Monday, December 01, 2008

10 Reasons Not to Skimp on Sleep

10 Reasons Not to Skimp on Sleep

Too busy to go to bed? Having trouble getting quality sleep once you do? Your health may be at risk.

By Sarah Baldauf, U.S. News & World Report

You may literally have to add it to your to-do list, but scheduling
a good night's sleep could be one of the smartest health priorities you
set. It's not just daytime drowsiness you risk when shortchanging
yourself on your seven to eight hours. Possible health consequences of
getting too little or poor sleep can involve the cardiovascular,
endocrine, immune and nervous systems. In addition to letting life get
in the way of good sleep, between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer
from a chronic sleep disorder—insomnia or sleep apnea, say—that affects daily functioning and impinges on health. Consider the research:

1) Less may mean more. For people who sleep under seven hours a night, the fewer zzzz's they get, the more obese
they tend to be, according to a 2006 Institute of Medicine (IOM)
report. This may relate to the discovery that insufficient sleep
appears to tip hunger hormones out of whack. Leptin, which suppresses
appetite, is lowered; ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, gets a boost.

You're more apt to make bad food choices. A study published in the
October 15, 2008 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found
that people with obstructive sleep apnea or other severely disordered
breathing while asleep ate a diet higher in cholesterol, protein, total
fat, and total saturated fat. Women were especially affected.

3) Diabetes
and impaired glucose tolerance, its precursor, may become more likely.
A 2005 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that
people getting five or fewer hours of sleep each night were 2.5 times
more likely to be diabetic, while those with six hours or fewer were
1.7 times more likely.

4) The ticker is put at risk. A 2003 study found that heart attacks were 45 percent more likely in women who slept for five or fewer hours per night than in those who got more.

Blood pressure may increase. Obstructive sleep apnea, for example, has
been associated with chronically elevated daytime blood pressure, and
the more severe the disorder, the more significant the hypertension, suggests the 2006 IOM report. Obesity plays a role in both disorders, so losing weight can ease associated health risks.

Auto accidents rise. As stated in a 2007 report in the New England
Journal of Medicine, nearly 20 percent of serious car crash injuries
involve a sleepy driver—and that's independent of alcohol use.

7) Balance is off. Older folks who have trouble getting to sleep, who wake up at night, or are drowsy during the day could be 2 to 4.5 times more likely to sustain a fall, found a 2007 study in the Journal of Gerontology.

You may be more prone to depression. Adults who chronically operate on
fumes report more mental distress, depression, and alcohol use.
Adolescents suffer, too: One survey of high school students found
similarly high rates of these issues. Middle schoolers, too, report
more symptoms of depression and lower self-esteem.

9) Kids may
suffer more behavior problems. Research from an April issue of the
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that children who
are plagued by insomnia, short duration of sleeping, or disordered
breathing with obesity, for example, are more likely to have behavioral
issues like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Death's doorstep may be nearer. According to three large studies
published in the journals Sleep and the Archives of General Psychiatry,
people over age 30 who slept five hours or less per night had
approximately a 15 percent greater risk of dying—regardless of
the cause—over the periods studied, which ranged from six to 14

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Diet and prostate cancer

Clinical trial results revealed exclusively to ITV News show for the first time on this scale, that changing diet and lifestyle after cancer has been diagnosed, can significantly improve a patient's outcome.

The trial, centred at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, involved men with advancing prostate cancer.

After a year of improving their diet and increasing exercise, nearly 40 per cent of them no longer required the expected surgery or radiotherapy.

Several studies show that eating certain foods may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, reduce the likelihood of prostate cancer coming back after treatment, or help slow down progression of the disease.

In recent years, the British diet has included less fruit and vegetables and more saturated fats and meat products. These changes may increase the risk of men developing prostate cancer over many years.

Find out more about how changing your diet may lower your risk of prostate cancer here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

135 grapes a day could help lower blood pressure and minimise risk of heart attack

135 grapes a day could help lower blood pressure and minimise risk of heart attack

Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:38 AM on 29th October 2008

Grapes helped lower blood pressure and improve heart function in lab
rats fed an otherwise salty diet, U.S. researchers have said.

The findings, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, may help people with high blood pressure, they said.

findings support our theory that something within the grapes themselves
has a direct impact on cardiovascular risk, beyond the simple blood
pressure-lowering impact that we already know can come from a diet rich
in fruits and vegetables,'  said Mitchell Seymour of the
Cardioprotection Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan.

The national collection of greenhouse grapes and outdoor varieties at Reads Nursery in Norfolk.

The research showed that rats on a high-salt diet had less cardiovascular risk when they ate grape powder

a study sponsored in part by California grape producers, Seymour and
colleagues examined the effects of ordinary grapes on rats that develop
high blood pressure when fed a salty diet.

Some of the rats
ate a diet containing a powder from red, green and purple table grapes
and a high-salt diet. Others were fed the grape powder and a low-salt
diet. The powder, which contained the same nutrients in fresh grapes,
allowed the scientists to measure the rats' intake carefully.

18 weeks, the rats that ate the grape-enriched diet had lower blood
pressure, better heart function, reduced inflammation throughout their
bodies, and fewer signs of heart muscle damage than rats that ate a
salty diet but no grapes.

'The inevitable downhill sequence to
hypertension and heart failure was changed by the addition of grape
powder to a high-salt diet,' Dr. Steven Bolling of the University of
Michigan, who heads up the lab, said in a statement.

said he thinks flavonoids, beneficial chemicals found in grapes, green
tea, cocoa and and tomatoes, could be having an effect on blood
pressure. Flavonoids have been shown in other studies to have
heart-health benefits.

Food producers are keen to show the
health benefits of their products. Studies sponsored by chocolate
makers, almond and walnut producers have shown various heart benefits,
including reducing inflammation in blood vessels and lowering the risk
of heart attacks and stroke.

Grape powder comprised about
three percent of the rats' diet. For humans, that would be about nine
servings of grapes a day. One serving is about 15 grapes.

California Table Grape Commission provided financial support for the
study and supplied the grape powder. Other sponsors included the
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National
Institutes of Health.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Major breakthrough in cancer research

Major breakthrough in cancer research as scientists unlock the secrets of crucial enzyme

Fiona Macrae

Scientists now understand the secrets of cancer enzyme telomerase

Scientists now understand the secrets of cancer enzyme telomerase

major breakthrough in cancer research could lead to the creation of
'one-size-fits-all' drugs capable of tackling almost all forms of the

Scientists have unravelled the secrets of an enzyme called telomerase that makes cancer cells immortal.

This allows them to multiply uncontrollably and cause disease.

The landmark discovery paves the way for the creation of drugs that block the enzyme, stopping tumour growth.

telomerase at work in almost all human cancers, such a drug or family
of drugs could have a major impact in the treatment of the disease
which affects almost 300,000 Britons a year and kills someone every
four minutes.

Liz Baker, of charity Cancer Research UK, said: 'This is a crucial part of the puzzle in understanding how telomerase works.

research like this may help scientists to design drugs that block
telomerase and could potentially be used to treat a wide range of

The implications of the US research do not end there,
with new anti-ageing treatments or better drugs for age-related
diseases also possibly on the cards, the journal Nature reports.

The researchers from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, have deciphered the structure of a key part of telomerase.

healthy cells, the enzyme is all but switched off, and the cells
multiply a set number of times before dying - a key part of the ageing

But in up to 90 per cent of cancers, the enzyme is activated, allowing runaway cell division and tumour growth.

the compound's structure will allow scientists to design drugs that
deactivate the enzyme and so halt the disease in its tracks.

targeting of cancerous cells should mean such medicines would be free
of the side-effects such as the pain, nausea and hair loss associated
with conventional treatments.

Previous attempts to make telomerase-blocking drugs have been thwarted by lack of knowledge about the enzyme.

Study leader Dr Emmanuel Skordalakes described the breakthrough as 'extremely exciting'.

is an ideal target for chemotherapy because it is active in almost all
human tumours, but inactive in most normal cells,' he said.

'That means a drug that deactivates telomerase would likely work against all cancers, with few side effects.'

Unravelling the mysteries of telomerase could also pave the way for therapies that combat ageing and age-related diseases.

Switching on telomerase in a controlled, safe way, could theoretically produce younger, healthier and longer living tissue.

researchers concluded: 'Because telomerase has a critical role in both
cancer and ageing, these findings could potentially assist our efforts
to identify and develop inhibitors and/or activators of this enzyme for
the treatment of cancer and ageing, respectively.'

