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Jul 02

Researchers say Sun 'cuts prostate cancer risk'

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Researchers from three US centres found men exposed to a high amount of sun had half the risk of the disease than those exposed to a low amount.
Writing in Cancer Research, they suggest that the protection was a result of the body's manufacture of vitamin D after sun exposure.
But men were warned not to sunbathe excessively because of the risk of developing skin cancer.
Vitamin D is also found in foods such as oily fish.
Experts from the Northern California Cancer Center, the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University all worked on the study.
They looked at 450 white patients aged 40 to 79 with advance prostate cancer, from San Francisco.
 
They compared them with a group of 455 men of similar ages and backgrounds who did not have prostate cancer.
The men were all asked whether their jobs had involved working outside, and if so, how regularly they did this.
The scientists also looked at the difference between pigmentation in underarm skin which is usually not exposed to sunlight, and forehead skin, which is.
To do this, they used a portable reflectometer - a device which measures skin tone by emitting light and assessing the amount that is reflected back, giving a reading on the colour of the skin from 0 to 100.
The difference in scores taken from underarms and foreheads provided an indication of how much exposure to the sun men had experienced.
The risk of prostate cancer was found to be halved in men who had the highest amount of sun exposure - an average of 20 hours a week, or more.

Gene variants
Previous research has shown that the prostate uses vitamin D to promote the normal growth of prostate cells and to inhibit the invasiveness and spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.
   
Genes determine how the body processes vitamin D. They control receptors which vary in their ability to bind to the vitamin and therefore influence the behaviour of cells.
DNA tests carried out by the researchers showed the risk of prostate cancer was reduced by up to 65% in men with certain gene variants.
Dr Esther John, of the Northern California Cancer Centre, who led the research, said: "We believe that sunlight helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer because the body manufactures the active form of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight."
She added that if future studies continued to suggest this link, increasing vitamin D intake from food and supplements might be the safest solution to achieve the right levels.
Chris Hiley, head of policy and research at the Prostate Cancer Charity, warned that while increased exposure to sunlight might decrease the risk of prostate cancer, it also increased the risk of skin cancer.
"Men need more evidence-based research to know how to balance the risks and benefits."
Henry Scowcroft, of Cancer Research UK, also cautioned that more work was needed to weigh up the risks involved.
"For most people, it usually takes just a few minutes of sun exposure for your skin to make a very large amount of vitamin D," he added.
Source: bbc.com
Jul 01

Sound wave can be the treatment for prostate cancer

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An experimental therapy using sound waves may offer people with early stage prostate cancer an alternative treatment option, doctors believe.

The technique, called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), uses sound waves to heat and kill cancerous cells.

The researchers from University College and Princess Grace hospitals in London used it on 172 men with high rates of success and low levels of side effects.
But experts said long-term follow-up was needed to confirm its potential.

The men taking part in the trial were discharged on average five hours after receiving the HIFU treatment, the British Journal of Cancer reported.

Typically men with the aggressive form prostate cancer, which kills 10,000 people a year in the UK, are treated with either surgery or radiotherapy.

There is also a benign version of the disease, which is rarely life-threatening and sometimes so slow-growing it never causes any problems.

Surgery usually requires a two to three-day in-patient stay and radiotherapy requires daily treatment as an outpatient for up to one month.

Of the initial group, 159 men were followed up a year later and 92% did not have any recurrence of prostate cancer.

Both surgery and radiotherapy have similar success rates.

But the sound waves treatment showed lower levels of side effects than would be expected for the other two.

Just one man had incontinence, none had any bowel problems, while a third of the group had impotence - low in terms of prostate treatment.

'Needs evaluation'

Guy MacPherson, 73, from Oxfordshire, who took part in the trial, was full of praise.

"I was very happy about the treatment. I had no side effects.

"The day following the treatment I was walking the dog, washing the car and going Christmas carolling."

Dr Hashim Ahmed, who led the trial, said the results were very encouraging.

"This study suggests it's possible that HIFU may one day play a role in treating men with early prostate cancer with fewer side effects."

HIFU can target cancerous tissue down to a millimetre accuracy.

It literally boils the cells until they are destroyed.

Since this first group underwent the treatment another 800 men around the UK have also entered trials, although results are not available yet.

It has also started to be tested on other forms of cancer, such as liver and kidney.

The technique is already used in other parts of Europe and Japan.

But experts still want to see long-term results before they give it their backing for NHS use.

Professor Peter Johnson, of Cancer Research UK, said HIFU needed "careful evaluation".

And John Neate, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, added long-term data was required.

But he said: "HIFU potentially offers a 'third way' approach to the treatment of localised prostate cancer."
Source:bbc.com
Jun 29

How can we prevent Swine flu through Ayurveda?

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In Ayurveda, health ailments like swine flu are because of weakened immunity that the body cannot withstand against the attack of disease causing germs. Ayurveda, as always, believes in strengthening the body systems that fight and win the battle against H1N1 Virus. This is done by prescribing various immunomodulator herbs such as Guduchi,Tulasi (Holy Basil), Yasthimadhu (Liqorice root), Shunthi (ginger), Pippali (pepper) etc.
Similarly certain antiviral herbs like Bhumyalaki (phyllanthus nirurii), turmeric and antibacterial herbs like Sahadevi, Neem and tulsi are effective in Flu.
Ayurveda for swine flu describes adding spices such as cumin seeds, asafetida, turmeric, coriander etc that help in boosting the digestion and also helps in cleansing the intestines –making them free of toxic material. Elderberry extract, Echinacea extract and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is likely to give good and satisfactory results.
for prevention major, general anti-flu ayurvedic medicine can be taken.
Chyawanprash is the one of the best used preventive medicine for Flu.

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*READ MORE ABOUT  TULASI ON THIS LINK http://www.ayurnepal.com/medicinal-plants/182-ocimum-tenuiflorum-linn.html
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*(READ MORE ABOUT  GINGER ON THIS LINK http://www.ayurnepal.com/medicinal-plants/218-zingiber-officinale.html

 *(READ MORE ABOUT PIPPALI  ON THIS LINK http://www.ayurnepal.com/medicinal-plants/188-piper-longum.html)

*READ MORE ABOUT Bhumyalaki  ON THIS LINK http://www.ayurnepal.com/medicinal-plants/185-phyllanthus-niruri.html)

 

 

Jun 26

Michael Jackson's history of health problems

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Pop icon Michael Jackson, 50, who died Thursday afternoon after being rushed to a Los Angeles hospital in cardiac arrest, had a long history of confirmed health problems, in addition to rumored conditions.


Michael Jackson, seen here in 2005, was taken to UCLA Medical Center in cardiac arrest Thursday.

 In 1984, Jackson was burned while singing for a Pepsi-Cola commercial in Los Angeles, when a special-effects smoke bomb misfired. He had to have major surgery on his scalp and said that because of the intense pain, he developed an addiction to painkillers.

He also was reported to have a form of lupus in the 1980s, but it was later said to have gone into remission.

Read more
Jun 26

New cancer drug 'shows promise'

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Researchers say a new type of cancer treatment has produced highly promising results in preliminary drug trials.

Olaparib was given to 19 patients with inherited forms of advanced breast, ovarian and prostate cancers caused by mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

In 12 of the patients - none of whom had responded to other therapies - tumours shrank or stabilised.

The study, led by the Institute of Cancer Research, features in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    
One of the first patients to be given the treatment is still in remission after two years.

Olaparib - a member of a new class of drug called PARP inhibitors - targets cancer cells, but leaves healthy cells relatively unscathed.

The researchers, working with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, found that patients experienced very few side-effects, and some reported the treatment was "much easier than chemotherapy".

Researcher Dr Johann de Bono said the drug should now be tested in larger trials.

He said: "This drug showed very impressive results in shrinking patients' tumours.

"It's giving patients who have already tried many conventional treatments long periods of remission, free from the symptoms of cancer or major side-effects."

Olaparib is the first successful example of a new type of personalised medicine using a technique called "synthetic lethality" - a subtle way of exploiting the body's own molecular weaknesses for positive effect.

In this case the drug takes advantage of the fact that while normal cells have several different ways of repairing damage to their DNA, one of these pathways is disabled by the BRCA mutations in tumour cells.

Olaparib blocks one of the repair pathways by shutting down a key enzyme called PARP.
    
This does not affect normal cells because they can call on an alternative repair mechanism, controlled by their healthy BRCA genes.

But in tumours cells, where the BRCA pathway is disabled by genetic mutation, there is no alternative repair mechanism, and the cells die.

Cancer cells with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations are the first to be shown to be sensitive to PARP inhibitors.

But there is evidence that olaparib will also be effective in other cancers with different defects in the repair of DNA.

Professor Stan Kaye, who also worked on the study, said: "The next step is to test this drug on other more common types of ovarian and breast cancers where we hope it will be just as effective."

