Monthly Archives: January 2013

Yoga can reduce blood pressure but know your body’s injury potential


A clinical study led by holistic researchers in Florida Atlantic University,Boca Raton,studied the effects of yoga on hypertensive patients in Thailand. You may click here to read the 2005 article published in the journal, Holistic Nurse Practice in 2005. The researchers, Ruth McCaffrey, Pratum Ruknui, Urai Hatthakit, Payao Kasetsomboon, studied a group of hypertensive patients in Thailand, both male and female, to determine the effectiveness of a yoga program on hypertensiion and stress. They concluded that the experimental group showed significantly decreased mean stress scores and blood pressure, heart rate, and body mass index levels compared with the control group.

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is usually higher than it should be. It is also called hypertension.. If your blood pressure is not lowered, there is risk for damage to your eyes, brain, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Talk to your doctor. Ask if you are at risk for having high blood pressure.

This study is easy to test on yourself.
Borrow or buy a blood pressure monitor. They are very small and portable. Make two charts. On one write no yoga. On the other write with yoga. On both write headings for the following columns:
1) Activity
2) Food or drink
3) Stressful event
4) Exciting or sad event
5) Date
6) Time
7) Blood pressure Diastolic
8) Blood pressure Systolic
9) Pulse

Now, simply measue your own blood pressure every two hours. Note, if you exercised or walked the dog or cooked or shopped. Especially important to note if you met friends, colleagues or aquaintances
Note under food if you had a meal or a coffee (which has caffeine) or tea (herbal or regular) or water or salty or sugary snacks or fruit/ vegetable snack
Note all the other self explanatory columns

Next day, follow a supervised hypertension yoga program. Measure your own blood pressure at the same times as on the day with no yoga. Try to follow the same routine and eat the same meals and drink the same drinks. For people with diabetes or kidney disease, blood pressure lower than 130/80 is good. Lower than 120/80 is ideal. For the average individual blood pressure lower than or equal to 120/80 is ideal.

Compare the results of your own two charts; one with yoga and one after just a single supervised hypertension yoga program. Make your own conclusions for your own body.

Keep in mind that no two people are alike.
You are a unique individual. Read how to avoid sports related injuries by clicking here. Yoga was never meant to be a sport. It is a reverant, spiritual, slow breathing, stretching, restfull, practically no impact routine. Poorly trained, irresponsible, irreverant individuals who call themselves yoga teachers with little knowledge of yoga and the purpose it serves, are hurting yoga enthusiasts. Avoid them. Find the right yoga teacher. What works for you may not necessarily work for your neighbor or best friend or a relative. Your genes are your own unique signature and dictate how you respond to stress and being around people you like or dislike. If you enjoy shopping for groceries while your friend finds vacuuming relaxing which stresses you out, then the two activity charts will record different results for such people.

Invest in research on effectiveness of yoga on your own hypertension
Yoga may easily serve one level of stress. However, to conclude if yoga will reduce the levels of daily stress in your personal routine, invest in the research on the effectiveness of yoga on your own hypertension. You deserve it. Go on. Take the step. Also, you might need two yoga routines a day instead of doing it all at one time. Discuss with your yoga supervisor. If your research shows that you are hypertensive at 2 pm daily, then enquire if is there a short routine that you could personally follow that might ease your stress levels. It might do you wonders by keeping an extra yoga mat in your office. Simply lay it down and do a routine for 5 minutes. Measure your blood pressure with or without yoga at same time in the office over two days at the time when the stressful event occurs daily. Perhaps, your boss walks in at the same time everyday to chat with you. If that stresses you out daily at the same time, measure your blood pressure one day right after the boss leaves. Next day, lay down the yoga mat and do a short yoga routine discussed with your yoga supervisor. Measure your blood pressure. Did the yoga help you?

Can yoga cause injuries?
There have been several recent reports on yoga related injuries. Listen to your body. Go to three different teachers before choosing one. The following articles cover yoga related injuries very well. Read them well before trusting any yoga teacher. The first one is the most important.
1) Top 10 Sports – Related injuries and yoga poses to avoid them
A must read
2)How yoga can wreck your body by NY Times
3)Practising safe yoga – 5 tips to avoid injuries by Huffington Post

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The proportion of flu and pneumonia related deaths is now slightly above epidemic threshold

For the first time in USA, the Influenza (Flu) season of 2012 – 2013, has become an eipidemic. Which means, there is a good chance either you or somebody you know is sick from the flu. This flu season is unlike the previous year’s mild flu season and totally took the people by surprise.

