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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Chapman University research on the yoga market from 1980 to the present

Research shows how meanings and practice of yoga changed as it was adapted by the US market
Beach Yoga - yoga PhotoResearchers in Chapman University's Argyros School of Business and Economics and their collaborators have just published a study on the evolution of yoga in the marketplace. Assistant Professor Gokcen Coskuner-Balli, Ph.D., co-authored the study, which examined how the meaning of yoga transformed in the past three decades. The results show that yoga became decreasingly associated with spirituality and increasingly associated with medicine and fitness. The study argues that the shift in the meanings are due to the changes in how yoga gurus are trained, market contests amongst different meanings and the distinct branding practices of small and big players in the market.
The study is timely as today, 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, up from 4.3 million in 2001. They spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, vacations and media; constituting an increase of 80 percent in just four years. The U.S. yoga market density has been increasing with yoga enterprises rising from 14,058 to 26,506 and the number of employers increasing from 58,525 to 112,890 during the 2004--2013 period.
"What we discovered was the U.S. yoga market delineated itself not only in the different types of yoga that emerged, but also in the logic behind why people do yoga," said Dr. Coskuner-Balli. "As multiple meanings and rule systems--or as what we refer to as'logics'-- co-exist in the marketplace, how to manage the demands from multiple constituents is a challenging task. Numerous logics exist in many fields including healthcare, finance, and education, to name a few. In our paper, we develop a managerial framework for managing conflicting demands that might exist amongst logics and conveying brand legitimacy," she continued.
Brief History of Yoga in the U.S.
The market drivers behind yoga are spirituality, medical, and fitness. Sources trace the beginning of yoga in the United States to Swami Vivekananda's speech representing Hinduism at the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. During the first half of the 20th century, yoga was construed mainly as a spiritual practice linked to mysticism, magic, and asceticism with religiophilosophical underpinnings and an emphasis on Raja yoga (the mental science) rather than Hatha yoga (physical yoga).
In the 1960s, a greater understanding of its health benefits and the diffusion of its physical component to the U.S. mainstream led to the demystification of yoga. In the 1970s, a more scientific understanding of yoga emerged, and it became a viable player in the field of mind-body medicine, particularly as a treatment method for youth gripped by the drug culture.
The spirituality approach to yoga is structured around the goal of enlightenment, with gurus (charismatic leaders that devotees look up to in their practice) as leaders. Early gurus were mainly of Indian descent, and were later followed by their U.S. disciples. The spirituality logic is translated into practice through chanting, meditation and reading of religious texts which is all aimed at enhancing self-awareness.
The medical approach is organized around the health benefits of yoga. The instructors are perceived as healers who help patients recover from injuries, manage pain and prevent chronic health problems. This is rooted in scientific study.
The fitness approach emphasizes physical benefits as the goal of yoga. Students perform yoga to condition their bodies and occasionally to improve their performance in other sports. This is rooted in kinesiology.
"Over the three decade analysis of the yoga market we found that it was decreasingly associated with the logic of spirituality and increasing associated with the medical and fitness logics," said Dr. Coskuner-Balli. "Commercialization also emerged and yoga became increasing commoditized with the rising coverage of yoga brands, gear, clothing, and retreats."
The medical approach was amplified as medical studies started examining and publishing the health benefits of yoga. The medical approach also got institutionalized with the founding of the U.S. government's lead agency for scientific research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 1998. Health practitioners, insurance companies and employers began to recognize yoga as a treatment form, which extended its health benefits to a broader range of consumers. Corporations such as Nike, Apple and HBO began offering on-site yoga classes as a regular employee benefit.
The fitness approach also gained more attention as American entrepreneurs appropriated the physical elements of yoga. Most notably, in 1989, a yoga teacher named Berly Bender Birch coined the term "Power Yoga" to refer to her Ashtanga style of yoga. Her book, Power Yoga, became the best-selling book in 1999. Her intention for the book was to communicate the physicality of her yoga and make it more appealing to Americans by demarcating it from the more spiritual based practices of the 1970s.
The YogaFit brand was created in 1994 to address the challenges of teaching yoga in health clubs. By dispensing with the Sanskrit names of postures and eliminating the om-ing and chanting, YogaFit made yoga user-friendly for those interested in a secular practice. By 2002, yoga had become the third most popular class at fitness centers, following personal and group strength training.
In the 2000s, generalist brands with the mission of increasing market share via making yoga accessible to mainstream audiences emerged in the marketplace further amplifying the fitness approach in this market. CorePower Yoga, for example, began in 2002 with a goal of becoming the first true national yoga chain. Currently, it is the market's largest studio chain with 86 studios in 12 states, and is expected to double the number of its studios in the next five years.
Research Methodology
The researchers gathered data via archival sources, netnography, in-depth interviews and participant observations. For archival research the researchers examined newspapers articles about yoga with the word "yoga" in the headline or lead paragraph from The New York Times and The Washington Post published between 1980 and 2012. They also examined books published that contained the word "yoga," including classical books on yoga and books on the history of yoga. They interviewed founders of yoga brands; as well as participated in various types of yoga classes between 2009 and 2012.
The study which was co-authored with Dr. Burcak Ertimur was published in the Journal of Marketing, in March 2015.

