Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for January 11th, 2013

Five natural blood thinners that protect against strokes and blood clots

Posted by Anonymous on January 11, 2013

Below is a claim I found about natural blood thinners and inflammation reducers. How about a ginger, pineapple, turmeric, strawberry and apple cider vinegar drink!?  There are several other natural things mentioned on other web sites including fish oil, vitamin E and garlic.


Used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, the richly golden spice turmeric is hailed for it’s ability to reduce pain and inflammation. Recent studies have revealed that its pain-killing properties compare with those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs; however, turmeric does not cause the internal bleeding and digestive upset or toxicity to the liver that is found in some cases of individuals taking NSAIDs.


Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples that also has anti-inflammatory properties and is especially helpful in reducing pain and stiffness associated with arthritis when taken on an empty stomach. Its action is enhanced when taken in combination with turmeric and ginger. Additionally, bromelain is a wonderful digestive enzyme when taken with meals and helps break down proteins, protecting against the formation of uric acid crystals, which are responsible for causing gout and certain types of kidney stones.


Ginger is one of the royal ancient spices of India, China and Japan whose action works to reduce inflammation of the joints and muscles as well as strengthening the immune system and reducing digestive upsets and vomiting. Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is most effective when used raw in a hot tea; however, it is also helpful when taken in powdered supplements.


A favorite spice for many people — and a popular healing agent around the world — garlic is not only a potent anti-inflammatory herb, but has proven antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Eating garlic raw or lightly cooked, or making garlic tea are several of the most effective methods for its medicinal use. Odorless, freeze-dried supplements are available for those who prefer to avoid the strong scent on their breath.


Simple, plain and life’s staple, water is perhaps one of the best blood thinners available. Allowing yourself to become dehydrated thickens the blood, causing it to clump together and form clots. Drinking enough clear, clean water each day helps keep the blood running smoothly through your circulatory and cardiovascular system, maintaining good health. The ideal daily intake for each individual is 1/2 ounce of water for each pound of body weight; in other words, if you weight 150 pounds, you should ideally drink 75 ounces of water daily.

All of these substances have the power to thin the blood. There are other foods as well, such as vitamins B-6, D and E, omega-3 fatty acids, apple cider vinegar and strawberries that act as blood-thinning agents; and when used judiciously under the supervision of your health practitioner, may keep you healthy longer, prevent strokes and blood clots and help keep you off drugs and out of the hospital. …

via Bye bye Coumadin, so long Plavix – Say hello to five natural blood thinners that protect against strokes and blood clots.

There are also a number of herbs. Just this morning while browsing web sites I found myself scoffing at what seemed to me to be “witch doctor superstitious baloney,” a Chinese herb that supposedly “removes blood stagnation.” When I read that, I thought blood stagnation was absurd and meaningless. Blood is always circulating and while it can pool if you are bedridden and don’t move or if you are bruised, simple body movement keeps blood from “stagnating” and bruises heal with ice (in a towel on and off for about 15 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours).

As I try to walk a mile in Chinese shoes tonight, however, I started wondering if “Tien chee” is actually a blood thinner, not a blood stagnation remover. Tien chee is also called tian q, tian san qi, jin bu huan, han san qi, tian qi, and shen san qi and Pseudo Ginseng. – link

China’s most famous herbalist, Li Chih Shen, said that “Tien Chi is more valuable than gold.” Since ancient times Tien Chi has been taught as a premier life preserver and general tonic – used for strengthening the primary energy. It has long been recognized as one of China’s best herbal energy boosting tonics, and has been used to improve circulation. Like Panax ginseng, a tremendous amount of scientific research has been done on this amazing Chinese herb. Tien Chi is effective in maintaining normal body weight, helps one withstand stress and prevents fatigue.

The most astounding and significant research findings, however, revolve around Tien Chi’s ability to positively affect the heart and its tributaries. Chinese research indicates that Tien Chi increases circulation in the coronary artery (the artery that supplies the heart itself with blood) and increases the consumption of oxygen in the middle muscular layer of the heart. This has led to the finding that Tien Chi can prevent insufficiency caused by stagnation of blood in the heart. Research further indicates that Tien Chi can relieve chest pain and/or the feeling of oppression in the chest due to angina pectoris induced by coronary insufficiency. Tien Chi has also been found to arrest both internal and external bleeding, while being able to disperse blood clots. Tien Chi has been distributed to members of the armed forces of several Asian countries to be used in case of injury.

Tien Chi has further been demonstrated to significantly reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood and coating the arteries. Research has also confirmed the ancient precaution that Tien Chi should not be used during pregnancy. Tien Chi has the capacity to cause the expulsion of blood clots lodged anywhere in the system. It has been found that Tien Chi treats an embryo as a blood clot, and can therefore result in abortion – link Cautions Use: Allergic reaction: face and eyes becomes red and swollen. Numbness in the limbs, dizziness, heaviness in the chest, palpitation, sweating, nausea, arrhythmia. – link

Wikipedia has the scientific name along with even more names for this plant. Careful, there have been some bad allergic reactions. Watch for heart problems, numbness, itching, little blisters all over the body, eye bleeding, nausea, shortness of breath and skin rashes all of which have been confirmed according to this site.

