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Better Prescription

After open source software, it is now the turn of open source drug research. If this unique process can find a new anti-TB drug, it might well become the future of drug research. G.S. Mudur reports
In the temple town of Thanjavur, Aparna Venkatachalam, a final year engineering student, has turned into a foot soldier in a fresh scientific assault on the microbe that causes tuberculosis. After combing through some 200 research papers and spending dozens of hours searching online biological databases, she has assigned functions — biological tasks — to 60 proteins found in the TB microbe. She picked up a reward for her efforts last week — an Acer Netbook.

Venkatachalam is one of a group of 120 students and researchers scattered across India, Dubai, Japan and Germany, who have put together the most detailed map constructed so far to describe the biochemistry of a living organism. The 18-month science project, spearheaded by India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is seeking new drugs against the TB microbe in a manner never attempted before.

“When you want to destroy an enemy, it’s good to identify vulnerabilities,” said Samir Brahmachari, director general of the CSIR. “This map will provide us unprecedented insights into the biochemistry of the TB micro-organism.”

The search for new drugs against TB is the first project of the CSIR’s Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) programme, a Rs 150 crore effort to solve complex problems by breaking them into smaller “work packets” open to virtually anyone across the scientific community to solve. The challenges are posed on the OSDD website, and researchers wishing to try and tackle them need only to register and join the effort.

An international consortium of scientists had sequenced the genome of the microbe Mycobacterium TB [MTB] nearly 12 years ago. And over the past decade, scientists have identified 3,998 genes, and assigned biological functions to all but nine of them.

The OSDD effort has now generated a map that places about 3,700 MTB genes and their protein products into a network of biochemical pathways. The network, a web of biochemical reactions, shows how these genes and proteins allow MTB to carry out its myriad life-cycle activities — from invading human cells to evading the human immune system to routine housekeeping.

“It’s a very big and a very complex circuit,” said Hiraoki Kitanu, director of the Systems Biology Institute in Japan, who leads a research team that has contributed significantly to the development of a computer-readable format to display models of biological processes, and who has joined the OSDD effort. “This is a new approach for drug discovery,” Kitanu said.

Scientists believe MTB is an appropriate organism to pit innovative ideas against. This killer microbe claims about 1,000 lives across India each day. The four best anti-TB drugs that make up the first line of therapy were developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Secondary drugs are toxic and expensive. There are now drug-resistant versions of MTB, which pose a new challenge. While clinical trials are under way, a new drug is not expected to be ready for use until 2012.

All previous efforts at finding drugs to fight MTB involved a laborious trial-and-error method in which researchers exposed the organism to compounds and picked the ones that appeared most effective in killing bacteria or suppressing their growth. Researchers believe that the map of biochemical pathways will now allow them to choose specific regions of the pathway as targets for future drugs. “Instead of shooting in the dark, we’ll be searching for targets in a rational way,” said Anshu Bharadwaj, a scientist at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi, who, among other roles, also assigns work packets to OSDD researchers.

Some 800 researchers — most of them students — joined the effort, but only some 120 who succeeded in assigning functions to at least 40 genes — Venkatachalam among them — were picked to receive the reward. One of them was a homemaker from Dubai who had used her skills in bioinformatics to help build the pathways map. All those who won a reward, however, did not attend the meeting in Delhi — a software engineer from Germany told the OSDD that he doesn’t travel as he is wheelchair bound.

Venkatachalam, a bioinformatics student at SASTRA University in Thanjavur, and her colleague Ahalyaa Subramanian scanned published scientific literature to tell the stories of 60 MTB genes. In all, Brahmachari estimates, the consortium of researchers scanned at least 12,000 research papers on TB and compiled the information in a standardised format to build the map.

Some biologists caution people not to expect a new drug too soon. “I’m very optimistic this is going to have an impact,” said Richard Jefferson, a molecular biologist based in Australia and chief executive officer of Cambia, a non-profit institute seeking to promote innovation. “But it’s important we do not expect too much too soon. It’s going to be a long fight,” Jefferson said at the OSDD meeting last week.

