Breathless? Blame your genes

Scientists have identified a gene variant responsible for the higher incidence of coronary artery blockages in Indians.

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Researchers in Bangalore have zeroed in on a gene that may explain why an unusually high number of Indians are prone to coronary artery disease (CAD), the biggest killer among various ailments that afflict the human heart. The risk of CAD is said to be several times higher in Indians than in the others.

CAD is a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary artery vessels that supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.

Led by Arindam Maitra, scientists at the Thrombosis Research Institute — attached to Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore — found that people who harbour a particular variant of the gene rs10757278 are over one and half times more prone to CAD than those who do not have it.

The gene in question is located on the short arm of chromosome 9 (of the 23 pairs that a human cell contains, received from each of the parents). The gene variant was earlier found to put other populations at risk too, but to a much lesser degree.

Maitra, however, was quick to add that this is not the only gene associated with CAD. More genes are suspected to contribute to the inherited risk of CAD. Yet very little is known about them. “This is only the tip of an iceberg,” said Maitra whose team, early last year, unravelled the role played by another gene (IL-6) in the early onset of CAD in Indians.

CAD is multigenic and complex. Being multigenic, no single gene, acting in isolation, will lead to the disease. As a result, people may bear two copies of the risk gene variant but lack the other relevant genetic risk factors which, in combination, might lead to CAD.

And, being complex, CAD is caused by a combination of the presence of the genetic risk factors as well as exposure to risk-conferring environmental influences like diet or lifestyle, said Maitra.

The study, scheduled to appear soon in the Journal of Genetics, looked for the presence of the gene variant in 154 CAD patients undergoing treatment in Bangalore and Mumbai. Similar studies were conducted on an equal number of healthy people.

Patients with two copies of the risk-associated variant — rs10757278G — were found to be far more vulnerable than those with one copy or none at all. Nearly one-third of the patients with three or more diseased artery vessels had two copies of rs10757278G, whereas the frequency was one in eight in the patients who lacked them.

It was also found that CAD sets in two years earlier in those who bear the risk gene variants than those who don’t.

The risk of CAD in Indians is about 3-4 times higher than in the Caucasians, six times higher than in the Chinese and 20 times higher than in the Japanese.

Independent experts, however, dismiss the study because of the small sample size. “Genomic studies are generally conducted with thousands of volunteers, as there is always a chance of getting false positive results otherwise,” said Dorairaj Prabharakan, who heads the non-profit Centre for Chronic Disease Control in New Delhi .

While gene studies may help understand the mechanisms of the disease better, it is quite irrelevant from a clinician’s point of view. Only 10 per cent of CAD could be solely the result of genetic factors, Prabhakaran stressed. The risk factors associated with nearly two-third of CAD patients are smoking and elevated blood fat levels. Another 20 per cent of cases are due to diabetes and hypertension.

Like Prabhakaran, Prashant Joshi, a doctor at the Government Medical College, Nagpur, too feels that the sample size is too low. But, he added, it is very important to know which genes make Indians more vulnerable to CAD. “The threshold of the risk factors in Indians is very low compared with their counterparts in the West,” Joshi said. In other words, Indians with lower cholesterol, diabetes and BP levels, or who smoke less than their counterparts abroad, are more prone to CAD. “Genes are certainly playing a role here,” Joshi said.

Maitra justified the small sample size, saying it was only a pilot study. But, he added, a larger study is already planned.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Gandhabhadali Or Gandal Pata(Paederia foetida)

Botanical Name: Paederia foetida L.
Family:Rubiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Paederia
Species: P. foetida
Synonyms: Paederia chinensis Hance, Paederia scandans (Lour.) Merr., Paederia tomentosa Blume
Common names: Chinese fever vine, skunk vine, stinkvine
In Assamese it is called: Bhedailota and is a distinct part of Assamese cuisine.
Organism type: vine, climber

Habitat:It can grow high into the canopy of trees in a variety of habitats.Native to Easterm & Southern parts of India, Bangladesh and also grows in other tropical jones.{Native Range: Asia (USDA-GRIN, 2003)
Known Introduced Range: North America (USDA-GRIN, 2003), and South America (Langeland and Burks, 2000)}

P. foetida may grow high into the trees in a variety of habitats, from mesic hammocks to xeric sand hill communities, although it appears to prefer sunny floodplains and bottomlands. P. foetida can even grow under water (IFAS, 2001). It has been observed that P. foetida occurs frequently in tree gaps, and other disturbed areas (Langeland and Burks, 2000).

