Idiot box may kill you: scientist

        Watching excessive amounts of television is closely associated with death caused by obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes, according to a German neuro scientist.

            Professor Manfred Spitzer from the University of Ulm said that TV is responsible for around 20,000 deaths in Germany each year and the scale of crises was almost same across the Europe.  “People who watch too much have little time for sport or movement of any kind.  They eat more in turn and that leads to them becoming overweight and dying earlier”.

            In his book titled, Beware of the TV Screen, Spitzer also enumerates the harm TV causes on the mind and says that children who watch TV have narrow horizons.  “It reduces the plasticity of their brains which remain unstimulated and fail to develop properly.  Later they smell and taste things differently because their senses are warped, and, as adults, go on to buy unhealthy foods, similar to those they have seen advertised on television”.

            Watching TV in early childhood also results in attention deficiency, violence and depression that affect children’s performance in classroom, he said.

February 21 2005, Times of India


Health benefits of Evening Primrose       

          The oil of evening primrose is very rich in polysaturated Omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary fatty acids that body needs to complete numerous functions including insulin absorption, regulating the heart, and regulating mood.  The body does not manufacture these fatty acids on its own, so they have to be taken as food or food supplements.  Aside from the omega-6 fatty acids, evening primrose oil has linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid (“GLA”).  Both of these acids are very important and very beneficial to general well-being.  Linoleic acid is thought to help the body make use of insulin, regulate weight, and prevent cancer and heart disease.  GLA is thought to reduce swelling or irritation. Because of the high GLA content of evening primrose, it is recommended to help treat inflammatory ailments like asthma or arthritis.

            Evening primrose oil can be taken both internally and externally.  It has been known to improve acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin problems. Its oil is also used in many lotions and creams since it has emollient properties that hydrate and soften the skin.

Hope for a new TB cure, Kolkata scientists identify ‘villain’ protein

          Scientists in this north Kolkata laboratory, at the Bose Institute have identified a protein in the tuberculosis bacteria which weakens the body’s immune system.  How this protein behaves could help researchers  to develop an alternate cure for TB.  Tapping the protein could also control diseases caused by unwanted inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis.

            The research team of Sushil Kumar Pathak and Sanchita Basu, led by senior researchers Joyoti Basu and Manikuntala Kundu, all from the Bose Institute, took two years of vigorous experimentation to isolate the protein and study its influence on receptor molecules.

            The researchers identified a protein, Early Secreted Antigen 6 (or ESAT6), that binds itself onto receptors called TLR2 on the surface of macrophages, a type of white blood cell that attacks invading viruses and bacteria.

            This hinders the macrophage from producing “cytokines” - proteins released by the cells of immunity system to kill the TB bacterium.  Basu said that while it was too early to say whether this breakthrough will affect the conventional mode of TB treatment, “based on this breakthrough, researchers can now develop peptide-based therapies to control inflammatory signals like in rheumatoid arthritis”.

            Moreover, while the existing conventional TB treatment like DOTS function by killing the TB bacteria with a “cocktail of drugs”, the new finding can bring out cures with a different, more targeted approach. “For instance, it gives the possibility of augmenting the host immune system unlike the existing treatments which kills TB bacteria,” said Basu.

            More than TB researchers, Basu said, the findings have “excited immunologists researching innate immunity or pre-existing immunity.”

 May 9  2007, The Indian Express



Wu-Long Tea - Weight Loss Tea


            Wulong tea (also spelled Oolong tea) is becoming one of the most popular teas designed to accelerate weight loss. Research shows drinking two cups of Wu-long every day not only helps shed stubborn pounds by boosting your metabolism, but also blocks the fattening effects of carbohydrates; promotes strong, healthy teeth; improves cognitive functioning and mental well-being; clarifies your skin, giving it a healthy, radiant glow and strengthens your immune system.

