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Thursday
Sep182014

Could a simple measurement of your waistline determine your life expectancy? A new mass calculation of 300,000 adults over 20 years claims yes.

A new study finds a correlation between your waistline and how long you can expect to live, claiming to be more accurate than BMI or Body Mass Index. 

The researchers at Cass Business School at City University, London, came up with the calculation after looking at records of more than 300,000 adults spanning 20 years. Dr Margaret Ashwell said it should be used as a simple health check that anyone can do at home.

She added that waist circumference is important because it shows the amount of central fat in the body which is linked to high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. She also believes the waist-to-height ratio is a far more reliable predictor of ill health and obesity than the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is widely used by doctors.

As long as this is half your height or less, you should live to the average life expectancy which is currently around 81. But for every few inches over, you face losing months or even years of life.

For example, an average 30-year-old man who is 5ft 10in tall or 70 inches should have a waist size no bigger than 35 inches. A 30-year-old 5ft 4in woman should have a waist size of 32 inches or under.

A 30-year-old man of 5ft 10in with a 56-inch waist can expect to lose 20.2 years from his life expectancy. Similarly a woman with a 51-inch waist will die 10.6 years earlier.

Wednesday
Sep172014

Chinese pharma attempts to narrow the gap on it's influence and production in domestic and worldwide medical culture and treatments. 

From Swiss News

China’s potential to become a force in pharmaceutical R&D has been evident since the 1960s when Mao Zedong ordered the Chinese army to find a treatment for malaria, which was ravaging North Vietnamese soldiers in their jungle battles with US-backed South Vietnam.

This programme discovered artemisinin, which remains one of the most important weapons against malaria. It was derived from the sweet wormwood plant - a herb used in Chinese medicine for centuries - highlighting the potential to marry the country’s traditional medical practices with modern science.

Between 2007 and 2012, Chinese investment in biomedical R&D grew at a compound annual rate of 33 per cent, compared with an average 7 per cent in the rest of Asia-Pacific, according to McKinsey, the consultant. This increased spending is beginning to produce results: the number of Chinese papers in respected life science journals rose more than sixfold between 2001 and 2013, says Fangning Zhang of McKinsey in Shanghai.

Read this full article in English or your choice of other language here: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/chinese-pharma-starts-to-narrow-the-gap/40573160

Tuesday
Sep162014

North Carolina farmers switch from Tobacco to Chinese and American Medical Herbs, quadruple potential profits.

From the Citizen Times 

By a quirk of geography, Western North Carolina shares the same latitudes and elevations of the mountainous provinces in China that produce the rich trove of herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.

American ginseng, growing wild in the Appalachian coves, has long been treasured by Chinese healers, but other non-native plants used in traditional medicine also grow well here. The alliance has focused on nettles, Chinese chrysanthemum, lemon balm, California poppy and skullcap. “A lot of these are sister species to plants found in China,” Hamilton said.

So far the experiment has proved promising. About five acres locally are growing these plants. The coop members aim to see 100 acres in production by 2020.

Alexander said she had all of her herb crops sold last winter before she planted the first seed this spring. The yield per acre for a full-time herb grower could be as high as $12,000 per acre. “That’s four times what tobacco has given people, and certainly beats corn, soybean and hay hands down,” she said.

Read the full article here: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/money/business/2014/08/09/growing-new-cash-crop-chinese-medicinal-herbs/13834097/

Monday
Sep152014

New Study: Meniscus surgery often doesn't significantly help older patients.

Middle-aged and older patients are unlikely to benefit in the long term from surgery to repair tears in themeniscus, pads of cartilage in the knee, a new review of studies has found.

Researchers at McMaster University combined data from seven randomized, placebo-controlled trials involving more than 800 subjects treated for meniscal tears with surgery, sham surgery or nonoperative care. The subjects’ average age was 56.

In six of the trials, the surgery provided a significant improvement in short-term functioning. But the pooled data showed no significant difference in long-term functioning among patients in the three groups. Nor did surgery provide either short- or long-term pain relief.

 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/of-little-help-to-older-knees/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=health&_r=0

Friday
Sep122014

Alicia Keys and the ever increasing list of people in popular culture that rely on acupuncture. 

Royalty, award winning athletes, and pop singers as well as the military top the list of those turning to acupuncture in the last year. 

In a recent interview, Alicia keys explained the keys to her health and wellness. Along with a fish based protein diet she also does mixed phsycial training and acupuncture as therapy for both body and mind. 

Other notable celebrities to recently tout their use of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine: 

Jennifer Lopez dropped 15lbs utilizing acupuncture along with Chinese herbs and weight-loss treatments.

Robert Downey Jr  says Traditiona Chinese Medicine has “had a profound impact in all areas of his life for many years” says Downey who received an award for being an advocate of TCM. "I confess that I am as close to being a Chinese-American as any Caucasian ever could be in his life.”

Sandra Bullock receives acupuncture "treatments three times a week whether she’s at home or on set. It’s in her contract that studios have to pay for it!"

Recent interviews also can add Natalie Portman, Penelope Cruz, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Matt Damon, Jennifer Aniston, and Sheryl Crow to the list, using the treatment of acupuncture for everything from fertility to muscle recovery, to physical therapy. 

