Found: Protein Linked to Storage of Fat

EDINBURGH – A protein present in all cells in the body could help scientists better understand how we store fat.

University of Edinburgh (U-E) researchers have found that the protein invadolysin, essential for healthy cell division, is present in lipid droplets — the parts of cells used to store fat.

The study also found that lower levels of invadolysin were linked to reduced amounts of fat deposits.

The findings could ultimately help scientists better understand obesity-related complications, which can include diabetes, blood clotting and heart disease.

Margaret Heck, professor at the U-E Centre for Cardiovascular Science, said: “The presence of this protein in lipid droplets may suggest that it has a role in obesity.”

“What we would like to understand is whether its presence is related to obesity, and if so, whether the protein’s activity aggravates obesity and its consequences. Understanding its role will help us better understand how the body stores fat,” she said.

Invadolysin was first identified by Heck’s lab in fruit flies. The latest study looked at the protein in human cells, pinpointing its presence in the part of cells used to store fat.

The researchers also found that when invadolysin was absent in fruit fly larvae, fat storage was impaired.

Further studies will look at how the protein affects metabolism to better understand its role in obesity-related disorders.

These findings were published in the Journal of Cell Science.

Home Remedies Series – Amnesia

Amnesia treatment using Rosemary

The most remarkable remedy for loss of memory or forgetfulness is the use of the herb rosemary, botanically known as Romarinus officinalis. Rosemary has long been regarded as a herb for remembrance. In ancient times, the Greeks and the Romans prepared fragrant distilled water from the flowers of this plant and inhaled the odour so that ‘the evils were destroyed from the mind and the memory no longer played tricks.’ Rosemary is considered to be an antidote for mental fatigue and forgetfulness. A tea made from this herb, taken once or twice a day, is a refreshing drink and an effective natural remedy for enhancing mental agility.

Amnesia treatment using Brahmi Booti

Another herb useful in amnesia is perennail booti, botanically known as Bacopa scrophulariaceae. About seven grams of this herb should be dried in the shade and ground in water, along with seven kernels of almonds and half a gram of pepper. This mixture should be strained and sweetened with twenty-five gm of sugar. It should be drunk every morning for a fortnight on an empty stomach.

Amnesia treatment using Sage

The herb sage has also been found beneficial in the treatment of a weak memory or loss of memory. It acts on the cortex of the brain, mitigates mental exhaustion and strengthens the ability to concentrate. A tea prepared from dried sage leaves can be used regularly for this purpose.

Amnesia treatment using Almonds

Almonds are very valuable for restoring a poor memory caused by brain weakness. They contain unique properties to remove brain debility and to strengthen the brain. Almonds preserve the vitality of the brain and cure ailments originating from nervous disorders. Ten to twelve almonds should be immersed in water overnight and their outer skin removed. They should then be made into a fine paste and taken, mixed with one teaspoonful of butter or even alone. Inhaling ten to fifteen drops of almond oil through the nose, morning and evening, is also beneficial in the treatment of brain weakness.

Amnesia treatment using Walnuts

Walnut is another unique dry fruit valuable in countering brain weakness. About twenty grams of walnuts should be taken every day. The value of walnuts is enhanced if they are taken with figs or raisins in a proportion of ten gram each, everyday.

Amnesia treatment using Apples

Apples are useful in amnesia. The various chemical substances contained in this fruit such as vitamin B1, phosphorus, and potassium help in the synthesis of glutamic acid. This acid controls the wear and tear of nerve cells. Eating an apple a day with one tea-spoon of honey and one cup of milk is beneficial in the treatment of loss of memory and mental irritability. It acts as an effective nerve tonic and recharges the nerves with new energy and life.

Amnesia treatment using Other Fruits

All fruits which are rich in phosphorus are valuable mitigators of amnesia, as they invigorate the brain cells and tissues. Apart from apples, almonds, and walnuts, which have been discussed earlier, other phosphorus-rich fruits are figs, grapes, oranges, and dates. Their intake is highly beneficial in loss of memory due to brain debility.

Amnesia treatment using Cumin Seeds

The use of cumin seeds is another valuable remedy for amnesia or dullness of memory. Three grams of black cumin seeds should be mixed with two teaspoonfuls of pure honey and taken once a day, preferably, in the morning.

