicines that are routinely given to these women. The baby got infected, and doctors began anti-HIV drug treatment within 36 hours of birth. After some treatment, the baby is now off anti-HIV medicines and appears to be cured of HIV.
Two studies published earlier this year show the protective effect of starting the medicines within three to four months after infection for a relatively short course, resulting in a lower level of HIV in the blood and better control of the virus for some who stopped the anti-retroviral medication.
A group of patients in a European study were started on anti-HIV drugs very early after infection. Their medications were stopped after three years but some continued to have a suppressed virus at such low levels it did not cause any damage.
Earlier Detection Just Got Easier "Early-as-possible detection -- much easier with our new technology -- and early drug treatment will be the future of HIV therapy," D'Aquila said. He added that the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies pay for routine HIV testing, which they did not always cover in the past.
D'Aquila Helped Developed Personalized Approach to HIV Medicine D'Aquila is a leading HIV scientist who began investigating AIDS in 1982, the first year it was identified. He was a senior resident in Philadelphia when the early cases appeared at the hospital where he was working. D'Aquila began investigating, calling other area hospitals to see if they had seen similar cases. He discovered there were lots of them. The same month, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report sounded the first alarm that a new disease had erupted.
Over the last 30 years, D'Aquila has helped develop anti-HIV medicines and resistance testing for HIV -- the latter is the first widely used clinical application of DNA sequencing in personalized medicine. Since the 1990s, HIV patients have their virus sequenced to determine which medicines are going to work best for them at that time -- a result of research done by D'Aquila and others.
D'Aquila was also a leader and virologist for many NIH-supported clinical trials in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. His laboratory studies were also among the first to characterize effects of resistance mutations on HIV's replicative fitness and to show that resistant virus persisted in HIV's latent reservoir.
The new study was done in collaboration with MariaPia De Pasquale and Yordanka Kourteva, formerly at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where D'Aquila did the experiments.
Source:Plos one

'Key To Success And Happiness' Is Positivity: Lifestyle Guru

 'Key To Success And Happiness' Is Positivity: Lifestyle GuruBelieving in yourself is the key to achieving all your dreams says Lorna Jane Clarkson, a fitness and lifestyle guru.Her new book 'More Of The Fit Woman's Secrets' says that a person should find their purpose while letting go of old habits and anything that is not in line with who they truly want to be. Clarkson says in her book that a person should find their own personal reason to exist and work out a way to include it in their life. She also said that people should set goals for success, as if they haven't set them how can they possible try to achieve them.

Fish Consumption Increases Sperm Count

 Fish Consumption Increases Sperm Count 
Bacon and other processed meats decrease the sperm count whereas fish improves the sperm count, says study.For the Harvard University study, researchers questioned 156 men, who were having trouble conceiving a baby with their partners, regarding their diet and the size and shape of their sperm, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The findings showed that regular processed meat-eating males had radically lower amounts of normal sperm, as compared to those who ate less of bacon, sausages, hamburgers and ham. Moreover, men who ate a portion of white fish every other day had better sperm count than those who ate foods such as cod more rarely. Dr Myriam Afeiche, from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, said that their study showed that processed meat intake was associated with lower semen quality and fish was to higher semen quality.

Happiness Lowers Blood Pressure

Gene module controlled by dopamine - the happiness hormone produces an agent that lowers blood pressure, find scientists. This finding opens up new avenues for therapies that are remote-controlled via the subsconscious.
 Happiness Lowers Blood Pressure
The endogenous hormone dopamine triggers feelings of happiness. While its release is induced, among other things, by the "feel-good" classics sex, drugs or food, the brain does not content itself with a kick; it remembers the state of happiness and keeps wanting to achieve it again. Dopamine enables us to make the "right" decisions in order to experience even more moments of happiness. Now, a team of researchers headed by ETH-Zurich professor Martin Fussenegger from the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel has discovered a way to use the body's dopamine system therapeutically. The researchers have created a new genetic module that can be controlled via dopamine. The feel-good messenger molecule activates the module depending on the dosage. In response to an increase in the dopamine level in the blood, the module produces the desired active agent. The module consists of several biological components of the human organism, which are interconnected to form a synthetic signalling cascade. Dopamine receptors are found at the beginning of the cascade as sensors. A particular agent is produced as an end product: either a model protein called SEAP or ANP, a powerful vasodilator lowering blood pressure. Based on the experiments, the researchers were able to demonstrate that dopamine is not only formed in the brain in corresponding feel-good situations, but also in nerves in the vegetative system, the so-called sympathetic nervous system, which are closely knit around blood vessels.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Some state govts feel restricting clinical trials only to govt hospitals could check irregularities

