Archive for March, 2011


Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Making blood from human skin

By Grant Banks

03:48 November 14, 2010

Blood transfusions may one day come from blood produced from a patient's skin

Blood transfusions may one day come from blood produced from a patient’s skin

A new technique that allows blood to be made directly from skin cells has been discovered. The pioneering approach by Canadian researchers uses human skin stem cells to create blood stem cells without an intermediate step that previously was thought necessary.

Until now to make blood stem cells, the building blocks for a variety human cells (called pluripotent stem cells) have been used as a steppingstone a process. This has proven largely inefficient, but research led by Mick Bhatia, scientific director ofMcMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Instituteat the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine, has shown that making blood from skin can be achieved in a one step process.

Cynthia Dunbar, head of the molecular hematopoiesis at the U.S National Institutes of Health said: “Bhatia’s approach detours around the pluripotent stem cell stage and thus avoids many safety issues, increases efficiency, and also has the major benefit of producing adult-type l blood cells instead of fetal blood cells, a major advantage compared to the thus far disappointing attempts to produce blood cells from human embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells.”

The discovery was replicated several times over two years using human skin from both the young and the elderly to prove it works for any age of person.

The approach could be used for creating blood for surgery or treating conditions like anemia from a patch of the patient’s skin. Other potential applications include generating bone marrow and improved treatment of leukaemia and other types of cancer, including solid tumors.

“We have shown this works using human skin. We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process,” Bhatia said. “We’ll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence.”

“This finding will no doubt be met with excitement in the research and medical communities,” said Michael Rudnicki, director of The Stem Cell Network. “It’s been nearly 50 years since blood stem cells were first identified here in Canada and it’s fitting that this incredible new discovery should have happened here as well.”

The research was published in Nature on November 7.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Let them eat fish & fat

Older folk who suffer from depression don’t need a drug, a hug, or a room in an senior’s home.

Just let them eat their fatty meats and fish by the bucketload!

A fresh study proves again what’s been said all along — the best way to get your groove back is to put fat back on the menu.

It’s true at any age, but the latest study looks at seniors: Iranian researchers recruited 66 who suffered from moderate to somewhat more severe depression, then gave them either a placebo or a 1-gram fish oil supplement containing 300 mg each of DHA and EPA.

That’s not a lot — you can and should get more — but the new study shows it’s a pretty good start, because the patients who got the supplement saw more relief from their depression as measured by a standardized 15-question survey than those given the placebo.

Side note: Anyone who can diagnose a serious mental disorder in 15 questions is full of it, and I don’t mean fish oil.

But that’s an argument for another day.

In any case, none of this surprises me — and if you’re a longtime reader, it won’t surprise you either. The only real surprise here is that researchers think this is still worth studying.

It’s not.

The verdict was in long ago — fish oil, cod liver oil, omega-3 fatty acids or whatever other name you want to sell it under is essential to the human brain at any age… and the shift away from these fats in the diet has been disastrous.

Don’t expect a mea culpa from the mainstream on this any time soon — they’re still pushing bunny chow despite the fact that it hasn’t made anyone thinner, happier or healthier.

Save your own noggin — enjoy your fats, and take a quality omega-3 supplement.


Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Pink power can save your brain

Algae pigment chases dementia marker

Big Pharma’s going to hate this — and that means I love it already: One of the tiniest and most humble creatures on the planet could hold the key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s an algae called Haematococcus pluvialis, and it sits literally at the bottom of the food chain.

Because of its pink pigment, which comes from the antioxidant astaxanthin, anything that eats this algae also turns pink… as do the creatures that eat those creatures, and so on.

Think shrimp, salmon and flamingos.

But to explain how it works, I’m going to have to take you from the bottom of the food chain to the brink of cutting-edge science, where researchers have been investigating a compound called phospholipid hydroperoxides.

It’s called PLOOH for short, but don’t snicker at the name — this stuff is deadly serious: It builds up in the red blood cells of dementia patients.

Now, Japanese researchers say astaxanthin can actually flush all that extra PLOOH right out of your system (OK, you can snicker a little).

In a double-blind experiment, 30 healthy volunteers between the ages of 50 and 69 years old were given either a placebo or 6 or 12 mg of astaxanthin a day for 12 weeks.

