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1.  Effect of Kohl-Chikni Dawa – a compound ophthalmic formulation of Unani medicine on naphthalene-induced cataracts in rats 
Background
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, accounting for 13-27% of cases. Kohl-Chikni Dawa (KCD) is reputed for its beneficial effects in the treatment of premature cataracts. However, its efficacy is yet to be tested. To investigate the rationality of the therapeutic use of Kohl-Chikni Dawa (KCD) in Unani medicine.
Methods
The effect of Kohl-Chikni Dawa eye drops on naphthalene-induced cataracts in rats was investigated by slit-lamp biomicroscopic analysis. The normal group of experimental animals was administered with mineral oil (orally), while other groups were given naphthalene (orally) along with local application of KCD eye drops (once and twice daily), placebo and distilled water (twice daily). Initial morphological changes of the lenses were observed twice a week for two weeks, and thereafter once a week for four weeks.
Results
Local application of KCD (twice daily) caused significant reduction in the lens opacification after 2 to 4 weeks of naphthalene administration.
Conclusion
KCD eye drops may have the potential to delay progression of naphthalene-induced cataracts in rats.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-13
PMCID: PMC140313  PMID: 12503996
2.  The effect of Puerariae radix on lipoprotein metabolism in liver and intestinal cells 
Background
Animal studies investigating the beneficial effects of Puerariae radix on cardiovascular disease have suggested this plant possesses anti-diabetic and lipid lowering properties. However, the exact mechanism by which Puerariae radix affects lipid metabolism is currently unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the water extract of Puerariae radix on the secretion of VLDL and chylomicrons from HepG2 liver cells and CaCo2 cells, respectively, in humans.
Methods
The amount of apoB100 (a protein marker for VLDL) and apoB48 (a protein marker for chylomicrons) in cells and media were quantified by Western Blotting and enhanced chemiluminescence (ECL). Total, free and esterified cholesterol concentrations were measured by gas liquid chromatography.
Results
Treatment of cells with water extract of Puerariae radix significantly decreased apoB100 production and secretion from HepG2 cells up to 66% in a dose dependent manner. The intracellular total cholesterol and free cholesterol concentration in HepG2 cells also decreased with increasing concentration of the Puerariae radix. In contrast, water extract of Puerariae radix attenuated apoB48 concentrations in cells, but not apoB48 secretion from CaCo2 enterocytes.
Conclusions
Collectively, our findings suggest that the water extract of Puerariae radix attenuates the hepatic lipoprotein production and secretion. Our present cell culture findings may explain why circulating VLDL and LDL levels were attenuated in animals supplemented with Puerariae radix. Since decreasing the production and secretion of atherogenic lipoproteins decreases the risk of development of cardiovascular disease, diets supplemented with radix may provide a safe and effective beneficial cardioprotective effects in humans.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-12
PMCID: PMC139996  PMID: 12485466
Puerariae radix; ApoB100; ApoB48; HepG2 cells; CaCo2 cells; cholesterol
3.  GFS, a preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida is associated with healing and inhibition of reactivation of Herpes 
Background
We sought to assess whether GFS, a proprietary preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida, has effects on healing or re-emergence of Herpetic infections, and additionally, to assess effects of GFS in vitro. Undaria is the most commonly eaten seaweed in Japan, and contains sulphated polyanions and other components with potential anti-viral activity. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infections have lower reactivation rates and Herpes type 2 (HSV-2) infections have lower incidence in Japan than in the west.
Methods
Patients with active (15 subjects) or latent (6 subjects) Herpetic infections (HSV-1, 2, EBV, Zoster) were monitored for response to ingestion of GFS. GFS extract was tested in vitro for human T cell mitogenicity and anti-Herpes activity.
Results
Ingestion of GFS was associated with increased healing rates in patients with active infections. In addition, patients with latent infection remained asymptomatic whilst ingesting GFS. GFS extract inhibited Herpes viruses in vitro and was mitogenic to human T cells in vitro.
Conclusions
Ingestion of GFS has inhibitory effects on reactivation and is associated with increased rate of healing after Herpetic outbreaks. GFS extract potently inhibited Herpes virus in vitro, and had mitogenic effects on human T cells.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-11
PMCID: PMC139995  PMID: 12443533
4.  Impact of in utero exposure to EtOH on corpus callosum development and paw preference in rats: protective effects of silymarin 
Background
Using a rat model we have found that the bioflavonoid silymarin (SY) ameliorates some of the negative consequences of in utero exposure to ethanol (EtOH). In the current study our aim was to determine if laterality preference and corpus callosum development were altered in rat offspring whose mothers were provided with a concomitant administration of SY with EtOH throughout gestation.
