Saturday, December 20, 2014

Propolis Extract May Help Treat Dengue Fever

The effect of a unique propolis compound (Propoelix™) on clinical outcomes in patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever
Infect Drug Resist. 2014; 7: 323–329.
Background
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae. It is an old virus that has re-emerged globally over the past 20 years and now causes a global burden of 50 million infections per year across approximately 100 countries. Despite this, there is no safe vaccine available, and therapy is largely supportive. Its pathogenesis is multifaceted and currently still poorly understood, leading to a lack of disease-specific therapy. Propolis is a natural antiviral and anti-inflammatory product derived from the saps of plants and mixed with the saliva of honeybees. Propoelix™ is a uniquely potent and water-soluble extract of propolis containing high concentrations of anti-inflammatory compounds like caffeic acid phenethyl ester.
Objective
The primary objective is to determine the effectiveness of a unique propolis extract (Propoelix™) on the clinical course of patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). The secondary objective is to examine the effect of Propoelix™ on tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels in patients with DHF.
Methods
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted at the Department of Internal Medicine, Gatot Soebroto Central Army Hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia, from May 2012 to July 2013. Sixty-three patients who met the inclusion criteria were enrolled in the trial. Patients were randomized to receive either two capsules of Propoelix™ 200 mg three times a day or placebo daily for 7 days. Clinical and laboratory variables of both groups, including the anti-inflammatory marker TNF-α, were investigated. Patients were deemed technically fit for discharge if their platelet counts had recovered and exceeded 100,000/μL but were all observed as inpatients for 7 days.
Results
There were 31 patients in the Propoelix™ treatment group and 32 patients in the placebo group. Platelet counts in the Propoelix™-treated group showed a trend toward a faster recovery by day 3 of admission and became statistically significant by day 6 (101.42±48.79 vs 80.78±43.35 [103/mL], P=0.042) and day 7 (146.67±64.68 vs 107.84±57.22 [103/mL], P=0.006). Patients treated with Propoelix™ had a significantly greater decline in TNF-α levels on day 7 of therapy compared with patients in the placebo group (P=0.018). They also had a significantly shorter length of hospitalization compared with those in the placebo group (4.69±0.78 days vs 5.46±1.16 days, P=0.012).
Conclusion
Propoelix™ appears to hasten the improvement in platelet counts and TNF-α levels and shortens the duration of hospitalization in patients with DHF.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Diabetic 'Health Honey' a Reality Thanks to Nanotechnology and Stevia

By RJ Whitehead, 09-Dec-2014
A new hybridised pollen, developed by a former Nasa scientist, can be fed to bees to create a new species of “designer honey” for use by diabetics.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bee Venom Boosts Effectiveness of Anti-Cancer Drug

Combined antitumor effects of bee venom and cisplatin on human cervical and laryngeal carcinoma cells and their drug resistant sublines
J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Dec;34(12):1332-41
In the present study, we investigated the possible combined anticancer ability of bee venom (BV) and cisplatin towards two pairs of tumour cell lines: parental cervical carcinoma HeLa cells and their cisplatin-resistant HeLa CK subline,as well as laryngeal carcinoma HEp-2 cells and their cisplatin-resistant CK2 subline.
Additionally, we identified several peptides of BV in the BV sample used in the course of the study and determined the exact concentration of MEL. BV applied alone in concentrations of 30 to 60 μg ml(–1) displayed dose-dependent cytotoxicity against all cell lines tested. Cisplatin-resistant cervical carcinoma cells were more sensitive to BV than their parental cell lines (IC(50) values were 52.50 μg ml(–1) for HeLa vs.47.64 μg ml(–1) for HeLa CK cells), whereas opposite results were obtained for cisplatin-resistant laryngeal carcinoma cells (IC(50) values were 51.98 μg ml(–1) for HEp-2 vs. > 60.00 μg ml(–1) for CK2 cells).
Treatment with BV alone induced a necrotic type of cell death, as shown by characteristic morphological features, fast staining with ethidium-bromide and a lack of cleavage of apoptotic marker poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) on Western blot. Combined treatment of BV and cisplatin induced an additive and/or weak synergistic effect towards tested cell lines, suggesting that BV could enhance the killing effect of selected cells when combined with cisplatin. Therefore, a greater anticancer effect could be triggered if BV was used in the course of chemotherapy.
Our results suggest that combined treatment with BV could be useful from the point of minimizing the cisplatin concentration during chemotherapy, consequently reducing and/or postponing the development of cisplatin resistance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How can bee colony algorithm serve medicine?

