Scleroderma – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue, is characterized by the formation of scar tissue in the skin and organs of the body. While the cause of scleroderma is not known, genetic and environmental factors are known to play an important role in its occurrence. This disease, which is more frequent in females than in males, can be divided into two major groups, diffuse and limited, depending upon the degree and location of skin involvement. The diffuse type, also known as systemic sclerosis, is more widespread over the body and also involves internal organs.

Autoimmune diseases are illnesses which occur when the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The Ayurvedic treatment of scleroderma hence first focuses on regulating the immune system by using medicines like Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Pippali (Piper longum), Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata) and Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia).

Since fibrosis (scar formation) is the hallmark of this disease, the next obvious principle of treatment is reduction or reversal of fibrosis, wherever present in the body. For this, medicines used are: Punarnavadi Guggulu, Gokshuradi Guggulu, Rasayan Vati, Arogya Vardhini, Yashtimadhuk, Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Guduchi, Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Musta (Cyperus rotundus) and Patol (Tricosanthe dioica).

In addition, patients need to be treated for the specific tissue, organ or system involvement that they are suffering from. Involvement of the skin causes redness, swelling, itching and pain; and gradually leads to skin hardening and limitation of movement. These symptoms can be treated using local ointments and medicines like Arogya Vardhini, Kaishor Guggulu, Yashtimadhuk, Manjishtha, Guduchi and Gokshur. Scleroderma causes acid reflux in the esophagus (food pipe) causing heartburn. This can be treated using medicines like Shankh Bhasma, Kamdudha Vati and Laghu Sutshekhar, in addition to taking appropriate preventive measures.

Scleroderma frequently causes Reynaud’s phenomenon, a condition in which the tips of fingers, toes, nose, tongue and ears turn blue, white and then red after exposure to cold, heat or even with an emotional upset. Scleroderma also causes the capillaries of the face, lips, mouth and fingers to dilate, creating tiny, red, blanching spots called telangiectasias. Both these conditions can be treated using medicines like Tapyadi Loha, Manjishtha and Saariva. A highly elevated blood pressure is best treated with modern anti-hypertensive medications.

Inflammation of the lungs can be treated using medicines like Kantakari (Solanum surattense), Brihat Kantakari (Solanum indicum), Behada (Terminalia bellerica), Yashtimadhuk, Pippali, Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa) and Sitopaadi Churna. By affecting the large bowel, scleroderma can cause either severe constipation or diarrhea. These conditions can be treated using medicines like Triphala (Three fruits), Kutki, Psyllium (Plantago ovata), Musta and Kutaj.

Scleroderma is a medical condition with a lot of unanswered questions. The conventional management of scleroderma is directed towards treating the individual features that are most troublesome. The addition of Ayurvedic treatment can definitely help to reverse the basic pathology, and improve the overall outlook of this disease.

What Maintains Healthy Skin, Bones and Eyes?

In today’s fast world, no one cares about healthy food; we have gotten so busy in our lives that we prefer to munch a burger or other junk food instead of worrying about its nutrient value or the hazard it is doing to the body. Saying no to vegetables is becoming a trend and people now end up going out for spicy food which has very little or mostly no health value at all.

The major food nutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals; our body needs an adequate amount of all of these to function properly. Any deficiency or over dosage of any will be very harmful for us. There are certain nutrients which maintain healthy skin bones and eyes, let’s have a look at them.

Protein is a macronutrient and a basic component of body-cells; it is a building block of skin, hair and nails. It helps in repairing the body tissue and protects it from wear and tear. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose and energy.

Vitamins are enzymes that play a vital role and maintain healthy skin bones and eyes. They promote healthy bones and teeth; enhance the protection and regeneration of cells and mucous membrane, and keep the hair and nails strong. Vitamin D is very important for bones as it helps the body to absorb and utilize calcium and phosphorus which are very essential for bones and teeth.

Vitamin E is known for its ability to rejuvenate cells and maintain normal conditions to the skin tissues. It also protects red blood cells and hence keeps the body healthy. Vitamin B2 helps in protecting eyes from various damage.

Vitamin C is a very important enzyme, it is a well known antioxidant, and it helps in the synthesis of collagen which restores skin elasticity; promotes the growth and repair of cells, teeth and bones.

Vitamin A is very important for eye and skin health, as it prevents us from blindness and dry eyes and also maintains vision. It also promotes development to ensure healthy bones and teeth. Lack of it will result in dry, scaly and itchy skin, as well as hair loss and bone pains etc.

Minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus and sodium are also important for healthy skin and over all body health. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be added to the diet plan because they are rich in essential nutrients. Excessive washing, preserving or overcooking results in wastage of water-soluble or oil soluble minerals and vitamins. Avoid that and eat healthy to maintain healthy skin bones and eyes.

Building Up the Brow Bones For a More Sculpted Forehead and Eye Shape

The forehead has a variety of shapes that do differ based on gender. Men will tend to have flatter fuller foreheads with more prominent brow bones (supraorbital ridges) while women’s foreheads will usually be softer, less full, and with flatter brow bones that tend to angle off into the temporal region. Whether it be by a congenital deformity (such as craniosynostosis), frontal tumor resection (craniotomy flap) or from prior contouring purposes (FFS, facial feminization surgery), there are rare instances when one desires to have a fuller or more prominent brow definition restored.

Brow bone augmentation (BBA) is one form of forehead reshaping that can be done. Using synthetic materials as a building material, the bone can be ‘thickened’ and recontoured to alter how the brow looks. Since the eyebrow and the upper part of the eyelid is affected by its underlying bony support, such changes can produce subtle to dramatic differences.

One of the key issues of brow bone augmentation is which material to use. Currently, hydroxyapatite (HA) and acrylic (PMMA) are the only two moldeable materials of choice. Your own bone is usually not a good option since you have to harvest it and how it survives as an onlay is unpredictable. Both HA and PMMA have their advocates but I have gotten good results with both. Either one can do the job. PMMA is much cheaper from a material cost standpoint and is very hard once it sets, being hard if not harder than natural bone. HA is much more expensive, a little harder to work with, and is more fragile to impact. But it is closer to the mineral of natural bone so it has greater compatibility and less risk of long-term body reaction concerns.

There is also the option of a synthetic implant carved out of silicone or polyethylene. (Medpor) This requires a greater degree of skill and time to get all the edges flat and flush with the surrounding bone. It is easy to see how an edge step-off can be felt through the skin unless it is done perfectly. Feathering edges and blending into the surrounding bone is much more assured with the moldable materials.

The other important consideration of BBA is access. For the most part, an open scalp approach provides the best vision and control of the shape. But this is understandably problematic for most men unless they have a pre-existing scalp scar to use. For most women, this is not a significant issue as a hairline (pretrichial) approach can be done and that scar can really be quite fine and unnoticeable. I know this from a lot of experience with pretrichial (hairline) browlift procedures done for cosmetic purposes.

A non-open scalp approach (endoscopic) can be used in select cases of forehead augmentation. When it is the central or more upper parts of the forehead that are being augmented, the endoscopic approach using PMMA as an injectable material can be done. PMMA can be injected and pushed around as a congealed putty and shaped by external molding through the forehead skin. HA is a quite different material and its handling properties do not permit anything but an open approach scalp approach. But working down at the brow area, which is a very low point for endoscopic visualization, is even difficult with PMMA. Therefore, I would advocate an open approach for any amount of brow bone build-up.

The Dangerous Side Effects of a Popular Cholesterol Medicine

Lipitor is indicated for the management of patients suffering from high cholesterol. Lipitor is dosed in tablets of 10, 20, 40 and 80 milligrams. It belongs within a group of medications called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, which are referred to as “statins”.

Patients diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol should not take Lipitor if the patient is pregnant or trying to become pregnant or if the patient is breast feeding. Atorvastatin is the main active ingredient in Lipitor and therefore if the person is allergic to the drug than they should not consume Lipitor. Lipitor can cause liver disease, and therefore if the patient has a history of liver disease than of course, the medication should be avoided.

The most common side effects of the medication are; constipation, gas, bloating and diarrhea, rashes, heartburn and vomiting. Statins have been known to have side effects, mainly on the digestive system.

Serious side effects have been reported, like liver disease – in patients who have been taking Lipitor for an extended period of time. In a substantial amount of patients severe liver disease occurred, which decreased the function of the liver putting the patient in harm. Liver function has been shown to increase after the medication has been stopped, although tests are inconclusive showing that the liver returns to normal function. In any patient taking Lipitor, regular monitoring is important through the means of liver function lab testing.

