News on Health & Science

Quick Surgery Not Helpful After Mild Heart Attack

Does rushing a patient to hospital after a mild heart attack improve his or her chances of survival? It doesn’t help much, says a new  Canadian study led by Indian-origin professor Shamir Mehta at McMaster University in Hamilton near Toronto.
The study found that rushing patients with a mild heart attack into bypass surgery or angioplasty did not improve their chances of survival, than waiting a few days. Led by Mehta, the researchers found similar rates of death or recurrence of heart attack in patients who underwent surgery quickly after a mild stroke and those who had to wait for a day and longer.

However, patients at high risk of having another stroke or heart attack needed quick surgery, the researchers said. Calling their findings “good news for patients and physicians”, Mehta said: “While we have known for a long time that patients with a full blown heart attack benefit from receiving angioplasty as early as possible, we did not know the optimal timing of angioplasty in patients with threatened or smaller heart attacks.”

“These second group of patients represent a large burden to the health care system and outnumber patients with full blown heart attacks by about 2:1. They often respond well to initial therapy with aspirin and other anti-clotting medications.”

As part of their multi-country study, the researchers picked up 3,031 patients – from 17 countries – who underwent angiography within 24 hours of being admitted to hospital or within 50 hours of admission.

Six months after the surgery, 9.6% of patients who received early treatment suffered another heart attack or died as compared to 11.3% who received delayed surgical intervention.

The study said: “Early intervention did not differ greatly from delayed intervention in preventing the primary outcome, but it did reduce the rate of the composite secondary outcome of death, myocardial infarction, or refractory aeschemia and was superior to delayed intervention in high-risk patients.”

Mehta said: “Patients coming to hospital with small or threatened heart attacks can be treated with aspirin and other anti-clotting medications and be transferred to a catheterisation laboratory a few days later, without undue harm.

“For patients with smaller or threatened heart attacks, only those who are at high risk need to have angioplasty early. The majority can be safely treated a few days later.”

Sources:The Times Of India

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Humans Make Their Own Aspirin Compoun

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Humans form their own version of aspirin‘s active principle, known as salicylic acid, when the drug breaks down in the body.

.Salicylic acid->
.Salicyclic acid or SA, which is responsible for aspirin’s renowned effects in relieving pain and inflammation, may be the first in a new class of bioregulators, according to a new study.
Gwendoline Baxter and her British colleagues said their past research revealed that SA exists in the blood of people who have not recently taken aspirin.
Vegetarians had much higher levels, almost matching those in patients taking low doses of aspirin.
Based on those findings, the researchers previously concluded that this endogenous SA came from the diet, since SA is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables.
Now the group reports on studies of changes in SA levels in volunteers who took benzoic acid, a substance also found naturally in fruits and vegetables that the body could potentially use to make SA.
Their goal was to determine whether the SA found in humans (and other animals) results solely from consumption of fruits and vegetables, or whether humans produce their own SA as a natural agent to fight inflammation and disease. The results reported in the study suggest that people do manufacture SA, according to a release of American Chemical Society.
“It is, we suspect, increasingly likely that SA is a biopharmaceutical with a central, broadly defensive role in animals as well as plants,” they state. “This simple organic chemical is, we propose, likely to become increasingly recognized as an animal bioregulator, perhaps in a class of its own.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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Herbs & Plants

Willow Bark (Salix alba and other salix sp.)

White Willow foliage; note white undersides of...Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Salix alba
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Salix
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales

Other Names:-Crack willow; European willow; Liu-zhi; Purple willow; Pussy willow; Salix alba; Salix nigra; Wheeping willow; White willow

Habitat : Willow is found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

The use of willow bark dates back to the time of Hippocrates (400 BC) when patients were advised to chew on the bark to reduce fever and inflammation. Willow bark has been used throughout the centuries in China and Europe, and continues to be used today for the treatment of pain (particularly low back pain and osteoarthritis), headache, and inflammatory conditions such as bursitis and tendinitis. The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and is thought to be responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. In fact, in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin. White willow appears to be slower than aspirin to achieve any effects, but those effects may last longer.

It is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree growing up to 10-30 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter and an irregular, often leaning crown. The bark is grey-brown, deeply fissured in older trees.
The willow family includes a number of different species of deciduous trees and shrubs native to Europe, Asia, and some parts of North America. Some of the more commonly known are white willow/European willow ( Salix alba ), black willow/pussy willow ( Salix nigra ), crack willow ( Salix fragilis ), purple willow ( Salix purpurea ), and weeping willow ( Salix babylonica ). The willow bark sold in Europe and the United States usually includes a combination of the bark from white, purple, and crack willows.

click to see the pictures....(1).…...(2)……..(3)..……………..

Willows are very cross-fertile and numerous hybrids occur, both naturally and in cultivation. A well known example is the weeping willow (Salix × sepulcralis), very widely planted as an ornamental tree, which is a hybrid of a Chinese species and a European species – Peking willow and white willow.

The willows all have abundant watery sap, bark which is heavily charged with salicylic acid, soft, usually pliant, tough wood, slender branches and large, fibrous, often stoloniferous roots. The roots are remarkable for their toughness, size, and tenacity of life, and roots readily grow from aerial parts of the plant.

Medicinal Uses and Indications:-
Willow bark is used to ease pain and reduce inflammation, and there is good evidence that it is effective as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Researchers believe that the chemical salicin, found in willow bark, is responsible for these effects. However, studies have identified several other components of willow bark which have antioxidant, fever-reducing, antiseptic, and immune-boosting properties. Some studies have shown willow is as effective as aspirin for reducing pain and inflammation (but not fever), and at a much lower dose. Researchers theorize that may be due to the other compounds in the herb. More research is needed.

Studies suggest that willow bark may be useful for the following conditions:


Willow bark has been shown to relieve headaches and there is some evidence that it is less likely to cause the same gastrointestinal side effects that other pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, do. However, studies have not shown this conclusively, and people who are prone to stomach upset may want to avoid willow bark. Large-scale studies are needed to fully determine the safety and effectiveness of willow bark for chronic or recurrent headaches.

Low back pain

Willow bark appears to be effective for back pain. In a well-designed study of nearly 200 people with low back pain, those who received willow bark experienced a significant improvement in pain compared to those who received placebo. People who received higher doses of willow bark (240 mg salicin) had more significant pain relief than those who received low doses (120 mg salicin).


Several studies have shown that willow is more effective at reducing pain from osteoarthritis than placebo. In a small study of people with osteoarthritis of the neck or lower back, those who received willow bark experienced significant improvement in symptoms compared to those who received placebo. A similar study of 78 patients hospitalized with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip joint found that patients who received willow bark experienced significant pain relief compared to those who received placebo.

Other Medical Uses :-

Some professional herbalists may recommend willow bark for the following conditions, although at present, no scientific studies have supported these uses:

Menstrual cramps

Dosage and Administration:-

Because of the danger of developing Reye syndrome (a rare but serious illness associated with the use of aspirin in children), children under the age of 16 should not be given willow bark.

General dosing guidelines for willow bark are as follows:

Dried herb (used to make tea): boil 1 – 2 tsp of dried bark in 8 oz of water and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes; let steep for ½ hour; drink 3 – 4 cups daily
Powdered herb (available in capsules) or liquid: 60 – 240 mg of standardized salicin per day; talk to your doctor before taking a higher dose
Tincture (1:5, 30% alcohol): 4 – 6 mL three times per day

Because willow bark contains salicin, people who are allergic or sensitive to salicylates (such as aspirin) should not use willow bark. Some researchers suggest that people with asthma, diabetes, gout, gastritis, hemophilia, and stomach ulcers should also avoid willow bark. If you have any of these conditions, take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) regularly or blood-thinning medication, be sure to consult your health care provider before taking willow bark. Willow bark should not given to children under the age of 16.

Side Effects:-

Side effects tend to be mild. However, gastrointestinal irritation and ulcers are potentially associated with all compounds containing salicylates. Overdoses of willow bark may cause skin rash, stomach inflammation/irritation, nausea, vomiting, kidney inflammation, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:-
Salicylates are not recommended during pregnancy, so pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take willow bark.