Methods
We provided pregnant Fisher/344 rats with liquid diets containing 35% ethanol derived calories (EDC) throughout the gestational period. A silymarin/phospholipid compound containing 29.8% silybin was co administered with EtOH to a separate experimental group. We tested the offspring for laterality preference at age 12 weeks. After testing the rats were sacrificed and their brains perfused for later corpus callosum extraction.
Results
We observed incomplete development of the splenium in the EtOH-only offspring. Callosal development was complete in all other treatment groups. Rats from the EtOH-only group displayed a left paw preference; whereas control rats were evenly divided between right and left paw preference. Inexplicably both SY groups were largely right paw preferring.
Conclusions
The addition of SY to the EtOH liquid diet did confer some ameliorative effects upon the developing fetal rat brain.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-10
PMCID: PMC137600  PMID: 12427259
5.  The effect of massage on localized lumbar muscle fatigue 
Background
There is not enough evidence to support the efficacy of massage for muscle fatigue despite wide utilization of the modality in various clinical settings. This study investigated the influence of massage application on localized back muscle fatigue.
Methods
Twenty-nine healthy subjects participated in two experimental sessions (massage and rest conditions). On each test day, subjects were asked to lie in the prone position on a treatment table and perform sustained back extension for 90 seconds. Subjects then either received massage on the lumbar region or rested for a 5 minute duration, then repeated the back extension movement. The median frequency (MDF), mean power frequency (MNF), and root mean square (RMS) amplitude of electromyographic signals during the 90 second sustained lumbar muscle contraction were analyzed. The subjective feeling of fatigue was then evaluated using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).
Results
MDF and MNF significantly declined with time under all conditions. There was no significant difference in MDF, MNF or RMS value change between before and after massage, or between rest and massage conditions. There was a significant increase in fatigue VAS at the end of the 2nd back extension with rest condition. There was a significant difference in fatigue VAS change between massage and rest condition.
Conclusions
A significant difference was observed between massage and rest condition on VAS for muscle fatigue. On EMG analysis, there were no significant differences to conclude that massage stimulation influenced the myoelectrical muscle fatigue, which is associated with metabolic and electrical changes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-9
PMCID: PMC134459  PMID: 12377105
6.  Use of complementary/alternative therapies by women with advanced-stage breast cancer 
Background
This study sought to describe the pattern of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) use among a group of patients with advanced breast cancer, to examine the main reasons for their CAM use, to identify patient's information sources and their communication pattern with their physicians.
Methods
Face-to-face structured interviews of patients with advanced-stage breast cancer at a comprehensive oncology center.
Results
Seventy three percent of patients used CAM; relaxation/meditative techniques and herbal medicine were the most common. The most commonly cited primary reason for CAM use was to boost the immune system, the second, to treat cancer; however these reasons varied depending on specific CAM therapy. Friends or family members and mass media were common primary information source's about CAM.
Conclusions
A high proportion of advanced-stage breast cancer patients used CAM. Discussion with doctors was high for ingested products. Mass media was a prominent source of patient information. Credible sources of CAM information for patients and physicians are needed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-8
PMCID: PMC122074  PMID: 12175424
7.  The use of alternative therapies in the Saskatchewan stroke rehabilitation population 
Background
Many patients use alternative therapies. The purpose of this study was to determine the percentage of stroke rehabilitation patients in Saskatchewan using alternative therapies, whether patients found these therapies effective in alleviating stroke-related symptoms, how often those patients who used alternative therapies discuss this fact with their primary care doctor and the main reason why patients might not do so.
Methods
Telephone questionnaire surveys were conducted with 117 patients who had suffered a stroke and undergone inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation at Saskatoon City Hospital.
Results
The study revealed that 26.5% of 117 stroke rehabilitation patients visited alternative practitioners at least once or used some form of unconventional therapy. Only 16.1% of patients found that alternative therapy made them feel much better. Of those who used alternative therapy, 61.3% did not discuss this fact with their primary physician. Many of the respondents (47.3%) who did not inform their physician stated that they did not see the necessity of talking about these treatments and 21.1% did not discuss the issue with their physician because they felt that he or she might disapprove of alternative therapies.
