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Friday, 10 March 2017

Cannabis use in people with epilepsy revealed: Australian survey

People with epilepsy resort to cannabis products when anti-epileptic drug side-effects are intolerable and epilepsy uncontrolled

People with epilepsy resort to cannabis products when antiepileptic drug side-effects are intolerable and epilepsy uncontrolled.
The first Australian nationwide survey on the experiences and opinions of medicinal cannabis use in people with epilepsy has revealed that 14 per cent of people with epilepsy have used cannabis products as a way to manage seizures.
The study showed that of those with a history of cannabis product use, 90 per cent of adults and 71 per cent of parents of children with epilepsy reported success in managing seizures after commencing using cannabis products.
Published in Epilepsy & Behaviour, the Epilepsy Action Australia study, in partnership with The Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney, surveyed 976 respondents to examine cannabis use in people with epilepsy, reasons for use, and any perceived benefits self-reported by consumers (or their carers).
The survey revealed:
    * 15 per cent of adults with epilepsy and 13 per cent of parents/guardians of children with epilepsy were currently using, or had previously used, cannabis products to treat epilepsy.
    * Across all respondents, the main reasons for trying cannabis products were to manage treatment-resistant epilepsy and to obtain a more favourable side-effect profile compared to standard antiepileptic drugs.
    * The number of past antiepileptic drugs was a significant predictor of medicinal cannabis use in both adults and children with epilepsy.
"This survey provides insight into the use of cannabis products for epilepsy, in particular some of the likely factors influencing use, as well as novel insights into the experiences of and attitudes towards medicinal cannabis in people with epilepsy in the Australian community," said lead author Anastasia Suraev from The Lambert Initiative.
"Despite the limitations of a retrospective online survey, we cannot ignore that a significant proportion of adults and children with epilepsy are using cannabis-based products in Australia, and many are self-reporting considerable benefits to their condition.
"More systematic clinical studies are urgently needed to help us better understand the role of cannabinoids in epilepsy," she said.
Co-author of the paper Carol Ireland, CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia, who was recently appointed to the Australian Government's new Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis, said: "Cannabis products are often what people turn to when they have been unable to control their epilepsy with conventional medication."
"This highlights a growing need to educate consumers and health professionals on the use of cannabis by people with epilepsy, and to provide safe and timely access to cannabinoid medicine in order to lessen people's reliance on illicit black market products" she said.
Source:University of Sydney

NEW CANNABIS PATCH TREATS FIBROMYALGIA & DIABETIC NERVE PAIN

cannabis_patch Over the past 100 years, cannabis has gone from being legal, to illegal, to entering a strange legal grey area in our society. The stigma surrounding cannabis has pushed people to believe that it’s a “drug” that’s poor for your health, when in reality, it’s a plant that has incredible healing properties.Cannabis can significantly help people suffering from anxiety or chronic pain, and can even kill cancer cells. Some of the more recent innovations using cannabis were two pain relieving patches created by Cannabis Science, designed for patients with fibromyalgia and diabetic nerve pain.

Medical Uses for Cannabis

Cannabis can and has been used for many years to treat a wide variety of illnesses including cancer. Cannabinoids refer to any of a group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis.
Consuming cannabis activates cannabinoid receptors in the body, and the body itself creates compounds called endocannabinoids, which help to produce a healthy environment. Cannabinoids play a significant role in immune system generation and re-generation, which is why cannabinoids reduce cancer cells.
A study published in the British Journal of Cancerconducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in Madrid, determined that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids inhibit tumour growth. Numerous organizations and universities, including Harvard Medical School, have also been studying the effects cannabis has on cancer cells, proving its success and recommending it to be used as cancer treatment for specific types of cancer.
Numerous cancer patients will smoke marijuana or take cannabis oil orally in order to mitigate the pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy. THC has been available in pill form for treating nausea and vomiting in cancer patients since the 1980s.Even the U.S. government has unwittingly confirmed that cannabis kills cancer cells. A group of federal researchers commissioned by the government were selected to prove that cannabis has no accepted medical value, but their findings showed otherwise  
Studies show that THC, the compound found in cannabis that gives it its “euphoric” effect, activates pathways in the central nervous system that work to prevent pain signals from being sent to the brain. Likewise, cannabis has been shown to be especially effective against neuropathic pain, or nerve-related pain. Cannabis is essentially an all-natural form of Advil!
Cannabis can also be used to decrease anxiety and mitigate symptoms from PTSD, as the high from THC is associated with temporary memory impairment. Recent studies confirm that oral doses of THC can help relieve a variety of PTSD-related symptoms including flashbacks, agitation, and nightmares.

