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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Asthma Drug Therapy


How to deal with medical prescription, Arabic Video

The medical prescription is the most important thing in our country for the graduate students who are graduated from pharmacy college and will work in a community pharmacy.

this video is to help the graduate student  how to deal with medical prescription:


Sample medical prescriptions for training:



Saturday, 29 June 2013

Antimicrobial Resistance


Antibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have been used for the last 70 years to treat patients who have infectious diseases. Since the 1940s, these drugs have greatly reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. Antibiotic use has been beneficial and, when prescribed and taken correctly, their value in patient care is enormous. However, these drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective. Many fungi, viruses, and parasites have done the same. Some microorganisms may develop resistance to a single antimicrobial agent (or related class of agent), while others develop resistance to several antimicrobial agents or classes. These organisms are often referred to as multidrug-resistant or MDR strains. In some cases, the microorganisms have become so resistant that no available antibiotics are effective against them.

Drug Resistance Is Everywhere
Antimicrobial drug resistance occurs everywhere in the world and is not limited to industrialized nations. Hospitals and other healthcare settings are battling drug-resistant organisms that spread inside these institutions. Drug-resistant infections also spread in the community at large. Examples include drug-resistant pneumonias, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and skin and soft tissue infections.

The Effects of Antimicrobial Drug Resistance Are Far-Reaching
People infected with drug-resistant organisms are more likely to have longer and more expensive hospital stays, and may be more likely to die as a result of the infection. When the drug of choice for treating their infection doesn’t work, they require treatment with second- or third-choice drugs that may be less effective, more toxic, and more expensive. This means that patients with an antimicrobial-resistant infection may suffer more and pay more for treatment.
 
Trends in Drug Resistance
Reports of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections—in persons with no links to healthcare systems have been observed with increasing frequency in the United States and elsewhere around the globe.
Multi-drug resistant Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli have been isolated in hospitals throughout the United States.
Antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae infections have significantly declined, but remain a concern in some populations.
Antimicrobial resistance is emerging among some fungi, particularly those fungi that cause infections in transplant patients with weakened immune systems.
Antimicrobial resistance has also been noted with some of the drugs used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and influenza.
The development of antimicrobial resistance to the drugs used to treat malaria infections has been a continuing problem in many parts of the world for decades. Antimicrobial resistance has developed to a variety of other parasites that cause infection.

http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html

Underweight-Normal weight-Overweight-Obesity


The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a measure for human body shape based on an individual's mass and height. It was devised between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing "social physics". Body mass index is defined as the individual's body mass divided by the square of their height. The formula universally used in medicine produce a unit of measure of kg/m2. BMI can also be determined using a BMI chart, which displays BMI as a function of mass (horizontal axis) and height (vertical axis) using contour lines for different values of BMI or colors for different BMI categories.

BMI Categories:
  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater 

Three Questions About HPV Vaccination


In 2009, more than 30,000 people in the U.S. learned they had cancer linked to the human papillomavirus, or HPV. This virus is best known for causing cervical cancer, but it's also the culprit behind many cancers of the mouth, throat, anus, and genitals. 
Unlike many forms of cancer, for which we lack the knowledge and tools to prevent, scientists have figured out how to dodge HPV-triggered cancers -- by HPV vaccination. Vaccination against HPV thwarts the viruses' spread, wrecking its ability to jump between people. Wiping out HPV could mean shutting down a big source of cancer cases -- more than 3 percent of all diagnoses nationwide.

 What is HPV?

HPV is a family of more than 150 viruses whose members infect human skin and mucosa, the moist membranes lining the nostrils, mouth, and genital cavities. Scientists name each member, or type of virus, with a number, in order of the viruses' discovery. Many types are harmless, some cause warts on the hands or feet, and others make fleshy bumps sprout on the genitals. HPV infection is common: More than one-half of all women between the ages of 14 and 59 catch a genital HPV. Though some "low risk" types trigger skin growths, they don't lead to the unchecked growth typical of cancer. A handful of HPVs, however, do.

Like their less-dangerous relatives, "high-risk" types slip into people's bodies through tiny tears in the body's mucosa. Normally, the body sweeps out pesky HPV intruders, but when high-risk HPVs stick around, they can cause cancer. They set up shop in the moist membranes of the anus, genitals, and mouth, shedding new viral spawn as old cells slough off. New viruses hide in these flakes of dead cells and can move from body part to body part -- like from the vagina to the anus -- or from person to person.

Human cells infected with high-risk HPVs have trouble stopping mistakes made in new cells. The infected cells are like an auto assembly line with no supervisor: New cars roll off the line, but some are missing pieces. Just as production mistakes can make a car ride dangerous, mistakes in infected mucosa can drive a cell toward cancer. In cervical cancers, early signs of the disease show up as precancerous lesions -- clumps of cells that can morph into cancer. Because HPV-linked cancers grow slowly, more than 20 years can pass between infection and signs of the disease.

The Pap smear, a test that collects and examines cervical cells, can catch these signs early, giving patients a chance to treat the disease before it tumbles out of control. The test has been valuable for women: From 2000 to 2009, cervical cancer rates in the U.S. dropped. Used with a DNA test to spot high-risk HPVs, traditional Pap smears may be even more powerful. Still, in 2009, nearly 12,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. And rates of other HPV-linked cancers have been creeping up. Nearly 13,000 new cases of mouth and throat, or oropharynx, cancer were reported in 2009; the vast majority was in men. Anal cancer rates are also climbing, especially for black and white adults. Unlike cervical cancer, there is no approved screen for other HPV-linked cancers. But there may be a way to prevent them -- without the need to screen first for early lesions -- and to trim cervical cancer rates even further.

How does the HPV vaccine work?

In 2006, the FDA approved a vaccine for HPV in girls and young women. The vaccine, Gardasil, is a series of three shots spaced over six months. The injections protect against infection by four types of HPV: types 16 and 18 -- the two responsible for most cervical, anal, genital, and oropharynx cancers -- and types 6 and 11 -- two that trigger most genital warts. Three years later, the FDA approved the vaccine for use in boys and young men. In 2009, the FDA also approved a second vaccine, Cervarix, aimed at types 16 and 18.

Both vaccines prevent people from getting HPV infections by helping the body stockpile a medley of cellular defenses. The vaccines give the body a sneak peek at HPV -- like flashing a picture of the virus's face on America's Most Wanted. Because the vaccines mimic HPV's shell -- a sturdy coat that wraps around the virus's DNA -- they can show the body what to look for without exposing it to harmful viral genes. When HPV knocks on the skin's door, a vaccinated person's immune system can answer with protections ready.

When HPV infects an unvaccinated person, the immune system stays alert in case the virus drops in again. The body's defenses are strong -- they'll usually snuff out new infections. But the defenses of a vaccinated person can be more than 1000 times stronger. This means the vaccines' protection could last a long time without the need for a booster shot -- perhaps even a lifetime.

How effective is the HPV vaccine?

In clinical trials, both vaccines blocked infection by the cancer-causing HPV types, 16 and 18, and prevented almost 100 percent of cervical lesions. Blocking infection by type 16 and 18 may stave off other cancers too. These high-risk viruses cause nearly all anal, oropharyngeal, and genital cancers that are HPV-positive. Stopping HPV can also keep warts from popping up: In a clinical trial of young men, vaccination with Gardasil slashed the rate of genital warts by nearly 90 percent.

