What Makes Human Muscle Age

BEREKLEY – Scientists from University of California, Berkeley, have identified biochemical pathways that can lead to aging of muscles.

By manipulating these pathways, the researchers were able to turn back the clock on old human muscle, restoring its ability to repair and rebuild itself.

“Our study shows that the ability of old human muscle to be maintained and repaired by muscle stem cells can be restored to youthful vigor given the right mix of biochemical signals,” said Professor Irina Conboy, a faculty member in the graduate bioengineering program that is run jointly by UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, and head of the research team conducting the study.

“This provides promising new targets for forestalling the debilitating muscle atrophy that accompanies aging, and perhaps other tissue degenerative disorders as well,” she added.

Previous studies have shown that ability of adult stem cells to do their job of repairing and replacing damaged tissue is governed by the molecular signals they get from surrounding muscle tissue, and that those signals change with age in ways that preclude productive tissue repair.

The regenerative function in old stem cells can be revived given the appropriate biochemical signals.

During the study, the researchers examined the response of the human muscle to biochemical signals.

They learned from previous studies that adult muscle stem cells have a receptor called Notch, which triggers growth when activated.

Those stem cells also have a receptor for the protein TGF-beta that, when excessively activated, sets off a chain reaction that ultimately inhibits a cell’s ability to divide.

They found that aging in mice is associated in part with the progressive decline of Notch and increased levels of TGF-beta, ultimately blocking the stem cells’ capacity to effectively rebuild the body.

This study revealed that the same pathways are at play in human muscle, but also showed for the first time that mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase was an important Positive regulator of Notch activity essential for human muscle repair, and that it was rendered inactive in old tissue.

When levels of MAPK were experimentally inhibited, young human muscle was no longer able to regenerate. The reverse was true when the researchers cultured old human muscle in a solution where activation of MAPK had been forced.

In that case, the regenerative ability of the old muscle was significantly enhanced.

The study appears in journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

75-Year-Old Grows New Skull

LONDON – An Indian-born neurosurgeon spoke of his great surprise after finding that the severely damaged skull of a British man involved in a car crash 50 years ago has regenerated itself.

Doctors, who operated to treat an infection in Gordon Moore’s head, found the bone had grown back beneath the metal plate inserted after the accident – a development thought to be rare among adults.

Moore, a 75-year-old former postmaster, suffered serious head injuries and had to undergo life-saving operations after his car overturned in 1955.

Doctors inserted a metal plate above his eye and on top of his skull, but the plate was dented three years later, when Moore had another accident, this time crashing his car into a lamppost.

His consultant, Parameswaran S. Bhattathiri, a neurosurgeon from Kerala, told the Newcastle-based Evening Chronicle: “It was a great surprise to find the skull had grown back.

“You would expect it in a child, but not in an adult, certainly not in an area of bone so big.”

His new skull reportedly follows the contours of the dent suffered in the second crash.

Moore said the plate had never bothered him, but he was relieved he would no longer “set the alarms off at the airport”.

“They were amazed when they found it. Apparently it is very rare. The neurosurgeon said he had never seen anyone grow a complete skull before. But bone does grow, and it has had 50-odd years to do the growing,” Moore said.

Moore told the paper Bhattathiri had good news after he awoke from the operation: “He said ‘I’m afraid we had to take the plate out. The good news is apparently you have grown a new skull’.”

Rap Fans At Increased Car Accident Risk

LONDON – Drivers who listen to songs by artists such as Eminem, Dizzee Rascal and Jay-Z in their cars are most at risk of accidents, claims a new study.

According to a survey of over 2,000 drivers by Auto Trader magazine, almost half of the volunteers admitted that rap or hip hop music affects their mood adversely while driving.

Nearly one in five drivers say that makes them aggressive behind the wheel.

Just six per cent said that listening to rap or hip hop helps relaxes them on the road, reports The Telegraph.

Neil Grieg, director of policy and research at road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “We all know the drivers who play loud, pounding rap music where you can hear the ground shake before they arrive.

“Police crash investigation reports do not say what music people were listening to before an accident, so it comes down to self-reporting, opinion research.

“If people recognize within themselves that they were listening to a certain type of music when they had road rage problems or crashes, it would be worth them considering changing the music.

“But if you listen to rap music in the car, you are most likely to be young and male and unfortunately that is the target group least likely to listen to road safety advice.”

‘Spectacular’ Treatment for Skin Cancer Developed

NEW YORK –  American scientists have developed, what is being hailed as a “simply spectacular” treatment for skin cancer that could shrink the tumours at a “rapid and dramatic” rate in patients whose disease had spread.

