Archive for the ‘Alternative Medical’ Category
Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies. In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. This entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and acquired either as a retail item or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are already are members and receive them automatically each month.
Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:
- Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i] [For additioncurcumin and 'high cholesterol' research – 8 abstracts]
- Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii] A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.[iv] [for additional curcumin and inflammation research – 52 abstracts]
Most psychiatrists and mental health experts are aware that a person’s environment – the things happening around them and to them – are often as influential in their mental disorders as are anything physical or genetic.
With the rising rate of mental health diagnoses among North Americans, however, questions about how much of that is environmental are being asked more often.
A recent collaboration of research between several prominent universities in the U.S. is asking not only whether environmental factors are to blame, but also whether the rise in diagnosis rates may be due to problems with the psychiatric manual itself.
The team, made up of researchers from New York University, Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Rutgers University argues that the DSM-5 – the new version of the “psychiatric bible” for diagnosis – may have missed critical population-level and social determinants of mental health disorders and their diagnoses. This would mean that the DSM is mischaracterizing the rates of some afflictions.
from the Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychology, School of Behavioral Health, Loma Linda University, California.
Currently, NASA has plans for extended space travel, and previous research indicates that space radiation can have negative effects on cognitive skills as well as physical and mental health. With long-term space travel, astronauts will be exposed to greater radiation levels. Research shows that an antioxidant-enriched diet may offer some protection against the cellular effects of radiation and may provide significant neuroprotection from the effects of radiation-induced cognitive and behavioral skill deficits. Ninety-six C57BL/6 mice (48 pomegranate fed and 48 control) were irradiated with proton radiation (2?Gy), and two-month postradiation behaviors were assessed using a battery of behavioral tests to measure cognitive and motor functions. Proton irradiation was associated with depression-like behaviors in the tail suspension test, but this effect was ameliorated by the pomegranate diet. Males, in general, displayed worse coordination and balance than females on the rotarod task, and the pomegranate diet ameliorated this effect. Overall, it appears that proton irradiation, which may be encountered in space, may induce a different pattern of behavioral deficits in males than females and that a pomegranate diet may confer protection against some of those effects.
Astronauts have traveled outside Earth’s atmosphere into lower Earth orbit and beyond for decades. However, these individuals are constantly exposed to ionizing radiation that may have deleterious effects on motor and cognitive abilities, as well as physical and mental health [1, 2] via increased oxidative stress [3, 4]. With plans to extend space travel beyond lower Earth orbit for longer durations (i.e., manned expeditions to Mars), radiation exposure will increase. A diet rich with polyphenols (which have antioxidant and other biologically beneficial properties) may confer enough protection to maintain the complex cognitive and fine motor skills required by astronauts.
Phytochemicals, including the phenols, terpenes, and organosulfurs, are nonnutritive, bioactive compounds commonly found in plants and animals and are known for their protective properties. Phytochemicals not only protect the plants that produce them against metabolic and environmental disease but also, when consumed, can provide numerous health benefits to humans [5, 6]. Foods containing phytochemicals have been shown to ameliorate cognitive and behavioral deficits resulting from various diseases [7, 8]. These findings have often been attributed to the antioxidant, antiapoptotic, and anti-inflammatory properties of phytochemicals . Some fruits, for example, contain polyphenols that can impart extensive protective properties against damage from oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and cognitive/behavioral deficits induced by radiation and/or aging [10–12].
Pomegranates (Punica granatum) have a high polyphenol concentration, and the juice may have 2-3 times greater antioxidant capacity compared to other antioxidant sources such as red wine or green tea [13–22]. Pomegranate polyphenols include flavonoids (i.e., quercetin) and tannins (i.e., punicalagins and ellagitannins). Flavonoids and tannins have specifically been shown to decrease oxidative stress by deactivating reactive oxygen species  and scavenging free radicals [19, 22]. Although these isolated pomegranate polyphenols have antioxidant properties when acting individually, research suggests that the whole range of polyphenols found in pomegranates combines synergistically to prevent oxidative stress-induced damage. Indeed, one study analyzing the antiapoptotic properties of pomegranate juice found the whole juice to be more effective than any one isolated component . Furthermore, pomegranate juice has been found to ameliorate both amyloid-? plaque load as well as associated spatial learning deficits in a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease .
Altogether, this evidence suggests that the polyphenols found in pomegranates could provide an effective therapy against radiation-induced neurological and cognitive/behavioral deficits. No studies to date have looked at the radioprotective effects of pomegranate antioxidants; however, the evidence indicates that antioxidants may be beneficial in ameliorating the negative effects of ionizing radiation. Therefore, this study explores the putative protective effects of pomegranate juice on radiation-induced cognitive and behavioral deficits.
There were no effects of radiation or pomegranate treatment for the water maze (cued and spatial learning). The most striking interaction between radiation and pomegranate treatment on behavior was observed in the tail suspension test (Figure 1), which provides an assessment of depression-like behaviors. Irradiated control-fed mice exhibited more depression-like behaviors (i.e., the mice gave up sooner) than nonirradiated control-fed mice, but radiation did not have this effect on pomegranate-fed mice (F(1,82) = 4.92, P<.3). There was no difference in the performance of males versus females on this test.
Carica papaya Leaves Juice Significantly Accelerates the Rate of Increase in Platelet Count among Patients with Dengue Fever and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever
The study was conducted to investigate the platelet increasing property of Carica papaya leaves juice (CPLJ) in patients with dengue fever (DF). An open labeled randomized controlled trial was carried out on 228 patients with DF and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). Approximately half the patients received the juice, for 3 consecutive days while the others remained as controls and received the standard management. Their full blood count was monitored 8 hours for 48 hours. Gene expression studies were conducted on the ALOX 12 and PTAFR genes. The mean increase in platelet counts were compared in both groups using repeated measure ANCOVA. There was a significant increase in mean platelet count observed in the intervention group (P < 0.001) but not in the control group 40 hours since the first dose of CPLJ. Comparison of mean platelet count between intervention and control group showed that mean platelet count in intervention group was significantly higher than control group after 40 and 48 hours of admission (P < 0.01). The ALOX 12 (FC??=??15.00) and PTAFR (FC??=??13.42) genes were highly expressed among those on the juice. It was concluded that CPLJ does significantly increase the platelet count in patients with DF and DHF.
Malaysia is blessed with 12000 species of flowering plants of which 1300 have medicinal properties . There is a rapidly growing response to the use of medicinal plants by the Malaysian population. WHO estimates that in many countries 80% of the rural patients seek alternative treatment using medicinal plants.
Carica papaya is a member of the Caricaceae and is a dicotyledonous, polygamous, and diploid species . It originated from Southern Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America. It is now cultivated in many tropical countries such as Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and the West Indies including Malaysia. Malaysia is known to be one of the top 5 papaya exporting countries . The papaya fruit is globally consumed either in its fresh form or the form of juices, jams, and crystallized dry fruit . The ripe fruit is said to be a rich source of vitamin A, C, and calcium . There are many commercial products derived from the different parts of the C. papaya plant, the most prominent being papain and chymopapain, which is produced from the latex of the young fruit, stem, and the leaves. C. papaya leaves have been used in folk medicine for centuries. Recent studies have shown its beneficial effect as an anti-inflammatory agent , for its wound healing properties , antitumour as well as immune-modulatory effects  and as an antioxidant . A toxicity study (acute, subacute, and chronic toxicity) conducted on Sprague Dawley rats administered with Carica papaya leaves juice (CPLJ) of the sekaki variant revealed that it was safe for oral consumption .
Dengue is an arthropod-borne viral disease carried by Aedes aegypti as the vector, caused by 4 possible viral serotypes, namely, serotype 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Flaviviridae family. In Malaysia, dengue cases have been on the rise since 2002. Total of 18,371 cases of dengue fever (DF) and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) were reported last year and had claimed 33 lives in the same year . There is no specific antiviral drug available for the treatment of dengue infection. Infected patients receive supportive management with fluids, blood and blood, products complying to the Ministry of Health Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) on Management of Dengue, 2010. Each episode of infection is known to induce a life-long protective immunity to the homologous serotype but confers only partial and transient protection against subsequent infection by the other serotypes. Secondary infection is a major risk factor for DHF possibly due to antibody-dependent enhancement. A patient with dengue fever presents typically with fever, headache, and rash known as the dengue triad. There are many other nonspecific signs and symptoms associated with DF and patient can progress to DHF and typically manifests as abdominal pain, bleeding, and even circulatory collapse. The clinical course of dengue has an abrupt onset followed by three phases, namely, the febrile phase, the critical phase and the recovery phase. It is during the critical phase that thrombocytopaenia, characterized by a decrease in platelet count below 100 000?per?mm3 from the baseline and haemoconcentration, characterized by an increase of haematocrit by 20% or more, is detectable before the subsidence of fever and the onset of shock .