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January 16, 2013 · 11:03 pm

Cranberry Juice does not prevent recurrent Urinary Tract Infection in a clinical trial


Professor Betsy Foxman, Director, Center of Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of infectious diseases at University of Michigan School of Public Health led a double-blind, placebo controlled trial on the effectiveness of Cranberry Juice in preventing urinary tract infectious. The research concluded that drinking 8 oz of 27% of Cranberry juic daily did not prevent a recurrence of UTI.  To read this article published in the 2011 you may click here.

This article definitely shows that people have to be careful in avoiding the sources of recurrent UTI. This study was done on college girls.  UTI patients might prevent a recurrence by avoiding unhygenic conditions that perhaps present the UTI causal agent.

Dr. Betsy Foxman

Dr. Betsy Foxman

Cranberry juice has health benefits touted through centuries. This study does show that it does not replace the need to follow hygenic practices in prevention. Modern science has been unable to explain the total health benefits of a natural food. Perhaps, a simultaneous question one could have added during the study is whether the general health of the college girl drinking Cranberry juice was better than the girls on placebo, given all other life style factors being equal. Perhaps, Cranberry prevents further downstream complications arising from a UTI. We look forward to the research on Cranberries. It benefits all to have a better scientific understanding of the natural world around us.

Cranberries are highly sought after. They are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. The benefits of a natural source of nutrients and antioxidants cannot be underestimated. They have developed an ability to grow under extremely challenging conditions in bogs. Natural Cranberry farmers take great efforts in maintain their Cranberry bogs in pristine condition. To read Russel Avery’s wonderful article on “How Cranberry Bogs Work” click here. It is a fascinating presentation on the farmer’s efforts to keep Cranberry crops strong. It makes one respect the juice we ingest so quickly.

Cranberries must be very hardy to thrive in a place as filthy as a bog. Darren McCollester/Getty Images from "HowStuffWorks" by Russel Avery

Cranberries must be very hardy to thrive in a place as filthy as a bog.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images from “HowStuffWorks” by Russel Avery

Cranberries ready to be made into Cranberry Juice

Cranberries ready to be made into Cranberry Juice

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Natural food anti-fungals

Eating your way to anti-fungal health through Thyme, seaweed, and more may help against the yeast (Candida sp.). There is no research to show that it does or does not have an effect against other fungi. However, good food is never boring!

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  • Good scientific evidence:
  • Zinc: Zinc formulations have been used since ancient Egyptian times to enhance wound healing. Evidence from human trials suggests that zinc pyrithione shampoo may be an effective treatment for tinea versicolor fungal infections of the scalp. Side effects were not noted. Additional research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
  • Zinc is generally considered safe when taken at the recommended dosages. Avoid zinc chloride since studies have not been done on its safety or effectiveness. While zinc appears safe during pregnancy in amounts lower than the established upper intake level, caution should be used since studies cannot rule out the possibility of harm to the fetus.
  • Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence:
  • Bishop’s weed: Limited available human study used 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP), a photoreactive plant compound from bishopsweed, for the treatment of tinea versicolor. Clinical studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
  • Use cautiously in patients with photosensitivity as bishop’s weed may be photoreactive, and cause phototoxic skin damage, phototoxic dermatitis, and pigmentary retinopathy. Use cautiously in patients with bleeding disorders or taking anticoagulants, NSAIDs/anti-platelet agents, or herbs or supplements that increase risk of bleeding because bishop’s weed may have additive effects and increase the risk of bleeding. Use cautiously in patients taking drugs or herbs or supplements metabolized by cytochrome P450 as bishop’s weed may increase the effects of these agents. Use cautiously in patients with eye disorders, as bishop’s weed may cause ocular toxicity. Avoid in patients with known allergy/hypersensitivity to bishop’s weed, its constituents, or members of the Apiaceae family.
  • Bitter orange: Limited available human study found promising results using the oil of bitter orange for treatment of fungal infections. However, due to methodological weakness of this research, further evidence is needed to confirm these results.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to bitter orange or any members of the Rutaceae family. Avoid with heart disease, narrow-angel glaucoma, intestinal colic, or long QT interval syndrome. Avoid if taking anti-adrenergic agents, beta-blockers, QT-interval prolonging drugs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), stimulants, or honey. Use cautiously with headache, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), or if fair-skinned. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Cinnamon: There is currently a lack of available evidence to support the use of cinnamon for AIDS patients with advanced oral candidiasis. More study is needed in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to cinnamon, its constituents, members of the Lauraceae family, or Balsam of Peru. Use cautiously if prone to atopic reactions or if taking cytochrome P450 metabolized agents, anticoagulants (blood thinners), insulin or blood sugar-altering medications, antibiotics, or cardiovascular agents. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Cranberry: Limited laboratory research has examined the antifungal activity of cranberry. Reliable human studies supporting the use of cranberry for fungal infections are currently lacking. Further research is warranted in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic to cranberries, blueberries, or other plants of the Vaccinium species. Sweetened cranberry juice may affect blood sugar levels. Use cautiously with a history of kidney stones. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid cranberry in higher amounts than what is typically found in foods.
  • Garlic: Garlic is used both medicinally and as a food spice. Several studies describe the use of garlic as a topical antifungal to treat fungal infections of the skin, including yeast infections. More research is needed in this area.
  • Use cautiously as garlic can cause severe burns and rash when applied to the skin of sensitive individuals. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to garlic or other members of the Lilaceae(lily) family (e.g. hyacinth, tulip, onion, leek, or chive). Avoid with a history of bleeding problems, asthma, diabetes, low blood pressure, or thyroid disorders. Stop using supplemental garlic two weeks before and immediately after dental/surgical/diagnostic procedures with bleeding risks. Avoid in supplemental doses if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Pomegranate: In clinical study, an extract of pomegranate was shown to be as effective as a commonly used oral gel when used topically to treat candidiasis associated with denture stomatitis (mouth sores). Additional study is needed to confirm pomegranate’s antifungal effects.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to pomegranate. Avoid with diarrhea or high or low blood pressure. Avoid taking pomegranate fruit husk with oil or fats to treat parasites. Pomegranate root/stem bark should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Use cautiously with liver damage or liver disease. Pomegranate supplementation may be unsafe during pregnancy when taken by mouth. The bark, root, and fruit rind may cause menstruation or uterine contractions. Avoid if breastfeeding due to a lack of scientific data.
  • Probiotics: Early research suggests that cheese containing probiotics may help reduce the risk of a fungal mouth infection, called thrush, in the elderly. More research is needed in this area.
  • Probiotics are generally considered to be safe and well-tolerated. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to probiotics. Use cautiously if lactose intolerant. Caution is advised when using probiotics in neonates born prematurely or with immune deficiency.
  • Propolis: Propolis is a natural resin created by bees to make their hives. Propolis is made from the buds of conifer and poplar trees and combined with beeswax and other bee secretions. In human study, a commercial propolis ethanol extract from Brazil, formulated to ensure physical and chemical stability, was found to inhibit fungal infections of the mouth, such as oral candidiasis. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to propolis, black poplar (Populas nigra), poplar bud, bee stings, bee products, honey, or Balsam of Peru. Severe allergic reactions have been reported. There has been one report of kidney failure with the ingestion of propolis that improved upon discontinuing therapy and deteriorated with re-exposure. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding because of the high alcohol content in some products.
  • Seaweed, kelp, bladderwrack: Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is a brown seaweed found along the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and North and Baltic seas. Another seaweed that grows alongside bladderwrack is Ascophyllum nodosum, andit is often combined with bladderwrack in kelp preparations. Laboratory research suggests that bladderwrack may have antifungal activity. However, reliable human studies to support this use are currently lacking in the available literature.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to Fucus vesiculosus or iodine. Avoid with a history of thyroid disease, bleeding, acne, kidney disease, blood clots, nerve disorders, high blood pressure, stroke, or diabetes. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Selenium: Selenium is a mineral found in soil, water, and some foods. Commercially available 1% selenium sulfide shampoo has been reported as equivalent to sporicidal therapy in the adjunctive treatment of the yeast infection tinea capitis. However, further high-quality evidence is warranted.
  • Selenium sulfide shampoo has also been studied as a possible treatment for tinea versicolor. However, research results are inconclusive.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to products containing selenium. Avoid with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer. Selenium is generally regarded as safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, animal research reports that large doses of selenium may lead to birth defects.
  • Tea tree oil: Although tea tree oil has been found to have activity against several fungus species in laboratory study, there is currently insufficient human evidence to determine if it is an effective topical treatment for onychomycosis, tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), or thrush (oral Candida albicans).
  • Tea tree oil may be toxic when taken by mouth and therefore, should not be swallowed. Avoid if allergic to tea tree oil or plants of the Myrtle (Myrtaceae) family, Balsam of Peru, or benzoin. Use cautiously with a history of eczema. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Thyme: Thyme has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Beyond its common culinary application, it has been recommended for many indications based on proposed antimicrobial, antitussive, spasmolytic, and antioxidant activity. Thyme essential oil and thymol have been shown to have antifungal effects. Topical thymol has been used traditionally to treat paronychia (skin infection around a finger or toenail) and onycholysis (fungal nail infection)Currently, there is insufficient reliable human evidence to recommend for or against the use of thyme or thymol as a treatment for fungal infections.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to thyme, members of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, any component of thyme, or rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Avoid oral ingestion or non-diluted topical application of thyme oil due to potential toxicity. Avoid topical preparations in areas of skin breakdown or injury or in atopic patients due to multiple reports of contact dermatitis. Use cautiously with gastrointestinal irritation or peptic ulcer disease due to anecdotal reports of gastrointestinal irritation. Use cautiously with thyroid disorders due to observed anti-thyrotropic effects in animal research of the related speciesThymus serpyllum. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

