Inglese, International

Insomnia: is the current sleeping schedule of 8 hours good for the human being?

Insomnia is one of the biggest problems for health of the 21st century. Everyone knows the uncomfortable sensation of being awake in the middle of the night and having difficulties to sleep. It is common in specific periods, specially when we are nervous and stressed, whether we are preparing an exam or we have worries. However, there are people who suffer from sleeping disorders on daily basis, around 30% – 50% of the population suffers from chronic insomnia. 

After some researching, the question is: has the human being always slept for 7-8 in the night? Some experts have unveiled the so called “biphasic sleep”, there has been little discussion on this subject and you may wonder what is it about.

Biphasic sleep consists of two sleeping phases with an interruption in the middle of the sleep. Researchers have demonstrated that our ancerstors in the middle age used to sleep in two phases, they fell asleep at the beginning of the night and they woke up in the middle of the night. They used this interruption to read, to speak with their relatives, to pray, among other things. After this pause, they fell asleep again and they slept until the morning. 

This suggests that our sleeping routine has changed with time and our bodies are not used to sleep for 7-8 hours without interruptions. The historical event that led the emergence of monophasic sleep was the industrial revolution. Artificial light arised and our sleeping patters changed. Human being went to bed later and the time destined to sleep was reduced. Biphasic sleep disappeared and led to monophasic sleep.

Biphasic sleep is quite common between different animal species: many bird species, mammals and insect are biphasic sleepers. That means that our sleep patters are unnatural. This could be demonstrated through a study that selected several healthy individuals to sleep without artificial light (10 hours of light, 14 hours of darkness) and analyze their sleeping patterns. 

At first the participants slept an average time of 7,7 hours with a monophasic pattern. After some time of adaptation there were individuals who naturally changed their monophasic sleep for a biphasic sleep, the average time of sleeping increased until reaching a period of 11 hours and it was observed that participants interrupted their sleep during one to three hours and then they slept again.

Monophasic sleep may have some disadvantages, we dedicate less time to sleep and there are people who have a biphasic or polyphasic pattern, resting less. The body is regulated by two hormones: melatonin and cortissol. The first one is responsible for telling our body that we have to sleep, cortissol has the opposite function, it activates our bodies telling us that we have to stay awake. The body expossure to artificial light decreases our melatonin levels, this make sleeping difficult for us and we tend to go to bed later. 

In a nutshell, these are good news for people who suffer from chronic insomnia, waking up at the middle of the night is something natural, the human body has had no time to adapt to a monophasic pattern and some of us interrupt our sleep naturally.

To improve our sleep quality it would be necessary to readapt our lifestyle to the natural cycle. How can this be done? Expossure to artificial light should be reduced (yes, this includes our cell phones and electronic devices) to readjust our melatonin levels, it is recommended to stop using our electronic devices around 30-60 minutes before we go to bed, it is also important to follow a regular schedule going to be always at the same time.

Written by Sara García Sánchez

Message to reader: Any information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended in any way to replace professional figures in the medical and consultancy fields.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

Inglese, International

Language and the brain: benefits of being bilingual

One of the main characteristics that distinguishes human beings from animals is the use of communicating through a language. Language is a complex system that helps us to express feelings and ideas using the words in an orderly manner. Animals can communicate between them using sounds or smells. However they haven’t reached the ability of using specific sounds to define an object, feeling, action or specific characteristics creating a structured system, giving us the ability to express feelings and ideas. 

Many hypotheses have been created trying to explain the origin of the language. It is said that the first words could have been created by transforming the sounds of animals and objects into vocal sounds, trying to imitate them. Another popular belief says that the first words were interjections that expressed pain, happiness, anger, sadness. Despite that, it is hard to know the origins of language, there is no written evidence, all the hypotheses are based on comparisons between animal communication and the biological evolution of the human being.

One thing is clear, the ability of speaking a language was possible due to an increase in the size of the human brain. There is a specific region of the brain destined to the language, this region is divided in the Wernicke’s area, the Broca’s area and the angular gyrus. The Wernicke’s area function consists of the comprehension of the spoken language, while the Broca’s area is involved in the comprehension of grammar, the processing and the oral transmission of the language.

As we have seen above, language is a complex system. For this reason we wonder, how does the brain of someone who speaks more than one language work? There are different types of bilingualism.

  • The first type belongs to people who have learnt two languages simultaneously in their childhood.
  • There is a second group for people who have learnt a language during puberty.
  • The last group consists of people who have learnt a language in their adulthood (after the 20 years old).

Years ago, bilingualism was not considered good for children, since the general thought was that it could be confusing for children. However, researchers have discovered that learning a second language has many benefits in our brains, from childhood to old age. Children who speak a second language have a better ability to focus on doing a task, instead, monolingual children can be distracted more easily. It has been proven that bilingualism helps to prevent disorders like dementia or Alzheimer.

Many questions have emerged in relation to bilingualism. The first one would be, is the second language stored in the same regions of the first language? Several studies have shed some light on this, discovering that the ability of speaking a second language is developed in the same brain regions. 

These studies show that speaking more than one language changes the brain structure. It has been observed that bilingual brains have a denser grey matter, specially in the left side of the brain, where language functions are developed. This effect is even more dramatic in the first group, people who learnt a second language simultaneously in their childhood, and in people who reached a proficiency level. 

The benefits also appear in adulthood. For this reason, it is never too late to learn a new language, even if you are already an adult. Learning a language in adulthood helps to improve the brain function, providing a better memory and more mental flexibility. In the case of adults, the ability of speaking a second language is developed in an area next to the first language centers.

To conclude with the article, it would be necessary to make a reflection. Children and teenagers have a more flexible brain. It has been proven that the better age for learning a language reaches its peak at 10 years old, after this age the plasticity of the brain decreases year after year. This is the perfect age to control the language as a native speaker, making no grammar mistakes and having a good pronunciation. 

