Monday, February 28, 2011

Extra Inches Around the Waist Increase Death Risk

Older adults who are carrying extra inches around the waist are at an increased risk of dying compared to people with normal waist size, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Men and women with the biggest waist circumference had twice the risk of dying over a ten-year period compared with people with the smallest tummies. Surprisingly, a bigger waist is associated with a greater risk of death even for people whose weight is considered normal when measured by body mass index (BMI).

It’s estimated that more than half of older men and more than 70% of older women have a waist size that is bigger than recommended. In fact, the average waist line in the U.S. has been increasing by about one inch per decade since the 1960s. Other research has linked waist size to asthma, breast cancer, heart disease, and even dementia. One explanation for this may be that belly fat secretes proteins and hormones that contribute to inflammation.

For people who are looking for ways to trim their waist lines, eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity are the keys to getting rid of belly fat.
Reference: Arch Intern Med 2010; 170(15): 1293-1301

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Diet Soda May Prevent Some Kidney Stones

Kidney stones from when the urine contains more crystal-forming substances, such as calcium, uric acid, and oxalate, than the body can dilute with the available fluid. Most kidney stones contain a combination of calcium and oxalate. According to new research published in the June issue of the Journal of Urology, drinking diet soda may present the most common type of kidney stones.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and their colleagues conducted a study to determine whether any commercially available drinks could help to prevent kidney stones. They found that diet versions of citrus-flavored sodas contain relatively high amounts of citrate, a compound which is known to inhibit the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Some people are at a higher risk for kidney stones because their urine contains low levels of citrate, so these sodas might serve as a form of citrate supplementation Although dark colas have little or no citrate, citrus-flavored sodas such as Diet Sunkist Orange, Diet 7Up, Sprite Zero, Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Sierra Mist Free, Diet Orange Crush, Fresca, and Diet Mountain Dew, contain moderate amounts of citrate.

Potassium citrate supplements have long been used as a treatment for preventing calcium oxalate kidney stones. Based on this new research, citrus-flavored sodas might be useful in preventing kidney stones among people with low urinary levels of citrate, as well. However, further research is needed to determine whether drinking these sodas actually prevents formation of kidney stones, so it is still too early to advise those who suffer from kidney stones to drink these sodas as a form of preventive treatment.


Journal of Urology. 2010; 183(6): 2419-2423.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Thai scientists have successfully produced the world's first dengue hemorrhagic fever vaccine and will let the private sector improve it for the effective treatment of patients.

The Thailand Ministry of Science and Technology has introduced the world's first live attenuated dengue hemorrhagic fever vaccine developed by Thailand researchers.

Thai Science and Technology Minister Virachai Virameteekul said that the number of dengue hemorrhagic fever patients in Thailand has risen, exceeding 100,000 last year and adding some 1,200 cases in January 2011.

Dr Suthee Yoksarn, a lecturer of Mahidol University, together with his team and Chiang Mai University have jointly developed four stereotypes of the live attenuated vaccine.

This was achieved by combining attenuated DNA with a protein structure that stimulates immunity against the dengue hemorrhagic fever — caused by the present strain of the dengue virus.
The newly developed vaccine is expected to better protect people from the dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Real Scorpion King -An Indian who revolutionized the treatment for Scorpion Sting

Scorpion stings are a major public health problem in many  tropical countries, especially Sahelian Africa, South India, the Middle East, Mexico, and South Latin America. The estimated annual number of scorpion stings is 1.2 million ( there could be million more unrecorded data ) .

Scorpion Sting leads to sudden heart failure and accumulation of fluids in the lungs which leads to death . The traditional treatment used to be Lytic cocktail ( Nothing to do with the cocktail that one drinks in the bar ! ) Lytic cocktail consists of drugs like pethidine , chlorpromazine , promethazine .

The traditional treatment did cost alot of patient"s life . One study done in Western India highlight's this issue . About 30 % of patients eventually died (i.e almost 1 out of 3 patients died !! ) . This was a major concern among paediatricians , emergency physicians ,  general physicians and offcourse for the parents ( children being the most common victims ) !! .

Dr.H.S.Bawasker , revolutionized the treatment for scorpion sting in 1999. With his discovery he brought down the death rate from 30 % to less than 1 % .

He discovered that the use of tablet Prazosin did the magic . Prazosin counteracted the heart failure and the accumulation of fluids in lungs thereby saving the victim . Hats off to him  . He soon shot to fame with his discovery among doctors around the world .  His article was published in all the prestigious medical journals . British medical journal appreciated his article by publishing in the front cover !!

Friday, February 11, 2011


When Wilma Rudolph was four years old, she had a disease called polio. To make matters worse, her family was poor and could not afford good medical care. She was from a large family. She was the 20th child of 22 children. Her father was a railroad porter and her mother was a maid.

Her mother decided she would do everything she could to help Wilma to walk again. The doctors had said she would not be able to walk. She took her every week on a long bus trip to a hospital to receive therapy. It didn't help, but the doctors said she needed to give Wilma a massage every day by rubbing her legs. She taught the brothers and sisters how to do it, and they also rubbed her legs four times a day.

By the time she was 8, she could walk with a leg brace. After that, she used a high-topped shoe to support her foot. She played basketball with her brothers every day.

