Archive for February, 2011


Friday, February 25th, 2011

Little people secret

that might save

big problems of

diabetes, cancer

Nicky Phillips

February 18, 2011

Then and now ... members of the group of 99 Ecuadorians with dwarfism who took part in a 22-year study, pictured at the start of the study in 1988, above, and in 2009.
Then and now … members of the group of 99 Ecuadorians with dwarfism who took part in a 22-year study, pictured at the start of the study in 1988, above, and in 2009.

A GROUP with dwarfism from a province in Ecuador could hold clues to preventing cancer.

Of the 99 individuals, who are in perfect proportion except for a genetic mutation that stunts their growth, only one developed cancer during a 22-year study.

Scientists researching the group believe this growth mutation is the key to their disease immunity, and suggest drugs could give a similar degree of protection to full-grown adults.

An Ecuadorian endocrinologist and co-author of the study, Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, said researchers first noticed the lack of chronic disease in the community while they were investigating their growth defect.

”[We] were more in search of problems than solutions,” he said.

After more than two decades of following those with Laron dwarfism, which is caused by a mutation in their growth hormone receptor gene, Dr Guevara-Aguirre and his American colleague Valter Longo found no cases of diabetes and only one non-lethal case of cancer.

When they looked at the group’s normal-sized relatives, who lived in the same town over the same period, around17 per cent had been diagnosed with cancer and 5 per cent had diabetes – the same rate found among other Ecuadorian adults.

The researchers concluded that growth hormone must have a downside in normal size adults. ”The growth hormone receptor-deficient people don’t get two of the major diseases of ageing,” said Associate Professor Longo, a biologist at the University of Southern California.

To understand how this mutation could protect against cancer and diabetes, the researchers studied the effects of compounds in the participants’ blood.

They found low levels of IGF-1 could reduce DNA damage and promote cell death when DNA damage did occur – two processes that decrease cancer-promoting behaviour in cells.

The Laron group also had lower blood insulin levels, which accounted for the absence of diabetes.

People with Loran dwarfism were instead more likely to die from accidents, cardiovascular disease or alcohol-related causes, the researchers found.

Drugs that reduce growth hormone are readily available and are used to treat people with gigantism. The risks and benefits of giving adults these or similar drugs to reduce growth hormones would need to be weighed up against the side-effects of drugs used to treat diabetes and cancer, said Professor Longo, whose findings are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011


We are what we eat. Some of us were fortunate enough to have been brought up in an age when mothers were homemakers and prepared meals of real food that tasted like real food.

Today, we are (most of us) being slowly poisoned by the food industry. Flavour enhancers, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and a host of toxic chemicals are now packaged into just about everything we eat.

Simply look at the ingredients list on any package of processed food – disodium EDTA, BHA, propylene glycol, dimenthyl sulfate – to name but a few. Years ago people never needed to add such dangerous toxins to their pies, soups, and stews, and they tasted a whole lot better than anything today.

Even our water supplies are deliberately contaminated with harmful fluoride – Fluoride is a known rat and cockroach poison. Another dangerous toxin – aspartame – is used extensively as an artificial sweetener. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added to just about everything in packaged food – and especially in fast-food restaurants.

Why is this happening? MONEY, pure and simple, and the all-powerful pharmaceutical industry (heavily linked with the food industry) makes more money when people are unhealthy – the greatest profit when people are ill comes from the treatment, NOT the prevention or cure.

Sourced from Natural Health by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Acnistus arborescens. [Cancer plant]

Natives use for cancer treatments

Medium sized shrubby tree with soft cork-like bark. Small flowers are followed by little orange tomato-like fruits. Plant is used for its anti-cancer properties.

Description: Small or medium sized shrubby tree to 10-20ft. Small orange fruits are very popular with birds, but have little taste and may not be palatable for humans. Despite its name, it does not contain any nicotine compounds. The common name Wild Tobacco is a misnomer.

Hardiness: Subtropical, will survive brief frosts

Uses: Plant contains Withaferin A and Withacnistin, both having anti-tumor properties. Extracts from this plant have historically been used by natives as an herbal treatment for cancer. Can also be used as a diuretic.

Native Range: Native to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Imaging bloodstream movement

with a humble firefly protein

By Ben Coxworth

10:14 February 14, 2011

The enzyme that allows fireflies to glow could be used to monitor the effectiveness of an ...

