How to Treat Baldness?

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

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

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

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

A Common Wound Problem After Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery is a highly effective operation at downsizing and reshaping large breasts. It is a fairly complex procedure that uses a keyhole skin removal and reduction approach to lift the nipple upward and create a more conical shape to the breast. From a plastic surgery standpoint, this is known as the 'inferior pedicle' technique and is the most method by which plastic surgeons perform breast reductions in the United States. There are other techniques for performing breast reduction, but the inferior pedicure method is reliable and adaptable to all types of breast sizes and shapes.

One of the most common complications from this method of breast reduction is separation or opening of the anchor or inverted T portion of the closure at the lower breast crease. This occurs so often that I inform all patients to expect it in either one or both of their breasts. This opening after surgery occurs because this is the point of maximum tightness or tension of the skin closure and, as healing and inflammation set in, the wound edges will separate. Sometimes it will be small, a dime or nickel size, and in others it can develop into an opening much bigger.

What is feasible about this problem, and very disturbing to patients, is that it does not usually appear until at least three weeks after surgery. The incision lines from the breast reduction look great for weeks and then this developments. By three weeks most patients assume that all potential 'problems' are over and everything will just continue to get better. But the biology of healing goes against this perception as the sunset of inflammation and wound tension relief create this delayed wound problem. Despite its ominous appearance, this breast wound separation is a self-solving problem. It may take a week or so reach its maximum size but it will heal and fill in on its own over the ensuing weeks.

Kwashiorkor in an Affluent Society

Kwashiokor is a form of protein-energy malnutrition that we generally associate with children from war-torn countries of Africa. The financial and social affluence generally protects our population, especially the children, from protein deprivation. The low incidence of Kwashiokor delays its diagnosis in the special groups that are at risk of developing it. Chase HP, in a review of kwashiorkor, suggests that children on severe protein restriction due to nutritional ignorance, perceived milk intolerance, or food faddism can develop Kwashiokar. Chronic malabsorptive conditions such as cystic fibrosis are also a high-risk group. Hospitalized patients with decreased nutritional intake or severe nutritional loss are also prone to protein-energy malnutrition.

The symptoms include retardation in stature and tissue development, poor development of muscle and lack of tone, edema, potbelly, swollen legs and face, anorexia and diarrhea. The person stops interacting with the surroundings. The pathologic and biochemical changes include fatty infiltration of the liver, reduced serum levels of triglycerides, phospholipids, and cholesterol, reduced amylase, lyase and trypsin. Serum proteins and albumin fractions are markedly reduced. Hemoglobin levels are especially reduced. This could be a serious complication leading to blindness and death. (Chetali Agrawal, 2000).

Dietary management for kwashiorkor concentrates mainly on providing a diet that is high in protein. Five grams of proteins/kg of body weight/day should be given for the existing weight. The calories derived from protein should be 10% of the total calculated calories per day if the main source is animal protein. If the main or the only source is from cereals and pulses, then the percentage of calories derived from protein can be 13 to 14% of the total calories because of the net protein utilization of cereals and pulses is around 60% whereas in milk or eggs, it is around 90%. Though vegetable proteins are as good as milk proteins in reversing the acute manifestation of kwashiorkor, they are inferior in their ability to promote regeneration of serum albumin. This can be overcome by giving 3 parts of vegetable protein to one part of animal protein like skim milk (Srilakshmi)

Dietary supplements containing proteins like whey and casein can be of benefit in malnourished subjects. Casein is a milk protein and has the ability to form a gel or clot in the stomach. The ability to form this clot makes it very efficient in nutrient supply. The clot is able to provide a sustained slow release of amino acids into the blood stream, sometimes lasting for several hours (Boirie et al., 1997)

Micellar casein is an extremely slow digesting and rich protein source that continues to feed the muscle (which is essential for kwashiorkor) long after whey protein has passed through the digestive system. In fact, studies with this under-rated form of isolated casein protein (Proc Natl. Acad Sci USA 1997) have demonstrated it to sustain steady amino acid elevation for an incredible seven hours. It was shown to offer a strong anti-catabolic effect not noticed with fast digesting whey protein, and actually fostered a much more positive overall net protein balance in comparison. Glutamine is the predominant amino acid in casein, which plays an important role in brain metabolism. Proline, aspartic, leucine, lysine and valine are also present. Casein is a good source of essential amino acids.

Whey proteins are made up of a-lacalbumin and ß-lactoglobulin (which defend against infection), albumin, the immunoglobulins, enzymes and protease, peptones. ß-lactoglobulin accounts for about 50% of total whey protein. They also contain small amounts of lactoferrin (iron, containing protein having protecting effect) and serum transferin (Srilakshmi, 1996).

Whey proteins provide the highest value of BCAA (Branched Chain amino acid). This is highly valued for muscle building–an essential requirement in kwashiorkor–and recovery. Whey proteins are the highest quality of proteins as they contain the best combination of amino acids as compared to proteins in dairy products, soy, vegetable, and even meat. Whey proteins also support the immune functions by increasing glutathione levels, thereby exhibiting antioxidants properties. Whey proteins contain many similar ingredients found in a mother’s milk. Other benefits of whey proteins include the fact that they are easily absorbed, which help in increasing lean muscle mass and helps fat loss.

It is necessary to maintain electrolyte balance in patients with Protein Energy Malnutrition. Vitamin and mineral supplementation must be given according to the physician’s advice. If vitamin A deficiency is present, oral administration of a single dose of 50,000 International Units (I.U.s) of fat-soluble vitamin A should be given immediately, followed by 5000 units daily. The deficiency symptoms will be cured in about two weeks. Anemia is most frequently encountered in people suffering from protein energy malnutrition. For the treatment of anemia, ferrous ammonium citrate (0.8g) should be given daily in the form of syrup in three divided doses for a period of one month. 100 mcg of Folic acid should be given daily (Srilakshmi).