In 2010, fewer than one in three U.S. teenage girls had received the full three-dose series. The numbers are even more modest for teenage boys. Series completion rates were especially low for Hispanic girls, poor girls, and girls without private insurance. Southern states tended to fare poorly as well. Only 20 percent of girls in Alabama and Mississippi received three doses of the HPV vaccine, compared to 55 percent in Rhode Island and 47 percent in Massachusetts.

Researchers have shown that even two doses may help safeguard against HPV. Now, scientists are working to make a single vaccine that blocks infection by all HPV types -- wart-causing and cancer-causing ones alike. Today's vaccines, however, can prevent infection by two of the most common high-risk HPVs, and may be the first step toward preventing HPV-linked cancers. 



Friday, 28 June 2013

Weight loss 6 strategies for success


Make your weight-loss goals a reality. Follow these proven strategies.
Hundreds of fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright scams promise quick and easy weight loss. However, the foundation of every successful weight-loss program remains a healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with exercise. For successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits.

How do you make those permanent changes? Consider following these six strategies for weight-loss success.
1. Make a commitment

Permanent weight loss takes time and effort — and a lifelong commitment. Make sure that you're ready to make permanent changes and that you do so for the right reasons.
To stay committed to your weight loss, you need to be focused. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to change your habits. So as you're planning new weight-loss-related lifestyle changes, make a plan to address other stresses in your life first, such as financial problems or relationship conflicts. While these stresses may never go away completely, managing them better should improve your ability to focus on achieving a healthier lifestyle. Then, once you're ready to launch your weight-loss plan, set a start date and then — start.
2. Find your inner motivation

No one else can make you lose weight. You must undertake diet and exercise changes to please yourself. What's going to give you the burning drive to stick to your weight-loss plan? Make a list of what's important to you to help stay motivated and focused, whether it's an upcoming beach vacation or better overall health. Then find a way to make sure that you can call on your motivational factors during moments of temptation. Perhaps you want to post an encouraging note to yourself on the pantry door, for instance.

While you have to take responsibility for your own behavior for successful weight loss, it helps to have support — of the right kind. Pick people to support you who will encourage you in positive ways, without shame, embarrassment or sabotage. Ideally, find people who will listen to your concerns and feelings, spend time exercising with you or creating healthy menus, and who will share the priority you've placed on developing a healthier lifestyle. Your support group can also offer accountability, which can be a strong motivation to stick to your weight-loss goals. If you prefer to keep your weight-loss plans private, be accountable to yourself by having regular weigh-ins and recording your diet and exercise progress in a journal.
3. Set realistic goals

It may seem obvious to set realistic weight-loss goals. But do you really know what's realistic? Over the long term, it's best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week, although initially you might lose weight more quickly than that if you make significant changes — just be sure the changes are health supporting. To lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular exercise.

When you're setting goals, think about both process and outcome goals. "Exercise regularly" is an example of a process goal, while "Lose 30 pounds" is an example of an outcome goal. It isn't essential that you have an outcome goal, but you should set process goals because changing your processes — your habits — is a key to weight loss. Also make sure that your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited. An example of a SMART goal is aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for the next three months, and logging your results.

4. Enjoy healthier foods

Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include lowering your total calorie intake. But decreasing calories need not mean giving up taste, satisfaction or even ease of meal preparation. One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition.

In particular, get your weight loss started by eating a healthy breakfast every day; eating at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily; and using healthy fats, such as olive oil, vegetable oils and nut butters. In addition, cut back on sugar, choose low-fat dairy products and keep meat consumption to a 3-ounce portion (about the size of a deck of cards).
5. Get active, stay active

The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).

While you can lose weight without exercise, exercise plus calorie restriction can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can't cut through diet alone. Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure. Exercise can also help in maintaining weight loss. Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity.

How many calories you burn depends on the frequency, duration and intensity of your activities. One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise — such as brisk walking — for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Any extra movement helps burn calories, though. Lifestyle activities may be easier to fit into your day. Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day if you can't fit in formal exercise on a given day. For example, make several trips up and down stairs instead of using the elevator, or park at the far end of the lot when shopping.
6. Change your perspective

It's not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few weeks or even months if you want long-term, successful weight loss. These habits must become a way of life. Lifestyle changes start with taking an honest look at your eating patterns and daily routine. After assessing your personal challenges to weight loss, try working out a strategy to gradually change habits and attitudes that have sabotaged your past efforts. And you have to move beyond simply recognizing your challenges — you have to plan for how you'll deal with them if you're going to succeed in losing weight once and for all.

You likely will have an occasional setback. But instead of giving up entirely after a setback, simply start fresh the next day. Remember that you're planning to change your life. It won't happen all at once. Stick to your healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/HQ01625

Quitting smoking: 10 ways to resist tobacco cravings


For most tobacco users, tobacco cravings or urges to smoke can be powerful. But you're not at the mercy of these tobacco cravings. When an urge to use tobacco strikes, remember that although it may be intense, it will be short-lived, and it probably will pass within a few minutes whether or not you smoke a cigarette or take a dip of chewing tobacco. Each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to stopping smoking or other tobacco use for good. But it can be difficult.

So here are 10 ways to help you resist the urg
e to smoke or use tobacco when a tobacco craving strikes, no matter where you are:
  1. Delay. If you feel like you're going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes and then do something to distract yourself for that period of time. This simple trick may be enough to derail your tobacco craving. Repeat as often as needed.
  2. Don't have 'just one.' You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don't fool yourself into believing that you can stop at just one. More often than not, having just one leads to another, then another — and you may wind up using tobacco again.
  3. Avoid triggers. Urges for tobacco are likely to be strongest in the situations where you smoked or chewed tobacco most often, such as at parties or bars, in the car or while watching television. Identify your trigger situations and have a plan in place so that you can avoid them entirely or get through them without using tobacco. Don't set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you usually smoked while you talked on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to occupy yourself with doodling rather than smoking.
  4. Get physical. Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce the intensity of cravings. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can make a tobacco craving go away. Get out for a walk or jog. If you're stuck at home or the office, try squats, deep knee bends, push-ups, running in place, or walking up and down a set of stairs a few times. If physical activity doesn't interest you, try prayer, needlework, woodwork or journaling. Or do chores for distraction, such as vacuuming or filing paperwork.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques. In the past, smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Trying to resist a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. Take the edge off stress by practicing relaxation techniques. These include deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, hypnosis and massage.
  6. Call reinforcements. Touch base with a family member, friend or support group member for moral support as you struggle to resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk together or simply share a few laughs — or get together to commiserate about your cravings.
  7. Remember the benefits of quitting. Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These might include feeling better, getting healthier, sparing your loved ones from secondhand smoke or saving money. And if you're a closet smoker, you may save hours of time since you no longer have to spend time trying to conceal your habit.
  8. Go online. Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter's blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be struggling with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.
  9. Try nicotine replacements. Try a nicotine replacement product instead of a cigarette. Some types of nicotine replacement therapy, including patches, gums and lozenges, are available over-the-counter. Nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine inhaler are available by prescription, as are the stop-smoking medications bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).
  10. Chew on it. Give your mouth something to do to fight a tobacco craving. Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy. Or munch on raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds — something crunchy and satisfying.
Remember, trying something to beat the urge is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to being totally tobacco-free.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nicotine-craving/SK00057
http://www.saidaonline.com/en/news.php?go=fullnews&newsid=34017

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Laughing Gas Does Not Increase Heart Attacks, According to New Study


Nitrous oxide -- best known as laughing gas -- is one of the world's oldest and most widely used anesthetics. Despite its popularity, however, experts have questioned its impact on the risk of a heart attack during surgery or soon afterward. But those fears are unfounded, a new study indicates.

