Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vegetarian diet cuts toxic phosphorus levels

Eating a vegetarian diet lowers kidney disease patients' levels of potentially toxic phosphorus in the blood and urine.Kidney disease patients have to limit their intake of phosphorous - which is found in dietary proteins and is a common food additive - because their bodies have difficulty ridding themselves of the mineral. In these patients, high levels of phosphorus can lead to heart disease and death.


Researchers examined the effects of vegetarian and meat-based diets on phosphorous levels in nine patients in America with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Each patient ate a vegetarian or meat-based diet for one week and then waited two to four weeks before eating the other diet for a week. They conducted blood and urine tests at the end of each week on both diets. Even though the two diets had equivalent protein and phosphorus concentrations, it was found that patients had lower blood and urine phosphorus levels after they ate the vegetarian diet.

The investigators didn't examine the reasons for this difference, but they noted that a grain-based diet has a lower phosphate-to-protein ratio and much of the phosphate is in the form of phytate, which is not absorbed in humans.

The findings show that the source of protein in a diet has a major effect on phosphorous levels in chronic kidney disease patients. Therefore, dietary counseling of patients with CKD must include information on not only the amount of phosphate but also the source of protein from which the phosphate derives.

The above results, if confirmed in larger studies, provide rationale for recommending a predominance of grain-based vegetarian sources of protein to patients with CKD. This diet would allow increased protein intake without adversely affecting phosphorus levels.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Why Vaccines May Be Ineffective for Some People?

A new discovery may explain why a tuberculosis vaccine is not as effective for some people as anticipated, and potentially explains why other vaccines do not work as well for some as they do for others. In a research report presented in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, scientists from Singapore show that Mycobacterium chelonae, a common environmental bacterium found in soil and water, can decrease the effectiveness of the bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis, especially in countries outside of the United States.


"Uncovering the reasons why BCG is failing will help researchers in designing new, more effective vaccines against TB," said Geok Teng Seah, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Microbiology at the National University of Singapore. "This will give us more tools to fight this globally significant infectious disease."

To make this discovery, scientists studied mice with and without prior exposure to M. chelonae. When subsequently given BCG vaccine, the mice with prior exposure to M. chelonae produced higher amounts of suppressive chemical signals; these chemical signals are believed to reduce the level of immunity induced by BCG vaccine in the host mice. Then the researchers extracted certain white blood cells with known suppressive functions from both exposed and unexposed mice. After transferring these cells into separate groups of unexposed mice, they found that recipients of suppressor cells from M. chelonae exposed mice did not respond as strongly to BCG vaccine as recipients of suppressor cells from unexposed donor mice. This indicates that the suppressor cells from M. chelonae exposed mice are functionally different from those of unexposed mice. Ultimately, the data suggest that these suppressor cells, induced in the host when exposed to M. chelonae, dampen the effectiveness of the BCG vaccine.

"This study sheds important light on why many immunological therapies and vaccines look great in the lab, but fall short in the real world," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "Humans are exposed to many more non-disease causing bacteria and viruses compared to relatively clean laboratory animals, and as this study shows with a TB vaccine, environmental exposure to one kind of bacteria can influence the efficacy of immunity to different, more dangerous bugs."

Source: Sciencedaily

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New species of microbe consuming Gulf oilplume

A new species of microbe may be consuming oil spilled in the Gulf. Depending on how fast microbes consume oil, the results could be useful in help scientists to determine what happened to the oil and how the oil could affect marine life.

Gulf microbe

In addition, the results also suggest that most of the microbes in the undersea cloud of oil are a new species that do not significantly deplete oxygen in the water as they consume the oil.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, The microbiology analysis is “very, very good”, said David Valentine from University of California at Santa Barbara.

This latest research follows another look at the same plume of highly diluted oil droplets. Both groups are at the same depth, and they recorded similar, very low concentrations of key hydrocarbons.They also both detected only a light dip in oxygen levels compared with water outside the plume. The team’s results suggest that oil degradation could occur faster than many researchers have anticipated.

