Purple Tomato that Fights Cancer

A purple tomato genetically engineered to contain nutrients more commonly seen in dark berries helped prevent cancer in mice, British researchers said on Sunday.

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The finding, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, bolsters the idea that plants can be genetically modified to make people healthier.

Cancer-prone mice fed the modified fruit lived significantly longer than animals fed a standard diet with and without regular tomatoes, Cathie Martin and colleagues at the government-funded John Innes Centre in Britain reported.

“The effect was much bigger than we had expected,” said Martin, a plant biologist.

The study focused on anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant found in berries such as blackberries and blackcurrants that have been shown to lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases.

While an easy health boost, many people do not eat enough of these fruits, the researchers said.

Using genes that help colour the snapdragon flower, the researchers discovered they could get the tomatoes to make anthocyanins — turning the tomato purple in the process.

Mice genetically engineered to develop cancer lived an average of 182 days when they were fed the purple tomatoes, compared to 142 days for animals on the standard diet.

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“It is enormously encouraging to believe that by changing diet, or specific components in the diet, you can improve health in animals and possibly humans,” Martin said in a telephone interview.

The researchers cautioned that trials in humans are a long way off and the next step is to investigate how the antioxidants actually affect the tumours to promote better health.

But the findings do bolster research suggesting that people can significantly improve their health by making simple changes to the daily diet, other researchers said.

“It’s exciting to see new techniques that could potentially make healthy foods even better for us,” said Dr. Lara Bennett, science information officer at Cancer Research UK.

“But it’s too early to say whether anthocyanins obtained through diet could help to reduce the risk of cancer.”

Click to see :->Pomegranates: the fruity panacea

Berries ‘help prevent dementia’

Darker fruits could fight cancer

Purple tomato ‘may boost health’

Sources: The Times Of India

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Beating Jet Lag With the Right Diet

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory shared some exciting news that the frequent, and perhaps even the not-so-frequent, flyer will appreciate: Biologists at the laboratory have developed a comprehensive free source of information about how to use the famous Anti-Jet-Lag Diet — which helps travelers fend off jet lag.

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The free online information provides a full frequently-asked-questions page that includes information about food choices, caffeine use and the Anti-Jet-Lag Diet’s origin and history.

And for a small fee, travelers can use Argonne-developed software to compute an individualized Anti-Jet-Lag Diet customized to their specific itinerary.

How Does the Anti-Jet-Lag Diet Work?

Anyone traveling across three or more time zones can use the Anti-Jet-Lag plan to eliminate or reduce jet lag (i.e. feelings of irritability, insomnia, indigestion and general disorientation) that occur when the body’s inner clock is out of sync with the time cues it receives from the environment. Such time cues include meal times, sunrise and sunset and daily cycles of rest and activity.

In other words, the Anti-Jet-Lag Diet uses nature’s time cues to help your body quickly adjust to a new time zone.

But Does the Anti-Jet-Lag Diet Really Work?

It certainly sounds promising; according to researchers, travelers who use the diet are:

Seven times less likely to experience jet lag when traveling west.

Sixteen times less likely when traveling east.

In fact, over the last two decades, the Anti-Jet-Lag Diet has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers — such as government agencies, athletes, musicians and service agencies — avoid jet lag.

Sources:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/06/25/jet-lag-part-two.aspx

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Finding Answers Within

You Have All the Answers
Many of us seek the answers to life’s questions by looking outside of ourselves and trying to glean advice from the people around us. But as each of us is unique, with our own personal histories, our own sense of right and wrong, and our own way of experiencing the world that defines our realities, looking to others for our answers is only partially helpful. The answers to our personal questions can be most often found by looking within. When you realize that you always have access to the part of you that always knows what you need and is meant to act as your inner compass, you can stop searching outside of yourself. If you can learn to hear, trust, and embrace the wisdom that lives within you, you will be able to confidently navigate your life.

Trusting your inner wisdom may be awkward at first, particularly if you grew up around people who taught you to look to others for answers. We each have exclusive access to our inner knowing. All we have to do is remember how to listen. Remember to be patient as you relearn how to hear, receive, and follow your own guidance. If you are unsure about whether following your inner wisdom will prove reliable, you may want to think of a time when you did trust your own knowing and everything worked out. Recall how the answers came to you, how they felt in your body as you considered them, and what happened when you acted upon this guidance. Now, recall a time when you didn’t trust yourself and the results didn’t work out as you had hoped. Trusting your own guidance can help you avoid going against what you instinctively know is right for you.

When you second guess yourself and go against what you know to be your truth, you can easily go off course because you are no longer following your inner compass. By looking inside yourself for the answers to your life’s questions, you are consulting your best guide. Only you can know the how’s and why’s of your life. The answers that you seek can be found when you start answering your own questions.

Sources: Daily Om

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Steps on Enlarged Heart ‘Uncovered’

Researchers in the US claim to have got new insight into the mechanisms that underlie an enlarged heart — a finding that could lead to development of new treatment for managing this common cardiac ailment.