Description:
Paederia foetida is an aggressive, competitive vine. It is perinial twining vine from woody rootstock. The vines climb over shrubs and trees, weighing them down and impeding regeneration. Paederia foetida also invades pastureland and is troublesome along roads and on power lines. Chemicals are often used as an effective method of controlling Paederia foetida. The seeds of Paederia foetida may be dispersed by birds and are also spread by the transport of rooted fragments. Paederia foetida has also been cultivated as an ornamental.

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Leaf stalks of P. foetida are commonly up to 6cm long. Leaves and stems have a disagreeable odour, especially when crushed. The flowers are small, greyish pink or lilac in colour and occur in broad or long, “leafy,” curving clusters. Petals are joined to form a corolla with 5 spreading lobes. Fruits persist through winter and are shiny brown, and nearly round, and are typically 0.7cm wide. Inside are two seeds that are black, round and often dotted with white, needle-shaped crystals (Langeland et al. UNDATED).

P. foetida is a fast growing vine, that shows a wide ranging adaptability to different light , soil, and salt conditions. It is able to establish and grow above the frost line. It is also sensitive to fire. P. foetida flowers and fruits mostly in summer and fall (Langeland and Burks, 2000).

Constituents
*Upon distillation, a volatile oil is obtained with the offensive odor of the fresh crushed leaves.
*Two alkaloids are obtained: a- and b-Paederine.
*The leaves yield an indole.
*Leaves are rich in carotene and vitamin C.
*Considered anodyne, emollient, carminative, tonic, stomachic, vermifuge.

Medicinal Uses:-
Folkloric :-
*Used for rheumatism.
*The leaves, boiled and mashed, applied to the abdomen for urinary retention.
*Decoction of leaves also used for urinary retention and for urinary bladder stones.
*Decoction-soaked cloths applied to the forehead for fevers and taken internally at the same time.
*Bark decoction used as emetic.
*Decoction of leaves used for antirheumatic baths.
*Pounded leaves applied to the abdomen for flatulence.
*Decoction of roots for expelling gas.
*Fruit used for toothaches and to blacken the teeth.
*Decoction of whole plant used for abdominal pain, abscesses, arthritis.
*In many Asia traditional therapies, used for diarrhea and dysentery.
*In Bangladesh, used for diarrhea. Poultice of leaves used to relieve distention and flatulence
*Roots and bark used as emetic, and in the treatment of piles and liver inflmmation.
*Fruit used for toothache.

Studies
* Antidiarrhoeal activity of the ethanol extract of Paederia foetida Linn. (Rubiaceae): Study showed P. foetida has antidiarrheal activity by inhibiting intestinal motility supporting its use in traditional medicine.
* Investigation of the anti-inflammatory effects of Paederia foetida: The study sought to find pharmacologic basis for the ethnomedical use of the plant.

You may click to see for aditional studies:-
(1)Antidiarrhoeal activity of the ethanol extract of Paederia foetida Linn. (Rubiaceae)

(2)Investigation of the anti-inflammatory effects of Paederia foetida

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.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=632&fr=1&sts=sss
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paederia_foetida
http://www.stuartxchange.com/Kantutan.html

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Varicose veins

Definition:
Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.

Varicose veins affect 1 out of 2 people over age 50. They are more common in women than men. Hemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein. Spider veins are like varicose veins, but they are smaller.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems. Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other circulatory problems. Treatment may involve self-care measures or procedures by your doctor to close or remove veins.

Symptoms:
Varicose veins usually don’t cause any pain. Signs you may have varicose veins include:

*Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
*Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs
*Varicose veins may also form in other places on your legs, from your groin to your ankle.

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When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

*An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
*Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
*Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
*Itching around one or more of your veins
Skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a severe form of vascular disease that requires medical attention . Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they’re smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin’s surface and are often red or blue. They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider’s web.

