Cancer drugs, stents at 60% discount soon

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Over 200 cancer drugs, 186 medicines to treat cardiovascular diseases and 148 stents and cardiac implants will now be available at central government hospitals at prices 50-60% lower than the open market.

The health ministry has launched a programme called AMRIT (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment), under which the government will run pharmacy retail stores to sell medicines in hospitals like AIIMS, Safdarjung and Ram Manohar Lohia.

TOI was the first to report on September 19 that the health ministry was working on a project to make cancer medicines and stents available at substantial discounts by procuring them in bulk. The health ministry’s AMRIT (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment) programme seeks to make treatment of critical diseases more affordable by bringing down the cost of medicine, which constitute a major part of the total health expenditure, mainly in case of tertiary care.

“This is certainly an innovative initiative. Patients can buy medicines and implants at rates 50-60% cheaper than open market from AMRIT outlet in AIIMS,” health minister J P Nadda said while inaugurating the first store. “The government is pinning a lot of hope on it. We are exploring the possibility of scaling up the facility and also making it accessible to larger number of people in various parts of the country,” he added.

Since the incidence of cancer and heart diseases is high and rapidly increasing in India, the government has chosen these two therapeutic categories for initial focus of the pragramme, an official said. In India, deaths from cancer have increased by 60% since 1990, according to the latest report `Global Burden of Cancer-2013′, released worldwide on Friday. In 2013, there were 14.9 million new cancer cases registered worldwide, whereas 8.2 million people died due to the disease. Cardiovascular diseases are found to be the leading cause of death globally .

Source: TimesofIndia

Amazing Facts on Honey and Cinnamon

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Great information!! Cinnamon and Honey…! Drug companies won’t like this one getting around.

It is found that a mix of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also note honey as very effective medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects which is also a plus. Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain — and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder….who knew?

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol-could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it’s delicious too!

UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also is said to clear stomach ulcers from its root.

GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals

INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘Ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS:Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.

WEIGHT LOSS: Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS: Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing.

 

Cold-cap treatment in preventing chemotherapy related hair loss in cancer patients

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Cold-cap treatment seems to be successful in preventing chemotherapy related hair loss in cancer patients, according to recent report from The New York Times.

The most common side effect of chemotherapy that a cancer patient has to endure is hair loss. But, now for all those people who fear hair loss while undergoing chemotherapy can be relieved by this recent advancement.

Cold cap therapy involves wearing ice-filled caps frozen between 15 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit before, during, and after a chemotherapy session. It is yet to be approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration but the treatment is showing promise with the initial clinical trials indicating high percentage of participants not losing their hair.

A renowned oncologist in the Manhattan, US says that he has come across dozens of patients using cold-cap with about 70 percent retaining their hair.

The cold-cap being so cold causes narrowing of the blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp. This reduces the amount of chemotherapy medicine that reaches the hair follicles. When less chemotherapy medicine reaches the follicles, it is less likely that the hair will fall out.

During each chemotherapy session, you can wear these caps for:

  • 20 to 50 minutes before
  • during
  • after each chemotherapy session

The important part is that the amount of time you have to wear the cap after the chemotherapy session depends highly on the type of chemotherapy you are being given.

Following are the precautionary measures that women who use cold caps during chemotherapy are advised to follow:

  • no blow drying, hot rollers, or straightening irons
  • shampoo only every third day with cool water and a gentle shampoo
  • no colouring until 3 months after chemotherapy is done
  • gentle combing and brushing

There have been concerns in the medical community where some doctors have raised issues like the caps may prevent the chemotherapy medicine from reaching cancer cells that may be in the scalp. But there are studies which say otherwise.

In Europe, the cold-caps have been in use since 1970s and the studies have shown no increase in risk for skin metastasis.

In the U.S. there are several clinical trials going on at present to check the safety and efficacy of these caps. Currently, the DigniCap System is being studied in clinical trials in California, North Carolina, and New York and is only available to study participants. Similarly, the Paxman Scalp Cooling System is only available to clinical study participants in Houston, TX.

