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Friday, 3 October 2014

Discussing alternative medicine choices for better health outcomes

In the field of medicine there has often been a divide between those who focus on modern medicine and those who prefer alternative practices. But pediatrician Sunita Vohra is a firm believer there should be room for both.
A new study from Vohra, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, and a pediatric physician for Clinical Pharmacology with Alberta Health Services, is giving insight into the use of alternative medicines by pediatric cardiac patients and how effective they are seen to be. "We wanted to know if the use of alternative therapies helped or not, and we wanted to know if it hurt them or not," she says.
The study, published in the journal CMAJ Open, examined the use of alternative therapies such as multivitamins, minerals, chiropractic care and Aboriginal healing in 176 patients at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa, Ontario.
It found 64 per cent of patients at the Stollery Children's Hospital reported using complementary and alternative medicine products and practices, compared with just 36 per cent at CHEO. Of those patients, Vohra says most had no regrets about their choices.
"The vast majority felt that they had been helped by the complementary therapy that they took and it was extremely unusual for them to report that they felt an adverse event had occurred because of it."
The study also found one third of patients and their families did not discuss the use of alternative medicines with their physicians. Vohra believes it shows that patients may be reluctant to discuss their choices if they're not sure how it will be received by health care providers.
That decision could have important health consequences, says Vohra, who also serves as director of the Complementary and Alternative Research and Education (CARE) program at the University of Alberta, and that patients' discussing alternative therapies with health professionals is vital in order for them to make informed choices.
"There may be some therapies that help children feel better, but there may be others that, unbeknownst to the family, cause interaction between a specific natural health product and a prescription medicine. In that setting, instead of helping the child get better, harm may actually be happening."
Vohra stresses the need for open communication and says children's hospitals in Canada need to do a better job of providing information to patients looking at other avenues to health.
"That communication is essential because the health-care providers and the parents—together we are a team. And everyone's hope is for that child's better health."
Other highlights from the study:
  • Multi-vitamins were the most common complementary and alternative medicine products with 71 percent of patients using them, followed by vitamin C (22 per cent), calcium (13 per cent) and cold remedies (11.8 per cent)
  • The most common practices include massage (37.5 per cent), faith healing (25 per cent), chiropractic (20 per cent), aromatherapy (15 per cent) and Aboriginal healing (7.5 per cent)
  • Almost half (44 per cent) of patients used complementary and alternative medicine products along with conventional treatments. The study's research was supported by funding from the Sick Kids Foundation and Alberta Innovates Health Solutions
  • Source: journal CMAJ Open

Vitamin D significantly improves symptoms of winter-related atopic dermatitis in children

A study conducted in more than 100 Mongolian schoolchildren found that daily treatment with a vitamin D supplement significantly reduced the symptoms of winter-related atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema. Led by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) physician, the report in the October issue of theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology supports the results of a preliminary study that showed similar results in a small group of children in Boston.
"While we don't know the exact proportion of patients with atopic dermatitis whose symptoms worsen in the winter, the problem is common," says Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH, MGH Department of Emergency Medicine. "In this large group of patients, who probably had low levels of vitamin D, taking daily vitamin D supplements – which are inexpensive, safe and widely available – proved to be quite helpful." Camargo led both the earlier Boston pilot study and the current investigation, which was performed in collaboration with investigators from the Health Sciences University of Mongolia.
A chronic inflammatory disorder of the skin, atopic dermatitis is uncomfortable and makes patients more vulnerable to bacterial infection. Symptoms of the disorder – most commonly seen in children – often worsen during wintertime. While controlled administration of ultraviolet light, which can stimulate the production of vitamin D in the skin, is a common treatment for severe atopic dermatitis, the possibility that vitamin D deficiency contributes to the seasonal worsening of symptoms had received little consideration prior to the Boston study. That investigation involved only 11 children but provided preliminary support for the hypothesis.
The current study, conducted in collaboration with the National Dermatology Center in Mongolia, enrolled 107 children, ages 2 to 17, from nine outpatient clinics in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The participants – all of whom had a history of atopic dermatitis symptoms worsening either during cold weather or around the transition from autumn to winter – were randomly divided into two groups. One group received a daily vitamin D dose of 1000 IU while the other received a placebo – both delivered in odorless, colorless and tasteless drops. Neither the children's parents nor the study investigators knew to which group participants had been assigned.
Standard evaluations of atopic dermatitis symptoms were conducted at the outset of the trial and at the end of the month-long study period, and parents were also asked whether they saw any improvement in their child's condition. At the end of the month, children receiving the vitamin D supplement had an average 29 percent improvement on the primary assessment tool used, compared with 16 percent improvement in the placebo group. Additional assessments – including the report from parents – also showed significantly greater improvement among children receiving vitamin D.
While data gathered at the outset of the study could not determine whether or not participating children were deficient in vitamin D, the authors note that an even larger study of Ulaanbaatar children conducted at the same time found significant vitamin D deficiency in 98 percent of participants, supporting the probability that the children in this study were also deficient. While future studies are needed to assess the value of vitamin D treatment in adults and in children with year-round symptoms, Camargo – a professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School – says that parents of children with symptoms that worsen in the winter should try a vitamin D supplement for a few weeks when symptoms flare to see if it helps. He encourages parents to discuss this study and their plan with their primary care provider.
Source:Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You – Are We Doing It Wrong?

Evidence continues to emerge, both scientific and historical, suggesting that the way in which the majority of us currently sleep may not actually be good for us.
In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a paper that included over 15 years of research. It revealed an overwhelming amount of historical evidence that humans used to in fact sleep in two different chunks. 
In 2005, he published a book titled “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past,” that included more than 500 references to a disjointed sleeping pattern. It included diaries, medical books, literature and more taken from various sources which include Homer’s Odyssey all the way to modern tribes in Nigeria and more.
“It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge.” – Ekrich 

What Was Found In The Research

Ekirch’s research found that we didn’t always sleep for an average of 8 hours straight. Instead we would sleep in two shorter periods throughout the night. All sleep would occur within a 12 hour time frame that started with 3 or 4 hours of sleep, followed by being awake for 3 hours or so and than sleeping again until the morning.
There was also some research done in the early 1990′s by psychiatrist Thomas Wehr. He conducted an experiment where 14 people were put into complete darkness for 14 hours a day for an entire month. By the fourth week the participants were able to settle into a very distinct sleeping pattern. The pattern was the same as Ekirch suggested of how we were meant to sleep; the subjects slept for approximately 4 hours, woke for another few and then went back to sleep until morning.  
“Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society. By the 1920′s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.”  

Possible Reasons As To Why It Was Like This

One reason could be that this type of segmented sleep is what really comes natural to the human body, at least that’s what Wehr’s experiment suggests, but there are other theories.
Historian Craig Koslofsky suggests:
“Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good.  The night was a place populated by people of disrepute – criminals, prostitutes and drunks. Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night.”  
Things changed, however, in 1667 when Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, and eventually throughout Europe staying up at night became the social norm, and then the industrial revolution happened:
“People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century, but the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds.”  
Eventually, we got to the point where parents were forcing their children to sleep at a certain time, and forced them out of the segmented sleeping pattern that was more dominant.

Many Sleeping Problems May Have Roots In The Human Body’s Natural Preference For Segmented Sleep 

Ekirch believes that many modern day sleeping problems have roots in the human body’s natural preference for segmented sleep. He believes that our historical sleeping patterns could be the reason why many people suffer from a condition called “sleep maintenance insomnia,” where individuals wake in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. This type of condition first appeared at the end of the 19th century, approximately the same time segmented sleep began to die off.
For most of evolution we slept a certain way. Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology.The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleep and is likely to seep into waking life too.”  - Psychologist Greg Jacobs  
According to Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford:
Many people wake up at night and panic. I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern. But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centers where sleep is studied.” 
As far as what people did during this in between time of wakefulness, Ekirch’s research suggests that they primarily used the time to meditate on their dreams, read, pray or partake in spiritual practices.
Related CE Articles:
The Best and Worst Sleeping Positions and How They Affect Your Health 
Alternative Sleep Cycles: 7 – 10 Hours Are Not Needed
How Cumulative Sleep Debt Is Impacting Your Brain Functioning and Alertness

