404 Error - page not found
We're sorry, but the page you are looking for doesn't exist.
You can go to the homepage

OUR LATEST POSTS

For people who suffer from various psychiatric and neurological conditions, brain stimulation has become an increasingly important treatment option in the recent decades.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep Brain Stimulation

Brain simulation techniques can be divided into two broad categories, invasive and noninvasive. Both of them work by targeting specific sites in the brain to adjust the overall brain activity. Among the most well-known invasive techniques is the deep brain stimulation (DBS) which requires a brain surgery and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This process is typically used for treated Parkinson's disease and this process requires an electrode to be inserted in the brain. Among the noninvasive techniques is the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) which can be administered from outside the head. This treatment is currently approved for treating depression.

Brain stimulation has resulted in dramatic benefits to patients with such disorders, which has motivated researchers to test if it can be useful in treated patients suffering from other diseases. The problem is that doctors have been unable to pinpoint which are the ideal sites to administer simulation in a given patient for a given condition.

A new study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggest that brain networks which consists of the interconnected pathways that link brain circuits to one another can assist in selection of ideal spot for brain stimulation therapies.

Michael D. Fox, MD, PhD, First author of the study, an investigator in the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation and in the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at BIDMC remarked that although different types of brain stimulation are currently applied in different locations, it has been found that the targets used to treat the same disease are nodes in the same connected brain network. This can have a direct implication on how brain stimulations are administered to treat diseases.

For example, in order use brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease or tremor an electrode need to be inserted deep in the brain. Getting the same effect with noninvasive stimulation is difficult, as the spot is deep in the brain. However, by looking at the brain’s network connectivity, sites can be identified on the surface of the brain that is connected with the deep spot site. Hence, that deep spot can also be stimulated noninvasively.

For this study Fox's team conducted a large-scale literature search to find out all neurological and psychiatric diseases where brain stimulation via both invasive and non-invasive techniques had shown improvement. The search found 14 such conditions namely addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, depression, dystonia, epilepsy, essential tremor, gait dysfunction, Huntington’s disease, minimally conscious state, obsessive compulsive disorder, pain, Parkinson disease and Tourette syndrome. In the next step, they listed the stimulation sites, both deep in the brain or on the surface of the brain that was found to have been effective for the treatment of each of the 14 diseases.

In order to test the hypothesis that the various stimulation sites in the brain are different spots within the same brain network, Fox's team used a data base of functional MRI images and a technique that enabled them to see correlations in spontaneous brain activity. These correlations helped the investigators in creating a map of connections from deep brain stimulation sites to the surface of the brain. When this map was compared to sites for noninvasive brain stimulation on the brain surface, the two matched.

The study suggest that understanding the brain networks can help in understanding why brain stimulation works and how these therapies can be improved by identifying the best place to stimulate the brain for a given patient suffering from a given disease. These findings also suggest that resting-state functional connectivity can be useful for translating therapy between treatment modalities, optimizing treatment and identifying new stimulation targets.

References

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/bidm-srn092514.php

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140929153935.htm

Complementary Reading

Indolepropionic Acid: A Metabolite Keeping Diabetes AwayA new study demonstrates that a high concentration of indolepropionic acid can protect against type 2 diabetes. Fiber-rich diets can boost the production of indolepropionic acid which is a metabolite produced by gut bacteria.

Researchers studied the metabolic profiles of 200 participants who were overweight and had problems with glucose tolerance. The participants were divided into two groups: those who had developed type 2 diabetes within first five years and others who did not develop type 2 diabetes within 15 years duration.

The two groups were evaluated by non-targeted metabolomics analysis. Unlike pre-defined markers, this non-targeted approach let the researchers to determine the concentration of various metabolites.

Indolepropionic Acid and Insulin Production

Results showed that a high concentration of indolepropionic acid in the serum was responsible for protection against diabetes. This metabolite enhances secretion of insulin by beta cells of the pancreas which provides the productive effect against diabetes.

Researchers also found that many new lipid metabolites was related to improved insulin resistance and decreased risk of diabetes. The concentrations of these metabolites were also connected with dietary fat. When the saturated fat in the diet is less, the concentration of these metabolites is higher. Like high concentrations of indolepropionic acid, these lipid metabolites also found to be protective against low-level inflammation.

Previous studies also have related gut bacteria with the risk of diabetes in overweight individuals. Our results indicate that indolepropionic acid can be one factor that intervenes with the gut bacteria and a protective effect of diet, explains Kati Hanhineva, Academy Research Fellow at the University of Eastern Finland.

Identifying gut bacteria involves a complex process; that is why the finding the metabolites produced by gut bacteria can be a more possible way for assessing the function of gut bacteria in the pathogenesis of diabetes.

Written by Lax Mariappan Msc

Take a power walk

If you are hypertensive, you can naturally reduce your blood pressure are taking a power walk. Take a walk at a brisk pace and that will help you to reduce your pressure by 8 mmHg over 6 mmHg. When you exercise, your heart will be able to use oxygen more efficiently and when that happens your heart does not need to work hard to pump blood to different organs of your body and that will reduce your blood pressure. Along with the power work, you can also perform vigorous cardio workout of 30 minutes every day because it will help you by reducing your blood pressure. If you are taking a walk, always experiment by increasing the speed or the distance so that you can challenge yourself.

Start drinking tea

If you are not already drinking tea, this may be a very good reason to start drinking. If you drink 3 cups of hibiscus tea daily, it will reduce your systolic blood pressure by seven points within six weeks. Researchers found that tea is really helpful in reducing your blood pressure. Hibiscus has certain phytochemicals in it and they can help you by reducing your high blood pressure by a big number. Many existing herbal teas contain hibiscus. Find one tea that has hibiscus at the top of the ingredient list, because that means that tea has a higher concentration of hibiscus per serving.

Eat these foods

You need to eat more potassium rich fruits and vegetables, because they will help you to reduce your blood pressure. You need about 2000 to 4000 mg of potassium every day. Such potassium rich foods include sweet potatoes, orange juice, the matters, potatoes, kidney beans, bananas, cantaloupe, peas, honeydew melon, raisins, dried fruits, prunes etc. Include these foods in your existing diet and besides providing with other benefits, they will also help you by lowering your blood pressure.

Deep breathing

Deep breathing can help you to reduce your blood pressure and you can experience it within a few minutes. Stress hormones can increase renin, which is a kidney enzyme and which can increase your blood pressure. When you perform deep breathing, it decreases the stress hormones. Yoga, tai chi, qigong are some of the practices which will help you to learn deep breathing. Simply practising it for five minutes in the morning and at night will help you to reduce your blood pressure. To perform deep breathing, you need to inhale deeply and expand your belly and then exhale and release all the tension in your body. Repeat this procedure several times and you will find calmness and low blood pressure within a few minutes.

Music

Music can really help you to reduce your blood pressure. It is effective immediately and you can experience it now. Find the right tunes for yourself and you can reduce your blood pressure. Find something classical, Indian or any other music that you like and listen to it for 30 minutes daily. It will reduce your systolic blood pressure by several points within a month. So enjoy while working at the same time reduce your blood pressure by finding the right songs for you.

Dark chocolate

The chocolates are good for you when you need to reduce your blood pressure. Some of the doubt chocolate varieties contain flavanols which will help you by making your blood vessels more elastic. That will increase the possibility of low blood pressure. If you eat the chocolate every day, it will help you to reduce your blood pressure. The dark chocolate should contain at least 70% cocoa and you need about half an ounce daily.

References
1. 31 Day Testosterone Plan
2. High Blood Pressure
3. Description of High Blood Pressure

Rapamycin Can Slow Down the Aging Process, Study RevealsRapamycin has extraordinary properties that can help halt neurologic damage like Alzheimer's disease, says a new study.

Viviana Perez, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in OSU's College of Science and an expert on the biological processes of aging who also serves as principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute, said this might offer novel treatment options for neurologic disease.

Perez explained that, Rapamycin seemed to stop cellular senescence “ a stage where the cells become old, does not proliferate and start secreting damaging substances that can result to inflammation.

