The World Health Report 2002
World's Top Health Hazards Ranked
Prevention of Hip Fractures in Women
Garlic and Onion
Moderate Drinking is Also Dangerous
Cooking v. Roasting
New Permanet Contraception
Diet is as Effective as Medication
Layoffs Deliver Storm Of Emotional Troubles
Take Advantage Of Unemployment Benefits
Flax and Wlanut Seeds
Black Cohosh for Menopause Symptom
Ayurveda & Yoga: Healing Touch
Out of Africa to India
Garlic has gained great reputation with many medicinal properties from ancient times all over the world. A new study finds that garlic reduces the risk of prostate cancer (see below). Garlic, according to Ayurveda (see below) has many other properties of medicinal value. Garlic is useful for fungal nail infections, and other skin infections. Also described in Ayurveda, it is useful for many varied conditions like arthritis, bronchitis, bladder infections etc. Basically garlic increases vata (wind, a humor) and is good for pitta (bile) or kapha (phlegm) conditions. Another claim for garlic is that a paste, made from garlic peel ash and olive oil, applied to hair daily blackens and strengthens the hair and retards graying. However, these claims have to be studied in controlled integrated fashion with an clinical ‘out-come based model’ rather than present scientific Newtonian material model.
The one important thing that came to light with garlic is, it acts as mild Anti-coagulant like aspirin. We do not know if it helps to decrease risk of heart disease like aspirin. It is a proven fact that the blood does not clot well in patients who take garlic on a regular basis. This was discovered through incidences of complications when a Nerve Block was done like epidural anesthesia. (Epidural or spinal anesthesia is done for cesarean section or for helping Labor pains in pregnant women and also for many general surgical procedures.) There was unusual bleeding in to the epidural space in these case reports, which could cause paralysis of both legs, if not operated and blood evacuated from the spine. When these patients were interviewed it was confirmed retrospectively that they were using garlic powder as a herbal remedy. The other herbals that can also cause the same are Ginseng, Ginko biloba etc. It is good idea to tell your doctor or anesthesiologist about the herbal remedies that you are taking if you are going for an operation. This can avoid the risk of unusual bleeding that can happen. It is also good to stop any herbal medicines 2 weeks before surgery because we don’t know how they interact with anesthetics.
The study about alcohol always makes the head lines
as it is the world’s number one social drug for any
evening gathering (see below). The study of HRT (Harmone Replacement Therapy) from
University of Iowa had to be stopped in the middle because of very statistically
significant finding of association of HRT and Breast Cancer. The present
study of combination of HRT and Alcohol doubling the risk of Breast cancer
is truly a big blow to our social life itself. However, even a small
dose of alcohol under the legal limit also can affect your reaction time,
eventhough there is some evidence that moderate alcohol daily consumption
decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Venkateswara Rao Karuparthy
Bread crust is a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants and may provide a much stronger health benefit than the rest of the bread. The discovery of a cancer-fighting compound that is concentrated in the crust was made by German chemist Thomas Hofmann, Ph.D. Cranberries rank number one in antioxidants. An antioxidant comparison of some of the most common fruits found that the little red berry - in its pure form - contained the highest quantity of disease-fighting phenols, a type of antioxidant that is thought to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. The study is the most comprehensive to date of the quantity and quality of antioxidants in fruits, says chemist Joe Vinson, Ph.D., of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Canned corn may be healthier than corn on the cob, according to a study by Cornell University scientists. The researchers say that heat processing of sweet corn significantly raises the level of naturally occurring compounds that help fight disease, including cancer and heart disease. The study was reported by Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D. Greens are good for the eyes. Collards are a rich source of lutein - an antioxidant that studies show may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness. The finding that lutein is present in greens is based in part on research by University of Maryland chemist Frederick Khachik, Ph.D. The disease-fighting antioxidants are also found in abundance in other dark-green, leafy vegetables, including kale and spinach. Herbs can do more for your holiday meal than simply spicing it up. Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have found that herbs, in addition to making food tastier, are an abundant source of antioxidants and could provide potential cancer-fighting benefits when incorporated into a balanced diet. Of 39 herbs tested, oregano had the highest antioxidant activity. Dill, thyme and rosemary also had significant activity. The study was reported by USDA biochemist Shiow Y. Wang, Ph.D. All these studies were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In a recent study presented at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in Boston, Nicki Engeseth, Ph.D., a chemist with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reported that honey contains antioxidants that may help protect against heart disease. Honey also helps prolong the freshness of meat, protects against off flavors, and guards against harmful byproducts of meat oxidation that may increase the risk of heart disease, the researcher says. The range of antioxidants in honey is comparable to that in apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries.
