Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making full use of dad's knowledge of traditional medicine

ALTHOUGH Tan Leok Kwee has little memory of his late father, he could relate every detail about his old man. From small, Tan loves listening to stories about his father especially on how he saved lives using traditional medicine.

The father had helped to treat the sick villagers at his hometown in Kluang, Johor, with his knowledge in traditional medicine.

“When my mother told me about it, I was amused because my father was not a doctor and due to this, I had always wanted to find out more,’’ he said, adding his father died when he was only six.

Upon completing his secondary education, Tan joined Hai-O Enterprise, a company dealing with traditional medicine and herb-based products. He also took up courses on Chinese traditional medicine and acupuncture.

Today, the 40-year-old Tan has become a certified practitioner in Chinese traditional medicine.

He has also been promoted to become the product development manager by his company due to his hardwork over the years and wide knowledge in the field.

“But this is not enough. I want to see people leading a healthy life. To achieve this, we must live and eat healthy because prevention is better than cure,’’ he said.

Tan was among the first batch of 21 people who completed a four-month certificate course on Chinese medicine nutritional treatments conducted by Hai-O recently.

In conjunction with the graduation, a book containing recipes on healthy dishes using traditional herbs and medicated food was launched.

It is free for Hai-O customers with purchase of RM150 and above, while stock last.

Monday, September 28, 2009

UAE firm gets nod for swine flu medicine production

Abu Dhabi-based drug manufacturer Neopharma today said it has received clearance from the UAE Ministry of Health for the production of an antiviral medication Oseltamivir BR Flu.

The approval comes at a time when the entire region is stepping up efforts to tackle the swine flu pandemic, and it is being considered as a potential choice to prevent and treat the disease.

Neopharma, Vice-Chairman, Abdulla Humaid Al Mazroei and Managing Director and CEO, Dr BR Shetty thanked the Health Ministry on behalf of the Board of Directors of the company.

"As a leading manufacturer of life-saving drugs, we believe it is our responsibility to play a vital role in helping the community at this critical juncture. We are confident the approval for Oseltamivir will significantly facilitate medical professionals and the wider community to effectively combat the lethal H1N1 virus in the region," Dr Shetty said.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Alternative Medicine Cabinet

More than a third of American adults use some form of complementary or alternative medicine, according to a recent government report. Natural remedies have an obvious appeal, but how do you know which ones to choose and whether the claims are backed by science? Today, New York Times “Really?” columnist Anahad O’Connor begins a weekly series exploring the claims and the science behind alternative remedies that you may want to consider for your family medicine cabinet.

The Remedy: Arnica

The Claim: It relieves pain.

The Science: Arnica Montana, a plant native to mountainous areas of Europe and North America, has been used for centuries to treat a variety of pain. Athletes rub it on muscles to soothe soreness and strains, and arthritis sufferers rub it on joints to reduce pain and swelling. It’s believed that the plant contains derivatives of thymol, which seems to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Either way, scientists have found good evidence that it works. One randomized study published in 2007 looked at 204 people with osteoarthritis in their hands and found that an arnica gel preparation worked just as well as daily ibuprofen, and with minimal side effects. Another study of 79 people with arthritis of the knee found that when patients used arnica gel twice daily for three to six weeks, they experienced significant reductions in pain and stiffness and had improved function. Only one person experienced an allergic reaction.

The Risks: Arnica gels or creams can cause allergic reactions in some people, but it is generally safe when used topically. However, it should never be rubbed on broken or damaged skin, and it should only be ingested when in a heavily diluted, homeopathic form.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

OhioHealth buys Max Sports Medicine

OhioHealth Corp. is growing its sports medicine program with the acquisition of an 11-physician Columbus practice.

Central Ohio’s largest hospital system said Tuesday that it has acquired Columbus-based Max Sports Medicine. In addition to its 11 physicians, the practice has 33 staff members at four locations in the area. The practice is headquartered at OhioHealth’s McConnell Heart and Health Campus near Riverside Methodist Hospital.

Christina Fitzer, a spokeswoman at Riverside, said the company isn’t disclosing financial terms of the deal. The acquisition retains all employees, branches and Max’s name.

Max is now part of the more than 200-doctor OhioHealth Medical Specialty Foundation, which added its first member a year ago with the acquisition of MidOhio Cardiology & Vascular Consultants. That was the largest such transaction on the region’s health-care landscape since Mount Carmel Health System bought the New Albany Surgical Hospital in December 2006. OhioHealth two months ago added Columbus-based Millhon Clinic Inc., a practice with 12 physicians and 44 staffers.