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An enlarged heart can lead to heart failure (Image: CNRI, Science Photo Library)

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According to them, high blood pressure, heart valve disease and heart attacks can lead to a abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, called myocardial hypertrophy, which plays a role in the pathological increase in the heart size.

At the molecular level, signals driving myocardial hypertrophy, like elevated levels of catecholamine hormones, activate the Myocyte Enhancer Factor (MEF) proteins. This alters gene expression in heart muscle cells and induces an adverse developmental paradigm known as “fetal gene response”.

“Previous research has shown that the signalling pathways leading to MEF2 are altered during pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Although we know that enzymes called histone deacetylases (HDACs) control MEF2 activity, it was not clear that HDACs and MEF2 were integrated into a larger signalling unit,” lead author John D Scott said.

To further identify the molecular mechanisms associated with cardiac hypertrophy, Scott and colleagues at the University of Washington studied cardiac A-Kinase Anchoring Proteins (AKAPs), which are known to play a critical role in organising signalling complexes in response to catecholamine hormones and transmitted signals within cells.

The researchers found that AKAP-Lbc functions as a scaffolding protein that selectively directs catecholamine signals to the transcriptional machinery to potentiate the hypertrophic response, the ‘Cell Press‘ journal reported.

“Our study supports a model where AKAP-Lbc facilitates activation of protein kinase D, which in turn phosphorylates the histone deacetylase HDAC5 to promote its export from the nucleus. The reduction in nuclear HDAC5 favoured MEF2 transcription and onset of cardiac hypertrophy,” Scott said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Tart Cherries Lower Heart Disease Risk

A new study by University of Michigan researchers has linked tart cherries, one of today’s hottest ‘Super Fruits,’ to lowering risk factors for heart disease.

……………………..CLICK  & SEE

Besides lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation, the study found that a cherry-enriched diet lowered body weight and fat – major risk factors for heart disease.

In the study, at-risk, obese rats that were fed a cherry-enriched diet saw significant decreases in body weight and fat while maintaining lean muscle mass.

After twelve weeks, the cherry-fed rats had 14 percent lower body fat compared to the other rats who did not consume cherries.

The researchers suggested cherry consumption could have an effect on important fat genes and genetic expression.

The animals were fed a “Western diet,” characterized by high fat and moderate carbohydrate – in line with the typical American diet – with or without added whole tart cherry powder, as 1 percent of the diet.

“We know excess body fat increases the risk for heart disease. This research gives us one more support point suggesting that diet changes, such as including cherries, could potentially lower heart disease risk,” said study co-author Dr. Steven F. Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center who also heads the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory, where the study was performed.

Cherry-enriched diets in the study also reduced total cholesterol levels by about 11 percent and two known markers of inflammation – commonly produced by abdominal fat and linked to increased risk for heart disease.

Inflammation marker TNF-alpha was reduced by 40 percent and interleukin 6 (IL-6) was lowered by 31 percent.

In their genetic analysis, the researchers found that the cherry-enriched diets reduced the genes for these two inflammation compounds, suggesting a direct anti-inflammation effect.

While inflammation is a normal process the body uses to fight off infection or injury, according to recent science, a chronic state of inflammation could increase the risk for diseases and may be especially common for those who are overweight or obese, at least in part because of excess weight around the middle.

Researchers say the animal study is encouraging and will lead to further clinical studies in humans to explore the link between diet, weight, inflammation and lowering heart disease risk.

The study is being presented at next week’s American Dietetic Association annual meeting.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Why You are More Creative After You Sleep

sleep, sleeping, insomnia, creative, creativity, problem solving, resolutions, nappingMost people think of the sleeping brain as similar to a computer that has “gone to sleep” — they believe that it does nothing productive. But this is incorrect. Sleep enhances performance, learning and memory. And most unappreciated of all, sleep improves the creative ability to uncover novel connections among seemingly unrelated ideas.

Some large companies provide EnergyPods, leather recliners with hoods to block noise and light, to help employees take naps and return to work refreshed.

.Sleep assists the brain in flagging unrelated ideas and memories, forging connections among them that increase the odds that a creative idea or insight will surface. After sleep, people are 33 percent more likely to infer connections among distantly related ideas.

Business attitudes toward sleep may be starting to shift.

Claire Stapleton, a spokeswoman for Google, says “grassroots” interest in sleep led to an on-campus talk by Sara C. Mednick, a napping expert. Google also installed EnergyPods, leather recliners with egglike hoods that block noise and light, that allow employees to take naps at work. Other companies that have installed EnergyPods include Cisco Systems and Procter & Gamble.

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Uterine Fibroids

 

Definition:
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during your childbearing years. Also called fibromyomas, leiomyomas or myomas, uterine fibroids aren’t associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer and almost never develop into cancer.

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As many as three out of four women have uterine fibroids, but most are unaware of them because they often cause no symptoms. Your doctor may discover them incidentally during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound.

In general, uterine fibroids cause no problems and seldom require treatment. Medical therapy and surgical procedures can shrink or remove fibroids if you have discomfort or troublesome symptoms. Rarely, fibroids can require emergency treatment if they cause sudden, sharp pelvic pain.

