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

Search Engine

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Amazing Herb Can Help Cleanse Your Mind, Body & Spirit

tulsiTulsi, which means “the incomparable one” in Hindi and is often referred to as holy basil, is a potent herb that has been used for over 5000 years in India to treat colds, coughs, and the flu. According to Ayurvedic medicine, regular consumption of the tulsi herb can also promote a sense of purity and lightness in the body, and is said to cleanse the respiratory tract of toxins and relieve bloating and digestive gas. This plant is so sacred that often Hindu prayer beads are even made from the wood of the tulsi plant!
Basil can be found on every continent, but holy basil is indigenous to the subcontinent of India. It grows as a bushy shrub that can reach 18 inches in height, its leaves are oval shaped and have serrated edges, and its colors are either light green or dark purple depending on where it is growing.

Powerful Purported Benefits Of Tulsi

There are many benefits to consumption and topical treatment with the tulsi plant. According to Ayurveda, these benefits can include relief from: fever and common cold, cough and respiratory problems, kidney stones, heart disorders, headaches, constipation, flatulence, cancer, pain, and insect bites. It can even assist with quitting smoking,

Benefits Backed By Scientific Research

Even if the benefits above sound too good to be true, there are still a number of benefits that have been studied and have some scientific backing.
  1. Tulsi lowers stress; it has long been regarded as an adaptogen, meaning that it actually helps your body deal more easily with stressful situations. Since high stress levels take a huge toll on your body, it is important to keep them in check. Check out these studies that show how tulsi can lower your levels of stress and increase those of anti-oxidants.
  2. Tulsi can also help normalize blood sugar levels, which is great news for diabetics with type II diabetes.
  3. It can help lower high cholesterol. Tulsi is extremely good for heart health and has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.
  4. It can protect lungs from infection. Regular consumption of tulsi tea, and even simply chewing on tulsi leaves. can prevent lungs from infections and colds.
  5. Protection from inflammation and arthritis. An oil can be made with the seeds of tulsi which can provide protection and benefit those with arthritis and inflammation.
Check out these studies here and here.

Tulsi Is Great For The Skin, Hair, and Nails Too!

Many Indian women use tulsi quite regularly in their beauty routine; this extremely versatile herb has been long regarded as an amazing beauty treatment. It can treat skin issues such as eczema, acne, and pimples. You can apply it topically by making a paste with the leaves and water, or drink it in a tea or juice. Apparently it can also lighten scars and other marks. Rubbing finely powdered dry tulsi leaves into your skin can also help you achieve a healthy glow. Use it for your hair by applying tulsi oil to the scalp, roots, and strands, and you can do the same with a paste made from the leaves. This can also reduce dandruff and cure an itchy scalp.


Study adds evidence on link between PTSD, heart disease

In a study of more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure over about a seven-year follow-up period, compared with their non-PTSD peers.
The findings appear in the April 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
The study adds to a growing body of evidence linking PTSD and heart disease. The research to date--including these latest findings--doesn't show a clear cause-and-effect relationship. But most experts believe PTSD, like other forms of chronic stress or anxiety, can damage the heart over time.
"There are many theories as to how exactly PTSD contributes to heart disease," says Dr. Alyssa Mansfield, one of the study authors. "Overall, the evidence to date seems to point in the direction of a causal relationship."
Mansfield was senior author on the study while with the Pacific Islands Division of the National Center for PTSD of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She is now with the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System and also an assistant adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of Hawaii.
The study tracked 8,248 veterans who had been outpatients in the VA Pacific Islands system. The researchers followed them an average of just over seven years. Those with a PTSD diagnosis were 47 percent more likely to develop heart failure during the follow-up period. The researchers controlled for differences between the groups in health and demographic factors.
Out of the total study group, about 21 percent were diagnosed with PTSD. Of the total 371 cases of heart failure during the study, 287 occurred among those with PTSD, whereas only 84 cases occurred among the group without PTSD.
Combat service, whether or not it led to a full-blown PTSD diagnosis, was itself a strong predictor of heart failure. Those Veterans with combat experience were about five times more likely to develop heart failure during the study period, compared with those who had not seen combat. Other predictors of heart failure were advanced age, diabetes, high blood pressure, and overweight or obesity.
The authors of the study say they didn't have access to a full range of data that would have provided further clues as to the PTSD-heart disease link. For example, they were not able to distinguish in the data between those who had served in the Gulf during 1990 and 1991, and those who served more recently in Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor were they able to analyze whether racial or ethnic identity plays a role one way or the other, as that information was not complete for most veterans in study.
Nonetheless, the authors point out that the work is the "first large-scale longitudinal study to report an association between PTSD and incident heart failure in an outpatient sample of U.S. veterans."
Heart failure, in which the heart grows weaker and can't pump enough blood to adequately supply the body's needs, affects about 5 million Americans in all, with some 500,000 new cases each year. People with the condition feel tired with physical activity, as the muscles aren't getting enough blood.
The new results, says Mansfield, provide further potent evidence of the nexus between mental and physical health. The practical upshot of the findings, she says, is that veterans with PTSD should realize that by treating their PTSD, they may also be helping to prevent heart disease down the road.
By the same token, the authors point out that VA and other health care systems may need to step up efforts to prevent and treat heart failure among those with PTSD.

