Sunday, August 10, 2008

A therapy that rides on radio and sound waves provides pain relief.

Sound relief

A therapy that rides on radio and sound waves provides pain relief.

They say that surgery should always be the last option. If there's a treatment out there that might offer you pain relief or even solve your physical problem, then by all means try that before you decide to go under the knife.

Given that premise, it would seem that Sonotron therapy is a viable option, especially

since it is non-invasive and drug-free. It combines pulsed radio and sound waves to

provide relief in certain arthritic and repetitive stress conditions.

Sonotron is touted to offer effective pain relief for complaints such as osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, cervical spondylosis, stiff neck and tennis elbow, and sports injuries that affect muscles and that cause tissue swelling, among other conditions.

The device looks like a hair-dryer and works by means of a "corona discharge beam"

that's produced when a low radio frequency of 430 kHz, pulsed at a low sound frequency of 1 kHz, is applied to an electrode located in a hand-held applicator.

The corona dischargebeam from the applicator is then directed on the problem area above the skin. It emits electro-magnetic energy and electrons beneficial to the patient.

The external treatment has no contact with the skin at all and at most, the patient may

feel a little heat.

The device was invented by Dr Alfonso DiMino in the United States in 1987. He

developed the Sonotron technology in the late 1970s while working on an industrial

application involving specialised electronic circuits.

Dr DiMino found that the device produced heat from the discharge. As an arthritis

sufferer himself, Dr DiMino tried it and folmd that it prParlv reduced nain.

Healing therapy

Medical practitioner Dr Gertrude Kow, who' had a machine in her clinic since 2004, foun Sonotron therapy useful for patients who ha just had stitches, especially if they didn't want antibiotics.

"Sonotron seems to promote faster healin and it's helpful for abrasions and diabetic fo

as well. It also helps abscesses by making them ripen faster or regress. The faster you

the treatment, the better. If you've had a bad knee for 10 years, for example, you can't

expect miracles.

"Sonotron therapy also known to be useful for treating osteoarthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, tendinitis, sports injuries and other joint conditions."

There has been evidence of acceleral ed healing of wound in diabetics, burns, accident injuries and surgery with the the apy. While Sonotron therapy cannot remove degeneration at the cartilage of joints, it can reduce or eliminate further degeneration.

Interestingly, in his in-vitro experiments, Brian Thompson of the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the United States, found that he was able to repeatedly increase the

density of cartilage by applying Sonotron or his patients.

The energy emitted is equivalent to 1/60 the power of a typical electro-surgical unit in

widespread use today and the energy that is dissipated within the tissues is equivalent to

that of a pocket calculator, which means it is safe for use. In fact, the Radiation Protectior Unit of the Institute of Science and Forensic Medicine Department in Singapore has cert fied that no licences are required for the use of the device in the republic.

Sonotron works by converting free radica present in the cells of problem areas into

oxygen and water. This inner chemistry change promotes growth of tissues that results in the healinz of the oroblem area. scientists believe that free radicals excess is the cause of most clinical problems, hence the need to remove them from areas which are inflamed or injured.

An alternative

While it's a therapy that is difficult to prove since you do not obtain results straightaway, these days medical professionals in the United States, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia are more receptive to complementary medicine like Sonotron therapy to treat patients with chronic pain without having to deal with the side-effects of painkillers or drugs.

"You have to bear in mind that Sonotron doesn't work as fast. [tell patients that if after

three or four sessions, they don't feel any better then they should try something else. it's not like a pill which you can pop and get immediate effect. Most patients who are wiliing to try Sonotmn are those who have been through other treatments and even surgery," says Dr Kow.

Some patients with illnesses that were thought to be too difficult and time-consuming to treat have come away with positive results. Proven safe even for children, Sonotron therapy has also hastened the rehabilitation of stroke patients, while asthmatics and those with sinusitis see improvements in their condition.

Sonotron therapy was introduced to Malaysia in 1994 by Panmedic Sdn Bhd. It is now used by more than 100 general practitioners and spedalists around the country as well as in rehabilitation and sports medicine. it is also available at some private and govemment hospitals, and the Malaysian Sports institute in Kuala Lumpur has a Sonotron machine to treat sports injuries.

Respite from pain

SURE, there are some days when we just don't feel like getting up from bed. But it can he frightening when you literally cannot get up,

One day in 2006, retiree Salamiah Ishak. 57, found that every effort she made to get up from a nap on the floor hurt so bad that she was stricken by fear.

And when her husband Mohamad Yusof tried to pull her up, the pain reverberated to her spine and her arm felt like it was being ripped off.

"My whole body ached. When I finally managed to make my way to see a doctor in Sungai Petani, he couldn't find anything wrong and merely told me to lose weight," says Salamiah, who weighed 70kg at that time.

She sought treatment from various specialists but none gave her a definite answer. Then a neurologist finally found, after an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), that she had a curvature in her spine and that a pinched nerve might be the cause of her pain.

"While that bit of news helped, it didn't solve the problem. Then I chanced upon a magazine that had a story on Sonotron. After the second therapy from a clinic in Petaling Jaya, the pain lessened considerably. For the past two years, I've had to sleep on a reclining chair as it's been almost impossible to get up from a horizontal position from the bed. When I recently went to Terengganu, I could sleep on the hotel bed and get up on my own," says Salamiah.

Her husband Mohamad Yusof, 58, who used to work with the Royal Malaysian Air force, was at first sceptical but was willing to try anything to help his wife's condition.

"It has worked for Salamiah and I've even tried it for my tennis elbow and an old knee injury.

"The real test came when I had to drive for eight hours to and from Terengganu. Before, I couldn't sit for long as my knee would hurt. This time, surprisingly, I handled the distance without any complaints," says Yusof.

"It has to do with your frame of mind and some might find it hard to accept this form of therapy.

"What's good is that there are no drugs involved and that's comforting especially since my wife has been on too much medication already."

A medical specialist (who declined to be named) says that drugs tend to have side effects when used over long periods. Painkillers may cause gastric and even renal failure in the long term.

"For one of my elderly female patients, I cut off all the medications and put her on Sonotrun therapy. Now, she can walk, and has left the old folks' home to stay with her family in her hometown," says the specialist who has had the Sonotron machine in his clinic for five years.

"I also treat elderly patients suffering osteoarthritis. One patient who was planning on having surgery for her back tried Sonotron as a last resort. After five times, she felt well enough to go back to work after being on no-pay leave for six months,"

Picky eaters can develop problems in growth and development, including social and academic performance

Trouble eating

Picky eaters can develop problems in growth and development, including social and academic performance.

Most mothers will agree that it is nerve-wracking when their child refuses to eat or is extremely fussy about food. Beside normal weight gain, meeting the nutritional needs of the child is the other main concern.

Probably the most universal complaint of parents is that their child is not eating the

food, or amount of food, offered," said Prof Dr Mauro Fisberg, paediatric nutritionist and head of the paediatrics department at Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Dr Fisberg was invited by PaediaSure Complete (Abbott Nutrition) to come to Kuala

Lumpur recently to share his expertise on the latest developments on picky eating and other feeding problems.

An author of six books on children's eating disorders, Dr Fisberg said that in general,

paediatric clinics record about 10% to 25% of children as being picky eaters.

"Picky eating is becoming a major concern because it can contribute to under-nutrition,

(thus) impairing children's growth and development which includes social and academic

performance as well," he said.

Studies have shown that picky eating can lead to growth complications, increased chronic illness and increased risk of developing eating disorders later in life.

In some cases, picky eating may also cause short-term nutritional deficiencies and produce life-long implications such as social and emot ona problems including aversion

to touch, lethargy or lack of interest in playing or learning.

There is no standard definition of picky eating but researchers typically examine a variety of factors, including nutrient intake composition, a veight of child, food volume

and duration of refusal.

These childmn also tend to eat small amounts, prefer only selected foods such as carbohydrates or dairy products, avoid trying new foods and take a long time to eat their meals.

There is usnally a combination of reasons for picky eating, including physiological factors such as appetite, genetics and growth, Psychological issues such as the struggle for autonomy, changing emotions and moods, and level of affection or adverse interaction between mother and child could also lead to the problem.

Children also go through picky eating phases.

"We do not know why a child who has been eating the same food for a fow months simply refuses to eat it the next day," said Dr Fisberg,

However, he said a majority of picky eaters take after examples set by their parents at home, as many studies indicate that food rejection is a learnt behaviour in almost all cases.

"However, contrary to what many people think, we cannot solve problems of poor appetite in a day or even a week," he said.

"It all starts with recognising that the child has a right to preferences and aversions, Forcing a child to eat what he does not like is not going to make things better. Make a list of his or her preferences and every week, add two new types of food," he advised.

Dr Fisberg said sometimes the use of oral supplements was important to maintain balanced nutrition in children.

Dr Pedro Alarcon, paediatric gastroenterc ogist and international medical director wit

Abbott Nutrition, said a 2003 study conduc in Taiwan and the Philippines showed that nutritional supplementation increased not only the weight but also the height of children.

