Cold Sore Treatment – Are Over-The-Counter Medications Any Good?

When you are struggling with the pain and itch from your cold sores, any kind of cold sore treatment that can offer relief to you would be a blessing to you.

The cold sore medications available over the counter (OTC) are broadly categorized into 3 main groups, each for one function. One group provides pain and itch relief, and are best applied during the tingling stage of cold sores. The other groups either slows down / prevent the cold sore lesion from aggravating, or directly stop the herpes simplex 1 virus at its track and therefore promotes healing. Some of the OTC medications contain treatment agents that have one or more of the properties mentioned. When applying all these medications, you need to remember that the results will vary from individual to individual depending on the severity of your cold sores.

Here are a few more common medications for cold sores:

1) Anbesol Cold Sore Therapy Ointment with Vitamin E & Aloe

Provides pain relief.

2) Abreva

This cold sore medicine is approved by the FDA. It is reported to aid in healing.

3) Cold Sore Rescue

Natural gel that contains agents which possess anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It promotes faster healing.

4) Zilactin Cold Sore Gel

Pain relief medicine. Provides a protective layer on sore area and reduce irritation caused by eating.

5) LipClear Lysine Cold Stick

Moisturizing properties help to heal skin cracking commonly associated with cold sores. Protection from sun which is a common trigger for cold sore outbreaks.

While these medications do offer some kind of reprieve for your cold sore pains and itches, they are not instant cures or magical healing portions. Though they have been reported to aid in healing, the effect it has in speeding up the recovery of the cold sores can be dismal. However, they can make the 7 – 10 days of suffering a lot easier.

I would like to offer a piece of good old advice if you intend to use these medications. Cold sores are contagious, so make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly after application least you spread it to other parts of your body, or to others. You may think this is a no-brainer but did you know that there are repeated cases of cold sores just because of this little habit everyone forgets?

Finally, to answer my question, OTC medications can be good for pain relief, but for a complete cold sore treatment solution, the way to go is using natural remedies. Find out more at my blog.

Actron CP9135 AutoScanner – The Reliable and Cost Effective Diagnostic Scanner You Could Trust

Your vehicle’s ‘check engine’ light went off and on over and over again. What’s going on?  This may happen, regardless of the brand and make of your car – whether you are driving a Ford, Audi, Volkswagen, or a Toyota. Don’t panic – Actron CP9135 AutoScanner will be there to your rescue!

When warning light come on, it’s just your car trying to tell you that something is not quite right. Like R2D2 in StarWars, the Actron CP9135 AutoScanner (OBD II compliant) can plug into your On-Board Diagnosis II (OBD II) compliant vehicle to access the information stored in your vehicle’s computer. It can be used on all OBD II compliant vehicles made in North America, Europe, and Asia since 1996.

The Actron CP9135 AutoScanner features a large, easy-to-read LCD screen that displays the definition of the trouble code. For ODB II compliant (1996 and later) vehicles, the Actron CP9135 AutoScanner provides trouble code data, then erases trouble code and turns the Check Engine light off. Although you may still have to fix the problem, the scanner turns off the “Check Engine” warning light on your vehicle’s dash so you will not be distracted while you resume your drive.

The Actron CP9135 AutoScanner is simple and easy even for a non-professional to use. The attached cable with OBD II 16-pin connector provides connections for both power and data, while the eight-foot cable and the rugged housing are both oil-resistant and grease-resistant for added durability. The long cord that connects to the computer facilitates ease of use in tight spaces. Once connected, just press the “READ” key and the very user friendly menu displays a variety of information in a snap. Use the Monitor Status and Inspection / Maintenance (I/M) Readiness function to ascertain your vehicle’s chances of passing an emissions inspection. The I/M Readiness is a pragmatic function to use just before having your vehicle tested for compliance to the standards of a state emissions program.

One very important thing to take note of is that all emission testing facilities will not pass any vehicle that has an  illuminated “Check Engine” light at the time of the inspection – even if the light is only lit to remind you of an over-due oil change or a 60,000-mile tune-up. Using the Actron CP9135 AutoScanner, you can turn off the check engine light and clear the emissions test without any unnecessary hassle. The menu also reminds you of any pending DTCs and reads the status of the Malfunction Indicator Lamp. By reading the Malfunction Indicator Lamp status the scanner gives some insight into what might cause your Check Engine light to turn on in the near future. In this way, the Actron CP9135 scanner is also able to provide some preventive measures to help a non-professional user to monitor a vehicle’s on board systems.

In conclusion, the above useful functions of the Actron CP9135 AutoScanner, together with the simple “READ” and “ERASE” keys that are used to read and erase DTCs, make the Actron CP9135 AutoScanner a perfect tool for identifying and resolving problems with your vehicle, thereby relieving you from unnecessary headaches and more importantly, instead of paying big bucks to the car mechanics, help you to locate and repair simple, straight forward issues on your car yourself thereby saving you money.

Types of E-Commerce

E-commerce is the use of Internet and the web to transact business but when we focus on digitally enabled commercial transactions between and among organizations and individuals involving information systems under the control of the firm it takes the form of e-business. Nowadays, 'e' is gaining momentum and most of the things if not everything is getting digitally enabled. Thus, it becomes very important to clearly draw the line between different types of commerce or business integrated with the 'e' factor.

