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  1. #1841
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Cannabis can cure cancer and even shrink brain tumours

    A new study has examined that Marijuana can kill cancer cells and even shrink brain tumours.

    The study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded by the US government showed extracts from the plants can help enhance the impact of radiation therapy, the Mirror reported.

    According to the reports, recent animal studies have shown that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others and evidence from one animal study suggests that extracts from whole-plant marijuana can shrink one of the most serious types of brain tumors.

    Research in mice showed that these extracts, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.


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  2. #1842
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Orange glasses for better sleep?

    Most evenings, before watching TV or reading emails on his phone, Matt Nicoletti puts on a pair of orange-coloured glasses."My girlfriend thinks I look ridiculous in them," he said. But Nicoletti, 30, a hospitality consultant, says the glasses, which can block certain wavelengths of light emitted by electronic screens, make it easier to sleep.

    Studies have shown that such light, especially from the blue part of the spectrum, inhibits the body's production of melatonin, a hormone that helps people fall asleep. Options are growing for block ing blue light, though experts caution that few have been tested for effectiveness and the best solution is to avoid brightly lit electronics at night.

    A study of A study of 13 teenagers, published in The Journal of Adolescent Health, showed that when they donned orange-tinted glasses, known as blue blockers and shown to prevent melatonin suppression, in the evening for a week, they felt "significantly more sleepy" than when they wore clear glasses. The teenagers looked at their screens for a few hours on average before bed, and were monitored in the lab.

    Older adults may be less affected by blue light, experts say, since the yellowing of the lens and other changes in the aging eye filter out increasing amounts of blue light. But blue light remains a problem for most people, and an earlier study of 20 adults aged 18 to 68 found that those who wore amber-tinted glasses for three hours before bed improved their sleep quality as against the control group that wore yellow-tinted lenses, which blocked only ultraviolet light.

    Devices such as smartphones and tablets are often illuminated by light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that tend to emit more blue light than incandescent products. Televisions with LED backlighting are another source of blue light, though because they are typically viewed from much farther away than small screens like phones, they may have less of an effect, said Debra Skene, a professor of neuroendocrinology at the University of Surrey. "Anything that decreases blue light exposure at night will be helpful," said Christopher Colwell, neuroscientist at the University of California."Some gamers swear by those orange-tinted goggles." But orange glasses are not a panacea, Skene said. "It isn't just get rid of the blue and everything's fine," she said.

    The intensity of light, in addition to colour, can affect sleep, and not all brands of orange-tinted glasses have undergone independent testing for their ability to aid sleep. Nicoletti says he also uses applications designed to alter the blue light impact of his devices depending on the time of day: an app called f.lux for his computer and Twilight for his mobile phone. Other ideas are proliferating. An Ohio company , for example, offers filters to block blue light by covering the screens of electronic devices like the iPhone or iPad. Other company products include "low blue" LED lights and orange eyewear.

    During the daytime, experts say , exposure to blue light is good. Sunlight, which contains different wavelengths of light, is the best. "That's what our brain knows," said Kenneth P Wright Jr., director of the sleep & chronobiology lab at the University of Colorado. A 2013 study he led, showed just how different things can be without nighttime lights: After participants had camped in the mountains for a week, their bodies began to prepare for sleep about two hours earlier than normal.

    Short of cutting out all evening electronics, experts say , it's advisable to use a small screen; dim the screen and keep it as far away from the eyes as possible; and reduce the amount of time spent reading the device. "If you can look at the iPhone for 10 minutes rather than three hours, that makes a lot of difference," Dr Skene said.


  3. #1843
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mother's gene can nourish baby's gut bacteria

    A gene helps some mothers produce breast milk sugars that are not digested by the infant, but instead nourish specific bacteria that colonise the babies' guts soon after birth, says a new study.

    The gene, which is not active in some mothers, produces a breast milk sugar called "secretors".

    Mothers known as "non-secretors" have a non-functional fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2) gene, which alters the composition of their breast milk sugars and changes how the microbial community, or microbiota, of their infants' guts develop, the study said.

    "In no way is the nonsecretor mother's milk less healthy, and their babies are at no greater risk," said senior study author David Mills from the University of California, Davis.

    "What this work does show us is that the mother's genotype matters, and that it influences the breast milk, which clearly drives the establishment of microbes in the intestines of their babies," Mills said.