In the drug discovery process, scientists will have to look for “vulnerabilities” in MTB pathways that can be exploited to design a new drug. Researchers say that one of the biggest challenges will be to find compounds that act exclusively on MTB. “We’ll need to find a vulnerability exclusive to MTB that leaves the human system alone,” said Bharadwaj.

Brahmachari himself has ventured to suggest that the effort could lead to a new candidate drug ready for clinical trials within two years. If that happens, said Brahmachari, the OSDD will invite five drug companies to invest four per cent of drug development costs, while the CSIR will provide the remainder 80 per cent. Each company would then get an opportunity to produce inexpensive generic versions of the drug.

If the OSDD does indeed deliver a new and effective drug for TB, it might trigger a paradigm change in drug research.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Bhava

Botanical Name :Garcinia cowa
Family: Clusiaceae

Synonyms: Garcinia kydia

Other names: Bhava, chenhek.

Bengali/vernacular names: Kau, Cowa, Kaglichu; Kao-gola (Chittagong)

Tribal name: Kao-gula (Chakma, Tanchangya), Tah Gala (Marma)

English name: Cow Tree

Habitat: Bhava is a lesser known edible fruit found in the states of East India (Assam, Mizoram, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa).  It is also found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  It occurs wild frequently in evergreen and semi evergreen forests or along streams in deep valleys,

Description:
Bhava is a decidious Trees 8-12 m tall, 15-20 cm in diam;  bark dark brown; branches many, borne toward top of trunk, horizontal but usually distally pendulous, slender; twigs dark brown, striate.

click & see the pictures

Petiole 0.8-1.5(-2) cm; leaf blade lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 6-14 × 2-5 cm, papery, midvein raised abaxially, impressed adaxially; secondary veins 12-18 pairs, near margin joining together; tertiary veins conspicuous on both surfaces, base cuneate, sometimes slightly decurrent, margin cartilaginous, involute, apex acuminate or long acuminate, rarely acute or obtuse.

Dioecious; male flowers 3-8, terminal or axillary, in an umbel; umbel shortly pedunculate or rarely sessile, 4-bracteate at base; bracts subulate; pedicels 4-8 mm, slender; petals yellow, ca. 2 × as long as sepals; stamen fascicles 4, connate, forming a central capitate 4-sided mass of 40-50 anthers; filaments ± absent, at most short, anthers 4-celled, cells longitudinally dehiscent; pistillode absent; female flowers usually solitary, axillary, larger than male; pedicels robust, 2-3 mm; staminodes united in lower half and enveloping ovary base; filaments long or short, usually shorter than ovary; ovary ovoid, 4-8-loculed; stigma radiately 4-8-lobed, papillate, 6-7 mm high.

Fruit opaquely yellow-brown, ovoid-globose, oblique, 5-6 × 4-5 cm in diam., 4-8-sulcate, usually apiculate, pinkish red,  looking similar to tomato...click & see

Seeds 2-4, narrow, fusiform, slightly curved, ca. 2.5 cm, rough...click & see

Cultivation: New trees are raised from seed.  These are planted at a distance of 8 m from each other the bearing starts in 4-5 years.

Edible Uses:
The fruits are edible.  In spite of their being slightly sour in taste, these are fondly eaten by local people especially in Mizoram.  The fruits are also made into jam and preserve. The young leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Chemical constituents:
Fruit pericarp is composed of a fat and the seeds yield a wax-like fat consisting of glycerides of stearic, oleic, palmitic, linoleic and myristic acids. Bark contains a gum resin (Ghani, 2003). A new compound 1,3,6-Trihydroxy-7-methoxy-8-(3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadienyl)-xanthone has been isolated from stems (Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).

Click to see :Chemical constituents and biological activities of
Garcinia cowa Roxb  :

Medicinal Uses:
In East India, the sun dried slices of this fruit are used to treat dysentery.Bark is astringent; used in spasm. Fruits are given in headache. Gum resin is drastic cathartic, may produce nausea and vomiting.

Ethanolic extract of the leaf may possesses antibacterial properties  too.

