1st Apr 2015, 01:26 PM #1821
Re: Health Bulletin
தினம் ஒரு ஆப்பிள் சாப்பிட்டால் மருத்துவரிடம் செல்ல வேண்டாமா? மறுக்கிறது ஆய்வறிக்கை
"தினம் ஒரு ஆப்பிள் சாப்பிடுபவர்கள், மருத்துவரிடம் செல்ல வேண்டியிருக்காது' என்று கூறுவது வழக்கம்.
ஆனால், அமெரிக்காவில் நடத்தப்பட்ட ஓர் ஆய்வு, இதை மறுக்கிறது.
மிச்சிகன் பல்கலைக்கழகத்தைச் சேர்ந்த ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள், 2007-2008, 2009-2010-ஆம் ஆண்டுக்கான தேசிய உணவுப் பழக்கக் கணக்கெடுப்பில் உள்ள தகவல்களின் அடிப்படையில் ஒரு ஆய்வு மேற்கொண்டனர்.
அதில், தினமும் குறைந்தது ஒரு ஆப்பிளாவது உண்பவர்களையும், ஆப்பிளைத் தவிர்ப்பவர்களையும் தனித்தனியாகப் பிரித்தனர்.
ஆய்வுக்குத் தேர்ந்தெடுக்கப்பட்ட 8,399 பேரில் 753 பேர் தினமும் ஆப்பிள் உண்பவர்கள். 7,646 பேர் ஆப்பிள் சாப்பிடாதவர்கள்.
இவர்கள் அனைவரது மருத்துவப் பின்னணியையும் ஆய்வு செய்தபோது, அது "தினம் ஒரு ஆப்பிள்' பொன்மொழியை நிரூபிப்பதாக இருக்கவில்லை.
மருத்துவரைச் சந்திப்பது, மருத்துவமனையில் அனுமதிக்கப்பட்டு சிகிச்சை பெறுவது ஆகியவற்றில் தினமும் ஆப்பிள் உண்பவர்களுக்கும், ஆப்பிளைத் தவிர்ப்பவர்களுக்கும் எந்த வேறுபாடும் இல்லை.
எனினும், பரிந்துரைக்கப்பட்ட மருந்துகளை வாங்கி உட்கொள்வதை மட்டும், ஆப்பிள் உண்ணாதவர்களைவிட தினந்தோறும் ஆப்பிள் சாப்பிடுபவர்கள் அதிக அளவில் தவிர்ப்பதாக ஆய்வு முடிவுகள் தெரிவித்தன.
எனவே, வேண்டுமானால் "தினம் ஒரு ஆப்பிள் சாப்பிடுபவர்கள் மருந்துக் கடைக்குச் செல்லமாட்டார்கள்' என்று பொன்மொழியை மாற்றிக் கொள்ளுங்கள் என்கிறார்கள் ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள்.
2nd Apr 2015, 01:53 PM #1822
Re: Health Bulletin
Experimental Ebola vaccine found safe, effective
An early-stage human trial has found an experimental Ebola vaccine safe and it also elicited robust antibody responses in all 40 of the healthy adults who received it.
A report describing preliminary results of the study that tested the candidate vaccine called VSV-ZEBOV appeared online in The New England Journal of Medicine.
"The prompt, dose-dependent production of high levels of antibodies following a single injection and the overall favourable safety profile of this vaccine make VSV-ZEBOV a promising candidate that might be particularly useful in outbreak interventions," said one of the lead investigators Richard Davey from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US.
The volunteers tolerated the vaccine well. The most common side effects were injection site pain and transient fever that appeared and resolved within 12 to 36 hours after vaccination.
Scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada developed the candidate vaccine.
It was licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp. of Ames, Iowa, a company collaborating with Merck & Co. Inc., of Kenilworth, New Jersey in the US.
The experimental vaccine is based on a genetically modified and attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a virus that mainly affects cattle.
In the investigational vaccine, a gene for a VSV protein was replaced with a gene segment from a key protein in the Zaire species of Ebola virus.
The vaccine does not contain the whole Ebola virus and therefore cannot infect vaccinated persons with Ebola.
The new report summarises results of the first 52 volunteers enrolled in the study: 26 at the National Institute of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and 26 at the WRAIR clinic in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Six volunteers at each site received a placebo injection of saline solution, and the remaining 40 received the experimental vaccine.
Earlier, a study in the journal The Lancet reported that another experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology in China provoked immune response in recipients.
