Archive for June, 2011


Monday, June 20th, 2011


An Italian doctor has been getting dramatic results with a new type of treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, which affects up to 2.5 million people worldwide. In an initial study, Dr. Paolo Zamboni took 65 patients with relapsing-remitting MS, performed a simple operation to unblock restricted bloodflow out of the brain – and two years after the surgery, 73% of the patients had no symptoms. Dr. Zamboni’s thinking could turn the current understanding of MS on its head, and offer many sufferers a complete cure.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, has long been regarded as a life sentence of debilitating nerve degeneration. More common in females, the disease affects an estimated 2.5 million people around the world, causing physical and mental disabilities that can gradually destroy a patient’s quality of life.

It’s generally accepted that there’s no cure for MS, only treatments that mitigate the symptoms – but a new way of looking at the disease has opened the door to a simple treatment that is causing radical improvements in a small sample of sufferers.

Italian Dr. Paolo Zamboni has put forward the idea that many types of MS are actually caused by a blockage of the pathways that remove excess iron from the brain – and by simply clearing out a couple of major veins to reopen the blood flow, the root cause of the disease can be eliminated.

Dr. Zamboni’s revelations came as part of a very personal mission – to cure his wife as she began a downward spiral after diagnosis. Reading everything he could on the subject, Dr. Zamboni found a number of century-old sources citing excess iron as a possible cause of MS. It happened to dovetail with some research he had been doing previously on how a buildup of iron can damage blood vessels in the legs – could it be that a buildup of iron was somehow damaging blood vessels in the brain?

He immediately took to the ultrasound machine to see if the idea had any merit – and made a staggering discovery. More than 90% of people with MS have some sort of malformation or blockage in the veins that drain blood from the brain. Including, as it turned out, his wife.

He formed a hypothesis on how this could lead to MS: iron builds up in the brain, blocking and damaging these crucial blood vessels. As the vessels rupture, they allow both the iron itself, and immune cells from the bloodstream, to cross the blood-brain barrier into the cerebro-spinal fluid. Once the immune cells have direct access to the immune system, they begin to attack the myelin sheathing of the cerebral nerves – Multiple Sclerosis develops.

He named the problem Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency, or CCSVI.

Zamboni immediately scheduled his wife for a simple operation to unblock the veins – a catheter was threaded up through blood vessels in the groin area, all the way up to the effected area, and then a small balloon was inflated to clear out the blockage. It’s a standard and relatively risk-free operation – and the results were immediate. In the three years since the surgery, Dr. Zamboni’s wife has not had an attack.

Widening out his study, Dr. Zamboni then tried the same operation on a group of 65 MS-sufferers, identifying blood drainage blockages in the brain and unblocking them – and more than 73% of the patients are completely free of the symptoms of MS, two years after the operation.

In some cases, a balloon is not enough to fully open the vein channel, which collapses either as soon as the balloon is removed, or sometime later. In these cases, a metal stent can easily be used, which remains in place holding the vein open permanently.

Dr. Zamboni’s lucky find is yet to be accepted by the medical community, which is traditionally slow to accept revolutionary ideas. Still, most agree that while further study needs to be undertaken before this is looked upon as a cure for MS, the results thus far have been very positive.

Naturally, support groups for MS sufferers are buzzing with the news that a simple operation could free patients from what they have always been told would be a lifelong affliction, and further studies are being undertaken by researchers around the world hoping to confirm the link between CCSVI and MS, and open the door for the treatment to become available for sufferers worldwide.

It’s certainly a very exciting find for MS sufferers, as it represents a possible complete cure, as opposed to an ongoing treatment of symptoms. We wish Dr. Zamboni and the various teams looking further into this issue the best of luck.

Via The Globe and Mail.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, June 20th, 2011

A nasal spray vaccine currently being trialed in Australia could prevent the development of type 1 diabetes.

Previous research showed that the nasal vaccine was successful in preventing the disease in mice, and now the results of a study involving 52 adults with early type 1 diabetes has provided encouraging evidence that it could also be effective in preventing the disease humans.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and kills the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The subsequent lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose, which can result in heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and premature death if left untreated, with the most common treatment being the daily injection of insulin.

Although the 52 participants in the study had early type 1 diabetes and had evidence of immunity to insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, they were not yet at the stage of requiring insulin injections. For the study, the participants were given either the nasal vaccine or a placebo for 12 months.

When administered through the nasal passages, the insulin vaccine stimulates the immune system present in the mucosal linings and works to desensitize the whole immune system to insulin so that the immune system’s white blood cells are prevented from attacking insulin in the beta cells.

“The results showed that the vaccine allowed the immune system to restore immune tolerance to insulin,” said Professor Len Harrison of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia. “When subsequently given insulin by injection, the participants who had received the nasal insulin vaccine were found to be desensitized to insulin.”

The researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Royal Melbourne Hospital say the results of the study indicate they are on the right track to finding a vaccine for type 1 diabetes and the same approach could also be adapted to other autoimmune diseases.

“The nasal vaccine approach, if shown to be successful in human type 1 diabetes, could also be tested with different vaccines for the prevention of other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis,” added Professor Harrison.

The Type 1 Diabetes Prevention Trial, which was previously known as the intranasal insulin trial, INIT II), began in 2006 and is now halfway through the testing phase. Following the encouraging results of the study, hopes are high a nasal vaccine for type 1 diabetes could be available in as little as two years.

Details of the research was published in the April 2011 issue of the journal Diabetes.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, June 20th, 2011


Using a newly developed imaging technique, researchers in the U.K. have for the first time observed what happens to the brain as it loses consciousness. The method known as “functional electrical impedance tomography by evoked response” (fEITER) uses a 32 electrode array to scan the brain at a rate of 100 times a second and by applying this as an anaesthetic drug takes effect, researchers are able to build a real-time 3-D video that will aid in better understanding of how the brain functions and the nature of consciousness.

  • The portable fEITER equipment consisting of the head box and base unit
  • Image reconstructed from measurements recorded using fEITER during awake conditions
  • This frame shows the brain in an anaesthetized state following global conductivity changes...

The multidisciplinary team from the University of Manchester are the first to apply electrical impedance tomography (EIT) to anaesthesia.

So far the evidence supports the theory put forward by Oxford University’s Professor Susan Greenfield that consciousness is not an ON/OFF state but more like a dimmer switch.

“Our findings suggest that unconsciousness may be the increase of inhibitory assemblies across the brain’s cortex,” said Brian Pollard, Professor of Anaesthesia at The University of Manchester (UK). “These findings lend support to Greenfield’s hypothesis of neural assemblies forming consciousness.

“We have looked at 20 healthy volunteers and are now looking at 20 anaesthetized patients scheduled for surgery. We are able to see 3-D images of the brain’s conductivity change, and those where the patient is becoming anaesthetized are most interesting.”

“We have been able to see a real time loss of consciousness in anatomically distinct regions of the brain for the first time. We are currently working on trying to interpret the changes that we have observed. We still do not know exactly what happens within the brain as unconsciousness occurs, but this is another step in the direction of understanding the brain and its functions.”

EIT also holds promise in diagnosing changes to the brain that occur as a result of head injury, stroke and dementia.

“If its power can be harnessed, then it has the potential to make a huge impact on many areas of imaging in medicine,” said Pollard.

The findings are were presented earlier this month at the European Anaesthesiology Congress in Amsterdam.

Source: University of Manchester.

Sourced & Published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, June 7th, 2011


Terminalia Catapa l - Tropical Almond Common name:False kamani, almendras, badamier, Java almond, amandier de Cayenne, tropical almond, wild almond, Indian almond, myrobalan, Malabar almond, Singapore almond, ketapang, Huu kwang, Sea almond, kobateishi, West Indian almond, amandel huu kwang. Family: Combretaceae (Combretum family). Overview
This tree thrives as an ornamental tree in many tropical cities in the world.
Tropical almond is a large deciduous stately tree, originally from India, growing up to 90 feet tall with horizontal whorls of branches offering clusters of foot long; obviate leaves that turn pink-red to red – yellow before falling.
Some of the pigments responsible for this are: violaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.
There are also flavonoids present such as quercetin and kamferol.
The leaves contain also tannins (s. a. punicalin, punicalagin and tercatein).
The greenish – white female – and male flowers are on the same tree; these flowers are inconspicuous and not very showy.
It has large (2 – 3 inches) nutty fruits that taste very much like commercially grown almonds.
The color of the oval fruit is green, yellow or reddish.
In Taiwan the fallen leaves of tropical almond are used as an herbal drug in the treatment of liver related diseases.
The leaves contain agents for chemo-prevention of cancer and probably have anticarciogenic potential.
They also have an anticlastogenic effect (a process which causes breaks in chromosomes) due to their antioxidant properties.
The kernel of Indian almond has shown aphrodisiac activity; it can probably be used in treatment of some forms of sexual inadequacies (premature ejaculation).
Ethanol extract of the leaves shown potential in the treatment of sickle cell disorders.

Tropical almond is also used by breeders of tropical aquarium fishes to keep them healthy.
These include bettas, catfishes and black water tetras.
Terminalia catappa Since tropical almond has antibacterial properties, it is excellent in this regard.

Suriname’s traditional medicine
A tea from the leaves is used against dysentery and diarrhea.

**Terminalia Catappa, Indian or Sea Almond Seeds and leaves can be purchased from >>>

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

The Cure “Reflections”

2 June

Metro caught the Cure in action during a sound check two hours before Tuesday’s Vivid Live concert at The Opera House in Sydney. Film crews and select photographers jockeyed for positions before Robert Smith launched the band into All Cats Are Grey, Primary and lastly Someone Else’s Train before being ushered out the door. On the way out there were fans already waiting for the doors to open even though it was allocated seating and you could feel the excitement in the air for one of the most anticipated gigs of the year.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Mobile phone users may be at increased risk from brain cancer and should use texting and hands-free devices to reduce exposure, the World Health Organisation’s cancer experts say.

Radio-frequency electromagnetic fields generated by such devices are “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced at the end of an eight-day meeting in Lyon, France.

Mobile phones ... a cancer risk.Mobile phones … a cancer risk. Photo: Jim Rice

Experts “reached this classification based on review of the human evidence coming from epidemiological studies”, pointing to an increased incidence of glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, Jonathan Samet, president of the work group said.

Two studies in particular, the largest conducted over the last decade, showed a higher risk “in those that had the most intensive use of such phones”, he said in a telephone news conference.

Some individuals tracked in the studies had used their phones for an average of 30 minutes per day over a period of 10 years.

“We simply don’t know what might happen as people use their phones over longer time periods, possibly over a lifetime,” Samet said.

About 5 billion mobile phones are registered in the world. The number of phones and the average time spent using them have both climbed steadily in recent years.

The IARC cautioned that current scientific evidence showed only a possible link, not a proven one, between wireless devices and cancers.

“There is some evidence of increased risk of glioma” and another form of non-malignant tumour called acoustic neuroma, said Kurt Straif, the scientist in charge of editing the IARC reports on potentially carcinogenic agents.

“But it is not at the moment clearly established that the use of mobile phones does in fact cause cancer in humans,” he said.

The IARC does not issue formal recommendations, but experts pointed to a number of ways consumers can reduce risk.

“What probably entails some of the highest exposure is using your mobile for voice calls,” Straif said.

“If you use it for texting, or as a hands-free set for voice calls, this is clearly lowering the exposure by at least an order of magnitude,” or by tenfold, he said.

A year ago the IARC concluded that there was no link between mobile phones and brain cancer, but that earlier report was criticised as based on data that was out of date.

The new review, conducted by a panel of 31 scientists from 14 countries, was reached on the basis of a “full consensus”, said Robert Baan, in charge of the written report, yet to be released.

“This is the first scientific evaluation of all the literature published on the topic with regard to increased risk of cancer,” he said.

But the panel stressed the need for more research, pointing to incomplete data, evolving technology and changing consumer habits.

“There’s an improvement in the technology in terms of lower emissions but at the same time we see increased use, so it is hard to know how the two balance out,” Baan noted.

The IARC ranks potentially cancer-causing elements as carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic or “probably not carcinogenic”. It can also determine that a material is “not classifiable”.

Cigarettes, sun beds and asbestos, for example, fall in “Group 1”, the top threat category.

Mobile phones now join glass wool and petrol exhaust in Group 2B as “possibly carcinogenic”.

Industry groups reacted cautiously, pointing to other common consumer items – including coffee and vegetables pickled in chemicals – that are included in the same category.

“In France, the health ministry already applies a precautionary approach to mobile phones because it considers that no danger has been established, that doubts remain and, thus, that more research is needed,” the French Federation of Telecoms said in a statement.

Some consumer advocacy groups said the new classification was overdue.

“As of today, no one can say the risk does not exist, and now everyone – politicians, telecoms, employers, consumers and parents – have to take this into account,” said Janine Le Calvez, head of PRIARTEM, a consumer advocacy group concerned with mobile phone safety.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha