Thursday, June 30, 2016
The recipe for this ancient Elixir was first found in ancient Tibetan monastery, written on clay tablets.
This old Tibetan medicine treats digestive disorders, heart and prevents strokes, prevents the formation of tumor, improves vision and ensures a long and healthy life.
Garlic and lemon are the two main ingredients. The drink should be consumed on an empty stomach in the morning.
300g of garlic
1 kg of lemons with peel (to be finely sliced or grated)
1.5 liters of water
Boil the 1.5 liters of water, then on a low heat add the grated garlic and lemon (add the lemon juice). Cook all the ingredients in a closed container. Simmer this mixture on low heat for 15 minutes, not one minute longer. When the mixture has cooled, place it in a jar.
Consume 50ml. of this medicine daily, in the morning. Repeat this procedure for 25 days.
When you drink the whole dose, make a pause of 10 days, and then repeat the process again!
Stick to the daily dose and the ten day break. After you finish the treatment do not take the medication unless there is a deterioration of your health condition. For a better health, we recommend taking one or two doses per year, this process should be repeated twice in a year or at two intervals of six months.
Tibetan tea for longer life:
Boil 2 liters of water for 5 minutes and let it cool. After the water has cooled, add 5 grams of grated ginger, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of honey, a little hot pepper and a touch of anise.
This tea should be consumed in small sips throughout the day.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Scientists have come up with proof of the power of positive thinking.
They have found people who have a sunny, optimistic outlook on growing older live longer than those who are constantly worrying.
The research suggests that people who feel bad about getting old accelerate the ageing process. In contrast a positive attitude will add more years to your life than not smoking or taking regular exercise.
A team of American psychologists found that people who were positive about aging lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those who regretted the passing years.
They believe that negative thoughts about the ageing process have a direct impact on the will to live.
The researchers, led by Dr Becca Levy, from Yale University, in Connecticut, said the effect of a positive attitude towards aging was greater than physiological measures such as low blood pressure and cholesterol - each of which is thought to add a maximum of four years to life.
The effect was even more pronounced than factors such as keeping weight down, not smoking and taking exercise - each thought to add between one and three years to life.
The researchers studied information from 660 volunteers aged fifty plus.
Death rates among the participants were compared with their responses to a survey conducted 23 years earlier.
The volunteers were asked if they agreed or disagreed to statements such as "as you get older, you are less useful".
Dr Levy's team believe the sheer will to live partly explains the link between positive thinking and longevity. However, they don't think it is the only reason.
They believe another factor is the effect of stress on the heart.
Previous research has shown that the hearts and arteries of elderly people exposed to negative aging stereotypes do not respond well to stress.
People could have negative thoughts about aging picked up from society without even being aware of them, said the researchers.
"Our study carries two messages," they wrote.
"The discouraging one is that negative self-perceptions can diminish life expectancy.
"The encouraging one is that positive self-perceptions can prolong life expectancy."
The researchers warn that a poor attitude towards the elderly in Western societies may exacerbate the problems. It is time to stop knocking the old, they say, and make them feel good.
The research is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Mexican singer Thalia, 44, reveals the route to eternal youth and beauty is nightly multiple orgasms.
With her flawless skin and youthful glow, Mexican singer Thalia, 44, could pass for someone half her age. And the entrepreneur has shared her secret to eternal youth with his fans in a candid interview.
With her flawless skin and youthful glow, Mexican singer Thalia, 44, could pass for someone half her age. And the entrepreneur has shared her secret to eternal youth with his fans in a candid interview.
Whilst most women credit lotions, potions and a healthy diet for their timeless looks, Thalia has a much less conventional way of turning back the clock.
|Thalia and Tommy Mottola|
Speaking in a new TV interview, the singer, who is married to 67-year-old American music executive Tommy Mottola, revealed she keeps her looks in check thanks to nightly multiple orgasms.
Singer Thalia, who has also penned books, credited sexologist Nancy Alvarez for the advice.
She explained: 'I was working on a radio programme where Nancy gave advice and well, she gave me some marvellous tips too.'
When asked if she took the advice, Thalia said: 'Of course I did and now it’s the reason I’ve stayed young and beautiful.'
This is not the first time that Thalia, who is dubbed the Queen of Latin Pop and has sold close to 50 million records worldwide, has spoken candidly about her sex life.
Thalia - real name Ariadna Thalia Sodi Miranda - said: 'My hobby is sex. Luckily for me, my husband also has the same hobby.'
Thalia is blissfully in love with Mottola, the former head of Sony Music Entertainment who discovered and guided the careers of Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen and Shakira, and was once married to Mariah Carey. The couple married in 2000 and have two children, Sabrina and Matteo.
People who love chili peppers might be eating their way to a longer life, according to a new study published in The BMJ.
“We know something about the beneficial effects of spicy foods basically from animal studies and very small-sized human studies,” says study author Lu Qi, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Some of those preliminary studies have found that spicy food and their active components—like capsaicin, the compound found in chili peppers—might lower inflammation, improve metabolic status and have a positive effect on gut bacteria and weight, he says.
But human evidence remains scant. So Qi and a team of researchers looked at questionnaire data from about half a million adults all across China who participated in the China Kadoorie Biobank study between 2004-2008. Each person in the study reported their health status, alcohol consumption, spicy food consumption, main source of chili intake (fresh or dried, in a sauce or in an oil) as well as meat and vegetable consumption.