Reference: Healthaim.com

 

Common anticholinergic drugs like Benadryl linked to increased dementia risk

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A report published online this week in JAMA Internal Medicine offers compelling evidence of a link between long-term use of anticholinergic medications like Benadryl and dementia.

Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine. This substance transmits messages in the nervous system. In the brain, acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory. In the rest of the body, it stimulates muscle contractions. Anticholinergic drugs include some antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, medications to control overactive bladder, and drugs to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

What the study found 

A team led by Shelley Gray, a pharmacist at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, tracked nearly 3,500 men and women ages 65 and older who took part in Adult Changes in Thought (ACT), a long-term study conducted by the University of Washington and Group Health, a Seattle healthcare system. They used Group Health’s pharmacy records to determine all the drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, that each participant took the 10 years before starting the study. Participants’ health was tracked for an average of seven years. During that time, 800 of the volunteers developed dementia. When the researchers examined the use of anticholinergic drugs, they found that people who used these drugs were more likely to have developed dementia as those who didn’t use them. Moreover, dementia risk increased along with the cumulative dose. Taking an anticholinergic for the equivalent of three years or more was associated with a 54% higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for three months or less.

The ACT results add to mounting evidence that anticholinergics aren’t drugs to take long-term if you want to keep a clear head, and keep your head clear into old age. The body’s production of acetylcholine diminishes with age, so blocking its effects can deliver a double whammy to older people. It’s not surprising that problems with short-term memory, reasoning, and confusion lead the list of anticholinergic side effects, which also include drowsiness, dry mouth, urine retention, and constipation.

The University of Washington study is the first to include nonprescription drugs. It is also the first to eliminate the possibility that people were taking a tricyclic antidepressant to alleviate early symptoms of undiagnosed dementia; the risk associated with bladder medications was just as high.

“This study is another reminder to periodically evaluate all of the drugs you’re taking. Look at each one to determine if it’s really helping,” says Dr. Sarah Berry, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “For instance, I’ve seen people who have been on anticholinergic medications for bladder control for years and they are completely incontinent. These drugs obviously aren’t helping.”

Many drugs have a stronger effect on older people than younger people. With age, the kidneys and liver clear drugs more slowly, so drug levels in the blood remain higher for a longer time. People also gain fat and lose muscle mass with age, both of which change the way that drugs are distributed to and broken down in body tissues. In addition, older people tend to take more prescription and over-the-counter medications, each of which has the potential to suppress or enhance the effectiveness of the others.

What should you do? 

In 2008, Indiana University School of Medicine geriatrician Malaz Boustani developed the anticholinergic cognitive burden scale, which ranks these drugs according to the severity of their effects on the mind. It’s a good idea to steer clear of the drugs with high ACB scores, meaning those with scores of 3. “There are so many alternatives to these drugs,” says Dr. Berry. For example, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like citalopram (Celexa) or fluoxetine (Prozac) are good alternatives to tricyclic antidepressants. Newer antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) can replace diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton). Botox injections and cognitive behavioral training can alleviate urge incontinence.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re taking the most effective drugs is to dump all your medications — prescription and nonprescription — into a bag and bring them to your next appointment with your primary care doctor.

