Featured Healthy Tips

Music ‘Can Aid Stroke Recovery’

Listening to music in the early stages after a stroke can improve a patient‘s recovery, research suggests.

The cheap, easy way to treat stroke  is MUSIC  >…… & see the pictures

The researchers compared patients who listened to music for a couple of hours a day, with those who listened only to audio books, or nothing at all.

The music group showed better recovery of memory and attention skills, and a more positive general frame of mind.

Writing in journal Brain, the Finnish team who studied 60 patients said music could be a useful addition to therapy.

Lead researcher Teppo Sarkamo, from the University of Helsinki, said music could be particularly valuable for patients not yet ready for other forms of rehabilitation.

It also had the advantage of being cheap and easy-to-conduct.

Quick action

The study focused on 60 stroke patients who took part in the research as soon as possible after they had been admitted to hospital.

The aim was to offer music therapy before the changes in the brain that can take place in the aftermath of a stroke had a chance to kick in.

Most of the patients had problems with movement and with cognitive processes, such as attention and memory.

Patients in the music group were able to chose the type of music they listened to. All patients received standard stroke rehabilitation.

After three months, verbal memory improved by 60% in the music group, compared with18% in the audio book group, and 29% in the non-listeners.

Focused attention – the ability to control and perform mental operations and resolve conflicts – improved by 17% in the music group, but not at all in the other two groups.

In addition, patients in the music group were less likely to be depressed, or confused.

Mr Sarkamo said: “Other research has shown that during the first weeks and months after stroke, the patients typically spend about three-quarters of their time each day in non-therapeutic activities, mostly in their rooms, inactive and without interaction, even although this time-window is ideal for rehabilitative training from the point of view of brain plasticity.

“Our research shows for the first time that listening to music during this crucial period can enhance cognitive recovery and prevent negative mood, and it has the advantage that it is cheap and easy to organise.”

However, he admitted that further work was needed to confirm the study, and that it should not be assumed that music therapy would work all patients.

He said: “Rather than an alternative, music listening should be considered as an addition to other active forms of therapy, such as speech therapy or neuropsychological rehabilitation.”

Possible theories :-

The researchers said it was possible that music directly stimulated recovery in the damaged areas of the brain.

Alternatively, it might stimulate more general mechanisms related to the ability of the brain to repair and renew its neural networks after damage.

Or it might specifically act on the part of the nervous system that is implicated in feelings of pleasure, reward and memory.

Dr Isabel Lee, of The Stroke Association, welcomed the research.

However, she said: “Further research into the effect of music on stroke patients needs to be undertaken before any widespread use, as presently the mechanisms of any effect remain unclear.”

Click to See:->

Music training ‘good for heart’
Music ‘aids the healing process’
Harp therapy for cancer patients
Music therapy on hospital wards
Music therapy helps sick children
Sources:BBC NEWS:20Th. Feb,’08

Healthy Tips

The Perfect Diet

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Much has been written about a good diet though we still have some niggling questions on what to eat and what to avoid. Now, finally, we have the perfect diet – one that is high in protein and low in carbohydrate .

click & see

A high protein, low carbohydrate diet is most effective in promoting weight loss, at least in the short term, a new study has found.

Under the study, by scientists at Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute, healthy, obese men were given two different diets – both had a high protein content (30 percent of total energy value) but differed in the amount of carbohydrate.

One diet was low in carbohydrate (four percent) and the other contained a moderate amount of carbohydrate (35 percent).

The volunteers, who found both diets palatable, felt less hungry on the high protein, low carbohydrate diet compared with the diet which contained high protein but moderate amounts of carbohydrate, said Alex Johnstone who led the study.

“Weight loss during the two four week study periods was greater on the high protein, low carbohydrate diet, averaging 6.3 kg per person, compared with 4.3 kg on the moderate carbohydrate diet,” said Johnstone.

The study also looked at the physiological mechanisms behind such diets, reported

It is known that when people eat low carbohydrate diets, their bodies switch from using glucose as a fuel to using ketone bodies that are appetite suppressing. It’s also well known that protein itself is good at making people feel full up.

“In this study, we showed that on the high-protein low-carbohydrate diet the volunteers became ketogenic within one-two days of starting this diet and so it may be that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are particularly effective because of the combined effect of the protein and the ketone bodies,” said Johnstone.

“We showed that the volunteers on the ketogenic diet reduced their energy intake without increasing their hunger and this was a very important factor in their ability to stick to the diet,” she said.

But Johnstone sounded a note of caution about her findings.

