Your Finger's Pulse Holds the Key to Your Heart's Health
September 13, 2013
: A University of Iowa physiologist has a new technique to measure the stiffness of the aorta, a common risk factor for heart
disease. And it can be as simple as measuring the pulse in your finger.
The new procedure developed by Gary Pierce, assistant professor in the
Department of Health and Human Physiology, works by placing an instrument called a transducer on the finger or over the brachial
artery, located inside the arm just beneath the elbow. The readout,
combined with a person's age and body mass index, lets physicians know whether the aorta has stiffened.
Currently, physicians see whether a patient has a hardened aorta by
recording a pulse from the carotid artery, located in the neck, and the
femoral artery, which is located in the groin. Taking a pulse from the
finger or on the arm is easier to record and nearly as accurate, Pierce
says. It also works better with obese patients, whose femoral pulse can be difficult to obtain reliably, he adds.
"The technique is more effective in that it is easy to obtain just one
pulse waveform in the finger or the brachial artery, and it's less intrusive than obtaining a femoral waveform in patients," says Pierce,
first author on the paper, published in the "American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology". "It also can be easily
obtained in the clinic during routine exams similar to blood pressure
Eating spinach boosts muscle strength, resist cancer
September 8, 2013: Spinach really can boost muscles. In a study published in the journal
Cell Metabolism, eating a bowl of spinach every day makes the muscles
more efficient. Researchers found that eating 300 grammes of spinach reduces the amount
of oxygen needed to power muscles when exercising by as much as 5%.
The ingredients, which make spinach work so well are the nitrates
found abundantly in spinach. Nitrates make the mitochondria, the “engine
rooms” of cells, more efficient. In the study, the researchers fed people the pure nitrate supplements
equivalent to the amount in a plate of spinach every day for three days.
At the beginning and end of the experiment, participants pedaled strenuously on an exercise bike
while their oxygen intake was measured via a tube to the mouth. At the end of three days, the difference in
energy intake was found to be between three and five per cent - which is considered to be a significant amount.
Researchers have recommended regular consumption of slightly cooked
spinach as effective treatment for piles The study titled, “Ethnobotanical Survey of Plants Used in the Treatment
of Haemorrhoids in South-Western Nigeria” was published by Mike O.
Soladoye, Michael O.
British researchers in a review of several studies on links between
diabetes and the consumption of fruits and vegetables found that eating
an extra serving a day of vegetables like spinach, cabbage, and broccoli
reduced adults’ risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by 14 %
Studies have repeatedly shown that increasing colon and stomach
cancer correlate with low vegetable meals, and suggest that vegetables such as
spinach may help resist these types of cancers. They are valued mainly
for their high vitamin, dietary fibre and mineral contents.
Study Suggests Copper May Be the Culprit in Alzheimer’s Disease
August 23, 2013: Researchers from the University of Rochester have pursued an
increasingly credible hypothesis that copper consumption may play a role
in triggering Alzheimer’s disease. In findings published ugust 19, 2013 in
the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, they showed that
exposing the brain to copper not only spurs the production of the amyloid beta protein that characterizes the brains of Alzheimer’s
sufferers, but also slows the brain’s efforts to clear out the plaque.
“It is clear that, over time, copper’s cumulative effect is to impair
the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain. This impairment is one of the key factors that cause the protein to
accumulate in the brain and form the plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Rashid Deane, the study’s lead author.
Copper — which is found in foods including red meats, shellfish, nuts, seeds
and tap water carried in copper pipes — can break the blood brain barrier, which controls what enters and exits the brain, interfering
with the organ’s healthy cellular processes. The researchers observed that, when exposed to copper in this way, brain
cells increased their production of amyloid beta, a byproduct of cellular activity that a healthy brain can flush out. Copper
interacted with the amyloid beta, causing it to form larger chunks which
were more difficult for the brain to clear out. Source: singularityhub.com
Hot chocolate can keep brain healthy
August 16, 2013 (IANS): A US study has suggested drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may
help elderly people to keep their brains healthy. The study, published online in the American Academy of Neurology journal
"Neurology", involved 60 people with an average age of 73 who did not have dementia.