Uterine fibroids (singular Uterine Fibroma) (leiomyomata, singular leiomyoma) are benign tumors which grow from the muscle layers of the uterus. They are the most common benign neoplasm in females, and may affect about 25% of white and 50% of black women during the reproductive years. Uterine fibroids often do not require treatment, but when they are problematic, they may be treated surgically or with medication — possible interventions include a hysterectomy, hormonal therapy, a myomectomy, or uterine artery embolization. Uterine fibroids shrink dramatically in size after a woman passes through menopause.

Fibroids are named according to where they are found. There are four types: Intramural fibroids are found in the wall of the womb and are the most common type of fibroids. Subserosal fibroids are found growing outside the wall of the womb and can become very large. They can also grow on stalks (called pedunculated fibroids). Submucosal fibroids are found in the muscle beneath the inner lining of the womb wall. Cervical fibroids are found in the wall of the cervix (neck of the womb). In very rare cases, malignant (cancerous) growths on the smooth muscles inside the womb can develop, called leiomyosarcoma of the womb.

Symptoms:

Many women with uterine fibroids have no symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include:

*Heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods
*Feeling “full” in the lower abdomen
*Pain during sex
*Lower back pain
*Reproductive problems, such as infertility, multiple miscarriages or early labor
*Heavy menstrual bleeding
*Prolonged menstrual periods or bleeding between periods
*Pelvic pressure or pain
*Urinary incontinence or frequent urination
*Constipation
*Backache or leg pains

The names of fibroids reflect their orientation to the uterine wall. Intramural fibroids grow within the muscular uterine wall. Submucosal fibroids bulge into the uterine cavity. Subserosal fibroids project to the outside of the uterus, and pedunculated fibroids hang from a stalk inside or outside the uterus.

.Rarely, a fibroid can cause acute pain when it outgrows its blood supply. Deprived of nutrients, the fibroid begins to die. Byproducts from a degenerating fibroid can seep into surrounding tissue, causing pain and fever. A fibroid that hangs by a stalk inside or outside the uterus (pedunculated fibroid) can trigger pain by twisting on its stalk and cutting off its blood supply.

Fibroid location influences your signs and symptoms:

*Submucosal fibroids. Fibroids that grow into the inner cavity of the uterus (submucosal fibroids) are thought to be primarily responsible for prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding.

*Subserosal fibroids. Fibroids that project to the outside of the uterus (subserosal fibroids) can sometimes press on your bladder, causing you to experience urinary symptoms. If fibroids bulge from the back of your uterus, they occasionally can press either on your rectum, causing constipation, or on your spinal nerves, causing backache.
Causes:
Uterine fibroids develop from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus (myometrium). A single cell reproduces repeatedly, eventually creating a pale, firm, rubbery mass distinct from neighboring tissue.

Fibroids range in size from seedlings, undetectable by the human eye, to bulky masses that can distort and enlarge the uterus. They can be single or multiple, in extreme cases expanding the uterus so much that it reaches the rib cage.

Doctors don’t know the cause of uterine fibroids, but research and clinical experience point to several factors:

*Genetic alterations. Many fibroids contain alterations in genes that code for uterine muscle cells.

*Hormones. Estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that stimulate development of the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy, appear to promote the growth of fibroids. Fibroids contain more estrogen and estrogen receptors than do normal uterine muscle cells.

Other chemicals. Substances that help the body maintain tissues, such as insulin-like growth factor, may affect fibroid growth.

Location
Fibroids may be single or multiple. Most fibroids start in an intramural location, that is the layer of the muscle of the uterus. With further growth, some lesions may develop towards the outside of the uterus (subserosal or pedunculated), some towards the cavity (submucosal or intracavitary). Lesions affecting the cavity tend to bleed more and interfere with pregnancy. Secondary changes that may develop within fibroids are hemorrhage, necrosis, calcification, and cystic changes. Less frequently, leiomyomas may occur at the lower uterine segment, cervix, or uterine ligaments.

Risk factors
There are few known risk factors for uterine fibroids, other than being a woman of reproductive age. Other factors include:

*Heredity. If your mother or sister had fibroids, you’re at increased risk of also developing them.

*Race. Black women are more likely to have fibroids than are women of other racial groups. In addition, black women have fibroids at younger ages, and they’re also likely to have more or larger fibroids.
Inconclusive research

Research examining other potential risk factors has been inconclusive. Although some studies have suggested that obese women are at higher risk of fibroids, other studies have not shown a link.

In addition, limited studies once suggested that women who take oral contraceptives and athletic women may have a lower risk of fibroids, but later research failed to establish this connection. Researchers have also looked at whether pregnancy and giving birth may have a protective effect, but results remain unclear.

Diagnosis:
Uterine fibroids are frequently found incidentally during a routine pelvic exam. Your doctor may feel irregularities in the shape of your uterus through your abdomen, suggesting the presence of fibroids.

Ultrasound
If confirmation is needed, your doctor may obtain an ultrasound — a painless exam that uses sound waves to obtain a picture of your uterus — to confirm the diagnosis and to map and measure fibroids. A doctor or technician moves the ultrasound device (transducer) over your abdomen (transabdominal) or places it inside your vagina (transvaginal) to obtain images of your uterus.