Reference: Harvard Health 

Natural Approaches for Easing Anxiety

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  • Kava. Numerous studies find that this herb, a member of the black pepper family, works better than a placebo to reduce symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Kava can interfere with how your body metabolizes certain medications, however, so, as with any supplement, check with your health care professional first.
  • Inositol (vitamin B8). Studies find that supplementing with 12 to 18 grams a day works about as well as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like fluvoxamine (Luvox), and better than a placebo, to reduce the intensity and frequency of panic attacks. Other studies find inositol works better than a placebo to reduce symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Herbal teas. Valerian and passionflower have long been used to calm nervousness and treat anxiety, although there are no studies showing they’re effective in treating anxiety disorders. However, I believe that any time you brew a pot of hot tea and sit in a quiet place to sip it, you will feel better.
  • Acupuncture. There is some limited evidence that acupuncture may help reduce the symptoms of GAD. As with many alternative remedies, I think the effectiveness is often individual. If you are comfortable with acupuncture, talk to a licensed acupuncturist about the possibility of using it as an adjunct treatment for your anxiety.
  • Journaling. I know that when I can’t sleep at night, writing down what I’m worried about or making a list of everything I have to do clears my mind and allows me to fall asleep. You might try this when you feel your mind going around and around the same groove.
  • Applied relaxation. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and systematic breathing, can all reduce stress hormone levels. Studies suggest they can also improve symptoms of GAD nearly as well as CBT and may provide some benefit in panic disorder. I suggest taking a class at your community hospital or recreation center to learn the proper techniques.
  • Exercise. You knew this would be here, didn’t you? We know that exercise is a terrific treatment or treatment addition for depression, boosting levels of feel-good hormones. So it’s no surprise that studies suggest the same benefits for anxiety disorders. One interesting study found levels of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA, increased in yoga practitioners after a 60-minute session compared to people who just read for 60 minutes. This is important because studies find low levels of GABA in people with some anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder. In another interesting study, researchers used a drug to stimulate a panic attack in 15 healthy people after they either exercised or rested quietly. Just six participants had a panic attack after exercising, but 12 had one after resting. I don’t think you have to train for a marathon, but a daily walk sure wouldn’t hurt!

Reference: Healthywomen

Switch off smartphone for healthy sleep

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The more your teenage son or daughter chats on Facebook during the sleep hours, more he or she is at an increased risk of sleep problems and depressive symptoms, finds a study.

Researchers from University of Basel in Switzerland analysed more than 300 students and found that that teenagers who own smartphones spend more time online – also during the night which may affect their sleep.

“Due to wireless internet connections and cheap flat rates, teenagers with smartphones spend more time online and communicate with their peers for less money – for example via WhatsApp – which has changed their digital media use pattern profoundly,” they noticed.

The results showed that during weekdays, teenagers with smartphones spent more time on the internet than their peers with conventional mobile phones; on average two hours compared to one hour.

In addition, they wrote more text messages daily – on average 85 messages compared to seven messages.

A particularly noticeable difference was found for the time when the teenagers were in their beds at night.

Only 17 per cent of smartphone owners switched their devices off or put them on silent during the night compared to 47 per cent of the teenagers with conventional mobile phones.

Moreover, teenagers with smartphones indicated to watch videos, to be online, and to text with friends more often during the night than their counterparts with conventional mobile phones.

“Most importantly, teenagers who used digital media at night had an increased risk for poor sleep and depressive symptoms,” the team said.

The researchers recommend that teenagers who suffer from sleep disorders or severe daytime tiredness to switch their digital media devices off at least one hour before bedtime.

The findings were published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Reference: http://indianexpress.com

 

How yoghurt could stave off diabetes: Just two spoonfuls a day cut odds of developing the disease by a fifth

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Eating 28g of yoghurt daily – around a quarter of a small pot – cuts the odds of developing the disease by almost a fifth, a study found.

The research, from the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, suggests the popular food could provide an inexpensive and easy way of boosting the odds of a healthy old age.

Type 2 diabetes, the form of the condition studied, is fuelled by obesity. It usually develops in middle-age and over time triggers disabling and deadly complications, from blindness to heart attacks and strokes.

It eats up a tenth of the NHS budget and with some 3million sufferers in the UK alone and numbers rising as the obesity epidemic bites, anything that prevents it could have a massive impact health as well as on the healthcare system.

The US researchers began by crunching together the results of three long-term studies into diet and health.

These involved almost 200,000 men and women, who were studied for up to 30 years and provided detailed information on their diet. All were free of diabetes at the start of the study but 15,156 had developed it by the end.

Analysis of their diet showed no link between the disease and their total intake of dairy products. Milk or cheese alone had no effect. However, eating yoghurt seemed to stave off the disease.

The researchers then added in data from other studies, meaning they had information on almost half a million people. This showed that one 28 helping of yoghurt a day cut the odds of type 2 diabetes by 18 per cent.

Senior researcher Frank Hu (CORR) said: ‘We found that higher intake of yoghurt is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas other dairy foods and consumption of total dairy did not show this association.

‘The consistent findings for yoghurt suggest that it can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern.’