The enzyme that allows fireflies to glow could be used to monitor the effectiveness of an anti-blood-clotting medication (Photo: Nevit Dilmen)

Millions of people around the world are medicated with heparin, a blood thinner used for the treatment and prevention of blood clots. One of the ways in which doctors monitor the effectiveness of heparin is to look for a blood protein known as factor Xa in a patient’s bloodstream – the less factor Xa activity that is occurring, the better. Now, thanks to an enzyme obtained from fireflies, that protein may be easier than ever to detect.

The firefly enzyme is called luciferase, which sounds like something that could be used to thwart Superman. It’s what allows the insects’ abdomens to glow.

Scientists from Connecticut College have combined a protein obtained from the enzyme with special fluorescent dyes, which cause the protein to emit near-infrared light. This is particularly valuable to doctors, as near-infrared rays travel through tissue better than other types of light, allowing medical practitioners to see deeper into the body.

In laboratory tests, the luciferase derivative allowed scientists to detect the presence of factor Xa in blood samples.

Luciferase is said to be relatively inexpensive to obtain, and to be more stable than other protein-imaging agents. Scientists from Missouri’s Washington University School of Medicine have also recently had successes using bismuth-containing nanoparticles for imaging blood clots.

The luciferase research had recently been published in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, February 13th, 2011

What do you do when told to drink lots of water daily?


After all, tea comes packed with healthy antioxidants — and the researchers say there’s clear evidence that three or four cups a day will lower your heart risk. Other studies have linked tea to better bones, lower cancer risk, and even longer lives.

Drinking cancer

‘Probable carcinogen’ found in water supply

It’s cancer in a cup: U.S. drinking water is contaminated with a toxic chemical that your own government calls a “probable carcinogen.”

So what’s that same government doing about it? Same thing it always does: Nothing!

Drink up, everyone.

The chemical is called hexavalent chromium, and if the name sounds a little familiar then you’ve probably seen the film “Erin Brokovich.” It’s the toxic compound that set off her battle with Pacific Gas & Electric after it was found in the groundwater of Hinkley, California.

Now, we all may as well be living in Hinkley — because tests by the Environmental Working Group on water in 35 cities across the country found the chemical in 31 of them.

Twenty-five of those cities had hexavalent chromium levels in excess of limits being proposed by California. And if you’re in Norman, Oklahoma, congratulations — you’re drinking 200 times that proposed limit.

We have to go by California’s proposed limit because the EPA doesn’t have one — proposed or otherwise.

And that’s where this gets really bizarre… because while the EPA doesn’t set limits for hexavalent chromium, it does care about total chromium levels.

In other words, it lumps this toxic compound into the same category as the essential mineral trivalent chromium.

One is needed by the body to control blood glucose levels, the other might give you cancer, wreck your kidneys and liver, and maybe even kill you — but it’s all the same to Uncle Sam.

Why sweat the details?

But let’s look on the bright side here: Hexavalent chromium probably isn’t the worst thing in your water right now.

Heck, it’s positively healthy next to the rocket fuel, cocaine, aspartame, hormone drugs, and more regularly found in U.S. drinking water — and I’m not talking about isolated incidents here.

From coast to coast, our water is toast — and if you want to know more about WHY these chemicals are turning up, read the September, 2009 issue of The Douglass Report.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Gesture-controlled computers

and robotic nurses being

developed for operating rooms

By Ben Coxworth

12:37 February 7, 2011

Although surgeons need to frequently review medical images and records during surgery, they’re also in the difficult position of not being able to touch non-sterile objects such as keyboards, computer mice or touchscreens. Stepping away from the operating table to check a computer also adds time to a procedure. Researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University are addressing this situation by developing gesture-recognition systems for computers, so that surgeons can navigate through and manipulate screen content simply by moving their hands in the air. The system could additionally be used with robotic scrub nurses, also being developed at Purdue, to let the devices know what instruments the surgeon wants handed to them.

The system incorporates a Microsoft Kinect camera (yes, from the gaming system) and specialized algorithms to recognize hand gestures as instructions.

“One challenge will be to develop the proper shapes of hand poses and the proper hand trajectory movements to reflect and express certain medical functions,” said Juan Pablo Wachs, an assistant professor of industrial engineering. “You want to use intuitive and natural gestures for the surgeon, to express medical image navigation activities, but you also need to consider cultural and physical differences between surgeons. They may have different preferences regarding what gestures they may want to use.”

There are also other considerations that the researchers are taking into account in the design of the system. For instance, they don’t want surgeons to be required to wear special types of gloves or colors of clothing in order for their hands to be “read.” The system should also be able to recognize and respond to gestures quickly, and provide confirmation that it understands the request. At the same time, however, it should not accidentally respond to extraneous gestures, such as those made to colleagues in the room.

The Purdue team also want the system to be relatively inexpensive, and to be quickly and easily adaptable to different operating rooms, lighting conditions, and other variables.

The system could be particularly effective when combined with the robotic scrub nurses, although they wouldn’t be intended to replace human nurses in all situations. “While it will be very difficult using a robot to achieve the same level of performance as an experienced nurse who has been working with the same surgeon for years, often scrub nurses have had very limited experience with a particular surgeon, maximizing the chances for misunderstandings, delays and sometimes mistakes in the operating room,” Wachs said. “In that case, a robotic scrub nurse could be better.”

While other groups have also researched the use of robotic scrub nurses, Wachs claims that his is the first to look into the incorporation of gesture – instead of voice – recognition. The Purdue system is also apparently unique in that it uses advanced algorithms to predict where the surgeon’s hands will be next, or what screen images will next be requested.

Sourcd & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

One-minute test accurately detects concussion

By Bridget Borgobello

08:42 February 7, 2011

By developing a simple one-minute sideline test, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have tackled the issue of diagnosing concussion head on. Up until now, sideline tests for concussion have been vague and often miss a large spectrum of brain functions that may have been affected. It is a well-known fact that any concussion left untreated or ignored may lead to serious or potentially fatal consequences, thus the Pennsylvanian researchers are eager to get this simple and effective test into action.

This one-minute test, called the King-Devick (K-D) test, essentially comes down to the athlete’s ability to read numbers. By displaying a series of numbers on flash cards to the athlete and recording the time it takes to respond, any sideline doctor or coach can instantly determine if concussion has occurred. By comparing results to the athlete’s baseline test, concussion can be confidently diagnosed if their response is more than five seconds slower. The test also checks for impairments of eye movement, attention, language and other symptoms of impaired brain function.

“This rapid screening test provides an effective way to detect early signs of concussion, which can improve outcomes and hopefully prevent repetitive concussions,” said the study’s senior author, Laura Balcer, MD, Professor of Neurology, Ophthalmology and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “If validated in future studies, this test has the potential to become a standard sideline test for athletes.”

In a study of 39 boxers and MMA fighters, post-fight test times on average for those who suffered head trauma worsened by 11.1 seconds, whilst those who had lost consciousness were on average 18 seconds slower. It is also worth noting that those who did not suffer any head trauma improved their times by more than a second on average.

It is hoped that the King-Devick test will become a standard procedure for coaches of intense sporting games such as rugby and boxing, aiding them in their decisions to keep players on or not. “Concussion is a complex type of brain injury that is not visible on the routine scans we do of the brain, yet is detectable when we measure important aspects of brain function, such as vision,” said the study’s lead author, Kristin Galetta, MS. “The K-D test is only one test on the sidelines, though, and the diagnosis of concussion requires a combination of tests and input of medical professionals.”

A follow-up study at the University of Pennsylvania will examine the reliability of the K-D test and changes in athlete test scores over the course of a season.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Can Land You In A Nursing Home!


It’s absolutely heartbreaking. All over the world, nursing homes are filled with frail, feeble residents suffering from dementia. In many cases, these folks are so far gone they don’t even recognize their own children.

But I’m going to let you in on a dark, dirty secret: Many of these patients do not have dementia at all.

Their memory loss, confusion, and delirium are caused by prescription drugs!

And so are many of their other problems.

This is not just speculation on my part. It’s fully documented in the medical journals. In fact, it’s so common that there are even medical terms for it. Like “polypharmacy,” which means giving a patient too many different drugs. And “iatrogenic illness,” which means any illness caused by doctors.

According to the medical journals, polypharmacy and iatrogenic illness are rampant throughout the globe.