Although the general thought says that it is late to learn a language when you grow up, the adult brain can provide some advantages to learn a language. Children have less cognitive skills, as adults we can better understand complex situations and this helps us to better understand grammar rules, as it is said, “old dog new tricks”. In addition to this, while children can be easily distracted, adults put more attention on learning for longer periods, this is influenced by the real interest of someone for the language. 

In other words, children acquire language by imitation, listening native speakers, they have a better memory and a better capacity to imitate phonetic sounds. However, problem solving and analytical skills are developed with age, these can be quite useful to learn a new language, helping us to really understand how language works. For this reason, if you are thinking about learning a second language, it does not matter if you are a teenager or if you are already an adult, it is never too late to start.

Written by Sara García Sánchez

Message to reader: Any information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended in any way to replace professional figures in the medical and consultancy fields.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

Inglese, International

COVID vaccines: how does immunity work?

Vaccines are composed of inactive viruses or bacteria or fragments of these microorganisms which helps to protect the body in future infections. In other words, vaccines are a learning for our immune system, the body reacts to the inactive pathogen creating specific “defenses”.

When we get vaccinated, we create several types of “defenses”. The most important are the antibodies and the memory T cells.

The antibodies are a type of glycoproteins which are part of the “defenses” of the immune system, they are produced by the B lymphocytes. They work by recognizing a specific part of the pathogen, also called antigen. There are different processes that lead to the neutralisation of the pathogen, these are: agglutination, precipitation, opsonization and neutralisation. After the first infection, the body takes some time to react and produce specific antibodies.

The antibodies have a specific immunity, each one identifies one specific pathogen, unless it were a variety of an already known pathogen. We have thousands of types of antibodies and we produce new antibodies when we are infected by an unknown pathogen that hasn’t infected us before. For this reason we are vulnerable to new illnesses.

the antibodies

After the first infection our immune system developes memory. The T cells participate in the inmune reaction producing memory T cells. There are inmature T cells in the bone marrow that migrate to the lymphatic ganglia where are exposed to the antigen. Then they are activated and the clonal expansion begins and they migrate to the infected organ. The T cells eliminate the pathogen and then die of apoptosis. There is a small percentage that remains after the infection, becoming the memory T cells.

These cells are the key of the success of the vaccines. They work as mediators in the following infections recognising the pathogens. After the vaccination, antigens and memory T cells are generated. The antibodies remain in the blood some time after supplying the vaccine and the disappear. The memory T cells remain in the body for a longer time. When we are infected, the memory T cells recognise the pathogen and the inmune reaction starts, producing the antibodies. This second reaction is produced faster due to the previous learning of the vaccines.

Talking about the COVID vaccines. When we see news telling that after four or five months the antibodies levels decrease it is not surprising, since the antibodies are the remains of the natural infection or the vaccines. The key to understand their function is the immunity mediated by memory T cells. These cells are responsible of a milder illness.

Written by Sara García Sánchez

Message to reader: Any information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended in any way to replace professional figures in the medical and consultancy fields.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

International

Come la Germania può entrare con successo nel “Cannabusiness”.

La cannabis ricreativa in Germania è più vicina che mai!

La nuova coalizione tedesca ha indicato che una delle sue numerose priorità è la legalizzazione della cannabis per gli adulti. Diamo un’occhiata allo stato della situazione ed esaminiamo gli esempi internazionali che potrebbero meglio indirizzare la strategia di ingresso nel mercato per questo fiorente settore.

La regolamentazione della cannabis è solo una delle tante iniziative progressiste promosse dalla coalizione così detta “semaforo”: l’eliminazione graduale del carbone entro il 2030, l’aumento dei diritti degli elettori e del salario minimo e, ancora, la razionalizzazione dell’immigrazione.

Tuttavia, la creazione di regole per questo nuovo mercato, potrebbe richiedere più tempo del previsto; tenendo conto, ancora, della forte influenza dell’Unione dei Democratici Cristiani, guidati da Angela Merkel, che probabilmente si opporranno alla legalizzazione.

Definita “Ampelkoalition”, la “coalizione semaforo”, dai colori dei tre partiti.

Senza dubbio, tutte le parti si uniranno per fornire input per il controllo e la tassazione del commercio di cannabis, poiché, un buon piano di lavoro, sarà vitale per combattere con successo il mercato illecito consolidato e per riempire le casse fiscali del governo.

Oltre a stabilire scaglioni fiscali e rivedere gli sforzi per combattere i mercati illeciti, la Germania, dovrà considerare l’offerta di mercato e come sarà quel mercato. Ad esempio, adotterà i famosi coffee-shop della cannabis come i Paesi Bassi? La Germania dovrà appoggiarsi ad altri produttori di cannabis registrati nell’Unione Europea (EU-GMP Good Manufacturing Practice) per soddisfare la domanda del mercato e compensare la mancanza di coltivatori e produttori nel paese? Un esame delle prove e delle preoccupazioni di altri mercati internazionali di cannabis, suggerisce prontamente soluzioni a queste domande.

La Germania e l’Europa hanno una grande opportunità per imparare dagli errori dei cugini di oltreoceano, Canada e Stati Uniti.

L’approccio del Canada all’implementazione della legalizzazione utilizzando la posta nazionale e l’apertura dei dispensari ha fatto poco o nulla per reprimere le vendite illecite sul mercato. Nel frattempo, a sud del confine, gli Stati Uniti non sono riusciti in gran parte a introdurre nel modello di distribuzione sale per il consumo di cannabis o “caffetterie” di ispirazione olandese. Ciò ha ostacolato l’accettazione sociale della cannabis normalizzando il consumo, proprio come avviene già nei pub e nei bar con gli alcolici. Per non parlare dell’ampia illegalità federale.

La Germania è in grado di imparare da questi errori e presentare invece ai suoi cittadini la combinazione vincente di prodotti registrati EU-GMP e sale di consumo sociale per combattere con successo il mercato illecito.

Esempio di dispensario a Vancouver.

La cannabis ha bisogno della Germania per alimentare le fiamme della regolamentazione in UE.