The findings by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will appear in the July issue of the journal Anesthesiology.

"It's been known for quite a while that laughing gas inactivates vitamin B12 and, by doing so, increases blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine," said lead author Peter Nagele, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and genetics. "That was thought to raise the risk of a heart attack during and after surgery, but we found no evidence of that in this study."

Nitrous oxide normally is used as an adjunct during general anesthesia because by itself the drug isn't strong enough to keep patients unconscious during surgical procedures. The drug's influence on B vitamins and homocysteine is unrelated to its anesthetic effects.

Nagele and his colleagues followed 500 surgery patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis who had been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, heart failure or other health problems that could contribute to a heart attack. All subjects in the study had noncardiac surgery and received nitrous oxide anesthesia.

The patients were divided into two groups. Half received intravenous vitamin B12 and folic acid to help prevent homocysteine levels from rising during surgery. The others did not get the intravenous B vitamins.

"There were no differences between the groups with regard to heart attack risk," Nagele said. "The B vitamins kept homocysteine levels from rising, but that didn't influence heart attack risk."

To detect heart attacks during and after surgery, the researchers monitored a marker of heart damage, cardiac troponin I, for 72 hours. A rise in troponin levels indicates damage to the heart. But they found no link between patients' homocysteine and troponin levels.

The study also looked at gene variations that naturally lead to elevated homocysteine. Individuals with common variants in the MTHFR gene already make excess homocysteine. If people with those variants then get nitrous oxide anesthesia, their levels can climb even higher.

But only 3.1 percent of patients with the high-risk genetic variants had heart attacks during or after surgery, compared with 4.7 percent of the patients who didn't have the risky variants. Neither the gene variation nor treatment with B vitamins had an effect on troponin levels following surgery.

"People who had the gene variant did, indeed, develop very high levels of homocysteine in response to nitrous oxide," Nagele said. So the question is whether those patients would be at a higher risk for heart attack, and that answer is no." 
 

Odors from Human Skin Cells Can Be Used to Identify Melanoma


According to new research from the Monell Center and collaborating institutions, odors from human skin cells can be used to identify melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In addition to detecting a unique odor signature associated with melanoma cells, the researchers also demonstrated that a nanotechnology-based sensor could reliably differentiate melanoma cells from normal skin cells. The findings suggest that non-invasive odor analysis may be a valuable technique in the detection and early diagnosis of human melanoma.

Melanoma is a tumor affecting melanocytes, skin cells that produce the dark pigment that gives skin its color. The disease is responsible for approximately 75 percent of skin cancer deaths, with chances of survival directly related to how early the cancer is detected. Current detection methods most commonly rely on visual inspection of the skin, which is highly dependent on individual self-examination and clinical skill.

The current study took advantage of the fact that human skin produces numerous airborne chemical molecules known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, many of which are odorous. "There is a potential wealth of information waiting to be extracted from examination of VOCs associated with various diseases, including cancers, genetic disorders, and viral or bacterial infections," notes George Preti, PhD, an organic chemist at Monell who is one of the paper's senior authors.

In the study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Chromatography B, researchers used sophisticated sampling and analytical techniques to identify VOCs from melanoma cells at three stages of the disease as well as from normal melanocytes. All the cells were grown in culture.

The researchers used an absorbent device to collect chemical compounds from air in closed containers containing the various types of cells. Then, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques were used to analyze the compounds and identified different profiles of VOCs emitting from melanoma cells relative to normal cells.

Both the types and concentrations of chemicals were affected. Melanoma cells produced certain compounds not detected in VOCs from normal melanocytes and also more or less of other chemicals. Further, the different types of melanoma cells could be distinguished from one another.

Noting that translation of these results into the clinical diagnostic realm would require a reliable and portable sensor device, the researchers went on to examine VOCs from normal melanocytes and melanoma cells using a previously described nano-sensor.

Constructed of nano-sized carbon tubes coated with strands of DNA, the tiny sensors can be bioengineered to recognize a wide variety of targets, including specific odor molecules. The nano-sensor was able to distinguish differences in VOCs from normal and several different types of melanoma cells.

"We are excited to see that the DNA-carbon nanotube vapor sensor concept has potential for use as a diagnostic. Our plan is to move forward with research into skin cancer and other diseases," said A.T. Charlie Johnson, PhD, Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the development of the olfactory sensor.

Together, the findings provide proof-of-concept regarding the potential of the two analytical techniques to identify and detect biomarkers that distinguish normal melanocytes from different melanoma cell types.

"This study demonstrates the usefulness of examining VOCs from diseases for rapid and noninvasive diagnostic purposes," said Preti. "The methodology should also allow us to differentiate stages of the disease process."

Current studies are focusing on analysis of VOCs from tumor sites of patients diagnosed with primary melanoma. 


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Our Essential Guide To Healthy Eating

Every day we are told to eat more healthily and take greater responsibility for our health. So what does this mean? What is a healthy diet? What should you buy and eat to ensure that you are following a healthy eating regime.

The concept of healthy eating is not new, but what constitutes a healthy diet does change. 50 years ago a healthy diet would have looked rather different to that of one today. This simple yet effective approach diet is the cornerstone of our personalized weight loss plan.
Optimum Diet and Health
Much of the current research into nutrition is concerned with determining the optimum diet for health. It is known that many foods help to combat diseases, and likewise, others cause disease.
In an ideal world everyone will know what to eat to ensure that they achieve optimum health, even if the food is not always available. It is important to mention first that there are not really any “bad” foods. A bad diet is not one that includes a few “unhealthy” foods, but a diet that is unbalanced. Sugar, fat and salt are all essential in a healthy diet, but consuming too much is what causes problems. You may also be interested in our advice on following a flat belly diet.


How Much Should You Eat – Calories

Firstly, for a diet to be healthy it must provide you with enough energy to meet your daily needs without causing you to gain weight (the most common problem) or to lose weight. Understanding how many calories the human body needs is the first step to achieving a healthy diet, as obesity generally leads to more serious health problems than poor diet alone. Men generally require more calories than women, and as we age our needs reduce.
The Main Features of a Healthy Diet

The simplest definition of a healthy diet is one that provides the daily energy requirements with foods that are nutritionally dense and varied. Diets that rely heavily on staple foods (bread, grains, rice, pasta, potatoes) are less healthy than diets with a great variation of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. This is why the “caveman diet” is so popular at the moment, as it does not allow grains which are energy dense and nutritionally poor. So, what are the nutrients that you should be packing into your diet?

There are 3 types of macro-nutrients and then the micro-nutrients and water. Macro-nutrients are: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. You can read more about those below. The micro-nutrients are the vitamins and minerals which are found in the macro-nutrients, plus water. An example of an energy dense food is white bread. It provides almost no micro-nutrients and is just energy (about 100 calories per slice). A nutrient rich food would be blueberries as they contain many anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and sugar (fructose). This leads on to the idea that we should always focus on specific foods that boost health.

Balance Your Macronutrients and Micronutrients

The problem with giving the advice to eat certain nutritious foods is that there is a risk that some people will simply eat only the most nutritious foods and this may have some undesired consequences. A diet must include a range of different foods to make it healthy. Although blueberries are considered a superfood, a diet of only blueberries will be lacking in other areas, namely proteins and fats.
 A real life example of this is when a person starts a very strict raw vegan diet in the belief that fat and protein is unhealthy (or it is just ethically wrong to eat animal produce), but then serious health problems result due to malnutrition as they do not consume alternative sources of protein and fat.
Should You Take Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?
This is another area of confusion. As there are now so many types of vitamin and mineral supplement on the shelves in supermarkets and health shops many people assume that they are an essential part of a healthy diet. However, often they are not required at all. A common problem is that the message seems to be that you only need to consume vitamins and minerals to be healthy. This results in people lacking macro-nutrients. For example people eat cereals, bread and rice and take vitamin pills, and lack proteins and healthy fats.

In some circumstances a doctor or nurse may recommend that you take a supplement, such as extra iron or folic acid (vitamin B9) for pregnant women, but really a healthy diet provides ample nutrition. For most people, supplements are not required so long as you eat a varied and balanced diet.

What Is Healthy Eating?

OK, so clearly defining a “healthy diet” is not possible, what about healthy eating? Healthy eating can mean many different things. As a guide, these are all considered to be examples of healthy eating:
Eating on a regular basis, generally 3-6 times a day
Starting your day with breakfast
Limit junk food
Limit processed food
Eating mostly a vegetarian diet
Eat a variety of different foods
Not eating sweets or other sugary foods
Ensuring a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats
Controlling calories to avoid weight gain
Eating fresh fruits and raw or partly cooked vegetables
Limiting red meat
Avoid saturated fat
Not eating late at night
Eating a mostly low to medium GI diet
Eating at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables each day
Limit salt
Limit alcohol
Preparing meals from fresh ingredients
Not relying on bread (or any other staple) for most energy

There are obviously many other rules that you could apply to a healthy diet. Once you factor in seasonal, regional and cultural variations this list will change. Some cultures do not consider pork to be healthy, others avoid foods out of season. Many Chinese people follow rules set out in Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as not eating cold foods during the winter.
How To Eat A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet has actually become less important over the last 50 years, at least, following a balanced diet alone is no longer a route to good health. However, a balanced natural diet is healthy. Before the growth of processed and refined foods, most sources of carbohydrates did provide all the nutritional requirements a person needed. So, following a diet that was high in carbohydrates, with some proteins and fat added, was a good way to stay healthy, as this meant that you would be eating many different vegetables and fruits.

People used to shop locally and buy locally grown produce, so throughout the year they would eat a varied diet. Processed food, mass manufacturing and refining has changed this. Nowadays following a diet that is high in carbohydrate could result in malnutrition for some people, as many people will just eat the same basic food all year round – bread, rice, pasta and fried potato. It is thought that this is one of the main reasons why so many people have become obese and develop heart disease in the last half a century.

So a balanced diet today must focus on not only macro-nutrients, but also on the types of foods eaten within those groups. For example, instead of saying that 70% of your diet should be carbohydrate, the advice today is more like:
70% carbohydrate
35% staples: wholegrains, brown rice, potato, pasta, cereals
35% fresh fruits and vegetables
20% protein and fat
10% dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt
10% eggs, poultry, red meat, fish, white fish and pulses
10% treats – cakes, cookies, soda, chocolate, high fat cheese, cooking oils

This approach is aimed at making it more obvious how you should balance your diet. This is how the UK Government’s “Eatwell Plate” came about.


The Eatwell Plate
 
Of course, the Eatwell Plate may be a healthy diet, but if you are very overweight then it may not actually help you to lose weight if you continue to consume too many calories. Many weight loss diets tackle obesity simply by eliminating everything in the yellow section of the plate, that is, all the bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and cereals. The idea is to reduce empty (nutritionally poor) carbohydrates and eat only the nutrient dense vegetables and fruits plus the healthy protein sources, which generally also provide the healthy fats.
  
Which Nutrients Are Required In A Healthy Diet?
For optimum nutrition to occur you need to first know how much of each nutrient you require, then know how to measure the amount of the nutrients in the foods that you are eating. This is really not practical for anyone other than professional dietitians and nutritionists to do. However, most people who follow a balanced diet receive adequate nutrition anyway.
But to answer the question “what is a healthy diet?” we really need to provide some guidelines on nutrition. It is impossible to provide any rules on nutrition because each person has different requirements. Age, gender, genetics and levels of activity can all affect requirements.

Macronutrients RDA/AI is shown below for males and females aged 40–50 years

Here is an example of the recommended daily allowance for various macronutrients, for men and women between 40 and 50 years of age. As you can see, just by providing this information your diet can suddenly become very complicated.
  • How do you actually use this information?
  • What proportion of each of these nutrients and vitamins do you currently consume through your diet?
  • How much do you need to get from supplements?
  • Is your diet the same every day?
  • Did you meet or exceed your daily intake for anything?
Substance – Amount (males) – Amount (females) – Source
  • Water – 3.7 L/day – 2.7 L/day
  • Carbohydrates - 130 g/day – 130 g/day – Bread, Beans, Potato, Rice
  • Protein - 56 g/day – 46 g/day – Cheese, Milk, Fish, Potato, Soya bean
  • Fiber - 38 g/day – 25 g/day – Peas, Soya bean, Wheat
  • Fat - 20–35% of calories – Oily fish, Walnut
  • Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid (polyunsaturated) - 17 g/day – 12 g/day
  • Alpha-Linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid (polyunsaturated) - 1.6 g/day – 1.1 g/day
  • Cholesterol – As low as possible
  • Trans fatty acids – As low as possible
  • Saturated fatty acids – As low as possible
  • Added sugar – No more than 25% of calories
This information was provided by Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies in 2004. Even this can lead to some ill-informed choices. For example, the advice on cholesterol is to avoid it, but research has also suggested the dietary cholesterol is not directly linked to high cholesterol levels on the blood, and also that eggs contain healthy cholesterol which actually improve the health of the arteries. If we look at the RDAs for vitamins and mineral the list is far longer, and again, it is next to impossible to actually use this information.
References and Healthy Eating Resources

Obesity Leads to Brain Inflammation, and Low Testosterone Makes It Worse

Low testosterone worsens the harmful effects of obesity in the nervous system, a new study in mice finds. 

The results will be presented Monday at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

"Low testosterone and obesity are common in aging men, and each is associated with type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease," said the study's lead investigator, Anusha Jayaraman, PhD, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "Our new findings demonstrate that obesity and low testosterone combine to not only increase the risk of diabetes but also damage the brain."

