Digestive Health: Why You May be Suffering from ‘the Leaky Gut Syndrome’ and How You can Fix It

“Life and Death are in the Power of the Gut. They that master it shall prosper in health thereof. They that do not shall gnash their teeth in dis-ease.” -Uzo Onuwkugha, MD.

You are not just what you eat; you are what you ingest, digest and assimilate. Everything you’ve ever eaten since you were a baby all contribute to your overall health and well-being up till this point. All the cells in your body have an immunological memory and imprint of all that you have eaten. The law of sowing and reaping works behind the scenes. Some people don’t even understand that there are dietary laws that govern optimum health. We should stop focusing on the type of disease and start asking, “What type of person has the disease.” Your cells tell the story better because it has a record (biological time clock) of your state of health even when it has not manifested with symptoms and no medical test could pick it up.

Well, you are as healthy as your individual cells. There is a law in Science that says that in a closed system, any phenomenon in a large scale is also repeated in a smaller time frame. Therefore, your cells hold the key to your overall health. To be precise, the focus is on the cells of your intestines. My zoom lens is on your small intestine where the majority of absorption and digestion of food materials take place. The word ‘gut’ is somewhat vague because it could refer to the digestive system, part of it or even the stomach.

Now, do you know the best selling drugs in America? It doesn’t matter if it is over-the-counter or prescription drugs. The best selling drugs are antacids or drugs for intestinal disease remedies. You probably know all the brand names: Gelusil, Sucralfate, Mylanta, Pepto-Bismol, Tagamate, and all kinds of laxatives. Please note that taking antacids worsen the problem because these patients are suffering because of lack of acid. This is because their enzymes that manufacture acid (hydrochloric acid) are depleted. Neutralizing the little acid you have give symptomatic relief and tend to worsen the problem.

The target diseases include heartburn, gastritis, flatulence dyspepsia, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, chronic constipation and other forms of digestive ailments. Some of the diseases may not even have a well defined symptom or signs that fit into a definite clinical pattern. That’s why they are often called syndromes.

Many times, clinical tests will reveal nothing, and yet the patient continues to agonize. What is the underlying cause of these diseases? The answer is not what you think. It is an uncharacterized phenomenon most doctors don’t talk about. The name is ‘the leaky gut syndrome.’ It is simply saying that your intestines are ailing because they are short of energy as such has become porous. I prefer a more scientific term called ‘intestinal permeability disease.’

The onset coincides with depletion of functional enzymes in the body. This is the time when the resilience of youth tends to wean. Depending on your dietary habits, it peaks around late twenties or early thirties. Rapid aging seem to pick up at this point. It is a process that sneaks in on you. At this time, your hairs begin to thin and fall off. Bald head set in. Some of your hairs may even start graying because of nutrient depletion especially the B-complex Vitamins. Symptoms of intestinal malady seem to worsen at the same time. People begin to notice bloating, gas, belching, constipation and lactose intolerance.

The key to explaining ‘leaky gut syndrome’ lies at the cellular level. The small intestine has the hardest working cells in the human body. These complex cells may even work harder than brain cells. (No wonder they are called ‘brain in the gut’ because they have all the chemical messengers found in the brain.) In fact, the gut is regarded as the center of life and intuitive thinking. People tend to called it gut instinct–a meeting point of supernatural and physical energy. The Japanese call it the ‘power center.’ The cells of the gut are arranged in finger-like fashion called villi–designed to increase the surface area for absorption of nutrients. This process is an energy-dependent mechanism called active transport. (Water is absorbed by osmosis and is not energy-dependent).

Thus 85% of our life-time energy is used in digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. You could imagine that only 15% is reserved for the rest of the body for active work and other functions. Do you see why your digestive health is very important? Everything about life is energy and sickness is nothing but lack of force. It is either you take care of your digestive health or live at the mercy of the medical community. Most times they are confused because most doctors are not trained in nutrition therapy.

Furthermore, the gut acts as a semi-permeable membrane. In other words, it has a gating mechanism that allows some nutrients to pass while eliminating others. For instance essential nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and essential fats are absorbed while toxins, bacteria, parasites, and partially digested or allergic foods are prevented from entering the blood. These wastes are eliminated through the stool. However, if the linings become porous like an old filter, everything goes into the blood without restrictions. The gut is now said to be leaky. Note that most of the junk food all full of nutrient-depleted, energy deficient elements called oxidants or free radicals. Because these substances lack electrons, they are very reactive and attack the cell membrane lipid bi-layer. The tight and gap-junctions between cells also give way creating more holes on the membranes.

As the unwanted substances and chemical toxins pass through, they now set up a chain reaction. The body hates these intruders just like you hate spam. The body tries hard to fight off these free radicals as foreign bodies. Often there is no help from the victim who continues to eat junk, nutrient-depleted food causing more free radical damage. The stage for auto-immune reaction has already been set by these allergens and carcinogens (allergens are foods that cause allergy and carcinogens are risk factors for causing cancers). At this time, the body’s defense mechanisms are also down giving rise to all kinds of degenerative diseases or even cancer depending on the end organ and nutritional deficiency involved. Leaky gut also triggers premature aging process. The victim also suffers from chronic fatigue. (Food is should give energy and not deplete your reserve).

Foods that cause leaky gut include fast sugars, partially hydrogenated and trans-fats, wheat gluten, yeast, bacteria, viruses, canned nuts, dairy products, cigarette smoking, alcohol, corn-syrup solids, food additives and flavors. Acidic foods and free radicals worsen the whole scenario. All non-living foods, chemicals, processed foods and all junks food deplete the body of the existing enzymes and leave it open for attacks with all kinds of illnesses. For instance one teaspoon of sugar shuts down your immune system for two hours. Also if you eat in a hurry without chewing your food or meat very well, you are a candidate for leaky gut syndrome. Digestion is a process and it starts in the mouth coupled with your state of mind. Stress is a powerful contributory factor.

Here is the good news: “Anything that can prevent a disease can also help to cure it,” said Dr. Bernard Jensen. These foods boost your immunity, attack free radicals, strengthen your intestinal walls, help digestion and absorption, cleanse and detoxify you, give you energy, and add more years to your life and more life to your years. The list of healthy alternative is many. But my favorite is a bunch of green super foods–barley grass, wheat grass, chlorella, green kamut, wheat grass, alfalfa and spirulina. Please add avocado to your staple diet. Also essential fatty acid blend (omeg-3, 6 and 9), multivitamin and mineral supplements, aloe vera-papaya, periodic fasting and colon cleanse. Avoid junk and processed food. Drink eight glasses of water per day. Our body is 70% water. Water supports metabolism and help to eliminate toxins that cause diseases and ravages of premature aging. Don’t forget the recommendation of at least five servings of green leafy vegetables daily. Minimize acidic food eat more of alkaline food. Practice food combining to make it easy on your digestive enzymes. Don’t eat for at least 3 hours before you go to bed. (The body heals itself at night). Otherwise the body will use the energy for regeneration and repair to digest food. This makes you tired when you wake-up.

I must add that I take lemon juice and green tea regularly. Just cut off taking coffee it can worsen the leaky gut. Lemon is excellent because all the bacteria that cause disease hate anything bitter. They love sugar because they can multiply in nanoseconds. Both lemon juice and green tea help digestion (has life enzymes) and boost your immunity and strengthen your enzyme reserves while cleansing your system. Both are potent antioxidants that combat free radicals that cause lack of energy and aging. Lifestyle of regular exercise should be added.

Exercise is so important that it requires a special emphasis. Lack of exercise causes intestinal paralysis of some sort. This gives undigested food more transit time to sit in the gut and for toxins to leak into the blood triggering degenerative changes, allergy and stagnant immune system. However, when you exercise, nature cooks the food twice– both in the stomach (more acid is mixed with the food) and in the intestines. This improves digestion and elimination of wastes. Overall, many people notice bowel movement during or shortly after exercise. Also exercise draws air into the body which is more efficient in combating the bugs that cause diseases. Disease does not exist in aerobic environment. All cells start to age when they don’t get enough oxygen. Many other benefits of exercise are beyond the scope of this article.

In a nutshell, if you do these basic things, including adding raw food to your diet you will improve the quality of your life and enjoy optimum health all the days of your life. The key is to take responsibility for your own health. Watch what goes into your mouth. Educate yourself on how your body works. Listen to your body. Give it what it needs to serve you better. Your life is in your hands; not the doctor. Don’t kid yourself. You don’t put water in your gasoline tank. Do you? Don’t think you’re a machine. Even machines break down. Before you blame God and your parents, change your eating habit first. There are healthy alternatives to the junk you see all around you. Good health is lifelong journey. The earlier you start the better. Good luck in your quest for optimum health!

Arthritis Treatment: Tibiofemoral Osteoarthritis, Diagnosis and Treatment

The most common presentation of osteoarthritis of the knee (OAK) is involvement of the tibiofemoral joint, the space between the femur (upper leg bone) and the tibia (the larger of the two lower leg bones.)

These are the two surface areas that contain the largest amount of hyaline cartilage inside the knee.

As mentioned earlier, hyaline cartilage is the “harder” of the two type of cartilage within the knee. Hyaline cartilage caps the ends of the long bones inside the joint while fibrocartilage, a softer more pliable cartilage is represented by the medial and lateral menisci of the knee. These are semicircular piece of cartilage that give added protection to the hyaline cartilage when it comes to shock absorption, gliding, and rotation.

Symptoms of OAK typically consist of stiffness, swelling, buildup of joint fluid, and tenderness along the joint line. Over time the ability to bend and straighten the knee will be compromised as well. While one compartment, either the medial (inside) or lateral (outside) compartment of the knee may be affected more than the other, often both compartments are affected. This causes diffuse pain.

The diagnosis can be suspected clinically by history and physical examination. It can be confirmed by positive changes seen on standing knee x-rays. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is much more sensitive to changes of OAK which will consist of cartilage defects, bone edema (swelling), and fluid.

The typical treatment regimen is aimed at pain relief and maintenance of function.

If the patient is overweight, weight loss is a must. Regular exercise consisting of low impact aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, and stretching are components of a common-sense program for a patient with OAK.

Addition of non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs taken either orally or given as a topical agent may also be used.

Removal of excessive joint fluid followed by Injections of glucocorticoids (“cortisone”) are helpful for symptomatic relief. Glucocorticoids have a deleterious effect on articular cartilage and should be used sparingly, no more often than three times per year in a given joint.

The patient may also benefit from viscosupplement injections. These are substances consisting of hyaluronic acid which mimics the characteristics of normal joint fluid. These injections can also help provide symptomatic relief.

All injections need to be administered using ultrasound guidance to ensure accuracy.

Surgery is defined as being cartilage sparing or cartilage sacrificing. Cartilage sparing procedures involve osteotomy- removing a wedge of bone in order to line the knee joint straighter. This is used in young active adults to buy time. Cartilage sacrificing procedures refer top joint replacement. The trend recently has been for patients to get these operations done at a younger age. The downside is that these surgeries are associated with a small but real risk of severe complications including infection, blood clots, and death.

An option that is being proven to be an alternative is the use of autologous stem cells, a patient’s own stem cells to help sustain and possibly regrow cartilage in an osteoarthritis knee.