The study was done on 92 children aged three to five who were classified as picky eaters. The children were separated into two groups and monitored for three months. One group only received nutritional counseing while the other, nutritional counselling combine with nutritional supplement.

After 60 days, the second group of children recorded significant weight gain compareu to the first. Both groups also recorded increases in height.

"That was surprising for us too because we were only expecting weight gain," he said.

In a year, said Dr Alarcon, a child roughly gains 3cm in height but the children in the study gained more than half of that within three months.

Overall, 28% of children in the second group developed upper respiratory infections

compared to 51% in the group which only received nutritional counselling.

"Nutrition in the future will not only target, weight, height and less illness m children, but also more body immunity, brain development or even stronger gastrointestinal defence." said Dr Alarcon.

In another study headed by Dr Fisberg in 2002 on children aged three to five. adding synbiotics (prebiotics and probiotics) to oral supplements showed that there were more sick days recorded in groups which did not take synbiotics. The period of the study was four months.

"Paediatric oral supplementation should be considered as part of a comprehensive strategy when dealing with picky eating to prevent children from becoming undernourished." said Dr Alarcon.

Dr Fisberg said probably the most prescribed solution by doctors for picky eating is

appetite stimulants, mainly to avoid mothers forcing their children to eat.

"l would not recommend that because the stimulants probably work for one or two weeks only, after which the body will adapt to it," he said, adding that vitamin supplements should only be recommended if the child has a specific vitamin deficiency.

Dr Alareon added that picky eating in children below one year old is rare and thus should be checked to ensure there were no other health problems.

After one year, a child may also develop some picky eating because that was when they achieve autonomy and have new habits and ability, hence become less interested in food, said Dr Fisberg, adding that weight gain may slow down at that time too.

Generally, when should patents be concerned that their child is having a picky eating problem?

"Usually one month is enough to rule out other possibilities such as medical problems

and to see if the picky eating problem is serious," said Dr Fisberg, who also anchors a television programme called Body Sciences on Oniversiry TV in San Paulo.

Positive reinforcement

Tips to cultivate healthy eating habits:

  1. Avoid distractions during mealtime.

  2. Adopt a neutral attitude-do not pressure a child to eat.

  3. Encourage appetite by limiting snacks and balancing food portions.

  4. Limit duration of meal time.

  5. Provide age-appropriate foods.

  6. Introduce new foods to a child gradually and regularly.

  7. Encourage children to eat independently-do not spoonfeed a child who is old enough to use utensils.

  8. Allow children to make a mess when they eat.

HPV infection is a major cause of cervical cancer

Hope in HPV vaccine

As HPV infection is a major cause of cervical cancer, vaccination offers the hope of a reduction in the incidence of this cancer.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection.

The HPV virus needs to infect cells in order to survive. Once inside a cell, it directs the cell to make copies of it and to infect other healthy cells. The infected cells eventually die and are shed from the body. When the virus is shed, it can infect another person.

There are different types of HPV. The low risk types, such as HPV6 and HPV11 cause benign genital and respiratory warts, while persistent infection with high-risk types such as HPV16 and HPV18 is associated with increased risk of high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), which is a precursor of cervical cancer.

The genital warts (condylomas) may appear on the outside or inside the reproductive tract. It can spread to nearby skin or to a sexual partner.

Genital warts are more likely to occur in people who have more than one sexual partner or whose sexual partner has more than one partner. Other reproductive tract infections are often associated with genital warts.

HPV is a major cause of cancer of the cervix. HPV infections by the high risk types are common in young sexually active women. Most clear spontaneously without ever causing cervical intraepithelial neoplasia while some develop a persistent infection.

Hence, cervical cancer can be considered a rare consequence of persistent infection with one or more high risk types, with other as yet undefined factors playing a role.

Studies suggest that HPV may also cause cancer of the vulva, vagina, anus, some cancers of the ompharynx (middle part of the throat that includes the base of the tongue and tonsils).

The more sexual partners a person has, the more likely he or she will get HPV infection. The vast majority of HPV infections go away without treatment. Certain factors like smoking, multiple sexual partners, having many children, oral contraceptive use and HIV infection are associated with an increase in the risk of developing cervical cancer.

As HPV may have no symptoms, it may be more common than is thought.

Most genital warts may appear within a few weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected person or they may not appear at all

The warts are fiat, abnormal growths in the genital area including the cervix. Sometimes, the warts are extensive with a cauliflower-like appearance.

