Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson's disease in Poland

The Ministry of Health has decided to refund a drug used in the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease. This decision enables Poland to join the European countries in which the infusion therapies for years to help patients with the disease to live with dignity. The formulation of levodopa and carbidopa in the form of a gel, provided in the form of enteric infusion by means of a special pump in a drug program is available from the May 1 year.

Medicine with advanced Parkinson's disease is finally available in Poland

Advanced Parkinson's disease is characterized by increasingly effective response to pharmacological treatment. Today's medicine in the treatment of disease offers DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation - brain pacemaker implantation), and infusion therapies. In Poland, so far only been reimbursed DBS, and because of the limitations associated with its use (eg due to illness is often accompanied by depression, or age above 70 years of age), close to 50 percent. patients not eligible for surgery.

Infusion therapies or subcutaneous apomorphine infusions or enteral administration Duodopy, extend and significantly improve the quality of life of patients. Their use leads to improvements in the overall physical condition of the patient expressed a prolonged state without troublesome dyskinesia, while reducing the time spent in the off state.

Infusion therapy is a therapeutic options for the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease. Previously they were not available for Polish patients. Duodopy providing an opportunity for a better quality of life for those patients in whom current pharmacological treatment does not give a sufficiently good control of motor symptoms, and for various reasons they are not eligible for surgery of deep brain stimulation. Information about the refund is very good news for both patients and the medical community - said dr. n med. Dariusz Koziorowski, neurologist, President of the Polish Society of Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders.

One of the main objectives of the Foundation Parkinson was a struggle for Polish patients access to infusion therapy. - As the foundation for five years fought for it, to equalize the chances of patients in Poland with those in Europe and let them dignity, all possible methods to roll his personal battle with advanced disease - added Jadwiga Pawlowska-Machajek, president of the Parkinson's Foundation.

Parkinson's disease is one of the most common degenerative diseases of the nervous system and begins between 40 and 70 years of age. As a result of disease or damage to the disappearance of nerve cells are located in a small but very important part of the human brain - the substantia nigra. These cells are responsible for the production of dopamine. It causes a significant loss of motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, among others, bradykinesia, muscle rigidity and tremor at rest. The first period of the disease - "honeymoon" takes on average 3-5 years and has a good and stable response to pharmacological treatment with no side effects. Symptomatic, however, are the symptoms that occur later, ie. Problems with speech, drooling, difficulty swallowing food and liquids, problems with writing, contracture legs, trouble sleeping, nightmares, personality changes, depression, changes in intellectual and frustrating freezes, or inability detachment of the foot from the ground and move any further.

Despite 200 years of describe Parkinson's disease are still not able to clearly diagnose the disease-causing factors. Probably in its formation involves various genetic and environmental factors.

Google and Microsoft teach us not to fear brain drain

Indian CEOs show Silicon Valley can be a depository for future repatriation

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, left, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Palo Alto, U.S. -- Name one thing Microsoft and Google have in common beyond competing in a variety of fields from operating systems to browsers and cloud service. They are both headed by an Indian in his 40s.

Satya Nadella, the 49-year-old chief executive officer of Microsoft, is from Hyderabad in Southern India. He studied electrical engineering at university and moved to the U.S. in 1988. He earned a master's degree in computer science and management in the U.S. and joined Microsoft in 1992. After successfully leading Microsoft's cloud business, he became the company's third CEO in 2014.

Sundar Pichai, Google's 44-year-old CEO, is the son of an electrical engineer in the southern Indian city of Chennai. He set foot in the U.S. as a scholarship student at Stanford University in 1993. After working for McKinsey & Co., he joined Google in 2004. He led the development of Chrome, now the world's most widely used internet browser. He reached the top job in 2015.

The southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area nicknamed Silicon Valley is a multiethnic society where nearly 40% of the 3 million or so people who live there are foreign-born. Though Indians trail behind Mexicans and Chinese by sheer number, they are by far the dominant group among startup founders and employees of information technology companies in the area. Their increasing presence at the top of the American IT industry owes to a rich pool of talent at home with the ability to think logically -- nurtured through India's strength in math and science educations -- and English language skills.

In a speech two years ago, addressed to 18,000 Indian expatriates filling a stadium in Silicon Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he considers them as more of a "brain deposit" than a brain drain, as some in India make them out to be. As those people eventually return home, he said, they will contribute to the development of India.

