Menstrual Blood Can Repair Hearts

The monthly discomfort many women see as a curse could pay off some day as Japanese researchers say menstrual blood can be used to repair heart damage.

Scientists obtained menstrual blood from nine women and cultivated it for about a month, focusing on a kind of cell that can act like stem cells.

Some 20% of the cells began beating spontaneously about three days after being put together in vitro with cells from the hearts of rats. The cells from menstrual blood eventually formed sheet-like heart-muscle tissue.

The success rate is 100 times higher than the 0.2-0.3% for stem cells taken from human bone marrow, according to Shunichiro Miyoshi, a cardiologist at Keio University’s school of medicine, who is involved in the research.

Separate in-vivo experiments showed that the condition of rats who had suffered heart attacks improved after they received the cells derived from menstrual blood.

Miyoshi said women may eventually be able to use their own menstrual blood.
“There may be a system in the near future that allows women to use it for their own treatment,” Miyoshi said. Using one’s own blood could solve a major problem in the use of cells – a patient’s immune system rejecting them.

Miyoshi said menstrual blood could be used to build stockpiles of cells which have a variety of matching HLAs, or human leukocyte antigens, a key part of the human immune system.

The cells can be stored for a long time in a tube the size of a finger and cultivated when necessary, he said.

“In proper storage, we would be able to stock up a tremendous count of cells in a small space. If they are not used for 100 years, they could stay there for 200 years or 300 years” waiting for a perfect match, he said.

In a strict sense, the connective cells from menstrual blood cannot be called stem cells, which can turn into any type of cell in the body, Miyoshi said. But they also have high potential to develop into muscle cells, suggesting the blood could in time be used to treat muscular dystrophy, he said.

The study has been conducted by researchers from private Keio University and the National Institute for Child Health and Development.

Sources: The Times Of India

Food Dyes May Help Prevent Cancer

They may be known for severe health hazards, but food dyes indeed have a positive side- protection against cancer, says a new study.

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The study was conducted over trout, a species of freshwater fish, which were given carcinogens dibenzopyrene (DBP) or aflatoxin in their feed either with or without food dyes Red 40 or Blue 2, for one month.

The findings revealed that after nine months, trout fed with any of the dyes in combination with aflatoxin showed 50 per cent fewer liver tumours compared to one fed with aflatoxin only.

Moreover, fish given DBP, in combination with Red 40 showed 50 per cent lower incidence of stomach cancer and 40 per cent lower incidence of liver cancer.

“The public perception is that food dyes are bad, but some of them may have good points as well,” New Scientist quoted Gayle Orner at Oregon State University, as saying.

She also said that further studies have to be conducted to understand the mechanism by which these food dyes apply their anti-cancer effect.

The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, California, last week

Sources: The Times Of India

The Direction Of Happiness

Leaving A Relationship
One of the hardest decisions we ever make in life is leaving a long-term relationship that just isn’t working. When attempts at repairing and working out issues aren’t working, it may be time to examine moving on. We are emotional creatures, and when our heartstrings are tied to those of another, separating from that person can feel like an act of courage. It is not something most of us will take lightly, and many of us will struggle with our desire to stay in a relationship that is unfulfilling simply in order to avoid that pain. We may question whether the happiness we seek even exists, and we may wonder if we might be wiser to simply settle where we are, making the best of what we have.

On the one hand, we almost relish the idea that true happiness is not out there so that we can avoid the pain of change. On the other hand, we feel within ourselves a yearning to fulfill our desire for relationships that are vital and healing. Ultimately, most of us will follow this call, because deep within ourselves we know that we deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy, no matter where we find ourselves in this moment, and we are all justified in moving, like plants toward the light, in the direction that leads to our greatest fulfillment. First, though, we may need to summon the courage to move on from the relationship that appears to be holding us back.

