News on Health & Science

Libido pill to work on mind, not body

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WASHINGTON: What is desire? What triggers it? Some think oysters, and chocolate—among other mythical things—are aphrodisiacs. They are rich in nutrients and give energy, but no one has proven they give you passion.

Even the “little blue pill” Viagra just works on, shall we say, the plumbing—it keeps the blood flowing in the right direction.

Now there’s a drug in the pipeline that its makers say really will restore lost libido. It’s being tested and developed, in part, in a laboratory at Concordia University in Montreal by neuroscientist Jim Pfaus.

Professor and part-time punk rocker, Pfaus is using rats to test id the new substance, bremelanotide triggers desire.

Rats stand in for humans, because, like people, they’re social and they have a similar hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls desire.

Pfaus says he’s finding that bremelanotide seems to put rats in the mood. Given the peptide, female rats, he says, initiate sex four times more often than those who do not receive it.

And bremelanotide’s makers are betting it will work the same way on both men and women. “It brings back your libido,”Pfaus said. “It doesn’t make it something that it wasn’t. It brings it back to where it probably was when you were having good sex.”

Carl Spana, chief executive officer of Palatin Tech, which holds the patent on bremelanotide, said it activates parts of the brain that are involved in regulating sexual function.

He says other products on the market, such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, “work by affecting peripheral blood flow, rather than the nervous system.”

Palatin Technologies hopes to have bremelanotide on the market for men within a couple of years—and for women shortly after that.

Bremelanotide didn’t start out as a drug for sexual dysfunction. In fact, it was being developed as a tanning enhancer.

“All treatments for sexual dysfunction, especially erectile dysfunction, have colorful stories about how they started,”said Spana in a statement on Saturday.

Source:The Times Of India

Positive thinking

Key to Health Is Mind Over Medicine

At 81, Carmela Hilbert has chronic heart problems and neuropathy in her feet. Yet, she says, in some ways she’s never felt better.

“I think a lot of it has to with attitude,” Hilbert explains. “I think a lot of it has to do with learning — with the fact that you never stop trying something new.”

The newest thing she’s trying is meditation. She walks in a specially built meditation circle called a labyrinth every day near her Bedford, Mass., home.

“You come out of that with a feeling of relaxation and peace that’s very helpful,” she says.

It also helps alleviate pain and symptoms from her ailments, she adds.

Like Hilbert, millions of senior citizens are frustrated with conventional medicine. In fact, research shows more than 60 percent of adults have turned to non-conventional therapy like meditation, perhaps because 30 percent believe traditional medicine can’t help them.

They’re flocking to programs offering spiritual wellness — like meditation, yoga and tai chi.

Frank Rinato, 73, has been practicing tai chi in Brooklyn for 11 years.

“I’ve had bursitis, arthritis, the gout, and I don’t have any of it now,” he says.

Ruth Mitchell, 86, practices with Rinato.

“You know, at one time I felt, ‘Well, this is my life and that’s it,’ ” she says. “But I feel alive again.”

Going Mainstream

None of these therapies is new, but in the past five years mainstream medicine has started giving them scientific attention and support. And insurers are starting to cover the new approaches, looking for ways to contain the rising costs of standard medical treatments.

In 1999, the National Institutes of Health created a Center for Alternative Medicine to study nonconventional treatments. This year, the institute has a $122 million budget.

Dr. Herbert Benson, the president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and a Harvard Medical School associate professor, has studied the body’s “relaxation response” for nearly 40 years. He says it’s so important because more than 60 percent of visits to the doctor are stress related.

“Thirty-five years ago, mind/body medicine was considered off the radar, flaky,” he says. “Now, there are sufficient data to point out that mind/body medicine can be effective in a number of different conditions in which surgeries and medications are ineffective.”

Academic researchers have recently found that meditation may provide a broad array of benefits — everything from relieving pain to fighting the flu. But many of the studies are preliminary. And skeptics warn against seeing these treatments as a panacea.

Richard Sloan, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University says it is fine for patients to pray or meditate if it makes them feel better.

But he adds, “The question is whether there’s any evidence that it has any medical benefit, and the answer generally is ‘No, it doesn’t have any particular medical benefit.’ ”

Tell that to Hilbert.

“Meditation gives me the energy and the strength to do all the things I do in my life,” she says, “and my life is very full.”

Source:ABC News

News on Health & Science

Fish oils and vitamins helpful in depression

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Diet and nutrition may play a key role in helping people fight depression, Australian researchers report.

A number of nutrients, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, St John’s Wort and several B vitamins, have the potential to influence mood by increasing the absorption of chemical messengers in the brain, Dianne Volker of the University of Sydney in Chippendale and Jade Ng of Goodman Fielder Commercian in North Ryde, New South Wales note in the journal Nutrition and Dietetics.

There is a wealth of epidemiological, experimental and circumstantial evidence to suggest that fish and the oils they contain, in particular omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, are protective against depression, Volker and Ng write.

They point out that the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 may also be important, given that the latter can prevent the body from absorbing the former.