Transvaginal ultrasound provides more detail because the probe is closer to the uterus. Transabdominal ultrasound visualizes a larger anatomic area. Sometimes, fibroids are discovered during an ultrasound conducted for a different purpose, such as during a prenatal ultrasound.

Other imaging tests
If traditional ultrasound doesn’t provide enough information, your doctor may order other imaging studies, such as:

*Hysterosonography. This ultrasound variation uses sterile saline to expand the uterine cavity, making it easier to obtain interior images of the uterus. This test may be useful if you have heavy menstrual bleeding despite normal results from traditional ultrasound….click to see

*Hysterosalpingography. This technique uses a dye to highlight the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes on X-ray images. Your doctor may recommend it if infertility is a concern. In addition to revealing fibroids, it can help your doctor determine if your fallopian tubes are open.  ...click to see

*Hysteroscopy. Your doctor inserts a small, lighted telescope called a hysteroscope through your cervix into your uterus. The tube releases a gas or liquid to expand your uterus, allowing your doctor to examine the walls of your uterus and the openings of your fallopian tubes. A hysteroscopy can be performed in your doctor’s office.
Imaging techniques that may occasionally be necessary include computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Other tests
If you’re experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding, your doctor may want to conduct other tests to investigate potential causes. He or she may order a complete blood count (CBC) to determine if you have iron deficiency anemia because of chronic blood loss. Your doctor may also order blood tests to rule out bleeding disorders and to determine the levels of reproductive hormones produced by your ovaries.
Complications
Although uterine fibroids usually aren’t dangerous, they can cause discomfort and may lead to complications such as anemia from heavy blood loss. In rare instances, fibroid tumors can grow out of your uterus on a stalk-like projection. If the fibroid twists on this stalk, you may develop a sudden, sharp, severe pain in your lower abdomen. If so, seek medical care right away. You may need surgery.

Malignancy
Very few lesions are or become malignant. Signs that a fibroid may be malignant are rapid growth or growth after menopause. Such lesions are typically a leiomyosarcoma on histology. There is no consensus among pathologists regarding the transformation of Leiomyoma into a sarcoma. Most pathologists believe that a Leiomyosarcoma is a de novo disease.

Pregnancy and fibroids
Because uterine fibroids typically develop during the childbearing years, women with fibroids are often concerned about their chances of a successful pregnancy.

Fibroids usually don’t interfere with conception and pregnancy, but they can occasionally affect fertility. They may distort or block your fallopian tubes, or interfere with the passage of sperm from your cervix to your fallopian tubes. Submucosal fibroids may prevent implantation and growth of an embryo.

Research indicates that pregnant women with fibroids are at slightly increased risk of miscarriage, premature labor and delivery, abnormal fetal position, and separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. But not all studies confirm these associations. Furthermore, complications vary based on the number, size and location of fibroids. Multiple fibroids and large submucosal fibroids that distort the uterine cavity are the type most likely to cause problems. A more common complication of fibroids in pregnancy is localized pain, typically between the first and second trimesters. This is usually easily treated with pain relievers.

In most cases, fibroids don’t interfere with pregnancy and treatment isn’t necessary. It was once believed that fibroids grew faster during pregnancy, but multiple studies suggest otherwise. Most fibroids remain stable in size, although some increase or decrease slightly, usually in the first trimester.

If you have fibroids and you’ve experienced repeated pregnancy losses, your doctor may recommend removing one or more fibroids to improve your chances of carrying a baby to term, especially if no other causes of miscarriage can be found and your fibroids distort the shape of your uterine cavity.

Doctors usually don’t remove fibroids in conjunction with a Caesarean section because of the high risk of excessive bleeding.

Treatment & Modern Drugs
There’s no single best approach to uterine fibroid treatment. Many treatment options exist. In most cases, the best action to take after discovering fibroids is simply to be aware they are there.

Watchful waiting
If you’re like most women with uterine fibroids, you have no signs or symptoms. In your case, watchful waiting (expectant management) could be the best course. Fibroids aren’t cancerous. They rarely interfere with pregnancy. They usually grow slowly and tend to shrink after menopause when levels of reproductive hormones drop. This is the best treatment option for a large majority of women with uterine fibroids.

Medications
Medications for uterine fibroids target hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. They don’t eliminate fibroids, but may shrink them. Medications include:

*Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists. To trigger a new menstrual cycle, a control center in your brain called the hypothalamus manufactures gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH). The substance travels to your pituitary gland, a tiny gland also located at the base of your brain, and sets in motion events that stimulate your ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone.

Medications called Gn-RH agonists (Lupron, Synarel, others) act at the same sites that Gn-RH does. But when taken as therapy, a Gn-RH agonist produces the opposite effect to that of your natural hormone. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, menstruation stops, fibroids shrink and anemia often improves.

*Androgens. Your ovaries and your adrenal glands, located above your kidneys, produce androgens, the so-called male hormones. Given as medical therapy, androgens can relieve fibroid symptoms.

