Autism – Genetic and Environmental Causes

Autism causes are a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors that researchers have yet to fully understand. Studies of identical and unique twins reveal that genetics play an important role in autism.

A Brief Description of Autism

Defining autism is difficult, as the disorder covers a wide range of symptoms and severity can range from mild to debilitating. A neurological disorder, it causes injury in social interaction and communication. A person with autism may have restricted interests or engage in abnormal, repetitive behavior. Depending on the severity of symptoms, it causes mild to debilitating impairment.

Autism is part of a group of related disorders collectively called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The autism spectrum, as its name implies, describes a range of symptoms, rather than specific problems. Other ASDs include Asperger's syndrome, Retts syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder, as well as pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified.

Genetic Autism Causes

Most cases have no known cause, but the tendency for disorders of the autism spectrum to run in families suggests a genetic component. Families with one autistic child have a 3 to 8 percent chance that their other children will be autistic.

Twin studies demonstrate the importance of genetics in establishing causes. If one identical twin has autism, studies reveal a 30 percent chance that the other twin is also autistic.

In addition to twin studies, autism research reveals that families of autistic children have a much higher rate of communication defects, impaired social skills or restricted interests, all of which are hallmarks of classic autism and fall within the autism spectrum.

Despite the strong evidence for genetic causes, parents of autistic children are rarely autistic themselves, although they may display personality traits suggestive of autism. Genetics alone, then, does not need account for autism.

Environmental Catalysts and Autism Genetics

Many researchers believe that the potential for autism lies in genetics, but environmental factors are required to "trigger" the disease. Over time, a number of environmental causes have been identified that may act as catalysts for autism, including:

  • bacterial meningitis
  • cytomegalovirus
  • developmental brain disorders
  • fragile X syndrome
  • lead encephalopathy
  • rubella
  • some metabolic disorders
  • toxoplasmosis
  • tuberous sclerosis.

These disorders are not considered definitive causes. Most children who experience these conditions do not develop autism. However these conditions may interact with existing genetic factors, resulting in autism.

Vaccination and Disproven Autism Causes

Some suggested causes have proven false. The early theory that a distant or uncaring mother causes autism has long been disproven.

More recently, an argument was made that the mercury conservative used in vaccinations caused autism. Despite significant research, no link between infection and autism has ever been found.

Genetics, Autism and the Future

Most researchers doubt that causes can be traced to a single gene. Instead, they believe that a number of different genes contribute to the development of autism. Some autism experts have even speculated that in the future, what we now label autism will be recognized as a group of similar, but separate diseases.

It may take years to unravel the roles genetics and environment play in autism, but the goal is attainable. Understanding autism causes will help the search for effective treatments and better therapies for autism.


Ellis, C., & Hale, K. (nd). Autism causes. Retrieved November 12, 2008, from the eMedicine Health Web site: [].

Exploring Autism. (2002). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved December 12, 2008, from the Exploring Autism Web site: .

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (April, 2006). Autism fact sheet. Retrieved December 14, 2008, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Web site: .

The Ascetic Body – Robert Veeder’s Prison Marathon

This is about running for others’ lives, but let us start with the Girl Scout cookies.

Your daughter trudges up my disintegrating front steps and to my front door as you wait by the curb, apparently looking for a cab on the western outskirts of Chicago. She rings the bell, invites my participation in the buy, her dark brown hair crossing up and over her left shoulder as she leans in to show me the list of the possibilities for a sugar high.

She sells, I buy. I eat (too many), she brings back (a little) money to fund her troop’s autumn camping trip. I may be willing to pay a bit more for a box of cookies than I might have at the grocery store because your daughter seems like a sweet girl, or because I was once a Girl Scout and remember those days warmly. Soon the cookies are gone. The camping trip will be remembered fondly by some of those who went on it.

This transaction is kind of like what happens in a public radio fund drive, which offers valuable or branded giveaways (to “members” rather than “donors”) in return for a pledge. I love to listen to these quarterly fundraisers even more than to the regular programming, simply to hear my favorite radio personalities improvise their ways, often ingeniously, out of the tight corners their on-air fundraising partners may have created for them. To compel listeners to become donors without ever uttering a negative or guilt-provoking word, one needs infinite creativity and goodwill, especially toward those who listen regularly to the programming without helping to pay for it. Both the sale of the Girl Scout cookies and the public radio fundraising drive, with rewards offered for the “gift” of a donation, are more business transactions, exchanges, than is asking someone simply to write a check for environmental protection or a political candidate or the protection of basic human rights around the world.

I first became aware around 1990 of a very different kind of fundraising effort, now quite popular, when I decided to participate in the Gay Men’s Health Crisis “Dance for Life” marathon. Bringing together those willing to work (dance, sweat), those willing to give (money), and those willing to organize for a cause (the Gay Men’s Health Crisis), the Dance for Life event had three apparent constituencies and an exponentially greater opportunity than one-on-one transactional fundraising for long-lasting personal and communal impact.

We dancers, many of whom had family members or friends who had died from or were dying of AIDS-related causes, would solicit contributions based on how many hours we danced. We danced against death: at the time, dancing felt like dying’s antidote. We gave our bodies’ sweat, exertion, energy to support our loved ones’ and others’ fight to live. The body felt like the perfect site for our devotion.

This September, I learned of an even more moving, more perfect three-way, transformational partnership to raise money. This contemporary expiatory ritual bound a cause–Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)–the members of a virtual community who offered not only money but hope, and one who would do that community’s, along with his own, sweating.

