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Top 10 Asian Boy Bands

The boy band is alive and well in Asia. The top all male groups are some of the most successful pop stars in Asia today. This list of the top 10 Asian boy bands is subjective, but all of these groups are essential to know for anyone with more than a casual interest in today’s Asian pop music.

Arashi

ArashiCourtesy J Storm

The name Arashi means “Storm” in English. The group is one of the longest lasting boy bands at the top of the Japanese pop world. They were first formed in 1999 and the debut single “Arashi” was the theme for the 1999 World Cup of Volleyball. The group has topped the Japanese album chart seven times and the singles chart an impressive 24 times. Group members are Satoshi Ohno, Sho Sakurai, Masaki Aiba, Kazunari Ninomiya and Jun Matsumoto.

Watch “Everything”

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Big Bang

Big BangCourtesy YG Entertainment

Big Bang are a Korean boy band put together in 2005-2006. The MTV Korea network put together a ten show documentary detailing the group’s training and rehearsals as well as final selection of members. Among the group’s hit singles have been a remake of Maroon 5’s “This Love.” Since 2008, Big Bang have pursued success in Japan as well as at home in South Korea.

Watch “Last Farewell”

Fahrenheit

FahrenheitCourtesy WOW Music

Fahrenheit are a four member boy band from Taiwan. Each member represents a season of the year corresponding with their personalities. Calvin Chen is spring, Jiro Wang is summer, Wu Zun is autumn, and Aaron Yan is winter. The group released their first album in September 2006. All three of the group’s albums have reached #1 or #2 on the Mandarin pop charts. Fahrenheit’s popularity is gradually spreading throughout Southeast Asia.

Watch “Ai Dao”

KAT-TUN

Kat-TunCourtesy J-One Records

KAT-TUN was initially formed in Japan as a support group for the band KinKi Kids. However, due to their popularity, KAT-TUN became a permanent unit. The group’s debut single “Real Face” did not appear until 2006. Since that point the group has reeled off ten consecutive #1 singles at home in Japan. All four albums by the group have also topped the charts.

Watch “Lips”

NEWS

NewsCourtesy Johnny’s Entertainment

NEWS are a Japanese boy band whose name is an acronym for the directions North, East, West and South. The group was originally formed with nine members. One member left in 2004 and subsequently two members were suspended from the group due to controversy over underage drinking. NEWS continues on highly successful as a six member boy band. All three of their albums and 11 singles have topped the Japanese pop music charts.

Watch “Happy Birthday”

SHINee

SHINeeCourtesy SM Entertainment

SHINee are a Korean boy band who debuted in May 2008 with the top 10 mini-album Replay. Their full length debut album The SHINee World debuted at #3 on the charts. The group has risen quickly among top pop bands in South Korea and are known for their fashion influence among young fans.

Watch “Love Like Oxygen”

Shinhwa

ShinhwaCourtesy Good Entertainment

Shinhwa, formed in 1998 in South Korea, are among the most durable of Asian boy bands. Initially gaining success with SM Entertainment, they switched labels in 2003 to Good Entertainment. The group has released five albums that topped the Korean pop charts. Their release Inspiration #1 was a top five hit in Japan in 2006. Through the years Shinhwa have received acclaim as one of the best dance groups among boy bands.

Watch “Throw My Fist”

Super Junior

Super JuniorCourtesy SM Entertainment

South Korea’s Super Junior lay claim to being the world’s largest boy band with 13 members. The group was formed in 2005. In addition to performing and releasing music as a full group, Super Junior has occasionally been sub-divided into smaller groups for particular projects. The group has topped album charts in China, South Korea and Thailand.

Watch “Sorry, Sorry”

Top Combine

Top CombineCourtesy EE Media

Top Combine are one of the first boy bands to emerge out of mainland China. The group is composed of members of both Chinese and Korean descent. Four of the five group members were contestants on the TV show Super Boy. Top Combine debuted in October of 2008 with the single “Arrival.”

Watch “Arrival”

TVXQ / DBSK

TVXQ/DBSKCourtesy SM Entertainment

This group is known as either TVXQ or DBSK based on different acronyms formed from translations of the group’s name which means, “The Gods will rise from the East.” In 2008 they became the first male foreign group to have a #1 single on the Japanese Oricon music chart. The group has four #1 albums to their credit at home in South Korea, but they have been nearly as successful in Japan as at home.

Watch “The Way U Are”

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September 24, 2009 Posted by | 1 | 2 Comments

Causes of Acne


Overproduction of oil, bacterial buildup, and irritation of your skin’s hair follicles all play a role in the development of acne. These factors may be driven by hormonal changes or imbalances, side effects of certain medications, or your own genetic makeup.

Herbal Acne Cures

The use of herbal medicine in treatment of acne has not yet been extensively researched. Here’s a look at several herbs commonly recommended as acne remedies:

1) Vitex

Also known as chasteberry, vitex is thought to treat acne by balancing your hormone levels. But while the herb has been shown to improve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, studies have yet to confirm that vitex can help reduce acne.

2) Dong Quai

In a 2003 study, scientists discovered that dong quai (a Chinese herb also known as Angelica dahurica or Angelica sinensis) had anti-acne benefits similar to that of erythromycin (an antibiotic often used as an acne medication). The same study showed that licorice also had significant acne-fighting effects.