With a view to further streamlining clinical trials and minimizing the irregularities in the sector, some States have suggested restricting the trials only to the Government-run hospitals in the country.However, the general opinion among the States was that restricting the trials to government hospitals would not be a solution and instead the Government should create a 'robust system for regulating the conduct of trials,' it is learnt.The suggestion came up during a meeting of the Chief Secretaries, Health Secretaries of the State Governments and the Administrators of the Union Territories, convened by the Union Health Ministry some time back, as per the directions by the Supreme Court to consider the views of all the States.Sources said diverse issues were deliberated at the meeting and all States gave their view points.The views expressed by the States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat were particularly noted.Even though the concerns have been raised about the conduct of clinical trials in the country, clinical trials are necessary for the development of new drugs in the country. India has the capacity and knowhow for drug discovery research. However, there should be a robust system for conducting clinical trials in the country to ensure that trials are conducted in a scientific and ethical manner and in compliance to the regulatory provisions, the meeting felt.One of the concerns raised by many States was the money part in trials which can act as the inducement to the investigator for conducting trials. “Sometimes such inducement may lead to bias in enrollment of subjects in the trials,” the meeting reportedly pointed out.The States also pointed out some concerns about certain clauses of the amendment of Drugs & Cosmetics Rules made on 30.1.2013 regarding compensation in clinical trials. Some amendments in these clauses may be required, they said.The Union Health Ministry assured the States that their views would be considered for further strengthening the regulation of the clinical trials. The meeting was held after the Supreme Court, which is hearing a petition on clinical trials filed by the NGOs, asked the Centre to consult the States and take note of their views on the matter.

BUSM identifies barriers to implementing complimentary medicine curricula into residency

Investigators at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have identified that lack of time and a paucity of trained faculty are perceived as the most significant barriers to incorporating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and integrative medicine (IM) training into family medicine residency curricula and training programs.
The study results, which are published online in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, were collected using data from an online survey completed by 212 national residency program directors. The study was led by Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, assistant professor of family medicine at BUSM and assistant director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center, and colleagues from the department of Family Medicine.
"This is a part of medicine that has significant impact on patient care," said Gardiner. "We need to minimize barriers to implementing CAM/IM curricula in order to address these competencies and promote a larger focus on patient centered care."
According to the current study a majority of family medicine residency program directors felt that CAM and IM were an important part of resident training and, of those, a majority was aware of these recommended competencies. However, a majority of directors also did not have specific learning goals around CAM and IM in their residency programs. Of those directors aware of the competencies, a minority had an adequate evaluation of CAM or IM in their program.
The survey respondents identified "strong" CAM/IM programs as those that incorporated at least one of the following modes of exposing residents to CAM or IM: didactics, clinical rotations or electives. "Weak" programs incorporated none of these modalities. Didactics were the most commonly employed techniques of the strong programs. There were significant differences between the strong and weak programs in perceived access to experts in CAM or IM and faculty training in these modalities.
The study was conducted via an online survey and consisted of six questions on CAM and IM with a focus on awareness, competencies, attitudes toward curricula, barriers to implementation and management techniques.
Given the use of CAM and IM modalities by patients and practicing physicians future directions should include raising awareness around the proposed competencies and identifying solutions to minimize the barriers to incorporating these competencies in residency training programs.
Source: The Journal of Science and Healing

Effect of Social Media on Plant Growth

 Effect of Social Media on Plant GrowthThe Denver Museum of Nature and Science has created an interactive experiment that lets you tweet at a plant at the museum through the project's official website and help it grow. The message turns into robotic speech which then travels through a speaker to the plan
 The museum collaborated with agency Carmichael Lynch, which developed a "custom tweet-to-speech" technology for the project. In order to evaluate the results, another plant currently sits in silence. The museum will observe the overall growth of both plants over the course of the experiment and will also look at the colour and size of the plants' leaves


