Remedies for Chickenpox
Chickenpox is a highly infectious viral illness, most common in children, that causes an intensely itchy rash of blisters. Your child may generally feel unwell, with a headache and mild fever, just before the rash develops and for the first few days afterwards. The first symptoms appear 10-21 days after contact with the infection, and most children are completely recovered 7-10 days later.
See your doctor first
Arrange to see your doctor to confirm that your child has chickenpox.
Sodium bicarbonate (see p 188) reduces itching. Add 2 tablespoons to a bath one-third full.
Oatmeal products (see p 186) moisturized the skin; lotions can be used instead of soap.
Antihistamines (see p 178) will help to relieve itching. Try a liquid sedative brand if itching makes sleep difficult for your child.
Crotamiton preparations (se p 180) are creams or lotions applied 2-3 times a day. Keep them away from eyes or broken skin. Don’t use them on children under 3 without consulting your doctor.
Calamine lotion (see p 179) is cooling and helps to dry up blister. Use it as needed.
Applying calamine Use cotton wool and count the spots with your child as you dab on the lotion.
Seek further medical advice
Arrange to see your doctor again if your child develops:
* Pus-filled spots and/or blisters near the eyes
* Earache or headache, breathing problems, drowsiness, or convulsions
What you can do yourself
Use these home treatments to make your child more comfortable and help prevent scratching, which can cause scars.
* If your child has a fever, take steps to reduce it (see FEVER IN CHILDREN, P. 135). Offer your child plenty to drink throughout the day.
* Soothe itching by giving your child likewarm baths twice a day. Try adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or an oatmeal lotion to the bath water (see NATURAL REMEDIES, right).
* An antihistamine will reduce itching and help your child to sleep at night. You can also soothe the skin with a crotamiton cream or lotion, or calamine lotion (see DRUG REMEDIES, right).
* Cut your child’s nails short to reduce damage from scratching. Give him or her cotton gloves to wear at night to prevent scratching during sleep.
* To soothe spots in your child’s mouth, get him or her to rinse with half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, taking care that he or she does not swallow the solution. Encourage your child to keep brushing his or her teeth as normal.
* Your child will be more comfortable in light, loose, non-itchy clothing. Avoid wool.
* Keep your child away from school, and away from any woman who may be pregnant, for 5 days from the time when the blisters first appear.
A boil begins as a small, red, painful lump under the skin, which swells as pus builds up inside. The area is usually warm to the touch and throbs. The cause is most commonly an infection in a hair follicle or oil gland in the skin; the buttocks, thighs, armpits, face, and neck are particularly susceptible. Most boils come to a head and burst, releasing pus, after which the skin heals. Some boils, however, gradually subside without bursting. Sometimes, a cluster of connected boils forms; this is known as a carbuncle.
See your doctor first
Make an appointment to see your doctor if :
* You think you have a carbuncle
* You have diabetes
Painkillers, such as paracetamol (see p 187), can relieve the pain of an inflamed or irritating boil.
Applying a warm compress
Use this treatment up to 4 times a day to help bring the boil to a head and encourage it to burst.
* Soak a clean cloth in a bowl of warm water, then wring it out and place it over the boil. Soaking the compress repeatedly to rewarm it, continue to reapply it for about 30 minutes.
* Cover the boil with a gauze dressing.
* Keep using the compress for a few days after the boil has burst, to encourage it to drain.
* Heat a cloth in warm water and hold it over the boil until it cools.
Seek further medical advice
Arrange to see your doctor if:
* The boil has not begun to disappear after a week of using self-help measures
* It becomes very painful and/or enlarges
* You are getting recurrent boils
* You develop a fever and feel generally unwell
What you can do yourself
There are several simple measures that you can take to reduce discomfort and speed up healing.
* Take a painkiller such as paracetamol if the boil is painful (see DRUG REMEDIES, right).
* Wash the area thoroughly every day. Dry it well.
* Help to bring the boil to a head by applying a warm compress several times a day (see PRACTICAL TECHNIQUE, right).
* Don’t squeeze the boil or try to burst it with a needle because this may spread the infection; leave it to burst or subside by itself.
* If the boil has burst, cover the area with a gauze dressing. Wash the area thoroughly and change the dressing regularly until the skin has healed.
* Keep your own towels and face cloths separate to avoid spreading the infection to other people.
* If bedding or clothing comes into contact with the boil, wash it in very hot, preferably boiling, water.
* Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them on a clean towel before handling food. You should also make sure the boil is covered with a plaster or other dressing. The bacteria that cause boils can also cause food poisoning.
* Avoid contact sports until the boil has gone.
The Roles of Vitamins and Minerals in our life
Q. It seems that not so long ago the only people interested in nutrition were A- level biology and home economics teachers and may be mum. Now the topic is constantly in papers and magazines. Why is nutrition such a popular topic these days? And what do vitamins and minerals have to do with it?
A. Critics say that our current fascination with nutrition is merely a media craze dreamed up by vitamin supplement industry to strike a chord with the middle aged. Nut that now where the truth. Nutrition is a major topic just now for good reason. Within the last 10 years or so, researchers on the both sides of the Atlantic have been conducting impressive new nutrition studies. This research goes miles beyond our previous understanding of the role nutrition plays in health.
Q. Who is doing such research?
A. Well, The British Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, for a start, prestigious research centers such the British Medical Research Council, and the Rowatt Institute in Aberdeen, the American National cancer Institute, the Us department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research, and dozens of well known teaching university department such as Department of Community, Medicine at Cambridge University. This kind of research has attracted the attention of scientist all round the world. It is currently going in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands and Greece.
Q. What all this research looking at?
A. researchers have been exploring many different aspects of nutrition the benefits and hazards of different kinds of fats, such as saturated fats, fish oils and hydrogenated fats (the hardened vegetable oil found in magazine for example, the role of different types of fibers in reducing and cholesterol and cutting the risk of colon and breast cancers and the reason behind the fact the people who eat large quantities of fruits and vegetables seem to have reduced risk of many kinds of diseases.