Conclusion
A relatively small percentage of stroke patients found alternative therapies beneficial. Doctors should be aware that a significant number of patients will try alternative treatment without discussion with their primary care physician or specialist. The current study suggests that after completing routine questioning, doctors should also ask their patients about their use of alternative therapies and, when appropriate, review issues of safety and efficacy.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-7
PMCID: PMC117436  PMID: 12095423
8.  Experimental study of the morphine de-addiction properties of Delphinium denudatum Wall. 
Background
Our aim was to explore the de-addiction properties of Delphinium denudatum Wall. in morphine dependent rats.
Methods
Charles Foster male albino rats were made morphine dependent by injecting morphine sulphate in increasing doses twice a day for 7 days. The spontaneous withdrawal signs observed 12 h after the last dose were quantified by the 'counted' and 'checked' signs. The drug (alcoholic extract of Delphinium denudatum) was administered p.o. in different regimen: a) single dose (700 mg/kg) 10 h before the first dose of morphine, b) single dose (700 mg/kg) 10 h after the last dose of morphine, c) multiple doses (350 mg/kg) along with morphine twice a day for 7 days.
Result
Administration of Delphinium denudatum extract caused significant reduction in the frequency of counted signs as well as the presence of checked signs of morphine withdrawal. The maximum reduction was observed in regimen 'b' followed by regimen 'c' and 'a'.
Conclusion
Delphinium denudatum Wall. significantly reduces the aggregate scores for all parameters in morphine withdrawal syndrome by central action and thus may prove to be an alternative remedy in morphine de-addiction.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-6
PMCID: PMC116424  PMID: 12036433
9.  The use of CAM by women suffering from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy 
Background
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) affects two-thirds of pregnant women to varying degrees and over the years many modalities have been used to try to alleviate this often debilitating condition. There is a paucity of information in the literature about the use or efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the treatment of this condition that affects so many women. Our primary objective was to examine the prevalence of CAM usage by women suffering from NVP. Our secondary objective was to ascertain if women had any supervision in the use of these treatments.
Methods
Women who called The Motherisk NVP helpline, were asked after the counseling session to complete a questionnaire, which included demographic data as well as information about their CAM use.
Results
Seventy women completed the questionnaire. 61% reported using CAM therapies, of which the three most popular were: ginger, vitamin B6 and acupressure. 21% of those who reported using CAM, had consulted CAM practitioners, 8% their physicians or pharmacists and 71% discussed the usage with family, friends and other allied health professionals. Women who did not use CAM stated they would probably use these modalities if there was more information about the safety in pregnancy.
Conclusion
Pregnant women with NVP are mirroring the trend in the general population of the use of CAM. They are also using CAM therapies with little supervision from practitioners experienced in the use of these modalities.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-5
PMCID: PMC113747  PMID: 12033990
10.  Effect of a homeopathic drug, Chelidonium, in amelioration of p-DAB induced hepatocarcinogenesis in mice 
Background
Crude extracts of Chelidonium majus, and also purified compounds derived from crude extracts of this plant, have been reported to exhibit anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-microbial properties both in vitro and in vivo. Chelidonium is a homeopathic drug routinely used against various liver disorders including cancer in humans. Two potencies of Chelidonium (Ch-30, Ch-200) have been tested for their possible anti-tumor and enzyme modulating activities in liver and anti-clastogenic effects during p-DAB-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in mice compared to suitable controls.
Methods
Several cytogenetic and enzymatic protocols were used at three fixation intervals; at 60 days, 90 days and 120 days of treatment. Different sets of healthy mice were fed: i) hepatocarcinogen, p-DAB plus phenobarbital (PB), ii) only PB, iii) neither p-DAB nor PB (normal control). One set of mice fed with p-DAB plus PB was also fed Ch-30 (iv) and another set Ch-200 (v). All standard currently used methods were adopted for cytogenetical preparations and for the enzyme assays.
Results
All group (i) mice developed tumors in liver at all fixation intervals, while none of group (ii) and (iii) mice developed any tumors. About 40% mice in group (iv) and group (v) did not show tumor nodules in their liver. Feeding of Chelidonium to group (iv) and (v) mice reduced genotoxic effects to a significant extent (p < 0.05 to p < 0.001).
Conclusion
The homeopathic drug Chelidonium exhibited anti-tumor and anti-genotoxic activities and also favorably modulated activities of some marker enzymes. Microdoses of Chelidonium may be effectively used in combating liver cancer.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-4
PMCID: PMC107841  PMID: 11943072
11.  Electroacupuncture versus Diclofenac in symptomatic treatment of Osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled trial 
Background
The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of electroacupuncture (EA), diclofenac and their combination in symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.
