Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief

Before we look at what relief measures are available for those with rheumatoid arthritis it is best that we understand what the condition is all about and how it is caused. Rheumatoid arthritis is an acute and progressive disorder where the synovial membrane that lines the joints suffers from a state of inflammation. This then spreads across the area and erodes the cartilage causing the much dreaded pain and stiffness that comes with the condition. Further complications of the condition include Anaemia, Pericarditis and joint infections. The pain and stiffness that ensues leave sufferers frantic for some or any kind of rheumatoid arthritis relief.

Given that there is no known cure to completely alleviate the condition, rheumatoid arthritis relief comes in two forms. One is to alleviate the symptoms and the other is to prevent the condition from worsening and causing further complications or pain. Treatment for the former however does not always mean that it takes care of the latter. It is because of this that Rheumatoid Arthritis is treated by one specific type of medication and supplemented by others as and when required. Because of the absence of definite rheumatoid arthritis cure, most sufferers look to other ways and means of comfort.

Non drug treatments geared towards rheumatoid arthritis relief are many and varied and will provide mixed levels of success at best. Let’s now take a look at a few of these. A common practice in rheumatoid arthritis relief is the use of hot and cold treatments. A hot treatment is basically done by applying heat and is best for chronic pain whilst a cold treatment is usually best for acute pain. Examples for hot treatments include having a hot shower or bath in the morning, use of a moist heat pad over affected areas and applying heated oil on to the affected areas and massaging.

Regular and suitable exercise techniques will also help gain some relief. This is by way of increasing general fitness levels and by enhancing the quality of movements in the affected joints. Massages done right can also offer varying levels of comfort. Topical creams that contain salicylates or capsaicin, which caused reduced sensitivity to pain, can also be used over the affected areas. Another method of treatment is electrical stimulation. This is done by sending an electrical current that is painless to large nerve fibres. This will then generate heat and the resulting heat will provide release from pain. This type of treatment needs to be specified by a physician. A close tab on what you eat can also help towards relief although the effects of a diet on relieving pain are still to be proven. One way a diet can help is by assisting in weight loss as more weight means more pressure on the joints.

Finally, given the lack of a permanent cure, the ultimate freedom from the pain and discomfort might rest in one’s attitude and approach to the condition. Thus a positive attitude and relaxation methods might also prove to help a sufferer get by in life despite the pain and complications brought about by this condition.

Stasis Dermatitis and Stasis Ulcers – Skin Disorders

Diagnostic Hallmarks

Distribution: ankle

History of preceding noninflammatory swelling (stasis)

Presence of varicosities

Clinical Presentation

The term “stasis” refers to the presence of chronic, noninflammatory   edema  of the lower leg. Stasis dermatitis occurs when the itching that often accompanies stasis leads to scratching with consequent excoriations, weeping, crusting, and int1ammation. The color of the inflammation in stasis dermatitis is violaceous rather than bright red because of pooling and deoxygenation of venous blood. In long-standing cases of stasis dermatitis, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation adds a distinctive brown hue to the underlying violaceous color. The initial changes of stasis dermatitis are almost invariably found at the ankles, but extension distally onto the foot and proximally up the lower leg is commonly seen.

Many types of eczematous disease, including atopic dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis, occur on the ankle either as a primary disease or superimposed on stasis dermatitis. Correct identification of stasis dermatitis depends on evidence that noninflammatory  edema  preceded the appearance of the eruption.

Stasis ulcers frequently accompany stasis dermatitis. They appear as round to slightly irregularly shaped craters, 2 to 5 cm in diameter, with rolled violaceous borders. The center of the ulcer consists of granulation tissue that mayor may not be covered with purulent material or adherent crust. The amount of pain present is variable; often they are surprisingly asymptomatic.

Stasis ulcers begin as a result of trauma to edematous, eczematized skin. This ulcerated skin, both because of anatomically poor arterial blood supply to the lower leg and the further compromise in blood flow resulting from  edema , heals very slowly. When healing finally occurs, it is accompanied by scarring. This, in turn, further compromises blood flow, allowing even minor episodes of trauma to initiate a whole new cycle. Bacterial infection in the ulcers or in the surrounding eczematized skin sometimes further complicates the process.

Course and Prognosis

Stasis dermatitis generally runs a chronic course with intermittent exacerbations and remissions. Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation remains present for months after each exacerbation.

The presence of trauma (cuts, bruises, and excoriation) to the weakened skin in stasis dermatitis sometimes leads to the development of stasis ulcers. Healing of these ulcers causes the development of tightly constricted, thickened skin around the ankle (lipodermatosclerosis). This change is sometimes mistakenly diagnosed as scleroderma. Residual  edema  may be found above and below the constricted area. Squamous cell carcinoma can occasionally develop in the epithelial margins of long-standing stasis ulcers.

Pathogenesis

The chronicity of stasis dermatitis depends on the continuous presence of  edema . Thus, stasis dermatitis is commonly seen when the  edema  is due to venous valve incompetency (varicose veins) but occurs only infrequently with the intermittent  edema  that accompanies congestive heart failure.

Only a small proportion of patients with stasis develop stasis dermatitis. This situation is analogous to the infrequency with which dyshidrosis evolves into dyshidrotic eczema. In both diseases the eczematization occurs primarily because of the superimposition of the itch-scratch cycle, thus suggesting that atopic individuals are at particular risk.

Types of Heart Diseases

There is a variety and array of heart diseases which are destroying the functioning of heart. The two basic types of cardiac diseases are coronary heart diseases and pulmonary heart diseases. Coronary heart diseases or atherosclerotic, is caused due the accumulation of athermanous plaques in the walls of coronary arteries. Pulmonary heart diseases occur due the disorder in lungs. This occurred when the right side of the heart has to push harder in order to distribute air, the cardiac muscles swell and congestive heart failure can occur.

The other most common types of cardiac diseases include High Blood Pressure, Heart Stroke, Heart Attack, Ischemic Diseases, cardiac Rhythm Disorders, Tachycardia, Cardiomyopathy, cardiac murmurs, Rheumatic Disease, Hypertensive Disease. Mycocardial Infection which is most commonly known as Heart Attack occurs when sufficient oxygen is not provided to the heart in order to function appropriately. Ischemic Disease is caused due to the reduced flow of blood to the arteries. Rhythm Disorders are caused when there is change in the sound of heart beat. However mostly man cannot identify it unless properly diagnosed by doctor’s stethoscope.

Most of the cardiac diseases are caused by either by reduction in flow of blood and due to the lack of oxygen in the body. However the rapid increase and decrease in the heart beat is also serious symptom leading to heart diseases. Tachycardia is one such disease which occurs due to the fast beating of heart unnecessarily. Another dangerous threat to the heart is rheumatic fever; this fever is caused when a specific bacterial infection known as streptococcal bacterial infection is left untreated.

This fever leads to inflammatory cardiac disorder and is termed to as Rheumatic Heart Diseases. This disease can also affect brain and joints. Cardiomyopathy, this is a serious threat to heart muscles and is a major cause of cardio death. This disease can also be caused due to the unnecessary use of the Alcohol. Men and women are both prone to major Types of heart risks however the only difference is that men are affected by Cardiomyopathy more whereas women suffer Hypertension and High Blood Pressure more.

ACLS Pharmacology – Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium Sulfate is a chemical compound that contains sulfur, oxygen and magnesium. It has been used for years for medical purposes such as in forms of magnesium hydroxides and oxides in antacids, and magnesium salicylates for analgesics. Also magnesium salts are used for constipation. Magnesium Sulfate is also used in advanced cardiac life support as a intravenous IV push or infusion. This medication is classified as an antidysrhythmia and works to reverse the effects of hypomagnesaemia that is seen after a myocardial infarction. It works to stabilize the tissue membranes.

Magnesium Sulfate has become a protocol in prehosptial care for certain types of cardiac arrhythmias, insufficiencies and cardiac death that is sudden for some patients. Magnesium deficiency is often associated with these emergency cardiac conditions. This medication is used to treat torsade de pointes, refractory VF/VT, class I torsade 8 and 11 and class IIa refractory VF/FT. Although this treatment choice is far down on the emergency protocol for prehospital treatment for VF/VT, it is not a commonly used treatment choice except when torsade is recognized early.

Torsades de pointes can be caused by a number of different causes. Some of these include diarrhea, malnutrition, alcoholism, drug interactions, dietary supplements, and certain medications like methadone, antidepressants, lithium among others. This emergency condition can also be caused by a side effect from certain anti-arrhythmias such as quinidine and sotalol. It can also be brought on by hypokalemia or hypomagnesaemia. This cardiac emergency condition may be seen with an EKG reading that is distinguishable when torsade is present.

Patients in hospital settings are sometimes given Magnesium sulfate for acute Myocardial Infarction when magnesium deficiency is known as a contributing factor to the MI. If paramedics are clearly aware that the patient is suffering from malnutrition or uses diuretics or have misused them, they can relay this information to their on-line medical control unit and Magnesium Sulfate may be ordered for administration.

Side effects associated with this medication are rare but could include drowsiness, hypotension, and circulatory collapse, absent or lowered deep tendon reflexes, diaphoresis and respiratory depression. Magnesium Sulfate is normally well tolerated.

Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Attack And Stroke

UNDERSTANDING THE RISK

Heart Disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the U.S. And, Stroke is the No 3 cause. This means it’s important for you to do everything you can to reduce your risk and prevent a  heart   attack  or stroke.

Learn about the things that increase your risk and take steps to make changes. Even if you’ve already had a  heart   attack  or stroke, it’s not too late to improve your health and prevent future damage to your  heart  or brain.

KNOW YOUR RISK

Your risk of a  heart   attack  or stroke increases if you:

* have high blood pressure

* have high cholesterol

* have a family history of  heart   attack , stroke, or  heart  disease

* have had a  heart   attack  or stroke

* are overweight or obese

* have diabetes

* smoke

If you’ve already had a  heart   attack  or stroke, then you know it’s important to prevent having another one in the future. Lifestyle changes and taking medications can reduce your risk. It’s important to make a treatment plan with your doctor and stick to it.

Personal and Close to Home ~~~

This past weekend Saturday and Sunday consecutively two of my dear friend’s husbands had ‘ heart   attacks ‘. It was very scary there for a while for all of us. These men are 55 and 58 (not very old in the scheme of things) One was dealing with extremely high blood pressure; the other, this was his 3rd  heart   attack  and he had also undergone open  heart  surgery about 3 years ago. Both were diagnosed with a blocked coronary artery (arteries that service the heart).

What Happens

1. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your artery walls and cause them to harden and thicken.

2. Plague, which consists of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances, can build up in the damaged lining of an artery. Over time, it narrows and blocks the artery. As this plaque continues to build, the artery becomes narrower, harder and less flexible. This reduces blood flow to the artery.

3. Eventually, the plaque cracks. If this happens, platelets, which are particles in the blood, clump together on or near the crack and can form a clot, thus cutting off the blood flow to the  heart  or brain – thus leading to a  heart   attack  or stroke.

WARNING SIGNS

Symptoms of a  heart   attack  or stroke are not the same for everyone. Also signs of a second  heart   attack  or stroke may be different from those a person experienced the first time.

 HEART   ATTACK  SYMPTOMS

* pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or stomach

* pain or discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back

* pressure, squeezing or fullness in the chest

* shortness of breath

* nausea, vomiting, cold sweat or dizziness

STROKE SYMPTOMS

* sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg on one side of your body

* trouble walking or dizziness

* sudden confusion or trouble speaking

* loss of vision in one or both eyes

* sudden, severe headache

*

NOTE: Women’s Symptoms May be Different

In addition to the symptoms listed above, Women may also experience such things as:

– unusual fatigue

– sleep disturbance and anxiety ‘weeks’ before a  heart   attack 

Minutes Matter – Every Second Counts…

If you or a loved one or someone you know are experiencing the symptoms of a  heart   attack  or stroke, have someone drive you or them to the nearest emergency room or in most cases CALL 911. Many people waste valuable time thinking the symptoms aren’t serious, but it’s important to take action as soon as your symptoms appear. About 50 percent of people who die from a  heart   attack  die within one hour of the onset of symptoms. And, it’s no different for stroke patients –every minute that passes increases your risk of serous brain damage or disability.

REDUCE YOUR RISK

10 Lifestyle Changes that You Can Make to Reduce Your Risk of a  Heart   Attack  or Stroke.

1. Reduce High Blood Pressure. If you have high blood pressure, make a plan with your doctor to lower it. Work with your doctor to reduce your current blood pressure.

2. Reduce High Cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes and medications that can help you get your cholesterol under control.

3. Lose Weight. If you have extra body fat — especially around your waist— your risk increases. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce your risk. Make sure to talk to your docor before beginning a wight loss or exercise plan.

4. Be Active. Start slowly and add minutes to your workout everyday. Try to make exercise part or your daily routine. If you have had trouble sticking to an exercise plan in the past, choose activities that you enjoy and recruit friends and family to join you. If you miss a day, don’t be discouraged — just start again the next day.

5. Control your Diabetes. Monitor your blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends that your A1C (the test that measures your average glucose over two or three months) be below 7 percent.

6. Quit Smoking. If you smoke, your risk of having a  heart   attack  doubles. But, after just 24 hours of quitting, your risk goes down. After one year, your risk is half that of a smoker, and after 15 years, your risk will be the same as that of a nonsmoker.

7. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Use. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women (two for men). One drink is equal to 12 oz of beer, 4 oz o wine, or 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor.

8. Reduce Stress. High stress levels can contribute to heart disease. Take steps to reduce stress in your life, and consider practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation or getting a periodic massage.

9. Eat a Healthy Diet. Talk to your doctor abut developing a plan to help you eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and low in sodium. Read nutritional labels on packaged food, and pay close attention to total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.

10. Talk Openly to Your Doctor. It’s normal to experience anger, guilt or depression after having a  heart   attack  or stroke. Your doctor can help.

For additional information and resources visits the Websites below:

– American Heart Association ~~ http://www.americanheart.org

– American Stroke Association ~~ http://www.strokeassociation.org

Information from Healthy Advise for You and Your Family – 2008 Healthy Advise Networks…

To Your Health & Success !

Miss Julia, Your Personal Success Coach

Licensed Professional Nurse

Heart Disease: His and Hers

Heart disease is much more common in both women and men than any other cause of death. Because women experience more subtle symptoms than men their heart disease if ofter misdiagnosed. Both women and men need to pay attention to signals that their bodies give them. Both genders need to control risk factors equally.

Women and men share common risk factors for heart disease such as:

  • High cholesterol
  • Inactivity
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking.

The differences are in the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women and men.

Women’s Symptoms:

  • Angina-with less dramatic symptoms than men
  • Variant angina is likely to strike during sleep more commonly in women
  • Less crushing chest pressure and severe pain than men
  • Pressure
  • Indigestion
  • Shortness of Breath
  • General fatigue
  • Flu-like tiredness

Men’s Symptoms:

  • Angina
  • Cold sweats
  • Influenza-like symptoms
  • Crushing chest pressure
  • Severe chest pain

Women’s Diagnosis:

  • ECG stress tests are more likely to miss cardiovascular disease in women
  • Nuclear stress tests are more reliable for women
  • Coronary angiography misses micro-vascular disease, which is more common in women
  • Intravascular ultrasound is more likely to find arteries narrowed by atherosclerotic plague
  • Coronary flow reserve studies can show whether the microscopic vessels in the heart wall are delivering an adequate blood supply
  • Low blood levels of good cholesterol are a stronger predictor of heart disease in women than men
  • High levels of triglycerides are a particularly important risk factor in women..

Men’s Diagnosis:

  • ECG’s
  • Stress Tests are very effective
  • Coronary angiography is excellent at finding men’s blockages because they are usually in the major arteries

Women’s Treatment:

  • Low-dose aspirin treatment is not recommended for women until age 55, and then it is for stroke prevention and not heart disease
  • Alcohol has more serious effects on a woman’s heart and can hasten her trip to the emergency room
  • Women with micro-vascular disease are most often treated with medications and lifestyle changes
  • Angioplasty with stenting,
  • Coronary bypass surgery- Women are two to three times as likely to die following heart bypass surgery than men. Women ages between 40-59 are up to 4 times more likely to die than men the same age.

Men’s Treatment:

  • Low-dose aspirin therapy starts for men at about age 43 to reduce the risk of a heart attack
  • Angioplasty with stenting
  • Coronary by pass surgery

Lifestyle changes recommended for both Women and Men:

  • Lower Cholesterol through diet, exercise and medications
  • Controlling High Blood Pressure by diet and medications
  • Treatment for depression, if present
  • Exercise
  • Regular medical checkups
  • Cease Smoking
  • Limit Alcohol

Heart disease as the cause of death in women exceeds the total number of deaths for the next 16 most common causes of death. Because heart disease symptoms are less dramatic in women than men, women need to be pro-active in receiving treatment. Relatively minor symptoms such as being unusually tired, achy or short of breath need attention and medical care.

The Rise and Fall of Antibiotics

Over the past 90 years, antibacterial discovery has gone from boom to bust. For about 30 years in the middle of the 20th century, pharmaceutical companies regularly churned out new classes of the drugs, many of which doctors still use today, such as penicillin and the tetracyclines. However, by the 1980’s, discovery slowed and companies started leaving the field, drawn by the rise of profitable drugs in other therapeutic areas. As a result, only one successful new class of antibacterial drugs has been discovered since the late 1980’s (bedaquiline). This is the story of the Rise and Fall of Antibiotics.

