Monthly Archives: May 2009

Sea-Buckthorn

Botanical Name: Hippophae Rhamnoides
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Other Names: Espino Falso, Oblebicha, Olivella Spinosa, Sallow Thorn, Duindoorn, Seabuckthorn
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Genus: Hippophae
Parts used: The sea buckthorn berries are used to make juice but also bark and leaves are used for the production of pharmaceuticals or to make sea buckthorn tea. Sea buckthorn oil is produced from the fruits and seeds.
Habitat:There are 6 species and 12 subspecies native over a wide area of Europe and Asia, including China, Mongolia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Finland, Sweden and Norway.More than 90 percent or about 1.5 million hectares of the world’s sea buckthorn resources can be found in China where the plant is exploited for soil and water conservation purposes.

The name sea-buckthorn is hyphenated here to avoid confusion with the buckthorns (Rhamnus, family Rhamnaceae). It is also referred to as “sea buckthorn”, seabuckthorn, sandthorn or seaberry

Description:
Sea buckthorn is a deciduous winter-hardy shrub with yellow to orange 6 to 8 mm small berries, which remain on the shrubs throughout the winter . Sea buckthorn reaches 2 to 5 m in height. The sea buckthorn?s leaves are alternate and narrow are silver-grey colored. The small, yellow flowers appear in spring before leaves. Both male and female sea buckthorn plants are needed for fruit production.
Sea buckthorn is used for land reclamation and to prevent soil erosion because of its extensive root system and its ability to fix nitrogen and other nutrients.

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The shrubs reach 0.5–6 m tall, rarely up to 10 m in central Asia, and typically occur in dry, sandy areas. They are tolerant of salt in the air and soil, but demand full sunlight for good growth and do not tolerate shady conditions near larger trees.

The common sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is by far the most widespread, with a range extending from the Atlantic coasts of Europe right across to northwestern China. In western Europe, it is largely confined to sea coasts where salt spray off the sea prevents other larger plants from out-competing it, but in central Asia it is more widespread in dry semi-desert sites where other plants cannot survive the dry conditions; in central Europe and Asia it also occurs as a subalpine shrub above tree line in mountains, and other sunny areas such as river banks.

Common sea-buckthorn has branches that are dense and stiff, and very thorny. The leaves are a distinct pale silvery-green, lanceolate, 3–8 cm long and less than 7 mm broad. It is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The male produces brownish flowers which produce wind-distributed pollen.

Berries and leaves
The female plants produce orange berries 6–9 mm in diameter, soft, juicy and rich in oils. The berries are an important winter food resource for some birds, notably fieldfares.

Leaves are eaten by the larva of the coastal race of the ash pug moth and by larvae of other Lepidoptera including brown-tail, dun-bar, emperor moth, mottled umber and Coleophora elaeagnisella.

Uses
Harvesting and landscaping

Harvesting is difficult due to the dense thorn arrangement among the berries on each branch. A common harvesting technique is to remove an entire branch, though this is destructive to the shrub and reduces future harvests. A branch removed in this way is next frozen, allowing the berries to be easily shaken off. The branches are cut, deep frozen to ?32°C, then shaken or abraded for removal of the berries.

The worker then crushes the berries to remove up to 95% of the leaves and other debris. This causes the berries to melt slightly from the surface as the work takes place at ambient temperature (about 20°C). Berries or the crushed pulp are later frozen for storage.

The most effective way to harvest berries and not damage branches is by using a berry-shaker. Mechanical harvesting leaves up to 50% in the field and the berries can be harvested only once in two years. They only get about 25% of the yield that could be harvested with this relatively new machinery.

During the Cold War, Russian and East German horticulturists developed new varieties with greater nutritional value, larger berries, different ripening months and a branch that is easier to harvest. Over the past 20 years, experimental crops have been grown in the United States, one in Nevada and one in Arizona, and in several provinces of Canada.

Sea-buckthorn is also a popular garden and landscaping shrub, particularly making a good vandal-proof barrier hedge with an aggressive basal shoot system exploited in some parts of the world as wind breaks and to stabilize riverbanks and steep slopes. They have value in northern climates for their landscape qualities, as the colorful berry clusters are retained through winter.[5] Branches may be used by florists for designing ornaments. The plant is the regional flora of the Finnish region of Satakunta.

