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Archive for the 'Healing' Category

New approach for attacking lupus identified

Posted in Global, Healing, Health, Lupus, Medical Research, News, Press Release on December 17th, 2007

NEW YORK CITY, Dec. 16, 2007– Investigators at Hospital for Special Surgery
have identified two new targets for drugs aimed at controlling lupus. If
companies are able to develop drugs that hone in on these targets, patients may
be able to control their disease with few side effects.

“The study identifies very good therapeutic targets, and what needs to be
done is identify better candidate drugs,” said Lionel Ivashkiv, M.D., director
of Basic Research at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. He led the
study, which was published online in Nature Immunology on December 16 and will
appear in print in February.

Because abnormally high levels of interferon-alpha can lead to lupus,
researchers have developed drugs that block interferon. These drugs, however,
have immunosuppressive side effects that can leave patients vulnerable to
various illnesses and infections, some of which can be deadly. Currently, these
drugs are being tested in clinical trials. If researchers are able to develop
drugs for the newly identified drug targets, patients may be able to avoid these
immunosuppressive effects.

Interferons have two major functions. First, they protect against viruses and
second, they regulate immune responses, strengthening immune responses and
playing a role in autoimmunity. Different proteins, called STATs, mediate the
two functions of IFN. STAT1 mediates the autoimmune and inflammatory functions,
and STAT2 mediates the virus protection function. “What we were interested in
understanding is how you can regulate the balance between activating the
inflammatory effects and the antiviral effects,” Dr. Ivashkiv said. “We thought
if we could control the functions of the interferons, that would lead to new
therapeutic approaches where you could block specifically some of their
functions, but not others.”

The investigators discovered that calcium specifically increases activation
of STAT1 by interferons, and thus turned their attention to calcium. The
researchers tested whether two kinase enzymes in the calcium-signaling pathway,
CAMK and Pyk2, could be manipulated to control STAT1. In studies involving mice,
the investigators showed that blocking these calcium-signaling pathways with a
drug called KN-93 regulated the amount of STAT1, but not STAT2 activation.

“What we found was that these kinases that are regulated by calcium actually
regulate the strength of activation of STAT1 by the interferons, but they do not
regulate the strength of activation of STAT2,” said Dr. Ivashkiv. “The idea was
if you block these signaling pathways, would you block the STAT1 part, which
controls the inflammatory/deleterious effects and preserve the antiviral part.
We tested that in an animal model of lupus and we were able to show, in vivo,
that you can suppress STAT1 activation by inhibiting the calcium-dependent

The researchers say that their work has identified a new therapeutic approach
for attacking lupus. “What the companies are trying to develop are, basically,
antibodies against the interferons. The concern there is that if you block the
interferon completely, patients may become very immunosuppressed and unable to
handle viral infections,” Dr. Ivashkiv said. “Our idea is that if you block
these calcium pathways, you could block the deleterious effects of the
interferon, but maintain the antiviral effects.”

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body,
including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain.
Inflammation, considered the primary feature of lupus, is characterized by pain,
heat, redness, swelling and loss of function. In most people, the disease
affects only a few organs and symptoms are mild, but in others, the disease can
cause serious and even life-threatening problems. According to the Lupus
Foundation of America, an estimated 16,000 Americans develop lupus each


Support for the research came from the National Institutes of Health and an
Abbott Scholar Award.

About Hospital for Special Surgery

Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in
orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked as No. 1
in orthopedics, No. 3 in rheumatology by U.S.News & World Report, and has
received Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American
Nurses Credentialing Center. In the 2006 edition of HealthGrades’ Hospital
Quality in America Study, HSS received five-star ratings for clinical excellence
in its specialties. A member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and
an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS provides orthopedic and
rheumatologic patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital at New York Weill
Cornell Medical Center. All Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are on
the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College. The hospital’s research division
is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of
musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located
in New York City and online at

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Lupus and Related Illnesses Workshop (announcement)

Posted in Announcements, Brevard County, Florida, Healing, Health, Local, Lupus, Medical Research, News on December 30th, 2006

Lupus & Related Illnesses:

Living Well Beyond Diagnosis

Complimentary Workshop and Dinner

Hosted by Lupus Foundation of America, SE Florida Chapter

Speakers will include:

Robert H. Phillips, PhD – Author of Coping With Lupus

Keivan Dehghanpishch, PhD, MD – Rheumatologist

along with other area professionals
Thursday, January 25, 2007

6:00pm – 9:30pm
Port St. Lucie Community Center
2195 SE Airoso Boulevard
Port St Lucie, FL


Free CEUs for Nurses and Mental Health Professionals
To register, please contact:   1-800-339-0586  or

Also, a reminder. The first Brevard County Lupus Support group meeting for 2007 will be held on Wednesday January 24th 7:15 – 8:30pm
Pro-Health Fitness Center, 3rd Floor Meeting Room
611 East Sheridan Road, Melbourne

If you want to find the Lupus support group for your area, you can see the list of groups at the Lupus Foundation Web Site.


