Non-Human Primates in Medical Research

Animals continue to be extensively used as research specimen in almost every major medical breakthrough. Utility of animals in medical research has been widely acknowledged. A wide variety of animal species are used for research that range from fruit flies to non-human primates. Research using non-human primates is required for testing drugs, clinical trials, neurology studies, evolution, genetics, behavioral aspects, reproductive biology, cognitive science and even in Xenotransplantation. An estimated 65,000 non-human primates are used annually for research purpose in UK and USA alone.

Use of non-human primates is significant as their brains share structural and functional similarity with the human brain. Most commonly used non-human primates for research purpose include apes, gorilla, chimpanzee, macaques, marmosets, baboons and orangutans. However, the use of non-human primates has always been controversial as it is related with ethical issues.

As per the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human interests are protected by the law as they are considered legal persons. Non-human primates do not enjoy any such privilege. However, this status has always been a continuous topic of debate. Considering research on primates as unethical, various countries including Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and Netherlands have prohibited doing any kind of experimental using great apes, a biological family that comprises of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and humans. Considering the fact that animals do have a similar sense of pain and trauma as like humans, several organizations, animal rights groups, philanthropists, animal lovers, researchers, philosophers and primatologists are advocating for a world wide prohibition over the use of primates in research.

Skin Conditions, Mental Health And Natural Therapies

There is no doubt that some people with skin conditions suffer not only from the sometimes debilitating skin eruption but also mentally as well. This is very evident if the skin condition presents itself in an area clearly visible to the public. These skin conditions compounded with other stressful factors in ones life such as adolescence can create mental scars that last a lifetime.

Common skin afflictions that tend to cause the greatest amount of anxiety are Acne, Psoriasis, Dermatitis, and Eczema. Whilst there is allot of medical research into the causes of these afflictions, most medical practitioners will treat the skin condition with prescription medications with varying degrees of success. It is rare that the practitioner will go to the next step and insure the mental state of the patient or suggest alternate natural therapies outside standard medical practice. Practitioners need to be holistic in their approach especially if a patient presents and is vulnerable mentally, such as during adolescence and the case of Acne.

Isolation and rejection in the community can result from the visible manifestations of these skin conditions. Psoriasis, Dermatitis, and Eczema to the non medical eye can be extremely visually confronting. The natural human reaction for self preservation causes people to back away or engage little with a person whom appears to have a strange illness for fear of contracting it themselves. When the disease is manifested in a child or adolescent, and they encounter peers at school and social events, these children can be treated extremely harshly and alienated from the group. This rejection is often the catalyst the emotional issues relating from the skin condition.

It is not uncommon to see people with skin conditions present with mental and emotional problems, like anxiety, stress and depression arising from alienation and non acceptance in their social sphere.

So how could these skin conditions be handled to effect the best holistic outcome? There are two main avenues open to a patient. Standard medical prescriptions and natural therapy. As numerous skin conditions have no known cause or trigger it is often a case of hit and miss on the prescription of medications. Holistically the patient should be reviewed and natural therapies explored in conjunction with traditional medicine. Natural therapies such as balneotherapy (soaking or bathing) with pure Dead Sea Salts which are thousands of years old are often underestimated and offer assistance and help in the healing process. The minerals and “de-stressing” characteristics carried out in balneotherapy have been proven in many studies to be beneficial to many skin ailments. It has long been know that the skin – the bodies largest organ can rapidly absorb minerals which are thought to boost the skins regenerating capabilities. Also the act of soaking also allows the patient to relax and reduce anxiety which inturn assists both the skin condition and the mental state.

The patient should also be reviewed and referred for professional assessment if anxiety, depression or mental issues present especially if the skin condition is chronic in nature.

In summary the medical community needs to embrace the natural health alternatives and suggest these “do no harm” options to their patients. This supplemented with prescription medication will serve the patient in the best possible way.

Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids Used For Joint Health And Are They Effective?

Omega 3 fatty acids used for joint health is gaining in popularity as ever more people are opting for healthy, natural remedies over dangerous side effects laden pharmaceutical drugs.

The question is: do omega 3 fatty acids benefit joint health, stiffness, and aches and pains?