Treatment strategy involves provision of adequate protein, provision of casein and whey protein supplementation, provision of vitamin and mineral supplementation, resolving life threatening conditions, restoring nutritional status without disruption of homeostasis ensuring nutritional rehabilitation. Criteria for improvement involves disappearance of mental apathy and edema, rise in serum albumin level and an increase in weight gain.

Strokes and Emotions Following a Stroke

Emotions and behavior can change following a stroke. Nearly one third of all stroke survivors experience some emotional problems. These problems can result in depression, anger, frustration, feelings of loss and denial. There may be communication disorders which will include aphasia – to do with verbal abilities and auditory comprehension where they are unable to speak or to read, write or comprehend numbers. Or there may be motor speech problems with slurred or garbled speech. All of these difficulties will affect the emotions creating sadness and possibly depression.

Extreme emotions will interfere with the rehabilitation process. Emotions are hard to control, partly because of chemical changes within the brain caused by the stroke. It is also a reaction to the challenges of dealing with the effects of a stroke. There can be rapid mood changes also causing crying or laughing inappropriately, feelings of hopelessness, changes in eating and sleeping, anger, anxiety and apathy.

Anxiety causes sleep disturbances. It may also cause difficulty with concentration. The stroke sufferer may avoid going out in public or even seeing friends. Irritability, another problem, can also cause difficulties with concentration and the stroke sufferer may tire more quickly.

Apathy is a dangerous emotion for a stroke survivor. It is lack of enthusiasm, motivation, listlessness and no interest in anything. For the stroke sufferer, if they have apathy they will likely not work diligently at rehabilitation. This is detrimental to their long-term health or for a positive outcome with the chance of fewer disabilities.

It is important for the stroke impaired to find ways to relax, ie: soak in a warm bath, listen to calm music, meditate or go for a walk. Writing down worries or talking to a friend or family member may also help. However, if it continues for quite a while and all else has failed, it may be necessary for them to see their family doctor. Medication may also be necessary.

Stroke recovery groups are also good for the stroke survivor because often talking about the effects of their stroke with others who are going through the same thing can help. Acknowledging their feelings will help them to deal with their emotions too. It will be important for the stroke-impaired person to be as informed as possible because the more they know, the more they will be able to help themselves.

Emotions following a stroke are often closer to the surface and will increase in intensity relative to the situation, possibly summoning feelings that had not bothered them prior to their stroke. As upsetting as it is for the stroke survivor to experience these chaotic emotions, in almost all cases, these intents feelings will go and ever they will feel more like themselves ..

Problems with emotions following a stroke can result in personality changes. But as the stroke-impaired person begins to feel more like themselves, these changes often will cease to exist.

Canaloplasty: Fixing The Hole With A Straw

"There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,

There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it. "

"With what I'll fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza?

With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, with what?

With a straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, a straw. "

Does this song sound familiar? Sesame Street incorporated the song as a comedic skit in the 1970s except instead of a "straw," the hole in the bucket was fixed with a "stick". The same holds true with canaloplasty. To fix the leaky bucket (glaucoma), a straw is needed (microcatheter).

Canaloplasty is a recent advancement in non-penetrating glaucoma surgery that gains aqueous outflow without forming a bleb (blister). This approach does not create a full-thickness hole into the fluid-filled space inside the eye (anterior chamber), as with trabeculectomy. Instead, the eye fluid flows slowly through the natural drainage channels with the help of a stent, preventing a rapid and dangerous drop in eye pressure. This gives canaloplasty an excellent safety profile, with early eye pressure stability after surgery and faster recovery time. It also means less activity restrictions and post-operative visits for patients when compared to trabeculectomy.

In addition, canaloplasty and trabeculectomy both resulated in similar reductions in intraocular pressure (IOP) and medication use one year after surgery. Experts agree that canaloplasty is a desirable option for glaucoma patients because it decrees the number of necessary post-operative visits and there are fewer complications to treat. As an added bonus, patients save thousands of dollars in the cost of medications because cancaloplasty reduces the amount of medication patients need in order to control the IOP. The ultimate result? A happier patient who can go back to enjoying life without restrictions.

Although anyone with open angle glaucoma can benefit from canalopalsty, it is especially valuable for patients who are also contact lens wearers, have eyes with significant ocular surface disease (dry eyes), and those individuals with a failed trabeculectomy in the other eye. Because of the improved safety profile, canaloplasty will likely have an increasing role in the surgical management of patients with glaucoma.

How To Know If You Are Pregnant – The 18 Things You Got To Know About Pregnancy

Are you pregnant? You may be pregnant if you have been experiencing some of the 18 pregnancy symptoms below.