The researchers say the process of drug evaluation and registration may have to be revamped to take consideration of the fact that new generation cancer drugs target specific molecular defects, rather than types of cancer.

Dr Peter Sneddon, of the charity Cancer Research UK, said: "It is very encouraging to see the development of 'personalised treatment', tailored to the requirements of the individual patient, becoming a reality as it offers the opportunity to design new drugs that are truly selective.

"Although development of this drug is in its early stages, it is very exciting to see that it has the potential to work when other treatment options have failed."

source:bbc.co.uk

Jun 22

Indian Govt earmarked Rs 4000 crore on Ayurveda

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NEW DELHI: The Government on Saturday said it has earmarked Rs 100 crore to promote cultivation of medicinal plants across the country. On the pattern of Special Economic Zones, the health ministry decided to develop agricultural clusters for cultivation of medicinal herbs and expected to increase the export potential in herbal medicine sector up to Rs 1,000 crore annually.

“Of the total Rs 4,000 crore allocated to the department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddhi and Homeopathy (AYUSH) in the 11th five year plan, Rs 100 crore would be spent to promote the cultivation of medicinal plants alone,” said Ms S Jalaja , Secretary, Department of AYUSH.

The farmers will be provided technological guidance and equipment assistance by the state agricultural departments for growing plants with medicinal value, she said, adding that such clusters are already coming up in Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Nort h Eastern states.

The official said with the help of various government schemes and participation of industries, the herbal medicine sector has the potential to overtake allopathic medicine in the country not only in providing medical care but also in generating employmen
Jun 20

Natural Hair Coloring Formula:

Posted by: drraja in Ayurveda | Comment (1)
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Ingredients:
Bhringraj (Eclipta alba): One part
Hena (Lawsonia inermis) powder: one part
Amala (Emblica officinalis ) powder: Half part
Bibhitaki/Barro (Terminalia belerica): Half part
Kakmachi (Solanum nigrum ) powder: 1/4th part
Black Til seed (Sesamum indicum): 1/4th part

mix all powder in a container. Add sufficient quantity of the decoction of tea leaves to make paste. For tea decoction you can boil tea leaves just like making tea.Again add two teaspoonful of curds. Make a good paste of everything. Put this paste into iron pot for 12 hours.Then, apply this paste on your hair. keep it for an hour. Then wash you hair to remove paste. Do not use shampoo. Finally massage with sesame oil after hair get dried. Them you can use shampoo to get lovely hair with dark brown color
Jun 20

TIPS TO COMBAT SUMMER HEAT

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- Drink plenty of liquids like coconut water, sugarcane juice, buttermilk or at least 10 glasses of water a day.
- Eat light food- avoid hot, spicy, oily meals and eat foods having high in water content including frits, salads, soups and buttermilk.
- Lassi made from churned curd, cream and ginger or powder of fried barley dissolved in water acts as a re-hydrating agent in summer.
- A fresh green mango baked in hot ash or raw mango with salt can quench excessive thirst.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks containing caffeine (tea and coffee), which can make the condition of heat worse.
- Curd rice prepared by adding boiled rice to curdling milk and kept overnight, should be eaten in morning with plenty of raw onions.
- While going out, wear a white handkerchief or use an umbrella to block sunrays.
- Do outdoor work in the early mornings or late evenings.
- Wear light colored, loose fitting cotton clothes, preferably muted colors such as tan.
- Take frequent baths and showers and apply chandan (sandalwood) paste to body for cooling the body.
- Smoking can constrict blood vessels and impair the ability to acclimatize to heat, so quit it

