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Dec 03

World Ayurveda Congress in Bangalore from December 9

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About 4th World Ayurveda Congress and AROGYA Expo

With the 4th edition of the World Ayurveda Congress and Arogya Expo, scheduled to be convened in Palace Grounds, Bengaluru from 9 to 13 December 2010, they expect to consolidate the momentum of this forum and provide a robust boost to the growing global popularity of Ayurveda and associated fields. With nearly half a million visitors and about 5000 delegates expected to be in attendance this year, the Congress is reinforcing its identity as a global summit that brings together diverse stakeholders of Ayurveda on to a common, meaningful, and popular platform. In the associated expo, Arogya 2010, the spotlight this year will be on traditional and tribal knowledge in health-care systems from India’s rural and tribal communities, with special focus on north-eastern states.


Plenary and parallel sessions

    * Focused skill development workshops
    * Home theme pavilion
    * Special focus seminars
    * Buyer–Seller Meet
    * International Cooperation Meet
    * Invited public lectures
    * Students’ interaction forum
    * Banquet for international guests
    * Cultural programmes

Academic Sessions of the Congress
The academic sessions of the Congress are structured in such a way that the plenary sessions will take on the evolution of various concepts and the parallel sessions emerging from the plenary topics. The plenary and corresponding parallel sessions will be conducted on the same dates. Listed below are the themes identified for the plenary sessions this year.

1. Ayurveda for All
2. Public Health
3. Ayurveda Research and Education
4. Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine
5. Food and Nutrition in Ayurveda
6. Ayurveda Medicine for Animals and Plants

The plenaries will be addressed by the most eminent scientists, academicians, policy makers or Ayurveda practitioners (clinicians).

The 4th WAC shall showcase as to how Ayurveda can provide safe, cost-efficient, and effective health care for all, especially in the following important areas.

• Food and Nutrition (including Water)
• Self Reliance in Primary Health Care
• Mother and Child Care
• Prevention
• Ayurvedic Management of Chronic Lifestyle Diseases
• Veterinary and Plant Medicine
• Ageing
• Ethics and Moral Values

Source: http://www.ayurworld.org/about-4th-wac.html

May 28

WHO's meeting on classification of traditional medicine

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About 50 delegates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and eight countries and regions Wednesday attended a three-day meeting here to launch the First International Classification of Traditional Medicine (ICTM) project.

Participants are either practitioners or academics in disease terminology, classification or informatics. The project aims to develop an international standard set of harmonized terminology and classification for traditional medicine.

The event, entitled "First WHO Meeting on the International Classification of Traditional Medicine", is organized by the WHO with support from the Department of Health of Hong Kong.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hong Kong's Director of Health PY Lam said the project would go a long way to enhancing the integration of traditional medicine into the WHO Family of International Classifications which is crucial to the documentation on matters relating to traditional medicine.

"It is generally recognized that traditional medicine is increasingly popular worldwide. The ICTM will provide a platform for compiling healthcare statistics and information on traditional medicine which in turn can facilitate the study and evaluation of traditional medicine and documentation of its role in disease prevention and treatment," Lam said

Apr 29

Curcumin May Delay The Liver Damage

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Curcumin found in Turmeric is the key ingredient responsible for delaying liver damage. Curcumin renders the spice its bright yellow colour. In order to study Curcumin's role in delaying liver damage, the Austrian research team incorporated Turmeric in the diet of mice.

The mice were chemically induced with liver damage and fibrosis. For four and a half months, scientists observed the effects of curcumin on the mice with chronic liver inflammation before and after intake of diet enriched with Curcumin.

When scientists compared the tissue and blood sample results of these mice with those fed with a diet sans curcumin they found positive indications. Not only did the curcumin diet reduced bile duct blockage but also put a brake on liver cell (hepatocyte) damage and scarring (fibrosis). The mice fed with a normal diet did not show such results. "Targeting these pathways may be a promising therapeutic approach," say the authors, led by Michael Trauner.

The research on Turmeric and its liver related effects is still in a preliminary stage. The findings of this study led by Michael Trauner may well lead to a development of a new liver drug. Michael Trauner works at the Gastroenterology and Hepatology division at the Medical University Graz in Austria.

The goodness of Turmeric has been hailed since long by practitioners of Ayurveda.With this as one more added benefit of Turmeric, the value of the spice even goes higher! Not only is Turmeric a natural product but is also easy to use in day to day lives. Chronic cholangiopathies have no known effective treatments and in most cases liver transplant is the only option. In view of such complications, Turmeric and its benefits are indeed a boon.