The results of the drug trial are significant because skin cancer, though curable when caught early, usually become fatal when it spreads to other parts of the body.

Experts described the results as “simply spectacular” and said the drug, known at the moment only as PLX4032, could improve and extend the lives of those fighting the disease.

It is already known that around half of all malignant melanomas are fuelled by a mutation in a gene, known as Braf.

And now, for the first time, scientists have developed a drug that can interfere with this gene’s protein, cutting off the fuel supply to the tumours.

The small study, conducted on 31 patients showed that patients treated with the twice-a-day pill saw their ­tumours shrink rapidly and a larger trial is now needed to confirm the findings.

But the results showed that in two thirds of the 22 patients evaluated, the tumours shrank by 30 per cent in only a month.

A further six patients also saw their tumours shrink, but not by as much.

Cancer experts are excited by the findings because it means that PLX4032 could also work in other cancers triggered by the Braf ­mutation, which includes around five per cent of bowel cancers, accounting for 1,500 new cases a year.

In addition the drug also offers hope to the thousands of skin cancer patients who have very few treatment options once their tumours have spread.

However, experts admit the drug will not cure metastatic melanoma.

“We are very excited. So far 70 per cent of patients have responded,” The Daily Express quoted Dr Paul Chapman, from the ­Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, which carried out the trial, as saying.

Laser-Processes May Help Create Better Artificial Joints, Arterial Stents

WASHINGTON – Scientists hope that laser-based processes may help create arterial stents and longer-lasting medical implants 10 times faster, and less expensively.

Yung Shin, a professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of Purdue’s Center for Laser-Based Manufacturing, stresses the need for new technologies to meet the huge global market for artificial hips and knees, insisting that the worldwide population of people younger than 40 who receive hip implants is expected to be 40 million annually by 2010, and double to 80 million by 2030.

Besides speeding production to meet the anticipated demand, Shin says that another goal is to create implants that last longer than the ones that are made presently.

“We have 200,000 total hip replacements in the United States. They last about 10 years on average. That means if you receive an implant at 40, you may need to have it replaced three or four times in your lifetime,” he said.

In one of their techniques, the researchers deposit layers of a powdered mixture of metal and ceramic materials, melting the powder with a laser and then immediately solidifying each layer to form parts.

Shin says that, given that the technique enables parts to be formed one layer at a time, it is ideal for coating titanium implants with ceramic materials that mimic the characteristics of natural bone.

“Titanium and other metals do not match either the stiffness or the nature of bones, so you have to coat it with something that does. However, if you deposit ceramic on metal, you don’t want there to be an abrupt change of materials because that causes differences in thermal expansion and chemical composition, which results in cracks. One way to correct this is to change the composition gradually so you don’t have a sharp boundary,” Shin said.

The gradual layering approach is called a “functionally gradient coating”.

The researchers have revealed that they used their laser deposition processes to create a porous titanium-based surface and a calcium phosphate outer surface, both designed to better match the stiffness of bone than conventional implants.

The laser deposition process enables researchers to make parts with complex shapes that are customized for the patient.

“Medical imaging scans could just be sent to the laboratory, where the laser deposition would create the part from the images. Instead of taking 30 days like it does now because you have to make a mold first, we could do it in three days. You reduce both the cost and production time,” Shin said.

According to the researchers, the laser deposition technique lends itself to the requirement that each implant be designed specifically for each patient.

“These are not like automotive parts. You can’t make a million that are all the same,” Shin said.

He says that the process creates a strong bond between the material being deposited and the underlying titanium, steel or chromium.

The researcher further reveals that tests have shown that the bond is at least seven times as strong as industry standards require.

Using computational modelling, the researchers simulate, study and optimise the processes.

The researchers, however, admit that more studies are required before the techniques are ready for commercialisation.

They have revealed that their future work will involve studying “shape-memory” materials that are similar to bone and also have a self-healing capability for longer-lasting implants.

They are also working on a technique that uses an “ultra short pulse laser” to create arterial stents, which are metal scaffolds inserted into arteries to keep them open after surgeries to treat clogs.

Since the laser pulses last only a matter of picoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second, they do not cause heat damage to the foil-thin stainless steel and titanium material used to make the stents.

The laser removes material in precise patterns in a process called “cold ablation”, which turns solids into a plasma. The patterns enable the stents to expand properly after being inserted into a blood vessel.

Bacteria Can Help Build Durable Bone Implants

BIRMINGHAM – Can bacteria help build bones implants? Well, at least scientists at the University of Birmingham say “Yes”.

