Daily Links - Herbal pain treatment, Deseeding pomegranates, Biased science & Tamiflu - Aspire Natural Health

Daily Links – Herbal pain treatment, Deseeding pomegranates, Biased science & Tamiflu

Note:  This was one of a series of experimental posts.  The goal was to post content here instead of to Facebook.  Ultimately it proved to be too clunky, and after a short run we dropped it and went back to posting interesting links on Facebook.  If you like what we posted here, please see our Facebook page.

 

01/10/14

Here are my comments and the links to three interesting and informative articles.  I hope you enjoy.  Please feel welcome to leave comments/questions below!


Link #1
DrG – Herbal medicine for the treatment of pain  “When it comes to treating pain, a new study suggests traditional Chinese medicine has been getting it right for thousands of years.  A chemical compound found in the underground tubers of the Corydalis plant can effectively alleviate three different types of pain in mice…The study also shows that mice do not build up a resistance to the naturally occurring compound, which means it could one day be used for managing chronic pain in humans…The Corydalis plant is a member of the poppy family. It grows mainly in central eastern China…DHCB [a compound in Corydalis]– was an effective pain reliever in mice, but they were surprised to find that it used D2 dopamine receptors, rather than morphine receptors. “Dopamine receptors are generally associated with the pleasure center of the brain, so it was not expected that dopamine was important for pain,”,,, found that the compound alleviated temporary acute pain like what you might experience if you got a broken ankle or a burn, as well as the inflammatory pain you might feel if your joints were swollen, and chronic pain that comes from nerve damage. ”  I’ve known about Corydalis for years and have found it to be an effective medicine of moderate power.  It’s not a replacement for heavy-duty painkillers, but can synergize nicely with other painkillers.  It also has some anti-spasmodic activity and it doesn’t have the serious side effects of the stronger painkillers like constipation and stupor.


Link #2
DrG – Have you been put off eating pomegranates, like I have, because of the hassle of getting the seeds out?  Use this technique to deseed a pomegranate in 10 seconds.  Very cool.


Link #3
DrG – The problem of biased scientific data.  Since drug companies are the ones paying for most studies of drugs safety and effectiveness, and they are biased toward showing that their drugs are safe and effective there is a serious conflict of interest in the public good.  It’s been shown repeatedly that the drug companies tend to only publish the reports showing benefit for their drugs while ‘burying’ studies showing no or negative benefit.  Here’s an example with the anti-flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.  “Since 2002, governments around the world have spent billions of dollars stockpiling neuraminidase inhibitors such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®) in anticipation of an influenza pandemic. The rationale for this investment by public health agencies worldwide was that these drugs would stop the spread of influenza and reduce the risk of developing serious complications from influenza such as pneumonia or hospitalisation.  Questions about the accuracy of these claims and the efficacy of both preparations prompted an international team of researchers…to examine newly available evidence…In carrying out this research, the Cochrane team was reluctant to focus their efforts on published trial reports available in scientific journals, because while many trials have been conducted around the world, only a few have been published.

“We identified that a large number of studies, including data from 60% of the people who have been involved in randomised, placebo-controlled phase III treatment trials of oseltamivir, have never been published…”We are concerned that these data remain unavailable for scrutiny by the scientific community.”…team decided to focus instead on manufacturers’ clinical study reports (typically submitted to regulators) and regulators’ comments…When the team compared published data with the more complete unpublished trial records, they found apparent inaccuracies in the published record of the trials. For example, while unpublished trial reports mentioned serious adverse events (some even classified as possibly related to oseltamivir), one of the two most cited publications makes no mention of such effects, and the other states “… there were no drug-related serious adverse events”…Having pieced together information from more than 16,000 pages of clinical trial data and documents used in the process of licensing oseltamivir, the Cochrane team raises critical questions about how well the drug works, as well as about its reported safety profile. While the drug did reduce the time to first alleviation of symptoms by an average of 21 hours, it did not reduce the number of people who went on to need hospital treatment. Results from the reanalysis of data also raise questions about how the drug works as an influenza virus inhibitor.  The Cochrane Review authors conclude that there is an urgent need for independent research on both of these drugs. There is continuing uncertainty about their effects beyond the initial reduction in symptoms, mainly because full access to the data needed has still not been provided. ”

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