“One advantage to getting older -weight loss”

For middle age and older adults weight loss is increased by drinking two glasses of water before eating.
Recent research has found that one can lose 30 percent more weight than those who did  not drink before eating. Scientists at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg assigned 48 overweight or obese men and women ages 55 to 75 to one of two groups. Both groups consumed low-fat, low-calorie diets for 12 weeks, but one group was told to drink two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After 12 weeks, the water drinkers shed about 15.5 pounds, while the other group dropped about 11 pounds. The two groups were followed for one year and those who continued to drink water before meals lost even more weight, on average about 1.5 pounds.
Water fills the stomach with a zero-calorie fluid, so people eat less. However this seems to work only for this age group , because the stomach releases the water much slower from the stomach.
The study was funded by the Institute for Public Health and Water Research, a nonprofit, independent science organization that was launched by an unrestricted grant from the Brita Products Company.

Resources

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“Sitting more now your body enjoying it less -women at risk”

American Cancer Society researchers finds that physical activity can be somewhat nullified by spend sitting too long. It may even raise the risk of an earlier death. Researchers say time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. Continue reading ““Sitting more now your body enjoying it less -women at risk””

"Work as a team? = Progress in Alzheimer’s research"

What was that word you used?

My Mother always taught us to share, care and respectfully work together. She said that there is strength in number.

Seems that this is true in medical research as well.  Yes, in the land where no one shared data unless they were close trusted collegues.  Sometimes necessity and the overwhelming enormity of the project creates the perfect opportunity to do as mother taught us so many years ago. Continue reading “"Work as a team? = Progress in Alzheimer’s research"”

"Woman's total cholesterol and estrogen levels vary 19 % during the menstrual cycle"

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers have shown that women’s cholesterol levels vary with monthly changes in estrogen levels. Where she is in this natural cycle should be noted before evaluating her cholesterol levels. On the average, the total cholesterol level of the women in the study varied 19 percent over the course of the menstrual cycle.

In a typical cycle, estrogen levels steadily increase as the egg cell matures, peaking just before ovulation. Previous studies have shown that taking formulations which contain estrogen — oral contraceptives or menopausal hormone therapy — can affect cholesterol levels. However, the results of studies examining the effects of naturally occurring hormone levels on cholesterol have not been conclusive. According to the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, high blood cholesterol levels raise the risk for heart disease.

The researchers found that as the level of estrogen rises, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also rises, peaking at the time of ovulation. HDL cholesterol is believed to be protective against heart disease.

In contrast, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels — as well as another form of blood fat known as triglycerides — declined as estrogen levels rose. The decline was not immediate, beginning a couple of days after the estrogen peak at ovulation. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels reached their lowest just before menstruation began.

For more information on the types of cholesterol and triglycerides is available

Probably cholesterol levels will be elevated in women before ovulation,

this could be very important for women whose cholesterol levels are already high.

When a test shows a high cholesterol level, physicians will often order an additional test to make sure the reading is accurate. Testing at the end of a woman’s cycle when cholesterol levels are low might do away with the need for an additional test to confirm a high cholesterol reading.

The study authors found that women’s total cholesterol levels rise as estrogen levels increase during the monthly menstrual cycle, drop shortly before ovulation, then decrease more rapidly after ovulation occurs.

The study compared estrogen with cholesterol and triglyceride levels among 259 healthy women between 18 and 44 years old. For 94 percent of the volunteers, researchers took 14 or more measurements over two menstrual cycles. Women charted the phases of their cycles with at-home fertility monitors, which detect hormone levels that indicate ovulation.

Most of the women were physically active and did not smoke. Only 5 percent consistently had total cholesterol levels greater than 200 mg/dL, considered borderline high-risk for heart disease. However, cholesterol levels among 19.7 percent of the women reached 200 mg/dL at least once.

A small subset of obese women over 40 showed greater fluctuation in cholesterol levels during their cycles than did the rest of the group. “Other studies are needed to confirm our findings among obese women,” Dr. Mumford said.