Integrative medicine has positive impact on patient activation, chronic pain, depression

The use of integrative medicine interventions leads to significant improvements in patient activation and patient-reported outcomes in the treatment of chronic pain, depression, and stress, according to a new report released by The Bravewell Collaborative. The findings are based on data collected by the Patients Receiving Integrative Medicine Interventions Effectiveness Registry (PRIMIER), the first-ever patient registry on integrative medicine.
"We are encouraged by these early results, and we see tremendous potential for PRIMIER to provide evidence-based research that will improve healthcare quality by pinpointing the most effective practices in integrative medicine," said Donald I. Abrams, M.D., lead author and integrative oncologist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
Using data from PRIMIER, researchers found that the use of integrative medicine yielded an increase in the Patient Activation Measure (PAM), which assesses to what degree patients believe they have the knowledge, skill, and confidence to take action to improve their health, and whether they are likely to maintain positive self-care actions over time. Over six months, the percentage of patients with low levels of patient activation decreased from 29 percent to 17 percent, while those with higher levels of activation increased from 71 percent to 83 percent. Previous research has found that higher scores on the PAM are strongly related to improvements in clinical outcomes such as less pain, an increase in utilization of prevention screenings, and a reduction in emergency room visits.
After reviewing the prospective data from 369 patients over six months, researchers also found significant reductions in patients' perception of depression and stress. In 179 of these patients who were being treated for chronic pain, researchers also found statistically significant decreases in pain severity and a 28 percent decrease in the degree to which pain interfered with quality of life.
PRIMIER is the first nationwide database of its kind, and is able to evaluate patient-reported outcomes over time - such as quality of life, pain, mood, and stress - for patients who supplement conventional medical care with therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic, biofeedback, nutrition, massage, and mindfulness. The registry combines de-identified patient-reported data with information from the Electronic Health Records (EHR) from each participating center, documenting patient visit details, procedures offered, diagnosis and patient pain-assessment score. Developed and managed by BraveNet, a practice-based research network comprised of 14 integrative medicine centers based at some of the nation's leading hospitals and medical centers, the registry has enrolled more than 1,600 patients to date.
With its growing database, PRIMIER will evaluate whether patient-reported outcomes differ with the frequency and duration of each particular intervention, while also tracking variables based on multiple characteristics of the participants, such as age, gender, ethnicity, race, clinical condition, and PAM level. Data is based on patient response to questionnaires comparing their baseline with results at 2, 4, and 6 months, and up to two years.
"PRIMIER is a cost-effective tool to accelerate research on integrative medicine," said Benjamin Kligler, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of clinical family and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and chair of BraveNet. "The registry offers us the unique opportunity to assess the effectiveness of integrative medicine interventions in a wide variety of clinical conditions in real-world settings."

To review the complete research report, go to Researchers or medical centers interested in joining PRIMIER or requesting permission to access the database should contact the BraveNet coordinating center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University at

Probiotics Mixture Can Help Treat Pregnancy Related Constipation

Constipation is a common problem faced globally by pregnant women, especially in their final trimester. No significant remedy is available to treat the situation except for the commonly available laxatives. But these laxatives also have side effects. Probiotics are live micro-organisms that help and support the digestion of foods and prevent constipation. However, their effect on pregnant women has not been much studied.


