Category Archives: Uncategorized

Study: Chinese Scullcap Shows Promise for Relief from Chemotherapy-Induced Cardiotoxicity

Sara M. Woods Kender

A peer-reviewed study, published on May 14, 2022, reports that compounds extracted from a plan might provide relief to cancer patients suffering from cardiotoxicity induced by chemotherapy treatments. Researchers in the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mansoura University in Egypt showed that the use of the flavonoid baicalin extracted from the Chinese Scullcap plant (Scutellariae baicalenses) and given to mice prior to and during dministering Doxorubicin (Dox: a chemotherapeutic agent) “ameliorated” Doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, a common side-effect of using this drug. The mice were given 100 mg/kg/day of baicalin (BA) for four weeks and were challenged with Dox (6 i.p. doses, each 2.5 mg/kg), every other day with a final cumulative dose of 15 mg/kg.

Serum activities of cardiac biomarkers were assessed along with histopathological examination of the heart tissues. Pretreatment with BA significantly prevented Dox-induced elevation of serum activities of cardiac biomarkers and alterations to the heart. BA was also observed to suppress the gene over expression of cardiac TLR4 (toll-like receptor 4) subsequently reducing inflammation markers and inducers NF-kB and IL-1b. BA was also observed to reverse the
reduction in cardiac glutathione (another known side-effect of the chemo drug) as well as malondialdehyde (MDA) a known marker of oxidative stress.

This study shows promise in prevention of known cardiotoxicity induced by this chemo agent and is consistent with the use of Chinese Scullcap for overall inflammation in various herbal formulations. While this study uses the single constituent baicalin, this plant is known to contain many other flavonoids, including wogonin, neobaicalein, and skullcapflavone, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Note a study from 2005 reported that these constituents (including baicalin) were observed to inhibit prostate cancer tumors growth.

Some practitioners use Chinese Scullcap in various formulations, for example, a whole plant extract for overall inflammation useful for arthritis, circulatory inflammation, and those prone to allergic rhinitis, asthma, and Lyme-induced inflammation of the joints and circulatory system. I combine this root with Ginger root (Zingiber officinale), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum), Hawthorn (Cratagus spp), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), frankincense resin (Boswellia spp). Patients seeking relief have reported that this multiherb approach alleviates pain and inflammation and reduces over-all reactive states associated with allergies.


Promising Cardioprotective Effect of Baicalin in Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity through Targeting TLR4/NF-κB and Wnt/β-Catenin Pathways – ScienceDirect

For more information on herbs and their

New Scientific Study Finds Evidence of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Efficacy for Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

March 26, 2022

HBOT at 1.5 ATA oxygen Promotes Symptomatic and Cognitive Improvements for Patients with mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Persistent Postconcussion Syndrome in a Narrow Range of Pressure

New Orleans, LA — March 26, 2022: Today, IPAK announced the publication of a systematic review (latest study) on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) efficacy in mild traumatic brain injury Persistent Postconcussion Syndrome (PPCS).

Following multiple randomized and randomized controlled studies, the review found HBOT at 1.5 ATA oxygen to provide improvements in symptoms and cognition for patients with mild traumatic brain injury. These improvements — ranging from solely symptomatic to both cognitive and symptomatic — are significant enough to satisfy recommendations set in place for HBOT treatments by the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  The systematic review concludes that HBOT meets the highest level of scientific evidence and merits a Grade A Practice Recommendation, that HBOT should be delivered to patients with persistent postconcussion syndrome unless a “clear and compelling rationale for an alternative approach is present.”

Dr. Paul Harch, principal investigator for the study, says the contribution is reassuring to those questioning the efficacy of HBOT. “This scientific review brings clarity at last to the confusion and controversy surrounding traumatic brain injury and hyperbaric oxygen therapy,” he said. “The Level 1 Evidence and Grade A Practice Recommendation will allow this life and quality-of-life-saving therapy to give people back their lives.”

Patients undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy by breathing increased oxygen while under increased pressure. This allows the lungs to dissolve increased amounts of oxygen in blood that is delivered by the circulation to all areas of the body, especially those wounded tissues with less oxygen.  In conjunction with the increased amount of pressure the oxygen and pressure stimulate the body’s natural healing process to repair the wounds in traumatic brain injury.

Harch’s study reviewed how the intensity of oxygen dosage and pressure impacted treatment, finding that both positive and negative results occurred with high and low doses.  Surprisingly, the most influential effects occurred with increased pressure within a narrow range.  The elucidation of the independent and combined effects of oxygen and pressure for the first time in the 360-year history of hyperbaric medicine represents a key advance to the field of hyperbaric medicine, medicine, and neurorehabilitation.

