Fortunately, natural substances are being researched for their therapeutic value for our immune health. “Superbugs” develop due to repeated, frequent and multiple different antibiotic prescriptions. Plant products have historically been consumed and utilized for their anti-microbial and holistic benefits. Here are 38 natural substances which indicate potential benefit for people with HIV.
- Whey protein concentrate supplementation can stimulate glutathione synthesis and, possibly, decrease the occurence of associated co-infections.
- Curcumin is an effective treatment for HIV-associated diarrhea.
- A polyphenol and antioxidant rich fruit and vegetable concentrate has therapeutic value in HIV patients due to enhanced proliferation, which could restore disturbances in T-cell homeostasis.
- Neem leaf extract safely increases CD4 cell levels in patients with HIV/AIDS.
- Selenium supplementation suppresses the progression of HIV-1 viral burden and improves CD4 count.
- Cinnamomum zeylanicum has therapeutic activity in HIV-associated oral candidiasis.
- Elderberry, green tea and cinnamon extracts rich in certain flavonoid compounds were shown to block HIV-1 entry and infection.
- Licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin which has significantly inhibits HIV replicationin the peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-seropositive patients.
- Sumac (Rhus chinensis) contains compounds with anti-HIV activity.
- Lactoferrin (from milk) may inhibit HIV virus infection in children.
- The use of Alternanthera pungens herb tea by HIV-infected patients may lead to significant increase T lymphocytes and decrease in biomarkers of oxidative stress, and might help in theprevention of the opportunist diseases.
- Plasma antioxidant capacity can be increased by long-term ingestion of polyphenols from fruit juices or fruit-vegetable-concentrate in HIV-seropositive patients.
- American ginseng reduces oxidative stress in patients taking the antiviral medication zidovudine without altering drug pharmacokinetics.
- Korean ginseng improves treatment outcomes in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy.
- Glycyrrhiza uralensis (TCM herb) improves immune function in HIV-infected patients.
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) has therapeutic activity as an ajunct to HIV/AIDS management.
- Lemon juice and lemongrass have therapeutic value in the treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients.
- Tea tree is an effective therapy for fluconazole-refractory oropharyngeal candidiasis.
- St. John’s wort (H. perforatum) inhibits HIV-1 viral infection.
- Lignans found within Schisandra demonstrates anti-HIV virus activity.
- Seawead (S. fusiforme) inhibits HIV-1 infection in T cells, primary human macrophages, microglia, and astrocytes.
- Black and green tea contain compounds which inhibit HIV-1 entry.
- Olive Leaf extract exhibits anti-HIV activity.
- Lentin, a novel and potent antifungal protein from shitake mushroom exhibits inhibitory effects on activity of human immunodeficiency virus-1 reverse transcriptase and proliferation of leukemia cells.
- Chrysanthemum morifolium contains a flavonoid with anti-HIV activity.
- Croton tiglium, Cynomorium songaricum, Xanthoceras sorbifolia, and oleanolic acid derivates exhibit anti-HIV activity.
- Hyssop and Dittrichia viscosa have anti-HIV-1 activity.
- Pomegranate exhibits antiviral activity against HIV-1.
- A polysaccharide from Rooibois leaves has a strong anti-HIV activity.
- Rosa damascena contains compounds with anti-HIV activity.
- Rose flowers contain compounds with with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1reverse transcriptase inhibitory activity.
- Carnosic acid, a component found within Rosemary, inhibits HIV-1 protease.
- Phyllanthus niruri (syn. P. amarus) inhibit wild-type HIV virus and reverse transcriptase inhibitor-resistant variants.
- Calophyllum brasiliense and Clusia quadrangula exhibit HIV-1 inhibitory activity.
- Melissa, Sweet Basil, Perilla, Prunella vulgaris and Savory has potent anti-HIV-1 activity.
- Black cohosh contains a compound Actein which exhibits potent anti-HIV activity.
- Black and green tea contain compounds which inhibit HIV-1 entry.
- Blue-green algae extracts inhibit reverse transcriptases activity, including that of HIV-1.
Odors have a way of connecting us with moments buried deep in our past. Maybe it is a whiff of your grandmother’s perfume that transports you back decades. With that single breath, you are suddenly in her living room, listening as the adults banter about politics. The experiences that we accumulate throughout life build expectations that are associated with different scents. These expectations are known to influence how the brain uses and stores sensory information. But researchers have long wondered how the process works in reverse: how do our memories shape the way sensory information is collected?
The inhibitory neurons that forge the link are known as granule cells. They are found in the core of the olfactory bulb, the area of the mouse brain responsible for receiving odor information from the nose. Granule cells in the olfactory bulb receive inputs from areas deep within the brain involved in memory formation and cognition. Despite their importance, it has been almost impossible to collect information about how granule cells function. They are extremely small and, in the past, scientists have only been able to measure their activity in anesthetized animals. But the animal must be awake and conscious in order to for experiences to alter sensory interpretation. Shea worked with lead authors on the study, Brittany Cazakoff, graduate student in CSHL’s Watson School of Biological Sciences, and Billy Lau, PhD a postdoctoral fellow. They engineered a system to observe granule cells for the first time in awake animals.
