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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Ayush cluster of Karnataka Ayurpark sees 18 cos utilize facilities for manufacture of herbal products

The Ayush cluster of Karnataka Ayurpark Healthcare Ltd, which was funded by the Centre, has attracted 18 companies which are using the dedicated facility for manufacture and product testing of herbal formulations.

The companies which have set base here include Natural Remedies, Surya Life Sciences, Prakruti Health Products, Zen Labs, SKM Pharma and Aditi Bio Life.

While Natural Remedies is engaged in the production of 10 products, Aditi Bio Life is scheduled to produce 7 formulations. These companies have already received licenses for manufacture from the Karnataka Directorate of Ayush and there are several more seeking the required permissions from the regulator, JSD Pani, president, Karnataka Indian Medicine Manufacturers Association (KIMMA) told Pharmabiz.

The Park, located at Malur Industrial area near Bengaluru, has a membership strength of 56 manufacturing units out of the 198 companies in Karnataka . It has all the modern technological facilities for tableting, encapsulation and making ointments and oral liquids. Once the operation of the cluster started, the ayurveda medicines will get a modern industry status through its presentation and for that the manufacturing process is to be modernized. Shortly, each drug in the traditional systems will have a data of clinical validation and it will come out through good manufacturing process and good packing, he added.

The Common Facility Centre, which is a combination of manufacture and testing laboratory, had commenced commercial operation on October 15, 2014. The project established under the Central Sector Scheme for development of the Ayush Industry Clusters was a national agenda driven by the Department of Ayush, in 2007 as a part of 11th Plan.

The total project outlay was Rs.21 crore out of which government of India grant is Rs.10 crore, Rs.4 crore is from equity of the herbal industry members and the remaining Rs.7 crore is from the Karnataka State Financial Corporation.

The built-up are area of the Common Facility Centre is 45,000 sq ft. It is equipped with the sophisticated instruments like HPTLC, HPLC, FTIR, GC, AAS, to name a few. The total investment for the instrumentation was Rs.2 crore, said Pani adding that the quality control lab is set up to provide microbiology, chemistry testing among other to enable the herbal companies adhere to international standards.

Ayush industries in Karnataka, who are using this quality control lab to test the raw materials and finished products as well as development of new products, can now save on the cost of investment, said Pani.

New Homeopathic Drug for Treatment of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

 New Homeopathic Drug for Treatment of Multi-Drug Resistant TuberculosisTuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease. Although it is treatable with antibiotics, growing anti-tuberculosis drug resistance is posing a major public health problem that threatens progress made in tuberculosis care and control worldwide. Dr. Rajesh Shah, a world-renowned homeopath and secretary of Global Homeopathy Foundation, along with Abhay Chowdhury, famous virologist and director of Haffkine Institute, Mumbai, have developed a new drug from tuberculosis germs for the patients of the dreaded infectious disease. The homeopathic drug developed by the duo is likely to add value to the treatment of tuberculosis, including Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis patients.

Homeopathic medicines called 'Nosodes' are prepared from organisms, including the bacteria and virus responsible for diphtheria, smallpox, measles, and the like; and are in practice long before the vaccines came into existence. Dr. Shah said, "The new method developed by our team is modern and scientific. The new medicine is sourced from current strains of tuberculosis, including the MDR-TB. Medicines prepared from deadly germs can help treat many diseases and the method has been followed for years in developing vaccines. This is the first time that the germ-based drug has been made applicable to TB and it is safe for human consumption. The new nosode prepared from the current strains of tuberculosis organisms is useful for improving the immune system of the patients who may be prone to frequent respiratory infections. It will support the conventional treatment of tuberculosis and can be used along with the allopathic medicines." 

Dr. Shah will present his research paper at the two-day World Homeopathy Summit organized by the Global Homeopathy Foundation from April 11 in Mumbai. Dr. Shah said, "Homeopaths and conventional doctors from across 25 countries would participate in the event. The stream has proved to be extremely beneficial for several health problems. Homeopathy and allopathy are like twin sisters in healthcare. These are two ways of treating patients. They are actually complementary to each other and not contrary or competitive to each other. Some diseases are treated more effectively with allopathy while some are treated better using homeopathy."