Signs of liver disease that patients should watch for include; fever, severe skin rashes including aching, blistering or peeling. Yellow skin, discolored urine or stools, or even difficulty breathing and abdominal pain can mean serious liver damage.

Signs of serious muscle disease should also be watched for while taking the drug – tenderness within the muscles, weakness or discolored or blood within the urine.

Many substances and medications can interact with the drug, including; grapefruit juice, niacin, antacids, birth control pills, fibrades and macrolide antibiotics and digoxin. Some supplements can also interact with the medication causing serious side effects, these include; caffeine and nicotine.

Lipitor can cause serious side effects in the muscles of the body, and grapefruit juice can interact seriously with these side effects by increasing the chances of developing serious muscle problems. The enzymes within the grapefruit, or grapefruit juice that break down the Lipitor, increasing the potency of the drugs, and the chances of developing side effects. One study had shown that the grapefruit/Lipitor interaction increased the potency of the drug up to eighty percent in patients who consumed grapefruit juice, compared to those who did not. These increased levels increased instances of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis which can lead to kidney failure in patients taking Lipitor.

The elderly, taking the medication and those over seventy years of age should be especially careful when taking the medication, as side effects become more pronounced.

There are many things that can be done to prevent, or lower high cholesterol without the use of statins (which have been proven dangerous, and come with many side effects). Diet and exercise as well as the implementation of proper vitamins and nutrients into the diet can make a large impact on lowering the cholesterol.

The Pursuit and Development of Spider Silk

Historically, the idea of a fabric made from spider silk that is strong enough to withstand extreme forces such as being hit by bullets, but soft and comfortable enough to be worn as normal, everyday clothes has been a dream for centuries, but few have been able to produce it until very recently.

In the early 1700’s, the first recorded use of spider silk was by Francois-Xavier Bon de Saint Hilaire, a Frenchman who was successfully able to harvest enough silk directly from spiders to produce gloves, socks, and even a full suit for his king, Louis XIV. It was said that he would go out and gather hundreds of spiders at a time and store them in crates only to return and find only a few left due to the fact that spiders have a tendency to eat each other when placed in close proximity.

A little over one hundred years later, a Spaniard working in Italy named Raimondo de Termeyer was able to produce a pair of stockings and a shawl for Emperor Napoleon and his then wife Empress Josephine. He was able to do this by using a machine that he invented that would immobilize the spider and remove the silk without harming the spider.

In the late 1800’s, a French Jesuit missionary named Jacob Paul Camboué who lived in Madagascar began experimenting with extracting silk from spiders. He later teamed up with another Frenchman who went by Mr. Nogué and, inspired by Termeyer’s design, created a hand powered machine capable of extracting silk from up to 24 spiders simultaneously and combining it into one continuous strand. Using this machine, the team was able to create a set of bed hangings which was on display at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

More recently in 2004, using the design documented by Camboué and Nogué, Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley attempted to recreate the machine and create their own spider silk fabric. Every morning they collected new spiders, “milked” them for their silk, and returned them to the wild when they were done with them. The entire process was extremely slow and the amount of silk that could be acquired from each spider was very minimal because it takes around 23,000 spiders to produce only one gram of silk. So, over the course of five years, using over one million spiders, and spending half a million dollars, they had finally produced enough silk to weave a single golden cape decorated with intricately embroidered and appliquéd motifs that depict the spiders that were used to generate the material. This cape is said to be incredibly strong, yet as soft as cashmere.

Milking spiders for their silk can also be used for purposes other than textiles. An old wound remedy that was used as far back as the Roman Empire included gathering spider silk and applying directly to a wound to help the healing process. Borrowing from this, the Department of Plastic, Hand, and Reconstructive Surgery in the Medical School Hannover in Germany has developed a way to utilize a woven mesh of the dragline silk extracted directly from Nephila spp spiders to create an “artificial skin” that may be applied to the skin to repair it without any immune system response. They did this by placing normal skin cells onto a spider silk mesh and, in the right conditions, were able to create the outer and inner layer of skins in only a week’s time. This could be used as a natural alternative to plastic surgery to regrow skin on burn and trauma patients.

Unfortunately, due to the large number of spiders that is required to produce just a small amount of silk and spiders’ cannibalistic nature, it is impractical to harvest silk directly from them. Knowing this, there have been and are currently many companies and organizations trying to get around this by racing to develop and commercialize fibers that have properties similar to that of natural spider silk.

In 1993, a company called Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. was founded in Montreal, Canada by Dr. Jeffrey Turner and Paul Ballard. Originally working and failing to produce lactose-free milk, it found new direction when Dr. Jeff Turner suggested that they work to incorporate spider DNA into the milk to produce spider silk proteins. By licensing research done by one of the world’s top researchers on spider silk, Dr. Randy Lewis, they isolated and cloned the proteins for spider silk and were finally able to produce 10 grams of spider silk proteins in goat milk in 2002. At full capacity, they were producing small quantities of the proteins with each batch of milk harvested and spinning some of them into a fiber that they named “Biosteel™”. Unfortunately, with the extremely limited amount of proteins that could be created in addition to the high cost to produce these proteins, they found that the business was unsustainable. They ended up selling most of their assets in 2005 and finally went bankrupt in 2009.

Dr. Randy Lewis was not giving up and was determined to take this idea further. He took the idea of the “spider goats” and ran with it in parallel with Nexia Biotechnologies, creating his own breeds while working out of the University of Wyoming. He was also in talks with Dr. Don Jarvis, a noted molecular biology professor that specialized in silkworms at the University of Wyoming, to somehow incorporate the spider DNA into the silkworms in a similar manner as the goats.

Meanwhile, Kim Thompson, a business lawyer with a strong interest in the process of making artificial spider silk, had contacted the University of Notre Dame’s Dr. Malcolm Fraser. Dr. Fraser was one of the initial scientists that had worked on producing the first transgenic silkworms as well as one of the researchers who was able to develop a method to replace the DNA in a specific part of an insect with another unique sequence. He called this method “piggyBac”. Thompson was highly interested in using this method to replace the DNA in the silkworm’s spinnerets with spider DNA. Together, Thompson and Fraser contacted Lewis and Jarvis and decided to work together to create this artificial spider silk.

In 2006, Thompson founded Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. and began working to create transgenic silkworms that have been injected with spider DNA. In 2010, they finally achieved their goal and created a silkworm capable of spinning a much stronger silk, which the company dubbed “Monster Silk®”. They published their methods and findings in a PNAS paper and begun ramping up the production of silkworms to commercial quantities. Since then they have also licensed another method for more precise gene insertion called “Zinc finger” from Sigma-Aldrich. Using this method, they were able to produce an even stronger fiber which they dubbed “Big Red”. Recently, they have been working with Warwick Mills, a technical textile company based in New Hampshire, to test and develop their fibers into practical applications. They are also in talks with the Vietnamese government to build a commercial factory pending Vietnamese legislation. They have stated that they hope to be at commercial production levels of Monster Silk® as early as this year.

Dr. Randy Lewis has since moved on with his work, attempting to further develop the production of artificial spider silk. Bringing his “spider goats” with him, he transferred to Utah State University and started diversifying his work, injecting spider DNA into many organisms such as alfalfa plants, E. coli bacteria, and silkworms using even more recently developed methods for replacing DNA such as the CRISPR/Cas9 system. In 2012, he founded his own company, Araknitek Inc., and is determined to bring his own version of artificial spider silks to the market.

Other companies have seen the opportunity that these fibers can provide and have started development using their own methods.

In England, Oxford University’s silk research group lead by Professor Fritz Vollrath with Dr. David Knight founded a company named Spindox Ltd. Rather than inject spider DNA into silkworms, they had developed a method to spin silkworm silk proteins into a stronger silk fiber that resembled the properties of natural spider silk by cleaning and modifying the fibers. They named this fiber “Spidrex®”, changed their name to Oxford Biomaterials Ltd., and are currently working on producing vascular grafts that are more reliable than those on the market today. They have also produced three spinoff companies using and developing Spidrex® fibers: Suturox Ltd., Neurotex Ltd., and Orthox Ltd.

Suturox was founded in 2007 and hoped to develop naturally biodegradable sutures made form Spidrex®, but were unable to do so and were dissolved in 2013. Neurotex, founded in 2006, hopes to commercialize a Spidrex® nerve conduit and is currently working to prefect it. Orthox, founded in 2008, uses Spidrex® fibers to develop a cartilage replacement that they dubbed “FibroFix™”.