The study -- which was conducted in the laboratory of Christian J. Pike, PhD, Professor in the Davis School of Gerontology at USC and funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging -- consisted of three groups of male mice that received a high-fat diet (60 percent of calories were from fat) to induce obesity. Each group had eight mice and varied by testosterone status. One group had normal testosterone levels, and the second group underwent surgical removal of the testes so that the mice had low testosterone levels. The third group also underwent castration but then received testosterone treatment through a capsule implanted beneath the skin.

The high-fat diet, Jayaraman reported, resulted in obesity and evidence of diabetes -- abnormally high blood glucose (sugar) levels and poor glucose tolerance, which is the ability to clear glucose from the bloodstream. Compared with the group that had normal testosterone levels, the testosterone-deficient mice had more body fat, higher blood sugar levels and poorer glucose tolerance, she said.

After blood testing, brain tissues from the mice underwent analysis for changes. The brains of obese mice showed substantial inflammation and were less able to support nerve cell growth and survival, according to Jayaraman. These damaging effects of diet-induced obesity were significantly worse in mice with low testosterone, she said, adding that control groups of mice fed a normal diet did not show these changes.

"Our findings suggest that low testosterone and obesity interact to regulate inflammation of the nervous system, which may increase the risk of disorders such as type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease," she said.

Because many of the negative outcomes of the high-fat diet were eased in the group of mice that received testosterone therapy, Jayaraman said that "testosterone treatment may be useful in reducing the harmful effects of obesity and low testosterone on the nervous system."

Dark Chocolate Is Healthy Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Dark chocolate -- not white chocolate -- lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany. Their report appears in the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

But that's no license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure -- if you've reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.


Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate -- but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk -- is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy's National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues. Their report appears in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.

"Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate ... and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate."

Translation: Say "Dark, please," when ordering at the chocolate counter. Don't even think of washing it down with milk. And if health is your excuse for eating chocolate, remember the word "moderate" as you nibble.


The Studies

Taubert's team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure -- on average, systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 153 and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 84.

Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate.

Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). Those who ate white chocolate did not.

In the second study, Serafini's team signed up seven healthy women and five healthy men aged 25-35. On different days they each ate 100 grams of dark chocolate by itself, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.

An hour later, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. And they had higher levels of epicatechin, a particularly healthy compound found in chocolate. The milk chocolate eaters had the lowest epicatechin levels of all.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Scientists Find Chemical That Causes 'Kidney' Failure in Mosquitoes

An Ohio State University researcher and his collaborators have discovered a chemical that causes "kidney" failure in mosquitoes, which may pave the way to the development of new insecticides to fight deadly mosquito-transmitted diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

The discovery is reported in the May 29 issue of the online journal PLOS ONE .

"Our team has found a chemical that interferes with the function of a class of mosquito proteins, called potassium channels, and which compromises the ability of mosquitoes to excrete urine," said Peter Piermarini, an assistant professor of entomology based on the Wooster campus of Ohio State's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

"In addition to blocking their 'kidney' function, the chemical leaves mosquitoes unable to fly and in some cases severely bloated, all of which would lead to a shorter lifespan for the mosquitoes."

The article is the result of a collaborative project between Piermarini's laboratory, Jerod Denton's laboratory at Vanderbilt University, and Klaus Beyenbach's laboratory at Cornell University. Female mosquitoes rely on their "kidneys" (called Malpighian tubules) when consuming a human blood meal. They may ingest the equivalent of their body mass in blood, so they need to immediately get rid of the excess water and salt they consume. They achieve that by urinating on their host while they are still feeding.

As a result, Piermarini said, mosquitoes with impaired "kidney" function would be less likely to escape the human host and survive the ingestion of blood.

"With this important proof-of-concept study completed, our team is now in search of similar chemicals that will show a high potency for perturbing potassium channels in mosquitoes, but not those in humans and other animals," he said.

"If we can accomplish this goal, then we may uncover a new generation of insecticides for controlling 'resistant' mosquitoes and the spread of mosquito-borne diseases."

New methods for mosquito control are urgently needed, Piermarini said. Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to the insecticides currently used to combat the spread of diseases such as malaria, which kills close to 1 million people every year, and dengue, which infects hundreds of millions of people annually.

Piermarini's research is funded by a $1.4 million grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health's "New Insecticides for Malaria Control" program, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Journal Reference:
  1. Rene Raphemot, Matthew F. Rouhier, Corey R. Hopkins, Rocco D. Gogliotti, Kimberly M. Lovell, Rebecca M. Hine, Dhairyasheel Ghosalkar, Anthony Longo, Klaus W. Beyenbach, Jerod S. Denton, Peter M. Piermarini. Eliciting Renal Failure in Mosquitoes with a Small-Molecule Inhibitor of Inward-Rectifying Potassium Channels. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e64905 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064905 
  2.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529190944.htm

Flu Virus Mechanism

Influenza, commonly known as "the flu", is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae, the influenza viruses. The most common symptoms are chills, fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache (often severe), coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort.



Monday, 24 June 2013

Dietary Fructose Causes Liver Damage in Animal Model

The role of dietary fructose in the development of obesity and fatty liver diseases remains controversial, with previous studies indicating that the problems resulted from fructose and a diet too high in calories.

 However, a new study conducted in an animal model at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center showed that fructose rapidly caused liver damage even without weight gain. The researchers found that over the six-week study period liver damage more than doubled in the animals fed a high-fructose diet as compared to those in the control group.

The study is published in the June 19 online edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Is a calorie a calorie? Are they all created equal? Based on this study, we would say not," said Kylie Kavanagh, D.V.M., assistant professor of pathology-comparative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study.

In a previous trial which is referenced in the current journal article, Kavanagh's team studied monkeys who were allowed to eat as much as they wanted of low-fat food with added fructose for seven years, as compared to a control group fed a low-fructose, low-fat diet for the same time period. Not surprisingly, the animals allowed to eat as much as they wanted of the high-fructose diet gained 50 percent more weight than the control group. They developed diabetes at three times the rate of the control group and also developed hepatic steatosis, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The big question for the researchers was what caused the liver damage. Was it because the animals got fat from eating too much, or was it something else?

To answer that question, this study was designed to prevent weight gain. Ten middle-aged, normal weight monkeys who had never eaten fructose were divided into two groups based on comparable body shapes and waist circumference. Over six weeks, one group was fed a calorie-controlled diet consisting of 24 percent fructose, while the control group was fed a calorie-controlled diet with only a negligible amount of fructose, approximately 0.5 percent.

Both diets had the same amount of fat, carbohydrate and protein, but the sources were different, Kavanagh said. The high-fructose group's diet was made from flour, butter, pork fat, eggs and fructose (the main ingredient in corn syrup), similar to what many people eat, while the control group's diet was made from healthy complex carbohydrates and soy protein.

Every week the research team weighed both groups and measured their waist circumference, then adjusted the amount of food provided to prevent weight gain. At the end of the study, the researchers measured biomarkers of liver damage through blood samples and examined what type of bacteria was in the intestine through fecal samples and intestinal biopsies.

