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Friday, 26 September 2014

Diabetes Has Become a Part of Life

Measuring the daily rise and fall of blood glucose or sugar levels is a routine part of life for millions of people in the United States living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes .Our body's energy is primarily governed by glucose in the blood, and blood sugar itself is exquisitely controlled by a complicated set of network interactions involving cells, tissues, organs and hormones that have evolved to keep the glucose on a relatively even keel, pumping it up when it falls too low or knocking it down when it goes too high. This natural dynamical balance becomes lost when someone develops diabetes. 

But even with all the modern interventions involving diet, drugs and lifestyle changes, diabetes is a surprisingly difficult disease to manage by attempting to restore this natural balance of hormones and glucose. Routine blood glucose measurements, a central part of disease management, helps patients and their caregivers plan when they should take insulin and other drugs and regulate their diet. These difficulties in managing the disease and the explosion of new cases of type 2 diabetes has motivated the search for new approaches to monitoring and therapy to further optimize clinical decisions and personalize glucose control. 

Now a group of researchers at Harvard Medical School has discovered that there may be more to tiny fluctuations in blood sugar than meets the eye -- in fact, the largely-ignored instantaneous dynamics may provide a wealth of information encoded in the small, seemingly inconsequential ups and downs of blood sugar. 

As they describe this week in the journal Chaos, from AIP Publishing, extracting this information may illuminate some of the poorly understood frontiers of human physiology and possibly even suggest new ways to monitor and treat diabetes based on maintaining and restoring the complexity of the overall control system, a notion they dub using the "system as target." 

Continuous Glucose Monitoring
The new study was led by Madalena D. Costa, a statistical physicist at the Harvard Medical School, and Ary Goldberger, a cardiologist in the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. 

With their clinical colleagues, Costa and Goldberger examined de-identified, retrospective data collected from 18 elderly adults with Type 2 diabetes and 12 age-matched controls who did not have diabetes. All 30 people were hooked up to continuous glucose monitors -- implantable devices that can measure blood sugar levels every five minutes around the clock. 

Looking at several days of this data, the team saw that glucose levels undergo small fluctuations constantly -- both in people with diabetes and in people without the disease. However, the fluctuations were different between the two groups, tending to be smaller and moving on a faster time scale in people who do not have diabetes. 

Doctors have noticed such tiny fast frequency fluctuations in the blood sugar of people without diabetes before, but for the most part, it was always assumed that this signal was due to random noise associated with the limits of detection of the glucose meters. The fluctuations were not very large, after all. But Costa, Goldberger and their colleagues have shattered this assumption by showing that there is complex information encoded in these dynamics -- information that changes when compared with subjects with type 2 diabetes. 

They discovered this by applying a sophisticated mathematical technique called multiscale entropy analysis, which quantifies the complexity of data and compares the value to data sets obtained by shuffling the order of the measurements taken every five minutes in the 30 people and looking at how the variability between them changes. 

"This combination of computational procedures allows us to say how unpredictable the time series is over different time scales," said Costa. 

The analysis showed that the short-term fluctuations (as well as the longer term ones) do not represent uncorrelated randomness but encode complex information. Moreover they found that the information encoded in these fluctuations is significantly more complex in people without diabetes -- something doctors have never consistently observed before. 

This apparent loss of complexity with the onset of the disease has led the Harvard team to suggest a novel way of studying diabetes, which they are calling "dynamical glucometry," an approach that would seek to uncover and make sense of the hidden information encoded in these fluctuations, rather than just relying on spot checks and average values. 

Complexity, Physiology and Human Health
If diabetes is an emerging example of how healthy physiology tends to have more complex variability, it is not the only one. Nothing like dynamical glucometry has ever been systematically applied to the study of diabetes before, but similar approaches have been taken in other fields of medicine that have already added the nuance of complexity to how we understand basic human physiology. 

One longstanding paradigm in physiology has held that the healthiest systems are the ones that display the most constancy -- an idea, called "homeostasis," that has reigned over the field for nearly a century. But now doctors are beginning to appreciate that this is not always true. 

Goldberger, a cardiologist, points to the heart. Healthy young people have far more complex variability in their heart beats than older people who have heart problems. A healthy heart beats with a regularity less like a metronome than a maraca. Likewise, all the "instruments" in the body's orchestra may be marked by metrics that avoid what a "foolish consistency" in place of symphonic richness, Goldberger said. And for good reason. 