A German startup company called Spin’tec Engineering GmbH. Founded by Dr. Michael Rheinnecker in 2004, purchased the spinning technology from Oxford Biomaterials Inc. and has since improved upon it. They are currently working with their own breeds of silkworms and have been embedding biological agents into the silks from the silkworms while still spinning them in such a way that will produce a thread with properties approaching a spider’s thread. They hope to use these threads to assist with bone healing, wound healing, and developing artificial tissues and organs as well as other medical and pharmaceutical uses. They are currently working with the KLS Martin Group to develop an innovative maxillofacial product.

Another German company has been developing an artificial spider silk using a different method. AMSilk GmbH is using E. coli bacteria that have been genetically modified with spider DNA to produce spider silk proteins. They have already successfully commercialized creams and powders for cosmetic use that they named “TruSilk©” and are currently working on making a coating for breast and other silicone implants which they call “Bioshield-S1©” to reduce the possibility of the body rejecting the implant. They also are close to commercializing an over the counter wound care patch that they call “SanaSilk®” that will keep the wound clean and hydrated. They have even been successful spinning fibers from the proteins. They named these fibers “Biosteel®” after Nexia Biotechnologies abandoned the trademark. They are currently working to optimize these fibers and bring them to market.

AMSilk is not the only company using modified bacteria to produce its silk. Spiber Technologies AB was founded in 2008 in Sweden based on the research from the veterinary faculty at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The founding researchers discovered a method to produce artificial spider silk in physiological conditions and have since developed a recombinant spider silk protein that they call “Spiber™”. These proteins are very versatile as they can be spun into a fiber, made into a thin film, frothed into foam, or cut into a mesh for custom uses. Spiber™ can also be bioactivated with additional functions to better suit final applications. The company is currently working on perfecting the use of their Spiber™ proteins for wound healing, implants, and other medical applications.

Another company with almost the same name, Spiber Inc., was founded in Japan in 2007. The choice for their name was coincidentally the same as the Swedish company and they also use modified bacteria to make their silk proteins, but they are not working together. Since their formation, they have started working with Kojima Industries Corporation and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and have been able to build a small pilot facility capable of producing 100Kg of silk protein a month. They have spun some of this protein into a fiber that they have called “QMONOS®” (pronounced “kumo no su” meaning “spider web” in Japanese) and have woven a dress from it. They have recently started constructing an even larger facility capable of producing 20 metric tons of silk protein a year at full capacity and created a spinoff company called Xpiber, Inc. They plan on selling the proteins and fibers for practical applications by the year 2017.

An American company founded in 2007 in North Carolina by Dr. David Brigham named EntoGenetics Inc. is also attempting to create their own transgenic silkworms. It is Brigham’s goal to produce 100% spider silk from a silkworm and produce everything to make the silk in the USA. Initially working out of his home and recently growing mulberry on marginal land at a repurposed water treatment plant, he has created a very strong silk and has a contract with the Army to produce bulletproof vests. He is currently in the process of expanding operations.

Even another American company founded in 2009 in California by UCSF graduate Dr. Dan Widmaier and his partner, UC Berkeley graduate Dr. David Breslauer, goes by the name of Bolt Threads Inc. They have recently changed their name from Refactored Materials Inc. and are also attempting to produce an artificial spider silk. Their initial experiments were working with using transgenic salmonella to generate the silk proteins and have since moved on to other methods. Since their founding, they have been granted over $1 million by the National Science Foundation and a contract with the Department of Defense to produce bulletproof vests. They hope to start selling their silk commercially by 2016.

The Okamoto Corporation, a Japanese luxury sock company, announced in 2007 that they are working on a new sock made from spider silk as generated from genetically altered silkworms. They are currently working with Shinshu University’s Faculty of Textile Science and Technology to commercialize these socks and have already produced a prototype pair of socks. They are currently working on creating a silkworm research and breeding center that should be up and running by spring this year.

Like Nexia Biotechnologies, some other, better established companies that have also jumped on the artificial spider silk bandwagon haven’t done so well In 2001, DuPont, the producer of Kevlar, had experimented with injecting spider DNA into plants, silkworms, and E. coli bacteria to produce fibers with the strength of spider silk, but gave up on the project after only a few years because they could not achieve the mechanical properties that they wanted in a consistent manner.

Artificial spider silk is of great interest and is currently being researched at many universities. Practically every company listed was spun out of a university and there are many more in the process of developing spider silk that may form a company and attempt to commercialize in the future. For example, the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS) in Japan has produced their own transgenic silkworm and has recently used its silk to knit a sweater and scarf and documented everything in a PLOS One article. They have even recently visited the Indian Andhra Pradesh State Sericulture Research and Development Institute (APSSRDI) and looked at their transgenic silkworm programs. They are now looking into expanding production there.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has created genetically modified shrimp injected with spider DNA to harvest their cartilage that they named “Shrilk” in order to create an environmentally friendly, biodegradable plastic.

The Southwest University in Chongqing, China, Tufts University in Medford, MA, USA, the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, USA, and likely many others have all been working separately on creating their own version of spider silk.

Modifying organisms with spider DNA has become so common that a team of students from the University of Bordeaux in France even decided to modify E. coli bacteria with spider DNA themselves for entry into the 2014 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in which they won a bronze medal. They have named this bacteria “Elasicoli” due to its elastic nature, and presented it as a viable green alternative producing to plastics, alternative to medical sutures and replacement tendons, and method to create stronger textiles.

Even with so many companies and organizations simultaneously racing to produce these products, there will still be plenty of room for other competitors to flourish in the market as these fibers start to overtake and replace the current leaders in the industry. It is only a matter of time before we will start seeing these spider silk products available in stores and hospitals worldwide.

Sources:

  1. “François Xavier Bon De Saint Hilaire.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
  2. Ward, Rebecca. “Golden Spider Silk.” Victoria and Albert Museum. 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
  3. Joyce, Christopher. “Spider Wranglers Weave One-Of-A-Kind Tapestry.” NPR. 27 Sept. 2009. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
  4. Wendt H, Hillmer A, Reimers K, Kuhbier JW, Schäfer-Nolte F, et al. (2011) Artificial Skin – Culturing of Different Skin Cell Lines for Generating an Artificial Skin Substitute on Cross-Weaved Spider Silk Fibres. PLoS ONE 6(7): e21833. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021833
  5. “Nexia Biotechnologies.” McGill Unversity. 30 Oct. 2002. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
  6. Pelzer, Jeremy. “University of Wyoming Professor Helps Create ‘monster’ Silk.” Casper Star-Tribune Online. 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
  7. Noel, Joseph. “Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc.” Emerging Growth Research, 26 Jan. 2009. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
  8. F. Teule, Y.-G. Miao, B.-H. Sohn, Y.-S. Kim, J. J. Hull, M. J. Fraser, R. V. Lewis, D. L. Jarvis. Silkworms transformed with chimeric silkworm/spider silk genes spin composite silk fibers with improved mechanical properties. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1109420109
  9. “A Method of Spinning Spider-like Silk, the ‘Holy Grail’ of Bio Materials.” Oxford University. Inside: Technology, Issue 8, The Technology Partnership Plc., 20 July 2012. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
  10. Kuwana Y, Sezutsu H, Nakajima K-I, Tamada Y, Kojima K (2014) High-Toughness Silk Produced by a Transgenic Silkworm Expressing Spider (Araneus ventricosus) Dragline Silk Protein. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105325. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105325
  11. “Team:Bordeaux.” Web. 5 Nov. 2014. < http://2014.igem.org/Team:Bordeaux >
  12. Fujisaki, Masahiko. “Project under Way in Kyoto to Commercialize Spider-silkworm Thread – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.” AJW by The Asahi Shimbun RSS. N.p., 27 Nov. 2014. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.

Tattoo Removal With Salt – Heroic But Cheap!

Do you have a special tattoo that you loathe? Or are there even more tattoos on your body that you want to get rid off but do not know how? Maybe you have tried something else already, and you were not satisfied with the result of the tattoo removal.

One tattoo removal procedure that costs hardly anything but is not for the faint at heart is the tattoo removal with salt, or salabrasion.

What are the costs of tattoo removal with salt?

What men say about it..

