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Friday, 19 September 2014

Union govt approves National Ayush Mission to spur growth of traditional medicine sector

Union government has approved the National Ayush Mission which will address the gaps in Indian system of traditional medicine covering Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (ASU&H). The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the National Ayush Mission (NAM) with its core components.

The proposed Mission will deal with the disparity in the health services through the supporting efforts of the state and union territories (UT) for providing Ayush health services and education in the county particularly in the remote and far flung areas.

Under NAM, special focus will be given to allocation of higher resources in their annual plan. The Mission will help in the improvement of Ayush education through enhancement in the number of upgraded institutions.

The Mission is also ensuring the better access to Ayush services through increase in the number of Ayush hospitals and dispensaries apart from ensuring regular availability of drugs and trained manpower.

It will also provide sustained availability of quality Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy drugs through increase in the number of pharmacies, drug test labs and improved enforcements mechanism.

The central government noted that the country had an unmatched heritage represented by its ancient system of medicine like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy which are a treasure house of knowledge preventive and promotive healthcare. The positive features of the Indian system of medicine which is known for its diversity, affordability and accessibility to large number of economically backward patients is a big advantage, said the government. The acceptance of the Indian traditional system of medicine by the general public at a comparatively lesser cost and growing economic value have great potential to provide healthcare services in this system of medicine.

Commenting on the NAM, JSD Pani, president Karnataka Indian Medicine Manufacturers Association (KIMMA), said that this is the best which could have happened to the Indian system of medicine. It also depicts the government's focus and importance given to the sector.

The government of Karnataka should take special cognizance of the National Ayush Mission creation before it takes any drastic step in the merger of the two systems of medicine: Ayush with allopathy. The state should now discuss in detail with the Union government on its intention to combine the enforcement wing and administration under the purview of the Karnataka drugs control department, pointed out Pani.

It may be noted that the effort to merge the state Ayush department with that of the drugs control department that is responsible for the approval of allopathy drugs was criticised by the industry.

According to DBA Narayana, pharma consultant, the move is a real welcome step and long-awaited. It is hoped that the government is serious this time. However, the government will need to convince the medical councils and state governments to give Ayush healthcare and medicines a rightful place in the country. There have been many similar announcements earlier and it is hoped that this time it would actually materialise.

According to the EXIM Bank report, the herbal industry in India is estimated to be valued at Rs.4,205 crore with exports at Rs.440 crore. The growth rate of the sector is 15-20 per cent annual. The sector has the potential to grow to Rs.7,000 crore by 2020.

New cancer drug target involving lipid chemical messengers

 More than half of human cancers have abnormally upregulated chemical signals related to lipid metabolism, yet how these signals are controlled during tumor formation is not fully understood.
Youhai Chen, PhD, MD, and Svetlana Fayngerts, PhD, both researchers in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues report that TIPE3, a newly described oncogenic protein, promotes cancer by targeting these pathways.
Lipid second messengers play cardinal roles in relaying and amplifying signals from outside the cell to its interior and outer membrane. One of the best known lipid second messengers is PIP3, which relays signals from hundreds of membrane receptors, including many oncogenic receptors, on the cell surface to PIP3-binding proteins in the cell's interior, which control cell growth, differentiation, migration, transformation, and death.
Therefore, drugs targeting PIP3 – when its function goes awry -- may be effective for treating a variety of diseases, including cancer and inflammatory disorders. TIPE3 belongs to a newly described family of proteins and is a risk factor for human cancer and inflammation, although its mechanisms of action are largely unknown.
Chen and colleagues discovered that TIPE3 is the transfer protein of the second messenger PIP3 and it is hijacked by cancer cells to cause runaway cell division.
The high-resolution crystal structure of TIPE3 shows a large cavity that captures and transfers PIP3 and its chemical precursor PIP2 to increase their presence on the inner membrane of the cell. This promotes activation of downstream PIP3 effectors that cause cancer.
Importantly, human lung, colon, ovarian, and esophageal cancers have markedly upregulated TIPE3 expression. Knocking down TIPE3 in culture diminishes malignant tumor cell growth and knocking out TIPE3 in mice blocks tumor formation.
"These findings explain why normal cells can control their lipid signals but cancer cells can't, a phenomenon widely recognized, but poorly understood," says Chen. TIPE3 has to be expressed at just the right amount to make sure that the proper signal is transferred, which governs the proper amount of cell division. "Therefore, TIPE3 may represent a new therapeutic target for treating malignant diseases."
The team is now working on strategies to control abnormal TIPE3 expression to treat or prevent cancer.
Source:Cancer Cell


