Ayurvedic Remedy for Cholesterol Problem
Girl Babies prolong the life of Mom
Organic Produce and Pesticides
Food Poisoning at Schools
Breast is Best
Life in Space
Ayurvedic Remedy for Cholesterol Problem
A traditional remedy approved in India for lowering cholesterol really does work, and in a new way that might lead to the development of improved drugs. The resin of the guggul tree has been used in Indian traditional medicine Ayurveda for more than 2,500 years, and more recently has been enlisted to fight high cholesterol. David Moore of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found the guggul extract lives up to its reputation. "It really does lower cholesterol in a number of clinical studies in the Indian literature," Moore said. Writing in the May 3, 2002 issue of the journal Science, he said it has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine since at least 600 BC to treat obesity and other disorders. Moore's team found the steroid guggulsterone, the active agent in the Guggul extract, blocks the activity of the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) on cells. FXR helps regulate cholesterol by affecting levels of bile acids, which are produced from cholesterol and released by the liver.
Biological Name: Balsamodendron mukul, Balsamodendron agollocha, Balsamodendron
pubescens, Commiphora mukul
Sanskrit Name: Guggulu, devadhupa
Telugu Name: Guggilamu
English Name: Indian Bedellium
Ayurvedic applications: The best herb for arthritis, bronchitis, cystitis, debility, diabetes, disinfects secretions (e.g., mucus, sweat, urination),
endometriosis, fat reducing, gout, heals skin and mucus membranes; hemorrhoids, increases white blood cell count, indigestion, leukorrhea,
lumbago, menstrual regulator, nervous disorders, neurosis, hyper- cholesterol, purifies blood, obesity, plaster for gums and throat ulcers, pus
discharges, skin diseases, sores, tissue regenerating catalyst, heals bone fractures, toxin reducing, tumors, ulcers, whooping cough,
edema, enlarged cervical glands, parasitic infection, abscesses, rheumatic disorders.
Caution: Possible acute kidney infections and rashes; avoid eating sour, sharp indigestible things; abstain from exhaustion, sex, sun exposure, alcohol, and
anger when taking this herb. Consult your doctor.
Guggulu may be obtained from:
A study of 1,900 heart attack victims found that those who drank the most tea before their heart attacks, about 19 cups a week or 3 cups per day, were 44 percent less likely than nondrinkers to die in the three to four years afterward. Moderate drinkers, or those who had fewer than 14 cups (2 cups per day), had a 28 percent lower death rate. The study looked at deaths from all causes, not just heart disease. The study was published in Tuesday's issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. In another study, researchers in Taiwan have found longtime tea drinking may strengthen bones. The benefits occurred in people who drank an average of nearly two cups daily of black, green or oolong tea for at least six years, said the researchers from National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Tainan, Taiwan. Their results are published in the May 13 edition of Archives of Internal Medicine.
REUTERS on May 9th reported that an Italian fertility expert whose avowed aim is to create the first human clone, said on Wednesday three women were pregnant with clones, but complained that the babies would be viewed as freaks by a hostile society. Severino Antinori called himself the "cultural and scientific co-ordinator" of the top secret cloning projects, and said one of the pregnancies was in the 10th week, one in the seventh and one in the sixth.
Babies prolong the life of Mom
A study analyzing family church records in earlier centuries found that having sons shortened the life span of Finnish mothers by about 34 weeks per son. Daughters nurtured to adulthood helped prolong mothers' lives. Baby sons, researchers suggest in the journal Science, make a much greater physical demand on the mother's body than do the typically smaller daughters and this may actually lead to a shorter life for the mother. The study concentrated on women who produced children and then went on to live past age 50. The researchers found that women who gave birth to sons had a shorter life span than those who had only daughters. Typically, a mother's life was shortened by about 34 weeks per son. You can actually cancel the positive effect of about three girls by the negative effect of one boy on mother's life span. All the children had a great influence on their parents' lives, but the girls had a more positive effect than the boys.
