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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1371
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Auriculotherapy might help in managing constipation

    Studies have proved that a form of acupuncture called auriculotherapy can now relieve you of constipation.

    This research was conducted by Hospital of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Southeast University School of Public Health, Nanjing, China which compared the effectiveness of auriculotherapy in managing and relieving constipation and in alleviating symptoms associated with constipation between affected patients and a control group.

    Auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem which reflects the entire body, represented on the auricle, the outer portion of the ear. Conditions affecting the physical, mental or emotional health of the patient are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively.

    This process involves stimulating targeted points on the outer ear.


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  2. #1372
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Study reveals the roots of alcohol addiction

    Millions of people around the world struggle with their excessive dependence on alcohol. A new research on this form of addiction has thrown some light into the cellular mechanism linked with it.

    The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) scientists found out that this signaling pathway has been regulated by a gene, called neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1) linked with excessive drinking in mice. Nf1 regulates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that lowers anxiety and increases feelings of relaxation.

    How Nf1 exactly affects the brain hasn't been made clear yet. The TSRI scientists suspected that Nf1 might be relevant to alcohol-related GABA activity in an area of the brain called the central amygdala, which was important in decision-making and stress- and addiction-related processes.
    TSRI Research Associate, Melissa Herman, said that as GABA release in the central amygdala has been shown to be critical in the transition from recreational drinking to alcohol dependence, they thought that Nf1 regulation of GABA release might be relevant to alcohol consumption.


  3. #1373
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New estrogen compound may curb binge eating

    Scientists have found that a new estrogen-based compound may help prevent binge eating.

    Binge eating, an eating disorder in which a person frequently consumes unusually large amounts of food in a short period of time, is more common in women than men.

    Researchers at the Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital found that the hormone estrogen can trigger brain serotonin neurons to inhibit binge eating in female mice.

    "Previous data has shown that women who have irregular menstrual cycles tend to be more likely to binge eat, suggesting that hormones in women play a significant role in the development or prevention of the behaviour," said Dr Yong Xu, assistant professor of pediatrics and senior author of the paper.

    In the study, Xu and colleagues first found that estrogen can strongly inhibit binge eating in mice, which was consistent with data in humans.

    "We can speculate that in women who develop binge eating who also happen to have irregular menstrual cycles, it is probably because their estrogen function is somehow damaged, which is what leads to the development of binge eating," said Xu.

    Xu and colleagues then determined what receptor was mediating the estrogen effect on binge eating and where this receptor was located. Using genetic mouse models, they found that the estrogen receptor-alpha, expressed by serotonin neurons in the brain, mediates the effect of estrogen to suppress binge eating. However, the current estrogen therapy produces detrimental effects, such as high risk of breast cancer


  4. #1374
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Trial Ebola drug 'Zmapp' 100% effective in treating monkeys

    Researchers have found that the experimental Ebola drug 'Zmapp' can help monkeys survive the deadly infection.

    Trials conducted on 18 monkeys showed 100 per cent effectiveness against the deadly virus. The monkeys were injected with Zmapp drug three to five days after they were found to be infected with the virus. Later, six other monkeys were given a slightly different version of the trial drug and it showed positive results in all the cases.

    There is no proven vaccine or cure available for Ebola virus at present. But, with the virus outbreak raging, the treatment boosts hopes that the deadly virus may work incase of human trials.

    However, a Liberian doctor and a Spanish priest, who were affected with the virus and were given Zmapp drug have died.

    Altogether 1,013 human deaths have been recorded in the Ebola-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Monday.

    The WHO has declared the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa as an international health emergency.

    Ebola virus, which spreads through mucous and other body fluids or secretions such as stool, urine, saliva and semen of infected people, is believed to be very difficult to control at present.


  5. #1375
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    MP to launch scheme to help children of cops in higher eduation

    Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has assured policemen in the state that his government will soon implement a scheme to provide assistance to their children in higher education.

    "The state government is framing a scheme to provide assistance to the children of policemen for getting higher education. It will be implemented soon so that they can also become engineers, doctors and go to foreign countries for studies," Chouhan said last night while addressing a function organised by Patrika group of newspapers for honouring brave policemen.

