Watch Online the Live Sessions of ISWWTA 2015 Rishikesh on Youtube.Visit:
Previous issues of AYUSH DARPAN in Hindi is now available online visit:

Search Engine

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Setting Alight a Patient: Medical Inferno in China

A patient is set alight after the therapist pours alcohol over him, as a treatment of illness, for some in China.

So-called "fire therapy", which proponents claim can cure stress, indigestion, infertility and even cancer, has been used for hundreds of years and recently garnered a blaze of attention in Chinese media. 

There is no orthodox medical evidence that it is effective, a fact that matters little to one of China's most prominent fire therapists. 

"Fire therapy is the fourth revolution in human history... it surpasses both Chinese and Western medicine," said Zhang Fenghao, who trains students at a dingy apartment in Beijing and charges around 300 yuan ($48) per hour for treatment. 

He applied a herbal paste to a patient's back, covered it with a towel and poured on water and a 95 percent rubbing alcohol, adding proudly: "Using this method, patients can avoid operations." 

The man, Qi Lijun, lay on his front placidly as Zhang flicked a cigarette lighter, igniting a miniature inferno of orange and blue flames dancing above his spine. 

"It feels warm, not painful, just warm," said the 47-year-old, who recently suffered a brain haemorrhage that affected his memory and mobility. "I think it's effective." 

Many in China cannot afford expensive treatment for chronic ailments and state health insurance is limited, sparking demand for cheaper alternative therapies. 

Zhao Jing, 49, who suffers from chronic back pain, had at first been shocked by the idea of the treatment, but added: "After learning everything I don't have fears any more." 

The practice is based on Chinese folk beliefs that health depends on maintaining a balance of "hot" and "cold" elements within the body. 

"We start a fire on top of the body, which gets rid of cold inside the body," said Zhang, who claims to have lit blazes on foreign diplomats and senior Chinese officials. 

The treatment gained renewed public attention this month when photos of a man having fire applied to his crotch went viral on Chinese social media. 

"Sir, how well would you like your meat cooked?" joked one microblogger on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

- Burning question - 
State media have sought to dampen down enthusiasm for fire therapy, running several reports on shady therapists, some without certification and employing only a bucket of water to prevent conflagrations. 

"There have been injuries, patients have been burned on their faces and bodies, because of a lack of standards," said Zhang. "I have taught tens of thousands of students, and we have never seen an accident." 

So far the practice has received little attention from medical journals, but the theory behind it bears some relation to the Chinese medicinal practice of "cupping", where a flame burns away the oxygen inside a receptacle to create pressure on parts of a patient's body. 

Several long-term studies of that supposed therapy have found little evidence of any effectiveness. 

Zhang has received some recognition from publications covering "traditional Chinese medicine", which is widely available in the country's hospitals. 

The industry is lucrative, producing goods worth 516 billion yuan ($84 billion) in 2012, according to official statistics. 

Looking out from behind his patient's burning back, Zhang recited a poem. 

"A fire dragon has come to earth/a mysterious therapy has its birth," he said, as flames jumped below his chin. 

"Medicine needs a revolution, fire therapy for the world is the solution." 

 Source:Chienese Media

Vasectomy may Up Aggressive Prostate Cancer Risk

 Vasectomy may Up Aggressive Prostate Cancer RiskA study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health scientists finds that vasectomy is associated with a stronger risk for advanced or lethal prostate cancer. 

The study appears online July 7, 2014 in Journal of Clinical Oncology.
his study follows our initial publication on vasectomy and prostate cancer in 1993, with 19 additional years of follow-up and tenfold greater number of cases. The results support the hypothesis that vasectomy is associated with an increased risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer," said co-author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH. 

Vasectomy is a common form of contraception in the U.S., with about 15% of men having the procedure. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among U.S. men, so identifying risk factors for lethal prostate cancer is important for public health. 

The researchers analyzed data from 49,405 U.S. men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, who were followed for up to 24 years from 1986 to 2010. During that time, 6,023 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed, including 811 lethal cases. One in four of the men in this study reported having a vasectomy. 