Valentine cautions however that the team may have gone too far in inferring the high pace of degradation. For instance, he says, in the lab the team “fed lots of oil to the newly discovered organism, supercharged them, then asked the question: How fast are they consuming oil. It’s not surprising you can get them to do that quickly when you supercharge them.”

The question of the pace of biodegradation may be one of the toughest questions to answer, Valentine added. And methods for estimating the pace at which biodegrading takes place vary from one team’s cruise to another’s cruise.

Source: Sci-Tech.

Friday, June 18, 2010

RSS-developed cancer drug gets US patent

An anti-cancer drug extracted from cow urine and developed by an affiliate of the RSS has got a US patent for the third time for its anti-genotoxicity properties, a senior official has said. The drug developed by RSS-backed Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra had earlier got the US patent as a bio-enhancer with antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs.


The research for the drug brand named 'Kamdhenu Ark' was carried out jointly by the Anusandhan Kendra and National Environmental Engineer Research Institute (NEERI), Acting Director of NEERI Tapan Chakraborty said.

The research found that Re-distilled Cow Urine Distillate (RCUD) was useful for protecting and repairing DNA from oxidative damage, Chakraborty and Sunil Mansinghka of Kendra told reporters yesterday.

Oxidative DNA damage is a leading cause of ageing, cancer and other diseases.

RCUD works against genotoxicity, a harmful action on a cell's genetic material, they said, adding research has strengthened the efficacy of 'Kamdhenu Ark' as an anti-cancer drug.
The research was carried out on three patients, two of them having throat and uterus cancer, Mansinghka said.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Bombay ‘Oh’: Man found to have rare blood group. Only 180 People Have This Blood Group In Country. One of the rarest blood groups has surfaced in the city — a father who was donating blood to his son was found to be Bombay ‘Oh’ Phenotype. And BGS Global Hospital, which along with many other hospitals is observing World Blood Donor Day on Monday, added a new donor to its Rare Blood Group Registry.

Called the Bombay Phenotype Group — because the first such case was found in Bombay — its incidence is 0.0004% of the global population.Incidentally, motivating youngsters to donate blood is the theme of this year: ‘New blood for the world’. Blood donation camps will be organized on Monday at e4e Business solutions India on Hosur road around 12 noon and at Microsoft India GTSC in association with Lions Blood Bank.


Annappa Hanumanthappa, 42, who hails from Davanagere, was identified to have Bombay Phenotype Group when he came forward to donate blood for his son Darshan, 7, who is undergoing treatment for a cardiac problem at the hospital. According to BGS Global Hospital head of department of transfusion medicine, Annapurna Ramesh, “There are a total of 179 people known to have Bombay Phenotype Blood group in India, and this identification makes Annappa the 180th person with this blood group.’’


This blood group may be commonly mistaken as ‘O’ and many a time, not identified at all if proper blood grouping or testing practices are not followed. During routine grouping conducted at the hospital’s blood bank, Annappa’s blood group showed up as O, with no reaction to Anti-A and Anti-B antibodies.

When reverse grouping was performed, it showed agglutination with O cells, proving he had the rare Bombay ‘Oh’ Phenotype blood. Repeated testing was done as it is important to perform reverse grouping or serum grouping to detect the Bombay Blood group. People of this group can donate and receive blood only among those with the same blood group. If a Bombay Blood Group recipient is not given blood from a Bombay Blood Group person, it can lead to a haemolytic transfusion reaction, which can be fatal. BGS Hospitals vice chairman Dr N K Venkataramana said: “At times when this rare blood group is required for surgeries, blood from blood banks in other cities has to be brought, or donors from other locations have to travel to the hospital where blood is required.” BGS Global Hospital’s Rare Blood Group Registry, instituted two years ago with the aim to help those in need of rare blood types, has around 100 voluntary donors, including three donors of Bombay Phenotype. Annappa has also happily agreed to be a voluntary donor.


Bombay Phenotype is one of the rarest blood groups: one in every 17,600 people in India or one in every 25,000 people in the world has this group. “If one is O group, make sure it is not Bombay Blood group. A person with Bombay Phenotype should always be cautious not to receive any other blood type. He should always carry an identity card prominently displaying his blood group. In developed countries, one may opt to preserve a few units of blood by cryopreservation for about 10 years, to be used during an emergency. However, with facilities in India, blood can be preserved only for 45 days,” said Annapurna.  BGS Global Hospital’s Rare Blood Group Registry helpline is 2625 5654.


  1. Must be above 18 years of age.
  2. Donor should not be underweight — more than 45-50 kg is fine Should not be suffering from infections such as a cold or flu or chronic diseases (diabetes/cancer etc).
  3. Should not have taken any intoxicating drugs, orally or otherwise.
  4. Should not have blood pressure or low blood pressure.
  5. Pregnant or menstruating women not eligible to donate.
  6. It takes around 24 hours for your body to replenish the volume of blood, which is usually 350-400 ml (1 unit), and haemoglobin level is usually replenished within 7-10 days.

Source: TOI

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beauty Secrets from Around the World

When it comes to beauty routines, the grass is always greener. Japanese women have it made with their long, glossy hair and Greek women’s olive-toned complexions are always luminous. But how do they do it? Put down your passport—you won’t need to go anywhere to find out. We got insider beauty information from experts on how women across the globe stay gorgeous. Read on to find out their secrets, and learn how you can recreate them at home.


Australian makeup artist Napoleon Perdis says yarrow extract is used by Australian Aboriginal women to prevent stretch marks, thanks to its moisturizing and hydrating properties. “Yarrow root is also an anti-inflammatory, which soothes the skin.” Calm your complexion with his Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer , which contains the extract as a key ingredient.


Chilean women credit the antioxidant powers of red grapes for their luminous skin. They create a paste by mashing up a handful of the fruit and adding 2 tablespoons of white flour. They then apply the mask to their face and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off. “It wakes up the appearance of tired and fatigued skin to give you an amazing glow,” says Shalini Vadhera, author of Passport to Beauty



Dominican Republic

“If you ever meet a Dominican woman, look at her nails––chances are they’re super-strong,” says Vadhera. What’s their secret? Women in the Dominican Republic swear by garlic to keep their nails tough as…well, nails. They chop up fresh garlic, add it to a bottle of clear nail polish and let it stew for 7 to 10 days. “There will be an initial smell, so if you want to ward off vampires this is a great way to do it,” jokes Vadhera. “But the scent goes away. Garlic has so many strengthening properties and is naturally antibacterial as well.”


According to Vadhera, Cleopatra’s beauty secret was taking milk baths to soften her skin and remove dead cells. To try the treatment at home, Vadhera recommends adding 2 cups of powdered milk to your bath. “It will make your skin look absolutely gorgeous and feel so smooth, silky and soft.”


“The French woman sticks to a scrupulous and preventive skin and body care routine,” says Shannon Gallogly, lead aesthetician for French beauty brands Decleor and Carita. “This means she has weekly facials, regular massages and religiously takes her makeup off each night.” Gallogly’s recipe for an at-home facial without the price tag of a spa version: Mash up cherries and pomegranate seeds and apply as a mask to the skin for about 6 minutes. “This mask will help brighten skin with natural enzymes while firming at the same time.” Remove the mixture with a warm towel to help boost circulation.


“Greek women are blessed with Mediterranean skin, which is light in color but has enough melanin to shield and absorb harmful UV rays,” says New York City dermatologist Macrene Alexiades, MD, PhD, who is half Greek. But even if you aren’t genetically blessed, you can still take a cue from the women of Greece. “There are other factors that contribute to their glowing complexion: They eat a Mediterranean diet high in fish, which provides skin-rejuvenating omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants and vitamins. They also believe their intake of olive oil contributes to their great skin." So, start reaching for the olive oil instead of butter for better skin.



Cygalle Dias, owner of New York City’s Cygalle Healing Spa, was born in Israel and believes in the healing powers of sea salt. “When you swim in the Dead Sea, all of the salt helps your body rid itself of toxins, and it has also been known to help cure skin diseases.” To get the detoxifying benefits of sea salt at home, Dias shares her spa’s Lavender Sea Salt Scrub recipe: Mix together ¼ cup sea salt, 1 pinch seaweed powder, ½ cup massage oil and 10 to 15 drops lavender oil. Apply to skin to gently exfoliate.


How do Italian women maintain their glossy locks? According to Fabio Scalia, Italian hairstylist and owner of Fabio Scalia salon in Brooklyn, New York, the answer is right in your kitchen. Italian women keep their hair shiny by combining yogurt and olive oil and using the mixture as a conditioner. “The protein in the yogurt gently nourishes and conditions.” To whip up the rich treatment at home, Scalia recommends mixing 1 cup of plain whole-milk yogurt with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Then apply the mixture to washed hair, let it sit for 5 minutes and rinse with cool water.


Titi Branch, the half-Japanese cofounder of Miss Jessie’s hair care line, credits seaweed for Japanese women’s long, silky hair. Nori is a rich source of the trace mineral iodine, which is essential for healthy hair growth. (According to Branch, the iodine added to table salt isn’t the right kind to nourish your hair because your body doesn’t easily absorb it.) Seaweed is also a rich source of other mane-strengthening minerals—including iron, zinc, selenium and copper. “Japanese women either eat nori seaweed or boil it and apply it to dry hair as a nourishing paste.” Head to your local Asian grocer or health food store to pick up sheets of nori. “It’s traditionally used to wrap sushi, but you can use it like a tortilla to wrap up veggies with a dash of soy sauce, or crumble the sheets and sprinkle them on a salad, rice or stir-fry,” advises Branch.


Spanish women bring out natural, subtle highlights in their hair by rinsing it with cranberry juice, says Vadhera. Try mixing ¼ cup pure juice (not cocktail blends) with ¼ cup water and doing a final rinse with it in the shower. “If you’re going to be in the sun, the cranberry juice brings out the rich hues in your hair,” she says. “It works amazingly on brunettes, but if you’re blonde you’ll want to use lemon juice instead to avoid ending up with pink hair.”



Swedish women attribute their glowing, healthy skin to their diet of antioxidant-packed fresh berries and grilled fish, says Petra Strand, Swedish makeup artist and creator of makeup line Pixi, now available at Target. Give yourself a hit of antioxidants by trying Strand’s at-home treatment: Boil mineral water with a green tea or white tea bag, let the tea infuse the water and then freeze it into ice cubes to use instead of a toner. “Saunas are also a big part of Swedish culture,” says Strand. “The dry, clean heat rids your body of toxins.” To get the effect of a sauna at home, Strand says to take a handful of rock salt and add a dash of olive oil and about 10 drops of pure eucalyptus oil. Rub it all over your body and rinse with a blast of cold water.

Source: Yahoo

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pomegranate Extract

Oral ingestion of pomegranate extract reduces the production of chemicals that cause inflammation.The group from the Department of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio, led by Tariq Haqqi, showed that blood samples collected from rabbits fed pomegranate extract inhibited inflammation.

pomegranate-juice Pomegranate extract (Ellagic acid) is already used as a treatment in alternative medicine for inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Although pomegranate extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in experiments on isolated tissues, it is not known whether ingestion of it can produce the same anti-inflammatory effects in living systems, either because the active compounds are not absorbed from the gut or because the levels of these compounds in the blood are not high enough.

Pomegranate extract, the equivalent of 175mls of pomegranate juice, was given to rabbits orally. The levels of antioxidants were measured in blood samples obtained after drinking the pomegranate extract and compared to blood samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract.


Plasma collected from rabbits following ingestion of pomegranate extract contained significantly higher levels of antioxidants than samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract; the extract also significantly reduced the activity of proteins that cause inflammation, specifically cyclooxygenase-2. It also reduced the production of pro-inflammatory compounds produced by cells isolated from cartilage.

The results of this study indicate the beneficial effects of pomegranate extract when ingested. According to Haqqi "the use of dietary nutrients or drugs based on them as an adjunct in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions may benefit patients". He adds that, "Current treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs can have serious side effects following long-term use. Further research is needed, however, especially on the absorption of orally ingested substances into the blood.

Source: TOI