Other Uses:
The bark is used for dying clothes yellow.Bhava tree also produces a yellow gum resin which resembles gamboge.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.fruitipedia.com/Cowa_Garcinia_cova.htm
http://www.mpbd.info/plants/garcinia-cowa.php

Premature Ejaculation Defined

It’s official now — ejaculation in less than 60 seconds from start of intercourse is “premature”.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

A 20-member panel of the world’s leading sexual health experts, set up by the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM), has for the first time defined premature ejaculation (PE) — a sexual dysfunction affecting 30% of the world’s adult men.

Speaking to TOI from Orlando, eminent American urologist Ira D Sharlip, the study’s main author, said the medical definition of PE — the bane of millions of men worldwide — was reached after “studying hundreds of international studies published on PE.” The team’s study, that backs the definition, will be published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine on Saturday. It will also be officially announced on May 19 at the American Urological Association‘s annual conference in Florida.

Dr Sharlip told TOI, “The definition of lifelong PE is now a form of sexual dysfunction in which ejaculation occurs within a minute of vaginal penetration, almost every time during intercourse. The previous definitions did not quantify the time limit and so many men who just reached a climax early, sometimes mistook themselves to be suffering from PE, causing them tremendous mental distress, depression, anxiety and marital discord.”

According to Dr Sharlip, the hope now is that more people reaching climax within a minute will understand PE as a medical condition and seek treatment without suffering in silence.

He says the definition would also help drug companies identify actual PE patients when conducting a drug trail in the future. In September 2006, ISSM reportedly felt the need for an objective evidence based definition of PE. They then set up a committee of 20 experts representing every continent. The panel of experts agreed that the constructs that were necessary to define PE were time to ejaculation, inability to delay ejaculation and negative consequences from PE.

“We reviewed hundreds of published papers on PE, specially 20 that specifically addressed objective measures to pinpoint PE. The committee met in Amsterdam in October to reach a conclusive definition. Those with PE should be immediately put on a combination of psychological and drug therapy,” Dr Sharlip said.

Reacting to the study, Dr Vikram Sharma, urologist at Max Hospital, told TOI that the standardization would now reduce incorrect diagnosis of PE cases across the world. Indian surveys have shown that 10% of all adult males in the country suffer from some sort of sexual dysfunction, a large chunk of which — nearly 7% — would be of PE.

According to Dr Sharma, PE most commonly affects Indian men aged 19-26 years and decreases by nearly 50% after they reach 30.

“Till now, whenever patients complained of PE or reaching climax before five minutes of intercourse, we first put them on counselling sessions. However, now we know that in patients who ejaculate within a minute, it is a pathological disorder that would need immediate medical intervention. In absense of any standardisation earlier, doctors failed to diagnose serious PE cases thereby prolonging mental and physical trauma for the patient,” Dr Sharma said.

Experts say PE is humiliating for adult men and so many don’t acknowledge and address it until it is too late.

Sources: The Times Of India

Palas(Butea) Or Flame of the forest

Botanical Name : Butea monosperma
English Name : Flame of the forest
Hindi Name
: Palash, Dhak
Sanskrit Name : Palash

Scientific name: Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa
Family: Faboideae / Leguminosae / Papilionaceae

Common names: Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Palas, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree, Dhak or Palas (Hindi); Porasum (Tamil) ; Khakda (Gujerati).

Other names::Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma
Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree.

Trade names Palasha, Dhak.

Description:
Butea Monosperma is a tree of Fabaceae plant family. This is a small tree. The leaves are three foliate. Leaflets are coriaceous and round. The flowers bloom in February to March. The flowers are in big racemes and bright orange red in color. The petals are silky and hairy.
East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye.

The Flame of the Forest is a medium sized tree, growing from 20 to 4O feet high, and the trunk is usually crooked and twisted with irregular branches and rough, grey bark. It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown. These flowers, which are scentless, are massed along the ends of the stalks  dark velvety green like the cup-shaped calices  and the brilliance of the stiff, bright flowers is shown off to perfection by this deep, contrasting color. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree. The back-curving petals are covered with fine, silky hair, which, seen at certain angles, change the deep orange to a silvery salmon-pink. The buds too, have this downy growth and acquire a beautiful mauvish bloom.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>..(01)....(1)...(2)..…...(3).….…….

