Pensioners Warned Not To Mix Statins And Herbal Remedies

More than a million pensioners risk worsening their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke by taking herbal remedies alongside statins and warfarin, researchers have warned.

A new study found older people on the life-saving drugs are often also taking three or more herbal supplements, such as St John’s Wort or ginseng, which can reduce their effect.

Published in the British Journal of General Practice, the study surveyed patients at two surgeries and found that one-third of those over 65 were taking both prescribed drugs and herbal remedies.

According to the survey, women were around twice as likely to use prescribed medicine alongside a dietary supplement to men, 43.4 percent compared to 22.5.

The most commonly used dietary supplements were cod liver oil, glucosamine, multivitamins, and vitamin D.

While common herbal medicinal products were evening primrose oil, valerian, and a branded herbal product that includes hops, gentian, and passion flower.

The study suggested that doctors print warnings about the risks of herb interactions on prescriptions and that pharmacists should be trained to ask customers what herbal supplements they are taking.

Continue Reading at Telegraph UK

Scientists Urge New EU Rules On Gene Editing Crops

The European Commission needs to quickly propose new rules for crops created by modern targeted plant breeding techniques such as Crispr –Cas9 genome editing, or face a withering of Europe’s agricultural research base.

The warning comes this week from the German Bioeconomy Council (BEC), a panel of 17 researchers who advise the German government, and is widely echoed by plant researchers around the continent.

The moves follow a surprise ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in July, which said that new products created by Crispr and similar techniques that offer a precision tool for editing a plant’s genetic code, must go through the same time-consuming approval process prescribed under 2001 EU legislation for older genetic modification techniques.

“In its current form, EU genetic engineering legislation cannot do justice to the opportunities and challenges of [Crispr] technologies,” BEC said.

Plant breeders working with Crispr say the technique can speed development of a new generation of hardier, more productive, more nutritious food crops, improving traits such as pest, salinity and drought resistance, or boosting nutritional content.

If the ruling had been different, “Big funders and companies would, of course, have invested a lot in developing new crop varieties. Now, they are unlikely to do it,” said Stefan Jansson, a plant biochemist at Umeå University in Sweden. “European taxpayers will [also] be hesitant to fund research that only will strengthen agriculture in other parts of the world.”

Scientists say making Crispr techniques subject to laws developed for older genetic modification techniques which involve introducing genes from other species, imposes expensive and risky hurdles. Even when crops pass strict regulatory criteria, EU countries can ban them.

Read more at Science Business

Intestines Modify Their Cellular Structure In Response To Diet

Body organs such as the intestine and ovaries undergo structural changes in response to dietary nutrients that can have lasting impacts on metabolism, as well as cancer susceptibility, according to Carnegie’s Rebecca Obniski, Matthew Sieber, and Allan Spradling.

There are three major types of cells in fruit fly (and mammalian) intestines: Stem cells, hormone-producing cells, and nutrient-handling cells. Think of the stem cells as blanks, which are eventually programmed to become either hormone-producing or nutrient-handling cells. The authors discovered that this programming can be influenced by dietary nutrients and that young animals are particularly sensitive to these changes.

The effect of cholesterol is to promote the programming of more new, “blank” cells into hormone-producing cells rather than nutrient-handling cells. Conversely, decreasing dietary cholesterol results in more nutrient-absorbing cells and fewer hormone-producing cells.

Moreover, the researchers were able to identify the detailed molecular mechanism by which cholesterol causes these changes in cell fates, and to show that it is closely related to the way human intestinal cells regulate cholesterol production.

What does this mean?

It shows that low nutrient availability, especially early in life, such as the low-cholesterol diet for the fruit flies, triggers changes in intestinal structure and metabolism that have long-term effects. These changes persist for quite a while even if the diet changes, which can increase the risk of metabolic health problems down the road.

Continue Reading at Science Daily

Sore point: Ancient Remedies For Toothache Often Worse Than The Pain

If you found a live frog in your mouth in 19th or 20th century Ireland, it probably wasn’t a kiss attempt gone awry. You were just probably trying to draw out its healing powers to cure a toothache.

If that didn’t work, you could try sucking on cloves. Or drinking water from the Holy Well. There was also the option of taking a tooth from a corpse.

These cures are among the many found in new research by Dr. Carol Barron of DCU’s school of nursing and human sciences and her research assistant, Tiziana Soverino, published in the Journal of the History of Dentistry.

Over 400 of the cures addressed in the folklore were for treatment of an aching tooth. They were categorized into plant and mineral, quasi-medical and magico-religious cures.

Other cures were slightly more quotidian than the frog method. Salt and water were two of the most widely used curative substances. Potatoes were kept in pockets acting as an amulet to ward off a toothache, and infected teeth were often packed with tobacco.

Continue Reading at The Irish Times

Can Dietary Changes Help With Microscopic Colitis?

Microscopic colitis is an inflammation of the bowel lining that doctors can only see under a microscope. It is often possible to treat this condition with medication, but dietary and lifestyle changes may also help reduce or prevent symptoms.

The symptoms of MC tend to come and go, and diarrhea can last for weeks or months. In some people, the condition may resolve without treatment. The cause of MC is still not clear.

Researchers are currently studying the possible connection between diet and MC.

There is little evidence to suggest a link between what people eat and the symptoms of MC. Researchers in Sweden published a study in 2016 that followed 135 people with MC over the course of 22 years and monitored their intake of the following:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Sucrose
  • Saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fat
  • Omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids
  • Fiber
  • Zinc

    Read more at Medical News Today

3 Effective Home Remedies To Ease A Sore Throat

Due to the change in weather, seasonal allergies or excessive use of air conditioners, a common problem that most people face from time to time is a sore throat. Just like a cold, a sore throat can be frustrating as you deal with the annoying itch and pain in your throat.

While there are many medications that one can take to get rid of a sore throat, you can also resort to natural home remedies to ease the condition and build your immunity.

1. Pepper water
The fact that black pepper is an incredible ingredient when it comes to fighting cold, cough and flu is not unknown. Thanks to the presence of the essential oil called piperine, which helps in fighting viruses and bacterial infection, and in relieving chest congestion.

2. Ginger, honey and lemon
This has got to be one of the most common remedies you will come across in most Indian households. Gingerol in ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Honey is known as a natural healer and an antibiotic. And lemon with its high Vitamin C content can help boost the immune system and fight off infection.

3. Haldi doodh
Haldi doodh or turmeric latte may be getting a lot of attention in the recent years, but since the ancient times, it has been a part of Indian traditional diet. Turmeric is known for its miraculous properties because of its rich bio active compounds called curcumin. As such it is a great antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunity boosting agent. It also helps in breaking up mucus and provide pain relief.

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