  1. Nausea or morning sickness: Morning sickness are the nauseating feelings and vomiting you experience during pregnancy. Most pregnant women experience morning sickness from the first month of pregnancy onwards. Although the name suggests that this is a condition experienced in the morning, it may strike at any time during the day whenever your blood sugar levels get too low.
  2. Headaches: If you already had a headache problem before pregnancy, be prepared for it to worsen during pregnancy. The changes in your body's hormone levels during pregnancy is the main cause of headaches. Other conditions like lack of sleep, poor posture, stress, dehydration and low blood sugar levels may also worsen of cause headaches.
  3. Dizziness and false spells: During your pregnancy, it is normal for your blood pressure to drop lower than your normal levels. When this happens, you may experience some dizziness and false spells in extreme cases.
  4. Mood swings: The physical and hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy will definitely have a negative impact on your state of mind and cause you to feel gloomy. It takes some time to settle into your new life by adjusting to all the changes in your body and lifestyle.
  5. Fatigue: If you feel fatigued and experience some or all of the symptoms mentioned in this article, you have a good chance of being pregnant. Hormonal changes are usually the main cause of fatigue followed by the additional weight you have to carry around.
  6. Food cravings: Craving for food that you normally would not eat could be a sign that you are pregnant. Many women crave for salty and sweet food while some develop a strange craving for fatty or spicy food.
  7. Weight gain and bloating: Your growing baby and increased food intake will result in an unavoidable gain in weight and ability to fit into some of your clothes. An inexplicable increase in size of your tummy is also a definite sign that you may be pregnant.
  8. Heartburn: The hormones in your body may relax the valve between your stomach and esophagus, causing a wave of gastric acid to flow upwards, which in turn causes an uncomfortable burning sensation.
  9. Lower back pain: As your baby grows in size, the added weight pulls your spine to the front of your body and causes you to experience some back pain every now and then.
  10. Constipation: Hormonal changes during pregnancy slows down the movement of food through your digestive system which results in constipation. This could be a sign of pregnancy if you do not experience constipation frequently.
  11. Frequent urination: Your growing baby in the uterus puts a lot of pressure on your bladder and you may find yourself visiting the loo more frequently than usual.
  12. High Basal Body Temperature (BBT): If your BTT stays in the high temperature range for 18 days or more, you have a good chance of being pregnant.
  13. Cramping: As the uterus grows and stretches, it is normal to feel cramps that feel similar to menstrual cramps.
  14. Spotting: Slight bleeding occurs during implantation of the fertilized egg to the lining of the uterus. A lot of women confuse this with their period but this happens usually before the period starts and the discharge is lighter than normal.
  15. Darkening of the areolas: Your areolas could darken and increase in diameter during pregnancy. This is caused by your body's preparation for your breasts to produce milk.
  16. Tender or swollen breasts: It is common for women to have sore, tingly, tender or swollen breasts during pregnancy. Many women report this feels like a greater version of the sensations before periods.
  17. Missed periods: A late or missed period is usually the first sign women notice when they are pregnant. Further tests will be required to confirm if your suspensions are valid.
  18. Positive pregnancy tests: Only a positive urine test or blood test can give you solid indication that you are pregnant. Positive pregnancy tests: However, these tests are not 100% accurate all of the time, therefore you might want to visit a doctor to conduct further tests.

Please take note that not all symptoms above indicate a confirmed pregnancy. When you have a positive pregnancy test, visit a doctor to get more tests done to confirm your pregnancy. That's the only way to find out if you are truly pregnant.

Health Insurance Vs Health Plans

There are four common reasons why most people do not have health insurance or health plans. These four reasons are: (1) You are self employed. (2) You are unemployed. (3) Your current job does not offer coverage. (4) You have been released from your parents' coverage. Whatever the reason may be, it is important for you to get covered.

While doing some research on healthcare, you may come across two different types of medical coverage. The first is "health insurance" which includes HMO's, PPO's, and traditional coverage. You may also come across something called discount "health plans". These healthcare types are a little different from one another and you should understand what they are all about before making a final decision on what kind of coverage you choose.

Health Insurance

When choosing a health insurance plan you are going to need to choose between three different subcategories: PPO's, HMO's, and Indemnity Plans. There is not much difference between a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) and an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). They are both options that keep your premium costs down by only allowing you to see doctors or visit specialists that are members of their provider network. For example, when you see a member doctor, the doctor charges full price for the visit. You pay a co-pay amount of $ 5- $ 25 – depending on your policy, and the insurance company is billed for the rest. You must visit a doctor in the network or the insurance company may not pay their share of your visit.

Indemnity Plans are a little different. Also called "traditional insurance", they allow you to choose whatever doctor, hospital, or specialist you want, and your visit is covered. You pay your co-pay amount and your insurer will pay the rest. These plans may or may not be more expensive, so it is important for you to compare quotes between indemnity plans and PPO / HMO plans.

Discount Health Plans

These are great alternatives to PPO's, HMO's, and traditional insurance, and are becoming increasingly more popular. These plans offer discounts on doctor visits, emergency care, and prescriptions with participating providers in their network, and membership comes with affordable monthly payments. They offer financial relief in your time of need by preventing you from having to pay for 100% of your medical expenses on your own. For example if you have a 50% discount plan, get sick, and see a participating doctor that normally charges $ 70 for an office visit, being a discount plan member means you will only have to pay $ 35 for that visit. Many discount plans are offered by major medical insurance companies and were created for people on a budget.

So if you are debating on health insurance vs. health plans, just know that either way having some coverage is better than having no coverage at all. Pick a plan that allows you to stay healthy without breaking the bank. Staying healthy should be the number one priority.

Ken S., Founder

© 2009

Snoring – Types and Causes

There are two types of snoring: primary snoring and snoring indicative of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If your significant other is a snorer, you can conduct a sleep study, which is called a polysomnogram, to determine which type of snoring your significant other is suffering from. Of the two types of snoring, primary snoring, which is also called simple snoring, is the one that you should be concerned about the least. A person will not suffer from any health problems or lose out on any sleep because of primary snoring. You can tell a person is suffering from primary snoring if you can hear loud breathing while that person is sleeping. Primary snoring is uninterrupted and periodic. The noise from the loud breathing can be of any decibel level. Primary snoring results from some type of nasal passage blockage. The other type of snoring is more of a health concern and a doctor should be consulted for treatment recommendations. OSA can occasionally cause a complete blockage of the air passes for as long as 10 seconds and this may result in death due to suffocation. According to the National Institutes of Health, 12 million Americans have OSA and it is as common as diabetes. OSA sufferers can have as many as 20 to 30 involuntary breathing paususes during hour during sleep. These paususes occur because the throat muscles and tongue relax and block the opening of the airway. A person suffering from this type of snoring will have early morning headaches, problems staying awake during the day and low oxygen levels in the blood. If OSA is left untreated, a person can have high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiac arrest, stroke and heart disease. Unfortunately, 90% of OSA sufferers are undiagnosed and untreated.

