Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The top ten super foods

All foods, even battered Mars bars, have some nutritional value. But there are 10 that are so beneficial to your health they are known as 'super foods'. Check them out here:

Monday, September 26, 2005

Immune boost' to fight cancer

Scientists say they have found a way to boost the body's immune system which could also help stave off cancer.

The Mayo Clinic team were inspired by what they observed among healthcare workers accidentally exposed to HIV and who then received anti-viral treatment.

These workers remained healthy and free of HIV. The therapy dramatically increased the number of immune cells the body made to fight the infection.

The drugs could help people fight off cancer in a similar way, they believe. ------------------

Friday, August 26, 2005

Giving Oxygen May Do More Harm Than Good, New Report Shows

KINGSTON, ON -- July 11, 2005 -- Doctors and paramedics who give their patients oxygen – the most commonly administered "drug" in the world – may be doing more harm than good, a Queen's University researcher contends.

And although there's a simple solution – adding carbon dioxide to the mix – it isn't being used by most Canadian hospitals and emergency services networks, says Dr. Steve Iscoe, a respiratory physiologist. This has implications for treating a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, difficult labour and delivery, and wound healing.

Dr. Iscoe's commentary, based on his own and other researchers' findings, is published in the July issue of CHEST, the Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care Journal. Co-author of the article is Dr. Joseph Fisher, from the Toronto General Hospital's Department of Anesthesia.

"Pure oxygen can reduce blood flow to organs and tissues by increasing ventilation," Dr. Iscoe explains. "The increase in ventilation, which is almost never considered, 'blows off' carbon dioxide, and this fall constricts blood vessels. When carbon dioxide is added, however, the blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow and causing more oxygen to reach tissues in key areas like the brain and heart."

Researchers in the early 1900s observed that breathing pure oxygen increased ventilation and lowered carbon dioxide levels. Based on their observations, several tried adding carbon dioxide and claimed success in resuscitating people and infants and treating carbon monoxide poisoning.

But the practice of using expired air – even before it was known to contain carbon dioxide – dates back much further. The use of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on infants was recorded in a 1754 book by Benjamin Pugh, A Treatise of Midwifery, and there are biblical references to the custom. Yet modern medical texts do not mention that inhalation of oxygen decreases carbon dioxide levels and the effects on blood flow; consequently it is not part of standard practice.

"It's puzzling that a simple idea like this has received so little attention from clinicians," says Dr. Iscoe. Although there has been some concern about the possibility of patients receiving too much carbon dioxide (which can cause discomfort), he points out that new designs for oxygen masks allow precise monitoring of levels delivered or, in fail-safe mode, prevent inhalation of carbon dioxide. One can even use the patient's own expired carbon dioxide, the researcher adds.

"The reduction in oxygen delivery to the fetus, the brain, the heart, and other body tissues that might be induced by oxygen administration is, as this paper points out, largely unrecognized even by respirologists such as myself," says Dr. Peter Macklem, professor emeritus of medicine at McGill University and 1999 recipient of the prestigious Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science.

"If we respirologists are unaware, then internists, surgeons, obstetricians, pediatricians and family physicians who are at the front line of treatment for most of the clinical conditions they describe are unlikely to be better informed," Dr. Macklem continues. "The magnitude of the risk now needs to be quantified by appropriate clinical trials. While it will take a few years before we will know for sure, the wisest course of action in the interim is to administer low concentrations of carbon dioxide along with oxygen therapy."

Among the areas where Drs. Iscoe and Fisher see particular benefits for patients from improved oxygen delivery are:

- heart attack;
- stroke;
- carbon monoxide poisoning;
- wound healing in hospitals, where drug-resistant infections are on the rise;
- cerebral blood flow to fetuses during difficult birth procedures; and
- treating foot ulcers and gangrene in people with type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Iscoe hopes to evaluate the promise of the new technique in a study of diabetic patients. As the incidence of obesity rises, diabetes is expected to affect a growing number of people and exert increasing demands on the health care system.

"I think it's incumbent on health professionals to consider carbon dioxide when administering oxygen, since we know that carbon dioxide levels control blood flow to so many parts of the body," Dr. Iscoe says. "We should look at carbon dioxide not as an enemy, but as an ally."

Funding for Dr. Iscoe's research comes from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canadian Lung Association and Ontario Thoracic Society, and from the Wm. M. Spear Foundation and the R.K. Start Memorial Fund.

SOURCE: Queen's University

Monday, July 04, 2005

Possible new treatment target for epilepsy

03 Jul 2005

New research suggests novel treatment targets for the most common form of childhood epilepsy - with the potential to have fewer side effects than traditional therapy. The findings from Wake Forest University School of Medicine are reported today in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Through studies in animals, the researchers learned more about the possible brain pathways involved in absence, or petit mal, seizures and tested a drug that revealed a potential new target for blocking seizures before they spread.

"Many current therapies act on the entire nervous system and can have such side effects as sleep disruptions, dizziness and increased risk of developmental side effects," said Georgia Alexander, who with Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D., co-authored the new study. "Because this treatment blocks the pathway that may cause the spread of seizures, it could be more effective and have fewer side effects."