With growing numbers of bacterial strains resistant to existing drugs, pharmaceutical experts have been at a loss to know what to do.

The success of early antibiotics saved many lives. It was reported in 1951 for example, thanks to drug treatment, the pneumonia mortality rate dropped by 50% in the previous decade.

The antibacterial development boom started after the discovery in 1943 of streptomycin, the first antibiotic to treat   tuberculosis . Albert Schatz and his supervisor Selman A. Waksman, found the compound in Streptomyces bacteria. Streptomyces lives in soil, and soon pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., Europe and Japan started screening soil microbes.

These companies were tapping into a microbial war that had been going on for many centuries in the soil.

In a typical screening program, company microbiologists would obtain soil samples from across the globe. When soil samples came in, the microbiologists would first isolate the many different microbes present and then grow them separately in liquid cultures. The resulting broths were tested to see whether they could stop the growth of a particular pathogen, such as Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli. If they did, then the real work began of isolating the active molecule.

From the 1940’s to the 1960’s, companies improved this method and discovered about 20 major antibacterial classes, including the tetracyclines, the macrolides and the glycopeptide vancomycin.

As scientists studied the major classes, they found how the antibacterials worked. The beta-lactams, such as penicillin and cephalosporin, inhibited cell wall synthesis. Tetracyclines, macrolides, and aminoglycosides affect protein synthesis. and the quinolones disrupted DNA replication.

Medicinal chemists played a significant role in the boom by developing antibiotics with improved properties. Beecham Research Laboratories, an English Company that became part of GSK, produced several important derivatives of penicillin. An example was methicillin, developed in 1959, had a 2,6-dimethoxyphenyl side chain which shielded the compound from some beta-lactamases, the enzymes that enable bacteria to resist penicillin.

Discoveries of new classes started to taper off during the 1970’s. Companies started to see diminishing returns from their screening programmes. In the 1950’s, companies had to screen through around 1000 bacterial cultures to find a compound no one had seen before. To find Daptomycin, which was discovered in 1987, and is one of the last new classes to reach the market, scientists had to pick through about 10 million cultures. The rise and fall of antibiotics was upon us.

In the late 1990’s, the industry tried to improve antibacterial discovery by turning to genomics. When the genome of Haemophilus influenzae was publicized in 1995, companies such as GSPK thought they could find new drugs by searching for genes essential for bacterial survival in multiple species. Then by using in vitro assays, they screened for compounds that inhibit the activity of associated proteins.

The strategy failed for multiple reasons.

Reasons for Failure of the Genomic approach

First, it focused too much on single targets. Most successful antibacterial drugs targeted more than one bacteria. For example, beta-Lactams hit multiple proteins involved in cell wall synthesis. If a compound shuts down just one target, bacteria can easily mutate that gene and gain resistance to the drug.

The second problem was that chemists synthesized drugs on the basis of hitting targets inside and outside human cells. These rules were not helpful in targeting actual bacteria. Unlike human cells, gram-negative microbes have dual-membrane barriers and protein complexes that actively remove unwanted chemicals. Scientists currently do not understand what allows compounds to slip though these barriers.

With the failure of high volume screening, many companies shifted their emphasis to more lucrative therapeutic areas such as chronic diseases. Also worrying, was that many still effective drugs had lost patent protection, filling the market with cheap alternatives.

At the start of the 1980’s, more than 35 major US and European companies were working on antibacterial drugs. Now there are fewer than 10.

According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), 16 new antibacterial drugs were approved in the US between 1983 and 1987. In the past five years, only two have been approved.

While the supply of new drugs has been drying up, pathogens have been developing resistance to existing drugs. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention issued a warning about gram-negative pathogens called carbapenum-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Carbapenums are drugs often used as a last resort in serious infections. One of every two patients with CRE in the bloodstream dies.

Experts think that the future of antibacterial treatments will depend on developing new strategies, and on luring pharmaceutical and biotech companies into the field [1].

Antibiotic Resistance is Widespread

For some pathogens, such as MRSA and Acinetobacter, physicians have turned to antibiotics abandoned decades ago because of toxic side effects. Several pathogens are close to becoming difficult to treat in some regions. Examples of pathogens that have become extensively resistant are:

Acinetobacter baumanii (Pneumonia and wound infections) resistant to all common drugs available.

Klebsiella pneumoniae (Pneumonia) resistant to carbapenen, fluoroquinolones, amino glycosides and cephalosporins in hospitals in many countries.

Mycobacterium  tuberculosis  ( Tuberculosis ) resistant to rifampicin, isoniazid, fluoroquinolone, kanamycin, amikacin, capreomycin on a wordwide scale, particularly Eastern Europe and South Africa.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gonorrhea) resistant to penicillins, tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, macrolides and cephalosporins in the Western Pacific and Japan.

Salmonella enterica (Food-borne bacteremia) resistant to Ampicillin, chloramphenicol, tertacycline, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and fluoroquinolones on a wordwide scale.

Staphylococcus aureus (many types of infection) resistant to beta-lactams, fluoroquinolones and gentamycin on a worldwide scale.

Resistance Problems – a Perspective

Throughout history pathogens have attacked humans, and before the middle of the twentieth century we relied on our immune systems to survive these attacks. Many people died, but though improvements in diet, sanitation and water purification, our immune systems were strengthened. For other pathogens vaccines were developed, and insecticides used to control mosquitoes. However, our fear of pathogens was eliminated only by antibiotics. By taking pills for a few days, we could quickly recover fro most bacterial diseases.

Nowadays our resistance problems derive from the cumulative effect of several complex factors. One has been our cavalier attitude. Foe example, in 2009 an American supermarket chain began to advertise free antibiotics to attract customers. Whilst hospitals are beginning to oversee their own use of antibiotics, the agricultural community is largely uncontrolled after drugs are approved by government agencies. Outside of hospitals however, individual patients continue to insist on antibacterial treatments for viral infections which stimulates the emergence of resistant bacteria. It is clear that the educational effort needs to be intensified. Another factor is dosage – doses are kept low enough to cause few side effects, but high enough to kill susceptible cells. Conditions that control the growth of susceptible cells, but not that of mutants, are precisely the cause that leads to enrich mutants. In other words, conventional dosing strategies lead directly to the emergence of resistance [2].