The participants drank two cups of hot cocoa per day for a month
and did not consume any other chocolate during that time. These people were also
given tests of memory and thinking skills as well as ultrasounds tests
to measure the amount of blood flow to the brain. "We're learning more about blood flow in the brain and its effect on
thinking skills," said study author Farzaneh Sorond of the Harvard Medical School in Boston. "As different
areas of the brain need more energy to complete t eir tasks, they also need greater blood flow."
"This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an
important role in diseases such as Alzheimer's," Sorond added.
The researchers found that 18 of the 60 participants, having impaired
blood flow at the start of the study, saw an 8.3-percent improvement by
the end of the study. There was no improvement for those who started out with regular blood flow.
The people with impaired blood flow also improved their times on a test
of working memory, with scores dropping from 167 seconds at the
beginning of the study to 116 seconds at the end, the researchers said.
There was no change in times for people with regular blood flow
Simple blood test can predict how long you'll live
London, July 15, 2013: Scientists have discovered a new blood test that can predict not
only your long-term health but also the rate at which you will age.The study of twins led by King`s College, London, could lead to powerful
new treatments and drug therapies to tackle conditions linked to getting older, the Daily Express reported.
It was suggested that key metabolites in blood- which are chemical
"fingerprints " left behind after molecular changes before birth or in
infancy- can provide the vital clues, which could point to a person's
long-term overall health and rate of ageing in later life. The study
analysed blood samples donated by more than 6,000 twins and identified 22 metabolites directly linked to chronological age.
The concentrations of the metabolites were higher in older than in
younger people. It was found that one of them, linked to ageing traits such as lung
function and bone mineral density, is also strongly associated with birth weight and it could lead to accelerated ageing in later adult life.
Scientists say it is possible that these markers of ageing can be identified with simple blood tests in the future, which may provide
further clues to the ageing process and could pave the way for development of therapies to treat age-related conditions.
The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Source:ANI
Practice yoga just once a week may relieve lower back pain
Washington, July 04, 2013 (PTI): Practising yoga just once a week
may be enough to provide lower back pain relief and reduce the need for
pain medication, a new study has found. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine
(BUSM) and Boston
Medical Center (BMC) have found that a weekly yoga class provided
similar lower back pain relief and reduced the need for pain edication
as twice weekly classes in lower income minority patients. The results of the study indicate that patients interested in trying
yoga for lower back pain could benefit from attending a medically appropriate weekly yoga class, researchers said.
While previous studies have shown that yoga can be an effective treatment for chronic lower back pain, few studies have studied this
among specific populations.
"Lower income patients often have worse lower back pain due to
limited access to both mainstream health care treatments and complementary
treatments such as yoga, massage and acupuncture," said study's first
author Robert Saper, associate professor of family medicine at BUSM and
director of integrative medicine at BMC.
Also, their ability to perform daily functions improved. "Given the
similar improvement seen in once weekly yoga classes, and that once a
week is more convenient and less expensive, we recommend patients suffering from lower back pain who want to pursue yoga attend a weekly
therapeutic yoga class," said Saper. The study was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Studies show the health benefits of a carrot
June 27, 2013: Several studies show that certain properties in carrots help reduce the
risk of lung, breast and colon cancer. Carrots are good for your eyes, they also promote healthy skin,
delay ageing and even prevent cancer. Initially used as medicine, carrots are
commonly found in orange colour. But they are also available in yellow, red, white andpurple hues.
The beta-carotene in carrots is converted to vitamin A in the liver,
which is then transformed in your retina, to rhodopsin — a pigment that
improves night vision. Beta-carotene is also known to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts.
Carrots help slow down the ageing of cells and also work as an
antioxidant. The vitamin A present in carrots protects your skin from sun damage and even
prevents premature pigmentation , wrinkling, dry skin, acne and uneven skin tone. You can also use boiled or mashed carrots on cuts and bruises to
prevent infection. Source:The Times of India
Weight loss can boost memory: study
Washington, June 20, 2013 (PTI): Shedding pounds can not only make you healthier, it may also improve
your memory, a new study has claimed. Memory improves in older, overweight women after they lose weight by dieting, and their brain
activity actually changes in the regions of the brain that are important
for memory tasks, researchers said. "Our findings suggest that obesity-associated impairments in memory
function are reversible, adding incentive for weight loss," said lead
author Andreas Pettersson, from the Umea University, Sweden.A special
type of brain imaging called functional magnetic resonance imaging (functional
MRI) allowed Pettersson and co-workers to see brain activity while the subjects performed a memory test.