Taking the first steps will be hard, but the happiness we find when we have freed ourselves from a situation that is draining our energy will outshine any hardship we undergo to get there. Keeping our eyes trained on the horizon, we begin the work of disentangling ourselves from the relationship that no longer fits. Every step brings us closer to a relationship that will work, and the freedom we need to find the happiness we deserve.

Sources: Daily Om

Synthetic Estrogens Wreak Havoc on Your Reproductive System

Researchers are developing a clearer understanding of why the synthetic estrogens found in many widely-used plastics can cause damage to a developing fetus, fertility problems, and vaginal and breast cancers.

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Past research has shown that exposure to the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) alters the expression of HOXA10, a gene necessary for uterine development, while increasing the risk of cancer and pregnancy complications. By studying the DNA of the offspring of 30 pregnant mice injected with DES, researchers found changes in certain regions of the HOXA10 gene that continued beyond the time of development and persisted into adulthood.

This indicates that exposure to DES and similar substances results in lasting genetic memory, known as “imprinting,” which is actually changing the structure of the HOXA10 gene.

Though DES is no longer on the market, pregnant women are frequently exposed to similar substances with estrogen-like properties, such as Bisphenol-A (BPA).
Sources:
Science Daily March 31, 2008
The 2008 Society for Gynecologic Investigation (SGI) Annual Scientific Meeting, San Diego, California, March 26-29, 2008

Foot Deformity

Definition:
Foot deformity is an alteration of the foot structurally that it doesn’t appear as normal.

Causes :
The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Foot deformity. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

*Rheumatoid arthritis
*Osteoarthritis
*Fracture
*Callus formation
*Gout
*Congenital
*Septic arthritis (Click to see:-> Joint pain)
*Diabetes
*Neuropathy

Symptoms:

Conditions listing medical symptoms for Foot deformity:

Click to see the list of conditions have ‘Foot deformity’ or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Click to learn more:-……………..(1)…….(2).…..(3).…..(4)

Claustrophobia

Definition:
A phobia is a form of anxiety disorder in which someone has an intense and irrational fear of certain objects or situations. Anyone suffering from high levels of anxiety is at risk of developing a phobia. One of the most common phobias is claustrophobia, or the fear of enclosed spaces. A person who has claustrophobia may panic when inside a lift, aeroplane, crowded room or other confined area.

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Some other phobias, borne from anxiety, include social phobia – fear of embarrassing yourself in front of others – and agoraphobia, which is the fear of open spaces. The cause of anxiety disorders such as phobias is thought to be a combination of genetic vulnerability and life experience. With appropriate treatment, it is possible to overcome claustrophobia or any other phobia.

It is an anxiety disorder that involves the fear of enclosed or confined spaces. Claustrophobes may suffer from panic attacks, or fear of having a panic attack, in situations such as being in elevators, trains, or aircraft.

Conversely, people who are prone to having panic attacks will often develop claustrophobia.[citation needed] If a panic attack occurs while they are in a confined space, then the claustrophobe fears not being able to escape the situation. Those suffering from claustrophobia might find it difficult to breathe in enclosed spaces. Like many other disorders, claustrophobia can sometimes develop due to a traumatic incident in childhood.

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Claustrophobia can be treated in similar ways to other anxiety disorders, with a range of treatments including cognitive behavior therapy and the use of anti-anxiety medication. Hypnosis is an alternative treatment for claustrophobia.

The name claustrophobia comes from the Latin word claustrum which means “a bolt, a place shut in” and the Greek word phobos meaning “fear”.


Causes :-

Claustrophobia can develop from either a traumatic childhood experience (such as being trapped in a small space during a childhood game), or from another unpleasant experience later on in life involving confined spaces (such as being stuck in an elevator).

When an individual experiences such an event, it can often trigger a panic attack; this response then becomes programmed in the brain, establishing an association between being in a tight space and feeling anxious or out-of-control. As a result, the person often develops claustrophobia.