Danazol, a synthetic drug similar to testosterone, has been shown to shrink fibroid tumors, reduce uterine size, stop menstruation and correct anemia. However, occasional unpleasant side effects such as weight gain, dysphoria (feeling depressed, anxious or uneasy), acne, headaches, unwanted hair growth and a deeper voice, make many women reluctant to take this drug.

Other medications. Oral contraceptives or progestins can help control menstrual bleeding, but they don’t reduce fibroid size. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are not hormonal medications, are effective for heavy vaginal bleeding unrelated to fibroids, but they don’t reduce bleeding caused by fibroids.
Hysterectomy
This operation — the removal of the uterus — remains the only proven permanent solution for uterine fibroids. But hysterectomy is major surgery. It ends your ability to bear children, and if you elect to have your ovaries removed also, it brings on menopause and the question of whether you’ll take hormone replacement therapy.

Myomectomy
In this surgical procedure, your surgeon removes the fibroids, leaving the uterus in place. If you want to bear children, you might choose this option. With myomectomy, as opposed to a hysterectomy, there is a risk of fibroid recurrence. There are several ways a myomectomy can be done:

Abdominal myomectomy. If you have multiple fibroids, very large or very deep fibroids, your doctor may use an open abdominal surgical procedure to remove the fibroids.
Laparoscopic myomectomy. If the fibroids are small and few in number, you and your doctor may opt for a laparoscopic procedure, which uses slender instruments inserted through small incisions in your abdomen to remove the fibroids from your uterus. Your doctor views your abdominal area on a remote monitor via a small camera attached to one of the instruments.
Hysteroscopic myomectomy. This procedure may be an option if the fibroids are contained inside the uterus (submucosal). A long, slender scope (hysteroscope) is passed through your vagina and cervix and into your uterus. Your doctor can see and remove the fibroids through the scope. This procedure is best performed by a doctor experienced in this technique.
Variations of myomectomy — in which uterine fibroids are destroyed without actually removing them — include:

*Myolysis. In this laparoscopic procedure, an electric current destroys the fibroids and shrinks the blood vessels that feed them.
*Cryomyolysis. In a procedure similar to myolysis, cryomyolysis uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the fibroids.

The safety, effectiveness and associated risk of fibroid recurrence of myolysis and cryomyolysis have yet to be determined.

*Endometrial ablation. This treatment, performed with a hysteroscope, uses heat to destroy the lining of your uterus, either ending menstruation or reducing your menstrual flow. Endometrial ablation is effective in stopping abnormal bleeding, but doesn’t affect fibroids outside the interior lining of the uterus.
Uterine artery embolization
Small particles injected into the arteries supplying the uterus cut off blood flow to fibroids, causing them to shrink. This technique is proving effective in shrinking fibroids and relieving the symptoms they can cause. Advantages over surgery include:

*No incision
*Shorter recovery time
Complications may occur if the blood supply to your ovaries or other organs is compromised.

Focused ultrasound surgery.>..click to see

 

In focused ultrasound surgery, treatment is conducted within a specialized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. High-frequency, high-energy sound waves are directed through a source (gel pad) to destroy uterine fibroids.
MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery (FUS), approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October 2004, is a newer treatment option for women with fibroids. Unlike other fibroid treatment options, FUS is noninvasive and preserves your uterus.

This procedure is performed while you’re inside of a specially crafted MRI scanner that allows doctors to visualize your anatomy, and then locate and destroy (ablate) fibroids inside your uterus without making an incision. Focused high-frequency, high-energy sound waves are used to target and destroy the fibroids. A single treatment session is done in an on- and off-again fashion, sometimes spanning several hours. Initial results with this technology are promising, but its long-term effectiveness is not yet known.

Before you decide
Because fibroids aren’t cancerous and usually grow slowly, you have time to gather information before making a decision about if and how to proceed with treatment. The option that’s right for you depends on a number of factors, including the severity of your signs and symptoms, your plans for childbearing, how close you are to menopause, and your feelings about surgery.

Before making a decision, consider the pros and cons of all available treatment options in relation to your particular situation. Remember, most women don’t need any treatment for uterine fibroids.
Alternative medicine:
You may have seen on the Internet, or in books focusing on women’s health, alternative treatments, such as certain dietary recommendations or homeopathy, which combines stress reduction techniques and herbal preparations.

More research is necessary to determine whether dietary practices or other methods can help prevent or treat fibroids. So far, there’s no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these techniques.

Herbal Treatment:
YOU can fight benign lumps With these herbs:

Evening primrose, kelp, mullein, pau d’arco, echinacea, red clover.

You may click to see Homeopathic medications for Uterine fibroids>..(1)….(2)….(3)

Prevention
Although researchers continue to study the causes of fibroid tumors, little scientific advice is available on how to prevent them. Preventing uterine fibroids may not be possible, but you can take comfort in the fact that only a small percentage of these tumors require treatment.

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/uterine-fibroids/DS00078
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uterine_fibroids
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/uterinefibroids.html

 

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Why You Want to Avoid Using Chemical Disinfectants

chemical disinfectantsChemicals used to kill bacteria could be making them stronger. Low levels of biocides, which are used in disinfectants and antiseptics to kill microbes, can make the potentially lethal bacterium Staphylococcus aureus remove toxic chemicals more efficiently, potentially making it resistant to being killed by some antibiotics.