Absence seizures, which are most common in children between 6 and 12, get their name because during the seizure the child seems to be temporarily unconscious of his or her surroundings. Although they last only a few seconds, the seizures can occur hundreds of times a day and can dramatically impact learning and development.-----------------------

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Scientists Say Sunshine May Prevent Cancer

Put Away the Sunblock? Scientists Say Moderate Amounts of Sunshine May Prevent Cancer
The Associated Press

May. 21, 2005 - Scientists are excited about a vitamin again. But unlike fads that sizzled and fizzled, the evidence this time is strong and keeps growing. If it bears out, it will challenge one of medicine's most fundamental beliefs: that people need to coat themselves with sunscreen whenever they're in the sun.

Doing that may actually contribute to far more cancer deaths than it prevents, some researchers think.

The vitamin is D, nicknamed the "sunshine vitamin" because the skin makes it from ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen blocks its production, but dermatologists and health agencies have long preached that such lotions are needed to prevent skin cancer.

Now some scientists are questioning that advice.

The reason is that vitamin D increasingly seems important for preventing and even treating many types of cancer. In the last three months alone, four separate studies found it helped protect against lymphoma and cancers of the prostate, lung and, ironically, the skin. The strongest evidence is for colon cancer.

Many people aren't getting enough vitamin D. It's hard to do from food and fortified milk alone, and supplements are problematic.

So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse.

No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach. But many scientists believe that "safe sun" 15 minutes or so a few times a week without sunscreen is not only possible but helpful to health.

One is Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard University professor of medicine and nutrition who laid out his case in a keynote lecture at a recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

His research suggests that vitamin D might help prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer.

"I would challenge anyone to find an area or nutrient or any factor that has such consistent anti-cancer benefits as vitamin D," Giovannucci told the cancer scientists. "The data are really quite remarkable."

The talk so impressed the American Cancer Society's chief epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Thun, that the society is reviewing its sun protection guidelines. "There is now intriguing evidence that vitamin D may have a role in the prevention as well as treatment of certain cancers," Thun said.

Even some dermatologists may be coming around. "I find the evidence to be mounting and increasingly compelling," said Dr. Allan Halpern, dermatology chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who advises several cancer groups.

The dilemma, he said, is a lack of consensus on how much vitamin D is needed or the best way to get it.

No source is ideal. Even if sunshine were to be recommended, the amount needed would depend on the season, time of day, where a person lives, skin color and other factors. Thun and others worry that folks might overdo it.

"People tend to go overboard with even a hint of encouragement to get more sun exposure," Thun said, adding that he'd prefer people get more of the nutrient from food or pills.

But this is difficult. Vitamin D occurs naturally in salmon, tuna and other oily fish, and is routinely added to milk. However, diet accounts for very little of the vitamin D circulating in blood, Giovannucci said.

Supplements contain the nutrient, but most use an old form D-2 that is far less potent than the more desirable D-3. Multivitamins typically contain only small amounts of D-2 and include vitamin A, which offsets many of D's benefits.

As a result, pills might not raise vitamin D levels much at all.

Government advisers can't even agree on an RDA, or recommended daily allowance for vitamin D. Instead, they say "adequate intake" is 200 international units a day up to age 50, 400 IUs for ages 50 to 70, and 600 IUs for people over 70.

Many scientists think adults need 1,000 IUs a day. Giovannucci's research suggests 1,500 IUs might be needed to significantly curb cancer.

How vitamin D may do this is still under study, but there are lots of reasons to think it can:

Several studies observing large groups of people found that those with higher vitamin D levels also had lower rates of cancer. For some of these studies, doctors had blood samples to measure vitamin D, making the findings particularly strong. Even so, these studies aren't the gold standard of medical research a comparison over many years of a large group of people who were given the vitamin with a large group who didn't take it. In the past, the best research has deflated health claims involving other nutrients, including vitamin E and beta carotene.

Lab and animal studies show that vitamin D stifles abnormal cell growth, helps cells die when they are supposed to, and curbs formation of blood vessels that feed tumors.

Cancer is more common in the elderly, and the skin makes less vitamin D as people age.

Blacks have higher rates of cancer than whites and more pigment in their skin, which prevents them from making much vitamin D.

Vitamin D gets trapped in fat, so obese people have lower blood levels of D. They also have higher rates of cancer.

Diabetics, too, are prone to cancer, and their damaged kidneys have trouble converting vitamin D into a form the body can use.

People in the northeastern United States and northerly regions of the globe like Scandinavia have higher cancer rates than those who get more sunshine year-round.

During short winter days, the sun's rays come in at too oblique an angle to spur the skin

to make vitamin D. That is why nutrition experts think vitamin D-3 supplements may be especially helpful during winter, and for dark-skinned people all the time.

But too much of the pill variety can cause a dangerous buildup of calcium in the body. The government says 2,000 IUs is the upper daily limit for anyone over a year old.