"What surprised us the most was how quickly the liver was affected and how extensive the damage was, especially without weight gain as a factor," Kavanagh said. "Six weeks in monkeys is roughly equivalent to three months in humans."

In the high-fructose group, the researchers found that the type of intestinal bacteria hadn't changed, but that they were migrating to the liver more rapidly and causing damage there. It appears that something about the high fructose levels was causing the intestines to be less protective than normal, and consequently allowing the bacteria to leak out at a 30 percent higher rate, Kavanagh said.

One of the limitations of the study was that it only tested for fructose and not dextrose. Fructose and dextrose are simple sugars found naturally in plants.

"We studied fructose because it is the most commonly added sugar in the American diet, but based on our study findings, we can't say conclusively that fructose caused the liver damage," Kavanagh said. "What we can say is that high added sugars caused bacteria to exit the intestines, go into the blood stream and damage the liver.

"The liver damage began even in the absence of weight gain. This could have clinical implications because most doctors and scientists have thought that it was the fat in and around tissues in the body that caused the health problems."

The Wake Forest Baptist team plans to begin a new study using the same controls but testing for both fructose and dextrose over a longer time frame.

The study was supported by Wake Forest School of Medicine and grants RR019963, OD010965 and AG033641 from the National Institutes of Health.

Co-authors are Ashley Wylie and Kelly Tucker, B.S., of Wake Forest Baptist; John Culler, D.V.M., Ph.D., of North Carolina State University; Timothy Hamp, B.S., Anthony Fodor, Ph.D., and Raad Gharaibeh, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 
 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Acupuncture


Acupuncture is a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with needles in order to stimulate certain points on the body. In its classical form it is a characteristic component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and one of the oldest healing practices in the world. According to traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating specific acupuncture points corrects imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians. Scientific investigation has not found any histological or physiological correlates for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points, and some contemporary practitioners use acupuncture without following the traditional Chinese approach.

Research suggests that traditional forms of acupuncture are more effective than placebos in the relief of certain types of pain and post-operative nausea. Recent systematic reviews found that acupuncture also seems to be a promising treatment option for anxiety, sleep disturbances, and depression, but that further research is needed in these regards. Although minimally invasive, the puncturing of the skin with acupuncture needles poses problems when designing trials that adequately controls for placebo effects. A number of studies comparing traditional acupuncture to sham procedures found that both sham and traditional acupuncture were superior to usual care but were themselves equivalent; findings apparently at odds with traditional Chinese theories regarding acupuncture point specificity.

Acupuncture's use for certain conditions has been endorsed by the United States National Institutes of Health, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.Some scientists have criticized these endorsements as being unduly credulous and not including objections to or criticisms of the research used to support acupuncture's effectiveness. There is general agreement that acupuncture is relatively safe when administered by qualified practitioners using sterile needles and carries a very low risk of serious adverse effects.

Acupuncture is effective for some but not all conditions." Its effects may be due to placebo. Evidence for the treatment of psychological conditions other than pain is equivocal. Acupuncture appears to be most effective in symptomatic control of pain and nausea. There is general agreement that acupuncture is safe when administered by well-trained practitioners using sterile needles.

It is difficult to design research trials for acupuncture. Due to acupuncture's invasive nature, one of the major challenges in efficacy research is in the design of an appropriate placebo control group. The most commonly proposed placebo control has been "sham acupuncture" to control for different aspects of traditional acupuncture. This includes needling sites not traditionally indicated for treatment of a specific condition to control for the effectiveness of traditional acupuncture for specific conditions and/or needling performed superficially or using retracting needles or non-needles (including toothpicks) to control for needle penetration and stimulation.

A 2012 meta-analysis found significant differences between true and sham acupuncture, which indicates that acupuncture is more than a placebo when treating chronic pain (even though the differences were modest). A 2010 systematic review also suggested that acupuncture is more than a placebo for commonly occurring chronic pain conditions, but the authors acknowledged that it is still unknown if the overall benefit is clinically meaningful or cost-effective.

A 2009 review, however, concluded that the specific points chosen to needle does not matter, and no difference was found between needling according to "true" points chosen by traditional acupuncture theory and "sham" acupuncture points unrelated to any theory. The authors suggested four possible explanations for their observed superiority of both "true" and sham acupuncture over conventional treatment, but lack of difference in efficacy between "true" and sham acupuncture Other authors have suggested randomized controlled trials may under-report the effectiveness of acupuncture as the "sham" treatment may still have active effects, though this position undercuts the traditional theory of acupuncture which associates specific acupuncture points with specific and distinct results. Publication bias is also listed as a concern in the design of randomized trials of acupuncture. A review of studies on acupuncture found that trials originating in China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan were uniformly favourable to acupuncture, as were ten out of 11 studies conducted in Russia. A 2011 assessment of the quality of randomized controlled trials on TCM, including acupuncture, concluded that the methodological quality of most such trials (including randomization, experimental control and blinding) was generally poor, particularly for trials published in Chinese journals (though the quality of acupuncture trials was better than the drug-related trials). The study also found that trials published in non-Chinese journals tended to be of higher quality

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture






Study Examines the Placebo Response in Patients With Asthma


A recent study sheds light on the placebo's effect on subjective and objective outcome measures in clinical trials. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston; Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts; and the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.
The placebo response can be defined as the benefit patients receive from a treatment that has no active components. Clinical trials often include comparison of a treatment to a placebo, so that the true and specific value of the treatment can be accurately measured compared to the placebo effect. This is particularly important in clinical trials measuring subjective patient-reported outcomes, which, in general, are more strongly affected by the placebo response.
There are many questions about the mechanisms by which placebos operate, their role in clinical practice, whether they can—or can ethically—be employed intentionally to improve patient outcomes, and their effects on subjective and objective outcome measures in clinical trials.
This double-blind, crossover, pilot study examined 39 patients with chronic asthma who were assigned to receive each of four treatments: an albuterol inhaler (the active treatment), a placebo inhaler, sham acupuncture (another placebo), and no intervention. (Sham acupuncture is like actual acupuncture, but without skin penetration.) All patients received each of the three interventions plus a no intervention session, in random order, 3 to 7 days apart. This pattern was repeated 2 more times for a total of 12 visits by each patient. At each visit, lung function tests were administered and patients’ self-reported symptom ratings were recorded. Lung function was assessed by measuring lung capacity as maximum forced expiratory volume in 1 second.
At the conclusion of the study, data showed that only treatment with the albuterol inhaler improved lung function. Lung function did not improve with either of the placebo treatments or after the no intervention visit. However, patients’ self-reports on their symptoms showed significant and approximately equal improvement with albuterol, the placebo inhaler, or the sham acupuncture.
While this study documents beneficial effects of placebo on asthma patients’ symptoms (e.g., chest tightness and a perception of difficulty breathing), it also documents the lack of effect of placebo on the restricted movement of air out of the lungs, which is responsible for many potentially serious or life-threatening consequences of untreated asthma. The goals of treatment of asthma are both to improve lung function and to relieve the symptomatic distress caused by the restricted movement of air. As the investigators note, self-reports of improvement as a measure of successful treatment can be unreliable in assessing treatment success. The study also illustrates how inclusion of a no intervention control can be helpful in discerning the contributions of different components of an intervention.

http://tinyurl.com/kt3pmn6

'Good' Bacteria Can Battle 'Bad' Bacteria in Eye Infections

Much as predators attack their prey in the animal world, there are bacteria that consume and kill other bacteria. Scientists are reporting new progress in putting the predator microbes to work -- to attack dangerous bacteria that cause eye infections that lead to blindness and have grown resistant to antibiotics. Daniel Kadouri, PhD, an assistant professor of oral biology the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Dental School, is lead author of the study, which is published in the online journal PLoS ONE.

