Last month researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center announced the discovery of a natural way to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD with the purple periwinkle. The findings were reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May. Chronic diseases associated with inflammation are a serious problem for millions of Americans because of the need to use steroids for treatment. Steroids are effective in relieving the symptoms but can damage the liver and lower the immune system when used regularly.The naturally occurring component, vinpocetine, found in the Purple Periwinkle appears to be a safe alternative. “What is extremely exciting and promising about these findings is vinpocetine’s excellent safety profile,” explained Chen Yan, Ph.D., a senior author of the study and associate professor at the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Medical Center. “Previously, most drugs tested in this area have failed, not because of a lack of efficacy, but because of safety issues. We’re very encouraged by these results and believe vinpocetine has great potential for the treatment of COPD and other inflammatory diseases.” “In managing chronic conditions such as COPD, it is crucial to have a therapy that can be used safely over the long term,” said Jian-Dong Li, M.D., Ph.D., another senior author of the study and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a senior author of the study. “There is a great need for a drug like vinpocetine, because patients currently have no good options when it comes to long-term care.”
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The good news is that FIR Saunas have a good amount of clinical research to prove their safety and effectiveness. The bulk of the research is coming out of Japan. It turns out that controlled hyperthermia (raising the temperature of the body) through FIR Sauna therapy helps all of the body’s tissues to get activated and function better. To understand how FIR-Saunas benefit our health see the list below. Anorexia Nervosa: This condition is marked by over-activity and/or strenuous exercising. FIR sauna therapy leads to disappearance of hyperactivity and progressive recovery. Back Pain: Low level heat therapy is more effective than over-the-counter oral medications for relieving low back pain, according to the results of a nationwide study led by a sports medicine researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In the six-month study involving 371 patients, participants were given the maximum recommended non-prescription dosages of ibuprofen and acetaminophen or low level heat therapy for two days to treat acute low back pain. The results showed that the low level heat therapy provided significantly more pain relief beginning on the first day of treatment than the oral analgesics and that the effects lasted more than 48 hours after the treatment was completed. “Confirming that this treatment is effective is important to patients because it gives them a treatment option that does not have the potential risk to the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract than can accompany inappropriate analgesic usage,” said Dr. Nadler, an associate of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the medical school. Cardiovascular Conditioning (Passive): 1. The August 7, 1981 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that regular use of a sauna may impact a similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective, as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories, as regular exercise. FIR Sauna Therapy makes it possible for people in wheelchairs, or those who have a disability that affect their ability to exercise to achieve a cardiovascular training effect. Due to the deep penetration of the infrared rays generated by the Far Infrared Sauna, there is a heating effect deep in the muscular tissues and the internal organs. The body responds to this deep-heating effect via a hypothalamic-induced increase in both heart volume and rate. This beneficial heart stress leads to a sought-after cardiovascular training and conditioning effect. Medical researchers confirm the use of a sauna provides cardiovascular conditioning as the body works to cool itself and involves substantial increases in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate. 2. As a confirmation of the validity of this form of cardiovascular conditioning, extensive research by NASA in the early 1980′s led to the conclusion that infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flights. 3. A person using an FIR sauna will burn between 900 and 2400 calories during a 30 minute period. This is equivalent to the consumption of energy in a 6-9 mile run. For comparison, persons using a rowing machine or running a marathon burns only about 600 calories in 30 minutes. Therefore, the infrared sauna can play a pivotal role in both weight control and cardiovascular conditioning. It is valuable for those who don’t exercise and those who can’t exercise and want an effective weight control and fitness maintenance program, and the benefits regular exercise contribute to such a program. The cardiovascular demand imparted by thermoregulatory homeostasis (sweating, vasodilation, decreased afterload, increased heart rate, increased cardiac output) is similar to that achieved by walking at a moderate pace. As such, FIR saunas might be of particular benefit to those who are sedentary due to various medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis or cardiovascular or respiratory problems. Diver Decompression Sickness (Bends): 16 divers were compressed in a high pressure chamber . Each underwent one dive in the chamber after a 30 minute far infrared sauna therapy session at 149F (65C) and one dive without the therapy. The results showed that circulating bubbles after a dive were decreased significantly in the FIR treatment group. Fibromyalgia: 1. 