3) Guggul

Guggul (an herb commonly used in ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India) may help relieve acne, especially among people with particularly oily faces, according to a small study published in 1994. The study included 20 people with cystic acne, and found that taking guggul supplements daily for three months led to a progressive reduction in acne lesions.

More Natural Cures for Acne

Tea tree oil (an essential oil commonly used in aromatherapy treatments) and zinc (an essential mineral) may help relieve acne naturally.

Learn more about using these natural acne remedies.

How To Prevent Acne

For help in stopping your skin from breaking out, try these self-care strategies:

  • wash your skin with a gentle cleanser twice daily
  • shower or wash up after exercising
  • avoid resting your hands on your face
  • Sources:

    Loch EG, Selle H, Boblitz N. “Treatment of premenstrual syndrome with a phytopharmaceutical formulation containing Vitex agnus castus.” Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine 2000 9(3):315-20.

    Nam C, Kim S, Sim Y, Chang I. “Anti-acne effects of Oriental herb extracts: a novel screening method to select anti-acne agents.” Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology 2003 16(2):84-90.

    Schellenberg R. “Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study.” BMJ 2001 20;322(7279):134-7.

    Thappa DM, Dogra J. “Nodulocystic acne: oral gugulipid versus tetracycline.” Journal of Dermatology 1994 21(10):729-31.

    September 24, 2009 Posted by | 1 | 4 Comments

    Some New Medical Points In Neurology

    Donepezil treatment in severe Alzheimer’s disease: a pooled analysis of three clinical trials

    Abstract Objective: Individual clinical trials have demonstrated benefits of donepezil in patients with severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Data were pooled from three randomized, placebo-controlled trials of donepezil for severe AD to further evaluate treatment effects and overall tolerability/safety. Methods: Total scores and sub-scores were analyzed for measures of cognition, global function, function, and behavior. Additional analyses were performed to investigate (1) relationships between cognitive, functional, and behavioral changes, and (2) patterns of combined domain response. Results: Using pooled total scores, significant treatment differences at endpoint in favor of donepezil were observed for cognition, global function (both p<0.0001), and function (p = 0.03), with an effect size (Cohen’s d) of 0.51, 0.26, and 0.17, respectively. There was no significant treatment difference for behavior. However, donepezil-treated patients with stabilized/improved cognition tended to show significant improvements in function and behavior over placebo-treated patients. Patients treated with donepezil were 2-3 times more likely to achieve a combined domain response than placebo-treated patients (p<0.0001). Adverse events were as expected for cholinergic therapy, and mortality rates were similar between the treatment groups. Conclusions: These findings suggest measurable donepezil-mediated symptomatic benefits in cognition, global function, and daily living activities in patients with severe AD. The treatment effects support the importance of cholinesterase inhibition as a clinically relevant therapeutic option across the spectrum of AD.

    Extrapyramidal signs before and after diagnosis of incident Alzheimer disease in a prospective population study

    BACKGROUND: Extrapyramidal signs (EPSs) are commonly accepted as a feature of Alzheimer disease (AD) and may influence both the profile of impairment and prognosis. OBJECTIVE: To examine rates of occurrence and risk factors for all types of EPSs and to describe the impact of EPSs over time on the clinical course of AD. DESIGN: Longitudinal study. SETTING: The Washington Heights Hamilton Heights Inwood Columbia Aging Project. Patients A total of 388 patients with incident AD (mean age, 79 years; 71.4% female). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Extrapyramidal signs rated by means of a standardized portion of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale; prevalence and incidence rates and cumulative risk for non-drug-induced EPSs; and rates of change in EPSs over time, taking into account potential covariates. RESULTS: Extrapyramidal signs were detected in 12.3% of patients at first evaluation and 22.6% at last evaluation. In a multivariate-adjusted generalized estimating equation model of change, total EPS score increased at an annual rate of 1.3%. Women (relative risk [RR], 1.57; P = .03), older patients (RR, 1.03; P = .02), and those with EPSs at baseline (RR, 2.07; P = .001) had greater rates of cognitive decline. CONCLUSIONS: Extrapyramidal signs occur frequently and progress significantly in AD. Patients with incident AD and concomitant EPSs have a greater rate of cognitive decline than do patients with incident AD but without EPSs.

    Levetiracetam reduces myoclonus in corticobasal degeneration: report of two cases

    Levetiracetam (LEV) has been shown to suppress myoclonus of various origins. Corticobasal degeneration (CBD), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with Parkinsonian syndrome, is frequently accompanied by myoclonus. We investigated the effect of LEV on myoclonus in two CBD patients. LEV remarkably decreased the myoclonic activity in both patients already at 1,500 mg/day dose. This is the first report on LEV alleviating myoclonus in CBD. Our data indicate that it might be worthwhile to assess this effect in an appropriately designed study

    Treated hypothyroidism, cognitive function, and depressed mood in old age: The Rancho Bernardo Study