There were three major components to the study. The first established that isolates of two antibiotic-resistant ocular pathogens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens, were all susceptible to being attacked and killed by at least one of two other bacteria , Micavibrio aeruginosavorus and Bdellovibrio baceriovorus, which act as predators against the pathogens but are believed to be "good," or non-infectious, bacteria when they exist within the human body.

In the second phase, human corneal-limbic epithelial cells that are native to the eye were exposed in vitro to M. aeruginosavorus and B. baceriovorus to test whether those "good" predator bacteria would cause either toxicity or inflammation in those cells. They did not.

In the third phase, the two "good" predator bacteria were injected into live worms from the species Galleria mellonella, which is well established as a suitable model to test the toxicity of various microbes as well as a live organism's innate immunity to those microbes. Where injection the pathogenic bacterium P. aeruginosa as a positive control was one hundred percent fatal to the worms, other worms injected with the two "good" predator bacteria had 11-day survival rates between 93.3 and 100 percent, a strong sign that the "good" bacteria were not toxic to the worms. In addition a lack of change in larval pigmentation following injection suggested that the "good" bacteria also did not provoke an aggressive innate immune response in the worms.

"Taken together, our findings leave us confident that, in isolation, pathogenic bacteria are susceptible to successful attack by predator bacteria, predator bacteria do not appear inherently harmful to ocular cells when applied topically, and a live organism can tolerate the predator bacteria well," says Kadouri. "The time to test all three phenomena simultaneously in the eye tissue of a live organism may now be at hand."

The current study builds on another recent paper published in PLoS ONE, which also described research led by Kadouri. That study used the predatory bacteria Bdellovibrio baceriovorus 109J, B. bacteriovorus HD100, and Micavibrio aeruginosavorus strain ARL-13, in targeting 14 strains of dangerous bacteria that are known to be multidrug resistant (MDR). Species targeted in that earlier research included Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomas spp., all of which are commonly encountered in health care settings.

After predator bacteria and MDR strains were co-cultured in the laboratory, the researchers found that cell viability had diminished to varying degrees in all 14 MDR strains, suggesting that while the MDR strains are strongly resistant to current antibiotics, they may have no innate defenses that would protect them against one or more of the predator bacteria.

This research presents hope that a wide variety of MDR bacteria may be susceptible to attack by predatory bacteria in settings where antibiotic therapy has increasingly failed. It remains unknown whether predatory bacteria can have the same effect on MDR bacteria when used systemically within the human body that they do in the lab, given the immune system's potential ability to neutralize the predators before they can do their beneficial work. However Kadouri's promising research in the lab appears to strengthen the case for further study. 
 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Dogs Help Improve Moods Among Teens in Treatment

Lindsay Ellsworth is prescribing a new, mood-boosting therapy for teenagers in drug and alcohol treatment: shelter dogs.

On Friday afternoons, about four dogs from the Spokane Humane Society take a field trip to Excelsior Youth Center as a group of teenage boys eagerly await their arrival. Ellsworth, a doctoral candidate in animal sciences at Washington State University, organizes the meet-ups where participants can help brush, feed and play with the dogs.

"We found one of the most robust effects of interacting with the dogs was increased joviality," she said. "Some of the words the boys used to describe their moods after working with the dogs were 'excited,' 'energetic' 'and happy.'"

The relationship between dogs and humans is prehistoric, but Ellsworth's study is the first of its kind to demonstrate how dog-interaction activities improve mood among teenagers living in residential treatment centers.

A method to the gladness

Once a week, during the daily recreation time at Excelsior, Ellsworth breaks about eight participants into two groups. One group plays pool, video games or basketball provided in the treatment center. The other group interacts with the shelter dogs for about an hour.

Before the activity, participants identify 60 mood descriptors on a scale of one to five on what is known as the PANAS-X, a self-reporting method organizational psychologists use to scale and study emotion. After the activity, the participants fill out the same scale.

Those who spent time with the dogs not only showed an increase in joviality, but also positive affect (in psychology, the experience of feeling or emotion), attentiveness and serenity. Meanwhile, overall sadness decreased, Ellsworth said. Many participants are also being treated for ADHD, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I was surprised, during the trial period, how calm the boys were around the dogs and at how outbursts and hyperactivity diminished," she said. "It was something you could observe like night and day."

When Ellsworth asked the boys what they like most about working with the dogs, some of their written responses included, "giving dogs treats and showing a lot of love to the dogs" and "I like to have time with the dogs because (it) lets me get my mind off things" and "I loved playing with Junior."

Robert Faltermeyer, executive director of the youth center, and the staff are hopeful this kind of science-based program could be established as part of treatment centers' structured activities.

"It's an opportunity for kids in a real chaotic life, making unhealthy choices, to focus in on a specific task with an animal," he said. "It empowers them to make positive changes even on the simplest scale of correcting the animal's behavior.

"I think those exposures build some internal capacity for them to say, 'Hey, I think I'm capable of changing my life,'" he said.

A chemical response to companionship

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is actively looking for science-based behavioral interventions to help those struggling with drug abuse, and the accompanying lack of affect, respond more fully to the stimulus of day-to-day activities, Ellsworth said.

She hypothesizes that dopamine, a natural feel-good chemical human brains produce, is released in the boys' brains as they anticipate the dog interaction. Social companionship with the dogs may also stimulate opioid release.

Using natural stimuli like dogs, she said, could help restore the normal function of these critical chemical messengers after the brain's chemistry has been altered through drug use. Animal behaviorist Ruth Newberry, Ellsworth's doctoral advisor at WSU, agrees on the potential for treatment.

"It could be a really novel, cost-effective and beneficial complement to traditional treatments. This could be a win-win innovation for everyone involved," Newberry said, "including the dogs."

Ellsworth hasn't been able to scientifically track the impact on the dogs, since so many are adopted over the course of the trials. However, she said research has shown dogs in a limited social environment, like a shelter, are more responsive to humans.

"Any sort of activity that provides an opportunity for shelter dogs to socialize with humans and other dogs outside of the kennel environment is great, and that is the value that the shelter sees in these dog-interaction activities, too." Ellsworth said.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 5 million animals enter shelters annually in the U.S. With more than 5,000 independent shelters nationwide, Ellsworth believes these types of behavioral therapy programs could be widely implemented.

Ellsworth's interest in the dog and human connection emerged through her work with the University of Washington Conservation Canine Program, the Smithsonian Zoo and adolescent medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital.

The WSU alcohol and drug abuse research program helped fund the dog-teen interaction study.