Interactions and Depletions:-
Because willow bark contains salicylates, it has the potential to interact with a number of drugs and herbs. Talk to your doctor before taking willow bark if you take any other medications, herbs, or supplements.

Willow bark may interact with any of the following: –

Anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) — Willow bark may strengthen the effects of drugs and herbs with blood-thinning properties.

Beta blockers — including Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL), Propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA). Willow bark may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs.

Diuretics (water pills) –– Willow bark may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs –– including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Taking willow bark with these drugs may increase risk of stomach bleeding.

Methotrexate and phenytoin (Dilantin) — Willow may increase levels of these drugs in the body, resulting in toxic levels.

You may click to learn more about Willow Bark:->.……..(1)….(2)…..(3)….(4).

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.



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All-about-tooth-and-tooth-therapy Healthy Tips

Stop Bad-Mouthing Yourself

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Stop Bad-Mouthing Yourself
Neglect daily care of your mouth and you put yourself at risk for real oral health issues.


Your regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing routine is a good foundation for a healthy mouth, but some areas need more love than others. Target these top problem spots to safeguard your smile — and your life.


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Problem Spot: Between your back teeth (top and bottom)

click & see

Reason: It’s where you do most of your chewing.

Quick Fix: Instead of a straight up-and-down flossing motion, wrap the floss around each tooth, slide it just under the gum, and then floss like you would shine a shoe, says Craig Valentine, D.M.D., of the Academy of General Dentistry.

Canker sores:

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Problem Spot: The inside of your bottom lip

click & see

Nervous lip biting may trigger canker sores, but the cause is usually viral.

Quick Fix: Use Colgate’s Orabase with benzocaine, which was voted the best treatment by members of the American Pharmacists Association.

Receding Gums:

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Problem Spot: The gum that surrounds both your top left canine tooth and the premolar behind it…click & see

The top canines are your most prominent teeth, so they take extra abuse from brushing. (Righties will do more harm to the left tooth.)

Quick Fix:
Brush gently and in only one direction — from the gum down to the bottom of the tooth.

Oral Cancer

Problem Spot:
Your tongue

click  & see

Reason: Its location makes it more susceptible to toxins such as cigarette smoke.

Quick Fix: Ban smoke from your body and eat more avocados. Ohio State University researchers found that chemical compounds in avocados may reduce the risk of oral cancer.


Problem Spot: The two bottom teeth in the front and center.

click & see

They’re closest to your salivary glands, and a protein in saliva has been shown to promote plaque buildup.

Quick Fix:
Snack on raisins; they contain phytochemicals that block plaque from latching onto your teeth, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Do more for your mouth:
Researchers from Case Western University found that regular exercise and a healthful diet may cut your risk of gum disease by up to 29 percent.


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News on Health & Science

Bald? Help on the Horizon

[amazon_link asins=’B001A6LXWW,B001A6N5GE,B00MOMCAY6,B00VN79K2I,B00MEWVZ6U,B000V8MTIC,B01N2WAAY4,B01N63U9XQ,B00I65AGHI’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2b5fc74a-1b45-11e7-847d-43e5918ff16c’]Scientists now have a better understanding of how hair grows, making treatment of baldness a possibility.

It’s yet to become a hit in online chatrooms or a hot topic on medical blogs. But when it will, researchers like George Cotsarelis and Elaine Fuchs will surely attain cult status. After all, they are working on a vexatious problem that has troubled  and continues to trouble   countless number of men and women all their lives.

Both Cotsarelis, a dermatologist at the Pennsylvania University School of Medicine, and Fuchs, an experimental biologist at Rockefeller University, are trying to get to the bottom of the problem of hair loss, a condition   though not life threatening   that leaves many distressed and aghast.

The thinning of locks, which half the world population experiences by the age of 50, is not treated lightly by those who suffer from it, but there is no convincing cure for it yet. It’s another matter that quacks and cosmetic firms exploit this hapless situation to make a killing. Costly procedures like hair transplant may be better than the mere application of gels and oils, but they are yet to become a viable option.