The researchers followed up with them about seven years later. Compared to people who ate spicy foods less than once a week, people who ate them just once or twice a week had a 10% reduced risk of death. Bumping up the spice consumption didn’t make much of a difference; those who ate spicy food 3-7 days a week were at 14% reduced risk of death compared to the most spice-averse group.
Eating chili-rich spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from certain diseases, including cancer, ischemic heart diseases and respiratory diseases, they found. Further analysis revealed that fresh chili had a stronger protective effect against death from those diseases.
More research is needed to make any causal case for the protective effects of chili—this does not prove that the spicy foods were the reason for the health outcomes—but Qi finds this observational research valuable. “It appears that increasing your intake moderately, just to 1-2 or 3-5 times a week, shows very similar protective effect,” he says. “Just increase moderately. That’s maybe enough.”
Monday, June 27, 2016
Chamomile tea may help women live longer, according to new research. Drinking the herbal brew was linked with a 29% lower risk of early death from all causes. But it's bad news for men, as positive effects were not replicated.
Researchers say it's not clear why the tea prolongs women's lives, or why it only works for one gender.
Chamomile is one of the oldest, most-widely used and well-documented medicinal plants in the world and has been recommended for a variety of afflictions.
As part of the study, US researchers tracked 1,677 Mexican-American women and men for seven years, and looked at the effects of chamomile tea on death.
They took data from the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly, a study of Mexican-Americans aged 65 and older from five Southwestern states, including Texas.
They found 14 per cent of the people in the study drank chamomile tea.
The data showed that consuming chamomile was associated with a 29 per cent decreased risk of early death from all causes among women, compared with those who did not drink the tea.
The link was still present even after the researchers adjusted for demographics, health conditions and health behaviours.
Curiously, this effect was not present in men.
Dr Bret Howrey, an assistant professor at The University of Texas Medical Branch, said: 'The reason for a difference in our reported findings between Hispanic women and men is not clear, although women were shown to be more frequent users of chamomile than men.'
'This difference may be due to traditional gender roles whereby women manage the day-to-day activities of the household, including family health, and may also reflect greater reliance on folk remedies such as herbs.'
He added it is unclear how chamomile is associated with lower death rates.
However recent studies of the herb have shown potential benefits in treating high blood sugar, upset stomachs, diabetic complications and anxiety disorders.
Chamomile has also been touted for its cholesterol-lowering, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet effects.
The exact pathway for the reduction in mortality represents an important area for future research, Dr Howrey said.
The findings were published online in The Gerontologist journal.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Women who ate more than 100 grams of the fruit each day - one small apple - were likely to have a longer life expectancy than those who didn't.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia, followed a group of pensioners aged 70 to 85 for 15 years. Each of the 1,456 participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, which the researchers used to understand how apples impacted on their mortality. It found a variety of different fruits when consumed on a daily basis gave moderate health benefits.
Dr Jonathan Hodgson, from the UWAs School of Medicine and Pharmacology, said it was down to high concentrations of fibre and flavonoids in the skin. Flavonoids are plant compounds found in fruit and vegetables including apples, berries, pears, strawberries and radishes. They have long been celebrated for their antioxidant effect, which is thought to help prevent cell damage.
'Apples are amongst the top contributors to total flavonoid intake,' he said.
'We have previously shown that flavonoid intake from apple skin improved artery relaxation.
'We have now shown that higher apple intake was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality and cancer mortality in older women.'
The researchers examined the impact of apples because they are a popular are widely eaten fruit. The study found women who ate them regularly had a lower risk of dying but Dr Hodgson said it would also apply to other fruits.
High levels of fibre found in apples has been linked to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and a reduced cancer risk. They are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C.
People who eat apples are also more likely to live healthy lifestyles and consume other fruits and vegetables, which may also contribute to their longer life expectancy.
It follows research which found flavonoids may also help reduce the energy - particularly from sugar - that is absorbed from food.
Earlier this year, a study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Harvard Medical School linked the compounds to both maintaining a healthy weight, and even helped people lose a little.
Eating the flavonoids contained in an 80g (2.8oz) handful of blueberries every day for four years helped people to lose about 2lb 10oz.
By comparison, the average woman in the same period would usually put on about 2lb 3oz, and the average man 4lb 6oz.
Speaking at the time, Professor Aedin Cassidy, from the UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said eating a 'modest amount' could lead to significant health benefits.
‘We found that an increased consumption of most flavonoids was associated with weight maintenance, and even a modest weight loss.
'The results were found to be consistent across men and women, and different ages.
‘However losing even small amounts of weight, or preventing weight gain, can improve health and these modest effects were seen with a small, readily achievable increase in intake of many of these fruits.
‘Just a single portion of some of these fruits per day would have an important impact on health at a population level.’
Friday, June 24, 2016
Bad news for hypochondriacs - people who believe they are healthy are less susceptible to the common cold.
If you think you're susceptible to getting the sniffles, chances are you're probably right.
A recent study found that people are better at assessing their own health than doctors might give them credit for.
Researchers asked 360 healthy adults to assess their health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.
They were then exposed to the common cold and monitored for five days to see if they got it.
The experiment found about a third of the participants, who had an average age of 33, went on to develop colds.
Those who rated their health as 'excellent' were twice less likely to develop a cold than those who were very good, good, or fair, scientists at investigators at Carnegie Mellon University found.
It suggests people who consider themselves to be very healthy have a stronger immune system than those who have some doubts.
In general, people who are optimistic are more likely to do things to take care of themselves. A positive attitude can cause a chain reaction of positive outcomes, thoughts, and events.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
One of the down sides of getting older is memory loss. The cause, of course, is as we get older our brain gets older too and the ability to retain memory is weakened.