"If everyone in the orchestra plays the same note at the same time, you would walk out," he said. "No one wants to hear excessive regularity or uncorrelated randomness, i.e., static." 

Underlying this complexity in healthy human systems may be the fact that it confers a higher level of adaptability, allowing us to cope with unavoidable stresses over multiple time scales. The body is not a traditional machine, Goldberger said, and what you need to survive is the ability to make changes and not be locked into a single steady state under unyieldingly tight control or to be completely random. 

If this is true of diabetes, then dynamical glucometry may uncover new ways of understanding the underlying physiological processes behind diabetes and suggest new treatments for the disease designed to restored multiscale complexity of the fuel regulation system. 

MORE: Background on Diabetes and its Treatment
Diabetes is a chronic and complex disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood, which arise due to problems with insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Normally our bodies maintain the appropriate blood sugar levels by constantly monitoring it and releasing insulin and other hormones to bring it up or down as needed. 

But people with diabetes lose this natural balance and with it their ability to control their blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an inability to produce insulin, and Type 2 diabetes is caused by an inability of the body to respond correctly to insulin. 

Treatment for both types of diabetes has been far and away one of the most remarkable medical success stories in the last century, turning what was once an always-fatal disease into a chronic but manageable condition. 

Even so, diabetes is still a major health concern in the United States, affecting an estimated 9.3 percent of the U.S. population -- some 29.1 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of children and teens and more than a quarter of people over the age of 65. Despite advances in treatment, it remains a leading cause of kidney failure, amputation, blindness, and death in the United States, and its overall economic burden costs U.S. taxpayers $245 billion annually. 

Moreover the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 86 million Americans -- more than one third of the U.S. adult population -- have "prediabetes" and are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within the next five years. MORE INFO FROM CDC: 

Train Your Brain to Prefer Healthy Foods and Lose Weight

Want to lose weight, but just can't say no to your favorite junk food and high sugar snacks? Here is the solution and it can be done in a few months.
Train your brain to prefer healthy foods. Contrary to the popular belief, scientists at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University and at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that it is possible to train the brain to choose healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy high-calorie foods. 

 Scientists studied the brain reward system (that attempts to regulate and control behavior by inducing pleasurable effects) in thirteen obese people. Eight of them were participants in a new 6-month weight loss program and the other five were not enrolled in the program. 

Both groups underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans at the starting and end of the program. After the six-month program, the brain scans of the participants showed changes in areas of the brain reward center. They had increased sensitivity to healthy, lower-calorie foods, indicating an increased reward and enjoyment of healthier food cues. They also showed decreased sensitivity to the unhealthy foods. 

The weight loss program called iDiet was designed by Susan B. Roberts, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University and author of more than 200 research studies on nutrition and weight management. 

It was a science-based weight loss program that significantly lowers health care costs and productivity loss linked with high risk and obese employees, by reducing Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and the need for gastric surgery. 

Scientists explained that the goal of the program was to help people achieve a sustainable weight loss of 0.5-1.0 kg per week and reduce energy intake by 500-1000 kilocalorie per day. 

Lessons on specific behavior changes provided by the program included the use of portion-controlled menus and recipe suggestions, with high-satiety menu plans, recipes and tip sheets. 

The menu plans had a specific dietary composition profile to reduce hunger. Scientists combined low-glycemic index carbohydrates with higher fiber and higher protein — that is, foods with a slower digestion profile and reduced fluctuations in blood glucose. In particular, they provided approximately 25% energy from protein and fat, and 50% from low-glycemic index carbohydrates and contained 40grams per day dietary fiber. 

Scientists noted that studies have revealed that surgical procedures like gastric bypass surgery can decrease how much people enjoy food generally. However, the surgery is not very satisfactory as it takes away food enjoyment generally rather than making healthier foods more appealing, they added. 

"It is possible to shift preferences from junk food to low calorie food without surgery, and that MRI is a key technique for exploring the brain's role in food cues," they stated. 

Choosing healthy foods: 


Choose rice that is high in fiber. Brown rice doesn't have as much fiber, but it has more than white rice. Carefully verify the added salt content in packaged/flavored rice. There's likely to be a lot (up to 1,000 mg) in certain brands. 


