Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cup of mint tea is an effective painkiller

Graciela Rocha with one of her Brazilian mint plants.

A cup of Brazilian mint tea has pain relieving qualities to match those of commercially available analgesics, a study suggests.

Hyptis crenata has been prescribed by Brazilian healers for millennia to treat ailments from headaches and stomach pain to fever and flu.

Working on mice, a Newcastle University team has proved scientifically that the ancient medicine men were right.

The study is published in the journal Acta Horticulturae.

In order to mimic the traditional treatment as closely as possible, the Newcastle team carried out a survey in Brazil to find out how the medicine is typically prepared and how much should be consumed.

The most common method was to produce a decoction. This involves boiling the dried leaves in water for 30 minutes and allowing the liquid to cool before drinking it as a tea.

The team found that when the mint was given at a dose similar to that prescribed by traditional healers, the medicine was as effective at relieving pain as a synthetic aspirin-style drug called Indometacin.

They plan to launch clinical trials to find out how effective the mint is as a pain relief for people.

Lead researcher Graciela Rocha said: "Since humans first walked the Earth we have looked to plants to provide a cure for our ailments - in fact it is estimated more than 50,000 plants are used worldwide for medicinal purposes.

"Besides traditional use, more than half of all prescription drugs are based on a molecule that occurs naturally in a plant.

"What we have done is to take a plant that is widely used to safely treat pain and scientifically proven that it works as well as some synthetic drugs.

"Now the next step is to find out how and why the plant works."

Graciela is Brazilian and remembers being given the tea as a cure for every childhood illness.

'Interesting research'

She said: "The taste isn't what most people here in the UK would recognize as a mint.

"In fact it tastes more like sage which is another member of the mint family.

"Not that nice, really, but then medicine isn't supposed to be nice, is it?"

Dr Beverly Collett, chair of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, said: "Obviously further work needs to be done to identify the molecule involved, but this is interesting research into what may be a new analgesic for the future.

"The effects of aspirin-like substances have been known since the ancient Greeks recorded the use of the willow bark as a fever fighter.

"The leaves and bark of the willow tree contain a substance called salicin, a naturally occurring compound similar to acetylsalicylic acid, the chemical name for aspirin."

The research is being presented at the International Symposium on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants in New Delhi, India.

'Mental illness gene' discovered by Scots scientists

Scientists have discovered a gene which may help explain the causes of mental illness.

The ABCA13 gene is partially inactive in patients with severe psychological conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

It is hoped that identifying genes which make people more likely to develop psychiatric illness may lead to new treatments being developed.

The international team of scientists was led by Edinburgh University.

They studied the genes of 2,000 psychiatric patients and compared them with those of 2,000 healthy people.

The study suggested that ABCA13 was faulty more frequently in patients with mental illness than in the control group.

Douglas Blackwood, psychiatric genetics professor at Edinburgh University, said: "This is an exciting step forward in our understanding of the underlying causes of some common mental illnesses. These risk genes could signpost new directions for treatments."

The team believes the gene may influence the way fat molecules are used in brain cells and the research will now focus on exactly how this occurs.

The discovery could lead to drugs that restore mental health in patients with psychiatric illness.

Dr Ben Pickard, who was part of the Edinburgh team but now works at the University of Strathclyde, said: "This study is the first to identify multiple points of DNA damage within a single gene that are linked with psychiatric illness.

"It strongly suggests that this gene may regulate an important part of brain function that fails in individuals diagnosed with these devastating disorders.

"I think it opens up a whole new area of biology which indicates that these conditions are perhaps related at a fundamental level."

The Edinburgh University research is in collaboration with scientists at universities in Aberdeen, Queensland and North Carolina.

The study took around five years to complete and involved patients from Scotland.

The results have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Experts to study vaccine reactions

TOKYO - JAPAN sent a team of health experts on Sunday to Canada to investigate allergic reactions to swine flu vaccinations from British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

The World Health Organization said last week that an unusual number of severe allergic reactions to H1N1 flu vaccinations have been recorded in Canada, where a batch of the vaccine from GSK has been recalled.

The team from the health and welfare ministry was seen departing from Tokyo's Narita airport. It is scheduled to spend four days in Canada to study precautionary measures against allergic reactions.

Tokyo has ordered doses of GSK-made vaccinations for 37 million people, a shipment due for delivery in December in a country that has a limited supply of domestically-made prophylactics.

Japan started vaccinating medical workers against H1N1 flu in October.

Since May, the A(H1N1) virus is known to have killed 70 people in the country, which is now heading into the autumn-winter flu season. -- AFP

Diabetics to double in 25 years

WASHINGTON - THE number of Americans with diabetes will nearly double over the next 25 years, rising from 23.7 million in 2009 to 44.1 million in 2034, according to a study by the University of Chicago.

In the same period, medical costs associated with treating the disease will triple from US$113 billion (S$158 billion) to US$336 billion, even without a rise in the incidence of obesity, according to the study published in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

The study said its projections, despite being significantly higher than other recent estimates, may be too conservative because they assume the rate of diabetes and obesity, a risk factor for the disease, will remain stable.

In 1991, scientists projected that the number of Americans with diabetes would reach 11.6 million people in 2030, but some 20 years before that date the figure is already double that. The study's authors acknowledge that obesity rates have risen steadily in past years, but predict that they will level out over the next decade and then decline slightly from the current 30 per cent level to around 27 per cent in 2033.

The US health programme Medicare, which provides health care for older Americans, spends some US$45 billion a year on diabetes treatment for 8.2 million people.

By 2034, the number of people with diabetes covered by the program is expected to rise to 14.6 million, according to the study, with associated costs rising to 171 billion dollars a year. -- AFP

Friday, November 13, 2009

H1N1 vaccination is garbage

First, they sold us a war - based on fraud.

Then, the economy collapsed - thanks to government tolerance for widespread financial fraud.

Now, these same people want you to roll up your sleeve and take an injection of something they have so little faith in they've already granted themselves legal immunity if - and when - it goes horribly wrong.

Swine flu hysteria is more government/media/industry fraud.

The so-called "science" behind vaccination is total garbage.

More and more, doctors are willing to stand up and tell the truth.

The "science" behind vaccination is garbage.

The consequences of getting it wrong are catastrophic.

The people pushing this the hardest are the same criminals who brought you the Iraq War and the meltdown of the US economy through financial fraud.

Just say "no" to being railroaded into allowing a dodgy set of chemicals, metals, and live viruses injected into your blood stream by venal idiots who have so little confidence in what they're doing they won't participate without getting total legal immunity in advance.

If you or a loved one are crippled by this vaccine, you will shoulder the burden yourself. The pharmaceutical companies and the government have exempted themselves from all liability.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Breast cancer changes with spread

A mammogram is used to detect breast lesions.

Nearly 40% of breast cancer tumours change form when they spread, a UK study shows.

The researchers say this could mean that patients require changes to their treatment regime.

They analysed 211 tumours which had spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit - the place where breast cancer tends to migrate first.

The study, by Breakthrough Breast Cancer scientists in Edinburgh, appears in Annals of Oncology.

Breast cancer is a complex disease with many different types which can be treated in different ways.

Breast cancer spreads to the lymph nodes in about 40% of the 46,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year.

Cancer cells which spread in this way are often more difficult to treat than those in the breast - so it is vital that women receive the most appropriate treatment.

Researchers were surprised to find the disease changed in such a high proportion of patients, and in so many ways, when it had spread.

For example, 20 tumours changed from oestrogen receptor (ER) negative to ER positive.

This change would mean hormone therapies such as tamoxifen, which would not have worked for the original tumour, could help treat the disease if it has spread.

Other tumours changed from ER positive to ER negative, which suggests those patients may be given treatments which will not benefit them - experiencing side-effects unnecessarily.

Surprising result

Lead researcher Dr Dana Faratian said: "We were surprised that such a high proportion of tumours change form when they spread beyond the breast.

"This suggests there is a need to test which type of disease a woman has in the lymph nodes, because it could radically alter the course of treatment she receives.

"We now need a clinical trial to see how these results could benefit patients."

Professor David Harrison, director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit, said: "This research may show why some women whose cancer has spread to the lymph nodes do not respond to treatment.

"With an additional test we may be able to treat women more effectively and also make more efficient use of NHS resources."

The researchers stress that a clinical trial needs to be carried out to fully evaluate the benefits of testing cancer cells in the lymph nodes before it can be approved for use on the NHS.

Breast cancer accounts for nearly one in three of all female cancers and one in nine women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.

High HDL lowers cancer risk

MILWAUKEE - MEN may protect more than their hearts if they keep cholesterol in line: Their chances of getting aggressive prostate cancer may be lower, new research suggests.

One study found that men whose cholesterol was in a healthy range - below 200 - had less than half the risk of developing high-grade prostate tumors compared to men with high cholesterol.

A second study found that men with lots of HDL, or 'good cholesterol,' were a little less likely to develop any form of prostate cancer than men with very low HDL.

Both studies were published on Tuesday in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The two studies are not definitive and have some weaknesses. Yet they fit with plenty of other science suggesting that limiting fats in the bloodstream can lessen cancer risk.

'There might be this added benefit to keeping cholesterol low,' said Elizabeth Platz of Johns Hopkins University, who led the first study, which looked at 5,586 men aged 55 andolder who were in the placebo group of a big federal cancer prevention study done in the 1990s. -- AP