Nutrients and potential health effects

Sea-buckthorn berries are multipurposed, edible and nutritious, though very acidic and astringent, unpleasant to eat raw, unless ‘bletted’ (frosted to reduce the astringency) and/or mixed as a juice with sweeter substances such as apple or grape juice.

When the berries are pressed, the resulting sea-buckthorn juice separates into three layers: on top is a thick, orange cream; in the middle, a layer containing sea-buckthorn’s characteristic high content of saturated and polyunsaturated fats; and the bottom layer is sediment and juice.  Containing fat sources applicable for cosmetic purposes, the upper two layers can be processed for skin creams and liniments, whereas the bottom layer can be used for edible products like syrup.

Nutrient and phytochemical constituents of sea-buckthorn berries have potential value as antioxidants that may affect inflammatory disorders, cancer  or other diseases,  although no specific health benefits have yet been proved by clinical research in humans.

The fruit of the plant has a high vitamin C content—in a range of 114 to 1550 mg per 100 grams with an average content (695 mg per 100 grams) about 12 times greater than Oranges— placing sea-buckthorn fruit among the most enriched plant sources of vitamin C. The fruit also contains dense contents of carotenoids, vitamin E, amino acids, dietary minerals, ?-sitosterol and polyphenolic acids.

Apart from being nourishing, the juice has a freezing point of ?22 degrees Celsius allowing it to remain a liquid even in sub-zero temperatures.[citation needed]

Consumer products
Sea-buckthorn fruit can be used to make pies, jams, lotions and liquors. The juice or pulp has other potential applications in foods or beverages. For example, in Finland, it is used as a nutritional ingredient in baby food.[citation needed] Fruit drinks were among the earliest seabuckthorn products developed in China. Seabuckthorn based juice is even popular in Germany and Scandinavian countries.It provides a nutritious beverage, rich in Vitamin C and carotenes. For its troops confronting extremely low temperatures (see Siachen), India’s Defence Research Development Organization established a factory in Leh to manufacture a multi-vitamin herbal beverage based on sea-buckthorn juice.

The seed and pulp oils have nutritional properties that vary under different processing methods. Sea-buckthorn oils are used as a source for ingredients in several commercially available cosmetic products and nutritional supplements.
Traditional medicine

Different parts of sea-buckthorn have been used as traditional therapies for diseases. As no applications discussed in this section have been verified by Western science and sufficient clinical trial evidence, such knowledge remains mostly unreferenced outside of Asia and is communicated mainly from person to person.

Grown widely throughout its native China and other mainland regions of Asia, sea-buckthorn is an herbal medicine used over centuries to relieve cough, aid digestion, invigorate blood circulation and alleviate pain. In Mongolia, extracts of sea-buckthorn branches and leaves are used to treat gastrointestinal distress in humans and animals.

Phytochemicals:    Isorhamnetin, Flavonoids, Carotenoids, Phytosterols
Medicinal properties: Although sea buckthorn has other benefits, it is most frequently used for the treatment of diseases of skin and digestive tract. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbiological activity, relieves pain and promotes tissue regeneration. Sea buckthorn oil is traditionally used to treat vaginal mucositis, cervical erosion, radiation damage, burns, ulcers and skin damage. Recent studies have shown that sea buckthorn may also improve heart health.
Wound healing
The best know but also most studied property of sea buckthorn is the improvement of wound healing. Topical treatment of wounds with extracts or oil from sea buckthorn relieves pain and accelerates wound healing. Animal studies showed that sea buckthorn stimulates the healing of gastric ulcers.
Heart health
Flavonoids are linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Studies on humans show no or only a small effect of sea buckthorn on heart health parameters.

Bark and leaves are used for treating diarrhea and gastrointestinal and dermatologic disorders. Topical compressions are used for rheumatoid arthritis. Flowers may be used as a skin softener.

For its hemostatic and anti-in?ammatory effects, berry fruits are added to medications for pulmonary, gastrointestinal, cardiac, blood and metabolic disorders in Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medicines. Sea-buckthorn berry components have potential anticarcinogenic activity.