Cannabis Science’s Innovative “Pain Patch” 

Two of the latest cannabis medical innovations were created by Cannabis Science, a U.S. company specialized in the development of cannabis-based medicine, particularly those meant for cancer treatment. Cannabis Science already has some products on the market in California, such as its “When Nature Meets Science” product line, which includes healing balms, drops, and tinctures, all made with cannabis.
The company recently designed two new pain relieving medications for self-medicating patients with diabetic neuropathy nerve pain and fibromyalgia.
Diabetic neuropathy is a form of peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to or disease affecting the nerves. Side effects include impaired sensations, movement, and gland and organ function. Neuropathy can result in painful cramps, fasciculation (fine muscle twitching), muscle loss, bone degeneration, and changes in the skin, hair, and nails.Fibromyalgia is a condition whereby patients have chronic, widespread pain and experience a greater pain response to pressure. Symptoms include fatigue, problems with sleep, memory, and bowel function, restless legs syndrome, numbness and tingling, and sensitivity to noise, lights, or temperature. Fibromyalgia can also have psychological effects including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The medications for both of these ailments will be offered in the form of an adhesive transdermal patch, allowing users to absorb a specific dose of medication through the skin, which then travels into the bloodstream. This method is favourable because it provides users with a controlled release of medication, which in this case is a large amount of cannabinoid (CBD) extract. As the CBD enters into the bloodstream, it then penetrates the central nervous system, allowing their pain to subside.
“As more states nationwide legislate for the legalization of Cannabis and Cannabis derived medications, we here at Cannabis Science are focused on developing pharmaceutical formulations and applications to supply the huge growing demand expected over the coming few years,” explains the company’s CEO, Raymond C. Dabney.
Even though the medical uses of cannabis have been proven time and time again through numerous accredited science institutions and universities, the stigma surrounding cannabis remains significant and contentious. Since it’s an illegal substance, numerous people shy away from it, including those who are suffering from illnesses cannabis could cure or seriously help treat.
It’s inevitable that once it becomes legalized in more places, it will become common practice for the medical industry to recommend its usage. I’m not a doctor, but I can envision people using cannabis-based pain patches for a variety of issues outside of fibromyalgia and diabetic nerve pain. Pharmaceutical pain patches have been designed in the past to treat localized pain in many areas of the body, so why couldn’t we do the same with cannabis?
Source:Collective evolution

THE TOP 10 BENEFITS OF DRINKING GREEN TEA DAILY

It has become common knowledge that green tea offers many health benefits, but if you’re anything like I was before writing this article, you don’t really know why, beyond its high antioxidant content, that’s the case.
1. Green Tea Has Bioactive Compounds That Can Improve Health
green-tea1Green tea is loaded with polyphenols such as flavonoids and catechins, which are b0th powerful antioxidants.
One of the most potent components of green tea is an antioxidant known as EGCG, or epigallocatchin-3-gallate, which been found to treat numerous diseases and could be the key to green tea’s many medicinal benefits.

2. Green Tea Can Improve Brain Functioning

Because green tea contains caffeine, drinking it can improve focus and concentration. A cup of green tea does not contain as much caffeine as coffee, however, making it less likely to leave you with the jitters and — if you’re anything like me — the heart palpitations to go along with it.Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, which increases the firing of  concentration neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. It can also lead to improved mood, reaction time, and memory.
Aside from the caffeine, green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier to directly affect the central nervous system by interacting with the brain itself. It can increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which increases dopamine — the “feel good” chemical” — serotonin, and alpha waves within the brain.
Caffeine and L-theanine work synergistically, in fact, and the pairing is particularly good at improving brain function. I’m starting to wonder why I don’t have a warm mug beside me right now…

3. Some of the Antioxidants in Green Tea Can Lower Your Cancer Risk

Oxidative stress contributes to cancer development, and consuming more antioxidants — of which green tea is full — is one way to fight and protect against this damage.
A meta-analysis observational study found that women who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women.
Another study found that men who drank green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men.
A study of 60,710 Chinese women found that those who were drinking green tea had a 57% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.

