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– May 20, 2011 – (Beverly Hills, CA) – There seems to be no question as to whether the American public has an interest in the emerging world of Telemedicine.  Just visit, E Patient Health Care dot Com.  With over 100,000 page views a month, this Top 20 Blog doles out plenty of information on health issues  Continue reading

Coffee Extract Prevents Bad Breath

We all know why Starbucks puts boxes of breath mints close to the cash register. Your morning latte can create a startling aroma in your mouth, strong enough to startle your co-workers too.

But intriguing new research from Tel Aviv University by breath specialist Prof. Mel Rosenberg finds that a coffee extract can inhibit the bacteria that lead to bad breath. New laboratory tests have shown that the extract prevents malodorous bacteria from making their presence felt ― or smelt.

“Everybody thinks that coffee causes bad breath,” says Prof. Rosenberg, “and it’s often true, because coffee, which has a dehydrating effect in the mouth, becomes potent when mixed with milk, and can ferment into smelly substances.”

But not always: “Contrary to our expectations, we found some components in coffee that actually inhibit bad breath,” explains Prof. Rosenberg. The findings were presented last month to members of the International Society for Breath Odor Research in Germany by Yael Gov, a researcher in Prof. Rosenberg’s laboratory

A “taster’s choice” for stopping bad bacteria
In the laboratory, the team monitored the bacterial odor production of coffee in saliva. In the study, three different brands of coffee were tested: the Israeli brand Elite coffee, Landwer Turkish coffee, and Taster’s Choice. Prof. Rosenberg expected to demonstrate the malodor-causing effect of coffee in an in vitro saliva evaluation developed by Dr. Sarit Levitan in his laboratory. To his surprise, the extracts had the opposite effect.

“The lesson we learned here is one of humility,” says Prof. Rosenberg. “We expected coffee would cause bad breath, but there is something inside this magic brew that has the opposite effect.”

Prof. Rosenberg would love to isolate the bacterial-inhibiting molecule in order to reap the biggest anti-bacterial benefits from coffee. “It’s not the raw extract we will use,” he says, “but an active material within it.” His latest discovery could be the foundation for an entirely new class of mouthwash, breath mints and gum. Purified coffee extract can be added to a breath mint to stop bacteria from forming, stopping bad breath at its source, instead of masking the smell with a mint flavor.

Prof. Rosenberg previously developed a popular mouthwash sold widely in Europe, a pocket-based breath test, and an anti-odor chewing gum.

Multi-Drug Resistant TB on the Rise in Australia

MELBOURNE – Showing that the incidences of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are on the rise, a report has stressed the need for an overhaul of Australia’s TB strategy.

Based on a review of Victorian Health Department data, the report points out that 31 persons were diagnosed with MDR-TB, a mutant strain that is resistant to two of the most effective antibiotics used to treat TB, from 1998 to 2007.

It further reveals that most of the cases occurred in the final few years of the 10-year review window, with seven recorded in each of 2004, 2006 and 2007.

“Our study revealed that there was a clear increase in the number of patients diagnosed with MDR-TB,” the Australian quoted Caroline Lavender, a scientist at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, as writing.

“New data available since the completion of our study reveal that the increase … appears to have been sustained in 2008,”

According to the review, the cases of MDR-TB have risen five-fold as a proportion of all TB notifications in Victoria.

In a paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia, Lavender says that the upward trend has “significant implications for public health policy and planning”.

MDR-TB is the result of improper use of these antibiotics during treatment of patients with ordinary TB.

People with the resistant strain must be put on alternate, and less effective, TB-fighting drugs that require specialist nurses and a longer hospital stay, treatment in a negative-pressure rooms and more lab tests.

About 29 out of 31 MDR-TB patients were born overseas, with almost two thirds coming from India, Vietnam or China.

Lavender says that new TB control strategies are needed, and the use of molecular tests should be increased for the rapid detection of drug resistance.

“Another measure that might prove useful is providing information to people at high risk of TB on arrival to Australia, so they know to seek medical attention early should they develop a persistent cough or other symptoms suggesting of TB,” she said.

New Radioactive Imaging Agent may Revolutionize Skin Cancer Diagnosis

SYDNEY – An Australian Government funded research group has developed a potential new material that can make early diagnosis of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer possible.

Writing about their work in the ACS’ Journal of the Medicinal Chemistry, the Cooperative Research Consortium for Biomedical Imaging Develop has revealed that the novel material is currently being tested in laboratory animals.

Ivan Greguric, a group member, notes that about 130,000 new cases of malignant melanoma occur each year worldwide.

Although patients do best with early diagnosis and prompt treatment, according to the researcher, the positron emission tomography (PET) scans sometimes used for diagnosis sometimes miss small cancers, delaying diagnosis and treatment.

While searching for better ways of diagnosis, the researchers identified a new group of radioactive imaging agents, known as fluoronicotinamides.

Testing it on laboratory mice that had melanoma, the researchers observed that the novel substance revealed skin cancer cells with greater accuracy than imaging agents currently in use.

Consequently, note the researchers, this substance may become a “superior” PET imaging agent for improving the diagnosis and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment of melanoma.

They have revealed that clinical trials with this new agent are scheduled for 2010.

Genes Linked to Brittle Bone Identified

Genes Linked to Brittle Bone Identified

PERTH – Scientists from University of Western Australia claim to have identified new genes tied to loss of bone mineral density and osteoporosis.

According to molecular geneticist and study author Associate Professor Scott Wilson of the University of Western Australia, low bone mineral density is the strongest predictor of osteoporotic fracture.

He suggests that the new finding may lead to a diagnostic test in the not too distant future.

The researchers analyzed the data from five previous smaller studies with the help of high tech ‘gene chips’.