On the other hand, D from sunshine has no such limit. It's almost impossible to overdose when getting it this way. However, it is possible to get skin cancer. And this is where the dermatology establishment and Dr. Michael Holick part company.

Thirty years ago, Holick helped make the landmark discovery of how vitamin D works. Until last year, he was chief of endocrinology, nutrition and diabetes and a professor of dermatology at Boston University. Then he published a book, "The UV Advantage," urging people to get enough sunlight to make vitamin D.

"I am advocating common sense," not prolonged sunbathing or tanning salons, Holick said.

Skin cancer is rarely fatal, he notes. The most deadly form, melanoma, accounts for only 7,770 of the 570,280 cancer deaths expected to occur in the United States this year.

More than 1 million milder forms of skin cancer will occur, and these are the ones tied to chronic or prolonged suntanning.

Repeated sunburns especially in childhood and among redheads and very fair-skinned people have been linked to melanoma, but there is no credible scientific evidence that moderate sun exposure causes it, Holick contends.

"The problem has been that the American Academy of Dermatology has been unchallenged for 20 years," he says. "They have brainwashed the public at every level."

The head of Holick's department, Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, called his book an embarrassment and stripped him of his dermatology professorship, although he kept his other posts.

She also faulted his industry ties. Holick said the school has received $150,000 in grants from the Indoor Tanning Association for his research, far less than the consulting deals and grants that other scientists routinely take from drug companies.

In fact, industry has spent money attacking him. One such statement from the Sun Safety Alliance, funded in part by Coppertone and drug store chains, declared that "sunning to prevent vitamin D deficiency is like smoking to combat anxiety."

Earlier this month, the dermatology academy launched a "Don't Seek the Sun" campaign calling any advice to get sun "irresponsible." It quoted Dr. Vincent DeLeo, a Columbia University dermatologist, as saying: "Under no circumstances should anyone be misled into thinking that natural sunlight or tanning beds are better sources of vitamin D than foods or nutritional supplements."

That opinion is hardly unanimous, though, even among dermatologists.

"The statement that 'no sun exposure is good' I don't think is correct anymore," said Dr. Henry Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and an academy vice president.

Some wonder if vitamin D may turn out to be like another vitamin, folate. High intake of it was once thought to be important mostly for pregnant women, to prevent birth defects. However, since food makers began adding extra folate to flour in 1998, heart disease, stroke, blood pressure, colon cancer and osteoporosis have all fallen, suggesting the general public may have been folate-deficient after all.

With vitamin D, "some people believe that it is a partial deficiency that increases the cancer risk," said Hector DeLuca, a University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemist who did landmark studies on the nutrient.

About a dozen major studies are under way to test vitamin D's ability to ward off cancer, said Dr. Peter Greenwald, chief of cancer prevention for the National Cancer Institute. Several others are testing its potential to treat the disease. Two recent studies reported encouraging signs in prostate and lung cancer.

As for sunshine, experts recommend moderation until more evidence is in hand.

"The skin can handle it, just like the liver can handle alcohol," said Dr. James Leyden,

professor emeritus of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, who has consulted for sunscreen makers.

"I like to have wine with dinner, but I don't think I should drink four bottles a day."

On the Net:

Government information:

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Study Finds Direct Association Between Cardiovascular Disease and Periodontal Bacteria

BETHESDA, MD -- February 8, 2005 -- Researchers report this week that older adults who have higher proportions of four periodontal-disease-causing bacteria inhabiting their mouths also tend to have thicker carotid arteries, a strong predictor of stroke and heart attack. The study, published in the current issue of the journal Circulation, was supported by four agencies of the National Institutes of Health. According to the authors, these data mark the first report of a direct association between cardiovascular disease and bacteria involved in periodontal disease, inflammation of the gums that affects to varying degrees an estimated 200 million Americans. But the researchers say the findings are not proof that the bacteria cause cardiovascular disease, directly or indirectly. "What was interesting to us was the specificity of the association," said Moïse Desvarieux, M. D., Ph. D., the study's lead author and an infectious disease epidemiologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the University of Minnesota. "These same four bacteria were there, they were always there in the analysis, and the relationship seems to be pretty much, with one exception, limited to them." Desvarieux stressed that although the new data further illuminate a long-standing scientific issue, they shed little light on the broader public health question related to cardiovascular disease. The 657 people in the study had their oral bacteria and carotid thickness evaluated at the same point in time. So Desvarieux said, "It's impossible to know which comes first, the periodontal disease or thickening of the carotid artery." The answer to that question is fundamental to establishing causality--in this case, whether chronic inflammation or infection could have led to the atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries. He and his colleagues noted that the public health information could come soon. "We will re-examine the participants in less than three years, and, at that point, we can better evaluate the progression of the atherosclerosis and, hopefully, begin to establish a time frame underlying the diseases," said Ralph Sacco, M.D., M.S., associate chair of Neurology, professor of Neurology and Epidemiology, and the director of the Stroke and Critical Care Division of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also is an author on the paper. The idea that oral bacteria shed from chronic gum infections, enter the circulatory system, and possibly contribute to diseases of the heart and other body organs once was widely accepted in medicine. The concept, known as the "focal infection theory," fell out of fashion by the 1940s, then resurfaced four decades later with the publication of new data proposing a link. Since then, a major sticking point in advancing the research has been simply how to pursue the hypothesis. Lacking the scientific tools to track oral bacteria in the body over several decades to determine if they directly trigger heart disease, most previous studies pursued indirect evidence. These included various measures of oral and cardiovascular health, which researchers then extrapolated to the influence of the oral pathogens. Conspicuously missing from the debate has been a large, well-designed study that in some way directly evaluates the role of the oral pathogens themselves. To fill this void, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research launched the Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study (INVEST), a multi-disciplinary endeavor whose principal investigator is Dr. Desvarieux. The study, which is the source of the paper published this week in Circulation, will monitor the oral and cardiovascular health of a large, racially mixed group of people. All enrollees in the study live in a northern section of Manhattan in New York City and are age 55 or older. Participants are also members of the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), a prospective cohort study supported by NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Sacco is principal investigator of the companion NOMAS study. "Although more than 600 bacteria have been shown to colonize the mouth, each person tends to carry different proportions of these microbes," said Panos N. Papapanou, D.D.S, Ph.D., an author on the paper and professor and chair of the Section of Oral and Diagnostics Sciences and director of the Division of Periodontics at Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery. He noted that only a subset of bacteria tend to be dominant in dental plaque. "We wanted to know during the baseline examination of the participants whether it was true that the greater the proportion of so-called 'bad' bacteria in the mouth, the higher the likelihood of a thickened carotid artery," added Papapanou, whose laboratory performed the periodontal microbiological analysis. To get their answer, Desvarieux and colleagues collected on average seven dental plaque samples from a total of 657 older adults enrolled in INVEST who had not lost their teeth. The samples, taken from predetermined sites in the mouth, both diseased and healthy, were measured for 11 oral bacteria, including four bacteria widely regarded to be involved in causing periodontal disease: Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, and Treponema denticola. The other seven bacteria served as controls, as their role in periodontal disease was either neutral or has not yet been established. Then, to evaluate their cardiovascular health, the participants received a carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) measurement and provided a blood sample to determine their C-reactive protein levels. C-reactive protein has been reported to be elevated in people with periodontal disease, and recent studies found that testing for this protein may be predictive of developing heart disease. Controlling for several risk factors that might skew their data - such as smoking and diabetes, both of which are independently associated with these conditions - the scientists found the higher the levels of these periodontal-disease-causing bacteria, the more likely people were to have thicker carotid arteries. Interestingly, they noted no association between IMT, the periodontal pathogens, and C-reactive protein levels, suggesting the protein is involved in another cardiovascular disease pathway. Next, the scientists wondered whether the broad association might be due to the four pathogens involved in causing periodontal disease, which combined accounted for only 23 percent of the bacteria in dental plaque. If so, the finding would provide added specificity to strengthen the case for the association. "After re-analyzing the data, we found, with the exception of an oral bacterium called Micromonas micros, the relationship was limited to these four established oral pathogens," said David Jacobs, Ph. D., another author and a professor in the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "In other words, it was exactly what we hypothesized," said Desvarieux. However, he cautioned, "It now becomes crucial to follow the participants over time and see whether these baseline findings hold up and further translate into clinical disease." The study was supported by the NIH's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and National Center for Research Resources. SOURCE: NIH/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Friday, May 13, 2005

Crohn's disease

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract and it can involve any part of it - from the mouth to the anus. It typically affects the terminal ileum as well as demarcated areas of large bowel, with other areas of the bowel being relatively unaffected. It is often associated with auto-immune disorders outside the bowel, such as aphthous stomatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Crohn's disease should not be confused with a non-progressive and non-degenerative digestive disorder called irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is not an autoimmune disease. Ulcerative colitis is a sibling autoimmune disease to Crohn's but only impacts the colon while Crohn's can impact any part of the digestive tract. Furthermore, Crohn's tends to impact multiple layers of the bowel lining which can lead to many additional and hard to treat complications.------Read online

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Mystery Behind the Silence: Typical Presentation of Autism Spectrum Disorders


Recently, the category of neurodevelopmental disorders referred to as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has been receiving increased attention from professional and lay audiences. Questions about prevalence, effective interventions, and approaches for screening and diagnosis have been raised concerning these conditions, which are also referred to as pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs). The ASDs include several disorders that share a range of impairments in the areas of communication development, social relationships, and repetitive and restricted behavioral patterns. The prototypical ASD is autistic disorder, which, according to the criteria defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision,[1] includes delay in language development and usage, problems in social relatedness, and marked restricted and repetitive behavioral patterns. Autistic disorder is associated with mental retardation in the majority of cases. Asperger's disorder is defined as a condition in which language development is normal, but social interaction is impaired, and interests are narrow and repetitive as with autistic disorder. Most people with Asperger's disorder are higher-functioning, and many demonstrate intellectual ability in the normal range. Other ASDs include PDD not otherwise specified (PDD NOS), childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD), and Rett's syndrome. Children with PDD NOS have many features of autistic disorder but do not meet full criteria for the diagnosis. Children with CDD have apparently normal development for the first 2 years or longer followed by a prominent regression in skills in most areas with a course of worsening severity. Rett's syndrome is a highly genetic disorder in girls that is characterized by unique motor behaviors, microcephaly, and gradual regression in skills beginning in early childhood.-----continued online

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Potential seen in adult stem cells

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Australian scientists have found that stem cells taken from adults could have the same life-saving potential as those taken from embryos, a discovery that could potentially end the contentious debate over embryonic research.

