KARACHI (PPI) - An American study has shown that exposure to certain pesticides doubles a persons risk of developing an abnormal blood condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a condition that can lead to a painful cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow, called myeloma. The study involved 678 individuals who apply pesticides, culled from a US Agricultural Health Study of over 50,000 farmers. Previously, inconclusive evidence has linked agricultural work to an increased multiple myeloma risk. Our study is the first to show an association between pesticide exposure and an excess prevalence of MGUS, said lead author Dr Ola Landgren, of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. < This finding is particularly important given that we recently found in a large prospective cancer screening study that virtually all multiple myeloma patients experienced a MGUS state prior to developing myeloma, Dr Landgren said. < As several million Americans use pesticides, its important that the risks of developing MGUS from the use of pesticides is known, senior study author and NCI investigator Michael Alavanja said. The blood of the participants, aged 30-94, was assessed for MGUS prevalence. They also completed questionnaires providing comprehensive occupational exposure information for a wide range of pesticides, including information such as the average number of days of pesticide use per year, years of use, use of protective gear while applying pesticides, and pesticide application methods. < Individuals with prior histories of lymphoproliferative malignancies, such as multiple myeloma or lymphoma, were excluded. The researchers monitored cancer incidence and mortality annually, and, after five years, conducted follow-up interviews to update the information about participants occupational exposures, medical histories, and lifestyle factors. < The team compared the results from the pesticide-exposed group with the assessments of 9,469 men from the general population of Olmsted County, Minnesota. < In the pesticide-exposed group, no MGUS cases were observed among those who were less than 50 years of age, but the prevalence of the disorder in those older than 50 was 6.8 percent, which was 1.9 times higher than the general population study group of men in Minnesota. The researchers also evaluated the potential association between MGUS prevalence and 50 specific pesticides for which usage data were known, and observed a significantly increased risk among users of dieldrin (an insecticide), carbon-tetrachloride/carbon disulfide (a fumigant mixture), and chlorothalonil (a fungicide). < Several other insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides were also associated with MGUS, but not significantly. < Our findings are intriguing. If replicated in a larger sample from our study and other large studies, further work should focus on gaining a better understanding of the molecular basis of MGUS and multiple myeloma. Ultimately, this will result in the identification of novel molecular targets involved in the progression from MGUS to multiple myeloma and in the development of targeted therapies, said Dr Landgren. The study appears in the latest issue of the journal Blood. < TRADITIONAL MEDICINES HELP CURE MANY DISEASES Traditional medicines, involving cupping, cauterisation, splinting and hulool are some of oldest methods used to treat disease and infection. Cupping Hijamah, and cauterisation are effective techniques for dealing with a variety of ailments, particularly back pain. The theory behind these techniques is that cleansing blood and toxins from the body will allow good blood to circulate, encouraging healing and stimulating bodys immune system. Cupping is an ancient tradition, which dates back to the time of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This ancient tradition is referred to in several Hadiths. Hijamah was one of two healing practices that received seal of approval of Holy Prophet, with the other being use of honey to heal. A practitioner orders a patient to turn on his stomach. He then heats cups before applying them to specific parts of patients back, where they stick like leaches. Gradually, hot cups begin to draw bad blood from patients back and to stimulate his circulation. The main difference between cauterisation and cupping is that cauterisation targets veins whilst cupping focuses on muscles. Cupping was regarded as a less extreme technique and was more commonly used to treat various ailments including gum disease, tooth pain, conjunctivitis. It is still practised today, particularly in the Far East. Another ancient medical technique still practised is Arabian splinting Tajbeer. It is used in treating fractures and misplaced joints. Orthopaedist would apply a special pomade on to fracture and join bones tightly together with a splint. Hulool another common alternative traditional medicine, made from plants or herbs with healing properties were widely used to treat problems of digestion. Medicinal properties of honey, for example, were mentioned in Holy Quran. Honey was effective in treating diseases affecting liver, lungs and digestive system. It was also useful in helping to clean or sterilise wounds. < Some commonly used herbs include Musk, sandalwood, saffron, anise. Extracts from tree leaves and branches were also used in traditional medicine. These included ingredients like: Alsider, Alghaf & Alharmal. Plantseed extracts included sesame, flax seed, linseed. Fruits such as dates, watermelons, nutmeg, ginger were also common ingredients for cures. Healing properties of honey Hulool another common alternative traditional medicine, made from plants or herbs with healing properties, was widely used to treat digestive problems. Medicinal properties of honey, were mentioned in Holy Quran. It was effective in treatment of diseases affecting liver, lungs and digestive system. It was also useful in helping to sterilise wounds.