Amnesia treatment using Black Pepper

Five seeds of finely ground black pepper, mixed with one teaspoon of honey are also beneficial in the treatment of this condition. This preparation should be taken both in the morning and evening.

Large Thighs May Protect Heart

COPENHAGEN – Men and women with thighs over 60cm (23.6in) in circumference have a lower risk of heart disease and early death, a study of 3,000 people suggests.

The relationship remains even when body fat, smoking and blood cholesterol are taken into account, a Danish team says.

Those with narrow thighs may not have enough muscle mass to deal with insulin properly, raising the risk of diabetes and, in turn, heart disease, they say.

Experts cautioned that the research needed corroborating.

Some said it was too early to change current advice on eating and exercise for heart health, but the researchers said thigh size could be used as a marker for at-risk patients.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, followed men and women in Denmark for more than 10 years.

They were measured for height, weight and thigh, hip and waist circumference and their overall percentage of body fat was calculated.

It’s a very simple, very crude measure but it seems to have an individual effect. And it may be a way for doctors to assess risk

The thigh measurement was taken just below the gluteal fold, which is the crease caused by your buttocks.

Researchers also looked at the activity levels of the participants, whether they smoked, their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

They then monitored incidence of heart disease over 10 years and death rates over 12-and-a-half years.

During this time, 257 men and 155 women died, 263 men and 140 women developed cardiovascular disease and 103 men and 34 women suffered from heart disease.

The team at the Copenhagen University Hospital found that those with the smallest thighs – below 55cm – had twice the risk of early death or serious health problems.

Professor Berit Heitmann, who led the research, said: “The increased risk was independent of abdominal and general obesity and lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure.

“Additionally we found that the risk was more highly related to thigh circumference than to waist circumference.

“It’s a very simple, very crude measure but it seems to have an individual effect. And it may be a way for doctors to assess risk.

“The nice thing is that if you have a small thigh you can do something about it through exercise.”

Previous studies have suggested that a waist circumference of over 35in (88.9cm) for a woman and 40in (101.6cm) for a man indicated a high risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

Professor Heitmann‘s team says the risk of narrow thighs could be associated with too little muscle mass.

They say this can lead to the body not responding to insulin properly, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and, in the long-run, heart disease.

Too little fat can also lead to adverse changes in the way the body breaks down food.

British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Judy O’Sullivan said: “There is insufficient evidence to confirm that a low thigh circumference affects a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

“However, low muscle mass is associated with low levels of physical activity which is an established risk factor for developing heart disease.”

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, agreed that the research needed further corroboration, saying: “This is a very interesting and slightly counter-intuitive piece of work but it has to be respected because of the numbers looked at and the duration of the research.

This must be great news for people with larger thighs. What I find fascinating is that researchers are now going back to the drawing board and looking for every possible way of mitigating obesity.”

Mobile Microscopes Illuminate the Brain

BERLIN – Tiny laser-scanning microscope images brain cells in freely moving animals. The majority of our life is spent moving around a static world and we generate our impression of the world using visual and other senses simultaneously. It is the ability to freely explore our environment that is essential for the view we form of our local surroundings.

When we walk down the street and enter a shop to buy fruit, the street, shop and fruit are not moving, we are. What our brain is probably doing is constantly updating our position based on the information received from our sensory inputs such as eyes, ears, skin as well as our motor and vestibular systems, all in real time. The problem for researchers trying to understand how this occurs has always been how to record meaningful signals from the brain cells that do the calculations while we are in motion.

To get around this problem researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen have developed a way of actually watching the activity of many brain cells simultaneously in an animal that is free to move around the environment. By developing a small, light-weight laser-scanning microscope, researchers were able to, for the first time, image activity from fluorescent neurons in animals that were awake and moving around, while tracking the exact position of the animal in space.

The microscope uses a high-powered pulsing laser and fiber optics to scan cells below the surface of the brain, eliminating the need to insert electrodes, which are traditionally used. Because of this, the microscope is non-invasive to the brain tissue.

The traditional approach to solving these sorts of questions is to restrain the animal and present it with a series of scenes or movies or images. The miniaturized microscope allows the researchers to turn this paradigm around and allow the animal to freely move around in its environment, while still allowing the scientists to monitor the activity of the brain cells responsible for processing visual information.

It is clear that the brain does not work one cell at a time to recognize the environment, so the microscope records from many cells at a time, allowing for the first time the ability to look at how the brain is able to generate an internal representation of the outside world, while using natural vision.

“We need to let the animal behave as naturally as possible if we want to understand how its brain operates during interaction with complex environments. The new technology is a major milestone on the way to helping us understand how perception and attention work”, says Jason Kerr, lead author of the study.

Comprehensive Eating Disorders Dictionary for Parents Launched by F.E.A.S.T.

Comprehensive Eating Disorders Dictionary for Parents Launched by F.E.A.S.T.

F.E.A.S.T. has launched a free online dictionary for parents that explains the complex terms and concepts used in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders, eating disturbances and a wide range of co-existing conditions.

 An international eating disorders organization has launched the world’s first comprehensive dictionary on eating disorders for parents and caregivers.

The F.E.A.S.T. Eating Disorders Glossary  provides definitions and explanations for more than 400 terms and concepts used in the eating disorders field. F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders Treatment) is an international non-profit organization supporting parents and caregivers of children suffering from eating disorders.

The new free online reference — http://glossary.feast-ed.org — contains entries for 35 different eating disorders and disturbances, along with 25 disorders or conditions that often are associated or co-exist with a clinical eating disorder. In addition, detailed explanations are provided for hundreds of terms used in the modern science of eating disorders, including diagnosis, psychological and therapeutic approaches, medical management of symptoms and complications, biology, pharmacology and clinical research.

The aim of the glossary is to give parents facing an eating disorders crisis an authoritative, easy-to-use reference that will help them quickly “get up to speed” on the technical terms and concepts they will encounter as they consider various treatment options for their child or adolescent, said Laura Collins, executive director of F.E.A.S.T.

“The eating disorders field is filled with arcane vocabulary and very complex concepts,” Ms. Collins said. “Parents need to understand these terms and concepts so they can understand what their doctors are telling them. This will enable them to ask the right questions and will ultimately empower them to play a productive role as a key member of the treatment team they put together to manage their child’s recovery.”

Though edited for a lay public, the F.E.A.S.T. eating disorders dictionary may also prove useful to non-specialist professionals and general practitioners, Ms. Collins said, noting that many nutritionists, psychologists and generalist doctors have not received formal training in the modern science of eating disorders.

Among the eating disorders explained in the glossary are: Anorexia Nervosa, Binge eating disorder, Bulimia nervosa , Compensatory Behaviors, Compulsive or compensatory exercise, Compulsive Overeating , Diabulimia, Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), Extreme exercising, Feeding Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood , Female Athlete Triad , Food avoidance emotional disorder, Food refusal , Functional dysphagia, Hyperphagia, Marasmus , Muscle dysmorphia (also called Reverse anorexia or Bigorexia), Night Eating Syndrome (NES), Obesity, Orthorexia, PANDAS , Pathorexia, Pervasive refusal syndrome, Pica, Picky eating, Prader Willi syndrome (PWS), Purging disorder, Restrictive eating, Rumination disorder, and Selective eating.

KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS IN PERSONAL CARE AND SKIN CARE PRODUCTS

KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS IN PERSONAL CARE AND SKIN CARE PRODUCTS

Have you ever wondered what “NATURAL” actually meant when you read it on the bottle of “natural” or “organic” shampoo or skin care product you just bought? Or did you assume because the words “natural” and/or “organic” were used that it must be good for you and safe? You get the product home and then you find you can’t even read the long chemical names on the label let alone pronounce them! Why on earth do they say it is “NATURAL”? How can this be if the chemical names are so long I can’t even begin to pronounce them?

Would you be shocked to find what manufacturers can claim is “natural and organic” is actually so far removed from natural it isn’t funny.

Would you like to know more about these “natural” SYNTHETIC chemicals you are putting on your skin rather than the hype and lies that most products are described with. Well – you will have to do a little undercover work.

This is relatively easy to do now we have the Internet and the worlds best search engine Google. Virtually every synthetic chemical produced has a MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet published with the facts about the chemical and the potential dangers to human health. So if you think you are using safe, non-toxic approved safe chemicals in your skin care products, then perhaps you should think again.

