Friday July 20, 2018

Coral Reefs: Natural sources of cancer medicines

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coral_reef_4By Meghna

What do Lakshwadeep Islands, the islands of the Gulf of Mannar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the islands of the Gulf of Kachch have in common?

All of them have Coral Reefs.

To a common man, coral reefs would simply appear as hordes of beautiful colours and shapes, scattered across rocks, under crystal blue waters. But, in reality there is much more to coral reefs than just their beauty and vibrancy.

Not everyone knows that Coral reefs have medicinal properties. The substances extracted from Coral Reefs are well known to be used in making medicines for a wide variety of diseases, ranging from diabetes and heart diseases to Alzheimer’s.

A substance extracted from the Caribbean sea sponge, is used to manufacture a medicine named Ara-C, which is a popularly known and widely used medicine in chemotherapy treatments of people diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma.

Another medicine, Yondelis, which is extracted from sea squirt, is used in Europe to treat sarcoma.

“Coral reefs have an incredible diversity of life—from plants, animals and fungi down to the tiniest micro-organism. And this diversity holds so much potential for medical research. In fact, we are 300 to 400 times more likely to find that next big medical breakthrough in our reefs than on land,” Stephanie Wear, a marine scientist at The Nature Conservancy foundation was quoted by a website.

Many coastal communities and even nations—depend on coral reefs for their livelihoods, but, due to climate change, overfishing, pollution, and unsustainable coastal development, the reefs are now endangered. In fact, the coral reefs of the caribbean are known to have diminished upto 90% already! Due to discarded fishing gears,coastal erosion, development, deforestation and other terrestrial activities, increasing sediment loads are being transported to coral reefs via river discharges and surface run off. A combined analysis data spanning 25 years has revealed that in the Caribbean, coral reefs are declining at a rate of 5.5% – 9.2% per year. In the Indo-Pacific region, a 2% loss of coral reefs per year has been estimated. These activities have posed a severe threat to the coral reefs.

Today, 33% of coral species are listed on the ‘Red List of endangered species’ of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Scientists nowadays have been cultivating the coral reefs in nurseries and when they have matured sufficiently, they are restored back into the sea. The survival of coral reefs is essential for mankind to thrive, because they contain answers to a myriad of ailments.

It is quite possible that many of the benefits of these reefs are still unknown to us. Who knows, with the progress of science, we might just be able to get remedies for more and more ailments.

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Meditation Improves Mood, Sleep in Teenagers with Cancer

The mindfulness-based interventions for teenagers with cancer appear as a promising option to lighten psychological inconveniences of living with cancer

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The process focuses on the present moment and the connection between the mind and body. Pixabay

Daily meditation can help improve mood and sleep in teenagers suffering or recuperating from cancer, a promising research shows.

Mindfulness-based meditation could lessen some symptoms associated with cancer in teenagers, according to the results of a clinical trial intervention led by researchers at University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine children’s hospital.

The process focuses on the present moment and the connection between the mind and body.

Adolescents living with cancer face not only the physical symptoms of their condition but also the anxiety and uncertainty related to the progression of the disease and the anticipation of physical and emotional pain related to illness and treatment.

meditation
Daily meditation can help improve mood and sleep in teenagers suffering or recuperating from cancer. Pixabay

The researchers asked 13 adolescents with cancer to complete questionnaires covering mood (positive and negative emotions, anxiety and depression), sleep and quality of life.
The group was divided in two. The first group of eight adolescents were offered eight mindfulness-based meditation sessions and the remaining five adolescents in the control group were put on a wait-list.

After the last meditation session, patients from both groups filled out the same questionnaires a second time.

Also Read: Daily Meditation may keep you attentive in old age

“We found that teenagers that participated in the mindfulness group had lower scores in depression after our eight sessions. Girls from the mindfulness group reported sleeping better. We also noticed that they developed mindfulness skills to a greater extent than boys during the sessions,” explained Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise from University of Montreal.

The mindfulness-based interventions for teenagers with cancer appear as a promising option to lighten psychological inconveniences of living with cancer, she added. (IANS)

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