Symptoms:
If a person suffering from claustrophobia suddenly finds themselves in an enclosed space, they may have an anxiety attack. Symptoms can include:

*Sweating
*Accelerated heart rate
*Hyperventilation, or ‘overbreathing’
*Shaking
*Light-headedness
*Nausea
*Fainting
*Fear of actual harm or illness.

Specific symptoms of claustrophobia:-
When in an enclosed space, the signs of claustrophobia may include:

  • Inside a room – automatically checking for the exits, standing near the exits or feeling alarmed when all doors are closed.
  • Inside a vehicle, such as a car – avoiding times when traffic is known to be heavy.
  • Inside a building – preferring to take the stairs rather than the lift, and not because of health reasons.
  • At a party – standing near the door in a crowded room, even if the room is large and spacious.
  • In extreme cases – for a person with severe claustrophobia, a closed door will trigger feelings of panic.

The catch-22 of avoidance
Once a person has experienced a number of anxiety attacks, they become increasingly afraid of experiencing another. They start to avoid the objects or situations that bring on the attack. However, any coping technique that relies on avoidance can only make the phobia worse. It seems that anticipating the possibility of confinement within a small space intensifies the feelings of anxiety and fear.

Frequency:-
It was found that 5-10.6% of people screened before an MRI scan had claustrophobia. Furthermore, it was found that 7% of patients had unidentified claustrophobia, and had to terminate the scanning procedure prematurely. 30% reported milder distress due to the necessity to lie in a confined space for a long time. For specific phobias in general, there is a lifetime prevalence rate of 7.2%-11.3%. Other forms of Claustrophobia include conditions such as Agrophobia and panic attacks.

The thought of treatment can be frightening
For someone with a disabling phobia, the realisation that this fear is irrational and that treatment is needed can cause further anxiety. Since most treatment options depend on confronting the feared situation or object, the person may feel reluctant.

Support and encouragement from family and friends is crucial. A person trying to overcome a phobia may find some treatment methods particularly challenging and will need the love and understanding of their support people. The therapist may even ask the family members or friends to attend certain sessions, in order to bolster the courage of the person seeking treatment.

Treatment:-

There is no cure for claustrophobia, however, there are several forms of treatment that can help an individual control her condition. Treatment for claustrophobia can include behavior therapy, exposure therapy, drugs or a combination of several treatments.
Treating phobias, including claustrophobia, relies on psychological methods. Depending on the person, some of these methods may include:

  • Flooding – this is a form of exposure treatment, where the person is exposed to their phobic trigger until the anxiety attack passes. The realisation that they have encountered their most dreaded object or situation, and come to no actual harm, can be a powerful form of therapy.
  • Counter-conditioning – if the person is far too fearful to attempt flooding, then counter-conditioning can be an option. The person is taught to use specific relaxation and visualisation techniques when experiencing phobia-related anxiety. The phobic trigger is slowly introduced, step-by-step, while the person concentrates on attaining physical and mental relaxation. Eventually, they can confront the source of their fear without feeling anxious. This is known as systematic desensitisation.
  • Modelling – the person watches other people confront the phobic trigger without fear and is encouraged to imitate that confidence.
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) – the person is encouraged to confront and change the specific thoughts and attitudes that lead to feelings of fear.
  • Medications – such as tranquillisers and antidepressants. Drugs known as beta blockers may be used to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a pounding heart.

Alternative claustrophobia treatments include regression hypnotherapy, in which hypnotherapy is used to remember the traumatic event that led to the individual’s claustrophobia. The patient is taught to see the event with ‘adult’ eyes, which helps to decrease the sense of panic that it has instilled into their minds.

Length of treatment
The person may be treated as an outpatient or, sometimes, as an inpatient if their phobia is particularly severe. Generally, treatment consists of around eight to 10 weeks of bi-weekly sessions.