The researchers randomly assigned 20 overweight, postmenopausal women
(average age, 61) to one of two healthy weight loss diets for six months. Nine women used the Paleolithic diet, also called the Caveman
diet, which was composed of 30 per cent protein, 30 per cent carbohydrates and 40 per cent unsaturated fats.
The other 11 women followed the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations of a
diet containing 15 per cent protein, 55 per cent carbs and 30 per cent
fats. Before and after the diet, the investigators measured the women's
body mass index (BMI) and body fat composition.
The group's average BMI decreased from 32.1 before the diet to 29.2
(below the cutoff for obesity) after six months of dieting, and their
average weight dropped from 85 to 77.1 kilogrammes, researchers said.
Memory performance improved after weight loss, and Pettersson said the
brain-activity pattern during memory testing reflected this improvement.
Lack of vitamin D linked to hypertension
London, June 12, 2013 (ANI): A new study led by an India
researcher has confirmed that low levels of vitamin D can trigger hypertension.
Although observational studies have already shown this link, a large-scale genetic study was
necessary before the cause and effect could be proven, the annual conference of the European
Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) said.
Dr. Vimal Karani S, from the Institute of Child Health, University
College London, London, UK, said that data from the D-CarDia collaboration, involving 35
studies, over 155,000 individuals, and numerous centres in Europe and
North America, showed that those with high concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D
(25(OH)D) had reduced blood pressure and therefore a reduced risk of hypertension.
"We knew from earlier observational studies that low 25(OH)D concentrations were likely to be associated with increases in blood
pressure and hypertension. but correlation is not causality", he said.
"Additionally, randomised controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation
in humans have produced inconsistent effects on cardiovascular outcomes.
Living close to major road may damage kidney
May 15, 2013: The scientists based their findings on more than 1100 adults who had
sustained a stroke between 1999 and 2004 and had been admitted to hospital in the greater
Boston area of Massachusetts in the US. On admission, each patient's serum creatinine was measured. This is a
by-product of muscle metabolism and is filtered out of the body by the kidney, known as the glomerular filtration rate or
GFR. The GFR is therefore an indicator of the health of the kidneys and how well they are working.
50 percent patients lived within 1 km of a major road, with the rest living between 1 and 10 km away.
After taking account of influential factors, like age, sex, race, smoking, underlying conditions, treatment for heart conditions,
and neighbourhood affluence, patients who lived closest to a major road
had the lowest GFR. Those who lived 50 metres away had a GFR of 3.9 ml/minute/1.73 m2 lower
than those who lived 1 km away. The researchers calculated that a reduction in proximity to a major road
from 1 km to 50 metres may be associated with a 4 percent higher rate of cardiovascular death and 1
% increased risk in death from all causes.
Air pollution caused by traffic is associated with a raised risk of stroke and heart attack
, as a result of inflammation , artery narrowing as a result of plaque build-up, and changes to
peripheral arteries. The researchers added that the kidneys are highly susceptible to the build-up of arterial plaque.
Source: The Times of India
Coconut Oil in treating Alzheimer’s disease
May 9, 2013: Dr. Weston Price observed that South Sea Islander’s consumed large amounts of coconut oil
in the diet, and incidentally suffered the lowest amount of heart
disease. In addition to this, Dr Price also noted that the Islander’s
exhibited a strong resilience to disease due to a heightened immune system; displayed strong, beautiful teeth; were highly fertile; remained
vitality right into old age; and women had strikingly luminous skin and youthful appearances.
More recently, unrefined virgin coconut oil has been credited for its possible uses in treating Alzheimer’s disease.In line with
this, coconut oil’s high polyphenol content has been found to have antioxidant properties. This entails that coconut oil could reduce
free-radical production which is thought to cause extensive damage in
Alzheimer’s and other tissue degenerative diseases. Additionally, coconut oil produces particularly large quantities of
ketone bodies when the fats in the oil are digested. These ketone bodies
can serve to provide nourishment and energy in the brain when other resources are low. This occurs during low glucose levels and energy is
needed for nerve cell survival and synaptic activity underlying learning
and memory. In order to do this, the brain breaks down fats to produce ketone bodies, such as the fat found in coconut oil.
Adding to this, coconut oil has been found to be far lower than the vast
majority of other types of oil in omega-6 linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat which has been linked to causes of mortality such as
cardiovascular disease. Thus, instead of promoting cardiovascular disease, the saturated fats in coconut oil could potentially lower the
risk of developing various heart problems. Supplementing the diet with small levels of coconut oil has also been found to improve mitochondrial
function and lower insulin resistance, a result which could exponentially help with the prevention and treatment of diabetes type II
and potentially type III also.
Diet with anti-ageing supplements healthy
May 5, 2013 (ANI): A diet low in grains, beans and certain vegetables
combined with "anti-ageing" supplements improves blood vessel function, a new
study has found. The blood vessel abnormality, or endothelial dysfunction, occurs when
cells lining the interior wall of blood vessels malfunction. It's a serious condition that's often one of the first signs of heart disease.
Of the 200 51- to 86-year-old people in the study presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular
Biology 2013 Scientific Sessions, 40 per cent were women. All had risk factors for blood vessel disease and nearly three-quarters
had endothelial dysfunction.
The diet restricted foods high in the sugar-binding protein
lectin, generally regarded as a healthy nutrient.The restricted foods included grains, beans, fruit, poultry and plants
belonging to the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes.At the same time, patients consumed plenty of leafy greens, shellfish
and fish, olive oil and grass-fed animal protein, while taking supplements containing the antioxidant polyphenol from fish oil, grape
seed extract and vitamins. Antioxidants are thought to slow cell ageing.
"These findings represent a fundamental paradigm shift in how the
diseases of the 'Western Diet' should be treated," Steven R. Gundry,
M.D., lead author and medical director of the International Heart and
Lung Institute at The Center for Restorative Medicine in Palm Springs , California said.
"Simple removal of 'healthy' lectin- containing foods, and taking a few
inexpensive supplements, may restore endothelial function to normal,
which in turn can reverse high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity," he said.
Despite the study's findings, consumers shouldn't eliminate tomatoes or
other healthy foods from their diets, said the American Heart Association,which recommends consuming a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.
Fibre-rich foods could be key to beating stroke
March 29, 2013: People who eat a high fibre diet such as whole wheat pasta, fruits and
nuts experience a lower risk of stroke, a new study has found. Dietary fibre is the part of the plant that the body is unable to
completely digest. Fibre rich foods include wholegrain, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Previous research has shown that dietary fibre may help reduce risk
factors for stroke, including obesity, high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol.
This new study by the University of Leeds shows that a seven gramme
increase in dietary fibre per day was associated with a seven per cent
decrease in first-time stroke risk. This is the equivalent of one serving of whole wheat pasta and two servings of fruits or vegetables.
"Increasing your fibre intake doesn't necessarily mean wholesale change
to your diet. It might just mean switching from white bread to wholemeal, or from corn flakes to bran flakes. It's a simple measure
with a lot of benefits," said Dr Victoria Burley, the project lead from the School of Food Science and Nutrition.
The researchers analysed, and combined the results of, eight studies
published between 1990 and 2012. The studies reported on all types of stroke with four also examining the
particular risk of ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks a
blood vessel to the brain, and three also assessing the particular risk
of haemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain or on its surface.
"Any long-term increase in intake of fibre-rich foods such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts will see the risk of stroke
reduce," said Diane Threapleton, lead author of the study. "This could be particularly important for people with stroke risk
factors like being overweight, smoking and having high blood pressure,"
Threapleton said in a statement. The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke
New gene therapy technique could end misery of arthritis pain
March 17, 2013: Scientists have created a potent new gene therapy technique, which
could bring hope to millions crippled by arthritis pain. Not only does the wonder
therapy stop the destruction of the joint, it appears to also protect against damage.
It could pave the way for people known to be at risk of developing osteoarthritis being
given the jab years in advance to prevent it from ever striking. Current treatments can only relieve symptoms.