But the
enzyme's structure is complex and any drugs that are designed will have
to go through many years of laboratory, animal and human testing before
they reach the pharmacy shelves.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red grapes 'are wonder cure for high blood pressure and cholesterol'

Mail OnlineRed Grapes

Red grapes are more than just the source for the world’s
finest wine - the fruits themselves are a wonder cure against heart
attacks, according to new research.

And while a glass of wine is
a recognised part of a healthy Mediterranean-style diet, it seems the
bits of the grape thrown away to make the tipple could be even

Researchers made a cocktail extracted from the most
fibre-rich parts of the grape such as the skin and seeds which are the
waste byproduct in vineyards.

Tests on human volunteers found the
extract was extremely rich in both fibre and antioxidants which reduce
the risks of cardiovascular disease - the world’s biggest killer.

other superfoods for the heart, like the plant extract psyllium or
healthy oats for instance, are usually good for either fibre or
antioxidants rather than both together.

But the tests at Madrid
University using a concoction called Grape Antioxidant Dietary Fibre
(GADF) was high in both potentially lifesaving ingredients.

a 16 week period, adding the extract to the volunteers’ regular
diet ‘significantly’ reduced their ‘Lipid
Profile’ - the range of tests to determine a patient’s risk
of heart disease.

This included reducing blood pressure by up to
five per cent and cholesterol by up to 14 per cent among the
volunteers, said the research.

A Mediterranean-style diet
including components like red wine, olive oil and tomatoes has long
been considered healthier than other Western diets rich in deep fried
and fast food.

The research suggests the grape extract would make such a diet
up to 50 per cent even more effective in reducing the risks of heart

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of death in
the Western World accounting for up to 50 per cent of all natural

The extract, if turned into a health supplement,
could be particularly useful for those who suffer from high blood
pressure or high cholesterol, said the researchers.

The results
are published in the journal Nutrition today/Wed after 34 non-smoking
adults were tested with the GADF extract over 16 weeks.

that was going on, a further nine students from the university who were
not given the extract were also monitored so they could be compared to
the first group.

Those given GADF saw ‘significantly
reduced total cholesterol’, particularly LDL, the type known as
‘bad cholesterol’ which can lead to heart problems in later

The reduction in both cholesterol and blood pressure was
much bigger than the effects caused by other high fibre products on the
market, they said.

Researcher Jara Perez Jimenez said: ‘GADF showed significant reducing effects in lipid profile and blood pressure.

effects appear to be higher than the ones caused by other dietary
fibres, such as oat fibre or psyllium, probably due to the combined
effect of dietary fibre and antioxidants.’

I limped for 10 years - but a tiny implant cured it in seconds

Mail Online

Thousands of Britons limp as a result of a dropped
foot caused by conditions such as stroke or head injuries. Brandon
Chambers, 38, a painter from Bristol, has benefited from a new implant.

He tells CAROL DAVIS about his experience, and his surgeon explains the procedure.


Brandon Chambers

Making great strides: Brandon Chambers had
difficulty walking after a brain hemorrhage, but a new implant now
allows him to walk properly

A dropped foot doesn't sound very serious, but it's
extremely debilitating - I was only 22 when I developed it in my left
foot, and since then I haven't been able to walk without enormous
effort. I had to stop constantly to rest and would often trip over,
especially when I was tired.

It started when I woke up one
Sunday with an excruciating headache; I tried to sit up but collapsed,
so my flatmate called an ambulance.

I woke up ten days
later in hospital, paralysed down the left side of my body. I was told
a blood vessel in my brain had burst and had damaged the part that
controls movement (luckily my cognitive abilities weren't affected).

months of physiotherapy, I went home - in a wheelchair. It was five
months before I could walk again, and even then, because the muscles in
the ankle were still weak, my left foot dropped so my toes trailed on
the floor.

I had to wear a brace from below the knee to the
tip of my toes to keep my foot in a semi-raised position, so I wouldn't
trip over it.

But I still had to make a real effort to lift
my leg higher than normal to clear my foot, which was very tiring. The
brace was also heavy and caused painful calluses.

At the
time, I'd been a nursing assistant in A&E, but had to give that up.
Over the next decade or so I had regular check ups, then two years ago
my consultant mentioned a new technique, functional electrical

He explained electrodes could be stuck on the
leg just above the calf bone. A sensor pad connected by wires would
also be placed in my shoe under the heel of the foot.

my heel started to rise off the ground, an electrical signal would be
sent to the leg and prompt the muscles to lift the front of the foot
before I put it down again.

The electrodes would be fired from a
control box - the size of a pack of playing cards - kept in my pocket;
the wires ran from here down the inside of my trousers.

was referred to Salisbury District Hospital. Six months later I was
given the two electrode patches. It was extraordinary to see my foot
move again after ten years.

I could feel tingling every
time the electrodes fired, and walking was so much easier. But I
developed eczema where the patches touched my skin, so it was hard to
use them for longer than a few days at a time.

Then my
physio suggested a permanent implant. The Stimustep implant was exactly
the same as the external electrodes, but would be implanted in the leg,
so it wouldn't affect my skin.

I was referred to plastic
surgeon John Hobby, who performed the operation. I had a general
anaesthetic for the one-hour operation.

The implant itself,
which is the size of a £2 coin, consists of a tiny generator
attached to two minuscule electrodes; this was put under my skin, 15cm
below my left knee.

Two weeks later, a control box was strapped to my calf, which sends a signal to fire the electrodes.

Cables linked the control box to a sensor in my shoe, and the electrodes fired when the pressure pad detected my heel lifting.

I can control the intensity the nerves are stimulated: too little and my foot won't lift - too much and I'd have an odd gait.

The control box needs charging every few days, so I plug it into the mains overnight like a mobile phone.

The implant may need replacing in 20 years or so. But I can finally walk normally again and have no problems with eczema.

I've just been on holiday with my partner Selina to Barcelona and I was able to walk for hours. It's changed my life.


Mr John Hobby is consultant plastic surgeon at Salisbury District Hospital.

He says... Around
25,000 people in Britain a year develop a dropped foot. This is because
the area of the brain that sends signals to limbs has been damaged -
through stroke, head injury or other conditions.

patients with dropped foot, the signals to lift their foot when they
take a step are either not being generated or not getting through.

their foot drags and they can trip over it. Patients with some movement
are offered physiotherapy to re-educate the body and teach them to

They can also wear a splint that keeps their foot in
a half-raised position, around 45 degrees, so their toes don't trail
and walking is easier.

As the nerve and muscle systems are
often still intact in the foot, it is still possible to signal to the
foot to lift and turn when the patient takes a step.

treated around 2,500 patients with patches - surface stimulation -
including those who've recently developed a dropped foot, and those who
may have had it for many years.

While the patches work
well, they can be difficult to apply; they have to be stuck in a
specific place - 1cm out and they don't work. They can also send an
unpleasant tingling when the electrodes fire through the skin, causing
skin irritation.

But we can now also implant a stimulator under the skin. It works the same way as the electrodes, without the skin irritation.

place the implant we make a 6cm incision, below the knee. We isolate
the common peroneal nerve, which runs down the leg and has two branches
- a deep branch that transmits the signals to lift the foot, and a
superficial branch, which mainly sends signals to turn it.

we make a small incision in the protective cover of the nerve and
attach two electrodes - one to the deep branch, the other to the
superficial branch - securing them with stitches.

electrodes are then connected, via flexible silicon leads, to the
generator bit of the implant. We check the electrodes are working
properly then close up the incision with deep stitches and dress it.

see the patient two weeks later to check the wound is healing properly.
This is when the patient is given the control box that is strapped
around the calf and connected by cables to a pressure pad in the shoe.

The patient can then adjust the stimulation intensity themselves.

I was delighted to hear that Brandon's implant works well and wish him many years of useful movement.