While looking at the sample of each participant’s DNA and bone mineral density, they found 20 genetic regions, known as loci, with a strong association to bone mineral density.

Wilson said it is the technology of the gene chips that has really revolutionized the study of genes.

“It’s amazing that we came up with so many loci with such convincing evidence,” ABC Science quoted Wilson as saying.

“One in three women and one in five men have a lifetime risk of developing osteoporosis,” he added.

Wilson said of the 20 loci found to have a strong association, 13 were identified for the first time.

He hopes the study will help scientists develop a diagnostic kit to identify individuals genetically susceptible to osteoporosis.

The study appears in Nature Genetics

Communicating With Nature Makes You More Caring

ROCHESTER – Paying attention to Mother Nature not only feels good, it also makes you a better person, says a new study.

The study has been published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“Stopping to experience our natural surroundings can have social as well as personal benefits,” says Richard Ryan, coauthor and professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester.

While the salubrious effects of nature are well documented, from increasing happiness and physical health to lowering stress, this study shows that the benefits extend to a person’s values and actions.

Exposure to natural as opposed to man-made environments leads people to value community and close relationships and to be more generous with money, find Ryan and his team of researchers at the University of Rochester.

The paper includes four experiments in which 370 participants were exposed to either natural or man-made settings. Participants were encouraged to attend to their environments by noticing colors and textures and imagining sounds and smells.

In three of the studies, participants were shown a selection of four images on a 19 inch computer screen for two minutes each. Half of the subject viewed buildings, roads, and other cityscapes; the other half observed landscapes, lakes, and deserts. The urban and nature images were matched for color, complexity, layout, and lighting.

In a fourth study, participants were simply assigned at random to work in a lab with or without plants.

Participants then answered a questionnaire assessing the importance of four life aspirations: wealth and fame (”to be financially successful” and “to be admired by many people”) and connectedness and community (”to have deep enduring relationships” and “to work toward the betterment of society”).

Across all four studies, people exposed to natural elements rated close relationships and community higher than they had previously. The questionnaire also measured how immersed viewers were in their environments and found that the more deeply engaged subjects were with natural settings, the more they valued community and closeness. By contrast, the more intensely participants focused on artificial elements, the higher they rated wealth and fame.

To test generosity, two of the studies gave participants a 5-dollar prize with the instructions that the money could be kept or given to a second anonymous participant, who would then be given an additional 5-dollar. The second participant could choose to return the prize money or keep it. Thus, subjects had nothing to gain if they chose to trust the other participant, and risked losing their money.

The result revealed people who were in contact with nature were more willing to open their wallets and share. As with aspirations, the higher the immersion in nature, the more likely subjects were to be generous with their winnings.

Lead author Netta Weinstein says that the findings highlight the importance of creating green spaces in cities and have implication for planners and architects.

HIV Outwits Yet Another Microbicide

LONDON – The largest study ever conducted of a microbicide designed to prevent HIV infection has resulted in yet another case of high hopes being dashed about a promising product. Earlier in the year, a smaller study of the same vaginal gel gave a hint that it might offer modest protection, but the new results put the question to rest. “It doesn’t work,” says clinical epidemiologist Sheena McCormack, who ran the four-country study for the Clinical Trials Unit of the U.K.’s Medical Research Council.

McCormack says the data mark the end of the road not just for this vaginal gel but the whole class of microbicides that use nonspecific compounds to prevent HIV-infection. The placebo-controlled trial in nearly 9500 women tested a gel called PRO 2000, a so-called polyanion that prevented the AIDS virus from entering human cells in test-tube and monkey studies. The 4-year, $44 million study at six sites in sub-Saharan Africa found no difference between the equally sized treatment and placebo arms of the study: There were 130 HIV infections in the women who used PRO 2000 and 123 in those who used a dummy gel.

Researchers in the beleaguered HIV-prevention field often see glimmers of hope even in dispiriting results from clinical trials–witness the recently completed AIDS vaccine study in Thailand. But that is not the case with these findings. “When I first looked at the data with the statistician I said, ‘You’re not going to need any more analysis, are you?’ ” said McCormack, who is based in London. “It’s really clear-cut.”

In February, a similar study of PRO 2000 that only involved about one-third as many women found 30% fewer HIV infections in the treated group , but with a p-value of 0.10–a positive trend that did not reach statistical significance. That $90 million study, financed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), startled many in the field who, based on other failures of nonspecific microbicides, had predicted the product would do nothing. But McCormack notes that the new results actually are consistent with the data from the earlier trial, which had a wide confidence interval and included the possibility that the product did not work.

McCormack says there’s one upside of the failure: It informs future clinical trials. Because the findings clearly show that the positive test-tube and monkey studies of PRO 2000 were misleading, researchers now know to use more stringent requirements to deem a product worthy of human trials.

How To Relieve Pain Without Medicine

For some people, pain can be relieved without using medicine. They use relaxation, imagery, distraction, and skin stimulation. You may need the help of health professionals to learn to do these for yourself. Friends or family members can help with some of them. The techniques are also useful along with pain medicines. Information about nondrug treatments for pain also may be available at a local hospice, cancer treatment center, or hospital pain clinic.

How Does Relaxation Work?

Relaxation relieves pain or keeps it from getting worse by reducing tension in the muscles. It can help you fall asleep, give you more energy, make you less tired, reduce your anxiety, and make other pain relief methods work better. Some people, for instance, find that taking a pain medicine or using a cold or hot pack works faster and better when they relax at the same time.

Are There Any Basic Guidelines for Using Relaxation Techniques?

    * Understand that your ability to relax may vary from time to time and that relaxation cannot be forced.