Snoring occurs because of the vibrations of tissues against each other in the back of the mouth and nose. These tissues obstruct the airway and consist of the soft palate, the throat, the uvula, the tonsils, or the adenoids. Snoring occurs during sleep because deep sleep is what causes the relaxation of the throat muscles. This partially closes the airway. This narrowing of the airway obstructs the air flow, which causes the snoring. A narrower airway will cause louder noise because there will be more friction. There are several other causes of snoring. If you're not in shape, this can lead to poor muscle tone and lax muscles, which can contribute to snoring. Alcohol, sleeping pills, or antihistamines can increase the relaxation of throat and tongue muscles. Excessive fatty tissue in the neck can cause your throat to become smaller. A long soft palate or uvula can narrow the opening of the airway. A stuffy nose from a cold can block your nasal airways and make it harder to pull air through it. This will create a vacuum in your throat and pull together the tissues of the throat. Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can cause the throat muscles to relax and also creates nasal and lung congestion. Men are more likely to snore than women because they have narrower airways. When you're middle-aged or older, your throat become narrower and the muscle tone in your throat decreases. A deviated septum, which is a deformity of the wall that separates one nostril from the other, can cause obstructed breathing.

A Proven Way to Prevent a Sore Throat From Progressing to a Cold

Before I start sharing with you the proven way to prevent a sore throat from progressing to a cold, do you know experiencing periodic cold or flu can actually be helpful to your health? It may sound ridiculous but it is true, as told by my friend, who is a doctor by profession.

He stated that during our cold or flu period, our bodes are actually in the healing process of getting rid of those weakest cells which can help us to stay more healthier in the long run.

Here is how you can better prepare in preventing a cold from developing.

Gargle with warm salt water the moment you start experiencing that sore, tickling feeling in your throat. Try to tap your throat (Adam's apple region) with your fingers while you gargle so as to encourage the warm salt water to trickle deeply into your throat.

You probably may not be aware of, your tonsils and adenoids serve as a first line of defense against any airborne microorganisms and substances. It is a significant parts of your immune system located near the entrance of your breathing passages. Colds and flu viruses usually get eaten by your tonsils and adenoids before spreading through your body, and by gargling warm salt water it can effectively removed the viruses.

If you ever experience chronic swapping tonsils and adenoids at your throat region and is thinking of removing them, please reconsider seriously. It is highly not recommended. Try alternatives ways liked;

– Adopting a minimal processed diet, rich in fresh plant foods,
– Reduced your sugar intake especially cannoned drinks
– Get plenty of rest, exercise and exposed yourself outdoor more often.

You may ask gargling cold salt water works as well?

Either warm or cold salt water will help to remove those harmful viruses from your tonsils and adenoids, but if possible, try warm salt water as it promises to be more effective.

These are just simple and easy ways you can try out without any hassle before you consult your doctor.

Thanks for reading.

Tips on How to Stop Stuttering and Stammering

Stuttering and stammering is a speech impediment that a lot of people have. To the average person, they would not assume that living with this problem is that difficult, but it is. If you suffer from stuttering or stammering, then you know how hard life can be.

For those with these types of speech impediments, they can not communicate properly with other people. They trip over every word that comes out of their mouth and the more it happens, the more nervous and flustered they become. If you have ever been in a situation such as a job interview or a date and your stuttering becomes an issue, it is a moment you never forget because you are so embarrassed.

If you are suffering from extreme cases of stuttering and stammering then there are some things you can do. Some tips on how to stop stuttering and stammering include speaking in front of a mirror. If you can get some practice time speaking in front of a mirror, you will be able to get a feel for how the words are supposed to roll off of your tongue. Another tip on how to stop stuttering is to take a class such as yoga. Yoga will help to put your nerves at ease so you will be able to talk with confidence and composition. If you are able to control your nerves, then you will be able to control the pace that you speak at. Then you will be able to impress anyone with your speaking skills and how you speak with ease.

Brain Atrophy and Vitamin B-12 Deficiency – Should You Be Using Supplements?

A recent nutritional research study published in 'Neurology' 2008; 71: 826-832, suggests that having lower end levels of vitamin B-12, often considered to be within an acceptable range, could be damaging to normal brain size. Another study conducted at Tufts University in Boston in 2000 estimated that about 40 percent of the US Population has a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B-12 deficiencies should be considered a public health concern, along with many other vital nutrient shortages. This applies to all ages, not just the aging sector of the population. Vitamin B-12 deficiencies have been associated with brain atrophy (wasting) and has possible connections to developing brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, dementia, and depression.

The University of Oxford in England study involved one hundred and seven participants aged 61 to 87, who were considered to be cognitively normal and healthy at the beginning of the 5 year test study period. The interesting conclusion, noted by the lead researcher, suggested that keeping your vitamin B-12 levels well above the lower level cut-off advances brain performance.

In terms of brain shrinkage, there was a noticeable difference in cognitive functioning between the study participants who had higher levels of vitamin B-12, than those who had lower levels within the normal range.

Other risk factors for developing brain atrophy include high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Beside age being a risk factor in developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency, other possible risks include strict vegetarians, pregnant and lactating women, infants, stomach problems, and gastric disorders.

Vitamin B-12 is naturally found in animal foods. The highest concentration of which is found in mollusks such as clams, scallops, oysters, and in organ meats such as beef liver. To a lesser degree, vitamin B-12 can be obtained in fortified breakfast cereals (synthetic versions), fish, poultry, eggs, beef (sirloin tips), and minimal amounts are found in dairy products.

A realistic concern for vegetarians might be in getting to know where their vitamin B-12 levels are. A simple periodic blood test can confirm whether raising to the upper level range, or slightly above, may improve energy levels and cognitive functioning.

Why is getting enough vitamin B-12 so important? The top ten reasons according to Dr. Joseph Mercola are:

Is needed for the proper digestion, absorption, and metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
Helps folic acid (vitamin B-9) regulate red blood cells, and aides the body in using iron.
Optimizes nerve health functioning and communication.
Helps healthy cell formation and longevity.
Helps support female reproductive health.
Promotes healthy nerve growth and development. Protects the important fatty sheaths surrounding our nerve endings.
Is critical to circulation and the production of adrenal hormones.
Boosts immunity.
Supports a healthy feeling of overall well-being, by improving moods, memory, mental clarity, and concentration.
Boosts energy levels.

