Understanding Spatial Neglect in Stroke Patients

Understanding spatial neglect in stroke patients is detrimental to identifying if a patient is suffering from it. Spatial neglect is a syndrome that manifests itself after stroke. Normally, the patient itself is not aware of having it, making it an often under diagnosed complication of stroke without those often-visible indicators such as paralysis and speech impairment.

According to experts, the effect of having spatial neglect to a stroke patient is more harming than other common deficiencies. A stroke patient who is not diagnosed with having spatial neglect but actually has his will find rehabilitation difficulty and functional independence impossible, especially since there is a gap in accurately viewing things as they are and responding to it accordingly.

Caregivers have the important role, therefore, of identifying whether their patient has spatial neglect or not, after all they are the ones mostly with them. To fully gratify spatial neglect requires understanding what actually happens from the perspective of the stroke patient.

The right hemisphere of the brain can get damaged during a stroke, which may lead to the patient experiencing spatial neglect. Note that not all patients who right hemisphere of the brain is damaged during stroke suffer this syndrome. Research shows that only up to two thirds of acute right-hemisphere stroke patients demonstrate this phenomenon.

The right hemisphere of the brain is in charge of object location, mapping and estimation. This also allows us to see the left side of whatever is in front of us. So when a person suffices a stroke and this hemisphere of the brain gets damaged, the person will tend to see of what is actually before him and therefore correlate similarly.

Thus, it involves a stroke patient's inability to report, respond, or orient to stimuli. The following symptoms are good to watch out for:

• disordered awareness of events occurring in the neglected side.
• difficulty maintaining internal map relating to environment, objects, body parts, etc.
• difficulty making appropriate facial expressions or vocal intonations to accompany their emotions or to detect that of the person before them
• trouble directing actions into portions of space
• slow to act or no reaction at all
• attend to the left side of their body only

Stroke patients with spatial neglect generally have difficulty identifying where an item or object and / or have difficulty aiming at something.

Prism adaptation is the most promising treatment for it so far, wherein the rightward horizontal placement of patients' visual fields are induced. But this still requires further research. Although there are stroke patients healed of this, experience has shown that remain severely disabled due to their stroke.

Caregivers have an important role in understanding spatial neglect for ease in identifying its existence in the stroke patient. This way, the patient's rehabilitation program will be formulated accordingly to ensure higher rates of recovery in the long-run.

How to Treat Baldness?

What is baldness? In medical terms baldness is known as Alopecia. Baldness is the loss of hair and the scalp becomes visible. This condition is more prevalent in men than women. Hair loss is mainly due to age, illness, heredity, changes in hormones etc.

In male pattern baldness the loss of hair is on the front portion of the head, which is known as the crown. Some men lose all their hair on the head too. In female pattern baldness too, the hair gets thin all over the head or mainly in the crown and front position. In female pattern baldness, it is very rare to see fully bald women.

How to treat baldness? The doctor takes into account the age, heath condition, family history, tolerance for certain medicines etc. There is no treatment for baldness but hair replacement surgery can be done to fix some hair in the bald spot on the head. This is a little painful process. 99% of baldness has no cure through medications. There are lots of medications available over the counter for alopecia, but most of them are of no use. The baldness in men starts in the shape of "M" and the hair becomes very thin and small. Baldness could lead to low self-confidence and low self-esteem.

Shiny top on the head is always something, that could make a person lose his self-esteem. Though slowdown in the process of hair loss can be achieved, hair growth is not possible. If baldness is detected early then certain precautions can be taken to prevent further falling of hair.

How Serious is Open Angle Glaucoma?

Open angle glaucoma, which is also known as chronic simple glaucoma, occurs in 80 percent of all people with it, yet it is an eye disease that can be cured if it is discovered early. There are generally no symptoms with glaucoma; so many people do not realize they have it until it is too late. This is unfortunate, because if treated early, vision can be saved and the disease cured. This is why it is extremely important to pay attention to any signs that might appear.

There are other types of this condition but open angle is the one that affects the eyesight of most people. The sad fact is that there are more than 3 million Americans who have this disease but are not aware of it yet, based on statistical research. This disease works by damaging the optic nerve through pressure in the eye or decreasing the blood supply to the optic nerve.

If it is done early enough by scheduling eye exams, then it can be arrested, and a person's vision can be saved. However, any damage that it has caused up to that point is not fixable. The people who are most at risk of contracting this disease are black people, people over 40, or anyone that has a history of it in their family.

Most people who contract it discover that they have open angle glaucoma. This type is the most common and occurs in over 80 percent of all glaucoma cases. Glaucoma destroys a person's vision by affecting the optic nerve, by putting pressure on and or stopping the blood supply to it. Whatever damage the glaucoma causes is permanent, yet if done early, then it is very treatable.

Many people do not realize that they have this disease because the loss of vision happens so slowly; they can not tell it is happening to them. The only way to make sure that you are safe from the ravages of glaucoma is to be diligent about your health of your optical system and seek attention for any eye problems. Make sure that you have your annual eye examination and you can perhaps save your vision.

Finding out that you have contracted an eye disease is very difficult to deal with. Open angle glaucoma affects over 80 percent of the people that contract it. The good news is that it is a treatable disease. If people make sure that they have regular exams with their optical doctor, then they will be safe from the damages of this disease.