How To Quit Negative Self-Talk & Get Happy

Negative self talk! Why have we all fallen victim to this nasty state of bringing ourselves down? Let’s get one thing clear, self-talk isn’t just mindless chatter spiraling around in your head. It has a way of creating its own reality. Telling yourself you can’t do something can make that come true. Tell yourself you’ll never lose weight and it can be like eating a box of doughnuts. Tell yourself it’s too hard to find a new career and you will be likely to continue the cycle of disliking your old job and stay within that exact rut.
“Self-talk dictates how you relate to yourself and how you show up for other people. Let’s say you think you have nothing interesting to say. If you keep telling yourself that, other people are going to see you that way too.” - Franco Beneduce
People who think negatively tend to be less outgoing and have weaker social networks than positive thinkers. Multiple studies link positive emotions with more satisfying relationships, more romance and even lower rates of divorce and separation.
self-talkThe more you focus on negative events or shortcomings, the harder it is to put them behind you.In a survey of 231 college students, those with a positive outlook in life were more likely to look back on negative events and report how much better things are for them now. There are lessons in every challenge and an opportunity for growth. Acknowledge a bad day as just that, a bad day, don’t allow a certain event, conversation or let down determine your happiness.
If negative self-talk came with an off switch, you could just flip it off and be done with it. But it doesn’t. It takes a plan and some work to tone it down. Learning to dispute negative thoughts might take time and practice, but it is worth every effort. Once you start looking at it you’ll probably be surprised by how much of your thinking is inaccurate, exaggerated, or focused solely on the negatives of the situation. Here are a few ways to work through it.

Focus On Something Else

Over-thinking involves focusing on a train of thought that goes around and around. You can stop that train of thought by focusing on something else, ANYTHING ELSE! Read a book, breathe, get outside for 5 minutes, rest, make lunch, whatever it takes to break that thought pattern. We can stay in the victim state forever if we don’t choose to break free of the patterns.

Dispute It

You might ask yourself, “Is that really true? Is there another way to look at this situation? Is thinking this way helping me to feel good or to achieve my goals?” You may also look for some benefits. If you missed that job promotion, are there any lessons for the future you can take from the situation? Or could another opportunity come out of it? Was that really right for you, for your path?

Listen To Your BodySelf Talk

Use your feelings as your cue to reflect on your thinking. Whenever you find yourself feeling depressed, angry, anxious or upset, use this as your signal to stop and become aware of your thoughts. I say this all of the time, your body knows exactly what you need, LISTEN TO IT!

So Why Do We Do It?

Why are you negatively talking down to yourself? BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE BETTER! So why are we focusing on what is wrong, bad, not exactly where we want it to be and creating more of just that? Up until now you may have been unaware of your thoughts manifesting your reality, but you have the tools to build a healthier thought pattern now. Focus on what is going well in your life, I can promise you there are some! Dwelling on the past, what has gone wrong and what isn’t going right for you will only manifest more of those patterns for you. It’s a hard concept for some to accept that we are our own creators but until we believe that, we are continuing the cycle of giving away our own power.

Moving Forward – Get To The Source

Recognizing that your current way of thinking might be self-defeating can sometimes motivate you to look at things from a different perspective. You can conquer your negative self-talk today by challenging yourself with the questions above every time you catch yourself thinking something negative to yourself. When you find the source of why you do it, you can kick it for good.

Tips on Mental Health and How to Prevent Depression and Suicide

 Tips on Mental Health and How to Prevent Depression and Suicide'Suicide Prevention' was the theme of a seminar organized at Hindustan University in Chennai, South India. Students from various departments of the university came together to share messages on how to prevent suicides, as part of the observance of 'World Suicide Prevention Day 2014.'
Akshaya and team from the department of aeronautical engineering provided global statistics on suicide and listed out some important reasons that drive people to commit suicide.    

They highlighted the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) that 'every 40 seconds around the world a person commits suicide. More than 800 000 people die by suicide every year and some 75% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.' 

"Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. However, we can overcome this by adding nutritious food in our diet. Food that are rich in some essential fatty acids found in oily fish, like mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, kippers and fresh tuna can help to relieve depression," the students said. 

Providing the statistics of suicide in India, Vidhur and team from the department of computer science, noted that India is emerging as the world's suicide capital. Of the total suicide worldwide every year, 135,000 (17%) are residents of India, a nation with 17.5% of world population. 

Students from this team observed, "Suicide is a public health problem and it is preventable. We can prevent it through awareness. We should do everything in our power to get the required, timely help that a suicidal person needs." Some suggestions they put forward to save a person from committing suicide were, " If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, talking with them openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can hopefully, save a life. Persuade the person to see a mental health expert, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor's appointment." 

They concluded the message, quoting Nelson Mandela:   

"The greatest glory in living
lies not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall."  

Angel Soji, Director of Chennai Jeevan Suicide Prevention Center, who led a special session on the topic for the students, revealed that Chennai reported the highest number of suicides among adolescents in India and worldwide. 

Ms Soji  said several apparently well-functioning young people unexpectedly took their own lives, without any prior sign of a mental disorder. Their reasons for committing suicide include feeling rejected and not having succeeded in achieving their goals, she added.  