Modi's words were not merely lip service for the occasion. In fact, people like Nadella and Pichai achieved what Indians see as an American dream. They returned triumphantly as heroes and promised to build infrastructure and create jobs. Money and talent are already beginning to flow back home.

Meanwhile, the number of Japanese companies and residents based in Silicon Valley has hit 20-year highs -- 770 and around 44,000, respectively. The increase has been driven by a sense of urgency to catch up with the disruptive force caused by the internet of things, an age we are entering when everything will be connected online. Still, Japan's presence here is smaller than that of not just India, but China and South Korea as well.

"Fears of a brain drain tend to get in the way, and there is not enough support for those willing to leave [Japan] to take on a challenge," laments Gen Isayama, CEO of venture capital World Innovation Lab, or WiL, based in both Tokyo and Silicon Valley.

Some worry that U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" approach to protecting jobs may undermine Silicon Valley's diversity and competitiveness. But the tech hub has not lost its appeal to businesses and people wanting to innovate.

Just as the height of a pyramid is a function of its base, it may not be too late for Japan to start worrying about a brain drain until it sees a Japanese become a Silicon Valley CEO first.

Science Says: Medications prevent opioid addiction relapse

CHICAGO (AP) — Remarks by a top U.S. health official have reignited a quarrel in the world of addiction and recovery: Does treating opioid addiction with medication save lives? Or does it trade one addiction for another?

Health Secretary Tom Price's recent comments — one replying to a reporter's question, the other in a newspaper op-ed — waver between two strongly held views.

Medication-assisted treatment, known as MAT, is backed by doctors. Yet it still has skeptics, especially among supporters of 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous, because it involves opioid-based medications.

Price appeared to side with that camp when he said during a recent visit to Charleston, West Virginia: "If we just simply substitute buprenorphine or methadone or some other opioid-type medication for the opioid addiction, then we haven't moved the dial much."

But in an opinion piece published last week in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, he twice mentioned his agency's support for medication-assisted treatment. Here's a closer look.


Because of how opioids act on the brain , people dependent on them get sick if they stop using. Withdrawal can feel like a bad flu with cramping, sweating, anxiety and sleeplessness. Cravings for the drug can be so intense that relapse is common.

Medication-assisted treatment helps by moving a patient from powerful painkillers or an illicit opioid like heroin to a regular dose of a legal opioid-based medication such as buprenorphine or methadone. The ideal dose is big enough to fend off withdrawal, but too small to produce a euphoric high. Patients can drive, rebuild relationships and get back to work.

"They're not walking around high" and it gives them the chance to practice new ways of coping with family and psychological issues, said Dr. Joseph Garbely of Pennsylvania-based Caron Treatment Centers.

With counseling and education about addiction, patients can get back on track. They eventually can taper off medications, but some take them for years.


Researchers studying these treatments use drug screening to see whether patients are staying off illegal drugs. If someone uses heroin while in treatment, it shows up in their urine.

A 2014 review of 31 studies found methadone and buprenorphine keep people in treatment and off illicit drugs.

The review by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international group of scientists that evaluates research, found each drug worked better than a dummy medication. A side benefit worth noting: Methadone also helps prevent the spread of HIV by reducing needle sharing, a different research review by Cochrane found.

Methadone and buprenorphine can be abused and both can cause overdoses, particularly methadone. But researchers have found that methadone prevents more overdose deaths than it causes.

For most patients, medication combined with counseling is superior to other strategies, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.


"What's right for one person isn't necessarily right for another person," Price said during a May 9 visit to West Virginia.

When asked whether he and his team leaned toward medication or faith-based approaches to opioid addiction, his reply lined up with those who favor abstinence.

Abstinence-only philosophies "are not scientifically supported," according to the first surgeon general's report on addiction, published in November.

Yet people who describe themselves as in recovery consistently say abstinence is important. All told, remission from opioid addiction can take years and multiple tries at treatment.

"The public needs to know that there are proven, effective treatments for opioid addiction," former U.S. General Vivek Murthy told The Associated Press. Murthy was fired by the Trump administration after he refused to resign.