Today we offer you some natural ways to boost your brain’s ability to remember.
Eat regularly. The brain is only 23 percent of the body’s weight, but takes up 20 percent of its energy, so giving it the fuel it needs helps it function optimally.
Super foods. Spinach, strawberries and blueberries are called “super foods” because they strengthen the brain. Eat lots of them.
Drink hot beverages. Tea and coffee stimulate the brain and help it access memories more effectively.
Avoid alcohol. Like it or not, booze is bad for the brain’s memory banks.
Take vitamins. A good regimen of supplements, especially folic acid, will help you remember better.
Herbalize. A variety of herbs, such as gingko biloba, have been shown to help improve memory retention.
Stress less. Trying to alleviate stress in your life, through relaxation or meditation, helps your brain retain.
Play more games. Mental games, like crossword puzzles and Sudoku, sharpen your faculties.
Exercise. Many reasons to do this, one of which is it keeps your brain healthy.
Get regular sleep. Getting your slumbers on a regular schedule is good for your noggin.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Reversing aging could be a step closer after British scientists discovered what causes it.
For the first time Newcastle University scientists have found a possible way to rejuvenate old cells back into younger ones. They conclusively proved that mitochondria, the batteries of the cells, are essential for aging.
When mitochondria were eliminated from aging cells they became much more similar to younger cells.
The discovery that mitochondria are major triggers of cell aging brings scientists a step closer to developing therapies to counteract the ageing of cells by targeting it. Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouses of the cells as they generate the energy that our cells need to do their job.
The study noted as we grow old, cells in our bodies accumulate different types of damage and have increased inflammation, factors which are thought to contribute to the aging process.
A series of genetic experiments involving human cells grown in the laboratory successfully eliminated the majority, if not all, the mitochondria from ageing cells. Cells can normally eliminate mitochondria which are faulty by a process called mitophagy.
Scientists 'tricked' the cells into inducing this process in a grand scale, until all the mitochondria within the cells were physically removed. Surprisingly scientists then saw the aging cells, after losing their mitochondria, showed characteristics similar to younger cells, that is they became rejuvenated.
The levels of inflammatory molecules, oxygen free radicals and expression of genes which are among the makers of cellular ageing dropped to the level that would be expected in younger cells.
Lecturer Dr João Passos of the Institute for Aging said: 'This is a very exciting and surprising discovery.
'We already had some clues that mitochondria played a role in the ageing of cells, but scientists around the world have struggled to understand exactly how and to what extent these were involved.
'These new findings highlight that mitochondria are actually essential to the ageing of cells.'
The study led by Newcastle University and involved other UK and US teams also deciphered a new mechanism by which mitochondria contribute to aging. It identified that as cells grow old, mitochondrial biogenesis, the complex process by which mitochondria replicate themselves, is a major driver of cellular aging.
Research Associate Dr Clara Correia-Melo said: 'This is the first time that a study demonstrates that mitochondria are necessary for cellular ageing.
'Now we are a step closer to devising therapies which target mitochondria to counteract the ageing of cells.'
The study was published in the EMBO Journal.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Taking too many selfies may cause wrinkles, experts have claimed.
Dermatologists believe that regularly exposing the face to the light and electromagnetic radiation from smartphones can damage the skin - accelerating the aging process. Some doctors even claim they can tell which hand a person holds their phone in just by looking at which side of the face is most damaged.
Speaking at the Facial Aesthetic Conference and Exhibition - or FACE - in London yesterday, experts said even the blue light emitted from smartphone screens can promote wrinkles. The problem has never been documented, but doctors insisted that the magnetic waves produced by modern gadgets damage the skin in a similar way that too much exposure to the sun causes wrinkles.
Dr Simon Zokaie, medical director of the Linia Skin Clinic in Harley Street, said: ‘Those who take a lot of selfies and bloggers should worry.
‘I think there is a gap in the market for products which protect because I know there are people who take lots of selfies, and bloggers who come to me and I have seen that there is damage there and there ageing taking place.’
He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s a different wavelength of radiation so sunscreen will not block it.’
Dermatologist Dr Zein Obagi, of the Obagi Skin health Institute in Beverley Hills, added: ‘Your cell phone will damage your skin.
‘It’s not documented, but in my clinical observation, I can tell whether someone uses their right hand or left hand to hold their phone.
'You start to see dull dirty looking texture that you cannot identify on one side of the face.
‘I think we need to create a defence mechanism, light has some sort of magnetic think that is happening to the skin.
‘This magnetic field is altering the minerals in the skin. A sunscreen will not protect you. But if you saturate your skin with anti-oxidants it can help prevent DNA damage from electronic devices.’
Some think that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones ages skin by damaging the DNA. It can cause breaks in the DNA strand which can prevent skin repairing itself and increases stress on skin cells.
The experts also argued that most over-the-counter moisturisers and oils do not work and may make skin worse, and that ‘a good scrub’ is the best way to keep skin healthy.
Dr Obagi told the Telegraph: ‘You cannot hydrate the skin from the outside. We have to stimulate the skin to bring back hydration from within.
‘When you put your hand in the water for half an hour you see it white and crinkly you don’t see any more hydration. There is a reason that women have more problems with sensitive skin than men. It’s because women use products.’
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Apple, beetroot, carrot and grape juice all contain a rich amount of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. They improve detoxification and promote glowing skin, fight dark circles, wrinkles and skin ageing. Lemon juice has anti-inflammatory properties and contain citric acid that boosts kidney function that cleanses impurities in blood that affect skin health.