Lead researcher Lynne Macaskie suggests that Serratia bacteria that manufacture hydroxyapatite (HA) could be used to make stronger, more durable bone implants.

In a study, the researchers showed that the bacterial cells stuck tightly to surfaces like as titanium alloy, polypropylene, porous glass and polyurethane foam by forming a biofilm layer containing biopolymers that acted as a strong adhesive.

The HA coating then builds up over the surface. For practical use, the HA layer must stick tightly, then the material is dried and heated to destroy the bacteria.

With the help of micro-manipulation technique, the researchers measured the force needed to overcome the bioglue adhesion, and showed that dried biofilm stuck 20-times more tightly than fresh biofilm.

When coated with HA the adhesion was several times more again. Slightly roughening the surface made the bioglue much more effective.

Presently, implant materials are made by spraying-on hydroxyapatite. This does not have good mechanical strength and the spraying only reaches visible areas.

The new biocoating method reaches all the hidden surfaces as the bacteria can “swim” into hidden nooks and crannies.

Macaskie insists that bacterial HA has better properties than HA made chemically as the nanocrystals of HA produced by the bacteria are much smaller than HA crystals produced chemically, giving them a high mechanical strength.

“The bacteria are destroyed by heating, leaving just the HA stuck to the surface with their own glue – rather akin to a burnt milk-saucepan,” said Macaskie.

“We need to do more work actually to turn the materials into materials we can use in biomedicine and the environment,” she added.

The study was presented at Society for General Microbiology’s meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

A Guide To How Much Water, Potassium, Sodium, You Should Take

The Food and Nutrition Board released the sixth in a series of reports presenting dietary reference values for the intake of nutrients by Americans and Canadians. This new report establishes nutrient recommendations on water, salt and potassium to maintain health and reduce chronic disease risk. Highlights of the report include:

    * The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. The report did not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. The panel did not set an upper level for water.

    * About 80 percent of people’s total water intake comes from drinking water and beverages — including caffeinated beverages — and the other 20 percent is derived from food.

    * Prolonged physical activity and heat exposure will increase water losses and therefore may raise daily fluid needs, although it is important to note that excessive amounts can be life-threatening.

    * Healthy 19- to 50-year-old adults should consume 1.5 grams of sodium and 2.3 grams of chloride each day — or 3.8 grams of salt — to replace the amount lost daily on average through sweat and to achieve a diet that provides sufficient amounts of other essential nutrients.

    * The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for salt is set at 5.8 grams per day. More than 95 percent of American men and 90 percent of Canadian men ages 31 to 50, and 75 percent of American women and 50 percent of Canadian women in this age range regularly consume salt in excess of the UL.

    * Older individuals, African Americans, and people with chronic diseases including hypertension, diabetes, and kidney disease are especially sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of salt and should consume less than the UL.

    * Adults should consume at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day to lower blood pressure, blunt the effects of salt, and reduce the risk of kidney stones and bone loss. However, most American women 31 to 50 years old consume no more than half of the recommended amount of potassium, and men’s intake is only moderately higher.

    * There was no evidence of chronic excess intakes of potassium in apparently health individuals and thus no UL was established.

 

Introducing – Wild Yams

It has been hypothesized that wild yam ( Dioscorea villosa  and other  Dioscorea  species) possesses dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)-like properties and acts as a precursor to human sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Based on this proposed mechanism, extracts of the plant have been used to treat painful menstruation, hot flashes, and headaches associated with menopause.

However, these uses are based on a misconception that wild yam contains hormones or hormonal precursors – largely due to the historical fact that progesterone, androgens, and cortisone were chemically manufactured from Mexican wild yam in the 1960s. It is unlikely that this chemical conversion to progesterone occurs in the human body. The hormonal activity of some topical wild yam preparations has been attributed to adulteration with synthetic progesterone by manufacturers, although there is limited evidence in this area.

The effects of the wild yam saponin constituent “diosgenin” on lipid metabolism are well documented in animal models and are possibly due to impaired intestinal cholesterol absorption. However, its purported hypocholesterolemic effect in humans and the feasibility of long-term use warrant further investigation.

There are few reported contraindications to the use of wild yam in adults. However, there are no reliable safety or toxicity studies during pregnancy, lactation, or childhood.

Atlantic yam, barbasco, batata silvestre, black yam, China root, colic root, devil’s bones,  Dioscorea ,  Dioscorea barbasco ,  Dioscorea hypoglauca ,  Dioscorea macrostachya ,  Dioscorea opposita ,  Dioscorea villosa , Dioscoreae (family), diosgenin, Mexican yam, natural DHEA, phytoestrogen, potassium, rheumatism root, shan yao, white yam, wild yam root, yam, yellow yam, yuma.