Other risk factors for low vitamin B-12 levels are gastric bypass surgery patients, coffee drinkers (4 or more cups a day), and the use of certain prescription drugs. Proton pump inhibitors such as 'Prilosec' and 'Prevacid', which are used to treat gerd or peptic ulcers, have been implicated in having low levels of this vitamin, as well as H2 receptor antagonists like 'Tagamet', 'Pepsid', and 'Zantac'. Both these drugs lower hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is needed to absorb B-12, plus, an untreated stomach problem lowers a protein called intrinsic factor which is also needed for B-12 absorption. If the stomach is inflamed or irritated it may not be producing this substance, making it nearly impossible for your body to absorb B-12.

If you are wondering whether you might not be getting enough of this vitamin, and may be considering supplementing, it is important to know that a lot vitamin B-12 supplements are not much help, worth your time or money, and can be out right dangerous. Ideally, the best way to get this important nutrient is in the food you eat.

This vitamin is notoriously hard to absorb and assimilate from a supplement. Studies have shown, and it is widely recognized, that the best way to get B-12 is under the tongue (sublingual form). They are usually better absorbed into the bloodstream than tablets or inhaled versions.

According to Mike Adams of 'Natural News', in an interview with Greg Kunin titled "Bioidentical Vitamins and the Secret of Methylation", high quality vitamin B-12 supplements are rather expensive to produce because of the fermentation process. The cost can be as much as $ 6,000. more per kilo than low quality B-12.

Read labels carefully, as most B-12 supplements available on the shelf are the cyanocobalamin form. It is not only cheaper in price, but also quite toxic. Many supplement makers choose to use this form because it is cheaper to produce. This form will interfere with the body's methylation pathway.

The higher quality form of B-12 is known as hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin. These two forms are more readily absorbable, utilized, and safe. The cost is going to be at least double in what the cheaper version sells for, so that in itself should be a dead give away.

But, if you think you may have a hard time remembering which form to look for on the label, just remember 'cyano' as in cyanide poisoning, and methyl or hydroxy as healthy for you.

Confirmation of nutritional therapy's positive effects has been painfully slow in coming to the forefront. Politically correct statements such as "medicines have been shown to disrupt vitamin B-12 absorption, but no clear evidence suggests that prescription medications may actually cause a deficiency when used long-term", seem to be included in a lot of, so-called , unbiased research protocols. These type of statements are not only confusing to most everyone, they have a tendency, by design, to contradict.

If you are in doubt of the treatments that you are considering using to heal yourself, the bottom line may just well be what incentives are behind the proposed solution. Who is really benefitting in the long-run, you or them?

There is nothing wrong with a quality supplement manufacturer making a nice profit off a quality supplement that is as beneficial to its customers as it is to them, or any affiliate marketers. Your job is to, thoroughly, do your homework, in investigating whether a company's sponsored clinical research studies actually back up the results the company promotes in its marketing strategy.

What You Do not Know About Georgetown, Penang


Hello and 'lu ho boh'- that's' how are you?' in Hokkien, the main Chinese dialect in Penang.

The historic city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before we begin, let me tell you a little about Penang, or sometimes known as the Pearl of the Orient.

Penang used to be part of Malay Sultanate of Kedah, across the sea in the mainland. But in 1786, Captain Francis Light managed to get Penang from the Sultan of Kedah for the British East India Company, together with Singapore and Malacca. He then built what is known today as George Town.

Penang gets its name from the Malay word Pinang which means 'betel nut', and Pulau Pinang literally meaning 'betel nut island'. It was later named Prince of Wales Island, commemorating King George IV. Georgetown was named after King George III. Today Penang is the third largest economy in the country, after Selangor and Johor.

In the World Heritage Committee Session in July 2008, Georgetown, along with Malacca were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Georgetown was voted twice as one of the best cities in Asia. It is also ranked as 10th among the top locations in Asia where Europeans prefer to work and live in, based on its weather, air quality, infrastructure, health services, housing, security and politics.


Georgetown has some of the best tourist places in Malaysia. Let's get to know a few of them.

Fort Cornwallis

On top of our itinerary is definitely Fort Cornwallis. The largest standing fort in Malaysia, Fort Cornwallis is a star-shaped fort named after the late 18th century Governor-General of Bengal in India, Charles Cornwallis. It was built by Sir Francis Light after it took possession of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786. The original fort was built with nibong, or palm trunk. A few years later, the new fort was rebuilt with manpower of Indian convicts, and finally completed in 1810.

The fort is intended to defend the island against the pirates and the French because of the Napoleonic Wars. There used to be a deep and wide moat surrounding the fort, but it is now filled due to a malaria outbreak.

Even though the fort was built for defense, it was used more for administrative purposes. In fact, the funny thing is that the fort has never engaged in any battle.

There you will see many old cannons. The largest one, called the Seri Rambai cannon, was a gift from the Dutch to the Sultan of Johor. Later, the Potuguese took possession of the cannon where it stayed in Java until it was located by the British and placed here in Fort Cornwallis.

This fort was gazetted in 1977 as an Ancient Monument and Historic site and today is one of Penang's most famous tourist attractions.

Convent Light Steet

The next interesting attraction is the Convent Light Street, or Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. It was founded back in 1852 by 3 French nuns who took over the previous government house to start their convent. It originally houses within its walls the Francis Light bungalow, which was build in 1790. It was historically leased out to the East India Company as a government house, before finally settling as a learning institution.

The building was expanded, and eventually housed a chapel, cloisters for the Sisters, an orphanage, a boarding house for students and classes for the school. The Convent continues to serve as a school and has been painstakingly and regularly restored in recent years with funds raised from the public.

