четверг, 25 ноября 2010 г.

Naturopathic Doctors Call For Real Health Care Reform

More than 100 naturopathic doctors and supporters will descend on Capitol Hill Monday to advocate for an overhaul of the nation’s health care system. Advocates from across the country will ask their Members of Congress to support H.Con.Res.58, a resolution that would transform the health care system from one that manages disease to one rooted in prevention, health promotion, and wellness.
“The health care system must address the underlying factors that lead to chronic disease,” says Karen Howard, Executive Director of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. “Nearly forty percent of all U.S. deaths are from heart disease, and more than two thirds of Americans are overweight. Clearly, the current system doesn’t do enough to prevent these costly health conditions. We need to move past this broken model and create a system that focuses on overall health, wellness, and enabling the body’s natural healing process.”
Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors teach their patients to use lifestyle changes and cutting-edge natural therapies to enhance the body’s ability to ward off and combat disease. Naturopathic doctors craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but also to restore health.
“Today, our definition of ‘wellness’ is limited to drug screening, vaccinations, and other preventative strategies such as drug therapy,” continues Howard. “But we drastically undervalue how changing behavior can prevent disease. If the nation is to move past the current health care crisis, we must adopt a patient-centered health care model that will restore and maintain optimal health.”
Currently, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, postgraduate naturopathic medical school and to pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.

четверг, 18 ноября 2010 г.

Structure of a protein related to heart and nervous system health revealed

University of Michigan researchers have solved the structure of a protein that is integral to processes responsible for maintaining a healthy heart and nervous system. The protein structure in question is cystathionine beta-synthase, known as CBS. CBS uses vitamin B6 to make hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a gaseous signaling molecule that helps maintain a healthy heart and nervous system. H2S also induces a state of suspended animation or hibernation in animals by decreasing body temperature and lowering metabolic rate.
The work to decode the structure was led by Ruma Banerjee, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the U-M Medical Schoool, Janet Smith, Ph.D., a research professor at the U-M Life Sciences Institute, and their colleagues. Their findings are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The structure of full-length CBS, which has eluded the science community for more than a decade, provides a wealth of new information about gas generation by CBS, which is especially important in the brain," says Banerjee, the study's senior author and the Vincent Massey Collegiate Professor of Biological Chemistry and associate chair of biological chemistry . "It also provides a framework for understanding homocystinuria-causing mutations."
Mutations in the gene for CBS cause homocystinuria, an inherited disorder that affects the central nervous system, ocular, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems.
The structure of the full-length CBS, seen here for the first time, provides a molecular explanation for homocystinuria due to CBS defects.
The activity of CBS is increased by SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), a dietary supplement that is used for its anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory activities. SAMe also increases production of H2S by binding to CBS.
"Molecular insights into the architecture of the CBS domain to which SAMe binds open doors to rational drug design for fine-tuning H2S production for pharmaceutical purposes," says colleague Markos Koutmos, Ph.D., a research investigator in Smith's research group .
"We captured the CBS enzyme at two points in its complex chemical reaction by trapping two highly reactive chemical intermediates in the active site of the enzyme," says researcher Omer Kabil, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Banerjee's lab. The structures of these trapped species reveal details of how vitamin B6 helps CBS perform the complex chemical reactions leading to H2S production.
"The important chemical details we see in CBS can be applied to understanding the other human enzymes that depend on vitamin B6, of which there are more than 50," says Smith, who in addition to her LSI position is also the Martha L. Ludwig Professor of Protein Structure & Function in the Department of Biological Chemistry of the Medical School.