References

1. Torrice, M. Antibacterial Boom and Bust, Chemical and Engineering News, September 2013, The American Chemical Society.

2. Drlica, K, and Perlin, D.S. Antibiotic Resistance, Understanding and Responding to an Emerging Crisis, Pearson Education, 2011.

Growing New Brain Cells – And Wiring Them Up

Not too long ago, scientists believed that adults couldn’t grow new neurons in their brain. However, work over the last several years has debunked this myth. We now know that adults continue to grow new neurons throughout life, a process called neurogenesis. Yes, new growth slows down after middle age but it continues. However, there are things you can do to help keep a higher rate of new brain cell birth, which we’ll get into in a minute.

Continuing to grow new brain cells can help in a couple of ways. First, cells are mostly born into a region called the hippocampus, which is crucial for learning and memory. Maintaining neurogenesis helps maintain memory function. Second, keeping those new neurons coming seems to help with depression. The hippocampus is also crucial for stress regulation and neurogenesis is a necessary part of the way anti-depressants work. So, new brain cell birth is important for cognitive and emotional functions. We have referred to these in the past as your IQ and your EQ.

It’s also been known for some time that exercise increase the rate of neurogenesis. Many studies show that lab animals who are allowed to exercise increase the rate of new neurons born into their hippocampus, relative to those animals that don’t get to exercise.

Although these studies are difficult to do in humans (for technical reasons) several studies suggest that the same thing is going on. In human trials that compare groups who exercise to control groups, the exercisers consistently show improved cognitive skills and increased function of specific brain areas, including the hippocampus.

A new study by Wu et al. published in the September 18th, 2008 edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology also shows that exercise may increase the connectivity of new neurons. It’s not enough to make new neurons. You also have to wire them up to other neurons to get them fully integrated into brain circuits so they can do their thing.

On average, every neuron in your brain makes about 10,000 connections. It’s no good if a neuron is just sitting there talking to itself. It must become part of a network to have real value. When you learn things, you actually increase the connectivity between neurons, and that’s what’s most important.

In fact, the number of connections in your brain is probably much more important than the number of brain cells when it comes to retaining cognitive function. The new study by Wu shows that exercise increases both. It increases the number of new neurons being born and the amount of branching that each new neuron forms.

Neurons are shaped kind of like trees. The more branches they have, the more connections they can make. In Wu’s study, exercise increased the number and length of branches on new neurons.

Finally, the most important part of the new study looked at how exercise affects the rate of new brain cell growth and amount of branching as we age. Essentially, the researchers confirmed that the rate of neurogenesis declines as we age and that exercising in early middle age has a large affect on boosting the rate of new brain cell birth. Exercising in older age also increases neurogenesis, although to a lesser degree.

However, here is the interesting part. In their experiments, the sedentary rats had about the same length of neuron branches in middle age and in old age. But the exercising rats had much longer branches. In fact, the old exercisers had longer neuron branches than the younger sedentary rats. This is great news since many studies show that branch length and connectivity may be a better indicator of cognitive health than the number of new neurons born.

We know that life-long learning is one way to promote more neuron branching and connectivity. Now this new study shows that exercising can also do this for older aged adult brains.

The bottom line: physical exercise is a great way to keep your brain fit.

Reference: Journal of Applied Physiology (2008) 105:1585-1594

Different Types of Primary Brain Tumors

When it comes to brain  tumors , the medical profession does not have a standard system to describe the spread of cancer. Primary brain  tumors  are usually formed in the central nervous system and invariably they do not spread to other parts of the body. In order to treat these  tumors , doctors classify they based on the type of cell in which the  tumor  began, the location of the  tumor  in the brain and what grade the  tumor  is.

Here is a list of some of the different types of primary brain  tumors  that occur in adults:

o Brain Stem Gliomas: This is a type of  tumor  that forms in the brain stem, which the part that connects the brain to the spinal cord. The  tumor  is usually high grade, meaning it spreads very quickly and is difficult to cure.

o Pineal Astrocytic  Tumor : This type of  tumor  occurs in or near the pineal gland. This gland is responsible for producing melatonin hormone which governs our sleeping and waking patterns. This  tumor  can be of any grade.

o Pilocytic Astrocytoma: This  tumor  is a grade I  tumor  and develops in brain cells called astrocytes. The  tumor  grows slowly and very rarely does it spread to neighboring tissues of the brain. The  tumor  can be cured and is seen more often in children and young adults.

o Diffuse Astrocytoma: This is another  tumor  that develops in astrocytes. It grows slowly and has the tendency to spread to the neighboring brain cells. This is a grade II  tumor  seen mostly in young adults.

o Anaplastic Astrocytoma: This  tumor  is also called malignant astrocytomas and grows very fast and spreads to the adjacent brain cells. The cancer cells look different from normal cells and is develops mostly by the time a person reaches 40 years of age. This is a grade III brain  tumor .

o Glioblastoma: This is one of the most aggressive brain  tumors  and is categorized as grade IV brain  tumor . It is more commonly referred to as glioblastoma multiforme and is usually fatal. It is very difficult to treat and occurs mostly in adults ranging from 45 years to 70 years.

Earwax Causes Ringing in the Ear

Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing or buzzing in your ear. The noise can be intermittent or be present constantly. Also, some people hear low-pitched frequencies, while others hear high-pitched frequencies.

Tinnitus can be caused by many different things. By far, the most common cause of the condition is prolonged exposure to loud noises. It can also be caused by trauma to the head or ear. However, buildup of earwax also causes ringing in the ear.

Earwax is a normal body secretion. Your ear canal is a very sensitive region. Earwax helps protect the inside of your ear canal. However, it’s possible for ear wax to build up over time. This is why you will need to clean your ears out properly on a periodic basis.

If you don’t clean your ears our periodically, the earwax may become compacted. This will help block exterior sounds from reaching the interior of your ears. This is why earwax causes ringing in the ear. You may also hear other sounds as mentioned earlier.

There are certain things that you can do to get rid of earwax buildup in your ears. One of the most common solutions that you can try at home is hydrogen peroxide. This liquid is very cheap and readily available from almost anywhere.

You simply tilt your head to the side and let the hydrogen peroxide break up the earwax. You can tell it’s working because you’ll able to feel it bubbling. After a few minutes, you’ll need to tilt your head to the other side to drain the solution out.

An alternative to hydrogen peroxide is baking soda. It too is very cheap and easy to get from virtually anywhere. You will have to mix warm water and baking soda and put it in your ears just like the hydrogen peroxide solution.

You should be aware that the inside of your ears is very sensitive to temperature and foreign chemicals. Therefore, never put harsh chemicals or cold or hot liquids inside your ears in an effort to clean them out.

Earwax causes ringing in the ears if you allow it to build up over time. It will prevent external sounds from reaching the inside of your ears efficiently. This is why you need to clean your ears out periodically. You can try using hydrogen peroxide to break down excess earwax. Mixing warm water and baking soda is another solution.

Medicinal Value of Herbs – Quit Smoking, Improve Health, Lose Weight and More – Part 3 of 4

KELP

Usage: Nutritive tonic for the blood, supplies essential vitamins and mineral salts. Trace minerals and high iodine content. Cleanses blood stream.

KOLA NUT

Usage: A mild stimulant, energizing. Appetite suppressant. Used for migraine headache and indigestion. Increases concentration, good for treatment of fatigue.

LEMON BALM

Usage: Very good for intestinal gas. Used for indigestion, nausea, nervous stomach disorder. Calming and relaxing to the nervous system. Relieves tension and stress. Tonic to heart and circulatory system.

LICORICE ROOT

Usage: Feeds and revitalizes adrenals. Has hormone-like substances which the body can use while adrenals are being restored to their natural function. Purifies blood. Detoxifies spleen, kidneys, stomach and liver. Expectorant, good for coughs, cold and flu. Mild laxative. Calms mind, nourishes brain, promotes contentment and harmony.

LOBELIA

Usage: Causes immediate relaxation and expansion of contracted parts of respiratory system allowing oxygenated blood to flow freely to de-energized tissues. One of the best systemic relaxants available. Expectorant. Good for blood circulation problems. Good for cardiac congestion. Counteracts desire for tobacco.

MARSHMALLOW

Usage: High in minerals, especially calcium. High in oxygen. Rejuvenates lungs, cleanses and rebuilds. Good for inflammation of lungs, respiratory tract. Soothes respiratory tract irritated by coughs, colds, bronchitis, whooping cough, pneumonia and asthma. Good for weak digestion, chronic constipation, coats lower bowels with nutritious substance that strengthens and heals. Soothes and rejuvenates kidneys, good for kidney diseases, pain of gravel and stones, painful or difficult urination.

MILK THISTLE

Usage: Liver and gall bladder tonic, helps heal damaged liver. Increases secretion and flow of bile from the liver and gall bladder. Decreases the damage to the liver from alcohol, both short-term toxicity and long-term degeneration. Protects liver by preventing absorption of toxins. Spleen tonic. Used for congestion of spleen, enlarged spleen. Digestive tonic, good for indigestion and dyspepsia. Used for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy.

MULLEIN

Usage: Soothes mucous membranes, reduces swelling and pain. Stimulates fluid production to aid expectoration. Antibiotic properties. Good for lymphatic congestion, swelling of glands, asthma, bronchitis, difficult breathing, bleeding from lungs, cough and whooping cough.

OAT STRAW

Usage: Good for nerves. Contains high level of calcium, good for building bone and connective tissue. Used for rheumatism, gallstone, liver and kidney problems, paralysis, gout, painful spasms, chest ailments and stomach problems.

OREGON GRAPE

Usage: Stimulates flow of bile through liver and gall bladder, improves liver function to purify blood of toxins. Laxative. Improves digestion and absorption, dispels gas. Used for chronic constipation. Antiseptic. Stimulates thyroid gland, very healing to lymphatics, good for spleen, helps in bronchial congestion.

The Solution for Keratosis Pilaris – Chicken Skin Problem

Keratosis pilaris or KP, also known as chicken skin, is not a physically painful condition, but the appearance of the rash-like bumps is known to cause increased anxiety and depression, which makes it emotionally painful. The condition is a sign that the skin is not as healthy as it could be. Problems with the skin are often connected to poor physical health, as the skin is the largest organ of the body.

What are the Causes?

It is important to understand the possible causes of any condition, before trying to decide how to treat or cure it. Doctors will say there is no treatment or cure for keratosis pilaris. While there is no quick cure, certain creams are effective if they are used consistently.

Understanding a little bit about the causes will help you understand why the creams work. When you understand why a treatment will work, you are more likely to stick with the program.

The causes of KP include:

• Ingrown hairs

• Inflammation of the hair producing follicles

• Chronic irritation of the skin

• Genetics

Low humidity and a lack of moisture in the skin’s cells are known to increase redness and may cause itching. Although the condition is often mistaken for acne, especially when the face is affected, it is not related to acne. Nor is it related to poor personal hygiene.

How to Address the Causes of Keratosis Pilaris

We can’t do anything about our genes, but there are things we can do to ensure that our genes and cellular DNA are in good working order. Eating healthy foods and taking a good multi-nutritional supplement are things that we can do to keep the body functioning optimally, even at the DNA level.

Chronic irritation of the skin would lead to increased inflammation, which in turn would lead to increased redness and other symptoms. Irritants abound in today’s world. Most are derived from petroleum or petrochemicals. Using all natural skin, bath and hair care products that contain no petrochemicals can help reduce the inflammation.

Men who shave are more likely to have chronic irritation and ingrown hairs. It is important to use a good lubricant prior to shaving to reduce irritation and the risk of ingrown hairs. Grape seed oil is a natural choice. It is available in gourmet food stores and some grocery stores.

There are many things that cause inflammation throughout the body. Your diet could play a role in that, too. Some foods contribute to inflammation while others keep it to a minimum. You might want to learn more about an anti-inflammatory diet, because chronic inflammation is a cause of cellular aging and damaged DNA strands. You see how everything within your body is connected.

If your face is affected, the regular consistent use of a good whitening day cream on a daily basis is the best way to address all of the causes and symptoms of keratosis pilaris. But, you have to be very careful about the brand that you choose.

Some cause even more irritation and make the problem worse. Others contain ingredients that have been linked to cancer. I recommend a certain brand, because it is safe, natural and effective. See Resource box below.

Why a Whitening Day Cream Can Work to Treat the Symptoms of Keratosis Pilaris

The whitening day cream contains a number of anti-irritants and natural anti-inflammatories. The combination of ingredients will work to reduce the redness by reducing the underlying inflammation.

The cream also contains a number of moisturizers, which means you won’t have to worry about the redness worsening or returning during times of low humidity.

Additional Recommendations

Every week or two, you should use a deep cleansing mask to help keep cellular debris from clogging the pores. On a daily basis, you should be taking a good fish oil supplement to help keep inflammation throughout your body to a minimum.

Taking a nutritional supplement that contains MSM (a form of sulfur) is known to be beneficial for keratosis pilaris. The use of sulfur-based cleansers is another recommendation.

Gentle exfoliation using regular table salt or sugar can help to smooth out the bumps. Just be sure not to be too rough. Scrubbing or scratching can cause bleeding, increased redness, infection, irritation and inflammation.

What are the Benefits of Treatment?

If you follow the recommendations above consistently, you will be rewarded with smoother facial skin and reduced redness, because of the whitening day cream.

Your hair and fingernails will be thicker and healthier, because of MSM.

Your emotional pain will be resolved, because you will feel better about your appearance.

You will be less likely to have wrinkles, because the ingredients in the Whitening Day Cream are anti-aging ingredients.

Within a month or two, you could see an end to keratosis pilaris, because you have addressed the causes.

• What You Should Do Now

Here’s your next step for healthier, more radiant skin care – Sign up for our FREE SKIN CARE GUIDE and NEWSLETTER. Just CLICK the link that says FREE SKIN CARE GUIDE in the Resource Box below. Go there now. “You’ll like the way you look.”

Acetic Acid – Health Risks and First Aid Procedures

Acetic acid is the most important organic acid. It is present in vinegar, which is a common household acid and is used mainly in cooking purposes. In industries, it is used in the manufacture of plastics, paints, solvents, paper, textile and fabrics.

This compound is known to be a simple carboxylic acid, and is also known as ethanoic acid. It naturally results from the fermentation of ethanol, an alcohol. Its chemical formula is CH3COOH. The last hydrogen attached to the oxygen is given off in aqueous solutions giving the compound an acidic nature. It is classified, however, as a weak acid because it does not completely dissociate or separate in its component ions in water. The acid occurs in biochemical systems and is seen as a metabolic product during the breakdown of glucose. Acetic acid occurs naturally in dilute amounts, but in industries it is synthesized in more concentrated forms. The pure form of it is called glacial acetic acid because of the resemblance to ice. The solid acid melts at 16.7 degrees Celsius.

Dilute concentrations of the acid are safe. For instance, vinegar contains about five percent (5%) by mass of acetic acid and this is generally harmless. At higher concentrations, say at least ten percent (10%) the acid becomes an irritant. It is a known lachrymator which means it induces secretion of tears when gets in contact with eyes and can also cause soreness and conjunctivitis. In severe exposures, corneal damage may occur and this leads to blindness. It is a skin irritant and causes discoloration, itching, burns and blisters, and thickening of the skin. It does not happen quite quickly and my take a few hours after the skin gets in contact with the acid for the signs of irritation to manifest. Upon inhalation the organic acid irritates the nasal, throat and bronchial lining. Mucus secretions along the lining produces fluid build up, thus, leading to edemas in the respiratory organs like the pharynx and the lungs. Breathing may be adversely affected, such that the exposed person may suffer from shortness of breath and dizziness. The acid fumes can cause inflammation on the bronchial lining (bronchitis). Ingestion of the highly concentrated acid erodes the teeth enamel, causes burns, abdominal pains, perforation of the gastrointestinal lining, vomiting and diarrhea. Upon gaining entry in the blood stream, dangerous levels of this acid lead to destruction of red blood cells known as hemolysis. This breakdown frees the red pigment called hemoglobin which becomes excreted in the urine (hemoglobinuria). Kidney failure and shock may result.

Concentrations above 25% is considered corrosive, while at concentrations higher than 90% it becomes a flammable acid and may react violently upon exposure to air at warm temperatures (above 39 degrees Celsius). Therefore handling the substance at high concentrations should be done with the proper precautionary measures. The following are the first aid measures upon exposure to the acid.

1. Upon inhalation, immediately move the person to a safe area where there is open, fresh air. Seek medical assistance right away, especially if the victim has lost consciousness.

2. When the skin gets in contact with concentrated acid, wash the affected region with running water to reduce burning sensation and further irritation. Call medical help and take off contaminated clothes.

3. In case of eye contact, flush the affected eye with clean running water for ten minutes (eyelids should be held open during this procedure). Do not hesitate to call for medical help.

4. When accidentally swallowed, allow the victim to drink plenty of water if he or she is conscious. Never allow him or her to take in water or any liquid orally when he or she is too weak or unconscious. Do not induce vomiting and do not give any fluid or substance other than water. Call a medical professional right away.

Wear the prescribed uniform when handling acetic acid in laboratories or industrial areas. Do not handle the substance without wearing the appropriate nitrile rubber gloves. Always ensure the proper ventilation in the area.

Football Pads – More is More

It is interesting to observe how athletes approach the potential for injury in sports. Some sports, such as ruby, are played with almost no protection, at least relative to the potential injuries that can occur. In such sports, pain and suffering considered simply part of the game, a badge of honor that you played well and didn’t back down. Other sports use rules to protect the players. Soccer, for example, uses minimal protective equipment, but the rules prevent the players from hitting or otherwise hurting each other. (Or at least, the rules do this in theory. Some soccer players are notorious for taking matters into their own hands, or cleats.) But some sports seem to feel that the more physical protection a player has, the better. American football is perhaps the most spectacular example of this approach to player safety, as it covers the entire body of the player with pads and other sorts of protection.

It makes sense that football players wear helmets. The sport often involves violent impacts with both other players and the ground, and the head is the most vulnerable point on the human body. A football helmet actually consists of a number of different parts, all of which are designed to protect specific portions of the head. These parts include the overall shell, jaw pads, face mask, chin strap and mouth guard. However, despite all these different levels of protection, head injuries still occur in football with relative frequency.

Football shoulder pads consist of a hard plastic shell with shock-absorbing foam padding between the shell and player’s shoulders. This piece of equipment is donned over the head and rests on the shoulders, protecting them, the chest and the ribs. It is these pads that are responsible for the typical appearance of football players, i.e. broad shouldered. Shoulder pads, like helmets, are designed to mitigate the brutal hits a player is required to take in order to play this sport. The foam padding absorbs the impact and the plastic shell distributes the impact’s force, making broken bones less likely. Football shoulder pad designs vary according to the player’s position. For example, quarterback’s pads will be lighter and less constricting to allow him greater speed and freedom of movement.

Many football players might consider the jockstrap to be the most important piece of protective gear used in the sport. While a typical jockstrap is designed to simply support, one intended for use in football often has an impact-resistant cup that will, to some extent, protect male genitalia. Interestingly, protective jockstraps are not always required in football; the preference seems to vary according to team and individual.

The pants of a football player do not escape the sport’s signature padding. The interiors of these pieces of clothing contain a total of four pads, one for each thigh and one for each knee. These pads are removable so that the pants can be washed without the pads warping. Each pad is inserted into the pants via pockets on the insides of the legs. Although human legs are fairly sturdy compared with other parts of the body, there is always the potential for injury. Padded pants help football players avoid injuries like   dislocated  kneecaps, albeit not always successfully.

Combat Self Defense

Violence against humans in the form of destruction, conquering, terrorism, and assaulting by other humans is as old as mankind itself. To deal with this violence man created fighting systems. Developed from street fighting moves these fighting systems evolved into many different types of martial arts. The development of a specific style of martial art depends on how the fighting systems were modified and influenced by cultures and traditions. In Okinawa Combat Karate and combat Self-defense techniques were developed and modified into an organized martial art by the people of Okinawa for a way of personal protection and a way of defending and protecting their culture from Samurai.

Traditional combat Karate becoming popular over the years has developed into competitive Sport Karate. This is called modern day Karate. There are major differences between modern day Karate and Combat self-defense. Modern day Karate has been modified for sport eliminating the dangerous Combat Karate techniques. Modern day sport Karate techniques should not be used for combat self-defense. A lot of the techniques used in sport Karate lack power and accuracy diminishing the effect of striking power if used in combat self-defense. Combat self-defense techniques were designed and developed to incur physical injury by disabling, crippling, bruising, maiming, or even killing opponents.

Combat self defense techniques consist of joint bending, throwing, breathing, applying pressure to pressure points, choking, striking vital areas, defense against hand grabs, and defense against weapons.

A defender executing joint bending techniques applies pressure to joints in a way as to leverage weight and balance controlling the opponent’s movements to their advantage. If the defender executes the techniques correctly any movement by the opponent or additional applied pressure by the defender will cause intense pain, possible dislocation, or broken bones.

Throwing involves physically sending the opponent to the ground by repositioning their balance and weight. This technique may include joint bending, hands, legs arms and hips. Executed properly and the defender uses very little energy and strength. The smallest person can throw an extremely large person.

During the execution of Combat self-defense techniques breathing becomes an important criteria for stability and strength. Breathing should be done from the pit of the stomach. This helps in controlling anxiety and promoting relaxation.

Techniques applied to pressure points involve the knowledge of pressure points on the body. The pressure points are vital areas that are sensitive to touching by pressing these areas with the fingers or striking causing disabling pain. Some areas are easier to strike while other areas are a little more accessible using the fingers. Some vital areas where fingers have easy access are the eyes, carotid in the neck, subclavian at the neck base, and the brachial on the inside of the bicep.

Choking is one of the easiest techniques to execute with minimal training. Choking generally involves a strangle hold on the neck using a forearm or the hand. Using the choke hold correctly and an opponent can be rendered unconscious in 5 to 10 seconds. Done incorrectly and the technique could take minutes.

Striking vital areas involves striking the soft areas of the body. Striking these areas is extremely dangerous because paralysis, severe injury or death can occur.

Some of the most common vital striking areas:

1. Cushy part above the chin with fore fist

2. Fore fist to solar plexus basically boney area and can knock the wind out of an opponent.

3. Side of the neck. Strike with open hand (Knife Hand)

4. Fore fist to the bridge of the nose

5. Back fist to the bridge of the nose

6. Strike groin with palm of hand or front kick.

Training is a necessity if you want to learn to defend yourself. Your subconscious and body must form a memory that you can rely on to defend yourself during a stressful violent confrontation. Look at the navy seals, marines, or any special forces on their training discipline. Experienced military trainers spend hours training individuals for highly stressed combat situations. The same is true for self defense training. You must train to develop the subconscious and physical aspect. You will have to put time into studying some form of martial art.