Inge de Milliano and colleagues at Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, conducted a pilot study to evaluate the role of multispecies probiotic mixture in treating constipation in pregnant women. The study was published in the Nutrition Journal 2012. 

Twenty pregnant women with functional constipation aged 18 years and above and who were between 12 and 34 weeks into their pregnancy were enrolled for the study. They were given a daily dose of Ecologic(R)Relief (a mixture of Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Bifidobacterium longum W108, Lactobacillus casei W79,Lactobacillus plantarum W62 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus W71. Ecologic®Relief also contained very small amounts of rice starch, maltodextrins, prebiotics - inulin and fructo- oligosaccharides (FOS) and salts - potassium chloride, magnesium sulphate, and manganese sulphate. 

The study revealed an increase in defecation frequency and decrease in the feeling of incomplete evacuation, anorectal obstruction and straining while defecating. There were no adverse effects noted with probiotics. 

This study is relevant and important not only because of utter discomfort due to symptoms of constipation in pregnancy but also because the straining can impair the functioning of pelvic region. Further, disturbed defecation can also cause prolapse of the uterus. Considering that probiotics are non-pharmacological and are widely used everywhere, 'probiotics could be of additional value in the treatment of constipation in clinical practice in pregnant women' say the authors. 

The researchers concluded that probiotics are effective in significantly treating pregnancy induced constipation, however they said that a randomized placebo trial is required to substantiate the role of probiotics. 


Is a multispecies probiotic mixture effective in constipation during pregnancy? 'A pilot study'; Inge de Milliano et al; Nutrition Journal 2012 


New Research Has Shed Light On How Probiotics Benefit Our Guts To Fight Diseases

A Probiotic stimulates the activity of beneficial gut microbes, which improves gut health. 

One of the most well-known microbes is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and this strain of bacteria, which is part of many popular probiotic products, has a reputation as a helpful microbe. Researchers have found evidence that it can help with intestinal problems, respiratory infections and some skin disorders. Some research suggests that it may even help with weight loss. 

Now, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) have come up with an explanation how does LGG actually produce benefits. It appears that LGG may act as a facilitator, modifying the activity of other gut bacteria. 

This is the first time this mechanism has been described; the discovery could eventually help scientists create more effective strategies to foster a healthy gut. 

Claire M. Fraser said that this species of bacteria has a reputation for being really useful to humans and so they wanted to better understand how it might work in the human intestine. 

She and her collaborator, Dr. Patricia Hibberd at Massachusetts General Hospital, tested 12 subjects, who ingested LGG twice a day for 28 days. She analyzed gut bacteria before and after this regimen, and found that ingesting LGG led to increases in several genes that foster several species of gut bacteria, including Bacteroides, Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus. 

These microbes have been shown to have a range of benefits in humans, including the promotion of a healthy immune system. Fraser notes that LGG may also have direct effects, in addition to its ability to modify the overall ecosystem of the gut. 

Source:The paper was published in the latest issue of the journal mBio.

Don't Blame Salt Alone for High Blood Pressure, It May Be Lack Of Potassium in Your Diet

Researchers found that adolescent girls, who consumed more dietary potassium had lower blood pressure (BP) in later adolescence.
Don't Blame Salt Alone for High Blood Pressure, It May Be Lack Of Potassium in Your Diet
"In contrast, the data indicated no overall effect of sodium intake alone on BP and, thus do not support the call for a global reduction in sodium intake among children and adolescents," said Lynn Moore from Boston University School of Medicine. 

Eating 3,000 mg per day of salt or more appears to have no adverse effect on blood pressure in adolescent girls, while those girls who consumed 2,400 mg per day or more of potassium had lower blood pressure at the end of adolescence, the findings showed. 

The World Health Organization recommends people to consume no more than 2,000 mg of sodium a day. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day for healthy individuals between the ages of two and 50. 

Potassium-rich foods include potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, tomato sauce, green vegetables, citrus fruits, fish, yoghurt and fat-free milk. 

The researchers examined the long-term effects of dietary sodium and potassium on blood pressure at the end of adolescence. The authors involved 2,185 girls (ages nine to 10) who were followed up for 10 years. 

