Monthly Archives: June 2009

Low Doses of Allergens May Cure Food Allergies ?

Researchers have found some success treating allergic children with very, very low doses of the allergenic substances such as milk or peanuts. One study had 33 children with peanut allergies eat peanut protein powder equivalent to one-thousandth of a peanut. Four of the children had to drop out because of allergic reactions, but six of nine children who stuck with the program for a few years are currently reaction-free regarding peanuts.
……..eating peanut butter sandwitch
Previous attempts to desensitize people to food allergies often triggered potentially life-threatening reactions. But the new studies use just the protein within foods such as milk and peanuts that trigger allergic reactions.

Researchers still consider this to be a very early and experimental method, and warn parents not to try it at home. There is still always the risk of triggering dangerous allergic reactions.

Sources:
Live Science June 9, 2009
The Washington Post June 9, 2009

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Hi-tech ‘Trojan Horse’ Can Kill Cancer Cells

Australian researchers are set to begin human trials of a tiny nano-cell that acts as a “Trojan horse” against cancer cells; a breakthrough they say may curb the need for debilitating chemotherapy.

The technology could eventually allow cancer sufferers to receive treatment as outpatients, rather than being hospitalised for lengthy bouts of chemotherapy, according to the researchers.

Himanshu Brahmbhatt from Sydney-based biotechnology company EnGeneIC said the research — outlined in the journal Nature Biotechnology — had the potential to reduce the side-effects of cancer treatment and make it cheaper.

Brahmbhatt said the technology allowed medics to target cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue, a major problem with existing chemotherapy treatments.

“Essentially you need to get the drug directly inside the cancer cell and not slug the body,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

While researchers have been working on using nano-cells against cancer for at least five years, Brahmbhatt said the latest version had proved 100% effective treating cancers in mice which were resistant to conventional chemotherapy.

The cells were loaded with anti-cancer medications and deployed in “waves” to combat cancers, he said.

“The first wave of Trojan horses goes in there and disables the resistance mechanisms inside the cancer cell,” he said.

“Interestingly, these cancer cells are totally receptive to repeated waves of these Trojan horses.

“We can send in these nano-cells again and again and each time we can load them up with different types of armaments against cancer.”

The cells will be tested on long-term cancer patients at three Melbourne hospitals later this year.

Brahmbhatt said the nano-cells used less drugs than conventional treatments, making them cheaper to administer.

The targeted treatment also means they have less side-effects than chemotherapy, he said.

“(Cancer treatment) effectively can change to literally an outpatient therapy, where the patient simply comes in once or twice a week,” Brahmbhatt said.

“You can receive the treatment in a very short period of time and you can go about your normal life and not have any of these horrific toxic side effects.”

Source: The Times Of India

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Washing Hands Properly Stops Contagious Disease to Spread

Most people know that washing your hands can help to prevent passing on nasty viruses and bacteria. But how many people just flick their hands under a dribbling tap and think that will do? Now hopeless hand washers will be caught with glowing green fingers by a good hand-washing test.
………….-washing-hands
A new hand-washing training kit uses a cream containing a harmless dye that glows green in ultraviolet light to show up shoddy hand washing. Demonstrators put a blob of cream on people’s hands and send them away to wash them. When they come back, they are often amazed at how much glowing green dye remains on their fingers. If the dye were a microbe, they would be standing a good chance of infecting themselves and passing it on to other people.

The glowing cream can also be used to show how viruses such as those that cause colds and flu can survive on hard surfaces and be spread from hand to hand. Just touching a doorknob that has had a little of the special cream applied to it can make people’s fingers turn green under UV light — and then when they touch another person’s hand the green glow gets passed on.

Sources:
Science Daily June 3, ’09
Society for General Microbiology June3,’09

Irritability ‘Key to Bipolar Disorder’

Parents, please note — want to know where your child is suffering from bipolar disorder? It’s simple for a study says that irritability should be considered when diagnosing for the condition.
………………irritable children
Researchers at Bradley Hospital in Providence have found that some kids with bipolar disorder experience manic episodes without extreme elation — one of the hallmarks of the disorder — and are diagnosed based on irritable mood.