Note: “Yams” sold in the supermarket are members of the sweet potato family and are not true yams.

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

High cholesterol

Animal studies have shown that wild yam can reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. Early studies in humans have shown changes in the levels of certain sub-types of cholesterol, including decreases in low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”) and triglycerides and increases in high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good cholesterol”). However, no changes in the total amount of blood cholesterol have been found. More studies are needed in this area.

Menopausal symptoms

Most studies have not shown a benefit from wild yam given by mouth or used as a vaginal cream in reducing menopausal symptoms. However, replacing two thirds of staple food with yam for 30 days was shown to improve the status of sex hormones, lipids, and antioxidants in a recent study in postmenopausal women. The authors suggest that these effects might reduce the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular diseases in postmenopausal women. Further research is needed before a recommendation can be made.        C

Hormonal properties (to mimic estrogen, progesterone, or DHEA)

Despite popular belief, no natural progestins, estrogens, or other reproductive hormones are found in wild yam. Its active ingredient, diosgenin, is not converted to hormones in the human body. Artificial progesterone has been added to some wild yam products. The belief that there are hormones in wild yam may be due to the historical fact that progesterone, androgens, and cortisone were chemically manufactured from Mexican wild yam in the 1960s.          

Antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, asthma, bile flow improvement, biliary colic, breast cancer, breast enlargement, cancer prevention, cardiovascular disease, carminative (prevents gas), childbirth, cramps, croup, decreased perspiration, diverticulitis, energy improvement, excessive perspiration, expectorant, intestinal spasm, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, libido, liver protection, low blood sugar, menstrual pain or irregularities, morning sickness, nerve pain, osteoporosis, pancreatic enzyme inhibitor, pelvic cramps, postmenopausal vaginal dryness, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), rash, rheumatic pain, spasms, urinary tract disorders, uterus contraction, vomiting.

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

Allergies

Rubbing the skin with  Dioscorea batatas  (a yam species related to  Dioscorea villosa ) has been reported to cause allergic rash. Workers exposed to  Dioscorea batatas  in large amounts and for a prolonged time have developed asthma that is made worse by exposure to the yam. A person who is known to have an allergy to  Dioscorea batatas  may also be allergic to other  Dioscorea  types.

Side Effects and Warnings

Rubbing the skin with  Dioscorea batatas , a related yam species, has been reported to cause a rash at the site of contact. Wild yam cream caused no rash in 23 healthy women in one reported study. In another study, wild yam given by mouth was reported to cause stomach upset at high doses.

Wild yam was believed in the past to have properties similar to the reproductive hormone progesterone, but this has not been supported by scientific studies. It has been suggested that some wild yam creams might be tainted with artificial progesterone. Based on theoretical hormonal properties and possible progesterone contamination, people with hormone-sensitive conditions should use wild yam products with caution. This caution applies to people who have had blood clots or strokes and to women who take hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills. In addition, women with fibroids, endometriosis, or cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovary should be aware that these are hormone-sensitive conditions that may be affected by agents with hormonal properties.

 

Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or low blood sugar and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider and medication adjustments may be necessary.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Use of wild yam is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to a lack of safety information. Wild yam is believed to cause uterine contractions and therefore use is discouraged during pregnancy. Wild yam was once thought to have effects similar to those of reproductive hormones, although this has not been proven in scientific studies. Artificial progesterone may be added to some products.

 

InteractionsReturn to top

 

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

It is not clear whether blood sugar is lowered by  Dioscorea villosa  (wild yam). Dioscoretine, a compound found in the related species  Dioscorea dumentorum  (bitter or African yam), has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, but this has not been shown for  Dioscorea villosa . Effects on blood sugar in humans have not been reported. Nonetheless, caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking diabetes drugs by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare provider. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

Early evidence suggests that wild yam lowers blood levels of indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and reduces irritation of the intestine caused by indomethacin. Human studies have not been reported in this area and it is not clear if wild yam affects the blood levels of other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®).

Diosgenin, thought to be the active substance in wild yam, has been found in animals to reduce absorption of cholesterol from the intestine and to lower total cholesterol levels in the blood. Studies in humans show no change in the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, although the amounts of specific types of cholesterol in the blood may be changed; low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”) and triglycerides may be lowered and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good cholesterol”) may be increased. It is thought that wild yam may enhance the effects of other cholesterol-lowering medications, including fibric acid derivatives such as clofibrate (Questran®), gemfibrozil (Lopid®), and fenofibrate (Tricor®). In animals, wild yam has been found to improve the effect of clofibrate in lowering cholesterol levels.