Overall, girls in the highest category of potassium intake (2,400 mg per day or more) had lower late-adolescent systolic and diastolic blood pressure than those girls who consumed less potassium, the results showed. 

Source:The study was published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Prevent type 2 diabetes blood-sugar spikes by eating more protein for breakfast

Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes have difficulty regulating their glucose -- or blood sugar -- levels, particularly after meals. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that Type 2 diabetics can eat more protein at breakfast to help reduce glucose spikes at both breakfast and lunch.
"People often assume that their glucose response at one meal will be identical to their responses at other meals, but that really isn't the case," said Jill Kanaley, professor and associate chair in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. "For instance, we know that what you eat and when you eat make a difference, and that if people skip breakfast, their glucose response at lunch will be huge. In our study, we found those who ate breakfast experienced appropriate glucose responses after lunch."
Kanaley and her colleagues monitored Type 2 diabetics' levels of glucose, insulin and several gut hormones -- which help regulate the insulin response -- after breakfast and lunch. The participants ate either high-protein or high-carbohydrate breakfasts, and the lunch included a standard amount of protein and carbohydrates.
The researchers found eating more protein at breakfast lowered individuals' post-meal glucose levels. Insulin levels were slightly elevated after the lunch meal, which demonstrated that individuals' bodies were working appropriately to regulate blood-sugar levels, Kanaley said.
"The first meal of the day is critical in maintaining glycemic control at later meals, so it really primes people for the rest of the day," Kanaley said. "Eating breakfast prompts cells to increase concentrations of insulin at the second meal, which is good because it shows that the body is acting appropriately by trying to regulate glucose levels. However, it is important for Type 2 diabetics to understand that different foods will affect them differently, and to really understand how they respond to meals, they need to consistently track their glucose. Trigger foods may change depending on how much physical activity people have gotten that day or how long they have waited between meals."
Kanaley said that although it would be helpful for individuals with high blood sugar to eat more protein, they do not need to consume extreme amounts of protein to reap the benefits.
"We suggest consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast, which is within the range of the FDA recommendations," Kanaley said.

Heavy snoring, sleep apnea linked to earlier cognitive decline

Heavy snoring and sleep apnea may be linked to memory and thinking decline at an earlier age, according to a new study published in the April 15, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The research also suggests that treating the disorders with a breathing machine may delay the decline.
"Abnormal breathing patterns during sleep such as heavy snoring and sleep apnea are common in the elderly, affecting about 52 percent of men and 26 percent of women," said study author Ricardo Osorio, MD, with the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
For the study, the medical histories for 2,470 people ages 55 to 90 were reviewed. Participants were categorized as either free of memory and thinking problems, in early stages of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or with Alzheimer's disease.
The researchers also looked at people with untreated sleep breathing problems versus those without the sleep breathing problems and also untreated versus treated people with sleep breathing problems.
The study found that people with sleep breathing problems were diagnosed with MCI an average of nearly 10 years earlier than people who did not have sleep breathing problems. For example, when researchers examined only people who developed MCI or Alzheimer's disease during the study, those with sleep breathing problems developed MCI at an average age of 77, compared to an average age of 90 for those who did not have sleep breathing problems. Among that group, those who had sleep breathing problems also developed Alzheimer's disease five years earlier than those who did not have sleep breathing problems, at an average age of 83 versus 88.
The researchers found that people who treated their sleep breathing problems with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine were diagnosed with MCI about 10 years later than people whose problems were not treated, or at age 82 instead of age 72.
"The age of onset of MCI for people whose breathing problems were treated was almost identical to that of people who did not have any breathing problems at all," Osorio said. "Given that so many older adults have sleep breathing problems, these results are exciting -- we need to examine whether using CPAP could possibly help prevent or delay memory and thinking problems."
Osorio noted that more research is needed. "These findings were made in an observational study and as such, do not indicate a cause-and-effect relationship," said Osorio. "However, we are now focusing our research on CPAP treatment and memory and thinking decline over decades, as well as looking specifically at markers of brain cell death and deterioration."