In US$

Pouch of sea salt, $2.50

Cloth, $0.50

Hydrogen peroxide, $1.00

Nasty scar

Two six-packs of beer for concocting glamorous story to explain nasty scar to chicks, $10.00

Total cost: $14.00

Facts you should know before you do a tattoo removal with salt

When you got your tattoo, black ink or other colors were injected with a fine needle into the dermis. The dermis is a deep layer of our skin, and the ink stays there because there is another very firm layer holding the ink in place. On top of it there is the outer layer of our skin, called epidermis that renews itself every 28 days. There is no use to place a tattoo on the epidermis as it will be removed by the body renewing the skin cells every month. You need to understand that removing tattoos from the dermis is a challenging endeavor because it involves pain, scarring and psychological stress. Are you prepared to rub your tattooed skin so hard with salt that you are bleeding?

What do you have to go through when you do tattoo removal with salt?

* You have a black ink tattoo on your arm that you want to be gone.

* You hop in the shower with a pouch of sea salt, turn on the water, pour some salt onto a wet cloth, and begin rubbing your tattoo very hard.

*Within a few minutes the tattooed area starts bleeding, and within twenty minutes the epidermis is gone and you have to dug well into the dermis. The pain is excruciating, but only at first – either because the salt begins to act as an anesthetic after a while, or because your endorphins are kicking in.

* Perhaps you are spurred on by the fact that you could actually see the ink becoming patchier the more you rubbed. Eventually you have a deep red valley in your arm that bleeds surprisingly little – apparently salt staunches blood flow. It is terrible-looking, but does not hurt much (you need to decide for yourself how much pain you are able to bear as people have varied pain thresholds).

* You have spent almost two hours toiling and decide it was time to be done, though there is still some ink left.

* You rinse the salt off with cold water, dry yourself, put antibiotic ointment on the wound, bandage it, and go to sleep.

The days after tattoo removal with salt

– A scab soon formed which had a hard time staying attached to your arm because the wound was so deep and there was nothing much for it to cling to.

– A lot of ink was contained in the scab–when it fell off, the ink that was left underneath was hardly visible.

– A second scab formed and fell off, with more ink in it. It’s now been a couple of weeks since the tattoo removal with salt and the wound is well on its way to healing, with hardly any ink visible.

– You may pour hydrogen peroxide on it every day after showering, followed by vitamin E cream. The tiny bit of ink that is left may seem to be very close to the surface, and it may fully disappear by the time you have completely fully healed.

Does tattoo removal with salt work?

Salabrasion does work. It is nasty, ugly, bloody, barbaric, painful, carries the risk of infection, and will certainly leave heavy scars. It seems to get rid of black ink. If you have big unwanted tattoos you need to carefully weigh your options so you don’t make a mistake that you pay for a lifetime, and with your good health. Using salt on big tattoos would leave huge scars. Are you sure that you want that?

Cancer Support Groups – The Pros and Cons of Joining and Attending Them During Your Recovery

You’ve been diagnosed with cancer and are still reeling from the news. I still remember that period, even though I’m now a 11-year survivor. Your family and friends, who you assumed would be your rocks during this experience, are almost as upset and haven’t been able to provide the support you so badly need. Is a support group the answer?

One of the most famous and influential studies of the efficacy of support groups was conducted by Dr. David Spiegel, a Stanford University psychiatrist. Dr. Spiegel found that breast cancer patients randomly placed in weekly support groups for one year lived markedly longer than controls — patients randomly assigned only to regular medical care.

The study, once touted as the gold standard in research about support groups and survivors, has since been challenged. To confirm the once heralded results, Spiegel and a team of researchers from Stanford designed another study, to replicate their earlier findings that intensive group therapy extended survival times of women with metastatic breast cancer.

Their results? They found that the earlier finding that longer survival was associated with supportive expressive group therapy was not replicated. They also said that although it is possible that psychosocial effects on survival are relevant to a small subsample of women, further research was required to investigate subgroup differences.

Given these findings, should you join a support group or not? The following points are some of the reasons that people find belonging to a cancer support group an integral component of their treatment and healing journey.

  1. Participants develop a new attitude towards their illness. Instead of seeing their cancer diagnosis as simply devastating, many attending support groups find that the group helps them find the gifts in the disease.
  2. With the support of group members, they make the changes in their lives that they think are important and have been putting off.
  3. As a result of sharing information and resources, many cancer support group participants access resources that they might not have been aware of.
  4. There’s comfort in belonging to a group that speaks the same language you do, because they’ve experienced the same things.
  5. There’s incredible freedom in being able to be perfectly honest about what you’re going through and not having to censure yourself because of your loved ones and friends discomfort with your cancer diagnosis.
  6. They increase the cancer support group members understanding of diagnosis and treatment through other people’s experiences.
  7. They learn self care skills.
  8. Strong new friendships can be forged between cancer survivors.

There is no doubt that there are many positive reasons to join a support group. The decision is a highly personal one. But don’t feel bad if you find that they aren’t for you, which was the case for me.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago, I attended two support groups. One was led by a former survivor and it was less structured than the second group that I joined. I found the second group, which was led by a therapist, incredibly depressing. It fueled the incredible amount of fear I was feeling at the time. Because my diagnosis came during the same month that we learned my Mom’s primary breast cancer had metastasized, I was riding a big wave of fear and anxiety. Meeting with other survivors whose cancer had metastasized exacerbated my fright. Consequently, instead of feeling the support that many people feel from attending these groups, all I felt was increased fear. I quit the cancer support group after four meetings.

Joining a support group is a personal decision that can only be made by you. If the cancer support group you join isn’t helping you during your cancer journey, look for another one, either in person or online. Thanks to the Internet and social networking, there are a lot of groups to choose from.

Avoid Stereotyping Pregnant Employees and Primary Caregivers

In today’s fast paced society, many find themselves struggling to juggle work, family, and other responsibilities. Not only do employees want to start their families and still be employed, but many are finding themselves the primary caregivers for their spouses, children, parents other elderly relatives, or family members with disabilities. While women, particularly women of color, are primarily responsible for these tasks, men have begun assuming these caretaking duties as well.

So what does it mean for these employees and their employers?

Unfortunately, those life choices and responsibilities have also led to stereotypes being attributed to this “class” of employees, which, in turn, have led to claims of discrimination and retaliation. Although there exists no specific laws prohibiting discrimination against caregivers per se, claims of gender discrimination, disability discrimination, and retaliation are providing employees with protection.

I’m not stereotyping!

Some employers believe that because a woman is pregnant or has a child that she could not, would not, or should not perform specific work-related tasks. Some employers feel they are protecting a pregnant employee or new mother by denying her promotions to positions that may require relocations or travel or by removing job responsibilities they feel may be too physically demanding or time consuming. Other employers assume pregnant employees, or those with childcare responsibilities, are less dependable and focused than their childless counterparts. These gender stereotypes result in a catch-22 for working mothers, because they are simultaneously viewed by their employers as “bad mothers” for investing time and resources into their careers and “bad workers” for devoting time and attention to their families. In fact, some employers assume that childcare responsibilities make female employees less dependable than male employees, even if the female worker is not pregnant and has not suggested that she will become pregnant.

Men are also not immune to stereotypes. The view of men as “bread winners” has led to the perception that a man who works part-time is not a good father, even if he does so to care for his children. Employers have also denied working fathers and other male caregivers opportunities that have been provided to working women, or they subject men who are primary caregivers to harassment or other disparate treatment.

As for employees who care for disabled relatives, employers assume that these employees are or will be unable to perform job duties satisfactorily at the same as caring for a disabled individual. In fact, some employers have refused to hire such individuals because they assume the applicant will have to use frequent leave time and arrive late due to their responsibility to care for their relative.

This type of stereotyping can lead to liability against an employer for gender or disability discrimination. Moreover, taking adverse action against employees that complain about being treated differently or detrimentally because of their status will also support a retaliation claim.

What an employer should not do:

o Don’t ask only female applicants during an interview whether they are married or have young children or intend to have children. Don’t ask such questions to existing employees either.

o Don’t subject female employees to less favorable treatment once you find out they are pregnant or after they have assumed caregiving responsibilities.

o Don’t deny a male employee’s request for leave for childcare purposes while granting female employees’ requests for the same.

o Don’t steer or assign women with caregiving responsibilities, or who you know or even believe may choose to become pregnant in the future, to less prestigious or lower-paid positions.

o Don’t deny women promotions because you are concerned that the new position requires more traveling away from home and you assume that a working mother would not want to travel away from her children.

o Don’t treat an employee in need of accommodations to care for a relative or other individual with a disability less favorably because you think they will be unable to do their work and be a caregiver. Certainly don’t refuse to hire someone for those same reasons.

o Don’t retaliate against employees by changing schedules or engaging in any other act that would be reasonably likely to deter working mothers or other caregivers from seeking leave or other protected activity in connection with their responsibilities.