    "Investment will come and development will happen only when there is good law and order situation and peace prevails in the state," he said.

    He also praised policemen for doing their duties in an able manner despite facing lot of hardships.

    The state government is concerned about their welfare and will take care of them, he assured on the occasion.

    The state police force showed exemplary courage in ending reign of dacoits in Chambal region and was also discharging duties valiantly by not allowing Naxals to enter MP from Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra borders, he said.

    The Chief Minister said that policemen face lot of challenges because of changing nature of crimes and for that they have to keep their morale high.

    He also informed that the state government has decided to reserve 30 per cent posts for women in police force.

    On the occasion, Chouhan honoured 16 brave policemen of Indore division for their valour, discipline, traffic control and investigation.

    Patrika Group's Chief Editor Dr Gulab Kothari was also present at the function.


  6. #1376
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Self-monitoring hypertension program can help curb BP for high-risk patients

    A new study has revealed that the hypertension self-management program can help reduce blood pressure for high-risk patients.

    It was found that among patients with hypertension at high risk of cardiovascular disease, a program that consisted of patients measuring their blood pressure and adjusting their antihypertensive medication accordingly resulted in lower systolic blood pressure at 12 months compared to patients who received usual care.

    Data from national and international surveys suggested that despite improvements over the last decade, significant proportions of patients have poor control of their elevated blood pressure. Self-monitoring of blood pressure with self-titration (adjusting) of antihypertensives results in lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension, but there are no data about patients in high-risk groups, according to background information in the article.

    The authors mentioned that the trial has shown for the first time, that a group of high-risk individuals, with hypertension and significant cardiovascular comorbidity, are able to self-monitor and self-titrate antihypertensive treatment following a pre-specified algorithm developed with their family physician and that in doing so, they achieved a clinically significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure without an increase in adverse events. This would be the population with the most to gain in terms of reducing future cardiovascular events from optimized blood pressure control.

    Peter M. Nilsson, M.D., said that future trials studying the effects of self-titration on cardiovascular events are needed and, a "bring it home" blood pressure-lowering strategy appears suitable for patients with hypertension and comorbidities.

    The study is published in the issue of JAMA.


  7. #1377
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Your face can reveal your heart condition

    The facial features of an individual can reflect whether or not a person is experiencing atrial fibrillation - a treatable but potentially dangerous heart condition.

    With the assistance of a web camera and software algorithms, scientists demonstrated that subtle changes in skin colour can be used to detect the uneven blood flow caused by atrial fibrillation.
    "This technology holds the potential to identify and diagnose cardiac disease using contact less video monitoring," said Jean-Philippe Couderc from University of Rochester's heart research follow-up program.

    The technology employs a software algorithm developed by Xerox Corporation Ltd that scans the face and can detect changes in skin colour that are imperceptible to the naked eye.

    Sensors in digital cameras are designed to record three colours: red, green and blue.

    Hemoglobin - a component of blood - absorbs more of the green in the spectrum of light and this subtle change can be detected by the camera's sensor.

    During the study, participants were simultaneously hooked up to an electrocardiogram (ECG) so results from the facial scan could be compared to the actual electrical activity of the heart.

    The researchers found that the colour changes detected by video monitoring corresponded with an individual's heart rate as detected on an ECG.

    "Essentially, the irregular electrical activity of the heart found in people with atrial fibrillation could be identified by observing the pulses of blood flowing through the veins on the face as it absorbed or reflected green light with each heart beat," Couderc explained.

    The study found that the video monitoring technique called videoplethymography had an error rate of 20 percent, comparable to the 17 to 29 percent error rate associated with ECG measurements.

    The results were published online in the journal Heart Rhythm.


  8. #1378
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    From Kerala to France: Brainwaves emailed



    Here's a story that sounds like science fiction but actually happened. A man in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, thought the words `hola' and `ciao' (hello or goodbye in Italian) and another man in Strasbourg, France, received the two greetings in his brain. No hands, no speaking, no typing, no gestures -just mind-tomind communication.