Fresh juice, syrup and berry or seed oils are used for colds, fever, exhaustion, as an analgesic or treatment for stomach ulcers, cancer, and metabolic disorders.

Called ‘Chharma’ in some native languages, oil from fruits and seeds is used for liver diseases, in?ammation, disorders of the gastrointestinal system, including peptic ulcers and gastritis, eczema, canker sores and other ulcerative disorders of mucosal tissues, wounds, in?ammation, burns, frostbite, psoriasis, rosacea, lupus erythematosus, and chronic dermatoses. In ophthalmology, berry extracts have been used for keratosis, trachoma, eyelid injuries and conjunctivitis. The sea-buckthorn is also known to kill tiny parasitic mites called Demodex.

Other facts:    The berries have very high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and flavonoids. The vitamin C level of 3600 ppm is about 10 times higher than that of oranges. The seabuckthorn berries are also rich in vitamins B1, B2, K and P. Because of sea buckthorn’s thorny nature, it is becoming popular for planting to deter trespassing animals and people.
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Discover Today How the Many Marvelous Qualities of Sea Buckthorn Oil Promote Your Youthful-Looking Skin

.Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea-buckthorn

http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/sea-buckthorn.php

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Updated Guidelines for Pregnancy and Weight Gain areLargely Unchanged

The long-awaited revision of the 1990 recommendations puts a cap on the amount an obese mother should gain and places more emphasis on exercise. Some doctors wanted to see a lot more.
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Panel members said women and their doctors must try harder to help the women reach a normal weight before pregnancy and avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

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More than 60% of U.S. women of childbearing age are overweight or obese — a significant increase from 20 years ago. And recent studies strongly suggest that either too much or too little nutrition in utero can increase a fetus’ chance of becoming an overweight child and overweight adult.

Such data on the increasing girth of pregnant women and the growing rates of obesity in children led to pressure on the Institute of Medicine to revise a set of 1990 guidelines that were written primarily to prevent excessively low infant birth weights. Numerous medical journal articles in recent years have called the guidelines irrelevant to today’s obstetrics patients.

On Thursday, the institute’s advisory committee — a task force of doctors and researchers — issued the updated recommendations. But with few exceptions, such as putting a limit on how much weight obese women should gain, the new guidelines are the old guidelines wrapped up in a lecture.

The panel said that the existing guidelines were essentially fine. It’s women and their doctors, the members said, who need to try harder — often much harder — to help the women reach a normal weight before pregnancy and avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

Although not dramatically different, fully implementing the guidelines will represent a change in the care provided to women of childbearing age,” said Kathleen Rasmussen, chairwoman of the committee and a professor of nutrition at Cornell University.

The report was requested by six major health organizations so that doctors could better advise and care for their patients. Although nothing in the report is mandatory, healthcare professionals are expected to acknowledge and implement at least some of the panel’s recommendations.

But several leading experts on maternal obesity and child health expressed disappointment with the document. A growing contingent of doctors says that obese women — which includes one in every five pregnant women — should gain little or no weight.

“In my opinion, the Institute of Medicine is missing an opportunity to address the issue of the obesity epidemic and the contribution that pregnancy makes to that epidemic,” said Dr. Raul Artal, chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at St. Louis University.

The recommendations call for a gestational weight gain of 28-40 pounds for underweight women, 25-35 pounds for women of normal weight, 15-25 pounds for overweight women and 11-20 pounds for obese women. The only change is for obese women, who were previously advised to gain at least 15 pounds, with no upper limit.

The problem is not the guidelines, but the failure to adhere to them and to address obesity in reproductive-age women, said Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer for the Washington State Department of Health and chairwoman of a 2006 panel that urged a reexamination of the guidelines. “If we wait for every woman to be advised about weight gain after they become pregnant, it’s too late. It puts women and their babies on a trajectory that is unhealthy.”

During the two-year process of reexamining the guidelines, committee members tried to balance the health needs of the fetus with the health needs of the mother, Rasmussen said, ultimately deciding that the recommendations were largely up-to-date already.

Not all experts in maternal-fetal health are convinced.