While the placebo patients had no change in PLOOH, those given the astaxanthin saw their levels plunge by between 40 and 50 percent, with those who took the higher dose getting the biggest benefit, according to the study in BMJ.

Since dementia can take so many years before it manifests, it may be decades before anyone can say for certain whether astaxanthin will stop it.

But there’s no reason to wait — because by then, it might be too late for you. And besides, there’s enough research on its other benefits that I’ve already been calling this stuff “the alpha antioxidant.”

And with 500 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E, it’s easy to see why.

Studies have found that astaxanthin can protect everything from your heart to your eyes — and since it’s sat at the bottom of the food chain for millions of years, you might sat it’s been time-tested by Mother Nature herself.

You can’t beat that kind of lab work!

Age-Related Macular Degeneration: the leading cause of blindness in the aging population
· Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases: two of the most important neurodegenerative diseases
· Cholesterol Disease: ameliorates the effects of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol
· Inflammatory, chronic viral and autoimmune diseases
· Dyspepsia
· Semen fertility improvement
· Muscle function
· Sunburn from UV light
· Normalization of cardiac rhythm
· Anti-hypertension agent
· Stress management
· Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
· Stroke: repairs damage caused by lack of oxygen.

A demand for natural ASTAXANTHIN is now emerging in the fast-growing, multi-billion dollar nutraceutical market; in particular, increasing evidence suggests that ASTAXANTHIN was shown to be a much more powerful antioxidant than vitamins C and E, or than other carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, among others.
The enhanced activity of ASTAXANTHIN may stem from its molecular structure. ASTAXANTHIN belongs to the xanthophyll group of carotenoids, or the oxygenated carotenoids (see other members of the group in Fig. 1). The hydroxyl and keto functional groups (see Fig. 1) present in the ending ionone ring of ASTAXANTHIN may be responsible for its uniquely powerful antioxidant activity and for its ability to span the membrane bilayers as a direct result of its more polar configuration relative to other carotenoids (3,1014). Carotenoids with polar end groups like ASTAXANTHIN span the lipid membrane bilayer with their end groups located near the hydrophobic-hydrophilic interface, where free-radical attack first occurs.


Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Zinc beats the cold


The FTC and FDA have come down hard on the makers of zinc-based lozenges and other supplements over the years, hitting them with big-time fines over claims this mineral can beat the common cold.

Well, looks like apologies are in order… because a new analysis finds those claims were spot-on: Zinc can shorten the length of the cold, lessen the symptoms and severity, and even help you avoid getting sick in the first place.

Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration looked at 13 clinical trials and two preventive studies published over the decades, and found solid evidence that zinc stops the cold virus from replicating.

When the virus can’t reproduce, you get better — and the Cochrane researchers say that, overall, zinc reduces cold duration by about a day.

But that benefit could be bigger — a lot bigger — if you take your zinc the moment the sniffles first hit: Some studies have shown it can slash cold duration almost in half.

The researchers also found that zinc supplements taken over five months slashed the odds of getting colds and reduced school absenteeism in children.

People who took zinc also used fewer antibiotics when they caught colds — but if your doc ever tries giving you or your children antibiotics for the common cold, politely decline… and then find a new doc, or at least a bag of zinc lozenges.

Listen, I’m no fan of the supermarket cold cures that have been fined and punished over the years.

They charge too much and you get too little — often with a sugary coating to boot.

But the question has to be asked: Now that it turns out zinc claims were based on science after all, will the feds refund all those fines and penalties?


Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Soda color in cancer link

There’s a liquid out there so dangerous that even the COLOR of this stuff can kill you.

Yet millions of people drink it every single day — and odds are, you’re one of them.

It’s that sludge called soda, of course, and new research finds that one of its most basic ingredients — “caramel color” — can cause cancer and damage the immune system.

And if that sounds like it might just be chemical paranoia, consider this: “caramel color” is made by cooking sugar in ammonia.

You read me right: Sugar mixed with ammonia, heat-treated under pressure, creates a color so strong it can even mask whatever cola really looks like.

And it’s every bit as healthy as it sounds, because the process also produces 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole — chemicals found in government tests to cause lung, liver and thyroid cancers as well as leukemia in laboratory animals.

One of those byproducts, 4-methylimidazole, is currently being added to California’s list of known carcinogens. Once it takes effect, anything that contains more than 16 micrograms of this junk would need a warning label.

Surely, the amount of this stuff in soda can’t come close to that… right?


A 20-ounce bottle of caramel-colored soda typically contains 200 micrograms of 4-methylimidazole.

Cancer isn’t the only risk associated with this deadly color — a new study on mice finds it can also reduce white blood cell count and diminish immune system function.

Now, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has fired off a petition to the FDA, urging them to ban this ingredient from soft drinks… and the FDA, in turn, says they’ll think about it.

But really, why bother?

Anyone who thinks soda is safe — or that diet soda is healthy — is either dumb or delusional… and this new warning isn’t going to change their minds.

Maybe the soda makers should even advertise the toxic ingredients, like a dare.

You know what? I’ll bet sales won’t suffer one bit.


Saturday, March 26th, 2011

One spice beats pain, helps the brain

Curcumin is a disease-fighting superstar

What is it about when I don’t eat Indian food. It smells like death, and they simmer that stuff all day long — a slow torture that robs meat and vegetables of all their nutrients.

But there’s one secret in their sauce you’ll want to share — because a common Indian spice just so happens to contain one of the world’s most powerful disease-fighting anti-inflammatory compounds: curcumin.

It’s so good it almost sounds like an old snake oil pitch: “It heals your pain! It saves your eyes! It keeps your mind sharp! It can protect your heart! Hurry, hurry, hurry ladies and geee-entlemen, because this miracle cure can even keep the cancer away!”

But what if it’s all true?

Let me start with that pain relief, because I know from your letters and emails how many of you are fighting daily battles with your joints.

Researchers gave 100 osteoarthritis patients either NSAIDs or NSAIDs along with a supplement that had 200 milligrams of curcumin at its heart.

The patients who got only the meds had no improvement… while those who got the curry pills not only had less pain and better mobility, they also managed to slash their NSAID use.

The researchers believe curcumin might even replace the drugs completely for many osteoarthritis patients, according to the new study in Alternative Medicine Review.

But since other studies have found that curcumin by itself can beat other forms of pain, including rheumatoid, I don’t know why anyone would even mess around with NSAIDs in the first place.

So far so good — but that’s only the beginning, because this stuff could also explain why India has such a low rate of Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the hallmarks of the condition is the formation of amyloid beta plaques in the brain, but one study found that curcumin is like a plaque-seeking missile — hunting the plaques, binding to them… and stopping them cold.

I’m running out of room here, but I’m not done — because other recent studies have found that curcumin may prevent cataracts, fight tumors, aid stroke recovery and even lower your risk of obesity (let’s not get too carried away with that last one — all the turmeric in Asia won’t save your belly from a carb-loaded lifestyle).

Usually, I’d say get your nutrition from food. But since I don’t like curcumin on my steak and eggs — blech! — I get mine from supplement.

You do the same, and you’ll even avoid that curry stink.


Monday, March 14th, 2011

Head Lice –

Louse Home Remedies   –

Suggested remedies for Head Lice

Drown the  lice by covering your skin in olive oil for several hours.

Head Lice Remedies

For head lice problems rinse your hair with vinegar. Vinegar  helps in killing all the lice nits in a matter of days.

Coconut oil for massaging hair scalp after helps.

For head lice use Listerine (original flavor): Another remedy for treating head lice is rubbing listerine mouth wash on your head. This will kill all the lice.

Massage your head with mayonnaise and comb it after 2 hours. This will kill all the lice and their eggs. Apply a mixture of lemon and butter on your head, wait for 15 seconds and then rinse your head.

An anti-lice oil can be mixed with coconut (or mustard) oil and 0.2 per cent lindane (BHC) or 0.1 per cent pyrethrum essence. This oil can be rubbed well into the scalp to kill lice. (Ingredients can be purchased from a chemical dealer).

Mix talcum powder with 0.2 per cent prethrum dust in it (or add 10 per cent DDT). Sprinkle this powder on the hair before going to bed and rub it vigorously so that it reaches the roots. Cover your mouth, nose and eyes to protect them from the powder.