Monday
Sep082014

Scientists discover "heat sink" in the ocean that may temporarily be slowing global warming: at the potential destruction of the ocean's ecosystems.

While Global Warming has been accepted as an overwhelming fact by scientists worldwide, a recent slight slowing of obvious warming along with still ever increasing c02 emissions in the atmosphere has given a riddle: Where is the heat going? In a new study it appears that unfortuntely the oceans have been soaking up the brunt of the recent damage to the environment, heat and all. 

Dr Chen and Dr Tung have shown where exactly in the sea the missing heat is lurking. As the left-hand chart below shows, over the past decade and a bit the ocean depths have been warming faster than the surface. This period corresponds perfectly with the pause, and contrasts with the last two decades of the 20th century, when the surface was warming faster than the deep. The authors calculate that, between 1999 and 2012, 69 zettajoules of heat (that is, 69 x 1021 joules—a huge amount of energy) have been sequestered in the oceans between 300 metres and 1,500 metres down. If it had not been so sequestered, they think, there would have been no pause in warming at the surface.

Read More: http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21613161-mystery-pause-global-warming-may-have-been-solved-answer-seems

 

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21613161-mystery-pause-global-warming-may-have-been-solved-answer-seems

Monday
Sep082014

Medical tourism: Becoming more refined and embraced by patients. 

Medical tourism continues to be on the rise. No longer a suspicious practice, even high dollar travel centers and hotels partner with some of the best doctors in the world in international markets to offer health and wellness solutions to patients looking for quality care and a significant savings on domestic options. 

Supported by disruption caused in the aviation industry via low cost airlines and social media, the flow of patients from developed nations to other regions makes medical tourism a considerable norm rather than something reserved only for the affluent. In addition, a large number of medical tourists are immigrants to the U.S., returning to their home country for care.

Medical tourism, once an anomaly in treatment, has now become a very vital part of the international health care system, catering to Americans and other citizens of the world alike. With savings of 90% often on some treatments driving demand, and the quality of care being either the same or superior to other options has helped the industry look at a 20% rise in cases for upcoming year alone.

Although the exact market size of the medical tourism market is difficult to predict, recent Frost & Sullivan research predicts the market at around $50 billion to $65 billion dollars in 2014, growing at approximately 20 percent. 

Read More: 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/reenitadas/2014/08/19/medical-tourism-gets-a-facelift-and-perhaps-a-pacemaker/

Thursday
Sep042014

New Study: Standardized Garlic Powders Reduce Heart Attack Risks

Studies have suggested that garlic may lower cholesterol and prevent blood from clotting in the internal body tissues.

Over the years, garlic has been used to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases. It is used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack and 'hardenings of the arteries'.

According to Herb Research Foundation, a study published in the May issue of Atherosclerosis showed that a garlic powder supplement can help prevent and, in some cases, even reverse plaque build-up in the arteries. Researchers have long associated arterial plaque with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. 

The study was conducted using rigorous controls (randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled) and took place over a four-year period, making it the longest clinical trial to evaluate the effects of a dietary supplement on reducing heart attack risk.

For the four-year study, 152 men and women were randomly assigned to take either placebo or 900 mg of standardized garlic powder daily. From the beginning, all participants had advanced plaque accumulation, in addition to at least one other established risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes, or a history of smoking. Researchers used B-mode ultrasound to measure the progression and regression of plaque volume in the common carotid and femoral arteries, at the beginning of the study and at 16, 36, and 48 months.

At the end of the study, those who took garlic had a 2.6 percent reduction in plaque volume, compared to a 15.6 percent increase in the placebo group. When the effects were analyzed by gender, there was a 4.4 percent decrease in plaque volume in men taking garlic, compared to a 5.5 percent increase in the male placebo group. The results for women initially took researchers by surprise. While women in the garlic group experienced a modest 4.6 percent decrease in plaque volume, those taking placebo had a massive 53.1 percent increase.

According to the researchers, the striking difference between the two female groups was due to a predominance of younger women in the placebo group, and more older women in the garlic group by the end of the study. Although the age distribution was relatively even at the beginning of the study, it became unbalanced as a greater number of younger women in the garlic group withdrew from the study, mostly due to "annoyance by odor".

However, the investigators asserted that the 4.6 percent decline in plaque volume observed in women taking garlic remains a "genuine garlic effect."

Based on this study and more than 20 others conducted on standardized powdered garlic, researchers believe that garlic can have not only a preventative but also a curative role in heart disease. Previous studies demonstrate that powdered garlic reduces total and harmful LDL cholesterol levels, serum triglycerides, and blood pressure, and also inhibits cholesterol oxidation and platelet aggregation (the tendency of the blood platelets to clump), among other positive effects.

This study adds more support to the scientific case for garlic as a "pleiotropic" substance, meaning that garlic's mild effects on many different measurements of heart health add up to significant overall benefits.

Although garlic has numerous medicinal values, experts say that too much of it can cause gastrointestinal ailments, such as heartburns, excess belching, garlicky breath, nausea and possibly diarrhea. Pregnant patients should notify their doctors about any additional heartburn or diarrhea associated with garlic consumption.

A good overview of Garlic's Benefits can be read at the University of Maryland Medical Center profile page for it HERE