Ayurveda Treatment for Developmental Disorders

Kerala Health Minister, V.S. Sivakumar, said, "Ayurveda expertise and care for the treatment of various developmental disorders in children, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) will be made available at major Ayurveda hospitals in the State."
 Ayurveda Treatment for Developmental Disorders

Minister Sivakumar inaugurated a scheme that provides Ayurveda treatment for developmental disorders in children, launched in the pediatric division of the Poojappura Ayurveda Hospital for Women and Children, under the Government Ayurveda College, Trivandrum on March 26. "Step will be taken to strengthen the pediatric wing in Ayurveda hospitals," he said.

A screening programme for identifying development disorders in children was also inaugurated by the Minister. A total number of 103 children below ten years of age were screened. Sixty were detected with cerebral palsy, twenty six were diagnosed with autism, seven were found to be hyperactive, another five had Down's Syndrome and seven children were found to have mental retardation.

Source:Desk News

New Research Reveals Walnuts Can Positively Affect Our Overall Health

Multiple new research abstracts suggest walnuts may have the potential to positively affect several important health factors. From their impact on colon cancer and certain aspects of cognitive aging, to their positive effect on both gut health and vascular health, the research findings detail our latest understanding of walnuts' inner workings.
New Research Reveals Walnuts Can Positively Affect Our Overall Health
Running March 28 through April 1 in Boston, this annual meeting attracts an international audience of over 14,000 leading research scientists and exhibitors. 

Dennis A. Balint, CEO, California Walnut Commission, said that the findings help advance the understanding of the many advantages of eating walnuts as part of a healthy diet, and add to the more than 159 published papers over 20 years that have shown how walnuts affect heart health, diabetes, cancer, cognition, fertility and weight management. 

The following summaries share the latest findings: 

Colon Cancer: This cell study, conducted for the first time showed that walnut extract significantly slowed the survival of the cancer stem cells as well as reduced the stemness of colon cancer stem cells. Given the results, researchers state there is reason to further explore the role of walnut consumption in colon cancer therapies targeting cancer stem cells. 

Gut Health: A recent animal study looked at the effect of walnuts on two major gut bacteria communities. A diet with walnuts significantly altered the ratio of the two communities, therefore suggesting "a new mechanism, changing the gut microbial environment, by which walnuts may exert their beneficial health effects." As this study was performed on animals, however, findings cannot yet be implied for humans. 

Aging/Brain Health: According to the researchers, incorporating walnuts into one's diet may have protective effects on the aging brain. As this study was performed on animals, however, findings cannot yet be implied for humans. 

Vascular Health: A study of postmenopausal women with high cholesterol looked at the short-term impact of walnut consumption. The group that ate 40 grams, or 1.5 ounces, of walnuts per day saw improved vascular function. The study concludes this improvement is due to the effects from the walnut-derived fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). 

Experimental Biology 2015.
Watch Live Video on Medicinal importance of Walnut:

What happened to lunch? New study shows skipping lunch common in children

 According to new analysis of data from the 2009-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that evaluated eating patterns of 3,647 children ages 4-13 years, skipping lunch is a common practice among children and adolescents, with 13% of younger children and 17% of 9-13 year olds skipping lunch on a given day. The study found that the behavior persisted throughout the week with nearly a quarter (approximately 23%) of 9-13 year olds skipping lunch on the weekends. These findings, part of Nestlé's new Kids Nutrition & Health Study (KNHS), were presented today at a poster session entitled "What Happened to Lunch? Dietary Intakes of 4-13 Year Old Lunch Consumers and Non-Consumers in the United States" at the American Society of Nutrition conference.
These findings are of particular concern given that lunch skippers had lower intakes of nutrients, including calcium and fiber, than lunch consumers. In addition, the data show that for some children, the lunch meal was primarily responsible for the higher essential nutrient intakes of vitamin D, potassium and magnesium, as well as a nutrient of concern, sodium.
"We were concerned to see lunch skipping happening all week long and even more so on the weekends, with the largest group of skippers being girls 9-13 years of age. Lunch skippers are missing out on some key nutrients essential for growth and development," said the lead author of the study, Kevin Mathias, PhD and Scientist at the Nestlé Research Center. "This study highlights an opportunity for both government and the food industry to develop new strategies to encourage children and adolescents to consume a healthy lunch."
Nestlé Expands Research Commitment
The new data is part of Nestlé's KNHS, research initiated in 2012 that builds on ten years of comprehensive infant and toddler nutrition research in the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS). These studies form a consolidated body of research that provides snapshots of eating patterns, nutrient intakes, child lifestyle and behavioral factors, and healthy weight indicators of children ages 0-12, a period thought to be the critical habit-forming years that will impact health throughout the life course.
By the end of 2016, Nestlé's KNHS and FITS research will be underway in ten countries including the United States, China and Mexico. Over time, these ongoing studies will provide important country-specific and global information on infant and child nutrition to inform solutions that address their nutritional needs. This information will be shared in scientific forums over several years to help inform public health communities around the world.
Nestlé has utilized findings from FITS to improve products to help address unmet nutritional needs of infants and toddlers, such as adjusting the composition of Gerber Graduates meals to address a lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet.