    Objective: Overt hypothyroidism is associated with cognitive impairment, which can be reversed if treated early and appropriately. We compared cognitive function of euthyroid older adults with those who had long-term treated hypothyroidism. Methods: Between 1999 and 2003, the cognitive function of 885 euthyroid and 149 hypothyroid-treated older adults (primary hypothyroidism after surgery or auto-immune thyroid disease) was assessed using three standardized cognitive function tests: the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination, Trails B, and verbal fluency. Depressed mood was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Only participants with thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the normal range were included. Results: The treated hypothyroid group had been treated with L-thyroxine (LT4) for an average of 20 years. Those with treated hypothyroidism were older than the euthyroid group (76.1 +/- 9.6 vs. 73.6 +/- 10.2 yrs, P = 0.005) and much more often women (81.6% vs. 54.8%, P<0.001). TSH levels were similar between groups [median interquartile range=1.57(1.19) vs. 1.54(1.59) mIU/L, P = 0.81]. Compared to euthyroid, the treated hypothyroidism group had more frequent antidepressant medication use (19.5% vs. 8.5%, P<0.001) but similar BDI scores. Performance on the three cognitive function tests did not differ by thyroid hormone treatment. Results were not changed after adjustment for age, sex, antidepressant medication use, exercise, and total cholesterol. Conclusion: Long-term treated hypothyroidism is not associated with impaired cognitive function or depressed mood in old age. The lack of association with cognitive function is reassuring in regard to long-term use of thyroid hormone therapy.

    Pulseless arrest in an elderly patient treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator for cardioembolic ischemic stroke

    A 77-year-old woman, who had a history of rheumatic mitral stenosis with atrial fibrillation (AF), was referred and admitted to our hospital because of a transient ischemic attack at 4: 55 p.m.. She had taken warfarin for over 10 years, but her condition was not well controlled on admission. At 8: 30 p.m., she had acute ischemic stroke with right facial palsy, right hemiparesis and slurred speech. At 10: 35 p.m., she was treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) and her neurological deficits almost fully recovered by 0: 05 a.m. (90 min after t-PA started) . At 0: 08 a.m., she collapsed due to sudden pulseless arrest. Using advanced life support, she soon recovered with no complications. After mitral valve replacement and left atrial appendectomy, she was discharged with a modified Rankin scale 0 at day 40. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report showing pulseless arrest immediately after treatment with t-PA in an elderly patient with ischemic stroke. Left insular injury seemed to be a crucial mechanism of pulseless arrest in this case.

    September 24, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    2 Easiest Ways to Catch Swine Flu

    Sept. 18, 2009 — What’s the single most efficient way to catch H1N1 swine flu?

    OK, that’s a no-brainer. Having a sick person cough directly into your face cannot be a good thing.

    That gives you more than a 50% chance of getting sick, calculate environmental health experts Mark Nicas, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley, and Rachael M. Jones, PhD, of the University of Illinois, Chicago.

    But if that doesn’t happen, what’s the next most risky thing?

    Touching something contaminated with flu virus and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes with your unwashed hand gives you a 31% chance at getting sick, Nicas and Jones calculate.

    Breathing in tiny particles left hanging in the air from a flu-infected person’s cough or sneeze gives you a 17% chance of infection. Breathing in larger particles — which hang in the air for a shorter time — gives you only a 0.5% chance of getting sick.

    The calculations are based on a scenario in which a family member is taking care of someone sick in bed with a type A flu bug. H1N1 swine flu is one such virus.

    Can you count on these numbers to keep you safe? No, Nicas and Jones admit. The calculations are based on many factors and situations — such as the amount of virus in an infected person’s body or the humidity of a room — that change from day to day and from person to person.

    “As a result, we conclude that nonpharmaceutical interventions [to prevent infection with] a pandemic virus must account for all routes of exposure,” Nicas and Jones note in their report, published in the September issue of Risk Analysis.

    There are four ways to catch the flu, including H1N1 swine flu:

    • Touching a surface contaminated with virus and then touching your face.
    • Breathing in tiny droplets containing flu virus dispersed in the air.
    • Breathing in medium-size droplets containing flu virus, which do not travel as far or hang in the air as long as tiny droplets.
    • Having large droplets deposited directly onto your facial membranes.

    “More reliable information concerning these areas would lead to a less uncertain apportionment of influenza infection risk among the four exposure pathways,” Nicas and Jones conclude.

    September 23, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    What is Andrographis?

    Also known as “Indian echinacea,” andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is an herb long used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The popular Scandinavian cold remedy Kan Jang contains standardized extracts of both andrographis and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus).

    Uses of Andrographis

    In herbal medicine, andrographis is typically used to treat the following conditions:

  • colds
  • flu
  • cancer
  • Andrographis is also said to act as a natural immune-booster.

    Benefits of Andrographis

    Studies suggest that andrographis may aid in the treatment of these health problems:

    1) Respiratory Infections

    In a research review published in 2004, scientists sized up seven clinical trials (with a total of 896 participants) and found that andrographis is superior to placebo in alleviating symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

    2) Flu

    Kan Jang may help reduce the severity and duration of the flu, according to a 2003 study. When compared to 469 patients using the conventional antiviral medication amantadine, 71 study members using Kan Jang experienced about three fewer days of flu symptoms and were less likely to progress to complicated influenza.