Diagnosis:Ultrasound – Venous (Extremities)

When to call health care provider
Self-care — such as exercise, elevating your legs or wearing compression stockings — can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and may prevent them from getting worse. But if you’re concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures haven’t stopped your condition from getting worse, see your doctor.


Causes:
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Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity. Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

Causes of varicose veins can include:

*Age. As you get older, your veins can lose elasticity causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward. Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated through the lungs.

*Pregnancy. Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, but decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in your legs. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when your uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in your legs. Changes in your hormones during pregnancy also may play a role. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within three months after delivery.

Risk factors:
These factors increase your risk of developing varicose veins:

*Your age. Varicose veins occur most often in people ages 30 to 70, with your risk increasing as you age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in your veins that help regulate blood flow. Eventually, that wear causes the valves to allow blood to flow back into your veins where it collects instead of flowing up to your heart.

*Your sex. Women are more likely to develop the condition. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstruation or menopause may be a factor. Female hormones tend to relax vein walls. Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may increase your risk of varicose veins.

*Genetics. If other family members had varicose veins, there’s a greater chance you will too.

*Obesity. Being overweight puts added pressure on your veins.

*Standing for long periods of time. Your blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same
position for long periods.

Complications:-
Complications of varicose veins, although rare, can include:
Ulcers. Extremely painful ulcers may form on the skin near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles. Ulcers are caused by long-term fluid buildup in these tissues, caused by increased pressure of blood within affected veins. A brown colored spot on the skin usually begins before an ulcer forms. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you’ve developed an ulcer.

Blood clots. Occasionally, veins deep within the legs become enlarged. In such cases, the affected leg may swell considerably. Any sudden leg swelling warrants urgent medical attention because it may indicate a blood clot — a condition known medically as
thrombophlebitis.

Treatment :
*Ambulatory Phlebectomy(American Society for Dermatologic Surgery)

*Sclerotherapy(American Society of Plastic Surgeons)

*Varicose Vein Treatment (Endovenous Ablation of Varicose Veins)(Radiological Society of North America)

*Vain Treatment: What to Expect Before, During, and After(American Academy of Dermatology)

Alternative Therapy :-
*Bilberry(National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
*Horse Chestnut(National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

Click to learn more about Varicose veins

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/varicose-veins/DS00256

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/varicoseveins.html

Venous Ultrasound of the Legs (Lower Extremity Doppler)

Definition:
This type of ultrasound shows if there is a blockage in a leg vein. Such blockages are usually caused by blood clots, which can be dangerous and even lifethreatening if they break loose and travel through the blood to the lungs. If you have pain or swelling in one leg, your doctor may order an ultrasound to determine whether your symptoms are caused by a blockage.

Click for the picture

The importance of the Venous Doppler examination of the lower extremities cannot be underestimated. Careful mapping of the lower extremity venous system prior to treatment is essential to a good clinical outcome. While many patients present with large, clinically obvious bulging varicose veins other individuals may have significant “silent” large vein disease (reflux), which can only be detected by Doppler vein mapping. Venous Doppler not only provides a detailed picture of your venous system, but can show abnormal direction blood flow (reflux) in diseased veins. Successful treatment of leg veins requires accurate diagnosis with treatment of abnormal large veins followed by touch-up treatment of smaller veins…………...click & see

An example of a Venous Doppler procedure is a scan which shows the vein with the blood flow direction indicated by the colored space inside the vein wall. The surrounding tissues look like images on weather radar. When the venous duplex test is performed, multiple pictures are taken to document the status of the vein and to select the optimal treatment plan for your veins. Venous Doppler is also performed at the time of Endovenous Laser Treatment as well as in follow up after EVLT

How to prepare for the test?
No preparation is necessary.

What happens when the test is performed?
After squirting some clear jelly onto the inside of one of your thighs to help the ultrasound sensor slide around easily, a technician or doctor places the sensor against your skin. Once it’s in place, an image appears on a video screen, and the technician or doctor moves the sensor up and down along your leg – from the groin to the calf – to view the veins from different angles. The examiner presses the sensor into your skin firmly every few inches to see if the veins change shape under pressure. He or she then checks your other leg in the same way. As the machine measures the blood flowing through a vein, it makes a swishing noise in time with the rhythm of your heartbeat. This test usually takes 15-30 minutes.Most people don’t feel any discomfort, but if your leg was swollen and sensitive to the touch before the test, the pressure of the sensor might cause some tenderness.

