Monday, April 07, 2008


One day I am going to find a research report in the medical journals that renders me speechless. The one below came close. A persuasive research report requires a control group and the study below has one. But it is a useless control group. The Tai Chi exponents could more usefully have been compared with themselves before undertaking the program. Instead BOTH groups undertook the program and it is their responses which are reported below. What was needed was for the control group to complete some program that was NOT Tai Chi but which was equivalent in degree of exertion, time spent etc. I would not pass this as as an adequate research design from a third-year student. It is utterly and completely brainless. Yet here is it in a medical journal. I am sure the public believe that medical research is conducted according to the highest standards. I am inclined to think that it is the field where standards are lowest.

Regular Tai Chi Chuan exercise improves T cell helper function of type 2 DM patients with an increase in T-bet transcription factor and IL-12 production

By Shu-Hui Yeh et al.

BACKGROUND-- Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM); its benefit to immune function, however, remains to be determined.

OBJECTIVE-- This study investigated the effect of a 12-week course of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) exercise on T cell helper (Th) reaction in type 2 DM patients.

DESIGN AND METHODS -- This study was a case-control design. Thirty pairs of type 2 DM patients and normal age-matched adults completed this study. Fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, mediators (IL-12, IL-4 and TGFfO) and transcription factors (T-bet, GATA-3 and FoxP3) of Th1/Th2/T regulatory (Treg) reaction were measured before and after a 12-week TCC exercise program.

RESULTS -- Fasting glucose and HbA1c levels in the participating type 2 DM patients were significantly higher than age-matched controls before exercise. After the TCC exercise, HbA1c levels in type 2 DM patients significantly decreased (7.59 ­Ó 0.32 vs. 7.16 ­Ó 0.22 %; P= 0.047), along with a significant increase of blood IL-12 levels (5.96 ­Ó 1.10 vs. 12.96 ­Ó 3.07; P = 0.035). To probe molecular Th1/Th2/Treg reaction, we found that type 2 DM patients had lower T-bet, but not GATA-3 or FoxP3 expression than normal controls before TCC exercise. After the 12-week TCC exercise, T-bet expression significantly increased in type 2 DM patients.

CONCLUSIONS -- A 12-week TCC exercise program decreases HbA1c levels, along with increase of the Th1 reaction. A combination of TCC with medication may provide even better in both metabolism and immunity of type 2 DM patients.

Br J Sports Med. 2 April 2008

Australian doctors welcome new schizophrenia drug

HEALTH experts have welcomed a drug introduced to treat schizophrenia. They hope the Federal Government's decision to subsidise the atypical antipsychotic Invega, which reduces the worst side effects of older-style drugs, will encourage patients to keep taking their medication and help them re-integrate into society.

Dr Harry Hustig has been treating eight patients with Invega (paliperidone) as part of a clinical trial at Glenside Psychiatric Hospital in Adelaide. He said studies showed three-quarters of schizophrenics stop taking their drugs within two years because of side effects such as shaking, sexual dysfunction, restlessness, sedation and weight gain, while others turn to alcohol and drug abuse.

Pharmaceutical company Janssen-Cilag said Invega adjusted the imbalance of two brain neurotransmitters - dopamine and serotonin - involved in schizophrenia and used innovative delayed-release technology to ensure a continuous level in the bloodstream over a 24-hour period. Invega became available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme last week and is expected to save the taxpayer up to $1 million over five years.

Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW chief executive Rob Ramjan said: "Some argue there is no need for medication in mental health and it's a socially constructed concept but the illness is horrendous. "If you have spent time with someone having an acute episode they're going through torture."

Schizophrenia affects 1 to 2 per cent of the population. It typically develops in adolescence or early 20s and causes hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, hearing "voices" and psychosis.


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