What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Herbal cure not good for asthma

Asthma patients using herbal remedies may make their quality of life worse and suffer from increased frequency of symptoms, a new study claims.

A study conducted by American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology observed 326 asthma patients over a 33-month period.

Of those, 25 per cent reported herbal remedy use and lower adherence to use of prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).

It was learnt that patients using herbal remedies were more likely to have been hospitalised or intubated for asthma.

Also, they had concerns about possible adverse effects of ICS and difficulty following a medication schedule.

Angkana Roy, lead author, department of pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, said: “Results indicate patients using herbal remedies are less likely to take their prescribed medications.”

“These patients report worse asthma control and poorer quality of life than patients who follow medication plans. Underuse of prescribed medication is one of the main factors contributing to poor outcomes in asthma patients.”

Also, Leonard Bielory, ACAAI Integrative Medicine Committee chair, added: “Patients interested in herbal remedies need to use them to complement treatment and not as an alternative, or they will not maximise their health and may actually hinder it as this study shows.”

Ponseti method of clubfoot correction more effective

Ponseti method has been found to be more effective in treating clubfoot than surgical treatment, say researchers.

Clubfoot is a complex deformity in which the feet are twisted inward with the top of the foot where the bottom should be. This condition can sometimes be detected in a prenatal ultrasound, but always is readily apparent at birth.

Ponseti method involves weekly manipulation with above-knee casting often followed by cutting of the Achilles tendon to correct the condition; bracing is then used to maintain the correction.

Surgical correction involves lengthening of the Achilles tendon and release of the ankle joint, multiple joints in the foot, often with re-alignment and pinning of the bones in the foot.

The research team compared two common treatment options for clubfoot — Ponseti method and surgical treatment and Ponseti method was found to be more effective.
“This is the first controlled prospective study to compare the short-term outcomes for clubfeet treated either surgically or with the Ponseti method,” said Dr Matthew Halanski, co-author of the study at the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

New way to burn fat

Scientists in the US say they may have found a new way to trick the body into burning
more fat.

Mice that were given a chemical that blocks the function of an enzyme called Fyn kinase burned more fatty acids and expended more energy, which made them leaner.
This and other metabolic improvements, including increased insulin sensitivity, were because of higher levels of the “energy master switch” AMPK in the rodents’ fat and muscle tissue.

The findings suggest that Fyn kinase may offer a target for a new kind of weight-loss drug, said the researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Neuroscience.

“When there is an imbalance between what we eat and what we burn,” the outcome is obesity, said Claire Bastie of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Neuroscience.
“And the problem of obesity is not going away. This is a new mechanism to help the body to burn extra energy,” Bastie added.

"Our next goal is to design something extremely specific to muscle and adipose," Bastie concluded.

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