    Since flu can lead to serious complications (including pneumonia), it’s important to seek medical help if you’re experiencing flu symptoms (such as muscle aches, fatigue, and high fever).

    3) Sinus Infections

    A study published in 2002 shows that Kan Jang may help relieve the inflammation associated with sinusitis. For the study, 185 individuals took either a placebo or Kan Jang in treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections (including sinusitis). Results indicated that Kan Jang may help soothe headache and nasal and throat symptoms. However, cough and eye symptoms didn’t differ significantly between the two groups.

    Is Andrographis Safe?

    Although andrographis is generally considered safe, it may trigger adverse effects like headache, fatigue, allergic reactions, nausea, and diarrhea.

    Anyone using medications (including blood-thinning drugs, blood pressure medicines, and chemotherapy drugs) should consult a physician before using andrographis.

    How to Use Andrographis

    Available in capsule and tincture form, andrographis can be found at most health food stores.

    Sources:

    Coon JT, Ernst E. “Andrographis paniculata in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review of safety and efficacy.” Planta Med. 2004 70(4):293-8.

    Gabrielian ES, Shukarian AK, Goukasova GI, Chandanian GL, Panossian AG, Wikman G, Wagner H. “A double blind, placebo-controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination Kan Jang in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis.” Phytomedicine 2002 9(7):589-97.

    Kulichenko LL, Kireyeva LV, Malyshkina EN, Wikman G. “A randomized, controlled study of Kan Jang versus amantadine in the treatment of influenza in Volgograd.” J Herb Pharmacother. 2003;3(1):77-93.

    September 23, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    Top 10 Rock Supergroups and Side Projects

    When a musician becomes famous for his work with his primary band, it can be hard for any of his future projects to be as well received. But whether it’s a supergroup or a low-profile collaboration with friends, the results often allow us to hear these artists in a new musical setting. Here’s the list of the 10 best rock supergroups and side projects.

    1. Velvet Revolver

    Photo courtesy RCA.
    With Stone Temple Pilots on hiatus and Guns N’ Roses essentially an Axl Rose solo project by the late ’90s, some of the biggest names in hard rock found themselves without a permanent gig. And so Velvet Revolver was born, combining Scott Weiland‘s tortured vocals with GNR’s guitarist and rhythm section. (Trivia buffs will also note that the band included guitarist Dave Kushner of Wasted Youth.) Over the span of two whiskey-soaked albums, the band specialized in bracing songs buzzing with air-guitar exuberance and arena-rock spectacle. The group may not have lasted too long, but its leather-pants sleaziness was undeniable.
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    2. Audioslave

    Photo courtesy Epic.
    When their frontman, Zack de la Rocha, left the band, the rest of Rage Against the Machine were stuck trying to find a powerful vocalist to replace their departed fiery orator. Former Soundgarden leader Chris Cornell couldn’t match de la Rocha’s political commentary, but his deep bellow provided its own force. Paired with Tom Morello‘s distinctive style of hip-hop-influenced guitar playing, Cornell and the rest of Audioslave worked to create a sound that didn’t just slavishly copy their old bands’. On albums like their 2002 self-titled debut, Audioslave made mainstream rock a safe place for intelligent, articulate veterans of the genre.

    3. The Raconteurs

    Photo courtesy V2.
    Jack White is so closely linked to his primary band, the White Stripes, that it seemed impossible to imagine him venturing into side projects. But in 2006, he and singer-songwriter Brendan Benson recruited the drummer and bassist of the Greenhornes to play in the Raconteurs, a more traditional rock band than the blues-channeling White Stripes. On their debut, Broken Boy Soldiers, White giddily incorporated arena-rock traditions into his usually jaundiced, personal commentaries on love and moral corruption. Initially, the Raconteurs seemed destined to be an enjoyable one-off, but the group reunited for a 2008 follow-up, Consolers of the Lonely.

    4. Temple of the Dog

    Photo courtesy A&M.
    In 1991, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were part of the vaunted Seattle sound, enjoying worldwide acclaim and a growing fan base. But that success belied the dark undercurrents of the bands’ songs as well as the atmosphere in which that music was created. As an elegy for a musician friend — Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, who died of a drug overdose — the two groups came together as Temple of the Dog. Mostly eschewing the straightforward aesthetic of their regular bands, the songs on Temple of the Dog sometimes stretch out to epic lengths as singer Chris Cornell dissects the power of drug addiction and the finality of death.

    5. A Perfect Circle

    Photo courtesy Virgin.
    Because A Perfect Circle is fronted by Tool super-genius Maynard James Keenan, it’s commonly assumed that he started the band. But in fact, the group came together thanks to Billy Howerdel, a guitarist friend of Keenan’s who approached him about singing on tracks Howerdel had written. Also adding to the confusion is that A Perfect Circle bear a sonic similarity to Tool: Both bands veer back and forth between prog-rock and metal with their complicated musical arrangements. After recording two albums, the group has gone on hiatus while Keenan and Howerdel focus on other projects, though there is talk of a possible APC reunion.

