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Saturday, 11 October 2014

Research Says Bacteria from Bees Possible Alternative to Antibiotics

A unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria found in fresh honey has been identified by researchers at Lund University in Sweden.


The bacteria produce a myriad of active antimicrobial compounds. These lactic acid bacteria have now been tested on severe human wound pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), among others. 

When the lactic acid bacteria were applied to the pathogens in the laboratory, it counteracted all of them. While the effect on human bacteria has only been tested in a lab environment thus far, the lactic acid bacteria has been applied directly to horses with persistent wounds. The LAB was mixed with honey and applied to ten horses; where the owners had tried several other methods to no avail. All of the horses' wounds were healed by the mixture. The researchers believe the secret to the strong results lie in the broad spectrum of active substances involved.

"Antibiotics are mostly one active substance, effective against only a narrow spectrum of bacteria. When used alive, these 13 lactic acid bacteria produce the right kind of antimicrobial compounds as needed, depending on the threat. It seems to have worked well for millions of years of protecting bees' health and honey against other harmful microorganisms. However, since store-bought honey doesn't contain the living lactic acid bacteria, many of its unique properties have been lost in recent times", explains Tobias Olofsson. The next step is further studies to investigate wider clinical use against topical human infections as well as on animals. The findings have implications for developing countries, where fresh honey is easily available, but also for Western countries where antibiotic resistance is seriously increasing. 
t Lund University in Sweden.

Scientists Unfold New Details About a Powerful Protein

 Scientists Unfold New Details About a Powerful ProteinUsing X-rays and neutron beams, a team of researchers have teased out new information about Protein Kinase A (PKA). 

The researchers are from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, University of Utah and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. PKA is a ubiquitous master switch that helps regulate fundamental cellular functions like energy consumption and interactions with hormones, neurotransmitters and drugs. 

"Mutations in PKA can lead to a variety of different human diseases, including cancers, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and diseases involving the brain and nervous system," said senior author Susan Taylor, PhD, professor of chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology at UC San Diego and international authority on PKA. "Developing treatments and cures for these diseases depends upon knowing how the switch works." 

Writing in the October 10 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Taylor and colleagues focused on one of four forms of PKA called "II-beta," which is found mostly in the brain and in fat, where it may play an important role in obesity and diet-induced insulin-resistance associated with type 2 diabetes. 

All forms of PKA are controlled by a signaling molecule called cyclic AMP or cAMP. Many cellular functions are based upon changing amounts of cAMP within cells. PKA is the molecular sensor for cAMP, modulating cell activity according to cAMP levels. 

The scientists investigated which parts of the II-beta protein were needed to determine its overall shape, internal architecture and ability to change shape - factors that dictate function. II-beta is very compact when inactive but extends and separates into subunits when it senses cAMP. 

"A key question regarding the architecture of the II-beta was whether both of its cAMP-sensing mechanisms were needed for the unique changes in shape that it undergoes with cAMP," said first author Donald K. Blumenthal, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy. 

Researchers removed one of II-beta's cAMP sensors and then documented its ability to change shape in response to cAMP, using small-angle X-ray and advanced neutron scattering imaging technologies at Oak Ridge's High Flux Isotope Reactor in Tennessee. They found the protein could still change shape with just one sensor and that its internal architecture remained similar to II-beta protein with both its cAMP sensors. 

The findings further narrow and define the key components of II-beta and identify new regions for further investigation. Taylor said the collaborative, multi-team effort also demonstrated the importance of using different techniques in an iterative way to unravel the dynamic properties of complex systems. 
Source:Journal of Biological Chemistry

Dangerous Blood Clots: A Serious Global Problem

A study on the global burden of venous thromboembolism—when a dangerous clot forms in a blood vessel—found that annual incidences range from 0.75 to 2.69 per 1,000 individuals in the population. The incidence increased to between 2 and 7 per 1,000 among those 70 years of age or more. 
“Venous thromboembolism in hospitalized patients was responsible for more years lost due to ill-health than hospital-acquired pneumonia, catheter-related blood stream infections, and side effects from drugs,” said Dr. Gary Raskob, co-author of the Journal of Thrombosis & Haemostasis study.
Source: Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis

Computerized surveillance system quickly detects disease outbreaks among preschoolers

University of Michigan research shows web-based system could help improve detection and response to spread of illnesses

Ann Arbor, Mich. — A web-based system that allows preschools and child care centers to report illnesses to local public health departments could improve the detection of disease outbreaks and allow resources to be mobilized more quickly, according to University of Michigan research to be presented Saturday, Oct. 11 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in San Diego.
Researchers who designed the biosurveillance system will describe how it can be used to track illness trends and improve public health response to outbreaks during a presentation at 2:09 p.m. PDT in Marina Ballroom Salon E at the San Diego Marriott Marquis.
"For example, if certain child care centers are reporting the beginning of stomach flu (vomiting and diarrhea), other centers can start taking steps to thoroughly clean to kill any viruses before symptoms occur or before a major outbreak takes place," says Andrew N. Hashikawa, M.D., F.A.A.P., a pediatric emergency physician at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
In addition, if child care providers see that larger centers in their community are reporting flu-like illness, they can use the data to emphasize to parents the need to have their children immunized against influenza sooner rather than later, says Hashikawa, who also is assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Children under age 5 generally become sick earlier and more frequently than school-aged children and adults because their immune systems are underdeveloped. Young children often are responsible for spreading viruses to the rest of the community.
Previously some public health departments have found that school absenteeism as a marker for illness was imprecise, delayed, and unavailable during summer and winter breaks.
"However, child care or preschool absences are typically more likely to be associated with illness and most young children continue to need child care for most of the year," says Hashikawa, a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
Most public health departments do not electronically track influenza or stomach illnesses in preschools and child care centers settings.
"Most illness reporting methods used by many public health departments are slow, paper-based and inefficient," says Hashikawa.
To improve reporting, Hashikawa and his colleagues created a computerized system and tested it at four early learning centers in Michigan. Staff were trained to use the system daily to report any ill child. No confidential or identifying information was collected. They entered data on illness type and symptoms in seven categories commonly seen in preschoolers: fever, influenza-like illness, pink eye, stomach illnesses (gastroenteritis), cold or respiratory symptoms, ear infections and rash. They also entered the age range of the ill child (infant, 0-12 months), (toddler, 13-35 months) or (preschooler, 36-59 months), daily attendance at their center, and action taken (e.g., child brought to a physician).
Researchers sent data electronically to the public health department weekly or more frequently if spikes in illness cases were seen.
Results showed centers reported 188 individual episodes of illness from Dec. 10, 2013, through March 28, 2014. Nearly 15 percent were infants, 32 percent were toddlers and 54 percent were preschoolers. The most common illnesses reported were gastroenteritis (37 percent), fever (31 percent), cold (17 percent) and influenza (3 percent).
Data also revealed an unusually large increase in gastroenteritis cases during a two-day period, which was comparable to a countywide spike among schools reported three weeks later.
"Preliminary data suggest that using the online biosurveillance in child care centers and preschools gives us an earlier detection and warning system because the younger children appeared to become sick first compared to middle school and high school aged children within the community," says Hashikawa.
Source:American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition

Stem cell industry facing roadblocks in funding, talent crunch: Dr Satish Totey

India stem cell industry which has been existing for over last 15 years seems to be rapidly losing its global space. The sector is hampered by delayed regulatory clearance, constraint of government funds, lack of private equity and venture capital support besides paucity in talent pool. These issues are posing a serious road block for the Indian stem cell industry, said Dr Satish Totey, chief executive officer, Kasiak Research Pvt. Ltd

Large pharma companies are not yet convinced that taking a risk on developing stem cell therapeutics is worthwhile since return of investment is longer. Although, science is getting better, interesting and convincing, investors and promoters are wary and unwilling to infuse funds as they fail to comprehend growth prospects of this sector. Now this has led India elude its prime position on the global platform rapidly, he added.

Globally, there are already over a dozen FDA approved cell therapy products available in the market which is valued around $1 billion since 2013. US, South Korea and Canada have stem cell products approved for various indications like haematological diseases, bone grafting, osteoarthritis, myocardial infarction, diabetic foot ulcer, Crohn’s disease and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In addition there are several emerging stem cell products that may enter into the global market by 2014-15. However in India, despite the approval for two autologous stem cell products: limbal insufficiency and acute myocardial infarction, its demand and utility are unknown and new stem cell therapeutics may still take another 4-5 years to be developed and launched.

Primarily, the setback for Indian stem cell industry is the inadequate initiative by domestic pharma in developing new drugs/biologics.  Over the last 15 years , several stem cell companies mushroomed in India to earn the quick buck and financially exploit patients. Another factor for the industry not to take off is the chaotic regulatory process. Standard time frame for regulatory approval in conducting clinical trials is three years. No start-up company can survive for such a long duration. As a result, India could develop only one or two companies in stem cell therapeutics, said Dr Totey.

Yet another cause of concern is the failure of several global stem cell clinical trials at phase-II/III and a few of these include Indian companies. This raises questions on efficacy in several clinical indications. Unfortunately, hype and buzz created by  companies distorted the reality, he said.