Twisted trunk habit………..PICTURE

The leaves, which appear in April and May, are 10-18″ wide and trifoliate. When fresh they are like soft suede ; thick, velvety and a beautiful pale, bronze green. Old leaves are as firm and tough as leather, smooth above and hairy below. This silky down gives them a silvery appearance from a distance.

The pods, when young, are pale green, are covered with a dense growth of fine hair and sometimes give the effect of a tree in full leaf. They are pendulous and 3 to 4 inches long. When ripe they become yellow-brown and contain flat, brown seeds.

That the flowers contain much nectar is evidenced by the frequent visits of many species of birds; sunbirds, mynahs and babblers are usually to be seen, hurrying from flower to flower, chattering and twittering. With man, also, the tree is very popular, having numerous uses. From an infusion of the flowers a brilliant colouring matter can be obtained, which may be made into water-paint or into a dye. Cotton, prepared with alum, can be dyed a bright yellow or orange.

From the seeds a clear oil is obtained and the gum which exudes from the stems, known as Bengal Kino, is valuable to druggists because of its astringent qualities, and to leather workers because of its tannin. Young roots make a strong fibre which has many uses, the making of rope sandals being one of the most important. Roots, eaten raw, cause giddiness, but, baked, are eaten by Mundari children. The leaves, because of their strength, are sewn together by poor people to make plates and the lovely flowers are popular with all Indian women for adornment of their hair.

The Palas is sacred to the moon and is said to have sprung from the feather of a falcon impregnated with the Soma, the beverage of the Gods, and thus immortalised. It is used in Hindu cremonies for the blessing of calves to ensure their becoming good milkers. When a Brahmin boy becomes a Sadhu, his head is shaved and he is given a Palas leaf to eat—the trifoliate formation representing Vishnu in the middle, Brahma on the left and Shiva on the right.

A rare yellow varity of the Flame of the Forest is sometimes found in India.
Butea Frondosa is named after the Earl of Bute, a patron of Botany and Frondosa, meaning “leafy”. It is a native of India but is not found in the dryest parts, being most common in Central India and the Western Ghats.

Uses:

The Palas is known for much more than its flowers . The powdered flower is used as “gulal” in Holi, the flowers produce a dye which Buddhist monks used to dye their robes, the tree is a host tree for the lac insect and the resinous exudation of the insect gives us shellac/lac with its numerous uses such as polishing and finishing furniture. The most surprising use of lac is as confectioner’s glaze. These glazes are used across the industry including glazing of chocolate covered and sugar coated peanuts & raisins.

Traditional use: KHASI and GARO : Leaf: in delirium; TRIBES OF PURULIATRIBES OF MA YURBHANJA (Orissa) : Seed: (West Bengal) : Seed: in ascaris; as contraceptive; TRIBES OF SANTAL PARGANAS (Bihar) : Root: in tuberculosis; TRIBES OF VARANASI (Uttar Pradesh) : Leaf: in boils; Seed: as vermifuge; TRIBES OF MIRZAPUR (Uttar Pradesh) : Bark: in dysentery; Gum: in diarrhoea, dysentery; TRIBES OF SIWALIK (Uttar Pradesh) : Gum: as tonic; BHAT: Seed: as abortifacient; BHOXA: Bark: in bone fracture, Gum: in piles, urinary complaints; GARHWALI: Leaf: in boil, inflammation, Flower: in diarrhoea, dysentery, pimples, Seed: as anthelmintic; THARU: Gum: as diuretic, Seed: as cooling agent; FOLKS OF DELHI: Gum: as astringent, Flower: as aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, Seed: as anthelmintic;Â Â Â FOLKS OF KURUKSHETRA (Haryana): Flower: in stomachache; DANG: Bark: in diarrhoea; TRIBESOFRATANMAHAL HILLS (Gujarat) : Flower: in eye complaints; KORKU (of Maharashtra): Flower, in dysentery; TRIBES OF KHANDLA (Maharashtra) : Flower: in dog bite, urinary complaints; TRIBES OF CHANDRAPURA (Maharashtra) : Leaf: in skin diseases; TRIBES OF JHABUA (Madhya Pradesh) : Root: in dog bite; TRIBES OF SAGAR (Madhya Pradesh): Leaf: as vermifuge, Flower: in diabetes, diarrhoea, piles; TRIBES OF EAST GODAVARI (Andhra Pradesh) : Gum: in diarrhoea; TRIBES OF NILGIRI (Tamil Nadu) : Bark: as haemostatic, in wounds, Flower: in eye complaints; TRIBES OF KANNANORE (Kerala): Flower: in antifertility.

