Sunday, May 15, 2011

Macular Degeneration 'effective' drug found

Hopefullly, this drug really is effective, and affordable even more.

08 May 2011

WASHINGTON: The anti-cancer drug Avastine is as effective in fighting macular degeneration as Lucentis, which, however is 40 times more expensive than the cancer fighting medicine, according to results of clinical trials published in the United States.

The study compares Avastine (bevacizumab) to Lucentis (ranibizumab), which both have been developed by US firm Genentech, owned by Swiss laboratory Roche.

During the trials, scientists randomly assigned 1,208 patients with neovascular macular degeneration -- a condition that leads to the gradual loss of central vision -- to receive injections in the eye of ranibizumab or bevacizumab on either a monthly schedule or as needed with monthly evaluation.

"At one year, bevacizumab and ranibizumab had equivalent effects on visual acuity when administered according to the same schedule," reported the authors of the study, including Doctor Juan Grunwald from the University of Pennsylvania.

"Ranibizumab given as needed with monthly evaluation had effects on vision that were equivalent to those of ranibizumab administered monthly."

However, the costs of the treatments were vastly different.

The average cost in the ranibizumab group per patient was $23,400 compared to $385 per patient in the bevacizumab group, the researchers said.

The study appears in the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.


Taken from; source article is below:
Macular degeneration: "effective" drug found

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Traditional Herbal Medicines Banned in EU

Interior of a botánica on Centre Street in Jam...Image via WikipediaIf you are into traditional herbal medicines, you might need to read this one, especially if you are in EU region.

30 April 2011

New European Union rules have come into force banning hundreds of traditional herbal remedies.
The EU law aims to protect consumers from possible damaging side-effects of over-the-counter herbal medicines.
For the first time, new regulations will allow only long-established and quality-controlled medicines to be sold.
But both herbal remedy practitioners and manufacturers fear they could be forced out of business.
To date, the industry has been covered by the 1968 Medicines Act, drawn up when only a handful of herbal remedies were available and the number of herbal practitioners was very small.
But surveys show that about a quarter of all adults in the UK have used a herbal medicine in the past two years, mostly bought over the counter in health food shops and pharmacies.
The regulations will cover widely used products such as echinacea, St John's Wort and valerian, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian medicines.
Traditional Herbal Remedy logoHerbal remedies that have been approved for sale under the new regulations will come with this logo
But safety concerns have focused on the powerful effects of some herbal remedies, as well as the way they interact with conventional drugs.
For example, St John's Wort can interfere with the contraceptive pill, while ginkgo and ginseng are known to have a similar effect to the blood-thinning drug warfarin.
From now on only products that have been assessed by the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be allowed to go on sale.
Manufacturers will have to prove that their products have been made to strict standards and contain a consistent and clearly marked dose.
And to count as a traditional medicine, products must have been in use for the past 30 years, including 15 years within the EU.
They will also only be approved for minor ailments like coughs and colds, muscular aches and pains, or sleep problems.
Remedies already on sale will be allowed to stay on the shelves until they reach their expiry date.
Free from contamination
Richard Woodfield, head of herbal medicine policy at the MHRA, says so far there have been 211 applications, of which 105 have been granted registration.

Start Quote

We're very concerned that patients appreciate they must be very careful when they take these medicines and ideally should talk to their doctor or pharmacist”
Prof Jayne LawrenceRoyal Pharmaceutical Society
"Crucially, this EU directive and the registration scheme puts consumers in the driving seat so they can identify that a product meets assured standards on safety, quality and information about safe use.
"Safety speaks for itself, but quality means, are they using the right part of the plant? Is it free from contamination? Is the claimed shelf life suitable?
"Product information will include possible side effects and interactions with other drugs, but above all it must make very clear that it is based on traditional use."
And that is a key point for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which believes the new regime is a step forward in improving safety and quality.
But Prof Jayne Lawrence, chief science adviser to the society, says there are still some concerns about herbal products.
"They certainly haven't been tested on the same basis as a conventional medicine and some of these compounds are very potent.
"Patients might not realise that in some cases they should not take other medicines with them, or if they're going for surgery they should tell their doctors they are taking these particular medicines because there may be complications.
"So we're very concerned that patients appreciate they must be very careful when they take these medicines and, ideally, should talk to their doctor or pharmacist."
The manufacturers of herbal remedies have had seven years to prepare for the new rules after the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products was introduced in 2004.
Too onerous?
These regulations apply to over-the-counter sales, which form the bulk of herbal remedies sold in the UK.
But some manufacturers and herbal practitioners have expressed concern, arguing the new rules are too onerous for many small producers.
Michael McIntyre, chairman of the European Herbal and Traditional Medicines Practitioners Association, says there will be a significant impact on herbal medicine practitioners and their suppliers, but admits the rules do need bringing up to date.
"Products that go on the market now will definitely do what it says on the bottle, while we didn't know how good they were in the past.
"But registration is expensive so perhaps there may be fewer products on the market and a smaller range.
"It's difficult to argue that the market should stay as it is, without any regulation, but how many businesses will pack up and walk away? I can't say."
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We have swiftly introduced a system to register herbal practitioners using unlicensed herbal medicines, so consumers will be able to continue to use unlicensed herbal medicines if they wish."

