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20 January 2012

Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes in laboratory study

Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes in laboratory study

Friday, January 20, 2012. An article published online on January 2, 2012 in the journal Neurobiology of Aging reports an eye-rejuvenating benefit for a short course of vitamin D supplementation in aged mice.

Professor Glen Jeffery and his associates at the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London supplemented old mice with vitamin D3 for six weeks while an untreated group served as controls. In addition to improved vision, the team found a reduction in number and changes in the configuration of retinal macrophages—immune cells that can sometimes cause excessive inflammatory damage—in animals that received the vitamin, as well as a decrease in retinal amyloid beta accumulation, which is a marker of aging. In humans, inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation are associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

"In the back of the eyes of mammals, like mice and humans, is a layer of tissue called the retina," explained Dr Jeffery. "Cells in the retina detect light as it comes into the eyes and then send messages to the brain, which is how we see. This is a demanding job, and the retina actually requires proportionally more energy than any other tissue in the body, so it has to have a good supply of blood. However, with aging the high energy demand produces debris and there is progressive inflammation even in normal animals. In humans this can result in a decline of up to 30% in the numbers of light receptive cells in the eye by the time we are 70 and so lead to poorer vision."

Scoliosis Exercises - New Concepts Involving Training The Brain May Have Impact

Scoliosis exercises come in many shapes and sizes, however very few of them are worth the time and effort when it comes to this complicated spinal condition. Many attempts to treat an "idiopathic" (unknown cause) condition would be a frustrating experience for the patient and physician alike and treatment for Idiopathic scoliosis is no exception. For literally thousands of years, doctors, religious leaders, and the various "wise men" of the day have attempted to "crack the scoliosis treatment code" without success.
Devices that provide artificial correction of the spine have been developed and used since the beginning of recorded history and the first metal scoliosis brace was developed in 1575. To date, none of these devices have been able to reduce the steadily increasing rate of scoliosis surgery, nor alter the natural course of the condition.
Attempts to surgically "correct" idiopathic scoliosis have been utilized since 1865 and, while having improved dramatically since that time, still remain a highly invasive procedure with many complications and a poor long-term success rate.

18 January 2012

10 Diets That May Do More Harm Than Good

Trying to shed that beer gut? Want to fit in to that little black dress? Be it hundreds of pounds or just a few ounces, most people are trying, in some form or fashion, to shed some extra weight. The formula is simple: the number of calories taken in should be less than the calories out. Couple that with a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of water and some exercise, and almost anyone can look and feel great. Unfortunately, some people are willing to try anything. Whether it's gorging on Twinkies or swallowing sleeping pills, dangerous diets abound. Often nutrition deficient — or just plain weird — these weight-loss plans can do much more harm to the body than good. These ten diets are ones you shouldn't try, and after reading this list, probably won't want to.

    In his 2006 autobiography, My Life In and Out of the Rough, be-gutted PGA golfer John Daly lost 65 pounds in less than a year on a diet of cigarettes, popcorn, and whiskey.
    Why It Works: Dieters, rejoice! Drunkenly smoking and snacking on the golf course for ten hours a day is exactly the cure for the woes of your weight! Completely deficient in nutrients of any sort, this diet of corn, air, and potentially deadly toxins could be just the ticket to a sexy new you.
    Drawbacks: Cancer. Life-wrecking addiction problems. Decreased golf course prowess. DWIs. Jail. Probable death.

    Sounds too good to be true, right? Believe it or not, this diet has gained some widespread media attention. After a nutrition professor ate nothing but processed, sugary foods for ten weeks and lost 27 pounds, eyebrows raised worldwide about the Twinkie diet.
    Why It Works: The diet was originally performed as an experiment in basic mathematics. If the number of calories burned is higher than the number of calories consumed, weight loss is possible and will occur.
    Drawbacks: Processed foods are fake foods; they contain many preservatives and chemical elements that do not occur naturally in fresh foods and, in large quantities, could be harmful to the body. Plus, Twinkies taste good, powdered donuts even better. Limiting yourself to a net caloric deficiency could be nearly impossible, especially for those with a sweet tooth.

    An extremely popular liquid diet, the cabbage soup diet has been around for decades. Every soccer mom and potential supermodel you know has likely gone through a "cabbage soup" phase. On this plan, dieters eat mostly cabbage soup (obviously), and are promised to shed several pounds quickly.
    Why It Works: This diet is essentially a liquid diet, and is highly restrictive in terms of calorie intake. This diet is only designed for short term weight loss goals, and usually only lasts for about a week.
    Drawbacks: All you eat is cabbage soup. Dieters essentially lose only water weight, and usually gain back their losses shortly after ditching the plan. Theyalways ditch the plan.

    This diet is perceived to be highly popular with celebrities as a means of detoxing their bodies and shedding those few extra pounds that they probably didn't have in the first place. As such, the Master Cleanse diet has received lots of press, both good and bad. Essentially, the dieter drinks a concoction of lemonade, cayenne pepper, and maple sugar, and foregoes most other forms of sustenance.
    Why It Works: This diet is a liquid-only diet that creates a calorie deficit in its adopter, as well as spurring loss of water weight. If it worked for Beyonce, it'll work for you, right?
    Drawbacks: Doing a Master Cleanse usually involves lots of talking about doing a Master Cleanse. Be prepared to annoy your friends and loved ones, and be reliant on celebrity news outlets for tips and tricks on how to starve yourself with spicy lemonade.

16 January 2012

When is Scoliosis Surgery Necessary?

To date, the bulk of the information you will find related to Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) on the Internet supports the use of back bracing and scoliosis surgery. Initially, treatment from a medical doctor consists of "observation only", until the Cobb angle progresses to 25 degrees, at which point the patient is placed in a scoliosis brace. When back bracing is unsuccessful in stabilizing the progression of the disease, which is frequently the case, scoliosis surgery is the only other option that the medical community has to offer.
Due to the complicated nature of idiopathic scoliosis and the difficulty in understanding and treating this condition, the development of a surgical method of treating idiopathic scoliosis by Dr. Harrington was understandable. However, science, & long term research agree that this procedure does not cure idiopathic scoliosis, but rather replaces one deformity (a flexible, curved spine) with another (a straighter, fused spine).
A majority of people we see, who have been treated with scoliosis surgery, report after the operation that their pain levels either stayed the same or worsened, leading to long term use of stronger and stronger pain medication. "On average, 16 years after surgery, 40% of surgery patient are permanently handicapped for the rest of their lives" (Long-term results of quality of life in patients with idiopathic scoliosis after Harrington instrumentation and their relevance for expert evidence. Gotze C, Slomka A, Gotze HG, Potsl W, Liljenqvist U, Stienbeck J. Z Orthop Ihre Grensgeb 2002 Sep-Oct, 140(5): 492-8).