Certain genes have been shown to influence platelet production and platelet aggregation, namely, the Arachidonate 12-lipoxygenase (ALOX 12) also known as the Platelet-type Lipoxygenase as well as the Platelet-Activating Factor Receptor (PTAFR). An increase in activity of these genes is required for platelet production and activation. The ALOX 12 gene is strongly expressed in megakaryocytes and has been known to be responsible for the 12-Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (12-HETE) production of platelets . The PTAFR gene was been found to be expressed in megakaryocytes indicating that it could be a precursor for platelet production in addition to its well known role in platelet aggregation .
Safety studies based on OECD guidelines for acute, subacute, and chronic toxicity were conducted on C. papaya extract and showed that it was found to be safe for human consumption . The present study was conducted to determine and investigate the traditional claim that CPLJ increases the platelet count in patients with DF and DHF.
A total of 145 patients were recruited into the interventional group while 145 patients were recruited into the control group. At the end of the study, 111 patients from the interventional group and 117 controls were included in the statistical analysis. Sixty-two patients were excluded from the analysis as 38 patients were lost to followup and 24 patients had incomplete data (missing results due to sample rejection).
Table 1 shows demographic characteristics and baseline biochemistry investigation of respondents by treatment. In terms of dengue status, all patients recruited had either dengue NS1 or IgM or both detected, while the percentage distribution of the dengue serotypes among them was DEN1 (30.4%), DEN2 (28.4%), DEN 3 (20.6%), and DEN 4 (20.6%). Hence, all serotypes were well represented in the study.
Table 2 presents the multiple comparisons of mean platelet count 8 hours after admission with mean platelet count at 16, 24, 32, 40, and 48 hours after admission for interventional and control group Multiple paired t-test was conducted to demonstrate if there was any significant difference in mean platelet count for each comparison. Hence, Bonferroni correction was applied to reduce the possibility of rejecting a true null hypothesis (committing a type 1 error). Based on the number of patients recruited with complete data (111 patients from the intervention group and 117 control), the power of study was 87.0% (standard deviation of platelet count of 40,000, type I error probability of 0.01, and the true difference in mean platelet count of 20,000 between the intervention and control group). Overall, there was a significant increase in mean platelet count over 40 hours in both groups (Wilk’s Lambda = 0.939, P=0.015, effect size = 0.06, and power = 84.0%) after adjusting for age. Further analysis by using multiple paired t-test on each of the groups showed that there was a significant increase in mean platelet count at 40 hours compared to 8 hours after intervention in the intervention group (t=-4.256, P <= 0.001) but not in the control group (t=-2.399, P=0.018) after adjustment of Bonferroni correction (P=0.05/5 = 0.01).
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells. Folic acid is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas, and nuts. Enriched breads, cereals, and other grain products also contain folic acid. Folic acid is also available as a dietary supplement.
For women who get pregnant, taking folic acid is especially important. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. According to a new study from Norway published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who took folic acid supplements before and just after becoming pregnant were less likely to have a child with autism. Authors of an editorial published in the same issue of the journal noted that while this study is encouraging, it is important to confirm this finding in other populations.
- Surén P, Roth C, Bresnahan M, et al. Association between maternal use of folic acid supplements and risk of autism spectrum disorders in children. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2013;309(6):570–577.
- Berry RJ, Crider KS, Yeargun-Allsopp M. Periconceptional folic acid and risk of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2013;309(6):611–613.
The Scientific Literature
A new study published in the Journal of OFOG-E-DANESH at the Gonabad University of Medical Sciences and Health Services in Iran has found that cannabis sativa, as an alcoholic extract, can work as a neuroprotective agent to slow or halt the progression of neural system disorders as a result of hyperglycemia.
|Author(s): Maryam Tehranipour *, Naser Mahdavi Shahri , Afsane Ekrami Koushki , BiBi Zahra Javad Mousavi|
|* PhD Department of Biology, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran – , email@example.com|
Aims: Diabetic neourophaty is one of the long-term normal results of diabetes. According to anti-tumor, anti-diabetic and anti-oxidant effects of Cannabis sativa, the aim of this research was to investigate the effect of Cannabis sativa alcoholic extract on Alpha motoneurons degeneration after sciatic nerve compression in diabetic rats.