High cholesterol, triglycerides can keep vitamin E from reaching body tissues

In the continuing debate over how much vitamin E is enough, a new study has found that high levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides can keep this essential micronutrient tied up in the blood stream, and prevent vitamin E from reaching the tissues that need it.
The research, just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also suggested that measuring only blood levels may offer a distorted picture of whether or not a person has adequate amounts of this vitamin, and that past methods of estimating tissue levels are flawed.
The findings are significant, the scientists say, because more than 90 percent of the people in the United States who don't take supplements lack the recommended amount of vitamin E in their diet.
Vitamin E is especially important in some places such as artery walls, the brain, liver, eyes and skin, but is essential in just about every tissue in the body. A powerful, fat-soluble antioxidant, it plays important roles in scavenging free radicals and neurologic function. In the diet, it's most commonly obtained from cooking oils and some vegetables.
Some experts have suggested that recommended levels of vitamin E should be lowered. But because of these absorption issues, the recommended level of 15 milligrams per day is about right, said Maret Traber, the lead author of this study. Inadequate vitamin E intake remains a significant societal problem, she said.
"This research raises particular concern about people who are obese or have metabolic syndrome," said Traber, who is the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Micronutrient Research in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, and a principal investigator in OSU's Linus Pauling Institute.
"People with elevated lipids in their blood plasma are facing increased inflammation as a result," Traber said. "Almost every tissue in their body is under oxidative attack, and needs more vitamin E. But the vitamin E needed to protect these tissues is stuck on the freeway, in the circulatory system. It's going round and round instead of getting to the tissues where it's needed."
This research was done with 41 men and women, including both younger and older adults, who obtained vitamin E by eating deuterium-labeled collard greens, so the nutrient could be tracked as it moved through the body. Of some interest, it did not find a significant difference in absorption based solely on age or gender. But there was a marked difference in how long vitamin E stayed in blood serum, based on higher level of lipids in the blood - a more common problem as many people age or gain weight.
The study also incorporated a different methodology, using a stable isotope instead of radioactive tracers, than some previous research, to arrive at the estimates of vitamin E that made it to body tissues. Using the stable isotope methodology that these researchers believe is more accurate, they concluded that only 24 percent of vitamin E is absorbed into the body, instead of previous estimates of 81 percent measured by the use of radioactive vitamin E.
"In simple terms, we believe that less than one third the amount of vitamin E is actually making it to the tissues where it's most needed," Traber said.
Vitamin E in the blood stream is not completely wasted, Traber noted. There, it can help protect LDL and HDL cholesterol from oxidation, which is good. But that doesn't offset the concern that not enough of this micronutrient may be reaching tissues, she said.

Brain Device with 25 Years Battery Life

The brain device inserted in the 69-year-old Parkinson's Disease patient to control his debilitating symptoms, has a battery life of 25 years.


Advancement in medical devices and technology makes life easier for patients. The patient, M Singh from Ranchi, India, underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS)). "There is already 50% reduction in his symptoms like tremors, rigidity, stiffness," said Dr Paresh Doshi, neurosurgeon, Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, India. 