CLICK & SEE

Click to learn about :->Open MRI reduces patient claustrophobia, study confirms

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Where to get help

  • Sane Australia Helpline Tel. 1800 187 263
  • Your doctor
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Trained therapist

Things to remember

  • A phobia is an intense and irrational fear of certain objects or situations.
  • A person who has claustrophobia may panic when inside an enclosed space, such as a lift, aeroplane or crowded room.
  • With appropriate treatment, it is possible to overcome claustrophobia or any other phobia.

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.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Claustrophobia?open

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

http://www.epigee.org/mental_health/claustrophobia.html

Tips for a Disease-Free Summer

Even as the Capital sweltered under severe heat conditions, city doctors cautioned about the downside of quick weather changes. Sudden change in temperature and humidity, doctors say, can be dangerous as the weather is conducive for mosquito breeding and other vector-borne diseases (diseases that spread through breeding of mosquitoes or other insects) to spread. Incidents of cholera, typhoid, jaundice and gastric problems also shoot up during this time of the year.

“This is the time when mosquito breeding starts, so dengue, malaria and other vector-borne diseases make a comeback. Precautions must be taken to stop active breeding,” says Dr Bir Singh, professor community medicine, AIIMS.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi so far has reported two cases of malaria, but the number is likely to increase with rise in temperature. “We are taking all precautions to control mosquito breeding. Anti-larval medicines are being sprayed in vulnerable spots. We will intensify the drive from April end,” said Dr N K Yadav, medical health officer, MCD.

According to Dr Sanjeev Bagai, head of the department of paediatrics and director, Rockland Hospital, “One should see a doctor if there is headache, vomiting and high-grade fever which persists for more than 24 hours. Extra precaution should be taken in case of children. The bacteria’s incubation period is very short, sometimes just a few hours.”

Meningococcal disease, also referred to as cerebro-spinal meningitis, is a contagious bacterial disease caused by the meningococcus bacteria (Neisseria Meningitidis). It is spread by person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets of infected people. The bacteria attack the meninges (outer cover) of the brain, and infected persons should be treated at hospitals or under medical supervision.

Doctors also advise drinking a lot of water in order to prevent dehydration. However, water from the roadside and any drink that has commercial ice is to be strictly avoided. “We don’t know the source of water that is used in commercial ice. It could lead to diseases like cholera and jaundice. Food and water-borne infections are very common during summers,” informs Dr Bir Singh.

Freshly cooked food is also to be preferred over uncooked options, since gastro-intestinal problems become rampant. “We see a lot of cases of food poisoning, dysentery and other gastric problems during the beginning of summers. The food doesn’t remain sterile for long if not refrigerated in time,” says Dr Bagai. Dairy products should be consumed within days of buying.

Fruit chats, juices and shakes from roadside vendors are also to be avoided. “Maximum cases of gastroenteritis are cause by roadside food. Cut fruits, raw vegetables and chats should not be eaten, as one doesn’t know the method of preparation or how long the fruits and vegetables have been exposed in the heat,” said Dr G C Vaishnava, head of the department internal medicine, Fortis Healthc

Overall, doctors advise taking timely precautions. Children should be vaccinated for typhoid, meningitis, chicken pox and Hepatitis A. One should also drink a lot of water and other fluids. “Dehydration is common and people often faint because of it. Maintaining the body’s water level is essential. During winter our water intake goes down, but one has to make a conscious effort to drink a lot of water,” said Dr Vaishnava.

Sources: toireporter@timesgroup.com

Tooth Regeneration

You May Never Have to Use or Hear a Dentist Drill Again!
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The next time you get a cavity, you might get tooth regeneration instead of fillings.

Materials scientists are beginning to develop solutions of chemicals that can actually rebuild decayed teeth. Enamel and dentin, the natural materials that make teeth the strongest pieces of your body, would replace gold or ceramic fillings.

Enamel and dentin are strong, long-lasting, and can repair themselves. However, they are also very complex.

But with the help of a calcium-containing solution of ions, scientists have been able to rebuild dentin and remineralize some parts of the teeth. Still, the complicated process is years away from being used in your local dentist’s office.