2nd Apr 2015, 01:56 PM #1823
Re: Health Bulletin
New way to prevent dengue fever found
Australian scientists have discovered a novel way to prevent the spread of the dengue virus, a mosquito-borne deadly disease that currently has no approved vaccine.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne along with international collaborators found a new way to block the dengue virus in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes using the insect bacterium, Wolbachia, and have for the first time provided projections of its public health benefit.
Dengue is a viral infection spread between humans by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Dengue causes flu-like symptoms, including intense headaches and joint pains.
Professor Cameron Simmons, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity said that the discovery could lead to improved strategies to reduce the incidence of dengue.
"We did a 'real world' experiment and allowed mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia and uninfected mosquitoes to feed on the blood of Vietnamese dengue patients," Simmons said.
"Our team then measured how efficiently Wolbachia blocked dengue virus infection of the mosquito body and saliva, which in turn stops them from spreading the virus between humans," Simmons said.
Researchers developed a mathematical model of dengue virus transmission and used the experimental results as a basis to predict how well Wolbachia would reduce the intensity of dengue transmission under a variety of scenarios.
"We found that Wolbachia could eliminate dengue transmission in locations where the intensity of transmission is low or moderate. In high transmission settings, Wolbachia would also cause a significant reduction in transmission," said Simmons.
"Our findings are important because they provide realistic measures of the ability of Wolbachia to block transmission of the dengue virus and provide precise projections of its impact on dengue infections," Simmons said.
"Our results will enable policy makers in dengue-affected countries to make informed decisions on Wolbachia when allocating scarce resources to dengue control," Simmons said.
Dengue continues to be a major public health problem in Asia and Latin America. Estimates suggest more than 100 million cases occur globally each year, researchers said.
The study was published in the Journal of Science Translational Medicine.
2nd Apr 2015, 02:03 PM #1824
Re: Health Bulletin
An injection of alcohol can cure pancreatitis better
Alcohol is found to be one of the major causes for inflammation and stones in the pancreas. But a 20ml dose injected in to the nerves around the organ can prevent the recurrence of pain even after surgical removal of the stones.
A study done by Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital involving 66 patients found that combining an intervention of injecting ethanol in to the nerves around the pancreas, to kill the nerve fibres that carry pain sensation, after surgically removing the diseased tissue and the stones can give patients better relief from pain.
Surgeons combined both the interventions as they found that about 20% of patients continue to have pain warranting painkillers despite undergoing the surgery. They found the success rate to be 97% when compared to 82% among those patients who had undergone only the surgery.
Head of surgical gastroenterology Dr S M Chandramohan says besides the pain relief, they have also observed that the patients have gained weight indicating that their food intake has improved as they feel better. "In the surgery, we core out or remove the diseased tissue in the pancreas along with the stones and connect the pancreatic duct to the small intestine but the nerves around the pancreas get irritated and that's when we inject the alcohol," Chandramohan explains.
However, not all patients with inflammation and stones in the pancreatic duct undergo surgery as doctors say that only those who present with severe uncontrolled pain and weight loss are recommended. "We have noticed that most of the patients that come with the problem are between the age of 31 and 40," says Dr D Kannan, professor of surgical gastroenterology.
He adds that apart from alcohol being a common cause for chronic pancreatitis, they have also seen cases where it was due to their eating habits while in some, the cause could not identified.
Though both interventions have been widely provided as a treatment across the world, doctors at RGGGH say that combining them was very rare. The study won the award for best paper in the 5th biennial Asia pacific hepato biliary pancreatic conference at Singapore recently.
2nd Apr 2015, 02:05 PM #1825
Re: Health Bulletin
What's more scary? Diabetes drugs, not disease, says doctor
At Chennai Hospital, Diabetologist Advocates Use Of Alternative Therapies Based On Energy Healing
Self-healing, detox and release of pent up emotion: The words used at a recent work shop in Chennai was typically new age. The technique taught was simple. The participants had to beat themselves up at specific areas in the body - on the ankles, wrists, knees, armpits etc. "Since the pain is selfinflicted, it is bearable. But the benefits are there for us to see," says noted diabetologist, C V Krishnaswami. He doesn't yet endorse the Chinese technique of paida lajin that is based on the concept of meridians. But in a selected group of patients - diabetics of type I and II, sufferers of Parkinson disease, heart disease and hypertension - CVK, as he is known, has seen encouraging results. He is excited. "Hongchi Xiao, the Chinese inventor of the technique, says slapping oneself at meridian points can help to heal the emotional heart," says CVK. Coming from a trained physician of nearly 50 years standing, words like emotional heart may sound strange. But, if paida lajin is accepted by CVK, it will only become another alternative therapy being offered at his hospital, TAG VHS in Taramani.