Choose pasta that are also high in fiber and preferably pasta that is 100% whole grain (that delivers the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed). You need 7 grams of fiber per serving (and 25 to 35 grams daily), but before you dig into a bowl of penne, check the serving size. The serving size listed on a food label is a standardized amount to help you compare the nutrition content of various foods. 

Pasta expands as you cook it. So, an ounce of uncooked pasta has more calories than an ounce of cooked pasta. If the label doesn't specify, the serving size is for cooked pasta. 

Microwave meals

Microwave meal is a prepackaged frozen or chilled meal that comes as an individual portion. Even low-cal options can contain more than 30% of your daily sodium. You need to compare brand to brand, as most frozen dinners will have more salt than they should. Look for the ones with the smallest percentage of daily value. 

Also, fat and calorie content is a major issue with these meals. They can contain unsaturated fats from olive oil and salmon but not saturated fat from cream or butter. Also aim for less than 500 calories. And since this is a meal, ensure that you have 10 grams of protein or more per serving. 

Snack bars

Pay attention to the protein content, along with the calories, fat, sugar, and fiber, in these kinds of foods. The best buys have at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein and less than 10 grams of sugar. 

It can contain 300 calories if it's a meal and 8 to 10 grams of protein is all right, but 20 grams is probably too much. Control yourself to about 10 grams of total fat, and no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, but also verify where the fat is coming from. Nuts are the major source of fat in a snack bar. 

Sports drinks

Sport drinks are soft drinks containing electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, and a high percentage of sugar. It is designed to restore energy during or after sporting activity or tiring exercise. Though sports drinks are great while you work out, choose water if you're simply thirsty on a hot day. 
Source:Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA)

Damaged Livers Could be Saved Without Surgery By Injecting Tonsils Stem Cells

Scientists have found a promising way to repair damaged livers without surgery by injecting stem cells from tonsils, a body part we don't really need. The liver, however provides critical functions, such as ridding the body of toxins. Failure of this organ can be deadly, and there are few options for fixing it. This study is reported in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

William A. Mitch, Avner Vengosh and colleagues point out that the disposal of fracking wastewater poses a major challenge for the companies that use the technique, which involves injecting millions of gallons of fluids into shale rock formations to release oil and gas. The resulting wastewater is highly radioactive and contains high levels of heavy metals and salts called halides (bromide, chloride and iodide). One approach to dealing with this wastewater is to treat it in municipal or commercial treatment plants and then release it into rivers and other surface waters. The problem is these plants don't do a good job at removing halides. Researchers have raised concern that halide-contaminated surface water subsequently treated for drinking purposes with conventional methods, such as chlorination or ozonation, could lead to the formation of toxic byproducts. Mitch's team set out to see if that was indeed the case. 

The researchers diluted river-water samples of fracking wastewater discharged from operations in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, simulating real-world conditions when wastewater gets into the environment. In the lab, they then used current drinking-water disinfection methods on the samples. They found that even at concentrations as low as 0.01 percent up to 0.1 percent by volume of fracking wastewater, an array of toxic compounds formed. Based on their findings, the researchers recommend either that fracking wastewater should not be discharged at all into surface waters or that future water treatment include specific halide-removal techniques.
journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.


Early Signs of Cancer Detected With Simple Blood Test

High levels of calcium in blood, known as hypercalcaemia, can be used as an early sign of certain types of cancer, claim scientists. This can be diagnosed using a simple blood test. 
Hypercalcaemia is the most common metabolic disorder associated with cancer, occurring in 10 to 20 per cent of people with cancer. While its connection to cancer is well known, this study has, for the first time, shown that often it can predate the diagnosis of cancer in primary care. 

The research by universities of Bristol and Exeter analysed the electronic records of 54,000 patients who had elevated levels of calcium and looked at how many of them went on to receive a cancer diagnosis. 

Analysis of the data found that in men, even mild hypercalcaemia (2.6-2.8?mmol?l-1) conferred a risk of cancer in one year of 11.5 per cent. If the calcium was above 2.8?mmol?l-1, the risk increased to 28 per cent. In women, the risks were much less, with the corresponding figures being 4.1 per cent and 8.7 per cent. 