On the night of Saturday, November 1, 2003, Robert “Blinker” Veeder had driven while drunk and killed six people, several of whom had stopped to help the victims of a just-previous collision, when one SUV ran a stop sign and hit another. Serving the last two and a half years of his sentence in a North Carolina prison for six counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon (the van he was driving), Robert joined with his beloved, Dr. Kara Grasso, a dentist living in South Carolina (and a close friend of mine), to create an event that could help him atone for the deaths of the innocent victims of his having driven while drunk: he would raise $5,000 running a marathon as he marked the sixth anniversary of the lives-changing accident.

While initially the practice was meant to allow Robert to birth some good out of the harm he had done, the use of his body as the place where his penance was done created a profound connection between those in the prison and those on the outside. On the inside, fellow prisoners trained with him and would eventually run alongside him for encouragement during the marathon. In the essay that he wrote for Kara to send to potential donors, Robert asked for the partnership of those on the outside. He wrote in a letter that Kara distributed, “I can’t do much from in here. My daily job in the kitchen only earns me a dollar a day. They won’t let me give blood, I’ve asked. But I can run. I can run a long time. I can run around this yard 184 times which would be the 26.2 miles and some change of an official marathon. What I can’t do is donate money to support M.A.D.D.; but you can.

“I know that I can never give the lives back. God, I wish I could, but I can’t. I can’t take away the ache from the lives which were endlessly changed by this tragic event. There’s nothing I can do to take back the hurt. There is simply nothing that I can do.”

“But WE can do a lot.”

MADD already had a “Walk like MADD” event for fundraising. Robert’s event became a “MADD Dash for Recovery,” as he planned to run the full 26.2 miles of a marathon in laps around the prison yard. As he described it, this writer, clown, and ukelele and blues harmonica player would “head up to A and B dorm and start running. I’ll run across the top of the horseshoe pits, past the weight pile, in between the chaplain’s office and the cook school trailer, past the library, the clothes house, the multi-purpose room, down the side of the chow hall, past the guard at the front gate and cut in front of the sergeant’s office, past A and B dorm, across the top of the horseshoe pits. The inmates won’t know why I am running. The guards won’t know why I am running. But you’ll know. I’ll know. We’ll know why I’m running. We’ll be running together. Running for life.”

Family and friends joined in the cause, not just by donating money but by circulating Robert’s statement of his intention to generate good out of the victims’ families’ losses. Money to meet the $5,000 goal poured forth. Perhaps even more important, people outside the prison engaged emotionally and physically with Robert’s bodily labors and offered him forgiveness and the prospect of redemption. One donor wrote, “I’ll be thinking of Robert in the morning as he does his marathon. We lifted him up in prayer tonight at church.” Another: “Rob, run like the wind. Feel yourself being powered by those of us behind you. Good luck, I’ll be thinking of you next week, while you run.”

By twelve days before the run, Kara had received notes from many of Robert’s supporters declaring their intention to pray, chant, meditate. Others were inspired to designate drivers, in keeping with MADD’s education efforts. Some intended to take up their spiritual practice, or to run, too, during the hours Robert was slated to run his marathon.

As Kara and her parents and Robert’s own watched him through the prison gates, and with prison friends running alongside him, Robert completed the marathon on November 2, 2009 in 4 hours, 3 minutes, 15 seconds. Afterward, he wrote, “Today while running, with so many people praying, chanting, meditating, and holding me next to their hearts, I felt the spirit of unity, peace, oneness [as] I made my way toward that magical 26th mile.”

Robert Veeder’s ascetic action reminds us of images and figures of bodily redemption from world religious and spiritual traditions, where the sweat or suffering of one pairs with a community of belief. The power of the physical body to endure trials carries special poignancy in engaging us toward meaning that can be held in common, in community.

Copyright Sara K. Schneider 2009

Causes and Flu Treatments

What is flu?

Influenza, commonly known as flu, is an acute febrile highly contagious viral disease that is caused because of the flu virus. You must get flu treatment and complete rest before the condition becomes too complex. Flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness which can be spread either by the coughing and sneezing of an infected person or from an infected person if you come in close contact with them or even touch them. Flu viruses hit or attack our body by spreading through the respiratory tract. Many of the infected people get better and recover in 1 to 2 weeks, but few people develop serious and critical medical complications like pneumonia. The infected person can spread the flu infection before they are aware of the fact that they are infected. There is no perfect cure for the flu but you can get relief from flu infection with the help of flu treatments. Flu treatment can be obtained with the help of herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies and natural remedies.

Causes of Flu

You may at times wonder about the causes of flu. Flu Infections are usually caused by airborne transmission. To understand details on causes of flu you must first understand the basic flu facts. Knowing about the causes of flu can help you in preventing yourself from getting the flu and its symptoms. So, its very important to know about causes of flu and how they affect you and your loved ones.

The flu is very different from a cold. A cold can be caused because of 100 different viruses but flu is caused only by the influenza virus. Later, we will give details of the types of influenza viruses, which is the only cause of this contagious disease.

Firstly, flu is spread by inhaling a respiratory droplet from a flu infected person. The flu virus gets an opportunity to enter into individual individual bodies when they breathe in infectious droplets expelled by the infected person while coughing or sneezing.

Secondly, flu is spread by indirect contact with a contaminated object. The virus gets on the hands of the uninfected person while touching any object, which was earlier touched by an infected person. The flu virus enters into the body of an uninfected person by touching eyes, ears, nose, and mouth making him / her ill.

Flu can also be caused by the items infected with respiratory secretions.

Influenza virus attacks your respiratory tract that as a result causes soreness and rashes. These viruses frequently change with time. Because of the constant change in viral RNA, it is able to avoid the resistant system in our bodies.

Symptoms of the Flu

Before you go for the flu treatments check the symptoms of flu. Some of the flu symptoms are exactly the same as cold symptoms. Symptoms like stuffy nose, sore throat and cough are found in a cold as well as the flu. Symptoms which are found only in a flu infected person are:

• High temperature: Usually 100 F-103 F in adults and at times much higher in children

• Shivering and sudden sunset of chills

• Severe headache

• Complete Body pain

• Fatigue, weakness

• Nausea, vomiting

• Diarrhea

Symptoms of flu may continue for about a week or two but cough and weakness may persist for a long period.

Flu Virus Characteristics

Flu virus was first identified in 1930s. From that time onwards scientists have started classifying flu viruses into three categories normally Type A, Type B and Type C. These flu viruses are listed into different categories on the basis of their protein composition.

• Type A or Influenza A virus: This is the most prevalent type of flu that attacks every year. Influenza A virus is further divided into subtypes HA and NA, which is based on the two surface protein structures of the virus. Currently there are about 16 HA and 9 NA known. Recent subtypes of Influenza A viruses found in humans are H1N1 and H3N2.

• Type A or Influenza A flu virus is found in human beings and many different animals like:

Ducks – Chickens – Pigs – Whales – Horses – Seals

Influenza A is the most dangerous in comparison to the other two flu types.

• Type B or Influenza B virus: This type of flu virus mostly revolves around us humans and is less severe than Type A influenza. Both Type A and Type B are responsible for the seasonal epidemic of flu. It can be a serious health hazard but basically most of the cases are mild. Type B is not divided further into subtypes or subcategories.

• Type C or Influenza C virus: This type of flu virus is common and is only found in humans, pigs, and dogs. Type C or Influenza C virus causes mild respiratory infections. People normally do not become extremely ill from influenza type C viruses.

Various flu vaccines and shots are available to protect you from the Type A and Type B viruses. For the Type C flu virus no treatment or shots are available.

Who are at greater risk of getting infected by flu virus?

People with chronic diseases, poor immune systems, elders and small children are at a greater risk for coming in contact with the flu. In a priority of cases flu is mild but unpleasant. If the flu symptoms worsen then it can cause serious complications. Below are those that are most susceptible to severe consequences of the flu and flu complications:

• If you are an elderly person (above 50 years of age)

• If you are a new born baby or a young child

• If you are pregnant

• If you are suffering from heart or cardiovascular disease

• If you are suffering from Asthma or bronchitis

• If you are suffering from kidney disease

• If you are a diabetic

• If you are using steroids

• If you are taking cancer treatment

• If you are anemic

• If you are a HIV positive

• And last but not the least, if your immune system is poor

Basic tips which you must remember when infected with the flu

When you are infected with the flu, along with flu treatment you must also take extra special care of yours. We all know that flu is caused by a virus, so antibiotics will not help us in recovering from viral infections. If you have a headache, body ache or muscle ache then you can take a painkiller, it may help you get some relief.

Some basic things which should be done when infected with the flu are:

• You must stay at home until and unless you have fully recovered

• Avoid coming in contact with anyone

• Get plenty of rest

• Cover and keep yourself warm

• Drink lots of liquids, like water, chicken broth, and other fluids

• Avoid alcohol

• Avoid Smoking

• Avoid Tobacco

• Eat light food

• Wash your hands at least three times a day

• Use alcohol based hand sanitizer to get rid of germs

• Take a sauna or hot bath

• Wear the flu mask to prevent yourself from catching flu infection or to prevent spreading the virus to others when you're sick

Flu Treatment

Prevention is the first step in flu treatment. You must take certain precautions so that you may avoid the flu infection. There is a famous saying "prevention is better than cure" so we must take preventative actions like

• Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. After using the tissue throw it away and wash you hands with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds.

• Use antibacterial cleaners to clean hands and surfaces. You can also use alcohol based hand sanitizer.

• Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth without cleaning your hands thoroughly and ensuring that your hands are germ free. Dirty hands can easily transmit the virus from your hands into your body.

• Get your annual flu shot, especially those people who have poor immune system and other serious complicated diseases.

After taking all the precautions, if you still become ill then you must begin flu treatment. There is a long list of basic flu treatment, which you can take along with the doctors' advice.

• The most important step for treating yourself is getting a lot of rest. Flu takes all your energy and you become weak and tired. Resting can help you in boosting up your immune system.

• Drink lots of fluids. Your body becomes dehydrated when you fall ill, so consuming a lot of fluids is essential.

• Take Antibiotics. It will help you in treating as well as preventing yourself from the bacterial infections and other flu complications.

• Take a painkiller if you have some headache or body ache. Painkillers help you get some relief from the aches.

• Antiviral flu treatment:

Tamiflu – Relenza – Flumadine – Symmetrel

With the help of these antiviral medications you can decrease the duration of the illness and their symptoms. Medicines are taken for improving symptoms of flu.

Some important flu treatments with the help of home remedies and natural cures are:

• Flu treatment using Long Pepper:

Take half teaspoon of the powder of long pepper. Mix it well with two teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of ginger juice. Take this mixture three times a day; it will help you alot if you take it in the initial stages of your illness. It also helps you to avoid severe complications.

• Influenza treatment using Garlic

Garlic has an antiseptic property which is used as a superb remedy for flu.

• Influenza treatment using Turmeric

Take a teaspoon of turmeric mixed well in a cup of warm water and religiously take it three times a day. It helps a lot in boosting your immune system, activating liver when it becomes sluggish and also anticipates complications of flu.

• Influenza treatment using Onion

Onion is a useful solution for flu. Mix equal amounts of onion juice and honey, and take this solution three times a day.

• Influenza treatment using Ginger

Ginger is the best remedy for flu. Take a teaspoon of ginger juice and mix it with a cup of fenugreek decoction, if required add honey for taste. This solution helps a lot and increases sweating which reduces fever.

• Influenza treatment using Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a useful remedy as it tones up your body and the digestive system.

• Influenza treatment using Basil Leaves

Basil Leaves are also useful remedy for flu. Boil one gram of leaves with ginger in about half a liter of water until half of the water is left. This solution provides immediate relief.