Prevention of Hip Fractures in Women
Hip fractures are a serious concern for older Americans because the injuries can result in serious health problems and even death. About 80% of the 300,000 hip fractures annually occur in women. Middle-age and older women can greatly reduce their risk of hip fractures by exercising regularly, according to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association. Women who walk for four or more hours a week have a 40% reduced risk of hip fractures compared with women who do little or no activity. Women cut their risk in half when they walk an hour a day or jog for three hours a week. These are the latest findings on the benefits of physical activity from the Nurses' Health Study.
Garlic and Onion
A study published in the Journal of the Nature Cancer Institute finds that a diet rich in foods from the allium group may cut the risk of prostate cancer in half. The study looked at the dietary habits of men in Shanghai, China. The location was chosen because China has the lowest prostate cancer rate in the world, The Associated Press reports. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute interviewed 238 men who had prostate cancer and 471 men who did not and asked how often the men ate 122 food items. Men who reported eating more than one-third of an ounce per day of garlic, onions, shallots or scallions were about half as likely to have prostate cancer than men who ate less of those foods. This was true regardless of the men's body size, how many calories they took in, and what other foods they ate. Scallions appeared to offer the most protection; men who ate one-tenth of an ounce or more per day had a 70 percent lower risk of prostate cancer. The researchers note that the amount of allium vegetables needed for prostate cancer protection was very small -- as little as one clove of garlic per day. They say their findings need to be replicated in another study before allium vegetables should be recommended to lower a man's risk of prostate cancer.
Garlic is thought to help prevent clogging of the arteries by lowering levels of harmful cholesterol. In the body, garlic is converted to allicin, and most studies that have found therapeutic effects have involved daily doses of 3,600 to 5,400 micrograms of allicin. People who chew garlic tablets to help their hearts while avoiding the smell may be helping nothing at all. A study published online at http://www.consumerlab.com/results/garlic.asp showed that 7 of 14 garlic supplements contained less of garlic's active ingredient than researchers called necessary for a therapeutic effect. The study was conducted by ConsumerLab.com, a company that tests dietary supplements. The daily doses among various products tested ranged from 400 to 6,500 micrograms. A simpler alternative to the garlic supplements: chewing one uncooked garlic clove every day, if your partner and colleagues can live with the odor.
The duration of the workout (the amount of activity) provides benefit in improving cholesterol levels, a new study in New England Journal of Medicine. The Duke University study found that jogging 20 miles a week was found to improve cholesterol levels significantly, while jogging or walking 12 miles a week prevented levels from worsening. Increasing amounts of exercise increased the size of the particles carrying both the good and the bad cholesterol.
According to Harvard Medical Schools's Consumer Health Information, yet another benefit from regular exercise: You are likely to derive more enjoyment from sex and also be more sexually active. Those who exercise regularly tend to have higher levels of desire, greater sexual confidence and frequency, and an enhanced ability to be aroused and achieve orgasm, no matter their age. Aerobic exercise seems to be the real libido booster. One theory suggests that exercise triggers the release of endorphins, opiate-like chemicals produced in the brain that create a sense of well-being, which makes you more receptive to sex. It doesn't matter which type of aerobic exercise you choose. You should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Keeping fit can also boost your self-esteem, confidence and body image, all of which are important factors to maintain a positive attitude toward sex.
New Guidelines for Cervical Cancer Detection: The American Cancer Society estimates that 13,000 women will develop invasive cervical cancer this year, and 4,100 women will die of it. The American Cancer Society published new guidelines for early detection tests for cervical cancer and precancer in the Nov./Dec. issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Under the new recommendations, most women would begin cervical cancer screening later, have an option to stop at a certain age (70 years) and be exempt from screening entirely if they have had a hysterectomy. A short summary of the new guidelines: Cervical cancer screening should begin approximately three years after a woman begins having vaginal intercourse, but no later than 21 years of age. Cervical screening should be done every year with regular Pap tests or every two years using liquid-based Pap tests. At or after age 30, women who have had three normal test results in a row may get screened every two to three years. But a doctor may suggest getting the test more often if a woman has certain risk factors such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or a weakened immune system. Women 70 years of age and older who have had three or more normal Pap test results and no abnormal results in the last 10 years may choose to stop cervical cancer screening. Screening after a total hysterectomy (with removal of the cervix) is not necessary unless the surgery was done as a treatment for cervical cancer or precancer. Some other special conditions may require continued screening. Women who have had a hysterectomy without removal of the cervix should continue cervical cancer screening at least until age 70.