(Wei N, et al. Guided Mesenchymal Stem Cell Layering Technique for Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee. J Applied Res. 2011; 11: 44-48)

The Heart – Steps to a Healthy Heart

About a million people in the United States alone in the year 2000 lost their lives to cardiovascular diseases. It basically means of all the deaths in that specific year, about 40% were attributed to the heart. For both genders, it is definitely the number one leading cause of death. Heart diseases arise as a result of the development of plaque within the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. The buildup comes about in a gradual process over a period of time, as a result of streaks of fat forming within the heart, specifically within arteries walls. As streaks continue to buildup they form a hardened plaque that constricts the flow of blood to the arteries. As a result, it leads to a stroke, heart attack or the formation of blood clots.

Understand Risk Factors to the Heart
Always understand the clear risk factors that you might possess. These are factors such as the history of your parents or any other close family member who had cardiovascular diseases that should tell you whether you are at risk. Diseases of the heart tend to arise and worsen with age, while the diabetic have very intense and elevated chances and risks of attaining cardio diseases as a result of chronic high blood sugar that is associated with the arteries narrowing. In addition, individuals having diabetes mostly have very negligible levels of good cholesterol or HDL, while the levels of blood fats or triglycerides, increases.

The Heart and Healthy Food Choices
Always remember what you eat determine the health of your heart, and whether you have any chance of suffering the consequences of cardiovascular diseases. Make sure you have limited the intake of fried, red meat, fatty foods and greasy delicacies. Fill your daily diet with vegetables, fresh fruit, lean meat sourced from seafood or poultry, foods rich in fibers for instance whole grain cakes and breads and Quaker oatmeal.

The Heart, Healthy Weight and Dangers of Overweight
Overweight and cardiovascular problems like each other, as your risks rise with each pound you gain. Just losing about 10-20 pounds could lower the likelihood of getting heart related problems. Always work with a dietitian or your doctor to develop a healthier eating habit and plan to minimize weight.

Regular Check of Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Numbers
Always make sure your doctor has checked the cholesterol numbers as well as blood pressure of your family and yourself. If the number sets are rising or already high, the menace to the heart is very vast. Let the doctor aid you in developing a better or modifying your diet as you add lots of exercises to control these numbers. In dire cases, you can have your doctor prescribe the right medication that can aid in getting the blood pressure or cholesterol level to normal limits.

Regular Exercise Programs could Save the Heart
Always engage in physical forms of exercises and physical activity that can take thirty or so minutes everyday in a whole week. Firstly, visit your family doctor to find out the forms of physical activity that are good for your age and immediate physical condition. Simple things like gardening or cleaning your house or garage fast might be a good way to exercise as you live healthy.

Avoid not Possible Tell-tale Symptoms
A burning sensation within your chest might simply be a case of heart burn, although it might be the heart suffering from a cardiovascular disease. Additionally, symptoms such as a clear case of breastbone tightness or into your neck, arm or jaw and a breath shortness should be telling you to save your heart and life when you still got the time. Never dismiss these symptoms but visit your physician to have a look at your health.

The Cholesterol Conspiracy – The Truth About Statins And Nutritional Supplementation

“All truth passes through three stages.

First, it is ridiculed.

Second, it is violently opposed.

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Arthur Schopenhauer

(1788 – 1860)

What is the true cause of heart disease, and how can we truly reduce the risk of death?

Atherosclerosis, or Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), is the leading cause of death in both men and women. In the U.S. alone, there are more than one million heart attacks every year, one third of them resulting in death. The majority of men and women currently have, or are actively developing, atherosclerosis. By age 20, most people already have a 15-25% narrowing of their arteries due to plaque formation. By age 40, there is a 30-50% clogging of their arteries.

In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, congestive heart disease (CHD) was mostly a result of rheumatic fever, which was a childhood disease. However by the year 1936 there was a dramatic change in the main cause of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup, took first place as the primary cause of heart disease, making congestive heart failure a distant second.

During the 1950’s, the autopsies conducted on men who died of heart disease that revealed plaque-clogged arteries concluded that cholesterol was the cause of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and coronary artery disease. Cholesterol, not calcium, was considered the “cause” of heart disease, despite plaque consisting of 95% calcium and a relatively small percentage of cholesterol. By 1956 there were 600,000 deaths annually from heart disease in the U.S. Of those 600,000, 90% were caused by atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries. In fewer than 25 years, the number one cause of death in the U.S. had changed dramatically …from congestive heart disease to coronary artery disease.

Because cholesterol was dubbed the “cause” of atherosclerosis, the effort to lower cholesterol by any means began in earnest. Both the food industry and the pharmaceutical industry seized upon this opportunity to cash in on a cholesterol-lowering campaign by creating foods and drugs that would supposedly save lives. Diets, such as the Prudent Diet, were established to lower the amount of cholesterol intake from food. There was no doubt that both polyunsaturated oils and drugs reduced cholesterol, but by 1966 it was also apparent that lowering cholesterol did not translate into a reduced risk of death from heart disease.

As there was so much money to be made from pharmaceutical development, the campaign to produce cholesterol-lowering drugs kicked into high gear, despite the lack of evidence showing that the lowering cholesterol reduced the risk of untimely death from heart disease.

Heart disease kills 725,000 Americans annually, with women accounting for 2/3 or nearly 500,000 of those deaths. After thirty years of cholesterol-lowering medications’ failure to significantly lower the death rate from cardiovascular disease, in 1987 a new and more dangerous class of drugs was unleashed upon the world: the “statin” drugs. Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are now the standard of care that physicians are indoctrinated into prescribing to reduce cardiovascular disease. Are statin drugs the best way to prevent heart attacks and death?

Before 1936 the most common type of heart disease was congestive heart disease (CHD). It rarely caused sudden death and could be treated with the drug digitalis. The incidence of CHD remained stable until 1987, after which the incidence of the disease skyrocketed. Interestingly, the timing of the increased incidence of congestive heart disease coincides with the introduction of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Could cholesterol-lowering statin drugs have something to do with the weakening of heart muscles and the increased incidence of congestive heart failure? We will see that lowering the body’s co-enzyme Q10 levels, a side effect of statin drugs, does indeed increase the risk of muscle damage, including the muscles of the heart.

Atherosclerosis is a disease characterized primarily by inflammation of the arterial lining caused by oxidative damage from homocysteine, a toxic amino acid intermediary found in everyone. Homocsyteine, in combination with other free radicals and toxins, oxidizes arteries, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, which in turn releases C Reactive Protein (CRP) from the liver-a marker of an inflammatory response within the arteries. Inflammation (oxidation) is the beginning of plaque buildup and ultimately, cardiovascular disease. Plaque, combined with the thickening of arterial smooth muscles, arterial spasms, and clotting, puts a person at a high risk of suffering heart attack or stroke.

For years, doctors have hyper-focused on cholesterol levels. First it was the total cholesterol; later the focus became the ratio of “good” HDL cholesterol to “bad” LDL cholesterol. In other words, how much of your cholesterol was good, and how much was bad? Of the two, the important parameter is the level of HDL cholesterol, not LDL cholesterol. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is responsible for clearing out the LDL cholesterol that sticks to arterial walls. Exercise, vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants, particularly the bioflavonoid and olive polyphenol antioxidants, increase HDL cholesterol levels and protect the LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage, and therefore do more to reduce the risk of heart disease than any medication ever could.

There is nothing inherently bad about LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is critical to maintain life. LDL cholesterol only becomes “bad” when it is damaged, or oxidized by free radicals. Only the damaged, or oxidized form of LDL cholesterol sticks to the arterial walls to initiate the formation of plaque.

Let us look towards cigarette smoking for a simple example demonstrating that we really need to reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol to prevent atherosclerosis, as opposed to indiscriminately lowering LDL cholesterol with statin drugs. Everyone knows that cigarette smoking increases the risk of many chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Smokers with normal levels of LDL cholesterol are at an even greater risk of developing heart disease than a non-smoker who has elevated levels of LDL cholesterol. Of course the reason why a smoker with normal levels of LDL cholesterol is at greater risk of disease is because his LDL gets excessively oxidized.

Cigarette smoke releases so many toxins and free radicals that the LDL cholesterol, the triglycerides, and the arterial walls are extensively oxidized. Homocysteine levels are also increased by cigarette smoking which further oxidizes LDL cholesterol and the arterial lining. Oxidation is the initiating cause of atherosclerosis. Therefore, the more and longer one smokes, the more oxidative damage he sustains and the greater his risk of developing heart disease. The degree of oxidation directly corresponds to the risk of heart disease.

If you are not taking vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants then your LDL cholesterol is being oxidized, it is sticking to your arterial walls, and you ARE developing heart disease EVEN IF YOUR CHOLESTEROL LEVELS ARE NORMAL! LDL cholesterol starts sticking to arterial walls before the age of 5.

Among the many free radicals that damage cholesterol, triglycerides and the arterial lining is homocysteine, a toxic intermediate biochemical produced during the conversion of the amino acid methionine into another important amino acid, cysteine. Both methionine and cysteine are non-toxic, but homocysteine is very toxic to the lining of the arterial endothelium. Homocysteine oxidizes LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and the arterial lining.

Homocysteine is an amino acid normally produced in small amounts from the amino acid methionine. The normal role of homocysteine in the body is to control growth and support bone and tissue formation. However a problem arises when homocysteine levels in the body are elevated, causing excessive damage to LDL cholesterol, as well as to arteries. Furthermore, homocysteine actually stimulates growth of arteriosclerotic plaque, which leads to heart disease.

Thyroid hormone controls the level of homocysteine, but numerous factors play a role in the elevation of homocysteine. Normal aging, kidney failure, smoking, some medications, and industrial toxins all elevate homocysteine levels. Interestingly, estrogen helps lower homocysteine.

Homocysteine becomes elevated in the blood with a deficiency of the B vitamins-B6, B12 and folic acid. Genetics also play a role. About 12% of the population has an undetected defect requiring higher levels of folic acid than the rest of population to help maintain homocysteine levels in a safe range (below 6.5). Therefore if you have high homocysteine levels (> 7.0) even though you are taking supplemental B complex vitamins, then you may be among the 12% who need more than 1000 mcg of folic acid per day. In addition, betaine, also known as trimethylglycine (TMG) lowers homocysteine.

Homocysteine is second only to cigarette smoking in its oxidative destruction. It causes small nicks or tears in the arterial lining, while also oxidizing and damaging LDL cholesterol. The damaged, or oxidized LDL cholesterol sticks to the homocysteine-damaged areas of the arterial lining. The combination of oxidized LDL cholesterol and a damaged arterial lining is what causes LDL cholesterol to stick to the arteries, whether or not the LDL cholesterol level is normal.

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are the standard for treating high cholesterol. This is dogma, and anyone who states otherwise is committing medical heresy. Many people find it hard to believe that pharmaceutical companies could ever succeed in paying medical researchers, medical associations, and doctors to recommend something detrimental to our health.

Most people do not know that pharmaceutical companies fund medical institutions, medical education, medical conferences, and still reward doctors and research institutions for providing favorable results on their drugs. Likewise, pharmaceutical companies often suppress negative results from studies done on their drugs. Money has the power to sweep negative results and serious side effects under the rug. Money has the power to influence the FDA to decide which drugs make it to market and which drugs become the “standard” of treatment.

