Tuesday, March 31, 2009

6 Alternative Medicines For Type 2 Diabetes

With over 200 million people suffering from diabetes worldwide, and counting, it's fast becoming the #1 epidemic of modern times. A major cause of end-stage renal disease, preventable amputations and blindness, the efficacy of many alternative medicine treatments in managing diabetes has been explored.

While conventional medicine has prescriptions of endocrine disorder drugs for diabetes, alternative therapeutic approaches to its management include herbs, plant extracts and more.

The following are some naturals and alternative therapeutics that seem promising to scientists studying their effect on diabetes.

1. Fenugreek: This herb is commonly used for appetite loss, and to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women. And a handful of studies have discovered that fenugreek may help in bringing down blood sugar levels in diabetes sufferers, that's according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (NCCAM).

Some time back, the Diabetes UK referred to several herbs being studied, including momordica cymbalaria, gymnema sylvestre and swertia chirayita.

2. Momordica Cymbalaria Roots: This a cucumber-like vegetable was assessed by scientists for its effect on Type 2 diabetes control and their tests on diabetic rats showed an improved glucose tolerance.

3. Gymnema Sylvestre Herb: Originating from the Indian tropical forests, this herb when tested for its effects on the body's ability to produce insulin, seemed to have a direct impact on the pancreatic insulin producing cells.

4. Swertia Chirayita Bark: Laboratory studies on the bark have found that some compounds separated from it appear to set off insulin production, in addition to enhancing its action.

5. Berberine: Chemically classified as a salt and found in the roots and barks of many plants, it has been documented in Chinese literature for having glucose lowering properties. According to Research Australia, the compound is indeed able to help lower blood sugar levels in animal models of diabetes.

6. Tai Chi Exercises:
This isn't quite a herb, nonetheless, according to the April 2008 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Tai Chi exercises can improve the management of type 2 diabetes via improving blood glucose levels.

Despite appearing promising, experts believe that a lot more research is needed to definitively establish some of these alternative medicines' degree of efficacy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Links Between Vegetables, Fruits and Cancer

With over a 100 types of cancers able to affect any part of the body, about 13% of all deaths worldwide were caused by the disease in 2004. Generally treated by surgery, radiation therapy and cancer drugs such as antineoplastic agents, a third of all cancers could be cured if they are detected early and treated well. And with about a one-third of all cancer cases being preventable, there's a realization to stress more on this cost-effective way of tackling cancer.

Some foods, such as fruits and vegetable are thought to aid prevention of cancer. And many studies have found such links as follows.

Vegetables, Fruits and Prostate Cancer

A review published in the "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research," Feb 2009 issue supports the claim that an intake of a high vegetable diet can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. The protective mechanism is believed to be include antioxidants that shield the DNA and healthy cell against damage.

In a related study published in the “International Journal of Cancer, March 2004,” those who consumed most fiber particularly from vegetable sources ran a moderately lower risk of being affected by the disease.

Vegetables, Fruits and Colon Cancer

An analysis published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2007, suggested that while consumption of fruits and vegetables isn't strongly associated with the overall colon cancer risk, there's a possibility of a lower risk at the distal colon or the left-hand side of the colon.

Vegetables, Fruits and Cervical Cancer

An article appearing in the journal “Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention,2002,” showed that women whose diets were high in vegetables cut their rates of long-lasting HPV infections by half. Thus indirectly decreasing the risk of developing cervical cancer.

Vegetables, fruits and Cancer Drugs

A study released by the Pennsylvania State University (PSU), Mar 2009, found that compounds extracted from green vegetables like broccoli and cabbage could be used to make effective cancer drugs against melanoma – a type of a skin cancer. Trials conducted on mice showed that these compounds targeted tumors more safely and effectively than conventional treatments.

While many studies support the role of fruits and vegetables in preventing cancer, many don't. For instance, no link foun between eating fruits and vegetables and a decreased risk for breast cancer (JAMA, Jan 2005), or a high intake of fruit and vegetables isn't linked to a decreased risk of cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Nov 2004), and more.

All in all, the link between vegetables, fruits and cancer seems to be and as the American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests, is that eating more vegetables and fruits lowers the risk for some types of cancers.