Anti-louse lotion, either gammabenzene hexachloride lotion or cream (Lorexane, Gammaexane) or Malathion (Prioderma) will kill the eggs which can be removed by a comb with very fine teeth. One treatment is enough but all the family who are infested should be treated and the hair examined regularly for a while. You may consult a doctor for the treatment.

To remove head lice and their nits. put any common lotion on your  skin generously and then comb your hair out with a regular comb to get any knots out then comb out with a fine tooth comb.

Some people swear by using a common cheap hair gel put on generously & left on under a shower cap for several hours or overnight to smother the bugs etc

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, March 6th, 2011

March 6: General Interest
1899 : Bayer patents aspirin

On this day in 1899, the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin registers Aspirin, the brand name for acetylsalicylic acid, on behalf of the German pharmaceutical company Friedrich Bayer & Co.

Now the most common drug in household medicine cabinets, acetylsalicylic acid was originally made from a chemical found in the bark of willow trees. In its primitive form, the active ingredient, salicin, was used for centuries in folk medicine, beginning in ancient Greece when Hippocrates used it to relieve pain and fever. Known to doctors since the mid-19thcentury, it was used sparingly due to its unpleasant taste and tendency to damage the stomach.

In 1897, Bayer employee Felix Hoffman found a way to create a stable form of the drug that was easier and more pleasant to take. (Some evidence shows that Hoffman’s work was really done by a Jewish chemist, Arthur Eichengrun, whose contributions were covered up during the Nazi era.) After obtaining the patent rights, Bayer began distributing aspirin in powder form to physicians to give to their patients one gram at a time. The brand name came from “a” for acetyl, “spir” from the spirea plant (a source of salicin) and the suffix “in,” commonly used for medications. It quickly became the number-one drug worldwide.

Aspirin was made available in tablet form and without a prescription in 1915. Two years later, when Bayer’s patent expired during the First World War, the company lost the trademark rights to aspirin in various countries. After the United States entered the war against Germany in April 1917, the Alien Property Custodian, a government agency that administers foreign property, seized Bayer’s U.S. assets. Two years later, the Bayer company name and trademarks for the United States and Canada were auctioned off and purchased by Sterling Products Company, later Sterling Winthrop, for $5.3 million.

Bayer became part of IG Farben, the conglomerate of German chemical industries that formed the financial heart of the Nazi regime. After World War II, the Allies split apart IG Farben, and Bayer again emerged as an individual company. Its purchase of Miles Laboratories in 1978 gave it a product line including Alka-Seltzer and Flintstones and One-A-Day Vitamins. In 1994, Bayer bought Sterling Winthrop’s over-the-counter business, gaining back rights to the Bayer name and logo and allowing the company once again to profit from American sales of its most famous product.

Received & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, March 4th, 2011

Ganoderma lucidum with spores

Are these mushrooms a fix it for many ailments?

Ganoderma has its own genus because it has a dimitic hyphal system, causes a white rot, and has unusual brown spores with a double wall, as you can see in the picture above left  .

On the picture to the left you can see the enormous numbers of brown basidiospores that have been shed by the Ganoderma fruiting bodies. This is a common sight in the fall when the spores are dispersed by the wind to new substrates.

The species to the left is Ganoderma lucidum, which is an interesting story in itself. It is as hard as G. applanatum, but is annual rather than perennial. When not covered with spores it has a bright shiny reddish brown top surface and is rather beautiful.

It is used in Oriental herbal medicine, where it is ground up and made into a tea, which is reported to cure everything from colds to impotence to AIDS. Like much oriental medicine, it must be taken over a long period of time to have it’s desired effects–

Very different from out western concept of medicine where we think it should take just a few pills to cure a disease or malady. Western medicine is slowly but surely discovering the wonders to be found in Oriental medicines made from fungi and herbs. Of course, most of the drugs used in western medicine came originally from fungi, plants, and bacteria, so there shouldn’t be too much of a stretch in our imaginations here. But please don’t write to me and ask about what medicines you should take for your particular malady– I’m not a medical doctor.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha