Tuesday, 14 August 2012



What kind of name is this – MONK FRUIT????

When I heard this name… I was surprised too…

One of my brilliant student, Ishu Gupta asked me about this fruit. Seriously, I had no idea what this fruit was all about??? Why it’s called as monk fruit?? Where it produce?? What medicinal properties this fruit has??? Etc.. Etc… so many questions???

So, finally I did a lot of research on this monk fruit with the help of Google and pub med, and trust me, I was astonished by its properties...

Here I am…

MONK FRUIT (Siraitia grosvenorii)

Monk Fruit is also known as Luo Han Guo (luohanguo) refers to the fruit of Siraitia grosvenori, formerly called Momordica grosvenori, a member of the Curcubitaceae. Monk fruit has traditionally been grown on steep forested mountains in small family orchards. According to legend, monk fruit is named after the Buddhist monks who first cultivated it nearly 800 years ago. Ever since then it has been treasured for its health-giving powers and its unique low-calorie sweetness. Monk fruit (Luohanguo) is primarily grown in southern China, mainly in Guangxi Province, with most of the product from the mountains of Guilin. The steep mountains provide shade and they are frequently surrounded by mists that further protect against excessive sun, yet the temperature in this southern province is warm. The wild plant is rare, thus luohanguo has been cultivated in the region for many years. With the time, the plant also travelled to a few more countries in the South –East Asia but most parts of the world are still unaware of it. In fact the world came to know about this fruit barely a hundred years ago.
The outer surface of the dried Monk fruit is round and smooth, dusty yellow-brown or dusty green-brown. It is covered with fine, soft hair. The fruit is covered by a hard but thin shell. Inside is a partly dry, flexible substance containing the juice, as well as a large number of seeds. The skin, juicy part, and seeds all have a good sweet flavor. Its nature is cool, and it has no poison.

Monk fruit have some really good properties. Some of them are:-

Natural sweetener -The monk fruit act as a natural sweetener. Monk fruit extract is a high intensity, zero-calorie sweetener, and can be used in blends with sucrose, fructose and erythitol. The sweetness of this fruit is due to the presence of achemical mogrosidein its pulp. The pulp of this fruit contains around 1% mogroside making it the sweetest fruit on earth. Both the fresh and dried fruits are extracted to yield a powder that is 80% or more mogrosides. The mixed mogrosides are estimated to be about 300 times as sweet as sugar by weight, so that the 80% extracts are nearly 250 times sweeter than sugar; pure mogrosides 4 and 5 may be 400 times as sweet as sugar by weight.

Good for diabetic patients - Diabetes is a common endocrine-metabolic disease with rising incidence in recent years. It is the third most life threatening disease whose mortality is right after cancer and cardiovascular disease. Research and development of drugs against diabetes and its complications have been getting more and more attentions.
Guo-Ping Lin etal (2007) conducted a study on Effect of Siraitia grosvenorii Polysaccharide on Glucose and Lipid of Diabetic Rabbits Induced by Feeding High Fat/High Sucrose Chow. The Siraitia grosvenorii polysaccharide (SGP) from the Siraitia grosvenorii (Swingle) was isolated and purified. The therapeutic effects of SGP on diabetic rabbits induced by feeding high fat/high sucrose chow were studied. The study concluded that SGP not only ameliorates the lipid disorder, but also lowers plasma glucose levels. So SGP have obvious glucose-lowering effect on hyperglycaemic rabbits induced by feeding high fat/high sucrose chow, its mechanism may be related to amelioration of lipid metabolism and restoring the blood lipid levels of hyperglycaemic rabbits.

 TheMonk fruit helps relieve sunstroke, moistens the lungs, eliminates phlegm, stops cough, and promotes bowel movements.

These are some of the benefits of this fruit…

But I feel we need to do some more researches on medical properties of monk fruits. As in my knowledge, there is only 1 research study available in database that stated monk fruit have good effects on diabetes. If we conduct researches, keeping in mind, its sweetening properties, then I think we don’t need artificial sweeteners for diabetic patients, monk fruit will work perfectly – that my hypothesis… what u think?????

Image courtesy: scientistlive.com, 90in9.wordpress.com, blog.bariatricproductguide.com, facebook.com

T. Tsurtematsu and A. Shigenobu, “Study on the constituents from fructs of momordicae grosvenori,” Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. 103, pp. 1151–1173, 1983.

R. Kasai, R.-L. Nie, K. Nashi, et al., “Sweet cucurbitaneglucosides from fruits of Siraitia siamensis,” Agricultural and Biological Chemistry, vol. 53, no. 12, pp. 3347–3349, 1989.

L.-Q. Zhang, X.-Y. Qi, W.-J. Chen, and Y.-F. Song, “Effect of Mogroside extracts on blood glucose, blood lipid and antioxidation of hyperglycemic mice induced by Alloxan,” Chinese Pharmacological Bulletin, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 237–240, 2006.   