Tinctures of wild yam may contain high amounts of alcohol and may lead to vomiting if taken with disulfiram (Antabuse®) or metronidazole (Flagyl®).

An early study suggests that wild yam may interfere with the body’s ability to control levels of the reproductive hormone progesterone. Progesterone is a key ingredient in some hormone replacement and birth control pills. There are reports that some wild yam products may be tainted with artificial progesterone. Women taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy should speak with a licensed healthcare provider before taking wild yam.

Wild yam may also interact with steroids, although human evidence is lacking.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

It is not clear whether  Dioscorea villosa  (wild yam) lowers blood sugar levels. Although dioscoretine, produced by the related species  Dioscorea dumentorum  (bitter or African yam), has been shown to lower blood sugar, this reaction has not been seen with  Dioscorea villosa  and has not been reported in humans. Nonetheless, caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood glucose. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring and doses may need adjustment.

Diosgenin, thought to be the active substance in wild yam, has been found in animals to reduce absorption of cholesterol from the intestine and to lower total cholesterol levels in the blood. Studies in humans show no change in the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, although the amounts of specific types of cholesterol in the blood may be changed; low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”) and triglycerides may be lowered and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good cholesterol”) appears to be increased.

In an early study, a wild yam preparation was reported to block the body’s natural production of progesterone. However, this finding was not supported by later research. There have been several reports that some wild yam products are tainted with synthetic progesterone. Because wild yam may contain progesterone-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have hormone-like properties, in particular those with estrogen-like properties, may be altered.

Wild yam may also interact with potassium vitamin C or steroids, although human evidence is lacking.

Natural Drug to Fight Cancer and AIDS Begins Trials in Cuba

HAVANA –  The effects of anamú tablets, a drug made from the leaves of this plant, will be on trial from March in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.

Developed by East Pharmaceutical (LFO), the first natural Cuban stimulant is aimed at treating patients with cancer and AIDS whose immunological system is depressed as a result of the disease and aggressive treatments.

In statements published in Juventud Rebelde newspaper, Zoe Lemus, the laboratory specialist explained that they have concluded the industrial scale production of some 160 000 tablets.

These pills will be introduced in specialized consultations at the Conrado Benitez oncology hospital, and the HIV-Oriente Center, located in the Juan Bruno Zayas hospital, in Santiago de Cuba.

Anamu is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 1 m in height. It is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and tropical areas of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

The plant has a long history in alternative medicine in all of the tropical countries where it grows. In Brazilian herbal medicine, it is considered an antispasmodic, diuretic, menstrual stimulant and sweat promoter. In other countries is used to treat edema, arthritis, malaria, rheumatism, and poor memory and as a topical analgesic and anti-inflammatory for skin diseases.

Following successful animal testing and the registration of the new drug, the immediate initiation of studies in patients can be interpreted as an achievement of science from Santiago de Cuba. This was the result of integration between specialists of the LFO, the Center for Toxicology and Biomedicine and the Regulatory Bureau for Health Protection in the said province.

Home Remedies Series – Pyorrhoea

Pyorrhoea is triggered by bacterial activity. A thin layer of harmful bacteria is continuously building up on our teeth. If it is not removed by tooth-cleansing, especially after meals, it forms an organised mass on the tooth surface in a short time. This is referred to as a ‘bacterial plaque’. When accumulated, bacteria in plaque produce many toxins which irritate the gums, causing them to become inflamed, tender, and prone to bleeding easily. The bacterial activity is, however, facilitated by the lowered vitality of the system

Injury to gums, incorrect brushing and improper use of tooth picks

Other factors contributing to the development of pyorrhoea include injury to the gums and supporting structures by physical and chemical irritants in the mouth, incorrect brushing, stagnation of food particles, and improper use of tooth picks

Pyorrhoea treatment using Guava

Chewing unripe guava is an excellent tonic for the teeth and gums. It stops the bleeding from the gums due to its styptic effect and richness in vitamin C. Chewing the tender leaves of the guava tree also helps in curing bleeding from the gums and keeps the teeth healthy. A decoction of root-bark can also be beneficially used as a mouthwash fur swollen gums

Pyorrhoea treatment using Lemon and Lime

The regular use of lemon and lime is useful in pyorrhoea due to their high vitamin C content. They strengthen the gums and teeth, and are very effective in preventing and curing acute inflammations of the gum margins