La Germania dovrà convincere l’Europa in generale che il commercio, la vendita e l’uso della cannabis ricreativa sono nel migliore interesse di più paesi dell’UE. L’Osservatorio europeo delle droghe e delle tossicodipendenze (OEDT), un’agenzia dell’UE, osserva nell’European Drug Report 2021: “L’Europa è anche una regione produttrice di cannabis e droghe sintetiche; la produzione di cannabis è principalmente destinata al consumo europeo”. I paesi dell’UE potrebbero prendere tre piccioni con una fava: aumentare la sicurezza dei cittadini, eliminare le operazioni illecite e accumulare ricchezza regionale consentendo ai membri dell’UE di produrre cannabis legale e diventare leader nel mercato globale.

Tuttavia, convincere gli altri paesi dell’UE è solo un trampolino di lancio per la Germania di dare vita alla sua egemonia nel cannabusiness europeo. Mentre la voce della Germania è forte all’interno dell’UE, tra le Nazioni Unite (ONU) hanno meno potere. Proprio come negli USA, dove stati separati come Colorado, Washington e California hanno stimolato ulteriori sforzi di legalizzazione, così paesi separati nel blocco europeo cercheranno ispirazione l’uno nell’altro.

Diamo un occhio ai numeri.

Le stime collocano le entrate annuali previste per la cannabis in Germania a 3,4 miliardi di euro, creando contemporaneamente 27.000 nuovi posti di lavoro e riducendo i costi di polizia e comparto giudiziario di 1,3 miliardi di euro.

Un potente leader economico come la Germania è la migliore opportunità per l’Europa di avanzare in questo settore. Le proiezioni stimano che il mercato europeo della cannabis varrà 403,4 milioni di euro entro la fine del 2021 e crescerà a un tasso di crescita annuale composto (CAGR) del 67,4% dal 2021 per raggiungere i 3,2 miliardi di euro entro il 2025.

L’europa prima o poi sarà verde.

Dottor Carmine Buccella – Cannabis Marketing & Branding Consultant / Dispensary Technician

BIBLIOGRAFIA

http://www.benzinga.com

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

International, Spagnolo

Consumo de carne y cambio climático: alimentación sostenible con el medio ambiente.

Actualmente el cambio climático es uno de los mayores retos a los que se enfrenta la humanidad. Cada año se emiten toneladas de gases de efecto invernadero a la atmósfera provenientes de la actividad humana. Hay sectores muy poco sostenibles como la industria textil y, entre otros, la industria alimentaria, de la que hablaremos en este articulo.

Dentro de la industria alimentaria podemos destacar diferentes tipos de productos, los de origen vegetal y los de origen animal. Dentro de los productos de origen animal hay distintos sectores como el sector de lácteos, huevos y la industria cárnica. Es esta última una de las mayores contribuyentes al cambio climático.

La industria cárnica está en el punto de mira debido al uso extensivo de la tierra, cada año se talan hectáreas de selva y bosque para dedicarlo a cultivos destinados a alimentación animal y para ganado. Este hecho se puede apreciar muy bien en la selva amazónica, Brasil es uno de los principales exportadores mundiales de carne de vacuno. Cada año se pierden hectáreas de selva para dedicarlas a ganado vacuno o a plantaciones de soja para el ganado. Se calcula que casi el 50% de las tierras fértiles del planeta ya están siendo utilizadas para agricultura y ganadería.

Uno de los mayores problemas a los que se enfrenta la industria cárnica es la cantidad de gases de efecto invernadero que emite. Aunque en cantidad supone un 60% del total de la industria alimentaria, el problema está en el tipo de gases que se emiten. El metano es uno de los gases que más se libera, éste tiene un potencial de calentamiento hasta 80 veces mayor que el del dióxido de carbono en un plazo de 20 años. Para conocer la dimensión del problema, hay que tener en cuenta que una vaca sola produce 100 kg de metano al año.

Sabiendo estos datos, la pregunta es: ¿Qué se puede hacer para llevar una alimentación más sostenible? Actualmente han surgido nuevos tipos de dieta como el flexitarianismo, que consiste en seguir una dieta vegetariana, comiendo carne en determinadas ocasiones. También se puede sustituir la carne por otro tipo de carne menos contaminante, como puede ser el caso de la carne blanca (pollo y pavo).

Se ha visto que reduciendo el consumo de carne o sustituyéndola por otras fuentes de proteína se puede llegar a rebajar la cantidad de emisiones en un 50%. La huella de carbono y la cantidad de tierra fértil requerida para la producción de alimentos de origen vegetal es mucho menor que la de la carne, en concreto, la de la carne de ternera.

Hay una diferencia sustancial entre tipos de carne ya que la carne de vacuno emite hasta 60 kg de CO2 por kg de producto, mientras que para la carne de ave esta cantidad es 10 veces menor. Si comparamos la carne de vacuno con la huella de carbono de los productos de origen vegetal, ésta es hasta 30-40 veces menor. La mayor parte de las emisiones proviene de la utilización del suelo y del mantenimiento del ganado.

Es por este motivo que si estás preocupado por el cambio climático y te gustaría llevar una alimentación más sostenible, el primer alimento que tiene que desaparecer o verse reducido es la carne, en especial la de ternera. Un pequeño cambio en los hábitos alimenticios puede suponer un respiro para el planeta, e incluso una mejora en la salud y en el bienestar personal ya que el consumo excesivo de carne puede ser perjudicial para la salud humana, pero este tema será tratado más adelante.

Escrito por Sara García Sánchez – Graduada en Biología, especializada en alimentación.

Mensaje al lector: El contenido recogido en este blog es de carácter meramente informativo. No se pretende sustituir la labor de los profesionales sanitarios y de asesoramiento científico.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

Inglese, International

COVID-19 and the evolution of the viruses.

Viruses are small molecules of DNA or RNA covered by a protein structure. They are not fully considered as living beings because when they are outside of the organism they are not alive, they are considered as microscopic parasites that need a host to live. When they colonise an organism they start to replicate itself resulting in multiple copies, while they lose this capacity of replication when they are outside the body. In other words, they need the host to live.