Methods: This experimental laboratorial research was performed in 30 Wistar male rats with the weight of 300 to 350g in 5 “control”, “compression” , “compression+diabetes”, “compression+diabetes+treatment with 25mg/kg alcoholic extract of Cannabis sativa seed” and “compression+diabetes+treatment with 50mg/kg alcoholic extract of Cannabis sativa seed” groups. After preparing the alcoholic extract of Cannabis sativa seed, 18 rats were undergone diabetes induction and 24 rats were taken compression surgery. Spinal cord samples were taken from all 30 rats. Data was analyzed by Minitab 14 software and ANOVA test. Results: Neuronal density of “compression” group () was decreased significantly in comparison with “control” group (). There was a significant difference between neuronal density of “compression” group and “compression+diabetes” () group. Comparison of neuronal density between “compression+diabetes” group and rats treated with 25 and 50mg/kg doses of ethanolic extracts showed significant differences; in both treated groups, the neuronal density was increased compare to “compression” and “compression+diabetic” groups.
Conclusion: Using alcoholic extract of Cannabis sativa as a neuroprotective agent can prevent the progression of neural system disorders as a result of hyperglycemia.
Thickened arteries, heart disease, depression, suicide, and now, we can add bleeding of the brain to the long list of side effects of antidepressants. Though the risk is admittedly very small, researchers declared on Wednesday that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may raise the risk of hemorrhagic strokes, which happen when the brain bleeds.
SSRIs include a wide variety of common antidepressents, including Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and Paxil. These drugs are also linked to an increased risk of stomach bleeding.
Platelets Can’t Clot, Hemorrhage
After analyzing 16 previous studies involving over 500,000 patients, researchers determined that SSRI users were 40 to 50 percent more likely to suffer bleeding of or around the brain. The researchers were not, however, able to collect other relevant data, like subjects’ smoking and drinking habits, diet, and whether they had diabetes. Their findings were published in the journal Neurology.
Although lead researcher Dr. Daniel G. Hackam of Western University in London, Ontario says that we “can’t infer cause and effect from this,” it isn’t exactly an unreasonable association. Blood cells (platelets) have difficulty clumping and clotting in the presence of SSRIs, causing the patient’s platelet function to stumble soon after taking SSRIs. This may be why patients experienced the greatest risk of hemorrhage within the first few months of taking the drugs.
People already at risk of brain hemorrhage would do well to stay away from SSRIs, Hackam added, as well as those on medications that reduce clotting like Coumadin or an aspirin-Plavix combination.
Psychiatrists and Financial Conflicts of Interest
It’s worth noting that Hackam also says that these drugs are, overall, “quite safe.” Perhaps he’s neglected to look at the Emory University School of Medicine’s findings that antidepressants thickened arteries 400 percent more than aging, which is the foremost factor of athersclerosis. Still other studies indicate that Cymbalta and other antidepressants cause 1 in 5 patients to feel worse than when administered placebos.
Why, then, are so many patients treated with powerful psychotactive drugs instead of a personalized combination of vitamin D, probiotis, diet, acupuncture, yoga, and other natural remedies? Perhaps because 70 percent of panel members to the 5th editionof the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders have financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.
Government-funded study proves cannabis shrinks tumors.
Cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa L., act in the body by mimicking endogenous substances–the endocannabinoids–that activate specific cell surface receptors. Cannabinoids exert various palliative effects in cancer patients. In addition, cannabinoids inhibit the growth of different types of tumor cells, including glioma cells, in laboratory animals. They do so by modulating key cell signaling pathways, mostly the endoplasmic reticulum stress response, thereby inducing antitumoral actions such as the apoptotic death of tumor cells and the inhibition of tumor angiogenesis. Of interest, cannabinoids seem to be selective antitumoral compounds, as they kill glioma cells, but not their non-transformed astroglial counterparts. On the basis of these preclinical findings, a pilot clinical study of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme has been recently run. The good safety profile of THC, together with its possible growth-inhibiting action on tumor cells, justifies the setting up of future trials aimed at evaluating the potential antitumoral activity of cannabinoids.
When I first read that genetically modified humans have already been born, I could hardly believe it. However, further research into this story featured in the UK’s Daily Mail1proved it to be true. They’ve really done it… they’ve created humans that nature could never allow for, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen next.
Even more shocking was the discovery that this is actually old news!