Must Have Vegetables Listed in Weight Control Plans to Boost Metabolism

The body's metabolism can be increased by eating vegetable varieties to give an edge to weight control plans, says an expert nutritionist who lists specific vegetables to boost metabolism.
Must Have Vegetables Listed in Weight Control Plans to Boost Metabolism Tanuja Sodhi, nutritionist at pro parenting online community, says metabolism refers to how fast or slow our body converts the food we eat into energy.
"The faster our metabolism runs, the more calories we burn. Eating several small meals a day has been known to speed up metabolism. For the same reason, food has great importance in raising or lowering metabolic rate," Sodhi told IANS.
Here's a list of vegetables to boost metabolism:
Broccoli: The green vegetable contains high amounts of calcium, which increases the metabolic rate of the body and help burn fat.
Spinach: It is a good source of various nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and iron. Vitamin C in spinach helps raise metabolic function.
Bell peppers: The chemical capsaicin in capsicum or bell peppers is an effective metabolic booster. When we eat it, our body temporarily releases stress hormones that speed up our metabolism. This burns more calories as the body tries to cope with the spicy flavour.
Beans: Beans are high in both protein and fibre. While protein helps build and maintain muscle mass that helps raise the metabolic rate; fibre too perks up the metabolic rate because the body takes a long time to break it down.


Monday, 14 October 2013

New Ruling Finds Marijuana To Be The Most Medicinal Plant In The World

More than a dozen U.S. states have now completely decriminalized the act of possessing marijuana and both Colorado and Washington have made it legal to possess, sell, transport and cultivate the plant. But soon it may be legalized across the entire country following a decision Thursday by the federal government.
In a historic and significant moment in American history, last November, Colorado became the first US state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The impact of the decision could soon ripple across the entire country with vast opportunities to educate millions on the top health benefits of marijuana.
With the passage of I-502 in the 2012 Washington State election, marijuana also became legal in Washington–not just for medical use, but also for recreational use–and Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont have all decriminalized marijuana.
Consumption and sale of marijuana is still illegal in all other states, though some cities and towns have passed local laws decriminalizing it or making it a low priority for law enforcement officers.
There are also movements in many states to legalize pot, including legalization bills introduced in many other states.
For other states to mimic the systems in Colorado and Washington, they will first have to get legalization laws on their ballots or in their state houses, which could post a challenge, he said.
After Washington state and Colorado passed laws in November 2012 legalizing the consumption and sale of marijuana for adults over 18, lawmakers in both states waited to see whether the federal government would continue to prosecute pot crimes under federal statutes in their states.
Both Colorado and Washington have been working to set up regulatory systems in order to license and tax marijuana growers and retail sellers, but have been wary of whether federal prosecutors would come after them for doing so. They are the first states to legalize pot, and therefore to go through the process of trying to set up a regulatory system.
Ruling Signals The End is Near For Marijuana Prohibition
Last Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that it would not prosecute marijuana crimes that were legal under state law, a move that could signal the end of the country’s longtime prohibition on pot is nearing. “It certainly appears to be potentially the beginning of the end,” said Paul Armantano, deputy director of the pot lobby group NORML.
The memo sent to states Thursday by the DOJ said that as long as states set up comprehensive regulations governing marijuana, there would be no need for the federal government to step in, a decision that will save the Justice Department from having to use its limited resources on prosecuting individuals for growing or smoking marijuana.
“This memo appears to be sending the message to states regarding marijuana prohibition that is a recognition that a majority of the public and in some states majority of lawmakers no longer want to continue down the road of illegal cannabis, and would rather experiment with different regulatory schemes of license and retail sale of cannabis,” Armantano said.In 2011 the federal government decreed that marijuana had no accepted medical use use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. Accepting and promoting the powerful health benefits of marijuana would instantly cut huge profits geared towards cancer treatment and the U.S. would have to admit it imprisons the population for no cause. Nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana.According to editor Richard Cowan, the answer is because it is a threat to cannabis prohibition “…there really is massive proof that the suppression of medical cannabis represents the greatest failure of the institutions of a free society, medicine, journalism, science, and our fundamental values,” Cowan notes.While Colorado and Washington have not yet set up their regulatory systems, both states will likely sell licenses to farmers who want to grow marijuana as well as to manufacturing plants and retail sellers. The marijuana will also likely be taxed at each stage of its growth, processing, and sale.“In both Colorado and Washington, legalization was done by citizens with no participation by elected representatives until they had to pass laws to comply with the initiative. In other initiative states I would expect such measures – I would expect a new one in California, for instance – and roughly half the states permit this and the rest don’t.“In the states that do have initiatives I expect efforts to get it on the ballot. The other half it will be much tougher. It’s hard to get elected representatives to do this,” Collins said.Armantano is more optimistic about the spread of legalized pot. He compared the DOJ’s announcement to the federal government’s actions toward the end of alcohol prohibition in America a century ago, when states decided to stop following the federal ban on alcohol sales and the federal government said it would not step in and prosecute crimes.“For first time we now have clear message from fed government saying they will not stand in way of states that wish to implement alternative regulatory schemes in lieu of federal prohibition,” Armantano said.He predicted that within the next one to three years, five or six other states may join Colorado and Washington in legalizing the drug, setting the stage for the rest of the country to follow.
The Age of Deception is Ending 
In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids. The reason? Because research into cannabinoids allowed pharmaceutical companies to acquire practical knowledge on one of the most powerful antioxidants and neuroprotectants known to the natural world.The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.Besides the top 10 health benefits below, findings published in the journalPLoS ONE, researchers have now have now discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS.
Recent studies have even shown it to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia, a disease many other studies have inconsistently found it causing.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Marijuana 
1. Cancer
Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals and also kill cancer cells. Western governments have known this for a long time yet they continued to suppress the information so that cannabis prohibition and the profits generated by the drug industry proliferated.
THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.
2. Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by uncontrollable facial grimaces, tics, and involuntary grunts, snorts and shouts.
Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl of the Hanover Medical College in Germany led a team that investigated the effects of chemicals called cannabinols in 12 adult Tourette’s patients. A single dose of the cannabinol produced a significant reduction in symptoms for several hours compared to placebo, the researchers reported.
3. Seizures
Marijuana is a muscle relaxant and has “antispasmodic” qualities that have proven to be a very effective treatment for seizures. There are actually countless cases of people suffering from seizures that have only been able to function better through the use of marijuana.
4. Migraines
Since medicinal marijuana was legalized in California, doctors have reported that they have been able to treat more than 300,000 cases of migraines that conventional medicine couldn’t through marijuana.
5. Glaucoma
Marijuana’s treatment of glaucoma has been one of the best documented. There isn’t a single valid study that exists that disproves marijuana’s very powerful and popular effects on glaucoma patients.
6. Multiple Sclerosis
Marijuana’s effects on multiple sclerosis patients became better documented when former talk-show host, Montel Williams began to use pot to treat his MS. Marijuana works to stop the neurological effects and muscle spasms that come from the fatal disease.
7. ADD and ADHD
A well documented USC study done about a year ago showed that marijuana is not only a perfect alternative for Ritalin but treats the disorder without any of the negative side effects of the pharmaceutical.
8. IBS and Crohn’s
Marijuana has shown that it can help with symptoms of the chronic diseases as it stops nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
9. Alzheimer’s
Despite what you may have heard about marijuana’s effects on the brain, the Scripps Institute, in 2006, proved that the THC found in marijuana works to prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking the deposits in the brain that cause the disease.
10. Premenstrual Syndrome
Just like marijuana is used to treat IBS, it can be used to treat the cramps and discomfort that causes PMS symptoms. Using marijuana for PMS actually goes all the way back to Queen Victoria.
Mounting Evidence Suggests Raw Cannabis is Best
Cannabinoids can prevent cancer, reduce heart attacks by 66% and insulin dependent diabetes by 58%. Cannabis clinician Dr. William Courtney recommends drinking 4 – 8 ounces of raw flower and leaf juice from any Hemp plant, 5 mg of Cannabidiol (CBD) per kg of body weight, a salad of Hemp seed sprouts and 50 mg of THC taken in 5 daily doses.
Why raw? Heat destroys certain enzymes and nutrients in plants. Incorporating raw cannabis allows for a greater availability of those elements. Those who require large amounts of cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects need to look no further than raw cannabis. In this capacity, it can be used at 60 times more tolerance than if it were heated.
Raw cannabis is considered by many experts as a dietary essential. As a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, raw cannabis may be right u there with garlic and tumeric.
Courtesy:Marco Torres (A research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.)


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