1. Apple Juice
Rich in antioxidants and minerals, it can help slow down the signs of aging, reduce dark circles and wrinkles and can make skin supple and soft.
2. Beetroot Juice
Contains a mix of nutrients that include iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium and folic acid. It helps the liver detox better and increases toxin excretion from the system.
3. Carrot Juice
Is packed with beta-carotene, a type of Vitamin A that prevents cell degeneration and aging. It improves skin elasticity, keeps skin hydrated, reduces dark spots, scars and acne.
4. Ginger Juice
Is anti-inflammatory in nature and has rich amounts of magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. It give your skin a glow and also boosts immunity at the same time.
5. Grape Juice
Rich in antioxidants, it will result in glowing and younger looking skin when consumed on a regular basis.
6. Lemon Juice
Contains high levels of citric acid, vitamin C and vitamin B. It boosts kidney function and helps improve detoxification.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Those who exercise in youth have 'younger' muscles in old age, study says
Experts from University of Guelph, in Canada, revealed elderly people who were elite athletes in their youth – or later in life – have much ‘younger muscles.’
The elderly people at the heart of the study still compete as master athletes in their old age, and have much healthier muscles at the cellular level than those of non-athletes.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, compared world-class track and field athletes in their 80s with people the same age who were living independently.
There has been little research of aging and muscle weakening in master athletes in this age group – until now.
Lead study author Dr Geoff Power said: ‘One of the most unique and novel aspects of this study is the exceptional participants. These are people in their 80s and 90s who actively compete in world masters track and field championships.
‘We have seven world champions. These individuals are the crème de la crème of aging.’
The elderly athletes’ legs were found to be 25 per cent stronger on average than their non-athlete counterparts. Furthermore, the athletes also had nearly 14 per cent more total muscle mass. They also were determined to have nearly one-third more motor units in their leg muscles than non-athletes. More motor units – which consist of nerve and muscle fibers – mean more muscle mass and greater strength, the study noted. With normal aging processes, the nervous system loses motor neurons – which leads to a loss of motor units, reduced muscle mass and less strength, speed and power. That process accelerates substantially after the age of 60.
Dr Power said: ‘Therefore, identifying opportunities to intervene and delay the loss of motor units in old age is of critical importance.’
The scientist looked at muscle fibers in the same elite athlete and non-athlete groups in another recent study, as well.
‘Exercise is definitely an important contributor to functional performance,’ he said, noting that even non-athletes can benefit.
‘Staying active, even later in life, can help reduce muscle loss.’
But, Dr Power added, ‘We cannot rule out the important of genetics.’
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered an on-and-off “switch” in cells that may hold the key to healthy aging. This switch points to a way to encourage healthy cells to keep dividing and generating, for example, new lung or liver tissue, even in old age.
In our bodies, newly divided cells constantly replenish lungs, skin, liver and other organs. However, most human cells cannot divide indefinitely–with each division, a cellular timekeeper at the ends of chromosomes shortens. When this timekeeper, called a telomere, becomes too short, cells can no longer divide, causing organs and tissues to degenerate, as often happens in old age. But there is a way around this countdown: some cells produce an enzyme called telomerase, which rebuilds telomeres and allows cells to divide indefinitely.
In a study published in the journal Genes and Development, scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered that telomerase, even when present, can be turned off.
“Previous studies had suggested that once assembled, telomerase is available whenever it is needed,” says senior author Vicki Lundblad, professor and holder of Salk’s Ralph S. and Becky O'Connor Chair. “We were surprised to discover instead that telomerase has what is in essence an ‘off’ switch, whereby it disassembles.”
Understanding how this “off” switch can be manipulated–thereby slowing down the telomere shortening process–could lead to treatments for diseases of aging (for example, regenerating vital organs later in life).
Lundblad and first author and graduate student Timothy Tucey conducted their studies in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same yeast used to make wine and bread. Previously, Lundblad’s group used this simple single-celled organism to reveal numerous insights about telomerase and lay the groundwork for guiding similar findings in human cells.
“We wanted to be able to study each component of the telomerase complex but that turned out to not be a simple task,” Tucey said. Tucey developed a strategy that allowed him to observe each component during cell growth and division at very high resolution, leading to an unanticipated set of discoveries into how–and when–this telomere-dedicated machine puts itself together.
Every time a cell divides, its entire genome must be duplicated. While this duplication is going on, Tucey discovered that telomerase sits poised as a “preassembly” complex, missing a critical molecular subunit. But when the genome has been fully duplicated, the missing subunit joins its companions to form a complete, fully active telomerase complex, at which point telomerase can replenish the ends of eroding chromosomes and ensure robust cell division.
Surprisingly, however, Tucey and Lundblad showed that immediately after the full telomerase complex has been assembled, it rapidly disassembles to form an inactive “disassembly” complex — essentially flipping the switch into the “off” position. They speculate that this disassembly pathway may provide a means of keeping telomerase at exceptionally low levels inside the cell. Although eroding telomeres in normal cells can contribute to the aging process, cancer cells, in contrast, rely on elevated telomerase levels to ensure unregulated cell growth. The “off” switch discovered by Tucey and Lundblad may help keep telomerase activity below this threshold.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
There are many superfoods that when consumed as a part of your diet, have the ability to strengthen your immune system and in some cases, fight off a whole host of diseases.
One such food is the herb, Astragalus.
A mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, astragalus is a herbal remedy derived from the dried roots of Astragalus membranaceus, a low-growing plant native to northern and eastern China. Used by itself and in combination with other herbal remedies, astragalus is reputedly versatile in its medicinal properties, earning it a reputation as an adaptogen, a substance that can help your body resist the debilitating effects of stress. Modern research has produced evidence that points to a number of health benefits for astragalus.
Astragalus has gained popularity recently as research has emerged about the possibility that it can protect DNA and increase longevity. Recent research has shown that Astragalus may protect the telomeres from degradation.
Flashback to freshman biology: Telomeres are attached to the end of chromosomes. During the DNA replication process, telomeres keep the DNA together (like how the plastic caps on the end of shoelaces keep them from unraveling). Every time DNA replicates, the telomeres get slightly shorter and eventually when they get small enough, the process of cell death begins. Research has linked this process of cell death to aging and cancer.
Astragalus is Good For Diabetics
Astragalus seems to be a decent food for diabetics. For a reson that’s not entirely clear patients who take astragalus exhibit better blood sugar control.
The different polysaccharides protect against radical scavengers, and the benefits astragalus provides to cellular health seem to carry over in its ability to metabolize different nutrients.
One avenue of research into cancer treatment has focused on finding substances that inhibit human cancer cells’ ability to spread by cutting off or sharply limiting their access to the blood supply they need to survive and proliferate. Researchers at Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Chinese Medicine studied in vitro the effects of saponins — substances that produce a soapy lather when shaken with water — from astragalus on human gastric cancer cells. In an article in the June 2012 issue of “Journal of Ethnopharmacology,” researchers said their findings show that astragalus saponins have the potential to be developed into a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of advanced and metastatic gastric cancer.
Other Health Benefits of Astragalus Root
In addition to the above, there are many other reasons that you might want to take Astragalus. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Reduces metastatic spread increasing survival rates
- Helps with heart disease and high blood pressure 3/4
- Reduces inflammation
- Aids digestion
- Improves liver function
- Boosts the immune system
- Minimizes the side-effects of Chemotherapy
- Can be used as a general tonic
- Treats burns and abscesses
- Prevent common colds
- Respiratory infections
- Help with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Kidney disease
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Dr Austin Leach, a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital who has run a pain clinic for more than 20 years, explains: ‘A lot of chronic pain is to do with what’s going on inside the patients’ heads.
‘Everything is integrated; body and mind. It’s not about just one medical fix for a physical problem — it’s also about the patient gaining a deeper understanding of the causes of their pain.’
Chronic pain is defined as continuous long-term pain that either lasts more than 12 weeks, or persists for an unusual length of time following trauma or surgery.
PAINKILLERS MAY ACTUALLY CAUSE PAIN
The mainstay treatment is normally painkillers.
However, a swathe of new studies shows that our most frequently used strong pain medications are not only ineffective for common conditions, they are also dangerous — and may even themselves cause chronic pain.
Last month, it was reported that opioid painkillers — prescription drugs that include morphine, tramadol and oxycodone — provide only ‘minimal benefit’ for lower back pain.
Prescribed to around 40 per cent of back pain patients, they do reduce pain, but not enough to be effective, according to a review of studies published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The same would be true for codeine — the mildest opioid, which is available over the counter — said the study leader Chris Maher, a professor of muscular disorders at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney.
He also warned that, taken long-term, the drugs can have severe side-effects, including dizziness and falls, as well as deaths from overdose.
‘We know of no other medication routinely used for a non-fatal condition that kills patients so frequently,’ Professor Maher said.
Perhaps still more disturbingly, new evidence this month suggests that opioid drugs may actually cause chronic pain in patients prescribed them for short-term pain.
A study of rats, by neuroscientists at the University of Colorado Boulder in the U.S., showed that a short course of morphine can spark a chain reaction in the body’s immune system which makes it produce dangerous amounts of inflammatory proteins.
These cause nerve damage that can cause chronic pain.
The researchers warn in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that ‘prolonged pain is an unrealised and clinically concerning consequence of the abundant use of opioids in pain’.
Meanwhile, even paracetamol, which is frequently prescribed by GPs for chronic pain, is also being exposed as ineffective and dangerous.
In March, a study of more than 58,000 patients published in The Lancet concluded that it does little to ease hip and knee pain caused by osteoarthritis — paracetamol has been the main treatment for the joint condition.
Other research has shown that its long-term use is linked to heart, kidney and intestinal problems.
Prompted by such findings, NICE — the clinical guidelines watchdog — has advised doctors to stop prescribing the pills for long-term treatment of osteoarthritis.
And last month the authoritative U.S. body, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, advised doctors to try non-drug therapies for pain first.
Indeed, there is now plenty of research showing that the answer to chronic pain lies not with (ineffective and potentially harmful) drugs, but instead often inside our brains — and changing patients’ expectations about pain.
The potential of changed attitudes to alter pain levels was highlighted last month by a study at Julius-Maximilians University in Germany.
Psychologists subjected a group of male volunteers to heat stimuli via a band on their forearm, then asked them to rate the pain.
The next day, some volunteers were informed that men are more sensitive to pain than women; the others were told women were the more sensitive gender.
The experiment was then repeated. Those who had been told men were less sensitive rated their pain as much less intense than on the previous day.
Those told men were more sensitive now felt more pain, reported the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
As the psychologists explained, the effect of changes in attitude can actually be measured ‘physiologically’.
WORRYING ABOUT IT MAKES PAIN WORSE
‘Our work shows that being anxious or depressed can make pain worse,’ explains Professor Tracey.
‘Your beliefs can override the most powerful painkillers. In one experiment we told chronic pain patients we had stopped giving them a strong opioid, when actually we were still giving it — suddenly they said their pain levels were rising.’
Long-term negative beliefs may create a devastating spiral: the more anxious and depressed you become about your pain, the more you may physically rewire your brain so that it becomes hypersensitive.
As a result, even normal touch can piggyback on to the pain system, firing off widespread pain responses across the brain. ‘Even putting on clothes can cause burning sensations,’ says Professor Tracey.
Dr Leach sees similar cases in his pain clinic. ‘One patient came in who was convinced that his terrible back pain was cancer,’ he recalls.
‘After talking through his problems he realised that a relative’s recent death from cancer had convinced him of this. It was intensifying the pain in his mind.’ Understanding this helped to reduce his pain.
IS IT TIME TO TRY MEDITATION?
This understanding is central to the work of the specialist clinics that help patients trapped in chronic pain.
With psychologists, physiotherapists and doctors often on staff, these take a ‘biopsychosocial’ approach — combining biological, psychological and social factors.
But while treatment may include prescribing pain medication (for instance, stronger forms of pain relief such as nerve blocks) and specialist physiotherapy (to teach patients how to move with their pain), the psychology of pain and coping with it are also key.
Dr Amanda Williams, a reader in clinical health psychology at University College London, has worked in these clinics for 30 years, and much of her work involves changing patients’ attitudes.
‘If a person is under stress, they’re not going to manage their pain well. It is going to make it worse,’ she explains.
The traditional view that pain has only physical causes that require drugs can make patients resistant to psychological therapy.
‘When patients are told the answer is in their mind, too often they think they are being told they are faking or malingering,’ she says.
‘But many are relieved to hear there may be a psychological element to their pain, and are open to talking about their emotions.’
Unfortunately, as an audit of pain clinics sponsored by the British Pain Society concluded recently, provision of these services is patchy and waiting times are often 18 weeks.
This is a problem in itself, says Dr Leach. ‘Often by the time patients finally get seen, their pain syndrome has consolidated in their brains and is significantly harder to treat.’
Given this, Dr Williams believes GPs could be doing more.
‘It would be a help for GPs to teach patients to manage their pain early on by, for example, distracting themselves with something as simple as watching comedy programmes on TV.’
Another option is mindfulness meditation, where patients are taught to become aware of their breathing, thoughts and physical sensations and view them without judgement.
This can help people learn to stop fearful thoughts of pain running amok.
Two recent trials of more than 600 patients, published in the journal JAMA by the University of Pittsburgh and the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, showed that mindfulness meditation can help reduce chronic lower back pain.
LISTEN TO MUSIC AND DON’T SLOUCH
Pain stops people from moving. This sedentary behaviour may explain why people with chronic pain have a much higher level of cardiovascular disease and premature death from all causes.
However, movement also helps patients to reduce their pain by ‘unfreezing’ their bodies, as well as preventing them becoming isolated, another factor that feeds into the negative psychology of chronic pain.
To address this, experts such as Joanne Marley, a clinical specialist in physiotherapy at the University of Ulster, are developing exercise programmes for people with chronic pain.
The aim isn’t to make them athletes, but to make small steps that stop them being frozen by pain.
‘It’s about improving activity levels,’ she explains. ‘For some that may be simply getting out of bed in the morning and sitting down less during the day.
Getting patients to stand up and march on the spot every time the adverts come on the television can actually get them up to 3,000 steps a day.’
Researchers are discovering simple ways to trick pain-prone brains into calming down.
One of these is simply to stand straight: a boldly upright posture rather than weakly slouching actually makes you less pain-sensitive.
Research by the University of Southern California in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in 2011 shows that adopting more dominant poses makes people feel more able to handle pain.
Changing your language may also help. Brain scans by psychologists at Jena University in Germany found that words such as ‘tormenting’, ‘gruelling’ or ‘plaguing’ fire up the pain-processing areas in your brain.
Using more positive terms may dampen down the responses, suggests the study in the journal Pain in 2010.
You could try listening to classical music.
In 2011, researchers at York University reported in the journal Music and Medicine that listening to the complex melodies of Bach or Mozart is more effective at reducing pain levels than other sorts of music.
Monday, June 13, 2016
A Russian scientist has injected himself with a 3.5 million-year-old bacteria that could hold the key to immortality. Anatoli Brouchkov from Moscow State University, said since injecting himself with Bacillus F he is able to work for longer and has not had the flu for two years.
The bacteria was found in Siberian permafrost on Mamontova Gora in 2009. Since then, scientists have used it to experiment on plants, mice and human blood cells, with tests showing it improved longevity and fertility. It appeared to heal plants and restore the ability to reproduce in older mice.
So Brouchkov decided to start experimenting with the bacteria on himself. In an interview with Russia Today, he said: "I started to work longer, I've never had a flu for the last two years. But it still [needs more] experiments. We have to work out how this bacteria prevents ageing. I think that is the way this science should develop. What is keeping that mechanism alive? And how can we use it for our own benefits?"
He said he did not think the bacteria would cause any damage to him because people living in the region that have been exposed to it do not appear to suffer any adverse effects, and even seem to live longer than people in other nations.
Scientists now want to establish what mechanisms kept the bacteria alive in such harsh conditions for millions of years in the hope of developing it to extend human life. "This bacteria was isolated from the outer world in ice, so we are quite sure that this bacteria was kept in the permafrost for such a long time. Yet we are still working to prove this," Brouchkov said.