Artichokes ( हाथीचक )/Cynara scolymus:Perennial Herb of Medicinal Importance

The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers (an inflorescence) together with many bracts, on an edible base. Once the buds bloom the structure changes to a coarse, barely edible form. The uncultivated or wild variety of the species is called a cardoon. It is aperennial plant native to the Mediterranean region.Artichokes can be produced from seeds or from vegetative means such as divisionroot cuttings or micropropagation. Though technically perennials that normally produce the edible flower only during the second and subsequent years, certain varieties of artichoke can be grown from seed as annuals, producing a limited harvest at the end of the first growing season, even in regions where the plants are not normally winter-hardy. This means home gardeners in northern regions can attempt to produce a crop without the need to overwinter plants with special treatment or protection. The recently introduced seed cultivar 'Imperial Star' has been bred to produce in the first year without such measures. An even newer cultivar, 'Northern Star', is said to be able to overwinter in more northerly climates, and readily survives subzero temperatures.Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea. "Artichoke tea" is produced as a commercial product in the Da Lat region of Vietnam. The flower portion is put into water and consumed as an herbal tea, called alcachofa in Mexico. It has a slightly bitter woody taste.Artichoke is the primary flavor of the 33-proof (16.5%-alcohol) Italian liqueurCynar produced exclusively by the Campari Group. It can be served over ice as an aperitif or as a cocktail mixed with orange juice, especially popular in Switzerland. It is also used to make a 'Cin Cyn', a slightly less-bitter version of the Negroni cocktail, by substituting Cynar in place of Campari.

Medicinal Uses:The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables.Cynarine is a chemical constituent in Cynara. The majority of the cynarine found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.

Studies have shown artichoke to aid digestion, hepatic and gall bladder function,and raise the ratio of HDL toLDL. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease.Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductaseand having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin andluteolin. C. scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Its effect in arrestingpathogenic bacteria may be attributed to the notable presence of phenolic compounds. Both are higher in the baby anzio artichoke (Cyrnara scolymus). Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Relieve Your Headache & Stress With Acupressure In 30 Seconds

Alternative” medicine is usually grouped in a category that still remains seen as “unscientific,” thus leaving it out of the accepted treatment category in modern day medicine. One of these treatments is acupuncture, or acupressure.
Attractive woman in painIt’s generally held that acupuncture originated in China, while in fact acupuncture is mentioned in documents that date from a few hundred years ago all the way up to the Common Era. Even sharpened stones and bones from approximately 600 BCE have been interpreted as instruments for acupuncture and treatment. (1)
Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin.  Acupressure uses the same ideas and belief systems and stems from the idea of acupuncture, without inserting any needles. 
Here’s one possible way you can relieve your headache and stress without resorting to a pill:
Squeeze the fleshy place between your index finger and your thumb, known as the Hoku spot in Chinese medicine. By applying firm pressure there for just 30 seconds you can often reduce stress and tension, often working wonders for Headaches. Press and hold the point until pain subsides and you feel the muscles relax.

The Validity of Acupuncture

“Documents discovered in the Ma-Wang-Dui tomb in China, which was sealed in 198 BCE, contain no reference to acupuncture as such, but do refer to a system of meridians, albeit very different from the model that was accepted later. Speculation surrounds the tattoo marks seen on the ‘Ice Man’ who died in about 3300 BCE and whose body was revealed when an Alpine glacier melted. These tattoos might indicate that a form of stimulatory treatment similar to acupuncture developed quite independently of China.” 
A book dating back to 100 BCE, titled The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, describes a system of acupuncture.  A text that was handed down from generation to generation, over centuries. 
“The concepts of channels (meridians or conduits in which the Qi (vital energy or life force) flowed are well established by this time, though the precise anatomical locations of acupuncture points developed later.”  
I’m just trying to make it clear that acupuncture has been described in various texts in the centuries before us, by multiple cultures, and eventually became one of the standard health practices in China.
Information like this gives more validity to the practice. The fact that it has been practiced for centuries lends belief to the idea that it might just work. I’ve never had any personal experience with it, so I cannot say, and I do not mean to apply that because it’s been used for centuries, it’s completely valid. I do however, myself, believe it is, if one is properly trained and understands the practice.
“Bronze statues from the fifteenth century show the acupuncture points in use today, and were used for teaching and examination purposes. During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustionwas was published, which forms the basis of modern acupuncture. In it are clear descriptions of the full set of 365 points that represent openings to the channels through which needles could be inserted to modify the flow of Qi energy.” 
Ancient civilizations accumulated a vast amount of knowledge in all areas of life, more specifically with regards to space and health. Many of them were able to determine things that we would not be able to do without our technological breakthroughs.

