viernes, 15 de julio de 2011

Folic acid tied to better grades in Swedish teens

(Extraído de Yahoo News)

By Frederik Joelving | Reuters – Mon, Jul 11, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Swedish teenagers who consumed more folic acid got better school grades, a small study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.

But don't run out and stock up on the B vitamin with the rest of your school supplies just yet, one expert warns.

"There is very little deficiency of folic acid in North America," Deborah O'Connor, a nutrition researcher who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health. "If you're already sufficient, there is not a lot of evidence that taking more supplements will help."

She said the teens in the study might have been deficient in folic acid, with levels a few times lower than what's typically seen in North American kids.

Because a lack of the nutrient during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects in babies, certain foods are fortified with folic acid, also called folate, in North America. Most of the population is thought to get adequate amounts for that reason.

During the study, Sweden did not fortify foods, nor did kids use a lot of supplements. Folic acid is naturally present in green, leafy vegetables and legumes.

The new study is among the first to examine whether folate is tied to school achievements, according to Dr. Torbjorn Nilsson of Orebro University Hospital and his colleagues.

The researchers looked at 386 15-year-olds who were finishing up ninth grade. When all their grades from ten core classes were added up, there was a clear difference between teens who got the most and the least folic acid in their diets.

Teens in the top third of folic acid intake -- more than 253 micrograms per day for girls and 335 for boys -- scored grades of 139 out of 200, on average. Those in the bottom third -- less than 173 micrograms folic acid per day for girls and 227 for boys -- had an average score of only 120.

The differences remained even after the researchers accounted for gender, smoking, the mothers' education and which schools the kids went to.

O'Connor, of the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada, called the findings "pretty significant."

Still, she said, you can't be sure if the kids who performed better had a better diet in general or if some other hidden factor could explain the results.

"It's not a randomized controlled trial, so you always wonder, are there other things going on that you weren't able to control for?" she said. "Like most studies, it probably raises more questions than it answers."

In the U.S., kids aged 9 to 13 should get a total of 300 micrograms of folate a day from food and supplements according to the Institute of Medicine's "Dietary Reference Intakes." Kids 14 and older and adults are urged to get 400 micrograms a day and pregnant women should get 600 micrograms.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/cxXOG Pediatrics, online July 11, 2011.

High salt + low potassium = early death: study

(Extraído de Yahoo News)

By Julie Steenhuysen | Reuters – Mon, Jul 11, 2011

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Put down the salt shakers. Eating too much salt and too little potassium can increase the risk of death, U.S. government researchers said on Monday.

The findings from a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a counterpoint to a fiercely-debated study released last week that found no evidence that making small cuts in salt intake lowers the risk of heart disease and premature death.

"Salt is still bad for you," said Dr. Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner for New York City, which is leading a campaign to reduce salt in restaurant and packaged foods by 25 percent over five years.

Most health experts agree with Farley that consuming too much salt is not good for you and that cutting salt intake can reduce high blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. Salt intake has been rising since the 1970s, with Americans consuming about twice the recommended daily limit.

The CDC study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, specifically focused on growing research that shows a diet high in salt and low in potassium is especially risky.

Farley, who wrote an editorial on the CDC study, said it is one of the best yet looking at the long-term effects of eating too much salt.

"It is entirely consistent with what we've said all along about sodium intake," Farley said in a telephone interview.

For the study, researchers looked at the long-term effects of sodium and potassium intake as part of a 15-year study of more than 12,000 people.

By the end of the study period, 2,270 of the study participants had died; 825 of these deaths were from heart disease and 433 were from blood clots and strokes.

POTASSIUM IS KEY

They found that people who had a high salt intake and a low potassium intake were most at risk.

"People who ate a diet high in sodium and low in potassium had a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and about twice the risk of death -- or a 200 percent increase -- from a heart attack," said Dr. Elena Kuklina of the CDC who helped lead the study.

She said consumers need to increase the levels of potassium in their diet by adding more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, grapes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and low fat milk and yogurt.

The Salt Institute, an industry group, challenged the findings, pointing out that the CDC study found that the link between salt intake and heart disease was statistically insignificant.

"This is a highly flawed publication that reveals more about the anti-salt agenda being pursued by the CDC than about any relationship between salt and health," said Mort Satin, the Salt Institute's Director of Science and Research.

"The only significance is between low potassium and mortality," Satin said in a statement.

Dr. Robert Briss, director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, said the findings support the general weight of evidence and suggests that higher doses of sodium are linked with poor health consequences.

And it suggests "that higher potassium may be better for you," Briss said in a telephone interview.

"About 90 percent of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended. This impacts their blood pressure," Briss said.

"Most of that sodium is not related to the salt shaker but it is in foods and especially processed and restaurant foods that we buy and order from restaurants. Consumers, even motivated ones, don't have as much choice as they could," he said.

Kuklina said potassium often counteracts the effects of salt in the diet. This equilibrium is affected when people eat highly processed foods, which tend to increase sodium levels and decrease potassium content.

"If sodium increases your high blood pressure, potassium decreases it. If sodium retains water, potassium helps you get rid of it," she said.

Instead of focusing only on salt, Kuklina said researchers should focus on the balance between potassium and salt.

"We need to strive to do both -- decrease your sodium intake and increase your potassium intake," she said.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)

10 Mitos de la homeopatía que mayoría de la gente no sabe

(Extraído de NuestroSalud.com)

La homeopatía es la medicina segunda más popular en el mundo. Sin embargo, la mayoría de personas realmente no saber demasiado sobre la homeopatía. Este artículo le ayudará a aclarar algunos conceptos erróneos relacionados con la medicina homeopática.

1) Medicamentos homeopáticos no son más que píldora de azúcar que no contienen ninguna sustancia mensurable.

Ciertos medicamentos homeopáticos no tienen ninguna sustancia mensurable. Sin embargo, muchos remedios tienen sustancias medibles. En medicina, que es de 24 X o 12 C no tiene ninguna sustancia mensurable. Sin embargo, algunas potencias de medicina como 6 X, 6 C, 12 X tendrá una sustancia mensurable.

2) Homeopatía nunca ha tenido éxito en ensayos a gran escala bien diseñado. Los ensayos han trabajado sólo cuando homeópatas estaban haciendo los ensayos o ensayos mal diseñados con un poco de sesgo del autor.

Ensayos en homeopatía es un grupo heterogéneo muy. A veces las personas buscan en la fuente de información errónea. Muchos escépticos tome ensayos exitosos y señalar que cuando observamos ensayos más grandes en el estudio, la homeopatía no parece funcionar. Si bien las conclusiones de los autores fueron la homeopatía parece trabaja mejor que un placebo.

Sin embargo, algunos ensayos que tuvieron éxito fueron bastante grandes. Oscillococcinum ensayos eran bastante grandes y bien diseñados, pero todavía tuvo un resultado positivo en acortar la duración de la gripe. Estudios similares con Osccillococcinum se replicaron también. La idea de que los remedios homeopáticos nunca han tenido éxito en una prueba a gran escala bien diseñado no es cierto.

3) Homeopatía no debe utilizarse para tratar enfermedades mortal.

La homeopatía puede tratar potencialmente mortales enfermedades con la ayuda de un médico homeopático bien entrenado. También, el doctor en medicina general y otros especialistas que se ocupan del tratamiento de la enfermedad deben incluirse en el plan de tratamiento. Médicos siempre hay que ver si tiene una enfermedad amenazante de la vida. La homeopatía no puede curar todas las enfermedades mortal.

Muchas personas con enfermedades mortal han alisar bien con la homeopatía. Estudios clínicos de paludismo de Homeopatía muestran que en los ensayos que medicina homeopática trabajó como medicina convencional en el tratamiento de personas con la malaria.

4) La homeopatía y la medicina moderna no pueden trabajar juntos

La homeopatía puede ser bastante complementaria a la medicina moderna.Muchos pacientes bajo va quimioterapia han visto sus efectos secundarios reducidos al tomar remedios homeopáticos. Los ensayos con reducción de tratamientos de cáncer proporcionan resultados alentadores.

5) Medicina ayurveda, hierbas y Homeopatía son similares.

Homeopatía, hierbas y ayurvédica son formas de medicina alternativa, pero estas formas de medicina no son similares de cualquier otro modo. Homeopatía utilizar sustancias diluidas para tratar a los pacientes. Cada medicina ha sido diluida en agua o alcohol.

Fitoterapia es la medicina basada en el uso de plantas. Ayurveda es un antiguo sistema de medicina comenzado en la India que opera con la teoría de que todos los materiales de origen mineral, animal y vegetal tienen algún valor medicinal.

Ayurveda utilizar estos materiales para tratar a los pacientes. Ayurveda y medicamentos homeopáticos se utilizan bastante en la India por lo crea cierta confusión en la gente pensando que son lo mismo.

6) Homeopatía es lenta para trabajar

Condiciones agudas como la gripe, resfriados, mareo y dolor pueden ser tratadas rápidamente con los medicamentos homeopáticos. Las enfermedades crónicas son lentas trabajar porque son complicadas de tratar. Las enfermedades crónicas sería acné, eczema, síndrome del intestino irritable y tendrán más tiempo para tratar otras condiciones.

7) Homeopatía es sólo para uso humano.

En realidad, petmeds es uno de más rápido crecimiento del uso de medicamentos homeopáticos. La homeopatía ofrece una manera segura y barata para tratar su mascota de agudas condiciones tales como alergias, la ansiedad y el alivio de la tensión conjunta.

