What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Natural antibiotics may help fight cancer

A new research has investigated the potency of Indian wild plants against bacterial and fungal infections in the mouths of oral cancer patients.

Researchers from Rohtak, India, tested extracts from several plants used in traditional or folk medicine against microbials found in the mouths of oral cancer patients.

Of the 40 patients involved in the study, 35 had compromised immune systems with severely reduced neutrophil counts. Eight of the plants tested were able to significantly affect the growth of organisms collected by oral swab, and pure cultures of bacteria and fungi grown in the lab. This included wild asparagus, desert date, false daisy, curry tree, caster oil plant and fenugreek.

“Natural medicines are increasingly important in treating disease and traditional knowledge provides a starting point in the search for plant-based medicines. Importantly we found that the extraction process had a huge effect on both the specificity and efficacy of the plant extracts against microbes,” said Dr Jaya Parkash Yadav.

“Nevertheless several of the plants tested were broad spectrum antibiotics able to combat bacteria including E coli, S aureus and the fungi Candida and Aspergillus. Both desert date and caster oil plant were especially able to target bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are known to be difficult to treat with conventional antibiotics,” Yadav added.

Diet rich in vegetables, fruit leads to less weight gain

African American women who consumed a diet high in vegetables and fruit gained less weight over a 14-year period than those who consumed a diet high in red meat and fried foods, investigators from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University have found.

This is the first prospective study to show that a healthier diet is associated with less weight gain in African American women, a population with a high prevalence of obesity.

The study results were based on data from the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), a large follow-up study of 59,000 African American women from across the US conducted since 1995.

The researchers found that women who consumed a diet high in vegetables and fruit gained less weight over 14 years than women whose diets were low in these foods.

Women who consumed a diet high in meat and fried foods gained more weight than women with low intake of these foods.

“A diet high in red meat and fried foods can lead to consuming too many calories because these foods contain more calories than the same amount of vegetables and fruit,” said lead author and researcher Dr Deborah Boggs.

A yoga-based manoeuvre to cure rotator cuff pain

A specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation has developed a yoga-based manoeuvre that relieves the pain of rotator cuff tear and restores range of motion during one short office visit. Loren Fishman’s method trains the subscapularis muscle to take over for the injured supraspinatus muscle in the rotator cuff. Though the rotator cuff has not healed, symptoms usually almost completely disappear.

The method, Triangular Forearm Support, is an exercise that can be done against a wall, in a chair or in a yoga headstand. Fishman studied 49 patients for an average of 30 months to confirm its efficacy.

Immediately after completing the exercise, the average improvement for 46 patients was 150 per cent — patients more than doubled their range of motion and could lift their arms normally. Much of their pain disappeared. Patients reported their pain reduction on a questionnaire. Their pain relief averaged 82 per cent. Many said that they were pain-free. Three patients did not improve at all.