More importantly, this is uplifting news for patients with PPCS, who can experience concussion-like symptoms even when at rest, as well as following physical and/or cognitive exertion. Over time, this may significantly impact their sleep, behavioral, cognitive, and physical performance.

PPCS is experienced by 10-15% of individuals who’ve experienced a concussion, including high school athletes, and as many as 44% of those with loss of consciousness.  Currently, there is no standard of care for the treatment of individuals with PPCS.  This systematic review now shows that there is more than hope, there is treatment.

About Paul G. Harch, M.D.: Paul G. Harch is a hyperbaric medicine clinician and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Section of Emergency Medicine, LSU School of Medicine, New Orleans. Two of the studies in the systematic review were published by Dr. Harch under LSU’s IRB approval.  Dr. Harch’s research with hyperbaric oxygen treatment has encompassed a wide range of neurological conditions, including decompression sickness, Alzheimer’s Disease, traumatic brain injury and childhood drowning.



Paul G. Harch, M.D. (LSU) or James Lyons-Weiler, PhD



Mushroom Compounds Offer Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease

Double-blinded study shows promising results in prevention

Timo Mendez, ScienceWeekly.Us Reporter

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the fifth leading cause of death in elderly adults according to researchers in Taiwan. The progressive disease can heavily deteriorate the life and independence of an individual, sometimes just years after showing the first symptoms.

Now, those same researchers are investigating whether a specific species of mushroom might offer hope. The mushroom, known to scientists as Hericium erinaceus, is commonly known as The Lion’s Mane Mushroom. Lion’s Mane is a gourmet edible mushroom that possesses neuroprotective properties. These could help prevent or improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Hericium erinaceus mushroom growing from old rotting trunk. Source: NCBioteacher WikiCommons.

While many studies conducted on cell cultures and mice show promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s with Hericium erinaceus, a limited number of extensive clinical trials have been performed. The research team led by I-Chen Li from the Biotech Research Institute in Taoyuan City, Taiwan conducted a study to test the efficacy of these mushrooms for patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. They published their study in June 2020 in the section “Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias”  from the peer-reviewed scientific journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

This 49-week double-blind study used 2 parallel groups; one was fed three 5 mg/g capsules with Hericium erinaceus extract per day while the placebo group received identical-looking placebo capsules. Throughout the study period, data from ophthalmic examinations, biomarker collection, neuroimaging, and cognitive tests were collected to measure the effects of the treatment.

The researchers saw the potential in Hericium erinaceus because two important, low-molecular weight chemicals had previously been isolated and studied from this mushroom. These relatively hydrophobic compounds, Hericenones and Erinacines, have been proven to stimulate nerve growth factor synthesis, an important biochemical for the growth of nerve cells.

The team used Erinacines in particular because evidence suggests that they are capable of easily passing the blood-brain barrier. What makes Erinacines interesting is that they are not actually produced in large quantities by the mushroom fruiting bodies but instead they are produced in the mycelium, the underground white “roots” of the fungus. For this reason, researchers made an extract from the cultivated mycelium of Hericium erinaceus that contained high quantities of Erinacines.

The results of this study show that subjects with mild Alzheimer’s Disease consuming Hericium erinaceus capsules showed improvement in their cognitive abilities. Patients receiving the mushroom capsules had remarkably high scores in cognitive tests and neutral examinations. The authors of the study believe that this may be associated with the improvement of blood biomarkers and the reduced structural deterioration in certain parts of the brain.

This is good news for many individuals personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike other major diseases, which have shown progress in the development of novel therapies, no new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved since 2003. Researchers suggest that this is because of the challenging nature of this disease which may cause damage for years before the onset of symptoms.

In addition to showing promise as a natural way to help treat or prevent mild cases of Alzheimer’s disease, Hericium erinaceus could also improve our understanding of neurology and cognitive health. By understanding how Hericium erinaceus reacts in the body, researchers hope to gain deeper insights into the cryptic workings of the brain and how to develop new medicines to fight this illness.

The study is available online.


Li, I., et al. “Prevention of early Alzheimer’s disease by erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelia pilot double-blind placebo-controlled study.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 12 (2020): 155.

Timo Mendez is an environmental scientist, naturalist, and writer. His work mostly focuses on topics related to mushrooms and organic gardening.

Combination of Two Over-the-Counter Drugs Reduces COVID-19 Inpatient Death Rate

Birmingham, Ala. – Treating severe and critical hospitalized COVID-19 patients using two common over-the-counter (OTC) drugs reduced the inpatient death rates down to 15.5%, compared to published inpatient fatality rates of 21 to 25.7% in New York City, Louisiana, and the United Kingdom.  Thus, in essence the dual-drug treatment resulted in a one third reduction in the rate of death in hospitalized patients.  They also reduced the intubation rate down to only 16.4% in these high acuity inpatients. The clinical research findings were published in August 2020 in the journal – Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

The drug combination included an antihistamine and an antacid, commonly found on shelves and safely used for decades.  These two medications, cetirizine (e.g., Zyrtec(TM)) and famotidine (Pepcid(TM)), work to block H1 and H2 histamine receptors, producing a one-two punch against inflammation and presumably blocking the cytokine storm, according to Reed Hogan, II MD, of GI Associates in Jackson, Mississippi.  Hogan initiated this collaboration with pulmonologists from Jackson Pulmonary Associates, who were treating COVID-19 inpatients.  “I wanted to see if we blunt the cytokine storm with medications anyone in the world can find and afford,” said Hogan.

The physician-sponsored cohort study analyzed a group of 110 severe and critical inpatients with an average age of 63.7. Based in Mississippi, where general health is often compromised due to socio-economic issues, these very ill patients averaged a high 2.7 in co-morbidities, most notably hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. Of those patients, 59 percent were African-American and 59 percent female.

While many of the other current medical treatments for COVID-19 require expensive drugs or biologics, this protocol uses affordable drugs already on pharmacy shelves. The savings potential could reduce treatment to less than $50 in drug costs, a boon for people without health insurance.

While other research since the initial study shows that famotidine alone may not effective in hospitalized patients, the original study provides evidence of the treatment effectiveness of famotidine in combination with cetirizine in hospitalized patients.

It also appears that H1 histamine receptor antagonists alone are effective in elderly patients, but not in hospitalized elderly patients.

“The two OTC drugs are historically safe, inexpensive, and are readily accessible within both affluent and impoverished countries across the globe.  Blocking histamine to reduce inflammation in COVID-19 patients is logical,” said Thomas P. Dooley, Ph.D. a Birmingham, Ala.-based drug developer, collaborator, and coauthor on the study. The two histamine-blocking drugs are already approved for other medical indications by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), therefore physicians may choose to use this new approach off-label. 

Testing on a larger scale in controlled randomized trials is warranted by these initial favorable results, according to Hogan.

SOURCE: Tom Dooley

Pre-term births in Tennessee decreased during pandemic

crop parents communicating with newborn baby in arms

First evidence that pre-term births decreased during lock-down. Researchers used Tennessee birth records from 2015 to 2020 to examine the odds of preterm birth in the state during the 2020 COVID-19 stay-at-home order compared with the same periods in 2015 to 2019.

Statewide stay-at-home orders put in place as Tennessee fought to control the spread of coronavirus last March were associated with a 14% lower rate of preterm birth, according to a research letter published today in JAMA Pediatrics.

Preterm infants have higher morbidity and mortality risks than babies born at term.

Senior author Stephen Patrick, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy and a neonatologist at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and his colleagues had observed in March that there appeared to be fewer infants than usual in the NICU at the children’s hospital. Along with colleagues at Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the team aimed to test if these anecdotal observations were related to the statewide lockdown order.

crop parents communicating with newborn baby in arms
Photo credit: Anna Shvets

The study is the first in the US to confirm the trend that more persons staying at home, essentially on forced bed rest, reduced the number of late pre-term infants (34-35 weeks).

“Preterm birth affects 1-in-10 infants nationwide, taking a substantial toll on children, families and communities,” Patrick said. “Our study, coupled with similar studies from Europe, provide initial evidence that COVID-19 stay at home orders were associated with reductions in spontaneous preterm birth. While encouraging, we need to ensure other pregnancy complications, like stillbirth, did not increase during this time period.”

Statewide stay-at-home orders in Tennessee were announced March 22 and expired on April 30. Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC collaborated to determine if the odds of pre-term birth during the stay-at-home orders in Tennessee were lower as compared with the same periods in 2015-2019 in Tennessee.

There were 49,845 births among Tennessee residents during the study period. The pre-term birth rate during the 2020 stay-at-home order was lower than rates in previous years (10.2% vs. 11.3%); late pre-term (35-36 weeks gestation) birth rates were also lower (5.8% vs. 6.5%).

“The overall decrease in preterm birth we saw during Tennessee COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order was driven by reductions among infants born late preterm, 35-36 weeks gestation,” said lead author Elizabeth Harvey, PhD, MPH, Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist at CDC Division of Reproductive Health.

“Although we saw less infants born preterm, we also saw infants born during this time required more respiratory assistance at birth, which may suggest they were sicker and warrants further investigation,” she added.

Future research could explore whether other US states observed similar reductions, Patrick said, and how obstetric interventions for fetal and maternal complications, or lack thereof, may have contributed.

SOURCE: CREDIT: Craig Boerner

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