8) Puede obtener un libro sobre la homeopatía y tratar usted mismo.

Esto puede ocurrir en condiciones agudas como frío y gripe. Sin embargo, los casos más complicados y crónicos le exigirá que ver a un médico homeopático. Crónica trata generalmente teniendo bastantes recursos en el curso de un tratamiento. Un libro no puede decir qué remedios homeopáticos para tomar y cuánto tomar cuando su condición comienza a mejorar o empeorar.

9) Homeopáticos no están ampliamente disponibles.

Esto puede haber sido cierto hace algunos años. Sin embargo, muchos remedios se encuentran prácticamente en Estados Unidos. Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, destino y minoristas más grandes portadores de homeopáticos de combinación para condiciones agudas como fría y la gripe y el insomnio.

Solo remedios que homeópatas afirman trabajar lo mejor no son tan fácilmente disponibles. Estos recursos se pueden encontrar en las tiendas de alimentos, farmacias naturales o en Internet. Más especializados y generalmente más personas que toman remedios sencillos tengan conocimientos homeopáticos o un médico ha prescrito que la medicina.

10) Homeopáticos todos funcionan de la misma en todas las personas.

La homeopatía funciona diferente en diferentes personas. Homeopatía clásica trata a diferentes personas con diferentes recursos de acuerdo con su tipo de personalidad. Una persona puede utilizar un remedio para tratar una enfermedad, mientras que otra persona utilizaría un remedio diferente para tratar de la misma enfermedad.

Homeopatía asume que todo el mundo es diferente, así que utilizando el mismo remedio para tratar a todo el mundo no funciona de acuerdo con los directores de la homeopatía clásica. La medicina moderna generalmente da a todos la misma medicina para las condiciones generales.

Gonorrhea's Growing Resistance to Antibiotics Concerns CDC

(Extraído de Medline Plus)

New treatments, greater surveillance needed, agency says

By Robert Preidt

Thursday, July 7, 2011 THURSDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Gonorrhea appears to be growing increasingly resistant to drugs called cephalosporins, the only remaining class of antibiotics available to treat the sexually transmitted disease, according to a new report.

Researchers analyzed 10 years' worth of gonorrhea samples (isolates) from men in 30 U.S. cities. The samples were collected between January 2000 and June 2010 through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project.

The analysis revealed an increase in the proportion of samples with elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs), the lowest concentration of antibiotics needed to halt the growth of gonorrhea bacteria. These increases in MICs suggest a decline in gonorrhea's susceptibility to antibiotics, the researchers explained in a CDC news release.

During the study period, the percentage of gonorrhea samples exhibiting elevated MICs rose from 0.2 to 1.4 percent of samples for cefixime (an oral cephalosporin) and from 0.1 to 0.3 percent for ceftriaxone (an injectable cephalosporin).

To date, there are no recorded cases of patients with gonorrhea that couldn't be treated with these antibiotics in the United States.

The study is published in the July 8 edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The researchers called for increased efforts to develop new treatments and a boost in gonorrhea surveillance in order to identify emerging patterns of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhea as they occur.

Over time, gonorrhea has developed resistance to several antibiotics. The CDC currently recommends dual therapy of cephalosporins with either azithromycin or doxycycline. Treatment options would become substantially limited if gonorrhea becomes resistant to cephalosporins, the researchers warned.

Left untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility in women and increase the risk of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, for men and women.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, July 7, 2011

A Link Between Omega-6 and Chronic Disease—Does Ancestry Play a Role?

(Extraído de NCCAM)

A population's ancestral background may affect how omega-6 fatty acids are processed and used by the body, according to a 2011 study funded in part by NCCAM. Omega-6 fatty acids—also known as n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)—are important for maintaining proper cellular function in the human body and, in particular, play a role in immunity and inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids, found in foods such as margarine and vegetable oils, differ from omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish.

Researchers at Wake Forest University, The Johns Hopkins University, and The University of Chicago studied DNA and blood samples in African Americans and European Americans to see if human ancestry affects how omega-6 fatty acids are metabolized in the body. The researchers showed that a segment of DNA, known as a fatty acid desaturase (FADS) cluster, is responsible for the efficient conversion of dietary medium chain omega-6 fatty acids to long chain omega-6 fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, which then have the potential to increase inflammation in the body. The researchers found that African Americans may have higher levels of arachidonic acid in their blood due to a genetic variation in the FADS cluster, which is much more prevalent among populations of African descent than European descent. This study builds on previous research that has shown that genetic variations may be associated with an increase of arachidonic acid in the blood, as well as inflammation and other inflammatory disorders.

The researchers concluded that this genetic difference, in addition to a diet that is high in medium chain omega-6 fatty acids, may contribute to the chronic diseases prevalent within the African American population. Further studies are necessary to better understand the genetics that influence omega-6 fatty acid pathways. The results of this study emphasize the importance of tailoring dietary recommendations to a specific population.

Reference

Fuglesang survives homeopathic pill overdose

(Extraído de The Local)

Published: 7 Jul 11 13:05 CET

A group from a Swedish science organisation, with astronaut Christer Fuglesang in the lead, took an overdose of sleeping pills in Almedalen, at 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

"We're risking our lives for science," wrote Fuglesang in an opinion piece for newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, signed by the organisation Vetenskap och Folkbildning (VoF), a non-profit organisation working towards promoting popular science education, and discrediting false science.
This act is an effort to get the inefficiency of homeopathic medicine, commonly used in Sweden today, on the agenda.
Fuglesang and nine others took ten times the recommended dose of homeopathic sleeping pill Coffea Alfaplex.
"Either we die, and for the first time the effect of homeopathy will be proven. Or we survive, in which case we expect Swedish politicians to rethink their stand on alternative medicine's use in healthcare," they wrote in Svenska Dagbladet.
Homeopathy is an alternative form of medicine based on the idea that the effect of a remedy grows stronger the more water the cure is diluted with.
According to the organisation, in Sweden homeopathic medicines must be diluted at least 10,000 times.
It's illegal to use these treatments against cancer and certain other physical diseases in Sweden today, but VoF feel that this ban ought to be extended.
"This is an important matter to debate, since the use of alternative medicine is so common in Sweden," Dan Larhammar, Professor of Neuroscience at Uppsala Universitet and active member of VoF, told The Local on Thursday.
The opinion piece lists the clinic Järnakliniken, outside of Stockholm and part of the patient choice programme Vårdval Stockholm, as one of the places where patients may be treated with anthroposophical medicines that do more harm than good.
"We hope the use of homeopathy will cease, seeing as how it's pure humbug. And above all, the state and country councils should not stand behind such humbug," said Larhammar to The Local.
A crowd of around one hundred curious visitors came to see Christer Fuglesang's overdose this afternoon.
"I feel just fine. I guess I feel neither better nor worse than just before taking this overdose," he told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet afterwards.

Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se/08 656 6518)

Según un estudio, el masaje supera a los medicamentos para el dolor de espalda baja

(Extraído de Healthfinder.gov)

Tanto el masaje de relajación como el estructural funcionaron a corto plazo, informan investigadores

Por Maureen Salamon

MARTES, 5 de julio (HealthDay News / www.HolaDoctor.com) -- La terapia con masaje podría ser mejor que los fármacos o el ejercicio para aliviar el dolor de espalda baja a corto plazo, sugiere un nuevo estudio financiado por el gobierno.

Investigadores de Seattle reclutaron a 401 pacientes, la mayoría mujeres blancas de mediana edad, que sufrían de dolor crónico de espalda baja.

Los que recibieron una serie de masajes de relajación o estructurales fueron más capaces de trabajar y estar activos durante hasta un año que los que recibieron la "atención médica usual", que incluía analgésicos, antiinflamatorios, relajantes musculares o fisioterapia, hallaron los investigadores.

El autor líder del estudio Daniel Cherkin, director del Instituto de Investigación en Salud Grupal, dijo que esperaba que el masaje estructural, que manipula músculos y ligamentos específicos de la espalda relacionados con el dolor, resultaría superior al masaje de relajación, también conocido como masaje sueco, que busca fomentar una sensación de relajación en todo el cuerpo.

El masaje estructural, que se enfoca en anomalías de los tejidos blandos, requiere más capacitación y podría tener más probabilidades de que los planes de seguro de salud lo paguen, ya que lo equiparan con la fisioterapia, apuntó Cherkin.

"Pensaba que el masaje estructural sería al menos un poco mejor, pero no fue así", señaló Cherkin. "Si sigue teniendo problemas con el dolor de espalda baja incluso tras probar la atención médica usual, el masaje podría ser bueno. Creo que los resultados son bastante firmes".

El estudio, financiado por el Centro Nacional de Medicina Complementaria y Alternativa, parte de los Institutos Nacionales de Salud de EE. UU., aparece en la edición del 5 de julio de la revista Annals of Internal Medicine.

Los participantes fueron asignados a uno de tres grupos: masaje estructural, masaje de relajación o atención usual. Los de los grupos de masaje recibieron tratamientos de masaje de una hora de duración semanalmente durante diez semanas.