Thursday, 31 May 2012



Today, I am here to share something latest and new advancement in our medical field. I am really astonished to discover that recently, scientists of Newcastle University have created a video game which helps in recovery of stroke patients.

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack." If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage. There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain.
Stroke-related impairment often restricts patients from properly participating in the activities of daily living, and impedes social interactions. Motor deficits of the hands and upper extremities are important determinants, and strongly represent one’s ability to regain independence in daily and social living. Previous reports describe that approximately 60–70% of stroke patients exhibit mild to severe hand dysfunction; and up to 20% of stroke survivors were dependent in their basic daily living activities.
There are number of researches conducted to analyze and find out the effective treatment for stroke patients to recover as soon as possible. Some of them are-

A research conducted by Hsiu-Yun Hsu etal (2012) investigated the hand movement dynamics  and to develop effective therapeutic interventions for stroke patients published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. They used a custom-designed computerized evaluation and reeducation biofeedback (CERB) prototype to analyze hand grasp performances, and monitor the training effects on hand coordination for stroke patients with sensory disturbance and without motor deficiency. The research concluded that the CERB prototype can provide momentary and interactive information for quantitative assessing and re-educating force modulation appropriately for stroke patients with sensory deficits. Furthermore, the patients could transfer the learned strategy to improve hand function.

Another research conducted by Alma S Merians etal (2011) worked on Robotically facilitated virtual rehabilitation of arm transport integrated with finger movement in persons with hemiparesis published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.  They worked on twelve subjects post-stroke were trained for eight days on four upper extremity gaming simulations using adaptive robots during 2-3 hour sessions. Concluded that Complex gaming simulations interfaced with adaptive robots requiring integrated control of shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and finger movements appear to have a substantial effect on improving hemiparetic hand function.

But recently the “circus challenge” computer game is created by the scientists of Newcastle University. These are the first action video games designed specifically to be played at home and to provide an expert therapy programme. Using wireless controllers, players try their hand at such activities as lion taming, juggling, plate spinning, high diving and flying the trapeze and by working their way through increasingly difficult levels of Circus Challenge the movements required are designed to gradually build up the strength and skills of the patient. The games gradually increase in difficulty and complexity to ensure that the stroke patient is always being challenged - but most importantly the games are designed to be fun.

Janet Eyre, Professor of Paediatric Neuroscience at Newcastle University, who also works within the Newcastle NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust, set up Limbs Alive Ltd to produce the first suite of games in association with a professional game studio. He stated that “With our video game, people get engrossed in the competition and action of the circus characters and forget that the purpose of the game is therapy.” Further he added that “Patients who have played the games find them easy to use, challenging and fun! They can be easily set up and played at home since they are designed by a professional games studio to be played on a laptop or PC. Patients forget they’re doing therapy and just enjoy the challenge of playing.”


Hunter SM, Crome P: Hand function and stroke. Rev Clin Gerontol 2002, 12:68–81.

Nakayama H, Jorgensen HS, Raaschou HO, Olsen TS: Recovery of upper extremity function in stroke patients: the Copenhagen Stroke Study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1994,

Wade DT, Langton-Hewer R, Wood VA, Skilbeck CE, Ismail HM: The hemiplegic arm after stroke: measurement and recovery. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1983, 46:521–

Duncan PW, Badke MB (Eds): Stroke Rehabilitation: The Recovery of Motor ControlChicago: III.: Year Book Medical Publishers; 1988.

Rosamond W, Flegal K, Furie K, Go A, Greenlund K, Haase N, Hailpern SM, Ho M, Howard V, Kissela B, et al: Heart disease and stroke statistics2008 update: a report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Circulation 2008, 117:e25–e146.

Trombly CA: Deficits of reaching in subjects with left hemiparesis: a pilot study. Am J Occup Ther 1992, 46:887–897.

Johansson BB: Current trends in stroke rehabilitation. A review with focus on brain plasticity. Acta Neurol Scand 2011, 123:147–159.

Images courtesy: everybodysgood.com, cabrr.cua.edu

Sunday, 20 May 2012


Hello everybody…

Today I was reading, The Hindustan Times, 20th may 2012.

I came across, something really interesting. An article on dietary supplements…. made me explore more on this research...

Let’s us begin from scratch…


Today Nutritional supplementation is a multibillion-dollar industry, and about half of all US adults take supplements. Congress defined the term "dietary supplement" in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. The "dietary ingredients" in these products may include:
  •  a vitamin,
  • a mineral,
  • an herb or other botanical,
  •  an amino acid,
  • a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake (e.g., enzymes or tissues from organs or glands), or
  •  a concentrate, metabolite, constituent or extract.

They may be found in many forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, or powders. They can also be in other forms, such as a bar, but if they are, information on their label must not represent the product as a conventional food or a sole item of a meal or diet.