All About Swine Flu – H1N1

1. What is swine flu (Novel H1N1)?

Swine flu is a viral disease caused by a new type of influenza virus (Novel H1N1) that has never circulated before in humans. The new virus was first detected in the US in April 2009. The virus was initially called swine flu virus because it is genetically very similar to viruses that normally cause flu in swine (animals such pigs, boars, hogs).

2. What are the symptoms of swine flu?

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported in a number of people. Also, like seasonal flu, swine flu can be severe and even fatal in some cases.

3. If swine flu is similar to seasonal flu, why are we so worried?

Seasonal flu occurs every year but many people have some immunity against it which protects them from getting sick. In additions, vaccines against seasonal flu are available in many countries. The swine flu virus on the other hand is an entirely new agent against which most of us have little or no immunity. As a result, this virus can spread very fast and affect a much larger number of people than seasonal flu. We also do not have a vaccine against swine flu.

4. Is swine flu contagious?

Yes, the virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, we do not known how easily the virus spreads between people. It appears to be as contagious as seasonal influenza and is spreading fast particularly among young people (from ages 10 to 45).

5. How does swine flu virus spread?

Swine flu spreads from person-to-person in much the same way as seasonal flu. You can get infected if you inhale droplets expelled by an infected person during coughing or sneezing. Since the expelled droplets can also contaminate hands and other surfaces, you may also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth or nose. So far the swine flu virus has not been seen to spread to humans from pigs or other animals.

6. Can I get swine flu from eating or preparing pork?

No, swine flu virus does not spread through food. It is safe to eat properly handled and cooked pork. The flu virus is killed by cooking temperatures of 160°F/70°C, which is commonly used for cooking meat.

7. How severe is the illness caused by swine flu?

The severity of illness ranges from very mild symptoms to severe illnesses that can result in death. A large proportion of people who get infected with the virus experience mild disease and recover without hospitalization or antiviral treatment. Care at home – resting, drinking plenty of fluids and using a pain reliever is sufficient in most cases. (Note: A non-aspirin pain reliever is recommended in children and young adults because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.)

8. Who is at risk of severe swine flu illness?

Pregnant women, people with previously recognized medical conditions that increase the risk of flu-related complications, e.g. asthma, diabetes, heart disease and those with weak immune systems are more likely to experience severe illness caused by flu infection. A remarkable difference compared to seasonal flu is that swine flu has so far caused few cases and no deaths in people older than 64 years of age.

9. How can I protect myself against swine flu?

As of now a vaccine against swine flu is not available. However, you can protect yourself from getting infected by avoiding close contact (minimum distance of about 1 meter if possible) with people who have flu-like symptoms. In addition, the following measures can protect you:

Avoid crowded places/ reduce the time spent in crowded places

Improve ventilation in your living space by opening windows

Avoid touching your mouth and nose

Clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub several times in a day (especially if you touch potentially contaminated surfaces)

Maintain general good heath, get adequate sleep, eat nutritious food, and stay physically active

10. How can I figure out if my flu could be swine flu?

It is not possible to differentiate seasonal flu from flu without a medical and lab examination. If you are living in a flu affected area and have symptoms similar to seasonal flu such as fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose you should take all measures recommended for a flu affected person. Only your doctor or medical center can make a confirmed diagnosis of swine flu.

11. What should I do to prevent transmitting flu to those around me?

If you have symptoms suggestive of flu:

Stay at home -this means not going to office, school, markets, or any social gatherings

Inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other people

Take rest and drink plenty of fluids

Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing

If you are using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub.

If you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow.

Use a mask when you are around others

If possible, contact a medical professional before traveling to a health facility to discuss whether a medical examination is necessary

12. Should I take an antiviral to prevent or treat swine flu?

No, you should not take antiviral medications unless prescribed by your healthcare provider. Also avoid buying antiviral medicines on the internet.

13. Should I stop breastfeeding if I think I might have swine flu?

No, you should continue breastfeeding unless your doctor advises you to stop. Continuing breastfeeding is likely to protect your baby from getting infected by passing on maternal antibodies and boosting the immune system.

14. Is it OK to go to work/ school if I have flu?

No, it is recommended that you stay at home if you have symptoms of flu. This is important to protect your friends and colleagues from becoming ill.

15. Can I travel if I have flu?

If you have symptoms of flu, you should not travel. If you are unwell but cannot avoid travelling or contact with others, cover your mouth and nose. It is advisable to use a mask in such a situation. If you are returning from a flu affected country and develop flu symptoms, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider.

16. Should I avoid traveling to flu affected countries?

Some health ministries have advised the public to avoid unnecessary travel to flu affected countries. However, the WHO is not recommending travel restrictions as international travel for work or leisure will greatly disrupt people’s plans and schedules with little impact on the spread of the virus.

17. WHO has declared a swine flu pandemic. What does that mean?

A pandemic is an infectious disease that is spreading in a large region or even worldwide. If a disease is declared a pandemic, it indicates that it is spreading very fast across the world. At the time when the WHO declared a swine flu pandemic, the flu virus had already been reported from 70 countries and cases were occurring in multiple parts of the world.

18. What is the treatment of swine flu?

This flu is responding to two antiviral drugs called oseltamivir or zanamivir. These are prescription medicines that stop the flu virus from reproducing in your body. Antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications.

19. How long does influenza virus remain alive on surfaces such as tables and doorknobs?

Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

20. What is the incubation period of swine influenza?

Incubation period is the time interval between the entry of infection in your body to onset of symptoms. The incubation period of flu is unknown but it could range from 1 to 7 days, and more likely 1 to 4 days.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Cancer & Orthostatic Hypotension

Following are given the early signs and symptoms of the kidney cancer, which you need to keep in mind. The appearance of these symptoms doesn’t not mean that you have a kidney cancer. But these symptoms help you to keep you safe from upcoming major problems.

– Red, light pink and Cola colored blood in the urine

– Regular and recurrent backache

– If your are losing weight gradually

– Exhaust or lethargic feelings

– Sporadic fever and vomiting with night perspires

– Formations of larger amount of kidney mass in the abdominal region

– Swelling in the legs, ankles and arms

– Pain in genitals

– Feeling pain while urination

– Uneven sleeps

– Headaches and confused stat of brain

– Loss of edema (serum protein ‘Albumin’)

– Signs of anemia due to lack of red blood cells

– Malnutrition

– Hair loss due to malnutrition

– Hypertension

– Constipation

– Infection in kidney tissues

– Dehydration

– Diarrhea

– Toxicity due to consumption of drug

– Difficulty in breathing

– Chills

– Wetting up of beds

– Unwanted and unpredicted depression

Orthostatic hypotension (OSH) is condition in which the postural changes (lying to sitting or standing) that results to a decrease in one’s blood pressure causing dizziness. According to some medical literature, the decrease can be greater than 30mmHg from the average of 120/80mmHg in a healthy adult.

Our body is so programmed that it has blood vessels that constrict in the lower extremities to keep the blood pressure and make certain adequate perfusion in our body organs, especially heart and brain during standing up or getting up from lying position. Due to prolonged immobility sessions, the response from blood vessels becomes inactive. As a result blood pressure drops and perfusion is compromised, person feel light-headed or faint in many cases. To compensate and protect the brain from inadequate supply of blood, the heart rate increases. There are many other symptoms which can be caused due to OSH like the malfunction in the autonomic nervous system, diabetes, dysautonomia, and atherosclerosis. It can either be as a response to some drug side affects like in case of alpha blockers (vasodilators), diuretics and analgesics. Orthostatic hypotension signs increases with age.

Orthostatic hypotension can be controlled in a number of ways. There are certain medications to maintain the fluid and improve constriction of the blood vessels. Proper hydration can also be of great help. You can manage orthostatic hypotension by rising slowly from bed, gently sloping on your sides and sitting up calmly and eventually hanging or dangle your feet down to bed. This can help to give ample time to blood vessels to constrict well.

Facts About Stroke

Stroke is a major cause of death in the United States, and senior citizens are especially prone to experiencing a stroke and some of the long-term effects that can result. African Americans tend to also be at higher risk for stroke.

Knowing the signs of stroke and what to do when one occurs is very important. Caregivers of senior citizens or other friends and family should know these signs so that they can act quickly to reduce the serious effects that can occur as a result of a stroke. Someone suffering a stroke should always get to a hospital within an hour after symptoms begin.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped by a blood clot, which is usually a side effect of damaged blood vessels. When the brain does not receive oxygen from blood flow, there is a rapid rate of cell death that occurs and can manifest into mental or physical disability depending on how long the stroke goes untreated.

Ischemic strokes involve clots that work as a "plug" in blood vessels leading to the brain while hemorrhagic strokes involve clots that cause blood vessels to literally burst and bleed into the brain.

Symptoms

People who are having a stroke can experience:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face or leg, usually on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or difficulty producing and understanding speech
  • Sudden inability to see in one or both of the eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking or maintaining balance
  • Sudden severe headache without any other known cause

Because we can not see that someone is having a stroke unless they are showing the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to know how to recognize this sudden onset of symptoms and act quickly by seeking immediate medical attention. If you suspect that you are someone you know is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.

Prevention

Senior Citizens should take active steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Caregivers should encourage such activities to prevent disease. The following are suggestions will help prevent strokes.

Because strokes are due to complications with blood vessels, one way to prevent stroke is to keep high blood pressure under control because high blood pressure can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

  • Avoid smoking.
  • If you have diabetes, learn how to manage it efficiently.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight with a healthy eating plan and safe amount of physical activity.

Suffering From Alopecia Areata Hair Loss? Find Out How You Can Beat It!

Alopecia Areata Hair Loss can be a real bummer because I think we all know just how important our hair is to us. Not only for its biological benefits of thermoregulation (meaning it keeps our head warm) but having good hair can make or break a person's appearance.

I think it is safe to say that our hair is one of our main sources of self-esteem, and when we begin to suffer from Alopecia Areata Hair Loss our confidence can begin to dwindle.

There are several different variables that have been known to cause a person to lose their hair, including genetics, vitamin deficiencies, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise and alopecia Areata Hair loss which we will be discussing today.

You will be happy to hear that all of these different causes of lost hair can be prone and even reversed, however, it is important to understand the underlying cause of your thinning hair problem before you will be able to solve it. So, let's get our facts straight:

What is Alopecia Areata Hair Loss?

It's caused by an auto-immune disorder that will eventually lead to your loss of hair. This condition has been known to primarily affect the scalp, although it has also been found to affect other parts of the body.

What Causes Alopecia Areata Hair Loss?

It results from a failure in our auto-immune system. The body is protected by our white blood cells, however, when this condition occurs, the white blood cells begin to turn on the body and will not only attack the normal germs, it will also begin to attack itself. These white blood cells may begin to attack the hair follicles which will cause them to ever dry up and die, which will then lead to losing your hair.

Why Does This Happen?

Experts are not exactly sure why Alopecia Areata hair loss causes this change in white blood cells causing them to attack your hair follicles, but they have speculated that it might have something to do with a predisposed genetic condition or a viral infection.

How is this Disease Developed?

Alopecia Areata Hair Loss is believed to be primarily a genetic disorder. There is no clear cut answer to why the white blood cells turn on the body, but again it is believed that it's primary trigger is genetics, so if you have someone in your family who is suffering from this condition, there is a good chance that you may end up developing it as well.

Top Reasons to Consider Acupuncture for Glaucoma Treatment

Millions of people in America and around the world are affected by glaucoma, a cluster of eye disorders that can result in optical nerve damage, peripheral vision loss and eventually blindness. This disorder usually progresses gradually and alternative therapies such as acupuncture for glaucoma can be effective in preserving the health of the optic nerve and vision, especially if the condition is diagnosed at an early stage.

What Causes Glaucoma?

There are different types of glaucoma and researchers are still in the process of understanding how each type of glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve. For chronic open-angle glaucoma, it is understood that intraocular pressure gradually increases due to improper fluid drainage from canals in the eye. This leads to an accumulation of fluid that gradually damages the optic nerve and retina. Lack of blood flow to the optic nerve and retina is also observed in many types of glaucoma which gradually leads to retinal nerve cell damage and loss of peripheral vision even though the eye pressure does not go up. Acupuncture for glaucoma is a non-surgical method that can deliver positive results in the form of decreased intraocular pressure and improved fluid and blood circulation, especially when the eye drop caused so much irritation to the eyes and still cannot bring down the eye pressure.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone can develop glaucoma but some groups are at a higher risk than others. If you’re over sixty, an African-American over the age of forty, if you have near-sightedness, diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, you could fall in the high-risk category. Because glaucoma tends to progress gradually, it often remains undiagnosed and untreated before damage is already done. If you’re at a higher risk, it’s important to get your eyes examined by a qualified ophthalmologist every year to rule out the disorder or catch it at an early stage.

Treatment Options for Glaucoma

There are a wide variety of treatments for glaucoma including eye drops, laser surgery and conventional surgery to name a few. Acupuncture for glaucoma can be considered as a complimentary therapy to preserve and improve optic nerve health, vision and reduce the dry eyes. A combination of early detection, diet, acupuncture, Chinese medicines and medical treatment is the ideal plan to slow down the process of glaucoma and maintain the optic nerve function.

Positive Effects of Acupuncture

You might be wondering why acupuncture can be used to treat glaucoma and if it’s really worthwhile to try. Depending on patient’s condition and severity of glaucoma, an acupuncturist will develop an individual plan for each patient. A series of treatments (24 to 36) involving the use of very fine acupuncture needs at various points of the body may be recommended. Further treatment depends on how well your body responds. When done by a qualified and trained acupuncturist, acupuncture for glaucoma has many positive effects including decreasing intraocular pressure, improving fluid and blood circulation in the eye and improving peripheral vision. Considering all these benefits, acupuncture is a therapy worth considering for glaucoma relief and nerve regeneration.

If you’re ready to try this treatment, make an appointment with an experienced acupuncturist trained in Chinese medicine!

Health Is Wealth – A Conceptual Critique

People have different preferences towards available life options. Same is true for the statement “health is wealth”. What exactly is it? A simple preference that signifies health is superior to wealth? Or a comprehensive statement that indicates health and wealth are linked with each other, systematically and dynamically?

Health is a comprehensive concept, it includes physical strength, mental power and spiritual-wellness of a person. On the other hand, wealth is the richness of a person i.e. abundance of money and worldly items. “Health is Wealth” is a simple statement but its meaning is so fabulous when deeply thought. People now a days refer the statement as when a person is healthy, he is capable of making wealth. On the contrary, if one is not healthy he/she cannot work productively, and hence won’t be able to generate income for independent living. This explanation is true but the deep meaning of this claim can be understood by the words of Virgil: “The greatest wealth is health.” Mr. Virgil is trying to enlighten the concept that the greatest wealth is health, not money or worldly items. There is nothing more valuable in our life than having a good health.

Patrick Meagher said: “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.” Nowadays people are influenced by wealth improperly that they don’t even care about their health, the greatest wealth. They don’t understand that without health there is no real happiness and enviable success. A person with poor health is unable to enjoy the pleasures of life. I think such people are foolish enough because they do not care about their health. Our first priority should be to maintain our health in the best way.