A las diez semanas, más de un tercio de los que recibieron uno de los dos tipos de masaje aseguraron que su dolor de espalda estaba mucho mejor o había desaparecido, frente a apenas uno de cada 25 pacientes que recibieron la atención usual, según el estudio. Los de los grupos de masaje también tenían el doble de probabilidades de haber pasado menos días en cama, usado menos antiinflamatorios y haber participado en más actividad en ese periodo que el grupo de atención estándar.

A los seis meses, ambos tipos de masaje seguían relacionándose con una mejor función, dijo Cherkin, pero tras un año, el dolor y la función eran casi iguales en los tres grupos.

Cherkin anotó que la mayoría de estadounidenses experimentarán dolor de la espalda baja en algún momento de sus vidas, y dijo que otro beneficio del masaje es su relativa seguridad.

"Quizás uno de diez pacientes sintió dolor durante o después del masaje, pero la mayoría de ellos dijo que era un 'buen dolor'", señaló. "Un buen terapeuta masajista se sintonizará con el paciente y le preguntará qué le duele".

Una de las debilidades del estudio estribó en que los que fueron asignados a la atención usual sabían que los demás recibían terapia de masaje, y quizás ser excluidos los haya decepcionado, sesgando su mejora reportada, apuntó el Dr. Robert Duarte, director del Centro de Tratamiento del Dolor y de la Cefalea del Sistema de Salud North Shore-LIJ de Manhasset, Nueva York.

"Creo que la terapia de masaje puede ser útil para los pacientes de dolor de espalda, pero más como una terapia complementaria", añadió Duarte.

Más información

El Instituto Nacional de Trastornos Neurológicos y Accidente Cerebrovascular de los EE. UU. tiene más información sobre el dolor de espalda baja.

Artículo por HealthDay, traducido por HolaDoctor

(FUENTES: Daniel Cherkin, Ph.D., director, Group Health Research Institute, Seattle; Robert Duarte, M.D., director, Pain and Headache Treatment Center, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Manhasset, N.Y.; July 5, 2011, Annals of Internal Medicine)

miércoles, 6 de julio de 2011

Effects of oral dosage form and storage period on the antioxidant properties of four species used in traditional herbal medicine.

(Extraído de PubMed)

Phytother Res. 2011 Apr;25(4):484-92. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3284. Epub 2010 Aug 24.

 

Guimarães R, Barreira JC, Barros L, Carvalho AM, Ferreira IC.

Source

CIMO/Escola Superior Agrária, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, Apartado 1172, 5301-855 Bragança, Portugal.

Abstract

Herbal infusions and decoctions in water are some of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. Although water is not a good solvent for many of the active components in herbs, liquid preparations are rich in several bioactive compounds. Most of them have powerful antioxidant activity and have been related to medicinal herbs' properties. Herein, decoctions and infusions in water of lemon-verbena (Aloysia citrodora) aerial parts and leaves, fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) and spearmint (Mentha spicata) aerial parts with different periods of storage (0, 30, 60 and 120 days), were prepared. The effects of the method of preparation and storage period on their antioxidant properties were analysed. For all the analysed species, infusions gave better results than the corresponding decoctions. Spearmint infusions showed the highest antioxidant properties, at all the storage periods, probably due to the highest levels and synergy between phenolics, flavonoids and ascorbic acid found in this sample. Linear discriminant analysis confirmed that the length of storage period has a significant influence on the antioxidant activity and antioxidant content. Flavonoids and reducing sugars proved to be the parameters that most highly contributed to cluster individual groups according to different periods of storage.

Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction.

(Extraído de PubMed)

Int J Impot Res. 2011 Jan-Feb;23(1):32-8. Epub 2011 Jan 13.

 

Aldemir M, Okulu E, Neşelioğlu S, Erel O, Kayıgil O.

Source

Department of 2nd Urology, Atatürk Teaching and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey. drmaldemir@yahoo.com.tr

Abstract

We investigated the effects of Antep pistachio on International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores, penile color Doppler ultrasound (PCDU) parameters and serum lipid levels in patients with ED. A total of 17 married male patients with ED for at least 12 months were included in this prospective study. Patients were put on a 100 g pistachio nuts diet for 3 weeks. IIEF and PCDU were evaluated before and after the pistachio diet. In addition, plasma total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglyceride were measured before and after dietary modifications from all subjects. Mean IIEF-15 score was 36 ± 7.5 before the diet and 54.2 ± 4.9 after the diet (P=0.001). Similarly, an increase in all five domains of IIEF was observed after the diet (P<0.05). Mean peak systolic velocity values before and after the pistachio diet were 35.5 ± 15.2 and 43.3 ± 12.4 cm s(-1), respectively (P=0.018). After the pistachio diet, TC and LDL levels decreased significantly, whereas HDL level increased (P=0.008, 0.007 and 0.001, respectively). We demonstrated that a pistachio diet improved IIEF scores and PCDU parameters without any associated side effects in patients with ED. Furthermore, the lipid parameters showed statistically significant improvements after this diet.

Effect of Korean red ginseng on arterial stiffness in subjects with hypertension.

(Extraído de PubMed)

J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Jan;17(1):45-9. Epub 2011 Jan 16.

Rhee MY, Kim YS, Bae JH, Nah DY, Kim YK, Lee MM, Kim HY.

Source

Graduate School of Medicine, Dongguk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. mooyong_rhee@dumc.or.kr

Abstract
OBJECTIVES:

Korean red ginseng (KRG) improves endothelial function and lower blood pressure (BP), which may affect arterial stiffness. The present study evaluated whether KRG treatment could improve arterial stiffness in subjects with hypertension.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Eighty (80) participants with hypertension who were treated with antihypertensive agents were randomly assigned to an active (KRG 3 g/day) or a placebo treatment group in a double-blind manner. Participants were not allowed to change their antihypertensive medications. Systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were measured at baseline, and at 1, 2, and 3 months. Arterial stiffness was assessed by the measurement of brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) at baseline, and at 1 and 3 months.

RESULTS:

Thirty (30) subjects in the active group (AG) and 34 subjects in the placebo group (PG) completed 3 months of treatment and then a per-protocol analysis was done. SBP and DBP at baseline, and at 1, 2, and 3 months were not different between the AG and PG (p>0.05). After 3 months of treatment, SBP of AG was not changed from SBP at baseline. However, DBP of AG, and SBP and DBP of PG after 3 months of treatment were significantly reduced (p<0.05). baPWV of both groups was significantly reduced at 1 and 3 months (p<0.05), but was not different between the groups at each time point. Analysis after adjustment for age, time-dependent mean arterial BP, heart rate, and levels of fasting blood glucose and triglycerides showed no significant difference between AG and PG in changes of baPWV from baseline to 1 and 3 months (p>0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Three (3) months' treatment with KRG did not improve arterial stiffness in subjects with hypertension.

Effects and mechanisms of actions of Chinese herbal medicines for asthma.

(Extraído de PubMed)

Chin J Integr Med. 2011 Jul;17(7):483-91. Epub 2011 Jul 3.

Hong ML, Song Y, Li XM.

Source

Center for Chinese Medicine for Allergy and Asthma, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Pediatric Department, Division of Allergy and Immunology, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, 10029-6574, USA.

Abstract

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of airways that affects approximately 300 million adults and children worldwide. Most therapy currently uses bronchodilators and corticosteroids. Systemic side effects from chronic use of these drugs are concern. Chinese medicine (CM) has a long history of human use in China and other Asian countries and well received by the patients. But as one component of Western integrative medicine (WIM), it is required that CM use is supported by scientific evidence. On the other hand, there are also suggestions that Western standardized medicine should consider personalized practice. In recent years there have been an increasing studies to narrow the gap between CM, the personalized medicine and Western medicine, evidence based medicine. This communication reviews several CM studies published in the English language in details by reviewing the effects and mechanisms of actions on asthma from clinic and experimental studies.Chinese herbal medicines exhibit broad actions on multiple asthma pathologic mechanisms. These mechanisms may involve antiinflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, inhibiting airway remodeling and normalization of hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal (HPA)-axis disturbances. However, the mechanisms of actions of Chinese herbal medicines for asthma are not fully understood. More controlled clinical studies are warranted and some anti-asthma CM may be proved to be effective when used as monotherapy or complementary asthma therapies.

Reduction of blood lead levels in lead-exposed mice by dietary supplements and natural antioxidants.

(Extraído de PubMed)

J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Feb;91(3):485-91. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4210. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Jiao J, Lü G, Liu X, Zhu H, Zhang Y.

Source

Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.

Abstract
BACKGROUND:

Lead exposure is a global environmental problem that induces lifelong adverse health effects. Our aim was to investigate the effect of dietary supplements and natural antioxidants on blood lead levels (BLL) in lead-exposed mice, and observe their impact on the absorption of calcium, iron and zinc in vivo.

RESULTS:

All of selected dietary supplements (calcium lactate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, ascorbic acid and calcium-rich milk) and natural antioxidants (extract of Chinese wolfberry, extract of Hangzhou white chrysanthemum and antioxidant extract of bamboo leaves) have promising capacity of reducing BLL in lead-exposed mice with an reduction range from 56.2% to 65.1%. The metal ion-mediated chelating and competitively inhibitory mechanisms may elucidate their reduction effect. Besides, blood calcium, iron and zinc levels were not significantly changed in all of the experimental groups, indicating that the intake of all additives does not disturb the absorption of essential mineral elements in mice.