    6. The Dead Weather

    dead weather horehoundPhoto courtesy Third Man.
    Apparently one side project wasn’t enough for Jack White. Teaming up with Kills vocalist Alison Mosshart, White formed the Dead Weather, which like the Raconteurs beefs up the White Stripes’ sound to explore more experimental rock textures. Mosshart is the vocalist for the band, and on their 2009 debut album, Horehound, she gives the songs a sexy-scary quality. They went on tour shortly after the album’s release, and there has been talk of doing a follow-up record.

    7. Brad

    Photo courtesy Epic.
    Since the early ’90s, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard has been busy with his acclaimed band but also his side project Brad. Their 1993 debut, Shame, introduced the group’s jam-heavy rock and lead singer Shawn Smith’s soulful vocals, most hypnotically on “20th Century.” Brad never threatened Pearl Jam’s prominence on the rock landscape, but subsequent albums’ satisfying forays into pop and country suggested the adventurous spirit Gossard’s day-job band has pursued since the late ’90s.

    8. Army of Anyone

    Photo courtesy Firm Music.
    While their former lead singer Scott Weiland was busy with Velvet Revolver, ex-Stone Temple Pilots members Dean and Robert DeLeo hooked up with Filter leader Richard Patrick for some breezy hard rock fun. Their entire output is just one album, 2006’s Army of Anyone, but it’s intriguing to hear Patrick performing in a more straight-ahead rock unit that shies away from Filter’s industrial-edged tendencies. The album was a commercial stiff, and the supergroup soon disbanded, but Army of Anyone is a record worth checking out, especially if this is the first you’re hearing of it.

    9. Probot

    Photo courtesy Southern Lord.
    Beyond being the drummer for Nirvana and the man behind Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl is also a hopelessly old-school metal nerd. That geekiness doesn’t often show up on his own albums, but he found a way to divert all that furious energy into Probot, a 2004 record of metal songs written and recorded by Grohl that featured different legendary singers like Motorhead‘s Lemmy on the mic. The results can sometimes be too tongue-in-cheek, but Probot is much more than just an amusing diversion, paying wonderful homage to the excesses of classic metal, complete with growling vocals and stoner riffs.

    10. Mad Season

    Photo courtesy Columbia.
    Not to be confused in any way with that Matchbox Twenty album from 2000, Mad Season was an arresting combination of Seattle’s most muscular bands: Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley, Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. Their sole release, 1995’s Above, featured sludgy mid-tempo songs highlighted by Staley’s despondent vocals. For fans of Alice in Chains and Screaming Trees especially, Above is a gem you should make sure to add to your library: It’s a heavy record that doesn’t skimp on either the darkness or the hooks.

    September 23, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    What Is Tulsi?

    Also known as “holy basil,” tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is an herb commonly used in ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India). It is closely related to culinary basil, and native to India and Southeast Asia.

    Uses for Tulsi

    In herbal medicine, tulsi is typically used to treat the following conditions:

  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • arthritis
  • colds
  • flu
  • Tulsi is also thought to act as an adaptogen (a type of herb said to strengthen your resistance to stress while enhancing your energy).

    Benefits of Tulsi

    To date, very few studies have looked tulsi’s effects on human health. However, research suggests that the herb may show promise in treatment of the following:

    1) Anxiety

    In a 2008 study of 35 adults with generalized anxiety disorder, researchers found that taking tulsi in capsule form daily for 60 days was linked to significantly lower levels of stress and depression.

    2) High cholesterol

    Tulsi may help keep cholesterol in check, according to a 2006 study on rabbits. Although the study showed that tulsi had significant cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant effects, results also revealed that the herb had no effect on diabetes.

    3) Respiratory Infections

    In a 2009 study on mice, scientists discovered that dietary supplementation with tulsi protected the animals’ lungs against colonization with Klebsiella pneumoniae (common hospital-acquired bacteria known to cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections).

    4) Mercury Poisoning

    A 2002 study on mice suggests that treatment with tulsi may provide protection against mercury-induced toxicity (known to damage the central nervous system, endocrine system, kidneys, and other organs).

    Is Tulsi Safe?

    Although tulsi is generally considered safe, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult their physicians before using the herb.

    Individuals currently taking any kind of medication should also talk to a doctor before using tulsi.

    How to Use Tulsi

    Available in capsule and tincture form, tulsi is also commonly found in herbal teas. Tulsi products are sold at most health-food stores.

    Sources:

    Bhattacharyya D, Sur TK, Jana U, Debnath PK. “Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders.” Nepal Medical College Journal 2008 10(3):176-9.

    Gupta S, Mediratta PK, Singh S, Sharma KK, Shukla R. “Antidiabetic, antihypercholesterolaemic and antioxidant effect of Ocimum sanctum (Linn) seed oil.” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 2006 44(4):300-4.

    Saini A, Sharma S, Chhibber S. “Induction of resistance to respiratory tract infection with Klebsiella pneumoniae in mice fed on a diet supplemented with tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) and clove (Syzgium aromaticum) oils.” Journal of Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection 2009 42(2):107-13.

    Sharma MK, Kumar M, Kumar A. “Ocimum sanctum aqueous leaf extract provides protection against mercury induced toxicity in Swiss albino mice.” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 2002 40(9):1079-82.

    September 23, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    Drug Information Update: Public Hearing on the Promotion of FDA-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools

    FDA/CDER/Division of Drug Information (DDI)

    The Division of Drug Information (DDI) is CDER’s focal point for public inquiries. We serve the public by providing information on human drug products and drug product regulation by FDA.

    The Food and Drug Administration‘s (FDA’s) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), in collaboration with FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), is announcing a public hearing to discuss issues related to the promotion of FDA-regulated medical products (including prescription drugs for humans and animals, prescription biologics, and medical devices) using the Internet and social media tools.

    FDA is seeking participation in the public hearing and written comments from all interested parties, including, but not limited to, consumers, patients, caregivers, health care professionals, patient groups, Internet vendors, advertising agencies, and the regulated industry. This meeting and the written comments are intended to help guide FDA in making policy decisions on the promotion of human and animal prescription drugs and biologics and medical devices using the Internet and social media tools. FDA is seeking input on a number of specific questions but is interested in any other pertinent information participants in the hearing would like to share.

    Dates and Times: The public hearing will be held on November 12 and 13, 2009, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Submit written or electronic registration by close of business on October 9, 2009. Written and electronic comments will be accepted until February 28, 2010.

    Location: The public hearing will be held at the National Transportation Safety Board Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20594.

    For more information, please visit: Notice of Public Hearing

    September 22, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    Some New Medical Points In Neurology

    FDA Approves Once-Daily Extended Release Lamotrigine for Epilepsy

    NEW YORK — June 1, 2009 — The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved lamotrigine extended-release (XR) tablets (Lamictal XR) as a once-daily add-on therapy for patients with epilepsy aged 13 years or older with partial onset seizures.

    “Many patients require multiple doses of 1 or more medications to control their epilepsy, which makes taking their medicines even more challenging,” said Dean Naritoku, MD, Department of Neurology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama. “[Lamotrigine XR] is an important once-daily advance for patients with epilepsy who still experience seizures while taking their current therapy.”

    The approval was based on data from an international, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (ARMOR) of 236 patients aged 13 years or older with inadequately controlled partial seizures, who were taking a stable regimen of 1 or 2 antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).

    Patients had experienced 8 or more partial seizures during the 8-week baseline phase of the study. Patients in the baseline period were experiencing 4 to 6 seizures per week prior to being randomised to either lamotrigine XR or placebo. The treatment period of the study consisted of a 7-week Escalation Phase and a 12-week Maintenance Phase.

    Study results showed that lamotrigine XR reduced partial seizures by 47%, compared with 25% with placebo over the entire 19-week treatment period (P = .0001).

    A second study (COMPASS) evaluated the conversion from the immediate-release form of lamotrigine given twice daily to the same total daily dose of lamotrigine XR given once daily in 44 patients aged 13 years or older with epilepsy.

    Patients enrolled in the study were divided into 3 treatment groups based on the type of adjunctive AED they were taking.

    Results showed that patients could be switched from the immediate-release formulation of taken twice daily to the same total daily dose of lamotrigine XR taken once daily while maintaining comparable minimum blood levels of lamotrigine, regardless of the other AEDs being taken concurrently.

    No serious rashes were observed in either treatment group in both studies. However, the risk of serious rash caused by lamotrigine XR is not expected to differ from that of with the immediate-release formulation.

    Basilar-type migraine

    Initially described more than 40 years ago, basilar-type migraine has posed diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas for medical practitioners. Defined by the coexistence of migraine headache with neurological symptoms emanating from either the brainstem or simultaneously from both cerebral hemispheres, basilar-type migraine has been categorized as “atypical” or “complicated” and has been considered more akin to hemiplegic migraine than to migraine with typical aura. Despite the absence of any data convicting basilar-type migraine as a vasospastic condition, the use of triptans in such patients has been considered prohibited. This review focuses on the diagnosis, clinical presentation, available genetic information, and treatment considerations in patients with basilar-type migraine.

    Benefits of Aspirin as Primary Prevention of Vascular Events Do Not Outweigh Risks

    NEW YORK — May 29, 2009 — Use of aspirin by people with no history of relevant disease (primary prevention) reduces non-fatal myocardial infarctions (MI) by around a fifth, but it also increases the risk of internal bleeding by around a third.

    Thus its long-term use in this population is of uncertain net benefit since these benefits and risks could cancel each other out. For secondary prevention (among those who already have occlusive vascular disease), aspirin’s benefits generally outweigh its small risks. The findings are discussed in this week’s edition of The Lancet.

    Colin Baigent, MD, Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, and colleagues did an individual patient meta-analysis of serious vascular events (MI, stroke, or vascular death) and major bleeds in 6 primary prevention trials, involving 95,000 people at low-average risk, and 16 secondary prevention trials, involving 17,000 people at high risk. The studies compared long-term aspirin use with control.

    The researchers found that in the primary prevention trials, aspirin reduced the already small risk of serious vascular events (stroke, MI, vascular death) by 12%, mainly due to the reduction in non-fatal MI mentioned above. There was no significant difference in stroke or in vascular mortality, but the small risk of internal bleeds increased by around a third in those given aspirin.

    In the secondary prevention studies, where people had already had a stroke or MI and were at substantial risk of recurrence, aspirin reduced the risk of serious vascular events by about a fifth, and this benefit clearly outweighed any small extra risk of bleeding.

    In both sets of trials, the proportional reductions in vascular events were similar for men and women.

    “The currently available trial results…do not seem to justify general guidelines advocating the routine use of aspirin in all healthy individuals above a moderate level of risk for coronary heart disease,” the authors concluded.

    Dr. Baigent added: “Drug safety really matters when making recommendations for tens of millions of healthy people. We don’t have good evidence that, for healthy people, the benefits of long-term aspirin exceed the risks by an appropriate margin. If effectiveness is uncertain, then cost-effectiveness calculations are irrelevant.”

    September 21, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

    Sam Raimi Discusses ‘Drag Me to Hell’

    Sam Raimi Drag Me to HellWriter/director Sam Raimi on the set of ‘Drag Me to Hell.’

    © Universal Pictures

    When Sam Raimi announced his return to the horror genre with Universal Pictures’ Drag Me to Hell, fans everywhere welcomed him back with open arms. After roaming around in the world of Spider-Man for nearly a decade, Raimi was ready to direct a horror film – a genre he has a lot of love for. “I really like the horror genre,” said Raimi at the LA press day for Drag Me to Hell. “The horror audience is the best audience in the world. They want to be entertained. They go there to be thrilled. I feel like they’ve got a really fun attitude in their hearts when they go to see these movies. Not that normal audiences for everything else aren’t wonderful, but the horror audience is something special actually. Even better than a comedy crowd, they want to be entertained and appreciate things. I think they’re the best audiences in the world right now.”

    Raimi had a great time getting back into the director’s chair for Drag Me to Hell. “It was not even flexing our muscles. It was really just a team of entertainers and artists and technicians coming together. I believe having a really great creative collaboration, all the crew members really contributed to this story and we were under a very tight budget and time schedule, not for most filmmakers but for me it was short because I’m very slow with the way I work. Everyone contributed. I think everyone understood that we were making fun entertainment for people. At least that was our goal. We’re going to try to make it a fun, spooky blast of a film for people. It was really clear that we weren’t making an art picture and everyone really got into that. I had a wonderful time.”

    Drag Me to Hell follows Christine Brown (played by Alison Lohman), a real milquetoast of a woman who works as a loan officer in a bank. With a promotion to assistant bank manager on the line, Christine takes a stand and turns down a decrepit elderly lady’s request for an extension on her home loan. That move earns her praise from the bank manager and moves her ahead of her chief competitor for the assistant manager position. But it doesn’t sit well with Mrs. Ganush, the woman Christine rejected for an extension. And Christine quickly finds out Mrs. Ganush is not someone you should tangle with. The old gypsy woman curses Christine and soon horribly disgusting things begin happening that suggest an extension would have been the way to go.

    Raimi took his time casting the part of Christine as he needed someone the audience would like enough to care about when the bad things start happening. “She’s really despicable. I don’t mean Alison. Alison’s okay, but Alison has a very positive charm that works on the audience, that helps us stay with her despite all the terrible things that she does. A lot of people forgive you if you’re good looking too, and Alison is very good looking and has a very nice smile. You get away with a lot, I think, with that. But when you think about what she does besides throwing that old woman out of the house, she goes against her own vows and kills [spoiler deleted] to save her neck. She lies to the old woman’s daughter at that house when she tries to get her way and get the old woman to take the curse off her. At the séance, when she’s asked everyone to risk their lives for her, she tries to blame her boss when confronted with the demon that it was really him. She, in fact, is ready to give that curse to some poor sap at the local Howard Johnson’s or Denny’s. She barely came up with a better idea. She came that close. I think she was a good person on the outside but when you really start to look at her, when she gets in an extreme situation, the real person comes out. In fact it’s really the old woman that’s the victim in this story and Alison Lohman, I think her character Christine deserved probably what she got. Maybe she was a little over punished. I wouldn’t have been as harsh, personally.”

    But Christine’s punishment was always in the script. Raimi knew exactly where he wanted this character to end up from the get-go. “She starts out with the idea that she’s a good person. She thinks she’s a good person. Hopefully the audience can buy into that illusion because they’ve got so many things that they can identify with. She goes to work every day. She’s sweet to people. She’s pleasant and attractive. She’s got a boyfriend that is a sweet, intelligent fellow. They have a connection. She seems generous when it comes to things that aren’t critically important in her life, but when push comes to shove and she’s got to impress the parents, she feels that this job promotion would really help her. At that point, when we all have a chance to be greedy or not, when it’s important, she’s cruel to this old lady for her own betterment. She sins with greed and forces her out of the house, hiding under the rules of the bank. Because I wanted the audience to make this choice with her, I wanted to present her as a nice person. She is a nice person. We all are nice people, but we’re all sinners too. And I wanted you, the audience member, to make this choice with her, when the old woman was unpleasant looking, was absurd, I wanted the audience to say, ‘Yeah, just deny her the loan and get her out of the office for crying out loud.’ Because I had hoped that once you sinners had made that choice with her, that like it or not, you would know in your heart that that thing that had been sicced upon her was not just coming for her, but deservedly so for you because you had made that choice with her.”

    Alison Lohman and Lorna Raver in Drag Me to HellAlison Lohman and Lorna Raver in ‘Drag Me to Hell.’

    © Universal Pictures

    Sam Raimi says it was Christine’s flaws that made her so real and relatable. “It’s what made the character interesting to me, that she was flawed and capable of making mistakes and selfish choices,” explained Raimi. “Unfortunately, I understand her because of that, because I am weak and flawed and scared and selfish and all those things. That weakness fascinates me. I detest it, but it’s what interests me. It interests me because I’m flawed because I can sometimes explore the things that trouble me. I think all writers work this way. They take a part of themselves, what they understand as their problems or whatever, and they put them out there. I wish I had more noble problems. She’s such an awful character, it’s really embarrassing. That’s how writers work, I think.”

    The Return of Spider-Man

    Spider-Man 3 didn’t exactly earn rave reviews, and Raimi is well aware of that fact though he doesn’t dwell on it. “Do I take the criticism into consideration? Yeah, absolutely,” admitted Raimi when asked about the negative reviews. “All filmmakers want their films to be liked. I shouldn’t say that, but I definitely want my films to be liked by the audience. I don’t make an artistic type of picture that I can say to myself, ‘Even if this crowd doesn’t like it, it stands as a work of art and will be appreciated years later or has meaning without the audience.’ I simply am an entertainer and I make films for audience appreciation. When they don’t like it, I don’t have a leg to stand on. If a critic doesn’t like it, it’s like, ‘Oh, he hates me,’ or, ‘It’s bad, they don’t like it.’ Every time I get a bad criticism, I just try not to dwell on it but it’s very upsetting. You really want to please people.”

    Given the fact a lot of the criticism over 3 was leveled at the multiple villains, will Raimi go back to just a single villain on Spider-Man 4? “I’m still working on Spider-Man 4,” answered Raimi. “More properly, the writer is writing the screenplay right now. David Lindsay-Abaire, a New York playwright, is in New York supposedly writing. We’ll see. I gotta call that guy. He should be done with his script in about four weeks I think. I think I’d be better prepared to answer that question once I’ve read that script and know what the movie is.”

    Lindsay-Abaire was tapped to write Spider-Man 4 in order to take the franchise in a new direction. It definitely wasn’t because Spider-Man screenwriter Alvin Sargent had exhausted all of his Spider-Man stories. “[Alvin Sargent] has got so many great stories and characters and great humor and drama within him that it would be impossible. But, I wanted to work in a new way and a new direction. I had just read this great play that David Lindsay-Abaire had written called Rabbit Hole and I just really wanted to work with him on Peter Parker.”

    “I remember often times in this process [on Drag Me to Hell] my assistant director Michael Moore would come up to me and say things like, ‘Sam, you’ve got an hour left and you’ve got eight shots what do you want to do?’ And I would think, ‘Oh my god, we’ll just shoot it tomorrow.’ And he would say, ‘You’re not coming here tomorrow, you’re never coming back here, the budget won’t let you come back here. You now have 55 minutes, how are you going to get the shot?’ First I’d panic and then I would remember the basics are all I ever needed and I would think, ‘Well, what’s the point of this scene? What’s the core of what I’m after? It’s that this character in the story is confronted with this situation, she makes this realization, and that’s where the scene ends. And I can get that with a close up of my actress and a little bit of a lighting effect.’ Maybe she was going to come outside and see the sun coming down and I was going to have a crane shot and she was going to realize she didn’t have much time. With a simple rose colored gel and a lamp that’s being faded up and her coming into a close up, she can look off into the direction of the light, suggest she’s seeing the sunset, a little bit of wind will help with the idea of the setting sun and she’ll make a realization in her eyes, at that moment the camera will move in a little bit to underline this realization, a bit of fear will come upon her as she realizes she doesn’t have much time as the light is dimming, and she exits frame. With that shot I remembered I can get everything I needed, that I thought I needed eight shots to get. And it was invigorating. It never should have been those eight shots anyway,” said Raimi.

    But as much as Raimi wanted to return to the Spider-Man franchise, he didn’t want to do it without Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire. “I only wanted to do it with Tobey because my interest is in living the character with Tobey in a deeper way than we ever have lived it before. There comes with the familiarity a knowledge of a lot of the basics. I think it’s really going to allow us to delve deeply into him as a human being, which is really why I’m into it this time.”

    “With great power comes great responsibility,” as Uncle Ben says, and Raimi knows there’s a lot riding on the fourth film of the franchise. “With those Spider-Man pictures, which I love making, there’s still a lot of responsibility on the director’s shoulders and the producers, everyone’s shoulders, because you’re dealing with a character that has been around for 40 some years, is much loved by people throughout the world. And people not just have a sense of ownership of Spider-Man, rightfully so, but they look up to him as a hero. Generations of people do. So you have to be careful with how that portrayal takes place. You have to have a lot of respect for the ownership of everyone, which they do have over that character and so I was using the word responsibility of the responsibility to present him in a proper light. And that’s a great job, but it’s much more freeing to take a break from that and work with your own characters in a place where no one has any expectation of them because they don’t know them. You’re really free to do anything you want. So there’s a lot more freedom’s that come with the independent picture, Drag Me to Hell.

    September 21, 2009 Posted by | 1 | 5 Comments