Panax notoginseng is a species of the genus Panax. The scientific names for the plant commonly used are either Panax notoginseng or Panax pseudoginseng, and is most commonly referred to as notoginseng. The herb is also referred to as pseudoginseng, and in Chinese it is called 田七 (Tiánqī), Tienchi ginseng, san qi or sanchi, three-seven root, and mountain paint. Notoginseng belongs to the same scientific genus as Asian ginseng. In Latin, the word panax means “cure-all”, and the family of ginseng plants is one of the most well-known herbs. Panax pseudoginseng is not an adaptogen like the better known Panax species, but it is famous as a hemostatic herb that both invigorates and builds blood.

Notoginseng grows naturally in China and Japan. The herb is a perennial with dark green leaves branching from a stem with a red cluster of berries in the middle. It is both cultivated and gathered from wild forests, with wild plants being the most valuable. The Chinese refer to it as “three-seven root” because the plant has three branches with seven leaves each. It is also said that the root should be harvested between three and seven years after planting it. …

A study done on rats reported in Pharmacotherapy showed that bleeding time was reduced to half. Michael White, Pharm.D., of Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, tested the effectiveness of notoginseng on external bleeding. He and his colleagues separated the notoginseng components that could be dissolved in water, alcohol, or oil and applied them to cut rat tails: saponins in the alcohol-soluble notoginseng component decreased bleeding time by 52 percent[8] Other studies show cardiovascular healing and protection against cancer.

  1. ^ [3] Paul CHAN, G Neil THOMAS, Brian TOMLINSON. Protective effects of trilinolein extracted from Panax notoginseng against cardiovascular diseaseActa Pharmacol Sin 2002 Dec; 23 (1 2): 1157 -1162
  2. ^ [4] Hemorheological effects of panax notoginseng F. L.; W. L.; R. W. Biorheology, Volume 32, Number 2, March 1995, pp. 335-336(2)
  3. ^ [5] Konoshima T, Takasaki M,and Tokuda H. Anti-carcinogenic activity of the roots of Panax notoginseng. Biol Pharm Bull. 1999 Oct;22(10):1150-2.

Getting enough sun may help too. Or get an infrared sauna if your climate is not on your side.

Posted in Health | Leave a Comment »

Virus caught in the act of infecting a cell

Posted by Anonymous on January 11, 2013


The detailed changes in the structure of a virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium have been observed for the first time, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) Medical School this week in Science Express.

To infect a cell, a virus must be able to first find a suitable cell and then eject its genetic material into its host. This robot-like process has been observed in a virus called T7 and visualized by Ian Molineux, professor of biology at The University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues.

The researchers show that when searching for its prey, the virus briefly extends — like feelers — one or two of six ultra-thin fibers it normally keeps folded at the base of its head.

Once a suitable host has been located, the virus behaves a bit like a planetary rover, extending these fibers to walk randomly across the surface of the cell and find an optimal site for infection.

At the preferred infection site, the virus goes through a major change in structure in which it ejects some of its proteins through the bacterium’s cell membrane, creating a path for the virus’s genetic material to enter the host.

After the viral DNA has been ejected, the protein path collapses and the infected cell membrane reseals.

“Although many of these details are specific to T7,” said Molineux, “the overall process completely changes our understanding of how a virus infects a cell.”

For example, the researchers now know that most of the fibers are usually bound to the virus head rather than extended, as was previously thought. That those fibers are in a dynamic equilibrium between bound and extended states is also new.

Molineux said that the idea that phages “walk” over the cell surface was previously proposed, but their paper provides the first experimental evidence that this is the case. …

via Virus caught in the act of infecting a cell.

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Stem cells found to heal damaged artery in lab study

Posted by Anonymous on January 11, 2013

Scientists at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute have for the first time demonstrated that baboon embryonic stem cells can be programmed to completely restore a severely damaged artery. These early results show promise for eventually developing stem cell therapies to restore human tissues or organs damaged by age or disease.

“We first cultured the stem cells in petri dishes under special conditions to make them differentiate into cells that are the precursors of blood vessels, and we saw that we could get them to form tubular and branching structures, similar to blood vessels,” said John L. VandeBerg, Ph.D., Texas Biomed’s chief scientific officer.

This finding gave VandeBerg and his team the confidence to do complex experiments to find out if these cells could actually heal a damaged artery. Human embryonic stem cells were first isolated and grown in 1998.

The results are presented in a manuscript, co-authored by Texas Biomed’s Qiang Shi, Ph.D., and Gerald Shatten, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, published in the January 10, 2013 issue of the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

The scientists found that cells derived from embryonic stem cells could actually repair experimentally damaged baboon arteries and “are promising therapeutic agents for repairing damaged vasculature of people,” according to the authors.