St. George's Church

Next is the St. George's Anglican Church along Farquhar Street. Founded by Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, it is the oldest Anglican Church in Southeast Asia, which goes back all the way to 1818. It is designed in the Georgian Palladian style, a combination of the Georgian style, which is attribute to King George I and King George IV, and the Palladian style, which is attributed to the Grecian architecture by a Roman called Palladius.

Look at the long Roman columns and pillows and the white washed walls. The original roof was flat, but there was a tiny problem. The weather, or more precisely, the tropical rains made it unsuitable to have a flat roof and it was later made into the present shape. Look out also for the tall steeple that forms the apex of the roof.

There is a pavilion that sits opposite the church that houses a memorial to Francis Light. There is an inscription that reads: "In Memory of Francis Light, Esquire, who first established this island as an English Settlement and was many years Governor. Born in the county of Suffolk in England and died October 21st 1794. In his capacity as governor , the settlers and natives were great attached to him, and by his death had to deplore the loss of one who watched over their interest and cares as a father. "

The church is declared one of the 50 National Treasures of Malaysia.

The Cathedral of the Assumption

Next is The Cathedral of the Assumption on Faquhar Street. It got its name from the Feast of the Assumption, which happened to be the day when the first group of Catholics arrived in Penang in 1786. It was in 1955 that the church became a cathedral according to a decree by the Vatican.

This majestic gray white colored building with horizontal bands is an example of fine colonial architecture.

Eastern and Oriental Hotel

Next is the world renovated Eastern and Oriental Hotel. Once known as the "Premier Hotel East of Suez," it is commonly called the E & O Hotel or Eastern & Oriental Hotel.

The E & O Hotel was one of the few hotels in the region that was managed by the Sarkies Brothers. The Sarkies also operated the Raffles in Singapore, the Strand in Rangoon and the Crag Hotel on Penang Hill. In fact, they are still in existence today and are considered top-notch hotels, except for the one on Penang Hill, which is not functioning anymore.

In 1884, the E & O began its operations and by the Roaring 20s had gained much international recognition for being an opulent establishment through the generosity of Arshak Sarkies, the most flamboyant of the brothers. He would waive off friends' bills and allow some planters to stay for free, which led to people calling the E & O 'Eat and Owe'. Sarkies ran the hotel out of pleasure more than for profit and it ever shown, when the hotel came close to bankruptcy. However, today the business has been revitalized and the E & O continues to retain its charm.

The E & O has had many famous patrons, and they include Sir Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Hermann Hesse, Sun Yat Sen and Charlie Chaplin. Despite having gone through periods of uncertainty and sometimes teetering on the brink of obscurity, the E & O still runs and functions as one of the best hotels in Penang. Weddings, dinners and special occasions are still celebrated here.

If you can not afford to stay there, you can still go to the bar or restaurant and unwind like Charlie Chaplin and Rudyard Kipling did!

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Next is the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion. Cheong Fatt Tze was a rag to riches story. Coming to Malaya in 1856 to work in the tin mines at 16, he worked his way and made a fortune trading tea, pepper, coffee and tobacco with the British Empire.

Cheong Fatt Tze had a reputation of a smart businessman and eventually became Consult General for China, and had the position of 'Mandarin of the Highest Order'. He also became the director of China's railway and first modern bank and was nicknamed the "Rockefeller of the East" by the New York Times, who also dubbed him as "China's last Mandarin and first capitalist."

Despite having homes all over Asia, and in particular Indonesia and China due to his business and personal interests, Cheong Fatt Tze still favored this mansion in Penang the most, and consulted feng shui masters in building it. When Cheong Fatt Tze finally passed away in 1916, the Dutch and the British honored this extra man by flying flags at half-mast.

The mansion is open everyday from 11.00am and 3.00pm with tours conducted at these times. The tour is well worth your time and you can marvel at the art of feng shui that went into Cheong Fatt Tze's mansion. Beside the architecture, the mansion is also dedicated to the memory of the man himself.

Apart from the architecture, the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion also has many antiques and old photographs that will give you a glimpse of the lives of genteel Chinese business people then. An interesting fact is that Cheong Fatt Tze's seventh wife was awarded the privilege of living in the mansion with him. The mansion has also been used for filming as well, one of the more famous films filmed here was 'Indochine' starring Catherine Deneuve.

The Cheong Fatt Tze mansion used to also consist of the row of terrace houses across the street, which you can see when you visit. This particular row was where the kitchen, storage rooms and servants' quarters used to live. Maids wearing their usual white shirts and black pants would hurriedly prepare food for their mistress and master.

Christian Cemetery

Next is the Protestant Cemetery. Although it may seem a bit sombre and morbid, walking through the old Protestant Cemetery is a great idea while you are in Georgetown. It provides you with a sense of the hardships that were faced by those who had chosen to make their home here. Some of the tombstones have been restored by the heritage trust, although many inscriptions can no longer be read. Reading the epitaphs on the stones brings a melancholic, romantic feel especially when reading about the lives of the early settlers. Many died from tropical ailments such as malaria and one stone even mentions that the Deceased died from jungle fever.

Most of these people were laid to rest here because it was too far to take their bodies back, and doing that would take many weeks, further deteriorating the bodies. So the Christian Cemetery is the final resting place of many pioneers including Sir Francis Light, Sir Stamford Raffles' brother-in-law and a young officer named Thomas Leonowens. You may be familiar with the story of his wife, Anna Leonowens, who moved to Singapore after Thomas died of apoplexy. Here, she received an invitation to teach English to the children of the Siamese King. A romanticised account of her life in Siam inspired the film called 'Anna and the King' star Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, and the musical 'The King And I'. The remake of this film in 1999 starred Jodie Foster and Chow Yuen Fatt, and part of it was shot in right here in Georgetown.

Suffolk House

Next is the Suffolk House, or what was once Sir Francis Light's Residency. Francis Light built his home, where he landscaped and constructed the interior to resemble that of a country home of his birthplace of Suffolk, England.