There are multiple methods and practices by which a person can stay healthy; Spending time in natural environment i.e. visiting parks and gardens. Physical exercise is also essential e.g. morning walks, playing sports, etc., it keeps a person smart and healthy. Water is the cure for all types of illness, so drink water to stay healthy and fit. Eating a balanced diet keeps people away from different illness and diseases. It is said that: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Abandon unhealthy practices and habits e.g. smoking, drinking and taking drugs because it harms internal parts of our body. Always be optimistic and cheerful because: “Laughter/smile is the best medicine.” On the contrary, an unhappy person is more prone to fatigue and other illness.

Remember, living a healthy life can be the greatest gift you can give yourself because one cannot enjoy life if he/she is unhealthy. In addition, we must not harm our health by running madly behind wealth. I would like to conclude my essay on the nice words of Mae West: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Effects of Copper Peptides in Wound Healing

What exactly are copper peptides and how can these elements improve skin rejuvenation? Generally speaking, peptides are small fragments of proteins (and the proteins are the key building blocks of most living tissues). Certain kinds of peptides have an avid affinity for copper, to which they bind very tightly. The resulting compound including a peptide and a copper atom has been known as a copper peptide.

A lot of substances can have a beneficial effect on wound healing. A special character of bioavailable copper peptides is that they reduce scar tissue formation while promoting normal skin remodeling. In other words, they help better restore the injured area to its original look.

The sequence of copper peptide action is rather complex. Copper bound to aminoacids promotes the dissolution of "extra-large" collagen aggregates found in scars and promotes the synthesis of smaller more regular collagen found in normal skin. It also promotes the synthesis of elastin, proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans and other elements of the skin matrix. Other critical effects of Copper Peptides include the ability to regulate the growth rate and migration of different types of cells; significant anti-inflammatory action; and the ability to prevent the release of iron capable of promoting oxidation into the tissues. The net result is a faster, better and "cleaner" healing.

You may say it's nice to have perfectly healed wounds, but what about people who do not have any injuries or ulcerations to heal? Can copper peptides be useful for normal skin protection and rejuvenation? It appears that they can. However, while the wound healing effects of copper peptide have been researched and documented in many studies, much less research has been done so far on their cosmetic and anti-aging application.

Various existing skin care treatments are based on the concept of eliminating the outermost or even deer layers of the skin. The resulting healing mechanism stimulates skin remodeling leading to softer, younger looking skin. Since copper peptides optimize healing and improve skin remodeling, they can increase the effect of therapies based on various forms of controlled skin damage. In special, copper peptides can be useful after various types of laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, and chemical peels.

Copper peptides are effective against several forms of skin irritation, mainly because of their anti-inflammatory effects. Skin irritation, even in the absence of open wounds, consistently speeds up skin aging by stimulating the formation of free radicals and other damage by-products. Some common skin rejuvenation treatments, such as tretinoin (Retin A, Renova) and alpha hydroxy acids can cause irritation. If during treatment you suffer skin irritation for an extended period of time, your skin may likely end up in a worse condition than when you started. In several cases, copper peptides can reduce or eliminate the irritation and help maximizeize treatment benefits.

Important Updates Regarding the H1N1 Flu

A presidential advisory panel recently informed that the H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu, could cause up to 90,000 deaths in the US this year, which is a substantial increase from the 64,000 individuals who usually die during flu season. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has also reported that the H1N1 flu could infect between 30 and 50 percent of the US population this fall and winter, and the government is urging the American population to take this threat seriously.

While health officials ensure us a vaccine for the H1N1 flu is being tested, one is not likely to become available until mid-October, which leaves us particularly vulnerable as we head into flu season this year. The following tips are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to reduce your risk of illness and help prevent the spread of H1N1 flu.

Wash hands periodically through the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time

Alcohol-based hand cleaners can be an effective way to ward off germs as well

Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose

Always cough and sneeze into a tissue and then immediately throw the tissue away

Stay at least six feet away from people who are sick, and if you're sick, limit your contact with others

If you become ill, stay home and stay there for at least 24 fever-free hours without the aid of medications

Improve your immune system by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly

Keep updated on the availability of the H1N1 vaccine, and get your seasonal flu vaccination as soon as it's available

H1N1 flu symptoms are much like other flu viruses: fever, cough, sore throat, runny / stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarhea and vomiting. It's important to remember that the H1N1 flu is still the flu and panicking will not help anyone. No, you can not catch it from eating pork and no, racing to the nearest emergency room is not necessary. As a matter of fact, a visit to the emergency room could have exposed you to the very germs you should avoid. If you are seriously worried, always call your doctor's office first and listen to their instructions. You should especially call your doctor if your fever is unusually high or has lasted longer than three days, if you're having difficulties breathing or producing fluid, if your fever returns after a few days, or if you've developed dark spots on your hands or mouth.

Fibromyalgia Not Real

Fibromyalgia Is not a Real Disease

Says Fibromyalgia Research Doctor

From THE FRONT PAGE of The New York Times Article

Dr. Frederick Wolfe, the director of the National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases and the lead author of the 1990 paper that first defined the diagnostic guidelines for fibromyalgia, says he has become cynical and discouraged about the diagnosis. He now considers the condition a physical response to stress, depression, and economic and social anxiety. "

Dr. Wolfe goes on to say, "Some of us in those days thought that we had actually identified a disease, which this is clearly not."

"… other doctors – including (Dr. Wolfe) the one who wrote the 1990 paper that defined fibromyalgia but who has since changed his mind – say that the disease does not exist and that Lyrica and the other drugs will be taken by millions of people who do not need them. "

Just when I was optimistic that the traditional medical community was finally getting the message that fibromyalgia is a very real and very serious illness, this kind of short-sighted, arrogant, and simple-minded myth raises its ugly head once again. This bit of news, by a prominent rheumatologist, is not a huge surprise. When was the last time you visited your rheumatologist (after waiting months to be seen) and felt like they understood your fibromyalgia? And if they did believe you had fibromyalgia, were they helpful?

Probably not, since their answer is to recommend more and more drugs, year end and year out. The side effects of these drugs begin to add up and pretty soon you realize your fibromyalgia symptoms are not much better, and worse, you've got additional symptoms from all those meds.

I've repeatedly been asked to give my opinion on the over-hyped new drug for fibromyalgia, Lyrica. I've kept quiet for two reasons. One, I wanted to give Lyrica the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately Lyrica has proven to be ineffective for the majority of my patients, as well as the fibromyalgia sufferers I'm in contact with around the world. Secondly, I thought at least Pfizer's multi-million dollar drug campaign would help the public understand the pain fibromyalgia patients experience day in and day out. Surely the TV and print ads would help others realize that yes there is such a thing as fibromyalgia, here are the symptoms, and this is why aunt Jane feels so miserable each day.

According to the New York Times, worldwide sales of Lyrica reached $ 1.8 billion in 2007, up 50 percent from 2006. Analysts predict sales will rise an additional 30 percent this year, helped by consumer advertising. During the first nine months of 2007, Pfizer spent $ 46 million on Lyrica ads.

Sadly, The New York Times and other print media have elected to take a different slant. Instead of helping dispel the myth that those with fibromyalgia are crazy, lazy, or depressed, they've elected to focus on the minimum of doctors who think fibromyalgia is not real.

As I lecture and interact with doctors throughout North America, I routinely encounter doctors who do not believe fibromyalgia exists, but the number has steadily declined. But now this article comes out and what will the public think?

More on Lyrica

Lyrica is the first prescription medication approved to treat fibromyalgia. Pfizer's Lyrica, commonly known as pregabalin, binds to receptors in the brain and spinal cord and seems to reduce activity in the central nervous system. But, no one knows exactly how Lyrica works.

Some say that Lyrica does not work well enough to have warranted its FDA approval. In 2004, the FDA as a remedy for diabetic nerve pain, reviewed Lyrica. The reviewers recommended against approving the drug, citing its side effects. But the FDA ignored the advice of Lyrica reviewers, and approved it anyway. Then Pfizer asked the FDA to expand the approved uses of Lyrica to include the treatment of fibromyalgia, and the agency did so in June.

According to in clinical trials, patients taking Lyrica reported that their pain fell on average about 2 points on a 10-point scale, compared with 1 point for patients taking a placebo. Not a big deal to say the least.

About 30 percent of patients said their pain fell by at least half, compared with 15 percent taking placebos.

The study involved 75 participants took Lyrica and 75 took a sugar pill or placebo. So 38 of those taking Lyrica had at least a 50% in pain. But 23 participants taking a placebo had at least a 50% reduction in pain. Lyrica was helpful for 15 more participants than a sugar pill. But, at what cost?

Lyrica causes gain gain and edema, or swelling, as well as dizziness and sleepiness. According to the New York Times, in 12-week trials, 9 percent of patients saw their weight rise more than 7 percent, and the weight gain appeared to continue over-time. The following outlines some of the "common" side effects of Lyrica:

Experiencing Weight Gain

Blurred Vision

Body Tremors

Possible Insomnia

Gastrointestinal Difficulties, such as Diarrhea and Constipation

Mild to Severe Headaches

Nausea

Swelling in Hands

Dry Mouth

Swelling in Ankles

Dizziness

Drowsiness

Possible Fainting

Many individuals who have been prescribed Lyrica, and then quit taking it without their doctors consent have discovered that they suffer from many uncomfortable symptoms. This is a direct result of withdrawal from this prescription drug. Many individuals who start Lyrica to soothe the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia do not realize that this medication can become addictive. If you wish to stop Lyrica treatment, you must discuss it with a medical professional. The doctor will then set lower and lower dosages until you are able to stop treatment with no dangerous side-effects. Obviously I'm not a big fan of Lyrica. I believe there are safer and more effective ways to reverse the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Read the entire New York Times article at the link- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/14/health/14pain.html

Stroke Rehab

In the US around 70,000 people suffer a Stroke each year. Rehab is crucial to help the victims of Strokes cope with the effects of a Stroke and recover to a normal and healthy life.

How well a patient recovers from a Stroke depends on many factors. Minimizing brain damage during the Stroke will make Rehab faster and more effective. Rehab can not cure the Stroke but can help in long-term recovery of the aftereffects of brain damage.

