Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Think products from China are safe?

Here's a news story which made a big splash on all the news websites yesterday. Many governments are right now trying to squash this problem before it becomes more widespread. As you can see, China has an entirely different outlook on health and on supplement ingredients than does the rest of the world. This is why I don't understand how some people can buy herbal products that are China-sourced . . . Rhodiola is a good example. The best Rhodiola in the world is Siberian, not Chinese. Yes, China holds a distinction as well, as the cheapest Rhodiola in the world comes from China. You can buy 500mg capsules of Chinese Rhodiola rosea for $7.99 in a store, but Siberian is a different story. As a result of cheap, Chinese Rhodiola, the better products (that sell for $15 - $25) get pushed off the shelf. China also brings us a new "first" in the supplement field:
South Korean customs said it had confiscated more than 17,000 health capsules smuggled from China that contain human flesh, most likely extracted from aborted foetuses or stillborn babies. The Chinese Ministry of Health said it had been investigating allegations that capsules were being manufactured from human remains but had found no evidence. The South Korean customs agency said pills had been smuggled into the country through parcels and luggage carried from China. The pills were composed of ''ground stillborn foetus or babies that had been cut into small pieces and dried in gas ranges for two days, then made into powders and encapsulated'', the report said. "Flesh pills have been continuously smuggled into [South Korea], camouflaged as health tonics,'' the statement said. The pills came mostly from cities in north-eastern China: Yanji, Jilin, Qingdao and Tianjin. The South Korean government has been investigating capsules made of human flesh since last year when a monthly magazine released a report about the use of dead infants in traditional medicines. The report said the infants and foetuses were purchased illegally from hospitals. Forensic tests on pills marketed as "infant capsule" and "foetus powder" found a 99.7 per cent match with human tissue, South Korean reports said. "Human flesh pills are similar to a bizarre invigorate-seeking culture where people search for items such as seal's genitals and bear gall bladder in hopes for boosting one's stamina," Dr Ha Il-hyun at Seoul's Konkuk University Hospital told the newspaper Chosun Ilbo. "If there's anyone who claims he benefited from the pill, it would only be a placebo effect."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Researchers Discover Meditation has Positive Effects on Mood and Anxiety in Patients with Memory Loss

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital determined that mantra-based meditation can have a positive impact on emotional responses to stress, fatigue and anxiety in adults with memory impairment and memory loss. Their findings are published in the recent issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Their study placed 15 older adults with memory problems ranging from mild age-associated memory impairment to mild impairment with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease on a regimen of Kirtan Kriya (KK), a mantra-based meditation for 12 minutes a day for eight weeks. A control group was assigned to listen to classical music for 12 minutes a day for eight weeks.
Earlier results from the study showed significant increases in cerebral blood flow in the prefrontal, superior frontal, and superior parietal cortices as well as improvements in cognitive function.

“We sought to build on this research to determine if changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) had any correlation with changes in patients’ emotional state, feelings of spirituality and improvements in memory,” said Andrew Newberg, M.D., director of Research at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine.

“Age-associated cognitive impairment can be accompanied by depression and changes in mood. There is data suggesting that mood disorders can aggravate the processes of cognitive decline,” adds Newberg.

Study participants who performed the mantra-based meditation reported improvement in tension, fatigue, depression, anger and confusion, with observed significance in tension and fatigue over the control group. There was no significant change observed in spirituality scores.

This study is one of a growing body of neuroimaging studies to illustrate the neurological and biological impact of meditation, highlighting brain regions that regulate attention control, emotional states, and memory.