Granule cells receive information from neurons involved in memory and cognition and relay it back to the olfactory bulb. There, the granule cells inhibit the neurons that receive sensory inputs. In this way, “the granule cells provide a way for the brain to ‘talk’ to the sensory information as it comes in,” explains Shea. “You can think of these cells as conduits which allow experiences to shape incoming data.”
Why might an animal want to inhibit or block out specific parts of a stimulus, like an odor? Every scent is made up of hundreds of different chemicals, and “granule cells might help animals to emphasize the important components of complex mixtures,” says Shea. For example, an animal might have learned through experience to associate a particular scent, such as a predator’s urine, with danger. But each encounter with the smell is likely to be different. Maybe it is mixed with the smell of pine on one occasion and seawater on another. Granule cells provide the brain with an opportunity to filter away the less important odors and to focus sensory neurons only on the salient part of the stimulus.
Now that it is possible to measure the activity of granule cells in awake animals, Shea and his team are eager to look at how sensory information changes when the expectations and memories associated with an odor change. “The interplay between a stimulus and our expectations is truly the merger of ourselves with the world. It exciting to see just how the brain mediates that interaction,” says Shea.
[Source: Medical Express]
There are words you don’t use in medicine today, such as “cure.” But a remarkable case study in an HIV positive patient treated with black seed extract resulted in a sustained remission, indicating a safe, accessible and affordable alternative to highly toxic antiretroviral HIV drugs may already exist.
Nigella Sativa, also known as ‘black seed,’ has been studied for a wide rage of health benefits, but not until recently was it discovered to hold promise as a curative agent against potentially lethal viral infections, including Hepatitis C[i] and now HIV.
A remarkable case study published in August of this year in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine described an HIV patient who after undergoing treatment with a black seed extract experienced a complete recovery, with no detectable HIV virus or antibodies against HIV in their blood serum, both during and long after the therapy ended.[ii]
This was a remarkable and unexpected observation, described by the researchers as follows:
“Nigella sativa had been documented to possess many therapeutic functions in medicine but the least expected is sero-reversion in HIV infection which is very rare despite extensive therapy with highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). ” [emphasis added]
Despite its commonplace use as the standard of care for HIV treatment globally, anti-retroviral therapy remains highly controversial, in part because the adverse health effects of the drug class may outstrip those associated with the HIV infection itself. This is especially true in cases where the infection was treated ‘early,’ having been discovered through routine blood work in asymptomatic and otherwise still healthy patients. Drug therapy can also produce selective pressure on the HIV virus to mutate and gain resistance, with the net effect that a stronger, more drug-resistant form of HIV is produced in the body at the same time that the drugs have done severe and even irreversible damage to the patient’s immune system. Sadly, however, the decline and ultimate death of the patient is rarely if ever attributed to the treatment (and its many iatrogenic effects) but rather to the “disease” itself – a well-known problem in our failed ‘war against cancer‘ where the victim (patient) and the ‘the cancer’ gets blamed for the incessant failure and even disease-promoting properties of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
This is all the more reason why the possibility that an ancient healing food like black seed – which the research shows is generally safe, affordable and accessible — can cure HIV is so exciting.
Our minds may wander during boring tasks because daydreaming is actually the brain’s normal state, rather than a pointless distraction, according to a new U.S. study.
The researchers found that daydreaming could be the result of the brain mulling over important – but not immediately relevant – issues when the external environment ceases to pose interesting and engaging problems.
“For the most part psychologists have sort of assumed that we spend most of our time engaged in goal-directed thought and that, every so often, we have blips of irrelevant thoughts that pop up on the radar,” said lead author Malia Mason of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“It could very well be the case, however, that most of the time we are engaged in less directed, unintended thought and that this state is routinely interrupted by periods of goal-directed thought.”
Daydreaming or mind-wandering – familiar to one and all – is more precisely defined as a state of mind where thoughts that are experienced by an individual are unrelated to what is going on in the environment around them, according to Mason. When wandering, the brain flits from one thought to the next, generating images, voices, thoughts and feelings.
“This type of [wandering] thought can be fanciful and it can be problematic and distracting, but usually it’s quite practical, for example, most people spend the time thinking about what they need to do in the impending future,” said Mason.
When deciding how best to encourage daydreaming in order to study it, the researchers recognised that our minds often wander while we are engaged in familiar tasks, such as making a tuna fish sandwich, because we don’t need to concentrate on it. They trained study subjects to become proficient on certain tasks so that their minds would be able to wander when they performed them, but would have to concentrate when given something new.
The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to learn what parts of their brains were active during both goal-oriented thought and daydreaming. In the fMRI images, the seat of daydreams appeared to be the ‘default network’ a region of the brain that remains active when we rest or are not engaged in a focussed task, but switches off when we need to concentrate.
The default network is a collection of regions from the medial frontal and medial parietal regions of the brain. The frontal lobes are involved in functions including impulse control, judgment, language, memory, motor function, problem solving, sexual behavior, socialisation and spontaneity. The parietal lobe plays an important part in processing sensory information.
Previous studies have shown that brain damage to parts the default network is associated with a “mental emptiness” and an absence of spontaneous speech and thought.
According to Mason, the most important question is why our brains evolved to wander at all. His team suggests that perhaps it keeps our brains aroused during mundane tasks, or simply that our brains may wander because they can.
“In a sense these thoughts reflect an amazing capacity on our part to multi-task,” said Mason. “It is as if we have a sense of how much [attention] we have ‘left over’ and allocate these resources to working out some problem or anticipating what we have to do in the near future.”
[Source: Cosmos Magazine]
Low gut microbial diversity in the intestines of infants can increase the risk for asthma development. These are the findings of the age 7 follow-up in a multi-year study led by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden.
In 2011 the results of a comprehensive survey of the intestinal microbiota of allergic and healthy children were published. In the samples from the infancy period, the degree of variation and diversity of the bacteria strains was significantly lower among those who had developed allergic eczema when they were two years old.
A follow-up study was conducted when the 47 participating infants reached their seventh birthday. By then eight of them — 17% — were suffering from chronic asthma. 28% had hay fever, 26% still had eczema, and 34% reacted to the allergens in a skin prick test. But it was only the asthma cases that could be connected to low intestinal microbial diversity at the age of one week and one month, according to the results now being published in the scientific journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy.
It might seem a bit of a stretch to think the contents of the intestines could influence what happens in the airways. The results of this study, however, give further credence to this connection, which has previously been demonstrated in animal studies.
“A high diversity of gut microbiota during the first months of life seems to be important for the maturation of the immune system,” says Thomas Abrahamsson, paediatrician and researcher at Linköping University, and principal author of the article.
The hypothesis is that in order to function effectively, the immune system needs to be “trained” by large numbers of different microorganisms. In the absence of sufficient stimulation from large numbers of different bacteria, the system may overreact to innocuous antigens it encounters.
A high gut microbial diversity has also been shown to strengthen the barrier function of the mucous membrane.
“We are speculating that a deficient maturity of the immune system at an earlier age and a less efficient mucosa barrier function can open the way to certain types of viral infection that can be linked to the development of asthma,” says senior author Maria Jenmalm, professor of experimental allergology.
The analysis of the bacteria flora in the children’s stools was carried out using a method known as 454 pyro sequencing at the Science for Life Laboratory, in conjunction with researchers Anders Andersson and Lars Engstrand. This is a powerful genetic method that identifies DNA sequences typical of different bacterial species, including those that cannot be cultivated in the traditional way.
Generating electricity is not the only way to turn sunlight into energy we can use on demand. The sun can also drive reactions to create chemical fuels, such as hydrogen, that can in turn power cars, trucks and trains.
The trouble with solar fuel production is the cost of producing the sun-capturing semiconductors and the catalysts to generate fuel. The most efficient materials are far too expensive to produce fuel at a price that can compete with gasoline.
“In order to make commercially viable devices for solar fuel production, the material and the processing costs should be reduced significantly while achieving a high solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency,” says Kyoung-Shin Choi, a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Choi created solar cells from bismuth vanadate using electrodeposition—the same process employed to make gold-plated jewelry or surface-coat car bodies—to boost the compound’s surface area to a remarkable 32 square meters for each gram.
“Without fancy equipment, high temperature or high pressure, we made a nanoporous semiconductor of very tiny particles that have a high surface area,” says Choi, whose work is supported by the National Science Foundation. “More surface area means more contact area with water, and, therefore, more efficient water splitting.”
Bismuth vanadate needs a hand in speeding the reaction that produces fuel, and that’s where the paired catalysts come in.
While there are many research groups working on the development of photoelectric semiconductors, and many working on the development of water-splitting catalysts, according to Choi, the semiconductor-catalyst junction gets relatively little attention.
“The problem is, in the end you have to put them together,” she says. “Even if you have the best semiconductor in the world and the best catalyst in the world, their overall efficiency can be limited by the semiconductor-catalyst interface.”
Choi and Kim exploited a pair of cheap and somewhat flawed catalysts—iron oxide and nickel oxide—by stacking them on the bismuth vanadate to take advantage of their relative strengths.
“Since no one catalyst can make a good interface with both the semiconductor and the water that is our reactant, we choose to split that work into two parts,” Choi says. “The iron oxide makes a good junction with bismuth vanadate, and the nickel oxide makes a good catalytic interface with water. So we use them together.”
The dual-layer catalyst design enabled simultaneous optimization of semiconductor-catalyst junction and catalyst-water junction.
“Combining this cheap catalyst duo with our nanoporous high surface area semiconductor electrode resulted in the construction of an inexpensive all oxide-based photoelectrode system with a record high efficiency,” Choi says.
She expects the basic work done to prove the efficiency enhancement by nanoporous bismuth vanadate electrode and dual catalyst layers will provide labs around the world with fodder for leaps forward.
“Other researchers studying different types of semiconductors or different types of catalysts can start to use this approach to identify which combinations of materials can be even more efficient,” says Choi, whose lab is already tweaking their design. “Which some engineering, the efficiency we achieved could be further improved very fast.”