Category Archives: General

The Factors That Matter When Identifying Matches

Whether someone is waiting for a bone marrow match or hopes for a stem cell transplant, there are relatively few factors that matter in determining who would be a match. We’ll address those here.

Tissue Type

The first requirement is that the donor be a match to the patient’s tissue type. The human leukocyte antigen or HLA tissue type is the most important. Every donor in the bone marrow match registry provides a DNA sample that is tested for six basic HLA markers. Anyone who is a good match based on those criteria for a patient will be sent for additional tests; whoever has the closest HLA markers is considered the best match.

The most likely match in terms of HLA is going to be a family member. The second most likely will be someone with the same ethnic background. This is why the bone marrow registry has been desperately seeking ethnic minority donors – because there are many willing white donors but their bone marrow just isn’t a match for many minorities who need such donations.

The fact that you are always a match with yourself has been one justification for storing cord blood from newborns. There have already been several bone marrow transplants using a child’s own cord blood. Cord blood from siblings conceived as “saviors” for a sibling with blood cancer is an ethically gray area, but it has saved a number of lives. Cord blood harvesting is being touted as an investment in your child’s health, too, because it is a safe source of cells for stem cell transplant for the child at any point in their lives.

Blood Type

If someone is in need of a bone marrow transplant procedure priority will be given to donors with the same blood type as the recipient. After receiving a bone marrow transplant from someone of another blood type, the donor’s body may change blood type over time to match that of the new bone marrow.

Donor Health

Donor health is always a factor to consider when determining who can be a donor. Bone marrow donation doesn’t pose the same health risk that donating an organ would, merely inconvenience and discomfort. However, the donor’s poor health could still preclude them donating bone marrow or stem cells. For example, someone with a deadly disease like HIV or Hepatitis C cannot be a bone marrow donor unless the recipient also has that disease.

Donor age has been found to be associated with long term survival and disease-free status for recipients of bone marrow, and it is probably relevant in other stem cell transplants as well. Your bone marrow and organs are as old as you are. You may be in excellent health for a 60 year old, but the recipient’s odds of survival are higher if they receive a transplant from an equally good match who is 26. A scientific study found that five year survival rates for recipients were 33% if the donor was under 30, 29% for donors between 31 and 45, and 25% if the donor was over 45. For patients receiving bone marrow from someone who wasn’t as good of an HLA match, survival rates were 28% when donors were under 30, 22% if donors were under 45, and less than 20% if donors were over 45. The impact of age on the survival rate of the recipient would mean that it is better to select a sibling donor over a parent and a child over a sibling.

Donor sex turned out to be a complicating factor. A female donor who had multiple pregnancies seemed to have trace amounts of her children’s stem cells in her body that carried over to the recipient. Recipients of their bone marrow suffered graft-versus-host disease at a rate of 55% versus 44% for everyone else. Solutions to this include preferring a male donor over a female one, the female who has never been pregnant, or selecting the youngest female donor on the assumption they’ve had fewer children.

Andréa Albright’s bikini workout

 Want a fitness model body? Our January cover model Andréa’s Albright shares her bikini blaster tri-set.

The rules: A tri-set is simply three exercises back to back. 

1. Walking lunges

Start by doing lunges across the room. No weight is needed. This just gets you warmed up and the blood moving.

2. Chair step-ups

Next comes step-ups on a stable bench or chair against the wall, doing 10 to 15 reps for each leg.

Do not alternate legs; this keeps the tension on the glute and thigh muscles.

This is what I call The Time-Tension Principle™ which gives you more results in less time. This increases an enzyme in your body called AMPk as well, which helps burn even more fat.

3. Bridge pose

Finish off with bridge pose, taking long, slow, deep breaths. This calms you down while tightening and toning up the butt and thighs.

View the full workout at

Browse more workouts for a toned bod>>

Photo credit: Wendi Satio

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9 satisfying snacks

Looking for healthy snack ideas? Here are 9 satisfying snacks will keep you going ’til dinner.

* 1 piece of fruit such as a banana or an apple or 2 small pieces eg. apricots, plums or kiwifruit

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Healthy snacking – 4 rules to live by

It’s 3pm and you’re in an all-too-familiar standoff with the office vending machine. So what are the rules of healthy snacking?

1. Monitor portion size/kJs

Shoot for 600 to 800 kJ for a nutritious, filling snack that will deliver adequate energy to get you through to the next meal. If you’re training for more than an hour a day, you can afford to (and probably need to) increase the energy count of each snack or add one or two extras. Just don’t forget that post-workout recovery shake counts as food!

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Modern-day meditation

According to research, meditation reduces high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. David Goding investigates its far-reaching health benefits.

The science of meditation is at once very simple and incredibly complex. On a basic level it requires little more than inner calm and focus though it provides us with a wealth of lasting mental and physical benefits. In fact, meditation may well be the third cog in the wheel of health — along with diet and regular exercise — that provide us with ultimate health and wellbeing.

A recent US meta analysis of 20 individual studies conducted by Connecticut University found that regular meditation produced slower heart and breathing rates, improved blood flow and decreased the chance of suffering from depression and mental health issues.

These benefits are widely acknowledged to have a multitude of healthy flow-on effects, including the ability to lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood glucose levels, improve respiratory function and even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In stimulating the nervous and immune system response, meditation has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of asthma and reactions to allergens.

“Regular meditation helps you to develop coping mechanisms that enable you to deal with obstacles in life,” says Jenny Petridis, Meditation Facilitator from Prana House.

“Physically your body becomes a lot more relaxed. You don’t realise how much tension you hold in your body and most of the time we don’t breathe correctly. As well as having psychological benefits, the practice of meditation initiates changes in physiological functioning, including reduction in heart rate, oxygen consumption and stress hormones.”

The ability of meditation to reduce stress has seen its introduction to hospitals in cases of chronic or terminal illness, where it is used to reduce complications, promote immune system functions and an improved attitude by the patient. In short, reduced stress means improved health.

How meditation affects the body
Meditation has been shown to have a direct effect on the two major players of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the functions of organs and muscles throughout the body, including the heart and the digestive system.

Firstly, it works by reducing the activity in the sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the autonomic nervous system responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response when stressed — causing heart rate and breathing to go up, blood vessels to narrow and muscles to tense up.

The effect of meditation on blood pressure is measurable and the benefits to our heart health significant. Muscle tension drops to almost nil during meditation. As pain is often tension related this results in considerable pain relieving benefits.

Secondly, meditation increases the activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, the part responsible for the ‘rest-and-digest’ response — causing heart rate and breathing to slow, blood vessels to dilate improving blood flow as well as stimulating the digestive process.

A 25-year US study conducted by the Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health found that that the longer people meditated, the greater the benefits. They found that subjects that had meditated regularly for five years were physiologically 12 years younger than the non-meditating subjects. Those that had meditated for less time were physiologically only five years younger than the control group.

Backing this up is a separate study conducted by Dr David Orme-Johnson, a research psychologist at Iowa’s Maharishi International University, that found that regular meditators over the age of 40 visited their doctor 73.7 per cent less than non-meditators, had 87.3 per cent fewer admissions to hospital for heart disease and 55.4 per cent fewer admissions for tumour related illness.

How meditation affects the mind
Meditation has also been shown to significantly calm brain waves leading to a generally more relaxed and less anxious state of mind. EEG analysis shows that brain activity during meditation is actually very similar to that during sleep.

This has been shown to improve cognitive function and offer significant benefits for conditions such as depression, anxiety, headaches, stress, ADHD and insomnia.

Meditating before bedtime has been shown to be one of the most effective remedies for breaking the pattern of sleeplessness and offers a very real alternative to sleeping drugs. This is particularly relevant when you consider that lack of sleep is not only on the rise throughout the Western world but is now the number one reason people visit their GP.

When creative visualisation or guided imagery is used on top of this the results can be even more powerful.
“Setting out the positive intention in meditation really enables you to feel that you are the creator of your world,” says Petridis.

“This kind of visualisation is commonly used in the sporting arena. If you visualise yourself winning that race, you start to feel that you are actually winning the race. You are rewiring the brain and it’s as if your brain is tricking your body into doing it.”

The technique, once perfected, can be used for all manner of purposes, from simply going into your day with a positive outlook and purpose to achieving physical healing, depending on your focus. As a mental rehearsal it can be used before a stressful or potentially painful event such as surgery or childbirth in order to relieve anxiety and pain.

Getting started
Meditation is probably the best ‘self-help’ therapy you can do. Though some people find meditating a lot easier than others, everyone can achieve a meditative state with practice, at least to some degree.

“A lot of people say they can’t meditate but in most cases it’s about finding out what works for you, what resonates,” says Petridis.

There’s no right or wrong or strict rules you need to follow, you don’t even necessarily have to sit still. You could meditate while gardening or going for a walk.”
Petridis says that a lot of people get put off by the perceived seriousness and levels of concentration involved.

“A lot of people are intimidated with meditation and think they have to sit in a certain posture and there can be nothing going on in their mind,” she says. “You need to think to yourself that it’s going to be fun. Look around and see what entices you and when you do go to a meditation class don’t take it so incredibly seriously, just relax and enjoy it. Stick with it and don’t be hard on yourself and you’ll find that it will naturally happen.”

To start with, Petridis suggests setting aside 15 minutes three times a week for the practice of meditation.

“Everyone can find 15 minutes to meditate,” she says. “Find a quiet space, take some time out and concentrate on doing some deep, even breathing. Before you know it you’ll become addicted to it and you’ll probably end up increasing the amount of time you spend meditating.”

To obtain information on Buddhist centres and activities in your area go to For information and locations of Transcendental Meditation go to

For information about visualisation meditation go to

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Treatment Options for Patients with Kidney Failure

Kidney failure or renal failure is a terrifying experience, whether it happens quickly due to a severe infection or poisoning or slowly due to damage caused by diabetes. This used to be a slow death as the body choked on its toxins. However, technology allows us to replace much of the damaged organ’s function and extend the life of these patients. The two main treatments for these patients are ultrafiltration and dialysis & also we can use Lead filter, POU filter, Legionella filter for our kindney.

The Differences between Dialysis and Ultrafiltration

Ultrafiltration is similar to dialysis but it only removes water from the body. It doesn’t remove waste products like phosphorus and urea. Dialysis or hemodialysis filters blood through a filter and a dialyser. The Dialysis Quality Water removes the waste products in addition to extra water the kidneys can no longer remove. This is why dialyzers are sometimes called artificial kidneys, though they’re not as efficient or effective as a biological kidney. Dialysis machines will be the ones to remove minerals like salt and potassium from your body. This has to be done every two to three days to prevent these substances from building to up to dangerous levels.

The Similarities between Dialysis and Ultrafiltration

Both processes are intended to clean blood in those whose bodies cannot do so naturally. Before you can have either process done, the patient needs a minor surgical procedure to allow needles to connect to the blood vessels and the machine. This may be done with an AV graft or AV fistula. However, in some cases, a catheter is installed peritoneum, a membrane in the abdomen.

In both cases, the process of cleaning the blood takes around four hours if you’re cleaning all of the blood in the body. It is common to feel dizzy or cramps during treatment. It is normal to feel tired after treatment.

The major difference between hemodialysis and ultrafiltration is that dialysis ultra filters are part of any dialysis machine, but the dialysis machine does more than just remove extra water from the body. In short, dialysis machines have both ultra filters and dialysis filters. Point of entry ultrafiltration system machines only has the medical ultra filters.

When Does Someone Get Prescribed Ultrafiltration?

Patients will be prescribed slow continuous ultrafiltration or SCUF when they’re suffering from acute renal failure. No replacement fluids are used to draw wastes except water out of the body. That would be done at a later time via hemodialysis or hemofiltration. Use of a dialysis machine will lead to restrictions on how much you can drink, since the machine won’t be able to remove two or three days of excess fluid from the body in the four hour time frame if you drink too much. If there is too much fluid in the body, it can build up in your blood, your body’s tissues and even the lungs.

Are Commercial Ultra Filters Used in Dialysis or Ultrafiltration?

Commercial ultra filters are used in industrial applications, not medical ones. They perform a similar function to dialysis and medical blood filtration. The membrane filter forces fluid through a semipermeable membrane, separating protein solutions or other mixtures. Ultrafiltration membranes for commercial use are defined by their molecular weight cutoff. The filters may be applied across the fluid flow or in a dead-end mode.

What to do after a food binge

Eaten too much? Overindulged at the weekend? These tips should help you resume and maintain your healthy habits following a food blowout.

The occasional overindulgence isn’t going to harm your health, but it’s important to get back on track after a big night out.

“It’s normal to overindulge and go out and enjoy yourself on occasion, but it’s how you redeem yourself after the fact as to whether you see weight gain or weight loss,” says accredited practising dietitian and Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson Lauren McGuckin.

Try these three pieces of advice for getting back on track:

1. Let your tummy groan
Then have a light, healthy, protein-rich breakfast like an egg on wholegrain toast or a small bowl of muesli with yoghurt and berries.

2. Hydrate
Dehydration often masquerades as hunger, especially after consuming high-fat and high-salt foods, so keep a water bottle on hand throughout the day.

3. Go home-made
Research shows that the more we eat at home, the slimmer we are. Even if you’re choosing healthier options like vegetable pizzas sans cheese or stir-fries, takeaway foods are usually higher in fat and calories than home-prepared meals. Plus, portion sizes are larger to compensate for the extra hit to your wallet.

NEXT: Food blowouts busted

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