“Diagnosing kids with bipolar disorder is challenging. One of the chief controversies is whether irritability should be included among the criteria for this diagnosis because it can also overlap with a number of other psychiatric disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“Our findings confirm that while irritable-only mania is uncommon, it does exist — particularly in younger children — and should be considered in a bipolar diagnosis,” Jeffrey Hunt, who led the study, said in a statement.

For their study, the researchers quantified frequency and severity of manic symptoms — including irritability and elation — in 361 children, all between the ages of 7 and 17, already diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The researchers found 10% of children were irritable-only and about 15% were elated-only. Nearly three-quarters experienced both elation and irritability, the findings revealed.

The study has been published in the latest edition of the ‘Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry‘.

Source:
BBC NEWS:28Th. June. ’09

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Butterfly Weed

The entire blooming flower head of the Butterf...
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Asclepias tuberosa
Family: Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Common Name: Butterfly Weed,Butterfly Milkweed
Genus: Asclepias (ass-KLE-pee-us) (Info)
Species: tuberosa (too-ber-OH-suh) (Info)
Habitat:Dry open areas.Native  to Eastern and southern United States

Description:
It is a herbaceous perennial which can reach 64cm in height (25inches) .The stem is hairy and branches near the top forming several flower heads. The juice is milky.Leaves are evergreen and  colorful  and fragrant.The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 13cm in length (5inches). Each narrow, firm leaf is entire.The flowers have 5 Regular Parts and are up to 1cm wide (0.4 inches). They are bright orange. Blooms first appear in early summer and continue into late summer. The corolla reflexed exposing the five erect hoods, the horn is small.Fruits are showy and are edible.A pod filled with tiny seeds each with a tuff of silky hairs which become airborne.


Click to see the ifferent pictures of Butterfly weed:

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Historical Lore: The pods of milkweeds may be eaten if boiled twice discarding the first water to remove the bitter taste.

Medical Uses: Listed in the U. S. Pharmacopeia in the 19th century the root was once widely used for lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis. It was made into a tea or sometimes eaten raw. Large doses of the root were sometimes used as a purgative. The root was also applied to sores.

Omaha Indians ate the raw root to treat bronchitis and taught the pioneers to do the same. It is an expectorant; it promotes coughing that raises phlegm. It also contains cardiac glycosides and an estrogen-like substance. It is a component of Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound (1875 to 1960) advertised for use in “womb trouble, sick headache, and nervous breakdowns”.

Warning: Contains cardiac glycosides which are toxic in large amounts.Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

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

Resources:

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/73/

http://www.mobot.org/GARDENINGHELP/PLANTFINDER/Plant.asp?code=B490

http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H166.htm

http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

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Nail Your Nail Problem

Your fingernails are on public display, visible as you talk, eat and work. If you are a “nail biter”, your obsessive compulsive habit advertises to the world your stressful lifestyle. And bad nails do not sit well with designer clothes.
click & see…>.....(1).…...(2).…...(3).
Nail biting (medical term, onychophagia) is a common habit. It helps relieve stress and cope with excitement and boredom. It is a habit learnt by observation and runs in families. About half of all children aged 10-18 bite their nails. A small number (three per cent), of which more are males, continue this habit into adult life. Nails become disfigured and the nail beds get damaged. This can result in infection. The habit has to be consciously stopped. Difficult? Try painting the nails with a bitter nail polish.

Nails are very strong and are composed of three multicellular layers of tissue sealed together. They can be cut across but not lengthwise. Since they grow daily — about a millimetre a week — most diseases affecting an individual are reflected in visible changes in the nails. Heavy metals and toxins become deposited in the nails and remain there till the nails grow out. Poisoning with lead, thallium and arsenic can be diagnosed this way.

Healthy nails are normally slightly curved upward. The shape changes and nails become spoon shaped in case of iron deficiency anaemia. With the correction of the deficiency, the nails become normal.

Twenty per cent of women suffer from a condition called brittle nails — when the nail plate is dry, delaminates (that is, splits into thin layers) and cracks easily. This occurs with iron deficiency anaemia and is aggravated if the hands are frequently immersed in water for prolonged periods. It can be corrected by taking iron supplements and moisturising the nail several times a day. Proprietary moisturisers — many of which are overpriced — are available in the market. A homemade preparation of 50 per cent jojoba oil and 50 per cent aloe vera or a mixture of 500ml coconut oil, 500ml sesame oil and 100ml olive oil can be used. They work just as well.

An exaggeration of the normal nail curvature is called clubbing. It makes the nails resemble a parrot’s curved beak. This is found in people who have emphysema, chronic lung diseases and heart disease. The nails may also be blue because of inadequate oxygenation of the blood.

Fingernails are normally smooth and shiny. They can develop multiple small dents or pits if there is a disease like psoriasis. As the disease is brought under control, the pits disappear.

Yellow nails can be because of diabetes. It can be normal in women who wear dark coloured nail polish for long periods of time. White nails occur in case of liver and kidney disease.

White lines or dots can appear on the nails of otherwise healthy individuals. Usually it is harmless. The dots may have been caused by injury to the nail bed. Since it is visible only after the nail grows out, the injury may have been forgotten and the patch may be a cause of concern. Dots can also appear in people with eczema or in nutritional zinc deficiency. Zinc is present in fish, chicken and whole grains. The daily requirement is 10-15mg. Supplements are freely available in vitamin and mineral capsules. A white line or a dark coloured line can occur as a result of injury to the growing cells in the nail bed. This marks the date of an illness or a course of antibiotics.

Fungal infections can occur in the nail. Then the nail becomes separated from the underlying skin, starts to lift up and a crumbly white substance is seen underneath. Bacterial infections cause the nail to appear green. Diabetes also can cause either of these.

Cutting the nail too close to the skin can introduce infection. Salons offering manicures or pedicures sometimes do not sterilise their instruments properly. Small cuts and nicks during the procedure can introduce infections. Infections can be aggravated by immersion in water. A doctor should be consulted if there is sudden swelling or pain in the nails a day or two after a manicure.

Nails will reflect the underlying illness and this sometimes cannot be camouflaged even with nail polish. To strengthen normal nails, avoid infections and improve their appearance:

• Use rubber gloves when immersing the hands in water.

• Avoid nail biting or picking.

• Apply moisturiser to your nails and cuticles every day.

• File your nails in one direction and round the tip slightly, rather than filing to a point.

• Don’t remove the cuticles or clean too deeply under your nails.

• Don’t dig out ingrown toenails at home using unsterile blades and knives.

• Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde.

• Take your own instruments for manicures and pedicures.

• Eat a balanced diet with sufficient protein and vitamins.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Garlic Chives (Alum Tuberosum)

Botanical Name: Allium tuberosum
Family: Alliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Allium
Species: A. tuberosum, A. ramosum
Common Name: Garlic Chives
Other Common Names: Chinese Chive, Chinese Chives, Chinese Leek, Chiu, Feng Pen, Garlic Chives, Nira, Oriental Garlic Chives

Habitat:Cultivated Beds.According to official records,  it is often cultivated as a garden plant. This is surprising, considering its aggressive nature. However, the webmaster has observed clumps of naturalized plants that were growing in 3 different locations in the Champaign-Urbana area in Champaign County, Illinois . Garlic Chives has naturalized in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska, and it seems likely that this plant has naturalized in other counties of Illinois as well. It is native to China and parts of SE Asia. So far, habitats in Illinois include a degraded meadow in a wooded area, the bank of a drainage ditch, and the edge of a yard along a sidewalk. Several clumps of Garlic Chives have persisted in the meadow for several years.

Description:
Plant Type: Perennial
Where To Plant: Full Sun to Partly Shady
Soil Types: Average
Germination: Easy
Uses: Culinary
Notes: Good pot plant, can grow in windows, good in cooking.
ALLIUM TUBEROSUM.  Has the same great garlic flavor as the previous form but features attractive mauve flowers. The most delicate member of the onion family. Chopped leaves offer great improvement to salads, soups, vegetables, omelet’s, and cheese dishes. Essential kitchen herb! Palatable as it is to humans, nasty insects stay away in droves from it and neighboring plants....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

. The plant has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves  unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. Besides its use as vegetable, it also has attractive flowers

The cultivated form is Allium tuberosum while the wild form is placed as A. ramosum. Older references list it as A. odorum but that is now considered a synonym of A. ramosum. Some botanists would place both wild and cultivated forms in A. ramosum since many intermediate forms exist.

A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world but well-known in Asian cuisine, the flavor of garlic chives is more like garlic than chives, though much milder. Both leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as a flavoring similarly to chives, green onions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp and pork. They are a common ingredient in Chinese jiaozi dumplings and the Japanese and Korean equivalents. The flowers may also be used as a spice. In Vietnam, the leaves of garlic chives are cut up into short pieces and used as the only vegetable in a soup of broth and sliced pork kidneys.

Many garden centers carry it as do most Asian supermarkets.

A Chinese flatbread similar to the green onion pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions; such a pancake is called a jiucai bing  or jiucai you bing . Chives is also one of the main ingredient used with Yi mein dishes.

Garlic chives are widely used in Korean cuisine, most notably in dishes such as buchukimchi ( garlic chive kimchi), buchujeon (garlic chive pancakes), or jaecheopguk (a guk, or clear soup, made with garlic chives and Asian clams).

Other Uses:
The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Cardiac; Digestive; Stomachic; Tonic.

The whole plant is antibacterial, cardiac, depurative, digestive, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is an anti-emetic herb that improves kidney function[238]. It is used internally to treat urinary incontinence, kidney and bladder weaknesses etc.

The seed is carminative and stomachic. They are used in India in the treatment of spermatorrhoea.

The leaves and the bulbs are applied to bites, cuts and wounds
In Chinese herbal medicine, garlic chives have been used to treat fatigue, control excessive bleeding, and as an antidote for ingested poisons. The leaves and bulbs are applied to insect bites, cuts, and wounds, while the seeds are used to treat kidney, liver, and digestive system problems.

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://www.sandmountainherbs.com/chives_garlic.html

http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/alltuberosum.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic_chives

http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Allium+tuberosum

http://www.eol.org/pages/1085072

Simple Appendicitis Test Under Development

Researchers link a chemical in children’s urine to appendicitis. Emergency rooms could test for it, preventing unnecessary surgery and increasing the chance of removing the appendix before it bursts.

……………Appendicitis

Researchers have identified a chemical in urine that is closely associated with appendicitis in children and are working to develop a simple test that could be used to diagnose the condition — a test that would both increase the likelihood of performing surgery before the appendix bursts and prevent unnecessary surgery.

Preliminary results show that the test is highly accurate, producing very few instances in which cases are missed (false negatives) or children are incorrectly diagnosed with the condition (false positives), a team from Children’s Hospital Boston reported today in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Appendicitis is the most common childhood surgical emergency. The lifetime prevalence of appendicitis is 9% for males and 7% for females, but the bulk of the cases occur in childhood or adolescence. In the past, diagnosis was made simply from clinical symptoms, such as abdominal pain, and as many as 30% of cases in which surgery was performed revealed a healthy appendix.

Within the last few years, emergency room specialists have begun using CT scans for diagnosis, which reduces the number of unnecessary surgeries to as low as 5%. But in as many as 30% to 45% of those diagnosed with appendicitis, the organ has already ruptured at the time of surgery, leading to a variety of complications that lengthen hospital stays.

There has also been a growing reluctance to use CT scanners on children because of the risk that the radiation will trigger cancer later in life.

Dr. Richard Bachur and his colleagues studied urine from healthy children and those with surgically confirmed appendicitis, and concluded that high levels of one chemical, leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein or LRG, correlated very closely with an inflamed appendix. Tests in 67 children showed that the amount in the urine was correlated to the severity of the inflammation, and the number of false positives and false negatives associated with its use were each less than 3%.

The team is now studying a larger number of urine samples and is working “feverishly” to develop a simple test for LRG that could be used in emergency rooms, Bachur said. “We could take urine and, in minutes, have an answer,” he added.

He cautioned that the team has not yet studied potential markers in adults and they don’t know whether the same test would work. “Adult diseases are a little different,” Bachur said.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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The Hidden Salt in Chicken

Those plump breasts often come ‘enhanced’ with saltwater broth.
Most people don’t think of uncooked chicken as a significant source of sodium — but it can be, not just because most cooks use salt as seasoning.
………………………….salt baked chicken
Injecting raw chicken with saltwater solutions during processing is a widespread practice in the poultry industry. It’s also a practice that has the industry increasingly divided. Major producers who inject their products with saltwater solutions say it makes for tastier, juicier meat. Other producers promote their products as free of the additive and say that the practice is deceptive.