Risk Factors:
There are no risks.
Must you do anything special after the test is over?
Nothing.

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
A radiologist reviews a videotape of your ultrasound and checks for signs of blockages in the veins.Your doctor should receive a report within a few hours to a day.

Resources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/venous-ultrasound-of-the-legs.shtml

http://www.amarillovein.com/AboutUltrasound.php

Helancha(Enhydra fluctuans)

 
Botanical Name :Enhydra fluctuans Lour
Family: Asteraceae (family description)
Genus: Enhydra
Kingdom:
Plantae
Phylum:
Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order:
Asterales
Epithet: fluctuans Lour.
Common Names: Harkuch, Hingcha
Local names: kankong-kalabau (Tag.).

Indian Name: Helencha
Part used: Leaf
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales 
Species: E. fluctuans
Bengali Name:Hingcha  sag

Habitat:Grows in swampy ground in Tropical climate.Native to India, Bangladesh,Burma, Sreelankha and several places in south east Asia.Hingcha or Kankong-kalabau is found in Rizal Province in Luzon, being occasional along the banks of small streams in and about Manila. It was certainly introduced, being found also in tropical Africa and Asia to Malaya.In Bengal it is commonly known as Hingha and grows plenty in ponds & lakes.

Description & Uses :Perennial herb of swampy ground in coastal areas, till recently considered as a single species under the first name, but now recognized to be two: E. fluctuans only in the Niger Delta, but widespread in the tropics, and E. radicans from Senegal to Dahomey and Fernando Po.No usage of either species is recorded for the Region. The leaves of E. fluctuans are somewhat bitter and are eaten as a salad or vegetable in several tropical countries. In Zaïre E. fluctuans has been
reported a favourite food of the hippopotamus.

This plant is a prostate, spreading, annual herb. The stems are somewhat fleshy, 30 centimeters or more in length, branched, rooting at the lower nodes, and somewhat hairy. The leaves are stalkless, linear-oblong, 3 to 5 centimeters in length, pointed or blunt at the tip, usually truncate at the base, and somewhat toothed at the margins. The flowering heads are without stalks, are borne singly in the axils of the leaves, and excluding the bracts, are less than 1 centimeter in diameter. The outer pair of the involucral bracts is ovate and 1 to 1.2 centimeters long; the inner pair is somewhat smaller. The flowers are white or greenish-white. The acheness are enclosed by rigid receptacle-scales. The pappus is absent.Flower colour: beige, white

.You may click to see the pictures.>...(01)......(1)..    (2)

Edible uses:
According to Burkill the young parts are used as a salad in several countries, including Malaya. Sometimes they are steamed before they are eaten.
Guerrero reports that in the Philippines the leaves are pressed and applied to the skin as a cure for certain herpetic eruptions.In bengal it is washed,chopped and cooked as Sag fry or boiled with rice and eaten with boiled rice with boiled potato ,salt and mastered oil.
Burkill reports that the young parts and the leaves of the plant are somewhat bitter and are used by the Malays as a laxative. Caius says that the leaves are useful in diseases of the skin and of the nervous system. The fresh juice of the leaves is prescribed in Calcutta as an adjunct to tonic metallic medicines, and is given in neuralgia and other nervous diseases. The leaves are antibilious. The expressed juice of the leaves is used as a demulcent in cases of gonorrhea; it is taken mixed with the milk of either a cow or a goat. As a cooling agent, the leaves are pounded and made into a paste which is applied cold to the head.
Watt quotes Forsyth, who states that the plant is useful in torpidity of the liver. An infusion should be made the previous evening. It is boiled with rice and taken with mustard oil and salt.

Constituents:A concentration of 0.21 % dry weight of essential oil is present .