ATHARVA VEDA
: Extract of stem: beneficial for sperms and helps securing conception; CHARAKA SAMHITA : Stem-extract: useful in leprosy, piles, gastroenteritis and menorrha­gia; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : useful in diseases caused by vayu (wind), Seed: effective against intestinal worms; A YURVEDA : Bark: useful against snake venom, wounds, indigestion, gastroenteritis, fever, tuberculosis, Gum: astringent, beneficial to children and women, Leaf: astringent, sex stimulant, useful in intestinal worms, dyspepsia, piles, menorrhagia, pimples, wounds in mouth/throat, Flower: diuretic, sex stimulant, helps menstruation, useful in gastroenteritis, Seed: useful against intestinal worms.

SIDDHA : Flower-juice: used in preparation of the medicine Murukkam, Seed and Kernel: in Palac

UNANI: Ingredient of the medicine called ‘Dhak(tesu)’ and ‘Samaghke Dhak’.
Chemical contents: Plant: flavonoids, glucosides, butin, butrin, isobutrin, palastrin; Flower: butrin, coriopsin, monospermoside, sulphurein, chalcones; Seed: palasonin, Seed oil: d-Iactone of n-heneicosanoic acid, monospermine, new phytolectin.
Medicinal Usage:    The gum obtained from the tree is astringent and it is used for diarrhea in addition, dysentery. The extracts from the root is used for treating eye-diseases. The leaves are aphrodisiac. In Ayurveda palas leaves have several medicinal properities and uses for different women manstrual problems.

Modern use: Plant  :  alcoholic extract: produces persistent vasodepression in cats, shows activity against earthworms; Bark: insecticide against house flies; Alcohol extract of bark : inhibitory against E. coli and Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus; Gum: solution applied to check conception; Root (bark) : aphrodisiac, analgesic, anthelmintic, useful in elephan­tiasis, applied in sprue, piles, ulcers, tumours and dropsy; EtOH (50%) extract of leaf: spasmogenic; FlolYer: effective in leprosy, gout; Alcoholic extract: antiestrogenic in mice; Aqueous extract: anti-implantation in rats; along with Hygrophila auriculata leaf and root taken with milk to cure leucorrhoea; Seed (freshly powdered) : effective against Ascaris; Extract (in vitro) : anthelmintic against Asacridia galli worms; finely powdered along with Acorus calamus rhizome or mixed with juice of Cyperus rotundus rhizome: cures delirium; Saline extract: agglutinates erythrocytes of animals; Hot alcoholic extract: anti-implantation and anti-ovulatory in animals.

Remarks: An important tree for lac cultivation, but the lac produced on it is of inferior quality. Bark yields fibre, wood yields timber of poor quality; stem-bark used as fish poison by tribes of South Rajasthan. Plates and bowls are made by stitching the leaves by the tribes of Purulia and Saurashtra. Flowers yield a yellow dye of little permanency.

Flowers are eaten as vegetables by tribes of Manbhum and Hazaribagh Districts of Bihar while fruits by Garhwalis.

Tree is sacred to the Hindus and Buddhists. Flower is an essential item of Saraswati Puja.

