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Herbal remedies are perilous, warn researchers

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You may think that herbal health remedies are completely safe to use. But, the Baylor College of Medicine and Stony Brook University researchers claim that these remedies are really a wellbeing risk.

The use of herbal remedies has no guarantee of their safety as many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances, they said.

As per the study, the long term uses of these remedies are actually a health hazard. These remedies can cause acid nephropathy (AAN).

The symptoms include interstitial nephritis, renal failure and cancers of the urinary track.

The report, which is based on the 1997-2003 data taken from eight million people exposed to the plant in Taiwan, has been published in journal European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) reports.

The researchers found that Aristolochia’s compound called aristolactam can upset the DNA in renal tissues. It causes the malfunction in the TP53 tumour suppressor gene, consequently causing kidney cancer, sometimes even liver and bladder cancer.

Studies of patients with renal failure and cancer in Taiwan and China show that tens of millions of people in those countries are at risk of AAN.

In genetically susceptible people, consuming Aristolochia can lead to the formation of complexes between aristolactam, a compound in Aristolachia, and DNA in renal tissues.

These complexes lead to mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene, which in turn initiate the process toward kidney cancer. Additional studies have shown that this process may also lead to the development of cancer in the liver and the bladder, researchers Donald Marcus, professor emeritus at Baylor and Arthur Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, explained.

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Although Aristolochia has been used as a herbal remedy for more than 2,000 years, “the intrinsic toxicities were not recognised, owing, in large part, to the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptomatic disease, and, in part, to genetic determinants that confer susceptibility to only approximately five percent of those exposed to this herb”, said the authors.

The researchers point out that their findings do not necessarily belittle the use of traditional healing practices.

They only want to shed light on the possible health problems of handing out treatments that have not been scientifically proven to be safe.

They hope that this will encourage health authorities to take actions to improve patient safety and treatment efficacy.

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Health

HOTC sees remarkable success rate on kidney transplant

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HOTC sees remarkable success rate on kidney transplant

BHAKTAPUR — Shahid Dharmabhakta National Human Organ Transplant Centre (HOTC), Bhaktapur has successfully undertaken transplant of over 400 kidneys.

Hospital’s Executive Director Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha, at a press conference organised here on Friday, informed that the Centre has so far successfully transplanted kidneys on 404 patients.

The Centre had initiated the kidney transplant service on January 19, 2013.

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The inflow of patients has alarmingly increased at the facility with the start of additional medical services such as urology, gastro surgery, cardio therapy, stone removal surgery along with other surgeries, besides kidney transplant, said Prof Dr Rakesh Verma.

However, the patients are compelled to wait for the transplant for long due to limited building space and availability of beds.

Right now, around 400 patients are waiting their turns for kidney transplant and more than this number are waiting to avail of dialysis service.

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