World J Plast Surg. 2014 Jul;3(2):87-92
Healthcare professionals usually should make complex decisions with far reaching consequences and associated risks in health care fields. As it was demonstrated in other industries, the ability to drill down into pertinent data to explore knowledge behind the data can greatly facilitate superior, informed decisions to ensue the facts. Nature has always inspired researchers to develop models of solving the problems. Bee colony algorithm (BCA), based on the self-organized behavior of social insects is one of the most popular member of the family of population oriented, nature inspired meta-heuristic swarm intelligence method which has been proved its superiority over some other nature inspired algorithms. The objective of this model was to identify valid novel, potentially useful, and understandable correlations and patterns in existing data. This review employs a thematic analysis of online series of academic papers to outline BCA in medical hive, reducing the response and computational time and optimizing the problems. To illustrate the benefits of this model, the cases of disease diagnose system are presented.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Reasons Why Bee Products Revitalize Your Health

Care2, 12/8/2014
I wasn’t always a honeybee lover. But, after directing the documentary film Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page, I became an advocate for countless reasons. This fuzzy insect is one of endless surprise and delight.
For starters, honeybees are a female society, 95 percent of the hive are made up female workers, sisters to each other, and daughters of the Queen. They are considered to be ancient messengers as well as teachers when it comes to things such as cooperation, industriousness and adaptability.
They are selfless and work together with swarm intelligence for the greater good of the hive. They do amazing things like beat their wings at 250 times a second, twisting them for maximum lift.
And yet honeybees, who also pollinate one out of three every bites of the food we eat (everything from avocados to zucchinis), are disappearing all over the world, thanks in large part to nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids. This past year marks the highest losses of honeybee populations in the country.
At very low doses, these systemic pesticides negatively impact the immune system of the bee, interfere with their nervous systems and impact their navigational capabilities, causing tremors, paralysis and eventually death. These pesticides, which were first registered for use in the mid-1990s, are also poisoning our food supply, negatively impacting other pollinators, and have now made their way into American rivers. They also impair developing (human) brains.
Unfortunately, pesticides are still being used in the U.S., even though the European Commission recently proposed a two-year ban on three of these systemic insecticides to give researchers time to determine the actual effects. This is called the Precautionary Principle. In the U.S., we just pump pesticides out into the environment and blindly trust the studies that have been conducted by the actual makers of these poisons. That’s right, the Environmental Protection Agency does not do any independent research.
With that said, I do believe that progress is being made and that the honeybee is on the forefront of our consciousness more than ever before. It is up to us to continue to spread the buzz about bees.
Michael Pollan says, “vote with your fork.” We cannot afford to lose these sacred creatures. They are the reason why we have nutritious food to eat, and, to top it all off, so many substances they create are medicinal and magical.
Here are five reasons why bee goods revitalize your health.
1. Raw Honey: Nectar of the Gods
In her six-week life span, a honeybee will only produce a quarter of a teaspoon of honey. Think of the cooperation that is required to accomplish this the next time you come across a jar of honey. The ancient Greeks referred to honey as the “nectar of the gods” and the benefits of raw honey are numerous. Honeybees from a typical hive visit approximately 225,000 flowers per day.
Honey, which is literally bee vomit, is both antibacterial and antifungal – so much so that it’s the only food that never spoils. This liquid gold is so potent that it’s been shown to even kill the deadly bacteria MSRA! Honey is also loaded with minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. Honey can be used against coughs, to treat burns, to build up your immune system, as wound dressing and even as a face mask…

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Propolis Can Help Prevent Cavities

