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Chinese Herbs for Heart Health, the Healing Power of Art & Other News of Note

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

Ancient Chinese Herbs May Help Heart (UPI)

Ancient Chinese herbal formulas for heart disease may produce large amounts of artery-widening nitric oxide, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston said nitric oxide is crucial to the cardiovascular system because it signals the inner walls of blood vessels to relax – facilitating the flow of blood through the heart and circulatory system.

Senior author Nathan S. Bryan said the study reveals that ancient Chinese herbal formulas “have profound nitric oxide bioactivity primarily through the enhancement of nitric oxide in the inner walls of blood vessels, but also through their ability to convert nitrite and nitrate into nitric oxide”… More

Radiation Tests Are Questioned ( Baltimore Sun )

Skyrocketing numbers of expensive medical imaging procedures – from CT scans to nuclear stress tests – are not just straining the nation’s health care system, but are exposing patients to significant amounts of potentially cancer-causing radiation even though little research has been done into whether those tests actually make people healthier, a new study suggests.

The tests, say the study’s authors, may be doing more harm than good… More

Candlelit Dinner with a Side of Toxic Chemicals? ( NY Daily News )

Can a candlelit dinner give you cancer? New research presented Thursday reveals that burning paraffin candles releases a decidedly unromantic bouquet of toxic chemicals.

Scientists from the South Carolina State University in Orangeburg lit candles made of paraffin – the most common and inexpensive candle wax – in a specially-built chamber and found that the smoke emits doses of pollutants, including benzene, toluene and ketones, that have been linked to cancer, asthma and birth defects… More

Artwork at Hospitals Can Help in the Healing Process ( Newsday )

A growing body of research shows that decorating hospitals with specific types of artwork can speed up a patient’s healing process,
while gloomy walls or the wrong kind of art can cause physical distress.

“It’s the whole emotional and perceptual context you are in,” says Upali Nanda, vice president and director of research for American Art Resources, a health-care art-consulting firm in Houston. “When you’re in a hospital, it’s high stress. When we are high stress, we go back to our primal need to be soothed”… More

Evolution of the Human Appendix: A Biological “Remnant” No More (ScienceDaily)

The lowly appendix, long-regarded as a useless evolutionary artifact, won newfound respect two years ago when researchers at Duke University Medical Center proposed that it actually serves a critical function. The appendix, they said, is a safe haven where good bacteria could hang out until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea, for example.

Now, some of those same researchers are back, reporting on the first-ever study of the appendix through the ages. Writing in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Duke scientists and collaborators from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University conclude that Charles Darwin was wrong: The appendix is a whole lot more than an evolutionary remnant. Not only does it appear in nature much more frequently than previously acknowledged, but it has been around much longer than anyone had suspected.

“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” says William Parker, Ph.D., assistant professor of surgical sciences at Duke and the senior author of the study… More


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Ancient Chinese Herbs May Help Heart (UPI)

Ancient Chinese herbal formulas for heart disease may produce large amounts of artery-widening nitric oxide, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston said nitric oxide is crucial to the cardiovascular system because it signals the inner walls of blood vessels to relax – facilitating the flow of blood through the heart and circulatory system.

Senior author Nathan S. Bryan said the study reveals that ancient Chinese herbal formulas “have profound nitric oxide bioactivity primarily through the enhancement of nitric oxide in the inner walls of blood vessels, but also through their ability to convert nitrite and nitrate into nitric oxide”… More

Radiation Tests Are Questioned ( Baltimore Sun )

Skyrocketing numbers of expensive medical imaging procedures – from CT scans to nuclear stress tests – are not just straining the nation’s health care system, but are exposing patients to significant amounts of potentially cancer-causing radiation even though little research has been done into whether those tests actually make people healthier, a new study suggests.

The tests, say the study’s authors, may be doing more harm than good… More

Candlelit Dinner with a Side of Toxic Chemicals? ( NY Daily News )

Can a candlelit dinner give you cancer? New research presented Thursday reveals that burning paraffin candles releases a decidedly unromantic bouquet of toxic chemicals.

Scientists from the South Carolina State University in Orangeburg lit candles made of paraffin – the most common and inexpensive candle wax – in a specially-built chamber and found that the smoke emits doses of pollutants, including benzene, toluene and ketones, that have been linked to cancer, asthma and birth defects… More

Artwork at Hospitals Can Help in the Healing Process ( Newsday )

A growing body of research shows that decorating hospitals with specific types of artwork can speed up a patient’s healing process,
while gloomy walls or the wrong kind of art can cause physical distress.

“It’s the whole emotional and perceptual context you are in,” says Upali Nanda, vice president and director of research for American Art Resources, a health-care art-consulting firm in Houston. “When you’re in a hospital, it’s high stress. When we are high stress, we go back to our primal need to be soothed”… More

Evolution of the Human Appendix: A Biological “Remnant” No More (ScienceDaily)

The lowly appendix, long-regarded as a useless evolutionary artifact, won newfound respect two years ago when researchers at Duke University Medical Center proposed that it actually serves a critical function. The appendix, they said, is a safe haven where good bacteria could hang out until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea, for example.

Now, some of those same researchers are back, reporting on the first-ever study of the appendix through the ages. Writing in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Duke scientists and collaborators from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University conclude that Charles Darwin was wrong: The appendix is a whole lot more than an evolutionary remnant. Not only does it appear in nature much more frequently than previously acknowledged, but it has been around much longer than anyone had suspected.

“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” says William Parker, Ph.D., assistant professor of surgical sciences at Duke and the senior author of the study… More


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