Organic Produce and
A Consumers Union-led study, published on 8th in the journal Food Additives and Contaminants, found pesticide residue on 23 percent of organic fruits and vegetables and on nearly 75 percent of conventionally grown produce. Consumers who seek to reduce their exposure to pesticide residues can do so reliably by choosing organic produce. However, none of the choices available on the market is completely free of pesticide residues. The organic produce in the supermarket isn't grown with conventional pesticides, but chemicals can still show up on those fruits and vegetables. Much of the residue found in organic crops was of organochlorine pesticides, chemicals - including DDT and chlordane - that plants can soak up from the soil decades after the products were used. Other chemicals could have been applied to the crops improperly or drifted onto the organic fields from adjacent farms, the scientists said. Organic crops account for just 2 percent of U.S. fruit and vegetable acreage, but the industry has been growing rapidly. According to Packaged Facts, sales of organic foods reached $7.8 billion in 2000, a 20 percent increase from a year earlier.
"Get up and go outdoors," urged Education Secretary Rod Paige. "Swim, hike, ... dribble, slam-dunk. Do whatever, just move your body."
According to a series of reports from the American Heart Association's Prevention Conference VI: Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk associated with diabetes can be lessened by controlling individual risk factors such as obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The No. 1 consequence of diabetes is cardiovascular disease. About two-thirds of people with diabetes eventually die of heart or blood vessel disease. Losing weight can have a great impact on a dangerous pre-diabetic condition called the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is a prediabetic state characterized by abdominal fat, low-levels of high-density lipoprotein, high levels of triglycerides and high blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome can lead to cardiovascular disease even before you get diabetes because of the high blood lipids and cluster of risk factors. More than 16 million Americans have diabetes and approximately one-third of them are undiagnosed and untreated. The age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes has risen dramatically from 2.6 percent of adults over age 45 in 1960 to 7 percent in 1990, and it is still rising. Overweight and obesity are important contributors to this trend. Almost 35 million Americans (20 percent of middle-aged adults and 35 percent of those over age 65) have some degree of abnormal blood sugar metabolism, a condition that can lead to diabetes and poses an increased risk of CVD and premature death, according the report. A person's risk for CVD can be estimated inexpensively non-invasively, by only a doctor's office visit to assess blood pressure, weight, smoking status and a blood sample to check cholesterol levels.
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on May 2, 2002 launched a nationwide campaign to raise women's awareness about diabetes, a serious condition that affects more than 17 million Americans, more than half of them women. The campaign, which is sponsored by HHS' Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), emphasizes that women, the family's primary caregivers, can make a positive difference to the whole family's health, including their own. As part of the kickoff, about 500 local screening events also will take place in 10 key cities where residents have a high incidence of diabetes. Local pharmacies will offer free risk assessment and clinical testing, free educational materials and a Diabetic Management Kit.
To be moderately fit, a person would have to run regularly for 20 to 40 minutes, three to five times a week. You don't have to be a super-athlete to significantly reduce your risk of stroke, but you do have to exercise consistently, according to a report in the April issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The findings are in line with previous research on the protection that exercise gives against dying of a heart attack. Heart attack and stroke can arise from similar conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. The benefit of exercise seems similar. Exercise seems to keep arteries healthier, reducing the chance that clots may form in blood vessels of the heart or brain.
``Fitness may provide protection against cancer mortality,'' said the study in the May issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The most-fit men had a 55 percent lower risk of all-cause cancer death than did low-fit men, and moderately fit men had a 38 percent lower risk, said researchers Chong Do Lee of West Texas A&M University and Steven N. Blair of the Cooper Institute of Dallas. To be moderately fit, a person would have to run 20 to 40 minutes, three to five times a week. To be most fit, a person would have to be at the recreationally competitive level. One separate study found no reduction in cancer risk from less-intense activity. Researchers at Britain's Royal Free and University College Medical School found a reduced risk of all cancer only with moderately vigorous or vigorous activity; there was no benefit with less work.