Q. All right but what does vitamins and minerals have to do with it?
A. As researchers isolate food components that seem to protect against say, heart disease and cancer they are discovering that vitamins and minerals plays an important role in providing that protection a role beyond what was previously thought. Vitamins and minerals are certainly not only the components of food that offer health benefits but they are proving to be significant.
Q. What kind of benefits you are talking about?
A. Scientist who thought that the major benefits of nutrition were to prevent deficiency related diseases such as rickets, beriberi, and scurvy. Are learning that vitamins and minerals play for more fundamental and long term roles in the body than anybody had previously suspected.
Specifically, they are gathering evidence that vitamins and minerals influence the health of nearly every organ and may slow or even reverse many diseases previously thought an inevitable part of ageing, impaired immunity, nerve degeneration and other chronic health problems.
Q. Can you give some examples of this evidence you are talking about?
A. Throughout this book, as we discuss specific, nutrition’s we will present such evidence. For now there are some broad examples. High intake of vitamin C and E and beta carotene (the orange pigment found in carrots and other vegetables and fruits) are linked with reduced deaths from cancer and heart disease. High intakes of potassium, magnesium, and calcium are all associated with lower blood pressure. High intake of folic acid decreases a woman’s chances of having a baby with serious birth defects and also birth reduces her risk of developing cervical abnormalities which can lead to cancer.
Q. what do you mean by high intake?
A. In general, high intake means intake that is above average relative to the general population. If most of the people in a group are getting about 70 milligrams of vitamin c a day, for instance people getting more than that amount would be considered a high intake group. In case you stop reading at this point, please note that really high intake of certain vitamins especially vitamins A and D can be seriously dangerous.
Q. And what about low intake?
A. In general, it means below average intake of a particular nutrient relative to a general population. You see in general population studies scientist usually divide people they are studying into low, medium and high and very high nutrient intake groups. The high and very high intake groups for differences in disease risk. From such studies, scientists come up with amounts of nutrients which seem to offer protective benefits.
Q. Can you tell me more about this research?
A. Research has been worldwide and has included hundreds of population studies which examines and compare eating habits and patterns of illness among large numbers of people. These studies are designed to reveal association between certain eating habits nutrients intakes and diseases risks. For instance, dozens of studies now show that people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables suffer fewer of certain types of cancer than people whose intake of fruits and vegetable is low.
Q. how many helpings a day of fruits and vegetables do studies consider a lot?
A. In most of these studies four or more helpings a day of fruits or vegetables qualifies as a lot.
Q. How many helpings a day of fruits and vegetables is considered as low intake?
A. One or no helpings a day is considered low intake.
Q. What is a helping?
A. This may vary from study to study, but, in general, a helping in one medium sized fruit or vegetable juice, half a cup of cooked or raw vegetable or fruit, cup of raw leafy vegetable or a quarter cupful of dried fruit.
Q. How do researchers test such findings?
A. In addition to years of animal research, researchers have recently moved into what are called clinical intervention trials. Some of these studies add nutrients to the diets pf people at a risk of certain disorder to see if it helps prevent development of the disorder. Others add a nutrient to the diets of generally healthy people to see if it improves certain aspects of the health such as immune function.
Q. Are there any noteworthy results yet from these human clinical intervention trials?
A. Researchers at several cancer centers have found that the some synthetic vitamin A like substance used to treat severe acne, isotretinoin helps to prevent recurrence of leukoplakia a precancerous condition of the mouth that often afflicts smokers.
And we touched upon earlier researchers now know that supplemental folic acid, B vitamin, reduces women’s risk of having a baby with spinal before. These are serious birth defects that result in spinal cord and brain abnormalities.
Q Anything else?
A. Researchers have found that vitamin B6 supplements can boost immunity in older people, who apparently may need more than currently recommended amounts of this nutrient to maintain adequate body stores.
Many other studies now ongoing should results in several years time. One particular study is testing whether high doses of supplemental beta carotene help prevent lung cancer in smokers who have been exposed to asbestos.
Another by researchers in US and China is locking to see if supplementing people’s diet with selenium a trace mineral reduces the high rates of cancer in people living in certain areas of China where soil leaves of selenium are low. Researchers are investigating whether giving people at risk of colon cancer up to 50 grams a day of calcium reduces their risk of developing potentially premalignant intestinal polyps
Q. What happens once the results of these studies are known?
A. The results can help guide researchers in further studies and provide information that helps people to make decisions regarding diet and supplementation. But more such studies are probably needed to clarify the roles of vitamins and minerals in disease prevention. It is now generally recognized that, over the years good eating habits protect people from range of diseases, including cancer. What is not known whether short term treatment with dietary supplements can undergo the harm of years of self indulgence in the wrong kinds of food.
Q. All this sounds very interesting but in am afraid we will have to go back to basics. I know very little about nutrition and even less about vitamins and minerals. So lets’ start at the beginning what exactly are vitamins?
A. Vitamins are nutrients food components obtained from our diet which have been found to be essential in small quantities for human life. This means that one /itamin is missing from your diet, your body does not function normally.
Vitamins are group of chemically unrelated orange substances. Organic substances are compounds containing the chemical element carbon and they come only from living materials plants or animals or from substances that were one living materials such as petroleum oil or coal.
Q. What do vitamins do?
A. Vitamins perform countless different functions in the body and individual vitamins have special functions. As a group, however most of them share certain functions such as the promotion of growth the promotion of the ability to produce healthy off spring and the maintenance of health. They must be present for the body to be able to utilize other essential nutrients such as minerals fatty acids, and energy sources (for example, carbohydrates and sugar) vitamins are also important to a normal appetite and digestive tract to mental alertness , to the health issues and to resistance to bacterial infections.
Q. How do vitamins do all these things?
A. Our bodies use many of the vitamins, including the whole of the B group, to make substance called coenzymes. Coenzymes are vital participants in many of the ongoing chemical reactions in our bodies which in fact, are the very essence of life. This chemical reaction provides our bodies cells with energy from food a process called metabolism. These chemicals reactions allow cells to grow and divide, promoting growth in children and tissue repair in adults. They also allow our bodies quickly to build up a supply infection fighting immune cells when necessary.
If you lack even one vitamin, you may fall to thrive as a child or be similar than normal and may fail to develop sexually. As an adult, if you lack a vitamin you eventually develop a deficiency related diseases. Such as scurvy from lack of vitamin C, and rickets from lack of vitamin D and if your are more vulnerable to infection. Exactly which health problem you develop depends upon which vitamin you are lacking.
Q. I know from reading the labels from my cat’s food tins that cats need vitamin too. But do animals need the same vitamins that humans need?
A. All animals need some vitamins, but not every vitamin which has been discovered to be essential for humans is also needed by animals. There are however, more similarities that differences. Hence one’s interesting difference unlike humans most animals can make vitamin C in their bodies so they do not need to get this vitamin from food. Guinea pigs are the exception, which why they were used as animals models for studies in which humans could not be used (for providing the ability of vitamin C to prevent scurvy.)
Humans however, can make vitamin D in their bodies. And some of the vitamin needs of animals and humans from microorganisms living in the digestive tract.
Q. What? We have things living in our bodies that make vitamins for us?
A. Yes. But while the fact may be startling its not as bad as you think. Indeed, this is a healthy state of affairs. All humans have bacteria, also called microflora, or microorganisms, living in their intestines and these bacteria synthesizes or produce certain amounts of vitamin K, B and biotin, which are absorbed through their intestines. In most cases, however we also rely on food sources of these vitamins to stay healthy.
Q. How many vitamins are there?
A. There are 13 vitamins. Four are fat soluble A, D, E and K and nine are water soluble the B vitamins and vitamin C. the B vitamins are essential for human health are B1, or thiamine B2 or riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12 or cobalamin, folic acid and pantothenic acid and biotin.
Q. Why the distinction between fat and water soluble vitamins? Is it important only to researchers?
A. Its important to researchers because it helps them to identify the functions of these vitamins. As for the rest of us we should know that fat soluble vitamins occur in fats and oils so we need a bit of fat, in the diet to get them. Also if for some reason we are taking supplements of these vitamins it is best to take them with a meal that contains some fat so that there will be a supply of bile to help in their absorption. We should also know that fat soluble vitamins tend to stay in the body longer than most water soluble vitamins so some of the fat soluble vitamins can build up to unhealthy levels more easily than most water soluble vitamins can. These toxic levels are likely to be reached only by taking supplements or by eating foods exceptionally rich in a particular nutrient.
Q. Are those all the vitamins there are?
A. There are other substances which are occasionally considered to be essential vitamins. their vitamin status however has not been established. These substances include choline, inositol, bioflavonoids, para- aminobenzoic acid and a few others.
Q. What does that mean/ their vitamin status has not been established?
A. these are nutrients which may be vitamins for certain species, which human requires under certain conditions not yet understood or which have functions not yet understood. We talk more about these so called quasi vitamins a little later.
Q. Beta carotene is getting lot of public attention these days, yet you didn’t list it as one of the 13 known vitamins. is it one of the quasi vitamins?
A. No. beta carotene is precursor to vitamin A. in other words it’s a substance from which vitamin A can be made. We discuss its role more detail in the section on vitamin A in chapter 8
Q. You said that vitamins are involved in energy metabolism. Do they provide energy?
A. Vitamins don’t provide energy but some are fundamental participants in the energy producing reactions of our bodies the reactions which help our cells to burn sugar or fat to make energy. Vitamins themselves however, are significant sources of biological energy. For practical purposes they don’t provide calories.
Q. How do we get vitamins?
A. Part of a definition of the vitamin is that it must be obtained at least in part, from outside the body, since we cannot make vitamins in out bodies in adequate amounts. We obtain vitamins from the foods we eat including vitamin enriched foods and from vitamin supplements.
Q. Do all foods contain vitamins?
A. Just about every food we eat contains at least some vitamins, but some are much better sources than others.
Some foods are considered as traditional health foods, liver blackstrap, molasses, brown rice, wheat, eggs, brewer’s yeast and seaweed, for instance contain an impressive array of vitamins and minerals.
Other food provides large amounts of one part’s cular vitamin. Citrus fruits broccoli, and red pepper are loaded with vitamin C, for example, wheat germ oil is a good source of vitamin E and parsley is packed with vitamin K.
Q. Are there any foods that don’t contain vitamins?
A. Although they provide more than enough calories certain foods, such as sugar, animal fat and alcohol are devoid of vitamins. They are what nutritionists and dieticians call empty calories. In fact, they have worse than that since these food require vitamins and minerals to be metabolized. So they use up important nutrients in our bodies without replacing them. Eating a lot of sugar or animal fat or having more than having a drink or two alcohols a day increases your vitamin needs, which puts you at increases risk of developing vitamin deficiencies.
Effective remedies for Eczema
Eczema causes patches of dry, intensely itchy skin, which usually appear on the face, hands, wrists, and scalp, and in the creases of the knees and elbows. Repeated scatching may leave the skin cracked and open to infection. Eczema is often linked to allergies and asthma. It usually develops in infancy and disappears by the early teenage years, but adults may have relapses triggered by factors such as stress, house dust mites, and some foods.
See your doctor first
Make an appointment to see your doctor even if you are fairly sure that you have eczema.
Moisturizers can be used instead of soap for washing. Rub aqueous cream or emulsifying ointment on your skin, rinse well, and pat yourself dry. Apply aqueous cream liberally to patches of eczema throughout the day.
Emollient bath additives contain a light liquid paraffin that soothes and cleans the skin. Soak in the bath for 10-20 minutes and pat yourself dry gently to keep the emollient on your skin.
Antihistamines,in liquid form for children and as tablets for adults, relieve itching; the sedative brands will also help you sleep.
Hydrocortisone cream can be used for eczema but for no longer than a week. Apply sparingly, but not to your face unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Do not use the cream on children under 10 without medical advice.
Avoiding triggers Certain factors can trigger eczema. Try to avoid any that affect you.
* Water cotton-lined rubber or disposable gloves when using chemicals such as detergents and dyes.
* Follow practical advice on reducing allergens in your home.
* If you suspect that certain foods trigger eczema, try excluding them temporarily.Consult a doctor or dietitian before eliminating foods form a child’s diet.
What you can do yourself
Although there is no cure for eczema, you can take these steps to help control the symptoms.
* Bathe only once a day using warm not hot water, and don’t use perfumed bath products. Use a moisturizer instead of soap or add an emollient bath additive to the bath. Afterwards, apply moisturizer to soften and seal moisture into your skin. Reapply it generously throughout the day to the affected areas.
* Trim your nails or put on cotton gloves at night to prevent scratching. Try taking a sedative antihistamine to relieve itching and help you sleep.
* Wear cotton clothing next to your skin and avoid synthetic fabrics and wool. Wash clothes in non-biological soap powders, and rinse them well.
* For small, resistant patches of eczema, use a mild hydrocortisone cream to relieve inflammation.
Seek further medical advice
Arrange to see your doctor again if:
* The eczema is not improving with treatment after a week, or is red, weepy, hot, or painful
How to get Acne free face
Benzoyl peroxide (see p 179), used every day, is an effective treatment for mild to moderate ance. It reduces inflammation, helps destroy bacteria, and prevents new spots from forming. However, it may take up to 2 months before your skin responds to treatment. Use gel or lotion if you have oily skin;use cream for dry skin. Start with a low-strength type and go on to a higher strength if necessary. Continue the treatment until your acne clears up. Don’t use benzoyl peroxide near your mouth or eyes.
Using benzoyl peroxide
Apply the treatment carefully, taking it slightly beyond the area of the spots to prevent them from spreading.
Healthy foods are believed to support the immune system and maintain healthy skin. Boost your diet with lean meat, oily fish such as salmon, fruit, leafy and dark green vegetables, wheatgerm, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and linseed.
What you can do yourself
There are various ways to tackle acne, Start treatment early to reduce the risk of scarring.
* Try a treatment containing benzoyl peroxide to reduce pimples
* Gently wash affected areas twice a day with lukewarm water and a non-oily perfume-free soap. Shampoo your hair daily and keep your hair off your face. Don’t use products such as conditioners.
* Avoid oil-based cosmetics and creams and opt for non-comedogenic products, which do not block pores. Go without make-up for 1 or 2 days a week.
* Try not to rub or touch your face absent-mindedly while you are absorebed in something such as watching TV or reading a book. Keep the phone away from your face when talking.
* Include plenty of healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables in your diet
* If stress makes your acne worse, try strategies that help reduce stress in your life
Seek medical advice
Arrange to see your doctor if :
* Your acne has not improved, or is spreading and is red and weepy, after you have used self-help remedies for 2months
* You are a woman, and you are also growing facial hair and having irregular periods
How to stop dandruff and hairfall
In this harmless but sometimes embarrassing condition, excessive amounts of skin cells flake off the scalp. They show up as white flakes in your hair, and on your shoulders if you wear dark clothes. Your scalp may also be itchy and red, and your eyelids, nose, and forehead may be affected. Dandruff is usually associated with the growth of a yeast-like fungus on the scalp, or it can be a mild form of seborrhoeic dermatitis - a scaly, itchy rash that can also affect the eyelids. Dandruff I smore common in men and may be made worse by stress, illness, and some hair products. Scaly, flaking skin on a baby’s scalp is known as cradle cap.
After shampooing, rinse your hair thoroughly to remove every trace of anti-dandruff shampoo.
Seek medical advice
Arrange to see your doctor if :
* The dandruff does not clear up after you have been using these home treatments
* You develop sensitivity to an anti-dandruff shampoo that persists for more than a few days
* Your scalp becomes red and develops sore patches or crusts
What you can do yourself
Dandruff can usually be controlled with the treatments below. You may need to repeat them occasionally, because the condition tends to recur.
* Use an anti- dandruff shampoo (see DRUG REMEDIES, right) and wash your hair in warm rather than hot water. Massage the shampoo into your scalp and make sure you leave it on long enough to work – generally about 3-5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
* Keep using the brand of anti-drandruff shampoo that you find works for you. If you develop itchiness or a rash, however, stop using the shampoo immediately and try switching to one with a different active ingredient.
* Don’t below-dry your hair because it may aggravate the dandruff.
* Avoid alcohol-based hair products such as hair sprays, which tend to dry out the scalp, and mousses, gels, and dyes, which may increase irritation and make dandruff worse.
Anti- dandruff shampoos should clear up your dandruff within a few weeks. Follow the instructions carefully because different brands have different treatment advice. Shampoos may contain pyrithione zinc, selenium sulphide, or ketoconazole, which is particularly effective. Alternatively, use a shampoo that contains coal tar, or coal tar and salicylic acid.
Effective Health Benefits of Pergularia Herb
It contains a bitter resin, two bitter principles and a glycoside possessing physiological action similar to pituirin and several sterols.
Healing Power and Curative Properties
Pregularia is pungent, laxative and antibillious. It is useful in relieving fever and inducing vomiting. The active principles of pregularia resemble pituitrin in their action.
Pregularia promotes the removal of catarrhal matter and phlegm from bronchial tubes. It is highly beneficial in the treatment of asthma. The juice from the leaves is used as an expectorant in catarrhal diseases. A decoction of its leaves is given in cough as an expectorant.
The drug possesses anthelmintic properties and finds its use in removing intestinal worms. About 24 grams of the leaves fried in ghee should be taken for a few days.
The herb is beneficial in the treatment of bleeding piles. It should be used in the same manner as for intestinal worms.
Pregularia forms a constituent of a preparation used in rheumatism. The leaf juice can be mixed with the juice of fresh ginger in the treatment. The root bark is also useful in the treatment of rheumatism. It should be given 4 to 8 gram doses with milk. The bark mixed with cow’s milk, can be used beneficially as a purgative in rheumatic complaints.
The drug is useful uterine tonic. It is beneficial in excessive uterine bleeding. The drug forms a constituent of a preparation given in amenorrhea or abnormal suppression of menses.
The juice of its leaves can be given to treat diarrhea among children
The drug has diuretic properties. It is valuable in Stranguary, that is, the discharge of urine in droplets accompanied by pain.
The herb is beneficial in the treatment of several skin disorders. A mixture of leaf juice and slaked lime can be applied to rheumatic swellings hard tumor and cysts. A poultice of the leaves can be applied to carbuncles with beneficial effect.
Stress may increase uterine cancer risk
The link between stress and cancer is not clear. But new work from Wake Forest University now suggests that stress may be a risk factor for cancer of the womb (uterine cancer). The team worked with a group of menopausal monkeys, using their social structure as a model of human stress. Subordinate monkeys were under more stress and more likely to show adverse effects to the womb lining that could progress to cancer. Changes were seen in breast tissue too, but these were not as marked.
The researchers say that stressors like social isolation or hostile social experiences might be a risk factor for cancer in women. The project also looked at the impact of drinking two alcoholic beverages a day, and found that this did not increase the risk of either uterine or breast cancer. Further research is needed to see whether this research translates into human subjects. It is also not clear if the lack of risk with alcohol would also apply to pre-menopausal women.
'Cylindrical nanoparticles more effective for breast cancer'
Scientists have discovered cylindrical and worm-shaped nanoparticles are more effective than traditional spherical ones when delivering drugs to breast cancer cells.
Cylindrical-shaped nanoparticles are seven times deadlier on the breast cancer cells. Even better - the worm- shaped drug delivery vehicles are not more toxic to healthy cells according to a study conducted by an international team of researchers and recently published in 'Polymer Chemistry'.
In this study, different polymeric nanoparticle shapes (including spherical micelle, cylindrical micelle and vesicles) were investigated, and the preliminary results suggest shape plays an important role in the cell uptake and toxicity response, according to University of New South Wales (UNSW).
The project was co-led by researcher Cyrille Boyer of UNSW School of Chemical Engineering and Australian Centre for NanoMedicine and Thomas Davis from Monash University, and also involved Bunyamin Karagoz from Istanbul Technical University.
Developing nanoparticles to target drugs directly to specific regions of the body is a growing field of medicine, and these new results suggest changing the shape of nanoparticles could reduce treatment costs and side-effects.
"What we've discovered is that a different shaped nanoparticle can have a very different effect on cancer cells, even with the same amount of drug.
"However there is still a lot of work to do and we need to test the nanoparticles in vitro with a range of cancer cells," Boyer said.
Previously, research has overwhelmingly focused on spherical drug delivery systems as they are easier to make, but the new study also presents a simple and cheap way of creating three different nanoparticle shapes - spherical, vesicular and tubular or 'worm-like'.
The researchers are now looking into whether cylindrical- shaped nanoparticles also deliver drugs more efficiently to other types of cancers.
Bay Berry: amazing health benefits
The herb contains tannins, triterpenes (including myricadiol) flavonoid glycosides, resin and gum.
The bark of the tree is aromatic, stimulant, tonic and resolvent. It is useful in arresting secretion or bleeding and in expelling wind from the stomach. It is also an antiseptic. Myricitrin in bay berry is bacterial and encourages the fiber of bile. Another constituent of the herb, myricadiol is reported to cause retention of salt and excretion of potassium.
Fevers and Cold
Bay berry is valuable remedy in fevers and cold. A hot decoction of the herb can be taken in the treatment of fevers, catarrh of mucus membranes, affections of the chest and typhoid. The powdered bark can be used as a snuff for congested nasal passages, which are relived by sneezing. The decoction also makes a good gargle for throat infections.
Bay berry is also used to treat inflammation and infection of gastro intestinal tract.
The herb taken internally can be used to treat post partum hemorrhage. It can be used as douche for excessive menstrual bleeding and leucorrhea, or white discharge.
Bay berry is highly beneficial in treating respiratory disorders like asthma, and chronic bronchitis. Its bark may be take either in a decoction or powdered form as in the case of fevers and colds.
A paste of the bark made with vinegar can be used for strengthening the gums and relieving toothache.
Wounds and Ulcers
A compress of the herb can be used for dressing wounds and ulcers. The powder of its bark can be dusted over putrid sores.
Bay berry is useful in several other diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, and chronic gonorrhea. A decoction of the herb can be taken with cinnamon in chronic cough and piles.
New technique help diagnose cancer more accurately
Scientists have developed a new technique that can diagnose cancer with a high degree of accuracy.
A team of researchers from University of California - Los Angeles and Harvard University demonstrated the technique, which uses a deformability cytometer to analyse individual cells.
It could reduce the need for more cumbersome diagnostic procedures and the associated costs, while improving accuracy over current methods.
The study analysed pleural fluid samples from more than 100 patients.
Pleural fluid, a natural lubricant of the lungs as they expand and contract during breathing, is normally present in spaces surrounding the lungs.
Medical conditions such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure and cancer can cause an abnormally large buildup of the fluid, which is called a pleural effusion.
When cytopathologists screen for cancer in pleural effusions, they perform a visual analysis of prepared cells extracted from the fluid.