Further, there are challenges in stem cell isolation and manufacturing because of its  sensitive and unpredictable characteristics.  Lack of knowledge in stem cell culture, poor sterile technique, failure to adhere to good manufacturing standards, deficiencies in the processing of stem cells have also been major concerns.  Factors like donor variation, immunogenicity, type of stem cells and cryopreservation also affect the overall clinical outcome, he said. 

Watch the Video:The No. 1 Horrifying Parasites in the world

Friday, 10 October 2014

Menstrual Cramp Remedies – Relieve The Pain Naturally!

period_crampsFrom the age of around 11 until around 45 a period is something a vast majority of women will go through on a regular monthly basis. That means for an average of 34 years, we will have 408 periods. That’s a lot of – I won’t say it, but for some of us that’s a lot of uncomfortable cramps. For the small percentage who don’t get cramps, well, I hope you realize just how lucky you are!
Many women experience excruciating pain, mood swings, headaches, cravings and other not-so-ideal side effects that are caused by the monthly visit from Aunt Flow.
A lot of women swear that taking birth control pills have helped them achieve a shorter less painful period, or that painkillers such as Midol or Pamprin  help diminish the cramps, but there there are also more natural ways to approach alleviating the symptoms of menstruation.

8 Natural Secrets To A Less Painful Period

1. Keep Hydrated

Drink a lot of water. Avoid coffee as it can lead to dehydration. If your body is dehydrated it can produce a hormone called vasopressin that contributes to cramps.

2. Utilize Heat

Try a hot water bottle or heating pad wherever you are experiencing the pain, for some that is in the lower abdomen, for others it is lower back, for me it is both. A wrap around heating pad is my friend.

3. Exercise

Sometimes it feels like exercise is the last thing you want to do when you are experiencing painful cramps, but light to moderate exercise, particularly aerobic exercise can definitely alleviate the cramping sensation. It does so by releasing beta-endorphins, which are internal opioids, which is like your own morphine made by your body. “It produces analgesia [pain relief] and helps to burn the prostaglandins -chemicals released during menstruation that cause muscle contractions -much faster.” Says Gustavo Rossi, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

4. Do The Pelvic Tilt

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and your buttocks and raise your pelvis, angling it toward your head. Press your lower back to the floor, and hold the position for a few seconds. Gently lower your buttocks to the floor. Repeat several times.

5. Limit Salty Snacks

I know just how tempting salty snacks can be during this time. Eating too much salt can contribute to bloating, so it may be a wise choice to at least limit your intake of salty foods. If you are having a mad craving, you could consider making your own snacks, that way you can control the amount of salt you are using and even use a high quality type salt that is high in minerals.

6. Eat Healthy/Citrus Fruits & Leafy Greens

Although it can be very enticing to binge on pizza and other greasy foods, doing so will only make you feel worse. It is important to eat healthy during this time if you want to stabilize your mood and any discomfort. Consider foods that are high in vitamin K, as they can prevent excess bleeding. Make sure you are getting enough iron, some leafy greens such as swiss chard and collards contain a lot of iron which can become somewhat depleted during menstruation for some women. Cashews and other nuts can also be a great source. Citrus fruits help to enhance iron absorption in the body, so consider some lemon water or orange juice with your meal.

7. Relax, Take A Hot Bath

Not only will the heat from the bath soothe the cramping sensation, but it will also help you relax. Try lighting some candles and adding some bubbles and a few drops of lavender essential oil.



Tired All The Time? You’re Probably In Energetic Debt (Here’s How To Correct It)

We’ve all been there. We wake up, look at the clock and roll over for five more minutes of sleep. You eyelids feel heavy, your head feels heavy and your body feels like it’s made out of lead. To some people, this is what every morning feels like, a struggle. Some have felt that way for so long that they forget what it’s like to jump out of bed, excited for the day’s events. Feeling like deadweight in the morning becomes the norm.
tiredladyIf you don’t have the energy to wake up in the morning, it often means that the energy you gained while sleeping was spent elsewhere. The Chinese say, “Chi follows Yi.” That means life force (chi) energy flows in the direction that the mind (Yi) takes it. This is an important concept to grasp. Your body is comprised of pure potentiality. That potential energy moves in whatever direction the subconscious or conscious mind takes it.
This means that when you’re focused on thoughts or actions that make you feel good, your body feels good. But when you focus on thoughts and actions that make you feel stressed, the body feels strained, weakened. Chi follows Yi. There is now scientific research that explores the mind-body connection a bit further by examining how exactly stress causes disease in the body.