"Everyone knows that Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times when trying to create the light bulb. If he hadn't failed, he might not have become America's most well-known and prolific innovator. So, failure is not the end of life. There is life beyond failure and face it with courage, and create a better tomorrow," she concluded, in a note of encouragement to all those troubled with self doubt and loss of self esteem in the face of temporary defeat or failure. 
Source:Chennai Jeevan Suicide Prevention Center


Fatty liver symptoms, causes and treatments – Home remedies for avoiding fatty liver

Fatty-liver-symptoms-causes-and-treatments-Home-remedies-for-avoiding-fatty-liverLiver diseases have recently increased among the modern population .Impaired functioning of the liver will decrease the ability of the body to digest food, absorb nutrients, break down fats and to get rid of the toxics in the body. Fatty liver disease is one of the common types of liver disorder. It can be defined as a disease by itself, but it is known to trigger other diseases within it. It is a condition where there are excessive fat cells in the liver, even though it is normal to have some amount of fat in the liver. The fat in the liver accumulates in the cells and fills the spaces between the tissues making it expand and heavy. Increase of fat in the liver can lead to alcoholic or non-alcoholic liver diseases.
Alcoholic fatty Liver Disease
Fatty Liver can be a result of drinking moderate or large amount of alcohol. Alcoholic liver disease can also be passed from the parent to the child.  Other causes of alcoholic liver disease can be Hepatitis C, overload of iron, obesity and diet.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the recent times. It is a not a normal condition, but it is not serious as long as it does not lead to inflammation or damage of the liver.
Some people with excess fat in the liver simply have what’s called a fatty liver. Although this is not normal, it is not serious if it doesn’t lead to inflammation or damage. Itis a condition similar to alcoholic liver disease but people suffering from this type of liver may be drinking very little or no alcohol at all. This can result into permanent damage of the liver. The liver may be enlarged and the liver cells may be replaced by damaged tissues. This disease is called cirrhosis, in which the liver function is not proper and one can develop a liver failure, liver cancer, or other liver related deaths.
Causes of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
  • This disease seems to be running in families as no specific cause has been clear.  It is diagnosed in middle aged and overweight persons.
  • Other causes can be medications, viral hepatitis, rapid weight loss and malnutrition.
  • Some recent studies indicate that growth of bacteria in the small intestines  can be a reason for developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Symptoms of fatty liver disease
  • There are hardly any symptoms seen in mild cases of fatty liver. Sometimes pain is felt on the right side of the abdomen which is caused by the fat increasing in the liver. In severe cases the liver enlarges causing cirrhosis.
  • The symptoms of cirrhosis can be swollen tummy, itchy skin, vomiting, and confusion of mind, weakness in muscles and yellowness in the eyes.
Treatment of fatty liver disease
  • Drinking of alcohol must be immediately stopped after diagnosis of liver cirrhosis in case of alcoholic liver disease.
  • There is no specific treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Changes in life style, losing excess weight, increasing physical activity and treating associated diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol may help to reduce the fat in the liver.
Home Remedies for fatty liver disease.
Steps to control non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Lose weight– Overweight persons must reduce the number of calories and increase the physical activity in order to lose weight. One can take professional help to reduce weight if one fails to reduce by this method.
  • Choose a healthy diet– A healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains will benefit the functioning of the liver.
  • Exercise and more activity– At least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week must be a part of one’s routine.
  • Control diabetes.  Diabetes must be kept under control by taking medicines and closely monitoring the blood sugar level.
  • Lower cholesterol. A healthy plant-based diet, rigorous exercise and proper medications can help to keep the cholesterol and triglycerides at healthy levels.
Key points to remember for fatty liver diseases.
  • Fatty liver disease is a term for conditions where fat builds up in the cells of the liver.
  • There are two main types of fatty liver disease – alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
  •  If one is diagnosed with Alcoholic fatty liver disease, it is essential to stop drinking alcohol.
  • If one has non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, losing excess weight and being more active can help to reduce the amount of fat from the liver.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Radical Rethink Needed on Free Sugars Intake, Say Experts

 Radical Rethink Needed on Free Sugars Intake, Say ExpertsNew research from UCL (University College London) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says that sugars in the diet should make up no more than 3% of total energy intake. This will help reduce the significant financial and social burdens of tooth decay.


The study, published in the open-access journal BMC Public Health, analysed the effect of sugars on dental caries, also known as tooth decay. They show that sugars are the only cause of tooth decay in children and adults. 

Free sugars are defined by the World Health Organisation Nutrition Guidance Adivisory Group as follows: "Free sugars include monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates." 

Tooth decay is the most common non-communicable disease in the world, affecting 60-90% of school-age children and the vast majority of adults. In the USA, 92% of adults aged 20-64 have experienced decay in at least one of their permanent teeth. The treatment of dental diseases costs 5-10% of total health expenditure in industrialised countries. 