Jun 12

Swine flu vaccines

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LONDON: With swine flu now an official pandemic, the race is on among drugmakers to produce a vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline said Thursday after the World Health Organization declared a global flu epidemic that it would be ready within weeks to begin large-scale vaccine production. Sanofi-Aventis also said it had started working on its own version. On Friday, Swiss pharma giant Novartis announced it had created an experimental vaccine that has not been tested in people. Novartis' vaccine was made via a cell-based technology that may prove faster than the traditional way of making vaccines, which relies on chicken eggs.
Many rich countries like Britain, Canada and France signed contracts with pharmaceuticals long ago, guaranteeing them access to pandemic vaccine. WHO and others estimate that about 2.4 billion doses of pandemic vaccine could be available in about a year.
The likely scramble for vaccines will leave many people in poorer countries empty-handed.
So far, swine flu has been mostly detected in developed countries like the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.
"We do not know how this virus will behave under conditions typically found in the developing world," WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan said Thursday. She said the agency expects to see a "bleaker" picture as the virus makes its way to Africa and Asia.
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said officials were concerned people in poorer countries and those fighting other health problems like malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition and pneumonia might be more susceptible to swine flu.
On Friday, WHO said that 74 countries had reported nearly 30,000 cases including 145 deaths. But so far, the virus appears to be mild. Most people don't need medical treatment to get better.
But the virus might have a more devastating effect in people with underlying health problems. About half of the people who have died from swine flu have had complications like asthma, diabetes, and obesity.
"Any population that has health challenges is potentially going to be at higher risk with H1N1 (swine flu)," Hartl said.
In May, officials led by Chan and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked vaccine makers to save a portion of their production for poor countries. Chan was aiming to get 10 percent of the global pandemic vaccine supply reserved for poor nations.
Some companies have agreed to help. GlaxoSmithKline PLC offered to donate 50 million doses of pandemic vaccine to WHO for distribution to developing countries.
During the bird flu crisis, Sanofi-Aventis promised WHO about 60 million doses based on the H5N1 strain. WHO is now talking with Sanofi to switch some or all of those vaccines over to swine flu doses.
Because more than 95 percent of flu vaccines are still made in eggs, experts say the Novartis announcement is unlikely to significantly boost the world's pandemic vaccine supply.
But the news pushed up Novartis shares by 4.4 percent to close at 45 Swiss francs ($41.84) on the Zurich exchange Friday.
WHO and nongovernment organizations like Oxfam are continuing to ask drugmakers to make some of their pandemic vaccines available for poorer countries at a cheaper price, as well as asking donor countries and organizations to pay for the doses.
But in a pandemic situation, WHO's attempts to secure vaccine for the poor and even the contracts countries have signed with drugmakers may make little difference to who actually gets the vaccine, some experts say.
In previous pandemics, vaccines have never left the country where they are made before all of that country's own needs have been met.
"WHO can say whatever it wishes, but pharmaceutical companies will take their marching orders from the politicians," said David Fedson, a vaccines expert and former professor of medicine at the University of Virginia.
"Do you think any doses of vaccine made in France, Germany, the Czech Republic or anywhere will be allowed out to go to other countries just because there's a contract?" Fedson said.
Ultimately, Fedson said health officials and politicians will have to deal with a limited amount of vaccine for the billions worldwide who want it. "There's a lot of dirtiness in vaccine politics," he said. "We may try our best, but we won't succeed in doing what's necessary."
Jun 07

Spicy curry could prevent Alzheimer's disease, dementia

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Eating spicy curry once or twice a week could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, according to a US-based researcher.
Curcumin, a component of turmeric, appears to prevent the spread of amyloid protein plaques, which are suspected to cause dementia, Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University, North Carolina, said.
Amyloid plaques, along with tangles of nerve fibres, are suspected to contribute to the degradation of the wiring in brain cells, eventually leading to symptoms of dementia.
Doraiswamy, at the ongoing annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Liverpool, said there was evidence that people who eat a curry meal two or three times a week had a lower risk of dementia, and added that researchers were testing the impact of higher doses to see if they could maximise the effect.
Doraiswamy told the meeting: "There is very solid evidence that curcumin binds to plaques, and basic research on animals engineered to produce human amyloid plaques has shown benefits."
"You can modify a mouse so that at about 12 months its brain is riddled with plaques. If you feed this rat a curcumin-rich diet it dissolves these plaques. The same diet prevented younger mice from forming new plaques.
"The next step is to test curcumin on human amyloid plaque formation using newer brain scans and there are plans for that," he said.
Doraiswamy said a clinical trial was underway at the University of California, Los Angeles, to test curcumin's effects in Alzheimer's patients, the BBC reported from the meeting.
He stressed that eating a curry could not counter-balance the increased risk of dementia associated with a poor diet, but he said: "If you have a good diet and take plenty of exercise, eating curry regularly could help prevent dementia."
Doraiswamy predicted it might be possible to develop a curry pill which had the same therapeutic effect.
Susanne Sorensen, of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Indian communities that regularly eat curcumin have a surprisingly low incidence of Alzheimer's disease but we don't yet know why.
"Alzheimer's Society is keen to explore the potential benefits of curcumin in protecting the brain and we are conducting our own research into this area.
"A cheap, accessible and safe treatment could transform the quality of life of thousands of people with the condition."

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