The Link Between Stress & Disease

In 2012, Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, studied how stress ultimately causes and progresses disease. There has been a known link for many years but this study helped to clarify exactly how one causes the other. They found for the first time that psychological stress interferes with the body’s own ability to regulate inflammation which in turn, promotes the development and progression of disease.
“Inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control,” said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Cohen argued that prolonged stress alters the effectiveness of cortisol to regulate the inflammatory response because it decreases tissue sensitivity to the hormone. Specifically, immune cells become insensitive to cortisol’s regulatory effect. In turn, runaway inflammation is thought to promote the development and progression of many diseases.”
This is incredible information that helps us to connect the mind and the body and to understand its relationship further. This research proves that  psychological stress of any kind will drop the body’s ability to control inflammation and ultimately to stay healthy. This places quite a bit of emphasis on the mind. It becomes the starting point of all disease but it is also the starting point of well-being. Keeping the mind in a healthy place, means keeping the body healthy. So do whatever you need to do to keep your mind in a positive space. Visit with friends, eat right, watch funny movies, dance, sing, paint, go for a walk etc.  Change your thoughts, change your body, change your reality.

How Will You Use Your Energy?

Look at your energy as something you choose to spend or invest everyday. When you spend, you receive less or no value in return. When you invest, you receive equal or greater value in return. So when you spend your energy on something that is negative, your body feels negative and a negative emotion is produced. When you invest your energy into something positive, you feel great physically and emotionally because you’ve received a great return on your investment. Over time you will eventually produce energy “debt” or “surplus” based on your spending and investing habits. If you are in energy debt (which we all have been in at some point), you feel tired, weak, unhappy and unhealthy. When you’re in energy surplus, your body becomes more powerful (its inflammatory response is healthy), your emotions are mostly positive, and you have more energy.
We can definitely all use this information to keep our bodies and minds in a healthy place. But how could we apply this to physical conditions we are currently experiencing?
Let’s look at how you’re feeling today. What physical condition do you complain about most? Think of one issue that could be improved upon. Now think back to when it first arose. What kind of stress were you experiencing at the time? What life events occurred around the time when you first felt those symptoms? Can you find the mind-body link? Perhaps by changing our perception on those events, like by letting go of anger or forgiving another, we can also let go of pain within the body.
For those that are interested in taking a change in perception a bit further, here is a video on a technique called “EFT” or “Emotional Freedom Technique” that was created to assist people in releasing emotional pain. I have personally found a lot of success using this method and use it frequently in my sessions with clients. Try using it on the physical condition you thought of earlier.

Bigger Brains Not Necessarily Better

Bigger brain size doesn't necessarily mean more intelligence, says study.


Scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), who compared mice and rats and found very similar levels of intelligence, when given a task that tested perceptual ability as well as adaptability, mice and rats performed about the same. 

The researchers were able to find only one difference: rats learned somewhat faster than mice. According to Anthony Zador and Santiago Jaramillo, the training protocol, which was developed and optimized specifically for rats, might account for the slight advantage. 

The finding of roughly equal intelligence has broad implications for cognition research and it was found that mice, and all the genetic tools available in them, can be used to study the neural mechanisms underlying decision-making, and they might be suitable for other cognitive tasks as well. 
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL)

Drinking Decaf Coffee Benefits Liver

Drinking decaffeinated coffee can be good for the liver, finds new study published in Hepatology.
i LOVE coffee - coffee Wallpaper

Coffee consumption is highly prevalent with more than half of all Americans over 18 drinking on average three cups each day according to a 2010 report from the National Coffee Association. Moreover, the International Coffee Association reports that coffee consumption has increased one percent each year since the 1980s, increasing to two percent in recent years. Previous studies found that coffee consumption may help lower the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. 

"Prior research found that drinking coffee may have a possible protective effect on the liver. However, the evidence is not clear if that benefit may extend to decaffeinated coffee," explains lead researcher Dr. Qian Xiao from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. 

For the present study researchers used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1999-2010). The study population included 27,793 participants, 20 years of age or older, who provided coffee intake in a 24-hour period. The team measured blood levels of several markers of liver function, including aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT) to determine liver health. 

Participants who reported drinking three or more cups of coffee per day had lower levels of ALT, AST, ALP and GGT compared to those not consuming any coffee. Researchers also found low levels of these liver enzymes in participants drinking only decaffeinated coffee. 

Dr. Xiao concludes, "Our findings link total and decaffeinated coffee intake to lower liver enzyme levels. These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health. Further studies are needed to identify these components." 

Probiotic Yogurt Protects Children, Pregnant Women Against Heavy Metal Poisoning

In pregnant women, children probiotic yogurt could be used to cut the deadly health risks associated with mercury and arsenic.
 Probiotic Yogurt Protects Children, Pregnant Women Against Heavy Metal Poisoning
Environmental toxins like mercury and arsenic are commonly found in drinking water and food products, especially fish. These contaminants are particularly high in areas where mining and agriculture are prevalent, and in the developing world where regulations for industrial activities are limited or poorly enforced. Even at low levels, chronic exposure to heavy metals has been linked to certain cancers and delayed neurological and cognitive development in children. Yet in Canada, 15% of reproductive-aged women possess mercury levels that pose a high risk for neurodevelopmental abnormalities in their children. 

Research suggests some naturally occurring bacteria in the body can influence toxic metal levels. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 is a probiotic strain that has already been used safely and effectively in yogurt in Canada with positive immune benefits. Previous lab research at Lawson showed it can also bind to heavy metals, but clinical research was needed to confirm whether this mechanism would prevent the body from absorbing them. 

In the study, Dr. Gregor Reid, a Scientist at Lawson and Western University, and Jordan Bisanz and Megan Enos, trainees at Lawson and graduate students at Western, assessed 44 school-aged children and 60 pregnant women living in Mwanza, Tanzania near Lake Victoria. This area is known for having particularly high environmental pollution. Tanzania is also home to a network of community yogurt kitchens previously set up with the scientists to provide a locally-sourced, low-cost source of nutrition. The goal of the study was to assess existing metal levels in the environment and participants' bodies, map their natural bacteria to identify any potential links to metal absorption, and determine whether the probiotic-supplemented yogurt could influence metal absorption. 

The scientists found mercury and lead levels were up to seven times higher than what is typically found in Canadian children. Silver cyprinids, small fish consumed widely in the region, were found to contain especially high levels of mercury and arsenic. DNA sequencing identified two bacteria present in children with the highest concentrations of heavy metals, suggesting the presence of these bacteria may be linked to metal absorption. After consuming the probiotic-supplemented yogurt, the children showed positive, but not statistically effective, results. The pregnant women showed more dramatic outcomes. The probiotic yogurt protected them from further uptake of mercury by up to 36% and arsenic by up to 78%. "The findings are exciting for many reasons," says Dr. Reid, senior author on the publication. "First, they show a simple fermented food, easily made by resource disadvantaged communities, can provide benefits in addition to nutrition and immunity. Second, the results are relevant for many parts of the world, including Canada, where exposure to these toxins occurs daily. Finally, it confirms more attention needs to be paid to these toxins, especially in children and pregnant women." "Seeing the children, you would never think they were walking around with such high levels of toxins," says Bisanz, the first author on the paper. "I hate to think of the consequences for them as they age. The children and pregnant women all loved the yogurt. If we could only scale up these yogurt kitchen concepts, the impact on quality of life could be massive."
Source: Lawson and Western University

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

'Virological penicillin': Plant MIR2911 directly targets influenza A viruses

In a new study, Chen-Yu Zhang's group at Nanjing University present an extremely novel finding that a plant microRNA, MIR2911, which is enriched in honeysuckle, directly targets influenza A viruses (IAV) including H1N1, H5N1 and H7N9. Drinking of honeysuckle soup can prevent IAV infection and reduce H5N1-induced mice death.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of 19-24 nucleotide non-coding RNAs that do not encode for proteins. MiRNAs bind to target messenger RNAs to inhibit protein translation. In previous studies, the same group has demonstrated that stable miRNAs in mammalian serum and plasma are actively secreted from tissues and cells and can serve as a novel class of biomarkers for disease and act as signaling molecules in intercellular communication. They have also reported that plant miRNAs can enter into the host blood and tissues via the route of food-intake. More importantly, once inside the host, the food-derived exogenous miRNAs can regulate host physiology by regulating host "target" genes.
Here, they report a surprising finding that MIR2911 from a Chinese herb honeysuckle can suppress IAV infection. Firstly, MIR2911 was found to be selectively retained in the boiled decoction of honeysuckle, and to be delivered into mouse plasma and lung tissue after drinking honeysuckle decoction. Then, the authors showed that MIR2911 represses various influenza viruses by targeting PB2 and NS1, two genes that are known to be required for influenza viral replication. Moreover, both synthetic MIR2911 and endogenous MIR2911 in honeysuckle decoction showed effective protection of animals from H1N1 infection, while such protection is dependent on the MIR2911-binding sites in the PB2 or NS1 genes. Last, MIR2911 is also effective to suppress the replication of influenza viruses H5N1 and H7N9, indicating a broad-spectrum anti-IAV effect of MIR2911.
This work is important for the following reasons:

  1. It identifies MIR2911 as the first, active component directly targeting influenza A virus (IAVs). It is well known that Spanish Flu (H1N1) caused about 50 million people death. Recently reported mortality cases of pathogenic IAVs, such as H5N1 and H7N9 highlight the threat that these viruses pose to public health. Due to the rapid mutation and evolution of IAVs, it is almost impossible to prevent or cure the IAV infection by the same treatment. It is thus urgently to explore novel therapeutic strategy. With this in mind, plant MIR2911 is an ideal reagent for suppressing IAV infection, and it is fully expected that MIR2911, as well as MIR2911-enriched honeysuckle decoction, will be widely used for treatment of IAVs infection.
  2. It is the first demonstration that a natural product can directly target virus. Since Fleming discovered penicillin nearly a century ago, antibiotics have been developed to target various bacterial infections and have saved the lives of millions of people. Unfortunately, no natural product that is effective against viral infection has been identified so far. As the first natural product directly targeting different IAVs, plant MIR2911 not only is the first active component identified in Traditional Chinese Medicine that directly targets various IAVs, but also may represent a novel type of natural product that effectively and directly suppresses viral infection. Furthermore, one of their ongoing studies shows that MIR2911 also directly targets Ebola virus, which is pandemic in West Africa and is becoming a crisis of public health. Thus, MIR2911 is able to serve as the "virological penicillin" to directly target various viruses.
  3. Physiological concentration of MIR2911 in honeysuckle decoction sufficiently targets IAVs. For thousand years, Chinese have been drinking honeysuckle (also termed Lonicera japonica) decoction to treat influenza viral infections and the results show that honeysuckle decoction has a broad-spectrum anti-viral activity. It makes much easier and simpler to clinical usage by drinking honeysuckle tea/decoction. These results also provide another evidence to prove their previous discovery that dietary exogenous miRNAs are able to be functionally absorbed by mammalian gastrointestinal tract and play an important regulatory role in a cross-kingdom manner.
  4. It further supports that exogenous small RNA via the route of food-intake can be delivered into host tissues with sufficient functional concentration. Peak level of MIR2911 in mouse lungs after administration honeysuckle soup is 2.6× 10-5 fmol (equivalent to 15600 copies) per 100 pg of total RNA. Given that about 70 μg total RNA can be extracted from 35 mg mouse lung tissues, and each mouse lung weighs approximate 0.12 g and contains 110-120 million cells, MIR2911 is estimated about 300~400 copies per cell. Another quantification approach by normalizing to U6 snRNA reveals that copy number of MIR2911 is even higher. Previous report has shown there are in average 400,000 copies of U6 snRNA per cell. Peak level of MIR2911 is about 250-fold less than U6 snRNA. Thus, there are about 1600 copies of MIR2911 in each lung cell. The quantification of MIR2911 is consistent with their previous study that MIR168a were present in mouse liver at approximate 800 copies per cell after feeding mice with fresh rice.
Source:Cell Research

Skin exposure may contribute to early risk for food allergies

Many children may become allergic to peanuts before they first eat them, and skin exposure may be contribute to early sensitization, according to a study in mice led by Mount Sinai researchers and published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Early in the process of developing an allergy, skin exposure to food allergens contributes to "sensitization", which means the skin is reactive to an antigen, such as peanuts, especially by repeated exposure.
The question of how peanut allergies start is an important one, given the extremity of some reactions, the prevalence (1 to 2 percent of the population), and because such allergies tend to be lifelong.
Past studies have shown that children may first become allergic when exposed to peanut proteins through breast milk or in house dust, but this current study adds skin exposure to the list of culprits that make a child allergic by the first time they taste a peanut. The results also make elements of the human immune system in the skin targets for future treatments or preventive efforts.
"The peanut protein responsible for most allergic reactions in humans is seen as foreign or dangerous by the immune system of the skin," said Cecilia Berin, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "Blocking those immune pathways activated in the skin prevented the development of peanut allergy in the mice, and our next step will be to confirm this in humans."
In a collaboration among the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute, Immunology Institute, and Tisch Cancer Institute at The Mount Sinai Hospital, researchers exposed mice to peanut protein extract on the skin and observed that repeated topical exposure to peanut allergens led to sensitization and a severe, whole-body allergic reaction upon a second exposure. The data found that peanuts are allergenic due to inherent components the lead to a more robust immune response. These findings suggest that skin exposure to food allergens contributes to sensitization to foods in early life.
"This research helps us to understand why peanut, out of the many foods in our diet, is such a common cause of food allergy," said Berin. ". If we identify how the immune system recognizes peanut as a danger, we may eventually learn how to block that pathway and prevent the food allergy altogether."
Source:Journal of Clinical Investigation

Sugar Consumption Leads to Memory Problems: Study

Adolescents are at an increased risk of suffering negative health effects from sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, reveals a new study on rats.
 Sugar Consumption Leads to Memory Problems: Study

According to the study by researchers at USC, adolescent rats that freely consumed large quantities of liquid solutions containing sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in concentrations comparable to popular sugar-sweetened beverages experienced memory problems and brain inflammation, and became pre-diabetic. 