Researchers used public health records from countries across the world to compare dental health and diet over time across large populations of adults and children. They found that the incidence of tooth decay was much higher in adults than children, and increased dramatically with any sugar consumption above 0% of energy. Even in children, an increase from near-zero sugar to 5% of energy doubles the prevalence of decay and continues to rise as sugar intake increases. 

Current guidelines from the World Health Organisation set a maximum of 10% of total energy intake from free sugars, with 5% as a 'target'. This equates to around 50g of free sugars per day as the maximum, with 25g as the target. The latest research suggests that 5% should be the absolute maximum, with a target of less than 3%. 

"Tooth decay is a serious problem worldwide and reducing sugars intake makes a huge difference." says study author Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health). "Data from Japan were particularly revealing, as the population had no access to sugar during or shortly after the Second World War. We found that decay was hugely reduced during this time, but then increased as they began to import sugar again." 

"Similarly, only 2% of people at all ages living in Nigeria had tooth decay when their diet contained almost no sugar, around 2g per day. This is in stark contrast to the USA, where 92% of adults have experienced tooth decay." 

In order to address the issue of tooth decay, the authors recommend a series of radical policy changes to reduce sugar consumption. 

"Our top priority is not to allow the idea of a magic single bullet to solve the problem to be developed," says co-author Professor Philip James, Honorary Professor of Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and past President World Obesity Federation (formerly IASO). "A fundamental aspect of public health planning is to develop society wide measures which impact on the health of the whole community. There now needs to be an explicit revision of population dietary goals as it relates to every aspect of government policy." 

"We need to make sure that use of fruit juices and the concept of sugar-containing treats for children are not only no longer promoted, but explicitly seen as unhelpful. Food provided at nurseries and schools should have a maximum of free sugars in the complete range of foods amounting to no more than 2.5% of energy." 

"Vending machines offering confectionary and sugary drinks in areas controlled or supported financially by local or central government should be removed." We are not talking draconian policies to 'ban' such sugar-rich products, which are available elsewhere, but no publicly-supported establishment should be contributing to the expensive problems of dental caries, obesity and diabetes. 

"The food industry should be told that they should progressively reformulate their products to reduce or preferably remove all the sugars from their products." New food labels should label anything above 2.5% sugars as 'high'. Given the politics of big business, the most governments may do is to reduce the limit from 10% to 5% but our paper suggests that it should be 2.5%. 

"There is a huge issue about how to curtail the flow of sugars in the food chain and divert sugar. If produced at all, it should be converted into alcohol, as in Brazil, to be used as fuel for vehicles." We need a European agreement that all sugar beet production should be phased out in the EU. This production is totally unnecessary and has always been unnecessary as the sugar cane producers of the lower income countries produce enough. As part of the US/EU trade agreement, the US should no longer be promoting the export of sugar and the US should also curtail production. 

"A sugars tax should be developed to increase the cost of sugar-rich food and drinks. This would be simplest as a tax on sugar as a mass commodity, since taxing individual foods depending on their sugar content is an enormously complex administrative process. The retail price of sugary drinks and sugar rich foods needs to increase by at least 20% to have a reasonable effect on consumer demand so this means a major tax on sugars as a commodity. The level will depend on expert analyses but my guess is that a 100% tax might be required." 
 journal BMC Public Health

No sedative necessary: Scientists discover new “sleep node” in the brain

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, this is only the second “sleep node” identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.
#-D rendering of a brain and brain stemPublished online in August in Nature Neuroscience, the study demonstrates that fully half of all of the brain’s sleep-promoting activity originates from the parafacial zone (PZ) in the brainstem. The brainstem is a primordial part of the brain that regulates basic functions necessary for survival, such as breathing, blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature.
“The close association of a sleep center with other regions that are critical for life highlights the evolutionary importance of sleep in the brain,” says Caroline E. Bass, assistant professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a co-author on the paper.
The researchers found that a specific type of neuron in the PZ that makes the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is responsible for deep sleep. They used a set of innovative tools to precisely control these neurons remotely, in essence giving them the ability to turn the neurons on and off at will.
 “These new molecular approaches allow unprecedented control over brain function at the cellular level,” says Christelle Ancelet, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard School of Medicine. “Before these tools were developed, we often used ‘electrical stimulation’ to activate a region, but the problem is that doing so stimulates everything the electrode touches and even surrounding areas it didn’t. It was a sledgehammer approach, when what we needed was a scalpel.”
“To get the precision required for these experiments, we introduced a virus into the PZ that expressed a ‘designer’ receptor on GABA neurons only but didn’t otherwise alter brain function,” explains Patrick Fuller, assistant professor at Harvard and senior author on the paper. “When we turned on the GABA neurons in the PZ, the animals quickly fell into a deep sleep without the use of sedatives or sleep aids.”
How these neurons interact in the brain with other sleep and wake-promoting brain regions still need to be studied, the researchers say, but eventually these findings may translate into new medications for treating sleep disorders, including insomnia, and the development of better and safer anesthetics.
“We are at a truly transformative point in neuroscience,” says Bass, “where the use of designer genes gives us unprecedented ability to control the brain. We can now answer fundamental questions of brain function, which have traditionally been beyond our reach, including the ‘why’ of sleep, one of the more enduring mysteries in the neurosciences.”
Source:Nature Neuroscience

