Yoga in Diabetes

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Kutty BM, Raju TR. New vistas in treating diabetes–insight into a holistic approach. Indian J Med Res. 2010 May;131:606-7. PubMed PMID: 20516530.

Kutty and Raju, researchers in the Department of Neurophysiology at the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences in Bangalore, note that in India, presently about 30 million people are diabetic which will rise to about 60 million by 2017.

They undertook a meta-analysis of studies of yoga and meditation in the treatment of diabetes, with the following conclusion:

Practice of yoga and meditation is known to induce hypometabolic state with parasympathetic predominance, suggesting that yogic practices per se would create a conducive internal atmosphere from the cellular to system level. This would help to manage the stress and anxiety effectively in addition to its positive regulatory role on other systems. Considering its health there is a need to integrate yoga in the conventional treatment regimen as an adjunct/add on therapy for an effective treatment of DM. This paper provides a convincing evidence for the effectiveness of combination therapy over conventional treatment in enhancing cognitive functions in diabetes. More studies need to be carried out along this line, in order to increase awareness among public.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Foreign Affairs – The World Ahead

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“The World Ahead,” a special issue of Foreign Affairs, presents essays on the impact of resurgent religions, transforming technologies, demographic implosions, food shortages, energy competitions, and educational rivalries.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton writes on civilian power abroad. Roger C. Altman, CEO of Evercore Partners, and Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, propose that the US end its debt addiction now, before global markets turn punitive. Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, offers evidence that economic security and not military security is the key to US foreign policy. And Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, writes on enhancing US education and competitiveness.

White Paper – Price Regulation and Incentives to Innovate in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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Friederiszick H, Tosini N, Véricourt F, Wakeman S. An Economic Assessment of the Relationship between Price Regulation and Incentives to Innovate in the Pharmaceutical Industry. ESMT White Paper. ESMT No. WP-109–03. 2009.

A comprehensive study exploring the possible consequences that pricing and reimbursement regulation may have on pharmaceutical innovation, and presenting a model in which the effect of pricing regulation on pharmaceutical innovation can be quantitatively evaluated.

Noting that worldwide the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industry is ranked highest in R&D expenditures, the authors find that, “In designing optimal pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement regulation, the benefits of more affordable or cost-effective drugs must be traded against the costs of less pharmaceutical innovation, with fewer projects being developed in general and in particular in low-margin therapeutic areas and with little potential of being considered highly innovative at the time of market launch.”

They also note that a country’s willingness to pay for different types of products may also vary because of cultural factors:

“For instance, countries such as France seem to put high value on—and therefore have a high willingness to pay for—products that treat serious, life-threatening conditions, even if those conditions are rare and the treatments have low probability of success (e.g., experimental treatments for rare forms of cancer). By contrast, countries such as the U.K. appear to place greater value on products that have greater chances of being effective in improving the life of a large number of people, even though those improvements may be only minor.”

Recommended. Read the full report here.

Jessica Gaynor Dance (x, y, z)

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Jessica Gaynor Dance
Triskelion Arts
Brooklyn, NY
20 November 2010

(x,y,z)
Choreography: Jessica Gaynor
Dancers: Jonathan Ciccarelli, Ashlie Kittleson, Jake Laub, Blythe Proffitt, Jordan Risdon, Julia Sabangan, Angel Vasquez
Music: Devin Maxwell
Set Design: David Gaynor

Working to an utterly original choreographic sequence possibly with inflections of Merce, an architectural set and a propulsive score, seven exceptionally gifted performers find solos, duets, and corps expressions that do not let up for an hour of pure dance.

Saturday night was sold out – one more chance tomorrow at 8.

Jessica Gaynor Dance will be performing again on 5-6 January 2011 at Dance Theater Workshop, as part of the Emerging Arts Showcase presented by Gotham Arts Exchange. Info

Update on Vaccine Strategies to Improve Cancer Treatment

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Palena C, Schlom J. Vaccines against human carcinomas: strategies to improve antitumor immune responses. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2010;2010:380697. Epub 2010 Mar 16. Review. PubMed PMID: 20300434; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2840411.

NCI researchers review the evidence for vaccine strategies against cancers. Topics include choice of
vaccine-delivery systems; tumor antigens; targeting of molecules that control metastasis; enhancing activation of tumor-specific T-cells; cytokines as vaccine adjuvants; vaccines in combination with cytotoxic drugs, radiation therapy, and small molecule targeted therapy.

From the conclusion:

“The combination of cancer vaccines with other therapeutical modalities, in particular established therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy, as well as small molecule targeted therapies, provides an opportunity to further improve the outcome of vaccine interventions against cancer. Moreover, several studies also indicated that patients who receive a cancer vaccine have an enhanced outcome to subsequent therapies, thus providing another possible approach for the use of cancer vaccines prior to other cancer interventions. A prospective randomized trial is being initiated to substantiate these findings. Unlike other modalities, cancer vaccines have so far demonstrated no associated toxicities and therefore their use could not only result in improved patient survival but also in improvements in quality of life.”