Scott Kanoski, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said that the brain is especially vulnerable to dietary influences during critical periods of development, like adolescence. Consuming a diet high in added sugars not only can lead to weight gain and metabolic disturbances, but can also negatively impact our neural functioning and cognitive ability. 

Source:The study was published online in the journal Hippocampus.

Osteoarthritis - A Vicious Cycle of Sleep Disturbance-Pain-Depression-Disability

Sleep disturbances are linked only to pain and depression, but not disability, among patients with osteoarthritis, confirms a new research. Study results published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), found that poor sleep increases depression and disability, but does not worsen pain over time.Arthritis is one of the top three health concerns that cause disability in the U.S., with OA being the most common form of arthritis. Medical evidence reports that nearly 30 million Americans are affected by OA, which has increased healthcare costs by $186 billion between 1996 and 2005. Previous studies show that those with knee OA report issues with initiating sleep (31%), difficulty maintaining sleep at night (81%), and general sleep problems (77%). 

"Sleep disturbance is a common complaint among those with pain, particularly among those with OA," explains Dr. Patricia Parmelee from the Center for Mental Health & Aging at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. "Our research is unique as we investigate the complex relationships among sleep, OA-related pain, disability and depressed mood simultaneously in a single study." 

For the present study 288 patients with knee OA provided information on sleep disturbances, pain, functional limitations, and depressive symptoms. Researchers recruited participants from diverse settings to gather a broad representation of OA subjects. Sleep disturbances at the start of the study were used to predict changes in pain, disability and depression after a one-year period. 

Findings indicate that sleep was independently associated with pain and depression at baseline. Disability was not linked to baseline sleep disturbances. In individuals with high pain levels, the combination of poor sleep and pain exacerbated depression. Sleep disturbance at baseline predicted increased depression and disability, but not pain at one-year follow-up. 

Dr. Parmelee adds, "This study shows that depression plays a strong role in the sleep-pain connection, particularly with severe pain. Further investigation of sleep in disability progression may lead to new interventions that disrupt the cycle of OA distress." 
The University of Alabama 


New Technique to Generate Cells can Revolutionize Arthritis Treatment

Researchers have developed a pioneering simple new technique to generate cells that can go on to re-grow damaged cartilage and even bone, revolutionizing Arthritis treatment.
 New Technique to Generate Cells can Revolutionize Arthritis Treatment

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Centre in the US, have used a combination of small molecules to generate mouse cells that can form bone and cartilage and said that the new method could allow them to re-grow broken bones and mend cartilage damage to back discs and joints, the Daily Express reported. 

The research team, led by Dr Naoki Nakayama, created special stem cells known as pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryos, which has the ability to become any cell type in the body and then used small molecules to persuade them to turn into cells that can form cartilage, called chondrocytes. 

Nakayama said that current cell generation strategies generally use proteins to direct the stem cells to give rise to functional cells of interest and such proteins act on the target cells through multiple mechanisms, not all of which necessarily help to achieve the overall goal of generating chondrocytes. 

Using embryonic stem cells and small molecules, the team was able to generate cells that look and behave like chondrocyte precursor cells that are destined to form cartilage for the formation of backbone and disc. When such cartilage was transplanted into mice, they were able to form bone-like structures. 

Source:The study was published in the journal Development.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water in the Morning

Starting your day off with warm lemon water is thought to have a ton of health benefits - and it's been an Ayurvedic practice for a long time. Read on to learn about the health benefits of drinking lemon water first thing in the morning.

Aids in Digestion

Not only does the warm water help to stimulate the GI tract, but the lemons are believed to stimulate and purify the liver. It also helps digestive acids with digestion and elimination. 

Supports Immune Function

Citrus fruits like lemon are high in vitamin C and ascorbic acid. Vitamin C can help fight colds and and the ascorbic acid helps iron absorption which also plays a role in immune function. 

Alkalizes the Body

If your body is in a chronic pH imbalance, it's susceptible to disease. Even though lemons seem acidic, they are extremely alkalizing and a great way to ensure your pH balance is where it should be especially if your diet is heavy in meat, cheese and/or alcohol. 

Helps Detox

Lemon water is a natural diuretic, which means it helps your body flush liquid and toxins along with it. The citric acid can also help maximize enzymes which stimulates the liver. 

It's an Energizer

Though I hesitate to even consider giving up my morning coffee, many people swear they can easily give it up after a few days of lemon water. The combination of water and lemon helps to hydrate and oxygenate the blood, leaving you feeling great! 