Biocides are commonly used in cleaning hospitals and home environments, sterilizing medical equipment and decontaminating skin before surgery. At the correct strength, biocides kill bacteria and other microbes. But if lower levels are used, the bacteria can survive and become resistant to treatment.

Researchers exposed S. aureus taken from the blood of patients to low concentrations of several biocides. Exposure to low concentrations of a variety of biocides resulted in the appearance of resistant mutants.

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Rotavirus Vaccine Reduces Diarrhea

An oral vaccine for diarrhea reduced hospitalizations of children with rotavirus by 70 percent in Philadelphia, saved money and prevented infections among unvaccinated children, researchers reported.

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Three reports presented to a meeting of infectious disease specialists showed the benefits of the vaccine, which prevents the most common cause of severe diarrhea.

In one report, Irini Daskalaki of Drexel University College of Medicine reported that hospitals in North Philadelphia had seen a 70 percent drop in rotavirus-associated hospitalizations since rotavirus vaccinations began in 2006.

The number of babies aged 6 to 11 months admitted to the hospital with rotavirus plummeted by 94 percent, Daskalaki told a meeting of the American Society of Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

“The extent of the decrease in cases … is unprecedented and greater than any variation in numbers previously observed, suggesting that the vaccine played an important role,” researchers wrote in a summary released before the presentation.

Merck and Co’s Rotateq was recommended in 2006 for routine immunization of U.S. infants, while GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Rotarix, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April. Both are considered equally safe.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis, with vomiting and diarrhea, in infants and young children.

Before routine vaccination, the condition sent 410,000 children to a doctor every year, with more than 200,000 needing emergency care and 20 to 60 dying in the United States.

Globally, rotavirus kills 1,600 children under age 5 every day.

Doctors had been desperate for a vaccine to prevent the highly contagious infection. But the first one, sold by Wyeth, was pulled from the market in 1999 after it was linked to a rare, life-threatening type of bowel obstruction known as intussusception.

The new vaccines do not have that problem. A team at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston also found a 94 percent reduction in diarrheal disease after Rotateq was introduced.

Researchers at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, found only 62 children were admitted for rotavirus infection in 2008, compared with more than 300 a year in previous years, saving about $3 million a year in hospitalization costs.

A team at Quest Diagnostics, a company that tests lab samples, said it found evidence the vaccine lowered rotavirus infections in every state by between 18 and 87 percent.

“These data show a marked reduction in rotavirus disease in the U.S. after licensure of a live, oral rotavirus vaccine, although some states experienced greater declines than others,” they wrote in a summary.

“Evidence of herd immunity was also observed.” Herd immunity means even people who are not vaccinated are less likely to become infected because a disease is circulating less.

Sources:
The Times Of India

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Rift Valley Fever

Rift Valley fever
Image via Wikipedia

Defibition:
Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis (affects primarily domestic livestock, but can be passed to humans) causing fever. It is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, typically the Aedes or Culex genera.

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The disease is caused by the RVF virus, a member of the genus Phlebovirus (family Bunyaviridae). The disease was first reported among livestock in Kenya around 1915, but the virus was not isolated until 1931. RVF outbreaks occur across sub-Saharan Africa, with outbreaks occurring elsewhere infrequently (but sometimes severely – in Egypt in 1977-78, several million people were infected and thousands died during a violent epidemic. In Kenya in 1998, the virus claimed the lives of over 400 Kenyans. In September 2000 an outbreak was confirmed in Saudi Arabia and Yemen).

In humans the virus can cause several different syndromes. Usually sufferers have either no symptoms or only a mild illness with fever, headache, myalgia and liver abnormalities. In a small percentage of cases (< 2%) the illness can progress to hemorrhagic fever syndrome, meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or affecting the eye. Patients who become ill usually experience fever, generalized weakness, back pain, dizziness, and weight loss at the onset of the illness. Typically, patients recover within 2-7 days after onset.

RVF virus is a member of the Phlebovirus genus, one of the five genera in the family Bunyaviridae. The virus was first identified in 1931 during an investigation into an epidemic among sheep on a farm in the Rift Valley of Kenya. Since then, outbreaks have been reported in sub-Saharan and North Africa. In 1997-98, a major outbreak occurred in Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania and in September 2000, RVF cases were confirmed in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, marking the first reported occurrence of the disease outside the African continent and raising concerns that it could extend to other parts of Asia and Europe.

Approximately 1% of human sufferers die of the disease. Amongst livestock the fatality level is significantly higher. In pregnant livestock infected with RVF there is the abortion of virtually 100% of fetuses. An epizootic (animal disease epidemic) of RVF is usually first indicated by a wave of unexplained abortions.

TRANSMISSION TO HUMANS:
*The vast majority of human infections result from direct or indirect contact with the blood or organs of infected animals. The virus can be transmitted to humans through the handling of animal tissue during slaughtering or butchering, assisting with animal births, conducting veterinary procedures, or from the disposal of carcasses or fetuses. Certain occupational groups such as herders, farmers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians are therefore at higher risk of infection. The virus infects humans through inoculation, for example via a wound from an infected knife or through contact with broken skin, or through inhalation of aerosols produced during the slaughter of infected animals. The aerosol mode of transmission has also led to infection in laboratory workers.