CONCLUSION:

All the studied additives not only effectively reduce BLL, but also maintain normal calcium, iron and zinc absorption in mice. The formulation of calcium, iron and zinc supplements and/or polyphenol and vitamin-rich antioxidants may constitute an important secondary prevention effort to reduce BLL and lead exposure.

2010 Society of Chemical Industry.

PMID:
21218482
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Chemical composition and antifungal activity of the essential oils of Lavandula viridis L'Her.

(Extraído de PubMed)

Zuzarte M, Gonçalves MJ, Cavaleiro C, Canhoto J, Vale-Silva L, Silva MJ, Pinto E, Salgueiro L.

Source

Center of Pharmaceutical Studies, Faculty of Pharmacy, Health Science Campus, University of Coimbra, Azinhaga de S. Comba, 3000-354 Coimbra, Portugal.

Abstract

In the present work we report for what we believe to be the first time the antifungal activity and mechanism of action of the essential oils of Lavandula viridis from Portugal. The essential oils were isolated by hydrodistillation and analysed by GC and GC/MS. The MIC and the minimal lethal concentration (MLC) of the essential oil and its major compounds were determined against several pathogenic fungi. The influence of subinhibitory concentrations of the essential oil on the dimorphic transition in Candida albicans was also studied, as well as propidium iodide and FUN-1 staining of Candida albicans cells by flow cytometry following short treatments with the essential oil. The oils were characterized by a high content of oxygen-containing monoterpenes, with 1,8-cineole being the main constituent. Monoterpene hydrocarbons were present at lower concentrations. According to the determined MIC and MLC values, the dermatophytes and Cryptococcus neoformans were the most sensitive fungi (MIC and MLC values ranging from 0.32 to 0.64 µl ml⁻¹), followed by Candida species (at 0.64-2.5 µl ml⁻¹). For most of these strains, MICs were equivalent to MLCs, indicating a fungicidal effect of the essential oil. The oil was further shown to completely inhibit filamentation in Candida albicans at concentrations well below the respective MICs (as low as MIC/16). Flow cytometry results suggested a mechanism of action ultimately leading to cytoplasmic membrane disruption and cell death. Our results show that L. viridis essential oils may be useful in the clinical treatment of fungal diseases, particularly dermatophytosis and candidosis, although clinical trials are required to evaluate the practical relevance of our in vitro research.

PMID:
21321363
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Herbal treatments for alleviating premenstrual symptoms: a systematic review.

(Extraído de PubMed)

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2011 Mar;32(1):42-51. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

Dante G, Facchinetti F.

Source

Mother Infant Department, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via del Pozzo 71, Modena, Italy.

Abstract

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition of cyclical and recurrent physical and psychological discomfort occurring 1 to 2 weeks before menstrual period. More severe psychological symptoms have been described for the premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). No single treatment is universally recognised as effective and many patients often turn to therapeutic approaches outside of conventional medicine. This systematic review is aimed at analysing the effects of herb remedies in the above conditions. Systematic literature searches were performed in electronic databases, covering the period January 1980 to September 2010. Randomised controlled clinical trials (RCTs) were included. Papers quality was evaluated with the Jadad' scale. A further evaluation of PMS/PMDD diagnostic criteria was also done. Of 102 articles identified, 17 RCTs were eligible and 10 of them were included. The heterogeneity of population included, study design and outcome presentation refrained from a meta-analysis. Vitex agnus castus was the more investigated remedy (four trials, about 500 women), and it was reported to consistently ameliorate PMS better than placebo. Single trials also support the use of either Gingko biloba or Crocus sativus. On the contrary, neither evening primrose oil nor St. John's Wort show an effect different than placebo. None of the herbs was associated with major health risks, although the reduced number of tested patients does not allow definitive conclusions on safety. Some herb remedies seem useful for the treatment of PMS. However, more RCTs are required to account for the heterogeneity of the syndrome.

PMID:
21171936
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Remedio natural para la comezón

(Extraído de Pueblo y Sociedad)
by JoseR RP

Puede ser duro pensar en algo más desagradable que el malestar y picar en el área anal sensible. Cualquier apertura en el cuerpo que ha expuesto las membranas delicadas es particularmente una área delicada. La irritación de la piel y las células membranosas estimulan las terminaciones nerviosas que alternadamente, causan una sensación de picor. Esto puede ser muy difícil si el picor ocurre en público, o aún en privado!

La forma natural
Muy puede ser hecho para apoyar las membranas y los tejidos anales sanos y para desalentar el picar. Evite los papeles de inodoro pre-humedecidos (contienen perfume, alcohol o un preservativo) que pueden causar picor. Evite los geles que hacen espuma en bañeras y jabones perfumados. El sentarse en una tina de agua tibia (no caliente) puede ser una de las maneras más fáciles de calmar el ano.

Los remedios naturales pueden también ayudar a calmar las membranas internas. De hecho, los remedios naturales se han utilizado en la medicina tradicional por millares de años para apoyar el funcionamiento sano de la epidermis.

Considere un remedio natural seguro, que contiene 100% ingredientes homeopáticos seleccionados para aliviar temporalmente el picor anal , sensaciones de quemadura y malestar total. Es seguro de utilizar y no dañará el tejido y las membranas anales delicadas.

Este remedio natural apoya la piel calmada en el área anal, sin efectos secundarios nocivos y contiene una selección de ingredientes homeopáticos conocidos para tratar el malestar anal .

* Fagopyrum 12C está bien adaptado cuando el picar con inflamación e irritación comunes está presente.

* Croton 6C apunta para tratar la comezón que tiende a entrar en erupción repentinamente, y dura algunos días, después para, sólo para empezar algunos días más adelante.

* Aesculus 12C trabaja en las membranas mucosas del recto (también si hay sequedad y calor alrededor del recto)

* Azufre 12C se utiliza para erupciones alrededor del ano que son rojas y adoloridas, con picor se siente como que necesita ser rascado.

* Kali Sulph 6X se encuentra en las células y en los líquidos intercelulares del epitelio, este ingrediente es el portador del oxígeno. La epidermis y células epiteliales son apoyados por este remedio.

* Cina 6C se utiliza para tratar la necesidad de rozaduras el recto, y trata el picor.

Tendrá Tabasco Hospital 'verde'

(Extraído de Tabasco Hoy)

Publicado: Miércoles, 6 de Julio del 2011, a las 05:03 hrs.
Por: Víctor Esquivel
Villahermosa, Tabasco

La herbolaria será uno de los servicios junto a la homeopatía y acupuntura. El nosocomio de Villa Benito Juárez en Macuspana ofrecerá a los pacientes la opción de llevar un tratamiento

Como una alternativa para curar sus males, médicos especialistas proponen la inclusión de remedios herbolarios propios de la región al esquema médico de Tabasco con las llamadas “Farmacias Verdes” que permitiría ofrecer a los pacientes la opción de elegir entre un tratamiento científico y la herbolaria. La Bióloga Denia Domínguez, Responsable del Programa de Parteras y Desarrollo Intercultural de la Secretaría de Salud, reveló que hay en puerta un programa piloto de medicina alternativa en el Hospital de la Villa Benito Juárez, Macuspana, donde se concentra la mayor población indígena de la entidad.
“Actualmente el hospital está a cargo de la Secretaría de Salud, pero se está a la espera de que Instituto para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas nos autorice los recursos necesarios para la remodelación del hospital para la instalación de módulos de medicina tradicional, homeopatía y acupuntura, parto vertical y otras ahí, el paciente va a poder elegir si quiere curarse con la medicina científica o herbolaria”, expresó.
Por su parte Miguel Alberto Magaña Alejandro, Profesor Investigador de la UJAT, señaló que en la entidad existen más de 500 especies de plantas medicinales conocidas y que pueden ofrecer resultados favorables para un sin fin de enfermedades entre ellas la diabetes y el cáncer en sus etapas iniciales. Cabe señalar que en México se cuenta con más de 15 hospitales con modalidad en medicina tradicional y un aproximado de diez “farmacias verdes” que surten tanto a centros de salud como a clínicas medicamentos herbolarios, Oaxaca, Puebla, Nayarit y Guerrero, son de los pocos estados que cuentan con este tipo de alternativas médicas.