Oral Contraceptive: Studies featured in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology and discussed at the recent meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that obese women had a higher risk than slimmer women of delivering stillborn babies. Obese women had a greater chance of failure with oral contraceptives. It is estimated 10 million U.S. women use oral contraceptive and more than a half million experience unintended pregnancies each year.
Youth Obesity: Speaking at the United Nations summit on children in New York, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson warned that three times as many American children are overweight than 20 years ago, and urged the world to get moving, "literally." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on May 1st that "a disturbing increase" in the numbers has made hospital costs related to childhood obesity more than triple in the past 20 years, reaching $127 million. Doctors have long warned that childhood obesity has become epidemic. But the new research is among the first to show how much more is at stake than fat children growing into fat adults and obesity can seriously sicken them. The best way to slim down the growing youth obesity rate is for parents to make sure their children are breastfed, that their TV-watching time is cut and that they have a proper diet and plenty of exercise, a government medical Dr. William Dietz, director of the division of nutrition and physical activity at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.told a Senate panel on May 21st.
According to a study published io April 30th in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers found that fertility begins to decline in women starting at age 27 and in men at age 35. The researchers found that women younger than 27 had a 50 percent chance of getting pregnant if they had sex at the optimum time for conception in their cycle. For women in the 27 to 34 age group, that chance declined to about 40 percent. The researchers also found that at age 40 men were 40 percent less likely to get their partners pregnant in a month than at age 35. The researchers note that their results deal with the chances of getting pregnant per menstrual cycle, not the overall chances of getting pregnant. They say the findings mean that it could take slightly longer for women to conceive after age 27, not that women over age 27 are less likely to conceive. The results mean it may take a month or two longer to conceive than it does for younger people. The ages at which declines were seen are only averages and there is a wide range in fertility at any specific age.
Food Poisoning at Schools
Reported outbreaks of school-related foodborne illnesses have been rising about 10 percent a year, a congressional study said on April 30th. The General Accounting Office recommended better coordination among federal agencies that inspect food plants with the state and local agencies that buy most food for schools. Outbreaks have been traced to a variety of products, including strawberries, milk, hamburgers, spaghetti sauce and fish sticks. The government has put price above safety in purchasing foods, and that has "resulted in school lunches becoming a dumping ground for ground beef and other agricultural products of questionable safety," Cheryl Roberts of Comer, Ga., told lawmakers at a joint hearing of House and Senate committees.
US researchers say vegetarian teenagers have a healthier diet than their meateating counterparts. What many parents may fear is youthful rebellion or even an unhealthy way of keeping off weight is actually a good way to get the recommended vitamins and minerals -- and avoid fatty junk food in the process, a team at the University of Minnesota found. "It seems that rather than viewing adolescent vegetarianism as a difficult phase or fad, the dietary pattern could be viewed as a
healthy alternative to the traditional American meat based diet....Vegetarian adolescents, similar to their adult counterparts, have dietary patterns that, if maintained, could significantly lower their risk of the leading causes of death as adults," epidemiologist Cheryl Perry and colleagues wrote in May 13th issue of the journal Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine.