DBS is a surgery where electrodes are implanted in the brain to treat psychological conditions like depression as well. But patients who opt for a rechargeable battery have complaints of waiting for 5 hours to charge their batteries.

"A 25-year-long battery would mean almost a lifetime of battery for elderly patients. It will also cut down on recurrent cost of changing the battery. It is definitely more convenient for patients," said Dr Sangeeta Rawat, neurologist, KEM Hospital. 

A 12-year-old boy from Indore also has the the new DBS system implanted. He suffers from dystonia where muscles contract causing twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. 

"The 12-year-old had such severe contractions that his parents had to literally hold him throughout the day," said Dr Doshi. The contractions are already under control and the patient has been able to eat on his own. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Roseroot herb shows promise as potential depression treatment option, Penn team finds

PHILADELPHIA -- Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea), or roseroot, may be a beneficial treatment option for major depressive disorder (MDD), according to results of a study in the journalPhytomedicine led by Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, associate professor of Family Medicine, Community Health and Epidemiology and colleagues at the Perelman School of Medicine of University of Pennsylvania.
The proof of concept trial study is the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, comparison trial of oral R. rosea extract versus the conventional antidepressant therapy sertraline for mild to moderate major depressive disorder.
Depression is one of the most common and debilitating psychiatric conditions, afflicting more than 19 million Americans each year, 70 percent of whom do not fully respond to initial therapy. Costs of conventional antidepressants and their sometimes substantial side effects often result in a patient discontinuing use prematurely. Others opt to try natural products or supplements instead.
All of the study's 57 adult participants, enrolled from December 2010 and April 2013, had a DSM IV Axis 1 diagnosis of MDD, meaning they exhibited two or more major depressive episodes, depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least 2 weeks, as well as symptoms including significant unintentional weight loss or gain, insomnia or sleeping too much, fatigue, and diminished ability to think or concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death.
The participants received 12 weeks of standardized R. rosea extract, sertraline, or placebo. Changes over time in Hamilton Depression Rating (HAM-D), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) change scores were measured among groups.
Patients who took sertraline were somewhat more likely - as measured by Ham-D scores - to report improvement in their symptoms by week 12 of treatment than those who took R. rosea, although these differences were not found to be statistically significant. Patients takingR. rosea had 1.4 times the odds of improvement, and patients on sertraline had 1.9 times the odds of improvement versus those on a placebo. However, patients on sertraline experienced twice the side effects - most commonly nausea and sexual dysfunction -- than those on R. rosea: 63 percent versus 30 percent, respectively, reported side effects. These findings suggest that R. rosea may possess a more favorable risk to benefit ratio for individuals with mild to moderate major depressive disorder.
"These results are a bit preliminary but suggest that herbal therapy may have the potential to help patients with depression who cannot tolerate conventional antidepressants due to side effects," Mao said. "Larger studies will be needed to fully evaluate the benefit and harm of R. rosea as compared to conventional antidepressants."