Methods
This study was a randomized, single-blind, placebo controlled trial. The 193 out-patients with OA of the knee were randomized into four groups: placebo, diclofenac, EA and combined (diclofenac plus EA). Paracetamol tablets were prescribed as a rescue analgesic during the study. The patients were evaluated after a run-in period of one week (week 0) and again at the end of the study (week 4). The clinical assessments included the amount of paracetamol taken/week, visual analog scale (VAS), Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) OA Index, Lequesne's functional index, 50 feet-walk time, and the orthopedist's and patient's opinion of change.
Results
One hundred and eighty six patients completed the study. The improvement of symptoms (reduction in mean changes) in most outcome parameters was greatest in the EA group. The proportions of responders and patients with an overall opinion of "much better" were also greatest in the EA group. The improvement in VAS was significantly different between the EA and placebo group as well as the EA and diclofenac group. The improvement in Lequesne's functional index also differed significantly between the EA and placebo group. In addition, there was a significant improvement in WOMAC pain index between the combined and placebo group.
Conclusion
EA is significantly more effective than placebo and diclofenac in the symptomatic treatment of OA of the knee in some circumstances. However, the combination of EA and diclofenac treatment was no more effective than EA treatment alone.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-3
PMCID: PMC102323  PMID: 11914160
12.  Potential antimutagenic activity of berberine, a constituent of Mahonia aquifolium 
Background
As part of a study aimed at developing new pharmaceutical products from natural resources, the purpose of this research was twofold: (1) to fractionate crude extracts from the bark of Mahonia aquifolium and (2) to evaluate the strength of the antimutagenic activity of the separate components against one of the common direct-acting chemical mutagens.
Methods
The antimutagenic potency was evaluated against acridine orange (AO) by using Euglena gracilis as an eukaryotic test model, based on the ability of the test compound/fraction to prevent the mutagen-induced damage of chloroplast DNA.
Results
It was found that the antimutagenicity of the crude Mahonia extract resides in both bis-benzylisoquinoline (BBI) and protoberberine alkaloid fractions but only the protoberberine derivatives, jatrorrhizine and berberine, showed significant concentration-dependent inhibitory effect against the AO-induced chloroplast mutagenesis of E. gracilis. Especially berberine elicited, at a very low dose, remarkable suppression of the AO-induced mutagenicity, its antimutagenic potency being almost three orders of magnitude higher when compared to its close analogue, jatrorrhizine. Possible mechanisms of the antimutagenic action are discussed in terms of recent literature data. While the potent antimutagenic activity of the protoberberines most likely results from the inhibition of DNA topoisomerase I, the actual mechanism(s) for the BBI alkaloids is hard to be identified.
Conclusions
Taken together, the results indicate that berberine possesses promising antimutagenic/anticarcinogenic potential that is worth to be investigated further.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-2
PMCID: PMC101396  PMID: 11943071
13.  Kefir consumption does not alter plasma lipid levels or cholesterol fractional synthesis rates relative to milk in hyperlipidemic men: a randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN10820810] 
Background
Fermented milk products have been shown to affect serum cholesterol concentrations in humans. Kefir, a fermented milk product, has been traditionally consumed for its potential health benefits but has to date not been studied for its hypocholesterolemic properties.
Methods
Thirteen healthy mildly hypercholesterolemic male subjects consumed a dairy supplement in randomized crossover trial for 2 periods of 4 wk each. Subjects were blinded to the dairy supplement consumed. Blood samples were collected at baseline and after 4 wk of supplementation for measurement of plasma total, low-density lipoprotein, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, as well as fatty acid profile and cholesterol synthesis rate. Fecal samples were collected at baseline and after 2 and 4 wk of supplementation for determination of fecal short chain fatty acid level and bacterial content.
Results
Kefir had no effect on total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or triglyceride concentrations nor on cholesterol fractional synthesis rates after 4 wk of supplementation. No significant change on plasma fatty acid levels was observed with diet. However, both kefir and milk increased (p < 0.05) fecal isobutyric, isovaleric and propionic acids as well as the total amount of fecal short chain fatty acids. Kefir supplementation resulted in increased fecal bacterial content in the majority of the subjects.
Conclusions
Since kefir consumption did not result in lowered plasma lipid concentrations, the results of this study do not support consumption of kefir as a cholesterol-lowering agent.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-2-1
PMCID: PMC65674  PMID: 11825344

Results 1-13 (13)