Medicinal uses: laxatives, etc.; paralysis, epilepsy, convulsions, spasm; skin, mucosae.They are said to be a laxative, antibilious and demulcent . They are used in India in skin and nervous affections , and in the Philippines are applied to certain herpetic eruptions .
*Antioxidant Potential of Crude Extract and Different
Fractions of Enhydra fluctuans Lour (Hingcha)   :

*Analgesic activity of Enhydra fluctuans :

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.aluka.org/action/showMetadata?doi=10.5555/AL.AP.UPWTA.1_928&pgs=

http://www.fivetastes.com/vegetables/helencha.html

http://www.bpi.da.gov.ph/Publications/mp/pdf/k/kankong-kalabau.pdf
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://www.virboga.de/Enhydra_fluctuans.htm

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Kalmi (Ipomoea reptans)

N Ipoa D1600.
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Botanical Name:Ipomoea reptans
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Ipomoea subgenus: Eriospermum section: Erpipomoea
Vernacular names: Kangkong, kangkung, water convolvulus, water spinach, swamp spinach, swamp morning glory (En). Kangkong, liseron d’eau, patate aquatique (Fr). Cancon, batata aquática (Po). Mriba wa ziwa (Sw).

Habitat :Ipomoea aquatica is widespread as a swamp weed in all tropical and many subtropical lowland areas. It is a declared aquatic or terrestrial noxious weed in the south-eastern United States. It occurs in nearly all countries of tropical Africa, from Mauritania and Senegal, east to Eritrea and Somalia, and south to South Africa, and also in the Indian Ocean islands. It is a popular cultivated vegetable in South-East Asia and southern China, but is rare in India. It is known as a leafy vegetable in tropical America, where people of Asian origin cultivate it. It is grown on a small scale under protected cultivation in France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands for Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian clients. In tropical Africa it is reported as a collected wild vegetable in Benin, DR Congo, Kenya and Tanzania. Asian cultivars are occasionally grown on a small scale for the Asian clientele near big cities. Kangkong can be found in market gardens, e.g. in Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

DESCRIPTION: Water spinach is an herbaceous trailing vine that dwells in muddy stream banks, freshwater ponds, and marshes. This perennial aquatic vine is confined to the tropics and subtropics zones because it is susceptible to frosts and does not grow well when temperatures are below 23.9 C. Water spinach can reproduce sexually by producing one to four seeds in fruiting capsules or vegetatively by stem fragmentation. It is a member of the “morning-glory” family.

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Flowers: Funnel shaped, solitary or in few flowered clusters at leaf axils, two inches wide, pink to white in color, and darker in the throat (rarely nearly white).

Leaves: Arrowhead shaped, alternate, one to six inches long, and one to three inches wide

Stems: Vine like, trailing, with milky sap and roots at the nodes; usually to 9 ft. long but can be much longer.

Fruit: An oval or spherical capsule, woody at maturity, 1 cm long, holding 1 to 4 grayish seeds.

History:
The first historical record of W ater spinach is of its cultivation as a vegetable during the Chin Dynasty around 300 A.D. Native to India and Southeast Asia, but widely cultivated and naturalized in Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Islands, and South America. This aquatic vine is rich in iron, making it an ancient remedy for anemia. So people emigrating from Asian regions understandably wanted to take this nutritious vegetable along for use in traditional recipes. It is unclear when this plant was introduced in the United States, but this invasive and aggressive plant poses a serious threat to waterways in the Southern United States. W ater spinach has been introduced repeatedly to Florida waters since 1973, despite its state and federal listing as a prohibited plant and noxious weed.

Uses:-
Young shoots and leaves of water spinach are collected for use as a leafy vegetable. Often the whole above-ground plant part of cultivated water spinach , including the tender hollow stems, is consumed. Water spinatch can be stir-fried, steamed, boiled for a few minutes or lightly fried in oil and eaten in various dishes. It is often mixed with hot peppers and garlic, and prepared with meat or fish. In Asia the leaves are sometimes separated from the stems, and the stems are cooked a bit longer. In Africa only the leaves of wild plants are consumed, the stems are removed. The roots are occasionally eaten. Wild kangkong is often collected as fodder for cattle and pigs.

In Indonesia, kangkong or water spinach  is traditionally given at dinner to young children to make them quiet and help them sleep well. In Asia it is used in traditional medicine. The sap is used as an emetic, purgative and sedative, and flower buds are applied to ringworm. In Sri Lanka kangkong is used to treat diabetes mellitus.