“We have been doing this same recommendation for 19 years, and it has been very unsuccessful,” said Susan Y. Chu, a senior epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has studied gestational weight gain. “But they did what was most critical, which was to put a cap on the obese category.”

Several studies suggest that obese women may require little weight gain as long as it’s clear that the fetus is growing.

“We have determined that overweight and obese women can benefit and have better pregnancy outcomes if they limit their weight gain,” said Artal, the author of several studies on obese pregnant women. “The committee was cautious. They were concerned they might cause harm. But by maintaining the status quo, I think that may cause more harm.”

A study in the June issue of the Journal of the National Medical Assn. found that obese pregnant women who followed well-balanced diets and gained little or no weight had better outcomes — as did their babies — than women who gained more weight.

That study’s lead author, Dr. Yvonne S. Thornton, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Medical College, said the committee may have feared an increase in births of underweight infants if more pregnant women were placed on restricted diets. “This is a litigious society,” she said. “If we did restrict calories and there was an untoward outcome, people might say, ‘Well, you didn’t feed me enough.’ ”

The suggested weight range of 11 to 20 pounds for obese women is aimed at women in the lower ranges of the obesity category, defined by a body mass index of 30 to 35, Rasmussen said. There is little data to guide recommendations for women in the higher ranges of obesity, she said. About 8% of women of childbearing age are morbidly obese, with a BMI of 40 or more.

Some doctors criticized the report’s call for diet and exercise counseling as unrealistic. Few health insurance plans pay for such counseling, and doctors do not have the time to provide it, Hayes said.

However, the report was praised for its emphasis on exercise. “One can’t look at diet alone,” Artal said. “Exercise is very much a part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.”

The committee also called for more studies on gestational weight gain, including asking states to adopt a birth certificate that gathers information on weight before and during pregnancy.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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Are Doctors Causing Infant Brain Damage by Clamping the Umbilical Cord Prematurely?

A newborn infant
Image via Wikipedia

Newborn lungs exist in a “compacted state” suitable for the womb. When the infant is born, the placenta and cord pulse for up to 20 minutes, delivering a burst of blood volume to the infant’s system. This blood burst is just what is needed for the lungs of the newborn to expand.

Unfortunately, many hospitals and doctors don’t understand the mechanics of this and are engaging in early umbilical cord clamping — often within one minute of birth.

Without the burst of blood from the placenta, the infant suffers a drop in blood pressure as its lungs fail to open as they should, creating a chain reaction of effects that can include brain damage and lung damage. Immediate cord clamping can cause hypotension, hypovolemia and infant anemia, resulting in cognitive deficits. Some have even theorized that the rise in autism could be linked at least in part to early cord clamping.

Reources:
*Gentle Birth
*Archives of Disease in Childhood — Fetal and Neonatal Edition 2008; 93: F77

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Swine Flu May Be a Human Error From Vaccine Production

The World Health Organization is investigating a claim by Australian researcher Adrian Gibbs, who says that the swine flu virus circling the globe may have been created as a result of human error.

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Gibbs, who collaborated on research that led to the development of Tamiflu, said in an interview that he intends to publish a report suggesting the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Gibbs said he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus’s origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.

“One of the simplest explanations is that it’s a laboratory escape,” Gibbs said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “But there are lots of others.”

Gibbs, who has studied germ evolution for four decades, is one of the first scientists to analyze the genetic makeup of the virus.

Sources: Bloomberg May 13, 2009

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Chorionic Villus Sampling

Definition
Chorionic villi are small structures in the placenta that act like blood vessels. These structures contain cells from the developing fetus. A test that removes a sample of these cells through a needle is called chorionic villus sampling (CVS).Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is the removal of a small piece of placenta tissue (chorionic villi) from the uterus during early pregnancy to screen the baby for genetic defects

CVS answers many of the same questions as amniocentesis about diseases that the baby might have. Diseases that can be diagnosed with CVS include Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, thalassemia, and Down syndrome. (Rh incompatibility and neural tube defects, however, can be diagnosed only through amniocentesis.) CVS can be done earlier in pregnancy than amniocentesis and can be done when there is not enough amniotic fluid to allow amniocentesis. However, it has some extra risks when compared with amniocentesis.