"As we have demonstrated by increasing fruits and vegetables, reducing sodium, and adding more whole grains and healthy fats to many products in our Gerber portfolio," said Timothy A. Morck, PhD, Vice President of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs at Nestlé Corporate Affairs, "Nestlé will rely on FITS and KNHS learnings to continually improve the nutritional profiles of our products that address unmet nutritional needs, as well as communications, programs and services to inform health care providers, parents and caregivers."

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Scientists discover why flowers bloom earlier in a warming climate

IMAGEScientists at the John Innes Centre have discovered why the first buds of spring come increasingly earlier as the climate changes.
Dr Steven Penfield at the JIC found that plants have an ideal temperature for seed set and flower at a particular time of year to make sure their seed develops just as the weather has warmed to this 'sweet spot' temperature.
Dr Penfield, working with Dr Vicki Springthorpe at the University of York, found the sweet spot for the model plant Arabidposis thaliana is between 14-15?C. Seeds that develop in temperatures lower than 14?C will almost always remain dormant and fail to germinate. This allows the mother plant to produce seeds with different growth strategies, increasing the chances that some of her progeny will successfully complete another generation.
As the climate changes the sweet spot for seeds comes earlier in the year, so first flowers bloom correspondingly earlier too.
The research which received funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC) and is published in eLife today, used computer models to understand the growth strategy of Arabidopsis thaliana. The underlying principle of a very sensitive temperature sweet spot is likely to apply to many flowering plants. This would mean that certain plants have different flowering times due to different but equally narrow temperature sensitivity windows.
Dr Penfield said: "We found that setting seed at the correct temperature is vital to ensure normal germination. It seems that plants aim to flower not at a particular time of year, but when the optimal temperature for seed set is approaching. If the climate warms plants are clever enough to recognise this and adjust their flowering time accordingly and it feels like spring comes earlier in the year."

Pesticides in fruit and vegetables linked to semen quality

The first study to investigate the relationship between eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues and the quality of men's semen has shown a link with lower sperm counts and percentages of normally-formed sperm.
The study, which is published online today (Tuesday) in Human Reproduction [1], one of the world's leading reproductive medicine journals, shows that men who ate the highest amount of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had a 49% lower sperm count and a 32% lower percentage of normally-formed sperm than men who consumed the least amount. An accompanying editorial says the findings have important implications for human health. [2]
However, the study of 155 men showed that, overall, the total amount of fruit and vegetables consumed was unrelated to changes in any measurements of semen quality in the group as a whole.
Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston (USA), Jorge Chavarro, said: "These findings should not discourage the consumption of fruit and vegetables in general. In fact, we found that total intake of fruit and vegetables was completely unrelated to semen quality. This suggests that implementing strategies specifically targeted at avoiding pesticide residues, such as consuming organically-grown produce or avoiding produce known to have large amounts of residues, may be the way to go."
Previous studies have shown that occupational exposure to pesticides might have an effect on semen quality, but so far there has been little investigation of the effects of pesticides in diet.
Prof Chavarro, his student Dr Yu-Han Chiu and colleagues analysed 338 semen samples from 155 men attending a fertility centre between 2007-2012 as part of the ongoing, prospective "Environment and Reproductive Health" (EARTH) Study. The men were eligible for the study if they were aged 18-55, had not had a vasectomy, and were part of a couple planning to use their own eggs and sperm for fertility treatment.
The men's diet was assessed by means of a food frequency questionnaire, and they were asked how often, on average, they had consumed how many portions of fruit and vegetables, using standard portion sizes such as one apple, or half an avocado.
The fruit and vegetables were categorised as being high, moderate or low in pesticide residues based on data from the annual United States Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program. Fruit or vegetables that were low in pesticide residues included peas, beans, grapefruit and onions. Those that had high residues included peppers, spinach, strawberries, apples and pears. These data took account of usual practice in food preparation, such as whether the fruit and vegetables had been peeled and washed. [3]
The researchers divided the men into four groups, ranging from those who ate the greatest amount of fruit and vegetables high in pesticides residues (1.5 servings or more a day) to those who ate the least amount (less than half a serving a day). They also looked at men who ate fruit and vegetables with low-to-moderate pesticide residues.
The group of men with the highest intake of pesticide-heavy fruit and vegetables had an average total sperm count of 86 million sperm per ejaculate compared to men eating the least who had an average of 171 million sperm per ejaculate - a 49% reduction. The percentage of normally formed sperm was an average of 7.5% in men in the group with the lowest intake and 5.1% in the men with the highest intake - a relative decrease of 32%.
There were no differences seen between men in the four groups who consumed fruit and vegetables with low-to-moderate pesticide residues. In fact, there was a significant trend towards having a higher percentage of normally shaped sperm among men who consumed the most fruit and vegetables with low pesticide residues - a relative increase of 37% from 5.7% to 7.8%. [4]
The authors write in their paper: "To our knowledge, this is the first report on the consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue in relation to semen quality." They continue: "These findings suggest that exposure to pesticides used in agricultural production through diet may be sufficient to affect spermatogenesis in humans."
However, they point out that there are a number of limitations to the study and further research is needed. "Studies of men presenting to fertility clinics like this one do over-represent men with semen quality problems. In our study almost half of the men had one or more semen parameters below the World Health Organization reference limits. Because of this, it is not possible to know whether our findings can be generalised to men in the general population. In particular, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of how large the effect in the general population might be," said Prof Chavarro.
In addition, diet was only assessed once and could have changed over time. The researchers did not have information on whether or not the food was grown conventionally or organically, and the exposure to pesticides could have been misclassified as it was not measured precisely for every individual man.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr Hagai Levine, Visiting Scientist, from Hebrew University-Hadassah, Israel, and Professor Shanna Swan, Professor of Preventive Medicine, who are both at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (USA), write: "Despite the relatively small sample size and exposure assessment limitations, the paper makes a convincing case that dietary exposure to pesticides can adversely impact semen quality. While this finding will need to be replicated in other settings and populations, it carries important health implications."
They point out that poor semen quality "is the leading cause of unsuccessful attempts to achieve pregnancy and one of the most common medical problems among young has been suggested as an important marker of male health, predicting both morbidity and mortality... it is sensitive to environmental exposures, including endocrine disrupting chemicals, heat and life-style factors, such as diet...Therefore, it can provide a sensitive marker of the impacts of modern environment on human health."

Swadeshi Jagaran Manch asks govt to reconstitute IPR Think Tank to remove conflict of interest

The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, a public interest group, has demanded to the Union commerce ministry to reconstitute the Think Tank on IPR to remove the conflict of interest and also to ensure the involvement of academics especially with exposure to development economics, industrial policy, technology policy and innovation. 
In a letter to minister of commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman, the Manch pointed out that there is conflict of interest among the members of the Think Tank. The Convenor of the Think Tank Y K Sabarwal, an ex WIPO bureaucrat, is the Convenor of the IPR Committee of FICCI, a body dominated by multinational companies. His membership in the Think Tank compromises its neutrality. Similarly another member Prathiba Singh appears for telecom and pharmaceutical multinational firms also raises serious concern of conflict interest.  The conflict of interest of these members of the Think Tank would act as a barrier to draw a National IPR Policy to address the development needs of the nation.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in November last year had constituted a IPR Think Tank to draft the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy and to advice the DIPP on IPR issues.
Justice (Retd) Prabha Sridevan is the chairperson of the IPR Think Tank. Other members of the IPR Think Tank include Pratibha M. Singh, Senior Advocate; Punita Bhargava, Advocate, Inventure IP; Dr. Unnat Pandit, Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited; Rajeev Srinivasan, Director, Asian School of Business, Thiruvananthapuram; and Narendra K. Sabarwal, Retired DDG, WIPO. 
In the letter, the Manch also demanded to the commerce ministry to reorient the approach of the Think Tank and National IPR Policy to address the technological and development needs of the nation and also to put an end to the unreasonable hurry in the formulation of National IPR Policy and commission studies and consultations to identify the development and technological needs of the nation. The Manch also asked the ministry to direct the reconstituted IP Think Tank to identify the suboptimal flexibilities in the national IP regime and make recommendation to optimise the use of flexibilities. 
The Manch also expressed concern on the draft IPR Policy released by the IPR Think Tank recently. 

“The draft policy seriously undermines India’s technological progress in critical areas to address the development challenges of the nation. It is a well-recognised fact that in spite of technological progress in areas such as space technology and pharmaceuticals, India is technologically dependent on several critical areas especially to revival of manufacturing sector, which is necessary to transform the economy. The current scenario calls for a series of policy measures to facilitate technology catching up and dissemination to promote domestic entrepreneurship across the various sectors of the economy. Therefore the domestic IP regime should play a facilitative role to support technology catching up and dissemination” Swadeshi Jagaran Manch's co-convenor AshwaniMahajan in the letter said.


Mega study on ayurveda's healing powers

Perhaps for the first time leading research and medical institutions in the US-Harvard University, Scripps Clinic, University of California San Diego, Mt Sinai University , University of California San Francisco and Duke University -are collaborating on a project to study ayurveda's healing powers. 

Called the `Self-Directed Biological Transformation Initiative (SBTI) Research Study', the study is being conducted at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in California. The center, run by wellness expert Deepak Chopra, had earlier conducted a smaller study to examine the effects of meditation and yoga on gene expression. 

"The findings from the older study showed that a week of meditation and yoga practice led to an increase in expression of genes that support rejuvenation of the body , a reduction in expression of genes associated with the stress response, and a large increase in telomerase levels (an enzyme that helps maintain structural identity of genes)," says Chopra. 

In the SBTI study , researchers will be analyzing the impact of ayurvedic treatments on participants' genes, certain hormones as sociated with metabolism and mood change, bacteria present in the gut and on the skin, inflammation markers, weight, stress makers etc. "The body's healing system is still little understood because of the complex inputs -thoughts, emotions, diet, stress, exercise, immune response -that affect healing. The picture is further clouded when isolated findings overlap or contradict one another. In the context of ayurveda, therapies and practices aren't done in isolation. Instead of focusing on local symptoms, the diagnosis is systemic.Only now is Western medicine beginning to understand that a blanket condition like `stress' or `inflammation' connects many diverse disorders, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes," says Chopra. 

Ayurveda is widely practised and followed in India. There are 2,458 ayurveda hospitals running in India under the government's directorate of Ayush (Ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha and homoeopathy). However since there have been few scientific studies on the safety and efficacy of the system in the West, it is often perceived as a pseudoscience there. Dr Rudolf Tanzi, a professor at the Harvard University and a co-researcher at the SBTI study , says that this perception is now changing. 

"Any scientist of worth will admit that most of time we are wrong. Just look back at science 100 years ago and ask how much is still correct today. Why would this not continue to be the case 100 years from now? Thus, it makes sense to look back to ancient remedies and wisdom, for example, as prescribed in ayurvedic medicine. So far, the results ranging from the effects of meditation on beneficial gene activity to ashwagandha on Alzheimer's pathology are certainly looking sufficiently promising to continue," says Tanzi who specializes in researching gene mutations linked to Alzheimer's Disease. 

The study also has the potential to throw light on which brain-function related genes and chemicals are turned "on" or turned "off " by an ayurvedic diet and lifestyle."That type of information can help us not only better establish how ayurveda works at a cellular level but also how best to integrate it into a modern healthy lifestyle," says Dr Murali Doraiswamy , professor at Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and coresearcher on the study . 


Eat Lettuce to Gain Maximum Health Benefits

Mixing lettuce varieties could help provide protection against the chain reactions of free radicals, molecules that can cause cell damage and generate various diseases, reveals a study.

The findings, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, said that mixing lettuce, one of the indispensable vegetables in the Mediterranean diet, could be a good idea as not all lettuce varieties have the same antioxidant effect. 

The researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in Spain and the University of Pisa in Italy analysed the compounds of three lettuce varieties: the green-leaf 'Batavia', the semi-red-leaf 'Marvel of Four Seasons', and the red-leaf 'Oak Leaf'. 

Using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) techniques, they were able to observe the behaviour of the speed (kinetics) of the antioxidant compounds of each variety. 

The results showed that the green-leaf lettuce contains water-soluble, antioxidant compounds that act at a slow and intermediate speed, the red-leaf one has compounds with intermediate and rapid kinetics, and the semi-red-leaf one has three kinds of compounds, with a rapid, intermediate and slow speed. 

"The fact that there are compounds that act at different speeds does not mean that some are better or worse than others," said Usue Perez-Lopez, researcher at UPV/EHU. 

It is also important that our bodies should acquire foods with antioxidants that have slower kinetics so that the latter will continue to act over a longer period of time. 

"That is why people say that it is very interesting to mix different types of lettuce because they have different, complementary characteristics," Perez-Lopez added. 

Free radicals harm our body by causing, in the best of cases, ageing and, in the worse, serious diseases. 

Lettuce is rich in antioxidants, as it contains compounds like phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins and vitamins A and C, among other things, the researchers said.

Basque Country (UPV/EHU) 

Monday, 30 March 2015

NRDC-CCRAS Sign Pact To Commercialise Ayurvedic Medicine

National Research Development Corporation, NRDC has signed a pact with Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, CCRAS to commercialise ayurvedic medicines.
The scope of the Memorandum of Agreement also includes providing Intellectual Property Rights services to CCRAS in India and abroad.
ayurvedicCCRAS, an autonomous organisation under the Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is an apex Body in India constituted for the formulation, co-ordination, development and promotion of research in Ayurveda on scientific lines while NDRC functions under the ageis of Ministry of Science and Technology.
The Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Chairman and Managing Director, NRDC H Purushotham and Director General, CCRAS Abhimanyu Kumar.
Speaking on the occasion, Purushotham, said that NRDC has already transferred more than 10 technologies developed at CCRAS to more than 50 entrepreneurs and industry which has helped both the organisations to earn a substantial amount of revenue.
He also said that a number of Ayurvedic Medicines developed at CCRAS and commercialised by NRDC are available to the public for the treatment of different diseases at an affordable price like Anti Malarial drug, Balrasayan, tonic for children.
Commenting on the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, Abhimanyu Kumar appreciated the efforts made by NRDC for transferring a number of technologies developed at the different laboratories of CCRAS to a number of organisations in India.

IPA asks govt to take immediate measures to curb the menace of misuse of prescription drugs

Concerned by the growing incidence of misuse of prescription drugs throughout the country, the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) has asked the government to take immediate measures to curb the menace. It has asked the Centre to come out with short, medium and long term strategies to curb this problem in a phased manner with active involvement of all the stakeholders.

The IPA having already chalked out an action plan to tackle this issue recently proposed and offered its full support to work with the government. The Association pointed out that it can play a major role in educating pharmacists and the pharmacy staff on various aspects relating to drug use, which if done in partnership with the government can be taken to a higher level.

As per the Drugs & Cosmetics Act and Rules, the retail sale of certain medicines like Schedule H, Schedule X, Schedule H1 through pharmacies, medical stores, chemists and druggists can be done only against a valid prescription. Due to potential risk of side effects, habit forming, misuse, etc, these drugs are labelled with warning, which almost on all incidences are blatantly ignored.

The Association strongly feels that lack of effective regulatory implementation either due to insufficient regulatory officers to carry out routine inspections or the corrupt practices prevalent in the system has played a major role in the same.

Thus keeping in mind the current situation, IPA has urged the Centre to strengthen the regulatory mechanism, while at the same time create awareness about dangers of the same among the masses as well.  They insisted on having stringent punishments for those regulatory officers not discharging their duties, along side erring chemists and retail shops as well for breach of rules.  

While at the same time the association also pointed out that pro- active measure is also needed to be taken to regulate and curb the wrong use of online availability of drugs. IPA stressed that its campaign for awareness on responsible use of medicines also called CARUM, a public awareness can be made into a massive campaign with the involvement of the government and other stakeholders.


Sources informed that availability of prescription (Rx) medicines without the same is leading to not only irrational use of medicines in India but also increased medication errors, adverse drug reactions (ADRs), rise in morbidity and mortality, delays in diagnosis  and antimicrobial resistance and emergence of super bugs.

Have A Bowl of 'Cereal' in the Morning to Increase Your Lifespan

Make sure to have a bowl of cereal in the morning if you want to have a longer life, as new study has indicated that cereal fiber are potentially protective component for a longer and healthy life.

The Harvard School of Public Health research, which included over 367,000 AARP members, aged 50 to 71 years, from 6 states and two large cities, found that people who had a diet rich in cereal fiber in the morning, lived longer as compared to those who didn't, the CNN reported. 

The results showed that people who had more amount of cereal fiber had 19% reduced risk of death as compared to those who had less. It was also found that high fiber cereal eaters had a 34% lower risk of death from diabetes, and a 15% reduced risk of death from cancer. People who ate a lot of whole grains and dietary fiber had a 17% lower risk of all-cause mortality. 

It was concluded that cereal fiber led to a really healthy and premature death-preventing diet. One needed to eat at least 10.22 grams of cereal fiber per day based on a 1,000 kcal daily diet. 