The results showed a 10% increased risk of prostate cancer overall in men who had a vasectomy. Vasectomy was not significantly associated with risk of low-grade cancer. However, vasectomy was associated with a stronger risk of advanced and lethal prostate cancer, with an increased risk of 20% and 19% respectively. Among men who received regular PSA screening, the relative increase in risk of lethal prostate cancer was 56%. The effect appeared to be stronger among men who had a vasectomy at a younger age. 

Prior work on this topic raised concerns that the positive associations could be linked to bias. However, in the present study, the researchers had access to diverse information and could rule out potential biases, including that men who have vasectomies may seek more medical care in general, that they may have a higher rates of PSA screening, or that the association was due possible confounding by sexually transmitted infections. 

In this study, 16 in 1,000 men developed lethal prostate cancer during 24 years of follow-up. Although the relative increase in the risk associated with vasectomy was significant, this translates to a relatively small increase in absolute difference in the risk of lethal prostate cancer, say the researchers. "The decision to opt for a vasectomy as a form of birth control is a highly personal one and a man should discuss the risks and benefits with his physician," said co-author Kathryn Wilson, research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH. 

Source:Journal of Clinical Oncology.


Study Finds Organic Plants are More Nutritious and Safer Than Conventional Plants

A large scale analysis of previous studies has found that organic foods and crops are better than conventional plant-based foods as they have more antioxidants and fewer and less frequent pesticide residues.

The study looked at an unprecedented 343 peer-reviewed publications comparing the nutritional quality and safety of organic and conventional plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. The study team applied sophisticated meta-analysis techniques to quantify differences between organic and non-organic foods. 

"Science marches on," said Charles Benbrook, a Washington State University researcher and the lone American co-author of the paper, published in the British Journal of Nutrition. "Our team learned valuable lessons from earlier reviews on this topic, and we benefited from the team's remarkable breadth of scientific skills and experience." 
Most of the publications covered in the study looked at crops grown in the same area, on similar soils. This approach reduces other possible sources of variation in nutritional and safety parameters. 

The research team also found the quality and reliability of comparison studies has greatly improved in recent years, leading to the discovery of significant nutritional and food safety differences not detected in earlier studies. For example, the new study incorporates the results of a research project led by WSU's John Reganold that compared the nutritional and sensory quality of organic and conventional strawberries grown in California. Responding to the new paper's results, Reganold said, "This is an impressive study, and its major nutritional findings are similar to those reported in our 2010 strawberry paper." 

The British Journal of Nutrition study was led by scientists at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, with Benbrook helping design the study, write the paper, and review the scientific literature, particularly on studies in North and South America. In general, the team found that organic crops have several nutritional benefits that stem from the way the crops are produced. A plant on a conventionally managed field will typically have access to high levels of synthetic nitrogen, and will marshal the extra resources into producing sugars and starches. As a result, the harvested portion of the plant will often contain lower concentrations of other nutrients, including health-promoting antioxidants. 

Without the synthetic chemical pesticides applied on conventional crops, organic plants also tend to produce more phenols and polyphenols to defend against pest attacks and related injuries. In people, phenols and polyphenols can help prevent diseases triggered or promoted by oxidative-damage like coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. 

Overall, organic crops had 18 to 69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidant compounds. The team concludes that consumers who switch to organic fruit, vegetables, and cereals would get 20 to 40 percent more antioxidants. That's the equivalent of about two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with no increase in caloric intake. 

The researchers also found pesticide residues were three to four times more likely in conventional foods than organic ones, as organic farmers are not allowed to apply toxic, synthetic pesticides. While crops harvested from organically managed fields sometimes contain pesticide residues, the levels are usually 10-fold to 100-fold lower in organic food, compared to the corresponding, conventionally grown food. 

"This study is telling a powerful story of how organic plant-based foods are nutritionally superior and deliver bona fide health benefits," said Benbrook. 

In a surprising finding, the team concluded that conventional crops had roughly twice as much cadmium, a toxic heavy metal contaminant, as organic crops. The leading explanation is that certain fertilizers approved for use only on conventional farms somehow make cadmium more available to plant roots. A doubling of cadmium from food could push some individuals over safe daily intake levels. 

More than half the studies in the Newcastle analysis were not available to the research team that carried out a 2009 study commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency. Another review published by a Stanford University team in 2011 failed to identify any significant clinical health benefits from consumption of organic food, but incorporated less than half the number of comparisons for most health-promoting nutrients. 