The first step would be to diagnose a Stroke. A number of tests may be done on the patient to diagnose the type of Stroke so that the professionals can determine a treatment and rehab plan. This includes blood pressure, blood sampling, X-ray, ECG, Echocardiogram, brain scans such as MRI and CT scans, and Carotid Ultrasound scanning.

After the diagnosis the medical treatment begins. During a Stroke brain tissue is damaged by blood clots (ischemic stroke) and / or internal bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). Various drug treatments must be started immediately to treat this condition. If used soon enough, they can help prevent damage to the brain.

These include-Anti-platelet drugs, such as aspirin, to prevent clotting, anti-coagulant drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs, and antihypertensive drugs. Some patients may go in for surgical procedures like stenting to clear the clogs and reduce the intensity of the Stroke.

Rehabilitation therapy begins in the emergency care hospital within 24-48 hours after the Stroke, once the patient has stabilized. Rehabilitation of Stroke victims is a difficult and time-consuming task. It helps the Stroke survivors to relearn skills that are lost by brain damage during the Stroke.

It also teaches new skills to make up for any disabilities and to practice and relearn communication, memory, and voluntary and physical skills. Commonly people have a surge of recovery in the weeks following the Stroke, followed by a slower recovery in the next year or so.

Stroke can cause five types of disabilities: Paralysis, problems controlling movement, sensory disorders including pain, problems using or understanding language, and emotional distortions.

Paralysis is the most common result of Stroke. It causes problems of movement, posture and swallowing. Left-brain damage causes right-limb paralysis. Stroke victims may also experience sensory problems like pain, numbness and loss of feeling. Some may have aphasia, problems using or understanding language. People with Global aphasia may lose all their linguistic abilities.

Stroke can also cause damage to the parts of the brain related to memory, learning and awareness. Some also experience some emotional trauma involving fear, anxiety, frustration and suicidal thoughts.

During the Rehabilitation process, doctors are responsible for the long-term care of the Stroke survivors, including neurologists who look after acute care and physiatrists who look after the Rehab program. Physical therapists help patients with mobility issues like walking, climbing stairs and maintaining balance. Occupational therapists teach them daily living activities like feeding, grooming and using the toilet. Speech therapists help with language skills and swallowing problems. Rehab nurses care for the patient and educate the family concerning how to care for them. Social workers help Stroke survivors and their families with counseling and community resources.

Stroke is a serious disease, rendering the survivor in a weak and deficient position. The need for aftercare and Rehab is high, as the aftereffects of a Stroke are numerous and interfere with normal life function in an unmanageable way. It is only with the help of this team of doctors, nurses and therapists that the patient can be rehabilitated.

Traction Alopecia – What Are The Causes?

What is Traction Alopecia? The dictionary definition for the term "alopecia" refers to hair loss or baldness. The "transaction" portion refers to stress hair loss. So, when you hear the term "traction alopecia", it will be referring to hair loss or thinning caused by a stressed scalp.

Causes of Traction Alopecia

The causes of this type of stress hair loss are just what they sound like – habits or things that we do to our hair that causes stressed scalp conditions. The major cause of this condition relates to hair styles that pull the hair shafts tightly and cause scalp stress. Hair styles that generally create scalp stress are tightly woven cornrows, tightly plaited braids and pigtails and any hair style that requires that the hair strands be folded tightly and either woven or fastened tightly. These hair styles are prevalent in both males and females and are primarily found in youth, teen and young adults. Hair weaving in men to cover areas which have experienced thinning or lost hair is becoming more prevalent and is also becoming an increasing cause of traction alopecia.

Another Cause of Traction Alopecia

Another cause of traction alopecia is also an external one. Any trauma to the scalp can cause stress hair loss. Any traction on the hair strand loosens the grip of the follicle on the hair strand and it falls out sooner than the biological cellular programming of the hair follicle intentions. The stressed scalp permits the hair strand to be loosened and shed before its time in the area of ​​the scalp stress; ie in the area of ​​the traumatic injury or adjacent to the cornrow area or the areas experiencing the greatest tug and pull when you braid or pigtail your hair.

Why is the Early Shedding an Issue?

Each of the follicles located in your skin produces hair strands all over your body. These hair follicles are full of hundreds of pre-programmed cells that produce the hair shaft. The programming in these cells initiates and promotes the life cycle of the hair shaft and governs how many times that life cycle will be repeated. This life cycle can span a period of only a few months or several years. The important thing to note here is the number of times the life cycle is to be repeated. For example, if your cellular programming says that the life cycle will only be repeated 50 times, then, if you shed the hair strand before its life cycle is over and do so often, you will exhaust the number of life cycles those hair follicles can produce hair strands. The result will be permanent stress hair loss. Stress hair loss means bald or thinning areas in beautiful full head of hair!

Emotional and Psychological Effects of Stress Hair Loss

While the causes of traction alopecia can somehow be controlled, the emotional and psychological effects on the internal self image and self confidence of the person experiencing the stress hair loss sometimes can not be controlled. Thinning hair can affect your appearance and that can affect your business relationships as well as romantic ones. You will look into your mirror and you will not see the same person that you have seen in the past and you will likely long to return to that more youthful and attractive appearance.