Propolis - based chitosan varnish: drug delivery, controlled release and antimicrobial activity against oral pathogen bacteria
Dental caries is the most prevalent oral disease in several Asian and Latin American countries. It is an infectious disease and different types of bacteria are involved in the process.
Synthetic antimicrobials are used against this disease; however, many of these substances cause unwarranted undesirable effects like vomiting, diarrhea and tooth staining. Propolis, a resinous substance collected by honeybees, has been used to control the oral microbiota.
So, the objective of this study was to develop and characterize sustained-release propolis-based chitosan varnish useful on dental cariogenic biofilm prevention, besides the in vitro antimicrobial activity.
Methods: Three formulations of propolis - based chitosan varnish (PCV) containing different concentrations (5%, 10% and 15%) were produced by dissolution of propolis with chitosan on hydro-alcoholic vehicle. Bovine teeth were used for testing adhesion of coatings and to observe the controlled release of propolis associated with varnish.
It was characterized by infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, casting time, diffusion test in vitro antimicrobial activity and controlled release. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) were tested for the main microorganisms involved in the cariogenic biofilm through the microdilution test in 96-well plates.
Results: The formulations presented a tooth surface adherence and were able to form films very fast on bovine tooth surface.
Also, propolis-based chitosan varnishes have shown antimicrobial activity similar to or better than chlorhexidine varnish against all oral pathogen bacteria. All microorganisms were sensitive to propolis varnish and chitosan.
MIC and MBC for microorganisms of cariogenic biofilme showed better results than chlorhexidine. Propolis active components were released for more than one week.
Conclusion: All developed formulations turn them, 5%, 10% and 15% propolis content varnish, into products suitable for clinical application on dental caries prevention field, deserving clinical studies to confirm its in vivo activity.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Honey Bees Used to Detect Diabetes

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Honeybees (Seriously — It Could Work In Urban Slums)
WBUR, August 21, 2014
The latest book by humorist David Sedaris is implausibly titled “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.” But as we all know, life is stranger than literature: Now, an imaginative team of social entrepreneurs has devised a way to explore diabetes with bees — that is, to train honeybees to diagnose hidden cases of diabetes…

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Bee Pollen Diet

Bee Pollen is a Superfood
Newsletter of the American Apitherapy Society, December 2014
By Dr. Patrick Fratellone, MD RH (AHG) FIM
There are many DIETS on the market. There must be at least 300 – including and not limited to Atkins, South Beach, God Makers Diet, etc, etc. Most are all derivatives of the Robert Atkins LOW CARB lifestyle, all different in the amount and source of fat and protein. But I found a diet that is NOT derived from Atkins, It is the Bee Pollen Diet.
Why bee pollen?
Pollen is considered an energy and nutritive tonic in Chinese medicine. Cultures throughout the world use it in a surprising number of applications: for improving endurance and vitality, extending longevity, aiding recovery from chronic illness, adding weight during convalescence, reducing cravings and addictions, regulating the intestines, building new blood, preventing infectious diseases such as the cold and the flu (it has antibiotic type properties), and helping to overcome retardation and other developmental problems in children. It is thought to protect against radiation and to have anti-cancer qualities.
Nutrient deficiencies and all the health problems they cause are recognized worldwide as a growing problem. Because bee pollen contains all the nutrients needed to sustain life, it is being used on an ever larger scale for human nourishment and health. Science teaches that bee pollen contains many substances that combine to make it a healthy, nutritious, complete food. There are numerous reports from medical experience that conclusively show that the benefits of bee pollen exceed that of a simple food item, and the bees do most of the work.
Bee-gathered pollens are rich in proteins, free amino acids, vitamins, including Bcomplex, and folic acid.
This data was presented by Antonio Couto from Portugal- Apitherapist, Beekeeper, Researcher and Inventor at the 2014 American Apitherapy Society meeting in Chicago May 1- 4th. He started the lifestyle with initial blood testing based on research from the previous Soviet Union which is now Georgia from the Longevity Institute under Nicolai Vasilleuch. The book he suggested can be useful but difficult to obtain is,”The Healing Powers of Pollen” by Patrice Percie du Sert published in 2006. Antonio used pollen from the Cistus plant ( Rock rose) which is easily accessible in that region of his country.
On a daily basis after some bulking, Antonio took the following:
1. 20 g of pollen
2. 1 tablespoon of honey
3. 1 tablespoon of bee bread
4. 10 drops of tincture of propolis
5. some odd fruit
There were no animal products...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bee Venom Acupunture a Promising Neuroprotective Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Neuroprotective effects of bee venom acupuncture therapy against rotenone-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis
Neurochem Int. 2014 Dec 3. pii: S0197-0186(14)00247-2
Parkinson disease (PD), the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder, is characterized by dopaminergic neurodegeneration, mitochondrial impairment, and oxidative stress. Exposure of animals to rotenone induces a range of responses characteristics of PD, including reactive oxygen species production and dopaminergic cell death. Although l-dopa is the drug of choice for improving core symptoms of PD, it is associated with involuntary movements. The current study was directed to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of bee venom acupuncture therapy (BVA) against rotenone-induced oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and apoptosis in PD mouse model. Forty male Swiss mice were divided into four groups; (1): received saline solution orally and served as normal control, (2): received rotenone (1.5 mg/kg, s.c, everyother day for 6 doses), (3): received rotenone concomitantly with l-dopa (25 mg/kg, daily, p.o, for 6 days), and finally (4): received rotenone concomitantly with BVA (0.02 ml once every 3 days for two weeks). Rotenone-treated mice showed impairment in locomotor behavior and a significant reduction in brain dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, GSH levels, and paraoxonase activity. Whereas a significant increase was observed in brain malondialdehyde, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-β levels besides DNA damage, and over-expression of caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2 genes. Significant improvement of the aforementioned parameters was demonstrated after BVA compared to l-dopa therapy. In conclusion, bee venom normalized all the neuroinflammatory and apoptotic markers and restored brain neurochemistry after rotenone injury. Therefore, BVA is a promising neuroprotective therapy for PD.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