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology (AAN)Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Ricardo S. Osorio, Tyler Gumb, Elizabeth Pirraglia, Andrew W. Varga, Shou-En Lu, Jason Lim, Margaret E. Wohlleber, Emma L. Ducca, Viachaslau Koushyk, Lidia Glodzik, Lisa Mosconi, Indu Ayappa, David M. Rapoport, Mony J. De Leon. Sleep-disordered breathing advances cognitive decline in the elderlyNeurology, April 2015 DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001566

Jammu and Kashmir Health Department to Promote Indian System of Medicines

Chowdhary Lal Singh, health minister of Jammu and Kashmir, a state in northern India, has said that the health department is keen to promote Indian System of Medicines (ISM) in the state.

The ISM consists of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and therapies such as Yoga and Naturopathy.
Jammu and Kashmir Health Department to Promote Indian System of Medicines


"ISM is our heritage and every effort shall be made to modernize the health institutions providing this system of treatment with adequate staff and infrastructure so as to provide the alternative choice of treatment to the people" the Minister said at a function organised by Directorate of ISM.

Lal Singh asked the ISM authorities to ensure that no drug sub-outlets are operative on proxy basis anywhere in the state and ordered that drug shops should be run only with license issued by competent authority of the organisation.

"It is the matter of healthcare and we have to ensure that drugs are only sold by trained pharmacists having requisite certificates and license from the recognized organization. Spurious drugs and proxy drug outlets will be seized and guilty persons booked under the law", he said.

For upgrading the ISM in the state, the minister informed that various new initiatives have been taken in the last two months.

Director General ISM, Dr Abdul Kabir Dar, senior officers of ISM including large number of paramedics were present on the occasion.


Smileys Improve Food Choices, Promote Healthy Eating Habits Among Children

Smiley faces are a hit among kids and its use in food labels along with compliments for buying nutritious items can make kids purchase and eat more of healthy foods, suggests a new research.

"It looks like we found a very promising, low-cost and effective way of improving the nutrition of elementary school children. This type of programme may be a useful component in schools trying to improve the nutrition and health of their students," said study author Robert Siegel from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, Ohio, US. 

For the study, the researchers designed a two-phase intervention to improve healthful eating among kindergarten through sixth-grade students at an inner-city school in Cincinnati. The first phase consisted of placing green smiley face emotions by the most nutritious foods in the school cafeteria, including fruits, vegetables, plain white fat-free milk and an entree with whole grains. 

Three months later, researchers introduced the concept of a 'Power Plate', which consisted of the four healthy foods. Children who selected a Power Plate could receive a small prize, such as a sticker, temporary tattoo or mini beach ball. 

Results showed plain milk purchases increased from 7.4% to 48% of total milk sales. Fruit selection increased by 20% from 1 to 1.2 items per student per day, and vegetable selection rose by 62% from 0.74 to 1.2 items per student per day. Meanwhile, chocolate milk selection decreased from 86.5% to 44.6% of total milk sales. 
e Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, Ohio, US. 

Guidelines for mfg & marketing of dietary supplements, nutraceuticals to be issued soon

Task force constituted by the food safety authority to regulate category of special food items like nutraceuticals and dietary supplements submitted their recommendations to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) last week.  The recommendations basically comprises of guidelines for the approval of dietary supplements and nutraceutical products that are manufactured and marketed throughout the country.

It is understood that the seventeen-member team had submitted the recommendations based on a detailed study conducted on the market in consultation with all the stakeholders. It basically highlights the key regulatory requirements that need to be implemented to regulate this huge market. Once these recommendations gets the nod from the FSSAI, all the manufacturers in the country falling under this category will have to get a no objection certificate (NOC) and approval from the centre prior to manufacturing and marketing the products.

Dr Koshia commissioner of Gujarat FDCA who was the part of this task force informed that the aim behind coming out with these recommendations was to bring in a regulatory semblance to this highly unregulated segment, especially considering the adverse health implications it may have on people if left unchecked.

At present, India does not have any kind of regulatory guidelines for the approval or monitoring of the products under this segment. Interestingly, a lot of ayurvedic products in the country, are sold as nutraceuticals or dietary supplements. Experts state though there is currently no fixed statistics to show the size of the market, the scope of the same is huge as it is basically a direct to consumer segment.

“Implementing these guidelines will not only help in effectively regulating the market but also maintain a proper data on the same, which is not the case today.  In the recent past, there has been an increase in the incidents of misuse or improper manufacturing conditions. Considering the huge health risks it can pose to the consumers it is high time to concentrate on having an ideal approval policy that will ensure proper compliance of manufacturing of all the products that are available in the market,” informed Dr Koshia.  It was in this light that the Centre has constituted the task force over two and a half month back.