The MSDS will not only list a summary of the chemical facts but will also summarize the little known things like hazard identification, first aid measures, chronic toxicity, precautions when handling the raw material and exposure limits and what medical action should be taken if the chemical is accidentally spilt on the skin. You will be surprised to learn many of these co-called safe non-toxic “natural” chemicals have skull and crossbones warning signs on the bulk drums of chemical to warn the handlers of the dangers and what emergency actions to take if spilt on the skin.

Animal Testing

You may also be even more surprised to learn that EVERY synthetic chemical has been tested on animals until 50% of them have been deliberately killed with agonized suffering. This is so the scientists can determine the LD50 rating! Yet I bet you have heard so-called animal friendly companies claiming THEY DON’T test their products on animals. What a gratuitous use of the English language this is! Well no, of course THEY haven’t carried out the testing procedures themselves using their own products, because someone else has already done it for them, using all the individual synthetic chemicals contained within their products. You can rest assured every single synthetic chemical in your so-called safe and natural non-animal tested products has actually been tested extensively on hapless animals to determine how toxic the chemicals are for human use!

Do you still feel good about using products that claim not to be tested on animals, knowing now that every single synthetic chemical contained in them has been applied to the eyes, the skin, injected into the muscle tissue, and fed to rabbits, rats, mice, and often monkeys, cats and dogs until 50% of them have died?

Why is this if the “natural” products really are safe and natural?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires an MSDS be prepared for chemicals that are hazardous according to the criteria described in the HCS. In fact hazardous chemicals all have to be indexed and a safety data sheet published for them. Now if you think that that the cream you just smoothed onto your face is safe and “natural” then start by keying some of the chemical names into the Google search engine and see what safety data sheets come up. You just may be shocked at what you read.

Here is something for you to look at – try keying in “paraben” or “methyl paraben” followed by “breast cancer” into the Google search engine and see what you think about using this highly suspect chemical! Now check your own products for these ubiquitous synthetic preservatives!  Did you find them in your so-called safe deodorant or skin care cream?

An excellent website to do research on some of these ingredients is: www.hazard.com/msds Why don’t you take a note of this website and do some research on the cosmetics and skin care products you use to see how “safe” and “natural” they are?

You are given three search options when you get onto the site

  1. Search by the manufacturer, which you may not know
  2. Search the website database by keying in the chemical ingredient
  3. There is another database for chemical toxicity data not found in the MSDS section which you can search through too.

For example, if we use the database search (2nd option) to look for information on phenoxyethanol, which is used as a preservative in many so-called “natural” skin care products we see five different MSDSs on file. A sample of information found on this ingredient included:

Hazards Identification

EMERGENCY OVERVIEW WARNING!

  • Harmful if swallowed.
  • Causes skin irritation.
  • May cause central nervous system depression.
  • May cause kidney damage.
  • May cause respiratory and digestive tract irritation.
  • Target Organs: Kidneys, central nervous system.

POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS

Skin Contact:

  • Severe irritation or burns.

Eye Contact:

  • Severe irritation or burns.

Ingestion:

  • May cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • May cause central nervous system depression,
  • May cause headache, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea.
  • Advanced stages may cause collapse, unconsciousness
  • May cause coma and possible death due to respiratory failure.
  • May cause kidney failure.
  • May be harmful if swallowed.
  • Lesions may appear in the brain, lungs, liver, meninges and heart.

What do think about putting the above chemical on YOUR skin?

ANIMAL TESTING DATA

Lethal Dose 50 (LD50) indicates the quantity of the chemical necessary to kill 50% of the animal test subjects and is measured in units per kilogram or PPM (Parts Per Million) of the animal’s body weight.

  • Oral, mouse: LD50 = 933 mg/kg;
  • Oral, rat: LD50 = 1260 mg/kg;
  • Skin, rabbit: LD50 = 5 mL/kg;
  • Skin, rat: LD50 = 14422 mg/kg.

By arming yourself with independent information about the many toxic chemical ingredients found in today’s skin and personal care products, you can make an informed decision to protect the health of you and your family.

The Cause and Treatment of Heart Disease

The Cause and Treatment of Heart Disease

The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetables oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly of vitamin C, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and, finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply, namely, animal fats and tropical oils. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart disease.