What an employer should do:

o Make your decisions performance-based and in no way motivated by gender or other similar stereotyping.

o Be certain that negative changes in a worker’s performance do not arise after she becomes pregnant or assumes caregiving responsibilities and that her status is in no way linked to changes in her actual performance.

o Be attentive to subjective assessments that are not supported by specific objective criteria.

o Be attentive to changes in assignments or duties that are not readily explained by nondiscriminatory reasons.

o Ensure that any leave of absence specifically provided to women alone is limited to the period that women are incapacitated by pregnancy and childbirth. Otherwise, the same kind of leave should be provided to all employees in a uniform way.

o Protect your employees from offensive comments or other harassment because of their status to avoid a hostile work environment claim.

o Make sure to implement and enforce policies against this treatment and ensure that you take immediate necessary steps to prevent harassment from occurring and to correct any such harassment.

o Conduct prompt and thorough investigations into claims of such treatment and implement corrective and preventive measures to resolve the situation and prevent future problems.

o And as always, protect your employees from retaliation for opposing this type of unlawful discrimination, such as complaining to their employers about gender stereotyping, or for filing a charge with the EEOC or DFEH.

Studies have shown, employers who make the proper adjustments to their policies to clearly define improper conduct against this class of employees see an increase in employee productivity, reductions in absences and, most importantly, keep employers out of litigation. The bottom line, ensuring policies exist and are enforced is good business!

For more information on this subject, please check out EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers With Caregiving Responsibilities, EEOC Notice Number 915.002, 5/23/07.

Bringing Dinosaurs Into the School – An Aid to the Creative Curriculum

With the roll out of the Creative Curriculum within the United Kingdom, giving teachers and administrators the opportunity to be more flexible in the delivery of core teaching programmes, new opportunities have emerged to motivate and enthuse young people, particularly when it comes to the science subjects. After all, one of the key aims of this new development is to help young people, in fact students of all ages from reception/foundation right up to key stage four, gain the capacity for original ideas and actions. In effect, to help students learn about science, the environment and other related science subjects such as mathematics; through personal exploration and enquiry.

The Creative Curriculum and the Teaching of Science Subjects

In our experience, as teachers the creative curriculum has allowed us to act as facilitators to learning, we have found that the greater flexibility in being able to teach core subjects and national curriculum principles has been a very positive experience both for those teachers delivering the lessons and also for the pupils.

Being more creative has led to the abandonment of many of the older lesson plans and schemes of work we had. Others have been modified and adapted to make them work within the context of having greater teaching freedoms. In particular, being able to introduce new term topics such as a study of dinosaurs has brought real benefits to the delivery of the teaching programmes.

Whilst we accept that modifying existing lesson plans, topics and schemes of work made more work at the beginning of this new teaching style, the outcomes have more than made up for this with a more motivated and enthusiastic group of students, who do, genuinely seem to be able to apply key skills and demonstrate learning.

Why Choose Dinosaurs?

The choice of a study of dinosaurs and indeed other prehistoric animals as part of a themed topic for a term or part of a school term is a really good idea in our opinion. Firstly, most children go through a phase of being fascinated with these prehistoric creatures, this will ensure a willingness to participate in the lessons and activities. Secondly, dinosaurs these days are rarely out of the media what with television shows, cartoons and films so most children are very aware of them and already have some knowledge. Perhaps, most importantly of all, the subject of dinosaurs or to be more precise a study of the Order of reptiles known as the Dinosauria provides enormous scope for developing a range of exciting lesson plans across a range of subject areas.

Subject areas that can be covered include the sciences, mathematics and geography but also with some creative thinking, areas of teaching as diverse as music, physical education and dance. For example, utilising the subject of dinosaurs for a term topic gives teachers the opportunity to explore themes such as changing environments and extinction. When delivering such a scheme of work we have incorporated many different subject areas all loosely based around the mass extinction event that occurred sixty-five million years ago that led to the death of the dinosaurs. Science areas can be covered by exploring the possible reasons for the extinction event, the breaking down of food webs, the impact of volcanoes and changing climates. This can permit teachers to explore current themes and issues related to subject areas such as global warming and the impact of human population growth on the planet. By being creative, the extinction motif can be applied in other subject areas such as composing a piece of music to reflect change and the death of a whole group of prehistoric animals. This enables teachers to tap into other learning styles of the pupils. With music and movement in mind, we have helped create dance classes where pupils try to interpret the death of the dinosaurs through creative dance and other performance works.

Most children have some knowledge of dinosaurs, indeed, in our experience there is usually at least one very knowledgeable person in the class, perhaps a budding young palaeontologist that can be relied upon to help enthuse and inform on the subject area. When wanting to encourage independent learning we hung a washing line complete with pegs across the classroom. We then asked the pupils (in this case key stage two students), to think of questions about dinosaurs and write them on a piece of paper with their name on them. We then examined the questions that had come out and grouped them (another useful exercise involving word association and spatial awareness). Once the question areas were grouped, teams were selected and each team given the task of researching a question and reporting on their findings to the rest of the class. This encouraged independent problem solving and research using a range of resources and then each team made a presentation to their class mates and wrote up their findings for display on the “resources wall” that we had created to help theme up the room for the dinosaur topic.

As teachers, we found the delivery of a topic associated with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals a joy to teach and found our own curiosity and interest ignited. There were certainly many key benefits for putting dinosaurs into the classroom, a summary of the benefits we found are listed below:

1). Pupils were more involved in their learning and took greater responsibility for their learning. There was a real sense of ownership when being taught this subject. For example, the sense of pride when designing their own prehistoric animal, working out where it lived, what it ate and what name it should have.

2). Students were more enthusiastic about the subject areas and there was greater motivation. For instance, exploring the concept of averages with a key stage 3 class using some dinosaur footprints to make a trackway and measuring the average distance between steps.

3). As teachers, we too were more motivated and enthusiastic about the subject area of dinosaurs. It was a “fun” aspect of the curriculum and it was more rewarding and personally satisfying to see how the children responded to the more creative teaching methods employed.

4). Greater parental involvement. One benefit of teaching about dinosaurs that was not foreseen was the greater interest shown by parents and guardians. Adults too, also seem to have a fascination with dinosaurs, we encouraged the children talk about dinosaurs with their parents and guardians when at home and we saw a marked improvement in the attitude of many parents towards teaching when they began to see how creative we were in delivering teaching plans and programmes. One thing we would recommend is to have an “open afternoon” permitting the pupils to show off their work and studies involving dinosaurs. We set up a “mini- museum” that showcased the work and the experiments the children had done. This was very well received by the parents and guardians that attended.

Bringing dinosaurs into schools is certainly recommended. It enables teachers and educationalists to tap into the enthusiasm of the pupils, it motivates learning and provides a rich environment for developing lessons and learning. We even learnt a few things ourselves – would definitely recommend.

The Pros and Cons of Infrared Fireplace Inserts

I first noticed the inclusion of quartz infrared heaters into the design of electric fireplaces and inserts at the beginning of the 2012 heating season.

From a marketing perspective, expanding into the electric fireplace product line is a no brainer given the popularity of quartz infrared heaters in general.

But are infrared inserts just a gimmick, or do they provide additional benefits not found in conventional inserts?

Pros:

Superior Heat Quality

If you already own an infrared heater you don’t need to be convinced that its moist, even heat creates a more comfortable environment than the harsh, arid heat that comes from an electric coil heater.

And if you’ve never experienced the difference you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you do.

More Powerful Heater

The typical electric insert comes equipped with a standard electric coil heater rated at 4,600 BTUs, or the equivalent of 1,350 watts.

A quartz infrared heater, by comparison, is rated at 5,200 BTUs, or 1,500 watts which works out to 10% more heating power.

And, since it has a radiant heat source that directs its warmth to inanimate objects such as funiture, which retain heat, it uses less energy to maintain the room temperature.

Flame Display

The identical flame display is used for both infrared and non-infrared inserts of similar sized models within a brand name’s product line. For example, the same SpectraFire flame display is used in all of Classic Flame’s 28″ models.

Although the flame display quality isn’t an issure for the purposes of this article, it’s understandable why it would be more important than the type of heater for some consumers

By the way, the reviews I’ve read for the Classic Flame SpectraFire flame display have been good to outstanding.

Cons:

Heating Coverage Area

I don’t know why everyone who sells infrared heaters claims they will heat 1.000 square feet, but they persist in doing so. I know my 1,500 watt DR Heater will comfortably heat around 600 square feet of my Boston condo, but that’s about it. There are just too many obstructions (doors, walls) that prevent a heater of this size from reaching every corner of a home’s layout.

Or, if you have an open floor plan, it’s impossible for any 1,500 watt heating appliance, quartz or otherwise, to keep up with the demand.

So the answer is yes, a radiant heater will do a better job at heating larger areas than most conventional heaters, but it’s not going to heat 1,000 square feet unless it’s a self contained room in a home built to LEED standards.

Price

Although the additional cost of an infrared heater is not mentioned as a drawback by people who have purchased and reviewed them, it might be a deterrent to some.

Fireplace Inserts Are Versatile

Electric fireplace inserts are popular with RV owners as an after market installation. They can also be used as a stand alone heating unit or, if you’re into woodworking, you could custom build a mantle and surround to suit your taste.

Understanding The Symptoms Of Poor Blood Circulation

Circulatory problems do not begin in a day. In other words, you could call the heart a very patient organ, which can take years of abuse and when it can not take it any more, breaks out in to early symptoms.

At the outset, we need to remember that poor circulation is an outcome of certain lifestyle choices which we make which are detrimental to our health. Coupled with these are factors like imbalanced diet and lack of physical exercise. All these factors lead to fatty deposits on the arterial walls, which when hardened are called plaques. These plaques then block or create obstructions to the smooth passage of blood to and from the heart.

Plaques take a long time to be formed; that is the reason, we find circulatory problems affecting the elderly more often than they affect children. Our food habits also add to an unhealthy build up of cholesterol which may increase the viscosity of the blood, which again creates anomaly in the smooth flow through arteries and veins.

Since the circulatory system covers our entire body, the problems can also be manifested in numerous ways. For instance,

Brain – Our brain receives 20% of the blood circulated in our body. With a drop in the flow, our brain functions sub-optimally, resulting in feeling lethargic, loss of memory, lack of mental clarity, etc. Frequent unexplained headaches and sudden attacks of dizziness are also seen as symptoms of poor blood circulation to the brain.

Heart – When poor blood circulation affects the heart, the symptoms would be chest pain, high blood pressure and rise in the level of cholesterol. Difficulty in performing any common task like climbing stairs, walking a stretch could make you very tired and breathless.

Liver. When you suffer from lack of appetite or experience sudden weight loss and your skin looks luster-less, it is quite possible that your liver is getting ‘sluggish’ and these are the early symptoms of poor blood circulation to the liver.

Kidneys – This organ plays an important role in regulating and monitoring our blood pressure other than eliminating the waste and excess water from our bodies. When poor blood circulation affects the kidneys, we notice swelling of hands, feet and ankles, rise in blood pressure, altered heart rate and we feel tired all the time.

Limbs – Poor blood circulation can have serious impact on our arms and legs. We can experience sudden numbness of our hands, feet and fingers or suffer painful leg cramps. Symptoms of serious blood circulation problems can be varicose veins or a condition called cyanosis – which is when part of our skin turns blue or black due to lack of adequate oxygen to the concerned tissues.

Sex drive – Poor blood circulation can affect our reproductive organs as well. The symptoms are lack of sex drive and fatigue. Symptoms would also include lack of vitality also. Serious blood circulation problems could make one impotent also.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Lecithin

There are numerous benefits of lecithin to the human body that many of us are not aware of and many of which can help us become healthier as it is a proven substance that’s essentially needed by our body. The benefits of lecithin are limitless, but to give you an idea, here are the top 10 benefits of lecithin:

1. One of the great benefits of lecithin is it breaks up cholesterol and fats in our body so it is very advisable for those who want to lose weight. Consuming more lecithin means increasing the body’s metabolism rate.

2. The benefits of lecithin also reach out to people suffering from memory loss. Lecithin utilizes Vitamins A, E, K, and D which promote better concentration and memory. It is very beneficial to students and the elderly who wish to enhance their memory skills. As a matter of fact, those with Alzheimer’s or amnesia are advised to include lecithin in their diet.

3. Lecithin also cleanses the kidneys and liver which is important to those who are suffering from urinary tract infection and those who love to eat salty and spicy foods. It prevents diseases like gallstones and gallbladder infection.

4. Protection against heart diseases is one of the many benefits of lecithin. It lowers cholesterol level and prevents toxins from clogging the arteries. People who include lecithin in their diet noticed remarkable development in their cardiovascular health.

5. Other benefits of lecithin worth mentioning are its roles in helping our body absorb better essential nutrients and supporting the movement of our body fluids inside and outside the cells.

6. One of the major benefits of lecithin is it protects our spinal cord and brain cells from damages. We all know how important and delicate our spinal cord and brain are for the whole functioning of our body and lecithin can keep them in good working condition.

7. Lecithin is also beneficial to our skin. If we are taking in enough lecithin into our body, it nourishes our skin and lessens the possibility of dealing with skin problems like pimples, acne, whiteheads, and blackheads.

8. Increasing your daily intake of lecithin will very much increase your physical performance, very helpful to those who are into body building and sports and people who are always on the go. Lecithin can boost the body’s energy level without making you fat.

9. If you are suffering from arthritis, you’ll be surprised with the benefits of lecithin especially in helping you deal with this painful ailment. Lecithin contains essential fatty acids that keep muscles, bones, and joints strong and healthy.

10. There are also benefits of lecithin for pregnant women. Studies proved that it can contribute a lot to the development of the fetus’ brain and nervous system.

The lecithin benefits are numerous but it doesn’t mean it’s all good. Too much intake of lecithin can also lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness. The body normally needs only 30 to 50 grams of lecithin per day and you can get it from eating egg yolk, fish, and peanuts.

My 4 Step Technique Is The Easiest Method To Get Rid Of Warts

Individuals who have the human papillomavirus infection, or HPV, usually suffer from warts which are the physical manifestation of this viral infection. HPV infection is one of the most prevalent types of viral infection and nearly 40 percentage of people all over the world are affected but it. Warts can occur almost anywhere on the body but the most common places are on the face, fingers, hands, knees, legs, feet and genitals. The best way to get rid of warts in a holistic and natural fashion is to use a progressive system of treatments to soften them, apply natural ointments to them, cover them and then remove them. Here in this article we are going to explain a step by step process for elimination of warts using simple holistic ingredients that are ready available. This treatment procedure will work on all warts other than warts in the genital area.

1. Soak Warts – The warts produced from the infection of HPV virus have a very thick outer skin. The external surface of your skin has been hardened by the virus that lives underneath feeding on the nourishment extracted from blood vessels. To remove the warts and to kill the virus that is present underneath the skin layers, the warts need to be softened first. The best way to get rid of warts when you are just starting to treat them is to soak them in hot water. Make the water as hot as you can stand without pain and leave the warts in there for at least ten minutes. The soaking treatment can be made all the more effective by adding a little quantity of apple cider vinegar to the hot water. Adjust the ratio of vinegar to water according to how sensitive your skin is.

2. Natural Ointments – The next step of the natural treatment process calls for the application of natural creams and lotions to destroy the virus. One of the best natural creams is aloe vera gel as it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which help to cure the skin infection. The antiseptic will help to destroy the HPV virus which is causing the warts while the analgesic effects will get rid of any discomfort from the hot water and vinegar soak. The anti-inflammatory properties of the aloe gel with help to limit the blood supply to the area to ensure that the virus is not able to get the nourishment from the blood vessels. Application of banana peel or garlic oil is also recommended in some holistic treatments.

3. Tape Them – The warts have now been softened and treated with a holistic ointment. The next step is to cover them tightly with duct tape. This would cut off the air supply to the virus and combined with the restricted food supply will kill it. Cut a piece of duct tape just bigger than the wart and press it on tightly so that all of the air is removed. The duct tape is going to stay on for a week and then it will be time to get rid of the warts.

4. Abrade Them – Now you have reached the final stage of the progressive treatment process, where you need to remove the warts by scraping them away. The HPV virus that caused the wart has been killed so they won’t reoccur. To remove the warts, you can use any kind of abrasive material such as a pumice stone or an emery board and just scrape away the wart tissue from your skin. The process could be sped up if the wart has turned totally black. Which means the wart tissue is completely dead without any blood supply and hence can be cut off.

Physical And Emotional Effects Of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a silent killer that just recently people have started to worry about. Statistics show that 3 out of 20 people with severe anorexia die and one percent of American women have anorexia.

Those numbers are scary but why do teenagers have bad eating behaviors? Some think that it is the media that keeps showing us skinny girls along with selling us unhealthy fast food and that has created a sociocultural way of unhealthy eating behaviors and negative thoughts of our bodies.

However, in anorexia there are physical and emotional factors involved that we cant not ignore. The cause, although unknown, is a combination of different factors that can trigger anorexia.

The physical effects of anorexia are:

cease to menstruate

weight 85% less that the normal weight

strange eating rituals like vomiting, hiding food and avoiding meals.

Some of the consequences are:

the use of drugs and alcohol

damage to brain, loss of memory

loss of mass muscle

weak bones, osteoporosis

hair loss, nail loss

low blood pressure, low heart rate

Mental effects:

A poor and distorted self body image

low self esteem

Obsessive thoughts on losing weight and body fat

denial of the problem, she see its as a lifestyle

become isolated and secretive, avoids social interaction

easily irritated, has feelings of guilt

depression

As you can see a person with anorexia nervosa has many mental and physical symptoms that contribute to the problem. Its very important to get professional help as soon as possible, so the patient can recover and avoid long term health problems.

The support of the family becomes a key factor to help the affected person recover and accept her eating disorder problem. Its important to establish a trusted relationship between the patient and the family as well with the doctors.

Should College Student-Athletes Be Paid?

Should College Athletes be Paid? Hold It!!!… Maybe There’s A Better Way

With the ongoing increasing conversations pertaining to college student-athletes, of whether they should be paid as professionals, or remain amateurs, I thought it take a moment to sit down and jot down some of my thoughts.

Here in the northwest, there is recent conversation in regards to a couple of our local universities, University of Washington and Washington State University (my alma mater) as to if their respective star players (UW’s Isaiah Thomas and WSU’s Klay Thompson) should return for their senior years of go Pro.

I admit to being a little bit “old school” when it comes to implementing success strategies to keep our young people on track for success. As the author of a just completed book “Standing above the Crowd: “Execute Your Game Plan to Become the Best You Can Be”, that keeps the focus on the tried-and-true traditions of hard work, goal setting, dedication and positive attitude, I feel that those things along with my own personal life experience of being a collegiate student- athlete help me to have a perspective from the many different points of view pertaining to this conversation.

My Beginning as a Student Athlete:

Athletes are the prized and celebrated few of our society. From the time that most top-level athletes are in the fourth or fifth grade, they have already been identified as those that have a great opportunity in the world of sports. At that point they become coddled, pampered, and “taken care of” in ways that the average individual can only imagine. Many times athletes who are full of athletic potential don’t have the same scholastic expectations placed upon them from the time they’re in middle school and all the way through college. Is that fair? I guess I’d say it’s fair only if it works out well for the athlete, his family and the university of their choice before heading on to the pros. Unfortunately, that is where we as a society place our values, instead of on the student who gets straight “A’s”. But, many times it doesn’t work out that way for the “hot-shot” athlete, and you only hear about the perhaps 10% of athletes who actually ascend to the top of the pyramid of the hundreds of thousands of scholar athletes throughout this country (middle school through collegiate sports). The vast majority of student-athletes will perhaps play on their high school varsity team, their collegiate athletic teams, and far fewer in the professional ranks. It’s been said it’s easier to become a brain surgeon that it is a professional athlete.

I was a late starter as a student-athlete, so I wasn’t one of the pampered ones that were targeted for athletic success from middle school on. Matter of fact I didn’t play my first organized basketball game until I was a senior in high school. So, I missed out on all the “wining and dining”, “coddling and pampering”, and, “wooing and recruitment” that goes on in trying to get the attention of our young athletes. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t witness to those kinds of things as they went on around me having watched many of my peers go through all of those dynamics. I do remember even back in high school (mid 70’s) in seeing some of the star football, basketball, baseball, track/field athletes being given special treatment as the recruiting wars heated up.

Coming from a family that emphasizes academics over athletics, I had the mindset from the beginning that my first reward from becoming a student-athlete would be my scholarship on to college. I was so excited about receiving my athletic scholarship to Washington State University, because I would be the very first person in my immediate family to be able to attend an institution of higher learning and earn a college degree. I know that my family is probably not “the norm” when it comes to having a student-athlete that is full of potential and can possibly make it onto the pros. Most families “want it” (the athlete to make it to the pros) even more than the athlete him/herself. My family wasn’t like that, and I was really blessed in the fact that they did place academics ahead of athletics.

The Social Impact of Athletes not Graduating:

My major at Washington State University was in the areas of sociology/psychology. It was there that I begin to understand some of the social issues of the day (both historically and current) plus challenges that pertain to ethnic groups (such as African-Americans like myself) in particular. I learned that so many African-American men fall through the cracks (become involved with the criminal justice system, drop out of school, become teen-aged fathers, suffer higher unemployment rates, become involved with substance abuse such as alcohol, drugs, etc.) and we have the society and community need to do a better job of helping our young people along that precarious pathway that can lead them to success. Success that is not only measured on the athletic fields, but more importantly in the classroom, and then once they embark upon their respective career paths.

If you take a look at any collegiate or professional football/basketball team, you’ll readily see that the vast majority of the young players are of African-American descent. At times it’s been up to perhaps 90% in basketball and at the 70 to 80 percentile in football. Most of those players come from families that are single female-headed households (over 70% of African-American homes are single female-headed households in the United States), and the student-athlete themselves are the majority of the time, the very first generation in their families who have the opportunity to go on to college. We don’t have to go too far back in history to realize the reasons why a lot of African-Americans were not allowed to attend school and become educated. So this is a relatively recent development in the fact that so many African-American student-athletes are now being given the opportunity to obtain degrees at every university across the United States. The shame of it all is the fact that very few of our African-American student-athletes actually walk away from a university after their athletic eligibility is up with a degree/diploma stating that he or she has completed the curriculum work and has earned a degree. That’s the shame of it all and that has to be fixed!

Our student-athletes (no matter what ethnic background and culture they are from) cannot compete on a “level playing field” without a university degree with their student peers who are on campus at the same time with them. Even when a student-athlete does obtain his or her degree, they’re still somewhat behind the rest of their graduating class because while the “regular” student has been attending classes everyday and gaining experience in implementing some of the skills they’re learning, more often than not, the student-athlete is missing a large percentage of classes (even if it was made up by “study/tutor sessions”) and is missing out on the opportunity to implement some of the skills of their learning along the way as do “regular” students. Also, “regular” students have an opportunity to form a social network that many times becomes a pathway onto their business network that they will utilize in launching their careers. Student-athletes many times are isolated on campus from everyday campus life because of the demands of the sport that they’re playing, and trying to balance their academic load at the same time. Plus, when you’re celebrated student-athlete on campus, it’s difficult to be accepted as a normal everyday person and there’s always someone who’s willing to step up and “befriend you” for their own personal agenda such as “tickets, being a part of your inner circle, hoping to tag along with you on “the ride” to the professional ranks should you make it). The student-athlete has to be “extra careful” in who their friends are and that takes away from the campus experience too.

The small percentage of student-athletes who actually navigate their way successfully through this whole maze of “hangers ons”, “friends and so-called friends”, “groupies and posse'”, “educators who want to be your friend” and the like are to be congratulated for making it through in the first place. Most likely they made it through because of their athletic talents, but also they had the good fortune of not going too far off track and ruining their opportunities for success. If you’re a “lottery pick” or a “first-round pick “, more power to you, but keep in mind “to those whom much is given, much is expected “. I applaud them also, but that’s not what this article is about. This article is about those “regular student-athletes” (like myself, who actually took going to school seriously and received my degree) who have the odds stacked against them to make it to the pros in first place.

What’s Wrong with Paying College Athletes?

The controversy and conversation swirling about in recent years is in regards to payment collegiate student-athletes a portion of the huge sums of revenue that they generate for collegiate sports. At last count, the revenue-generating collegiate sports of the NCAA generated about $10 billion annually for the various schools and Universities that play the major revenue generating sports of football and basketball. That’s a very large sum of money and it shows that college sports are more popular than ever. State-of-the-art football stadiums, basketball arenas, track and field venues, baseball fields and the like, have sprung up like dandelions in a meadow field over the last couple of decades. The recruiting war for student-athletes who can help you create a winning athletic program is fierce. Schools go all out to create state-of-the-art weight rooms, athletic dorms, dining halls and more in an effort to impress the student-athletes when he/she comes to visit the campus on a recruiting trip. There are also private planes, fancy hotels, money under the table (and money on top of the table), and new friends “to hook up with” that are thrown into boot. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that any of these things are “wrong” as long as the Universities are abiding by the NCAA rules of recruitment, but you also have to keep in mind that the student-athletes are 17/18-year-old impressionable young people who have a tremendous amount of pressure put on them on all sides by coaches (both high school and college), families, friends, media and their peers. What 17/18-year-old is able to handle all of that?