Cotsarelis and Fuchs are trying to address this problem with the help of advanced cellular and molecular techniques. A therapy may still be far from reaching the clinic, but the scientists concede that now they at least have a better understanding of how hair grows.

“Over the last 10 years, there has been much progress in understanding hair follicular development. We believe this will translate into clinical benefits, but it is impossible to know when,” Cotsarelis told KnowHow.

He should know. After all, his team showed for the first time — in a paper in the journal Nature last May — that hair follicles can be regenerated. This put to rest a half-a-century-old belief that mammalian hair follicles form only during development.

Much to their surprise, Cotsarelis and his colleagues found that new hair follicles are formed in a mouse when it is wounded deeply enough (nearly five millimetres deep). More importantly, the new follicles were slightly different from the ones that develop during the embryo stage. While in embryos, follicles are produced by skin stem cells, the latter had very little to do in the follicular development in the wounded mouse. Instead, the epidermal cells — that give rise to the outermost layer of the skin — were reprogrammed to make hair follicles. The instruction for this, they found, came from a class of proteins called “wnts”. These wnts proteins are known to play a role in hair follicle development in an embryo.

Close observation revealed that when the wound is deep, stem cells are rushed to the area of injury. Unexpectedly, the regenerated hair follicles originated from non-hair-follicle stem cells.

“We’ve found that we can influence wound healing with wnts and other proteins that allow the skin to heal in a way that includes all the normal structures of the skin, such as hair follicles and oil glands,” Cotsarelis said.

By introducing more wnt proteins to the wound, the researchers could take advantage of the embryonic genes that promote follicular growth.

Conversely, by blocking the proteins, they could stop the production of hair follicles in the healed skin. Moreover, an increase in the availability of the wnt proteins also meant an increase in the number of new hair follicles.

The novel technique for which the Pennsylvania team received a patent is now being pursued by a new biotech firm called Focilla Inc, which Cotsarelis co-founded with the Boston-based PureTech Ventures. “If everything goes well, we could have a product in the market in four years,” David Steinberg of PureTech told KnowHow. The firm is confident that it will be a big player in the baldness treatment market, which in the US alone is said to be in the range of $ 2-4 billion.

When a human baby is born, some five million hair follicles cover its body. An average human head has 100,000 follicles spread across the scalp. For many, these follicles cease production with age. It is said that a healthy individual sheds around 100 strands a day. This is not a cause for worry as long as the hair is constantly replaced and the losses occur evenly around the whole scalp. Each follicle in a developing embryo receives a reservoir of stem cells that are capable of differentiating to produce hair. Each follicle can grow up to 20 individual strands of hair — of course one after another — during a person’s lifetime.

Scientists have always been stumped by the phenomenon of baldness because it is not ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. Only humans and the stumptailed macaque are known to suffer from androgenetic alopecia, as baldness is scientifically known. “We don’t know why,” says Cotsarelis.

Like Cotsarelis, Fuchs of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Rockefeller University was fascinated by skin stem cells, which unlike most other adult stem cells, can be easily grown in the laboratory. What intrigued her most was the skin stem cells’ ability to grow into two very distinct structures — skin and hair. Her inquiry as to how a skin stem cell decides to become skin or hair over the years has finally yielded some chemical clues.

In a paper in the February 2008 issue of Genes & Development, Fuchs, her postdoc student Michael Rendl, and others zeroed in on a protein called BMP which they found “ratchets up and clamps down” the activity of key genes in dermal papilla, a type of skin cell whose unique collection of proteins ultimately instructs skin stem cells to make hair follicles.

“Scientists don’t know how dermal papilla cells are programmed to provide the instructive signals to stem cells, but now we know that BMP signals play a crucial role,” Rendl observed in a release.

The work by Fuchs’ team has taken science a step closer to unlocking the secret of beautiful hair. And also perhaps an inch closer to finding a way to stem the abnormal thinning of locks.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)