The results from the four-year project, at Australia's Griffith University in Queensland, show that adult stem cells harvested from the nose can be grown into virtually any kind of cell in the human body.

Until now it has been thought that adult stem cells could only develop into different cell types of their own tissue, unlike embryonic stem cells which can turn into any body cell type.

Griffith University researcher Professor Alan Mackay-Sim said the study showed that olfactory stem cells could develop into heart cells, liver cells, kidney cells, muscle cells, brain cells and nerve cells. In addition the olfactory stem cells did not have the problems of rejection or forming tumors as is common with embryonic stem cells.

"Our experiments have shown adult stem cells isolated from the olfactory mucosa have the ability to develop into many different cell types if they are given the right chemical or cellular environment, Professor Mackay-Sim said, in research published on the Internet.

"These adult olfactory stem cells appear to have the same ability as embryonic stem cells in giving rise to many different cell types but have the advantage that they can be obtained from all individuals, even older people who might be most in need of stem cell therapies. Stem cells obtained and transplanted into the same person would not be rejected by the immune system," he said.

Professor Mackay-Sim said olfactory stem cells can be taken from small pieces of tissue taken from the nose under local anaesthetic, and are relatively easy to grow and multiply in the lab.

"We can multiply them from small samples into millions of cells and these cells can then be directed to turn into different types of cells. These attributes make them good candidates for cell transplantation therapies and tissue reconstruction," Professor Mackay-Sim said.

"Their other big advantage over embryonic stem cells is their potential for autologous therapies in which a patient's own cells are removed from the nose, grown and multiplied in a dish and transplanted back into the same patient which overcomes the issue of immune rejection or related immune-suppressing drug therapies," he said.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, told The Australian newspaper that the research could provide a possible solution to the moral debate over embryonic research and said he would refer it to the Vatican.

The Catholic Church provided Aust. $50,000 ($39,000) in funding for the Griffith University project.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

TIAs Occur Hours or Days Before a Stroke

TIAs Occur Hours or Days Before a Stroke

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 07 - Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) typically occur just hours or days before a stroke, leaving a small window for preventive efforts, according to a report in the March 8th issue of Neurology.

"We have known for some time that TIAs are often a precursor to a major stroke," lead author Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, from Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, UK, said in a statement. "What we haven't been able to determine is how urgently patients must be assessed following a TIA in order to receive the most effective preventive treatment."

Dr. Rothwell's team analyzed data from 549 ischemic stroke patients with a preceding TIA who participated in one of two population-based studies or one of two randomized trials.

The authors found little variation between the studies in the timing of stroke following TIA. Seventeen percent of TIAs occurred on the day of the stroke, 9% on the previous day, and 43% at some time during the preceding week.

The researchers were unable to identify any patient characteristics or vascular risk factors that predicted which patients would have a short interval between TIA and stroke.

"This study indicates that the timing of a TIA is critical, and the most effective treatments should be initiated within hours of a TIA in order to prevent a major attack," Dr. Rothwell concluded.

Neurology 2005;64:817-820.
Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs
)A temporary blockage of the blood supply to the brain caused by a blood clot and usually lasting ten minutes or less, during which dizziness, blurring of vision, numbness on one side of the body, and other symptoms of a stroke may occur. Also called ministroke.

Google Desktop searches:

Here’s a quick one: Google has taken its Desktop Search Tool out of beta and released a final version.

Improvements include natively supporting non Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, for example, and no longer indexes password-protected files. The release version of Google Desktop Search also gives users the option of indexing secure Web pages. The tool can now search the contents of Adobe PDF, music, and video files, the company says.

Attention Deficit

Preschoolers’ motivation, temperament relate to attention skills, study finds

* ADHD: Children
* ADHD: Medications
* Brain Development
* ADHD: Education

“The findings from this study suggest problems that arise from attention
difficulties are not limited to difficulty with concentration and sitting still,
but are related to how children approach challenging or new situations,” said
Chang. “Clearly, it is the case that much more needs to be understood about the
nature and implications of having an attention problem.”

Continue reading: Preschoolers’ motivation, temperament relate to attention skills, study finds

Thursday, March 03, 2005

22/12/04 - Health section

Aromatherapy oils could kill deadly superbug

Essential oils normally used in aromatherapy could be used to kill deadly MRSA bacteria, scientists say.

In tests carried out at the University of Manchester, three essential oils killed MRSA and e.coli bacteria within two minutes of contact.

Researchers believe the oils - chemical compounds found in aromatic plants - could be blended into soaps and shampoos to eradicate the spread of superbugs.

Revolutionary discovery

Peter Warn, from the University's faculty of medicine, who worked on the research, said the findings could help save lives.

He said: "We believe that our discovery could revolutionise the fight to combat MRSA and other superbugs but we need to carry out a trial and to do that we need a small amount of funding, around £30,000.

"We are having problems finding this funding because essential oils cannot be patented as they are naturally occurring, so few drug companies are interested in our work as they do not see it as commercially viable.

"Obviously we find this very frustrating as we believe our findings could help to stamp out MRSA and save lives."

The researchers tested 40 essential oils against ten of the most deadly bacteria and fungi.

Two of the oils killed MRSA and e.coli almost instantly, while a third was found to act over a longer period of time.

This means that any soaps made by blending the three oils would be effective through a course of treatment.

'Enormous benefit'

Jacqui Stringer, clinical leader of complementary therapies at Christie Hospital in Manchester, instigated the oils research.

She said: "Our research shows a very practical application which could be of enormous benefit to the NHS and its patients.

"The reason essential oils are so effective is because they are made up of a complex mixture of chemical compounds which the MRSA and other superbug bacteria finds difficult to resist.

"The problem with current treatments is that they are made of single compounds which MRSA relatively quickly becomes resistant to, so treatment is only successful in around 50% of cases."

She added: "While a wide range of products currently exist to help prevent the spread of MRSA these are often unpleasant for patients as their application can cause skin irritation.

"MRSA is often carried inside the nose which means that patients often have to insert treatments up their nostrils, whereas these essential oils can simply be inhaled to prevent the patient being at risk."

Find this story at
©2005 Associated New Media

Friday, February 25, 2005

Carotenoids May Protect Against Prostate Cancer

Reuters Health Information 2005. © 2005 Reuters Ltd.
Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Feb 24 - Dietary lycopene and other carotenoids may be protective against prostate cancer, Australian and Chinese researchers report in the March 1st issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

This is the first time such findings have been reported in an Asian population, investigator Dr. Andy H. Lee told Reuters Health. The findings confirm those of other studies that have identified lycopene as a protective agent against some types of cancers.

Dr. Lee, of Curtin University of Technology, Perth, and colleagues note that there is a lack of evidence in Asian countries on the possible benefits of dietary carotenoids. Among reasons is the low incidence of prostate cancer.

To investigate further, the researchers conducted a case-control study in southeast China. Involved were 130 patients with histologically confirmed adenocarcinoma of the prostate, and 274 controls. The controls were hospital inpatients without prostate cancer or malignant diseases.

The subjects were interviewed about food consumption and a variety of other matters. After adjustment for factors including, age, total fat and caloric intake as well as a family history of prostate cancer, diet appeared to have an influence.

The risk of prostate cancer declined with increasing consumption of lycopene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and other carotenoids. Consumption of foods including tomatoes, spinach and citrus fruits was also inversely associated with cancer risk.

In particular, compared to those with the lowest intake of lycopene, those with the highest had an odds ratio for prostate cancer of 0.18. Corresponding odds ratios were 0.43 for alpha-carotene, 0.34 for beta-carotene, 0.15 for beta-cryptoxanthin and 0.02 for lutein and zeaxanthine.

The researchers call for further studies to establish whether these benefits are associated with whole foods or pure carotenoids. However, they conclude that "carotenoids in vegetables and fruits may be inversely related to prostate carcinogenesis among Chinese men."

Int J Cancer 2005;113:1010-1014.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Herbal Remedy as Good as Drug for Depression: Study

LONDON (Reuters) - An extract of the herbal remedy St. John's wort is as effective as a commonly prescribed drug for people with moderate-to-severe depression, researchers reported this week Friday.

They compared the extract called WS 5570, which is made by the German company Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, and the antidepressant paroxetine sold by GlaxoSmithKline Plc under the brand name Paxil or Seroxat.

St. John's wort is also known as hypericum perforatum. ...................................

Monday, February 14, 2005

St. John's Wort as Effective as Paroxetine for Major Depression

Feb 10 - Extract of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) is at least as effective as paroxetine (Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline) for the treatment of moderate to severe major depression, while being better tolerated, Germany investigators report in the British Medical Journal, published online on February 10.

Dr. Meinhard Kieser, at Dr Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals in Karlsruhe, and his associates enrolled outpatients in 21 clinics. All scored 22 points or higher on the 17-item Hamilton depression scale. A total of 125 were randomly assigned to hypericum extract WS 5570 300 mg t.i.d. and 126 to paroxetine 20 mg q.d. Doses were doubled after 2 weeks if depression score had not improved by at least 20%.

After 42 days, Hamilton depression scores declined by 14.4 points in the hypericum group and 11.4 points in the paroxetine group (corresponding to decreases of 57% and 45%, respectively), a difference that the authors call "clinically relevant."

Responder rates were 70% and 60%, respectively, and remission rates were 50% and 35%. The authors observed differences favoring hypericum in secondary measures, including Montgomery-Asperg depression rating scale, Beck depression inventory and clinical global impressions.

During the trial, there were 172 adverse events reported in 55% of those in the hypericum group, and 269 reported by 76% in the paroxetine group.

"Our results support the use of hypericum extract WS 5570 as an alternative to standard antidepressants in moderate to severe depression, especially as it is well tolerated," Dr. Kieser's group concludes.

BMJ 2005.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Red wine boosts good cholesterol

Now we all have the perfect excuse to crack open a bottle of red wine after a long hard day
- a glass of red wine increases good cholesterol and lowers levels of a blood-clotting chemical.

New research shows that a daily glass of red wine for four weeks increases HDL or good cholesterol by up to 16 per cent, and reduces the amount of the clotting compound fibrinogen by up to 15 per cent.

And the research shows that it's the alcohol in the wine that provides the beneficial effects. No similar effects were found among people taking the same amount of red grape extract.

Although red wine has been linked to health benefits, especially for the heart, it's not been known how the effects are achieved. Antioxidants and other non-alcoholic compounds have been suggested, but the new research points to alcohol itself.

In the research at the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen, men and women aged 30 to 74, were given either 300ml of red wine a day, or red grape extract or water for a month, after which their cholesterol and fibrinogen levels were measured.

The levels of good cholesterol went up by between 11 and 16 per cent in the wine drinkers, and the amount of fibrinogen went down by eight to 15 per cent.

HDL cholesterol is considered good because a high level of it seems to protect against heart problemspossibly because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. Fibrinogen is a bloodclotting agent and high levels are associated with an increased risk of heart problems.

"Moderate red wine consumption for four weeks is associated with desirable changes in HDL and fibrinogen compared with drinking water with or without red grape extract.

"The impact of wine on the cardiovascular risk factors thus seems primarily explained by an alcoholic effect," say the researchers.

Other research has shown that while red wine may be protective, other forms of alcohol are not. That, say the researchers, may be explained by other lifestyle differences between people who favour different kinds of drink.

Find this story at
©2005 Associated New Media

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

the Mail online | Women & family | All you need to know about flu: "All you need to know about flu"
The winter months invariably bring a range of nasties with them. As the weather gets colder, our immune systems appear more vulnerable and colds and infection soon take hold.

Flu is one of the main illnesses to peak in winter, and it can be one of the more dangerous, too. It's infectious and in some circumstances, fatal, especially for the young, elderly and those with chronic conditions, such as asthma.

Here we take an in-depth look at what flu is and the best ways of avoiding, and treating it.

Reduced salt intake cuts heart disease risk

26/01/05 - Diet & fitness section

Reduced salt intake cuts heart disease risk

Older people could immediately cut the risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack by reducing their salt intake, campaigners have claimed.

At least 26 million people in Britain regularly consume more than the recommended 6g of salt a day for an adult.

Eating too much salt can raise blood pressure but the danger generally increases with age.

Pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) has calculated over 60-year-olds could slash the chances of a stoke by up to 31% and a heart attack by 24% within days if they reduced their salt consumption to the 6g a day maximum.

Greater risks

It based the figures on papers published in two journals, one on a salt reduction trial in older people and the other looking at the relationship between blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. CASH plans to highlight the issue in its latest Salt Awareness Day tomorrow.

Salt manufacturers responded by claiming a recent study in Germany had shown a low-salt diet could be dangerous for older people.

One of the biggest complaints of health groups is that food manufacturers generally list sodium rather than salt on packets.

Shoppers need to multiply the sodium content by 2.5 to find the salt level.

A survey conducted by CASH of over 50-year-olds found that 63% were unaware that salt contains sodium or got the quantities wrong.

A further 69% of the 103 people questioned in September last year said the labelling of sodium was "incomprehensible"."

Graham MacGregor, chairman of CASH and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at St George's Hospital, London, said: "Older people will have dramatic reductions in strokes and heart attacks if they cut their salt intakes to the recommended levels.

"They are at greater risks and will have immediate and larger falls in blood pressure."

Prof MacGregor analysed the results of 23 patients referred to the blood pressure unit at St George's with hypertension, all of whom claimed to be cutting down on salt or ate none at all.

Just three of the group actually consumed less than 6g a day and one man had a reading of 23.7g.

Food industry targets

The Food Standards Agency say men consume an average of 11g of salt a day - equivalent to almost two level teaspoons - and while women have around 8.1g.

Around 75% of salt in diets comes from processed food with bread, breakfast cereals and biscuits among the worst culprits.

Peter Sherratt, general secretary of the Salt Manufacturers Association, said: "CASH has never acknowledged the fact that there are many experts who totally disagree with it on the suggested link between salt and blood pressure.

"This latest advice carries potential risk for older people. If they suffer from high blood pressure, they should consult their doctors rather than follow what CASH suggests is an 'immediate' cure.

Martin Paterson, deputy director general of the Food and Drink Federation, said: "UK food and drink manufacturers are committed to encouraging consumers to improve their own health through a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

"The industry has already made great strides in reducing the amount of salt in a wide range of processed foods, published a guide to help consumers understand more about salt and is committed to encouraging all its members to provide 'salt equivalent' on labelling as well as the legally required sodium information."