In men, 81 per cent of the cancer associated with hypercalcaemia was caused by lung, prostate, myeloma, colorectal and other haematological cancers. In women, cancer was much less common. 

Lead researcher Dr Fergus Hamilton said the reason behind the gender difference might have been that women were much more likely to have hyperparathyroidism, another cause of hypercalcaemia. Men rarely had the condition, hence their hypercalcaemia was more likely to be due to cancer. 

Source:The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer.


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Curcumin may Slow Spread of Lung Lining Cancer

Curcumin may help in slowing the progression of mesothelioma, a cancer that develops in the lining of the lung, says a new study.

According to the study by scientists from Case Western Reserve University and the Georg-Speyer-Haus in Frankfurt, Germany, the spice which is a derivative of the spice turmeric and cancer-inhibiting peptides, increase levels of a protein inhibitor known to combat the progression of this cancer. 

Researcher Afshin Dowlati said that mesothelioma is a disease that continues to have a significant burden worldwide, and the treatment option is really suboptimal and they now understand the mechanisms that drive cell proliferation and growth in malignant mesothelioma. 

Investigators also found that curcumin and PIAS3 peptides raised PIAS3 levels, which brought down STAT3 activity and caused mesothelioma cells to die. Their study served as proof of principle about the effectiveness of these two compounds in treating malignant mesothelioma, a first step in moving a treatment toward clinical trials. Additionally, their findings demonstrated that PIAS3 could serve as a predictive marker for managing mesothelioma because the disease's tumors do not always progress in a consistent, predictable manner, even when tumor stages, grades and clinical presentations appear similar. 

Researchers said that their findings suggest that PIAS3 expression positively affects survival in mesothelioma patients and that PIAS3 activation could become a therapeutic strategy and their interest for the future is that they want to find better, more simple ways to increase intracellular levels of PIAS3 for malignant mesothelioma through the use of synthetic PIAS3 peptide or curcumin analogs. They must develop a curcumin analog that is absorbable by the human body. Currently, curcumin ingested as the spice turmeric has practically no absorption within the gut. 

The study was published online in Clinical Cancer Research. (ANI)


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Simple tips to stop Nasal Bleeding ( Epistaxis )

1. Take fresh juice of onion and put 3 - 4 drops in both nostrils , bleeding stops immediately .
2. To control bleeding from nose we can use the following :
a. Put 2 - 3 drops of boiled and cooled milk in both nostrils.
b. prepare fresh juice of black grapes or sugar cane and put 2 - 3 drops in both nostrils.
c. prepare fresh juice of durva grass ( cynodon dactylon ), put 2 -3 drops in both nostrils.
d. prepare fresh juice with pomegranate flowers and put 2 - 3 drops in both nostrils.
3. Sirolapem ( application on head ) :
Take fine amlaki ( amla ) powder + warm pure ghee prepare paste and apply on bregma for 1 hour.
Take KSHEERA BALA 101 repeated warm it and apply on bregma for 1 hour.
To locate bregma of patient keep his left hand small finger on tip of nose and thumb finger on head . where thumb finger reaches there keep this paste in thick layer as big as 1 rupee coin or with one inch radius circle for one hour. If problem is more you can repeat this.
Diet : Reduce salt , strictly avoid spices , chilly and tamarind. Avoid sex , avoid excess body movements , don't keep stomach empty for long time . If possible take plenty of milk and pure ghee .

Marijuana legalization effort begins in California

Marijuana advocacy groups start fundraising to legalize recreational pot in California in 2016

Marijuana legalization effort begins in California
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A national marijuana advocacy group took steps Wednesday to begin raising money for a campaign to legalize recreational pot use in California in 2016, a move with potential to add a dose of extra excitement to the presidential election year.
The Marijuana Policy Project filed paperwork with the California secretary of state's office registering a campaign committee to start accepting and spending contributions for a pot legalization initiative on the November 2016 state ballot, the group said.
The measure would be similar to those passed in 2012 by voters in Colorado and Washington, the first U.S. states to legalize commercial sales of marijuana to all adults over 21.
California, long the national leader in illegal marijuana production and home to a thriving, largely unregulated medical marijuana industry, is one of the 21 other states that currently allow marijuana use only for medical reasons. The drug remains illegal under federal law.
"Marijuana prohibition has had an enormously detrimental impact on California communities. It's been ineffective, wasteful and counterproductive. It's time for a more responsible approach," Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia said. "Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense."
The Washington, D.C.-based group also has established campaign committees to back legalization measures in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada in 2016.
Voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia will weigh in on marijuana legalization in November.
In 2010, California voters rejected a ballot initiative seeking to legalize recreational pot. The measure, just like the medical marijuana law the state approved in 1996, was the first of its kind. But along with opposition from law enforcement and elected officials, Proposition 19 faced unexpected resistance from medical marijuana users and outlaw growers in the state's so-called Emerald Triangle who worried legalization would lead to plummeting marijuana prices.
Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert predicted no such divisions would surface this time around.
Citing his group's experience in Colorado and the advantage of aiming for a presidential election year when voter turnout is higher, Tvert said legalization supporters would use the next two years to build a broad-based coalition and craft ballot language that addresses concerns of particular constituencies.
"Obviously, it's a whole different landscape in California, where it will cost probably as much or more to just get on the ballot as it did to run a winning campaign after getting on the ballot in Colorado," he said.
League of California Cities lobbyist Tim Cromartie, whose group opposed the state's 2010 pot legalization initiative and until this year fought legislative efforts to give the state greater oversight of medical marijuana, said Wednesday that it was too soon to say what kind of opposition, if any, would greet a 2016 campaign.
Lynne Lyman, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said her group expects to play a major role in the legalization effort and already has started raising money. Lyman said the goal is to have an initiative written by next summer. She estimated that a pro-legalization campaign would cost $8 million to $12 million.
Even though California would be following in the steps of other states if a 2016 initiative passes, legalizing recreational marijuana use there would have far-reaching implications, Lyman said.
"When an issue is taken up in California, it becomes a national issue," she said. "What we really hope is that with a state this large taking that step, the federal government will be forced to address the ongoing issue of marijuana prohibition."

Findings give hope to plant extract as possible lupus treatment

UH biomedical engineer says such drug could eliminate traditional side effects

HOUSTON, Sept. 24, 2014 – New findings by a biomedical engineer and his team at the University of Houston (UH) raise hope for a new class of drugs to treat lupus that may not include the long list of adverse risks and side effects often associated with current treatments for this disease.
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is a progressive, degenerative disease in which the immune system turns against itself, attacking a person's healthy tissue, cells and organs. Symptoms range from debilitating pain and fatigue to organ failure and a host of other impairments. An estimated 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have a form of lupus.
Though there is no cure, a UH researcher and his team are actively working toward finding new treatments and, ultimately, a cure. Chandra Mohan, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Endowed Professor of biomedical engineering in the UH Cullen College of Engineering, and his group's latest work could lead to new, more natural therapeutics for lupus that use a plant-derived chemical. The promising findings were recently published inArthritis & Rheumatology, the monthly journal of the American College of Rheumatology.
With only one drug specifically approved for the treatment of lupus in the past 50 years, lupus patients are commonly treated with steroids, a class of immunosuppressive drugs that delay the development and progression of the disease by suppressing the immune system. By suppressing the immune system in its entirety, however, this mode of treatment carries with it an increased risk of infections and other harmful side effects.
In this latest research, Mohan and his colleagues present new findings that detail the use of a synthetic, plant-derived compound – abbreviated CDDO – that was shown to effectively suppress the multiple steps of lupus development in murine models, including the onset of kidney disease.
One of the most common organs to be attacked by lupus is the kidney, manifesting in lupus nephritis. While this condition doesn't affect all lupus sufferers, an estimated 40 percent of lupus patients develop it. Lupus nephritis, which causes inflammation of the kidneys and impairs their ability to effectively rid the body of waste products and other toxins, is the leading cause of lupus-related deaths and results in tens of thousands of hospitalizations per year.
"The development of lupus is a two-step reaction. First, the immune system develops antibodies that attack the body's own DNA, then that activated immune system attacks the kidneys," Mohan said. "We found that CDDO may block both of these steps."
Mohan says there is much left to be discovered about CDDO, including how it works in suppressing the progression of lupus. The next step for this research is to confirm whether the CDDO compound suppresses the immune system across the board, or whether it simply suppresses the activation of the specific signaling pathways that lead to the development of lupus. To find this out, Mohan's group will test it in the lab to see if they can mount the proper immune response. If not, Mohan says the compound likely could be suppressing the entire immune system, which is the current problem with using steroids to treat lupus. Even if the compound is shown to be generally immunosuppressive, however, it still may be a better treatment option than steroids for some patients.
"The most exciting part of this research is that CDDO is originally plant-derived, so it's relatively natural and carries less chance of side effects," Mohan said. "That's a very important point, because many of the current therapeutic agents being used for lupus have significant side effects. As far as we have tested in these experiments, we found that the CDDO compound had no known side effects. Additionally, compared to many other test compounds we've previously tried for treating lupus, this one appears to be much more effective."