Herbal Medicine: Cindi’s Lupus Tea

Posted in Cooking, Food, Healing, Health, Herbs and Oils, Lupus, Recipes on September 22nd, 2006

My wife, Cindi, has lupus. We are not positive at this time as to which type of Cutaneous (skin) lupus that she has, but we think that it is of the discoid type effecting the skin. She had a skin biopsy performed back last week and we are hoping to get results Monday when she has her stitches removed.

Over the past few weeks I have started a quest to find out more about the disease and possible herbal help for it. The medications that she has to take (steroids) are scary to say the least. So a all natural herbal cure is a option that I wish to take if at all possible.

In some of my first findings I looked at types of internal treatments and found a mixture of herb and mushrooms that I make into a tea. This tea is good to help the body’s immune system. Here is the recipe for Cindi’s Lupus Tea and the description of the medicinal qualities of the ingredients.

For Cindi’s Lupus Tea, use equal amounts of the following ingredients. It is suggested to purchase at least 2 oz. of the mixture, ground and mixed in equal parts and 2 oz. of green tea.

You will need tea bags and a teaspoon measure device. Put one teaspoon of the Cindi’s tea mixture and one teaspoon of green tea in a tea bag and close. We use the iron type of tea bags.


Astragalus membranaceus, or huángqí (??, literally “yellow leader”; also called beiqí, ??, literally “northern leader”) is a tonic herb originally used in Chinese medicine. It is believed to be a galactagogue, and recent studies show that it may strengthen the human immune system.

The natural gum tragacanth, which is used in pharmaceuticals and textiles, is obtained from Astragalus tragacanthus. It is claimed to help the immune system, and to increase the body’s resistance to common viruses.

In western herbal medicine, Astragalus is primarily considered a tonic for enhancing metabolism and digestion and is consumed as a tea made from the roots of the plant. It is also traditionally used to strengthen the immune system and in the healing of wounds and injuries


Shittake Mushroom:

Shiitake mushrooms have been researched for their medicinal benefits, most notably their anti-tumor properties in laboratory mice. These studies, the earliest dating back to 1969, have also identified the polysaccharide lentinan, a (1-3) ß-D-glucan, as the active compound responsible for the anti-tumor effects.[citation needed] Extracts from shiitake mushrooms have also been researched for many other immunological benefits, ranging from anti-viral properties to possible treatments for severe allergies, as well as arthritis.[citation needed]Lenthionine, a key flavor compound of shiitake, also inhibits platelet aggregation, so it is a promising treatment for thrombosis.[citation needed]

Shiitake are also one of a few known natural sources of vegan and kosher vitamin D (vitamin D2).

Maitake Mushroom:

The underground tubers from which hen of the woods arises has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to enhance the immune system. Researchers have also indicated that whole maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids, and may also be useful for weight loss.


Reishi Mushroom:

Reishi Mushroom is also known by the name Lucky Fungus. Reishi Mushrooms grow wild on decaying logs and tree stumps in the coastal provinces of China. The fruiting body of the mushroom is employed medicinally. Reishi occurs in six different colors, but the red variety is most commonly used and commercially cultivated in North America, China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. The Latin word lucidum means “shiny” or “brilliant”, and refers to the varnished surface of Reishi’s cap, which is reddish orange to black. In Japan, 99% of Reishi growing in the wild are found on old plum trees, and wild Reishi Mushrooms are rare. In the Taoist tradition, Reishi is said to enhance spiritual receptivity. It was used by monks to calm the spirit and mind. It is also considered a symbol of feminine sexuality. Reishi has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years to treat liver disorders, hypertension, arthritis, and other ailments. The Chinese have always regarded the mushroom as having special properties. Mushrooms are regarded as “spirit medicine’ because they are believed to nourish the “shen”, or spirit. As such, they are considered particularly important in vegetarian diets and regarded as a medicinal food that promotes longevity. Various medicinal mushrooms are used by the Chinese.


I have found the Lupus Foundation of America web site can be very helpful in finding resources on this disease, so I created a donation page in Cindi’s name. Please consider donating to the Lupus Foundation at Cindi’s Page Here

Read Emu Oil and Discoid Lupus, healing the skin

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All Things Natural

Posted in Exercise, Healing, Health, Herbs and Oils, Internet, Sites I have created on September 18th, 2006

Exercise, Gym Equipment, Natural Remedies and Vitamins. Health, Beauty and Fitness products for your body and mind. Visit my site