During senescence, the secretion of damaging compounds forms a toxic environment known as senescence-associated secretory phenotype, or SASP. This damages the cellular microenvironment and changes the capability of adjacent cells to work properly, losing their tissue function and structure. This large process is eventually related to aging.

Increased cellular senescence related to aging and the inflammation connected with that can lead to various degenerative disease like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and neurologic disease including Alzheimer's or dementia. In animal experiments when we remove senescent cells, the animals have smaller number of diseases and live longer. Rapamycin can have same effects, Perez said.

Rapamycin and Aging

Previously, it had been believed that rapamycin had only one mechanism of action that is to increase Nrf2 action. Nrf2 is the master regulator which activate up to 200 genes associated with detoxification of carcinogens, cell repair, antioxidant protection, protein and lipid metabolism and other factors. But in this study, rapamycin helped in reducing levels of SASP. This study concluded that level of SASP is directly affected by rapamycin, individually from the Nrf2 pathway.

Any novel way to help avoid neuron's damage could be helpful. According to other studies, astrocyte cells could help in protecting neuron function and health may be damaged by SASP. This can be one the reasons of certain neurologic diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Perez explained.

Rapamycin can help to prevent SASP-associated cellular damage by two pathways: by involving Nrf2 and directly. Because of these beneficial effects, rapamycin will keep on generating interest in solving aging related issues.

Written by Lax Mariappan Msc

Visceral fat or belly fat not only makes you look bad but it can also be bad for your health. It can cause diabetes and heart disease. The good news is that you can reduce visceral fat which is metabolically active. By simply improving your metabolism and regulating your stress hormones you can eliminate the belly fat.

Abs are made in the kitchen

The saying that abs are made in the kitchen is a truth and you can experience it yourself. That is why, it is very important to ensure that you are eating right, especially when you are trying to lose belly fat. The process of losing belly fat is 90% diet and 10% exercise.

You will need to reduce processed sugars and grains. Eliminate this sugar and sugary beverages from your diet. You will also need to eliminate or at least reduce empty calories from white processed carbohydrates. If he can eliminate sugar and empty calories, your body will be able to burn fat faster. Stop drinking sodas, alcohol and coffee. If you are not removing the processed foods from your diet, you can forget about losing your belly fat.

Fruits and vegetables are to be included in the diet. It becomes more important when you are trying to lose weight. If you are a women between the age of 19 and 50, you will need 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. Make your plate a colourful one by adding vegetables of different colour. It will also help you to get more nutrition for your body. You will also need 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day. When you eat more fruits, it will help you to increase your appetite for healthy foods. You can always eat the fruit you like provided it is not in the banned list.

Add more whole grains. Quinoa, barley and brown rice are always better than whole-grain bread. Always choose the less processed grains. The whole grains that have low glycaemic index are good for you when you are trying to lose fat. Such grains will not increase your blood sugar and they will keep you fuller for a long duration. You can always find the glycaemic index of the different grains that you are eating.

Protein is important

When you are trying to lose belly fat, protein is very important for you. You need quality protein from salmon, turkey, tuna, legumes and chicken. However, be careful about the amount of mercury present in such foods especially in the fish. You can always add a low-fat dairy product to your diet. Yogurt is such a food. It will help you by lowering cortisol levels besides providing you with necessary calcium. Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt and just one serving per day is good enough for you.

Green tea

Drinking 2 to 5 cups of green tea daily will help you to reduce belly fat. Scientific studies found that it contains catechins, which is an antioxidant and can increase the process of losing visceral fat.

Reducing stress

If you can identify the causes of stress in your life, you can always reduce your stress levels. Higher stress can increase visceral fat in both women and men. When you are stressed, your body produces more stress hormone like cortisol and cortisol can send signals to your body to store more fat. Women are more likely to show physical symptoms of stress in comparison to men, one of which is weight gain in the belly. Breathing exercises, yoga, and other exercises can help you to reduce stress in your life. Proper sleep and vitamins C supplementation will definitely help you to reduce stress.