    The research may have applications in a clinical setting for protecting premature infants from a range of intestinal diseases including necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), a condition that is the second most common cause of death among premature infants in the US.

    The research examined the differences in infant gut microbial populations arising from differences in human milk sugars.

    The research was conducted using milk samples from 44 mothers.

    The study appeared in the journal Microbiome.


  4. #1844
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, condoms that deliver Viagra doses?

    A group of scientists in Australia is developing a series of condoms which it claims could feel even better than wearing nothing at all. Tasked by Bill Gates to come up with the "next generation condom", the team at the University of Wollongong have been experimenting with hydrogel materials which they say have a range of benefits over latex.

    Ultra-strong and flexible, hydrogels have been around for decades, according to Science Alert — but lead materials scientist Robert Gorkin says they are ideal to be converted for use as condoms. Imagine a condom that self-lubricates, delivers its own small dose of Viagra, biodegrades or even conducts electricity and responds to stimulation. "Our original idea was just to try to prove that an original material could replace latex," he said.


  5. #1845
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, take your surgeon to hospital of your choice

    If you trust a surgeon but not his hospital, what do you do? It's a dilemma no longer as you can take the doctor to a hospital of your choice. A growing number of hospitals now allow patients to bring in a doctor of your choice.

    Recently, a Coimbatore-based anesthetist and intensivist opened a perioperative care center, Sigma Medi Center, allowing patients to bring in doctors of their choice to do the surgery. The centre promises state-of-the-art facilities and support care. "We have a team of ICU trained nurses, two surgeons, round-the-clock doctors, a well-equipped ICU and monitoring facilities," said Dr Selvaraj, who started the centre.



    Doctors across the country say the system of outsourcing preoperative and perioperative care began unofficially a few years ago in smaller nursing homes and hospitals because of many reasons, but awareness among patients is catching up only now. "Now patients want a comfortable stay and are not happy with just a neighbourhood hospital referred by a family physician," said Bangalore-based ENT surgeon Dr E V Raman, who practices at Manipal Hospital.

    "They are also not sure if those small hospitals have the back-up to deal with a complication or emergency that happens in the middle of the night, certified blood banks and constant monitoring," he said. "Then there are those very established doctors who prefer practicing independently but do not want to invest in a hospital of their own or invest in perioperative care which requires constant monitoring and care. It is also easier to handle medico-legal cases this way," he added.



    These issues have also led to a growing number of small, medium and big hospitals allowing doctors to hire their operation theatres for a fee, but charge patients independently for the room and other support systems. Chennai-based gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr K Uma, has always had an independent practice. While her clinic is based in Ashok Nagar, she takes her patients and performs the deliveries at Apollo Hospitals, Sooriya Hospital, Best Hospital and sometimes Prashanthi Hospital, which is outside the city. The hospital is often chosen based on the patient's preference in terms of facilities and cost.



    "This way I can cater to patients from all economic backgrounds and have no targets," said Dr Uma. "The hospital is chosen on their personal preference, affordability and insurance. I admit them in the hospital and offer them a package which includes my fee and hospital charges," she added.

    However, some veterans in the field question the viability of such initiative. "Most of the established names in every specialization are usually attached to large corporate hospitals or big brand names," said Dr Saumitra Rawat, chairman and head of surgical gastroenterology and liver transplant at New Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. "And these corporate hospitals do not let their doctors practice in other hospitals. Neither do they allow other doctors to operate in their hospital," he said.

    That might be true with some corporate hospitals, but a growing trend shows patients can choose.


  6. #1846
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, herbal tea that fights malaria

    A new study has revealed about the journey of the antimalarial tea from herbal remedy to licensed phytomedicine.

    The herbal remedy derived from the roots of a weed, which was traditionally used to alleviate malarial symptoms, was combined with leaves and aerial portions from two other plants with antimalarial activity, formulated as a tea, and eventually licensed and sold as an antimalarial phytomedicine.

    The authors have presented the fascinating story and challenges behind the development of this plant-based treatment.

    Merlin Willcox (University of Oxford, UK), Zephirin Dakuyo (Phytofla, Banfora, Burkina Faso) and coauthors discuss the antimalarial and pharmacological properties of the herbal medication derived from Cochlospermum planchonii (a shrubby weed known as N'Dribala), Phyllanthus amarus, and Cassia alata.