Highly placed sources from the Centre informed that this move will help in checking a lot of activities that go unaccounted in the country as of now. It has been observed by experts that a lot of Ayush products are currently sold under this segment directly to the consumers.  Some cite that certain products especially those that claim to aid health benefits to the consumers, having ingredients which usually need to undergo stringent approval process under the drugs and cosmetics act gets easily available in the market as a dietary or nutraceutical product.


Monday, 27 April 2015

Industry leaders to meet on May 3 to find solution to crisis in production of classical Ayurveda drugs

Over one hundred industry heads of ayurvedic drugs manufacturing companies in Kerala will attend a workshop in Thrissur on May 3 to imbibe directions by experts in drugs manufacturing and leaders of industry associations for finding out a permanent solution for the present crisis in the production and marketing of classical Ayurveda drugs in the state.

The workshop is organised by the Medicine Manufacturers’ Consortium wing of the Ayurveda Medical Association of India (AMAI).

Many of the classical drugs are not being manufactured and prescribed by doctors at present. Taking advantage of the situation, manufacturers of proprietary medicines are bringing out several varieties of patented drugs and marketed everywhere. The efficacy of these proprietary medicines are not adequately proven as those of the classical drugs. This tendency is deteriorating the reputation of the Ayurveda classical medicines. If the glory of Ayurveda is to be preserved, the efficacy proven classical drugs have to be manufactured systematically, prescribed by doctors and marketed for use as saying in the classical texts, says Dr P K Haridas, chairman of the Consortium.

“Several classical kashaayams, arishtams, thailams and lehyams are not manufactured in the classical ways by companies today because of various reasons such as non-availability of raw-drugs, increasing cost of production, decreasing prescriptions by doctors and poor demand. People are going after patented products of big companies and doctors are forced to prescribe these proprietary products. So, production of classical medicines is decreasing everyday and the manufacturers are switching over to patented items. But the situation has to be changed, and more and more classical medicines should be brought into the market”, Dr Haridas opined.

He said, until a few years ago, there were about 1300 manufacturing companies in Kerala to produce classical medicines. Today the number has decreased to less than 750, and most of them are focusing on producing their patented products. In short, production of classical Ayurveda medicines for domestic and export uses in Kerala has come down substantially for the last several years. The situation has affected the holistic treatment practices through traditional ways and the manufacturing industry as a whole.

The workshop will deliberate on how to tackle the present crisis occurred due to the decreasing quantity of classical drug production and save the traditional system of medicine, an own brand of Kerala. Besides, it will focus on collection of raw materials and cultivation of medicinal plants for the future.

The workshop will be inaugurated by Dr N Vimala, director-in-charge of Ayurveda drugs control, Kerala. Drs G Vinod Kumar, Rejith Anand, T A Salim, Manoj Kaloor (AMAI), Dr K Anil Kumar (Care-Keralam), Dr D Ramanathan (AMMOI), Dr Vasudevan Moos, Dr P M Warrier and Dr K Sebastian will take classes on various aspects of drugs production.