*There is some evidence that humans may also become infected with RVF by ingesting the unpasteurized or uncooked milk of infected animals.

*Human infections have also resulted from the bites of infected mosquitoes, most commonly the Aedes mosquito.

*Transmission of RVF virus by hematophagous (blood-feeding) flies is also possible.

*To date, no human-to-human transmission of RVF has been documented, and no transmission of RVF to health care workers has been reported when standard infection control precautions have been put in place.

*There has been no evidence of outbreaks of RVF in urban areas.

CLINICAL FEATURES IN HUMANS
Mild form of RVF in humans

*The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) for RVF varies from two to six days.

*Those infected either experience no detectable symptoms or develop a mild form of the disease characterized by a feverish syndrome with sudden onset of flu-like fever, muscle pain, joint pain and headache.

*Some patients develop neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, loss of appetite and vomiting; in these patients the disease, in its early stages, may be mistaken for meningitis.

*The symptoms of RVF usually last from four to seven days, after which time the immune response becomes detectable with the appearance of antibodies and the virus gradually disappears from the blood.

Severe form of RVF in humans:

*While most human cases are relatively mild, a small percentage of patients develop a much more severe form of the disease. This usually appears as one or more of three distinct syndromes: ocular (eye) disease (0.5-2% of patients), meningoencephalitis (less than 1%) or haemorrhagic fever (less than 1%).

*Ocular form: In this form of the disease, the usual symptoms associated with the mild form of the disease are accompanied by retinal lesions. The onset of the lesions in the eyes is usually one to three weeks after appearance of the first symptoms. Patients usually report blurred or decreased vision. The disease may resolve itself with no lasting effects within 10 to 12 weeks. However, when the lesions occur in the macula, 50% of patients will experience a permanent loss of vision. Death in patients with only the ocular form of the disease is uncommon.

*Meningoencephalitis form: The onset of the meningoencephalitis form of the disease usually occurs one to four weeks after the first symptoms of RVF appear. Clinical features include intense headache, loss of memory, hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, vertigo, convulsions, lethargy and coma. Neurological complications can appear later (> 60 days). The death rate in patients who experience only this form of the disease is low, although residual neurological deficit, which may be severe, is common.

*Haemorrhagic fever form: The symptoms of this form of the disease appear two to four days after the onset of illness, and begin with evidence of severe liver impairment, such as jaundice. Subsequently signs of haemorrhage then appear such as vomiting blood, passing blood in the faeces, a purpuric rash or ecchymoses (caused by bleeding in the skin), bleeding from the nose or gums, menorrhagia and bleeding from venepuncture sites. The case-fatality ratio for patients developing the haemorrhagic form of the disease is high at approximately 50%. Death usually occurs three to six days after the onset of symptoms. The virus may be detectable in the blood for up to 10 days, in patients with the hemorrhagic icterus form of RVF.

The total case fatality rate has varied widely between different epidemics but, overall, has been less than 1% in those documented. Most fatalities occur in patients who develop the haemorrhagic icterus form.

DIAGNOSIS
Acute RVF can be diagnosed using several different methods. Serological tests such as enzyme-linked immunoassay (the “ELISA” or “EIA” methods) may confirm the presence of specific IgM antibodies to the virus. The virus itself may be detected in blood during the early phase of illness or in post-mortem tissue using a variety of techniques including virus propagation (in cell cultures or inoculated animals), antigen detection tests and RT-PCR.

TREATMENT AND VACCINE

*As most human cases of RVF are relatively mild and of short duration, no specific treatment is required for these patients. For the more severe cases, the predominant treatment is general supportive therapy.

*An inactivated vaccine has been developed for human use. However, this vaccine is not licensed and is not commercially available. It has been used experimentally to protect veterinary and laboratory personnel at high risk of exposure to RVF. Other candidate vaccines are under investigation.

RVF VIRUS IN ANIMAL HOSTS
*RVF is able to infect many species of animals causing severe disease in domesticated animals including cattle, sheep, camels and goats. Sheep appear to be more susceptible than cattle or camels.

*Age has also been shown to be a significant factor in the animal’s susceptibility to the severe form of the disease: over 90% of lambs infected with RVF die, whereas mortality among adult sheep can be as low as 10%.

*The rate of abortion among pregnant infected ewes is almost 100%. An outbreak of RVF in animals frequently manifests itself as a wave of unexplained abortions among livestock and may signal the start of an epidemic.

RVF VECTORS
*Several different species of mosquito are able to act as vectors for transmission of the RVF virus. The dominant vector species varies between different regions and different species can play different roles in sustaining the transmission of the virus.