Max Sports offers primary care and sports medicine for school-age, college and professional patients and active adults. They’re also team physicians for Otterbein College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Denison University and a number of area high schools.

“The sheer breadth of sports medicine expertise and experience of the physicians and staff at Max Sports Medicine is impressive,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for OhioHealth, said in a release. “To bring that experience and successful practice model into the OhioHealth Medical Specialty Foundation will benefit our patients and provide a deeper knowledge base as we continue to expand and enhance our sports medicine expertise.”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MOH commended for introducing book on herbal medicines

A traditional herbalist at the Ajumako Liberty Herbal clinic has commended government, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ghana Food and Drugs Board for introducing a book on herbal medicines, essential for health services.

The book titled “Recommended list of Herbal Medicines essential for Health Service” produced by the MOH and dated November, 2008, spells out various medicines for the treatment of Anaemia, Diabetes, Hypertension, Malaria, Arthritis, Typhoid, Peptic Ulcer, skin diseases and others.

Mr Adu Mohamed, speaking to the Ghana News Agency at Ajumako, said the move was laudable and a step in the right direction because it would help weed out quacks in the herbal medicine practice.

He appealed to the MOH and the government to make available logistics and machinery to herbal medicine practitioners to enable them to produce in large quantities for both export and local use.

This, he said would relieve the nation of its over dependence of foreign drugs and also save money, which would have been used in the importation of such drugs and at the same time help to create employment in the country.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Prevent Periodontitis To Reduce The Risk Of Head And Neck Cancer

Chronic periodontitis, a form of gum disease, is an independent risk factor for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. This suggests the need for increased efforts to prevent and treat periodontitis as a possible means to reduce the risk of this form of cancer.

"Prevent periodontitis; if you have it already, get treatment and maintain good oral hygiene," said Mine Tezal, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo, and NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences at the University of Buffalo. She is also a research scientist in the Department of Dentistry and Maxillofacial Prosthetics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, which is where the study was conducted.

Results of this study are published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Chronic periodontitis is characterized by progressive loss of the bone and soft tissue attachment that surround the teeth. The researchers assessed the role of chronic periodontitis on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, as well as the individual roles on three subsites: oral cavity, oropharyngeal and laryngeal. They used radiographic measurement of bone loss to measure periodontitis among 463 patients; 207 of whom were controls.

Findings showed that chronic periodontitis might represent a clinical high-risk profile for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The strength of the association was greatest in the oral cavity, followed by the oropharynx and larynx, according to Tezal.

When they stratified the relationship by tobacco use, they found that the association persisted in those patients who never used tobacco. The researchers did not expect the periodontitis-head and neck squamous cell carcinoma association to be weaker in current smokers compared to former and never smokers, according to Tezal. However, this interaction, although statistically significant, was not very strong.

"Confirmatory studies with more comprehensive assessment of smoking, such as duration, quantity and patterns of use, as well as smokeless tobacco history are needed," she said.

"Our study also suggests that chronic periodontitis may be associated with poorly differentiated tumor status in the oral cavity. Continuous stimulation of cellular proliferation by chronic inflammation may be responsible for this histological type. However, grading is subjective and we only observed this association in the oral cavity. Therefore, this association may be due to chance and needs further exploration," Tezal added.

Andrew Olshan, Ph.D., said these results lend further support to the potential importance of poor oral health in this form of cancer. Olshan is professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"The study of poor oral health including the possible carcinogenic role of microorganisms is part of a rapidly growing interest in how a community of microbes that live in the various environments of the human body can affect health," Olshan said. "Although the study is comparatively small, the researchers were able to also see an association between bone loss and the risk of head and neck cancer."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Food is your best medicine

Fresh fruits are packed with vitamins & minerals. Because fruits can be eaten raw, they are extremely beneficial for the enzymes they offer. Enzymes are important to proper digestive function. Here are some benefits of five of this season’s best local fruits:

Blackberries Contain vitamins A, C and B-complex along with calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and niacin. All berries are high in fiber.

They are good for the colon. Since blackberries contain natural sugar they are good for energy. They are also used as a blood cleanser. They have an alkaline affect in the body and make a good tonic.

While blackberries are best if they are eaten uncooked, they also make good cobblers, jams and pies.

Blueberries are high in manganese and vitamin A and C and some B-complex. They also contain calcium, potassium, silicon, phosphorus, iron, silicon. They are an excellent source of fiber and are a good antiseptic and blood purifier. They are also good for the skin, hypoglycemia, and the blue pigment may be a powerful in protecting the liver.