"We benefited from a much larger and higher quality set of studies than our colleagues who carried out earlier reviews," said Carlo Leifert, a Newcastle University professor and the project leader.

Source:Newcastle University 


Type of Food Consumed can Influence Body’s Internal Biological Clock

A new study published in the journal Cell Reports has found that the type of food that you eat may affect the body's internal biological clock, with the researchers suggesting that their findings prove that dietary manipulation can be used to help patients with various conditions.

An internal biological or 'circadian' clock plays an important role in preferred sleep times, times of peak alertness, and the timing of certain physiological processes. The clock enables maximum expression of genes at appropriate times of the day, allowing organisms to adapt to the earth's rotation. "Chronic desynchronization between physiological and environmental rhythms not only decreases physiological performance but also carries a significant risk of diverse disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sleep disorders, and cancer," says Dr. Makoto Akashi, of Yamaguchi University, in Japan. 

The circadian clock involves two major pathways. The first, which responds to light, has been well characterized. The second, which responds to food, is less understood. Through experiments in cells and mice, Dr. Akashi and his colleagues found, using cell culture, that insulin, a pancreatic hormone that is secreted in response to feeding, may be involved in resetting the circadian clock. "Insulin-mediated phase adjustment of the clock in feeding-relevant tissues may enable the synchronization between mealtime and tissue function, leading to effective digestion and absorption," he says. "In short, insulin may help the stomach clock synchronize with mealtime." 

The researchers' findings provide valuable information on how to adjust the circadian clock through dietary manipulation. "For example, for jet lag, dinner should be enriched with ingredients promoting insulin secretion, which might lead to a phase advance of the circadian clock, whereas breakfast would be the opposite," says Dr. Akashi. The findings also suggest that clock adjustments through feeding might not work well in individuals with insulin resistance, a characteristic of patients with type 2 diabetes. Also, there may be side effects related to the circadian clock when treating patients with insulin. 
journal Cell 

Pornography Triggers Similar Reactions in Brains of Sex Addicts as Drugs Do for Drug Addicts

Researchers at University of Cambridge reveal that for people struggling with sex addiction, pornography triggers brain activities similar to those among drug addicts who come across drugs, though they were quick to point out that pornography was itself not addictive, a new study published in PLOS ONE reveals.
Although precise estimates are unknown, previous studies have suggested that as many as one in 25 adults is affected by compulsive sexual behaviour, an obsession with sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviour which they are unable to control. This can have an impact on a person's personal life and work, leading to significant distress and feelings of shame. Excessive use of pornography is one of the main features identified in many people with compulsive sexual behaviour. However, there is currently no formally accepted definition of diagnosing the condition. 

In a study funded by the Wellcome Trust, researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge looked at brain activity in nineteen male patients affected by compulsive sexual behaviour and compared them to the same number of healthy volunteers. The patients started watching pornography at earlier ages and in higher proportions relative to the healthy volunteers. 

"The patients in our trial were all people who had substantial difficulties controlling their sexual behaviour and this was having significant consequences for them, affecting their lives and relationships," explains Dr Valerie Voon, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow at the University of Cambridge. "In many ways, they show similarities in their behaviour to patients with drug addictions. We wanted to see if these similarities were reflected in brain activity, too." 

The study participants were shown a series of short videos featuring either sexually explicit content or sports whilst their brain activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which uses a blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal to measure brain activity. 

The researchers found that three regions in particular were more active in the brains of the people with compulsive sexual behaviour compared with the healthy volunteers. Significantly, these regions - the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate and amygdala - were regions that are also particularly activated in drug addicts when shown drug stimuli. The ventral striatum is involved in processing reward and motivation, whilst the dorsal anterior cingulate is implicated in anticipating rewards and drug craving. The amygdala is involved in processing the significance of events and emotions. 

The researchers also asked the participants to rate the level of sexual desire that they felt whilst watching the videos, and how much they liked the videos. Drug addicts are thought to be driven to seek their drug because they want - rather than enjoy - it. This abnormal process is known as incentive motivation, a compelling theory in addiction disorders. 

As anticipated, patients with compulsive sexual behaviour showed higher levels of desire towards the sexually explicit videos, but did not necessarily rate them higher on liking scores. In the patients, desire was also correlated with higher interactions between regions within the network identified - with greater cross-talk between the dorsal cingulate, ventral striatum and amygdala - for explicit compared to sports videos. 

Dr Voon and colleagues also found a correlation between brain activity and age - the younger the patient, the greater the level of activity in the ventral striatum in response to pornography. Importantly, this association was strongest in individuals with compulsive sexual behaviour. The frontal control regions of the brain - essentially, the 'brakes' on our compulsivity - continue to develop into the mid-twenties and this imbalance may account for greater impulsivity and risk taking behaviours in younger people. The age-related findings in individuals with compulsive sexual behaviours suggest that the ventral striatum may be important in developmental aspects of compulsive sexual behaviours in a similar fashion as it is in drug addictions, although direct testing of this possibility is needed. 

"There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers. These differences mirror those of drug addicts," adds Dr Voon. "Whilst these findings are interesting, it's important to note, however, that they could not be used to diagnose the condition. Nor does our research necessarily provide evidence that these individuals are addicted to porn - or that porn is inherently addictive. Much more research is required to understand this relationship between compulsive sexual behaviour and drug addiction." 

Dr John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, says: "Compulsive behaviours, including watching porn to excess, over-eating and gambling, are increasingly common. This study takes us a step further to finding out why we carry on repeating behaviours that we know are potentially damaging to us. Whether we are tackling sex addiction, substance abuse or eating disorders, knowing how best, and when, to intervene in order to break the cycle is an important goal of this research."

Source: University of Cambridge  

How Infections Affect Gut Bacteria

 How Infections Affect Gut BacteriaResearchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have come up with new computational models that show how bacteria colonizing our guts are affected when a person is suffering from an infection, with the researchers hopeful that their findings can help doctors to provide better treatment and prevent gastrointestinal infection and inflammation during an infection.

"Our gut contains ten-times more bacterial cells than there are human cells in our body," said Lynn Bry, MD, PhD, director of the BWH Center for Clinical and Translational Metagenomics, senior study author. "The behavior of these complex bacterial ecosystems when under attack by infection can have a big impact on our health." 

The study is published July 11, 2014 in PLOS ONE

Georg Gerber, MD, PhD, MPH, co-director of the BWH Center for Clinical and Translational Metagenomics, co-first study author, developed novel computer algorithms to analyze the different stages of infection when a pathogen known as Citrobacter rodentium, which causes disease in mice similar to food-poisoning in humans, was introduced into the guts of mice. Bry and her team generated a two-month time-series of the population levels of bacteria throughout multiple sites in the intestine. The computational framework, known as Microbial Counts Trajectories Infinite Mixture Model Engine, developed by Gerber, was used to identify dynamic changes within the complex communities of bacteria in the gut associated with infection and inflammation. 

The researchers observed many disruptions in the normal bacteria at different locations in the gut during the infection. For instance, they discovered a microbial signature in the colon involving species belonging to the genus Mucispirillum that showed decreases early in infection before the onset of symptoms. Other signatures included increases in populations of bacteria from the Clostridiales and Lactobacillales families occurring after the pathogen had disappeared. Interestingly, some of these signatures occurred in locations in the gut where the pathogen was not directly damaging host cells. 

"From a clinical perspective, these new microbial signatures we identified could help clinicians detect early stages of inflammation or subtle persistent disease in patients with gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease," said Bry. "Moreover, several time-dependent microbial signatures we identified may be leveraged to conduct further research of other infectious and inflammatory conditions."
 Source:Plos One

Thursday, 10 July 2014

ADMA asks govt to intervene on the issue of EU ban on herbal medicines

The Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers’ Association (ADMA) has called upon the government to intervene and politicise the issue of EU ban on herbal medicines at the earliest, so as to ensure that the stability and future of the industry is not threatened. Industry fears a huge setback to the exports to EU, if other member states too follow suit to UK and implement the same in their respective countries.

The Association pointed out that a strong intervention by the Indian government by way of lobbying is the only viable option available to safeguard the interest of the industry at this juncture. This demand comes in the aftermath of implementation of the ban of herbal products in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which is already leading to a huge loss to the industry.