There is no cure unless people undergo expensive joint replacement operations,which cost the NHS 1 billion pounds a year. The new study has uncovered a protein which is thought to be able to
protect against osteoarthritis by acting as a lubricant between bones in the joint. It also blocks the loss of cartilage, the Daily Express reported.
Injecting the gene which makes the protein in a single jab into a knee
joint has been shown to protect it from going on to develop both age and injury-related
osteoarthritis. Around 10 million people in Britain are blighted by arthritis.
Osteoarthritis affects at least 8.5 million, causing pain - usually in
the hands, spine, knees and hips - as bones rub against each other as cartilage breaks down.
Rheumatoid arthritis , which is more severe but less common, affects almost 700,000 people. This
occurs when the immune system attacks the joints. The new study has uncovered a protein which is thought to be able to
protect against osteoarthritis by acting as a lubricant between bones in
the joint. While gene therapy does not regenerate cartilage that is already lost,
the researchers said that this new approach could one day prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
The study by experts from the Baylor College of Medicinein Houston, Texas , reveals
that a naturally- occurring protein called lubricin - or Proteoglycans 4
- protects against osteoarthritis.The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
World Sleep Day
March 16, 2013: World Association for Sleep Medicine, recognising the need for proper
sleep, earmarks a week for awareness about sleep disorders and promotes
March 15 as World Sleep Day. If you wake up feeling unrested and with a headache, feel fatigued,
irritable all day, have trouble concentrating and / or sleep off at odd times, you could be having dyssomnia or parasomnia, says S.
Jayaraman, sleep and chest physician. He conducts screening camps for awareness /
detection of sleep apnea (SA), a disorder that affects breathing.
“When you sleep, the upper airway gets narrowed or completely blocked
due to loss of tone of muscles,” he says. In children, it’s due to
enlargement of tonsils and adenoids, and in adults, it’s because of
anatomical abnormality, neural problems or hormonal imbalance. Sleep
apnea is characterised by loud snoring, arrested breathing, gurgling,
and dry throat. The disturbances cut off oxygen supply to the brain and wake you up often. The results are devastating.
“SA makes control of diabetes / hypertension difficult,” says Dr.
Jayaraman. Partners have applied for divorce citing unbearable snoring.
For most of us, lack of sleep is a lifestyle jinx. Allergic rhinitis due
to dust and virus can cause temporary sleep disorders, says Dr.Jayaraman. Diabetes, high BP, anaemia, restless legs syndrome, joint
pain or some other medical problem may stand in the way of a restful
night’s sleep, says Dr. Ramakrishnan. Worry takes away sleep, as do
factors such as temperature, noise, work shifts, jet-lag, long work-hours, erratic food habits, drinking. Long commute forces you to
doze off in the vehicle. Video games and browsing the Internet prevent
the brain from unwinding because of the light. You need darkness tostimulate secretion of melatonin, which induces sleep.
Do you pop pills? Medication must be supervised and temporary, says Dr.
Ramakrishnan. Sleeping pills are not the answer for all. They may not
help a patient with depression till the cause of depression is treated.
You need to sleep, and sleep well for six to eight hours, say doctors.
Restore the sleep routines of infancy, and do at least an hour’s unwinding for a good night’s sleep. Have dinner early. Don’t nap after 3
p.m. Associate your bed with sleep. Use a chair for reading / computer
work / TV watching. Switch off the cellphone. Breathing exercises and
meditation help one relax. Sleeping pattern changes in old age. Counter
inactivity with walking, meeting friends, gardening, volunteering, spending time with children, and pursuing a hobby.
Over 360 mn people suffering hearing loss: WHO
WHO Geneva, March 3 2013 (IANS): A World Health
Organisation (WHO) report has said there are an estimated 360 million
people in the world who are suffering from hearing loss. In the report prepared for International Ear Care Day (March 3), WHO
said one in three people over the age of 65, or a total of 165 million
people worldwide, live with hearing loss, and another 32 million affected by hearing loss are children aged under 15.
About half of all cases of hearing loss are easily preventable while
many can be treated through early diagnosis and suitable interventions
such as surgically implanted hearing devices, said Shelly Chadha of the
WHO Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness.
She, however, warned that the current production of hearing aids met
less than 10 percent of the global need. "In developing countries, fewer than one out of 40 people who need a
hearing aid have one," Chadha said.
WHO encouraged countries to develop programmes for preventing hearing
loss within their primary health care systems including vaccinating children against infectious
diseases such as measles, meningitis and mumps. It also recommended measures such as screening and treating syphilis in
pregnant women, and early assessment and management of hearing loss in babies.
Celebrate Valentine's Day: Doctors advice to heart patients
CHANDIGARH, February 14, 2013: Cardiologists' advice to heart patients is
something we knew but either forgot or overlooked over the years. The doctors'
prescription for heart patients is, celebrate Valentines Day with your
beloved. Those who suffer from heart attack often feel low. However,
their heart muscles do not lose vigour. In fact, they should go out and
enjoy the day, advice cardiologists. In such situations, blood pressure normalizes and in most patients, feel
good hormones dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin are released.
"Attractive things increase various chemicals in the body such as
pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. They also increase
the basal metabolic rate and heart rate. But not to such an extent that
cannot be tolerated by a heart patient," said Dr Rajesh Vijayvergiya, a cardiologist at PGI.
However, there's a word of advice for heart patients suffering from
severe coronary artery disease. "Fall in love at any age, but control
your emotions. The heart is affected by emotions. Nerves (parasympathetic/sympathetic) can either enhance pumping rate or make it
come down," said Dr H K Bali, director, cardiology at a private hospital
in Mohali. "While watching a cricket match, for instance, there can be
lot of anxiety, resulting in a heart attack. So one needs to keep a check on emotions," he said. "Factors like living alone, disrupted marital status and lack of
community support created two to three fold increase in risk of future
cardiac events. It is important for a heart patient to be in the company
of people he likes," said Dr Rajesh. Source: The Times of India
Link found between pesticides and type-2 diabetes
Spain, February 7, 2013: Pesticides in food, air and water may be directly linked
with the development of type 2 diabetes, regardless of a person's age,
gender or body mass index, a new Spanish research study has found. These substances tend to
concentrate in body fat, and they might be one of the reasons why obese people are more likely to develop diabetes,
since the greater the fat, the higher the pesticide concentrations in the body, researchers from the University of Granada found.
Researchers demonstrate that people with higher concentrations of DDE -
the main metabolite in the pesticide DDT - are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than other people,the journal Environmental Research reports.
In addition, the risk of type 2 diabetes is also associated with
exposure to I-HCH (beta-Hexachlorocyclohexane), which is present in the
formula of the pesticide Lindano, according to a Granada statement. Researchers analyzed concentrations of a specific group of pesticides in the adipose
tissue of 386 adult subjects at San Cecilio hospital, Granada, and Santa
Ana hospital, Motril, Spain. Granada researcher Juan Pedro Arrebola said: "Human adipose tissue (fat)
acts as an energy reservoir and has an important metabolic function. However, adipose tissue can store potentially harmful substances, such
as persistent organic pollutants (COPs-pesticides)."
COPs are a group of chemicals with diverse characteristics which are
present in pesticides, industrial waste and building material. These
compounds penetrate the body mainly through food, but also through air or the skin.
The prevalence of diabetes in the world has significantly increased in
the last decades. It is estimated that by 2030, 4.4 per cent of the world population will live with this metabolic disorder. Source: The Times of India
Australian scientists discover `potential cure for AIDS`
Melbourne, January 16, 2013
(PTI): Researchers at Queensland Institute of Medical Research here have
claimed of making a breakthrough that could lead to a potential cure for AIDS.
According to a researcher David Harrich scientists have discovered how
to modify a protein in HIV so that, instead of replicating, it protects
against the infection. Harrich said, "I consider that this is fighting fire with fire. What
we've actually done is taken a normal virus protein that the virus needs
to grow, and we've changed this protein, so that instead of assisting
the virus, it actually impedes virus replication and does it quite strongly." Harrich added that modified protein cannot cure HIV but it has protected
human cells from AIDS in the laboratory. "This therapy is potentially a cure for AIDS. So it's not a cure for HIV
infection, but it potentially could end the disease", he said. Over 30,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Australia. If
clinical trials are successful, one treatment could be effective enough to replace the multiple therapies they currently need.
"Drug therapy targets individual enzymes or proteins and they have one
drug, one protein," Associate Professor Harrich said. He added that they have to take two or three drugs, so this would be a
single agent that essentially has the same effect. "So in that respect, this is a world-first agent that`s able to stop HIV
with a single agent at multiple steps of the virus lifecycle."
He said that the new treatment has the potential to make big improvements in the quality of life for those carrying HIV. I think what
people are looking for is basically a means to go on and live happy and
productive lives with as little intrusion as possible. "You either have to eliminate the virus infection or
alternatively you have to eliminate the disease process and that`s what this could do,
potentially for a very long time." Harrich said animal trials are due to
start this year and early indications are positive", Harrich said.
'Tomato skin' pill can cut stroke, cancer risk
January 07, 2013 (ANI): Scientists have claimed that a pill containing a chemical found in
tomato skin could cut the risk of stroke and slow the progression of cancer.
The pill, called Ateronon, contains a chemical known as lycopene which had previously been shown to help unclog blocked arteries, and which is
thought to be one of the main health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the Telegraph reported.
Now a further trial has shown the natural remedy also made patients'
blood vessels more efficient, boosted their blood flow and softened arteries which had hardened with age.
Researchers believe the pill may be able to limit the damage caused by heart disease, although further studies will be needed to determine whether the positive
signals translate into fewer strokes and heart attacks. It uses a lycopene compound which has been modified to become more
easily absorbed by the blood than the natural version found in tomatoes.Ian Wilkinson, director of Cambridge University's clinical trials unit,
said that the results are good news and potentially very significant, but needed more trials.
Peter Kirkpatrick, medical adviser to CamNutra, which has developed Ateronon, added that it was too early to come to any firm conclusions,
but the results from this trial are far better than they could have hoped for.
Odisha announced a ban on the sale and manufacture of gutka and paan masala
BHUBANESWAR, January 02, 2013: The state government on Tuesday announced a ban on the sale
and manufacture of gutka and paan masala. With this, Odisha joined 18 other states having similar prohibition on tobacco in food products.
Declaring the curbs, health minister Damodar Rout said the government would issue required notification under the Food Safety and Standards
(Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, in two to three days. "I am happy to announce on the New Year that chief minister
Naveen Patnaik has approved the ban on edible tobacco. The step will be good for the
health of hundreds of people," the minister said.
Rout said the government would implement the regulations with all
sincerity. However, its success would also depend on awareness and alertness among people. He requested people to shun gutka voluntarily
for their own health and for effective implementation of the ban. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a statutory
body under the Union health ministry to handle food-related issues, notified the new regulations on August 1, 2011. States and UTs which
have already implemented the FSSAI regulations are Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand,
Maharashtra, Haryana, Mizoram, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Chandigarh. Goa had already clamped a ban under its
State Public Health Act much before the FSSAI regulations were penned.
Under rule (234) of the FSSAI regulation, "Food products will not
contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food product". Madhya
Pradesh was the first state to implement the FSSAI regulation, 2011, on April 1 last year. Doctors and anti-tobacco activists across the state welcomed the move.
"The step will save many lives. It will bring down cases of oral cancer and prevent crores of rupees from going down the drain," said Dr Ghanashyam
Biswas, a noted oncologist in the city. "It is a welcome step. The success of the initiative will depend on how
systematically the government implements the ban," said Itishree Kanungo, an anti-tobacco activist.
"The ban should have come earlier. But better late than never," said Abhinash
Thakur, an activist of anti-tobacco organization Nishamukti Yuva Sankalp, which had filed a PIL in the Orissa High Court seeking such a ban.
Gutka ban has serious implication for Odisha as the annual health survey (AHS) 2011 found the state having highest percentage of tobacco chewers
among the nine surveyed states. Odisha with 38% tobacco chewers in the above 15 years age group is ahead of Assam (36.6%), Chhattisgarh (32.5%),
Jharkhand (24.1%), Bihar (22.5%), Uttar Pradesh (21%), MP (18.9%),
Uttarakhand (8.8%) and Rajasthan (6.9%), the government survey had said. Source: The Times of India