Researchers study vital 'on/off switches' that control when bacteria turn deadly

 No matter how many times it's demonstrated, it's still hard to envision bacteria as social, communicating creatures.
But by using a signaling system called "quorum sensing," these single-celled organisms radically alter their behavior to suit their population. In short, some bacteria "know" how many of them are present, and act accordingly.
Once the population of quorum-sensing bacteria reaches the millions, it may change from innocuous to pathogenic, or from unhelpful to helpful. The quorum-sensing messages are carried in small molecules that the bacteria release and whose concentration bacteria can measure.
Blocking such a signal can prevent a bacterium from turning, in common language, nasty.
Helen Blackwell, a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been making artificial compounds that mimic the natural quorum-sensing signals, including some that block a natural signal from binding to its protein target.
In research published today in the journal Chemistry & Biology, Blackwell changed key building blocks in these protein targets one by one. "If that part of the protein is important, the change will have a significant effect on our signal's activity," she explains.
In the study performed with recent graduate students Joseph Gerdt and Christine McInnis, Blackwell expected to knock out, or deactivate, the signals by making these point modifications. Sometimes, however, the changes actually converted an activation signal into a deactivation signal, or vice versa.
"It was surprising that making minor tweaks, very subtle changes, to the protein would convert a compound from an inhibitor to an activator, or turn an activator into an inhibitor," she says. "That shows that small-molecule control of quorum sensing is very finely tuned, much more than we even expected."
Quorum sensing is present in many, but not all, bacteria, and its advantage is clear. A few hundred bacteria cannot hope to overwhelm an animal host, so lying low and evading immune attack is a good survival tactic. But once they number in the millions, they can overwhelm the immune system and reproduce unscathed.
After quorum sensing delivers the attack signal, a group of bacteria can become more infective and start to secrete small, poisonous molecules or tissue-destroying enzymes. They may also form biofilms, a tough film that covers surfaces and protects bacteria members from harm.
Quorum sensing can also direct soil bacteria that infect soybean roots to harvest nitrogen from the atmosphere and improve crop yields.
Blackwell, who has studied quorum sensing for more than 10 years, explains that inhibiting quorum sensing may provide a new way to control pathogenic bacteria. "We are approaching the end of the antibiotic era, as bacteria evolve resistance to some of our most advanced drugs, and scientists are looking for alternative ways to control bacteria."
While current antibiotics are designed to kill microbes, the goal of quorum sensing would be to keep them "tame" and harmless, Blackwell says. "If these 'on/off' protein modifications are as important as we have found, they may help us design new compounds to inhibit quorum sensing and reduce the harm of bacterial infections, without causing the drug resistance that is producing so many problems today."
Reducing infectivity may allow the immune system to help clear the pathogen, Blackwell says. In procedures such as hip replacement or burn treatment, where infection is common, "this could be used prophylactically, or to augment and extend the lifetime of antibiotics."
The study was performed on Gram-negative bacteria, which are well protected from many drugs by a double membrane. "They also have lots of nasty pumps that eject those drugs that do enter," Blackwell says.
Gram negatives include E. coli, salmonella, shigella, and pseudomonas. Members of the group cause cholera, gonorrhea, meningitis, Legionnaire's disease, and respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.
Gram negatives "are probably the most challenging infections, and the drugs that we have are really failing," Blackwell says. "But there is also a fascination in seeing how these very simple organisms team up to do things that are impossible in small numbers.
"The compounds and protein modifications we identified in the current study will serve as useful research tools to elucidate, and perhaps redirect, their 'tiny teamwork.'"
Source:Chemistry and Biology