Professor Hu’s research, published in the journal BMC Medicine (MUST CREDIT), follows other work that has credited yoghurt with keeping people trim.

It is thought that the bacteria in yoghurt help keep the metabolism on an even keel.

They may also replace bugs in our stomachs that would normally pump out obesity-fuelling toxins.

It is also possible that people who regularly eat yoghurt have it as a dessert and so eat fewer sweet puddings than others.

Dr Alasdair Rankin, of charity Diabetes UK, said: ‘This work adds to existing evidence that people who eat yoghurt are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but what it doesn’t tell us is whether eating yoghurt can directly reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

‘It could be that those eating yoghurt who took part in the study were more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, which we know can help to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

‘That is why more research will be needed before we can change our advice that the best way to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes is by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and eating a healthy balanced diet that is low in salt, fat and sugar.’

Source: Dailymail.co.uk

 

What makes us get sick? Look upstream- Dr Rishi Manchanda

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Dr. Rishi Manchanda has worked as a doctor in South Central Los Angeles for a decade, where he’s come to realize: His job isn’t just about treating a patient’s symptoms, but about getting to the root cause of what is making them ill—the “upstream” factors like a poor diet, a stressful job, a lack of fresh air. It’s a powerful call for doctors to pay attention to a patient’s life outside the exam room.

An excellent talk regarding health awareness…

http://www.ted.com/playlists/199/take_charge_of_your_healthcare

Source: Ted.com

 

Walking could stave off memory decline

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Living in a neighbourhood that encourages walking can stave off cognitive decline in older adults, according to new research.

“Features of a neighbourhood that encourage walking for transportation require having someplace worth walking to, like neighbours’ houses, stores and parks,” said Amber Watts, assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas.

Researchers judged walkability using geographic information systems – essentially maps that measure and analyse spatial data.

“GIS data can tell us about roads, sidewalks, elevation, terrain, distances between locations and a variety of other pieces of information,” Watts said.

Watts said easy-to-walk communities resulted in better outcomes both for physical health – such as lower body mass and blood pressure – and cognition (such as better memory) in the 25 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 39 older adults without cognitive impairment she tracked.

She believes that older adults, health care professionals, caregivers, architects and urban planners could benefit from the findings.

Researchers estimated the relationship between people’s neighbourhood scores and their performance on cognitive tests over two years, factoring in issues like age, gender, education and wealth, that might influence people’s cognitive scores independently of neighbourhood characteristics.

They found that intricate community layouts might help to keep cognition sharp, rather than serve as a source of confusion in older adults.

“There seems to be a component of a person’s mental representation of the spatial environment, for example, the ability to picture the streets like a mental map,” Watts said.

“Complex environments may require more complex mental processes to navigate. Our findings suggest that people with neighbourhoods that require more mental complexity actually experience less decline in their mental functioning over time,” said Watts.

Source: Business Standard

Why the motto “Sleep when you’re dead” is harmful to your health

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In today’s fast-paced world, it can be challenging to find the time to do everything you need to accomplish in a single day. Between working, commuting, making time for family and friends, exercising, eating healthy, and still squeezing in time for fun and relaxation, it’s easy to start cutting out sleep as a time management technique. While depriving yourself of sleep may give you the time to catch up on your favorite TV shows, it can also have negative effects on your overall health.

Premature aging. Sleep deprivation affects the body in a way that is similar to aging. Insufficient sleep causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which can prematurely age your skin over a prolonged period of time. Sleep loss also reduces the amount of human growth hormone (HGH) that your body produces, which helps to maintain your skin and muscle mass. Less HGH means that your body is less able to repair its tissues and keep your skin looking youthful.

Chronic illness. Chronic lack of sleep can increase your risk for a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. In particular, lack of sleep dramatically increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. Not getting enough sleep can also weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to seasonal illnesses like colds and the flu.

Weight gain. On top of everything else, chronic sleep deprivation can also cause weight gain. Sleep-deprived people tend to crave high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods, and their bodies have a harder time regulating appetite.

If you have been wearing your lack of sleep like a badge of honor and claiming that you “can sleep when you’re dead,” it may be time to find a new motto. Getting sufficient sleep is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle.

Reference: Iuhealth.org