Researchers completely removed the cells that line the inside surface from a segment of artery, and then put cells that had been derived from embryonic stem cells inside the artery. They then connected both ends of the arterial segment to plastic tubing inside a device called a bioreactor which is designed to grow cells and tissues. The scientists then pumped fluid through the artery under pressure as if blood were flowing through it. The outside of the artery was bathed in another fluid to sustain the cells located there.

Three days later, the complex structure of the inner surface was beginning to regenerate, and by 14 days, the inside of the artery had been perfectly restored to its complex natural state. It went from a non-functional tube to a complex fully functional artery.

“Just think of what this kind of treatment would mean to a patient who had just suffered a heart attack as a consequence of a damaged coronary artery. And this is the real potential of stem cell regenerative medicine—that is, a treatment with stem cells that regenerates a damaged or destroyed tissue or organ,” VandeBerg said.

To show that the artery couldn’t heal itself in the absence of stem cells, the researchers took a control arterial segment that also was stripped of the cells on its interior surface, but did not seed it with stem cells. No healing occurred.

Stains for proteins that indicate functional characteristics showed that the healed artery had completely normal function and could do everything that a normal artery does in a healthy individual.

“This is evidence that we can harness stem cells to treat the gravest of arterial injuries,” said VandeBerg.

Eventually, scientists hope to be able to take a skin cell or a white blood cell or a cell from any other tissue in the body, and induce it to become just like an embryonic stem cell in its capacity to differentiate into any tissue or organ.

“The vision of the future is, for example, for a patient with a pancreas damaged because of diabetes, doctors could take skin cells, induce them to become stem cells, and then grow a new pancreas that is just like the one before disease developed,” VandeBerg said. …

via Stem cells found to heal damaged artery in lab study.

The real possibility of dramatic life extending advances during our lifetimes continues to excite me.

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »

UC Davis study deflates notion that pear-shaped bodies more healthy than apples

Posted by Anonymous on January 11, 2013

People who are “apple-shaped” — with fat more concentrated around the abdomen — have long been considered more at risk for conditions such as heart disease and diabetes than those who are “pear-shaped” and carry weight more in the buttocks, hips and thighs.

But new research conducted at UC Davis Health System published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism provides further evidence that the protective benefits of having a pear-body shape may be more myth than reality. The journal article posted online January 10 and will appear in the March 2013 print edition.

The UC Davis study found that fat stored in the buttock area — also known as gluteal adipose tissue — secretes abnormal levels of chemerin and omentin-1, proteins that can lead to inflammation and a prediabetic condition know as insulin resistance in individuals with early metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that occur together, doubling the risk for heart disease and increasing the risk for diabetes at least five-fold. Risk factors include having a large waistline, low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure as well as high fasting blood sugar ( insulin resistance) and high triglyceride levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, metabolic syndrome affects 35 percent of American adults over age 20.

“Fat in the abdomen has long been considered the most detrimental to health, and gluteal fat was thought to protect against diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome,” said Ishwarlal Jialal, lead author of the study and a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and of internal medicine at UC Davis. ”But our research helps to dispel the myth that gluteal fat is ‘innocent.’ It also suggests that abnormal protein levels may be an early indicator to identify those at risk for developing metabolic syndrome.”

The UC Davis team found that in individuals with early metabolic syndrome, gluteal fat secreted elevated levels of chemerin and low levels of omentin-1 — proteins that correlate with other factors known to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes. High chemerin levels, for example, correlated with high blood pressure, elevated levels of C-reactive protein (a sign of inflammation) and triglycerides, insulin resistance, and low levels of HDL cholesterol. Low omentin-1 levels correlated with high levels of triglycerides and blood glucose levels and low levels of HDL cholesterol.

“High chemerin levels correlated with four of the five characteristics of metabolic syndrome and may be a promising biomarker for metabolic syndrome,” said Jialal. “As it’s also an indicator of inflammation and insulin resistance, it could also emerge as part of a biomarker panel to define high-risk obesity states. The good news is that with weight loss, you can reduce chemerin levels along with the risk for metabolic syndrome.”

To conduct the study, Jialal and colleagues recruited 45 patients with early metabolic syndrome — defined as having at least three risk factors for metabolic syndrome including central obesity, hypertension, mild increases in glucose levels not yet in the diabetic range (

Complete blood counts, lipid profiles and blood glucose, blood pressure and C-reactive protein levels were measured in all participants. Levels of four proteins secreted by adipose tissue — chemerin, resistin, visfatin and omentin-1 — were also measured in plasma and in subcutaneous fat samples from gluteal tissue.

The researchers found that chemerin levels were increased and omentin-1 levels were decreased in both plasma and gluteal fat of subjects with metabolic syndrome compared to those in the control group. The abnormal levels of these two proteins were also independent of age, body mass index and waist circumference.

“Future large epidemiological studies should focus on evaluating the role of chemerin as a biomarker for the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in metabolic syndrome,” Jialal said. …

via UC Davis study deflates notion that pear-shaped bodies more healthy than apples.

Posted in Biology, Health | Leave a Comment »


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