The key to reversing or controlling the damage of traction alopecia is to identify and control the causes of the stress hair loss as early as possible. It is vitally important to identify the causes of traction alopecia and correct the causes of stress hair loss immediately before the thinning or loss becomes permanent and irreversible.

Health Benefits of Propolis

Propolis is a natural antibiotic that is fast gaining in popularity in the application of home remedies! It’s one of those bee products that really cause me to wow at the wonder of nature and marvel at the ability of the highly organised insect – honey bee. Now, let me tell you what exactly propolis is.

Some trees and conifers produce sticky resins as part of their immune system to defend themselves against disease. Honey bees collect these substances that ooze from the buds of these plants. After chewing them and mixing them with their saliva and other substances, propolis is formed. This nutrient-rich substance is of vital importance for the survival of the honey bees in the beehive. It is created to sterilize the hive and protect it against diseases and infection. Not only does it help to inhibit the spread of bacteria, virus, and fungi that would otherwise pose a significant threat in the closely-knit quarters, it also and help fight against climatic changes, such as wind and cold. It is also used as a “putty” to seal cracks and openings in the hive and to strengthen and repair honeycombs, and for this reason is also known as ‘bee glue’. Another fact that amazes me is that honey bees also use this sticky substance to embalm or “mummify” the carcasses of larger insects that invade the hive. Such intruders are immediately stung to death but because the defending bees can’t transport such heavy corpse away from the hive, they embalm them rather than allowing them to decay. The ancient Eygptians observed this and used propolis as one of the embalming agents for their exquisite mummies!

Propolis contains approximately 50-70% resins, 30% wax, 10% etheric oils and 5% pollen. It is especially rich in amino acids, important for immune system function. It has a high vitamin content (Vitamin A (carotene), Vitamin B1, B2, B3, biotin) and is extremely rich in bioflavonoids (Vitamin P) which are believed to have numerous immune building properties and health benefits. Bioflavonoids are the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables and are found in abundance in oranges. This bee glue contains almost 500 times more bioflavonoids than is found in oranges! It also contains an array of albumin, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Like Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen, it contains a number of unidentified compounds which work together synergistically to create a balanced, nutritive substance.

Propolis can be purchased completely raw and unprocessed, but it in its natural state is a sticky substance and is very difficult to handle. Some beekeepers will package the raw propolis and freeze it in small portions. It can then be added to a coffee grinder in its frozen state and ground for easy consumption. Most producers utilize a process where the active ingredients are ‘leached’ into water or alcohol, then either packaged in liquid form or dried and capsulated.

Because of its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, this precious substance has been used as a healing agent for many centuries. It has the ability to provide protection against infectious invaders, promote healing and regeneration of tissue, and provides a superior source of energy and stamina. It has been used as ointments for healing cuts and wounds and shown to have outstanding value for a wide variety of illnesses. It is also used as a natural alternative to penicillin and other antibiotics. It is said to be particularly safe and effective and inhibits the resistance-building effect that is a negative factor with prescription antibiotics. In the former Eastern Bloc countries, antibiotics have never been widely available, but beekeeping is widely practised. To help prevent many diseases, hospitals and clinics recommended washing, gargling or irrigating the sinuses with propolis rinses, as well as taking propolis internally. This bee product is certainly a good weapon against bacteria when used topically. It can clearly prevent infections, and can also help heal infections that have already begun.

Do you know that now even toothpastes contain natural ingredients related to honey bees. Propolis has become a healthy alternative to synthetic brands of toothpastes as it is especially useful in mouth and gum disorders. Our mouth is one of the most sensitive spots of our body. This is the place where the synesthesia of senses starts and the food we visualize develops its full smell and taste. The mouth is the starting point of the food digestion. A healthy mouth cavity is certainly one of the elements contributing to the appetite and good mood in general. If the mouth develops sore spots, thrush or gum disease, it causes the whole system to disrupt, resulting in pain and tormenting feeling. Published clinical research demonstrates that propolis fights bacteria, prevents tooth decay, enhances oral hygiene, heals bleeding gums, and prevents gums receding. Manufacturers of propolis toothpastes and mouth sprays claim that their products leave teeth clean, gums feeling healthy, taste great without artificial ingredients, and produce no negative side effects. The salesperson at a honey shop which I often frequent explained that propolis toothpaste are very suitable for young children’s use as even if it’s accidentally swallowed, it’s extremely safe. Such products are easily applied, and have increasingly become part of the everyday dental hygiene of people who are especially interested in natural remedies. My latest discovery while shopping for honey products : propolis extract now even comes in the form of sprays and candies. The spray claims that it is effective against flu, cuts, burns, gum and mouth infections, throat discomforsts and intestinal discomfort, while the candy is sold as a good therapeutic substitute to the traditional throat lozenges and an aid to curing flu, colds, throat discomfort, cough and bad breath.

Note of Caution: Propolis is generally non-toxic, though allergic reactions such as skin rashes, swelling, redness, eczema or fever have been reported. As the effects of propolis during pregnancy and breast-feeding have not been sufficiently evaluated, women should not use it during these times unless directed to do so by a physician.

Source: www.benefits-of-honey.com/propolis.html