Former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Dr. Marcia Angell, warned of the problem of commercializing scientific research in her outgoing editorial titled “Is Academic Medicine for Sale?” Angell called for stronger restrictions on pharmaceutical stock ownership and other financial incentives for researchers. She said that growing conflicts of interest were tainting science, warning “When the boundaries between industry and academic medicine become as blurred as they are now, the business goals of industry influence the mission of medical schools in multiple ways.” She did not discount the benefits of research but said, “a Faustian bargain” now existed between medical schools and the pharmaceutical industry. Angell left the NEJM in June 2000 and has written a book, “The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.”

Two years later, in June 2002, the NEJM announced that it was going to begin accepting articles that were written by biased researchers, as there weren’t enough unbiased researchers left to write articles. In other words, most research institutions were now funded by one or more of the numerous pharmaceutical companies.

An ABC report noted that a survey of clinical trials revealed that when a drug company did not fund a study, favorable results regarding a drug were found only 50% of the time. In studies funded by drug companies favorable results about the drugs were reported an amazing 90% of the time. Money can and does buy the desired results. This is how most medical research and drugs are now developed and brought to market.

In 1977, the internationally-renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey pointed out that only 30-40% of people with blocked arteries and heart disease have elevated blood cholesterol levels, and posed the logical question, “How do you explain the other 60-70%?”

Because lowering cholesterol did not reduce the risk of death from heart disease, the Cholesterol Consensus Conference in 1984 developed new guidelines to lower the “acceptable level” of cholesterol. High cholesterol would now be the diagnosis for any man or woman with a cholesterol level over 200. Doctors had to convince their patients that they had the disease and needed to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives.

However, when lowering total cholesterol levels below 200 did not translate into saving lives from heart attacks, the focus then turned to LDL cholesterol levels. The “disease” of high cholesterol was refined to the disease of high LDL cholesterol. The unfortunate patient who had an LDL cholesterol level above 130 was now condemned to a lifetime of expensive drugs. Though completely illogical, even when a person with normal LDL cholesterol levels suffered a heart attack, he would still be prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug.

As we shall see, statin drugs reduce the risk of death by repeat heart attacks by as much as 30%, but interestingly enough, the mechanism of action in reducing the risk of death after a heart attack is not via statin drugs’ ability to lower cholesterol! It has been discovered that statin drugs have a modest anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. Yet, there are many natural antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidation of LDL cholesterol and the lining of the arteries, which may soon be discovered to be more effective in reducing the risk of death than “antioxidant drugs,” without toxic side effects.

The myth that high LDL cholesterol is the primary cause of heart disease, and that we must be on drugs to protect ourselves is dispelled by the evidence. If the premise were true that people with high levels of LDL cholesterol get heart disease, then we could assume that people with normal levels of LDL should not get heart disease, or at least very few should get it. However, as Dr. DeBakey observed, approximately 60% of those who die from heart disease have normal LDL cholesterol levels!

Furthermore, after over 45 years of doctors prescribing cholesterol-lowering drugs, heart disease and stroke still remain the number one cause of death in both women and men. This says that regardless of whether you have a high or a normal level of cholesterol, you have a 50% chance of dying from heart disease. If this is so, and it is, then why take a dangerous drug to attempt to lower your cholesterol in the first place?

In 2001, the target level of LDL cholesterol was lowered from 130 to 100, and overnight the number of people considered to be candidates for cholesterol statin drugs doubled. Many people such as myself bristled at the news, because we knew the effectiveness of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in preventing and reversing heart disease. Many of us could see the conspiracy for what it was.

The level at which LDL cholesterol is considered normal has continually been influenced by pharmaceutical companies, who pull the financial strings of research grants that keep medical schools and medical organizations in business. The lower they can establish the level at which LDL cholesterol is considered to be normal, the more people automatically become victims of the dreaded disease of “high cholesterol.” Therefore, more people will be persuaded that they need to be taking a statin drug, and voilà, more profit for the manufacturers. When you consider the size of the profits already received, let alone the potential profit from statin drugs over the next several years, the cholesterol conspiracy is one of the largest money making schemes ever perpetrated on the world.

In July 2004, the level of LDL cholesterol considered normal underwent another change. The new norm plunged from 100 to 70, virtually doubling again the number of people who are “infected” with the plague of high cholesterol. Why, it’s the epidemic of our time! Many enlightened people howled at this news, wondering if the masses would ever wake up and see who is behind this, and why. Why is the medical establishment ignoring the thousands of published medical studies that show the beneficial effects of nutritional supplements against heart disease? Why is the medical establishment down-playing the dangerous and deadly side effects of statin drugs?

The “updated” LDL cholesterol recommendations were published in the July 2004 issue of the American Heart Association’s publication, Circulation. A panel from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, which is endorsed by the American College of Cardiology, and the American Heart Association, were the ones who actually pronounced the new cholesterol level at which drugs should be prescribed. Sounds pretty official and reliable if these powerful medical institutions are backing up these recommendations, right?

The fact is eight of the nine panel members making the new LDL cholesterol recommendations were being paid by the statin-producing pharmaceutical companies. The panelists did not disclose their financial conflict of interest. This information was uncovered by Newsday, a Long Island, New York

newspaper (D. Ricks and R. Robins, Newsday, July 15, 2004). Seven of the nine panelists have financial connections to Pfizer, the makers of Lipitor®. Five of the nine served as “consultants” to Pfizer. So, what did the other two panelists do to deserve their money? Seven of the nine panelists also received money from Merck, the producers of Zocor®, with four of them serving as “consultants” to the company. Eight of the panelists who made the recommendations that would increase the prescribing of statin drugs have received either research grants or honoraria from Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Glaxo Smith Kline, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, and many other drug companies that produce statin drugs.

You would think that with all the advertising and recommendations from medical experts on the benefits of statin drugs, the medical community would possess overwhelming evidence that the drugs reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. A hint of some of the smoke and mirrors in the pharmaceutical companies’ advertising can be seen in their TV commercials. Read carefully the small print on some of Crestor’s® commercial advertising. Their commercial states how much it lowers LDL cholesterol. However, in the same ad you can read, “…Crestor® has not been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease or heart attack.” If so, then why take it? Isn’t the bottom line to prevent death?

The system for reporting adverse effects from medications is tremendously flawed, so much so that many people are seriously harmed or killed by some medications before they are finally removed from the market. Most doctors do not know what symptoms or effects are due to the drug, what should be reported, or even to whom to report adverse effects. They assume that the research that went into developing the drug has already identified all the effects and that a drug brought to market is “safe.” However, only one in twenty side effects is ever reported to either hospital administrators or the FDA.

Statin drugs block cholesterol production in the body by inhibiting the enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase in the early steps of its synthesis in the mevalonate pathway. Cholesterol is one of three end products in the mevalonate chain. This same biosynthetic pathway is also used to create co-enzyme Q10, or co-Q10, as well as dilochol. Therefore, one unfortunate consequence of statin drugs is the unintentional inhibition of both Co-Q10 and dilochol synthesis.

The drug information insert of a statin drug states that it lowers co-enzyme Q10 levels. Most doctors have forgotten their biochemistry class in medical school, and forgotten about the importance of Co-Q10. Therefore they apparently are not concerned about such a statement on the drug labeling information sheet. They may even reassure their patients that lowering Co-Q10 is nothing to worry about, but at the same time warn them that the drug may cause liver damage and to have their liver enzymes checked every three to six months to make sure the drug isn’t killing them. They do not realize that it is the depletion of Co-Q10 that leads to liver damage and death.

Ubiquinone, or co-enzyme Q10, is a critical cellular nutrient created in the cell’s mitochondria, the “engines” that produce energy for the cell. Mitochondria use sugar, oxygen, and water to produce energy molecules known as ATP. Without ATP cells could do nothing. Damaged tissues could not be repaired. Cells could not divide or produce or utilize proteins, enzymes, or hormones. Death of cells, and indeed of the human body would occur if ATP could no longer be produced and utilized. Co-Q10 functions within the mitochondria as an electron carrier to cytochrome oxidase, our main respitory enzyme, which helps turn oxygen and sugar into energy. The heart requires high levels of oxygen, sugar, and Co-Q10 since it utilizes a lot of energy. A form of Co-Q10 called ubiquinone is found in all cell membranes, where it plays a role in maintaining membrane integrity, so critical to nerve conduction and muscle contraction. Co-Q10 is also vital for the formation of elastin and collagen, which make up the connective tissues of the skin, musculature, and the cardiovascular system.

The most common side effect of statin drugs is muscle pain and weakness. In fact, many patients who start on the statin drugs almost immediately notice generalized fatigue and muscle weakness. This is due to the depletion of Co-Q10 needed to support muscle function. Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California, is currently conducting a series of studies on statin side effects. The pharmaceutical industry insists that only 2-3% of patients get muscle aches and cramps, when in fact in one study, Golomb found that 98% of patients taking Lipitor®, and one-third of the patients taking Mevacor® (a lower dose statin), suffered noticeable to significant muscle problems.

Some people on statin drugs lose coordination of their muscles. Some develop pain in their muscles, some are not able to write due to loss of fine motor skills. Many lose the strength to exercise. Others are falling more frequently as their muscles give out, still others have trouble sleeping due to muscle cramping and twitching. Even worse, many people are experiencing most of these side effects. The problems are so numerous, it is difficult to list all the symptoms people might experience. These problems do not come from the “disease” of high cholesterol, but the disease of ignorance in prescribing these drugs.

As we age, Co-Q10 levels decline naturally. From the age of 20 to 80, Co-Q10 levels fall by nearly 50%. Along with the natural decline of Co-Q10, comes a natural decrease in energy and an increase in the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. If the natural decline of Co-Q10 levels increases the risk of fatigue, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, would it not make sense that accelerating the decline of Co-Q10 levels with statin drugs would have the same effect? They do indeed!

Demonstrating the importance of Co-Q10 to cardiovascular health, in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study of people either taking or not taking statin drugs, supplementation with Co-Q10 reduced the risk of heart attacks and death in those with heart disease and prior heart attacks by 50%, regardless of whether they were on a statin drug or not. (Singh R, Neki N, Kartikey K, et al. Effect of coenzyme Q10 on risk of atherosclerosis in patients with recent myocardial infarction. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Apr; 246(1-2):75-82.)

Additionally, Co-Q10 was shown to increase blood levels of vitamin E and significantly increase the levels of protective HDL. As low HDL is a major risk factor for heart disease, increasing it is a definite benefit. Statin drugs were shown not to provide any benefit beyond that of supplementing with Co-Q10. Let me make this clear – in this study only the co-enzyme Q10 provided any benefit, not the drugs!

Cardiologist Dr. Peter Langsjoen of East Texas University reported the effects of Lipitor® among 20 patients who started with completely normal hearts. After six months on a low dose of 20 mg of Lipitor® per day, two thirds of the patients started to show signs of heart failure, as seen by abnormalities in the heart’s filling phase. According to Dr. Langsjoen, this malfunction is due to Co-Q10 depletion. Nine controlled trials using statin drugs in humans have been conducted thus far. Eight of these showed significant statin-induced Co-Q10 depletion leading to a decline in left ventricular function and other biochemical imbalances.

In the United States, the incidence of heart attacks over the past ten to fifteen years has declined slightly. But congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy have risen alarmingly. Is it a coincidence that statin drugs were first marketed in 1987, and then from 1989 to 1997, deaths from congestive heart failure more than doubled? 38 It scares me that virtually all patients with heart failure are put on statin drugs, even if their cholesterol is already low. In my opinion, the worst thing to do for a failing heart is take a statin drug. The best thing is to take is a full range of quality nutritional supplements, …vitamins, minerals, fish oil, and other antioxidants, including Co-Q10.