Price also mentioned a non-opioid alternative — namely an injection of naltrexone called Vivitrol — as "exciting stuff." Vivitrol, a newer drug, can be used only with patients who have completely detoxed and has a limited track record compared to buprenorphine and methadone. Early studies have shown promise, but relapse is a danger after injections stop.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Alleigh Marre told AP that Price's comments don't signal a policy change. Price "has argued that we should be open and supportive to the broadest range of options, from medication-assisted treatments - including methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone - to faith-based recovery programs," Marre said.

Not informing patients about the effectiveness of treating addiction with medication is like a doctor not telling a cancer patient about chemotherapy, said Dr. Mark Willenbring, a former director of treatment research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "Scientifically, this is a settled matter."

Almond flour: What is almond flour and what are the benefits of cooking with it?

Almond flour has become a staple ingredient in healthy baking, but what's all the fuss about this nifty ingredient and how can you use it?

You've probably spotted almond flour in quite a few recipes by now - this lovely ingredient is having a moment, and it's not hard to see why.

Almond flour is made of purely ground almonds, so it's a completely natural and unprocessed ingredient that you can use to bake your favourite cakes, thicken sauces and even use instead of breadcrumbs when frying. High in protein, as well as being low in carbohydrates and sugars, almond flour can help make your cakes and bakes a little bit healthier.

Another reason almond flour has become such a hit in the healthy baking world is because it's naturally gluten free. If you need to avoid gluten for health reasons or have opted to follow a gluten free diet, then you could consider using almond flour in your cooking and baking.

How to use almond flour

Almond flour has many different uses in the kitchen, because of its texture and flavour. You can use almond flour to thicken sauces, to coat fried foods instead of using breadcrumbs, and especially as a substitute for flour in some bakes. See our almond flour recipe ideas below for more ways to use almond flour.

What are the benefits of almond flour?

Like nuts in general, almonds are great for you when consumed in moderation. Almond flour is just ground almonds, so its benefits are the same as when you're eating whole almonds.

Almonds are cholesterol free and low in saturated fat, which makes them a great way to make your cakes and bakes a bit more virtuous. They're a source of thiamine, which helps keep your heart healthy, and they also contribute to improve brain and skin health because of their high content of antioxidants and vitamins.

What is the difference between almond flour and almond meal?

Almond flour and almond meal can get easily mixed up. Both are made from ground almonds, but while almond flour is typically made from blanched almonds- which have had the skins removed - almond meal is made from almonds that still have the skin on. Because of this, almond meal tends to be ground more finely than almond meal.

Can you use almond flour instead of all purpose flour?

Almond flour is denser than normal baking flour, which means it will behave differently. You can't just swap one for the other, so it's safer to follow recipes that have been originally created using almond flour.

Normal baking flour also contains gluten which acts as a binding agent and almond flour doesn't, so it will rely on the other ingredients in the recipe to hold everything together.

Almond flour recipes

Macaroons are a gluten free treat made with almond flour

Almond flour is very versatile and is used in many almond flour recipes to add a nutty flavour to a sponge cake, or to replace normal flour in some recipes if you want to bake a gluten-free treat.

Here are some of our favourite almond flour recipes...

Almond flour macaroons

Macaroons are one of the treats that you can whip up using almond flour. In fact, these pretty little cakes usually need little more than almond flour, sugar and eggs - and patience!

Almond flour cakes and frangipane tarts

Other cake recipes use almond flour to infuse a nutty flavour into the sponge, like this raspberry and almond frangipane tart and this Michel Roux Jr.'s almond and orange cake.

Almond flour 'breadcrumbs'

You can also use almond flour to replace breadcrumbs if you're making fish fingers or frying things like chicken dippers, as a completely natural alternative to gluten free flours.

Where can you buy almond flour?

Almond flour is widely available from most supermarkets, in the baking section, and online grocery shops. A bag containing 200g will cost you about £2.30.

How can you make your own almond flour?

Making your own almond flour is easy. All you need is a high powered food processor so you can grind the almonds to a flour consistency.

You'll need blanched almonds (skin removed) to make almond flour but you can use raw almonds (with skin) if you want almond meal.

A wristband that can recognise human emotions

An MIT engineer has developed a wristband with significant potential to recognise changes in human emotions, the brain as well as behaviour, especially during seizures caused by epilepsy.

The wearable technology has an automated machine learning method that can detect compulsive seizures by combining measures of electrodermal activity on the wrist with measures of motion through a sweat response.