There is no published data on the disease burden of HPV infection in our country as HPV is not a notifiable infection.

However, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women here.

The National Cancer Register for 2003 shows the incidence in Peninsular Malaysia as 13.4 and 62.9 per 100,000 women in the age groups 15 to 49 and 50 to 69 years respectively.

HPV vaccines
Women who had previously been infected by a particular HPV type are unlikely to get re-infected by the same HPV type because of the antibodies produced.

There are two types of HPV vaccines: a bivalent (HPV16 and HPV18) and a quadriva]ent vaccine (HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18).

Both vaccines provide protection against 70% of the HPV types that cause cervical cancer.

In addition, the quadrivalent vaccine provides protection against 90% of the HPV types that cause genital warts.

The vaccines do not provide protection against HPV types that a person has been exposed to.

However, a person who has had HPV may still benefit from the vaccine because most people are not infected with all the types of HPV contained in the vaccine.

The vaccines do not provide protection against other sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Information about some aspects of HPV vaccines is yet to be clarified. This includes the duration of protection although current data indicates that the protection after vaccination lasts at least five years.

The vaccines are given by injection in the upper arm. The second and third doses are given two and six months later.

The optimal age for HPV vaccination is between the age of nine and 26 years.

Effectiveness and safety
The HPV vaccines are effective. Studies of both vaccines, to-date, have reported near 100% efficacy.

HPV vaccines are generally well tolerated and reactions are minimal. It is usually limited to some pain, swelling, itching and redness at the injection site, fever, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and fainting.

Other side effects reported include swollen glands in the neck, armpit, or groin, headache, skin rashes, joint pain, aching muscles, unusual tiredness or weakness, and a general feeling of being unwell.

Allergic reactions have been reported. They include difficulty in breathing, wheezing and rashes. Some of these reactions are severe.

It is important to inform your doctor if you or your child has had an allergic reaction to the vaccine; has a bleeding disorder; is immunocompromised, such as with HPV infection; is pregnant or is planning to get pregnant, as the vaccine is not recommended for use in pregnant women; has a fever more than 37.8C; and is taking or intends to take any medicines including over the counter medicines.

HPV vaccination is no substitute for Pap smear screening. Those who have received HPV vaccines should continue Pap smear screening.

An abnormal Pap smear does not mean that a person has HPV infection or any other condition, including cancer.

It does mean that you have to be examined with a procedure called colposcopy. This involves using a magnifying instrument to look at the cervix, vagina, vulva and anus.

If there are areas that appear suspicious, a biopsy, in which a small sample of tissue is removed for microscopic examination, will be performed.

As HPV infection is a major cause of cervical cancer, vaccination offers the hope of a reduction in the incidence of cervical cancer.

However, other measures are needed to eradicate cervical cancer. They include widespread Pap smear screening and safe sexual practices.

One should also remember that HPV vaccines prevent HPV infections. It cannot be extrapolated to the prevention of cervical cancer as there are, apart from HPV infection, other as yet undefined factors playing a role in the genesis of cervical cancer.

More than skin deep

Many unsuspecting consumers make the same mistake of buying laminate flooring without checking the quality of raw materials used in the finished product. While all laminated flooring look almost similar, they aren't exactly the same, for example, quality beyond the surface or design.

It is not easy to be discerning if you are unfamiliar with the product. Most buyers depend on the 'surface value' of the product (also referred to as 'skin') that gives you the
design and colour. So, how do you choose a good laminate flooring for your home, office or anywhere?

Ensure that the core-board (the heart) of the product is able to last as long as the surface. Like our body, the heart determines our lifespan. Laminate flooring should be able to stand daily and multiple mopping – squeezed dry.

Ensure that the d~cor layer is printed without heavy metal ink - though it is much cheaper, it is harmful to our health and fades after 2-3 years. A faded product will spoil your interior work.

Ensure that the overlay is of the right classification as claimed. Different grammage
overlay has different wear property. Eg. AC I classification wears off faster than AC 3.

Insist on a direct manufacturer's warranty card. This will at least protect your coverage
in case of product failure. Remember, warranties issued from a manufacturer outside the
country may not be practically enforced.

At Inovar, they are transparent with what they put into each component layer giving you a product that is now internationally recognisod as the best in terms of lifespan and

Today, with a decade of product research and development behind them, they have also developed the right coreboard that resists termites without using toxic termite chemicals. It is simply Usihg the right species of tropical hardwood fibre sourced locally from Sabah and Sarawak. They are so confident with their technology that every panel of Inovar floor comes with a lifetime termite warranty.