            Wulong Burns over 157% more fat than green tea: In a study published in the August 2003 edition of the Journal of Medical Investigation, scientists from Japan's University of Tokushima School of Medicine found that people who drank two cups a day of Wulong experienced over 157% greater fat burning results than those who drank the same amount of green tea.






Holistic Depression Treatments

     Holistic Depression Treatments are one of many alternative treatments for Depression. The Holistic philosophy is that you don’t just treat the illness but you treat the mind as well as the body and spirit and work to bring them all into a harmonious state.

            Holistic Depression treatments are becoming increasingly more popular for a few reasons. The strongest reason is the side effects of prescription medication that have very serious side effects are often more serious than the condition the medication is supposed to be treating.

            The theory of Holistic health practice is that to treat the illness, spirit and mind need to be focused on.  Illness can present themselves after or during difficult times in your life. Holistic treatment would help you to look at the rest of your life, your mind and spirit to see if there are any underlying contributing causes to the illness.

            Holistic Depression treatments do not work the same way for everyone. Some can benefit from Holistic Treatments alone. Others may benefit from a combination of Holistic Treatments and standard prescriptive medications. The side effects are fewer if not totally nonexistent.

            Here is a small list of Holistic Depression Treatments and a brief description of each one.  Acupuncture - An ancient Chinese treatment where fine needles are inserted into the skin at specific points in the body thought to regulate mood. Acupressure- This is very similar to acupuncture.  Light pressure is placed on specific areas of the body to provide relief from your symptoms.  Art Therapy - is any form of art, dancing, painting, drawing, and some would include needle crafting as art therapy. When doing art or performing in the arts most people experience a good feeling and one of satisfaction, even peace. Herbal Therapies - These are specifically chosen herbs that are blended together to treat specific conditions such as Depression. Before adding herbal supplements to your health regimen you should check with your doctor, especially if you have other health conditions for which you are taking medication. The Herbal Supplements you choose should be of pharmaceutical grade. Meditation - This practice has been around for centuries and is usually done for spiritual enrichment and to gain a sense of peace.  It can lower blood pressure, slow heart rates, provide a sense of well-being and if this occurs, it may improve physical health.

            Depression for anyone is difficult but is even more difficult for those who don’t want to take medications for whatever reason.  You don’t always have to use those medications with the nasty side effects. There are other options available to you and there is such an array of treatments options available to you. Your doctor can help you, or even do a search online and present it to your physician. You can control Depression, don’t let it control you. 

New Cancer genes found


            Scientists have found over 100 new genes that can cause cancer if they become mutated.  The discovery was part of the largest survey of the human genome to date, which also suggests that the number of cancer genes is far larger than previously thought.

            All cancers are thought to be caused by DNA mutations in specific genes.  “There are approximately 350 genes that have been shown to be cancer genes,” said Mike Stratton, co-leader of the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge.

            The cancer genes have been identified during more than 25 years of research.  “This set of genes is known to regulate key functions in all cell processes growth, differentiation, telling cells to live and die,” said Andrew Futreal of the Sanger Institute.

            “It turns out that most mutations in cancers are passengers. However, buried among them are much larger numbers of driver mutations than anticipated.  This suggests that many more genes contribute to cancer development than was thought”, Dr. Futreal said.

            The results showed about 1,000 mutations in the protein kinase genes of cancer cells.  “We find evidence for approximately 100 new genes - larger than we readly expected,” said Prof Stratton.

            Now, the challenge is to differentiate between driver and passenger mutations.

            Another surprise was the way in which the mutations were spread among the cancers in some samples. Scientists found large numbers of mutations in a pattern they had never seen before.

March 9 2007, The Hindustan Times

Forget about an apple a day - There are lots of places to find vitamin C!

            We've all heard the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Presumably, the vitamin C content of apples is the easiest way to keep our immune systems functioning well.  But the truth is that apples are not the best source of this key vitamin.  Some say the greatest vitamin in the world is vitamin C.

            Vitamin C can be found in a wide range of fruits and even vegetables.  Sure apples are fine with their 6 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit.  But even the humble orange compares well with 53 mg, beating out grapefruits with their 34 mg, what could be better than oranges?

            How about a handful of fresh strawberries? They'll give you 57 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. Guava, gives 180 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. Another super-rich source is the tiny black currant. 100 grams of these potent berries will supply about 200 mg of them.

            Most of us aren't surprised to find them in fruit, but what is surprising is how easy it is to find in vegetables. Unlikely sources like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are great for people trying to cut down on their carbohydrates without letting their nutrition suffer.      Even using fresh herbs like coriander, parsley and thyme can boost your intake of them. But if you really want a vegetable that will provide a substantial dose of this important vitamin, look no further than sweet green or red peppers.  Just 100 grams of green pepper will top up your vitamin C intake by 190 mg.

            So if you've been comparing apples to oranges all of these years, it's time to look at what else is available.  There are so many wonderful foods that boost your vitamin C levels, your toughest decision may be which one to have first.


New Test May Detect Alzheimer's


            Researchers have successfully used medical imaging technology to detect a important marker of Alzheimer's disease in living patients. It could be an important development in the so-far frustrating effort to definitely diagnose the illness.

            Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh say they have developed a compound that attaches itself to the protein beta-amyloid.  Amyloid plaque in the brain is thought to be a major contributor to Alzheimer's.

            At present, there is no way to definitely diagnose the disease until after death, when an autospy can document physical damage to the brain. Instead, doctors rely on family interviews and memory tests on living patients.

            Alzheimer's currently affects about four million Americans, most of them elderly.  With the 50 million members of the baby boom generation approaching their later years, scientists are urgently seeking improved methods of diagnosis and treatment.

            It's been thought for years that amyloid plaques that form in the brain can cause the death of brain cells, leading to the dementia and eventual death characteristic of Alzheimer's.

            The Pittsburgh discovery could not only aid in diagnosis but also help researchers trying to evaluate the effectiveness of new and existing treatments.


Painkillers may cause hypertension


            Regular intake of some common painkillers may cause hypertension in middle-aged men, warns a study.  The painkiller pills are acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin.  The scientists recommend that people limit their use of these medications unless they are clearly indicated, reported health portal Health Day.

            If they have chronic symptoms requiring the use of these drugs, they should discuss alternative treatments with their healthcare providers, according to researcher Gary Curhan at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

            The researchers looked at 16,031 male health professionals without a history of hypertension. The participants provided information about their use of acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen), and aspirin.

March 1 2007, The Hitavada

Diseased gums raise risk of pancreatic cancer

            Gum disease may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, even among those who have never smoked, according to research reported at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, Philadelphia.

            Gum disease results in chronic inflammation over many years and people with gum disease harbour high levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth and gut and tend to have higher amounts of cancer-causing nitrosamines.

May 2007, Health  Action





‘Ozone’, a new wonder drug for ortho, neuro diseases


            “Ozone therapy” is emerging as a viable, effective and cheaper alternative in treatment of various diseases especially spine and disc prolapse, orthopaedic problems like, ortho-arthritis, frozen shoulders, knee joint problems etc.  Ozone is in fact being termed as a wonder drug.

            The Central India Institute of Medical Sciences (CIIMS), has been using ozone therapy with extremely good results.  The institute has tried it on 60 patients so far.  It has shown good results with almost 80 percent success rate in patients from different age groups’, Said Dr. Lokendra Singh, Senior Neurosurgeon.  He said that the hospital had not publicised the therapy so far but now with series of successes in difficult cases the institute plans to use it on a wider scale.  Dr. Singh called the therapy as a chemical knife as it performs the job of surgeon.

            It shrinks the disc pushing it back at the right place releasing the pressure that causes pain in a patient.   It can be also termed as “Chemo-disc-lysis”.  A single injection of ozone (which normally cures 90 per cent problem) costs only 17,000 at CIIMS as against Rs. 45,000 at Delhi and about Rs. 25,000 at Mumbai.  For some patients who may require more that one injection the cost of subsequent injections is Rs. 5,000.

          Explaining the mode of action of Ozone Dr. Singh said that it breaks down the poly-muccosaccharides of the disc absorbing the disc slowly besides acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.  Since Ozone flows against the flow of nerve impulses coming from brain it neutralizes their effect.

            It has emerged as an effective alternative to surgery in many cases of disc prolapse and knee joint and neck pain problems.  Patients who would have otherwise required either neurosurgery or joint replacement have got 90-95 per cent relief, said Dr. Vaibhav Bagaria, orthopaedic surgeon at CIIMS. Ozone therapy at CIIMS has shown good results in plastic surgery problems. ‘Ozone therapy reduces the treatment duration in difficult wounds in burn patients, diabetic foot etc’, Dr. Chaware said.  All the 4 doctors warned that Ozone therapy should be used by only skilled hands as it is administered using a special needle in an operation theatre with continuous monitoring on a screen.   If used by quacks, or unskilled doctors it could prove fatal.  Ozone is prepared using a Ozone preparing equipment within theatre and has to be consumed within 10 minutes as it disintegrates after that nullifying its effect.

May 28  2007,  The Hitavada

Benefits of Coconut:

            The coconut is one of the greatest gifts of this planet.  The coconut is a natural water filter that takes almost 9 months to filter each liter of water.  The water travels through many fibers being purified where it is stored away STERILE in the nut itself.  This coconut water is pure clear and is one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man.

            Coconut water is identical to human blood plasma which makes it the universal donor.  Plasma makes up 55% of human blood. By drinking coconuts we give ourselves a instant blood transfusion. Coconuts in their young stage of growth are the most health enhancing. It is also a great blood purifier.







High cholesterol brings pain to heel

          Pains in the Achilles tendon could serve as a warning sign of an inherited tendency to have high cholesterol. UK researchers from the Manchester Royal Infirmary looked at HeFH (Heterozyrous familial hypercholesterolaemia), a common genetic disorder affecting 1 in 500 people, which inhibits the removal of cholesterol from the blood.

            Levels of cholesterol are doubled from birth and, untreated, it can lead to coronary heart disease early in life.  Lead researcher Dr. Paul Durrington says early diagnosis and treatment are essential. One feature of the condition is that cholesterol is deposited both in the arteries and at certain sites in tendons.  This may lead to painful; inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Research on 133 people diagnosed with HeFH, plus 87 people unaffected by the condition, revealed that the HeFH sufferers were 6.75 times more likely to have suffered Achilles tendon pain lasting three days or more.  So next time you’re forced to limp to the doctor, ask for a cholesterol test too.

February 2007, Reader’s Digest


Smallpox vs Poliovirus

            Smallpox eradication was achieved in 10 years at the cost of US $ 100 million (1980 value) of donor money.  Individual countries spent US $200 million.  The success in smallpox eradication spurred on effort to eradicate polio.  It was believed that, since both smallpox and polio were highly infectious viral diseases, they cannot be treated; only prevented by vaccines.  But polio has attributes that separate it from smallpox.  In case of polio, up to 95 per cent of infections are asymptomatic and infected people can shed the virus in their stool.  Smallpox has one strain; polio has three, which need three different vaccines.

            The smallpox vaccine can be mass produced and freezed, but the polio vaccine has to be stored at a low temperature.  The OPV is not effective if children taking the vaccine have a viral infection in the intestines. People vaccinated with OPV excrete live viruses in stool, which can mutate to cause the disease.  One dose of smallpox vaccine can make a person immune, while polio needs multiple doses are needed. The small pox vaccine provides protection to 95-98 percent of the vaccinated people.  The oral polio vaccine provides around 50-75 per cent protection.  The polio programme is successful if there is a mass vaccination, covering over 90 percent of population of children under five years.  This, as we learn in India, is difficult to achieve as the majority of remaining cases difficult to access areas.

December 31 2006, Down to earth


Don't ignore your common cold!

            Don't ignore that common cold, it could turn into chronic sinusitis and if not treated for a long time could affect vision or may harm the brain.

            Specialists say chronic sinus cases, which have seen a rise due to environment and vehicular pollution, could be caused due to cold, allergies, infections and even virus, fungi, bacteria, toxic medications and nasal abnormalities.

            Even gulping down chilled drinks could lead to sinus or spaces around the nose, said Dr. R. C. Deka, Head of ENT Department at AIIMS. “To beat the heat, many gulp down chilled beer and drinks, not knowing that it could cause harm and lead to sinus,” he told.

            The doctor said sinus cases are on the rise, mostly due to bacteria and fungus in the environment. "Traffic pollution plays a big role in causing this problem. If the irritation of the throat and nose persists for a long time then one should not ignore the signs," he said. Also facial pain, nasal discharge and blockage, persistent dry cough, sneezing, headaches, running nose and change of voice should warn a person that they need treatment for sinus," he said.

            Deka said, fungal sinusitis could also affect brain and vision significantly as they are close to the nose. "A person's vision, power of smell and brain could be affected.”

May 3 2007, The Hitavada


Pomegranate osteoarthritis

           Pomegranate fruit extracts can block enzymes that contribute to osteoarthritis according to Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleavland.  The study looked at the ability of an extract of pomegranate fruit against Interleukin-1b (IL-1b), a pro-inflammatory protein molecule that plays a key role in cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis. Current treatments for osteoarthritis offer limited effectiveness and do little to slow joint destruction and disease progression.  “Arthritis is one of the foremost diseases for which patients seek herbal or traditional medicine treatments. "However, all the extracts and herbs have not yet been scientifically evaluated for their efficacy and safety. Indeed, some of them may even interfere with the current treatments,” “Therefore, careful use of supplements and herbal medicines during early stages of disease or treatment may be made to limit the disease progression.”

            Among Plant-based flavonoids found in fruits, leaves and Pomegranate, has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have potential therapeutic benefits in a variety of diseases. The study demonstrated for the first time the ability of pomegranate fruit extracts to slow the deterioration of human cartilage.

April 2007, Dignity Dialogue




Sun Chlorella –The Green Magician

            Sun Chlorella is referred to as the Green Magician due to the amazing healing powers of sun chlorella and its benefit of chlorella. It is also known as the 'Super food'. Chlorella contains the highest levels of chlorophyll of all earth's foods.

             This plant substance contains 20 times the chlorophyll of alfalfa and almost 10 times that found in spirulina. The largest cultivation site of chlorella is in Japan. The chief ingredient in sun chlorella is Chlorella, one of nature's pure chlorophyll sources. It also contains iron and iodine, and also zinc.

            More than 20 different vitamins and minerals go into making up sun chlorella supplements. It is a nutrient rich supplement, which provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals. An extra benefit of sun chlorella is that it contains a large amount of beta carotene (provitamin A) and also provides B12 along with 18 amino acids. Lysine is also found in to sun chlorella.

            The human body is constantly exposed to toxins, ranging from those inhaled while breathing to toxins in our foods. Over a period of time these toxins accumulate and that is where sun chlorella makes a difference. It has the ability to rejuvenate the system.

            Sun chlorella is a rich source of RNA, DNA and nucleic acids. Studies have shown that it helps with cell building abilities.  Sun chlorella contains a well-balanced mix of all the benefits in chlorella. Because of this, many overweight users have reported a gradual loss of weight, and this benefit of chlorella is worth noting.

            Reports show that a regular intake of sun chlorella helps to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Ongoing studies are being conducted on the benefits of chlorella and sun chlorella's effect on the human body. It seems that sun chlorella, with the many benefits of chlorella, has many health enhancing properties.

Edited by Dr. A. M. Mehendale