Exercise Boosts Tumor-fighting Ability of Chemotherapy, Penn Team Finds

Study after study has proven it true: exercise is good for you. But new research from University of Pennsylvania scientists suggests that exercise may have an added benefit for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Their work, performed in a mouse model of melanoma, found that combining exercise with chemotherapy shrunk tumors more than chemotherapy alone.
Joseph Libonati, an associate professor in the School of Nursing and director of the Laboratory of Innovative and Translational Nursing Research, was the senior author on the study, which appears in the American Journal of Physiology. His collaborators included Penn Nursing’s Geetha Muthukumaran, Dennis Ding and Akinyemi Bajulaiye plus Kathleen Sturgeon, Keri Schadler, Nicholas J. Thomas, Victor Ferrari and Sandra Ryeom of Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.
Exercise has long been recommended to cancer patients for its physical and psychological benefits. Libonati and colleagues were particularly interested in testing whether exercise could protect against the negative cardiac-related side effects of the common cancer drug doxorubicin. Though effective at treating a variety of types of cancer, doxorubicin has is known to damage heart cells, which could lead to heart failure in the long-term.
“The immediate concern for these patients is, of course, the cancer, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get rid of it,” Libonati said. “But then when you get over that hump you have to deal with the long-term elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Previous studies had shown that an exercise regime prior to receiving chemotherapy could protect heart cells from the toxic effects of doxorubicin, but few had looked to see whether an exercise regimen during chemotherapy could be beneficial.
To do so, Libonati’s team set up an experiment with four groups of mice. All were given an injection of melanoma cells in the scruffs of their neck. During the next two weeks, two of the groups received doxorubicin in two doses while the other two groups received placebo injections. Mice in one of the treated groups and one of the placebo groups were put on exercise regimens, walking 45 minutes five days a week on mouse-sized treadmills, while the rest of the mice remained sedentary.
After the two-week trial, the researchers examined the animals’ hearts using echocardiogram and tissue analysis. As expected, doxorubicin was found to reduce the heart’s function and size and increased fibrosis — a damaging thickening of tissue. Mice that exercised were not protected from this damage.
“We looked, and the exercise didn’t do anything to the heart — it didn’t worsen it, it didn’t help it,” Libonati said. “But the tumor data –- I find them actually amazing.”
The “amazing” result was that the mice that both received chemotherapy and exercised had significantly smaller tumors after two weeks than mice that only received doxorubicin.
Further studies will investigate exactly how exercise enhances the effect of doxorubicin, but the Penn team believes it could be in part because exercise increases blood flow to the tumor, bringing with it more of the drug in the bloodstream.
“If exercise helps in this way, you could potentially use a smaller dose of the drug and get fewer side effects,” Libonati said.
Gaining a clearer understanding of the many ways that exercise affects various systems of the body could also pave the way for developing drugs that mimic the effects of exercise.
“People don’t take a drug and then sit down all day,” Libonati says. “Something as simple as moving affects how drugs are metabolized. We’re only just beginning to understand the complexities.”
The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute,Biobehavioral Research Center at Penn, National Center for Research Resources and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Chemical Found In Colgate Total Toothpaste Linked To Cancer

A chemical found in one of North America’s most popular toothpastes, Colgate Total, has been linked to cancer and other harmful health ailments.
colIt’s called triclosan, it’s also used  in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent. In addition to cosmetics and Colgate toothpaste, triclosan is  used as an antibacterial agent in laundry detergent, facial tissues, and antiseptics for wounds, as well as a preservative to resist bacteria, fungus, mildew and odors in other household products that are sometimes advertized as “anti-bacterial.” These products include garbage bags, toys, linens, mattresses, toilet fixtures, clothing, furniture fabric, and more.
A recent study published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology found that the chemical encourages cancer-cell growth. Various studies over the past few years have clearly outlined the health dangers associated with this chemical.(1)
Don’t forget, the government and corporations used to tell us that asbestos, PCB’s and DDT were all deemed safe and effective, yet all of these chemicals have since been banned.
Triclosan can also pass through the skin and interfere with hormone function (endocrine disruption). (2)(3) It doesn’t stop there, a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives from 2008 shows how scientists detected triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 percent of those tested (2,517 people age six or older). (4)
The Canadian Medical Association has even called for a ban on products that contain Triclosan. (5)
Colgate says that the chemical is safe, in doing so they cited the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA)  process that led to its approval in the first place. But according to Bloomberg:
A closer look at that application process, however, reveals that some of the scientific findings Colgate put forward to establish triclosan’s safety in toothpaste weren’t black and white — and weren’t, until this year, available to the public.” (source)
Believe it or not, these documents were actually withheld from public viewing by the FDA. It’s also important to note that major corporations and the FDA are pretty much the same thing, and these corporations have a big influence over government policy. The only reason that the documents were recently released is because of a lawsuit that was filed over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The FDA report raised concerns that the chemical could cause cancer. You can view the release of the documentHERE.
According to Bloomberg:
“The pages show how even with one of the U.S.’s most stringent regulatory processes — FDA approval of a new drug — the government relies on company-backed science to show products are safe and effective. The recently released pages, taken alongside new research on triclosan, raise questions about whether the agency did appropriate due diligence in approving [Colgate] Total 17 years ago, and whether its approval should stand in light of new research, said three scientists who reviewed the pages at Bloomberg News’s request.”(source)
Despite all the evidence, Colgate still maintains that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about. Will you believe them? Will you continue to put your trust in these corporations instead of doing the research yourself? By now it’s clear that these corporations are not really concerned with safety or care, but more so about profit and making people sick, as well as contributing to the concealment of scientific data. The same shareholders that own these companies who are behind the distribution of these products are also holding major shares in various drug companies. There is profit to be had from making people sick.
Colgate has said that it has no plans to reformulate the toothpaste.
It’s remarkable how easy it is to head over to the drug-store to pick up cosmetics, household cleaning products, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other necessities without ever thinking about how it’s made, what goes into it, the science behind it and the health hazards that are associated with doing so.
More information is coming to light, especially within the past few years. The rate at which people are waking up and starting to critically question what we choose to surround ourselves with on  a daily basis is increasing exponentially. Most importantly, people are starting to make better choices.
(2) Calafat, A. “Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population: 2003-2004.” _Environ Health Perspect _116, 3(Mar 2008):303-307
(3) Gee, RH et al. “Oestrogenic and androgenic activity of triclosan in breast cancer cells.” Appl Toxicol.28, 1 (Jan 2008):78-91