In a revelation based on various studies in India, experts have identified consanguineous marriages as a major cause of genetic deafness in the country and have pointed out that more than half the deaf population had the problem due to such marriages. They have said consanguineous marriages as the major cause of genetic deafness could be prevented by spreading awareness among the lower income group people in certain ethnic populations in the country where the problem is more prevalent. By bringing down the number of consanguineous marriages, the number of children born deaf could be brought down drastically, the experts said. An intensive research was conducted by Dr Manju Ghosh of the New Delhi-based Genetic Unit of the Department of Paediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Dr Majoo Varkey, a Bangalore-based paediatrician who conducted a 13-year school-specific research at the Sheila Kothavala Institute for the Deaf (SKID) between 1998 and 2001. PTI
According to a new study to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, prolonged living in America can be harmful for the health of Asians, with the risk of their developing high blood pressure directly linked to their period of stay there, reports HealthScout. Asian immigrants arrive in fairly good health relative to the general population, but within 10 years begin to show the negative health effects of exposure to North American culture. So what is it about American and Canadian culture that leads to high blood pressure? A diet of high fat and low fruits and vegetables is one factor and another is obesity, which is linked to hypertension. ANI
Breast is Best
Researchers found a strong positive association between duration of breast-feeding and IQ. The study was published in the May 7 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was carried out by researchers at the Danish Epidemiology Science Center at the Copenhagen University Hospital, and at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University. The authors reported a steady increase in IQ for those breast-fed as long as seven to nine months. The authors concluded that there were "no additional positive effects" on IQ after nine months. This is the second recent study that links breastfeeding with IQ. A study published in March showed that full-term babies who were small at birth, and who were exclusively fed breast milk for the first six months of their lives, scored higher on IQ tests at age 5.
Ninety percent of girls ages 9 to 12 don't get enough calcium in their diets, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Soy products are a good source of calcium. For xample, one-third of a cup of tofu has 150 milligrams of calcium, and one cup of fortified soy drink has 300 milligrams. Many foods, such as juices, breads, and cereals, are now fortified with calcium. Powerful Girls have Powerful Bones web site features a girl named Carla, whose favorite foods include milkshakes (with low- or non-fat milk), almonds, fruit, and cheese sandwiches. Like Carla, girls today can choose from more than just dairy products to get their calcium. It's not enough to just eat right or just do lots of weight-bearing physical activity. It takes both to make bones strong. The National Academy of Sciences recommends a calcium intake of 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams per day for Americans. However, according to Dr. Willett, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, calcium intake varies in the world from 300 mg/day in India, Japan, and Peru to the high of 1,300+ mg/day in Finland and some other Scandinavian countries. Further, within the Indian continent there's a huge variation in diet, for example, in the states like Andhra Pradesh the milk product intake is not as high as it is in Gujarat. There are important differences between countries in physical activity levels, sunlight, and other dietary factors that could obscure the real relationship between calcium and osteoporosis.
In a study published on the web version of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry on May 10, researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have identified another compound in grapes that they believe shows promise in fighting cancer. The compound, pterostilbene, is similar to resveratrol, an antioxidant recently found in grapes and red wine that has also been linked to cancer-prevention. Resveratrol has been found in many fruits, including blueberries and cranberries, but it is perhaps best known for its presence in grapes and red wine. Pterostilbene has so far been identified in grapes and in a relatively unknown medicinal plants.
Broccoli sprouts are tiny three-day-old plants that resemble alfalfa sprouts and have a peppery flavor. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain a chemical that kills the bacteria responsible for most stomach cancer, says a report in May 28th issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In laboratory tests the chemical, sulforaphane, killed helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and often fatal stomach cancers, and there appears to be enough of it in broccoli sprouts and some varieties of broccoli to benefit people who eat the vegetables. The paper also noted that the researchers and Johns Hopkins University own stock in Brassica Protection Products, a company whose mission is to develop chemoprotective food products and which sells broccoli sprouts.
Life in Space
Russian Academy of Sciences researchers have confirmed a possibility of abiogenous synthesis of complex organic compounds (monomeric units of nucleic acids) on the surface of comets, asteroids, meteorites and space dust particles in the outer space. Therefore, it is possible that the above monomeric units of nucleic acids could have got to the Earth and thus could have significantly reduced the time period of the evolution process. On the surface of space bodies the scientists have found all kinds of various organic molecules and the components required for their synthesis. The scientists from St. Petersburg reproduced synthesis of one of the DNA components, 5`-adenosine monophosphate (5`-AMP), under the conditions specially designed to simulate the space environment. (The Hindu, May 23)
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