Although numerous studies have been done, and not all of them conclusive, overall it appears that omega 3 fatty acids does help alleviate tender joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

This may actually help people who were relying on corticosteroids to reduce what they need to use.

Omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in high quality fish oils, act as anti-inflammatories which, as anyone with arthritis or stiffness knows, is often caused or worsened by inflammation of the joints.

Even though omega 3 fatty acids used for joint health derived from fish oils can be useful, there is another natural substance that has been proven to be much more beneficial.

What is this natural substance?

It’s the green lipped mussel from New Zealand. In that country it is renowned, but less well known in the United States even though it can be purchased or obtained by people in the US.

Green lipped mussel also contains omega 3 fatty acids. In addition to certain studies of people using omega 3 fatty acids showing reduced morning joint aches, and joint tenderness, green lipped mussel has been shown to alleviate joint stiffness, improve walking pace in people with osteoarthritis, and increase the strength of grip for sufferers.

Some of these studies have been mentioned at prestigious universities in the United States, such as the University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm is one of the pages if you’re curious.

One downside reported at the University of Maryland Medical Center website is that in some participants using green lipped mussel, the symptoms can worsen temporarily before they improve. Which is a common trait with remedies for other conditions as well.

On the other hand, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that omega 3 fatty acids may “reduce the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage” when “cartilage-containing cells” were studied in test tubes.

If you are curious enough to think omega 3 fatty acids used for joint health is something you might want to try, our recommendation would be to find a product that contains both purified omega 3 fish oils and New Zealand green lipped mussel.

And, in addition to possible benefits for joint health and stiffness, omega 3 fatty acids have numerous well researched benefits for heart and brain health as well.

Gout Medical Research Suggests Coffee May Help

Recently, gout medical studies have found that coffee can actually be beneficial for treating gout. The results of these studies are very interesting as coffee has long been considered a beverage that should be avoided by gout sufferers, as it is believed caffeine raises uric acid levels (increased uric acid levels in the blood is the main culprit behind gout attacks. Gout is characterized by swelling and intense pain in an affected joint – commonly the big toe). However, though caffeine may still be a risk factor, there appears to be an ingredient(s) in coffee that has the opposite effect.

Gout medical research that concluded in the spring of 2007 discovered that the more coffee men consume the lower their risk of gout. In this Canadian/American study which was published in the Arthritis & Rheumatism journal June 2007, it was found that men who drank a minimum of 4 cups of coffee daily, lowered their gout risk by as much as 40%.

The study was based on data that was collected from over 45,000 male medical professionals who participated in the study. It was found that after 12 years of study, just over 750 of the more than 45,000 men who drank tea and coffee developed gout. Based on self-reports kept by each medical professional, those conducting the study were able to determine that while tea had no effect, the more coffee the men consumed, the more they reduced their risk of developing gout.

The gout medical study found that men, who drank 1 – 3 cups of coffee per day, lowered their risk of a gout attack by 8%. However, those who drank 4 – 5 cups per day reduced their risk by 40%. Additionally, those men who proved to be ‘coffee addicts’ and drank 6 or more cups per day had almost a 60% lower gout risk.

On the other hand, it was discovered that men who drank 1 – 3 cups of decaffeinated coffee reduced their risk by 33%, while those who drank 4 cups of decaf or more, only reduced the risk of gout by 27%.

Although the medical research team does not know what the exact substance or substances within coffee that reduce the risk of gout, the gout medical team thinks that phenol chlorogenic acid, a strong antioxidant that exists in coffee, may be one of the major factors. Furthermore, it should be mentioned that the team believes that caffeine in coffee does not contribute to the reduction, as tea which also contains caffeine does not appear to offer any benefits.

It is important to note that the researchers focused their study on men aged 40 and older. Their reason for this was because men 40 years of age and older make up the highest gout population. Therefore, although coffee appears to make a difference in the average man that fits this age group, it is not known if coffee has the same gout reducing effect on women and younger men.

More studies will need to be conducted to confirm the precise reasons why coffee reduces the risk of gout. Therefore, while increasing the number of cups of coffee you drink per day may lower your chances of gout, the increase in coffee may not be beneficial for other health conditions. Therefore, be sure to talk to your doctor about the gout medical coffee study, and seek his/her advice before you consider increasing your coffee consumption.