The flu symptoms can be cured with the help of vitamins, herbs, homeopathy, and some other foods. Natural flu remedies and other flu treatments can help you in reducing pain and suffering that comes along with the flu infection.

Back Pain FAQ to Relieve Your Backache

Back ache is among the most common physical problems encountered by people these days. The urban lifestyle is to be blamed for this problem to a large extent. Back aches result in extreme pain in the upper, middle, and lower back areas. When this problem catches you, you may not know what to approach for help. Back pain FAQ can answer many of your questions regarding pain in the back.

Symptoms Of Back Ache

You will know that you are facing a back problem if there is a pain in any region of the back, hips, or waist; stiffness in the back; pain, weakness, or lack of sensation in legs or feet; excruciating pain in neck or upper back area; or persistent pain that causes anxiousness, depression, or mood swings. Back Pain FAQ resource contains all other symptoms relating back ache.

Type & Causes Of Back Ache

Back ache can be broadly divided into two categories: acute backache and chronic backache. It could be a constant pain or pain interrupting at intervals. Acute backache is generally caused by minor or major injuries such as falling, jerking, lifting heavy objects, road accident, and spinal injury due to accident or displacement of a vertebral disk. Chronic backache is caused due to various factors which persist in the body. Its main causes are: spondylosis, slipped disk, constant wrong posture, pregnancy, lumbago, etc. But all pains relating to the back, originate from any of these:

1. The bones and ligaments of the spine
2. Muscles and tendons sustaining the back
3. Nerves of the spinal cord
4. Any other internal organ

Treatment Of Back Ache

The most important Back Pain FAQ for people suffering from backache is about the treatment for the problem. Following will prove to be very beneficial in proper management and relief from the problem.

1. Maintain a correct posture, while at work and home. Sit erect, as much as possible.
2. Exercise regularly. Any kind of back pain can be controlled with regular exercise. The exercise does not have to be really hard.
3. During times of acute back pain, use heat and ice packs.
4. For immediate relief, you can use analgesics, available over the counter.
5. Physiotherapy using heat, ultrasound waves, etc. can tie back pain to a great extent.

When To See Your Doctor

Following the above remedies can take care of back problem to a large extent. However, if the problem persists and is so acute that it refrains you from doing your routine work, you must see a doctor. Some serious concerns are weakness, backache with ache in legs, stinging sensation in legs or backache, when one should immediately meet a doctor. In several cases surgery may be recommended.

Equipped with the information revealed through a back pain FAQ, one can effectively deal with the problem. However, it can be claimed all along by maintaining correct posture and a regular exercise regimen.

Tips to Get Social Security Disability Benefits

It's become common knowledge that, while Social Security Disability benefits can be a life-saver for many people, they can be difficult to qualify for. Some people who are in dire need of assistance avoid filing an application because they're afraid they will not be able to fill it out correctly, will not have the right or enough evidence of their disability, or just because they assume they ' ll be denied. Working with disability attorneys can help simplify the process, but there's not much that can be done to speed it up once the application if filed.

Is the Social Security Disability Application Process Being Improved?

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration recently informed a success that bodes well for future applicants. For the first time in 10 years, since 1999, the SSA has made progress with their backed up cases and ended the year with fewer disability earings pending than in the prior year. Their fiscal year 2009 ended with 722,822 hearsings pending – almost 40,000 less than they had at the start of the year.

In a time when many baby-boomers are facing retirement age, some feared that strain on the SSA. Common concerns included the Social Security Administration running out of money, with none left for Social Security Disability cases, and that the agency would become so bogged down with cases and applications that it would be impossible to review cases in a timely manner. Some would say that the second fear came to fruition.

How Long Does It Really Take to be Approved for Social Security Disability?

Applicants are warned that it may take 3-5 months to receive a decision on their initial application. Over 60% of people are initially denied benefits, and then file for Social Security reconsideration within 60 days. The state has 90 days to review that request. If denied at that point, applicants must request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. A request for a hearing might not get applicants on the docket for up to two years. Adding up all that wait time is pretty scary – applicants awaiting a SSI appeal might be waiting 3+ years for a final decision on whether or not they'll qualify for Social Security Disability.

This recent news, of the Social Security Administration beginning to work through their backed up cases, is promising. The SSA also announced that their average processing time for these cases improved from 514 days in FY 2008 to 491 in FY 2009. While that's not a remarkable achievement, it is a step in the right direction, and hopefully a sign that the Social Security Administration is going to continue to improve.

What Can Be Done to Streamline the Social Security Disability Application Process?

For those who are disabled and unable to work and perform typical daily tasks, 491 days to a decision is still way, way too long of a wait. It's important to provide as complete an application as possible when first applying in order to help streamline the process. Disability lawyers are a big help in this regard – their experience allows them to quickly identify any areas of the application that might halt it's progress. They'll be able to advise applicants of what kinds of information the application is missing, as well as help them work with medical professionals to access the necessary evidence to support their claims.

The Benefits of Display Mannequins

Mannequins are primarily used in stores to display clothing. A display mannequin is usually a full-size dummy in the shape of a person. A display mannequin will normally include all parts of the human body including a head and feet. Display mannequins can be made of several different materials, including fiberglass, wood, plaster, or wax.

Nearly every clothing store has at least one display mannequin. They are commonly found in the front windows of stores at the mall to show off the store’s newest fashions. Display mannequins must be life-sized in order for the clothes to fit well over them. Most mannequins are full figures including the head, torso, arms, and legs, but some are only a torso. These types of display mannequins are perfect for saving space while modeling shirts and blouses. The full-size mannequins do take up more room, but they are more versatile in that they can be used to display entire outfits including hats, shirts, pants, and shoes.