“A paper published last year from the same study showed that low carbohydrate diets may have consequences for the health of the gut by dramatically reducing the numbers of particular types of bacteria.

“So we will be looking in more detail at the complex way in which we respond to changes in our diet before we can say whether low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets are a suitable tool for everyone who wants to lose weight,” she said.


Health Alert

Smoking Damages Lung Cells

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Researchers have revealed that an unexplored mechanism can help explain how forms of oxidative stress, such as exposure to cigarette smoke, damage cells in the lungs.


Toxins in cigarette smoke, they show, open unpaired hemichannels-small portholes in the cell surface-that can, with very little provocation, turn into major breaches in the cell’s integrity, leading to rapid cell death.

This discovery by researchers from the University of Chicago, the University of California at San Diego and the University of California at Los Angeles, suggests new ways to prevent smoking-related cellular damage and possibly to put the brakes on other diseases tied to oxidative stress, including atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases and even senescence.

“Opening hemichannels allows stressful, often toxic, stimuli to flow directly into cells, overwhelming the delicate and carefully maintained balance within and triggering the signals that induce cell death,” said study author Ratneshwar Lal, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

“We were surprised to find out how little it took to cause such damage, only a small change in membrane electrical properties,” he added, “and by how much damage it could cause,” he added.

Hemichannels form a small-gated pathway from the interior of a cell, through the cell membrane to the cell surface.

They usually connect with an identical hemichannel from an adjoining cell to form a gap junction. By directly connecting two cells, gap junctions enable them to exchange the chemical signals they use to coordinate their activities and maintain metabolic and ionic homeostasis among connected cells in a tissue.

About fifteen years ago, scientists realized that some hemichannels had no partners; they led directly from the cell’s interior to the fluid extracellular space. In 2000, Lal and colleagues showed that cells used these channels to increase their volume, opening as necessary to take in water and calcium ions that allowed cells to reorganise their cytoskeleton and mechanical properties commonly related to cell growth and differentiation.

In this study, they looked at the effects of oxidative stress on unpaired (or non-junctional) hemichannels found in the membrane of cells from the lungs and the heart–the primary targets of cigarette smoke.

When they exposed these cells to low levels of an extract made from cigarette smoke, the non-junctional hemichannels opened. This allowed toxic molecules found in the smoke to flow directly into the cell, and vital metabolites such as ATP and NAD, to leak out, leading, ultimately, to cell injury and death.

Drugs that prevented hemichannels from opening protected the cells from similar exposures. Treating the cells with silencing RNA for the hemichannel protein also protected cells by preventing the creation of these channels.

“It required very little stress to open these channels,. Substances found in smoke and other pollutants can alter the electrical potential of the cell’s membrane. A small shift in the membrane’s electrical potential, which we know occurs in many oxidative stress situations, appears to open these channels and allow unregulated flow. This can weaken and kill cells,” Lal said.

Cells have multiple membrane channels that carefully control the flow of specific small molecules in and out of the cell, including calcium, sodium and potassium ions, each of which passes through a specific type of channel.

Hemichannels, however, with ports nearly twice the size of an ion channel, are not as specific, permitting more rapid, less regulated flow of molecules up to the size of 1000 Daltons–wide enough to allow exchange of many signalling and messenger molecules, such as ATP and small metabolites that are essential for normal cell sustenance.

“We suspect that this mechanism could play a major role in the onset of diseases such as emphysema, which is associated with smoking,” said Lal.”

“Improperly opened hemichannels may play a role in many other diseases tied to environmental stimuli,” Lal said, “or even to normal aging, where oxidative stress is thought to contribute to the gradual accumulation of multiple small damaging hits. Finding and testing drugs or other mechanisms that can selectively block these unpaired channels offers a novel approach to disease prevention,” he added.

Source: The Times Of India

Ayurvedic Healthy Tips

Herbal Power of Ashwagandha

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Herbal Power  of  Ashwagandha is standardized to contain the highest percentage of Withanolides (8%), the active compounds in Withania Somnifera that is responsible for the adaptogenic & tonic effects. Most Ashwagandha in the market contains <5% Withanolides.

Ashwagandha–Rejuvenating Tonifier

The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as “horse-like”. In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as “Indian ginseng“.

Traditional Use of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has been used throughout India for thousands of years as a rejuvenating tonifier (rasayana in Ayurvedic herbalism). It was widely used to support vitality in people of all ages, including children, and to enhance reproductive function in both men and women. Traditionally, this herb has been used as an aphrodisiac, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory agent, and astringent. The results of clinical trials indicate that ashwagandha has anti-aging, immunomodulatory, antidepressive, and other therapeutic effects.