Possible vaccine to protect women from cervical cancer: Early tests found an experimental vaccine to be 100 percent effective against the virus responsible for half of the cases of cervical cancer, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The vaccine targets viral strain Type 16 of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV causes almost all cases of cervical cancer and also causes genital warts in men and women. Researchers tested the vaccine on 1,533 women aged 16 to 23 at 16 sites throughout the United States. The women were injected with either the vaccine or a placebo and followed for an average of almost 18 months. By the end of that period, none of the 768 women who'd gotten the vaccine tested positive for Type 16 HPV infection, and none showed signs of precancerous cervical tissue. Of the 765 women who got the placebo shot, 41 were diagnosed with HPV infection and nine had precancerous tissue.
Moderate Drinking is Also Dangerous
Increasing evidence indicates that moderate drinking during pregnancy may also cause problems, albeit more subtle, long-term cognitive impairments that may not become evident until adolescence and then increase in severity with maturation. A study in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research adds to the latter body of knowledge by providing the first report of combined physiological and behavioral deficits in adult rodent offspring of mothers that consumed alcohol during pregnancy at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) less than half the level of legal intoxication.
According to a study by K. Richard Ridderinkhof et al. of the University of Amsterdam and the Leiden University, published electronically on November 7th by Sciencexpress, the online edition of the journal Science, even a single drink of alcohol is enough to impair someone's ability to reason quickly and detect errors. Measures of brain waves showed that the small doses of alcohol quickly affected the anterior cingulate cortex or ACC, a part of the brain that influences thinking processes and the unconscious detection of error. The researchers said the ACC would play a role in reflex responses to unexpected changes in the environment, such as a child crossing suddenly in front of a car.
Women who drink alcohol and take hormones are at almost double the risk
of breast cancer, researchers with a large ongoing study say. Previous
studies have shown that women who have more than a drink a day raise their
risk of breast cancer, and that hormone replacement therapy also increases
the cancer risk. The Nurses' Health Study assessed the risk of the
two factors combined. Researchers found that a postmenopausal woman who
has a lifetime breast cancer risk of 4 percent could increase the risk to
8 percent if she drinks and takes hormones. The message is that the two
will substantially increase your risk of breast cancer and you might want
to be particularly vigilant about having both of these risk factors.
The research, published in Annals of Internal Medicine,
was based on 44,187 participants in the Nurses' Health Study from 1976-96
and tracked more than 120,000 female nurses overall for a variety of research
Epidemiologic studies have suggested that elevated plasma homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and that several lifestyle factors influence tHcy levels. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined the effects of lifestyle on tHcy concentrations. In concurrence with other studies of this kind, the researchers found that men had higher tHcy levels than women overall. Coffee and alcohol consumption appeared to have a significant effect on tHcy concentrations in women. Modifiable lifestyle factors such as abstaining or reducing alcohol and coffee consumption (see below: Cooking v. Roasting), reducing caloric intake, increasing physical activity levels, dietary fiber and folate intake, taking a daily antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements may produce significant CVD risk factor reduction.
Cooking v. Roasting
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that cooking foods at the minimum safe temperature for short periods may help lower the risk of heart disease in diabetics. When sugar, protein and fats are cooked for long periods of time, compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed. The researchers say AGEs can cause an immune system reaction that can damage blood vessels. The risk is particularly high for people with diabetes. The researchers say boiling, steaming and quick sauteing meats produces lower AGEs than longer methods like roasting. Coffee, colas and chocolate drinks are high in AGEs.
New Permanent Contraception
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Essure device for women who do not want to become pregnant. The tiny spring-like device can be inserted in the doctor's office under local anesthesia with no incision. It is threaded through the vagina, into the uterus and then into each fallopian tube. Essure is anchored inside the tubes, where it irritates the tube's lining and causes scar tissue to build up, permanently blocking the fallopian tube. It takes three months for the scar tissue to grow, so women who opt for this form of sterilization will need to use another type of birth control during that time. Women also will need to be tested to be sure the tubes are completely blocked; in clinical trials, the device failed on the first try in one out of seven women. However, out of more than 600 women who were successfully implanted, none got pregnant during a year of follow up. Doctors must be trained to insert the device. AP
Diet is as Effective
Researchers from India have found that risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) can be significantly reduced by eating a Mediterranean diet almost as effectively as by taking expensive cholesterol-lowering medications. The study was published in The Lancet on November 8th. People can comply with the new diet inexpensively (about a dollar a day) and without difficulty. The study was conducted by Prof. Ram Singh and his wife Dr. Reema Singh of the Center of Nutrition and Heart at the Medical Hospital and Research Center in Moradabad, India. The volunteers in the study were professional men and women, 28 to 75, in 17 cities around the country, and most lived sedentary lives. Before beginning the study, all the participants followed a similar diet. Both the interventional and control groups were advised to continue eating their regular diet, but to reduce their consumption of foods that raised their cholesterol level. However, the interventional group was told to supplement what they ate with Mediterranean-diet foods containing double the amounts of alpha-linolenic acid as that eaten by the control group. The so-called Mediterranean diet, enriched with fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and mustard or soy oil- rich in beneficial alpha-linolenic acid. Olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet, but was unavailable to the Indians. The study has shown that over two years, a diet enriched with these foods is associated with a pronounced decline in CAD morbidity and mortality, without an increase in deaths from non-cardiac causes.
Of Unemployment Benefits
Out of work? You may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits. United States workers who are out of work due to no fault of their own are eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. When the unemployment rate is high, as it is currently, benefits may be paid for an additional period of time. Contact your State Unemployment Office for directions on how to file for unemployment compensation. To find information on the unemployment office for your state go to http://jobsearch.about.com/library/blunemploy.htm or check your local phone book. You may be able to file over the phone. In general, to file a claim you will need: Social Security Number; Alien Registration Card if you're not a US citizen; Mailing address including zip code and phone number; Names, addresses and dates of employment of all your past employers for the last two years. The Career News, Volume 2, Issue 25
Flax and Wlanut Seeds
The American Heart Association (AHA) says in a newly updated statement.that people with coronary heart disease should eat foods containing DHA and EPA such as flax and wlanut seeds, flax oil, wlanut oil, soybean oil or fish at least once a day or take supplements containing DHA and EPA. The statement was released during a news conference at the AHA's annual Scientific Sessions. It is being published in the Nov. 19, 2002, issue of Circulation, an AHA journal.
The policy statement continues a two-year-old recommendation that all adults consume flaxseed, walnuts, flaxseed and walnut oils, soybean oil and canola oil. Fish and these plant-derived oils all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. For non-vegetarians, DHA and EPA should come from fish because people who eat fish may be less likely to eat red meat or fatty dairy products containing saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Black Cohosh for
Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is among the most popular of alternative treatments for menopause. Most clinical studies involved a concentrated brand called Remifemin, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. The herb, native to North America, was used by Native American Indians for a variety of ailments, and became popular among whites in the 19th century. Except for this herbal remedy developed by Native Americans, most of the exotic berries, teas, herbs and oils frequently taken by women to ease menopause symptoms have been ineffective in clinical trials, according to a study. Alternative treatments for hot flashes, vaginal dryness and other menopause symptoms have gotten additional attention since July, when researchers found evidence linking estrogen-progestin hormone supplements with breast cancer and heart disease. Researchers at Columbia University and George Washington University examined the results of 29 independent studies on alternative treatments for hot flashes and found that only the herb black cohosh appeared to work, according to the review in November 19th issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Other popular herbal treatments, including ginseng, red clover, dong quai and oil of evening primrose, were found to have no discernible effect on such symptoms as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleeplessness and other ills blamed on menopause. Researchers said studies have also found few documented benefits from acupuncture, vitamin E, relaxation techniques and progesterone creams. Women who ate soybean dietary supplements reported hot flashes that were less intense, though in many cases the benefits disappeared after a few weeks.