Starting this summer, Ellsworth is increasing the number of visits to Excelsior to twice a week. In this phase of her research, she's also interested in understanding how dogs can influence teenagers' engagement in group therapy and cooperation in structured activities. She hypothesizes that the more compliant and engaged teenagers are with structured programs, the more likely they are to reap the benefits of treatment.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Silver makes antibiotics thousands of times more effective


Ancient antimicrobial treatment could help to solve modern bacterial resistance.
Silver may help in the fight against drug-resistant bacteria such as Stenotrophomonas maltophilia by easing large antibiotic molecules through the microbes' outer coating.

Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver. The precious metal has been used to fight infection for thousands of years — Hippocrates first described its antimicrobial properties in 400 bc — but how it works has been a mystery. Now, a team led by James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria, and shown that the ancient treatment could help to deal with the thoroughly modern scourge of antibiotic resistance. The work is published today in Science Translational Medicine.
“Resistance is growing, while the number of new antibiotics in development is dropping,” says Collins. “We wanted to find a way to make what we have work better.”
Collins and his team found that silver — in the form of dissolved ions — attacks bacterial cells in two main ways: it makes the cell membrane more permeable, and it interferes with the cell’s metabolism, leading to the overproduction of reactive, and often toxic, oxygen compounds. Both mechanisms could potentially be harnessed to make today’s antibiotics more effective against resistant bacteria, Collins says.

Resistance is futile
Many antibiotics are thought to kill their targets by producing reactive oxygen compounds, and Collins and his team showed that when boosted with a small amount of silver these drugs could kill between 10 and 1,000 times as many bacteria. The increased membrane permeability also allows more antibiotics to enter the bacterial cells, which may overwhelm the resistance mechanisms that rely on shuttling the drug back out.
That disruption to the cell membrane also increased the effectiveness of vancomycin, a large-molecule antibiotic, on Gram-negative bacteria — which have a protective outer coating. Gram-negative bacterial cells can often be impenetrable to antibiotics made of larger molecules.
“It’s not so much a silver bullet; more a silver spoon to help the Gram-negative bacteria take their medicine,” says Collins.

Toxic assetsVance Fowler, an infectious-disease physician at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says the work is “really cool” but sounds a note of caution about the potential toxicity of silver. “It has had a chequered past,” he says.
In the 1990s, for example, a heart valve made by St. Jude Medical, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, included parts covered with a silver coating called Silzone to fight infection. “It did a fine job of preventing infection,” says Fowler. “The problem was that the silver was also toxic to heart tissue.” As a result the valves often leaked.
Before adding silver to antibiotics, “we’ll have to address the toxicity very carefully”, says Fowler. Ingesting too much silver can also cause argyria, a condition in which the skin turns a blue-grey colour — and the effect is permanent.
Collins says that he and his colleagues saw good results in mice using non-toxic amounts of silver. But, he adds, there are ways to reduce the risk even further. “We’re also encouraging people to look at what features of silver caused the helpful effects, so they can look for non-toxic versions,” he says.

 http://tinyurl.com/k4eslds


10 Shocking Medical Conditions Caused By Gaming


1. Playstation Thumb

Though this ailment is often called "Playstation Thumb," the condition can affect anyone who uses a game with a d-pad controller. Symptoms of “PlayStation Thumb” include numbness and tingling in the thumb and large, open blisters caused by repetitive motion that require weeks to heal.

Another term for this condition is "Palmar hidradenitis," a skin disorder induced by console gaming. Painful lesions on the palms and fingers are the main features.


2. Nintendinitis, Wiiitis, and X-boxitis


"Nintendonitis" has been used to describe tendon injuries (tendinosis) of the hands and wrists. Users have reported stress injuries from playing games such as Wii Sports for too long. Serious injuries caused by playing in tight spaces can also occur.

The Wii balance board causes a lot of injuries by itself, including knee and hip problems and fractures resulting from a fall, dubbed "Wii fractures" by health care providers.

3. Seizures


Playing video games can, in rare cases, trigger seizures, but there is no scientific evidence that video games can cause traditionally-classified epilepsy. Photosensitive epilepsy (PSE), however, is a common form of epilepsy in which seizures are triggered by visual stimuli that form patterns in time or space, such as flashing lights, bold, regular patterns, or regular moving patterns.





4. Addiction


Yes, you can get addicted to playing video games. Video game addiction is an impulse control disorder, similar to compulsive gambling. Symptons include weight loss or gain, lack of personal hygiene, lowered social interaction and a disrupted sleep pattern.



5. Aggressive Behavior and Mental Problems



Studies show that “pathological,” or obsessive, video gamers are more depressed and anxious over time than non-gamers. Children are at risk of becoming more impulsive, socially awkward, and more likely to become addicted to gaming over time. Some warning signs include trouble concentrating, disrupted sleep patterns, increased anxiety, increased irrational anger, and social phobias.

Kids who play violent games also tend to have more aggressive fantasies and engage in more aggressive behaviors. They are more likely to be victims of aggression, as well.

6. The Tetris Effect/Game Transfer Phenomena

This phenomenon can occur after playing any game for a long time, but Tetris is the most common culprit. Users say that after playing the game for many hours, they unintentionally transfer elements of the game content, or the interface, into their everyday lives. For instance, users may start to see falling blocks everywhere, or may start to fantasize about which Tetris blocks would fit into a city skyline. Sometimes the images take over sufferer's thought processes, mental imagery, and dreams.

In extreme cases, people have reported having car accidents because they were busy focusing on falling blocks that were not really there.


7. Vision Problems


Video games can cause vision problems. Extensive viewing of any screen causes eye strain, and prolonged computer use could also be linked to glaucoma, especially among users who are near-sighted. Staring at a bright screen is very harmful to the physical components of the eye, especially because during computing sessions we tend to stop blinking and start staring, which makes our eyes strain and dry out.

A common vision problem among gamers is known as "Guitar Hero/Rock Band Eyes." This is similar to the Tetris Effect because it involves seeing the graphic interface burned into your retinas long after you've stopped playing.


8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused when the main nerve between the forearm and hand is repeatedly squeezed or pressed. This pressure occurs when the carpal tunnel, the area of the wrist that houses the main nerve and tendons, becomes irritated or swollen. Computer use has long been linked to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, so it's no surprise that it's a physical symptom of gaming addiction. Overuse of a computer mouse can cause such irritation and swelling, as can excessive use of a video game controller.


9. Migraines


A migraine headache can cause intense throbbing or pulsing in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause severe pain for hours to days. While there are countless triggers for migraines, people who play video games for extended periods of time are more prone to these headaches because of the intense concentration required while gaming, as well as the strain put on the eyes by staring at a bright screen.


10. Death


Players can easily get immersed and feel compelled to play for hours at a stretch. Case in point, a 28-year-old man collapsed after playing the game "Starcraft" at an internet cafe in the city of Taegu, South Korea in 2007. According to authorities, the man had not slept, had eaten very little, and had taken hardly any bathroom breaks during his 72 hour marathon gaming session.

"We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion," a Taegu provincial police official told the Reuters news agency.

Aside from health problems that can lead to death, many gamers have also died as a result of suicide and game-related murders. 
 

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