Lori Zanini, a dietitian, said that no animal product naturally had fiber and it was the cell walls of plants from where fiber came from. 

Source:The study is published in BMC Medicine.


Hormone fosters bond between parents

Research has discovered a role for prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production in nursing mothers, in the bond between parents.
The study relied on hormone analyses of urine from cotton-top tamarins, a small, endangered monkey native to Colombia. They live in monogamous family groups where both parents help care for the young, which is similar to humans.
The study found a link between prolactin levels and sexual activity and cuddling among paired adults. Although this was a first for prolactin, it has previously been found for oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates childbirth and is linked to a range of pleasurable emotions.
Prolactin levels were high among pairs that frequently had sex and cuddled and low among mothers that had finished nursing, even though their infants remained nearby.
"The fathers are so busy taking care of the kids, they probably had less time for cuddling and interacting with their partners," says first author Charles Snowdon, an emeritus professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. "When you look at mothers who had lower prolactin, they had less sex with their partners."
The results, just published in the online journal PLoS One, add to the growing number of parallels between oxytocin and prolactin.
"The behavioral aspects of prolactin have received less study than those of oxytocin," Snowdon says.
By elaborating on the picture of hormonal activity in pair bonding, the study sheds light on the critical role hormones play in rewarding behavior related to monogamy.
The discovery about 25 years ago that oxytocin had an important role in pair bonding "was a conceptual breakthrough that oxytocin was not just about parenting, or the mother-infant bond, but about the pair bond between the adults," Snowdon says. "Now we are finding something similar for prolactin, which is a hormone with different physical effects."
The discovery in other studies of high prolactin levels among males who care for infants (in humans and other primates) made prolactin seem likely to be causing the parenting behavior.
But Snowdon says he and co-author Toni Ziegler of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center believe prolactin may be a result of parenting instead. "Maybe it's not serving as a mechanism to drive parental care, but it's a consequence, a reward for parental care."
The idea that prolactin and oxytocin may supply rewards was reinforced by a German study that found a burst of both hormones when men and women reached orgasm while making love. "This suggested to me that prolactin may, among other things, function as a reward mechanism for sex," Snowdon says.
There is other evidence that prolactin has a role in reward circuits, Snowdon says. "Prolactin inhibits arousing chemicals in our nervous system, reducing our desire."
The non-invasive study was performed on a tamarin colony that lived in the UW-Madison psychology department. In 2008, the colony was closed and the animals were transferred to zoos, sanctuaries and other colleges.
The recognition that two hormones play parallel roles in pair bonding for both sexes in a range of mammals accords with other trends in hormones and parental behavior, Snowdon says. "There is an amazing overlap between prolactin and oxytocin. It's logical to assume that the same hormones and brain areas are involved in controlling a behavior that is as important to survival as parenting and pair bonding. We're discovering that a good pair bond is a precursor for good paternal care in humans as well as monkeys."

Short bouts of high-intensity exercise before a fatty meal best for vascular health

A short burst of intensive exercise before eating a high fat meal is better for blood vessel function in young people than the currently recommended moderate-intensity exercise, according to a new study from the University of Exeter.
Cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks and stroke are the leading cause of death in the UK, and the process underlying these diseases start in youth. An impairment in the function of blood vessels is thought to be the earliest event in this process, and this is known to occur in the hours after consuming a high fat meal.
Performing exercise before a high fat meal is known to prevent this impairment in blood vessel function, but no study has yet identified what type of exercise is best.
The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, compared high-intensity, interval exercise against moderate-intensity exercise on blood vessel function in adolescent boys and girls after they had consumed a high fat milkshake.
It showed that approximately 25 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling prevented the fall in blood vessel function after the high fat meal. However, performing just eight minutes of high-intensity cycling not only prevented this fall, but improved blood vessel function to a level that was superior to moderate-intensity exercise.
Dr Alan Barker, of the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre, Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, said: "Our study shows that the intensity of exercise plays an important part in protecting blood vessel function in young people after the ingestion of a high fat meal."
"Furthermore, both the boys and girls found the high-intensity exercise to be more enjoyable than the moderate-intensity exercise. Considering that very few adolescents currently achieve the recommended minimum of one hour of at least moderate-intensity exercise per day, smaller amounts of exercise performed at a higher-intensity might offer an attractive alternative to improve blood vessel function in adolescents."
The researchers say the next step is to move the work beyond healthy adolescents and study those with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as obesity and type I diabetes.