Descubren posible causa de alergias

(Extraído de Informador.com.mx)

La proteína profilina está contenida en el polen del Amaranthus Palmeri (una planta comestible conocida como quelite)

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO (04/JUL/2011).- Una posible causa de más de la mitad de las alergias en el país podría ser originadas por la proteína profilina, contenida en el polen del Amaranthus Palmeri (una planta comestible conocida como quelite), de acuerdo con una investigación que realiza la Escuela Nacional de Medicina y Homeopatía del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (ENMH-IPN).
El doctor César Augusto Sandino Reyes, responsable de la investigación, dijo que de las personas que se han sometido a algún estudio sobre alergia en los institutos Nacionales de Salud del país, la mitad muestra susceptibilidad al polen del Amaranthus palmeri. “El mexicano tiene predisposición muy alta para reaccionar en forma alérgica a este polvo”.
En diversos instancias de salud se cuenta con el registro de alta incidencia de alergias a causa del polen del Amaranthus palmeri, así lo señaló Sandino Reyes. “Anteriormente no había estudios sobre los componentes alergénicos de este polen que se transporta de manera natural en el aire y puede viajar 200 kilómetros del lugar donde se cosecha.
La investigación del IPN consistió en caracterizar de manera molecular la profilina del polen que es la causante de la alergia, así como determinar su composición alergénica.
Cabe señalar que hay personas que tienen una predisposición genética a sufrir estas reacciones alérgicas (del 25 al 30 por ciento de los habitantes) y que por su composición de genes se vuelve susceptible a desarrollar alguna alergia.
Por el momento, investigadores de la ENMH del IPN aislaron la proteína profilina del polen, uno de los principales componentes alergénicos que se encuentra en esta planta, para después purificarla y secuenciar parcialmente sus aminoácidos.
El siguiente paso es clonar esta proteína y producirla in vitro para hacer estudios clínicos y a nivel molecular determinar con mayor precisión la importancia clínica de este alérgeno.
La finalidad de esta investigación es conocer cuál es el contenido de proteínas antigénicas en el polen de esta planta, y la meta es desarrollar moléculas hipalergénicas que puedan ser utilizadas en el tratamiento de alergias, por ejemplo, en forma de una vacuna que permita desensibilizar a las personas frente a esta proteína.
Hasta el momento se ha identificado la proteína profilina como causante de alergia. Sin embargo, el polen del Amaranthus palmeri tiene por lo menos siete sustancias más con estas mismas características.
El Amaranthus palmeri no es endémica de México, tiene distribución en el norte del continente americano, y se han reportado casos de alergia en la India, Irak e Irán; entre los síntomas de este malestar se encuentra molestia nasal, lagrimeo y dificultad para respirar en personas que desarrollan asma alérgico.
En la investigación participan los doctores  Laurence Marchat Marchau, Claudia Benítez Cardoza y Absalom  Zamorano Carrillo de la ENMH; Luis Terán Juárez del INER; Guillermo Mendoza de la Facultad de Medicina de la UNAM, Alejandro  Rosas Alvarado del Hospital General, y el estudiante de posgrado César Manuel Landa Pineda.

El ambiente podría ser particularmente importante en el autismo, según un estudio

(Extraído de Yahoo News)

Otra investigación encuentra que ciertos antidepresivos tomados durante el embarazo podrían influir en el riesgo

Por Jenifer Goodwin
Reportero de Healthday

LUNES, 4 de julio (HealthDay News / www.HolaDoctor.com) -- Al contrario de lo que se piensa actualmente, los factores ambientales podrían desempeñar un papel más importante que los genes compartidos en el desarrollo del autismo, sugiere un estudio reciente con gemelos.

Un segundo estudio en la misma revista encuentra que los antidepresivos durante el embarazo podrían ser un importante desencadenante ambiental.

En el primer estudio, investigadores de la Universidad de Stanford identificaron a 192 parejas de gemelos de un registro estatal de California de niños que reciben servicios por discapacidades del desarrollo. Al menos uno de los gemelos había sido diagnosticado con un trastorno del espectro autista, que los investigadores confirmaron mediante exámenes y pruebas con cada niño.

El estudio incluyó a 54 parejas de gemelos idénticos (lo que quiere decir que comparten todos los genes) y 138 pares de gemelos fraternales (que comparten la mitad de los genes).

En alrededor del 42.5 por ciento de los pares de sexo masculino y 43 por ciento de los de sexo femenino de gemelos idénticos ambos gemelos sufrían de autismo. En cerca del 12.9 por ciento de los pares fraternos de sexo masculino y 20 por ciento de los de sexo femenino de gemelos fraternales ambos gemelos sufrían de autismo, apuntaron los investigadores.

No es sorprendente que en los gemelos idénticos ambos tuvieran más probabilidades de tener autismo, dado que compartían todos los genes, explicó el autor líder del estudio, el Dr. Joachim Hallmayer, profesor asociado de psiquiatría y ciencias conductuales de la Universidad de Stanford. La investigación ha sugerido que la genética tiene que ver con el desarrollo del autismo.

Sin embargo, si un trastorno se debiera totalmente a la genética, ambos hermanos en cada pareja de gemelos idénticos lo sufrirían, lo que no sucede en el autismo.

Eso significa que el ambiente, ya sea en el útero o a inicios de la vida, tiene un papel importante, explicaron los investigadores

Según sus cálculos, esto significa que los genes dan cuenta del 37 por ciento del riesgo de autismo "clásico" o grave, y 38 por ciento del riesgo de trastornos del espectro autista más leves. Según los mismos cálculos, los factores ambientales podrían explicar el 55 por ciento del riesgo de autismo y 58 por ciento del riesgo de un trastorno del espectro autista, concluyó el equipo de la Stanford.

"Me sorprendió mucho. La influencia ambiental es mayor de lo que pensaba", dijo Hallmayer. "Esto no quiere decir que los genes no tengan nada que ver, pero tal vez no tanto como se pensaba".

Estudios anteriores con gemelos habían sugerido que la genética da cuenta de alrededor del 90 por ciento del riesgo de autismo. Sin embargo, los investigadores señalaron que a diferencia del estudio de la Stanford, esos estudios no incluyeron evaluaciones clínicas estándares de los diagnósticos de autismo.

El estudio de la Stanford aparece en la edición en línea del 4 de julio de la revista Archives of General Psychiatry.

La investigación es interesante, y un buen recordatorio de que es importante que los investigadores busquen desencadenantes ambientales del autismo, comentó el Dr. Gary Goldstein, presidente y director ejecutivo del Instituto Kennedy Krieger en Baltimore.

Sin embargo, un vistazo más cercano a las estadísticas muestra que tal vez no sean tan potentes como parece, dijo Goldstein. Las estadísticas tienen un amplio "intervalo de confianza", o rango de incertidumbre. Por ejemplo, para la influencia genética en el autismo el intervalo de confianza fue de entre 9 y 81 por ciento, o sea que hay una probabilidad de que la cifra real caiga en cualquier punto de ese rango, señaló.

"Creo que todos los que están en el campo consideran que la genética es importante para el autismo, y que el ambiente también debe estar involucrado. Pero no sabemos exactamente cuáles son esos factores ambientales, y cómo interactúan con los genes", comentó Goldstein. "Este estudio respalda aún más que debemos observar tanto los genes como el ambiente".

Las influencias "ambientales" son todo lo que no esté en el código genético. Investigaciones han sugerido que una variedad de factores posibles, entre ellos una edad materna o paterna avanzada, la tecnología de reproducción asistida y la inseminación artificial, las infecciones de la madre en el embarazo, los partos múltiples, la prematuridad, el bajo peso al nacer y las complicaciones del parto podrían estar entre los factores ambientales.

Una teoría muy publicitada que ha sido desacreditada era que la vacuna SPR era un desencadenante, pero se halló que la investigación fue fraudulenta. "Este estudio no debe llevar a un replanteamiento del tema de las vacunas", advirtió Goldstein.

Otro posible factor ambiental es el uso de ciertos fármacos durante el embarazo, entre ellos los antidepresivos.

En otro estudio que también aparece en la edición en línea de la revista, los investigadores encontraron un riesgo doble para un trastorno del espectro autista entre los niños cuyas madres tomaron antidepresivos conocidos como inhibidores selectivos de la recaptación de la serotonina (ISRS) durante el embarazo, y ese riesgo era más de tres veces mayor si las madres tomaron los fármacos a inicios del embarazo, frente a niños que no sufrían del trastorno.

Entre los ISRS se encuentran antidepresivos ampliamente usados como Celexa, Paxil, Prozac y Zoloft.

Sin embargo, los investigadores del Programa de Atención Médica de Kaiser Permanente del Norte de California advirtieron que el número de niños del estudio expuestos a ISRS en el útero fue bajo. Señalan que se necesitan más estudios para validar los resultados.

Alrededor del 6.7 por ciento de las mujeres que tenían un hijo con autismo reportaron tomar antidepresivos en el embarazo, frente a 3.3 por ciento de los controles, o mujeres que no tenían un hijo con autismo, dijeron los investigadores.

Aunque los riesgos y beneficios de tomar cualquier fármaco en el embarazo se deben sopesar cuidadosamente, la Dra. Natalie Meirowitz, jefa de la división de medicina maternofetal del Centro Médico Judío de Long Island en New Hyde Park, aconsejó a las futuras madres que sufren de depresión no abandonar sus medicamentos.

La depresión en sí conlleva un riesgo para madre y bebé. Las mujeres deprimidas pueden automedicarse con drogas y alcohol, no comer bien ni acudir a sus citas prenatales, o ser incapaces de cuidar a sus bebés tras el nacimiento, apuntó Meirowitz.

"El embarazo es una época muy emotiva para las mujeres, y sabemos que una mujer que abandona sus medicamentos necesita mucho respaldo", dijo. "La decisión de abandonar un medicamento se debe tomar muy cuidadosamente, junto con el psiquiatra, el obstetra y la pareja de la mujer. No se debe tomar a la ligera".

Más información

El Instituto Nacional de Salud Mental de EE. UU. ofrece más información sobre el autismo.

Artículo por HealthDay, traducido por HolaDoctor

(FUENTES: Joachim Hallmayer, M.D., associate professor, psychiatry and behavioral science, Stanford University School of Medicine; Natalie Meirowitz, M.D., chief, division of maternal fetal medicine, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Gary Goldstein, M.D., president and CEO, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, Md.; July 4, 2011, online Archives of General Psychiatry)

FDA Drug Safety Communication: Children born to mothers who took Valproate products while pregnant may have impaired cognitive development

(Extraído de FDA.gov)

[6-30-2011] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the public that children born to mothers who take the anti-seizure medication valproate sodium or related products (valproic acid and divalproex sodium) during pregnancy have an increased risk of lower cognitive test scores than children exposed to other anti-seizure medications during pregnancy. This conclusion is based on the results of epidemiologic studies that show that children born to mothers who took valproate sodium or related products throughout their pregnancy tend to score lower on cognitive tests (IQ and other tests) than children born to mothers who took other anti-seizure medications during pregnancy.

