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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.

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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Nirmala Panta rape, murder case : Locals protest after wrong suspect paraded

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BHIMDUTTANAGAR — Locals who were protesting against the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality, have enforced shutdown in Bhimduttanagar Bazaar on Tuesday, protesting police’s failure to reveal facts behind the murder of 13-year-old girl and parading wrong suspect on Monday.

The District Police Office, organising a press conference on Monday,had made public Dilip Singh Bista (41), of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality-19 as Nirmala’s murderer.

Locals have shut down the market area stating that police were not being able to make public the true murderer(s) as they are not convinced by the findings of police citing that Bista was mentally unsound, according to the District Police Office.

Transportation has also been halted.

Bista, a resident of Khanna Chauraha area in Bhimdutta Municipality-19, was apprehended near the scene of crime on Sunday, according to police.

Police making public the wrong suspect has infuriated the locals and fueled the protest.

The agitators including various civil society organisations and human rights defenders have been picketing the District Administration Office and staging rally on the street mounting pressure on the police to reveal the facts behind the heinous crime.

Meanwhile, it had been learnt that police have fired rounds of teargas shells to contain the agitated mob.

Nirmala was found murdered in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

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