Few years back, it has been estimated that 30-40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone. Intake of flax seed, especially its lignan fraction, and abundant portions of fruits and vegetables will lower cancer risk.  
Protective elements in a cancer prevention diet include selenium, folic acid, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, chlorophyll, and antioxidants such as the carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin). Ascorbic acid has limited benefits orally, but could be very beneficial intravenously. Supplementary use of oral digestive enzymes and probiotics also has merit as anticancer dietary measures.
Supplement use is fueled in part by the belief that nutritional supplements can ward off chronic disease, including cancer, although several expert committees and organizations have concluded that there is little to no scientific evidence that supplements reduce cancer risk.
But recently a study conducted by Martinez ME etal 2012, published in The Journal of National Cancer Institute states that there is now evidence that high doses of some supplements increase cancer risk.
Supplements such as beta-carotene, selenium and folic acid if taken at much higher levels than their recommended daily doses, are likely to elevate the risk of developing a host of cancer stated by an article published in THE HINDUSTHAN TIMES, 20th may 2012. 
Tim Byers, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health and associate director for prevention and control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center states that "It's not that these nutrients are toxic - they're essential and we need them, but we need them in a certain balance,"
Despite this evidence, marketing claims by the supplement industry continue to imply anticancer benefits.

My verdict
  •   Excess consumption of any dietary supplements is not recommended.
  • Consumer should keep this in mind that excess of anything is bad.
  • Always inform your nutritionist or doctor about the supplements you are consuming.
  • Stop taking dietary supplements if there are any side effects.

Contents courtesy:
The Hindustan Times, health scan, page : 18, 20th may 2012.

Image courtesy: ocw.jhsph.edu, drgeo.com, inetgiant.in.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Hi everybody….
Few months back, I came across something really astonished and amazing…
So today, I feel like sharing that with u all…
Black rice….
Sound something really weird… how somebody can have rice which is black in color.
What you think?????
Let’s find out….
Black Rice is that rice with a thin layer of black bran rather than the more common light brown. Black Rice is actually more purplish in color than black; although when uncooked it is very dark in appearance. This type of rice is usually sold ‘un-milled’, with the husk intact.  It is a member of the Poaceae family of plants which includes wheat, maize, barley, oat, rye and millet etc etc. It was known as "forbidden rice" in ancient China because only nobles were allowed to eat it because black rice was so rare, tasty, and nutritious. . Up until modern times, Black Rice was not easy to come by; it had been highly treasured and protected in Asia for many centuries. It is also commonly used as a condiment, dressing, or as a decoration for different types of desserts in many countries around the world.
Black rice contains the B-complex vitamins - thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B5 and B6 along with vitamin E and the minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, being particularly rich in both potassium and phosphorous. It is also a good source of essential amino acids and other amino acids.
Black rice is really tasty… In many parts of the world, it served as delicious black rice pudding for breakfast or dessert. Many Southeast Asian countries also cultivate and consume their fair share of this tasty whole grain. In Thailand, where the rice is known as black sticky rice sold as a sweet snack more often in the marketplaces down south.
 Black rice has many nutritional and medicinal properties


 Black rice is full of antioxidant-rich bran, which is found in the outer layer that gets removed during the milling process to make white rice. But only black-rice bran contains the antioxidants known as anthocyanins, purple and reddish pigments -- also found in blueberries, grapes -- that have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, improvements in memory, and other health benefits. At the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), 2010 the researchers coated that “Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants,” said by Zhimin Xu, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge, La. black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health promoting antioxidants.
Inflammation is the human body’s response to the presence of harmful bacteria, pathogens, viruses or substances; and it is one of the reasons that the body is able to heal itself. Occasionally, inflammation will become acute or chronic and won’t subside easily (or at all). Studies have shown that black rice have anti – inflammatory effect, it can protect against inflammation. A study conducted by Choi PC (2010), states that black rice bran can be act as an anti-inflammatory and antiallergic food ingredient and possibly also as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation as compare to brown rice.
Black rice and its pigment fraction have shown anti-atherogenic activities in several animal models, but whether their beneficial effects will recur in humans remains unknown, therefore Wang Q etal (2007) investigated the influence of black rice pigment fraction (BRF) supplementation on selected cardiovascular risk factors in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Sixty patients with CHD aged 45-75 years were recruited from the Second Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China and randomly divided into two groups. In the test group, the diet was supplemented with 10 grams of BRF derived from black rice for 6 months; While in the placebo group, the diet was supplemented with 10 grams of white rice pigment fraction (WRF) derived from white rice. After 6 months' intervention, compared to WRF supplementation, BRF supplementation revels that BRF could exert cardio protective effects on patients with CHD by improving plasma antioxidant status and inhibiting inflammatory factors.
A research conducted by Hui C (2010), published in nutrition and cancer journal worked onAnthocyanins rich property of black rice. They investigated the effect of anthocyanins rich extract from black rice (AEBR) on breast cancer cells both vitro and vivo. The results reveals that black rice has a anticancer effects of AEBR against human breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo by inducing apoptosis and suppressing angiogenesis.
Anthocyanins and their antioxidant properties can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and are thought to slow the deterioration process of this disease, as well as to help people suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes.