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Algae May Harbour SARS Cure

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A protein from algae might help in treating Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) infections, suggests a new study.

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Researchers from University of Iowa have found that mice treated with the protein, Griffithsin (GRFT), had a 100 percent survival rate after exposure to the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), as compared to a 30 percent survival for untreated mice.

GRFT is believed to exert its anti-viral effects by altering the shape of the sugar molecules that line the virus‘ envelope, allowing it to attach to and invade human cells, where it takes over the cells’ reproductive machinery to replicate itself.

Without that crucial ability, the virus is unable to cause disease.

“While preliminary, these results are very exciting and indicate a possible therapeutic approach to future SARS or other coronaviral outbreaks,” said Christine Wohlford-Lenane, senior research assistant at the department of pediatrics University of Iowa and the lead author of the study.

GRFT not only stop the virus from replicating, but also prevented secondary outcomes, such as weight loss, that are associated with infection.

“We are planning future studies to investigate prophylaxis, versus treatment interventions with GRFT, in the SARS mouse model in collaboration with Barry O’Keefe at the National Cancer Institute,” she said.

“In addition, we want to learn whether mice protected from SARS by GRFT develop protective immunity against future infection,” she added.

The research was presented at the American Thoracic Society‘s 105th International Conference in San Diego.

Source: The Times Of India

 
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Diagnonistic Test

Rapid Detection of Infectious Diseases.

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Only a few minutes and a simple, ready-to-use diagnostic test kit are needed to determine an individual’s infectious disease status.
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In about the middle of the 20th century, mass vaccination programs and the widespread availability of antibiotics significantly reduced the threat of infectious diseases in Canada and many other regions of the world. Indeed, a concerted worldwide effort led to eradication of the smallpox virus, the cause of the most serious infectious disease in the western world during the 17th and 18th centuries , and the incidence of other diseases, such as the common childhood ailments measles, mumps, and pertussis, have been reduced by similar vaccination programs . Despite these advances, however, infectious diseases remain the world’s leading cause of premature death, accounting for about 17 million deaths in 1995.

To further control communicable diseases, global efforts must overcome ongoing challenges provided by the evolution of infectious agents. Among the more significant evolutionary changes in the past 25 years are the increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance in infectious bacteria (e.g., methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE))  and the emergence of about 30 new infectious agents (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the ebola virus) . Moreover, rapid evolutionary changes create new appearances for some infectious agents (e.g., the influenza virus and HIV), allowing them to circumvent the defensive mechanisms of our immune systems.

Another obstacle for the control of communicable diseases arises when the role of an infectious agent in a disease goes unnoticed. The significance of this point was demonstrated in the 1980s when the bacterium Helicobacter pylori was finally recognized as a causative factor of duodenal ulcers and other gastric diseases . As a result of the H. pylori discovery, many gastric diseases are now effectively treated with antibiotics, and it is possible that new therapeutic directions will be stimulated by a recent proposal, which implicates chronic infections as a cause of several well-Known diseases (e.g., atneroscierosis and Alzheimer’s Disease).

For infectious diseases, an unambiguous diagnosis obtained in a timely fashion is extremely important, not only from a personal viewpoint (i.e., the initiation of an appropriate treatment), but also from a public health perspective (i.e., the prevention of disease transmission from one individual to another).

To a large extent, evidence for the presence of an infectious agent, and thus the diagnosis of infectious disease status, is provided by the results of one or more diagnostic tests. In addition to providing an accurate result, an ideal rapid diagnostic test should be easy to perform while yielding a definite result within a reasonable length of time ([less than]30 min to be considered as a rapid test).

For these reasons, most rapid diagnostic tests for infectious diseases are based on the highly selective, noncovalent interactions between an antibody and an antigen. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to the entry of a foreign entity, such as an infectious agent. Because antibodies specifically bind to a distinct site (or epitope) in a protein or another macromolecule (i.e., the antigen) associated with the infectious agent, the unique group of antibodies generated during each infection is an excellent diagnostic marker for disease. This immunoassay approach can be limited by the time required for antibody levels to increase to detectable levels after infection (e.g., antibodies for HIV are detectable on average 25 days post infection).

Immunoassays in various forms (e.g., enzyme immunoassays) are increasingly employed in clinical laboratories; however, the rapid test format is the most recent innovation in an industry undergoing substantial growth. In rapid tests, membrane immobilized antigens are used to capture the antibodies generated against the infectious agent. The specificity of a test towards a particular disease relies on the highly specific antigen-antibody interaction, and the appropriate choice of an antigen captures only the disease specific antibodies on the rapid test membrane. The appropriate antigen can be obtained from the infectious agent, produced by recombinant methods, or mimicked by synthetic peptides.