The UK Diet Supplements Market Overview

A general sentiment to maintain health, protect against illness, tackle specific health problems, up vitality levels and live healthier are driving up the demand for vitamins, minerals and supplements within the United Kingdom. By the year 2006, the UK VMS market was valued at $827 million. The six major players who held a major share (approx. 78 percent) within the vitamins, minerals, and supplements (VMS) market are Holland & Barrett, Bayer, Seven Seas, Boots Healthcare, SuperDrug, and Tesco. By 2011, the UK market for diet supplements is expected to be valued at $868 million.

Read More at: Themedica

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

IBS Treatment - Therapies That Work

Also known as spastic colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a disorder of the bowel that affects about 30% people sometime during their lives. And about 10% are so much troubled by it that they seek medical help.

Some common IBS symptoms include abdominal pain, stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, bloated stomach, dizziness, nausea, and backaches, which cause many people to miss work, and restrict their social lives. While IBS treatments generally include a prescription of gastrointestinal drugs and changes in diet, some therapies other than conventional treatments have shown promise.

4 Treatments that work

1. Fiber, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil

A study published on bmj.com in November 2008, suggests that doctors' recommendations as first-line treatments for ibs should include fiber, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil. Because research found that patients treated with a combination of these there fared better than those who were treated with placebos or weren't treated at all. Also, no serious side effects were found. And treatment with peppermint oil appeared to be the most effective.
2. Probiotics

A set of studies presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's (ACG) 73rd Scientific Meeting indicated that probiotics were safe and effective for the treatment of constipation/diarrhea linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). While probiotics were found to be effective, it couldn't be concluded whether just one probiotic was enough or a combination would work better. Nonetheless, it works.

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Hypnotherapy

A study is appearing in the July 2008 issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology observes symptom relief in IBS sufferers following a self-administered, at-home cognitive behavioral program. The efficacy of the at-home program was similar to 10-week in-office program under a trained therapist's guidance. An earlier research published in the Digestive Disease Week 2006, showed cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy as effective IBS treatments that also helped in other chronic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

4. Traditional Chinese, Tibetan And Indian Herbal Medicines

Research appearing in the “The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006,” suggests that traditional herbal medicines can improve abdominal pain, disturbed bowel movements, and/or bloating and distension associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In the researchers' assessment spanning 75 different randomized trials, they concluded that there was evidence that some of the alternative medicines did help improve the global symptoms of IBS.

The University of Michigan advises on some dietary changes that many patients have found helpful, they include:
  • Avoid or limit the amount of gas-producing foods such as beans, onions, broccoli, cabbage or any other foods that will commonly aggravate IBS symptoms.
  • Try to slow down when you eat and avoid overeating.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks. These can introduce gas into the intestines and cause bloating or abdominal discomfort.
  • Intolerance to milk sugar, or lactose, is seen in up to 40 percent of patients with IBS. Avoiding dairy products may be helpful in reducing symptoms of IBS such as gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea.
  • Avoid large quantities of other sugars such as fructose or sorbitol which can also worsen IBS symptoms
  • The addition of fiber in the form of psyllium can help with constipation related symptoms in IBS patients.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Industry Overview: US Home Healthcare Services

About 20,000 home healthcare service organizations across the nation deliver healthcare to 8 million individuals with an acute illness, a long-term medical condition, a permanent disability, or a terminal illness. For the top performing companies, the average revenue in 2007 was $17,340,702. In the coming thirty years, the American population over 65 years of age will double to 70 million. Ageing population coupled with several other make the market for home healthcare service promising.

Read More at: Themedica

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

5 Quick Tips to Selecting Cleanroom Wipes

Use of wipes in cleanrooms is so common and natural that often the need to carefully select cleanroom cleaning equipment and supplies may be overlooked. The following are some general guidelines to help you assess and choose the right products matching your needs.

1. Cleanliness: This refers to the extent to which wipes themselves contribute to contamination. Generally, cleanliness is inversely linked to absorbency. So you'd need to consider your priorities before you make the decision.

2. Absorbing power: Wipes differ in their degree of absorbency based on what they're made of. A good way to choose wipes is to consider the type of contamination they would wipe off. The 'like absorbs like' rule seems to work well here, e.g. natural fibers like cellulose perform well with water based contamination, while polyester works well with other petrol derived contaminants such as fuel oils, gasoline, etc.