13 female patients with fibromyalgia received FIR sauna therapy at 140F (60C) for 15 minutes and then covered by a warm blanket for 30 more minutes . Each received 10 treatments total. All patients received about a 50% reduction in pain after the first treatment. By the 10th treatment, the pain relief became stable. Pain symptom scores remained low throughout the study. 2. Fibromyalgia sufferers are universally found to be malnourished, have lowered immune function, have one or more viral, fungal, or bacterial infections (almost always not detectable by orthodox means), and cannot detoxify their heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, aluminum etc. Therefore, FIR Therapy provides a safe, natural form of detoxification which is so very crucial for fibromyalgia patients. Studies have shown that heat therapy is more effective than analgesics for fibromyalgia pain relief. In a randomized controlled trial , 30 subjects with congestive heart failure were randomized into control (10 subjects) and intervention (20 subjects) groups. Treatment consisted of 10 15-minute infrared sauna sessions over a 2 week period. Clinical symptoms improved in 17 (85%) out of 20 of the treatment group. Average systolic blood pressure in the treatment group decreased 9% from 107 mmHg to 97 mm Hg. Average brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels decreased in the treatment group decreased 34% (441 pg/ml vs. 293 pg/ml). The control group did not improve clinically. Inflammation: The increased peripheral circulation occurring with FIR sauna therapy provides the transportation needed to help evacuate the edema, which can help stop inflammation, decrease pain and help speed healing. Researchers have observed high success rates when applying FIR therapy to resolve post surgical infection, pelvic infection and frostbite with inflammation. Pain (Chronic): 1. New clinical research on pain offers evidence to establish a novel class of pain — “heat responsive pain” or HRP — which encompasses several common pain conditions that can be treated with the use of heat therapy. Researchers studying HRP have observed remarkable therapeutic benefits by using continuous low-level heat therapy for treating lower-back, upper-body and menstrual pain, all conditions that fall under the new HRP classification. “For centuries, health-care providers have used topical heat to relieve minor aches and pains, but today, we are just beginning to understand the full range of therapeutic benefits that heat offers,” said pain expert Peter Vicente, Ph.D., Past-President of the American Pain Society and Clinical Health Psychologist, Riverhills Health-care, Cincinnati, OH. “Through new clinical research, we have found that heat activates complex neurological, vascular and metabolic mechanisms to mediate the transmission of pain signals and effectively provide relief for a variety of pain conditions.” The deep heat of the FIR sauna helps peripheral blood vessels dilate, bringing relief and healing to muscle and soft tissue injuries. Increased blood circulation carries off metabolic waste products and delivers oxygen-rich blood to oxygen-depleted muscle, so they recover faster. Muscles relax most readily when tissues are warm, for greater flexibility and range of motion. 2. In a randomized controlled trial , 46 patients with chronic pain received 4 weeks of multidisciplinary treatment; 22 of the subjects also had 15-minute daily FIR sauna sessions during those 4 weeks. After two years, those in the sauna group were more likely to have returned to work (77% vs. 50%) and to have improved sleep scores and tended toward greater improvement in pain behavior scores and anger scores. The reason for the pain relief may be the reduction of muscle spasms which cause pain or the relaxing of myofascial trigger points (irritable tight tissues). In one dental study, repeated heat applications eventually led to abolishment of the whole nerve response responsible for pain arising from dental pulp (center soft part of the tooth). 3. Persons undergoing FIR Sauna Therapy have received relief from a variety of painful conditions: a. Adhesions (scarring) from athletic injuries, trauma or repetitive stress syndromes. b. Arthritis: gouty, rheumatoid or degenerative joint disease. c. Brain Injury (The effects of acceleration-deceleration injury or brain contusions). d. Compression fracture. For example, in one person, pain stopped for three days of after only a single treatment. e. TMJ (arthritis and muscle spasms have been reduced or eliminated). f. Low Back Pain. g. Muscle Pain (notably post exercise muscle pain). h. Muscle Tension. i. Neuralgia (related to disc protrusion). j. Pain which prevented sleep or limited usable sleeping positions. k. Shoulder Pain. l. Spinal Cord Shock. Post traumatic shock has been reversed. Skin/Beauty: 1. The profuse sweating achieved after just a few minutes in far infrared sauna unclogs the skin pores and carries off deeply embedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing, youthful, baby smooth, soft, immaculately clean and free of accumulated dirt and dry skin cells. Increased circulation and dilation of the body’s capillary network draws the skin’s own natural nutrients to the surface. It improves complexion, tone, elasticity, texture and fresh color of the skin. 2. Increased blood circulation has also been shown to relieve acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, lesions and cuts. In addition, open wounds may heal more quickly, reducing scarring and even burns. There is always more information showing up about the health benefits of FIR saunas. I hope this brief list will suffice for the time being.