Taken from; source article is below:
New EU regulations on herbal medicines come into force

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

When Pregnant and Stressed

stressImage by bottled_void via FlickrThere is an article that links the relation between pregnancy and stress, and the product is an offspring that misbehaves.

See what was discovered:

"---previous research had shown a link between stress during pregnancy and behavior problems in children..."

"Money and relationship problems, job loss, issues with other children, a difficult pregnancy and a death in the family were among the stressful events cited by the women."

To follow that article, click below:
Pregnant and Stressed May Mean Offspring Who Misbehave
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Local woman credits God for surviving critical health issues

Be Still and KnowI will put the article here in its entirety, so I don't add or subtract from it.

Read on...

Written by L. B. Whyde
April 23, 2011

NEWARK -- Imagine seeing a car barreling across three lanes of traffic, coming right at you and then crashing into your car.

The whole left side of your body is broken; bones from your eye socket to ankle shattered.

You survive not only that crash, but 20 ensuing surgeries. Eight times, doctors tell you that you probably will not make it.

How can anyone survive such trauma? Becky Fannin has, and she gives all the credit to God.

Fannin, 56, was the administrator at Christian Fellowship Community School in 2003 when she survived a head-on collision.

In addition to the bones that were broken, her lower left arm was degloved, meaning the skin and muscles were torn away, leaving the bone exposed.

Be Still And KnowHer hip was in the middle of her body afterward, her left kneecap was shattered, and the nerves in her legs were damaged.

It took seven months in a nursing home for her to relearn how to walk and another month at Dodd Hall at Ohio State University Medical Center.

During that time in Flint Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Fannin was able to room with her mother, which was exactly what she needed at the time, she said. Her mother died in 2009.

"Every time I moaned, she would push her button to get help for me," Fannin said. "I told her sometimes I just had to moan and groan."

'Such love'

During this time she had no income, but she never lacked for money. She said one time in church that God told her to donate her last $20. She did, and by the time she left that day, she had $120 in her purse. There were two benefit dinners. She never lacked for visits from family and friends.

"Never had I experienced such love," Fannin said.

She chose not to file a lawsuit against the other driver, who died in the crash.

With only the minimum coverage to work from, all of her bills were paid with enough left over so she could buy a car and a double-wide trailer. Her new home already had a wheelchair ramp, and it was decorated in her favorite colors.

"God truly took a 'little' and multiplied it to cover a lot," Fannin said.

'Power of God'

Be still and know that I am God, Lithographic Art - Frameless TexturedAbout a year after the crash, Fannin started to drive and once again was involved in another head-on crash, but was not hurt.

Since 2003, she has been in and out of the hospital 30 times for a variety of problems, including uterine cancer, a blood infection, a bowel blockage, kidney dialysis and many other ailments.

During one 10-day stay in the intensive care unit at Ohio State University Medical Center, Fannin begged the nurse and God to let her die. The hymns she remembered from her youth helped her through those times, she said.

"Never underestimate the power of their words," Fannin said. "Music is a mighty tool that God can use to bring comfort and assurance to his children."

After an ileostomy -- a bowel diversion surgery -- she called hospice, talked to each member of her family, finalized legal papers and even arranged her funeral.

But she agreed to one more surgery. It was found that she was full of infections that were stopping her from healing and causing severe pain.