First Comprehensive Royal Jelly Phosphorylation Atlas

In-Depth Phosphoproteomic Analysis of Royal Jelly Derived from Western and Eastern Honeybee Species
J. Proteome Res., 2014, 13 (12), pp 5928–5943
The proteins in royal jelly (RJ) play a pivotal role in the nutrition, immune defense, and cast determination of honeybee larvae and have a wide range of pharmacological and health-promoting functions for humans as well. Although the importance of post-translational modifications (PTMs) in protein function is known, investigation of protein phosphorylation of RJ proteins is still very limited.
To this end, two complementary phosphopeptide enrichment materials (Ti4+-IMAC and TiO2) and high-sensitivity mass spectrometry were applied to establish a detailed phosphoproteome map and to qualitatively and quantitatively compare the phosphoproteomes of RJ produced by Apis mellifera ligustica (Aml) and Apis cerana cerana (Acc). In total, 16 phosphoproteins carrying 67 phosphorylation sites were identified in RJ derived from western bees, and nine proteins phosphorylated on 71 sites were found in RJ produced by eastern honeybees. Of which, eight phosphorylated proteins were common to both RJ samples, and the same motif ([S-x-E]) was extracted, suggesting that the function of major RJ proteins as nutrients and immune agents is evolutionary preserved in both of these honeybee species. All eight overlapping phosphoproteins showed significantly higher abundance in Acc-RJ than in Aml-RJ, and the phosphorylation of Jelleine-II (an antimicrobial peptide, TPFKLSLHL) at S6 in Acc-RJ had stronger antimicrobial properties than that at T1 in Aml-RJ even though the overall antimicrobial activity of Jelleine-II was found to decrease after phosphorylation. The differences in phosphosites, peptide abundance, and antimicrobial activity of the phosphorylated RJ proteins indicate that the two major honeybee species employ distinct phosphorylation strategies that align with their different biological characteristics shaped by evolution. The phosphorylation of RJ proteins are potentially driven by the activity of extracellular serine/threonine protein kinase FAM20C-like protein (FAM20C-like) through the [S-x-E] motif, which is supported by evidence that mRNA and protein expression of FAM20C-like protein kinase are both found in the highest level in the hypopharyngeal gland of nurse bees.
Our data represent the first comprehensive RJ phosphorylation atlas, recording patterns of phosphorylated RJ protein abundance and antibacterial activity of some RJ proteins in two major managed honeybee species. These data constitute a firm basis for future research to better understand the biological roles of each RJ protein for honeybee biology and human health care.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Bee Venom Acupuncture May Help Treat Peripheral Neuropathy

Serotonergic mechanism of the relieving effect of bee venom acupuncture on oxaliplatin-induced neuropathic cold allodynia in rats
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Dec 6;14(1):471
BACKGROUND:
Oxaliplatin, an important chemotherapy drug for advanced colorectal cancer, often induces peripheral neuropathy, especially cold allodynia. Our previous study showed that bee venom acupuncture (BVA), which has been traditionally used in Korea to treat various pain symptoms, potently relieves oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia in rats. However, the mechanism for this anti-allodynic effect of BVA remains poorly understood. We investigated whether and how the central serotonergic system, a well-known pathway for acupuncture analgesia, mediates the relieving effect of BVA on cold allodynia in oxaliplatin-injected rats.
METHODS:
The behavioral signs of cold allodynia in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were induced by a single injection of oxaliplatin (6 mg/kg, i.p.). Before and after BVA treatment, the cold allodynia signs were evaluated by immersing the rat's tail into cold water (4[degree sign]C) and measuring the withdrawal latency. For BVA treatment, a diluted BV (0.25 mg/kg) was subcutaneously administered into Yaoyangguan (GV3) acupoint, which is located between the spinous processes of the fourth and the fifth lumbar vertebra. Serotonin was depleted by a daily injection of DL-p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA, 150 mg/kg, i.p.) for 3 days. The amount of serotonin in the spinal cord was measured by ELISA. Serotonergic receptor antagonists were administered intraperitoneally or intrathecally before BVA treatment.
RESULTS:
The serotonin levels in the spinal cord were significantly increased by BVA treatment and such increase was significantly reduced by PCPA. This PCPA pretreatment abolished the relieving effect of BVA on oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia. Either of methysergide (mixed 5-HT1/5-HT2 receptor antagonist, 1 mg/kg, i.p.) or MDL-72222 (5-HT3 receptor antagonist, 1 mg/kg, i.p) blocked the anti-allodynic effect of BVA. Further, an intrathecal injection of MDL-72222 (12 mug) completely blocked the BVA-induced anti-allodynic action, whereas NAN-190 (5-HT1A receptor antagonist, 15 mug, i.t.) or ketanserin (5-HT2A receptor antagonist, 30 mug, i.t.) did not.
CONCLUSIONS:
These results suggest that BVA treatment alleviates oxaliplatin-induced acute cold allodynia in rats via activation of the serotonergic system, especially spinal 5-HT3 receptors. Thus, our findings may provide a clinically useful evidence for the application of BVA as an alternative therapeutic option for the management of peripheral neuropathy, a dose-limiting side effect that occurs after an administration of oxaliplatin.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Bee Venom Component Protects Against Liver Damage

Bee Venom Phospholipase A2 Protects against Acetaminophen-Induced Acute Liver Injury by Modulating Regulatory T Cells and IL-10 in Mice
Published: PLOS One, December 05, 2014
The aim of this study was to investigate the protective effects of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) from bee venom against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity through CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cells (Treg) in mice. Acetaminophen (APAP) is a widely used antipyretic and analgesic, but an acute or cumulative overdose of acetaminophen can cause severe hepatic failure. Tregs have been reported to possess protective effects in various liver diseases and kidney toxicity. We previously found that bee venom strongly increased the Treg population in splenocytes and subsequently suppressed immune disorders. More recently, we found that the effective component of bee venom is PLA2. Thus, we hypothesized that PLA2 could protect against liver injury induced by acetaminophen. To evaluate the hepatoprotective effects of PLA2, C57BL/6 mice or interleukin-10-deficient (IL-10−/−) mice were injected with PLA2 once a day for five days and sacrificed 24 h (h) after acetaminophen injection. The blood sera were collected 0, 6, and 24 h after acetaminophen injection for the analysis of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). PLA2-injected mice showed reduced levels of serum AST, ALT, proinflammatory cytokines, and nitric oxide (NO) compared with the PBS-injected control mice. However, IL-10 was significantly increased in the PLA2-injected mice. These hepatic protective effects were abolished in Treg-depleted mice by antibody treatment and in IL-10−/− mice. Based on these findings, it can be concluded that the protective effects of PLA2 against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity can be mediated by modulating the Treg and IL-10 production.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Intake of Brazilian Propolis May Protect Against Cancer

Histone deacetylase inhibitory effect of Brazilian propolis and its association with the antitumor effect in Neuro2a cells
Food Sci Nutr. 2014 Sep;2(5):565-570
Propolis is a resinous product produced by honey bees and is known to have antitumor functions. On the other hand, histone deacetylase (Hdac) inhibitors have recently attracted attention for their antitumor effects. In this study, we examined whether Brazilian green propolis has an Hdac inhibitory activity and its contribution on antitumor effects. By in vitro Hdac activity assay, Brazilian propolis extract (BPE) significantly inhibited the enzyme activity. Actually, BPE treatment increased the intracellular histone acetylation in Neuro2a cells. Regarding antitumor effect in Neuro2a cells, BPE treatment significantly decreased cell viability. An Hdac activator theophylline significantly attenuated the effect. Then, we analyzed whether the decreasing effect on cell number was caused by cell death or growth retardation. By live/dead cell staining, BPE treatment significantly increased the dead cell number. By cell cycle analysis, BPE treatment retarded cell cycle at the M-phase. Both of these cellular effects were suppressed by addition of theophylline. These data indicate that BPE induced both cell death and growth retardation via Hdac inhibitory activity. We demonstrated that Brazilian propolis bears regulatory functions on histone acetylation via Hdac inhibition, and the effect contributes antitumor functions. Our data suggest that intake of Brazilian propolis shows preventing effects against cancer.