Effective sleep apnea treatment lowers diabetes risk

Using a simple device for eight hours a night to treat sleep apnea can help people with prediabetes improve their blood sugar levels and may reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes, according to a new study published online in the April 21, 2015, issue of theAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
About 57 million Americans have prediabetes, a disorder marked by blood sugar levels that are elevated but not sufficiently high to be considered diabetic. Prediabetics are at increased risk for developing diabetes, which can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels and often leads to cardiovascular disease.
Many people with prediabetes also have untreated sleep apnea, although few of them are aware of it. The most widely accepted treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a device that blows a constant pressure of air into the lungs through a tube and face mask during the night. This helps people breathe better while they sleep by keeping the upper airway open.
"Our study showed that CPAP in patients with prediabetes can lower their risk of progressing to diabetes when CPAP is used for eight hours, a full night's sleep," said the study's lead author, Sushmita Pamidi, MD, a former fellow at the University of Chicago who is now on the faculty at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
"Although eight hours of CPAP per night can be difficult to achieve in real-life, our results should provide a strong incentive for anyone with sleep apnea, especially prediabetic individuals, to improve adherence to their treatment for cardio-metabolic risk reduction," she said.
People with sleep apnea, which is common among overweight and obese individuals, have repeated episodes where their upper airway closes during sleep. This can disrupt sleep and temporarily lower oxygen levels. It has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension and stroke, and may decrease their ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This increases the risk of diabetes.
For this study, the researchers recruited 39 middle-aged, overweight or obese volunteers with prediabetes and sleep apnea. Two-thirds of them (26) were randomly assigned to two weeks of CPAP treatment. The other 13 received a placebo -- a pill containing no medicine -- to be taken 30 minutes before bedtime. They were told the study would compare the two treatments.
All participants slept in the sleep laboratory and were closely monitored with all-night sleep recordings during the treatment period. Those assigned to CPAP wore the device for eight hours a night under continuous supervision by a technician. Before and after each treatment period, participants' glucose metabolism was assessed by oral and intravenous glucose-tolerance tests.
The researchers also measured the stress hormone noradrenaline in the blood and continuously monitored blood pressure for 24 hours at home. All participants were permitted to leave the laboratory during the day and engage in their routine activities.
After two weeks, blood sugar control, as measured by an oral glucose tolerance test, improved for those in the CPAP group compared to the oral placebo group. In addition, the ability of insulin to regulate their blood sugar, estimated by the intravenous glucose tolerance test, was improved in the CPAP group compared to the oral placebo group. The CPAP group had, on average, 27 percent lower levels of the stress hormone, norepinephrine, as well as lower blood pressure than the oral placebo group.
"Despite the demonstrated efficacy of lifestyle interventions and the availability of many drug treatments, the economic and public health burden of diabetes remains enormous," said Esra Tasali, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. "Assessment of sleep apnea should be considered in patients at high risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, since our study shows that treatment of sleep apnea can reduce these risks."

Turmeric – Indian Spice can Help Treat Oral Cancer, Good for Oral Health too

Turmeric may help treat oral cancers caused by virus, says a new study co-authored by an Indian-origin researcher.


Turmeric is a yellow spice commonly used in Indian cooking. The study pointed out that turmeric has an antioxidant called curcumin that appears to have a quelling effect on the activity of human papillomavirus (HPV).

"Turmeric has established antiviral and anti-cancer properties," said corresponding author Alok Mishra of the Emory University, Atlanta, US. "And according to our new findings, we could say that it is good for oral health too," Mishra noted. 

HPV is a virus that promotes the development of cervical and oral cancer. There is no cure, but the new findings suggest that curcumin may offer a means of future control. 

Mishra's research group first noted the effect of curcumin on HPV and cervical cancer cells in 2005. The antioxidant slowed the expression of HPV, suggesting that curcumin could control the extent of HPV infection. 

"Since HPV-related oral cancer cases are on the rise, we tested the same hypothesis on oral cancer. They turned out to be some very interesting findings," Mishra explained.

The new research indicates that curcumin turns down the expression of HPV in infected oral cancer cells by down-regulating the levels of cellular transcription factors AP-1 and NF-kB. 

Source:The research was published in the journal ecancermedicalscience.

Indian Origin Woman Scientist Wins Heinz Award for Artificial Microlivers

Indian Origin Woman Scientist Wins Heinz Award for Artificial Microlivers
Sangeeta Bhatia, An Indian-origin scientist has won the prestigious 2015 Heinz Award for their innovative contributions in five areas: Arts and Humanities; Environment; Human Condition; Public Policy; and Technology, the Economy and Employment.

Bhatia was awarded the $2,50,000 Heinz award for her work in tissue engineering and disease detection. "This type of recognition helps to bring science into the public eye so that everyone can appreciate the dedication and innovation that is happening in laboratories all over the country," said Bhatia, the John J and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. 

Bhatia and her team developed artificial human microlivers for drug testing and deserve credit for their pioneering work. Many biopharmaceutical companies make use of the artificial human microlivers to test the toxicity of drugs. 

Microlivers are also being used in the lab to model malaria infection and test drugs that could help in the complete eradication of malaria parasites. Bhatia aims to develop implantable liver tissue as a complement or substitute for whole-organ transplant. 


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