After four months in the hospital, she had to learn to walk all over again.

"I am a spirit-filled Christian with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ," Fannin said. "I know and have experienced the power of God working in my life. God has spoken life into my body several times when the doctors were preparing my family for death."

'Be still and know'

Through all of what has happened to her, Fannin continues to be cheerful and content.

"A couple of days after the accident, I was talking to God about my life and where it was going," Fannin said. "He spoke very clearly to me these words, 'Be still and know that I am God!' From that moment to this very day, I have not questioned God about why this happened to me. It settled my heart. God had everything under control, and he would take care of me."

Be Still & Know: Instrumental Songs Of WorshipFannin, known to many as Aunt Becky, has returned to teaching at Christian Fellowship Community School. She wears a bracelet that is inscribed with a verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4 -- "Love is patient, love is kind."

Fannin currently spends four days a week connected to a dialysis machine.

"I do not yet see the complete manifestation of my healing, but I want you to know I am not discouraged or disheartened," she said. "My prayer has been that I would walk through this time with grace and victory. Daily, I choose grace over discouragement. I choose victory over defeat."

Born in Mansfield, Fannin moved to Newark when she was 11. She graduated from OSU with a degree in education. She taught in southern Ohio for three years before moving back to Licking County and working in retail for five years while co-leading a youth ministry and coffee house ministry at her local church.

She started teaching again at Christian Fellowship Community School in 1984. Three years later, she became the administrator for 17 years.

As for the future, Fannin is planning on no more surgeries. She will continue to teach until God shows her something different.

Be Still & Know: Peaceful Voices for Quiet"Through it all, He has bolstered my faith," Fannin added. "He kept me leaning on him and happy. I wouldn't have gotten through this time without him. It's all God. I don't want to take any glory from him."

L.B. Whyde can be reached at (740) 328-8513 or


Taken from; source article is below:
Local woman credits God for surviving critical health issues

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Gene-modified mosquitoes offer malaria hope

A female mosquito of the Culicidae family (Cul...Image via Wikipedia

Scientists believe they are closer to being able to change the DNA of wild mosquitoes in order to combat malaria.
In the laboratory, they made a gene spread from a handful of mosquitoes to most of the population in just a few generations, according to a report in Nature.
If the right gene can be made to spread then researchers hope to reduce the number of cases of malaria.
Other academics have described the study as a "major step forward".
The World Health Organisation estimated that malaria caused nearly one million deaths in 2008.
Spreading resistance
Research groups have already created "malaria-resistant mosquitoes" using techniques such as introducing genes to disrupt the malaria parasite's development.
The research, however, has a great challenge - getting those genes to spread from the genetically-modified mosquitoes to the vast number of wild insects across the globe.
Unless the gene gives the mosquito an advantage, the gene will likely disappear.
Scientists at Imperial College London and the University of Washington, in Seattle, believe they have found a solution.
They inserted a gene into the mosquito DNA which is very good at looking after its own interests - a homing endonuclease called I-SceI.
The gene makes an enzyme which cuts the DNA in two. The cell's repair machinery then uses the gene as a template when repairing the cut.
As a result the homing endonuclease gene is copied.
It does this in such a way that all the sperm produced by a male mosquito carry the gene.
So all its offspring have the gene. The process is then repeated so the offspring's offspring have the gene and so on.
In the laboratory experiments, the gene was spread to half the caged mosquitoes in 12 generations.
Defeating malaria
Professor Andrea Crisanti, from the department of life sciences at Imperial College London, said: "This is an exciting technological development, one which I hope will pave the way for solutions to many global health problems.
"At the beginning I was really quite sceptical and thought it probably would not work, but the results are so encouraging that I'm starting to change my mind."
He said the idea had been proved in principle and was now working on getting other genes to spread in the same way.
He believes it could be possible to introduce genes which will make the mosquito target animals rather than humans, stop the parasite from multiplying in the insect or produce all male offspring which do not transmit malaria.
Professor Janet Hemingway, from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said the work was an "exciting breakthrough".
She cautioned that the technique was still some way off being used against wild mosquitoes and there were social issues around the acceptability of using GM technology.
"This is however a major step forward providing technology that may be used in a cost effective format to drive beneficial genes through mosquito populations from relatively small releases," she added.
Dr Yeya Touré, from the World Health Organisation, said: "This research finding is very important for driving a foreign gene in a mosquito population. However, given that it has been demonstrated in a laboratory cage model, there is the need to conduct further studies before it could be used as a genetic control strategy.