3. Packing: From cheap and dirty cardboard to double-packaging and static-dissipative, the packing of these products is as varied as they themselves are. Consider your requirements to choose from a plethora of packaging choices. Also assess the process of packaging use, as in order to be worth their salt, wipes should themselves have been processed and assembled in cleanrooms.

4. Usage: Think about where you're going to be using the cleanroom wipers. While wipes for clinical use need to be sterile, those used in schools and the wood works setting generally make use of tackifiers, which cause dust particles to stick on to them. Also, consider whether any material used in making the wipes doesn't react with solvents and chemicals they are used to clean.

5. The Price Tag: Fabric wipes though generally costlier than paper wipes are sturdier and have more absorbing power. But they eventually might turn out to be cheaper, because they can be reused a couple of times. Paper wipes are more suited to electronics and medical applications, where re-contamination is undesirable.

Friday, March 13, 2009

How to Count Your Calories During Sleep?

Counting your calories is important if your trying lose excess weight, but it's often a pain trying to keep a track of them. However, if scientists are to be believed then they might already have stumbled upon an automatic calorie counting method.

People try many ways to lose weight including dieting, exercise, or weight loss supplements or a combination, but physical exercise seems to be pretty popular. And most of us using treadmills to burn calories know how much we've burned in a session of exercise simply by glancing at the pedometer reading. At the same time it's important to know that we don't just burn calories while we're on the treadmill, but even when we walk, drive, cook, laugh, talk, and even while we sleep. So who'll count all those calories consumed?

The count your calories technology

Apparently, a strap-on device has been invented that allows individuals to continuously track the calories they burn.

Being worked on by a group of Georgia Institute of Technology students and called HappyHR, It's a small, rectangular-shaped instrument, which can be strapped to the wrist or ankle. Once onto the wrist, the instrument begins collecting data pertaining to heart rate and exercise. Next, the information collected is sent to a PC via Bluetooth, where the data is analyzed and calories counted by means of a web-based software.

A subtle device resembling a compact MP3 player more than with an embedded fitness monitoring technology is pretty encouraging. In fact the researchers want to move ahead further and even try to incorporate advanced health applications such as respiratory and glucose monitoring. Which might earn it a place as a valued medical and hospital equipment supply.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) about 133.6 million or 66 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. And who may want to lose weight for better health. So if technologies such as these keep coming up, maintaining not just a healthy weight, but also fitness, might become a lot easier.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can Heart Attacks be Predicted to Save Lives?

About one of every five deaths in the United States are attributed to heart diseases. However, scientists may now well be on their way to make heart attack prediction possible so that many lives can be saved.

Heart disease is term used for a range of different diseases affecting the heart. They are often treated by surgery and cardiovascular drugs.

Even though from 1995 to 2005 the death rate from heart disease declined 34 percent, there still is a lot of potential for it to decrease further with the aid of technology. A device is being tested to monitor the heart and raise a red flag in time so that early help can be sought.

The Life Saving Technology

Called the AngelMed Guardian system, the device is about the size of a standard pacemaker is meant to be installed inside the skin close to the collarbone with a wire placed in the right chamber of the heart.

It comprises an external telemetry device and and a programmer meant to help the medics assess the heart signals. The job of the device will be to monitor a person's heart's activity for signs that may indicate an impending heart attack.

As soon as the implanted diagnostic equipment finds that something's gone amiss inside the heart, making use of Bluetooth technology and pagers, it will sound an alert to others so that quick medical attention can be provided to the patient. Also, the more disturbing or acute the symptoms of an upcoming heart attack, stronger the alert this device transmits.

According to experts, the maximum damage to the heart occurs during the first two hours after a coronary gets blocked during a heart attack. And most of the time patients take about three hours to recognize an oncoming heart attack, so help often reaches late to the sufferers. However, the unique ability of this device is that it can recognize the warning signs and sound an alert hours before the attack actually occurs thus helping doctors save lives.