Chronic pain, and its common partner depression, are serious problems that people around the world struggle to deal with effectively. A new study from the University of Manchester shows that meditation can be an effective tool for lessening chronic pain. The research shows that proper mindfulness based meditation causes the brain to anticipate the pain less, and thus reduce its severity. “The results of the study confirm how we suspected meditation might affect the brain. Meditation trains the brain to be more present-focused and therefore to spend less time anticipating future negative events. This may be why meditation is effective at reducing the recurrence of depression, which makes chronic pain considerably worse,” explained Dr Christopher Brown, who conducted the research. “Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to treat chronic illness such as the pain caused by arthritis,” said Dr Brown. “Recently, a mental health charity called for meditation to be routinely available on the NHS to treat depression, which occurs in up to 50% of people with chronic pain. However, scientists have only just started to look into how meditation might reduce the emotional impact of pain.” Dr. Brown continuted: “Although we found that meditators anticipate pain less and find pain less unpleasant, it’s not clear precisely how meditation changes brain function over time to produce these effects. “However, the importance of developing new treatments for chronic pain is clear: 40% of people who suffer from chronic pain report inadequate management of their pain problem.”
Everyone jokes about the toxic chemicals used in the agricultural industry, only many of us don’t really know what the effects are on the environment or our health. New research is showing the specific effects that one of the commonly used weed killers has on frogs. Scientists at UC Berkeley have just released their findings about the effects that the hericide Atrazine has on the reproductive organs of frogs. “The effects of atrazine in the long term have been shown to demasculinize or chemically castrate [frogs], combined with complete feminization of some animals,” said lead researcher Tyrone B. Hayes, a biologist and herpetologist at the University of Berkeley. Atrazine is a favorite among corn and sugar farmers in the U.S. because it is cheap. The European Union banned it in 2004 due to the residual levels found in water not meeting the EU’s regulatory levels. Scientists are continually conducting research, like the UC Berkeley study, that does not shine a good light on Atrazine. The only testing that shows it to be safe comes from research that is funded by the Atrazine makers themselves. Read the full report here.
Until now, considering the immune system as a contributing factor in behavioral disorders was all but unheard of. New experiments are showing a direct link between the two. “We’re showing there is a direct relationship between a psychiatric disorder and the immune system, specifically cells named microglia that are derived from bone marrow” and exist in the brain, explained Mario Capecchi, a Nobel winning professor of human genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. “There’s been an inference. But nobody has previously made a direct connection between the two.” “A lot of people are going to find it amazing,” continued Capecchi. “That’s the surprise: bone marrow can correct a behavioral defect.” Capecchi went on to explain that these findings may inspire researchers “to think about potential new immune-based therapies for psychiatric disorders.” However, “I’m not proposing we should do bone marrow transplants for any psychiatric disorder” in humans. Instead Capecchi thinks “it’s a very good model for obsessive-compulsive disorder.” To visit source click here.
Several new research papers are being published about various health benefits from regularly playing soccer. Some may find it a surprise that the studies do not focus on the more obvious benefits of such an athletic sport, such as greater muscle strength and improved cardiovascular health. Instead, the studies reveal that regular engagement in soccer bring improved bone density, bone health, better posture and improved balance. “During soccer training and games, the players perform many sprints, turns, kicks and tackles. This combination of actions help achieve a variable bone impact that appears to provide a better stimulus to bone mineralization than running,” said project leader Peter Krustrup. “The research shows that 70-year-old men, who have played soccer most of their lives on a recreational basis, have just as good a balance and rapid muscle strength as untrained 30-year-olds and much better balance and muscle strength than their peers” explained Peter Krustrup. More information will be published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports in a special edition issue entitled “Football for Health” containing 14 scientific articles.