Taken from; source article is below:
GM mosquitoes offer malaria hope

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Caution: some notes when relying on smart devices

IMG_4672Image by hirohama via FlickrThere is a very lengthy article, discoursing on the issues of the use of smart devices as health monitors or as health gagdets.

While technology has helped us come up with such smart (and smarter) devices from time to time, there are still limitations and the functions that they serve cannot comprise all areas.

Read the article, and be informed:
Caution urged as smartphone technology expands into medicine and health
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Marijuana Compound Drug - good or bad?

"Marijuana Cigarette"Image via WikipediaI have known about this for quite sometime now, and the controversy it brings whenever it is the topic!

Have things changed over time, or the danger of abuse still knocks at the door? Will this be a reality - marijuana a drug?

if it does become a drug, will it be abused?

Published April 20, 2011

Today is known as National Marijuana Day or 4/20—and if the idea of having a marijuana deficiency sounds laughable to you, a growing body of science points at exactly such a possibility. Scientists have known that the active psychoactive compound in marijuana is THC, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol.

In August 1990, researchers reported in the journal Naturethe discovery of receptors in the brain that specifically accommodate the cannabinoids in pot. Cannabinoids bind to particular neurological sites in the brain, as though the brain was specifically designed to utilize this plant. Did nature toss cannabinoid receptors into the brain by random chance? Are cannabinoid receptors part of an intelligent design for deriving maximum benefit from cannabis? Is cannabis a divine elixir of sacred communion for which we are ideally suited? Actually, a more sober answer seems likely. When there are receptors in the brain for a particular type of compound, that compound is made in the brain. This is true of many important agents that work to transmit brain messages of all types. So a hunt began to find such a compound.

In that vein, in 1992 researchers in Israel isolated the cannabinoid anandamide in the human brain. Unlike THC, anandamide is manufactured in the brain, and is therefore an endogenous cannabinoid. This agent, anandamide, is the compound that attaches to the built-in cannabinoid receptors in our brains. The name anandamide is based on the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss. Anandamide is a bliss molcule, enhancing greater well being and emotional satisfaction.

Ever since the pioneering work of Dr. William O'Shaughnessy on cannabis and pain compiled in the 1840's a growing body of science has shown that cannabis offers relief for various types of pain. In the brain, the endogenous agent anandamide also plays a role in mitigating inflammation and pain. So both cannabinoids from inside and outside the body play a role in pain reduction. More recent studies show pain relief among sufferers of multiple sclerosis when cannabis is consumed.

Anandamide also plays a role in proper appetite, feelings of pleasure and well-being, and memory. Interestingly, cannabis also affects these same functions. Cannabis has been used successfully to treat migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and glaucoma. So here is the seventy-four thousand dollar question. Does cannabis simply relieve these diseases to varying degrees, or is cannabis actually a medical replacement in cases of deficient anandamide?

At least one author, medical doctor Ethan Russo, believes in the possibility of endocanabinoid deficiency, and suggests that such a deficiency might actually be a significant cause of the types of health problems listed above. His paper "Clinical Cannabinoid Deficiency," published in Neuroendocrinology Lettersin 2004, delved deeply into the various ways that cannabinoids function in the body, and how a deficiency in cannabinoids can lead to a broad range of diseases. Since the publication of that paper, a number of studies have further confirmed the effectiveness of cannabis for many health disorders.

The idea of clinical cannabinoid deficiency opens the door to cannabis consumption as an effective medical approach to relief of various types of pain, restoration of appetite in cases in which appetite is compromised, improved visual health in cases of glaucoma, and improved sense of well being among patients suffering from a broad variety of mood disorders. As state and local laws mutate and change in favor of greater tolerance, perhaps cannabis will find it's proper place in the home medicine chest.

Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at


Taken from; source article is below:
Marijuana Compound Treats Multiple Health Issues

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Prescription Drug Abuse now a crisis

April 19, 2011


The Obama administration launched a major campaign Tuesday to combat prescription drug abuse, which it says is the nation's fastest growing drug problem.
The program, announced at a press conference in Washington, aims to reduce abuse rates of some non-medical prescription drugs by 15 percent over by five years and to cut down on the number of unintentional overdose deaths.
It would require drugmakers to raise awareness about the dangers of painkillers like OxyContin and seek legislation to require doctors to get training before they could prescribe such drugs.
Plus it calls for spending more than $200 million more on drug prevention and treatment programs in the 2012 fiscal year.
Authorities described the magnitude of what they said is a growing but under-recognized problem - one that they said exceeds the number of people who died in the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and the black tar heroin epidemic of the 1970s. Roughly 28,000 people died from unintentional drug abuses in 2007, the year with the most recent data - and most of those were connected with prescription drugs.
"Abuse of prescription drugs, especially opioids, represents an alarming public health crisis," Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh said in a statement accompanying the news.
The program was announced by Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, along with the heads of the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Kerlikowske told the NewsHour that the problem with prescription drugs has gotten so bad that more Americans die from prescription drug overdoses than they do in car crashes in 17 states and the District of Columbia. In 2007, the last year for which figures are available, Kerlikowske said, "more than 28,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses."
The number of people going to the emergency room due to misuse or abuse of prescription drugs has also doubled in the past five years, Kerlikowske said.
Between 2002 and 2009, the number of Americans ages 12 and older who abused prescription drugs increased by 20 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
"This problem takes more lives than gunshot wounds," he told us. "And among teenagers it's become an entry level path to addiction."
Kerlikowske said he believes there is widespread ignorance on the part of Americans "that what's inside the medicine cabinet can kill."
Government officials said that teenagers are especially vulnerable because they don't generally understand that something "prescribed by the family doctor can be dangerous."
The three agencies involved will all take part in a major campaign to make the public more aware of the dangers of prescription drugs, especially opioid pain medications. The new program calls for:
  • Every state to monitor and track prescription drugs
  • The DEA to help Americans dispose of unused, expired or unneeded prescription drugs that are in their medicine cabinet
  • Increase education for those who prescribe drugs
Another of the program's main emphases will be on education, especially in the nation's medical schools.
"They really get very little training in this area," Kerlikowske said. "We really want to do more to educate prescribers."
A national survey of medical residency programs found only 56 percent of medical schools require substance use disorder training and the number of hours required in those programs varied between three and 12.
The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that over 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain medications got then from friends or relatives and that another 5 percent got them from a drug dealer or from the Internet

Taken from; source article is below:
Prescription Drug Abuse Targeted as a 'Public Health Crisis'

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Probiotics Can Help Prevent Diseases

Nonfat YogurtImage via WikipediaAs common as yogurt can be, prevention is a much better option - as always.

Read on...

April 18, 2011

CHICAGO (CBS) — Feeling rundown, tired or just not healthy?
The problem may lie in your stomach, and some experts believe a certain kind of bacteria may help you feel better.
A stubborn cold, the flu, irritable bowel syndrome — even childhood eczema.
These are all conditions that you may be able to fight with your stomach and a spoon, CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan reports.
Experts say there’s growing evidence that probiotics found in foods like yogurt may actually ease the symptoms of some of these common conditions.
Probiotics are sort of a good bacteria that are found in foods, and what they can do is they can help to enhance and improve your immune system,” registered dietician Felicia Stoler says.
The live active microorganisms may even help when you just don’t feel right.
“When your body is tired from daily activities, sometimes you are worn down from trying to fight something off,” Stoler says.
That’s when you should give your stomach something to fight back with, and it doesn’t have to be just yogurt. Sauerkraut is a source of probiotics, and there are even chocolate bars infused with them. Certain soy products such as miso soup are, too.
Stoler says you should always rule out serious stomach issues with your doctor. Still, probiotics may be worth a shot.
“A lot of people that come to see me, they spend a lot of time going to the doctors, and they can’t find something that’s wrong with them,” she says. “By changing their diet and including probiotics in their diet they do report that they feel much better.”
There is also some research indicating that foods containing prebiotics may also help. Foods like bananas, beans, honey and whole grains act as fuel for that good bacteria so you can keep your stomach in balance.

Taken from; source article is below:
Probiotics Can Help Offset A Variety Of Health Issues, Some Believe

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