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Sources:
Wired April 2, 2008
Journal of Structural Biology March 31, 2008

Can You Influence a Baby’s Sex?

There are a variety of theories about influencing the sex of a baby.

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Male sperm are said to swim more quickly than female ones

But do they have any scientific merit or are they just old wives tales?

Recent polls are clear. Many parents, given the chance, would love to influence the sex of their baby.

Four out of 10 say they would like to choose whether they have a boy or girl, with one in five even claiming they would pay £1,000 for the opportunity.

But why are parents so obsessed about it?

Annette Briley, a consultant midwife at Tommy’s baby charity, believes it is linked to the ever-shrinking size of the family unit.

She points out whereas it was not uncommon for the post-war generation to have four or five children, most parents now opt for just two.

Control

“When our grandparents were having lots of children, there was always a good chance that they would have a mix of boys and girls.

“But now we have fewer that is not so likely.

“I guess it is also related to the nature of our society where we have so much control and I think that extends to choosing the make-up of our family.”

And for couples wanting to influence their child’s sex, there is no shortage of advice.

Fertility doctors already have the know-how to be able to decide the sex of a baby through embryo selection, but that is banned in the UK except for medical reasons.

As a result, parents are left to sift through a selection of what some dub old wives’ tales.

Many of them relate to the environment of the vagina at the time of sex.

The theory goes that male sperm struggle more than female sperm in the naturally acidic conditions.

In the 1980s, douching, flooding the vagina with an alkaline solution such as baking soda, before sex was used.

This environment theory has also been used to lend support to the suggestion sexual positions can influence the reproduction process.

Since the vagina is known to be less acidic closer to the cervix, it has been claimed that having sex with the woman on top or the man behind, during which penetration is deeper, is more likely to lead to a boy.

Another theory is that as female sperm live longer, but swim slower than their male counterparts, it may increase the odds of a girl by having sex several days before ovulation and then abstaining so that the male sperm die.

This certainly seems to have gained some credence in the 21st century if the booming sales of ovulation sticks are anything to go by.

And then there is diet. Previous research has suggested potassium, found in the likes of meat and bananas, helps males sperm thrive, while the magnesium in nuts, soya beans and green leafy vegetables is good for female sperm.

The latest study takes this a step further, suggesting a high calorie diet increases the odds of a boy.

But despite some parents swearing by these techniques, experts remain unconvinced.

Odds
Dr Simon Fishel, a leading fertility doctor and head of the CAREfertility group of clinics, says: “There is very little scientific evidence that any of these lifestyle factors really have an impact. At most they will only alter the odds slightly.

“But that is not to say people don’t believe them. I get one or two emails each month with parents asking me about how they can have a boy or a girl.

“In the end I don’t think we should decry this too much as long as every child is loved and cherished.”

And no matter how silly some of these techniques seem, spare a thought for the French in the 18th century.

It was widely believed that if a man tied off his left testicle, a boy would be more likely.

The theory was based on the mistaken belief that sperm from each testicle was sex-specific.

“There is very little scientific evidence that any of these lifestyle factors really have an impact” says Dr Simon Fishel, fertility expert

Sources:BBC NEWS:23rd. April, ’08

Protein that Cuts Tumour Malignancy

Researchers have discovered a protein which can reduce the malignancy of breast cancer tumors and also predict whether the cancer will metastasize, according to a study published on Monday.

“This protein seems to be suppressing tumor growth,” said study author Kent Hunter of the National Cancer Institute in Washington.

In studies on mice and in gene expression profiles of human cancer cells, Hunter found they could dramatically slow the growth of breast cancer tumors and prevent the cancer from spreading.

They did this by inserting extra copies of the gene that expresses the protein into the tumor, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

Those tumors grew to one tenth of the size of those which had not been stimulated to overproduce the protein. They also had molecular profiles of significantly less malignant tumors and did not spread.

The presence of this protein could also be used to predict which patients are at risk of metastasis, he said.

Sources: The Times Of India