Pharmacological Effects of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha contains several active constituents including alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine), steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins), and saponins. Withanolides serve as hormone precursors that can convert into human physiologic hormones as necessary. Preliminary animal evidence suggests ashwagandha may have a variety of pharmacological effects including analgesic, antipyretic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.

Ashwagandha– Powerful Adaptogen
The high stress levels of our society have a profound impact on well-being, impacting our bodies and health in ways that are continually being revealed by new research. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is widely used in modern Western herbalism as an adaptogen—a substance that can help our bodies healthfully adapt to physiological and psychological stress, thus increasing resistance to stressors. Adaptogenic botanicals are increasingly important in today’s society, where high stress levels negatively impact many different body systems. Many health practitioners believe adaptogens are just as important to our health as better-known nutrients and botanicals, such as antioxidants. Research suggests the mechanism of action of adaptogens may include modulation of the pituitary-hypothalamus-adrenal gland axis. They increase resistance against external stressors, have a balancing effect and stabilize normal body functions.

Ashwagandha: Anti-Stressor

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase stress resistance, improve memory-related performance, and protect against stress induced responses such as anxiety, and physiological imbalances, according to numerous animal studies and several human studies. Some researchers think ashwagandha has a so-called “anti-stressor” effect. Preliminary evidence suggests ashwagandha might suppress stress-induced increases of dopamine receptors in the corpus striatum of the brain. A comparison of the anxiety-reducing and antidepressive actions of ashwagandha with those of the benzodiazepine lorazepam was made in mice. Mice treated with both agents exhibited a reduction in brain concentrations of a marker of clinical anxiety. In addition, ashwagandha exhibited an antidepressive effect. The results of similar studies support the use of ashwagandha as an anti-stress adaptogen. In a rat model of chronic stress, the stress-reducing activities of extracts from ashwagandha were compared with those of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Both agents reduced the number and severity of chronic stress–induced ulcers, reversed the chronic stress–induced inhibition of male sexual behavior, and inhibited the adverse effects of chronic stress on the retention of learned tasks. Well-controlled clinical studies are needed to further confirm ashwagandha’s benefits for humans.

Ashwagandha: Anti-Aging herb

The anti-aging effects of Ashwagandha were shown in a double-blind clinical trial in which 101 healthy men aged 50–59 years received a dosage of 3 grams Ashwagandha for 1 year. Specifically, significant improvements in hemoglobin, red blood cell counts, hair melanin concentrations, and serum cholesterol concentrations were observed.

Click to learn more about Ashwagandha


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Healthy Tips

Cut Calories Not Taste

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself. Learn to lose the fat and keep the flavor…..CLICK & SEE

1.Love a low-fat cheese

As long as you stick to a low-fat cheese, you can eat it in comfort-grilled on a sandwich or with macaroni-and still lose weight. Several low-fat varieties taste very close to traditional cheeses these days with a fraction of the fat. And they melt in a satisfying way. To keep the low-fat benefits, be sure to shred the cheese finely. This guarantees it will spread evenly, with fewer calories and less fat in every bite.

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2. Stock up on salsa

Salsa is a dieter’s gift- it’s one of the few insta-flavor-explosions that’s actually good for you. Most salsas are completely fat-free and full of fresh vegetables or fruits. Plus, salsa adds fiber to your meal, filling you up without a lot of added calories. Spoon 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa over a piece of baked or grilled fish or chicken breast; over omelets or poached eggs; on low-fat tacos; or on top of baked potatoes.

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3. Embrace olive oil

It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a decadent meal by adding a touch of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oils are monounsaturated fats (the best kind) and have been linked to lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Extra virgin means no chemicals were used in the pressing; the finest ones should be labeled “first cold pressed” and “unrefined.”

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4. Cover for cream

It’s amazing how easy it is to feed a common craving-cream sauce or gravy-with fat-free half-and-half, some broth, a bit of flour for thickening, and your favorite seasonings. Heavy cream has 51 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. The same serving of fat-free half-and-half has only 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, and still provides that rich texture of its full-fat counterpart.


Read the links for more healthy food : 1.Fast Food With Healthy Twist

2.Surprisingly Healthy Food

3. Rating Diet Ice Cream

4. Low Fat Foods:Not Always Low Calories

Source:Stealth-Health Cooking