Good bone, bad bone

For people taking glucocorticoids such as prednisone, the increased risk of bone fracture is a well-documented side effect. Used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases and allergies, glucocorticoids are known to cause rapid deterioration in bone strength.
Until now, doctors have been able to measure bone loss -- a process that happens slowly, over time -- but haven't had the means for gauging actual bone strength. That has changed thanks to a new hand-held instrument developed in the Hansma Lab at UC Santa Barbara. Called the OsteoProbe, the device uses reference point indentation (RPI) to measure mechanical properties of bone at the tissue level.
A new clinical trial, conducted at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, shows that RPI is sensitive enough to reflect changes in cortical bone indentation following treatment with osteoporosis therapies in patients newly exposed to glucocorticoids. Standard measurement techniques were unable to detect bone changes in this patient population. The trial results are reported in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
"This new paper is a real breakthrough because it's the first time it's been possible to do a longitudinal study of bone material properties in patients," said co-author Paul Hansma, professor emeritus in UCSB's Department of Physics. "Up until now, medical professionals have been limited to doing bone mineral density studies, which can take a year or more to show bone changes."
According to Hansma, measuring bone mineral density (BMD) using today's standard, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) provides only a partial picture. "DXA measures density, which sounds like a material property but isn't," he said. "DXA measures how much calcium bone contains but provides no information about bone quality, and it's not just how much bone you have that's important, it's how good that bone is."The OsteoProbe works similarly to a center punch -- the tool that makes a slight indentation on a surface to indicate the correct placement of a nail. It sets a localized reference point at the bone's surface that enables precise indentation measurements of bone strength. It was developed by Hansma and colleagues Connor Randall and Dan Bridges, staff research associate and development assistant engineer, respectively, in UCSB's Department of Physics.
The instrument is now manufactured for commercial research applications by ActiveLife Scientific, a Santa Barbara company founded by UCSB graduates Davis Brimer and Alex Proctor. Brimer and Proctor won the campus's annual New Venture Competition in 2007 and used the $10,000 prize as startup capital.
About the device
The OsteoProbe measures the bone material strength index (BMSi), which in previously published papers has been shown to be a valuable predictor of bone fracture risk. The index values are similar to percentage scores on an exam. A BMSi of 90 or greater is excellent, 80 to 90 good, 70 to 80 fair, 60 to 70 poor and below 60 very poor.
A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, demonstrated the device's ability to successfully detect bone quality deterioration in diabetic patients, independent of BMD. In another study conducted at Leiden University in the Netherlands, the tool successfully distinguished between patients with and without fracture, not only in patients with osteoporosis but also in those with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis.
"Bone fracture is becoming more and more of a serious problem as people live longer," Hansma said. "It's exciting that it's now possible to measure BMSi in living patients and hopefully this can guide physicians in the future in choosing appropriate therapies to prevent bone fracture, especially in elderly people."
Research is ongoing
Exactly how the BMSi relates to the specialized quantities measured by conventional mechanical testing is a focus of current research. In fact, in a recent paper published in theJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang and two of his graduate students used finite element analysis to investigate the link between BMSi and the mechanical properties of bone itself.
IMAGE"What's new in this paper is the ability to correlate indentation measurements from patients' bones to computer simulations that can predict the strength of the bones," said Yang, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering. "Such predictions are based on the measured material properties of the bone samples. The results open the door to clinical applications in diagnosis and monitoring, in performing orthopedic surgeries and in developing new therapies."
The paper's lead author, Kevin Hoffseth, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, noted that the study results suggest RPI could become an integral part in linking clinical results to the mechanical properties of bone related to its health. "Combining theory and experiment with finite element simulations and indentation testing was an effective approach to study bone indentation and failure -- and the link to mechanical properties," he said.
Clinical trials currently underway in some 20 locations are exploring bone health in a variety of ways. One European study is comparing the bone quality of patients in Norway to that of patients in Spain. People in Norway tend to have higher BMD and a greater frequency of fracture than do people in Spain, Hansma noted.
"That's the opposite of what it should be if BMD were all that mattered," he added. "So that means that BMD isn't all that matters and the hope is that this instrument will reveal the difference in the BMSi between patients in Norway and in Spain."
Hansma posited that such medical bone diagnostics could become an important feature of future therapeutic treatments. "Now that it is possible to measure whether bone is good or bad in research studies, we can begin learning what diet, exercises, vitamins and pharmaceutical drugs contribute to making bone good," he said. "After the OsteoProbe gets FDA approval, individual physicians will be able to use it to help them decide about the best therapeutic treatments for their patients."

Drinking Milk Increases Levels of Glutathione, a Powerful Antioxidant in the Brain

We all know that milk is good for health, especially for our bones and muscles. Now a new study has suggested that it could be important for one's brain health as well. Researchers at University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center have found a possible correlation between milk consumption and the levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.During the study, researchers asked the 60 participants about their diets in the days leading up to high-tech brain scans, which they used to monitor levels of glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant in the brain. They found that participants who had indicated they had drunk milk recently had higher levels of glutathione in their brains.

Researchers said, "This is important because glutathione could help stave off oxidative stress and the resulting damage caused by reactive chemical compounds produced during the normal metabolic process in the brain. Oxidative stress is known to be associated with a number of different diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and many other conditions."

In-Young Choi said, "Antioxidants were a built-in defense system for body to fight against this damage and the levels of antioxidants in brain could be regulated by various factors such as diseases and lifestyle choices. Our equipment enabled us to understand complex processes occurring that were related to health and disease and the advanced magnetic resonance technology allowed us to be in a unique position to get the best pictures of what was going on in the brain."