Facts about Valproate

  • Valproate products are FDA-approved drugs to treat seizures, and manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder), and to prevent migraine headaches. They are also used off-label (for unapproved uses) for other conditions, particularly for other psychiatric conditions.

  • Valproate products include: valproate sodium (Depacon), divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote CP, and Depakote ER), valproic acid (Depakene and Stavzor), and their generics.

In the primary epidemiologic study upon which FDA’s conclusion is based, cognitive tests were performed at age three. In supportive studies, cognitive tests were performed at ages five to 16. Cognitive tests are commonly used to assess development in a variety of areas, including intelligence, abstract reasoning, and problem solving.

The long-term effects on cognitive development from exposure to valproate sodium or related products during pregnancy are unknown. It is also not known whether these effects occur when fetal exposure is limited to less than the full duration of pregnancy, such as the first trimester.

FDA has evaluated all available evidence to date, and will be adding information about the risk of lower cognitive test scores to the valproate product labels in the Warnings and Precautions section, the Use in Specific Populations: Pregnancy section, and to the Medication Guides that are being developed for the valproate drug products.

FDA previously warned pregnant women and women of childbearing age about valproate use during pregnancy due to the known risk of birth defects (teratogenic effects) of these products. A teratogen is anything known to cause birth defects during development of an embryo or fetus. Valproate products are assigned to Pregnancy Category D.  FDA released an Information for Healthcare Professionals1 communication in December 2009 on the risk of neural tube birth defects following exposure to valproate products during pregnancy. 

The benefits and the risks of valproate sodium and related products should be carefully weighed when prescribing these drugs to women of childbearing age, particularly for conditions not usually associated with permanent injury or death.  If the use of valproate is not essential, alternative medications that have a lower risk to the fetus of birth defects and adverse cognitive effects should be considered in pregnant women and women of childbearing age. If the decision is made to use valproate in women of childbearing age, effective birth control should be used.
(See Data Summary).

Additional Information for Patients

  • Valproate should not be stopped without talking to a healthcare professional, even in pregnant women. Stopping valproate suddenly can cause serious problems. Not treating epilepsy or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) during pregnancy can be harmful to women and their developing babies.
  • If you take valproate during pregnancy, know that there is a higher risk that your child may have birth defects or may score lower on cognitive tests (tests that measure mental ability and capacity, such as IQ tests) in childhood than if you use another anti-seizure medicine during pregnancy.
  • Women of childbearing age who decide to take valproate should use effective birth control (contraception) while taking the drug. Women should talk to their healthcare professionals about the best kind of birth control to use while taking valproate.
  • Before you start valproate, you should tell your healthcare professional if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. Healthcare professionals may discuss other treatment options with you.
  • You should tell your healthcare professional right away if you become pregnant while taking valproate. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you should continue to take valproate while you are pregnant.
  • If you become pregnant while taking valproate, you should talk to your healthcare professional about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-888-233-2334 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   1-888-233-2334 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. The purpose of this registry is to collect additional information about the safety of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. Information about the North American Drug Pregnancy Registry can be found at http://www.massgeneral.org/aed/2.
  • If you took valproate while pregnant, let your child’s pediatrician know.
  • Valproate passes into breast milk, but its effects on developing babies remain unknown. You should talk to your healthcare professional about the best way to feed your baby if you take valproate.
  • You should report any side effects you experience to the FDA MedWatch program using the information in the “Contact Us” box at the bottom of the page.

Additional Information for Healthcare Professionals

    • Inform women of childbearing age of the increased risk for adverse effects on cognitive development with prenatal valproate exposure.
    • Continue to counsel women of childbearing potential taking valproate about the increased risk of major malformations, including neural tube defects, when valproate is used during pregnancy.
    • Weigh the benefits and risks of valproate when prescribing this drug to women of childbearing age, particularly when treating a condition not usually associated with permanent injury or death. Alternative medications that have a lower risk of adverse birth outcomes should be considered. Healthcare professionals should discuss the relative risks and benefits of appropriate alternative therapies.
    • Untreated or inadequately treated epilepsy or bipolar disorder during pregnancy increases the risk of complications in both the pregnant mother and her developing baby.
    • If the decision is made to prescribe valproate to women of childbearing age, healthcare professionals should recommend use of effective contraception for women who are not planning a pregnancy.
    • Inform patients of the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry and encourage patients who become pregnant to enroll by calling 1-888-233-2334 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   1-888-233-2334 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
    • Report adverse events involving valproate to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact Us” box at the bottom of the page.

    Data Summary

    Several published epidemiological studies have indicated that children exposed to valproate in utero have lower cognitive test scores than children exposed to either another antiepileptic drug in utero or to no antiepileptic drugs in utero. The largest of these studies is a prospective cohort study conducted in the United States and United Kingdom that found children with prenatal exposure to valproate throughout pregnancy had lower Differential Ability Scale (D.A.S) scores at age 3 (92 [95% confidence interval 88 to 97]) than children with prenatal exposure to the other evaluated antiepileptic drug monotherapy treatments: lamotrigine (101 [95% confidence interval 98 to 104]), carbamazepine (98 [95% confidence interval 95 to 102]) and phenytoin (99 [95% confidence interval 94 to 104]).1 The D.A.S., which has a mean score of 100 (SD = 15), is a battery of cognitive tests designed for children 2.5 to 17 years of age. The D.A.S. is a measure of cognitive development performed in children who are too young to undergo IQ testing, and generally correlates with IQ scores later in childhood. Although all of the available studies have methodological limitations, the weight of the evidence supports the conclusion that valproate exposure in utero causes subsequent adverse effects on cognitive development in offspring.

    References

    1. Meador KJ, Baker GA, Browning N, et al. Cognitive function at 3 years of age after fetal exposure to antiepileptic drugs. N Engl J Med 2009;360:1597-605.
    2. Gaily E, Kantola-Sorsa E, Hiilesmaa V, et al. Normal intelligence in children with prenatal exposure to carbamazepine. Neurology 2004;62:28-32.
    3. Adab N, Jacoby AD, Chadwick D. Additional educational needs of children born to mothers with epilepsy. J Neuro Neurosurg Psychiatry 2001;70:15-21.
    4. Adab N, Kini U, Vinten J, et al. The longer term outcome of children born to mothers with epilepsy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2004;75:1575–83.

    Regulating traditional medicine

    (Extraído de The Staronline)

    By LOH FOON FONG
    starhealth@thestar.com.my

    In view of the lack of enforcement in alternative treatments, the Traditional & Complementary Medicine Bill is a much anticipated one.

    TRADITIONAL and complementary therapies have mushroomed in recent decades and the Health Ministry’s Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division estimates that there are 15,000 traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) practitioners in the country.

    Despite the numbers, there is no specific law governing these fields.

    Last year, the Division received more than 30 complaints relating to unethical practises, overcharging, and cheating, but the numbers are likely to be more because people are too embarrassed to complain, says the Division’s director Dr Ramli Abd Ghani.

    “Practitioners may claim that this or that herb can cure cancer, for instance, with no scientific proof,” he notes.

    Since there is currently no law on TCM practices, patients going for these treatments do so at their own risk. – Reuters

    Dr Ramli says for cancer patients, it is better to get modern medical treatment because there is no alternative or traditional treatment that has been scientifically proven to cure cancer, for now. “They should go to a hospital and get themselves examined first, and if they want to go for traditional treatment, they can add that as an adjunct treatment, which must be monitored by qualified medical personnel,” he says.

    Currently, the Health Ministry accepts TCM as adjunct treatment, not alternative treatment.

    A total of 85 types of herbs imported from China are used in the Health Ministry’s Hospital Putrajaya, Hospital Sultan Ismail in Johor Baru and Hospital Kepala Batas in Penang in their TCM divisions. These herbs are not for cancer treatment. Instead, they are used to overcome chemotherapy side effects.

    “When patients do not suffer from side effects, they are more likely to complete their chemotherapy. “That’s the best we can get out of herbs for now,” he says.

    Private hospitals providing similar integrated services are the Lam Wah Ee in Penang, Tungshin in Kuala Lumpur and Hospital Putra in Malacca.

    Government hospitals incorporating traditional treatments such as massage, acupuncture and Malay post-natal care include Hospital Sandakan, Hospital Sarawak and Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah in Trengganu.

    Challenges in TCM

    Many people who use TCM tend to think that the approach uses natural ingredients, and hence, there is no toxicity. Contrary to the perception, naturally occurring heavy metals as well as bacteria are found in herbs.

    “Before they take it, they have to check if their liver and kidneys are all right, because if these are damaged, the use of these herbs will worsen the condition,” says Dr Ramli.

    The concern is that there are more than 600 medical halls and they are not run by people who can monitor these conditions, he says.

    On top of that, there are also concerns about steroids and adulterated drugs or chemicals added into the herbs, he says.

    Former Malaysian Medical Association president Dr David Quek says that people should be cautious when using TCM.

    “They tend to go for it because it sounds more promising. For example, on the verge of losing one’s leg, they tend to opt not to lose their legs if they can and will try other treatments instead of amputation because it’s catastrophic and frightening,” he says.

    On patients who claim that they recover from diseases due to such treatments, Dr Quek says it can be due to the placebo effect, or even the fact that in a small number of cases, they recover no matter what they do or not do. Even in modern medicine, in rare cases, someone with a terrible heart condition, for instance, can live for years despite a poor prognosis, he observes.

    While he says he will not object if patients want to try out some supplements, they should consult their doctors first to prevent any drug interaction.

    Consultant breast surgeon and associate professor at Universiti Malaya Dr Nur Aishah Mohd Taib says some TCM researchers claim that certain products are anti-cancer based on tests in laboratories, but no clinical trials are carried out to prove the efficacy of the herbal products on humans.

    “This is unacceptable,” she says.

    Dr Nur Aishah urges the authorities to monitor all claims on cancer cures without proper clinical trials done on humans because it may not be effective and can be unsafe.

    While the scientific community does not accept TCM as evidence-based or standard treatment, the TCM industry does not necessarily believe that TCM is only for complementing modern treatment as per the Government’s stance.

    Federation of Complementary & Natural Medical Associations honorary secretary Tunku Badli Tunku Ibrahim says they usually ask the patient if he or she has seen the doctor and what the doctor’s advice is. “We take the case history and give our views, but the choice is the client’s and they can discuss with their family members,” he says.

    He says traditional and Chinese medicine (T&CM) are recognised in many Western countries, and they are decades ahead of Malaysia when it comes to established qualifications. The level of practice in Malaysia needs a boost in terms of professionalism and stringent monitoring.

    He says the problem is, there are many who attend courses (for a few days) and claim themselves to be practitioners while others may deceive customers with fake credentials.

    Professionalism in practice

    Dr Ramli says the Ministry hopes that the Traditional and Complementary Bill will be tabled very soon, since it did not get to be tabled in March, so that they can take disciplinary action against those who flout the law.

    “Currently, our hands are tied because there is no specific law governing the activities or to compel practitioners to adhere to guidelines,” he says.

    When the Act is in place, the Traditional & Complementary Medicine Council will be set up to look into the rules and regulations and matters pertaining to certification, he says.

    Dr Ramli says that many TCM practitioners also misuse the title “Dr”, especially in homeopathy therapies, and this will not be allowed unless approved by the council.

    Dr Ramli says the division is promoting voluntary registration of TCM practitioners in the country and 3,000 practitioners have registered themselves online.

    “We urge all practitioners to register now because once the bill is passed in Parliament, we will vet through the registration and issue a certificate on a first-come-first-serve basis,” he says.

    The Act will also ensure that those who wish to pursue TCM must have diplomas or degrees before they are allowed to practise.

    Dr Ramli says they are collaborating with universities and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) on proper places for the studies and also collaborating with the Human Resources Ministry’s Skills Development Department on getting spa therapists qualified.

    As for bomoh practices, they will be guided based on Islamic principles and be given diplomas, he says.

    Under the proposed law, practitioners have to adhere to a code of ethics, put patient safety first, refer them to the doctor if it is not their area of expertise, and ensure patient confidentiality, Dr Ramli explains.

    The Division has categorised traditional medicine into Malay, Chinese, Indian and homeopathy, while complementary medicine has been divided into four groups – mind and body (music therapy), biological, energy medicine and manipulative therapy.

    A therapy is considered a wellness programme if it is not evidence-based treatment, such as a spa programme, but if it is evidence-based, such as acupuncture or certain herbs that help with certain health problems, they are considered therapeutic, says Dr Ramli.

    The Government is also collaborating with the government of China and India on traditional treatments, he says.

    Every year, 10 to 20 Malaysian students study in three recognised TCM universities in China – Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, he says, adding that in China, a traditional medicine pharmacy degree course requires four years of study.

    Malaysia has also signed a memorandum of understanding with India and the latter has offered short-term courses to Malaysians, he says.

    Dr Ramli says the Ministry hopes that with the introduction of proper studies, more will move towards evidence-based research. “We want to promote clinical trials,” he says.

    Since there is currently no law on TCM practices, patients going for these treatments do so at their own risk. For this reason, if they still want to use TCM, they should be properly monitored by qualified professionals or in hospital settings approved by the Health Ministry.

    5 Hechos sobre TDAH Y homeopatía

    (Extraído de Nuestro Salud)

    Es alarmante saber que drogas de TDAH como Ritalin (metilfenidato) no se comprenden totalmente en cuanto a cómo funcionan realmente en el cerebro, y tampoco son sus efectos secundarios totalmente documentadas. Cualquier medicamento tiene efectos secundarios y muy a menudo no se conoce la magnitud de estos cuando se realizan los ensayos clínicos. Sólo son descubiertos después de tenerlas masas de pacientes. Es el caso de las drogas de TDAH porque ahora hay serias dudas sobre su eficacia real y sus riesgos. Por eso TDAH y Homeopatía merecidamente son cada más populares.

    TDAH y Homeopatía son una opción más segura

    El primer hecho es que la homeopatía y TDAH son una combinación totalmente segura y eficaz. Comparar Ritalin y Adderall que ahora se utilizan por los estudiantes para mejorar su rendimiento académico en la Universidad, aunque son perfectamente sanas. Pero también hay riesgos aquí. Profesor Anjan Chatterjee, de la Universidad de Pensilvania dice que hay demasiadas incógnitas como riesgo de adicción, muerte súbita y ataques cardíacos.

    TDAH y Homeopatía son legales.

    El segundo hecho es que si su hijo TDAH está tomando Adderall o Ritalin, él o ella puede ser abordada en el estacionamiento escolar para venderlos a otros niños para uso recreativo o incluso para el uso de mejora cognitiva. Venden en $15 un Tablet PC en este momento.

    Bajo la ley británica, puede obtener una condena de 5 años utilizando Ritalin, ilegalmente según es una droga de clase b o peor aún puede obtener una condena de 14 años para tratar en ella. Nadie acercará a su hijo si utiliza un remedio homeopático para TDAH por lo que esta es otra razón fuerte para optar por la homeopatía.

    No hay riesgos para la salud

    El tercer hecho sobre TDAH y homeopatía es que no existen riesgos de salud a todos. No tienes que enviar a su hijo para chequeo cardiaco. No existen riesgos asociados con la depresión, pensamientos suicidas, pérdida de apetito y retraso en el crecimiento. Estos son los riesgos que son claramente en los cuadros de la psychostimulants de TDAH. Estos son recetados para millones de niños en todo el país.

    El cuarto hecho es que se pueden conseguir mayor atención y concentración y nervios calmantes con igual eficiencia utilizando homeopáticos para TDAH. Ahora si esto se combina con la modificación de la conducta, los padres tienen gran éxito en el tratamiento de esta condición sin comprometer la salud de sus hijos.

    El quinto hecho sobre homeopatía y TDAH es el muy pertinentes de costo. Es una opción mucho más barata y la empresa a continuación ofrece una garantía de un año que nunca se comparará por las compañías de drogas, tráfico de drogas de TDAH dudosos. ¿Por qué no haga clic en y aprender acerca de la opción más segura de TDAH y homeopatía.

    Soluble Fiber Appears Key to Trimming 'Bad Fat'

    (Extraído de Healthfinder.gov)
    For every 10-gram daily increase, belly fat cut by nearly 4 percent over five years, researchers say.

    FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing daily soluble fiber intake may help you lose dangerous visceral fat, which produces hormones and other substances linked to a host of chronic diseases, according to a new study.

    Unlike the subcutaneous fat found just under the skin, visceral fat is located deep in the belly and wraps around a person's vital organs. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found the way to hone in on this deep belly fat is to get moderate amounts of regular exercise and to eat more soluble fiber from vegetables, fruits and beans.

    "We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Kristen Hairston, assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist in a news release from the medical center. "Our study found that making a few simple changes can have a big health impact."

    Researchers analyzed 1,114 black and Hispanic Americans since those populations are at higher risk for high levels of visceral fat as well as developing high blood pressure and diabetes. The study, published in the June 16 online issue of the journal Obesity, examined whether certain lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise habits, were associated with a change in the participants' belly fat over a period of five years.

    Using CT scans to measure subcutaneous and visceral fat, researchers found that increased intake of soluble fiber was associated with a reduction in belly fat, but not subcutaneous fat.

    In fact, for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. In addition, regular moderate exercise (30 minutes of vigorous exercise two to four times per week) resulted in a 7.4 percent reduction over the same time period.

    So what exactly does a person need to eat to get 10-grams of soluble fiber each day? The researchers noted this could be achieved by eating two small apples, one cup of green peas and one-half cup of pinto beans daily.

    The study pointed out, however, that more research is needed to explain the link between soluble fiber intake and reductions in visceral fat. "There is mounting evidence that eating more soluble fiber and increasing exercise reduces visceral or belly fat, although we still don't know how it works," said Hairston.

    "Although the fiber-obesity relationship has been extensively studied, the relationship between fiber and specific fat deposits has not," Hairston added. "Our study is valuable because it provides specific information on how dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, may affect weight accumulation through abdominal fat deposits."

    More information

    The National Institutes of Health provides more information on soluble fiber.

    (SOURCE: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, news release, June 27, 2011.)