Display mannequins are usually modeled after people who are physically fit. People are more likely to view the clothing favorably if it is displayed in a flattering way on the model’s physique.

A display mannequin can be made of several materials. Many are made of fiberglass. These mannequins are durable and easy to mass-produce. Other mannequins are made of plaster. Plaster mannequins are easier to break than fiberglass models, but are still useful if handled correctly. Wooden mannequins are less common than plaster and fiberglass mannequins because they take longer to make. They were much more common before plastic manufacturing caught on. Wax mannequins are rarely used to display clothing for sale in stores, but are often found in museums.

Display mannequins are a great way for stores to show off their clothing. Shoppers get a good idea what the clothes will look like on a real person when they see them on a display mannequin.

Fungus Among Us

Fungal infection of the nails, also known as onychomycosis, is a very common foot condition treated by podiatrists. This condition is usually found in older patients. It is reported that 60% of people over 40 years old have evidence of fungus in their toe nails. Fungal nails are white to yellow in color and cause the nail to become thickened and lose their normal shape. Nails that have become abnormal in shape are called dystrophic. If the infection is severe, the thickened nail can begin to crumble. These infected thickened nails can also result in pain and discomfort when wearing shoes.

Lab tests for fungal nails: The presents of thickened dystrophic nails maybe an indication of a fungus infection. However, they can also occur in patients with a skin condition called psoriasis. Sometime, thickened nails can occur in patients with damaged nail roots due to major trauma such as a having an heavy object fall on the toe. More commonly, the trauma can be delivered to the toe in small doses, this is called micro trauma. This is caused by jamming the toenail into the top of the shoe. This kind of micro trauma is often associated with runners and people who wear narrow pointed shoes. Thus, before prescribing any creams, solutions, or oral medication to treat fungal nails, the podiatrist must send a sample of the nail to the lab to confirm the presence of fungus.

Prescription treatment of Fungal Nails: Using prescription medications to treat fungal nails usually takes many months before any improvement is seen in the nail. This is due to the long life cycle of the fungal organism and the slow growth of the toe nail. Most anti-fungal drugs attack the replication or reproducing cycle of fungus. Therefore, the improvement will only be seen in new growth of the slow growing nail Thus, a great deal of patience is required in treating fungal nails. It is also important to realize that after the completion of anti-fungal drugs, there can be a recurrence in fungal infection.

Common Types of Anti-fungal drugs: Terbinafine also known as Lamisil is the most potent anti-fungal drug used for fungal nails. It is easily distributed by the body into the nail via the nail root. Since terbinafine is broken down in the body by the liver, it is essential that a liver function blood test is performed before starting this drug. Patients with liver problems should not use terbinafine since this can result in severe damage to the liver. Thus, the podiatrist must request a blood test before prescribing this medication and during the course of the medication. The drug is taken once a day for 3 months. If side effects such as stomach or abdomen pain, diarrhea, rashes or headaches occur, the podiatrist should be notified. Lamisil will work to cure the fungus about 77% of the time.

Itraconazole (Brand name is Sporanox) is another oral anti-fungal drug that prevents the fungus from building its skeletal structure. The course of this treatment is 3 months as well. Additionally, this drug interacts with other medications, so a complete list of current medications should be given to the podiatrist. Cure rate is about 66%.

Ciclopirox 8% lacquer is an anti-fungal solution that is applied to the entire nail and 5 mm of surrounding skin for 12 months. This prevents the fungus from receiving its nutrients needed to grow. Common side effect is redness around the nail. There is a cure rate of 29%-36% with this medication.

During the course of the treatment for the fungal nails patients should follow the a hygiene protocol. Wash the feet two times a week with Betadine and soap. (As long as there is no history of Iodine allergy) Use anti-fungal foot powder in the socks. Change socks every day. Use a fungal spore killing agent in the shoes such as Micomist by Gordon Labs, as directed.

Management of Fungal Nails: For patients with poor kidney/liver disease, prescription medication may worsen these medical problems. Oral anti-fungal medication can decrease kidney and liver function. Thus, the best option in these cases may be routine nail debridement by a podiatrist. The podiatrist will cut the thickened fungal nails with special nail clippers, which then may be followed by grinding and filing of the nail by using a sanding disc or burr. The routine nail debridement usually requires the patients to return to the podiatrist about every 3-4 months.

Prevention of Fungal Nails: 1. Wear sandals when using public showers 2. Alternate shoes every day 3. Change socks daily 4. Avoid sharing shoes or socks

Final Thoughts: Lasers for the treatment of fungal nails. This therapy has become very popular in the last two years. There are currently two types of lasers being used to treat fungal nails. The first uses patented technology to attack the fungal spoors. The other laser uses infrared light waves to cause light or photo damage to the fungal cells. At this time the have been no large studies to prove the effectiveness of these treatment modalities. At this time, there are multi-center studies in progress to accurately determine the cure rates for the use of lasers on fungal nails. However, until these studies are published there is no evidence based proof that lasers can successfully treat this condition.

Copyright (c) 2010 Bruce Lashley

Yeast Infection Treatment – Treating Yeast With Diet

A yeast infection is an infection that is caused by the candida albicans yeast. This infection is found in all age groups from infants to children to adults. The infection is referred to as candidiasis and is a type of fungus that is normally present throughout the body in small amounts. Yeast infections can flare up specifically in warm and moist areas of the body such as the mouth and genitals of both men and women. A yeast infection of the mouth, known as thrush, is commonly found in infants and elderly people as they both are more likely to have weaker immune systems. Yeast infections can also be transmitted between sexual partners through intercourse and other sexual acts.