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Green Tea and Prostate Cancer

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Pandey M, Gupta S. Green tea and prostate cancer: from bench to clinic. Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2009 Jun 1;1:13-25. PubMed PMID: 19482620; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2728057.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University review the evidence for green tea in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. Their setup is irresistible:

“Green tea, the most popular beverage next to water, is a rich source of tea catechins and has potential to be developed as a chemopreventive agent for prostate cancer. For centuries it has been used in traditional medicine in Far-East countries. Male populations in these countries where large quantities of green tea are consumed on regular basis have the lowest incidence of prostate cancer.”

Panday and Gupta provide a comprehensive introduction to the disease and green tea as a preventive and therapeutic agent in prostate cancer and make a clear case for the need to study biomarkers of the various pathways that are influenced by green tea polyphenols in this indication.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

New York Film Festival – Mistérios de Lisboa / Mysteries of Lisbon

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10 October
New York Film Festival
Mysteries of Lisbon (Mistérios de Lisboa)
Raúl Ruiz, 2010, Portugal/France, 272m

Léa Seydoux … Branca de Montfort
Melvil Poupaud … Ernesto Lacroze
Clotilde Hesme … Elisa de Montfort
José Afonso Pimentel … Pedro da Silva Adulto
Catarina Wallenstein … Condessa de Arosa
Maria João Bastos … Ângela de Lima
Lena Friedrich … Moçoila
Filipe Vargas … D. Paulo de Albuquerque
Malik Zidi … Visconde Armagnac
Joana Pinhão Botelho … Criadita
Albano Jerónimo … Conde de Santa Bárbara
Ricardo Pereira … Alberto de Magalhães & Come-Facas
Carloto Cotta … D. Álvaro de Albuquerque
Adriano Luz … Padre Dinis & Sabino Cabra & Sebastião de Melo
Margarida Vila-Nova … Marquesa de Alfarela

A breathtaking visualization of Camilo Castelo Branco’s 1854 “diary of suffering” Mistérios de Lisboa. Distilled from a 6-hour television production.

The story begins and ends with teenage boy living under the care of a mysterious priest and desperate to discover his parentage. Gradually introduced to his mother, a beautiful countess married to a sadistic nobleman, the boy slowly learns pieces of his story, always a step behind us, with tragic consequences.

Layers of confession, penance and forgiveness. Expert art direction and camerawork, including one unforgettable sequence in which the narrator’s mother gives permission for the priest to tell her son the story of his birth. Opens in sun, which becomes overcast as she withdraws.

Update: US Distributor – Music Box Films (2011)

New York Choreographic Institute 10th Anniversary Celebration

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New York Choreographic Institute
Tenth Anniversary
Miller Theatre at Columbia University
6 November 2010

Seven world premieres by Jessica Lang, Larry Keigwin, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky and a select list of new choreographers, produced in collaboration with a winning panel of young composers, created on a dream troupe of dancers led by prima ballerinas Wendy Whelan, Sara Mearns, Ashley Bouder, and Megan Fairchild, and introducing a new generation of knockout artists from the School of American Ballet. Oh, and with a live performance of the scores by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble.

Perhaps the city’s best-kept dance secret. Don’t let anybody know. Can’t wait to see what they do next.

2010 Fall Session
Tale of a Chinese Zodiac
Choreography: Justin Peck
Music: Sufjan Stevens
Year of the Ox, Year of the Tiger, and Year of the Boar from Run Rabbit Run
Dancers: Meaghen Dutton-O’Hara, Angelica Generosa, Alexandra Hughes, Misa Kasamatsu, Emily Kikra, Chloe Sherman, Lindsay Turkel, Austin Bachman, Joseph Gordon, John Poppe, Aaron Sanz, Joshua Thornton, Peter Walker

Mandala
Choreographer: Darius Barnes
Composer: Kyle Blaha
Dancers: Ashly Isaacs, Lauren Lovette, Erica Pereira, Kristin Segin, Zachary Catazaro, Chase Finlay, Allen Peiffer, Taylor Stanley

Droplet
Choreographer: Jessica Lang
Composer: Jakub Ciupinski
Simple Music
Dancers: Wendy Whelan, Craig Hall

For Sascha
Choreography: Marco Goecke
Composer: Matthew Fuerst
String Quartet
Dancers: Marika Anderson, Gretchen Smith, Daniel Applebaum, Sean Suozzi

Tribute to Professor Pia Gilbert
Composer: Daniel Ott
An Inflorescence

Falling
Choreographer: Larry Keigwin
Dancers: Megan Fairchild, Tiler Peck, Antonio Carmena, Joaquin De Luz, Andrew Veyette

