31 July 2012

Breast Milk Cures Hiv?

Ask any breastfeeding mama and she’ll likely tell you all about the magic of breast milk. In fact, you may have a tough time getting her to stop touting the benefits. From that first tiny drop providing unmatched newborn nourishment to the unsurpassed, ongoing comfort, and from the soothing of scrapes, sunburns, and mosquito bites, to providing endless hours of fodder for passionate debate and conversation.

Just when you were wondering if there was anything that breast milk couldn’t do, the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine releases an eye-opening study which claims to have uncovered a link between human breast milk and interception of the oral transmission of HIV. As my two year old would say, “tah-dah!”

The study, conducted on genetically-altered mice at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Medical School, suggests that there are compounds found in human breast milk that destroy HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Study leader Dr. Victor Garcia, from the UNC, said, “This study provides significant insight into the amazing ability of breast milk to destroy HIV and prevent its transmission. No child should ever be infected with HIV because it is breastfed.  Breastfeeding provides critical nutrition and protection from other infections, especially where clean water for infant formula is scarce.” Dr. Garcia went on to add that, “understanding how HIV is transmitted to infants and children despite the protective effects of milk will help us close this important door to the spread of AIDS.”

The facts surrounding HIV when it comes to pediatric AIDS cases can be startling, so hold on tight: more than 15 percent of new HIV infections occur among children, some 400,000 in 2010 alone. Left untreated, only 65 percent of HIV infected babies survive until their first birthday, and fewer than 50 percent reach the age of two.

Despite repeated exposure over extended periods of time, most “at-risk” breastfed infants do not end up with HIV.  The tests on mice at UNC show that while some children do acquire HIV from breastfeeding, human breast milk does offer a unique and strong anti-viral effect.

Though it’s true that research conducted on animals does not necessarily equate to the same results in humans, scientists agree with the researchers who performed the UNC study and are optimistic that isolation of specific compounds in human breast milk could lead to new ways of  preventing the spread and transmission of HIV.

16 July 2012

Myths of Colloidal Silver

Some of you may well have heard of colloidal silver before, and some may have even worked with it. Others may have heard about it but have no idea what the term actually means and how it works. As it turns out, silver colloids are particularly useful mixtures which are widely used in laboratories all around the world.

The term colloidal silver was coined during the 1990s to describe a mixture containing silver nano particles whose silver content totals over 50% of the mixture. However, where many companies have come unstuck is in labeling their products as colloidal silver, without undergoing the detailed and often costly laboratory process to determine the exact levels of silver in their products. Many companies have advertised silver colloids, when the actual product on the shelves may be nothing of the sort.

So, how can you tell if a product is a true colloid or not?
There are a few telltale signs which show when the silver content of a solution is less than half. If the color of a solution is clear then it is not colloidal silver. In actual fact, true silver colloids in natural light will be amber in colour, as the silver particles suspended in the liquid absorb light at a different wavelength to most liquids. It stands to reason that the darker amber a liquid appears, the higher the concentration of silver nano particles it contains and the purer the mixture will be.

Another sure fire method of recognizing when a solution is not true silver colloid is when it has been labelled by the manufacturers as "mild silver protein" or "silver protein". The difference between these mixtures and true silver colloids are the size of the silver particles (a silver protein can be in the order of 100s of times bigger than a silver nano particle!). Of course there are plenty of other tests which show whether or not your solution is true colloidal silver or not, but as is so often the way with science, such tests are not quite so simple to perform outside of a laboratory.

Unfortunately, the trials do not stop there, as colloidal silver itself doesn't have a one size fits all approach, i.e. not all colloidal silver solutions have the same properties! If only life were so simple; the truth is that there are vast differences in the properties of silver colloids based on the concentration of nanoparticles, making the mixture suitable for use in varying applications. It is for this reason that if you wish to buy silver colloids, it is important you use an experienced producer of colloids that knows exactly how to engineer the perfect solution for your intended purpose.

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