Pyorrhoea treatment using Orange

The use of orange has also been found beneficial in the treatment of pyorrhoea. This fruit should be eaten regularly and its skin rubbed over the teeth and gums. This will improve the condition

Pyorrhoea treatment using Pomegranate Rind

Powder of the dry rind of pomegranate, mixed with pepper and common salt, can be applied as a very good dentifrice. Its regular application strengthens the gums, stops bleeding, and prevents pyorrhoea

Pyorrhoea treatment using Spinach Juice

The juice of raw spinach is another valuable remedy for the prevention and treatment of pyorrhoea because of its beneficial effect on the teeth and gums. This effect is greatly enhanced if spinach juice is taken in combination with carrot juice. Both spinach juice and carrot juice should be taken in quantities of 125 ml each daily. A permanent aid for this affliction has been found in the use of natural raw foods, and in drinking an ample quantity of carrot and spinach juice

Pyorrhoea treatment using Lettuce

Lettuce has proved useful in preventing pyorrhoea The leaves of this vegetable should be chewed everyday immediately after meals for this purpose

Pyorrhoea treatment using Wheat

Wheat is especially valuable in the prevention and treatment of pyorrhoea. Wheat wheat tortilla are usually taken with other foods, and hence, the other food also gets chewed properly. This not only provides the needed exercise for the teeth and gum but also aids in digestion

Fruit juice and fruit diet

The patient should begin the treatment with a short juice fast for three to five days. Oranges and carrot should be used for juices. After the juice fast, the patient should spend the next three to five days on an exclusive fresh fruit diet, taking three meals a day of juicy fruits

Balanced diet

Thereafter he may gradually embark upon a balanced diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits, green salads, whole-meal bread, properly cooked vegetables, cheese, nuts, and milk

White bread,refined food, condiments, meat etc should be avoided

White bread, white sugar, and all refined and tinned foods must he completely given up. Condiments, sauces, alcohol, coffee, and strong tea, as well as meat and other fresh foods should also be avoided

Other Pyorrhoea treatment

Warm-water enema and a hip bath

During the juice fast, the bowels should be cleansed daily with a warm-water enema. Daily dry friction and a hip bath should be taken

Breathing exercises and hot Epsom salts bath

Breathing and other exercises, should form a part of the morning routine. A hot Epsom salts bath taken twice weekly will also be beneficial

Introducing – Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil obtained by steam distillation of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia.

Latin Name: Melaleuca alternifolia

Other Names: Melaleuca oil, Australian tea tree oil

Historically, the leaves were used as a substitute for tea, which is how tea tree oil got its name. The part used medicinally is the oil from the leaves.

Why Do People Use Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree has a long history of traditional use. Australian aboriginals used tea tree leaves for healing skin cuts, burns, and infections by crushing the leaves and applying them to the affected area.

Tea tree oil contains consituents called terpenoids, which have been found to have antiseptic and antifungal activity. The compound terpinen-4-ol is the most abundant and is thought to be responsible for most of tea tree oil’s antimicrobial activity.

People use tea tree oil for the following conditions:

    * Acne

    * Athlete’s foot

   * Dandruff

Sources of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is most commonly found as a pure essential oil. It is also an ingredient in creams, ointments, lotions, soaps, and shampoos.

Tea tree oil should not be confused with Chinese tea oil, cajeput oil, kanuka oil, manuka oil, ti tree oil, and niauouli oil.

What is the Evidence for Tea Tree Oil?

There have only been a few, older clinical trials looking at the effectiveness of tea tree oil in humans.

    * Athlete’s Foot

 

      A randomized controlled trial examined the use of 25% tea tree oil solution, 50% tea tree oil solution, or placebo in 158 people with athlete’s foot. After twice daily applications for 4 weeks, the two tea tree oil solutions were found to be significantly more effective than placebo.

      In the 50% tea tree oil group, 64% were cured, compared to 31% in the placebo group. Four people using the tea tree oil withdrew from the study because they developed dermatitis (which improved after discontinuing tea tree oil use). Otherwise, there were no significant side effects.

    * Fungal Infection of the Toenails

      A randomized, controlled trial published in the Journal of Family Practice looked at the twice-daily application of 100% tea tree oil or 1% clotrimazole solution (a topical antifungal medication) in 177 people with toenail fungal infection. After 6 months, the tea tree oil was found to be as effective as the topical antifungal, based on clinical assessment and toenail cultures.

      Another randomized, controlled trial examined the effectiveness and safety of a cream containing 5% tea tree oil and 2% butenafine hydrochloride in 60 people with toenail fungal infection. After 16 weeks, 80% of people using the cream had significant improvement compared to none in the placebo group. Side effects included mild inflammation.

      A third double-blind study looked at 100% tea tree oil compared with a topical antifungal, clotrimazole, in 112 people with fungal infections of the toenails. The tea tree oil was as effective as the antifungal.

    * Acne

      A single-blind randomized trial by the Department of Dermatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia compared the effectiveness and tolerance of 5% tea tree oil gel with 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion in 124 people with mild to moderate acne. People in both groups had a significant reduction in inflamed and non-inflammed acne lesions (open and closed comedones) over the three month period, although tea tree oil was less effective than benzoyl peroxide.

      Although the tea tree oil took longer to work initially, there were fewer side effects with tea tree oil. In the benzoyl peroxide group, 79 percent of people had side effects including itching, stinging, burning, and dryness. Researchers noted that there were far less side effects in the tea tree oil group.

    * Dandruff

      A single-blind study examined the use of 5% tea tree oil shampoo or placebo in 126 people with mild to moderate dandruff. After 4 weeks, the tea tree oil shampoo significantly reduced symptoms of dandruff.

Safety Concerns

One study shows that tea tree oil may alter hormone levels. There have been three case reports of topical tea tree oil products causing unexplained breast enlargement in boys. People with hormone-sensitive cancers or pregnant or nursing women should avoid tea tree oil. For more information, read Lavender and Tea Tree Oils Linked to Breast Enlargement in Boys.

Occasionally, people may have allergic reactions to tea tree oil, ranging from mild contact dermatitis to severe blisters and rashes.

Undiluted tea tree oil may cause skin irritation, redness, blistering, and itching.

Tea tree oil should not be taken internally, even in small quantities. It can cause impaired immune function, diarrhea, and potentially fatal central nervous system depression (excessive drowsiness, sleepiness, confusion, coma).

The tea tree oil in commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes is generally considered to be acceptable because it is not swallowed. Avoid homemade tea tree oil mouthwashes.

Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of overdose: excessive drowsiness, sleepiness, poor coordination, diarrhea, vomiting.

 

Don’t use tea tree oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

Keep tea tree oil out of the reach of children and pets.

Scientists Unveil Brain Area Involved In Alert Status Control

JERUSALEM –  Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have gained fresh insights into how anaesthesia and anaesthesia-like states are controlled in the brain, opening the door to possible new future treatments of various states of loss of consciousness, such as reversible coma.

Marshall Devor, the Cecile and Seymour Alpert Professor of Pain Research, graduate student Ruth Abulafia and research associate Dr. Vladimir Zalkind say that they have basically discovered a brain area that participates in the control of “alert status”.

Their findings suggest that a small group of neurons near the base of the brain, in the mesopontine tegmentum, has executive control over the alert status of the entire cerebrum and spinal cord, and can generate loss of pain sensation, postural collapse, and loss of consciousness through specific neural circuitry.hey came to this conclusion after observing that microinjection of tiny quantities of certain anaesthetic drugs into this newly discovered “centre of consciousness” in laboratory rats induced a profound suppressive effect on the activity of the cerebral cortex.

The researchers admit that it is not certain that their findings will translate reliably from rats to man.

They, however, insist that in case their findings do replicate in man, the new knowledge could contribute to the ability of medical science to treat disorders of consciousness and its loss, such as insomnia, excessive sleepiness and even coma.

Perhaps by direct electrical stimulation of the cells in question, it might prove possible to arouse a patient from coma, say the researchers.

They further say that the discovery of a specific cluster of neurons that control the brain’s state of consciousness can be expected to lead to the beginnings of an understanding of the actual wiring diagram that permits a biological machine, the brain, to be conscious.

A research article describing their study has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Chocolate, Water Can Melt Away Your Pain

WASHINGTON – Eating chocolate or drinking water can relieve aches and pains, a new study has shown.

A team of researchers says the distraction of eating or drinking for pleasure acts as a natural painkiller.

Although the findings come from studies on animals, the scientists believe the same effect takes place in people.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience by authors Peggy Mason, PhD, professor of neurobiology, and Hayley Foo, PhD, research associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Chicago, is the first to demonstrate that this powerful painkilling effect occurs while the animals are ingesting food or liquid even in the absence of appetite.

“It’s a strong, strong effect, but it’s not about hunger or appetite,” Mason said.