Why the Test is Performed
The test is a way of detecting genetic disorders. The sample is used to study the DNA, chromosomes, and enzymes of the fetus. It can be done sooner than amniocentesis, about 10 to 12 weeks after your last menstrual period. Test results take about 1 to 2 weeks, whereas amniocentesis results may take longer.

Chorionic villus sampling does not detect neural tube defects. If neural tube defects or Rh incompatibility are a concern, an amniocentesis will be performed.

This test can usually not diagnose problems in the way the body forms.

How the Test is Performed
CVS can be done through the cervix (transcervical) or through the abdomen (transabdominal). The techniques are equally safe when done by a provider with experience, although miscarriage rates are slightly higher when done through the cervix. The health care provider will use ultrasound to pick the safest approach and as a guide during sampling.

An abdominal ultrasound is performed to determine the position of the uterus, the size of the gestational sac, and the position of the placenta within the uterus. Your vulva, vagina, cervix, and abdomen are cleaned with an antiseptic such as Betadine.

The transcervical procedure is performed by inserting a thin plastic tube through the vagina and cervix to reach the placenta. The provider uses ultrasound images to help guide the tube into the appropriate area and then removes a small sample of chorionic villus tissue.

The transabdominal procedure is performed by inserting a needle through the abdomen and uterus and into the placenta. Ultrasound is used to help guide the needle, and a small amount of tissue is drawn into the syringe.

The sample is placed in a dish and evaluated in a laboratory.

What happens when the test is performed.
There are two ways that your doctor can perform CVS. Some patients have the sampling done through the vagina and cervix. Most patients have the sampling done through the abdominal wall. For both types of sampling, you lie on your back on an examination table and the doctor uses ultrasound to locate the fetus and the placenta.

If the sampling is to be done through the vagina and cervix, you place your feet in footrests and bend your knees up, as you would for a pelvic examination. A speculum (a device that looks like a duck-bill that can be opened and closed) is used to open the vagina so that your doctor can see inside. A long tube, much narrower than a straw, is inserted through the cervix and moved forward while your doctor watches on the ultrasound until it is next to the fetal side of the placenta. A small sample of the lining around the fetus is then pulled into the tube for testing.

If the sampling is to be done through the abdominal wall, your lower abdomen is cleaned with an antibacterial soap. In some cases, the doctor uses a small needle to inject a numbing medicine just under the skin, so that you do not feel the sampling needle. (Because the sampling needle does not cause much more stinging than the numbing medicine itself, not every doctor includes this step.) A hollow needle several inches long is inserted through the skin and muscle of the abdomen and through the wall of the uterus, to the edge of the placenta. This needle is held in place as a guide needle. A narrower needle is then inserted through the first needle and is rotated and moved inward and outward a number of times while a sample is collected into an attached syringe.

The fetal heart tones and the mother’s blood pressure and heart rate are checked at the beginning and end of the procedure. The whole procedure takes close to 30 minutes.

How to Prepare for the Test.
CVS can be done between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy. Tell your doctor ahead of time if you have ever had an allergic reaction to lidocaine or the numbing medicine used at the dentist’s office.

Your health care provider will explain the procedure, its risks, and alternative procedures such as amniocentesis. Genetic counseling is recommended prior to the procedure. This will allow you to make an unhurried, informed decision regarding options for prenatal diagnosis.

You will be asked to sign a consent form before this procedure, and you may be asked to wear a hospital gown.

The morning of the procedure you may be asked to drink fluids and refrain from urinating to fill your bladder, which allows adequate visualization so the sample may be taken.

How the Test Will Feel
The ultrasound doesn’t hurt. A clear, water-based conducting gel is applied to the skin to help with the transmission of the sound waves. A handheld probe called a transducer is then moved over the area. In addition, your health care provider may apply pressure on your abdomen to find the position of your uterus.

The antiseptic cleansing solution will feel cold at first nd may irritate your skin if not washed off after the procedure. Some people are allergic to Betadine. Notify your health care provider if you are allergic to Betadine or if you have any other allergies.

Some women say the vaginal approach feels like a Pap smear with some discomfort and a feeling of pressure. There may be a small amount of vaginal bleeding following the procedure.