He lived in Suffolk House as it was named, with his life long companion, Martina Rozells and his 5 children. The Suffolk House served as the governor's residency for the first 100 years and was later bought over by a planter, and the house and land became part of the Methodist Boys' School, last used as a canteen for the students.

The Suffolk House won the 2008 UNESCO Award of Distinction. It is one of the two cultural heritage conservation projects in Malaysia to win the UNESCO award in 2008 and this Award of Distinction is the second highest award given by UNESCO Asia Pacific for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Kuan Yin Teng

Next is Kuan Yin Teng, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Malaysia. It was built in 1801 by early Chinese immigrants. The building is decorated with intricately crafted dragons and two stone lions guard the door. This temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. It is one of the most visited tourist sites in Penang.

The Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi

The Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi is a clan association, one of the many in Malaysia. Built in 1850 by the forefathers of the Khoo family who emigrated from South China, it functions as a clan-house for anyone who has the surname Khoo. A temple was built but a fire razed the entire wooden structure. The local Chinese believed that the gods had burned it down because the structure resembled the Heavenly Emperor's palace. The version you see today was completed in 1906. All around, you can see richly ornamented carvings of the roofs, walls and pillows that reflect the art and architecture of ancient China. At the end of the tour, expect to have a stiff neck.

Queen Victoria Clock Tower

Next is the Queen Victoria Clock Tower. This 60-foot-high clock tower was presented to Penang by local millionaire, Cheah Chen Eok, in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Wat Chaiyamangalaram

The Thai Buddhist Temple is famous for its 33 meter long reclining Buddha, one of the world's longest. The temple was built on a piece of land given by Queen Victoria to four women trustees as a gesture of goodwill to boost trading relations with Thailand. Look out for the guardian dragons at the entrance.

Kapitan Keling Mosque

Next is the Kapitan Keling Mosque, was built in the early 19th century, by the Kapitan Keling Caudeer Mohudeen. It is the most prominent historic mosque in Penang and features a dome-shaped minaret reflecting Moorish Islamic influence. The Kapitan Keling Mosque is the place of worship of the Indian Muslim community who have lived and worked around the mosque for over two hundred years. Unlike modern mosques that are mainly frequented on Fridays, the Kapitan Keling Mosque is used by worshipers five times a day, seven days a week. If you'd like to visit, you have to be decently dressed and women would have to wear a robe that you can get from the mosque staff.


Every Malaysian claims his or her hometown is the food capital of Malaysia. The people of Penang would claim Penang food is the best in Malaysia, and it is not easy to disagree.

Some of the must trys in Penang is the Penang Kuay Teow, or fried noodle dish with eggs, cockles and vegetables. Ask for it to be cooked less spicy if you can not take spicy food.

Other Chinese dishes you must try are: beef noodle and 'chee cheong fun' or steamed flat noodle topped with shrimp and chilli sauce. You can also try the fried oyster, a popular seafood dish. 'Hokkien mee' is a noodle dish in spicy prawn based soup. You must also try Penang laksa, which is also a noodle dish but this time with fish based soup.

For something sweet, some highly recommended street food are the 'tau sah pneah' which is biscuit with green paste inside, 'muah chee' which are peanut coated glutinous rice balls; and 'bee koh moy' which is a black glutinous rice porridge usually taken as an afternoon dessert.

For Indian Muslim food, the Penang nasi kandar is very famous in Malaysia. It is a rice meal with many types of dishes made using many types of spices. Also, try the rojak pasembur which is a vegetable salad with sweet and spicy sauce.

Other unique delicacies include 'otak-otak' or steamed fish cake wrapped in banana leaves and 'Or Koay' or steamed yam cakes topped with dried shrimp, fried shellots, spring onion and sliced ​​red chilli.

I hope I did not make your stomach growl. Penang is really a food haven, and you must try at least a few local delicacies before leaving.


Getting around in Georgetown is easy. You can take the bus or taxi. One fascinating mode of transportation is the trishaw, a type of bicycle vehicle, but the trishaw is getting more and more rare. Trishaws were actual modes of transportation in the olden times but today- they cater to tourists and can go up to 30 Ringgit per hour.

Well, this is the end of the guide for Georgetown. I hope you will enjoy yourself visiting the old standing fort in Malaysia, marvelling at some 17th century churches, unwinding in a world famous hotel, touring some Muslim mosques, Buddhist mystices, and old colonial buildings and not forgetting, savoring food in Malaysia's food capital .

Until the next time, Selamat Tinggal and goodbye!

Acute Otitis Media (Middle Ear Infections) – Part II

Part II – here ya go!

At what point do I start worrying that my child may need an antibiotic to treat their ear infection?

Some guidelines have been set-up to help decide whether antibiotic therapy should be used or not.

According to these guidelines, antibiotics are recommended for use in children less than 2 years of age and in children older than 2 where both letters are infected or where there is discharge from the affected ear.

Children older than 2 years who have mild symptoms of AOM and only one infected ear can take the "watchful waiting" approach.

With the "watchful waiting" option, you would observe your child's condition for 48 to 72 hours, and if the signs or symptoms of AOM worsen or persist, you would follow-up with your child's physician.

At this point, the physician would most likely start your child on a course of antibiotics. The "watchful waiting" option is not appropriate in those cases where follow-up can not be ensured or where parents or caretakers do not understand the risks and benefits of this kind of approach.

I know what you're probably thinking; there is no way you're going to take the chance with this watchful waiting deal. But just think, one less medication means fewer medication side effects and an opportunity to avoid being involved with the antibiotic resistance saga.

You know your child the best; you will be able to tell if they are not getting better. You can do it – I have faith in you!

Continuing on …

Signs and symptoms of middle ear infections appear so quickly you will not even see them coming!

The obvious signs of AOM are ear pain, fever, and hearing loss. Be on the lookout for your infant pulling on their ear; it's a good way to tell if their ear is bothering them since they can not share this with you in words quite yet.