    * Remember that it may take up to 2 weeks of practice to feel the first results of relaxation.

    * Try several relaxation methods until you find one that works for you.

    * Stick with the same method so that it becomes easy and routine for you. Use it regularly for at least 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.

    * Check for tension throughout the day by noticing tightness in each part of your body from head to foot. Relax any tense muscles. You may use a quick technique such as inhale/tense, exhale/relax, described below.

    * If you have any lung problems, check with your doctor before using any relaxation technique that requires deep breathing.

Is There Any Special Position I Should Be in When I Am Doing Relaxation Exercises?

Relaxation may be done sitting up or lying down. Choose a quiet place whenever possible. Close your eyes. Do not cross your arms and legs because that may cut off circulation and cause numbness or tingling. If you are lying down, be sure you are comfortable. Put a small pillow under your neck and under your knees or use a low stool to support your lower legs.

How Do I Use Relaxation?

There are many methods. Here are some for you to try:

Visual concentration and rhythmic massage:

    * Open your eyes and stare at an object, or close your eyes and think of a peaceful, calm scene. With the palm of your hand, massage near the area of pain in a circular, firm manner. Avoid red, raw, swollen, or tender areas. You may wish to ask a family member or friend to do this for you.

Inhale/tense, exhale/relax:

    * Breathe in (inhale) deeply. At the same time, tense your muscles or a group of muscles. For example, you can squeeze your eyes shut, frown, clench your teeth, make a fist, stiffen your arms and legs, or draw up your arms and legs as tightly as you can.

    * Hold your breath and keep your muscles tense for a second or two.

    * Let go! Breathe out (exhale) and let your body go limp.

Slow rhythmic breathing:

    * Stare at an object or close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing or on a peaceful scene.

    * Take a slow, deep breath and, as you breathe in, tense your muscles (such as your arms).

    * As you breathe out, relax your muscles and feel the tension draining.

    * Now remain relaxed and begin breathing slowly and comfortably, concentrating on your breathing, taking about 9 to 12 breaths a minute. Do not breathe too deeply.

    * To maintain a slow, even rhythm as you breathe out, you can say silently to yourself, “In, one, two; out, one, two.” It may be helpful at first if someone counts out loud for you. If you ever feel out of breath, take a deep breath and then continue the slow breathing exercise. Each time you breathe out, feel yourself relaxing and going limp. If some muscles are not relaxed such as your shoulders, tense them as you breathe in and relax them as you breathe out. You need to do this only once or twice for each specific muscle group.

    * Continue slow, rhythmic breathing for a few seconds up to 10 minutes, depending on your need.

    * To end your slow rhythmic breathing, count silently and slowly from one to three. Open your eyes. Say silently to yourself: “I feel alert and relaxed.” Begin moving about slowly.

Other methods you can add to slow rhythmic breathing:

    * Imagery.

    * Listen to slow, familiar music through an earphone or headset.

    * Progressive relaxation of body parts. Once you are breathing slowly and comfortably, you may relax different body parts, starting with your feet and working up to your head. Think of words such as limp, heavy, light, warm, or floating. Each time you breathe out, you can focus on a particular area of the body and feel it relaxing. Try to imagine that the tension is draining from that area. For example, as you breathe out, feel your feet and ankles relaxing; the next time you breathe out, feel your calves and knees relaxing, and so on up your body.

Relaxation tapes:  We recommend Barry Eisen’s C/D’s (www.barryeisen.com).  These recordings provide step-by-step instructions in relaxation techniques.

Will I Have Any Problems With Using Relaxation Techniques

Some people who have used relaxation for pain relief have reported the following problems and solutions to them:

    * Relaxation may be difficult to use with severe pain. If you have this problem, use a quick and easy relaxation method such as visual concentration with rhythmic massage or breathe in/tense, breathe out/relax.

    * You may have a feeling of “suffocation.” If so, take a deep breath.

    * Sometimes breathing too deeply for a while can cause shortness of breath. If this is your problem, take shallow breaths and/or breathe more slowly.

    * You may fall asleep. If you do not wish to fall asleep, sit in a hard chair while doing the relaxation exercise or set a timer or alarm.

    * You might get feelings of depression or withdrawal. Sometimes being relaxed makes you aware of problems you have been worrying about subconsciously. If this happens, talk to someone who can help you sort out your feelings.

If you have trouble using these methods, ask your doctor or nurse to refer you to a therapist who is experienced in relaxation techniques. Do not continue any relaxation technique that increases your pain, makes you feel uneasy, or causes any unpleasant effects.

What Is Biofeedback?

With the help of special machines, people can learn to control certain body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. Biofeedback is sometimes used to help people learn to relax. Cancer patients can use biofeedback techniques to reduce anxiety and help them cope with their pain. Biofeedback usually is used with other pain-relief methods.

What Is Imagery, and How Does It Work?

Imagery is using your imagination to create mental pictures or situations. The way imagery relieves pain is not completely understood. Imagery can be thought of as a deliberate daydream that uses all of your senses – sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. Some people believe that imagery is a form of self-hypnosis. Certain images may reduce your pain both during imagery and for hours afterward. If you must stay in bed or can’t go out of the house, you may find that imagery helps reduce the closed-in feeling; you can imagine and revisit favorite spots in your mind. Imagery can help you relax, relieve boredom, decrease anxiety, and help you sleep.

How Do I Use the Technique of Imagery?

Usually, imagery for pain relief is done with the eyes closed. A relaxation technique may be used first. The image can be something such as a ball of healing energy or a picture drawn in your mind of yourself as a person without pain (for example, imagine that you are cutting wires that transmit pain signals from each part of your body to your brain). Here is an exercise with the first image – the ball of energy. It is a variation of the technique credited to Dr. David Bresler at the Pain Control Unit, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

    * Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and feel yourself relax.