• The operation costs £6,400 privately, and a similar cost to the NHS.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Adjustable-continence therapy

Mail Online

Balloons placed in the bladder can cure stress incontinence

Two balloons implanted into the bladder in as little as ten minutes may be a new solution for stress incontinence.

shows that seven out of 10 women were helped by the therapy, which is
designed to increase pressure around the bladder neck.

six months, nearly 70 per cent of the women implanted with the
devices - for whom all other treatments had failed
- were dry with no leakages. Read the story online

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

Mail Online

'When I kept falling over, my wife said I was drunk': One man's battle with the disease that killed Dudley Moore

On a good day, Ray Nind falls five times. In the past
year, he's been rushed to hospital six times to be treated for the
resulting injuries - usually cuts to the back of his head that need

'When I first began falling, people
thought I was drunk,' says Ray, 56. 'Even my wife thought I had been
drinking. She kept asking if I'd "had a few" on the quiet, but I
honestly hadn't. I didn't know why I kept falling. Now, fortunately,
everyone who knows me is aware I fall because I'm ill.'

recently, Ray, who lives in Ilford, Essex, ran a building business,
employed more than 20 staff and drove a three-litre Jaguar. 'Now I just
watch TV all day,' he says. 'It's all I can do.'

Read his story

Beating heart surgery technique

Mail Online
Traditional heart bypass surgery is often too risky for
elderly patients, but new techniques mean such patients can now have
the life-saving operation.

Christina Hunter, 83, a widowed mother-of-two from Kirkcaldy, Scotland,
tells CHARLOTTE HARDING how this has restored her quality of life, then
her surgeon explains the procedure.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blood pressure drug dementia hope

Blood pressure drug dementia hope

A drug used to lower blood pressure could prevent or delay thousands of Alzheimer's cases, US research has suggested.

People taking angiotensin receptor blockers were up to 40% less likely
to develop dementia than those taking other blood pressure drugs.

And patients already suffering from dementia were less likely to get worse.

The number of people in the UK with dementia is expected to soar to 1.7 million over the next two decades.

This study highlights that it is becoming increasingly important to
investigate blood pressure lowering drugs as a potential treatment for

Professor Clive Ballard

Alzheimer's Society

This could mean an enormous extra burden for families and the taxpayer,
but the Boston University School of Medicine research, presented at a
conference in Chicago, suggests there could be ways to prevent it.

High blood pressure over long periods can lead to
damaged blood vessels, and is known to increase the risk of not only
strokes and heart disease, but dementia as well.

Some types of dementia are directly related to the
condition of the arteries supplying the brain, but blood pressure is
also thought to play a role in Alzheimer's disease, which is linked to
the appearance of protein deposits in brain tissue.

However, the reasons for this are not clear.

Symptom delay

The research looked at records of approximately six million people treated for high blood pressure between 2001 and 2006.

Those who took angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) were less likely,
over that period, to be diagnosed with dementia compared with those on
other blood pressure medication such as ACE inhibitors.

If they already had dementia in 2001, they were 45%
less likely to go on to develop delirium, be admitted to a nursing
home, or die prematurely.

This evidence suggests that the drugs, which help
prevent the constriction of blood vessels, could not only prevent, or
at least delay, the arrival of dementia symptoms, but also slow down
the progress of the disease.

ARBs are normally prescribed only to patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors.

Professor Clive Ballard, from the Alzheimer's Society, said that full
clinical trials, following a smaller number of patients over a longer
period, were now needed.

"High blood pressure doubles the risk of Alzheimer's
disease and increases risk of stroke - this study highlights that it is
becoming increasingly important to investigate blood pressure lowering
drugs as a potential treatment for dementia.

"These findings will be important in stimulating
further research into the relationship between anti-hypertension drugs
and the development of dementia."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How the wrong drugs could be causing your depression

How the wrong drugs could be causing your depression

Lucy Elkins
Last updated at 9:47 PM on 09th June 2008

Feeling worn out? Having trouble getting out of bed each day?
Finding it hard deciding what to do with your time? Turn up at your
GP's surgery with these symptoms and the chances are you will be
diagnosed with depression.

Two million people in Britain
are taking antidepressants, yet according to a new book, many of these
people aren't mentally ill at all but have been misdiagnosed.

Beating Stress, Anxiety And Depression, Professor Jane Plant, a leading
scientist from University College Hospital in London, and Janet
Stephenson, a psychologist at a London hospital, claim the medical
profession's approach to mental illness and depression in particular is
wrong - with medics often mistaking symptoms of a physical condition
for depression.