4. Green Tea Can Protect Your Brain in Old Age

Green tea can improve your short-term memory, but more importantly, it can help protect your brain from neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, the two diseases most commonly developed in old age.
Studies conducted in test tubes and animal models have shown that the catechin compounds contained in green tea can have some protective effects on neurons, potentially lowering the risk of the above diseases.

5. Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria

Catechins can do more than just fight against disease, however. Some studies have shown that they can actually kill bacteria and inhibit viruses, which can, in turn, lower your risk of developing infections.
Further studies show how green tea can even combat bad breath, killing the bacteria that causes it in the first place.

6. Green Tea Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases, like heart disease and stroke, remain the leading causes of death around the world, and green tea can work against some of the main risk factors that lead to them.
Green tea drastically increases the antioxidant capability of the blood, which protects the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is part of the paving process toward developing heart disease. Green tea drinkers just so happen to have a 28% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, in fact.

7. Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance

Human trials have shown that green tea increases fat burning by boosting the metabolic rate, with one study showing how green tea increased energy expenditure by 4% in ten healthy men.
Another study among healthy males showed that, when given green tea extract, fat oxidation increased by 17%.

8. Green Tea Can Help You Live Longer

Given the previous information showing how green tea can help lower the risk of various cancers and  disease, this may seem obvious, but further research shows that green tea has a direct effect on mortality risk. A study conducted on 40,530 Japanese adults showed that those who drank the most green tea, about five or more cups per day, were significantly less likely to die in an 11-year period than those who did not.
  • Death of all causes: 25% lower in women, 12% lower in men
  • Death from cardiovascular disease was: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men
  • Death from stroke was: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men
Another study conducted on 14,001 elderly Japanese people between the ages of 65-84 years found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the study period of six years.

9. Green Tea Can Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have shown that green tea can actually improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
One study in particular, focused on Japanese individuals, found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes.
And in a review comprised of seven different studies and among 286,701 people, those who drank green tea regularly had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic.

10. Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Becoming Obese

As stated above, green tea can boost your metabolic rate, which in turn can help you to lose weight. Other studies have shown that drinking green tea can lead to a decrease in fat, particularly around the abdominal area, which is the most unhealthy type of fat to have and often the most difficult to lose.
In a randomized controlled trial conducted on 240 men and women for 12 weeks, for instance, the group that was drinking green tea showed significant decreases in body fat percentage, waist circumference, abdominal fat, and overall body weight.

Conclusion

Given all of the information listed above, it certainly couldn’t hurt to start drinking green tea! Just be sure to choose a high quality organic brand to avoid pesticide exposure and reduce your consumption of fluoride, which is almost always found in tea.

NEXT STORY RESEARCH SUGGESTS VITAMIN B CAN TREAT SCHIZOPHRENIA SYMPTOMS

© Stewart CharlesSchizophrenia, a brain disorder that affects the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, relates to others, and perceives reality, affects 2.2 million Americans. Genetics, brain chemistry, environment, and substance use are all considered considered to be the common causes for it.Treatment for the disorder can allow many people to continue on with their lives in a highly productive and rewarding manner. But, like many other chronic illnesses, some patients do extremely well, while others continue to be symptomatic and need support and assistance.
The primary treatment for schizophrenia and similar thought disorders is medication, but one of the biggest problems associated with this is the inability for patients to follow through with a medication treatment, along with the concern of how such medications actually subside the most severe symptoms.
However, new research has shown that adding vitamin B supplements to typical treatments can be more beneficial in reducing symptoms than standard medications alone.
“When used as an adjunctive with antipsychotics, certain vitamins and minerals may be effective for improving symptomatic outcomes of schizophrenia, by restoring nutritional deficits, reducing oxidative stress, or modulating neurological pathways,” the abstract of the study reported.
The first meta-analysis carried out on the topic analyzed 18 different clinical trials, and found that higher doses of vitamin B, and doses combining several different B vitamins, were more efficient at keeping the condition in check continuously.Currently, an estimated 80 percent of patients relapse within five years from treatment. Such an alarming statistic raises concern about the treatments available. However, this new information gives hope, suggesting that vitamins including B6, B8, and B12 could improve that statistic.
“Looking at all of the data from clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for schizophrenia to date, we can see that B vitamins effectively improve outcomes for some patients,” explained one of the researchers, Joseph Firth from the University of Manchester in the UK. “This could be an important advance, given that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed.”
The studies the researchers examined included a total of 832 patients. Though there were differences between the studies regarding their setup, vitamin B revealed to consistently help in the reduction of symptoms. And the sooner it was used, the more effective it was.
Though it is not fully understood why the supplements are of such benefit, researchers believe vitamins may help boost nutrition levels, lower oxidative stress, and balance out chemicals involved with schizophrenia.The researchers hope that the vitamin B supplements may help the common relapses from typical treatments from occurring.
The patients who seemed to benefit the most from the added vitamin B already had nutritional or genetic deficiencies, and the studies involved used various dosages and types of vitamins.
Regardless, schizophrenia is an extremely complex condition. This is why all research and their findings are incredibly important to take into consideration. There is hope that other beneficial supplements could be of help as well.
“Further efforts should also be made to establish the mechanisms by which nutrients improve mental health in schizophrenia,” the researchers explained, “and to measure effects on other outcomes such as neurocognition and metabolic health.”