Cannabis Relieves Nerve Pain From Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, & Associated Conditions

Nerve pain is a common symptom of Lyme disease, Lyme co-infections and associated  conditions. One of the main associated conditions of which I speak is that of Fibromyalgia, which is considered a condition as opposed to a disease as it has no known root cause.
Originally, Fibromyalgia was characterized by severe, debilitating nerve pain. However, over the past 3 years, the list of symptoms embodying the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia has grown to include other ailments such as brain fog, chronic fatigue, depression and muscle stiffness, just to name a few.
Legitimate evidence as to what exactly causes Fibromyalgia continues to flat line as spikes in the number of symptoms Fibromyalgia causes continue to surge. In order to avoid further scattering your brain or thickening what, if any, brain fog you may currently be enduring through, we will focus on addressing nerve pain in this section.

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Nerve Pain

The endocannabinoid system’s importance as a neuromodulatory system in the brain has recently began to surface in research. Neuromodulatory systems are made of several neurotransmitters that are not reabsorbed by the presynaptic neuron, and therefore spend excess time in the cerebrospinal fluid modulating overall brain activity. Neuromodulators include neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, both of which play significant roles in pain perception. The brain’s endocannabinoid neuromodulatory system is involved in a plethora of physiological functions related to pain, leading scientists to hypothesize that individuals with Fibromyalgia pain have dysfunctional endocannabinoid neuromodulatory systems, thus lending to their grand hypothesis that the cannabinoids in cannabis can bind with malfunctioning CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) and CB2 (cannabinoid receptor type 2) receptors in the brain’s endocannabinoid neuromodulatory system to repair the malfunction and relieve the patient of pain.

Studies Find Cannabis to Be More Effective at Relieving Nerve Pain Than Mainstream Drugs Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella

After conducting a study based parFlorida-Medical-Marijuanatly on this hypothesis, the National Pain Foundation concluded medicinal cannabis may be far more effective at treating pain from Fibromyalgia than pharmaceuticals. The study compared Savella, Lyrica and Cymbalta, the top 3 FDA approved drugs currently prescribed by physicians for Fibromyalgia pain. Out of 1,300 patients only ten percent felt Lyrica or Savella were effective in any way, and only eight percent reported receiving any pain relieving benefits from Cymbalta. Even more disheartening is the fact that over sixty percent of the thirteen hundred patients who participated in the study did not receive any pain relief at all from the medications. However, sixty-two percent of the patients reported cannabis was “very effective” at relieving their pain and thirty-three percent reported that cannabis offered them mild to moderate pain relief, while only five percent reported cannabis did not help at all.

Vaporized Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain

The problematic nerve pain of neuropathy occurs when the peripheral nerves, spinal cord, or brain are injured or when the sensory system malfunctions due to the manifestation of an underlying pathological condition, such as Lyme disease, or a serious injury from a catastrophic event such as a stroke or severe spinal cord damage. Pain management with the use of pharmaceuticals has proven quite difficult, pushing some scientists to consider the use of unconventional analgesics such as cannabis as possible effective alternatives for neuropathic pain relief. It turns out that cannabis may indeed be an effective alternative for neuropathic pain relief.
According to data from a clinical trial conducted by researchers from the Davis Medical Center at the University of California, vaporized cannabis containing low amounts of THC effectively reduced neuropathic pain even in test subjects who failed to respond to conventional methods of neuropathic pain relief. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers administered cannabis with a medium dose of THC (3.53%), cannabis with a low dose of THC (1.29%), or placebo cannabis to test subjects. Subjects were ordered to hold the vaporizer bag with one hand, hold the vaporizer mouthpiece in their mouth with their other hand, inhale for five seconds, hold the vapor in their lungs for ten seconds, and then exhale and wait for forty seconds before inhaling again. The subjects inhaled four times over the course of sixty minutes. Of the thirty-seven test subjects who were administered cannabis with low dose THC, twenty-one individuals reported that they received pain relief as a result of vaporizing cannabis. Out of the thirty-six test subjects who were administered cannabis with medium dose THC, twenty-two reported a reduction in their pain levels as a result of cannabis use. From this data, it was concluded that vaporizing cannabis with low doses of the psychoactive ingredient THC can offer pain relief from neuropathy while minimizing the cognitive effects otherwise seen in individuals using cannabis with high doses of THC.