Eaten in their fresh, natural state, they are very nourishing. They can also be added to muffins, pancakes, cereals and salads. They make an excellent addition to a chicken salad too!

Cantaloupes are abundant in vitamin A and C. They are also a rich source of potassium.

Melons are best eaten alone or with other melons rather than mixed with other fruits. Their high water content can interfere with digestion since water dilutes the digestive juices. Melons in general are a cleansing food. They are good for bladder and kidney problems.

Grapes contain some vitamin A and C, phosphorus and calcium. They are also a good source of B complex which is essential for a healthy nervous system. Grapes are considered the “queen” of fruits. They help to purify the blood, are a good source of energy and contain cleansing properties. They help stimulate the liver and are effective in helping constipation, edema, reducing fever, and preventing cancer. Grape juice is excellent to help recover from illness.

Peaches are high in vitamin A, B complex, protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber. They are valuable for those suffering from anemia, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, constipation, heart disease and skin disease. They are excellent to include in a diet for the elderly.

The best pick are ones that smell peachy and look creamy yellow and red in color. They are great when eaten fresh or made into jelly or jams, used for cobblers and can be used in fruit salads with apricots, apples, bananas, pineapple and pears. Ripe peaches should be stored in the refrigerator.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Alternative medicine, acupuncture to be discussed at AARP meeting

Dr. William Boggs, board certified in internal medicine, will be speaking at the High Springs Area AARP meeting on Sept. 10.

He will discuss treating illnesses with alternative medicine and acupuncture and without totally relying on drugs or surgery for relief. A question and answer session will follow the talk.

In addition, registered nurse Tammy James will be returning to the AARP meetings to do blood pressure screenings.

The meeting is open to anyone over 50 years old and is held at the First Presbyterian Church, 205 N. Main Street in High Springs and begins at 10:30 a.m. Guests planning to attend are asked to bring a covered dish for the luncheon following the meeting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Health-care reform isn't socialized medicine

People against health-care reform don't know the facts or are being fooled by other special interests, such as big health-care insurance companies and the rich that have money invested, and their only interest is big profits.

Health-care reform isn't socialized medicine. If I like my actual insurance, I'll still be able to keep it, but if I can't afford it, I will have another affordable choice.

We can't afford not to change. If we do nothing, the cost of health care will increase to a point that only the very rich are going to be able to afford it.

Health-care reform will strengthen Medicare, ensure we can choose our doctor, and cut the cost of medicine.

Jose Nunes

New Bedford

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Solutions to child obesity

To make it easier for children to eat healthfully and move more, local governments in towns and cities across the country need to help create a better environment, a new report says.

Children and their families should have access to grocery stores that offer plenty of healthful food such as fruits and vegetables, and schools shouldn't be surrounded by fast-food restaurants. Children should be able to ride their bikes or walk safely to school, and they should have safe places to play afterward, says the report out today from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council.

The healthy choice should be the easy choice, says family physician Eduardo Sanchez, chairman of the expert committee that prepared the report and vice president and chief medical officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

"That statement captures the essence of this particular challenge. Too often the easiest thing to do is the least healthy, and that goes for kids."

The environment influences the decisions people make, and local regulations can make a difference in the fight against childhood obesity, he says.

About a third of the nation's children ages 2 to 19 — or about 23 million kids — are overweight or obese. That puts them at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and other health problems.

Some cities and towns in the USA already have made changes that make living healthfully easier. Other community officials need to figure out their areas' biggest problems and work on those first, the report's authors say.

Among their suggestions are several dealing with access to healthful food in underserved areas. They urge communities to offer financial incentives to the owners of corner markets and convenience stores in poor areas so they can carry more affordable healthful foods such as fruits and vegetables, and fat-free and low-fat dairy.

They also suggest offering tax credits, grants, loans and other economic incentives to attract new, bigger supermarkets and grocery stores to underserved communities to increase their access to healthful foods.

Several studies show that some people, especially in poorer communities, don't have easy access to a major grocery store, so they have to rely on small stores, convenience markets and hybrid gas stations where there is a smaller selection of healthful food items at higher prices.

"I believe (benefits from) the relative costs involved far outweigh the cost of doing nothing," Sanchez says. "Obesity in children leads to some diseases, and the cost of their medical care will go up fairly quickly."

Many of the strategies have other benefits. For instance, the report urges better community policing, which may increase safety, and better grocery stores could create more jobs, he says. "These are worthwhile investments because the gain is more than the upfront expense."

Similar ideas for changing the environment were discussed this summer at the Weight of the Nation meeting in Washington, D.C., which was sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.