Reading Time: 3 minutes

cover-mediumUse of benzodiazepine anti-anxiety drugs (like Valium) reached epidemic proportions two decades ago, the use of which was enshrined in the Rolling Stones song ‘Mothers Little Helper’. While long-term side effects have led to a significant decrease in use in recent times, modern benzodiazepine derivatives are still widely prescribed.

Drugs vs. Nutrients
Although nutritional approaches to anxiety have not seen much use by the medical profession, consumers have obtained some degree of anxiolytic relief through the use of such OTC items as B-complex vitamins, magnesium, GABA, and herbs like valerian.

Do Flu Vaccines Provide Real Protection?

Thursday, 27 August 2009 by | Comments: 1
Reading Time: 5 minutes

vaccination imageEach year the respective medical authorities in the western world recommend the influenza vaccine and who should receive it. Since 1999 the age groups have been expanded to include greater numbers of people.  Whilst the UK has a more conservative approach to seasonal flu in terms of age, in the USA virtually the only groups not recommended to receive the vaccine are those aged between 19 and 40 without any ongoing health problem.

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Vit D Balances the Innate Immune Response

logoA new study has concluded that one key part of the immune system, the ability of vitamin D to regulate anti-bactericidal proteins, is so important that it has been conserved through almost 60 million years of evolution and is shared only by primates, including humans – but no other known animal species. The genetic material – called an Alu short interspersed element – is part of what used to be thought of as “junk DNA” and makes up more than 90 percent of the human genome.

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S1931312809X00090_cov150hToxoplasmosis is generally a mild infection, but it can have serious and potentially fatal effects in pregnant women, their foetuses and others with weakened immune systems.

In mice, T gondii directly activates a specific immune protein in the host, called toll-like receptor 11 (TLR-11), which helps control the animals’ immune response to the parasite. Humans, however, don’t have an active form of this receptor. Exactly how the body senses T gondii has remained unclear because the parasite doesn’t activate any of the functioning toll-like receptors that humans do possess.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

BioMask on ArenThe influenza virus is a determined and relentless foe. Infecting about 1 billion people worldwide annually and killing hundreds of thousands. If influenza evolves into a pandemic strain, as it did three times last century, it could kill tens of millions.

Stripped to its genetic skeleton the virus that has wrought havoc on populations and caused untold misery is one of the simplest organisms on the planet. It consists of merely eight genes. Humans, on the other hand, have some 20,000 genes.

According to experts, in the first eight weeks of a flu pandemic, an effective mask could reduce the number of cases from one million to just 6. [1]

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plosCrohn’s diease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Its exact cause is still to be elucidated but a mix of environmental and genetic factors are known to be important. In this study, investigators looked at identical twins microbial composition from their faecal material.

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helicobacterDr Rachel Olivier MS ND PhD describes the pathophysiology of the infection and explores the role of natural agents in the eradication and control of this ubiquitous organism.

In 1982, when this bacterium was discovered by Marshall and Warren, stress and lifestyle were considered the major causes of peptic ulcer disease. It is now firmly established that Helicobacter pylori causes more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers. The link between Helicobacter pylori infection and subsequent gastritis and peptic ulcer disease has been established through studies of human volunteers, antibiotic treatment studies and epidemiological studies.

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dhssps-banner-home-leftA year-long pilot scheme (2007/08) in Northern Ireland found impressive health benefits for patients offered complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) via the public health service.

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covtoc.dpComment: A recent report by the Food Standards Agency has raised a number of questions and as usual the opposing sides have found grist to their respective mills in the ongoing discussions. A letter in the journal Science on the 7th August 2009, reproduced below, offers a considered critique and overview of the merits of continuing to develop and consume organic food stuffs.

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cover_2009-08_thumbComment: The epidemiology of coeliac disease that once was thought to be in the rage of 1 in 10,000 is now known to be in the neighbourhood of 1 in 133, although not all individuals with the disease face the same set of symptoms that makes coeliac and other food-related conditions so dangerous and widespread.