A main cause of candidiasis infection is most commonly due to a reaction from taking antibiotics for an illness. The antibiotic can cause many of the good bacteria growing in the body to die. The good bacterium, known as flora, regulate the growth of the candida yeast and this can grow out of control when the flora are diminished. Hormonal changes in the body, wearing pants or under garments that are not made of cotton or are too tight and so do not allow good air circulation, using spotted feminine products etc, all can cause an leap in yeast growth due to an increase in moisture and heat in a woman's genital region.

Another common cause is people with a weakened immune system due to Lyme's disease or HIV. A weakened immune system puts people at a higher risk of being infected as the body is unable to prevent an increase in yeast growth. As previously mentioned, older people and infants also fall within this group of people more predisposed to infections.

A candida infection can be related directly to the diet of the infected person. An increase in the amount of sugar consumed creates an optimal growing environment as yeast thrills on sugar. Decreasing sugar intake once a yeast infection is diagnosed will cause the yeast to starve and assist in the treatment. Foods that contain fungi should also be avoided whilst trying any type of natural yeast infection treatment as the body will break the fungi down into sugar.

Other foods which contain sugar or yeast and should be avoided or very strictly limited are; non citrus fruits and juices, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, grains, bread and other foods that contain yeast, coffee and food substances that contain carbohydrates. These foods can be gradually introduced back into the diet once the yeast infection is completely treated and is no longer a problem.

Vaginal Thrush Cure – How to Cure a Vaginal Yeast Infection

Did you know that women of child bearing age can suffer from two main types of vaginal infections? One of them is bacterial vaginosis and the second one is vaginal yeast infection or vaginal thrush. The purpose of this article is to help you with tips that can assist in overcoming the problem caused by the yeast organism called candida albicans.

When the defense mechanism or the disease fighting capacity of the vagina gets lowered then fungal organisms like candida albicans can start to dominate the vagina. This produces a condition called vaginal yeast infection with symptoms like – itching, pain and white cheesy vaginal discharge.

Here are some tips to cure a vaginal yeast infection without using any complex antibiotics.

The first step towards fighting the candida yeast organism is restoring the ph balance in the vagina. To do this you will need something that introduces a slightly acidic environment in the vagina. A good item that may be available in your fridge is vinegar. Add one cup of vinegar to your bath tub and expose the vagina to this water. Remain in the water tub for 15-20 minutes. Repeat this activity daily for the next seven days to get best result with this vaginal thrush cure.

Another step that can be performed in parallel is to improve body and vaginal immunity levels. There are many ways to do this and consuming items like tuna fish, fish oil, flax seeds, walnut etc produces the best results in the least amount of time. Improved immunity will not only allow curing a vaginal yeast infection but also prevent future recurrence.

Further enhancement to the vaginal thrush cure process can be achieved by adding items that help in increasing the number of good friendly bacteria in the vagina. Taking probiotic supplements, consuming yogurt and other items that have live cultures of the good bacteria can help you achieve this.

It is possible to permanently cure a vaginal yeast infection if you follow a natural holistic treatment with patience and dedication.

Causes of Swollen Hands and Feet During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, everything about a woman’s body changes. No doubt you’re well aware that weight gain and back pain are two givens but are you aware that your extremities and limbs – both arms and legs, hands and feet – are bound to swell? Some women find they can no longer wear their wedding ring and have to buy a bigger size of shoes due to edema (swelling). Here’s the reasons why this might happen to you, too.

Causes of Swelling

Swelling occurs when there is fluid build-up in the affected body part. For most people, swelling in the hands and feet is often due to injury or another type of physical trauma, either directly in the body parts affected or in the joint. Arthritis, heart disease, blood disorders and infections are all culprits. Sometimes overuse, such as repetitive tasks or certain types of exercise, will cause fluid to build up in the fingers and toes. And women who are not pregnant often retain water during menstruation, another cause of edema.

But for the pregnant woman, the buildup of fluid in hands and feet is due to different causes. Your baby is growing and it needs fluids to develop. Your body needs more fluids than normal, too, because they are key in helping your joints expand and soften to accommodate your baby passing through the birth canal. Your blood chemistry changes, too, and this causes more fluids to migrate to the body’s tissues.

As your uterus expands, it naturally puts pressure on the surrounding organs. The veins of your pelvis and your vena cava (the vein carrying blood from your legs to your heart) are often affected by this additional pressure, which constricts the flow of blood, thus causing it to pool in your feet.

There are some conditions that exacerbate edema during pregnancy. If you were overweight before getting pregnant, chances are you were already experiencing poor circulation due to a slowing down of the lymphatic system that will only get worse as your pregnancy advances.

Your diet could be the culprit, too. Excessive amounts of salt or caffeine are known to cause swelling. Deficits of nutrients or not drinking enough water could have the same effect. In either instance, your body retains extra fluids and this causes swelling.

Why Your Hands and Feet Swell

Why are your hands and feet the most affected by pregnancy edema? They are called “extremities” for a reason – because these parts of your body are located at the extreme ends. Fluids pool here because it’s the end of the line, so to speak.

The problem is usually worse during the third trimester of pregnancy, as your body ramps up its preparation efforts, and in the summer, when swelling due to heat is typically a problem for anyone.

You may also find swelling occurs overnight. Depending on what position you sleep in, it could adversely affect circulation and you might find yourself waking up with swollen hands and feet.

There are several ways you can combat pregnancy edema but one of the most effective is wearing compression gloves and socks. These garments can be worn with anything all day and all night. Non-invasive treatment without side effects is best when you’re expecting a baby and compression garments fit the bill perfectly.

Don’t put up with swelling of hands and feet during pregnancy. It’s a natural condition with various causes but you don’t have to buy a larger size shoe or ditch your wedding ring if you wear compression gloves and stockings.

Chronic Shoulder Pain – Understanding the Causes

Chronic shoulder pain can develop from a variety of conditions that affect the anatomical structures of the shoulder. These include acromioclavicular arthritis, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), shoulder instability (dislocated shoulder), shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff pathology. This article will discuss each of these pathologies.