Find this story at
©2005 Associated New Media

Friday, January 21, 2005

Scented pillows help pre-met infants breathe!:

Sydney, Jan 9 : Vanilla-scented pillows could reduce the incidence of life-threatening respiratory difficulties in premature babies, a new study has found.

Pre-mature babies are often at risk of apnoea, a condition where they stop breathing for no apparent reason. Doctors believe the babies' immature respiratory centres means that they sometimes forget to breathe, particularly when they are sleeping.

Usually the condition is treated with drugs, but doctors at a hospital in Strasbourg, France, found that where drug treatment didn't work, a dab of vanilla essence on the pillows of the newborns reduced apnoea by 36 per cent on average in 12 out of 14 infants.

Researchers discover why olive oil lessens breast cancer risk:

: "Researchers discover why olive oil lessens breast cancer risk:"
Washington, Jan 10 : A team of researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, have revealed why Mediterranean diets, which include a lot of olive oil, reduces breast cancer risk in women.

The study, which has been published in the "Annals of Oncology" also found evidence that oleic acid, which is found in olive oil, may have a future role in treatment.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Taking a trip to the doctor is not a fun thing to do unless you have some sort of fetish for pain and bad news. While all doctor visits don’t have to be horrible, the anxiety that is expended while you wait for the verdict is enough to make anyone go crazy. Some people think the answer is to just avoid going to the doctor altogether, but that usually leads to more problems than you originally planned for. If you’re starting to get that funny feeling that something is haywire in your body, you can do some research before you head to the Doc. One site that acts like a medical textbook is MedicineNet.
I'm no health expert, but this site appears to provide some comprehensive information on most anything that could ail you. If you're experiencing curious symptoms that you'd like to identify, the site lets you choose what you're going through, and will then give you suggestions about what the problem may be. You can also learn more about any type of disease that you or a friend may have. So many medications are on the market, and MedicineNet will help you figure out what does what. One of the biggest problems we peasants have to deal with is the inability to understand medical terms. Kiss this problem goodbye, because the site also has a dictionary that you can refer to in times of need. When you get that icky feeling inside, find out what the cause is with this Web site.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

the Mail online | Health | Revolutionary implants help injured children smile again: "Doctors are putting smiles back on the faces of seriously injured and deformed children with the help of a revolutionary new implant to help rebuild their looks."

Friday, January 07, 2005

New Clinical Guidelines Advise When to Treat Flat Feet in Children

CHICAGO, IL -- December 29, 2004 -- Are flat feet in children naturally corrected with age or does the condition require medical attention to prevent further foot problems" To help physicians and parents learn answers to this question and others, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) has released new clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of pediatric flatfoot.

According to co-author James Thomas, DPM, FACFAS, University of Alabama Birmingham, the bottom-line advice for parents from the new guidelines is to observe your child's gait regularly, with and without shoes, for signs of flattened arches and seek medical attention if the child complains of foot or leg pain or shows a sudden lack of interest in physical activities.

The guidelines appear in the current issue of the Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery and offer physicians diagnostic and treatment pathways to follow when evaluating pediatric flatfoot patients. "Recommendations in the guidelines will help foot and ankle surgeons, primary care doctors and parents differentiate various types of flatfoot conditions in children and make appropriate choices on treatment options," said Thomas.

Thomas added that a flattened arch is common in young children and usually is an isolated condition known as flexible flatfoot, in which the foot is flat when standing and returns to a normal arch in non weight-bearing positions. According to the ACFAS guidelines, most children with flexible flatfoot have no clinical symptoms other than the flattened arch and the disorder follows "a natural history of improvement over time."

"When parents notice flattened arches in their children they often don't know if the problem requires medical attention," Thomas noted. "Much of the time, treatment isn't required for pediatric flatfoot unless the child has pain in the foot or leg. So parents and their pediatricians should monitor children with flat feet for signs of progression, such as the onset or worsening of pain and possible adjustments in gait to compensate for it," he explained.

Further, the guidelines advise that if a child's flatfoot condition doesn't improve by the age of 10 (the age the arch should be fully developed), a foot and ankle surgeon should be consulted for exact diagnosis of the problem and appropriate treatment.

When medical treatment is required for flexible flatfoot, the ACFAS guidelines recommend first-line therapy that may include activity modifications or limitations, stretching exercises, shoe orthotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. If the patient's response to initial treatment is unsatisfactory, a variety of surgical procedures can be considered to relieve pain and improve foot function.

Another less common and more serious type of pediatric flatfoot covered in the guidelines is rigid flatfoot. This condition is somewhat rare and usually inherited. As the name implies, the arch is rigid and flat, with or without weight bearing, and there is limited motion in the foot. Normally associated with an underlying structural abnormality or deformity, rigid flatfoot requires diagnosis and treatment by a foot and ankle surgeon. Surgery often is required in these cases to correct underlying structural deformities.

For further information follow these links
Flexible Flatfoot
Painful Progressive Flatfoot (Tibialis Posterior Tendinitis)