"The skin is purely innervated by the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system," said Rosalind Picard, engineer and researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Sympathetic activation occurs when experiencing excitement or stress, whether physical, emotional or cognitive.

"We can observe increases in sympathetic brain activation by monitoring subtle electrical changes across the surface of the skin," Picard added.

Seizures occur when there are abnormal, excessive or synchronous neuronal activity, and can cause convulsions evidenced by violent shaking and loss of control and consciousness.

When some regions of the brain, such as those involved with anxiety, pain, stress and memory are activated during a seizure, they can elicit patterns of electrical changes in the skin.

The wrist-worn detector is now more than 96 per cent accurate for detecting convulsive seizures.

While the researchers have not demonstrated detection of non-convulsive seizures, 42 percent to 86 percent of non-convulsive, complex partial seizures also have significant electrodermal responses, the researchers said, in the paper presented at the American Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting in Pennsylvania.

In addition, other clinical applications for wristband electrodermal monitoring include anxiety, mood and stress monitoring and measuring analgesic responses.

"We know that pain exacerbates anxiety and stress and we are doing more studies to determine how reductions in anxiety and stress could indicate an analgesic response activated by a pain management therapy," Picard said.

Why Do We Need Fats and Oils in Our Diet?

Just like carbs, oils and fats have been shunned from being included in a healthy diet for the longest time. But things seem to be taking a u-turn now. Health experts and scientists agree that amongst the variety of fats and oils available - there are good ones and bad ones. It is very important to understand the difference between the two so as to make the right choices. But first, why do we need fats and oils in our diet?

5 benefits of fats and oils

Fat is a type of nutrient that forms a balanced diet and it is made up of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The following reasons are good enough to make certain fats and oils a part of your daily diet:

  • 1. Fats are your greatest source of energy. It provides your body the energy that is required to work at an optimum level. Your body tends to derive the calories from carbohydrates and fats to keep going on through the day. 
  • 2. You need fats to keep your hair and skin healthy.It helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E and K. It also regulates your body temperature. 
  • 3. There are some essential fatty acids like linoleic and linolenic acid that your body needs for brain development, controlling inflammation, and blood clotting. Since it cannot produce these on itself, you need to derive them from your diet. 
  • 4. A lot of fats like the good cholesterol (HDL), omega-3 fatty acids and certain saturated superfats like coconut oil are required to maintain a balance of hormones and boost your metabolic processes. 
  • 5. According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, Shilpa Arora, "The fats you eat make up the majority of your cell walls, so a low fat or a no fat diet makes your cell wall inflexible and extremely difficult for nutrients to pass through and feed your cells. Stiff cell walls also mean that cells can become less responsive to messages from your hormones and other important molecules." 

Types of fats

Fats can be good, bad and ugly. Here's a quick breakup of the ones that you should add to your diet and the ones that you should steer clear of.

1. Saturated Fats:

The are the bad guys that remain solid at room temperature like butter, margarine and some vegetable oils. They are known to drive up your bad cholesterol levels. However, some naturally occurring saturated fats like desi ghee and coconut may actually be good for you in moderate quantities.

2. Trans Fat:

These are the worst kind of fats that are found in everything from cakes and biscuits to even dairy products. They are known to cause heart disease and increase the risk of diabetes. Trans fats also occur naturally in meat. Remember, if a label says hydrogenated vegetable oil it is a trans fat.

3. Polyunsaturated Fats:

These are found in vegetable oils like sunflower and peanut and also in oily fish, poultry and nuts and seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves and for the normal functions of your body.

4. Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs):

MUFAs have been known to promote heart health and weight loss. Olive oil, peanut and canola oil as well as avocados, poultry, peanut butter, and many types of nuts and seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

These are found in cold-water fish (such as salmon, mackerel and herring), flaxseeds, and walnuts. They are required for brain development, control blood pressure and prevent heart disease and the risk of dementia.

With this knowledge you'll easily be able to differentiate between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. According to the National Institute of Nutrition, about 1/5th of your diet or 20% should be devoted to the good fats all three kinds -polyunsaturated, monosaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, you shouldn't fear trying different oils for daily cooking. It is suggested to have a good blend of various types of oils in your diet. You could juggle between butter, ghee, olive oil, mustard oil, soyabean, sesame or even groundnut oil for different meals, suggests Dr. Shikha Sharma.