Click to buy online plants

Click to buy on line seeds

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

 

Help taken from:http://www.toptropicals.com/html  and http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Bauhinia%20vahlii

Tremor (When the muscles refuse to obey)

At 40 plus, just at the peak of a successful career, the sudden onset of tremor can be devastating. Careers nosedive as the young executive, although with intelligence undiminished, is unable to speak lucidly. The handwriting has little spidery spikes and is illegible. The head constantly moves in a side-to-side motion, a  yes-yes no-no  see saw oscillation that sends confused signals to the bemused bystander. Eventually, the involuntary to and fro motion affects other muscle groups in the arms, legs and trunk. Gait is affected and becomes unsteady and lurching. Speech becomes tremulous with an up and down intonation as the vocal cords get affected. Even daily tasks like dressing and eating become difficult to perform. Worse still, typing and computer keyboard coordination become impossible. And once rapid button-pressing skills are compromised, life in the 21st century becomes impracticable.

Parkinsons disease  is the diagnosis that leaps to the mind. However, all tremors are not Parkinsons. Parkinsonism occurs later, around the age of 60 years. The tremor is typical and is described as  pill rolling . The face is mask-like and expressionless.

A young person is more likely to have hereditary essential tremor. This is inherited as an autosomal dominant condition (if one parent has tremor the offspring has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting it). It affects around 0.4-3 per cent of the population (both male and female) around the age of 40 years.

Any malfunction of the areas of the brain that control movement can cause tremor. This can be caused by infectious diseases like meningitis or encephalitis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, tumours and neurodegenerative diseases. Tremor can also be brought on by low blood sugar and a hyper functioning thyroid gland.

However, not all tremors are sinister. Standing for a long time in a particular position may cause the legs to shake. This tremor is normal and disappears if the person sits down.

Sometimes a person may complain of tremor and yet nothing may be grossly visible. This fine physiological or normal tremor can be proved by asking the person to hold a small, lighted torch and focus it on a wall. The light shakes from side to side. This kind of tremor is increased by anxiety and fear but disappears at rest and when the person is calm.

Alcohol can provoke or normalise tremor, depending on whether it is due to excessive consumption or withdrawal.

Tremors caused by an underlying medical condition spontaneously disappear once the condition is removed. Appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis of the cause.

Symptomatic drug therapy is available for several forms of tremor. Parkinsonian tremor can be treated with a combination of levodopa, other dopamine-like drugs and anticholinergic medication. Unfortunately, the response decreases over time so the dosage has to be increased or more drugs added.

Essential tremor may be treated with beta blockers and primidone, an anticonvulsant drug. The response is variable.

Caffeine in coffee, tea and cola drinks, nicotine in cigarettes, and alcohol behave as tremor  triggers . Eliminating them from the diet controls all kinds of tremor.

Sometimes, the tremor can become so uncontrolled that the person expends all his or her energy. Food intake cannot keep pace and the person becomes cachexic and moribund. If the response to medication is also inadequate, surgical intervention may help. These procedures are usually performed only when the tremor is severe and does not respond to drugs.

The thalamus is the part of the brain that is responsible for most tremors. Implantable electrodes can be used to send high-frequency electrical signals to this region. A hand-held magnet can be used to turn on and turn off a pulse generator that is surgically implanted under the skin. This temporarily disables the tremor. The batteries in the generator last about five years and have to be replaced surgically. This procedure can be performed for both Parkinsonian and essential tremors.

If this is not practical, in severe cases the thalamus can be electrically ablated with brain surgery. This permanently cures the tremor without disrupting sensations or voluntary control of the muscles.

Tremor is debilitating and depressing for the patient. The caregiver also has a difficult time trying to cope with the uncoordinated and uncontrolled motor activity of a person whose muscles simply refuse to obey commands. Physical therapy helps to reduce the tremor. A qualified physiotherapist can work with the patient to improve coordination, muscle strength, control and functional skills. Control in a tremulous limb can be regained to some extent by bracing the limb and regularly exercising using weights and splints. Some traditional forms of exercise like yoga and Taichi are also beneficial. They may help to retard the progress of the disease if started in the early stages in conjunction with medication.

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.

Written by:Dr Gita Mathai is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore. Questions on health issues may be emailed to her at yourhealthgm@yahoo.co.in