Antibodies captured by the membrane-immobilized antigen are detected using a colour reagent (e.g., protein A-colloidal gold or anti-human IgG antibodies conjugated to coloured particles), and a positive test typically is signified by the appearance of a coloured dot or line on the test membrane. If no disease antibodies are present in the sample, the colour reagent is not trapped on the membrane, and a negative result is obtained. A control dot or line often is included to verify that the colour reagent is functioning properly. While the rapid test format with visual interpretation provides only a qualitative result, a positive/negative result is sufficient in many diagnostic applications, including infectious disease diagnosis.

An immediate result provided by a rapid test is particularly advantageous when knowledge of a communicable disease is needed quickly (e.g., emergency surgery) or when a patient is apprehensive about the disease and might not make a second visit to a medical facility to receive the test result. The latter is a significant problem; about 30% of patients tested for HIV in publicly funded clinics in the United States during 1995 did not return , and a large cost is incurred by tracking them down to deliver the result of a laboratory test and to arrange a confirmatory test when a positive first result is obtained. The simplicity of the rapid test format allows the test to be used wherever an infectious disease has a high prevalence, or in remote clinical settings where patients must travel significant distances to get to the test centre.

The timeline from the initial idea to sales of an approved rapid diagnostic test is about five years. Over this period, research is undertaken to validate the concept; the optimum parameters are established for the immunoassay in the rapid test format, and in-house evaluation is conducted. The safety and effectiveness of the test is then established by independent clinical trials at several different locations before applications are submitted for regulatory approval by Health Canada and agencies in other countries, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. In April 1998, Health Canada granted its first approval for a rapid HIV test to MedMira Laboratories Inc.

MedMira is a publicly traded (CDNX: MIR) Canadian medical biotechnology company at the leading edge of rapid diagnostic test development. The company has expanded considerably since the early 1990s when it was established in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. At present, MedMira has over 45 employees and a corporate office in Toronto, ON. Separate locations for research and manufacturing are located in the Halifax Regional Municipality. In July 1999, MedMira Laboratories received International Organization of Standards ISO9001 registration designed around Health Canada’s ISO 13485 essentials for the manufacture of medical devices, and a system of product manufacturing compliant with the U.S. FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) was established and implemented at MedMira in April 1999.

In addition to the HIV test, which is able to detect HIV-1, HIV-2, and the rare group O variant of HIV-1, MedMira also has developed rapid tests for other infectious agents, including H. pylori, hepatitis B virus (HBV), HCV, and a HIV/HCV combination. The MedMira rapid tests meet the approval requirements in several countries and the approval process is underway in others. For example, the H. pylori test was granted U.S. FDA 510(k) clearance last year, and the U.S. FDA/PMA committee and the Chinese State Drug Administration (SDA) have accepted the MedMira HIV test for review. The MedMira test kits are marketed worldwide.

While the acute effects of infectious diseases are widely known, a connection between infectious agents and cancer has been established for HBV/HCV (liver cancer) , H. pylori (gastric cancer) , and human papillomaviruses (HPV) (cervical cancer) . Currently, rapid tests for infectious diseases identify certain underlying risk factors for cancer, but in the future, rapid test methodology will be available to detect markers associated with other forms of cancer.

Diagnostic tests are an integral part of modern health care. The availability of rapid diagnostic tests demonstrates that the complex interactions between molecules such as antigens and antibodies (and up-to-date science) can be utilized to provide a reliable diagnostic test in a simple format. Ongoing research is needed to keep rapid test methodology current with the evolution of infectious agents, and to expand the rapid test approach to the diagnosis of other diseases. Because of the simple format and reasonable cost, rapid test methodology holds the promise of bringing more efficient and effective diagnostic testing to both developed and undeveloped countries around the world.

Sources:http://www.allbusiness.com/north-america/canada/791219-1.html

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Food Intolerance

Definition:
Food intolerance or food sensitivity is a negative reaction to a food that may or may not be related to the immune system or to food poisoning. It can be caused by the absence of specific chemicals or enzymes needed to digest a food substance, or to the body’s responses to certain food constituents (chemicals) both natural or artificial.

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Not to be confused with food allergies, a food intolerance can cause various symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. It is an adverse reaction to some sort of food or ingredient that occurs every time the food is eaten, but particularly if larger quantities are consumed.

This isn’t the same as a food allergy, because the immune system isn’t activated. Neither is it the same as food poisoning, which is caused by toxic substances that would cause symptoms in anyone who ate the food.Food intolerance doesn’t include psychological reactions to food either.