Various antioxidants work synergistically, each contributing to the fight against free radicals in different areas and in different ways. In the blood stream, water-soluble antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and grape seed extract come in contact with and neutralize free radicals before they damage LDL-cholesterol. Other antioxidants saturate arterial walls and other tissues, and protect collagen and elastic fibers from free radical damage, reducing inflammation and plaque formation. The fat-soluble antioxidants, vitamin E, beta carotene, and co-enzyme Q10 ride along in the blood fat (triglycerides) and LDL cholesterol, protecting them and the endothelium from oxidation. Vitamin E sits on the surface of LDL cholesterol, protecting it from free radical damage. Beta carotene, grape seed extract and olive extract penetrate deeper inside the LDL cholesterol and arterial walls, adding more protection from oxidation. Quercetin and alpha lipoic acid work through nitrous oxide pathways to reduce high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.

A report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2005 looked at 97 double-blind controlled studies comparing the efficacy of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to fish oil. They found that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs reduced the risk of death from heart disease by only 13%, and

interesting enough it was NOT due to the effect of lowering cholesterol. The benefits, although small, were derived from the fact that statin drugs have a slight antioxidant effect.

Even more interesting, the salmon oil was shown to reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 23%, nearly double the benefit of statin drugs. Salmon oil is an omega-3 fatty acid that gets incorporated into cholesterol and triglycerides and prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Since LDL cholesterol is protected from excessive oxidation there is less plaque buildup and less risk of heart disease.

Inflammation is a well-known component in the formation of atherosclerosis. To keep it simple, think of inflammation and oxidation as the same process. The immune system’s response to inflammation is to

release peroxides that act like acid to break down damaged tissues, so that cells from the immune system, macrophages, can consume the molecules and clean up the site. But peroxides escalate the oxidation/inflammation process, thus damaging more tissue. The arterial walls become more inflamed, escalating the formation of plaque and scarring. The downward cycle continues until atherosclerosis is so advanced that the occurrence of a heart attack or stroke becomes imminent.

The liver’s response to inflammation is to release C reactive protein (CRP) into the blood. Other inflammatory causes can cause elevated CRP levels, including cigarette smoking, obesity, insulin insensitivity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, infections, dementia, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, and aging. Accordingly, elevated CRP levels are a direct indication of inflammation in the body and that atherosclerosis, including heart disease, is actively developing.

Homocysteine and high sensitivity CRP levels can and should be tested. Dr. Jialal, of the Universtity of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, is well known for his research correlating oxidized LDL cholesterol as the true cause of atherosclerosis, has also identified high sensitivity C reactive protein as a predictive risk factor for inflammation of arterial walls and plaque formation. Your doctor may not test for these routinely, but you should insist on getting these tests done. Both of these predictive values can be kept at “safe” levels. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids can lower the levels of homocysteine and CRP. The B vitamins, along with betaine, or tri-methyl-glycine (TMG), change homocysteine into safer amino acids and reduce inflammation of the LDL cholesterol and the arterial lining.

When you receive the results of your homocysteine test, do not accept the answer, “Your test was normal.” Ask for the actual number. The doctor and nurse usually know what is normal by what the lab slip states as the “normal range.” Most lab results report a normal homocysteine level as being below 10.4, when in fact, since the early 1990’s, researchers have known that a homocysteine count above 6.5 signals a rapid linear rise in the risk for heart disease.

Furthermore, with every 3 point elevation of homocysteine above 6.5, e.g., when homocysteine levels are 9.5, the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) rises by an additional 35%! Yet you may be told that 9.5 is “normal and not to worry.” With a homocysteine level of 12.5, the increase in the

risk for heart disease exceeds 70%. The greater the homocysteine level, the greater the oxidation

of both LDL cholesterol and the arterial lining. The greater the inflammation, the higher the CRP. Is it any wonder that homocysteine and CRP levels are more predictive for risk of heart disease than cholesterol levels and ratios?

I need to emphasize that anyone whether they have a medical problem or not, should discuss this information with their physician before acting upon anything written here. The information provided is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease. It is for informational purposes only; and no one should make decisions about their medications without consulting with their physician. No one should come off a cholesterol-lowering statin drug in lieu of nutritional supplements without a thorough discussion with their physician who is keenly aware of all the pros and cons of both treatment modalities.

In summary, I recommend a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements, along with a healthy diet and exercise, to help obtain and maintain optimal heart and arterial health. I believe all would agree that lifestyle changes are the most important factor for optimal health, …and many believe that quality nutritional supplements are key in protecting against the process that leads to, and accelerates the development of almost all chronic degenerative diseases, that of oxidation. To combat oxidation we need a full range of quality antioxidants.

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Excessive Night Sweats – When to Relax and When to Worry

Although every person sweats during the day and night, some people find themselves sweating more than they think is normal during the night. The medical term for this is a little obvious: excessive night sweats. For most people the causes are either genetic or environmental, but for some the cause of their excessive night sweats may be serious.

You’re Not Alone

A study conducted in 2002 showed that up to 41% of people indicated to their primary care physician that they experienced excessive night sweats. That does not mean that 41% of these people had a serious medical condition. For most people, perspiring excessively at night can be traced back to environmental factors; the room is too hot, too many blankets, too heavy of sleepwear, even eating foods that are too spicy or drinking too much before bed. Doctors consider sleep hyperhidrosis to be truly severe night perspiration when hot flashes occur during the night that can soak both sleepwear and bed sheets, but are not connected to an excessively warm sleeping environment.

Menopause is often a cause of severe night sweating in women who are in menopause or are approaching the menopausal years and are in perimenopause. Idiopathic hyperhidrosis is a chronic condition where the body simply produces too much sweat. There is no cause that can be identified by medicine for this. Medication, including antidepressants, tamoxifen, hydralazine, nitroglycerine, Viagra, high doses of niacin and many others can also be one possible cause of severe sweating while sleeping.

When to Worry

Unfortunately, excessive sweating at night can also be the result of serious medical conditions. Infections, including tuberculosis, osteomyelitis (infection causes inflammation inside bones), endocarditis (hear valve inflammation), HIV, abscess and other forms of infection are all serious conditions that can cause severe perspiring at night. Excessive sweating at night may also be an early sign of some forms of cancer, specifically lymphoma. Typically weight loss that is unexplained and fever go hand in hand with sleep hyperhidrosis when discussing cancer. Hypoglycemia, hormone disorders and even neurological conditions such as stroke can also be the cause for severe sweating at night.

Consult Your Doctor

Excessive night sweats happen for many reasons, and the only way for a doctor to truly discover the cause of excessive night sweats is by a full medical examination. If there are symptoms other than severe sweating at night, it is wise to go to a doctor to discuss it with them.

Twin Flames: The New Relationship Paradigm

Everyone has a Twin Flame. Everyone has an image of their perfect mate in their psyche and can describe them in detail. It is our anima and animus. We project these qualities onto our mates when we fall in love and marry. Most of us work with our Twin Flame unconsciously, but during this generation, some of us are meeting our twin soul incarnate. Hundreds are coming forward to help lift the vibration of the planet, for they manifest a powerful unconditional love.

A person will have a close natural rapport with a soul mate, but meeting your Twin Flame is a different experience. The Twins are here to help release karma at an accelerated rate. Psychologists who counsel others (unless they have gone through this experience themselves) commonly doubt the validity of a Twin Flame relationship. It is a powerful, magnetic meeting of two polarized parts of the same soul. In other words you have the same spiritual DNA as your Twin Flame and you recognize yourself in the “other.”

The special event of finding your Twin Flame and harmonizing into a happy relationship is a big challenge. It is a meeting with destiny and a chance for rapid spiritual growth. Loving your Twin Flame is an opportunity to experience how intimate relationships will be changing in the Age of Aquarius. In spite of much confusion, overwhelming emotions and frequent break-ups, Twin Flames open their heart chakra widely to each other. Unconditional love radiates through each conflict until harmony can eventually be mastered. These conflicts act as a stimulus to bring each twin’s “shadow” issues to the surface so the Twins can heal and integrate their personalities in a healthier way. If one has a complex or insecurity, chances are the other twin will have the same problem at some level, sometimes in reverse. All hurts must come up to be transformed and healed so nothing blocks their mutual love.

In the future, important relationships will be based mostly on love — rather than on needs for survival or domination. This movement towards the preference for love as the basis in marriage has been evolving for hundreds of years in the West. Love is forming the new prototype for intimacy and supports your partner’s spiritual growth, allowing their talents to fully blossom. We can then fully explore the true creative potential of being human — in harmony with the greater divine plan.

TheTwin Flames have a characteristic intensity of passion, desire and emotion, with a mental meeting of the minds that is unmatched in any other relationship. In the first encounter between twins, it is often their voice quality that is haunting in some way — signaling that this person is someone very special. You will see fleeting glimpses of yourself (in them) as you get to know each other better and the first few sexual encounters are usually very powerful. Kissing can be like a drug.

There are several stages in a Twin Flame relationship that are generally accepted. Their relationship tends to be magnetic, intoxicating and enlightening; but it is also a confusing connection with someone who has the Chironic power to hurt and heal you at the same time. The separations occur because you become self-aware of some aspect of your shadow-side and this is reflected back to you from your Twin. They are a mirror to your own soul. This is the toughest part of the love affair to understand. It is mandatory to do your own shadow work, a key component of Jungian psychology, or you will project your dark side onto your mate unknowingly. Unconditional love, complete acceptance and non-judgment are essential for these couples to be successful. But this is how the new relationship template is being built – through these very experiences. If you persevere, you can find true bliss with another human being. To observers on the outside, it seems like a strange obsessive dance; but to the Twins themselves, the joy and love they feel for each other is endlessly self-generating. It truly can feel like a miracle.

The separation process can continue for years as they struggle to harmonize, since it is common for one twin to run away from the relationship repeatedly. The intense emotions often threaten to engulf one or both partners. Break-ups can be paralyzing and intense feelings are often frightening without an understanding of the special dynamic involved. Often too one twin may still be entrenched in karmic relationships with others, complicating matters even more. All relationships must be handled with respect and resolved in the best way for all parties concerned — so that further karmic entanglements are not created.

The lives of Twin Flames are synchronous and parallel each other’s quite closely. The nearest phenomenon we know to this experience is the birth of identical twins. The psychic connection is just as intense and indeed, identical twins may also be Twin Flames, only born into the same family and sex. There will be opposites with Twin Flames as well, but they come together in agreement in the middle with very similar values. Their close psychic connection allows them to feel each other’s emotions if they pay attention. Their strengths are doubled, and so are their weaknesses — thus the need for personal work. These relationships can often create an iconic influence on their immediate social community if they can sustain it, especially with careers in politics or the arts.

All people have a Twin Flame and if you wish to find or work with yours, there are several methods that will help you connect. You can never lose your Twin Flame as they are an essential part of who you are. Relationships are becoming an opportunity to open one’s self-awareness in a safe environment – and they are less about “what can you do for me?” An understanding of the unconditional love that Twin Flames bring into the world will help improve all of your relationships. Up until now, unconditional love was experienced mostly through a good mother, child or a pet. The Twin Flames are bringing this love into the volatile romantic enounter, changing male and female relationships for the better.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a difficult relationship with many break-ups and reunions — they could be Twin Flames. I have written an in-depth eBook to help others navigate through these complicated connections — so much of the suffering can be avoided. I have been in a successful Twin Flame relationship for 12 yrs., and write from my own personal experience. Please contact me for further information, and visit my website for my eBook or schedule a private phone consultation. A half hour can do you a world of good!