Depressed woman

Many people taking antidepressants have been misdiagnosed, according to a new book

study by an American psychiatrist found that more than 10 per cent of
patients diagnosed with mental illness are actually suffering from an
underlying physical condition, such as a heart murmur or a mineral
deficiency such as calcium or magnesium that causes depression-like
symptoms,' says Professor Plant.

Thyroid problems can also cause depression.

study found that more than 40 per cent of patients diagnosed as
depressed at one medical practice were found to have been taking
medication that causes depression as a side effect.

'Asthma treatments, for example, can cause depression, but some doctors don't know this,' she says.

authors also believe that doctors and psychiatrists frequently
prescribe the wrong kinds of drug, which can leave people feeling even
worse than they did without treatment.

'In a recent report from
Bristol University, it was estimated that 40 per cent of mental health
cases in Britain receive the wrong kind of treatment for their
condition,' says Professor Plant.

As the professor's own
experience bears out. For eight years she was wrongly prescribed
benzodiazepine, an antianxiety medication, and ended up needing
hospital treatment.

Problem began in 1993 when she was told
the breast cancer she thought she'd overcome had returned, and she was
given only two months to live.

Within six months she had
beaten the terminal cancer. However, her GP continued to prescribe
tranquillisers. Professor Plant noticed something was wrong a few
months after returning to work.

'I was talking to colleagues
and saw what I thought were electronic worms coming out of their heads.
I instantly thought it must be the fault of the pills I was taking,'
she says.

Her doctor simply gave her a slightly weaker dose.

am an eloquent scientist, but even I did not think to question his
advice,' she says. 'I assumed the drug was no big deal and would just
help with my difficulty in sleeping. I had no idea it could be
mind-altering and cause a serious addiction.'

Indeed, the longer
Professor Plant stayed on the pills, the more she needed - and the
more anxious she became. When she told her doctor, she was taken off
the benzodiazepine and prescribed an antidepressant.

Within days
she was feeling suicidal. Fearing for her safety, her husband called an
ambulance. A hospital psychiatrist realised she was suffering from
benzodiazepine withdrawal. The dose was gradually reduced and she was
also offered counselling.

This problem is far from unique.

Bristol Cancer Help Centre receives almost as many calls from cancer
patients addicted to tranquillisers - which doctors give them to get
over the shock of their illness - as they do about the cancer. It
should not be like this. Psychotherapy or counselling is more effective
than pills for patients like me facing cancer.'

The authors also believe there is too much of a 'one size fits all' approach to treating mental health within the NHS.

are seven different types of anxiety and depression, such as clinical
depression, postnatal depression, panic attacks and generalised anxiety
disorder, and each needs to be treated differently,' says Professor

'For example, those with anxiety tend to react well
to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as this helps train them to
react and think differently, so they do not feel anxious when they
encounter various situations.

'On the other hand, CBT would
not be so helpful for someone with post-natal depression, for example,
as it is more of a hormonal issue and is best treated by providing the
mother with support and counselling.

'Drugs should be avoided because she might be breastfeeding.

manic depression, which is triggered by a chemical imbalance in the
brain, can be helped with the right kind of medication, often the mood
stabiliser lithium, to remedy that imbalance.

'The problem is
that confronted with a mental health problem, doctors are often quick
to prescribe a mind-altering pill rather than to think of some other
form of treatment such as therapy.

'This is the way they have been trained, yet often that is not the solution.'

authors also suggest that relatives of someone who is suspected of
being mentally ill should press for tests to prevent them from being
given the wrong medication or treatment.

'If a doctor does
prescribe a drug, they should ascertain if the patient has low levels
of neurotransmitters - brain chemicals such as serotonin that help
influence mood - and which one is low, as this can better inform them
which drug to use,' says Professor Plant.

This can be checked by a urine or blood test and is routinely done in private clinics.

problem is that most NHS doctors aren't even aware such tests exist.
This leads to a suck-itandsee approach. Doctors randomly try drugs
before they find the right combination that works. But the medical test
approach is controversial.

'The diagnosis of depression is
made from clinical history, not blood tests,' says Graham Archard,
vice-chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

is not good enough, say Professor Plant and Janet Stephenson. 'A mental
health patient has only a chance of getting the right help. How can
anyone dealing with patients be happy with this?'

Beating Stress, Anxiety And Depression by Professor Jane Plant and
Janet Stephenson (Piatkuson, £12.99). © Jane Plant and Janet Stephenson
2008. To order a copy (p&p free), call 0845 606 4206.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The tiny battery pumping new life into damaged hearts

Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:33 PM on 02nd June 2008


A tiny pump the size of a tv remote battery has been found to increase blood flow in the heart

A tiny blood pump the size of a battery in a TV remote has been implanted in patients with chronic heart failure.

device works with the patient's own heart, and is designed to
supplement the heart's own pumping, increasing blood flow and allowing
the heart to rest and potentially recover.

Implanted with minimal surgery, it is so small it can be placed just under the skin in a pacemaker-like pocket.

Made by U.S.-based Circulite, it is designed to provide long-term circulation support for patients with chronic heart failure.

Its patented micro-pump took eight years to develop.

A small number of patients have so far been implanted with the device.

have demonstrated significant clinical improvements,' says Dr Bart
Meyns, chief of cardiac surgery at Gasthuisberg University Hospital,
Belgium, who has been involved in the pump's development.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

New drug shrinks even the most severe breast cancer tumours

New drug shrinks even the most severe breast

cancer tumours

Jo Macfarlane
Last updated at 2:24 AM on 01st June 2008

Maralyn Bruff

Hope: Maralyn Braff's condition has stabilised since taking new drug

A new breast cancer drug has been shown to shrink tumours in women with one of the most aggressive forms of the disease.

in four given the drug in a clinical trial saw their tumours reduce in
size. A further one in four were told by doctors that their tumours had
got no bigger.

The women, who all had an advanced and
aggressive form of breast cancer, had previously been given Herceptin
but it had failed to slow their disease.

However, when treated with a combination of Herceptin and new drug pertuzumab, some of the growths began to reduce in size.

The findings offer new hope to women with aggressive HER2-positive breast cancer.

10,000 in Britain are diagnosed with the condition every year, which
makes up around 20 to 30 per cent of all breast cancer cases.

are diagnosed as having HER2-positivity if they are found to have large
quantities of a protein known as HER2 on the surface of the tumour

The diagnosis means the disease will be more aggressive and harder to treat as it will not respond well to chemotherapy.

pertuzumab works by preventing the HER2 protein from binding with other
cells, a pairing which is thought to play an important role in the
growth and spread of cancer.

Breast cancer patient Maralyn
Braff, 54, has seen her condition stabilise since taking part in a
trial involving Herceptin and pertuzumab.

The transplant
co-ordinator from Burnage, Manchester, was diagnosed with breast cancer
15 years ago and it spread to her lungs in 2001, despite her having a
double mastectomy.

She said: ‘My original diagnosis was for me
not to live beyond 49, but here I am at 54. I haven’t felt any worse
since it began. If they said standing in the corner on my head would
help I’d do it.

‘It’s a wonderful step forward. Even if in the long term it doesn’t come to a standstill I’m thrilled to bits.’

hope they could eventually prevent breast cancer from forming in the
first place by giving the drug to high-risk women who test positive for
the HER2 protein. It could also replace the need for damaging
chemotherapy treatments.

The clinical trial results were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago on Friday.

international trial involved 66 patients in the UK, France, Italy,
Spain and Canada who had advanced breast cancer that had spread to
other organs.

One of the study’s authors, Dr David Miles,
medical oncologist at specialist cancer hospital Mount Vernon,
Middlesex, said: ‘While it’s not a big study, what you’re really
looking for is proof of principle.

‘In one quarter of the women we shrunk their tumours and in a further quarter we stabilised their growth.’

combination of Herceptin and pertuzumab is not currently licensed in
the UK, but it is hoped it could be available within five years.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Diet treatment call for epilepsy

A new Study as shown on the BBC Web Site shows that
"A special high-fat diet helps to control fits in children with epilepsy, a UK trial suggests."
Yet again re-enforcing the previous article on this site

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet link took me to Mathewsfriends web site. Although I like to keep to the spirit of this blog I am sure that this site fits well into the subject. However I do not care. ALL I want is for you to read Alice's Story, if nothing else it will make you realise that Hope and Determination can be a lifeline and the way to a happier life. I wish Alice and her extended family on the site my Love and Best Wishes.