    Homoeopathy in Cancer Treatment

    (Extraído de Emryss.com)

    cover

    Author:

    Roy Ranjeet Kumar

    Price:
    5.95

    The author has put forward several thought-provoking ideas of his own which could be useful in the field of cancer therapy. His approaches of analysing and understanding malignancy, its remedies and their applications from various angle are innvative.
    This book is attempted to remove some of the common misconceptions held regarding the dreaded condition of cancer

    Vaccination and Homoeoprophylaxis? A Review of Risks and Alternatives - 7th edition


    (Extraído de Emryss.com)

    cover

    Author:

    Golden I

    Price:
    39.50

    The first edition of this book was published in 1989, containing the author's research using orthodox medical references, as well as the first results from studying responses from parents whose children used his homoeoprophylaxis program.
    Over the years the research program has grown, the evidence questioning the long-term safety of vaccination has grown, and significant new data about the safety and effectiveness of homoeoprophylaxis has been included in the new edition.
    This is the most comprehensive international reference book on this controversial topic, with referenced data substantiating the effectiveness and safety of homoeoprophylaxis, as well as the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. This permits a scientific comparison of the two methods, something which is not seen in the orthodox literature. It is a book of facts, not supposition.
    The author calls for the use of both methods of immunisation to be freely available within the mainstream health-care system, something which would increase national coverage against targeted diseases, at a reduced cost to government, as well as reducing the incidence of vaccine-induced chronic disease; a win-win for all except multinational pharmaceutical companies and their dependents. A book for parents and politicians, as well as practitioners.
    Dr Isaac Golden was the first person to be awarded a PhD from a mainstream Australian university for research in a homoeopathic topic.
    The rigorous scrutiny of the data presented in this book can give readers confidence in the rigor and objectivity of the evidence supporting homoeoprophylaxis, and the balance of the recommendations.

    Practical Materia Medica for the consulting room


    (Extraído de Emryss.com)

    cover

    Author:

    Smits T.

    Price:
    44.00

    This book is a handy Materia Medica based on the good old Materia Medica of Clarke, Kent and Boericke enriched with additions from reliable and brilliant homeopaths of our time.
    Characteristics
    the keynotes needed to confirm your prescription on the first page of each remedy
    every symptom with its reference !
    rubrics for new born children, children, adolescents and old people
    spelling and style in modern English
    a blank after every remedy to make your own additions
    a solid book for daily use in clear print
    over hundred remedies.

    En EE. UU., el dolor cuesta $635 mil millones al año, según un informe

    (Extraído de Healthfinder.gov)
    Investigadores señalan que se necesita un cambio cultural en el método de prevención y tratamiento

    MIÉRCOLES, 29 de junio (HealthDay News / www.HolaDoctor.com) -- Unos 116 millones de adultos de EE. UU. sufren de dolor cada año, y esto cuesta al país entre 560 y 635 mil millones de dólares al año en costos médicos y económicos, según un informe del Instituto de Medicina publicado el miércoles.

    Pero la mayor parte de ese dolor es prevenible, y se podría gestionar mejor si las organizaciones públicas y privadas trabajaran juntas para lograr un cambio cultural en la forma en que el país comprende y aborda la gestión y la prevención del dolor, según los autores del informe.

    Recomendaron varios cambios, entre ellos algunos que podrían ser implementados para finales de 2012 y otros que podrían estar vigentes para 2015.

    "Dado el gran número de personas que experimentan dolor y el enorme costo tanto en términos de dólares como del sufrimiento que experimentan los individuos y sus familias, está claro que el dolor es un importante problema de salud pública en EE. UU.", afirmó en un comunicado de prensa del IOM el presidente del comité del informe Philip Pizzo, decano, profesor de pediatría y profesor de microbiología e inmunología de la Facultad de medicina de la Universidad de Stanford.

    "Con demasiada frecuencia, la prevención y el tratamiento del dolor se retrasan, son inasequibles o inadecuados. Los pacientes, los proveedores de atención de salud y nuestra sociedad necesitan superar las percepciones erróneas y los sesgos sobre el dolor. Tenemos herramientas eficaces para afrontar los muchos factores que influyen sobre el dolor, y necesitamos aplicarlas de forma puntual a través de un método integrado, personalizado para cada paciente", afirmó Pizzo.

    Entre las recomendaciones:

    • La mayor parte de la atención y la gestión del dolor debería hacerse a través de los proveedores de atención primaria y la autogestión del paciente, y reservar la atención especializada para los casos complejos. Las organizaciones de atención de salud deben tomar el liderazgo para animar y educar a los pacientes en la autogestión del dolor.
    • La educación sobre el dolor debe incluirse en los programas de capacitación de médicos, dentistas, enfermeras, psicólogos y otros profesionales de la salud. Muchos profesionales de la salud no cuentan con el entrenamiento adecuado para proveer una atención integral del dolor o para guiar a los pacientes en la autogestión del dolor.
    • Medicare, Medicaid, los programas de compensación del trabajador y los planes privados de salud deben encontrar formas de cubrir una atención interdisciplinaria del dolor.
    • Los Institutos Nacionales de Salud de EE. UU. deben designar uno de sus institutos para liderar el avance de la investigación sobre el dolor y aumentar el alcance y los recursos de su Consorcio del Dolor, que ya está en existencia.

    El Congreso solicitó el estudio, que fue patrocinado por los Institutos Nacionales de Salud. El Instituto de Medicina funciona bajo la supervisión de la Academia Nacional de Ciencias.

    Más información

    El Instituto Nacional de Trastornos Neurológicos y Accidente Cerebrovascular de los EE. UU. tiene más información sobre el dolor.

    Artículo por HealthDay, traducido por HolaDoctor

    (FUENTE: U.S. Institute of Medicine, news release, June 29, 2011)

    Mindfulness" may ease irritable bowel symptoms

    (Extraído de Yahoo News)

    By Amy Norton | Reuters – Wed, Jun 29, 2011

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A therapy that combines mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga may help soothe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a small clinical trial suggests.

    In a study of 75 women with the digestive disorder, researchers found that those assigned to "mindfulness training" saw a bigger improvement in their symptoms over three months than women who were assigned to a support group.

    The findings, they say, suggest that the mindfulness technique should be an option for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

    A doctor not involved in the study agreed.

    "I think people with IBS should learn mindfulness skills," said Dr. Delia Chiaramonte, director of education for the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Medicine in Baltimore.

    Learning such skills, she said in an interview, is "100 percent safe," and it could offer people a way to help manage IBS symptoms on their own, long term.

    People with IBS have repeated bouts of abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. The typical treatment includes diet changes, as well as anti-diarrhea medication and, for constipation, laxatives or fiber supplements. There's also some evidence that regular, moderate exercise helps.

    The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but anxiety and less-than-ideal coping strategies -- like avoiding going out because of your symptoms -- are thought to make IBS worse for many people.

    Because of that, psychological counseling is sometimes used. The best-studied form is cognitive behavioral therapy, which tries to change the unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to people's health problems.

    For the new study, Susan A. Gaylord and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, looked at a different approach to managing the "brain-gut" connection -- known as mindfulness-based stress reduction.

    The researchers randomly assigned 75 women with IBS to either undergo the mindfulness training or attend an IBS support group once a week for eight weeks.

    The training included lessons on meditation, gentle yoga postures and "body scanning," in which people focus their attention on one body area at a time to detect muscle tension and other sensations.

    Gaylord's team found that three months after the therapy ended, women who'd undergone mindfulness training were faring better than the support group.

    On average, their scores on a standard 500-point IBS symptom questionnaire fell by more than 100 points, with a 50-point drop considered a "clinically significant" improvement.

    In contrast, women in the support group averaged a 30-point decline, according to results in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

    Chiaramonte said the trial was "tremendously well-designed," and set up to address the common criticisms of studies of mind-body therapies. Testing mindfulness training against a support group, for example, helps control for the fact that people involved in any form of therapy may simply expect to get better -- and, therefore, do.

    In surveys, the researchers found that women in the support group were as likely to expect benefits as those in the mindfulness group.

    "And still, the mindfulness group did better," Chiaramonte said. "So it's not just the contact with another human being, or not just that they expected to get better."

    It also makes sense that mindfulness training would help people with IBS, according to Chiaramonte. "Part of the problem in IBS," she explained, "is the attention people give to the physical discomfort, and what the mind then does with that."

    With mindfulness training, the goal is to help people become aware of what they are feeling, but then "let it go" instead of ruminating, and potentially making the physical symptoms worse.

    There are still questions about the role of mindfulness in managing IBS, though.

    Larger trials, including ones that recruit men as well, are needed, according to Chiaramonte.

    There's also the fact that "mindfulness" can be learned in many different ways -- at your local yoga or meditation center, or through a book or CD, for example.

    This study looked only at the specific technique of mindfulness-based stress reduction -- a program developed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts in 1979.

    To best replicate the therapy given in the study, Chiaramonte noted, a person would have to take a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, which is widely available worldwide, including at some medical centers. It's usually given in the form of an eight-week program of classes, at a cost of between $300 and $500.

    "This study doesn't tell us if learning mindfulness in other ways would work," Chiaramonte said.

    On the other hand, she added, for people who are interested, buying a CD or taking a meditation class would be a low-cost, low-commitment way to give mindfulness a go.

    SOURCE: http://bit.ly/lfYimf American Journal of Gastroenterology, online June 21, 2011.