The NCAA has been from its very beginning a venue for “amateur collegiate sports”. For well over 100 years that has been its mission and purpose, and even though the mission and purpose is still in place, a lot of other dynamics (revenues for schools, television contracts, societal/alumni pressures to win, pride and prestige of winning a national championship titles, etc.) have changed especially over the last two or three decades. There have always been scandals throughout the history of the NCAA as far as somebody bending the rules of little too far. But it’s gotten to the point where the student-athletes are feeling as if they are the ones who have contributed more than their fair share to the overall success of the athletic programs. It’s true, a winning program generates more revenue, and a losing program will be faced with having a half-full stadium and budget shortfalls for the athletic department. So the pressure’s on. Which way do we go from here?

I feel that NCAA sports should continue to be “amateur” in nature, but because of the tremendous amount of revenues that are generated for the universities, a portion of that should be set aside for student-athletes who are helping to build the success of the programs. I’m not in favor of outright paying the student-athlete either a stipend or a regular paycheck, but here’s what I am in favor of, and that is to set some of that money aside that the school generates off of the hard work and athletic promise of the student-athlete. Set some of that money aside and put it into a trust fund or an annuity (choice of the student-athlete) that will be waiting there for the student-athlete upon graduation.

What can be done?

Traditionally, the “payment” that the student-athlete receives for being a scholarship athlete is a “full ride athletic scholarship that includes tuition, room and board”. Most student-athletes also receive a monthly stipend that can range anywhere from $500 – $1,000 for basic expenses (food and gas money). The annual cost for scholarship at most major universities typically amount anywhere from $10,000-$50,000 a year. Back in my day, I felt that was a fair trade and I was more than happy to receive my full ride athletic scholarship. I realize times have changed and this is a whole different world that we live in nowadays.

So here’s my suggestion; what if the university set that money aside in a trust fund or an annuity that would be waiting there for the student-athlete upon his or her graduation? We talked earlier about many times even if a student-athlete graduates with the rest of their graduating class, they’re still behind the rest of their “regular” college peers because of the increased demands of doing double duty of being a student and athlete. I would think that creating a better win-win scenario in which both parties (the university and the student-athletes) have a vested interest, it would be better all the way around.

The university would still generate the tremendous amount of revenues that it does from its athletic programs and the participation of its student-athletes. The student-athlete would be compensated by given a “full ride athletic scholarship” (valued at perhaps $10,000-$50,000 per year), plus that amount of the scholarship would be placed in a trust fund or an annuity and would be there waiting for the student-athlete once that student-athlete graduates with a degree from the university.

I would even place additional onus on the university to commit as many years as is necessary to ensure that the student-athlete eventually walks away from the college campus with a degree in hand. Most student-athletes, if they are to graduate, graduate in about five years. If you have a scenario where it takes perhaps 10 years for student-athlete to complete all of his or her curriculum that ends up with a degree, so be it, the university makes that commitment. The university will be receiving the interest payments that will be accruing on the trust fund accounts.

The responsibility placed upon the student-athlete would be in order for him or her to receive the monies that are awaiting them in the trust fund or annuity, they need to graduate. Perhaps you can add some stipulations where the funds will be guaranteed to be there as long as the student-athlete meets a few basic criteria (no felonies, no more than a lapse of five years of attending classes either on campus or online, etc.), and that perhaps the longer it takes for the student-athlete to eventually receive their degree, the less money that will be there for them. (i.e., if there is a $100,000 trust fund awaiting the student-athlete once their athletic eligibility is used up, every year that it takes for them to actually obtain their degree, the amount of the trust fund decreases by 1 – 5%). That would ensure that there is an incentive for the student-athlete to continue pursuing their degree and not let a couple of decades go by before they decide that they want to resume pursuing their degree.

Here’s an example:

Last year of eligibility Decrease of 5% ($5,000 per year) Amount In Trust Fund

2015: $100,000

2016: 5% $95,000

2017: 5% $90,000

2018: 5% $85,000

2019: 5% $80,000

2020: 5% $75,000

In the example above, the original $100,000 fund would be decreased by 5% for every year that it takes for the student-athlete to complete his or her curriculum and obtain their degree. I believe this would put a little pressure (student-athletes are very used to performing under pressure) on the student-athlete to eventually obtain their college degree.

What if a student-athlete doesn’t have the wherewithal to pay for ongoing classes and tuition? Well then the university (or a neutral third party) would administer the trust fund (annuities have far too many tax consequences for early distribution of funds) and deduct the cost for classes/tuition and perhaps room and board from the trust fund. That would again create an incentive for the student-athlete to finish up his/her degree and not draw down (or borrow against in the case of an annuity) too much on their trust fund.

This model would be beneficial and a number of ways. As already mentioned the university would still be able to field revenue generating athletic teams, reward student-athletes with athletic scholarships and have a sum of money awaiting the student-athlete upon graduation. This model would also greatly increase the graduation rates of student-athletes, even if it takes 10 years to obtain a degree. It’s not enough to say that you “went to” such and such university,… what the student-athlete wants to be able to say is that “I graduated from” such and such university. Also, this model somewhat “levels of playing field” and enables the student-athlete upon receiving the funds that have been set aside for them to “catch up” a little bit with their college campus peers who were not student-athletes when it comes to embarking upon their respective careers in “the real world”. Besides, the “regular” college grad graduates with tremendous student loans to pay back (what’s fair, you say?). There’s a lot of things that one can do with a $100,000 nest egg (invest, purchase a home, start a business, etc.), and I feel that this will be the win-win solution moving forward. If they throw their nest egg away on fancy cars and treating their posse to luxuries, well at least the former student-athlete now has their college degree in hand to get out there and “get a job” like the rest of society.

We tend to think of the “star” student-athletes when we think about student-athletes at all. But what about those student-athletes who are on athletic scholarships yet hardly ever get a chance to play? They’re contributing in practice and maybe playing just a little bit during “garbage time”, and perhaps they were realistic enough to know that the chances of becoming a professional were slim to none. They still dedicated themselves and made just as large of a commitment to the athletic program as a star players did. Many times the student-athlete who realizes that he or she will not become an integral part of the team that they’re working so hard to be part of; will find themselves transferring to another university and perhaps even losing a year of eligibility and doing so. Is that fair? Coaches have been able to move from team to team and university to university without any kind of hindrance, but the student-athlete cannot. So a model as I’ve discussed in this article would be beneficial to the second and third string student-athletes also. Even if their athletic career didn’t pan out as planned on the college campus, they still have a “nest egg” to get themselves started along their alternative career pathway once they’re finished with collegiate athletics.

In Summary:

I realize that we live in a world of “instant gratification” and “what have you done for me lately” mindsets. That is especially true in the world of athletics. Our young athletes get caught up in that mindset and dynamic all the time with either the expectations we place on them and/or the expectations that they place on themselves. As it is with becoming involved with criminal activity, substance abuse and the like, human nature is one that we all feel like “I’m the one that can handle it or that things only happen to those other people who don’t know what they’re doing”. Bottom line is we don’t know how our fate will play out in many situations. There have been dozens (if not hundreds) of “blue-chip” student-athletes who flamed out in college for various reasons and there have been student-athletes who came from absolutely nowhere and gone on to stardom in the professional ranks. Sometimes its fate and good fortune, sometimes injuries take their toll, sometime our young student-athletes fall off that pathway of success, sometimes the student-athlete is not able to adapt to life on a college campus, sometimes people can’t handle failure (or success).

I for one am tired of seeing our young student-athletes walk away from a “golden opportunity” of being a student-athlete on a college campus in Anywhere, USA with little more than a few practice jerseys and maybe a trophy or two. It’s a shame and there are so many places to point the finger of blame. Face it, the professional sports leagues could care less if the student-athlete has a degree or not. They just want to get the athlete under contract, pay him/her for services rendered, then move on to the next one once the athlete can no longer perform. But the two major entities involved in the scenario are the university and the student-athlete. Both can work together to create a win-win scenario for each other and which if properly managed and implemented can reap tremendous rewards for years down the road.