Another candidate for dietary prevention of depression is the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods, including turkey, and is responsible for the drowsiness people feel after eating a hearty Thanksgiving dinner.

The body converts tryptophan to the neurotransmitter serotonin, suggesting the amino acid may have modest effects on mood.

But studies investigating whether the B vitamin folate, vitamins B6 and B12, and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) play a role in depression have had conflicting results, the researchers write.

And while European studies have found that St John’s Wort has antidepressant effects, US clinical trials have shown the opposite, which some think may be due to the herb’s interaction with other medications.

Volker and Ng conclude: “The role of balanced nutrition in mental health should be recognised,” thus allowing for the use of nutrition and relevant nutrients in the maintenance of good mental health.

Source:The Times Of India

Positive thinking

Home Is Where The Heart Is

The word “home” has a wide variety of connotations. To some, home is merely a place where basic needs are addressed. To others, home is the foundation from which they draw their strength and tranquility. Still, others view home as a place inexorably linked to family. Yet all these definitions of home imply somewhere we can be ourselves and are totally accepted. There, we feel safe enough to let down our guard, peaceful enough to really relax, and loved enough to want to return day after day. However, these qualities need not be linked to a single space or any space at all. Home is where the heart is and can be the locale you live in, a community you once lived in, or the country where you plan to live someday. Or home can be a feeling you carry inside yourself, wherever you are.

The process of evolution can require you to undergo transformations that uproot you. Moving from place to place can seem to literally divide you from the foundations you have come to depend on. Since your home is so intimately tied to the memories that define you, you may feel that you are losing a vital part of yourself when you leave behind your previous house, city, state, or country. And as it may take some time before you fashion new memories, you may feel homeless even after settling into your new abode. To carry your home with you, you need only become your own foundation. Doing so is merely a matter of staying grounded and centered, and recognizing that the pleasures you enjoyed in one place will still touch your heart in another if you allow them.

Your home can be any space or state of being that fulfills you, provided you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings. A person can feel like home to you, as can seasons and activities. If you feel disconnected from what you once thought of as home, your detachment may be a signal that you are ready to move one. Simply put, you will know you have found your home when both your physical environment and energetic surroundings are in harmony with the individual you are within.

Source:Daily Om

Healthy Tips

Top 10 Nutrition & Fitness Tips

1. Get real and be specific. Write down three or four realistic goals that you can stick to. For example, “I will try to lose one pound of body fat every week. I will walk for 30 minutes minimum five days a week.” Avoid fantasy-land goals that will only frustrate you.

2. Get prepared. Throw away all the junk, the processed, and the “bingeable” foods now and replace them with fresh, whole foods like lots of water and veggies. Buy a new pair of walking shoes and find some clothes in your closet you feel comfortable to walk in. During a lifestyle change, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!

3. Get support. Whether it’s your best friend, spouse, or pet, it helps to have some nonjudgmental and nurturing support when trying to lose weight, especially during trying times.

4. Make daily notes. Research has shown that keeping track of your daily exercise and food intake in a journal or notebook will increase the likelihood of success. Keep it simple, or if you’re inspired, write a novel! The key is to hold yourself accountable.

5. Create a food-free reward system. How about a new workout outfit, pair of jeans, shoes — or what the heck, even a spa treatment, shopping spree, or weekend getaway? You deserve this kind of treatment when you reach your goals.

6. Buy a pedometer. A pedometer keeps track of how many steps you take daily. Wear it every day, around home, work, and while exercising. Your National Body Challenge goal is to increase your steps by 10,000 or more daily! Remember this: You’ll burn roughly 100 to 125 calories by taking 2,500 steps (about one mile). The goal during the challenge is to burn 300 extra calories and to eat roughly 200 calories less in a day. This 500-calorie deficit is equivalent to one pound of body fat per week and a healthy boost to your self-esteem.

7. Don’t skip breakfast. Research shows that the most successful “losers” never skip it. Try to keep it balanced with some protein, a healthy carb, and a small amount of fat. Here are some examples: an egg-white omelet with fresh berries and a piece of whole-wheat toast, or a skim milk shake with fruit and yogurt.

8. Nix the late-night eating. If you eat a lot of excess calories after 8 p.m., you wear them the next morning. Put a stop to this by making sure you have a healthy dinner consisting of lean protein, veggies, and fruit.

9. Eliminate processed sugars. Processed sugars are carbs that have been stripped of their valuable nutrients. How can you identify these sugars? They are all white: table sugar, pasta, rice, and bread, and they’re nothing but trouble, since they kick up your appetite for more of the same.

10. Have a mid-afternoon snack. This will curb your appetite and provide fuel for your after-work walk or workout at the gym. Some great snack ideas include: reduced-fat peanut butter on a multi-grain cracker, a couple of pieces of low-fat string cheese and an apple, cottage cheese with pineapple, or try a low-fat cheese microwaved in a whole-wheat pita.

From :  Discovery Health Channel National Body Challenge
Last Updated: 2005-10-13