  • Science, Leaf (2014, April 21). Cannabis May Be Best Treatment For Fibromyalgia, Survey Finds.  Retrieved from
  • Jimena, F., M. Durán, D. Capella, Et. al., “Cannabis Use in Patients with Fibromyalgia: Effect on Symptoms Relief and Health-Related Quality of Life”. PLoS One: A Peer-Reviewed, Open Access Journal. 2011; 6(4): e18440. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018440
  • Wilsey, B., T.D. Marcotte, R. Deutsch, et. Al. (2012). “Low Dose Vaporized Cannabis Significantly Improves Neuropathic Pain.” The Journal of Pain, 14(2); 136-148. doi: 10.1016/j/pain.2012.10.009
  • Armentano, P. (2013, January 3). Study: Vaporized, Low-Potency Cannabis Reduces Problematic Nerve Pain.Retrieved from

Australian delegates meet Indian healthcare experts for partnerships in research through academia

A 12-member Australian life sciences and healthcare delegation interacted with the pharma industry professionals in Mumbai recently to explore opportunities for partnership available in oncology, neurosciences, tropical medicines, medical devices, clinical trials and development research.

An initiative of the Australian Trade Commission and the Australian government to promote Australia’s world class research capability and innovative technologies, the business delegation is a flagship activity of the Australian Innovation Showcase in India 2014. 

The Australian life sciences & health care mission is significant in the backdrop of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF). The Australian government will provide A$20 million over the next four years to support scientific collaboration between Australian and Indian scientists. The AISRF has supported more than 220 joint scientific projects in areas of key importance to both countries including agricultural research, biomedical devices and implants, nanotechnology and vaccines.

Experts deliberated on the fact that basic research in oncology should move forward in terms of translational research for advancements in therapy and diagnosis of cancer. The incidence of cervical and oral cancer is high in India so opportunities for R&D can be harnessed in a big way. 

It was concluded that partnerships can be explored on major areas of activity in human therapeutics like proteomics and genomics, immunology, oncology, tropical diseases and neuroscience in which significant R&D is happening in Australia. 

Speaking about the Mission, Nicola Watkinson, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner South Asia, Australian Trade Commission said, “Australia’s research institutions, universities and technology companies are among the best in the world and offer significant potential for partnerships in the life sciences sector. Australia’s advanced innovation framework, coupled with government and business investment in R&D, present cutting-edge collaboration, research and commercialisation opportunities for India.”

“This is the largest concentration of Australian scientific and research know-how to be showcased in India in the life sciences sector. The interest from India’s life sciences, pharma and biotech companies has been overwhelming, signifying the potential for further strengthening Australia India partnerships,” Watkinson further explained.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of Australia’s largest high tech exporters, earning A$3.9 billion in 2012-13. It spent A$1 billion on R&D in 2010-11. Australia’s biotechnology sector had revenues of A$6.3 billion in 2013, making it the 6th largest market globally with over 470 biotech companies. Australia also has a A$10 billion medical technology industry which includes world class devices, diagnostics, telemedicine and e-health expertise.

Many international companies have successfully partnered with Australia on R&D and clinical trial development in the life sciences sector including Amgen, AstraZeneca, Baxter, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi. Sanofi’s vaccine division has recently signed a strategic alliance agreement with an Australian university to co-develop immune boosters and vaccines. The agreement encompasses programmes in infectious diseases, microbiology and immunology.

The Australian government’s gross expenditure on science, research and innovation was US$ 8 billion in 2013-14. The Australian government recently announced a US$ 18 billion Medical Research Future Fund within six years this will be the largest medical research endowment fund in the world and will see current funding towards medical research double by 2022.

The Australian life sciences and health care mission delegates represented leading Australian research institutions, life sciences companies, universities and healthcare advisers. 

Participants at the Australian life sciences and health care mission included professor Louis Schofield, director, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), James Cook University, Dr Gopalkrishna Pai, general manager, George Clinical, Ujjawal Dua, business and innovation manager, Life Sciences, Griffith University, Dr Janakan Krishnarajah, CEO, Linear Clinical Research, Professor Russell Gruen, director, National Trauma Research Institute, The Alfred & Monash University, Dr Andrew Milner, MD, Neurosciences Victoria, Peter Cox, CEO, PCA Directions, Dr Richard Lipscombe, MD, Proteomics Pty Ltd, Professor Rajiv Khanna, group leader, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Mark Thyssen, global marketing manager, Signostics Ltd, Nick Woolf, chief business officer, SUDA Ltd, Darren Wise, global engagement partnership manager (India), The University of Queensland and Harbans Bariana, associate professor, The University of Sydney.


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