1. Acromioclavicular Arthritis – Your clavicle is the small bone that you can feel and see just above your chest. If you run your fingers along this bone along your shoulder it will lead you to a small joint called your acromioclavicular joint. This joint is due to problems because of it closeness to the surface of the skin and its small size. It is usually injured as a result of a trauma, like a fall landing on an outstretched arm or directly on the shoulder. Aggressive and prolonged overhead activity can also irritate this joint because of compression. Pain from this joint is usually localized directly over the joint or it can spread towards the neck. It usually does not go into the arm.

2. Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder) – this is a problem that causes extreme stiffness and loss of motion in your shoulder. It can also cause a lot of pain. At its most sever your arm will move only an inch or two away from your side. This problem usually occurs regularly with minor stiffness or pain. Over time these symptoms become worse and our ability to use your arm becomes more pronounced. X-rays will usually be negative. Diabetics and those with thyroid conditions are prior to this problem because of poor tissue integrity.

3. Shoulder Instability – this occurs when the ligaments surrounding the shoulder become weak or overstretched. Instability can be caused from a trauma that forces the shoulder to dislocate. The shoulder may "pop" back into place by itself but it often has to be put back in by a doctor. Patients that dislocate are usually younger than 40 years old. Once they have a dislocation it is likely it will happen again because of the looseness in the ligaments. Strengthening exercises can sometimes help stabilize the joint. If the instability continues then surgery will be considered to fix the problem.

4. Rotator Cuff Problems – this could range from a tendonitis to a complete muscle tear. Pts. with rotator cuff pain are usually over 40. Pain is often felt in the upper arm, not the shoulder itself. The pain usually does not go below the elbow, but in the case of chronic shoulder pain the symptoms can radiate to the thumb. Signs and symptoms include weakness, pain when raising the arm, pain at night when sleeping on the affected side and a positive impingement sign. Conservative treatment can be helpful in many cases. In stubborn cases where pain does not resolve injection may be necessary. In the case of a large rotator cuff tear surgery is likely.

These are the most common causes of chronic shoulder pain and rotator cuff pain. If you have been experiencing any of these problems you should consult your physician for advice. They will coordinate your care and discuss your available options for improvement.

Trading Forex Analysis Paralysis – How To Deal With It?

I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of the term analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis but basically what that means is one gets locked up not knowing what to do next because he or she has over-“thinked” it or overthought it. Does that make sense?

It’s a bit like this…

You like this girl and you want to go up to her and tell her that you like her but because your mind is overthinking with thoughts like “what if she doesn’t like me?”, “what if the whole situation turns ugly?” and so on and so forth, then you actually do nothing about it.

The very same thing happens during our everyday trading.

You’ve already done your homework and research and everything points to further weakening of the US dollar. And as you prepare to sell short the dollar, suddenly your mind starts spouting out thoughts and doubts and before you know it, you stay locked in a place which doesn’t allow you to take your pre-planned trades.

This happens all the time to many traders.

With that said, how do we deal with it? The best thing I can tell you is to read the famous Nike tagline that says “JUST DO IT!”. Yeah, I hear you saying “sure … but it’s easier said than done” and I’m not denying that but there’s no two ways about it.

We being carnal and fleshly will always have seeds of doubt in us. In order to help yourself, you just got to suppress this little voice that doesn’t serve us and just take trades as per planned.

Start off with small little actions and trades today and before long, you’ll find that the paralysis by analysis issue won’t be an issue for you any longer. All the best with that and good trading!

Botox Could Be the New Pain Killer

The popular and much talked about way of smoothing wrinkles, Botox, could actually reduce pain, according to new US research. Experts at the John Hopkins School of medicine have suggested that Botox could be able to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. This is a painful and debilitating condition that compresses nerves in the lower neck and causes considering discomfort in the arm. Yet the study has revealed that Botox, which is a toxin known to weak certain nerves and muscles, can reduce the pain for up to two months after just one injection.

The topic of Botox injections is the subject of much discussion in celebrity magazines and the tabloid newspapers as a type of beauty treatment. It's now a procedure that is almost taken for granted, although little is really publicized about how it works and its wider effects through other uses. Yet its properties are now being studied in a more serious way, and research does suggest that Botox could have been used as alternative to surgery and as a painkiller.

Known scientifically as botulinum toxin, it is one of the most lethal toxins known in the world, but used in very small doses it can be effective in treating muscle spasms and in a range of cosmetic procedures. Using Botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent was first experimented with in the early 1980s by a group of ophthalmologists in North America. By the late 1980s it was being experimented with as an anti-aging product.

Botox – more than just a 'pretty face' …

But increasing scientific studies show that far from the myths surrounding the wonders of Botox as an anti-wrinkle treatment, Botox can provide relief from migraine headaches and eye spasms. In addition to this Botox has also been found to be useful in treating trigeminal neuralgia. This condition leaves sufferers in intestinal facial pain, and previously the only way to treat trigeminal neuralgia was to use anticonvulsant drugs and neurosurgery. The anticonvulsant drugs had some unpleasing and discomforting side effects after treatment, while surgery for this condition is both expensive and carries risks. Both of these treatments also could not guarantee to get rid of the condition, so there was a lot of enthusiasm for the possibility that Botox could be used as a treatment for this painful illness.

To treat trigeminal neuralgia with Botox, patients need to have around 10 units of Botox injected four or five times per year. In a 60-day study completed in the US, patients reduced their consumption of pain killers for trigeminal neuralgia by around 50%, and some even stopped taking pain killers altogether thanks to the Botox treatment.