These copies are many times imperfect, there are mistakes in the replication process which lead to mutations. Mutations are the key of the evolution process. These are aleatory changes that could be helpful or harmful for the virus. Helpful mutations make the virus more adapted to the environment, in other words, the virus is more adapted to the host. Those varieties that have helpful mutations can compete better and be more successful than the others, replacing other varieties that are less adapted. Harmful mutations can lead to the infeasibility of the virus.

This success of the viruses can be appreciated by creating a fatality-infectivity ratio. Those viruses that end with the host’s life in a few days are not very successful since the host’s death means the death of the virus, it can not replicate and infect other individuals. The Ebola virus could be a good example, this virus has a fatality rate of 50%, which means that it kills approximately half of the patients. For this reason Ebola outbreaks are well located in the map and short in time. It has no time to spread itself through the population and cross the borders.

On the other hand, viruses like flu or influenza are widely spread around the world. They are very infectious and the fatality rate is minimal. The infected host may have a headache, blocked up nose, low temperature, mild symptoms that allow him to continue with his life, going to work and infecting more individuals. The virus is jumping from a host to another, infecting and living.

It is not necessary to be a prestigious virologist to observe the evolution process of the viruses. COVID-19 is a good example of that. In the first global wave it has a high infectivity rate and a low fatality rate (5-2%), enough to fill the hospitals and to establish an isolation period and close businesses. It has mutated giving place to different varieties, each one more contagious than the previous one. The virus is adapting to be more contagious and less lethal. In the last wave caused by the omicron variety, there is a huge level of cases, whereas the cases of death are minimal.

These facts make us believe that COVID-19 could become a seasonal virus like flu or influenza with many cases and a low number of deaths and the restrictive measures will not be necessary. The “aim” of the virus is to infect and not to kill since it depends on the host to live.

Written by Sara García Sánchez

Message to reader: Any information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended in any way to replace professional figures in the medical and consultancy fields.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

International, Spagnolo

Corteza de “tepezcohuite”

Corteza de “tepescohuite” (Mimosa tenuiflora): farmacología, toxicología y etnobotánica

Surgió un gran interés por las propiedades medicinales de la corteza del “tepescohuite”, Mimosa tenuiflora, por el uso de su polvo contra heridas y quemaduras cutáneas durante varias calamidades ocurridas en México en la década de los años de 1980 y de varios programas de televisión. Debido a esta popularidad, instituciones de investigación empezaron a indagar sobre los metabolitos y los compuestos activos que presenta la corteza con el fin de validar o no, de manera científica, el uso de este remedio tradicional y su eventual efectividad que presenta, así como los posibles efectos secundarios que pudiera tener. Actualmente, existen en el mercado muchos productos medicinales y cosméticos que contienen varios tipos de extractos de la corteza de Mimosa tenuiflora; no obstante, su uso es empírico y popular, por lo que dichas instituciones han llevado a cabo diversas investigaciones enfocadas principalmente a los aspectos farmacológicos y citotóxicos de esta especie, así como al conocimiento de los constituyentes químicos de la corteza, única parte de la planta que se utiliza en el tratamiento contra heridas y quemaduras. El objetivo de este trabajo es determinar los usos actuales e históricos del “tepescohuite”. Se recopiló, además, información sobre la farmacología y toxicidad de la corteza (que representa la parte utilizada de la planta), con el fin de justificar o no su uso. Para conocer sus usos, se realizó una revisión bibliográfica, así como entrevistas a dueños durante las visitas a sus tiendas naturistas.

Ph by Francesco Di Ludovico

Nomenclatura

Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd.) Poiret, forma parte de la familia botánica Fabaceae/Papilionaceae/Leguminosae–Mimosaceae subfam. Mimosoideae, sección Habbasia y pertenece a la serie Leiocarpae Benth. del orden Rosales y del género Mimosa por presentar las flores arregladas en espigas y el fruto dividido en artejos. Nombres comunes. En México, M. tenuiflora ha recibido varios nombres comunes: “tepescohuite” o “tepezcohuite” (Miranda), “tepescahuite” (Standley; Miranda), y “tepesquehuite”, dado frecuentemente en Oaxaca. Cabrera brinda la etimología del término “tepescohuite”: “tepetl”, cerro; “s”, eufónica; “cuahuitl”, árbol: es decir, “árbol del cerro”. No obstante, desde 1987 se hizo popular en el país el nombre de “árbol de la piel”, que de acuerdo con Genis proviene del náhuatl “tepexohuitztli”; sin embargo, Corzo (Sánchez–León) proporciona otra etimología náhuatl, “tepus–cuahuitl”, que significa “tepustli”, hierro o metal y “cuahuitl”, árbol: es decir, “árbol de hierro o metal”, aludiendo a la dureza de su madera. Distribución. Originario de México,en Oaxaca y Chiapas el árbol de M. tenuiflora se establece en selvas bajas caducifólias y subcaducifolias, en bosques de pino y de pino–encino, en encinares y entre el bosque de pino y de pino–encino con la selva mediana. Es además presente en la América del Sur.

Usos

Se revisaron lo siguientes textos: el Manuscrito de Martín de la Cruz (“Códice Badiano”, 1552), la “Historia de las plantas de la Nueva España” de Francisco Hernández (siglo XVI), el “Códice Florentino” de Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (siglo XVI), “Las plantas medicinales de México” de Martínez M. (1969), “Medicina prehispánica de México” de Viesca Treviño C. (1986), la Guía México desconocido (volúmenes “Plantas medicinales” 2001, y “Qué curan las plantas” 1997), “Plantas medicinales de México” de Linares E. Bye R. y Flores B. (1999), “La medicina tradicional en México” de Anzures y Bolaños M. (1976), “Plantas medicinales prehispánicas” en Arqueología mexicana n. 39 (1999), textos y publicaciones de Lozoya X., “Textos de medicina náhuatl” de López Austin A. (1984), “Plantas medicinales de Chiapas” de Olivas Sánchez; diversas publicaciones de sociedades e instituciones científicas, cuyo resumen básico se encontró en Camargo–Ricalde S.L. (2000), y la importante fuente del “Herbario medicinal del IMSS” (1994) de Aguilar A. A la revisión bibliográfica no se encontraron referencias o antecedentes históricos sobre su uso medicinal por grupos indígenas prehispánicos e inclusive por aquellos autóctonos actuales. El único antecedente del uso medicinal de esta planta es la referencia en la etiqueta de un ejemplar botánico del estado de Chiapas que se encuentra depositado en el Herbario Nacional (MEXU), en la que señala “la cáscara se hace polvo que seca heridas” (Camargo–Ricalde 2000). Por medio de entrevistas directas con gerentes de tiendas naturistas de México, se registran varios usos regionales actuales de M. tenuiflora (véase el Cuadro), en particular para resolver quemaduras, heridas, acné, hipercromias cutáneas y trastornos dermatológicos parecidos. De estos usos algunos ya habían sido señalados por Sánchez–León y básicamente reunido posteriormente por Camargo–Ricalde; sin embargo, hay que mencionar que los usos populares del “tepescohuite” se conocen de manera tradicional reciente en los grupos “mestizos” contemporáneos y, a partir de medianos de los ’80 del siglo pasado, se han redescubierto, comercializado y difundido a nivel mundial. A conclusión de las entrevistas, se refiere que se utiliza regionalmente como fuente de madera para combustible y postes para cercas; mientras que en medicina popular, bajo forma de polvo, infusión o extracto a partir de la corteza, se usa externamente para resolver quemaduras y heridas y también contra hipercromías cutáneas, dermatosis y acné, e internamente para la úlcera péptica. Se comercializan diversos cosméticos hechos a base de estos productos: champúes, cremas, pomadas, talco y jabones.

Farmacología y toxicidad:

Los resultados obtenidos por los diferentes grupos de investigación no son concluyentes. El tipo de producto, de los diferentes extractos, su dosificación y el tipo de modelo biológico en experimentación, determinan y afectan los resultados. La corteza de M. tenuiflora presenta una gran abundancia de taninos, glicosidos como saponinas triterpenoides (mimonósidos), alcaloides del indol (triptaminas), glucosa, xilosa, rhamnosa, arabinosa, lupeol, flavonoides metoxichalconas (kukulkanos), lípidos como fitoesteroles, sitoesteroles, esteroles glucósidos de campesterol y estigmasterol y daucosterol, gomas, fibras, ácido tánico, cristales de oxalato de calcio y de almidón. Anton et al. señalan que es ya conocido que las fibras vegetales, el almidón, las saponinas triterpenoides y los taninos condensados, pueden mejorar el tratamiento contra quemaduras y para la regeneración de la piel. En los últimos años, otros Autores sugieren que el extracto de la corteza posee tal actividad eudérmica debido a la acción endotelio–protectiva, antiflogística, antimicrobiána y antioxidante por sinergismo de los compuestos aislados, pero con bajas evidencias; mientras otros (Palacios) evidencian que no hay diferencia estadísticamente significativa entre los resultados de la actividad del polvo de la corteza y el placebo sobre quemaduras experimentales, además de ser hepatotóxica (por la presencia de ácidos tánicos). Las investigaciones farmacológicas y citotoxicológicas hechas hasta ahora demuestran que esta especie presenta una serie de compuestos antibacterianos y cicatrizantes, pero también otros que podrían ser perjudiciales para la salud.

Concluyendo

Después de una serie de calamidades ocurridas en México durante la década de 1980, se popularizó el uso de la corteza del “tepescohuite” contra heridas y quemaduras de la piel. El objetivo de este trabajo fue determinar sus usos actuales e históricos mediante investigación bibliográfica y entrevistas a tiendas naturistas de México; y se recopiló información sobre la farmacología y toxicidad de la corteza, con el fin de justificar o no su uso. La identidad taxonómica de esta planta se determina como Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd.) Poiret (Fabaceae–Mimosoideae). Originaria de México (estados de Oaxaca y Chiapas), se localiza también en toda América del Sur. En México se establece en selvas bajas, matorrales xerófilos o espinosos, en bosques de Pinus y de PinusQuercus. Arbol espinoso, de aproximadamente 8 m de alto con las hojas alternas o compuestas de 20 a 40 hojuelas lineares y oblongas, flores blancas pequeñas, en densas espigas largas de 5 a 8 cm. y frutos en forma de vainas oblongas de 7 cm. de ancho, florece y fructifica de noviembre a junio, y tiene una corteza rugosa, de color café rojizo a grisácea, de textura fibrosa de 0.5–1.5 mm. de grosor, olor y sabor resinoso y astringente, con gran cantidad de taninos. La madera presenta elementos de vaso extremadamente cortos con puntuaciones areoladas alternas y placa de perforación simple, parénquima axial vasicéntrico y en bandas confluentes, rayos uniseriados, extremadamente bajos y finos, y fibras libriformes muy cortas. Además de taninos, la corteza contiene glicosidos como saponinas triterpenoides (mimonósidos), alcaloides del indol (triptaminas), lípidos, fitoesteroles, sitoesteroles, esteroles glucósidos de campesterol y estigmasterol y daucosterol, glucosa, xilosa, rhamnosa, arabinosa, lupeol, flavonoides metoxichalconas (kukulkanos), gomas, fibras, ácido tánico. A la revisión bibliográfica no se encontraron referencias o antecedentes históricos sobre su uso medicinal por grupos indígenas prehispánicos e inclusive por aquellos autóctonos actuales. Los usos populares del “tepescohuite” se conocen de manera tradicional reciente en los grupos mestizos contemporáneos, y, a partir de mediano de los ’80 del siglo pasado, se han redescubierto, comercializado y difundido mundialmente. Por medio de entrevistas, se refiere que regionalmente se utiliza como fuente de madera para combustible y postes para cercas; mientras que en medicina popular se usa, bajo forma de polvo, infusión o extracto a partir de la corteza, para resolver heridas y quemaduras de la piel, hipercromias cutáneas, dermatosis, acné y, por uso interno, para la úlcera péptica; además, bajo tales productos, se comercializan diversos cosméticos como champúes, cremas, pomadas y jabones. Si bien se ha establecido que su uso medicinal no tiene un origen prehispánico, debemos indicar que esta especie forma parte de la medicina popular de México siendo generalmente empleada contra padecimientos dermatológicos. Además, su potencial medicinal ha sido validado a partir del análisis farmacológico y citotóxico de su corteza (Lozoya et al.;Meckes–Lozoya et al.; Villarreal et al.; Jiang et al.;Heinrich et al.;Anton et al.): las actividades antibiótica y cicatrizante de la planta son confirmadas experimentalmente y convalidarían el uso en afecciones cutáneas, aunque otros estudios afirman la ineficacia de la misma (Palacios) o bien la acción tóxica de unos de sus aislados compuestos (Cruces et al.).