There are mainly five types of e-commerce models:

1. Business to Consumer (B2C) – As the name suggests, it is the model involving businesses and consumers. This is the most common e-commerce segment. In this model, online businesses sell to individual consumers. When B2C started, it had a small share in the market but after 1995 its growth was exponential. The basic concept behind this type is that the online retailers and marketers can sell their products to the online consumer by using crystal clear data which is made available via various online marketing tools. Eg An online pharmacy giving free medical consultation and selling medicines to patients is following B2C model.

2. Business to Business (B2B) – It is the largest form of e-commerce involving business of trillions of dollars. In this form, the buyers and sellers are both business entities and do not involve an individual consumer. It is like the manufacturer supplying goods to the retailer or wholesaler. Eg Dell sells computers and other related accessories online but it is does not manufacture all those products. So, in order to sell those products, it first purchases them from different businesses ie the manufacturers of those products.

3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C) – It facilitates the online transaction of goods or services between two people. Though there is no visible intermediary involved but the parties can not carry out the transactions without the platform which is provided by the online market maker such as eBay.

4. Peer to Peer (P2P) – Though it is an e-commerce model but it is more than that. It is a technology in itself which helps people to directly share computer files and computer resources without having to go through a central web server. To use this, both sides need to install the required software so that they can communicate on the common platform. This type of e-commerce has quite low revenue generation as from the beginning it has been inclined to the free usage due to which it sometimes got entangled in cyber laws.

5. m-Commerce – It refers to the use of mobile devices for conducting the transactions. The mobile device holders can contact each other and can conduct the business. Even the web design and development companies optimize the websites to be viewed correctly on mobile devices.

There are other types of e-commerce business models too like Business to Employee (B2E), Government to Business (G2B) and Government to Citizen (G2C) but in essence they are similar to the above mentioned types. Moreover, it is not necessary that these models are dedicatedly followed in all the online business types. It may be the case that a business is using all the models or only one of them or some of them as per its needs.

Classifying Drugs of Abuse

When you plan to confront an employee or loved one about drug and / or alcohol abuse, it is important to know the all the facts, not just about the addiction, but about the drugs involved. Health professionals who specialize in addiction and recovery are aware of the damage drug and alcohol abuse can do to a person's health, finances, and personal and professional relationships. When you contact somebody for help in these matters, you will be made aware of the consequences if immediate action is not taken.

The more you know about controlled substances, the better equipped you will be to help those in need of rehabilitation and recovery. Drugs of abuse typically fall into specific categories:

  • Cannaboids – marijuana, hashish
  • Depressants – barbiturates and various prescription drugs
  • Dissociative Anesthetics – ketamine, PCP
  • Hallucinogens – LSD, peyote
  • Opioids – morphine, various prescription drugs
  • Stimulants – cocaine, methamphetamine
  • Inhalants – nitrites, aerosols
  • Alcohol – beer, wine, spirits

The sources for these drugs may vary. They may be purchased illegally from dealers, obtained through forged prescriptions or theft, and in some case bought legally. Certain household objects, like model glue and aerosol sprays, may also be abused to achieve a dangerous, addictive high. Regardless of whether or not a drug is legal, the fact remains that any substance with addictive properties can be abused, and if addictive behavior is not treated it can lead to health and mental problems, perhaps permanent brain damage or death.

If you believe somebody you love is abusing drugs, you are encouraged to learn more about the various narcotics and controlled substances that keep thousands in addiction each year. Know what to look for, then contact a physician or rehabilitation clinic today to learn more about the intervention and detox services.

Herbal Medicine – Part I – Historical and Philosophical Background


Herbal medicine has been around since before recorded history. Cave paintings in France, radiocarbon-dated to before 13,000 BC, show the use of plants as healing agents. Herbalism was intimately connected to religious practices, and was frequently the jealously-guarded preserve of shamans, or "witch doctors". The use of herbs as medicine pervades all cultures.

The earliest written records date back over 5000 years in Western culture to the Sumerian civilization. In the East, the Siddha, Unani and Ayurvedic systems from India arose long before the Christian era, and are still practiced today. And traditional Chinese herbology is still thriving as well.

Africa has a long history of herbal remedies, strongly influenced by its links with trading partners from both East and West. Native Americans hold to the belief that illness is caused by a disturbance in one's balance with nature, and can be cured by rituals that often include the use of herbal medicines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of the world's population uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Many pharaceuticals being used today by physicians were originally used as herbal remedies, including aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. In recent years, scientists have been searching all over the world for natural sources of phytochemicals that might be developed into treatments for various diseases. The WHO estimates that 25% of drugs presently in use in the US were derived from plants.


Despite the fact that herbal medicines have a long history of use, the fact that in most cases their effectiveness has not been scientifically proven has led to a controversy between herbalists and mainstream medicine. In Western culture, the rise of modern medical practice brought with it a decline in the use of herbal medicines. This gave rise to the notion that such remedies were nothing more than "old wives tales." In recent years, however, herbalism has come to be recognized by many as an alternative, or sometimes complementary method of treatment.