Botox is now licensed in some parts of the world for use as a painkiller or treatment for a variety of conditions such as excessive sweating, low back pain and muscle spasms. It has now been used for years to treat over 1 million patients across the world. Produced in controlled laboratory conditions, and always given in extremely small therapeutic amounts, it has none of the no side effects associated with other methods of treatment that include Gi upset, fatigue, confusion, depression or liver toxicity.

The myths surrounding the topic of Botox injections as an effective anti-aging treatment have for many years given the procedure an air of mystery. Once the preserve of celebrities and those in the public eye, Botox treatment has now become reliably commonplace. Many high street beauty salons offer the opportunity for people to pop in for a quick anti wrinkle injection in their lunch hour. We've become pretty blase about the whole thing. But this new research shows that Botox is not just a pretty face treatment – it has some serious pharmacological benefits as well.

Pus in the Throat – Symptoms and Causes of Pus in the Throats?

While the glands of the throat typically produce one to two quarts of mucous daily, which filters the air and traps foreign matter you inhale, abnormal substance like pus in the throat is a symptom of a wide variety of throat problems ranging from strep throat to bacterial infections. However, one of the most common causes of pus or excess mucous in the throat is the presence of tonsil balls.

These stone-like balls are usually whitish in color and can be both irritating and painful. They tend to form in the back of the throat, on the base of the tongue, or most commonly in the pockets on the tonsils themselves. While they are essentially harmless, tonsil balls can cause a myriad of symptoms ranging from sore throat and pus in the throat to difficulty swallowing and coughing. The stones are caused by an accumulation of calcareous matter and sulfur-based bacteria or debris that can become lodged in the tonsils.

Pus in the throat and the presence of these stones can often be treated with basic home remedies, such as expressing them with a Q-tip, brushing them away gently with a toothbrush, or washing them out of the mouth with pulsating jets of water. In more difficult cases, doctors can use a surgical procedure to rid a person of the stones.

Occasionally, more severe infections can occur in the tonsils, like tonsillitis, and the tonsils must be removed in a relatively routine procedure. If you suffer from pus in the throat or other symptoms affecting the tonsils, such as chronic bad breath, stomachaches, excess phlegm, and the feeling of a lump in the throat, see your general physician for a further diagnosis and treatment.

Poisoning – Its Clinical Manifestation and Management

Acute poisoning accounts for about 4-7% of admissions into major general hospitals in the world. Poisoning may be suicidal, accidental or homicidal. The high incidence of poisoning is attributed to the widespread use and free availability of insecticides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals for use in agriculture and industry. Depending upon the cost and local availability, varied substances are used.

In the order of frequency, the toxic agents include organophosphorus compounds, barbiturates, vegetable poisons, phenothiazines, corrosive acids, and several others. The precipitating factors which drive persons to commit suicide are depressive illness, financial problems, domestic conflicts, and frustration in studies, jobs or incurable illness. Among epileptics and alcoholics, the incidence of suicidal poisoning is high. Accidental poisoning is common in children. Persons engaged in the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture and in industry are liable to suffer if proper safety precautions are not adhered to.

Clinical presentation of acute poisoning: Though poisoning by many chemicals lead to characteristic clinical features, in the majority of cases, symptoms are nonspecific and may be mistaken for other acute illnesses. The common presentations are coma, acute psychosis, convulsions, gastroenteritis, circulatory collapse, or pulmonary edema. Corrosive poisons produce noticeable lesions at the points of maximum contact such as the mouth, esophagus and stomach. other poisons affect specific organs maximally, e.g, Liver damage in paracetamol poisoning, renal damage in copper sulphate poisoning, and Cardiac dysfunction in Cerebral odullum poisoning. Poisons consumed on an empty stomach are absorbed more rapidly than if taken on full stomach. Also, if taken along with alcohol, many poisons are quickly absorbed and their damaging effects are cumulative.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis is rendered easy if proper history or evidence of the material is obtained, but in many cases such help is not available. A high index of suspicion on the part of the physician is absolutely necessary for arriving at an early diagnosis in such cases. Abrupt occurrence of acute illness in a person who is in good health should suggest acute poisoning as a possibility. Smell of alcohol or kerosene, severe respiratory depression, circulatory collapse, convulsions, constricted pupil, Cardiac arrhythmia’s, dystonic postures, and muscle fasciculations add support to this diagnosis. The outcome depends upon factors like:

1. The amount of poison and its mode of administration

2. Presence of food in the stomach at the time of ingestion.

3. delay in starting treatment.

4. Age,

5. General health and concurrent illness, and

6. Availability of specific antidotes.

Patients who are comatose owing to acute poisoning face the twin dangers of the toxic effects of the chemical and the grave consequences of an obstructed airway.

general management of acute poisoning: Acute poisoning is a medical emergency and is best treated in a well-equipped hospital with teams specially trained to handle such cases. Since in many cases the nature of the poison will not be evident at first, the aim of treatment is to keep the patient alive with support of vital functions and eliminate as much of the poison as possible from the body. Specific antidotes are given as soon as the nature of the poison is known.

Supportive management: Most important is to clear the airway and ensure adequate ventilation. If there is respiratory depression, stimulants like nikethemide (500 mg) should be given along with oxygen inhalation. Intermittent positive pressure respiration has to be instituted after tracheostomy or endotracheal intubation, if conservative measures fail. The patient should be turned from side to side at four hourly intervals to prevent aspiration and hypostatic Pneumonia. Frequent bronchial suction helps in preventing atelectasis and aspiration Pneumonia. Shock is managed on the usual lines. Maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance is of utmost importance in all cases. An intake-output chart should be maintained and a urine output of 1500 ml should be ensured. Replacement of electrolytes and correction of acidosis should be done with proper laboratory monitoring. Maintenance of nutrition is equally important. Diet containing 2000 calories should be given through a nasogastric tube or parenterally. Repeated examination of blood and urine help in monitoring the level of poison in blood and the amount eliminated.