    The authors provide a unique historical perspective in describing the early evaluation, development, and production of this phytomedicine.

    They present the ongoing research and challenges in scaling up cultivation and harvesting of the plants and in production of the final product.

    The article also describes other traditional uses of the medication, such as to treat hepatitis.

    The study appears in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.


  7. #1847
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Soya-wheat mix can help protect immunity of HIV patients: Study

    Adding a soya-wheat mix fortified with vitamins to the diet of HIV-positive people, along with regular treatment, can safeguard their immunity and general health, a new study has found.

    The study by National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis had about 282 patients getting macronutrient supplement at Tuberculosis Research Centre clinics in Chennai and Madurai for six months. It showed not just significant improvement in nutritional parameters, but also that the CD4 cell count of these patients remained stable, indicating their immunity was being maintained. The patients who took part in the study were were not on antiretroviral therapy (ART).

    CD4 cells are a type of white blood cells that protect the body from infection. Once infected with HIV, the cells are attacked and destroyed by the virus. However, at the time of the study, the guideline recommended initiation of ART before CD4 cell counts decrease below 250 cells while the recent guidelines suggest 350 cells.

    Malnutrition in HIV-positive adults is an issue that requires special attention as it leads to faster disease progression, high mortality rate and suboptimal response to anti-retroviral therapy. And if they are the bread winners, it could affect the whole family.

    The nutritional parameters that were observed to have significantly increased among the group that received macronutrient supplement are body weight, body mass index, mid-arm circumference, fat-free mass, and body cell mass. The observation was compared with that of a control group of 79 patients who received only standard care. This group did not show any improvement, and their CD4 count dropped.



    While the standard care involved treatment to prevent other diseases and treating common infections, by providing multivitamin tablets, nutritional counselling and psychosocial support. The supplement group, meanwhile, also got a mixture of whole wheat and soya bean flour fortified with vitamins and folic acid, providing a high-calorie, high-protein diet.

    NIRT director Dr Soumya Swaminathan said that though an increase in nutrition levels were observed, they may not be statistically significant. That was partly due to the study design and other biological and behaviourial factors.

    Scientist C Padmapriyadarsini says that the patients in the 'beneficiary' group were also given interesting recipes to try out new ways to cook and eat. "M Being a catabolic illness, HIV requires high-protein content to build muscle mass," she said. The study also recalled a macronutrient supplementation programme in TN for all HIV-positive patients initiating ART at government centres, which showed weight gain in treated patients. The programme was discontinued after the funding was stopped.


  8. #1848
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Possible cause of Alzheimer’s found

    Scientists have broken new ground in the search for an Alzheimer's cure, discovering a new potential cause of the disease, which, it may be possible to target with drug treatments.

    Experts said the findings, from Duke University in North Carolina, USA, could "open new doors" in the increasingly frustrated global hunt for a dementia therapy.

    Researchers at Duke announced that their studies of Alzheimer's in mice had thrown up a new process they believe contributes to the disease's development. They observed that in Alzheimer's, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead begin to consume a vital nutrient called arginine. By blocking this process with a drug, they were able to prevent the formation of 'plaques' in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease, and also halted memory loss in the mice. While no technique that is tested in an animal can be guaranteed to work the same way in humans, the findings are particularly encouraging because, until now, the exact role of the immune system and arginine in Alzheimer's was completely unknown.

    The drug that was used to block the body's immune response to arginine — known as difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) — is already being investigated for certain types of cancer and may be suitable for testing as a potential Alzheimer's therapy. The discovery was welcomed by experts in the UK who said it had filled in gaps in the understanding of Alzheimer's and could "open new doors" to treatments for the devastating condition, which affects more than 500,000 people in the UK alone.

    The number of people worldwide living with some form of dementia is set to reach 135 million by 2050. However, after a string of costly failures to bring effective drugs to market, pharmaceutical firms are increasingly cutting funding for research. The G8 group of nations pledged in 2013 to find a major new dementia treatment or cure by 2025, and the coalition government committed the UK to doubling its contribution toward this goal to 132m by then.

    "We see this study opening the doors to thinking about Alzheimer's in a completely different way, to break the stalemate of ideas in this disease," said neurology prof Carol Colton of the Duke University, an author of the study.