As a reputable manufacturer based on the outskirts of KL, they have carved a niche in
the international market with quality as their hallmark. Their material component quality
standards exceed all European and Japanese safety and health regulations. Their recent
achievement in the Brandlaurette Award for Best Brand in the laminate flooring category
testifies further to their high quality.

You can call their direct factory outlet at toll free number: 1 800 88 6166 for free consultation from their Floor Designers.

Every minute you walk can exten d your life by 2 minutes

Keep walking!

Every minute you walk can exten d your life by 2 minutes.

Most of us can walk - from the end of the parking lot, around the mall through the building at work, on the local high school track – but we don't. The average American
walks 1.4 miles a week. That's barely 1,000 feet a day.

Walking is a perfect exercise. It doesn't require special talent or equipment, it can be done at any age and doesn't require a particular pace.

The risk of injury is almost nonexistent. But few of us walk. Urban folk are thinner and walk more than rural residents. Odd? Not really.

Post-World War 11 suburban sprawl provided wonderful new places to live, but few con]munities included sidewalks, bike paths, public transportation or shopping centers that could be reached on foot.

Today, you can eat. bank and pick up medicine at drive-though windows. Our lack of exercise and extra weight may be a by-product of the suburbs we've built. In many parts of the country, community planners are trying to reverse this fiend.

Brisk walking at 3 to 4 miles per hour or 15 to 20 minutes a mile. Is a moderate-intensity activity that burns up to 100 calories a mile. Walking just 20 minutes a day can
help you lose 7 pounds in a year.

- Burns calories
- Build muscles
- Builds bones
- Prevents colds
- Reduces the effects of aging
- Increases mental sharpness
- Lengthens your life
Start with a daily 10-minute walk. Begin by walking leisurely for 2 minutes to help your heart rate adjust to the activity. Pick up your pace for 6 minutes, and slow down for the last two. As you become more fit. add more time and distance, beginning and ending the walk with a moderate pace.

Walking Tip:
Walking on a treadmill is slightly different from walking outside, where there are natural ups and downs and wind resistance. Adding a 1% incline to your treadmill walk
brings you close to an outdoorwalk.


How prepared are airlines?

Airline crew should have basic medical knowledge and training. There should he some form of medical kits.

The following British airline provide examples:
Virgin - cabin crew with first-aid training; senior cabin crew are trained to use defibrillators. Access to MedLink.

BA - medical kits contain a "delivery pack" for births. Access to MedLink.
easyJet - crew get medical training and are reassessed every 12 months. Two medical kits on each aircraft. Does not carry defibrillators.

Ryanair Said: "Ryanair's medical training and eqmpment complies withthe stringent safety regulations set by EASA, which apply to all European airlines." Declined to say what equipment is carried on board.

Doctor in the air

Doctor in the air
Is there a doctor on board? If you're feeling ill, recovering from an operation or pregnant, think before you fly.

Boarding a giant metal structure that flies can seem precarious at the best of times. But to need urgent medical attention suddenly at 35,000ft above the ground can be a terrifying experience.

Just ask Nicola Delemere, 31, from Scunthorpe. Her waters broke on a plane en route to Crete from Manchester in April.

With the help of air stewardess Carol Miller, Aide was born three months prematurely,
weighing only lib loz, while the plane was over Dusseldorf. His breathing was so poor
that the quick-thinking Miller had to use a drinking straw to inflate his lungs and then
perform mouth-to-mouth and heart massage until the diverted plane landed at Gatwick
(the Delemeres did not want any publicity about their son's birth until doctors consid-
ered his condition safe).

Little Aifie's mid-air drama had a happy ending. There was a less pleasant experience
for Paul Trinder, a businessman who had paid pounds 4,000 to travel first class with BA
from London to Delhi.

He woke up mid-flight to find a corpse sitting near him. The woman in her 70s had died after takeoff and crew had stowed the body in a order to give the grieving family some privacy.

"Medical incidents on aeroplanes are pretty common," says Dr Richard Dawood, who specialises in travel medicine. "I have been called upon on planes countless times, though luckily for nothing too serious."

Airlines say they do not publish specific numbers of medical incidents on board because the term covers everything from a dizzy spell to a heart attack. British Airways
estimates that it has between 40 and 50 serious emergencies that require a plane to be
diverted each yeau

"It's very rare for a complaint to be so serious that the plane has to be diverted." says
Dr Dawood. "And the provisions for medical emergencies are a lot better than they were
a few years ago. Defibrillators have only become the norm in the last decade."