    Researchers from the University of Barcelona, Harvard Medical School and three companies making brain stimulation equipment and robotics, carried out these experiments in March and April this year.Their findings are detailed in a paper published last week in the online journal PLOS-ONE.

    This is how it worked. The person in Kerala was connected to a wearable EEG system plugged into a laptop. An EEG (electro-encephalograph) measures tiny electric currents in the brain. To do so, small electrodes are put on the scalp, much like wearing a tight cap. This set up is called the Brain Computer Interface (BCI).

    "Setting up the BCI system is very easy and can be set up anywhere," Giulio Ruffini, lead researcher and CEO of Starlabs, Barcelona, said.After training in imagining certain movements that are associated with specific words, the sender thinks `hola' or `ciao'. This gets translated into an electronic signal that is sent through the internet to Strasbourg, nearly 8,000 kilometres away .

    In Strasbourg, another person is wearing the reverse system in which electronic signals are transmitted to the brain from a machine. The electronic `hola' and `ciao' get translated back and flash in the receiver's brain. So, how did our man in Kerala figure in all this? The company Neuroelectrics that supplied the BCI has a representative there and they thought a distant location would be good "to show that distance was irrelevant". A similar experiment was done between Barcelona and Strasbourg with similar results.

    Last year, scientists at Harvard had made a rat's tail twitch while its brain was connected electronically to a man who merely thought it. In August, scientists at the University of Washington established the first human brain-to-brain interface when a man moved another man's hand simply by thinking about it.Both were connected electronically .

    The Kerala-France experiment is the first time that communication of words has been accomplished. The experiment is still rudimentary and requires training for the sender. Ruffini said that the Kerala man had to concentrate so hard that he needed breaks to relax. The system is still a far cry from seamless telepathic communication often seen in sci-fi movies.But it's a big step forward.


  9. #1379
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Preventing formation of 'tentacle-like' structures can stop spread of cancer

    A new study has revealed that preventing formation of tentacle-like structures called "invadopodia" can help in stopping the spread of cancer completely.

    The research group of Dr. John Lewis at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB) and the Lawson Health Research Institute (London, ON) has confirmed that "invadopodia" plays a key role in the spread of cancer.

    To spread, or "metastasize," cancer cells must enter the blood stream or lymph system, travel through its channels, and then exit to another area or organ in the body. This final exit was the least understood part of the metastatic process. Previous research has shown cancer cells are capable of producing "invadopodia," a type of extension that cells use to probe and change their environment. However, their significance in the escape of cancer cells from the bloodstream has been unclear.

    Results confirmed the cancer cells formed invadopodia to reach out of the bloodstream and into the tissue of the surrounding organs, they essentially formed "tentacles" that enabled the tumor cell to enter the organ. However, through genetic modification or drug treatment, the scientists were able to block the factors needed for invadopodia to form. This effectively stopped all attempts for the cancer to spread.

    The study is published in Cell Reports.


  10. #1380
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New simple blood test to diagnose tuberculosis in kids

    Tuberculosis in children can now be detected with a simple blood test.

    Earlier the diagnosis of TB was often difficult because the symptoms in children are mostly non-specific and similar to those of other illnesses like pneumonia and malnutrition.

    This blood test named as TAM-TB assay is the first reliable immunodiagnostic assay to detect active tuberculosis in children, and is a major advance for the diagnosis of tuberculosis, particularly in tuberculosis-endemic regions.

    TAM-TB assay provides a fast and accurate tool to diagnose tuberculosis in children, is a sputum-independent blood test and makes use of an immunological phenomenon during tuberculosis disease. During an active infection, the expression of CD27 – a surface marker expressed on mycobacteria specific CD4+ T cells – is lost. Using standard intracellular cytokine staining procedures and polychromatic flow cytometry, the test result is available within 24 hours after blood sampling.

    TB is a global public health emergency according to WHO and a serious health problem especially in low-resource countries . Every year about 1 million children die due to this disease.


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