Three years later, her mother came home to find her playing basketball by herself bare-footed. She didn't even have to use the special shoe.

A track coach encouraged her to start running. She ran so well that during her senior year in high school, she qualified for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. She won a bronze medal in the women's 400-meter relay.

In 1959, she qualified for the 1960 Olympic Games * in Rome by setting a world's record in the 200-meter race. At the Olympics that year she won two gold medals; one for the 100-meter race and one for the 200-meter race.

Then she sprained her ankle, but she ignored the pain and helped her team to win another gold medal for the 400-meter relay! In the picture above you see the three gold medals she won at the Rome Olympics.
She retired from running when she was 22 years old, but she went on to coach women's track teams and encourage young people.

Wilma thought God had a greater purpose for her than to win three gold medals. She started the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to help children learn about discipline and hard work.

She died of brain cancer in 1994. Even though she is no longer alive, her influence still lives on in the lives of many young people who look up to her.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Scientists in Australia have shown that boosting the immune system in mice can rid them of HIV-like infection.

The research team, led by Dr Marc Pellegrini from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, showed that a cell signaling hormone called interleukin-7 (IL-7) reinvigorates the immune response to chronic viral infection, allowing the host to completely clear virus.

Pellegrini said the finding could lead to a cure for chronic viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, which are significant economic and global health burdens.

The team investigated the role of IL-7, a naturally-occurring immune hormone, in a mouse model of HIV infection. IL-7 is a cytokine (cell signalling hormone) that plays a critical role in immune system development and maintenance.

"We found that IL-7 boosted the immune response in a pretty profound fashion, such that animals were able to gradually clear the virus without too much collateral tissue damage," Pellegrini said.
Further investigations revealed that, at the molecular level, IL-7 switched off a gene called SOCS-3.

"In an overwhelming infection, SOCS-3 becomes highly activated and suppresses the immune response, probably as a natural precaution to prevent 'out-of-control' responses that cause collateral damage to body tissue," Pellegrini said.
"In the case of these overwhelming infections, the immune system effectively slams on the brakes too early, and the infection persists," Pellegrini added.

Preston, who worked on the SOCS-3 studies, said that switching off the SOCS-3 gene boosted the immune system and helped the animals to completely eliminate the infection.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ben stiller and BPD !!!!

Bipolar disorder affects one out of every 83 individuals in the United States. Considered a neurological mood disorder, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are often debilitating and can often lead to an impairment in daily living activities, affect familial relationships and job performance and even impair the bipolar sufferer to such an extent that physical health is affected. However, in some cases of bipolar disorder, the outcome may be positive and lead to such a degree of creativity so as to allow the individual to make a significant impact on the world around them. Bipolar disorder crosses all genders, races, creeds and colors with examples of individuals who made an impact on society through the exhibition of their bipolar symptoms. One such well known actor is Ben Stiller  Born in 1965, son of the famous comic duo of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, is best known for his role in the hit films "There's Something About Mary","Meet the Fockers" and "Along Came Polly". ,. In August of 2001 he was quoted by a writer as saying to GQ, "I have not been an easygoing guy. I think it's called bipolar manic depression. I've got a rich history of that in my family. I'm not proud of the fact that I lost my temper. Sometimes you just [expletive] up." The quote resulted from incidents occurring on the set of Zoolander, a movie he co-wrote, starred in and directed.

Both Ben Stiller's parents have spoken about their therapy for depression, though neither mentioned manic-depression in sources found. However, possible signs of bipolar disorder do exist in his mother's history: Anne Meara's mother committed suicide when Anne was 11, and Meara also admits to problem drinking in the past. She entered therapy in about 1989, and continued at least until 1995.

Stiller's famous parents helped him get a start in show business. He began acting at 10 but had few film and TV roles until the late 1980s. In 1993 his short-lived television series, The Ben Stiller Show, won an Emmy Award for outstanding writing in a variety or music program in spite of having run for only 12 episodes before being cancelled.
His other acting, directing and writing credits are too numerous to mention. In 2000 he married actress Christine Taylor; they have a daughter, Ella Olivia, who was born in August of 2002.


Folic acid, aspirin n heart attack....

Taking folic acid, a B vitamin, lowers homocysteine in the blood which, epidemiological evidence indicates, should lower the risk of heart attack, but clinical trials of folic acid have not shown the expected benefit.... WHY???

This perplexing medical paradox now has an explanation according to research undertaken at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The explanation is surprisingly simple; lowering homocysteine prevents platelets sticking, which stops blood clots...something aspirin also does, so if people in the trials were already taking aspirin there would be no extra benefit in lowering homocysteine with folic acid. Aspirin was in fact widely used by participants in the trials because they were mainly conducted in patients who had already had a heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases.

Research led by Dr David Wald showed that there was a difference in the reduction in heart disease events between the five trials with the lowest aspirin use (60 per cent of the participants took aspirin) and the five trials with the highest use (91 per cent took aspirin). The observed risk reduction was six per cent but it would have been 15 per cent if no one had been taking aspirin.

"The explanation has important implications," said Dr David Wald, the lead author of the paper. "The negative clinical trial evidence should not close the door on folic acid - folic acid may still be of benefit in people who have not had a heart attack because they will generally not be taking aspirin".