Located inside VHS campus, TAG VHS, a 40-bedded hospital with 12 free wards, is CVK's brainchild that he established in 2011 through donations. As a research hospital, TAG VHS uses a range of what CVK calls non-invasive procedures based on energy medicine - energy as in the nebulous idea of prana and qi but which CVK thinks western science is also recognizing.
But, what started him on this path? CVK says: "As a diabetologist who has treated more than 800 children afflicted with type 1 diabetics, I did not find as many complications as is often made out to be. For instance, I didn't see 40% kidney failure, may be 10%. I saw 10% to 15% nerve failure over 25 years." CVK says the complications, especially in type 2 diabetes, are to a significant extent caused by anti-diabetic drugs. Also, the glucose level threshold for reporting diabetes has been artificially lowered, which automatically increases the numbers. "The human body should be able to take a range of blood sugar levels for the sake of longterm health. In the quest for the perfect sugar level, we have created other health problems," he says.
He cites recent studies that say that prolonged use of frontline blockbuster diabetic drug metformin can lead to side-effects including reduced mental abilities, depression, breathlessness and extreme fatigue. He also talks about how it has been found in the US that rosiglytazone can cause heart attacks. He cites studies that show sitaglyptin, another diabetes drug, can cause pancreatic cancer.
Many diabetologists say these studies are alarmist and the drugs have benefited vast numbers of diabetics. But CVK says: "Often, these studies bear out the side-effects later. But in the meanwhile they have harmed lakhs of people." CVK is hoping the suite of therapies at TAG VHS can help to cut down drug intake. "I prescribe drugs too. But we have to look at the side-effects," he says.
A senior diabetologist who retired from government service and has closely followed CVK's career said there are several avenues in medicine that are yet to be explored and the contrarian in Taramani is doing just that. "There are studies that support the efficacy of the drugs. While several practitioners have moved on, he's still stuck in the old school.Metformin, for example, is the most widely used diabetes drug today. There was a more dangerous form of the drug called phenformin. But following widespread report of complications, it was withdrawn. CVK, however, insists that even metformin has complications."
Another noted diabetologist in the city says CVK's views on metformin are not well founded. "Metformin has benefited many patients.The alternative would be putting patients on insulin directly . Insulin is expensive and causes sudden drop in blood sugar levels," he said.
On CVK's alternate forms of treatment, he said: "Whatever you do should be evidence-based. There should be proof of the treatment method being tried on people. It should also be published in a peerreviewed journal," he said."He's a nice person and a noted diabetologist. All of us hold him in high regard," he added.CVK says TAG VHS has compiled records -all electronic -of nearly 30,000 patient histories. He insists the treatments and benefits are vigorously documented.
In his quest to push the boundaries, isn't CVK championing techniques whose pathways of working are not demonstrable though the results may be available? CVK believes modern science will have to eventually look at these issues. He cites a recent study at Columbia University , New York, that suggests that bones are major endocrine organs. "Bones, tendons and muscles are endocrine organs, which goes against common understanding. In rats it is shown that they are large endocrine organs producing osteocalcin that through an amino acid lowers sugar."
CVK asks what if paida lajin taps into that feature and lowers blood sugar?
4th Apr 2015, 12:52 PM #1826
Re: Health Bulletin
70% obese girls fall prey to PCOS in city, say docs
Is your daughter or niece rapidly gaining weight, having facial hair and getting irregular periods? Beware, there are chances she may be suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can impair fertility, but remains little understood and undiagnosed. And it's high time you consult a doctor.
PCOS is a lifestyle disorder in women of childbearing age, which is fast becoming a common ailment among GenNext and gnawing on their well-being. According to doctors, there's a spurt in this ailment in city, particularly among teens. Doctors in city said at least 70% obese patients suffer from PCOS.
"Although most patients are in the 13-25 age-group, polycystic ovarian syndrome can affect women of any age from menarche to menopause. Incidence of women suffering from PCOS has risen 30% in recent years as it is difficult to diagnose within a spectrum of diseases without a particular symptom," said Dr Manuj Sharma, endocrinologist at Hamidia Hospital. Symptoms are often genetic, but unhealthy lifestyle aggravates the condition," he said.
"While the condition runs in families, lifestyle changes are a major reason for rise in numbers. Working women are worst sufferers as they suffer from a skewed biological clock due to unhealthy working hours, stress, odd-hour eating and poor nutritional intake," said Dr Sharma. Dermatologist Dr Anuraag Tiwari said majority of women coming for treatment of pimples have PCOS. "The number is rising as sedentary lifestyle leads to hormonal imbalance, resulting in growth of small follicles in ovaries. This causes facial hair, acne and irregular periods or prolonged periods in young women. Its major fallout is infertility and can also lead to obesity," said the doctor.