References
1. The Flat Belly Code – Belly Fat Blasting System
2. Is a big belly bad for the brain?
3. Food and fitness

Fresh Fruit Consumption Can Diminish Diabetes Risk and Its ComplicationsFresh fruit consumption can lower the occurrence of diabetes and reduce the complications in diabetic people, says a study. Huaidong Du of the University of Oxford and his colleagues found that higher consumption of fresh fruits lower the diabetes risk in Chinese population.

The research team investigated about 500,000 people involving in the China Kadoorie Biobank for more than 7 years of follow-up, while also recording new diabetic patients and documenting the incidents of vascular disease and death in pre-existing diabetic people.

Fresh Fruit and Diabetes Risk Connection

The results showed that people who consumed fresh fruit had a lower risk of developing diabetes when compared to others. There was 0.2% decrease in the absolute diabetes risk over 5 years.

In diabetic people who consumed fresh fruit was linked with a lower risk of death, which corresponds to an absolute decrease in risk by 1.9% over 5 years and with reduced risks of macrovascular and microvascular complications.

Besides the health effects of consuming fresh fruit, researchers highlight the value of their results for diabetic Asian population. The major drawback of this observational study is that impacts of fruit consumption may be hard to differentiate from those participants' other behavioural and dietary characteristics.

Written by: Lax Mariappan, Msc

.

Are you suffering from May-Thurner Syndrome? This disease occurs when your iliac artery “ which is on the right “ compresses the iliac vein on your left side. The iliac vein and artery pass through your pelvis. When your iliac vein is compressed, you could end up suffering from DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clots.

Clots in your veins can restrict blood flow, leading to health problems. Many people only learn about May-Thurner Syndrome after they are diagnosed with DVT.

Symptoms of May-Thurner Syndrome

You are not likely to witness the symptoms of this disease until you develop a clot on your leg. Once you do, you will experience the following:

– Leg pain

– Swelling

– Redness

– Warm sensation in the leg

– Pronounced leg veins

If you experience the above symptoms, you need to get in touch with a doctor. The biggest concern when it comes to DVT is that the clot could migrate to other areas of your body such as the lungs and get trapped there. If this occurs, you might die from pulmonary embolism.

Moreover, blood could leak in your leg, resulting in skin discoloration, chronic pain, and swelling. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Who is usually affected?

Roughly 2-5 percent of people that suffer from vein disorders in the lower body have this disease. May-Thurner Syndrome is thought to have relations to congenital illnesses that may cause an abnormality in the arrangement of the right iliac artery and the left iliac vein. This condition can also be the result of trauma and the likelihood of its occurrence increases with weight gain and age.

In most cases, MTS occurs in middle-aged and young women between the ages of 20 and 53. If you have a clotting disorder and often use contraceptives, your risk is higher.

How is the condition diagnosed?

May-Thurner Syndrome can only be diagnosed positively by imaging the pelvic and lower back areas using X-rays, MRI, ultrasound, and other imaging techniques. Another technique commonly used in the diagnosis of May-Thurner is venography “ special dye is injected into the vein before an X-ray of the area is taken.

This dye works by making the veins visible, revealing any compressions or areas where blood flow is sluggish, which could indicate the existence of a clot.

May-Thurner Syndrome treatment

Once you have been diagnosed with this disease, treatment should commence straight away. Several treatment options exist, so your doctor needs to evaluate your current condition as well as your health history to choose the most effective one. One approach is prescribing blood thinners to get rid of clots in your veins.

You can also be treated through thrombolytic therapy, which is the insertion of a small catheter in the affected vein. Medicine is then injected into this catheter to help dissolve the clots. Once the vein is free of clots, angioplasty “ insertion of balloon into the vein “ can be used to widen it. A
venous stent can also be used to keep the vein open. In rare cases, the doctor might suggest inserting a vena cava filter into your largest vein to filter out clots that break free and travel through the body.

To prevent the right iliac artery from compressing the left iliac vein, surgery might be necessary. During the operation, the doctor moves the artery to sit behind the vein. To achieve the best results, a follow up surgery might be necessary.

Another surgical technique involves the placement of a tissue sling between the two blood vessels. This procedure usually creates space between the blood vessels.