Granted, poultry producers on both sides of the issue are probably vying for a market edge. But marketing wars aside, the practice of saltwater plumping has ruffled the feathers of many nutrition experts too. “People believe that when they’re getting chicken, they’re getting a low-sodium food,” says Liz Trondsen, a registered dietitian at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Assn.”They need to be aware of this.”

Raw chicken breast can contain as little as 50 to 75 milligrams of sodium per 4-ounce serving. But much of the chicken on the market in the U.S. is “enhanced” — injected with a salt solution, or broth, during processing. Sodium levels often reach well over 400 milligrams per serving — nearly one-third of the maximum daily intake of 1500 milligrams recommended for people at risk of high blood pressure (including African Americans and older adults). High sodium levels can cause and aggravate high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Producers have been injecting chicken (and other meats) with saltwater solutions since the 1970s, says John Marcy, professor and poultry processing specialist at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. The practice makes for more flavorful meat, he says, because “a consumer can’t put salt into chicken like a processor can.”

Processors use multiple-needle injectors or vacuum-tumblers, which force the sodium solution into the muscle. Binding agents in the solution prevent the added salt and water from leaching out of the meat during transport, in grocery stores and during cooking, says Kenneth McMillin, professor of meat science at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge.

The labels on saltwater-infused meats typically say “enhanced with up to 15% chicken broth.” They can also say “all natural” if ingredients in the solution meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture definition of natural, says Bryn M. Burkard, a public affairs specialist with the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The Truthful Labeling Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of poultry producers that don’t enhance their products, is pressing the USDA to change that policy. “The labels [on raw poultry] are really misleading,” says Charles Hansen, executive director of the coalition. “We’ve got no objections to them adding saltwater to chicken, but why not list it prominently on the label?”

The USDA is reviewing comments on the policy, Burkard says. But though clearer labeling may help consumers avoid excess sodium in the chicken they buy at grocery stores, they’ll still encounter high sodium levels in chicken dishes in restaurants and cafeterias. “In the food services industry, chicken has always been injected to retain moisture,” Marcy says. “It’s been standard practice for decades.”

And despite the high levels of sodium in enhanced chicken, it’s still not the top source of hidden dietary sodium, Trondsen says. Consumers should generally be more concerned with the typically high levels of sodium in frozen and canned foods, processed foods, soups and condiments, she says. An 8-ounce serving of canned soup can often contain 700 to 900 milligrams of sodium, and many frozen dinners contain well over 1,000 per meal.

Nonetheless, at more than 400 milligrams per serving, the sodium levels in plumped chicken are significant. “Pity the poor person trying to cut down on salt,” says Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, and the author of the 2006 book “What to Eat.” “It gets put into everything and you don’t have any choice about it.”

Nestle adds that not only does the practice of saltwater plumping add unnecessary salt to people’s diets, it also increases the water weight of chicken. Livingston, Calif.-based Foster Farms, a member of the Truthful Labeling Coalition, has estimated that consumers are paying an average of $1.50 for added saltwater per package when they purchase enhanced chicken.

“This practice manages to do not one but two bad things,” Nestle says. “It increases the water weight of the chicken so you are paying for water, not chicken, and it adds salt that you don’t need.”

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Hands Free of Stress

If you’re one of those people who sits in front of a computer for hours, typing away, try this simple yet effective way to release tension in your forearms, wrists and fingers. Make a habit of taking breaks throughout the day to perform this exercise. When your hands and arms are relaxed, you’ll feel less stress in your neck and shoulders.
STEP-1
STEP-1. Sitting in your chair, back away from your desk and bend your arms to a 90-degree angle, bringing your elbows close to your waist. With forearms parallel to the ground, tuck your fingers in and squeeze each of your hands as tight as possible. Hold for 5 seconds.

STEP-2

STEP-2. Open your hands as wide as possible, spreading your fingers apart. Flex your wrists by moving your fingers up and back, simultaneously pushing your wrists forward. Hold for 5 seconds, trying to keep your hands fully stretched. Repeat this move three times — and remember to do the exercise 5 or 6 times a day.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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