More than a quarter of 70% obese patients suffer from PCOS, which ends up in patients suffering from diabetes, uterine cancer and high cholesterol. "It is imperative to bring weight under control. There is no permanent cure for PCOS and it can only be managed with regulated diet, exercise and meditation," said Dr Sharma.
Pointing out that PCOS is most common endocrinological disorder among women, Dr Sharma said when patients suffer infertility issues, we stimulate ovulation. "For younger women, pills with low androgenic (male-hormone like) side-effects are given to regulate periods," he said.
4th Apr 2015, 12:57 PM #1827
Re: Health Bulletin
AIIMS endorses Ayurveda for rheumatoid arthritis
In a significant scientific validation for traditional therapies, India's premier medical institution, AIIMS, has found certain Ayurvedic formulations effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes irreversible joint damage.
The study, conducted on 125 RA patients, found Ayurvedic medicines Ashwagandha powder and Sidh Makardhwaj, helped in relieving pain in tender and swollen joints, and increased mobility in a majority of subjects. Ashwagandha powder is derived from a plant while Sidh Makardhwaj is a formulation of herbal and mineral ingredients.
The study was part of a larger research being conducted by the institution, known for cutting-edge treatments, for scientific validation of therapies offered under traditional systems of medicine. PM Narendra Modi's endorsement of alternative medicine has given further push to the programme.
AIIMS is also conducting multiple studies to validate alternative therapies for epilepsy, Alzheimer's and chronic heart failure, among others. Dr Y K Gupta, who heads AIIMS' pharmacology department, told TOI that scientific validation of alternative therapies and medicines was one of the mandates of the institute.
"Interest in traditional medicines is renewed and growing exponentially due to the adverse drug reactions and economic burden associated with modern system of medicine. The central government is promoting them too," he added.
AIIMS is also conducting studies to validate the medicinal values of turmeric, sankhpushpi or Evolvulus alsinoides and stem bark of terminalia arjuna (a medicinal plant used by Ayurvedic physicians) for treating various health ailments.
AIIMS doctors said Ashwagandha powder had anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and immuno-modulatory properties, which help improving physical function and joint pain in RA patients.
A researcher who participated in the study said the formulations had multiple benefits. The subjects were administered 5 gram of Ashwagandha powder twice a day for three weeks with lukewarm water or milk and 100 gram of Sidh Makardhwaj daily with honey for the next four weeks as part of the pilot study.
"The drugs decreased RA factor and there was significant change in post-treatment scores of tender joints, swollen joints, pain assessment score and patient self-assessed disability index among other," the researcher said. The study has been published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
Dr (Gen) Ved Chaturvedi, rheumatologist at Army (Research and Referral hospital) said this is a welcome step. "Whether we accept it or not, there are many people in India who subscribe to the health benefits of alternative therapies. It is important to scientifically validate the claims about their efficacy rather than ignoring them totally," he said.
According to him, rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating condition in which patients have to take life-long medications. "In many cases, where treatment is delayed or the joints get damaged badly, costly joint replacements is done," added Dr Chaturvedi.
The NDA government recently announced opening of institute of Ayurveda on the lines of AIIMS in Delhi and several other parts of the country.
4th Apr 2015, 01:01 PM #1828
Re: Health Bulletin
Brain can 'see' beyond five senses, finds study
Yet another proof of the incredible power and adaptability of the brain was provided by a recent study in which Japanese researchers connected the brains of blind rats to a geomagnetic compass - and found that the rats spontaneously learnt to use new information about their location and to navigate through a maze nearly as well as normally sighted rats. The findings are reported in the journal Current Biology on April 2.
Researchers say the findings suggest that a similar kind of neuroprosthesis might also help blind people walk freely through the world. "The most remarkable point of this paper is to show the potential, or the latent ability, of the brain," says Yuji Ikegaya of the University of Tokyo. "That is, we demonstrated that the mammalian brain is flexible even in adulthood--enough to adaptively incorporate a novel, never-experienced, non-inherent modality into the pre-existing information sources."
In other words, he says, the brains of the animals they studied were ready and willing to fill in "the 'world' drawn by the five senses" with a new sensory input.
What Ikegaya and his colleague Hiroaki Norimoto set out to do was to restore not vision per se, but the blind rats' allocentric sense. That sense is what allows animals and people to recognize the position of their body within the environment. What would happen, the researchers asked, if the animals could "see" a geomagnetic signal? Could that signal fill in for the animals' lost sight? Would the animals know what to do with the information?