“If you have all this food in front of you that’s easily available to reach out and get, you’re not going to stop eating, for basically almost any reason,” the expert added.

In the experiments, rats were given either a chocolate chip to eat or had sugar water or regular water infused directly into their mouth. As the rat swallowed the chocolate or fluid, a light-bulb beneath the cage was switched on, providing a heat stimulus that normally caused the animal to lift its paw off the floor.

Mason and Foo found that rats were much slower to raise their paw while eating or drinking, compared to tests conducted while they were awake, but not eating.

Surprisingly, the researchers found no difference in the delayed paw-lift response between when the rat was eating chocolate and when it was drinking water, despite previous research indicating that only sugary substances were protective against pain.

“This really shows it has nothing to do with calories,” Mason said. “Water has no calories, saccharine has no sugar, but both have the same effect as achocolate chip. It’s really shocking.”

Mason and Foo then repeated the heat test as the rats were given quinine, a bitter drink that causes rats to make an expression called a gape that’s akin to a child’s expression of “yuck.” During quinine administration, the rats reacted to heat as quickly as when not eating, suggesting that a non-pleasurable food or drink fails to trigger pain relief.

The context of ingesting was also important to whether eating or drinking blunted pain, the researchers found. When rats were made ill by a drug treatment,eating chocolate no longer delayed their response. However, drinking water still caused a reduced pain response, indicating that drinking water was considered a positive experience while ill.

By selectively inactivating a region in the brainstem called the raphe mangus – an area previously shown to blunt pain during sleep and urination – Mason and Foo were able to remove the effect of drinking water on the rat’s pain response. The brainstem controls subconscious responses such as breathing and perspiration during exercise.

“You’re essentially at the mercy of your brainstem, and the raphe magnus is part of that,” Mason said. “It tells you, ‘you’re going to finish eating this, whether you like it or not,’ just like you sweat while running whether you like it or not.”

 

In the wild, Mason said, rats and other animals would not want to be distracted during the rare but important times that they were able to eat or drink. Therefore, the activation of the raphe magnus during eating or drinking would allow the rat to filter out distractions until their meal was completed. For obvious reasons, this naturalpain relief would be activated when an animal is eating or drinking something pleasurable, but not when it tastes something that could be toxic or harmful.

Alcohol Protects Accident Victims from Distress

SYDNEY – Moderate alcohol consumption is likely to protect accident victims from post-traumatic psychological distress, says a new study.

The study assessed 1,045 patients hospitalised after traumatic injury, for patterns of alcohol consumption before and three months after the accident.

This was compared with the level of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) one week after the accident and at three months.

Researchers from University of Adelaide (U-A) found that moderate alcohol consumption before and after the accident predicted lower levels of psychological distress.

Conversely, both abstinence from alcohol and high levels of drinking produced poorer mental health outcomes.

“Rather than suggesting abstinence following exposure to traumatic events…, the importance of moderate drinking should be emphasised as this behaviour may have some benefit in minimising distress,” says Alexander McFarlane, professor at U-A, who led the study.

A small group of patients showed a link between more severe PSTD and the emergence of alcohol abuse, suggesting “self-medication”, says an U-A release.

These findings have been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Computer Model of Brain Can Help Victims of Anxiety Disorder

ST. LOUIS –  The brain is a complex system made of billions of neurons (nerve cells) and thousands of connections that relate to every human feeling, including one of the strongest emotions, fear. Researchers have started using computer models of the brain to study the connections.

Most neurological fear studies have been rooted in fear-conditioning experiments. Now, University of Missouri (U-M) researchers are using computational models to study the brain’s connections.

Guoshi Li, U-M electrical and computer engineering doctoral student, has discovered new evidence on how the brain reacts to fear, including important findings that could help victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, an anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events).

“Computational models make it much easier to study the brain because they can effectively integrate different types of information related to a problem into a computational framework and analyse possible neural (bearing on nerve cells) mechanisms from a systems perspective,” Li said.

From previous experiments, scientists have found that fear can subside when overcome with fear extinction memory, but it is not permanently lost.

Fear extinction is a process in which a conditioned response to a stimulant that produces fear gradually diminishes over time as subjects, such as rats in auditory fear experiments, learn to disassociate a response from a stimulus.

One theory has concluded that fear extinction memory deletes fear memory, and another concluded that fear memory is not lost, but is inhibited by extinction memory as fear can recover with the passage of time after extinction, says an U-M release.

For PTSD victims, the fear circuit is disrupted and they cannot retrieve the fear extinction memory. However, the fear extinction memory exists, so the fear memory dominates every time victims get a fear cue.