Properties:
The nutritional composition of raw kangkong per 100 g edible portion is: water 92.5 g, energy 80 kJ (19 kcal), protein 2.6 g, fat 0.2 g, carbohydrate 3.1 g, dietary fibre 2.1 g, Ca 77 mg, Mg 71 mg, P 39 mg, Fe 1.7 mg, Zn 0.2 mg, vitamin A 6300 IU, thiamin 0.03 mg, riboflavin 0.10 mg, niacin 0.90 mg, folate 57 ?g, ascorbic acid 55 mg (USDA, 2002). The nutritional value of leaf-blades is higher than that of petioles and stems; unfortunately, sources do not state whether stems and leaves or leaves only were analysed. Accumulation of heavy metals in kangkong has been reported for Asia because the plants often grow in polluted water.

Medicinal Uses:
Kangkong showed oral hypoglycaemic activity in tests with diabetic humans and rats; it was shown that an aqueous leaf extract can be as effective as tolbutamide in reducing blood glucose levels.

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.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?20218

http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20o?search=Ipomoea+aquatica&guide=North_American_Invasives

http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Ipomoea%20aquatica_En.htm

.

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Fatty Fish-oil May Help Reduce Tumour

An omega 3 fatty acid found in fish oils reduced the size of tumours in mice and made a chemotherapy drug more potent while limiting its  harmful effects, Egyptian researchers reported.

………………...CLICK & SEE

The findings, published in publisher BioMed Central‘s peer-reviewed Cell Division journal, add to evidence showing a range of health benefits from eating the fatty acids found in foods such as salmon. A.M. El-Mowafy and colleagues from Mansoura University in Egypt looked at how an omega 3 fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, affected solid tumours growing in mice and how well it interacted with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.

“Our results suggest a new, fruitful drug regimen in the management of solid tumours based on combining cisplatin and possibly other chemotherapeutics with DHA,” El-Mowafy said in a statement. “DHA elicited prominent chemo-preventative effects on its own, and appreciably augmented those of cisplatin as well.” In March, U.S. researchers showed that a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids- the kind found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines- protected against advanced prostate cancer even in men more at risk of the disease.

The fatty acids, also found in foods such as walnuts and leafy greens, have been shown to provide an anti-inflammatory effect and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. In their study, El-Mowafy’s team found that, at the molecular level, DHA reduces the accumulation of white blood cells, systemic inflammation, and a harmful condition marked by decreased antioxidant levels- all of which have been linked to tumour growth. Their experiment also showed that the fatty acid reduced toxicity and injury to kidney tissue caused by the chemotherapy drug, the researchers said.

Sources:The Times Of India

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Cholangiocarcinoma

Accessory digestive system.
Image via Wikipedia

Alternative Names: Bile duct cancer

Definition: Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancerous (malignant) growth in the bile duct which drain bile from the liver into the small intestine. Other biliary tract cancers include pancreatic cancer, gall bladder cancer, and cancer of the ampulla of Vater. Cholangiocarcinoma is a relatively rare adenocarcinoma, with an annual incidence of 1–2 cases per 100,000 in the Western world, but rates of cholangiocarcinoma have been rising worldwide over the past several decades.

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Causes
Cancerous tumors of the bile ducts are usually slow-growing and do not spread (metastasize) quickly. However, many of these tumors are already advanced by the time they are found.

A cholangiocarcinoma may start anywhere along the bile ducts. These tumors block off the bile ducts.

They affect both men and women. Most patients are older than 65.

Risk Factors:
Although most patients present without any known risk factors evident, a number of risk factors for the development of cholangiocarcinoma have been described; in the Western world, the most common of these is primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an inflammatory disease of the bile ducts which is in turn closely associated with ulcerative colitis (UC). Epidemiologic studies have suggested that the lifetime risk of developing cholangiocarcinoma for a person with PSC is 10%–15%,  although autopsy series have found rates as high as 30% in this population. The mechanism by which PSC increases the risk of cholangiocarcinoma is not well-understood.
Certain parasitic liver diseases may be risk factors as well. Colonization with the liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini (found in Thailand, Laos, and Malaysia) or Clonorchis sinensis (found in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam) has been associated with the development of cholangiocarcinoma. Patients with chronic liver disease, whether in the form of viral hepatitis (e.g. hepatitis B or C), alcoholic liver disease, or cirrhosis from other causes, are at increased risk of cholangiocarcinoma. HIV infection was also identified in one study as a potential risk factor for cholangiocarcinoma, although it was unclear whether HIV itself or correlated factors (e.g. hepatitis C infection) were responsible for the association.

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Congenital liver abnormalities, such as Caroli’s syndrome or choledochal cysts, have been associated with an approximately 15% lifetime risk of developing cholangiocarcinoma. The rare inherited disorders Lynch syndrome II and biliary papillomatosis are associated with cholangiocarcinoma. The presence of gallstones (cholelithiasis) is not clearly associated with cholangiocarcinoma. However, intrahepatic stones (so-called hepatolithiasis), which are rare in the West but common in parts of Asia, have been strongly associated with cholangiocarcinoma. Exposure to Thorotrast, a form of thorium dioxide which was used as a radiologic contrast medium, has been linked to the development of cholangiocarcinoma as late as 30–40 years after exposure; Thorotrast was banned in the United States in the 1950s due to its carcinogenicity.

Ricks for this condition include:

* Bile duct (choledochal) cysts
* Chronic biliary irritation
* History of infection with the parasitic worm, liver flukes
* Primary sclerosing cholangitis

Cholangiocarcinoma is rare. It occurs in approximately 2 out of 100,000 people.

Symptoms
* Chills
* Clay-colored stools
* Fever
* Itching
* Loss of appetite
* Pain in the upper right abdomen that may radiate to the back
* Weight loss
* Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)

The most common physical indications of cholangiocarcinoma are abnormal liver function tests, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), which occurs only when bile ducts are blocked by the tumor, abdominal pain (30%–50%), generalized itching (66%), weight loss (30%–50%), fever (up to 20%), or changes in stool or urine color.To some extent, the symptoms depend upon the location of the tumor: Patients with cholangiocarcinoma in the extrahepatic bile ducts (outside the liver) are more likely to have jaundice, while those with tumors of the bile ducts within the liver often have pain without jaundice.
.Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)->     CLICK & SEE
Blood tests of liver function in patients with cholangiocarcinoma often reveal a so-called “obstructive picture,” with elevated bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma glutamyl transferase levels, and relatively normal transaminase levels. Such laboratory findings suggest obstruction of the bile ducts, rather than inflammation or infection of the liver, as the primary cause of the jaundice.  CA19-9 is elevated in most cases

Diagnosis:–
Cholangiocarcinoma is definitively diagnosed from tissue, i.e. it is proven by biopsy or examination of the tissue excised at surgery. It may be suspected in a patient with obstructive jaundice. Considering it as the working-diagnosis may be challenging in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC); such patients are at high risk of developing cholangiocarcinoma, but the symptoms may be difficult to distinguish from those of PSC. Furthermore, in patients with PSC, such diagnostic clues as a visible mass on imaging or biliary ductal dilatation may not be evident.

Exams and Tests:-
Blood tests
Blood tests that show abnormal function.
There are no specific blood tests that can diagnose cholangiocarcinoma by themselves. Serum levels of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA19-9 are often elevated, but are not sensitive or specific enough to be used as a general screening tool. However, they may be useful in conjunction with imaging methods in supporting a suspected diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma.
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Abdominal imaging
CT scan showing cholangiocarcinomaUltrasound of the liver and biliary tree is often used as the initial imaging modality in patients with suspected obstructive jaundice. Ultrasound can identify obstruction and ductal dilatation and, in some cases, may be sufficient to diagnose cholangiocarcinoma.  Computed tomography (CT) scanning may also play an important role in the diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma.

Tests that show a tumor or blockage in the bile duct:
*Abdominal CT scan
*Abdominal ultrasound
*CT scan-directed biopsy
*Cytology
*Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
*Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA)

Liver function tests (especially bilirubin)

Treatment  :-
The goal is to treat the cancer and the blockage it causes. When possible, surgery to remove the tumor is the treatment of choice and may result in a cure. However, often the cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed.

Chemotherapy or radiation may be given after surgery to decrease the risk of the cancer returning. However, the benefit of this treatment is not certain.

Endoscopic therapy or surgery can clear blockages in the biliary ducts and relieve jaundice in patients when the tumor cannot be removed.