Ayurveda & Yoga: Healing Touch
by DAVID FRAWLEY, TIMES OF INDIA: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2002
Ayurveda and Yoga can be called sister sciences of 'self-healing and self-realisation'. Both evolved from a Vedic background in ancient India, based on the same philosophy, sharing many practices. Ayurveda, the 'yogic form of healing', is aimed at bringing us back into harmony with our true Self or Atman. The great Ayurvedic teacher Charaka defines Ayurveda as the harmony of body, prana, mind and soul. Patanjali defines yoga as controlling the mind in order to realise the Purusha.
According to Ayurveda, only
when we are connected to our true Self or Atman can we be truly healthy
in body, mind and soul. This is in contrast with modern medicine which addresses
health and disease mainly on a physical level. Ayurveda's goal is holistic
well-being: Physically, psychologically and spiritually. Physical health,
ho-wever important, is not enough for true happiness. That requires peace
of mind and a spiritual purpose in life.
As organic beings, what comes
out of us generally reflects what goes into us. Our energy and expression
mirrors what we take into ourselves via nutrition. This occurs on three
primary levels. The first is food that builds up the physical body or 'physical
nutrition'. The second is our sensory impressions that build up the mind
or 'psychological nutrition'. The third is our associations which nourish
the heart and the soul or what could be called 'spiritual nutrition'.
The right diet for us would
contain fresh or freshly cooked vegetarian food rich in Prana or the life-force.
The right diet for the mind consists of wholesome impressions drawn from
the world of nature, art or temples. Right association consists of healthy
relationships with friends and family and spiritual guidance at a soul level
from gurus and teachers.
If these three factors of right food, right impressions and right associations occur then we are happy and healthy; we are bound to grow spiritually. Unfortunately today, the quality of life is declining in all three - good food, good impressions and even good associations. Food is often processed, overly spiced, with too much oil or it is even re-cooked. We are exposed to mass media scenes of sex and violence, urban traffic, noise and pollution. Our relationships are rushed, tense and demanding. We seldom make the time for spiritual associations and meetings with great souls. What we've gained in technology, we seem to have lost in terms of real happiness. Whatever we've gained for the body, we have lost for the soul. While modern medicine has done well in reducing acute diseases, chronic diseases, depression and unhappiness are almost epidemic even in the most affluent sections of society.
Many of us consider the role
of right diet and health, but we're often careless about the right diet
for the mind or the right associations for the spirit. We must take as much
care for psychological and spiritual well-being as for physical health if
we want to be happy. If we follow an Ayurvedic diet using Ayurvedic herbs,
follow yogic systems of exercise and meditation, we can create a comprehensive
life-style for optimal well-being. We can improve the society in which we
live, creating a harmonious relationship with the world around us.
Without natural forms of healing and spirituality, our culture could spin out of control, leading to greater personal and civilisational disorders. New diseases like AIDS might get intensified and old diseases like malaria could come back as a consequence of moving away from the organic roots of life. Unless we recognise both nature and the spirit and build our cultures
around them, our future is bound to have many problems. Such proven ancient systems as Yoga and Ayurveda can provide us the wisdom to overcome all these difficulties.
|VEGETABLE SEEKH KEBABS
Serves: Four Time required: 25 minutes
Direction: Mix the yam and potato mash; add all the other ingredients
and mix well. Lightly oil your hands and shape the mixture to make
five to six small kebabs. Thread them onto a skewer and place over a charcoal
fire or in a preheated, medium-hot oven and cook till crisp and brown in
colour. Take off the skewer and serve with onion rings, chopped springs
onion leaves and lemon slices. Serve with a spicy dip.
3/4 cup dried lentils, cleaned, 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth, 1/4-teaspoon black pepper, 2 slices whole wheat bread, 1/2-cup carrot, grated, 6 whole mushrooms, chopped, 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1-cup non/lowfat grated cheese, 6 burger buns
Direction: Combine the lentils, broth, and pepper in a 2-quart pot,
and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer
for 25-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and set aside. Tear the
bread into pieces and place the bread in a blender and mix into fine crumbs.
Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, and set aside. Place the cooked lentils in
a food processor and process until almost smooth. Add the carrots, mushrooms,
green onions, and breadcrumbs, and mix well. Add the cheese, and process
until mixed. Shape the mixture into 6 patties. Coat a large skillet with
nonstick cooking spray (nonfat), and preheat over medium heat. Place the
patties in the skillet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning every 2
minutes, until brown. Place each patty on a bun, and top with your favorite
vegetables and condiments (tomatoes, sprouts, pickels, nonfat ranch dressing,
ketchup, mustard, etc.).
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