Most people never stop to think about the timing of their baby’s umbilical cord clamping, or how critical the right timing can be for the infant’s health. New research has just come out that looks directly at this issue. Researchers at the University of South Florida’s Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair are reporting that doctors should wait a few minutes longer than the usual 30 seconds to 1 minute time period for optimal health results. Their studies showed that the last bit of blood from the umbilical cord is filled with important stem cells that are very useful to the newborn. “Several clinical studies have shown that delaying clamping the umbilical cord not only allows more blood to be transferred but helps prevent anemia as well,” explained the study’s lead author Dr. Paul Sanberg, the Center dircector. “Cord blood also contains many valuable stem cells, making this transfer of stem cells a process that might be considered ‘the original stem cell transplant’.” “Several randomized, controlled trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses have compared the effects of late versus early cord clamping,” said co-author Dr. Dong-Hyuk Park. “In pre-term infants, delaying clamping the cord for at least 30 seconds reduced incidences of intraventricular hemorrhage, late on-set sepsis, anemia, and decreased the need for blood transfusions.” “There remains no consensus among scientists and clinicians on cord clamping and proper cord blood collection,” summarized co-author and obstetrician Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and senior vice president of USF Health. “The most important thing is to avoid losing valuable stems cells during and just after delivery.”
It is generally known that people with diabetes have the disease either because it runs in their family, or because of an unhealthy diet made up of fatty foods. A new study just released by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has put new and greater emphasis on the environmental causes of diabetes, such as pesticides and other chemicals. By using a novel approach to researching the association of environmental factors and diabetes, scientist were able to eliminate some of the ambiguity that has existed in previous studies where this same relationship was researched. This new approach used the same techniques initially developed to identify the numerous sections of DNA throughout the genome that could contribute to disease development. “This approach catapults us from being forced to ask very simple, directed questions about environment and disease into a new realm in which we can look at many, many variables simultaneously and without bias,” said Atul Butte, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatric cancer biology, who is also director of the Center for Pediatric Bioinformatics at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. “In the future, we’ll be able to analyze the effect of genes and environment together, to find, perhaps, that a specific gene increases the risk of a disease only if the person is also drinking polluted well water.” “Studying relationships between a person’s environment and their disease burden in this manner is going to be far more impactful,” explained Butte. “We can now imagine what it might be to look at everything in the environment, in the same way that we’ve been doing with the genome for the past decade. Imagine one day wearing a chip on your clothing that assesses your exposure to hundreds or thousands of environmental toxins. You could bring that in to your annual physical and you and your doctor could incorporate the information into discussions about disease risk and prevention.” To see the full report click here.
The traditional folk medicinal herb, Ginger Root, has been used for ages to help with various ailments such as upset stomachs or colds. Now muscle pain can be added to that list. Scientists at the University of Georgia recently demonstrated how ginger root can be useful as an anti-inflammatory agent for sore muscles. Up until now this had been a theory, but never tested clinically with humans. The researchers reported that consuming ginger root offered a 25% reduction in muscle pain after working out. “The economic and personal costs of pain are extremely high,” said Patrick O’Connor, a professor in the College of Education’s department of kinesiology. “Muscle pain generally is one of the most common types of pain and eccentric exercise-induced muscle pain specifically is a common type of injury related to sports and/or recreation (e.g., gardening). Anything that can truly relieve this type of pain will be greatly welcomed by the many people who are experiencing it.” To read the complete study click here.
Most people think of lung health, not the cardiovascular system, when the topic of air pollution comes up. New research is revealing that air pollution has a direct impact on heart health. According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, breathing polluted air adds stress to the heart’s regulation capacity, even six hours after inhalation of the polluted air. Professor of public health sciences, Duanping Liao, explained that the particulates found in polluted are can contribute to cadiovascular disease. “Air pollution is associated with cardiopulmonary mortality and morbidity, and it is generally accepted that impaired heart electrophysiology is one of the underlying mechanisms,” explained Fan He, master’s program graduate, Department of Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine. “This impairment is exhibited through fluctuations in the heart rate from beat to beat over an established period of time, known as heart rate variability. It is also exhibited through a longer period for the electric activity to return to the baseline, known as ventricular repolarization.” “The time course, how long it would take from exposure to cardiac response, has not been systematically investigated,” said Fan He. “We conducted this study to investigate the relationship between particle matter and heart electrophysiology impairment, especially the time course.” The primary pollutant is PM2.5, which refers to air bone particulate that is 2.5 micrometers in size and comes mainly from deisel engines and coal burning. “Our findings may contribute to further understanding of the pathophysiology of air pollution-related cardiac events, specifically our results indicating elevated PM2.5 exposure is associated with immediate disturbance of cardiac electrical activities within six hours after exposure,” said Liao.