The study appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Supplement Your Diet With These Eight Oils and Rediscover a Healthy You

Not all oils are bad for health. Several studies have highlighted the value of supplementing our diet with additional essential fats to prevent and treat a broad spectrum of diseases. Using an adequate amount of the right kinds of fats and oils can help slow down the aging process in your body. Good oils provide the body with fuel and can also stimulate fat burning. But, distinguishing good fats from bad fats can be very tricky. Here are the top eight healthy fats and oils-

 Coconut Oil- It is often termed as 'superfood' and is also brilliant for those looking to lose or maintain their weight. The fatty acids in coconut oil speed up overall metabolism, helping people expend more energy compared with long-chain fats. It can also help with neurological disorders and helps in reducing scars and marks on the body.

Borage Oil- Borage seed oil has one of the highest amounts of linolenic acid. It is widely used as an anti-inflammatory support for a number of conditions including eczema, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Hemp Seed Oil- Hemp oil or hemp seed oil has balanced concentrations of omega fatty acids 3, 6 and 9. It can help support heart health and promote proper cardiovascular function. People who regularly use and consume hemp oil have thicker and shinier hair, softer skin and stronger nails.

Flax Seed Oil- This oil has the highest concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids. The right amount of consumption has been shown to improve cardiovascular health as well as exhibiting chemo-preventative effects against colon tumor developments.

Pumpkin Seed Oil- Research has found that pumpkin oil can significantly help improve prostate health due to its richness in zinc. It can also help women with menopause as it can decrease blood pressure, hot flushes, headaches and other menopausal symptoms.

Avocado Oil- It has a nourishing and moisturizing on the skin. It also contains significant levels of antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, which help keep skin supple and smooth.

Omega 3 Fish Oil- This is the best type of fat. Fats produced by oily fish contain the highest concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids which is proven to make a positive difference to heart and brain health as well as improving the skeletal system.

Olive Oil- This oil is an integral part of the traditional 'Mediterranean Diet' which is associated with vitality, longevity and low incidence of chronic disease. Olive oil is prized for its health-promoting properties and is particularly helpful in promoting optimal cardiovascular function, maintaining good blood flow and bettering cognitive function.


"Ayushman Bharat" will be launched

The Ayush department is launching a weekly programme on public broadcaster Doordarshan to keep people informed on alternate systems of medicine like homeopathy and ayurveda, an official statement said on Thursday.
Titled "Ayushman Bharat", the programme is aimed at popularizing traditional Indian medicines among the masses, the statement said.
Through this programme, people will be able to have an interaction with the experts of ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy and be able to get solutions to their problems.
The programme will be telecast in nine regional centres of Doordarshan as well in their respective languages, the release said.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Chemical Found In Ayahuasca May Be Able To Completely Reverse Diabetes