  9. #1849
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    மார்பகப் புற்று நோயை முன்பாகவே கண்டறியும் புதிய ரத்தப் பரிசோதனை

    2 அல்லது 5 ஆண்டுகளில் மார்பகப் புற்று நோய் ஏற்படுவதற்கான வாய்ப்பை முன்னமேயே கணித்து விடும் புதிய ரத்தப் பரிசோதனை முறை கண்டறியப்பட்டுள்ளது.


    இது மார்பகப் புற்று நோய் சிகிச்சை மற்றும் கணிப்பில் ‘சட்டக மாற்றத்தை’ ஏற்படுத்தும் என்று புதிய ஆய்வு ஒன்று தெரிவித்துள்ளது.


    ஏற்கெனவே மார்பகப் புற்று தோன்றியிருந்தால் மட்டுமே மேமோகிராபி செய்து கண்டுபிடிக்க முடியும். நோய் வருவதற்கு முன்னால் இந்த சோதனையால் கண்டு பிடிக்க முடியாது.


    டென்மார்க்கில் உள்ள பல்கலைக் கழக பேராசிரியர் ராஸ்மஸ் புரோ என்பவர் தற்போது புதிய ரத்தப் பரிசோதனை முறை மூலம் மார்பகப் புற்று நோயை சில ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பாகவே கணித்து விடலாம் என்கிறார்.


    கடந்த 20 ஆண்டுகளாக சுமார் 57.000 பெண்களை வைத்து இந்த ஆராய்ச்சி செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது. அதாவது ரத்த பரிசோதனையில் எப்போதும் ஒரு குறிப்பிட்ட நோய்க்கான காரண/காரிய விவரங்களைச் சேகரிக்க முடிந்து வந்துள்ளது. ஆனால், ரத்தத்தில் கலந்துள்ள அனைத்து மூலக்கூறுகளையும் பரிசோதனை செய்யும் இந்த முறை மூலம் மார்பகப் புற்று நோயை சில ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பாகவே கணித்து விட முடியும் என்கிறார் ராஸ்மஸ் புரோ.


    இந்த ரத்தப் பரிசோதனை முறை மூலம் மார்பகப் புற்று நோய் ஏற்படுவதற்கான காரணங்களை உருவாக்கும் 'உயிரியல் அடையாளங்கள்' தெரியவரும். அதாவது இந்த பலதரப்பட்ட உயிரியல் அடையாளங்களுக்கு இடையே நிகழும் ஊடாட்டங்களைக் கொண்டு மார்பகப் புற்று நோய் ஏற்படுவதற்கான சாத்தியங்களை கணித்து விட முடியும்.


    இது பற்றிய விரிவான கட்டுரை 'மெட்டபோலோமிக்ஸ்' (ஒரு குறிப்பிட்ட செல் இயக்கங்கள் விட்டுச் செல்லும் தனிச்சிறப்பான ரசாயன அடையாளங்கள் பற்றிய ஆய்வு) என்ற மருத்துவ இதழில் வெளியாகியுள்ளது.


  10. #1850
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Mystery behind knuckles' crackle solved

    The distinctive popping sound heard when cracking knuckles is caused due to a cavity forming rapidly inside the finger joints, scientists have established for the first time ever. "We call it the `pull my finger study' -and actually pulled on someone's finger and filmed what happens in the MRI. When you do that, you can actually see very clearly what is happening inside the joints," said lead author Greg Kawchuk, a professor at the University of Alberta. Scientists have debated the cause of joint cracking for decades, dating back to 1947 when UK researchers first theorised vapour bubble formation as the cause.

    That was put in doubt in the 1970s when another team of scientists instead fingered collapsing bubbles as the cause. The idea for the project was born when Nanaimo chiropractor Jerome Fryer approached Kawchuk about a new knuckle-cracking theory. They decided to skip the theories and actually look inside the joint.

    In every instance, the cracking and joint separation was associated with the rapid creation of a gas-filled cavity within the synovial fluid, a substance lubricating the joints. "It's a little bit like forming a vacuum. As the joint surfaces separate, there is no more fluid available to fill the increasing joint volume, so a cavity is created and that event is what's associated with the sound," Kawchuk said. The therapeutic benefit or harm of joint cracking remain to be explored.


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