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This is Maria at the Taj Mahal.

It seems that weddings are becoming more elaborate.

This is an easy way of taking care of a vegetable garden. We purchased fresh green onions a long time ago, and we simply store them in this recycled old jar. We used an old telephone cord to suspend from a tree branch. We simply snip what we need for our meal, and the plants keep growing.

This is a Fall take on slaw, shredded brussels sprouts and radicchio are tossed with an assertive dressing, then topped with caramelized pecans. After combining the slaw with the dressing, be sure to let it stand for 15 minutes to slightly wilt the brussels sprouts.  1/2 cup pecan halves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste 1 tsp. sugar. Pinch of cayenne pepper, 2 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and fibrous stems removed 1 small head radicchio, quartered and cored 2 Tbs. cider vinegar 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard 3 Tbs. maple syrup Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.   

Directions:Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, combine the pecans, the 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, the 1/4 tsp. salt, the sugar and cayenne and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in the oven until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.

Using the grater attachment of a food processor, shred the brussels sprouts and radicchio. Transfer to a large bowl and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and maple syrup. Slowly whisk in the 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.

Add half of the dressing to the brussels sprout-radicchio mixture and toss well to combine, adding more dressing as needed. Let stand for 15 minutes to slightly wilt the brussels sprouts. Top with the pecans and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

The perfect  hat for Fall.

Kidney stones afflict one of every 11 Americans and cost the country more than $2 billion annually. Avoiding them “could really make a difference for a lot of people,” and could cut health costs dramatically, .according to Vanderbilt University researcher Todd Edwards, Ph.D.  Until recently, teasing out complicated kidney stone genetics would have required years of study, tens of thousands of patients and hundreds of millions of dollars. Now thanks to BioVU, Vanderbilt’s massive DNA databank, the mother lode is within reach.  This month BioVU logged in its 150,000th unique genetic sample. It is now the world’s largest collection of human DNA linked to searchable, electronic health information, said Dan Roden, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt and BioVU’s principal investigator.

 BioVU began collecting DNA in 2007. Discarded blood specimens from Vanderbilt patients are sent to the DNA Resources Core, where the genetic material is extracted and stored. If patients check a box on a consent form, their leftover blood will not be used, but few choose to “opt out.”  The DNA samples are bar-coded and, along with their matching electronic health records, scrubbed of information that could identify individual patients.  The resulting genetic “gold mine” enables Vanderbilt researchers to quickly pull and analyze the DNA of hundreds of people with particular health conditions or responses to medication.


Before proceeding, BioVU investigators must be approved by Vanderbilt’s Institutional Review Board, sign a data use agreement, and determine, with the help of a BioVU project manager, the feasibility of their idea. Their proposals are then considered by separate pre-review and full review committees consisting of Vanderbilt faculty members.

 To date, more than 50 BioVU studies have been approved and are under way.

 Researchers are seeking the genetic underpinnings of abnormal heart rhythms, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. The research is “groundbreaking,” said BioVU program manager Erica Bowton, Ph.D. “We’re actually changing clinical care from what we’re learning … That’s why I like this job.”


For example, Stephen Bruehl, Ph.D., professor of Anesthesiology, is studying genetic factors involved in pain and pain management. In particular, he and his colleagues are studying whether a specific genetic variation affects patients’ response to pain medications following surgery.  From the BioVU storehouse, they pulled the DNA samples of approximately 850 patients who received pain medication after undergoing total knee replacement at Vanderbilt and whose “pain ratings” were noted by nurses in their electronic health records.

 “We’re almost to the point where we can start piecing all of this together,” Bruehl said at a recent BioVU symposium. If patients with the genetic variation experience more pain, routine genetic testing prior to surgery could identify those who need a higher dose or different medication.

Edwards, an assistant professor of Medicine, is investigating the genetic risks for kidney stones in African-Americans with collaborators from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Washington.  This study is unique because people of recent African ancestry are protected from kidney stones compared to Europeans, cases are rare, and the causes for the difference in risks are unknown.

 Discovering genetic factors associated with kidney stones in a protected population may provide novel insights into the biology and evolution of stone formation.  It could lead to a genetic test to identify high-risk patients and to prophylactic measures — including lifestyle changes — to help them avoid the condition.  Edwards and his colleagues also are searching BioVU for genetic factors that may explain why African-Americans are less likely to suffer bone fractures from osteoporosis and, with his wife, Digna Velez Edwards, Ph.D., why they are more likely to develop uterine fibroids.


For Edwards, who received his Ph.D. in Human Genetics at Vanderbilt in 2008 and joined the faculty two years later, BioVU represents a tectonic shift in health care that is uniting the fields of genetics, informatics and epidemiology, the study of diseases across populations.  It’s a two-way street, he added. Discoveries made thanks to BioVU certainly will influence patient care. Likewise, changes in clinical care, including the digitizing of patient information, will change research, for example, by raising new questions.

 “With these new tools, like BioVU, we can really begin to create these bridges between communities of very sophisticated people,” Edwards said. “These conversations are really just beginning.”