In my research for this article, I discovered that there are basically four groups, each espousing differing points of view regarding the use of herbal remedies: 1) herbalists, 2) pharaceutical manufacturers, sometimes aided by physicians, 3) vitamin and mineral supplement manufacturers , with some help from herbalists, and 4) governmental institutions.

I will try not to take sides here. There is no need for animosity between these factions. In all that I have read, there is a concern for the safety and well-being of those who would use herbal remedies. But each group has its own vested interest which slants its perspective to more or less of a degree.

To be continued …

In the next installment, I will describe the viewpoints of the four factions above. References will be given to websites which illustrate the ideas presented.

B Group Vitamins

There are many different hair loss vitamins that when taken, assist in prevention of hair loss and having a healthy hair and scalp. One of the most important of these groups is B group vitamins, in particular B3, B5, B6, B12 and BX. Intakes of B group vitamin supplements have resulted in stimulating hair growth. It should be also noted that a deficiency in these same vitamins have led to hair loss.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin or B3 is essential to metabolise carbohydrates, fat and alcohol and for energy production. It also helps maintain skin, hair and scalp and supports the nervous and digestive system. Good sources include fish, poultry, milk, eggs, wholegrain breads, nuts and mushrooms. A recommended intake is 50mg – 3 times daily.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic Acid or B5 is needed to metabolise proteins, carbohydrates, fat and alcohol. It also particularly important for hair growth and can further assist in preventing acne. Good sources include milk, eggs, liver, peanuts and legumes. A recommended intake is 100mg – 3 times daily

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine or B6 is required for protein and carbohydrate metabolism, as well as the formation of red blood cells and certain brain chemicals. It improves the immune system and influences brain processes and development, as well as steroid hormone activity. Evidence suggests that B6 may also assist in the treatment of carpal tunnel and premenstrual syndromes, as well as preventing fungal infections. A deficiency in B6 can result in hair loss in men. Good sources include cereal grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables, fish, shellfish, poultry, liver and nuts. A recommended intake is 50mg – 3 times daily.

Vitamin B12 (Cycanocobalamin)

Cycanocobalamin or B12 improves nerve cells and mental ability. It assists red blood cell formation and also the breaking down of fatty acids and amino acids that produce energy. Vitamin B12 is known to assist hair loss through regenerating damaged hair follicles, as wells as healing and nourishing the scalp. Good sources include eggs, cheese, milk, meat and liver. A recommended intake is 2.4 micrograms daily.

Vitamin BX (Para-Amino benzoic Acid)

Para-amino benzoic acid is not part of the B group vitamins, however it is known as vitamin BX. Also known as PABA it is a non protein amino acid. It is important to skin, hair and intestinal health. It assists in preventing hair loss by protecting hair follicles. It is further an antioxidant that provides protection against sun exposure, smoking and air pollutants. Good sources include eggs, liver, kidney, bran, wheat germ brewer's yeast, yoghurt and spinach. A recommended intake is 100 mg – 3 times daily.

Some things to remember with B Group Vitamins: B-Group vitamins are a group of 8 vitamins that are essential for many metabolic processes.

Most of these vitamins can not be stored in the body and therefore need to be consumed regularly through supplements in a balanced diet.

Over cooking, processing and alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of the vitamins.

Vitamins should only be taken in the correct doses. Some vitamins can be toxic if taken to excess. It is recommended to see a doctor or dietician for further advice.

B-Group vitamins including these hair loss vitamins as mentioned should be considered as part of a balance program for healthy hair and hair loss prevention.

Chronic Cystitis – Symptoms and Causes

For some reasons unknown, some women get bladder infections repeatedly. This is called chronic cystitis. According to Dr. Robert Pugach, a Medical Director at Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center, the main key in preventing infections is urinating. Urinating several times daily prevents bladder infections by flushing bacteria out of the urethra.

Contact a urology doctor in your area if you are having any of these symptoms.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Bacterial infections affect the lower and upper urinary tract. The lower urinary tract infection is considered a simple cystitis (bladder infection). These symptoms consist of:

  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Urge to urinate
  • Lower abdominal pain and pressure
  • Urine is cloudy, dark or smells strong

Symptoms of upper urinary tract infection technically recognized as pyelonephritis (kidney infection):

  • Back pain under the side ribs where the kidneys are located
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Along with the symptoms of a bladder infection

Causes of UTIs

Women are more prone to UTIs because the urethra in women is shorter than the urethra in men. The urethra is the tube that carries the urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. Germs get into your system through the urethra. The germs commonly causing infection is the ones found in your stool. These germs come from wiping from back to front and gets inside the urethra, then travels to the bladder and possibly the kidneys. If left untreated, may lead to serious health risks or fatality. Other causes of UTIs should be taken into consideration:

  • Sex can push germs into the urethra
  • Not drinking enough water
  • If you have diabetes
  • If you are pregnant
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of good personal hygiene

Another cause of chronic cystitis is a decrease in estrogen. It is possible for one to experience chronic UTI symptoms without actually having a bladder infection. This hormonal change causes vaginal tissue to decrease and the urethra to narrow. Urethral changes can affect the bladder with continuing inflammation and bladder muscle irritation.

Dr. Pugach, has treats many female patients who are diagnosed with UTIs. Although their urine cultures are negative, and show red and white blood cells but no bacteria, the patient is still prescribed antibiotics. Unfortunately, the treatment is short-term relief of the symptoms before returning within a month. Typically, this is a very discouraging, as it is chronic.

At Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center, Dr. Pugach, specializes in many bladder control problems in women and treats this circumstance with an in office procedure. This procedure gently stretches and brings the urethra back to its original size and only takes about two minutes. To soften the urethra, estrogen cream is used and antibiotics are prescribed to help heal the bladder. After the procedure, patients may experience a mild burning sensation while urinating for about 1-2 days. Shortly after, the symptoms of UTI will dissipate.

Role of Alternative Medicine in Modern Society

Typically, alternative medicine differs from traditional medicine in that alternative medicine is older and what we might call unconventional or non-Western medicine. Alternative medicine does not follow the traditional science and research that current medicines undergo. Alternative medicine could also be termed complementary or traditional medicine or the therapies that can be integrated into current medicine. The staff of the National Library of Medicine of the United States classified alternative medicine under the category of complementary therapies in their Medical Subjects Heading Section. This was done in the year 2002. The definition provided was that alternative medicine therapeutic practices were not considered as an integral part of the traditional allopathic medicine. Therapies like acupuncture, dieting, physical therapy like exercises or yoga, etc. are termed as alternative medicine. These therapies are called complementary when they are used along with conventional treatments. If they are done in place of conventional treatments, they are known as alternative treatments.

In April 1995, the panel of National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, worked on Definition & Description, CAM Research Methodology Conference, Office of Alternative Medicine. The panel defined alternative medicine and complementary medicine as those healing resources that encompass all health systems and practices that are different from the dominant health system of a particular society or culture. Usually, therapies like ayurveda, herbal medicine, folk medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, naturopathy, diet practices, chiropractic, music therapy, massage, pranic healing, etc. are classified as alternative or complementary medicine. People who do not find a cure, remedy or success in allopathic medicine generally try alternative medicine. Such people generally suffer from cancer, arthritis, acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS), chronic back pain, etc. Therapies included under alternative medicine would cease to be included in that category once their efficacy is proven and they are considered safe and effective. They are then considered as part of traditional medicine. An example would be chiropractors. Twenty years ago insurance would not pay for them as they were considered “alternative and ineffective.” Today thousands of people have been helped by chiropractors and they are now recognized in the medical community. A similar movement is underway in the nutritional supplement and nutraceutical industry.

Over the years, more and more people have been using alternative medicine because traditional medicine is not working for them. The 2004 survey by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine of the United States revealed that approximately 36% of Americans used alternative medicine in 2002. If alternative medicine is used in conjunction with traditional allopathic medicine, an integrative doctor is a person’s best option. Some traditional doctors are adamantly against or simply do not believe in complementary medicine, even though research continues to show the benefits of many compounds. Your doctor should be informed about other approaches you may be using and if they are not comfortable with that then always feel free to choose another doctor. This would enable the doctor to foresee any possible complications or a better time in which to use a complementary therapy. The concern in using alternative medicine stems from the fact that some practitioners of alternative medicine do not have an accredited medical degree and therefore do not have a valid medical license. However, in recent times, many educational institutions and universities have started offering courses in homeopathy, ayurveda, siddha, unani, acupuncture, and naturopathy. The recent growth in this industry is evident by the many people demanding different, and in some cases better, care than what they are receiving in “modern medicine.” They are no longer accepting the fact that they need to suffer with pain or illness because modern pharmacy does not have a magic bullet for them.

Cat Health Problems to Look Out For

There are all sorts of cat health problems you should look out for but I’m going to tell you about this one because I had recent personal experience with it and it was very bad news for our six year old boy cat, Rafiki, usually called Raffers. I hope that what I write will help someone else to recognise the symptoms or if not, then to help with the treatment of a beloved cat.

The unfortunate thing about cat health problems is that often, there aren’t any really obvious symptoms.. If a cat has sickness or diarrhoea or is coughing then you know there’s something wrong but many times your only clue is a change in behaviour.

In this case, Raffers seemed to be eating and drinking normally and going outside as he usually would. We noticed that some of the plant pots in our front porch had been dug up quite vigorously (there was soil all over the step) but blamed that on young Scruffy, who is a hooligan at the best of times.

Eventually, after a day or so, we realised that Raffers was just lying around on the front door mat and hardly moving. We brought him into the house and provided a litter tray which he went to straight away, scratched around a lot and appeared to be peeing but nothing happened. That set off alarm bells so we rushed him to the vet (after hours the day before a public holiday, naturally) and the vet immediately diagnosed a kidney stone stuck in his ureter (the tube which leads from the kidney to the bladder) hence he was unable excrete urine at all.

The vet did an emergency operation laparascopically to remove the stone by breaking it into smaller pieces (I think). He then inserted a catheter, tied on a collar to stop Raffers from trying to remove it and we were able to take him home just about an hour later. The vet had warned us that if things didn’t go smoothly, it could take up to four hours so we were relieved.

Ongoing treatment involved washing out the bladder twice daily using a small syringe and sterilised water. The urine leaked constantly from the catheter so to stop it going everywhere, we borrowed a cage from our local cat charity and lined it with newspaper, a towel for comfort all covered with a human bed protector bought from the pharmacy. The bed protector needed changing about three times a day but it was a bit big for the cage so Raffers became quite adept at folding over the damp bit and using a dry part to lie on. We let him out of the cage to use his litter tray for defecating and for exercise. Fortunately, we have tiled floors so the leakage from the catheter could easily be wiped up. It would be a different matter for carpets!

As well as the bladder washing, we had to try to keep Raffers clean as he couldn’t clean himself because of the collar. For this we used baby wipes. He never really look dry round his rear end but it was the best we could do.

Every few days we went back to the vet for antibiotic injections and after ten days or so, the vet removed the catheter. The collar could go too but we had to keep Raffers in for another ten days so there was no risk of infection; we didn’t use the cage any more though as he wasn’t incontinent and could clean himself properly so he just sat on the sofa as usual.

All was well when we returned to the vet for Raffers’ check up and he was given a clean bill of health. but barely two hours later, we noticed that he couldn’t stand up. Literally, his back legs had given way.

Anti-Scar Creams – Stop Scarring Before it Becomes Permanent

Whenever your skin gets wounded due to a cut, burns or for whatever reason, your skin will try to heal itself and in the process you will begin to develop scars on the wounded area. A scar is a tissue that appears on the area where the wound is located when the skin tries to repair the damage. It typically looks like discolored skin, however, the appearance of the scar will vary depending on the severity and size of the wound. Deep, large cuts tend to create bumpy and dark scars which are very noticeable and even unsightly. Some of the worst scarring can come from burn wounds as the skin becomes distorted and tight which not only looks unappealing, but it also interferes with the normal movement of the wounded area.

This is why it is recommended to treat scars as soon as possible. Once a scar has matured and developed, getting rid of it completely can be a very difficult task and may even require surgery. Others have lived with scars all their lives, not knowing there is something they could’ve done to remove it. The good news is, as the body or skin heals itself, you can make use of preventive means to avoid the development of full blown scar. One of the easiest and least invasive treatment among the different scar removal options, is the use of anti-scar creams. This is a topical solution that not only ensures you don’t get any large, noticeable scars, but it also helps speed up the healing process.

To give you an idea, scars form because the body tends to overproduce collagen to quickly cover up the wound. The collagen replaces the damaged or lost skin tissue however; it is not as strong as our normal skin tissue. Scar tissue is weaker, more sensitive and does not have the same features of normal skin, like sweat glands. Anti-scar creams tend to work by creating a balance in the collagen that the body produces. This will eliminate the possibility of developing scars and also ensure that good skin tissue is regenerated. As the wound heals the anti-scar cream works together with the body by regulating collagen production, remove the tough collagen used to initially cover the wound and promote the fast growth of healthy new skin cells.

Anti-scar creams also have several other ingredients for healthy skin. Anti-oxidants and moisturizers will keep the new skin healthy and soft as it develops. This will also nourish the surrounding area of the wound so that when it completely heals up, it would appear like there was no trace of it at all. Scars also tend to become discolored when they develop. Anti-scar cream will also help prevent this from happening.

The use of anti-scar creams is a viable and affordable way of minimizing or completely preventing the appearance of scars whenever you get a wound. Anti-scar creams like Dermefface FX7 have been used by many people for different scars including burn marks, acne scars and even scars brought about by surgery. When using the cream, make sure to keep using the product at least twice a day. Scars tend to mature over time so if you keep on using the scar cream for several months, you ensure there’s no chance for the scar to appear.

Liver Disease Symptoms

Liver disease may not show any symptoms at first, as symptoms can be vague. This includes weakness and loss of energy.

Other symptoms include jaundice that is a disease of the gall bladder. Jaundice is one of the main symptoms of liver disease. Jaundice can turn the skin color to yellow. Another symptom is related to digestion and appetite. Poor appetite is a very common symptom. It leads to loss of weight and anemia. Along with this vomiting, nausea or diarrhea can also manifest.

Another important symptom is light colored stool. Due to the lack of bile production, the stool will appear light and can be gray colored or pale.

Distention and bloating can be considered as another symptoms to watch out for and can cause a pain during breathing.

Polyuria or excess urination and polydypsia or excess thirst are the other symptoms typical of the liver disease.

Liver cancer has symptoms that include weight loss and loss of appetite. Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, enlarged liver, change of color (yellowing) of the skin and the whites of the eyes are also noticed. Bile duct obstruction has symptoms like pale stools, dark urine, abdominal pain, jaundice, vomiting, nausea and fever.

Portal hypertension that is a high blood pressure in the portal veins has no symptoms. But complications due to this disease can result in bloody vomiting and black, loose stools from varices, ascites; and signs of brain disease called encephalopathy.

Alcoholic liver disease has symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, swollen abdomen, jaundice, abdominal pain, ascites, weight gain, mental confusion, excessive thirst, dry mouth and fatigue. Additional symptoms include vomiting blood or black, paleness, light-headedness or fainting, fluctuating mood and altered level of consciousness.

Gastrointestinal Cancers

Some facts about Cancer

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual margins, and then these abnormal cells can then invade adjacent parts of the body, therefore spread to other organs.

Sadly, it knows no boundaries. Men, women and children are all at risk. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, there were just about 12.7 million cancer cases seen in the world in 2008. This number was further divided and showed that about 6.6 million of them were male and 6.0 million female. These startling numbers are estimated to increase up to 21 million by the year 2030.

Breaking down those figures even further, these have been found to be the three most common forms of cancer in both sexes:

  • Lung – the most common type worldwide contributing nearly 13% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2008
  • Breast (women only) – the second most common type with nearly 1.4 million new cases in 2008
  • Colorectal – the third most common with over 1.2 million new cases in 2008

Gastrointestinal cancers

In fourth place is stomach cancer, along with others that affect the gastro intestine. It is a disease in which bad cells form in organs involved in digesting food or flushing out waste, counting the stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines, colon, and rectum and is classified according to the organ in which it forms as follows:

Stomach (also called gastric cancer) begins in the cells that line the inner layer of the stomach and then grow outward. It is often diagnosed at an highly developed stage, when it can be treated but not so often cured.

Risk factors for developing gastrointestinal cancer

Although not much is known about the causes of many types of gastrointestinal cancer, it is known that the risk factors vary among different types. These include:

  • Diet: Eating a high-fat diet is a risk factor for small intestine, pancreatic and colorectal cancer. A diet high in salty and smoked foods increases the risk to it as well as a diet high in red meat, processed meats and meats cooked at high temperatures increases risk of colorectal cancer. A diet that includes too few fruits and vegetables increases risk of both colorectal and stomach cancer.
  • Age: Many types of gastrointestinal cancers increase in frequency as people age.
  • Cigarettes: Smoking cigarettes increases risk of stomach and pancreatic cancer.
  • Excessive alcohol use: Excess alcohol increases the risk of liver and colorectal cancer.
  • Obesity: Being overweight is a risk factor for biliary cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.
  • Family history of gastrointestinal cancer: If your parent or sibling has been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal cancer.
  • Diabetes: Having diabetes increases your risk of pancreatic cancer and liver cancer.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Exercising too little increases the risk of pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer.

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Cancer

Symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer vary, depending on the type of cancer. Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain, tenderness or discomfort
  • Change in bowel habit, such as frequency or consistency or shape
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in stool
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue

These are common symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer but they can also be related to other less serious causes. Seek advice from your doctor if you have any concern.

Preventing gastrointestinal cancer

Some people have an inherited gene that might increase their risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer. On the other hand, it is highly supposed that there are preventative measures that can help lessen the likelihood of individuals developing it.


Some scientists believe that antioxidant vitamins and minerals may help prevent cancer when included as part of a balanced diet. The antioxidants and other healthy substances found in fresh fruit and vegetables may help to prevent damage to the stomach lining that can lead to cancer.


The incidence of stomach cancer varies from country to country around the world. This may be explained to some extent by differences in diet. A diet high in very salty foods increases the risk of stomach cancer. Stomach cancer levels have been seen as quite high in Japan, where very salty pickled foods are popular in their diet.

Smoked, barbecued and preserved foods may also increase risk of stomach cancer. Preserved foods include cured meats, such as bacon and ham. A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables may lower the risk of stomach cancer.

How To Become A Naturalized US Citizen

If you a 'green card' holder living in the USA, then you are qualified to become a US citizen through naturalization proceedings. A naturalized US citizen enjoys many of the following privileges: the right to vote, the ability to travel outside the US for long periods of time and return to the United States, the right to join government service and eligibility for public benefits that are not available to non-citizens. Moreover, you can no longer be removed or deported from the United States. To be fully clarified on the requirements and procedure, the details are discussed hereunder for your guidance.

The Requirements before Filing Form N-400

To qualify for naturalization, the applicant must possess the following qualifications:

1) The applicant must be at least 18 years old at the time of the filing of Form N-400;

2) The applicant must be a holder of a permanent residency visa and has been living continuously in the US for at least five (5) years after admission to the US or three (3) years if married to a US citizen;

3) The applicant must be of good moral character;

4) The applicant must have no criminal record;

5) The applicant is able tospeak, understand, read, and write simple English;

6) The applicant must have a knowledge of the fundamentals of US history and government;

7) The applicant must have lived for at least three (3) months within the USCIS district where the application is filed.

When the applicant possesses the requirements above, he is now ready to file Form N-400:

Step 1. Filing of N-400

The applicant files Form N-400 at any office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accompanied with the following documents:

a) A valid marriage certificate, for the married applicant

b) Two (2) identical passport size photographs of the applicant

c) A copy of the Permanent Resident Card or green card

d) The filing fee payable to the US Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $ 595 and another $ 85 as payment for biometrics fee for fingerprinting costs.

Step 2. Fingerprinting

When applicant's Form N-400 has been duly approved, the next step is being scheduled for fingerprinting. At this stage, the applicant must prepare all other documents like the driver's license, passport and other identification cards. After fingerprinting, the USCIS would schedule an interview with the applicant. The fingerprints would be forwarded to the FBI for record verification.

Step 3. Interview and Examinations

The questions during the interview would beabout the application and some personal questions. The applicant is required to take English and Civics tests, unless applicant qualifies for a waiver or exemption. To meet the English requirement, the applicant is required to answer simple sentences and questions to test his ability to read, speak and write English.

Who are exempted to take the tests?

The applicant with disabilities would be accommodated accordingly and be given the required assistance until the applicant has taken the oath of allegiance. The disability should be mentioned in Form N-400. The applicant must also write the USCIS informing the office of his disability and the required assistance. For complete disability (mental and physical disability), a Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions (Form N-648) must be included in the application.

A person who is above 50 years of age does not have to take the English test and can take the Civics test of the applicant's language of choice. For over 65 years of age, the applicant does not have to take the English test and may be allowed to take a simpler version of the Civics test in the applicant's language of choice. On the other hand, a person above 50 and had lived in the US for at least 20 years after admission as a permanent resident or the applicant is over 55 years old and had lived in the US for at least 15 years are exempt from these requirements . Further, to qualify for a disability exception, the disability should be existing for at least 1 year from filing or is expected to last for 1 year. It is also a must that the disability is not caused by illegal use of drugs.

Step 4. Taking the Oath of Allegiance.

The final step to become a naturalized citizen is the taking of an oath of allegiance to the government of the United States. It shall mean renunciation of all foreign allegiances, a promise to support and defend the US Constitution and the laws of the United States and the willingness to serve the government and when necessary, the naturalized citizen may be called upon to join in the US Armed Forces to perform non-combatant service in the US Armed Forces, or perform civilian service for the United States. After the ceremony, USCIS will now issue a Certificate of Naturalization.

Autism in Children

People with autism usually believe that the entire world, to them, is just like aggregation of people, places and events which they work hard to make sense of, and which can bring about extensive anxiety, this way some people with autism may concern why they He is 'different'. Generally, autism is defined as the brain disorder that begins in early childhood and persists throughout the adulthood. It affects three areas of development: verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, Autistic children characteristically are normal in appearance and grow healthy physically. Physically, autistic children may have a flat masked facial expression, because of squat muscle tone in the face. Distinctively these children express their first true "meaningful words" around 10 to 14 months, that's why these children said to be quite children as have delayed milestones. The term "autism" was first instigate in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanneras, he define autism as the "tendency to daydream, to fantasies, to view life in terms of one's own needs or desires regardless of reality". However in recent researches' it says "Autism is defined as a neuro-developmental disorder that reveals itself in a pronounced abnormal social interaction, patterns of interests, patterns of behavior, and communication ability" (L. Smith 2006). Over all autism can be understand through causes; typical signs and symptoms, alarming prognosis and manage through proper treatment modalities. Currently, autism is considered to be a unique disorder that occurs in approximately fifteen out of every 10,000 births (WHO). Autism is four times more common in boys than girls.

Looking at the causes of autism, still it's not clear, as causes are still unknown. Biologically certain researchers think about relation of MMR vaccine as one of the cause of autism in children. Moreover, researchers are investigating the hypothesis that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes a recurrent intestinal infection which produce (amino acid compounds). If it gets absorbed into blood then it might effect children's psychology. In addition, other biological factors include seizure disorder or epilepsy. Other factors which cause autism could be lack of mother child bounding, unwanted pregnancy lead to reject child raring and caring, Immunological factor seems to be involves immunological incompatibility.

Furthermore, important complexity faced by autism patient is difficulty in involvedness with social imagination. As they do not have flexible thoughts and lost in imaginary plays. Their plays have a tendency to be repetitive and rhythmic in nature and imitate tendency. (Eg: copied from videos). Frequently obsessive behaviors observed in them, such as having tendency to keep toys in a line, and rotating objects (or themselves). Autistic children are likely to play alone and have not interactions with other children or siblings. One of the article by (Jincy. J & et al 2007) in nursing review says, "Spontaneous exploratory play is absent. Show imitative play and they are often rigid, repetitive, or monotonous. Children often spin, bang, and line up objects and may exhibit an attachment to a particular object. Stereotypes, mannerisms and grimacing are most frequent. "
The main goals of treatment are to decrease associated deficits and family distress, increase quality of life and functional independence as well. Intensive, sustained special education programs and behavior therapy, early in life can help children learn self-care, social and job skills. Available action would include, developmental models, behavior analysis, structured teaching, speech, social skills therapy, and occupational therapy.

Prognosis of autism revels that there is no cure. Most children with autism lacks in social support, healthy relationships, future employment opportunities .. Few recent studies subjects long-term prognosis. However, Some adults show moderate improvement in communication skills, but a few decline; no study has been done focusing on autism during midlife experiences. Ceratin changes in diagnostic criteria and increased availing of effective early intervention make it doubtful, whether research findings can be generalized to recently diagnosed children. Moreover Reports of autism cases increase dramatically in the United States between the year 1996-2005. It is unknown how much cases are identified after effectively utilizing treatment modalities by patients.

To sum up, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically obvious during the first three years of life. It is not a disease but a disorder, which is categorized as neurological disorder. There are many misconceptions about this disorder, which reflect autism as, it is something mysterious and superstitious and often leave question unanswered. I would highly recommend that if people suspect that any child is suffering from autism, it is best to see a physician that specializes in treating autistic children, so that appropriate testing can be done. If any one of us found autistic trait in any child, just gives awareness to parents that this is something imperative to be seen by doctor. In addition, awareness through media should be provided to community people so they notify the cases and proper implementation could be done for hem. Moreover this will prevent children from misery of different perspectives of culture such as believing in superstitious and leaving children at shrines for treatment.

Movie Stars That Died Before Their Time

With the success of the Dark Knight and in particular The excellent performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker, decided to take a look back at some of Hollywood's finest young actors and actresses who died before their time.

Heath ledger

Born Heath Andrew Ledger on the 4th of April 1979 and sadly passed away on the 22nd of January 2008. Heath was 28 at the time of passing. Rumour has it that Ledger only started to act because he was made to choose either to take cooking classes or acting classes, Ledger could not see his self cooking so he tried his hand at acting. At the age of 17 Ledger and one of his friends finished school and set off to Sydney Australia with a reported 69 cents in his pocket. Ledger would take many minor roles to try and get noticed from a gay cyclist to a small role in the television series home and away. Ledgers big break came when he appeared in an Australian crime thriller called Two Hands which got him noticed and also the part in 10 things I hate about you. However Ledger was not happy in being type cast as a Hollywood heart throb so Ledger would go on to take more serious roles in the future. In 2005 all of Ledger's hard work paid off, as his work in Brokeback Mountain earned him both an Oscar and Bafta nomination. Ledger who will go down as one of the best portrayals of a superhero arch enemy passed away of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs that included, sleeping pills, anti anxiety and pain killers.

Brad Renfro

Just a week before Heath Ledgers death, Brad Renfro also passed away. Renfro who made is acting debut at the young age of 11 in the movie 'The Client' which he starred alongside Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones. In December 2005 Renfro was charged and arrested for the possession of heroin and was sentenced to 3 years probation. Renfro broke this probation in 2007 by not enrolling in a long term drug treatment program. Renfro was found dead on the 15th of January 2008 after a night of partying; however official cause of death has not been determined. Renfro was 25 at the time of dying.

River Phoenix

The older brother of Joaquin Phoenix, and one time Oscar nominee died on the 31st of October 1993 after a drug overdose of Heroin and Cocaine. The 23 year old actor fell to the ground outside the Viper Room night club that was partly owned by Jonny Depp at the time. His brother Joaquin, sister Rain and girl friend Samantha were at the scene at the time and were unable to tell if River was still breathing when they phoned 911. River passed away at 1:51 am on the morning of October 31st.

James Dean

The two time Oscar nominated actor also known as James Byron Dean was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two posthumous acting nominations. James shot to stardom with movies such as Rebel without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant. James other passion rather than acting was racing cars, James came 2nd in the Palm Springs road races in March 1955 and 3rd at Bakersfield in May of the same year.
On September the 30th 1955 Dean and his Mechanic Rolf set off to enter in another race in California, Deans Porsche that was nicknamed 'Little Bastard' was supposed to have been put on a trailer that day, but a last minute decision which would be fatal to drive the car changed James fate forever. James Dean and his mechanic Rolf were hit head on by a 1950 Ford Custom Tudor coupe, in which the mechanic would survive but James would not be so lucky. James Dean was pronounced dead at 5.59PM on the afternoon of September the 30th. Rolf the mechanic would live till 1981 where he would eventually die in a car accident. James Dean's famous last words would be 'That guy's gotta stop … He'll see us.' Dean died at the young age of 24.

John Candy

The comedy legend that first got noticed on the Canadian comedy show SCTV, which opened doors for the comedian / actor. Candy would star in the romantic comedy Splash along side Tom Hanks, from this point Candy mostly played lovable losers and characters with bad luck but big hearts in movies such as Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Candy died of a heart attack in 1994.

Bruce and Brandon Lee

Bruce Lee the star of Enter the dragon was already a household name when he died of a cerebral edema at the young age of 32. Many years after the passing of Bruce in 1973 rumours still persisted that Bruce Lee had faked his own death.

Brandon lee the son of Bruce was not lucky enough to have even lived to the age of 32. Just like his dad a martial arts expert he also turned to acting. With Brandon's first major role in the movie the Crow (1993) things were looking up for Brandon, however a faulty prop gun on set led to the young actors death. Brandon died at the young age of 28.

Sharon Tate

Sharon Marie Tate was eight and half months pregnant when she was murdered in her home, along with four others, by followers of Charles Manson. Tate who in the 1960's played small roles in TV shows later went on to star in several films such as Valley of the Dolls in which she was nominated for a Golden Globe was regarded as one of Hollywood's up and coming stars. Her life was cut short when she was murdered along with 4 others at the age of 26.