CUADRO

ProductosUsos regionales en México
infusión con polvo de corteza   Para lavar heridas, se mezcla la corteza con agua y se deja hervir hasta quedar muy concentrada; se puede utilizar remojando vendas o trapos para utilizarlos como compresas o apósitos en heridas superficiales de la piel y en caso de excoriaciones de la boca, paladar, encías etc., ya que pueden hacerse gárgaras o “buches”. Se puede utilizar en heridas superficiales de la piel o en quemaduras. Contra quemaduras leves, afecciones de la piel, manchas, hongos y herpes.
talco con polvo de corteza  Contra quemaduras de segundo y tercer grado, se menciona que suprime rápidamente el dolor y cicatriza sin dejar huella. Sin embargo, se ha observado que en quemaduras muy severas (tercer grado) el polvo se humedece al contacto directo con los tejidos dañados y el suero, formando una cubierta negra impermeable, debido a que la corteza contiene gomas, cristales y taninos. Esta cubierta impide la oxigenación y, por tanto, la cicatrización de quemaduras profundas.
jabón con polvo de corteza   Contra todo tipo de dermatosis, acné, manchas, arrugas y estrías del embarazo.
cremas con polvo de corteza   Contra alergias, eccemas, cicatrices y como tónico capilar.
cápsulas con polvo de corteza   Contra hiperacidez, gastritis, úlcera péptica, colitis, hemorroides y migraña.
champú con polvo de corteza   Para todo tipo de cabello, fortalece el cuero cabelludo, evita la caspa y la caída del cabello.

Autores: Francesco Di Ludovico- Médico cirujano y homeópata experto en fitoterapia, homotoxicología y medicina integrada , Jorge Armando Santiago Santiago – Odontólogo

Bibliografia.

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Anton, R., Jiang Y. et al. 1993. Pharmacognosy of Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd.) Poiret. J. Ethnopharmacol. 38: 153-157.

Anzures y Bolaños, M. 1976. La medicina tradicional en México: proceso histórico, sincretismo y conflictos. UNAM, México.

Arqueología mexicana 1999 Vol. VII n.39. Plantas medicinales prehispánicas.

Camargo-Ricalde, S.L.2000.Descripción, distribución, anatomía, composición química y usos de Mimosa tenuiflora (Fabaceae-Mimosoideae) en México. Rev. Biol. Trop. 2000 Dec;48(4):939-54.

Cruces, M.P., Pimentel, P.E. 1991. Efecto mutagénico del tepezcohuite (Mimosa tenuiflora) en Drosophila melanogaster. Memorias III Congreso Nacional de la Asociación Mexicana de Mutagénesis, Carconogénesis y Teratogénesis Ambiental. Metepec, Puebla, México.

De la Cruz, M. 1552. Libellus de medicinalibus indorum herbis. (Codex Badiano) Manuscrito 1552, Versión española. Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. 1964. México.

Díaz, J.L. 1976. Monografías Científicas I: índice y sinonimia de las plantas medicinales de México. Instituto Mexicano para el Estudio de las Plantas Medicinales, A. C. México.

Díaz, J.L. 1977. Monografías Científicas II: usos de las plantas medicinales de México. Instituto Mexicano para el estudio de las Plantas Medicinales, A. C., México.

Dominguez, X. A., S. García, H. J. Williams, C. Ortíz, A. I. Scott & J. H. Reibenspies. 1989. Kukulkanins A and B, new chalcones from Mimosa tenuiflora. J. Nat. Prod. 52: 864-867.

Genis, M.E. 1987. El árbol de la piel. Información Científica y Tecnológica 135: 12-14.

Grether, R. 1988. Nota sobre la identidad del tepescohuite en México. Bol. Soc. Bot. México 48: 151-152.

Grether, R. 1997. Revisión taxonómica del género Mimosa (Leguminosae) en Mesoamérica. Tesis de Doctorado. Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México.

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Heinrich, M., Kuhnt, M. et al. 1992. Parasitological and microbiological evaluation of mixe indian medicinal plants (Mexico). J. Ethnopharmacol. 36: 81-85.

Hernández, F. Historia de las plantas de la Nueva España. Edición 1943, Tomo 2, México.

Jiang, Y., et al. 1991a. Triterpenoid glycosides from the bark of Mimosa tenuifolia. Phytochemystry 30: 2357-2360.

Jiang, Y. et al. 1991b. Structure of a new saponin from the bark of Mimosa tenuiflora. J. Nat. Prod. 54: 1247-1253.

Jiang, L. et al. 1992. Effects of saponins from Mimosa tenuiflora on lymphoma cells and lymphocytes. Phytoter. Res. 6: 310-313.

Landaverde, R. 1989. Observaciones ecológicas y usos de Mimosa tenuiflora Willd. en la zona sur de Honduras. Secretaría de Recursos Nat. (Honduras). Progr. Marcala-Goascoran. Subregión Goascoran. Subprogr. Bosque. Goascorán, Valle, Mimeo.

Linares, E., Bye, R., Flores B. 1999. Plantas medicinales de México. UNAM. México.