The head-mountable geomagnetic sensor device the researchers devised allowed them to connect a digital compass (the kind you'd find in any smart phone) to two tungsten microelectrodes for stimulating the visual cortex of the brain. The very lightweight device also allowed the researchers to turn the brain stimulation up or down and included a rechargeable battery. Once attached, the sensor automatically detected the animal's head direction and generated electrical stimulation pulses indicating which direction they were facing--north or south, for instance.
The "blind" rats were then trained to seek food pellets in a T-shaped or a more complicated maze. Within tens of trials, the researchers report, the animals learned to use the geomagnetic information to solve the mazes. In fact, their performance levels and navigation strategies were similar to those of normally sighted rats. The animals' allocentric sense was restored.
"We were surprised that rats can comprehend a new sense that had never been experienced or 'explained by anybody' and can learn to use it in behavioral tasks within only two to three days," Ikegaya says.
The findings suggest one very simple application: to attach geomagnetic sensors to the canes used by some blind people to get around. More broadly, the researchers expect, based on the findings, that humans could expand their senses through artificial sensors that detect geomagnetic input, ultraviolet radiation, ultrasound waves, and more. Our brains, it appears, are capable of much more than our limited senses allow.
4th Apr 2015, 01:01 PM #1829
Re: Health Bulletin
Common cholesterol drug stimulates same receptors as marijuana
Researchers have identified a cholesterol drug that may be the starting point for a new class of cannabis-like drugs to treat pain, nausea and various psychiatric and neurological conditions.
Fenofibrate, also known by the brand name Tricor, is used to treat high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.
The drug may also benefit a wide range of health issues, such as pain, appetite stimulation, nausea, as well as immune and various psychiatric and neurological conditions, researchers said.
The research suggests fenofibrate may be the starting point for a new class of cannabis-like drugs to treat these types of conditions.
"By illustrating the relationship between fenofibrate and the cannabinoid system, we aim to improve our understanding of this clinically important drug," said Richard S Priestley, a researcher from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham Medical School in Nottingham, UK.
"Our study provides the basis for the investigation of new drugs targeting these important receptors," Priestley said.
Priestly and colleagues cultured cells containing cannabinoid receptors and exposed them to a tracer compound, which binds to cannabinoid receptors.
They found that fenofibrate was able to displace the tracer, suggesting that it also binds to the receptors.
Furthermore, they discovered that fenofibrate actually switched the cannabinoid receptors "on," not only in these cells, but also in sections of intestine.
This led to the relaxation of the tissue in a way that mimicked what marijuana does.
Despite the fact that fenofibrate has been used for many years, and its mechanism of action was presumed to be through a completely different family of receptors, this suggests that at least some of the effects of fenofibrate may be controlled by cannabinoid receptors.
Furthermore, these cannabinoid receptors may be a future target for drugs used to treat pain and a variety of immune and psychiatric diseases.
"There are people who do not want to get stoned just to get the relief that marijuana brings. This new work suggests that possibility," said Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal in which the study was published.
4th Apr 2015, 01:02 PM #1830
Re: Health Bulletin
DNA can't explain all inherited traits
Characteristics passed between generations are not decided solely by DNA, but can be brought about by other material in cells, new research has shown for the first time.
Scientists studied proteins found in cells, known as histones, which are not part of the genetic code, but act as spools around which DNA is wound. Histones are known to control whether or not genes are switched on.
Researchers found that naturally occurring changes to these proteins, which affect how they control genes, can be sustained from one generation to the next and so influence which traits are passed on.
The finding demonstrates for the first time that DNA is not solely responsible for how characteristics are inherited.
It paves the way for research into how and when this method of inheritance occurs in nature, and if it is linked to particular traits or health conditions.
It may also inform research into whether changes to the histone proteins that are caused by environmental conditions - such as stress or diet - can influence the function of genes passed on to offspring.
The research confirms a long-held expectation among scientists that genes could be controlled across generations by such changes. However, it remains to be seen how common the process is, researchers said.
Scientists tested the theory by carrying out experiments in a yeast with similar gene control mechanisms to human cells.
They introduced changes to a histone protein, mimicking those that occur naturally, causing it to switch off nearby genes. The effect was inherited by subsequent generations of yeast cells.
"We've shown without doubt that changes in the histone spools that make up chromosomes can be copied and passed through generations," Professor Robin Allshire, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said.
"Our finding settles the idea that inherited traits can be epigenetic, meaning that they are not solely down to changes in a gene's DNA," said Allshire.
The study was published in the journal Science.