Further research may help clarify the optimal point in the cycle for doctors to measure women’s cholesterol levels and help clinicians develop standardized procedures for measuring cholesterol in premenopausal women and determining their heart disease risk.

The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation’s Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

The findings were published online in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Resources

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“Ashwagandha helps calm nerves and improve brain funtioning”

Ashwaganda, also known as Indian Ginseng, has been used for centuries for anxiety, cognitive and neurological disorders and inflammation. It is high in antioxidants.Ashwaganda is also used therapeutically for patients with nervous exhaustion, and debility due to stress. It is also used as an immune stimulant as it has been shown to prevent brain cell degeneration from chronic stress.
For centuries, Indian and African medicine have used it an anti-inflammatory, for fever relief, and against infectious disease. Many believe ashwagandha to be effective in stimulating the immune system. It also appears to inhibit swelling and aid memory and can act as a general health tonic.

A study done in 1991 at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center indicated that extracts of ashwagandha had GABA-like activity. This may account for this herb’s anti-anxiety effects.
Ashwagandha is used in India to treat mental deficits in geriatric patients, including amnesia. Researchers from the University of Leipzig in Germany wanted to find out which neurotransmitters were influenced by ashwagandha. After injecting some of the chemicals in ashwagandha into rats, they later examined slices of their brain and found an increase in acetylcholine receptor activity. The researchers say, The drug-induced increase in acetylcholine receptor capacity might partly explain the cognition-enhancing and memory-improving effects of extracts from Withania somnifera [ashwagandha] observed in animals and humans.

A 2002 laboratory study indicated that ashwagandha stimulates the growth of axons and dendrites. A 2001 animal study showed ashwagandha had memory boosting ability. A 2000 study with rodents showed ashwagandha to have anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects. However, no clinical studies have been carried out to support its efficacy in humans.

Part of the Solanaceae or nightshade family as the tomato, Ashwaganda grows as a stout shrub that reaches a height of 170 cm (5.6 ft). Like the tomato which belongs to the same family, it bears yellow flowers and yellow-Orange to red Berry type fruit, though its fruit is berry-like in size and shape. It grows prolifically in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
In Ayurveda, ashwagandha extract is considered an adaptogen or a substance that helps to normalize physiological function of the body and mind. In Ayurveda, the fresh roots are sometimes boiled in milk, prior to drying, in order to leach out undesirable constituents. The berries are used as a substitute for rennet, to coagulate milk in cheese making.
It has sedating properties, but it has been also used for sexual vitality and as an adaptogen. Some herbalists refer to ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, since it is used in ayurvedic medicine in a way similar to that ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Seven American and four Japanese firms have filed for grant of patents on formulations containing extracts of the herb Ashwagandha.

Resources

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"Remyelination of the spinal cord after injury may be a step closer"

Brain and spinal cord injuries may soon have a new treatment process that is natural and based on the individual’s own stem cells. Oligodendrocyte, precursor cells (OPCs), are  a type of cell found in the brain and nervous system that forms the coating around the nerve cells. These cells are formed during embryo formation in the ventricular zone of the neural tube (embryonic spinal cord), and the cells migrate outwards along the circumference of the tube, and then along its length. During this migration, OPCs actively seek axons around which they can wrap

their processes once they have differentiated into oligodendrocytes. Myelination, the process by which oligodendrocytes wrap their processes around nerve fibers, begins towards the end of embryonic development, and continues post-natally coating around the nerve cells.

These cells are formed during embryo formation in the ventricular zone of the neural tube (embryonic spinal cord), and the cells migrate outwards along the circumference of the tube, and then along its length. During this migration, OPCs actively seek axons around which they can wrap their processes once they have differentiated into oligodendrocytes. Myelination, the process by which oligodendrocytes wrap their processes around nerve fibers, begins towards the end of embryonic development, and continues postnatally.


Throughout their migration, these cells extend and retract filopodia-like processes to obtain cues from their surroundings. Upon coming into contact with neighboring OPCs. These hair or cilia like projections are withdrawn and then extended in the opposite direction. This seems to be a mutual repulsion mechanism which ensures that OPCs are evenly distributed along the length of the axons they will myelinate (coat). An axon is a long, slender extension of a nerve cell, or neuron, that conducts electrical impulses away from the neuron’s cell body

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) comprise 5% of the cells in the adult brain, where they are the most proliferative cell present. They can generate both neurons and glial cells, making them an important stem cell population in the adult brain.
The bottom line is that this animal model with the injection of  hESC-OPCs cells has demonstrated that remyelination of the cervical injury site and the restoration of movement to the  limbs of these animals may help restore function in spinal cord injuries victims in the future.
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/ctDR8x
Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/cNOulI
Image of myelination process courtesy of  http://bit.ly/c8wmkH
Image of neuron courtesy of  http://bit.ly/BECvB

"Benedryl and its’ cousins maybe bad mojo for long term users"

“Researchers … conducted a six-year observational study, evaluating 1,652 Indianapolis area African-Americans over the age of 70 who had normal cognitive function when the study began … ‘[Taking one anticholinergic significantly increased an individual’s risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and taking two of these drugs doubled this risk.'” Reported in Physorg.org.

Why were elderly people allowed to take part in this study?  It disappoints and angers me.

Over the counter (OTC) drugs like Benadryl (or Dimedrol in other countries), Dramamine, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM, Midol PM and Advil PM and some Unisom products if used regularly can cause decreased brain function in those over 70 years of age.  Other anticholinergic prescription drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol and Elavil are are made with the same antihistamine Diphenhydramine like their OTC cousins.

How do these drugs work?

These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter. The body uses neurotransmitters to speed or slow the transmission of nerve signals throughout the brain and nervous system.

Despite Benedryl being one of the oldest antihistamines on the market it is more effective than even some of the latest prescription drugs. Consequently, it is frequently used when an allergic reaction requires fast, effective reversal of the often dangerous effects of a massive histamine release. Its active ingredient Diphenhydramine works by blocking the effect of histamine at H1 receptor sites. This results in effects such as the increase of vascular smooth muscle contraction, thus reducing the redness, hyperthermia and edema that occurs during an inflammatory reaction. In addition, by blocking the H1 receptor on peripheral nociceptors (pain receptors), diphenhydramine decreases their sensitization and thus reduces itching from an allergic reaction.

The effects of Diphenhydramine the active ingredient in many antihistamine compounds include:

  • Mouth/throat – dryness
  • Endocrine – change in appetite
  • Heart – increased heart rate (tachycardia or hypertension)
  • Liver – toxicity in very large doses
  • Brain/Memory/Nervous System –  profound drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, hallucinations, dizziness, irritability, delirium, motor impairment (ataxia), restlessness, restless leg syndrome, clouded thinking, difficult mood changes, twitching may be delayed until the drowsiness begins to cease, confusion
  • Vision-visual disturbances, abnormal sensitivity to bright light (photophobia), pupil dilation,  blurred vision at nearpoint owing to lack of accommodation (cycloplegia),  redness, dryness and yellowing of eyes
  • Respiration– irregular breathing, decreased respiration
  • Skin – itchy skin, decreased body temperature (generally in the hands and/or feet), flushing
  • Bladder/Bowel function – urinary retention, constipation, nausea, vaginal dryness,
  • Sexual -erectile dysfunction, excitability, decreased libido
  • Atypical sensations – sense of heaviness, hearing imbalances

References

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"TM -one way to concentrate and sleep better"

Josh Goulding was diagnosed with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in second grade, after his impulsive and disruptive behavior frequently landed him in the school principal’s office. “Over several years, I was put on a whole gamut of drugs, and nothing worked well,” says Goulding, now 24. By his second year at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Goulding was still struggling to concentrate in classes and complete his work, and his medications were causing mood swings and irritability.

The Conventional Rx: Stimulant drugs, such as Ritalin and Adderall. Almost 4.5 million children between ages 4 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD, and nearly half of them take prescription medications, often for years. Long term, these drugs may be physically and psychologically harmful, and side effects such as sleep disturbances, poor appetite, weight loss, and mood disorders can require further medication.

The Alternative Rx: Transcendental Meditation (TM). In the first study on ADHD and TM, middle-school-age children who did twice daily nonreligious meditations for 10 minutes reduced their stress levels by over 50 percent–resulting in fewer ADHD symptoms. “TM helps children focus on a special mantra or sound, which helps the child transcend mental busyness and stress,” says Sarina Grosswald, EdD, coauthor of the study. “This allows the child’s body to completely relax and his mind to stay fully awake without effort. The results are improved behavior, grades, creativity, and inner stability.”

Success As a result of Goulding learned TM techniques of relaxing and concentration:

his sleep improved

better ability to focus his attention

ability to communicate with others more effectively inproved

GPA (grades) improved.

blood pressure was lower

no longer needed ADHD medications

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"Testing of US Drugs in third world – Pfizer is the poster child"

Almost 15 years after the fact, Nigerians are officially allowed to sue Pfizer over the company’s illegal use of a test antibiotic drug on their children. Surprisingly, The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to send the Pfizer (PFE) Trovan case to trial

Pfizer is accused of illegally testing a drug, Trovan, in Nigeria that killed 11 children and injured 181 others during a meningitis epidemic in 1996. Trovan banned in the EU in 1999 and in the U.S, but the FDA still allowed its’ use in adult emergency care.

This compensation case has been dragged out for years in the courts, because Pfizer has the money to do it. There is more at stake.

The heart of the problem that may be exposed is not the fact that people have died,

but that the entire procedure of drug testing on foreign soil may be brought into the light of day.

What will be seen?

  • the corporate greed
  • the backwoods mentality that it is okay to test new drugs on uneducated poor ignorant third world peoples,
  • the pay off of corrupt foreign government officials is condoned
  • the fudging the test results is acceptable.
  • Once the “test results” are compiled and possibly reviewed by FDA (Federal Drug Administration) -only 1 percent of trials conducted outside the U.S are reviewed.

The trail of greed and corporate manipulation behind the scenes needs to officially be exposed and all parties need to be held accountable.

Americans assume and wrongly so, that all there drugs have been tested under US standards and proven safe.

Resources

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"Forest breathing – can improve your health"

Forests, parks, botanical gardens and other places with plenty of trees and plants can increase your immune function while improving your health and reducing your stress.

What is the secret to their healing properties?
Scientists claim that plant phytoncides, or odor that a plant gives off to protect itself from disease and insects damage also benefits humans. this confirms the use  by integrated people and medicine practitioners and doctors for thousands of years.

People who visited nature parks for therapy, “Shinrin-yoku,” or “forest bathing.” have:
1. lowered concentrations of cortisol, dropped their pulse rate, and lower blood pressure
while raising levels of white blood cells.
2. in 2007 men who took two-hour walks in a forest over two days had a 50-percent increase in the levels of natural killer cells.
3. Another study found an increase in white blood cells that lasted a week in women exposed to phytoncides in forest air.
Various plants, mint, lavender, frankincense, rose, onion, garlic, tea tree, oak and pine trees, and many other plants give off phytoncides. Oak contains a substance called greenery alcohol; garlic contains allicin and diallyl disulfide; and pine contains alpha-pinene, carene, myrcene and other terpenes. More than 5000 volatile substances defend the surrounding plants from bacteria, fungi and insects.
While they protect themselves with these chemicals or volatile oils and resins they help to reduce our stress and boost our immune system. For more information on the therapeutic uses of plant oils contact CMA.

Resources
Excerpts
courtesy of    http://nyti.ms/96vRRG
Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/auMcl2

Images  courtesy of  naturescrusaders.com