López Austin, A. 1984. Textos de medicina náhuatl. UNAM. México.

Lot, A., Chiang, F. (edd.). 1986. Manual de herbario. Administración y manejo de colecciones, técnicas de recolección y preparación de ejemplares botánicos. Consejo Nacional de la Flora de México, A. C.

Lozoya, X. 1998. La Herbolaria en México. Conaculta. México.

Lozoya, X. 1990. Los señores de las plantas. Pangea. México.

Lozoya, X. 1988. El Tepescohuite: charlatanería y veracidad. Información Científica y Tecnológica 139: 9-11.

Lozoya, X. et al. 1989. Experimental evaluation of Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd.) Poiret (tepescohuite) I. Screening of the antimicrobial properties of bark extracts. Arch. Invest. Méd. (Méx.). 1: 87-93.

Lozoya, X. et al. 1995. Survival of cultured plant cells grafted into the subcutaneous tissue of rats (preliminary report). Arch. Med. Res. 1: 85-89.

Martínez, M. 1969. Las plantas medicinales de México. Fondo de Cultura Económica. México.

Meckes-Lozoya, M.X., González, J.L. 1990a. Propiedades farmacológicas in vitro de algunos extractos de Mimosa tenuiflora (tepescohuite). Arch. Invest. Méd. (Méx.). 21: 163-169.

Meckes-Lozoya, M., Lozoya, X., et al. 1990b. Efecto producido por la fracción de alcaloides de Mimosa tenuiflora (tepescohuite) sobre el reflejo peristáltico del íleon del cobayo. Arch. Invest. Méd. (Méx.). 21: 171-174.

Meckes-Lozoya, M., Lozoya, X. et al. 1990c. n, n-dimetiltriptamina alcaloide de la corteza de Mimosa tenuiflora (tepescohuite). Arch. Invest. Méd. (Méx.). 21: 175-177.

Miranda, F., Hernández-Xolocotzi, E.. 1963. Los tipos de vegetación de México y su clasificación. Bol. Soc. Bot. México 28: 29-179.

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Nolasco, R., Landaverde, R.. 1988. Diagnóstico del sistema agroforestal tradicional maíz-maicillo-carbón negro (Mimosa tenuiflora). Secretaría de Recursos Naturales. Programa Marcala-Goascorán (Margoas). Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Mimeo

Palacios C. 1991. Cicatricial, antibacterial and antimycotic effects of tepescohuite in experimental animals. Rev. invest. Clin;43(3):205-10

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Sánchez-León, V. 1987. Plantas de Chiapas, sus usos, valores e importancia: el tepescohuite. Yashté. Inst. Historia Natural, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México

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Villarreal, M.L. et al. 1991. Effects of Mimosa tenuiflora bark extracts on W138 and KB human cells in culture. Arch. Invest. Méd. (Méx.). 22: 163-169.

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Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo.
Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

International, Spagnolo

Evolución humana y salud: cómo poblaciones de África, Asia y América se han adaptado a la malaria

Bien es sabido que regiones del mundo como África, Asia y Latinoamérica se caracterizan por tener una alta presencia del mosquito transmisor de la malaria, enfermedad provocada por el género Plasmodium. Es una enfermedad bastante común, a la que estas poblaciones han debido adaptarse.

Para empezar vamos a conocer más sobre la enfermedad. Es provocada por un parásito eucariota llamado Plasmodium, éste sigue un ciclo de vida, que incluye un vector (el mosquito Anopheles), donde se reproduce sexualmente y un huésped (el ser humano), donde se reproduce asexualmente.

Tras la picadura del mosquito el parásito pasa a la sangre. Se transportan hasta el hígado donde se multiplica, teniendo lugar una primera parte del ciclo asexual. En esta etapa el parásito puede reinfectar a los hepatocitos o volver al torrente sanguíneo e infectar a los eritrocitos. En los eritrocitos el parásito se alimenta del contenido proteico, este proceso acaba con la rotura del eritrocito. 

Los síntomas comienzan tras unos 10-15 días desde la picadura del mosquito. La malaria es una enfermedad altamente mortal si no se diagnostica a tiempo, especialmente la causada por la especie P. falciparum, que si no se trata en 24 horas puede convertirse en una enfermedad grave y conducir a la muerte. Se calcula que al año mueren unas 500.000 personas por esta enfermedad.

Sin embargo, hay poblaciones que están desarrollando adaptaciones para convertir a la malaria en una enfermedad menos letal. Se ha visto que hay una prevalencia del grupo sanguíneo 0 en regiones como África, lugar donde la malaria es común. Las personas del grupo sanguíneo 0 están más protegidas contra la malaria grave, mientras que las personas del grupo A son más propensas a padecer una versión grave de la enfermedad y morir.

Se ha visto que la proteína RIFIN juega un papel importante. El parásito secreta esta proteína que se dirige a la superficie de la célula sanguínea actuando como pegamento. Esta proteína se une fuertemente a las células del grupo sanguíneo A, mientras que lo hace débilmente en las células del grupo sanguíneo 0.

Éste podría ser un claro ejemplo de adaptación humana, puesto que en estas áreas geográficas los individuos con grupo sanguíneo 0 habrían resistido mejor la enfermedad, mientras que los individuos con grupo A no habrían sobrevivido, aplicándose así un tipo de selección natural. Esto hace que la prevalencia del grupo 0 cada vez sea mayor, hasta convertirse en el grupo sanguíneo dominante.

Escrito por Sara García Sánchez – Graduada en Biología, especializada en alimentación.

Mensaje al lector: El contenido recogido en este blog es de carácter meramente informativo. No se pretende sustituir la labor de los profesionales sanitarios y de asesoramiento científico.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

Inglese, International

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet for health

The Mediterranean diet has been developed for years in the countries of the Mediterranean coast like Italy, Spain or Greece. It has been influenced by diverse people like Romans, Arabians, Greeks, pre-Hispanic tribes, bringing more variety to the local cuisine.