Want to Shrink Uterine Fibroid Tumors Naturally? Simple Home Uterine Fibroid Treatment Tips

Almost 30% of women suffer from fibroids at some point of time in their lives. This 30% does not include cases which remain undiagnosed. This aspect of fibroid tumors makes the treatment for uterine fibroids all the more difficult. In case fibroids are detected in the early stages when the tumor is small in size, natural uterine fibroid treatment is very effective.

Research has indicated that fibroids are particularly common among African American women. Fibroid tumor size ranges from the size of a peanut to grapefruit. In some cases these tumors cause no symptoms. In others there could be a variety of symptoms including heavy periods, abdominal pain, pressure on the rectum and bloating.

Many natural treatment methods are available these days to shrink uterine fibroid tumors. In fact more and more women are opting for natural treatment for uterine fibroids. Natural treatment primarily involves

a) Understanding our body and how it responds to what we eat

b) Understanding the effects of environmental factors on our health and

c) Paying attention to our diet.

If you wish to shrink uterine fibroid tumors naturally you must pay particular attention to:

Environmental factors

There are a number of harmful estrogen mimicking compounds derived from environmental toxins and pesticide residues. These compounds often get locked in our liver and fuel the growth of fibroids. A number of chemicals contained in washing detergents and cosmetics also mimic estrogen. Plastic containers which we make use of in our daily life to store food and water also release these estrogen mimicking chemicals. To stay away from fibroids it makes sense to switch over to chemical free detergents and cosmetics and start using glass containers for food and water storage.

Food

Fresh fruits are loaded with vitamins and bio- flavanoids. Kiwi fruit and blueberries are especially useful for fibroid cure. In general ensure that you eat 4-5 servings of fresh seasonal fruits each day. Make sure that you wash them thoroughly and eat it with the skin in raw form wherever possible. Similarly include fresh raw vegetables in your diet. In case you find it difficult to consume raw vegetables, steam it lightly. Do not overcook as it may result in loss of essential nutrients.

Onion and garlic are particularly useful in uterine fibroid treatment. Eating unhealthy processed foods adds to toxins being accumulated in our body. This can also contribute to fibroids. Hence it is best if you eat fresh foods and stay away from prepackaged variety.

Liver Detox

In case your liver is not functioning properly excess estrogen will remain trapped in the body. This in turn will boost the growth of fibroids. Therefore most natural uterine fibroid treatment methods lay emphasis on liver detoxification. Taking liver-supporting herbs like lemon juice, dandelion root, milk thistle and turmeric as a part of your daily diet can also be very useful.

Epstein Barr Virus – How Long Does It Last?

A common question many doctors hear is “How long does Epstein Barr virus last?”.

Typically symptoms of Epstein Barr virus last from 1 – 4 weeks. Studies amongst university populations have estimated that 20% of EBV patients return to work within one week, 50% within 2 weeks of becoming ill.

In some cases, Epstein Barr virus can last for months or years. It is estimated that about half of those who initially experience symptoms have ongoing symptoms two months after infection. At three months, about one in three sufferers reports symptoms, and at six months the figure is about one in ten. Twenty-four months after infection a small percentage of people still report symptoms, predominantly ongoing fatigue.

In about 6% of people, Epstein Barr virus lasts for months or years after they initially contact the virus. EBV is a latent virus that can relapse when the body is under stress or run down.

Recurrent EBV relapses can be a sign of immunological abnormalities. Usually the longer symptoms are experienced for, the more the infection weakens the person’s immune system and the longer they will need to recover.

The bottom line is “how long Epstein Barr virus lasts” depends on how healthy your immune system is. If you have had EBV and still get recurrent sore throats, swollen glands or fatigue, it is nature’s way of telling you that something is wrong with your immune system.

Your immune system may be suppressed from poor eating habits, nutritional deficiency, stress, unresolved emotional problems, smoking or a chronic underlying disease like mycoplasma or Chlamydia pneumonia infection. Your genes can also make you more susceptible to disease.

How long your Epstein Barr virus lasts is closely linked to nutrition. A deficiency of even a single nutrient can impair your immune defences. Numerous studies have linked weakened immune function and subsequent diseases to deficiencies of vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium. The other nutrients crucial for immune function are iron, vitamin D and the B complex vitamins – they help your body make T- cells, B- cells, antibodies and other immune proteins. Today’s modern Western diet of sugar-rich, processed and fatty foods does nothing to support the immune system to fight off infections like EBV.

Fortunately, through general lifestyle practices like a healthy diet, stress reduction, regular exercise and taking some immune boosting supplements, you can strengthen your immunity to help shorten how long Epstein Barr virus lasts in your body.

Home Remedies For That Annoying Cough

Most coughs are very uncomplicated. A simple cough may be caused by a tickle in the throat, or by coming in contact with someone that has a cold. There are, of course, more serious coughs such as those due to smoking or allergies. Regardless of the cause, there are things that you can do to help alleviate a cough. Listed below are some home remedies that you may find useful:

  • If you have a cough due to a common cold, cough drops are a good remedy for thinning phlegm as well as soothing the scratchy membranes in the throat. The best ones are those that contain eucalyptus, which reduce nasal swelling and decongest your nose.
  • For the relief of a dry cough, try soaking seven almond kernels in water overnight. The following morning remove the skin from them and grind them well to form a paste. Mix the paste with twenty grams of butter and sugar. Administer orally, once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Drink plenty of water and clear fluids. This will help keep the body hydrated, which will in turn help alleviate chest congestion that can cause an annoying cough.
  • One of the best home remedies for treating a cough is eating grapes. Grapes act as an expectorant that will help relieve a simple cough or cold in just few days.
  • Raisins are also a fantastic cough remedy. Prepare a sauce by grinding 100 grams of raisins with water. Add approximately 100 grams of sugar and heat the mixture. When the mixture reaches a consistency of sauce, it should then be preserved. Twenty grams should be taken before going to bed on a daily basis.
  • Drinking a cup of grape juice mixed with a teaspoon of honey can help calm a cough.
  • Mix one teaspoon of onion juice with one teaspoon of honey. Set aside for four to five hours before using. This is an excellent home made cough syrup. Take twice daily or until the cough subsides.
  • For a dry cough, roast and then powder the root of a turmeric plant. The powder should then be taken in doses of three grams twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Drink hot tea with lemon and raspberry jam to sooth a cough caused by a dry, itchy throat. Drinking red raspberry, honey suckle, or licorice tea with honey is also effective.
  • When suffering from a hard dry cough where it is difficult to cough up anything, aniseed is the ideal home remedy because it breaks up mucus. Prepare a tea using aniseed and drink it several times daily or until you have a productive cough.
  • Eat an all fruit diet for two to three days. All drinks should include pure fruit juice, unsweetened lemon water, or cold or warm water.
  • You can help to relieve a cough by using vodka or brandy as a chest rub before going to bed.
  • Prepare a mixture of 8 to 10 tablespoons of coconut milk with 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds and 1 tablespoon of pure honey. This can be taken each night before going to bed.

Do not suffer needlessly with that annoying cough. There are things that you can do from the comfort of your own home to help alleviate it . They are inexpensive and easy to make and use. If one does not work for you, try a different one. You are bound to find a home remedy that works for you.

Can Acupuncture Help Bronchitis?

Acupuncture is a healing system that has been practised for thousands of years in the East and these days it continues to increase in popularity in the Western World. If you know nothing about acupuncture it may seem odd that sticking needles in a person could alleviate various health conditions, including bronchitis.

My First Experience Of Acupuncture

When I first experienced acupuncture I didn’t know much about the underlying theory as to why it should work, all I knew is that some of my friends had enjoyed its benefits.

My first experience of it was for horrible back pain that didn’t allow me to sleep and one session of acupuncture did the job. After this I knew it worked but was curious to find out how.

Why Acupuncture Works – The Two Schools Of Thought

There are actually two predominant schools of thought as to why acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture, which is based on the ancient healing system that has its roots in the east, believes that the needles are being inserted into points which relate to various parts of the body that lie upon meridians.

This system believes that qi (energy) travels along these 12 meridians (channels) and if it is out of balance, disease can occur. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners will diagnose a patient with a range of diagnostic tools and often use acupuncture to begin treatment, and support the treatment program with herbs.

The other school of thought is medical acupuncture. Those who practise according to this system believe that the needles stimulate the patient’s central nervous system. The nervous system will then produce hormones and chemicals.

Some Believe It Can Help Bronchitis

Regardless of whether you believe in either of these systems, or whether you would prefer to "see before you would believe" or feel, in this instance, there are those who feel that acupuncture can help alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis. In fact not only that but it could help prevent future attacks and improve overall lung function.

What Is Bronchitis?

The main airways of the lungs are called bronchi. An infection that causes them to be inflamed and irritated is what we call bronchitis, with the main symptom being a hacking cough. In some cases the cough is accompanies by a mucus of a kind of yellowish grey colour.

The TCM Perspective About Bronchitis

Those practising TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) believe that bronchitis is either caused by internal or external pathogenic factors.

External pathogenic factors are seasonal pathogens and internal are internal organ disorders. Generally it is the case that acute bronchitis is caused by external factors and chronic bronchitis is caused by internal factors.

Treating Bronchitis With Acupuncture

The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK states on its website that most cases of bronchitis can be managed at home and that there is no cure for chronic bronchitis.

Acupuncture will help to strengthen the immune system and put the patient’s entire health system back into balance. Lung function will be strengthened. After the agreed amount of acupuncture treatments, these main elements become more balanced and stronger. This means that there is a higher chance of preventing future attacks.

Acupuncture treatments will also reduce the inflammation of secretions, lessens congestion and decreases reactivity to physical or chemical factors which are irritants.

The course of treatments will be decided after diagnosis by a qualified practitioner and can vary per person, due to symptoms, physiology and other factors. Generally acute bronchitis requires a few sessions whilst chronic bronchitis may require a course of between ten to fifteen sessions.

The Problem of Rationality in the History of African Philosophy

Introduction

The discourse on problem of rationality in African Philosophy has been associated historically with two related happenings: Western discourse in Africa and the African response to it . The Western discourse had come in form of such notorious proclamations and claims as “reason is Greek”, “emotion is African”, which meant to them that Africans are not rational . Yet to some, it further meant that African beliefs are neither rational nor irrational because the categories of rationality just do not apply to them . For another set like the postmodernists, the concept of rationality does not apply to Africa, since the concept is a contested one that presupposes a language game with its complete rules that do not apply across languages and cultures; African was supposedly one of such languages and cultures. This according to Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka can be described as hyperbolic weapons that were figured in the heat of contestation.

The African response has come in different forms and dimensions, with the African nationalists, postcolonial African leaders, pan-Africanists, scholars, writers and traditionalist in the fore front. The response has sought to reafricanize the ‘natives’, to strip them of the alienations of Western modernity that had as it were, made them a people with no identity and hope, and to force them to return to the ‘authentic’ and pristine values of a pre-colonial past. They have sought to disprove what Paul Tiyambe calls the Western excessive rationality that has portrayed their image as that of rational excellence, and to free Africans from its materialism, moral decadence and lifelessness; alienation from nature and propensity for destructiveness. This has formed the basis for the rationality debate.

The rationality problem is therefore the problem of how to determine the place and status of Africa and African knowledge in the great debate on the concept of reason. It is the question of critically analyzing the conceptual issues, implied in the distinction between the civilized and the uncivilized, the logical and the pre-logical or mystical. It suffices to say that Africa today has been greatly determined by this distinction.

However, the writer believes that the Africans’ responses and demonstrations of rationality has not really debunked or disproved completely such classification of Africans as prelogical, instead, further justified the classification and claims. The major focus of this paper would be to seek various ways, if any that Africa can in this twenty first century demonstrate rationality.

The Emergence of a Dominant Rationality

The rationality debate or problem is understood as the theoretical and practical dimensions depicting the individual’s role and impact in the shaping of one’s identity and destiny, and control of history and other cultural values. It is the estimation of the basis and merits of cultural norms and the clarification of the supremacy of contending images of man. The debate evolved as claims and counter-claims, justifications and alienations, passed between the two camps: western and non-western . To a large extent, the debate about African philosophy can be summarized as a significant contribution to the discussion and definition of reason or what Hegel called the Reason. Indeed, it is commonly referred to as the “rationality debate”.

Defining Rationality

The question of how to define the criteria of rationality has become a central theme in Anglophone philosophy. It has occupied debates among social anthropologists, sociologists, and philosophers of science. On one side are the foundationalists who argue that formal rational procedures are the defining feature of science, which supersedes common sense and is universal. On one side of the divide are the pluralists, who argue in favour of the diversity of human experience and systems of representation. Most African cultural relativists fall under the later category, predicated on their conception of culture as a people’s experience and ways of life. Given that different people would have divers and sometimes unrelated experiences, it is believed that their attitudes towards life and issues of life would also differ, and this according to them, cannot be overlooked in adjudging a people’s rationality.

The origin of the English word “rational” is the Latin word “ratio” which can be translated as “reason” in English. A rational action or belief going by this is one, which is reasonable, the one concerning only good reasons for acceptance . This being the case, we can say then that a rational action is one that has a reason, after all being reasonable means to have a reason, in most cases good reasons. Since an action is rational when it is reasonable, it follows that if a reasonable action is that which make sense, and then a rational action will also be that which makes sense. In other words, it is the power resident in human beings enabling them to make discrimination concerning reality which aids greatly any process decision making and rational judgment. We could have or lack reasons for upholding any particular belief; we act rationally when we maintain consistent beliefs, and irrationally when we don’t. To a large extent this determines our actions.

It can also be held that the availability of evidence supporting our beliefs also forms a basis to adjudge rationality. These beliefs in themselves have no element of rationality and this implies that their rationality is determined externally. However, this can constitute some problems, as much as it proves its relativity. One of such problems is evident in Gordon Reddiford’s conception of rationality as consistency of beliefs with actions. According to him,

…The way in which we come to hold our beliefs, in our attitudes to the evidence for example, and further to the procedures we adopt in maintaining or rejecting them. Thus to ascribe rationality is to comment on our success or failure in continuing to subject them to scrutiny in attempting to maintaining consistency particularly when we express our beliefs in action .

This position poses a serious moral problem; that of justifying as rational, an immoral belief which is expressed consistently in actions. Would Reddiford adjudge as rational Hitler’s killing of the Jews predicated on the belief that they are Chicken? Or does a mere consistency between a reason and an action make that action and belief rational or good? The problems associated with the definition of ‘good’ would cause a rather quick abandonment of such definitions of rationality; they are rather sophistry than normative.

Another Western scholar Steven Lukes, identifies criteria which a set of beliefs has to satisfy for them to be adjudged rational. Among these are that; (i) such systems are logical, that is consistent and admit no contradiction (ii) they are not wholly or partially false, (iii) not nonsensical (iv) not situationally specific or ad hoc, enduring just for a very short time that is must be universalisable . Among all the criteria listed above, the criterion of logicality stands out. For if a belief is illogical one can rightly infer that it is nonsensical, partially or wholly false, and inconsistent. The criteria of logicality was first formulated by Aristotle, as Sogolo opines,

Aristotle was the first philosopher to systematize all forms of positive thinking about thought the result of which was the invention of formal logic .

Since the formulation of formal logic by Aristotle, it has remained indispensable for correct thinking and thus has been described as the systematic formulation of instinctive logic of common sense . The fundamental laws in formal logic as formulated by Aristotle are (i) the law of identity which simply states that a thing is equal or identical with itself (A equal A) (ii) the law of contradiction. Strictly speaking, it is a negative formulation of the first law. The law of contradiction states, that a thing cannot be unequal to or different from itself; (A is not none-A) (iii) the law of excluded middle. This particular law of formal logic combines the first and the second. It states that if a thing is equal to itself, it cannot be unequal to or different from itself (if A equal A, it cannot be equal non-A)

The formulation of the Aristotelian logic was meant to serve as a standard, a yardstick for adjudging the intelligibility or otherwise of a thought system, and therefore normative. Scholars of different ages, like Evans Pritchard, Martin Hollis, Steve Lukes, etc, felt the inclination to insist that for any form of thought or action to be adjudged intelligible or rational, it has to conform to the rules of formal logic. That therefore meant to them that any thought system that seems contrary to this formulation is irrational. This was the mission that Bruhl set out to execute in his bifurcation of societies.

The Bruhlian Socio-cognitive Bifurcationism

The image of the ‘scientific society’ set out to be projected by the intellectual school pioneered by Tylor and other sociologists such as Levy Bruhl, as well as Evan Pritchard, Martin Hollis and Steven Lukes, is that of rational excellence; the very paradigm of institutionalized rationality. It is on this Eurocentric posture that Levy Bruhl bifurcated of the human society into two categories: those of a ‘primitive mentality’ and those with a ‘civilized mentality’. Africa by this classification falls under the former category. Levy Bruhl describes a ‘pre-logical thought’ as one that is unscientific, uncritical and contains evident contradictions. People with such thought differ not in degree but in quality from those with logical mind.

The pre-logical mentality connotes that the Africans are not a race different from the animals. This speculation about the Africans as inferior and savages was intertextually entrenched within the universal discourse of the French, British and German enlightenment thinkers. The African thought system has been adjudged irrational because according to Bruhl, it is insensitive to the rules of formal logic as formulated by Aristotle. Hollis states that these rules render it possible to make trans-cultural and comparative judgments as to the degree of rationality and irrationality in a belief and action system . Hence Levy-Bruhl found contradictions in assertions such as when the Nuer say “twins are birds”. From Levy-Bruhl’s point of view it is a clear violation of the rules of logic, which do not permit a thing to be itself and yet another thing. The Nuer is therefore involved in contradiction by saying that a twin is a twin (A is A) and at the same time that a twin is a bird (A is non- A) .

On the surface, it would seem that Levy Bruhl made an honest and innocent observation about the thought system of the Nuer people, though such an interpretation would be inevitable, following the Aristotelian logic. But for the Nuer people the saying “twins are birds”, means that birds unlike other creatures that crawl on the earth surface, are seen as divine creatures from above because they fly. Therefore twins according to them are likened as birds, special gifts from God, precious to man.

Such saying, it would be observed are common among Africans. For instance, the Igbos in Nigeria would say “Uwaa bu popo”, meaning that this life is Pawpaw, especially ripped pawpaw. This life likened to a ripped pawpaw that would break in to pices when it falls. This is a mere use of metaphor, which interestingly abounds in the Western literary expressions and thought system. For instance, the expression, ‘that man is a lion’, is no violation of any rule of formal logic, but simply likens the man to a lion-strong, fearless and courageous. Hence, Levy Bruhl’s misinterpretation of the Nuer’s saying was never an oversight, rather an orchestrated attempt to devalue the Africaness of the Africans with the view to fostering a Western control and determination of Africa’s destiny and identity. Therefore the denial of Africans of rationality by the West- Levy Bruhl, Hegel and the rest, rests on a prejudice against the Africans.

This Western attitude according to Masolo “…had started as a mere cultural bias, supported loosely by a racist or orthodox biblical ideology, which gradually grew into a formidable two-pronged historical realities, slavery and slave trade on the one hand and academic expressions on the other . What Masolo calls the ‘academic expressions’ were actually seen as the justification for colonizing Africa with the delusion that Europe was spreading civilization. A choice sampling of the underpinnings of this colonial ‘academic expressions’ would show clearly their mentality and mindset.

For instance, Hume was of the conviction that the Africans, due to their blackness are precluded from the realm of reason and civilization. He speaks:

I am apt to suspect that the Negroes, and in general the other species of men to be naturally inferior to whites. There never was a civilized nation of any complexion than white.

Kant corroborated this when he thought that the fact that the Africans were black from head to foot was a clear proof that whatever they say was stupid . This implies that there are fundamental differences between the two races of man, differences that were more in mental capacities than colour. In Hegel’s opinion

The African, in his undifferentiated and concentrated unity, has not yet succeeded in making this distinction between himself as an individual and his essential universality, so that he knows nothing of an absolute being which is other and higher than his own self.

Africans from this point of view are neither part of the world history, nor part of humanity. People without culture and history, living in a state of innocence, unconscious of themselves, as in the natural and primitive state of Adam and Eve in the biblical paradise and will. This state could be likened to the state of nature described by the contractarians- Hobbes and Lock. In like manner, Marx and Engel articulated this same Eurocentric view as part of their philosophico-histotical position. For them the colonial Europeanization of the globe was a prerequisite for the possibility of the true human freedom, which to them, is communism.

These discourses on Africa underestimated and disparaged African culture and identity. It denied that ‘reason’ played any significant role in the development of society and culture in Africa, as it did in Europe. To the colonizers then, Africans had no abiding values and lacked generally, the intellectual and moral resources of the Europeans, whose mission in Africa was a ‘civilizing mission’. This civilizing mission, which was in form of colonization and Christianization of the Africans, can best be described as rape of Africa, which created a crisis of self-identity, injured her human dignity, sapped her self-confidence, and led her into perpetual soul-searching. The civilizing mission of Europeans was an active program by the Europeans to change the African’s supposed inferior ways of life to conform to European models in same important areas of human experience such as education, religion, economics, politics and social.

The very fact that the Africans were conquered was taken as a proof of the unhistoricity and lack of humanness of the colonized. The colonial racism succeeded in alienating many Africans from their own culture. There became a preference for European culture, values and mores. Some Africans began to see themselves inferior to the Whites, and our culture through Christian indoctrination, barbaric, inhuman and devilish. Through education and religion (Christianity), the European languages became official languages of most African countries, to the extent that our children feel ashamed to speak African native languages, and ashamed when unable to speak the so-called language of enlightenment. This implanted colonial and colonizer’s mentality, has made it difficult for this ugly situation to be reversed in any way. This is the mentality that makes a formerly colonized person, over-value foreign things coming from his erstwhile colonial master. ‘Things’ here is to be interpreted widely to include not only material objects, but also modes of thought and behaviour.

This cultural dislocation landed Africa in the problem of self-definition and identity, forced her to ask “who are my as a person?” “What was I as a person?” “How do I fashion out an enduring and a viable future?” Africans have found it difficult to find appropriate responses to these questions because Africa today is caught in a web, in between a past s/he could not recall and a present and future s/he could not envisage.

Despite all these, the dominance of the colonial mentality was not absolute; and this explains the reason why there is the problem of self-search and definition. Put differently, the obvious fact of this consciousness in Africa shows that indigenous modes of thought and action have not been totally eclipsed by colonialism. It shows that the colonialists did not take pain to penetrate and ‘educate’ the rural interior of African countries. As a result this people still retained a large part of their indigenous world outlook. These are the sages, according to Oruka, that have not been unduly influenced by Westernism.

Demonstrating African Rationality

There have been many dimensions to the question of the rationality of Africans and their culture. These dimensions focus on different aspects of the problem of rationality in Africa such as, the question of whether Africans are as human as other people of the world. The African’s philosophical responses and the concept of cultural relativism were attempts by prominent African scholars and nationalists to give answers to some of the questions raised in the problem of rationality, and also to restore self confidences, prestige and honour to Africa, bearing in mind that Africans through slavery and colonialism have suffered cultural discontinuity and dislocations and consequently made a people with no confidence in themselves.

The early Pan-Africansists like Edward Blyden, Dubois, Joseph Ki-zerbo, Africans Horton and postcolonial African leaders like Senghor, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Azikiwe, Awolowo etc, saw the solution to the crisis of culture and rationality in Africa in the discovery of authentic African ideas and thought systems uninfluenced by alien accretion. This gave birth to concepts like Ujaama, Negritude, African Socialism, etc. In the same vein, contemporary African philosophers like Kwasi Wiredu, Kwame Gyekye, Robin Horton, K.C. Anyanwu, Onyewuenyi and Segun Oladipo, to mention but a few, have upheld the concept of cultural relativism and demonstrated convincingly in their scholarly writings that indeed prior to Western contact with Africa, Africa had history and culture which was scientific and in fact with traces of the origin of modern medical science. A culture, which was rational, logical and humanistic, with values and respects, for humanity.

They further have held that philosophy did not spring up from vacuum and that philosophers from all ages were tremendously influenced by their society and culture, since most of what they postulated was already fore-grounded in their culture. And philosophy being a corollary of a culture presupposes that no philosophical theme or problem can completely be understood and handled without familiarity with the culture and language from which it originated. If there is any modicum of truth in the above; it would imply that philosophy arises from the culture of a people and therefore, no culture is bereft of philosophy.

Oruka tried to demonstrate this in his four-trends/orientations in African philosophy. He identifies the various sources and ways in which African philosophy was done: ethno philosophy, philosophy sagacity, the nationalist-ideological philosophy and the professional philosophy. Senghor on his part, postulated African epistemology; unique African mode of knowing; and Mbiti, had the inclination to show that the African’s have a different concept of time. These various responses were articulated to affirm and construct African rationality. That this various efforts represent truly the African spirit has been contested and controverted by many. While we commend these efforts, our worry comes in three folds; one these concepts especially as postulated by Senghor and Mbiti, are not particularisable, therefore nothing about them is peculiarly African. Two, Africa has not yet experienced real pragmatic applications of these ideas. Three, Africa could be said to be in a state currently worst than it was prior to colonial rule.

The Postcolonial African: a Demonstration of Rationality.

A change in the political Lordship, structures and processes expectedly gave Africa a breath of freedom and liberty, the Africa political leaders, who fought slavery and colonialism, took over governance in the continent. Most importantly, is the question of how Africans have demonstrated rationality after colonialism.

The postcolonial Africa is still besieged by problems arising from the accident, and design of history. The continent boasts of the highest numbers of failed states Burundi, Cote D’lvoire, Congo, DR, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola. Oyeshile observes that we cannot controvert the fact that ethnic conflicts and wars have resulted in gross underdevelopment in the African continent. There have been wanton destruction of lives and property, human, material and natural resources, the problem of corruption, ethnicity, leadership, poverty, diseases, hunger, death, desertification, and diseases. These have all been wholly or partially attributed to the phenomenon of slavery, colonialism and military incursion into the African body polity. Those whop hold this position are not totally wrong. Hence Oguejiofor has recognized that

…The effect of slavery on African society was thus not limited to visible factors; even of greater consequence are the invisible political, psychological and social effect. The millions of people carted away meant a drastic reduction of the productive capacity, especially when those sought after were those at the bloom of their lives, wars aimed at gathering slaves, and other raids meant serious rupture of economic and social life.

Most Africans have reacted to Africa’s predicament, by simply tracing it to the door steps of external factor like-slavery and colonialism, and by extension militarism. While these can be regarded as major factors, it would be misleading to assume that the transatlantic slave trade described as the “most iniquitous transaction in human history” was solely perpetrated in the African continents by non-Africans. It has been observed that the African chiefs and rulers who through chains of middlemen penetrated the interiors of Africa on behalf of the European slave merchants to capture slaves and negotiate with the buyers, aided part of what we have attributed and considered the impacts of slavery.

It is also important to note that this trade lasted for over four hundred years, and one can not but wonder how this business was sustained for that long. Evidence abounds to show that the trade was indeed big business in its entire ramification for those who engaged in it -Africans and non-Africans alike. Oguejiofor corroborates this fact when he opines that the “Medieval kingdoms of West Africa derived great wealth through the export of slaves” One could imagine that the traders had excellent strategic business management skills and plans on sustainability.

What more can one say, these African traditional rulers might have had some functional management structures, and some would have functioned as MDs and CEOs. There were, one would suppose excellent succession plans to enhance business growth from generations to generations. One may want to raise the question, “how was Africa able to sustain the supply of goods consistently to the West?” A possible explanation that so many would not want to accept is that women were acquired as wives by the traditional rulers with the sole aim of the procreation or better still ‘production’ of slaves for the market? Though no evidence has proven this argument valid, it is a possible origin of polygamy in Africa.

The point that we can’t fail to make clear here is that whatever mentality that was predominant, and whatever justification or good reason(s) given for the Africans participation and partnership in this inhuman and hideous treatment of fellow Africans, some of who as Don Affonso, king of Congo observes were “sons of the land and sons of our noblemen, vassals and our relatives….” justifies, even if partly the view of Rudyard Kipling about Africans as “half devil and half child”. It would be rational to admit that we exhibited non-human mentality and rationality. There was no iota of sense of brotherhood and love exhibited by these African merchants. Where was that spirit of familism and communalism that we were told African’s were known? For whatever reason we failed, and I think we have justified our description by the Europeans as pre-logical.

With abolishment of slavery, African leaders naively embraced the legacies of the colonial administration. It was as Oguejiofor explains ‘a mere change of guards, with the indigenous politicians replacing the Europeans in the same positions, in the same system that they fought for so long to over throw’. Nothing fundamental changed, our brothers simply continued the colonial programs of the West. This era can simply be described a recolonization of Africans by Africans rather than independence. The implication of this is that we became our own enemies and downfall. Africans ploughed Africa further into uncertainty, unprductivity, and ‘undevelopment’. In fact it is seldom doubted that we were not ready for political independence. This has manifested evidently in the ways we have managed our own affairs.

With the ascendance of the military juntas into power in Africa who were “half educated, inexperienced and incompetent Corporals, Master Sergeants, Lieutenants and Captains … , Africa was further sent into the abyss of political instability and rudderless leadership” . Those dark ages of military rule were terrific, horrifying and pherocious, with such leaders as Idi Amin of Ugandu, Bokassa of Central Africa Republic, Mobutu of Zaire, Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethopia, late Samuel Doe of Liberia, Sani Abacha of Nigeria and Michael Mikombero of Burundi. Again this era showed clearly, even now, our inability to demonstrate rationality and prove the West wrong, that we can paddle our boat unaided by them. It is obvious that our leaders, immediate past and present, inherited some devilish traits from the traditional African rulers who aided slave trade, especially ‘selfishness’. For more than half a century in Nigeria, we are still to graduate from democratic apprenticeship.

Conclusion: Redefining Rationality on the Basis of Societal Values and Pragmatism

It had been the position of the European invaders, anthropologists, ethnographers, philosophers, sociologists, policy makers and the likes that as far as the East is from the West, so is Africa far from philosophy, rationality and civilization. And that while the West in the home of civilization and philosophy, Africa is the home of wild trees, wild animals, wild people and wild culture. Surprisingly, the perception of Africa has not change. For instance, when in the televisions, beautiful houses, structures and hi-tech humans are used to depict the Western world, forests, jungles, elephants, lions and all sorts of wild animals are used to represent Africa.

The state, destiny and the value that Africa has had till today in the globalized village, has to a great extent been determined by the outcome of the debate and problem of rationality and most importantly, the Africans responses to it. The outcomes as we had highlighted include: the enslavement and colonization of Africans, which were justified on the premise that Africans were sub-humans, and indeed needed to be humanized and civilized through servitude and colonialism.

A way to conclude would be an attempt at the redefinition of rationality in the context of Africa. First is to affirm that the failure of African leaders to demonstrate rationality is not totally African. That is to say that if the leaders have been irrational, it would be fallacious to say that Africans are irrational. Interestingly, when one re-examines the ‘academic expression’ of the West about Africa, they are dosed with irrationalities and prelogical analyses and thoughts. For instance, there is obviously no logical connection between complexion and reason or civilization as Hume and Kant postulated. Levy Bruhl’s classification of Africans as periodical which was predicated on his interpretation of the Nuer saying was also a clear exhibition of ignorance and a privation of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Binns observers that These perceptions were often based upon an inadequate understanding of African environments, societies, culture, and economic…

One distinguishing, essential feature of man is his rationality, and there lies his difference from other animals. There is no evidence to show that God created some people rational and others irrational. If the biblical records are anything to go by, God created man in his image and likeness. So to say that Africans are irrational would imply that God is irrational, or that God never created the Africans. Though these are possibilities, but they cannot be substantiated. Hence we consider the Senghorian theory of African mode of knowing, which seems to suggest that Africans do not rely on the faculty of reason in apprehending the external world as anti-African.

The purpose of a society is anchored on rationality and that explains why co-existence in a society will be hampered without a sense of rationality, rational attitude to life and essential society values, such as: tolerance, respect, freedom, equality, justice and value for human life. Actions that are anti-societal vision and good would definitely not be rational.

Therefore, the adoption of a social rationality has become inevitable for Africa in her quest for a total development. Of great interest here would be the criteria of rationality given by Steven Lukes known as practical rationality. This criterion emphasizes the ability of a practice to aid a people in attaining their goals. In other words, this theory also known as instrumental rationality means acting in a way that is maximally efficient and effective in achieving one’s goals. This criterion must be anchored on aforementioned basic societal African values, thereby making it pragmatic, and humanistic.

Africans, would want to ensure that their religious and cultural differences do not continue to form the bases for hatred, violence and insecurity; rather to be a strong force that would ensure that they fly high above the bumps of ethnicity and ethnic consciousness, overcome hunger, poverty, corruption, war, strive, disease, desertification, political and economic instability. Whatever political and societal values, policies, laws and practices that would ensure freedom, justice, equality, equity and total development of Africa would be very instrumental in achieving our desired goals in Africa. Anything short of this would widely be adjudged irrational in Africa by Africans.

Aerospace Aluminium Alloys

It would be a truism to say all aircraft are different with differing materials requirements. Military aircraft have fewer flying hours in a lifetime and fatigue and corrosion resistance are less of a consideration than in a civil aircraft with required life of 30,000 flying hours or more.

Where the properties of aluminium alloys are concerned,there is usually a trade-off to be made. Aluminium-zinc-magnesium alloys have high strength but sudden liability to crack in an unloaded condition due to retention of internal stresses after heat treatment. The Vickers Viscount replaced aluminium-zinc-manganese components with the aluminium-4 per cent copper Alloy L65 for this very reason. Since then there have been improvements in the stress and corrosion resistance of the aluminium-zinc-magnesium alloys, entirely based on varying the relative proportions of the component alloys. Improved control of casting techniques has brought further improvements in resistance to stress corrosion. The development of aluminium-zinc-magnesium-copper alloys, called the 7000 series, has delivered high strength, good fatigue crack growth resistance and a greater measure of toughness. Weight saving is also a consideration.

Duralumin alloys are used for the under-surfaces of wings with high tensile fatigue loads. Naturally aged duralumin is preferred to heat-treated for fatigue endurance and resistance to crack-propagation. A higher percentage of magnesium in the naturally aged condition, designated 2024 alloy, is the result of much development in practice.

Interest stems from affordability, and being weldable, reduced manufacturing costs. Most 2000 series aluminium alloys can be used for superplastic forming SPF. ISO 6013 alloy possesses a similar high fracture toughness and resistance to crack propagation as the 2000 series alloys.

CM001, as used on Concorde, has been found to possess better overall strength and fatigue characteristics over a wider range of temperatures than any of the other possible aluminium alloys. The latest aluminium alloys in use in the aerospace industry are the aluminium-lithium alloys. Aluminium-lithium-copper-manganese alloy, 8090, is extensively used in the main fuselage structure of EH101 helicopters. In the US, the aluminium-lithium-copper alloy, 2095 alloy, has been used in the fuselage frames of the F16 as a replacement for 2124 alloy, resulting in a fivefold increase in fatigue life and a reduction in weight. Aluminium-lithium alloys can be successfully welded. possess a high fracture toughness and exhibit a high resistance to crack propagation.

Everything You Need To Know About Barbie

Skipper. Midge. Ken. Barbie. Everyone knows these names, but do you know the name Ruth Handler? You should, she’s the one who brought Barbie and her friends to life in 1959. Ruth was the wife of Elliot Handler, a co-founder of Mattel toy company. In 1954, Ruth noticed that her daughter, Barbara, often gave her paper dolls adult roles when she played with them. At the time, the doll market was flooded with only baby dolls, such as Chatty Cathy, so Ruth approached her husband and suggested that Mattel release a doll that older girls would enjoy playing with. He rejected the idea, and Mattel’s directors were unenthusiastic as well, to say the least. Fast forward to 1956. On a European vacation with her children, Ruth stumbled upon a German doll called Bild Lilli. This doll was exactly what Ruth had in mind when she had first approached Mattel, so she purchased one for her daughter and two to take to Mattel. Once she returned to the United States, Ruth redesigned the doll and gave her a new name, Barbie, after her daughter. The first Barbie doll was debuted at the American International Toy Fair on March 9, 1959. As they say, the rest was history. When Ruth, a mere housewife and stay at home mom, approached Mattel, I’m sure she had no idea that her idea would spawn a billion dollar franchise, a household name, or a cultural icon. But that’s exactly what happened.

All In The Family…

Barbie was a hit! Mattel sold approximately 350,000 Barbies during the first year of production. But that wasn’t enough; Mattel was hungry for more, and apparently so was Barbie. Along came Ken. Ken, named after Ruth’s son, was released in 1961 as an appropriate counterpart for Barbie. Attractive and charming, Ken was Barbie’s knight in shining armor. But Barbie needed some girlfriend’s as well. Mattel introduced a Hispanic doll, Theresa, Barbie’s official “best friend.” Mattel kept up the political correct-ness and introduced an African-American doll as well, Christie. Younger, pre-teen dolls, such as Midge and Skipper were introduced to counteract Barbie’s controversial sex appeal.

Barbie hasn’t always been faithful to Ken though. They split in 2004, and a press release was announced stating, “(Barbie and Ken) feel it’s time to spend some quality time – apart…Like other celebrity couples, their Hollywood romance has come to an end.” Barbie became friendly with Blaine, an Australian surfer boy who swooped in from out of nowhere and stole her away. Their romance was short lived, however. Barbie left Blaine in 2006 to return to a newly made over Ken. Because, you know, it’s what’s on the outside that counts…

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

All of the fame and riches didn’t come without a little controversy. And Mattel’s own girl next door was at the center of it all.

Unrealistic Body Image

Parents didn’t like their little girls owning a doll with so much sex appeal. And the way she represented body proportions didn’t help either. According to Mattel’s size scale, if Barbie were a real person, she would be/have:

  • 5’9″ tall
  • 36″ chest
  • 18″ waist
  • 33″ hips
  • 110 pounds
  • BMI of 16.24

A “real-life Barbie” would fit the criteria of an anorexic, and wouldn’t even have enough body fat to menstruate. In 1963, Mattel released a Barbie that came with a book titled “How To Lose Weight,” with the only advice being “Don’t eat!” In another Barbie released in 1965, a scale was included that was permanently set at 110 pounds.

Racism and Prejudice

In 1997, Mattel teamed up with Nabisco and introduced Oreo Fun Barbie. Mattel made both a white and a black version, which had become customary with new releases. Protesters in the African American community voiced the opinion that “oreo” was a derogatory slur used to describe a person who was black on the outside, but white on the inside, much like the popular cookie. The doll failed miserably, and the unsold stock was recalled by Mattel.

Also in 1997, Mattel released “Share a Smile Becky,” a doll in a wheelchair. A high school student in Washington state that was confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy contacted Mattel and informed them that Becky’s wheelchair would not fit in the elevator in Barbie’s dream house. These houses sold for $100 each, so for something such as that to be overlooked was absurd. Mattel issued a statement saying that future productions of the doll house would be altered to accommodate Becky and her wheelchair.

Life is plastic, it’s fantastic

In 2002, Mattel sued MCA Records for the song “Barbie Girl,” performed by Aqua. With lyrics such as ” You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere,” “kiss me here, touch me there, hanky panky,” and “I can beg on my knees, come jump in, let us do it again,” it’s not hard to see why Mattel would be offended. Mattel said the MCA violated copyrights and trademarks, tarnished the reputation of Barbie, and infringed on their advertising and marketing strategy. The case was presided over by Judge Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Kozinski eventually ruled in MCA’s favor, stating that the song was a parody, much like those of well known artist Weird Al Yankovic, and it was protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Kozinski ended the proceedings by advising both parties to “chill.”

Whether you love her or hate her, it’s fairly evident that Barbie is here to stay. Her and her friends have been around for the past 50 years, and 50 years from now your grandchildren will probably still be playing with them. Through trial, controversy, and success, Barbie has been the “it girl” of multiple generations. She’s timeless. She’s ageless. She’s Barbie.

Preventing Paralysis Tick

One of the biggest threats for dog owners , living on the east coast of Australia, is the paralysis tick (lxodes holocyclus). There are about 75 different tick species found in Australia but the greatest concern is the deadly paralysis tick, particularly during the warmer months of the year.

True to its name, this tick will cause paralysis and eventual death unless it is found and removed in time. The tick causes paralysis by injecting a toxin found in its saliva into the dog's bloodstream.

Unfortunately tick paralysis can be hard to spot and very difficult to treat once it progresses. The tick must attach and feed from the dog for 3-5 days before signs of paralysis are seen, providing dogs owners with a short period of time to check, find and remove ticks, before they have a chance to harm their dog. Daily checks are strongly recommended even when tick control products have been applied.

Symptoms of tick paralysis

The symptoms include:

  • Weakness, particularly in the hind legs
  • Harsh groaning sounds while breathing
  • Change in bark tone
  • Vomiting and difficulty swallowing

If your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms you should take them to the vet immediately. If left untreated the toxins released by the paralysis tick will cause cardiac and respiratory failure, resulting in death. There is an anti-serum available to treat tick paralysis however treatment is expensive and very much dependent on early identification of symptoms by the owner and immediate veterinary attention.

Protecting your dog

The best way to protect your dog from ticks is to use a tick control product and perform daily tick checks. There are several products available on the market to assist in the prevention of tick paralysis; your veterinarian can help you select the best product for your dog. Dog owners should make a habit of checking daily for ticks, even if a tick control product has been applied.

Check your dog daily for ticks simply by running your fingertips throughout your dog's coat, against the hairline, down to skin level, feeling and looking. Pay particular attention to the chest, neck and head area, as most ticks are found on the front half of the dog, although ticks can be found anywhere on the body, including in the ears, between the toes, under the tail, on the eyelids and lips. Long-haired dogs can be clipped to make ticks easier to find. If you're unsure of how to search your dog for ticks, consult your veterinarian.

By using a paralysis tick control product and checking your dog for ticks every day, particularly during the warmer months of the year, you could save your dog's life!

Signs and Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia – Treatment and Remedies

People who suffer from severe acid reflux are at risk of having hiatal hernia. When the upper part of the stomach pokes through the esophageal hiatus, because of the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter or LES (due to a number of factors), hiatal hernia occurs. The esophageal hiatus is the opening in the diaphragm where in the esophagus passes the abdominal cavity.

It is important that in the case of hiatal hernia, there are two important muscle sphincter involved that responsibly shut food contents to the stomach safely in order to prevent a back flow. These two valves (or muscle tissue) are the esophageal sphincter and the esophageal hiatus.

Under these circumstances, the weakening of the muscles (esophageal sphincter and esophageal hiatus) increases the abdominal cavity pressure as it eventually causes the hiatus to stretch and pop out, thus the herniation. It is often referred to as hiatal hernia because it originates in the hiatus. The process may take long enough to realize that hiatal hernia has already developed. Usually the first phase presents little to no symptoms at all. The only way to find out is to undergo a routine medical examination.

Hernia symptoms are usually related to the bulge which is caused by herniation in the abdominal cavity. Initially, it will only be detected as a small lump. The lump is usually painless when touched. As the lump grows due to the advancing of the illness, it becomes painful. The person may suffer from altered body image due to the growing lump in his or her abdomen. It even becomes more visible when coughing or sneezing. There are two types of hernia: the reducible (asymptomatic) and the irreducible (more complicated) type. Just as the name suggest, the irreducible hernia cannot be pushed back. The latter type of hernia (irreducible) includes more serious complications that can lead to strangulation of the tissue (dangerous form), with vomiting as its unique symptom.

Once a person develops a lump in the abdomen, it is important to seek prompt medical treatment. Remember that any unusual lump in your body is a sign that something is wrong and requires physical assessment by a medical or health professional. Seek medical management for an early period. In the mean time, try other alternative measures that would be of great help for hiatal hernia treatment.

Alternative Treatment Options

Symptoms of heartburn that can accompany a hiatal hernia often respond positively to lifestyle modification such as avoid cigarette smoking, alcohol (especially hard liquor), caffeine intake, eating large meals in just one sitting and wearing of tight jeans instead wear loose, comfortable clothing around the torso.

Studies show that stress can greatly affect the tone and overall condition of the digestive system. It is therefore very important to manage stress effectively. Take time to relax both physically and emotionally whenever possible. No single most effective method can address this condition. A holistic approach is favored for hiatal hernia treatment.