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January 15, 2013 · 3:51 am

Should my baby get the flu vaccine?


The CDC says that infants younger than 6 months cannot get the flu vaccine. In this case, the role of the caregiver is important and hence, they must remain healthy and may wish to follow the CDC recommendations on precautions and advie for caregivers of children younger than 2 years old below. An excerpt:
Children Younger Than 6 Months at Higher Risk

Children younger than 6 months are at higher risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because children younger than 6 months cannot get a vaccine, but are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, safeguarding them from influenza is especially important. This fact sheet provides advice to help caregivers (for example, parents, teachers, babysitters, nannies) protect children younger than 6 months from the flu.

Unquote.

For information on Egg free vaccines you may wish to click here.

CDC advice for caregivers of children below 2 years of age:
1. Take time to get the flu vaccine
2. Take everyday preventive steps – washing your hands often, covering mouth, keep baby 6 feet away from sick people, keep hands (and germs) away from face
3. Talk to doctor about antiviral drugs: which are most effective in first two days of illness

The CDC advises ensuring the infants cold or flu does not progress into pneumonia. Actively seek out advice on how to prevent flu from progressing into pneumonia.

Here is a study by pediatricians that shows that most babies begin to get sick with flu after they are 6 months old.  The mother’s ability to fight the flu virus is transmitted to the child while pregnant and does offer the new born to six month child a healthier start to life. However, a third of the new borns under six months did get the flu in this study. The Centers of Disease Control of USA (CDC) recommends that all infants above 6 months be vaccinated annually against the flu. You may click here to read the CDC recommendation on December 2012.

You may want to discuss with your pediatrician if your child is more than six months old. Maternal immunity transferred to the infant may postpone the need to immunize the infant. However, since two – thirds of the infants over 6 months in this 1997 study did get the flu, the discussion with the pediatrician becomes important. Also, the infant is getting a number of other immunizations and the expert discussion will allow you to avoid an unnecessary vaccine.

If the flu season is particularly harsh like in early 2013, then it might be advisable to not delay the discussion on immunizing your child over 6 months of age. The CDC does not recommend getting a child under 6 months getting the flu vaccine.

To read the scientific research article entitled “Influenza virus infections in infants” published in the Pediatric Infection Disease Journal click you may want to click here. It was published in 1997 but the results still apply.

The authors of this study are:
GLEZEN, W. PAUL MD; TABER, LARRY H. MD; FRANK, ARTHUR L. MD*; GRUBER, WILLIAM C. MD†; PIEDRA, PEDRO A. MD

Prevent the fluids from collecting in the ear and causing a ear infection.

Related Article
History of the flu vaccine
Egg free vaccine

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