It is understood that ADMA already had a spate of meetings with the Department of Ayush in this matter and is expected to meet the officials again by end of July to deliberate appropriate action plan. The Association which has been keeping a close tab on the development in this case stressed that it is high time for the government to take some decisive action before it is too late, as the threat of EU ban is already looming very close especially after MHRA's decision to implement the ban.

ADMA which is closely working with the Swiss Herbal Association informed that the situation is getting very complicated for business in the EU states, especially since there is no clarity on how and when the ban will be implemented by other states. As of now, EU comprises 28 member states, which is governed by the EU parliament and as per the EU guidelines 2004/24/EC the implementation of the guidelines depends upon the way it is being interpreted by each of the EU member states as they deem necessary. Interestingly, each of the EU member states categorises  herbal products differently, some deem it as herbals while others categorise it as food supplements.

Shashank Sandu, treasurer, ADMA, informed, “These uncertainties has complicated the matters far worse, creating a fear psychosis among exporters on their future exports to the EU. There is a lot at stake here and if the government fails to take preventive action it will erase the industry completely. Especially since, the sector mainly comprises of small scale manufacturers who will certainly not be able to cope up with the mounting financial pressure and will gradually fizzle out killing the sector altogether.


New therapeutic combination to slow resistant sarcomas

Researchers at sarcomas research group at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) have been tested in 19 patients a new therapeutic combination to combat resistant sarcomas. The clinical trial results, which indicate that the new treatment could stabilize the growth of these tumors have been published this week in the British Journal of Cancer.


Sarcomas are a rare type of tumor and complex since there are several subtypes. It can affect from children to older ages. It is usually diagnosed in advanced and very little localized phases. So the 50% cured with major surgeries and localized treatment. But the other 50% is resistant to conventional therapies and ends metastasizing.

The IDIBELL research group in sarcomas, led by Oscar Martinez-Tirado, investigate to test new drugs or new combinations of drugs that could be more effective against these tumors and for that works closely with the coordinator of the Unit of Sarcomas at ICO, Javier García del Muro. This teamwork joins the most basic research to the most clinical and has led in this case to bring the results of research from bench to bedside.

Conventional chemotherapy and targeted therapy

Researchers tested different combinations of conventional chemotherapy with new drugs aimed at molecular targets in cell sarcomas and decided to try in mice a combination of conventional chemotherapy used to treat these tumors and rapamycin, a drug that acts specifically in mTOR, an altered protein in various types of cancer.

"With the results in the cell lines we thought it was the best option to test in mice," said Martinez-Tirado "but the truth is that the results in animals were spectacular. In mice that had the tumor and we gave to them this combination, the tumor stopped growing and weeks after stopping treatment  it was not recovered, as it does if we treat them with chemotherapy alone or only with rapamycin. "

Responsible for this phase I clinical trial has been Javier García del Muro. It has been tested this new combination in nineteen patients, most of sarcoma but also included patients with other tumor types that have no treatment. "Although Phase I trials are used to determine the recommended dose and discard toxicities,  we have seen that the combination is active in various tumor types, as we have seen prolongated stabilizations in advanced and resistant tumors to chemotherapy" .

With these encouraging results, the group has launched a phase II clinical trial. "We have completed the recruitment of patients, in this case, only sarcomas, to test whether this combination really works in these patients and whether it is better than current treatments."

Article reference

Juan Martin-Liberal, Marta Gil-Martín, Miguel Sáinz-Jaspeado, Nuria Gonzalo, Raul Rigo, Helena Colom, Carmen Muñoz, Oscar M Tirado and Xavier García del Muro. Phase I study of sirolimus plus gemcitabine in solid tumors. British Journal of Cancer. Epub ahead July 8th.

New technology reveals insights into mechanisms underlying amyloid diseases

Monitoring formation of amylin plaques using 2-D IR spectroscopy, scientists have observed the creation of temporary intermediate structures, which may explain why proteins aggregate into toxic plaques

This is a schematic of the intermediate structure in the aggregation pathway of amylin.
Amsterdam, NL, 10 July 2014 – Amyloid diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, cataracts, and the spongiform encephalopathies, all share the common trait that proteins aggregate into long fibers which then form plaques. Yet in vitro studies have found that neither the amylin monomer precursors nor the plaques themselves are very toxic. New evidence using two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectroscopy has revealed an intermediate structure during the amylin aggregation pathway that may explain toxicity, opening a window for possible interventions, according to a report in the current issue ofBiomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging.
"Figuring out how and why amyloid plaques form is exceedingly difficult, because one needs to follow the atomic shapes of the protein molecules as they assemble. Most tools in biology give either shapes or motions, but not both. We have been developing a new spectroscopic tool, called two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy, which can monitor the plaques as they form in a test tube," said lead investigator Martin T. Zanni, PhD, of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The investigators employed this new technology to study the amyloid protein associated with type 2 diabetes. Isotope labeling was used to measure the secondary structure content of individual residues. By following many 2D IR spectra from one particular region (known as the FGAIL region) over several hours, they were able to visualize the amylin as it progressed from monomers to fibers.
"We learned that, prior to making the plaques, the proteins first assemble into an unexpected and intriguing intermediate and organized structure," commented Dr. Zanni. The proteins undergo a transition from disordered coil (in the monomer), to ordered β-sheet (in the oligomer) to disordered structure again (in the fiber).
These results help to elucidate the physics of the aggregation process, the chemistry of amyloid inhibitors, and the biology of type 2 diabetes, as well as clarify previously contradictory data.
The authors suggest that differences between species in their capacity to develop type 2 diabetes may be related to the capacity to form these intermediate amylin structures. That may be why humans develop the disease while dogs and rats do not. "I am not encouraging us to begin engineering our DNA to match that of rats, but our findings may help to develop plaque inhibitors or hormone replacement therapies for people suffering from type 2 diabetes, because we know the structure we want to avoid," says Dr. Zanni. He adds that mutations in the FGAIL region may inhibit fiber formation by interfering with the formation of these intermediates.
Source:Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging

Dark Chocolate Helps Artery Disease Patients Walk Better: Study

Dark chocolates can improve walking ability in people with artery diseases, says study.
 Dark Chocolate Helps Artery Disease Patients Walk Better: Study

People with peripheral artery disease (PAD) who ate a dark chocolate bar were able to slightly increase the time and distance they walked a couple of hours later, compared to people who ate milk chocolate, Fox News reported. 

Lead author Dr. Lorenzo Loffredo, from Sapienza University in Rome, said that nutrients were the key components of health and disease, and added that polyphenols compounds, which are much more plentiful in dark chocolate than milk chocolate, may be one of the reasons for the improved performance. 

The researchers also measured a type of gas in the blood that has been linked to improved blood flow, and found it was higher among those who ate dark chocolate, compared to those who ate milk chocolate. 

Dr. Thom Rooke, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester said that eating dark chocolate would also add to the calories consumed by people. 

About one in five people ages 70 years and older living in Western countries is affected by PAD, which is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes and can cause legs to hurt and cramp while walking. 

Source:This study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Whey Protein Before Breakfast can Improve Blood Sugar Control Among Diabetics

Consuming whey protein before a regular breakfast can not only reduce the blood sugar spikes seen among diabetics after meals but can also improve their insulin response, a new study published in the journal Diabetologia reveals.

Thus whey protein could be an additional tool to help control blood sugar in patients with diabetes. The research was conducted in Israel by Professor Daniela Jakubowicz and Dr Julio Wainstein (Wolfson Medical Center, Tel Aviv University), Professor Oren Froy (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Professor Bo Ahrén (Lund University, Sweden) and colleagues. 

Protein consumption is known to stimulate the production of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a gut hormone that in turn stimulates insulin production. Thus the researchers hypothesised that stimulating GLP-1 production by consuming whey protein before a meal would improve the body's blood sugar control following a meal. The study included 15 people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes who were not taking any medications except for sulfonylureas or metformin (oral diabetes drugs). These participants consumed, on two separate days, 50 g whey in 250 ml water or placebo (250 ml water) followed by a standardised high-glycaemic-index breakfast in a hospital setting. The breakfast contained 3 slices of white bread and sugar-containing jelly, a meal designed to produce the maximum post-meal glucose spike. A blood sample was taken 30 minutes before the meal, and the whey protein or placebo drink was served at that point. Further blood samples were taken when the meal was served (0 mins) and at 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 mins. 

Patients were randomised to either the whey protein or placebo arm of the study, but the crossover design of the trial meant that all participants did both the whey protein and placebo arms, with two weeks between visits. This design also means that the study was statistically well powered despite the small number of participants. 

The results showed that over the whole 180 min post-meal period, glucose levels were reduced by 28% after whey protein pre-load compared with no whey protein. Insulin and C-peptide (a building block of insulin) responses were both significantly higher (by 105% and 43%, respectively) in the whey protein group. Notably, the early insulin response (meaning within the first 30 minutes following breakfast) was 96% higher after whey protein than with placebo. This is especially important since the loss of early insulin response is the most important deficiency in diabetic individuals and a major contributor to the post-meal rise in blood glucose. Additionally, both total GLP-1 (tGLP-1) and intact GLP-1 (iGLP-1) levels were significantly higher (by 141% and 298%, respectively) with whey protein pre-load. 

The authors conclude: "In summary, consumption of whey protein shortly before a high-glycaemic-index breakfast increased the early and late post-meal insulin secretion, improved GLP-1 responses and reduced post-meal blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetic patients. Whey protein may therefore represent a novel approach for enhancing glucose-loweringstrategies in type 2 diabetes." They add that such treatment would be cheap and easy to administer, with patients able to use any brand of whey protein concentrate which has no added sugar or other nutrients. Based on the findings of this study, the authors are considering conducting a long-term clinical trial to discover if the beneficial effects of administering whey protein on blood sugar, insulin, and GLP-1 are long lasting. 

Tel Aviv University),

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Hepatitis C Virus Transmission Following Antiviral Treatment

Hepatitis infection is affecting millions of people throughout the world, but if left untreated, infection results in serious complications such as cirrhosis of the liver and cancer.Many HCV-infected patients respond well to anti-viral therapy and remain virus free. However, trace amounts of HCV RNA are sporadically detected in patients thought to have successfully responded to HCV treatment. 

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation tested if this reappearing HCV RNA is infectious. Using an animal model, Barbara Rehermann and colleagues at the NIH found that blood from patients with trace amounts of HCV RNA is able to cause HCV infection, though the animals did not immediately show signs of HCV infection. This study demonstrates that small amounts of HCV RNA in successfully treated patients can be infectious, but these transmission events may be hard to detect due to delayed onset of disease. 
 Journal of Clinical Investigation


Childhood Stress Can Have A Long-Lasting Effect On Learning And Memory: Study

Researchers have found that chronic stress undergone in childhood can leave a long-lasting impact on the brain of a person.
According to a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, while a small degree of stress can provide a platform for children for learning, adapting and coping, chronic toxic stress experienced in childhood, such as poverty, neglect and physical abuse can negatively impact them. 

Early-life chronic stress alters those parts of growing children's brains that are tied to learning, memory and stress and emotion processing systems. These alterations may have negative impact on their behavior, health, employment and choice of romantic partners later in life. 

"We haven't really understood why things that happen when you're 2, 3, 4 years old stay with you and have a lasting impact," said Seth Pollak, co-author of research and UW-Madison professor of psychology. 

To arrive at the findings, the researchers elaborately interviewed 128 children around age 12 who had undergone either physical or mental abuse or were from poor socioeconomic backgrounds.  Simultaneously, the caregivers of children involved were also interviewed. 

During the course of the interviews, the researchers recorded the children's behavioral problems and their cumulative life stress. 

They visualized the children's brains, primarily the hippocampus and amygdala that are linked to emotion and stress processing.  A comparison was then made with children of the same age group from middle-class backgrounds who had not undergone any abuse. 

Hanson, a co-author, drew a sketch of each child's hippocampus and amygdala by hand and measured their volumes since he believed automated software measurements might be error prone. 

The hand images revealed smaller amygdalas in children who had undergone any of the three categories of childhood stress than children who had not. 

Also, smaller hippocampal volumes could be seen in physically abused children and those from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The study also revealed a strong association between increased behavioral problems and cumulative life stress and smaller hippocampus and amygdala volumes. 

The cause of smaller brain structures linked to early life stress is still unknown, but that a smaller hippocampus can cause negative impact has already been established. 

The role of amygdala is not yet fully understood, and so future studies will lay focus on figuring out the importance of these volume changes. 

Pollack emphasized the social responsibility of attending to the types of experiences children undergo since he believes it is the society that shape people. 

But Hanson and Pollak caution the findings cannot be used to predict the future since they point only to neurobiological markers, a display of human brain robustness and human biological adaptability. 

"Just because it's in the brain doesn't mean it's destiny," says Hanson. 

Source:The study featured in the journal Biological Psychiatry. 


Recurrence of Severe Perineal Tearing During Childbirth Explored in New Study

 Recurrence of Severe Perineal Tearing During Childbirth Explored in New Study There is an increased risk of severe perineal tearing during childbirth in women who had such a tear in a previous delivery, suggests a new study. The study is published today (9 July) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).This study, investigates among women who have had a third or fourth degree perineal tear, the mode of delivery in subsequent pregnancies and the recurrence of severe perineal tears. 

Most women tear to some extent during childbirth and in some women the tear may be more extensive. A third degree tear extends downwards from the vaginal wall and perineum to the anal sphincter, the muscle that controls the anus and a fourth degree tear extends to the anal canal as well as the rectum. In England, the rate of reported severe perineal tears has tripled from 1.8% to 5.9% between 2000 and 2012.[1] 

The study used a cohort of 639,402 first-time mothers who had a vaginal delivery of a single baby between April 2004 and March 2011 and a second birth before April 2012. Data came from the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) which includes all maternity admissions in NHS hospitals. 

Results show that the prevalence of third or fourth degree tearing at first birth for the cohort was 3.8%. Among women who had a third or fourth degree tear at first birth, 24.2% were delivered by elective caesarean section, compared with 1.5% of women who did not tear at first birth. 

Furthermore, the report found that among women who had a vaginal delivery at second birth, the rate of a severe tear was 7.2% in women with a tear at first birth, compared to 1.3% in women without, a more than five-fold increase in risk. 

Other risk factors to increase the risk of third and fourth degree tearing at second birth include; high birth weight, forceps delivery and the presence of shoulder dystocia. Additionally tearing was higher in older women, women living in the least deprived communities and in Asian women, notes the report. 

The authors of the study recognise the risks associated with an elective caesarean, and decisions about subsequent mode of delivery in women who had a severe perineal tear in an earlier pregnancy must be weighed against the clinical and psychological impacts of severe perineal tearing. 

Dr Leroy Edozien, a consultant obstetrician from the University of Manchester and co-author of the study said: 

"Our study shows that the relative risk of a repeat tear is a five-fold increase and the absolute risk of a repeat tear is about 7 in 100. Clinicians should communicate both the relative and the absolute risk when discussing mode of delivery with women who suffered a severe tear in their previous pregnancy." 

Dr Ipek Gurol-Urganci from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-author added: 

"Our results emphasise the need for clear national guidance for healthcare professionals on the optimal mode of delivery for women with a prior severe perineal tear so that they can be counselled appropriately." 

John Thorp, BJOG deputy editor-in-chief said: 

"This study captures over 96% of all deliveries in NHS hospitals in England over a 7 year period, and represents the first piece of research into the mode of delivery and recurrence rate in a pregnancy subsequent to a third or fourth degree perineal tear. 

"The results highlight the increased risk of severe tearing in women who have a third or fourth degree tear in their first delivery and therefore will help women along with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals to make decisions about the mode of delivery in future pregnancies to ensure the best outcomes for mother and baby." 
 Source:Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG)

Neymar coming to Kerala for ayurveda treatment?

TV channels in Kerala Tuesday went berserk, saying injured Brazilian footballer Neymar was likely to come to the state to undergo ayurveda treatment for his injured back.
The TV channels said the Brazilian Football Federation has got in touch with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
However, Chandy told IANS nothing of that sort has happened.
He said there was a request from football fans in Kerala, asking the government to put up a proposal for treating Neymar using ayurveda.
"I spoke to Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar, who called up leading doctors of the state-run ayurveda college here. They got details of Neymar's injury through the internet and (were) studying what sort of treatment should be adopted."
"We were planning to tell the media about this tomorrow (Wednesday). But now that everything is out in the media, with distortions, the health minister will tell you all."
"Please don't get it wrong, we are only going to decide whether to put up a proposal to Neymar whether he wants our treatment," Chandy told IANS.

Facebook Badge