This is Cameron, one of those special miracles. In six short years, Cameron has had more than 100 bones break and ten surgeries, more than most of us know in a lifetime. Take one look at this little boy, so happy and full of life. You would never suspect he suffers from a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which causes his tiny bones to break easily. As Cameron fights to maintain a normal lifestyle, he travels regularly from Atlanta for surgery to Children’s Specialty Physiciansin Omaha. Thanks to Southwest Airlines’ Medical Transportation Grant Program, Miracle Flights for Kids® is able to provide families like Cameron’s the opportunity to travel free of cost to receive treatment. Without means for travel, Cameron would not have received the proper diagnosis or the proper treatment from the doctors best suited to care for his condition.

The world of medicine revolves around one central goal – CURE. What differs is the mode of treatment. The mode of treatment may be guided by several factors – the success rate of a particular treatment, the duration of treatment, its availability and recommendations of relatives and friends. In the race, Allopathic system of medicine stands first with its efficient acute management and Homeopathy stands first in treating chronic complaints without any adverse effects. Each one has its own efficacy, advantages, disadvantages and limitations.
Allopathy concentrates on the disease, its symptoms and definite laboratory reports. It labels the disease and treats the symptoms. The treatment for a particular symptom is usually the same for all individuals. Allopath usually stops treatment once the symptoms go off or if they have found normal lab reports. On the other hand homoeopathy concentrates on the individual, despises laboratory investigations and does not label the disease. It individualises the treatment and aims at a wholesome cure of the person, aiming not only at the cure of the disease but at a healthy and productive life – the price one pays for this is time. Homoeopathic treatment will be continued till the patient attains comfort and well-being sensation and hence it usually takes longer but claims to bring complete cure and sometimes also guarantees no relapse.
Allopaths often refer to homoeopathy as a 'pseudo-science' or 'placebo medicine' based on the infinite dilutions of substances that homoeopaths use as medicines. While homoeopaths refer to allopaths as crude and insensitive people who would not think twice before chopping off a limb. Here one needs to be aware that surgery has its own advantages – especially in serious conditions, irrevocable structural changes and in congenital malformations. Homoeopaths blame allopaths for suppressing the symptoms and hold pride in the fact that they address the problem to the core to reach the cure. But then again, how many of us would choose to cough all day or stay in bed because of a severe back ache. Don't we need cough suppressants and pain killers? Allopaths question the potency and even existence of the medicines that homoeopaths use but why do they forget that homoeopathic medicines are used in minimal doses and have little or no side-effects, drug interactions or drug resistance which is a common problem with allopathic medicines.
In a world blinded by commercial setups, allopathy definitely wins the race while homoeopathy stands first when principles and human feelings are concerned. The debate is never ending and needless to say that one cannot be declared better than the other. The choice is, after all, yours to make!  By:  Esha Gupta  

The USA Vaccine Market is Expected to Reach USD 17.4 Billion by 2018

The According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research the USA vaccine market is estimated to be worth USD 12.8 billion in 2012 and is further expected to reach USD 17.4 billion by 2018, growing at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2012 to 2018. Human vaccine segment occupies about 80% of the USA vaccine market.  The USA will continue to lead the global vaccine market due to rising prevalence of infectious diseases in humans and animals, and advancement in biotechnology in the region. Short functional shelf life of certain vaccines will have negative impact on the market growth, but huge product pipeline of the multinational firms will overcome this concern and will drive the future growth of the market.   Pediatric vaccine segment in the U.S. human vaccine market enjoys high share as well as high growth rate due to government compulsion for child immunization. Adult & adolescent vaccine market is expected to grow moderately over the next six years due to rising awareness and increasing vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV) and such other viral diseases.

In 2011, overall leading producers of human vaccine for the U.S. market were Sanofi-Aventis, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Sanofi-Pasture and Novartis. The leading producers of animal vaccine for the U.S. market includes Pfizer Animal Health, Merial (Sanofi-Aventis), Intervet/Schering-Plough (Merck) and Novartis Animal Health.

This report helps to identify factors, which will be the driving force behind the U.S. Vaccine market and sub-markets in the next six years. The report provides extensive analysis of the U.S. vaccine market, current market trends, industry drivers and challenges for better understanding of the U.S. vaccine market structure. The report has segregated the U.S. vaccine industry in terms of its product type. Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2012 through 2018 in terms of value in USD million.  The report can be viewed at Transparency Market Research. http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/us-vaccine-market.html

This exotic fruit Mangosteen, grows in Asia.  This fruit has been used to treat diseases of the blood in many Asian cultures.   The fruit has a delightful sweet taste.

The ladies in this photo told us Magosteen has been used for thousands of years in Cambodia.   Research Photo HHM

As early as 1855, a German scientist identified  mangostin as a powerful antioxidant, known as  xanthone, which appeared to fight infection, fungus, bacteria, and cancer. 

 Over 210 xanthones have been identified in nature, and over 40 of those have been found in the pericarp of mangostin.