Sara Solo
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Dancer: Sara Mearns

Untitled
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky
Dancers: Ashley Bouder, Ana Sophia Scheller, David Prottas, Christian Tworzyanski

Music performed by American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Clarice Jensen, Music Director
Rob Moose, violin; Caleb Burhans, violin; Nadia Sirota, violin; Clarice Jensen, cello; Kelli Kathman, flute; Bill Kalinkos, clarinet; Taka Kigawa, piano; Chris Thompson, percussion

New York Film Festival – Le quattro volte / The Four Times

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26 September

New York Film Festival

Le quattro volte / The Four Times
Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010
 Italy/Germany/France, 88m
A Lorber films release.

Michelangelo Frammartino traces the cycle of life through the daily rituals of people in the southern Italian region of Calabria. Home of Pythagoras – where dust is the soul become visible.

Smoke from the Earth. A sick old man and his goats. A dusty church is under water, it produces medicine. David Lynch.

The rhythm of village life. Cross, Roman Soldiers, Christ – pageant. A dog and a truck. Escape of snails and goats. Death and the low frequencies.

An amazing sequence, a triumph of comic timing, done in one take. The old man’s dog first barks to move people around, then removes a stone block holding a truck, which then crashes into the goat pen and releases them. Not to be missed.

A little goat lost – “Maa!” A big tree and the solemn death of a kid.

Observational. Episodic – seemingly unconstructed. Frederic Wiseman. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The story of charcoal. Film as memory and history.

The director lived with shepherds and goats for two years in the village of his family.

Winner of Palme Dog at Cannes. Only professional was the dog.

Dust is the projection on the screen.

New York Film Festival – Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives


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25 September
New York Film Festival
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
 (Thai: ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ, RTGS: Lung Bunmi Raluek Chat)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010, UK/Thailand/France/Germany/Spain, 113m. A Strand release.

Thanapat Saisaymar as Uncle Boonmee
Jenjira Pongpas as Jen
Sakda Kaewbuadee as Thong
Natthakarn Aphaiwong as Huay, Boonmee’s wife
Jeerasak Kulhong as Boonsong, Boonmee’s son
Kanokporn Thongaram as Roong, Jen’s friend
Samud Kugasang as Jai, Boonmee’s chief worker
Wallapa Mongkolprasert as the princess
Sumit Suebsee as the soldier
Vien Pimdee as the farmer

“Uncle Boonmee” opens to a black screen accompanied by forest sounds. “I am obsessed by sound,” says director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Weerasethakul and his production team had collected a huge library of jungle sounds from previous projects, and this film is the beneficiary.

Set in Thailand’s rural northeast, “Uncle Boonmee” tells the story of a farmer dying from kidney failure, who is tended to by loved ones and visited by the ghosts of his wife and son in his last days.

Throughout, sounds are very important. Pages turning in a photo album. Fragments of conversation, “I don’t know if I’ll like it here – all these ghosts and migrant workers.” And bugs.

Uncle has killed too many communists and bugs in his quest for tamarind and honey. His karma is not too good.

A fairy tale, the princess and the catfish.

Boonmee’s dream, photos, the future. His final cave dream. Past people – monkey ghosts. The scream of the forest.

A closing scene with Jen, her friend, and a monk. Simultaneously in hotel room watching television, and in a Karaoke bar. A disruption in time. What is reality, what is illusion?

“Uncle Boonmee” is the final installment in Weerasethakul’s multi-platform art project, called “Primitive,” which deals with the director’s homeland – the Isan region, just by the border with Laos. His script was inspired by a sermon book written by a local monk who recorded the story of the old man who claimed to have recalled his previous incarnations. It consists of six reels each shot in a distinct Thai cinematic style.

The movie opens with a water buffalo running across a broad plain, who is found, recaptured, and brought (with resistance) back to his place. Then we meet Boonmee, nearing the end of his life, as his veranda becomes a meeting place for spirits from his past: the ghost of his beloved wife, and his son, now a “monkey ghost” who have come to watch over Boonmee and usher him onward, along with his living family.

“Uncle Boonmee” premiered in competition at Cannes on 21 May 2010, where it won the Palme d’Or – the first Asian film to win the award since 1997 and the first Thai film to win the award.

From the director:

“I believe in the transmigration of souls between humans, plants, animals, and ghosts. Uncle Boonmee’s story shows the relationship between man and animal and at the same time destroys the line dividing them. When the events are represented through cinema, they become shared memories of the crew, the cast, and the public. A new layer of (simulated) memory is augmented in the audience’s experience. In this regard, filmmaking is not unlike creating synthetic past lives.”

Audio over closing credits. A song – Acrophobia by Penguin Villa.