While serum cholesterol levels provide an inaccurate indication of future heart disease, a high level of a substance called homocysteine in the blood has been positively correlated with pathological buildup of plaque in the arteries and the tendency to form clots—a deadly combination. Folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and choline are nutrients that lower serum homocysteine levels. These nutrients are found mostly in animal foods.

The best way to treat heart disease, then, is not to focus on lowering cholesterol—either by drugs or diet—but to consume a diet that provides animal foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12; to bolster thyroid function by daily use of natural sea salt, a good source of usable iodine; to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies that make the artery walls more prone to ruptures and the buildup of plaque; to include the antimicrobial fats in the diet; and to eliminate processed foods containing refined carbohydrates, oxidized cholesterol and free-radical-containing vegetable oils that cause the body to need constant repair.

What about Cholesterol?

What about Cholesterol?

And what about cholesterol? Here, too, the public has been misinformed. Our blood vessels can become damaged in a number of ways—through irritations caused by free radicals or viruses, or because they are structurally weak—and when this happens, the body’s natural healing substance steps in to repair the damage. That substance is cholesterol. Cholesterol is a high-molecular-weight alcohol that is manufactured in the liver and in most human cells. Like saturated fats, the cholesterol we make and consume plays many vital roles:

  1. Along with saturated fats, cholesterol in the cell membrane gives our cells necessary stiffness and stability. When the diet contains an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids, these replace saturated fatty acids in the cell membrane, so that the cell walls actually become flabby. When this happens, cholesterol from the blood is “driven” into the tissues to give them structural integrity. This is why serum cholesterol levels may go down temporarily when we replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated oils in the diet.
  2. Cholesterol acts as a precursor to vital corticosteroids, hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against heart disease and cancer; and to the sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
  3. Cholesterol is a precursor to vitamin D, a very important fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function.
  4. The bile salts are made from cholesterol. Bile is vital for digestion and assimilation of fats in the diet.
  5. Recent research shows that cholesterol acts as an antioxidant. This is the likely explanation for the fact that cholesterol levels go up with age. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects us against free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.
  6. Cholesterol is needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain.48 Serotonin is the body’s natural “feel-good” chemical. Low cholesterol levels have been linked to aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies.
  7. Mother’s milk is especially rich in cholesterol and contains a special enzyme that helps the baby utilize this nutrient. Babies and children need cholesterol-rich foods throughout their growing years to ensure proper development of the brain and nervous system.
  8. Dietary cholesterol plays an important role in maintaining the health of the intestinal wall. This is why low-cholesterol vegetarian diets can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other intestinal disorders.

Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease but rather a potent antioxidant weapon against free radicals in the blood, and a repair substance that helps heal arterial damage (although the arterial plaques themselves contain very little cholesterol.) However, like fats, cholesterol may be damaged by exposure to heat and oxygen. This damaged or oxidized cholesterol seems to promote both injury to the arterial cells as well as a pathological buildup of plaque in the arteries.  Damaged cholesterol is found in powdered eggs, in powdered milk (added to reduced-fat milks to give them body) and in meats and fats that have been heated to high temperatures in frying and other high-temperature processes.

High serum cholesterol levels often indicate that the body needs cholesterol to protect itself from high levels of altered, free-radical-containing fats. Just as a large police force is needed in a locality where crime occurs frequently, so cholesterol is needed in a poorly nourished body to protect the individual from a tendency to heart disease and cancer. Blaming coronary heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high crime area.

Poor thyroid function (hypothyroidism) will often result in high cholesterol levels. When thyroid function is poor, usually due to a diet high in sugar and low in usable iodine, fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients, the body floods the blood with cholesterol as an adaptive and protective mechanism, providing a superabundance of materials needed to heal tissues and produce protective steroids. Hypothyroid individuals are particularly susceptible to infections, heart disease and cancer.

WHO head backs role of traditional medicine in primary health care – Two Years Ago – So what happened?

WHO head backs role of traditional medicine in primary health care – Two Years Ago – So what happened?

BEIJING, Nov. 7, 2007 (Xinhua) — The role of traditional medicine in primary health care should be highlighted, Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said hereon Friday.

    Thirty years ago, the WHO Alma-Ata Declaration recognized the role of traditional medicine practitioners within the primary health care system at the community level, Chan said at the opening ceremony of the WHO Congress on Traditional Medicine. “As a result, the significance and use of traditional medicine has increased in the past three decades.”

    For millions of people living in rural areas of developing countries, herbal medicines, traditional treatments and traditional practitioners were the main and sometimes the only source of health care, she said.

    “This is care that is close to homes, accessible and affordable. In some systems of traditional medicine, such as traditional Chinese medicine, traditional practices are supported by wisdom and experience acquired over centuries,” she said.

    Traditional medicine has been proven as cheap, effective and acceptable in many developing countries’ primary health care systems, Chan said.

    She noted, however, that an undesirable trend had also occurred in affluent societies, in the popularity of treatments and remedies that complement orthodox medicine or sometimes serve as an alternative to conventional treatments.

    In North America and Europe, traditional medicine has become a multi-billion-dollar industry that was expected to continue growing rapidly, Chan said.

    “This is not the poor man’s alternative to conventional care; this trend has some dangers.”

    Chan called for all WHO members to bring traditional and Western medicine together in highly effective ways in the primary health care system. She said the two systems need not clash.

    The three-day congress, hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Health and the State Administration of Traditional Medicine, has drawn more than 1,100 participants from 80 countries and regions.

    A legacy of the congress will be the “Beijing Declaration”, which is scheduled to be published on Nov. 8 after it is agreed on by participating WHO members

Acupuncture, herbal medicine become more popular in U.S.

Acupuncture, herbal medicine become more popular in U.S.

 LOS ANGELES,  — When Dr. Francis Yu started his acupuncture clinic in California in 1970s, most of his patients were Chinese. But now, half of his patients are non-Chinese.

    “More non-Chinese Americans begin to accept the Chinese way of treatment, such as acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine. Another truth is, at least in California, nearly half of those who have acupuncture licenses and operate acupuncture clinics are not Chinese but Americans who do not know Chinese,” said Yu who owns his two-storied TCM Healing Institute in Arcadia in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

    Dr. Yu‘s remarks echoed the recent press reports that alternative medicine is finding wider acceptance by doctors, insurers and hospitals in the U.S.

    People turn to unconventional therapies and herbal remedies for everything from hot flashes and trouble sleeping to cancer and heart disease. They crave more “care” in their health care as more people distrust drug companies and the government.

    California became the first U.S. state to license qualified acupuncture practitioners as primary care providers in 1978. As of2004, California has licensed more than 9,000 acupuncturists. Now the figure is estimated to exceed 15,000. California constitutes nearly half of the licensed acupuncturists in the U.S.

    Dr. Yu told Xinhua that in the early days, acupuncture was not accepted and respected by the mainstream. Most Americans did not regard acupuncture as alternative treatment. But as time goes by and when more U.S. hospitals and research institutions set up acupuncture treatment centers, more Americans turned to the Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine to cure diseases conventional American doctors could not treat.

    He said recently one American lady on her 40s came from Florida to treat her pain on the neck. But Dr. Yu told her she needed to remove her plaque in her artery. She received cupping treatment for several times and when she went back to Florida, her doctor told her the plaque was gone and she felt much better.

    She then recommended her friend, a 47-year-woman, to see Dr. Yuin the hope she can get pregnant. Dr. Yu said the treatment was going on, and he was not sure whether the lady could get pregnant at her age. But those cases show that more Americans are willing to try the Chinese way in medical treatment.

    In California and other states, when a doctor has an acupuncture license, the doctor can give herbal treatment to the patients. Although traditional Chinese medicine is not legal in California , doctors with acupuncture licenses can treat patients with cupping and herbal medicine.

    The legal use of herbal medicine was made possible 15 years ago when the U.S. Congress decided to allow dietary and herbal supplements to be sold without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Since then the number of products soared, from about 4,000 then to well over 40,000 categories now.

    The increasing acceptance of alternative treatment such as acupuncture and herbal medicine was also made possible by big healthcare insurances that cover expenses of patients who accept treatment of acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine, Dr. Yu said.

    Although Dr. Yu said the government regulation seemed ridiculous for doctors to have an acupuncture license first before they can practice other Chinese medicine such as cupping and herbal treatment, it legalizes the practice of acupuncture and other ways to treat patients in the Chinese way in the U.S.

    Increasing numbers of big hospitals and institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, have established integrative medicine units that bring together conventional and alternative approaches to care.

    The alternative treatment includes stress reducers like meditation, yoga and massage besides acupuncture and cupping.

    Studies show that the number of Americans willing to try alternative treatments continues to increase. A 2007 survey by the federal government found that more than one-third of adults and nearly 12 percent of children in the U.S. used alternative therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal supplements.

    But many mainstream physicians continue to be skeptical of alternative therapies, alleging their efficacy has not been proven and their successes may be nothing more than variations of the placebo effect.

    Concerns over the effectiveness and safety of herbal supplement have prompted the U.S. FDA to issue its first guidelines for good manufacturing practices to improve supplement safety.

    The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also filing more complaints about deceptive marketing in herbal supplements.

Chinese herbs may hold back diabetes

Chinese herbs may hold back diabetes 

(Beijing) Traditional Chinese herbal medicines may help prevent the development of diabetes in the early stages, new research suggests.

 The research, conducted by a research team of Center for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, was carried out in April 2008 and March this year in conjunction with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.

 In the study, the researchers examined 16 clinical trials including 1,391 people of 15 different herbal formulations. The results were positive, but more evidence is still needed, researchers say.

The research concluded that the herbs generally helped lower blood sugar levels in people with “pre-diabetes.”

It also suggested that adding an herbal remedy to lifestyle changes doubled the chance of participants’ blood sugar levels returning to normal.

 The Chinese herbal mixes, which have been used for a long time to treat diabetes in China, Korea and Japan, are thought to work in many ways to help normalize blood sugar levels, including by improving pancreatic function and increasing the availability of insulin.

But Suzanne Grant, the lead researcher of the study, pointed out that the Chinese herbs are only to recommended on a patients’ individual situation.

By far, the study did not find serious side effects caused by the herbs. However, Grant noted, like all medicines, herbs may have potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.

Chinese Herbal Medicines For Preventing Diabetes In High Risk People


Chinese Herbal Medicines For Preventing Diabetes In High Risk People

More research is required to establish whether Chinese herbal medicines can reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes, according to Cochrane Researchers. Although herbal medicines are widely used in Asian countries to treat pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance or IGT), the precursor of the disease, researchers say there is still not enough hard scientific evidence to confidently recommend their use.

“People with impaired glucose tolerance are more likely to develop full blown diabetes and it may be possible to prevent or delay the onset of the disease through lifestyle changes and medication. Chinese herbal medicines have been used for this purpose for a long time, so there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for their safety and effectiveness, but we were interested to find out whether scientific research could provide a basis for recommending these alternative treatments,” says lead researcher, Suzanne Grant of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

Pre-diabetes is recognised by higher than normal blood sugar levels. People with pre-diabetes are advised to change their diets to control their blood glucose levels and prevent progress to diabetes. In China, Korea and Japan herbal pills, teas and powders have been used for a long time to treat pre-diabetes and diabetes. They are thought to work in a number of different ways to help normalise blood sugar levels, including by improving pancreatic function and increasing the availability of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

The researchers considered data from 16 clinical trials including 1,391 people who received 15 different herbal formulations. According to their findings, combining herbal medicines with lifestyle changes is twice as effective as lifestyle changes alone at normalising patients’ blood sugar levels. Those given the herbal formulations were less likely to develop full blown diabetes during the study period. Trials included in the review lasted from one month to two years. No adverse effects were reported in any of the trials.

“Our results suggest that some Chinese herbal medicines can help to prevent diabetes, but we really need more research before we can confidently say that these treatments work,” says Grant. “The real value of the study is as guidance for further trials. We need to see more trials that make comparisons with placebos and other types of drugs, and better reporting on the outcomes of these trials.”

Some Colors Offer Better Sun Protection

Some Colors Offer Better Sun Protection

Do you want to protect your body from the sun’s harmful rays, but don’t want to pay premium prices for clothes made from high-tech fabrics that promise to protect from damaging UV rays? Think blue and red rather than yellow. Spanish scientists have found that cotton fabrics dyed deep blue or red provide better UV protection than the same fabric dyed yellow.