An obstetrician can perform this procedure in about 5 minutes, after the preparation

Risk Factors:

The risks of CVS are only slightly higher than those of an amniocentesis.

Possible complications include:

* Bleeding
* Infection
* Miscarriage
* Rh incompatibility in the mother
* Rupture of membranes

Signs of complications include:

* Excessive bleeding
* Excessive vaginal discharge
* Fever

The risk of miscarriage and other complications from CVS is slightly higher than the risk from amniocentesis, although some parents feel that it is worth the extra risk to be able to makedecisions earlier in the pregnancy if the results show the baby has a health problem. There have also been some reports that suggest there is a very small risk of birth defects (abnormal limbs) in the fetus.

One particular difficulty with this test is that due to variability in the cells of the placenta (called mosaicism), occasionally you can have an abnormal test result even if the baby is normal and healthy. This might lead you to make decisions about pregnancy termination that you would not have made if you had better information.

Some women have vaginal bleeding after the procedure. Infection is uncommon.

Report any signs of complications to your health care provider.

CVS may also cause limb problems in the fetus. This risk appears to be very low (1 in 3,000) when CVS is performed after 10 weeks gestational ag

Time to know the  result of the test
Chromosome analysis of the sample takes two weeks or more. The results of some tests may be available sooner.

RESULTS:-

Normal Results
A normal result means there are no signs of any genetic defects. However the test could miss some genetic defects.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

An abnormal result may be a sign of more than 200 disorders, including:

* Down syndrome
* Hemoglobinopathies
* Tay-Sachs disease

Considerations
If your blood is Rh negative, you may receive RhoGAM to prevent Rh incompatibility.
You will receive a follow-up ultrasound 2 to 4 days after the procedure to make sure the pregnancy is proceeding normally.

Resources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/chorionic-villus-sampling.shtml

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003406.htm

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Vitamins Might Undo Your Exercise Efforts

New research suggests taking vitamins after exercise may undo some of the beneficial effects of your workout.

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Some advocate taking antioxidants like vitamin C and E to help protect your body from harmful chemical by-products it creates in breaking into a sweat. But some scientists now believe these “free radicals” may actually be good for you and even buffer against diabetes — which means that mopping them up with antioxidants may do more harm than good.

It is thought that antioxidant vitamins prevent oxidative stress damage to your body’s tissues by eliminating the free radicals that cause it. Oxidative stress has been implicated in several major diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

But a research team has claimed that free radicals may have a positive effect on your body by increasing its sensitivity to insulin, something that is lost in type 2 diabetes; this effect is blocked by antioxidant vitamins.

Reacting to the study, antioxidant expert Dr. Alexander Schauss said that the title of the study (Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans) was misleading. He said:

“The primary objective of this study was to study the effect of a 4-week intensive 5-days a week exercise program on insulin sensitivity. Yet the title of the paper leads one to believe otherwise.

This is a small gender-biased study of 40 male subjects, 25 to 35 years of age. When I read through the study for the first time I had to wonder, how could the authors have come up with such a title for their paper?”

In addition to questioning the study design, particularly with respect to both trained and untrained people being assigned to an intensive exercise program, Dr. Schauss also questioned the conclusions drawn from the data. Dr. Schauss said:

“Skeletal muscle biopsies were obtained from the right vastus lateralis muscle of study subjects. But some of the data is missing for a number of subjects, and reported as such by the authors.”

Dr. Schauss also noted that the authors presented no evidence of adverse effects by any of the individuals from vitamin C and E supplementation.

Sources:

BBC News May 11, 2009

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States May 11, 2009

NutraIngredients.com May 12, 2009

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Less Carbs Slow Prostate Tumour Growth

Cutting down on carbohydrates may slow prostate tumour growth, according to a study conducted on animals.
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“Researchers believe that insulin and insulin-like growth factor contribute to the proliferation of prostate cancer,” said Stephen Freedland, urologist at the Duke Prostate Centre and lead investigator on this study.

“Previous work here and elsewhere has shown that a diet light in carbohydrates could slow tumour growth. But the animals in those studies also lost weight and because we know that weight loss can restrict the amount of energy feeding tumours. We weren’t able to tell just how big an impact the pure carbohydrate restriction was having until now,” Freedland added.