Also, do not panic with the hearing loss idea, it's happening because of the fluid build-up in the eustachian tubes and it is a temporary problem .

There are times when the signs and symptoms of a middle ear infection will be less obvious, especially in young children. These not so obvious symptoms include fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, or vomiting, and they usually occur more often in children who have been suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection for several days. Ugh, two infections in one, that's a double whammy right there!

Also, be aware that it is possible for your child to not have any signs or symptoms of AOM other than a fever, in which case it's important that their ears still get examined.

Regardless of whether antibiotics are used or not (check out Part I of this ear infection series, and do not forget about Part II and Part III!), Symptoms caused by the ear infection can be treated. Some good options to treat ear pain are Tylenol, Motrin, and Auralgan, all of which have a generic available.

Auralgan is an eardrop that contains a combination of antipyrine, benzocaine, and glycerin and is available by prescription only. The benefits of using Tylenol and Motrin are they can be purchased over-the-counter and they help treat a fever too.

I would NOT , I repeat, I would NOT use antihistamines (like Benadryl) and / or decongestants (like Sudafed) because they have not been shown to be effective in treating AOM and they only lead to more medication side effects.

It's GI Joe time; the true American hero is calling my name … going to the movies and the rose gardens here in Portland! No worries – I'm still here for discussion, questions, and comments. Get at me at !

Tonsillectomies For Tonsil Stones (Tonsilloliths) – Not Needed!

Many people see their doctor for tonsil stones. The irritation in the throat can be very frustrating and the bad breath caused by these nuisances can ruin your social life. There are treatment options, however, and many are home remedies.

Tonsil stones are caused when food, mouth debris, and bacteria stick to the tonsillar crypts. These white bumps are not usually dangerous, though. One of the common misconceptions about tonsil stones is that they require a tonsillectomy in order to remove them. A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the tonsils. This is an invasive surgery and you do not need it for tonsilloliths. These objects are – at the very most – a nuisance and some may argument that they are actually used as a type of defense mechanism for the body, much like mucous in the eyes and nose.

Tonsil stones should not be confused with tonsillitis. Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils and depending on the cause may require antibiotics in order to treat it. Treatment for tonsilloliths an as simple as squeezing your throat or using a syringe to dislodge them. You may also try gargling with warm salt water mixed with lime juice.

If all else fails to remove these tonsils stones or you can not keep them coming back, you may wish to speak with your doctor about laser surgery for your tonsils. This process removes the rough surface of the tonsils so nothing will stick within the tonsillar crypts. However, this is usually not necessary as home remedies will usually take care of the problem.

Glaucoma Eye Drop Shows Promise in Improving Vision for Macular Degeneration Patients

Eye redness was the clue that something was happening to Celia Ramirez's vision. Although she was not having trouble driving or doing other tasks, her children urged her to have a checkup. It turned out she was in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that attacks a person's central field of vision.

Mrs. Ramirez, who lives in Mission in the Rio Grande Valley, had surgery that successfully controlled her eye pressure, but her central vision continued to deteriorate. Her specialist is William E. Sponsel, MD, associate professor and director of research in the Department of Ophthalmology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC). Dr. Sponsel's research led him to prescribe treatment with new combinations of medicines. "These last two medicines he's had me on, they have really worked," Mrs. Ramirez said. "We've done a lot of praying.

The miracle involves carbon dioxide, which is crucial for vision. The healthy eye produces enough carbon dioxide to dilate blood vessels around the retina and maintain proper blood flow. The ailing eye does not produce enough. This holds important implications for the treatment of patients with blind eye diseases such as AMD and glaucoma, which are marked by diminished circulation of blood in the back of the eye. Eye pressure also is a conventional barometer of eye health.

About 60 of 65 patients have seen their vision improve while receiving treatment at UTHSC's teaching hospital, University Hospital. "The patients are receiving combination drug therapy, including agents that trick the eye into retaining more of its carbon dioxide," Dr. Sponsel said. "We have patients with glaucoma and no AMD, patients with AMD and no glaucoma, and patients with both disorders.

The Health Science Center is the first medical center to initiate this combination therapy for patients with central visual loss, Dr. Sponsel said. Consider research yielded the conclusions that now help patients. "You do not expect these patients to get better, you expect them to get worse," he said. "We have seen dramatic results that bode well for treatment of these disorders in the future."

The researchers measure patients' sensitivity to light on visual function tests. An increase of 10 points represents more than a million-fold increase in actual visual acuity. Mrs. Ramirez's vision in the macula – the central visual area that enables perception of letters and colors – was scored as inherently zero on early tests. After the recent treatment, her score is now 24.

The miracle agents are called "carbonic anhydrase inhibitors" (CAI's). Given as eye drops, CAI's reach the back of the eye rapidly and slow the clearance of carbon dioxide while increasing the supply of nutrients. They help dilate blood vessels inside and behind the retina, which is the structure that receives, processes and transmits visual images relayed from the brain.

Dr. Sponsel pursued this line of research in an intriguing way – after discovering that adults who hyperventilated and rapidly blew off their body's carbon dioxide demonstrated reduced vision, eye pressure and circulation in the back of the eye. He was raising subjects one week with a CAI called dorzolamide and the next week with placebo eye drops. During hyperventilation, the subjects on dorzolamide maintained good light sensitivity in their central field of vision, while the same subjects during placebo treatment showed central visual loss. Dr. Sponsel holds two US patents on this work. One valuable aspect of the research is that it proves increased eye pressure is not necessarily the definitive indicator of eye vessel disease.

Mrs. Fernandez is seeing more light at the end of the tunnel these days, thanks to the combination therapy Dr. Sponsel is testing. "Vision is precious," he said. "Despite the odds, she has had a beautiful retention of her ability to see."

The drugs used in this novel therapy, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAI's) are only available by prescription and must be prescribed by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Dr Edward Paul – America's Eye Doctor –