Preparing cells for this analysis can involve complicated and time-consuming dyeing or molecular labelling, and the tests often do not definitively determine the presence of tumour cells.
The new method, developed previously by the UCLA researchers, requires little sample preparation, relying instead on the imaging of cells as they flow through in microscale fluid conduits.
To understand the method imagine squeezing two balloons, one filled with water and one filled with honey. The balloons would feel different and would deform differently in your grip, researchers said.
They used this principle on the cellular level by using a fluid grip to "squeeze" individual cells that are 10,000 times smaller than balloons - a technique called "deformability cytometry."
The amount of a cell's compression can provide insights about the cell's makeup or structure, such as the elasticity of its membrane or the resistance to flow of the DNA or proteins inside it.
Cancer cells have a different architecture and are softer than healthy cells and, as a result, "deform" differently.
Using deformability cytometry, researchers can analyse more than 1,000 cells per second as they are suspended in a flowing fluid, providing significantly more detail on the variations within each patient's sample than could be detected using previous physical analysis techniques.
The study was published in the Journal Science Translational Medicine.
New heart health guidelines focus on statins
Roughly a quarter of Americans age 45 and older already take statins, which include familiar brands such as Lipitor and Zocor, to treat high cholesterol. But that number could grow sharply under far-reaching guidelines detailed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
At the core of the recommendations, which resulted from a four-year review of medical research, lies a new formula intended to help physicians calculate the chances of heart attacks and stroke in patients, particularly those in certain risk categories.
That represents a sea change from the approach that has persisted for more than a decade, of focusing intently on the level of a patient’s low-density lipoproteins (LDL) — the “bad cholesterol.”
Instead, the new guidelines encourage doctors to consider age, weight, blood pressure and other factors, such as whether patients smoke or have diabetes. If a person appears to have even a moderate risk of a heart attack or stroke, he or she should be prescribed statins, regardless of LDL score.
“It’s really about your global risk,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University and one of 20 experts on the committee that wrote the new guidelines. “There were a number of people at substantial risk who, under the old paradigm, were not being captured.”
Heart disease remains the nation’s leading killer of men and women. About one in every four deaths in the United States, or about 600,000 annually, are attributed to heart disease, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 700,000 Americans suffer heart attacks each year, and the costs of coronary heart disease — from health care to lost productivity — exceed $100 billion (Dh367 billion) annually, the agency has said. In addition, strokes kill another 130,000 people a year.
The new recommendations call for prescribing statins to an estimated 33 million Americans who don’t have cardiovascular disease but who have a 7.5 per cent or higher risk for a heart attack or stroke over the next decade. Examples of groups that could fall into that category include white women over 60 who smoke and African American men over 50 with high blood pressure.
Roger Blumenthal, director of the Ciccarone Preventive Cardiology Centre at Johns Hopkins University, said about 50 or 60 per cent of African American men and a third of white men in their 50s probably will qualify for treatment under the new regime. African American men tend to have higher blood pressure than their white counterparts. Similarly, a majority of black women in their 60s and a third of white women the same age are likely to end up on the medications, along with most men in their 70s and older.
That doesn’t mean every man over 70 will be put on statins, said Blumenthal, who represents the American College of Cardiology on a committee at the National Institutes of Health that is helping to foster the adoption of the new guidelines. Primary-care physicians and cardiologists will use the guidelines as a starting point in treating their patients. But overall, the doctors said they expect a significant increase in the number of people taking statins, and a decrease in the use of other drugs that are prescribed along with them in an attempt to lower LDL levels.
The four risk groups include previous victims of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular disease; people with an LDL of 190 or higher; people with diabetes; and anyone over 40 with a 7.5 per cent risk of a heart attack in the next 10 years.
Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist at George Washington University Hospital who has treated former vice-president Richard Cheney, said the previous philosophy of focusing almost exclusively on lowering LDL levels, often by prescribing multiple drugs, was not based on “a lot of robust data”. The new approach “is reinforcing what the clinical trials have shown, and are trying to move clinicians away from practices that are not based on clinical evidence.”
He said the new guidelines might make life easier for heart patients, who currently must have their blood tested several times a year to ensure that they are meeting, or heading toward, their best possible cholesterol score. Now that may not be necessary, he said.
That’s not to say that cholesterol scores no longer matter, but rather they should be only one of numerous factors in determining who should be taking statins.
“Lower [LDL] is better, and no one’s arguing that, but once you have a reason to treat someone, they should be treated fully,” said Kim Williams, vice-president of the American College of Cardiology. “That’s really one of the bottom lines of this.”
Statins aren’t entirely without risks. Muscle soreness and fatigue are the most common side effects of taking the drugs. Other, less likely, consequences include liver damage, digestive problems, rashes or flushing, elevated blood sugar or Type 2 diabetes, and memory loss. In addition, once a person begins taking statins, he is likely to remain on them for the rest of his life.
Lloyd-Jones, the Northwestern doctor who helped develop the new guidelines, said there’s overwhelming consensus in the medical world that statins are effective and safe. “If these were unsafe drugs, we certainly wouldn’t have put the threshold where we did,” he said.
He said that while wider use of statins will probably prevent heart attacks and strokes and improve the quality of life for more patients, on Tuesday’s recommendations aren’t going to solve the nation’s looming cardiovascular crisis.
“Underlying all this is the fact we must get better with our lifestyle choices. There’s a tsunami of cardiovascular disease that’s coming, in large part because of the obesity epidemic,” Lloyd-Jones said. “This is only one piece. But there’s clearly a lot more to do.”
source — Washington Post
What role does pantothenic acid play in the body?
A It's another water-soluble B complex vitamin. The word pantothenic is derived from the Greek meaning 'from
everywhere'. This name was given because the vitamin is present in all foods, although not always in substantial amounts.
Q. What role does pantothenic acid play in the body?
A Pantothenic acid is involved in proper skin growth and nerve function, and in maintaining the health of the adrenal glands. If there is pantothenic acid deficiency these glands may become enlarged, reddened and prone to hemorrhage. Pantothenic acid is known to be involved in the production of cortisone and two other related hormones produced by the adrenal glands. These hormones play an important role in metabolism and in the body's reaction to stress, including inflammation.
Claims that pantothenic acid prevents or alleviates arthritis have been examined in several studies, One double-blind study claimed 'highly significant effects for oral calcium pantothenate [a form of pantothenic acid] in reducing the duration of morning stiffness, degree of disability and severity of pain' in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a form characterized by inflammation in the joints and elsewhere in the body.
Q. Does it do anything else?
A. Yes. Like other B vitamins, pantothenic acid plays a vital role in energy metabolism. It's essential for the breakdown and release of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
PANTOTHENIC ACID QUICK-REFERENCE GUIDE
There is currently no RNI for pantothenic acid, but an Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake of 4-7 mg is recommended for both men and women
Foods especially rich in pantothenic acid include brewer's yeast, liver, eggs, wheat germ and bran,peanuts and peas. Good sources include meat, milk, poultry, whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms and sweet potatoes. Most vegetables and fruits contain small amounts.
Signs of Deficiency
Fatigue, headache, sleep disturbances, personality changes, nausea, abdominal distress, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, burning sensations in the feet, muscle cramps, impaired coordination and immune problems.
Possible Toxicity Problems
Most experts consider the risk of toxicity to be extremely low. In humans, dosages considered very large - 10 to 20 g a day - have not produced reactions more severe than mild diarrhoea and fluid retention.
Green Muscle Disease Linked To Enzyme Level
Scientists Link Enzyme Level to Chicken Meat Defect
US - After more than a decade of research into Green Muscle Disease, an increasingly common and costly broiler condition affecting chicken met quality, a team of poultry scientists at Auburn University has identified a blood enzyme that could give breeders a non-invasive tool to screen birds for susceptibility to the disease.
Elevated levels of the enzyme, creatine kinase, can signal muscle breakdown and damage. In humans, high levels of the enzyme in the blood can be indicators of heart attack, muscular dystrophy, acute renal failure and other serious muscle conditions. In broilers, they indicate the development of green muscle disease.
Technically called deep pectoral myopathy, green muscle disease is a degenerative condition of broiler chickens’ minor pectoral muscles, or tenders, that causes the muscle tissue to bruise. The discolored tissue is not discovered until processing and deboning, and then it must be trimmed and discarded, costing the US poultry industry an estimated $50 million a year in losses.
Also of concern to the industry is the occurrence of green muscle disease in birds marketed as whole carcasses or bone-in parts, because the condition is rarely detected during processing, resulting in consumer complaints.
Auburn poultry science professor Joe Hess – who, with departmental colleagues Sarge Bilgili and Roger Lien, has conducted extensive research on the disease – says the condition is caused by sudden, excessive wing flapping, especially when that occurs one to two days before slaughter.
“Green muscle disease is an exercise issue,” Professor Hess said. “If you have a house full of chickens and there’s a sudden loud noise or some other environmental stressor, they’re going to get scared and agitated and start flapping their wings. If it’s late in the growing season, that’s when the damage occurs.”
During wing movement, blood flow increases to a bird’s major and minor pectorals, or breast muscles, causing the tissues to swell. Though the swelling doesn’t affect the larger breast fillet muscle, the tender has a more rigid covering and is confined to a tighter space. The swelling so compresses the muscle that the blood supply is cut off and the tissue bruises.
Early in the team’s green muscle research, Lien perfected a technique, “encouraged wing flapping,” to assess birds’ susceptibility to the condition and determine factors that contribute to development. Using that procedure, the scientists have found that broiler strains bred for higher breast-meat yields are more likely to develop the disease, as are broilers marketed at heavier weights and, to a degree, male birds.
They also found correlations between temperature and disease incidence.
“When the weather is hot, broilers grow at a lot slower rate than in cooler weather,” Professor Hess said. “But cool to normal temperatures are periods of rapid growth, and broilers that get agitated during those periods have a greater likelihood of muscle damage.”
In their latest focus on the relationship between creatine kinase levels and deep pectoral myopathy, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station scientists induced excessive wing activity and then measured enzyme levels one to four days after the trials. At processing, they discovered that broilers in which levels of the enzyme had jumped significantly post-flapping were far more likely to have muscle damage to the minor pectorals, leading them to conclude that encouraged wing flapping and creatine kinase levels could be used as tools in genetic selection programmes to screen for green muscle disease susceptibility.
That is good news to Randall Ennis, an Auburn poultry science alumnus who now serves as chief executive officer for the chicken division of Aviagen Group International, the largest poultry-breeding company in the world. Through a comprehensive network of global, wholly-owned locations and distributors, the Huntsville-based company delivers day-old breeder chicks to more than 250 poultry companies in more than 100 countries. In fact, almost half of the world’s broiler chickens are derived from Aviagen stock.
“We always are evaluating and looking for different tools, such as identifying genetic markers, to make our programme more efficient and allow our customers to realize genetic progress faster,” Mr Ennis said.
“Auburn’s land-grant mission to identify and conduct research on emerging industry issues is very important to Aviagen as a primary breeder,” Mr Ennis said. “In the area of green muscle disease and meat quality, we are exploring different avenues, including plasma creatine kinase levels, as a selection trait in our breeding programme.”
Effective remedies for dry eyes
Make an appointment to see your doctor to establish the cause of dry eyes.
Applying eye treatments
When using any eye treatment, apply it just inside your lower eyelid. Hold the end of the nazzle or dropper away from your eye to keep it clean.
Seek further medical advice if:
* You often have dry, uncomfortable eyes
* You develop any other symptoms
What you can do yourself
Try the following measures to relieve the discomfort of dry eyes.
* Blink frequently, particularly when you are focusing on detailed work for long periods. Take frequent rests if you are working at a computer.
* For occasional dryness, use artificial tears to moisten your eyes (see DRUG REMEDIES, right).
* Try using a lubricating ointment to keep your eyes moist at night (see DRUG REMEDIES, right).
* In centrally heated rooms, increase the humidity by using a humidifier, or place a bowl of water beside a radiator to keep the air
* Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. Cut down on coffee, tea, and cola, as these drinks contain caffeine, which can dehydrate you.
* Wear goggles when swimming.
* Avoid smoky or polluted environments, which could further irritate your eyes.
* Fit side shields to your glasses, especially in windy or dry conditions.
Artificial tears include drops containing hypromellose (see EYE LUBRICANTS, p 181), which keep the eyes moist and help to relieve itching. Gels containing substances called carbomers (see EYE LUBRICANTS, p 181) also keep the eyes moist and may be more convenient than drops because they do not need to be applied as often. Don’t wear contact lenses while using these products.
Lubricating eye ointment (see EYE LUBRICANTS, P 181) is applied at bedtime to lubricate the eyes through the night; Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable product.
Physical Effects of Emotional Stress
Physical Effects of Mental and Emotional Stress
There’s a good chance your headache is due to stress — especially if you’re a woman. Tension headaches are the most common form of headaches, with 30% to 80% of adults occasionally suffering from them, and women are twice as likely to get them. Usually caused by tense muscles in the neck and scalp, tension headaches interrupt your day with mild to moderate pain or pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck.
We’re willing to bet you’ve experienced this one and didn’t even associate it with stress. (Although chest pain can indicate much more serious conditions, so if you suffer from frequent chest pain, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.) The link between stress and chest pain has doctors stumped, but research has supported the theory that the two are related.
According to Science Daily, more than 20,000 people went to the hospital in 2006 reporting chest pain that was not caused by heart disease or other conditions. One study found that men are more likely than women to experience it when faced with life or work stress, and women are more likely than men to suffer from it when dealing with anxiety and depression.
Aches & pains
A hectic life or stressful event can take a toll on your muscles, with pain normally manifesting in the neck, shoulders and lower back. Experts aren’t sure why this happens but hypothesize it has something to do with the connection between stress and tense muscles or with brain chemicals. A March 2012 study found that stress is actually associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response, which could be related to stress pains.
Upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation & nausea
Stress and Pepto-Bismol were made for each other. Since your digestive system is highly sensitive and full of nerves, it can have a hard time dealing with your stress. You might experience stomachaches or nausea in rare, extremely high-stress situations like going through a breakup; or the symptoms might be more persistent and caused by small, daily stressors like your condescending boss or making a deadline.
“There is definitely a connection between the brain and the gut,” said Francisco Marrero, a gastroenterologist with the Digestive Disease Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “The gut is called the little brain — it’s the largest area of nerves outside the brain.”
Irritable bowel syndrome — a condition affecting 20% of U.S. adults that causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation — is highly associated with stress and anxiety. Interestingly, about 60% of people with IBS meet the criteria for one or more psychiatric disorders, mainly generalized anxiety disorder, according to WebMD. Tackling the stress — whether internally or with the help of anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants (if you’re also suffering from an anxiety disorder or depression) — will most likely alleviate IBS symptoms.
Acne and other skin problems
No one knows why it happens, but your theory about breaking out when you’re stressed is probably accurate. Studies have shown that students reported increased acne problems during exam time, and stress has also been linked to otherwise unexplained itchy skin rashes.
While your hectic life won’t trigger a new case of acne, it can cause it to flare up if you’re already dealing with the condition.
Trouble sleeping or insomnia
This probably sounds familiar: You’re all cozy in your bed with the lights out waiting for sleep to come, and your brain just won’t shut off. Suddenly all you can think about is that damn project you’ve got going on at work, how you’re going to be able to afford those car repairs and whether or not you watered the plants. You’re not alone. Seventy percent of adults with chronic stress have trouble sleeping.
Most people with stress-related sleep issues deal with them at least once a week, and the majority of them experience it at least several times a week. And it’s a vicious cycle: You’re stressed so you can’t doze off, and then you’re even more stressed the next day because you didn’t get enough sleep.
The good news is that knocking out the stress should fix the sleep problems. Click here to read some of the ADAA’s advice on how to do this.
Reproductive issues: Low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, irregular periods & low fertility
While sex can be a stress reliever for some, others actually lose interest in it when they’re stressed out. The body deals with stress by producing more of the stress hormone cortisol, and too much cortisol too frequently can have a long-term effect on your body, creating a hormone imbalance and lowering the libido.
It might be difficult for men to “get it up” when they’re stressed — 10% to 20% of erectile dysfunction cases are the result of psychological factors, with stress being the most common.
And women might experience irregular or missed periods when their lives become too chaotic. When stressed, the body releases cortisol and adrenaline, and too much of it can trick the brain into thinking it’s in a fight-or-flight situation, and therefore reproductive functions like periods aren’t necessary. Adrenaline suppresses the reproductive system, and cortisol tells the brain to stop releasing estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones needed to stimulate the menstrual cycle.
Women might also deal with extra discomfort if that time of the month coincides with extreme stress — painful menstrual periods, which affect approximately 50% of women, are twice as common in women who report high levels of stress.
A few studies have even shown a connection between long-term stress and low fertility.
Your immune system takes a hit when you’re excessively stressed, which means it can’t do its job of fighting colds and infections as well. When stressed, your body releases hormones known as catecholamines, which regulate your immune system. Prolonged release of catecholamines can do the opposite and interfere with the immune system’s functioning. Additionally, stress causes the thymus gland to shrink, which isn’t helping matters since the thymus gland is responsible for making those infection-fighting white blood cells.
Therefore, all that worrying can actually increase your likelihood of catching whatever Sneezy sitting next to you on the subway has — and it can mean a longer recovery from it.