Could an Orchid Have Saved My Grandmother’s Brain?

I used to love listening to my grandmother talk. Raised in Ohio but a Southerner for the bulk of her adult life, she had a quirky accent. When she came to visit us in New York, my younger brother and I would jump onto her bed every morning and demand that she read to us. This gave us more time to listen to her voice as it rose and fell over the text in a unique cadence.
Sadly, by the end of my grandmother’s life we didn’t have the fun of listening to her speak. Between 1987 and 1999, we watched her slowly deteriorate from a lovingly connected and chatty family member to an almost mute woman who spoke in single words or strings of numbers. She had been a bookkeeper, so my grandmother’s substitution of numbers for letters made sense to my mother, who acted as interpreter as Alzheimer’s disease eroded my grandmother’s speech and other brain centres.
Source - Rewire me

Let a lavender pill ease your worries

Researchers have found that patients prescribed silexan, a lavender preparation taken by mouth, had lower anxiety ratings than those taking either a placebo or an antidepressant. 
The ten-week study, from the Medical  University of Vienna and other centres, involved more than 500 people diagnosed with anxiety disorders. 
Results show that the anxiety score dropped by 14.1 points for the lavender group, 11.3 points for those taking the antidepressant, paxil, and 9.5 points for the placebo. 
It's thought that lavender, like paxil, has an effect on brain chemicals involved in anxiety - however, those taking the lavender had fewer side-effects.

Source  - Daily Mail

Could nuts ward off pancreatic cancer?

Eating a handful of nuts just twice a week could slash the risk of developing one of the most lethal forms of cancer.
New research shows snacking on one ounce of nuts two or more time a week can reduce the chances of pancreatic cancer by more than a third.
The study, carried out at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, USA, did not differentiate between different types of edible nuts - suggesting having them as a regular snack is more important than eating one type over another.
The findings, published online in the British Journal of Cancer, offer some hope in the prevention of a disease which has a high mortality rate.
Every year, around 8,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, a pear-shaped organ about six inches long that lies deep inside the body between the stomach and the spine.
Its job is to produce enzymes that help to break down food and release insulin to control blood sugar levels.
The cause remains largely unknown, although smokers may have a slightly higher risk, as do those who have suffered chronic pancreatitis - a persistent infection often brought on by gall stones, or frequent binge drinking.

Source  - Daily Mail

Mobile Phone Use In Children and Teens Translates To 5 Times Greater Increase In Brain Cancer

If today’s young people don’t reduce their use of wireless mobile devices, they may suffer an “epidemic” of the disease in later life. 
Research indicates children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones. At least nine out of ten 16-year-olds have their own handset, as do more than 40 percent of primary schoolchildren.
Many scientists have claimed that the wave of mobile communications made popular in the last two decades will result in long-term health implications worldwide. An unprecedented level and frequency of tumor growth inside the human brain may be inevitable.
Yet investigating dangers to the young were been omitted from a massive investigation of the risks of cancer from using mobile phones, even though the official Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme — which is conducting it — admits that the issue is of the “highest priority”.
Mobile phone owners were urged to limit their use after the World Health Organisation admitted they may cause cancer. Despite recommendations of an official report that the use of mobiles by children should be “minimised”, the Government has done almost nothing to discourage it.

Mobile phones DON'T cause cancer

There is no link between mobile phones and any health problems, a decade-long report has concluded.
The study also found no evidence that exposure to base station emissions during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood leukaemia.
The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme was the UK’s largest research programme to look at the possible health risks associated with mobile phone technology.

Professor David Coggon, Chairman of MTHR, said: ‘When the MTHR programme was first set up, there were many scientific uncertainties about possible health risks from mobile phones and related technology.  This independent programme is now complete, and despite exhaustive research, we have found no evidence of risks to health from the radio waves produced by mobile phones or their base stations. Thanks to the research conducted within the programme, we can now be much more confident about the safety of modern telecommunications systems.’

Source  - Daily Mail

Zinc-rich foods could cause join pain

Zinc-rich foods, including seafood, cocoa and chicken, could be causing the painful condition osteoarthritis.
Cartilage can be destroyed by molecular changes involved in processing zinc, a naturally occurring metallic element, a new Korean study has found.
When the cartilage breaks down in osteoarthritis, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. 
Osteoarthritis affects the joints and is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, with around 1 million people seeing their GP about it every year. The NHS in England and Wales performs over 140,000 hip and knee replacement operations every year as a result, but almost any joint can be affected by the disease.
However, there has been a lack of effective therapies for the disease because before now the underlying molecular causes have been unclear. But a new study revealed that osteoarthritis-related tissue damage is caused by a molecular pathway that is involved in regulating and responding to zinc levels inside of cartilage cells. 