    * Concentrate on your breathing. Breathe slowly and comfortably from your abdomen.

    * As you breathe in, say silently and slowly to yourself:

      “In, one, two.” As you breathe out, say: “Out, one, two.” Breathe in this slow rhythm for a few minutes.

    * Imagine a ball of healing energy forming in your lungs or on your chest. It may be like a white light. It can be vague. It does not have to be vivid. Imagine this ball forming, taking shape.

    * When you are ready, imagine that the air you breathe in blows this healing ball of energy to the area of your pain. Once there, the ball heals and relaxes you.

    * When you breathe out, imagine the air blows the ball away from your body. As it goes, the ball takes your pain with it. (Be careful: Do not blow as you breathe out; breathe out naturally.)

    * Repeat the last two steps each time you breathe in and out.

    * You may imagine that the ball gets bigger and bigger as it takes more and more discomfort away from your body.

    * To end the imagery, count slowly to three, breathe in deeply, open your eyes, and say silently to yourself: “I feel alert and relaxed.” Begin moving about slowly.

Are There Any Problems With Using Imagery?

The problems are similar to the ones that may occur with relaxation techniques.

What Is Distraction, and How Does It Work?

Distraction means turning your attention to something other than the pain. Many people use this method without realizing it when they watch television or listen to the radio to “take their minds off” the pain. Distraction may work better than medicine if pain is sudden and intense or if it is brief, lasting only 5 to 45 minutes. Distraction is useful when you are waiting for pain medicine to start working. If pain is mild, you may be able to distract yourself for hours. Some people think that a person who can be distracted from pain does not have severe pain. This is not necessarily true. Distraction can be a powerful way of temporarily relieving even the most intense pain.

How Can I Use Distraction?

Any activity that occupies your attention can be used for distraction. If you enjoy working with your hands, crafts such as needlework, model building, or painting may be useful. Losing yourself in a good book might divert your mind from the pain. Going to a movie or watching television are also good distraction methods. Slow, rhythmic breathing can be used for distraction as well as relaxation. You may find it helpful to listen to rather fast music through a headset or earphones. To help keep your attention on the music, tap out the rhythm. You can adjust the volume to match the intensity of pain, making it louder for very severe pain. This technique does not require much energy, so it may be very useful when you are tired.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Using Distraction for Pain Relief?

After using a distraction technique, some people report that they are tired, irritable, and feel more pain. Some also find that other people do not believe they are in pain if distraction provides pain relief. If these are problems for you, you may not wish to use distraction or you may simply be careful about which distraction methods you use and when you use them.

What Is Skin Stimulation, and How Does It Work To Relieve Pain?

Skin stimulation is the use of pressure, friction, temperature change, or chemical substances to excite the nerve endings in the skin. Scientists believe that the same nerve pathways transmit the sensations of pain, heat, cold, and pressure to the brain. When the skin is stimulated so that pressure, warmth, or cold is felt, pain sensation is lessened or blocked. Skin stimulation also alters the flow of blood to the affected area. Sometimes skin stimulation will get rid of the pain, or the pain will be less during the stimulation and for hours after it is finished. Note: If you are having radiation therapy, check with your doctor or nurse before using skin stimulation. You should not apply ointments, salves, or liniments to the treatment area, and you should not use heat or extreme cold on treated areas.

Where Is Skin Stimulation Done?

Skin stimulation is done either on or near the area of pain. You also can use skin stimulation on the side of the body opposite to the pain. For example, you might stimulate the left knee to decrease pain in the right knee. Stimulating the skin in areas away from the pain can be used to increase relaxation and may relieve pain.

What Is Used To Stimulate the Skin?

Massage, pressure, vibration, heat, cold, and menthol preparations are used for skin stimulation.

How Do I Use Massage for Pain Relief?

For pain relief, massage is most effective when using slow, steady, circular motions. You can massage over or near the area of pain with just your bare hand or with any substance that feels good such as talcum powder, warm oil, or hand lotion. Depending upon where your pain is located, you may do it yourself or ask a family member or friend to give you a massage. Remember, having someone give you a foot rub, back rub, or hand rub can be very relaxing and may relieve pain. Some people find brushing or stroking lightly more comforting than deep massage. Use whatever works best for you. Note: If you are having radiation therapy, avoid massage in the treatment area.

How Do I Use Pressure?

Pressure can be applied with the entire hand, the heel of the hand, the fingertip or the knuckle, the ball of the thumb, or by using one or both hands to encircle your arm or leg. You can experiment by applying pressure for about 10 seconds to various areas over or near your pain to see if it helps. You can also feel around your pain and outward to see if you can find “trigger points,” small areas under the skin that are especially sensitive or that trigger pain. Pressure is usually most effective if it is applied as firmly as possible without causing pain. You can use pressure for up to about 1 minute. This often will relieve pain for several minutes to several hours after the pressure is released.

How Do I Use Vibration?

Vibration over or near the area of pain may bring temporary relief. For example, the scalp attachment of a handheld vibrator often relieves a headache. For low back pain, a long, slender battery operated vibrator placed at the small of the back may be helpful. You may use a vibrating device such as a small battery operated vibrator, a handheld electric vibrator, a large heat-massage electric pad, or a bed vibrator.

Which Is Better for Relieving Pain – Cold Or Heat?

As for any of the techniques described, you should use what works best for you. Heat often relieves sore muscles; cold lessens pain sensations by numbing the affected area. Many people with prolonged pain use only heat and have never given cold a try. Some people find that cold relieves pain faster, and relief may last longer.

What Are Some Comfortable and Convenient Ways To Use Cold or Heat?

For cold, try gel packs that are sealed in plastic and remain soft and flexible even at freezing temperatures. Gel packs are available at drugstores and medical supply stores. They are reusable and can be kept in the freezer when not in use. Wrap the pack with a layer of towels so that it is comfortable for you. An ice pack or ice cubes wrapped in a towel can be just as effective. To use heat for pain relief, a heating pad that generates its own moisture (Hydrocolater) is convenient. Gel packs heated in hot water, hot water bottles, a hot, moist towel, a regular heating pad, or a hot bath or shower can also be used to apply heat. For aching joints such as elbows and knees, you can wrap the joint in lightweight plastic wrap (tape the plastic to itself). This retains body heat and moisture. Note: Do not use heat or cold over any area receiving radiation therapy.

What Are Menthol Preparations?

Many menthol preparations are available for pain relief. There are creams, lotions, liniments, or gels that contain menthol. Brands include Ben Gay, Icy Hot, Mineral Ice, and Heet. When they are rubbed into the skin, they increase blood circulation to the affected area and produce a warm (sometimes cool) soothing feeling that lasts for several hours.

How Do I Use Menthol Preparations?

First, test your skin by rubbing a small amount of the menthol preparation in a circle about 1 inch in diameter in the area of pain (or the area to be stimulated). This will let you know whether the menthol is uncomfortable to you or irritates your skin. If the menthol does not create a problem, rub some more into the area. The sensation caused by the menthol gradually increases and remains up to several hours. To increase the intensity and duration of the menthol sensation you can open your skin pores with heat (e.g., shower, sun) or wrap a plastic sheet over the area after the menthol application. (Don’t use a heating pad because it may cause a burn.) If you’re afraid others will find the odor offensive, you can use the menthol product when you are alone, or perhaps in the evening or through the night. Note: Many menthol preparations contain an ingredient similar to aspirin. A small amount of this aspirin-like substance is absorbed through the skin. If you have been told not to take aspirin, do not use these preparations until you check with your doctor.

What Precautions Should I Take if I Use Skin Stimulation?

Heat and cold can easily damage your skin. It is easy to burn the skin with hot water from the tap or with settings too high on the heating pad. Extreme cold can also burn your skin.

    * Never use a heating pad on bare skin.

    * Never go to sleep for the night with the heating pad on.

    * Be very careful while using a heating pad if you are taking drugs or medicines that make you sleepy or if you do not have much feeling in the area.

    * Limit heat or cold application to 5 to 10 minutes.

    * Do not use heat or cold over any area where your circulation or sensation is poor.

    * If you start to shiver when using cold, stop using it right away.

    * Do not use cold so intense or for so long that the cold itself causes pain.

    * Do not use heat over a new injury because heat can increase bleeding. Wait at least 24 hours.

    * Do not rub menthol preparations over broken skin, a skin rash, or mucous membranes (such as inside your mouth or around your rectum). Make sure you do not get the menthol in your eyes.

    * Avoid massage and vibration over red, raw, tender, or swollen areas.

    * If skin stimulation increases your pain, stop using it.

    * As noted earlier, if you are undergoing (or have undergone) radiation treatments, do not use any skin stimulation method without first checking with your doctor or nurse.

Introducing – Bilberry

Bilberry fruit is a close relative to the American blueberry. It’s a common ingredient in pies, cakes and jams. The active constituents are thought to be antioxidants called anthocyanins.

Why Do People Use Bilberry

Bilberry is primarily used for eye conditions and to strengthen blood vessels. During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots reportedly found that eating bilberry jam just before a mission improved their night vision which prompted researchers to investigate bilberry’s properties.

Bilberry is also used for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.

The anthocyanins in bilberry may strengthen the walls of blood vessels, reduce inflammation and stabilize tissues containing collagen, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Grape seed contains similar substances, however, bilberry’s anthocyanins are thought to have particular benefits for the eye.

Because bilberry is thought to strengthen blood vessels, it’s sometimes taken orally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Introducing – Policosanol – The Natural Statin

Policosanol, a dietary supplement, is a mixture of alcohols isolated from Cuban sugarcane wax. It contains about 60% octacosanol.

Because patent issue and the US trade embargo against Cuba, sugarcane policosanol is not widely available in the United States. Instead, policosanol products sold in the US are generally derived from beeswax and wheat germ.

Why People Use Policosanol

    * To Lower Total and LDL Cholesterol

    * To Raise HDL Cholesterol

What is the Evidence for Policosanol?

Policosanol has been touted as a dietary supplement that can lower cholesterol as well as statin drugs, without the side effects. Studies indicate that it works by inhibiting cholesterol formation in the liver.

However, almost all of the 80+ double-blind studies on sugarcane policosanol were conducted by a single research group in Cuba that owns the policosanol patent.

An independent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006 did not find any benefit of policosanol, even at high doses, on cholesterol profile. This finding has casted some doubt on the reliability of the Cuban research on policosanol.

Dosage Information

A typical dosage of policosanol used in studies has been 5 to 10 mg two times a day. Studies generally found that it can take up to two months to notice benefits.

Side Effects of Policosanol

Although the reliability of the Cuban studies has been questioned, side effects of policosanol reported in the trials have generally been mild and short-term. They have included indigestion, skin rash, headache, insomnia, and weight loss.

Possible Drug Interactions

Policosanol may increase the effect of medications that interfere with blood clotting or anti-platelet drugs, such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ticlopidine (Ticlid), or pentoxifylline (Trental), or supplements such as garlic, ginkgo, or high-dose vitamin E.

Policosanol may increase the effects and side effects of levodopa, a medication used for Parkinson’s disease.

Home Remedies Series – Intestinal Worms

Symptoms

Diarrhea, foul breath, dark circles under the eyes

The usual symptoms of intestinal worms are diarrhea, foul breath, dark circles under the eyes, constant desire for food, restlessness at night with bad dreams, anemia, and headaches

Inflammation of the intestine and lungs, nausea, vomiting

Round-worms may give rise to inflammation of the intestine and lungs, nausea, vomiting, loss of weight, fever, nervousness, and irritability.

Anemia and nutritional disorders, constipation, loss of weight

Threadworms may cause intense itching in the area around the rectum. They may also cause periodic bouts of diarrhea alternating with constipation, loss of weight, cough, and fever. Hookworms may give rise to anemia and nutritional disorders. The eggs of these parasites are introduced into the human system through the medium of food or water.

Intestinal worms causes

Contaminated food, dirty fingers and food

Roundworms are caused by eating contaminated food. Threadworms may enter the body from dirty fingers and food.

Enter the human body through bare foot

Hookworms enter the human body through bare foot walking on infected earth. Tapeworms are transmitted to the body through undercooked flesh foods or foods contaminated by dogs.

Faulty living

The real cause of intestinal worms, however, is faulty living. The eggs of these worms, taken into the human body through food, and water, can breed in the intestines only if they find there a suitable medium for their propagation. This medium is an intestinal tract clogged with morbid matter.

 

Home Remedies for Intestinal Worms

Intestinal Worms treatment using Coconut

Among the numerous home remedies found beneficial in the treatment of intestinal worms, the use of coconut is most effective. It is an ancient remedy for expelling all kinds of intestinal worms. A tablespoon of freshly ground coconut should be taken at breakfast, followed by 30 to 60 ml of castor oil mixed with 250 to 375 ml of lukewarm milk after three hours. This process may be repeated till the cure is complete.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Garlic

Garlic has been used from ancient times by the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Babylonians for expelling intestinal worms. It is still used by modern medical practitioners for the same purpose. Both fresh garlic and its oil are effective. An ancient method of its administration was to place a couple of cloves fresh garlic in each shoe. As the person walked, the cloves got crushed, and the worm-killing garlic oil was absorbed by the skin and carried by the blood into the intestines easily, as it possessed a powerful penetrative force. This ancient method is worth a trial by those who do no not like the taste of garlic and cannot eat it. Those who can eat raw garlic, however, should chew three cloves of garlic every morning.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Carrot

Carrots are valuable in the elimination of threadworms among children as they are offensive to all parasites. A small cup of grated carrot taken every morning, with no other food added to the meal, can clear these worms quickly.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Papaya

The digestive enzyme papain in the milky juice of the unripe papaya is a powerful agent for destroying roundworms. A tablespoon of the fresh juice of an unripe papaya, and an equal quantity of honey should be mixed with three to four tablespoons of hot water and taken as a dose by an adult. This should be followed two hours later by a dose of 30 to 60 ml of castor oil mixed in 250-375 ml of lukewarm milk. This treatment should be repeated for two days if necessary. For children between seven to ten years of age, half the above doses should be given. For children under three years, a tablespoon is sufficient. Papaya seeds are also useful for this purpose. They are rich in a substance called caricin which is a very effective medicine for expelling roundworms. The seeds should be powdered and taken in doses of one teaspoon with one cup of milk or water daily in the morning on an empty stomach. The alkaloid carpaine found in papaya leaves also has the power to destroy or expel intestinal worms. An infusion can be made by pouring 250 ml of boiling water over 15 gm of dry leaves. This can be taken with honey.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Pomegranate

The bark, both of the root and the stems of the pomegranate tree, is well known for its anthelmintic properties of destroying parasitic worms. The bark of the root is, however, preffered as it contains a greater quantity of the alkaloid punicine than the bark of the stem. This alkaloid is highly toxic to tapeworms. A cold decoction of the bark, preferably fresh bark, should be given in quantities of 90 to 180 ml three times, at intervals of one hour, to an adult. A purgative should be given after the last dose. The dose for children is 30 to 60 ml. The decoction is also used for expelling tapeworms.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Pumpkin

The seeds of ripe pumpkin are useful in intestinal worms, especially tapeworms. One tablespoon of the seeds should be peeled and crushed, and then infused in 250 ml of boiling water and drunk. This will kill the parasites and help in expelling the tapeworms. It will be necessary to fast for a day and empty the intestines by taking the juice of boiled dry prunes. The next day, three or four tumblers of the pumpkin seed infusion should be taken.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Wormwood

The herb wormwood is an ancient cure for expelling intestinal worms. It was extensively used by the Greeks and Romans for this purpose. The flowering tops have been and are, to this day, largely used in the Tibbi (Unani) system of medicine in India as a drug to kill intestinal worms. They are usually powdered and given in eight to sixteen gram doses daily for roundworms and tapeworms. The oil distilled from this plant also possesses the property to kill worms.It should be mixed with olive oil, the latter being eight times the weight of the former.This mixture can be given in doses of 50 to 100 ml for this purpose. An infusion of the herb can also be prepared by mixing 2 ml of wormwood oil in 120 ml of water, and be given as an enema for killing worms in the rectum.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Belleric Myroblan

The herb belleric myroblan, mixed with the seeds of the herb butea ( palas ) on a 50:50 basis is an excellent anthelmintic. It should be given in doses of one teaspoon thrice a day. It helps remove all intestinal parasites. The seeds of butea can also be administered alone with beneficial results in expelling intestinal worms. One teaspoon of seeds may be given either in the form of powder or paste with one teaspoon of honey, thrice daily. They are specially beneficial in the treatment of roundworms and tapeworms.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Vasaka

The leaves, bark, rout-bark, fruit, and the flowers of vasaka tree also help in removing intestinal parasites. A decoction of the root and bark can be prepared by boiling 30 gm of the root and bark in 500 ml of water, till it is reduced by one-third. This decoction may be given in doses of 30ml twice or thrice daily for two or three days. The juice of the fresh leaves can also be used in doses of a teaspoon thrice a day for three days.