For patients with cancer that cannot be removed, radiation therapy may be beneficial. Chemotherapy may be added to radiation therapy or used when the tumor has spread. However, this is rarely effective.

Support Groups:-
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group with members who share common experiences and problems (see cancer – support group).

Hospice is often a good resource for patients with cholangiocarcinoma that cannot be cured.

Prognosis:

Surgical resection offers the only potential chance of cure in cholangiocarcinoma. For non-resectable cases, the 5-year survival rate is 0% where the disease is inoperable because distal lymph nodes show metastases[63], and less than 5% in general. Overall median duration of survival is less than 6 months in inoperable, untreated, otherwise healthy patients with tumors involving the liver by way of the intrahepatic bile ducts and hepatic portal vein.

For surgical cases, the odds of cure vary depending on the tumor location and whether the tumor can be completely, or only partially, removed. Distal cholangiocarcinomas (those arising from the common bile duct) are generally treated surgically with a Whipple procedure; long-term survival rates range from 15%–25%, although one series reported a five year survival of 54% for patients with no involvement of the lymph nodes. Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas (those arising from the bile ducts within the liver) are usually treated with partial hepatectomy. Various series have reported survival estimates after surgery ranging from 22%–66%; the outcome may depend on involvement of lymph nodes and completeness of the surgery. Perihilar cholangiocarcinomas (those occurring near where the bile ducts exit the liver) are least likely to be operable. When surgery is possible, they are generally treated with an aggressive approach often including removal of the gallbladder and potentially part of the liver. In patients with operable perihilar tumors, reported 5-year survival rates range from 20%–50%.

The prognosis may be worse for patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis who develop cholangiocarcinoma, likely because the cancer is not detected until it is advanced. Some evidence suggests that outcomes may be improving with more aggressive surgical approaches and adjuvant therapy.

Possible Complications :-
*Infection
*Liver failure
*Spread (metastasis) of tumor to other organs.

When to Contact a Medical Professional :-
Call your health care provider if you have jaundice or other symptoms of cholangiocarcinoma.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

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

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/MEDLINEPLUS/ency/article/000291.htm

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Olive Oil Protects Against Heart Attack

Portuguese researchers have identified a vital component of olive oil that gives greatest protection from heart attack and stroke.
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No wonder why heart attack rates are relatively lower and human lifetime is over world averages in the Mediterranean islands.

Olive oil, which is an essential part of Mediterranean cuisine, is full of monounsaturated fats.  It lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
Lead researcher Fatima Paiva-Martins from University of Porto has discovered an antioxidant called DHPEA-EDA that protects red blood cells from damage more than any other part of olive oil.

“These findings provide the scientific basis for the clear health benefits that have been seen in people who have olive oil in their diet,” said Paiva-Martins.

During the study, research team led by Paiva-Martins compared the effects of four related polyphenolic compounds on red blood cells subjected to oxidative stress by a known free radical generating chemical.

Heart disease is caused partly by reactive oxygen, including free radicals, acting on LDL or “bad” cholesterol and resulting in hardening of the arteries. Red blood cells are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage because they are the body’s oxygen carriers.

They found that DHPEA-EDA was the most effective and protected red blood cells even at low concentrations.

The new discovery, Paiva-Martins believes, can lead to the production of “functional” olive oils specifically designed to reduce the risk of heart disease.


Sources:
http://www.anyhealthydiet.com/diet-and-nutrition/eat-healthy-food-protect-your-heart/

and The study  published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

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New Tricks for Finding Hidden Eye Disease

"Slit lamp examination of Eyes in an Opht...
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An imaging analysis technique, developed to detect defects in semiconductors, is being used to diagnose the eye problems associated with diabetes over the Internet.
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Pictures of patientsretinas (the inner surface of the eye) are uploaded to a server that compares them to a database of thousands of other images of healthy and diseased eyes. Algorithms can assign a disease level to the new eye image by looking at factors such as damage to blood vessels.

Right now, an ophthalmologist double checks the system’s work, but the algorithms could be diagnosing patients on its own within three months. In other words, it will go beyond telemedicine, in which physicians connect to patients through data networks, to automated medicine.

There are many advantages to this — patients get faster, cheaper care and doctors can spend their time treating patients that have already been identified as having a problem.

Sources: Wired February 17, 2009

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