Source  - Daily Mail

The remarkable power of the placebo

We’ve all heard of placebos. They’re dummy pills. They can’t do anything real. After all, there’s nothing in them.  At least, that’s what we thought. 
But in recent years, evidence has built up to suggest that placebos can be highly effective – particularly in treating pain, depression, and even alleviating some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. 
And it isn’t just dummy pills that seem to be able to work: you could get life-changing improvements from a pretend potion that’s actually just water; or perhaps fake acupuncture with needles that don’t even puncture your skin. The key is simply that you think it might help you. 
But when it comes to placebos, it doesn’t get much more dramatic than what’s been called sham surgery – as Dr David Kallmes discovered a few years ago.
He’s a successful radiologist at the Mayo Clinic, one of the world’s leading hospitals – it’s where the Presidents of the United States often get treated. 
For the past 15 years, he’s been fixing broken backs by injecting them with a special kind of medical cement. 
Dr Kallmes regularly performed the procedure – called vertebroplasty – and found it hugely effective. 
'We saw terrific results from the procedure, really amazing results,' he told me. 
However, there were some questions as to exactly what was going on – because some people seemed to get better even when the operations went horribly wrong.

Source  - Daily Mail

The CURRY implant that can shrink breast tumours

A revolutionary new implant made from curry powder could beat breast cancer.
The device is packed with a spice used to make turmeric - which gives curry its bright yellow colour. Now scientists have found the spice, curcumin, shrinks tumours in mice by about a third and slows the rate at which rogue cells reproduce.
Numerous studies have found curcumin has anti-cancer properties. But eating lots of curry is not the answer as most of the spice just gets broken down in the stomach.
Scientists at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, got round the problem by packing the savoury powder inside miniature dissolving capsules. Each one is just two millimetres long and contains 200 milligrammes of powder.
They implanted tumour-ridden mice with two capsules each and fed another group a daily diet of the curry spice. For the next four months, they monitored tumour growth.The results, published in Cancer Prevention Research, showed the curry diet had no effect. But the spicy implants reduced the size of tumours and stopped them multiplying so quickly. Until now, the problem has been getting enough curcumin into the bloodstream to have any major effect.

Low fat yoghurt ......... could be the secret to beating type 2 diabetes

Four or five pots of yoghurt per week may reduce our risk of developing type 2 diabetes, scientists have said.
In a large study, which examined an as yet unexplained link between some dairy products and a lowered risk of diabetes, researchers at the University of Cambridge found that risk was reduced by 28 per cent in people who ate a large amount of yoghurt to those who ate none.
Dairy products an important source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and the reduced risk also applied to other low-fat, fermented products such as fromage frais and low fat cottage cheeses.
While the study could not prove a conclusive causal link between eating dairy and lower diabetes risk, the association was strong. Scientists suspect that fermented dairy products are beneficial because of the probiotic bacteria, as well as a special form of vitamin K produced during the fermentation process - however the cause is not fully understood.
The study compared the dietary habits of 750 people who developed type 2 diabetes with those of a randomly selected cohort of 3,500 people who took part in a wide-ranging diet study in Norfolk. Benefits associated with yoghurt were seen in people who ate on average four and a half standard pots of yoghurt per week.
The study was published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for Diabetes.

Vitamin C 'gives chemotherapy a boost'

High-dose vitamin C can boost the cancer-killing effect of chemotherapy in the lab and mice, research suggests.
Given by injection, it could potentially be a safe, effective and low-cost treatment for ovarian and other cancers, say US scientists. Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, they call for large-scale government clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to run trials, as vitamins cannot be patented. Vitamin C has long been used as an alternative therapy for cancer.
In the 1970s, chemist Linus Pauling reported that vitamin C given intravenously was effective in treating cancer. However, clinical trials of vitamin C given by mouth failed to replicate the effect, and research was abandoned. It is now known that the human body quickly excretes vitamin C when it is taken by mouth. However, scientists at the University of Kansas say that when given by injection vitamin C is absorbed into the body, and can kill cancer cells without harming normal ones.
The researchers injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, into mice, and into patients with advanced ovarian cancer. They found ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment, but normal cells were unharmed. The treatment worked in tandem with standard chemotherapy drugs to slow tumour growth in mouse studies. Meanwhile, a small group of patients reported fewer side-effects when given vitamin C alongside chemotherapy.

Could a cure for AIDS lie in GERANIUMS?

Geranium plants could hold the key to a new generation of HIV treatments, research suggests.
Extracts of the geranium plant Pelargonium sidoides inactivate HIV-1 and prevent the virus invading human cells.  HIV is divided into two types – HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the majority of cases.

Researchers at the German Research Centre for Environmental Health, in Munich, say extracts from the geranium plants could represent a potential new class of anti-HIV-1 drugs for the treatment of AIDS. They found that root extracts from the plants contain a compound that attacks HIV-1 and prevents the virus replicating inside the human body.

They found it also protects blood and immune cells from infection by the virus.
It blocks the attachment of HIV particles to human cells and, thus, effectively prevents the virus invading the cells.
Several clinical trials have already demonstrated that the geranium extracts are safe for human use and in Germany they are already licensed for use as a herbal medicine.
Research group leader Professor Ruth Brack-Werner said: ‘[Geranium] extracts are a very promising lead for the development of the first scientifically validated phytomedicine against HIV-1.  [The] extracts attack HIV-1 with a mode of action that is different from all anti-HIV-1 drugs in clinical use.  Therefore [they] may be a valuable supplement for established anti-HIV therapies.

Source  - Daily Mail