Symptoms:
Symptoms of food intolerance vary greatly, and can be mistaken for the symptoms of a food allergy. While true allergies are associated with fast-acting immunoglobulin IgE responses, it can be difficult to determine the offending food causing an intolerance because if the immune system is involved, the response is likely to be IgG mediated and takes place over a prolonged period of time. Thus the causative agent and the response are separated in time, and may not be obviously related. A deficiency in digestive enzymes can also cause some types of food intolerances. Lactose intolerance is a result of the body not producing enough lactase used to break down the lactose in milk. Gluten intolerance results in damage to villi in the small intestine, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb water and nutrients from foods. Another type of food intolerance is an intolerance to food chemicals such as salicylates or salicylate sensitivity. Salicylates are chemicals that can occur naturally in many foods. Salicylate sensitivity causes many symptoms the most common of which are: hives, stomach pain, head aches, mouth ulcers, and it has even been linked to ADD and ADHD.

Food intolerance can exist as a separate condition or contribute to the symptoms of complex syndromes such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS/CFIDS, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ME, Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome PVFS and may involve causes such as Leaky Gut Syndrome. For these reasons diagnosis is best carried out by experienced practitioners.

Symptoms of a food intolerance include gas, intermittent diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes, migraine headaches, and an unproductive cough.

Food intolerances are rarely harmful but may cause unpleasant symptoms, including nausea, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, which can begin hours or days after eating or drinking the food in question.

The severity of symptoms varies depending on the amount of enzyme the person makes and how much of the food has been consumed. In alcohol intolerance, there may be intense flushing of the skin, nausea, palpitations, headache and feeling faint.

Causes:
Food intolerance occurs when the body is unable to deal with a certain type of foodstuff. This is usually because the body doesn’t produce enough of the particular chemical or enzyme that’s needed for digestion of that food.

For example, one of the most common types is intolerance of cow’s milk, which contains a type of sugar called lactose. Many people have a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is normally made by cells lining the small intestine. Without this enzyme they can’t break down milk sugar into simpler forms that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Lactose intolerance can cause symptoms very similar to irritable bowel syndrome.

Another common example is a deficiency of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol can make affected people feel unwell.

Some people have adverse reactions to chemical preservatives and additives in food and drinks, such as sulphites, benzoates, salicylates, monosodium glutamate, caffeine, aspartame and tartrazine.

The lack of a specific enzyme in the body may lead to the build up of toxic byproducts and histamine, which then mimic the symptoms of an allergy. This is called a ‘pseudo-allergic’ reaction.

Who’s affected?

There’s a strong genetic pattern to food intolerances. Lactose intolerance is less common among northern and western Europeans (10 to 15 per cent are affected) than in Asian, African, native American and Mediterranean populations (70 to 90 per cent are affected).

Babies are usually born with higher levels of lactase, so lactose intolerance usually only begins after the age of about two, as the body begins to produce less of the enzyme. But many people don’t experience symptoms until they’re much older. A temporary lactase deficiency may follow gastroenteritis, especially in children.

Alcohol intolerance is common among Asian people – 50 per cent are affected.

Diagnosis:
Diagnosis can include elimination and challenge testing, clinical investigation is generally undertaken only for more serious cases, as for minor complaints not affecting lifestyle the cure may be more inconvenient than the problem. Treatment can involve avoidance, and re-establishing a level of tolerance.

Individuals can try minor changes of diet to exclude foods causing obvious reactions, and for many this may be adequate without the need for professional assistance. For reasons mentioned above foods causing problems may not be so obvious. Persons unable to isolate foods and those more sensitive or with disabling symptoms should seek expert medical and dietitian help. The dietetic departments of teaching hospitals is a good start. (see links below)

Guidance can also be given to your general practitioner to assist in diagnosis and management. Food Elimination Diets have been designed to exclude food chemicals likely to cause reactions and foods commonly causing true allergy problems and those foods where enzyme deficiency cause symptoms. These elimination diets are not every day diets but intended to isolate problem foods and chemicals. Avoidance of foods with additives is also essential in this process.

Individuals and practitioners need to be aware that during the elimination process patients can display aspects of food addiction, masking, withdrawals, and further sensitization and intolerance. Those foods that an individual considers a ‘must have everyday’ are suspect addictions, this does include tea, coffee, chocolate and health foods and drinks, as they all contain food chemicals. Individuals are also unlikely to associate foods causing problems because of masking. Where separation of time between eating and symptoms occur. The elimination process can overcome addiction and unmask problem foods so that the patients can associate cause and effect.

Lactose intolerance can be tested for more thoroughly using a lactose tolerance test, a hydrogen breath test and a stool acidity test. Your doctor can arrange these and other food intolerance tests if necessary.

Click to see:->Food Intolerance Test

Food IntoleranceTreatment:

Food intolerance can be managed simply by cutting the food out of your diet. Babies or younger children with a lactose intolerance can be given soya milk or hypoallergenic milk formula instead of cow’s milk.

It takes around 5 days of total abstinence to unmask a food/chemical, during the first week on an elimination diet withdrawal symptoms can occur but it takes at least 2 weeks to remove residual traces. If symptoms have not subsided after 6 weeks, food intolerance is unlikely involved and a normal diet should be restarted. Withdrawals are often associated with a lowering of the threshold for sensitivity which assists in challenge testing, but in this period individuals can be ultra sensitive even to food smells so care must be taken to avoid all exposures.

After 2 or more weeks if the symptoms have reduced considerably or gone for at least 5 days then challenge testing can begin. This can be carried out with selected foods containing only one food chemical, so as to isolate it if reactions occur. In some countries such as Australia purified food chemicals in capsule form are available to doctors for patient testing, these are often combined with placebo capsules for control purposes. (see link below) This type of challenge is more definitive. New challenges should only be given after 48 hours if no reactions occur. Or after 5 days of no symptoms if reactions occur.

Once all food chemicals are identified a dietitian can prescribe an appropriate diet for the individual to avoid foods with those chemicals. Lists of suitable foods are available from various hospitals and patient support groups can give local food brand advice. A dietitian will ensure adequate nutrition is achieved with safe foods and supplements if need be.

Over a period of time it is possible for individuals avoiding food chemicals to build up a level of resistance by regular exposure to small amounts in a controlled way, but care must be taken, the aim being to build up a varied diet with adequate composition.

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/Food_intolerance
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/foodintolerance1.shtml

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Acquired Immunodeficiency

Immunodeficiency is the term used for failure of the immune system to combat infections effectively. as a result of immunodeficiency, infections develop more frequently than normal and are greater threat to health. Infections that would not normally seriously affect a healthy person may be life-threatening in someone with immunodeficiency. They include viral infections, such as shingles and chickenpox, both of which are caused by herpes zoster and cause only mild illness if the immune system is normal.

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Immunodeficiency may be present for birth, in which case it is often hereditary. More commonly, the deficiency in a person’s immune system develops later in life, and in such cases the condition is given the name acquired immunodeficiency.

Worldwide, acquired immunodeficiency is most often associated with malnutrition or with infection with the human immunodeficiency virus.

What are the causes?
In aids, the human immunodeficiency virus destroys a particular type of white blood cell, and this causes progressive immunodeficiency.

Infections such as measles influenza damage the body’s ability to fight infection.They do this partly by reducing the number white blood cells involved in fighting the infection. Usually, this type of immunodeficiency is mild, and the immune system returns to normal once the person has recovered from the infection.

A mild form of immunodeficiency may develop in some chronic disorders, including diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis. this may occur partly because these diseases put stress in the immune system, reducing its ability to resist other diseases.

Certain types of cancer, particularly tumors of the lymphatic system, may cause a more severe form of immunodeficiency by damaging the cells of the immune system and by reducing the production of normal white blood cells.

The long-term use of corticosteroids suppresses the immune system and has the inevitable effect of causing immunodeficiency. Immunosuppressant drugs, which may be given to prevent the rejection of an organ following transplant surgery, also produce immunodeficiency and affect the body’s ability to fight infections. chemotherapy can damage the bone marrow, where the majority of blood cells are made, and may also lead to acquired immunodeficiency.

Immunodeficiency may also develop after removal of the spleen, an organ in which some of the white blood cells are produced. Splenectomy may be performed if the spleen has been damaged by an injury or else it may be carried out to treat various disorders including hereditary spherocytosis, which is a type of hemolytic anemia.

There are also many rare types of acquired immunodeficiency, the causes of which are not clear. one rare type is immunoglobulin a deficiency, in which levels of immunoglobulin a antibodies are lower than normal, leading to an increased number of skin infections.

What might be done?
Your doctor may suspect immunodeficiency if you have recurrent infections. to confirm the diagnosis of acquired immunodeficiency, you may need to have blood tests that measure the levels of white blood cells and antibodies.

if immunodeficiency is due to drug treatment, it may be possible to reduce the dose or stop taking the drug. when an underlying cause cannot be eliminated, treatment is aimed at reducing risk of infection and combating infections as they occur. your doctor may suggest continual low doses of antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and/or antifungal drugs and various immunizations, such as pneumococcus vaccine to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia.

Ayurvedic Recommended Therapy: Virechan

The effects of immunodeficiency can usually be controlled by treatment, although immunodeficiency due to HIV infection tends to worsen over time.

Click to learn more about AIDS & HIV infection.…………………..(1)..……(2)……..(3)
Click for Alternative treatment of Human Immunodeficiency.……..(1).……...(2).……..(3)

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.

Source:

http://www.charak.com/DiseasePage.asp?thx=1&id=240

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