Archive for March, 2010


Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Explaining the Benefits of Exercise on Type 2 Diabetes

Did you know that you can easily manage your diabetes just by engaging in exercise? There are exercises that have a good effect on the glucose levels of those suffering from type 2 diabetes. When you engage in exercise, you expend a lot of energy from the glucose found in your muscles. At first, the body simply uses up the glucose which is traced from your muscles’ glycogen. It is in your bloodstream where this glucose is found. Engaging in exercise means your blood glucose levels will not get lower. Additionally, your body also releases additional glucagon and hormones. These are important because they break down your liver’s stored fats, turning it into more glucose you can expend. Engaging in exercise means your body improves; it develops a better sensitivity when it comes to insulin, as well as allowing you to be more in control of your glycemic index.

Exercise indeed has a good effect on a patient’s glucose level. This is good news for people who have type 2 diabetes. A lot of research indicates that patients of diabetes gain more control over their glycemic as soon as they get used to a regular exercise program. On the other hand, people who do not engage in exercise find no improvement on their glycemic control. Since exercise improves your insulin sensitivity, you will also need less medicines in order to control the levels of your blood sugar.

There are, of course, people who become at risk for hypoglycemia due to the combined effects of their diabetes and engaging in high stress exercise. This happens during exercise and after it, too. If you think about it though, people can also be at risk for hyperglycemia simply for having poor control over their diabetes. Therefore, the leaders in this field recommend engaging in moderate exercise for a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes, or 90 minutes if they want to do vigorous exercise.

In light of this, the frequency of the routine is more important that the kinds of exercise one engages in. There are many researches wherein an abundance of benefits result from both weight training as well as aerobic activity.

Of course, sometimes patients should not engage in vigorous exercise especially when they have cardiac conditions or they are more prone to developing injuries as a result. It is better if they start of slow and get used to a light intensity program instead.

About the Author – Su Rollins writes for “ “>hypoglycemia diet plan</a> , her personal hobby blog focused on tips to prevent and cure hypoglycemia using the right diet and nutrition.

Received and posted by Henry Sapiecha 25th March 2010


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Goats Make Drugs, World Doesn’t Change

Goats can now make medicine in their milk. But they can’t make money…yet.

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration approved Atryn, from GTC Biotherapeutics, a medicine to treat a hereditary deficiency of the clot-preventing chemical antithrombin. It will be the first medicine made in transgenic animals to be sold. Investors shrugged. Shares in the tiny company are worth only 75 cents and the stock market puts the company’s value at a measly $75 million. (In fairness, that is up seven-fold from the stock’s 52-week low.)

To get a full sense of how dramatic this is you have to remember what a big deal the idea of making drugs in goats or plants was eight years ago. GTC, then called Genzyme Transgenics, was just one of several companies that planned to use animals as production plants.

One outfit, Nexia Biotechnologies, was going to use spider silk produced in the milk of genetically engineered goats to make incredibly resilient fabric for use in surgery or in bullet-proof vests. It’s now part of another company, Pharmathene. A Dutch firm, Pharming, is hoping to sell a drug made in the milk of transgenic rabbits.

Years later, the goat breakthrough finally happens and it is worth less than a buck a share. In biotech, most things fail and the ones that don’t just fail to make money. Several other companies are working on drugs from designer animals, but if this is a big trend it looks to be a long time coming. Even this small taste of success though, is enough to rile some consumer and animal rights groups, who see an environmental danger or a form of goat abuse.

With scientists discovering new ways of making ever more complicated genetic enhancements to organisms of all types, its worth noting how rarely such efforts result in a big payoff. Still, for the sake of patients with hereditary antithrombin deficiency, lets hope GTC can turn Atryn into  a successful product.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd March 2010


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Stop Judging Cereal Boxes By Their Fronts

February 24, 2010 – 11:02 am
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Rebecca RuizBio |
Rebecca Ruiz is a staff writer at Forbes.
Walking into a grocery store these days is almost like walking into a pharmacy.

Multi-grain Cheerios promises to help manage weight. Quaker’s oatmeal says it will lower cholesterol. Omega-3-fortified Horizon milk is advertised as good for healthy brain development. These reassuring front-of-package claims often lull consumers into thinking that a trip to the grocery store is a decent substitute for a trip to the doctor’s office or to the gym. Of course, as the controversy over immunity boosting Cocoa Krispies proved last fall, such claims often defy common sense.
NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle and Boston-based endocrinologist Dr. David Ludwig write in the current Journal of the American Medical Association(sub. req’d) that these claims should not be allowed.  A ban on all front-of-package claims, they argue, would force consumers to read the ingredient list and nutrition information. Food companies weren’t permitted to make health claims about their products until 1990, but since then, the regulations have loosened.