Feb 10

Herbal medicines can be hazardous

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A new pathological research has demonstrated that herbal medicine can lead to unwanted deaths, especially in people who consume too much of their natural remedies, or who combine such substances with prescription medication.  University of Adelaide forensic pathologist Professor Roger Byard underlines the fact that many herbal chemicals have very toxic compounds inside, which can kill an adult on their own when taken in excessive quantities, or when combined with other chemicals from other drugs.

Naturopaths agree that there are dangers in herbal medicines for people who self-diagnose and then ''treat'' themselves with off-the-shelf products. However, they say the industry is generally well regulated.

The problem is compounded when herbs are contaminated, poorly processed or replaced with a cheaper alternative.

"These substances may cause serious illnesses, exacerbate pre-existing health problems or result in death, particularly if taken in excess or injected rather than ingested."
"Herbal medicines are frequently mixed with standard drugs, presumably to make them more effective. This can also have devastating results," Byard says.

Many common herbs could cause severe side effects when used with conventional medicine, such as negating the effect of blood-thinning agent warfarin or making epileptic seizures more frequent.

Ginkgo and garlic also increase the risk of bleeding with anticoagulants and certain herbal remedies such as Borage Oil and Evening Primrose Oil lower the seizure threshold in epileptics, said a university release.

 ''I'm not saying don't take them - herbal medicine is a time-honoured practice with real benefits,'' Professor Byard said. ''But you should talk to your doctor and work it out together.''

On a newly done research, Dr Shyam Mani Adhikari pointed out that there is no laboratory facility or well established mechanism for standardization and monitoring so far in Nepal  to assure and control the quality of such medicines, many questions are raised regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of these medicines. Hence, substandard Ayurvedic medicines also might have been brought to the market which not only defames Ayurvedic physicians and decreases faith to the Ayurveda but also creates a risk of public health hazards.

He recommended that it requires very urgent and serious multi-dimensional attempts by concerned authorities and other stakeholders to manage and regulate this situation.

Feb 10

Medicinal plant yields secrets

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The first genetic map of the world’s most important medicinal plant, Artemisia annua, was published on Thursday in the journal Science. Artemisia is the source of artemisinin, a key ingredient in antimalarial drugs.

Plant scientists at York University, who prepared the genetic map, are already using the map to breed higher-yielding strains of Artemisia. Existing wild plants produce only small amounts of artemisinin, which is therefore too scarce and too expensive to meet the huge requirement for malaria drugs in the developing world.“We intend to get high-yielding seed to farmers in the next two to three years in order to supply soaring demand for malaria treatments,” said York Professor Dianna Bowles. “This is a really tight deadline and we can only do it with the benefit of the new knowledge provided by the map.”
Feb 10

Marijuana Ineffective as an Alzheimer's Treatment

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The benefits of marijuana in tempering or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's disease have been challenged in a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Current Alzheimer Research, could lower expectations about the benefits of medical marijuana in combating various cognitive diseases and help redirect future research to more promising therapeutics.

Previous studies using animal models showed that HU210, a synthetic form of the compounds found in marijuana, reduced the toxicity of plaques and promoted the growth of new neurons. Those studies used rats carrying amyloid protein, the toxin that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims.

The new study, led by Dr. Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and a professor of psychiatry in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, was the first to test those findings using mice carrying human genetic mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease -- widely considered to be a more accurate model for the disease in humans.

"As scientists, we begin every study hoping to be able to confirm beneficial effects of potential therapies, and we hoped to confirm this for the use of medical marijuana in treating Alzheimer's disease," says Song, a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC and VCH Research Institute and Director of Townsend Family Laboratories at UBC.

"But we didn't see any benefit at all. Instead, our study pointed to some detrimental effects."

Over a period of several weeks, some of the Alzheimer's-afflicted mice were given varying doses of HU210 -- also known as cannabinoids -- which is 100 to 800 times more potent than the marijuana compounds. Their memory was then tested.

The mice treated with HU210 did no better than untreated mice, with those given low doses of HU210 performing the worst. The researchers also found that HU210-treated mice had just as much plaque formation and the same density of neurons as the control group. The group given higher doses actually had fewer brain cells.

"Our study shows that HU210 has no biological or behavioural effect on the established Alzheimer's disease model," says Song, the Jack Brown and Family Professor and Chair in Alzheimer's Disease. "More studies should be done before we place much hope in marijuana's benefits for Alzheimer's patients."

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208091926.htm
Feb 02

Study Finds Benefit in Abstinence Program

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Published: February 1, 2010
An abstinence-only program without a moralistic tone can delay teenagers from having sex, researchers say. The study, in The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, differed from traditional programs that have lost federal and state support in recent years. The classes did not preach saving sex until marriage or disparage condom use. Instead, they involved assignments aimed at helping sixth and seventh graders see the drawbacks to sexual activity at their age.
Jan 23

Medical Students Supportive of Alternative Medicine

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A new  survey done in US finds that most medical students think that knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine could help Western doctors do a better job.

Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, includes such therapies as acupuncture, yoga, massage and herbal treatments.

"Even with the high prevalence of CAM use today, most physicians still know little about nonconventional forms of medicine," Michael S. Goldstein, senior research scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author of the study, said in a university news release. "Investigating medical students' attitudes and knowledge will help us assess whether this may change in the future."

The findings were published online Jan. 20 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Researchers from UCLA and the University of California, San Diego, sent a 30-question survey to 126 medical schools. They received 1,770 completed responses, representing about 3 percent of a pool of about 68,000 medical school students.

Of the respondents, 77 percent said that patients would benefit more if their doctors knew about CAM in addition to Western medicine. And 74 percent thought that a blend of Western medicine and CAM is better than either by itself. n. Her white garland resembles the icy dew drops. She is decked in pure white attire. A white lotus serves as the throne of Maa Saraswati, on whose arm rests Veena. We pray Maha Saraswati, who is surrounded and respected by the Gods to bestow her blessings on us. May the goddess remove our lethargy and brighten our life with light of knowledge.
Jan 14

US delegation heads to explore Ayurveda

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LOS ANGELES, CA - At the request of the Government of India Health Ministry Dr. Navin C. Shah on Jan 27, will lead a U.S. delegation of six directors of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) of six major medical schools to New Delhi.  The participants are medical educators and researchers: Dr. David Eisenberg – Harvard Medical School, Dr. Anastasia Rowland-Seymour – Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Benjamin Kligler – Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Aviad Haramati – Georgetown University, Dr. Victoria Maizes – University of Arizona and Dr. Anne Nedrow – Oregon Health & Science University. 

During five days of meetings the delegates will hear evidence-based presentations by experts on Ayurveda, Yoga, meditation and oil massage treatments.  The focus will be on treatment benefits of Ayurveda in five major diseases and also benefits of five herbs (simple or in combination) in treatment of various diseases.  A special lecture will deal with the role of diet in both health and diseases.

The delegation will visit Ayurveda Medical College and Hospital in Jaipur to understand Ayurveda education and patient care.  There are 150 Ayurveda colleges; fifty post-graduate Ayurveda institutions; seventy thousand students; ten thousand faculty members; and 3,000 Ayurveda hospitals in India.

The delegation will also visit one Ayurveda pharma factory to perceive the drug formulation, production, preservation, safety, and research areas.

The purpose of the U.S. delegation’s visit is to explore the possibilities of introduction of evidence-based Ayurveda, Yoga, meditation, and oil massage treatment in the United States medical education, research, and patient care areas, and also to study the possibilities of joint Indo-U.S. research under NIH funding.
Dec 26

Animal trials prove safety of ‘bhasmas’: Ayush

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The Indian  government has validated the safety of eight ‘bhasmas’ -- used in several Ayurvedic drugs -- through rigorous animal trials. These drugs have often been criticised in the Western countries for heavy metal content in the form of ‘bhasma.’

“Trials have found that these bhasmas are safe and the results will be published shortly,” reliable sources in the Department of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) told The Hindu.


There was concern against the use of Ayurvedic medicines -- which is growing in popularity in the West -- when in 2008 a research published in the Journal of American Medical Association reported detection of ‘extremely high’ quantities of lead, mercury and arsenic in such drugs.

Then the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had said that “these metals are used after proper detoxification process and no significant adverse drug reactions have been reported regarding their use in India.”

Awareness project

Subsequently, the Department of Ayush had launched a project called Golden Triangle to scientifically validate Ayurvedic drugs.

The Indian Council of Medical Research and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research are the two other partners in the project which have now come out with the scientific validation of the eight bhasmas.

In fact, the government has started in the United States a Centre for Research in Indian Systems of Medicine for promoting Indian systems of medicines there.


The Centre has already held a symposium on ‘Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani Drugs: Development and Marketing’ here to emphasise the need for quality assurance and standardisation of these drugs.

Another major initiative taken up by the government is the setting up of industrial clusters for Ayurvedic drugs where common testing facilities will be set up to manufacture the products more scientifically. The government plans to set up 10 such clusters across the country.

Ensuring quality

Each cluster has been given an initial fund of Rs.10 crore and the clusters have made a buy-back arrangement with the cultivators of medicinal plants to ensure quality of the products.

The government has tied up with the Quality Council of India (QCI) to start a voluntary certification process. The QCI has identified 29 drug testing centres that can certify the manufacturing units.

Source: http://beta.thehindu.com/health/medicine-and-research/article70551.ece?homepage=true
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