"Our cells are unable to protect themselves from damage. These bacteria cells are able to protect themselves. It would be great to find the mechanisms of protection from ageing, from damage, and to use them to fight with our ageing. It's is the main riddle of mankind and I believe we must work to solve it."
Sunday, June 12, 2016
A new study shows cell damage and signs of accelerated aging after only one sleepless night.
Dozens of studies in recent years have left little doubt that chronic sleeplessness can make you old before your time. But new research suggests that even a single sleepless night can trigger accelerated aging in older adults.
Researchers from the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology monitored 29 participants ranging in age from 61 to 86 over a four-night period. Each participant was subjected to partial sleep deprivation during one of the nights. Their blood samples subsequently showed higher levels of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), an indication that genes related to cell damage had been activated. Such cell damage has been linked to premature aging.
“Our data support the hypothesis that one night of not getting enough sleep in older adults activates important biological pathways that promote biological aging,” lead study author Judith Carroll, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral science, said in a statement released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
No matter how old you are, a good night’s sleep affects everything from brain function to your immune system. And it’s key to maintaining your vitality into your golden years.
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Do you want to live a long and healthy life? Well the secret to doing so might be a lot easier than you think.
We've all heard the expression, "Mind over matter", and we've also likely heard lots of incredible stories about how our brains can trick our bodies into doing incredible things -- like Monks meditating until their hearts nearly stop, or the placebo effect causing people taking a sugar pill to exhibit same effects as people taking the actual medicine.
The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing or ELSA, studied a number of different factors of a huge subject group of almost 6,500 people over an extended period of time. One component of the study compared how old people actually felt versus how long they actually were.
When the researchers then crunched the numbers, their data showed that people who reported feeling younger actulally lived longer. They also found the converse to be true, sadly: Adults who felt older were almost twice as likely to have died in the next eight years.
So the key to living longer is staying "young at heart".
The new research letter is published in JAMA Internal Medicine online.
Friday, June 10, 2016
Eating the traditional Japanese diet may lead to a longer life, a new study finds.
Adults in Japan who closely followed that country's government-recommended dietary guidelines had a 15% lower risk of dying during a 15-year time period, as compared to people who didn't follow the guidelines, according to the new study.
In particular, those people who most closely followed the dietary guidelines were 22 percent less likely to die of stroke during the time period, according to the study, published in The BMJ.
Life expectancy in Japan is among the highest in the world, the researchers, led by Kayo Kurotani, a senior researcher at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, wrote in the study. The the role the Japanese diet — which includes a high intake of fish and soybean products, and a low intake of fat — is of particular interest for research on life expectancy, the authors wrote.
Japan's dietary guidelines, presented as the "Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top," emphasize five types of dishes: grains, vegetables, fish and meats, milk, and fruits, the study said. The guidelines are represented by an inverted pyramid, with grains at the top, resembling a spinning top.
The study included data from more than 36,000 men and 42,000 women across Japan. All of them completed questionnaires about their health, including information on their food intake, at the beginning of the study, and then again at five- and 10-year follow-ups.
Using the results from the food-frequency questionnaire, the researchers calculated how closely the participants stuck to the dietary guidelines, according to the study. Those who followed the guidelines more closely had a 15-percent lower risk of dying during the follow-up period, compared with those who stuck to the guidelines less closely.
The overall lower rate of death in the group that followed the guidelines is likely due to the lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease, and in particular, stroke, the researchers wrote in the study. The people who ate a lot of vegetables and fruit, and ate enough fish and meat dishes, seemed to fare the best, the researchers said.
The researchers also noted that while fish and meat were considered together in one category in the study, Japanese people consume more fish and less beef and pork compared with Western populations.
"Our findings, together with previous reports, suggest that a dietary pattern of high intake of vegetables and fruits, and adequate intake of fish and meat, can significantly decrease the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease in East Asian populations, particularly from [stroke]," the researchers wrote.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
The scientists found lithium chloride can extend the lives of fruit flies by as much as much as 16 per cent, offering hope that the findings could translate to other animals, including humans.
Lithium chloride has been used in mental health treatment to balance mood. Exactly how it works to stabilize mood is poorly understood, but it has found a new application in aging research.
Scientists at University College London investigating healthy aging discovered that when given to fruit flies in low doses it extended their longevity by almost one fifth.
The goal is not just to extend life, but to extend the number of years people are able to live free of disease and chronic conditions which plague old age.
'To improve our quality and length of life we must delay the onset of age-related diseases by extending the healthiest period of our lives,' explained Dr Jorge Iván Castillo-Quan, previously at UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, now at Harvard Medical School.
'Identifying a drug target for aging is a crucial step in achieving this and by targeting GSK-3, we could discover new ways of controlling the ageing process in mammals, including humans.'
The team found that lithium chloride delays aging by blocking GSK-3 and activating another molecule called NRF-2, which is found in worms, flies and mammals and which plays a key role in defending cells against damage.
Different doses of lithium chloride were given to 160 adult flies to measure the effect on lifespan, measured against a control group which received sodium chloride.
Higher doses of the drug reduced the flies' lifespan, but lower doses prolonged life by an average of 16 per cent and by as much as 18 per cent.
The findings are published in the journal Cell Reports, and show that both male and female flies live longer than average when given low doses of lithium during adulthood or later in life.
What's more, the effect was seen regardless of the flies' genetic make-up.
Few side effects were seen in the flies when they received lower doses, and they continued to feed normally and produce healthy offspring.
The benefits of the drug were also seen when it was used irregularly, or as a one-off treatment.
