The Telemedicine Reporter – International Edition – October 28, 2011

UCSD unveils Center for the Future of Surgery

Every year, millions of patients undergo lifesaving surgeries. The outcome of each procedure is driven by dynamic factors such as the patient’s health, drugs and instruments used, team communication, and the wisdom of the surgeon’s hand. To advance safety and innovation Continue reading

Alaska Passes Ordinance to End its Water Fluoridation Program

For 44 years, the town of Palmer, Ak., has been fluoridating its water supply, which is sourced from natural wells in the area. But thanks to concerted public outcry and growing momentum in Alaska and elsewhere to end the practice, the Palmer City Council has officially passed an ordinance repealing the town’s water fluoridation mandate.

Both Fairbanks and Juneau, which represent the second and third most populous cities in Alaska, respectively, recently decided to end their water fluoridation programs after some members of special fluoride task forces found water fluoridation to be a questionable and unsubstantiated “public health” protocol. But what really pushed the decision over the edge Continue reading

Bacopa May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia

An extract of a little-known herb called Bacopa can dramatically increase your brain function and memory — and may even help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Its therapeutic use has its origins from traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India, where it has been used for its adaptogenic, tranquilizing and antioxidant properties.

Bacopa is a creeping perennial herb that can be found in Nepal, China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam and some parts of the United States, including Hawaii, Florida and other Southern states. Bacopa (also called Bacopa monnieri or brahmi) thrives in wetlands, on muddy shores and around ponds or bog gardens.

Used in India for thousands of years for both traditional and medicinal purposes, Bacopa had a central role in religious consecration ceremonies for infants: The botanical was believed to open a gateway to intelligence for children.

Shamanic Memory

Researchers may first have been intrigued by Bacopa monnieri because of the effect they believed it had on ancient shamans, who reportedly used the herb to help them memorize epic poems.

Researchers theorized that perhaps Continue reading

This Acid Is Great for Your Heart

Taurine isn’t one of those minerals that get the spotlight in health news. It’s usually passed over in favor of other, better-known amino acids like homocysteine or tryptophan. But taurine has an important job to do when it comes to the proper functioning of your body. High concentrations of this amino acid are found in your heart muscle, skeletal muscle, nervous system and white blood cells.

Researchers at the Institute for World Health Development in Nishinomiya, Japan, investigated taurine for a possible beneficial role in the prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease. For their study, which was coordinated by the World Health Organization, the research team reviewed surveys pertaining to diet in 61 different Japanese populations. In particular, they collected data related to cardiovascular disease risk and mortality.

They found that participants Continue reading

The Best Cooked Vegetable for Your Health

Do you ever wonder what impact cooking has on the nutrients in your food? After all, if your take the time to make a home-cooked meal, you’ll want to get all the health benefits you can. Here’s some health news that you’ll want to consider before you make that next meal: some cooking methods are more nutrient-friendly than others, according to Spanish researchers.

The researchers, from the Department of Food Science at the University of Murcia, studied the influence of home- cooking methods on the antioxidant activity of vegetables. They covered all the standard cooking methods, which included boiling, microwaving, pressure-cooking, griddling, frying, and baking.

The research team Continue reading

7 Surprising Things you’re not supposed to Know about Sunscreen and Sunlight Exposure

Ask somebody about sunscreen and you’re likely to receive an earful of disinformation from a person who has been repeatedly misinformed by health authorities and the mainstream media. Almost nothing you hear about sunscreen from traditional media channels is accurate. So here’s a quick guide to the 7 most important things you need to know about sunscreen, sunlight and vitamin D:

#1: The FDA refuses to allow natural sunscreen ingredients to be used in sunblock / sunscreen products

It’s true: If you create a truly natural sunscreen product using exotic botanicals with powerful sunscreen properties, you will never be able to market it as a “sunscreen” product. That’s because the FDA decides what can be used as sunscreen and what can’t, Continue reading

Discover the Many Uses of Mullein

Mullein, a plant that grows in dry, barren places, has been used for centuries because of its outstanding medicinal qualities. Its healing properties are found in its roots, leaves, and flowers, and it has been effective in treating a variety of health conditions, especially respiratory disorders.

Native Americans used the leaves of the mullein plant to ease respiratory discomfort. Mullein tea is also an effective way of treating respiratory and other types of conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. It is also effective in treating sore throats and coughs.

Mullein’s anti-bacterial properties make it effective in treating infections. It has even been used to treat tuberculosis as it inhibits mycobacterium, the bacteria, which causes the disease.

Last year, in an article listed in PubMed titled “What’s in a Name? Can Mullein Weed Beat TB where Modern Drugs are Failing” authors Eibhlin McCarthy and Jim M. O’Mahony of the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland reported:

“Extracts of the mullein leaf have also been shown in laboratory studies to possess antitumor, antiviral, antifungal, and – most interestingly for the purpose of this paper – antibacterial properties.”

The authors also observed that mullein had been shown in trials Continue reading

The Top Eight Herbs to Battle Anxiety and Depression

Herbal treatments for depression and anxiety are often forgotten due to the barrage of pharmaceutical drugs that are currently available. But many herbal cures are effective without causing any of the prescription side effects associated with antidepressants. Take, for example, eight herbs studied in a recent clinical trial.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia determined that, although herbal cures for depression and anxiety are now being researched, a comprehensive review has yet to be done. The researchers therefore set out to conduct a massive review of commonly used psychotropic herbal medicines.

The review looked at the ways in which herbs helped in the treatment of mood, anxiety and sleep disorders. The team emphasized phytomedicines in particular when reviewing clinical databases.

In all, 21 individual phytomedicines were studied, from 66 clinical trials.

Which herbs showed the best results? Here are the top eight according to the Aussie researchers: Continue reading

Why Eating Colorful Is Important This Flu Season

Forget treating the flu or shortening its duration; the best approach is flu prevention itself. For this, dietary measures are in order. A recent study uncovered a pattern of nutritious eating, and a bounty of health secrets for avoiding the flu in the coming months.

Most people report catching a cold or flu every year. And more than 30% say they’ll make lifestyle changes to avoid catching one next year. Still, 40% of Americans don’t plan to take what is arguably the easiest and tastiest step to help potentially prevent such viral illness: eat more fruits and vegetables.

A national report, “America’s Phytonutrient Report: Immune Health by Color,” found that adults  Continue reading

A Delicious Juice That Boosts Your Immunity

Imagine if a fruit juice could actually boost your health significantly, in much the same way that some drugs are purported to. Wouldn’t drinking a delicious beverage be preferable to swallowing a pill or downing a horrible tasting spoonful of medicine? If you answered “yes,” then read further to find out more.

Researchers at the University of Florida did some pretty interesting investigations recently into T cells. T cells are one of the two main types of white blood cells in your body that are crucial to the proper functioning of your immune system. This is because these specialized cells are responsible for attacking any invaders, such as toxins or bacteria. They do this in a special way. They bind to the invaders and help remove them from your body. Your body contains millions of T cells that can respond to virtually any antigen.

Now — back to the study. The research team conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. In the study, 100% grape juice made from Concord grapes or a placebo beverage was consumed by 85 individuals daily for nine weeks. The participants were asked not to consume other red, blue, and purple fruits during the study. Blood samples, taken at the beginning and the end, were analyzed for T-cell numbers, along with vitamin C, Continue reading

Six Top Chinese Remedies for Psoriasis

The deep territory of Chinese medicine yields a long line of health secrets. Slowly, we are bringing them into our Western society, but some herbal remedies remain clouded in mystique. Here are the top six remedies for treating the inflammatory skin disease known as psoriasis.

1) Xiao Yin Pian: This herbal combination containing 12 different plants is the best Chinese cure for psoriasis. It has been shown to have effects in reducing allergies and asthma — both linked to an inflammatory response in the body, much like psoriasis. In a study of 200 patients with the skin disease, Xiao Yin Pian treated 48% of them fully, improved symptoms in 38%, and failed to work in only 17% of patients. Patients recovered from psoriasis in an average of two months.

2) Yin Xiao San: This contains da huang (rhubarb), bai xian pi (dittany bark), chen pi (citrus peel), tu fu ling, niu huang, qing dai (indigo), and sheng di huang. In 200 psoriasis patients, researchers tested 7.5 g, three times a day. After a month, 70 patients fully recovered, 62 improved significantly, 36 improved moderately and 20 had mild improvements.

3) Tu Huai Yin: This formula consists of 11 different herbs, Continue reading

A Supplement That Strengthens Your Heart and Lungs

One of the natural supplements gaining popularity over the past 20 years is creatine. It is known best for its use to boost athletic performance. It could be far more valuable for people with major heart and lung disease.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) are common diseases in the U.S. A symptom of both is shortness of breath when moving around. This is caused by impaired skeletal muscle function. Your muscle function depends on several factors: blood flow; amount of muscle mass; type of muscle fiber; and energy burned in the muscle. Changes in any factors play a key role in weakened muscles.

Muscle performance consists of two parts: strength; and endurance. Strength is the force it can exert and endurance is its ability to sustain a certain force over a certain period of time. Losing either results in muscle weakness. Now, both diseases here involve muscle weakness — especially those in your limbs and any involved in breathing. Continue reading

A Poisonous Mushroom That Could Kill Cancer

Healing foods can come from the strangest places. In this case, China, but that isn’t what makes it strange. No, instead it is the origin of the food cure itself — poisonous, wild mushrooms. Researchers have found that a compound from the mushroom seems to help kill cancer.

The compound is called “verticillin A.” What it does is sensitize cancer cells to “TRAIL,” which is a drug that causes cancer cells to self-destruct. In this way, the natural medicine world teams with the pharmaceutical world for a potent combination.

The mushroom ingredient keeps cancer cells from being able to resist the cancer drug. This targets a major problem for cancer treatment, which is drug resistance. Continue reading

Kids’ ER Visits for Psychiatric Care Inching Up

Emergency room doctors are seeing more and more kids for mental health problems, and many of them are uninsured, researchers said at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Boston.

A study found that between 1999 and 2007, 279 million children went to U.S. emergency departments. Over that period, the proportion of visits caused by mental illness rose from 2.4 percent to three percent.

Underinsured children accounted for as many as 54 percent of the psychiatric emergencies in 2007, up from 46 percent in 1999, Dr. Zachary E. Pittsenbarger and his team concluded based on data Continue reading

Finnish Government to Cover Lifetime of Medical Costs for Children Permanently Injured by Swine Flu Vaccine

Back in September, officials from the National Narcolepsy Task Force in Finland determined that Pandemrix, an H1N1 / swine flu vaccine developed by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is responsible for causing narcolepsy in certain individuals, and particularly in children. In response, the Finnish government has agreed to cover any and all costs associated with treating the condition in affected children that go beyond what insurance companies are willing to pay.

The initial report determined that children who received Pandemrix, which was widely administered during the 2009 – 2010 swine flu scare, were nearly 13 times more likely to develop narcolepsy than children who did not receive the vaccine. The research team also found a link between Pandemrix and cataplexy, Continue reading