So, What Do We Know About Acupuncture Today?

A number of studies clearly indicate that acupuncture is an effective method for various types of pain that are often chronic. These include lower back pain, neck pain, knee pain, osteoarthritis, headaches and migraine headaches.
“The effects of acupuncture on the brain and body and how best to measure them are only beginning to be understood. Current evidence suggests that many factors—like expectation and belief—that are unrelated to acupuncture needling may play important roles in the beneficial effects of acupuncture on pain.”  
Modern day quantum physics shows us what the ancients knew a long time ago, everything is energy, and that there is a life force energy flowing through our bodies at all times. There is also sufficient scientific evidence that shows consciousness is directly intertwined with our physical material world. Again, 
I am personally very open and interested in ancient knowledge, especially as it pertains to our health. What interests me the most about acupuncture is the ancient knowledge of life force energy, and how it pertains to our health. The fact that physics now confirms much of ancient Eastern mysticism and philosophy only lends more validity to ancient health practices and more.
If you are experiencing some sort of discomfort or pain in the back, are arthritic or tend to suffer from migraines and headaches, it’s always worth a shot.
On that note, here are some related CE articles further supporting why alternative medicine might be right for you when it comes to minor health ailments:


Neural activity predicts the timing of spontaneous decisions

Researchers have discovered a new type of brain activity that underlies the timing of voluntary actions, allowing them to forecast when a spontaneous decision will occur more than a second in advance

Researchers have discovered a new type of brain activity that underlies the timing of voluntary actions, allowing them to forecast when a spontaneous decision will occur more than a second in advance. 'Experiments like this have been used to argue that free will is an illusion, but we think that this interpretation is mistaken,' says Zachary Mainen, a neuroscientist at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, in Lisbon, Portugal, who led the research, published on Sept. 28, 2014, in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
The scientists used recordings of neurons in an area of the brain involved in planning movements to try to predict when a rat would give up waiting for a delayed tone. "We know they were not just responding to a stimulus, but spontaneously deciding when to give up, because the timing of their choice varied unpredictably from trial to trial", said Mainen. The researchers discovered that neurons in the premotor cortex could predict the animals' actions more than one second in advance. According to Mainen, "This is remarkable because in similar experiments, humans report deciding when to move only around two tenths of a second before the movement."
However, the scientists claim that this kind of predictive activity does not mean that the brain has decided. "Our data can be explained very well by a theory of decision-making known as a 'integration-to-bound' model," says Mainen. According to this theory, individual brain cells cast votes for or against a particular action, such as raising an arm. Circuits within the brain keep a tally of the votes in favor of each action and when a threshold is reached it is triggered. Critically, like individual voters in an election, individual neurons influence a decision but do not determine the outcome. Mainen explained: "Elections can be forecast by polling, and the more data available, the better the prediction, but these forecasts are never 100% accurate and being able to partly predict an election does not mean that its results are predetermined. In the same way, being able to use neural activity to predict a decision does not mean that a decision has already taken place."

The scientists also described a second population of neurons whose activity is theorized to reflect the running tally of votes for a particular action. This activity, described as "ramping", had previously been reported only in humans and other primates. According to Masayoshi Murakami, co-author of the paper, "we believe these data provide strong evidence that the brain is performing integration to a threshold, but there are still many unknowns." Said Mainen, "what is the origin of the variability is a huge question. Until we understand that, we cannot say we understand how a decision works".
Source:Nature Neuroscience

New Molecule Could Fight Oxidative Stress, Lead to Therapies for Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, MU Researchers Say

Breathing oxygen helps the body create energy for its cells. As a result of the breathing process, reactive molecules called “free radicals” are produced that often cause damage to proteins and genes found in cells. This damage is known as oxidative stress. Free radicals also have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Now, investigators at the University of Missouri have discovered a molecule that treats oxidative stress.
Hannink and his team discovered a molecule that treats oxidative stress.“Oxidative stress can cause damage to the building blocks of a cell, resulting in excessive cell proliferation, in the case of cancer or cell death, in the case of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s,” said Mark Hannink,  a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and an investigator at the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU. “Finding the right balance is like walking a tightrope; our work has focused on finding ways to keep oxidative stress at bay.”
Hannink partnered with High Point Pharmaceuticals LLC, a North Carolina-based firm, to find the right combinations of molecules to create an effective drug that fights free radicals. Using tools developed in his lab, Hannink and Kim Jasmer, a graduate student in Hannink’s lab, analyzed a group of molecules developed by the pharmaceutical company that could be good candidates for treating oxidative stress. They identified a particular compound, known as HPP-4382 that has been proven effective in fighting oxidative stress and could eventually be developed into a drug. The molecule has been patented by High Point.
“Kim developed the research tools needed to identify the right molecular candidates making the research more effective and efficient,” Hannink said. “We found the right molecule that corrects the imbalance of oxidative stress and could one day have wide applicability. Because of this study, we have a better understanding of what these compounds are doing to counteract oxidative stress.
The work adds to a pipeline of molecular clinical and pre-clinical drug candidates for the treatment of oxidative stress and serves as a good starting point for researchers to find similar compounds, Hannink said.
The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies, including animal studies, are successful within the next few years, these compounds may be tested in human clinical trials with the hope of developing new treatments for diseases that are characterized by the over-production of free radicals and oxidative stress.
The research, “Induction of Heme Oxygenase I (HMOX1) by HPP-4382: A Novel Modulator of Bach1 Activity” was published in PLOS One with funding from High Point Pharmaceuticals.

Montmorency tart cherry juice lowered blood uric acid levels and a marker for inflammation

 Tart cherries have long been researched for their association with pain relief – ranging from gout and arthritis joint pain to exercise-related muscle pain. A new study published in the Journal of Functional Foods is the first to report consumption of Montmorency tart cherries caused changes in uric acid metabolism, which can have an impact on joint pain. The study also detected increases in specific anthocyanin compounds in the bloodstream after consuming tart cherries.
In the study, Montmorency tart cherry juice reduced blood levels of uric acid and C-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation. High levels of uric acid are linked to gout, a form of arthritis that can cause severe attacks of intense pain and swelling (inflammation) in various joints, including the big toe and other joints in the legs and arms.
A research team led by Dr. Glyn Howatson with PhD student Phillip Bell in the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation at Northumbria University in the UK gave 12 healthy participants (average age 26 years) two doses of Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate: about 1 ounce (30 ml) of the juice concentrate mixed with 100 ml of water (equivalent to 90 whole Montmorency tart cherries) or 2 ounces (60 ml) of juice concentrate mixed with 100 ml of water.
The researchers used a single blind, two-phase, randomized, cross-over design to identify the bioavailability of anthocyanins following the consumption of these two different doses. There was a washout period of at least 10 days between the phases. Each phase was comprised of two days drinking the tart cherry juice concentrate twice a day – in the morning and just before dinner.
The researchers collected blood and urine samples from the participants immediately before and at numerous intervals for 48 hours after the tart cherry juice was consumed. The results supported the researchers' hypothesis: blood levels of uric acid and C-reactive protein were reduced and urinary uric acid was increased following both doses of the tart cherry juice. The magnitude of the change was independent of the dose given; that is, the 30 ml of the juice was just as effective as 60 ml.
"We have been investigating Montmorency tart cherries for several years because they're a unique fruit with a high concentration of anthocyanins," said co-author Howatson, whose previous studies have demonstrated the ability of tart cherry juice to reduce certain inflammation responses and oxidative stress after high-intensity exercise. "Our current study was conducted with a healthy population, although more research is needed to determine the specific benefits of Montmorency tart cherry juice for individuals with inflammatory diseases, including gout and other arthritic conditions."
A second study newly published in the Journal of Functional Foods conducted by Dr. E. Mitchell Seymour and Dr. Sara M. Warber from the University of Michigan found that the antioxidant capacity in the blood was elevated after eating whole frozen Montmorency tart cherries (45 or 90 cherries), and remained elevated even 12-hours after eating the 90 cherries. Similar to the Howatson team in the UK, they also observed tart cherry anthocyanin metabolites in the blood and urine with both doses of the whole tart cherries.
"Our observations were after a one-time consumption," said lead author Seymour. "It is compelling to think what could occur with more regular consumption of tart cherries, and how that could translate into possible health benefits."

Montmorency tart cherries are available year-round in dried, frozen and juice forms --including juice concentrate, which was the form used in the UK study. Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate can be mixed with water or other juices. It can also be consumed straight from the bottle or used as an ingredient in recipes, including smoothies and other beverages.
Source:Journal of Functional Foods 

HIV/AIDS Research at Emory University

As an international leader in HIV/AIDS vaccine research, Emory University has more than 50 scientists focused on developing an effective vaccine for this challenging disease. Research at the Emory University Center for AIDS Research, the Emory Vaccine Center and its Hope Clinic, Yerkes National Primate 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

World Heart Day 2014: Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Urges Disciplined Lifestyle

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan announced campaigns centered on major communicable and non-communicable diseases.
 World Heart Day 2014: Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Urges Disciplined LifestyleThese will involve NGOs, religious organisations, educational institutions, medical professionals of the government and private sectors, clubs and related social forums as means to developing a social movement over health. 

"A specific day in a year will be dedicated to awareness building on a particular disease. For instance, November 7 will be observed as National Cancer Awareness Day, apart from February 4 which is already marked as World Cancer Day. We will use such occasions to communicate with citizens on how to deal with that disease at the prevention and curative levels, the importance of timely check-ups and other matters," Harsh Vardhan announced. 

The government also plans marking special days for diabetes, anaemia, hypertension, blindness, deafness, malnutrition, obesity, mental conditions and issues related to infant and maternal mortality. 

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, "Walk away from heart attack", to mark "World Heart Day" which falls on Monday, September 29, the Union Minister said social mobilisation was essential to making public health work. 

He lauded the initiative and thanked the organisers -Delhi Medical Association, Rotary Club (District 3010), Saket City Hospital, New Delhi Municipal Committee, Resident Welfare Association of East Delhi, United RWA Joint Action and some city schools. 

He observed, "Every human body is a stakeholder in the country's health system. If each body can be kept healthy through balanced diet, avoidance of smoking, drinking and substance abuse, and, put through at least half an hour's exercise and walk each day, then the entire disease burden of the country would drop dramatically and the Health Ministry's budget will be optimally utilised." 

After participating in a walk, held in the inner circle of Connaught Place, Dr Harsh Vardhan appealed to all doctors, health workers and NGO activists to work harder to conscientise people on the dangers of cardiovascular diseases -the single biggest cause of premature death. 

"Heart disease and strokes are becoming more common in our society than before. I see younger and younger people falling victim to this killer. There is widespread ignorance of the simple fact that it is preventable," he said. 

Dr Harsh Vardhan also advised NGOs to dedicate some of their energies to training neighbourhood people with knowledge in how to administer Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). 

He pointed out, "Half the number of fatalities from heart attack is caused by delayed transportation to hospital, yet many of these deaths can be avoided by timely CPR. For this I urge DMA, the RWAs and like-minded groups to conduct camps to train people in such techniques." 

"The government can lay out hospitals but it would never be possible for it to do enough without the help of developing health resources among common people in awareness generation for disease prevention as well as skills in first aid," he remarked. 

World Heart Day was conceptualised to inform people around the world of the danger of heart disease and stroke. 

The World Heart Federation, in collaboration with World Health Organisation, uses the occasion to spread the message that at least 80 percent of premature deaths from this quarter can be avoided if the main risk factors -tobacco, unhealthy diet and the sedentary lifestyle - are abandoned.


KIMMA changes name to Federation of Indian Ayush to bring in Siddha, Unani & Homoeopathy under its fold

The Karnataka Indian Medicine Manufacturers Association (KIMMA) has changed its name to Federation of Indian Ayush (FIA) industry and is outlining its scope and strategies to gain national recognition as it would now scout for members across the country representing Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy industry.

The key objective for a change of name is to broaden the scope of service to the industry. We have an uphill task before us but our effort is to build a strong team of young, energetic, industry members and put in place mechanisms for its effective implementation, said JSD Pani, president, KIMMA.

The decision was taken at KIMMA’s recently concluded annual general body meeting where its members mandated need for a name change in an effort to expand its involvement with Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy, he added.

The Ayush sector has been gaining a status in the healthcare sector because of the nature of its offerings which are holistic in nature. Ayush and allopathy or modern system of medicine could complement each other in treatment and therapies. Further, Ayurveda is also credited to be the core of Indian systems of medicine. This led us to take up the cause of related specialties covering Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy. As the Federation of Indian Ayush, we intent to strengthen the sector to meet challenges ahead, pointed out Pani.

At the general body meeting of KIMMA, its executive committee of 11 members were elected, besides re-electing JSD Pani as its president. For fiscal 2014- 2015, NB Ramgopal would be the vice president, Shylesh Pattavardhan general secretary, and MRE Naidu secretary and Anandkumar as treasurer.

Once the registration process is completed, the Federation of Ayush will take up events across the country and also request the existing associations of Ayush industry to apply for membership to this new body.

For over a decade, the union government too had changed its department from Indian System of Medicine to Ayush. Therefore, to be in sync with national developments, the state association too saw that a change of name was critical for its recognition at a time when the union government is giving impetus to this industry, said Pani.


Higher Risk of Type-2 Diabetes in People Who Work More Than 55 Hours Per Week

Persons who work for more than 55 hours per week are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than their counterparts working for 35 to 40 hours a week, reveals a new research. 

Researchers at University College London conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual-level data examining the effects of long working hours on type 2 diabetes up to 30 April 2014. 

The study revealed that individuals doing low socioeconomic status jobs who worked 55 hours or more per week had a roughly 30 percent increased risk of developing diabetes compared to their counterparts who worked between 35 and 40 hours a week, even after taking into account health behaviours such as smoking and physical activity, and other risk factors including age, sex, and obesity. 

This association remained strong even after excluding shift work, which has been shown to increase the risk of obesity and developing type-2 diabetes. 

Researcher Mika Kivimaki said that the pooling of all available studies on this topic allowed them to investigate the association between working hours and diabetes risk with greater precision than has been previously possible. 

Kivimaki added that although working long hours is unlikely to increase diabetes risk in everyone, health professionals should be aware that it is associated with a significantly increased risk in people doing low socioeconomic status jobs. 

Source:The study is published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.


Refrigerators to be Powered by Sun-generated Hydrogen Fuel

 Refrigerators to be Powered by Sun-generated Hydrogen FuelA new method to generate hydrogen fuel from the Sun using Earth-abundant materials has been discovered by scientists. 

At the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL, scientists have developed methods for generating fuels such as hydrogen through solar water splitting.

do this, they either use photoelectrochemical cells that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to sunlight, or they combine electricity-generating cells with an electrolyzer that separates the water molecules. 

The device converts into hydrogen 12.3 percent of the energy diffused by the sun on perovskite absorbers, which is a compound that can be obtained in the laboratory from common materials, such as those used in conventional car batteries, eliminating the need for rare-earth metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel. 

Researcher Jingshan Luo said that both the perovskite used in the cells and the nickel and iron catalysts making up the electrodes require resources that are abundant on Earth and that are also cheap, but their electrodes work just as well as the expensive platinum-based models customarily used. 

On the other hand, the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen makes its storage possible, which addresses one of the biggest disadvantages faced by renewable electricity, that is, the requirement to use it at the time it is produced. 

The study is published in the journal Science.


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