Many airlines have started to use technology that allows them to speak to"telemedical"
centres on the ground. The biggest of these is MedLink, which is based in Arizona and used by nearly 80 airlines.

Their support staff can converse in 140 languages and are able to give expert medical
advice, as well as identify the nearest airports with hospitals close by.

But the level of medical apparatus on board varies from carrier to carrier. 'q'here is obviously going to be more equipment on a longhaul than a short-haul flight," says Dawood. "and you will probably be better cared for travelling on a premium airline than a budget oue."

Yet recently there have been disturbing cases that raise many questions. In September last year, a 25-year-old Italian woman died on a Ryanair flight from Venice after suffering a blood clot on the lungs: a doctor who tried to treat her claimed that there wasn't basic medical equipment on board (Ryanair say they are now reviewing their procedures).

And in 1995 one British doctor on a longhaul flight from Hong Kong had to operate on a woman with a collapsed lung with just a coat hanger, a water bottle and some Sellotape.

There is no law determining how much medical equipment a plane should carry, but
Dr Dawood says that airlines carry apparatus "because it's considered good practice, and
because nobodywants to be sued".

All cabin crew are now gwen basic first-aid instruction, with some airlines upping the
stakes considerably - for example, all Singapore Airlines' crew have been trained to deliver babies.

For those who are concerned about flying with medical conditions, a British Airways
spokesman says that "the phrase 'prevention is better than cure' applies".

The World Health Organisation recommends that you avoid flying if you have an ear, nose or sinus infection, or heart and lung conditions.

"Talk to your doctor if you have just had an operation, especially if it involved diagnostic use of gas as the cabin air pressure can cause it to expand. Anothercondition to watch out for is anaemia, as the decreased amount of oxygen in planes can cause hypoxia (a shortage of oxygen in the blood).

'As for pregnant women, they should avoid flying after their 36th week. or 32nd if they are expecting twins."

Otherwise it's best to sit back. relax, enjoy your flight.., and be reassured: if you're on a
large commercial plane, Dr Dawood says that there is a high statistical chance of there being a doctor on board.

In fact, reflect on the luck of one Ryanair passenger who required treatment during a flight to Dublin. When crew appealed for help, 15 hands were raised. It turned out that a large group on board were doctors going on a golfing break and one of them. Dr Punit
Ramrakha, even happened to be Tony Blair's heart specialist.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lotus your way to good health

Lotus your way to good health
Choose the right food sanitiser

There are many food sanitisers in the market today. As consumers, it is important to make the correct choice. Many sanitissrs claim to be able to infuse ozone into water. However, how effective the infusion process is rather debatable, as water and gas do not mix. Iris not easy to infuse gas into water in its original form.

So, how do you choose your food sanitiser?

Users have to beware of misleading endorsement claims, certifications and demonstrations. Many conventional systems claim to have approval and endorsements from international agencies. In some cases, the technology is approved, but not necessarily the system, which may not perform to EPA guidelines.

The Lotus Sanitising System from Giabo is registered and tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as evidenced by its EPA file number. It is among the first food sanitisers in the world to be so honoured. Lotus Ozonated water has been proven to be 99.9% effective at killing bacteria and sanitislag produce.

Another important aspect to consider is the " Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP),
According to the EPA, sterilisation occurs only at 800 inV. This is r~easurable by ORP meter, Many conventional food sterilisers do not reach this level. The Lotus Sanitising System, however, can reach this level, and in a small amount of time. Furthermore, in the Lotus system, you can ensure that the entire bowl is ozonated due to the swirling action of the system, which ensures even distribution of ozone. In contrast, systems utilising a tube to infuse ozone into water can rssult in unequal distribution of ozone in the water. This means that only part of your food placed in the bowl is sanitised.

Inhaling ozone is detrimental to your health. Minimum infusion process between ozone and water can cause outgas, as most of the ozone generated from an inefficient infusion process can lead to the ozone escaping, thus increasing the level of ozone in the air. In the Lotus Sanitising System, the Oxyshield technology employed consists of safety features to eliminate this threat.

One thing to take into consideration is the unstable nature of ozone.

An open bowl infusion concept, therefore, may cause the ozone to be diffused by tem-
perature and humidity, which reduces the opportunity for it to be infused into the water,
In the Lotus Sanitising System, infusion takes place in the base unit, which is a controlled environment, to minimise diffusion of the ozone.

To top it off, the Lotus system also comes with a monitoring system to monitor and regulate performance and efficiency in every cycle to ensure your produce is 99.9% sanitised. If the produce is not fuliy sanitised, the system will indicate possible faults. This monitoring and regulating programme adheres to EPA guidelines.