Still undergoing Phase II clinical trials, if all goes well then it may actually be able to predict heart attacks and save lives.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

The Vaccine Market Overview

Till now, vaccines were largely associated with inoculation of infants and kids, but now the market for adult vaccines is growing fast. The global vaccine market stood at US$ 11.42 billion in 2006, growing at a rate of 16.52%, it is said to touch US$ 21.05 billion by 2010, and up to $23.8 billion by 2012. As competition within the industry increases, the vaccine market will resemble the conventional market for pharmaceutical products. Amongst many trends seen within the are that vaccines aimed at anthrax, plague, and smallpox, are being designed to defend against bioterrorist attacks. Also, vaccines to stimulate innate immune responses as well as adaptive are being developed, and more.

Read More at: Themedica

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Top 15 Tips to Manage Stress!

In todays fast paced life, there are just too many reasons for us to get stressed and irritable. But whether its a social defeat, break ups, office deadlines, relationship conflicts, and targets, we shouldn't let them drive us crazy. And while some situations can be more challenging than others to deal with, it seems that often we can do quite a bit, and on our own to not let stress overpower us.

The following tips will help you with just that:

1. Talk your problem out. Simply, talking about your problems with someone can ease your mind, and while doing so a you may get insight into your problem, or you might even get some good ideas from your friend or a confidante.

2. Don't let work eat into your personal time. If work life encroaches into your personal life it is most likely to increase your stress. Because in doing so you're compromising on your leisure and relaxation time. Decide when to close your shop and call it a day – stick to the schedule to manage stress.

3. Try a mini workout. Stretch and loosen up the the muscles in your neck and upper back, shake your hands for 10 seconds, and take deep breaths for 30 seconds or so. You might also try professional calming massage therapies if you have the time and there are good pros within your reach.

4. Visit the Future. You can do this by planning for the weekend, going to a movie, concert, or a party. Looking into the future can be a calming experience. And visiting the future can be thought of as a natural antidepressant.

5. Listen to music. Play on the numbers that you like and that reach out to your soul, and are relaxing too.

6. Snack a bit. Munching on a light snack can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and may calm you down a bit. But beware that you don't eat too much, or make it a habit.

7. Watch yourself go crazy! How do you respond when you're stressed. Do you feel stiffness in the neck and shoulders, irritable, angry, with shallow breathing, feeble, or other stress symptoms? Learn to recognize when you're beginning to get stressed and acknowledge the fact to yourself. Experts opine that the buildup of anxiety gets retarded when you do that.

8. Take a walk. To manage stress, take a break and go for a short walk, it'll help to breathe deeply and relax your mind.

9. Give yourself a break. When things aren't turning out the way we want them to, often the temptation is follow the maxim “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But how about giving yourself a break! relaxing a bit, stretching your muscles and then getting back on to getting tough.

10. Reignite your sex life. If you've been avoiding getting cozy in bed because it's not a priority, try upping the priority. As sex has a relaxing effect on your body and mind. It's simple, go on a date with your mate, often.

11. Learn to let go. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try things won't turn out the way you want them to. But if you still cling on to a belief or a situation or a person, you'd only be making it worse. So at times the best thing to do might be to accept it and let go, and move on.

12. Don't be a perfectionist. Perfection is better associated with God than humans. Remember “let him who is without sin, throw the first stone,” said Jesus. So if you can't do some things “perfectly” don't brew it up in your head. Instead try to do things correctly than “perfectly,” that way you'll manage stress better

13. Learn to say No. When you try to please everyone you're inviting trouble. Know your limits and learn to say know, period.

14. The 'I can do it' attitude. Be a fighter. By taking on a positive approach and a belief that you can accomplish something, will increase the odds of you overcoming a problem.

15. Write it down. Journaling and putting down you worries on paper can have a calming effect. In addition it can even give you insight and perspective into the issue. So you'd be better equipped to deal with whatever is hurting you.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

The US Biotech Industry Snapshot

The US biotechnology industry is a vibrant component of the country's economy. Since, the early 1990s the industry has registered a fast growth, with the revenues increasing from $8 billion in 1992 to $39.2 billion in 2003. Further, it is large and complex and is engaged in about 38 areas of sub‐sector elements, from plant and animal life sciences to drug discovery and information technology. The job market forecast of biological technicians, is expected to grow by 28.2 percent between 2004 and 2014.

Read More at: TheMedica