While it will take time to validate this before the compound can move from testing in the lab to clinical trials in humans, Mohan is encouraged by the prospect of treating lupus patients with more natural compounds that have fewer side effects.
Source:Arthritis & Rheumatology

Dying Brain Cells Cue New Brain Cells to Grow

Brain cells that multiply to help birds sing during breeding season are known to die back naturally later in the year.


For the first time researchers have described the series of events that cues new neuron growth each spring, and it all appears to start with a signal from the expiring cells the previous fall that primes the brain to start producing stem cells. If scientists can further tap into the process and understand how those signals work, it might lead to ways to exploit these signals and encourage replacement of cells in human brains that have lost neurons naturally because of aging, severe depression or Alzheimer's disease, said Tracy Larson, a University of Washington doctoral student in biology. 

She's lead author of a paper in the Sept. 23 Journal of Neuroscience on brain cell birth that follows natural brain cell death.Neuroscientists have long known that new neurons are generated in the adult brains of many animals, but the birth of new neurons - or neurogenesis - appears to be limited in mammals and humans, especially where new neurons are generated after there's been a blow to the head, stroke or some other physical loss of brain cells, Larson said. 

That process, referred to as "regenerative" neurogenesis, has been studied in mammals since the 1990s.This is the first published study to examine the brain's ability to replace cells that have been lost naturally, Larson said. "Many neurodegenerative disorders are not injury-induced," the co-authors write, "so it is critical to determine if and how reactive neurogenesis occurs under non-injury-induced neurodegenerative conditions." The researchers worked with Gambel's white-crowned sparrows, a medium-sized species 7 inches (18 centimeters) long that breeds in Alaska, then winters in California and Mexico. Sometimes in flocks of more than 100 birds, they can be so plentiful in parts of California that they are considered pests. The ones in this work came from Eastern Washington.

Like most songbirds, Gambel's white-crowned sparrows experience growth in the area of the brain that controls song output during the breeding season when a superior song helps them attract mates and define their territories. At the end of the season, probably because having extra cells exacts a toll in terms of energy and steroids they require, the cells begin dying naturally and the bird's song degrades. 

Gambel's white-crowned sparrows are particularly good to work with because their breeding cycle is closely tied to the amount of sunlight they receive. Give them 20 hours of light in the lab, along with the right 
 University of Washington

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Milk may Protect Against High Blood Pressure

 Milk may Protect Against High Blood Pressure
Milk has several benefits that are well known. But are you aware that milk can protect against high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease? Researchers analyzed several studies that considered the possible association of milk with the risk of high blood pressure. The results of their analysis were presented at the 12th Euro Fed Lipid Congress in Montpellier, France. 

The researchers analyzed data from 57,256 individuals and 15,367 cases of hypertension. They found that a higher intake of total dairy, low-fat dairy and milk was associated with a reduced risk for high blood pressure. As high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, milk could consequently protect against heart disease as well. 

Benefits of Milk 

Milk is the first food of a baby. It provides nutrition, promotes growth and is easily digestible. Beside children, even adults experience the benefits of milk, though many adults do not take it on a regular basis. They, however, have the option of consuming milk products which may be more palatable to them like yogurt, cheese etc., or adding flavors as per their wish. Here are some of the benefits of milk: 

 Milk is rich in protein. Protein promotes growth of tissues, including muscle and bones. 

 Milk is an important source of calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Vitamin D which is often added to milk, helps in the absorption of calcium, which in turn strengthens the bones. The calcium and potassium content may contribute to lowering blood pressure and preventing heart disease. 

 Milk contains fat in varying amounts. Though, high fat milk is usually not advised for people with high cholesterol levels, these individuals have the option of low-fat milk, or low-fat milk products that retain the other benefits of milk. 

 Milk also helps to replace fluid in the body and contribute to the total fluid intake in a person. 

 Some forms of milk like buttermilk and yogurt are easily digestible. They contain probiotic bacteria and help in resolving several gastrointestinal problems. 

Some people may be intolerant to lactose and cannot consume milk or milk products. For others, it is a source of important nutrients. The revelation that milk can control blood pressure adds to the benefits of milk, and hopefully makes it more desirable. 

IVF pioneers to push for ART Bill with govt to safeguard services to patients

Concerned by absence of any regulatory mechanism to control the unethical means in which IVF treatment is meted throughout the country, Bourn Hall, pioneers in IVF treatment across the world, is soon planning to meet the health ministry and ICMR to push this matter. Their main agenda will be to highlight the ground realities of the way in which infertility treatment is conducted, while stressing upon urgent need to hasten the process of regulating this thriving but highly unorganised sector.

As on date, India does not have any law to monitor and modulate the huge un organised industry that caters to the problem of infertility, in spite of the fact that it is one of the most highly prevalent medical problems affecting people. All that is there is the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill (ART Bill), drafted by the union health ministry to regulate and counter thousands of infertility clinics that have mushroomed in the country over the years.

However experts feel that delay in passing the Bill in the parliament, is leading to mockery of the effort as the whole point of establishing this guidelines seems to be moot as wrong doers are still flouting the rules, risking the health and life of the patients at large. Dr Mike Macnamee chief executive officer, Bourn Hall Clinic, UK stressed that considering the magnitude of the infertility problem that is rising it is high time for the government to expedite the matter at the earliest so as to ensure that life of the patients are not put at risks.

Dr Mike stressed, “We need a strong framework to ensure that IVR industry grows in an organised manner, with focus on core competency, because we are dealing people's life here. As of now we have observed that there is no governance in India with respect to IVF treatment, people are being experimented on for profit, the quality of services here is also very poor. Thus we strongly feel that to upgrade as well as to standardise the industry, the government should accelerate the process of passing the Bill.”

The bill, once it gets the Parliament nod, will provide for a national framework for the regulation and supervision of assisted reproductive technology or infertility clinics and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Apart from putting strict parameters for the establishment of an infertility clinic, the Bill also defines the minimum requirement regarding staff in an infertility clinic and minimal physical requirements for a clinic.

Dr Mike informed that infertility treatment involves a lot of steps which include psycho social counselling, age factor, etc which are hardly considered while giving treatment facilities in other fertility clinics. He insisted that the only way to control and regulate unwarranted growth of infertility clinics in the country is by fast tracking the ART bill.

UK based Bourn Hall Clinic was founded in 1980 by IVF pioneers Patrick Steptoe and Professor Robert Edwards, who were responsible for the conception of Louise Brown, the world's first IVF or test-tube baby in 1978. They have opened two clinics in India situated in Delhi and Cochin that caters to patents from across the world. The Clinic is not only registered with the National Registry for ART Clinics in India which was launched by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) but also follows the highest EU standards.


Infant Cooing, Babbling Linked to Hearing Ability, MU Researcher Finds

Infants’ vocalizations throughout the first year follow a set of predictable steps from crying and cooing to forming syllables and first words. However, previous research had not addressed how the amount of vocalizations may differ between hearing and deaf infants. Now, University of Missouri research shows that infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants’ ability to hear their own babbling. Additionally, infants with profound hearing loss who received cochlear implants to help correct their hearing soon reached the vocalization levels of their hearing peers, putting them on track for language development.
“Hearing is a critical aspect of infants’ motivation to make early sounds,” said Mary Fagan, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the MU School of Health Professions. “This study shows babies are interested in speech-like sounds and that they increase their babbling when they can hear.”
Fagan studied the vocalizations of 27 hearing infants and 16 infants with profound hearing loss who were candidates for cochlear implants, which are small electronic devices embedded into the bone behind the ear that replace some functions of the damaged inner ear. She found that infants with profound hearing loss vocalized significantly less than hearing infants. However, when the infants with profound hearing loss received cochlear implants, the infants’ vocalizations increased to the same levels as their hearing peers within four months of receiving the implants.
“After the infants received their cochlear implants, the significant difference in overall vocalization quantity was no longer evident,” Fagan said. “These findings support the importance of early hearing screenings and early cochlear implantation.”
Fagan found that non-speech-like sounds such as crying, laughing and raspberry sounds, were not affected by infants’ hearing ability. She says this finding highlights babies are more interested in speech-like sounds since they increase their production of those sounds such as babbling when they can hear.
“Babies learn so much through sound in the first year of their lives,” Fagan said. “We know learning from others is important to infants’ development, but hearing allows infants to explore their own vocalizations and learn through their own capacity to produce sounds.”
In future research, Fagan hopes to study whether infants explore the sounds of objects such as musical toys to the same degree they explore vocalization.
Fagan’s research, “Frequency of vocalization before and after cochlear implantation: Dynamic effect of auditory feedback on infant behavior,” was published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Facing Tokophobia: The Overwhelming Fear Of Being Pregnant

The term ‘Tokophobia‘ is not a familiar one to many people. Scientifically, it is the pathological fear of pregnancy that is considered to be one of the primary or secondary reasons attributing to decreased child birth rates.
According to scientists, tokophobia can become a factor even before a woman becomes pregnant for the first time, and in some cases it may even prevent a potential mother from ever becoming pregnant. If not treated or looked into, the side effects of tokophobia can become even more intense and damaging over time.

The Indicators of Tokophobia

Some women have an overwhelming fear and stress towards the birth process, a fear that can often outweigh the excitement of bringing a new life into the world. These fears can often become harmful to the pregnancy process at all stages and as a result should be looked into as quickly as possible. Here are some of the most commonly found symptoms of tokophobia, according to
  • Feelings revolve around the heavy pain she will have to face during childbirth or pregnancy.
  • A growing depression throughout the process of pregnancy.
  • Making sure that elective Caesarean section will be available as an alternative.
  • Thinking about maternal death, stillbirth, miscarriage or birth defects as an expected result of giving birth.
  • A deep wish to have a child, but a persistent fear of getting pregnant.
Tokophobia affects up to 10% of pregnant women, and usually occurs in either adolescence or early adulthood. Moreover, 7% of women have been known to request a caesarean birth even if there is no serious need as a result of the fear.

Caesarean or Vaginal birth?

The proper procedure for a doctor to follow when a woman asks for a caesarean section is to look into the real reasons as to why they are looking to go with that particular birthing alternative. Once the reasoning is identified, both parties should discuss whether or not the process is either needed or the best alternative for their particular case.
If there is no medical need for a caesarean section, the mother should be made aware of the risks and benefits of the procedure in comparison to vaginal birth. After that, it’s best that the expectant mother takes the time to talk with an obstetrician or anaesthetist to discuss her options and to make the optimal choice for her particular case. If at this point the expectant mother still chooses to not go through with a vaginal birth, a caesarean section should be offered in confidence.

The Reasons Behind The Fear

There are many different reasons behind the dread of childbirth, but here are some of the most popular ones:
  • Pessimistic Ideas: Fear can often be obtained through incorrect ideas of what the birthing process is like. Be sure to get full information and don’t be afraid to listen to nice and easy birth stories -rather than those which promote your fears.
  • Continual Worries: Try to stay away from persistent thinking of the process and the generation of worries as a result.
  • Rape & Sexual Abuse
  • Stress During Pregnancy

How To Face Tokophobia?

Here are some effective solutions for those who really want to face their fears:
  • Attend Childbirth-Preparation Classes: You can find one in your area. This may help you to feel more confident and prepared for the birthing process.
  • Stay Hopeful & Positive: Preparing the body and mind is very important, but the most important thing is to keep believing in yourself. Remember that the female body is designed to handle birth, so of course you too can handle it.
  • Seek The Support Of Loved Ones: Being open and honest with those we are closest to, may seem scary but can often be one of the greatest sources of support available.
  • Work With A Psychiatrist Or Life Coach: Tell your trusted practitioner about your experience and be open to any suggestions that they may make to keep the relationship between you and your child healthy.
1. Tokophobia
2. Tokophobia: A dread of pregnancy
3. Tokophobia–a multidisciplinary problem
4. Are women with a fear of childbirth being supported?
5. Explaining tokophobia, the phobia of pregnancy and childbirth

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