3-D human skin maps aid study of relationships between molecules, microbes and environment

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences used information collected from hundreds of skin swabs to produce three-dimensional maps of molecular and microbial variations across the body. These maps provide a baseline for future studies of the interplay between the molecules that make up our skin, the microbes that live on us, our personal hygiene routines and other environmental factors. The study, published March 30 by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help further our understanding of the skin's role in human health and disease.
"This is the first study of its kind to characterize the surface distribution of skin molecules and pair that data with microbial diversity," said senior author Pieter Dorrestein, PhD, professor of pharmacology in the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy. "Previous studies were limited to select areas of the skin, rather than the whole body, and examined skin chemistry and microbial populations separately."
To sample human skin nearly in its entirety, Dorrestein and team swabbed 400 different body sites of two healthy adult volunteers, one male and one female, who had not bathed, shampooed or moisturized for three days. They used a technique called mass spectrometry to determine the molecular and chemical composition of the samples. They also sequenced microbial DNA in the samples to identify the bacterial species present and map their locations across the body. The team then used MATLAB software to construct 3D models that illustrated the data for each sampling spot.
Despite the three-day moratorium on personal hygiene products, the most abundant molecular features in the skin swabs still came from hygiene and beauty products, such as sunscreen. According to the researchers, this finding suggests that 3D skin maps may be able to detect both current and past behaviors and environmental exposures. The study also demonstrates that human skin is not just made up of molecules derived from human or bacterial cells. Rather, the external environment, such as plastics found in clothing, diet, hygiene and beauty products, also contribute to the skin's chemical composition. The maps now allow these factors to be taken into account and correlated with local microbial communities.
"This is a starting point for future investigations into the many factors that help us maintain, or alter, the human skin ecosystem -- things like personal hygiene and beauty practices -- and how those variations influence our health and susceptibility to disease," Dorrestein said.

UF study finds vitamin D can affect pain, movement in obese osteoarthritis patients

Got milk? If you are overweight and have osteoarthritis, you may want to bone up on your dairy products that have vitamin D. According to a University of Florida study, higher levels of vitamin D may decrease pain and improve function in obese individuals with osteoarthritis.
Findings published in the January issue of The Clinical Journal of Pain indicate that obese individuals who suffer from osteoarthritis and have adequate vitamin D levels could walk, balance and rise from sitting to standing better than obese participants with insufficient vitamin D levels. The findings suggest an association between obesity and vitamin D status for tasks such as standing from a seated position.
"Adequate vitamin D may be significant to improving osteoarthritis pain because it affects bone quality and protects cell function to help reduce inflammation. Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphate concentration levels to keep bones strong," said lead author Toni L. Glover, an assistant professor in the UF College of Nursing, part of UF Health. "Increased pain due to osteoarthritis could limit physical activity, including outdoor activity, which would lead to both decreased vitamin D levels and increased obesity."
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time, causing pain, stiffness and loss of joint movement.
The researchers analyzed blood samples for vitamin D levels from a racially diverse group of 256 middle-aged and older adults. Participants also provided a self-report of knee osteoarthritis pain and completed functional performance tasks such as balance, walking and rising from sitting to standing. This study was part of a larger project that studies racial and ethnic differences in pain in individuals with osteoarthritis. Among the 126 obese participants, 68 were vitamin D-deficient while only 29 of the 130 non-obese participants were deficient, suggesting obesity is significantly associated with clinically relevant vitamin D deficiency.
Obesity is associated with vitamin D deficiency, knee osteoarthritis pain and poor functional performance. Vitamin D is stored in the liver and human fat cells, and previous research has shown that the larger fat amount in obese people can cause vitamin D to be stored instead of circulated in the body.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults ages 18-70 get 600 international units of vitamin D per day and adults over 71 get at least 800 international units of vitamin D per day. For context, an 8-ounce glass of fortified milk contains about 100 international units of calcium. Foods rich in vitamin D include salmon, tuna, sardines, shrimp, mushrooms, egg yolks and foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk and some cereals, yogurts and orange juices. The body also produces vitamin D through sun exposure, although it can be hard to get enough from the sun alone from the winter sun in some climates and sunscreens block the vitamin's production.
"Vitamin D is inexpensive, available over-the-counter and toxicity is fairly rare," Glover said. Older obese patients with chronic pain should discuss their vitamin D status with their primary care provider. If it's low, take a supplement and get judicious sun exposure."

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