This diet is characterized by the use of olive oil, wine, vegetables, fish, cheese, yogurt, fruits, legumes, dried fruits and cereals. It shows the ancient history and traditions of the countries of the region. The use of wine and olive oil was introduced by ancient Greeks and Romans. Then, with the arrival of the Arabians, new food was introduced, such as dried fruits like almonds, legumes like chickpeas and fruits like lemon or orange. After the discovery of America, new food came to Europe, crucial ingredients like potatoes and tomato. For this reason the Mediterranean diet is so varied 

It is well known that this diet has many benefits, it is appreciated by its variety of ingredients and its culinary techniques. It is simple but rich at the same time. There is a predominance of vegetables and fruits, leaving meat in the background. It has always been described as one of the most balanced diets and it is a good example of a healthy lifestyle due to its amount of benefits.

Some of these benefits are the prevention of diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular problems, degenerative illnesses or cancer. It is rich in antioxidants and fiber and poor in saturated fatty acids, it provides a balanced intake of essential unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For example, the olive oil, which is widely used for cooking, has a lot of positive effects in our bodies. It helps to reduce the LDL-c cholesterol, which remains in the arteries, it also helps to control the arterial pressure. Another important ingredient, the wine, is characterized by its antioxidant properties and its positive effects on the circulatory system. 

The predominance of wholegrain cereals, vegetables and legumes helps to obtain fiber, which is good for the gastrointestinal tract. There are two types of fiber, the soluble and the insoluble one. The first one helps to regulate blood cholesterol and glucose, it can be found in lentils, carrots, walnuts and apples; the second one stimulates the digestive system helping to combat constipation.

This diet is also rich in dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, Italian cheese like mozzarella and Greek yogurt are widely known for their quality. Dairy products help to obtain the necessary calcium, preventing illnesses like osteoporosis, for this reason many experts recommend taking three dairy products per day.

In addition to this, it is low in unhealthy fatty acids and sugar, which is essential to keep a balanced weight. This combined with regular physical exercise could help us to maintain a healthy weight.

In a nutshell, Mediterranean diet is well known for its benefits for health, however it is in danger due to the introduction of fast food, ultra processed food and precooked food. People do not have time for cooking and leave behind more healthy habits. That’s why it is crucial to highlight the importance of Mediterranean diet nowadays, and to invite people to retake it.

Written by Sara García Sánchez

Message to reader: Any information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended in any way to replace professional figures in the medical and consultancy fields.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.

Inglese, International

HEALTH: the importance to preserve it.

World health day

7 April 1948 World Health Organization (WHO) was founded. In the same year, the first World Health Assembly (WHA) decided to establish a dedicated health day around the world. Since 1950, World Health day has therefore been celebrated on 7 April [2].

What is health?

We used to think about health as the absence of disease, but actually, it is not just about that. In fact, according to the WHO:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and does not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” [3]

We can see every day how true this statement is. Take for instance when we feel sad or melancholic, we would not say that we are in perfect health.

In 1966, an Italian hygienist, Alessandro Seppilli, defined health as “a condition of harmonious functional, physical and mental balance, of the dynamically-minded individual integrated into his natural environment” [1].

We can easily understand that health is a dynamic condition as it is not always possible to have physical, mental and social well-being. Fortunately, the condition of health and well-being can be improved.

Foto di Adina Voicu da Pixabay

What does health depend on?

Different factors determine the state of health:

Environmental factors, which include physical and social environment. Talking about the physical environment, we refer to climatic, chemicals and biological agents.

Social environment includes the conditions of life, work, income, level of education, cultural and religious conditioning. 

It is important to consider people’s socio-economic status: employment, poverty, social exclusion are factors that influence the state of health.

This aspect can affect lifestyle, leading to behaviors that are not conducive to health, such as incorrect diet, smoking, alcohol, incorrect use of drugs, sedentary lifestyle.

Another important aspect to consider is the access to services: instruction, type of health system, social services, means of transport, recreational activities, are all very important factors in our life [1].

What can we do to promote health?

Health education is essential to prevent disease and promote well-being. It is about teaching people to make positive choices. In this way, people can be encouraged to engage in health-promoting behaviors.

Prevention

Prevention activity is essential to prevent the onset and progression of diseases. It consists of a series of actions aimed at promoting the health of the community. We can classify it into primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

Primary prevention

The objective of primary prevention is to prevent the sickness of healthy people through strategies aimed at removing the causes of diseases or the factors that facilitate their onset. In this way, it is possible to reduce the frequency of the disease  considerably. It is based on programs and interventions aimed at individuals, communities or the environment. It acts on the lifestyle, on the work environment and on strengthening the immune system [1].

Secondary prevention

The objective of secondary prevention is to cure diseases at their initial stage, that is, before they reach an evolutionary stage such that they can no longer be cured. With secondary prevention it is possible to reduce the mortality, but not the incidence of diseases, because it doesn’t remove the causes. It is based on screening tests, which had to be quick, sure, not expensive and well accepted by people [1].

Tertiary prevention

The objective of tertiary prevention is the prevention of disability.

It consists in preventing sick people from experiencing a state of disability and in rehabilitation procedures and techniques, which must be implemented as soon as possible to achieve maximum recovery [1].

Conclusions

Health is therefore a condition that depends on many factors. To promote it, everyone’s contribution is necessary: ​​both from institutions and individual citizens. Prevention is an important part of the process of promoting health.

Health is a precious commodity and everyone should be able to easily access  the necessary care in order to preserve it.

Written by Graziella Migliorino – Master’s Degree in Pharmacy

REFERENCES

[1]https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1H79nRjkgIZJ_ic8AGQ0Kgz_uwINbLAuA/edit#slide=id.p9

[2] https://www.epicentro.iss.it/focus/mondiale_salute/mondiale_salute

[3] https://www.who.int/

Message to reader: Any information on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended in any way to replace professional figures in the medical and consultancy fields.

Messaggio al lettore: Ogni informazione presente in questo blog è puramente a scopo informativo. Non si intende in nessun modo sostituire figure professionali in campo medico e di consulenza.