  • One study determined that one of the major causes of falls in nursing homes is the side effects caused by medications.
  • Another study found that 97% of nursing home patients take at least one drug, with 17% taking 5 or more!
  • Yet another study concluded that many drugs can cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms and concluded that “drug-induced parkinsonism is frequent.”
  • And still another study listed 22 different categories of drugs that can cause symptoms that mimic Alzheimer’s… plus 14 differentover-the-counter drugs that can cause those symptoms!

Here’s a typical scenario. A healthy person goes to the doctor for a checkup and is told his cholesterol or blood pressure is high. So he starts taking medication, which causes side effects. This leads his doctor to give him a second drug to treat those side effects. But, of course, that second drug causes new side effects. So the doctor prescribes a third drug to treat the side effects of the second one!

Before you know it, the person’s health is spiraling downward and  soon needs people to take care of him. And everyone just chalks it up to “old age.”

But you can fight back against this system of medicine prescriptions becoming rampant.  First of all, make sure you always try natural remedies first. Pharmaceuticals should be a last resort, not a first option. Secondly, if you have a loved one in a nursing home, talk to a naturally minded physician about possibly weaning them off the drugs. This single step may make a huge difference to their health and well-being.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Popular painkillers linked to heart and stroke risk

Feelin’ lucky? Then go ahead – pop that painkiller.

But you’d better hope that today’s not the day your luck finally runs out, because some of the most commonly used pain meds carry a major death risk.

The drugs are those nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories used by millions for everything from arthritis to headaches to back pain. And now, researchers say they can double, triple, and even quadruple your odds of heart attack, stroke, and an early death.

Swiss researchers looked at data from 31 “gold-standard” trials that included 116,429 patients, and found that ibuprofen – a med probably in your own home right now – can triple the risk of stroke.

And diclofenac, a widely used generic prescription NSAID, can quadruple the risk of death from heart attack and stroke.

These problems aren’t rare by any stretch. In fact, the researchers say that for every 25 to 50 patients who take NSAIDs for a year, there will be one extra heart attack or stroke.

That’s overall.

But they also believe that patients who already have heart problems could face a much higher risk when they pop those pills – like the millions of seniors who battle both heart disease and arthritis.

The researchers found naproxen (aka Aleve) to be the “safest” of the NSAIDs, but don’t kid yourself – “safest” doesn’t mean “safe.” All painkillers carry risk – and regular use of any NSAID can lead to bleeding problems, ulcers, and more.

And that means you need to be careful with how – and how often – you use these things, no matter how old you are or what risks you face.

If you need one from time to time, you need one – and I won’t stand in your way.

But if you’re taking one of these things regularly, there’s clearly something else going on – and you and your doc need to get to the bottom of it.

If you go looking for that answer at the bottom of a painkiller jar, you could find yourself at the bottom of a grave.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Drink beer & lose weight!

I’ve been warning you away from some pretty awful diets lately – eating schemes loaded with everything from Twinkies to jelly beans.

So let me give you the lowdown on one crazy diet that might actually work: The Beer Diet!

Before I tap the keg on this one, let me get to one crucial little detail right up front: This isn’t a license to drink to excess each night, or skip out on the real food your body needs.

But if you want to have a couple of brews each night, go ahead – they won’t interfere with your weight-loss goals, and a new study shows they might even help shrink your belly.

Spanish researchers examined 1,249 men and women aged 57 or older, and found that daily beer drinkers were much less likely to suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure.

So far so good… but it gets even better, because this study also cuts the beer belly myth right open. The researchers say the beer drinkers had lower levels of body fat, were unlikely to gain weight, and some of them even lost it during the study period.

They say the secret isn’t the beer alone… but the things that usually accompany it.
Think chorizos instead of chips.

This study took place in Spain, after all – and the researchers say their volunteers ate a typical Mediterranean diet.

Now, I’m not a big fan of the trendy diet, but I will say this for it – while it’s low in the red meat your body needs, it’s also relatively low in carbs, especially sugar, and that means they’re on the right track.

And a couple of cold ones each night helps take the diet to the next level, because beer is bubbling over with amino acids and loaded with essential minerals including potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper.

It’s also rich in the dietary silicon that’s great for your bones, and some studies have even linked it to a lower risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Beer does contain a few carbs – but with benefits like that, they’re well worth the tradeoff.

Joining the brew crew,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

Received & published by Henry Sapiecha