April 2011

Pamela Nathan

Common Parasite Uncovers Key Cause of Crohn's Disease

Immune systems have their sinister side, especially when they have not learned how hard to fight. Crohn's Disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases inflict more than a million Americans with unbearable pain and digestive turmoil because of uncontrolled immune responses in the gut.

It was a mystery until immunologists at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine caught a key culprit in Crohn's disease: a cell from our own immune forces.

With unconventional help from a common parasite, Eric Denkers, Professor of Immunology, and research associate Charlotte Egan identified a renegade cell responsible for this largely arcane and increasingly prevalent illness. Read more

Probiotics Help Colicky Babies

Probiotics have been found to be essentially helpful for colicky babies. Colic is a big problem in many newborn babies and it can prevent parents and baby from getting much sleep. A baby that is under 3 months old and cries up to three hours a day for more than three weeks is defined as having colic. But, even if your baby is less fussy, there is good reason to give him probiotics or good bacteria cultures.

An infants digestive system is designed to have only mother's milk and that miracle Colostrum that gives him a lifetime immunity. A baby should have mom's milk up until around a year old. But mother's milk is not always available and synthetic formula can really mess up their little tummies and intestines. Many parents now give their infants probiotics for various reasons. Read more

How Meditation Helps Beat Stress

Scientists have achieved a breakthrough in understanding how relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and prayer improve health.

Research collaborators from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center say that such relaxation techniques work by changing patterns of gene activity that affect how the body responds to stress.

Dr Herbert Benson of the institute says, "It's not all in your head. What we've found is that when you evoke the relaxation response, the very genes that are turned on or off by stress are turned the other way. The mind can actively turn on and turn off genes."  Read more

Did You Know???

Vitamin C Improves Mood in Hospitalized Patients

Fifty-five mentally competent patients admitted to a non-ICU medical or surgical ward of a university teaching hospital in Canada were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, 500 mg of vitamin C twice a day or 1000 IU of vitamin D twice a day for up to 10 days.

Patients who were already receiving supplemental vitamin D on admission were assigned to the vitamin C group. Prior to treatment, 56% of the patients had a moderately low plasma vitamin C concentration and 9% had a very low level.

Thirty-two patients completed the study (i.e., they received treatment for at least 5 days). Among those 32 patients, there was a mean improvement of 34% (p = 0.013) in the score on the Profile of Mood States (a questionnaire that measures mood). No improvement of mood was seen in the vitamin D group.

Ginger has a long history of use for digestive upset, and it helps ease cold symptoms.

Using crystallized ginger is a quick and tasty way to make a cup of ginger tea. Put a piece or two in a cup of hot water and let it steep.

Best of all, it really seems to help when you feel like you're getting a cold or if your stomach feels a little off. Brazilian scientists have done preliminary research showing that ginger can have anti-inflammatory effects in the lung (Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids).

Even products that claim to be "green", organic, or natural may emit hazardous chemicals.

Avoid scented cleaning and laundry products.

Recent finding: Nearly one-quarter of chemicals emitted by scented household products, such as air fresheners, detergents, fabric softeners and disinfectants, are classified as toxic or hazardous. More than one-third of products tested emitted at least one chemical identified as a probable carcinogen.

To avoid potentially dangerous chemicals clean with baking soda and/or vinigar. Instead of using air fresheners open windows for ventilation. If buying cleaning products choose the ones that are fragrance-free.

Speak out loud to improve memory when studying.

Reading words aloud makes them easier to remember. Identify which information is most important for you to remember, and read only that specific material out loud.

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