Animals in the study were fed one of three diets: a very high fat/no carbohydrate diet, a low-fat/high carbohydrate diet and a high fat/moderate-carbohydrate diet, which is most similar to the diet most Americans eat, Freedland said.

They were then injected with prostate tumours at the same time.

“The mice that were fed a no-carbohydrate diet experienced a 40-50 percent prolonged survival over the other mice,” Freedland said.

Mice on the no-carbohydrate diet consumed more calories in order to keep body weights consistent with mice on the other study arms. “We found that carbohydrate restriction without energy restriction – or weight loss – does indeed result in tumour growth delay,” he said.

Patients are likely to be recruited by Duke and California (Los Angeles) Universities, for further clinical trials within a few weeks, said a Duke release.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Effort and Understanding

Having It Easy
Our lives are an exercise in facing challenges. We dream the grandest of dreams as youngsters only to discover that we must cultivate copious inner strength and determination in order to meet our goals. Our hard work does not always yield the results we expect. And it is when we find ourselves frustrated by the trials we face or unable to meet our own expectations that we are most apt to take notice of those individuals who appear to accomplish great feats effortlessly. Some people’s lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious.

Throughout our lives, we glimpse only the outer hull of others’ life experiences, so it’s tempting to presuppose that the abundance they enjoy is the result of luck rather than diligent effort. In a small number of cases, our assumptions may mirror reality. But very few people “have it easy.” Everyone must overcome difficulties and everyone has been granted a distinctive set of talents with which to do so. An individual who is highly gifted may nonetheless have to practice industriously and correct themselves repeatedly in order to cultivate their talents. Their myriad accomplishments are more likely than not the result of ongoing hard work and sacrifice. You, no doubt, have natural abilities that you have nurtured and your gifts may be the very reason you strive as tirelessly as you do. Yet others see only the outcome of your efforts and not the efforts themselves

Our intellects, our hearts, and our souls are constantly being tested by the universe. Life will create new challenges for you to face each time you prove yourself capable of overcoming the challenges of the past. What you deem difficult will always differ from that which others deem difficult. The tests you will be given will be as unique as you are. If you focus on doing the best you can and making use of the blessings you have been granted, the outcome of your efforts will be a joyous reflection of your dedication.

Sources: Daily Om

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Eat Oily Fish to Keep Brain Healthy

Eating oily fish, rich in vitamin D, may be vital in keeping your brain healthy as you age, according to a new study.
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University of Manchester scientists and other researchers have found that higher levels of vitamin D, synthesised in the skin following sun exposure, is also found in oily fish. The study assessed the cognitive performance of more than 3,000 men aged 40 to 79 years at eight test centres in Europe.

It was found that men with higher levels of vitamin D performed consistently better in a simple and sensitive neuro-psychological test that assesses an individual’s attention and speed of information processing.

“Previous studies exploring the relationship between vitamin D and cognitive performance in adults have produced inconsistent findings. But we observed a significant, independent association between a slower information processing speed and lower levels of vitamin D,” said study author David Lee of Manchester’s School of Translational Medicine.

“The main strengths of our study are that it is based on a large population sample and took into account potential interfering factors, such as depression, season and levels of physical activity,” Lee said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Nasal Irrigation: Spring Cleaning for Your Nose

Before you reach for expensive over-the-counter or prescription allergy remedies, you might want to try an inexpensive alternative treatment that really seems to work: nasal irrigation, or washing out your nose once or twice daily with warm salt water. Most medical studies on nasal irrigation for allergies are rather positive, and there’s little risk and little expense in trying.

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Spring marks the beginning of pollen season, and the same yellowish dust that coats your car also fills your nasal passages, causing enough irritation to trigger an allergic reaction. Nasal irrigation simply washes away the irritants causing the allergy symptoms.

Many medical institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic, advocate the use of nasal irrigation. The most recent study appeared in January 2009, with the 200 patients in the study reporting some relief of symptoms from twice daily irrigations.

To try it, you can invest two dollars in a bulb syringe. or you can buy a neti pot, which looks like a little oil lamp, often used by yoga devotees. Nasal irrigation is known as jala neti in the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda.

Sources:

Live Science April 16, 2009

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