While I typically comment on recent findings and health related news, in this case I will make an exception, because I think many of you may be as surprised by this information as I was. I do not propose to have any answers here as this is out of my scope of expertise.
At best, I hope I can stir you to ponder the implications of this type of genetic engineering, and I invite you to share your perspective in the vital votes’ comment section below. As reported in the featured article:
“The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics… Fifteen of the children were born… as a result of one experimental program at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.
The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilized in an attempt to enable them to conceive.
Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults—two women and one man.”
Human Germline Now Altered… What Happens Next?
Today, these children are in their early teens, and while the original study claims that this was “the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children,” later reports put such claims of absolute success in dispute. Still, back in 2001, the authors seemed to think they had it all under control, stating:
“These are the first reported cases of germline mtDNA genetic modification which have led to the inheritance of two mtDNA populations in the children resulting from ooplasmic transplantation. These mtDNA fingerprints demonstrate that the transferred mitochondria can be replicated and maintained in the offspring, therefore being a genetic modification without potentially altering mitochondrial function.”
It’s relevant to understand that these children have inherited extra genes—that of TWO women and one man—and will be able to pass this extra set of genetic traits to their own offspring. One of the most shocking considerations here is that this was done—repeatedly—even though no one knows what the ramifications of having the genetic traits of three parents might be for the individual, or for their subsequent offspring.
Based on what I’ve learned about the genetic engineering of plants, I’m inclined to say the ramifications could potentially be vast, dire, and completely unexpected.
As a general, broad-strokes rule, it seems few scientists fond of gene-tinkering have a well-rounded or holistic view of living organisms, opting instead to view the human body as a machine. And as demonstrated with the multi-varied problems that have arisen from genetically engineered foods—from the development of superweeds and superpests, to the creation of a never-before-seen organism now linked to miscarriage and infertility—such a view is bound to lead you to the wrong conclusions…
Scientists have discovered that they can dramatically increase the life span of mice with progeria (premature ageing disease) and heart disease (caused by Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy) by reducing levels of a protein called SUN1. This research was done by A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) in collaboration with their partners at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States and the Institute of Cellular and System Medicine in Taiwan. Their findingswere published in the prestigious scientific journal, Cell, on 27th April 2012 and provide an exciting lead into developing new methods to treat premature aging and heart disease.
Children with progeria suffer symptoms of premature ageing and mostly die in their early teens from either heart attack or stroke. Individuals with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (AD-EDMD) suffer from muscle wasting and cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle making it harder for the heart to pump blood and deliver it to the rest of the body leading to heart failure. Both diseases are caused by mutations in Lamin A, a protein in the membrane surrounding a cell’s nucleus which provides mechanical support to the nucleus. SUN1 is a protein also found in the inner nuclear membrane, but there have been no previous studies to show how SUN1 interacts with the Lamin proteins.
The scientists wanted to investigate if SUN1 had any involvement in diseases caused by mutations in Lamin A, so they inactivated SUN1 in mouse models developed for progeria and AD-EDMD. These mouse models for progeria and AD-EDMD usually thrive poorly and have markedly short life spans as they die from premature ageing and heart failure respectively. However, by inactivating SUN1 and reducing SUN1 levels in these mouse models, the scientists observed that the life spans of the mouse models for progeria and AD-EDMD doubled and tripled respectively.
“We actually expected that knocking out Sun1 in these mouse models would worsen their conditions and cause them to die faster but surprisingly we observed the opposite. This is the first time that Sun1 protein has been implicated in diseases linked to Lamin A and it is exciting how basic research has led to a discovery that can potentially have significant impact on us,” said Rafidah Abdul Mutalif, who is pursuing her PhD at IMB and one of the main authors of this paper.
Prof. Colin Stewart, Principle Investigator at IMB, said, “Notably, the heart muscle of the mice was restored to near normal function and cardiac function improved when the levels of SUN1 were reduced. Mutations in Lamin A are frequently reported as a cause of heart disease and especially within a groupof hereditary cardiomyopathies. This opens up a possibility that from these observations, reduction in SUN1 maybe of therapeutic use for other forms of heart disease. We are very excited about this discovery and look forward to further pursuing thislead which could potentially lead to development of new treatments for heart diseases.”
The research findings described in this news release can be found in the 27 Apr issue of Cell, Chen, C-Y et al 2012 as Accumulation of the Inner Nuclear Envelope Protein Sun1 Is Pathogenic in Progeric and Dystrophic Laminopathies Cell 149.