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Scientists in Amsterdam Just Destroyed Breast Cancer Tumors in 11 Days Without Chemo

Research presented by Professor Nigel Bundred at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam revealed that they had tested the effectiveness of a pair of drugs known as Herceptin (a.k.a trastuzumab) and Lapatinib.
bcancer-ogThe two drugs are commonly used in breast cancer treatment already, but this is the first time they had been combined together and used before surgery and chemotherapy. What they found was they were able to eliminate some types of breast cancer in just 11 days.
Funded by Cancer Research UK, they aimed to use these drugs to combat a protein called HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) which affects the growth and division of cancer cells. It’s also more likely to return than other cancer types.
What also makes this treatment so appealing is the fact that it eliminates the need for chemotherapy and surgery. The temporary side effects like hair loss, vomiting and fatigue are also avoided, making treatment less impactful on the body. Chemo is not entirely effective, nor is it the right choice for a lot of patients, so any alternatives are welcomed.

STUDY RESULTS

257 women with HER2 positive breast cancer were selected for the study, with half being put on the drug combo and the other half were the control group. What they found was that of those on the drug, 11% had no cancer cells remaining within two weeks and 17% of cases featured dramatically shrunken tumors.
Compared to the control group who were only given Herceptin, they were found to have 0% with no trace of cancer cells and only 3% showed a drop in tumor size. Clearly, the two drugs combined have a major effect on breast cancer cells as opposed to being used on their own.
The problem currently, however, is that Herceptin’s licensing makes it only available for use alongside chemotherapy and not alone. The results of this study may help to change that though.
Although there’s still a lot of work to be done, hopefully, this is a major step in the fight against one of the world’s deadliest diseases. With medical advancements improving every year, it’s entirely possible this could happen sooner than we think!

SOURCES:

http://www.iflscience.com/…
http://www.breastcancer.org/…
https://www.sciencedaily.com/…
http://www.macmillan.org.uk/…

Musical training creates new brain connections in children

Taking music lessons increases brain fiber connections in children and may be useful in treating autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
IMAGE"It's been known that musical instruction benefits children with these disorders," said Pilar Dies-Suarez, M.D., chief radiologist at the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez in Mexico City, "but this study has given us a better understanding of exactly how the brain changes and where these new fiber connections are occurring."
The researchers studied 23 healthy children between the ages of five and six years old. All of the children were right handed and had no history of sensory, perception or neurological disorders. None of the children had been trained in any artistic discipline in the past.
The study participants underwent pre- and post-musical-training evaluation with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the brain. DTI is an advanced MRI technique, which identifies microstructural changes in the brain's white matter.
"Experiencing music at an early age can contribute to better brain development, optimizing the creation and establishment of neural networks, and stimulating the existing brain tracts," Dr. Dies-Suarez said.
The brain's white matter is composed of millions of nerve fibers called axons that act like communication cables connecting various regions of the brain. Diffusion tensor imaging produces a measurement, called fractional anisotropy (FA), of the movement of extracellular water molecules along axons. In healthy white matter, the direction of extracellular water molecules is fairly uniform and measures high in fractional anisotropy. When water movement is more random, FA values decrease, suggesting abnormalities.
Over the course of life, the maturation of brain tracts and connections between motor, auditory and other areas allow the development of numerous cognitive abilities, including musical skills. Previous studies have linked autism spectrum and ADHD with decreases in volume, fiber connections and FA in the minor and lower forceps, tracts located in the frontal cortex of the brain. This suggests that low connectivity in the frontal cortex, an area of the brain involved in complex cognitive processes, is a biomarker of these disorders.
After the children in the study completed nine months of musical instruction using Boomwhackers--percussion tubes cut to the exact length to create pitches in a diatonic scale, DTI results showed an increase in FA and axon fiber length in different areas of the brain, most notably in the minor forceps.
"When a child receives musical instruction, their brains are asked to complete certain tasks," Dr. Dies-Suarez said. "These tasks involve hearing, motor, cognition, emotion and social skills, which seem to activate these different brain areas. These results may have occurred because of the need to create more connections between the two hemispheres of the brain."
The researchers believe that the results of this study could aid in creating targeted strategies for intervention in treating disorders like autism and ADHD.
Source:RADIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA

Yogic breathing helps fight major depression, Penn study shows

A breathing-based meditation practice known as Sudarshan Kriya yoga helped alleviate severe depression in people who did not fully respond to antidepressant treatments, reports a new study published today in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study bolsters the science behind the use of controlled yogic breathing to help battle depression.
In a randomized, controlled pilot study, led by Anup Sharma, MD, PhD, a Neuropsychiatry research fellow in the department of Psychiatry at Penn, researchers found significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety in medicated patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who participated in the breathing technique compared to medicated patients who did not partake. After two months, the yoga group cut its mean Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score by several points, while the control group showed no improvements. HDRS is the most widely used clinician-administered depression assessment that scores mood, interest in activities, energy, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of guilt, among other symptoms.
More than half of the 41 million Americans who take antidepressants do not fully respond. Add-on therapies are often prescribed to enhance the effects of the drugs in these patients, but they typically offer limited additional benefits and come with side effects that can curb use, prolonging the depressive episode. What's more, patients who don't fully respond to antidepressants are especially at risk of relapse.
"With such a large portion of patients who do not fully respond to antidepressants, it's important we find new avenues that work best for each person to beat their depression," Sharma said. "Here, we have a promising, lower-cost therapy that could potentially serve as an effective, non-drug approach for patients battling this disease."
The meditation technique, which is practiced in both a group setting and at home, includes a series of sequential, rhythm-specific breathing exercises that bring people into a deep, restful, and meditative state: slow and calm breaths alternated with fast and stimulating breaths.
"Sudarshan Kriya yoga gives people an active method to experience a deep meditative state that's easy to learn and incorporate in diverse settings," Sharma said.
In past studies, the practice has demonstrated a positive response in patients with milder forms of depression, depression due to alcohol dependence, and in patients with MDD; however, there are no clinical studies investigating its use for depression in an outpatient setting. Past studies suggest that yoga and other controlled breathing techniques can potentially adjust the nervous system to reduce stress hormones. Overall, the authors also note, well-designed studies that evaluate the benefits of yoga to treat depression are lacking, despite increased interest in the ancient Indian practice. Millions of Americans participate in some form of yoga every year.
In the study, researchers enrolled 25 patients suffering from MDD who were depressed, despite more than eight weeks of antidepressant medication treatment. The medicated patients were randomized to either the breathing intervention group or the "waitlist" control group for eight weeks. (The waitlist group was offered the yoga intervention after the study). During the first week, participants completed a six-session program, which featured Sudarshan Kriya yoga in addition to yoga postures, sitting meditation, and stress education. For weeks two through eight, participants attended weekly Sudarshan Kriya yoga follow-up sessions and completed a home practice version of the technique.
Patients in the Sudarshan Kriya yoga group showed a significantly greater improvement in HDRS scores compared to patients in the waitlist group. With a mean baseline HDRS score of 22.0 (indicating severe depression at the beginning of the study), the group that completed the breathing technique for the full two months improved scores by 10.27 points on average, compared to the waitlist group, which showed no improvements. Patients in the yoga group also showed significant mean reductions in total scores of the self-reported Beck Depression (15.48 point improvement) and Beck Anxiety Inventories (5.19 point improvement), versus the waitlist control group.
Results of the pilot study suggest the feasibility and promise of Sudarshan Kriya as an add-on intervention for MDD patients who have not responded to antidepressants, the authors wrote. "The next step in this research is to conduct a larger study evaluating how this intervention impacts brain structure and function in patients who have major depression," Sharma said.
Source:UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

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