Diabetes currently affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In America alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that number to be approximately 20 million. Potential cures and methods to reverse the disease are showing some promising results, and one of them is a chemical that’s commonly found in a number of plants around the world. It’s also a main ingredient in the psychoactive mixture commonly known asayahuasca.
ayaDiabetes is an autoimmune disease that prevents a person’s pancreas from producing insulin, which is a hormone that enables people to receive energy from their food. This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which are called beta cells. Apparently, the cause is not well understood, but scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors play a role. Modern day mainstream science tells us that there are no cures.
Again, types 1 and 2 diabetes affect some 380 million people worldwide. Both ultimately result from a deficiency of functional pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells, which is where this chemical is showing the most promising results.
New research published in the journal Nature Medicine – a study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, funded by JDRF and the National Institutes of Health – found that:
“Using three different mouse and human islet in vivo–based models, we show that harmine is able to induce beta cell proliferation, increase islet mass and improve glycemic control. These observations suggest that harmine analogs may have unique therapeutic promise for human diabetes therapy.”  
After researchers discovered that harmine could reproduce beta cells in a culture, they then injected human islets into diabetic mice and administered harmine. This then triggered beta cell production. which in turn brought blood glucose levels to normal. Harmine was found to triple the number of beta cells within the mice’s pancreas .
The study did a screen of more than 100,000 potential drugs, and out of all of them, harmine was the only one to drive human insulin-producing beta cells to multiply.
“Our results provide a large body of evidence demonstrating that the harmine drug class can make human beta cells proliferate at levels that may be relevant for diabetes treatment. While we still have a lot of work to do in improving the specificity and potency of the harmine and related compounds, we believe these results represent a key step toward more effective future treatment of diabetes.” – Senior study author Andrew Stewart, MD, Director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine 
Beta cell regeneration is believed to be the answer and ultimate cure for diabetes, but we still have a ways to go. Apparently, the next step for researchers is to develop drug candidates that would only target the beta cells.
There have also been some promising developments comming out of Harvard  Stem Cell Institute (HSCI). Researchers there recently discovered how to make large quantities of insulin producing cells. They are claiming that this breakthrough is just as big as the development of antibiotics, which (although successful) have not come without severe and damaging health consequences. The stem cell-derived beta cells are currently undergoing clinical trials in animal models, and researchers there are hoping for clinical trials to begin as soon as possible.  
Test Subjects Who Reversed Their Diabetes In Just 30 Days
In the film Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, six test subjects were used, all of whom had varying lifestyles and conditions but were all diabetic – five type 2, and one type 1. Each subject was taking insulin. 
 People everywhere are taking alternate routes to achieve results equal to and sometimes better than what is made available to them through mainstream voices like doctors and government-appointed professionals. I feel it’s important that people know their options and have a fair chance of hearing them out. I know many people with diabetes who aren’t aware of the power of food in transforming their condition yet are taking insulin and following mainstream ideas as if it’s the only truth.
It isn’t to say that the mainstream is bad, it’s simply that we are missing out on other options in a big way. After all, the American Diabetes Association makes claims about there being no cures, yet the above results would suggest there is more to that story.
 Source:CE/ journal Nature Medicine

Study Sheds New Light on Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

For patients suffering from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the body produces too much mucus, making breathing difficult. New research from Washington University School of Medicine, St.Louis, provides clues to potentially counteract inappropriate mucus production.

"The new study lays the groundwork for developing treatments for diseases such as asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis and even certain cancers," said senior author Thomas J. Brett, assistant professor of medicine. "It also solves a 20-year mystery about the role of a protein that has long been associated with these diseases."

The study appears March 17 in the journal eLife.

About two decades ago, the protein CLCA1 was identified. High levels of CLCA1 in cells lining the airway have long been linked with an overproduction of mucus. Studies at the time suggested CLCA1 was an ion channel, a small opening in the cell membrane that allows charged particles to flow into or out of the cell. CLCA1 was labeled a chloride channel because it appeared to be moving chloride ions across the cell membrane. In general, the movement of different ions into and out of cells govern many important processes from mucus production, to heart rhythms to brain function.

"Originally, CLCA1 was misidentified as a chloride channel," Brett said. "When cells express CLCA1, they produce chloride currents. But as we became better at understanding the three-dimensional structures of proteins, researchers in the field started to realize that CLCA proteins couldn't be channels. So the question arose, how do they activate these currents if they're not channels?"

Only seven years ago, a protein that proved to be this elusive type of channel was first discovered in mammals. Called TMEM16A, it is a channel that is ubiquitous in the cells lining the airway. Too much TMEM16A, like elevated levels of CLCA1, were also associated with the mucus-overproduction typical of airway diseases, including asthma and COPD.

The new research now has linked the two, demonstrating that increased expression of CLCA1 increases the number of TMEM16A channels present in nearby cells, according to Brett and his colleagues, including co-authors Colin G. Nichols, PhD, the Carl F. Cori Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology, Monica Sala-Rabanal, PhD, research instructor in medicine, and Zeynep Yurtsever, graduate research assistant.

"We don't think that CLCA1 actually opens the channel," Brett said. "In fact, the channel can function without CLCA1. We think it simply keeps the channel on the surface of the cells for a longer period of time. The reason you get more current is you have more channels there. You're just accumulating more holes for the ions to travel through. This is a unique finding. We don't know of any other examples of this type of interaction between a protein and a channel."