It is, therefore, no surprise that the Lotus Sanitising System has been awarded the Best
Invention of The Year award in Time Magazine.

With the Lotus Sanitising System users can be assured of peace of mind, knowing that
their food is being fully sanitised in the interest of health.

Come see for yourself this Aug 7-10 at the Perfect Livin '09 exhibition held at the KL
Convention Centre
at booths 1034 to 1037.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Produce a chemical present - to a series of chronic diseases

Missing element

our inability to produce a chemical present in every other primate may be linked to a series of chronic diseases.

What does it mean to be human? For most people, it all comes down to that extraordinary object between our ears, and how it blesses us with language, laughter and logic.

But not for Prof Ajit Varki, a doctor-cure-scientist who works in Califnmia. For him, being human is also about a single chemical that separates us from our closest relatives, and which could be linked to many of our most debilitating illnesses.

The story began in 1984, whenVarki was working at the University of California, San Diego. When treating a woman with bonemarrow failure, he injected her with horse serum, The treatment carried the risk of a side effect called "serum sickness", in which the patient's immune system launches an attack on a molecule present in the serum called Neu5Gc.

Sure enough, her skin erupted with an itchy red rash. Investigating further, Varki found that NeuSGc was foreign to humans, even though we carry a very similar version of the same molecule - which may be one reason why animal-to-human organ and tissue transplants do not work well.

But in recent years, he has come to believe that the implications of this molecular difference are much wider, He has built up a range of evidence that potentially links
Neu5Gc, a so-called sialic acid, to chronic disease. This is because the animal version is absorbed by humans as a result of eating red meat and milk products, and there is evidence that the body views it as an invader. Eating these foods could trigger inflammation and, over the long term, heart disease, certain :ancers and auto-immune illnesses. Jarki stresses, however, that "we lave not proven any link to disease, ust suggested that it is something o explore".

This sialic acid plays a number of roles: it helps us recognise cells and helps ceils stick together. It also helps regulate our immune response, which may influence the progression of diseases and even play a part in human evolution. Varki's team, along with Prof Elaine Muchmore of the University of California studied blood from chimps, bonobos, gorillas, orang utans and humans, and found that we ate the only primates whose bodies do not produce NeuSGc - although further research established that our Neanderthal cousins were missing this version of the sugar acid, too.

Instead, human (and Neanderthai) cells bristle with a sugar called Neo5Ac. The two molecules are identical, apart from onedittle detail: the ape molecule has a single extra oxygen atom. Because of the many different jobs this sugar does throughout the body, this one atom was the first example found of a fundamental genetic and biochemical difference between humans and our closest relatives,

Muchmore and Varki then found out why this oxygen atom is rfiissing: our molecule is the precursor of the animal version. Unlike chimpanzees and other great apes, humans lack a particular version of an enzyme that converts NeuSAc (or, to give it its full name, N-acetyl-neuraminie acid) into Neu5Gc. This tiny change could potentially explain some of the more unusual differences between humans and apes, Chimpanzees do not seem to suffer from heart disease, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis or bronchial asthma - common conditions in humans. Nor do they get sick from the human malaria parasite, which uses sialic add to latch on to our blood cells.

In recent studies, Varki's team has found tantalising evidence that this mysterious molecule could be exerting a wider effect on our health, through the substances we eat.
After testing a range of foods, they found the highest levels of Neu5Gc in red meat: up to 11,600 microgrammes could be absorbed from the recommended daily serving of beef, 5,100 from pork and 4,900 from lamb, The level in goat's cheese was 5,500, but fell to around 700 in milk and salmon. Cod, tuna, turkey and duck were in the 20s.

Given that food is broken down in the stomach, did eating animal tissue present the same dangers of provoking an immune attack as transplanting it? Following that great scientific tradition of self-experimentation, Varki, Muchmore and Pascal Gagneux ate pure NeuSGc to see what would happen. Not only did the foreign sugar show up in the body soon after earing, but tests also revealed that many people carry antibodies that react to Neu5Gc - a protective immune response, but one which could trigger damaging inflammation.

Varki's colleague - and wife -Pmf Nissi Varki then found that small amounts of NeuSGc were present in normal human tissue, probably as a result of long-term consumption. And as well as food, many biotherapeutic products made in animal cells and/or using animal materials were also contaminated with Neu5Gc.