*Among animals, the RVF virus is spread primarily by the bite of infected mosquitoes, mainly the Aedes species, which can acquire the virus from feeding on infected animals. The female mosquito is also capable of transmitting the virus directly to her offspring via eggs leading to new generations of infected mosquitoes hatching from eggs. This accounts for the continued presence of the RVF virus in enzootic foci and provides the virus with a sustainable mechanism of existence as the eggs of these mosquitoes can survive for several years in dry conditions. During periods of heavy rainfall, larval habitats frequently become flooded enabling the eggs to hatch and the mosquito population to rapidly increase, spreading the virus to the animals on which they feed.

*There is also a potential for epizootics and associated human epidemics to spread to areas that were previously unaffected. This has occurred when infected animals have introduced the virus into areas where vectors were present and is a particular concern. When uninfected Aedes and other species of mosquitoes feed on infected animals, a small outbreak can quickly be amplified through the transmission of the virus to other animals on which they subsequently feed.

PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Controlling RVF in animals

*Outbreaks of RVF in animals can be prevented by a sustained programme of animal vaccination. Both modified live attenuated virus and inactivated virus vaccines have been developed for veterinary use. Only one dose of the live vaccine is required to provide long-term immunity but the vaccine that is currently in use may result in spontaneous abortion if given to pregnant animals. The inactivated virus vaccine does not have this side effect, but multiple doses are required in order to provide protection which may prove problematic in endemic areas.

*Animal immunization must be implemented prior to an outbreak if an epizootic is to be prevented. Once an outbreak has occurred animal vaccination should NOT be implemented because there is a high risk of intensifying the outbreak. During mass animal vaccination campaigns, animal health workers may, inadvertently, transmit the virus through the use of multi-dose vials and the re-use of needles and syringes. If some of the animals in the herd are already infected and viraemic (although not yet displaying obvious signs of illness), the virus will be transmitted among the herd, and the outbreak will be amplified.

*Restricting or banning the movement of livestock may be effective in slowing the expansion of the virus from infected to uninfected areas.

*As outbreaks of RVF in animals precede human cases, the establishment of an active animal health surveillance system to detect new cases is essential in providing early warning for veterinary and human public health authorities.

Public health education and risk reduction:

*During an outbreak of RVF, close contact with animals, particularly with their body fluids, either directly or via aerosols, has been identified as the most significant risk factor for RVF virus infection. In the absence of specific treatment and an effective human vaccine, raising awareness of the risk factors of RVF infection as well as the protective measures individuals can take to prevent mosquito bites, is the only way to reduce human infection and deaths.

Public health messages for risk reduction should focus on:

*reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission as a result of unsafe animal husbandry and slaughtering practices. Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn and care taken when handling sick animals or their tissues or when slaughtering animals.
*reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission arising from the unsafe consumption of fresh blood, raw milk or animal tissue. In the epizootic regions, all animal products (blood, meat and milk) should be thoroughly cooked before eating.

*the importance of personal and community protection against mosquito bites through the use of impregnated mosquito nets, personal insect repellent if available, by wearing light coloured clothing (long-sleeved shirts and trousers) and by avoiding outdoor activity at peak biting times of the vector species.
Infection control in health care settings
*Although no human-to-human transmission of RVF has been demonstrated, there is still a theoretical risk of transmission of the virus from infected patients to healthcare workers through contact with infected blood or tissues. Healthcare workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed RVF should implement Standard Precautions when handling specimens from patients.

*Standard Precautions define the work practices that are required to ensure a basic level of infection control. Standard Precautions are recommended in the care and treatment of all patients regardless of their perceived or confirmed infectious status. They cover the handling of blood (including dried blood), all other body fluids, secretions and excretions (excluding sweat), regardless of whether they contain visible blood, and contact with non-intact skin and mucous membranes. A WHO Aide–memoire on Standard Precautions in health care is available at: http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/standardprecautions/en/index.html

*As noted above, laboratory workers are also at risk. Samples taken from suspected human and animal cases of RVF for diagnosis should be handled by trained staff and processed in suitably equipped laboratories.

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Vector control
*Other ways in which to control the spread of RVF involve control of the vector and protection against their bites.
*Larviciding measures at mosquito breeding sites are the most effective form of vector control if breeding sites can be clearly identified and are limited in size and extent. During periods of flooding, however, the number and extent of breeding sites is usually too high for larviciding measures to be feasible.

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RVF FORESCASTING AND CLIMATIC MODELS
Forecasting can predict climatic conditions that are frequently associated with an increased risk of outbreaks, and may improve disease control. In Africa, Saudi Arabia and Yemen RVF outbreaks are closely associated with periods of above-average rainfall. The response of vegetation to increased levels of rainfall can be easily measured and monitored by Remote Sensing Satellite Imagery. In addition RVF outbreaks in East Africa are closely associated with the heavy rainfall that occurs during the warm phase of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.

These findings have enabled the successful development of forecasting models and early warning systems for RVF using satellite images and weather/climate forecasting data. Early warning systems, such as these, could be used to detect animal cases at an early stage of an outbreak enabling authorities to implement measures to avert impending epidemics.

Within the framework of the new International Health Regulations (2005), the forecasting and early detection of RVF outbreaks, together with a comprehensive assessment of the risk of diffusion to new areas, are essential to enable effective and timely control measures to be implemented.

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/Rift_Valley_fever
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs207/en/

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