Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aging, interrupted

The current pace of population aging is without parallel in human history but surprisingly little is known about the human aging process, because life spans of eight decades or more make it difficult to study. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have replicated premature aging related disease.

The team report that they have successfully generated induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from skin cells obtained from patients with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome—who age eight to 10 times faster than the rest of us—and differentiated them into smooth muscle cells displaying the telltale signs of vascular aging.

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is caused by a single point mutation in the gene encoding lamin A, which forms a protein scaffold on the inner edge of the nucleus that helps maintain chromatin structure and organize nuclear processes such as RNA and DNA synthesis. The mutation creates an alternative splice site that leads to the production of a truncated version of the protein known as progerin. Unlike the full-length protein, progerin does not properly integrate into the nuclear lamina, which disrupts the nuclear scaffold and causes a host of problems.

Progerin accumulates mainly in smooth muscle cells found within the walls of arterial blood vessels, and vascular smooth muscle cells degeneration is one of the hallmarks of Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome-associated arteriosclerosis. In fact, vascular smooth muscle cell senescence also plays a role in advanced arteriosclerosis within the normal aging population.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fetal surgery is more effective than operating after birth

Part of the spinal cord and spinal nerves, usually encased in a sac, protrude through an opening in the back and is exposed to the amniotic fluid. The brainstem (hindbrain) descends, or herniates, into the spinal canal in the neck and blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This can cause a damaging buildup of fluid in the brain called hydrocephalus.

Babies who undergo an operation to repair the birth defect spina bifida while still in the womb develop better and experience fewer neurologic complications than babies who have corrective surgery after birth, according to findings from a major multicenter trial led by UCSF researchers. The study is the first to systematically evaluate the best treatment for myelomeningocele, the most serious form of spina bifida, in which the bones of the spine do not fully form.

The eight-year trial, which was stopped early because results were so positive, shows that prenatal surgery greatly reduces the need to divert fluid away from the brain; improves mental development and motor function; and increases the likelihood that a child will one day walk unassisted. This is the first time a randomized clinical trial has clearly demonstrated that surgery before birth can improve the outcome for patients.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Importance of Salt

Salt is essential to human life and the functioning of the human body, which is why we could never live without it. This is also why in the days of antiquity, salt could be worth more than gold, since you can't preserve meats with gold, but could easily do so with salt. This was of extreme importance in the days when we lived without refrigeration and modern preservatives.

Here are some of important functions of salt in the body:

• Salt is a strong anti-stress element for the body.
• Salt is used for extracting excess acidity from inside the cells, particularly brain cells.
• Salt is used for clearing the lungs of mucous plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma, emphysema and cystic fibrosis sufferers.
• Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.

Quantity of Salt:

Based on the requirements of a human body, an average adult requires an intake of 4.2g salt per day. The minimum requirement is 1.5g. Pro-salt campaigners argue that any healthy body will process just the right amount of salt it needs and the kidneys will dispose of any surplus.

Excess Salt:

Studies have indicated that too much salt consumption is linked to health problems, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and osteoporosis. If you suffer from hypertension you would benefit from consuming less salt. Very young children, very elderly people, as well as people with kidney disease cannot excrete sodium and regulate body fluid efficiently.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fat Fighting Food

Every one knows that diet and exercise together helps in losing weight. Instead of helping us lose weight, starvation encourages fat build up by slowing down our metabolism. Instead of beating the urge to eat, you can use it to your advantage by eating fat fighting foods. Here are some foods that might increase your fat fighting ability:

Almonds:These nuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which can accelerate your metabolism of fats. Also, almonds have high fiber content, protein and the good type of fat which satisfies your appetite very soon therefore you are less likely to have cravings and overeat.

Eggs:Eggs are packed with a variety of nutrients including protein, zinc, iron and vitamins A, D, E and B12, but contain just 85 calories each. Eating eggs for breakfast makes you feel fuller for longer so that you eat less at your next few meals.

Tomatoes:Tomatoes contain oligo fructose, a fiber that helps sustain the effects of Cholecystokinin (CCK) in your stomach. Tomatoes are also packed with vitamin C which helps in the production of carnitine. Research has shown that carnitine can help speed the body's fat-burning capacity by up to one-third.

Pomegranate:Pomegranate seeds are loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants. They're low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet.

Cinnamon:One teaspoon of cinnamon a day with food can help metabolize sugar up to twenty times better than food not eaten with cinnamon. This result in less sugar in your bloodstream which means less fat stored.

Lentils:Lentils are a bona fide belly flattener. They are high in protein and soluble fiber, two nutrients that stabilize blood sugar levels.

Yogurt:Eating calcium-rich fat-free yogurt can boost your body's fat-burning mechanism, speed weight loss and trim your tummy. According to the researchers, meeting our daily calcium needs helps us burn fat more efficiently whereas not getting enough calcium triggers the release of calcitriol, a hormone that causes us to store fat.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spices to be Healthy

All the natural healing has alternative methods, especially including healing foods. Spices can be used for cooking, drinking as a tea, or used as a compress. Most spices have natural healing abilities. Cinnamon for example has been shown to lower glucose levels in your body. Eat just a half teaspoon a day to improve your health. Check out what healing properties other spices have.

Allspice -- has been used to relieve the pain of arthritis when used in a compress. It also settles the digestive system. If you're having problems with diarrhea or flatulence give allspice a try.

Basil -- can be used on skin infections and insect bites. Basil is high in vitamin A., vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium. It is also a source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Basil tea can also soothe a headache and calm the nerves.

Bay Leaf -- Compresses made from bay leaf can be used to relieve the pain of a sprained joint. They also help relieve arthritic pain, and if applied to the chest can't relieve the congestive cough of bronchitis. When taken internally bay leaf relieves an upset stomach and colic in babies. It promotes good digestion and stimulates the appetite.

Black pepper -- has been used as a preventative medicine for many diseases. East Indians take a mixture of black pepper and honey every morning as a preventative for many common illnesses. Black pepper has been known to asthma, boils, colic, cough, diarrhea, fever, gas, hemorrhoids, indigestion, chronic rheumatism, obesity, phlegm, sinus congestion, skin diseases, sore throat, and worms.

Turmeric -- is used externally to heal wounds, relieve pain, and as a compress to break up chest congestion. Internally turmeric acts as a strong anti-inflammatory. It is one of the best spices to use for such conditions as multiple sclerosis. It is good in the treatment of hepatitis, where a blood purifier is needed. It helps inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcers, colic, and yeast infections.