Flies which received a one-off dose of lithium chloride near the end of their lives lived up to 13 per cent longer.
While young flies given low doses for 15 days, before switching to a control for the remainder of their lives, also lived longer.
'We found low doses not only prolong life but also shield the body from stress and block fat production for flies on a high sugar diet,' explained Dr Ivana Bjedov from the UCL Cancer Institute and co-author of the study.
What's more, the drug also showed protective effects against cell damage from toxic sources.
'Low doses also protect against the harmful effects of higher, toxic doses of lithium and other substances such as the pesticide paraquat,' said Dr Bjedov.
According to the group, the aim of the research is to find ways to interrupt the ageing process so we can live disease free for longer, and reduce the period at the end of life when our bodies are plagued by wear and tear and disease.
Researchers around the world are continuing to study the decline in our cells and tissues associated with ageing, and are exploring the effects of diet, genetics and drugs.
Principal investigator, Professor Dame Linda Partridge, director of the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, said: 'The response we've seen in flies to low doses of lithium is very encouraging and our next step is to look at targeting GSK-3 in more complex animals with the aim of eventually developing a drug regime to test in humans.'
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
A study of hundreds of women has revealed that those who avoided the sun’s rays looked up to 20 years younger than they actually are.
The intriguing finding comes from a study of 231 women of all ages who were quizzed about their lives, including whether they were sun-worshippers.
When researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US - commissioned by skincare firm Olay - guessed how old the women were, they found those who took care in the sun tended to have aged more slowly.
A second study, also by Olay, suggested that low-level day to day exposure to the sun is more aging that occasional, intense blasts.
Finally, DNA examination of tiny samples of the women’s skin gave some insight into the damage done by the sun.
A gene called CDKN2A was more active in facial skin that is exposed to the elements than on samples taken from the buttocks. This gene was also more active in women who said they loved the sun – and in those who looked older.
Dr Kimball said CDKN2A activity is a sign that a cell is ‘tired out’ and urged women should protect their skin year round and not just when on a beach holiday.
She added: ‘It’s not just what you are born with, it’s also what you do with it.’
Dr Frauke Neuser, principal scientist at Olay, said: ‘This research gives us a detailed picture of the effect of sun exposure on skin aging and illustrate the importance of protection on a daily basis.’
Matthew Gass, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: ‘When it comes to skin aging prevention is more important than a cure, as once damage has occurred it is very hard to hide or reverse it.’
He said that while UV light is a ‘major culprit’, smoking is also very damaging.
In a study, reported in the medical journal Clinical, Cosmetic And Investigational Dermatology in 2013, researchers wanted to calculate for the first time the effect of sunlight alone.
They found that UV rays accounted for 80% of skin aging, including wrinkles. Long-term UV exposure lead to pigmentation, reduced skin elasticity and a degradation of skin texture, including yellowing.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Study reveals hidden DNA that could be 'reawakened'
If a zebrafish loses a part of its fin, regeneration genes will kick in to regrow the tissue that was injured.
Researchers at Duke University have now uncovered the mechanism that activates these genes, to better understand what drives regeneration. These newfound 'enhancer elements' could be used to help mammals, including humans, regrow body parts, the researchers say.
|The green signal in these images of an injured zebrafish heart and a fin indicate the activity of a gene that enhances tissue regeneration.|
Many creatures have been observed as having the ability to regenerate tissue to repair damaged body parts, including zebrafish and salamanders. Mice and flies have also been found to contain regeneration genes, and even humans have been found to have 'counterparts,' to the genes that allow this type of tissue regrowth to happen.
In the new study, researchers sought to find out if DNA sequences exist to regulate the activity of these genes. These sequences would turn on regeneration genes in injured tissue and keep them on until regeneration is complete.
Zebrafish are able to repair damaged fins and even damaged heart tissue with genes called fibroblast growth factors and neuregulin 1, respectively.
The team discovered that in zebrafish, 'tissue regeneration enhancer elements' turn on the regeneration genes at the site of an injury. These could be engineered to allow other animals to regenerate, the researchers say.
'We want to know how regeneration happens, with the ultimate goal of helping humans realize their full regenerative potential,' said Kenneth D. Poss, PhD, senior author of the study and professor of cell biology at Duke University School of Medicine.
'Our study points to a way that we could potentially awaken the genes responsible for regeneration that we all carry within us.'
In zebrafish a gene called leptin b is turned on in injured fins or heart, discovered Junsu Kang, PhD, lead author of the study.
Scouring through thousands of base pairs around this gene, the researcher found distinct enhancer elements relating to each location.
By fusing the sequences to the two regeneration genes, the researcher created a zebrafish with superior fin and heart regeneration capabilities. The team then tested these elements on mice.
This revealed that the 'borrowed' enhancer elements from the zebrafish genome would turn on the regeneration genes in the injured paws and hearts of mice.
'We are just at the beginning of this work, but now we have an encouraging proof of concept that these elements possess all the sequences necessary to work with mammalian machinery after an injury,' said Poss.
As the capabilities progress, the researcher speculates that the elements could also be used in conjunction with genome-editing technologies to improve regeneration in mammals, including humans.
'We want to find more of these types of elements so we can understand what turns on and ultimately controls the program of regeneration,' said Poss.
This newly discovered element could one day help to repair and regrow damaged or missing body parts, the researcher says.
'There may be strong elements that boost expression of the gene much higher than others, or elements that activate genes in a specific cell type that is injured.
'Having that level of specificity may one day enable us to change a poorly regenerative tissue to a better one with near-surgical precision.'