Keeps Skin Beautiful

Chronic dehydration can leave skin looking dull, so start your day on the right foot with lemon water. Vitamin C plays a critical role in maintaining healthy skin and the antioxidants can combat aging factors. 

Promising Results: Doctors Treat Depression & Anorexia With New Therapy – Holding A Magnet To The Head

A new treatment for depression has been showing some promising results for patients experiencing chronic depression.
The treatment is called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS, and like the title suggests the treatment involves having an electromagnetic field applied to the head to stimulate specific areas. Brain scans suggest transcranial magnetic stimulation can cause changes in the circuitry of the brain, hence why the treatment is being targeted to people with severe depression and other psychological conditions.
In depression, doctors target the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain involved in decision making, mood and emotional responses. This month, U.S. researchers reported that the treatment triggered significant improvements in patients with severe depression who had failed to respond to other treatments, including antidepressants.

Sue’s Story: Hope In A New Therapy

In Chloe Lambert’s article for the Daily Mail, Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?, she discusses the story of a doctor, Sue Mildrid, who recently found success with rTMS. For decades, Sue suffered from a depression that was so severe it hindered her ability to go to work.
Sue tried most conventional therapies, including electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), which began showing some positive results at first. But itabout wasn’t long until Sue noticed her memory being affected by the treatment, a common side effect to ECT. At that point Sue became convinced that she would always be living with her condition. 
That all changed when Sue discovered rTMS. ‘I read up on it, and after looking at the trials carried out over the years, felt comfortable trying it,’ she told the Daily Mail.
She found a private clinic and began her new regime, which consisted of 5 sessions a week for 6-8 weeks. During each 30-minute treatment, Sue sat in a chair while a magnetic coil was held against her head. Up to 3,000 magnetic pulses were applied to her brain for a few seconds at a time, followed by a break of a few seconds.
Although the positive affects from the treatment have been very gradual, Sue says that it has already changed her life.
‘I just found that I started to have hope and confidence.’
Within three months of finishing the course, Sue was able to go back to her job in medicine, and is now working with elderly patients with psychiatric problems.
“There’s no comparison with what I was like before,” says Sue. “I was very, very scared of doing anything because I always felt like it would go wrong. I had lots of hopeless feelings, and although I never planned it, I had thoughts about suicide. I never, ever thought I’d go back to work. I had tried many times, but would get ill again before I could sort everything out. I think it’s pretty miraculous that this has happened.”

More Applications of rTMS

At the end of a year-long study of more than 200 patients, 68 per cent reported a reduction in symptoms, while 45 per cent were in complete remission.
And, in July, researchers at Harvard Medical School published a study testing the treatment against a placebo that showed it had ‘immediate’ effects on mood in people with depression. It is already used to treat conditions including epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
Anorexia is a severe disorder which affects 1 out of every 150 women. rTMS is proving to be a beneficial supplemental treatment thus far.
rTMS is now being used to treat anorexia, a serious disorder which affects 1 out of every 150 women. Only 46% of people suffering from anorexia make a full recovery. Typical anorexia interventions include anti-depressants and talking therapies. Now a trial is under way at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry to see if rTMS may help —and initial results are encouraging.
Stephanie, 24, battled anorexia since she was 13. She was one of the first people to try the rTMS in efforts to treat anorexia, and found that over time she began to feel less depressed and more confident that she could get better.
“There’s this idea that people with eating disorders just need tough love — that they need to snap out of it,” says Stephanie. “But it literally felt impossible for me to eat or to keep food down.”
She was a suitable candidate for the trial and had one 20-minute session every day, five days a week, for four weeks.“It’s not painful,” she says. “It just feels like something tapping on your head. Although the illness was still there, I felt strong enough to start fighting it.”
She says her anorexic symptoms have reduced markedly. At one point she would be sick after almost every meal, but since having rTMS she’s gone weeks without vomiting.
Over the past two years, researchers have carried out trials with 60 people suffering from anorexia, comparing a single session of rTMS against a placebo treatment. Preliminary results suggest that after one month and at six months there was a broad improvement in the patients’ anorexic symptoms, anxiety and depression and stress levels.
Dr Jane Morris, consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen, who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, says the new research is ‘exciting,’ but adds there is not enough evidence to say that rTMS works yet.
“Certainly, there seem to be some effects on the brain, but whether these will be meaningful and long lasting and without side-effects is far from proven.”
This is exciting news for the medical world, as more research is conducted we hope to continue to see positive results without any harmful side effects. A none-invasive therapy such as rTMS could be the world’s answer to slowing down the anti-depressant pandemic which is currently spreading at a frightening pace. Perhaps this therapy could be just the right ‘boost’ for people who suffer from extreme brain imbalances.
Source:Collective Evolution

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