It’s not clear that a shopper would immediately turn a package over if health claims were absent from the front, but the ban would certainly weed out claims based on tenuous science and eliminate the warm, fuzzy feeling consumers get when they buy a product that purports to be good for their bodies. It would also force food companies to attract customers using a more straightforward, less disingenious, marketing strategy.

The primary obstacle to such a ban is that prior court decisions have ruled that health claims fall into the domain of commercial free speech. Plenty of folks are also likely to cast the ban as an intrusion of the nanny state. But right now, there’s no compelling evidence demonstrating that front-of-label health claims make Americans savvier consumers. In fact, our waistlines indicate they’ve had the opposite effect.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd March 2010


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Drugs Are For Sick People

March 16, 2010 – 8:50 am
Matthew HerperBio |
Matthew Herper is a senior editor at Forbes

ATLANTA – The big takeaway from this year’s annual confab of the American College of Cardiology is that there are limits to what medicines can do in people who are relatively healthy.

The National Institutes of Health’s $300 million Accord trial in diabetics tested aggressively lowering blood sugar, high blood pressure, and triglycerides compared to just doing what doctors do now, and in every case found the aggressive approach was worse.

The blood sugar part of the study had to be stopped two years ago because patients in the aggressive arm of the study were dying sooner. Using lots of blood pressure drugs may have reduced strokes, but did not affect deaths or other heart problems. The verdict is that pushing blood pressure all the way back down to a perfect 120/80 millimeters of mercury might not be as good as pushing it down to 130 mm Hg.

And adding Abbott Laboratories’ TriCor to a cholesterol-lowering statin drug didn’t have a single statistically significant benefit. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic and Douglas Weaver of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit both think doctors should stop using TriCor now that there is no evidence; Sidney Smith of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, argues that use that matches current guidelines is still OK.

Then there was a trial testing the Novartis drugs Starlix and Diovan in people whose high blood sugar levels made them look like sitting ducks for full-blown diabetes. Starlix is a mega-flop Novartis introduced to lower blood sugar a decade ago. Sales are so low analysts don’t track the drug. Diovan is a blockbuster hypertension pill. Starlix actually increased the number of patients who developed diabetes. Diovan prevented diabetes, but failed to have the expected benefits on heart attacks and strokes.

The whole idea of preventing diabetes is “a sleight of hand by pharmaceutical sponsors,” argues James Stein, a cardiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There’s no difference between a diabetic on a diabetes drug and a pre-diabetic on a diabetes drug, he argues, unless you can show long-term benefits that outweigh the very serious short-term side effects that all of these medicines have.

Cardiology is the blockbuster market that made the drug industry. The two top-selling drugs in the world – the cholesterol-lowerer Lipitor and the blood thinner Plavix – are heart drugs. For two decades, researchers have been finding that their drugs work in ever larger, and relatively healthier, people. This culminated with a trial of AstraZeneca’s Crestor that found that in people who had normal cholesterol levels but other risk factors, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug could save lives.

But statin drugs like Crestor and Lipitor started out in tests for very sick people. When Merck’s Zocor was first shown to save lives, it was in people with high cholesterol who were really at high risk. It’s really only pure luck that the statins turned out to be the rare drug that lowers just about anybody’s heart attack risk by 30%. Blood pressure can get too low. If TriCor lowers heart risk (and nobody has proven it does), it only does so in people who have both high triglycerides and low cholesterol. Blood thinners like Plavix? Take too little, you have a heart attack; too much, you bleed.

“I just think we’re making mistakes when we say treat until proven otherwise,” says Yale University’s Harlan Krumholz. Just because low blood pressure is good doesn’t mean lowering blood pressure is good – it’s good up to a point. He argues that doctors are “programmed to think deterministically” but don’t think enough about the way the small side effects of many drugs can add up to mute their benefits.

All this creates a giant problem for drug companies. They’ve become accustomed to the sales of statins as they are now, after their benefit was widely proven, not to the niche drugs they started out with. But new drugs to find added benefit are requiring gigantic and expensive clinical trials of tens of thousands of cardiovascular patients. All the but the biggest pharmaceutical firms can’t afford this. Even giants like Pfizer and AstraZeneca have backed off of cardiology drug discovery. Pharma’s response has been to find small groups of very sick people for whom they can charge a lot of money. Successful new medicines increasingly tend to launch with an annual price of $100,000 per patient per year.

The next crop of cardiology drugs – including blood thinners to prevent stroke, drugs to remove artery plaque, and medicines that reduce artery inflammation – are being tested in these gigantic studies without more than a hunch that they’ll work. If they fail, new heart treatments may have to wait until they can be genetically targeted to small populations that can really benefit. And one of the drug industry’s biggest cash cows will be put out to pasture.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd March 2010


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Health Reform: The Drug Industry’s Big Win

March 22, 2010 – 9:18 am
Robert LangrethBio |
Robert Langreth is a senior editor at Forbes, in charge of health care coverage

The biggest winner in the historic health reform bill that passed the House late last night are millions of uninsured Americans who are unable to afford  coverage or have been denied coverage because they suffer from chronic disease.

Parsing what the legislation means to industry will take months. But among big businesses,  Pfizer, Amgen and other big drug companies are emerging as big winners. Drug companies supported health reform and in return will gain access to millions of more customers who suddenly can afford to pay for $100,000 a year cancer drugs. Biotech companies gained an extra layer of protection for protein based drugs from potential generic competition. The industry avoided its worst fear:  price controls or other new  government drug price negotiations.

The situation is more complicated for HMOs and insurers like UnitedHealth, Wellpoint, and Aetna. They also avoided their worst nightmare, a big public plan that would directly compete with their private plans. That’s the good news.  The bad: some companies will get hit hard by cuts to Medicare Advantage, while others, like Wellpoint, could lose market share in the individual insurance market.

For more, see Health Reform’s Winners And Losers.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd March 2010


Monday, March 15th, 2010


There are yew trees (Taxus baccata). Compounds found in the yew (taxols) are now used in the successful treatment of many forms of previously intractable malignancies, notably ovarian cancer. Leaves from the English Yew Tree can be processed to extract precursors of these cytotoxic drugs that prevent the depolymerization of tubulin, thus inhibiting cell division.
Yew (Taxus baccata).    Yew is highly valued in furniture industry for its hard reddish timber resistant to the damage of insects and fungi.  Yew is an evergreen tree, up to 32m high. Its treetop is thick and oval, its leaves are dark green and shiny above; beneath they are matt and milky green. The plant grows very slowly; therefore, it can reach an age of about 4000 years. Yew is also cultivated as a decorative plant in many countries. In fact, all parts of the plant are poisonous which is due mostly to the alkaloid taxin.  Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, increased salivation, stomach ache, diarrhoea, sleepiness, shortage of breath, trembling, spasms, malfunction of the cardiovascular system which leads to collapse and death.  The bark of the Yew  is used to produce Taxol, used in the treatment of certain cancers.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 16th March 2010


Monday, March 15th, 2010

Hibiscus sabdariffa  Rosella

Botanical Name : Hibiscus sabdariffa
English Name : Jamaican sorrel, Indian sorrel, Java jute, Karkade, Red sorrel, Red tea, Roselle, Rosella, Royal roselle, Florida cranberry, Rozelle, Guinea sorrel, Sour-sour, Queensland jelly plant (Aust.), Jelly okra.

Family : Malvaceae

Plant Parts Used: Leaf, Fruits

Description of Hibiscus sabdariffa:
The Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of hibiscus native to the Old World tropics. It is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2.5 m tall. The leaves are deeply three- to five-lobed, 85 cm long, arranged alternately on the stems.

The flowers are 80 cm in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base, 1.5 cm wide, enlarging to 3.5 cm, fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. It is an annual plant, and takes about six months to mature.

The plants are rich in anthocyanins, as well as protocatechuic acid. The dried calyces contain the flavonoids gossypetin, hibiscetine and sabdaretine. The major pigment, formerly reported as hibiscin, has been identified as daphniphylline. Small amounts of delphinidin 3-monoglucoside, cyanidin 3-monoglucoside (chrysanthenin), and delphinidin are also present.

Hibiscus, specifically Roselle, has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic, mild laxative, and treatment for cardiac and nerve diseases and cancer.

Roselle is drunk as a tea, believed to also reduce cholesterol. It can also be made into a delicious wine – especially if combined with tea leaves.

The plant is considered to have antihypertensive properties. Primarily, the plant is cultivated for the production for bats fiber from the stem of the plant. The fiber may be used as a substitute for jute in making burlap .

Sourced and Published by Henry Sapiecha 16th March 2010


Friday, March 12th, 2010

Myanmar company produces Swine flu vaccine

FAME Pharmaceutical, a local company based in Yangon, has successfully produced a A(H1N1) vaccine, Flower News reported on March 2.

The medicine was produced using Shikimic acid extracted from the Chinese star anise. The acid helps prevent the spread of the A(H1N1) virus, said U Tin Maung Aye, a director of Fame Pharmaceutical.

Roche, an international pharmaceutical company, produces the Tamiflu vaccine based on the Oseltamivir compound derived from the Chinese star anise.

“The [production] method will be different. But we are producing a similar formula to Tamiflu. It can be used even before A(H1N1) symptoms are diagnosed as a preventative measure,” U Tin Maung Aye said.


Sunday, March 7th, 2010

How To Naturally Restore Blood Sugar Levels

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose) in the blood.

Many people with diabetes have hypoglycemia. However, there are rare cases where people who are not diabetic have hypoglycemia. For those people, the condition may be caused by:

– Certain Medications

– Alcohol

– Certain types of Cancer

– Other Critical Illnesses that Result in Excess Insulin Production

Insulin is the hormone secreted by your pancreas that regulates your blood sugar level. Signs & symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

– Confusion

– Abnormal Behavior

– Visual Disturbances

– Seizures (uncommon)

– Loss of Consciousness (uncommon)

The signs & symptoms listed below can related to hypoglycemia but may not be as well:

– Heart Palpitations

– Tremor

– Anxiety

– Sweating

– Hunger

Having your blood sugar level measured is the only sure-fire way to know if hypoglycemia is the cause of the symptoms listed above.

The main cause of hypoglycemia is an over production of insulin within the body. Some foods that a person consumes contain sugar molecules called glucose, which is the primary source of energy for the body. After a person eats, the glucose is absorbed directly into your bloodstream, but it cannot enter the cells without insulin, which is a hormone secreted by your pancreas.

The pancreas is located behind the stomach. When blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin, which unlocks the cells so that glucose can enter. It also reduces glucose production by your liver. This results in a reduced amount of glucose in the bloodstream and prevents it from reaching dangerously high levels. The secretion of insulin decreases as the blood sugar level returns to normal.

Sometimes, the pancreas can produce and release too much insulin into the blood. This is a condition known as hyperinsulinemia, which is not a disease but more of a symptom of an underlying health problem. When too much insulin is released by the pancreas, even more glucose enters the cells, and the liver cannot release glucose into the bloodstream. This is how low blood sugar develops.

Aside from regulating the blood sugar level directly, insulin also influences your blood sugar indirectly because it affects the liver, which also plays a key role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. The liver accepts extra sugar and stores it in the form of glycogen after a person eats. As insulin levels drop between meals, glycogen is broken down by the liver (glycogenolysis). The liver then releases glucose into your bloodstream, which maintains a normal blood sugar level.

Insulin isn’t the only factor that plays a role in the process by which your body attempts to regulate blood sugar levels. These levels can also become too low if your body’s gluconeogenesis is disrupted. Gluconeogenesis is the body’s natural ability to to manufacture glucose.

Foe people who do not have diabetes, possible causes of hypoglycemia include:

– Certain Medications (Here’s another reason to avoid prescription med’s folks)

– Alcohol

– Long-Term Starvation

– Excessive Production of Insulin

– Endocrine Deficiencies

– Non-Beta-Cell Tumors

Most cases of hypoglycemia occur in a fasting state but sometimes, it can occur after meals as a result of the body producing more insulin than is needed. This type of hypoglycemia is known as reactive or postprandial hypoglycemia.

To accurately diagnose hypoglycemia, a professional health care practitioner may perform a glucose tolerance test (GTT). But even with this test, the results can be within normal limits and a person can still have symptoms of hypoglycemia.

To better diagnose the condition, try following a healthy regimen outlined below and see if your symptoms improve.

First off, pay attention to the way you feel. If symptoms start surfacing, you can treat a sudden (acute) episode of hypoglycemia by consuming some form of sugar to restore your blood sugar back to normal range.

Drink fruit juice, a non-diet soda or eat a piece of high-sugar candy immediately. Also make your friends and family aware of the situation so they will know what steps to take in the event of a reaction. Tell them to call 911 immediately if you become sleepy or unconscious.

Do not drink any alcoholic beverages. Your diet should consist of high-fiber, starchy foods. Eat smaller meals more frequently and begin and maintain a regular exercise program.

Some natural supplements that a person with hypoglycemia may find to be beneficial are:

Chromium Picolinate (300-600 mcg daily) – Vital for glucose metabolism.

Brewer’s Yeast (take as directed on label) – Aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Garlic (take as directed on label) – Relieves low blood sugar when an attack occurs.

Glutathione (take as directed on label) – Aids in breaking down glucose into energy.

Pancreatin (take as directed on label) – Important for proper protein digestion.

Zinc (50 mg daily) – Necessary for proper release of insulin.

Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (3,000-8,000 mg daily in divided doses) – For adrenal insufficiency, which is common in people with hypoglycemia.

Quercetin (take as directed on label) – Aids in stopping allergic reactions.

Vitamin B Complex (50 – 100 mg of each B vitamin daily & up) – Aids in carbohydrate & protein metabolism. Helps the body tolerate foods the produce low blood sugar reactions.

Dandelion Root – Supports the liver and pancreas.

Licorice – Aids the body in responding well to stress. Don’t use for more than seven days and avoid if you have high blood pressure.

Bilberry and Wild Yam – Aids in controlling insulin levels.

Published by Henry Sapiecha 11th March 2010


Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Irregular Work Schedule Bad for Regularity

Study:  IBS More Common Among People with Rotating Shifts

The unpredictability of your job may affect your risk for irritable bowel syndrome.

It’s said that the only constant thing people can expect in life is change, a frustrating fact of life for we are creatures of habit.

While change is almost always uncomfortable, change, for the most part, is a good thing.  It enables us to grow.  It enables us to adapt to circumstances both within and beyond our control.

Knowing that change is a good thing doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, though.  In fact, even small changes, like never having a consistent work schedule, can really throw off the body’s body clock.

All of us have an internal body clock.  We all develop patterns of behavior that our body remembers, where we wake around the same time every morning, go to bed around the same time every night, and eat around the same time for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Where we also develop patterns is in our bowel habits.

If you’re anything like me, you tend to use the facilities around the same time every day (yes, I know that’s too much information, but there’s a point to my mentioning this).   Here, a lack of change is a good thing because it indicates that you’re getting a good amount of fiber in your diet and that you’re staying “regular.”

But according to researchers, a work schedule that’s constantly in flux spells bad news for your bowels by putting you at risk for irritable bowel syndrome.

Researchers from the University of Michigan discovered this after evaluating 400 people whose profession epitomizes unpredictability:  nurses.

About half of the participating nurses had the fortune of working pretty consistent schedules, but 75 of them had very irregular schedules.

After taking into account potential contributing factors for IBS diagnosis (e.g. gender, stress levels, age, etc.), they found that the nurses whose schedules were constantly in flux were far more likely to have IBS.

They found that about 50 percent of the nurses who had rotating shifts reported symptoms indicative of IBS, which is a stark contrast to the 40 percent of nurses with IBS on the graveyard shift and the 31 percent that work dayside.

This is an interesting finding because even though the rate is highest among those working the unpredictable shift, it’s a high rate of IBS among all three groupings, especially when you compare their rate of IBS to the country at large (about 20 percent of the population has IBS, or 1 in 5).

Then again it’s not too surprising the rate of IBS was high among all the groupings when you factor into the equation that most of the participants were young women (IBS is more common among women, especially those who are in their 20s and 30s).

The study was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

If these nurses’ situation is in anyway similar to yours, ask your boss if you can work a more regular schedule.  It may be embarrassing for you to explain why you want a regular schedule, but keep in mind that IBS is an extremely common condition that LOTS of people have.  Plus, if your work schedule is causing your IBS, a steadier work schedule will enable you to work more effectively and efficiently—a win-win for your employer!  A 1995 Mayo Clinic study found that IBS costs the economy $20 billion every year in lost work productivity.

If your work schedule isn’t the cause of your IBS, it may be your diet.  There’s no such thing as a food that fixes or causes IBS, as the cause of IBS flare-ups tend to vary from person to person.  It may be because your diet’s too low in fiber or you’ve started to eat a food that you haven’t eaten in a while.   Take inventory of your diet.

Then again, your IBS may be a result of your emotional state.  Have you been feeling a lot of stress at work lately?  How’s life been at home with your spouse or your kids?  Stress plays a significant role in IBS onset, so do everything you can to de-stress your life (e.g. start an exercise routine, do yoga, or get a massage).

A gastroenterologist will be able to identify if you have IBS, but there are some all-natural supplements you should consider if you’d rather not deal with the doc.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 17th March 2010