This raised the fascinating possibility that anti-Neu5Gc antibodies are involved in auto-immunity. Auto-immune diseases, such as type-1 or juvenile diabetes and some types of arthritis, occur when the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. Chronic inflammation is also linked with cancer; intriguingly, the team found that NeuSGc was concentrated in turnouts, particularly those that spread throughout the body. This could aid detection of
such diseases, by getting scientists to look for the animal acid rather than the turnouts themselves. .

Some of this might sound familiar: several previous studies have linked ingestion of red meat to cancer and heart disease, and possibly to some other disorders involving inflammation, such as arthritis and lupus, gut these focused mostl) on the role of saturated fats, and on products that arise from cooking.

Varki, however, believes that his little molecular difference could also be to blame: NeuSGc elicits an immune reaction that might contribute to a whole spectrum of human-specific diseases. Although they have not proven this yet, the evidence is sufficiently compelling for his team to start work on ways to eliminate NeuSGc from the body.

But the question remains: why are humans unique among primates in not producing Neu5Gc? By study- ing the mutations in the enzyme that makes this molecular difference between apes and humans, Varki, along with Prof Naoyuki Takahata of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Kanagawa, Japan, estimates that the genetic change first appeared up to three million years ago, which coincides with the emergence of Homo erectus, the first of our ancestors to venture out of Africa.

At the time, life was nasty, brutish and short: any subtle but chronic effects of this foreign sugar would not be felt until old age, and Homo erectus did not survive that long. If the mutation that kept us producing NeuSAc rather than Neu5Gc helped shrug off a particular disease, it would have spread rapidly through the population. It is ironic that what may have protected our ancestors then could be responsible for much of the pain of their long-lived descendants.


The 'brain fitness' programme market is booming, but does it work?

Chester Santos has been training his brain for seven years. At 32, he's not worried about losing his memory. He's taking advantage of a growing market in "brain fitness" spurred by ageing baby boomers.

Teenagers cramming for tests and people worried about "senior moments" can now turn to an explosion of brain-assisting video games such as Nintendo's Brain Age, puzzles that are said to ward off dementia such as Sudoku and crosswords, as well as online tips that claim to train the brain.

Santos, the 2008 United States Memory Championship winner, can memorise a shuffled deck of cards in three minutes and learn 100 random words and 100 new names and faces in 15.

"People are capable of doing so much more with their brains than they think is possible," says Santos, who recently quit his software job to teach his memory techniques full-fime.

The brain fitness boom might seem counter-intuitive in an age when technology has eased memory stress: cell phones store numbers, GPS systems give directions, websites store passwords and e-mail
programmes automatically recall used addresses.

Many boomers in the United States have watched their parents struggle with Alzheimers, and an estimated 10 million of them are now expected to develop the disease, according to a recent report from the Alzheimer's Association.

"People are worried," says Dr John Hart Jr, medical science director of the Centre for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. "You have a large group of the population getting to the age where they are sort of vulnerable to degenerative neurological diseases that seem to be prevalent."

Hart says tbere is "reasonable evidence" that challenging your brain by learning new things can stave off the cognitive decline that comes with ageing. But brain fitness programmes differ from traditional learning by focusing on drills for specific cognitive abilities, such as concentration and retaining information.

Hart says there is no one brain "exercise" that is guaranteed to work for everyone.

That hasn't stopped brain fitness pmgrammes from making claims. Posit Science says its computer- based programmes will "help you think faster, focus better and remember more."

While some include a disclaimer, such as Cogmed Working Memory Training for kids and adults with attention deficits, many of the games do not.

Some users say they feel the benefits. Sarah Schultz, 67, of Knoxville, Maryland, says she can think faster because of Lumosity, an online brain fitness programme that claims to "improve cognitive performance and maximise brain health through fun and engaging games." She has been doing the programme once a day for the past four months.

"i feel more alert," she says. "It helps me to remember things, lists, names, faces. It really helps with recall."

Even teenagers cramming for tests are turning to brain exercises. Raemon Matthews, a history teacher in New York City, uses some of the techniques in his curriculum and says he's seen a difference in his students' performance.

Tony Dortino, who founded the USA Memory Championships more than a decade ago and teaches memory techniques, says people have the misperception that the drills are "some awful thing, where you have to sit there and stuff information into your head."

"It's not a matter of stuffing it into their heads," he says. "It's a matter of helping them organise it in a way that their brains will be able to retain."

For now, the brain fitness market is poised to grow. Hart's goals are more modest: he suggests people find something that is mentally challenging and fun and do it on a regular basis.

"I am hoping that in the future, you will be able to go a health care provider or other expert who will be able to give folks a brain physical" and prescribe the proper exercises, he says.

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