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Lab Report

Placenta power

Medicinal properties of human placental extracts have been known to traditional practitioners for centuries. In India, the stuff is even available as a licensed drug for treating burn injuries, chronic wounds and surgical dressings. But the exact mechanism behind such a remedial action was unravelled only recently by researchers at Calcutta’s Indian Institute of Chemical Biology. They found that the aqueous solution of the placenta is capable of fighting infections caused by germs mainly because of the presence of a peptide called fibronectin. Besides, the placenta — which throws a protective ring around the baby in the womb — contains several organic compounds and biomolecules that aid in repairing cell damage and in tissue development, they write in the August issue of the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology.

Vitamin therapy for liver damage

Suffering from acute liver problem' Try a cocktail of vitamins. Researchers from the Bharatidasan University in Tamil Nadu have found that a combination of vitamins A, C and E could prevent mice injected with a carcinogenic compound from developing liver cancer. The compound — p-Dimethylaminobenzene — that is commonly used as a food colourant, is known to be a potential liver cancer-causing agent. The vitamins are capable of arresting oxidative damage as they scavenge free radicals that are believed to cause cancers. A steady supply of these vitamins — as a dietary supplement or through food — would help those suffering from liver cancers, they write in the August issue of the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a rich source of these antioxidant vitamins.

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