The researchers found that the color of a fabric is one of the most important factors in how well clothes protect against ultraviolent radiation, although scientists aren’t sure exactly how color interacts with other factors to affect protection.

Clothing dyed a shade of deep blue provided the most protection while yellow afforded the least.

Coffee May Stop Liver Disease

Coffee May Stop Liver Disease

Researchers have found another good reason to go to the local espresso bar: Several cups of coffee a day could halt the progression of liver disease, a study showed Wednesday.

Sufferers of chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease who drank three or more cups of coffee per day slashed their risk of the disease progressing by 53 percent compared to patients who drank no coffee, according to the study, led by Neal Freedman of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

For the study, 766 participants enrolled in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial  all of whom had hepatitis C which had not responded to treatment with anti-viral drugs  were asked to report how many cups of coffee they drank every day.

The patients were seen every three months during the 3.8-year study, and liver biopsies were taken periodically to determine the progression of liver disease.

“We observed an inverse association between coffee intake and liver disease progression,” meaning patients who drank three or more cups of java were less likely to see their liver disease worsen than non-drinkers, wrote the authors of the study, which will be published in the November issue of Hepatology.

The researchers put forward several ways in which coffee intake might protect against liver disease, including reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, which has been associated with liver illness; or by reducing inflammation, which is thought to cause fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver.

Even caffeine, the chemical that gives a cup of coffee its oomph, came under the spotlight, having been found in previous studies to inhibit liver cancer in rats.

But drinking black or green tea, which also contain caffeine, had little impact on the progression of liver disease, although there were few tea drinkers in the study.

According to the World Health Organization, 3 million to 4 million people contract hepatitis C each year.

Seventy percent of cases become chronic and can cause cirrhosis or liver cancer.

 

Why Frequent Blinking is Essential for Healthy Eyes and Optimal Vision

Why Frequent Blinking is Essential for Healthy Eyes and Optimal Vision

Are you interested in taking optimal care of your eyes and experiencing your best vision?  If so, we encourage you to get into a habit of blinking softly as often as possible.

Frequent and gentle blinking is essential to the health of your eyes and vision because it allows your eyelids to regularly coat your eyes with three beneficial layers of tears:

  1. The first layer of tears lies right up against the whites of your eyes, and provides an even coat of protein-rich moisture for the second layer to adhere to.
  2. The middle watery layer helps to wash away foreign debris. It also nourishes the cornea of your eyes with minerals, a variety of proteins, and moisture.
  3. The third outer layer of tears is somewhat oily. It serves to prevent the middle watery layer from evaporating quickly, and provides needed lubrication between your eyes and your eyelids.

If your eyes are not regularly coated with the three layers of tears described above, they will be deprived of ongoing nourishment and cleansing, and they will be unnecessarily strained.

One of the reasons why many of us don’t blink as often as we should is that we don’t see frequent blinking in mainstream media. Actors and anchor-people are typically trained to blink as infrequently as possible, so when we take in mainstream media, our subconscious minds learn that it isn’t normal to blink frequently.

To optimally support your eyes and vision, it’s best to blink softly every two to four seconds, which translates to about fifteen to thirty blinks per minute. By consciously making an effort to softly blink at this rate, over time, your body will turn your conscious efforts into a subconscious habit.

Here are some notes on blinking to promote optimal eye health and vision:

  • A soft and natural blink should occur like the light flap of the wings of a butterfly – this is a good image to visualize as you make an effort to blink softly every two to four seconds.
  • You should blink regularly during all activities, including reading, working on the computer, and viewing a TV program or film.
  • Contact lenses can discourage frequent blinking because the back surface of your eyelids is not designed to rub over an artificial surface. This is one of several good reasons why contact lenses should be avoided whenever possible.
  • Some yoga and meditation instructors suggest doing exercises that involve fixating your vision on one object, such as the flame of a candle, and doing your best not to blink.  We encourage you to ignore the part about suppressing your instinct to blink. It’s quite possible to experience inner stillness and peace while blinking frequently.

Since the primary goal of blinking regularly is to keep your eyes well lubricated and nourished, another good tip for eye and vision care is to keep your eyes closed whenever you are thinking about something while you do not need your vision. For example, if you are stuck in the middle of composing an e-mail message, close your eyes while you think of your next sentence.