The study also suggests it may be worthwhile to investigate the larger families of these two proteins. If closely related members of these protein families also interact with each other, it could expand the implications to disorders as diverse as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

For example, TMEM16 channels and CLCA proteins have been associated with certain types of cancers including breast tumors that spread to the lungs and in some cardiovascular disorders such as irregular heart rhythms and heart failure, demonstrating a possible broad impact of future work in this area. 

Brett said the team is continuing to study these interactions to learn more about how increasing or decreasing expression of the protein or the channel may influence the currents, and what impact that may have in airway diseases. 

"In conditions leading to too much mucus, we may be interested in designing ways to block these currents or reduce them," Brett said. "On the flip side, these channel currents may be able to compensate for the genetic defect in cystic fibrosis, which causes mucus that is too thick and sticky. In this case, we may be interested in activating them or dialing them up."
Source:Washington University School of Medicine,/Journal eLife

Magnets Used as Tracers to Track and Treat Cancer Cells Effectively

A new cyclotron facility is launched by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's Radiology Department, that will help create isotopes used in imaging, cancer research and for tracking cancers in the body.

The facility, part of the Bill and Rita Clements Advanced Medical Imaging Building on the North Campus near the Moncrief Radiation Oncology Building, uses magnets to generate radioactive isotopes that are used as tracers. These can help detect where treatments should be focused or help oncologists track how well therapies are working.

"While it is planned for translational and clinical research, this new technology will ultimately result in more effective patient care," said Dr.Xiankai Sun, Director of UT Southwestern's Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Program, and Associate Professor of Radiology and the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC).

The cyclotron produces short-lived radioisotopes, emitting positrons - the key to PET (positron-emission tomography) scans, which are used in diagnosis and planning treatment for many types of cancer. Cancerous cells can be revealed by PET scans with imaging probes synthesized from the radioisotopes, allowing the physicians and imaging specialists to track them, or see whether, after a therapy is given, the cancer is responding to therapy.

"Positron-emission tomography, enabled by short-lived radio-tracers produced by an on-site cyclotron, is an important, non-invasive, medical imaging tool for disease diagnosis, staging, and post-therapy evaluation," said Dr.Sun, who holds the Dr.Jack Krohmer Professorship in Radiation Physics.

 Because the isotopes don't have a long lifespan - some as short as two minutes - they can be difficult to transport. Producing them on site can allow more scanning opportunities and more types of isotopes to be produced for expanded research endeavors. It also helps reduce costs otherwise associated with transporting them.

"The cyclotron makes short-lived, biomedical radioisotopes readily available on campus, alleviating current challenges in obtaining such radioisotopes from another location, and significantly expanding the basic science and clinical research opportunities through PET," Dr.Sun said.

The cyclotron is expected to aid in a wide variety of studies and clinical trials research across many disciplines, including Radiology, the Advanced Imaging Research Center, the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cardiology, Immunology, Psychiatry, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, and areas involving diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia.

"Developing the full potential of PET will contribute to UT Southwestern's determination to build a world-class imaging research program, and boost the existing recognized strengths of UT Southwestern in biology, genetics, metabolism, and cancer research," said Dr.Neil Rofsky, Chairman of Radiology and Director of Translational Research for UT Southwestern's Advanced Imaging Research Center.

Magnets Used as Tracers to Track and Treat Cancer Cells Effectively"With the cyclotron as a new core resource, scientists, engineers, and medical professionals across disciplines will be able to work together toward the development and implementation of the latest imaging technologies for better patient care," said Dr.Rofsky, who holds the Effie and Wofford Cain Distinguished Chair in Diagnostic Imaging. "While there is strong emphasis on cancer applications, the products we create from the cyclotron will enable discoveries that span across multiple areas of medicine and physiology." 

The Radiology Department's Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Program was established to leverage the cutting-edge imaging technology of positron-emission tomography for biomedical research, under the auspices of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and UT Southwestern, with important input from the Advanced Imaging Research Center and its Director, Dr. Dean Sherry, Professor of Radiology and with the AIRC at UT Southwestern, and Professor of Chemistry at UT Dallas, where he holds the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology. 

The technology is especially suited for understanding cancer initiation and progression mechanisms, intermediary metabolism of cancer cells, prognostic evaluation of cancer patients, and eventually the early and individualized diagnosis and corresponding efficacious treatment of cancer.
University of Texas 

Maternal Age at Childbirth Linked to Baby Boy's Diabetes Risk

The mother's age at childbirth may affect her baby boy's birth weight as well as his adult glucose metabolism, reveals a new research.


Charlotte Verroken of Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium, said that their findings indicate that women giving birth at a very young (under 25 years) or older (over 34 years) age might result in less favorable sugar handling and thus possibly higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes in their sons. 

Maternal age at childbirth tends to be increasing worldwide, but studies investigating the effects of this trend on the metabolic health of the offspring are scarce. Whether or not and how this affects children is relatively unknown, but current thinking is that part of the association between maternal age and insulin resistance may be related to the tendency of birth weight to increase as maternal age rises. 

Verroken added that they found that in a group of healthy men between 25 and 45 years old, sugar handling was related to their mother's age at childbirth, specifically, sons of mothers under 30 and over 34 years old at childbirth were more insulin resistant than were sons of mothers between 30 and 34 years old. 

Verroken continued that moreover, sons of mothers who were younger than 25 years old at childbirth had higher fasting blood sugar levels than sons of older mothers. 

The researchers determined that the men's total cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels in fasting serum samples and they evaluated insulin resistance. After adjusting for adult age and body mass index, they found that, as the mother's age increased, the baby's birth weight increased and his fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance values decreased. 

The sons of mothers aged 30 to 34 at childbirth had significantly lower fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance values compared to sons of mothers in the other age groups, while sons of mothers aged under 25 years of age had higher fasting glucose levels compared to sons of mothers aged 30 through 34, and sons of mothers aged 35 and above. 

These associations were independent of adult age, birth weight and body mass index. No associations were found between maternal age and body composition, blood pressure or cholesterol levels. The authors called for further research before these conclusions can be generalized.
Ghent University Hospital 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Salty Food Has Adverse Effects on Your Organs

High dietary sodium has adverse effects on multiple target organs and tissues including the blood vessels,heart, kidneys and brain; and this happens even in the absence of high blood pressure, 
revealed a review 
paper co-authored by two faculty members in the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences and 
two physicians at Christiana Care Health System.

Potential effects of high dietary sodium intake on the arteries include reduced function of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels. Endothelial cells mediate several processes, including coagulation, platelet adhesion and immune function. Excess dietary sodium can also increase arterial stiffness. 

The scientists found that high dietary sodium can also lead to left ventricular hypertrophy, or enlargement of the muscle tissue that makes up the wall of the heart's main pumping chamber. The study findings suggest that high sodium is associated with reduced renal function, a decline observed with only a minimal increase in blood pressure. High sodium may also affect the sympathetic nervous system, which activates what is often termed the fight-or-flight response. 

Author William Weintraub said, "Approximately 70 percent of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods, including items that we don't typically think of as salty such as breads and cereals. Also, restaurant food typically contains more salt than dishes prepared at home, so eating out less can help reduce salt intake, especially if herbs and spices-instead of salt-are used to add flavor to home-cooked meals." 

Source:The paper has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


New 'MIND Diet' can Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease

New 'MIND Diet' can Protect Against Alzheimer's DiseaseA new diet, known as MIND, could significantly lower a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The 'Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay' (MIND) diet has been developed by Rush nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD, and colleagues. It has been found to lower Alzheimer's disease risk by 53% in people who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35% in those who followed it moderately well, revealed a paper published in the journal, Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both these diet plans have previously been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Some researchers have also found evidence that the two older diets provide protection against dementia. 

The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 'brain-healthy food groups', green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine, and five unhealthy groups that comprise red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food. With the MIND diet, a person eats at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day, along with a glass of wine; snacks most days on nuts, has beans every other day or so, eats poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. However, the intake of unhealthy foods has to be limited, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three). 

In the latest study, the MIND diet was compared with the Mediterranean and DASH diet. People with high adherence to the DASH and Mediterranean diets also had reductions in Alzheimer's disease, 39% with the DASH diet and 54% with the Mediterranean diet, but got negligible benefits from moderate adherence to either of the two other diets. The researchers also revealed that unlike the Mediterranean diet which calls for daily consumption of fish and 3-4 daily servings of each of fruits and vegetables, the MIND diet was easier to follow.
The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

Facebook Badge