Intestinal Worms treatment using Calamus

Another valuable remedy for expelling intestinal worms is the herb calamus. The bitter element in this herb, acorin, is an anthelmintic.

Intestinal Worms diet

Fresh-fruit diet

The treatment for intestinal worms should begin with diet. The patient should be kept on an exclusive fresh-fruit diet for four or five days.

Well-balanced diet

Thereafter, he may adopt a well-balanced light diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, milk, and wholemeal bread.

Exclude fatty foods such as cream, oil, butter

The diet should exclude fatty foods such as butter, cream, and oil, and all flesh foods.

Short fast of raw fruit and vegetable juices

In some cases, the all-fruit diet may have to he repeated at intervals and in obstinate cases, the patient should resort to a short fast of raw fruit and vegetable juices.

Other intestinal worms treatment

Warm-water enema – During the all-fruit or fasting period, the bowel should be cleansed daily with a warm-water enema.

Brain’s Face Processing Ability does Reduce with Age

GLASGOW A British study suggests that the ability to identify a face, when it is shown for only a fraction of a second, reduces as people age.

Lead researcher Guillaume Rousselet, from the University of Glasgow, came to this conclusion after analysing electric activity from the brains of young and old people as they watched pictures of faces with cloud-like noise.

He said: “Very few studies have attempted to measure the effect of ageing on the time-course of visual processing in response to complex stimuli like faces. We found that, as well as a general reduction in speed in the elderly, one particular component of the response to a face, the N170, is less sensitive to faces in the elderly.”

The N170 occurs 170 milliseconds after a stimulus is presented.

The researchers revealed that it was more closely associated with the appearance of a face among the young subjects.

However, in older subjects, the researcher said that it occurred also in response to noise, perhaps implying reduced ability to differentiate faces from noise.

Revealing the findings of the study, Rousselet said: “Our data support the common belief that as we get older we get slower. Beyond this general conclusion, our research provides new tools to quantify by how much the brain slows down in the particular context of face perception. Now, we need to identify the reasons for the speed reduction and for the heterogeneity of the effects – indeed, why the brains of some older subjects seem to tick as fast as the brains of some young subjects is, at this point, a complete mystery.”

The study has been published in the journal BMC Neuroscience.

Researchers Find a Way to Block Fat Consumption

ST. LOUIS – Researchers have discovered a way to block fatty diet consumption by deactivating a part of the brain that regulates emotion. But the blockade will not affect people who are hungry.

“It appears that two different brain circuits control the motivation to seek and consume,” said Matthew Will, assistant psychological science professor at the University of Missouri (U-M) College of Arts and Science.

“Understanding how this circuit in the brain works may provide insight into the exact networks and chemicals in our brain that determine the factors influencing our feeding habits,” he said.

The release of opioids, pleasure chemicals that can lead to euphoria, into the brain produces binge eating in non-hungry people. Will and his team of researchers determined that deactivating the basolateral amygdala – the brain region that regulates emotion – blocked this type of binge eating.

“A key to curbing the obesity epidemic in America is controlling the desire to binge eat,” Will said.

“Humans have more programming to start and continue eating than to stop eating, especially when they have a bowl of ice cream in front of them. Most of us would finish it even if we weren’t hungry.”

Researchers said deactivating the basolateral amygdala had no effect on feeding in rats that were simply deprived of food for 24 hours, said an U-M release.

This suggests that the basolateral amygdala is specifically involved in the overconsumption of food based on its palatability or pleasure driven by opioids rather than the level of hunger.

The study was published in Behavioural Neuroscience.

Scientists Identify Another Step in Memory Formation

HAIFA –  Scientists at the University of Haifa have identified another component in the chain of actions that take place in the neurons, when the brain is in the process of forming memories.

The researchers say that, together with the results of previous studies, the new findings provide a better understanding of the process of memory formation and storage in the human brain.

In their study report, the researchers point out that the formation of memory to sensory information on the world-new sounds, tastes, sights, and smells-is vital for animal survival.

They say that very little of this information becomes short-term memory, and that only a small part of the information that becomes short-term memory ultimately becomes long-term and stabilized memory.

Previous studies led by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum found an elevation in the expression of the protein PSD-95 to be necessary for the formation of long-term memory.

The present study aimed to find out whether another molecular process – the addition of a phosphor molecule to the NMDA receptor protein (phosphorylation) – is necessary too.

Earlier studies have proven that changes in the NMDA receptor can adjust the neuronal network in the brain, and that during a learning process this receptor undergoes increased phosphorylation.

Before the present research, none of the studies had proved that the increase in phosphorylation of the NMDA is necessary for the process, and that the process would not occur without it.

During the current study, the scientists chose to focus on the formation of new taste memory in rats as a model for sensory memory because it could enable them to track when the process begins, its specific location is in the brain, and the molecular processes that occur during the process.

Verifying the findings of the previous studies, the first stage of the study showed that the new taste learning does indeed involve a process of increased phosphorylation in the NMDA receptors in the area specific to learning taste in the brain.

 

In order to do so, mature rats were trained to drink water at set times and after a few days some were given saccharine-sweetened water. The saccharine has no caloric value and therefore has no metabolic impact on the body and cannot affect the body’s processes. As expected, the rats that received the newly sweet-tasting water and that began a process of learning, showed an increase in phosphorylation in comparison to those rats that continued drinking regular water.

The second stage of the study showed that obstruction of the phosphorylation process brought about a change in the location of the receptor in relation to the NMDA, and thus was likely to be responsible for inhibiting the formation of long-term memory.

“Our goal is to identify piece after piece of the complex puzzle that is the formation of long-term memory. Once we know how to describe the chain of actions that take place in the brain, we may be able to know where and how to interfere,” said Dr. Dr. Liza Barki-Harrington, a member of the research team.

“The glutamate neural synapses – via the receptors of the NMDA – and dophamin, play a central role in a number of neural pathologies, including processes of addiction and of schizophrenia.

There is good reason to assume that one afflicted with schizophrenia has a sub- or over-functioning of this system, and its loss of balance is one of the causes of the illness. A better understanding of this balance – or loss of balance – in the normal processes will enable future discovery of new objectives for developing medications, which we hope will improve patients’ lives significantly,” added Prof. Rosenblum.

The study has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Home Remedies Series – Arthritis

Arthritis treatment using Potato Juice

The raw potato juice therapy is considered one of the most successful biological treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries. The traditional method of preparing potato juice is to cut a medium-sized potato into thin slices, without peeling the skin, and place the slices overnight in a large glass filled with cold water. The water should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. Fresh juice can also be extracted from potatoes. A medium-sized potato should be diluted with a cup of water and drunk first thing in the morning.

Arthritis treatment using Other Raw Juices

One cup of green juice, extracted from any green leafy vegetable, mixed in equal proportions with carrot, celery, and red beet juices is good for arthritis. The alkaline action of raw juices dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and in other tissues. A cup of fresh pineapple juice is also valuable, as the enzyme bromelain in fresh pineapple juice reduces swelling and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis treatment using Sesame Seeds

A teaspoon of black sesame seeds, soaked in a quarter cup of water and kept overnight, has been found to be effective in preventing frequent joint pains. The water in which the seeds are soaked should also be taken along with the seeds first thing in the morning.

Arthritis treatment using Copper

Drinking water kept overnight in a copper container accumulates traces of copper, which is said to strengthen the muscular system. A copper ring or bracelet is worn for the same reason.

Arthritis treatment using Calcium

Studies have shown that calcium can help arthritis. Several patients have discovered that joint pains have either been relieved or have disappeared entirely after taking calcium. This mineral should be taken in the form of calcium lactate. Two teaspoons of calcium lactate, each teaspoon providing 400 mg of absorbable calcium, may be taken three times daily in water, before meals for at least four months.

Arthritis treatment using Garlic

Garlic is another effective remedy for arthritis. It contains an anti-inflammatory property which accounts for its effectiveness in the treatment of this disease. Garlic may be taken raw or cooked according to individual preference.

Arthritis treatment using Bananas

Bananas, being a rich source of vitamin B6, have proved useful in the treatment of arthritis. A diet of only bananas for three or four days is advised in treating this condition. The patient may eat eight or nine bananas daily during this period and nothing else.

Arthritis treatment using Lime

Lime has also been found beneficial as a home remedy for arthritis. The citric acid found in lime is a solvent of uric acid which is the primary cause of some types of arthritis. The juice of one lime, diluted with water, may be taken once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.

Arthritis treatment using Alfalfa

A tea made from the herb alfalfa, especially from its seeds, has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis. One teaspoon of alfalfa seeds may be added to one cup of water. Three to four cups of this tea should be taken daily by arthritics for at least two weeks.

Arthritis treatment using Green Gram Soup

Another home remedy found useful in relieving pains in the joints is the use of green gram soup. This soup should be prepared by mixing a tablespoon of green gram in a cup of water, with two crushed garlic cloves. It should be taken twice a day.

Arthritis treatment using Castor Oil

Treatment with castor oil has been found beneficial in arthritis. The procedure, as prescribed by a Spanish doctor, is to boil two tablespoons of castor oil over a stove burner. The oil should then be poured into a glass of fresh orange juice and taken before breakfast daily till the disease is cured. It was advised to patients to take it for three weeks, wait for another three weeks and then repeat it again for another three weeks. It is, however, essential that the patient must take an alkaline diet while adopting this mode of treatment otherwise the value of the treatment will be lost.

Arthritis treatment using Coconut or Mustard Oil

Warm coconut oil or mustard oil, mixed with two or three pieces of camphor should be massaged on stiff and aching joints. It will increase blood supply, and reduce inflammation and stiffness with the gentle warmth produced while massaging. Camphorated oil is an ancient rubefacient used for the purpose.

Arthritis diet

Take fruits and vegetables in the form of salads

The diet of an arthritis patient should be planned so as to produce alkalinity in the blood. It should include fruits and vegetables in the form of salads, and, at least, two cooked vegetables. In severe cases, it would be advisable to put the patient on raw vegetable juice therapy three times a day, for about a week. Repeated juice fasts are recommended at intervals of every two months.

Other Arthritis treatments

Keep body warm, don’t bandage joints

The body should be kept warm at all times . Joints should not be bandaged tightly as this limits movement and interferes with the free circulation of blood.

Take rest, should have plenty of indirect ventilation

There should be plenty of indirect ventilation in the bedroom. Rest is advised when there is acute inflammation in the joints.

Sea bathing has been found valuable in arthritis. The natural iodine in sea water is said to relieve arthritis pain. As is well known, Iodine regulates the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues, helps to repair and regenerate worn out tissues and nourishes the skeletal structure. It enters into the thyroid gland’s secretion. The hormone uses the iodine to cleanse the internal toxins. If sea bathing is not possible, the patient should relax for thirty minutes every night in a tub of warm water, in which a cup of common salt has been mixed. The minerals in the salt,especially Iodine, will be absorbed through the pores of the skin. This will help correct an internal imbalance.